Archive for May, 2010

Here’s an exciting Wedding Wednesday announcement: Ryan and I were the featured wedding in the May edition of Her Nashville! Be sure to grab a copy before while they are still available! Here’s the online version of the article.

Due to our internet being knocked out for a while because of the flood, me being out of commission from my surgery and Ryan having play rehearsal almost every night of the week, we took an unexpected hiatus from the blog world. We missed the first two Wedding Wednesdays of the month, along with our First Friday post for May. So we’ve combined the two in today’s post.

Here’s the story of our first engaged concert and our wedding ring inscriptions:

As mentioned in our engagement story blog, the night we got engaged, we went to a Ray LaMontagne concert. It was perfect. Ray has some great love songs—the kind that make you look at the person sitting next to you and fall in love all over again. (That night, I’m sure that ring on my finger helped with that too. 🙂  The concert was amazing, and thankfully, we had my friend Livi with us to snap shots of our newly engaged selves all around Nashville.

That Ray LaMontagne concert was the first concert we went to after making it official that we would spend the rest of our lives together, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts. To celebrate that, we decided to use Ray LaMontagne lyrics as the inscriptions inside our rings.

Of course, that decision didn’t come easily. It took us weeks to pick out our inscriptions! (If you know me, that probably doesn’t surprise you. I am the most indecisive person ever.)  We were clueless at first, and then I found these sites to get ideas from:




At first, we were debating on some song lyrics and Bible verses, and then we really liked the idea of doing a two-part inscription. Some of the original contenders included these:

1) 1st Band: Camelot exists!

2nd Band: Our forever fairytale!

(Cheesy, right? 🙂 )

2) 1st Band: I have found the one

2nd Band: in whom my soul delights

3) 1st Band: Many waters cannot quench love

2nd Band: Rivers cannot wash love away

4) 1st Band: Let’s keep dreaming…

2nd Band: Under the moon

But none of them were perfect. Until we thought about our engagement night and had the idea to use Ray LaMontagne lyrics.

In case you are wondering, Ryan’s ring says “You are the Best Thing” and my ring says “I Will Hold You 4-Ever.” [The actual song says, I could hold you forever, but that wouldn’t fit. We like the change to “will” though because it’s not just a statement, it’s a promise from him to me.]

In case you would like to use Ray LaMontagne lyrics too, others we considered include “I Will Shelter You,” “Let It Be Me” and “Forever My Friend, Forever My Love” (which could also be broken up into a two-part inscription).

As a side note about our first engaged concert, it haunts me to this day that I did not buy a poster at the concert. I almost bought one online last year, but put it in my shopping cart on the Ray LaMontagne website and never actually purchased it. When I went back, they were completely sold out! If you ever see this poster lying around an old poster shop (do they even have those?), buy it for me and I’ll pay you back!

Isn’t it the cutest? It’s even in our wedding colors. *sigh* Maybe one day…


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After meeting with Dr. Cook to discuss the surgery, Ryan and I had to go straight to the surgery center lab to get my blood work done. Three tries later, the nurses in the pathology lab finally got my blood drawn. Dang these thin veins of mine. Ryan got me a wheel chair (because I just absolutely couldn’t walk) and pushed me upstairs to surgery center. It wasn’t too long before they took me back for surgery. I was anxious. I’d never had surgery before. But I was also in a lot of pain. So there was a lot of relief mixed in. I was so relieved to know I would be somewhat healed after the surgery. Dr. Cook said most people reported immediate results of some kind. Three tries later and a big bruise, the nurses finally got my IV in. Dang these thin veins! They brought Ryan back to my pre-op room, and then the anesthesiologist came in, and I don’t remember much after that. I do remember him telling me that he was going to give me a pill that would have an amnesia effect. I don’t remember taking that pill though. He also said that I would probably be out of it when I woke up because of the morphine. Ryan says we told each other that we loved each other as they wheeled me away. I don’t remember that either.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room. I couldn’t open my eyes or talk yet, but I could sense four or five people standing over me. And apparently I was moaning. And then I felt the pain. I heard some confusion, and then I heard a nurse say, “I think she’s groaning because she’s in pain.” I still couldn’t talk yet, so I just shook my head yes. “She’s not responding to the morphine,” the nurse said. Um…those are pretty much the six worst words to hear after you have come out of surgery. I mean, I suppose there are worse words. Like, “we couldn’t fix you” or “there were some complications” or something like that. So I’m thankful it wasn’t that bad at least. But it was pretty bad. One of the nurses started pumping some other kind of medicine straight into my IV. Another nurse told me that they would go get my husband and my mom after they got my pain under control. Ryan’s dad volunteered to sit with him through the surgery, but all of my family was out of pocket. You see, my dad was in a golf-cart accident the day before my surgery, and he broke his shoulder and knee on his right side. So he can’t walk right now. So, my two sisters were taking care of him. And my mom was supposed to be in West Tennessee. So the fact that she came to see me was a very happy surprise! They finally got my pain under control and I was able to get my clothes on (which was nice since I woke up naked—that’s a very uneasy feeling) and go home.

Ryan had play practice, so he got me settled onto the couch in our bonus room (the pillowtop mattress on our bed is way too soft for a bad back) and my loving sisters came to Bellevue to keep an eye on me and have pizza and a movie. And I’ve pretty much been on this couch ever since. I actually find it hard to believe that three and a half weeks have passed already. It’s kind of a blur. I guess the pain and the pain pills will do that to you… And the monotony. When you can’t do anything, you pretty much do the same thing all day, everyday—nothing.

Of course, it wasn’t so monotonous at first. The day after my surgery, it started raining. My mom came over to check on me and make us chicken casserole for dinner. She said the roads were starting to flood, and she wouldn’t be able to go to White Bluff the same way she came here. The next thing we know, we’re seeing cars floating on TV, and we’re trying to get my mom to either leave immediately or promise to stay the night. She had just spent a week out of town for training, so she was determined to get home. Thankfully, after running into a few road closures, she met a nice policeman who told her a way she could get home. It rained all night. I had an allergic reaction to the Demerol that night, so Ryan made an emergency call to the doctor and went to pick up a different prescription for me at 3 a.m. (he’s the best ever).

It continued to rain all day the next day, Sunday. Before long, I started getting texts from friends asking about our neighborhood evacuating. And then we started seeing stuff about it on the news. We hadn’t heard anything. We had no idea if we would even be told that we needed to leave if we really needed to. Was someone going to knock on our door, or were we just supposed to figure it out and leave by ourselves?!?! The later it got, the more the Harpeth flooded and took over our neighborhood. I was on a lot of pain pills, and still very, very sore from my back surgery. It was not a good time for a flooded neighborhood and a possible evacuation. Ryan went out to scout the neighborhood a couple times. It was definitely flooded in half the neighborhood, but River Plantation is a very big subdivision. So even though the front and right side of the neighborhood were flooded (some with water up to the top of their carports and even higher), little area wasn’t flooded at all. And we were fairly certain we could even get out on the roads and make it into town going the back way. After we saw some neighbors leave and come back with a pizza, we figured we would be safe enough staying home…Lord willing and the creek (or river) don’t rise (anymore).

The next day, we were glued to the TV, watching the news coverage of all of the flooding around Nashville. It was very surreal to hear the news anchors keep referring to the major flooding in River Plantation and to see the images of the flooded townhouses and people all around us being rescued by boat. So many mixed feelings of sadness and relief! We finally got in touch with Dr. Cook and found out that his office was open even though they had major flooding the day before, and they wanted to still see me for my first post-op follow-up. We carefully made our way out of the flooded neighborhood (the main road was closed because it was still flooded) and out to Cool Springs. My surgical wound looked good, but my leg, especially my foot was still very weak. The PA seemed to be most concerned about my EHL, which is basically the ligament that controls the big toe from what I’ve put together. It’s kind of hard to walk when you can’t control your big toe. My Pepaw had his big toe shot off by my Memaw (that’s a story for another day), and I’m not really sure how he got around without it! I’ve had another checkup since then, and they took the 17 stitches in my back out. But my EHL was still the same. That was a week ago, and from what I can tell, my EHL is still the same. But I have yet another checkup tomorrow, so we’ll see.

This month Nashville has been recovering, and I’ve been recovering, and I guess it’s just going to take a little bit longer than everyone would like. But we’ll get there. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

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So much has happened since Ryan’s last post which was nearly 3 ½ weeks ago! In fact, things got a little crazy the very next day. As he mentioned in his post, I had an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Originally, my doctor’s office referred me to a specialist who wanted me to wait over a week before they could get me in. I couldn’t even walk! I was in more pain than I had ever been in my life! And poor Ryan had to watch me crawl on my hands and knees just to get to the bathroom. Waiting even a few days was out of the question. I knew something was seriously wrong and that I needed help ASAP.

Thankfully, Ryan called the doctor’s office to get some other referrals for orthopedic specialists in the area. I prayed about it and then called the very first name on the list. They were able to get me in at 9:15 a.m. the next day! After I mentioned how much pain I was in, the receptionist told me to go ahead and come in at 8:30 a.m. How’s that for getting in somewhere as soon as possible?! So Thursday morning Ryan and I made that painful journey to Cool Springs to meet with a specialist at Franklin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. First, I met with one of the PAs, and he had me try to do a few movements to see how bad my injury was. Then he took a few x-rays which were inconclusive, so the next step was an MRI. Before I left to get the MRI, he told me that I shouldn’t be too concerned because there were other options besides back surgery for serious back injury. He predicted that it was a herniated disk, and that we would probably try an epidural injection of steroids.

So Ryan and I walked next door to BioImaging to turn in the paperwork for my 2 p.m. appointment that day. Ryan sweet talked the receptionists, and they agreed to do my MRI immediately. I had never had an MRI before, so that was an interesting experience. I’m not generally claustrophobic, but I have to admit that I did have a little claustrophobic anxiety at first. Thankfully I was able to block it out by listening to the music that played in the headphones they put on me, and the MRI specialist was very diligent about making sure I was as comfortable as possible.

I had a follow-up appointment with Franklin Orthopaedics for the next morning. So Ryan took me home and went in to the office for the afternoon. Later that day, I got a call from Chris Hendrix, the PA who I saw that morning. He asked if I was still in town and if Ryan was still with me. At that point, I knew it wasn’t going to be good news. I told him I was in Bellevue without Ryan. So he proceeded to tell me that he reviewed the results with the MRI with one of the orthopedic surgeons and the MRI specialist, and they all agreed that I had a severe herniated disk crushing my sciatic nerve so badly that it would probably cause me permanent damage if I didn’t have surgery as soon as possible. The way everyone has explained it to me is that the human body has disks in between each of the vertebrae in the spine. These disks are like jelly doughnuts. And like jelly doughnuts, the jelly can squeeze out. Except the jelly isn’t really gooey. It has substance to it; one person compared it to crabmeat. This substance was crushing my sciatic nerve so badly that it was much like a tire running over a water hose, completely cutting off the nerve. In case you don’t know, the sciatic nerve runs all the way from your lower back to the bottom of your foot. This meant I could have permanent damage to my left leg and foot.

There was no time to waste. They wanted me to have surgery to extract the herniated disk the very next day. He told me to keep my appointment with Dr. Cook (the orthopedic surgeon) the next morning to fully discuss the surgery, and they would go ahead and schedule my surgery for the afternoon. Within minutes of getting off the phone with him, I started receiving calls from Williamson County Medical Center (where the surgery would take place). The pre-op nurse called to make sure I knew not to eat that morning, when to get to the hospital, where the hospital was, what I should do when I get there, etc. The anesthesiologist nurse called to ask about allergies and other things they needed to know for the anesthesia to be effective. And the collections department called to tell me exactly how much money I would need to pay after my insurance paid their part. I’ve never had surgery before, but Williamson County Medical Center really seemed to be on top of their game! I didn’t have any questions at all about going in for surgery.

I’m not going to lie though…after the news of the impending surgery and all the Williamson County Medical Center calls, I called Ryan crying. I’m only 26. I have no idea how in the world I hurt my back. I don’t even have anything I can blame it on or know not to do in the future. The only thing we know is that it originally started hurting (but much much less) back in March when I had bronchitis and was coughing so hard. But it didn’t hurt bad enough to keep me from doing my daily activities at that time, and it was better in a week. And now all of a sudden, over the course of a day, for no defining reason, my back started hurting so badly I couldn’t walk. And I needed surgery. And I’m way too young to need back surgery. Also, I’ve heard so many horror stories about how awful back surgery can be, and how people have bad backs for life afterward. And, I didn’t really have much time to think it over. I had less than 24 hours before they wanted me on the operating table. Scary!!! It didn’t help that after relaying the information to family and close friends and those around us, many people were alarmed and told us we better get a second opinion. We didn’t have time to get a second opinion if the situation was as urgent as the people at Franklin Orthopaedics thought it was. And personally, from the pain, I can tell you that it definitely felt like an urgent situation. I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do though. And my mom (the smartest lady I know) and Ryan (the love of my life) both agreed.

My mom pointed out that most surgeons don’t operate on Fridays, so it must be pretty urgent if the surgeon wanted me to come in on a Friday afternoon to have the procedure done. And she was right. In fact, that was one of the first things Dr. Cook told me the next morning when we went to his office to meet with him. He explained the surgery, the possible complications, my specific case, other not really recommended options…the typical pre-surgery breakdown I imagine. I agreed and accepted everything he told me, and we agreed to meet at Williamson County Medical Center for the 1 p.m. surgery.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of this blog entry! 🙂

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