Well, if you want to be specific…

Fritz learned about basic probability. He had to say if something would happen never, sometimes, usually, or always. The question said “The sun will continue to shine.” He marked always and then wrote “for millions of years.”

Adrian was answering yes or no questions. One of them said “You can fill a crib with twigs.” He marked yes and then had me write “if there is no baby in it.”

The Great Attempted Uterine Escape of 2015

The last few weeks have been absurd. Back in September I got bronchitis. I was really sick. I coughed a whole lot. On October 7th I literally almost coughed out an entire organ. My uterus decided it didn’t really need to be part of my body anymore. Ever since it’s continued that attempted escape and in 12 days it will complete its quest with a little help from a doctor.

Did you know uterine prolapse is not an emergency? Sure, it causes a lot of pain, but it won’t kill you unless it sits in such a way that you cannot pee. And even then they’d likely just put in a catheter and keep saying wait for surgery.

The first OB/Gyn I went to was very nice and gentle (let’s just say the ER doctor was not and my uterus – that he could see immediately upon starting the exam – was bruised thanks to his useless jamming of the speculum into it). She and her office just moved at the speed of snails. I had to wait twelve days for the urodynamics test (result: I’ve got problems). Then I had to wait nine days to see her for pre-op. And then I had to wait five days for the surgery scheduler to call to schedule my surgery.

So after all that waiting, when could they schedule me for? December 15th. SIX MORE WEEKS.

Now, if I had been in no pain and not having to lay in bed a significant portion of my day, this would not have been a problem. If sitting in my recliner didn’t cause the pain to get worse, this would not have been a problem. But I am in pain and I do have to lay in bed a lot because even my recliner is not comfortable. Six weeks seemed like forever. For the first time since it all started I had a complete breakdown.

Mild uterine prolapse doesn’t usually cause symptoms. For all I know mine has been out of place for years and I never knew. Severe uterine prolapse, however, is horrible. Aside from the annoying feeling of something the size of my fist sitting in my vagina, a place it is most definitely not supposed to be, there is the pain. The ligaments that usually hold the uterus in place are all stretched and pulling so that causes lower back pain. Trying to sit in a comfortable position so the lower back isn’t so bad causes upper back pain. Because of the pressure on them, the labia ache almost constantly. And, to top it all off, I have shooting pains in my groin, buttocks, and front of my legs. It’s oh, so lovely.

So, yeah, six weeks wasn’t okay. Six weeks was awful. My friend convinced me to call a different doctor. She gave me a couple numbers. My husband called one. It was Tuesday afternoon. The doctor in their office who specializes in prolapse had an opening at 9:30 the next morning, could we make it in then. Uh, yes!

It’s not so convenient to go to her. See, we’re super spoiled. The other OB is just one mile away from our house as is the hospital where I was going to have the surgery. This one is about 20-25 minutes away. Once I realized my dad is having chemo every other week for the next four months about that far from home and they are thrilled it is that close I decided convenience is relative and to suck it up.

The OB/Gyn who will be doing the surgery is amazing. My problems are her specialty. She did a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic on pelvic organ prolapse. I think having to switch is really a blessing in disguise. And, best of all, she could get me in on November 23rd, a full 22 days earlier than the other OB. She also did something to shift around my uterus and for 4 blissful days the pain was almost gone.

She’ll be doing a whole lot of things to me in the OR. I’ll be having a total vaginal hysterectomy, anterior and posterior repair (I also have a cystocele and rectocele), something to make my urethra stay in the right place, bladder sling, tacking up the vagina so it is less likely to prolapse requiring another surgery sometime in the future, and my fallopian tubes will both be removed. My father had prostate cancer 7 years ago and there is a link between fathers with prostate cancer and daughters with ovarian cancer so, thanks Dad and genetics for increasing that cancer risk. They now believe ovarian cancer actually starts in the tubes so removing them will reduce my ovarian cancer risk dramatically. I’ll be in the hospital one night and then on greatly reduced activity for the 6 weeks after surgery (which brings us to January 4th, not that I’ve already calculated it or anything).

I only have two problems with all this and they are minor. One, I will never be able to use my menstrual cups again. I love those things. Life changing they are. Two, it is delaying my first degree black belt by 6 months. I had to stop taking classes when I got so sick in September so I couldn’t test in October. I’m out this entire cycle so I won’t be able to test in December either. Six weeks after my surgery also happens to be the first day of the next cycle. So in January I can be back at taekwondo and I should get my black recommended belt in August instead of April.

The pain is bad and my bedroom is seriously boring (but thank goodness for my amazingly awesome adjustable bed!). My kids are pitching in and helping a lot. And, hey, I’m getting a lot of reading done (8 books just since November 1st). Just twelve more days. I can totally survive 12 more days until the doctor liberates my uterus. I’ve gotta admit… I won’t even miss it.

And More Science Experiments

We taped a straw on a plastic bag and threaded a string through the straw. We tied the string to chairs and stretched it tightly between them. We put the bag next to a chair with the open end facing the chair. We blew up a balloon and put it in the bag while holding the neck of the balloon closed to keep the air inside. Then we let go of the balloon and watched it race toward the other chair. This demonstrated Newton’s Third Law of Motion. The action was the air rushing out of the balloon and the reaction was the balloon rushing off to the other side of the room.

We made a blender using the the K’Nex Gears Kit.

We poked a hole through a 2-liter soda bottle and put a straw through it, sealing around the hole with modeling clay. We poured some vinegar into the bottle and wrapped baking soda in a tissue. We pushed the baking soda into the neck of the bottle and capped it. Then we tilted the bottle so the tissue and baking soda got soaked by the vinegar and quickly placed the bottle in a tub of water with the straw facing down. The soda bottle boat propelled itself around the tub demonstrating Newton’s Third Law (action: carbon dioxide gas coming out of the straw; reaction: the “boat” sped forward).

We made three same sized balls out of modeling clay. Cameron dropped one from the highest point, Fritz dropped one from the middle point, and Adrian dropped one from the lowest point. The dent in the clay dropped by Cameron was the biggest and the dent in the clay dropped by Adrian was the smallest because the farther things go while falling, the faster they are going when they hit the ground.

We made a chainsaw using the the K’Nex Gears Kit. The boys had a little too much fun with it.

We made a pulley using a metal coat hanger, a spool of thread, two little boxes, and string.

We put coins in one box and demonstrated how the pulley works by moving up and down. Then we put coins in the other box in order to balance the pulley.

We put a pencil under a ruler and then placed pennies at either end. We balanced it perfectly so both ends were off the ground. Then we added a second penny to one end. That side went down while the other side went up. We moved the pencil to make the lever balance once again even though one end had twice the number of pennies as the other end.

With the pencil still under the ruler, we placed a lightweight book on one end of the ruler. We experimented with moving the pencil (fulcrum) to different locations under the ruler (lever) to see where it was easiest to lift the book (load). The answer: Close to the book.

We stacked books and leaned a ruler and a yardstick (inclined planes) against them. We attached a rubberband to a toy card and pulled it up each ramp and also straight up the stack of books. We observed it was the easiest to pull the car up the yardstick, the longest inclined plane, because it had the gentlest slope upward.

We made a screw by wrapping a triangle of paper around a pencil.

We made a phonograph using the the K’Nex Gears Kit.

We hammered a nail into wood. Then we pulled it out and blunted the end. We tried to nail it into the wood again, but it didn’t work as well. This demonstrated why nails, two wedges back to back, make it easier to hammer nails into place.

We put cold water in one bowl, lukewarm water in another bowl, and hot water in a third bowl. We put our hands in the cold and hot water for a little while and then put them in the lukewarm water. The hand that had been in the cold water felt hot while the hand that had been in the hot water felt cold.

We filled a baby food jar as full as possible with beans. We shook the jar to demonstrate how the molecules in a solid vibrate when heated, but do not change shape.

We put a balloon over the end of a baby bottle and placed the bottle in a bowl of very hot water. The balloon filled with air due to the heat making the air expand.

We held a cold jar above boiling water and “caught” the steam in it. The steam immediately condensed back into water inside the jar.

We put identical amounts of water into a small pot and a large pot and put them on the same level of heat at the exact same time. The water in the small pot boiled first. We used a thermometer to measure the temperature of the boiling water. It was right around 212*F for the water in both pots. Then we put cans filled with cold water in each pot of boiling water. The temperature of the water in the can went up, but not quite all the way to boiling.

When Current Events and History Collide

Last week we read about the 19th century war between Chile and Bolivia caused by a dispute over some land including the Atacama Desert. The Atacama Desert is the driest (non-polar) place on earth. It literally almost never rains there.

A couple days after we learned about that war, we learned something else about the Atacama Desert. This year they got rain. A whole lot of rain. And beautiful mallow flowers have bloomed. The pictures are gorgeous.

It’s just amazing that the seeds for those flowers can lie dormant waiting for years until rain comes and then the desert, with terrain that has been compared to the barrenness of Mars, suddenly bursts into color for all to enjoy. This earth is amazing.

Another Black (Recommended) Belt in the House

Friday night Ani tested for and received her black recommended belt.

Figuring out how to tie those double wrapped black belts always takes some time.

We had 16 black recommended belts by the end of testing Friday. Six were earned on Friday. Our school has somewhere between 20 and 25 people preparing for first degree testing now.

She is so excited to finally have a black belt. It’s taken countless hours of work to get there.

Next step for Ani and Cameron: Testing for their first degree black belts in December!