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Archive for the ‘My Health’ Category

Today would’ve been my mom’s 96th birthday. I was going to write a nice tribute to her but I’m not in the mood. I’ve had a weird backache since yesterday. It’s in my left hip and the pain is not constant. It is sudden and severe and makes me yell out and takes my breath away at the same time. As far as I know, I didn’t injure myself. I had a weird hip thing about 10 years ago that was totally different. It was severe but I had it 24/7 for months until I got a low dose of steroids. Then it was  supposedly arthritis but this must be a pulled muscle. Anyway, I’m still doing things like laundry and walking the dogs, just dosing myself with Tylenol.

I’ve never written a blog post about losing weight. I always said I would but never got around to it. This isn’t going to be it either. I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been. I’ve gained in the last 4 years even after being told specifically to lose weight for my spinal stenosis. As a young girl, I always wanted to be thin and tried everything to lose weight. Sometime over the last 2 decades, I lost the desire to lose weight. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t “enjoy” being fat. I’m used to it. It is what I’ve always been and if I was thin, it wouldn’t be “me”. I was going to say it’s part of my identity but that makes it sound like I’m one of the fatties that are proud to be large and in charge. I’m not proud, I’m ashamed of my size but I’m through apologizing. I like to eat. Taking away one of the things I enjoy most in life is a big sacrifice. That being said, I want to be healthy. I want to be able to walk and move and not have pain. I don’t want to lose any organs or get a disease I will have to treat the rest of my life. I don’t want to take copious amounts of prescription medicines or have surgery. I have no one to be healthy for anymore but myself. I never feel worth the trouble or bother.

 

Taking all that into consideration, I am making the effort to cut out some carbs. Hubby has been going to our new doctor since Jan. Since his diagnosis of diabetes in June 2013, he got it under control almost immediately. Over time he was losing a handle on it and then after my mom died 5 1/2 months ago, it completely got out of control. He’s been having symptoms that he never had before,  high blood sugar readings, etc. The doctor first tried putting him on Janumet for a month along with the Metformin but it didn’t help. Now he’s on an insulin pen once a day. He started out with 10 ml which isn’t enough. He got very sick this past week from his body “crashing”. He has to see the doctor every single week until things have leveled off. Friday, his dose was upped to 20 ml and found out he had a sinus infection, too. So he’s on antibiotics, a nasal spray, etc. He’s been sick since Tues. but managed to go to work. On Sat. I had planned for us to go somewhere but he was too ill so we stayed home and he went to bed for 4 hours in the middle of the day. I’ve been going to the doctor with him every time. This doctor says things like, “If you lose 100 lbs., you can get off the meds altogether!” Uh…in the 3 decades I’ve known my husband, he never weighed 100 lbs. less. It’s never going to happen. He can lose 30 lbs. over time, maybe even 50 if ambitious but not 100.

 

So our weekends have been taken up with less than fun things lately. A week ago yesterday, we spent the entire day working in the yard. First we went to Ace Hardware and got 6 bags of top soil for 99 cents each. Plus 6 bags of cypress mulch to put around the trees. We cut the grass and put down fertilizer and Grubex. There is just so much to do and either no time or no energy to do it. We get done what we can but life feels very mundane right now….

 

We’ve been doing a lot of food shopping. The doctor wants Greg to cut out all carbs. I don’t think that’s realistic but we’re definitely putting in the work to cut them a lot. We love bread and sandwiches so much but that seems to be one of the biggest culprits. Hubby used to take 2 sandwiches for lunch and we lowered it to one but he might have to go without completely. I’ve been making hard boiled eggs every week and giving him 2 in his lunch. I also make the chicken drumsticks in the Big Boss airless cooker and give him 2 of those every day for lunch. Last night I also cooked an entire turkey breast in there which took 3 hours. It’s almost as much work as cooking a whole turkey. We’re trying to stay away from processed lunchmeat so this or tuna is all I can think of. Today I made a Turkey Salad with celery, red onion, apple and a delicious curry dressing. I didn’t have walnuts or grapes so subbed yellow pepper. I put it on lettuce with some grape tomatoes all around. It was really good! Like something you’d have a corporate luncheon. We also bought some of the Adkins snack bars since Greg has such a sweet tooth. A coworker of his has bowls of candy out and is always offering it. He has a terrible time keeping away from it. I can’t police him, especially if I’m not with him. I miss dessert too but baking most of all. I started looking up low carb bars but most have weird seed type ingredients.

 

This is just a quick post about what we’ve been dealing with lately. I hope to someday have my will to write back. I’m still plugging along. Not really getting anywhere but still taking up space. My heart isn’t in dieting or writing or anything these days. My best guess is that my heart is with my mom and always will be.

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I’m happy to report that things are looking up since I last wrote a blog entry. Events have transpired that have improved my quality of life and my mood. I knew it would happen eventually. I was hoping sooner rather than later and my wishes came true. It must be all the reading about the Jinnis (genies) in The Arabian Nights! 🙂 That is my current read from 1932. I was unfamiliar with the book except for the cartoon parody called Bugs Bunny: 1001 Rabbit Tales. It’s a series of short stories that go directly from one into another. I’m only able to read for maybe half an hour at a time so it’s perfect. I can get through one story or half a story in one sitting. It’s pretty easy to pick back up again where I left off. Lately, it doesn’t matter which book I’m reading, I have a love affair with whichever one it is! It kind of amazes me that I’ve been getting such joy from the written word and stories no matter the age and time they encompass. I’ve always loved to read since I was a child but now I’m getting more out of it and my love runs deeper. I hope my enthusiasm for reading never wanes.
 arabiannights1
On Thursday March 3rd, my Ipad Air 2 arrived in the mail. They had them on sale through Sam’s Club and hubby ordered me one. He’s had an Ipad2 for 6 years and loves it. He uses it daily. He’s mentioned getting me one before but I never really felt I needed one. I still don’t but he was pushing it so I agreed. Wow. It’s wondrous! I have used it every day since I got it except one. Mostly I’ve been using it to play online slots. Not really it’s original intended use but it’s fun. Hubby’s been doing that while we watch tv at night and I had no idea how fun it was until I tried it. It’s addicting. Candy Crush, Soda Crush & Jelly Saga that I played on my iphone 6 have fallen by the wayside.
 arabiannights2
Another cool thing I’ve discovered on there are the free Adult Coloring Book Apps. I’ve downloaded and tried 2 so far: Colorfy and Color Therapy. I’ve always been envious of those who say how relaxing it is to color in the real adult coloring books. Well, these apps are so much better! They’re easier to work with/ less messy. I can pick a picture and then you tap on the color and touch on the pic where you want that color to go. No worries about going outside the lines or changing your mind about a color. With one tap you can “undo” whatever you did last. I’ve only completed 2 pictures but if I continue, I hope to have a whole gallery of them.
 ipadair2
I’ve also downloaded Blog Lovin’ and am trying to get back into blog reading. Most of the ones I used to read are either gone or abandoned. I’ll have to find some new ones. It’s much easier to read on the ipad also than even my iphone. I couldn’t figure out why so many small children had their own ipad at age 2! Now I know it’s like a babysitter. There’s no end to what can keep a child occupied for hours or days on end.
 birdfirstcoloring
It took 6 weeks or more but my knee is finally better. It’s not 100% but for the first time in ages, I’m not limping! I still have pain from spinal stenosis but most of the pain in my knee is gone. I am being so careful with it since I know one wrong move can reinjure it. It’s definitely weak but I can make the stairs using both knees and not be in pain. For weeks, I was favoring it and only bending the right knee on the stairs and it would still hurt something awful. This has been the catalyst to improve my mood. I’ve been able to be out in the kitchen cooking up a storm again. We just picked up a stool for me to use in the kitchen yesterday. I had a stool in there but it broke months ago and Greg insisted we throw it out. I was not keen on being without one in there since I want to be able to sit down as needed. I figured we’d find a stool at an estate sale before now but not one we liked. The seat on the new one needs to be cleaned and then I can start using it.
 colortherapy
Last week was a “surge” at Greg’s work and he had to alter his hours and days off temporarily. Usually he has Thurs. off but last week he had off in the daytime and went in to work at 6 pm and worked a double. Not coming home until late morning on Friday. Usually I hate him working nights but I had my ipad so that kept me occupied. 🙂 Plus him coming home in the morning was less disruptive than him coming home in the middle of the night. The estate sales have been exceedingly crummy lately but this past weekend we hit 2 great ones. One on Thurs. in Chicago (not far from us) that we had to wait an hour for and then one we went to in our town on Friday after hubby got home. We had to wait an hour for that one too. There’s getting to be a ton of people going to these sales after watching the tv show, “American Pickers”. At times it spoils the fun having so many people especially if they’re rude. We found people to talk to in line which made the time go by faster plus the weather was great so standing outside was quite pleasant. Both sales were run by “Babe & Snooks Estate Sales”. We love William and Stacy that run it. They’re always organized and fair with their prices plus really nice. We found a few goodies that I will cherish forever like a cool mod diorama and a large First Communion picture of a 9 yr. old girl from 1956. A lot of what we had our eye on was gone already. The early bird getting the worm, etc. We don’t fret about what we missed out on because there is always more! Anyway, I told Stacy I couldn’t find them on Yelp! (an app that recommends places to go–restaurants and stores). She said they weren’t on there and I asked her if she’d like me to add their business on there. She said ok so last night I wrote them a glowing review. I hope they approve.
 coolmoddiorama
We had some unwanted excitement on Wed. March 9th. Mom had just used the downstairs bathroom and I had her flush the toilet and go to the sink. I’m standing next to her and look and see her hearing aid is missing from her right ear. This is her good ear which she has the most hearing in. She wears hearing aids in both and every once in awhile the right aid will pop out and sit away from the ear. I think she needs a new ear mold. The day before I had called and made an appt. with her ENT and audiologist for Tues. March 29th. When I noticed her hearing aid missing, I asked her when she had it last. She gave her standard, “I don’t know” answer which I should have expected. My greatest fear was that it had fallen into the toilet and been flushed away. After her hands got washed, I took her to her chair in the LR and came back and did a search. I checked the bathroom floor and everywhere else. I looked on top of and under the computer desk where she’d been sitting. I had no luck. I had just vacuumed the whole house and taken a bath. I knew it could only be a few places or I’d have seen it earlier when I vacuumed. My first instinct was to freak out. I was upset but decided not to panic until after Greg came home from work. I knew a 2nd set of eyes might be all it would take to find it. I had looked it up online and everyone said to wait 2 weeks before reporting it lost since it will no doubt turn up. When Greg came home, he took the flashlight into the sunroom and found it next to the computer desk. Bless his heart. He’s my hero! So that put me in a pretty good frame of mind since things could have turned out so much worse.
 firstcommunion
Life always goes in cycles and I’m in one where things are looking up…but for how long?! I probably shouldn’t question it and just enjoy it while it lasts…

 

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I’ve been searching high and low for a spare moment to do some blogging. I need it for my soul. There were a few days this past week that I thought I’d be able to take a few hours to put my thoughts in order. Boy, was I wrong. I’m not even kidding. Something always comes up. So now I’ve decided to just do a quick (but lengthy) post of what’s been happening around these parts.
Garden plant shopping

Garden plant shopping

We have still been having the funniest year for weather ever. The 2 days before June it was only in the upper 40’s for a high temperature. I started wondering if someday (possibly decades from now) the seasons will be switched with the 2 hemispheres like Australia will have our seasons and we’ll have theirs? Global warming and all, you know. In any case, it would make an interesting plot for a book or movie. 😉 We have been alternating the very cold temps with a few days of mid-80’s which is hard to get used to. One day you’re wearing shorts and sandals, the next pants and a coat.
Peonies & bridal wreath in our backyard by koi pond.

Peonies & bridal wreath in our backyard by koi pond.

Due to the above weather constraints, we got our garden in late this year. We also decided to rotate the crops, planting our tomato plants where we’ve always had our peppers and vice versa. We kept the cucumbers in the same place. We also decided to do about half as many plants and spread them out more. We still do a lot–18 plants each but it’s a lot less than we used to. We always crowded our plants and that makes it hard to weed. Not like that’s one of my favorite things but they should produce more if given more room too. We got our plants on Thurs. May 21st and it took 3 days to get them all planted. I remember when we used to be able to plant everything in a day. We planted the herbs (basil, chives, dill, cilantro, thyme, curry, rosemary) the day we got them. Then planted the tomatoes the next day and the peppers on Sat. They are doing nicely. We usually get some other veggies like squash or beets but this year, we’re keeping it to a minimum. My rhubarb is doing fantastic. Possibly the best year ever. I have 3 plants and they are 3 different varieties. I picked most of the largest (oldest) plant and got 21 heaping cups which I put in freezer baggies and froze. I got 4 new recipes off the internet and the first one I made twice already. I really need to look no further since this is the best use of rhubarb I’ve ever seen. They are Rhubarb Dream Bars and have a buttery crust with a custard type filling. They are good warm or chilled. If you’ve never tried Pie Plant (rhubarb), you’re missing out!
New Weber gas grill

New Weber gas grill

Hubby got a new gas grill on May 21st also. We’ve been without one since around Nov. We normally grill all year round, no matter the weather. This time hubby wanted a Weber brand which is supposed to be superior to others. It’s a smaller grill than what we had but so much nicer! In almost 30 years that Greg & I have been together,  he’s done all the grilling. I always thought of it as a man’s thing. Now with this grill, I’ve started grilling and found out it’s not hard at all! I’ve been grilling a ton of veggies that I would normally roast in the oven: eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I won’t be taking all the grill duties away from hubby but it’s a good thing to know how to use it. Now we can get back to having salmon and sweet potatoes a couple times a week.
Mom at 94

Mom at 94

My mom turned 94 on April 23rd. It seems like things are getting harder daily. I don’t know if they’re necessarily harder for her, but they’re harder for me. It is no longer a full time job to be her caretaker, it is a 24/7 job. A lot more “babysitting” and checking on her is needed than ever before. We’ve scaled back our treasure hunting a lot so I’m not gone from her as much. We went out one day the past few weekends. Mom’s latest thing is drinking water. She hadn’t drank much water her whole life. She would avoid drinking it due to her bladder. I know she needs some to keep hydrated but don’t want to force it on her. I’ve always kept a filled water bottle next to her on the couch. She knew it was there but never reached for it. Now she drinks the whole thing and then keeps handing me the bottle. I like to fill it and put it back next to her but she doesn’t remember drinking it. I’m sure you can see where this is going long before I could. She would drink 3 or more bottles of water in row. I had to put a stop to that since the diaper only holds so much. She’s only been in diapers in the daytime for the past 2 days. After she literally “shit the bed”. It had come out of the diaper and was just smeared over the entire bed and her. So doing laundry has been keeping me busy. I finished up everything in the house that could possibly be laundered a few days ago, only to have to do several loads in a row. Her sheets and mattress pad, her thin quilt, a huge load of towels and her nightgown. A month ago or so she must’ve done the same with more solid material because when I went to wake her, she had both hands covered in it and I had to cut it out of her pubic hair. Never a dull moment! :-{
Wood for project.

Wood for project.

Hubby’s been busy too since he started a new project. It’s been awhile since he’s done any carpentry. He loves it and misses it. I know he gets a lot of pride and satisfaction by building something from scratch. Lord knows he’s got enough tools for every conceivable task. He’s now making a wooden floor on the muddy outside area along the north side of the house. It’s been fenced in there for years but we can’t use it. We’ve even tried planting in there (onions and beets) but it’s so muddy you can’t walk and it gets no sun. We’d like to use that wasted space for storage. If nothing else for our packing supplies like cardboard boxes and bubblewrap. It would free up a large portion of the garage which we can’t even walk in now since we are saving boxes we may use “someday” in there. I could joke and say that the tv show “Hoarders” wanted to come here to film our mess (I mean house) but they said it was a safety hazard…
Hubby before starting.

Hubby before starting.

We haven’t taken any vacation yet this year and are starting to get antsy. The RV is in the repair shop now for the horn (which turns out it was “unplugged”) and the cruise control which needs to be replaced. Neither one has worked in at least 2 years. Our “all inclusive” warranty lasts until Nov. so I wanted this fixed while we have it. We still have a $50 deductible but we can handle that. The RV dealership couldn’t fix those 2 items since they are part of the engine/motor and not the “coach”. So that was part of the holdup too. Taking it to a Ford dealership that works on RVs. Since we’re trying to get the most out of Greg’s limited vacation time, we are thinking of taking the 4th of July holiday week. Then he only has to use 3 days (30 hours). We’d like to take our anniversary week or my birthday but it doesn’t work out. We’ll probably go up to WI, if we’d gone any sooner, we might’ve frozen to death.
Sky, clouds and sun. This tree now is full of green growth. 2 months makes a huge difference.

Sky, clouds and sun. This tree now is full of green growth. 2 months makes a huge difference.

May 21st Greg & I went to the doctor. Yes, that was a ridiculously busy day! A trip to the doctor, one estate sale, buying plants, planting herbs, getting a new grill…No wonder I don’t have time to blog. Ha!  It’s been 2 years since I had a pap smear so I just bit the bullet and called. We go in together and it went fairly well. Greg’s blood pressure is forever high even though he’s on 3 blood pressure meds. It runs in his family. The doc added a small extra dose in the evenings of one he takes. The doctor actually said to me, “I pronounce you healthy”. Which was kind of a relief until I brought up my spinal stenosis. The past 2-3 months it has gotten A LOT worse. I used to only have pain when standing or walking. Now I have pain when laying in bed, when first sitting down, when bending over, etc. I used to only have the pain in my legs like shin splints. Now it is more like charley horses and it’s in my back too. He told me to go back to Dr. Hennessy who he sent me to 2 years ago. Then he said it wasn’t that bad but told me to lose weight. I hate to go back when I haven’t lost weight. I may be 5 lbs. down if any. Food is a comfort to me with all I have to deal with. I guess that makes me a failure. I need to find out if I can get an injection that might help. I really don’t want surgery. He scared me a lot saying that if I wait too long, I may have permanent nerve damage and the pain will never go away. Yikes. I got an order for a mammogram and finally called to make the appt. for that. It’s set for Tues. June 23rd at 10:50 am. One thing at a time, I guess.
I'm in love with these 2 dress forms. I call them my dummies.

I’m in love with these 2 dress forms. I call them my dummies.

The doctor told us to stop back sometime this summer to get our blood drawn. He wants to do it after fasting for at least 8 hrs. I mentioned that I heard on the news that you can tell from a blood test if you have cancer. He said that wasn’t true and then got into a long tangent about cancer really coming down to “bad luck”. I guess I should feel lucky then! I also asked about a mole on my left boob that looked suspicious to me. It was embarrassing to have to show him but I was sick of worrying about it. A friend I knew from slams died last year from skin cancer so that certainly puts things in perspective. He said it was fine but keep an eye on it. I told him I wanted to get a bunch of moles/ skin tags cut off. He’s always so brutally honest that he said that it didn’t make sense since they would most likely grow back again in 6 months! I had that happen with one already so I do believe him. After going to Dr. James for 19 years, he finally gave us his personal phone number. I doubt we’ll ever use it but it’s nice to know we can if we need to.
A terrific read.

A terrific read.

Treasure hunting has been interesting. We’ve gotten really interested in old books. Preferably over 100 years old. I used to be so fussy about the condition and I still would rather have the binding intact but now if something looks like a captivating read, I don’t pass it up (if the price is right). Which brings me to opening another Etsy shop just for vintage ephemera (books, postcards, greeting cards, stickers, letters, etc.). I call that one Ephemera Addict to compliment my DejaVu Junkie vintage shop. I am also starting a similar shop on Instagram called Ephemera Junkie. It’s not even that I’ve had so much success on there but want to have an outlet to share my love of all things paper. I just finished a swell book from 1926 called My Friend The Dog. It’s a bunch of short stories about collies. They all have fairly happy endings which I like. The world doesn’t have enough happy endings to suit me! In one of the stories, a dog gets in a fight and is injured and it’s 2 weeks before he can “resume the burden of living.” I get such a kick out of the way things were worded back then. It is a sheer delight to partake of the mindset and morals of the past.
My friend the dog. Aka Elvis.

My friend the dog. Aka Elvis.

On that note, I’m going to step away from the computer and resume the burden of living. 🙂

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At some point, without realizing it, I have quit living. Don’t get me wrong. I am still among the breathing souls on earth. My life has become one big circling of the drain. Not going down due to the drain being clogged and never making any progress. Just existing with massive amounts of frustration thrown in for good measure.

I pretty much self-reflect year round but it tends to happen more around my birthday. My birthday has come around again but instead of my usual pity party, I’ve become almost apathetic. That’s so not me. I am always filled with vast quantities of enthusiasm and hope. Almost naively so. It’s not even the repetition and routine of my daily life that has me feeling pointless.

No doubt caring for my 93 year old mother with Alzheimer’s has worn me down to a nub. I can go and go until suddenly I can’t anymore. It has all caught up with me. Tuesday is bath day for Mom and I usually pretty much leave that to be the priority for that day. I don’t try to do much more because it’s so exhausting for me. Yesterday was Tuesday Aug. 5th and I pushed myself too hard. I knew it while I was doing it but still did it anyway.

I got Mom up and fed and got her on the computer to play games while I paid some bills online. I get everything ready ahead of time. I bring downstairs: her comb, my razor, a scissors, a towel, her earplugs, etc. I lay out the clean clothes she’ll wear after the bath. I get out her towel, washcloth and bathbrush. I put the 2 plastic gripper bars on the tile above 2 sides of the bathtub. I get out the No More Tears shampoo and clear away around the kitchen sink. I pick up the area rugs on the kitchen floor.

I cut my fingernails and toenails and then I cut her fingernails. She protests and pulls away to look at each one after I do it. It takes a lot longer than it should. Then I have her go into the kitchen and sit in the chair. I comb her hair and then start cutting it. I cut it about once a month. I’ve gotten better at it over time. Mostly because I care less how it turns out. I was always afraid of cutting too much and making her look funny. Now I just cut away with abandon and it turns out fantastic. I guess that’s what real hairdressers do! Afterwards, I throw out the hair I’ve put in the kleenex on the counter and wash the comb. I use the razor on her chin hair and mustache. I trim her eyebrows. I get the water to just the right temperature. I tell her what I’m going to do before I do it. I tell her I’m going to take her hearing aids out and put in the ear plugs. They are attached to a string that hangs down. I tell her NOT to try tucking it into her pajama because it just pulls them out. Then I show her how to lean over the sink so she’s far enough over that the whole kitchen doesn’t get wet. I take her glasses off and put the earplugs in. She leans over and starts tucking the string in her pajama. My words and speech are repeatedly in vain all day long, every single day. What I say has no consequence and doesn’t matter. I guess I know there’s more at play like her inability to hear, comprehend or verbalize a reply. Most of the time, I can shrug off the feeling but sometimes I can’t help but take it personally. Rationally, I know it’s ridiculous but after yelling and getting myself worked up, I’m completely irrational. I get her hair wet and before I can reach for the shampoo bottle, she is yelling, “Ya done?” Not quite. So I lather up her hair, massaging her scalp. I rinse it really well and wring it out. Then place a towel over her head and guide her back to the seat a yard away.

I dry her hair with the towel and comb her hair. I put her hearing aids back in and her glasses back on. Then I tell  her to come upstairs and sit on her bed. I carry everything else back upstairs. She sits on the bed while I draw the bath. I have to keep checking on her so she doesn’t start putting the clean clothes on that are on the bed. I explain to her that she’ll have to use the toilet before getting into the tub or she’ll crap in the tub. She always says “but I don’t have to go”. I’ve learned to not listen to this EVER. I make her get on the toilet. I explain to her how to get in the bathtub. There’s only one way she can do it. She faces the wall with the window on it, holds the window ledge, lifts one leg in and then the other. She uses the grip bars and 1 side of the tub to lower herself onto her knees. Then she rolls onto her side and then onto her back. To get out she has to do the reverse. It should be simple but often she’ll forget how to get out or won’t listen to me and try to get out another way or just say “I can’t!” I put the lid down on the toilet and sit there and guide her through the bath. I have to tell her what body part to “wet” with the washcloth, then I squeeze liquid soap out of the bottle onto the washcloth for her and she washes said body part. Then I tell her to rinse it off with water. I have her start with her face, then do her neck and chest and stomach. Then if I’m not on the ball, she’ll start doing her face again. So I catch her and tell her to do her arms. Then it’s her hips, legs and feet. After that I wash her back for her with the washcloth and then the bathbrush. Then I wash under both her arms since she seems to neglect that area. Then I tell her to wash her crotch and then her bum. She seems to do a crummier job each time. I know eventually I’ll be washing more parts of her body as time passes. In the meantime, I want her to do as much for herself as she can.

After the histrionics of getting out of the bathtub, I wrap her in a towel and dry her off. She doesn’t even bother if I don’t do it. I have her sit on a towel on the toilet lid while I go get a pair of underpants and a pad. I put on her glasses and hearing aids. Then I get her to come into her bedroom to dress. I have to get out the paper towel, postal tape, Neosporin to wrap her leg. She’s still scratching it much to my chagrin. She also tears the bandage off within hours of me putting it on. She dresses herself with a little help from me. Meanwhile, I drain the tub and rinse it, hang the towels to dry, take down the plastic grippers and put them away. I come back in the bedroom and recomb her hair since she pulled her shirt over and mussed it all up.

I tell her to go downstairs and know she’ll be lost without a game up on the computer so even though I have things to do upstairs yet, I go down ahead of her and put a game up and get her a cup of coffee. Which she says she wants but then will forget to drink. She plays while I go back upstairs. I strip her bed and see that the sheets are torn and go to the linen closet and put a nice fresh set of sheets on. I take the others down to the basement to wash. I come up and get the broom and dustpan out to sweep the hair up off the floor and replace the area rugs. I put away the shampoo.

I then make our lunch and realize that I need to make a sandwich for my husband’s lunch the next day. By this time, I have to get her to the bathroom again, all the while reminding her not to pick her leg. We eat lunch and I go put the sheets in the dryer. Then I go upstairs and strip our bed and put our sheets in the basket to take down to wash. I then have to go back up another 2 flights of stairs to the spare bedroom to get the vacuum out. I take it down to the first floor where Mom is napping and vacuum the whole house. She doesn’t wake up until I’m vacuuming underneath her. Normally, I would do it Wed. so it is clean for the weekend but this morning I had an early vet appt. and I wanted to get some other things done. So I did what I’d do over 2-3 days in a single day. Not a good idea. The house looked better but I was ready to drop. I was hurrying since I wanted to have everything done before hubby got home from work at 7 pm. I went down and put the sheets in the dryer and then went back to the 2nd floor to take a bath.

So I get in the tub and I’m thinking about past birthdays and my next blog post. I stand up to wash my hair. I use the hand held showerhead to wet my hair. Then I put the shampoo on it and was lathering it. I’m completely bent over at the waist. I’ve done this thousands of times. Then all of a sudden I feel this weird sensation behind my left ear and SUDDENLY I’m so dizzy I can’t stand up. I started listing badly to the left. All I could think of was how I didn’t want to fall and hit my head. So I kneeled down. I thought it would pass. Instead it got worse. I had to work to keep my head from diving into the tub. Meanwhile, I have shampoo in my hair and it’s getting in my eyes. I NEVER go without putting conditioner on my hair. Due to its natural curl, it looks like I stuck my finger in a light socket when I don’t use conditioner. But I was physically unable to proceed so I pulled my legs out from under me and just sat in the tub. Face plant successfully avoided. I took the handheld showerhead and rinsed most of the shampoo out of my hair. I had to crawl out of the tub using the towel rack under the window. I thought it was going to snap from my weight. I sat on the toilet seat and was sweating profusely. I didn’t want to make any sudden movements for fear of passing out. I just sat there and made a plan to try to make it to the bed. First I had to use the toilet in a hurry and then I suddenly felt so nauseated. I stood up to wash my hands at the sink. Then I started vomiting clear saliva. It would be dry heaves except for saliva. I’d never done that before. I had 3 bouts of that. Once as I’ve mentioned, another after I was sitting on the bed and one after Greg came home.

After a few minutes, I attempted to get to the bed. I made it and laid out a towel to sit on. All I could think of was lying down. But there were no sheets on the bed, only the mattress pad and I was still soaking wet. I made another calculated move and went back in the hall and just reached in blindly for another bath towel. I put one on the pillow and laid the other one where my body would lay. I didn’t make it that far. Greg came home and I called to him to come upstairs. He helped me lay down and I had him lay next to me. He checked me to make sure I didn’t have a stroke. I didn’t have any body numbness and could raise both arms plus I had no slurring of my speech. I had my own clean clothes laid out on the bed so I  had him help me get my underpants on. I just felt so weak and sick.

I made it downstairs to the couch and just laid with an icebag. A little later my face got red and very hot. Feverish. I had Greg take care of getting Mom to the bathroom and dishing up supper for the 2 of them. I had made a pasta salad the day before and that’s what we would’ve had anyway. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like eating. I skipped dinner. Me miss a meal?! That’s unheard of. Usually it doesn’t matter how sick I am, I can always eat. Well, this was a special kind of sick. I’m thinking it’s a bad sinus infection. We went to bed earlier than usual and I slept well, all things considered. I haven’t been sleeping very well all week so I really needed it.

I didn’t know if I’d be able to take Elvis to the vet today. But I got up at 7 am and made it over there by 8:30 am. I still feel weak and I’m feeling worse as the day goes on. I’ve had a headache for most of the day. I had planned to rest most of the day when I got back from the vet but that was not to be. The vet prescribed Benadryl for Elvis’ allergies and I had to drop him at home and then go to Jewel grocery store. While there I picked up a loaf of bread (we were out) and a gallon of milk (almost out). After lunch I tried to lay down on the couch but it didn’t make me feel any better. So I got up and worked on this blog post.

My birthday is tomorrow and now all I want is to feel better. 😦 We didn’t really have any major plans, just treasure hunting and go out for a late lunch with Mom to a fish place. We just found it a month ago and it’s what I’m craving. I love fish when it’s fresh and cooked right. When I was younger, I didn’t care much for it. So many things change as we get older. If I don’t feel better by tomorrow, I doubt I’ll be going anywhere. I don’t want to have a reoccurance that I might not make it through. I don’t want sympathy, just some birthday wishes. If anyone else has had anything like this happen and can tell me what it was, please do speak up. If I don’t have a good birthday, at least I’ll have a memorable one. 😉

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An Apple A Day

We were in for quite a surprise when I accompanied hubby to his doctor’s appt. on Thurs. Sept. 17th. We had been there the month before and the doctor wasn’t. We’d been there in June and July. Plus we’d stopped by on at least 2 other occasions to get a doctor’s order for something and some sample meds. A new nurse we hadn’t seen before took us to the exam room and asked us, “Did he tell you he’s leaving next week? His last day is the 24th.” We were shocked. If we hadn’t come in then for an appt., we’d never have found out until after he was gone! Dr. J had already trimmed his schedule from 4 days a week (M-TH) to 3 days a week (cutting out Mondays). We didn’t know if he was having health problems or what. I asked the nurse if he was retiring. Dr. J is only 58 yet I couldn’t see him going anywhere. He’s been on salary where he doesn’t worry about how many patients a day he sees or how much time he spends with them. The nurse “couldn’t say” where he was going and to ask him ourselves.
Well, when he strolled in late (typical), he had a resident in her last month of school shadowing him. We asked him where he was going and he went into a long detailed explanation about how the neighborhood in Melrose Park has gotten bad (true) and it wasn’t safe. He’s heading to Elk Grove Village which is a little closer to us but in the opposite direction. He said he told his current employers he was leaving in June and they didn’t believe him. He put in written notice in July and they were supposed to mail out letters to patients and we didn’t get a single one. He told us the office isn’t allowed to give out the information of where he’s heading to. He didn’t have a specific address or phone number for us and said he would email Greg with the info. As Greg was giving him his email address, I just knew. I would bet everything I own in the world that we’ll never hear from this doctor we’ve been loyal to since July ’96! For all I know, he wasn’t even typing in the email address into his phone. As far as I know, he’s not trying to get rid of US as patients. Although I do believe he is trying to get rid of most of his patients who are on Medicare/Medicaid. They also don’t take any of their health issues seriously. He told us that they hand out diabetes booklets to those diagnosed and most don’t even look at them OR take them with them. They discard them in the exam room and head to McDonald’s.
We had to get written prescriptions for all of hubby’s meds and Dr. J doesn’t like writing them. He wants to send them directly to the pharmacy. The only problem is that when we got over there, he had only sent scrips for the 2 blood pressure meds. He didn’t send one for hubby’s Metformin (diabetes drug) or the test strips or lancets for the blood glucose monitor. Last month when hubby had no refills on the Metformin, the pharmacy called the doctor’s office. Then the pharmacy called back saying they wouldn’t give any refills until he saw the doctor. As I said earlier, we’d been there just a month ago! Then a different doctor authorized one month but no refills.
We are so torn right now. After this week, we’ll have to actively search out this doctor if we want to continue to see him. Which we would do because in some way’s he’s easy. He doesn’t put us through a lot of unnecessary tests or make us feel bad about being fat. He doesn’t lecture or scare us (usually). Yet in other ways he makes things SO HARD. Like trying to get ahold of him for emergencies (impossible) or get an appt. with less than a month’s notice. Weighing the pros and cons is tough. EASY: He’s generous with free samples of meds (if he has them) which saves us money. HARD: He doesn’t discuss blood test results unless we specifically ask. We don’t know how many of the difficulties we’ve had are due to his office staff or him.
Maybe we’ll try to follow him to the new place (if we can find him), and see how it goes from there. I’d rather not find a new doctor but he’s going to retire eventually and we’ll need someone new then. Hubby doesn’t need to see him until 2014 so that gives Dr. J time to settle in to his new practice and get some of the bugs out. Let’s hope we don’t have anymore trouble getting the medicine we need. Instead of subscribing to “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” maybe I need my own apple orchard!  😉

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Life has a way of keeping things interesting. Tuesday afternoon after doing my stretching exercises on the floor, I was nauseous and had vertigo. It passed after a couple of hours so I tried doing them again before bedtime. That time was even worse. I got so sick, I couldn’t even finish them. All I could do was make it to bed where the room spun around me. Wed. when I got up, I was even dizzier and afraid of falling and hitting my head. I had hubby call my physical therapist to tell her I couldn’t make it. Then I waited until 8 am and called the dr. Only to get an answering machine to try back during normal office hours which start at 9 am. So I sat in the chair waiting for 9 am to arrive, then called. I was told the doctor wasn’t coming in until 10 am so assumed 11. I rested and waited for time to pass. The nurse finally called me back at 11:25 am to say that the doctor wouldn’t prescribe anything and just to rest and drink plenty of fluids. I was miffed to say the least. My ears were clogged and my nose congested so figured I had a sinus or ear infection which a Z-pack (3 day of antibiotics) would clear up. I got dressed and took it easy for entire rest of the day. That never happens. I usually power through everything but this was such an uncomfortable and unpleasant feeling, it wasn’t possible. It took about 48 hours to recover and I still felt a bit weak for the next few days. I assumed it was a virus that had run its course.

 
No such luck. I should’ve started back doing the stretching exercises on Friday. I had every intention of doing them once that day, twice Sat. and then 3 times on Sunday. Instead, I got busy and ran out of time and probably also didn’t want to tempt fate. Sunday around noon, after vacuuming and walking the dogs and cutting up fresh vegetables for hubby’s lunch for the week, I did my entire stretching exercises (over half an hour). I was ok while doing them but when I tried to sit up on the floor and then get up from the floor, I was back to ground zero with the vertigo. All I could do was make it to the couch and about a minute later, hubby came home for lunch. He only comes home on Sundays and not every Sunday. He walks in and can immediately see I’m not feeling good. Even with the a/c on, I am broke out in a sweat and it’s not from working out. It’s more like anxiety. Now I have tons of things to do and can’t be waylaid for days again. My mother-in-law had vertigo for MONTHS and they could never figure out what caused it. I never heard how she got rid of it but I’m amazed anyone can live like this for an extended period of time.
 
Mon. & Wed. I have physical therapy and then we have a much needed vacation coming up. I don’t want to cancel any of that so am going to see what happens. Hubby is going to the doctor in  Sept., I may just see if they can squeeze me in with him. I don’t have very high hopes of getting answers but I still want to see if I can put a stop to it.
 
I have some funny things that happened over the weekend I want to tell. But those will have to wait for another time. This may just be the shortest post I’ve ever written. That’s a sure sign that I’m not feeling well. Life sure doesn’t want me to get too complacent so it keeps switching things up! 😉

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July 23rd, just 3 days before #BlogHer13, I went for my EMG (electromyogram) test. Clearly, I didn’t have enough on my plate and needed to squeeze in more that week. This is a test that evaluates and records the electrical activity produced by muscles. Basically, the doctor is looking for the source of nerve pain. I had to lay on an exam table and first he sent electricity through different nerves. Then he stuck needles deep into the muscles all over my calves and feet. I didn’t know if it would hurt but I’d done a bit of research online to find out what to expect. I didn’t want to find out too much and come in with expectations of a horrific experience. The first part was just the electricity and it felt like having the bristles of a hairbrush pushed hard into my skin. It hurt but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then he took needles (much bigger than accupuncture needles) and slowly jabbed them into my skin over an inch deep. Hubby came along and watched. I had asked him to take pictures but he didn’t, instead chatting up the specialist. The needles hurt a bit when inserted but hurt A LOT when he would twist them around under the skin. I would’ve given my kingdom for a broomstick to hold between my teeth when the pain hit hard. Now I know if I ever feel that type of pain again that someone has made a Voodoo Doll of me and is sticking pins in it. I also came to the realization that joining the circus and becoming The Human Pincushion is no longer an option. I guess I’ll have to settle for being The Fat Lady or The Bearded Lady if I decide to runaway and become a carnie.

 
This was the first and only time seeing Dr. Z. He didn’t tell me what to expect or if I was supposed to tell him when it hurt the most. The entire ordeal was being recorded on a laptop computer the doctor had hooked up to the electrodes and needles. It looked suspiciously like the kind of equipment used for paranormal investigations! The computer would make noises like when the Ghost Hunters are sweeping for otherworldly activity in the vicinity. On the screen was a series of graphs showing the spikes as they were happening. The whole thing seemed pretty medieval, even considering the advanced equipment. It seemed like something they might have done in the dark ages, after trying leeches to cure what ails you. Either that or it could’ve doubled as an agent of torture with the next level being tearing your fingernails out. The doctor didn’t tell me the results of the tests. He told me he had to compile his data. So we went and sat in the waiting room while he looked at things. Then he called us in and said that there seemed to be “some compromise of the nerves” in my lower lumbar vertebrae. We assumed as much from the MRI and just through process of elimination. He said I wasn’t a candidate for surgery or even cortisone/steroid injections since my pain wasn’t that bad. I had told them it was a 3-4 on a 10 scale. He asked if I’d be willing to go to physical therapy. I said yes and he wrote a prescription for that. I couldn’t read a single word of it.
 
Subsequently, I went to ATI in my town which is a physical therapy place. It is located in the building that used to house the Blockbuster movie rentals. I picked this place souly because it is 5 minutes from my house. I didn’t want to drive a half hour each way, twice a week. Wed. July 24th I went in and talked to the receptionist and gave them my prescription for therapy and made my first appt. for the following Monday. Then I put it out of my mind and went to #BlogHer13 and walked like 40 miles in 2 days in new sandals. I didn’t get any blisters and made out great with the walking. It was other things I had problems with.
 
July 29th, I went for my first PT session. It was mostly an evaluation of my flexibility. This was my first time EVER going for physical therapy and I had asked ahead of time what to wear. The receptionist said “anything you want!” So I wore white pants, sandals and a top. So I looked like a jerk showing up dressed like that. It was cool that day but I found out I should always wear shorts and tennis shoes. Good to know. Of course, the girl I ended up with as a therapist is kind of a tyrant. I mean that in a good way. She doesn’t take crap and doesn’t try to be my friend. She is pretty much all business. We get along like oil and water and I was briefly thinking of asking to switch to someone else but thought better of it. Right away she told me that I am literally inflexible. Not that my personality won’t bend. My body won’t move like it should. For my size, I’ve always been very flexible (or so I thought) until the last year or so. I used to be able to put my foot in my mouth! Don’t ask why, just go with the story. 😉 Now I can only get it about 6 inches away. I used to be able to bend over and put my palms flat on the ground with knees straight. Now I can touch my toes and that’s it. The worst thing I noticed when she evaluated me is I can’t bend backwards or bend sideways with my hand along my leg.
 
Ok, fine. I was game to do whatever she suggested. She started me on stretching exercises. These aren’t real exercises, people. They are just stretching. I told her I was going to a nutritionist/dietician on Aug. 2nd and was going to try to SLOWLY lose weight. In a way that I could keep it off. I asked her what other kinds of exercises I could do. She said NONE. That she didn’t want me doing anything but what she gave me. Okey dokey. She had me do the exercises on the massage table and told me to do them at home. I asked her, “Should I do them on the floor?” Her response? “If you can.” IF I CAN. Like she figured I hadn’t been on the floor in a decade or something. Please. I get on the floor regularly to play with my dogs. She has me lying on my back with one leg flat and the other pulled as high as I can towards me with a dogleash. Not as kinky as it sounds. I have to hold each side for 30 seconds and do 3 of them on each leg. Then pull my thigh forward with both hands for the same amount of time and #. There are several other stretches I have to do that take that long. It ends up being over a half an hour and I’m doing them 3 times a day. I feel like I’m short on time anyway and now I’ve got all this time eaten up by doing this stretching.
 
I go to PT every Monday and Wed. at 10 am and it lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. Thank God for insurance. If we didn’t have insurance, it would cost $438 each time! Now it’s a $25 copay. The first thing they do when I get in there is to put a wet/hot towel on my back. It’s something that gets heated up as you keep it on and it’s wet heat to loosen you up. I sit in a chair for 10 minutes with that against my back. Then they have me do 10 minutes on a recumbent exercise bike. That’s one where the pedals are out in front of you instead of underneath you. Then my therapist gives me a deep tissue massage. I’d never had a massage before and the first time she touched my hips, I about cried from the pain. I was sore for a whole day. The next time she worked on my thighs, it was almost as bad. Then the calves the next time were horribly painful. She told me I have all kinds of knots in my muscles. Yikes. Today when she did the calves and thighs, there was no pain at all! I’m hoping something is working!
 
Between feeling punished by no longer being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want (more on my weight loss attempt in a later post) and having to do these exercises 3 times a day, I was feeling rather down. I was complaining to hubby one day, “How would you like to have to do something EVERY SINGLE DAY and never get a break or a day off from it, no matter what?!” Whoops. I noticed the second it came out of my mouth. I caught it and started laughing. Leave it to me to say something so self-pitying to someone else who knows EXACTLY what it’s like. Hubby was diagnosed with diabetes 2 months ago and has to take his blood sugar 3 times a day. So I apologized and got a bit of perspective in a hurry. The sad thing is early on I asked my therapist, “How long will I have to do these exercises?” Knock me over with a feather if she didn’t say, “Forever.” Basically, if I quit doing these stretches I will turn to stone. Or rather get so stiff, I won’t be able to move at all. I’m sure Lot’s wife had this problem too. She turned into a pillar of salt but at least they could flavor food with her.
 
The whole idea behind the therapy is to strengthen my core. I was told I have a “weak core” which is preferable to a rotten one but still not desirable. The good news is that my leg pain has decreased from a 3-4 to a 2-3 as of last week. Fingers crossed that it continues! The bad news is that the pain in my left foot (unknown origin) is worse. I could hardly walk over the weekend. I want to be able to walk without pain but also to walk “smoothly” like I used to. I feel like I’m either limping or hobbling along. It doesn’t matter if I’m barefoot or what shoes I wear. A few weeks ago they showed the victims that were hit by a car at Venice Beach, walking away right after the accident. I looked up at the tv and said, “Look! That’s how I walk!” That’s disconcerting. All the other patients at PT are injured in some way, either from a car accident or working out wrong. Here I am with no injury and my only excuse for being like this is getting older. Sigh. When everything is working on your body, you don’t give any of it a second thought. I miss the days when movement was effortless and I was filled with energy. On the bright side, at least I can still remember them! 🙂

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