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Archive for the ‘My Health’ Category

I can’t believe it’s been almost 7 months since I blogged. I lay in bed thinking about it every night. It’s hard to get back into it but I need to have an outlet. Even if it’s for my own personal reading at a later date, it needs to happen. Since July, things have been “ok”, “not so good”, “awful” and most recently TERRIBLE. I know I have a flair for the dramatic and that while things are happening they seem to be exponentially worse. But the last 2 months have brought life to a new low. 

 
I don’t know where to begin so I’ll briefly sum up the last half of 2019. In August we went to Green Bay, WI for a week’s vacation. It was great! We did everything we always do and had a great time. So much so that we went back for a week in October. That was also a good time. Our annual trip to Tunica, MS was a bust. We were there for over 3 weeks. It sucked. One of the casinos next to the RV park we stay in had closed for good before we got there. When we first started going there back in 1998, there were 13 casinos within a few miles. Now they are down to 6. The whole area is dying and depressed. Being there was a drag. The people who 2 decades ago were “southern friendly” are now indifferent. The casinos used to give away so many free gifts, free slot play, free buffets, free hotel rooms/rv sites, etc. They now give away nothing. It used to be a nice break from reality to be able to gamble on slot machines and only lose a small amount of money. Now no matter how much you bring, it’s never enough. You can’t make your money last, let alone win. Hubby did win a drawing for $500 free slot play at Sam’s Town but that didn’t last long. We did a lot of soul searching and we’re not even sure we want to go back to Tunica again. It’s sad because it’s been our tradition. While we were there the weather was excessively cold. It used to be in the 70’s when we got there and have daytime temps in the 60’s. Many days were in the 30’s while we were there. Then our heat quit working. We had to go out and buy a portable heater. That helped but then the heat started working again. We’ve been having more problems than usual with our RV and had been looking to get a new one. A newer USED one since the prices are ridiculous. We looked at several dealerships and they all had very little inventory. The prices were high and the layouts were not what we wanted. Now we’re trying to decide if we even want to continue RVing. Everything has turned into a huge hassle… We had planned to go to Tunica over Christmas like we’ve done the past few years. We were so turned off, we cancelled it and then were thinking of going somewhere else. The weather wasn’t cooperating but for the most part, we were dealing with too much else in December.
 
As I’ve mentioned before, our family doctor died a few years ago and we started going to a new doctor. In August I had been a full year without a period. Then when we went on vacation, I had a period. It was a full period that lasted about a week. I hadn’t had any bleeding since.  I had been overdue for a Pap smear but Dr. Z just didn’t seem like the type to do it. As I’ve also said before, he doesn’t care about women’s health. I called to make an appt. for myself and my hubs. I was trying to get a Thurs. before we left on vacation in Oct. I called a few weeks in advance but they were trying to get us in while we’d be gone. I told “Jen” who answered the phone, we needed to come on a certain week. I had first asked “Does Dr. Z do Pap smears?” and she said yes. So she squeezed us in for 3:15 pm on the Thurs. I wanted. I thanked her by name for squeezing us in and then said “I’ll see you on XXX X at 3:15 pm”. I am very squeamish about having pelvic exams. I had some bad experiences with doctors when I was in my early 20’s. I’m also fat and don’t like taking my clothes off. I knew I could get through this since at least I’ve seen this doctor in person more than a few times. I took a bath the night before and then we ran some errands the morning of the appt. and I took another bath right before leaving to go get examined. I’m self-conscious and want to be clean enough. Then we get there and the waiting room is packed, standing room only. I go up to the glass partition to tell them we’re here and they say, “no, your appt. is for 2 weeks from today”. I told them I had talked to Jen on such and such a date and that she squeezed us in. I asked to speak to Jen. “She’s with a patient”. So we can’t get in that day. Both hubby and I were hopping mad. We told them to cancel the fictitious appt. that they had us down for and we made another appt. for after the first the of the year. Then right before we were going to leave for our Thanksgiving trip, we were trying to get our prescriptions filled. Hubby needed one of his blood pressure meds and I needed my thyroid meds. After dealing with the pharmacy, we called the doctor’s office to find out why they won’t refill the prescriptions. They said not until he sees us. Our old doctor would refill as long as he had seen you in the last YEAR. This guy can’t go 6 months without seeing us in person. So we had to make an appt. and hubby had to go without meds and I had to go without my thyroid meds for 10 DAYS! This isn’t like they didn’t know we were out of meds. Some doctor’s offices, if you have an appt. made, they will give you a month’s worth to tide you over. Not this jerk! So this appt. was supposed to be for a Pap smear and then meds refills.
 
I told the doctor what had been going on with the one time bleeding and he said he couldn’t do the Pap smear. That anytime you bleed after menopause was serious and I needed to go to a specialist. He gave me the name of a doctor  (Dr. B) that his wife goes to in the same hospital. Then the nurse came in to take our blood. I had her take it out of my hand (visible veins) with a baby needle and she still missed the vein!! I should have asked if she was “Jen”. So that was twice I had been mentally prepared (& physically) to get a Pap smear and it didn’t happen. So I called to get an appt. with Dr. B which was Thurs. Dec. 5th. The exam went ok but I found the doctor VERY AGGESSIVE. I had hubby in the room with me. The doctor said he thought the one period was just “the last hurrah” of an old egg. I believed that, too. Then he said “to be sure, you need to have an ultrasound to check the thickness of your uterine lining”. If it is more than 4 mm, there was a 5-8% chance it was cancer. I thought those were good odds. I told him I felt more comfortable waiting to see if I bleed again and then coming in. I told him “I don’t believe in having UNNECESSARY TESTS”. He turned into a bulldog at that and said that to him, it wasn’t unnecessary. I said I should be the one to make that decision and he said no! He’s the one who decides. I was appalled. He could tell I was not happy. It reminds me of all the testing for cancer hubby had in June/July 2018 that turned out to be nothing. Hubby agreed with the doctor which I didn’t appreciate. Then Dr. B went on to say that the ultrasound was no big deal and they did it right here in the office. So I reluctantly agreed. I assumed I would come in after the first of the year for it. I went up to the window in his office to make the appt. and NO, it had to be done within a week! It also couldn’t be done in his office (he was overbooked) so I had to go to the hospital imaging area for it. I went home and called the number on the sheet and got an appt. for Friday the 13th. I’ve never had a baby so I’ve never had an ultrasound. It turned out to be 2 different ultrasounds. One of the pelvis (outside the body) and one inside the uterus. Good God, both were incredibly painful. I don’t think they are supposed to be but the woman from India who did it was pressing down so hard, it felt like a piece of metal pushed onto me. I think she was afraid it wouldn’t register through my fat. She did the outside one first and that was painful but I didn’t let on. Then for the inside one, she took what looked like a toilet brush and put a clear plastic bag over it and a pound of lube and pushed it all over my insides. That was more uncomfortable than painful but I wouldn’t want to go through it again. Dr. B had me schedule an appt. with him for the 17th to go through my ultrasound results. At that time he said my uterine lining showed it to be 6 mm. He went into a speal about how “extra body fat often leads to uterine cancers”. I was so mad because I felt like he was treating me like the only fat person on earth and if you haven’t looked around, most people are fat. I didn’t say anything but was pissed. He told me he wanted to do an endometrial biopsy in 2 days. I had heard that they are VERY painful and asked him if this was so. He said, “they can be”. He said they have to open the cervix and then fish in a “pipette” which looks like a long white pipe cleaner that has a drill on the bottom that is twisted into the lining. I asked him if it isn’t harder to open the cervix if you haven’t had a baby. He said “very much so”. I had spent most of the month reading scary shit online which I don’t recommend. He gave me a prescription for 2 pills. One to be taken at bedtime and one in the morning. They were Misoprostol 200 mcg. From what I read this is what you are given to abort a baby. My appt. was for 1 pm on Thurs. Dec. 19th. Believe it or not, I slept the best I’ve slept in months the night before the procedure. I woke up in a good mood and not worried. I knew I would survive it and it wouldn’t last long. He came in and gave me a shot to numb the cervix. Hubby later told me “good thing you didn’t look because the needle was this long (gesturing with his hands apart 6-8” aka HUGE)”. The doctor had also had me take 3 Advil before the procedure. I could feel what was happening but I just kept myself relaxed and knew it would be over soon and it was. It was still an unpleasant experience. The doctor said it went well and inside my cervix was mucus type liquid that may have been what made the lining look thick on the ultrasound. He said it may be up to a week to have results but he may have them Monday and would call right away. This was before Christmas and all I could think of was how nice it would be to get an all-clear as a Christmas present. Well, we waited and finally got the call the following Friday Dec. 27th. I missed the call and he left a voice mail that everything came back normal. I don’t have to come back unless I have bleeding. This should have been good news but instead it was ant-climatic. I felt like I’d gone through all of that for nothing. Just as I suspected would be the case. Not that I want to be proved wrong by getting cancer but the guy was just too aggressive for my tastes. One incident should not be that alarming with no family history of gynecological disorders.
 
The main reason it was so anti-climatic was that something awful happened on Dec. 3rd to my husband. I’m not allowed to talk about it. Believe me, I HATE when people say that!! I believe don’t bring something up if you can’t get into the details!!!!!!! But this is such a major, life-altering thing that I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. All I can say is it was one of those right place, wrong time things. It was bad enough on its own but then the situation escalated several times. Hubby had a bunch of use-or-lose vacation and he took it from Dec. 17th (the day of my ultrasound results appt.) until Jan. 6th.  We stayed home because the hookup for the turn signal and brake lights from the Jeep to the RV quit working and we didn’t have time to get it in to the dealership for repair between our Nov. trip and leaving so soon in Dec. But we were in no mood to travel anyway. We stayed home and dealt with my health issue until we got the all clear and the rest of the time dwelled on the horribleness that is our lives now. Basically worrying ourselves sick because everything is out of our control now. Hubby is a little more than 4 years from retirement and he is ready to walk away any minute. But it would do no good until this weight is off us. It was an agonizing vacation. Since hubby went back to work, things are no better. I hate to be so cryptic but all I can say is it’s demoralizing. You live your life right, keep to yourself, work hard, don’t bother anyone and then one day you encounter evil in the form of a person. Twelve years ago this summer we were living a similar but different nightmare. I’m sorry that I’m unable to go into this with you. It would bug me if someone else wrote this and didn’t say what it was. As soon as I’m able, I promise to tell you all about it! In the meantime, I am hoping to blog more since I need somewhere to vent.

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So hubby’s been gone 5 weeks today. I haven’t felt like checking in with the blog but figure I should anyway. Only a week and a half to go! The time has gone surprisingly fast. I knew it would because as my dad used to say, “Time waits for no man”. At first I had all kinds of ideas of things I wanted to get done while he was gone. That pretty much went out the window right away. I gave myself permission to just get through it, day by day. At first I was really fearful to be alone and not happy about it. After about 2 weeks, I relaxed into it and by 4 weeks, I no longer minded being alone! It’s funny because at the 4 week mark when I was getting comfortable with hubby being gone, he started getting homesick. Each day it gets harder for him and easier for me! It’s weird to have us on different pages at the same time.

The first few weeks, it was like I was missing a limb. I’ve learned I’m stronger than I think and if I had to, I could manage alone indefinitely. I’ve only had minor problems so far like with Netflix having to be reset (which sounds like NBD but it is with the way we have it set up) and the pond filter getting shut off from a storm which caused it to fill with mud and then pump out half the water in the pond. I had to take the filter apart and clean it twice and then fill the pond and it’s been working ever since. Our neighbor from kitty corner across the street (we’re 3 houses from the corner) jumped me one day while I was walking the dogs to get some of our koi fish. We have two GIANT koi that had tons of babies (all sizes) and hubby had offered Brian some (free) in the spring. Brian has a pond but zero fish. He wanted to wait then and so this was about at the 2 week mark. I had just cleaned the filter and the water was all stirred up and muddy. He brought 2 nets and a bucket and came over and we tried to catch the fish. It was like a 3 stooges or Laurel & Hardy routine with the 2 of us working at it. Finally he left and left his supplies and said he’d be back in a week or so. The other day he just rapped at the door (we have no doorbell because the place for it is too narrow and the wire too short and the last one we had got burned out from someone pushing it and it stuck) and scared me and the dogs half to death. I had given him my cellphone number and we had texted previously so I don’t know why he didn’t text first. Anyway, he came in the backyard and tried again. I fed the fish (but I had done it earlier that day so they weren’t as hungry as if it was the first time). Brian was able to catch ONE fish. He left and said he may try again. I told him he could always wait until my husband came home. 
 
I did have a spell between week 2 and week 4 of being down in the dumps. The worst was Memorial Day weekend. It probably had a lot had to do with the weather. We had nothing but RAIN the entire month of May. In fact, it broke a record for the wettest May EVER! So far I’ve cut the grass 5 times since he’s been gone and will probably get in 2 more times before he gets back. The last week or two I’ve been getting in a lot of reading so I can get another book sale going soon. I also cut some rhubarb and made rhubarb cake once. I haven’t gone to many estate sales. I went to one last weekend and bought nothing. I skipped going the 2nd weekend entirely. Other weekends I went to one or two. My only finds besides books were a flemish pyrographed box from 1909 and an antique tennis racket made into a mirror. I don’t have any plans to go to any sales this weekend since nothing looks good. Besides, it’s just not fun going alone. It’s like going to the movies alone. I did that once in college to see Xanadu since none of my friends wanted to go and I wanted to see it badly. The movie wasn’t good and I was paranoid about being seen out by myself like a leper. 
 
Last Friday I went to the ATM to get cash and went to the drive-up one instead of the one inside. Wouldn’t you know that it didn’t give me any money or a receipt but I got a notice on my phone that it took the money out?! I was pulled in too close to get out of the vehicle and there were several cars behind me. I didn’t know what to do so called the branch and told them. I got a nice guy named Joe who came out and told me he’d call it in for me. I asked him if this had ever happened before and he said “Yes, machines make mistakes, too”. Today I was trying to pay my hubby’s government credit card that had his flight and one week of hotel stay on it and it would’t go through. I was doing this online through the Chase app. It kept coming up with an error saying it couldn’t be done from that account, pick another one. I tried several times and then called the bank. I kept getting a message from the bank that “all bank representatives are busy, please call back later”.  I tried at least 4 times and then tried the 1-800 number for online banking. You have to enter your account number, last 4 digits of your social and push a bunch of buttons for options. I was getting connected to a live person and then click, I was disconnected! That did it. I decided to drive over to the bank and see if I could get help in person. There were a lot of cars there but several reps were idle. 2 of them took me into a cubicle and helped me. I had to log in on their desktop and finally got it straightened out. Right now I am fed up with Chase bank AND AT&T.
 
So hubby has been right at the border dealing with the detainees or as he calls it, “Doing the Lord’s work”. He came down with either the flu or food poisoning after a few weeks. He was able to get over it on his day off and slowly recover. Now it sounds like everyone he works with has a cold there. He says it’s allergies but I wonder. He can’t take any pictures inside the facility he is working at but was able to take some at the top of the hill next to his building. We have our cellphone bill automatically paid which I was always against but they were supposed to give us a deal and they just hosed up everything.  Last month his iPhone 7 was finally paid off (2 years at $30+ a month). This month our bill was supposed to go down $30+ but instead it went up $30+. Looking at the bill that came in the mail (the bill comes AFTER it is paid), there is a charge for data transfers on May 6th for $61.19! We have unlimited talk and text and 6 GB data which we almost never use. Looking closer at the bill, it shows that it is roaming charges FROM MEXICO. Oh please! He hasn’t gone to Mexico at all and didn’t even bring his passport. Now trying to get this money back from AT&T will be like pulling teeth. We are ready to go to a different cellphone company. We’ve always been loyal to AT&T but at some point, enough is enough. What co. are you with? Have you had good luck? What companies have you heard good things about? Besides customer service being atrocious, cellphone service is terrible with AT&T. When we travel we often don’t get service and the calls aren’t clear. We’ll have to take a day when hubby comes home and go to the AT&T store and get it cleared up. 
 
I went to the doctor on Friday May 25th. The doctor gave me a prescription for a liquid thyroid medicine that you put under your tongue once a day in the morning. He had me wait to find out test results the following Tues. My levels are now in the normal range so then I went to get the scrip filled. It was a huge hassle with CVS. They had to order it and I had to go get it the next day. First I had to call and make sure it had come in. The doctor was telling me that the generic pill I was taking doesn’t work as well as the name brand liquid. That the liquid gives you the same amount every day and the pills fluctuate. I’d never heard that about generics. I’ve felt slightly better since I started taking it 6 days ago. 
 
As for life, I’m handling it like a boss…

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Since I last wrote, I am happy to report that I’ve started to heal from the loss of my mom. 3 weeks from today will be 9 months since she passed away. I can say with some confidence that will be all the time I need to fully accept her death and no longer have the empty feeling I had right after it happened. It takes 9 months to grow a baby and bring a new life to fruition. Logically, 9 months should be enough time to come to terms with the death of a loved one. Of course, it’s not as cut and dried as that. I will still miss her and think of her every day. I may even still occasionally have a bad day. But now I think I can go on without feeling so alone. Everything she taught me and all the time we spent together prepared me for this eventuality. Looking back, I really expected too much of myself to be over the grief in only a month or two. That was totally unrealistic. I wouldn’t expect someone else who went through this to be over it so soon. Yet I’ve always set high standards for myself which are impossible to meet.
April 27th, I had finally succumbed to the idea that I needed an antidepressant to survive the pain. As I’ve documented in my last post, it made me a ghost of my former self. Unable to reach any depth of emotion (happy or sad) and basically numbed out. It masks feelings which creates a zombie like existence. I’m sure different people react differently to different meds. I can only speak to how they affected me. I had made my mind up that I would slowly wean myself off the Lexapro and told the doctor when I saw him on July 6th. I had read up online and just like you have to slowly up the dose when you start them, you have to slowly decrease the dose. I came up with my own game plan and informed the doctor I’d be taking 2 weeks of 15 mg (1 1/2 pills), then 2 weeks of 10 mg. I’m seeing him again on July 27th so we’ll see if I need to go down to 5 mg for a few days before quitting all together. I read about all kinds of bad reactions people got from stopping. I haven’t felt any of those. He had me start taking them a few hours before bedtime instead of in the morning which works better for me. I am excited to be off them and see if anything carries over from my time on them. 


I don’t regret trying Lexapro (generic). I think it served its purpose. I could never see being on it long term though. One thing I learned to do while taking it is relax. I was always a person on the go and never sat still for long. I mean, I can sit and watch movies or tv but during the day I would be into one thing or the other at all times. I never liked wasting time and felt I should be doing something. This tended to make me a nervous person who would worry if things didn’t get done. On Lexapro, I’ve been able to sit and do nothing. I don’t exactly like the zombie feeling but I am calmer. I’m hoping that I’ve learned how to relax and know that things will wait for me. I don’t have to stress. 


Another reason I think I’m healing from the grief is that the last month or so I’ve been able to enjoy things again. My hubby and I have been having so many great weekends. We’ve been doing our usual treasure hunting for vintage and finding a lot of cool things. A few weeks ago we went to a tack sale just over the border into WI. We saw a sign as we were driving and pulled over. It was a horse farm and the woman running it was selling bridles, saddles and any and all horse equipment. A lot of it was new. We have no need of this but didn’t know if she’d have other things for sale. She had 2 paintings I loved but neither were for sale. My husband I call “Chatty Cathy” because he can get to talking to a stranger and goes on forever. Long past when I’m ready to leave. It all depends on his mood. That day he was talking to the woman while I walked around. She said she had baby horses (3 weeks old) and he asked if we could see them. So she took us out back. She had about 21 horses and 3 were babies. We were standing by the fence and they were talking. One of the white arabian horses came up to me. I asked if I could pet him. She said yes so I spent at least 20 minutes (maybe longer) loving on a horse! Trigger was his name. He had thrown his owner off 2 years ago and she’d had shoulder surgery that had finally healed. He took a shine to me and I couldn’t get enough of him. I was waiting for hubby to stop talking & he was waiting for me to be done petting the horse. We were at a deadlock. I got such joy out of it and the experience stuck with me ever since. I would love to have horses but they are expensive and a lot of work. We’d have to have land or a place to board them. You really can’t go away on vacation with horses unless you have someone to care for them while you’re gone. Then I started looking up places to volunteer online and they’re all over an hour away.

We’ve also been eating out a bit on the weekends. We aren’t used to eating out since last year I ate out about 4 times. We tried going out a few times earlier this year and it just felt strange. Not having mom along felt wrong. Now I know I’m healing because I can go out to lunch with my husband and say, “Mom would’ve loved this!” but not get sad. I can enjoy the whole experience. Sitting across from my hubby and sharing conversation, atmosphere and good food. It’s like we’re courting again! 😉 We found a pizza place called Paisan’s in Cicero which was just a delight. We hadn’t had pizza in 6 months and even after eating it, hubby’s blood sugar readings were normal. We also had a wonderful meal at Grand Duke’s in Summit, IL. Both of these places are on the south side of Chicago. Hubby had eaten at Grand Duke’s once before about 13 years ago and hadn’t quit bragging about it. We just so happened to be at an estate sale not far from there this past weekend and hubby suggested it again. It has the atmosphere of an old supper club in Northern WI. All dark wood inside. They specialize in Lithuanian, Polish and Bavarian food. I’m always up for trying something new. Hubby ordered us 2 Lithuanian combo platters. I have no idea what all of it was: kugelis, zeppelin, potato sausage and sausage with sauerkraut. It was mouth-watering. It was the type of food you just savor and marvel at the skill involved in making it as well as the flavor profile. It was nice to have a really memorable meal. I ended up with leftovers that I brought home and had the next day.


I’ve also been able to really enjoy our evenings again. For the longest time it was hard to watch tv without Mom. She always watched whatever we watched, sometimes falling asleep if it didn’t interest her. What we’ve been watching recently on Netflix I’ve enjoyed immensely. Netflix is the bomb! First we watched Switched At Birth and then The Fosters. Most recently The Crown. Now we’ve got to find a new series to watch. 


I hope everyone is having a good summer. I can’t believe the year is more than half over. I feel like I missed it while grieving. I guess I did. Healing just takes time and we forget that time heals all wounds. It’s not just a saying, it’s the truth.

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There are 2 topics I feel I should write about: our first RV trip with my mother-in-law along and our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, I feel unable to access my creativity. I’ve been taking an antidepressant since April 27th (the generic of Lexapro). Starting with one 10 mg pill a day and going up to 2 pills about a month ago. I can’t say I like it. It has been great for my anxiety and I don’t worry like I used to. I don’t get upset over little things. As I said before about the medicine, I’m still sad inside but it doesn’t allow it to surface. I’ve only cried maybe 3 times since I started taking it. It basically has leveled off my emotions so I am one level of emotion at all times. That doesn’t seem human to me. It calls to mind the Stepford Wives. In the movie, they replaced the wives with robots. Now they just need to administer antidepressants to them and they behave accordingly.

I know I’m not bipolar yet I’ve always felt things very deeply. I could sympathize with others more than most people. Grief over a pet felt like ripping my heart out. I always had boundless enthusiasm and when I was happy I was beyond joyful. Now instead of life being a series of peaks and valleys, even rollercoaster rides, it is steady like a flatline on an ekg. I believe all the emotions are there underneath but they can’t get out. They are being held in check, pushed down by an invisible barrier. I don’t have any of the energy the doctor said I would have. I’m able to function but concentrating isn’t any easier. I don’t feel inspired to do things or achieve things. I don’t care enough to fight or stick up for myself. I don’t dwell on unpleasant things and just try to get through each day. I have no expectations for myself or the future.

 

I normally have so much to say. Especially when I write. Surprisingly, as much as I’d like to write about the two above named subjects, I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING TO SAY!!! What the what?! How is that possible?

 

I’ve been trying to slowly lose weight and after a month (and being on vacation), I’m down 5 lbs. I ate lunch everyday on vacation too. I would be happy with the loss if I felt it or saw it. I don’t feel any different (even with a few lbs. I lost since Feb.) and for sure don’t look any different. I’m not letting it discourage me though. Hubby is losing slowly too and now has his diabetes where it should be. He is taking 80 ml of insulin every night and as he loses weight, the dose will be lowered. He’s seeing the doctor again July 6th.

 

The oddest thing about how I feel on this antidepressant is that things that used to bother me don’t anymore. I used to feel SO BAD because I didn’t have any family or friends. Now i don’t want any. I simply don’t care about it. It doesn’t matter to me and isn’t important. I find this very strange. In some ways, I feel like my personality is missing. This medicine has changed who I am and I don’t know if it’s for the better. I don’t talk as much. I sit quietly and am content. I have completely pulled back from social media. The medicine hasn’t given me the confidence I was lacking so I could share parts of myself without feeling like no one was interested. I don’t know what will become of me. I feel like I’m slowly fading away into the ether…never to be seen or heard from again…

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So much has happened in just a few weeks. Hubby had been so sick, suffering with a sinus infection last time I posted. That would have been bad enough but after taking an entire week’s worth of pills, we find out he’s allergic to penicillin. Just in time to ruin another weekend, they came on as he was driving home on Thurs. April 27th. By the time he’d had dinner, he was fully broke out from head to toe with hives. We tried a Benadryl and a Zyrtec which did nothing. Luckily, we both had a doctor’s appt. the following morning. The first thing the doctor said when he came into the room and saw Greg was, “Somebody got some sun!” His entire head was bright red. The doctor seemed unfazed by the severity and prescribed low dose steroids (starting out with 6 pills a day, decreasing each day until day 6 is 1 pill), 2 Benadryl every 6 hours round the clock and Calamine lotion. Greg was miserable for the entire week. we were both worried that his throats might close up! As long as it took to get into his system is how long it took to pass the penicillin out of his system. He works alone on Sunday and by Monday it was finally starting to abate a little bit. This was my first time seeing the doctor as a patient and he prescribed me Lexapro without even listening to my heart or lungs or looking in my ears or throat. I thought that was weird. I told him how I’ve felt down for months and didn’t know if it’s because my mom died, if it’s due to starting menopause or if I’m depressed. He said try 10 mg of Lexapro for 2 weeks and then he’d up the dose if needed.
The first day I took it, it made me nauseous for a few hours and then passed. After a few days I felt better but that Sat. April 29th when I started it, I came down with a cold. So it’s hard to tell how I really feel. It’s still lingering on. He had a bunch of blood tests done on me since it’s been over 4 years since I had blood drawn. He has this Patient Fusion thing where you can look online to see your results. My cholesterol is 229 which is a bit high but to me, nothing to worry about. Normal is under 200 but he wants it under 180. When we went back to the doctor Thurs. May 4th, he told me to get some Red Yeast Rice Extract Pills at Sam’s Club and take a 600 mg. pill twice a day and it will naturally lower it. We stopped in to Sam’s Club and they were out! So I got it at CVS when we picked up one of hubby’s prescriptions. I started taking it Sun. May 7th and it made a mess of my stomach. He said it would do that but it goes away over time. Today is already better. 


So many people are on antidepressants and I never wanted to be one of them. I’m against taking a lot of pills. I like to think the body heals itself. However, after all these years, I’ve decided to try and see if I can feel better mentally and physically. This is my first time taking any and I didn’t want to have the stigma of it rub off on me. Yet I’d rather be honest and share that I’m trying it than hide it. I can tell already I sleep a lot better at night. I’m still sleepy during the day but I’m hoping to get some energy eventually. So far there isn’t a significant change.


The doctor has been increasing hubby’s dose of insulin by 10 ml a week. He’s now up to 40 ml a day. His numbers are coming down but the whole week he was on steroids, they were high. The doctor said that would happen. This week we are getting a reprieve from going in to his office and only have to call the doctor on Thurs. and report his blood sugar readings and I have to say if I need my dose upped. We might use the day Thurs. after calling to take the Ancestry DNA results up to his mother in WI. We got them a few weeks ago when he was so sick and there was no way we could go anywhere, let alone to another state. 


Last weekend, we had our first semi-normal weekend in over a month. We got to go to 2 estate sales on Friday and then popped in to Oakton St. Antique Mall nearby to check out their sale. We parked next to a car that was just filled with garbage! The passenger side and entire backseat was stuffed to the ceiling with trash! I couldn’t believe it was that bad. I’ve seen cars used as dumpsters before but usually there’s room to see through the back window. It’s so unsafe not to be able to use your rearview mirror at all! I took a bunch of pictures and will use them for this post. I told hubby when we went inside to try to guess whose car it was. It was really impossible to tell! I assumed it was a man’s car but it could’ve been a woman’s. Little things like that amuse me. It’s sad and gross and curious all rolled into one. I guess it makes me feel like my life is less of a mess. For the record, the inside of my car is very clean. 🙂


On Sat. May 6th, we went to the Library Book Sale in our town. I was pretty excited. They only have it twice a year. We missed it last time because that was the day that Mom had a stroke and went into the hospital. (Yesterday was 6 months since she died.) We got there a minute or two before opening and there were like 35 people ahead of us. They had the vintage books in a back room and going in there, it was all picked over. I only found 2 older books and after looking through everything in the place, I left with only 9 books. I was kind of bummed but we hit a few estate sales and found some really great books at those. We also ate good food and walked the dogs together every day even though we were worn out.


Skipping back a bit, on April 24th we went to the AT&T store near the mall in Niles, IL. I knew for months we had to go switch our cellphone and U-verse account from Mom’s name to Greg’s. Mom had worked for the phone company for over 35 years and got a discount. Since she lived with us, we put the phone in her name. When she died, they said to wait at least 3 months but less than 6 to switch them over. I had mentioned it to Greg often but you know how there’s never a good time for things like that. Our AT&T store usually has a couple hour wait to be helped, standing room only, wall to wall. But because we went at 6 pm on a Monday night, it was the emptiest I’d ever seen it! We were helped immediately by a nice girl named Oliwia but it still took 2 1/2 hours! First we decided to cancel our landline. No one ever calls us but telemarketers. So that took awhile. Then we had to cancel our cellphone from her name to ours. They no longer have “minutes” or charge for texts. We were able to bring our cellphone bill down about $50. Then we had to cancel our U-verse and go without Internet for 3 days! That made no sense to me. But they couldn’t just do a name switch on the computer. They had to send out a technician on Thurs. April 27th. Then we had to bundle our Directv with our U-verse. For some reason the bill was no cheaper for bundling. We’ll have to call Directv and find out why. Directv offers new customers great deals but if you’re loyal and stick with them, they keep raising your rates. Go figure.


Greg was at work when the AT&T tech came. The guy was very “ meticulous” and “precise”. Everything had to be “just so” and “by the rules”. When he called to say he was on the way, I told him we have 3 dogs and they are great with people. He didn’t say anything. Then when he came to the door, I opened it and he just stood there. Amber was barking and all 3 were trying to get close to him. I told him to come in but he just stood there. He said I had to “put them away”. The room we put them away in is the Sunroom which is the room the computer is in and he needed to work in. It’s the only room downstairs that has a door on it. I finally ended up putting all 3 on leashes and then taking them up to our bedroom and closing them in. They hated it and carried on the whole time. For 1 1/2 hours!! If they were allowed to be out and about, they would go up to him, see him and then ignore him. They would go about their business and not give him a second thought. Standing at the threshold to the house is the worst thing someone can do. Once you get past the doorway, they’re fine. We’ve had so many repairmen coming in, meter readers, etc. Just this year, 2 Directv guys, last fall several Nicor Gas guys, etc. Plus we’ve had the hot water heater installed, etc. and never had to put the dogs away. I literally screamed at the guy, “I’ll put them away SINCE YOU’RE AFRAID OF DOGS!” It pissed me off that this is their house and they can’t be out. Even the vet says they’re “people dogs”. Anyway, the tech replaced the modem and I just got back from mailing the old one in. They told me to take it to the UPS store and they’d box it up, make the label and it would all be free of charge. They’re unable to give us any faster internet due to how far we are from the main switching box in Uptown. The first new modem he brought in wouldn’t work and he had to go get another out of his truck. I’m happy to say our internet is working better than it had for years.


The RV is in the repair shop now getting new stairs, new batteries and fixing the hot water heater. We’ve been too busy to even have time to think about our first vacation of the year. The weather hasn’t been very cooperative either. It’s supposed to be almost 70 degrees this time of year but instead it’s been getting into the 30’s at night and low 50’s during the day. This year is one for the record books in every way. Not good but it has to get better as it goes along… right?!

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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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