Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A little giggle to leave with you

I am preparing to begin the final running around town to prepare to leave town with this annual feast at the SSB. It really seems rather stupid, if you want to know the truth. But it has become a family tradition with S and K and kidlets going every year, and B and C joining us on alternate years. The festivities begin with G moaning and groaning about how heavy things are to pack and unpack. His usual comment is "I thought we had moved in already!"

It would be so much more simple to have Thanksgiving dinner here, but Thanksgiving is a prime time for harvesting meat (yes deer). This will be the only trip B can make since C is due to have the baby in late February thus not able to travel the five hours after this. S doesn't like to make the trip without K, and as long as Doodle Bug is at her stage which means she cries almost the entire way due to hating the car seat so much, it is not a fun trip for K.

So I will only have dial up for the next week. It works - sort of. But I use it for emergencies only because it is so slow. I feel good about having it. Whe Dad died, I didn't realize just how far behind civilaziation you are without the internet or at least a fax machine. We needed it despirately, and we had neither. We went to the neighbor (relative) two mountains over to use theirs. At least they were in contact!!

I will leave you with a humorous (I guess) story about what a klutz I still am. With all my joint problems and surgeries, you would think that I would be more careful on our stairs. I generally am. But I guess Saturday I thought I had mastered those stairs again.

Now I have to interject stories about those stairs. I have missed the last step before. I had my hands full since it was before severe arthritis in my knees and I could go up and down without a death grip on the banister. I missed the last step, fell and put a hole in the opposite wall with my elbow. G has missed that last step, fortunately not putting a hole in anything. K would fall both going up and coming down the steps. I think B may have even fallen on those stairs. They are the result of us taking in our attic to put two bedrooms, a bath, and a small sitting area up there. The steps are steep and the runners are small because of where they are.

Saturday, I was thinking about something else, turned off the overhead light, and forgot to count steps. I missed the last one, ending up on my butt. Talk about being scared to death. I was sure I had broken something. As I sat there evaluating systems, I figured out I wasn't hurt, but I did have to figure out how to get up. I finally managed, but I was hurting afterward! I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to get out of bed on Sunday, but it wasn't bad.

Later I told G the reason the steps are so dangerous. There are thirteen of them. Didn't know I was superstitious did you? Not really. Just klutzy - like the rest of my family.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I hope you can share the blessings in your life with those you love.


Monday, November 24, 2008

A change?

We went to son and daughter in law's last night for family dinner. Since she prepared gumbo, it was "extended family dinner." That is fun because we get to see other people.

We were talking around dinner, and my shoulder and the impending surgery was brought up. Crystal, who is in the extended family - really non-family, asked who the doctor was. I thought she was going to choke when I told her.

She had been to this guy when she was having back problems. Her pain was terrific. He did all the tests and, as she admitted, was very thorough. He then told her he thought it was all in her head. In a way, I can see him saying that. My first impression of him was that he really was rather short.

So now, knowing that he doesn't believe in the new methods of doing that surgery - meaning he will lay that shoulder open, and the way he treated Crystal, I'm not sure. I really, really don't want this surgery. I will be out of commission for two months. I am tired of being out of commission.

I think it's time for a second opinion. Oh, and Crystal's back pain - she later went to ob-gyn who told her, and correctly, that it was endometriosis. Now I set about finding another doc!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Silly daughter!

The other day K informed me that they had decided to get Lady Bug and Monkey Boy Gameboys for Christmas. She rationalized that they were good for hand-eye coordination, and the only thing they would take away is more TV time. They plan for the game systems to only be used downstairs. In addition, the units would be an early Christmas present that they would get on Wednesday for the annual pilgrimage to the SSB for the appointed Thanksgiving celebration there.

Lady Bug will be able to handle hers just fine. She will be 8 in January. She knows how to take care of things. She has always been rather mature anyway. I see no problem. Now Monkey, on the other hand, will break his before they leave the city limits. He doesn't know the meaning of the words take care of something. I know, he is only 4 1/2. That's my point. He is only 4 1/2. After he breaks his, he will go after LB's. The sad situation is that he will be allowed to take hers.

The other thing that has me giggling is when she said they would be an early Christmas present. Now you and I know what will happen on Christmas morning. The fact these were gifts will be forgotten. Especially since they will be toast and a fond memory.

The last giggle is that the playing downstairs will not be monitored. That rule will go be the wayside. Monkey will pitch a fit, and it will all be over.

Now, I'm not opposed to any game systems, They are fun. I know LB will really enjoy hers - as long as she has it. There are a lot of good things about them. I just see big problems ahead, and as a grandmother I sit back and giggle. There are some things they need to learn for themselves.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Drama, drama, drama

The reason I went to the ortho doc in the first place was to shut G up! He keeps telling me that I need a knee replacement. I only bring this up because when I told him that the doc wants to do surgery on my shoulder was met with less than enthusiam.

Now I'm looking forward to another surgery like I would look forward to having bamboo shoots shoved under my fingernails. I have already decided that I certainly didn't need to have that nipple fashioned on the reconstructed breast. There goes my career as a nude model (ha!).

He immediately asked all sorts of questions like: did he say the cuff was completely torn, what does torn mean, are you going to get a second opinion. Actually he was more like GET A SECOND OPINION.

That's not bad advice nor a bad idea. But it has taken me years to set about making this appointment. I spend two months playing phone tag with the other practice. I even went to their web site where I could request an appointment on line. Still waiting for that one.

My confusion here is why there is so much concern about having the rotator cuff repaired as opposed to a knee replacement. I think, although I'm not sure, the rehab time is considerable for either.

I had just about talked myself out of having the surgery. I had been feeling pretty good - although a bit stiff. That was until I simply opened the door to let Simone out this morning. That little twist sent a shock wave up the arm to the bicept. It was a gentle (!) reminder of what was still going on.

All I can say about this whole thing is even after 40 years of marriage, I still don't understand my husband. I finally told him last night to call the doctor himself. He backed down at that. I still don't understand his thing about the surgery. Probably never will.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ortho - Part 2

The verdict is in. As if there were any question about it. The MRI shows a tear. Surgery is indicated as the way to end the pain. The results are up to me after it. Depends on how hard I am willing to work. He wants to schedule it for late January or Early Februrary.

There never seems to be a good time for these things. Late February or early March is the time the new grandchild will present itself. I really don't want to be laid up then. If I wait too long, the muscle will pull away and stiffen. Then reconstruction won't be as successful.

I really don't want another surgery. I managed to live my life for 60 years with only one surgery. That one was due to a car accident where I was ejected, dragged, and broke my ankle. Now I've had five in two years. Yuck!

Welcome to my pity party. I should just suck it up. The real cause of the problem is age. The doctor said that as people age, the incidence of rotator cuff tears goes up with the age. He said by the 80's, most people have some tear even if they are asymptomatic.

Well, I have to let this digest a little more.


Ortho - Part 1

I am going to check with the ortho in just a few minutes. I finally had to call yesterday. That was a trip. At first it was they had not gotten the interpretation, then 30 seconds later, it was do you want to come in tomorrow? I am begining to wonder about this operation. Ooh what a word to use since I really think that is what he is thinking about.

In an other tone, without sounding self centered, if you might have tried to comment, that feature was changed somehow. I think when I got the one comment that was so hateful, I wanted to change them from open commenting to moderating comments. Somehow, it was that comments could only be made by registered commenters. That was not my intention. Anyway, comments are open to all, but I will be moderating them.

I'll check back later after my visit.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Foiled plans

Even though I don't have a hard and fast schedule, I do make some plans for the day ahead. That was true of yesterday, but they just didn't happen.

Mondays mean that G is usually off. He works a 4 day week, and that gives him Mondays off which is good when we go to the SSB.

Since he was off, as usual, and we were in town, he decided that Sunday would be the best time to do the 24 hour urine collection for the endocrinologist. So bright and early yesterday, he took the collection to the office. That went pretty quickly.

We had decided it was time to get our flu shots. Our primary care doc retired - about a year ago. We neither need a primary anymore because we have specialists out the kazoo. But those specialists don't have the flu vaccine.

We called the "old" number for our doctor because it is still being answered by the doctor that bought the practice. They have moved close to us - like right here in our bedroom suburb's city limits. I knew they had because son, B, had gone to them for something. But I got the wrong impression of where they had located.

When G had called earlier in the week, they said we didn't need an appointment. Just come in, sign in and put "flu shot" by the name. OK! Great. After he got back home, we got in the car and set out for the office.

We drove to the new office complex. There were no signs on any of the four offices in that complex. So I thought it was the next one over. Nope! B had told us, and I think the office told G, that they were on Village Green. After looking through the second complex, I called to find out exactly where they were. They are in the "old" strip center. In fact they took the office of another retired doctor. So success.

We were in the office and signed in. From the inner office we could hear the crying and moaning of a woman. As people came in, they would say that they were running behind. This was the second emergency walk in of the day. I was really puzzled. If I were in that much pain, I would opt for the ER, not the local Family Practice doc!

We sat and sat and sat. After about an hour, we had just about decided to leave, but they called us back. In the mean time, the woman who was in pain had been taken out the back door via a wheel chair. She was still crying and shouting and moaning in the parking lot. Another patient who was waiting got up to see just what was going on.

Even when we got into the inner office we had to wait. Finally the shots came, and we got them. When we were leaving, I asked the guy who was still sitting out in the waiting room what happened to the woman. Turns out it was a 16 year old girl with muscle spasms of unknown origin. I still would have rather been in the ER!

Our wait for the shots threw off the rest of the day. We had planned our trip - as we got used to doing when gasoline was so expensive - and the next stop was the med center out in the next "city." G needed inserts from the foot doc. Unfortunately, her office was closed for lunch by then.

We still needed to go to the "fancy" grocery store that was a little further out. They had a free turkey if you bought a spiral sliced ham. Can't pass up those free turkeys when feeding 8 for Thanksgiving. They also had pork butts that we need to make venison sausage.

G suggested we eat lunch first, so we set out to find food. In our area, if you find a strip center, you will find a cleaners, a nail salon, and a Mexican restaurant. That's where we ate. We found another good place! It is between the churches we attend (one where we have been members for over 25 years with the pastor who is so boring that he drove our kids away, and the other mission church that we really do enjoy, but have mixed feelings about - torn between loyalty and the fact they are into contemporary worship).

Then on to the store. That was a snap. Then back to the foot doc who was back open by this time!

To say the least, my time frame was off - a lot. But then what else do I have to do. Well, calling the ortho for one. So that is my focus now.


Monday, November 17, 2008


I still haven't heard from the ortho doc. The MRI was last Tuesday, and I know he has the results. SO I guess I'll be calling him today.

Part of the reason is that I aggravated the shoulder last night. I was preparing for family dinner night. I was draining some vegetables that were to go into the casserole. I thought I was about to drop the strainer. I grabbed it quickly, and I experienced such a pain down through my biceps. It was at least a level 9.

After that, G had to finish preparations. I couldn't lift anything more than a pound with my right hand. It has settled down some today, but it is still so sore. I slept fitfully last night, and that was even with a pain pill.

So I guess I'll toddle off to find his number and give him a call.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Self discipline

That's what I wish I had. I don't seem to be able to set my priorities appropriately. I SHOULD be cleaning and de-cluttering my house. What am I doing? Well, you're reading it.

If I weren't doing this, I would be upstairs with the excuse of having to make more blankets, aprons, purses for the craft show in December. I don't have to do that, but let's face it, it is surely more fun.

Night before last, I sat and watched the machine embroidery eight receiving blankets. It was so much fun, and I wasted three hours. Yesterday, I began cutting out two retro aprons. I then went upstairs to begin sewing them. I did come down to make dinner. I'm so thoughtful that way. Then I was back to finish them up.

Now you have to understand that right now, as I'm sitting here in the breakfast room, I am looking at three huge totes full of merchandise that came from the July show in Bitty town. They have been here for a month now (we left them at the SSB for a while) because I hurt my shoulder (the torn (?) rotator cuff). There is no way I can wrestle them up the stairs.

We have plenty of merchandise for this show. But I still hope that new designs will sell better. I also know that in this economy people aren't wasting money on aprons and other crafts.

If it weren't blogging, reading blogs, sewing or something like that I would find another way to escape house work. I simply hate it. I think I was supposed to be born into luxury. Perhaps a princess or something would have been more like it. That darned stork dropped me in the wrong place. That has to be the answer. It isn't that I just can't (don't want to) set proper priorities. I knew I could find an excuse, err, answer to my problem.

So from the land of mess - peace!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I wanted to post yesterday before crazy happened.

This time of year is such a beautiful time in the Texas Hill Country. Generally speaking, Texas does not have the fall follage events that are so common in other parts of the country. Pretty much, the trees stay green all year around, or right after the first really cold snap, the leaves fall off - all at once.

The Hill Country has had three or four cold snaps. That has caused the trees to begin to shut down their food production to get ready for the real cold. That being the case, the chlorophyll has begun to wane, and the other pigments in the leaves are left to show. And show they do!

When you look over the hills, it is a patchwork quilt of colors. I wish I had taken a picture, but the camera was in the back seat.

The tree that gives us the most color is the sumac. Now that is an amazing tree. It doesn't grow very tall, and during the regular growing season it doesn't really stand out much with the exception of ONE thing. They seem to have the amazing ability to grow in no dirt.

When we return to Swampland, we travel through the Capitol City. The roads have been cut through some of the hills there. Those hills are obviously mostly rock. You can see the striations of rock in the cut. Growing out of those rocks are the lowly sumac. That amazes me because where we put the double wide at the SSB has about 18 inches of dirt on top of solid rock. We know because we had to put the Cadillac of a septic system in because there wasn't room for anything else without blowing up rock! I wasn't too eager to use explosives. I keep thinking about finding some of those seeds and planting them around the house. I know what the result would be. I keep telling G that planting trees would be useless because in the millions of years that land has been there if a tree hasn't grown, it won't grow now.

This is my favorite season to go to the hill country though. I can almost pretend we are on the east coast with their beautiful foliage displays. It's just on a much smaller basis.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How plans change

I should know that when I make plans, they are changed by outside forces. Coming back from a beautiful weekend at the SSB, G asked me what I had planned for the week. I simply replied "nothing." In the back of my mind, I had visions of going upstairs to my craft room (B's bedroom when he lived here) and sewing all week long.

I was sitting reading Sunday's newspaper Monday evening when the phone rang. I looked at the caller ID, and it showed an Open MRI facility. When I left the ortho office, she told me that SHE would call me. I called home several times to see if there was a message, and there was none. I was prepared to call the office on Tuesday to see what had happened.

The voice that came from the receiver told me they were confirming my appointment for the following day with arrival time at 10:30 am. I was so shocked! I know the caller thought she had been connected to a dimwit. I told her that I had not been told about the appointment, but that was fine. Then I said "now tell me where you are located." Of course all the pens that should have been around were gone!! (Does that happen at your place too?) Anyway, I got the directions, and was really glad that the appointment was set.

Yesterday I had been talking to K, and just as soon as we hung up, the ortho office called. For the life of me, I cannot remember exactly what she said, but I explained to her that I was on my way to dress and make the appointment.

I got to the appointment with quite a bit of apprehension. I have heard stories about the dreaded MRI, but I wasn't nearly as scared as if it had been a closed MRI. I got ready and got on the table. It really reminded me a bit of the radiation therapy apparatus. The thing that shocked me was the two easy chairs set up with a side table between them. Looked like a lounge with that MRI table as the focal point! I never saw something like that! I could have been the main act.

The tech told me that a contrast study had been ordered. That meant an IV. Great, but ok. We went through about 40 minutes of clicks and bangs. She came in to tell me that it went great, and got me up. I asked about the IV. She forgot.

That meant an additional 15 minutes to get everything reset where it had been, then the stick. But it was done. After we chatted for a while. It seems the ortho office had called them earlier to tell them I wouldn't be coming in. Then they called to say I was. The MRI place was as confused as I was. But in the long run it all worked out. Of course, now I am waiting for the results. I wonder when they will call.

I am curious as to what my options will be if there is a tear in the rotator cuff. I really, really don't want surgery. I lived 47 years before my first surgery. That was when I broke my ankle. In the last two years, I have had five surgeries. That is enough for the rest of my life.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's that time again

Yep, I'm packing up the tote that lives between my breakfast room and den for the trek to the SSB. It is the second week of hunting season, and G is all set. For those of you who may be anti-hunting, I'm not going to set up a big lecture, but I do want to say that there are so many deer in our area that if some weren't taken, they would die from starvation. The land in our area is transition from hill country to desert. Grasses are sparse, as are the forbs that the deer dine on.

Deer happen to be rather stupid. That is a trait that sometimes accompanies anything cute. But they really are. They find an area they like, and they won't go far - even if the grazing becomes sparse. But they will do "what comes naturally" and produce fawns.

Our family doesn't trophy hunt. If it is killed - it is eaten. Even our hunters we lease to are that way. The one who is there the most often usually takes one or perhaps two a year. In total, I would say that much fewer than fifteen deer are harvested from our place. I can't say the same for the cattle that come to us every summer!

I don't and have never hunted. I have always been afraid that I would just wound the deer and not make a killing shot. I guess that's the biologist in me. But I have always loved venison. My uncle used to store his deer in my parents freezer, and we could use as much as we wanted.

If the trip goes as usual, G won't shoot anything this trip. He really just loves going out and watching the deer and other wildlife. I would go to one of the stands, but I don't think I could sit still that long. I wouldn't be able to move when it was time to leave. The house has been in place long enough that the animals are used to it, so we do get some wildlife venturing close so I can watch them.

Peace to you all.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

More normal - whatever that is

In my emotional mess from yesterday, I didn't update on the current status of doctor visits. I added a new physician to the stable. G has been telling me for several years to go to an orthopedist. I finally made the appointment because the pain in my shoulder had been terrible. I was dipping into my stash of heavy duty pain killers left over from the various surgeries. At times the arthritis and shoulder pain can be far worse than after surgery pain.

When I arrived at the office, I was given a 10 page form to fill out. Now I know why the receptionist/radiographer had suggested she email it to me! It took me 20 minutes to complete it.

The first stop after the exam room was the x-ray room. I swear, I glowed last night. They took something like a total of 10 x-rays. Since I was there, I decided I would present a laundry list of the faults in my skeleton. Of course, I forgot to list the back pain, but that will go away if I can ever get back on track and lose weight again!!

To sum up the visit:
The cartilage in my knees is gone. The scheduled treatment for now is to increase the anti-inflammatory drug. This has to be the first step as mandated by insurance. I think he is looking, without comment, at something bigger down the line. I think he knows that just the meds will not do it. I know it too.

I am to be scheduled for an MRI. This is to determine is the rotator cuff is torn and to what extent. I am a little anxious about that. First, I'm scared of the MRI. The CAT is bad enough. I also am worried about the pin in my ankle. I hope it is plastic. I asked G if he had to remove his wedding ring when he has one. I didn't ask because I don't take mine off - far from it. Lady Bug and I had our ears re-pierced Sunday. Those have to stay in for 6 weeks!!

My "trigger thumb" was treated by a steroid injection. It seems to have worked.

I guess getting old is really hard, but I keep working to try to get older.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have been blogging for three years and two months today. I mention that because it is just now that I have been targeted by the hostile, hateful. If you check yesterday's comment, that is exactly what happened.

As far as I can tell, that person has never been here before, at least on that specific computer, and I don't know what directed them to this blog to leave such hate. I had put up two posts in response, but that's silly. I'm sorry that the person at 99.162.239 (SBC) latitude 39 and longitude 97. If this is someone who is a reader here, I will be so very disappointed.

I have not witnessed such hate - ever. I am completely speech less. I don't know how they zeroed in on this specific page which makes me think they stop by at times. That comment is making me seriously consider shutting this thing down. For the time I will limit comments. I will not accept anonymous comments anymore. The internet has people thinking they can do verbal "drive-bys." I have just been hit.

I am really glad that the pain of my mother's death is long over, but the fact that this person things that all white people are evil really upsets me. To consider melanoma to be the revenge of the blacks is so horrible that I cannot comprehend it. To compare sickle cell with melanoma and say that sickle cell is the smart disease is really off center.

I have a very sad, heavy heart while I write this.

I still can say however, and really mean it especially for 99.162.239 - peace be with you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

What I did this weekend

Interesting - I didn't notice when I posted last, but today when I logged on I noticed that the date of the last post was October 29. That would have been my mother's 93rd birthday. In a big way it hurts me that I didn't note it on the day. She passed away December 1972 from melanoma. I am aware of her birthday, but at that moment my mind was elsewhere. Happy belated birthday Mom.

This is in line with what I did yesterday. It dealt with another cancer death. Here is Swampland, we have public service announcements from our blood center. I think even last year, they showed two with a darling little boy named Johnny Romano. The first was Johnny and his mom. They stood out to be because he was still bald from his chemo for leukemia. They were addressing how important blood donation is because it was so important to Johnny in particular. He stood out even more because he had on a pink T-shirt that something like even real men where pink. His smile was so warm, and his eyes just sparkled.

The next spot he did was with a man who would hold an apple. He likened the apple to the number of people who could donate blood. He then removed the stem with the words that that represented the number who actually did donate. He tossed the apple to Johnny who then took a big bite from the apple with eyes twinkling.

I didn't know the rest of Johnny's story. He was a really good skate boarder. I am not into skate boarding, so I certainly didn't know that. He was seven years old. He was diagnosed in May of 2005. He immediately was taken to Texas Children's Hospital where he began his chemo.

The family was so looking forward to September, 2008 when his chemo would stop. During these years, he was really on chemo the entire time. He had quite a following. Again I was unaware of all this. Yesterday our newspaper had a front page story on Johnny. He died September 27, 2008 - the day he was to stop chemo. He had a relapse in June, 2008, three years to the day of his first diagnosis.

I was entranced with Johnny's story. I went to his blog, written by his mom. I followed each entry. I could so relate to much of what Johnny endured. I was especially moved by the entry that described one of his treatments where they accessed his port only to not get a return. If you should not understand, that is part of the accessing of the port to make sure it's open. Saline, or perhaps a blood thinning agent, would be injected into the port, then they would pull back on the plunger of the syringe to get a return of blood. Often the accessing paraphernalia would have to be removed, and then it would start all over. In my case, I really hated it because my port was very deep. I would agree with Johnny's take (and others) that the pressure was not comfortable. His mother didn't know about that pressure. It made me think - that was probably just one thing those who have never had chemo don't realize.

After his relapse, Johnny basically never left the hospital. His last months were really a pure hell - especially when you think of a 10 year old boy. I was so impressed at the valor he showed during the entire ordeal. He was my hero. I just wish I had known when he died. As I have said before, I don't read the obits. G does, but I find myself lingering over the young women who have died from breast cancer. This time it would have been for a darling little 10 year old boy.

Should you be interested in reading Johnny's story: www.j-grom.blogspot.com. It's a read that will really draw you in with your emotions vacillating constantly. Even knowing the end, I found myself rallying with the mother with her hopefulness.

Peace be with you all.