Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Same old story

Here we go again with Simone being the lead off.  Some folks feel that a dog is a dog is a ...    I know that.  Being close with two animal rescue groups, I see what some folks are able to do to their animals.  Sad.

Perhaps I go too far the other way, but she is as close to a child as a dog can be.  Anyway.  She is getting old - very old.  And with that she is getting sick.

The vet told me to give her the anti-nausea pills everyday.  In fact as often as I can.  That means she gets two a day (at $1 a pill!!).  Last night I didn't give her the pill.  I really wanted to see if she could get by with only one.  She couldn't.  Since the SSB, she has been nauseous.  I was thinking it was the water change.  We use well water there, and it is hard water.

Anyway, she  was showing signs of being sick again.  I can look at her eyes and know how sick she is.  Rather than clean up after her in the house again, I let her out.  She goes out and "grazes" then vomits.  So that's what I did.  But while I was doing that, the thought kept creeping in - she probably  needs to be put down.  I am not ready for that even when it really comes.

This morning, she is a chipper girl again.  Her eyes are bright.  She is pretty normal.  She has her pill.   When I think about almost putting her down two months ago, I cringe.  And she has another reprieve -  absolutely.

The weather was terrible here Saturday.  While we didn't get the worst part (7 inches) of the rain, we did get some heavy rain with deadly lightening.  So why is this a biggie?  Because we were supposed to go to a fund raiser where my son's band was playing.  I so wanted to see him.  Guess what.  We didn't go.

So we decided that when the drought gets bad again, I will shell out $50 for tickets that we don't use.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Yes, I am actually here!!

Last week we were the proverbial social butterflies.  It seems we do more when we are at the SSB than when we are home.  There is something terribly wrong with this picture!!

We got there on Thursday so that meant that we went to Fredericksburg on Friday to buy groceries.  Then Friday night was the little community club meeting.  That is a depressing meeting.  All the folks there are 60+.  It's not that there are no young folks in the community.  They are there - but they have high school age kiddos.  For those of you who have experienced that, you know there are lots of activities for the kiddos.  And this community is very tight knit - like most small towns.  SO everyone turns out.

Saturday was one part of the family's reunion.  This one is held every year.  This part of the family has spawned about 9 Methodist ministers - either by birth or marriage.  So it is certainly a tee-total thing.  Although, the community club is also across the road from that Methodist church, and all but two other people attend that Methodist church.  Strong beverages will show up there!!

The only reason I mentioned the tee-totaling event was we picked up my younger SIL.  She lives in the property right next to us.  She marches to a different drummer, and always has.  This is partially due to her parents.  She was the last child, only girl, and they let her be a real flower child.  She has gotten in trouble with addictions before.  So - to get to the point.  I noticed in addition to the sweets she had that we were to bring for Kaffee Klatch (we are German after all) she had a beer.  I silently giggled at that until ...  she spilled a little in the back seat.  When she asked for an opener for the next one, I was a little aghast.  But then, some things never change.  She doesn't have a key to our house because I know if she ran out of liquor at her place - she would be at ours to replace what she doesn't have.

We stayed a little differently this time.  Going on Thursday and returning on Thursday isn't our way these days.  It is usually Tuesday to Tuesday.  We stayed because the happy hour that the little community was at one of the other neighbors (and cousin's).  We are close to her. It was her husband that died several years ago from Lou Gehrig's disease.  She has re-married, and they were hosts (but see what I mean about this Methodist community???).

Her house is really easy to find.  You go to the main road, turn left and the first road to the left is hers.  She is the only house on that road.  But SIL didn't think she could find it!!  So we took her.  She  behaved well this time.

Coming back on Thursday really has me confused.  In my mind this should be Thursday or Friday at the latest.  Instead it is a stormy Saturday.  And wouldn't you know it, we are supposed to go out this evening.  And I have already bought the tickets.  We are getting really rough weather, and normally I would love it.  We need the rain so badly.  Again.  But I hate to go out in the rain.

Since it is a benefit, if we don't go, we can deduct the $50 for the tickets.  But if we don't go, I won't hear my son's band.  And I haven't heard his band in years.  It is almost all new people in it.  I really love to hear him, and I really would  like to see him.  Don't care about the Bar-B-Que that is included.  I want to hear the band.

In the meantime I am sitting here watching the lightening and LOUD thunder, wondering if our generator will kick on at any moment when the power fails.  I hear a siren in the distance.  I really hope someone's house didn't get struck.    

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Sorry if I got carried away and maudlin yesterday.  Simone has seen me through some really tough times - cancer, chemo, and radiation.  She is special.

But her diagnosis got me to thinking.  ALS.  What a horrible disease.

We watched a friend/neighbor/cousin fight it at the SSB.  For the longest time, he wasn't diagnosed.  His malady was unknown.  Then they knew.  For him it hit his arms - especially the right.  One of the others up there was telling me about walking in the pasture with J and having him fall only to land on his face because his arms couldn't reach out to stop the fall.

He hit it pretty well.  He managed to find ways to get around using his arms - especially the right - most times.  I do remember the Community Club Christmas party where his wife had to feed him though.  A sight like that will break your heart.

J was an author as well as educator.  He managed to write one novel.   Did a good job too!  After his death became imminent, he wrote a book to his grandchildren about life and responsibilities which was also published.  It was quite amazing.

So why am I remembering J?  We have a young woman at our church who has ALS.  She also is amazing to me.  She always participates in things the Women's group needs - like food for things.   She takes her turn on hospitality - where she sets up refreshments for church days.  She works a full time job.  And she just got married about six months ago.

I spoke with her on Sunday.  She was curious about when the Women's Group met.  She would like to attend, but she has an ALS support group that day.

I have the desire to feel sorry for her.  The saying :life sucks" could so easily be applied here.  She is in the prime of her life.  Her ALS seems to have effected her legs first.  She is in a wheel chair.  She should have her whole, full life ahead.  I know what she has ahead, and I am sure she does too.   I know how J died.  I know what the end days were like.  And yet, even though I haven't asked her I really don't think she would welcome my sad feelings for her.

She is definitely added to my list of most respected people.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It IS a sad day

That goes without saying - the tragedy of the Boston Marathon.  This kind of thing is something that cannot be explained.  I just happened to turn on the tv shortly after coverage began.  It broke my heart.

I know there will be lots and lots written about this, so that is as much as I will say.  Others will cover it much more eloquently.

On the home front - today was Simone's Spa Day.  She is going for a bath and nail trim.  G and I decided to have one of the docs check her.  She completely wet her bed on Sunday.  She has never done that before.  Last year she began with bladder leakage.  I am sure she was used by a backyard breeder to have litter after litter (and God knows what else was done to her - based on the scars she has and broken canine teeth).  I think she was bred so much that she developed a constant urinary track infection that didn't allow her to conceive anymore.  We were constantly treating that for the first year she was with us.

Two months ago, I had given her a fourth of the weak tranquilizer before leaving the SSB.  She is very sensitive to medications - especially the tranquilizer, so she got very little to help take the edge off the trip.  She reacted to it as though I had given her 20 mg instead of about 2.  She was completely out of it.  She couldn't stand up.

So since then, we have noticed that her rear quarters are "wonky."  The vet also saw that (I asked for her to be evaluated).  It seems that there is something.  Cause - unknown.  The x-ray showed nothing abnormal in the spine.

Now comes the possible bad news.  She may have, because Boxers are prone to this, the dog equivalent of ALS.  It begins in the rear quarter - and moves up.

So she possible has Cushings which is caused by tumors.  She has had mast tumors removed - and we don't know if they were malignant.  We wouldn't put her into chemo at her age.  And now possible ALS.

We have  no idea what her real age is.  We adopted her December 2006.  At the time she was projected to be 5 years old.  That was impossible.  No way.  I am sure she was at least 1, probably more like 2.  That makes her 9.  Boxers life span is usually seven years.  Of course, they can live to 10 or 11.  She is nearing the end anyway you cut it.

So, we go along.  Loving her as much as we can.  Making her happy and comfortable all the while knowing that we have made her life so much better.    Do I feel silly taking such care of this dog - absolutely not.  I would go as far as needed to make her life comfortable, and I really wish I could have her live forever.  She has been such a companion and friend - giving unconditional love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A good excuse ...

Is better than none, right?  Believe me, I've got hundreds of them.  My current one is the weather.  That's an easy one because it's beyond my control.  Can't do anything about it.

I would say we are having a normal spring here in Texas, but not really.  I always expect changeable weather.  You know, near summer temperatures one day and cool the next.  And that's what we are having with one exception.  Our cool days are record setting lows.

In a normal year, I would be relishing this glitch.  Believe me, we will have days when it is miserable.  Highs in the high 90's to low 100's with high humidity so you feel like you are steaming.   I will be wishing for the record lows we are recording now.

So why am I upset.  Well - it goes along with my excuse.  You see, this year I have planned to use that money pit we have in the backyard.  The one that when we put it in for the kids to enjoy.  The one that kept them from the city pool where all their friends were.  Yeah, that one.

We don't have a heater for it.  And even if we did, I wouldn't use it, unless it were solar.  Heading something like 10,000 gallons of water calls for a lot of natural gas.  Don't want to pay that bill.  And after it gets heated, what happens - it cools off again.  So these record low temperatures we are having are definitely negating any warming we are getting on the warm days.

So my excuse for not exercising is that the pool is so cold that I would have a heart attack if I were to venture into it.  I would get hypothermia and die.  Right in the pool.  So I can't exercise. Right?

What't that - what about the recumbent bike in the bedroom?  Well - it seems like it has a short in its wiring. You cannot set it for any resistance, and we all know that I am in such tip-top shape that I have to have good resistance.  Yeah, right.  Just using the pedals with no resistance will give me a plenty good workout.

Walking would be ok - but it doesn't take any time before the sciatica grips my back so.  This has become a vicious cycle.  My back is weak I am sure because I am so out of shape, but when I try to do something, my back feels like it is going to freeze.  Getting through the grocery store is quite a chore.  But I refuse to use one of those carts!

So I guess to begin a schedule of doing something physical (other than exercising my fingers on the computer) I will begin using the bike everyday until the pool becomes like bath water - which it will.  Then my excuse will be that the water is too warm and the swim isn't refreshing.

A good excuse ....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It seemed like a good idea at the time ...

Like many of you, I saw the article that stated that niacin could be helpful in fighting cholesterol, and it was an inexpensive way to do it - about seven cents a pill.  Since I have been on statins, and they caused me tremendous leg cramps.

I went to the cardiologist and told him that the leg cramp were just not tolerable, and he did but my on a powder that I mix with juice or Crystal Lite in the mornings.  It is working great, and I don't have any problems with it, but why not try the niacin.

As I was reading the bottle of niacin, it said "supports heart health and energy metabolism."  Hey sounds great to me, and it is cheap.  Two bottles for $4.50.  That's 120 pills for that price.  Beats prescription meds.

So bought two (it was buy one, get one free).  What frugal German can resist such a deal.

At lunch that day, I decided to take one.  Ok - work your magic.  Let's bring down those numbers even  more.  Perhaps it would work on the triglycerides.

About 4, I was sitting on the couch reading my book, and I started with a warm feeling.  Now it wasn't like a hot flash or simply being too warm.  I was just warm even though my feet were cold.  I remarked to G that I was feeling warm without being hot.  It was a strange feeling.  My ears felt like they were turning red - you know like a big blush.

Then my arms and chest under my shirt began to tingle.  Tingle isn't the exact word, it was like little sharp bits were attached to my blouse.  They it seemed like I was beginning to itch.

That's when it hit me - I was having an allergic reaction.  I reached for Simone's benydryl. and took two of them.  Well, that's what I told G.  I actually took three.  I figured if my 70 pound dog could tolerate three, my ### pounds (not gonna divulge that number - suffice it to say it is plenty over 70!) I could take three.  And if I were having an allergic reaction, I wanted to stop it here, not in the ER.

Then, G and I both looked up side effects of niacin.  It causes flushing in some people.  That is what was happening to me.  I felt really stupid at that point.  He chastised me no end for not doing more research on the drug.  The internet said to talk to your doctor before beginning niacin.

So now I have 119 niacin pills.  And they are gong to stay in the bottles.  I surely am not going to do that again.  It was a terrible experience.  But it did seem like a good idea at the time.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Finally - the dreaded mammogram

It's not like I don't want the mammogram.  Believe me, I certainly do.  I know what not having one for about ten years can mean.  Don't want that again.

When I was all set to make the appointment, I realized that last year (I was on yearly revisits with Dr Poison - finally), I didn't get the referral for the mammogram.  I knew that I had an appointment in the near future, so I would get the orders when I went in.  It's not like he really needed the results right then.  The doctor in charge of the mammogram place will send results.  If there is a problem, guess who will be the third to know.  Yep, me!

I have been lax about calling for appointments.  To be honest, this eye thing has me concentrating on it.  I still need to call the new orthos (since my beloved ortho died last year) to have my knees checked, but I digress.  Anyway I went today for the dreaded exam,

The tech was really good.  Since my reconstruction and reduction, there isn't just a whole lot of breast there anymore.  And I am not complaining.  The others were such they caused other problems - like backaches.  I will swear that I am pinched less now than before.  I used to dread going.  You have all heard the jokes about the mammogram feeling like someone parked a truck on your breast.  That isn't true for me anymore.

It all went well - I don't remember them doing the test on the completely reconstructed one with the insert last year, but they did this year.

So what am I concerned about?  You know me, there has to be something.  Well - it was when I thought I was all through, she went back to the non-cancer side to take another picture.  My immediate thought was "what did she see?"

I will get the results in a couple of days.  I really am hoping it is before Wednesday.  Thursday is our journey into the wilds to visit the SSB.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Confessions - at least some

Since retiring, my level of energy isn't what it used to be.  I began this time taking care of eldest granddaughter - Lady Bug, now known as soon-to-be-champion-swimmer.   She never took naps.  Then came Monkey Boy, and lastly the Littlest One.  She was a problem because Daughter didn't get her adjusted to taking a bottle in the three months she stayed home, so when I got her ...

Of course then came the cancer, and  then the knees crapped out on me.  Chemo and radiation will sap your strength - for a long time.  With aching knees it is hard to move - and getting on the floor was almost impossible.  Of course, now with new knees, my ex-ortho doc (he WOULD have to go and have a fatal heart attack on me!) told me it certainly isn't good to put that little knee-cap between something and titanium knees.  The bone tends to shatter.  So that leaves me in a more or less upright position.

So the point here?  Well - my house needs a really good cleaning.   No, more than that - it needs to be gutted.  I have slipped into somewhat of a hoarder too.  I develop silly attachments to things that are given to me, or, as in recent years those things I have salvaged from our departed loved ones.

To quickly sum it up - I have too much stuff.  So I am working diligently to divest myself of all this "stuff."

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't make it on the show about hoarders, but I have too much stuff.  One of the things I have gotten rid of is a set of glass dishes.  You know the kind - when ladies would have lunches for their bridge club and the like.  They were really cute - little plates shaped like apples.  Cups and apple saucers (when was the last time I used a "cup?"  That's what mugs are for!) There were little apple shaped glass bowls, and something that I would only imagine were little glass coasters.  They were too small for anything else.

I finally got the nerve to get rid of them.  First, I don't play bridge.  I only know one woman who still does.  Second, all my friends are still working.  Third this set is completely fron yesterday.  Obsolete.  Does it bother me?  Yes, a little.

I guess I excuse keeping stuff because it is old - antique.  When we were last at the SSB, I went through a "high-class" resale shop.  With all the old folks up there that have died, their families are selling the stuff to him.   He has it as antiques.  And they are.

I remarked to him that much of the stuff he has - especially kitchen things like corning ware - I STILL use.  I said it was amazing to see that and toys I played with in antique stores!  He said we should just call them "retro."  OK - whatever.

Anyway, I still have no energy.  Some of that is my vitamin D deficiency.  Some might be cancer left overs.  They say you are never the same after cancer and its treatment.  Some may be age.  Some may just  be I am lazy!  Don't know - never put house keeping at the top of my list.  Did it for mom, so I have been doing it all since age 12.  Just sick of it!  But I am digging through the stuff.  Passing it along to someone else!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Some good news

When I went for the monthly eye puncturing, they did a more thorough eye exam.  I always hold my breath wondering just how much liquid is behind my retina, and, please no, my right eye hasn't gone from dry to wet macular degeneration.   I have become such a pro at thousands of drops being put into my eyes, I barely flin

I was asked how my vision was.  It seems when they test it - they always test distance vision.  Distance was a problem when I started all this.  But then, the left eye had very little clear vision.  So we do the vision chart, and I am told my vision is improving.

Doing the sewing for the grandkidlets' Easter bags, et. al.  my machine decided that it's poor needle threader wasn't going to work.  I knew I would have to thread that needle manually.  When I was trying to poke that thread into the little, bitty hole, I couldn't do it.  Luckly, years ago I had asked for a lighted magnifier that is on a long arm.  I was able to use that to thread the needle.  Still a pain with each and every thread change.  I soon figured a way to cut down on those!

So when asked, instead of my usual "I think it is worse" response, I said that the close vision was not good.  That was noted.  When the doctor came in, he said that I had progressed a great deal.  I was asked when I last had new glasses.  It was a year ago in July.

He said if my regular ophthalmologist didn't see more of a problem with the cataracts, I could look into new glasses.  It's always something isn't it?  Now it is cataract surgery I am looking at.  Well - I guess a needle stuck into my eyeball has had it's training for me! 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Back to normal

Holy Week is over, and while it is not as busy as when I was organist, it was still busy enough.  G remarked :"we go to church whenever the doors are open."  That isn't really true - just last week was really busy.  Our joint service on Good Friday was really beautiful, and the women of the church stepped up again to bring all sorts of goodies for refreshments.  We always have the fifth Sundays, this time just happened to be Easter!

I was going to go to the brand new donut shop to get donuts for Sunday.  Their opening day was Easter.  On Saturday night (about 8pm) I got to thinking that perhaps this wasn't too good of an idea.  Opening days for a business seldom go well.  So, I got to thinking of what I could make.  Cookies were out of the question - way too much work at that time of night.  Then I remembered the little dough pieces that I had left over from the prepared pie crusts that I used to make some baked apple turnovers.

In my some-time frugality, I just couldn't bring myself to throw that dough away after I used my handy-dandy crimper, and I was too lazy to re-roll it.  So, I remembered things like the Mexican treat I love - puffy pastry covered with cinnamon sugar.  So I took some sugar in the raw and a lot of cinnamon and rolled those little scaps in that mixture.  GOOD!!

That is what I did for church.  You cannot believe the compliments I got on those when I made the pie crusts completely those little thingies.  The sugar mixture would rather not stick, so there isn't much and they aren't very sweet.  A wonderful side effect is the saltiness of the pie dough!  Sweet and rather savory.  Quite a mixture

Today was my monthly stick a needle in my eyeball day.  The doctor is quite pleased with the amount of liquid behind the retina in the left eye.  I told them that I couldn't see close well anymore.  He said that if my regular opthamologist doesn't see a problem with the cataracts (ALWAYS something!), I could get a new pair of glasses soon.  We will continue with the monthly injections (sad), but things are so much better.  So needles in the eye once a month for the low price to me of $122.  I really hope we can start lengthening that time period soon.  But my eyesight is by far more important.

It looks like rain for today and tomorrow.  I will do a rain dance or whatever else is necessary!  We are slipping back into the terrible drought conditions once again.  We need rain about once a week.  We are lucky if we get it once a month.  It has been more like every two months.  We are supposed to be coastal plain - not Gobi desert!

Hope spring is blooming in your area now!  You have had enough of the cold and the snow.