Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Flu Shot Day

Today was flu shot day. It was also "husband is home and doesn't know what to do with himself day," which means I was a little out of sorts myself.

Tomorrow, hopefully, we will be both be back on our schedules.

I found out early this morning that my name is going to be in a book called Xena: Their Courage Changed the World, which is about the Xena fandom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. I am mentioned because of my involvement in, a website devoted to all things Xena: Warrior Princess. I wrote many show synopses for the show, a few articles for the website, and also did some editing for the website owner.

That was exciting news.

I meant to blog earlier but things were simply out of my hands today.

So here's a new song by Sheryl Crow that I really like.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Agony of De-Feet

I'll never be your beast of burden
I've walked for miles, my feet are hurting
All I want is you to make love to me
                            -- The Rolling Stones

I have had problems with my feet since I was born. I am flat-footed, more or less, and I pronate badly. When I was younger, I wore those corrective Mary Janes that supposedly helped something, but as I have aged, gained weight, and tried to increase my walking habits, I find I have more foot problems than ever.

Last September, we went on vacation. The shower in the condo had a tiled floor that was walking on pebbles. By the time we came home, I had a case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot.

I did stretches, etc., but my husband was undergoing ankle fusion surgery in late November, and I was more interested in preparing the house for him than I was in taking care of myself.

In February, I mentioned the pain in my foot to my primary care doctor. She gave me exercises, which I did, and the plantar fasciitis pain throughout the arch went away, but it seemed to center directly in my heel.

It feels like I am stepping on a railroad spike when I step down. It hurts more in the afternoons, after I've been up a while.

I continued the exercises and ice but it wasn't helping. Since it seemed, in fact, to be growing worse, I saw an orthopedic doctor at Carilion Wednesday. I was there for two hours. The result? Yep, you have some pain in your foot, here's a squishier heel cup that might help more than the one you bought online. Sorry, we don't do steroid shots for this kind of thing anymore. If you want, I can refer you to the "foot pain" people, they like to do surgery.

Surgery? He had me ready to bolt out of the office (well, hop and limp fast) as soon as that word came out of his mouth. After my gallbladder surgery and the subsequent hell I have been through with that, I've decided I'd rather die than have another surgery. I mean come on. Surgery?

He took an x-ray and said I had a heel spur but he thought the problem was little "stalagmites" on the bone. I guess that's some kind of bone degeneration, maybe? Nothing's turned up in my chart yet to let me know. Actually, my visit with him isn't even in my chart. It's like it never happened. (Maybe they won't bill me. Ha.)

After that unhelpful visit, I decided to change up my exercises. I will go to mild, passive-resistance stretches instead of things like the runners stretch (up against the wall, foot back, really stretching calf muscle), which is what I had been doing. I also have decided to use KT Tape and yesterday I asked my chiropractor to use her therapeutic ultrasound on my foot. I have a personal use ultrasound machine here at home, and when I am having a non-tape day, I will use the ultrasound on it here.

We seem to have entered a phase in medicine where if you're sick, too bad. You're going to have to figure out how to deal with it yourself. Someone told me today he had cancelled a planned shoulder surgery because he had to quarantine for 14 days prior and have two negative Covid-45 tests, one within three days of the surgery, before he could get the surgery. So he cancelled it until "this stuff is all over and there's a vaccine or whatever." That was his decision, and I understand both sides. But still, something is wrong somewhere.

Our health care needs overhauled in more ways than one. Everyone likes to brag about how great our healthcare system is, but I don't see it. All I see is a method of taking money from people that is foolproof, because everyone has an illness at some point.

Here's to walking, hopefully pain free.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Taking Care of Myself

For those who read regularly and may wish to know, my mammogram went fine. I have an abnormality but they are simply watching it. Apparently, it's been there since at least 2014, so I am not worried about it.

Mammograms are an annual endurance test for women, though I admit I had started doing mine every 1.5 years or so. I think it's a lot of radiation to be spewing at your chest on a yearly basis. Still, I think a woman should have one at least every two years.

So go take care of yourselves, ladies. I know it's hard and a little scary right now, but the hospital was diligent about taking temperatures and keeping folks separated.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Pandemic Monday - Day 23

No reason to write a daily update of our lives as we live at home, doing  . . . whatever it is we're doing. Things are happening and changes are occurring, but at the moment I'm not free to write of them.

Stay tuned.

What I can write about is a little weekly diary of how I am feeling about this pandemic, and how we're managing. As a long-time married couple with no children, we mostly have only ourselves to rely upon. Fortunately, we do have family close by - I have a brother who has called frequently, bless his heart, and my father and I have talked some, and my husband has checked on neighbors and his mother. We're not exactly sequestered in silence up here on our little knoll.

That doesn't mean I don't want to get out of the house. My outings previously were limited mostly to trips to the grocery store, the chiropractor, and Walmart, but at least I got out. Now, I go nowhere except on short drives "around the block" which here is an hour's ride because we don't have blocks but eventually you loop back to where you started.

My husband insists on doing the grocery shopping. Because I tend to catch everything, he doesn't want me out of the house.

When things come in the house, they either sit in the sun or are sprayed with Lysol or wiped down with a Clorox wipe. He takes a shower every time he leaves our property and comes back. I stay six feet away from him until he's clean. I wear gloves to handle food until it's all been washed and put away.

I freeze grapes. I used to not do that, they'd go bad faster than I could eat them, but now I am immediately taking half of them and putting them in the freezer. I also froze a half-gallon of milk so I would have milk here if I needed it for recipes. I put two cups each into smaller containers and froze those. I mean, you never know when you may need two cups of milk.

Spring is bursting out all over the place. The grass is green and the cows no longer need to be fed - they ignore the hay in favor of the new grass. The blackberry brambles have leaves. The oak trees have growths of green. The redbuds have been beautiful this year. The dogwoods are starting to bloom.

The deer and turkey have been roaming around the house, unfazed by our continued presence. Sometimes it seems like we're the ones in the zoo and they're the ones looking in.

Around 4 a.m. this morning I woke to a bright shining Strawberry moon, not quite full, as it sent moonbeams sliding into my window. A cloud soon covered it and I went back to sleep.

I tire easily these days. I don't know if it is the atmosphere, the constant drumbeat of "something is wrong," or simply my age, but I feel worn out by the time afternoon reaches its zenith. I don't nap, though, because I don't sleep at night if I sleep in the day.

That constant hum of "all is not well" has become a monotonous drone in the background, rather like the chatter of locust in summer when they come out, or maybe it's like tinnitus, which I have and which frequently sounds like a high-pitched squeal. But now there's a low frequency background,  one not of my own making, resounding in my heart. Drums beating out an unspeakable message: stay home, stay home, stay home.

As an introvert, staying home is not awful. I like to be at home. What's got me bumfuzzled is my changing routine. I had a routine and then my husband had his ankle surgery. That changed my routine significantly. Now he is up and about, and my routine is not yet back into something recognizable. Because now I have to spend much time wiping down doorknobs and wiping off the groceries and worrying over him if I know he is out beyond the boundaries of our farm. I do more laundry. That constant hum of "all is not well" overlays everything, and I can't think clearly, and my focus is that of a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower and never quite landing safely.

So this is the Pandemic Monday notation. It's a partly cloudy day, though we've had a sprinkle of rain. And my routine will once again be interrupted today, because I'm off to watch my governor update us on the latest number of deaths and positive cases, and see what else the officials advise.

Be well, be safe, stay healthy, stay inside, dear reader. Take care of yourselves as best you can.

Friday, April 03, 2020

For the Record

I took this from a Facebook post on The Atlantic page. I want to remember this, so I am posting it here.
Facts. For the record:
Dec 18th - House Impeaches Trump
Jan 8th - First CDC warning

Jan 9th - Trump campaign rally
Jan 14th - Trump campaign rally
Jan 16th - House sends impeachment articles to Senate
Jan 18th - Trump golfs
Jan 19th - Trump golfs
Jan 20th - first case of corona virus in the US, Washington State.
Jan 22nd - “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
Jan 28th - Trump campaign rally
Jan 30th - Trump campaign rally
Feb 1st - Trump golfs
Feb 2nd - “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China."
Feb 5th - Senate votes to acquit. Then takes a five-day weekend.
Feb 10th - Trump campaign rally
Feb 12th - Dow Jones closes at an all time high of 29,551.42
Feb 15h - Trump golfs
Feb 19th - Trump campaign rally
Feb 20th - Trump campaign rally
Feb 21st - Trump campaign rally
Feb 24th - “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”
Feb 25h - “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”
Feb 25th - “I think that's a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”
Feb 26th - “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”
Feb 26th - “We're going very substantially down, not up.” Also "This is a flu. This is like a flu"; "Now, you treat this like a flu"; "It's a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we'll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner."
February 27th: “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
Feb 28th - “We're ordering a lot of supplies. We're ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn't be ordering unless it was something like this. But we're ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”
Feb 28th - Trump campaign rally
March 2nd - “You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?”
March 2nd - “A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they’re happening very rapidly.”
March 4th: “If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work — some of them go to work, but they get better.”
March 5th - “I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work.”
March 5th - “The United States… has, as of now, only 129 cases… and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!”
March 6th - “I think we’re doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down… a tremendous job at keeping it down.”
March 6th - “Anybody right now, and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. And the tests are beautiful…. the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good.”
March 6th - “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it… Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”
March 6th - “I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault.”
March 7th - Trump golfs
March 8th - Trump golfs
March 8th - “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus.”
March 9th - “This blindsided the world.”
March 13th - [Declared state of emergency]
March 17th - “This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”
March 18th - "It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate."
March 23th- Dow Jones closes at 18,591.93
March 25th - 3.3 million Americans file for unemployment.
March 30th - Dow Jones closes at 21,917.16
April 2nd - 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Pandemic 2020 - Day 18

It was a Friday the 13th when the United States stood still - and the toilet paper disappeared.

That day in March of 2020, the public realized that we aren't immune to things that affect the rest of the world, and the race to the grocery stores left everyone stunned and frightened.

Essential supplies vanished overnight.

Here at the ol' farm, I'd been stocking up a little bit at a time for about two months, picking up an extra can of soup and such here and there. We have always had plenty of toilet paper, a habit I apparently inherited from my grandmother. It's a staple we have always purchased in bulk and in multiples of that.

What I miss the most is the fresh food - and getting out of the house once a week or so for a tour around the grocery aisles. I have not been in a store since the 13th, as I have asthma and my husband believes that he has a stronger immune system than I do, even though he is older.

I've had a few Sunday drives with him, but mostly I've stayed home. It rained most of March, so the weather was dour and glum. This did nothing to help the situation. On warmer days I tried to get outside a little, wearing a dust mask because I am allergic to everything and the pollen has been high. I also was sick for two weeks with something - not Covid-19 - I had a little sore throat and laryngitis but ran no fever. It is another reason for my husband's insistence I stay home, though.

My hair is growing by leaps and bounds, and a week ago I took the scissors to my bangs. Unfortunately, I wear progressive lenses, and I can't see a thing without them, but I can't cut my hair with my specs on. The cut was too high and crooked, but the hair is out of my eyes for the time being. I discovered one needs a very sharp pair of scissors for hair cutting. Mine were incredibly dull. I thought about ordering a pair but apparently so has everyone else, as all but the very expensive hair cutting scissors were out of stock.

Oh well.

I still talk to my friends on the phone, and we text and email. Aside from my trips to the chiropractor and the grocery store, little has changed except for this general uneasiness that has gripped me. I've had vivid dreams and nightmares, and I've noticed it is difficult to concentrate. As much as I'd like to start a new project, I'm not sure now is the time to do it.

We did have one issue come up this weekend - the mattress on the bed has developed a failure on one side. The mattress is still under warranty but it will be some time before we can attend to this matter. For one thing, I don't want strange people in my home right now and for another I don't think any of the mattress stores are open.

Today, Governor Ralph Northam initiated executive order no. 55, which tells us to shelter-in-place. We are only to leave our homes for food, medicine, and fresh air/exercise.

That's a rather clinical assessment of the last 18 days, I think. Perhaps I will get more into the emotional toll at another time.

For now, I simply wanted to make a note of this strange and unprecedented time in my blog.

Be well, dear reader, and may the universe look after you.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Thrift Store Jungles

People on Facebook are saying that, during this time of  pandemic crisis, they are clearing out stuff.




Goodwill and similar resources will be the recipients of discarded, yet still useful, items, I suppose.

I don't go into Goodwill not because I'm too good for it but because it smells like my attic. I don't go in my attic, either.

Both upset my allergies.

This is not the time to have a yard sale, not when folks are supposed to be separated and no more than 10 people in an area at a time. Perhaps in 10 weeks there will be lots of yard sales.

The last time I went to a yard sale was probably 20 years ago. I went in the early hours and the dew was still wet on everything. I slipped on the asphalt at the home with a steep driveway and fell. I tore my pants, bruised up my arm, and bent my glasses.

Not a soul saw me fall, as best I could tell. If they did, they didn't say anything.

I picked myself up and went home, and haven't been to a yard sale since. If I were an eBay seller, though, I would go to yard sales and auctions because people rid themselves of nice stuff sometimes. However, I am not an eBay seller.

Most folks have too many things. Sometimes there is a good reason for replacements or buying new. For example, I have sneakers that I replace every six months. They're still basically good shoes, they've just worn too much for my feet. I have very picky feet that require a stiff-soled shoe. After a while, the soles become loose and I begin having pain. That's when I know it's time to buy a new pair of shoes.

I don't think I've bought a pair of worn shoes. I wonder if they really sell them at Goodwill, or do they go to some other place to be melted down or whatever one might do with a shoe.

Other times, though, people buy new things for unknown reasons. I have a pair or two of shoes that I doubt I will ever wear again, shoes I bought to wear to a special event. I wonder when we will have special events again.

At any rate, when the curfews are lifted and we're all free to go back to browsing things, I look for eBay and the local thrift stores to have loads of stuff available because people are home going through boxes and realizing they've done without this whatsit for 10 years so they may as well rid themselves of it.

I am not doing any of that at the moment. I am home all the time anyway and I clear stuff out when the mood strikes me. Besides, the things I need to clear out are generally papers and they need to be burned or shredded, not sent to a thrift store.

Maybe clearing a shelf would be good therapy, though. Perhaps I'll give it a go, and send my own things to the thrift store jungles.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Empty Shelves

Apparently the naysayers decided in the last two days that maybe the global corona virus isn't a Democratic hoax after all. The stores around here, which is a Republican stronghold, emptied out quickly. Somebody's listening to the so-called "fake media," I think.

Not much toilet paper at Walmart on Thursday.

Dried beans are a hot commodity at Food Lion.

Want drinking water? You're out of luck.

No toilet paper at Food Lion, either.
I took these photos early this morning; I understand from a friend that the shelves are sparser now.

My brother, who I think up until yesterday also thought this was a media overkill issue, told my husband last night to tell me to stay home for the next two months because of my asthma and respiratory issues. My sibling had attended a seminar for small business owners and apparently the speakers got through to him that this is serious stuff.

Don't panic, but be prudent. Take precautions.

Wash your hands and sing Old McDonald or Happy Birthday or something.

As for me, I might listen to my brother and keep my butt inside.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Thursday Thirteen

The bills are starting to roll in on my husband's ankle fusion surgery. I thought a little breakdown might be interesting.

1. Basic metabolic panel  - $247.00 (labwork)

2. Cutting open his ankle - $2,147.00

3. Cutting his tibia - $1,629.00

4. Each of his pills he had to have (blood pressure meds), cost $3 each.

5. A countersink (?) - $1,559.50

6. A drill bit - $937.50

7. Another drill bit - $912.50

8. A blade (for cutting bone, I suppose) - $314.00

9. Another drill bit - $1,181.50

10. A bone graft augment (?) - $10,793.50

11. An implant screw (x 2)  - $3,629.50 each

12. An implant plate - $7,446.00

13. More implant screws (x 2) - $2,813.00 each

So far the total bill is over $75,000 and more bills come each day for things like the anesthesiologist, the doctor to read his EKG, the person to draw his blood - they bill separately for everything, now, and if that person doesn't partake in your insurance, you're liable for their entire bill.

Fortunately, so far as we can, our insurance is covering most everyone. Even so, we will be out five figures before this is over and done with.

A person should not go bankrupt because they have the misfortune of being sick or having something happen to them. Nor should they have to resort to "GoFundMe" or dances or cake bakes to pay off their hospital bills. Yet this is what happens around here - people really do have dances and things because of their medical expenses, hoping to pick up a couple thousand to keep the wolves of Isengard at bay - I mean, the medical professionals from garnishing your paycheck or taking out a lien on your house.

I don't understand why this is considered acceptable. We're supposedly the wealthiest nation in the world and people have to have cake bakes to pay their medical bills. There is something wrong with that scenario.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 637th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Stench of Deregulation

For the last several days, there has been a ring about the valley in which I live. It is hovering below the mountains, a line of pollution that I can see in every direction I look.

I can smell it, too, when I go outside. It reminds me of my childhood. When I was about 10 years old, I would frequently go outside in the mornings and smell this awful smell.

"I smell Covington," was the line we used. It was the line everyone used, because the paper mill was in Covington and it sent wafts of pollution into the air on an hourly basis. When the wind was right, we all smelled Covington, even though it's about a 45 minute drive away.

And now I smell Covington again, only I don't think it's Covington. I think it's the cement plant. We also have new industries that have sprang up in the last 20 years and who knows what they're throwing up in the air.

(Also, folks are burning wood in their fireplaces now because it's winter, it's cold, and despite all this winning we have in the economy, lots of folks must burn wood to keep warm.)

Many of these local industries in 2017 fell under deregulations put in place by the current administration. Regulations that were meant to stop pollution so that people like me, people with asthma and other breathing problems, might live our lives without choking when we walk out the door. Twenty-one different regulations that stopped air pollution were "rolled back" so that the company owners might make a higher profit.

In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to reread the rules to suit themselves, and in so doing, they allowed even more pollution to enter our air.

This is supposed to save every household $3,100 over a 5 to 10 year period. The White House has a lovely .pdf that I've linked to that proclaims this deregulation stuff to be the best thing since Nixon said, "I am not a crook." This is a bunch of made-up guess-work (some would call it Fake News). Does anyone really think the corporations are going to take their savings and make the cost of their products less? Do you see the cost of products lessening? I don't. Those savings are going to the pockets of CEOS and shareholders.

All this is doing for me is increasing my doctor bills.

An inhaler costs me $40 under my insurance plan. I'm supposed to use it every 4 hours, two puffs at a time. It only has 200 inhalations. At that rate it won't last a month.

So I skimp on my inhaler and don't use it as prescribed. That means I'm not taking in enough air and I'm tired all the time. The last time I was checked by my asthma doctor, I was only able to use about 70 percent of my lung capacity without an inhaler.

My father asked me a while back how my life has been affected under this presidency when I complained about this administration.

Well, this is one way.

I can't breathe.

Pollution rising from the cement plant, which is just over the ridge. Photo taken on 11-13-2019.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Back to the Doctor

I went to see my doctor's PA today.

My doctor, I was told, is booked through the end of the year. Not exactly what you want to hear when you sitting in the room getting your blood checked, but at least she has the PA available.

While I was there, I had an asthma attack. The PA listened to my lungs and could hear the wheezing. She then administered a nebulizer, which is a breathing thing that forces albuterol down into your lungs. The wheezing cleared up, as did the coughing, until about 4 p.m. this afternoon.

My doctor, bless her, came into my room to see me anyway, for just a moment. She gave me a hug, heard what the PA said and agreed with her treatment, hugged me again, and went off to her next patient.

I am so lucky I have such a good doctor.

Now I'm coughing again but I am so far resisting the cough medicine she prescribed. It has guaifenesin in it and that stuff makes me jittery, especially this time of day. I did resort to an inhaler a bit ago.

I have been sick since November 30, so two weeks.

The doctor also gave me a second round of antibiotics, something I've neve had before. It is supposed to help with this type of respiratory thing.

We shall see. I hope I wake up in the morning feeling like a new woman.

This is a horrible time to be sick, especially since my husband is still recovering from surgery and non-weight bearing on one foot (his driving foot!). It's not like I can send him out to the supermarket, so I've been overdoing things a bit, I suspect, by trying to take care of everything.

I am not one to go to bed when I am ill, though I prefer to stay home and not go out. Even so, I still manage 7,000 steps on my Fitbit.

Somebody has to do the laundry, after all.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Post-Op Report

Went with husband to his post-op check up today. My brother actually took him; I followed in my car. Husband did not believe he could ride in my vehicle (I thought otherwise). I have since informed him since that my Camry isn't good enough, we need a third car so my vehicle will be, in fact, my vehicle, since right now we have "his" truck and "our" car and I would like to have a car of my own.

I would like to have a Corolla instead of a Camry, I think. I know he couldn't (or wouldn't try to) fit in a Corolla and I wouldn't have to worry about constantly adjusting the seats and mirrors and finding chewing tobacco spills all over the seat.

But I digress.

At the doctor's office, we saw pictures of the screws and plates in his foot. After the bandages were removed, we realized that he had incisions in more places than we'd been told by the "helper" in the hospital. As I did not talk to the damn doctor (he will always be that in my mind), I am not surprised to find we didn't know this.

The damn doctor looked at his foot, said it was healing nicely, and then sent him off for an x-ray and to have a cast put in place.

Husband chose fire-engine red for his cast color.

Now it is a matter of keeping it elevated and continuing to be non-weight bearing. He is getting along well, really. He's not a demanding patient and now that he is up and around he is doing a few things for himself, like making his coffee

In other not-so-great news, I've developed a sore throat, bleeding sinuses, and an earache. I don't have a temperature and my doctor doesn't work on Friday afternoons.

I tried really hard not to catch something but it is next to impossible to go out of the house and not walk into germs. Plus we've had a lot more people in the house than normal - visitors and home health care folks. Who knows what they drag inside. I have been appalled at the perfume some of the home health care people have worn - one person came in reeking of some smelly-good stuff and I literally had to leave the room and then air out the house after she left.

I plan to complain about many things about Carilion and its drive-by surgery proceedings. This so-called "home health care" is a joke.

Letters are in the works, with cc to Nancy Agee (who is already familiar with me as a champion of those who experience crap at the hands of Carilion, though it's been a few years since my messed-up surgery there).

The community deserves better.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Just Another Day

The patient is doing well. He was up a lot yesterday, sitting and watching TV and listening to an audiobook. He is back in the bed more today, so he was probably up too much. However, this afternoon finds him at his own computer, looking at whatever he looks at.

He is now fetching some of his own items. Bottled water, diet Dr. Pepper, his cans of snuff that I am reluctant to give him in the first place. We are finding our new routine, which basically means that my day doesn't start until after 11 a.m., after I get him bathed and fed and all of that.

It is very tiring for him to have an unusable foot. Everything takes a little thought and more time. That goes for both of us.

He watched me carry out the trash yesterday. The bag had grown heavier than I thought (I try to keep them light), so I walked a few feet, felt the pain in my abdomen, stopped, set the bag down briefly, let the pain subside, picked up the bag, walked a few feet, etc., until I reached the outbuilding where the outside trash cans are.

Doable. A little slow, but I am managing. He didn't like it that it took me so long, that I was in the cold that long, that I had to do it at all, really. But it's better out there than stinking up the garage. And it's how I've learned to manage, after 6 years of dealing with my own tiring health issues. I think this has been enlightening for him, to watch me work through my days, getting the laundry done, the dishes cleaned up, still managing the household as best I can.

We have put up a small 3-foot tree that we bought at Walmart. It has no decorations because I can't lift the boxes to get to the decorations. At least it gives off a little holiday light.

My husband packs up boxes as full as he can, and puts things where he can reach them. So the Christmas things are heavy and up high. He is 6' 2" tall and I'm 5' 1' tall. I have a bad back and bad ab muscles, and can't lift much over 10 pounds or so. I could stand on a stool and unpack the boxes from on high, I guess, but I don't see the point. If I decide I simply must have decorations on this tiny little tree, it would be easier to go to the dollar store and buy something cheap to throw on there than to dig out the boxes.

Carilion Transgressions

I was going to write a blog post about my wait at Carilion, but too much time has passed. I think I will, though, leave a list of transgressions here so I can come back to it when I sit down to write a letter to somebody at that facility.

1. The pre-op people said to bring an overnight bag with you. They said it would be placed on the gurney, taken with my husband into surgery, and then it would be there with him when he was sent to his recovery room. But they don't do that anymore. I had to walk the entire length of the hospital, led there by a volunteer, so I could pick up the things he took with him, plus the clothing he had on. Just his shoes are heavy (size 13 feet). So I was stuck with all of this stuff that if the pre-op instructions had been accurate would have been left in the car. They have a disconnect between what actually happens and the instructions. This should be fixed.

2. The PT people need to see the patient prior to surgery to go over ways to maneuver and figure out the best assistance device before the surgery. He saw a PT immediately after who helped him figure out he needed a walker (not something we'd considered), and then for whatever reason Carilion Home Health sent a PT down on Monday to see him. He can't do PT now. That was a waste of money.

3. The occupational therapist needs to see the patient prior to surgery, too, and probably again immediately thereafter. The occupational therapist did the most good when she came to the house.

4. The damn doctor never came to the waiting room to tell me what he did to my husband. He never called or anything. I complained to the nurse after I got to my husband's room and she tracked down an assistant who'd helped with the surgery. I didn't want to talk to an assistant. I wanted to talk to the damn doctor. I still haven't talked to the damn doctor. The damn doctor did talk to my husband but he was just coming out from anesthesia and can't remember anything he said. Not helpful.

5. The valet parking people were rude. I accept some responsibility for this, as we'd given them the extra key fob to the car to park it. We asked for a handicapped spot and apparently those are all in front of the hospital. I didn't realize they were going to place it in a line until they could find a handicapped space for it in front of the hospital. After the volunteer gave me all of my husband's clothing and bags, etc., I decided I'd go put the stuff in the car rather than try to keep up with it. I assumed the car would be parked but it was in a line waiting to be parked when a space emptied out. When I asked where the car was, one of the men handed me the key fob and I went to the car. The key fob was acting funny, I could tell, but I had other things on my mind. I put my husband's clothing in the back seat and couldn't get the key fob to lock the doors. Since I had the other key fob in my pocketbook I thought one was messing up the other. I left the doors unlocked - if anyone wanted his big shoes they could have them - and handed the key fob back to the valet fellow. About an hour later one of the men called me and said my car wouldn't start and he accused me of switching key fobs when I went down before. I did not do that, of course. I went back down to the front of the hospital and found the man, who dared me to start the car with that key fob. I did, because I read the owner's manual to my car and I know that if you put the key fob against the electric start if the fob battery is dead, it will start the car anyway. He basically accused me of witchcraft even after I explained to him how to start a car with a dead key fob, which you would think someone who is working as a car valet would know. Certainly that can't be the first time a key fob for an electric start vehicle has gone dead. Anyway, the man parked my car then tore my paperwork off my key fob and threw at me, after again accusing me of switching key fobs on him (why would I even do that?). It was a dead battery and certainly nothing intentional on my part, good grief. The man was very rude. (It is also possible the damn doctor came out to the waiting room while I was dealing with the rude valet people, but even so, the woman at the waiting room desk had my cell number and knew where I was and he could have called.)

6. We called the hospital on Tuesday, November 26, about pain medication. Carilion called yesterday, December 2, to tell my husband he had pain medication ready at the Riverside pharmacy and we could come and pick it up. A week later. I know there was a holiday in there, but really? We told them to keep their drugs as he no longer needed them.

7. I had called my husband's doctor two weeks before his surgery and told the nurse I wanted help with bathing him while he was doped up on pain killers. We got a PT, RN visits every couple of days, and an OT. How was this helpful, really? What if I had been really, really disabled, like in a wheelchair or something myself? Is this how they deal with this kind of family concern? This makes no sense. The RN visits I am tolerating but he is not running a fever or exhibiting any signs of any problems whatsoever. His pain level is next to nothing. I've had a higher pain level than he has during most of this. Somebody was not listening.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

A Long Week Update

Husband is doing well. He is rolling about the house on a knee scooter but still spending much time with his leg elevated. Until he has it in a cast - it's in a splint and a stretch wrap right now - he needs to be very careful.

Next Friday he goes back for his post-op visit, and hopefully to get a cast on his leg. He'll feel more comfortable if he bumps it if he has a cast on it, I think.

He is getting a daily shower. This is a bit arduous and hard on me but we are managing. His appetite is a little off but he told me today he was trying not to eat much since he is not moving around a lot. So I don't know if he's not hungry or having an impromptu diet.

As for me, I'm still taking too many steps and continue to have abdominal pain. I'm also fighting a serious bout of the blues.

Yesterday I noticed an issue with a tooth and last night I took a sip of water and the tooth said, "You shall not pass." Or maybe it said, "You will suffer me." One LotR quote or the other.

The morning brought pain with cold water and sweets especially. The sugar in my morning tea was no fun.

I wondered what home remedy I might try but nothing that came up seemed appealing (put garlic on it, was one suggestion). At 9 a.m. I called my dentist's office to leave a message, and they listed emergency numbers for each dentist. I thought, what the heck, maybe I can talk to Dr. Lavinder and she'll give me an idea as to whether I need Orajel or something or know if she can see me Monday.

So I called, but her mailbox was full. I figured that was that.

She called me back about 20 minutes later, saying she'd had a call from this number. I gave her my name, which she recognized, and explained what was going on with my tooth. She asked about antibiotics and which ones I could take, and then she said that with all the medicines I am on, she didn't really want to give me an antibiotic if I didn't need one and she'd rather take a look at me. Next thing I knew, she was telling me to be at her office at 4 p.m.

On a holiday weekend Saturday.

So I went, leaving my husband alone after he assured me he would be fine. Dr. Lavinder removed an old filling and put in a new one, along with some bonding, and she thought that would fix it. If not, I might need a root canal. A few days will tell.

She really went above and beyond the call of duty to fix me up. She said I wasn't someone who called with issues and she felt like since I'd called it must really be bothering me.

What a great dentist! She interrupted her time with her family to care for me. I am so fortunate that I have found a few health care professionals who really do care about their patients. I have no idea what the charge will be for an off-hour visit, but I am grateful that she cared enough to see me like that.

Otherwise, I'm awfully stressed but we're sort of settling into a new routine for now.

Our Thanksgiving was nonexistent (we each ate a half of a butternut squash, and that was it), although we had some leftovers my brother provided the next day for lunch.

Thank you, brother.

Last night I blew up a bowl of soup in the microwave. It was hearty beef vegetable soup and it went everywhere. The inside of the microwave looked like I'd exploded a dead thing. That was quite a mess. I have no idea where I went wrong.

This morning, I fixed Cornish game hens in a cooking bag and somehow or another they didn't cook completely. We ate some of the breast (that part was done) for lunch, and then I carried the remainder out to the forest and gave it a toss.

Something will eat it. Probably a coyote.

After I finished at the dentist, I brought home pizza. I'm thinking I may never cook again and we shall live on ham and cheese sandwiches and supermarket roasted chicken.

I am very tired. Can someone tell me why?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Promise of a Rainbow

Yesterday on the way home, after spending a rainy day in the city, the sky cleared and a rainbow appeared.

The rainbow and landscape was prettier a ways back down the road, but my husband, even after all these years, has yet to figure out that, "I want to take a picture of that," means, "Stop the car," until I actually say to him, "Stop the car!"  By then it is usually too late. (If I just say, "Stop the car," he panics and thinks something is wrong, so I cannot win this one.)

Oh well.

Yesterday we spent most of the afternoon at the Breast Care Center. I had a call back on a mammogram and this was the date they scheduled for the two-hour re-do and sonogram. Turns out I have cysts, so nothing to worry about, but it was not exactly how I wanted to spend my 36th wedding anniversary.

We went to lunch before the exam visit, so we did not go out to dinner.

Consider this a reminder to do your self-exam checks and your check-ups and all of that stuff that women (and men) need to do to stay healthy. You just never know what really is at the end of that rainbow.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Gray Halls

At 7:20 in the morning, the halls of the hospital were mostly empty. But the gray was everywhere.

The walls were light gray.

The flooring was dark gray.

I half expected foggy mists to seep up through cracks in door frames as my husband and I wandered, hand in hand, down the long halls of Lewis Gale, seeking the radiology department.

Why? Because finally my doctor had decided the blood clot in my leg had troubled me long enough to warrant an ultrasound.

So we slipped through corridor after corridor, following signs through hallways that all looked the same.

How boring.

How unimaginative.

How incredibly frightening.

We reached the place we'd been told to go, only to find it was the wrong radiology department (shouldn't they all be together?) and we needed to go elsewhere. This time a woman in black with a white ruffled shirt (just like the other woman's clothing looked as she stood behind the counter - matching outfits, I guess, making the intake persons in this department look like they worked at a hotel) led us down the long, gray halls, pass the flashing red "exit" signs and out into the back part of the hospital.

This completely eliminated the great parking space we'd found at the hospital's front door, because if we had been told where to go in the first place, we could have parked just a few steps away and never seen all those long, gray corridors that seemingly led only to the River Styx and the boat waiting there to take your coin.

Once we reached the right department, the receptionist (dressed in regular street clothes, thankfully, and not the hotel management outfit from the other department), found my name but not the doctor's orders. This meant we had to wait until my doctor's office opened at 8 a.m.

In the meantime, we learned that the receptionist had family who worked in the fire department, people my husband knew, and they rattled off names and retirement dates.

I was on the phone with my doctor's office at 8:02 a.m., telling them I was at the hospital and couldn't receive my ultrasound until they did their paperwork.

This cost us about two hours of time and most of the morning, waiting on the paperwork. I was being worked in, you see, because my doctor didn't like the sound of, "pain that feels like a razor slitting something open inside of the calf of my leg." That, and swelling up to my knee.

The woman who did my ultrasound was named Linda. She was very kind. She was two years older than I and she had been at Lewis Gale for 40 years. She loved her job. She didn't see any deep vein thrombosis (deep blood clot) but could tell there was a superficial one, which is what we'd been treating for all along. It's just taking its time going away, I guess.

After she gave me the thumbs up to leave, I dressed and wandered out, making the right turn out the door as she said. But then . . . gray corridors. Gray walls. I couldn't find my way back to my husband.

I panicked for a moment. When you're lost in the woods, you're told to find a fence or a river. If all else fails, stand still. So I stood still. Finally someone asked if she could help me. "I'm lost," I said.

She led me back to the waiting room, through the endless gray corridors, to where my husband sat sleeping.

I pulled out my cell phone and called the number on the wall behind us that said "complimentary" carting around. It said something else but the word escapes me.

At any rate, we needed carting around. I wasn't trying to find my way back through that maze of gray again.

A fellow introduced himself on the phone as Xavier and said he'd be right over to fetch us.

We walked outside straight from the waiting room, avoiding the gray corridors. The sunshine was welcome. Even the slight humidity and the heat was a relief after being in the cold dungeon-like corridors of that hospital.

Xavier put my husband in the front seat of the red van and me in the back, though I am short and could have used a boost up into the seat, frankly. Then Xavier took off, driving through parking lots all over the hospital campus, telling us about how he used to work for the railroad for 20 years, and then discovering that he knew a neighbor of ours who still works for the railroad. It was like we were old friends.

He finally dropped us off at our car, and we headed for home. The test results were a relief, though I've yet to hear an official word from my physician. The ultrasound lady was confirmation enough that things are simply moving slowly, but in the appropriate direction.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Thursday Thirteen

Today's post is for women and for the men who love them.

If you're not interested in helping a woman deal with a "female issue," then skip this post.

I'm talking about a condition called endometriosis. I have it and it left me infertile and unable to have children.

It's an incredibly painful condition. So here are some facts about it.

1. Endometriosis is caused when tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus (called “the endometrium”), grows outside the uterus.

2. This growth causes chronic inflammatory reactions that "may" (I don't think there is any "may" about it - it certainly scarred me.) result in scar tissue.  The scar tissue is generally left on the pelvic peritoneum, on the ovaries, in the recto-vaginal septum, on the bladder, and bowel.

3. However, the tissue can travel throughout the body and in some cases it has been found on the diaphragm and in the lungs.

4. This condition affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (ie. usually between the ages of 15 to 49). That's about 176 million women in the world.

5. Endometriosis can start as early as a girl’s first period, and the pain may last a lifetime. Menopause may not resolve the symptoms of endometriosis – especially if the woman has scar tissue or adhesions from the disease and/or surgery.

6. Symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sexual intercourse, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and infertility, and can impact on general physical, mental, and social well being.

7. A general lack of awareness by both women and health care providers, due to a “normalisation” of symptoms, results in a significant delay from when a woman first experiences symptoms until she eventually is diagnosed and treated. (In other words, women are still not believed and considered "hysterical" and not troubled with an actual physical illness when they present with symptoms.)

8. There is no known cure for endometriosis. It sometimes can be treated effectively with drugs, but most treatments are not suitable for long-term use because of side-effects.

9. Surgery to remove endometriosis lesions and scar tissue can help, but success rates are dependent on the extent of disease and the surgeon’s skills.

10. Pregnancy may relieve symptoms but is not a cure for the disease. Hysterectomy, with surgical removal of all the disease at the same time, may relieve symptoms, but may not be a “definitive cure” either. Removal of the ovaries at the same time as a hysterectomy is performed increases the chances of pain relief but also results in an immediate menopause.

11. There is no known cause of endometriosis but it is highly likely that certain genes predispose women to develop the disease. Thus, women have a higher risk of developing endometriosis if their mother and/or sister(s) are also affected.

12. It is possible that age when the menstrual period starts, other gynecologic factors, and environmental exposures influence whether a woman is affected. Whereas evidence has been weak with regards to exposure to dioxin (an environmental pollutant) some evidence now supports exacerbation of its symptoms due to PCBs.

13. Some studies have linked the presence of endometriosis with the development of ovarian cancer; however, the association is not definitive and the absolute risk for a given woman with endometriosis is exceedingly low. Whereas endometriosis cells have been localized adjacent to ovarian cancer cells, the former has not been proven to be a pre-cursor to cancer.


Even though endometriosis is associated with inflammation and immunological dysfunctions, it has not been proven itself to be an autoimmune disease.

My own experience with this disease has been life-altering in many ways. I experienced horrific pain through my teenage years, then began having ovarian cysts when I was 22. These were life-threatening as they became infected, causing me to run a high fever, and if the cysts burst then I would have died (rather like having a burst appendix, and this was 30 years ago). So I underwent 8 surgeries before I finally had a hysterectomy. Things went along fine after that for 20 years, but my gallbladder surgery in 2013 set something off, and now I have chronic abdominal pain that doctors attribute to overgrowth of scar tissue.

Unfortunately, there is nothing to do for that but more surgery, and the results for more surgery for scar tissue means more scar tissue. It is quite painful and it has cost me my job, my health, my mobility, and my peace of mind. I am better than I was thanks to a lot of physical therapy and determination on my part to do what I could for the problem, but this is not something to laugh off.

The medical establishment needs to take a long look at how it treats women and women's issues, and give them the care they deserve. Despite the fact that we can't get an equal rights amendment clause in the US Constitution thanks to a bunch of fat old white men who have their dicks in their brains, we're human beings and people, too, and deserve the same care and treatment as the old white fat men.

If you love someone with this condition, advocate for her. Be there when she is in pain. Believe her when she says she is in pain. Ensure that she gets the care she needs. Tell the old white fat men to make health care a right, and not something only rich people can afford. No one should suffer because of gender bias. Be bigger than that.

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Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here if you want to read other Thursday Thirteens and/or play along. I've been playing for a while and this is my 619th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday. Or so sayth the Blogger counter, anyway.