Monday, October 26, 2009


I got an authorization number today from my health insurance company for the CT scan with contrast. It looked so sketchy stating it was no guarantee of payment. Sheesh. I have my pulmonary lung fuction scheduled for Thursday.
After reviewing these two tests, the pulmonologist will decide what comes next. I persist in having the low grade fevers and the drenching sweats at night. I wake up freezing and soaked. Nothing is new. I am still lethargic and often when I try to catch a nap, the phone will ring. Usually something that I don't want to deal with. Going to go to bed soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

There will be an entry in my private blog which I don't feel comfortable posting here. IF you wish to be added to that blog please click on the dog link and email me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

BRRRRR It's Cold!!!

Yesterday I ran out to get milk and the minute my ankles hit the chilly air I knew the temperature had dropped quite a bit. It snowed (although I think it was rather light) in Northern Jersey. It snowed in New York, although not in Albany where my sister is. It rained on and off all day yesterday and there are some sprinkles today.

My grandmother's funeral is Monday. We are heading out at 7 a.m. to go about two hundred miles. I find it a bit nerve wracking to have to wait so many days before the funeral but there were people coming from all over and the only other time available was Saturday at 10 a.m. That's early when people are coming from two hundred miles away. With my Dad in his present condition, we are going to get home quickly. He is angry that he is not being taken but that would be impossible. My mother had to get two different nurses and is having their friends, a couple, stay with him throughout the day as well. My father seemed unable to say anything yesterday that we could understand. It's frustrating for both of us.

I woke up suddenly at 5 a.m. and the asthma was kicking in. I grabbed the inhaler then turned on the shower and between the two it got quickly under control. It's hard not to feel a moment of panic now when I have trouble breathing. I instantly fear a trip to the ER, or worse, another hospitalization. I got my disability papers and I will get less this time because I received disability back in February for eight weeks. They base it on my yearly earnings and so far I am down seven thousand from last year. Getting sick is expensive. I really can't afford it.

Rob is going to be cooking tonight. He makes a recipe we got from Wegman's Menu magazine. It's sausage (using a low fat version) and peppers. It's really delicious and you have it over pasta. I use whole wheat now. Since I have been up since 5 a.m. I may need a tiny nap soon so that I can be awake and alert to enjoy my dinner. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and staying warm. Yesterday I spoke with my friend who is in Ft. Myers, Florida. She said it was 91. Is there anywhere that has a steady temp of mid 70s? That's my ideal.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

She's Gone to a Better Place

Gang, my son Tom and I

Yesterday (Wednesday) at about 3:30 p.m. my grandmother left us. My aunt and cousin were by her side and said it was so gentle and peaceful a passing. She smiled, let out a breath and gently went to join her husband, who she said was waiting at her beside for days. She commented that he looked more handsome than ever. They were married nearly sixty years and in all that time I saw them argue twice.

Clara Virginia Wolfe Cosgrave July 15, 1912-Oct. 14, 1009

5 yrs ago (I have lost weight since this photo)

When I think of my grandmother (my older brother didn't say grandmother and he nicknamed her "Gang" which stuck for all nine of her grandchildren), I think of two words: unconditional love. There is nothing else more that a child needs than unconditonal love. My father was in the Navy and he traveled a lot. Many of my younger years were lived in her house, which by today's standards would be considered a cottage. It had two bedrooms. They bought the house brand new. At one point they put a small addition on it changing the kitchen to a dining room and adding on another kitchen, which was over the garage. The tiny lot had a steep hill and the yard was fenced in to keep us safe. My grandfather was a police sergeant. He was one of the first motorcyle police on the white Harleys for Montgomery County, Maryland. At that time, policemen didn't make a lot of money but whatever they had was shared and stretched and all were welcome in their home. There were eight children in my grandmother's family and often for Christmas she would prepare a huge meal and they would wander in throughout the day. She was a wonderful cook and no matter what she had, it was turned into something delicious. Gang was so proud of her two daughters which were twelve years apart in age. When we lived there at one point, my brother and I slept in the dining room and my Aunt Judy was a teenager. How I idolized her and her records. She was a huge Elvis fan. I have only wonderful memories associated with my grandparents and their home.

My grandmother lived to be 97 years old. That is a full life and she had a wonderful life. She was able to remain in her home until the very end, a promise made and kept by my Aunt Judy. It was a huge sacrifice for her but she made it.

The final plans haven't been made but we will be going to a funeral service and burial only in Frederick. All Gang's family is buried there and she will be laid to rest under a double heart headstone with her Les.

I feel so very blessed to have had her for each and every day of my life. I was born one week early of her 42nd birthday and I was her first granddaughter. She said that was the best birthday present she ever got. Gang was there for me when I came home from the hospital after my spleen was removed, was there for some of my radiation treatments, was there to celebrate my son's birth, was there to encourage my son with his chemo treatments and was there when I had my open heart surgery. There was not a time I needed her that she was not there. Of all the grandmothers I might have had, she was the perfect one for me. No matter how much I grieve her loss, it will never diminish what she left me.

I am a better person for having been a part of her life. Isn't that a wonderful legacy?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Autumn Has Arrived

Yesterday I decided to run out to the local grocery store for a few items. I wore my leather clogs and once my feet hit the outside air a chill swept through my entire body. I had a jeans jacket on over a sweater but even with the heat on in the car, I was not warm. I quickly moved up and down the aisles and got back home so I could put on the thickest, warmest socks I could find. What a great feeling to have your cold feet warmed up. It is really cool and not very sunny today.

My mouth has improved greatly which has brightened my outlook. I feel shakey and it is difficult to write with a pen. I have to assume that is steroid related. I am still using two inhalers that contain steroids but I finally ended the pills.
Last evening I received a call from my cardiologist office. I had an appointment and with all else going on I had forgotten. They rescheduled for next month and were very understanding. I need to call the dentist and see if he can squeeze me in. I am a few months overdue and now want to be certain that my mouth is in good order. I get my teeth cleaned three times a year per doctor's orders.
Last night I had a nice meal ready when Rob got home. Haven't done that in a very long time. Usually he is home two hours earlier than I am. He worked an hour overtime which gave me longer to prepare. I made a delicious mac and cheese with smoked sausage in it. I make it the old fashioned way, using a white sauce that I make. Yes, I know, not very healthy but very tasty.
I made an extra and he delivered it to my parents. Tonight I am thinking I might make chicken marsala. Haven't had that in a long time. I really enjoy cooking when I have time. When I am working that usually means weekends only. I am hoping I will be going back to work rested this time. I am still tired, still having some restless nights which sometimes include waking up in a sweat. I haven't slept through the night in many months. I hate waking up so tired. It feels like I drag through the days like this. I keep telling myself to be patient and to just take it easy and let my body recover. I have never been good with delayed gratification. You would think by now, with all the times I have been forced to have patience, I would be better at this.
I am thinking of treating myself to a new down comforter. The Company Store is having a sale and there's are the best. My old one is worn and my darling dog grabbed the end with his teeth. Although I sewed it shut again there was a dusting of feather/snow everywhere and that part seems empty. There are few feelings like slipping under a down comforter on a cold winter evening. They are so light on your body but keep you so toasty warm.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Serenity Now

I am a huge fan of Seinfeld and if you are too you will get the title.
This weekend my sister came into town and I was so excited she was coming. Unfortunately, my brother's wife also decided to pick this weekend to stay at my mother's. The real rub is that SHE never called my mother, she had my brother TELL my mother she would be staying there. My mother immediately told my brother "this is NOT a good time for her to come." My brother said he passed that message on but she still came. (She has not spoken to my mother in months) My brother couldn't give my mother any details. My mother, who has been dealing with my father and my recent illness and her mother being in hospice care is on maximum overload. Said sister-in-law did not give my mother any agenda and showed up Friday night to sleep there. My mother who never has a bad or confrontational word for anyone has cried more tears over her frustration in dealing with this. She is very frustrated with my brother for allowing his wife to do this. We have been waiting daily to hear that my grandmother has gone. My sister who always looks forward to the time with my parents, and time with me has had to endure this visit as well. My sister had surgery about a month ago and is not 100% herself. You have to wonder why someone would impose themself on people under stress. I guess they just want their own way and don't care how they inconvenience others.

My mouth sores have sufficiently healed so that I am down to two remaining. Yesterday I was actually able to eat a meal! I had made some London broil and was able to slice it paper thin and have it with some gravy. It was pure heaven. I also enjoyed a few crackers with cream cheese and olives. The most troublesome of the sores is on the top tip of my tongue. It was the first and will be the last to heal I think. The thrush has cleared up nicely. My wheezing is infrequent now and I am deffinitely getting stronger...finally. I am far from the normal me. My legs still feel weak. I have lost over ten pounds in the past few weeks. I am still weaning off the steroids and have boughts of emotional or moodiness though they quickly pass. I am hoping my white count is dropping. I have not had a lot of sleep the past two nights. I have been up since 5 a.m. when a neighbor's car alarm went off. Yesterday I was up at 6 a.m. and that was the first day since I came home from the hospital that I didn't have a nap all day. The phone rang at least twenty times yesterday.
My beautiful Fall is here. I am so happy so have the brisk morning air. We have some Halloween decorations out. Not decorating like I used to. I live in a development and will have about one hundred trick or treaters. Most start about 4 p.m. when I am still at work. I already have treats purchased and waiting for my little goblins. I must say that these children are so polite it is a joy to see them.
Lately I have been keenly aware of manners and the lack thereof. Certain visitors to my mother's house are really annoying me. They don't call first, they just show up. My father is on a regminented schedule. They come at his mealtimes (or ours) and stare while you are trying to eat dinner which often then gets abruptly halted. Do people possibly think this can be appreciated? I made THREE attempts to visit with my Dad when people showed up, unexpectedly and stayed. I would never a. drop in on someone or their family without the courtesy of a phone call or b. drop in empty handed at meal time (several of his visitors do this as well.) Each time I left, not wanting to be near people I don't know are not sick. These are not young kids either. In fact, several are senior citizens. Sorry I will now put my soapbox away. I just hate illmannered people.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Coughing but Better

Remember Sesame Street? Today's show is brought to you by the letter C as in cough. I wish I could stop coughing. In the morning I use the Advair inhaler and then as needed I use the Proventil. Both seem to be giving me heart palpitations which wore masked by the steroids. As I reduce them, the palpitations are more present. Overall I am feeling a bit stronger each day now. Now I want to get my focus over to the good stuff of the Fall.
This summer was a huge disappointment to me. It's as though it was not. I never had one day that I truly felt well. I did not go out to eat at the shore, walk on the beach, any of the things I usually do. Since working my present job I have not had ONE vacation day. Each day off has been used for illness (except for two days where I rushed to be with my Dad after one of his strokes.) I am so hoping for a mini vacation but not sure when/if that will happen. I am deciding that I must have some quality time/relaxing hour respites. This weekend my sister is coming. Haven't seen her in a month. She is always a huge help to my parents. We fit time in to visit and those are rare and treasured times. This weekend is a holiday weekend for her so she will have an extra day here. I am determined to find a few hours where we get out for a bite to eat and some sisterly chatting.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A brighter day

I am finally starting to get better. The sores in my mother have lessened. I still have some. The ones that are most problematic are in my throat now. My tongue is finally so that I can eat. There is some discomfort but after losing eight pounds over the past two weeks I can finally eat something and it doesn't all taste like chalk. Woohoo.
I am still very tired. My blood tests show my white count is still quite elevated. I am to be resting the next few weeks. I am being weaned off the high doses of steroids that were first iv, then oral. I am continuing to use two steroid inhalers and will have to for a while. For the most part I am not wheezing but there are times where I still am. The doctor is disappointed in that. When I lay in bed at night it;s the worst. The inhalers help but they cause bad tachycardia for me which is especailly troublesome when trying to sleep. Do I ever sleep. I have never in my life slept this much. If I sit still for ten minutes I nod off. I nap throughout the day. Twice I have gone to the grocery store in the past few days. It is very difficult to have the energy to get a dozen or so items. When I am home and put them away I must take a nap. I am not used to this. Today for the first time in nearly a month I was able to go visit with my Dad. His speech and confusion seems even worse. At least I got to spend about an hour with him before having to come home. Not sure how long this huge energy issue will last. I am hoping that when I have my next blood work done on the 19th that the white count will be significantly reduced and my energy returned. Coming off the steroids makes me feel strange at times. I have gotten highly agitated over minor things which is not like me at all.
I am going to see what's on TV and then call it an early night, as I usually do.
My Fall is here and I am loving the cool evening breezes. Sitting here with the window open and soaking it up.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

May I have some cheese for my whine?

I have been sick over two weeks now. I am tired of being sick and tired and mainly of these God awful sores all over my tongue and down my throat. Nothing is helping them. I am also weening off the steroids. I feel like something which is not me. I am brought to mind over and over all the sufferings of the many friends I have and sometimes it brings me to tears.

My grandmother is hanging on in her home with my aunt caring for her. The hospice people say she will not let go, she is fighting every second. She is 97 and I would think she would be happy to think that rest will come and peace. I feel so badly for my aunt who is not well herself and trying to take care of someone who is medicated and argumentative. It almost makes me glad that I will probably not live into my elder years.

I am desperately searching for something to eat. Firstly, everything takes chalky and awful. Secondly even yogurt hurts to eat. I had burns in my mouth from radiation and the doctor had me crush aspirins in applesauce to coat my throat so I could eat. If I get desperate enough perhaps I will try that. I pray I never have to take such high dose steroids again but it seems likely. I am going for a huge bloodwork up on Monday. My white count needs to come down significantly. I'm usually an optomistic person and a fighter but right now I feel so weak physically it's hard to find that grit that I can usually grasp onto. Maybe tomorrow.