Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas and a Thirty Inch SnowStorm

By Christmas Eve I was really under the weather. I had off work that day but I just laid around most of the day. Also we discovered that our leaking faucet was now not only leaking along the top and spilling onto countertops but the hot water was leaking below. We called a neighbor over who had been a plumbing apprentice so we thought he could show Rob what to do. We had the new faucet it was just getting it installed. Pic of new faucet on left. He was not able to do it saying we needed a special tool but he did try to rem

ove something making the water leak below much worse. We had to cut the water off. We went to bed early then woke up wondering I would be making Christmas dinner. My mother had my sister there making a turkey but I was not up to going there. My mother's house is way up on a hill and on my best days climbing all those stairs wears me out. So I put the ham in the oven and hoped for the best. Called my sister and her friend was coming there for dinner and I knew he did a lot of his and her home repairs so I asked if he or my Dad might have the tool. She said they would eat and be here around 2 and yes, Dad had that tool in the basement. We waited and waited and when they were not here by 5 I called another neighbor who was a plumber before he became physically disabled. I explained we didn't want him to do anything but lend the tool. A short time later he and his wife showed up with the tool and Rob began the process. It went rather well all things considering. Once he was in the thick of it my sister and David showed up (of course.) The faucet is wonderful with a sprayer that pulls out OR you can just push something in and it's like a shower in your sink. It was a good choice for us. By the time our neighbors left, hours later I was exhausted. My sister then left and I felt sure it was midnight but it was only eight p.m.! We had only had some ham for dinner (no sides).We had a slice of cake and went to bed shortly.

My Christmas was different but honestly it was one of my better ones. Rob surprised me with a Kitchen Aid Artisan and since I love to bake I was thrilled. Had wanted one for years but couldn't commit to a color! He chose my favorite and it looks great.
The day after Christmas we got hammered without about thirty inches of snow. Both of our companies closed so that was good we had an extra day off. Our biggest problem was making a place for Duffy to go to the bathroom. Rob created a zig zag of sorts. The next day our roads were really bad and so was my cough. I decided not to attempt work which was all back roads. A family member with a 4X4 took me to the lung doctors. They tested me on a machine and told me that I was wheezing again which is usually a bad sign. I have bronchitis and they want to make sure it doesn't become a pneumonia. He gave me the pneumonia antibiotics and an inhaler and sent me on my way. If the wheezing doesn't stop I am to call him and he will give me steroids too. It is already somewhat better.
I took off this morning to go to the dentist using vacation time but I was not up to it and it's a long trip there on roads which still need more plowing. I am going to work half a day (1:30-5:30) today and a full day tomorrow. Then my Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. Yes! Time to use that mixer. Since it's green my friend, Simone has dubbed it the McMixer lol.Green is such a relaxing color but I am surprised at how many people do not like it. Several of my friends love orange which is not a color I like. To each his own.
Well, I want to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
In 2009 I had pneumonia three times and had two lengthy hospitalizations. In 2010 I had it one time and a two week hospitalization. My goal for 2011 is NO pneumonia and NO hospitalizations. I am making progress each year. :)
Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Update

Today my former boss came in to see a few people and get her mind off her troubles. Her hand is bandaged. She was telling me she left the housefire with only the clothes on her back. Someone had given her jeans, a blouse and a winter coat so she had something to wear. It was good to be able to give her a big hug. Afterwards I left a bit early and went to Target. I was able to pick up a few items on sale for her: a bathrobe, pair of pjs, shawl type scarf (she had them in all colors) and a giftcard for some makeup. We are having a pot luck celebration on Monday and giving our secret santa gifts then so it will be nice to have a gift for her. Some of those participating in the Secret Santa asked for gift cards to give her. I requested an ITunes card knowing she was given an IPhone by the company which was lost, along with her laptop, in the fire. She can at least download music into her phone.

This Christmas has been better for me than last year's. My biggest problem though is parking and walking into stores. Unless I can park VERY close I am unable to shop there. I try to go into stores which have carts I can lean on. This helps so much with my walking. It also makes it so much better when I don't have to carry items. This includes my heavy pocketbook. Although I keep trying to lighten it, there are so many things I feel I must have with me (a diabetic tester, strips and lancets, various medicines, an inhaler, a wallet, a two inch thick packet of cards with doctor information etc., hand santizer and individually packaged wipes.) These are things I just don't feel comfortable leaving at home. I have tried putting all the information possible into my new phone, including doctor appts on the phone calendar. This is helpful but I just can't seem to do without the other items.

I have not had my teeth cleaned since June of 2009. The reason is that during that cleaning I became sick with the heart valve infection which it took about 8 months to discover. I am nervous about doing it, but I must. I have had my teeth polished at the dentist but I am talking about the gum cleaning. I will be on antibiotics for it, stronger than I previously took. My appointment is Dec. 29. I know I have to do it sometime and I have procrastinated enough. Time to just do it.

It has been bitter cold here, 21 during the day and it was 0 at night. They are talking about a Noreaster Sunday. We shall see. Have a good weekend. I only have a few minor things left to get. It's almost here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sad News

Today we got some sad news at work. My former boss who was such a sweetheart had a fire in her apt. over the weekend. She lost her beloved cat and I understand she got injured trying to save the cat. She has nothing but the clothes she walked out the door in. It's so heartbreaking because she was one of the few people I ever worked with who reached into her own wallet when she knew someone needed lunch. She offered to give me her personal vacation time to use as sick days if I needed them. Our company sent her out a new laptop and cell phone today so we can be in touch with her. My heart really goes out to her, especially this time of year.

It is bitter cold in New Jersey. Twenty one degrees right now and going down to 0 tonight. Whew! Thank God I have my Smokey as a foot warmer. lol

We are going to be taking up a collection for our old boss. It's hard this time of year to find extra but we will all manage. This Christmas has been about giving to others for me and I have enjoyed it so much more than other Christmas seasons. Have tons to do but wanted to make a quite post. Say a little prayer for my friend as her heart aches for her fur baby.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Life Goes On

My life has felt so hectic. Thanksgiving I made a 20 pound turkey. My father's hospice nurse didn't show until hours later so my mother and sister decided just to eat there with their small bird. It was just Rob and I. Later I took them some of our turkey too. It was great to have four days off work but honestly I had so much to do that they flew by. I was able to get some car work taken care of, wrap some Christmas gifts and get the cards written and sent. I also have slowly used the Cpap but only once for the entire night.

Many changes at work. For two years I had the same boss. I just got my FOURTH boss in less than a year yesterday. It's so hard to get used to each one and then they get promoted and move on. I am glad for them but it's hard on us. I will be moving back to my old team (along with half of my current team) and these people are just so thoughtful and loving I am excited for the change.

I am fighting depression this season. I lost my grandmother before Christmas last year but I was so ill I just wasn't really dealing with it and grieving. This year it has hit me like a ton of bricks. I cry daily, sometimes several times throughout the day thinking of her. I know this will pass but it's difficult now.
My aunt said she feels the same way but that we have to think that she is where she wants to be and her suffering has ended. There are things worse than physical suffering.

Well, time to get some bills paid. Hope you are all in full swing for the holiday season. Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Serenity Found Me Today

Today was a relaxed day. I had a nice glass of wine as I loaded some music into my laptop which is now a year old. I got a blackberry last weekend and I am trying to get some music together to load into that. It was so odd, my grandmother's estate was finally settled. I didn't get a lot of money but for the past year extra money has been rare so we splurged. We each got the blackberry torch (a great deal I might add) and I finally have internet on my phone. I also got two pairs of boots which were badly needed.

Yesterday a respiratory therapist came and delivered my Cpap machine. They name is discomfort. This is what the mask looks like and it is fastened to your head with two separate elastic bands. The top one dug into my head but if it is too loose then there is no seal and the air leaks out. Grrrr. I only made it an hour and a half last night. Going to try to do better tonight. She said it would take time. Perhaps in a year or
I am still in my pajamas. My ex went bonkers if I didn't get dressed early in the morning. When I didn't feel well it was really difficult. I am so glad that my life has changed in so many ways. I have freedom to do what I want. Rob never tries to boss me around. He accepts that I am his equal and that I am perfectly capable of making whatever decisions I might need to. Even when I make decisions that he is unsure of, he supports me.
I have had to make some decisions lately that have been difficult and lead to some family upsets. Due to my health I will not be going to my parents for Thanksgiving. My Mom refuses to use her dishwasher and she is getting very bad about washing her dishes. It's a chance I just cannot take. I have tried taking over plastic things and it just doesn't work. My mother understood but my sister was upset, feeling I wasn't making enough of an effort. Well, last year I missed a total of 7 months of work due to illness. I no longer have FMLA and if I go out sick again I can be let go. Sorry, these are chances I cannot take. If I get sick taking precautions, then so be it but I won't put myself in harms way.
Never having been sick a day in her life, she cannot understand what I am going through. I get that but I told her she needs to stop expecting things of me that I cannot give. I am willing to send dinner over to them but not cart an entire meal. My mother has about a dozen steps to get to her front door. I gasp for air and that's without carrying anything! I am on one new med that has helped, at least some of the time. In two weeks the cardiologist will consider changing another med I have been on, thinking it is now part of the problem. We shall see.
Christmas is coming. I refuse to stress myself. From here on out it's about enjoying the moments. I am going to work each day and my down time will be spent doing what I need to do for me first. After that I will be happy to help friends and family, providing it doesn't have a negative effect on my health.
I feel like I am in a good place.
Have a great Thanksgiving. We all have so much to be thankful for: a roof over our heads, food on our tables, love of family and/or friends, and I am grateful for technology which lets me communicate with you. I am so very grateful to Rob, always there, never complaining and just loving me. It doesn't get better than that. My prince came. He wasn't tall or rich but he was honest and kind and loving. I can't imagine how I would have made it through the last five or so years without him. I think I'll keep him. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Update

For several months after I expected to see improvement in my breathing, I have struggled constantly if I was moving. A few weeks ago I went to them all to pick up some gifts and barely made it to two stores. By this time I was unable to make it back to the parking lot and my car. A visit to the lung doctor told me it was not a lung issue. In fact, she said my lungs sounded good and the oxygen function had improved from the previous visit. She suggested I see my cardiologist. (For those of you who might not have been reading my blog at the time, six years ago I had heart surgery to replace my aortic valve with a mechanical one.) Since then other than an occasional bout of tachycardia I have been fine. Okay, there was the one episode of endocarditis but it was a different valve and antibiotics cleared that right up. My point is that my heart was functioning well.

On Monday night I saw my cardiologist and he was very upset after seeing me that I had not come sooner. I had cancelled on him, he had to reschedule me and my visit to him was two months later than he had requested. He said my heart had not pumped the fluid out of my body and he suspected I had a minimum of twenty pounds of fluid and that is why I was breathless and tired. I had this problem in the hospital immediately after the surgery but not since then. In the hospital I had over thirty pounds of fluid but laying in a bed wasn't experiencing any problems from it. Your heart is a pump and when it doesn't do the job as it should, that is congestive heart failure. It's not something that you die from quickly but over time it weakens. They are going to be watching me carefully now. I was put on lasix, a drug to remove the fluid and in twenty-four hours about twenty pounds of fluid came off. I can walk AND breathe at the same time. It feels so good.

I have never been one to take life for granted. Since my original diagnosis at age 23 I have known that life is fragile. Waking up each morning is a gift for me. I was shaken up at what the doctor said but I have survived so much and there is a lot of spunk left. I am not going to make any changes for now. I will be taking the prescribed lasix for certain. They are also going to try another medicine and get me off my current blood pressure medicine which may make this problem worse. I am glad to know what the problem is and that there are things we can do to make it better. I expect to be feeling so much better and that brings me great relief.

If you have your health, don't take it for granted. It is something so precious and no amount of money can buy it. Life is good. Enjoy it. :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Chugging On

I am so tired. I wake up tired...drag through the day and crawl exhausted into bed. This is not how I planned to live my life. There are many reasons I am like this. A sleep study showed that I do have sleep apnea but they told me it would be about two weeks before I would hear from the doctor and I am still waiting.
I am coughing again...and wheezing. The breathlessness is so bad at times that I cry out of sheer frustration. Other days it is not so bad and that makes me crazy wondering WHY? Tomorrow I go to the cardiologist and I feel that is a big waste of time. He never does anything that helps. The only reason I still go is that he monitors my coumadin and I have to have someone who does that.
I am sick of thinking about/dealing with health issues.

I have been at my present employer for three years. I was told I would increase my hours off each month. Have not seen the increase yet and I am eagerly waiting for it. For the past three years I have only had 10 hours off each month. That is for ALL days off; sickness, emergencies, vacation etc. I have never had one day off during that time for vacation. It has all been used for illness. Right now I have one day left which I am planning to use for the day after Thanksgiving. IF I get sick before that day then I will have to work that day.
All my family and friends have off and it is torture to work that day. I am so hoping to have it off. By the way if I call out sick the day before or after a holiday I don't get paid either. Once I was so sick I had no choice and sure enough I was not paid for the holiday. I understand why companies need rules but sometimes people cannot plan their illnesses, OR emergencies.

I went to my friend Pati's this morning. It was a brief visit with me dropping off stuff for her new place. Long story but she got herself in a bad situation
and ended up leaving all her stuff in Florida to get back to family and friends and away from a bad situation. Starting over in your fifties is rough. I was happy to share extra sheets and other things to make this place feel like home.
Her granddaughter was there visiting her. What an adorable child with long, curly red hair. I took her a few items too. I am searching for a mommy and me apron set to give them and I have a gingerbread house kit that I am taking them. Also trying to find an inexpensive cd player and some Christmas music. Most of my best childhood memories are with my beloved grandmother. I recently got a check from her estate. I am trying to use a portion of it to help others. That was what my grandmother spent her entire life doing. She never had a nice pair of shoes and we cried when we saw that many of her shoes had holes in the bottom but if she knew of a child who needed food she was at the store getting them groceries. She lived in a modest home, dressed modestly and was a humble woman but when she died all who knew her praised her life of service to others. I still miss her terribly and I think I always will. I hope to be a small part of the example she lived on a daily basis.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Greetings and Salutations

I haven't been blogging much. Truth be told, I have been so tired that I am barely making it to work each day. Many, many changes at work. The first two years I worked there I had the same boss. I went out on disability (2nd bout of pneumonia) and returned to a new boss. Out again three months later and when I returned, yet another new supervisor. Huge adjustments for me. I have been back about four months and just gotten used to this supervisor when she announced last week that she has been promoted. Not even sure who our new boss will be. Her assistant is going out for the month of December and I am nervous about who we will go to with problems.

Last week I had a doctor's visit then the sleep apnea study. I was so tired at work last Friday I could barely function. This week has been another stressful week. Last night I came home, just wanting to relax and Rob went to my mother's to pick up something. He returned with check. This was some of her money from her mother's estate. I understand inheritance but I would much rather be given money from someone during their lifetime. I have decided to do a few good things for others with at least part of the money. I have a friend who just moved into a modest home (I cried all the way home after seeing it.) I am going to find her Mommy and me aprons for her and her granddaughter. I will also take her baking pans and supplies for her to make Christmas cookies and I will take everything for them to make a gingerbread house. I will have vicarious pleasure. Perhaps get some pictures of them which can begin an album for Kayla. Kayla lives with her Dad who has custody of her. She is a young six years old and started school this year. It's hard for a little six year old to understand why Mommy doesn't show up for things like other Moms. Her Grandma plays a key role in her life. I think Santa will leave a few things hidden under her Grandma's tree (perhaps another gift.) For the first time, I am excited about Christmas this year.

Fox was off of our cable station for nearly two weeks. They are finally back and I am going to view tonight's shows. Tomorrow is Friday. Can't wait.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Still alive and kicking

I guess it's been two weeks since my last update. Sorry but life is moving so quickly and very unpredictable right now.
Work has been chaotic and stressful. Last weekend my aunt came to visit my Mom for about five days, then my sister came for the weekend and on her last day here my older brother came from upstate New York.

For awhile my back has been in pain. Not a sharp pain but a constant ache. The worst time was when I woke up in the morning. I couldn't even stand up straight. Last Saturday I went to the doctor to see what, if anything, could be done.
He referred me to an osteopath which I saw on Wednesday. He told me that my muscles all along my spine were very tense and some in knots. He did some manipulations to help them relax. He also prescribed anti inflammatories as opposed to the muscle relaxants the first doctor had prescribed. I began taking them and when I woke up the following morning I was in so much pain. I was wondering about the saying things get worse before they get better. The next day and since then my back has improved significantly. I go back to him in another week for a follow up visit.

This weekend was very low key for us. Rob didn't feel well Friday or yesterday. He slept a lot more than usual. We did go to the grocery store this morning for things we desperately needed but other than that it's been all about vegging.

Our Cablevision is really annoying us as well as it's other customers. We overpay ridiculously and they never give credit even when it's due. Our DVR makes noise constantly and their tech told us that they all do this. Now they have lost all the FOX network shows which we watch. If this isn't rectified by early next week I will switch to the dark prince Verizon Fios. All these companies are ridiculous. It's okay for them to overcharge their costumers but when they are faced with paying out top dollar they put a message on asking customers to complain to the station owners. I am not bundled because I refuse to have a phone that might not work and I pay a ridiculous amount of money just for the cable tv.
I am willing to walk away after this being the third time we have gone through this with them.

Well, time to sit back and veg a little more before the work week begins. On Thursday afternoon I see my lung doctor again. My lungs sound good I am told but I am still very short of breath.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Serene Sunday

Yesterday was a bit hectic and neither of us were feeling well. Still I made it to the hospital for my check of the blood thinner I take and to the tailor to pick up the jeans I just had hemmed. I stopped by my parents after that. My Dad sleeps more and more these days. His voice is so weak and I wonder sometimes does he have moments of clarity and realize what has happened to him? He never indicates that he does. He was always as strong as an ox and I will never get used to seeing him so helpless.

Rob and I watched The Blindside on tv. That was a good movie.

I am so saddened at what happened to Tyler Clementi, the young Rutgers student who took his own life. I hope the roommate is prosecuted for a bias crime. He needs to be made an example of. To tape and broadcast ANY sex act of another person is dispicable in itself. To do this to someone, a young man, in this cruel and gayphobic world is even worse.
My heart aches for the family and friends of this talented musician. Bullying also needs to stop. I have a close friend whose son took his own life. He was being bullied and being labeled by others. He was so young but couldn't bare the pain of it all. I wish people could wake up and teach their children to be tolerate and kind of others. My son never heard the slang words which label people. I remember when he went to school coming home and asking what words meant. I told him they were words that he didn't need to know or use, ever. I am proud that he judges people on their actions (meaning how they treat animals and other people) not by their color, ethnicity or sex. He was exposed to all kinds of people and he often chastised others who didn't treat peers respectfully. While other people's goals were to have their child in a prestigious college, mine were to raise a good person who cared about others.

My personal chef, Rob has prepared a dinner that is perfuming the entire house. A pot roast with "ROOT' vegetables.
We both took a short nap today and I have caught up some on my sleep. The weekend as usual has gone too fast but another will be here before we know it. Have a good week.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Wind Down

Had a really bad attack of IBS in the wee hours of the morning but I was able to go back to sleep finally about 5 and slept until 9. got up and jumped right into what needed to be done. So many errands: took new jeans I got at TJ Maxx to tailor to have about three inches cut off the pants legs. It's hard being 5 2. Rob drove me and we stopped in a pizzeria and I got a salad and he got bruschetta pizza that looked so good. After that we ran to the grocery store and it seemed we just did a fill in kind of order but it still came to $120.00. I did get two bouquets of fresh flowers that I love. Sometimes I just treat myself because I do work hard for the money. We came home and I loaded up the dishwasher and turned it on and started in on the laundry. While that was going I sat down and paid bills. Amazing how quickly $1600.00 goes out the window. A mortgage payment and a few other bills add up quickly. I was happy to see that the hospital refunded me $100.00 on my credit card. I also made a call a few weeks ago and got my primary insurance to pay $250.00 for a bill they processed as out of network. Come on guys, you paid to have a line put in my arm but then want me to pay to have it removed? I am on blood thinner and didn't think having a home health visiting nurse yank it out sounded like a good idea. Last time when it caused a major problem you spent thousands on an ER visit so this was a bargain for you. Really.

Next I cleaned out my refrigerator and sent dinner over for my parents. Chicken and biscuits which Dad loves. Also fresh cooked green beans. We had dinner and I just got done with the clean up and the laundry is about ready to fold now.

Rob has also been keeping busy doing things for me. He put the garage back together after I dismantled an area to find a box to mail our nephew a birthday gift in. Adam was so happy with what we sent and pronounced me a shopping goddess. I got him a nice pair of jeans and hooded flannel shirt from Macys and Rob got him two books he loved.

Not sure what's on the schedule for tomorrow. We did most of what we needed today so maybe it will be a day to kick back and take it easy although we never seem to actually do that. There is always just too much to do on the weekends.

Hope you are having a good weekend. It was 88 today but tonight it will cool off. I so welcome the cooler weather.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The passing of time

This past year has flown by. For much of it I was so sick that the days unmarked. When I realized the other day that October 14th marks my grandmother's passing as one year then it hit me. I have been going through life on auto pilot much of the time.

About two weeks ago a problem I thought I no longer had reared it's painful and ugly head. IBS. With all the stress with my job, my Dad and my health issues it has been horrible. It is usually cycles of extreme constipation and then diarrhea. I have had the constipation issues and when your job has you accounting for each minute of your day, it only complicates things to the max. Anytime my body is straining concerns me because of my heart valve. Add that stress to the pile that I already have and it only excaserbates the problem.

The past three weekends have been ones where I had to stay home or be at the doctor's or ER. Last night I was afraid I was heading down that path again but after drinking some herbal teas and pacing the floor half the night it seems relief may be in sight. I certainly hope so. It's sunny and beautiful and my sister is in town. I want to get over there and visit for awhile today. I want to have some hours where Rob and I can just relax and communicate about anything other than health issues. On a positive note, Rob's hours changed. I am thrillled about that. He was having to get up at 5:30 a.m. to start his 7 a.m. shift. I could have slept another hour and a half but being the light sleeper that I am his alarm woke me and I was not able to go back to sleep. Now he can get up at 6:30 which means we can have an hour longer to sleep in. With getting up so early we weren't even able to stay awake for the ten p.m. shows we watched.

One of my young cousins, Christie, started a gratitude blog. I read it each day and marvel at how this young lady has turned her life around. She had some rough years but now has a husband, baby and a good job and she appreciates each and everything so much. I am trying to follow her example and think each day of one thing to be grateful for. I know I have so many. Sometimes the health issues overwhelm them and they become my entire focus. This is not good. We cannot change circumstances, only how we react to them. Each day I try to think of something I am happy about.
This week at work we got a raise. It was small but at least it was something. While some people are losing their homes I have a job. When I am too ill to work I have temporary disability to fall back on. These are all positives.
Have I mentioned lately I am grateful for all of you who follow my blog? I am, more than you will ever know.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Small Update

I have been neglecting my blog and everything else this week.
On Friday last I was in the emergency room with potassium that was too high. I sat around last weekend like a slug trying to get some energy and struggled to make it through the days at work. Was feeling better yesterday and so relieved it is Friday today. I am actually runnng late getting ready for work but wanted to post an update of sorts.

Last week we noticced my Dad could no longer follow our voices with his eyes. His speech, the few words he said were fewer and inappropriate for our questions and then he lost the ability to hold a spoon and feed himself at all. It is heartbreaking to watch. On Sunday the head nurse of the agency came and verified he had another stroke. He has lost a lot of ground this time. This is his third major stroke in 18 months. I have to marvel that his body survives them. At this point, to survive them is a betrayal of his body. He has lost any quality of life that he once had. They have arranged now for hospice to come. There is a DNR order and they will keep him comfortable but no heroic efforts and I am very comfortable with that. My mind is constantly distracted with thoughts of how much longer he will behere and how my mother will handle it. She lost her mother less than a year ago and I don't believe she had dealt with that at all.

I feel ready for him to leave us. Yet I know when the moment comes it will be very sad. Not for the man he is now but for the young father who was so proud of his children and always made me feel protected. He was never perfect and I would not portray him as such. Still, I have felt a slow but continuous loss over this entire time. I just pray that his end comes peacefully for all our sakes.

Friday, September 03, 2010

September 3rd

Today is September 3rd and the twentieth anniversary of my son's diagnosis with leukemia. I remember the day, what I was wearing, the phsyical pain in my body immediately after being told. At the time they told us he was double high risk. His age was a huge factor against him. IF you are under five or an adolescent you are at much higher risk for survival. That was the day I met my friend Paula Grandin.Her son was in the next room having been diagnosed earlier that week. It would later turn out that my son Tom was "lucky" to have ALL or childhood leukemia. Danny had AML which was harder to treat. I am still in contact with Paula who moved away to the South.

My world changed so much that day. I would never again see it as the place that had previously felt so much safer.

We are so very fortunate. Tom survived. I do believe that my research in the medical library, contacting doctors at both Memorial Sloane Kettering and NIH had something to do with it. Ihad to make a serious decision as to the protocol he would be given. The doctor felt the standard would not be enough for him. There was no sibling for a bone marrow transplant. I had already had cancer myself so I couldn't be considered for a donor. There was new protocol which was much stronger. It could cause many other problems. I had to go for it. My son had ONE chance and I wanted him to have all the artillery he could. One side effect of that protocol was he got an infection in his leg. It was very serious and he went septic and ended up in ICU for several days. He was in so much pain. At that time I began to question my decision but reassured myself it would be okay.

At the tiime I was still married to his father. His father couldn't handle it at all. He ran from the hospital the day they told us he was not in remission and things looked bleak. He didn't come back for over a month. (The first four months Tom had to be inpatient due to many reactions and complications.) I slept in a recliner by his bed the entire time. He was afraid for me to leave him and frankly I just couldn't.

The outcome is good. Tom is still here. Honestly, he underwent some changes both physically and mentally. He has never been the same in some ways. He is here though. Still with us. I have to believe I made the right choice. Still, September 3rd is a very rough day for me. Going to work now and hoping it's a good distraction.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Two more days of work then three days of relaxation

This week is going by slower than most. Two more week days before three days off.
My work is more stressful than it was a few months ago. They have let people go and the workload of those remaining has increased. Our work has a strict attendance policy and most people are let go for calling out too much. On Oct. 22 I will be with this company for three years. At that time I will get more paid time off and I am so looking forward to that.
I am receiving medical bills from all the out of network provider. I think there is a mistake because so far my insurance had paid NOTHING to them. I need to call but they are only open during my work hours which is a big problem. During my week day I get two fifteen minute breaks and a half hour for lunch. The time is strictly monitored. There really isn't time for a phone call. Not when you are also using this time for bathroom visits and obtaining food and drink. There are many positive aspects to my job as well. Like a steady paycheck. I am so thrilled when I get holiday pay. Last year I was out on short term disability and missed all that. This year I want to take full advantage of it. :)

Well time to get dressed. I have been awake for two hours, cleaning up the kitchen, doing my computer games such as Farmville and catching up on emails/blog reading. The weekend is coming and I am so ready for it. Have a good day!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Anniversary Thoughts....and Wedding Moments

Today is our eighth anniversary. Marrying Rob is one of the few things I have never regretted.
I have three distinct memories of that day that I treasure.
One was my childhood best friend looking at me before we walked into the room and I began to cry. "Second thoughts?" she said. "Deb, these are tears of happiness." (Mind you I have only shed tears of happiness three times in my life. Once when I held my son for the first time. Secondly, when my son finally went into remission on the final day where we still were given hope. Thirdly that moment right before I walked down the aisle.) The second moment forever in my mind was when Rob saw me. He was waiting for me across the room and we met in the middle and walked up the aisle together. He grabbed his heart and smiled from ear to ear. It was a moment to make any bride feel the most beautiful ever.
During our reception Rob's baby sister Jennifer came over and we danced. I had them play several Irish songs and one was the "Unicorn Song." Jen and I alone swept the dance floor and had the best time. After that she proclaimed us the unicorn sisters. I was the big unicorn sister and she the little unicorn sister. We gave each other unicorns for gifts and I still have a lovely pink one in my bedroom. We had such joy. She had told me earlier in the year that if her brother didn't propose she was going to because she simply had to have me in her family.
I miss Jen and think of her often but that is my favorite memory of her.
When people take vows, they never anticipate what might happen. About two years later Rob had to support me through open heart surgery. I was in intensive care for a week and it took me a year to fully recover. After that there were many other things to deal with. Rob has had his hands full supporting me. He has never complained. He got angry when one of our neighbors came over and was complaining about having to care for her sick husband. When Rob left the room she told me that he had to resent all my health issues. I just smiled and told her that when people truly love you, they are not thinking of themselves but only you. She said "Then I guess I don't love K."
I know this. I love Rob and Rob loves me. No one can change that. I wish more people could know the kind of love we have felt for each other. The world would be a better place.
Thank you Rob for the ten years you have always been there for me. There has never been a moment I have not felt loved. The last decade has been the hardest in many ways but because of you I've survived it and had great joy. You are the only person who could finish my sentences for me, and the odd thing is you were doing that after I had known you only a month! When I find it hard to keep going, I make myself because of you. You make it all worth while.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Weekend Activity

This weekend we vowed to take it easy. Thursday at work I ate a salad that literally set me on fire. It has buffalo chicken pieces in it (small) and it was served in a taco bowl which I nibbled a little of. By dinner time I was in pain and the evening found me doubled over. Friday I made it into work and worked through the pain but it was not easy. Saturday I called the doctor and went in. Now the pain seemed to radiate into my side and make sleeping difficult. He touched my stomach in several places and found one spot that set me into intense pain. He told me I have an ulcer. Put me on some medicine for 14 days to heal it as I eliminate certain things from my diet. YIKES.

I am much better today some 24 hours later. I am making the very mild but homemade mac and cheese for supper.
Rob loves it anyway. Always make an extra for my parents who rave over it. Otherwise, taking it nice and easy....really looking forward to next weekend, three days. Just found out my sister is coming Thursday to my Mom's and staying through the day Monday. I sense shopping in my future. We shop for homegoods more than clothes these days. The older I get the more I appreciate, have a friend in my sister. Noone else knows what I am going through with my Dad like she does. She loves Rob and he enjoys the brotherly attentions he receives. We still miss Rob's sister so much. Even though we lived far away she emailed and called and always made us laugh. Sometimes you don't know what you have 'til it's gone. I know....I know that I am fortunate to still have her and I am happy to share her with Rob.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tired and Getting Plenty Done

I really struggled to finish out my week at work this week. I have a small work cubicle and at times I have to get things I store below the desk top. I got dizzy several times doing that. Then I had some rather rambunctious customers on the phone who felt they needed a scapegoat to unleash on. Sorry but I just let that roll off my back which makes them even angrier. On the other hand I was able to assist two customers (businessmen) who thanked me profusely and told me how great I was at my job. Those are the calls I will dwell on. One Rangers fan even forgave me for my devotion to the Devils. (For anyone who might not know those are hockey teams who are real rivals.)

Saturday I was up bright and early running errands, getting blood work, mailing bills. My sister came to Jersey to help out with my Dad. Caring for him is proving more and more of a challenge to my 78 year old mother. We help as much as we can but with working full time and running our own home, our time we have is limited. Dad is getting weaker by the day and it's hard to watch his slow decline. At times he becomes agitated and cusses like a sailor. (He was in the Navy so it's appropriate. ) My Mom always forbidded any "four letter words" so she falls apart. His aides were called SOBs and she was embarassed. I have explained to her repeatedly that they are trained to recognize dementia and see it in many patients. All three of the people currently helping out with Dad are from Guayna. It's amazing how often they go there to visit their families. At these times it becomes increasing difficult to get someone there at least twice a day. Mind you, Mom pays for all of this care out of pocket. The minimum is three thousand dollars per month. She is worried about money although I assured her today that she still owns property and a farm she could sell if need be. I told her that at their ages (Dad will be turning 88 in October) I can't see them running through their money. My sister left to go home at six a.m. this morning and my mother fell apart. My sister works full time and has a daughter leaving for college tomorrow. We are all so proud of her daughter who will be going to pharmacist school. She has been working in chemical research while completing her master's. She is a wonderful person who always has a smile for everyone. She tried to get into a closer school but was offered a position in Chicago and Atlanta and she chose Chicago. Flights are not cheap but I promised to help if necessary so she can be with us at Christmas, she has been every year.

Rob's computer is getting a much needed "tune up" depending on the outcome of what they tell us, we may have to buy another computer this week. If they can fix the old desk top we will still get him an inexpensive laptop. I wish we could afford a nice Mac for him but not at this time. My plan is to continue to pay off medical bills and money I owe my company for benefits they kept for me while I was out. I figure by December I will be caught up. Oh happy day.
Well, it's been a restful weekend for the most part. I hate Mondays but I know the weeks fly by and another weekend will be here before we know it. Have a good week everyone.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Small Update

Yesterday I managed to leave work a few hours early so I could get the chest xray I have needed. Who knows what they will figure out about the "new thing" on my right lung? I figure it is most likely scar tissue and if it is something else I will deal to when I have no other option.

Today is lovely, much cooler than it has been. Rob has gone to the local flea/farmer's market to browse. Too much walking for me and besides I am going to tackle this kitchen floor. White kitchen floors when you have two animals who use your sliding glass door dozens of times a day, simply don't mix. Duffy is shedding his winter coat and there is dog hair which I sweep and vacumn nearly every day. Today he is going to the groomer who will get a lot of it off.

My neighbor came over last night for a visit, bringing a bottle of TGIF margaritas. They don't compare to Chilis but I was tired and they were free so I had a few. Lots to do this weekend as usual. So many things get ignored during the work week and pushed back for the weekend.

Well, enough procrastinating. I simply must have breakfast and get busy on this floor. I am actually bringing out the heavy artillery, the bucket and scrub brush. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Still Here and Functioning

I have been so exhausted I have neglected blog entries. I go to work and come home, eat, perhaps watch an hour of tv and go to sleep. Monday to Friday that's the drill.

I find it so difficult to get from my car to my desk. I get winded and have to stop repeatedly (sometimes I actually feel faint) and then people all rush over and ask if I am okay. Soooo embarassing. I feel like I most apologize for my lungs.
Cripes. When I have training I have to walk all the way across the entire building and I am terribly worn out. Best of all, I am doing everything with every minute of my day accounted for (literally). Sometimes I wonder if it can possibly be worth it. Wouldn't I be better off living in a hut somewhere eating food I grew or found? I'm just not that earthy. I can hardly take camping with the bugs. I need my laptop and internet and some good earrings. Sorry but my hippie ways of baking my own bread have been replaced with being content to buying multigrain bread.I do still prefer hand crafted earrings though.

As though the lung issues weren't enough, the job stress is shooting my sugar levels up. This causes me to feel dizzy. Nothing like being on the phone with a customer who is screaming at you while you're feeling dizzy. Lord have mercy. The other day I actually had a customer who was so angry that throughout the call she tried to find every way to insult me. Not the other company who she should have been made at, but me, personally. At the end of the call she wished me a "blessed day" and then called me some insults colored with curse words. Can you imagine?

Well I have to leave...just got done reviewing all my medical claims. I wouldn't mind so much if I FELT better. I am having my benefit money I owed while out taken out and paying on all the things I owe besides. I think I need a retreat but it would have to be really, really inexpensive. Oh and no bugs!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Relief at Last

Last night I felt as though I might have a total meltdown. The past few weeks have been very trying. I learned yesterday morning that a former coworker and mentor, a lovely young 42 year old mother of two sons passed away. She had relapsed with breast cancer about two years ago. I knew it was coming but you can never be prepared for these things. I had to go to work and get through a trying day there. I knew I had to get to the lung doctor as well who is only in her office on Thursdays.

I tossed and turned unable to sleep. In the end I had about three hours sleep and was mentally and physically exhausted. I was experiencing anxiety as well. I kept Rob awake also and he called out of work as did I. I called the lung doctor office and they squeezed me in for this afternoon. She said that my thyroid is full of small nodules, all of which appear to be benign. That will get ultrasounded periodically now. As far as the "new thing" on my xray from Sunday she said that she believes it's most likely some old stuff not yet cleared. Apparently my CT scan of a month ago shows the lungs are far from normal still. They need to go months with no problems to continue to heal and clear. As a precaution she wants me to get them xrayed again in two weeks. I feel somewhat relieved.

There is a memorial service for our friend tomorrow evening. She was very active in the community and they are expecting there to be lines of people. I will try to go. On Saturday morning there will be a mass said for her and I plan to make it to that. Her friends and family are staring a theatre group in her memory for children. She loved the theatre and was in many amateur productions. When I think of her I think of two things: her beautiful cascading natural curly hair and her huge smile. You will be missed Michelle.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Small Slip of the Tongue (or Brain)

Friday night I was not feeling my best. On Thursday I left work early and went to see the internist. I told her I thought I had a sinus infection. She examined me and said she was reluctant to give me antibiotics and thought it was viral. She said to call her back Monday if I was not better or if I felt worse just to go to the Emergency Room. See, silly me thought that by seeing her I might avoid that. I came home and took two Benadryl had a good nights sleep of twelve hours and went to work on Friday feeling better. That night I began to cough again. Saturday I was pretty good and now using the prescription nasal spray which was supposed to do the trick. Saturday night I was coughing again and noticed a small amount of blood. For me this is a real red flag. Sunday I got up and felt okay then as the morning went on I was having several dizzy spells. Although I never had this happen before, I realized it was vertigo. After lunch I began thinking of how the doctors always tell me to seek early medical help and I decided I just should go to the ER so that on Monday I could go to work. We got to the ER and there were few people. I liked that. I was quickly taken to the back and checked out. A congenial doctor came to take my information and asked me to tell him "what was going on". Little did he know he was in for a history lesson. I began to tell him and I was thinking of how I shouldn't leave anything important out and I explained that the infectious disease doctor said I should have blood cultures before receiving any antibiotics. Why he asked? OK here it goes, I actually said this "Because there could be an orgasm in my blood that keeps affecting me."

He looked at my husband and they laughed hysterically. It took another minute before I realized what I had said. OMG. ORGANISM...I meant organism. Then they really lost it. What a moment. I said "Thank God this has not been videotaped." Seriously. I am hoping this doctor does not have a blog. Is there a doctor website where they post the top funniest patient ER moments? The doctor brought the nurse in and insisted I repeat what I said to her. I was waiting for him to show up with janitors etc. but he took pity on me.

There is something still on my right lung. Small. Could be scar tissue. Lung doctor will check it out and in the meantime as a precaution against an orgasm, I was prescribed Levaquin. Now for the pain of embarassment I will go hide my head under the nearest pillow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some People Give Heart Attacks and Others Receive Them

I am afraid I will be the later. Sheesh today did not go well at all for me. Day started when I called my Mom and she repeated something to me better left not said. Then she goes on to tell me of a disagreement of annother family member. I leave for work feeling a bit shaken. (I hate when people are upset with me but tell others not me and then months later, my mother seems compelled to share this with me.) I resolve to straighten this out but have to go to work so put it on the back burner. I get to work and realize I have not eaten anything. I slept TWELVE hours last night, thanks to a large dose of Benadryl the doctor told me to take. I rush into the work cafe and grab and egg and bacon sandwich and cup of coffee then rush up to my desk. I am wearing a lovely silk top that was just dry cleaned. Within five minutes it has a nice circle of egg yolk on it. UGH! I then began to take phone calls when I receive emails from someone in my company who says I didn't show for a meeting. Huh? I go back through older emails and see she sent an email with NO DATE OR TIME. I then email her back explaning that she said I would be notified of the date/time. She tells me to come in the afternoon. Now the mild anxiety that I hold at bay is trying to overtake me and I struggle to keep it in check. Something else happened which was disturbing and I thought I was might be in trouble but I wasn't. I can't go into it for the privacy of my company or coworkers.

I get home and send an email hoping what my mother told me was exaggerated. She has the worst habit of repeating thing and messing them up. Oh dear God, thank you for letting me make it until Friday. There were times I didn't think I could get through the week. I am still waiting for the report of my last ultrasound since they found something in my CT scan. So far, no report has been received by either doctor. Today I thought about calling the radiology place but I just couldn't bring myself to make that call. Not today. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello Friends

My blogging has slacked off for several reasons. I am back at work and I leave the house at 8 a.m. and do not get home until after 6 p.m. It's a long day and been an adjustment for me. I always have phone messages from friends (who I have repeatedly told my hours to) who seem surprised I am not here when they call.

This past weekend my mother went away for four days and my sister came to care for my Dad. Rob and I spent several hours there on Saturday and Sunday to keep her company. It's getting harder and harder to get reliable health aides. Somedays they don't want to be bothered to come and don't. Since my Dad is 200 pounds and like an infant who can't move his right side at all, and wears diapers this is a real problem. They have used three different companies. The aides want to come for three hours minimum but my mother gets upset because they want to change him, watch him eat then watch tv or text on their cell phones. She feels she should only pay them when they are working. The companies suggest that they can do "light" housework and we have encouraged her to have them do laundry, dishes etc. These agencies charge her $22.00 an hour but they pay the employees about $10 an hour. Now the agencies are refusing to send anyone for less than three hours so she is having them twice a day, where they used to come three times a day. She is very frustrated. The doctors never thought he would live this long. If you can call it living to be sitting in a chair that supports you like an infant and being able to speak few words (many of which are confused) and to be in diapers. My father would have hated for anyone to see him like this. My mother hates for people to come and just act like he isn't there asking her questions about him. We are just hoping the company will get more people who are more reliable (and strong enough to pull him out of his recliner and move him in and out of bed.)

There has been major upset with my husband's family. I won't go into it but it has caused us a lot of sleepless nights.
It seems when there are a lot of people hurting, everyone focuses on their hurt and not the hurt of others. I tried to make a phone call to smooth things over, but that didn't seem to go as planned. I have been so ill this year that I have made a decision that NO ONE will be allowed to damage my health. I try hard not to hurt people but I am open and honest. If people don't like that, I am going to have to accept that they don't like me and just let it go. It is so hard to watch someone you love hurting, and even harder to know there is not one thing you can do to make it better. All I can do is let him know that I love and appreciate him.

Well time to get to work. I woke up with a headache for the third straight day. Work has been going really well. I just kind of fell right back into the groove and adapted to the necessary changes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday

the top of the popcorn tin..the sides have the same pictures on it over and over, I will keep this and use it for storage :)

My birthday (all my clothes, especially tops are too big for me but I can't replace everything. (pic to right)
Below pic taken today after I had my hair trimmed. These are peace sign flip flops and a bottle of Ed Hardy Sangria.

You can see that I am retaining fluid in these pics! Time for some Lasix.
Thank you for all who wished me a Happy Birthday on FB.
I am so fortunate to have so many friends and I appreciate you all.

Another Birthday, July 8th(part 1)

This was my birthday cake, strawberry shortcake, YUMMMY

This bakery puts a chocolate bar with your name on it too!

What a great birthday I had this year. My coworkers really showed me the love with a wonderful homemade card filled with many beautiful messages, a rose and a small cake. I also got balloons. When I got home I had this delish cake waiting for me and a package from my friend (who I met as a fellow AOL blogger) Jennifer. This lady knows me. She got me the tin filled with the most delicious popcorn and I am indulging and loving it! Rob got me a book, three small bands to be worn as one ring, and a SKIN IT for my laptop. Of course, he chose a peace sign theme. I also received a pair of peace sign flip flops, a bottle of Sangria, two flip flop frames that are magnetic and I can use at work and some moola.

laptop skin shown above....I love peace signs :)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Hope You Enjoyed Your Fourth of July

It was nice to have a long weekend. Of course, they always go by much too fast.
The night of July 2nd we headed down to the shore and ate a a "drive in" called Circus Drive In. You can actually eat under a tent like set up but it's all open. They had fresh seafood and I thought of my grandmother and how she loved her seafood. Her birthday would have been July 15th and for some reason I am thinking about this an awful lot.

I returned to work last week for two days. As last time, my desk was now occupied by someone else and my stuff (or most of it I should say) was left elsewhere. I found it but my garbage can was gone, and some other items that I purchased such as antibacterial wipes and a mirror were gone. My previous boss, a lovely lady, was promoted. That made me happy but the replaced her with a man that I really didn't know. He certainly was quite different than her or my previous boss. I was quickly told I would be moving to yet another team and after having cleaned up one work area, I went to another desk and cleaned things there. This new boss to me, is a young woman I have always liked and often wished I worked for. I see that as a positive. On her team is a man I like very much who I have much in common with. He is also diabetic and tends to watch out for me which I grately appreciate. There are some other people I like on the new team as well so I am optomisitic. This week will only be a four day work week for me, thankfully.

Yesterday we went to my parents house and my sister-in-law Stephanie provided a cold lunch for us all. I took a cake.
We had a nice lunch and lounged around chatting for several hours. We came home and were finishing watching the HBO miniseries about John Adams when half an hour from the end, we heard very close fireworks. I looked out and saw two of our favorite neighbors outside so I ran out. I love fireworks but was too tired to make the journey to see any. We had a short but lovely show and then they stood around our yard visiting. It was nice. Unfortunately, I got too stimulated and couldn't go to sleep when I came in. Laid awake for hours and today I have been exhausted. Early to bed tonight for sure.

I had an MRI before I returned to work. The pneumonia is pretty much gone but not one hundred percent yet. They told me it would take months. They found something else that will require me to have an ultrasound. I am not really worried but they feel that it must be addressed. Hopefully I can get that done this week, after work one evening.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Facebook Statuses That Were Posted THERE This Week

Father's Day is this Sunday I was trying to think of a way to honor my Dad. While his physical being is still with us, so much of what made him himself is gone. It's like you are mourning for someone who is still here and at times, you wish for HIS SAKE that it would end. My Dad would have never wanted to be alive like this. He has so little control over his body. It is difficult for us to care for him and even harder to get people you are paying to show up and do a good job.
The care is very expensive and it is a credit to him that he saved over the years to afford it when he needed it.

My Dad was from humble beginnings. He was born in Alabama and moved to Louisiana (he pronounced it Loosiana.)
He had a very controlling mother and at the age of 17 he left and joined the Navy. He never spent more than a few nights again with his parents until the last decade of their life when he built a new home with an apartment for them on it and moved them to NJ. Dad was not a goody two shoes and got in his share of trouble which for his privacy I won't get into.
Sometime around 1950 he met my mother who was a real goody two shoes. She still says he had been drinking when she first met him and she told him she would not approve of that. She took him to her church, made him quit smoking and drinking and married him shortly after, in an elopement. Two years later my oldest brother Jimmy was born. He was named after Dad and the pride of my father's eye. A few years later I was born and Dad was thrilled to have a girl. Mom wanted to name me Candy and there were actual items with that name embroidered on it but Dad at the last minute wanted to name me after my Mom's childless aunt so I was Nelle Claire. A few years later my brother Bobby joined us then my only sister, Dottie then six years later the baby David was born. Dad, an only child, ended up father to five! He always said he didn't want us to be lonely like he was. When the first four of us were born, was a chief petty officer in the Navy. He was stationed all over and much of that time we stayed with my grandparents. Eventually we built a house around the corner from them where we lived until Dad retired. When he retired he had to work two jobs to make it with the four of us. He had been a deep sea diver in the Navy and was somewhat of an expert about "the bends". He was offered a job in New York with Union Carbide. Later Mt. Sinai Hospital hired him away from them. This was the job he stayed in until his retirement years later. We went from struggling to living "high on the hog". Thing is, Dad made a bad investment and in 1971 almost lost everything. From that time on, he became a lot more conservative with his investments and didn't invest with cows again until his retirement when he purchased a 14 acre property and built a house on it. He was finally a farmer, what I think he had always wanted. His Dad died first but not before years earlier Dad saved his life by discovering a visible aortic aneurysm and rushing him into Sinai where a vascular surgeon performed the surgery. My grandmother had Alzheimer's and at some point had to be put into a nursing home. She nearly blew up the house one day, turning the gas stove on and gas was escaping.

After Dad's retirement he took it easy around the farm and began to visit jails. He took Bibles and tried to convince the men to turn their lives around. Many of them had children and he even lent some of them money. While I questioned his judgement, after his stroke three huge men were at the rehab and they told me that they had met him when they were in jail and he had a very positive impact on their lives. They stood there praying over him and crying and thanking him.

For Facebook, I decided to post some of the things my Dad did that I was grateful for. Today was the first posting:
I am grateful that my father was generous. He often treated those less fortunate than us and did so in a way that was not embarrassing for them.
These will be some other statuses that will be posted:
When other Dads drove around in boring station wagons, my Dad bought a 1968 cherry red Fire bird and everyone envied us in it!
Dad gave me "pearls of wisdom"
"hate is not the opposite of love...apathy is." (This was invaluable during my divorce)
Another pearl:
Love is not a feeling. It starts that way, but at some point it becomes a decision.

Dad loved to tell the story of my birth "They wheeled you out nekkid as a jaybird and I saw you for the first time."
(Dad had 5 kids but I was the only one whose birth he was there for.

When I was just two and got sun poisoning I started a high fever and became delirious. When Dad got home from work he was so scared he jumped into a bathtub full of cold water holding me. He was wearing his dress uniform.

Lastly, (and through tears)
After Dad's first stroke they took him to the hospital ER. I knew it was very serious after they had read the CT scan the doctor said that he would have to learn everything over. I looked down at him with tears in my eyes and he looked up and smiled and said "Oh babe. come on. It's not that bad." Oh Dad if you only knew what was ahead......

Happy Father's Day Dad. Thank you for all the good memories.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This and That

Last night was a real rough on here for me. I had gone with my mother a few weeks ago to the Dollar Store (her favorite place I think.) I needed a jar of roasted red peppers and they had one. I checked the expiration date and figured it was fine. The first time I had some in a salad I noticed I had stomach cramps and wondered if it was the peppers and then thought "nah". Yesterday I had some more and from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. I was in the bathroom frequently. I am so tired and feel dehydrated today. Lesson learned: no more food from the dollar store. My mother buys lots of stuff there and has never had a problem but she doesn't have my immune system.

Rob worked this weekend. He worked all day last Saturday too. He never complains and just wants me to worry less about money. I worry about him not getting enough rest and working too hard. There was a huge sale at his warehouse and he got the "easy" job of directing traffic. He came home badly sunburned. I kept applying aloe to it and he took aspirin but he was hurting. I tried to be so quiet last night and let him rest. He is only working half a day today and taking the afternoon off as he is getting his yearly physical. I will be glad to grab a few extra hours with him. He is going to be working this Saturday also. I am disappointed that my sister who caused the chaos last week is coming also this weekend for Father's Day. It means she will be there at least until dinner time. I will go over whatever time she leaves. I told my mother I am in a drama free zone and anyone who can jeopardize that will be avoided.

Thinking I may go take a brief rest before Rob gets home. I am so tired today. Have a good week.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

New Look

I decided I needed a new look for the blog. Thank you Missie for directing me to the site where I found this one. Pink (actually HOT pink) and green (almost a fuchsia) are my favorite colors. I find I always look for things in these colors. My house has the green kitchen but the rest of the house is not. I love my apple green kitchen walls and find them so peaceful.

It has been a hectic weekend. Some family upsets which have now been resolved. I got to be a peacemaker for once.

My sister was here and she is like the white tornado. Wish I had half her energy. My breathing problems are so very frustrating. Rob had made me a zen garden out back. Today I tried to go there (it's located at the base of the woods) but noticed so many weeds growing amongst the rocks. I leaned over to pick them and it's like someone knocks the wind out of me. The doctor tells me that I should keep moving and increase activity in order for them to get better. They are still healing and I realize now that they probably never healed from the Fall. I say this to myself throughout the day

"Patience grasshopper." I am gentle with nature, animals and other human beings. Now it is my time to apply the same gentleness and patience to myself. Easier said than done but I am making progress. After all, I think we are all works in progress, even up until the very last day. I never want to stop seeking and learning and most of all improving myself.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

On the Mend

Today I had the pulmonary function tests with the pulmonologist. I really like her. She seems professional, competent and caring. Yesterday I had met my friend I had not seen in five years at the mall. Said friend is in pretty good physical condition and I coulnd't keep up with her. She was walking at a normal pace for her as I huffed and puffed and finally begged her to slow down. I was getting a warm sensation in my head and feeling light headed. Dr. G explained that when you have a severe pneumonia it takes several months before your lungs are healed and working. In fact, because of the frequent bouts I had this year, mine will no doubt take longer AND most importantly, they are "OUT OF CONDITION'. I must use discipline and slowly force myself to exercise, although it will leave be breathless at times. She discussed some options that I did not wish to use. I am eager to get back to work. I have benefits to pay for and I have been out so much this year. I am not going to compromise my health. I will have to get busy the next few weeks and start strengthening them. I also learned that my lungs are small. This made me chuckle. When I had heart surgery the surgeon had to use a smaller valve than usual. He told me my valves and arteries were small. Something he would expect to see in a tiny woman. I am short but I have always carried around extra pounds. I have a rather muscular build but tend to put weight on in the stomach area. I realized that INSIDE I am a petite, delicate person. Outside I am a muscular and active person. Unfortunately my size 1 is confined to my internal body.

My husband is working this Saturday. My sister is coming from Albany to spend the weekend at my parents and that will give us a lot of time to visit. My mother had just replaced my father's main care giver of a year with three different caregivers from two different companies. One resigned last Saturday and she found out a second will be leaving in September. My father has a hard time adjusting to new care givers. He was very fond of the guy who quit after a year. Making matters worse, the guy just quit notice....not even to his employer. These people are paid very low wages to change diapers, sponge bathe etc. The companies are paid nicely. My mother is spending thousands a year out of her pocket. Often the companies tell her to call the people when they don't show up. The companies do little to nothing and at times my father has never been able to get out of his bed for the entire day. It's disheartening to say the least.

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the warmer weather......thanks for stopping by.:)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Welcome Home Mickey

Last week the little guy on the left came to live at my house. I have known him all my life. He spent the last twenty or so years at my mother's house and before then, his entire "life" was spent at my grandmother's in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is 66 years old. When my mother was just twelve years old her father took her to a store that we loved in Kensington to pick out a gift. My mother chose this Mickey Mouse cookie jar. He has a small belly and never held that many cookies but he stood faithfully on the counter top and we were always rewarded with cookies in her kitchen.
My grandmother had wanted me to have him, knowing how as a young child, I loved him so. She gave him back to my mother and told her that when something happened to her, I should receive him. My grandmother passed away back in October and right away my mom said I could take him home. It was just too soon and I couldn't do it. Bringing him here signified that my grandmother was truly gone. Last week I summoned up the courage to go and get him. He has a new home, very safely above my kitchen cabinets. I would love to display him lower but Smokey the cat is a very curious soul and I wouldn't want to risk anything happening to him. Besides, after all Smokey is a cat and well Mickey is a mouse.
I'm sure somewhere there is a collector who would love to have him. To me, he is priceless. One look at him and I am transported back to so many years ago. My grandmother loved to bake and I loved being her assistant. She made matching aprons for herself and I for Christmas when I was about six years old and I think I still have mine somewhere. I have her rolling pin which she must have used for forty years. So many things that all remind me of the unconditional love she dispensed along with her cookies. I don't know if any of you have ever heard the song "I Know You by Heart" sung by Eva Cassidy. It reminds me of my grandmother. In any given situation I know what she would have said. Sometimes I hear her voice in my mind. I knew her by heart.....and her heart was golden.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday.....Memorial Weekend

OK for those of you who were curious this is a picture of the flip flops. They look cute in the picture but they are a size 10-11 and I wear an 8 1/2 my toes were really covered by the grapes and they were over an inch too long in back. They didn't seem as cute in person. (I admit my attitude has been tainted with negativity this week with the illness, bills etc.) They went to a "closet" for families who need clothing and it's run by a wonderful woman called Pepsi. I guess because of her high energy and sweetness. I try to donate all I can there because I know she helps anyone in need. There are local charities here that really frustrate me. I have a neighbor who is supporting a family of four (two teens) and she makes $13 an hour and works thirty hours each week. She was told to apply for a local food bank and she did. They made her provide more paperwork (bills for the last six months etc.) and when she went there after swimming through the sea of red tape, she was given a gallon of milk and a frozen chicken. This woman has a mortgage etc. I know other people who received help there and got more while they went for just themselves. I won't donate to that one anymore. I love to help charities but only the ones who get the help where it is needed and without making the recipients feel badly about themselves.

When home I try to watch the Rachel Ray show. This week they had two of the New Jersey Housewives and they were both cooking their meatballs. The winner was Caroline Manzo's meatballs which I will be making tonight. If you want to try MAMA MANZO'S MIRACULOUS MEATBALLS (named by her sons which abbreviate as mmmm) the recipe is as follows. In food processor put cloves of garlic and bread (hey no store bought breadcrumbs for mama's recipe). Grind together and add that with salt, pepper and one egg to a mixture of beef/pork/veal. (I get this at the meat dept of local supermarket and it makes great meatloaf as well). Add milk as this will keep meatballs very moist. Roll the meatballs to a nice golf ball size and you can either fry them in a skillet as MM does OR use my method of heating in the oven at 400 degrees for half an hour. MM does not serve hers with sauce (or as the JOISEY Italian cooks say gravy). Nelle's will be with the sauce and on top of pasta. A few days later we will use them for meatball subs. Warm and smothered in mozzarella cheese. The other housewife's recipe used regular ground beef, parsley and a handful of pecorino/romano cheese. I might try MM's with the cheese added to them. You know, the more cholesterol the better the flavor.

Rained last night. I got up at 4 a.m. to go put my windows up (they were down a few inches on both sides of the front.)

I had a back ache and have been awake since. Now I feel a little siesta coming on. If you make the recipe, would love your feedback. Let me tell you Jersey girls can cook. I lived in Maryland until I was in fifth grade. When I tasted pizza here I went crazy. It's so different. The best are "bar pies" which are often a very thin crust and just delish.
Have a great weekend and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. On Memorial Day I often think of Uncle Jack. He was my mom's uncle who was only 19 when he went to war. That was sixty some years ago. He left wearing his mother's wedding ring and after marrying his sweetheart. Two months later she learned she was pregnant with Jack Jr. He learned when his son "JR" was born but never saw him. He is buried in Anzio, Italy and his mother took the loss of her baby son, the youngest of her eight children very hard. His wife and son lived for several years with my grandmother in her house. His wife never remarried and passed away just last year. So the price paid was very dear for all of them and all the other soldiers and their families.
Thank you Dad, for serving your country and for teaching us, your children, to have pride in her.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Depression thy name is Copays

I am just now starting to have the bills rolling in. OMG is about all I can say. I owe 10% of what is IN network and 30% of what is not. There is not ONE in network doctor in either of the hospitals I go to. They will pay as IN network for the emergency part but what will not be processed as in network is all the after care. I must pay the first $1250 and then they will pay 70%. Oh I am going to be shelling out about 5 grand for this last hospitalization. At times like this I get very depressed. It's enough to fight for your health but then to be broke afterwards trying to pay it down. It's just not fair. I go to work and work hard everyday and then when I am sick I go into debt. Thing is this has been going on for the entire year. Last year I shelled out 8 grand and my pay was cut by over 50%. It's a lot to deal with. If I go in network only I get crappy doctors who have probably worsened my health by poor care. If I go out of network I can forget anything else like a vacation. Where is the help Mr. President cause I need it NOW. Yes, I am grateful to have a modest home and a roof over my head. I am grateful to have reliable transportation and some other things but I don't have my health and now I have to pay because of that. This is why people try to get on disability and quit their jobs so they have paid medical. Sorry, but this really has me down.

Know what else has me down? The fact that I had so many friends previously. As my available time to do lunch and then my health tanked most of them have taken huge giant steps away. Yes, I know. They weren't real friends right? Well remember some of them have seen me in poor health at times over the last thirty years and they get tired and complacent about it.
Last week one of my friends whom I have known since the age of ten mailed me a box. This past year throughout all my illnesses I have not gotten so much as a get well card from her. I was excited until I opened the box. In it were the ugliest pair of flip flops I have ever seen. At first I thought it was just my disappointment but when I showed them to neighbors who came by they had the same, or a worse reaction. I sound like an ingrate don't I? Trust me, I am not. My neighbor Stacey has been wonderful and just stopped by to give me a hug and that made me so happy. The friend who sent the box wants to tell me about her life when she calls. Her life is owning two luxurious homes and then going to another state for the winter. There she has all kinds of activities to enjoy her days. I am happy for her. I really am.
I just don't want to hear about that when my life is so difficult and I don't want to receive a gift which took absolutely no thought or in fact, reflects that she doesn't even know what I like after so many years of friendship. The flip flops were covered in plastic fruit and insects. I just can't do them justice with words. At times, I feel badly that this is my attitude but I am just keeping it real as I always do.

I feel terribly alone in my problems here. My husband needs a break as he suffers along with me. I just wish a friend of forty years would be there for me and show me some real thought. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer least for now

On Facebook there is a page you can "like" called NJ is the only state where you can experience all four seasons in one day. There's a lot of truth to that. Last week it was winter like. Yesterday and today beautiful and sunny about 80 degrees. I decided to take a chance and wash the down pillows yesterday. It did recomment dry cleaning them but because of all the chemical used, anything that can be handwashed instead I try to do. They came out lovely except that now, 24 hours later they are still wet. I have been trying to dry them outside in the sunshine so perhaps they will have the fresh air/sunshine smell I enjoy so much. Rob was not happy not to have his usual pillow last night. When the weather is that nice we have many teens who seem to want to stand on the street corner across from us to talk. While I remember doing that myself, when you have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and people are chatting until 11 it's a problem. Sometimes they begin to laugh and that can get very loud. Often we are forced to close the windows or even put a radio on softly to cammoflage the noise. They are good kids and not doing anything wrong.

This weekend my sister will be coming to help my Mom out. I find myself in a difficult situation as far as going to my Mom's. She has never been a great housekeeper and these days she barely rinses her dishes in lukewarm water. I have been warned by the doctors that my immune system has taken quite a beating and I must be careful. My Dad has COPD and chronic bronchitis. He coughs nonstop. He may have germs that could get me sick again. One doctor suggested I wear a mask around him but both doctors said that if my mother does not use a dishwasher I should not eat or drink anything from her dishes or utensils. I asked her to start using her dishwasher but she refuses. So now, if I go there, I take paper things and plastic utensils with me. I avoid eating anything there to be truthful.

Yesterday I had a wave of energy that lasted two hours in the morning. I cleaned my two bathrooms and kitchen counters. I did a bit of laundry and I actually started a book. I tire easily still. I am starting to cook again and this past week I made chicken marsala and lasagna. I also bought some Romaine lettuce and have been enjoying some nice salads.

On Tuesday I called my dentist after finding a cavity I could see. They had a cancellation and he fit me right in. He didn't want to give me a needle despite my antibiotic premeds so I had my filling without novocaine. It wasn't a deep cavity and I was fine. On Wednesday I went and had my chest x ray. I love that they put it on disc so that I can let both doctors see it when I go back. If all goes well, I will have pulmonary function studies done on June 3. Hoping for some answers from them. I am hoping and praying that the run of pneumonia is done with. This last bout in both lungs was terrible.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Feeling a Bit Anxious

First thing this morning my mother called with some bad news. To explain it, I need to give some background first.
I only have one actual aunt. My Dad was an only child and my mother had one sister who was about ten years younger than her. My aunt was about ten years older than me. Almost between our ages. When my Dad was in the Navy, we stayed for lengthy times at my grandmother's small house. I always felt my aunt was more like a big sister to me. I have always wished my mother was more like her. She is a friend as well. About ten years ago my aunt's husband died rather suddenly after years of heart problems/attacks/surgeries. I was with her (and of course her children and my mother) as they turned off the machine once they knew my uncle had no brain function at all. It was the right thing to do and what he would have wanted. My aunt went on alone, working hard at her job. About three years ago she decided to sell her home and buy a place in a senior complex even though she was in her early sixties. In between those homes she lived with her daughter for about a year until she retired. Last January when my grandmother was so ill, my aunt who had waited for decades to retire, went to live and help care for my grandmother. Even though hospice came most days, it was a major undertaking for her. She is diabetic and has health issues herself. My grandmother was confused and at times unkind. Still, my aunt appreciated the time they spent together and stayed focus on all the good. Finally, when my grandmother passed away in October my aunt could return to her home. She still had my grandmother's estate to deal with: an entire house and it's contents and paperwork. Sometime during the months after losing her mother, she was befriended by a neighbor named Frank. He had lost his wife to cancer two years earlier. They enjoyed having dinner together and as time went on seemed to be spending more and more time together. Lately, they were together nearly everyday. My aunt began to confess she was in love with Frank and some days she sounded like a teenager. We were happy that she was finally enjoying life again. This morning she took Frank to the emergency room when he had back pains. Shortly afterwards Frank had a cardiac arrest caused by an aneurysm. I am still in shock over this. I cannot even process how she must be feeling. I have just sat here waiting for the shock to wear off. We don't even know the arrangements yet. Someone has to be with my father 24/7 so if my mother goes that would be me. At this point, my mother doesn't know what she wants to do. Judy was here visiting a few short weeks ago. You never know what life will throw at you. It just hits me so hard because I have been so sick this year and makes me appreciate that I am still here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good things...:)

Okay there was one not so great thing...the hospital bill arrived. I will round it off $130,000. Remember that is just the facility bill, not doctors. Fortunately, I think I will only owe about $1500.00 of that. I think. Now on to the good stuff......

Yesterday my disability check arrived. Finally. I almost dropped to my knees with gratitude. I had charged groceries (remember my last paycheck was back in mid March) and that bill was due in a few days. SO, I was able to sit here and write some checks and pay some bills. Oh what a great feeling. Rob and I have lived frugally the past month. Now we can have a few things that we have done without. Nothing extravagant. This past year has taught me not to count on next month's paycheck but to try to save anything I can, never knowing when it will be needed. I slept better last night.
ALSO my blood thinner is back to where it is supposed to be. That is finally under control again. I actually had some energy yesterday. It doesn't last...I begin to wind down in the afternoon but at least I don't feel terribly ill as I had for the last month.

I did learn that the hospital reversed all my insurance information. They billed my husband's insurance as primary and the claims were all rejected. Now they have to rebill mine, after I spent about an hour calling them all and giving them the correct information. I know I told the lady who came to get that information how important it was she get it right.
She even copied the wrong addresses where to send the claims off the card.

It's the weekend. Even when I am not working, I rejoice at weekends because that means that Rob will be home with me. When you don't feel well, it's so nice to have someone here. Many days I just don't feel up to driving to the store and I will do without something until Rob can go. My appetite is still off. My sister-in-law made baked ziti and called to offer me a dish (she had made an extra). I couldn't even think about it. Right now the only thing that appeals to me is grilled chicken or a salad. Sometimes an English muffin appeals but anything with a distinct strong flavor is a no no. I wonder how long this will last. Last time I was on steroids I had the same problem. Some people gain weight but I actually lose weight on them.

I am going to take a nap. It's cold and damp here today and I woke up way too early when Duffy had to go out and would not be convinced to wait another hour. Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not the best day

Left to right: my mother, myself in the middle and on the right my sister, Dottie. Seated: my niece Vicki (she has a
degree in chemistry and is considering pharmacy school.)
Mother's Day didn't go exactly as planned. My sister had wanted to take my mother to a small restaurant for brunch with her two daughters and myself. I was reluctant to go for several reasons and my sister didn't make reservations, by the time she tried to she couldn't get them. I volunteered my person chef, Rob to make waffles. We told my mother we would come over as soon as we got up. When we arrived she had already gone to the local farmer's (and flea) market. We waited about 45 minutes for her to return. My sister made a nice bowl of fresh fruit and a berry bowl to top our waffles. We also had whipped cream. I opted for the sugar free syrup.
My son had told me the night before he was waiting for a man to come about noon who owed him money and was going to pick up his ride on tractor that he had repaired. After that he would pick up lunch and come over. The man never showed and when he called him, he said he would be there around 4. By the time Tom got home and showered and called me it was 7:30. I wasn't feeling well and told him just to wait for the following day. I didn't feel well all day and I suspect I have some type of virus. I am tired (my eyes are bothering me too much to read even) and I am making frequent trips to the bathroom. I feel light headed at times. After our breakfast Rob and I came home and I just laid on the sofa like a slug most of the day.
It has become rather cold here in NJ. I defrosted steaks for dinner and am hoping it wont' be raining. Rob is having a lot of problems with his back hurting.
I am going to return to my sofa now and put some music on and hopefully drift into a nice catnap. I just can't seem to do anything else.

Saturday, May 08, 2010



Wishing the Moms a Happy Mothers Day

Tomorrow will be low key for us. My sister had made inquiries into a local small restaurant and had planned for my mother, her, her two daughters and myself to go for breakfast. Reservations were required which she didn't make and today it's too late to make them. Rob will be making belgian waffles for everyone at my mother's and my sister will be making fresh fruit salad. It will be very low key Sometime in the afternoon my son will be arriving with my favorite salad for lunch. I am still coughing and my side muscle seemed to start hurting yesterday after a rather prolonged coughing session. Rob weeded the two flower beds for me today and put down mulch. They look so nice. It's very windy today.
Just wanted to take a minute and wish all the mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers and nurturing friends who fill that void for many others a

Happy Mother's Day.