Monday, March 28, 2011

New Dishwasher

This morning I had a new dishwasher installed. It must sound sad how excited I am over it. My old dishwasher was in the house when we bought it. It only had an on/off switch, it was very noisy and had no boost for water temperatures that were not hot enough. My doctors had asked me if used a dishwasher than sanitized and suggested I get one that did. I try to make use of working things and am reluctant to replace an appliance that still works but when the water was not entering for the rinse I knew it was time. At the time we began to search I found a strong recommendation from Consumer Reports and it was 20% off and then I had a coupon for another 10%. It had all the things I wanted and was highly rated so this last week we ordered it. Now I have to get used to loading and unloading a very different set of racks but I am overjoyed to know that my dishes will be sanitized. Tomorrow I start my lung rehabilitation. I am nervous but excited at an opportunity to improve my breathing. I suspect the pleurasy is still an issue but I won't get another CT scan for a few weeks and that's when they'll know for certain. I found out my insurance covers me for 20 visits only. I am also on my husband's insurance and if I need more visits after that I can use his. Even with insurance it will be costly for us but it is necessary. I am happy for the opportunity after two years of struggling. Yesterday Rob and I had the most delightful brunch. We saw a very small place and stopped when we saw the brunch sign. It was wonderful. They allow you to bring your own wine (no we didn't have wine with us.) I had an individual quiche and salad with their own calamatta olive/artichoke dressing and it was delish. Rob had some scrambled eggs with steak and swiss cheese in them, sourdough toast and some roasted potatoes that he loved. It was reasonable too. Afterwards we stopped at my mother's where my sister was staying for the weekend. The weekend went by fast, they always do. I don't like it when Rob goes to work Mondays. Although I enjoy some occasional solitude, it's different when you aren't feeling well. It's comforting to have someone here. I'll let you know how the lung rehabilitation goes....wish me luck.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Looks Like I am Rehab not that kind....

Last Thursday, in addition to my fabulous St. Paddy's Day meal and minor celebration, I paid a visit to my lung doctor. She could hear wheezing in my lung yet and my pulse ox was lower than usual. She decided two things: one, that I was not ready to return to work and picked May 1 as the new day to shoot for and also that I would benefit from Pulmonary Rehab. That is done as an outpatient about three times a week. The difficult will be the traveling to and fro. The drive is an hour each way for me. I will be put on various machines for about an hour and a half each day. A part of me is not looking forward to this but then the other part of me understands that I should not have to continue on with these chronic breathing problems if there is anything that might help me. I am waiting for my insurance company to approve it. (While fighting with them to pay the last bill from the radiology facility I use.) So, I am guardedly hopeful that this may help me and there will be a day in the future where I can shop somewhere there is not a cart for me to push to make it easier to breathe. I am just too young to be doing that and even the "seniors" are making comments to me.
Last Friday my son got sick again. He gets very stressed out over things like the hospital bill he owes for his last stay in February. What a sin that if you have been prudent enough to save that money will keep you from receiving any assistance while had you not done that you would probably owe nothing, but who could take that chance? He is trying to be responsible and pay his own way but finding it frustrating that with all the charity handed out to people who are not citizens (or may have never paid taxes) that he will have to pay for a long time. This country should be taking care of it's own's medical issues before helping others. OK, that's MY opinion but his father and I have worked hard and paid taxes for years (as has he much of the time.)
Yesterday I woke up feeling under the weather myself and realized I have some sort of bug. I've had a headache, aches and pains and some intestinal issues.
Better today and hoping to be A OK tomorrow. That's about all for now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

Terry asked that I post the receipe for Irish soda bread. I have tried many different recipes and this one came from an actual Irish paper or magazine. It is my favorite and the only one I make now. Mind you, you need buttermilk for it. Also, there is baking powder AND baking soda. The powder gets added to the flour mix but the baking soda gets mixed with the liquids.

4 cups sifted flour (all purpose)
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bakign powder
2 Tbsps caraway seeds
1/4 c butter or margarine
2 C raisins
1 1/3 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg yolk, beaten

Sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into mixing bowl; stire in caraway seeds. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse meal; stir in raisins.
Combine buttermilk, 1 egg and baking soda; stir into flour mixture just enough to moisten dry ingredients.
Turn onto floured board and knead lightly until dough is smooth. Shape into a ball and place in a greased 2 quart casserole. With a sharp knife, cut a cross about 4 inches across and 1/2 inches deep in center of dough. Brush with egg yolk.
Bake in a moderate 375 degree oven about one hour or until an inserted cake tester or wooden pick comes out clean.
Cool bread in casserole 10 mins. then remove. Cool on wire rack before cutting. To serve, cut down through loaf to divide it into quarters; thinly slice each quarter. Makes 1 loaf.

I should have taken a picture of mine before cutting it but my mother had just come in, it was warm and I quickly cut it so she could have some. I have several family members who cannot have the caraway seeds so for theirs I leave them out. I make sure the raisins are fresh, if not I soak them for a bit first.

And if any of you are interested in a gluten free recipe found this one:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cough Chat

Yesterday was a really cold day. It is very rare that I stay in my pajamas all day but I did yesterday. It was depressing and as the day moved along I began to cough again. Last night I woke up coughing and wheezing. That pesky left lung has a middle lobe that loves to wheeze. Last CT scan showed what the doctor believes to be a "mucus plug" in it. I am now coughing a lot and starting to feel nervous. My shortness of breath is worse too. I am either getting a really bad cold (which can lead to pneumonia) or some other respiratory ailment. I have an appointment with the lung doctor on Thursday. I also need another CT scan to see if the pleural effusion has cleared up or at least significantly improved. I have had this several times before and by the time I finished the antibiotics it had cleared. This seems to be more stubborn.

I dropped off my papers for the accountant to do my taxes. With the disability payments and medical deductions I wouldn't even consider trying to do it. The last time I tried I made a mistake and he had to straighten it out for me. I stopped by the grocery store and got a corned beef brisket and cabbage to make for Thursday. I will also bake the Irish soda bread which Rob and I love. We have this traditional meal each year and when I am home to make it, so much the better. I have my doctor's appointment at 9 a.m. so I will be home in plenty of time to make everything.

I went by the cemetery this morning. A few rows over there had been another funeral. My mother is not ready to order the stone although she knows what she wants. She is giving Rob and I the graves next to theirs. We already have a stone there facing the other way so we will have to have "our side" carved with what we want. I want a ribbon like banner and Rob wants Celtic style lettering.
Yes, I know it's premature to be thinking of this but I do want to know it will have what I want. There has been much discussion in my family over who the favorite child is and I told Rob under my name to put "favorite child". That would be hysterical. Of course, he wouldn't really do it. I will have to settle for something else such the nickname my grandmother and uncles called me "princess". Ironically, it wasn't meant to be a compliment but more of a joke, because I was like the princess in the story "The Princess and the Pea". If I got sand on my feet they needed to be rinsed immediately. Since several years of my life were spent on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay you can imagine what a nuisance that was. My grandmother gave me sneakers to wear on my feet both in and out of the water to keep the sand off of my feet. The woman could outsmart any child and we loved her for it. I don't know if I mentioned but my cousin's daughters put together a cook book they had made with pictures and recipes of my grandmother's. What a wonderful Christmas present that was! My grandmother always had blue willow dishes and the book is white with blue art. It's amazing. Everyone I show it to is so impressed at the job that Christie and Jenny did. My aunt had one made for my mother, sister and I in hardcover and some smaller softcover ones made for my brother's wives. I am thinking of making one about my Dad for my mother and siblings for Christmas. We have so many pictures of him. I would need to type up some stories. I have plenty.
Well, time to grab some lunch and run something over to my Mom's. I try to see her for a time each day. There is so much still to do but yesterday Dad's clothes were given away (except of course for his shoes.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Musings

I had a really nice weekend (except for the sleepless night on Saturday.) My sister came early Saturday morning. She had a few hours with my mother (I always try to allow them sometime without me there) then they called me asking me to go out with them. We went to the Dollar Store and got our bargains. I got a lot of cards there. Afterwards we retried what had once been our favorite diner. In the New York area diners are a bit different than elsewhere. You can get some fabulous dinners. In New York state some diners even serve liquor. This diner had changed hands a few times and the last time I was there it left a lot to be desired. They had remodeled and we had a very nice dinner. I had crab cakes which were all crab, almost no filler and my sister had the sole stuffed with crab meat. Our portions were large and there was no room for the included dessert so we got rice pudding to go. We went back to my mother's and worked with her on a jigsaw puzzle. She always enjoyed them and now has several new ones. For the most part she is doing well, although she has some bad moments. I was spending every waking moment there but slowly am trying to get her used to having some time on her own as I am slated to return to work April 1st. That will be hard for her. We have done a lot and today she was dropping off the last of Dad's clothes to be donated to a bowery mission in New York. Seeing the clothes in the bags was really hard for me. I know they will be put to good use. He had visited the mission with his minister once or twice. Every now and then I almost pinch myself and ask "Can he really be gone?" It puzzles me how I can do that after attending his funeral and visiting his grave half a dozen times already. I guess it's all part of the grieving process. When I was out of work five years ago my Dad would just show up at my door. It was usually around lunch time and he would ask "What's for lunch?" At times I was busy doing other things and I would kind of sigh. Now I would give anything to have him throw open my front door and have lunch with me again. The last two years there was a rare time you could have a give and take converstation. He had aphasia then just gave up talking except for simple words like yes and no. If he got irritated he would let you know with shocking entire phrases or sentences like "Leave me alone" or "Go away". If you were lucky you got a smile from time to time and that made my day. We lost him slowly over time and then at the end, it was like we lost him twice.

My sister brought Office 2007 for students with her. I have been wanting it for a long time. Now I finally have a word program in the laptop. I also was able to convert my old word files. I have an excel spreadsheet with names and addresses that I used for Christmas cards. I have to try to figure out how to do that in this version. It gives me something to do. I had also done two journals (favorite poetry and favorite receipes) that are in a Corel program. Can't seem to get them open now. I would like to have them put into word.

It's chilly today. Overcast but no rain predicted. I am going to stay home today. Just take some time and watch an old movie. No doubt my neighbor Stacey will come over at some point. She has been wonderful with her caring and support.
They wanted to take us to a concert but we declined. I don't want to leave my mother for hours yet. It's a lot what she has and continues to go through. It has changed her and made her more emotional in a positive way. Life goes on but I think these experiences change us all. Now when I know someone has lost a parent I will reach out to them and let them know that I understand.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life Goes On

I have spent so much time thinking about friendship and making many observations. I have found that the friends who tell that they love you, promise to be there for you always etc. are the ones who let you down. My other friends who never made promises were the ones who were here for me. In fact, one cried when hearing a phone message from someone who always said they were my best friend. I have discovered that these people when presented with the truth try to turn it around and blame me. I tried to hang on to friends I had a history with but the truth is time passes and people change. I don't make promises to friends but when they need me I do my best to be there. Is expecting to be treated the way you treat others too much to ask? I don't think so.

My Mom has had a few really bad days. I have had to go there and give her sick dog medicine that she can't get her to take. I wrote some thank you cards today for her and made lists for her. Every single thing is a reminder of a person who is no longer there. She has also had two close friends who have not called or visited and I know that is bothering her as they were both widowed in the past few years. They came to her house all the time then and she was there for them.
I remember one friend who just came sat and cried.

My one friend talked to me yesterday and told me that she cannot allow people to get too close to her anymore. She was hurt too badly and just couldn't put herself out there again. A part of me feels that way. The other part knows that there are genuine people out there, some who have touched me in a way I won't forget. I do know this has taught me that I will never underestimate the power of a sympathy card. Each one I received was cherished. It's not a hard thing to do but it means so much to someone when they are grieving.

Lent started this week. For lent I am giving up friends who profess to love me but whose actions say something entire differently. No relationship is 100% bad and of course I got some good from them but I need much healthier relationships.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Good and the Bad

My cousin and her Mom were here for two glorious days. It was wonderful to have their company. They spoiled us by taking us out for every meal. The whole time we have had company this was the first time there was no food prep or dirty dishes, save the lunch I made them when they arrived. Because they have been through this, they understood and shared a lot. Sometimes just being understood is worth it's weight in gold. I stayed at my mother's, with my cousin, so I had two days without animals to worry about. When I arrived home I was shocked to hear a phone message that had been left. A friend was angry that I had not called her back in the past two weeks. (I had called her the day my Dad died and that was exactly two weeks earlier.) Truth be told, I had attempted to call her and if she had checked her caller id she would have seen that. I did not leave messages. She only has a cell phone, no house phone and reaching her is not always easy. She went on to say not to bother sending her cards (I had sent her a St. Patrick's Day card) as we "never talk." I cannot tell you how upsetting this was. Firstly, my father had died two weeks to the day yesterday. In that short time I have spent countless hours calling social, security, their utilities, etc. to have things changed into her name. Some require copies of the death certificate. People are constantly dropping by my mother's house, bringing productivity to a standstill. My mother is not fully functioning right now. I prepped her house for company, changed bed linens and fielded what phone calls I could. Should I have to explain this to someone? I think not. While all this has gone on, I have also continued to deal with my health issues and see doctors and make sure meds are filled and taken. Anything I do at my mother's is with me struggling for breath. My mother's house has been a constant delivery point. My brothers friends have sent floral, and fruit arrangements and the food deliveries still continue. I am astonished at how much support their friends and their families have given and how generous they have been. Some of my brother's friends have actually called me to see how I was doing. My neighbor, Stacey, was at the funeral and has called and or visited me each day since then. If I am not around, she leaves a message just to let me know I am in her thoughts. Yesterday when she called I was crying about the phone message and she cried with me. The friends you think will be there for you sometimes cannot be. Maybe they choose not to be. I have learned once again that I can only truly count on myself. I'm a strong person who has survived cancer several times, heart surgery and five bouts of pneumonia in twenty months. I will survive this too. It would just be easier with some genuine caring and support.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

New Post

I wrote a lengthy post in my confidential journal (private version) which I meant to put in here. I cannot cut and paste it or move it over. IF you do not have the link or wish to have your email address added so that you can access it, let me know. I think most of you are on that list anyway.
Sorry for the inconvenience.