Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sunshine and Thoughts of Food

I have been feeling better since shedding the fluid. I actually began to cook a few meals again. I used to buy all these magzines and things were rarely made. I went through them last year and cut out recipes of interest and made folders which they went into. I just came across one that had not been placed in a folder and it looks interesting, especially with spring here and I find that I am finding and eating a lot of berries. The Driscoll strawberries just call to me as I make my way down the produce aisle. I bet I have consumed two pounds of them this week. Since my diet is so restrictive of salt I have relied more on fruit (watching the sugar content) as snacks. I found a recipe to make Creme Fraiche. There is nothing like a bowl of fresh berries with a large dollup of Creme Fraiche on them. Yummmy. It is quite expensive though so I am going to try making it. This article states that 8 ozs. is $7.50 but you can make it for $1.00. This I have to see! It does have you buy buttermilk but I also can use that to make Irish soda bread which is a big favorite here. I am going to post the recipe, if anyone tries it please let me know how you like it.

CREME FRAICHE (Makes 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons)
1 C heavy cream
2 Tbsps. low fat buttermilk

1. Stir together cream and buttermilk in a large, clean glass bowl or jar.
2. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap. Let stand at warm room temp. overnight or until it has the consistency of sour cream.
3. Refrigerate 5 hours or until very cold. It can be kept, refrigerated, up to 1 week.
Each tablespoon as 45 calories, 1 gram carb, 3 grams saturated fat, 5 mg sodium.

This week I had something going on nearly everyday. Next week will be the same. I am getting caught up on doctors appointments, dentist visits etc. I haven't seen my eye doctor, gynecologist etc. in over a year. I finally got caught up with the dentist and am getting my teeth cleaned Monday. That will be done. With me not working you would think I would have a lot more time to do these things. I have been dealing all week with insurance issues. I am very unhappy with United HealthCare. This was the insurance I had through my employer. They paid for some of the visits for my pulmonary rehab and yet denied about six others. The provider has called me nonstop about this. I have called and spent hours upon hours with United HC. I am now dealing with their "Rapid Resolutions" Dept. and I certainly hope to get this resolved. The provider is threatening to turn me over to collections, claiming they told her I am responsible. Since this was a covered benefit and I called to make sure that I needed no special authorization I fail to see what the hold up is. I now have Blue Cross and I can tell you that while it's harder to get authorizations for CT scans and such the bill paying goes much smoother. I pay 20% with Blue Cross but it's worth it. I can see any doctors I want, without referrals. Unfortunately, the DME (durable medical equipment) which I need such as oxygen costs me that percentage as well. With my other policy I paid nothing. This means having a large oxygen bill should I choose to travel OR trying to travel without it. I cannot fly without it. I use it to sleep overnight. I am sure if I went overnight one night I might be okay but I couldn't function long without it at all. Well, Rob is sleeping in today. I got up with Duffy at 7:15 and am letting him catch up. Poor guy is so tired he is falling asleep in the evening while trying to watch tv. Duffy has a habit of drinking a lot of water before bedtime and by 6 he really wants to go out. I know I could pick up the water bowl but I just can't do that. There are times you really need a drink of water.
Have a great weekend!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

These were pictures from Sunday of our visit with Rob's Mom and niece Cassandra. We were exhausted, had about four hours sleep the night before and we hadn't even combed our hair when they arrived at 8 a.m. for a final cup of tea. Honestly, we usually look better.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Update Continued

I went to my lung doctor the day after the last post. She sent me for a different x ray and they found that there is fluid in/around my right lung. I am already on very strong diuretics. She wants to wait two weeks to see if it will reduce or clear up. If it is the same or larger they will consider whether or not to remove the fluid. Since I am on blood thinner this is a big deal, I can't have it done unless I go off of it which puts me at risk of a blood clot. They have to weigh the pros and cons. Also, my oxygen level was low and she wants me on oxygen 24/7 for the time being. This means filling the portable when I go out and taking it along.

We had a weekend with my mother-in-law and niece. They had a difficult time getting here as a wrong turn was made, throwing them off kilter. It ended up adding about two hours to their trip. I finally went and met them when they got close. We had a nice cookout Friday night and then we took them over to their hotel. They wanted to stay at the Residence Inn which had an indoor pool and a fridge and microwave. On Saturday we went and got them. They came here then we went to the cemetery so they could see my family plot. After that we went to Target and bought our niece a bathing suit (she had forgotten hers.) We went out for a nice lunch and then took a cake over and visiting my mother for awhile. Back to the hotel for swim hour then back here again for dinner which Rob prepared which was delicious. After dinner our good friends came over for a quick visit and we once more took them back to the hotel. They will come by for a visit tomorrow morning and head home. I was relieved that today was beautiful, although rain had been predicted. I hope they have good weather for their trip back.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick Update

I went to Philly today to see my PH specialist team. I have gained (gulp) ten pounds of fluid this month. Yes, they can tell by my swollen ankles, legs and belly that it is fluid not actual weight gain. They hear something in my right lung. Tomorrow I go to the lung doctor so she can figure out what is in there. Fluid? Residual pneumonia? I would imagine I will be sent for an x ray if not a CT scan in the next week or so. Those require approval unless done in the ER. I had to use my portable oxygen to get from the car to the office because whatever is in there has me short of breath.

My mother-in-law and niece will be here Friday. I went out and got snacks that a 13 year old would want and special treats that MIL likes as well as a nice hanging basket for her to take home with her. I also got some for my backyard which is shaping up nicely. Have some pots planted and things are blooming. It's looking like Spring. I got Mr. Duffy McSheltie groomed and he looks lovely. He loves his groomer Jamie. I was so bad that day I had to pay a neighbor to drive us to the groomer and help me with him. Rob was able to pick him up. This lady loves him and we have her care for him if we go anywhere. She doesn't like to make money but we insist and as a senior I know she enjoys having the extra money.

Will update after the lung doctor. Hoping it is not the pneumonia because I was diagnosed with it about a month ago. I've already had two rounds of antibiotics for it.
If it's still there that could mean IV antibiotics which means another PICC line. I've already had four in the past three years. I feel my quota has been reached.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Value of Comments

Dearest Readers:
A comment that was posted that really made me think. I am so grateful that some of you take time to comment. (I read many entries that I don't leave a comment OR the captcha is so difficult I try to leave one, get frustrated and give up.) But I digress, I would like to apologize to you. The comment made me realize that often when I am down and feel I need some support, I turn to this blog and you to give it to me. I have failed to share the joy that I often feel. It's like having a friend you complain to but never share your good times with. Unfair to that person. I promise I will try to give you more of the good times. In order to truly know someone you need to see both sides.

Just this morning I got up early with Rob. It''s nice to see him before he leaves for his long day. I was coloring my gray and he was being silly and we were both being amused by our cat who kept trying to pretend he had not been fed yet. We were being silly, all three of us.
Have I ever told you that the first thought I have when I open my eyes in the morning is "Aha, thank you God that I am alive today to live this day!"? Every time I get mail from my mailbox and there is snail mail I am delighted. Like yesterday when one of my blogging friends Mary sent me an Easter card that had a long message in it. I love you, Mary. All those cards are like gifts of your spirit. Have I mentioned that I keep my handpainted card by Judith HeartSong in a special place just to look at it and think of what great friends, supporters her and Virginia have been?
Yesterday afternoon one of my neighbor's dropped in just to bring me a few things that she didn't want and have a chat with me. I have three neighbors who do that, just find a reason to stop by and visit for awhile. I love that. In my old neighborhood I lived in ten years ago that just didn't happen. On Sunday my neighbor's 17 year old daughter came over just to see me and bring me a little something she thought I'd like. All of those things bring me great joy. What really made me joyous today has already happened. I watched Rob practically skip down the driveway to his new car (which men like to call a truck). Technically it's a crossover, car that looks like an SUV which is usually technically a truck. Then he got in and I saw a smile that lit up my heart. I watched him drive off and I thought how grateful I am that I got to see him get his first new car and enjoy it so. I'm one of those people who is much happier in the giving than the receiving, magnified when it is for someone I love. Life is beyond good. On Sunday we learned that Rob's mother is going to bring his niece and come for a visit. It's been four years since I have seen her and three since Rob has. We have missed her terribly and she is as excited as we are. The picture above is Cassie with her Mom, Rob's baby sister Jennifer who died nearly five years ago. We loved her dearly and being with her daughter is like having a part of her.
While I have all the good, the knowledge of my physical issues is always there. I don't know how much time I have left, no one does. There are days where my mind wants one thing and my body just can't do it. Those days are rough but please know that I get through them, determined to have a good day another day. Most importantly, please know that I have great joy. I am on the edge of glory at times knowing that I was here, I loved and I am loved. Even when my body is gone, those who knew me by heart will keep me with them. Knowing that gives me joy.

Monday, April 09, 2012

On and On

Friday night I began to run a low grade fever again. I called the lung doctor and spoke to the covering doctor explaining all that was happening. She called a script in for me and I got the first dose that night. I felt so so Saturday and on Sunday I was really not well. I did manage to prepare two quiches and two desserts. My son who is a vegan came with his own pasta dish he prepared as well as some egg free bagels that he made vegetable sandwiches on. He is creative and his food is good although some of it I cannot have because of the high sodium content. I also made a delicious fresh fruit salad. My mother arrived just as the food was coming out of the oven. We sat down and she began one of her crying episodes. She had misplaced her car keys and gotten completely overwhelmed when in fact they were still in her purse. My son tried to explain to her that as people age their memories are not as sharp and it was nothing abnormal. I suspect she wanted sympathy and then she finally gave up and we began our lunch. When we were done she immediately wanted to sit on the sofa and announced that she wanted to sleep. Finally when she realized it wasn't going to be quiet as we were all cleaning up the kitchen, she decided to go home where it was quiet so she could sleep. It was very disappointing to spend an hour and a half of prep time and have someone show up to eat and then leave right afterward. I realized that my temp was going up at this point and Rob insisted that I rest while he finish cleaning the kitchen. When he got done he stretched out in the recliner and fell asleep. I wish I could have slept.

This morning I went back to the ENT. He thought my nose looked healed but when he touched my right nostril it began to bleed. He decided it had to be cuaterized again. This really hurt. It has been six weeks since I have been able to blow my nose or sneeze normally. It will be three more weeks at least. It's so frustrating. I came home and just took it easy until Rob got home. We had to go to the grocery store. The kitty needed food and there were other things needed as well. Got that done, it is so much easier when Rob is with me. Of course we forgot the handicapped placard so he had to drop me off and then go find a spot. It is supposed to rain tomorrow and I am under orders to call the lung doctors and go in if I don't feel well or if the fever persists. I really don't want to deal with this again.

Hope you have a good week.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Happy Holiday

I want to wish everyone a good weekend. For my Jewish friends Happy Passover. For my Christian friends Happy Easter. For my friends who celebrate neither Happy Spring.

I have gotten several pounds of fluid off of me finally and am feeling somewhat better. I am still not sleeping well with early wakening so I still feel tired but I had a great day yesterday.

We are not having a big celebration this year. I am just making a few quiches with fresh fruit salad for brunch. Last year's huge preparation and clean up was too much for me and Rob ended up doing most of it. Neither of us need that again.
It will be more of a day of rest for us. Hope it is a day of whatever you are hoping for.