Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 51 - Ho Ho NO!

The beginning of the week was all about getting the last things on my to do list done. I didn't have much - a bit of wrapping, packing and last minute house stuff. My super productive weekend had gotten the majority done but there must have been something on my mind because I slept like crap for the first few days and so was getting more tired with each passing day. But I was ready to go by Thursday, plants watered, cats fed and suitcase in the car when I left for work. I had slept better the previous night and was anxious to just be there.

The first flight was delayed but so was everything going into Chicago so I'd still make my connection. I'd be getting in after 1:00 and Carolyn had to work on Friday. Reminder to self - pay more or take another vacation day because we're too old to be at the airport after midnight! I got on the second flight and so was finally able to relax. Then my stomach started feeling off. Before I knew it, I was in the bathroom. Puking on a plane - not the way to start a trip, nevermind at Christmas. I was sick twice before we landed but still felt OK. I was hoping it was nothing because I had a full day planned on Friday.

Nope. I was sick again on Friday morning so had to call Cornelia and cancel breakfast then Auntie Margaret and cancel lunch. Everyone left for work and I curled up on the couch. When Carolyn called at her lunch break and woke me up, I'd been asleep for 3+ hours. Yikes! I still felt pretty good and by the end of the day was able to eat a bagel. I was on the mend, which was a good thing because Carolyn and I had a full day on Saturday.

I woke up feeling pretty darn good so ate a bagel and started in on the day. Carolyn had a cookie swap to go to so I had made plans to have lunch with my oldest friend, Deanne. She picked me up and we had a lovely lunch at The Chapel Grill, which is in the church at the old reform school we used to be threatened with. "If you kids don't stop it, I'll send you to Sockanosett!" It was the bad boys/girls school but is now a lovely shopping center. I had delicious chicken escarole soup (a RI thing), a salad and dessert. We chatted for almost 3 hours, leaving just in time for Deanne to meet up with Carolyn. 

From there, Carolyn and I went to the East Bay. If you grow up in West Bay, going to East Bay is an excursion. If you could go by boat, it'd take 5-10 minutes but to drive takes the better part of an hour. I'd probably only been there a handful of times before I moved to Nebraska. It's another RI thing. Our destination was Warren, where there was a yarn shop (an endangered species in RI) and The Cheese Plate - a restaurant specializing in, you guessed it, cheese. Carolyn had a groupon and we'd had it planned for months. The yarn shop was fine and I managed to find a couple of skeins to buy but the person on the register was having Old Home Week with the customer in front of me so it took a ridiculous amount of time to get out of there. So long that I was contemplating leaving. Sheesh! The restaurant was lovely and we shared a fun grilled cheese and a plate of slice meats. We bought some unusual cheeses for the open house the next day and left. I was still feeling fine but was pretty darn full. I was thinking I was over my bug.

At 3:15 I made my first trip downstairs to the bathroom with diarrhea. Two more trips over the next few hours and I was spent. There was nothing left in me and it was clear I wasn't over it. Oddly enough, I still felt fine. I got up and took an immodium and called it good. I ate another bagel and felt fine. The open house was scheduled at 4:00 so I needed to feel OK. Between the cookies from Carolyn's swap and the shrimp, olives and cheese plate, most of the food was ready to go. Carolyn made hot artichoke dip and I stayed away from the food just in case. It was lots of fun. Sharyn and Butch, Bob and Daisy, the Buttis, Maruta and Cornelia all came. Everyone had fun and left with full bellies. Another successful holiday open house. And with that done, we could relax for a bit before the next round of cooking and entertaining. I was hopeful that I was over my bug for sure now. Time would tell.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 50 - It's Not Fungal!

Well, the week started with me feeling pretty desperate. Not only were my hands not better, they were killing me. Putting on the cream, which I was doing religiously, stung so much that I had to ice my wrists. It was clearly time to call the doc. I needed some immediate relief because I had a lot to do this week. Also, Carolyn was beginning to freak out about the idea of me bringing a fungal hand rash to her house over Christmas. With her eczema, it was the last thing she needed.

I called and made an appointment for Tuesday at 4:00 then go busy. I had lunch with Marcy from HR at lunch on Monday then picked up the photos I’d printed for the calendars at Walgreen’s. I knitted at the library after work and then went home to make a swag for my back door so I could bring the leftover greens to work for Cheryl who had a plan. Don’t we all this time of year?

When I got to the doctor’s on Tuesday afternoon, she took one look at my hands and said it wasn’t fungal. I had dyshidrotic eczema! With that it was all about moisturizing constantly, which was the exact opposite of what I’d been doing when treating it as fungal. She gave me a prescription for cream and a shot of steroids and sent me on my way. My hands sucked up the cream and instantly felt better. No stinging now! I got out my white gloves and aquafor to wear to bed. That felt great too. I was overjoyed to have a good diagnosis and a plan. It was like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. That felt even better than the newly hydrated skin on my hands.

The new Whole Foods opened in Lincoln on Wednesday so Nora and I decided to brave the crowds and check it out for lunch. We went at 1:00 and it wasn’t too bad. There were lots of people but not crazy. We had a lovely lunch and I vowed to go back and do the aisles before Christmas. I stopped at Yarn Charm on the way home to pick up Ginny’s socks, which had been on display for the last couple of months. I managed to spend $70 too. Chalk it up to supporting my local yarn shop. : )

Thursday was our office Christmas party. It seemed rushed and less festive than usual but the white elephant swap was fun. I ended up with a Husker condiment set that will be the start of a Wine & Dine door prize. Nora donated her gift towards the Wine & Dine too. Two down and I have at least one more at home. Nice. Did I mention I’m in charge of door prizes this year again?

I had continued to check things off my to do list all week, fitting things in either at lunch or after work. The best part of the week was I was finally getting some Darla time. We met at Cracker Barrel for dinner on Friday and caught up over fish fry. We then hit Bed Bath and Beyond for her Christmas gifts, which are a swap of As Seen on TV gifts. How fun is that! Anyway, seeing Darla was a wonderful way to start the weekend. It had to be a productive one.

Saturday’s to do list included errands, picking up the house, doing the calendars and putting up the tree. After a nice chat with Carolyn, I got busy and got it all done. NBC did fail me. I always put up my tree while It’s a Wonderful Life is on and it had been on the schedule but when I turned on the TV, their live  Sound of Music was playing instead. Good thing I have a small tree so I got it up in an hour while watching Rudolph on CBS.

Sunday was my last day before flying to get it all done. I did the house cleaning (must find a cleaning lady after Christmas!), cleaned the frig out completely including scrubbing the shelves and bins (I have a huge pile of food for Lori’s chickens) and then started wrapping. I had Dottie and Ginny’s stocking packages ready to ship but my printer failed me (it won’t print in black) so I had to save the shipping labels as pdfs and will print them at work and walk the packages over to the union. Then it was on to Carolyn’s stocking, which I finished at 10:00 p.m. All that’s left are gifts for Aaron and a few friends, which I’ll do one night this week.

The paper from the calendars and all the wrapping sucked the moisture out of my hands so they are a bit red. All the cleaning didn’t help either but the to do list is mostly done and I’m in good shape to fly out on Thursday. It’s all good.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 49 - More List Making

With just 2.5 weeks until I head east for Christmas, I went into full list mode. The weather was also going to get frigid cold so I was front loading the week’s list to get as much done in the first couple of days as possible. And I planned to make full use of my expensive parking, running errands over lunches too.

Monday was Christmas trees. I ran to Menard’s over lunch and got 2 trees – 1 for the deck and 1 for inside. It was so beautifully warm out that I put the deck tree up after knitting and then struggled with my old, lame saw to make a fresh cut on the inside tree. It was after 9:00 when I schlepped the tree down to the laundry room where it’ll stay for almost 2 weeks before I put it up on the 14th (I always put it up the weekend before Christmas while watching It’s a Wonderful Life on NBC.)

I started Tuesday with a fasting blood test at the student health center. Lunch found me at Trader Joe’s, where I easily spent $100 on mostly Christmas chocolates, which was the last thing I needed for Dottie and Ginny’s stockings. I was exhausted but forced myself to swim after work. It felt good to swim but it killed the rash on my hands. It felt so good to go home, lube up my hands and sit.

I had planned to run more errands – Big Lots and Joann’s – over lunch on Wednesday but the weather had turned cold earlier than forecast so I stayed inside and called it good. I had a haircut scheduled after work and then got some online shopping done so still crossed things off my list despite the weather. Sharyn called right after Survivor to thank me for the socks I’d mailed her and we had a wonderful chat. But the best part of the day was getting the results of my blood test, which showed no problem at all with blood sugar. The rush of relief was unreal! I need to work on my LDL and triglycerides but at least it’s not diabetes.

I talked to my doctor’s office on Thursday about my results and at that time asked for another round of the oral antifungal meds because my hands were still a mess. I thought the pharmacy was open until 6:30 so I dinked around after work and got there at 6:12 – 12 minutes after they closed. I was pissed as I headed home to grab a quick dinner before book club. I’d only finished the book that morning and the questions were all aimed at 12 year olds (it was yet another young adult book) so the conversation lagged. To top it all off, the library commission had sent the wrong book for next week. Sheesh. And my hands were killing me.

Friday was a new day! I was at the pharmacy when they opened at 8:00, hit Starbuck’s, fed three feeders (last day covering the 2 extra – yay!) and was at my desk by 9:00. I had a nice lunch with Layton and picked up cat food next to the Chinese buffet (cross that off) and the afternoon didn’t drag. I skipping the market and headed straight home. By day’s end I had rebooked my return flight on the 26th ($68 more seemed well worth not having to leave for the airport at 4:00 a.m.), ordered all Aaron’s presents and had a plan for a productive weekend.

Since we’d be knitting at Christmas on the Prairie from 2:00-5:00 on Saturday, I was determined to get tons done before I left for the bank to do the Friends’ deposit. I slammed through my list, neatizing the entire house, sweeping the back room, doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom. After stopping at the library to pick up more money, I hit the bank, the thrift shop bag sale (mostly got clothes for Lori but a few things for me) and Burger King for lunch. Check, check, check. The afternoon was perfectly pleasant and then it was home to make turkey soup for dinner and watch The Wire. It was a very productive and fun day.

Sunday was chores, a bit of cooking, shoveling (we got 4” of snow – it was gorgeous to watch falling) and calendars. I went through boxes of pictures looking for just the right ones for each page. It took hours! Then I had to scan, upload and order prints. I had planned to cook dinner but ran out of time. Good thing Andrea stopped by with homemade soup to save the day. I also managed to finish my last pair of Christmas socks so it was another good day. Now to work on the list for next week. I fear there will be yet another trip to the clinic for my hands. Bummer.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week 48 - Checking Things Off

What can I say about a 3 day work week – isn’t it great? The work gods smiled on me and the days flew by. Then, as usual, they let us leave early (3:00) on Wednesday. I stopped at my favorite thrift shop on the way out of town and scored this gorgeous scrap quilt for $10. What a wonderful way to start Thanksgiving break!

For years I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house on the weekend because Helen works on Thanksgiving but this year Brenda was hosting on Saturday. All I had to do was make a couple of pies, which I’d do Saturday, so I had all the time in the world. While everyone else was slamming to have turkey ready on time, I got to sit totally relaxed knitting in the sun. Perfect! For the first time ever, I watched the entire parade and then the dog show. It was a lovely day and I was thankful for that. I had bought a turkey but didn’t get my butt in gear to have it done in time for Thursday so had ravioli and called it dinner. That was what we ate on Thanksgiving when I studied in France so it just felt right.

I did get the turkey cooked on Friday but had a bit of a mishap trying to manage getting the juice out of the cooking bag solo. I ended up with a broken bag and all the juices running down the sink. In falling into the dish drainer, the turkey lost all cohesion. Even the stuffing fell out. Since it was already a mess, I pulled it apart right after I ate and had the bones in the crockpot to make stock overnight. Done.

There was a complicating factor for the pies though. I had a rash all over my hands and had gone to the doctor on Tuesday for drugs. Since it was contagious and Brenda’s pregnant, I had to make the pies wearing Playtex gloves. Let me tell you, that is NOT easy. And since peeling apples would have been a bear, I made pecan and pumpkin instead. I also dug out white cotton gloves to wear so I wouldn’t spread anything. Talk about odd. I was called Minnie Mouse and a mime. Family – gotta love ‘em! Everything was yummy and we had fun playing farkle after dinner. It was a perfectly pleasant Thanksgiving.

Since it was going to be gorgeous on Sunday – high 40’s – I decided to start the day outside. I needed to neatize the yard, put the hoses away, clear the deck and mow to mulch the leaves. It took a couple of hours but by 1:00 I was done, showered and enjoying turkey dinner leftovers. My laundry was hanging on the line and I’d made a dent in my chores so was feeling good about life. Andrea had asked me to come over and give her ideas on reorganizing her sewing room. I got there ~2:00 and ideas lead to moving furniture, sorting yarn and general reorganization. Why is it so fun to do that with other people’s stuff but not my own? Oh well. I made a cup of tea when I got home and sat for awhile to give my knees a break but was up again cleaning up the kitchen and finishing the laundry.

I didn’t get everything on my list done but will attempt to make a dent before and after work this week. Beyond chores, I made my Christmas to do list and have to be diligent to get everything done sooner rather than later to minimize pre-holiday stress. I live in hope. How’s your holiday prep going?

Week 47 - Not Ready Yet

Am I the only one struggling to get into Christmas this early? My regular radio station went Christmas a week ago and then my back up station went on the Friday before Christmas. That left me flipping between a rock station and NPR. I won’t be ready for Christmas music until mid-December so I’m sunk.

Not helping the holiday spirit was the weather, which was so warm at the beginning of the week that I was able to take knit breaks and sit outside. That all changed Wednesday, with some snow and bitter cold. I guess if that keeps up, I’ll be getting into the spirit soon.

Otherwise it was a pretty average week and it ended on a culture note. Andrea and I did one of our rare culture days. We had planned to see Twelve Days a Slave then do lunch and the quilt museum but my cousin Debbie called me out of the blue on Sunday morning we talked long enough that it was too late for the movie. We did the museum, which is always fun and just the right size to do in an hour, and then had lunch at Dempsey’s. Guiness and truffle fries were the stars. I ended the day with chores like a typical Sunday and was looking forward to the upcoming short work week. Hopefully I’d be able to get in the spirit after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 46 - Swearing Off Bowls

Last week’s 3 words were Hard to Quit. Speaking of quitting, this past week I swore off eating from the candy bowls that are everywhere at work. Because I have no self-control. Once I start dipping in, I find myself grabbing a handful every time I walk by, which adds up to who knows how many empty calories every day. So it’s cold turkey time. If I want candy, I’ll have a candy bar (that won’t happen much) but no handfuls. I did this once before and lost almost 20 pounds without trying. We’ll see how this goes.

Aside from the lack of candy, it was a really nice week, despite some mid-week sadness.

Things were going along swimmingly when I got an email Tuesday afternoon from my friend Lori that her mom, who had been battling ovarian cancer for as long as I’ve known Lori, had died. Although Nelda had been in hospice, this still came as a surprise. I’d seen Lori at knitting Monday night and there was no mention of her mom being worse. The next morning she died. The visitation was Thursday night and 4 of us from knitting converged on the funeral home in Omaha at 5:00. I had driven directly from work, Jan and Donna had driven from Wahoo and Andrea, who was rushing back for book club at her house at 7:00, had driven herself. The visitation was very pleasant - between Lori’s sisters, her cousin and aunt, I had plenty of people to visit with and the time passed quickly. I left at 6:00 and met Donna and Jan for supper at Upstream before heading home. It was an oddly nice evening and Lori and her family seemed to be doing OK, which was reassuring.

Lori had requested lunch at Chips on Saturday so I got up and got busy picking up the house, which was a wreck, so I could offer knitting chez moi after lunch. But when I called Lori at noon, she was not up for going out after all. Friday had been a long day of the funeral and then driving to Bassett and back (more than 4 hours each way) for the burial. With the house pretty clean, I told Andrea I’d rather stay grubby and keep going than stop for lunch, which surely would have stopped my productivity dead. So I put all the plants I’d brought in outside, swept the floors well and then repotted everything, bringing in the plant racks from the garage and arranging everything for the winter to come. Only then did I jump in the shower and sit down for a cup of tea. I was pleased with my progress.

Luckily the productivity streak lasted because beside chores on Sunday, I did some mending, sewed a curtain for the spare room and did a bunch of cooking. By the end of the day, the house was neat and cleaner than it was on Friday, the laundry was done, the frig was stocked with food for the week (I even made a pie to take to knitting) and my plants were all safe and warm for the winter. If I could be so productive every weekend… I have a dream!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Week 45 - Hard to Quit

Why is it so hard to quit things, even when I know I should? Maybe it’s my mother’s voice in my ear “Winners never quit and quitters never win!” from back in 8th grade when I wanted to quit band? (Which I did and it was the right decision, by the way.) Maybe it’s my Responsibility strength from the Gallup Strengths Finder? Whatever, I just find it incredible hard. What am I talking about you wonder? Stay tuned.

I read the book The Happiness Project awhile ago and the thing I took away from it was to find what actually makes you happy rather than what you think will make you happy or what you want to make you happy. The very first thing I thought about was being a Master Gardener. I first certified in Rhode Island but it was right before I moved so I had just gotten my feet wet. I had to recertify in Nebraska and from minute one I knew the program didn’t hold a candle to RI’s. But I stuck it out and did make a couple of wonderful friends through the program. But over the years, I’ve gotten less and less out of it and the volunteer hours have been a burden. I’ve beaten myself up for years and had come to resent any time I spent on community gardens while neglecting my yard. So, after reading the book, I started thinking about quitting. And thinking. And thinking.

On Tuesday I got an email from Lorri asking if I was going to the MG potluck on Wednesday. Now I’d gotten a newsletter while I was home after surgery and despite having all the time in the world, I hadn’t even opened the envelope. Seems like an indication of a lack of interest, n’est-ce pas? Regardless, my first response was that I’d think about it and get back to her but as soon as I hit send I started thinking – why was I even considering it? I had done almost no volunteer hours in the past year and was viewing the dinner as an obligation. Seriously? I knew then and there that it was time. Despite having another year before I needed to report my hours, I was ready to quit NOW. I sent an email to the MG coordinator and quit. Then I asked Lorri to stop at my house and pick up the box of data entry I’d taken as a volunteer project but had been ignoring for a year so she could return it at the dinner. I wanted to leave nothing hanging. It felt GREAT! Why did I wait so long? The guilt is gone with one email. I can only hope with that gone, I’ll spend more time in my own garden next year.

That was definitely the highlight of my week. The second milestone was I went back to the pool, which also felt great. Tuesday was my first class and it wasn’t a hard one and I was able to do just about everything. I took Wednesday off, not wanting to do too much, and went Thursday, which was hard. Agony with Alison proved more difficult and all the ab moves were painful and I skipped a few. But all in all, it felt great to be back in the pool. Life really is returning to “normal.”

And another positive is Nora, Cheryl and I got together at Nora’s on Saturday and did our calendar pages, which came out so cute. All done in early November! How’s that for getting ready for Christmas early? We had lots of fun and now they’re done. Yay!

So great week, huh? I hope yours was just a good.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 44 - I'm Back Baby!

It was like someone flipped a switch! I woke up Monday with all my energy back and feeling great. Good thing because it was going to be a busy week.
The only thing different about Monday was I made it through the day without succumbing to fatigue and nap time. I had some incision tenderness but nothing I couldn’t live with. I worked all day, grabbed dinner at home and then went to knitting. All in all, it was a perfectly normal day, which felt like a gift after being under the weather for so long. Tuesday was pretty normal too and was marked by my last lunch with Darla, who had accepted a new job – still at the U but at the ag research center in Mead, which is near where I live but lunches will be out of the question. We got pizza and salad bar at HyVee (one of our regular places) and I bought Halloween candy while I was there, which ended up being a good thing. Stay tuned. We had a food day on Wednesday so I went home to make 2 apple pies. I cheated on the crust so it was just a matter of peeling and slicing 6 pounds of apples, which I did while watching TV. The pies smelled great while they baked but they were for work. Darn!
The food day was fun and my pies were delicious, if I do say so myself. All was going swimmingly until 4:00, when Student Accounts finally sent the allocation file. I immediately started prepping the files (allocations had to be done by the next day) and sent them off to the programmer. We went back and forth on that until 6:30, at which point I called the payroll manager at home to ask him to dig into some bad data (he agreed) and then I drove home. I ate dinner and watched Survivor then signed on from home and worked until 10:30 prepping files to send to the grants people, who are early birds at work so I wanted them to have the files before I got in.
I spent Thursday morning under the gun, slamming to finish allocations because I was teaching all afternoon and wanted to leave early to prep for Halloween. I got the call that the final batch had posted at 1:10 and then headed down to my class. What a relief! It was while I was stressed to the max and working full bore that my co-worker decided it was the perfect time to tell me how I was bugging him. When he wouldn’t back off (seriously?) I told him to F off and he was not happy, telling me I shouldn’t talk to him for the rest of the day, which frankly worked for me since I was trying to get him to not talk to me. But you know me, I was beating myself up for the rest of the day. Sheesh! But at least I was able to leave after my class was over so was home by 4:30, having stopped at Dollar General for emergency shower gifts since I hadn’t been able to shop the night before. I got busy changing my flag, sweeping the walk and carving my jack-o-lantern. I had the candle in the pumpkin and the light on just in time. I had only bought 5 bags of candy so ran out just after 8:00 and turned the light off, which was fine because it was all older kids by then anyway. I do like Halloween and got lots of kids. It was a nice end to a hectic couple of days.
Friday was monthly reports day and Josh called in sick. I was determined not to let that affect my mood so just plugged away at my reports and had a nice lunch with Layton. The day was over in a flash. I had a baby shower after work for two new moms from water aerobics, which was lots of fun. Good food, fun presents (the hand knitted hat and booties were a hit and they seemed to like my Johnson & Johnson gift sets from Dollar General too) and a game where we all brought baby pics and had to figure out who was who. Baby showers are always fun. There was another scheduled for the next morning for Helen’s daughter-in-law but it was a 2 hour drive west so I’d opted out in case I wasn’t comfortable with the long drive. I’d sent a nice gift from so was all set. Anyway, after a quick stop at the market after 9:00, I headed home to start the weekend.
I had my favorite Saturday routine to look forward to – Friends meeting at the library, bag sale and lunch at Chips with Lori and Andrea. I got just enough stuff to make the bag sale fun (Lori, who said she wasn’t into it, got 4 bags to my 1) and then had a wonderful lunch of salad and buffalo chicken mac and cheese. I got home at 3:00 and started in, albeit slowly, on my chores. My house was a dirty mess after a month of minimal effort so I had to make some progress. Andrea and I went to the pancake feed (her favorite one) at the Mead Catholic church first thing on Sunday, which meant I was home, well fed and ready to rock and roll just after 10:00. I picked up the house, got laundry started and cleaned up the kitchen. Later in the day, after several knitting breaks, was the bathroom and floors. By the end of the day the worst of the chores were done (vacuuming and dusting would have to wait) and I had food in the frig for the week and a big bag of scraps for Lori’s chickens. It was enough done that I was feeling back to “normal” in the house department. All that was left was to get back in the pool, which was on the list for the coming week. I’m back baby!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 43 - Back to Work

The alarm woke me with a start and it was time to get ready for work. It felt good to be going back to work but just getting ready wore me out. I spent the morning catching up and was out the door at noon, barely able to stay awake for the ride home. Clearly half-time was a good move. I took a nap and then sat knitting in the sun. Sound familiar? The drive was no problem at least. Fast forward to Tuesday – same exact deal. I did get a bit more done at work at least but needed a nap again big time. Wednesday too. I had hoped to have more energy but kept hearing the surgeon telling me to listen to my body so didn’t fight it.

Until Thursday. I had a theory that maybe getting up so early was why I lost energy right after lunch so I decided to see if I could sleep later in hopes that I could stay longer at work. Well, just 3 days of the alarm was all it took to reset my clock so despite not setting my alarm, I only slept 9 minutes past it. Damn! I was at my desk by 8:30 determined to make it past lunch. Dodie and I walked to Applebee’s at lunch, which tasted great. Then the fatigue set in but I fought it tooth and nail. STUPID! I was totally exhausted and needed a nap but I just kept going. I left at 3:00, which somehow felt like a victory but it cost something. It was too late for a nap (I tried and failed) when I got home and I was exhausted. I rallied before book club, where we discussed The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I loved. Afterwards it was all I could do to stay upright until bedtime. So Friday was back to half-time. I gave up on pushing myself and it was a good thing. I didn’t take a nap when I got home, which somehow felt like progress. Not sure why because I sat like a zombie in a chair but still, progress-ish.
Another thing I did to try to get back to normal was I started eating big fiber again. After high fiber cereal for breakfast, I had one of my fiber bars on Thursday and Friday so was back to my 20+ grams before lunch. So I learned the hard way what the doctor meant when he said I could eat anything my body would tolerate. Clearly I’d over fibered because I spent Saturday with gastric distress and way too many trips to the bathroom. I guess my newly shortened colon didn’t need so much fiber. Good to know.
I was back to normal on Sunday and actually got some cleaning done, which was desperately needed. I made a yummy chuck steak for supper too so ended the weekend feeling better and more normal than I had in a long time. The plan for next week is full-time at work. I can only hope it works. Wish me luck.

Week 42 - Recuperating at Home

I was home all week, feeling better with each passing day. I had food galore in the frig, yarn for knitting and clear days ahead. I drove myself to knitting at the library on Monday night, which was premature but I lived. I took it easy big time on Tuesday but felt up to doing a bit around the house on Wednesday. Nancy Meyer came that afternoon for tea and a visit. Only after she left did I start having trouble. Since the surgery, I hadn’t been getting good signals from my bladder when I had to go and after drinking two big cups of tea and not going, I had some bladder pain that lasted all night.

It was some better by Thursday and Helen and I went to Chips for her birthday lunch then hung out all afternoon crafting in the sun. My bladder was fine by Friday and at last I could tell when I had to go. I drove myself to the market Friday afternoon and lived to tell. I was feeling pretty good and no longer needed afternoon naps so I was thinking I’d be good to head back to work on Monday. The only thing I was worried about was the drive so Andrea and I went to Omaha on Sunday morning. I drove and we hit Trader Joe’s and Aldi and I survived. I got nothing else done that day and was exhausted but I felt ready to go. It had been a pleasant week at home, I was feeling much better and I was ready for some semblance of normal.

Week 41 - My Bowel Resection

TMI Alert! I get into some health details so keep reading at your own risk. : )

So, this week was all about surgery. Go figure. I was surprisingly not as nervous as I’d been the previous week, which seemed odd but I was happy about it. Maybe it was just that I was so focused on getting my pre-surgery list done that I didn’t have time to worry. Hmm…

I worked on Monday and although I anticipated a quiet day, I was slamming until after 5:00, which was probably a good thing. I ate my last meal before fasting and surgery when I got home and headed to the library for knitting. Tuesday was fasting and prep day but I had left lots of chores to do in the morning so it flew by. By 2:00 when I started drinking the prep, most everything was done. The prep was HUGE – a full gallon, which was twice what I’d had to drink before. It started out fine. It wasn’t as thick and didn’t taste too bad but there was a lot to get down. I went like gang busters until….
By 4:00, it had started to work but it also felt like it wasn’t going past my stomach anymore. I tried some kool aid powder and putting it over ice but I just couldn’t gag more down. I had to start taking antibiotics at 5:00 and it was all I could do to sip enough to get them down. It was no better by the 6:00 dose and things had stopped progressing. I called the doctor’s office and left a message. I hadn’t heard back and couldn’t drink anymore. Then at 7:30, I barfed my insides out. I hadn’t drunk any in more than 2 hours but still managed to hurl up plenty. It really was just sitting in my stomach. I called the answering service in a panic, worried that I was throwing up the antibiotics and they wouldn’t be able to do the surgery. I was NEVER going through this again! They finally called back and told me to stop drinking the stuff (THANK GOD) and to just take my 11:00 dose with water. What a relief. I got all the cats in, crossed the last few things off my list and went to bed.

Shockingly, I was able to sleep quite well and got up at 4:00 and drove myself to the hospital. I had to leave my bags in the car but took my knitting into pre-op and cast on a new pair of socks while they prepped me for surgery. The last thing I remember was moving from the gurney onto the operating table and wondering what all the people in the OR would be doing. Then I was in my room with all kinds of tubes coming out of me – IV, catheter (that was a first) and oxygen. Nora was in my room and had been there for the whole morning. My surgery had taken longer than they’d planned because they found something else wrong while they were in there and fixed that too. Apparently my colon had attached itself to my bladder so they had to carefully cut those apart and took more colon than the 6” they tattooed. How fabulous to get a BOGO on my surgery! And the colon that was attached to my bladder showed history of abscesses and a fistula was in the making. I’d clearly dodged a bullet.
Nora headed to work (such a great friend!) and Helen brought my bags from the car and ate her lunch in my room. I did everything they asked of me and so got them to take the oxygen off pretty quickly. Then I was walking the halls with my IV and pee hanging from a pole, which freaked out a little girl who was waiting by the elevator. I was ready for it all to be gone. The broth and jello they brought me for supper was heavenly and before I knew it, the day was over. Not that I got much sleep with every nurse in the place waking me up constantly to check something or other. But I had a promise that they’d take out my catheter at 6:00 a.m. so I had that to look forward to.

Tim, the night nurse who was absolutely adorable and asked me every time he woke me up all night, “Ma’am, have you passed gas?” was there minutes after 6:00 to remove the catheter. Yay! And yes, I was farting by now, which oddly made everyone happy. I convinced Tim to remove the leg massagers for good and then my IV long enough so I could get dressed. I was up in the chair all day, which felt great. Is there anything comfy about a hospital bed? Nope. I was much more comfortable up in the chair and it made it easier to get up for water (walking the hall to the galley myself) and general walking. They brought me more broth and jello, which was disheartening, but when the PA came, I begged for real food and got some cream of wheat post haste. It tasted great! Nora, who was back first thing, immediately went to Scooter’s in the lobby and got me a latte. Life was improving by leaps and bounds. Nora left and Darla arrived and spent the morning with me. I have the best friends EVER. I had a turkey sandwich for lunch (yum!) and had some downtime in the afternoon so got lots of knitting done. Helen and Brenda visited in the afternoon and then after dinner, Anne came. Jennifer brought me a frapuccino at 7:00 which was half-caff so I was up late that night. It’s not like I’d worked up any fatigue though and Friday I’d be going home.
I slept in a bit, ate breakfast (real food was tasting so good) and waited for the doctor or PA to show up. Despite not pooping yet, they were calling me their star patient (all I did was follow directions and get out of bed!) and consensus was that I’d be able to leave. I got the OK to go at 9:30 so emailed Nora and kept knitting. Nora called at 10:30 and we made plans to leave around lunch. She and Mary came up ~12:30 and we headed out. It hadn’t been bad and was a shorter stay than I’d thought but it felt good just to be outside. Mary drove me home and Nora drove my car. After they left, I unpacked and ate a bowl of cheerios. Even those tasted great. Then it was a matter of sitting, knitting and waiting for my newly svelte colon to kick in, which it did later that day. That accomplished, I just had to wait until 9:00 so I could go to bed in my own bed. I surrounded myself with pillows and fell instantly asleep. Then the phone rang at 9:30 and woke me up with a rush of adrenaline that had my heart racing in my chest. Seriously! Who could be calling me that late on the day I got out of the hospital. It was Helen, who had hung up before I could get to the phone. I listened to her message and then sat up for hours. If I could have read in bed that might have helped me get to sleep sooner but I read on my stomach so that didn’t work. I finally fell asleep at midnight. What a long day.

Helen called first thing on Saturday and I told her she should not have called so late and please not to do it again, after which we chatted for awhile. I was so exhausted that I didn’t do much more than sit and knit on Saturday. The phone rang in the afternoon, waking me from a trance (can you be asleep with your eyes open?) and it was Helen’s husband, who doesn’t like me on a good day. Well, he had taken exception to me telling Helen she shouldn’t have called so late and was in a screaming rage. He called me a f-ing selfish bitch and told me never to ask them for anything else again. I could barely follow what he was saying and struggled for a response but he hung up on me. I was in shock and scared – a man in a rage with guns 6 miles from me. Did Helen know he’d called? I had no way of knowing and was fretting big time. Now I’m sure being less than 24 hours out of the hospital, totally sleep deprived and fresh from general anesthesia wasn’t helping but still. Who does this? Sharyn and Ginny helped talk me down. Thankfully Helen called later that day, at which point I burst into tears. She had no idea he’d called and chalked it up to his meds. I was just so relieved that Helen and I were OK and now could sleep without worry, which I did at exactly 9:00. I didn’t sleep very well but certainly better than the night before.
Sunday was a pleasant day of knitting and feeling not too bad. I had plenty of food in the frig and was eating pretty normally. Things were definitely looking up.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 40 - Farewell to Tilde

A week that starts with putting your cat down can only get better, right? Well, it was touch and go this past week but Mother Nature came through and it ended nicely.

I had had Tilde into the vet on Saturday but he didn’t do a blood test, sending me home with antibiotics. I wanted to believe they would work but she continued to fade so I dropped her back at the vet on the way to work, telling them to do tests – blood, urine, whatever – to figure out what was wrong with her. When they called to say it was kidney failure I wasn’t surprised. I’ve had 4 cats go this way so this wasn’t new to me. I said I’d be there before 5:00, knowing what I needed to do. I had done subcutaneous fluids once and it wasn’t fun for me or the cat. I swore I wouldln’t put a cat through that again so I had her put down. It’s never easy and I was a mess but Tilde was out of her misery. I buried her in the side yard and went to knitting where my friends and the activity offered some comfort.

Tuesday was the first day of the month, which is always busy and that was good. I kept focused and made it through the day OK. It was even OK at home. That’s because I was saving it all for Wednesday.

I was a mess! If you just looked at me funny, I teared up. It was one of those rare days when I miss living in Rhode Island. I desperately wanted to go to the shore and listen to the waves crashing, which would have calmed me down for sure. It was hotter than Hades too so even sitting outside wouldn’t be pleasant. So after running a couple of errands at lunch, I ended up sitting in my car with the AC running and calling Sharyn. We had a lovely talk and I was doing fine until she said love you as she hung up. That was it. The tears started and nothing would stop them. I sat at my desk trying so hard to cry quietly, working on emails I could barely see through the tears. That lasted for a couple of hours. As Darla would say, I needed it. By the time I left work, it had passed but I had a headache and sandy eyes. I skipped the pool in favor of going home to make some dinner. It was a good decision.

I was feeling better about Tilde but now the stress of the coming weekend was coming on. Gordy, Connie’s man, was doing a concert in Wahoo on Sunday night so would be staying at my house Saturday and Sunday nights. That meant I had a huge to do list of chores to get done before he arrived. I had to swim Thursday since I hadn’t yet all week and it was probably my last time before surgery so Thursday night was out. I had planned to food shop on Friday but it was homecoming weekend and Lincoln was a nightmare so I got out of Dodge. The weekend was upon me.

It was raw and cold on Saturday but that was nothing compared to the blizzard in South Dakota. As soon as it hit 9:00 mountain time, I was on the phone with Connie and Gordy. They had 4 feet of snow and the interstate across South Dakota was closed. I got on the phone with Pat from Friends of the Library and we started discussing cancelling. Gordy was reluctant but at 10:30 he made the call. I met Pat at the library and we started making calls to everyone who’d bought a ticket, trying to get the staff to remember who paid cash. Then it was running around writing cancelled on the posters that were all over town. By noon it was all done and my weekend was my own. I went to the bag sale, stopped at Andrea’s and was home by 1:00. What would have been a day of slamming through chores was now free and clear. I enjoyed the afternoon and made a nice dinner – cheesy baked cauliflower and ham. Yum!

I had another lovely day on Sunday, which was so cold and damp that I turned the heat on. Early but just for the day to take the chill off since 70’s and sun were forecast for the week. Anyway, I did get some chores done but quite a few things were on the list for Tuesday, when I’ll be home but won’t start my colon prep until 2:00. The weekend that was going to be stressful and busy became relaxing and restorative. Nice and just what I needed for my last weekend before surgery.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 39 - Putting Food By

It was a perfectly pleasant week for the most part. I got lots of canning done, which was on my list, and made more progress in the house but worry for Tilde, my oldest cat, dampened my mood a bit by the weekend.

I ran errands at lunch on Monday and stopped at Big Lots, where I scored some fun yarn for only $1/skein. I took it to knitting for show and tell and everyone was jealous. Yeah, I know. I don’t need more yarn. But at least it was cheap. I know. That’s why my house is so full. Let’s move on.

I had lunch with Darla on Tuesday and we conveniently went to HyVee for salad bar. This allowed me to buy a few things I needed for my canning day, which was what I’d declared Wednesday, which I’d taken off for (wait for it) canning! With a huge pre-surgery to do list, the only way I’d get it done was by taking a vacation day and devoting it to chutney, relish and jam. So that was the plan.

I had thought I’d wake up at my normal 5:52 but didn’t, enjoying a bit of a sleep in. That put me behind a bit but I was still chopping fruit/veg by 9:00 so not too bad. But when I was still chopping two hours later, it was clear I wouldn’t be done by noon, which had been my wishful thinking plan. But I had the relish veg chopped and soaking and the chutney ready to go when I left for my hair appointment at 12:30. After grabbing BK for lunch, I went right back to it – cooking the relish and chutney and prepping pears for jam. Clearly that would go into the freezer because I was running out of time and energy. I finished up just before 5:00 and only had 10 jars to show for a day’s work, which was a bit disheartening. There would be more canning coming on the weekend but I was still glad to have gotten started.

It was a teaching week so Tuesday and Thursday afternoons went by in a flash. I had book club on Thursday and couldn’t face swimming and going right to the library with no dinner (I’d already had a meeting over lunch) so went home and ate dinner like a normal person. We read Unwind for book club and the discussion could have been hairy but despite the divergent opinions around the table, we had a good discussion. Just one more day to go before the weekend. Yay!

I took my car into the tire place for the 3rd time on Friday and was happy that they finally could get my wheel fixed and without breaking the rusted part that would have cost me an extra $200. But the $200 I did spend didn’t seem to make much difference from what I could tell driving home. Still lots of wheel noise. Oh well. The tires were crap and now they’re cupped from the bum wheel so I’ll probably be buying new tires way sooner than the 60k miles these should have lasted. It’s always something. At least I was on the way home for the weekend.

I had some binge watching of Breaking Bad scheduled around my chores for the weekend. I started with 3 hours on Friday night and then interspersed the other 5 hours between chores on Saturday. I made a decent dent in the to do list so felt OK with my progress by Saturday’s end. After all, I still had Sunday to finish it all.

And finish I did. Since I would be spending some time in my bed in the near future, I stripped down to the bare mattress and washed all my bedding, switching over to the winter linens when I remade it. To the four loads of laundry I did, add 3 batches of jam – peach from Gordy’s family’s Colorado peaches I’d frozen, pear from Wednesday’s prep and mixed berry with the various bags of strawberry and raspberry puree I’d found when I cleaned out the freezer on Saturday. That was much quicker than the relish and chutney on Wednesday so despite starting after lunch, I had all three batches done and the kitchen cleaned up by tea time on Sunday. Jam gave me a much better bang for the buck than Wednesday’s savory canning had. Somewhere between all the weekend’s productivity, I managed to finish knitting 2 pairs of socks too. Nice.

But Tilde wasn’t doing well. There had been no improvement after Saturday’s vet visit, where I’d thought they do blood work but hadn’t. I went to bed worried. She looked just like Rebar and Toes, who both died of kidney failure. I was almost hoping it was diabetes, which the vet had mentioned, because that’d just mean insulin. I fell asleep knowing I’d be taking her back to the vet in the morning. All I had was hope.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 38 - Finding Lost Friends

It was a nice week. The weather broke, which made me very happy, and I had a wonderful surprise at the end of the week.

I got my 15 year service award on Tuesday, which was followed by the all university picnic so half the day was gone in a flash. I left early for an eye doctor appointment and so was home in time to make a nice dinner. After an evening of knitting, I went to bed early and slept like a rock. That was probably why I woke up in a fabulous mood on Wednesday. Then we were having a food day for a woman in AP who was retiring and those are always fun. After an afternoon that crawled by, the storms that came through and brought the cool weather were the icing on the cake. I was thrilled that fall weather was finally here.

Thursday and Friday flew by, punctuated by nice lunches with Dodie on Thursday and Layton on Friday. I was looking forward to the weekend to finish up the house cleaning. Yes,I did just say that.

I had errands to run in town on Saturday, which I got done in such short order that I worked up a sweat and had to shower before meeting Lori at Chips for lunch. I hadn’t invited Andrea because her shop is open until 1:00, which was when I was supposed to pick her up to go to spinning. But Lori had stopped at the shop and convinced Andrea to close up and come to lunch, which was yummy as usual. Then Andrea and I left for Fremont where she was teaching a class on Dorset buttons. From there we went to Goodwill then stopped at Lori’s to pick up produce. Her garden is amazing and we left with bags full of kale, cucumbers, tomatoes and butternut squash. I was good and did some cleaning before the end of the day. It helped that Lorri (the other one – 2 R’s) was coming over for lunch. Nothing like a deadline to get me motivated.

I got up and finished my housework on Sunday morning, which felt great. Lorri and I had also decided to pick up lunch at the local catholic church’s roast beef feed, which took the cooking pressure off. It’s a common thing in this area and is the deal of the century. For $9 you get roast beef, mashed potatoes, veg, cole slaw, a roll, a kolache and pie. It’s more than enough to eat twice. Lorri and I got take out enjoyed our lunch in my front room while catching up. After she left, I had a perfectly pleasant afternoon, knitting and doing laundry. But here’s the best thing about the week…

I had talked to Cornelia on Saturday morning and at the end of our call, she mentioned that she’d heard from our friend Maria who was at l’Universite d’Orleans with us. I had stayed in touch with Maria for years and visited her in London for years. The last time I saw her was when I flew over for her wedding. When I moved to Nebraska, we lost touch. I’d tried to find her over the years, going to her parents’ house in Hammersmith only to find they didn’t live there anymore. I even tracked down a John and Maria Ellis in London’s voter rolls and went to their apartment in North London. It wasn’t her. So, I was thrilled that she’d gotten in touch with Cornelia on LinkedIn so I logged into my dormant account and sent her a note. She replied back overnight. I’m excited that we’re back in touch and hope I can see her next year when I’m in France.

What a perfect end to the week and that’s on top of the arrival of fall, both officially and weather wise. My house was as clean as it gets and I’d decided to take Wednesday off to can all the produce I’ve been given in the past week. I’ll do pickle relish, pear jam and chutney as a start. And then there’s the kale to use. So much food, I need the day off. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 37 - Back on Track

After hitting the publish button on last week’s post, I only had to call the cats in and crawl into bed for the week to be done. But when Pie came in, I knew something was seriously wrong. Her mouth was open as wide as it could be and she couldn’t shut it. She also couldn’t swallow eat or drink and I had no idea how long she’d been that way because she’d been out all day. Well, there isn’t much you can do at 9:45 on a Sunday night in Wahoo. After calling both vets and getting no response and no offer of an emergency number, I googled around a bit and found nothing. All I could do was go to bed. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much but Pie actually purred when she jumped onto my bed, which she did several times during the night. Poor kitty.

I had emailed that I’d be in late so I could drop her at the vet at 8:00 but I the doc was already there at 7:15 so I dropped her off and was at work on time. Their plan was to sedate her and see if they could unlock her jaw. I called a few times during the day but didn’t get through until the end of the day. Her jaw had closed on its own once they sedated her and they had no clue what caused it. There is a rare degenerative muscular thing but they didn’t know if that was it. Let’s hope not. They’d given her a slow acting cortisone injection and wanted to keep her overnight since she was still half out. But I drove by the vet on the way home and they were still open so I stopped and they let me take her. She was a total noodle so I shut her in the bathroom and went to knitting. Her back legs weren’t working well but she scooted out when I got home and ran downstairs to use the box. I put a sweater on the floor and put out water for her and sat with her until she fell asleep downstairs. She was almost back to normal Tuesday morning, which was a big relief. I also slept better, which I desperately needed.

After a start like this, the rest of the week was a breeze. I swam on Tuesday with a new instructor, who is pretty bad. I couldn’t hear her nor figure out what she was doing so mostly did my own thing and chatted with Natasha. Somehow I still managed to pull a muscle in my arm, which I aggravated again in the pool on Thursday. It actually made it hard to get to sleep because I couldn’t get comfortable. Sheesh!

The weather broke on Wednesday. A big storm ushered in actual fall weather so I made sure to bring my knitting to work so I could take breaks to get outside and enjoy it. I love fall and couldn’t be happier that the blazing heat is gone.

I had no plans for the weekend and was thrilled to be staying home. I had a big to do list – cleaning and cooking mostly – and was excited to get my life back on track. I made my lists and got busy, interspersing chores with knitting throughout the weekend. On Sunday, Donna came over for help with her knitting and we had tea and chatted, which was a nice break. By the end of the day, the house was in much better shape, the frig was full of food and my swap package was addressed and waiting by the door. What a difference a week makes! I went to bed without any drama, ready to face a new week. Life is good. By the way, Pie seems fine.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week 36 - Home from Spearfish

We woke up to hot weather on Monday and headed to the coffee shop for breakfast. Connie and Gordy have a big group of friends who meet there every morning so it was fun to meet them and chat. From there it was home to prep for the impromptu cookout they'd cook up for that evening. Connie had to work on her presentation for an interview she had on Wednesday so I got busy cooking - deviled eggs, a peach pie and burgers. Between that I knitted and helped edit the presentation. Just two people came for the cookout, which was nice despite the heat. We ended up inside chatting after we ate, attempting to escape the heat. We did a final edit on the presentation and I edited a file for Gordy's business at the end of the day then I showered and packed so I could get an early start.

I woke up early on Tuesday and had breakfasted and loaded the car before Connie got up at 6:00. I said my goodbyes and stopped at Starbuck's before hitting the road. I was taking the fast way home (only 10 hours) via I-90, which has to be the dullest road EVER. I stopped at every single rest stop along the way, worried that if I didn't I'd be desperate to pee with nowhere to go. I broke for lunch in Mitchell, stopping at two thrift stores, BK and for gas plus did a drive by of The Corn Palace. It's Mitchell's claim to fame but I didn't see the big deal. Kind of like Wall Drug. I guess I'm just not into touristy stuff. I'll take nature any day.

I had planned to cut south between Valentine and Yankton on a route I'd never taken before. But when I got off of the highway at that exit, it was deserted and the next town I'd encounter was 65 miles away. If I went into a ditch, I wouldn't be found for weeks so I got back on I-90 and took it all the way to Sioux Falls, which meant more miles but I could go 75 the whole way. I was listening to Unwind, the book club book, and was enjoying it so the time went pretty quickly. It didn't start feeling endless until I was headed south, which meant another 3.5 hours on smaller roads. By the time I got out of the car at home, I was light headed and exhausted. I forced myself to unpack and get some laundry on before giving up for the night. I went to bed early and was actually looking forward to work and some sense of normalcy.

Before I could get back to normal, I had to meet with the surgeon on Wednesday at 1:00. I had lunch with Helen in the hospital cafeteria beforehand and then listened to the doctor's speech on the wonders of laparoscopic surgery. The good news was I would only be in the hospital for three days and then would have no restrictions. I scheduled the surgery for October 9th and started making pre-surgery lists. Otherwise the rest of the week flew by. All normal. Normal felt great for a change.

Unfortunately my weekend was jam packed and I was a bit cranky about that and had to talk myself out of my funk. I had Friends first thing on Saturday then hit the bag sale before driving to Fremont to meet up with Nancy's friends for afternoon tea at the Loess Hills Lavender Farm. It was blazing hot when we left but the sun went behind clouds, which took the edge off the heat. We had a lovely tea, tempered somewhat by the owner doing a presentation on the farm when we'd have preferred to be chatting over our tea. After shopping in the gift shop, we went out to the fields to pick bunches of lavender, which was the steal of the day at only $5. I was home before 6:00 and spent the evening knitting and watching TV. It was a welcome respite.

Andrea picked me up on Sunday for what was supposed to be a quick trip to Omaha. We had a short list of places to hit with the goal of being as quick as possible. That all went out the window when we met Lori at Tuesday Morning to shop for yarn. After finding nothing at the first one, we hit pay dirt at the 2nd Tuesday Morning so decided to hit the third in hopes of scoring more, which we did. But when we split up, it was already after 1:00, which had been our goal to be back in Wahoo. Four shops and Aldi later, we headed back home, arriving just before 4:00. I forced myself to pick up the kitchen and start laundry before sitting down for tea and to return phone calls. I never got any cooking done but will have clean undies for the week so I'll survive. I'm totally looking forward to a normal , 5 day work week with swimming, lunches out and everything as normal as possible. What are the chances?

Week 35 - Better Every Day

Like I said, when you start the week with a colonoscopy, it can only get better. And between the colonoscopy on Monday and Friday a vacation day, it was a short week, which is always nice. Kind of like a bonus for putting up with all the sh*t. : )

It was good to get back to normal on Tuesday - eating, working, swimming, everything. I taught that afternoon so the day flew but I experienced some discomfort while I was slamming around in the pool so maybe I should have taken a day off? I just moved deeper and that helped some but I was glad to be done and headed home for dinner. It's amazing what not eating for the a day and a half will do towards making you appreciate a meal.

I took my car into my mechanic on Wednesday to check out the strange road noise I'd been hearing. They checked everything, including the wheel bearings, and said it was the tires, which were "cupping." I had lunch with Dodie then went out for coffee in the afternoon with a programmer I'd worked with on IDM to wish him well on his move to Texas. Then there was no swimming so it felt like a short day in a short week. Nice!

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on Thursday and couldn't get back to sleep so got up and finished washing pots and pans and watched some West Wing (my current binge watching on Netflix) before work. After lunch with Darla, I taught again all afternoon so the day flew again. I went home to do laundry and finish packing so I could be on the road first thing. Well, Andrea had reminded me that house taxes were due so I couldn't leave Wahoo until 8:00 when the courthouse opened but early enough.

I paid my taxes and got on the road. I was dropping yarn at a friend's house on the way and so would be taking the most direct route that takes a bit longer but is picturesque. After a few stops, which involved some thrift shops and potty breaks, I decided the scenic route was all that and so called Nora at work to get the route numbers to go scenic all the way - across northern Nebraska all the way to Chadron before heading north. Well, that seemed like a good idea until about hour 9, when I had just crossed into South Dakota and still had 2.5 hours to go. Never again! After 11.5 hours behind the wheel, I was beat. It was great to see Connie though and we went out to dinner in a neighboring town where a friend of Gordy's was playing. We didn't stay long though so I went to bed pretty early, which I needed. Get this though. I went to get into the bed and found it full of cat hair. Since I was the last one up, I brushed some of the hair off and went to bed uncaring. When I asked Connie about it she said she'd asked Gordy to "make the bed," which he did. She should have specifically asked him to change the sheets apparently. Men!

Gordy redeemed himself by making us bacon and eggs in his "outdoor kitchen." This is a table he built against the house with a hotplate and a crockpot. Worked for me. We ate outside in the cool air while watching deer outside the fence. Perfect. Connie and I headed to Rapid City where we ran errands, did a little shopping and got a frapuccino before heading to Chubby Chupmunk for truffles. Best.truffles.ever. I spent $52 on enough for us, work and gifts. We watched 42 and went to bed.

Sunday was another wonderful day. We made a picnic lunch (have you tried making chicken salad with red grapes and walnuts? Am I the last person to find out how yummy this is?) and headed to Rough Lock Falls, which is half way up Spearfish Canyon and a wonderful place to wade. After walking along the falls, we found a picnic table to eat and then put our feet in the water. For 2 seconds because any longer was painful. Still made me happy to get my feet wet. From there we headed to Rochford, which is a wide spot in the road WAY up in the hills. At 2:00 people started showing up for song circle with guitars but one guy had a banjo. Lots of other people were there to listen. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. When we headed back down, we stopped and had dinner at Dough Traders Pizza in Spearfish, which was wonderful - a fitting end to a fun day. What a pleasant contrast to the colonoscopy at the beginning of the week. : )

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Extra: The Colonoscopy Update

I had set multiple alarms for 2:00 a.m. to start drinking the 2nd round of prep but when I woke up at 1:15, I got up and started drinking. Let me tell you, it’s much harder to drink that glop in the wee hours on just a few hours of sleep. I sat at the table, watching Netflix, knitting and trying to down all 32 ounces. I was on the last glass when I started gagging and had to stop. I figured that 30 ounces was enough and was worried I’d puke it all up if I tried to drink more. I went back to bed at 3:00 but woke up twice before the alarm went off at 5:15 for obvious reasons. I hopped in the shower and was ready when Helen picked me up before 6:00. I survived the trip to Lincoln and the procedure went just fine. I was completely doped up when the doctor came in but I got that they’ll be cutting out ~6” of my colon. I’m all tattooed on the inside so they’ll know where to cut. Would you have ever thought I’d have a tattoo? The written report said I had severe diverticulitis and that they’d removed a polyp. Donna picked me up at 8:15 and I was home by 9:00 and in bed within minutes. I didn’t stop to take pills or eat. It was all about sleep. I woke up after 1:00 and felt fine. I happily ate a bowl of cheerios, had tea and cookies at 3:00 and ate dinner before heading to knitting. The doctor’s office had called that afternoon and I had an appointment with the surgeon for Wednesday the September 4th. I was just thrilled that it wasn’t bad enough that I was rushed to the hospital. Expecting the worst does have its benefits. And with a colonoscopy to start the week, it can only get better. How’s that for looking on the bright side? : )

Week 34 - Drug Free Week

The week was all about my colonoscopy, which was still a week away. The problem was I had to stop taking my anti-inflammatory a week before the procedure. I cheated (it felt like it anyway) and took one Monday morning, which meant I had no pain on Monday. Just Monday. Good thing there was no swimming this week.

By Tuesday morning, I was stiff stiff stiff. Everything was uncomfortable – from walking to typing. But the good news was after I worked through the pain/stiffness, I limbered up and could keep going without a problem. Tuesday night was our annual water aerobics cookout at Anne’s, which she has during the week we have no classes. It’s always nice to chat with people out of the pool. The food was good, the company better and I left at exactly the right time. Drug free day 1 ended on a high note.

The good news was it wasn’t any worse on Wednesday morning. I had been dreading this week, thinking it’d be worse every day. I was SO happy that wasn’t the case. It was tempered when I stopped at the pharmacy after work to pick up my prep and it was $70 out of pocket, despite the Rx coverage I have. Sheesh! As if the whole process wasn’t bad enough.

I made it through the rest of the week just fine but passed on going to an auction in Iowa with Andrea on Saturday. Between the blazing heat that had set in earlier in the week and most likely having to stand for the duration, I stayed home instead. I did put the time to good use though. I met Darla just after 7:00 for breakfast and then we slogged through an entire room of clothes, filling her truck with bags and taking them to Goodwill. We had grand plans for a movie but were so exhausted that we bailed. Since I'd be fasting Sunday, I went home and made a nice lunch. I spent the rest of the day knitting and watching TV before making a nice supper - my last meal for a couple of days.

I started Sunday getting dressed and heading to the gas station for diet coke in an attempt to ward off a caffeine withdrawal headache. It worked. I got through the day eating just a bit of orange jello, which gave me indigestion so I stopped even that. I started drinking the prep at 5:15, using my fabulous new orange glass, a gift from Darla bought just for the occasion. Unfortunately it didn’t start working until 8:00. This made me worried for the second round I was supposed to start 3 hours before my appointment, which meant 3:30 a.m. But that was clearly not going to be enough time based on round 1 so I went to bed early to grab whatever sleep I could. What a way to end the week. Stay tuned for the colonoscopy update.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 33 - Productive and Cool

It felt like fall this week, with high temps barely making it into the 70’s most days. I LOVED it! I did a lot of mid-week cooking and having the oven on actually felt good. Cool weather is always welcome in my world.

Work was busy in a good way. I dug into a big project that kept me engaged and busy for days but with no pressure. Perfect! The days flew by and other than knitting on Monday and swimming on Tuesday, I went straight home every night. I was in use it up mode with all of the produce I’d gotten from my generous friends – cukes, squash and peppers. I still have sweet corn to use, which was left in my car by my friend’s husband while I shopped at The Warehouse. Most people are trying to get rid of zucchini but in Nebraska it’s sweet corn. Such a problem. : )

This was my last weekend taking my anti-inflammatory because I have to go a week without it before my colonoscopy. With that in mind, I got anything done that required physical activity, figuring I’ll be in a world of hurt by mid-week. I started outside on Saturday morning, weeding the parking (that’s what the strip between the sidewalk and street is called here) while Devin from next door mowed. If he hadn’t been available, I was going to do it myself for the first time this year. Then I planted some fall veggies before heading in for a shower and lunch before starting inside chores. I got the kitchen cleaned up and all the pots and pans from my mid-week cooking binge done and even had time to dye some sock yarn before the day was done. I finished with a nice dinner, a chat with Connie and Django Unchained, which was good but bloody and long. So long that didn’t finish it before heading to bed.

I had lots of options for Sunday and considered picking blackberries but decided instead to head downstairs and reclaim the laundry room. But that got delayed by more cooking – brownies, blueberry cake, sausage and peppers and potato salad. That done, I headed downstairs and got everything organized – the Christmas stuff is back under the stairs, the piles are gone and I even discovered some clothes I forgot I had that I could wear yet this summer. I finished the day watching Masterpiece Theatre and finishing a pair of fingerless mitts for a swap gift.

So it was one of those weekends where I never left the house but got lots done, which was my goal so I can go into the meloxicam free week with most things looking good. The frig is full of food for the week and the chores are done. Good thing I have my close parking spot because I may be using my cane by the end of the week. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 32 - Good Bad Ugly

The Good

Anyone who knows me knows of my love of ditch food. I think it comes from when I was little and my mom would send us out to the field, the wooded lot next to our house, to pick blackberries with the promise of pie for dessert. It would keep us busy for hours, which I’m not so sure wasn’t my mom’s ulterior motive, but we would have the reward of pie after supper and the berries were free for the taking. This lead to a lifelong love of ditch food. From peaches from a lone tree by the side of the road (probably from a discarded pit) to blackberries from the entrance ramp of Route 10 in Providence. I was always on the lookout for wild fruit.

When I moved to Nebraska, the ditch food changed to elderberries, chokecherries and wild plums. I’ve picked enough to make an occasional batch of jelly (none of them make good jam, which I found out the hard way) but was missing the blackberries that grow all over Rhode Island. Well, this week I discovered a blackberry patch in a mile long ditch off the highway between work and home. I wasn’t dressed for picking but found a couple to try and they were yummy. I left with scratches on my ankle and plans to pick more soon. I’ll make some jam and a pie. Happy days!

The Bad

Good thing I had something good this week because I did not get good news at the GI doc. I guess I was expecting to get a “Great job. Keep up the fiber.” Instead the doc came into the room with his thumb and finger an inch apart and said, “You were this close to being like your sister.” He said he saw a bubble on the CT scan, which meant I had a micro-perforation and next time it could be bad. I needed surgery to remove a section of my colon. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was absolutely shocked and after calling my sister, who had a major perforation and emergency surgery that she barely survived, I cried in the parking lot. Then I headed to work and cried some more. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for the 26th and after that I’ll meet with the surgeon. While there’s no part of me that wants surgery, I want another bout of diverticulitis even less. And since it won’t be an emergency, I won’t end up with a colostomy. How’s that for looking for the silver lining?

The Ugly

I mentioned last week that my cat had brought in a baby bunny and it was somewhere in the basement. So I took Wednesday off and dug through the entire basement storage room, which is where Tot dropped the bunny, which scooted under a shelf. I moved everything, including the Corelle shelves, which took some doing. My boss made me a fake baby bunny and gave me one of her famous reused cards to celebrate the find but alas, no bunny. For all I knew, the cats had eaten it.

By the weekend, I was sure I could smell something amiss downstairs and I thought it was coming from under the stairs. I moved all of the Christmas stuff out from under the stairs. Nothing. Then I moved everything in the laundry room, including the washer and dryer. My last ditch effort was my friend Lori’s dog, who came over and sniffed around but didn’t find anything. I had been hoping for some drug dog digging action but no. Lori said she couldn’t smell anything but basement mustiness. After all this, I’m still wondering where the bunny is and if I’m really smelling anything.

So I ended the week with an unsuccessful bunny search and worried about surgery but with blackberries in my future. And the countless offers of help from my family and friends have been amazing. While none of this was in my plan for this fall, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends and hopefully be on the mend soon. I live in hope.