My Mom and Dad

This is my mom and dad, the couple standing. I’m pretty sure that’s not Lee Harvey Oswald in the foreground. The pic is circa 1954.

Holy Cow

I’m thrilled to see readers here! You have no idea.

I’ve been busy with post-funeral stuff like writing thank-you notes and things but I have much more to say on this subject.  Including some problems I’m having adjusting. No surprise there. But I will post more on the weekend, I promise.

And thanks so much for coming over and saying such nice things :)

A Blog Can Serve a Purpose (and other observations)

I’ve all but abandoned this blog. Once upon a time it served a purpose.  I used it to empty out my head every now and then.  Then, quite a while ago, I found other places to distribute the stuff that was clogging up my brain… maybe not entirely emptying it out but more or less dribbling things out in starts and stops and spurts.

But now I have this ridiculously saturated medulla or cerebellum or whatever you call it and there’s no way I could possibly drain it sufficiently without coming back here. So, over the next few hours or days or however long it takes, I’mma gonna be here emptying out my brain and my heart and whatever else I can squeeze out so I can have my old self back… the one that can sleep and rationalize and communicate intelligibly, (even carry on a conversation) and emote and add and subtract.

As it stands right now, it’s 2:19am. I’m supposed to be waking up in 3 hours to go back to work after having been off for a week. Unless you count the weekends, in which case it would be 9 days. That’s how long it took to watch my mom die and see to it that she got a proper burial and deal with the aftermath. Partially, anyway.

And all that stuff up there left me with a head the size of a [insert something of impressive volume here] full of bombarding thoughts and not a clue as to how to sort them out and make sense of any of it.  I know, because I’ve spent the last four or five (I can’t even count anymore) nights trying.  And that was on top of the daunting task of trying to cry.

There’s something about watching your mother die and not being able to cry that just doesn’t sit well with me. I dunno, it just doesn’t feel normal.

Stay tuned for part two, four, five, three , seven, twelve, eight and however many more it takes to get me the hell through this.

Boo Spam

Sadly, I’ve had to disable the page I had on my blog all about one of my favorite bands.  It seems to have turned into a spam magnet. 94 hits this morning. It makes me mad. Why can’t life just be simple without all the little headaches? They seem to multiply day by day and contribute to one big headache.

Oh, how I long for the simpler days gone by… I don’t think I’m cut out for living in this age.

Going to try a little experiment. I’m posting a video of the band and see what happens. This post may or may not be here tomorrow, depending.

PD’s Latest Trials and Tribs

It’s been a ridiculously long and embarrassing amount of time since I’ve written here and I apologize for that.  Sometimes there’s just no time or no words to say what you want to say.  Other times, there’s just nothing worth reporting.  More often than not, though, lately, there just hasn’t been anything good to say.

We’re having another stressful siege with PD’s health.  This time it’s not Meniere’s-related.  We don’t think so anyway.

Several months ago he started having intermittent problems swallowing.  In a relatively short period of time it became more and more frequent and it became obvious that it was time to see a doctor.  An endoscopy was set up with the intent of stretching the Schatzki ring and while they were down there it was decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a couple of snips for biopsy. That was June 10th.  He’s not been able to eat solid food since midnight on June 9th.  Yeah.

Weird part is that he’s had the endoscopy done twice before, and the ring stretched also, with no problems.  Sometimes people have a narrowing of the opening of the esophagus.  That narrowing is called the Schatzki ring and there is a procedure called an esophogeal dilation using a balloon to stretch it to enable easier swallowing.  It’s not always permanent and often the stretching is needed every so often.

Normally the procedure doesn’t merit any kind of problems or follow-up.  We have been back to the doctor once, to the emergency room and back to the hospital for more tests.  Xrays have been taken, 2 CT scans done and two barium swallows to check for perforations or tears in the esophogeal wall.  The biopsies both came back normal.

PD is having severe pain (like a very sore throat) accompanied by a kind of spasming in his neck and throat area on one side.  Often times when he is able to eat (those times are becoming more frequent, thankfully, considering that he has lost a considerable amount of weight) his throat will spasm to the point where he has to stop eating until it subsides.  He’s been able to eat yogurt, pudding, a little icecream, broth and a liquid nutritional supplement.  He was very weak for days but is getting some of his strength back.

His gastrointestinal doc is rather baffled as to what is going on.  He’s prescribed an antibiotic on the off chance of the possibility of an infection in there.  The improvement has not been great but he does feel a little better so maybe there was some infection in there.  Hard to tell.

He’s seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist on Tuesday and we’re hoping to get some answers and treatment then.  He’s angry and frustrated and I can’t blame him at all. Plus, I’m tiring of eating in the closet.  I don’t like to eat real food in front of him, he gets jealous.  And he keeps trying to smell my food and that’s just weird.

I am near the end of my 12-day vacation.  The original plan was to stay home and enjoy my house and yard and husband and get together with some friends.  Our grandson was going to spend a week or so with us.  There was a point where it seemed that a hospital stay for PD was a possibility so that plan was cancelled.  I’m not sure who was most disappointed.  As it turned out, so far, no hospital stay.  But it’s not been much fun for any of us.  But PD has gotten caught up on several hundred episodes of MacGyver and Bones.  And no, that was not fun for anyone else but PD.  Meaning me.

The Joy of Detox

Things have been a little hairy at our house lately. The kitchen renos have come to an abrupt halt due to the fact that PD is dealing with some issues.

In case you don’t know, my husband suffers from Meniere’s Disease. He was diagnosed, if I remember correctly, in 2003.  He’s been a Bilateral Meniere’s patient since 2000.  He’s on a pretty good selection of medications for the dizziness and other symptoms that go along with the disease.  He’s had surgeries that were temporary fixes.  Meniere’s isn’t a well-known disease and there is not a lot of research being done.  There is no cure but it can go into remission.

Sleep disturbances are a big part of life for PD.  He’s was on 4 medications alone to deal with that issue.  We’ve been trying to get him off some of his meds which don’t seem to be helping and/or are not covered by his medical insurance plan.  One of those meds is Clonazepam (Klonipin) and he’s been taking it for about 10 years.  After discussing it with his doctor, he followed her instructions for weaning off the drug.  That was three weeks ago and he’s been having a terrible time since.  It breaks my heart to see him come downstairs, bleary-eyed and edgy from spending hours trying to get some sleep. I now know first-hand what drug users must go through in detox, except without the benefit of other drugs to help with the withdrawal.  He’s adamant about not going back on the Klonopin and is limited in what he can take to ease the symptoms because of the other drugs he must stay on.  Just today I came across this article and will be giving it a good read.

I’m not only concerned about the hell he’s going through, as the days go by I’m getting more and more irate with the non-chalance with which some doctors prescribe these drugs.  From all the research I’ve been doing it seems to be a common problem.  I’ve also learned that he probably should not have been taking the drug for as long as he has been.  It was a low dose but taking it for so long has made the withdrawal that much more difficult.

I could make this a more lengthy diatribe on the insensitivity of the medical community but I won’t.  And don’t even get me started on the negligence of drug companies or the FDA.  What I need to stress to you is that before you start taking any medication, please please please discuss it in depth with your doctor and do some research.  Often times the “fix” is more dire than the actual problem.

And if you are so inclined, a prayer or two for PD would be much appreciated.

A Little Mid-Week Trauma

I may have told you on FB or Twitter that I’ve been seeing a chiropractor on a bi-weekly basis.  I’m supposing that this is the result of working too long in one position.  (So much for ergonomics.  Whatever…)

Anyway.  I was making noticeable progress. The day of my initial visit, I had woken up feeling like I could barely move my neck.  I felt like my whole clavicle was out of whack and the pain was making me nauseous.  I called off work that day, called the chiropractor and his lovely receptionist uttered those miraculous words, “How soon can you be here?”  That was roughly 3 weeks ago.

By this past Monday I was feeling quite human once again.  I’ve gotten in the habit of moving gracefully as opposed to using any quick, jerky movements to give my neck a nice rest and to let it enjoy it’s new “home.”  Read: where it’s supposed to be, as in no place like

And then… picture it.  I’m cleaning up my work area in the clean room at work.  I’ve been training another girl to do a job that I used to do.  It’s time for her to put information in the system and I am walking toward her to make sure she’s doing it right.  In the mean time, there is another girl, a big girl (and if I say she weighs in the neighborhood of 300+ pounds, I am not exaggerating) standing off to the side of my path.  Suddenly, the big girl steps backward, directly into me, knocking me off balance.  Before I realize what’s happening, I’m careening toward trainer girl.  Rather than crash down on her, I throw out my left arm to grab the edge of her desk to catch myself.  Hindsight being as they say 20-20, I may have been better off just crashing down on top of trainer girl.

I not only jarred my left wrist but I twisted my neck and spine (at the waist) when I caught myself.  Reading this, it sounds worse than it actually was.  It’s just that after having no less than six or seven adjustments, I now feel like everything the chiropractor has done has been un-done.  Right this minute I have ice on my wrist (new injury) and heat on my shoulders.  I imagine that in a day or two I will feel fine.  I’m due for my next adjustment on Monday evening.

I imagine the whole scene looked rather comical to a bystander.  There is me, a scrawny little 118 pounds bouncing off the back end of the big person.  It all happened so fast, I wasn’t entirely sure what hit me until the big person said, “Are you ok? I didn’t see you there.”  I’m thinking, obviously.

It’s difficult to relate this without sounding a certain way.  But there are physics in play here and it happened.  My own personal thought is that when you have a body, big or small, you tend to have a feel for the space you inhabit.  Apparently that is not always the case and accidents do happen.

On a loosely related note,  the same day I witnessed a woman very nearly get struck by a truck about 50 feet away from me.  Oddly enough, while her heart may have suffered more of a jolt than mine, she’s probly relaxing comfortably right now.

This is where I’m supposed to write the wrap-up with some intelligible thought to tie it all together and make some profound conclusion or something, right?  I don’t know what that would be.  I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time like the lady who stepped in front of the truck, thinking it would stop for her.  She may have simply used poor judgement.  I maybe should have anticipated the possibility that the big girl wasn’t going to stand where she was indefinitely and that she had no idea I was behind her.  It’s not as if I’d assumed she was equipped with a beeping back-up alarm because that would just be ridiculous.  But I will tell you that until this aching reminder wears off, I will be a bit more cautious when anyone approaches MY SPACE.  lol  I totally didn’t see that coming either!  ah ha ha.

The End.

(ps. yes, of course  i know that myspace is totally yesterday’s news)

SAD HERE TODAY

You may have heard about PD’s little buddy, Broken Foot here or on my facebook page.

Early this past summer he called me outside to see a bunny in our backyard.  There I saw this little guy.  He had some trouble hopping and we decided that his right back paw had been broken at some time and never healed correctly. It’s not obvious in this photo but he also had part of his left ear missing.  Such a lot of turmoil he must have endured in his short little life.

Over the course of the summer, PD would throw carrots to him from a safe distance and we would watch him nibble them.  After a couple of weeks, he would show up several times during the day.  PD began keeping carrots in a plastic container just for the bunny and would shake them when he would go outside and after a time, the bunny would come close to the house for his daily treats.  PD started to call him Broken Foot.  As time went on, Broken Foot would come closer and closer until we could sit at our picnic table and he would merrily chomp down his treats a few feet away,  not afraid at all.

Neighborhood cats made us nervous a lot of the time.  There were two that we’d see now and then and were never sure if they were strays or if they belonged to someone.  A certain black one would show up at night and when we would see Broken Foot the next day we would feel relief, knowing that he had avoided a tangle with the cat.

Then one day another bunny showed up in our yard. Shortly after it became commonplace to see this bunny and Broken Foot playing together.  We decided it was a she and that she was BF’s girlfriend.  She was not as fearless and never came so close for carrots.

Nature being what it is,  a short time passed and PD called me out one day to show me a little nest covered with grass and bunny fur with five teeny tiny bunnies nestled inside.  PD had very nearly run over it with the lawn mower.  We were both excited for the Foot family and looked forward to watching them grow.  And we felt honored that they chose the relative safety of our yard to raise a family.

Sadly, the next day PD buried what was left of the babies after a cat had found the nest.  We grieved for Broken Foot and his Lady.

Time went on and Broken Foot grew to the size you see here.

Then late in October, Broken Foot didn’t show up and for two weeks, PD and I nervously watched along the road in front of our house expecting to see a little brown mound, figuring that he’d maybe run in front of a passing car.  We would see the Lady from time to time but she would be alone.

Then one cold snowy night, PD was looking out the back door and I was busy. I heard him rustling around and then I heard the door close.  I went to investigate and I found PD in the yard, with carrots welcoming Broken Foot back.  There was pure joy in his voice and I could tell how happy he was to see him.

BF took up residence first under the utility shed in the back yard.  PD would make sure the entrance to his hole was clear of snow and ice.  Lately with the cold, cold temperatures, he’s been living under our back porch.

Today when I came home from work, PD greeted me with the sad news that he’d found Broken Foot’s broken little body under our porch when he was putting a sled away that we’d decorated for Christmas with a wreath and bow.  He said it was obvious that he’d tangled with a cat, finally.  And lost.  He buried him in a special place.

You were a tough little bunny and you found a place in our hearts.  I hope there are no kitties where you are now.  XO

 

 

NEW YEAR THOUGHTS

For me, the start of a new year always involves some level of self-examination.  My intention is to examine my conscience and determine where there is room for improvement.  I intend to take a look at my experiences through the past year,  my victories and my struggles.  Ideally, I would build on what worked and put some strategies in place to help avoid the inevitable rough spots in the future.  In years past, this exercise usually amounts to nothing more than a quick debate in my head about whether or not to bother making resolutions.  The typical ones come up… Eat healthier, exercise more, stop procrastinating and quit smoking.  I’ve made those year after year and something in me just refuses to take the list seriously. The procrastinator in me believes that I will take those things more seriously next year.  I won’t kid you into believing that this year will be any different. I should add stop being stubborn to the list.  But that would add more pressure and just one more thing to put off for another day…

There’s also the outward examination.  I look in the mirror.  This exercise is becoming more painful as time passes.  I see the beginnings of wrink (ok, who am I kidding?)  I see the wrinkles deepening around my eyes and mouth . The gray hair taking over and the results of Mr. Gravity wreaking havoc on the rest of me.  The freckles on the backs of my hands aren’t freckles anymore (how does that happen?)  It takes me a little longer to bound out of bed in the morning and I don’t run up and down the steps as I always have. “Things” aren’t so firm and toned.  My skin requires constant hydrating to prevent it from taking on alligator characteristics… I have to constantly remind myself to stand up straight. It’s wearing me out!

Yeah, it’s bleak.  And if you’re behind me in age, I apologize if I’m scaring you to death.  But it’s a fact of life and it is frightening and I’m smack-dab in the middle of a panic.  I see so many women my age who seem to be just fine with where they are in life.  Of course, they’ve dyed the gray away in their hair.  Maybe they go to the gym faithfully.  Maybe they’ve had or are contemplating tummy-tucks and some facial reconstruction.  Maybe they’ve already experienced my panic and chose to take steps to fix things. Maybe they just don’t care.

The experiences my mom has endured this past year has forced me to look at my own stuff in a way I never have.  When I look at her, I see me in the future and I get panicky. I don’t wanna be frail.  I don’t wanna depend on other people to do things for me.  I don’t want to become bitter.  I don’t want to become bitter.  More than anything I don’t want to become bitter.

This might be the year that I change things.  Time is going to pass no matter what.  Aging is inevitable.  We’re born, we live, we die. But I don’t want to become bitter.

Let me say that I hate this post. It’s not what I wanted to say but I’m trying to work through this.  It’s giving me a hard time and I can’t hold it in.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Paul Westerberg

Soon I will post my 2010 Top 10 or 25 or 40 Favorite Songs of the Year.  But today I want to pay tribute to my Numero Uno, Paul Westerberg.

Paul’s birthday is today.  He was born in 1959. He is my idol, my hero and has influenced my musical taste more than any other musician. Ever.  His lyrics are amazing, the likes of which I have rarely found.  His musical talent puts me in awe.

That’s all I really have to say.  But on the off chance that he’s reading here,

Paul Westerberg, I wish you a Wonderful Birthday.

Your Oldest and Most Devoted Fan,

Me.  Named after your song,

One Wink at a Time  XXXOOO