Category Archives: food

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.

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PANIC AVERTED

Late in November I had a bunch of vacation days to use.  But due to some unforeseen circumstances in the past few weeks, I’ve had to rearrange things and I won’t be having all sorts of days off after all.

I had big plans for those blocks of time off.  Baking cookies, doing cards, decorating, shopping and wrapping.  Unrushed and uninterrupted.  I was feeling all on top of the whole business and looking forward to an easy and unstressed holiday.  I had convinced myself that this would be the best Christmas ever, simply because I would be prepared.  And I hadn’t expected the Juju’s until after the New Year.  That changed and I was even more convinced that everything would be perfect.  Then I looked at my calendar and the scratched off days that had been labeled in big red letters, proclaiming OFF.  The panic started seeping in…

We have no tree up and no indoor decorations.  The living room remodeling is taking longer than planned, mostly because PD is having some rough days and because other things have come up.  And I’m working long hours. (Although this past week we got a short reprieve from the OT.)  So until we can at least put the furniture where it belongs, we shall remain treeless.

I realize this isn’t the least bit entertaining for you.  I apologize for that.  This post is mostly for me, to get some thoughts out of my head.  Which is why I started blogging in the first place.  So bear with me.

Anyway.  I took my mom shopping today and I accomplished so much on my list.  I feel way less stressed about it and I will probly sleep better tonight.

I like to get the frivolities out of the way so when the big day comes I can concentrate on the real reason for the celebration.  I feel like I have a shot at actually pulling that off.  *Sigh*

I should be concentrating on the fact that I got my mom home safely today.  On the way back from the mall, we decided to stop at a restaurant for “nourishment.”  She had cappuccino and peach pie.  I had coffee and a Belgian waffle with whipped creme, strawberries and ice cream.  When we came out, I pulled back out onto the road and it was pure ice.  Of the black variety that I’ve often heard of but never actually experienced.  It took a very long time to get home and there were vehicles all over pulled off to the sides of the road.  All the coaching that PD has been drumming into my head over the years seems to have paid off.  I was quite relieved when I pulled into my driveway.

Looking forward to a long winter’s nap tonight.  You betcha’.

FULL AND EMPTY

I just spent about 20 minutes writing a newsy, introspective, albeit ranty post full of all the juicy categories you see up there.  I had just finished when the phone rang.  It was Juju and I was excited to talk to her, being that she and Mr. Juju were in Toronto last night to see U2 (and Snow Patrol.)  As we started our conversation I’d realized that I’d not published my post.  I clicked something- which I thought was Publish and sat back to enjoy the conversation.

Now I see that I did not click Publish.  Dagnabbit anyhow.  It’s G.O.N.E., GONE.  And of course the title makes no sense whatso EVER.

Excuse me while I go find a pigeon to kick.

GOT TO SLEEP IN TODAY :-)

So I come on here this morning and I had some mail to read.  There were a couple of weird things in my mail which turned out to be invitations to be friends with people from that nablopolamalooza thing that I attempted and failed at last month.  Firstly I thought, geez, people you’re a little late, that was last months news.  Anyway, I clicked on the invites and they were some of those weird people who claim to make tons of money on the internet doing weird things and I followed my usual impulse to click the delete button.  There was a bunch of negative people also leaving weird religious messages about tragic crap and of course they were followed by comments such as “get a life” and crap like that by people who piss me off by using the internet to spew their weird psychotic tendencies because they have nothing better to do with their life.  I realized that I’d wasted 5 minutes of my precious morning and just went on the nablopolamalooza site and spent 5 more precious minutes trying to find out how the hell to be an unmember of the whole stupid thing.  But I got out of there and deleted my badge which never showed up correctly on my sidebar anyway.  So don’t look for me to be signing up for any of that weird crap in the future.

So there.

Anyway… it’s a beautiful morning and I’m waiting for PD to wake up so that we can get on with our day.  We’ll most likely attend a huge annual Labor Day celebration at a park near our home which we usually attend.  There are rides for the kiddies, pretty good food which is bad for you, a giant flea market, music, sometimes a celebrity or two, a petting zoo, some artists displaying their work and some nifty port-a-potties with running water so you can actually wash your hands.  It’s all sponsored by assorted Labor Unions.  More often than not, we get sunburns and end up buying a bunch of stuff we don’t really need and seeing a few people that we haven’t talked to in ages and get some exercise walking the whole length of the park to search for wherever we left our car.  But it’s fun and it’s a tradition.  Oh yeah, they have all-day Bingo too, for those people who think that’s what celebrating Labor Day is all about.  Which I’ll never understand, but who am I to judge?  The sunburn thing makes more sense to me.  What’s a good holiday without a sunburn?

You enjoy your weekend and be safe.

SEASONAL STUFF

I came here with the intention of writing an angsty and over-due work rant but I figured, Crap. Why even get into it?  Nobody wants to hear me being cranky and going on about stupid shit that I can’t do anything about.  And yeah, it feels good to get it out but it doesn’t accomplish anything.  I’ll be positive instead.  I have no idea what I’ll write about but that never stopped me before.

Just one thing, today was my last day of working reduced hours (9-hour days) under a doctor’s supervision.  And the last day that I can (with a clear conscience) park in the reserved spaces in the parking lot at work.  So I’ll be partying like mad until 8pm when I should probly go to bed so that I can get up at… Oh wait, no ranting!

I am totally baffled at the fact that tomorrow puts us into September.  I’m trying to be positive and I love September but I miss June and July and August something fierce. But I love to smell the crisp fresh Fall air  and seeing the Autumn skies which take my breath away this time of year.

I always get thoughtful and introspective this time of year, too.  I’ll think back over times past and look forward to slowing down a bit- that is until the holiday rush starts and then there are other things to look forward to.  But Fall is special.  Sometimes it feels good to put warm, fuzzy socks on and a sweatshirt and jeans.  To quit worrying about your tan fading.  I will find myself more than once curled up on my porch swing with a blanket and a cup of hot coffee.  It’s nice to actually sit in the house at night with the lights on, too,  something that we rarely do all Summer.

I’m consciously blocking out a lot of things like having to crawl out of a nice warm bed, to have to warm the car up in the morning, to pay high gas bills, to step out of the shower and dry off your goosebumps and even worse… to scrape ice off your windshield, to have to wear hats that flatten your hair…  Oh wait, I didn’t just write all that.

Fall food is good too.  Pumpkin.  Chili.  Homemade vegetable soup.  All that good hot stuff that you didn’t cook all Summer to keep from overheating the kitchen.

Ok.  This is all the positive you’re going to get from me today.   I’m all happied out.  It’s Monday, what did you expect?

Have a good one.

TRY THIS FOR ME

If you’re like me, you have a couple of zucchini lying around waiting to be made into something edible.  If you’re exactly like me, you don’t have time to be trying new recipes.  Maybe you could try this and let me know how it is…

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ZUCCHINI FRIES

3 medium size zucchinis

1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

1 cup flour

1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1/2 tablespoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon Lowry’s Season

vegetable oil

Mix flour and seasoning in large try or plate and set aside . Pour hot sauce in separate bowl and set aside.

Peel skin from zucchini and cut into shape of french fries (size at your discretion).  Add zucchini fries to bowl of hot sauce, mix and let sit for a few minutes.

Meanwhile pour vegetable oil into frying pan (enough to just cover fries) and heat to 375 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer drop one test fry to oil, the oil is hot enough with the fry comes to a good sizzle.

Take a batch of fries from hot sauce and dredge in flour mixture. Add fries to oil and cook in batches. Do not crowd the pan as this will lower your oil too much and cause the zucchini to be soggy. When fries are golden brown, remove from oil and allow to drain on paper towel. Serve with hot sauce or ranch for dipping.

Sounds pretty yummy and fairly easy to me.  I’m not a person to fry food but I can make an exception…

GOING TO THE FAIR…

…or at least considering it.  I’m a little more inspired to go now that I know Marky Ramone is going to be there this year.  Thing is, I don’t want to push my luck with my foot.  It’s been pretty good except that they have me working at the entire other end of the building the last two days and I’m really feeling all that extra walking in my foot.  The cafeteria and locker room are at my regular end of the building so I’m having to hike down there when I get there in the morning, at lunch, both breaks and before I leave at the end of the day.   I dunno, it bites that my job and responsibilities there are affecting my homelife.  I can’t convey to you how pissy that makes me.  I should just say “[insert appropriate swear word here] it” and go but…  I dunno.  Whatever.  I’m sick of making decisions based on how I feel or how I’m gonna feel.

In the old days, my BFF Kate and I used to walk the perimeter of the fairgrounds several times in a night and practically every night of the week that the Fair was in town.  We used to have our favorite rides that we would ride until our tickets ran out.  I would “need” to have a blue or a rootbeer SnoCone and a half-dozen French Waffles.  Kate would “have to” have pizza and an icecream cone.  The vanilla kind covered with chocolate and nuts and a cherry.  We would both stop and buy fudge before we left the park and I would grab some cotton candy for the walk home.  She lived about 5 blocks from the park and walking was always fun and easier than finding (and paying for) a parking spot.  There were times that we would “do” the Fair all day and get our hands stamped at the gate so that we could go back at night.  We lived in a town where the Fair was the highlight of the summer and believe me, we lived for it.

Monday night there was always a huge parade that started after dinner and went on well into the night and there were fireworks after.  Up until a certain age, I was never allowed to go to the Fairgrounds after the parade because there were a gazillion firemen from half the counties in the state wandering around in various states of inebriation.  Thinking back, despite how indignant I was about that rule, it was probly a pretty good rule.

I have wonderful memories of the Parade.  I was lucky enough to have grandparents with a big old house with a yard along the parade route.  My mother’s entire family would gather there, arms laden with lawnchairs, jackets, blankets and pajamas for about nine kids and whomever else would show.  After dinner we would line up our chairs along the curb and spread blankets for the little ones to sit on, “up front” with a better chance to scramble for the candy that the firemen would throw from the trucks.  If you got enough kids yelling “Blow your siren!”  we would be rewarded with a long, loud blast of the truck siren accompanied by joyful squeals of delight from about a block’s worth of excited kids.

We would beg to sit on the curb hours before the start of the parade, which was signalled by the blowing of “Mooley” promptly at start time.  Mooley was the name given to a loud siren which I believe was originally used during the war for the air raid drills way back then.  It would start out low and rise to a very loud and high pitch and then fade back down and then go up again.  I’m pretty sure it was also the fire whistle but not sure about that…  Anyway, we would sit there excitedly as vendors would wander up and down the sides of the street barking their wares.  There would be, of course, helium balloons of every shape and size imaginable.  There were inflatable cartoon animals, whistles, hats with feathers, flags, anything that a whole bunch of could be carried by a man sporting a canvas apron with pockets for money.  I would “shop” carefully, making sure I had a firm grasp on everything there was to be had so as not to make a hasty purchase and then find something else later that I wanted more.  It was a one-shot deal so you had to be sure.  I can remember my little heart pounding in my chest when I would make my decision and wait for the vendor to come down my side of the street.  Lots of people (grown ups or “bad” kids) would cross the street to make a purchase but that seemed to risky to little me.  After a point there would be no more cars on the street as the police would put the road blocks up.  After that point there were still people and their lawnchairs marching by in search of an empty spot to park theirselves.  I would fret that they might get between me and the prize I’d decided to buy so there was more than a little anxiety involved.  Not to mention that we were closer to the big dangerous street that we were forbidden to be near any other time of the year.  The temptation to stick our little feet out into the street was sometimes unbearable.  So anyway,  the deal was that you would flag down your intended vendor, point out your prize and inquire about the price, praying against all you held dear that you had enough money.  If it was in the stars, the elation was indescribable.  And you looked all hot stuff to be sitting on the curb holding a helium balloon or an inflated Fred Flintstone until the parade actually started and you had to beg Mom or Dad to hold it in case they threw candy.  Heaven forbid that you only had one hand for candy grabbing.

The grown-ups all took turns managing kids at curbside or running inside and upstairs to “use the facilities.”  That was what was so cool about having grandparents on the parade route.  If you had to pee, you looked down the street and if there wasn’t a flashy band approaching with good drums, you could high-tail in inside, take care of your business and make it back to the blanket before you missed too much.  And chances were, if a truck with good candy just came by, there wouldn’t be another one for at least 5 more bands.

The clowns were scary.  I’m not even going to talk about them.

One of the best parts of the parade were the Shriners.  They would walk in unison wearing their balloon pants, gold painted shoes, sashes and turbans, slowly raising and lowering their swords as they slowly marched by.  A portion of the group would play what I called, “snake flutes” because they sounded like the flutes those swami guys would play in India to make the cobras come out of the baskets.  As I got older the Shriners would ride in little corvettes or on mini-bikes, criss-crossing the pavement in intricate patterns at designated places on the parade routes.  I think it was if there were “people of position” were gathered in one place, celebrating with their pricey alcoholic beverages, more likely to make donations.  My Uncle Jack was a Shriner and I was sometimes wont to sneak into the closet where he kept his gold shoes.  I was kind of disappointed to find out that they were just regular shoes, not magic, merely spray-painted metallic gold.

At some point during the parade and after dark, the grown-ups would come out and bribe one or two of us to come inside for a quick bath and to put jammies on so that we could be put to bed when we returned home.  I can still remember the fretting, sitting in the lukewarm bath that smelled of Ivory soap with the sounds of horns and drums and cheering and truck sirens wafting in through the open window in the bathroom.  I swear I was never quite dry when I would pull my jammies and slippers on … and the novelty of wearing a sweatshirt over my sleepwear was just weird but not weird enough to keep me from racing back outside to watch the end of the parade.

Traffic was always nutso after the parade.  We lived across town but my dad would never venture home until the worst of the traffic had passed.  My memory isn’t clear of where we would watch the fireworks.  I will have to think about that or ask my mom.

We would arrive home late at night worn out from the excitement.  And coming down off the sugar rush from the candy, of course.  The best part was that we could fall asleep knowing that we had a full week of riding rides ahead of us.

THE SAGA NEVER ENDS

So I had been feeling “not good” for a couple of weeks.  Didn’t want to make a big deal out of it mostly because it might start to appear to others that I’m turning into a drama queen hypochondriac.  Just having gotten over the broken foot and two UTIs (TMI) over the past couple of months and never-ending dental work, I’d just about OD’d on anything ever remotely associated with hospitals, doctors, dentists, drugs, ANYTHING health-related.  I’m not going to go into my symptoms b/c so many of them are “female” things and who in the hell wants to hear about that crap?  Not even me.

So Friday aftenoon when I felt an excrutiating band of pain around my midsection, I started thinking that maybe I was going to die I should take how I was feeling a bit more seriously.  Up until that point I was able to attribute all my uncomfortableness to the sorts of things “women my age” experience with the big M. (Menopause)

About an hour later the pain was gone but I was still on alert, lest it return.

Saturday afternoon PD and I spent hours and hours searching umpteen stores for the perfect window coverings for the windows in our new closed-in front porch.  I wasn’t feeling great and couldn’t wait to get home and relax.

By 7pm I could hear the Emergency Room calling my name and explained to PD that a trip was in order.

By the time the triage nurse called  me to get my information I couldn’t even sit down.  I found myself pacing in little circles trying to find a comfort zone.  There was none.  I was fighting tears by that point and getting scared, wondering what was wrong with me.

A CT scan and a urinalysis resulted in the report that I was in the process of passing a 5mm kidney stone, which then resulted in an IV full of anti-nausea drugs, Toradol and Dilaudid.  I actually turned down the Dilaudid at first and PD talked me into having it before we left.

A little after 10pm I was released and PD went to retrieve the car.  It was then that I found myself sitting on the curb outside the ER enjoying the hell out of the fireworks across the way.  You ain’t never seen fireworks until you watch them in a Dilaudid-induced stupor.  I wish you could have seen PD insisting that I “Stay put!” as he walked toward the parking garage.  I wonder where he thought I was going to wander off to.  The sidewalk wouldn’t even stay in one place.

Thrilled to be pain-free, I thoroughly enjoyed about half of the ride home.  It was a beautiful night, the car windows open, good music, pretty lights.   I could probly tell you the exact second the anti-nausea wore off and how grateful I was for the pretty cornflower blue barf bag they’d given me.  I only had to use it twice.

So today I felt pretty good for most of the day.  The past couple of hours, not so good.   Time will tell.  PD is BBQ-ing pork that’s been marinating in JD BBQ sauce and baking potatoes for what promises to be a yummy dinner.  I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I’ll be able to enjoy it.

UPDATE:  I guess I should have clarified… I have not yet passed the stone, it’s still in there moving around and wreaking havoc.

KNOTTING UP LOOSE ENDS

Several times lately I’ve sat down here to write and realized that things I wanted to say needed to be explained and didn’t have the time or energy to get into the whole whatever so I just didn’t write.  And Lord knows I don’t need one more reason to add to the list as long as my arm that’s keeping me from writing here.  So if you can find it in your heart to bear with me and muddle through a bunch of uninteresting but necessary (to me) details so that I can maneuver around this bump and move on, I’ll love you forever.

So I saw the foot doctor on Thursday.  He’s more or less satisfied with how my foot has healed (nearly 100%) but concerned about the pain I’ve had elsewhere in my foot since the boot came off.  So he wrote me a script for an anti-inflammatory and ambushed me with a hypo gave me a big-ass shot of cortisone in that little hollow spot in front of my outside ankle bone.  Crikey, that “pinched.”  Kind of like the same way a guillotine pinches your neck.  Incidentally, I lost the bandaid somewhere in my bed between that night and this morning when I woke up and found it pasted to my right ass cheek.  WTF. He told me to keep doing what I’m doing, stop when it hurts and come back on July 30.

Yesterday I decided I was totally fed up with sitting around and cleaned my whole house and did laundry and brought the rest of my summer clothes out of the attic.  PD and I decided we felt like entertaining so we invited some friends over to sample his recent acquirance of bison meat and I spent a couple of hours making supplementary food and getting the back yard ready for guests.  In other words, I totally abused my foot.  And it felt good. (The abusing of, not the foot, per se.)

Work is still the same, basically but with a few thousand twists.  No need to elaborate, so I won’t. *Yawn*  HR is being a pain in the ass, starting to pressure me about not working the over time.  They can’t quite seem to understand the complicated medical term “until further notice.”  Duh already.

In case you’re wondering, I still can’t get below 10 cigarettes per day and no, my weight has not changed despite the massive amounts of food I ingest on a daily basis.  Is there such a thing as a tapeworm with a nicotine addiction?  Surely there must be.  I must confess though, that several times on recent weekends, due to the frequency of friends dropping over to enjoy a fire and a few beers, I’ve gone over my daily limit.  I know.  You can’t say anything I haven’t thought or heard already.  But thanks.

So now we’re up to par on the foot/work/cig/weight fronts.  Now I can move on to other things.

Oh wait!  The old guy?  The Friday before Father’s Day, I spotted him (standing this time) on his porch.  Still with that faraway stare out into space, hands folded on the crook of a cane.  A car was parked in front of his house this time and a younger man was leaning into the back seat.  Led me to wonder if he’d had a visitor and who and why and a zillion other things for the rest of my drive home.

And YES I’m loving being able to drive again!  JOY JOY JOY 🙂

QUICK CATCH UP

PD and I had a lovely weekend with my daughter JuJu and her terrific family.  We celebrated Juju’s birthday, my granddaughter’s birthday, Easter and Mother’s Day.  A lot to cram into less than 48 hours.  Saturday night we had a fire and ate popcorn and had “beverages.”  That didn’t last too long, as the little ones pooped out early and it actually got quite chilly rather quickly.  We also started to watch Bedtime Stories and laughed a lot but we quit for some reason and never got back to it.  Mostly we played and talked and ate.  But it was good, however short.  Seems that with all of our work schedules and my limited absence of driving skills, it gets harder and harder to get together.  And that makes me very sad.  Really makes hitting the lottery and buying a helicopter look appealing.

So my house is quiet now, but still relatively clean.  It was a bit of a wreck before the weekend.  PD isn’t quite finished with the front porch closing-in.  The outside wall in the living room looks like we took a wrecking ball to it but the new window is in and when the dry wall gets put up and the painting gets done, all will be good.  The new window looks out on to the new room window so we still have a wonderful view of the field across the road and the hills and trees beyond that.  I can still watch the sunrise and the colors of the seasons change in the trees.

Well, this is short and I’m tired.  Plus, I hear the music of the Good Humor truck outside.  I need to run.