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If we were having coffee, I would be embarrassed that, for the third week in a row, you would find me on the couch in pjs.  I wouldn’t be able to move very well so you would have to, again, help yourself to coffee, tea, and maybe some fresh fruit.

This has been a heck of a week. I think I previously wrote that part of my incision got infected. That was discovered on Monday and I was put on an antibiotic. That evening when my daughter was on her way to pick me up for the pharmacy trip, my four year old grandson and I were attacked by a swarm of wasps. It took about five very long minutes to get them off of him and me. Poor little guy got about twelve stings and four stingers left in place. Once the stingers were out, he seemed to be fine. Thank God he didn’t have an allergic reaction! I got three stings. One of them still aches now, almost a full week later. Then on Thursday morning I awoke to find my pjs and sheets completely soaked. It was kind of like that scene in The Godfather where the studio head wakes up to find blood all over his bed, without the screaming, though. It turned out that the infected part of the incision had opened up and was draining what I can only describe as “yucky stuff.” Every time I moved more would come, like a stream not a slow drip.

Later that day, the doctor cut open the incision and cleaned out as much yucky stuff as he could and packed it for me. The instructions were to keep packing it at home three times a day then go back in a week so he can see if the infection was clear. My problem is that I can’t pack it myself. It’s in the breast bone area and I can’t get a good look at it, even in the mirror. So my son-in-law has been doing it but he can’t get here more than twice a day so that probably means that it will take longer to heal than if he could do it three times a day but I am grateful that he can do it at all, even though it is embarrassing to have your son-in-law look at that area of my body!

Then on Friday I woke up about two in the morning with a horrible pain in my back which quickly migrated and intensified to the point where I knew it was sciatica. I’ve had it before so I knew the pain. This time, however, it was so painful that I couldn’t move even an inch without the pain being at screaming level and I do have a very high thresh hold for pain but this was pure agony. I live alone so I suffered here by myself, hoping it would get better but by the mid afternoon I called my primary care physician’s office. Unfortunately the office was closed (two hours earlier than usual). The on call doctor could only advise that I go to Urgent Care. By the time I could get a ride over to Urgent Care, the pain had intensified to the point where I was hyperventilating from the pain.

At Urgent Care, I got a prescription for a muscle relaxant. I already had pain pills from before which I had been taking throughout the day. There were other things they might have been able to do but couldn’t because I am diabetic (can’t take steroid) and post operative so that kind of tied the doctor’s hands. Luckily, the muscle relaxant worked and has continued to work through the weekend. The pain is there but it is very manageable, although I have had short periods of it being almost unbearable. The trick is to keep taking the muscle relaxant, I think. I’ll have to make a trip to my primary care physician on Monday so I can get more of the muscle relaxant as the Urgent Care doctor only gave me enough through the weekend. So hopefully I can get someone to take me.

Other than that, I am very sore from the incision that had to be opened up. That means that at times I am having to ambulate with two canes, one in each hand. I’m pretty much staying in bed. Thank goodness I have lots of books loaded on my Kindle and I can stream stuff on TV as long as I don’t lose track of the remotes! Last night I tried to get up and do a little bit of tidying up, clearing my bedside tray and fixing something to eat. I think that activity is what made the sciatica flare up overnight. I guess today I try not to do as much, not that I did much, but you know!

So how have you been? I hope you are all well and not having any pain or any kind of medical problems. It really isn’t fun. Let me know what has been on your reading list this week. Have you watched anything interesting? Have been outdoors much? Please share with this girl that has not been able to leave the house other than to the doctor and urgent care. Let me live vicariously through you! Tell me something good!

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Go check it out!

It Never Ends

First and foremost, the final pathology results came in and there is absolutely no cancer anywhere! That’s the biggest and best news!

However, when I woke up on Monday morning, part of the incision was red and itchy. My appointment to get the staples out was late that morning. Upon seeing it, the doctor said I had an infection. They lanced it to try to get the yucky stuff out of a rather large lump under the site. Nothing. They tried to get it out with a syringe. No luck. So now I am on a strong antibiotic to try to get rid of the infection. If it hasn’t worked in a week, they will have to open it up again and clean it out and pack it with antibiotic which stays in for a week then has to be opened up again to be removed. And the process will have to be repeated as many times as it takes to get rid of the infection. Yuck. But I am praying and crossing my fingers that the antibiotic will take care of it.

Then last evening, as the grandsons and I were out in front of my house waiting for my daughter to come get us to go get the prescription from the pharmacy, Spencer (4 years old) and I were attacked by a swarm of wasps! Poor little guy didn’t know what it was and kept screaming and running and flailing about. I jumped and tried to get them off of him and by then they were on me. Luckily my daughter arrived in time to help get them off of us. In the meantime Spencer is screaming in pain. We finally got in the car and stopped at her house just a minute away and tore off his clothes and took the stingers out. He was better then. We got out four stingers but he’s got about twelve sting marks. I got away with only three but I feel like I was hit by a truck because I jumped into action and moved too quickly and carelessly for someone that is still supposed to be moving guardedly for another eight weeks! This too shall pass. I know. We just didn’t need this. It makes it seem like one good bit of news then a couple of bad ones.

The Queen

When I was growing up, we lived in San Jose, California. We didn’t have any family near us. My mom’s family was in Texas and my dad’s in Chihuahua, Mexico.  Then, when I was about twelve or so, my dad got in touch with his half siblings in southern California and we began going to visit them on weekends, several times a year. The drive was a long one, especially before the I-5 section between Los Banos and Los Angeles was completed, in the days when we had to drive south on either US-101 or on SR-99.

Visiting the cousins was  a lot of fun because they were all spread out. Some in Norwalk, some in Baldwin Park, some in Orange County and some in Long Beach and each of the families of cousins had their own standard of living and the neighborhoods were so different from where we lived.

On one of the visits, our Long Beach aunt and uncle took us to the Queen Mary. which had been permanently docked at the Port of Long Beach and turned into a tourist attraction. When I first visited, it had restaurants in it but had not yet been turned into the fiasco that it later turned out to be. I remember the first time I set eyes on the Queen Mary. She was so beautiful. Majestic. Titanic. We walked up the footbridge and set foot on her wooden floors. In that moment I felt like I belonged on that ship. I remember a feeling of awe as I walked around the ship…a feeling that I was somehow linked to the hundreds of thousands of passengers that had walked those same steps and looked over the same rails, climbed the same stairs.

I kept wanting to go back and when I was older and my parents had moved to Long Beach, I went to visit The Queen as often as I could, even if I was by myself, with no excuse to visit her. I had dreams of being a passenger on the trans-Atlantic cruise ship.

Later, as an adult, I was teaching sixth grade in Glendale, California. The year the box office hit Titanic hit the big screen, my students were all about the ship and all things associated with the Titanic. I talked a lot to them about the tragic events of the sinking of the Titanic. Then I talked to them about the Queen Mary, which some of them had visited. I mentioned that the Queen Mary was bigger than the Titanic but they would’t believe me.

My own teenagers loved the movie and one weekend I decided to take them to see the Queen Mary because I had researched the two ships and they had so many similarities. I normally would not have spent the money to take them on the tour and in fact, I had never taken the tour in the dozens of times I had visited the ship. However, they were really fascinated with some of the similarities so I splurged and we took the tour. It was wonderful for me to find out all of the behind the scenes tidbits about the ship and hear stories of some of the passengers that had actually traveled from England to America on board the Queen Mary. The opulence of the ship was more apparent on the tour which took us to areas that were off limits to non-tour visitors. When we were inside of the swimming pool room (I believe it was the First Class swimming pool), I was listening to the guide when I caught a bit of movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked and there was a shadow of movement up on what I thought was a balcony overlooking the pool. The shadow was shaped like a person and moved as if it were a person, first watching the tour group then moving away and out of sight. My oldest daughter nudged me and asked if I had heard the voice. I hadn’t. I kept listening to the guide. My daughter kept staring up toward that balcony. She was clearly spooked.

When we left the swimming pool with the tour group, someone asked about the man in the balcony. The tour guide stopped dead in her tracks. She asked who else had seen the man in the balcony. There were about seven in the group who had seen him, although some of us said what we saw was a shadow, not specifically a man. My daughter and one other were the only ones that had heard a voice which they described as a child’s voice although they couldn’t make out what her sing-song voice said. The guide told us that she had never seen the shadow in the balcony nor the child or heard voices although she had heard some splashing even though the pool had been completely dry for decades. She did say that this was one of the places where many people reported shadows and voices and laughter “haunting” the ship.

The tour continued through the art deco opulence of the ship and we heard many more stories and a lot of famous names dropped throughout the tour. I didn’t see any other ghosts or spirits; neither did my daughter. But even now, more than twenty years later, I’m sure of what I saw, just as my daughter is sure of what she saw and heard!

I haven’t been to visit the Queen Mary in many years, about twenty I think, but would love the opportunity to go check her out again. She has seen better days but I don’t think that’s the end of her!

For a comparison between the Queen Mary and Titanic, go here.

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The Queen Mary, permanently docked in Long Beach Harbor. Thank you to my niece, Lisa Trimble for the snapshot.

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If we were having coffee today, it would be quite early. As I compose this post, it is 2:07 am! I’m up late. Again. My mom is still in town so we’ve been watching a lot of movies and talking. She only drinks decaf. I opted for tea because we have to get up at a decent hour to go visit my youngest daughter who bought and moved into a new house a month ago and I still haven’t seen it. My older daughter is taking me and my mom.

What that means is that you should grab a cup of whatever you find next to the Keurig. My daughter passed her used one on to me this past month when she was gifted a new one. I accepted it but I only use the biodegradable K cups or the reusable ones that you can fill with your own coffee. So there’s some sweet stuff (pumpkin spice, cinnamon, French vanilla, etc.) but there’s also some dark roasts, both European and South American. So help yourself and today I have donuts!

My mom is not technologically oriented so she asked me to try to find her godson for her online. I tried and couldn’t but I found his aunt. She’s deceased but if I can find her obituary, we might get a lead on some of the other family members. Crossing my fingers. The obituaries I found online (Legacy.com) only go as far back as 2000. I need 1992. So I’ve got a few suggestions from friends and I’ll be giving it a try when we get back from my daughter’s. It’s an interesting story. Her best friend asked her to be her baby’s godmother when my mother was only fourteen. They kept in touch until a few years after my mom married, then they lost touch. Later, she found out that her friend had been abducted and never found. Her friend was sitting at a restaurant with her sister and her mother when two men walked in, pulled her out of her chair, dragged her out of the restaurant kicking and screaming and she was never again seen. Now, in her late years, my mom is hoping that she’ll be able to get in touch with her godson and catch up. My mom is 85. Her godson would be about 70, if he’s still alive. Let’s hope I can find him.

I’m still pretty much couch-bound and very sore. I’m getting around with my handy dandy cane. I could probably get by without it but I find that when I do, I end up walking faster than I should or not moving as carefully and I end up in a lot of pain so for at least a few more days I will stick with the cane. I’m hoping it will all get much better when they take the staples out on Monday. My mom never goes to the movies and although they have cable TV, she doesn’t watch anything but her telenovelas. We’ve been enjoying some of the movies that I watch over again because they’re safe. Safe in terms of violence, language, sex scenes, etc., which my mom doesn’t enjoy. We’ve watched Practical Magic, Hope Floats, The First Wives Club, As Good As It Gets, Something’s Gotta Give, and Divine Secrets Of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. We still have two more nights before she lives so we’ll probably watch a couple more. There are some I wanted her to see but they’re not free to stream so I guess we won’t watch them because there’s no money for movies. It’s okay. She hasn’t seen anything so there are a lot to choose!

We made it through the worst part of the heat wave. Starting today, we’ll only be in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s so that’s a lot more manageable than the 105 that we had for a couple of days. We stayed here at my house until we could no longer stand it and then my daughter would come pick us up and take us to her house so we could cool off. That meant that we got to spend a lot of time with the kiddos, which I loved as usual but even more so because my mom got to see them and enjoy them and she never gets to see them. It might be another three years before she sees them and they change so rapidly.

My goal this week was to write at least four blog posts. Yay! This one makes four and I have another almost finished. I’ll post that one late Saturday or on Sunday. I just have to find some pictures and put in some links. It’s about a ghost encounter on the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach. Come back for that one!

Well, I should hit the sack. I need to get up early and shower and eat and dress so we can go to my daughter’s and everything takes a lot longer when you’ve got over a hundred staples holding in your guts! So tell me about what you’ve been doing. Books? Movies? Outings? Please tell. I am trying to discreetly read blog posts while we watch movies. I just can’t do that if we’re talking because it’s not nice! But I promise I will try to get to everyone’s posts this weekend!

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. The link isn’t up yet but I’ll try to come back and join the link up before I leave to my daughter’s house! See ya!

Last Night

Last night, my daughter was invited to go with to a rock concert with a friend. Her friend lives here in the mobile home park where we live and her brother is the bass player for a major punk rock band that my kids followed when they were in their teens and early 20s. So my daughter and her husband were invited to join the bass player’s family in a limo ride to the venue and backstage privileges and all sorts of goodies. Normally, one of them would have stayed with the kids but this time around, they both needed to go. I say needed because they’ve been through some really tough times this year. Some of you might remember that they were on the verge of being evicted a few months ago and had to resort to a Go Fund Me account to raise rent money. Last week one car was repossessed. They were able to get it back using the rent money which now they are working on raising by Saturday (I think they’ve almost got it by collecting on money owed them and doing extra jobs for friends). This week the other car was repossessed and they’ve decided there are no more Peters to rob to pay the Pauls so they aren’t going to try to get that back. I’m in no position to help them financially.

So when they were invited to go she talked to me about watching the kids. She had arranged for a friend to watch the baby who is too heavy for me to pick up while I am recovering from surgery and too heavy for my 85 year old mother. So we agreed to watch the boys and a friend from around the corner would come get Maya when she woke up. It was fine until Maya woke up and the woman came to get her. Spencer, who is four and loves his baby sister, got very upset when he saw her leaving with the neighbor lady. He kept saying “We no have a baby no more, Nana.” I kept explaining that she would be coming back in a few hours but he was still upset. My mom almost cried when Maya left, too. I didn’t feel so great about it but I just can’t carry her. I’m not supposed to lift or carry more than eight pounds and Maya, at almost six months, is about twenty-one pounds!

It all worked out. My daughter and her husband enjoyed their night off and were really excited when they got back. They had stopped to get the baby before coming home so when they walked in, they had Maya who was happy to be back home and smiling at us all. I hope the night off works to give them both a boost in their energy and confidence so they can make it through this difficult time.

Families have to stick together and help each other out as much as they can. At least that’s what I think.

I had not been out of the house since coming home from the hospital a full week ago. My daughter said she would take my mom and I to dinner last night but she had so much running around that she fell asleep when she got home so it was late before we went to dinner. Luckily, we had some leftovers to keep us going!

When she came to get us, it was her and Spencer, the four year old. We headed toward the restaurant, not far from here, at about 8. By then there was no traffic and my daughter remarked how light the traffic was. When we left the restaurant (after a truly delicious dinner) we decided to go to the grocery store to get a few things Mom and I needed for meals here at home. After, my daughter said she had promised Spencer a frosty drink from Wendy’s which is across the street from the grocery store.

We got to Wendy’s and got in the drive-thru line. There were three cars ahead of us when we ordered. Not three minutes later, there were two cars ahead of us as we waited when Spencer sighed loudly. I asked him what was wrong and he said, “Me no like it when we’re in heavy traffic like this!”

We all cracked up! That was my smile this week. I’ve a few of them but this was the most recent one.

I’m heading to my daughter’s house as soon as she comes to get us in a couple of hours because she has AC and I don’t. We’re currently at 83 degrees (28 C) at ten in the morning and headed for 106 degrees (41 C). So we’re off to try to stay cool. I’m sure the afternoon with the grandchildren will provide many more smiles.

What made you smile this week? Head on over to Trent’s blog for more smiles!

If we were having coffee, you would find me on the couch in my pjs where have pretty much been for the past four days. I’m still very sore and am moving around slowly and guardedly after my surgery. Come on in and help yourself to coffee and I think there is some banana bread, too. I’ll sit and wait for you.

Since my surgery on July 21, I haven’t been able to do too much. After five days in the hospital, my daughter picked me up and took me to her house where she could watch me. My mother is also is town and she was at my daughter’s too. We came home on Friday and have spent the time talking and watching movies. My mom never watches anything but telenovelas so she is enjoying streaming my favorite old movies. I think we watched six or seven movies since Friday night. She might be going home tomorrow and that’s sad because I don’t feel we got a good visit as most of it has been with me on pain pills but I am happy she was able to come for the surgery. No matter how old we are, we still need our mommy.

I go to oncology today for a “closure” appointment when I can ask questions. They should have my final lab results in. The surgeon says no one is expecting to find anything of concern in those lab results. I hope he’s right! The surgeon is the one that told me I only had four to five months before I had the surgery! The day I was discharged from the hospital, he came into my room and shook his head and said he didn’t know what happened because the tumor they had seen in the liver, colon, and gallbladder on the CT scan less than a week before surgery just was not there when they opened me up. The gallbladder was one huge gallstone which he had to “chisel” into smaller pieces to remove. He stopped short of saying the word “miracle” when trying to explain it all. I’ll take that. Miracle or not, it is one to me!

My head is a little clearer now that I mostly don’t need the pain pills every three hours. I’m stretching the time out to six hours if possible. I’m hoping I’ll be completely off of them within a week, although the staples don’t come out until another week and a half.

Now the staples! Wow! My surgery was started with a laparoscope with the incision on my side, half way between the rib cage and the belly button. When they converted to a full open procedure, the incision was extended so it goes all the way from my side to my breast bone and up between my boobs and down halfway to my belly button with three more staples at the belly button where they inserted a camera before converting to the open procedure. So it is a huge incision. And the staples are these thick scary looking things! It’s difficult to walk or even to sit without taking time to adjust my position with pillows around me. But hey! No chemo?! No cancer?! I’ll take the slow walking and labored movement any day over the alternative!

Thank you all for sticking with me during this time. I truly believe that it was all of your well wishes and prayers that made the difference. Tell me about your happenings. Let me pray for you when you need it. I’m here for you.

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster. This week we’re on delay and keeping the linkup open an extra day. Come by and see what others are doing. Share a coffee with us!