Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Just When I Thought…

Just when I thought things were turning around for me, health wise, they seem to have taken a side road. I might still be okay with things but I did take a detour.

Those of you that follow me on Facebook probably know that last week I ended up in the Emergency Room due to chest pain, numbness on my left side, and a rapid heart beat. After examining me, they admitted me for more tests. I spent two days there. At first they thought it was a stroke but tests showed it was not. Then they focused on my heart. We know I did not have a heart attack but we don’t know what caused the symptoms. The next step would be an angiogram  but because that is more invasive, they are holding off on that until we figure out if my symptoms will go away, stay the same, or get worse.

For now, I feel better and I am optimistic that things will improve. I am baffled by the symptoms. The rapid heart beat seems to come and go. The chest pains have stopped and the numbness is almost completely gone. They prescribed a medication to help my heart manage stress and some nitroglycerin pills. The thought is that if I get chest pain and the nitro helps it, it is most likely angina and they can treat that. If the nitro doesn’t help, then I have to get to the hospital as soon as possible and we’ll go from there.

It’s scary. I won’t deny that. I am trying to focus on the fact that I am feeling better and I am hoping that the symptoms won’t recur and trying to get back to the place I was when I wrote the previous post here about the little forward steps I was taking with my medical condition. Crossing my fingers. Saying some prayers. Shaking my head and wondering what else will go wrong!

Advertisements

Little Steps

Every journey begins with one step. Big steps; little steps; they’re all steps. They all count.

I didn’t write about the bit of positive news that show the first steps in a long journey to finally recover from the storm of health setbacks. At my last appointment with the endocrinologist three weeks ago, I got a glimmer of hope. As you may remember, the insulin I have been taking was causing me to gain ten to twelve pounds per month. I pleaded with the doctors to put me on different medicines. My primary care physician seemed to think I was eating too much. I wasn’t. I’m not. I had been advised by the dietitian to have three to four servings of carbs (one serving is fifteen grams) per meal at minimum. I have only been having one such serving per meal. There was still no change in the weight gain. I even told the doctor which medicine had worked previously and what I wanted her to try. No luck. Finally I got her to go through with a referral to the endocrinologist last January. That doctor listened to me and thought I was right about the medication I wanted to try.

After three months, instead of gaining ten to twelve pounds each month, I had only gained three and a half. Yay! Still a weight gain but so much less. And the biggest news at that check up was that my HA1C, which is a test that shows how high blood sugar has been in the previous three months went from 8.2 to 5.5. That is in the non-diabetic range! So that’s much better.

And the kicker is that because I’m doing so much better, the doctor has reduced the amount of insulin I am taking by half. That means that I should be losing more weight soon. I’m still only having very few carbs and under one thousand calories per day. When I went to the orthopedic doctor eleven days after the endocrinologist appointment, I had lost four pounds! Yay!

Although these are very little steps, I’m pretty sure they are leading me toward a good outcome. It is the encouragement I needed. I am hoping that I will lose enough pounds to make getting around less difficult so I can start getting back to the things I like to do, like taking the kids for hikes or even for a short walk up and down the block.

So let’s hear it for little steps!

Mic

I’m in this Facebook group for Lularoe clothes. It’s a huge group and it’s fun. They have over nine thousand members and they run a lot of giveaways and fun participation stuff. There’s probably about five hundred of us that participate regularly.

Today, they asked a question about shyness. Are you shy? I had to think about it for a moment. I guess that I am initially shy but if I see that I have a role or a job, then I am not shy; I get in gear and come out of my shell.

It reminded me of some of the PTA dinners that I had to MC. I ended up doing it several times because the ones that were supposed to do it were too shy so I was asked to do it. It ended up being fun. Stressful but fun. They were award dinners that we put on each year to celebrate the volunteers that committed to and delivered fantastic service. I knew it was important to make the evening memorable. I had been the recipient of one or the other of the awards a couple of times and I wanted to make the evening special for the volunteers. So I went into action. First, I ordered one drink, usually my favorite, a Margarita. I walked up to the microphone and showed a bit of shyness and said I had to take a drink of my Margarita to give me courage so I took a sip of it at the microphone and went on. The evening was broken up into a number of speakers and presenters and I would come up after/before each one. I made it a point to come to the microphone with my Margarita and I made a show of taking another drink from my glass. Then the next time I would come up and say something about this is “three Margaritas so excuse what comes out of my mouth” or something like that. Each time I went up I would add to the number of Margaritas and I would carry my glass. It was funny and people laughed and marveled at how well I was handling all of the drinks. I think I made it up to about seven Margaritas before the last time up at the microphone when I appeared with a cup of coffee.

The joke was on the audience because while I definitely got courage from my “Margaritas,” I was actually not having any booze. I was always very careful not to drink in public, especially if I was going to be at the microphone. I had actually talked to the bar and wait staff ahead of time and arranged to have them bring me only virgin Margaritas, even if someone ordered one to send to me.

That was how I got over my shyness. Give me a microphone and a job to do and there is no shyness. Otherwise, you have to pull me out of my seat and drag the words out of my mouth. I’m THAT shy!

Okay, now to go find a Margarita!

Alphabet Soup

I think of that conversation often then over the past week, it seems to have come up several times. I suppose I should write about it and maybe that will release it.

I was talking to a new-ish friend the other day (on Facebook Messenger). We were kind of filling in our pasts as new friends do, catching up on things in our background. She asked me why I never remarried after my divorce. Why did I end up all alone at the age of 62?

Good question. The answer? I guess it was a choice. A choice that I didn’t realize I was making until it was too late. At the time of my divorce, I had three children, ages eleven, eight, and two. We didn’t live near relatives. I had a lot of friends but they were all married with their own family obligations so I had to rely on myself to take care of the every day needs of my children, as well as their long term needs.

And I couldn’t help but remember a conversation I had overheard years before. It was a conversation between my mother-in-law and my husband. We were visiting the in-laws and my mother-in-law asked my husband how his sister was doing. Was there anything new with her? We lived near his sister, about a four hour drive from my in-laws so we were often the go-between because we visited with them more often than she did. He told her that there wasn’t anything new with her. She was still working on her degree and taking care of her little girl. Then she asked about any new men. Was she dating anyone serious? They both went on talking about the “alphabet soup” that she dated. Apparently, in their eyes, she seemed to date a different person every few weeks, never staying with any one man for long. They kept referring to her dates as the alphabet soup and joking about the men. It was obvious to me that, in their eyes, it was a negative thing. They seemed to think that she was concentrating more on her dating than on her daughter.

I thought about it and it made a lasting impression on me. I’ve always been one to worry about what others say. I know that’s not important. I’ve learned it now but in those days, it was important. So when I divorced, I was determined to put my children and their needs ahead of any needs I might have. So I didn’t date. I kept busy with my children and when they were with their father on Wednesday nights and alternate weekends, I visited with friends from my kids’ elementary school. There was a group of us that were all divorced and we would get together at the home of one friend who was married. We would eat and drink and talk and her husband taught us to play poker one night. On weekends I just stayed at home, sleeping in and watching movies I couldn’t watch when the kids were home. Years later, I had a friend from college that would come over on Wednesday nights and I would cook dinner for him and we would talk and listen to music. He would stay the night and leave early the next morning so he could make it to work on time. Once in awhile, I would have alumni functions on weekends so I would attend those and sometimes cook for those. I got a reputation for being a good cook so I was the one that did all the cooking for our functions. I would always go alone and come home alone. I didn’t want anyone to say that I was dating an alphabet soup or that I was ignoring my children’s needs. They were my top priority. Anything I needed or wanted, came last.

And, if I am being honest about it, I was protecting myself from hurt. I had been severely broken, and profoundly hurt when my husband went straight from my house to his secretary’s. Yeah. I thought he was better than the stereotype but I was wrong. So I protected myself by not ever letting myself get involved with anyone. For a long time his leaving us made me question my judgement. How could I have been so wrong about him? And more importantly, how could I trust myself to be a good judge of anyone else?

And here I am. Twenty-six years later. Alone. No pets. No one here but me. Few friends and most of those are “virtual friends.”  No alphabet soup for me.

Some conversations stay with us for a long, long time.

 

 

 

 

1972

I’ve written about parts of this previously. Yesterday, I was asked to think of the most magical, romantic summer and this is what popped into my mind. So, with a failing memory, this is how I remember that magical summer.

 

High school. Sophomore year. That was the best year I remember.  It was mostly because of Him. He was a year older but we shared a couple of classes and because all the teachers seated us in alphabetical order, I was always right behind him. He was cute. He had that boyish look and his sense of humor oozed. His smile was sweet, innocent, yet mischievous, and I loved it. We didn’t see each other outside of classes but there was an attraction; a chemistry that couldn’t be denied. He always joked with me or paid me compliments as we got to our seats. Mine was the last seat in the first row in Geometry. One day, as we were passing our homework forward, he grabbed my hand instead of my paper and he didn’t let go right away. He just hung on. The person in front of him had to turn around and grab our work from him. That broke the hold but then every chance he got, he would grab my hand and not let go. It was silly and it was kind of nice to have the attention. Well, it was more than kind of nice. Then one day, while the teacher was at the front of the class and students were being called on to demonstrate different geometry solutions, he put his hand back, reaching for my hand but he ended up grabbing my pencil. It was the only pencil I had and I really wanted to follow along with the demonstration at the front of the class. Besides, I wasn’t super good in geometry so I needed to pay attention and I really didn’t like getting into trouble and I was afraid I would. I quietly asked him to give me my pencil and he handed it back over his shoulder. I reached for it but he wouldn’t let it go. He just held on to it. Then as I nudged it away from him, he grabbed a hold of it again and the pencil broke in half.

By then, the teacher was aware of some kind of disturbance in the field but he was a really cool teacher so he just sort of looked back and went on. Then there was an effort to get me another pencil as He asked the other students around us if they had an extra pencil. No one did. So he said he’d have to fix it. How do you fix a broken pencil? Well, you ask everyone around you for tape and you try to tape it back together and while you’re doing that, you’re going on and on, just above a whisper, describing what you are doing to fix the pencil, srep by step. It took several attempts at cutting the right size piece of tape and getting the two pieces into just the right position to wrap the tape around them. By then, the teacher had stopped talking and was looking back waiting for him to stop talking. The whole class was looking at us and I was turning a deep shade of red and trying not to laugh at the narrative which was really very funny. Finally, the teacher asked him if he would turn around and pay attention and he had the nerve to say, “Just a couple more minutes. I’m performing surgery on this pencil.”  The whole class cracked up, as did the teacher who just said, “Alright then hurry it up so you can follow along.”

That did it. After that we were just about inseparable, spending our Nutrition Break and our Lunch Break together every day, sitting on the Library ledge, talking, laughing, and then walking to classes together. There were after school functions but we didn’t go together because my parents were very strict. We had to meet at the gym and part ways at the gym after the games so my parents wouldn’t see us walking together when they dropped off and picked up.

Then came summer. That was really difficult because neither of us drove yet (he would get his license later that summer and I was still a year away from getting mine) and we lived pretty far from each other. Neither of us had a bike either. So the end of school meant we would, most likely, not see each other until September. When he signed my yearbook, he ended his page long dedication by quoting the lyrics to that old song, See You In September. It didn’t end there. That summer, my aunt and uncle came to visit us in northern California and they talked my parents into letting me go home with them. They lived in southern California, near Huntington Beach. The plan was for me to go home with them and then drive to Mexico with them for their annual summer trip to visit my aunt’s family. I would be gone for over a month. I wrote a letter to my sweet young man and he wrote back, asking me to send him some sand. Well, I did. One afternoon, as my cousin Rosie and I lay on the sand at Huntington Beach, I wrote him a letter. My cousin had heard all about him during our late night confessions as we spent hours talking when we were supposed to be sleeping. Rosie dared me to send him some sand like he had asked me to. So I wrote the letter and finished it off with the lyrics to Sealed With A Kiss and just before sealing the envelope, I put in some sand, sealed it, and kissed the back flap.

When I got back home, he called and asked if I could go to play miniature golf with him. He had gotten his license! Well, my parents said yes but only if my little sister could go with us. So, embarrassing as it was, I called him back and told him of my parents conditions and he accepted. So off we went to play mini golf but only after my dad invited him in to see his gun collection. I found it not so funny that every time a boy came anywhere near the house my dad took out his guns to clean them and the boys always were invited to see the collection. So after the not so subtle gun display, we went off to mini golf where he managed to steal a few kisses while my sister wasn’t looking. Our magical mini golf night ended with a trip to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour where we shared a huge banana split before he drove us home. When he walked me to the door and we said goodnight, he dared to kiss me again and I was in heaven. 

A couple of days later, while we talked on the phone, he informed me that his mom had not been happy about having sand spill all over the floor and he had to spend hours cleaning up every grain of sand to his mom’s satisfaction. That ended up not being so great because his mom soon put a stop to our budding romance by telling him that he was getting too serious about me and forbidding him from seeing me anymore. So, while summer held out promise, fun, song lyrics, mini golf, stolen kisses and sand, in hindsight that sand and the lipstick kiss on the back of the envelope might not have been a good idea because it garnered the attention of his mom.

Oh well! It was fun and it was probably the best summer I had for many decades. So, to the Pencil Surgeon who might be reading this, thank you for the best summer of my youth!

On July third my right knee started to hurt more than usual and I wasn’t able to put any weight on it without it buckling and pain shooting down the front of my leg. I pretty much stayed off of it until the fifth when I got the doctor to order x-rays because I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to get better on its own. I was right. Friday, the results of the x-rays showed that I have something called advanced tricompartamental osteoarthritis. That means that all three of the bones that make up the knee are involved. The stabbing pain that I have been feeling is because the bones are rubbing against each other, the cartilage having been worn away.

The is no cure for it. The only way to treat it is with pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications, and a brace. In some cases they are able to inject a steroid right into the knee. In some cases, surgery is required to replace the parts that are worn away with artificial parts. In my case, my doctor says she feels that it is far enough advanced that she wants me to see the orthopedic surgeon. Yay. Not. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ve had six knee operations (on the same knee) in the past. They’ve been done through an arthroscope so the recovery has been “easier” and it was pure hell! I’m not looking forward to having them open it up. I’m hoping they are able to treat it with injections.

I haven’t even come to my one year anniversary since that last major surgery and now I’m looking at eye surgeries and knee surgery. Oy vey!

For now, I’m hobbling along using a cane, wearing a brace, smelling like Tiger Balm, and wincing in pain. I borrowed crutches and a friend gifted me a brand new walker (the kind with a seat on it) so at least I have some ways to get around so I don’t end up stuck in one room of the house!

Enough negative stuff! I’m hoping the weekend will bring a positive or fun (or both) post here. Come back and check!

Changes, Fear, Oh My!

Well, now what will I do?

As most of you know, I live about a two minute walk from three of my four grandchildren. I see them every day. My life pretty much revolves around what they need and their calls to take them to the park. Really, they call me. We both have Amazon Echo devices so they can call me very easily by asking Alexa to call their Nana. And they do call me to ask me to take them to the park or to the store or any number of places. I love seeing them every day. When they were gone for a week last month, I was depressed and didn’t know what to do with myself.

And now they’re moving. Moving away from me. At least it’s in the works. We aren’t sure when but it will, most likely be this summer, before school starts so the boys can start school when the school year begins. And that’s the other thing, I homeschool one of them so that means he’ll have to go back to regular school and I don’t think he’s ready for that. If my daughter’s plan works out they will be about forty minutes away from me. I know that’s not far and I’m glad they won’t be further but that means I won’t see them every day and it will be more difficult to see them because the time will have to be planned out to fit in with their schedule and traffic, which at times could make it more like an hour to drive over to see them.

I just found out less than twenty-four hours ago and I’m still in shock.

My daughter depends on me a lot. She calls me with no notice to go watch the kids for her or to go put Maya to sleep because I’m the only one that she’ll let put her to sleep when she is being cranky. And that little girl gets so excited when I go over. She sees me and throws her head back with a huge giggle. And she cries without consolation when I leave.

And I guess the other side is that I am comfortable with having them so close. When I fall, I can call them for help. When I’m sick and need soup or medicine from the store, I can call on them. When I need a ceiling height light bulb changed, I have to call them because I can’t get on the step ladder due to my knee. And of course, my health is now failing and I really have peace of mind knowing that they are so close. Now they won’t be.

I’m just kind of falling apart at the news. I know that in the end, we’ll all learn to live with it and it will be okay but I’m really having a tough time with it. I was just at the point where I was not going to renew my driver’s license because I’m having so much trouble with my eyes and physically, I can’t always sufficiently check for traffic when I’m driving. I scare myself at times when I realize how close I came to being in an accident. And if I do that, I won’t be able to drive to see them. I won’t be able to even get groceries. My daughter is the one that takes me to get groceries because I can’t stand or walk very long so she is there to grab things for me quickly and finish my shopping if I need to go sit for a rest.

Anyway, it will also mean fewer blog posts about my adorable grandchildren and what they say and do. I guess I will have to write about other things.

If we can all get used to it and get into different routines, it will be best for my daughter and the kids. It will mean a lot of changes (she’ll be permanently separating from her partner which is a good thing) for the kids and the changes will hit all at once. They will be moving physically, not living with their dad, not seeing me every day, not being around familiar surroundings. I’m scared for them.

Well, that’s my brain and heart dump for the day. 😦