Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Return of The Whirling Dervish

A Whirling Dervish -- that's how I often used to be described.
In the not-so-distant past (OK - seems like forever ago) I used to wake up in the morning ready to greet the day head on.
I was always an "up and at 'em Adam Ant" kind of person -- in fact, that is exactly what I used to say to my daughter when I tried to prod her out of bed.
When our children were small, my girlfriend and I would plan occasional "adventures" with our kids -- overnight trips to somewhere. Didn't matter where we were going, for what purpose, no matter what time we had to arrive somewhere -- we hit the road at 6:00am sharp! And when it was time to come home, we reversed the process. Didn't matter that we didn't have to get home at any particular time either -- we left wherever we were at 6:00am sharp! Whoever wasn't ready, was left behind. (OK, not really, but you get my drift.)
I've noticed since these new pain meds are really starting to take effect that my "whirling dervish" behaviour seems to be slowly resurfacing.
  • Because I'm sleeping better, I'm naturally waking feeling more refreshed than I used to.
  • Because I'm waking feeling refreshed, I'm ready to face the day (that's a treat!).
  • Because I'm ready to face the day, my old "up and at 'em Adam Ant" attitude is resurfacing.
  • Because I have no pain, I CAN DO.
  • Because I can do, I MUST DO.
  • But "do" what? Doesn't matter.

Point is -- I can do! And when I do, I do as though I am a whirling dervish. It is, apparently, my nature -- and these new meds appear to be letting the "old me" return. Watch out world, here I come!

Monday, July 27, 2009

OK the Black Cloud is Grey ...

VIA Rail came through.
I sent my complaint e-mail this morning.
By the time I arrived home this afternoon I had a very short response telling me that my booking had been cancelled and the fare had been refunded in full.
That action, of course, allowed me to rebook our trip to Toronto for the Blue Jays Back2Back Reunion weekend at the reduced fare -- taking advantage of the discount being offered to travelers in recognition of all that inconvenience that the two-day strike caused us.
Yeh that's it -- I was highly inconvenienced by that strike and I should be discounted for my trip. Right!
Anyway, thanks VIA Rail, for showing once again that the squeaking wheel indeed gets the grease (or -- you can't get if you don't ask, or whatever other cliche you want to fit in here)!

About that Black Cloud ...

"You really do have a black cloud don't you?"
That was the opening line of an e-mail from my daughter this morning.
Her next line was: "Saw on the news that VIA is now offering 60% off tickets ..."
You will recall that John and I are going to Toronto for the Blue Jays' Back2Back Reunion weekend in August.
  • We are taking the train.
  • We booked our travel on 18 July (cancellation, exchange fees apply yada yada yada)
  • The charges were posted to our Visa on 20 July.
  • Tickets have not yet been issued (that won't happen until I physically go to the station and pick them up)
  • VIA went on strike on 24 July.
  • VIA came off strike on 26 July.
  • Tickets for our trip have still not been issued (although they have been paid for)

VIA is now offering a 60% discount for anyone who books travel by July 29th to travel by 14th December. Hello. I'm picking up our tickets on 29th July and our travel date is before 14th December.

Had I not already booked our trip prior to the strike, and only booked it today, it would cost me $92.40 less than what I paid prior to their two-day strike. I've sent a note to VIA officials letting them know what I think of that!

Add this black cloud to the airline fiasco surrounding our trip to Nova Scotia, and I'm not liking travel very much (not that I ever DID like travel very much).

It just doesn't pay to be prepared! Apparently, I should leave everything to the last minute cuz it saves money big time. But could my constitution bear all the last minute scrambling and worrying?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Did I Jinx Them?

The Blue Jays that is.
In yesterday's post, I ended with, "they are up two runs after one inning. Yippee, their bats are alive." Their bats were alive -- they were up eight runs after six innings. Yet they still managed to lose the game when they went into extra innings.
I just don't know what it's going to take to bring my boys back to life.
For the past while, I've noticed that whenever the cameras pan the dugout, the players are lined up on the bench looking quite forlorn and dejected. None of them looks like he really wants to play ball, or like he is "into the game."
And poor Cito Gaston -- he just looks like he doesn't know what to try next. I sometimes wonder if he's thinking, "What the hell was I thinking when I agreed to come back to manage these bad news bears?" But we know that he is far too professional to say anything negative or to renege on that contract. He will do his utmost to be successful with this team.
But he can't be successful if the powers-that-be won't co-operate with him or won't give him anything with which to work.
Gaston can't improve team morale if he has nothing to offer the team that will help boost their morale. He can't calm team fears of losing their best pitcher when he himself doesn't know what is going to happen. When the whole team is worrying about losing their best pitcher, they are all affected by team plans. You've heard of the "trickle down" effect ...
Of course, each player recognizes that he is not contributing as he should, so he goes up to bat determined to make a difference. Result? He tries so hard he fails.
Individually, each player wants to succeed but just can't pull out of his own personal funk.
As a team, they absolutely want to succeed, but they can't pull off the wins because of individual failures on the field or in the batter's box.
The Blue Jays' biggest problem is hitting with runners in scoring position -- "cleaning up".

When upstairs doesn't talk to downstairs, the people downstairs start worrying. And when the people downstairs are worried, their performance suffers -- they don't "clean up" as well they might.

A large part of the game of baseball is played "between the ears."
It follows that communication is the key.

VIA Strike is Over

My post yesterday was titled, "Back on Track"
And just like that ...
Voila! They are.
The VIA Rail strike is settled and the trains are "back on track."
So our trip to Toronto for the Back2Back Reunion weekend can proceed as planned via the train.
Now if we can just get those Blue Jays back on track playing winning ball ...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back on Track

I feel so much better today. I got a good night's sleep last night.
I loafed around this morning, reading my one newspaper until almost 10:30am. (Once again, the second newspaper will have to wait for later.)
I didn't serve breakfast until 12:30pm (yes, John almost had to resort to his "I am faint with hunger" whine but he decided to sleep through the wait time instead). It is such a joy to be able to make John his "big breakfast" without suffering agonizing pain for having done it. I used to have to wear the TENs machine to allow me to stand for the amount of time involved in making it. Since these new pain meds are working so effectively, I have no difficulty making the feast for him and I am now even able to sit down and enjoy the meal with him.
I didn't turn my computer on until 1:00pm -- that's a first! Fortunately, there was nothing in my e-mail that needed urgent attention (ha ha -- gosh I crack me up sometimes!)
It is now 1:30pm and my Blue Jays are already two runs up on Tampa Bay after only one inning -- yippee!!! Their bats are alive!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is it going to take?

Roy "Doc" Halladay has just pitched nine full innings of absolutely brilliant baseball, just as he usually does when he takes the mound.
And still he doesn't get his 12th win of the season (they went into extra innings so even if the Jays win, he can't get the win unless he's pitching those extra innings).
It's enough to break your heart.
In past seasons, there were several games when he pitched a masterful game, only to end up with a no-decision because the bullpen let him down, or the game was lost for lack of run support.
He should easily have 15 wins by now. But the team just isn't giving him the run support he needs. They just can't hit with players in scoring position. The object of the game is to "get him on, get him over and get him in" -- and the Blue Jays simply aren't doing that lately. They often get him on, and sometimes they get him over, but they just can't seem to get him in often enough.
And don't even get me started on the number of one-run games they've lost this season -- there have just been too many to think about (obviously, not just when the Doc starts).
The pattern has been that the Blue Jays don't win in extra innings. Tampa Bay scored two runs in their half of the 10th inning -- and once again, the Jays took the loss on this one too!
What on earth do they have to do to put a win on the board -- and maybe convince Halladay that there might be reason to stay?

I Blew it Again !

Another rocky night in the Fowler household, at least for me.
I had difficulty getting to sleep last night.
I had difficulty staying asleep last night.
I finally got out of bed at 2:00am; did some e-mail; watched some canned TV (God I love that DVR!).
I went back to bed at 5:30am thinking I was once again sleepy enough.
I woke again at 6:30am when I heard John rustling about.
That was it.
I had to get up cuz we're having dinner guests this afternoon and I wanted to make dessert :)
I reached for my morning meds and -- Oh, look -- I never took my meds last night! No wonder I wasn't able to sleep.
This is unbelievable! Do you know what the routine is in this household? John retires early to read the newspaper (I have to stay up to find out what's happening in smut land -- Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell and Nancy Grace). At some point during these programs, I go and give John his meds (we call it our "Florence Nightingale" routine). And then I take my meds. EVERY NIGHT! I can only guess that last night, after giving John his meds, I must have been sidetracked -- most likely I had to pee really badly (or some late breaking news was being delivered on TV which called me away) -- and I forgot that I hadn't taken my pills.
The really strange thing is, along about midnight, I got up and took a codeine pill because my legs were so sore and it never occurred to me that perhaps I hadn't taken my meds.
I have tried to go back to bed twice -- with no luck. I just can't get that missing sleep. I guess I'll have to wait 'til tonight. But I'm guessing I'll have no problem then. I just hope I wait until after our guests leave before I do that!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

OK so perhaps I was premature !

Well, maybe not premature, really, but a tad enthusiastic in my praise maybe?
After declaring the new pain meds an unqualified success, I guess I have to qualify that assessment. I'm not retracting it's success rating per se, just qualifying it somewhat.
You see, it seems that it did its thing for my outing on Monday. As I reported here I had quite a run-around day in Ottawa that day and I arrived home quite exhausted but I had no pain. I even slept reasonably well that night.
I took Tuesday as the requisite rest and recovery day and all was good with the world. I was tired, as is to be expected after the kind of day I had had on Monday, but I had no pain!
Then came yesterday. I was still quite fatigued yesterday and I should have been recovered. We went on a few errands -- involved stops in both Almonte and Carleton Place. By the time we arrived at Carleton Place I could barely move. My right hip was screaming in pain and there was no way my leg was going to let me walk another step! The pain continued through the night because I awoke this morning aware of having had difficulty trying to get comfortable. And I continue to be very fatigued today -- three days after the outing to Ottawa.
So the pain meds do a masterful job of preventing the message from getting through to my brain that I am experiencing pain while engaging in various activities. But that doesn't alter the fact that I am nevertheless inflaming the problem area while engaging in those activities! Just because I can, does it mean I should?
I know that I'm supposed to put a "day of rest and recovery" between days of outings. My body simply cannot handle back-to-back outing days YET. And I did that. And I know that I am supposed to take an extra 1mg capsule of my pain meds on days that I am going to be going on "outings." But I really don't think that an "outing" is an errand to Almonte or Carleton Place (my local shopping holes) so I shouldn't have to take that extra dose on those days. In any event, I don't always plan those days ahead of time and I have to take the extra dose in the morning on the days I'm going to be gallivanting. No more impromptu outings for me I guess!
When we travel, I will have to take that extra 1mg capsule on consecutive days to allow me to tolerate the time we are away from home. Then I will have to make sure I don't schedule anything for at least a week after we return so that I can recover from the abuse that will have been heaped upon my body.
Hopefully, with time and gentle exercise, my body will eventually become accustomed to a more demanding activity level. But my doctor's message appears to be, once we find the answer to dealing with my pain, that is what I will be doing for the rest of my life because I will never be "completely free of pain." And these meds are the closest answer we've found -- so I guess now we just need to figure out how best to use them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is There a Dark Cloud Hovering Over Me???

I just don't believe it! VIA Rail is threatening to go on strike. With that announcement, I shrieked. John's reaction to the news was, "Do you have a dark cloud following you around or something?" Let me explain.

A while back, we received news that a good friend of John's was getting married on August 22nd. The happy couple lives outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. John was honoured to be asked to be best man at said wedding. We did some comparison shopping, and the cheapest fare available was through Porter Airlines. Lo and behold, my daughter had a promotion code for a 15% discount off any fare booked with Porter before the end of May. Naturally, I took advantage and booked our trip to Halifax.

Not two weeks after booking our flights, the groom telephones John to inform him that their financial situation has changed and they must move the wedding date! They are now getting married on October 3rd. So we have to pay the rebooking fee for our tickets. And, most likely we will be hit with paying that additional 15% discount that we saved since it is now after the 31st of May. Fortunately, the base price of the fare has gone DOWN so that should mean an adjustment. The total fee (for changing both our tickets) could run us as much as the cost of one return fare to Halifax!

We won't talk about the seat sales that West Jet has since been offering for Ottawa-Halifax at $19.00 one way before taxes and fees -- that's a full $100.00 less than Porter's best price!

As I've mentioned on more than one occasion here, we are traveling to Toronto on the week-end of August 7th to attend the Blue Jays Back2Back Reunion weekend. Last week, we decided to look at the train as a travel option. John loves the train and it does offer some conveniences and comforts. Taking the train would also save wear and tear on my brand new car. Anyway, we bit the bullet and bought the train tickets on Saturday. The charge just showed up on my Visa yesterday!

And this morning, on the news, we hear that VIA Rail is going on strike. Can you see that dark cloud?

Monday, July 20, 2009

These new meds are FANTABULOUS!

Well, this is it. I have to declare these new meds an absolute, unqualified, success.
Without a doubt.
And I couldn't be more pleased.
This morning, I had to go into Ottawa for physio. So, I took my extra 1mg of the pain med. It works.
Following physio, I met my daughter for lunch, after which we went to Walmart (always good for a great deal of walking). Then we went and picked up my favourite boy at his day care and that involved a whole bunch of unexpected walking as we roamed about the place trying to locate the children (we arrived earlier than normal pick-up time). On the way home, I had to stop at the grocery store -- more walking.
By the time I arrived home, I had been gone a full seven hours!
I'm tired but I have no pain! And that is huge. That is phenomenal.
An interesting by-product of this stuff is the calming effect it has had on me. I noticed during my drive into the big city that I no longer get upset when someone moves into "my space" or cuts me off or just generally drives like a jerk. Stuff like that used to send me right 'round the bend but just doesn't get a rise out of me any more. I just sit back grooving to Rod the Bod, knowing that I will get where I'm going, eventually. I am decidedly more relaxed than I have ever been.
"They call me mellow yellow ..."

Joe Carter, I'll Be There!

(Repeat of posting from 14 April 2009)
My beloved Blue Jays are having a Back2Back Reunion from August 6 to 9 this year. Most of the team members from the 1992/93 dyn-o-mite roster that put the Jays on the map way back then will be there.
I have been a fan of the Blue Jays since their inception in 1976, having been a baseball junkie since I fell in love with catcher Elston Howard back in 1963. I can remember racing home from school to catch the last of the Yankees' afternoon games; I had just turned 13 years old! I have had a soft spot for catchers ever since; but then along came Joe ...
During the Jays' drought years since 1993, I have remained a loyal fan. Some would say I plan my social calendar around the Jays' schedule. Can I help it if I love my boys in blue? or black? or whatever colour they might decide to be wearing in any given year? Point is, I love the Toronto Blue Jays.
When I met John in 1995, he was an Expos fan. Today, he is a Blue Jays fan. How's that for conversion (persuasion) skills?
Anyway, the point of this entry is that on the weekend of August 7-9, I will be in Toronto to take in two live Jays games and it happens that Joe Carter will also be there, as will several other players from that era: Rob Butler; David Cone: Kelly Gruber; Juan Guzman; Tom Henke; Pat Hentgen; Jimmy Key; Randy Knorr; Al Leiter; Candy Maldonado; Paul Molitor; John Olerud; Ed Sprague; Mike Timlin; Devon White; and Roberto Alomar. Rance Mulliniks and Pat Tabler, who usually call the games today, will be there as part of the reunion. Wonder who will call the games for the reunion weekend? And yes, Cito Gaston, the most winningest coach of all time, who is back to coaching this year, will also be part of the festivities.
Imagine, all these ex-Blue Jays will be in town to celebrate my birthday -- what fun!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Love Them Blue Jays!

I know, I know, they're a game under 500 mid-way through the season but I love them anyway.
Today's game -- a beauty pitched by Roy "Doc' Halladay -- was another gem. It was the type of game that I fondly refer to as heart attack inducing -- there are some plays that I just can't bear to watch! When Doc is on the mound, I so badly want him to get the win I worry about every play until that final out is recorded. And over the years, there have been far too many no-decisions because of lack of run support when he's been pitching.
Doc's last two outings were somewhat questionable. The Jays didn't get the win on either of those outings and both losses were clearly Doc's; he just wasn't quite on his game. (The Jays have only won five games in July so we can't blame Doc for all of their losses.) Could all the trade talk have been upsetting the apple cart?
He was brilliant today; back to the same, focused Halladay that we're used to seeing. Perhaps he has made up his mind about the trade situation so that nonsense is no longer cluttering his mind.
He may have decided to move on to a possible contender so that he has a chance at the coveted World Series ring that he so richly deserves. Or he may have decided to stay where he is, in his much-loved Toronto, and take his chances for a possible win with the Blue Jays. After all, life has no guarantees. He could move to a contender who doesn't win.
Whatever his decision, I'm sure he will one day end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame -- wearing his beloved Blue Jays jersey -- because he will surely be entitled to be there as the greatest pitcher ever.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Love Lazy Saturdays!

One of the greatest pleasures of being retired is the pure joy that comes from NOT having to get up and go anywhere in the morning. And I especially enjoy taking my time reading the morning paper(s) over a cup or three of coffee. Most days, that activity takes place in my bed. So I can honestly say that if I don't have to go anywhere (like into Ottawa for physio), sometime I don't "get up" until very late in the morning, although I have usually been awake since between 5:00a.m. and 6:00a.m.
Saturday is one such day when, quite often, I don't leave the bedroom until 11:00am or later -- sometimes I will have to start a second pot of coffee so there will be some for breakfast.
That particular morning pleasure makes for some very interesting eating patterns in our household. You see, over the years John and I have established a "split of responsibilities" that works very well for us most of the time (there are, naturally, variations as required). One of those splits in responsibilities relegated me to breakfast duty. Works for me -- most days, John is on dinner duty!
As for breakfast duty, six days a week, it doesn't take much to pour cereal in a bowl, pop a bagel in the toaster, and Bob's your uncle. BUT, even that doesn't happen until after I've read my morning paper and done my puzzles (I have to do the daily Jumbo and the Sudoku --- I just have to!) On some days, you'll hear John roaming around the house moaning something to the effect of, "If I don't get food soon, I'll fade away" or "I am faint with hunger!" The poor baby really is hard done by because he apparently has no idea how to fend for himself at breakfast time (perhaps that's why it became MY responsibility?).
But Saturday breakfast? That's another story altogether. Once a week, I treat John to a "big breakfast" -- the works: bacon, poached egg, home fries, blood pudding, fried tomatoes, hollandaise sauce, English muffins. He loves it, when it finally lands on the table! Today, I outdid myself. We didn't sit down to this delight until 12:40pm; we finished just as first pitch was happening on our ball game (which we are winning, for a change).
And I didn't even open the second newspaper this morning! That will have to be my bedtime reading tonight.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I have to declare it a Success!

OK, the new meds are absolutely, positively, without a doubt, working. How do I know, you ask?
We left this house at approximately 9:45am on Wednesday to head into Ottawa for what turned into a very long day indeed; we didn't walk back in the door until 10:30PM -- almost 13 hours later! That's a marathon day for most people but especially for someone like me. But I had taken my extra 1mg capsule of pain med that morning. I suffered no ill effects from the extra drug and other than fatigue, one would not have known that a month ago I could not have even considered such an outing! That night, my legs did not give me any extra grief and I slept remarkably well.
Yesterday, I puttered around here taking care of a few things that needed tending to and we went into town to run a few errands. Other than the fatigue factor, I was able to manage almost like a normal person. Last night again, I slept very well.
My legs still feel like they've walked a marathon (muscles aching in that "wow, you haven't used me in a very long time" kind of way). But all that tells me is that I must have been walking like a normal person and engaging muscles in a normal fashion (something that is not "normal" for me). However, I don't have the pain in my hips that had been such a problem for me and was preventing me from walking any distance. And that is the pain that we were trying to address with this new medication. Now we know that the 6mg daily maximum dosage is what works for me, and I just filled a 30-day prescription yesterday -- cost $1329.00 (good thing I have 100% reimbursement insurance!)
So now that we've FINALLY gotten rid of the hip pain, I need to "train" my leg muscles -- because I plan to be walking so they best get used to it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our Family Just Got Bigger

So now I can tell you what we were up to yesterday afternoon.
John's #1 son (my step-son) got married yesterday! Last Saturday evening, after other guests had left our dinner party, they announced to us that they were "eloping" on Wednesday. Now, once they had told us, of course, the "elopement" was out the window. I naturally invited us to attend the ceremony so John and I crashed their wedding at Ottawa City Hall.
Our blended family has acquired another daughter, two adult grandchildren, and a few great grandchildren! John is really getting old!
My new step-daughter-in-law and I were enjoying a new level of fun yesterday (we usually do enjoy our time together but yesterday was particularly special). I told her that she had to, just this one time, call me MOM. So of course, she complied -- all evening. And it follows that her adult children will now have to call her new husband DAD (at least once anyway). God help me if they call us Grandma and Grandpa (and what about those great grandchildren)!
The funny part? John is 18 years older than I and his #1 son is eight years younger than I. Our newly acquired "child" is a year older than I; her children (our new grandchildren) are older than and the same age as my daughter (we won't have any trouble remembering our new granddaughter's name -- it is the same as my daughter's). As John said at one point, if I keep this up, pretty soon I'll be my own grampa!
But, my new daughter-in-law queried a much larger problem: I am Mrs. John T. Fowler Sr and she is Mrs. John T. Fowler Jr. And that's OK because my husband is senior and her husband is junior --BUT she is senior and I am junior. What ever are we going to do about that?
I say, listen to your Mom!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wow - I Did it!

Well, I finally did it -- I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!
That might sound like a very minor thing to some people but for me it is huge! I went to bed at 9:00pm last night and read for perhaps a nanosecond. I don't actually recall putting the book down and turning out the light. But I must have because when I woke at 5:30am the light was off and the book was where I would have put it. I hadn't even wakened to go pee once!
To what do I attribute this new found phenomenon? The new meds must have a cumulative effect and are finally kicking in to their full benefit. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. At least we'll see if I continue to have sleep-through-the-night events.
Today is one of my go-into-Ottawa days so I have taken the extra 1mg of pain med. Hopefully, it will sustain me through the day because what a day it's going to be. I can't tell you now what we're up to but John has to come with me and after my physiotherapy appointment, we have to hang around in the city because a very special event is happening later today.
By the time we get home tonight, I'm sure I'll be too tired to post, so I'll tell you all about it tomorrow ...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Pattern is Emerging ...

A pattern of wonderful news is emerging with respect to my pain level.
Remember my doctor told me to try taking an extra 1mg of this new-fangled controlled substance on those days that I was going to be running about and needed extra pain relief? Well, the first of those days happened to be this past Thursday. However, rather than take a full 1mg of the stuff, I still have some .5mg capsules left from the early days of this test, so I thought I would try just taking an extra half dose. The way I figure it -- why take any more drug than I need?
Turns out .5mg isn't enough for outings to Ottawa, but at least I tried. I guess my doctor knows of what he speaks. However, once we got home and I rested, my leg returned to a comfortable level quite readily and did not cause me any extra problems that night.
The next day, yesterday, we had to go into town to do some light grocery shopping. I'm pretty sure that was not the type of outing my doctor and I were discussing when he suggested I take the extra dose. Naturally, I didn't take extra. I made it until half-way through the massive grocery store; by the time we got to the cash, I was dragging my right leg. But again, once we got home and I sat down and rested, the pain subsided very quickly. There was no residual tooth-ache like throbbing that I used to be left with after such outings. Nor did my legs cause me any extra discomfort last night.
My conclusion? These new meds are obviously doing something positive because I can assure you, prior to my taking them, sitting and resting most certainly did not bring relief. Come to think of it, I no longer have the ever-present, constantly throbbing pain in my hips -- and that speaks volumes!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Hearing Aid Saga

You might recall in an earlier post I mentioned that my accompanying John to his follow-up appointment for his hearing aids proved to be quite beneficial indeed. Now I'll explain.
Naturally, John and I go to the same audiologist. Actually, we go to the audiologist whose office is shared by my ENT specialist. John only needs to see the audiologist but I also have to see the specialist because I have "ear" issues. Let's back up a bit.
In my early teen years, I spent many week-ends auditioning loud rock bands to play at our Saturday night community dances. Saturday evenings, of course, were spent enjoying the sounds of those bands playing in the school gymnasium. My hearing suffered. (Some of the bands? The Guess Who; The Staccatos; The W-5)
I was left with, for lack of a better description, a rigid stapes bone in the right ear, which basically means that sound doesn't get through on that side very well. Back when this hearing loss was first diagnosed, the only solution was risky surgery -- and I am not a risk taker so I opted not to go that route. Since my early 20s, I relied primarily on my left ear to do my hearing for me.
Then, in 2005 when I couldn't hear my beautiful boy talking to me, my daughter convinced me that I had to do something; my hearing was definitely getting worse. By then, technology had advanced such that a hearing aid was finally an option for my right ear. While there was evidence of hearing loss in my left ear, it was not yet "ready" for an aid. So I've been wearing a hearing aid in my right ear since September 2005, and my goodness, what a difference. I could not believe how noisy a place this world really is!
Then, last summer during my annual hearing test, it was discovered that the hearing in my left ear had declined to the point where I now needed assistance for that ear as well (a fact that was not lost on my daughter). Of course, we won't be surprised to learn that I have what is known as "awkward hearing loss" -- each ear's hearing loss is from a different cause and is of different degree (most people, as they age, lose their hearing in both ears equally). So, last September I bought top-of-the-line, super-duper, Cadillacs of hearing aids. These babies are programmed for my specific hearing loss and are fully automatic: they know when I enter a noisy room; they know when I leave a noisy room; they know when I pick up the phone; they know when I hang up the phone. I'm surprised they don't change their own batteries (I wish they would change their own batteries!). But my oh my, the sounds I had to learn all over again! Would you believe I didn't recognize the ticking of the wall clock in the bathroom? I actually went in search of what could be causing that funny noise!
Now, back to the visit a couple of weeks ago for John's follow-up. The audiologist asked John how his aids were working in certain settings and there ensued a discussion about how they work in a restaurant. After he described how his worked, I described how mine worked (very unlike his). The audiologist offered to take a look at the programming of mine after she finished addressing all of John's issues (his hearing aids ended up being sent back for adjustments).
Fast forward to her review of my hearing aids. She asked several questions; she attempted to reprogram the aids; she consulted my file; she consulted a colleague. "Mrs. Fowler," she says, "the reason you are having the problem you describe is because you are supposed to have two microphones and you only have one." Effectively, what is happening when I enter a restaurant is, the one microphone is shutting down because I'm in a noisy environment, but I'm left with no means of hearing the people I'm dining with (the function of the second microphone).
A very interesting discussion followed about why, if I SHOULD have two microphones, there is only one; why I didn't get what I paid for; why it wasn't noticed before now since I had been in complaining of this same issue on two different occasions (to two different technicians mind you); how isn't it interesting how this might never have come to light had I not accompanied my husband to his appointment.
Anyway, today, we took delivery of John's new hearing aids (with which he thinks he is going to be VERY happy) and new moulds were taken for my new hearing aids -- the ones that will have TWO microphones.
The audiologist is heading off on holidays so it will be late-August before I get my new hearing aids but hey, that's not too bad. A mere eleven months after I paid for my high-end, super duper, Cadillacs of hearing aids, I will actually take delivery of what I bought!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Alright, already, I'll update ...

Sorry for the absenteeism. But I can explain. You see, John thinks I work for him. He thinks I am his own personal computer guru. And as fast as I solve one computer-related problem, he finds another.
Unbeknownst to me, John was sitting not-so-idly by as I explored the wonders of blogging and worked out the kinks that would surely be present for fussy people like us.
Now that I am somewhat rolling on this venture, he has decided to launch his blog promoting his stock photography business.
Naturally, he needed me to show him how to get started, which I did several days ago (I don't recall exactly when).
Then he needed me to show him the many idiosyncrasies of blogging (you can be sure I haven't discovered ALL of them yet).
Then I left him to his own devices to build his own blog.
And he was off to the races. He built his own blog.
Well, a little learning is a dangerous thing, as the saying goes.
John built his blog and did things he didn't know he shouldn't have done -- and frankly I think it works better than what this blog hosting site intended. So of course, I had to re-examine the site!
That caused me to spend a lot of time examining various aspects of what's available and apprising myself of some new features. I hope you like the slide show that I've added. I plan to rotate through a few different themes on an as-yet-to-be-determined schedule (any suggestions of frequency?) This week: "My Beautiful Boy" -- favourite photos of my grandson.
Anyway, John has waffled back-and-forth on the template and colour scheme for his blog site but I think he is getting close to settling on something quite nice. Hopefully, I'll figure out the code to get it to correctly do what he wants it to do.
Not to worry though, he has already identified the next computer project that I need to turn my attention to ... and it's a particularly pressing priority too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quick Update on my "Bites"

I have to head into Ottawa today for a physio session so this will be quick.
My "bite site" has subsided quite nicely.
Itch is gone.
Welts are way down.
AND I SLEPT LIKE A LOG LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!! I am nicely rested this morning, sort of. Actually, I could probably still sleep some more.
Hence, although I should be trying my doctor's new plan this morning (taking an extra capsule of the pain med), I think that will have to wait until the next time I am going into Ottawa.
I already want to go back to bed, I don't think I should take anything that might push that to a need. In the interests of erring on the side of caution, since I don't yet know how I will respond to taking that extra dose, I will wait for more optimum conditions.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oh to sleep ....

I know I will sleep again one day, really I do know that. But I am soooooooooo tired.
When I got home on Friday from the city, I was spending an inordinate amount of time reaching behind to scratch a particular spot on my back. Eventually, I decided to pay attention to what was so itchy. Of course, I couldn't see behind me so I had to call John to check it out. It felt fairly ugly.
I had been bitten -- by a pair of something, probably deer flies -- and the sites, immediately side-by-each, were swelling rapidly. The itch was driving me mad.
Since I was obviously enjoying my usual allergic response to insect bites, John suggested that I take an antihistamine. I reached for a Claritin and enjoyed a few hours of relief.
But I barely slept a wink Friday night. It didn't matter that I was really very tired. I simply could not sleep.
Fast forward to mid-morning Saturday and John is checking the status of my bites, which are again driving me mad with itch. The sites have now become large unsightly welts and are very sore to the touch. Since the itch is still so bad, John suggests that I take another Claritin. So I did; I took another Claritin.
Immediately after popping that second Claritin, I decide to check the packaging. These ones are to be taken every 24 hours and I had just taken my second one in approximately 12 hours! Talk about closing the barn door after the horses have left!
Last night, I was again very tired and figured I would have no trouble at all sleeping. Wrong! It was a repeat of Friday night.
By the wee hours this morning, I knew full well it was because of the Claritin that I was still laying there awake. I never could tolerate antihistamines; that's why I don't usually use them. It was Benadryl that I should have taken. That is specifically intended to control itch, and for some reason it does not cause adverse reactions in me.
So here I am on Sunday morning, absolutely exhausted, and for once it isn't because of pain. The bites are only mildly itchy and the welts have shrunk considerably. The area is not quite as angry-looking now and is no longer sore to the touch. Hopefully, by tonight everything will be back in sync and I will be able to sleep again.
Now, the burning question is: Why, if I don't usually take antihistamines, did I reach for the Claritin (not once, but twice) rather than the Benadryl? Am I getting dotty?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Things are Looking Promising ...

I saw my doctor again yesterday. I know, it seems as though I'm always seeing him lately. But when one is trying to establish one's therapeutic level of tightly-controlled pain meds, one must visit one's doctor frequently. This time, we're finally making progress, I think. Here's the scoop.

  • After discussing various options, all of which I rejected for one reason or another, we realized that we weren't seeing the tree for the bushes.
  • I am taking 2mg in the morning and 3mg in the evening of this controlled substance (the higher dose at night is to afford me the extra pain relief that I require during the night).
  • We already know that the dosage I'm at is keeping me essentially pain free when I'm at home (as long as I stay off the exercise bicycle). So I needn't do anything on those days.
  • The problem is when I have to make a trip into Ottawa or when I go out and about to run errands. On those days, because of the drive and the amount of walking, I end up in agony and it often takes me two days to recover.
  • As a fibromyalgia sufferer, I always know which days I will be going anywhere because I have to pace myself very carefully. Whenever possible, I schedule my commitments to avoid making trips into Ottawa on two consecutive days.
  • Solution? Since I always know which days I am going to be "doing things," I should take an additional 1mg capsule on that morning (putting the total dosage for that day at 6mg). Hopefully, that will head off the pain and allow me to go about my business for the day and I won't be any worse for wear. If this doesn't work, it will be back to the drawing board because 6mg per day is the maximum dose my doctor will allow.

So, here's hoping that this approach is the cat's meow and I will soon be enjoying relatively pain-free outings. As I've said previously in this blog, it is fabulous to have come this far but I want the whole enchilada!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

It's July 1st so my favourite boy came for a visit! We have decided to call it a tradition -- I think this will make it the fourth time in his eight years that he has come here on Canada Day, so that sounds like fairly close to majority to me! It must be tradition by now.
In previous years, he has slept over on Canada Day but he decided this was not to be a sleep-over visit. It was fun seeing him though.
We had burgers - and potato salad - and cole slaw - and ice cream - and he did his usual spinning on my office chair.
He brought his computer and we called each other on Skype -- that was fun. He hadn't known about that before so we had fun playing with that. Now when he goes home, we are going to phone each other on the computer!
Grandpa slept -- and Dad slept -- and Mom rested her eyes -- and big Sis talked on the phone -- and Grandma just bugged him.
Now for some reason, I just up and decided that his name was Jason. Don't know why. Just decided to call him Jason today. We had a few good laughs over that one. I have no idea where it came from. Eventually, he simply said, "Stop calling me Jason ..." I decided the easy solution is to simply change his name ...
They've gone home now ... and we've cleaned up ... the house is back to normal ... John is already sleeping.
I'm tired too. I think I'll hit the sack. It's been a long day. But on a good note? My new pain meds obviously work because I HAVE NO PAIN!