Monday, August 30, 2010

OMG the Studpidity and Inconsistency

Alright now I'm beyond outraged.
In fact, I don't think there's a word for what I am this morning.
I have my finances organized to every minute detail (ask John -- it is very precise!).
So, the government of Canada was to have deposited my money into my bank account on Friday, August 27th.
It didn't happen.
John's money was deposited into his account.
But not mine.
I kept checking, just in case there was a bit of a hiccup -- it happens.
This morning, I called the pension office to find out where my money was.
The gentleman who answered was most helpful.
Turns out that when they sent me my T4A for 2009, Canada Post returned it (I download it from the Internet so I never realized I didn't get one in the mail).
Since they got it back, I fell into the pocket of people whose benefit was suspended until I called them -- they were "looking for me" since I must have moved and not told them.
Duhhhhhh!   I haven't gone anywhere.
What was the problem you ask?
My T4A had been mailed to the address that Canada Post has told us to use:  RR#2.
It did not include our municipal address -- the "911" address, if you will.
We were told, very clearly, not to use that address for mailing purposes; it is strictly a "fire" address.
Now, we routinely add the "street" address to our mailing labels but we have not yet been officially advised by Canada Post to use it as a mailing address.
And until Canada Post advises us to include the municipal address in our mailing address, I don't think they have any right to return mail that is rightfully and properly addressed to us.
Curious though.  I just checked our income tax files for 2009.
And John's T4As were all addressed, without benefit of the municipal address, to RR#2.
And every one of his forms arrived here.
So too did my other T4As that were only addressed to RR#2.
One thing for sure, that T4A never made it to the Almonte Post Office, because it would most certainly have been delivered to me.
Really makes you wonder about that fateful day when the sorter returned my properly-addressed T4A.
Did he/she know what panic would ensue six months later?
I now have to scramble to cover the expenses that are due to be paid on the 1st of September because, while the very solicitous clerk requested immediate, urgent payment of my August benefit, it might not happen on time to correct the damage done by the wonderful Canada Post Corporation.
Wonder what other mail we're not receiving?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's My Little Chickadee's Birthday

Yup - she's 35 years young today (and somehow, I'm still just 29!).
You could read the blog I did about her on this date last year (all of which is still true) at http://bonnie-livingwithfibro.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-my-babys-birthday.html.
Or you could just take my word for it that she is theeeeeeee greatest daughter ever.
Happy birthday my little chickadee.
I love you up to the sky and back again.
Moomy

Friday, August 27, 2010

Goodbye Brother John

My brother John passed away earlier today.
He was only 56 years old.
He had been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year and lost his battle today, after a valiant fight.
Brother John was the seventh of eight children -- but only the second boy among six girls.  In the 1961 photo below, that is my hand on his shoulder.  (Do you suppose he's holding his hand over his mouth in wonder at what he's in for with the realization of his birth place in the family of six girls and two boys?)
By the time he came along, after one boy and five girls, he was a welcome addition to the family.  Growing up, with five older sisters all acting like other mothers, he was especially tight with his one younger sister.  They were seldom apart as children and shared a friend-pool throughout high school.  In fact, when the baby of the family relocated to Kitchener/Waterloo in 1978, it didn't take long for him to make the decision to move his family to that area.
John married in June 1973, and his first daughter was born a year later.  He and his wife actually lived with me through the summer of 1974, with their infant daughter, and oh what a heat wave we were having!  I recall sitting outside in our very small yard trying to get relief from the August heat but there was none to be had.  We would sit up through the night, talking and reminiscing, rocking his daughter, hoping that she would at least drift off for a while.  It was a brutal summer!
His son was born only four months after my little chickadee came along and we visited back and forth often.
When I returned to work after my little chickadee's arrival (at that time, maternity leave lasted all of six weeks!), my brother John would pick me up every morning to deliver my daughter to the infant care centre so that I wouldn't have to take the bus with her.  I recall that it was an especially heavy snow-fall that winter of 1975/76, and he never missed a morning!
Once he moved out to Southwestern Ontario, our contact became less frequent.  In fact, the last time I actually saw my brother was five years ago at our niece's wedding.
He had relocated to Fort Erie some ten years ago, a considerable drive from here, and my health issues have prevented me from making the trip (any trip, actually) because I simply cannot travel.
In the intervening years, his first marriage had ended in divorce while his children were teenagers, and he remarried, welcoming another daughter to the fold in 1993.
By the year 2000, he was the father of three (one boy), and grandfather of three (all girls), so he was still outnumbered by women, but he was  fiercely proud of his family.  His youngest grandchild is not in the photo below, which was taken in 2008.
Throughout the summer of 2010, he enjoyed visits from family members and close friends, many of whom he had not seen in several years.  My little chickadee was able to make the trip and he was delighted to see her.
He was especially pleased to have the opportunity to meet my little chickadee's family (Pauple and his daughter were also there), having only met my beautiful boy once before (at the aforesaid niece's wedding five years earlier).
My brother John with my beautiful boy -- July 2010
Rest in peace, brother John.
Robert John Cherryholme
8 Mar 1954 - 27 Aug 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rogers Corporation does it again!

Rogers Sportsnet One has stolen most of the rest of the Blue Jays season by moving the games to the new station (like what was wrong with Rogers Sportsnet?).
A full one-page ad in today's newspaper claims that the new channel is available right across Canada -- FREE -- just contact your supplier. WRONG!
It is not availabe through Shaw Satellite (my provider).  So I called to find out why, in light of today's ad.  They told me they were in negotiations with Rogers for the channel, but until a deal was reached ...  They provided the phone number for Rogers.
That led to an e-mail address, inviting "feedback."
They got feedback alright.
To quote Rogers' response:
"We have made Sportsnet One available to all distributors in Canada for the FREE preview period, which started on Saturday, August 14.  All distributors in Canada were given notice of this new channel in June. It is up to them to make this channel available to their subscribers as we do not control the distribution of the channel."
Back to my supplier.
Why am I getting the run-around?  Shaw says they're in negotiations.  Rogers says it's been made available.  What's the truth?
Here's the truth.
Shaw has not taken up the "free" offer.
Telus has not taken up the "free" offer.
Bell has not taken up the "free" offer.
Cogeco has not taken up the "free" offer.
Currently, the only distributor airing Sportsnet One is Rogers.
So, Rogers' full page ad is an outright lie!  Blatant false advertising if you ask me.
Rogers has indeed offered the channel to all distributors in Canada for the free preview period, but none has taken up the offer.  Why?  Because Rogers won't allow them to carry the "free" channel unless they first enter into a contract to carry the channel in one of their packages after the free period is up.  In other words, you can have it free only if you first agree to buy it.
That is not quite free.
Naturally, other providers are not going agree to carry a channel that they can't sell so they first have to ensure that there is a market for another sports channel (which would add to the cost of a sports package for which we already pay).
Why did we need another all-sports channel?
 Did we not have enough of them already?
What was wrong with Rogers Sportsnet?
What was wrong with TSN?
Rogers Corporation simply wanted to find another vehicle to freeze out other carriers.
So, all you Rogers subscribers, please cheer on my boys.
Because, apparently, I won't be able to.
Rogers has done it again.
I wrote here last year that I was convinced that Rogers' bigger plan was to end major league baseball in Canada altogether.
I rest my case.
Now I don't know how my boys will win if I can't watch them!
Feel free to tell Rogers what you think: feedback@sportsnet.rogers.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My next car WILL NOT be a Chrysler

Remember the problems I've reported here about how my U-connect simply won't work?
I ask my hands-free telephone to call home and it asks me to choose from two lines:  Home and one of my doctors?
Now, one of the choices it gives me doesn't even have a number stored against it.
There are all of three numbers stored in my "phone book:" my home; my little chickadee at her home, and at her work.
Yet if I ask my car to call my daughter, it tells me there is no number stored for her, would I like to call her?  Then it turns off.
I ask the car to call her work number, and it tells me there is no number stored, would I like to call it?  And it turns off.
Frustrating beyond measure.
So once again, I call my service technician (who has witnessed this bizarre behaviour and has been unable to troubleshoot it) to see if he's made any progress with Chrysler in solving the issue.
"No luck," he says.  "Nothing more he can do since they've already replaced the radio and it's doing the same thing.  Chrysler has no suggestions of anything else to try."
And he offered no other resolution to me.
I should take it up with Chrysler, he tells me.
I'll take it up with Chrysler alright.
I've had the vehicle since May 2009 and I've not yet been able to rely on the hands-free telephone feature that I purchased.
As of April 2010, it became law in Ontario that only hands-free use of telephones is allowed while driving. Kind of difficult when the car won't co-operate.
So I am effectively without the use of a very important feature of my car and I'm being told that I have to live with it?
I can assure you, my next vehicle WILL NOT be a Chrysler product, and I have driven only Chrysler products for as long as I've owned a car (buying a new one every two years, in fact).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Exciting day today ...

Busy, too, but exciting nevertheless.
First, I have to drive into the big city for my physiotherapy session -- which is something I desperately need.  For some reason, I've been in a fibro flare-up for the past several days and it's making me crazy.  The pain is unrelenting and the fatigue is overwhelming.
And of course, just because I'm fatigued doesn't mean that I sleep.
Oh no, that would be way too simple.
Although I did manage to pass out on the sofa yesterday afternoon -- and woke up in abject painful stiffness, afraid to move a muscle for fear of breaking in two (I didn't, of course, but that's what if feels like, initially).
Anyway, back to today.
I'll go into the big city for my physio session and then come home to a meeting with the plans drawer-upper for my new sanctuary/grandson room.
That's the exciting part of the day.   Because once that meeting is behind us, we will call the building inspector to request a meeting to get the application process underway for our permit (hopefully, the permit will be issued quickly to allow the builder to order the necessary supplies).
And then the shopping starts in earnest.
I've already developed my "wish list" and identified what needs to be purchased: floor covering, lighting, window coverings, paint, closet doors, etc.
I'm told this is fun.  Have I mentioned that I hate shopping?
Yes, I hate shopping even when it's for "fun" stuff.
I find the whole experience tedious, probably because it's so physically taxing.
Fortunately, I already know what kind of flooring I want, what I don't want in lighting, what kind of window covering I want, what colour paint I want, and the builder and I have already discussed closet doors (it's just a matter of identifying what's available out there -- perhaps my fingers can do some initial walking).
Excitement abounds in our household ... and it's only gonna get more so in the next month or so.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My sanctuary is gonna happen!

Yes it is -- it's gonna happen.
My little chickadee is calling my sanctuary my "grandson room" because it will double as a guest room, when necessary.  And now my beautiful boy, when he sleeps over, will be able to have "his own room," rather than having to sleep on his BYOB beside Grandma (he is getting a little old for that now).
Had a meeting with the building contractor this morning.
And it's not even gonna break the bank to build this room.
We have to jump through municipal hoops, and pay them the money they insist on grabbing because we're adding a room to the house (not to mention what it will do to the property taxes!).
But our friendly builder even has a plans drawer-upper with whom he works all the time who knows precisely what the building inspector wants and does the job for very little money.
Called him at home and John set up a meeting with him for Tuesdy afternoon -- he'll come over here, get the details of what he needs to know in order to draw up the appropriate plans in short order so that we can get the requisite permit.
We now know that the room will be 15.6' x 20' (woo hoo!) and I know where the windows will be and the size of the closet (I like the way this contractor thinks -- just the way I do!).  He offered valuable advice and is available to start immediately.  Woo hoo!
He's gonna come out tomorrow and get started on taking out the trees that need to come down for this project (that just happens to be a sideline of his -- we buy our wood from him too).
He'll call in his associate who has the necessary machinery to take out all the rocks that need to be removed (lots of them!) before the project can get started.
He won't order the trusses or the foundation material until we have the permit ... just in case!  But he is confident, given his years in the business, that there will be no problem acquiring the permit.
So he's advised me to get shopping for my flooring because I'll need it pretty soon!
I already know what colour I want the room so I can shop for the paint any time now (but I won't buy it yet, that too can wait 'til closer to the finish date).
We've decided on the windows so he'll have to order them too, once the permit is in hand.
The closet doors will be purchased a little further down the road, and we've pretty well made up our mind on the style.  It's just a matter of shopping for the most suitable ones for the job.
So, I'm closer today to having my sanctuary (grandson room) than I was on Friday but NOW I am confident that I will have it.  On Friday, I wasn't so sure.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My "Jersey Boys" Excursion

OK, it's been brought to my attention that I never reported on my exciting trip to Toronto to see the Jersey Boys (other than a brief statement to the effect that it was oh sooooooo exciting -- but that wasn't enough for some readers).
So, please accept my apologies for the oversight but regular followers of this blog will recall that the day after the trip, I came home dog-tired (and did not post an entry) and that night I had my "drowning" episodes (about which I somehow felt a need to blog on Tuesday).
On Wednesday, I made a very brief post about our entrance having been re-tiled and I didn't post anything on Thursday.
The post I put up on Friday (about my earliest memory) had actually been written some time ago (I sometimes have entries in my library, waiting to be put up for days when I'm just not "up to" blogging).
It's been a rough week for me, in the energy department, so I've not been in much of a blogging mood.  My leg cramps have been particularly troublesome this week and there's been a lot going on around here (actually, a lot NOT going on around here) that's been frustrating me beyond measure (for one, roadblocks with respect to my "sanctuary" are getting me down).
I know that the construction issues will be worked out eventually and I will have my sanctuary, one day.  But having made the decision to go ahead with the project, I guess I thought that things would move a little more quickly than they are.  Wrong!
Anyway, all that's not to say that I didn't enjoy my trip to Toronto.
Life just got in the way of reporting about it.
So I will do that now.
We had had a terrific rainstorm on the Saturday night, a storm that knocked out our telephone lines and took our internet connection down.  That meant that I left home on Sunday morning, leaving John with his only connection to the outside world being his cell phone.  So he had to deal with Bell Telephone to get our phone lines back into working order (and he was heading out that day for a concert that he was quite looking forward to attending -- a concert that got cancelled).
The rain continued on Sunday morning, making for a harrowing drive into the big city, and leaving a question mark as to whether or not we would even be able to fly out (yikes, we can't NOT go to Toronto!).
But I arrived at my little chickadee's place right on schedule, not dressed in the outfit I had wanted to wear because the weather was so awful (I had planned to wear a nice dress and be outfitted properly for a day at the theatre -- last minute changes were made that morning when I woke to a thunderous rainstorm).
Marcus and Grandma - ready to go to Toronto
We headed off to the airport, not knowing if the flight would be able to leave but hoping that we would get out with time to still make our planned activities (the girls to the theatre; the boys to the museum to take in the Harry Potter exhibit).  The flight was delayed, but only briefly although it did make for a few anxious moments.
Now, this would be my beautiful boy's first time flying and he didn't know what to make of it.  His grandma doesn't like taking off or landing; his Mom hates everything about flying; and his Dad is nervous about the experience.  Great!  But he is such a little trooper (and he so wanted to see that Harry Potter exhibit!).
Marcus before take-off
I looked over as we were ascending, and the look on his face was just priceless!  A smile broke out as he realized the sensation of the take-off.  It was like he was experiencing the greatest exhibition ride ever!  He told me later that he really likes flying (he asked his Mom the next morning where they could go next).  What a hoot.
Once we landed in Toronto we had to take a ferry off the island, and from there we took the shuttle bus to get the subway to the theatre (the boys would have to take another bus to the museum).  We would meet up again at the subway station to make our way back to the airport later in the day.
A much more relaxed Marcus with his Grandma and Mom, on the subway
It was a lot more walking than my little chickadee had thought so I was quite tired by the time we got to the Theatre, but I made it.
And it was sooooooooooooo worth it.
The show was fabulous.  Even my little chickadee enjoyed it.  The performers were incredible and the story of Frankie Vallie and the 4 Seasons is really a very interesting one.  Did you know that Joe Pesci, the actor, was a close friend of theirs and played an integral role in their success?  Did you know that each of them was a New Jersey thug?  The story is told with wonderful humour and beautifully incorporates many of their hit songs.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The return trip to the subway didn't seem quite as onerous as the other way had been (now that we knew where we were going) and we hooked up with the boys with little difficulty.
And my beautiful boy had had a blast at the Harry Potter exhibit.  He was on a high like no other!  I guess that was quite the show for him (he has seen the movies, and has just started reading the book, so he's quite intrigued with the story).  His father had given in and allowed him to spend an obscene amount of money to buy a wand (he had to have it, you know) but never had a purchase made a little boy happier!
On the ferry returning to the airport
Our flight was marginally delayed again, but eventually we did leave Toronto and got back to Ottawa and finally, dinner.  It had been a very long day indeed and we were all quite tired, hungry and cranky.  But we made it and were still talking to each other at the end of the day.
The next morning, my little chickadee joined my beautiful boy and me for our ritual breakfast before he went to daycare and then she and I hung out until it was time for me to go for my physio appointment, after which I finally headed home.
Home, to where our telephone lines had been fried by the rainstorm (but were fixed, except for the second line which was still out of use due to the alarm system which hooks into it and no longer works -- still waiting for the techie for that repair).
Home, to where the internet connection had been restored following the rainstorm.
Home, to where the tile installation was supposed to have happened on Monday but didn't happen until Tuesday.
Home, to where the alarm techie was supposed to call back on Tuesday and as of Friday, I was still waiting (he will be here on Monday -- a full week after the system was reported down).
Home, to where the builder who was going to build my sanctuary called last night to say he doesn't want the job -- call someone else please.
Home, to where the guy who was going to do the landscaping out front didn't show up on Friday -- he'll come and do that work when the construction is being done for the new room!
Home, to where the techie who was due in on Friday to service our water softener called late Friday afternoon -- he can't make it, can he reschedule?  We only made the appointment three weeks ago.  So now he'll be here on Monday.
Oh what fun!
Frustrated?  Not me.
Just another week of fun in the Fowler household.
My legs hurt (perhaps my leg cramps are a replacement for the migraines I used to get!).

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Earliest Memory

I promised in my birthday post (9 August) that I would relate my earliest memory.
The occasion was the return home of my mother, after she had been away to have a baby.
But more than twenty years would pass before I would find out which sibling was being brought home when the particular incident took place.  My mother and I were talking about the "abandonment issues" I had as a young child.
That poor woman could not be out of my sight for even one second without my going berserk.
I had to know where my mother was at all times; it was really bizarre because I was a fifth child and was surrounded by older siblings. But if my mother was out of my sight, I cried uncontrollably.
I remember the terror I felt if I didn't know where my mother was and I remember my sister trying to calm me down, telling me Mom was "just in the yard next door hanging the laundry" or "just in the bathroom" or "just" somewhere nearby.
On this particular occasion, my Mom had gone away for lots of days to have a baby (what the heck did that mean anyway?).
And the woman who stayed with us was really mean -- not at all nice like my Mom.  She made me eat food I didn't like and it was awful having her there!  (My mother ran damned near a restaurant-style kitchen, catering to her large family's food preferences -- hence a household full of very fussy eaters.)
I remember sitting at the "kids' table" by the kitchen window, eating pea soup (which I still love to this day) and seeing the car pull up in the driveway.  My Mom got out of the car and was coming into the house.
"Mommy, mommy, mommy," I squealed.
I jumped up from the table with excitement, and in the process my soup bowl went flying upward and landed on the floor, making a terrible mess. I ran to the hallway to meet my Mom, and the horrible lady yelled at me to come back and sit down -- and just look at the mess I had made!
Being me (headstrong and independent even then), I just kept going -- making a beeline for my Mother and almost knocking her over in my excitement to see her.
I was trying to grab my mother's leg and hug her, and the awful lady was pulling me back, telling me to go sit down and finish my lunch (I'm not sure how she thought I would do that, since my lunch was spread all over the floor by then).  She said I could see my Mother later, after she got settled and took care of the baby.
I was devastated!  My mom had been away for what seemed like forever and this horrid woman was telling me to wait?  (Small wonder I remember the incident!)
Anyway, some twenty years later when I described the incident to my mother, complete with a full description of the house layout, she was stunned.
She insisted that there was no way in hell I could remember that!
Why?
Because the baby she was bringing home that day was my next younger sister, who was born on 22 May 1952.
I can unequivocally state that my earliest memory dates back to before I was 22 months old.  If I could draw, I could create a picture of the kitchen and the hallway and that crushed little girl trying to see her mommy after a very long absence.
While I've never pursued the study, I've often wondered if such early memories are common. Is there proven, documented evidence of a memory by someone at an age earlier than 21 1/2 months?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Home it is a-changin'

We're in "reno" mode around here.
My 'sanctuary' is now planned out -- the builder has been consulted and we know how we are proceeding.
We just have to get the "official" plans drawn up and approved, then get the permit, then order the supplies, yada yada yada (the list goes on).
But it will happen, so I'm told (and it will be 18' x 15' -- I think I can work with that!).
And it won't take any time at all, once it gets started.
It's the starting that's tricky.
Anyway, in the spirit of improving things around here, it was time to paint the concrete floor in the entrance to our home.
But we got wind of new tiles on the market that are really spiffy, and really easy to install.
So we bought a supply of the tiles and yesterday, our handy-dandy builder friend did the work after he consulted about how to go about building my sanctuary.
You'd think we built a new room for the entrance -- it gives an entirely new look to the place!
We love it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The most bizarre experience ever

Last night was the weirdest ever.
I arrived home from the big city mid-afternoon and man, I was dog tired.
Was all I could to keep my eyes open.  I guess I should have tried for a brief nap right then but because of the time, I felt it would be better to force myself to stay awake until early evening when I could just crash for the night.
We had an early dinner (after the requisite pre-dinner wine, of course) and I was literally falling asleep in my soup.
I couldn't even stand up I was so tired!
Suffice to say, I was right out of everything by 7:00pm.
So I went about getting ready for bed, which of course includes taking my bedtime meds but I added a sleeping pill to the mix (I wanted to make damned sure that I got a good night's sleep after the physically demanding day I had put in on Sunday -- which, by the way, was soooooo worth it!).
Anyway, I hit the sack at about 7:15pm.
Didn't even pick up a book or a newspaper.
I crawled into bed, telling John that I actually "felt sick" I was so tired.
I'm sure I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
But not fifteen minutes later, I was up again, coughing and sputtering and John came running in to see if I was OK.
"I was drowning," I said.
The coughing continued and my voice was hampered by the fact that I couldn't get my breath.
"Do you need your puffer?" Joh asked.
"I don't know," was my response, "I don't know what's happening."  (Seems my asthma takes a new path with every attack.)
I snuggled back down to go to sleep again.
Some fifteen minutes later, I was up again.  But this time, fluid was running out my nose -- fast!  I jumped up to grab some kleenex to catch whatever and the coughing and sputtering started again.
Ok, now this is stupid.  What the hell is up with this?
 I had been "drowning" again and the "water" was coming out my nose -- bizarre or what?
John kept asking me if I was OK and I didn't know what to tell him because I truly had no idea what was happening, never having experienced anything like it before.
John decided he'd better come to bed, to keep watch over me, but he didn't want to go to sleep, for fear that I would need his assistance.  I assured him that if I got into serious trouble, he'd wake up in a hurry.
Now, this drowning phenomenon kept happening every fifteen minutes or so for about the next three hours, and it got more frightening with each episode.
The amount of water I was eliminating was increasing, and it was taking longer to recover from the coughing and sputtering each time.  I truly had no idea what the hell was going on!
At one point, I recall using my puffer to see if that would settle things down (if it did, it didn't stop the "drowning" sensation for about an hour or so).
At one point, I wondered if I was going to have to make that dreaded trip to the hospital to have them check me out.  Obviously, my lungs were not functioning properly but why I was expectorating all this liquid through my nose was beyond my ability to fathom.
Some time around midnight I woke again, aware that I was no longer drowning but feeling like I'd been put through a wringer, and I had the foulest dry mouth ever!  So I got up, very gingerly -- still quite groggy of course from the sleeping pill I had taken earlier.  I brushed my teeth to try to get rid of the dry mouth effect and then went back to bed.
Then, I went to sleep for the rest of the night (with my usual wake-up at the appropriate interval of course).
When I woke just before 6:00am, everything seemed back to normal -- even the screaming pain in my hips and the ever-present leg cramps.  Yep, normal is as normal does today.
John suggested that the whole experience happened because I was so exhausted -- but really, I've been that tired before and not drowned in my sleep as a consequence.
In any event, it will be easy going today.
If I never experience that repeated drowning in my sleep phenomenon again, that will be just fine by me!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm goin' to see "The Jersey Boys"

While sitting and chatting at my birthday party the other night, my guest who had been in high school with me (she of many last names now) was commisserating about our high school grad party (my older sister and I had graduated together, as we did many things in life).  We had attended an all-girls high school so our parents had agreed to let us have a sleep-over with the entire graduating class.  We pitched many tents in the backyard; we brought our crude turn-tables and we talked, and giggled, and played music and annoyed the neighbours all night long.  But this guest (she of many last names), was telling me that whenever she thinks of that night, what she remembers most is my playing the Four Seasons over and over and over and over.  We giggled as she said, "I remember thinking, 'If I hear 'Walk like a man'  or 'Dawn, go way I'm no good for you' one more time ...."
Well, her telling that story launched me into the story of last fall when I found out about "The Jersey Boys."  I blogged about it at the time and I'm repeating that blog entry here (to save you having to go looking for it).

"Silence is Golden"  (first posted 25 Sept 2009)
I woke up with that song ringing through my head and couldn't figure out why.
Then I remembered.
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons -- one of my very favourite singing groups through my teen years.
Earlier this week, Oprah Winfrey did an episode of "Back to the Sixties" or some such thing. And the episode included an appearance by The Jersey Boys who are currently performing in Chicago. The group performs exclusively songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. They weren't bad but they weren't the real thing. I thought they were a show particular to Chicago.
My daughter later enlightened me. The Jersey Boys is a broadway production playing in various major cities in North America, one of them being Toronto. She predicts that they will appear in Ottawa by the 2010/11 season. You can be sure that when that happens, we'll be in the theatre to see it. (Since she was raised listening to the songs, she found herself bopping along while she watched the Oprah episode.)
In any event, the show obviously planted the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in my head.
And one of the many songs I especially loved by the group was "Silence is Golden." I guess the title is also particularly relevant to my current living conditions. Because, silence IS golden this week.
Well, it isn't very silent in here right now.
You see, I found my collection of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons records.
And I figured out how to work John's sound system (that is a major feat in itself, let me tell you).
So, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are now belting out their many hits that I remember so well.
And I still remember every word like it was yesterday! (Damned good thing there's nobody here to witness that show!)
When I put on the first record, I still needed to blow dry my hair.
I hadn't yet put on my hearing aids and I needed to have the music loud enough to be heard over the blow dryer.
When I finally put on my hearing aids, I discovered that the music was, I'm sure, loud enough to be heard in the next county.
Ooops! Good thing I live in isolated, rural conditions.
Gotta get these babies transferred to CDs to take in my car ...
Well, I haven't yet got the albums transferred to CD (I will do that), but today, I'm GOIN' TO SEE THE JERSEY BOYS!
My little chickadee is taking me to Toronto to see the production because we simply don't know if it will ever come to Ottawa.  We fly out this morning, see the production this afternoon, and fly back this evening!
Oh my little chickadee -- she is absolutely theeeeeeee best!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It all started with a birthday gift ...

Well, that's not quite true. It didn't really start with the birthday gift, but that's as good an excuse as any, I think.
Years ago, while I was still a working stiff, John and I talked about building an extension onto the house.
You see, this house is very small. When John designed and built it, he was living alone -- not planning on ever having anyone sharing it with him.
Then along came moi.  And he just couldn't resist cleaning out that proverbial "sock drawer." (I warned him!  Everyone knows what happens once that sock drawer is offered.)
We married less than two years after that, and now -- thirteen years later, the house simply isn't big enough!
But when we talked about enlarging it all those years ago (we even had the builder on board, the plans just shy of finished, and were about to "go"), I pulled the plug on the project because I was afraid of the debt load (I hate owing money!).
Had we done it then, it would have been paid for long ago.
And now, I really need my own space.
John has his own space (lots of it, if you consider the areas of the house to which I daren't venture for fear of what I might find in his "mess" of hunter-related paraphernalia).
We've been sharing the office space -- one side of the room is mine; the other is his.
My computer and two printers (including the fax machine) and extensive genealogical materials occupy the "neat" side of the room.
His two computers and two printers and two scanners and myriad photo equipment occupy the "cluttered" side of the room.
I have developed the habit of doing most of my computing from the living room on my laptop (since we now have wireless internet access throughout the house) because I find that John functions much better if I'm not in the room.
Why?
Because it would seem that as soon as I show up downstairs, he can't seem to do anything on his computer.
The questions come at me in a barrage so fast that I can't do anything that I need to do, so I try to finish as quickly as I can and get on back upstairs to leave him to his own devices.
He manages much better if I'm not there.  Somehow, he finds his way through quite nicely if Bonnie is not there to solve the problems for him -- funny how that works, isn't it?
In a nutshell, as he himself put it when I described the problem, he is "kind of demanding."  He is also quite computer needy and it prevents me from doing what I need to do.
Essentially, I have no space that's mine.
So our discussion turned to that extension that we almost built several years ago.
I'm no longer afraid of the debt-load because in the years since I retired, I've managed to save a significant chunk of change and I've been looking for somewhere to invest it.  (The high-yield GICs in which the money had been placed recently matured, and interest rates aren't high enough to entice me back just yet.)
I've been advised that real estate is a good investment. Soooooooooooo, if I should put my money into real estate, why not put it into my own real estate, where I can personally benefit?
So I broached the topic with John -- I need my own "sanctuary," for lack of a better description.
He keeps nagging me that I should write a book, or many books -- I have so many stories to tell (many of which have already been "written," they just need to be developed and shopped around).
I keep telling him that I need my own space in which to work on projects like that.
And then came the birthday present.
For my birthday, I received a beautiful set of nesting boxes.  The people who gave them to me explained that they thought I could use them in my office.
"What a wonderful idea," I thought.  Problem is, there's simply no room in my current office.
Which led to the discussion about my need for my own space.
Which led to our current plans to go forward with that extension that we didn't build all those years ago.
The new room, which will be approximately 18' x 12', will extend out the back of the house, off the kitchen, and will be accessed through what is now our walk-in pantry (which will have to be altered significantly).  It will contain a proper closet (which this house is sadly lacking) so there will be some juggling of clothing storage, and will be large enough to double as an occasional guest room (something we currently cannot offer to anyone).
We will first have to call in the bulldozer to do some landscaping (take out trees etc, -- our "woods" keeps getting smaller and smaller).
John can't wait for me to move out of the existing office because the space I'm currently occupying will be converted to a studio -- something he's been wanting for a long time (I had no idea I had been so seriously impinging on his dreams all these years!).
We are both quite excited about the project, each for our own reasons.
So I must say a great big thank you to B&FK and K&AK for the very thoughtful birthday gift -- I'm sure they had no idea what they were instigating when they made that choice!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I have a new massage therapist

After much research, and many phone calls (OK, two but who's counting), I found a new massage therapist (you might recall that my former therapist called it quits after ten years in service).
The one I called last week just hit a nerve with me.  I liked her right away.  And she was able to see me on my timeline -- that's always a good start to a relationship.
So I saw her yesterday for the first time and she will do quite nicely.
She has 17 years experience and she certainly knows her stuff.
And there's the potential for her to be a "giggle buddy" too -- I just have to train her.  I can see signs of a good rapport with this one, much like I had with my former therapist.
We have already booked my sessions with her for the next several weeks (I need consecutive weeks' treatments for a while to get me back on track after not having had any massages for the past eight weeks).

And today, I saw my eye doctor again.
My vision continues to decline but we both decided to go with a new prescription now because I can no longer tolerate the lack of distance vision with the glasses I'm wearing.
I'm having increasing difficulty finding a focal point for distance viewing and it's annoying the hell out of me.  So I'm getting my current prescription installed in an old pair of frames (my 2007 glasses) and we both know that in six months' time, I'll be back needing yet another new prescription.
The doctor's office just called to let me know that they have managed to get an agreement from the lab that if I need a new prescription again within six months of getting these glasses, they will replace them without charge.  Now that's a bonus because the prescription I'm wearing now was no good for me five months after I got them.  We've been struggling and testing and monitoring continuously since 2007, but my vision is different every three months!
My eye doctor is going to send a report to my family doctor, detailing the changes she's found since 2007 and explaining the possibility that impaired glucose tolerance (since we know it's not diabetes) could be a factor in the rapidity at which my vision is declining.  Perhaps he'll pay attention to her observations.
And by the way, last night, after having that wonderful massage yesterday, I slept!
That's right.
I went to bed at 8:30pm and essentially passed out (didn't even pick up my book!).
At 10:30pm, when John came to bed, I woke briefly and was quite convinced that it was well past midnight.  I went right back to sleep and didn't wake again until 3:00am (that's four and a half hours folks!).  After my pee break, I again went right back to sleep and got up for the day at 6:15am (another three hours!).
That means I slept nine hours last night.
Just goes to show you how beneficial massage therapy can be!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WOW, I think I like being 29!

It all started with the invitation that was sent out at the beginning of July:

It didn't take long to have an impressive list of guests.
About ten days before the event, I started stressing (because that's what I do).  Crazy dreams started happening (did I talk to xx? did I even see y?? OMG, I don't remember eating, was the buffet even put out?).  You get the idea -- I'm a nut bar!
Anyway, the day finally came and then it was party time.
Someone from every decade of my life was there:  my first ever best friend (since 1950); a high school friend (1966); my closest friend through the 70s (although we met in 1967), and my little chickadee also joined me in 1975 of course; two friends since the 80s; and a respectable collection of very good friends from the 90s (some inherited me when John introduced the new woman in his life; I inherited a wonderful extended family when he and I married); my beautiful boy joined us in 2001, and my step daughter-in-law just last year.
It would seem that a good time was had by all.  Certainly we made the right choice of venue for the event (we had been married there in 1997 so we knew we weren't going to be disappointed).
Unfortunatley, a few guests had to leave before the party ended, and catching photos with each proved a bit challenging, but I think we got at least one shot of everyone.


After having a perfectly scrumptious meal (the early departees did get to enjoy the food and cake!), it was time to open gifts.  My beautiful boy had earlier been designated helper for the event, and what a wonderful helper he was.  He had been instructed to give his Mom's gift last, but he was jumping out of his skin with excitement to get to that gift, so he was shoving the gifts at me with lightning speed (arthritic fingers are very slow to open some packages!).

Once all other gifts had been opened, it was finally time to get to the 'piece de resistance' -- the one he most wanted me to open.  He kept whispering to me at each step, "Open this one now," "You have to pay really close attention," "Careful you don't tear it," "Do you know what it is yet?" "There's clues on the bag."  He had helped his Mom decorate the bag with clues to the contents and poor old Grandma is absolutely useless with symbols -- I need words!  (Even knowing what I hoped the gift would be, I couldn't figure out what the clues on the bag represented -- my sister (who is older, so therefore wiser?) promptly yelled out the answer.
The gifts, in order of being handed to me, were:  (a) a photo of the CN Tower, (b) a calendar of December 1963 with the words "Oh What a Night!", (c) a Jersey Milk chocolate bar, and (d) a photocopy of an ad for the Jersey Boys production at the Toronto Centre for the Arts with a banner of "Sunday, August 15, 2010" written across the top.  The bag was decorated with pictures depicting winter, spring, summer and fall (The Four Seasons).

Normally a card is given at the beginning of a presentation, but he had been instructed to give me the birthday card last, because inside the card was the message:  "Mom, Your presence is requested on Porter flight 252, bound for Toronto, leaving Ottawa at 10:30am Sunday August 15, 2010.  Accompanying you on the flight will be your little chickadee, Pauple, and your beautiful boy.  While in Toronto the girls will attend the 2:00pm performance of Jersey Boys at the Toronto Centre for the Arts; the boys will do something else!  You will return to Ottawa at 8:00pm to have a sleepover.  Happy 60th Birthday, enjoy your gift!"
The photographer snapped the picture when I looked like I was in agony -- but I can assure you that I could not have been more delighted with the gift.  I have theeeee greatest daughter ever!
I'm going to see The Jersey Boys!  Yes I am!
 
All in all, being 29 is great fun.  So much so, that I think I might try it again in another five years' time.  But, given all the grief I received with this one (about how I can't really be 29!), I might be 49 by the next one.  I'll think on it.  Lord knows, I have five years to decide!

Monday, August 9, 2010

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY

Today is my sixtieth birthday, but I'm going to talk about my second birthday -- the earliest one that I recall. (And yes, I truly do have memory of the day -- one day I'll blog about a memory I have of an even earlier event in my life!)
I remember coming downstairs on the morning of August 9, 1952, too young really to know that it was my special day other than my mother was telling me it was.
Birthdays were always very special events in our home -- it was the birthday child's day (hence, to this day, it is the actual day of my birthday on which my special day must be celebrated).
On this morning, my mother didn't even take the time to "change my bum" (I was a bed-wetter) -- she simply stripped me of my wet bottom and led me downstairs to the livingroom.
There sat the most beautiful tricycle ever (I have no idea if it was new or used -- it didn't matter).
Oh, I was excited!
But it was too big for me to get up on it by myself.
I clearly recall the raucous laughter in response to my declaration as my mother placed me on the seat, telling me it was mine -- for my birthday.
"This bike is for bare bums only!"  I yelled in glee.
That tricycle was all mine -- not to be shared with any of my, by now, five siblings.  No longer would I have to wait for one of my sisters to let me play on her coveted bike.
My second birthday must have been particularly special, because it would appear to be the only birthday on which photos were taken of me (there were several taken throughout that day).  At least I don't seem to have photos of any other of my childhood birthdays.
Fifty-eight years later, that morning is still burned in my memory like it happened yesterday -- "This bike is for bare bums only!" 
Fortunately, the photo op waited until I was dressed!
Other memorable birthdays for me were:
My 25th, the year my little chickadee was born (I spent the night of my birthday in the hospital, trying to have a baby -- false labour -- she was born 20 days later, still three weeks early as it turned out.)
My 45th, the year I met John (having met on-line earlier in the year, I met him "in person" the day before my birthday; by October, we were living together).
My 55th was spent riding The Rocky Mountaineer Railtour, which is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime.  It was awesome.  We were guests of the owner, so the staff made a particular fuss over us, and they marked my birthday in every special way possible, including presenting me with a souvenir book of the Tour, signed by each of them.  At that time I was claiming to always being "21" so the card that the owner sent made reference to my 21st birthday (I've since added a few years, becoming a more realistic 29).  We had a blast!
And now, my 60th will be marked with family and special friends whom I don't get to see nearly often enough, and we are gathering in the same location where John and I married back in 1997.  At least one special friend from every decade of my life will be there.  Included in today's gathering will be:
  • My first-ever best friend, since 1950 -- my older sister.  She's "been there" since the day I was born (at least, since the day she brought me home from the hospital).
  • A good friend from high school in the 1960s (she of many last names now) -- since reconnecting a couple of years ago, we keep trying to "do lunch" but something (life?) keeps getting in the way.
  • A very special friend whom I first met in 1967 and we were tight as thieves through the 1970s.  (She's the mother of my "first born" actually, whose two children will also be there -- does that make them my first grandchildren?).  We've remained in telephone contact but seldom actually get to see each other in recent years, so this will be a special treat.
  • My very closest friend since 1980.   (The mother of my "other children," one of whom will also be there -- he was one of my earliest "intended" but he threw me over like a hot potato when he fell in love with Lady Diana.) We see each other as frequently as we can manage but do best friends ever see each other often enough?
  • A very close friend since 1982 -- originally a work colleague, and still someone with whom I greatly enjoy spending time.  Our visiting opportunities had become less frequent in recent years, but will increase now, just because they will, honest.
  • Several couples (including my Angel and her husband) who have become very special to me since John introduced me to them back in 1995/96.  They all  so very graciously accepted me into their circles when John called to tell them of the "special woman" in his life.
  • And of course, all our children will be there -- John's three with their families, and mine (my little chickadee and my beautiful boy).  Unfortunately, Pauple and his daughter will be missing because, well, duty calls (someone has to pay for the beer!).
This one will be special indeed, on a lot of levels.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

John's Special Day

Today is a special day for John.
He has a "Vernissage" at a local gallery this afternoon.
"A vernissage (varnishing, from French) is a term used for a preview of an art exhibition, often private, before the formal opening. Guests may be served canap├ęs and wine as they discuss with artists and others the works in the exhibition."
We have to be there by 2:00pm to greet the many people we hope will be thronging to the place to see his works.
Several people have already dropped into the gallery, where the show has actually been on display since Friday, and have reported to him that it is quite impressive (which has thrilled him to no end).
He needs a haircut before he can show up for this meet and greet (and I just happen to be his barber -- a role I absolutely detest!) so we'll take care of that chore in a little while.
Then I have to shower and get beautiful (still haven't quite decided what I'm wearing -- every woman's indecisive privilege).
We know of a few good friends who are making the trip especially to view the show so John wants to invite them back for drinks -- which will seriously impact on meal time (obviously, we can't be preparing a meal for company if we're at the Vernissage showing off).  So I suggested perhaps we might first stop for the best pizza this side of I-don't-know-where before coming back here for a visit.  He agreed that he would put that proposal to them.
So, as I am wont to declare on oh so many occasions ... tempus fugit.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zee Pain, zee pain ....

I have got to learn how to nap, that's all there is to it.
Sleeping meds don't do it.
And continuous sleep eludes me.
So obviously naps are the answer.
If only I could figure out how to incorporate them into my day.
I've never been a napper (just like I'm not a snacker, I guess).
I get up; I go about my day; I go to bed.
No in between with me, no sirree Bob.
That's just not my style.
I'm even that way with my eating habits (I sit down, I eat my meal. No snacks. No junk food.  Drives other people mad that I don't "indulge" or feel "seduced" by sweets or treats or ...)
Anyway, I digress.
My physiotherapist told me to drop my walking regime back to twelve minutes (six minutes out; six minutes back).  She suggested that my leg cramps were an indication of fatigue and I was doing "too much" and needed to cut back.
So yesterday morning, I walked only twelve minutes.  I still need to learn a proper pace so that my heart rate doesn't get higher than I can tolerate but that will come.
And I'm being careful to use the stair lift more frequently (not all the time you realize -- let's not get stupid about this, I do still need exercise).
But my leg cramps continue to increase and my hip pain is getting out of control (it is entirely possible that the steroid injection has run its course and I'm going back to my pain level of old -- unbearable).
The newest sleeping med that the doctor assured me would not cause depression has done just that so I've stopped taking it (besides the fact that it was not helping me sleep in more than two/two and half hour spurts anyway -- just kept me groggy enough to force me back to bed for a full eight hours).  My mood over the past couple of days has plunged desperately low so I've simply stopped taking the med because I can't risk getting into a deeper emotional hole -- I just don't want to go there!
It's important to me to be able to deal rationally with whatever comes my way and I can't do that if I'm depressed so obviously, sleeping meds of any kind are out of the question for me on a regular basis.
I will go back to resorting to assistance occasionally -- but only very occasionally when I need to be knocked out (if that's possible, through the pain).  Seems to me that each one we've tried has "worked" for the first couple of nights and then quickly ceased its effectiveness because of my pain level.
So, it also seems to me that I should be able to resort to taking a sleeping med once in a while when I need a good night's sleep.  I just can't take the damned stuff on a continuous basis because for some reason they screw up my brain in a particularly negative way (the one that didn't have that effect, unfortunately causes weight gain ...).
All I can say is, I am oh so grateful that I know my body as well as I do and that I am intelligent enough to pick up the signs of these responses as quickly as I do.  I shudder to think of the possible consequences if the opposite were true, and I just went merrily about and took any one of these poisons until they worked their way to the inevitable end.
And thank God for the TENs machine ...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Confusion reigns supreme!

Confusion!  The story of my life, apparently.
I met with the dietitian this morning to discuss my presumed "Impaired Glucose Tolerance" status.  I was armed with numbers dating back to April, including the results of three separate "Three Day Challenges" and they all supported her original diagnosis.
You will recall that the last time John met with her, I had her assess my initial findings and I thought that she had explained my pre-diabetes as different from John's in that his problem is one of his body's limited source of insulin (his pancreas do not produce sufficient insulin for his needs), but my body was insulin resistant (my pancreas produce sufficient insulin, I just don't utilize it properly).
Yeh, well, throw that explanation out the window.  I had it totally backwards.
It is I who do not produce sufficient insulin for my body's needs, and John who is insulin resistant (his body produces sufficient insulin but has lost its ability to utilize it properly).
Both conditions lead to diabetes.
Both conditions carry the same risks.
Both conditions are managed the same way -- diet and exercise, eventually medication if need be (to be avoided, obviously).
But each condition is caused by a different physiology (lack of insulin vs insulin resistance).
My particular difficulty, as near as she can tell from the logs I provided, comes from carbohydrate overload.  I clearly eat too many carbohydrates at each sitting, especially breakfast, and my body doesn't produce enough insulin to deal with it.  By the time I add the carb overload at lunch time, my body is "scrambling" to process it but simply can't do it because I lack sufficient insulin for the task.  The answer, then, is to better manage my carbohydrate intake.
She explained that there are some doctors in her treatment area who would, immediately upon seeing my numbers, start me on medication because my numbers clearly indicate insufficient insulin production.  But in my case, because of my many "issues" with medications, we want to avoid that route at all costs.
My doctor, on the other hand, declares emphatically that I am "not diabetic" because my fasting glucose numbers are within normal range and my glucose tolerance test reported normal.  He's right of course.  I'm not diabetic.  My challenge now, of course, will be to convince him that the numbers don't lie and IGT is a recognized pre-diabetic condition that needs to be addressed and monitored.  (I am addressing it by consulting with the dietitian, but it is incumbent upon my doctor to order the necessary medical tests.)
Now, I know that I won't have any difficulty with that discussion with my doctor because he is a reasonable man and he will accept the documentation and the report I give him of this morning's visit.  But I have had an ongoing "argument" with him for over two years about my vision being a problem and the possibility of diabetes being a factor in that issue.  And now the dietitian (someone I chose to consult; he did not refer me to her) is telling me that he will have to monitor my kidney function, and that my hemoglobin A1C should be tested at least annually.  That's the test he had resisted doing until very recently -- although it will probably show normal, just as it did in June in spite of all the other peaks I've documented.
Anyway, the dietitian made one minor alteration to my diet right now, to see if I'll be able to record more normal readings.  I'll wait about ten days before undertaking another three day challenge, and I see her again in six weeks.  Only then might she make any further changes to my diet because, as she says, I'm doing extremely well on my own.  She says my numbers are very good for someone with IGT so that tells her that I am already managing it very well.
We will revisit the issue in six weeks.
Maybe by then my cloud of confusion will be lifted somewhat.
"Balance your diet -- eat regularly -- ensure you have sufficient carbs and protein at each meal -- have a set number of servings of Grains & Starches, Milk & Alternatives, Vegetables and Fruits every day -- don't exceed a set number of carbs at any one sitting -- and oh yeh -- make sure you have a banana a day (keep that potassium level up) -- and don't forget your Meat or Alternative every day -- but don't gain any weight, and don't lose more than five pounds -- here's a list of foods with their carb content (three or four of these choices per meal) -- here's a list of foods to avoid -- here's a list of foods high in potassium (oops, we just told you to avoid many of those ones!)."
Eventually, I'm sure I'll figure it all out and I'll find a balance -- maybe.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Step Back ...

So my physiotherapist has ordered another reduction in my exercise program.
It is her considered opinion that this current flare-up is thanks to my over-zealousness with my new-found mobility (and she's right, of course).
You see, as I'm sure I've mentioned here in the past -- because I can, I do.
And I am so enjoying my new mobility status, and my increased endurance within my home, that I have been "forgetting" to use my stair lift lately.
I mean, for quite some time now, I had established a policy of taking the stairs at least a few times a day for the sake of the exercise and to see how (or if) I was progressing.  And I knew that my limit was three times in one day; beyond that, I was asking for trouble.
But in the past week, I kind of got carried away and I've almost exclusively used the stairs.
Truth be known, it is because I am so mobile on a flat surface that I don't have the patience to wait for that damned chair to take me up or down. (I can do it my ownself!)
Of course, I can do it my ownself -- but not multiple times a day!
And yesterday, I really overdid it.
Hence, the increased pain all night long last night; I was paying the piper.
I really need to learn my new limits!
Now my physiotherapist tells me that if my leg cramps had started to increase again, that was and is a sign of fatigue and I was probably walking too far.  She advised me to shorten my walks and to absolutely never walk on two consecutive days (always take that day off in between).  She suggested that I might want to try taking two shorter walks on my walking day (one in the morning, another in the evening). 
Well, an evening walk is out of the question for this household -- I'm totally out of gas by 2:00pm every day; a walk just isn't going to happen.
So, my new instruction is to walk twelve minutes (six minutes out, six minutes back) and see if the pain subsides.
Even today's acupuncture session was difficult -- the entire right side of my body objected to those needles.  But there's always such a wonderful "aaaaah" effect when she gives me traction -- my hips, especially the right one, just love the relief of that pull.  And then she does myofacial release on my neck (this time I was sitting down, rather than lying down, and that was kind of fun).  This treatment provides quite a beneficial relief for my neck.  I felt oh so much better when we finished.
My next stop was at my little chickadee's place so Pauple could finish unloading my car of their camping paraphernalia.  When they returned the car to me on Monday, they transferred some of their stuff into their car but obviously it wouldn't all fit (if it did, they would have used their car for the holiday).  Then Pauple vacuumed and cleaned my car, leaving it waaaaaaaaaay cleaner than it was when I lent it to them (what a bonus!).
When I got there, MFN was already there with her family.  We had prearranged that she would stop in so we could visit because I never get to see her, and I'm always on her case about how she makes these trips to Ottawa and NEVER comes to visit HFA (who just happens to live sort of en route).  And just when she contacted me about stopping in to visit me, it's on a day that I'm in Ottawa ----- soooooooooooo, MLC's home became the obvious meeting place.  We visited for about an hour before we each had to get started on our respective ways.
I also got to see MLC briefly, so that's always a bonus too.
Then I came home.
And by the time I got here, my back decided it wanted to go into spasms (it actually decided that before I left MLC's place).
So the TENs machine has been doing duty since about 4:00pm today and hopefully all will be right with my world again by morning.
One can dream, can't one?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Here comes the pain ...

Here it comes again.
The leg cramps, that is.
I noticed on Sunday that they were returning.
And by yesterday I couldn't ignore them.
Certainly, by this morning, I can't pretend they're not back.
I mentioned to John yesterday that it seems just since I'm on that new sleeping med, the cramps have increased again.
Is there no winning in this game?
Why is it that every little change to my physiology exacerbates these damned cramps?
Now today, I'm back to a level where standing causes extreme pain again.
Yesterday, while watching my boys play ball (and we beat dem damn Yanks, by the way), my toes were curling as though they were trying to give birth again.
I just don't get it!
Again last night, I woke repeatedly, in spite of having taken the sleep med.
And again, I couldn't stay up because I was too groggy -- I had to stay in bed and simply endure the discomfort of not being able to lie on either side for the pain, but not being able to get up for the effects of the drug.
But this time, added into the mix -- just for variation you realize --  I had the pleasure of having to endure repeated leg spasms.
Finally, by 5:00am I felt it was safe enough to crawl out of bed and start my day (time will tell if I made the right decision).
I've already had quite a productive morning, but had to stop because of the leg pain.
Wonder how far I'll get on this morning's planned walk with odds like this?

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Don't Know About This ....

I'm not sure about this new sleeping med the doctor gave me.
Thursday night, I slept very well, but it kept me groggy and dopey all the next day.
Friday night, I again slept very well without the grogginess and dopy feeling the following day.
I enjoyed a day of significant energy level so I was obviously well rested.
Then it started to fall apart.
Saturday night, I woke repeatedly (I know not why) and had difficulty getting back to sleep each time.  But I was so groggy, I couldn't actually get up and do anything so I had to stay in bed.  I would eventually drift off but not for very long at a time.
Yesterday, I again enjoyed a day of significant energy level, although I was aware that I could have just as easily gone to bed and fallen asleep at the drop of a hat.  But my Angel and her husband's visit kept me awake and alert with little difficulty.
And last night was much the same as Saturday, except this time, I know why I was waking up.  I was in extreme pain.  My hips were burning severely and they so wanted me to be upright.  But again, I was too groggy to stay up so I had to remain supine -- a position I really don't find very conducive to sleep.  Hence, I don't feel like I got a lot of restful sleep last night.
I realize that this is just four nights into the new med, and I guess I really should give it a fair shake (my doctor and I have always agreed that a week to ten days is a fair trial period unless an obvious allergic reaction occurs).  So, I'll continue using it for a while longer to see if my body settles into a beneficial response.  If not, it too will be stopped as yet another failed experiment in my quest for a night's restful sleep.
Should it prove to be helpful though, my plan is to only use it occasionally -- perhaps once a week before I get too far behind in the sleep equation.
I'll have to play it by ear to see what works.  Luckily, I'm fairly good at reading my body and knowing when things are getting out of control so I should be able to nip things in the bud, once I find something I can safely use that actually works.
Later today, my little chickadee is returning my vehicle so I get to see her again, along with Pauple and my beautiful boy.  We're feeding them before they head home --- pseudo-ribs; baked beans; potato salad -- yumm, yumm! (What a deal huh?  They get my car for four days -- leaving me wheel-less -- and when they return it, I feed them!  Where else can you get a car rental for those kinds of rates?)  To be sure, I'll be collecting my hugs and kisses from each of them before they leave here.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I guess I should update ...

I know, I know, I've been remiss.
Here's what's been happening since my last post.
On Thursday, I saw my doctor and he agreed that I was right to have stopped the sleeping med he gave me, given the depression I went into.  His comment was, "You're obviously sensitive to benzodiazepines so we'll stay away from them.  But there is another I can give you that won't have that effect.  You don't want to stay on the one you're using, because it causes weight gain."
Bedoing! That's what the problem is!  No wonder I can't get my weight down.  Not taking that any more.
So I left his office with yet another prescription for yet another sleeping med, one that won't induce depression and one that won't cause weight gain.
We shall see.
From there, my little chickadee and my beautiful boy and I went back to their place to finish loading the car for their holiday.  Then we headed out to the restaurant for breakfast, where we were meeting Pauple (he had gone to visit his Mom while we went to my doctor's).
Pauple was late, so we had to wait for him (and we were oh so hungry ...).
Once breakfast was behind us, we piled into our respective vehicles and headed to my home, where they said their quick hellos and good-byes to John and went on their way (leaving me wheel-less in Mississippi Mills since I can't drive their vehicle which sits in our laneway ...).
I basically vegged for the rest of the day (which is essentially what I always do when I get back from the big city).
On Friday, I woke feeling extremely groggy.  The new sleeping med had kept me asleep almost right through the night (I only woke once) so I should have been quite rested.
But I was dopey, all day.
Just couldn't get going, no matter what I tried.
So, I did nothing but wish I was back in bed, asleep.
I slept very well again on Friday night, only waking one time. And when I woke on Saturday morning, I felt very well rested -- much better than I had the day before, not at all dopey or groggy.
I guess I just needed time to adjust to the new med.
Now, because I hadn't done anything for each of the two previous days, I had work to do around here and I had personal stuff to take care of (hence I couldn't take the time to 'blog').
By last evening, I was all caught up but feeling guilty about not having walked for several days.
So I convinced John that we should go for a walk after dinner.
Not a good idea!
We were both tired and simply didn't have enough gas to really do the walk justice.
But we persevered and made it for thirteen minutes, rather than the targeted sixteen minutes.
Better than nothing, I know, but it really was difficult.
We took the flatter, boring route, so as to avoid that awful hill.  My physiotherapist explained that I shouldn't be tackling that hill at all, especially since it is so close to the beginning of the walk.  There is no time to "warm up" if I'm asking my body to face the most challenging part of the route at the beginning -- and then I'm spending the rest of the outing in recovery mode.  She is oh so wise!
Turns out that the other direction has a challenging hill too, but it just happens to be at the eight minute mark.  That's when I turn around to come back.  Eventually, if I ever get past the sixteen minute walk (or as my pace increases), I might be able to tackle that hill because I should be warmed up enough by the time I get to it.  Time will tell.
Last night, I didn't sleep very well at all.
Woke up way too many times, and had great difficulty getting back to sleep each time.
John said I did a lot of snoring while I wasn't sleeping, but I know that I saw way too many hours on that clock.
In any event, I again don't feel groggy or dopey so I guess I slept enough to wear off the effects of the sleeping med.
And I certainly have energy to spare.
And my mood remains good.
We went for a walk this morning, and I made it eight minutes out this time, but it took me an extra half minute to get back (my legs really start dragging bottom on the return portion of these outings).
My Angel is coming for a visit with her husband this afternoon and we'll have an early dinner so they can be on their way home early (we're old, we don't like late evenings).  Her husband has bugs that John wants to photograph, so he brings them here and I get to visit with my Angel.  That's a win, win, I say.
I've already got tomorrow's dinner under way for my little chickadee and her crew (when they return my car, they even get fed -- how's that for a deal?)
So there you have it -- now you're up to date.
Later, gotta go take care of some more personal tasks.
Company will be arriving very soon