Friday, July 27, 2012

What's that you said?

So now I've got an ear infection again.
But this time it's in both ears.
The doctor doesn't know why I would be having this problem, although she suggested that it could be related to my hearing aids.
"But, I've been wearing hearing aids for lots of year," I said.  "Why now would I start getting infections?"
She couldn't explain it.
Two prescriptions this time:  one type of drop, two drops in each ear three times a day for seven days; another type of drop, two drops in each ear two times a day for seven days.
If that doesn't fix me up, nothing will.
This morning, I called my ENT to see if that office might be able to offer any hints for me.
She asked a series of questions, then spoke to the audiologist to see if she had any ideas but neither of them could think of anything that would explain it.
My routine appointment with my ENT has now been moved up from September to August.  She figured I should see him sooner rather than later to explain to him what's been happening.  Perhaps he'll have some suggestions.
But in the meantime, I'm not to wear my hearing aids while I'm using the drops.
So for the next seven days, I'm deaf.
I don't think my heart can take this much fun!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wanna see how close it was?

WOW, my sanctuary came very close to losing its roof during that storm the other day.
I had no idea that my beloved room escaped such danger but had the tree broken at its root, it most definitely would have come down on my room.
Double fortunately, since we had no power for the duration, I wasn't in the room.  Had I been,  I'd have been sitting in that corner -- that's where my computer is!
So now, when I look out my nearest window, I see this reminder of the close call.
The troops have already been ordered in to clean up the mess of trees that fell.  (Apparently there's a year's worth of firewood has to be brought in now ...)
At least I know we'll be warm this winter.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to civilization

We had a major thunderstorm here late on Monday afternoon.
I don't think I've ever witnessed a storm as violent as this one was -- not ever in my lifetime do I recall such a fierce storm.
It raged for only about 45 minutes.  But oh it was a looooooooong 45 minutes.
And before it was finished our power was out.
We figured the power would be back on in due course since we are used to outages around here.  They never last long though.  (OK, during the ice storm in 1998, we were without power for 13 days but who's counting?)
We had a supper of cold sandwiches and salad, then headed into town for coffee.
It was on our way home that we realized we would be out of power for a while this time.  The devastation around us was unbelievable.
Trees were downed everywhere.  One egress for us was blocked by trees that had fallen across the road, taking telephone wires with them. 
Our call to Hydro indicated that they expected power to be restored by 11:00pm.
We went to bed expecting that the fans would come on during the night and all would be well.
Yeh, right.
Very little sleep was had on Monday night.  The heat was unbearable.  There wasn't a breeze to be had as the air hung heavily with the aftereffects of the rainfall.
I would fall asleep briefly, then wake up needing to mop myself up with the cloth that I usually keep with me to wipe my brow (I sweat profusely in this heat).
All I could think of was those poor people down in the southern US who had suffered day after day of extreme high temperatures and no power.  Here we were without power for less than twelve hours at this point and we're having a terribly hard time dealing with its repercussions.  And I'm sure it wasn't as hot as they endured.
By the time we got up on Tuesday morning, we discovered our lack of telephone service.  Fortunately, we each have a cell phone and if push came to shove, we could charge them in our cars.
Another call to Hydro informed us that the anticipated restoration time was now 6:00pm that evening.
Wunnerful, wunnerful (to quote a good friend).
Time to fire up the generator.  We had bought a fancy-dancy generator following the 1998 ice storm.  Figured if we were ever up against similar circumstances, we might need one.  This was the first time in 14 years that we've had to resort to using it.
But it saved our bacon.
Cost us a king's ransom in gasoline but at least we were able to make coffee and toast for breakfast.
We were able to shower (aaaaaahhhhhh, that felt good!).
And we were able to watch television to find out what was going on in the world.
But we had no internet connection. (Our server was down due to the power outage in the area.)
And we had no telephone service. (Scrambling to use those damned cell phones was a pain in the you-know-what.)  We were at least able to keep the cell phones charged when we had the generator running.
Good Lord, can I just comment on how noisy a generator is?  Can't hear yourself think when that thing is going.
We were told that our telephone service would likely not be restored before Thursday, July 26th (that's two whole days away!).  Fortunately, that projection was wrong and the phones were back to working order by dinner time.
We prepared dinner in the microwave oven and sat near the fan while we ate.  Then we watched some of the ballgame.
The new projected restoration of power time was 11:00 pm so perhaps our fans might come on while we slept. Let's hope, although it was now considerably cooler outside than it had been.
As we were shutting down to go to bed, voila! we had power.
Some 30 hours after it went down, we joined civilization again.  And not a minute too soon!
Amazing how much we've come to rely on our energy source for everything we do.  This little exercise really brought that message home to us.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The irony of fibromyalgia

Have I mentioned that fibro really sucks?
Well, it does.
This week-end, for instance, our good friend Bob is here from Toronto.  This evening, his new lady friend will be joining us before they head home tomorrow.
And I wake up this morning having spent the night being run over by Mack trucks again.
All night long I dreamt weird, busy dreams.  Small wonder I'm tired when I wake up in the morning.
I think I've come to realize that the nights on which I have weird, busy dreams are also the nights on which the Mack trucks are visiting me.  (What came first, the chicken or the egg?)
My legs feel like lead weights and it takes Herculean effort to put one foot in front of the other in order to walk (tall order that!).
My neck is as tight as it's ever been (thank heavens for John who does a fabulous job of kneading away the knots).
Now, the last thing I feel like doing this morning is my stretching and exercising. But I know that I have to do them. I cannot give in to the pain.
I also have to do my biking, regardless of the overwhelming fatigue.
The irony of fibromyalgia is that if you give in to it, it gets worse.  But gosh it's difficult not to just curl up into a ball and try to sleep it off (as if sleep helps when one doesn't really get any restful sleep in this state).
What one has to do is push through the pain and fatigue and do those exercises to strengthen the muscles and keep them fit.
I know from experience that if I keep on truckin' I can almost keep the flare-ups at bay.
Years ago, a pain management specialist that I was seeing told me that if I wasn't the type of person I am (one who pushes myself in spite of ), I'd have been bedridden many years earlier.  Fibro is that insidious.
The trick is to find the right balance.  Function through the pain and fatigue but don't push too hard.
Rest is key, of course.  Do a little bit, then rest.  Do a little more, then rest some more.
So now I'm off to do my exercises and then I'll do the bike (I'm up to 45 minutes a day now -- yay me!).
Then I'll rest before making the salads for tonight's dinner.
Then I'll rest some more before showering.
Then I'll rest again until our guests arrive (I'll watch my boys beat dem Red Sox again!).
With luck, I'll be able to enjoy our company.
Have I mentioned that fibro sucks big time?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some friends are sent from heaven

I have the best friends in the world.
Really I do.
Most of them, I don't see nearly often enough.
Seems life just gets in the way.
But we are in touch frequently, be it by e-mail or telephone.
And every contact is like we just talked yesterday.  Very comfortable and fit-like-a-glove kind of rapport.
Late yesterday afternoon, John decided that he needed a diversion from "stuff" that's been going on.  He thought we should go for tea to a friend's place after dinner.
"Tonight?" I queried.  "Kind of last minute, don't you think?"
"Yes tonight," he said.  "Call and see if it's OK."
So call I did.
At 5:00pm.
They were about to have dinner but absolutely we could join them for tea.  Come any time.  (It's a good 40 minute drive.)
So we had dinner and we left home at 5:30pm.  We stopped to buy sticky buns to have with their tea.
We arrived to a welcoming committee (they were that delighted with our impromptu visit), and a platter of cheese with fresh-baked bread.  That was followed by hot-out-of-the-oven home-made cinnamon buns to die for.  Then came the tea.
It was a delightful evening of gab.
And escape.
Just what John needed.  It did his soul good.
Of course, it did my soul good too because the friend he wanted to see just happens to be the husband of one of my very favourite people.  She's one of those friends who is sent from heaven.
Guess that's another reason to call her my ANGEL!

Monday, July 16, 2012

This heat wave ...

... is going to be my undoing.  Really it is.
We don't have air conditioning in our home, relying on fans and cross breeze from the many trees that surround us.  Our outside temperature is usually a couple of degrees lower than whatever the city is suffering (and in winter, we are usually a couple of degrees warmer).
But for at least the past ten days the temperature has hovered in the low to mid 30s every day, all day!
With no sign of relief for several days to come yet.
I don't cope well in extreme heat.  Even as a teenager I had trouble with the dog days of summer.
You'd think my joints would love this sauna-like weather.  But not so.
Last night was one very long night.
In spite of the fan that blows constantly, the warm air that it was moving around the room simply wasn't enough relief for me.  At one point, I awoke with a terrific headache and knew immediately it was because I was dehydrated from sweating so profusely (my bedclothes were drenched).  Even the very copious amount of water I drank didn't seem to help though.  It took forever to fall back to sleep.
There was a point at which I found John sitting in the living room reading (so that he wouldn't bother me).  I told him he could come back to bed to read since that's what I was going to do.  Two hours later I turned off the light and tried to go back to sleep again.  Much tossing and turning ensued.
And when I did sleep, the dreams were horrific.  Stupid nonsensical dreams.  Disturbing dreams.
When I woke and it was finally a decent start-the-day time, I was incredibly relieved that the night was over.
Now I can spend my day trying to find relief until again it is time to turn in for another long night of hell.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Exciting news ...

Got a call from our very gracious host in Toronto today.
"Hello," said the caller, "is this Wolf Grove Bed & Breakfast?"
"Oooooooh," I responded, "what date are you needing your room?"  (My sanctuary is the guest room in our home and each guest considers it to be his/her room.)
Turns out he has a new "lady friend" (he's been keeping secrets from us) and her son lives near us.  She's visiting her son next weekend so Bob suggested that they make the trip together; she to visit her son, he to visit us.
Sounds like a plan to me.
Normally, we only see Bob twice in a calendar year.  He usually comes through once, and we go there once for our Blue Jays weekend.
This year, he has already been here once (for John's 80th birthday in April) and we've already been there once (for our Blue Jays / SW Ontario trip).
He will be here next weekend (and with luck, we'll get to meet the new woman in his life).  We'll be there again on August 10th for another Blue Jays weekend (when I'm sure we'll see the new woman in his life).
That will be four visits with him in the space of four months.
This year -- 2012 -- is turning out to be a not bad year!
And there will still be four months to go.  Who knows how many more visits we might manage before year end!

Monday, July 9, 2012

See how I heal ...

Today marks 23 weeks since my hip replacement surgery.
And, I'm told, my progress is ahead of schedule.
I have been able to get into my bathtub to enjoy the benefits of the jet massage for the past two weeks (thank heavens!).  My physiotherapist tells me that I should not have been able to do that until at least the six month mark.  Good on me!  There's nothing like a little desperation and motivation to spur on one's progress, I say.
As to stair climbing, I'm getting fairly good at that too.  I can, sometimes, walk up the stairs like a big girl without even holding onto a railing!  (As the day wears on and fatigue sets in, I have to resort to using my stair lift.)  I still need assistance going down though.  But I think the problem on the downward trek is coming more from my knees than my hip.  Gosh but they are giving me problems of late.
Anyway, here's a shot of my incision as it looks at this stage in the healing:
Not bad huh?  It really is coming along quite nicely.  I'm hardly even aware of it.  I am, however, still very aware of the muscle weakness around it and I continue to need strengthening exercises.  As of this morning, I'm up to 30 minutes on the bicycle.  That is one activity that will help tremendously to strengthen those muscles.

Wednesday will be 13 weeks since my Mohs surgery to remove the basal cell carcinoma from my nose. That scar is really healing remarkably well.  While I still notice it as a red, wrinkly blotch on my nose, others tell me that it is almost imperceptible.
When I see photos, I must say I have to agree that one would really have to look hard for evidence of surgery.  I guess I see it because I know it's there.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Yup, I'm definitely home

That was a very long flare-up.
But it's over now.
Thank whomever.
I'm back to doing my biking -- 15 minutes on Thursday; 15 minutes again yesterday; and 20 minutes this morning!
Once the benefit kicks in from the biking, I should be able to keep flare-ups to a minimum again.  At least that's the pay-off I seemed to notice before my surgery.  At that time, I was doing 60 minutes a day and it really did seem to keep me on an even keel.
I still needed my weekly physio sessions.
And I definitely still needed those weekly massage therapies.
It's obvious that my daily stretch/exercise regime (which includes biking), and the weekly physio / massage sessions are crucial to my well being.
This past week I didn't have the physio treatment because I was in no condition to make the round trip to the city.  That's one of the drawbacks to being in a flare-up.
I push myself too hard and a flare-up happens.
Then I don't have the energy to partake of the therapies I need.  Hell, at the height of a flare-up, it's all I can to put one foot in front of the other.  When that happens, the only thing I can do is rest and wait for the inflammation to settle down.  Pushing myself only makes things worse.
But the lack of activity ALSO makes things worse.  And slows the healing.
It's a truly vicious cycle.
While we were away, I made a point of using the hot tub in lieu of massage therapy but I didn't have my physio therapy.  I also ensured that I did my stretches and exercises every day.  I used the bicycles at the hotels but couldn't set the resistance low enough for my needs so I only managed 10 minutes.  Towards the end of the trip, I couldn't manage any minutes!  The flare-up had started by about day eight of our trip and I pushed myself to complete the rest of our itinerary.
Hence, the 12-day pay-back that I suffered on our return.
It's important now that I work hard to maintain a steady rhythm and try not to induce another flare-up.
Pace myself, yeh, that's it.  That's what I'll do!

Friday, July 6, 2012

I think I must be home

I say I "think" I must be home because last night in my dreams, I was in Ottawa.
Yes, I waaaassss!
There was a problem however.
You see, I was on Parliament Hill.  Parked in the spot I used to park in when I worked there (I've been retired since January 2006).
It was Canada Day.
When I wanted to leave (to come home, you realize) I couldn't get past the many barriers to get to my car!
Needless to say, I woke up when I was attempting to climb through yet another stumbling block to my coming home.
BUT, when I woke, I didn't feel like I'd been run over by Mack trucks.
And today, I feel almost normal.
So I'm declaring myself to have arrived.
Twelve days after we arrived home from our ten day trip, I'm finally home.
It's been a loooooooong haul!  Ain't THAT an understatement.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'm almost home ...

At least I think I am.
Last night, in my dreams, I was at my sister's place in Kitchener again.
But the situation was such that I was heading home.
I had slept at her place and somehow had lost my contact lenses (I haven't worn contact lenses in over 30 years!).  Of course, because I couldn't find my lenses, my departure was delayed until I found them.
Many ridiculous other scenes played out, all while I sent messages to everyone and anyone about my lost contact lenses (including having a sit-down confab with my long-departed father).
Eventually, I spotted both lenses in the carpet, just sitting there side by each, waiting to be noticed (yeh, like that ever really happens in reality).
So I was able to say my good-byes to everyone and finally get in the car to head home.
Then I woke up.
Maybe, just maybe, I'll make it home tonight.  Sure hope so because this business of waking up feeling like I've been run over by several Mack trucks is getting more than a little tedious.
My massage therapist is due here at 1:00pm today.  Her ministrations should help to work out the knots.  Perhaps a session with her will further the chance that I'll make it home in my dreams tonight.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

This has GOT to end!

OK, this flare-up has lasted quite long enough now.
It can end any time now.
I am so danged tired of the extreme fatigue and the overall muscle weakness.
My dreams are still keeping me in travel mode too.
A few nights ago, I had spent all night running about in Montreal.  When I woke, I told John that I would perhaps be home soon because it seemed that I was getting closer.  But the following night, I was in Nova Scotia bopping back and forth between Halifax and some little rural town on its outskirts.  Go figure!
I don't know how much longer it will be before I get home in my dreams but I really do hope it will be soon.
Each morning I awake feeling like a dozen Mack trucks have run over me.  My entire body feels like one big bruise.  It takes Herculean effort to put one foot in front of the other.
But, life goes on and I have to keep on truckin'.
Through the pain.
Which simply makes the fatigue worse.
I am resting, only because my body is forcing me to rest.  It's not like I have much choice in the matter.
Seriously though, I've now been back eight days from that ten day trip.  It's time for this to end.
Have I mentioned that fibro sucks?