Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's almost 2014

Can you believe it?
Another year gone, already!
To bring in the new year, I'm going to try to stay awake late enough to watch Royal Canadian Air Farce - Best of 2013.  Let me guess, who might they be spoofing???  (Ummmm -- four specific Senators; Rob Ford; Miley Cyrus; the Kardashians -- are just a few that come to mind.)
The show airs at 8:00 pm.  Wonder if I'll make it????? 
Even if I do, I won't see midnight to be sure.  So the rest of the world will have to welcome the new year without me I'm afraid.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Christmas was wonderful.
The day was spent moving from house to house and eating.
We started by joining my little chickadee at her home for what has become our traditional Christmas morning breakfast.  It's such a delight to share that time with them and I continue to count my blessings that they still include us in their morning.
From there, we stop in briefly to visit my good friend, LC -- my other daughter's mother.  This year, she is recovering from surgery so she was a bit of a captive audience, of sorts.  Her daughter (MOD) was there from Toronto tending to her mother so I got to see both this year, which was a nice bonus.
Then it was off to my step-son's place for lunch.  He would have been otherwise alone for Christmas so we took lunch to him.  We had a lovely visit while lunch cooked (chicken gumbo and rice) and we followed it up with tea and dessert.
I ate lightly at both breakfast and lunch because, unlike previous years on Christmas Day when we usually came home and had "beans and weiners" for dinner, this year we went to join my best friend sister and her husband at their table.  My brother-in-law has spent the past several Christmases in hospital and since he would be home this year, my sister was delighted to be able to make a proper dinner.  She was extra delighted to have us join them.  We had a fabulous visit.
Some twelve hours after we had left home that morning, we finally arrived back at our door.
It had been a very long, but fun day.
On Saturday, the 28th, we had our blended family Christmas.
That's the day we all get together (although this year we were missing step-daughter and her family since they were down in Arizona for the holidays) for Christmas brunch.  I no longer do the full-out dinner deal -- too stressful.  So I just do brunch-style eating.  No fuss, no muss. (Well almost, no fuss, no muss.)  I find it much easier than trying to put on a sit-down meal for a large group.
We open gifts, which are handed out by Santa. This year, #2 step-son had the honours (that's him wearing the requisite red hat).
There are always so many interesting gifts passed around.  
And of course, we have to take the group photo.  Nutbar #1 step-son insisted that we take one with everyone in the following pose.
We're thinking we might make it a Fowler tradition.  Perhaps next year, everyone will participate properly.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas Eve!

(Photo © John T. Fowler)
This is a photo of my two-tiered Christmas village -- last year's version.
This year it is much lovelier. My little chickadee visited and helped me put the snow in properly.  There was a blizzard went through town!
We haven't taken a photo of it yet and we really should have done so immediately because now the main building (the focal point of the train circle) has lost its lights.  They are fibre optic and not replaceable or fixable.
So, while the photo that will be taken will depict the snow storm (how fitting, with all the snow we've had already!) it will not present quite the dramatic effect that we see as we admire it each evening.
And of course, the arrangement of presents under the tree will be different too.  There seems to be more this year (and Santa hasn't even arrived yet!).
In any event,
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Memories of a past Christmas

For some reason, the closer we get to the big day, the crisper my memories of Christmases past (go figure!).
And this year, I can't seem to get images of one particular Christmas out of my mind.
I've told the story here before, but I'll tell it again for recent readers' enlightenment.
It was Christmas, 1963.  I was thirteen years old and I desperately wanted a pair of patterned stockings -- they were all the rage that year.

About a week before Christmas, I was home from school. (I don't recall why; obviously I must have been sick.)
I had the house to myself and decided I should go snooping for gifts.  I just HAD to know if I was getting a pair of those stockings!
Well, I found the cache of presents and eventually identified one that had my name on it that felt like it might be just what I was hoping for.
I oh so carefully opened the package -- and there they were.  They were blue and black with a diamond pattern.  Truly the most beautiful pair of patterned stockings in the whole wide world!
Then I did the unthinkable.  I just HAD to try one on.
I remember shaking as I put the stocking on and pulled it up my leg.  And then I pranced around my parents' bedroom, admiring the sight.
I was still shaking as I took the stocking off and carefully folded it to put it back in the package.
But look!  Now the one I tried on was all stretched out, noticeably bigger than the other one.
So I quickly put the second stocking on and stretched it up my leg so the pair would match again.
Then I very carefully rewrapped the package and returned it to the hidden stash of gifts.
And I remember on Christmas morning being very nervous when it came time to open that gift.
My mother, who knew how badly I wanted those stockings, was watching closely as the package was handed to me.
What was I going to do?  I knew I had to act surprised and excited.  And I figured I could do that easily, since there was so much other commotion going on with our large family.  But would someone notice that the stockings were already stretched?
So I opened the package, let out a squeal of delight, and immediately proceeded to put the stockings on.
There, of course they're stretched, I'm wearing them!
That was the year I learned a very important lesson:  the surprise is so much sweeter if it is shared.
Here we are 50 Christmases later, and I have never again gone snooping for gifts.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Let's try again

I've decided to try yet again to find Philip Nowlan.
Remember him?
He's the cute baby in this 1957 photo:
He's the grandson of my maternal grandmother's sister, Mary Jane Gizzard Docker Danaher, making him my 2nd cousin.
All I can surmise from the paper trail I've found is that he was born in June 1957, possibly in Canada but could have been in the USA, to parents Joan A. (nee Danaher) and, I believe, James Nowlan.  He has two younger sisters, who of course would also be my 2nd cousins.  Their mother died in October 2004 in Silver Springs, New York.
It blows my mind to learn that this family lived so close to us and I only found out about them last year.
You see, my research from years ago had indicated that Joan Danaher had moved to Canada from England to become a nun.  I stopped looking for her.
It was only when the above photo surfaced last year that I started tracking who the child could be.  It is inscribed on the reverse, "Philip Nowlan To Aunt Sarah & Uncle Sam with love from Philip aged 3 months Sept 15 1957."  (Sarah and Sam were my maternal grandparents.)
There was also a photo of my grandmother's sister, Mary Jane:
Inscribed on its reverse was, "Taken in 1940 died 1946 aged 56. To Aunt Sarah from sister Jane from your niece Joan Nowlan."  This helped me further identify the baby's mother and his relationship to me.  Read about Mary Jane's story.
I would love to connect with my 2nd cousin Nowlans and share with them information they might not have about their mother's lineage.  Surely they would be interested!

Monday, December 16, 2013

That EASY button must be broken

I shop on-line all the time.
Hate shopping in malls.
Too many people and too much walking.
I am a somewhat frequent buyer from Staples for our many office supply needs.
Generally, I love the convenience of ordering today and receiving tomorrow.  Works like a charm.
Anyway, MHYC's school recently held a fundraiser wherein one could buy gift cards for various retail outlets and the school would receive a percentage of the value of the purchase.
Generous Grandma bought a significant number of cards, several of which made their way into Christmas packages.
But a few were to be used specifically by us in our day-to-day operations.  Like the two $50.00 Staples cards I bought.
Last week, Staples sent me some discount cards. (OK, I'm sure they sent them to lots of people, but I only received the ones they sent to me.)  These cards offer savings of $15.00 off an order of $100.00 or $20.00 off an order of $200.00 -- but only for on-line or phone orders.  They cannot be used in stores.  OK by me, since I rarely shop in store.
I save up my orders to wait for these discount cards.  (Sometimes, the discounts are even higher.)  They are routine promotions.
Yesterday, I sat down to place my order of just over $100.00.  I wanted to use my $15.00 discount card and then pay for the order with my gift cards.
No can do.
I couldn't find anywhere in the process to enter the information about the gift cards.
This morning, I called their toll-free number to ask how I use gift cards to pay for an on-line order.
Can't be done, I'm told.  Gift cards can only be redeemed in stores!
Says so right on the site, I'm told.  (Yes, if you look up information about gift cards.  The cards are not explicitly referred to anywhere in the on-line purchasing experience.)
Quite perturbed, I decided to take advantage of the $15.00 savings so I placed the order, paying for it with my credit card.  (I'll use the gift cards quickly enough throughout the year, I'll just have to go into the store to do it!)
Imagine my surprise when I received the order confirmation and saw the following advice at the bottom of the statement:

Hold on to your Staples Rebate Visa Cards and Prepaid Gift Cards
until your order has been received."

Now how, I ask, can there possibly be a need to hold on to a gift card for an order that could not be paid with a gift card?
I've sent an e-mail of complaint/inquiry to Staples, suggesting that their EASY button is not so easy to use after all!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Strange Week

It's been a strange week, indeed.
I ended up in a fibro flare-up this past Sunday, for reasons I can only surmise, but the difficulty persisted through to Tuesday evening.
Truth be known, it had actually started on Saturday when my little chickadee was visiting but I didn't recognize the signs.  Sometimes these things have to hit me -- hard -- before I know what's happening.
Anyway, by Monday I sure as hell knew what was going on let me tell you.  I could barely put one foot in front of the other.
Needless to say, I hadn't done the treadmill on Sunday, and I didn't do it again on Monday, or Tuesday.
As the flare-up worsened, my hands became terribly inflamed.  I couldn't even pick up a pen to write.
Tuesday morning, very early, I called and cancelled by physio session.  There was no way I was up to making the round trip to the big city.  I ended up sleeping the morning away and that was obviously what my body needed.  By that evening, it was evident that the flare-up was fizzling out.
When I woke Wednesday, I was feeling alive again, with only the normal level of pain and discomfort.
Good thing, too, because I was lunching with my Angel that day and I don't get to see her nearly often enough so I would have been really upset had I been forced to cancel that date.
Of course, yesterday being Thursday, that's my do nothing day because my massage therapist comes to my home.  (I did do the treadmill on Wednesday and again Thursday though.)
My massage therapist asked me what I had done to bring on the flare-up and as I answered her, I realized that although I pace myself when putting up my Christmas Village, it really does take a toll on me.  I had hauled stuff out of storage on the Wednesday, did minimal assembly on the Thursday morning, considerably more assembly on the Friday, and had help with the rest on Saturday.  But the damage had been done by then and I suffered for the next three days.  As much as I love having it, it is evident that I pay a huge physical price.  
Today, I've been up since well before dawn (as I have been every day this week) and caught up on the housework that hasn't been getting done all week.
So there you have it.  Not sure how I'll handle Christmas next year.
But my village is now in place, and every evening I turn on the lights and enjoy the beauty of it.
It's worth every bit of pain!
This is last year's village.  It looks infinitely better this year, with the snow that my little chickadee helped arrange.  ("There was a blizzard came through.")                                             (Photo © John T. Fowler)

Friday, December 6, 2013

My generous, thoughtful RMT

Yesterday was my aaaaaaaahhhhhh day -- best day of the week.
And my massage therapist made it an even better day by showing up with a present in tow.  She brought me a hand-made hat and scarf set, in honour of my having allowed Suzanne to shave my head again.
It's a lovely, comfy, very warm hat that will do a wonderful job of keeping my noggin protected through the winter months while my hair grows back.
Such a thoughtful gesture.
I guess, to paraphrase Sally Field, "she likes me, she really likes me."

Monday, December 2, 2013

Busy day tomorrow

Today, I'm headed into the big city.
Originally, I had a hair appointment for this afternoon but obviously I don't need that now.  The appointment had been made to coincide with my early morning dental visit scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Now, I'm essentially going in so that I can overnight at my little chickadee's place because of that early morning dental appointment.  Saves trying to make the commute in the early morning, which is often a challenge because of the high traffic volume.
I have a few stops to make on my way into the city so I'll leave here early enough to allow me to get them done and still arrive before dark (which descends upon us soooooooo early now).
Tomorrow, MHYC and I will do our usual breakfast routine, after which I will go to my dental appointment.
After the dentist, I have physio which I moved from its usual 1:00 pm spot to 10:30 am so that I could get out of the city as early as possible.
Following my physio session, I'll head back home and stop at the grocery store which should put me right on time to make my 1:00 pm doctor's appointment.  I called last week to book time with her to discuss blood work prior to my tummy tuck surgery.  Just want to make sure everything is as it should be before going into that.
Better safe than sorry has always been my motto.
So I should arrive home tomorrow some 24 hours after having left home today.
But I will have covered a lot of ground in that 24 hours!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hairless again

Last evening, we had a dinner party.
Step-son, his beautiful wife, other step-son, sister-in-law and her husband.
Was a wonderful evening.  We don't see them nearly often enough.
Beautiful step daughter-in-law is again undergoing chemotherapy which is costing her her hair, again.
I told her I was in this with her and I meant it.
We said our hello(s) and headed straight for the bathroom where she again did the honours.
Now, since winter is upon us this go-round (it was August last time we did this), I will need to invest in a hat to keep my dome warm.
I very much dislike hats.
Never wear them.
I use ear muffs in the cold weather.
This winter will be an exception, for obvious reasons.
But regrets?  I have none.
My hair will grow back.  Unfortunately, that is not likely going to be the case for my darling Suzanne this time.
In the meantime, I will enjoy the benefits of my shorn look:
  • I will save money on hair cuts for several months.
  • I won't have bad hair days for a while.
  • Shampoo and conditioner costs will be way down.
  • Shower time will be reduced significantly.
  • My shoulders will appreciate the reprieve from shampooing, blow drying and curling my tresses.
You get the idea.
John and I have also decided that this time, as it grows back, I'm going to stop at the point where we liked it last time.  Not going to grow it out fully again.  Keep it quite short, and save my shoulders the ache of having to blow dry and curl.  That will be huge for me.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It's Thursday

Aaaaargggh, such a convoluted schedule I have.
Normally, as you know, today is massage day.
At my home.
However, for this week only, that massage was moved to yesterday -- at the clinic -- because I have an appointment with my eye doctor right smack in the middle of the day.  That appointment involves a 40 minute drive on either side of it.
But, yesterday we had a major snow storm.  The first of the season.
We were snowed in and I had to cancel that rescheduled massage.  (This, after I had cancelled my Tuesday physio session because my Sunday/Monday had been too busy and I couldn't face the commute.)
Fortunately, my massage therapist has a block of time available this afternoon if I can make it to her clinic after my eye appointment.
You bet I will!
So, my formerly 1:00 pm Thursday massage in my home which had been moved to 1:00 pm Wednesday at the clinic has now been moved to about 2:30 pm Thursday at the clinic.
Got it?
Bottom line:  it's Thursday and I'm having a massage this afternoon.
Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Remembering Tamarra

Today marks three years since my grand-niece lost her battle with brain cancer.
She was only 18 years old.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Tamarra, but I followed her on FaceBook and she was certainly loved and admired by her family and friends.
Tamarra was my brother John's granddaughter (lung cancer had taken him not quite three months earlier).
My heart goes out to Tanya, Tamarra's mother, who in the previous two and half years had been asked to cope with more pain than any one person should have to endure in such a short period of time.  Her grandmother (my mother) had passed in January 2008.  A month later, her mother died suddenly in February, 2008.  Her father (my brother) succumbed to lung cancer on 27 August 2010, and then her only daughter was taken from her.
On a happier note, Tanya has since married the man who had come into her life a short time before Tamarra's illness was known.  Congratulations, Tanya and Mike, on recently celebrating your first wedding anniversary!
A mother shouldn't have to bury her child.  Cancer shouldn't take anyone, much less a child.
In the first year after Tamarra's departure, her mother honoured her passing by establishing the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation, a not-for-profit registered charity that financially supports families for children/young adults living with cancer to receive holistic oncology treatments.  For information about the Foundation and to find out how to make donations to help support this very worthwhile charity, visit http://tamarrashonour.com/.
Rest in peace, Tanya's angel.


Tamarra Cherryholme
6 Jan 1992 - 23 Nov 2010

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tummy tuck reschedule

So, already my tummy tuck is not happening on January 20th.
Apparently, the surgeon will be away the week of the 20th.
Can I reschedule for the following week -- Monday, January 27th?
Obviously, I accepted the change.
But when I entered the new date on my calendar, I noticed that my follow-up appointment at his clinic was already booked for Wednesday, January 29th.
Oops.  Gotta change another that one.
The scheduling assistant and I have been playing telephone tag since Monday.  We finally connected yesterday and she tells me that the surgeon will be away the first week of February, when I would need my follow-up.  So she will now check with one of his colleagues to see if he can take me for the required visit.
She'll get back to me.
Sigh.
The joys of trying to synchronize schedules when people are busy and in demand.
I'm sure we'll get things sorted out some time between now and January 27th.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The deed is done

My tummy tuck is booked.
I made the down payment today. Have to pay the balance in full one month before the surgery date.
And when is my surgery date, you ask?  Monday, January 20th, 2014.
Woo hoo.  I can't wait.  I am soooooooooo looking forward to being rid of this 'apron.'
It's only been 30+ years.  But you know, good things are worth waiting for.
Perhaps, had I had the money to do this years earlier, it might have been wasted with all the weight fluctuations I've seen through the years.
Now is clearly the time to do this, as I enter that period in my life when I am acutely aware of healthy living (just don't take my nightly wine away from me!).
God willing, I will succeed in reaching my goal weight (I'm almost there) and will be able to maintain it going forward.  At least, that's my plan.  Not gonna pay all this money just to throw away the benefit.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lest we forget ...

Remember our Veterans
Many gave their lives for us


Percy E. Gibson was an uncle whom I never knew, but I recall hearing his name often.
  His widow, Mary Gibson, was my mother's eldest sister (my Aunt Mamie).


Percy Edward Gibson
1913-1944




My maternal grandfather's older brother (therefore my grand uncle), William Thomas Sharpe (1889-1919) died in Germany as he boarded the ship to take him home to Liverpool where his young wife and almost four year old son waited.  That child would grow up knowing nothing of his father's younger brother, whose name he shared.  In 2004, my family tree research led me to his descendants, many of whom I am in touch with today.

 




Let us also not forget:

My maternal grandfather, Samuel Sharpe (1896-1964), who served in WWI (photo taken 1915) and loved it so much he re-enlisted for WWII (photo taken 1941).
























My paternal grandfather, Thomas Cherryholme, (1896-1960) who also served in WWI.  Although I don't have a photo of him in uniform, here he is c1952.

And my father, Richard Romeo Cherryholme, (1926-1979), who served as a rear gunner in WWII.

My father is seated, second from left.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I found them!

I finally tracked them down.
Been searching for my Cherryholme grandparents in the 1921 Census of Canada.  The indexed version of the Census recently became available at Ancestry.com and I had thought it would be a piece of cake to locate them.
They were a  small family back in 1921, just Tom, his wife Marilda and their one-year old daughter Jeannette.  They should be the only Cherryholme(s) in the country at the time.  Shouldn't be too difficult to weed them out of the Ottawa records then.
You think?
Ha, guess again!
I've long since learned to search for many variations on the Cherryholme name when looking for that lot, including the name Holme(s). Up pops a Thomas C Holmes, right age, right occupation, born in England, immigrated to Canada in 1910 (my grandfather actually immigrated in 1912 but Census returns are notorious for being off on these details).  But this guy was single.  Could it really be my grandfather?  He should have been married to Marilda with a one year old daughter named Jeannette!  I put that record aside as a "possible" and kept on searching.
While I wasn't having any luck with Tom, I searched for Marilda with a daughter Jeannette.  No can do.  Nothing was surfacing.
Of course, when I'm searching any digitized records, I also pull the easy ones while I'm at it.  I had already located Marilda's parents' record, as well as her widowed grandmother's record.  I plan to look for her aunts and uncles as well at some other time.
Then I remembered that my Aunt Jeannette had told stories about her having lived with her grandparents as a young child.  So I went back to the record for Marilda's parents.
There was my great grandfather, John Raymond, living at 45 Pinhey Street in Ottawa with his wife Deliann (actually Delima) and their children:  Millia, 25; Eyvonne (Yvonne), 17; Victor, 15; Germaine, 12; and Gracia, 8.  And a lodger, Charion Genest, age 1.  (My great grandfather's actual name was Joseph Jean-Baptiste Labrosse dit Raymond, but he had Anglicized his first name and dropped the Labrosse in favour of Raymond some time around the turn of the century.  The family remained predominantly French.)
As I studied that record, I realized that something was just not right.
Their daughter, my grand aunt Emilia, had died in 1917.  But their daughter Marilda -- my grandmother -- would have been 25 in 1921.  Why was this daughter shown as single -- she should have been married, with a one year old daughter named Jeannette.
On studying the name of the "lodger" I realized what the record was actually telling me.  Reverse the order of the names, giving you Genest Charion, and you have Jeannette Cherryholme spelled in the oddest of ways.  Spelling obviously wasn't the enumerator's forte.
For some reason, "Genest" is not declared as John Raymond's granddaughter.  I know that my Aunt Jeannette grew up in her grandfather's home on Pinhey Street in Ottawa.  She loved regaling us with stories of her years there.
Once I recognized the significance of this find, I had to accept that the Thomas C Holmes record is in all likelihood my grandfather.


I can only surmise that both Marilda and Tom declared themselves to be single (although they actually married in 1919 in Ottawa) because they must have been separated at the time of the 1921 Census.  They obviously reconciled because they subsequently had four more children, my father being one of them.


All I can say is, it's a good thing I enjoy solving puzzles because this one was a doozy!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tummy Tuck update

My visit with my family doctor on Wednesday was very encouraging.
She explained that she would have the same concerns about our local community hospital's ability to deal with an emergency should it arise in the middle of the night, primarily because of the chance of my oxygen saturation level dropping significantly following general anaesthesia.  She too feels that my procedure should be done at a larger centre.
So, to that end, she was able to recommend two surgeons off the top of her head.  The first name she gave me intrigued me.  He just happens to be the husband of my dermatologist.  I had actually toyed with pursuing whether or not he did tummy tucks last time we were in to see her but we got side tracked talking about their year-old son.  Her husband, I knew, is a plastic surgeon who does the corrective surgery, when required, following the Mohs procedures that she performs.  They share the same suite of offices.
Anyway, later that afternoon, the tummy tuck surgeon called to say that he had the report from Monday's anaesthesiologist visit and unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to do my procedure.  BUT, he could recommend two very good surgeons who might be able to see me quite quickly.
And which names did he give me, you ask?
The very two names that my family doctor had given me that morning.
Now how's that for a coincidence?
He was able to give glowing recommendations for both surgeons, with the caveat that neither has the years of experience that he has since they are both younger men than he.  But they are both very competent and he wouldn't hesitate to refer anyone to them.  He offered to send a note to my first choice (my dermatologist's husband) to provide an intro for me.  I thought that was a very generous gesture.
Yesterday morning, I called the "new" tummy tuck doctor and made an appointment to see him for that initial consultation.
Wednesday, November 13th at 8:00 am.
Here we go again!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I looooooove Hallowe'en!

I love Hallowe'en.  It's always been one of my favourite holidays.
Of course, when I was a child, I loved the door-to-door part and collecting candies.
But I especially loved collecting pennies for UNICEF.  Remember UNICEF?
When I lived on my own (in the days before my little chickadee came along), I used to convince my friends to dress up and come with me to go door-knocking.
That didn't always go over very well -- a group of early-twenty-year-olds going around the neighbourhood having fun.  How could they?
So then I would "borrow" a child so that I could enjoy the door-knocking part of Hallowe'en.  Or I would tag along with a friend or sibling who had a child.
I just love witnessing the excitement the children exhibit as they see the goodies fill their bags.  It's not unlike the joy of sharing Christmas morning with a child -- another favourite experience of mine.
Of course, once my little chickadee came along, I had licence to go trick or treating again.
Every year, I would dress up to take my little chickadee door knocking.  I always made costumes for both of us; I don't think I ever bought a costume.  Eventually, we went out as mother and daughter witches -- we were very impressive, even if I do say so myself!
It was really fun to see the reaction at the doors as my daughter and I arrived and people would see me all dressed up too.  They always wanted to give me candy!  My little chickadee often got double treats because "her Mom had taken the time to dress up and she deserved some candy too."
Then my little chickadee got too old for me to take her out and I had to borrow my "other daughter" to go trick or treating.  Luckily, my girlfriend had a daughter the right age and we are "other mothers" to each other's children so I just took her daughter out (which got my girlfriend off the hook for that duty).  I dressed up too because of course, that's the whole point of Hallowe'en.  I would arrive at my girlfriend's home already in costume and get the poor child all worked up and excited and make her mother crazy!
Have I mentioned that I love Hallowe'en?
In 1989, my boss at the time knew that I always got dressed up and went door-knocking for Hallowe'en.  How could he not know? If the holiday fell on a weekday, I had to leave early because ... . He suggested that I should go "door knocking" throughout the building just to see if anyone figured out that it was me.
So I did.


My boss took this photo of me just before I left to collect goodies (the phones never stop in a busy MP's office).  It was fabulous fun going door-to-door -- just like when I was a kid.   But I was all grown up and I was at work and at each office everyone was trying to figure out who I was.  Not even my own sister, who also worked in the building at the time, knew that it was me behind the get-up!  Of course, MPs' offices are not normally canvassed at Hallowe'en time so I collected some very interesting goodies:  staplers; pencils; pens; erasers.  It was, after all, an office building! 
When I finished trick-or-treating, I went down to the in-house Day Care Centre that just happened to be in the basement of my building.  I had pre-arranged with the staff that I would arrive at Circle Time, in costume (they knew what the costume was), to distribute pre-approved treats to the children (boxed raisins that I had bought).  None of the children appeared frightened; they had all been prepared for a Hallowe'en surprise and when "Good Witch Grizelda" arrived, they were pumped! One little guy was jumping out of his skin wanting to help me distribute the treats!
A tradition was established and Good Witch Grizelda became a bit of a legend around the place.
Each year, I dressed up and went trick or treating throughout the building (by now, co-workers were catching on that it was me behind that outfit).  Some offices actually started having candy for me.  The children at the Day Care looked forward to their visit from Good Witch Grizelda as the older children briefed the younger ones.  And the Day Care staff never did find out who I was.
As I said, I loooooooove Hallowe'en.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My tummy tuck saga

Yesterday morning, I met with the anaesthesiologist to get his OK for my tummy tuck surgery.
Once he heard my history, he said he had to agree with my family doctor.  I should be admitted for 24-48 hours -- mine should not be done as day surgery.  And he didn't feel comfortable recommending that my surgery take place at the local community hospital.  He didn't feel that they were properly equipped to deal with an emergency at 2:00 am, should one arise.  (That doesn't say much about the level of health care for the residents of that community does it?)
He's going to send a note to my surgeon advising him of his recommendation that my procedure be done at a larger hospital.
When I got home, I called my surgeon's office and asked if he still operated out of the larger, city hospital.
He doesn't.
But I should wait until he receives the report from the anaesthesiologist to see what he recommends.
Obviously, he won't be doing my surgery.
Now, the choice is mine as to who will fulfil this dream for me.
I'm seeing my family doctor tomorrow morning to let her know about this development.  We'll also discuss whether she feels that our local community hospital isn't properly equipped to deal with my breathing issues.  (Our local community hospital is not the same as the one discussed above.)  If she feels comfortable recommending me to one of the two surgeons who perform this procedure at our local hospital, I think I might follow her advice and keep it local.  Then I can also be under her care while I'm in hospital following the surgery.

Monday, October 28, 2013

She made the top 5!

This is what will appear in the next issue of LOULOU Magazine, to be available at news stands in early November.


You can read the background to this story in an earlier blog entry.

While no "places" were formally awarded to the top five winners, I'll leave it to you to decide what the judges thought of my little chickadee's presentation.

But, in my not-so-humble opinion, she's kind of front and centre, don't you think?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

So glad it's Thursday

I don't know what's up with me lately.
But I am sooooooooooooo fatigued.
I had a rough night Monday so my Tuesday was extra difficult.  I had to go into the city for physio.  Had I not also had a haircut appointment and plans to overnight at my little chickadee's place, I probably would have cancelled physio because I was simply not up to making the round trip.  But since I was only going one way I opted to go against John's objections.
Seeing my striking young man and his parents is always a bonus so it made the trip worth it.
Wednesday morning MSYM and I did our breakfast routine before I came home.  Where I basically just sat around trying to recover strength that never really came.  I even napped yesterday afternoon.
Today I feel like I've been beaten up by a dozen thugs, in spite of having slept five hours then two hours more.
I'm sure it's just a blip on my radar and this too will pass.
Eventually.
Fortunately, today is Thursday and my massage therapist will arrive at my door at 1:00 pm to work out all my kinks.
It will feel oooooooohhhhhhh soooooooo goooooooood.
... and always put on your earrings!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

There ought to be a law

Earlier this week, I finally managed to receive a copy of my medical file from my former family doctor.  (He retired late last year and I had been trying to secure my file for quite some time.)
The file made very interesting reading indeed.
For instance, the fluctuations in my weight over the years really blew my mind.  And the sudden increases, to me, should have signalled concern on my doctor's part.  The only notation I found -- and it really surprised me because never once in all our years of association did he use the term with me -- was back in 1987 when he indicated that he was treating me for "obesity."
Really?  Me, obese?
That really does speak to how one remains in one's 25-year-old body forever after!  (I was 37 years old back in 1987 and while I will admit to having had additional pounds on me at various times over the years, never would I have used the term obese to describe me.  *Sigh*)
Anyway, that's not the point of this blog.
What really caught my attention was a report from the rheumatologist that I had been sent to back in 2009.  He's the one who suggested I try Cesamet for my hip pain.  That was a bad experiment if ever there was one.  Read about my Cesamet withdrawal here.
In his report to my doctor he wondered if sleep apnea wasn't a contributing factor to my problems and recommended that a sleep study be performed.
That was in 2009.  My doctor never acted on that recommendation.
Yet in 2011, when I raised the question of sleep apnea, I had to fight with him to order a sleep study.
Its findings?
I have upper airway resistance syndrome, which in effect causes obstructive sleep apnea if I sleep on my back.
Now, although I haven't been using my CPAP machine since January of this year (couldn't reconcile the dry mouth issue) I do have to start using it again.  My new family doctor has recommended that I find a way to get used to it again because when I have the tummy tuck, I won't be able to sleep on my side for several weeks.
But, my point is that my doctor did not pursue a sleep study when it was recommended that he do so back in 2009.  And he resisted my request for a study when I raised the topic in 2011.
So there ought to be a law:  When a specialist writes a report to a doctor after having seen a referred patient, that patient should receive a copy of that report.
Automatically.  Without having to ask for it. 
One cannot advocate for one's health if one does not have all the facts.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Last day of my alone time

Day seven, last day, of my alone time.
John called yesterday to let me know that he will be back earlier than he had anticipated.  His son, who joined him on Thursday evening, wants to be home on time for dinner because his wife has something special planned.
Hmmmmmm.  Was that a hint?
He said not but I'll surprise him anyway.
Truth is, I have really truly enjoyed this time alone.
I have undertaken a different project around here each day of my alone time (have to pace myself you know).
One day, I tackled the front porch, approach to the house, and steps up to the garage.  Cleaned all the leaves away.  It's stayed remarkably clear too.
On another day, I cleared the deck of its collection of leaves.  It too has stayed remarkably clear.
Yet another day, I took on the cement pad that I call the "courtyard" -- the area between the deck and my sanctuary.  Now that was a challenge.  Besides the abundance of leaves that needed to be removed, there was the horrific collection of sunflower seed shells beneath the ledge on which we feed the birds from the kitchen window.  It took considerable muscle power to work that mess out of concrete!  That area too has stayed remarkably clear since it was cleaned.
Fortunately, most of the leaves have fallen from the trees so there are no new ones to be added.  And we haven't had much wind in the past week to help blow the leaves back from whence I've removed them.  But when the wind comes, my work will have been for naught.
In the interim, I'll enjoy the fruits of my labour while I can.
Of course, other days have been occupied with routine household chores:  laundry, baking, cooking, grocery shopping, and the like.  One still has to do those sorts of things, even when one is enjoying one's alone time.
I've maintained my "diet" regime in John's absence.  In fact, I've stuck to it better than I'm able to when he's around because I've eaten only what I want, without his food preferences influencing the meal choices.  I've also stuck to my workout routine, determined to lose the next ten pounds (my body doesn't seem to want to give them up though).
John's surprise?
When he arrives this afternoon, I'll tell him how much I missed him -- and I'll say it like I mean it.  (I will have dinner in the making.)
But now, I must go clean up from all these wild parties I've been having!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My annual "alone time" has begun

John left yesterday morning for his annual bird hunting trip up the valley.  He'll be gone until next Monday, giving me six glorious days of alone time.
I love my husband.
But I also treasure time alone.
Always have.
And I guess I always will.
As a very young child, I can recall hating the constant hum of activity that came from being the member of a large family.  I just so wanted quiet.  Perhaps noise has always bothered me.
I spend my time here alone, with no radio blaring.
No television playing, unless I choose to watch something, of course.
Just the hum of the computer (and the ever-present hissing of tinnitus!).
If I leave this room to sit in the living room, there won't even be that noise to intrude -- then there will only be the constant din in my ear from the tinnitus!  That's when I'll turn on the television and set the volume just low enough so as not to be really heard by me, but loud enough to suppress the constant hissing in my ears.
The cleaning lady will be here soon and will break the silence for two hours.
But when she leaves, the house will be sparkling.
And it will remain that way until Monday.
That's when my alone time will come to an end.
The days between now and then will pass all too quickly, although I have nothing in particular planned for the time.
Other than just being alone.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Here we wait again

My visit with the tummy tuck doctor went very well.  (He's such a nice man!)
Once we reacquainted ourselves with the situation, and established that this time I was really ready to go ahead with the procedure, we got down to brass tacks.
He again went through the detailed description of exactly what the procedure entails (complete with graphics).
He examined me to reconfirm that I am a candidate for the procedure, and that I don't need muscle repair (I don't).  He assured me that precisely what I want rid of will be gone, gone, gone.
Then he dropped the bombshell.
He won't agree to do the surgery until the anaesthesiologist has met with me and gives the green light.  Because of my "issues" he just wants to be sure that everyone's on board.  His office will initiate that appointment for me and once I've been cleared, we will proceed with the planning stages (pay the 10% deposit, book the surgery date etc).
So, wait I will.
He estimates that I just might garner an early December surgery date.

Monday, September 30, 2013

This is it!

My resolve remains strong.
I will see the plastic surgeon at 1:00 pm today.
I will sign on the dotted line.
I will pay the 10% booking fee deposit.
We will most likely arrange the surgery date.
I will pay the surgical fee in full two weeks prior to the surgery date.
And the next time I see the surgeon will be outside the operating room at the hospital.
Ooh-la-la.
It's going to happen.
Probably very quickly too because I live within fifteen minutes of the hospital and can take pretty much whatever date he offers me.
Here we go ...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yikes, I'm gonna do it!

I booked my appointment to consult (again) with the tummy tuck doctor.
Next Monday -- September 30th -- at 1:00 pm.
Yup.
I'm actually gonna do it.
Mine's a tad more unsightly than the photo depicted above but I'm essentially going to go from the photo on the left to the one on the right.  (Or close to it anyway; this model was a much younger person than I!)
Finally, after 30+ years, I'll be rid of this horrid "apron" as it's known in the business.
Yikes!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My next surgery is wait listed

It's official.
I am now wait listed for right total hip arthroplasty.
I didn't actually see my surgeon yesterday.  He had been called away to a family emergency (a possible car accident?) so a resident took his calls.  Our visit was most informative indeed!
Once we established that there was a need for the surgery, we discussed some of my issues.
I want anterior approach.  Done.
I want the bursa to be removed.  There ensued a most interesting discussion indeed.  Apparently, they can't get at the bursa using the anterior approach.  Now that's confusing -- my surgeon had told me that he "incises through but does not excise" the bursa when I asked about what he had done on the left side.  How could that be if it can't be accessed by the anterior approach?  I can see now that he must have been referring to those patients on whom he used the posterior approach.  When we were talking, he "forgot" that I had requested the anterior.  (Apparently, he only uses the anterior approach in select circumstances.)
The resident told me that I need to discuss that matter further with the surgeon.  He actually took the time to examine the mysterious lump I still have on my left side and he agreed that it is very curious indeed.
Anyway, back to the right hip.  He agreed with my concerns about fibromyalgia and the likely wisdom of using the anterior approach to hopefully avoid further problems in the trochanter area in the future.  BUT, if I truly want the bursa removed, I need to discuss the options with my surgeon.
So, I signed the consent forms which put my name on the waiting list for the surgery.  He advised me to make sure to book an appointment to see the surgeon before the surgery date to discuss the bursa / anterior approach issue.
And he told me to keep my November appointment to see the surgeon, which is a follow-up for the left hip.  It will give me an opportunity to raise some of these questions with the surgeon.
Oh, and he sees no issue about the timing of a tummy tuck in relation to the hip replacement.  The choice is mine.  We agreed that I may as well then go ahead and book that tuck now because it could be over and done with before this next hip surgery is likely to happen.
I will call the tummy tuck doctor this morning to make that initial consultation appointment.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I'm Shrinking!

My weight loss efforts seem to be working.
My waist is five inches smaller than it was back in April.
My hips are three inches smaller.
My neck is only one inch smaller.
Not sure how that works, but obviously one can't lose five inches off one's neck -- there might be nothing left of it!
In the scheme of things, I guess the shrinking is proportional.  But what do I know?
The interesting thing is, I don't look at me and see a much smaller person than I was.  I know that I'm smaller because the scale tells me I must be.  (I still have some to lose but I have reached my first goal.)
Truth be known, as long as I have this damned excess tummy that I have carried around for the past 35 years, it won't matter how much weight I lose.  I'm simply not going to be happy with how I look.
Which is a perfect segue into my being conflicted about this whole tummy tuck issue.  I mean, I want to have it.
Desperately.
But I'm deathly afraid of surgery.
And to line up for an elective surgery that clearly is not necessary -- it's simply something I've wanted for a very long time -- seems kind of silly to me.  Especially when I have a required surgery waiting in the wings.
Counter intuitive, if you will.
One doesn't and shouldn't necessarily always get what one wants in life.  And just because I've wanted this for so long is perhaps not enough justification to go ahead with it.
My family doctor suggested that if I really want to have a tummy tuck, perhaps it should be done and I should be completed healed and recovered from it before the next hip replacement surgery.  She was thinking in terms of infection risk.  She told me that I should discuss the timing of the two surgeries with both surgeons.
Well, on Tuesday of next week I'll be seeing the orthopaedic surgeon and will raise the topic with him.  (He'll probably think I'm nuts but perhaps he already thinks that?)
Once I've seen ortho guy, I'll book an appointment with tummy tuck guy and see what he has to say. In any event, I'll not allow the tummy tuck to happen before February 2014 because I'll want to wait until at least two years since the previous hip replacement.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I am a redhead

The other day, my little chickadee sent me a link to a most intriguing news article.
As I read it, I started to understand why I have had so much difficulty with anaesthesia over the years.
This could explain why I woke up during my hip replacement surgery.
I've also wakened during previous episodes of anaesthesia but the doctors and attending nurses insisted that I had not.  (I knew that I had!)
Obviously, it was only because I was talking about it coming out of the hip surgery that the anaesthesiologist was called in to discuss the matter with me -- so she had to admit to me that I had in fact wakened.  They're not used to patients remembering such incidents.
But remember I did.
And remember I do.
One does not forget traumatic encounters in one's life.
So now I can apparently blame the colour of my hair for this phenomenon.
And I can alert the anaesthesiologist for future surgeries that I WILL need more of that juice than a brunette or a blonde might need.
Doesn't matter that my hair is now grey.
It used to be red!


See?  Just 'cuz I'm old and grey now doesn't change the fact that I AM A REDHEAD.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Celebrex experiment is over

I broke down last Wednesday and saw my doctor again.
Just couldn't take it any longer!
She took one look at me and didn't even wait for the question to be completed.  (I was telling her that I was hoping she would agree to my stopping the Celebrex.)
"Yes, definitely," she said.  "It obviously isn't working for you."
She said she would have to come up with something else to address my pain.  I told her I wasn't willing to try anything else until I recovered from what this poison had been doing.
I was with her for less than two minutes.  Even her staff was surprised to see me exit so soon after going in.
So that evening, I didn't take the 200 mg capsule.
And the next morning, I woke without the pounding headache that had been plaguing me for the previous weeks.  (That headache had worsened when we doubled the dosage.)
It took a couple of days before the residual headache totally disappeared but I clearly felt much better off the drug than I had been while on it.
And by Friday, two days off it, I could honestly say that Celebrex was definitely having a negative impact on my life.
The generalized all-over malaise had lifted.  I no longer felt like I was in a mini fibro flare-up.  Like I'd been beaten up by several thugs.  For some reason, the Celebrex had clearly added to my inflammation rather than reduced it.
Now, I'm back to my normal level of isolated arthritic pains.
And frankly, in comparison to how I felt while taking Celebrex, this is heaven!  I might be able to move mountains.
If my  hands didn't hurt so much!

Monday, September 9, 2013

I don't know about this

Today marks week three of Celebrex treatment -- five days at the double dose -- and still no benefit is being felt.
In fact, the headaches continue, although not as severe.  Does that mean there's hope yet?
The leg cramps seem to have disappeared though.  That's a good sign, to be sure.
But  I tell you -- I am in a fog and filled with all-over body aches as though I'm in a fibro flare-up.  Can't describe it any other way.
Yesterday, I felt like I had been beaten up by a dozen thugs.  Was not pretty.  I slept the afternoon away again too.
I'm still managing my 20 minutes on the treadmill, but can't do my weight regime.  My elbows and shoulders are simply too sore to endure that workout.
So the question remains:  Just when should I start feeling better?
I have a friend who has used Celebrex in the past and she said that whenever she went on it, she felt better within 24 hours.
Go figure!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Celebrex Update

I saw my family doctor yesterday and presented her with the problems I've been having since I started taking Celebrex.
She was surprised to say the least.  Even suggested that perhaps something else was going on to cause the issues.
Eventually (and it really didn't take long), I convinced her that since all the issues had an onset with the introduction of Celebrex, I felt it was safe to blame the drug.  I'm familiar enough with my body and my medical history to be very confident of that.
When I suggested breaking out the dose to two 100 mg capsules a day instead of the one 200 mg capsule, she instead felt that I should take two 200 mg capsules a day.  That's the maximum dose of the drug and it's not unreasonable to expect that that is what I need to be taking.
So, we agreed that I would try the higher dosing.  
We also agreed that if the headaches, poor sleeping pattern and increased leg cramps continued, I would stop taking the drug altogether and call it a failed experiment.
But we are both hopeful that the newer dose, providing me with a continuous level of the drug, will give the drug a chance to get the inflammation under control and eventually I'll begin to feel its benefits.
Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My beautiful daughter (again!)

My little chickadee recently won a make-over at a local hairdressing salon as part of a national competition for hairstylists.
She quite enjoyed the experience of meeting with the stylist, discussing treatments that would/could be done on her unruly hair, and what the end result would be.
The whole thing happened on a rather tight time-line and culminated in a final styling (with many changes of plan along the way), a make-up session and the photo-shoot.  There were hundreds of photos taken, several of which highlight her natural beauty.
This is the photo that the stylist chose to submit.
If the stylist wins the contest, Natalie's photo will be featured in a future edition of the magazine "Loulou," (Canada's shopping and styling guide).
Of course, I haven't seen the other entries, but (in my humble opinion) how could any of them top this one?

Monday, September 2, 2013

How long does it take?

Today marks two weeks that I've been taking Celebrex.
Still no "benefit" being felt on this end.
Shoulders are still terribly painful if I raise my arms above my head for more than 30 seconds. They also hurt way too much with chopping and stirring motion.
Hips are still a problem after walking a mere ten minutes.
My hands are swollen and sore every morning, almost more so than they were before I started taking the damned drug.
And now I can add to the mix a marked increase in my leg cramps.  Oh such fun!
Last week I saw that first allergist (the one who wouldn't try the aspirin desensitization in his office so he referred me to the second guy who put me on the Celebrex).  Turns out it's a good thing the first guy wanted to see me again.  He was astounded on hearing my report.  I'm not desensitized to aspirin, as was requested.  I can now safely take the Cox-2 family of anti-inflammatories (of which Celebrex is one).  But I absolutely cannot take aspirin or other anti-inflammatories any more than I could before.  Since the second guy achieved what my doctor wanted (to allow me to take Celebrex for my arthritis), we decided to leave things as they are and not pursue further desensitization.
My family doctor said it could take up to two weeks before the benefit is felt.
The allergist (the first one) said it could take from four to eight weeks! (The second allergist didn't offer a timeline.)
On-line reports give a range of immediate relief (it's often used post-surgery) to two weeks.  
So when exactly might I start to see some benefit from this treatment, I wonder?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's my baby's birthday!

Today marks my little chickadee's 38th birthday.   (Yes, I'm allowed to admit that I have a 38 year old daughter, although I myself am still only 29!)
My daughter entered the world at 1:16 pm on this date back in 1975, and what a terrific addition to this world she has proven to be.
She has grown to be a marvelous young woman of whom I am extremely proud.
She is a terrific daughter and a truly fabulous mother.
But most of all, my daughter has become a wonderful friend.
She was an early talker, and has been bending my ear non-stop ever since.  In her early years, I can remember wishing she had never learned to talk, she did so much of it!  Now, I look forward to her daily telephone calls, and miss the days that we can't fit one in. One would think we'd run out of things to talk about but somehow, that never seems to happen.
She grew from an adorable toddler ...

... blossomed into a truly stunning young lady ...


... and matured into a beautiful woman, inside and out.

I'm so proud to call her my daughter.
Happy birthday Natalie, my beautiful one! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Cryogenic Surgery

Last Friday, John had an appointment with our dermatologist for his six-month full body check-up.  (I only need an annual check-up because I'm "boring" as they say in the business -- which is a good thing.)
Once he was finished and had received a clean bill of health -- he's to have another once-over in six months and if that too is clear he will also be moved to annual check-ups -- I asked the doctor to take a look at a spot on my arm that was causing me some concern.
I had originally thought it was a mosquito bite but it didn't go away.
She took a look and at first glance she said it was nothing.
Until I explained that every so often, it would be bleeding when I got out of the shower.
"Oops, shades of that spot on my nose," I thought.
So she took a closer look and decided to zap it with her handy dandy freezing tool. ("Cryogenic surgery" it's called.)
She had just used it on two spots on John, and she said it's her "go-to" answer for everything.  If she's not sure, she freezes it.
She didn't give us any special instructions or tell us what to expect as a result of having had this procedure done.  (John has had it done numerous times in the past, both by his family doctor and by our dermatologist.)
Fast forward to Sunday, and this is what my arm is sporting:
Now this is located right in the fold of my arm in line with my elbow.
Never has John had this kind of a response.  I don't know what to think of this development.
Fortunately, it finally broke late yesterday afternoon (a few hours after the above photo was taken).  I can only assume that it broke from its own internal pressure.
I have no idea if this is a "normal" response to cryogenic treatment, but we're going to take a copy of the photo to our next visit with the doctor.
Just in case she has difficulty believing what we will be trying to tell her.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Aspirin Desensitization Experiment

So I saw the allergist last Monday morning.
Most interesting visit.
His office was jam-packed when I arrived for my 9:00 am appointment.  I thought it might be hours before I got in to see him.
By 9:05 am I was sitting in the inner examination room, talking with the good doctor.
Unbelievable!
While the office was full of patients, (and noisy as hell!), it is obviously run very efficiently.
Anyway, the doctor took my history and asked if I had time to do the desensitization that morning.
I had the time but I must admit I was a bit taken aback by the approach.  So different from the first allergist I had seen.  He also explained that he would use the drug Celebrex because that's the safest one for this purpose.
He's the doctor!
He sent me off to be instructed on the use of a Peak Flow Meter, and the EpiPen (just in case!).  Once I was armed with both, I was back in the room with the doctor and he gave me a quarter dose of Celebrex and sent me back to the waiting room.
Fifteen minutes later he called me back and had me check my lung function.
Still good.  
He gave me a half dose of Celebrex and again sent me back to the waiting room.
Another fifteen minutes later he called me back to again check my lung function.
Still good.
I reported to him that I was feeling light-headed and slightly disoriented (which is my usual response to Aspirin, along with vomiting).  He wasn't concerned about that -- his concern was my breathing.  So I sucked it up and decided that he could concern himself with my breathing but if the disorientation continued or worsened with use of the drug, I would terminate the experiment.  Regardless to what his concerns might be.
This time he gave me the full dose of Celebrex and returned me to the waiting room.
After another fifteen minute wait, I was called back into the inner sanctum where my lung function was again found to be good.
He wrote a prescription for Celebrex, which I am to take daily.  I am to monitor my lung function morning and evening.  If it drops below a certain level, I am to call his office.  If I go into anaphylaxis I am to use the EpiPen and go straight to the hospital.  See him again in one or two months.  (I opted for two months, not wanting to subject myself to his zoo-like atmosphere waiting room any time sooner than I have to.) 
I drove home, arriving much later than I had anticipated, had lunch and called my physiotherapist's office to cancel my appointment for the next day.  I knew there was no way I could face the round trip to the city again after the morning I had just put in.  Then I promptly crashed for the rest of the afternoon.
The next day I again crashed all afternoon.  Very unlike me.  And that evening, I battled nausea to the point where I wondered if I should prepare a bucket beside the bed.  "Just in case."
On Wednesday again I slept all afternoon and battled nausea in the evening, although it was slightly lessened from the evening before.
On Thursday, I saw my family doctor and she urged me to stick with it.  It sounded like the effects were lessening and hopefully the benefits would kick in soon.  (I wasn't yet feeling any benefit from the drug.)
By Friday I was feeling almost normal.  We were out most of the day so I obviously didn't sleep all afternoon, but I didn't feel any compelling need to sleep either.  I did however, experience horrid nausea that evening.  In fact, it was worse that any of the previous episodes.
Yesterday, I again didn't sleep through the day so I guess that effect has run its course.  And there was no nausea last night so perhaps that's the end of the ill effects.
I'm still waiting for the benefits.  I'll know when that happens when I can raise my arms above my head without pain (shampooing my hair, blow drying my hair, using the curling brush -- basically "getting beautiful").
Bottom line:  I guess I am now among the many who take Celebrex for their arthritis.  That makes my doctor really really happy.  I will join her in her elation when the benefits become obvious.