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.
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.