Sunday, July 27, 2014

My beautiful Suzanne

My heart is heavy.
My beautiful Suzanne left us on Thursday evening.
She and John had marked their fifth wedding anniversary a week earlier.

Suzanne was in our lives for far too short a time, but it seems like she had been with us much longer, such a perfect fit was she in our family.
I will miss her terribly.

Marie Marguerite Suzanne Ally Fowler
25 Oct 1949 - 24 July 2014
Mother of two; Grandmother of four
Loved by many

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A new era of hearing for me

I'm getting my new hearing aids today.
Digital ones.
The technology has come so far in the six years since I started wearing bilateral aids.
Along with these new fangled ones (which will look much like my old ones), I am getting a streamer/remote which I will wear around my neck.  

"Streamer Pro is the gateway to the ConnectLine system and is worn around the neck. When hearing aids are linked to Streamer Pro, practically any audio source can be transmitted through Streamer Pro to the hearing aids using a wireless Bluetooth connection or a mini jack cable."  With it I will be able to connect via bluetooth with my cell phone, should I choose to do so.  That will enable me to answer my cellphone with the touch of a button, without digging the phone out of my purse!
But the more exciting news about this acquisition is the microphone accessory that I ordered.  "The discreet microphone is worn by your conversation partner and connects wirelessly to Streamer Pro, allowing you to hear the other person’s voice clear and loud directly through your hearing aid.  ConnectLine microphone picks up your partner’s voice, filters out surrounding noise and transmits wirelessly, directly to the Streamer at a distance of up to 15 meters."
The applications are many for my use of the microphone.
When I meet a friend for lunch at a restaurant, my dining partner can wear the microphone and it won't matter how noisy the blasted place is.  I'll be able to have a conversation!
And in the car, for instance, MHYC can wear the microphone and I just might be able to hear him when he talks to me from the back seat.  Or, MLC (or my husband or whoever it is sitting beside me) can wear the microphone and maybe -- just maybe -- I won't have to constantly ask them to repeat themselves.
Imagine the reduced frustration level on everyone's part!
The audiologist tells me that I can also place the microphone in front of the television speakers and voila -- sound directly to my ears.  Not necessary to have the volume as high.  (Well, OK, in our household my husband might want to hear the program too!)  But it will certainly be a nice change when I'm overnighting at MLC's!  She won't have to constantly be telling me what is being muttered during whatever program we're watching. What a treat that will be!
Can you tell I'm looking forward to this new era of hearing?

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's called "Dermatochalasis"

Today, I received a copy of the letter my opthalmologist sent to my plastic surgeon asking him to undertake my case for blepharoplasty.
Apparently, the condition is known as dermatochalasis, which is defined as "sagging of the eyelid skin and underlying muscle that occurs commonly during the aging process.  Symptoms may be absent or include brow ache, reduction of superior peripheral vision, sensation of the lid skin resting on the eyelashes, and interference of vision by the eyelashes.  Forward displacement of orbital fat may exacerbate this condition.  Treatment is predominantly surgical."  The surgical treatment is called blepharoplasty.
Here are photos of my eyes, clearly showing the "sagging eyelids."


As the letter states, "She is noticing some heaviness in her lids and also some neck and upper back strain as she lifts her head for viewing."
Ya think?
Anyway, when I received the September 22nd date for my hip replacement surgery (arthroplasty), I called the plastic surgeon's office to get a timeline on the blepharoplasty procedure.
Apparently, OHIP approval takes two to three months and that application was only sent on June 20th.  So I might not hear from the plastic surgeon again until mid-September.
Obviously, the blepharoplasty will have to take second priority to the arthroplasty since it is clearly more pressing that my hip get fixed than my eyes.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Surgery Date

Got a call from my orthopedic surgeon's office on Thursday.
I am scheduled to have my right hip replaced on Monday, September 22nd.
Yikes, that's only two months away!
Am I nervous?
You bet I am.
But I'm not nearly as nervous this time as I was last.
I now have the experience of the left hip under my belt so I know full well what to expect.  (OK, rehab won't be fun but it will be so worth it at the other end of the journey!).
The first surgery was done under spinal anesthesia and used propofol to "put me under."  It is assumed that I experienced an apnea event and that is what woke me.  They had to resort to general anesthesia from that point on (about five minutes into the surgery) so I'm thinking they may as well use it right from the get go.  I really would prefer not to wake up again!
I also have the experience of my tummy tuck behind me so I know I can tolerate general anesthesia as long as the required protocols are followed.  (And the tummy tuck surgery was twice as long as the hip replacement surgery.)
I will request general anesthesia for this surgery and can cover that territory when I meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery.  As I said, I really don't want to wake up during the surgery!
I've reviewed my file from the first surgery and confirmed that I have been doing a version of the pre-surgery exercises while waiting for this call.  Now, I will more formally follow the protocol for readying myself for the surgery.
And the next two months are gonna fly by as I attend to various and sundry chores to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible around here during my down time.  Things went relatively well last time so we don't anticipate too many problems -- other than my absolute boredom with not being able to be active.
But I did it once and lived to talk about, so I'm sure I can do it again.
Two months you say?
YIKES!!!!!!!!!!  I better get crackin'!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Too close for comfort

A while back, our suet feeder mysteriously disappeared and we suspected that a bear had absconded with it.  Had no definitive proof mind you, although there was some bear poop in the vicinity so I guess we had circumstantial evidence.
This morning, the new suet feeder disappeared.  I had put it out, newly refilled, at about 6:30 am.  Some time around 10:30 am I noticed that it wasn't there.  And the birds didn't seem to be able to find it on the ground so I suspected that it hadn't simply been knocked off the hook by a squirrel.
John went out to look and it was nowhere to be found.
He meandered back through the woods to see if he could find anything and decided that it must have been a raccoon.
At that time of day?  I don't think so.
Not ten minutes later, what does he see out the bathroom window?
A bear, making his way back to find more suet.  He came directly to the suet location, and foraged around long enough for me to take numerous photos of him.
This photo was taken out the window of my sanctuary.  Way too close for comfort if you ask me.
You can be sure there won't be a replacement suet feeder going up until this guy is disposed of, however we're going to manage that.  John has put in a call to our local trapper guy.
Poor birds.
First they have to fend off all the chipmunks and squirrels for their goodies, and now they have to wait out a bear.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My new best friend

Our new neighbours (OK, they've been here almost a year now) are a delightful young couple.
They had their first baby this past April.
And she has become the newest love of my life.
I quickly taught her that she loves to have her temple massaged when she's going to sleep (but apparently only by me!).  She comes to me and just curls up and relaxes and off she goes.
Last week, her Mom had stuff to do so she left the baby with me for a while.  When I texted MLC to say that I was "babysitting" she responded, "As the cool kids say, it didn't happen without a pic."  
So I took my first selfie with the baby and sent the photo to MLC.  (I also sent it to the baby's Mom.)

Yesterday, the family was spending a rare weekend at home (they are cottagers) so I invited them to join us for burgers on the BBQ.  We had a delightful visit.
And of course the baby spent most of their visit in my arms.  Sleeping.
But when she wasn't sleeping, she was just being cute!
Because cute is what three-month-olds do best!  That, and capturing your heart.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Another surgery in my future

I had my final follow-up visit with the tummy-tuck doctor yesterday.  He was as pleased as I with the results.  My recovery is coming along right on schedule.  In fact, he commented that my scar is remarkably well healed for this stage in the process.  (That's me.  Fast recovery.  Fast heal.  What can I say?)
Anyway, I asked him if he had yet received the referral from my eye doctor for my eyelid repair.
Turns out he not only had already received it.  He had acted upon it.  He was so impressed with her "compelling argument" for the need for the work, that he included her letter in the application for OHIP approval.  That was done on June 20th.  (While blepharoplasty is often lumped with other cosmetic surgeries and therefore paid by the patient, sometimes it is necessary, as in my case when the overhang interferes with vision and also causes neck pain.  In those cases, OHIP picks up the tab.  *Phew*)
He said that it usually takes two to three weeks for OHIP approval to come through so he expects to hear from them any time now.  Once that arrives, his office will be in touch with me to set up an appointment for me to see him again.
But we've pretty well already discussed the procedure and how we'll approach it.  Normally he prefers to use general anesthesia, although it can be done with local.  I reminded him of my issues with anesthetic and my need to stay overnight (for what would normally be day surgery) and my Apnea etc.  So we both agreed that local it will be.  Of course that means that I will be hearing what's going on but so be it. Lesser of two evils.  (Just as long as I don't hear, "Oops.  That wasn't supposed to happen!")
The procedure is called Upper Lid Blepharoplasty and it is essentially a "tummy tuck" of the eyelids.
Here are photos of before and after blepharoplasty surgery:
My lids are, I think, a little more "drooped" than what is shown in the photo above (especially my right eye), but you get the idea.  If the results are anything like what is depicted in the photo below, I'll be quite happy.
I've been so many years with droopy eyelids, perhaps people won't recognize me after the procedure.
In any event, I expect that this will happen before the summer is out.