Friday, January 30, 2015

My "Hot Chocolate" date

On Monday, my neighbour brought over some zucchini cake to have with hot chocolate.
Have I mentioned that she has the cutest daughter ever?
My soon-to-be-ten-months-old buddy sat with me while I had my hot chocolate.
Her Mom gave me permission to share.

"What did you think of that?"

"Let's try that again, just to be sure."

"Oh yeh, I think she likes it!"

"More, please!"

"Why did you stop?"
"Well, Mom said that's enough."

"Really Mom?  But it's soooooo good!"

That was a very fun day indeed.
She is such a sweetheart, and a delight to have for a neighbour!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

John's "new" dog

My neighbour has become a very good friend.  We regularly visit back and forth and very much enjoy each other's company.
Toop, John's dog, has been living in the house for the winter.  She's getting on in years and John feels that she doesn't cope with the cold quite as well as she used to, although her kennel is heated.  He always did bring her in when the temperature dipped below -20 but this year he decided she should stay in regardless.
She is restricted to the downstairs level -- John's studio, his workshop (where her sleeping quarters are).  She is NOT allowed upstairs in our living quarters.  She stinks like a dog big time, and I'll not have that odour permeating my living area.  Not to mention the dog hair that she sheds all over the place.  Bad enough the downstairs now stinks like dog and is covered with her hair!
Anyway, last Friday, my neighbour came over to give Toop a bath.  She was soooo co-operative it was amazing.  For a dog to be experiencing such a thing for the first time in her life (she's seven years old) and not panic was truly something to witness.  She allowed herself to be shampoo'd twice, conditioned and rinsed.  Then she was blow dried and brushed and had tufts of hair cut off.  She no longer "stinks like a dog."
She will be given a bath once a month.  Crazy neighbour lady!
Neighbour is on a campaign to convince me that I should put a doggie bed on the floor by the chimney, right beside the dining table, and let Toop live there.
Not gonna happen! 
On Saturday, my little chickadee and family came for a visit.  Toop decided that Natalie was her new best friend.  (Especially since Natalie brought her upstairs to visit with the visitors -- that was a special treat indeed.)
Natalie agrees with neighbour that a doggie bed for Toop would be nice, right in the spot suggested.
Not gonna happen!
Suddenly I got an e-mail from a very good friend who was "voting" with neighbour.
My response: "What part of 'not gonna happen' do you girls not understand?"
Her reply?  "What part of 'majority rules' do you not understand?
Fortunately, John still understands that if dog moves upstairs, Bonnie moves out.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My two anniversaries

This is my anniversary sandwich day.
Yesterday, the 23rd, was the 9th anniversary of Stephen Harper's government.
That means it was the 9th anniversary of my having officially retired.
Tomorrow, the 25th, will be our 18th wedding anniversary (John's and mine, not Harper's and mine).
That makes today the sandwich day.
The day between my two anniversaries.
And I have now been retired for half as many years as I will be married (tomorrow).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oops, sorry.

Please, please, please forgive me.
I'm not doing a very good job of keeping my resolution to post more frequently.
Both John and I have been quite ill with this bronchitis infection.  We've just come off the antibiotics and we are, admittedly, feeling much better.
The coughing has let up considerably.  Not gone altogether but it is much better than it was.
I'm still struggling with the asthma, which I guess will take a while longer to resolve itself.  That's just the nature of the beast.
John is quite depleted from the experience.  He's never been as sick with anything as he was with this.  His energy level is still quite low so he's still sleeping a lot.
But we'll get there -- eventually.
On a brighter note, since we are now off the antibiotic ...
Finally, I can have a glass of wine this evening.  Hallelujah!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My true ailment

It might be asthma, but it's also bronchitis.
After seeing that nurse practitioner last Friday, I didn't improve any over the weekend.
On Monday, I had my routine appointment with my ENT specialist to "vacuum" my ears.  Of course, the treatment sent me into spasms of coughing.  Soon as he heard me, he commented about my bronchitis not helping with my ear issue (he found fluid buildup behind the eardrum).
I told him about the earlier diagnosis of asthma and he urged me to see my family doctor because my cough was bronchial, if not pneumonia.  He's not a "lung guy," but he knows coughs.  Asthma produces a dry cough and dry mine was not.
Yesterday, I saw my family doctor.
Explained the past week of medical back and forthing that I've been though. On Friday I was diagnosed with asthma. On Monday I'm told it's bronchitis. Same cough.  Two different health care providers.
She examined me and said, "Both are right.  It's asthma and bronchitis.  One can't get better until we treat the other."
A week of antibiotics (and continued increased use of my puffers) should do the trick.
We hope.
In the meantime, I can't have any wine for seven days.
Woe is me!!!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My illness identified

Well, turns out that I've been suffering with asthma all this time.  Actually, I'm still suffering with it.
Broke down and sought medical treatment again yesterday because I was clearly getting worse.  It being Friday, my family physician is not in but I saw a Nurse Practitioner who was both personable and knowledgeable.
She thoroughly examined me and ruled out pneumonia or any presence of infection at this point.
Then the discussion turned to asthma.
She asked how often I have to use my rescue inhaler and I explained that I don't often use it.  My asthma is cold-air induced.  And as I said that, a little light bulb went on.  This whole mess started last Sunday -- the day I cleared a path in the snow on the deck so I could get to the bird feeders to fill them.
Hmmmmmmmm.  You think?  (The last time I cleared snow to get to the bird feeders -- several years ago now -- I ended up at emergency, so serious was the asthma attack!)
So we talked about that for a while.
But I was there because it had gotten so much worse on Tuesday night.  The coughing just became so severe that I was up most of that night and the next.
As she was telling me what she wanted me to do to manage the symptoms, one of her suggestions was to apply Vicks to my chest at bedtime.  Might help give me some relief.
That's when the next light bulb went on.  John had convinced me to use Vicks on Tuesday night and I had suggested to him the next morning that I was sure it made me worse because I hadn't been coughing that badly before I used it.
"Stay away from the Vicks then," she said.  "It can cause an asthmatic response in some people."
Who knew?
So, my instructions, for the next two weeks at least, are:
  • use my sinus rinse three times a day
  • increase my puffer from two times a day to three times a day
  • use a nasal spray twice a day (new prescription)
  • use a humidifier in the bedroom (I was already doing that)
  • sleep in an upright position (such a comfortable way to sleep!)
If I'm not seeing an improvement by Monday, I'm to go back to see her.

As an interesting aside here, I am now the proud owner of a Fitbit Flex.  It tracks my sleep pattern.
Prior to Sunday (when I moved that snow), I was waking up two-three times a night.
On Sunday night I was awake 11 times.
But then on Tuesday, the night I used the Vicks, I was awake 15 times.
On Wednesday and Thursday, 16 and 14 times respectively.
But last night, I broke the bank.  After using all the above methods of treatment (but not three times, mind you) to help get this under control, I awoke 24 times!  At one point, I was coughing so badly, John was pounding on my arm telling me to wake up and go rinse my sinuses or do something!  But please stop the coughing!  So the very uncomfortable upright sleeping position did little to alleviate the coughing.
Today is another day and I will be able to implement her suggestions to the full complement.
Let's hope tonight is a better night.  (Tonight, my rescue inhaler will be on the bedside table, at the ready.  Enough already!)
John needs his sleep.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I have a valid "excuse"

OK, so I haven't exactly been posting frequently yet, as I resolved to do.
But truth be known, I've been quite sick and haven't really been on the computer much this past week.
Not sure what's going on.
A cold?
A flu?
I saw a doctor on Monday because that was day three on which I had trouble putting on my hearing aid.  Whenever that's happened before, it was because I had an ear infection.  Not so this time.  She couldn't see any sign of infection.  And whatever was preventing the hearing aid from going in at that time, has not been a problem since.
Don't get me wrong.  My ears have continued to be sore.
As has my throat.
But I don't have fever.
The past couple of days I've developed a nasty cough but can't quite manage to bring the sputum up and out.  
Yesterday morning I was quite bad but seemed to clear as the day went on and then got worse at bedtime.
Last night I was coughing almost to the point of vomiting but just couldn't quite make it.  In fact, the coughing was so unrelenting that I slept very little.  At least it seemed like I slept very little.  Seemed like I was awake every 30 minutes or so, coughing violently.
Suffice to say today my chest wall is very sore from all the coughing.
All this to say that that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I'll be back when I'm better -- much better.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Goodbye to Christmas 2014

Well, I have removed what little Christmas I had put up this year.
For reasons that I will not go into detail here I did not put up my village and Christmas 2014 was very different than most for us.
Was pleasant, but different.
So now, all signs of it having been Christmas are removed from my home, save for the Creche.  That, of course, must remain until January 6th -- Little Christmas.
There are many versions of the origination of the Feast of the Epiphany but put simply, it is the twelfth day of Christmas, marking the day that the Magi (the three wise men) arrived at the manger offering their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the new-born child.
As Catholics, we are quite attuned to this story and if the family displayed a creche as part of their Christmas tradition, it would be left up until January 6th to mark the Feast of the Epiphany.  A special mass would be said at the parish church and devout Catholics would be sure to attend.
Some families would find small gifts at the foot of the family creche, marking the gift-giving occasion.
Growing up, our family did not do the gift exchange on Little Christmas.
Once I was living on my own, and certainly once my little chickadee was on the scene, I added a creche to my Christmas display, buying the one I use today in 1978.
Sometime around the 10th of December, my daughter and I would carefully set up the creche once the tree was decorated.  We would also start reading her many books about the story of Christmas.
Since Mary and Joseph didn't arrive at the "Inn" until the 24th, they would be placed off in the distance, as though walking toward Bethlehem.  The shepherd would be set further off in the distance since he was "following the star of Bethlehem" and would arrive once the baby was there.  The three wise men were positioned really far away because they were not due to arrive until the 6th of January.
On the 24th of December, Mary and Joseph would arrive at the manger and would be placed inside, but the baby would be "hiding" behind the structure, to be added the following morning.  (The funniest story ever was the year my little chickadee, about an hour after she had been put to bed on Christmas Eve, came tearing downstairs to lie Mary down -- "she was going to have a baby" that night.)
At some point in her young life, my little chickadee convinced me that she should start getting a gift on January 6th.   "It was, after all, Little Christmas," she whined.  So, I would hold back one gift from what she would otherwise have received on Christmas Day and give it to her on January 6th.  Not sure how she figured she was ahead on that one but whatever.
In my current household, I continue to play out the story of Christmas, with the various players arriving at the appropriate times.  (John asked if the Wise Men were lost when he saw them off in the distance away from the display.  I had to again explain the process.)  The creche still remains on display until January 6th, (after all, the three wise men only just arrive on that date) but the "tradition" of offering a gift on January 6th has not prevailed.
On January 7th, with all original members present and accounted for (although the shepherd is a little worse for wear, having been dropped again this year), the creche will be dismantled, carefully wrapped (I only a few years ago threw away the original packing material) and put away for another year.
And thus will mark the official end of Christmas for another season.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A 2015 Resolution

I hereby resolve to post here more frequently than I have of late.
Sure hope I can maintain that resolve.
If nothing else, I resolve to try to keep that resolve.
(I don't normally make any new year's resolutions so we'll see how this one goes.)