Archive for June, 2014

I Am Blown Away!!!

June 29, 2014

This is my 257th blog post – with 4 drafts – and what is more amazing are the 102 followers I now have.  That is so amazing!  I was so pleased with 25 followers and now it is 4 times that amount.   I am very grateful for all of my followers, I appreciate the comments and to know there are people who are interested in my blog.

On the slight downside, I was getting a lot more spam, but I know they just want me to approve their comment so it will show up in better stats for them.  It all gets deleted, so they have wasted all that time and energy for nothing.  Recently it has slowed down to only a few at a time – I am not interested in house appraisals and inspections in Maryland, any more than all the ones from people selling cars.  Give me a break!  I don’t write anything about any of those.

As I look back over all the posts since February 2010, I started out with mostly writing about RA; then wrote at times about Ike Pono and what I was learning about myself.  Later on I wrote about my Mom and dealing with dementia and about some things going on that have nothing to do with any of the other things.   Yet, all of it affects RA and my state of mind; how can it not?  I also have learned that it is important to find the funny side of things – if I don’t laugh about it, I go nuts.

I started thinking about all the years I have had RA, all the drugs, tests, studies, procedures I have had.  When I am in the situation, odd thoughts come to me that are a bit funny.  It isn’t as though I sat there and said to myself “What’s funny here? or what does this remind me of in the past?”.   Things just came to me.  The times I have been in the hospital, I would keep a pad with me to write down my experiences.  I wrote a journal for several years and I had requests to be put on my list to send it to them.  I realized that writing helps clear things out, help me see things a bit more clearly and there is something that compels me to write things down.

Before I came back to Seattle to live, I traveled a lot with my husband and also by myself.  I would keep my journal going and at one point, I started recording it on a cassette tape.  I found someone to type those tapes out for me – when I read the typed piece, I realized I had left out things.  I may have been a little more conscious of editing because I knew someone else would see it.  People used to tell me I had such an interesting life – reading my journals didn’t have the times of pain, depression, frustration, etc. I had at the time.  I didn’t whinge because I was tired enough of it myself, I didn’t want to write about it.  Besides, who wants to read that?

When I started this blog, one thing that was important to me was not to whinge (moan and complain) because I wanted this to be a positive blog.  I’ve read other RA blogs and they tend to talk more about how they are feeling, what isn’t working, what is – I wanted to have more ideas and solutions.  I know this kind of blogs work for some and I am glad they do.  It’s just me.  I started with the Connecticut Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation doing a support group.  When I was having problems, it was good to have other people understand.  But it felt too focused on me and how I felt, I wanted to do more with people and turn outward than continually inward.

I was asked to be the Speaker’s Bureau Coordinator and later a Self Help Course  instructor and trainer.  I really enjoyed those because I interacted with people, found confidence in speaking before people and seeing something positive happening.  I usually talked about the basic fact of Arthritis – like all things, it was personal rather than just cut and dried facts.  When there wasn’t a lot of time, my stories were the first to go.  I received so much positive feedback and it made me feel so good when someone told me I had helped them so much.  I had felt things were just negative about having RA, here was such an opposite view that surprised and pleased me.

It has not only been with the Arthritis Foundation this has happened.  I have had several people tell me I am their hero.  WOW!  I was and am just being me, yet something spoke to them.  I often wonder how many  I have helped and will never know about it – but I have decided it doesn’t matter, I’m not supposed to know.  I think we all inspire people as we go along our daily life without knowing it.  To me, that is when we are most effective.  I used to think if somebody didn’t mention it, no one noticed what was happening.  But I would remember how many times I noticed something but didn’t say anything to the person.

So, to all my followers, you are the best and I truly appreciate each and every one of you.

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A Bit of Sister Fun

June 27, 2014

It all started with my sister Ellen sending one of her photos and called it Raindrops on Roses.

So I emailed back – what about whiskers on kittens?  So an email went out to my sister Candy since she has a cat.  She sent back this one for whiskers on kittens – her friend’s kittens.

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Next we needed fresh apple strudel – Candy sent photo of apple blossoms, Ellen sent strudel.

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It was my turn, so I found a doorbell, sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodle.

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Things have slowed a bit, I have the feeling I am missing something.   Hmmmm, I will post this and figure out what’s missing.  Since we are now older, the three of us sisters have grown a lot closer now – I am so happy about that.  With Mom’s dementia, I  am so grateful to have such supportive, encouraging, understanding and loving sisters.  We may live far apart, but that is only in physical distance.  We are close where it counts.

 

A Short Reunion

June 24, 2014

As a result of my slide, I have become reacquainted with my cane.  It took a little practice, but I’m doing pretty well, not tripping over it so much.  It has been hard to walk since Friday afternoon and the cane has helped.  It was not my fondest wish to have this reunion, on the other hand, I am glad the cane is there.  I have had it in my car trunk for the past two years, occasionally I use it if I am not sure of the  of the terrain or if there will be a lot of people.

Black_Cane_T_HandleIt’s not a fancy cane, I bought it at Rite Aid for not too much.  I made sure it was adjustable and during out-patient rehab I asked the therapist how to measure to make sure it is the right height.

I haven’t done a lot of exercising, though Saturday I  went in a couple of places.  I was tired when we came home, so I had a lie down.  Eddie wanted to walk by the river in Renton so he could check out the flight line for the 737’s – I was quite happy sitting in the car reading.  Then we went to Panera for coffee, about the extent of walking.  Yesterday I went to see Cheryl, my chiropractor.  I explained what happened and how it had been feeling, so she worked on different places that connect with the knees.   I had an Apple One To One at 11 to work on my book.  I seem to have found something that seems to stump them a bit.  Both Larry and I learned a lot about iBooks Author – says he likes a challenge.  I told him I was ready to forget the whole thing because it has driven me crazy – but I am not about to let technology win.  I decided to go home, have something to eat and have a lie down – sometimes it is smart to do that after an adjustment.  I am glad I did because I was a bit more tired than I realized.

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One of the aspects of  RA and pain is how varied it is – with this situation at the moment, the pain has been different every day.  Friday it was sharp pain in the outside of my knee, yet Saturday it felt as if I had a tight clamp below my knee.  Sunday the clamp was in the middle of the knee and at times there was a sharper pain in the middle of the knee.  Yesterday the clamp was around the knee and today the clamp is mostly gone but the outside of the knee feels as if someone is hitting my knee each time I bend it.  That is one thing that really baffles me about RA – it is never the same from one day to the next.

Today is doctor morning, I am going to see my primary doc for a check up – he has been pleased with my progress, but not sure what he will say about this latest incident.  I don’t plan to do any “running around”, just buy some cookies for Mom for tomorrow.  She was alert and doing well last Friday, though I noticed she was in the wheel chair.  Apparently her knee was bothering her, so they use the chair.  Otherwise they make sure she uses the walker so she won’t forget how to walk.

LATER

I saw the doc and he was pleased with me – not necessarily the slide but my blood work, blood pressure, etc.  Unfortunately he weighed me and I am 15 pounds heavier – Ye God’s and Little Fishes!!!!  I suddenly realized the weight gain a week or two ago – I can’t believe I let it happen so easily.  I have spent a lot of the last few months  working a lot at the computer and not getting very much exercise; now the knee as well.  Yet I have noticed I don’t eat as much because I get full much faster and I opt for fruit for dessert at night.

I went to the store for Mom’s double stuffed Oreos and came home – I am noticing my knee is now on the side, a little below the joint and it feels like badly bruised bones.  Cheryl always says it takes some time for the body to integrate whatever happens and the next day may be uncomfortable.  I have an open house at Breakfast Club – I am hoping things will be more comfortable in the morning.  Afterward I will go see Mom.  This is not the time to put up a facade of “I’m doing fine” because I’m not.  It has worn me out and I am dragged out tired and not always sleeping well; I have trouble finding a comfortable position at night and walking is not particularly comfortable either.

I know I will come through this eventually and be more comfortable – it gets old very quickly to be hampered like this.  I have a quiet week and don’t have much on the calendar because I know rest is important.  I dealt with many other times like this one, though it doesn’t get easier and I haven’t “gotten used to it” either.   However, it doesn’t last forever, just often feels as if it does.

THIS TOO WILL PASS.

I Call It A Slide!

June 22, 2014

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An interesting  experience on Wednesday, with ongoing repercussions.  In February I passed the 2 year mark of not falling since my hip – a 30 per center.  I have done quite well so far, then  late Wednesday afternoon I went to get up from the office chair to have dinner and I found myself sliding.  I had socks on and I didn’t brace myself, so I began to slowly slide to the floor.  I knew I was in trouble but rather than panic, I was careful to see that I didn’t twist anything and only landed on the floor with a gentle bump on my left bun.  Well, that left me in a predicament about getting myself upright again.  I have had to do it before, I just walked my hips across the floor into the kitchen and over to the basement door.

Eddie was in the kitchen getting dinner ready and when he saw me working my way to the kitchen, his question was “What are you doing down there?”.   I told him I was getting myself upright, but he didn’t understand how I was going to do it.   He opened the basement door and I went to the top step, managed to get myself onto the landing and then put my feet two steps down and pulled myself up with the help of the railing.  Voila!  I was standing upright again.  I wasn’t sure how things would be after my adventure – Eddie definitely doesn’t think I should be out without a keeper, but life happens.  Life is uncertain, that’s why one eats dessert first.

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Thursday I was fine and Friday morning I was doing well – though I did hear and feel a crunch in my right knee.  I went to visit Mom and then did a a couple things I need to do.  I had walked around for a while and began to feel it in my legs, so I went to have some coffee and read bait before going on to my next item.  My legs were better, but I decided on only one more stop and then head home.  I was glad to be home and I noticed my right knee really bothering me – it has been a while since I have had that kind of pain.

I didn’t sleep very well Friday night and I had to take some Advil to relieve some of the pain.  Saturday we went out to do our usual chores, I used my cane for the first time in 2 years, took a little practice to get the hang of it again.  I stayed in the car a lot and was glad to be home again.  This morning it is still uncomfortable, but I did sleep very well last night – plus a nap yesterday afternoon when we came home.  Tomorrow I will see Dr. Cheryl and I hope she can help; she did last Monday when my hip and the back of my knee were bothering me.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

Looks as though I will have to take it easy a bit to keep from making it worse.  I have another appointment at Apple tomorrow for working on my book; the more I use iBook Author, the more I learn as well as new things to frustrate me.For the RA book, I am changing my whole idea of the cover – I  am using Ellen’s ocean photos – except she usually does horizontal and the cover and Chapter pages use vertical photos.  I have found several for the Chapter headings, now I have to figure out how tot get the Table of Contents to work properly.  I am either going to become very expert at it or chuck the whole mess in the bin.  I want to learn and understand how to use it so the next 2 books will come together more easily.  I will also have to learn how to do the form for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.; a whole different set up.

 

No Pictures, Just Me

June 15, 2014

I’m not sure what to call this post, seems mostly a round-up of what I have been doing this last week.  It turned out to be a busy week and at the end of each day I was beat.  Monday I went to see my chiropractor in the morning – I had been carrying rocks again Friday.  Fortunately there were very many consequences but it was god to have an adjustment nonetheless.  Then I had an Apple appointment at noon to work on my book in iBooks Author.  It has driven me crazy because I can’t figure out some of it – such as how to put my Pages copy into the format and have it work properly.  The bottom line, I have to do more copy and paste.

Even Katie, the tech, was having trouble getting it to work; I didn’t feel like so clueless after that.  Apparently the app hasn’t been updated for 2 years and I am not the only one having trouble getting it to work properly.  I will have to write to Apple feedback and tell them what is happening.  Apparently they do read it and Shawn has noticed they made changes she has written about.

After that was my caregivers support group.  I didn’t have much time to get there, so I stopped at Mrs. Field’s for a brownie, not the smartest choice, just the fastest.  When Eddie asked me later what I had for lunch, I said not the best choice, a brownie.  Then he asked me if I ate it because I was upset – an unexpected question he has never asked before.  I told him I had very little time and it was the quickest thing I could think to do.

We had a large group at the support meeting, some for the first time.  One of the advantages of having been there for a while, I am more calm when talking about Mom than I have been.  there are still times when I need support and I am so glad to have these friends there for me.  I have also been able share my experiences and resources to others who are beginning the journey.  That feels good to be able to do that – I don’t know the outcome usually, but it is not always necessary.

Tuesday I didn’t visit with Mom because I went up north with Eddie for the day.  Tuesday was the day we decided for my Queen’s Birthday.  We stopped for breakfast and I spent some time in “my office” – otherwise known as the balcony – reading until I was ready to leave.  Things are different at the Future of Flight since the coming of the new Exec Director, so I wanted make sure did what worked for Eddie.  I left and spent time in Hobby Lobby and also Pacific Fabrics before meeting the other women at the restaurant.  It felt good to sit down.

I was about half an hour early, so I found a spot and read until I saw Joyce come.  We went in together and sat at a table waiting for Char and Lois.  They came fairly soon after that and we had a lovely time.   Char brought me a chocolate bar with a card and Joyce brought a card.  We have been just doing cards lately – at this point there seem to be a lot of funny cards about older women.  Yikes!  That’s me now!

Afterwards, Char and I went to Half Priced Books to look around, then it was time for me to meet Eddie.  I told him I would wait for him in the car until he was ready – seemed to work out well.   We left at about 3, but it was 6 before we finally arrived home.  There had been an accident in the tunnel and the Viaduct was closed – you can imagine what that did to traffic.  We took I-5 to 85th and then went over to 99 – but the traffic was backed up quite a way.  Everyone was trying to find a way around the tunnel and the Viaduct – not all that easy.  We decided to go through town, just as everyone else did.  We were on 5th and suddenly the Monorail went right overhead, never been under it like that before.  It happened several times so that shows how slow we were inching our way.

Finally we found the traffic opening up a bit, so we decided to go down Airport Way – that was so much better – it was good most of the way home.  We were beat and had a light dinner – I slept so well that night that I didn’t want to get up at 5 the next morning.  But it was Breakfast Club morning and I enjoy going there.  The last 3 or 4 weeks, Eddie has been going later because the historian Mike has been away – had a knee replacement.  He is planning to come back next Wednesday.

I always enjoy being with the group, they are such good friends and colleagues.  We do have fun but we are also serious and professional about our businesses.

Afterwards I went to visit Mom, bringing cookies and chocolate.  Lately I read to her, I was finishing up one of the “The Cat Who . . . . ?” books; I brought another one on Friday to begin.  I came home shortly before Eddie did, then we went out to do some things in the afternoon.  I felt myself almost falling asleep in my chair those 3 days.

Thursday I went to the Group Training for Pages because I have been having difficulty with Eddie Round Up – the type goes small on him and he gets very frustrated with it.  I found out I need to do some adjustments before I can make it a template, then it should work properly.  I don’t think Eddie is ready for new Pages yet.  Afterwards I came home and found myself working on the book.  I had energy and enthusiasm, plus I figured out how to copy the Pages version – unfortunately only one entry at a time – so it fit in the format.  Now I need to figure out how to get the Table of Contents to behave.

While I had been at Apple, Paul and Jude cleared the house and property for me – I have to admit I didn’t feel anything different when I came home.  Wonder if the burst of energy and enthusiasm was part of it.  But that night I felt uncomfortable – no where particular, just a general uncomfortable.  I didn’t sleep very well  that night and woke up feeling crappy.  Things are better now, maybe it is going to take some time to settle down and clear out.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

Playing In The Garden

June 8, 2014

One thing I didn’t inherit from Mom was her green thumb; I have to improvise for a garden now.  I also don’t want to have to weed and have a lot of maintenance, so I have been looking around to see what I can do that can be low maintenance while being a bit different.  I have had the three beds rather bare for quite a long time and I am beginning to see  what will work.  I bought some flower seed strips (when will they finally arrive?) and I will use those for my color and then decide how I want to place them.  I’ve been looking at tiles and things as design elements that will mix with the flowers while being able to take them up when I actually have a true garden design with Nancy.  That’s a long way off, so this will have to do until then.

I decided I want a stream bed with rocks in the bed by the garage, plus use the pieces of tree as a design instead of lining the outside of the bed.  I have another idea for the design of the wood circles for the back porch bed, I can do that by using the rake to move them from the border – bending over is not easy on the back.  I have the foot path in the dogwood tree bed (cat garden) that works well there.  I am going to put in a little pond, but not with water, with tile type pieces.  Lots of plans but not a lot of execution yet.

However, last Sunday I went to a cake tasting in the morning and on my way home stopped to buy three bags of river rocks.  Each are 40 pounds and cost $3.99 – not bad since most other places charge a lot more.  Unfortunately I came home just before Eddie did and he decided the bags had to be on the ground.  Not my plan at all.  I had moved some of the heavier rocks from the back porch bed because I wanted something to that would keep the rocks from rolling on to the new drive – plus the downspout keeps sending water into the garage.  I wanted to fix that and this was a great idea.

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Also have the right date on my photo.

They may not look like very big rocks, but those puppies were heavy.  Wow, I was winded very quickly.  I may buy some smaller rocks to put between the drive and the bigger rocks to give it a more finished look.  I saw some tiles that were made up of rocks and maybe that would be better because they would be less likely to slide.

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This is my log slice design and I liked the idea of having the stream go through it.  I have mostly used the bags of rocks to do the stream, but I haven’t quite decided how wide it will be.

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As you see, I put a brick under the downspout to keep the water from messing up the bark and sending it on to the drive and into the garage.  (The thumb isn’t visible as you actually see the rocks)  I need to see what happens when it rains to know if my idea works.  The three bags I bought took me up to the design – man was I tired.  I was wondering about how my body would be, even though I released the belief of payback pain.  I took Aleve and actually did quite well the next day.  I also saw my chiropractor and she helped with adjustments.  I also made an appointment to see her Wednesday morning as well.  Tuesday (the 2nd day) I woke up around 3 or so and felt still around the edges.  It wasn’t any place specific, but a little Aleve and some rest and I was doing okay.

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This was far as  I went on Sunday.  I spent Monday afternoon having a nap.

During the week I kept think about my stream and I wanted to buy two more bags – that’s my limit at the moment – to be able to lay out the rest of the stream.  Wednesday didn’t turn out to be good and I spent Thursday morning at my rheumatologist and then my infusion, so I rested in the afternoon.  By Friday I was itching to get back to the stream, but first I went to visit mom.  The last 3 or 4 times she has been more alert when I saw her.  She always enjoys the cookies and chocolate and says she likes me reading to her.  I find myself getting caught up in the story myself.  She also enjoys a back rub, so I do some when I am there.  I notice that suddenly there is a change, but I haven’t noticed it although it has been gradually happening.  She is a little less easy to understand, yet she carries on a conversation as if I know exactly what she is saying.

After I left her Friday, I stopped to buy two more bags of rocks and headed home.  This time I did it the way I planned it last Sunday, I left the bags in the truck, took a small plastic carton and my pail, then my wheelie walker to the back of the car.  I could sit down and put rocks into the pail, then spread them from the pail.  It was a lot easier on my back than bending down to the bag on the sidewalk.

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The rest of the stream was laid out, which gave me an idea.  I will put some bit larger rocks at the end of this side and themI may have to move it a little closer to the garage to get the effect I have in mind.

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And now I have the design of my stream.

It’s now Sunday and the 2nd day after my “gardening”.  So far I was a little stiff in my neck and upper back, but I am doing quite well.  It is also chiropractor morning tomorrow and that is an excellent thing.  Next thing to do is  make the log design in the other bed and see what inspires me for that one.  I have a couple of easy ideas and I am interested to see how they work out – will it be as easy as I picture it?


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