Archive for November, 2015

Another Medical Week

November 30, 2015

It looks as if I have several busy medical weeks ahead.  Tuesday and Thursday I see Kat for physical therapy; Monday and Friday I see Cheryl for chiropractic adjustment; a few doctors’ appointments – how did it all come at the same time?

This coming week I will see my Rheumatologist and do my infusion as well as see the orthopedic doctor.  I will also see my dentist to have my permanent crown put in.  WOW! My mouth is still sore from seating a week and a half ago, plus all the little sores in my mouth and tongue that made eating even more difficult.  I have had to eat on my left side so as not to mess up my temporary.

The more I find out about this reverse shoulder replacement, the less I like it.  First off, no meds for 2 months – that will not be a picnic.  Then to find out the surgery is difficult and the recovery in therapy is very hard – plus there is no guarantee it will work perfectly because shoulders are tricky.  Michael, who is head of therapy at Stafford had his shoulder done my surgeon – he wasn’t thrilled with his bedside manner but he was recommended by people Michael trusts.  I am going to have a second opinion after my therapy is done, I want to be as informed as I can before making the decision.  Kat has been encouraging about how much range of motion I may be able to have – she is pleased with the progress and I may have more range than before the accident.  Plus the combination of Kat and Cheryl is definitely working to my benefit.

Enough about me.  We have had a lot of rain the past few days – it is pouring at times.  We woke up about 2 a.m. this morning to find we didn’t have electricity.  It came back on about 3 or so, so glad it did.  Now all the clocks are messed up and my computer restarted itself.  Oh my gosh, I just checked the window here in office and I can see sunshine through the shade.  I wonder if it is taking a day off before starting in again.  We have seen some snow on the Olympics – when they actually come out.

I checked out the Weather Channel and it shows flooding for the usual rivers and more rain for the week.  There is a lot to be said for living on a hill, don’t need wells as much as those near the rivers.  I noticed the pool next to the shopping center down the hill is fill – may even overflow with enough rain.

Eddie has been pounding down the vole holes – yes, they have come back.  Really makes a mess on our golf course lawn.  I suppose I could say they are aerating the lawn, but the holes are too big and only in certain places.  Oh, that reminds me, I found a couple of cats for my cat garden – Eddie thinks I am nuts but I enjoy them.

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Unfortunately it is hard to see the white cat – it looks like a curious kitten.  I put it facing the garage so it looks as if he/she is waving to anyone coming up the walk.  The calico is around the stump bit nearer the porch.  They both spoke to me at different times and I couldn’t resist.  They didn’t cost much, so I am not out much.  They give me a lot of pleasure as I go up and down the sidewalk.

A week or two later

I still have all medical weeks as of now.  I did have my permanent crown put in – he didn’t have to numb my jaw at all, it slipped in quite well.  Since then I have had a more comfortable mouth, though the crown is sensitive not only to cold, but really sensitive to hot.  I am wondering if it will take time for my jaw to settle down and truly accept the new crown as part of the group.

Last week I saw the MOHS surgeon for the basel cell cancers on my face.  He is sending me to a plastic surgeon to work on it after he cuts out the cancer.  I need to make an appointment and go see him, then he and the MOHS surgeon can decide whether they will do both at once or 6 – 8 weeks apart.  this won’t happen until January – that’s fine with me, I need a rest from medicine.

Last week I only had one  pt visit because of Thanksgiving; I saw Cheryl Monday and Wednesday.  I have been doing pretty well.  The week before that, Kat really gave a workout stretching my shoulder – I was really uncomfortable for several days.  I know it is necessary, nevertheless, it makes sleeping a bit more uncomfortable.  I have to say, I am glad to be sleeping much better – I seem to need a nap as well as going to bed at 9 at night.  I wonder if I am finally resting at last.  So far, I feel I could sleep forever and still not be rested and refreshed.  I am working on doing some walking as many days as I can – I know that helps build energy.

We have been having sun and frost the past few days – it is so lovely to see the Olympics with snow.  The days are clear and sunny, the sky very blue.  Reminds me of Fall days in Connecticut.  We are about to go into rain again for a bit.  Which reminds me, I need to talk to John Van Zanten about trimming so we can have our view back.  I can’t quite decide about cutting down the two camellias by the sidewalk.  they are gorgeous when they bloom but make such a mess.  Plus they block out the sun so we have moss on the sidewalk.

Decisions, decisions!

Another Mile Marker

November 29, 2015

Sometime this month is when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I don’t quite think of it as an anniversary, last year I used Mile Post 44.  I found a couple of things to use this year, as soon as iPhoto shows them, I can put them in the post.  Sometimes it takes a day or 3 for them to be visible – sometimes I feel defeated by technology, other times it works well for me.  So, I have decided to go with the flow and do this post a little later.

I never did find the sign posts in iPhoto, so I just did them again, only this time in Pictures – it might be easier to find them.

45

US_45

That worked so much easier – I will try it  on other photos and see how it works.

Now that I have been through all the  balderdash, it’s time to get to the meat of this post.   I haven’t really found any term for this yearly milestone that completely describes it.  I have admit to being amazed it has been 45 years since the diagnosis, seems such a long time.  I realize there has been quite a history with it, so much I can’t remember all of it.  That may be a good thing.  There are the experiences I written about in this blog; there are the volumes I have of my journal for quite a few years and my medical history.  It is harder to remember my medical history when I see a new doc and they want to know everything.  I realize now I would have been smart to copy the records I took with me each time I moved – I’d have a better history than my  memories.

As the years have gone by, I realize my questions have changed – sometimes 180.  In the beginning it was “Why me?”, “What did I do to deserve this?”; “If this is payback for a past life, I better have had one hell of a good time!”.  Because doctors are taught about drugs and surgery in med school, that is all they know.  I have had my share of drugs, 7 years looking for a drug to work, some that did nothing, others that help a little and some that really did help – for a time.  Let’s call it what it is – a victim mentality.  I was an innocent victim sideswiped by RA for no reason.  It has brought anger, resentment and hurt and I kept asking “Why?”.

I started asking “How?” after a  while – “How do I get rid of this crap?”.   I just wanted it to go away and leave me alone forever – enough already!  I have been in that negative territory for a long time, I couldn’t see any benefit to having RA, just all the pain and disadvantage.  I heard and read about “Embracing it”  which seemed counterintuitive to me, accepting it and loving it.

When I moved back to Seattle, I began to hear and read about other ways to see and think about RA.  Maybe I was so ready to fight my way out of the negativity.  When I started this blog, I started with the premise there is a gift in RA.  I wasn’t sure how that was possible but I was willing to entertain the idea.  I had to look at it and me from a different perspective.  I have found that is a difficult maneuver for me – maybe because I spent so many decades in the negative.  For the past few years my questions have changed – I will admit to having “Why” moments now and again.  Now I am concentrating on the gifts of RA.  As a matter of fact, I wrote a post about it in March 2011.  I went back to read it and found I had not really done such a good job in defining the gifts as I thought.

What I have noticed is my questions – they are different.  One is “What need is being met with RA?”.  I was reminded the other week about this – we create attitudes, ways of being, etc. to meet a need in that moment.  It works for a while but not in the long-term.  However, the program is still running because we forgot about it, yet it isn’t working any more.  I realized there is another question, “What do I believe about myself and RA?”.

Some other questions come to mind. “What will it take to create new positive and empowering thought patterns?”.  “What else is possible?”.  ‘What needs to happen to make the changes?”.  “What am I holding on to that no longer serves me?”.  “What does the Universe want me know?”.  “How much is my energy and how much is other people’s energy?”.  “What is the Universe doing for me, rather than to me?”.  “In what ways can I use my knowledge and experience to be of use and service to others?”.  “What can I learn from others, especially the ones that bug me the most?”.

So my questions have changed over the past few years.  I know some people have all the answers, I’m still working on the questions.  I know I will have more questions for the rest of my life, I want to be sure they are the questions that matter and help me create a positive, loving and empowering attitude and life.

As everyone else is, I am a work in progress.

 

Thanksgiving 2015

November 26, 2015

It’s very interesting to look back at Thanksgiving both in my childhood and when I was an adult and married, moving around the country.  Thanksgiving today is in the same house, just looks a lot different from childhood.    We are going to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, experience has taught me cooking a whole turkey for the two of us is a bit much.  We bought a turkey breast one year – not quite the same.  Eddie and I usually came here for Christmas, only a couple of times were we able to do Thanksgiving as well.  Changes bring new traditions and new ways to think about some holidays.  I also notice getting older makes a big difference, not quite the enthusiasm to travel now that it is harder and more balderdash.

Thanksgiving Turkey

We watched the Macy’s thanksgiving Day Parade, that was before they had balloons and commercials for Broadway.  We had breakfast watching it, it was always a fun time.  Every year Dad would say he was going to get a color tv by next year – it took quite a while, but then we were watching the parade in color.

It is noon right now and Mom would have had the turkey in the oven for a while by now.  She would make the stuffing in the morning and then stuff the turkey just before cooking.  The smell would be so good, I wanted to eat it right them.  Earlier in the week Mom made cranberry orange relish and cranberry sauce.  I have always loved the relish, just cranberries, sugar and an orange ground up together and sat to marinate for a few days.  Cranberry sauce not so much.  We usually had mashed potatoes and peas, plus there was a tray of olives, pickles, celery and carrots.

Mom would set the table with the white lace table cloth and use her mothers blue and white Royal Doulton china and Mom’s goblets.   We used the selling silver flat ware and some of Grandmother Paull’s  special dishes for the cranberry, olive, pickles, celery and carrots.  One thing our parents taught the three of us girls was how to eat with proper table manners and be comfortable with sterling silver and fine china.  Over the years I have been very grateful for that, I have been in many different situations using all kinds of cutlery and dinnerware.  Because of Mom and Dad, I have been comfortable with all of them.

Dinner was usually around 3 p.m., a big delicious dinner that was special every time.  When I think of Thanksgiving, I picture the table and our Thanksgiving meal here.  Then after a couple or three hours, we would have tea, sliced turkey and then pumpkin pie.  We didn’t do a whole lot for the day, some of us read, helped Mom, played Double Solitaire.  We relaxed and rested from a busy time and by Monday we were ready to start our regular life again.

Over the years we have been married, Eddie and I have had people over to our house, gone to other’s house, had it by ourselves and also traveled.  Eddie usually was given every year a turkey – not a nice 8 pounder – around 16 to 20 pounds.  They would also do it for christmas.  I cooked the turkey the way Mom did and used her stuffing recipe.  I don’t know if she used Fannie Farmer, a grandmother’s recipe or just made up her own.  To me, that is the way stuffing should taste.  I would baste it every half hour as well.  Mom used to say it was just an excuse to admire the turkey.  I do remember one turkey I forgot to take the  packet with the neck and giblets out – tasted fine and I never forgot where they were.

With a big turkey, I had to make things with the leftovers and put them in the freezer – turkey every night can be a bit much.  I made turkey soup and froze some of it for later.  We had sandwiches or warmed up turkey (I had the gravy and stuffing) with potato and vegetables.  If we had people for dinner, I would make sure they left with turkey and all the trimmings.

Today is gorgeous sunny day – cold because there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the wind is from the north.  We have had Thanksgiving with snow, rain, wind and all kinds of weather.  I remember Mom and Dad postponing  Thanksgiving because it snowed and it wasn’t possible for Candy drive down.  She came when the roads cleared and they enjoyed a belated Thanksgiving.  One year it snowed on Monday and Eddie had to stay up north for 3 days before he could get home on Wednesday afternoon.  Mom and I missed him but were glad he didn’t try to drive home.

The worst Thanksgiving I ever spent was in Australia.  I was working and it was just another day.  I made the mistake of thinking about what Mom and Dad would be doing and it really upset me.  I couldn’t really explain to the women at the shop because they didn’t know about Thanksgiving.  I was glad that day was over and done.  Eddie and I cooked a chicken for the day – it was good to be with someone who understood the day and how I was feeling.

Thanksgiving has been special and I am so glad it has not been commercial the way other holidays have been.  It keeps it true meaning of being thankful and grateful for all we have, the people in our lives and the gifts and blessing we have.  I hope it continues that way for a long time.

Time to dress and get ready to leave, dinner is at 3:30.

Threads Part 2

November 15, 2015

Since last week’s blog ran so long, I am doing a Part 2.

Then it was time to see Kat in the afternoon for more therapy.  Since she has measurements, we did some exercises and stretching as well as massage.  It was almost enjoyable.  Friday I went to see Dr. Cheryl for an adjustment – I enjoy seeing her and what she does to help me.  I would have had a nap afterwards but we were going to a gala at the Museum of History and Industry in their new home over at the south end of Lake Union.  We were invited by Mike, the Boeing historian, he had a table from Boeing and he wanted to fill it.  Unfortunately his wife Carla wasn’t feeling well – she has been dealing pneumonia and wasn’t up to coming.  I was sorry because I wanted to see her.  Their son wasn’t able to come either because he had to work.  Somehow Friday at 5:30 is not the optimum time for a gala.

Eddie came home  fairly early Friday so he could change and we would still have time to make it to MOHAI.  The invitation said black tie was optional, Eddie decided to wear his suit.  What a great surprise to find it still fit – he used to wear it when he went to Korea.  I put on my embroidered vest from the Palestinian women – a little too much boob for it to fit well, but it was fine.  We weren’t sure how long it would take us to get there, we took the Viaduct and were surprised it wasn’t backed up.  However, getting through on surface streets wasn’t a picnic.  We ended up being very early – once we figured out how to get into the place.  Apparently we came in the exit – the entrance was on another street.  They had valet parking, so we took my car because Eddie didn’t want anyone to drive his Volvo.  He wasn’t happy having someone drive my car either.

We were practically the first ones there.  Some men came in black tie, about 50/50.  Now I realize it was a great time to go tour the museum, but my legs weren’t all that comfortable.  They have a high atrium in the the middle with a plane hanging and Slo Mo IV.  There are 2 or 3 stories around the atrium, I could see some exhibits.  In the back area they had the silent auction.  It was fun to see what was available and later they had a live auction.  Eddie knew the caterer because he had done meetings up at Future of Flight.  The food was good and not in huge portions,  we had a great time.  It was the first time in a long time I had an opportunity to talk with Mike.  He is easy to talk with and is interested in so many things.  The other people at the table are people Eddie knows, so he was at ease.

When they finished the speeches, they went on to the live auction.  this a group of heavy hitters, the prizes went for  quite a lot of money – at least to me.  There was one that looked like fun – a weekend stay at the Rainier Club for 4 people with a special chef catered dinner.  I thought that would be fun with Vickie and Rich.  It went for at least $4000, not quite in my budget.  After the auction items, they had a donor who gave $25,000 – who would match it?  There were at least 3 others who matched it.  The $20,000 all the way down to $1000.  By the time things were done, they had raised $475,000 for MOHAI.

We decided to spend $50 on the raffle prize – about $1000 restaurant package.  It included Canlis – about the only way we will get there.  Just a few numbers away from the winning number.  The raffle tickets came with a blinking ring, they only had 100 tickets and they sold them all.  Everyone with a blinking ring showed who bought the tickets.  At the end of the evening, Jake asked me if he could have my ring for his granddaughter – I was wondering what I would do with it.  So I gave it to him to make his granddaughter happy.

We came home around 10 or 10:30 and it was close to midnight when we went to bed.  I slept until 9 the next morning – Eddie was up a little earlier.  It was a fun and interesting evening and I am glad we went.

Saturday it was pouring all day, we decided to do our errands and head home.  That Sunday Eddie went down to the car museum in Tacoma – fortunately it wasn’t raining.

That was some week.

Gathering Up The Threads

November 8, 2015

I have spent the morning working on things for Eddie while he was  down volunteering at the car museum in Tacoma – plus he had something he needed for work tomorrow.  No time to work on my blog post.  Then I  was ready to write and remembered I needed to trim my fingernails – it’s obvious when I went to type and it was awkward.  How women with long nails do it, I have no idea.  I keep mine short because they are soft and tend to tear or break when I least expect it. Guess I’m not a girly girl, too much trouble and work.  What you see is what you get.

It was a really busy and at times stressful week.  Last Sunday afternoon was pure fun – I met Charlotte at her church, then she was going to drive to Marysville.  It was my first long trip and though a bit apprehensive, it worked out well.  I was early because charlotte wanted to stop at the outlet mall for something and since she was there, she got her special caramel apple.  I looked in the kitchen store and saw some things I would like to have – but where will I put it in the kitchen.  I did find some small plastic boxes that will work well in the first aid kit I am putting together.  since I had to change bandages for my biopsy, I found myself looking all over for things.  Seemed smart to have everything in the same place.

It was fun to have some time for just the two of us before after lunch, then lunch was fun with Lois and Joyce.  We met at 2, this time I didn’t feel as if I had to leave by a certain time to beat traffic.  So we had a relaxed lunch, laughed and had time to talk.  It was a wonderful break and I am beginning to feel more relaxed and building my confidence again driving.  I do check the rearview mirror more than I used to and try to be aware of what is going on around me.  I miss the polite drivers we used to have here – too many crazies from other parts of the country living here now who think they have the right of way all the time.

Monday I went with Eddie in the morning to Bellevue because he and Eddie wanted to explain to me what they are doing with our investments.  Andy has some things in a tax-free situation so we will do well as we get older.  Depending on the market, we may sell some of our Boeing stock and add it to our tax-free “bucket”.  Andy is so enthusiastic about helping us and it seemed every time he saw me, he hugged me.  He is such cool guy and he calls Eddie Uncle Ed.  Now the rest of the office calls him that.  I went out for a bit, but I was tired and stiff, plus my knees and legs were uncomfortable.  I didn’t prepare for it.  What I have noticed is that Eddie is a lot happier at Andy’s and comes home excited.  What a lovely change!

I was beat when we came home, I put my jammies on and we had a light dinner.  I was fast asleep by 9.  I had slept well Sunday night and Monday night was just as good.  Tuesday I saw Dr. Pierce at last.  He is pleased with me and I told him what has been happening.   In the afternoon I went for my first physical therapy session.  It is like going home to friends at Stafford, they are such a relaxed, friendly group while being very serious about therapy.  I have Kat working with me – she was very gentle with me.  She took a lot of measurements and asked questions about the degree of pain and range of motion.  Then she worked on me in a very gentle way – she reminds me so much of Dr. Cheryl, my chiropractor.

I  am set up to go on Tuesday and Thursday – the prescription says 2 to 3 times a week for 6 weeks.  So it was an easy medical day on Tuesday.  I went to Breakfast Club Wednesday morning – we are a lot more sparse than we used to be, not sure what is going on.  We have lost 3 members because they are not able to come very often and feel they aren’t contributing to the group.  It’s always hard to lose people I enjoy, but it is a good thing when they have so much business they don’t have the time any more.

Wednesday was the most uncomfortable day because I went to dentist to have a crown seated.  The needles for the anesthetic had me climbing out of the chair.  Then it was hard for him because I have a small mouth and a large gag reflex.  As he was working on the tooth, he realized it had broken close to the nerve – that explained why I still felt it after all the numbing.   Later on I may need a root canal – he will keep an eye on it as he has for the past 10 years.  Then again, I may not have any trouble with it – I vote for that option.  He said I couldn’t eat anything until the numbness was gone, guess he didn’t want me to bite myself and not feel it.  It wasn’t a big deal, I came home and went to bed to rest and sleep some.

My jaw and gums along with everything else on that side is so sore.  It is better now but it isn’t back to normal.  I have to eat on the other side for the duration.  I don’t eat all that fast, I think I tend to drool a little as well.  I have a temporary at the moment, the permanent one will be ready next Wednesday.  Thursday morning I went to see the dermatologist for the results – I was pleased the bit on my calf was a mole and no problem.  She will keep an eye on it and if it comes up again she will take it completely out.  As for my face, I wasn’t surprised to find it is basel cell on both.  so I have to go to the MOS surgeon to have them removed.  That will take a lot longer because they check the results to see if it is all gone or if they have to go back in.  I would rather postponed until January, but I don’t think that will happen.  If I do just one now, I want to do my nose because it is the most obvious and more inconvenient.

This has  become longer than I thought.  Looks as if I need to do a Part 2.

First Day of November

November 1, 2015

I just scared myself – I looked at the clock and it said 10:18 – I kept thinking it couldn’t be that late.  Then I realized the computer hadn’t quite reset and I didn’t turn the clock on the phone back.  I need to leave about 11 today, I am meeting charlotte at her church around 12 and then we are going to lunch for Lois’s birthday lunch.  Eddie has gone to the Museum of Flight this morning, so I won’t see him until I come home.  It will also be my first long distance drive since I had my arm broken.  I expect to do well, maybe a little apprehension at first.  I am more comfortable driving, though my right arm doesn’t quite stretch comfortably when I turn to the left.

It’s been an interesting week.  I haven’t quite gotten used to Eddie leaving later and sometimes having breakfast with me.  A whole new way of life has started.  However, he is having a lot of fun working with Andy and getting things organized.  Andy is a genius when it comes to wealth management – I am going over tomorrow to see what he has put together for us so we don’t have to pay taxes.  Seems the older we get, the more taxes we pay.  That means all day in Bellevue, so I need to see where I want to explore and have fun.

Last Monday it was windy and pouring rain – whatever I needed to do could be done Tuesday.  So I spent the day in the warm and dry – not that I accomplished much, but it was my choice not to leave the house.  So Tuesday I went to pick up my laundry and drop off 3 sweaters  I went to couple of places for some storage ideas – decided not to buy at that point.  I am still picking up the threads of my life and I find I am still a bit scatterbrained at the moment.

I have been working on setting up my outpatient PT, I called again and finally talked with Michael, head therapist.  I am set to start next week, – Tuesday and Thursday for an hour each.  By the time Friday came, I realized I had a very medical week coming up.  Wednesday morning at Breakfast Club, I noticed I had broken a tooth – I could feel the sharp edges.  As soon as breakfast was done, I called my dentist to go see him – he had an opening the next day.

Eddie went to the archives, then spent an hour or so at Andy’s to help train one of the guys.  It was almost 2:30 when he came home, I had just arrived a few minutes earlier.  I had time to take care of some things I have had to wait to do since the accident.  Thursday morning Eddie dropped me off at the dentist and went over to arrange for his new lenses for his glasses.  Then he came to the dentist to wait for me.  It seems I had broken the corner off #31 – doc said he had been watching it for 10 years and wasn’t surprised it broke.  He smoothed some of it down for me and I have an appointment next Wednesday morning for a crown.  Then late I will have another appointment to put the permanent one in place.  No looking forward to it, but if I don’t do it, things can get even worse.

For some reason I have forgotten 2 appointments with Doc Pierce – it is in my calendar but I haven’t gotten back in the habit of checking it.  I have an appointment Tuesday morning and I need to be sure I don’t mess up again.  Friday I saw my chiropractor, Dr. Cheryl, to help me integrate the accident.  It was so good to see her again and she is helping me physically as well as metaphysically.  She explained it in terms of putting on several layers of coats to protect myself from the cold.  I have layers I have added because of the accident and the trauma my body had.  She was able to release one layer for me – it is as if I am contracted inside myself.  It was necessary for my protection, now it is time to release and let them go.  It will take a while to work through the layers.  I’ll see her again next Friday.

I realize as I am getting back into the regular world, I don’t have a structure or schedule of any kind.  I am having some resistance to getting things started as well as deciding what I truly want and need.  Did my brain go into hibernation?  I have also been thinking about the pros and cons of having the shoulder surgery.  Because I have been in rehab before, I am wondering if it might be a good idea to go to Stafford after the surgery.  I would need help with wound care and essentials I will not be able to do until the wound is healed.   Also, I would have some early PT appropriate to how I am doing – that could make getting the range of motion back a little sooner.

I would be without my meds for 2 months – what can I do to help myself through that?  I am not looking forward to being back feeling helpless and not able to do things I am slowly being able to do again.  I don’t know that I want to be laid up for 12 weeks or more again either.  There are the concerns of the rheumatologist and primary care doc that I am at a higher risk for surgery.  I would have better range of motion with surgery, but how much will I have after this PT?  Questions, questions, questions.

Now I need to close so I can go get dressed and ready to leave to meet Charlotte.


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