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Carine’s Blog

  • I've Been Really Sick

    Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017

    It all started after my usual 2 mile walk with my friend and fellow power walker on a Tuesday morning a few weeks ago-at this point I’m not sure when, forgive me.

    After putting the pups back in the house, I walked down to Adam’s place to watch the kids so he could work out.  Jackson looked at my upper arm and asked “what’s that owie Grandma?”

    It was a rash, didn’t itch, didn’t bother me-but since I was going to the dermatologist the next day, I told him I’d show it to her.  Well, by late afternoon I was running 101.3, felt awful and started coughing.  By morning, I knew I was going from the one doctor’s office straight across the street to urgent care.

    By the time I got there, I couldn’t breathe and I looked like I should join a leper colony.  Everything was “killing” me.  Took a chest x-ray-pneumonia and pleurisy.  Wound up having 3 days of antibiotic shots, oral antibiotics and in general, felt horrible.  X-ray showed a mass in the right lung.

    Let’s just say the next week got even worse.  By July 5th-I was admitted to the hospital.  Breathing treatments, bags upon bags of antibiotics and a bronchoscopy was performed.  Finally stabilized enough that they let me go home Sunday night.

    Bronchoscopy showed that besides the pneumonia, I had contracted the dreaded “valley fever“.  Not good for a person with RA.  I was already taken off my meds because it would make the pneumonia worse, but now I may never be able to go back on them.  Will be on antifungal meds for at least 3 months.  The RA is already flaring-extremely sore and swollen feet and hands (no wedding rings for me).

    While I commend my nurses and the two doctors that took very good care of me-I also must say that being n a hospital really sucks.  The kitchen was told that I was on a heart diet/no dairy.  Every single meal (even the ones I literally ordered face to face with one of the managers) came with dairy and inedible!  

    No joke-I asked for a vegan option and the gentleman looked me in the face and literally said, “we have salmon-will that work for you?“  Sigh.

    Was never so happy as when Steve picked me up and took me home.  Still very sick and weak, but better than when I was put into my hospital room several days before.

    Obviously, the dogs were extremely happy to have me home.  Both are my constant companions-Velcro personified.  Pepper wants in the mix, but the girls keep him relegated to night time cuddles.  He sits on a recliner across from me and stares.

    Steve, poor guy-I’m so weak that I have to take a rest with every activity.  

    Take this morning-got up did my usual personal routine, cleaned the litter box, fed the pets, cut fruit for breakfast and let the dogs out.  Needed a rest.  Broke out into a sweat.  Took me an hour to eat my fruit and oatmeal.

    My beloved two cups of coffee to help get me started in the morning?  No thanks, but as of this morning I actually have had a cup and it didn’t do much to my body.

    Not much of an appetite-lost 8 pounds.  Everyone from Steve to the medical staff keep telling me to eat-I’m honestly doing my best but nothing really appeals to me and when I eat it, it doesn’t really taste that good or go “down” very well.

    Now that I’ve written this-I’m seeing stars.  My GP told me yesterday to give myself a break and realize this is a long term healing situation.  I can’t drive-not enough energy.  

    Valley Fever and the rest suck, but at least I’m almost beginning to believe that this too shall indeed pass and I might be able to join the world of the living soon.

    1 Replies
  • I'm Dying for Alone Time

    Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2017

    If you’ve read this blog even a couple of times you know my family is pretty much my everything.  I love the 4 grands and try and be there to help out 24/7, 365.  This may sound a tad bit excessive, but I know the time spent with them is a privilege most of the time.

    If you‘re a grandparent, you know what I mean by the last four words of that last sentence!

    Our older grands, Dylan and Aidan, are now at that “tween” age.  The times where they are now taller than me (I do realize that at a firm 5’ nothing that’s an easy accomplishment) and their mouths and hormones are making it very difficult for them to behave during our extremely hot Arizona summers.

    Even though we have fantastic amenities here in our outskirts of the outskirts, honestly, they  can’t really use them.  Take this last week-with temps hovering well over 118 and no monsoon to even wet things down, we can’t just say-let’s go to the water park (or the pool, or the splash pads).  Yes, we have “sails” and umbrellas allover the areas but we have the hot sun slicing in sideways ALL day long.

    Truth be told, my 9 a.m. water aerobics class is a great way for me to stay comfortable for at least the hour but all of us tend to do a lot of sweating in that pool-regardless!  One of the perks of this class is that truly, “no one can see you sweat“.

    So what’s a grandma to do?  Aidan asked me to show him how to make banana bread.  I am so NOT turning on an oven.  Poor Steve!  We do a lot of grilling around the old homestead.  I prepare the food, he grills it.  Know what it’s like tending a grill in 118 even at 7 o‘clock at night?

    Back to the boys.  Yesterday (as you can see from the photo I put on here) was magician day at the library.  It was a full auditorium with kids, parents and a lot of my fellow grandparents as well.  Hey, the young man was entertaining, the a/c was cranked up and it was out of the house.  Who in their right mind wouldn’t take advantage of a free event like this one???

    Today, I had to skip my class.  I’m pretty upset by that because it’s my one fun thing to do for me besides walking the pups.  But alas, Adam’s second fridge was just fixed and the computer chip blew right back out and he had to go to work.  Steve’s working on this “day off” as well so I’m here trying to stop the boys from killing each other.  (Chess is supposed to be a calm, thinking game, isn’t it?) I’m also waiting for the “word” that the repair person is on the way and I need to walk down to the other side of the block with the boys to let them in for a third try at making the box cool instead of heat of the food.

    Any bets on how much whining and complaining I will endure during the 2-1/2 minute walk?

    I’m pretty sure the heat will not be the only thing making things miserable...

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  • When the Past Meets the Present

    Posted on Friday, June 16, 2017

    I thought before I wish all the dads in cyberspace a very Happy Father’s Day-I’d tell you about my latest “Blast from the Past” event!  Nothing like one of Stacia Deutsch’s kids time travel books, but still the title fits.

    About two years ago I somehow found a place on my FaceBook site that had some in-read and actually never before known about private messages to me just sitting there!  The others were junk, but one was from my best friend in 3rd and 4th grade!

    They were a Navy family and lived just 3 doors down from my family in Los Alamitos.  There were 4 kids.  The eldest was a girl just my age and we became very fast friends.  Here only brother was about 2 years younger.  Then came her younger sisters that were about the same age as my “little” sister.  All four parents became fast friends as well.   

    Once they moved, we stayed in touch until we were about 17.  Remember, there was no such thing as the internet-just plain old snail mail and dial-up phones.

    Speed up about 40 or so years-and thanks to Google, Facebook and a bit of a nudge from NPR my friend found me!

    We started e-mailing each other after I explained how I had been thinking about her and wondering if I could find her!  We seem to be taking up right where we had left off.

    About three months ago she let me know that she and a close friend would be visiting another friend and hoped we could get together.  We made plans to meet at Steve and my favorite breakfast/brunch place in Scottsdale-Eggstasy.   

    (If any of you are ever in our neck of the woods-this is a must try!  We have two others for your morning meal as well!)

    Believe it or not-outside of looking older, we still look the same.  We could’ve easily picked each other out of a crowd and known that it was us.  Of course my other bestie and I said the same thing.  Thinking about the facts that three women look the same as when they were not even teenagers could either be considered a really good thing or pathetic...

    Back to our day with my past.  “Dede” and I were non-stop chatterboxes and Steve and Dede’s significant other, Gary got along quite well.  We met at 8:30 in the morning and finally had to part at 4 p.m.

    “Had too“, mainly because Adam had been pottying the dogs for us and they now needed to be fed-as did Pepper.  Then we were also booked to watch Jackson and Bryce for the evening while Adam and Sam went out their monthly dinner club/date night!

    It was a wonderful day-only wished we could’ve had more time with them!  Here’s hoping there’s a way in the near future to see my childhood friend again soon!  Since we have no cruise booked in 2018-maybe we’ll plan that anniversary for the east coast?

    And now may I wish a very Happy Father’s Day to any dad/grandpa reading this and especially to my own dad, Steve and our son Adam!

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  • Firmly in the Swim of Things

    Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2017

    Thanks to a stern suggestion from my “knee/shoulder” guy last year, I found water aerobics.   

    Here in the desert we are blessed with quite a bit of sunny pool time weather for much of the year.  I started at the beginning of April last year and continued to all but the very last day at the end of November last year.

    The reason I didn’t go to that last class?  I’m a cold weather weenie.  While our community pool was nicely heated for all of us water “babies” to a comfortable 90 degrees by that point, the outside temperatures on that last of November morning was a very painful 40!

    The week before (my birthday) it was a very perfect and respectable outside temperature of 80 degrees.  That’s how it is here in the Sonoran desert-we can go from sunny and warm one day and switch it for a humid and unbearable monsoon (complete with gale strength winds) or a literal frosty day in under an afternoon.

    This year, the last day of our ever so brief “winter” was hitting a high of 90, so our coach Janet sent us all a note at the beginning of March letting us know that it was time to get out our suits and water shoes and join her for the start of classes.

    Yeah!  The first three weeks it was just one day a week, then we went to twice.  Once all the schools let out around mid-May we were told our class was getting only 2 lanes.  It’s okay-we’ll enjoy the class no matter how much “personal space” there will be surrounding us.

    Since last year our beloved leader, Janet, took some master courses on how to step up the workouts and even managed to get our twice a week classes extended to three days a week for the “shallow” class and keep the one in the evenings for the braver devotees who want to work out in the deep end.

    I know what you‘re thinking-so I’m going to all 4 classes.  No, besides the cold, I’m also a weenie about wearing a floaty belt and trying to get my frail knees, hips and back to work out in 7’ water.  There are certain movements that have my eyes crossing due to the sharp pains that hit those areas in my part of the pool that says, “3‘6““.   

    All that said, I’m still loving the class, the ladies in it and of course our fantastic teacher that gets all of us involved feeling fit and pretty much like regular everyday people who can move just like our much younger and less “challenged” counterparts.

    So, I’m firmly in the “swim of things“.  The only difference from last year is because of my recent skin cancer scare, I’ve moved from 30+ SPF to 50.  Here’s hoping that like last year I’ll still be enjoying it for my 60th birthday and beyond.

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  • I Can't Believe It!

    Posted on Friday, June 2, 2017

    I can’t believe I’m telling you all this, but here it is:

    I forgot it was Friday!

    We’ve had the older grand kids here since Tuesday and Steve and I have been quite busy keeping them out of trouble and occupied.

    As you can tell by the photo of Jungle Jill and the owl-it was the opening of the summer library program and maker camp.

    Tuesday our youngest grandson Jackson made it through his countdown on being potty trained and got his much anticipated and longed for Batman Potty Party.  Wednesday morning, we got the boys up and had breakfast and proceeded to try and get through all the various errands that were on our list of “must dos” for the week.

    Thursday had me up with the dogs at the seemingly new normal time of 5:45.  Did the morning routine and left Steve with the grands to go enjoy my water aerobics class.  He took them to the library and I met up with them there.  Went home to get lunch served, potty dogs and then it was back to the library.

    Steve told the boys if they behaved and didn’t give us grief over nothing, Friday would be a fun day.  The men dropped me off at class and finished a couple of errands and then picked me up.  Off we went to see “Wonder Woman” and then to In-and-out for a late lunch.

    We got home just in time to let the dogs out.  Thank goodness.   

    Since lunch was so late, we‘re waiting for a bit before starting up the grill and making it a Taco Friday dinner.  One of our errands supplied us with some prepared fajita steak for a mere .99 cents a pound and the tortillas were on a BOGO.  Already had the salsa, lettuce and cheese!  Just going to add some avocado slices and add some other veggies to make up a side salad.  Phew!

    Tomorrow Steve goes back to work.  I will take advantage of my pups early wake up call and get them out before the day’s triple digit heat starts up and hubby will have to leave.  We have a couple of good deeds to do and laundry is piling up.   

    No wonder I forgot about posting, summer has just begun and I’m out of time!

    0 Replies
  • The Very Long, Hot Summer

    Posted on Thursday, May 25, 2017

    I can tell, it’s going to be a VERY LONG, HOT SUMMER!

    Picked up the boys at 11:35 yesterday after their last day of school.  Two seconds after entering the car they got into their “usual fight” mode and one, in particular, was deciding that he should go with “sassing” me.

    Got home before noon.  One was hungry.  The other had had a pizza/cupcake party in his class.  Supposedly the other only got goldfish.  Not really believing that line, but went ahead and fed him: a ham (4 oz of ham mind you) and whole wheat sandwich, carrot sticks, a huge apple and water.

    Two hours later-he swore to me he was “starving grandma“.  Okay.  Gave him a bowl of cheerios and 2 s‘more brownies with some hot chocolate.  Figured that should hold him until his mom came.   

    Younger one was now hungry-fed him the same.

    Then came the first meltdown of the summer season.  Sigh.  It was 107 yesterday, so there was NO WAY I was taking them to a park or outdoors.  They had a new checkers/chess set from their great-grandparents that Uncle Adam picked out, so I gave it too them.

    You probably see where I went wrong-I was trusting them to actually cooperate with each other and play the game nicely.  Too much to ask of a 9-1/2 and 10-1/2 year-old.  One started making noises and the other started poking his brother.  I told them to stop, even said take a time-out to re-group, but NO!  They kept at it until one was crying into the dogs’ couch blankets and the other was saying, “It’s his fault, he was making a noise!”

    I took the board/pieces away, shut down the TV and told them we were about to have a “chat“.

    Laid down the rules:

    Meals:  I was not going to feed them 24/7.  They’d get breakfast when needed (i.e.-when their mom had to be at work too early to feed them), a snack, lunch and a last snack before 4.  I was NOT going to be a short order cook.  They’d be given 2 choices:  what I’m offering and go hungry.

    Activities:  Told them at their ages that I should be able to expect good behavior and fairly decent listening skills-park/pool activities would be done and finished before noon.  I was NOT going to sit in triple digit temperatures and drag food and drinks everywhere.

    Whatever special things grandpa and I would do with them would be in direct relation to what behaviors we were dealing with-no way would we take them out in public and be embarrassed.

    If they were spending the night, I’m expecting them to put their dirty clothes in the correct hampers and make their beds in the morning.  There would definitely be the following chores:  cleaning the bathroom they used, helping fold and put away the laundry that they had added to my normal amounts and they could easily help set and clean-up the meals they partook in.

    When they left for the comforts of their mom’s car, I followed them out and let her know about our “chat“.  Seems mom had just had the conversation with them not but the night before!   

    With days always in the triple digits and no indoor activities-save our weekly maker/reading camp at the library, this summer could be one of the longest in history.

    Steve and I hope to get them to the community water park either early morning or late afternoons, we hope to take them to a couple of movies and make use of the library programs as much as possible, but most of all-we‘re hoping to just make it through unscathed until the end of August.

    Pray for us!

    0 Replies