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Carine’s Blog

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  • Bugs and Slugs

    Posted on Friday, December 19, 2014

    Bugs and slugs

    No, I'm not talking about the actual "physical" pests.  I'm talking about things that bug me.

    Here are some that are on the top of my list:

    1-If someone is going to be an idiot and shoot off illegal fireworks in the neighborhood, why wait until everyone is asleep?  Yes, someone in the neighborhood decided to set what was probably their leftover stash that couldn't be used on July 4th (we had the monsoon to beat all monsoons) at midnight Saturday.

    Thankfully, our new found group of vigilantes called the police, who actually came within minutes and put the kibosh on the rest of their notions.  Still, with Steve visiting his sister, the fur kids and I did not sleep well for the rest of that night.  Poor Lucky was giving a pretty good image of the "Chihuahua shake".  Pepper just held onto my head.

    2-Tell me, why does the Post Office equate living in the outskirts of suburbia (a.k.a. The Country) mean that we don't see the carrier delivering mail until after 7:30 at night?

    3-I know that doctors have their hands full this time of the year trying to see every patient who is trying to get their appointments done before New Year's Eve-but why does this mean that I should be on hold for 15 minutes waiting for the "scheduler" to pick up her extension?  This also holds true for the famous Home Depot who couldn't find the employee who left me a message and his extension and then no one could find him in 3 phone calls totaling over 30 minutes of wait time.

    4-(Here's the slug) I've mentioned my PC is now over 7 years old.  Steve has deleted cookies, de-fragmented and "cleaned" up other things that are way above my "pay grade" to understand.  Then he says, "If you'd stop going on so many sites, it wouldn't run so slow."  Well guess what?  If I don't go on to those sites-I don't get the research done for the articles I'm writing.

    5-Another medical "bug"-when getting an MRI, you'd think that they could at least put on a bit of padding for you to lay on, no?  I had to get 2 done all on Tuesday morning.  I was told I'd be in "the tube" for an hour.  Okay.  Do they have any idea what it's like for a person with degenerative/bulging/arthritic discs to lay on a hard plastic table for that amount of time?   The only memory foam I received was the pieces around my ears to keep my head from moving and insulate my ears from the noise.  Oh-while I'm venting, I'm claustrophobic and I know there are such thing as "open" MRI machines, so why is it I never seem to have that option in any of the health facilities that are connected to my insurance carrier?

    And that is all.

    Here's wishing those of us who celebrate Hanukkah a very happy holiday.  May it be filled with health and happiness.  Enjoy your latkes, jelly donuts and brisket!

    And for those who celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa-May you also have the best of the season.

    I've decided to take a break until after New Year's so I hope you all have nothing but safe fun and merry-making!

    Happy Holidays!


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  • Just Call Me Grumpy

    Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014

    Just Call Me Grumpy

    The week was pretty good, really.   Sunday night we went with Adam and Sam to the company holiday party.  Adam won the BIG gift of the evening-50" Visio TV.  Steve won a new drill-he now wants to know where I'll allow him to practice drilling holes into what walls.

    Just so you know, not happening.  One of his co-workers did suggest sarcastically that we re-think replacing the safe that was pulled out of the wall, that way he could drill holes and bolt another one into the same spot.

    That is not happening either-it didn't do us a bit of good the first time.

    By the end of the evening I realized 2 things:  One is that even with my PT working miracles on my sciatic nerve on Friday morning, if I wear my 1-1/2" chunky 10 year old pumps and stand up on them for over an hour, that few moments of less pain goes away.

    By the time we left, I found myself waiting for our car in bare feet and wishing it was already 8 a.m. and that I was back at PT.
    The other thing is that a 50" TV does NOT fit in the back of my sedan.  Poor Adam and Sam had to hold the box in front of them for the 45 minute trip home.

    If you looked at the photos, you'll know that Steve played Santa (very well, despite the groans at his puns) and that we looked pretty good for a couple closer to 60 than ever before!

    Monday and Tuesday were filled with PT, taking the boys to art class, getting a haircut, having lunch with Sarah, getting our security screens checked out (one was a bit "cock-eyed") and Steve leaving to visit the Nadel side of the family that resides in Santa Rosa.

    However, the "grumpy" event has to do with a visit to our lab for my normal 6 week blood work.
    Every time I go there seems to be a shortage of techs, a full room and the worst part:  The 2 techs that are there seem to think that for every patient they see that they deserve a 10 minute break to crab about how much work they have to do!

    Even those who made appointments were joining those of us "walk-ins" at making faces over how long we were sitting there!  The woman next to me said she made an appointment two weeks prior, got there 20 minutes early and had been sitting there 20 minutes after the appointment time!

    Another gentleman looked at me and said, "I'm telling them I'm going to get some coffee at Starbucks and will be back."
    I came prepared with my latest JoAnne Fluke mystery.  My smartphone couldn't get a signal in there, so I was glad that I grabbed it as I turned on the alarm system and left the house.

    After an hour and 10 minutes a tech called me back, drew my blood and then handed me a paper asking me to "rate" my experience.  

    They do this every time.  Every time I come home, log on and rate them.  No one ever calls to apologize, nothing changes and I always wish I could go somewhere (anywhere) else to get this done.

    It's like I say to Steve when he's made me watch a really bad movie and then wants to know if I like it:  No, no I didn't-there's time off my life that I will never get back.


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  • Two Steps Forward

    Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2014

    One Step Forward...

    That Paula Abdul son about "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back" just keeps on sticking in my craw.

    Now that my shoulder moves, my neck and lower back are back to giving me nothing but grief.  I started physical therapy on my spine about a week before being released from the shoulder work.  About half way through the shoulder torture my thumb on that side went into full "trigger" mode.

    Last time that happened I wound up have the other thumb and pointer finger cut into to release those tendons.  This of course led me down the path of discovering that I have a congenital disease called Dupuytren's Contracture.  That, in turn, had me in the OR to have my hand sliced open so the surgeon could rip out the cord in my palm that was pulling my fingers down to my palm.

    I had discussed the trigger thumb with my rheumy at the last appointment.  She was more concerned about the frozen shoulder.  It was more serious, but now the thumb was waking me up because I would try to move it during the night and the ensuing pain would wake me up.

    So at this latest appointment-seeing I am now able to move the shoulder-she injected the thumb with steroids.  The nurse called it my "Hanukah" present.  Seems I can't get away from steroids shots.

    I was told not to use the thumb for a few days.  "It's also going to throb, so use some arnica gel and ice packs."

    I did, but as of now, the thumb is still very painful and it doesn't move all that well.

    PT on the back is also hard work.  Besides the rather painful therapeutic massage I'm being re-trained on how to stand, sit, stoop and after over 40 years of back exercises-I find out that all of it was not doing me any good.  Sigh.  Well, it did some good-I've always had a flat stomach (okay, not during my pregnancies, but I'm pretty sure that was a given).

    So here I am, sore but working shoulder, neck and lower back on fire, sacroiliac giving me pain down to my foot, the hips hurting and a thumb that makes people think I'm trying to hitchhike.

    I made a call to my "shoulder" guy-he has a colleague that does hands.  Off I go to him in a couple of weeks.  And while I'm on the subject of my hand-good news on that!  

    While I noticed a "cord" popping up in the hand that didn't get ripped open-in the 2.3 years since the first surgery the medical profession has found a way to get rid of the problem via some sort of injections which will melt the threads and make them dissolve.

    Looking forward to this less invasive way of having full use of my hand.

    One thing that's good about me, I'm not afraid of needles.  

    Steve and I also decided we had to do something about our spectacle situation.  His were a mess from leaving them wherever he dropped them.  Mine-well, I've had them for 8 years and since the first car accident and black out, I've noticed I'm not getting as much out of my implants as I once had.

    Love the new optometrist-she's practical, thorough and quite friendly.  Steve managed to get 2 pairs for both sun and daily wear.  I however-well, it appears that conk on the head and my disc problems have worked their way into creating a problem with my view of the world.

    Of course:  new frames, prisms in the lenses and then all the bells and whistles I had in my old glasses.

    I decided that since I'm making the change that I'll have glasses that will match my car.  Yes, I'm going candy apple red.

    Why not?  I'm thinking all that red will remind people on the road to STOP short of coming near me.


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  • Thankful

    Posted on Friday, November 28, 2014

    Thankful

    Here's hoping that you're Thanksgiving was a great one and that you are able to relax and enjoy some leftovers for the rest of the week!

    Ours was filled with both food and fun at watching the boys.  This was Jackson's first go at eating Thanksgiving dinner.  

    Just like his cousins, he has a hearty appetite and a big sweet tooth.  Show Jackson a bowl of anything that looks like ice cream (a definite trait of grandpa's) and he's all in.  That includes whipped cream-of course.  I think he liked the mashed potatoes because of how they looked.

    Our new dining room table was just the ticket-no need to borrow chairs, everyone at the same table and enjoying the fruits of the joint family labors.

    Alex offered to brine the turkey.  Picking it up during his lunch hour on Wednesday, he brought it over EARLY on Thursday morning for Steve to hoist into the top oven.   Sarah made a pear and pecan stuffing and brought rolls.
    Poor Sarah though, as she was bringing over the pan of stuffing before trying to take in a movie with the boys-Aidan grabbed the holder and while trying to help her, tripped!  That sent the stuffing and Aidan to the ground.  

    No movie for them-they had to get to Wal-Mart to re-buy ingredients and make a quick re-do.

    Sam provided the roasted green bean/beet and goat cheese side along with her popular red cabbage slaw.  I hosted, so we did the turkey, the jellied and whole cranberry sauces, my famous/traditional mashed potatoes and drinks.   I made a chocolate/banana/pumpkin bread as well.   Alex's mom ordered pumpkin and bourbon pecan pies from a pretty famous pie place that just happens to be about 7 miles up the road, Rock Springs CafĂ©.

    I'm not proud-I purchased Thanksgiving themed paper products as soon as Wal-Mart put them out and Sam brought the "plastic ware" leftover from last year.

    This year has seen a lot of changes that we are thankful for:
    Alex's health returning, the use of my right shoulder (next year I hope to say this about my spine!), the boys growing and being healthy, the fact that our fur babies were NOT hurt during the break-in in September.   We're also thankful that while we lost some very sentimental items during the robbery that cannot be replaced we still have each other.

    We're also thankful for Safeguard turning our humble abode into Ft. Knox.   It takes me about 10 minutes of prep time to get out of the house, but I'm grateful for feeling safe when I walk in the door.

    Here's hoping what's left of 2014 turns out to be a good one for all of our families, our friends and considering what we hear in the news-let's hope our world we'll have improvements in the near future.


    2 Replies
  • Another Year Has Flown By

    Posted on Friday, November 21, 2014

    Another Year Older

    Surprisingly enough, I think this birthday (#57) is actually an improvement over last year.  Not a lot, but I at least now have almost full motion in my previously frozen right shoulder/arm.  Plus, despite the intense pain in my spine-the same physical therapists are working on trying to improve my back as well.

    On the actual day, I woke up at the ungodly hour of 6:25 (I swear it was made worse by the 48 degrees of gale outside) and hobbled to PT.  Because it was my "special day", I was treated to one 20 minutes of exercise, 15 minutes on moist heat and then about 25 minutes of them working to help ease the pain in my spine.  

    Some call it "therapeutic" massage-I call it pain.  But, it will be worth it when I feel better without the use of an epidural.  I'm figuring if they're half as successful with this as they were the shoulder I'm going to be very happy.

    Until then, if any of you watch "Dancing With the Stars" and saw Alfonso Rubiero crying from the pain in his back after he was through dancing-you have seen the way I go through life.  

    It's not pretty.

    After that, Adam and Jackson took me to brunch.  Poor Jackson didn't have the best of mornings either.  Adam took him to the doctor's for a checkup-where he remembered getting shots and his ears washed out.  Adam said he cried non-stop for the entire hour.  It culminated with another ear washing and another booster shot.  

    Normally he blows kisses to everyone and waves good-bye.  He did NOT do that to anyone there.

    By the time we got to breakfast he was back to his happy self and ate an entire plate of chocolate chip pancakes and threw kisses to everyone in the restaurant.

    It's a matter of timing.

    Once home I found that almost my entire Face Book list wished me happy birthday, I had voice mail from family members and my youngest nephew phoned me!

    Our daughter had called the night before because she had to be at work early.  She also wished me a cute Happy Birthday/short joke on Face Book.  It appears since osteoporosis and age have set in Sarah is now a full half foot taller than I am.

    Sigh.

    The rest of my week was filled with doctor's appointments of various kinds-seems that the medical profession feels you need to been seen just to check that you're not falling down the rabbit hole of life as you get closer and closer to 60.

    Besides getting older, we've officially been in Arizona for 2 years now.  Time flies, no?

    One last thought:  Happy Thanksgiving to you all-may it be blessed with health, happiness and just the right amount of family dysfunction.


    3 Replies
  • Traveling and Bad Backs Don't Mix

    Posted on Friday, November 14, 2014

    Travel is Over-rated

    Don't get me wrong-I love my family in CA.  Love having time with my daughter and grandsons BUT driving for over 6 hours with my various health issues is simply NOT a fun experience.

    We took off early-only Lucky had eaten.  Sarah and I did drive-through a Starbucks and get some coffee for the first part of the drive.  Our plan was to get to Palm Springs and have brunch before finishing up the journey into Orange County.

    Of course with two women, two little boys and a Chihuahua we had to make a couple of "pit stops".  Considering the coffee-only stopping twice was pretty good.  The fighting in the back seat was NOT.  I also didn't enjoy the constant stepping on my seat belt.

    "I'm not grandma, it's your imagination."  Do you have any idea how many times we said, "Stop being a sass mouth"??

    Lucky was an angel.  Really.  Almost.

    As we got closer to Palm Springs, I googled "Dog-friendly restaurants".  We decided on "Cheeky's".  It was perfect.  Weather was 80 degrees, patio was covered, and food was all organic and homemade.  They even brought Lucky a bowl of water.  

    Then came the Schnauzer.  Sigh.  Lucky was not pleased.  All 5-1/2 pounds of her went from adorable to scrappy in a matter of seconds.  

    Fortunately, we had just finished eating.  We paid the bill and left.  Didn't even make another trip to the bathroom.  We decided it would be more prudent to use the facilities at the Morongo Reservation gas station while filling the tank.

    Once at my sister's, we started our family-filled weekend.  Mostly-my part was visiting with my parents and sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  I was able to see a close friend and colleague on Saturday afternoon, but otherwise it was pretty much:  eat, walk the dog, eat, walk the dog (you're seeing the pattern by now).  

    As you probably noticed, the boys spent time with their cousin Jonathon and Uncle Dave learning the finer points of building tall buildings with blocks.

    Before we knew it, we were back in the car and on the way home.  My back and neck killing me, boys fighting and Lucky being an angel again.

    It's always wonderful to see family but even more wonderful to get home.  I missed Steve, I missed Pepper and I missed seeing our son, daughter-in-law and Jackson.  We all had a quick dinner at Denny's (hey, kids eat free on Tuesdays) and then home.

    Aahhh. Now off to physical therapy.


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