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Carine’s Blog

  • Fate and Friendship

    Posted on Thursday, March 10, 2016

    When I was in about 4th grade a wonderful Navy family moved into a home just a few doors down from us.  Nice couple who had a daughter my age, then came the lone boy of the kids, and two toddler girls who were pretty close to my sister’s age.

     Dede and I got a long well and were in each other’s class at school.  Our sister’s had a good time together as well.  I’d say you could call us “besties“.  It was a sad day when their dad got transferred and they moved to London!  

     After London, they came back to California-but to Coronado, a beautiful little island right off San Diego.  I visited several times, so did my parents and we stayed in touch until they moved to Virginia and we were teens.

     A few months ago, don’t know why, I started thinking of her and the family and wondered where they were and what they were all doing.  I even tried looking her up on Face Book and Linked In.

     Turns out-Dede had somehow found one of my articles on the internet and knew that with my name that it had to be me.  Had no idea that my maiden name was even included on some of the stories floating around out there in cyberspace!

     That perked her interest and she found me on both Face Book and Linked In-BUT (weirdness) for some reason-I never saw her note to me until almost a year later!!!  Don’t even know what I did but there was her note dated almost twelve months prior to my spotting it.

     I sent her notes everywhere-FB, LinkedIn, the e-mail addy she had put on one of her notes and then, I waited.

     Her reply came a day or so later!

     We caught each other up on our lived over the last 45+ years.  Turns out she has a good friend that lives in Scottsdale, not that far from where we live!  

     This is what I love about the internet-I’ve re-connected with so many good friends over the last few years!  My bestie from the time we were 5, two of my bridesmaids and my best friend from college-as well as my best friend from junior and senior high school.  Lots of other good friends as well.

     Let’s face it-as we all are aging, it’s fun to find out how many of us are doing, what has happened both good and bad in our lives and sharing it all with people who have known us longer than our spouses.  

     Here’s to fate, may it long continue!

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  • This Time Better Be the Last

    Posted on Thursday, March 3, 2016

    I didn’t enjoy February with the first round of this horrible “sickness“.  And after only a slight reprieve of a week before the “thing” hit me again, twice as bad-I’m not enjoying the beginning of March either.

    When it first hit me last Thursday, I was determined NOT to let it get out of hand and go further than just some weekend misery.  However, that was so NOT to be because by Friday morning I was not only sweating and freezing at the same time from my fever of 101 (this from a woman whose norm is a firm 97.3), I also had white pockets lining my throat, various colors of gross stuff coming out of my facial holes, my neck was killing me and the bags under my eyes were as dark as the chafed and blistered skin on my face.

    I knew I needed to see a doctor, however I was in no condition to drive, Steve had to go to work (he was also trying to stay as far away from me as possible), Adam and Sarah were almost as sick as I was and dear Sam was just trying to keep herself from falling victim while taking care of the kids-so I was doomed to wait until Tuesday when Steve finally had a day off.

    On Tuesday (now on day #5 of my fever), Steve drove me to urgent care (what not your GP you ask? Funny side bar in a bit) and stayed in the car to avoid being around an entire waiting room of sick people.

    The nurse remembered me.  The doctor remembered me.  Both were not amused that I was back with a much worse re-lapse.  Yep, upped the ante I did.  I went from the flu strain B, bronchitis and a sinus infection to:  strep, bronchitis, sinus, gland infections along with the flu strain B.

    Because of my RA-the course of action was to give me a shot of antibiotics right there and then (nurse said he only does that for his really sick patients) gave me a prescription for a double antibiotics and a stern warning to drink a lot of fluids, rest and if I didn’t get better within 48 hours come back because his fear was that I’d slide into pneumonia.

    Great.  Just great.

    Thankfully by the next afternoon I finally hit my normal on the thermometer.  By Thursday I had significantly lessened my need to have a box of Kleenex attached to my body along with the needed “snot” bag taped to it.

    As of this moment, I can’t possibly say I’m doing great-but I’m pleased that I actually slept for a couple of hours and my fever is still gone.

    Really, really hoping that I continue to improve at an even keel.  Breathing without a wheeze would be so nice.

    Never, ever take good health for granted.  My goal is to be on stable ground with clear lungs, a pink throat, sinuses that don’t feel as if they‘re coming off my skull and glands that are of normal size by the time we leave for our 35th anniversary cruise.

    On the “funny” reason I didn’t go to my GP on Tuesday-I tried 4 times to call the office.  Why 4?  Well each time they said to choose one of 4 extensions.  Every time I tried one it would answer that “You have reached an invalid extension please try again” and then it hung up!  

    Frustrated, sick and tired-I decided that having Steve drive me down and just sit there in the lobby was my best bet at getting treatment.

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  • I Hate Being Sick

    Posted on Friday, February 26, 2016

    Having a compromised immune system really sucks.

    It all started when Adam and I were hanging out Monday.  He started to have that annoying cough.  Felt fine, just coughing.  Then I heard from Sarah-for the third time we were having to postpone our yearly “birthday kidnap” because Dylan was running a fever and coughing.  

    Tuesday Steve and I spent some time with Adam, Jackson and Bryce and then used some freebie movie passes to see Race (an excellent film about Jesse Owens) and to use a Groupon for a Sports/Hamburger place in Old Town Scottsdale.

    Wednesday came rolling along and I had to take Dylan to the doctor’s-his fever broke but he sounded the way I did last month.  Luckily, it was just a very annoying cough.

    Problem with all this?  Despite my having had “it” and having had my annual flu shot-my RA still renders me rather frail when I go around sickies.  And there I was-had no idea until Wednesday that poor Adam was running a fever and had the flu (yes, he had the flu shot-for what it appears to be worth). Also, I don’t think it did me much good to be sitting in the pediatrician’s office in the “sick” area.


    Boys arrived early and excited Thursday morning.  We went to breakfast, went to the Arizona Science Center (as you can see they really love creating dams from the picture below) and then as we were nearing the last exhibit (various vacuums/balls/air shooters) I realized that my skin hurt.

    That is so NOT a good sign.  Then I started to have a very low gravelly voice and by the time we got to our  dinner destination-I had to admit I was SICK.

    Yep-by the time we got back to our home I was coughing, throat on fire and per our thermometer I was running a fever of almost 101.  Considering my usual temp is a firm 97.3, I gave up and got into my pjs, took meds and almost made it through The Martian.  

    Now personally I feel that since I was on death’s door on January 31-through practically Valentine’s Day this is just not fair.

    Excuse me, but I’m going to go grab more hot tea.  It seems this is my week to watch the boys until 5:30 tonight.  

    I haven’t even taken anything out for dinner.  Here’s hoping Steve wants to stop at the only Chinese food place in Anthem that serves quite mediocre food and will bring home his favorite fried rice for him and wanton soup for me.

    That is all-I need to go get more tea.

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  • The Loss of Someone Special

    Posted on Thursday, February 18, 2016

    Kari (last name deliberately being left off) was one of our parents in our Day Care years ago.  She came to us via another of our great families.  She and her then husband really wanted children and went through quite a bit to become pregnant with their first son Ryan.  Kari, always a tall, beautiful lady with a huge smile and heart was a joy to see walking in every morning.

     When Tyler, number 2 son, came along, they were all definitely part of our “extended” family.  They were wonderful boys.  

     Not that it made a hoot of difference to anyone but Kari had alopecia-so she was always creating the most beautiful ways with various fabrics to adorn her head.   Regal, elegant-that’s how I remember her, as well as her talents as a mom.

     When she became pregnant with her third son, Cooper, I was in a pretty sad state with my RA and let everyone know of our shutting down the center.  We were all crushed, but alas, there was no choice in the decision.

     We stayed in touch through the years, her seeing that I was finally using my writing talents, her starting her own business with her head-dressing skills.  Then her posts tapered off and we moved out here to AZ.  Lost track.

     I had no idea that she and Adam friended one another until his phone call last night.

     He said he thought it was cancer.  I reminded him that she had always been quite healthy that her lack of hair was not something fatal.  Then I read the memorial invitation asking that in lieu of flowers would people please donate to City of Hope.

     Kari was in her early 40’s, her kids now teens.  I wanted to send condolences but there was no page to post.  I went in circles for a while trying to find a way to send a note to the boys that, no doubt, don’t remember their day care provider, but I did my best.

     A beautiful soul, a wonderful woman and mom and she’s gone.

     Years ago I read a poem that said, “How long you’ll be missed“:

     Get a bucket and fill it water, put your hand in it up to your wrist, pull it out and the hole that’s remaining is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.

     You may splash all you please when you enter, you may stir up the water galore, but once out you’ll see quite quickly it will look quite the same as before.”

     With Kari-this is simply not so.  She will be missed by so many and our memories and stories will make sure she’ll live on.

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  • Worst is Over

    Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2016

    As you know from last week’s post-I’ve been really sick.  This thing was and is awful.

    Made it somehow through the company, the cooking and kept breathing-it was not an easy task.  I made it as easy as possible on myself.  Steve grilled two nights and I took help from bags of cole slaw and chips as well as a pre-cut bowl of fruit.  Breakfast?  Grab a bowl of cereal folks or everyone decide on eggs with or without toast.

    By the time Tuesday afternoon’s drop-off happened, I felt like dropping off myself.  

    Wednesday I committed to meeting up with my walking buddies at the usual appointed time.  It was quite warm-our winter is officially over and we‘re enjoying mid-80’s and warm breezes-so I didn’t even wear the usual outer clothing.  

    However as I rounded the corner to the last mile, we all noticed that I could barely talk, the wheezing was audible and I had to confess to seeing a multitude of stars.  I made it home, but spent the next two hours sitting at the table with hot lemon and honey and the newspaper trying to focus on something other than inhaling without pain.

    It turned out to be my turning point!  This morning it was even warmer, so out I went and even though it was still tough, breathing wasn’t as bad and I was still able to move in a fairly normal fashion.

    I even talked to a lovely gentleman for an upcoming profile.  It was our third attempt at this chat.  He had to cancel because he had caught “it“.  Then I had it.  We couldn’t even blame each other for sharing the horrendous germ, as we are in different states.

    We did agree this is/was a nasty one and that despite the antibiotics, fluids and rest-we still were working on getting over it.

    Something to be said for resting.  Also-something to be said for asking for help.  Steve was great at grilling the proteins, Aidan set the table one night and Dyl the next.  My sister-in-law just grabbed a French knife and helped cut some needed items for the various “help yourself” portions of dinner.

    It will probably take me a couple of more weeks to ditch the cough and fatigue, but thank goodness that at least the worst is over.  

    Word to the wise:  do not get whatever it is-trust me, you don’t want it.

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  • Down for the Count

    Posted on Thursday, February 4, 2016

    It was all planned.  Our yearly “kidnap” with Dylan and Aidan for their birthday.  Breakfast, AZ Science Museum and a fun sports themed restaurant for dinner.  Groupons purchased, times set.

    And then “it” happened.  Ugh.  Sunday at three a.m. I woke up with a throat on fire.  Red, white “dots” and a headache.  That was the day of their actual birthday party.  I was still unwilling to admit I was sick.

    I said it was the cold, dry air.  I said it was my allergies.  By the time Sarah dropped me off at home later that afternoon I was still fighting the idea that my auto-immune disease had gotten me, again.

    Nothing says sick quite the way RA does.  One minute you‘re feeling healthy (for a person with an immune disorder) and the next-death is upon you.

    Still, I made dinner for Steve and I, fed the animals and even put up the dishes and a load of laundry.

    At 8:30 I asked Steve for hot tea and honey.  He said, “Tea?  With honey? Just how sick are you?”

    I only drink hot tea when I’m about to go belly up for the coming week.  After the tea, I went to bed.  Thanking both Steve and God for the adjustable bed so I could breathe should I fall asleep.

    In the morning I said “I’m staying in my pjs, I’ve cancelled both my interview and Lucky’s vet appointment.  I’m going to flood my system and rest and pray that this just disappears and we don’t have to cancel our day out with the boys.”

    No such luck.  By the time Steve called to say he was leaving work for home I told him it was eggs and toast for dinner or he could bring it home.  He brought home dinner, throat lozenges, nose spray and I think he handed over to me via a 10’ pole.

    It was raining Monday or I would have gone to the doctor’s.  I was also running a fever.  I thought I was actually dead for a bit because Steve had gone and purchased us one of those fancy, schmancy thermometers that you scan your forehead to get a reading.  It told me I was running 77.1.

    Turns out that it works much more accurately if you take the lid off of it first.  

    Did I mention I’m really sick????

    Tuesday morning Steve had a dental appointment in the same complex as my GP.  I carpooled with him.  Sat in the lobby for an hour and the room for another hour.  Steve got his chipped tooth fixed faster than I saw the doctor.

    Given the puss pockets, red streaks and sandpaper feeling in my throat, I was guessing strep.  Turns out it was a severe sinus infection with some upper bronchial  problems.  My throat was a by-product of the sinus pain.  

    Doctor sent me home with a 10 day prescription of some high-powered antibiotic, said to force fluids, use a humidifier, rest and postpone the kidnapping for a couple of weeks.

    Two days later I was still in “dying” mode.  Face was coming off the front of my cranium, my lungs felt as if I had been kicked by one of the wild burros running around at the part and now-my face was totally chapped and red from the nose blowing.  

    I figured I was no longer contagious, so I finally put on some clothes and went to pick up my new glasses.  They‘re a lot lighter than the old ones and I can see better.  However, final adjusting will come once my face isn’t quite so “beautiful“.

    The only improvement I’m feeling is that my throat is no longer on fire.  I’ve replaced that feeling with the lovely bronchial cough I’m prone too whenever I get ANYTHING.

    Did I mention-I HATE SICK!

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