Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ho, Ho, Oh, Hell

WELL --- HELL ya, I've fallen off the radar.

Excy had emergency surgery on Christmas Eve. As I mentioned, he went in on his birthday ( the 22nd) to see what this stomach trouble was all about, and ended up discovering his colon was twisted. They did a few icky tests in an attempt to keep him from surgery until Monday, but by Wed. he was in bad shape again. He woke me up Thursday to inform me after he went to get feed for our geriatric horse, we were going to the ER. (Excy always puts the horses first and I've learned the man is stubborn.) He went to surgery 6:30 p.m after a long day in the ER. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best, and so far our prayers are answered.

He doesn't have a 'bag,' anyway. The real test will be in a day or two when his bowls 'wake up' and we see if everything will keep sewn up and working properly. It will be two weeks before we can breath easy. So he's lying in the hospital, a tube down his throat to his stomach, and an incision 9 inches long, unable to do much more than get in a chair. I am told to get him walking down the hall tomorrow.

Since I am spending most of my time there, then driving back to the 'ranch' to do the animal and other chores, plus taking care of his 87 yr old deaf dad (much like taking care of a 3 yr old), until he flies out Tuesday, I won't be back on for a few days or as long as it takes to get Excy back home, which could be a week longer.

So bear with me, and I will write and get back to you when life gets more normal.....I am hoping that we can celebrate his BD and our Christmas on New Year's.

PS: He found out on Monday the 21st he has a heart aorta that must be replaced. We see that surgeon January 8, and only hope it can be put off for awhile.......gadzooks. When it rains, it pours.....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Surprise? Not

Excy's getting the latest I-phone and apps for Christmas. Concerned he might read this and find out? Don't be. He's never read my blog -- I think he thinks it's a diary -- (yeah, one lots of people read, duh). Besides, he already knows. I tried to field the inevitable em and UPS package but to no avail. I couldn't send it to the p's because then I'd worry if it didn't arrive or they wouldn't be home, or there would be confusion, or something. I'm no good at lack of control. Sometimes I work on this fault, sometimes not. But even though Excy knows about it, he actually told me he's "excited" which is a first - Excy doesn't get excited about 'things.' I'm glad. I saved up forever and he's wanted one since they first came out.

But he's predictable in his gift desires -- great Scotch, real Vermont maple syrup, a B&N gift card, lemon curd, stuff like that always is welcome...I wanted something on his 62nd birthday, today, (which he is spending getting a CT scan, the only time they could arrange one), giving him something he couldn't predict. I ordered some real lamb's wool mocs. At the store I told the salespeople they were a gift, and had the woman write on the slip that they were a gift and when they called they needed to say "your shoes are ready" or something like that. So I was royally pissed when Excy came up to me laughing after answering the phone last week to announce that "his mocs are in."

I told him his 'surprise' was I wasn't giving him his presents until January. I told the salespeople I didn't appreciate the call. "No one told me" whined big-mouth. Wouldn't he think new shoes just might be a gift when ordered in December?? Geez....Maybe from now on he'll exercise a degree of caution......

We go pick up Excy's dad flying in from Santa Fe, go out to dinner for Excy's BD, and tomorrow I'm arranging flowers for Christmas at church and then cooking for Christmas Eve. I will steal back here sometime, but for those of you who don't, Merry Christmas and all blessings to you and yours.....and happy holidays to those of you not celebrating Christmas! There is a reason Four Christmases is so popular one can't rent it this time of year......And for those of you practicing other religious faiths, happy everything! And......

Monday, December 21, 2009

S is all Wet

I am awarding the loofa gloves to S., for her true story, which should make you LOL, as I did. For some reason she cannot post a comment on my blog, so sent this in an email after reading my post:

Lisa Marie's comment about her torn-up loofa on a stick ending up stuck in her bum reminded me of the following true story about myself:

For many years, we had a plant hanging in our bathroom window right next to the shower. I can't recall the exact variety, but it was one of those similar to an airplane plant, which grows on really long vines and has little 'babies.' At the time, several vines reached the floor, hanging down about 5 feet or so. One morning I stepped out of the shower and was drying off. I worked my way from top to bottom, and finished by bending over to dry off my lower legs and feet. I stood back up and began walking to the sink. All of a sudden, I felt a very hard 'tug' on my body, and glanced into the large bathroom mirror to see that I now had a very long green 'tail.' While bent over, I had caught one of the plant's vines between my 'cheeks' and when I stood up they had tightened around it. What made this even more embarrassing was that my husband had witnessed the whole thing. I am occasionally still teased about this. Brings a new meaning to the term 'butt of the joke.'

Thanks to all for the stories...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Nerd

In an article I read about Robert Pattison, that lead actor in the Twilight saga (perhaps you've heard of him or of the movie), the interviewer called Pattison a 'nerd' because he "is never without a book in his hand, a piece of music on his mind, or a movie he wants to share." Excuse me? To my way of thinking he's just described me, most of my friends and family, and many of the fellow bloggers I read -- and I certainly do not consider any of us 'nerds,' by any means.

Perhaps the writer meant to say we are not screaming teenagers clutching texting devices in our hands with vampires on the brain...*

*I don't get the frenzy over this dude at all. To me he seems an awkward boy with bad hair. But then, I've always gone for older men.

The Tribe has Spoken -- and Fab Finds Friday

Thanks everyone for your thoughts re: botox. It was a whim influenced by the freebie and M. saying how fabulous it is not to have a furrowed brow for awhile -- I will talk to the spa people and try to barter. If not, M. will get a fabulous present!

Fab Finds Friday, for those of you who are rather new to this blog, are things I have used forever and really like -- have held up though the years. These all work for me. And I am not anywhere important or influential enough to be a 'shill' for a manufacturer or anything like that!

This Friday I am touting the loofa shower gloves I have used for a decade now -- not the same ones, of course, though they do last forever -- They are easy to slip off and on, lather up nicely, and the light scrub you feel from using them makes you feel cleaner than a wash cloth and more polished. Also, they are easier to wash out and dry more quickly than a wash cloth.

In the spirit of the holidays, I will send a free pair to the person who makes a comment to this post that makes me laugh out loud. I will make a decision Monday and post the comment and link the blog.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To Bo - Tox or Nox?

Yesterday I got a call from the day spa I frequent, mainly for pedicures. Last time I was there they were having clients enter in drawings. Seems I won something. I got real excited when the receptionist told me I won $250 worth of -- now I was really stoked -- what for it -- Botox. Oh. My. Well. I'd have to think this over. Twenty cc's worth, whatever that means to the initiated.

It's not that I've never considered it before. But pumping toxins into my face to plump out the lines just hasn't seemed like my thing. I'm not sayen' my face is unlined. But I don't think it looks lined enough for me to do something that seems a bit drastic. I've seen The Real Housewives of (fill in blank here except for the Atlanta bunch, who strike me as particularly vacuous and obnoxious), gripping the arms of a chair and digging in their nails as the needle is injected into their forehead...

Hummmmm. Maybe I do need some work. Maybe I shouldn't wait until I resemble a sharpei. I definitely wouldn't want so much I wouldn't have expression. Hummmm. My SIL suggests I see if they will barter for product rather than the Botox treatment. Excy scoffs that I would even think about it. To tell the truth, I wouldn't - only this is being handed to me on a silver platter. My friend M., who has had it several times, is jealous, so I told her she could come with me and use most of it, that if I do it at all, it'd just be for the furrows between my eyebrows...

I will do some web research. In the meantime, I'd like to hear from you, dear readers. So I am putting it to a vote. Here is a photo I had Excy take of me in the harshest light this afternoon. What do you think? I'll go with the majority.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just Your Everyday Annoyance

Hi everybody. Thanks for the good thoughts. Sorry to be MIA so long. Between being sick and wrestling with extra appts. and all the other whirlwind/chaos that ruffles one's life through the holidays, I thought I'd never get back. I won't be able to post again until the weekend, but it won't be for lack of trying until I can get on an even keel again...and then I'll get to everyone else's blogs.

My next few posts will reflect some of what has occurred. I am going to rant, some. No news to anybody reading, but, modern life has just gotten so annoying. Complicated. People so rude. Seems that people dealing with others for a living (receptionists, clerks, etc.) aren't even making a faith effort not to appear rude. Not having a regular job-job, with limited trips to town, provides a buffer against a bit of this, I suppose, and helps me muscle through when confronted with it. Sometimes, though, I think being somewhat insulated makes the rudeness feel fresh, like a slap on the face, because I've forgotten most of the world of strangers one is forced to interact with can sometimes be so inept, so incompetent, or so just plain rude it hits you up the side of the head....

For example. Feeling ill last Thursday afternoon, I cancelled seeing An Education with friends and drove home to find that one of my doctor offices called to confirm I had something nasty ( a UTI. If you don't know what this is, you're probably a man. If you're a woman and still don't know, good for you. I hope you never have to find out), and needed antibiotics, but had to drive back into town to pee in a cup before I could get meds. Since it was 3 p.m. when they called and I wasn't home yet, Excy said that wouldn't happen that day, and it was agreed upon they'd send the orders to the lab and I could go tomorrow when I made it back to town. (An hour's drive round-trip just to pee in a cup. Sigh).

When I get home I go to bed and sleep from 5 p.m. to 11:30 a.m. When I finally drag back to town, the receptionist at the lab ruffles briefly through some papers and says she hasn't any orders for me. WTF?! The doctor's office closes at noon on Fridays and it's 2:30 p.m. The receptionist calls up, gets no one, and shrugs. She says I can go up to the office to see if anyone's still there (though they didn't answer the phone). I trudge off and sure enough, it's closed up and dark. I go back to the lab. This receptionist sees me every month or two. I'm referred to there as 'a regular.' She still treats me with utter disregard and indifference every time I'm in there, though I am always friendly and courteous to her. I don't take offense. She treats everyone that way. I have tried to be super-pleasant. Nothing's worked so far. (Note to self: resort to my time-honored bribe for difficult medical personnel -- my goodie bag. An arsenal of skin-care treats and lip balms I hand out.)*

This woman is deaf to my reasoning that the order will come though--that I live 65 miles away--I don't have a kidney and am facing a transplant and can't wait a weekend for the meds--surely she sees the gravity of the situation--you can't risk kidney failure for this--Again she shrugs. She's a stone. A fat squatting toad. Who would have slammed that stupid frosted glass divider in my face if a tech hadn't been standing behind her listening to all this. This tech took pity on me and said she'd talk to someone to see what she could do. Thank you for an angel in the office. Within minutes I got my culture taken. By the time I got to the car, Excy said the doctor had just run into the building. So we waited a few minutes to ambush him on the way back out and got my script. Disaster averted.

Why is this kind of anxiety and stress 'the norm?' No wonder we're all worn-out by the end of the day....

* I'm all for 'whatever works' -- and the goody bag bribes work nicely. Through the years I've melted the heart of the coldest iron maiden/man, and have gotten quicker appointments, faster MRIs, less wait times, etc.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I B Sick

In 48 hours in bed, this is what I've seen:

sunrise, sunset, moon rise, bare trees in the woods, squirrels gamboling through tree branches and thundering across the metal roof of the bedroom, all manner of birds at the 'bird tree' (a cedar stob that holds 4 feeders), bluebirds checking out their box (they roost there when it's cold), Phoenix climbing the screen on the porch, Scat taking a sun bath, Lenny and Togo racing each other up the cat walk to sit under the skylight on a beam, skunks eating sunflower seeds on the ground, raccoons skating on the ice of the koi pond, a baby coon playing with an acorn on the skylight like a toddler plays with a ball, cows from
Angelo's pasture walking the fence line, a coyote slinking through the woods, a stray cat rolling in the dirt, birds skittering from trees to the ground like falling leaves, clouds wafting by wispy and low and looking like snow....

here's what I've heard: cows lowing, horses nickering and whinnying, birds singing, cussing, and warning each other, cats purring, talking, and fighting, Scat throwing up, owls hooting in the woods, wind soughing through the trees, raccoons growling and bickering, skunks squealing, the rubbery whoosh of tires on the road, the hum and whirr of the heating system, a movie
Excy is watching in the old part of the house.

And now, so you don't think I've gotten too poetic, I have to drive into town and go pee in a cup.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mr. Grannnnnnt!

When I was growing up, I liked to watch Marlo Thomas in That Girl. But I wanted to be Mary Richards from Mary Tyler Moore.

I rented all the MTM episodes this fall from Netflix, in order by season, and was pleasantly surprised at how well they've held up through time. In fact, in some ways they were more enjoyable, because I was relating to them as an adult, not a tween or teenager. Before Sex and the City, there was Mary, Rhoda and Phyllis. Not as raunchy or sexually explicit, but sexually active and single in the city. Mary was classy, independent, strong, had a fabulous apartment, and she had a rewarding job she turned into a career. She had fabulous clothes. She was loyal to her friends. I had little idea at the time I was watching in the '70s what a subliminal influence Mary was, but when I look back on it now, I see parallels. I moved to the city. Worked in the media. Am a clothes horse......

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Helloooooo, Gorgeous!

Thanks 'krimmyk' for the cute 'lil award....I am to send this on to six other bloggers, and tell six things you cannot possibly know about me. Without further ado, here's the list of bloggers I'd like to pass this along to:

The girls over at Life Laugh Latte, who are always up to something....

E. at Wrestling with Retirement for her unfailing good humor...

D. at Stroke of Living, which personally, I think of as Stroke of Insight, for her sharp observances...

C. at Tales from My head 'cause she's a hoot...

E. at Life in Progress for her funny observations, and

B. at Plain 'ole Bob, 'cause he's just plain 'ole wonderful....

Six things:

1) I have an invisible car. Seriously, found that out today when at least six people pulled in front of me while I was blasting down the woman I swear was applying mascara and pulling up her pantyhose or something...

2) I never cry at Hallmark movies. (If I watch at all). But I do choke up at the commercials...

3) If I thought the cats wouldn't revolt, I'd get a 'teacup' piglet. They're adorable.

4) I read very, very fast.

5) I'm horrible at math. Thank god for calculators and those 'tip sheets' I keep in my billfold.

6) I love horror movies, but only the alien/monster ones. If it's a slasher or a weirdo I can't handle the reality.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Everyday Miracles

I’ve lived with vHL since my first surgery in 1984. After 25 years and 11 major surgeries I’m facing imminent kidney surgery to remove a remaining ‘remnant’ of a kidney, then dialysis, and then a transplant. We have spent a year preparing for this, lining up the surgeons, getting a donor tested out, funds lined up, We have done everything we can do. Now it’s time to leave it up to a higher power. I feel lucky in general – lucky to have been on my own ‘kidney power’ as long as I have – lucky to have a friend willing to make this huge sacrifice for me -- lucky to have friends willing to chair my nonprofit kidney account – lucky to have people willing to contribute to it – lucky to have the doctors involved that we do -- the list goes on and on.

I understand the surgery to remove the remnant is a ‘tricky’ one, since they’ve been inside my abdomen four times and there’s a lot of scar tissue. The possibility of a hard recovery on top of dialysis looms before me. If I think about it too hard it freaks me out. I’ve always told my husband Excy that dialysis is one thing that I’ve dreaded from the beginning of this cancer journey. The specter of some dark times ahead has me clinging these days more than usual to the precious ‘normal’ of life now. I relish the mundane routine I have at the moment, knowing all too well how circumstances change in the blink of an eye.

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. It had been an odd week. A long-time friend died suddenly of pancreatic cancer that came almost overnight and aggressively. The day before he died he had sent an email saying he was prepared to fight. Days later, we celebrated a new friend’s 90th birthday. That seems to sum up in a nutshell the tenuousness of this life. It’s precious. It’s fragile. It’s what we make of it. And it’s fleeting.

I learned long ago to try to give up worry and care and attempt to live as Zen-like as possible. I slip up constantly. Every hour of every day. But I still try. After all, regarding this vHL journey, what else can we do after all the research, the meetings with doctors, the decisions are finally made – but to settle on a course of action and know we’ve done all we can on our part, and now it’s time to resign ourselves to fate and a higher power?

Sitting around the Thanksgiving table, gazing at the faces of those dear to me, made it easy to remember all the blessings this life has bestowed upon me for so long. Remembering these blessings gives me strength to face any coming hardships.

I wish all of you reading this post countless blessings and many sunny days to come. Have a wonderful holiday season; one in which you know love and joy and freedom for pain and worry, and a world where everyday miracles occur.

The Lenny Roll

My funny little man has a new trick. My youngest cat, Lenny, (see 'Leno' post) follows me into my bathroom every morning, and while I'm busy at the sink, he struts past and plops in front of the three-way mirror. Then with lots of chirping and meows, calls for my complete attention. (If he perceives I am less than fully focused, he won't do the trick). He gazes into the mirror, smiles with satisfaction, (cats always like what they see in the reflection), and then very precisely executes a single complete roll on the tile floor. Just as quickly, Lenny leaps up, tail and head held high, and sashays away, ignoring my applause and cries of praise, yet with a look that gives him away because he's just so satisfied and proud. I have no idea how or why this has come about -- he's been doing it for more than 2 months now -- I guess he has noted the attention his 'brother and sisters' get when they perform their little tricks, and he decided he'd better get with the program. I expect agents from the Moscow cat circus to show up at the door any day now...

Blowing in the Wind.....

Excy is exceptional in all ways. But he does not do yard work. In his defense, where would he have time? So that leaves (leafs?) little 'ole moi scrambling to try to manage 5 acres around the house from not looking too shabby, which is difficult with limited mobility and energy. Five woody acres, one disabled body, and one husband who doesn't 'do' yard work equals one very trashy yard....

I think last year between the surgeries and recoveries and not feeling up to snuff, the leaves didn't get raked up until spring, and only then b/c the poor perennials were poking up...I have tried to hire people, but out in the country it's hard to find reliable help, and I guess my frugal nature finds it hard to pay for something so mundane...when my close friends and nephew and niece ask on occasion what they can do, or what I want for Christmas, I reply I would love help with yard work (i.e. raking), but it's never happened.

So it was exciting last week when Excy came home from a hardware run (yes, he's still working on the damn therapy pool conversion - I swan) immensely proud of himself for buying a leaf blower. Ahhhhh....the obnoxious noisy device I hear around my parent's neighborhood....thankfully living 'out,' I will disturb only the horses and wild life, and they can just get over it in my quest for a better yard...

Yee-ha! I spent two hours wrestling the damn thing and a 150 ft. extension cord around the back terrace, the front porch, and one slice of the immediate front yard. It weighs 6 lbs but felt more like 30 lbs, and my neck hasn't been the same. Actually, it's feeling a bit like it did before I had the surgery in March...maybe I will try it again when it's feeling better and I will put the old neck brace on for greater stability....if it still hurts, well, back to the old rake and wheelbarrow...

The small tractor will mulch pretty good but I need to rake up at least a layer of the dense leaves...Sigh...just one of the many many ways not being up to snuff sucks.....Anybody wanna trade leaf raking for home baked desserts or a needlepoint pillow of one of your animals?? A lawyer friend on our Sanctuary board says her sons will come out with her on Saturday and we can put them to work...we'll see...I am trying not to get my hopes up, and praying it won't rain...