Give Me A Break

It’s been a lovely six weeks.  It started with laryngitis, moved on to a kidney stone, and then the flu.  I hoped it was done but now I have upper respiratory crud which includes crud in my lungs.  Breathing takes a lot of effort.  The alternative – well not acceptable.  

Related imageMy frustration is I want to write!  I have recently finished two manuscripts (they are in the editing pile with two others).  I have several other stories all pushing at me.  All I want to do is write but when I’m struggling to breath and coughing so much everything hurts, I struggle to put words together. 

I’ve done the responsible thing – gone to the doctor and gotten antibiotic.  Now I’m have to give myself time to heal and rest.  I’ve got stories pushing at me – one I thought was going to be a light and easy story but it very quickly turned into a much more complex story than I expected.  I’m not sure I like it.  In fact, I considered deleting everything I’d written beyond the opening scene but I found myself hesitating. 

I’m always telling people – I write the story the characters tell me.  If that’s the case, I have to go with the story the characters are telling me.  It’s another assertion of trusting myself.  Ultimately, I have to go with what I’ve got and if I hate it when I’m done, I’ll rewrite it. 

I’m going to get better.  This upper respiratory crap will go away and I’ll feel better.  In the meanwhile I’m going to let the characters whisper in my head and see what stories wind up on the pages.  The worst that can happen?  I have to do a rewrite.  With any luck by the time I shift back to crochet mode, I’ll have finished several manuscripts and I can work on editing and publishing.

Kidney Stones

For the last few days I’ve been unable to talk – lovely laryngitis.  During a busy time at my day job, this is not conducive to getting work done.  Yesterday I had a hard time eating which for me is an indicator the laryngitis is going away. 

After supper last night (which was soup), I got this pain in my back and side.  I’ve had three kids and gallstones.  This was bad pain, bend over double, take my breath away painful.  Vicki and Ken were already in bed so I took myself to the ER.

After giving blood and urine, they gave me delaudid – one of the two pain meds I know I’m not allergic to.  It was mostly ineffective.  Eventually – after they paired it with a muscle relaxant – the pain eased enough.

Now they gave me the delaudid, which I’ve had before and have driven with no problems.  However, they told me I’d need a driver to go home.  My problem?  No one at my house answered their phones.  I tried, my two daughters in Georgia tried but Ken doesn’t keep his phone by him and Vicki often turns her sound off. 

Finally after many attempts to reach them, I called my sister and asked if she would be willing to drive to my house and wake someone up.  She did – thankfully.  She also took Ken to the ER so he could drive me home (I had my car). 

We got home about midnight.  I was still in pain but I put the heating pad on my back and tried to sleep.  I was up and down a few times but somewhere around two, I passed a 4 mm kidney stone.  I slept from 2 to 5:15 and then went back to sleep around 6:30 and dozed till 7:30. 

If you are given a choice – don’t pick kidney stones.  Gem stones are pretty and sparkly choose them instead. 

Crocheting for Sanity (or as close as I can get to sanity)

I’ve finished a scarf for one gift.  Last night I worked on the edging for a fleece blanket for the mother of a friend.  Vicki told me her favorite scarf was ratty so I told her to hit her stash to find yarn for another one.  I started that last night.

At work, I meet up once a week to crochet with a co-worker.  This week I’m working on a cloth to put in the door of a refrigerator under the ice / water in the door.  Water collects there and I was asked if I could create something to fit in there to soak it up.  I’ll be working on that today during our weekly session. 

I’m hoping the weekend will be busy with crafting.  I need to clear off some of the projects on my sofa.  There are a ton of them.  Some of them need prep work and some need finishing.  If nothing else, I’ll pop in DVDs and watching those while I crochet.  I’m binge watching Designated Survivor.  I have one more disc to watch to finish the first season.  Then I’ll determine whether I’m interested in the second season which I’m hoping is all on On Demand.  If not, I may have to wait for it to come out on DVD and get from the library. 

It’s been a stressful week.  Monday is Mom’s day – I go to the nursing home to visit with her and do anything she needs me to do.  Tuesday this week we met with the county person for aging to talk about the programs.  I also got grumpy with one of her doctor’s offices about scheduling.  The end result – I’m pretty sure that doctor’s office doesn’t like me but mom’s appointments got moved to a city half the distance from her location.  My sister Aimee and I are doing funeral planning today – no mom is not dying but we are being proactive about the process.  Plus for the county programs she has to have fewer assets and funds.  Long term the county programs will help her more so better to spend down her accounts. 

I also need to find time to read some books.  I have four or five books which I need to read and review.  People have sent them to me so I feel obligated to get them read.  I’m working on a tough one where it is a bunch of essays.  The authors use a lot of big words to say nothing.  It’s disappointing – at least so far.  I’ll continue to work my way through it.  The nice part about the essays is it gives me short goals to get through the book faster.  But it’s a large book – 300 + pages I think.  My goal is to set the book next to me.  Then I can read an essay or two between crocheting.  I’ll see how this works.  I’m hoping the other books are better and more interesting. 

Riding the Waves

It’s been an interesting start to the new year.  We’ve had a lot of going to urgent care and the emergency room.  Nothing tragic or life threatening but lots of trips with sinus infections, bronchitis, and kidney stones.  I’m ready for this to change.  It’s expensive and stressful.

Monday I went to an ear nose and throat specialist.  He got me on a different antibiotic and scoped my sinuses.  I have more information now which is good.

Tuesday Ken got the all clear on his kidney stone.  It is gone.  Plus he has no stones in either of his kidneys.  All good news.

Now for the downside – after his appointment, we got supper and were settling in to our happy news.  Then my sister text to say my uncle was in the hospital.  Shortly after that text, she sent another one which said my aunt (not married to the uncle who was in the hospital but a different brother of my mom’s who passed) was also in the hospital.

It’s been a week.  No – really it’s been a couple of months of this teeter totter affect and health issues.  I’m hoping things are evening out but I’m not holding my breath.

One of the brighter spots in my week / month is my daughter Virginia got notified she made the President’s list for her excellent grades for her fall 16 schedule.  She also just finished her math class and got a 100% on her final as well as an A in the class – though this isn’t official yet.  She’s stressed with school but she’s actually doing really well.

There’s no choice but to ride the waves of my life right now.  At this point we’re moving from the gully of the wave to the crest.  I’m just hoping there are no tsunamis in my future.  I’d be happy with nice gentle waves for a time.

And the Results Are In

In May I discovered a lump under my arm.  I had been crocheting a lot and had a stiff arm.  I thought it was just a bunched up muscle.  I kept an eye on it but said nothing to anyone as I didn’t want the “OMG you have breast cancer” reaction.  I didn’t know what it was.  I didn’t know if it was even a lump.
I made an appointment with my doctor to have it looked at but I still didn’t tell anyone.  I wasn’t trying to be brave or shut anyone out. I simply wanted more information before I talked about it. 
Ken found out before I went.  He was upset which is exactly what I wanted to avoid.  I went to the doctor.  He felt, said yes there is a lump and ordered an ultrasound.  The ultrasound was inconclusive.  I had to wait a week for the appointment for the ultrasound.  I had to wait a week for the results.
I talked to the doctor, he wanted me to go to a surgeon.  I went to the surgeon – this time only a few days.  He felt and said yes, he felt the lump.  He wanted a CT scan.
Now I’ve had two CT scans previously.  The first one had me freaking out because I’m claustrophobic and the second one – well it was bad all around but that was more because of the medical issues I was having at the time than the test itself.  Needless to say, I was nervous.  I only had to wait five days to have the CT scan. 
The technician was good.  She answered all my questions, listened to my concerns and took her time with me.  The test wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  But still I wait for results.
I have every faith this lump is nothing more than a cyst or bunched up muscle or something similar.  The waiting, the not knowing is the worst.  Like most people, when my mind is quiet and there is nothing to distract me, I consider all the worst case scenarios.  I try not to but there is a part of my head that won’t let it go. 
I’m trying to prepare – what will the doctor say?  Will there be more they want to do?  A biopsy?  How will we manage the time?  Ken’s vacation is gone so if he takes off it’s unpaid.  This has significant impact on our budget.  I know my daughters (any and all of them) would come in and help but they all live out of state.  All of these variables run through my head and I can’t get them to settle into any coherent form because I don’t know what the next step will be. 
The last time I had a medical issue, I pushed hard to get my way because I had a feeling something was drastically wrong.  I don’t have that feeling now but still my brain goes there.  I don’t know how much I want to push and I don’t know how grumpy I want to be about it.  I believe it is a cyst or muscle issue.  However, you can’t ignore lumps.  They generally have to be attended to. 
In some ways, I laugh at myself.  I feel like I can feel it in there but I know part of that is my worry.  The worry is manifesting itself as a lump in my armpit.  I laugh when I write this but I also know the feelings are real.  I laugh at myself and remind myself to not be so overwhelmed with all of this. 

Finally on Thursday I got the results.  No bad things showed up on the CT scan.  The docs think like I do – a cyst or clump of tissue.  Basically, I’m getting lumpy in my old age.  Of course, I’ll keep an eye on it.  If it changes, gets bigger, or I have more pain in my arm, I’ll go back to the doctor.  The wait is over.  I have answers and now my brain can stop doing the worst case scenarios when I’m trying to sleep.  Now I can think about – what am I going to crochet next?


Today I spent most of the morning driving for the first time in six weeks or so.  My foot is swollen but not too severely and it is slightly painful.  This is a huge improvement from the last six weeks. 

For the last two days I’ve woken up with my toes / foot feeling normal – not swollen.  This is a huge improvement for me because my toes have felt like they were going to burst like a balloon. 

Vicki and I did the errands.  Vicki still had to do all the running into the stores and places but I was at least able to drive her there.  I’m hoping this means next week when I go back to work I can go back without her having to come with to help. 

If it still feels good tomorrow I will start walking more in the house.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to walk more easily by the time I go back to work next week.  It will also be nice to be a bit more independent rather than relying on others to do stuff for me.

I will be smart about it though and not over tax my foot.  There is no sense in pushing myself too hard and then not being better. 

I’ve been working on lots of crocheting while I’ve been laid up.  This week I’m working on a gift for a friend and a baby blanket for my sister to give to one of her student workers.  One of my daughter’s friend was looking for bibs and I have a great pattern for them so I’m going to make up one to see if she likes them.  If she does I’ll have her pick some colors and make a few for her.  So there is plenty to keep me off my feet and busy and continue healing.

Simple Solutions

Health issues can be a struggle.  Our society has turned to science to “fix” us.  In doing this I think we’ve forgotten some of the best and simplest solutions to some health problems.  Most people are quick to go to their doctors and say “I can’t sleep I need a pill” or “I can’t breathe, give me a pill.”  

A friend and I were just discussing how physical activity can lead to sore muscles and other aches and pains.  I believe that we are so used to our non-physical lifestyle that our bodies have forgotten what it is like to lift and work hard all day.  In the old days, people spent most of their days doing physically taxing chores.  Their bodies were used to the demands put on it.  Now though we spend more time on our computers than physically working. 

There are several things we can do to ease some of the aches and pains.  Massage, meditation, essential oils, water therapy, heat, ice are just some of the easy solutions.  I have headaches and migraines.  Often it is due to stress.  All of my stress sits in the muscle in my right shoulder blade.  If I can get someone to work out the knot I get, the headaches go away or at the very least ease enough to begin the healing process.  Massage is also good for aching joints and a variety of other things.  It is amazing how putting your hands on someone to move their muscles can help them heal.  They have the touch of another human which gives them a feeling of being cared for and the massage to help the process.

Meditation can also have the same effect on a person.  It calms, reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.  It relaxes which will help with insomnia and other sleep issues.  Essential oils can help with relaxing or energizing as you need.  One scent may make you relaxed and help you sleep and another may help you wake up. 

A hot bath or shower will ease aching muscles, clear lungs, reduce stress, and more.  Combine it with essential oils and it works twice as hard on the issues.  A heating pad or bag of ice can help focus healing in one area.  If you stop the pain and rest then the body will work on fixing the problem. 

I’m not a health care provider in any way.  I have suffered from pain in one form or another for a long time so I know these things work.  They are simple, easy, and effective.  Please remember though if something is different or doesn’t go away with these simple home remedies to seek out a health care provider.  Most of these solutions have helped me go to the doctor less which means less money out of my pockets.

Upper Respiratory Crud

Here in Wisconsin the weather has turned cold, the germs are bouncing everywhere – particularly at the University with lots of students pushing themselves too hard, and the crud has started with cold like symptoms.
I used to get bronchitis at least once a year, sometimes more often than that.  I’ve found something that helps stave off all the upper respiratory gunk that visits us during the winter months. 
First let me say I’m not a medical professional and what I’m about to tell you is my home remedy that works for me.  (This is my disclaimer.)  As soon as I start to feel clogged up or have any of the gunk symptoms, I add in what a friend humorously calls my dragon’s breath to my shower in the mornings.  The dragon’s breath is essential oils – equal parts of lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus – mixed and in my bathroom.  I like to use the natural oils I feel they are more effective and have a better scent. I dribble some of this mixture onto some river stones that I keep in a bowl.  Then I place the bowl in my shower not directly under the spray.  I leave off my fan and turn the water on as hot as I can stand it to get a lot of steam.  Then I just go through my morning shower routine. 

Most of the time, it helps ease the symptoms and stave off a full blown cold or bronchitis.  I do still get colds but I haven’t had bronchitis since I started doing this.  I do other things too like adding in Welch’s grape juice (the all natural stuff) which is higher in vitamin C than orange juice and I can drink (can’t drink orange juice – too acidic).  I also try to get more sleep (stop laughing it happens sometimes) and do whatever possible to prevent the crud from creeping in.