Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday

Friday morning, I was doing okay, time-wise, to get to work. I proudly clipped my new cell phone holder to my “Jeremy and his family Christmas present belt” and put the phone in. The holder looked and worked great! Then I put on my brace. Unfortunately, the brace is long enough that it covered the phone up. Worse yet, every time I moved, the brace pushed on the holder which pushed on the phone’s buttons and it made all kinds of beeps. So, I took off the brace and then the cell phone and the cell phone holder. I put the cell phone in my pants pocket and the cell phone holder in my drawer, to wait for the time I no longer have this damn brace on.

I went out at lunch time to see the company that cut my grass when I had my rotator cuff surgery. I think I told you I’d called them for some quotes a while back, but never got a return call. It was sprinkling when I left work, but raining when I got there (they are on Five Mile between Telegraph and Beech Daly). They couldn’t find the paperwork, but the receptionist remembered taking my call. The owner said they’d cut the whole yard for the same price as two years ago, so I told him to put me on the list (I probably shouldn’t be bouncing around on the riding mower out back anyway). They said they will get back to me on the quote for mulching the rear garden.

I left there and stopped at the Old Mexico restaurant for lunch. This is a locally famous Mexican restaurant, also on Five Mile, but between Inkster and Middle Belt Road. Just as I pulled in, the rain changed to pea-sized hail! So, I had to carefully walk on the ice-covered blacktop from the handicapped parking space to the door.

I ate a beef enchilada dinner (two cheese covered beef enchiladas with rice and refried beans). It was very good, but very filling and I had already eaten more than I should have of the fresh made tortilla chips and homemade salsa while waiting for it. As I ate, the hail turned back to rain and then thunder and lightning started. I drove back to work through a downpour!

Back at work, I got a call from the Infectious Disease doctor’s office. He wants to see me BEFORE I stop using the antibiotic (it runs out next Wednesday). So, now I have to go there this coming Monday at 2:00 PM! Just what I need: another doctor’s appointment! :( It’s a long story, but I have another “lightning-fast” appointment I need to make with my primary care physician. Can’t I just be done with doctors?

My brother Jim called around 4:30 PM and asked if I was home yet (huh?) I told him no, I was at work, so he apologized and said he would call me later tonight after 6:00.

I drove home in the rain (the thunder and lightning had at least stopped). There was a voice mail from my daughter, Melissa, who had called around 4:30 PM, too, thinking I might be home. (People, people, people, I work from 8:00 to 5:00, like most other office workers!) I called her back briefly (so I didn’t miss Jim’s call) and asked her if she wanted a memento from the cottage. She said she couldn’t think of anything, really but if she did she’d call me.

I warmed up the last of the meatloaf and another baked potato for my dinner. I taped “Who Do You Think You Are?” and watched another show, still waiting for Jim’s call.

Naturally, I fell asleep (it seems to take all my energy to get through a weekday, these days) and when I woke up after 10:00 PM to go to the bathroom, sure enough he had called at 9:15 and left a message. I figured it was too late to return his call, so I was just preparing to go to bed for real when Melissa called.

She wanted to explain in depth why she didn’t want anything, just to keep the cottage and Mom in her heart. I explained I understood both sides and both feelings and did not fault her for not wanting a memento or think she was unsentimental. Let’s face it; everybody is different on how they approach such things. I think she understood by the time I told her I was really tired and had to go to bed. I hope so.

We hung up and I went to bed for real.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday's This and That...

It was chilly and windy again on Thursday morning. I guess I got spoiled by the mild winter. I was in a hurry to get to work on time, so it wasn’t until I GOT to work that I realized I’d forgotten my belt! This caused me to be uncomfortable all morning because, even with a belt, the brace pushes down my pants over my now non-existent butt.

I went to return my sweater (a Christmas present from Jeremy and his family that was 2X – it would have fit perfectly a year ago, but now is way too big) at Kohl’s during lunch. I seem to recall that at the hospital, there was some discussion of Luanne returning this because she need to go there for something else, but for some reason or another, it must have never happened. I told the lady I didn’t want the money, I just wanted the same sweater, only smaller. She said that it was “winter stock” and no longer for sale in the store. Then she gave me a credit card, good for the price of the sweater (weird). I was just happy (and surprised) that they would still exchange it after it was purchased so long ago, to tell the truth.

So, I used my new “returned item credit card” to buy a belt (see how these things always work out for me?) I will always think of it as my “Jeremy and his family Christmas present belt.” Then I went to the Verizon store in the same mall and bought a car charger and a belt holster for my new cell phone.

Heading back to work, I stopped for gas. I first noticed I needed it on Tuesday (when it was REALLY cold and windy) but I decided to put it off until it warmed up. I also noticed the price on Tuesday was $3.89 a gallon. But, today my little “You are about to run out of gas, dummy!” symbol came on so I stopped. Of course, the price today was $4.09 per gallon! I put $40.00 in the tank and didn’t even fill it up! See what happens when you put things off?

Sidebar: Speaking of the high price of gas, there was a story on the morning news the other day about how people are beginning to be robbed when they are walking into the gas station to prepay for gas, as the thieves now know you obviously will have to have a chunk of change in your pocket on the way in. Just a word to the wise.

Back at work, I took off my brace, straightened my clothing, put my new belt on and then put my brace back on. I immediately felt more secure!

I wasn’t home more than 10 minutes when the guy from the Infusion Center dropped off what I hope is my last week’s supplies. I changed clothes afterwards and then I called my Brother Carl, to talk about the cottage, our health (or lack of it) and so he could have my cell phone number.

Jeremy called me on his way home and we talked about interviewing (he hasn’t done it in years – come to think of it, neither have I, LOL) and the cottage.

I warmed up the rest of the kielbasa and sauerkraut for my dinner.

I called my Brother Jim to discuss Amy’s request, but he was at a late evening meeting and then had to go to a funeral home to pay his respects. Coletta asked if I wanted home to call when he got home and I told her no, I’d probably be sleeping again. So, I gave her my cell number and asked him to call tomorrow during the day (these cell phone do come in handy!)

I watched a little TV but when I started to feel sleepy (before I dozed off, this time) I shut everything down and went to bed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another Windy Wednesday

It was a bit warmer Wednesday morning, but there was a strong wind.

I took my now oversized clothes and the books to the Goodwill at lunch. I walked around, looking for apothecary jars, but of course there were none. I thought somebody might not know what they were and donate them but, no.

I did meet a guy who asked me if I had a spinal fusion (was the brace or the rolling walker the give away?) He said his wife just had her second (the first one didn’t heal right) and I would probably run into her. Sure enough, I did, so I asked her if she wanted to race.

We chatted for a while about our operations and then she asked me my name. I said, “John.” So, she took out a notebook from her purse and wrote it down. I asked her what she was doing and she said so many people had prayed for her, she now keeps a list of people to pray for to pay it forward (or "pray it forward"). Nice thought.

I was late getting home from work, as I got stopped by a train at the Levan tracks, just after leaving. It had three locomotives (uh-oh), so to amuse myself (I had nothing better to do), I counted the cars. There were 89! Sure enough, although I raced, I got stopped again at the Inkster tracks by the same train (I always do). I wondered again (for the millionth time) why I didn’t go one mile further and get off at Beech Daly, where the road goes under the tracks (I never do).

I was tired, o I didn’t do too much at home. The cats had barfed on the bed, so I did do one load of laundry. I called B___ after 7:00 PM on my new cell phone so he could put the number in his. I made a meatloaf sandwich for dinner.

I started dozing around 8:30 PM, watching some TV. My Brother Jim woke me up after 9:00, to see how I was doing and to tell me he has another potential buyer for the cottage. It seems they want to buy it with the all furniture and he asked if there was anything I really wanted. I said I thought I would like one of the porch rockers, but had no idea where I would put it, so he shouldn't make it a deal-breaker. He said he’d let me know how it turned out.

I tried watching TV again (9:30 PM seemed a bit early to go to bed) but I started dozing again, so I shut everything off and went to bed around 10:00.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Electronic Tuesday

I woke up to the alarm clock (for a change) and did all my morning activities. This time I only added 1/4 cup of granola to my oatmeal as 1/3 cup proved to be too much for me to eat.

In spite of all the warnings (my neighbor had covered all his flowing trees), I didn’t see any evidence of frost here in Redford. It was just damn windy and even colder that yesterday!

Sometime mid-morning, I developed an annoying stiff neck that just would not go away.

I wanted to go to Lowe’s at lunch, so I stopped at the Newburgh Grill and got a bowl of bean with ham soup (the best!) At Lowe’s, I picked up an air purifier. I don’t want to go through another summer with a plugged up nose and sneezing, plus it will enable Carla and the cats to snuggle if and when they come back for a visit.

Back home after work, I checked out the air purifier and set it up in the kitchen in a temporary location. Figuring out the optimal place to put it will be a challenge, as you need a minimum of one foot of space all around it. It’s not nearly as noisy as I feared (especially at the lower speeds). But, right now I am running it on “high.” I also have the UV light on, to burn off that “new electrical appliance” smell.

Since I had so much sauerkraut left from the two Rueben’s I made (before running out of corned beef), I put that in a saucepan. I added in a link of kielbasa I found in the freezer and thawed over the weekend, cutting it into pieces on the bias. I let that steam for about 20 minutes and then ate a bowl of it for dinner. It was delicious!

Sidebar: that air purifier has a 3-in-1 air cleaning system. The UV light kills bacteria, viruses and mold spores. The Hepa filter captures 99.97% of dust, pet dander, smoke and pollen. And the charcoal filter reduces common household odors from pets, smoking and cooking.

So, I was very impressed that I could not smell the cooking sauerkraut in my bedroom. Now I am hoping it will stop the smoke alarms in the bedroom from going off without having to open the kitchen window and turning on the overhead stove fan when I fry things!

I picked up a new cell phone today as well (the “pay as you go” one I had was for emergencies only). I swear the manual is bigger than the one for my car! It will take me a long while to figure out how to use all the features.

Between the filter and the phone, the next thing I knew it was after 10:00 PM. I watched a taped half hour show and then went to bed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Then Came Monday

Monday morning was COLD! And the damn north wind didn’t help matters. I dug out my winter coat and headed to work.

I left early so I could meet my home-nurse and get my dressing changed. We chatted about the weather (what else?) and she did get a chance to get outside on Sunday (unlike myself).

I am going to miss her. But, I tend to get attached to all the healthcare workers when I spend time in hospitals (I think most people do). It only makes sense, since you are in a situation that is desperate and somewhat frightening and these are the folks who take care of you and reassure you. I can still remember nurses from my initial motorcycle accident!

Back home after work, I got the trash together and out to the road. I spent some time cleaning out the last of my dresser drawers and put all my XXL sweaters, sweatshirts and T-shirts in the Goodwill bag. Then I put the bag in the trunk (along with all the books I read in the hospital) to drop off someday at lunchtime. I watched the news while I worked until 7:00 PM and then tried to call my Brother Carl again. Got his voicemail again! But this time he called me back (he had been “indisposed” when I called).

We talked for a while, both trying to figure out how to handle grass cutting, gardening and, in his case, pool care. The upshot is we are both pretty well fncked this year.

Then I tried to call Sadie, as her granddaughter Caroline (born just last fall) was supposed to have surgery to repair a hole in her heart sometime in March. Lu answered and said it had been postponed (again) because Caroline needs to go six weeks without an upper respiratory infection and she keeps getting them.

Lu did ask how it was going back to work and I told her so far, so good. Her goats are all having kids and many are twins and triplets, so they are all keeping pretty busy down there.

I warmed up another slice of meatloaf and a baked potato for dinner. I started watching the Red Wings on TV and we were winning for a change, but I immediately started dozing off. So, I shut the TV off and tried reading. That lasted less than 10 pages. When I woke up, I turned off the light and went to bed around 9:30 PM.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quote of the Day

“A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.”

~Samuel Johnson

Why can't Sunday last longer?

I woke up Sunday just before 6:00 AM. I am trying an idea regarding breakfast. As you may have guessed, I didn’t normally eat breakfast, especially during the week. But, now I have to so I don’t throw up from the medications I take. So, the quickest thing to make (and clean up) was instant oatmeal.

But, while the flavor’s not bad, the texture is awful. But, I remember Jake had ordered oatmeal for breakfast in a restaurant once when I was down there. When I looked at him funny, he explained that he, too, didn’t like the texture of plain oatmeal, but this particular restaurant added granola to it so it had some crunch.

So, yesterday, I bought some granola at Meijer. I checked them all out and the one by Kashi, “Mountain Medley,” had the least amount of oats (I am putting it in oastmeal, after all). It had cranberries, raisins, almonds, pecans and sunflower seeds, along with oats, barley, wheat, rye and brown rice.

So, today I added 1/3 cup of granola to the warm oatmeal and ate that. It was much better, but I realized I could just buy the ingredients separately rather than the expensive brand name stuff.

I finished all my morning routine and got dressed. Then I stripped the bed and started the wash. Next I went out back and refilled the bird feeder and the two suet cages. It was sunny outside (a big change from yesterday) and pleasant. The high is supposed to be only 61 degrees F., which is a lot less than it has been, but still much warmer than it normally is in March.

Back inside, I ran the dishwasher while I vacuumed the living room rug. I washed the kitchen floor after I got the bedding out of the dryer. I remade the bed and took a break, watching some of the old movie “Key Largo” (one of my favorites) and waiting for the kitchen floor to dry.

I cleaned the toilet (always fun) and then went back to doing my taxes. I halted briefly to throw all the towels in the washer (the floor was dry by then). Then it was back to my Federal taxes (groan).

I put together a simple meatloaf and stuck it in the over with four medium-sized russet potatoes for my Sunday supper. I noticed the oven looked a little grungy inside, so I filed that away in my brain for later.

I finished with both my Federal (which I eFiled) and State taxes (which I’ll mail) around 5:00 PM. I tried calling my Brother Carl to see how he was doing, but only got his voicemail. Hopefully he was outside, enjoying the weather and his lovely yard.

Finally dinner was done. I cut off a big piece of meatloaf and opened up one of the potatoes. I added butter, sour cream, salt and pepper to the potato and I took my meal into the bedroom to watch the rest of the news. As I said, it was a simple meatloaf so I can’t brag, but it was good as was the potato (although pretty filling).

Later on, I put the rest of the now-cooled meatloaf and the other potatoes into the fridge. I put my cake pan in the sink to soak.

Since its supposed to be cold tonight, I locked the oven door and turned on the “clean” selection on the stove. I’ll waste a lot of gas, but the furnace won’t be turning on anytime soon (it takes like four hours) and I’ll have a clean stove for summer.

I watched some TV, but I was tired and went to bed by 10:00 PM. It seemed too short, but I feel like I had a good weekend (I wish I gotten outside Sunday afternoon, though – Damn taxes!)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Slowing Down on Saturday

As per usual, I woke up just about every hour all night long. I finally gave up just before 6:00 AM on Saturday. I began writing the rather lengthy Blog entry. About 8:00 AM, I ate some more oatmeal for breakfast and started my morning routine. I deliberately went back to bed and stated watching the taped “Rifleman” episodes.

I had a few errands to run but had already decided to more or less take Saturday off. So, I planned on making “something” for both lunch and supper that I could eat whenever.

I finally got off my butt and shaved, showered and dressed. Then I headed out to CVS and Meijer’s. At CVS, I picked up some more test strips for my diabetes meter (I ran out this morning), more Ensure and a handy little gadget to split pills.

At Meijer’s, I bought a little groceries, cleaning supplies and the main reason I had to go: a battery charger. That trickle charger left on all winter kept the motorcycle battery alive, but not enough to start it (in case somebody comes over to buy it).

At both places, the bill was WAY more than I would have liked: The test strips are expensive without a prescription and the battery charger was almost $70.00 US!

Back home, I unpacked everything and opened the large can of pork and beans I bought. I put that in a saucepan and added four hotdogs I cut into small rounds. I put that on the stove to simmer.

I saw the mailman drive up, so I went out to get the mail. While I was out there, I picked up the larger branches that had blown down over the winter. The grass is getting long and looks unkempt, so I’ll have to deal with it somehow, soon.

Back inside, I swept the kitchen floor. I heard this weird, quiet roar so I looked outside. It was my neighbor, cutting his lawn (see, I told ya).

After I read the instructions, I went out and charged up the motorcycle battery.

I went through the refrigerator’s freezer and pitched everything that had freezer burn. I also pitched all the chives from last fall and a ton of broccoli stems I had peeled and frozen for winter soups. These all went into the trash because there was more ice crystals than veggies in the bags.

I was bummed by the waste, but not as bad as last week when I cleaned out my chest freezer. There I ended up also pitching all the remaining steaks, roasts, short ribs and stew meat (it all had been in there WAY too long). That really bummed me out. What a waste and what a shame!

I stirred the beans and franks occasionally and when they were warm enough, I had some for a late lunch. I talked with Jake and he said Carla was making lasagna for their dinner, along with a buttermilk pie for dessert. That made my dinner sound pretty lame!

He also told me how you could buy pre-colored Easter eggs down in South Carolina. Not only did that strike me as pretty lazy, but check out the price (see Photos). Compare that to the cost of a regular dozen eggs, those little PAS tablets, a splash of vinegar and some boiling water – that grocery store is making a mint!

I read a book on the couch (for a change). My friend B___ called to warn me there is a chance of frost Sunday night and a better chance on Monday night. He was going to cover up as many of his blooming plants with sheets as he could, but my flowers are just going to have to take their chances.

I ate some more beans and franks for dinner and took my evening meds. Then I watched a western movie I’d taped. Towards end of the movie, I had one more bowl of beans and put the rest into a container and into the fridge. I went to bed around 10:30 PM.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

 
The peroxide bottle that started it all. lol!
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Apothocary jar collection to date
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I didn't beleive it when he told me, so Jake sent me this picture!
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Friday! Hurray!!

It was warm, with the threat of showers in Redford on Friday. This time, I only overslept (through the alarm) for 20 minutes or so, so I did make it to work on time. I’ll be glad when I can stop doing all this injection stuff in the morning, not to mention the time it takes to tape a bag around my arm so the PICC line dressing doesn’t get wet when I shower. It all takes too much time!

After 9:00 AM, I called the Township’s “Pride Line” to complain about the trash out back. I explained how I’d put up with it for the last ten years by going out and picking all of it up two or three times a year, but now, because of the spinal fusion (no BLT), I can’t. I asked if they could make the property owners plant some trees (to stop it from blowing in my yard) or put out trash barrels or something. The guy said, “Aren’t you the guy who had the wall knocked down by semis a while back?” I said, “Yes, that happened twice.”

He said he still had the number of the property manager (in New York) and said he’d give him a call and ask if they would sweep the lot more often. But, he said if they put out trash barrels, some kid would just kick them over. And they can’t make people plant trees unless it was when they first applied for a building permit (that’s how the wall got put up in the first place). So, basically, nothing’s going to happen.

I also called that lawn service I occasional use (the one who did my fall cleanup last year) and asked for three quotes. One to cut just the front lawn, another to cut the whole lawn and finally one to mulch the back garden (I don’t think I’ll be hauling around 40 pounds bags of mulch this Spring). They said they’d check it out and call me next week.

I went out at lunch to the Town Peddler (a nearby antique and craft place) and roamed around looking to add to my collection. I decided recently I need a new hobby (that doesn’t involve BLT). And, I heard somebody mention on TV while I was off work about collecting antique apothecary jars.

Now, I had “made” one back on the Palms Road place by taking a brown peroxide bottle and sticking a cork in it. It looked cool and I still have it. So, now I’m slowly adding to the collection. The trouble is, most of them you can find are brown. But, today I found a blue one so I bought it.

Most of them are unidentified, some have the old labels on them and the one I found today had a sticker (that I may take off) that somebody had handwritten on it: “1880’s cobalt blue medical bottle from a Detroit dig.”

Come to think of it, this is probably how my Mother started her collections of angels and birds.

Back home, it still hadn’t rained here (although it looks like it and was sprinkling a little on the ride home).

Jake called to see how my week had gone. I told him I had discovered the reason my back hurt so much Thursday night was I forgot the therapist’s warning and just sat working for hours. So, today (after I remembered what she said) I did consciously get up every hour or so and walked around for a while (sometimes inside, and a couple of times outside). That seemed to help as it didn’t hurt nearly as much today.

I called and talked briefly to both Dave and Melissa. I wanted to let her know that the show we both like, “Who do you think you are?” was pre-empted and coming on at 3:00 AM, for some reason. I suggested she set her recorder as I did. Then I hung up so I could make dinner. I noticed on my way into the kitchen that the pavement was wet and glistening from rain.

Yes, tonight is the night! I am making my Rueben sandwich. So, I cut some of the remaining corned beef into as thin of slices as I could (difficult and this is not the first time I wished I had a real meat slicer like my dad had) and trimmed off some of the fat.

I built the sandwich on a slice of my sourdough bread. I put on some Thousand Island dressing (I hadn’t taken the time to look for Russian dressing, like the original ones were made with) and two slices of Swiss cheese. Then I piled on the corned beef and topped that with lots of sauerkraut (the “bag” kind, not the canned – the canned kind tastes “tinny” to me). I put more dressing on the other slice of bread and topped the sandwich off.

I buttered the top side of the sandwich and put it in a preheated skillet. Then I buttered the other side. When I thought it might be golden brown, I carefully turned it over. Yikes! The “fallout” was now cooking while the sandwich toasted.

But, I got it plated and cut in half. I ate it on the bed, not paying any attention to the TV. It was messy to eat (the best things usually are) but it tasted fantastic. The only thing I would do differently the next time is to preheat the sauerkraut. The cold (straight from the fridge) kraut was strange contrasted with the melted Swiss and warm corned beef.

Well worth the wait!

During a bathroom break from the Friday Night Fights, my Brother Jim called to see how I was doing. So, I called him back and we chatted for a short while. I was tired, so I dozed off a little during the preliminary bout, but I stayed awake for the main event. When it was over, I went to bed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday

We broke another record on Thursday (I’m getting tired of writing that). What is concerning me is if it’s this hot in March, what’s it going to be in July?

The heat has Michigan orchard owners worried too. Many of the fruit trees are already flowering, so if a heavy frost or a cold snap comes, it may kill off the fruit. On the other hand, we may have a record year for apples and cherries, etc., which “should” lower the prices.

The lawn service actually cut the grass at work, which made me stop and think. I can surely cut the back yard with the riding tractor, but what am I going to do about the front (my push mower is not self propelled)? I’ll have to give that some thought (and soon)! I wonder what my Brother Carl plans to do?

Work was work. It’s beginning to be a long week and I’m tired and sore.

I did call in my order to the Infusion Center in the morning and the guy delivered it just after 6:00 PM. He said he drove through a downpour in Novi (just north-west of here). It did get cloudy just before I left work, but no rain here. On the nightly news they described them as “popup showers due to the heat”.

I washed my work clothes (if you remember, I only have four pairs of pants that fit) after he left and I had them hung in the closet by 8:30 PM.

I made a sandwich, but not the corned beef. I had bought some tomatoes the last time I went shopping (an impulse buy) and I need to use them or lose them. So, I made a sandwich of Swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes and mayonnaise on sourdough bread. Not bad.

I fell asleep watching an old movie. When I woke back up, I shut everything down and went to bed for real.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday's Weather

My right shoulder hurt when I awoke on Wednesday (I would guess from all the kitchen counter and window washing I did yesterday). It was supposed to be another gorgeous day, and it was!

I was very proud of waking up to the alarm clock (for a change) and was right on schedule, time-wise. That is, until I was doing my injections, watching the news. As I’ve said, this takes a while, so when I finished I stayed in bed a bit (just to finish watching whatever episode was on the news). I must have dozed off, because it was a half hour later when I woke back up. Yikes!

So, I raced through the rest of the important stuff (I didn’t empty the trash, for example) and got to work 5 minutes late. That’s when I discovered I neglected to take my lunch.

So, I went out to the Newburgh Grill and had a mini Greek salad and a Gyro. The salad came first (of course and unfortunately) and I ate about half of it before my sandwich showed up. Even though I was pretty full, I forced myself to eat the whole gyro (which was great, BTW).

I took a walk around the strip mall the restaurant is in to try and work off some of my full feeling (and it truly was a great day).

Back home after work, I turned on the news and found we broke another record. Well, actually we didn’t just break the record, we smashed it! It was 83 degrees F today, and 74 degrees was the old record.

One of the cats had barfed on the bedspread, so I washed it and everything else except for my dirty work clothes. My shoulder still ached, so I didn’t wash the picture window (as I had planned). Instead I took some pictures.

I forgot to mention B___ had called yesterday to check up on me and while I was telling him about my hyacinths and daffodils blooming (seemingly overnight) he said that besides those, his forsythia was in bloom, too.

So, I went out and checked and sure enough, mine were too (I have to get out in the yard more, LOL!) So, I got the camera and took some photos of them and other things I found flowering.

Back inside, I grabbed the phone, which was ringing. It was Jake, again just checking in. He said that at one point early in the day he looked online and it was 2 degrees warmer here than it was down in North Carolina!

After we hung up, I worked on the photos and published them to the Blog. I finished up about 8:00 PM and then got the clothes out of the dryer. I put the bedspread back on the bed and folded the rest of them.

I still felt full, so instead of that Rueben sandwich I keep threatening to make, I settled for a protein drink and my evening meds. Then I did my inventory for the infusion folks so I can call them tomorrow and order my refills.

It was a little late for watching a movie, so I settled for reading until bedtime.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Birthday Shoutout!

Happy Birthday to my grandson, Carl V!!
 
South Forsythia in back garden (excuse the trash)
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Flowering Plum in back garden (excuse the trash)
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Forsythia in middle of rear garden
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I think my Brother Carl said these were dogtooth violets, but they are in the wild garden
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Hyacinths just starting to bloom in St. Francis garden
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Little Forsythia in Front Yard
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Then it was Tuesday

It was another beautiful day here on Tuesday. In fact, we broke a record. Today was the warmest (82 degrees F.) in Detroit ever.

But, there are downsides (aren’t there always?). Allergies abound, of course. And I heard on the news today that the mosquito season has already started (way too early).

My Facilities friend Michelle brought me over some lunch in a big three-way divided container. She had leftover short ribs in a tomato-based sauce, white rice and cabbage with carrots. I ate half for my lunch and took the rest home for my dinner. I will have to get that recipe, as the short ribs were excellent!

Back home after work, I walked out to get the mail. I met another lady for the first time who lives in the townhouses across the street who was getting her mail as well. After exchanging pleasantries about the weather, she asked what had happened to me. I gave her the short version and she said she was worried about me when she saw the mailbox down, so she asked the other townhouse neighbors if anyone had my phone number. When nobody did, that’s when they decided to call the police. I thanked her and told her it was nice to have so many concerned neighbors looking out for me (and it is!)

Inside, I turned off the furnace and opened a couple of windows. Then I changed out of my work clothes.

I saw some big black ants on the kitchen counter. So, I took everything off and sprayed ant spray on the area where the counter meets the backsplash. Then I washed the counter (to make sure there was no poison overspray). When that dried, I sprayed on some Lysol antibacterial cleaner and wiped it off with paper towels.

Since I was there anyway, I washed the kitchen window (inside only, of course). When the spray had dried, I put everything back.

Speaking of ants, the little ones that Carla and Jake hated so much are one species that never showed up this year. B___ told me years ago they come in for water, so there must have been enough outside this mild winter so they didn’t bother. I’m grateful, as it was hard to kill the little buggers!

I shut the windows and turned the furnace back on at 8:00 PM. Then I warmed up my dinner and ate it after taking my pills. I really do need to get that recipe!

I watched some TV until I started dozing and then went to bed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fog, again...

Monday

There was dense fog again, but we are supposed to break the record for high temperature today. It might have even been worse than the one on Saturday, but I didn’t go out in that fog. Today I had to drive to work. I took the surface streets so I could go slower.

I went home at lunch to meet with the home-care nurse. BTW, that was the first time I went into the house through the front door when I wasn't in a hurry going to or from a doctors, trying not to fall, and accompanied by somebody. I was embarrased at how much debris had ended up on my porch from the winter. So, I was doubly embarrased when she showed up.

She took care of changing my dressing and connectors, etc, while we chatted about the weather. She had to work all weekend so didn't get much chance to enjoy it.


Work went by fast in the afternoon and people were saying goodbye before I realized it was after 5:00 PM!

Back home, I was using the bathroom and looked out the window to check on things out back when I was struck (yet again) on how dirty it was. So, I grabbed the Windex and washed the inside. I stayed as straight as I could and had to go slow, but I “got ‘er done!” The outside is still a mess, but the inside now sparkles.

I opened (not easy) some of the windows to let in the Spring air.

Then I went out in the garage and hefted my leaf blower. It's electric and not that heavy. So, I ran an extension cord outside and shut the garage door (so I wouldn't blow the crap inside the garage). Then I went outside and cleaned off the porch of sticks, leaves, black walnut shells (the squirrels love to eat the nuts on the porch chairs, just to annoy the cats), dirt, etc. I did the garage apron as well. It looked 100% better!

Sidebar to Jake: I didn't see any sign of your leaf blower in the garage, BTW. You must have it down there.

I reheated the corned beef dinner instead of making my Rueben (it tasted so good on Sunday I wanted to try it again). It wasn’t as great as the first time, but it was still damn tasty!

I closed the windows and watched a little TV. Then I switched to the Red Wings game. When we were down 3-0, I grabbed a book and watched the game haphazardly. When we were still down 4-1, I shut it off in disgust.

I fell asleep reading about 10:30 PM. When I woke up for a bathroom break, I shut off the light and went to bed for real.

Monday, March 19, 2012

 
Daffodils on March 19, 2012!
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Hyacinths on March 19 - I can't beleive it!
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Sunday's Novel

As per usual, I slept lousy and was up every hour. This has been going on since I got back from the hospital and I’m tired of it! And, it’s keeping me feeling tired all the time as well.

It was 50 degrees F. when I woke up Sunday morning, but no fog. I watched some of the news and my favorite TV preacher. Then I got on the computer to write out my rather lengthy Blog entry for Saturday.

Sidebar: I find it amusing that I get far more comments on short posts than I do when I write long ones. You would think there would be more to comment about on the long ones. Hmmm... Wait a minute! Maybe people see it’s a long one so they just don’t bother to read them!!!

Anyway, I checked the weather on the computer and found something interesting as far as projected highs today for my kids and me (shown below from high to low).

Jake and Carla in South Carolina – 84 degrees
Amy and her Carl’s in Minnesota – 77 degrees
Dave and Melissa in North Carolina – 76 degrees
Me in Redford – 70 degrees
Jeremy and Jyl in Port Huron – 69 degrees

So Amy, way up in what I consider “frigid” Minnesota, will be warmer today than almost everyone!

I ate some oatmeal and took my morning pills.

Then I got started on the corned beef and cabbage. I peeled enough carrots to make one layer in the round slow cooker. Then I did the same with some Russet potatoes (that’s the only kind I have at the moment). I peeled two small onions and stuck them in whole.

I tried to put in the corned beef and then realized I wouldn’t have any room for the cabbage. Damn! So, I got out the bigger oval slow cooker and transferred everything, rebuilding it layer by layer.

I added four cups of water and the corned beef. Then I dumped a can of beer on top the beef. I know it should have been Guinness or even Killian Red, but all I had on hand was Labatt’s. So, I will dedicate this St. Patrick’s Day dinner to all the Irish that immigrated to Canada (there must have been some, right?) I pressed all the spices from the spice packet into the top of the beef and put on the lid.

I turned the slow cooker on “High” and set the stove timer for 8 hours (you shred and then cook the cabbage for an hour after that). I washed the small slow cooker and left it to dry. Then I went into the bedroom and did my injections, blood sugar and pressure testing and refilled my pill box for the week. I filled in the results of my tests and my weight into the chart on the computer.

I watched a little TV while warming and eating the remaining eggplant for my lunch. The smells from the slow cooker were making me hungry, even then!

Then I got to the main focus of today (well, I also wanted to wash the living room windows inside and out, but that came second). I dug out all the notifications from Blue Cross Blue Shield and all the medical bills from the various places I owe now because of my recent spinal experiences.

I laboriously went over and compared everything line by line to make sure I wasn’t being charged for something that my insurance paid versus what the doctor’s and hospitals wanted.

After I verified all the claims were true, (dammit), I filled out seven separate checks and got them in the right envelopes. I stuck on stamps and return address labels and made a bundle to mail Monday. Then I went to my bank’s website and transferred the appropriate amount from my savings to my checking account (sigh).

Melissa called and we talked for a while, which helped get me out of my depressed state (well, a little bit out). Washing the living room windows will have to wait for another day, I guess. After we hung up, I shredded half a cabbage to add to the crock pot when the timer goes off (it was close by then).

I added the cabbage at the appropriate time and let it cook for another hour. When that timer went off, I plated my supper.

I have to tell you, that was probably the most delicious corned beef and cabbage I ever ate. I took a little of everything and ate it all, plus I even went back for seconds on the corned beef. I think that may be the best dish I’ve cooked in almost a year!!

I watched a taped movie until 9:00 PM and then read until bedtime.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

 
Jeans, Brace and Too Much Flash!(click on it to enlarge)
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I woke up in a fog...

No, really! Saturday morning, we had a bad fog here (unusual in Redford, as I have said before). I could just see the back wall in my yard, but not the houses across Inkster road, so visibility must have been much less than 1/2 mile.

I woke up without the alarm a little after 5:00 AM. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I read until 8:00. Then I made some scrambled eggs for breakfast, instead of oatmeal (:P) Next came writing the Blog entry and then all my meds and injections. I finished the book (I want to take it back today).

I checked on the Library hours and then shaved and took a shower.

B___ called (from his screened-in porch. He got all the furniture washed and set up yesterday). He said it was a beautiful day now that the fog had burned off. It was funny, because as we were talking, it was sometimes hard to hear him over all the birds chirping in his backyard. Spring has sprung!

I got ready to leave just before noon when I remembered: I forgot to put my corned beef and cabbage in the slow cooker! Damn! I checked and it takes 9 hours to cook, so I’ll have to have my St. Patrick’s Day dinner on Sunday. I took the slow cooker out and put it on the counter so I don’t forget tomorrow! Oh well, Melissa said she was making her slow cooker corned beef and cabbage on Monday, since she had time to cook on the weekend.

I had worn a jacket, but had to take it off when I got to the Library. Even with the window down and the air conditioner on, it was too warm. I got the Michigan Income Tax forms I needed (the main reason for the trip), dropped off my old books and then picked out three more.

While I was out and about, I checked on the three closest Catholic churches and, sure enough, all of them had signs out regarding their Lenten Friday fish fry (all 4-7 PM). I really have to pick one and try it (or maybe try all three, LOL!)

I stopped at the Village market and picked up the Swiss cheese I forgot (I’ll need it for the anticipated Rueben sandwiches from the leftover corned beef). The lady in front of me at the checkout had a loaf of green bread (you can take St. Patrick’s Day too far, I think). I told her I can make the same kind of bread at home if I leave the loaf out a couple of weeks and she laughed. (Did I mention she was cute?)

I only had that polo shirt (that the hospital gave me) on and my brace, but I was getting warmer and warmer. So when I got home, I took the brace off for a bit and sat on the couch to cool down. Then it hit me! I am literally wrapping my upper torso in foam rubber. No wonder I’m uncomfortable! This is going to drastically cut down any afternoon or evening outside work until I can take it off for good.

My Brother Carl and I had been discussing the external hard drive he recently bought at Meijer’s. He had emailed me the name and price, but later left me a voicemail saying he wasn’t really sure about the name, or the price, but it was 2 TB and Kal (his son-in-law) told him it was a good deal.

Since I have been thinking about them (I’d like to image my computer in case of massive failure) I called Jake and asked his advice. We talked about options: saving data in the cloud through Amazon, his recommendation of a manufacturer of external hard drives, etc., and then moved on to general discussion.

He said it was amazing (to him) but the pollen down there is so bad you can see it in the air and it covers the cars, roads, parking lots, etc. like green dust. He sent me a picture of his car and he’s right. It looks like he’s been driving down dirt roads for a week or so.

What was interesting is that Melissa mentioned the same thing yesterday, but their pollen is yellow. I think I prefer living in a State where the pollen can still affect you, but you can’t see it.

When I mentioned overheating with the brace on, he asked how I will clean it to keep it from smelling like a gym locker. I hadn’t really thought about it (Fabreeze?) I had sent him and Carla a picture of me in the jeans I bought to wear outside (I haven’t worn jeans since living in Columbus). I didn’t realize it, but that was the first time either of them had seen me with my brace. Jake wrote back that I looked a little like Hannibal Lecter.

I think I look like a Star Wars Storm Trooper, but I will post the photo so you can judge yourself. Just remember, I was trying to show my jeans, NOT the brace. so its a little hard to see.

I walked out back (with my cane) and took the Styrofoam covers off the three roses I have left. All three have leafed out and, with projected highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s for the next seven days, I think any fears of another deep freeze are about gone, from my perspective.

When I put the rose covers in the garage (I can’t get them up in the attic just yet), I also cleaned out the inside of the car. No vacuuming or anything, I just took out all the winter stuff and accumulated crap. I haven’t had the time (or recently, the physical ability) to take care of it as I should. This car needs detailing badly!

I forgot to mention that ever since returning from my Library run, I had been doing the weekly wash. I did three loads of laundry: work clothes, bedding and then the towels.

I was making the bed when my Brother Jim called to check on me.

It was getting late and I still needed some dinner (especially since I forgot to eat any lunch). So I peeled and sliced an eggplant and then fried it up. I ate that watching the movie “The Rock” (Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage) again.

In case you are interested, no, the eggplant didn’t taste “right” and I only ate about half of what I would have, say last year. Dammit! I used to love that stuff!

When the movie ended at 11:00 PM, I shut everything off and went to bed.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

T.G.I.F

(Wow! I can say that again and really mean it!)

Friday morning I slept through the alarm (for 40 minutes!) So, I repeated everything I did on Thursday morning, except for writing the Blog post (I figured I could do that at lunchtime). I got to work just five minutes late and the only thing I forgot today was a roll of crackers (for when I have soup at work).

Work was a little more frantic that the first day as I tried to develop a system for doing Michelle’s job handling computer/hardware requests. She has one, but never explained it to me and I couldn’t quite figure it out. But, it was lunchtime before I had my own.

My old friend (another Michelle), from my Facilities days, stopped in to see my boss, saw me and asked me where I’d been and why was I wearing that silly thing. So, I had to go over the whole story. She seemed genuinely concerned and gave me a big hug when I finished, whispering, “Please take care of yourself!” I’m not sure how my boss felt, having to wait for her while we talked, but it made me feel good.

I brought soup (although no crackers) for lunch but changed my mind at the last minute. I went to the Newburgh Grille and had a mini Greek salad. It was good and I ate almost all of it!

Back at work, I was trying to order stuff, but kept getting interrupted by my boss with questions that I needed to research. It took a while to find the answers, but I got them all sorted out before quitting time and he thanked me.

I wasn’t as tired or sore when I got home. My daughter Melissa called just after I got there and I sat on the couch, with my brace on, while we talked for a long, long time.

Finally I said I had to eat something so I could take my evening pills, so we hung up.

I made some Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup and ate that (with crackers), took my pills and took off my brace. I watched an apparently forgettable program and then went to bed around 10:00 PM.

Friday, March 16, 2012

 
Detxter Tornado Photo (for outstate relatives) #1
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Dexter Tornado Photo (for outstate relatives) #2
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Dexter Tornado Photo (for outstate relatives) #3
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Makes you think...

Now, I know you were expecting this post to be a rambling dissertation on how my first day back to work went. And, some of it will be. But events happened that changed my original intent.

Yes, I did wake up to the alarm clock. I had set it for my normal 5:30 AM time. I ate another oatmeal breakfast and then took my pills. I tested my blood sugar and blood pressure and then injected my doses of saline, antibiotics and heparin. I checked my weight and recorded all the test results and weight information in my doctor diary. Finally, I posted the Blog entry.

I shaved and then I taped a bag over my PICC line site and showered. I got dressed, gathered all my stuff and headed to work, getting there 10 minutes early. Not bad (but definitely NOT the leisurely way I used to get ready for work).

There were all the greeting and questions, etc. that you always get when going back to work after an extended time off. But, things finally settled down, so I started to try and catch up. Just then my boss asked for my “return to work” permission slip and I remembered it was sitting on the kitchen table (where I put it so I wouldn’t forget it). I suggested bringing it in Friday, but he said Human Resources wanted it BEFORE I did any work. So, I drove back home, grabbed it and raced back, calling myself all kinds of names for being so stupid.

I definitely have a LOT to do what with taking care of Michelle’s work and mine (mine has mostly remained untouched since January). So, “catching up” is probably the wrong words. This will take a long while!

Physically, it wasn’t too bad. I remembered to get up and walk around every half hour or so (my therapist’s suggestion), which kept the back brace from hurting me too much (although I did have to take a pain pill around 1:00 PM). I should have walked outside, because it was sunny and in the mid 70’s in the afternoon.

I had taken in my lunch, so I wouldn’t have to expend extra energy by going out, getting in the car and going home or to a restaurant (Jake’s idea). But, I was pretty tired and sore by the time 5:00 PM finally rolled around. Driving home, it was still warm, but very cloudy and the air felt “heavy”.

Since the only time I don’t have to wear the brace is when I’m lying in bed, after treating the cats I took it off and changed from my work clothes to my bathrobe. I lay down on the bed to watch the news and rest.

That’s when all hell broke loose! You may have noticed that for most of the past year, most of the severe storms have by-passed Michigan (usually to our south and heading to the east coast). Well, our luck ran out today. There were thunderstorms (with heavy rain), flooding, golf ball-sized hail and tornado warnings and watches all over southeast Michigan.

The news (at least on Channel 4) never got to any news (or even switched to the NBC Nightly News at 7:00 PM). It just stayed on the weather. There were at least three confirmed tornado touchdowns by then: one in Ida Township, one in Lapeer County and the rest in Dexter (a village about an hour west of Detroit).

Dexter got it the worst. They couldn’t tell (at that point) if it was one tornado that kept touching down, going back up and then touching down again or several. They showed pictures of the devastation. Some homes looked like just piles of lumber while others had the second story ripped off. What was weird is you had three or four houses totally destroyed, then some with their shingles ripped off and the next homes untouched. There were trees and power lines down everywhere.

Fortunately, according to the news at the time, there were no lives lost or severe injuries.

I was talking with B___ on the phone during some of this (He had called to see how my first day back went). He was watching Channel 7 news and we kept telling each other what they were showing on the different channels.

I finally turned off the news around 7:30 PM. None of the bad storms were in my immediate area (the closest was Ann Arbor). But there was a lot of thunder at the house. I did get up and warmed up some leftovers for dinner (and so I could take my evening pills) and it still wasn’t raining or hailing.

I started reading, but fell asleep around 9:00 PM. I woke up for a bathroom break later and turned everything off and went to bed for real. The next time I went to the bathroom, I did notice that it had rained here, but it didn’t look like it was all that much.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last Day of Freedom

I woke up early again on Wednesday. It supposed to be even better weather than yesterday (High near 70 degrees with little or no wind).

I got everything "medical" done (I should be timing this so I know how early I need to get up to still make it to work on time, but I haven’t) and then made a grocery list.

I stopped and gassed up the car (first time I had to pay $4.00 a gallon for my mid-grade). Next I went to Meijer’s to get a couple more pair of pants for work (I’m not going to buy any more “good” pants until I finally determine what my correct size is (or will be). Right now I have 12 pairs of almost new Jos. A. Banks pants (two different waist sizes) that are too big for me. The Goodwill folks may have lucked out, but my wallet sure didn’t!

Then I did my grocery shopping. I didn’t need much, but I did want some corned beef and cabbage for this coming St. Patrick’s day.

Back home, I unloaded the car and then checked the pant sizes BEFORE I washed them (see, I'm not too old to learn, LOL).

I gave my Brother Carl a call to see how he was feeling after his last comment in the Blog. Turns out it was not his back making him feel bad (as I had thought) but he has had flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, etc.) I offered to drive him to the doctors, but he said not just yet.

I called the in-house nurse and let her know I still need her to come for three more weeks. She said, “No problem!”

I talked a bit with Jake about cell phones (I have a work one, but I think I need a personal one). The trouble is, I don’t know anything about features, benefits, plans, etc.)

My Brother Joe called from Florida (they are still on vacation). He said he remembered I had said I would be going back to work on the 15th and he just wondered how I was feeling. I told him I was going to try it and also mentioned I needed three more weeks of antibiotics. He told me to take it easy and we hung up.

The infusion center guy brought me next week’s worth of stuff around 6:30 PM (they had called and asked if today would be okay and I said sure).

I also talked with Carla and then B___ later. I started watching a movie and ate dinner late. My Brother Jim called after 9:00 PM to check up on me as well (I am very popular today, it seems!)

When the movie was finished, I read a book until I started to fall asleep and then went to bed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hellos and Goodbyes

As I said, I didn’t sleep well Monday night (along with the back pain, there were thunderstorms as well). So, I gave up at 5:30 AM and got started with Tuesday.

After all the usual “stuff,” I took a shower and got dressed. I headed out to work a little before 9:00 AM. I’m not going to work to work, just to see Michelle (the woman I will be backing up while she’s in Hawaii for her sister’s wedding). Today is her last day before she leaves and I wanted to get a feel for how much trouble I’m going to be in.

No bosses were around, so it was nice to see the folks at work! I visited for about an hour and then had to leave (I had my physical therapy appointment at noon).

She showed up early (a first for any at-home nurse or therapist). I began by confessing I hurt myself taking out the garbage. She asked if I put it on my walker and wheeled it out (I guess the "usual" solution for people like me). I said, no, I put it in the car backseat and drive it out. She was impressed and said she'd never heard of that one.

She said that is a real problem with starting to feel better. You forget to take it easy like you did when you were really hurting. She said I probably twisted my back pulling out one of the bags. She asked how it was feeling today and I said it was much better (because it is).

The weather was beautiful (although a bit windy) so instead of exercises, we took a walk down my road. We went almost to the end before turning around, chatting all the way. When we got back, she officially discharged me.

Sidebar: At-home infusion works differently than physical therapy. At-home therapy stops when you go back to work (you then have to switch to outpatient therapy) while at-home infusion lasts as long as the doctor wants.

I asked what else I need to do and she said the bad thing about the brace is that wearing it will atrophy my "core" muscles a little. So, once I get the brace off (NOT before!) I should start building up my stomach and lower back muscles (preferably under the guidance of an out-patient therapist). But, she stressed the main thing I should be doing now is taking it easy and letting my back heal.

I will miss her. She was a lot of fun and interesting. But then I always miss most of my nurses/therapists. They help you through difficult times and it’s easy to become attached to them (or maybe it’s just me).

That reminds me I need to call the home nurse and tell her she needs to come back next Monday (timing this while at work might be tricky).

I spent the rest of the day straightening up the house, reading and resting. I did take another outdoor walk (this time in my yard with my cane) and took a few pictures. Spring seems to be coming way too early this year!

I caught an interesting bit of information on the evening news. They said that if you looked to the west in the early evening, you would see what looked like two bright stars. They are not stars, though; they are the planets Jupiter and Venus very close to each other.

Now, long-time readers may remember just how many times I have missed seeing meteor showers, eclipses of the moon and/or the northern lights here in Redford (due to either the bright city lights, clouds and/or rain, etc.) So, I was interested but not convinced I’d really see them.

But, I remembered about 9:00 PM and looked out the bathroom window. WOW! There they were and they were beautiful! I smiled for the rest of the evening. Too cool!

I watched a special about Yellowstone National park (I spent some time sole-camping there as a young man) and then went to bed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

 
Jake's patio garden in Spring
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Hyacinths and iris on south side of garage
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Sole crocus out in front
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Daffodils and iris under bedroom front window
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Daffodils, ready to bloom
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Road Trip

I woke up at 7:00 AM on Monday (Daylight Savings time again). It was gray and raining outside.

I was filling in the Blog entry when I got a call from the home nurse, asking if it was okay to come between 11:00 -12:00. I explained there may be a mix-up and that I didn’t have any saline left, just some heparin. She said she’d bring some saline and also check with the Infusion center to see what the deal is.

I finished up on the computer and then took a shower.

I was starting to get nervous (I have another doctor appointment at 2:00 PM) but she finally showed up just before noon. She had gotten the same response from the Infusion center as I did, “Wait until after he sees the doctor.” So, she changed the dressing and drew the blood she needs and then left, after telling me she’d call later in the day to see what the doctor says.

The Infusion center wants me to call them immediately after seeing the doctor so they can prepare a shipment (to be delivered yet today) if he wants more antibiotic, BTW.

I left for the doctors at 1:15 PM. I got there five minutes early but, unlike the last time when Joe took me, I had to wait about 20 minutes.

The office visit was short (as all the post-op ones seem to be). The upshot was that there is no definitive way to tell if the infection is now gone. Because of the severity of the infection, they want me to keep using the antibiotic for two-three more weeks. I told him that, other than wanting the PICC line out, I had no problems with that and could see the logic (I don’t want to go through this again). I also told him he needed to call the Infusion center with a new prescription as they (and I) were confused. So, he did. I have another appointment with him in early April.

When I got home about 3:30 PM, I called the Infusion center as well and confirmed they would be sending out my supplies tonight.

I got the trash out to the road, but apparently have become overconfident, as this time I hurt my back doing it (and I know better). This really p*ssed me off (Mr. No BLT, indeed).

The Infusion guy came with three more antibiotic syringes (apparently they will be making their usual Thursday night run) around 6:00 PM. I made a sandwich again for dinner and ate that watching the evening news.

Both reading and TV was unsatisfying because of my back pain. I eventually went to bed, but slept lousy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Interesting Tip

I saw this on TV and, for a change, it made perfect sense. Supposedly, the ideal personal portion of dried pasta can be determined by placing your index finger in the first joint of your thumb. The amount of dried spaghetti (or linguine, etc.) that fits in the hole you have created is just right for your size.

I forgot to mention...

I had a very nice phone call from Carla's Mom on Sunday. I thanked her for all her prayers for me and asked her to keep them up (God likes her better than me, I'm thinking!)

Just a walk in the park (sorta)

Sunday was a gorgeous day here in Southeast Michigan. I couldn’t tell you the temperature and wind speed as I woke up too late for the local morning news (damn Daylight Savings!) After I did my morning med routine (last time for the antibiotic, maybe), I took stock of me.

I was a little sore, but not incredibly so. It could be the reduced pain medication or the cleaning I did on Saturday. Anyway, I decided to take the day off.

So, I watched some TV, putzed a bit and read a lot. Melissa had emailed me and mentioned they would be home all day and I could call her if I wanted. I did reply back and told her she was the one with a family, obligations and a schedule, so it might be easier if she called me when she had the time. She didn’t, so I don’t know if she didn’t read that or just got busy.

I just hope she isn’t ticked I didn’t call. You don’t want that girl to get all Brogan on ya!

Lunch was some Campbell’s split pea and ham soup.

I did take a walk outside in the afternoon. I tried to go out back, but the grass was a little soggy for my walker wheels. I thought of just using my cane, but then realized I was too close to getting back to work to risk falling and screwing something up.

So, I went out front on the road. I didn’t get too far (maybe four houses and then back) but I did get some fresh air and a chance to wave “hi” to some neighbors.

Then I spent the rest of the afternoon doing my Federal taxes. I have everything entered and now just have to recheck it all (I'm so paranoid, I usually recheck it about 100 times before I actually file, LOL!)

Dinner was some jarred gravy on top of two split Pillsbury biscuits (it just sounded good and it was!)

My friend B___ called and we caught each other up. He is still convinced I am going back to work too soon and voiced his concern again. I said I was going to try it and, if it was too hard, I’d go back home. So, we agreed to disagree.

There was nothing much on TV Sunday night, so I read until I got sleepy (around the new midnight) and then went to bed.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ignoring the Doctor’s Warning!

(Let’s face it. You know me. Isn’t it about time?)

I watched a couple of episodes of “The Rifleman” while I ate breakfast (oatmeal, again), took my pills, shot up my antibiotic, saline and heparin, took my blood pressure and checked my blood sugar.

As I said before, “The Rifleman” was an old (1950’s?) western show I used to watch as a kid and they show like six episodes early every Saturday morning on AMC. I get a nostalgic kick out of watching it now.

I weighed myself and filled in all the information in my doctor diary." Then I got cleaned up and dressed and got to work. Now, I know I was told I couldn’t sweep, mop or vacuum by both my doctor and the physical therapists. And, I tried to be good.

Remember I had a social worker come to the house? Well, he was sent there when I complained to the home nurse about the cat hair and “stuff” building up in the house. He provided me with three names of people he said were reputable house cleaners. I tried calling and leaving messages with two of them (the other he said was more like Mom’s Cora, a little housekeeping but mostly help bathing, making dinner, etc.). He warned me that all of them were from the East side and might not want to drive this far.

Neither of them ever returned my several messages!

So, I girded my loins (actually, tightened my back brace) and started cleaning the damn house. I vacuumed, swept, dust mopped the wood floors and then washed them (with my Swifter, so I wouldn’t have to lift a heavy bucket of water) and swept and washed the kitchen and main bathroom floors (again with the Swifter).

I took my time, tried to be careful (no BLT’s) and used the “grabber” to pick stuff off the floors. While I was doing that, I also washed all the blankets I had used in the living room and the office. I folded the extra blankets up and put them in the linen closet.

I didn’t get around to dusting or washing glass surfaces, or cleaning the kitchen counters or the stove but the house looks 100% better.

Oh, and I finally changed the furnace filters (about two months too late).

Then I quit for the day, took off my brace, took a pain pill and laid down for a late afternoon rest. I thought I’d take a nap, but I made the mistake of starting to read a library book.

Somewhere in the middle of that, Jake called and we chatted for a while. Well, he talked and I listened, as my side of any conversation is admittedly short (same old, same old, nothing much new).

Later, I moved all the clocks ahead one hour (and I seem to have a lot of clocks – two downstairs; four in the kitchen, counting the stove, microwave, coffeemaker and wall clock; the mantle clock in the living room and the alarm clocks in the office and my bedroom). I need a new battery for the one in the main bath, so I didn’t need to mess with it.

As I was doing this, I couldn’t help but marvel how close Spring is now. I know I complained in the past that I had missed last summer completely and now I realized I’ve missed this Winter as well (I really wanted to do some cross-country skiing). Getting old (and sick) sucks!

I had an apple and a protein drink for lunch while I was working and for dinner I just made a sandwich (with a pickle on the side). I was going to watch TV, but the book was interesting. When I finished it, it was close to midnight (really 11:00 PM), so I just went to bed.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

 
Handicap Shower #1
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Handicap Shower #2
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Handicap Shower #3
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Cardinals under feeder (Click on to enlarge)
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The Friday Follies

It was cold and snowing lightly Friday morning. According to the morning news, this has caused numerous accidents. In fact, it was still snowing here at 8:30 AM.

Around noon, I got ready for my trip to CVS. I picked up my Celebrex and a new blood pressure cuff (I never could find the one I have or had). Since I was in the car anyway, I drove over to the Library (I am out of reading material, once more). It was snowing again but, all in all, I put 11 miles on the car!

I had a voicemail from Lu so I called her back (she was on the road back home from Florida).

Then I returned another voicemail from the St. John’s Infusion Center. My doctor has requested two more weeks of the antibiotic. I told them he originally said I was done on the 11th and that’s why (I assumed) they hadn’t brought me my normal restock on Thursday. It turned out the new script was submitted by one of his associates. So, I will check with him on this when I see him on Monday (the 12th). Why do I care? I was hoping to have the PICC line removed BEFORE I went back to work.

I did a load of laundry (sounds trite but, trust me, it’s a pain). Speaking of pain, my back hurt today. I'm no sure if it was being in the car with the brace on or cutting back on the morphine. But, it was certainly noticeable.

I cheated on dinner and made a frozen entrĂ©e: Swedish meatballs in gravy over egg noodles (made by Boston Market). It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I started dozing off watching TV (which always annoys me) so I shut it off and read myself to sleep.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Then it was Thursday

Well, the warm weather couldn’t last, I guess. Temps fell all day and that damn wind never stopped.


I did try out my new "wand" shower. It is handy to rinse your nether regions I suppose, but I must confess I liked my old "rain" shower head better.

My physical therapist came over just after noon. We talked a while and I did some exercises. However, our planned walk down the road had to be cancelled due to the wind.

I did try and take a nap but never fell asleep. My daughter Amy called and we chatted while she was waiting to pick my Grandson up from school.

I ate some of a can of Hormel chili for dinner. My brother Carl called and we talked until his TV show came on. Then I watched TV until bedtime.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Windy Warm Wednesday

Wednesday was an unbelievable day, weather-wise. It hit 68 degrees F. here in the “D.” Unfortunately, the high winds (27 MPH sustained with occasional higher gusts) wrecked my chances for any sunbathing.

It was a quiet day here. I did make one phone call to the Infectious Disease doctor's office. My antibiotic runs out on the 11th and, assuming that’s all I am going to need, I wanted to know who would be taking out my PICC line. So, I have an appointment next week with his associate.

I took my blood sugar (for the first time in years) and recorded it in a diary my Doctor wants me to keep for a while. I need to record my daily blood sugar, blood pressure and weight. Unfortunately I was unable to quickly find my blood pressure machine, so I'll have to look for it more intensely or buy another one.

Lunch was a sandwich and dinner was the two last brats and the remaining leftover Brussels sprouts.

There wasn’t much on TV, so I watched obscure documentaries and went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Road Trip

(or, “What’s the Wurst that Could Happen?”)

I showered downstairs on Tuesday. It was not a easy, but I didn’t want to get the main bathroom wet. My friend B___ is coming over to take me to my Doctor visit in Richmond and offered to install one of those wand shower heads the therapy folks strongly suggested I get before we leave. So, I wanted the main bathtub dry.

He got here around 11:00 and switched out the shower head (I must admit, although it will be handy, I liked my “rain” shower head better). After he finished and tested it for leaks, we headed out.

We stopped at a restaurant he suggested near Lake St. Clair and I had a fantastic perch sandwich for lunch. I amazed myself by eating all of it!

The doctor’s visit went about as I had expected. She, too, thought I should stay home a while longer but gave in to my arguments. She brought up something new, though. She suggested I start deliberately cutting back on pain medicine (i.e. instead of taking my normal 90 mg of morphine twice a day, try taking 60 mg twice a day and see what happens). I think she is worried about either me becoming addicted or the shock to my system when I stop cold turkey. So, I said I’d try that.

Following another long ride, we got back home just after 3:00 PM. Lu called a little later and said I sounded tired. I explained I just got home from Richmond and she said she didn’t really have any news, so she’d call back another time.

I took a pain pill and then a nap. I woke up sporadically and did talk with both Jake and my Brother James. Other than that and eating dinner (two warmed up bratwurst) I slept from Tuesday afternoon until early Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sone thing will turn up...

It was gray, windy and snowing Monday morning. But the sun had come out by the time the nurse came over to change my dressing at noon.

I took a long nap in the afternoon. So much for training to go back to work.

I decided to cook up the turnips Joe and Kathy had left me. I must admit, I’ve eaten raw turnips back when I worked on the truck farm (they taste a little like apples). But I never cooked them.

So, I peeled them (not easy) and cut them into chunks. I boiled them, changing the water once (that’s supposed to keep them from tasting bitter) until they were fork tender. I drained them good and mashed them with a little butter.

But, they kept giving off excess water. WTF? By the time I plated them, the entire plate was wet (again!) Does anybody know what I did wrong or should have done?

I ate them with some brats and hot mustard. I watched the 11:00 PM news and then went to bed.

Tuesday Birthday Shoutout

Happy Birthday, Jyl!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sunday’s Story

It was still cold and still windy and, according to the TV, with occasional snow this morning, but it was sunny here on Sunday morning. I called Lu for her birthday, unfortunately while she was getting ready for church.

My new therapist showed up just after noon. We went over the whole story (yet again). She made some good suggestions and left me with six different exercises I need to do every day. That should be no big problems as I did all of them at the rehab center, albeit using parallel bars rather than my kitchen counter.

What surprises me is that they all center on strengthening my legs and have nothing to do with my back. Well, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me as my Brother Carl’s doctor doesn’t even believe in any therapy. I guess, unlike say an artificial knee, they want your back to heal without any stress or strain.

I kept my brace on all day (no nap) in preparation for going back to work. I also took a couple of calls from friends in the afternoon.

I ate the rest of the leftover tuna and peas for Sunday dinner and then watched a taped movie until bedtime.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Winter Returns

Saturday was very windy and cold with occasional snow showers (especially in the morning). I did go out in the morning to fill up the bird feeder (first time it’s had seed in it in a month or two). I used up the last of the seed and by the time I got back inside, the miserable weather had convinced me that there was nothing coming in the mail important enough (I hope) to lure me back outside today!

I took a shower (always an adventure) and then stripped the bed. Try taking off bedding without bending, twisting or lifting the queen-sized mattress and you will know why I list that as an accomplishment!

I took a break (and a pain pill), reading in the living room while I waited for the bedding to dry. Once that was dry, I carefully re-made the bed (another accomplishment). Then I took off my brace and took a nap.

I had planned on using the grille pan to make some brats and cooking up the Brussels sprouts Joe and Kathy brought me as the side for a nice early dinner. But, by the time dinner rolled around, that seemed a bit much, so I just made the Brussels sprouts.

I just trimmed and halved them and then boiled them until fork tender. Now, these weren't anything like Carla's Brussels sprouts with bacon (some things I don't even try to duplicate) but with a little butter and salt, they were excellent!

I refilled my pillbox while I watched the movie “Natural Treasure” with Nicholas Cage (there wasn’t any Red Wing hockey on). I never saw that movie before and it was pretty good. When it was over, I went to bed.

Oh, speaking of hockey, I forgot to mention I watched Detroit play Minnesota on Friday night. Sorry Amy, but we creamed ‘em (6-zip).

Sunday Birthday Shoutout

Happy Birthday, Luanne!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

On the road again…..

(Well, at least down the alley). I drove over to CVS to pick up that Celebrex prescription and I don’t have to go out on the road to get there. I do have permission to drive, I’m just a little nervous about trying it as it’s been a while. My Brother Carl keeps offering to drive over and get the Celebrex for me, but it seems damn stupid for him to drive all that way to go one block.

I’ve been waiting for two days for the CVS stock order to get in. It turned out the warehouse won’t have any until next week, so they just gave me seven pills.

It started to rain at 3:00 PM. I got a call from the heretofore missing physical therapist, who’s supposed to come over Sunday afternoon.

The wind picked up sometime after dark (we have high wind advisories but, thank God, no tornado warnings). I could here it moaning around the house when I went to bed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday’s Tale

It was just another day in paradise, here on Thursday. I had to wind my watch for forever so the date would be right.

It was warm, although not nice looking outside. But, I decided to take a walk, with my trusty walker. So, I walked over to my neighbor’s to thank him for putting up the new mail box. He said when it laid there for a couple of days, they figured I was out of town or something, so he went ahead and put a new post in. I thanked him and headed back home.

On the way back, a lady I never saw before stopped her car as she was pulling into the townhouses across the street. She said she didn’t know if the police talked to me (huh?) but she was the one who called them about the mailbox. She said she knows how nice I keep the yard, so she was afraid something had happened to me. This explains the footprints under all my windows and the pried up screens I noticed when I got back from the hospital the second time, I suppose.

It’s reassuring to know that people around here have my back.

I made tuna and peas (with noodles) for dinner and went to bed early.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Leap Year

(I’m not allowed to leap, however).

Spent the usual day. Ate some oatmeal with morning pills and had some of that protein drink (YUCK!) I read a lot, watched a little TV and took small naps.

I did talk with Jake and Jeremy and B___ and I finally called my friend Leon to wish him a very belated birthday. I missed a call from Carl (note to self: Call him back). Ate a little more for lunch and dinner and drank some more of that crap.

I got my first call from my social worker that was amusing. I was sleeping when the phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID. It looked like Carl’s number so I answered it. He said, “Hi, this is David, a social worker from St. John’s Hospital.” Thinking it was my brother, I said, “Yeah, right, Carl! What do you want?”

We finally straightened it out, but I got some ‘splaining to do when he comes over on Thursday.