Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday Highlights

I woke up for good around 5:00 AM on Monday morning, in my chair. Sleeping in bed had become quite a pain during the night (Nice play on words there, Captain!)

I tried another pizza slice for breakfast, but ended up putting it and the rest of the pizza back in the box and in the trash. I settled on two cups of coffee, instead.

Now, the highlight of my Mondays is the nurse’s visit at 1:00 PM (that’s how low I have sunk). However, I got a call saying the regular nurse was off today and a replacement one would be coming between 2:00 and 3:00 PM.

So, she finally got here. I’m not saying she was too old, but I feel uneasy when people with needles are shaking. Her talking to herself didn’t help to easy my doubts either. Oh, well, I got through it.

Other than that, I did manage to clean the main bathroom.

I made some hot dogs and mac & cheese for dinner. I didn’t have any buns, so I used sourdough bread, instead. I didn’t eat a lot, but what I did eat tasted great.

I started to doze off around 9:30 PM, so I shut everything down and went to bed for real.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sunday, SUNDAY!

It was snowing here when I woke up and made coffee. Don’t get me wrong (I’m NOT missing the big snowstorms of past winters) but it looked lovely out the kitchen window. The snow settled on the evergreen boughs as softly as a silent prayer.

I had a cup of coffee (good) and tried to choke down a piece of cold pizza (not so good) for breakfast. Then I sat in the chair and gave myself my morning injections.

I stayed in the chair, reading, for a long while. I’m trying to rest up so I can accomplish today’s mission: cutting my hair. This is not for looks, you see, but because it’s really bugging me. The last time I got my hair cut (and I need one every three weeks) was December 17, 2011.

Reviews of this idea were decidedly mixed. I talked to Jake BEFORE I cut it and he said, “Go for it!” I reminded him the last time I cut my own hair, he and Carla had stopped by just afterwards. At their insistence, I sat on a chair on the patio and Jake “fixed” it.

But, as he pointed out (and I had already thought of), there will be yet another haircut needed before I can go back to work. So if there is any “fixing” needed, my barber can take care of it before my public debut.

I went ahead and cut it. I found it’s easier to do this by feel than by trying to use a mirror as, with a mirror, you are constantly holding your clippers wrong. The result? It doesn’t looked “finished” (especially around the ears and the back of my neck) but it feels much better.

I cleaned up the mess and took a shower. Back resting in the chair, I got a call from B___. I told him what I’d been up to and he was bummed. He had apparently planned on coming over and taking me to the barber (this is not the first time I’ve bitched about my long hair).

I told him I would love to see him regardless but that I didn’t think, at this time, I could have sat in a barber’s chair long enough to get a haircut anyway.

Later on, I got a call from Carla’s Mom. We chatted for a while and she said she would pray for me (I appreciate that, since I am pretty sure God will pay a lot more attention to her than to me).

I tried Carl’s idea for topping a hamburger patty with Heinz Chili Sauce. He was right! It was fantastic and a welcome change for my leftovers.

I watched some TV, but fell asleep around 10:30 PM.

Food Thoughts

~ On Vegetarianism

“They all say “you are what you eat.” Since chickens eat grain, they should be allowed on a vegetarian diet!”

~ On Gluten-Free

“I remember the first time I ate a gluten-free cookie. I thought to myself, “So, that’s what “gluten” is. It’s what makes cookies taste good!”

~ Compliments of Nadia G.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

S.S.,D.D. Saturday

I went out and read at 4:30 AM (I told you I didn’t sleep well) Saturday morning. It was snowing here when daylight finally dawned.

When I went out to get the mail, it was still snowing, but I made myself take down the outdoor Christmas decorations on the porch and the wreath. It’s waaay past time!

I did get in a nice two-hour nap in the early afternoon and, big surprise, it was sunny outside! In fact, the snow was melting. But, I wasn’t fooled as the wind howled around the house and I watched winter-killed twigs and small branches blow down out of the maples.

I talked with B___ and my Brother Jim. Both called to see how I was feeling and to ask if I needed anything (“Crummy” and “No’ were my answers). Both also agreed it “looked” nice from inside, but it was cold if you were out there.

I thought I should switch things up a bit, so I ordered a medium pizza with my three favorite toppings for dinner. I was SO bummed as it didn’t taste as good as I’d hoped (probably the medicine) and I could barely eat 1 1/2 pieces (ditto – medicine).

I watched an old movie (King Solomon’s Mine) and an old favorite (Under Siege) and went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Friday, I chilled. I did shave and shower, but didn’t bother to dress (where would I go?) Mostly, I read books.

I ate the last of the tuna, pasta and peas for lunch.

I talked with my Brother Carl and a friend and that helped to break up the day a bit. I did talk with my Brother Joe, but I think that was earlier in the week (it’s easy to lose track).

I used a pound of ground chuck and fried up three patties. I ate one of them topped with sautéed onions and A1 steak sauce. So, I pretended it was a steak.

Come to think of it, I should have eaten the tuna and pasta with it and I could have pretended I was eating “surf and turf”.

I watched the Friday Night Fights and then went to bed. I hurt a lot today, so I didn’t sleep well at all.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday and Friday

I spent a very, VERY frustrating day on Wednesday, dealing with health insurance, our HR department and two doctors trying to get some things straightened out. Which is why I didn’t fill in the Blog. I was still too p*ssed.

I did thaw out some peas and added them to my tuna salad for Wednesday’s dinner. It tasted great!

Thursday went a little better. I should mention that over the course of these two days, I talked with Jake, Melissa, Sadie and B___ on the phone. My Brother Jim stopped in Thursday afternoon (he had a meeting nearby).

I finally got my refills and more supplies for the home nurse at 5:30 PM on Thursday.

I ate the last of the pierogies for dinner. I also washed the bedding (it was time, LOL). Making the bed back up was a pain, though.

And, that’s about all that’s new.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The State of the Union (and San Jose)

I woke up early again on Tuesday. So, I took my meds early (half-hoping the morphine would kick in). i still hurt like hell.

I had Lu get me two dozen eggs just before she left, so I decided it was time to start using them. I made three soft-boiled ones for my breakfast and hard-boiled the other nine. Breakfast was excellent!

I got my rides to the two doctor’s appointments squared away.

Now, if you call a combination of breakfast and lunch a “brunch,” what is a combination of lunch and dinner? A “linner?” (Damn morphine, anyway!)

So, I ate some more tuna pasta salad for my linner. I added a rough-chopped hard-boiled egg to it to “kick it up a notch.” It definitely added to the flavor, but did nothing for the texture.

Wow! I may have just figured it out while typing this! Since I don’t have a crunchy green pepper, I’ll try adding thawed raw peas!

I took a few calls from friends, co-workers and my Brothers Joe and Jim.

I fell asleep during the State of the Union address. But, I can summarize: The State of the Union (and the State of San Jose) is we’re screwed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Birthday Shoutout!

Happy Birthday to my Brother Carl!!!

Monday, Monday...

I wasn’t feeling too well on Monday. If anything, the pain is getting worse, not better. I’m becoming a bit discouraged...

I got cleaned up for my weekly nurse’s visit. She showed up around 1:00, drew some blood, changed the dressing on my PICC line and added an extension to my one port.

I made my two appointments for my rechecks. Both are in the beginning of February, which seemed far away until I thought about it. I guess I blew off January like I blew off December. Time flies when you’re having fun.

I took a nap and then some more phone calls from friends.

I decided to make a cold tuna and pasta salad for dinner (It’s easier to make a “big” dish of something and then eat leftovers than make several small dishes each day).

Sadly, I didn’t have any green pepper, so my salad was a bit bland (I compensated by adding red chili flakes). But, it tasted delicious anyway (and, I thought of something I can add to it to jazz up the leftovers).

I went to bed at 10:00 PM.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sunday Short Story

Sunday was a peaceful day. I ate more of the hot dogs and beans for brunch.

I had three separate phone calls from people wanting to know how I was feeling. I hated to disappoint them by saying, “the same.”

I decided I needed some Sunday supper, so I dug out frozen pierogies. I was about halfway through making them when I realized I’d asked Luanne to throw out my sour cream (thinking it was getting old). So, I ate four or so of them with just salt, sautéed onions and butter. I did miss the sour cream, but damn they tasted good!

I fell asleep around 9:30 PM while watching TV. I woke up at 2:00 AM, shut off the TV and the lights and then went to bed for real.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy-up Chair, UP!
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Just Another Case of Broken Dreams...

[Sidebar on the “terrible” storm Friday night: Bah! Humbug!! Although the official tally was 2.3 inches at Metro airport, I’d be amazed if we got even two inches here. Another over-hyped event.]

It was just routine day here on Saturday when I got another “brilliant” idea (Have you ever noticed just how many of my so-called “brilliant” ideas go so wrong?)

I had already administered my morning meds (takes about 1/2 hour), shaved and showered and was sitting in my chair reading. I noticed that the postal truck had just come, so I went out and got the mail.

Now, when I say I “went out and got the mail” I must tell you I DON’T get all dressed up warm, put on my boots, gloves and hat and trudge out to the mailbox, hoping all the while that I don’t fall and break a hip or something.

This really was a brilliant idea I had the night before Lu left for dealing with the mail (and probably the garbage, too): What I do is just put on my Crocs, go out in my bathrobe to the garage and get in the car. Then I raise up the garage door, start the car and let it run for a while (to heat up the oil and charge up the battery).

Then I back out into the street, pull up next to my mailbox and retrieve my mail. I repeat the process in reverse and end up back in the house, no muss, no fuss, no coat or boots and no falling down. Brilliant!

Anyway, back inside, I was thirsty, but was getting pretty tired of water and/or coffee (I don’t like soda, you may recall). What I really wanted was some homemade lemonade, but I don’t have any lemons. Hmmm... what else come close? Ice Tea!!!

So, I did some serious searching for the tea I thought I had somewhere and, guess what? I found it! [Sidebar to Lu and Riese: Sorry, I didn’t find the hot chocolate, though.]

I filled up the tea kettle and put the water onto boil. Then I couldn’t find my teapot! [Grrr...] So, I got out my big, beautiful, heavy, clear-glass lemonade pitcher. Now, I know you shouldn’t pour boiling water into a glass anything, so I stuck in a metal spoon (supposed to dissipate the heat).

I added in four tea bags and got the pitcher filled about halfway when it shattered! Fortunately, I had the foresight to put the pitcher in the sink before filling it, so clean up was easy and there was no glass on the floor or anything.

But, I loved that pitcher! It just “looked” like summer to me. I was sooo bummed.

For dinner I cut up four all-beef hot dogs and added them to a can of pork and beans. I ate some of that watching TV. Then, I did my night meds (much quicker because I just have to inject myself in the stomach with some insulin) and then I went to bed, burping...

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Oddly enough, under my present circumstances, the phrase T.G.I.F. has little to no meaning. But, to celebrate it being Friday, I took the day off.

Again, what does that mean? Well, instead of lying around and/or sitting and reading, I lay around and/or sat and read.

I did talk with Luanne in the morning and she said she obviously picked the wrong day to leave. I told her that she hadn’t, as we are supposed to get a big snowstorm tonight.

For supper, I heated up a Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. Note to Carl: this is NOT the one mentioned in the article you sent me. It was a Marie Callender’s CHEESY chicken pot pie that was so bad for you.

I talked to Melissa for quite a while in the evening, which caused me to miss my Brother Jim’s call. So, I called him back. He wanted to know how I was feeling and to let me know of yet another website I could view pictures of his new Great-granddaughter, Emerson Jane Goerlich. Cute little baby, and so much hair!

I went to bed at 10:30 PM.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday and back on track (I hope)

Luanne finished packing her car and left around 11:00 AM. It had snowed earlier although the sun was out by then. But, before she left, I checked the Weather Channel and she checked on the computer and we both decided the storm, which was moving fast and headed north-east, should not affect her travels.

My back was hurting (big surprise) so I lay on the bed for a bit. Then I got up and putzed around a while. Carla called in the afternoon and we were chatting, but then somebody knocked on the door so I told her I’d call her back and hung up.

It was the delivery guy from the home nursing place with my re-supply. It turns out that the shelf life of the antibiotics is very short, so they can only give me one week’s worth at a time.

I called Carla back and we finished our conversation.

I was getting hungry by then, so I ate the last of a dish Lu made Wednesday night. Jeremy had stopped by after work and she made it and a salad for our dinner.

I’m not sure what the recipe is called (or if its meant to be a main or side dish) but its made with Quinoa (which Lu said is a middle-eastern grain pronounced “Keen-wha”). You cook the Quinoa in chicken stock and add in cashews (pre-seasoned with sea salt and black pepper) and golden raisins. It was pretty tasty and, interesting enough, had a completely different texture when re-heated (nuttier, somehow).

I went and got out my insulin and a syringe and went into the living room to administer it. I raised up the foot rest, but did not put the chair back down (it’s easier to inject it in your stomach when sitting).

I was a little pooped, so I closed my eyes to rest up. I woke up at 2:30 AM! So, my butt was sore from sitting all that time, I was six hours late with my injection and I completely missed Lu’s call, letting me know she had made it to the motel in Pennsylvania.

We were completely wrong about the snow, BTW. She said she had to drive in white-out conditions over slippery expressways, etc., all the way there.

After listening to her voicemail, I went to bed for real. And, that’s me up to date!

A Not So Happy Meal

For reasons I don’t have time to go into, I decided I needed a straw late Wednesday night. I checked and didn’t have any, so I asked Lu if she might have one in her car. She said no, but she never misses a chance to get a Diet Coke at McDonald’s, so she’d get one in the morning.

I woke up during the night and thought that an Egg McMuffin and some hash browns sounded good for breakfast, so I put some cash on the kitchen table. In the morning, Lu asked about the money and I asked if she would she pick me up some breakfast while she was at it. She asked what I usually get and I said an Egg McMuffin and hash browns. I also told her to get the “meal” and it would probably be less than getting the items separately (I don’t because I’m not that fond of soda).

So, she left and I sat there, drooling (Ah! An Egg McMuffin and some hash browns with a little salt... Yummo!)

She returned and gave me my bag. I was surprised she had them make a whole wheat muffin. I was amazed they only used egg whites (no bad yolks for that darned old cholesterol). But, what really threw me was she had them use turkey sausage instead of pork! “Don’t worry,” she said, “they taste the same.”

And, the hash browns? Forget about it! “Everyone” knows they use the wrong trans-fats in their frying oil...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I’mmm baacckk...

I would assume by now you’ve guessed the “maintenance” was for me and not the website.

I can’t sit here at the computer very long, even though Lu did go and find me a good deal on an office chair, so this will have to be brief.

The car overheated on the way to the doctor’s office at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, January 3. I had to go and get some tests done at St. John’s River District Hospital (in St. Clair) This resulted in me leaving my car at River District and taking a ride in an ambulance to St. John’s Providence Hospital in Detroit (They have a neurosurgical team on site there).

Jake, Carla and Whiskey drove up to fix my car (official reason) and to hang out until the doctors determined what was wrong with me. Lu stayed over from her Christmas visit to help me out with the cats and getting me stuff, etc. I’m sure that was not fun as I am not the nicest patient in the world when I don’t feel good (Would you believe it? I get cranky!)

I had an exhaustive number of tests, by an exhaustive number of “teams” (I had a medical team, an infectious disease team, an oncology team, an orthopedic surgery team, a neurosurgical team, a medicinal team, an IV team, etc., etc., etc. – You get the picture).

At one point, I asked a doctor if everyone gets all these teams. He laughed and said, “Well, no, not really. But your case has drawn the interest at the highest levels of the hospital staff!” (Groan).

It turns out that 60% of my 9th and 10th vertebrae and the disc in between have been eaten away and I have a large “mass” around my spine at that point. The official diagnosis is “thoracic vertebral osteomyelitis.”

What is still unclear is the “mass.” Is it an abscess caused by some weird infection, or is it a tumor caused by cancer?

We are starting with the infection first, so I went home with antibiotic syringes, saline syringes, heparin syringes and insulin syringes. All of the above I shoot into my PICC line, except for the insulin which I have to inject into my stomach (it should be my upper arm or my hips, but I don’t have enough fat there anymore, so stomach it is).

I also have 90 MG tablets of slow-release morphine I take every 12 hours and fast-acting liquid morphine I can take every four hours as needed for pain. None of which works, I might add.

I think I went home last Saturday (hey, I said the morphine doesn’t help with the pain, not that it doesn’t mess with your head).

I called Jim about that chair Mom had that helped her to get up (I wanted to know what it cost). Turns out we still have it out at the cottage, so Joe and Kathy graciously went out and got it for me on Monday. They also took away my old recliner! Thanks, guys!!

Sidebar: I told Melissa about the chair and she said, “Well, that should make you feel good, knowing your brothers care enough to get it for you and that Grandma used to sit in it.” I said oddly enough, my first reaction was to think, “Hmmm... the last two people who sat in this chair are dead!”

Jake and company left for home on Friday (I think). BTW, I love that little sock monkey Carla got me (we still sleep together). Lu left for Virginia this morning.

Anyway, my back hurts and I am tired, so I’m signing off now. But, I will try and get back to the everyday posting thing.

P.S. Thanks to everyone for their visits, thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Birthday Shoutout!

To my sister, Jean. Sorry I couldn't send a card this year.


Saturday, January 7, 2012


I am currently down for maintenance but plan to return soon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I spent the day Monday recovering from Sunday (either in my recliner or in my bed, both with the heating pad).

I ate dinner late, waiting for Lu to show up (she had left around 10:00 AM for Riese’s birthday party). When she still wasn’t there at 8:00 PM, I ate a piece of Kathy’s lasagna and some of Lu’s salad. Both were good, but filling.

I dozed off and on between reading my book. I woke up around 11:00 PM and the porch light was off, so I assume that Lu made it home.

Birthday Shoutout

Happy Birthday, Riese!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day

Happy New Year’s to everyone!

I did end up going over to my Brother Joe’s house and a good time was had by all. There were plenty of snacks, and dinner (homemade lasagna and salad with great bread) was excellent, with the pleasant addition of my sister-in-law Jean’s apple salad. Dessert was cheesecake and mixed berries, along with a ton of homemade cookies. I couldn’t eat nearly as much as I wanted, but I gave it a good try.

My back did get in the way of the festivities and I had to leave the table way too soon (the chair was killing me). So I felt dumb, sitting in the living room while everyone else was in the dining room. But, by doing things like that, I was able to stay much longer than I thought I could.

I really didn’t like everyone fussing over me, especially as you could tell Carl was a lot worse off than me.

Anyway, I was glad to see my brothers and sisters after so long a time! Thanks, everyone!!

When I got home, I had to sit in the recliner with the heating pad until about 1:00 AM, and then I finally went to bed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Catching up

I am still not able to still long enough to post. Made it through Christmas. Left for Jake and Carla’s early Monday morning. I was a completely boring houseguest, as I either sat on the couch with my heating pad or lay in bed with my heating pad, making old man noises all day and night.

Got back Thursday at 6:00 PM (wheelchairs at every airport, both to and from). And have been doing the heating pad and chair or bed thing ever since.

Luanne’s been here off and on. Jeremy, Jyl and Riese came over Friday afternoon for a Christmas celebration.

I am debating whether or not to go to the Brother’s party today (at my brother Joe’s house this year). And, that’s me, up to date.