Pulling Your Hair Out, Literally

When is 2018’s horrid ordeal going to end? Just when I thought things were getting better and my confidence was gaining traction, one more thing had to rear it’s ugly head. And by head, I do mean head.

From the beginning of the year, I’ve noticed a few thin spots throughout my already thin head of hair. I had a perm right after Christmas and at first thought that could be the culprit. With the chemicals in hair dye products, I thought any of my medications I was on, could be wreaking havoc with them. I was getting scared, as I was born with extremely thin hair and I cannot afford to have it thinner as I get older.

I talked things over with hubby and he agreed, he had noticed one or two spots that were thinner from before. Of course, he also noticed years ago that I inherited my father’s habit of playing with my hair. A little tradition that a couple of his daughters have inherited. Thanks, Dad!! Keeping my hair cut short has partially stopped me from doing this, and I’ve just been playing with the curls from the perm, and even then I noticed some hairs were falling out.

Of late, however, I’ve noticed quite a few hairs falling from my hair brush and I know this has never happened in the past except when trying to comb out layers of hairspray, Most of my life I’ve tried to be careful with how I treat my hair knowing that there might not be that much left to work with as I do grow older.

Back to Google and research! I discovered from the Mayo Clinic site that your hair can start to fall out after you’ve experienced a very traumatic event in your life. And we all know what that was!!!! Apparently it begins a couple of months after the event and should stop eventually. How reassuring, but will it grow back in? Probably not, if the hair takes the follicles with it.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t, I truly have no idea where to go with this problem and how to deal with it. Vanity flows through my blood and to any woman your head of hair is your crown of glory. We have fun combing, curling and shaping our hairdos on a daily basis, and, at times, having our hairdresser help us along the way by keeping it groomed as well.

For the time being I’ll wait and see what happens. If the hairs do eventually stop falling I’ll reassess things when the time comes. If, however, this continues I’ll really have to think about a possible remedy – one or two options being available.

As far as other events go, my new dentures (a second pair) are almost complete. I literally told the Dentist what I wanted and after warning me of things to be aware of, he gave me no argument and proceeded. I will admit, the procedure for getting these dentures was quite a bit different from my first pair. I’m starting to wonder why, but will have to wait and see what the outcome is, which will be by the end of this week.

My 70th birthday is coming up – Nat had his 80th in January – and the two of us are wondering how we’ll celebrate. We normally go to a fancy restaurant for a good meal. However, with 2018 now behind us and with my new (working??) dentures in the works, we feel we have to do something just a bit more – well, I do, at least! Our two brains have been totally depleted since 2018 and we can’t decide at all where to go and knowing us it will turn out to be the same old, same old. Both being creatures of habit, wherever we do end up will be just right, as long as we’re both still together. Trust me, 2018 came eerily close to ending our togetherness for a couple of reasons.

With the month of January almost behind us, we were at least able to enjoy this month in a quiet unassuming way and we both enjoyed it immensely. Only a few appointments here and there we were able to get through the month without any surprises, which is just how we like to live our lives. May the rest of the year be the same.

More Bang For Your Buck

The new year was rung in quietly at our house. I managed to stay up past midnight for the first time in years. Really wanted to keep Nat company and give him a big kiss. The least I could do for what he’s gone through with me in 2018. I then toddled off to bed with my brain going every which way but loose wondering how 2019 is really going to turn out.

Nat celebrated his birthday over several days. Why not spread out the frolicking, frivolousness and debauchery over time?? As usual, we had a great meal at Canyon Creek Restaurant at Fallsview CasinoOur steaks were delicious despite my minor chewing problems (explanation below). The wait staff were reallly nice and friendly which always makes the evening more enjoyable. A nice night all around.

Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget then invited us to lunch the following Saturday. She asked us to pick out the restaurant which is always a mistake as neither one of us can decide on anything these days, despite our best efforts. We ended up choosing Lina Linguini’s in St. Catharines. An Italian place with just a touch of American food. Another nice lunch and getting caught up on the family’s news. On a disappointing note, I had a craving for a hamburger, which was a bad choice. The burger was overcooked and contained some other food items which made the burger a bit chewier than I’ve had in the past. Warning: Don’t order American food at an Italian Restaurant!!!!  I still had a great time and Nat and I were so pleased Susan had taken the time out to do this for us.

With the celebrations over, it was now back to reality with errands to run, laundry, cleaning and baking chores on the horizon. It was now that Nat decided to call the Company we rent our water heater from. We’ve been experiencing banging pipes at varying degrees of noise for a couple of years now. We’ve spent money on regular plumbers each of whom had no idea where the noise was coming from, what was creating the banging or even solve the problem. Each one of them had us bleed the pipes (run every tap in the house for several minutes to hopefully push the air out of the pipes) but each time the noise returned after the plumbers were long gone. All that bloody money for nothing. By this time, and with a damn good guess from the last plumber, Nat kept wondering if the noise was coming from the hot water tank. By coincidence that’s where I always heard the banging sound, but like stated before No one ever listens to me!!!!!

Nat’s frustration was now at a high level, and as he procrastinated over calling the water heater company, my frustration was also getting higher by the day. He has a habit of thinking of every scenario that could happen, afraid to make a wrong call, and really wants to make sure the right thing is being done. Well, he should trust his instincts, as he finally called Enercare and what do you know, he was right. This plumber came in, checked the water heater, told Nat what the problem was and asked if he wanted him to remove the valve that seemed to be the culprit. Naturally, Nat said yes, and with that the plumber was gone. A couple years worth of aggrevation, research and high plumbing bills was fixed all within 5 minutes and was the size of my pinky fingernail!!!!! Finally we had peace and quiet everytime we use the hot water. God, when will we ever learn??

With life in our household getting back to our usual routine, I decided to finally get new dentures made. With loosing close to 40 pounds during that Thrush episode, my dentures were now too big for my gums!!! Go figure?? They are again giving me trouble but in a new way and frustrating way. I surmised if I paid all of that money to get a new set of teeth, I should at least get the perfect fitting pair. So I got up the nerve to book another appointment with my Dentist to tell him what I want. I’m willing to go through this whole rigmarole once more in order to finalize this whole matter and let me get back to enjoying meals again and not talking with a new found lisp!! This is where I’m going to do what my gut is telling me, so stay tuned.

Another update I also have to take care of is my eyes. My prescription glasses seem to be a little out-dated as I’m having a hard time using them and have to go back to using the cheaters I purchased.

I’m in an upbeat mood now and loving it. Despite the fact that the St. Catharines General Hospital cancelled the one medication that keeps me upbeat and helps me sleep, replaced it with another one without my knowledge, I’ve managed to keep my mood and thoughts in good places and believe it or not, am not even holding a grudge against my dentist who could have prevented my adventures from 2018 had he caught the Thrush in time. Trust me, I’m not bitter!!!

A Postscipt for 2018

Hubby and I had a fun Christmas Eve. Laura’s house was full of Hubby’s side – daughters, grandkids, a mother-in-law and the dog. Tender and delicious Beef-on-a-bun was served with a pasta salad as we sat around Laura’s apartment talking over one another and the dog barking at everyones’ feet to grab just a bite of something – anything, please, people! We enjoyed seeing Laura’s two kids who now have jobs and stories of their own lives to tell. Her daughter has experienced a bitter life experience (breaking up with her beau of several years). They had settled into a small home together and it has been heartbreaking for her and just as heartbreaking for her Mom to watch and leave her daughter to try and solve a situation as best she knows how. Laura’s daughter has a good head on her shoulders, and despite the stubbornness she and her ex both have, I’m sure this affair will work itself out.

We then left Niagara Falls and headed to St. Catharines to finish out the evening at a sister’s home for fabulous deserts and gift exchanges. With more conversations and a lot of laughs, and again, everyone talked over each other, but with our large family we somehow understand what everyone else is saying. With my appetite increasing, and my sister serving a Yule Log cake, I couldn’t help myself but to go back for seconds. I’m trying my best to maintain the weight I have at present, but it has been a tough road. Too many things that pass by my eyes and nose smelling ever so good, my hands just seem to rise up from nowhere and grab whatever it is. For the first time in months I’m finally back to enjoying food.

Waking up Christmas morning, seemed like any other regular day. I struggled to shake the covers off by 8:30 am, but I had to take my routine pills by 9:00, get dressed, eat the toast and jam that dear Hubby fixes each morning, and be on the road to arrive at his other daughter’s home by 10:00 am.

Again, a household of family. Susan, hubby Tom and her two daughters were up and had already opened their gifts by the time we arrived. The gifts given to each and everyone of the family were well thought-out, clever, neat and fun. We listened to some of Bridget’s stories of her months living in Leeds, England, her side trips to Amsterdam, Italy, Germany and Spain, along with a couple of trips to places in England, such as Bristol and Inverness, Scotland. Her face lit up as she was telling us of the good times she had, the people she met and how well she did on the course she was taking. Hubby and I are so pleased she’s had this experience.

When we arrived home we grabbed a bit of lunch, sat in our comfy recliners and settled right back into our usual routine of doing the LA Times Crossword and gaming on the iPad. Within a couple of hours we began to start preparations for our little turkey breast, roast potatoes and a veg. Naturally not as yummy as a regular turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but it was ours’ and we enjoyed it.

Just because it’s still 2018, my life was still throwing me a couple of curve balls. Several days before Christmas I decided to make some Focaccia Bread. A simple enough recipe using the Bread Machine. I love the bread machine and use it a lot to make homemade rolls and other breads, so being very familiar with the workings, I put all of the ingredients into the machine in order they were suppose to go. I turned the machine on the Dough setting, as usual, and was expecting a nice round sticky dough in 1-1/2 hours. The dough would then be placed and flattened out onto a cookie sheet, dimpled with my fingers and popped in the oven for some yummy goodness in 20 minutes.

This, however, was not to be. The bread machine timer dinged when the time was up and as I went to open up the lid, what to my surprise but all of the ingredients were still sitting in the pan as if I had just put them in. Nothing had moved, nothing had even turned into a dough. I called for Nat and after we dug our fingers into the pan we soon discovered that the dough hook was not on its spindle to turn the ingredients around. We struggled a bit to get the dough hook back into place, and by now all of the ingredients had mixed together, including the yeast, which I was worried about. It was not to touch the salt, but I couldn’t tell by looking at the somewhat mess now created. I told Nat I just wanted to throw it out, that I was certain it was not going to work and I would redo everything.  Despite my objections, Nat convinced me to turn the machine on and see what happens. As predicted, I was right, the results were a big globby mess that felt like and looked like a beige heavy rock.

We threw the dough mess out and as we were fixing to unplug the bread machine for a few minutes, Nat discovered it had been leaking. The placemat it sits on to keep it from jumping around, was soaked. Decision made – throw the machine out and I’ll get a new one. I suppose it was about time. This bread machine had been well used and loved. A new up-dated machine would be warranted.

I struggled for a couple of days without a bread machine, but I had found and ordered a new one that would arrive just before Christmas. So I  had to wait until Boxing Day to maybe try again with the Focaccia Bread.

The new bread machine had all kinds of settings I knew I would never use, but at least it had what I needed and had a shiny chrome exterior that looked very professional. So I tried again, putting the ingredients into the pan as instructed. This machine would only take 23 minutes, however to make the dough. A bit surprised, but that’s what it said. So once the dough was complete – and looked pretty good at this point – I spread the same around the cookie sheet, dimpled with my fingers and spread the Olive Oil and Rosemary all around the top. Again, everything was looking pretty good and like the pictures you see on TV. Well, another curve ball was heading towards me again. The bread looked fabulous coming out of the oven, but once cut to try a piece with our supper that night, the bread was extremely hard to slice and was just as tough when we both tried to bite into it. Looking at each other, we both queried “What the hell happened”?  “Don’t know” answered the wife. “I followed the recipe exactly as written, as I do when trying something I’ve never baked before”, I further added.

After Christmas and with the rock hard Focaccia Bread still on my mind, I did a little research. According to what I found, the recipe I followed never asked for the dough to be rested so it could rise. The recipe also never stated that the dough should be kneaded once or twice and then given a chance to rise once the bread was spread out on the cookie sheet. So, I did further reseach and now have a recipe from my most favourite baker in the world – Paul Hollywood. In a few days I’ll give this whole affair a second chance and see what Mr. Hollywood can do. Despite the hiccups, I’m having fun again working with the bread machine.

It has also come to my attention today, after I called in two prescription renewals that the powers that be who were attending to me at the hospital in October, had cancelled a prescription that I had been taking up until that time. Apparentlly they felt that one drug I was taking wasn’t worth it’s salt, so they ordered a similar one but with an appetite stimulant in it. I was just a bit upset as I was never told about this and I felt a bit cheated and tricked. I told the Dieticians that I had an appetite, I just couldn’t fulfill it. The Thrush was now growing down my throat and I could NOT swallow a thing, thus the gagging. They never heard a word I said, and if I had renewed the new drug they swapped out, I’d be eating more and more than I wanted. As I’m trying to maintain the weight I am now I don’t need any help from chemicals to make me even bigger than I want to be. Somehow, I have this problem a lot – no one listening to me or even hearing what I’m saying.

2019 is going to be a year of new positives, new temperment and hopefully a lot of laughs. If not – just shoot me now.

Kissing 2018 Goodbye, In Spades

The healing process, although lengthy and time-consuming, has been going a lot better than anticipated. Within several weeks of using the walker, I shortly began to walk on my own. The walker, of course, was always in tow for safety and security sake. My confidence was beginning to get ahead of me as sometimes I would get a little cocky and take steps a little too quickly and would start to loose my balance before stopping to catch my breath.

The time I’ve been spending recouping has, at least, been productive. I’m now managing the laundry on weekends, with a bit of dusting in between loads, along with doing a little baking. Poor hubby is in dire need of baked goods for his evening tea and I can manage baking a raisin or coconut loaf, along with scones, that are simple and quick to do. At least I feel as if I’ve accomplished something and not whiling away the hours sitting on my butt.

After loosing so much weight (over 30 pounds) I’m managing to keep it where I’ve always wanted it to be. My Doctor calculated my Body Mass Index and concluded I’m where I should be and long may I maintain it. I’ve had to purchase a lot of new clothes – pants, shirts, undies, etc. In two sizes smaller than what was in my closet, and even I will admit it’s been an expensive ordeal. Not being able to find exactly what I had in the larger size, I’ve been having a wee bit of fun finding some new, funkier pieces than before, and it’s been kind of fun.

Dear hubby has to drive me anywhere I need to go. Sometimes I hesitate in asking as there are times I’d like to go on my own so I can have some “alone” time. He’s being very patient and not criticizing me for certain things I have purchased. For some reason his temperament has drastically changed since my time in hospital and he’s been more understanding of my situation. I can only wish he maintains this even temperament as it’s good for his mental health and getting better sleeps at night. Ever since I’ve known him, he’s been a worrier for anything that is beyond his control. Our lives at this very moment have been peaceful, quiet, loving and fun.

Not sure when he’ll allow me to drive. I understand his reasoning, but in my mind I’m as stable as a cement block. As I said earlier, it would be nice to have some time on my own. I’ll just have to be patient, which is not one of my strong points.

With the holidays now virtually on our doorstep, hubby and I haven’t had to do much at all. We give the grandkids money, as we have no idea what each one of them are into anymore. We sent out a few Christmas Cards, but the postage is just as expensive as the cards now, so we’re even thinking twice about that. We’ve at least cut the list in half with most cards going to Britain to family.

Speaking of Britain, our youngest granddaughter has spent the last three months in Leeds on a school program and is enjoying her time enormously. With her older sister and Mom joining her for a couple of weeks early on, they all had a chance to go north to Newcastle and meet their cousins and other family that they’ve never met before. Their Mom reported back that they had a grand time and would love to go back, if not for the expense.

The youngest granddaughter has been travelling while in Leeds, as the expense is very minimal, so she’s had a chance to visit Amsterdam, Italy, Spain, Germany, etc. In between her schooling she’s getting the education of a life time. Hubby and I are so glad she’s been able to have this experience at her age. Most teenagers will never have such a chance. Plus she’s worked so hard to earn the money herself, which proves she has the work ethic to achieve whatever she’d like to in life.

Hubby and I will spend Christmas Eve at Laura’s, along with her two children, and then we’ll go into St. Catharines and spend an hour or two at one of my sisters’ homes. I wish I could have hosted Christmas Eve myself this year, but my stamina is not what it was and hubby worries I may outdo myself, so he’s asked that I hold off for at least another year. I will admit I’ve not hosted Christmas Eve at our house in several years, and it really is about time I took a turn. The work, honestly, is getting to be a bit too much for any one of my sisters and myself as the years go by and our ages keep adding up. Perhaps one day we’ll come up with an idea that will suit us all??

Christmas Day hubby and I will spend quietly in the morning, and then head off to Susan’s home mid-morning. We’ll watch as her two girls open their gifts, hopefully hear of Bridget’s adventures in Leeds and the other countries she visited. We’ll then head for home and cook a small turkey breast for our own quiet dinner. Having bought a fresh whole turkey earlier in the month and cutting it into pieces for freezing, we can take a a piece out and still have plenty more for the new year.

In closing, I’m so glad to see 2018 go. It’s been a long, horrendously tiring year, frustrating to say the least and at times mentally and physically draining. There have been times where I truthfully did not want to continue, did not care about anyone or anything and had no idea of what was ahead of me, of what was to become of me and how in hell I was going to get past this whole thing of the Thrush and the Dentures. It’s been a tough ride getting use to the Dentures (things are never as easy as others say it is) and they are still a work in progress. Hoping to have my last visit this next week for a final adjustment and onwards and upwards for 2019.

Another one of those times where I just want to get settled back into my boring little life, spend time with hubby and enjoy 2019 to the best of my ability.

Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year.

Fleeing Hell With Consequences

Home truly is where the heart is. With a good hubby to take care of you and see to your every need, life had finally settled down and I could get on with the healing process.

With the use of the walker Gail leant to us, life seemed to become a breeze. At first, Nat and I struggled with getting me from my recliner to my bed, from my bed to the bathroom, as I was still dead weight, with just enough strength to push myself about an inch off of any surface. My balance was nowhere to be seen or felt and it was going to take a bit of strengthening to get further along where I could help myself without Nat’s assistance.

As the days went along, and the Thrush disappearing, I was able to eat small portions of Nat’s delicious home cooked meals. I had Trout or Haddock with boiled potatoes, a fried egg with one or two french fries, toast and jam in the morning and whatever else he could find that I would eat. Then one day, it became quite easy, as I managed to keep my dentures in for the full day and was finally able to eat food with a lot more ease. It felt so good to be able to swallow food and enjoy it. Suddenly, I was eating food with more substance like breaded chicken, lasagne or pasta, along with the Trout and Haddock and suddenly enjoying food again. Life was somehow getting a little better. My appetite was coming back. The hunger pangs I felt were real and now able to be fulfilled.

It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t want to stop eating. I was now looking for anything that I could munch on – Honey Graham Crackers, Ritz Crackers, May Wests, and anything else we had in the house. Nat wasn’t too thrilled to go out and pick up a lot of junk food for me, as he had every intention of keeping me healthy as I tried to gain some weight and strength back into this aging body.

It was only a couple of weeks after arriving home that I could feel some improvement in my legs. I was at least now able to lift myself out of the recliner and grab onto the walker’s handles. I was at least relieving Nat of his heavy-lifing duties and I felt much better about that. There were a couple of times I got a little cocky and pushed things a bit far where I fell on my ass, banged my head and got into a situation where Nat had to lift me up off of the floor and back to the walker. I also got a little dizzy one morning and as I turned to go around the footboard of the bed, my head and shoulders went right while my ass wanted to go left. With my head now heavier than my ass, down I went just missing the footboard but still falling on my ass and banging the old noggin again. His looks said it all – take your time and don’t get ahead of yourself!!

Getting out of bed in the morning was also becoming easier, as I could grab onto the bed rail and lifted myself up to a sitting position where Nat could assist me a little with getting to my walker. I continued to perch myself in the recliner on a daily basis – not much else I could do – and my routine became easier as the days wore on.

It’s now been over three weeks and I’m able to help myself get up on my feet, grab the walker for a little support in walking, and also now able to take a couple of steps without the walker. Small steps now seem to mean the world to me. I’m beginning to gain back a bit of my independence even if Nat’s baby blue eyes are on me all the time.

I can tell I’m getting anxious now to get up and go, and despite the fact I was able to bake Nat’s raisin loaf one day, I want to get on to more baking to replenish the freezer with cookies, bread and scones for hubby’s enjoyment. He deserves whatever good things in life I can give him. He’s been so patient and strong in lifting me up, laying me down and getting me to wherever I’ve wanted to go. His mind races on a daily basis, even at night, which I can’t stop, but I can give him all my love in return for everything he’s done for me. I’ve never had such personal attention in my whole single life and for this I’m eternally grateful.

Hell Has No End

After arriving home from my first stay at the hospital for a day or two I was feeling a little better. I then had a follow-up with the Internist and as the Thrush was still very present he doubled the dose to speed up this whole process. He also explained where they would have to juggle with one anti-rejection drug that was conflicting with the Thrush medication. More pill juggling but hopefully not for long.

A few days after that appointment, I was still struggling to eat anything that even looked like food and as a consequence was just getting worse. I forced a few morsels down and it soon came to a shouting match with Nat repeatedly telling me to eat. He was totally out of his mind with worry and I, for some unforeseen reason, really had no feelings about the whole matter. My mind, body and spirit had given up. I didn’t give a damn. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted no one around me. I never gave one thought to my consequences despite everyone around me yelling and screaming. I was giving up.

The day finally arrived as I woke up one morning and told Nat I had to go to hospital. He totally agreed and we were off again.

We arrived at The General and was admitted without haste. They gave me a temporary bed in the C Ward on the first floor and was soon having blood work, blood pressure, etc.. done every hour on the hour. My left arm was now bruising up. More questions, more explanations and more answers. I was getting tired of repeating this whole process. Soon enough they had a bed for me on the third floor where I was permanently placed for the duration of my stay.

I was lucky in getting a single room where I could be left in somewhat peace and quiet, and the nurses and doctors could come and go in privacy and hopefully get me out of this bloody mess I had gotten myself into.

The medications (OMG, the medications!!!!) soon began to arrive at their off-scheduled times (according to my time table) and without hesitation the amount increased. The Thrush pills came, the appetite meds began and whatever else they could think of to get me to eat. At times there was so much medication my stomach was full of liquid and there were times I was feeling woozy.

During these long, quiet days it was nice for family to drop by for visits. Family is good. Family is unconditional love. But each family member has their own idea of how to get their sibling(s) better. I was under the impression that my doctors were there for that, but no, they were following doctor’s orders above and beyond their calling. I’m afraid I tore a strip off of one family member, but her nerve, strength, resolve and dogged determination are more than I’ve ever seen, nor want to see again. Truth be told, I was so glad to each sister when they dropped by. It was a relief from my misery and for an hour or two could forget what I was going through.

Dear hubby visited every morning, bringing anything I needed, from fresh T-Shirt to food or treat items. He was tired. Too much worry to sleep and I could see it in his face. His patience was waning and he could no longer think straight or function properly. It was now up to me to take my responsibility by the reigns and fight my own battle.

The physiotherapist and dieticians soon began popping in and out of my door. Dieticians seem to be another doggedly determined group that won’t let go of a bone (pardon the pun). No matter how many times I turned my nose up at something, they were right back at ya with more. This was a war I was not going to win, but I didn’t have the brains to admit it yet.

The days went by, the tests continued – ECG, EKG, chest X-ray, blood, blood and more blood. I could hear the sound of the footsteps and their supply carts as they were approaching my door. Then the food trays would arrive usually around 8:30, 11:30 and 4:30.

I would find the breakfast tray by my bedside at 8:30 just as I was beginning to wake up. It’s bad enough I don’t eat a breakfast at all, but let alone one just as I’m waking up – and then a hospital breakfast. Please spare me the agony. I was struggling at every turn with my dentures . The tops continued to stab away at my gums and would not remain in my mouth very long. I could never get them in a good position, the adhesive(s) were giving me trouble. I tried to make every attempt to put the dentures in every which way I could, as I wiggled and jiggled them in place. It was becoming fruitless and both Nat and I knew I would have to get back to my dentist without haste, as soon I could. Time was now of the essence.

After many discussions with the various dieticians, it was decided that in the beginning my food would be minced up – thus the constant dried-up scramble eggs with some sort of “rock-throwing” Scone sitting beside them. The usual white milk and juice accompanied the tray. After several days of nagging, cajoling, badgering and my dentures getting wiggled into a good position, I began to nibble away at the scrambled eggs and our good friend Cecil’s voice kept ringing in my ear – “you have to force yourself”, to which I did. Suddenly, one day I had managed to keep at least half in my stomach. However, I had to take a large drink afterward and lay back in bed to let my breakfast somehow settle.

Lunch time was just scary. My very first lunch tray consisted of Manicotti!!! Nat and I are light lunch people – usually just a sandwich and small treat for dessert. Manicotti is never on my lunch list and now I see why. Two large rolls of pasta stuffed with (I’m assuming) what looked like cottage cheese (double, triple ‘yuk’) and some sort of sauce on the side. Sorry, folks, I was not going anywhere with those. Besides, two more pieces of weaponry that could hurt someone. I refused.

Suppers were just as bad at times. Mince and gravy, minced chicken with mashed potatoes, Alaskan Halibut that was so hard it could spear another fish. Seriously?? Who cooks like this. These are people in a place of healing, a place of support and help to get people home in a healthier state than when they went in. Truthfully, the food ain’t going to do it. One day I got lucky and managed to eat some turkey breast for lunch and then some (actually tender) chicken. Most other nights the meals were a struggle to at least eat enough to prove that I was doing it.

When left alone, my days in bed were long, boring, and consistently made up of nodding in and out of sleep. With no meat left on the bones, my ass got sore fast, the bone getting numb as the hours wore on, my back getting stabbing pains just behind the shoulders due to extremely pour posture and then there was my hair!! My God, we won’t discuss the hair. I had just cancelled my hair appointment before my first trip to hospital and it was now well overdue for any help it could get.

A few days into my stay, a nice young nurse managed to get me into the shower and wash my hair by turning my wheelchair backwards. What a treat – just letting it dry naturally, I was still a happy camper.

The days began to pass, I slowly began to rise from the ashes and with the Physiotherapists working away at my legs, I began to get out of bed and walk. Albeit painfully slow, I did make progress. I seriously couldn’t lift a leg, let alone take a step. It was going to take me months to get any strength into my upper legs to able me to walk the walk. I will admit the mind had to fight the heart with every ounce of strength I had. Then, at last, after a few weeks, I managed to talk the Doc, the Dietician and the Physiotherapist to let me go home.

For the first couple of days at home things began to improve. Nat and I soon devised a routine and methods for me to get from one wheeled chair to another. With the help of a walker leant to us by Gail, my life really perked up. I was now able to sit and have Nat walk me to the bathroom. It also helped that a cammode was delivered to the house and there will be another “assisted living” assessment done tomorrow. Grab bars can be added in the bathroom, at my bedside or even a chair-lift recliner can be loaned to us for a month, which will prevent Nat from having to assist me in standing.

Now, after even more weeks and a lot of work, my legs have gained a little strength, I’m now able to walk using the walker, can almost stand on my own. It’s taken longer than I had ever anticipated, more work than I could have dreamed but now that I’m on my way, my determination has risen, and at least now I’m beginning to see the end of this whole horror story that’s been turning it’s pages since July 18th.

Into The Abyss I’ve Fallen

It just keeps getting worse. I feel as if I’ve fallen into a black hole with no way out and no ending in sight.

After flying into space and banging my hip and knee along with adding more blood bruising to my collection, I finally was able to get into my Dentist as soon as he returned from holidays. He’s starting to come around to my way of thinking once he took a look at me. Why is it professionals always think they know you better than yourself? He finally agreed to remove the centre part of the palette on the dentures, but naturally, they had to be sent away to the lab – so another day without choppers!

Returning home, Nat and I had to resolve ourselves to waiting another day (or so) to see the results. Another evening of quiet anxiousness.

We got the call later that next day. With great anticipation we waited as the dental nurse returned with what now looked like a horseshoe – neigh, neigh, neigh!! Well, this horseshoe was perfect for this old nag and we returned home, fingers crossed, that this would be the end of things. Guess what, it doesn’t always work that way for me and the very next day I realized the dentures were still jabbing into the top of my gums – pins and needles again. I also soon realized that the left and right sides at the back could use a bit of a cut back, to stop what little gagging I was doing.

The Doc advised me to wait, since I was trying to get back on track with my diet. The gagging and gas stomach were acting in unison to make me so miserable I wanted to cut my throat and stomach out. However, that would defeat the whole purpose of getting dentures. I hesitated.

My diet – only liquids (water, ginger ale, popsicles) – was now depleting my strength, making me vitamin and nutrient deficient along with dizzy spells.

One morning I awoke at my usual time, but once up on my feet, I struggled to get to my closet door to get some clothes for the day. I could feel it coming on, so I grabbed the bedroom chair to sit down but didn’t quite make it. Buck naked (not a pretty picture at the best of times), I fell forward into the footboard of the bed. I at least thought my bare ass would stick to the leather chair. Maybe my ass shrunk from all the weight I’ve lost. Down on my knees (still damaged from the previous fall) I was in excruciating pain and couldn’t move. I yelled for Nat, but no response. I yelled again and still no response. Trying to calm myself down, I attempted to get back into the chair just behind me, but to no avail. I then struggled to crawl on my knees along the end of the bed to make it around to the side hoping I could grab onto the mattress and pull myself up. Nope, no go.

This was now getting very frustrated and now completely out of breath, I tried calling for Nat again at the top of my lungs. No response. Where in hell did he go? Yelling again and again, my screams fell on deaf ears – literally!!! Now knowing there was no hope of getting Nat’s attention unless I threw a perfectly good bedside lamp at the door, I gave up. My dumb luck I’d miss the mark and break a lamp for no reason.

I was now kneeling alongside the bed and grabbing at sheets to pull myself up. The sheets decided not to co-operate and other ideas were being formulated. Suddenly with right elbow now lying across the bedside table, with every ounce of strength I could muster, I slowly pulled my body up on the bed and was at least able to get one cheek stable enough to get my feet up on the bed. Damn, what an experience.

I laid on the bed for a minute or two before garnering more strength to get my bathrobe and head to the living room to see if Nat was dead or alive. Alive, naturally, but when he watched as I sat in my recliner, he asked me what was wrong?? *&$%#*#!!!

I tried to be gentle, as he gets quite sensitive about his hearing aids. I totally understand. I knew he would feel bad. All was forgiven.

The following day, it was quite apparent I would have to go to Emergency for help. Nat agreed and we immediately drove into St. Catharines. With the waiting room not really that busy, we felt pretty confident that this wouldn’t take too long. Boy, are we naive. We had no idea the amount of people that preceded us at 7:00 AM. Arriving before 10:00, getting into Pre-Assessment by noon, with more sitting, waiting, sitting and waiting, my stomach was now beginning to burn like a wild fire.

We suddenly started to realize a lot of patients that arrived after us were being taken in for assessment and when we checked at the station we were told we were in line. Back to sitting and waiting, sitting and waiting. After a couple of hours, a nurse walked by us and saw our assessment sheets when she took them telling us they should have been handed into the station. DUH, no one told us, but at least we were now “in line”.

Sitting in the long hallway with more and more patients coming in, we soon realized again that others were being taken “out of line”. Nat got up the nerve to ask the Doctor on call what was going on. She responded that she was trying to clear up the patients that came in around 7:00 am and we would be in the next group. It was now after 2:00 pm. God, when will this end??

Finally, at long last, the Doc took us into the assessment room and I began to tell the whole scenario of what was going on. As I was talking, my gagging reared it’s ugly head and it was soon thereafter I began to throw up what was left in my belly, which was pretty much nothing. “I’m hooking up an IV”, she said as she ran out of the room. I’m now being attended to with utmost attention – blood pressure, temperature, blood work and finally an IV. They hooked me up with a medication that stops nausea along with the IV saline drip.

Nat and I sat in the little cubicle for patients receiving IVs – a neat little set-up – and watched the activities around the nursing station. It was as good as watching television with the real life activities buzzing around, telephones ringing, orders being given, doctors checking the computers for Xray results, putting data into each patient’s chart and some poor nurse trying desperately to nibble away on a sandwich without being interrupted. It took her almost a half hour.

The Doc came around as the IV was on its last drip with instructions and a prescription on how I was to proceed. I could see the frustration on her face as we talked about what I eat and what I don’t. She finally gave up but did insist I see a dietician in the future. She handed me a couple of prescriptions to help with the nausea and gagging and by 7:00 pm we were on our way home. HALLELUAH!!!!!!

Arriving home, we both changed and I headed off to bed while Nat made something to fill the void in his stomach. He managed to get something from Tim Horton’s in the hospital during the afternoon, but a cup of coffee and a donut are empty calories and my loving hubby was now beyond hungry.

I went to bed but had a hard time getting off to La La Land. My nerves were jumping out of my skin, my head was spinning and my brain was wandering the streets for answers on when this whole horror show will end. I gave up and turned on the lamp thinking I would read my book. Now, Nat decides to check on me as he sees the light turn on and was wondering if I was okay. With some time, my eye lids began to lower and I was off. Hoping to dream my way out of a never-ending nightmare.

My journey now begins with getting my dentures adjusted to my liking. That story begins tomorrow after a long awaited pedicure appointment. I had to cancel one a few weeks back and it’s come back to haunt me. My manicurist is going to freak. Hey, she might as well join the fun with the rest of us.

We all know this little story is going to continue.