Tomorrow – A Changed Woman??

Since my last posting, our lives have been sincerely quiet. Most days we were either driving around picking up items at WalMart, relaxing with our crosswords or iPad games, and Nat playing golf three times a week (despite the horrid heat). Most afternoons I was afforded the pleasure of a lovely afternoon nap. Yes, my body is finally catching up with my actual age!!

I had my annual visit at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and everything was great. The Doc was especially pleased that I’ve managed to keep the same weight for over a year now. From what I was told, that is usually unexpected. So I was pleased with myself, too. We then proceeded with our usual routine on the way home – lunch at The Gateway Centre in Grimsby.

We also took time to to visit the Outlet Mall of Niagara as we’d be driving by on our way home. As Nat gave me a gift card for Van Heusen for Christmas, I was anxious to see what was new and exciting to buy. I found 2 pair of regular pants, one pair of cropped pants and a bra. Paying a little extra after using my gift card was a small price for what I had found. I love everything I bought. My next visit, I’ll now have enough store credit points for another possible good buying spree.

July came in quietly with my usual monthly lunch with Michele. I tried something different this time at Swiss Chalet – the Crispy Chicken – but with what is left of my teeth, the meal was very difficult to finish. The chicken certainly was crispy, to the point where I had a hard time even cutting into the meat. The whole meal fell apart and after managing to eat about a quarter of my lunch, the rest was packed up in a doggy bag for sandwiches the next day. The discussion of the month was mostly my dental procedure a couple of weeks away. Michele was very re-assuring in her advice and help, but the jitters were just about starting to set in. This is unusual for me, as I’ve had so many operations, my mind goes blank on the days prior and I just do what I’m told.

The time had now come for my Pre-Operative appointment on Friday the 6th. We had to be there for 9:00 am and were taken in without much of a wait time. The pre-op itself, however, was a bit lengthy and more extensive than thought. With my medical history being what it is, the whole pre-op team pretty much covered everything, despite the fact I was only going in to have teeth removed. The Anesthesiologist took one look at the medical summary sent in by my GP and knew right away what I have been through. He pretty much agreed that I have become a “professional patient”. He really had no questions and neither did I. We both knew the whole scenario.

One appointment this month saw Nat finally going in for a re-working of his hearing aid. He’s been having trouble hearing in noisy settings, and certain TV shows with a lot of background music. The aids have now been adjusted to a better setting but it’s still difficult hearing certain conversations such as quiet British voices, but he realizes that it’s also just as hard for a normal hearing person. Even I have the volume up high while watching some British (and even American) shows with quiet voices and a lot of background noise. Why on earth they have to have background music playing while a conversation is going on, is beyond me!!!!!!

We were also lucky that our dearly loved brother-in-law, Daryl, was willing to take an old Rubbermaid storage bench off our hands. Nat has been pushing this thing around his shed for some time, as it’s no longer needed, and finally decided to give it away to anyone who would take it. Daryl came by in his work van and even picked up an office chair (also no longer in use) for his son, Zach, who was using a chair that was on its last legs – literally!! It was a smalll, but nice, break in our boring day to see and have a laugh or two with Daryl.

Four days ago, we also took some time to visit our good friends and former neighours in St. Catharines. The husband was fighting cancer and is now doing pretty good. We think about them almost daily and wanted to see them before I possibly become an old grouch after my teeth are removed. They, too, were worried about me – which is what I adore about them both – so we wanted to see how they doing. The visit, as usual, was fun and we love them dearly. Nat will call them shortly after my surgery to update them on the results.

This is now the final posting before my surgery tomorrow. Despite being re-assured by Michele that the healing process is not long at all, I’m still very apprehensive about the whole matter. Anything to do with my ears, eyes, nose and mouth are strictly off limits unless absolutely necessary. The cataracts on my eyes were bad enough but as my eyesight was getting foggier by the day, I knew it was a necessity. Plus now that enjoying good meals is getting rougher and tougher by the day, I had to face facts and admit to getting my teeth fixed. From November of 2017 it’s been a long, ongoing process that’s been frustrating, surprising and somewhat painful at times, but my head was telling my heart to smarten up and get things done now before it’s too late. If you enjoy eating good meals and smiling often, your teeth play the only role.

Tonight, as Nat and I try and watch TV, we’ll still each be wondering silently to ourselves what tomorrow will bring and worry about how each other is doing during the whole process. I’ll have to be up with the roosters in the morning, but a small price to pay to at least have the procedure in the morning. Hopefully I’ll be home shortly after lunch with Jello in the fridge waiting to be sucked back whenever. I truly hope I won’t have to be a gummer.

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Let’s Keep Those Positive Thoughts, Shall We!

With everything that’s been going on lately, Nat and I never even gave Easter a thought. Thus it was a nice surprise when Thamazine emailed with an invite for a potluck Easter dinner at her place. Since I discovered I could make a half decent chicken finger, I decided we could contribute chicken fingers and a salad so as to continue with my diet. Thamazine said they were having a ham, Claudia would contribute her potato crisp and Bonnie her glazed carrots. It was definitely a “pot luck” meal but most enjoyable and a fun evening all around.

After dinner, Nat, myself, Gail and Bern got into a discussion regarding solar panels. They had 50 panels installed on their garage roof and were pleased with the results so far. It was also providing an extra income to offset some of their other future financial concerns. Nat and I were doing research into possibly doing the same thing and wanted to pick Gail and Bern’s brains for everything they could provide, and provide they did. It was more than enough to get us talking quite seriously about going forward. We both admitted this was going to be a scary proposition for us – we’re not risk takers – but we knew we had to do something, and soon. Our monthly draws from our R.I.F. would soon disappear and plans for our future income sources had to be in the works before it was too late. We both agreed the research would continue and we would revisit Gail and Bern, along with getting a quote.

Three days later I received the call from St. Joseph’s and the glucose test was showing my glucose levels as 13.2 – despite the fact that those results were actually now two weeks ago and I’ve continued to lose weight (doing the treadmill 30 minutes a day) and lower potassium levels. The Doc wanted me to monitor my glucose levels, add one more pill to my now-full pill container, and continue on with the diet and exercise. I made an appointment with our Pharmacist to receive lessons on the Glucose Monitor and Diabetes. I began to add my extra new routine into my present one and along with Nat’s help have been able to adjust quite nicely. Even Nat agrees that this is a new learning curve with information and facts we never really thought about. My new lifestyle will only do me better and hopefully make me more disciplined with the foods I love to eat. Let’s be honest, though, I’ll never lose my craving for chocolate. Like the cigarettes I smoked before my transplant, you still have cravings (albeit small ones).

It’s now Tuesday evening and my first monitor results were, at least in my opinion, pretty damn good. My (Monday) glucose level has gone from 13.2 to 7.7 and 10.2. Tonight it was up to 10.1 (after supper) and I’m still taking that as a positive result.

Nat and I continued this morning with the solar panel issue. We were wondering how to tell our investment guy, as we’ve been with him for years. We were, at the same time, wondering when our taxes would be done. Anxiously awaiting the results and hoping for a huge, huge refund (but knowing we’d be the last people on earth before that happened), it came as a huge surprise when our guy ended up at our front door (unannounced) just before noon. We joked that his ears must have been ringing as we were just talking about him. We had also noticed a manila envelope in his hands and immediately knew why he had turned up. Apparently he was in the neighbourhood and after picking up our returns from our tax preparer decided to bring them with him and drop them off. How nice of him! We were truly thankful. After giving us the bad and good news, we cornered him to discuss the future plans for our investments. As always our guy was extremely helpful, knew people with solar panels and how they were working out, and also offered his help anytime we needed it. We, as much, had his go ahead and help and would keep in touch when we were ready to go.

With a little of our somewhat bad year turning around, Nat and I were really pleased with how things were going now. My diabetes was now addressed, the solar panel research was looking positive and despite the fact that we haven’t exactly had a financial windfall, we were at least in relatively good shape with our plans for our future. We can now only hope that this uphill climb has hit the tipping point.

It’s An Annual Time Of Year

With another sister’s birthday approaching on Monday, I tried to get creative. Although I had already popped an actual birthday card in the mail to Michele, I thought I would send her an email card. I’ve finally had lots of time on my hands to play around with the extra features in iPhoto and discovered some cute features for such E-Cards. I had fun designing the card, despite the fact some of my creative juices are starting to dry up.  The whole process must have worked as Michele emailed me back saying she loved it. While designing this E-Card, I realized I had never updated iPhoto ’09 to iPhoto 11 and soon discovered there was no actual automatic update, but that you had to get the latest version of iLife, of which iPhoto was part of the package along with iMovie and GarageBand. As much as I tried, I couldn’t get the latest and greatest version unless I was willing to spend a little money.

As clever as I thought I was being – getting the latest downloads from Apple, searching the web for info on iPhoto 11, and reading the latest issue of Macworld – it was all for naught. The powers that be in Cupertino, California (Apple’s headquarters) were looking for my hard earned dollars and if I had of taken the upgrade when it was offered I could have saved a few dollars, but for some reason I didn’t do so and was now going to have to pay full price. I decided to give this whole thing some thought, took a break and Monday afternoon saw me heading down the road to Walmart for a few items and clear the cobwebs that had now gathered in the old brain.

Tuesday was set aside for the annual maintenance on the generator that’s saved us from power outages a few times while living in this area. Not sure when the technician would show up, we bided our time until just after lunch when he finally appeared. This year he found what could have turned into a huge problem concerning a connection inside, fixed it within a few minutes and soon presented us with the bill. Naturally, a few extra dollars more because of the minor repair but would save us money in the long run. This generator has been well worth the money invested and any extra maintenance is also worth it. After the technician’s departure we bit the bullet and headed to the travel agent in Fort Erie and finally booked our trip for Britain. What the hell, we’d already doled out a few extra bucks for the generator, now why not dole out a few extra bucks for us!! At least we’ve taken that first major step in getting this trip started and only have to decide how many days to stay in each of the cities or towns we have to travel to.

The arrival of Wednesday morning saw Nat heading back into Fort Erie for the van’s annual maintenance and another unscheduled bill, but again, a necessity that we can’t ignore. So while Nat was lingering around in an ultra-cold garage and talking with the boys, I decided to try again for iPhoto 11. Making a long story short, I was now able to download the latest version through the App Store, naturally at full price, but was pleased the whole process was now taking place. Macworld magazine this month contained an article on making your own cards and I couldn’t resist wanting the latest and greatest. I’m now thrilled with the results and looking forward to playing with the new features. I’ve already got an idea for dear little bros. birthday card in March!

Our financial advisor gave us his annual visit on Thursday. It’s now time for Nat to set up his RIF (Retirement Investment Fund) and with his “John Henry” signed on the bottom line, Andy was now able to set up the account and put things in motion for the monthly withdrawals. It was a pleasure to hear some of Andy’s news that he had found a way for us to at least make a little extra money each month, rather than withdraw on what we’ve already saved. That kind of news is always welcomed in this house, trust me!!

As this week is turning out to have an “annual” theme it makes sense that Nat and I should book our annual Valentine’s dinner at The Mandarin. We’ve made the reservations for a day other than the 14th, due to obvious reasons and, as usual, am looking forward to the same. Valentine’s Day itself will see me trekking to Hamilton for my annual visit to St. Joseph’s Hospital. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point of annual visits to both of my Nephrologists, for which I’m grateful, but there are some days I wish I could just forego the trip to Hamilton. Living in this small town has its disadvantages when it comes to visiting the larger city centres, such as Hamilton and now even St. Catharines. Nat and I have slowly become accustomed to the smaller shops in Ridgeway and Fort Erie, along with our one “big box”store, so when it comes time to travel to either Hamilton or St. Catharines we try and make a full day of it, which we’re finding tiresome. I still count my blessings and am forever grateful for how far I’ve come, however, and any annual trip to Hamilton is a small price to pay for maintaining the good health I’m finally experiencing.

The Healing Begins

At last! I’m now in the home stretch. The surgery was this past Friday (the 2nd) and I’m now home and in the recovery stages. My body being a little worn for wear, I realize it will take several weeks before I’m actually ‘rough and ready’ to go. But I’m at least home, with comfortable surroundings and a loving hubby.

Thursday (Oct 1st) was long but not as frustrating as I’d thought. Being the ‘prep’ day, I could only drink clear liquids and forego any food. I kept telling myself that this soon would pass and envisioned future meals during the recovery process. Yes, I was thinking and dreaming of food, but then again, anyone would when denied that very thing. Plus as you sit and watch television every advertisement becomes one about food – a burger chain, a steakhouse ad, a supermarket ad and so on. It’s like they knew what you were going through and were determined to taunt you! But I made it through unscathed.

Friday morning Nat and I arrived at St. Joseph’s at the alloted time. A little confusing at the beginning – the check-in area had been changed – but we found our way and I was finally being prepped for the surgery. With me being in surgery for over an hour and a half, Nat would have to fend for himself. He managed to get some lunch and found a newspaper to read while he waited in the surgical waiting room for the Doctor to advise him of how things went. Being told that the surgery would probably be about an hour and a half, Nat began to worry somewhat when two hours had now past. Dr. Anvari finally walked into the room and advised him that it was a difficult procedure – mega scar tissue from previous operations – but that it was completed. The polyp was removed and there appeared to be no complications.

While Nat was waiting, I was being wheeled into the operating room and soon discovered it’s a small world. As the OR nurse greeted me and began to ask her usual questions – do you know what you’re having done, etc. – we struck up a conversation as the Anesthesist prepped me. It soon became apparent that he was the husband of the doctor at West Lincoln who originally discovered this polyp and that they were also acquaintances of my family GP. As Dr. Anvari walked into the room and joined in the conversation, I immediately felt at ease.

With the surgery finally over the only thing on my mind was sleep. But alas, that wasn’t going to be the case. As with all things ‘hospital’ one never gets any sleep when in such an institution. Checking for your vitals every 4 hours is a requisite whether it’s day or night. What sleep I managed to sneak in was short and restless. Having a high tolerance to pain, I was managing pretty good without using the pain pump, although I did push that little green button a couple of times. No use feeling pain if you don’t gotta!! So Friday night dragged on but with daylight hitting my room I awoke groggy, tired, achy and stiff, but knew this whole affair would soon be over. It was just a matter of time and healing, and those two things I can manage.

Saturday morning as my body began to finally adjust to waking up, the nurse helped me up out of bed to get washed up and ready for the day. Now pumped with pain killers and the like my head was feeling relatively clear – albeit some family members may argue the ‘clear’ bit – but I was getting a little bored. With a liquid lunch under my belt, I was ready for the afternoon and was ever so glad to finally see Nat’s face as he walked into the room. He soon brought me up-to-date with the events of yesterday and I could see the relief in his eyes. Despite the guilt about having any of my sisters take time out of their busy schedules to come to Hamilton to visit me, I was still glad to see Michele show up. After sending Nat home for his supper, Michele and I got caught up on office gossip and I gave her the details of my operation as I knew them. Having worked for a medical malpractice lawyer Michele has a greater understanding of medical procedures and has always been fascinated by what the human body can endure and the advancement of medical science. Her company, sense of humour and understanding is always welcomed.

With Sunday morning drawing nigh, I saw pain management teams, nurses and Dr. Anvari’s surgical team all appear at one time or another. Being advised that I could go home if I could eat a lunch, my spirits were lifted and I wanted to holler, “bring on the food, baby”, but I withheld my excitement telling myself to calm down, take it easy and don’t get too excited. What the head thinks, the body can soon deflate! When lunch finally arrived, strained pea soup, vanilla pudding, cranberry juice and coffee – all things I abhor – I was determined not to get nauseous. My nurse soon brought me some toast and jam and a fruit cup and with that I was good to go. Gail and Bonnie arrived just after 2:00 pm and was naturally surprised at the news. We called Nat (who was well on his way to Hamilton by then), told him to turn around (he was in St. Catharines) and that Gail and Bonnie would be more than pleased to drive me home.

Being home is the one place I’m glad to be. Despite the fact that I look and feel as if I’ve been walked over by a soccer team wearing their cleats, I’m at least healing at home and am able to finally get some sleep. Now if I could just switch from side to side without moaning and groaning in the middle of the night, life would be relatively good. But the healing process takes time and, as this whole affair is somewhat behind me now, I’m willing to be patient and let time heal all wounds – along with a good meal!!

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Make Lemonade!

To quote good ‘ole Forest Gump, I’ve been drinking a lot of lemonade lately ’cause I just keep getting lemons!

With the continuing stress-related news about General Motors, and the fact that Nat and I are laying low and not spending any money for fear his pension gets reduced, I’ve now been dealt another medical blow!! Keeping a positive attitude about a recent test lately, I went back to get the results on Friday. Not getting too much good news lately, I was pretty sure it was about time the tide turned. My check-ups for my new kidney have been terrific and my yearly physicals have yielded no problems. Now if I could deal with my mental health of late, I’d be in perfect shape! But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I should have known that things were going too good health wise, and I didn’t see that brick wall coming!

So I’ve been told that I have a growth on my colon and it needs to be removed. The dangerous part is that this little bugger is sitting in that part of the colon that is right underneath my new little kidney!!  When I do things, I do them big!!! After the biopsy results, the Doc doesn’t think it’s cancerous, but better safe than sorry, right!! So now we sit and wait to hear from the specialist at St. Joseph’s and we’ll take it one day at a time. It’s out of my hands now and I’ve learned a long time ago, a positive attitude really is good for the mind and the soul.

As a result of the past day or two, Nat and I laid low again. We’ve had our little talk after getting the test results and have decided to get on with our lives, put this thing on the back burner and try to not to dwell on something that we have no control over right now. I know he’ll worry, I know I’ll worry, but neither of us are going to admit it to each other. So hopefully in a day or two the initial shock will have worn off and we’ll only be reminded once we get the call from Hamilton. Onward and upward, the struggle continues!!

On a whole other note, and speaking of lemons – it’s due to rain tomorrow – the day of my garage sale. Par for the course, right now!!! Those bloody lemons just keep coming our way, but sooner or later that lemon tree has to dry up!!!!