Wednesday, December 31, 2008

All are safe and sound. E's asleep in my bed. J in the study. B & G downstairs. I, well, I am fitting in just a wee bit more television time with the sound so low I am not really sure of the unfolding plot development. I am up because I am so full of joy to have my other family here in my home.

You should see all the things they need to stuff into the car in order to be able to care for their children in my tiny home. G, an amazing man, very cheerfully empties it all into my house and will pack it all back into the car with equal alacrity. Never have I heard him complain about that chore, even when he has to do so with constant vigilance that my beloved puppydog does not escape out the front door.

G is an unbelievable witness of a man desiring to walk the path of Christ in this world. Don't get me wrong; he is not saint. Beneath his amenable exterior lies a temper that will sometimes bubble forth (although I struggle to smile when I see it because I find the contrast with his normal demeanor ever so humorous) and a self-view that could stand some bolstering. He desires to love his wife and children with his whole being and strives to do so while serving as light and salt for others. He has a very sharp, very dry wit, which is really just icing on the cake.

However, the cake with me is often a bit lumpy. For years and years and years, it always seems like we are talking two separate languages. He thinks I am angry at him. I don't have a clue. I admire him. He doesn't have a clue. Always a half step off, even though he does makes such sweet gestures like going out of his way to assure me, before he married B that he want her to still have time with her friends. And giving me a key to their house last year when he discovered I did not yet have one. I wrote about that. I cried on the way home then. It still moves me. I'm not even allowed a key to my father's house when he lives just minutes away, not hours.

Here's another example of how thoughtful he can be: I didn't get to join them for either Thanksgiving or Christmas after experiencing such wonderful holidays with them last year. Remember his stuffing? Knowing that I have been salivating over the memory of that stuffing for over a year, G asked if we could do a turkey meal together while they are hear. What more could you want in your best friend's husband?

Just a day and a half until I experience that stuffing once more!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tomorrow evening B and her family will be here! Given the choice of them arriving tired and grumpy on Wednesday evening and refreshed and ready to visit on Thursday morning, I chose tired and grumpy.

That means I have some dusting and vacuuming and laundry to do before they arrive...and I have to fit in some extra sleep.

Given my abode is the very opposite of capacious, I have offered to keep the children upstairs with me while B and G sleep in the basement bedroom suite (her daughter E in my bed and her son J in the study in his travel playpen). I offered to wake with the children and spend time with them each morning. I offered because, well, frankly, B and G are always exhausted during our visits. The three of us stay up late and the two of them get up with the children. They always let me sleep.

I wonder if my intentions will only be "best" ones. I wonder if I will be able to give this gift of time. I wonder if I will make it to Monday!

Monday, December 29, 2008

As you probably know, the great debate over the perfect time to purchase the LCD television had occupied much of my brain cells over the past month. Before Christmas, during the last minute slashing, or After Christmas, during the retailer desperation period. I asked just about EVERYBODY what he/she thought. Even the postman!

Well, when my chosen model dove to $600 less than what it was listed for in October and had a 36-no-interest payment offer to boot, I took the plunge. As you know the whole digital cable upgrade did not go so well.

Now, the saleswoman stated that should the price drop within 30 days of purchase, I could come in for an "adjustment." Yet, I cannot quite envision that actually happening (the refund, not the price drop). So, with much trepidation I have been watching the After Christmas numbers. Did I make the right choice or not?

Well, today the price changed. In which direction you ask? It lept back up $300!

So, perhaps I made the right choice, eh?

It is 54 hours and counting since the third cable box was installed. Thus far, the darned thing appears to be working as it should. Any of you who would care to come experience HD television shows on an HD television, feel free to visit. The experience is rather overwhelming.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oh, my 'Boys! Truly I support you in all that you do. Truly, I do!

However, it is my decided opinion that in the off season, it might very well behoove you to explore the meaning of teamwork. I know it is a bit cliche, but there really is no "I" in team.

You need a bit of therapy, I believe. You also need to play as if you are cognizant of how fortunate you are to be paid tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousand, each and ever week to go out and play such a wonderful sport. Meditate. Contemplate. Ask forgiveness of each other. Forgive one another. Embrace the challenge. Study how you might improve. Set aside the self. Find your resolve.

I'll be waiting next August.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Five technical support calls, two on-site labor visits, two cable store trips, and three digital cable boxes later, I can now enjoy high definition programs on my high definition television. Actually purchasing the television turned out to be the easiest part of this whole journey.

Is it worth it?

Well, you really can see the blades of grass in a football game. But that also means you can see wrinkles and sweat on real people where before there was just the magic of television stars.

To make matters worse, much to my dismay, the NFL decided that the Cowboy/Eagles game was so important that it needed to be moved back to the afternoon slot. That means it now conflicts with the Redskins game and I shall miss it. Alas, unless there is some great offensive playing by my 'Boys, I shall have to wait another nine months to see my first Cowboy game on my new television.


Friday, December 26, 2008

It has been a four Dr Pepper day...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The day of the year does not matter. Presents do not matter. Snow--or no snow--does not matter. What matters most is that God's son was born, was born to die so that I, and you, might live. May I remember that blessed Truth above all else.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I have two words for you: European butter.

I found this rather impressive grocery store that is relatively near my home. I had stumbled upon it when I was crafting the gourmet picnic for Kashi's vet and her staff. Since then, I have returned thrice to avail myself of the tasty offerings.

Literally, offerings of food are out and about for shoppers to try. Today, I discovered European butter. The bread station had fresh humus, an olive remoulade, and European butter as spreads for the five different types of bread samples.

Are the cows so much better overseas? They sure do make spectacular butter.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Madeleine and Smokey have come to live with me as well. Madeleine is but three-months-old. Smokey is a three-year-old male. Thus far, Fancy has not much cared for my addition to our flock. However, since cockatiels are flock birds, this change will ultimately bring her comfort. She just doesn't know it yet!

Madeleine and Smokey are victims of the housing crisis. I was happy to offer them a home.

Both are hand-fed, but Madeleine is so very frightened of just about everything that I fear she will loose her "taming." Smokey has already hung out with me on the couch, but he very evidently has not yet made up his mind if I am to be his flock. He warbles a beautiful tune when he wants. Having bird song back in the home is wonderful, even though his first performance made me cry thinking about Madison and his horrible, untimely death.

Right now, Madeleine is munching on millet, Fancy is chomping on the cuttle bone, and Smokey is preening his feathers. Kashi is asleep, curled up at my feet. And I? Well, I am watching my first DVR recorded show.

For the record, I will admit that I missed the first eight minutes because it took me that long to figure out how to start the recording and it ended before the show was over. I am not sure the ending part was my fault, too, but the whole experience needs a bit of improvement.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A flat panel LCD television has come to live at my home.

  • Access to five AMAZING air HD channels
  • A larger television that essentially takes up less space
  • A perfect fit on top of my antique tea table (though I admit antique and modern tech are not the best pairing)
  • A swivel base for perfect viewing angles

  • Regular cable looks HORRIBLE, so I need to bite the bullet and call Cox and fork over the extra money each month for digital service (football on ESPN looked especially bad).
  • The better quality makes everything look slightly 3-D and will take some getting used to viewing that way.
  • Swallowing disappointment that it was not perfect right out of the box.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fancy flew down and landed on Kashi's back tonight. I am not sure what she was thinking. Kashi made it patently clear he did not want her resting on him, but it was more a matter of shear outrage rather than violent upheaval.

I managed to rescue Fancy before Kashi was able to collect himself enough to afflict damage to the interloper on his back.

I am fairly certain I lost at least five years of my life in my fear for her safety. I dare say Kashi may have even shed a few months himself. However, Fancy was oblivious to her peril. I suppose that was for the best, eh?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

1,001th reason to LOVE my new GREEN phone: I get the NFL channel on it!

Granted, the game is quite small, but as I type this, I am watching the Dallas Cowboys try and hang onto their season. Thus far, things are going well, but for a few games now, our defense has been smoking our own offense. I fear the same is unfolding in this game. A balance of achievement should rest between them, not an embarrassment of uneven play.

I am a FIRM believer, if you are a fan, in supporting your team to the bitter end, holding out hope, even if that hope is deferred to next season. It is difficult, however, when you team has copious amounts of talent that is certainly not fulfilled.

Getting to see the game is a nice ending to a frustrating day.

Kashi and I went walking in Huntley Meadows. I left my cane because I have been walking better since October. However, that whole endurance issue is still a mitigating factor I should not have ignored. Two-thirds of the way through the loop, I realized I was not going to be able to finish the walk. I called a few people, but no one answered, so I ended up calling the non-emergency number for a policeman to help me back to my car.

Frustrating and embarrassing.

I am not all that certain had I taken the cane it would have made enough of a difference. Once I near an hour of being out and about, the sand starts running out in my hourglass. Sometimes, it is a slow dribble that affords me the opportunity to continue on for at least another hour or even two with merely increasing discomfort. Other times, it rushes out, leaving me unable to stand or walk on wobbly legs.

At least I get to watch my 'Boys.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm home! Nine days to rest and NOT work!

You know, I was told, in essence, that I was hired for my perspicacity. However, the truth is that I believe I still have my job only because I am willing to humiliate my heart with obsequiousness.


No call about the A1C test. Is that good news or not?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am feeling less than intelligent right now...

For starters, today B won the 10th of 12 Scrabble games. My score has plummeted. I cannot buy a high enough point word to offset her brilliance. SIGH. It was much, much better when the universe had gone into that Twilight Zone where I could find a Bingo whenever I needed one and won many, many games. But everything has shifted back and I am losing. BIGGER SIGH.

Then there is the computer miracle that just took place. Now, normally, a computer miracle is evidence of my brilliance since I have had no formal training yet am oft called upon to solve the computer trials of my friends and families. I have become quite skilled at puzzling out a few troublesome matters and have a core set of standard "fixes."

Do you remember when I got my video camera two years ago? Those who care about me pooled resources to allow me to purchase a tool whereby I could capture the moments of my life I am struggling to remember. I was so very excited when it arrived and promptly filled up an entire tape of Kashi and our visit to Huntley Meadows.

When my computer was switched out by Dell because of a defective motherboard, I was delighted to get a DVD burner. So, I had great plans of producing my first Kashi movie and sending copies to all my friends and family and acquaintances and perhaps HBO. [I just adore my little Buttercup!]

But, alas, after nearly two months of futile attempts at connecting the camera to the computer via USB, I gave up. Windows would only recognize it as a digital camera and not a video source. I was quite bitter at the knowledge that had I tried earlier I could have used the now expired warranty service for help.

However, tonight, a miracle occured.

I talked with my sister's husband's mother G for an hour after I had called her to let her know the care package was coming straight to her house since my nephews are headed to Oklahoma. We ended up chatting about the boys, with my bemoaning that I want them to know me better and the sad fact that my plan of regular DVD's had fallen flat.

After I hung up, I rather rashly started Googling new video cameras and vowed to just toss this one aside. After one very tempting shopping cart episode, I sighed deeply and closed the browser. Then, after five winning Spider Solitaire games in a row, I thought to check to see if there had been a new driver update. There was not, but Sony did have an update to the software. I decided to download it even though I know the connection issue did not have anything to do with the software.

Whilst waiting for the 379 megabite file to download, I opened the USB streaming window again and tried to connect the camera. After all, what did I have to lose, eh? Would you believe that when I did so, Windows recognized the USB device as a video source and started installing both software and drivers? I was stunned, not quite believing the script running before my eyes! I was connected. I am connected! Trembing from my exuberant exultation, I hastily fetched my digital camera to record EXACTLY how the video camera was connected in the hopes that I will be able to repeat this happening when I have more time to start piecing together my first masterpiece!

I am sure, B, as you are reading this, a burning anticipation of my Kashi movie has you quivering in your chair. Yes, you will have the first copy, even though you have shown me absolutely no Scrabble mercy. Vomica indeed!

NOTE: Reason 218 why I can not possibly have diabetes: Life without Dr Pepper is simply unthinkable, untenable really. I would not be able to live a life soda-drug free. It frankly is not possible, so it is not possible that I have diabetes. My world is thus; thus I have made it. [20 points if you can tell me from which movie that is from. Hint: it is a paraphrase of the last line.]

Monday, December 15, 2008

I have come to believe that waiting on the A1C test is a good thing for me.

My response to this diabetes scare has been one of fear and weariness. While I would proffer that such a response is certainly reasonable, especially given what I battle, it leaves so little room for the magnificent Father. He certainly can manage another disease should that be my lot. In fact, someone pointed out to me that the thyroid medicine I am on is actually because of thyroid disease. I probably will be reaching that half dozen just any day now.

Exaggeration aside, the rather cold and cruel way the neurological ophthalmologist treated me helped put two bad blood tests and one unknown in perspective. Does any of this really matter? Or is it merely another opportunity to walk by faith.

Shaking and trembling as I do. I can still walk by faith, right? Or, at least, stumble by faith...

January 21st is my appointment with a rheumatoidologist. My doctor is cutting me off the Celebrex unless I see a specialist to determine whether or not any other drug might be as effective. I asked the new doctor's nurse if it would not be better for me to be off the Celebrex for at least a day or two before I come so that the doctor can best assess my limited function and pain level. I knew she would agree. I believe I should get credit for asking the question. I am not sure, however, if I can willingly stop taking the pain pills. Just missing one of my twice-a-day dosage is enough to make me shudder. What would two days be like? How would I work?

Even though I had a major attack in her office, I could not see the pulmonologist again until the 14th. I believe she has been the best listener thus far out of the five I have tried in the area, but each time I have gone, she has been a bit dismissive of the coughing. I am crossing my fingers that she will now understand why my doctor worries so much about the cough variant asthma that wreaks havoc at times, but this small part of me wonders a bit that I will just get another passel of platitudes and focus on the darned TB I had umpteen years ago now.

I cannot bring myself to try and find another neurologist. I do think I should make an appointment with my regular doctor, but is it worth $20 just to tell her about such an utter rejection that still makes me wonder why I am seemingly not worthy of help?

I did look through the referring specialist's notes on my visit. She put down that I was having trouble shifting focus and attribuated that to my age. She didn't note at all that the reason I was so worried was that my vision was blurred ALL THE TIME to some degree or another. Yet she managed to note three times that I was "visibly" upset at my prescription and that she spent 45 minutes of her time with me. The rest was techno speak that noted painful movement, sensitiveity to light, and decreased color perception, which she attributed to optic neuritis. Oh, and, well, her sage advice that I see the very good doctor who had his nurse practically shove me out the door. SIGH.

To add insult to injury, the universe has rightened itself and B is now creaming me in Scrabble once more. She has won 7 games out of the last 9 and brought my score both plummeting into the 500s and below her own.

Today, I came home early to start washing 14 coats and a dozen scarves, hats, and gloves from our Operation Warm-Up winter clothing drive. The last load started spinning a few moments ago, which means Operation Clean-Up took 8 hours. Given that we had about 200 coats, I believe needing to clean just a fraction of them was a good ratio. The ones still at the office are sorted by gender and size now. We should have a few more come in tomorrow and then will be distributing them on Thursday. The reason I am mentioning this, besides the documentation that there is a good reason my water bill will be a bit higher come next month, is that my brother called whilst I was switching loads and he was a bit admiring of our willingness to help children in this fashion. While I was mildly surprised at his response, I did not fail to note that the call, as well as the day's labor, was another reminder of the need of perspective in my life.

I may or may not have a disease that would give rise to the disappearance of Dr Pepper in my life, but at least I am warm this winter and need not worry, at least for now, about being otherwise.

NOTE: Reason no. 57 why I believe I do not have diabetes is that I have learned stress can make your blood sugar fluxuate wildly. I would classify my asthma attacks as stressful. Therefore, any fluxuation in my blood sugar is most likely a response to the pulmonary assaults I face on a regular basis.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Well, Wednesday was an awful day that ended up in the ER for one humdinger of an asthma attack--one that started in the pulmonologist's office. [I could not get a replacement appointment until January 14th.] That evening, I started having an allergic reaction to something that ended me back up in the ER yesterday. I still am not sure what triggered the reaction, but the result was horrible.

My cheeks started turning red, then my neck, chest, arms, and abdomen. My skin was hot to the touch and painful like a sunburn. But beneath the skin, my muscles felt as if I had been pummeled. The medicine I got at the ER stopped the allergic reaction, but not the pain. Sleeping was difficult last night because lying down made the pain worse.

Wednesday's drug regimen treatment to stop the asthma attack left me with a terrific headache, violent tremors, and a pounding heart. So, I didn't sleep much that night. Neither did I last night.

Little sleep, strong drugs, long hours in the ER. A rotten week.

What made it worse was the fact that the neurological ophthalmologist that I waited six months to see left me sitting in the waiting room for two and a half hours before having his nurse tell me my records were insufficient and he would not see me. He didn't even speak to me. I was devastated. I am not sure what to do now, how to find another one who wouldn't mind that in 2003 my medical records were lost and I have not sufficient brain cells to remember which doctors I saw before I moved here in 1998. The fact that I struggle with both long- and short-term memory should be a concern to a neurologist, right? Not this one. All I want is help with my vision...

I did, after two attempts, finally manage to have the A1C test that will confirm whether or not I have diabetes. I have decided that there just are not enough symptoms, despite the two fasting glucose tests. Plus, any number of factors can skyrocket your glucose, stress being one of them. I am going with stress. I will know by next Friday.

Today and tomorrow, I plan on sleeping copious amounts and finding a way to make next week far better than this one.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My dear friend B has been quite moved by my diabetes anguish (I simply cannot have this disease) and called to cheer me up. Her message: Maybe your next disease will be Alzheimer's so you won't know you have all the other ones!

Such love she has for me!

Seriously, the most loving act you can do for someone in my situation is to call even when words fail you. I don't expect answers. I do crave companionship, even if provided by Sprint.

Even in light of such encouragement, I would still like to proffer my current disappointment. Today has been the clearest visual day for me in months. I have waited and waited and waited to see this specialist and all I will be able to do is explain how it has been instead of allow him to examine how it is.

ARGH! Would it be horrible for me to wish for blurry vision on Wednesday?????

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Clinging to the belief that this just cannot be happening, I remembered that my last fasting blood work was during that wretched time in the hospital a year ago last April. It was taken before the debacle following the surgery, but after fasting. Surely that blood work would show that my doctor was mistaken.

It did not. Again it showed a very high glucose level.

Why did no one tell me about the risk of diabetes then? Why did no one point out that number, especially when it was flagged with a note?

I plan to bring a copy of those results into my doctor's office, however I still want to repeat the blood work. Plus, I want to understand what the low level of potassium has to do with this or any of the other diseases I battle.

I cannot. I cannot believe this is happening.

It is not.

I will it so.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A bright spot in this embattled time is the discovery that someone actually enjoyed one of my poems. A superintendent of a school district! If you click here and scroll down to page two, you shall see his eloquent missive on violence that pays quite a compliment to my literary craftsmanship.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I am in utter shock.

My doctor just called about the blood work I had last Friday. She believes I have diabetes. She's wrong. She has to be wrong. She absolutely, positively has to be wrong.

I can't do a fourth chronic, incurable disease.

I can't.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I am conducting a bit of retail therapy at the moment.

I have been wanting to get The West Wing series on DVD (even though the, ahem, wrong political party was highlighted), but have hesitated over the cost. In fact, I have had it sitting in my Amazon.Com shopping cart since early this summer. Just the other week, it finally dropped to a price that was almost a bit ridiculous--a third of the original price and a mere 77 cents per episode! So, it came to my home.

I wanted to see the series because it is smart and funny. And because one of the main characters has MS. I wanted to watch and think and laugh and ponder. So, it came to my home.

The West Wing is wittier and more moving than I remembered. Being in communications now, I can also better appreciate the fact that three of the main characters are in the field. The MS story line actually begins in the first season, something I definitely did not remember.

I am most definitely enjoying the company of such good writing and the opportunity to think about my disease. And I am reveling in the humor. Sometimes I actually startle Fancy off her cage with my loud guffaws!

Tonight's episode, Celestial Navigation, has brought about an asthma attack (all hail the Epipen) and four flights from Fancy. Even Kashi is frolicking about wagging his tail whilst watching me watch the episode. Were I not worried about my ability to keep breathing, I would watch it over again right now!

Laughter is always a good thing, right?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Back-to-back 11-hour work days makes for one very tired person.