Sandy's coming

Weather forecasters say that we are in the strike zone for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy.  So all that has been on the news is telling people to get prepared for possible power outages.

Well, Tim and I hit the grocery store on Monday and really stocked up since we figured we’d be too busy with other things before Thanksgiving, so the freezers full, including a few extra baggies of ice, the Fridge is stocked, we have two cases of water, two cases of soda, two huge packages of TT, bread, PB, Tuna, as well as a full tank of gas for the grill, and batteries and candles coming out our whazoo. And of course, there’s always the bar and wine cellar if we need something to drink.   I’ve charged both Nooks, my MP3,cellphone, and my laptop. I’ve even located the portable TV that I gave Tim for Tailgates. Flashlights check, blankets check.
We had already stored outdoor furniture and the trees were trimmed a few months ago.  (our power lines are underground so we rarely lose power (knock on wood)) but we do have several friends and family who lose power at the whiff of a storm (including Tim’s sister, Mary-ellen) so reservations have been coming in for those who most likely will lose their power.  If they do the Fridge and freezer will get more items and luckily, gas cook top will still work or we can use the tailgate grill.

So I think we’ll be fine, if anyone needs a port in storm, rooms are filling up fast, but we have plenty of sofas, recliners, and floor space.  All are welcome.

Stay safe all and just enjoy the thrill of life!


Fall/injury update

I went to see my regular doctor today on the instructions from the ER. He was very emphatic about how lucky I was with the few injuries that I came away with and that they were more serious.  (I am now sporting a black eye.) Evidently my Mom was right all these years, I do have a hard head.  But Doc said that I could have easily fractured my skull, shoulder, hip or leg as well as an arm, wrist or hand trying to break my fall. He also  said that the muscle pull could take months to heal - GREAT! - but at least my back didn't get any worse, no better either, however the bush did a number on my back with scrapes and lacerations.

All in all I thank the good Lord for a very talented Guardian angel.  She/he do a great job keeping me safe.  Now if they could just make all the aches and pains go away, I'd give them an A+!


Never be without a book

Well, many months ago, I swore to myself that I would never go out anywhere without having a book with me.  Even if I didn't think I'd have time to read, it would be better to have the book and not have time, than have time and not have a book.

Today I'm really glad I stuck to my vow.  While at a friend's house, I went out to my car to get something and when returning, I tripped on the steps and fell, hitting my head against the brick wall, my knee against the concrete  step and fell into a deep flowerbed on the side cleverly trapping myself in a position where I couldn't get up.  Fortunately, my friends heard me call for help, and stayed with me while we waited for the Emergency squad to come and extricate me from my predicament.  The EMTs  and my hubbie (by phone) thought I should go get checked out at the hospital (head injuries are nothing to play around with). So off I went in the ambulance.  Once I got there and was registered, I was left waiting for service - Thank God I had my MP3 with the audiobook I was reading ([Destiny of the Republic]) - I had just downloaded it this morning.  Well, 4 hours later, after being shot (tetanus), x-rayed (knee), and scanned (head), I was released with an ice bag and instructions to see my doctor and  4 chapters read.  No concussion, no internal bleeding, only a few bruises, a big bump, a headache and a severe feeling of being really stupid.  I do think this has screwed up my back again big time.

Then I got home and the answering machine was blinking away. Believe it or not, somehow my Mom knew something was wrong – she left 3 messages on my
answering machine worried that something was not right  – can you believe that?
I assured her that I was sore but would be fine.  I hope I  didn't lie to her.

So, my reading friends, learn a lesson from me - NEVER go anywhere without a book, you never know when you will be sitting in the emergency room with time to read on your hands.  As I say,  it's better to have a book and not have time to read it, than to have time on your hands and not have a book to read.


I'm not drowning

I'm getting more exercise now that my back is feeling better.

This week I started the Fall session of classes at the Municipal pool - Water Aerobics on Wednesdays and Deep Water Walking on Thursdays. I was really pooped when I got home from the pool today. The instructor for the DWW and I had a talk because some the exercises that she was haven't the "swimmers" do were not ones that my back agreed with. So when I go to DWW next week I will take my MP3 and its waterproof case and I'll just listen to my book while I walk and walk and do a little jogging in the water.

If this works out, I may try dry land next.


She's been doing what?!?

Okay, it's a little over a month since the rhizotomy and I am feeling tremendously better. Most days I am nearly pain-free (praise the Lord), and it amazes me how good I feel.

But what really startles me is all that I have been able to do so far:
1. First, I picked up Molly, Bryan, and little Molly Kate (almost 2) at the airport and I was able to hold Molly Kate in my arms without pain. I'm glad I could do this because there's another on the way!
2. I can walk the grocery store now instead of riding the motorized cart.
3. The Library is again one of my favorite places to just WALK around and browse.
4. Laundry - I can stand and fold and hang everything on my own with no breaks.
5. I am again enjoying my beautiful kitchen and devising interesting new recipes with which to treat my husband who had been doing alot of the cooking.
6. Ladies Social Golf - I putted on 3 holes.

But the biggie for me this week is ....are you ready for this....

I CLEANED THE OVEN! Granted it is a self-clean device but you do have steps to prepare it for the cycle and then you have to wipe out the residue.
I did it all by myself!

Well, that's all so far, we're keeping our fingers crossed that progress continues and saying prayers that anyone in pain sees relief soon.


medical update

Well, it's been two weeks since my rhizotomy and I actually can see and feel improvement, YEAH!

Today, I really pressed it to see how far I had come and I was able to wander around the library without any discomfort and do some grocery shopping with minimal pain. I think we are on the right track at last!

walking stick

I almost feel like a child that has to find her way back to the right path. At least Tim's there with me.


Pain progress/ home front news

I thought it was time for an update on the home front.

It's been nearly two weeks since the rhizotomy and I do see improvement. My pain levels are greatly reduced (2-4 rather than 7-9) and I am able to work in the kitchen longer, fold laundry, and even take the steps easier than before the procedure. Now I just need to work on my stamina because my back still gets tired and achy but not painful.

As for home, the window replacement men were here yesterday and replaced 11 windows in less than 8 hours without messing with the trim work. I was amazed at how they did this. The new windows are so pretty and clear - now I can set to work on some other decorating revisions in the near future.

We're headed off the OC for a few days next week, so everybody stay cool!


New Pain procedure

Well, the steroid shots that I had back in March have worn off and so I back on the pain treadmill again. Off I went back to the doctor and so this morning, we met at the hospital to have more steroid shots and Rhizotomy on six nerve sites. I'm very sore and the doctor says it will be up to two weeks before I know whether they worked on not. I really hope so after what I went through. First the technician and anesthesiologist both had trouble starting an IV, so my BP went up and they had to keep asking me how I felt while the doctor was driving in the 18 needles. If they had just left me alone, I wouldn't have been concentrating on what was happening and made it through a bit easier.
I also had to worry about the time. Tim was scheduled to play golf at 2:30PM at Avenel and the procedure (20 minutes max) was scheduled for 11:45AM. The doctor was late and then the IV issues, we just managed to get out in time for Tim to make to the golf course. Whew, I never would have heard the end of it if he had missed his golf game! Just kidding.

Now just time to rest and read.


5AM - up and not sleeping, why?

5AM - up and not sleeping, why? not insomnia, I know how that feels, this is pain.

I have tried to find a position where every part of my body is comfortable and I can relax enough to go to sleep. Tonight/this morning this is not happening. I have lived with back pain for most of my life ever since a car accident in 1977, yes no typo 1977. I've been to all types of doctors, physical therapy, drugs, and I thought I'd finally found a level of pain that I could live with - but tonight the rest of my body revolted. It wasn't pain in my back that kept me awake, it was all the other aches and pains put together. My knee ached, I'd find a position where it was comfortable and my calf cramped. I eased them and my shoulders got shooting pains, resolve that and I literally got a pain in the neck. Then I started all over. Finally, I just gave up. No use laying there - came down to my massage chair in hopes of drifting off with the massager running on high.


National Clock and Watch Museum

Yesterday, Tim and I took a drive up to Columbia, PA where I had arranged to meet my LibraryThing friend Linda and her husband for lunch. We had been corresponding/messaging on LT for over a year commiserating on our similar aches and pains and now that we were both doing better (knock on wood) we decided it was time to meet in real life.

So we had a lovely day to take a drive and visit. After lunch, we went to peruse the National Watch and Clock museum. It was absolutely amazing. Clocks for every shape and size were there to be seen and heard. tic tic tic, bong, bong bong.... There was even a library for horological research, one of the largest for the study of time in the world.

Here's a slide show of the pictures which include the 19th century Engle clock which was touted as the 8th wonder of the world in its day. If you get a chance to see it, it's well worth it.


just an update

Last week, I went golfing with Tim, no I didn't play, I just went along for the ride. Fortunately, the weather got a bit wet so we had to quit and go inside. I was a bit sore the next day and worried that I had screwed up my back again with all the bumps, but after a few days of rest, I'm still able to walk and stand pretty much pain free. I thought I was going to have to go back to the doctor but (crossed fingers) so far so good.

Yesterday I started a new set of water aerobics classes. The water was a bit chilly so you really wanted to keep moving and the instructor definitely put us through our paces. When I got home, I was pooped. I'm grateful that I don't have anything on the agenda today other than getting my nails done. I think my heating pad, recliner and I are all going to get reacquainted today.


Couldn't resist!


Easter weekend - WOW

My weekend was a bit hectic and didn't go as planned.  Friday night I went to a Seder dinner given by a Jewish friend - since we were sharing our religious traditions - I took her a chocolate Bunny LOL!  Saturday night, another friend was celebrating her 50th birthday  and her Boss (the owner of the Washington National Baseball team)  picked up the bill for a party that she and her boyfriend were throwing.  all I can say is WOW!  DJ, photographers, food you wouldn't believe.  Then Sunday I was supposed to drive up to Baltimore - visit with Mom for a little while and then have dinner at my sister's.  Nope, that didn't go as planned.  My sister-in-law had been stung by a bee in her backyard Saturday afternoon and woke up with one eye swollen shut and swollen all over.  So Tim and I spent the day in the ER with her.  She had been planning to spend the day with some friends a couple of hours  away since we were doing my family.  SIL and Tim are the only family still in the area (she lives about 10 minutes away while the other 4 siblings live in VA, SC, and FL) so we tend to watch out for each other.  They finally let her go home yesterday afternoon.  She got her car from our house about 3:30pm (we're 5 minutes from the hospital)  and then about 1½ hours later a huge gust of wind tore up a tree in the front yard and it land right where her car was sitting.  Guess her timing was right!!


Latest news on the Medical front

I went for a walk!

Four months ago, three months ago, 2 months ago - if someone had told me that I would actually volunteer to go for a walk, I would have told them they were crazy. At that time, simply walking across the room was painful, but the treatment in January is still holding true, so I ventured out for a walk with Tim. It wasn't the best day, a bit chilly, but to me it was beautiful because of the sheer fact that I was able to do it! YEAH!


48 Hour evaluation

Okay everyone, the first 48 hours are over and there is definite improvement in the pain level area.

Last night for the first time since last summer I was able to actually stand and cook dinner without having to sit down because of the pain in my back. The first hurdle has been passed and I am extremely happy with this step forward. My back does appear to be weaken because of the lack of activity but as I get more comfortable that the pain will not attack me again, I'll work to build up my stamina.

The new doctor said that if these shots didn't work that I would need to get a mylo-gram so that he could look at the soft tissues normally seen in an MRI (I can't have those) and if the findings warranted a laminectomy might be the next step. I feel pretty comfortable with this doctor, far more than with the pain specialists. He seems to want to find the problem and correct it, while the Pain doctors just wanted to stop the pain so they were pushing pills toward the end.

I'm not saying that the pain is completely gone, far from it, but it is at a reduced level.


Medical Update

I had the new round of shots in my back Friday (I think there were eight total if I felt them all) and I'm a bit sore which is to be expected but there seems to be a bit of improvement. The doctor told me I should know if the shots are going to work in the first 48 hours so I'm taking it really easy this weekend and keeping my fingers, and everything else crossed (except my eyes - can't read that way).

So my lazy weekend should help me get caught up on my reading too!


Doctor Update

Boy does this guy move fast!
I went to see the new doctor (Neurosurgeon) this morning. The purple walls were a bit of a turnoff but I managed to stay and see the doctor. LOL

He feels with my history and the test results that I brought with me that he wants to try another set of injections before a mylogram (sp?). Since the injections worked for a short time (June/July) he feels that his method may be able to give me relief that I need and he would refer to give that a try before a riskier procedure. The mylogram would require injecting dye into the area (I have an allergy) and because of the allergy it is riskier than for normal folks. The reason for the mylogram is that we need to see the soft tissues which normal folks would just have an MRI but I can't have those because of metal clips in head from brain surgery when I was little. (The magnet would pull the clips and I would bleed to death before they could stop it.)

So Friday morning I am off to the surgical center to have the shots. Keep your fingers crossed and cross anything else you can. Maybe prayers too? I really want this to work!


New Doctor found

I got the name of a neurologist from a friend who also had back problems as well as the same name from my SIL (he did her back surgery), so this week I am going to call and make an appointment. They said it might take a while to get in, but He is worth every moment of waiting. In the meantime I will have to depend on major drugs and my recliner to survive.... Gee, What can I do while I sit in my chair?


My friends at LibraryThing wonder why I think that Needled to Death seems to describe how I feel lately. Here's my explanation:

I have a severe bad back and have suffered with pain on and off for the last 30 some years but the last 2½ it's been getting progressively worse. May of last year I started going to Pain Mgmt doctors and had a series of 3 steroid injections (NEEDLES) which gave me about 4 weeks of relief before the pain returned. Then I got 2 series of FACET block injections (NEEDLES) which did nothing to relieve the pain. Then I had Radio Frequency ablation (two series of NEEDLES) and that just made things worse.

Even today fell into the NEEDLED to DEATH category. I had a return visit scheduled with the Pain Mgmt office and here's how it went...

I got there at 10:15 (my appt. was 10:30), the sign said everything was running on schedule. At 10:50 I got up and asked what was going on if everything was running on time "Oh, just 5 more minutes.." 11:20, I was called back and asked to pee in a cup - I said "NO I'm not doing anything until I see a doctor." They put me in a room and at 11:40 said that the doctor was behind schedule (no sh-- Sherlock) would the PA be okay? I said yes because at this point I just wanted to get it over with and get out of there. I told the PA that I had made this appt specifically to see the "DOCTOR" because I wanted some answers. They had received the written report on the CT scan I had 3 weeks ago but wanted me to go get the actual films, I said "no - you can get them yourselves - the facilities are 1 floor down from the office." I was not going to be taking anymore time away from work because they were incompetent! He also basically told me the same thing that the PA 2 weeks ago said - options to consider were disco-gram, PT, massage therapy. I asked about acupuncture and was told that insurance probably wouldn't cover it but that it wouldn't hurt anything. They wanted Blood or urine and I felt like making it as tough as possible on them so I said blood and the little tech couldn't even get that right. The PA gave me another prescription (I had to wait another 15 minutes for that) and said to come back in 3 weeks. I think I'm going to look for another Pain Mgmt office. Needless to say I am extremely frustrated, angry and still in pain including 5 needles (trying to draw blood) again today!