Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Yes, this is drivel. It's the loooooooooooong drivel-blog that some of you have repeatedly requested me to cough up. Here is your mucous plug, Sweetie. This blog is not much about diet or exercise but a lot about my goofy life here in the boonies.
Time Marches on. Seasons come and go. After this winter I have a real appreciation of the significance of those phrases. My own take on it: I hate winter! I'm sure I have plenty of buddies who agree.
I started coming out of hibernation on the first day of spring when my crocus finally bloomed. Unofficial spring usually arrives much earlier here. I felt ripped off. I spent 4 months holed up like a gopher, suffering through the continental winter/polar vortex/arctic air mass/arctic freeze/blizzard/ice pelleted/freezing rain/snow/sleet/total freaking mess. I know others can out-trump me on snow, ice, you name it but I I suffered and have mental scars. I now have the same repulsion for winter as I do for things like venereal disease, venomous snakes, used car salesmen.
What did I do during this prolonged hibernation?...............Well...........
......... I mostly laid in bed, watched T.V., slept, got up to eat, laid in bed, watched T.V., slept, got up to eat. During my hibernation phase I also paced in the house - practically wore grooves in the floor getting my steps in. I couldn't get out to go anywhere. I tried it once and got stuck in the driveway and had to dig myself out with a shovel. It was like an episode of Ice Road Truckers, sliding down the Dalton Highway. I'm not even allowed to hike outside alone, let alone dig out a car. I gave up after that. It was my only winter adventure. It sucked. If I had actually reached the road I would have found that they had deteriorated to the point of being the Oregon Trail anyway. People couldn't tell where the roads were so they were driving in the ditches. Everyone was off-road, even old ladies in their Buicks. There were articles in the paper trying to soothe irate citizens who were tired of paying for roads they don't have. Every person in the county wanted to gut the county road commissioner because they didn't even clear the non-roads this winter. You can't scrape dust, I guess. During hunting season, I would not have been surprised to see the road commissioner laid out at a pig roast with an apple stuck in his mouth, while someone declared "They have soft hands and soft brains from lack or work and they taste just like deer you know, only greasier and less smart."
My slim grip on sanity deteriorated. Yes, I stilled bathed because I have the personality of a lab but as far as primping, well, nah, not too much. My hubby, who is about as cheap as Ebeneezer Scrooge, reached the point where he was like "How bout I buy you a new pair of sweat pants!!!!!!" I muttered an unenthusiastic, "Nah." He didn't give up, "Those sweat pants are getting in pretty bad shape. Your pants are torn and your left cheek is kind of hanging out. Are you sure you can still get them off?" I mumbled, "Eh, whatever." Mr. Funny pushes on, "We could spring for you a new Bic razor so you could shave your legs too!!" My response "Nah." Besides, that extra leg fur actually comes in handy when it's below zero outside. I let my mustache and beard grow too! And you thought Sasquatches were a myth.
Hubby and I have still tried to get some walks in outside. On one walk we encountered a really friendly barred owl. He/she was very good looking and not shy - allowed us to get within 10 feet of where it was sitting in a tree. Stared as us and didn't leave. I don't know if it was in heat or what but I've never seen an owl this friendly and neither had hubby. It accentuated the way that males and females perceive the same situation. I thought that the owl hanging around and staring at us meant we looked " smokin' hot". Hubby thought it meant the owl had rabies. LOL. In actuality it was probably thinking, "What are those stupid buttholes doing outside in this weather? They have indoor heat" Hubby got some pictures.
I still braved the cold to feed the wildlife, especially after an article in the paper that said a lot of them were not going to make it through the winter. We saw a squirrel, covered in ice, sitting on a limb. It looked like it was freezing to death. We did lose a lot of wildlife, especially squirrels, and we hardly have any turtles this year yet. I have a small handful of the same turtles that come to my turtle feeding station. I did spy 2 turtles mating already. My hubby says I should be ashamed and shouldn't watch but I have to in the interest of science. LOL. Daisy, the neighborhood dog, still gets around. I've fed her so much that whenever she sees me now she licks her lips. LOL. My hubby has even noticed and commented on it. Ahem. We had some new buddies - a huge puffy calico cat that was living in our old garage and a grey cat that is bothering the birds at our feeders. We have already had a SNAKE which was always laying on a limb in the pond. It must have been the one from the Bible because it weighed 30 pounds and was 30 yards long - yes, an exaggeration, but the minute I saw it I knew that it and I could not co-exist. The more I thought about it, the greater it grew in size in my mind. I told hubby to get rid of it and he did. Yes, I know they kill lots of vermin (blah,blah,blah) but when they are big enough to eat vermin like me they have to go. I'm not burning the trash standing next to a boa constrictor. Recently, we rescued a baby squirrel who had gotten on the roof and was afraid to get off. Hubby and I could not stand watching it stare at us while shaking. Poor little thing. We fed it peanuts and sunflower seeds and the baby seems to like us. It was so little it was friendly and not afraid of people. Now Baiter has his/her own bag of peanuts and a corn feeder. I know. I can't help it. We got some pictures. Baiter's mommy looked a mess but is recovering. She has been having some problems - had a black nose, a patch of hair torn out on her back, she laid on the ground sometimes. Hubby thought she was in a fight or fell. I think she had frost bite. Thank God my hubby has a good-nature because he knows if I see something like this then I want to fix it which ends up morphing into an episode of Wild Kingdom where hubby is Tom, wresting the anaconda, and I'm Marlin Perkins, calmly narrating, "I am now putting the neosporin ointment on the abraded area.............." Yes, it's not easy being married to me. We see a lot more deer now. Some of the fawns this year appear to be orphaned and I'm sure we could make pets out of them if we wanted to. Of course I would want to and hubby would not. LOL. They hide on our property and eat out of our compost pile. There are tons of turkeys around. We had a big Tom in the yard the other day and my husband is now worried that he is no longer the alpha male on the property.
About the time that spring arrived our spring and summer birds started coming back - the red headed woodpecker, the indigo buntings, the rose breasted grosbeaks, the hummers, and unfortunately, the cowbirds. Cowbirds are the super-sluts of the bird universe. They come in and mate and then lay their eggs in some other bird's nest. Some birds are smart enough to figure this out but other birds, often really pretty ones, are dumb and end up raising these ugly mothers. I wonder what a cardinal thinks when it's feeding this hideous looking bird - "he look like your side of the family". Our phoebe, Fleabag, found a cowbird egg in her nest and pecked it. Game over.
My crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, periwinkle, forsythia, spirea, dogwoods, red buds, columbine, iris, peonies have all bloomed since March 22. My day lilies would be blooming now but the deer helped themselves to almost all of the blooms. I put out all of the yard decorations and we got all of the fountains going. When things start greening up here they go fast - from bare trees to lush in less than a week or two. It's nice now but already hot and humid.
We have had a few storms and ended up with a small tree through the roof. It almost caused me to pee my pants and Runtster was very upset. The other 6 chinchillas didn't bat an eye - yawn. Hubby got the roof fixed quickly.
We had a quiet Thanksgiving, a quiet Christmas, a quiet New Years, a quiet Valentine's Day, a quiet St. Patrick's Day, a quiet Easter, a quiet Memorial Day Yep, all's quiet on the Midwestern front. I cooked some traditional food, sent a few cards, but basically ignored the entire holidays otherwise. I didn't have the energy for all the hoopla. I have kept up with decorating for the holidays outside. The spring wreaths are up now and I need to take them down and decorate for summer.
A few days before Christmas 3 of our chinchillas, Rico Suave, Bun, and Blocker, had surgery. Blocker had to have an antibiotic and did terrible with it so we had to force feed her. She was cute and sweet looking when she was so sick, very vulnerable, but quickly reverted to her bizzarro self after she got better which is okay because Blocker is unique, quirky, tough, strange. She is a lot friendlier now and she seems to have a crush on my hubby. The girls, except Bun who likes me, seem to get crushes on hubby. They flirt with him. Baxter and Porkie have a crush on me which means I get my arm humped, their male idea of flirting. So we spent most of our holidays syringe feeding the little beggars. All 7 of them get some of the special ground food as they feel slighted if they don't. Spoiled?? YES! Rico Suave, Bun, and Squeaker had surgery on February 22 and And Porkie had dental surgery on May 18. He is very lovey-dovey now and I am properly groomed daily by him. This is total grooming, complete with ears. Their health care plan keeps our bank account drained and soon we may have to set up a website for them where they beg for money.
Our son was able to come home for a couple of hours on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and for 2 business meeting but was exhausted from the retail frenzy. His battery went out on his car and his pipes froze up in his house and mommy and daddy could help him with advice from 70 miles away. He has been sick constantly since he moved there - new place, new "bugs". He gave me a card, an ArticTie, and a Duck Dynasty hat for Mother's Day and my birthday. I made a mistake by saying that I thought Duck Dynasty was kind of funny. Mind you these are not the kind of people I would be friends with as they kill everything that moves, but the result was that I now have a Duck Dynasty hat and my hubby grew a beard to prove to everyone that he could look better than these scruffy dudes. Hubby just shaved it off last weekend. From now on, I won't admit to liking anything and nothing is funny to me.
Hubby and I went and decorated the family graves on Mother's Day and visited with our adopted mom, my MIL's best friend. We ate at Backyard Burgers because every place else was packed. I don't like crowds. I seem to have lost interest in Backyard Burgers though. They are just okay to me now. Before anyone freaks out, I leave off the mayo and ditch the bun. I can have the rest on my diet.
Dad sent me a snarly card asking if I was dead so I called him to tell him I was. He is thinking of getting another live in "maid". The last "maid"was 25, bi-polar, and didn't clean. She was beautiful and blonde. We have pictures of her dressed like a Catholic school girl in a mini plaid skirt while she was sitting on his kitchen counter. She lasted until she beat him up and the last I know she still has an outstanding warrant for her arrest for this. My uncle found another of Dad's "maids" laying in his driveway drunk with a empty bottle of Dad's booze. I'm not sure if my uncle fired her or if dad did. Dad is very forgetful but we are hoping that someone can get through to him that, in general, maids usually clean. So I'm not looking forward to another new "maid".
My hubby got a bonus and 2 raises since the end of the year which is nice as we are paying for healthcare now. Some cheap insurance group can't deny me from having it any longer. We actually have more money as when our son moved out our utilities went down - he had so much electronics in his room it had the glow of a nuclear reactor. My hubby would open the door and ask. "What's going on in here? What is with the constant flashing and glowing in here day and night? Do you have a portal to another world in here?" Our grocery bill is cut in half but my cheap hubby still worries if we have any waste at all and, believe me, I waste very little. He never shops and will gripe if I have to throw part of a shriveled carrot away. A black radish. I have to explain to him that I can't buy a half head of cabbage, a single carrot, a lone green onion. And with my severe cabin fever and my tenuous grip on sanity I had to explain to him that I could just shove his head in the toilet and flush it a few times if he complains too much and gets on my nerves too bad.
I veered off plan a little during the holidays but I am making an real effort to do what I'm supposed to do - eat better, increase my exercise, get plenty of sleep, avoid stress, etc. I have cut back on calories, carbs, and processed foods. My arthritis, especially left knee, won't allow me to sock in 20,000 steps a day so I have to break my exercise into chunks. I do fantastic on the sleep for a while and then will stumble a little but it's mostly good. The stress is hit and miss but mostly good too. I'm still making time for ways to relax. I got tired of reading books and am reading magazines and doing crossword puzzles. Swinging. My challenge right now is to get some relief from my R.A. and to repair my wimpy gut. I still have the bloating, GERDing, and will spare you the rest. My doctor is working on it and so am I.
Speaking of my doctor, I went to him recently. He didn't want to talk at all about my diet and exercise other than to insist I have celiac disease. Oh, poo!! He zeroed in on my heart palpitations, lung problems, and poor gut health. Added new meds, some of which I was forced to try as I had tried supplements and the natural approach and they didn't work. So I now have a super-duper, platinum-priced inhaler that cuts out the side effects I had with the other one, which I couldn't tolerate. My old one with Ventolin makes me shake like I'm convulsing and I get a headache that will blow the top of your head off plus I get tachycardia which is no-no now with my heart arrhythmia. I have not had to use the new one yet. I am also supposed to take Singulair pills but haven't. The side effects worry me. I'm not a prude but driving down the interstate naked while asleep is an activity I have tried to avoid. I take Claritan daily for the allergies/asthma. And the simethicone, digestive enzymes, plus probiotics for my gut as I can no longer tolerate certain raw veggies. I'm hit and miss with those. I also no longer care much for chicken which is a pain in the butt. I find I prefer fish and seafood. Pescetarian, anyone?
So that's what's up. I'm tweaking my diet, or strangling it, depending how you look at it. I'm upping my exercise SLOWLY. I'm trying to sneak some extra work in and trying to make the most out of every day. So far, so good.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Some of my sparkbuddies have nudged me to write another update. It's another long one, I'm afraid, but I have a lot of questions to answer. I apologize in advance.
First, I am having problems with the computer I just purchased at the end of February. It started when sparkpeople started their pop-up videos. I have ad blocker but it apparently doesn't work on these. I appreciate that sparkpeople is a free site but I'm limited on my download capacity. Now I have a corrupted file and IE is unable to run and I can't use links. It took me all day to get my old computer set back up to use. I don't really have time to waste on this.
The NWS predicted winter mix Monday but we didn't get it. It's cold though - the high was 39 yesterday. The low 18. I'm still hoping for a long Fall, a Wimpy winter, and an early, long Spring. The old timers are predicting a bad winter but I've heard squirrels build huge nests when we are getting a bad one and they haven't as yet.
It was a disappointing year for wildlife. Obviously the drought the past 2 years caused problems and humans have taken their toll on the wildlife too. We didn't have nearly as many turtles this year and some of our favorites were missing - ones that have been coming for almost as long as we have lived here. There are not as many birds either, not as many squirrels. I have not seen a fox here in a while, nor a rabbit. I don't see deer like I use to either. Hunting season is in full swing so the deer are hiding. I saw a doe with 3 fawns earlier this year. Hopefully the hunters won't kill her as she has babies to raise. We had a wood duck family of 2 adults and 3 babies on the pond for over a week but the neighbor's cat finally frighted them away. Too many pests around, humans or otherwise. I love cats but they are the number one threat to wildlife.
I was reminded by a couple of friends that I failed to mention if my MIL's estate was settled. MIL died on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. We had hoped the estate/trust would be settled late last year but it dragged on due to problems associated with the house sale. There were nothing but problems with the entire estate/trust so we should have expected it to be no different. It was finally done in mid July. The final checks were delivered to everyone concerned - lawyers/legal guardians/brothers. The account was closed. It's OVER.
Oddly enough when it looked like my MIL's estate/trust would be settled my hubby and I were already thinking ahead and on the same page. We decided we would get back to remodeling. We spent so much time over the years settling my mom's, grandma's and MIL's estates and taking care of the their 3 houses that we got exhausted and burned out. Our own place got pushed to the back burner. Everything deteriorated. We made a plan and have been working on it. We started, oddly enough getting the yard back in shape while it was still cool in the spring. Painting and revamping the yard art and cleaning up the raised beds, perennials, cutting down dead trees. We are not done but it looks a lot better. He and I started decluterring here for the first time in years. We are making decisions to junk stuff, pack it up to sell, or donate. Hubby has been cleaning out the pole barn and I'm chucking tons of stuff in the house. We are dealing with leaves now and getting everything ready for winter. I got the garden beds taken care of. He just finished getting our 3 vehicles and got my son's truck repaired/tuned up. Hubby is putting a furnace and air conditioning in the pole barn. We are planning a whole house generator and a vent-less gas fireplace. We have to roof the back porch soon. We are starting the indoor remodeling in my son's ex-room. It will be our new family room. The old family room will be an office/computer/sewing/craft room. We will no longer have a second bedroom.
We also thought that after we sold my MIL's house that we were done driving 60 miles every week, or even more often, but our son was promoted to manager of a new sporting good store in a recently remodeled mall located in a rural town of 9000 northeast of here. It is 63 to 70 miles from here depending on what roads we can take due to the weather. The closest roads are really rural and hilly, with lots of curves and filled with Old Amish buggies. LOL. This is my son's first real home. It is long overdue as he is 29. Since he is a novice he asked for our help to find suitable lodging. We looked at a lot of frightening dumps and I was starting to feel ill from sniffing carpets saturated with pet urine and walls yellowed by stale cigarette smoke when we finally found a couple of decent places. He ended up in a yellow 3 bedroom/1 bath ranch home with a nice size living room, a small dining area, an adequate kitchen, a laundry room, plus a carport and a small yard with a shed. His house is in the best area of town, close to the 3 lakes a block from the park where some of the their claim to fame live - a large population of white albino squirrels. Best of all, his house is right across the street from his job. So hubby and I were busy gathering up stuff we had saved of my mothers to furnish his first home with - a like new matching couch/love seat/chair, 2 other chairs, 2 solid wood end tables, another end table, 4 small tables, a coffee table, a T.V., a bed frame/mattress/box springs, 2 chests, a bedside table, book cases, a sofa table, lamps. etc. Plus we gave him pots and pans, dishes, silverware, tools, medical supplies, bedding, linens, etc. So he had to buy very little furniture - a headboard, a computer desk, a dinette set, and a washer and dryer. It took us a few weeks to get him settled in as he was so busy with the new store. He started living there on July 14. He went from working 30 plus hours a week to working 48 plus. It was interesting watching the crew set up the new store. Quick! The first week he interviewed for his employees, spent the next week setting up the store, and the following week the products arrived and the store opened. He was really cranky and overwhelmed at first but has settled in. The store is doing very well. The other stores in the strip mall are a Rural King, a Gliks, a Goodies, a bank, an Asian restaurant, and soon a Kroger Rulers and Buffalo Wild Wings. They still have some openings for stores. He is close to the Super Wal-mart, a local college, a few fast food places. They have a Sav-A-Lot and an IGA too. Plus the usual small town amenities - a skating rink, bowling alley, library, some small local athletic clubs, a used book store, etc. The people there are very friendly.
This year we went through some very rough patches with 4 of our 7 chinchillas and almost lost Squeaker twice. Bun, Blocker, Porkie, Rico Suave, and Squeaker all had surgery. Some more than once. Squeaker got another bowel obstruction - the second this year - and, as she has a bad heart, the vet thought she wouldn't make it but we all worked hard and saved her. I'm sure we bought the vet a condo on an exclusive island but we really love our vet. LOL. The fur babies are all again eating on their own but we are also syringe feeding them supplemental food in order to put some weight back on them and keep them healthier. So they have required a lot of our time and attention and they still do.
And, here is some info for a very special friend of mine and her sidekick Punky. For those of you who don't know who Daisy is, she was a neighborhood dog that was abandoned. We aren't sure if she ever really lived anywhere as she was always going from house to house. We would see her a mile away. It always made me sad and I tried to feed her something every day especially after I watched her eat a tadpole once out of our pond and it gagged me. I have good news. Daisy got a forever home. The people behind us adopted her. I don't think she gave them a choice. LOL. They have a small dog and some kids, both of which Daisy loves, and she started hanging out there constantly. She has a wonderful personality and I guess eventually she won them over. She has a new red collar. She still comes and visits us and the other neighbors occasionally and gets some food but she is a lot more settled now. Her old age will be a lot easier. She won't have to scavenge for food.
After my last doctors appointment I slowly started making the changes the doctor recommended. My MRSA was recently active and my R.A. is now, mainly in my knees, and I've had some back pain, plus my usual G.I problems which have not improved since the pneumonia last winter but I am working on it.
My M.D. gave me the okay to increase my exercise but with restrictions. No weight lifting. Typically my work outside involves weight lifting. Bags of feed, seed, dirt, mulch often weigh 40 or 50 pounds and I still have to do it so I'm not sure how that will go. I'm restricted to gentle, low impact exercise like walking, dancing, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, qigong. I have been restricted for years already due to R.A. so not much change there. His ultimate goal for me is a 15 minute mile, which my son insists I am already probably doing but I doubt it. I'm not measuring that right now. I'm mostly concentrating on getting used to the heart arrhythmia and increasing my strength and endurance without exhausting myself or having a heart attack. I'm not allowed to exercise without a buddy so my hubby is with me when I walk outside. On many days I have been able to get my minimum of 5 miles in so I am pretty happy. It has been gruesome for both of us. We are out of shape and overweight and some days we have had to drag ourselves up and down the hills. Sometimes he has to stop so I can rest but he is very supportive. It will get better with time.
I'm trying to get plenty of water in. I'm making an effort to track my food intake. Cheat less. Eat less. I had no idea I was eating that many calories. I have gone from eating terrible to eating mostly healthy meals and snacks. For some reason I convinced myself that things like this were a lot of trouble and they really aren't too bad. I'm doing better at avoiding the wheat. I should have gotten a percentage and range on how many carbs I can eat. He said 1/3 carbs is too many and I'm not near that but I'm not sure how low I need to go. I'm not going to do Atkins though. That is out.
Regarding the stress - I'm working on it. I am actually reading magazines and books. I haven't done that in so long that I forgot how much I enjoy it. I do the reading an hour before bedtime. Sometimes I watch T.V. To be honest I have not sat down and watched a T.V. program in years as I was always multi-tasking. It sounds insane when I say it. LOL. I play with my pets more now. I gave myself a facial and have been pampering myself with products that have piled up in my cabinets. I have been doing a lot of decluttering and that helps my stress level too.
The sleeping is going well most of the time. I have an off day here and there but I actually sleep more than I have in years.
I'm being careful to avoid all stimulants.
I've lost 13 pounds.
So I am making progress. I hope I have answered everyone's questions.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
But I refused to open it. I would not let him/her in. LOL.
I have a lot of people asking questions about what is up with my health so I guess I will tell you what I know so far.
The last 2.5 years were really stressful for my family and me. None of us could really devote the time to taking care of ourselves like we wanted. We had to take care of my deceased MIL's home which was 58 miles away, get everything ready to sell, and settle my MIL's estate/trust. We had time constraints and lots of roadblocks, one of which is that we had to deal with a special needs person who was out of control. When things were finally winding down my son moved 70 miles away. Our sleep schedule, exercise routine, and diet all suffered. I knew it was affecting my health but there was little I could do at the time. I'm not making excuses. I knew I would probably pay for it.
Stress causes me to get sick. I got pneumonia in late January and really never totally recovered. I still have residual asthma trouble, sinus problems, intermittent nasal congestion, extreme fatigue, plus lingering G.I problems from the antibiotics and prednisone.
Recently I went to the doctor because I had been experiencing all kinds of problems related to chronic conditions I have which were formerly in good control. I have been having intermittent joint and muscle problems and capillary fragility. I have R.A., osteoarthritis, a circulatory condition called Raynauds, and a history of vitamin K deficiency in addition to a host of other problems like hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic otitis media, borderline glaucoma, seborrhea, GERD, IBS, sleep problems, etc. I'm also getting close to having Graves Disease. All my problems are helped when I am eating and exercising on plan and many of them stay in remission. Of course I have not been eating right nor getting enough exercise in. Taking care of myself requires a lot of time - time I haven't had for the past 2.5 years.
This latest episode started when my left hand and wrist started hurting and swelling. Half of my hand and wrist turned black from a large bleed under the skin. I could not recall an injury. Then the middle/long finger on my right hand became swollen, stiff, and painful. Finally, I developed some heart arrhythmias. As a former coronary nurse I knew something was up. I couldn't ignore the arrhythmias.
I went to my doctor on 8/26 and he was not happy with my general condition. My chronic medical problems are not under as good a control as they usually are and my labs, which were done in May, were not all that good. He was visibly upset and told me that he felt that I was in full blown diabetes and, with the heart irregularities, he felt my prognosis was poor. He did an EKG. Good news, at least I had not had an M.I. I thought maybe I had atrial fib from thyroid trouble, which is better than atrial fib due to mitral valve problems, but instead I am having premature ventricular contractions which is actually better than AF of the latter unless you have certain contributing factors. One is if you have too many PVCs. He estimated on 8/26 that I have 5000 to 6000 a day - obviously too many. Another factor is lab work - as I stated my lipid panel was not very good, chiefly because my triglycerides were elevated. Another factor is the conductivity of the PVCs. If there is a condition called R on T it can lead to Ventricular Tach or Ventricular Fibrillation and death. As he showed me my EKG, he pointed out my conductivity comes close to that. There are other conditions which factor in too and most are not in my favor. I was in the doctor's office 3 times that week for tests. More labs, plus I had a holter monitor put on.
His nurse called the following morning and said he was doing the happy dance. My labs were good. I definitely didn't have diabetes or even pre-diabetes according to some experts but I'm getting close. Everything else was pretty good. My calcium is slightly elevated.
So, until we got the holter results, we discussed treatment - what to do about the PVCs. When I was a young cardiac R.N. we treated all PVCs over 8 a minute. Obviously that would be me but current medical advice is that the medicines used to treat the condition are worse than the actual condition so they are not normally treated with meds. Other options are something called an ablation. An ablation is a procedure where they put small wires into your heart and use radio frequencies to destroy small areas of the heart that are causing cardiac arrhythmias. A final option is what my dad has for the same problem - a pacemaker/defibrillator. Frankly I would not want either. Most PVCS today are left untreated.
We waited, waited, waited for the results of the holter monitor. The place that reads them called my doctor on 9/4 and my doctor's office office called me and and said I had to send payment before the holter place would read it. They didn't offer normal options so I sent a check immediately and then waited and waited and waited again. I finally called and they only read their mail on Mondays. ???? So they didn't open my check until 9/23. To say the least, my doctor was shocked.
So my doctor got the results on Tuesday and had me come in yesterday. He underestimated the amount of PVCs I have. I have about 14,400 a day. LOL. There was good news though. No meds, cardiologist, ablation, pacemaker/defibrillator is necessary. But......................and there is always a but, I have to make major lifestyle changes. To be honest, I was right about almost everything I had come up with originally for my medical plan but I let other "experts" sway me away from some of my choices. Often you have to follow your gut instincts and not allow outside sources to sway you. Even Sparkpeople.
First, my M.D. thinks one of my chief problems may be stress. I need to avoid people who create it in my life. As all of us know that's very hard to do. Like he said, none of us pick our relatives but we can minimize our exposure to them and our reaction to them. I told him that I had already been doing that. I no longer will be the solution to everyone's problems, even my husband's and son's, though they generally don't create a lot of stress for me. Now they won't be creating any unless it is completely unavoidable. So I will be need to devote some of my time in my already unrealistic bulging schedule to rest and relaxation. EEK!! This won't be easy for me. I have forgotten how to have fun. I have tons to do and feel like I should always be doing something to catch up but I'm not allowed to think about that. I will be thinking of ways to relax. So our pontoon boat will be used again. I will be sitting in my swing, watching the birds and wildlife, reading magazines and books, listening to music, watching T.V., playing with my pets, taking long baths, enjoying time with friends, doing yoga/qigong and meditation. The spa will be repaired. This is going to be hard. I will actually have to make a schedule to force myself to do this. LOL. To be honest, I was fairly happy when I had a schedule and my life was more in order. I thrive on order and suffer from chaos. I need to go back to my doctor in a zen like state. Holy crap - this may be my biggest challenge. I'm a semi-reformed Type A personality but obviously not nearly enough.
The second thing my M.D. concentrated on was related to diet. He seems to like the way I eat when I'm eating on plan. He thinks that avoiding processed foods as much as possible is the best way to go. This is the first time I've had a doctor here say that. Every point he mentioned as to how he wanted me to eat I was already eating that way the majority of the time. I just eat too much and cheat too much. I am now to eat 1200 - 1400 calories a day and that is what I had figured. My downfall is eating away from home and it needs minimized. He said one thing that shocked me - you have to remember where I'm from and how behind the times most doctors are here. He stated that I am consuming too many carbs. Most doctors I have been to in the past pitched a fit when I told them I always try to stay below 150 net carbs a day. He said he thought that I was probably getting a third of my calories from carbs and that 150 net carbs is too much for me. In his opinion that could be the ceiling that I reach on special occasions but that daily I need to aim for less and make the carbs count - he likes fresh veggies, fruit, low fat dairy, nuts (especially almonds) seeds, and some beans. Unprocessed meat/fish/seafood. Good fats like olive oil. That will be my diet which is also what I thought I should eat. I usually stay well below my 150 net carbs. The foods he mentioned are mainly what I eat for carbs as I mentioned to him I avoid the processed foods due to the fact that my sensitivity to wheat causes me to have IBS and GERD if I consume them. He then stated that he thinks I may actually have celiac disease. Shouldn't I be sicker then? Of course, I am really sick come to think of it. LOL. So I will be taking this more serious now.
Third thing to work on is exercise. Contrary to what all the experts say he said no more weight lifting. I don't need it. So my friend, the dietitian was right and all the experts were wrong. I thought the same but some how was convinced I would lose muscle mass and strength if I didn't strength train. I don't need to worry. I was born a mesomorph and now I'm just a mesomorph with a lot of fat layered over some big muscles. According to the doctor I need cardio, cardio, cardio. The goal is to do take it SLOW with this heart problem. I'm to work up to a 15 minute mile. So I'm not sure how best to measure that - with a pedometer, stop watch, Fitbit. And, he wants me to take water aerobics which will be a problem as the closest place is 11 miles away.
The rest is the usual - gotta sleep, gotta get plenty of fluids in. No stimulants of any kind, including OTC meds like decongestants. No caffeine which I already don't use.
I have a lot of work to do. I have to research my diet further. Find more time for meal planning, cooking, exercising. I will have to cut back on computer time some.
So, I'm trying not to be too upset about this. No stress, you know. LOL. I have good and bad days and a lot has to do with how I eat, sleep, exercise and how stressed I am. It's a supreme effort to do anything with this goofy heart rhythm. My walks with hubby so far are like dragging an 80 year old through the woods. Hubby used to have problems keeping up with me and now he has to stop and let me rest. Poor hubby is afraid to leave me as he's afraid he will come home and find me dead. The doctor said I should exercise with a buddy now anyway. No exercise alone. Frankly, I always thought I would die in my sleep so it is looking like it may be more than a premonition but I'm not going gentle into the night and want to last as long as I can. I will do what I can do be healthy. None of us knows how long we have so I'm just going to take it a day at a time. I'm going to do what I want to and no more. I'm not going to be pushed. I'm going to eat right. I'm going to exercise. I'm going to rest, sleep, laugh, and have some fun for a change. I'm going to take care of myself. It's long overdue.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
As many of you know, I live in a very rural area. The closest city, St.Louis, is 80 miles east of us.Most people have an image of life in a rural setting. That vision is often of a farmer who gets up before dawn to milk the cows and head out to the fields. In essence, it's "American Gothic". That would not be us. LOL. Though many of our neighbors do live that life, we are actually transplanted "town slickers". I had never seen a live chicken until I was grown and, as it was fancy and brightly colored, I thought it was an exotic bird. LOL. I had never seen a huge ornery bull chase a car down the road because he didn't like it driving by his fence where his girlfriends were grazing. I had never seen a momma turkey/raccoon/skunk walk down the road followed by several babies all walking in single file. We moved to the country when I was 32, my husband was 27, and my son was 2 months old. It was my hubby's idea - his dream in fact. Most men don't realize almost all of their goals by age 27 but then they aren't "The Benjie" as my son calls my husband. (No, my husband's name is not Benjie). LOL.
At first. I wasn't sure I could hack country life. It was an adjustment for me. I was alone in the evenings, in the dark dense woods, a long way from town. I would hear noises, even growling sometimes, and my mind would race, "OMG, it's a BEAR!!!" I would freak out, ready to do combat with a bear, as I rushed my baby outside to the car for the trip to town to pick up my husband from work at midnight. I would have wide-eyed, breathless tales, "I think I heard a bear!" He would laugh and say, "There are no bears in southern Illinois." "Are you sure?" "Yes!" "Well, there was something growling." "It was probably a dog or a coyote." "OMG! It was a coyote!!!!I " FREAK!! LOL.
Eventually I got used to the scratching, the hooting, the growling, the howling ,and even the neighborhood yodeling beagles who spent the night chasing their elusive bunnies and raccoons, sometimes under my bedroom window. I started to like it in the country and then love it and now I would not live anywhere else. I don't love the long drive to town but I love the usual solitude and the fresh air and nature and wild life. Not that we don't have our fair share of challenges - the weather being one. Like urban areas, we are not immune to crime either but it's usually pretty safe here. That is until today................................this morning we experienced a home invasion! Breaking and entering.
This morning started like any other Saturday morning. My hubby likes to sleep in so I got up at 7:30 and took a leisurely soak in the bath so he could rest. I read the paper while in the tub. I have been having medical problems and it felt good to relax. I got out around 8:30, dried off, and entered the bedroom which was still dark due to room darkening shades.
As many of you know we have 7 chinchillas. Chinchillas are nocturnal and ours have gotten out of their cages before in the night to party hearty but they can get into a lot of trouble left unattended.
This morning when I entered our bedroom I turned around and saw a tiny furry animal with a bushy tail scampering out of the bathroom behind me and down the hall. I screamed to my hubby, "One of the chinchillas is loose!" He sprang out of bed and we ran down the hall into the dining room and kitchen. We did a "cell count"and everyone was present and accounted for. We looked at each other.
Due to my recent medical problems I started to wonder if I had a hallucination, was seeing things. OMG, I'm psychotic!! No , I have a brain tumor! My husband said, no, he was certain I had seen something. My mind raced - What could it be? It wasn't a mouse. Too big. Hopefully it wasn't a huge wild rat!!! How did it get in? I suggested hubby check the flu, which we had closed off, to see if something had some how gotten in through the closed opening. The flu was open. Yes, we had a visitor. It then dawned on me that I had taken a bath with a varmint watching me. LOL.
It didn't take long to locate said varmint. It was sitting on one of my hutches on my Carnival Glass like it owned the place! It was not that thrilled to see us and took off immediately so we really only caught a glimpse of fur and could not tell what it was yet. It ran behind the hutch. Hubby got a flashlight and spied it. It was a squirrel. The chase was on.
So me in my kerchief and pa in his cap (actually I was naked and hubby was in his underwear) settled down for a long.................furry battle. Hubby ran outside in his undies to get a trap. I threw some clothes on as I had no intention of fighting a rodent with any sensitive dangly parts exposed. We moved all obstacles and cleared out around the hutch. We dammed up all possible routes of escape around it so the squirrel had only one way out. We set the trap and hubby started making noises to scare the squirrel into it. Waiting, waiting, waiting.............it wasn't working. We looked at each other. The squirrel didn't want to come out. I was wondering if we should name it yet and set an extra place for dinner. We tried again and again and again and after what seemed like an eternity, the squirrel ran into the trap. It was a small one. Really cute. We took it outside and let it loose after giving it a lecture about where his/her house is and where our house is.
I told hubby to fix the entrance right away as our buddy might decide to drop in again for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc. Or someone else might decide to pay us a visit, like a raccoon, a ground hog, a possum, a skunk................ Trust me, we were happy it was just a squirrel!
Monday, March 25, 2013
I have had a lot of friends request that I write a blog as they remind me that I haven't written one since November. I apologize for the lengthy wait. Actually I had intentions of writing blogs more frequently but I have no intention of writing one every day again. I know that many people write daily blogs for different reasons - they want the sparkpoints or want to keep themselves motivated or they enjoy it. Those reasons don't apply to me. LOL. For me, writing a blog is not worth the points because I have crossed the 200,000 points threshold. Besides, I give away the spark points almost as soon as I get them. Unfortunately, blogging every day doesn't motivate me to stay on plan. I can obviously talk the talk and not walk the walk. LOL. And, I am past the point of being entertained by my own thoughts. To be honest, my main reason for not blogging every day is that one needs something interesting or different to make writing a daily blog worth your readers effort to read it and I haven't been inspired for a while so I will probably write when I have something I really want to say. I'm writing this one because a close friend of mine who has had a horrible year is looking forward to reading something/anything from me. Plus, another friend is sick and needs some advice. You know who you are.
This first blog will be about being sick as most of my close friends know I have really had my butt kicked again and are curious as to what happened. It's not a fun, glamorous blog but it is where I'm at now.
What happened? Well, stress happened. Stress is my Achilles tendon. It always has preceded any lengthy, intense, acute illness I have ever had. I knew I would end up sick when the end of my MIL's estate started to draw near. Is the estate/trust settled yet? No, but it is in the final stages as we sold my MIL's house finally on January 14. It was quite a relief. We no longer have to drive the 58 miles there every week to take care of the place. No cleaning, grass mowing, repairs, etc. We are waiting for two checks to come in and for hubby to sell the car and cancel the insurance, get that money back, and deposit the final check. I'm pushing the geezer but he's stubborn. My SAD is in full swing so hopefully he will get this done to before I morph into Lizzie Borden.
Any Stephen King fans? "Captain Trips" started here on January 23. As usual the portal to illness in our home came in the form of my son. He had the day off and when he got out of bed, he told me he was nauseated. He couldn't eat his breakfast and returned to bed. Soon he started throwing up violently and did so for 14 hours straight. The doctor said norovirus. I was busy bleaching everything in sight, trying to prevent the spread of germs, but I also knew I was around during his incubation period and was probably already exposed. The doctor agreed. I decided to go on a variation of the BRAT diet as it was obvious my son was going to be on it. Even though Ian went back to work the next day, the poor kid was nauseated for days after the puking episode and lived on plain rice and dry toast for almost a week. The day after Ian's puke fest, the 24th, I was certain I had the norovirus too. I was nauseated but determined to avoid the puking if possible so I ate small amounts of the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet. It is not the best thing for me health-wise but it achieved my goal and I didn't throw up. I was on the downhill slide anyway. I got the abdominal discomfort and the diarrhea. Soon after, I developed an upper respiratory infection, which rapidly proceeded to sinusitis, an ear infection, asthmatic bronchitis, and last, pneumonia. My husband and son got some URI problems but they didn't end up nearly as sick as I did. By the time I broke down and went to the doctor a week after this started, I was a total mess - barely able to eat, getting little sleep, etc. My inhaler was just not cutting it. I had severe wheezing and exertional dyspnea. Fever. The doctor did the usual tests and put me on breathing treatments 6 times a day (or more if needed), prednisone, and an antibiotic. I didn't want the latter but it is protocol. Have you ever had 6 breathing treatments a day??? I didn't tolerate the meds at all and had to cut back on them as needed due to the "blow the top of your head off" headaches and shaking, which for me was like convulsions. The doctor wanted me to eat yogurt but I couldn't tolerate any milk products at all. I ate so much chicken broth that I gag hearing the words now. I ate crackers, chicken soup, tea, ginger-ale, noodles, Popsicles, potatoes, juice, etc. I switched to probiotics in pill form but, admittedly, didn't know much about them and just bought some cheap ones from Kroger. Within a week, when I was supposed to go back to him, I had developed anorexia, severe nausea, stress incontinence, and serious diarrhea. He told me to take one more day of antibiotics and then stop. I had already finished the prednisone. After talking to some sparkfriends I decided to go to GNC and look for some products they recommended. Some were convinced that many of my problems were related to gut and immunity problems. The manager could relate and said I would need really strong probiotics to get my immune system going, not the wimpy stuff many places sell. They supplements were expensive but my family and I were eager for me to get any relief. I started them and they really helped almost immediately. I got rid of the nausea but a week later, by my next checkup, I had a lot of throat problems. It looked like thrush and I still think I had it but I treated it before I went so it was not apparent. He said I had developed herpes of the mouth and throat though. No real difference in treatment - I really didn't want any more meds anyway. They are poison to my system. He said it would be 6- 8 weeks for me to get better. A lot of people with this start to feel better and relapse. The thought of it still freaks me out. I decided my best bet was to continue to work on boosting my immune system, healing my lungs, and getting and keeping my gut flora stabilized and that is what I have been working on. I started tapping some of my really smart sparkfriends for advice and used what I already knew in addition to their advice.
Things that help - for adult only
1. Airborne or the generic equivalent - I'm still taking a dose a day. I have been using this for years. Sometimes this gets rid of a cold if I take it at the first sign I am getting sick. It works for my husband as well. It does not work for my son. Some studies say it doesn't work at all. Don't believe them. Find out for yourself.
2. Vitamin C - I'm still taking it. Some experts say it doesn't work. Others say it does in high doses. It can cause diarrhea so you have to keep your intake below that amount. My dad take 1000 to 2000mg every day. He swears by it. He in his 80s has not had a cold in decades. So another reason to do your own research.
3. Extra Vitamin D - I'm still taking it plus my usual daily women's vitamin for women over 50. I have SAD right now so I need it.
4. Breath Easy Tea - this works really well for me when I am wheezing and have that panicky "I can't breath" feeling.
5. Ginger Tea - I'm still using this off and on too. This stuff really helps. When I was so sick at my stomach I thought I could never eat again I would sip on this all day and it would ease my nausea. Still does. I'm not in love with the taste but it is worth it.
6. Honey - I often combine #5, #6, #7, and #8 in different ways. Honey is antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, has vitamins and minerals, helps a cough, sore throat, congestion, upset stomach, asthma, digestion, immunity. I made my husband a paste of honey and cinnamon for his sort throat and it was gone for good after one dose.
7. Lemon - has vitamin c and is a natural diuretic that helps flush out the toxins
8. Cinnamon - antioxidant, antimalarial anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, helps arthritis, blood sugar, diabetes, colon health, heart health, etc.
9. Zinc - I take it at the first sign of a throat tickle or anything returning. This works!
10. Saline Nasal Spray - helps stuffy nose or post nasal drip
11. Horehound Candy - weird but this helps a sore throat if you don't need cough control.
12. Vick's Salve - for nasal congestion
13. Probiotics - for stomach/intestinal problems. I will be on this for a while.
14. Good Belly Juice - in the evening with supper for stomach/intestinal problems
15. Altoids - yep, they help too. The peppermint ones help my breathing.
16. Drinking lots of fluids - helps everything
17. Chicken soup - ditto
18. Brushing my teeth a lot - gets rid of lingering germs. toss the toothbrush frequently.
19. Assorted cough drops - for sore throat PLUS cough
20. Peroxide ear irrigation - When my son had chronic otitis media he had a chronic cough that drove us crazy. The doctor could not do anything about it but she worked with us to try different things. We discovered that a combination of this and #21 and acetaminophen got rid of the cough every time.
21. Medicated eye drops and ear drops
22. Acetaminophen or motrin.
23. Salt water gargles - help with sore throat or think mucous
24. Vaporizer - still using
25. Expectorant and/or antihistamine. Use sparingly for a day or two only if you have a lot of nasal mucous. I used one fourth dose of the expectorant once. Helped the thick mucous but made me super nauseated. My hubby used one partial dose of the antihistamine and was better.
The doctor was right. You can treat the symptoms but it takes 8 weeks to get over this. Most people I know who have had this are still not back to normal. My MIL's best friend, who never gets sick, had pneumonia in November and got it again about the same time I did and she is in the same stage of recovery as I am. We still have lingering symptoms that come and go like wheezing, post nasal drip, ear congestion, a productive cough, stuffed up nose, etc. I'm doing what I can to strengthen my immune system.
I'm completely out of shape now and feel fat as a tick, partly from the prednisone and antibiotics which completely destroyed my gut flora and partly from poor eating habits while sick. I am also emotionally labile, which could be the prednisone or the SAD but it seems to get better when the sun comes out and I can get outside so I tend to think the latter. Winter is usually over here by now and isn't. The doctor says don't push myself so I am concentrating on getting my exercise back up to where it should be. I haven't been able to get my 15,000 steps in for a long time but recently I have. I am working on the diet slowly. The 3 of us all need to lose weight. I'm not worried a lot about the weight as it will come off when I get back to exercising and eating better but I hate starting over. I just take it a day at a time. One step in front of the other.
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