MEADSBAY's SparkPeople Blog MEADSBAY's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Christmas projects We decorated gingerbread boys yesterday. <BR> Can you tell which one Lucy did and which one William did? <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:26:21 EST Need I say more? <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> NINE days until Christmas.... <BR> But who's counting? <BR> <BR> <em>442</em> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:29:52 EST Can't help myself <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I am one besotted Grammy! <BR> Pearl loves to play in our toy kitchen area. <BR> <BR> Both my hips are killing me but I went to another of those 90 minute restorative yoga classes tonight so I am feeling a bit better now. <BR> Taking my dear man to the warm water pool ... Sun, 14 Dec 2014 22:28:41 EST Miss Pearl Grace is one today! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Pearl is an amazing, active, curious, LOUD (3rd child in a very verbal family), beautiful child who is almost ready to let go of the furniture and walk (maybe today, wouldn't that be cool?). <BR> She has a strong personality and quite the tiny temper but I could just eat her up. <BR> She is a snuggle bunny and loves to play little games and laughs constantly. <BR> You should hear her try to say William and L... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:21:09 EST Living positively Just read a great SP article about stating one's goals in positive ways <BR> (I know, we've probably read that a hundred times... but this time I really got it!). <BR> Even my SP page (entitled 'I will never ever ever give up') seemed a bit negative when i thought about it. <BR> Hence the change. <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> I took another Svaroopa yoga class last evening- <BR> stretching and holding restorative and healing postures for long periods- <BR> 90 minutes of pure bliss! <BR> ... Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:15:22 EST RIP, dear Betty I know I have written before about my neighbor and dear friend, Betty. <BR> She was one of a kind, that's for sure! <BR> She almost made it to her 93rd birthday but died in her sleep while visiting her daughter for Thanksgiving last week. <BR> Her hubby was my very first elder client 8 years ago...her out of state kids hired me to sit with him to give her a little respite during what turned out to be just the last few months of his life. <BR> We became fast friends after that as she learned t... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 22:22:19 EST Our tiny gingerbread houses Lucy had no school today so I took a bonus day with my three wonderful grandchildren. <em>244</em> <BR> I invited my great-neice, Sophia, whom I used to babysit for a few days a week (until Pearl came along and it would have just been too much for me) to come over as well, and we made gingerbread houses out of graham crackers and candy. <BR> Lots of candy. <em>40</em> <BR> So much for getting my house cleaned yesterday! <em>198</em> <BR> No really, we kept it pretty much under control... Fri, 5 Dec 2014 18:21:17 EST Christmas baskets I have done this for years...very easy but messy...a fun creative outlet and a perfect casual gift for friends and relatives, esp. those who have enough stuff already. <BR> Take any old basket or container, <BR> line it with plastic (I save up big yogurt , ice cream, take-out containers), <BR> buy floral Oasis (sold in all florists or craft shops...don't buy the dry kind), <BR> collect a variety of evergreens, <BR> arrange in foam, <BR> add bows and sparkly do-dads, pine cones, etc, <BR> ... Sun, 30 Nov 2014 11:16:27 EST Had a wonderful Thanksgiving day! Ok, the white meat on the turkey was a tiny bit dry (I don't much like the white meat for that very reason) but nothing a little cranberry sauce or delicious gravy wouldn't fix. <em>428</em> <BR> <BR> I'm so glad we went to all the trouble of getting my 90 yr old cranky FIL over here as he now lives alone and i am quite sure this will be his last Thanksgiving. <BR> See him watching my son read to Lucy (the old guy is fairly deaf): <BR> <img src=" Sat, 29 Nov 2014 09:55:33 EST We have so much to be thankful for! Here was my dear man, hubby of 46 years, six weeks ago, towards the end of his battle with three different infections in his body, two in his brain...he did not know who I was for a while, was unable to speak or even eat. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And when he was discharged at the end of acute rehab (41 days in the hospital) <BR> This was almost 4 weeks ago. <BR> <img src=""> <B... Sun, 23 Nov 2014 09:22:33 EST William is four today! Lucy's little brother and Pearl's big brother is four today. <BR> He is such a unique little man...very smart and inquisitive...Loves books and anything with wheels. <BR> He has a wonderful imagination and loves to play pretend games. <BR> He is good at amusing himself but adores playing with his Papa and missed him so very much when Papa was in the hospital so long. <BR> Will was a cranky baby and had (still has, some days) some painful intestinal problem that his doc says will sort itself ... Wed, 19 Nov 2014 10:23:42 EST Aaaaahhhhhhh! My massage today was divine! <em>334</em> <BR> Just what I needed right now. <BR> My therapist is just a doll and gives an amazing massage. <BR> I have gone to her off and on for 15 years or more...less since I retired (no $!). <BR> She took a good long time working me over, especially my hips, and gave me lots of advice of things to try. <BR> Since retiring, as my income declined, I tried at least 5 or 6 different massage places using Groupon but no-one compares to Angela, and I told her ... Mon, 17 Nov 2014 21:53:32 EST All is well! Things are going even better than we had been told to expect. <em>104</em> <BR> David is still weak and tired and too skinny (has hardly gained any muscle mass) but his cognition is almost back to normal. <em>58</em> <BR> He is reading his brain is hungry...sometimes a book a day! <BR> Lots of people sent books over when they heard he was sick, not knowing he was unable to read for a long period. <BR> I let him drive (with me in the car) a few short distances (we liv... Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:40:57 EST Aaaauuurrrgh! TWICE I composed a long, literate, heartfelt, meaningful blog and <BR> POOF!!! <BR> They disappeared from my iPad (never had my iPad freeze up before). <BR> <em>46</em> <BR> So, I shall try a third time to let you know that my dear man has been doing so very well recovering from his major health crisis of these last few months. <BR> <BR> Mentally, he is doing grrrreat- his vision, hearing and focus have all improved-he is able to read and write again and actually has poked around on his... Mon, 10 Nov 2014 21:16:03 EST Strange appointment Just returned from DH's post-op appt with the neurosurgeon (postponed for a month as my dear man spent 41 days in the hospital with serious complications. <BR> His doctor acted sort of distant or something. <BR> He usually is warm and welcoming and he and my hubby really hit it off. <BR> Today? <BR> Stand-off-ish. <BR> I wonder if he is afraid we are going to sue him. <BR> Although, my hubby was talking too much, still some brain issues going on, actually interrupted the doc at a few points.... Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:26:28 EST Wednesday, 10/29, day 1 My dear man is doing so very well, <BR> waaaay better than anyone expected, <BR> BUT, <BR> we have both been through a major life-changing event, <BR> and, so, there will be an adjustment period. <BR> We are keeping the lines of communication open, <BR> acknowledging our love for each other , <BR> and living in gratitude and appreciation for each moment of every day. <BR> It's not as easy as it sounds. <BR> We are very different people and have had very different experiences. <BR> <em>334</... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:28:12 EST All good with my dear man! You all know I am an incurable optimist but I am not the only one blown away by my husband's rate of recovery this past week. <em>244</em> <BR> He has been in the hospital 37 days as of today, after serious life-threatening complications (3 different infections, including 2 in his spinal fluid and brain and also the dreaded c-diff) following a simple outpatient surgery on his back in early September. <em>40</em> <BR> A little over a week ago he could barely walk with a walker and was so... Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:39:44 EST The caregiver's dilemma I have been overseeing the care of my dear husband for most of the 34 days he has been hospitalized from serious complications following a routine outpatient back surgery (3 different infections, including two in his brain). <BR> I am ecstatic that he has been in an inpatient-acute rehab unit for a week now and making good progress, physically and mentally. <BR> I am trying to step away at this point and give him ownership of his own rehabilitation (so far, so good). <BR> He is truly on the m... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:01:56 EST Great day! My dear man had a great day today- <BR> his 31st day in hospital- <BR> now in an acute rehab unit- <BR> bright eyed and clear thinking (relatively speaking)- <BR> tired but eager to work on his recovery. <BR> His mood was very stable and his walk was fairly steady (with a walker). <BR> His speech was soft but fairly clear. <BR> I know I should not let his state of recovery rule my mood and life but <BR> OH WOW! <BR> This was an amazing day. <BR> Plus, we met a new doctor (a hospitalist) who ... Sat, 18 Oct 2014 20:24:35 EST I am beyond sad I was warned that my dear man's recovery from the spinal bacterial infection, plus two other infections and encephalitis would be slow and long with peaks and valleys but after about a month now he seemed to be slowly improving, enough so that he could move to another hospital for 2-4 weeks of acute rehab. <BR> David is still very flat emotionally but expressed happiness about the move. <BR> He has not been sleeping well at all (like barely) and that is hindering his progress. <BR> When they ... Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:37:07 EST Better and better each day My dear man is slowly recovering from a major medical crisis. <BR> <em>244</em> <BR> On Saturday he could only say single garbled words. <BR> On Sunday he could speak short sentences, not always making sense. <BR> On Monday he could string more words together with more meaning (he slowly asked me if I was paying the bills on time-usually his job) and was getting his needs met. <BR> Today he was speaking much more and more clearly but as he comes out of the fog he is much more agitated, im... Tue, 7 Oct 2014 23:01:12 EST Another update We were told yesterday that my dear man David will probably be in the hospital for another two weeks (!) and then go to acute inpatient rehab for a month or TWO! <BR> I don't know if they are trying to prepare me for the worst or just letting me know his journey back will be a long difficult one. <BR> He still has significant damage to his brain from two bouts of bacterial meningitis and a viral infection that caused encephalitis. <BR> He's unable to walk, talk much or eat. <BR> Yesterday th... Sun, 5 Oct 2014 08:26:52 EST My heart aches for my dear man He has suffered so and been through so much since hurting his back working on our new boat on July 1st. <BR> I will not give you all the details (see last few blogs) but here is the latest version: <BR> The bacterial spinal meningitis has come back as his antibiotic apparently failed <BR> (we hear so much about antibiotic resistant bacteria...well, here it is...the bacteria changes as it gets used to the antibio being administered). <BR> He has had fevers and he is unable to walk, talk, or e... Fri, 3 Oct 2014 13:40:57 EST Another surgery I do not wish to scare anyone away from back surgery as my dear man had no other option and, actually, his back, his nerve pain, and the muscle control of his legs are all improved from the lamenectomy and double discectomy that he had a week ago Tuesday, 9/9. <BR> But... <BR> he has had a few complications, one minor, an infection at his IV site on his hand that was corrected quickly and one major. <BR> Apparently, the surgeon nicked his spinal cord (which is nearly invisible) while fixing h... Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:15:25 EST And now another setback Oh, my word. <BR> This poor guy cannot catch a break. <BR> The infection on the hand was under control quickly and then he started having humongous headaches every time he stood or sat up! <BR> <em>198</em> <BR> Appears to be some irritation or inflammation of the spinal cord or brain lining, according to his neurosurgeon and should pass quickly, whatever that means. <BR> Now we are adding prednisone to the Rx stew. <BR> He will see the physician's assistant tomorrow and then his post- op... Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:16:42 EST A setback My poor dear man. <BR> He woke up yesterday morning (4 days post-op from back surgery) with a red, hot, swollen, painful left hand (his dominant hand). <BR> <em>24</em> <BR> We went to the urgent care center in the next town and they wanted to call an ambulance because by then dh's heart rate was up and his blood pressure was low. <em>198</em> <BR> We balked at that, so they did an IV and gave him fluid until he was stable enough for me to transport him. <BR> Turns out he has an infect... Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:53:37 EST Not done yet So, my dear man had his back surgery on Tuesday around noon <BR> (to summarize previous blogs..he injured his back on July 1st working on our new boat, which, of course, we have been unable to use). <BR> What a nightmare of a summer we have had. <em>24</em> <BR> There are many steps that have to be gone through before the last step, which is surgery. <BR> After various treatments at a brain and spine center, a neurosurgeon did a lamenectomy and double discectomy to repair the damage done b... Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:30:12 EST Oh, dear! It was inevitable but could not have come at a worse time... <BR> my dear man is currently incapacitated with a serious back injury <BR> (his surgery was postponed a day, now early Tuesday), <BR> can't drive and is still in some pain every day, <BR> and his 90 year old father is suddenly behaving erratically and seems to be spiraling rapidly into dementia. <BR> He's never been the nicest person and has been failing slowly for the last few years but suddenly he is crying a lot and then being m... Sun, 7 Sep 2014 22:03:19 EST Pearl at 8 1/2 months Just to make you smile! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Darn it! <BR> Why do some pics come out sideways? <BR> <em>198</em> <BR> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 14:04:05 EST Whew! My day today: <BR> Slept in spare room as my dear man is still suffering and restless and uncomfortable at night, <BR> Alarm set for 6:30, <BR> Dressed and out the door in 15 minutes, <BR> Dropped mail off at PO for hubby (his internet business slows down but continues all summer), <BR> Went to son's house for 7 so he could get to work, <BR> Fed, dressed, brushed, etc, three wee ones, <BR> Got Lucy on the bus at 8:45, <BR> Took William and Pearl to my house, <BR> Checked on DH, who broke dow... Tue, 2 Sep 2014 22:31:16 EST We have a surgery date! My dear man and I had a consult with the neurosurgeon on Friday and the good doctor will be fixing my guy up almost good as new (nothing is ever guaranteed) on Monday, Sept. 8th. <BR> <BR> The surgery will be a bit more complicated than we had thought, involving a laminectomy (removing some bone) and a discectomy ( removing some disc material) but it is still arthroscopic and should be same day surgery, barring any complications. <BR> <BR> Right now my hubby is not in a lot of pain thanks t... Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:09:24 EST Happy news, for a change We are actually looking forward to DH's second round of cortisone shots tomorrow, mostly as a chance to talk to a spine specialist again. <em>104</em> <BR> Then, on Friday, we actually meet with the neurosurgeon who will do the surgery, if it comes to that. <em>40</em> <BR> But today was a happy day- <BR> our darling grand-daughter Lucy's first day of kindergarten. <BR> She was a bit nervous but her elementary school scheduled a one hour visit with a parent one day ahead (my son took h... Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:37:10 EST Update on my dear man The cortisone shots definitely relieved a lot of his back and nerve pain, although it took at least 3-4-5 days to give him much relief. <BR> The painful muscle spasms continue so he is still taking the muscle relaxant but has weaned himself off the narcotic pain relievers. <BR> The weakness is getting worse! <BR> He used to be weak in just one leg so I borrowed a cane for him to use. <BR> But now it is both legs- he has fallen several times- today on the sidewalk outside when we were coming b... Sun, 24 Aug 2014 22:18:46 EST Warm water therapy The spine specialist told my dear man that he needs to plan on exercising in water every day for the rest of his life to keep his back in shape. <BR> My dh has always been an active man but never ever one to exercise, other than a walk now and again. <BR> He has always been blessed with a slim body type but since he quit smoking about 4-5 years ago he has gained about 20 lbs, almost all in the gut. <BR> Probably put a strain on his back, don't you think? <BR> Five days since the 5 steroid sho... Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:50:18 EST Some bit of relief Four days today since my dh had those five cortisone shots in his back. <BR> <em>40</em> <BR> He reports some relief from the nerve and back pain but still a lot of painful muscle spasms. <BR> He is sleeping better (so I am, too). <BR> Today we are trying out a warm water pool (87 degrees) about 20 minutes away to consider joining, at least for a month until the nearby university pool (90 degrees) opens for the semester. <BR> I did get to spend a few hours with the grand babies yesterday ... Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:32:18 EST You would do the same thing! No way am I extraordinary in any way in caring for my temporarily disabled dear man this summer. <BR> Who would not step up and do what has to be done when someone you love is suffering and needs help? <BR> I feel so bad for him- <BR> his pain and suffering is so obvious- <BR> and he is missing out on the so many of the joys of his life. <BR> Other than moaning in pain, I have not heard a single complaint out of him. <BR> He's barely even been irritable. <BR> I'm quite sure I would not be so ... Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:40:56 EST Update on my dear man's back Well, he (we) have had a rough six weeks or so with his back injury. <BR> Yes, he does have some degenerative disc changes (guess most of us do) <BR> but he also has two moderately herniated discs in the lower back that are impacting the nerve root, which I understand is the largest in the body. <BR> Very, very painful. <em>46</em> <BR> He has suffered so much- <BR> barely able to sleep or eat, even medicated. <BR> He has been on several courses of different drugs, which provide some reli... Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:34:48 EST Prednisone is a miracle drug! I know prednisone can have some nasty side effects and should not be used in the long term but short term? <em>244</em> <BR> My dear man actually does have a few herniated discs impacting a nerve root which explains his sciatica and excruciating pain off and on for over a month now. <BR> (The preliminary findings on his MRI just reported degenerative disc disease- arthritis- but we knew there was more to it than that.) <BR> So he is on a good strong dose of prednisone, just for 5 days in ... Fri, 8 Aug 2014 21:36:24 EST Very sad time How ironic that my last blog was about my dear man. <BR> Now I am beside myself with anguish watching him suffer excruciating pain. <BR> I'm talking moaning and writhing in pain almost all day and all night for weeks and weeks. <BR> He hurt his back early in July, <BR> thought he was fine and then re-injured it twice since then, <BR> including on our way down to our second home, <BR> Jasmine Villa on Anguilla, <BR> where he spent most of our ten days there flat in bed. <BR> It is a muscle st... Wed, 6 Aug 2014 20:17:54 EST My dear husband What can I say? <BR> Most people would look at him and say <BR> ho-hum. <BR> He's no Brad Pitt but then I am no Angelina, either. <BR> My dear man can be annoying as heck <BR> but... <BR> he also is an amazing man in so many ways. <BR> We grew up together, <BR> as we were 16 and 19 when we got married coming up on 46 years ago. <BR> <em>40</em> <BR> But he has taken good care of me all of those years, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. <BR> He is my rock and my anchor. <BR> Wi... Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:22:53 EST New haircut Not sure If I like it but, oh well, I got it. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> It is super easy to deal with it, though, and I kinda like how it highlights my gray streak in the front (pretty much all the gray I have at 62). <BR> <BR> <em>213</em> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 21:03:58 EST HHH! Yup, it's July, alrighty. <BR> It's going to be hazy hot and humid every day this week. <BR> <em>67</em> <BR> I am so grateful for central air-conditioning, <BR> living near the beach and it's cooling breezes, <BR> and having access to a pool. <BR> What more could I ask for? <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> We have the grands on Tuesday and Thursday this week, <BR> with a later start in the morning, <BR> which I love, <BR> and I am going to an author's luncheon at an exclusive club to wh... Sun, 6 Jul 2014 21:59:26 EST Guess boredom is an emotion, too I do not consider myself an emotional eater, particularly. <em>24</em> <BR> But it's a dark and stormy 4th of July and I am basically alone as my poor dear man has been in bed for a few days with a pulled back muscle (long story about how yet again he did not take my wise advice and is suffering the consequences). <BR> I was flat out yesterday (and overnight the night before) caring for all 3 grandkids on my own- lots of fun but quite a challenge, too. <BR> Today my hip feels good but I am... Fri, 4 Jul 2014 12:35:23 EST Ups and downs Mostly feeling better now- <BR> my murderous mood swing passed- <BR> my pain lessened considerably- <BR> like 90% in two days- <BR> but then when I started tapering I could feel the pain start to come back. <BR> <em>46</em> <BR> <BR> Alright, alright, alright- <BR> maybe I will follow my doctor's Rx instructions. <BR> MAYBE she is just a tad smarter than me. <BR> <em>198</em> <BR> <BR> Did you notice my new profile pic? <BR> Pearl at 6 months. <BR> She is such a doll! <BR> We are on... Wed, 2 Jul 2014 16:44:54 EST Yuk! Well, today was the day <BR> (actually overnight) <BR> that the bad side effect <BR> (besides the sleep issues) <BR> kicked in- <BR> extreme irritability and mood swings. <BR> As in, every tiny thing my dh said or did infuriates me. <BR> I had to get out of bed before I smothered him with a pillow. <em>18</em> <BR> I confessed to him and am staying away from all people (we are both retired and spend most of our time together) until this black mood passes. <BR> He understood that it was t... Mon, 30 Jun 2014 14:02:19 EST Decreasing dosage and tablet time First of all, <BR> that photo of all three kids (yesterday's blog) was staged- <BR> Papa saw Lucy and William on the couch with my ipod touch and my ipad <BR> (a rare event as we do strictly limit any screen time and are WAY too busy around here to sit much) and put Pearl in the middle with his phone. <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> We live near the ocean and a pond and a train station, have a pool, a water table, a wagon, bikes, bubbles, tons of arts and crafts supplies, sidewalk chalk and two e... Sun, 29 Jun 2014 10:39:43 EST Prednisone seems to be helping! May be just wishful thinking but, <BR> other than going to bed early last night with a wicked unusual headache, <BR> and waking up (feeling fine) at 4ish this morning, <BR> I am optimistic. <BR> I've never been on this med so not sure how well or fast it is supposed to work. <BR> Can someone enlighten me? <BR> I am tolerating a huge starting dose (60 mg for 3 days, then 50 for 3, 40...) <BR> in a decreasing prescription of prednisone which my doc and I hope will knock down the bursitis flare-... Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:51:01 EST Pearl at six months <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We have all three grandbabies two days a week as my wonderful DIL had to go back to her teaching job for the last month of the year (or lose their paid health insurance...but I think she was ready to go back). <BR> We are so enjoying getting to know this little (not really- she's a roly-poly doll) bundle of giggles and smiles. This pic was after her first bath at my house. She is fascinated by my camera so I get a ... Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:21:33 EST Is two weeks long enough? Had to check my last blog to see how long I have been suffering with this dang sciatica, <BR> and I see that it has been about two weeks. <BR> Some days are better than others but it is always there and making me miserable. <BR> I have not spoken to a doctor - just doing internet research and following all the suggestions there. <BR> I have rested, stretched (a lot!), taken gentle walks, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, used alternating heat and ice, used my Tiger Tail self massager.... <B... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 07:59:16 EST A pain in my butt! Yup, sciatica. <BR> <em>46</em> <BR> It may have been just in the beginning stages but, <BR> after mucho internet research <BR> (off and on as I cannot sit for long), <BR> I have concluded that my new kick-butt weight lifting program this last week and a half has aggravated my piriformis muscle and is causing my sciatic pain. <BR> OUCH! <BR> So, as happy as it made me, I will be backing off of that program, <BR> or at least some of the lower body stuff, <BR> i.e. weighted squats and lunge... Fri, 30 May 2014 23:10:08 EST