MEADSBAY's SparkPeople Blog MEADSBAY's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Blizzard! So very glad we filled the bird feeders yesterday...lots of action out there all day...can you see the beautiful Cardinal pair? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Our snow started very lightly yesterday afternoon and picked up overnight. <BR> We have about a foot so far <BR> ...hard to tell for sure as it's blowing so hard...but luckily the wind kept the dry snow from building up on the wires so we have not lost our power, although a... Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:33:41 EST Update Just added an update to my previous blog...I sure hope it's true. <BR> <em>244</em> Wed, 21 Jan 2015 14:30:03 EST You are the best! Thnx for all of the great ideas about what to do with my 90 yr old FIL's new addiction to sweepstakes the tune of $1000, so far. <BR> This is a man who would never in his life buy even a lottery ticket! <BR> I have passed on your ideas to my dear man, who is not handling the situation well, IMHO, and not very open to my help. <BR> He will call our attorney, who is also his dad's of many years, and ask his advice. <BR> In the meantime, the money is pouring out the door. <BR> This i... Wed, 21 Jan 2015 12:42:12 EST Help! Elder care advice needed My FIL is 90, lives on his own with minimal help, but is getting more senile. <BR> He has started returning "sweepstakes" envelope and often encloses a check for processing or a filing fee, which is against the law, btw. <BR> We have shown him this in black and white from the Postmaster General but he won't hear it. <BR> He is convinced he has already won it just by doing a simple math problem. <BR> Totally scams! <BR> We cannot convince him otherwise. <BR> It started out slowly but now they ... Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:01:41 EST Hahahahaha!?! To summarize?!? Sorry...just really noticed how looooooooooong my anniversary blog was! <BR> <em>198</em> <BR> I said I would summarize?!? <BR> Imagine if I gave you the long version! <BR> Well, it has been six years, after all...a lot can happen in all that time. <BR> Anyway, thank you so much for your patience and wonderfully kind comments. <BR> You are the reason I am still here after all of my ups and downs. <BR> <em>247</em> <BR> <em>285</em> <BR> <em>304</em> Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:20:13 EST Happy 6th Sparkaversary to me! Thank you for the kind notes and fun goodies, dear sparkpeeps! <em>304</em> <BR> I joined SP on 1/11/09 but, like many folks, was overwhelmed at first and didn't start tracking~ which means LOSING~ until 1/18- <BR> so today, 1/18, is a good day to reflect upon my experience. <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> I will try not to go into too much detail, but, to summarize- <BR> I have been a lifelong yo-yo dieter- <BR> doing every fad diet that came along- <BR> plus WW and Atkins for years- <BR... Sun, 18 Jan 2015 12:18:55 EST Just showing off! <em>244</em> So far I am ahead in the daily fitbit challenge thrown down by my nieces and their hubbies! <BR> Only because I got o at 6:30 to go babysit and then took Miss Pearl to the market for a few things. <BR> She was the hit of the store, let me tell you. <BR> <BR> Here she is before I gave her a bagel to munch on: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And after she got what she wanted: <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkp... Tue, 6 Jan 2015 10:49:47 EST Taking those baby steps and doing it for me I am taking our friend, Chris the Spark Guy's advice and focusing on baby steps. <BR> I need to get moving more. <BR> For a lot of reasons; my dh's health crisis, the coming of winter, my hip pain, etc., I have been eating more and moving less. <BR> I go to a pool for an hour of warm water therapy with him (which is amazing for my hip bursitis, too) a few times a week but, for example, they were just closed for two weeks (it is at a nearby university), the holidays were busy, and I did nothin... Sun, 4 Jan 2015 09:40:38 EST Wishing all my sparkpeeps a wonderful 2015! Despite almost losing my dear husband this year, <em>40</em> <BR> I would not have wanted to miss one minute of 2014. <BR> It is the trials and tribulations of life (and I have had more than a few) that make the good times all the sweeter. <em>334</em> <BR> Watching my ittybitty grandbabies grow and become tiny little people this year (they are 5,4 and just turned 1) has given me more joy than one person deserves. <BR> May this new year mark a new beginning for all of us; a fresh start... Wed, 31 Dec 2014 19:36:47 EST Finally! The very last humongous family..although only about 75 showed up today...we rent a Girl Scout camp out well...Santa comes and each child gets one gift (that their family brings and hides for Santa to bring)...pot-luck. <BR> Everything works out very well. <BR> Except of course my camera froze up (it's fine now, all I did, when I got home, of course, was take the batteries out and put them back in) so I only have pics from my iPod touch, which doesn't take very good one... Sun, 28 Dec 2014 20:37:58 EST Merry merry Christmas! May you have a beautiful and peaceful holiday, my friends. <BR> <BR> Here's a pic of Lucy and William with just a few of their cousins at last year's big family after Christmas party (I have 13 siblings and oh-so-many nieces, nephews, and greats). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <em>442</em> <em>443</em> <em>444</em> <em>446</em> <em>447</em> <em>425</em> <BR> Wed, 24 Dec 2014 16:49:37 EST My dear man says life is good! Out of the blue today, <BR> after we left our granddaughter Lucy's kindergarten winter musical program <BR> (see my new profile pic? ....that's Lucy at 7 months.) <BR> and while we were heading up for our third session this week in the warm water <BR> (90 degrees!) pool, my dear man, who survived a major medical crisis a few months ago, turned to me and said 'I think I am so fortunate...not just to have survived but to have you to spend my life with and be in a place where we can do all o... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:51:31 EST 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