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This Morning

1. The Husband made pancakes. They were the big Y, a.k.a YummY!

2. Molly the Cat kept the Husband company while he cooked. They were so darn cute.

3. Instead of strictly following the instructions on the box, the Husband used 1 cup of water instead of half-a-cup. He liked that the pancakes were less dense. I added, "And more!"

4.  Whenever we talk about his functional cooking skills, The Husband likes to say that he can make tasty scrambled eggs. I'm still waiting after 23 years. In the meanwhile, I'm very happy with his pancakes. Mmmm.


5. I cut several big branches off the Messy Tree, formerly known as the Miracle Tree. Long story short, I was afraid certain branches might fall on the roof should the wind pick up.

6. We've been having a steady rain the last 24 hours or so, from sweet and gentle plops to fast and furious patter. I love it all!

7. What shall I do after I publish this post? Bring in all the boxes marked XMAS Decorations in the garage? Open t…

Friday Musings

This morning I harvested the last of the cherry tomatoes (a couple of handfuls) and pulled out the plants even though they may have produced a couple more handfuls. Missy Molly by Golly inspected my work after I was done.

The four volunteer plants gave us several harvests throughout the year. Several friends even went home with some of the tasty red and yellow fruits. Thank you, Tomato Plants!

AIR QUALITY
The air is still heavy with smoke and residue from the far away fires. Molly and I didn't stay outside too long. It felt good doing a bit of gardening. I'm sure Molly enjoyed being outdoors for a short while, too.

We're indoors now with the patio door slightly open to circulate the air, which I'll close once I finish this post. I'm starting to feel a headache brewing. I hardly get headaches. On Wednesday evening I had a doozy of a headache, which I think developed from breathing the air all day while driving with windows open and wandering outside around Santa Cru…

When the Husband Went to the Eye Doctor

Good news!

The ophthalmologist saw the back of the Husband's eyeball this morning. His eyeball is long and elongated, probably so much so that first the optometrist and then his regular ophthalmologist couldn't see anything because they have older machines.

Imagine being seen by physicians who have state-of-the-art technology at their fingers to help them diagnose and treat you, no financial strings attached. Now, that's a utopia for you. Have you ever wondered if utopia could exist in a country or another organization with millions and millions of members?

While sitting in the waiting room, we met a man undergoing kidney dialysis three days a week. As part of telling his story, without prompting, he showed us his wounds. Oh my gosh, embedded in his forearm was something that looked like a cow's hoof under his skin. It's called a bovine carotid artery graft (I looked it up when I got home.) that helps with the dialysis process. If I showed horror when he first re…

Rambling Away #65,123,982

This morning at the end of breakfast my fingers locked into a Vulcan salute, and I wasn't even trying to make one.  "Look," I said to the Husband who was intently bent over his iPad.

"Wait, I'm watching this video." I constantly interrupt the Husband while he's in the middle of reading or watching a video online. Sorry, Dude.

My fingers weren't moving. Now what? Gah. That got me thinking about what kind of Medicare Advantage plan to get. I think I'm in good health for being a life-time fatty. Poor Mama, the doctor pulled out 21-inches long and over eight pounds me, cesarean style. That must've been awfully scary for her.

Baby Sister (who lived two years) and I were cesareans. Older Brother was a natural birth in a jungle in the Philippines. Just kidding about the jungle, though I would love to claim being born in a jungle. I don't know whether Oldest Girl was a cesarean, too. Valentina, the sister who died on the day she was born, Feb…

The Eyes of Mac

This morning I read in the AARP Magazine that glaring lights and difficulty driving at night are signs of developing cataracts. Ha! Night driving started becoming a frightful thing for me over five years ago.

Earlier this year I asked my primary doctor why he thought a sparkle-sparkle sometimes appeared inside my eye and only disappeared once it grew to the size of my eyeball. "Don't know," the old doc said, and sent me to an ophthalmologist whose appointment book was full for nearly two months. The young doc had no clue either, but she did discover cataracts in both my eyes, bad enough that my insurance would cover surgery. Yay! Also, Boooo!

I chose to get new prescription glasses, stubbornly thinking that all the deep scratches in my eight-year-old glasses were the problem. Ha, ha, I don't know better than the experts.

Some where down the line I'll need to decide what to do first: Knee or lens? I can alternate, knee, lens, knee, lens or lens, knee, lens, knee…

A Hysterical Thought

As some of you dear readers know, I underwent a full hysterectomy last year. For those of you who are learning for the first time, yes, I did. Snip, snip, snip, snip went the oncologist/gynecologist with the da Vinci robotic arms and pop! shusssssh! went my Fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and cervix, along with cancerous cells, which nobody was really sure if they truly were there.

Yes, it overwhelms me when I think about it. My mind does really well about not thinking. My body is another story. Before telling you more, know that the doctor assured me that my reproductive system fits the size of my fist, maybe even smaller, and that within time my guts will drop and fill the space.

So, here I am just over 13 months later continually clenching my tailbone because I'm afraid my intestines will fall out.

Seriously.

This got me to wonder: Has anyone given birth to her guts?

Do you think I ought to ask the doctor? Giggle


Forging Forward

I started taking the free tai chi class at the local senior center last month. Having learned some tai chi movements back in the 1980s, I knew tai chi would be good for my health. The teacher was encouraging when I told her about my knees (no cartilage in them according to the specialist). She let me know that it was okay to not attempt more than my body can handle at any moment. In other words, do not over do and screw up your body.

Just from the first class, I realized these things about me:
I breathe shallowly. I need to be mindful about breathing deeply. I hold a lot of tension in my body, particularly in my hips, legs, and knees. I need to relax my body, particularly the muscles around my tailbone. When I do, the pain decreases and I can chip away at the stiffness.I'm not confident that my knees can support me so I walk with my body bent forward. The movements reinforce the concept of empty and full steps. In short, I can trust my legs. That when I put weight on one leg, it …

Blurriness

My eyes, even with the glasses on, are still seeing blurry images. The ophthalmologist dilated them about four hours ago so she could see clearly into them. And, what did she see?

Sufficient level of cataracts to merit surgery for which the health insurance company would be willing to pay. The cataracts are worse in my left eye.  On my arbitrary scale of 1-10, the doctor says 5 or 6. My right is 4, but a 5 when she factors in the glare of lights I see when I drive at night (which is the reason I don't like to drive at night). I've known for seven years or so that cataracts have been developing, but I thought I would be in my 70s, maybe 80s, before I had to start considering cataract surgery. Booo. Hisssss. Bummer.

The Daddy had cataract surgery in his left eye when he was. . .gee. . .about my age. He hated wearing the contact on his other eye, which either the Mama or I had to insert. That was always an ordeal. Blink, blink. Eventually, he went back to the comfort of wearin…

A Monday Ponder

I got to wondering: Are we so healthy that the doctors have nothing to do but administer medication for the flu?

I find it curious that when we get the flu, our tendency is to see the doctor or go to the emergency room for an antidote to the virus. It used to be when we got the flu and saw the doctor, he would try not to scoff at us. "It's just the flu," he'd say. "Go home, get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and cover your mouth, for gosh sake, when you cough or sneeze." Well, the doctor wouldn't forsake the gosh, or, if he did, at least not say it out loud."

Same thing with the cold. I think the doctor would actually look at us with disdain, but he would've covered his scowl by puffing out cigarette smoke, if those old movies are to be believed that doctors smoked cigarettes while seeing their patients.

The difference between having a cold and the flu? To me, the Husband is quite a lot more miserable when he has the flu. Over the last…

Keep the Flu at Bay!

The Husband is way up on the ladder of recuperation from that crazy virus that he came down with a couple days after Christmas. It seems this flu virus has been going on since October, but truly got worse in terms of spreading the past several weeks. In our county, health officials declared a "flu outbreak" during the last week in December, meaning a whole lot people in our area have it. The other day, the local news reported a second death in our county due to the flu. What's going on?

Simply, people get sick and don't stay home and take care of themselves, because they have to do what they need to get done. They go to work, go to school, go to stores, go to wherever. They cough. they sneeze, they blow their noses. They handle stuff and touch surfaces that others will handle and touch. Shudder.

The media has reported that the emergency department at our hospital has seen over two dozen people with the flu. No doubt they were miserable and probably thought they were …

Whooo-hooo! Almost Eligible for Medicare

I got my first piece of advertisement for a Medicare advantage plan in the mail yesterday. It wished me Happy Birthday! That was last month.

It stated that it is time for me to think about Medicare, even though I won't be eligible until the end of the year. The mailer did give one two piece of valuable information. Namely, I can enroll for Medicare three months before I turn 65, nine months from now. Unless things change between now and then, the only reasonable and, thankfully, affordable option for me is the Medicare advantage plan that the Husband is already on.

Five Facts about Medicare
Medicare, established under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, was signed into law by President Johnson in 1965.President Truman and Mrs. Truman were the first Medicare beneficiaries, receiving the first Medicare cards.In 1972, President Nixon signed a bill to expand coverage to persons under 65 who have long-term disabilities.In 1982, hospice services was added as a Medicare benefit.The o…

Three Legs

In the past year, I've used the Mama's cane more than the Mama ever did in her 20+ years of owning it.

The Mama didn't believe in using canes. She said, "The more you use it, the more old you are."

I eventually learned to shrug off her ignoring the helpful tool as one of the Mama's vanity things. She may be ancient but heck if she was going to look it.

It was painful to watch the Mama slowly get up from a seated position, wobble immediately (because damn if she was going to stand still for a moment or two) into a walk, then oh so slowly make her way to her destination, using walls and furniture to help push herself forward. But, by golly, she got where she wanted on her accord. And, that was what was important and dignified for her.

As for me. . .how do I feel about using the cane?

As a young thing, I would get infuriated at drivers who paid no mind to pedestrians in the cross walk. Sometimes when I had my own close calls, I thought that when I'm an …

From Gate to Grate and a Bit Beyond

"Just from the gate to the grate," I said unsurely to the Husband yesterday, as he swung the car around to park on the other side of the rutted lane.

We were at the eastern end of the Juan Bautista de Anza national Historic Trail in San Juan Bautista. It's been almost two years since we've walked here. The last time we got as far as we did today because the Husband's heart couldn't take it. We didn't know then what was going on with his heart. I'm happy to say that the Husband and his friend, Gerry Andy Pacemaker, felt g-r-e-a-t. They had no problem going that short distance.

This time round it was me that we were being careful about. I discovered that my knees can handle walking on uneven, forgiving dirt with the help of a cane. I woke up yesterday morning determined to walk a bit up one of our favorite trails. 

Looking at the trail from the car, I wondered if I really could walk between the gate and cattle grate. The Husband thought the distance was…

Thank You, Uterus!

Am I allowed to say I’m a cancer survivor when I didn’t know I had cancer?

On the fifth of May, as I lay groggily in a hospital bed, the Husband relayed the good news to me from the Surgeon. “’The surgery was a success!’” the Surgeon said.  Cancer was found but it was noninvasive.”

Huh?

Last week, I went to my follow-up appointment with the Surgeon, who said again, with a big encouraging grin, “The surgery was a success!” He gave me a copy of my biopsy report, summing it as such: A benign tumor was found on the  layer of muscle tissue of the uterus wall and paratubal cysts were discovered on a fallopian tube. There were a lot of cancer cells, but they were all contained within my uterus. They had not yet embedded themselves into the uterus wall—the saving grace.

Several days later, my brain has begun to process it all.

I don’t understand it. How I got cancer. Was it because my womb, who really ought to have a name, didn’t get to carry life? I imagine my uterus was looking like Mrs.…

Not a Hysterical Report

If I had written this post several days ago, I may have been called it Hysterical Report. Actually, I thought about renaming this blog to The Hysterical Report. I'm glad I waited. I'd rather not be hysterical about anything.

I am on a new adventure. No. I take that back, it's not new. After 12 years, this adventure's path has come into the foreground. It's simply not a good idea to let the grass grow over this path anymore.

My in-my-face-but-not-hysterical-adventure is an upcoming hysterectomy. Da-dah!

Oh-oh, did I lose you? Come back when you can wrap your head around the concept of a hysterectomy. It took me awhile. I realize it helps for me to write about it.

Yesterday afternoon I got a chest x-ray, one of my three pre-op things to do. The other two are an EKG (next week) and several blood tests (a week before the operation). Did you happen to flash on the Operation board game, by the way?

Because I did the X-rays in town, I repeated myself a lot to the lab recep…

Knee Deep

Can knees cry?

That's what I feel my right knee is doing right now. Plain out bawling its tears.

If there is no longer any padding within our kneecap, does that mean the bones are grating against each other?

I know the answer. It's what the doctors have been telling me lately,"You're rubbing bone against bone." Grate, grate, grate.

Shudder.

The specialist bone doctor, who I shall call Looking-Mighty-Tired, told me on Friday that knees like mine have four options for improvement. Medications, shots, physical therapy, and surgery.  Hahaha,

Guess what? I achieved without trying. I went straight to the top of the class. Bingo! Surgery!

Ouch.

Slowly by slowly, since Friday, my brain is understanding the impact of my (without trying) achievement. Half an hour after the appointment, I had said to the Husband, "I wonder if this is outpatient surgery. I forgot to ask."

Hahahahahaha.

Right, silly me.

To be continued.

Oh, Gee. Oh, My. Oh, Gosh!

"Are you ready?"

"Me?"

"Susan?"

"Yup. That's me." I pushed myself off the bench and grabbed the Mama's cane.

"Take your time," the X-ray lady said. "No hurry."

"I finally think of myself as old," I said, trying not to grimace as I stiffly walked into the inner room of the X-ray laboratory.

"Is that why you gasped when I gave you the form to sign?" the office lady asked, as I walked behind her desk. "I wondered what it was on the form that made you hesitate."

"Seeing my age, yes," I said. "I don't think of myself as being that old. 62!"

"I don't think of myself as old either," said the office lady, who may have been a few years younger than me.

The X-ray lady, who looked to be in her late 40s  agreed as well.

 I felt like the three of us gave a invisible collective sigh.

Since the beginning of August I've been hobbling along most days because …

X Marks the Spot

"The surgeon will make an incision in my chest."

"Do you think it will be an X?" I asked.

The Husband laughed. I think he laughed. I'll say he laughed. I want him to have laughed.

Tomorrow morning, a surgeon will make an incision in the Husband's chest and install a pacemaker.

Yup.

A pacemaker. 

The results of the remote heart-monitor the Husband wore for two weeks showed that every now and then his heart flat-lines for several seconds. Not good at all.

Thank goodness this problem was caught now rather than much later and that there is a ready solution. And, thank goodness we have a proactive doctor who cares for his patients and is willing to make insurance companies authorize things immediately.

The Husband is ready as ready can be for this procedure. I cut his hair and trimmed his beard so the surgeon and his team wouldn't get annoyed at all that hair, especially his beard. How much hair? It filled the vacuum cleaner's canister twice!

The H…

It's Pedaling Season

Riding Tilda-Hilda gives me the opportunity to think. Riding her also lets me not think, if that's what I need at the moment. Thank goodness that I have Tilda-Hilda. She has been with me for almost 13 years. By golly,  gee, she's the oldest bicycle I've ever owned.

As some of you know, I signed up for the National Bike Challenge to keep me motivated to take Tilda-Hilda out of the garage. The challenge runs from May to September. Its goal is to sign up 100,000 riders who all together will pedal 75 million miles by the end of the challenge. As of the 15th day, 32,181 riders have signed up and we have pedaled 2,322,172 miles. Tilda-Hilda and I have gone out six of the 15 days thus far, pedaling 48.3 miles. Whooo-hooo!

The past two weeks, the mornings have started in fog so Tilda-Hilda and I haven't gone out as much. The fog lifted by mid-morning today, so, weather may be changing. We shall see.

I'm linking up with Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jeanette of St Germa…

With Tilda-Hilda, Day 4 in 2016

I'm feeling productive and accomplished right at the moment. I worked in the garden with the Mama for 90 minutes, as well as took a ride on Tilda-Hilda this morning.  Whooo-weee. My "No-this, No-that Food Program" must be working. I got a lot of energy on this 15th day.

It also helped that I fell asleep at 9:30 last night. Zzzzzzzz. 

Because I want Tilda-Hilda and me to be able pedal our longer routes, I decided this morning we had to tackle our first hill. Heck, simply pedaling the first block on flat land had me wanting to go home. Puff, puff. We rode 5.77 miles in about 36 minutes. We stopped several times so I could take photos of the gorgeous views this morning.

Would you like to see the most amazing sight we saw this morning?  Click here then.

Tilda-Hilda says, "See you in a week or so after the rain."

Yipppieee!