Wednesday, January 18, 2017

And the hits just keep coming

Bob had an appointment with his cardiologist last Tuesday. I went with him, but it was just a routine visit. But the doctor decided that he wanted to get some more bloodwork done, so after we left his office we went out to the clinic to have blood drawn. We visited with Bob's doctor, who is also his best friend, then went out to brunch. Bob was leaving for a work trip to Florida the next day, so we came home, did laundry, and started packing for the trip.

About 8:30 that night, the phone rang, and the caller i.d. said Encompass Medical Group. I thought maybe it was an appoinemtnt reminder or something, but it seemed strange they would call so late, so I answered the phone. It was a nurse who said she was working the night shift and was looking at his blood results. She said his sugar was out of sight and he should probably be in the hospital.

So that was a little unsettling.

I handed the phone to Bob, and she told him the same thing, and said she was going to call his doctor. Bob went out to take a drive to clear his head, and I kept on packing. While he was out, he talked to the doctor, who told him that he now has full-fledged diabetes, obviously uncontrolled, and he would be much happier if he stayed home. Bob said that he couldn't, that he had to go. So John told him, okay, if you have to go, then you have to cut your calorie intake in half, cut way down on carbs, don't have any sugar, and no beer. He also told him to tell the guy he was sharing the hotel room with that if he (Bob) started acting goofy, to call 911. That was a set-up for a joke, to be sure, because his roommate said, "How will I tell, he's ALWAYS goofy."

Bob had been taking medication for diabetes, but it obviously wasn't doing enough, so I talked to the doctor and we set up an appointment to meet to get info on blood glucose testing and insulin injection. In the meantime, Bob did great on his trip. He called me and told me what he was eating -- mostly salad, some fruit, lean meat -- and said he felt fine. His return trip ended up being ridiculous, though. He had a flight at 9:00 in the morning, but it was delayed, which caused him to miss the connection. All of the flights were overbooked, so the best they could do for him was a flight leaving around 9:00 p.m., which got in at 10:30. So by the time I picked him up and got his luggage, etc., we got home at 11:30. Super long day.

Most of my day today was spent wrangling blood testing supplies. The prescriptions that were called in to the pharmacy added up to around $300. Fortunately, my sister suggested checking at WalMart before picking up the prescription, and I ended up buying a testing meter, testing strips, lancets, alcohol wipes and a sharps container for a little over $20. The only thing I had to buy at the pharmacy was the insulin and needles, and that was $50, so I spent $70, but way better than $300.

So anyway, he's doing fine. Not happy about it, of course, but he's taking it pretty well. He was practicing sticking his finger tonight, and said it looks like we've got a whole pharmacy going on up in his office. And it does indeed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Quick Trip / QuikTrip

So, I'm still sick. It seemed to be winding down, but I've been coughing and unable to sleep, so I got some Mucinex last night. After the huge horse pill got stuck in my throat and practically choked me, I waited, but it didn't seem to do anything. Bob was going out of town this morning, we weren't finished doing laundry and packing until after midnight, and I wanted to let him get to sleep before I came to bed. So I sat in my chair downstairs and coughed myself dizzy. The coughing finally seemed to stop, and I slept a couple of hours, but now I guess the Mucinex is doing its work and I'm coughing stuff up and (sorry) it's disgusting.

He left for Florida this morning for five days for some work training. The plane left at 7:00, so we got up at 4:00, which gave me, I think, a total of about three hours of sleep. We stopped at QuikTrip so he could get a cup of coffee. I just had a bottle of water, because I was afraid of another coughing spell.

I got him to the airport and dropped him off at curbside check-in, and drove home, then went back to bed until I was woken up by a coughing spell. This seems to be taking a long time to get rid of, but I almost never get sick, so I suppose that's why it feels so awful.

At least it's warmer, though! I think it's supposed to be in the upper 60s today, then back down to the 30s the rest of the week. We live in a four-plex, an interior one, so that helps with heating and cooling. The little electric forced-air heaters work great, we've got one in the bedroom, one in Bob's office, and one downstairs where I normally work. The plan is go get through until late Spring and then replace the entire heating and cooling system. Not looking forward to that, but it has to be done.

It's 61 out now, I guess I should go out and enjoy it.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Penny Soup

I'm sick, and our furnace isn't working, but I'm not stupid, I know I don't want to get a furnace bid from someone when it's 2 degrees out. Or, you know, maybe I AM stupid, but that's a different story. And whenever I'm sick, I want soup, but not just ANY soup, MY vegetable soup. And I was also cold, so that didn't help.

So I went to Target and bought a couple of little portable space heaters and vegetables to make soup. Every time I make vegetable soup, I'm reminded of the scene in Anne Tyler's "Ladder of Years" (my all time favorite book) where the little boy is missing his mother, and asks for "penny soup." The dad asks him what penny soup is, and the little boy tells him it's vegetable soup.

So the dad dices the vegetables and makes homemade soup, and is quite proud of himself, but the little boy cries. Dad is upset because he doesn't know what he did wrong.

When he asks Delia about it, she tells him that any mother would know what penny soup is. It's when you SLICE the carrots so that they look like pennies. Whether that's true or not, that any mother would know, I don't know, but I always remember it.

So soup is in the crock pot and I'm finally warm.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Moving forward

I started this blog back in 1995, before "blog" was even a word. At the time, it was an "online journal," and I remember thinking how dumb "blog" (then "weblog") sounded. But now it sounds perfectly normal, and pretty much everyone has one. Well, not everyone, certainly, but an exponentially larger group than existed at the time.

When I started it, I wrote every day, and it was a huge struggle to think of something to say. I remember sitting in my chair with the laptop on my lap late at night, searching for something to write, because I knew that people were waiting to read it. In fact, if I didn't write one night, I could expect to wake up to emails asking if I was okay!

It became a burden, and I eventually allowed myself to stop writing every day. I instituted a mailing list so I could let readers know when I had posted a journal entry. That eventually fell by the wayside as well. I was working a full time job (a series of them, actually), and writing in the evenings. That worked for awhile, but then I started doing freelance web design also, and it just got to be too much, so of course, the non-paying gig was the one that suffered.

Now that I'm working from home, one of my goals is to write much more. I'm following several self-help gurus, one of whom is Leonie Dawson. She publishes a set of workbooks that guide you through a series of exercises to help you improve your life and business. One of the exercises is to write down 100 things that you would like to accomplish in the next year. When I started writing them down, 100 seemed like a huge number, but I'm now up to 64! Some of them are fairly small and easy to accomplish (get new glasses, inventory the safe deposit box), but some of them are huge (clean out my parents' house, write another book). A couple of them I've already done (pay off Bob's hospital bill!, get a new wedding ring set!).

Okay, the wedding ring set was a $65 set from Kohl's, but it's beautiful, and will suffice until I can, someday, get my engagement ring diamond reset in a ring that actually fits my finger.

The point is, make some goals--some that may be fairly easy to achieve, and a lot that may be harder. One of my biggest goals, now that I no longer have a full time job, is to figure out ways to generate more income. A couple of my friends have suggested that I set up a system whereby people could help me out by paying small amounts for the content that I provide, such as this blog. I've resisted it because it's so hard to ask for those kinds of things, but one of my goals this year is to be braver.

When I was building my new website this summer, I got up my courage and asked my website clients to give me testimonials, and they did. It was hard for me to ask, but no one minded (I don't think), and they wrote some great stuff.

So I'm being brave, and I've added a "Paypal Me" link at the top right of this blog. If you click on it you can send me some Paypal money! I've also set up a Patreon page. There's nothing there yet, because I have some questions.

I can set up the page either as a monthly subscription or "pay as you go" where you would donate a certain amount each time I post something. That's the one I'm leaning toward, but what do you think?

Also, Patreon asks you to set up rewards for various levels like crowdsourcing sites do, i.e., if someone donates $5, I'll send you a thank you email, if you donate $50, I'll mention you on the blog, if you donate $500 I'll name my first-born child after you. You know, like that. What would make sense? What would you like? Could you either leave a comment here telling me what you think, or send me an email? I would appreciate it so much!

Feeding Myself with Love

​One morning last week I was hungry, and was going to go scrounge something in the kitchen, probably a Pop Tart. I almost never cook for myself, I just don't see the point. And working from home, I don't even think about eating until I'm starving. It's different from going out to work, when I always either put together a lunch to take with me, or planned to go out, or planned to eat something that I had at work. When all you have to do is walk to the kitchen, the planning kind of goes out the window.

So, the plan, such as it was, was a Pop Tart or a frozen waffle or, I don't know, peanut butter on a piece of bread. Then I thought, you know, you might try treating yourself like you would treat someone you loved. So I scrambled a couple of eggs with onions and mushrooms, made toast and poured orange juice and ate it on a real plate. It was lovely, and I felt as if I had treated myself well.

I feel like I'm always quoting Anne Lamott, but there's a story she tells about radical self-care. She asks (paraphrasing here), if you invited the minister to lunch, would you meet her at the door and say, "Reverend, here's your very own can of Ptingles," and eat them standing up in the kitchen over the sink? Of course you wouldn't. You would cook something wonderful, one of your best dishes, and serve it on your best china with real silverware and a tablecloth and a glass of iced tea.

Certainly you won't do that every day, just like you wouldn't invite the minister over every day, but it's definitely something to think about.

I'm not a huge fan of cooking, but I always try to have something for Bob when he comes home from work. It's not always elaborate, but it's usually something hot, and I make an effort to present it in a pleasing way. I arrange the plate on a tray with a napkin and silverware. I may add a small dish of olives, or if it's a sandwich, there is also a pickle. It sounds silly, and I guess it makes me sound like a 1950's housewife, but I try to do everything with love, and he's always appreciative, and that makes me happy.

I try to remember that it'd also important to treat myself well. I may not always do that, either, but it's worth making an effort.