Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Power outage!

Standing at the kitchen sink, washing up a few dishes, when suddenly - Pow! Squeal! Bonk! Off goes our power. The "squeal" is the alarm and the "bonk" is Hubby's concentrator as it shuts off. Noises of my nightmares.

I wait. Last night it went off for 30 seconds. I'm hoping it's one of those "quickies".
Nope - not this time.

Hubby is downstairs, doing his rehab exercises, hooked up to a concentrator that is no longer working. Fortunately, he always has the portable oxygen cylinder along too - both cannulas stuffed up his nose.

Fortunately (once again) I was home. I shudder to think what would happen if I'd just stepped out to the grocery store.

Raced downstairs, and hooked him up to the humongous long-lasting cylinder - the one for emergency power-failures.
We waited. Looks like this will last a while.
Hubby is purse-lip breathing, trying to get his sats back up. After about 5 or 10 minutes, he was o.k, so we slowly walked up the stairs.

Back in the kitchen we sat down to eat lunch. Part-way through our meal we heard: Squeal, Bonk, Pow! our power had come back on.
No idea why we had this sudden power failure. No ice storm, snow storm, rain storm, wind storm. Middle of the day and the sun is shining.

Gives one the heebeejeebies.
I feel like I'm walking a fragile tightrope at times.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cocoa adventures

After a really sunny, warm, good weekend, Monday brings rain and cold. We have had unusually summer-like weather these past few weeks. I even have a bit of a tan. Hubby feels great! But - this week we are in for rain and cold.

Went to my Aquafit class this afternoon. I didn't overdo it. Had a sore shoulder from planting yesterday, so really just relaxed and enjoyed the class.

I was cold when I got home, so decided to warm up some milk and make hot chocolate. Opened a new tin of cocoa. I like to make my hot chocolate with honey and cocoa - the old fashioned way.

Took off the red plastic lid, peeled back the inner seal, spooned out some cocoa and then tried to put the lid back on. Didn't fit. I tried to screw it on. Wouldn't work. Tried to clip it on somehow - still didn't work. It just sat on top of the tin (actually cardboard) container of cocoa. I squished it on, only to spill a bunch of chocolate powder on my t-shirt.

O.K. - now I'm getting mad. What is wrong with these people! They can't even make a lid to fit - actually fit back on the container ?? Why do people have to make things so cheaply these days?? This is crazy. I'll just call the company.

I called the 1-800 number on the tin.
"How can I help you, m'am?"
"I can't get this red plastic lid back on my cocoa. I've tried to screw it on, or clip it on, and I've only succeeded in spilling cocoa. This lid does not fit properly!"
"Oh, just a moment, I'll go and get a container and lid and see if I can help you solve this. Would you mind if I put you on hold?"
"Not at all. Thank you."

Thinking to myself: stupid cheap companies. If they think they can get away with lids that don't fit......
Hmmm - what happens if I flip it over and put it on.

Click! Like magic the lid snapped into place.
I was mortified! Oh no - I had it on upside down!!! My fault entirely - and here I was blaming the company.
Should I wait for the customer service person to come back on the line?
No - I chickened out and quickly hung up.

Oh boy, he must think I'm the dumbest person alive. Maybe he even thought it was a crank call. Nobody would be that dumb!
The phone rang. Agggggg - don't tell me it's him, wanting to know why I hung up!

Whew - it was only my daughter. I was laughing when I answered the phone, so had to tell her of yet another "menopause moment."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I wonder if our Body truly reflects our Thoughts

I have read with interest, books and articles on how our thoughts affect our physical bodies. Books written by Deepak Chopra, M.D., Bernie Segal, M.D., and many other qualified and credible people.
And how by changing those thoughts, you can actually change what's going on inside your body to the point of healing.

I am fascinated by thinking that takes us out of routine. Thinking that challenges accepted concepts and old methods of doing things. I like stretching boundaries, inventing new ways of teaching, learning, creating, writing, gardening, building, singing - anything and everything that gets us out of dull, routine, boring.

But at the same time it's a little hard to believe that your thoughts might actually control what's happening in your body. After all, how can someone really chase away their bodily ills with a mere thought? Poof! My cancer, MS, COPD, diabetes, heart disease, broken leg, etc. etc. is gone because I wish it so?

Sounds more like magic or wishful thinking than reality.

However, if you ask anyone how they feel when happy, they will say: "Wonderful! Alive! Joyful! I am dancing with delight! Life is fun! "
"But how does your body feel?" you persist.
"Body? Oh, that's as light as air. I feel good!"

Ask someone sitting dejectedly on a park bench in the rain, how they feel, and they will say: "Life sucks! My knees ache, shoulders burn, back is bugging me. Go away and leave me alone!"
"But how does your body feel?"
"Don't you have ears? Didn't you hear me? It hurts! Now get lost!!"

Hmmm. There must be something to this.

Then I had one of those "lightbulb moments".
I was driving home from the doctor's office when it hit me.

Over the past week, I've been complaining (via email) to members of the COPD support group.
"I feel trapped. I feel like my wings are clipped. I feel like a butterfly impaled on a pin and stuck in a box".

This is how I've been feeling for quite some time. Our long winter played a significant part in this. But ultimately, I know I'm not handling the emotional part of Caregiving very well and this is what struck me on the way home from my doctor's office.
This is exactly what my body is mirroring back to me.

The pain, the heaviness - I may have fibromyalgia. Not sure yet - have to go through some bloodwork first.

Fibromyalgia is feeling sore all over. Feeling tired, depleted. Trapped inside my own body. I can't garden anymore - or if I do, it's for a very short time and then I have to stop and rest.

I fooled around too much at Aquafit the other day and the next day my body let me know.
What the heck?? Slow class aquafit!! O.K. O.K. - I know I was behaving like a little kid pretending to be riding a seahorse (pool noodle), bouncing up and down because this teacher ( a substitute) was playing funky music and I couldn't stop. But really!
My body is telling me it's tired. Tired of Caregiving, tired of raking, sweeping, housework, tired of feeling stuck.

So now I have to listen. I have to slow down. Don't know how I can turn this situation around, but I now see the connection between Mind and Body.
So I ask you - does our body truly reflect our thoughts?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Tale of the Coffeemaker

We have an ancient, old coffeemaker. It hangs very quietly under a kitchen cupboard, saving space, as it should. Hubby loves the "program" feature, as he makes up the coffee the night before and programs the timer to start our morning coffee at 7:00 a.m.

One day back in January, I had decided to take down this ancient coffeemaker and clean it out - top to bottom. Not just running a vinegar rince through, I'd wanted to do a complete tune-up.

As I removed this ancient coffeemaker from its comfy perch, gritty, rusty, crumbly stuff spilled out from the bottom. Oh no! I hate having to run out and replace an appliance. Would much rather check out appliances before they get to the "forget it" stage.

And, as everybody who reads my posts knows, Hubby loves to fix things. Hmmm - what to do. Shake it up some more and watch it disintegrate? Rattle, rattle. Sure enough, more rusty crumbly stuff came out.

That's it - off I go to the store. After all this really is an old coffeemaker. Time for a new one.

Came back with a rather inexpensive one, knowing Hubby would say "a coffeemaker is a coffeemaker - what's the point of buying an expensive one?"

To make a long story short - this one (although the same brandname) did not brew as good a cup of coffee. Both of us tried to pretend it was as good - until the coating on the "hotplate" started wearing off.

Not good - this appliance is only a month or two old. I guess they don't make them like they used to.

I ignored the problem for a while, in my usual fashion. But, after a while when the problem didn't go away (now really, how was it going to do that?) I got mad and checked online for this particular brand. Got a phone number and gave the customer service rep all the info (serial number, etc.) She told me to cut off the plug (yes you read right) and send it to them along with a brief explanation of the problem, my name, address, etc. and they would send me a new one.

Oh good! But - how am I going to make coffee in the meantime?
Luckily, Hubby had hidden the ancient, old coffeemaker in the basement, and while I was trying to figure out who I could possibly borrow one from or if there was another solution to this, he triumphantly walked into the kitchen, cradling his treasure.

No, he didn't "fix it". Just cleaned it up and now our coffee tastes better than it did in the new coffeemaker.
Go figure!
Now what do we do with the new one when it arrives?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A scary episode

Just when you think you have everything under control; are prepared for any emergency (lots of 02 cylinders for back-up, 2 or 3 pulsers, winter finally over, and with it, the threat of power outages) - pow! something pops up to hit you in the face.

Hubby was taking his afternoon nap. I was doing laundry (yes, we live a very exciting life). Happened to walk by his concentrator. Noticed the water level in the humidity bottle was low. Figured I'd fill it while he was sleeping. He wouldn't even know.

About an hour and a half later, Hubby wakes up. Stands up to pee (keeps a pee jar on the floor by the bed). Then all of a sudden, his 02 sats go waaaaaay down! His heart is racing and he can't get enough oxygen. He can't yell for me, so he knocks on the bedroom wall.

I'm down in the kitchen wondering whether to put on a pot of coffee or clean the kitchen sink (yes, a very exciting life). Thought I'd heard something. Hmm, guess not. Decide to put on some coffee as Hubby should be up soon.

Then I hear a crash! Hubby's thrown a bottle of Advil and his ventolin inhalor against the wall in an attempt to get my attention. It worked and I dashed up the stairs. Hubby was sitting on the edge of the bed gasping for breath. Oh my god - in an instant I realized I must not have tightened the water bottle enough.

I told Hubby not to talk. There was nothing wrong with him. It was the concentrator and I'd be right back.

I tightened the bottle and Hubby could breathe again. He recovered quickly, but I didn't. I was so upset and shaky, it took me a while to settle down.

In trying to stay one step ahead, to anticipate his every need, I actually made things worse. Maybe that was the message. Don't know, but it could have ended very differently. What if I'd gone out?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Aqua Fit Class

Went for my first Aqua-Fit or Aquacize class as it's called. I was a little apprehensive. Would the water be warm enough? Would the instructor be good - or pushy? Would there be lots of others or just a few?

I had nothing to fear. The water was warm. The teacher was really good. She kept us busy for the whole class. She watched to see if we were doing the moves properly and corrected when necessary (how she could see someone's legs under water, I have no idea!).

There were about 15 or 18 silvery haired ladies. One of them needed a walker to get about, so she parked it right up close to the pool stairs. A year or two ago I would have wondered if I was in the right class. Today, however, with my aches and pains, I didn't really care. I just wanted to move; to exercise and not feel pain.

The music was kind of "dance-band" stuff - not really my thing, but at least it had a swing to it. After a while I relaxed in the water and then it really felt good.

The last 15 minutes of the class was for "weights". How my kids would laugh at the styrofoam "weights".
First, we had to stand on a styrofoam noodle underwater. Trying to keep balance was hilarious. My noodle kept popping up to the surface, and I'd have to try again.
I never got the hang of it this class, but most of the other ladies did, so there must be a trick that I need to learn. Or maybe they were cheating and only standing on the noodle with one leg, while maintaining their balance on the other. Ha! Next class I'll check.

Then we had to use styrofoam barbells or dumbells or whatever the word is. They just look like oversized weights you'd use at the gym. The exercise was to grab the middle bar and push the weight under the water.
Well, I couldn't do that. I didn't have the strength to push them underwater (even though they were styrofoam). Everyone else seemed to be able to, so I guess I really need to build up strength in my arms.

Overall it was a good experience. And I wasn't sore the next day. So, at least it's a beginning.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life Marches On.....

Today, April 12, 30 years ago, I gave birth to my youngest. Oh my goodness, how times flies.
In the space of just over a week, we have celebrated 4 birthdays and one very sad event.

Life goes on. All 3 of my children are now in their 30's. It seems like only yesterday I was in my 30's, bringing up my own children and having a blast!

I remember in 1998, between May 30 and July 25, there were 2 deaths, 2 marriages, and 1 birth.
It was an eventful year to say the least.

May 30 - my Mom died
June 20 - my daughter got married.
July 17 - my grandson was born.
July 22 - Hubby and & I were married.
July 25 - my dad died.
That was some summer!!

And now here we are - 10 years later!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How Quickly Life Turns Around

I have some sad news. There will not be any twins.

The babies stopped growing 5 weeks ago and there was no heartbeat on ultrasound.

My daughter-in-law is still carrying them. Don't know how she can do it. I would be hysterical.

I hope Mother Nature takes over very soon and lets these two little bodies go.I know there must be some reason for this - but right now I can't get my head around it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Thank You Everyone

I am finally coming out of my cave, like a wounded animal.
I was hurt and shocked and just wanted to hide.
I'm back on my HRT patch. It helps keep depression at bay (menopause maddness is real!) and also helps with the myofascial pain I've been having.
My mom also had tendon and ligament problems. She had to give up badminton and some other activities before she was ready to.

I am so grateful for everyone's kind words and compassionate comments on my last blog. I was really at a low point. It is nice to know that there are such wonderful people out there in bloggerland.

I will be joining a program at the local indoor pool for people with arthritis and other related problems. I need to keep active and flexible.
Hubby has been very supportive too. I forget how sensitive he is to my moods and feelings.

On a happier note - I called my niece to wish her Happy Birthday. She's 7 years old now. After talking a bit about gifts and school I asked her:
"Are you having pizza for supper?"
"Yes", she said.
"I'll bet you're having chocolate cake for your birthday too."
"How did you know???!!" she sounded so surprised.
I laughed and laughed. "Oh, Auntie Wendy knows everything."

I guess when you're just 7, you don't realize that chocolate cake for your birthday is pretty universal. And - I used to bake chocolate cakes for her mother (who is 9 years younger than me) for years and years.

Thanks again everyone. I sure needed your support.