Wednesday, April 29, 2009

In the soaps, time stands still for some and speeds up for others

I haven't watched soap operas for years except to see an episode now and then while visiting my mom and dad once in awhile. Time stands still for the older folks in soap opera land, and speeds up for the youngsters and babies. The baby is born, they are sending it off to boarding school by the end of the year and then in a couple more years they are driving a car and then the next they are getting married and having affairs just like their mom and dad who still look miraculously the same, and some even younger due to cosmetic surgery and facelifts.

Another thing about soap operas is that they keep recycling the plot so if you don't watch for a very long time you come back and deja vu! The same thing is happening to someone that had happened so someone else several years before. People faking their own deaths, ghost of dead characters coming back to give advice to the living, people having amnesia and get put into state mental hospitals until they start to remember or someone rescues them. They are so predictable. So slow moving, too...except for the kids. They change rapidly. However, same plot with them too though. Baby, boarding school, and then teenager and cheating spouse.

The last soap I really followed was Young and the Restless. But try to watch it now is just torture for me. It's just the same ol' same ol' stuff.

Hi how are you?

Doesn't it bug you when you get to a checkout line and the clerk says "hi, how are you?" when they really don't want to know? Why not just say a simple "hello". I tried saying "I'm fine, how are you?" and nearly all of them completely ignore me as if they don't hear. Suppose we were to go into a long tirade of our daily trials and tribulations or telling them how great everything is and start showing them photos of our grandchildren or favorite pets? They would think we were nuts, but they asked!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Doves are back

My little turtle dove couple are back. Hard to tell if they are the same ones, but I would like to think so. They've been coming around now for about four years. I did a little search to try to find out how long their average life expectancy is, but haven't found that answer yet.

In the mornings, it's so calming to hear them cooing to each other. I read that doves couples both care for their offspring, each sharing in the duties equally. I thought that was kind of cool.

This is a photo I took through the screen door, I didn't want to scare them away by opening it so the picture is a bit blurry. I will try to get a clearer one someday, maybe try out my macro lens that Jon got me for my birthday last year and I didn't use yet because I've been too busy recuperating from this and that.

Too much to do

Our list of home repairs is enormous. Here is part of what we have to do, or I should say Jon has to do because there is little I can do except be "go-fer" to get things for him, hand him stuff and clean up afterward. The crap work.

I wish he would hire someone because it's all getting to be too much to keep up with. But he wants to do it himself. One thing always leads to another, as the cartoon above illustrates. Fix a leak in one place, a pipe comes loose and leaks in another. Install one thing, it throws off the thing next to it. And things take him so long to do because he is tired from working all day and is achy from arthritis and back problems so he doesn't feel like working when he gets home and goes slow on weekends (and I do understand about that). So let's hire someone to get this list under control!

The list:

replace windows

replace garage door

replace roof shingles

fix my swing that the wind damaged after tossing it over deck railing
replace some boards and railing slats on deck
remove ugly shrubbery from front of garage

repair fence

replace pool liner or tear down and get rid of pool

fix hot tub leak

sell camper

clean out extra room in basement to make a workout room

clean garage and get rid of crap

finish laundry room walls and install cabinets
finish downstairs kitchen

finish drop ceiling downstairs

finish tiling basement floor

close in furnace area with walls and vented doors
fix master bath shower
install master bath faucet
paint livingroom, diningroom, kitchen, foyer and hallway

blacktop seal driveway

replace mailbox

There are more things that I am probably forgetting, but this is what I can think of off the top of my head.
I say sell this place, get a condo where they pay a maintenance fee to have grass cut and repairs taken care of. Home ownership is endless crap to take care of.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New TV Monitor

Got this great new television to use as a monitor yesterday. I score academic achievement exams online and the 17 inch monitor was very hard to see the pages on, and this one is no problem at all. It's HUGE. Best Buy was having a sale on TVs and monitors yesterday so we decided to go ahead and get one before my next project starts. I can tell a difference with my back already. I don't have to lean forward to see the computer screen at all. What I want to do now is get a wireless keyboard and I can sit on the bed across the room and work. That would be awesome! LOL! Working from home is great, so many options.

We can also download movies now and watch them on here if we want to, or just pop in a DVD into the computer and watch it from there. Videos look better, online books, etc. Old people need LARGE TYPE. This is great.

Blossom time

It's been a bit rainy today, windy and cloudy, but warm! Like summer again. And my favorite time of year when all the blossoms are in bloom on the trees and shrubbery. My rhododendron plant has revived itself, one of them anyway, the other one died. It didn't help it that someone ran over it with a lawn mower last summer, not realizing that it was NOT A WEED BUSH! I thought it might come back this year, but it didn't.

I look around though and all the trees are so pretty in their lacy-looking leaves and flowers. I see a neighbor kid trying to fly a kite. The grass is getting long and we are waiting for someone who lives with us to mow it, but unfortunately it will be left for hubby to do, as usual. Even though he has a zillion other things to do and would love to take time to relax and enjoy his days off like everyone else does. If I could do it, I would. And was even tempted to try and he ordered me NOT to do it since he has had enough of me and my medical problems and having to be my personal nursemaid for several months. So, I promised I would not touch the lawn mower. But if they don't get it done for him before my next paycheck, I think I am going to hunt down a neighbor kid to pay to do it or else it's going to look like hillbilly heaven around here. We seriously need to sell this house and buy a two-bedroom condo. No one can move back in, and no lawn or house maintenance. Sounds great to me but he doesn't want to live "connected" to anyone.

Time to go see what is slamming up against the house. I think the fence gate is unhooked again and can't believe no one else can hear it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Insurance crap

I don't know if all insurance companies are getting to be this way, but for us, Humana is getting to be quite weird and picky. Maybe it has something to do with having to pay out literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for my medical expenses over the past couple of years. At least we have health insurance coverage, that would be disasterous for us if we didn't. But some of their rules and decisions just don't make a bit of sense at all.

My foot/ankle doctor ordered a knee brace for me to take the strain off the knee and to throw it out a little bit to keep it more in line with my foot. Well, after requesting certification for the knee brace, Humana denied the request and stated that they will not pay for "shelf" braces and will only pay for "custom-molded braces" which doesn't make a bit of sense since the shelf brace is cheaper ($800) and will do what the custom-molded brace will do but the custom-molded brace will cost $1,800! That is a thousand dollars more that the insurance company wants to pay when they can have me get this other one for less than half of that cost? It simply is absurd.

They make no sense at all sometimes.

Neverending therapy

Well, I had hoped that my next health update report would be to say that the sac joint pain is decreasing, but that's unfortunately not the case. It still hurts like hell. I haven't had a pain free day in a couple of years now. Some days are better than others, but it's always there . . . nagging in the background or forcing me to my bed.

At therapy last night Jill (my PT) told me that everything in my back is now all tightened up. The side of the problem with the sac joint inflammation doesn't move at all. When I lift my good leg while in a standing position, my low hip joint moves a bit forward like it's supposed to. However, do that with the right and it's rigid, like stone. Jill had to do some very painful manipulations to try to loosen that joint up. It did feel better for a bit afterwards (maybe because she made it hurt worse and normal hurt actually felt better, I dunno.) She showed me some stretching exercises to do and I must have about 100 daily exercises to do now between the foot/ankle, knee and back. I also have had to use my traction machine for the upper back and neck as that is all inflamed at the moment, too. I think what the problem is is another flare-up of the Lupus and RA. Everything hurts at the moment and all I want to do is curl up into a ball and lay there, but that will only make matters worse. So, I push myself to keep moving.

Ever since I was a kid it seems like I was suffering with something. Asthma and not being able to breath was what I had to deal with as a child and well into adulthood. During attacks, which would last three days or more, I would sit on the floor with my head on a couch or bed and sleep that way because I couldn't breath when I laid down. My sister and one of my brothers also inherited this disease from my Grandmother on my father's side. And my two sons had it too when they were growing up.

Then in my teenage years and before having children, I suffered with terrible menstrual cramps. I thought I was going to die. What was worse was not having anyone believe me that they were as bad as they were. Back in those days, too people went to their general practitioner for everything and they didn't know what they know now about female problems. In today's world there is actually a name for my problem of excessive pain during the monthly cycle. Dysmenorrhea, and we now know that it isn't psychosomatic, or in our heads. It's very real and causes much suffering. It was so bad that I would pass out from it when I was forced to go to school in pain. With the difficulties I had when pregnant, then it was discovered that I did indeed have structural problems that might have been corrected if they had known then what they know now.

Then since having children I still have had problems with illness, pain, etc. Jon has called me his "basket case" for years. No one really knows what I have gone through better than he does.

I'm just writing this to vent a bit because in daily life no one wants to hear it and I don't blame them. Nothing they can do about it so why bring everyone down. The pain of RA and Lupus and recovering from surgeries is what I have to live with, as do many other people. It's just life for some of us.

But I am going to keep working to try to feel better and get back to as normal as I can. I want to go to Vegas in July! That is my goal, to be able to walk around Las Vegas, pain free and to enjoy myself and our time together.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Longing for summer . . .

It's a drizzly, cold day for being nearly the end of April. The birds aren't even singing through it today. The weather channel says that we may get some snow mixed in with the rain. Boo hiss. I am so ready to plant flowers and clean up the yard and smell that freshly mowed lawn. I would like to get back to taking walks once I get the pain in this leg/back to go away. Jon and I want to go to Vegas this summer when there is a woodworking convention there that his company may send him to. That way they will at least pay for his expenses. We went to Vegas before in the summer and holy crap it was hot! We were insane enough to go to Death Valley, too. That was a trip. We would get to a point of interest and we would get out into the 120 degree heat and click a pic or two and back in the air-conditioned car again!

Right now warm sounds good. It's been a long, long winter.

This following video always reminds me of summertime. The movie was really good, too. It starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue

And here is a clip from A Summer Place, a scene with Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue. He was a gorgeous hunk.

Blast from the past


I love the old songs from my childhood. The memories of going to my grandmother's house and listening to the 40s station on her stereo was so relaxing and so wonderful to listen to her whistle along. She whistled just like a little bird. I miss her so much sometimes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Car!

Yesterday Jon and I went out and traded our Impala in for a Honda Civic Hybrid. It's a nice-handling little car with all the safety features, and anti-theft, etc. The color is metal metallic and light gray interior. It doesn't have all the "toys" that the Impala had, no sun/moon roof or fancy stuff like that, but don't really need that anyway. Jon will be driving this mostly to work everyday and we have the van for long trips, unless gas prices go to $4 again...and then we are ready for that. This little Civic is supposed to get nearly 50 mpg and maybe more on the highway...we shall see!

Knee bone's connected to the hip bone . . .

And things just keep on getting "better" (snark). The pain has shifted now from my knee up to the butt area on one side and into the hip. The pain gets to be so bad at times I feel like I am going to pass out! But I get my drugs, get the ice packs and heat packs and fight through it. I am allowed to drive now, and it seems that the driving and the working online has brought on yet another problem.

Went to the doctor for what was supposed to be my final back check-up and now have another little crisis going on. My sacroiliac joint is inflamed. The doctor says this is a common problem after spinal fusion because the fused spine can no longer move so the pressure goes to the sacro joint which is also inflexible and causes inflammation from trying to move in old ways using new joints and ligaments, etc.

So, what happens now is that I have four weeks of therapy for this sac joint and see how things go. If no better in a couple weeks I have to go in for a steroid injection into the sac joint itself. Since this is a deep joint and not able to be felt manually, this must be done in the hospital using a fluoroscope xray as the doctor makes the injection. This is also quite painful, so must be done with sedation and a local anesthesia...and then a short stay in the recovery room afterwards. But the outcome of this treatment is quite good, so they say. I am going to do all I can to get this to settle down without resorting to more doctor and hospital bills.

Like I said above, this probably is from is trying to work, sitting at a computer for long periods at a time. When I blog or check email lately, it's for an hour at a time, tops. When I work, I am timed and need to get so many hours a day in so am sitting here for hours at a time with only brief breaks each hour. This seems to indicate that I am not going to be able to get a real job any time soon. Since everything I am qualified to do requires hours of sitting at a desk, I need to get stronger and recover better from everything and gradually work into things again. Maybe I will never be able to work full-time again. I dont know. I need to find something I can do at home, and work at my own hours and my own pace. Even writing a story or a novel requires lots of computer time. I am going to check out getting a laptop and that way I can sit in different places and change positions, etc throughout the day instead of being confined to a desk. I cannot work for my online job, however, with a laptop computer. Most online companies what you to have a stationary desktop computer.

Anyway, hopefully my next health update will say that the pain in the sac joint is decreasing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Working online

Well, I started working on another project scoring academic achievement exams online for 8th grade math. I am not allowed to divulge much more than that, but just can say that this is a pretty doggone easy way to make money.

It's pretty pathetic that many of these kids, I would say nearly a third or more, get the answers completely wrong. They don't understand a simple math word problem. I get all kinds of answers, the longer the answer usually means the more wrong it is. It's a reflection of the failure of our public school systems. Instead of teaching for tests, they need to get back to teaching the basic reading, writing and arithmetic. If a child can read, he or she should be able to understand how to figure out a simple math word problem. The problem is that many kids today cannot read, and lack the motivation to even try. Memorization and regurgitation is what they know, but how to use their minds for critical thinking and figuring out problems is difficult. The state of our schools is sad.

The saddest responses are the ones where the kids write "I don't know and I don't care". That is the attitude of many young people today and why quality of service and production in this country is in such sad shape. No one gives a damn, and it starts at the elementary school level.

Knee bone's connected to the foot bone . . .

Well, got rid of the wheel chair and was down to using one crutch and now the knee is strained and very painful and the doctor has ordered a knee brace to give it some stability. The medial ligament is messed up because of the new positioning of the foot which is now pulling on the knee in a different way than before. I have ulcers so not supposed to take Ibuprofen, but took some anyway since Norco didn't even work for this.

I saw the ankle/foot surgeon a couple days ago and he said the ankle and foot are healed and doing well, which I can tell myself. If it wasn't for the knee I would be walking with only a slight limp without crutches. But the knee gets worse and worse with use. What the heck!

So have to add therapy for my knee along with therapy for the ankle and then get this knee brace thing and hopefully one day will walk again normally on my own! Right now it seems like that may never happen. But I will keep persevering!