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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No doctor visit today

Well, today was supposed to be my appointment with the cardiologist to see where things stand.  I got to his office only to learn that he had had an emergency and would not be there.  So they scheduled me for June 8.  Very disappointing.  But I asked his nurse if he could at least find out if I could start exercising a little bit -- I've gained 8 pounds and that needs to end.

He says I can do very low impact exercising.  And I can do light yoga as long as I don't get my arms involved.  And I have to be very careful in daily activities with my arms so that I don't over-stretch.

When I go back next week they will "interrogate" the pacemaker and see how it's doing.  I am especially interested in the battery life of the pacemaker.  I know I'm an old hand at this surgery now but with any luck at all, it will be at least two years before I need to do it again.

Tomorrow is my appointment with the ophthalmologist to see what's going on with my left eye.  Everything is a blur with my left eye.

I've been getting out every day exploring the neighborhood and having lunch or breakfast.  At first I thought it would be weird to be eating by myself but as I looked around I saw that there were quite a few people dining alone.  I guess Inever paid attention before.

I went to Cracker Barrel the other day and got on the waiting list for breakfast.  An announcement came over the loudspeaker:  "Joe, party of 2," "Susan, party of 4," "Marilyn."  It was cute that she didn't say "party of 1."  Ha.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bead Store

For the past four years I have barely touched my jewelry making stuff.  And ever since I moved here to Thornton I have noticed a sign at 120th and Washington that says "Beads."  So today I ventured over there and found a delightful little bead store called Alley Cat Beads.  I spent a bit of time in there buying beads.  And I signed up for a few classes to kind of refresh my skills and also to just get out and do something.  I'm looking forward to it.  The creative juices are flowing again.  Every day gets better ... finally.

A representative from my builder stopped by today with regard to my air conditioner problems of yesterday.  He said they are going to reimburse me the $275 I put out yesterday (it was originally going to be $200 but the guy noticed that the filters needed to be changed and the air conditioner needed freon.)  That was good news.

The builder's other reason for coming by was to make sure I had emergency phone numbers to call and his cell number if I had any other problems.  The warranty ends at the end of this year.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Air Conditioner

The HVAC guy was just here and he showed me that the air conditioner was never hooked up to the electric through the breaker box.  The wires were brought into the breaker box and then just left hanging.  So for $200, he is going to get that all fixed.  The builder is going to really hear from me.

You know, in my 28 years of marriage to Marshall, I never appreciated the time he spent on this kind of crap.  Everything just went so smoothly.  He used to tell me over and over how time consuming all of this was but I glossed over it and took it all for granted.  I hope he is "up there" watching and knows how much I now realize how awesome he was.  I hate doing this.

There goes my theory

It looks like there is no rhyme or reason to the ads that Google is putting on my blog site.  Oh well, I thought I had it figured out....  The ad that was on there early this morning was a little creepy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

An experiment

I'm going to tell you about my new coffee pot and then we're going to see how long it takes Google to put coffee-related advertisements on my blog.  When I first started the blog back in 2012, in order to get a free blog I had to agree that Google could include advertisements.  I didn't pay much attention at first because the ads didn't really interfere with the blog entries, but it appeared that most of the ads were related to prostate cancer.  However, as I paid closer attention, I noticed that if I talked about something other than prostate cancer, the ads would be tailored to almost any topic.  So we'll see what happens now:

Have you seen Sofia Vergara's ad for the Ninja Coffee Bar?  I went out and bought it and I am loving it. You can set it to make a cup of coffee, a travel cup of coffee, a half carafe or a whole carafe.  After you have set it for size, you then set it for whether you want Regular or Rich brew.  You can also set it for iced coffee or lattes.  And it also has a milk frother.  Anyway, for a coffee nut like me, this is a pretty cool coffee maker.  (Now let's watch the ads that show up on the blog...)

I got a call from the Toyota manager today and he said they are going to reissue the warranty refund checks and I should have them in 10 days.  That was good news.

And I spent most of the day today trying to figure out why my air conditioner won't work.  It took me HOURS to find the breaker box -- turns out the breaker box is outside.  I was not able to figure out how to open it.  I called the electric company and they refused to give me any advice on the phone and they also refused to send anyone out to check the breaker box.  So finally I called an HVAC company and they are coming tomorrow.  I hate being the "man" of the house!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Getting better every day

Today I got the results of my bone density test -- everything is in normal range.  I am almost giddy!

And I've been feeling great so I assume the pacemaker is as it should be (I'll find out on May 31st).

There are still one or two lingering annoyances, though.  I've been trying to get the Toyota refunds on the two extended warranties that we had on our Highlander and our truck that I traded in.  The checks came made out to Marshall only and the bank wouldn't take them.  Yesterday I finally got through to a man at the warranty place and he told me that since the checks were in Marshall's name they could not reissue them and I was just going to be out the money.  He told me it was the dealership's fault for making out the paperwork wrong.

So I called our Toyota salesman (we bought SIX vehicles from this guy over the years) and he says he can fix this.  We'll see.  I am quite upset.  I called the bank again and they say they would take the checks if I went to the courthouse and opened a Probate Case and then brought certified documents to the bank.  I will do that if I have to, but I'm afraid that would maybe open a can of worms that I would rather stayed closed.

Another lingering issue has been trying to get Marshall's motorcycle from Westcliffe up here to Thornton.  My first option is to drive it myself but I'm hesitant to do that because I don't want my first long ride on the trike to be on Interstate 25.  So I've been talking to various friends and trying to find someone who would either drive it or tow it up here.  It almost happened once and then weather stepped in and canceled those plans.

So today somehow I had a clearer mind than usual and I called Pike's Peak Harley -- the place where we bought the bike -- and asked if they had any solutions.  They remembered Marshall and were very kind to him throughout his cancer battle and for a very nominal fee they are going to go get the bike on June 2 (which happens to be our 29th wedding anniversary, if that has any meaning) and bring it up here to me.  Things seem to be leveling out, don't they?  I am actually going for long periods of time without crying even once.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

More on humor

My new friend (the one I laughed with the other night) sent me a link to an article in the Huffington Post about humor and death that I love. Here is an excerpt:

Grief takes us to a place where we honor our dead. Laughter helps us reclaim the goodness of their love. It also opens our hearts to each other.

Grief is a serious matter because it takes away someone we love. But if we can laugh in Death’s face, then Death doesn’t win.
---------------------

Isn't that great? If any caregivers or patients want to read the whole article here is the link (it is interesting):

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/laughter-and-grief_b_10003092.html


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 20, 2016

Wake-up Call

I just got the results of the lab work that was done the other day.  My cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL are off the charts and, based on the latest recommendations for determining diabetes, I am considered pre-diabetic.  When Marshall had diabetes they wanted him to keep his A1C below something like 6.5 but over the years they have changed that to 5.7 and mine is exactly at 5.7.

As I've written in this blog in the past, during the past 5 years I have let my health go to hell and now I'm trying to play catch-up dealing with all the heart stuff that's been going on and now this.  The doctor spoke to me in an alarming way about the necessity for me to take a statin but I don't want to take statins.  So I convinced her to give me 3 months to try to turn this around.  She agreed that it is definitely possible to turn it around but that most people won't do what it takes (diet, exercise, no sugar, low on carbs, etc.).  She also said I needed to bring my stress level down, which I've been working on with yoga.

My diet for the past 6 months has been heavy on cookies, scones and ice cream.  I just went through my kitchen and threw all of that stuff in the trash (boy, that was not easy ... those chocolate chip cookies are soooo good).  And my diet is changed effective immediately.

With regard to exercise, the cardiologist told me that I should not do any exercising for at least six weeks.  I see him again on May 31 and hope he will lift that restriction.  However, I guess keeping the pacemaker in place takes top priority right now, so if I need to work on diet now and exercise later, so be it.  And I think a daily leisurely stroll around my nearby "pond" should be acceptable.

So -- again -- my message to all you caregivers out there, especially the ones who, like me, are sole caregivers with very little additional help, is that if you want any kind of healthy life in your future, you MUST take care of yourself.  People tell you that all the time but it is just short of impossible to walk away from a loved one in bed and in pain in order to go out and do something for yourself.  I wasn't able to do it more than a few times but I sure wish I had.

On one occasion Marshall insisted that I needed to get away for a few days, so I booked travel to Chicago to see old friends and scheduled a few get-togethers.  I had a CNA come up to stay at the house with Marshall.  I got to Chicago, checked into my hotel, and attended a party that evening with friends.  I walked all over downtown Chicago and felt so free and relaxed.  But when I got back to the hotel after midnight I had several emergency calls from Marshall demanding that I come home immediately, he was having pain that he couldn't identify.  He was absolutely frantic and he was having the CNA call 911.  So I booked my flight back to Colorado and when I landed I went straight to the hospital where the doctors in the emergency room were unable to find any reason for his pain.  I was so angry at him for not being able to give me those four days, but at the same time, my heart was breaking for him.  It's just a lose-lose no matter how you look at it.  So the lesson to be learned here is that you probably shouldn't shoot for four days away, but try to get an hour or two here and there, maybe a massage, lunch with friends, go to a coffee shop for an hour and read a book, etc.

Blog Comments

I was just trying to do a little maintenance on the blog and stumbled across a page that indicates that I have had a bunch of Comments over the past year that I evidently needed to approve before they would show up on the blog and, as a result, I didn't reply to the people who sent the comments.  They were very touching and I feel awful that I didn't respond.  I have now approved them (better late than never) and I will try to figure out how to respond.  In the meantime, if any of you are still looking at the blog, I do apologize and very much appreciate the caring and loving comments.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Laughter is best medicine

For the past few weeks I've been corresponding with a woman who had been following my blog since her husband was also battling prostate cancer.  Her husband died quicker than was expected a few weeks ago, so she is in the early stages of grief.

So she and I decided to talk on the phone and get acquainted.  I fully expected this conversation to be more crying than talking.  Last night we talked for close to four hours and there were no tears, it was all laughter as we told each other story after story of our journeys with prostate cancer.  I'm sure anyone listening to these stories would be shocked to hear us laughing like that but for us it was like therapy and the laughter felt so good.  (For instance, Marshall would spend hours being totally engrossed in watching Spanish TV and would get upset if I wanted to go back to English; or he once was out on the deck on a very dark and quiet mountain night and said he saw a motorcycle gang circling our house; or he would try to use the cordless telephone as a TV remote; not so funny to the average person but to us last night it seemed hilarious).  It was a huge release and I'm sure she and I will talk again.

The photo below is a walking path that is practically out my front door -- very pretty.  So today I finally decided to take a walk and get my pacemaker used to me actually moving around.  The cardiologist said to go slow with exercise for a few weeks so it was a leisurely walk -- took 20 minutes to walk around this pond -- and very enjoyable.


Things are getting better every day and when I scatter Marshall's (and Coco's) ashes in July it will be easy to give up the "crutch" that this blog has provided me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Medical stuff

When Marshall died and I moved back to Denver, the first thing on my to-do list was to get my health back in order after those four years of intense stress.  But the whole atrial fibrillation and pacemaker hospitalization kind of took a front seat.

But now that I appear to be getting in a groove with regard to those things, it's time to cover the other things.  I found a primary care doctor and saw her to begin a relationship with her office.  Monday I had a bone density test.  Tomorrow I will have routine lab work done.  And I still need to get a dentist appointment and a dermatologist.

I have been having vision problems (my left eye is especially bad) so I went to see an optometrist and he said there was nothing he could do for me and he referred me to an ophthalmologist.  That appointment is on June 1st.  I am kind of concerned about this.  If the optometrist tells me there's nothing he can do -- not even a new prescription for glasses -- that's a little scary. I'm wondering if it's a side effect from one of the medications I'm taking.

Once I get caught up on health issues, I need to find a good pet-sitter so that I can take off for four or five days at a time and not worry about the cats.  Then I can maybe get out and do things.

When I go to Ohio in July to spread Marshall's ashes, I plan to stop in Indianapolis to see an old high school friend (John).  My closest friends in school were Donna and John and we were almost inseparable.  It will be fun to spend some time with him and re-live our youth.  It would be even more fun if Donna would join us (Donna?  What do you say?). LOL.  When I have finished scattering Marshall's ashes, I think that will be time to end this blog.  Time to try to move on.  I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and stop the constant whining.

By the way, my sister made it home and she is getting back to her daily routine.  I miss having her here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Linda leaves tomor

Linda stayed another few days but tomorrow she is definitely leaving.  It will feel weird having an empty house again.

She cooked up tons of food that is in the freezer to keep me going for several weeks.  She was incredibly busy and I am so grateful.  Plus we had fun shopping, going out to eat and watching movies.

Last night I was laying on the couch reading and all of a sudden -- without any warning -- my 17-pound cat dive bombed onto my chest and landed right smack dab on the pacemaker.  So the area around the pacemaker is pretty sore right now but it doesn't appear to have done any real damage.  I'll have to keep an eye on that cat!

I got a call from my real estate agent with feedback from the prospective buyers who have looked at the house so far.  It appears that they don't want to live so close to a neighbor who has several old trailers within their line of vision.  There is absolutely nothing I can do about that so I just have to hope that someone will come along who won't be turned off by that.

In planning for the scattering of Marshall's ashes in July, I went out and bought silk roses to put at the headstone:  3 orange roses representing passion (for the three years we were dating); 25 red roses representing love (for the 25 years we were married); and 1 white rose representing remembrance (for the one year he has been gone).  After we spread the ashes, I think it will all be so final.



Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday

We had a quiet Friday.  Went to the doctor for my weekly blood test and everything was in order.

Got a call from my brother and learned that he was in the hospital last week and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.  So it is definitely a family thing (sister, brother and me).  The only one left is my daughter and she is now referring to herself as the "last one standing."  LOL.

Linda is planning to head back to Missouri on Monday or Tuesday.  Sunday will be the two-week anniversary of my surgery so I guess I'm ready to be on my own.  I am approved for driving so I have no excuse for not going out on my own and no exxcuse for keeping her here any longer...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A long long day

We drove to Hays, Kansas, today to get Linda's car.  We got to the Chevy dealer around 3PM Central Time, picked up her car, returned the rental car to Enterprise, had a late lunch and then hit the road on the way back to Colorado.

We had a little scare when we stopped at a rest area right at the Kansas/Colorado border.  When we came back to the car, she couldn't get her key to go in the ignition and the lights were acting funny.  Of course, the first thing we thought was that the Chevy dealer had screwed something up.  We tried everything we could think of and had just about come to the conclusion that we would be spending the night in the car and then having the car towed tomorrow.

But we called my son-in-law Ed (in St. Louis) and it turned out that the steering wheel was locked up and just needed to be jiggled a little for everything to work again.  So we got back on the road and just got back home.  It was a 13-hour day.  She was SO glad to get her car back.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My sister's car is ready

Linda's car has been repaired from its encounter with the deer so tomorrow we are driving to Hays, Kansas to take her rental car back and pick up her car.  Then we will come back.  It's about a 5-hour drive one-way so tomorrow will be a very long day.  She will be glad to get her car back.

It has been incredible having her here.  She's been cooking up a storm and is going to leave my freezer stocked with meals for me.  She has done all the heavy lifting for me and when she leaves (probably on Friday) I will have everything I need for the next few weeks of recuperation.  I will be sad when she leaves.

Today we took Okie (my 6-year-old cat) to the vet.  He hasn't been eating good, he's been throwing up a lot and he's lost weight.  He could be reacting to stress just like me (losing Marshall and Coco) and he also could be having problems with the brand of food I buy.  So they did a bunch of blood work and we should hear the results of that in a few days.  If the blood work comes out good, we will start experimenting with different brands of food.  He also needs dental work which I'll worry about later.

I reached the Toyota people today and they say they are sending out new refund checks.  That was way too easy.