Friday, September 27, 2019

Love this song!

Those of you who follow my blog know that I've had a couple of highs (Hawaii) and lows (hurt my back) lately.  

This back problem was new to me. I have never had anything happen to my back (sure lower back sore sometimes - but never where the pain/spasms inhibited my ability to walk - or even get up from a sitting position). This scared me. I really hoped that I hadn't done serious injury. But what we become more aware of as we age is that things can happen in the blink of an eye.

So I used rest, heat, cold, and Tylenol for about 4 days and sure enough, it seems to have healed on its own. Must have been a strain or a sprain?  I knew I could get a Rx for muscle relaxants, but didn't want them if Tylenol would do the trick. It's been almost a week and now I'm walking fine (carefully, but fine). 

Since in the process of healing, I was using my mother's cane to help me get around, I saw this as just another shout in my face "Face it! You're old!" (Other things recently that I haven't mentioned have pushed me to this conclusion too) And of course the truth is I AM OLD! 74 is old. I know that. But most of the time I don't think about it - until something like this happens. 

However, it brought back memories of an old detective show on British TV that DH and I used to enjoy. It was called "New Tricks" (actually it was a detective show about old detectives)... and the theme song was very catchy.  The song was "It's Alright" by Dennis Waterman.  I googled it yesterday and DH and I were both laughing and singing along with it most of the day. Click on the title and see what you think...

Anyway, thanks for reading. And just for those who might be interested, I have started the sequel to "Time After Time" by D'Arcy Regan Hart (my Pen name). Finished the first 2 chapters today. But it may take a while...  hopefully not as long as it did for me to publish the first one, but we'll see.


Oh, and we have the first batch of Fall kittens coming by with their mom. She is black and has one black and 3 black & white babies. They look about 6-8 weeks old. So cute.

Another feral cat watching one of the box turtles in the back yard

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Now I've done it...

OK... I did something to my back yesterday. Since I've never had any 'real' back pain before...( yes, lower back is sore a lot, but nothing I can't handle)... but THIS is different. I can barely walk, hurts especially to try to stand up from sitting position  (it spasms, then subsides a bit). Right side is fine. Left side around my kidney and middle hurts like h... eck. 

What happened was I was driving to get my haircut... and upon reaching my destination went to get out of the car and OMG, the pain on my left side lower back and down the middle of my pelvis hit me and spasmed! I sat back down in the car... thinking WTF (excuse my french).  Actually sat there for a few minutes and tried again... no go. Couldn't understand it. Finally made myself get up, holding my back and very slowly walked in to get my haircut. 

Could not imagine why this happened. But... on my way home (and yes, I could sit and drive fine... just couldn't get up and walk from sitting position)... anyway, on my way home, I remembered something. When I was heading to my haircut, I came to an intersection where I needed to turn right... but couldn't see if cars were coming (can't turn my neck too far left), so I pulled my body forward and twisted my back to see. Bet that did it? I overstretched something.

Slept on the sofa sitting up last night (Tux stayed with me - sweet baby) with heat on my back... and am taking Tylenol. This morning it's a tiny bit better. Still spasming when I try to stand up, but not as bad or as long. It is still hard to walk (using my mother's old cane - feels like someone is reminding me of my age). I know a combination or rest and exercise is good. So I'm trying to do both. We'll see.

**DH made supper last night and brought me coffee this morning.** 

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. My daughter wants me to go to a Chiropractor, but I think I should give it a few days to see how it goes.

Well, thanks for reading. I appreciate the ability to vent...



Tuesday, September 17, 2019

for those of us less traveled part 2...

Haven''t seen this... might have to check it out

Continuing with the obstacles that we encountered on our recent flights... nothing that couldn't be overcome or endured, but a lesson for us old folks for the next time.. and yes, there will be a next time! (what's the expression? 'God willin' and the creek don't rise).

5. Layover 2 (coming home from Hawaii):  This time we had a 2 hour layover. This sounded OK after the 55 minute fiasco on the flight in. Since we left Hawaii at 9PM Hawaii time (11PM Calif time), we arrived in California 6 hours later (5 AM -  unfortunately not too many places in the terminal were open for coffee/breakfast at that time). THEN we were notified that besides the 2 hour layover, we would be having a 2 hour delay due to weather. So instead of leaving at 7 AM, the plane didn't actually leave until about 9:45 AM. Of course this couldn't be helped we knew, but having to spend that much time in the air-conditioned airport, I soon realized that even though it was August - I should have brought a sweater. Another lesson learned!

6. Other things to be considered on plane:  Legroom, distance from facilities, window vs aisle, etc.  Now I have short legs... but still there was very little legroom for such a long flight. Would I consider 'comfort seats' (more $$) next time?  Maybe.
  Also the nearness of the facilities must be a consideration on a long flight. Our age requires frequent visits - so it can't be too far away - yet, due to others' needs and other 'considerations', you don't want to be seated 'too close' either. 
**Comment here - The facilities were very narrow! And since I noticed that there were some 'very large' people on the plane, I really wondered how they could possibly use those facilities?**  
  And lastly... at least for brevity - window or aisle?As far as I know, no one wants the middle seat. I personally prefer window. But I had the aisle on the flight back (actually DH had the aisle and I had the middle seat) - this was because it was a night flight and I didn't want to be climbing over sleeping people to use the restroom (didn't mind climbing over DH). He apparently has no preferences - except maybe not to fly at all.

So that's it for the most part. Now we will be better prepared next time. As for the time spent in Hawaii with our son and his wife - THAT WAS GREAT!  LOVED IT! Just wish that when we're ready to go again, I could just say, "Beam me up, Scotty!"

Oh... and I mentioned my Bourbon Pecan Coffee Cake in the last post. Here's a pic:

Bourbon Pecan Coffee Cake

and recent Clay Projects:

a larger cheeky chicken that will sit on my outside fence

turtle vase

And just finished this vase... hand-built, not thrown. The plan is to glaze the vase itself in blue rutile and the turtle in green seaweed (I think that's the name of the 2 Potter's Choice glazes). Anyway, I'll post a pic when it's finished (trying my hand at hand-building).

Have a great week!

- Rian

Sunday, September 15, 2019

for those of us less traveled...

love flying

Since DH and I recently traveled by plane to Hawaii, I thought I'd post some of the obstacles we encountered... prior to booking, upon booking, at airports, and onboard. Most were things we were aware of and had discussed prior to the trip, but some were not... and I consider all 'a learning experience'. 

Part of it was the fact that we had never traveled quite that far or quite that long in over 20 years.  Things have changed... not only with us, but with flying.

1. Luggage: How much luggage would we need for a week?  We generally fly with just a carry-on, so borrowing or buying a larger piece of luggage would be necessary. And since we usually fly Southwest where there is no charge for luggage, adding a fee needed to be considered.

2. Price of tickets:  And again... obviously we're not big travelers, so having first checked for cheap flights, we soon realized that if you get a really cheap flight, you have no 'guaranteed seating'... (unless you pay an extra fee??). So it's possible we wouldn't be seated together. For a short flight that might be fine. But for a 10 hour flight - not so much. 

3. Time of Flight:  Also since time and age has descended on me, I'm not good at getting up extremely early (in the dark)... and it takes me a lot longer to get myself together (I've always moved pretty slow, but now it's worse). So we needed to consider only flights that departed from noon on... figuring we'd have to be there 2 hours early anyway.

4. Layover 1 (going to Hawaii):  We saw that layovers can be from 55 minutes to 24 hours. Well, we certainly didn't want to hang around an airport for 24 hours - who would?  So we chose the shortest layover we could find... 55 minutes. Well, that was a mistake as even though the plane landed on time, it took almost 30 minutes to deplane (full flight and us in the back). Then there was construction going on in the terminal, so they changed our connecting flight gate to one in another terminal which could only be gotten to by bus.  The bus went less than 5 miles/hr and made numerous stops - so although we DID make the flight, we were probably among the last to board. We won't make that mistake again. We're old... and don't move that fast.

We didn't ask about making our connection until we got into the terminal... but it seems like it would have been nice if they had made an announcement such as "Please allow those who have connecting flights leaving soon to deplane first".

There is more... such as legroom, distance from facilities, window vs aisle, etc... but I will continue in my next post. As I stated at the beginning, this was definitely a 'learning experience'.

Thanks so much for dropping by. If I could I would serve you a cup of tea/coffee  and a piece of the Bourbon Pecan Coffee Cake I made for DH today. It turned out pretty good.

- Rian

Friday, September 13, 2019

Medicare Wellness visit... part 2

Medicare Wellness visit part 2...

So I left the doctor's office with 3 prescriptions and an appointment for a recheck in a few weeks.  I had the prescriptions filled (they weren't expensive), but didn't plan to take them at the time. I wanted to have my chest x-ray done first and get the result of that before even considering taking any drugs.

A few days to a week later I got the results from all the tests through the email on my iPhone (isn't technology wonderful?)... and we are also told at this time what other tests and/or vaccinations may be needed or possibly overdue. 

My tests were basically all normal - Vitamin D is low (as always) - and they recommend taking Vitamin D mega dose once a week or daily capsules. Well, since we spent a week in the sun in Hawaii recently, my Vitamin D should have increased...

So at this stage I feel the same as I do after my annual Oncologist visit - that apparently I'm good to go  for another year. Which is exactly what I heard from my Oncologist a few weeks later. My chest x-ray was fine... lungs clear (hurray!). 

As for the reason for the cough - possibilities that came to his mind (beyond the original radiation cause) were reflux, aspiration, or adult onset asthma. He recommended having my family physician have me take a breathing/swallowing test.

Oh, one thing that I did do this year (with both doctors) is that I gave them a written list of  'Things my physicians should know'.  These included not referring me to any doctors not taking Medicare, not running any tests not paid for by Medicare, and not running even routine testing until checking with me to see if I want that test run. I'm not sure that doctors like 'lists', but I wanted this information put into my file... and neither doctor seemed to object.

Well... that sums up my annual Wellness Visit.  Hope yours goes/or has gone as well.  I didn't mention some of the strange questions they ask you these days... among them:  "Do you have anything in your house that you could trip over?"  (Only 3 cats!)

Take Care and as always, thanks for reading. It's Friday! TGIF!


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Medicare Wellness visit... part 1

Those of you who are over the age of 65 know about the Medicare Wellness Visit. This is the annual physical that Medicare will pay for - if sent in with the proper coding. I've learned that you do not make an appointment for a 'physical' ... but rather a 'Medicare Wellness Visit'.

This visit was with our nurse practitioner who works for our family physician. She is young and very thorough.  I like her. The visit started with another nurse coming in a getting my vital signs. This included my height, weight, and blood pressure. My adult height has always been 5’4” …  and I’m sad to say that it may now be 5’3” as they say that we tend to shrink a bit with age

 My weight (lucky for me) has never been too much of a problem. I stay within the 126 – 130 range most of the time.

But I’m not good at doctor’s offices… my normal low bp soars when there are white coats around. I was told it's called the "white coat syndrome". So-oo although my bp was 121/69 at home, it was 170/89 in the office. This made it necessary to do an EKG… which I also knew would bring on another OMG moment.

It seems that my EKG’s always show some abnormality which registers as ‘an infarction’. The first time they saw this, I was sent to a Cardiologist who ran every test in the book… and declared that my heart was fine. He said that EKG result is normal for me (?). This time before she ran the test, I told her what the result would be… and it was. She passed this information on to the NP and she recorded it as such.

Then they took the required amount of blood (which always seems like a lot) to run the necessary tests. After my breast cancer 19 years ago, I’m used to everyone taking blood. And I have to admit this nurse was very efficient in hitting my vein and caused very little discomfit (just a little prick). Don’t we all dread that technician or nurse that simply can’t for the life of them find your vein?

Next on the agenda was ‘my chronic cough’. I have had a cough for 19 years… ever since Radiation. I call it my ‘radiation cough’ as I was once told that possibly it was due to inflammation to my lungs due to the radiation I received for my BC. Later I learned that it could also be due to some fluid build-up around my heart – also possibly due to the radiation.  Who knows? 

But the cough continues. Lately it has gotten a bit worse, so I mentioned this… and since no fluid was heard when the NP listened to my lungs, the NP gave me several prescriptions to try to see if possibly it was caused by reflux. She also told me to make sure I have my chest x-rayed when I see my Oncologist next month. I know that there is always the possibility of my BC having metastasized to my lungs… thus, causing the cough.

THIS (which I’m aware of) is probably the reason my bp was so high. I’ve always felt (at least since my BC diagnosis) that I am well until some doctor tells me that I’m not.

to be continued....

Saturday, September 7, 2019

some thoughts on aging...

You know you’re old when…

   For us (DH and myself), it was the first time we visited the Senior Center in our area – the same Senior Center we used to drop my mother off at several times a week 20 years ago. Someone had told us that it had been recently been remodeled and renovated and that it had a really large well stocked exercise room.  Since I have had trouble convincing DH that we need to exercise more, I thought this might offer a possible solution. It was close. It was convenient. And best of all - it wasn’t expensive.

   We have found that many fitness centers are expensive and most people don’t continue after the first few months. We do walk at the mall twice a week. We walk the upstairs and the downstairs each once… and keep track of the other ‘walkers’ who are doing the same. We have names for them (not their real names – but made-up ones like the ‘Pat look alike’, ‘the serious walker’, ‘the couple with the friendly wife’, etc.).  We do wonder what they call us...?  But generally, we see them all on the days we walk… and occasionally have begun to either smile or wave at each other.

   There is no shopping done during these expeditions – well, almost none. Occasionally I will run into a store for a specific item (like candles at the bath and body shop - I love Campfire coffee or Hot Cocoa and cream), but since DH is waiting, there is no real time for shopping around. And on occasion, I find it necessary to grab a Mocha Frappuccino at the Mall Starbucks. DH would prefer a Cinnabon – and once in a while we do indulge. 

Anyway, this is how reaching 74 has found us… and I thought it might be interesting and fun to share just how life is at this stage of the game. You may find that a lot of this sounds very familiar.

So for the next few postings, I'm going to mention other things that perhaps are 'age-related' and occasionally funny, sometimes sad, but none-the-less worth mentioning (IMO anyway).

If you can remember times like these, I'd love to hear about them.

As always, thanks for visiting.  And hope you have a wonderful weekend!

- Rian