Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Strke Survival: Urinary Incontinence Retraining

No, I don't wear XL
So it begins again! Back in October, I talked about my routine of changing my diapers with the cooler weather. Well, here it is almost the end of January and I'm just so over it! The circus act of changing my diaper, undressing and dressing and all of it. It's time t retrain my bladder.It started when I found urinary pads abut the same price as my diapers were. On a fixed income, price for these incidentals is important. While I still had a bag of of diapers left, I was buying them by the case, I bought a bag these urinary pads. I always found them too expensive to buy them before I found the Seni brand at my local grocery store. They were the same price
of my usual Always maxi pads and my diapers. I decided to give them a try. I'd use my diapers at night and on trips out until I got farther into my retraining program.

I started with Elevator, Kegel, exercises to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and watching the clock. I set the alarm on my phone for every hour. I've been at it a month now. It's still a hit or miss as far as making it to the bathroom in time, but the urinary pads absorbs urine quicker. With doing just the Kegel exercises, my pelvic floor is getting stronger, but with the lack of feeling in that area is still problematic. The 3-second warning that I have to urinate (tug around my navel) remains the same. I'm not sure how to fix this. For now, I'm ignoring it by using the clock.

Fluid intake monitoring is also part of retraining my bladder. I have to be careful with this because of my kidney problems and episodes of low blood pressures. Yes, the low blood pressure blessing still continues, but it's a double edged sword. Especially at night when it's normal for blood pressures to drop. For me, the drop is dangerously low (40s) even with the medication.

Each month, I'll add ten minutes to the timer as long as I don't have an accident. So that's the plan. Let the retraining begin. I'm thinking like this is a Olympic event rather than what it is...retraining my bladder function yet again. It's whatever I tell myself to get through this. With each new stroke I have setting me back some, the term relearning gets old fast. The do-over gets tiring, but I keep at it. Why? Because, I'm too mean to die, too stubborn to give up, but must most importantly my life is in God's hands. As such, I'll continue to live this life as fully as I can.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Sunday Stroke Survival: What to Say to Rude Folks

I've been impaired, in one way or another for close to three decades. I've got "bionic" joints, have had my spine rebuilt, and now strokes. I only wish my "bionic" joints worked as well as they did for the Six Million/Billion Dollar Man (1973/2020 respectively), but all in all, they work almost as well as the original parts. At least I'm not in excruciating pain with them only a nagging ache when the weather turns.

In all those years, I've run into several rather rude, crude, and socially unacceptable behavior in others. There are the well meaning folk, nosy folk, helpful advice folk, snide folk, and the down right obnoxious folk. It takes all kinds to run this world, I guess. I do my best to ignore them, but sometimes, their comments just hit me the wrong way or I reached my limit four folks ago and I blast them. I've written about a few episodes here.

As a minister, I preach to turn the other cheek (rather than retaliation) and I know I should. But I'm only human. My cheeks get mighty sore. I think of Jesus and what he endured before the cross and try to emulate Him, but I fail. Repeatedly, I fail. Then instead of being forgiving,  I'll either seethe with anger over the incident, or kick myself for not turning the other cheek. Usually it's both when the anger dissipates.We are our own worse enemies. Nobody could beat us up better than ourselves. Sound familiar?

Still I can't stop my mouth. Almost never with a curse words, instead I usually use words that drip from my tongue like honey from a spoon. For those that know me well start looking for cover when they hear it. I learned long ago to use diplomatic words when confronting an enemy. I refuse to stoop to their level by using crude, harsh words. The nosy, and trying to be helpful folk out there will get your meaning rather quickly.

The outright rude and obnoxious folks won't. For them, I use a different tact. First, I ignore them. Some people won't be ignored or back down. Second, I confront them. "What in the devil is your deal?" With this one be prepared to listen to all the wrongs the world has done them. Don't try to fix his problems. Be aware that you are not the cause. Simply ask, "What exactly did I do to you to deserve this treatment?" By this time, he is flabbergasted and probably speechless. Simply thank him for his honesty and remind him that change begins with him. Be sure to add, "Have a blessed day" as you turn to leave.

Another tactic I have used is offering to trade places. I know how rough living is in the replacement part, cancer, a failing heart, and a partially paralyzed body is. Not many folks have been through the battles I have. I usually win this one. (grinning) Of course this means having to explain what he's trading for and him ready to listen. After this comparison, most will scuff imaginary dust from their pants and murmur, "No, thanks" before they walk away especially after last year.

Now dealing with bullies is another thing. I just refuse to engage. When confronted with a bully, I've dealt with more than my fair share where there was no out. Nine times out of ten, they will be screaming at the top of their lungs. Screaming back at him will do no good because he's not listening.  He makes himself a "bigger man" by making you feel or look smaller. Don't stoop to his level.

Brace yourself and keep calm even if you are scared out of your wits. By his behavior he will likely draw a crowd. That's what he'll love. In his mind, he is growing in stature and respect even though just the opposite is true. He may ball his fists at you, and then you've got him. Simply say in a calm voice, "That's assault." With a crowd (or a witness) around you, simply walk away if you can. Be ready for the grab or shove, because its coming. When it does, say "That's battery. How long do you want to stay in jail for?" Hopefully by now, someone has called the police.

Be aware that I use the pronoun for a male, but it can be a female. No one can take away your rights to be unless you give it to them. Remember that. You are a special and unique individual. These types of intrusions into your life disrupts your life only if you let it.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Stroke Survival: Stretching the Limits~ Oops!

A few weeks ago, I told you about stretching my limits picking up twigs and branches.  Well, I did it several times since then. I've now achieved the ten-foot mark from the top of the ravine at a 45 degree downward angle. I've actually done this several times this week. Of course, there were trees and undergrowth to assist me also.

I'm still testing my limits. I'm hoping to make it the whole 600+ feet down to the creek this year. Well, okay, it might be a two-year goal. I haven't found the right spot yet to do it safely without a three-foot or larger drop offs along my path. I'm thinking the more I test my limits, the more I can accomplish. I haven't been everywhere yet on this property yet.

our cockeyed homestead, CRAZY prop. lines
I do know on the western edge of the orchard(top left dog leg), there is a 20-foot drop off down, and then slopes to the creek. I can see the creek bed but not fool hardy enough to attempt it even on the yard tractor. A zip line with a swing or rappelling gear possibly. Nah, not at my age...maybe twenty years ago I'd try it, but then it was pre-strokes. Now, I'm too old and safety conscience.

That leaves the only possibility of my reaching the creek is the south to southeastern side. The left line is the ravine I'm talking about. Luckily, the property is heavily treed. Otherwise, I wouldn't even attempt it. So as you can see from the picture. This aerial shot the longest, semi straight line is the ravine I'm taking about. The creek runs from the bottom corner point up to the uppermost dog leg at the top of the screen and forms our property lines. Some CRAZY property lines, huh? But anyhow, you can actually see where I'm trying to go. It's almost an acre of land away from the house...all downhill.

I know your asking what the oops was about in the title. Well, on one particular slope I fell coming back up the slope. It was a choice of either a hard fall or semi controlled fall. I was about 6' from the top. I lost my balance enough that the small shrub I was grabbing couldn't hold my balance. I barely missed the holly bush by inches with my affected knee where I landed. I congratulated myself on such a controlled fall.

I hand and kneed it crawled up the slope about three feet to a tree. Then, I was able to stand up. It's a neat trick on a upward slope and an AFO clad foot. But I did it. No cuts nor bruises, only my pride was hurt. Of course, the rough treatment to my body caused my spasticity to worsen until the next day and my body hurt all over.

It's been about a week since this incident and I still haven't ventured down that far again. It's not fear because I'll do it again if the need or inclination hits. We've had a rainy wind storm this week, which has given me ample sticks and branches on fairly level ground to pick up. I'm actually working smarter instead of harder. They become a fall hazard when the last few leaves on the trees fall. Soon there will be snow and ice to make walking hazardous enough without wet leaves covering up sticks and branches too.

Nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy New Years Day, Everyone!

Did you stay up late and celebrate ringing the new year in?

At my age and lifestyle, NO.  

I've just celebrated the ringing of the new year snuggled in deep into my quilt. Six AM comes way too early to soar with my chickens and bunnies. There's bread to bake, animals to water and feed, and too much to do to stay up so late. At my age, I've just rung in too many years in party hopping and toasting in the new year at the stroke of midnight.

There was always another reason for staying up late on New Year's Eve and it had nothing to do with the actual new year's celebration. She was born 1/1/32. Ever since my sister and I grew up, and moved away from home, we had a friendly competition going...who would be the first to wish our mom happy birthday. Later with addition of seven brothers and sisters, the competition grew quite frenzied. Old Ma Bell worked overtime with the busy signals. This was prior to call waiting.

Being the oldest and wisest (er, um, cough cough), I started calling mom five minutes before midnight and chat with her before midnight. So I'd be the first to wish her happy birthday. The other kids got wise to this and started calling before midnight. But me being a smarty pants just extended the time back by five minutes each year. Before mom died, I was having to call mom an hour earlier.

So today is spent deep in memories of my life with with my mother. For most of my brothers and sisters had other mothers, but my little sister and I this was our only mother in spite of my father remarrying. My dad and step-mother have been married now longer than my parents were, but that doesn't matter to us. Mom was my mother for 30 years or just under half my life. I was extremely blessed to have her that long.

Happy Birthday, Mom! praying heavenward.
I'm probably not the first this year, but I'll betcha nobody else blogged about her today.
None of my siblings has a blog or personal website. So I beat y'all again!(grinning)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sunday Stroke Survival: Touchy Feely- Stretching the Limits

I hope y'all had a fabulous Christmas and Santa brought you all you wanted. I pray y'all have a safe and blessed New Year.

Just out of the hospital this past summer, I had horrible balance. It was carry my cane everywhere or do the touchy feely thing with walls and furniture. A major part of the problem was I was never given PT in the hospital. I went from prone in bed or sitting in bed to discharged home. Let me tell you, standing up that first time without help was scary. I'd only been in bed for almost two whole weeks. I wobbled a bit as I commanded my legs to hold me
Playskoll Webbles
up. Webbles wobble, but they don't fall down, but people do. No I didn't fall. I may be impatient, but I'm not stupid.

The paperwork for discharge had been signed and home care instructions were issued.  I had waited two hours for the aide, and Mel and I were ready to go. I got to my feet and the bed alarm went off. The nurse rushed in, but I had to get dressed to go home.It was three steps to the commode. With the bathroom door opened, the nurse couldn't help me. I made it and plopped my hinny on the seat. I had Mel pass me my clothes and shoes. I got dressed.

Luckily the handicap rails were on the correct side for me. Have you noticed this problem? You got a 50:50 shot, right? For me, it 75:25 of the rail being on the correct side in any given handicapped bathroom. I'd choose wrong and the rail is on my right affected side which offers me no assistance. Pulling my pants up was a acrobat feat worth paying for, but I accomplished the task. Getting into my shoes was problematic, but they always are. My cane wasn't in sight. The staff had stowed it in this closet. As I was emerging out of the bathroom, my aide appeared. "Honey, I told you I'd help you."

Months passed. Where I once was walking inside the house with no assistance, I found I was having to touch or hold walls to keep my balance. Coming off the antipsychotic drug helped, but I was still having issues with balance. A reduction of the seizure med helped even more. I was only doing the touchy feely thing in wide open walking, with stairs, and any place that wasn't level. Physical therapy helped restore my confidence in my feet and legs. Eventually, I was able to come off the seizure meds entirely. Almost instantaneously, I was able to walk upright again and have my balance back. Almost entirely the need for that touchy feely instinct is gone.

She's carrying a leaf in her mouth. Goofy dog!
I still touch a piece of furniture or wall if I have to step over a household animal, or brace myself firmly against a tree when the 80+ lb Kassity comes barreling down the hill straight at me. Even a non impaired person would do that. She's all energy and forward momentum. She doesn't jump on me, but stops and leans on me to be talked to and petted. But even that would throw me off balance without my cane. Yes, I'm now back to walking without my cane outside.

Now, it was a question of strengthening. It's taken forever (just 4 months) for me to get three-quarters back to my old self. I've got to get that last quarter plus to be ready for spring planting and pruning five months away.

This week, I was out on the property picking up kindling for the wood stove. That's one of the chores I do around here. About 50 ft behind the house is where our ravine begins. In increments, this slope drops 600 ft down to the spring fed creek which borders our property on two sides. Well about
5 or 6 ft down, I see some choice dead fall branches. The slope was less than 45 degrees. I puzzled out a route around the small trees and bushes to get down there and get back up the slope. The branches would make quick work of the 38-gal trash can full of kindling I had to fill. So I went for it. I was stretching my limits for sure, but I was feeling good and froggy.

We use junk mail and tree twigs and branches to start our fires with. Waste not, want not. When it's been dry for a few days, I'll fill the (3) trash cans with this kindling. So anyhow, I traverse down this slope. I'm holding small, small knee high undergrowth and testing my footing with each step. I was under no illusion that the bush would stop me from sliding, but that little support bolstered my confidence to climb farther down.

I might note here that it's a 45 degree or greater angle slide down to the creek below (about 660 ft). I'll add, if I didn't hit a tree on the way down. I sure didn't want to do that - let alone the climb back up again. I may take chances, but I'm not stupid. Maybe a little insane, but definitely not stupid.

About half way down, I started a another pile of my candidates for a pile. I stuffed them under my affected arm now that I have limited control of my shoulder again. I climbed to where there was a pile of limbs I saw from the top. Looking up from where I started I felt a wave of self accomplishment, but the real trick was making it back up. I gathered branches and twigs and tossed them up the slope as far as I could... about a foot with all the undergrowth. I repeated this process until I had the pile licked. I made my way up to the pile and repeated the process until all branches and limbs were up on semi-flat ground at the top.

I leaned on the propane tank and broke my prize up into about 12" pieces. I brought enough from my jaunt down the slope to fill the trash can. I closed the lid and happily rolled the trash can into the barn. Later, it would be divided into 5-gallon buckets and brought into the house. Each 5-gal bucket will start 5 fires. The trashcan will be fill ten 5-gal buckets. That's a whole lotta warmth in three of those trash cans. I'll fill all the cans before the snow starts falling and keep filling them until it does. We shouldn't need much after that because the wood stove will be constantly going.

I was too pooped to pop afterwards. I sat in front of my computer playing mind games and watched a movie for four hours before it was time to cook dinner. Well not exactly cooked. I opened two pint jars of beef stew I'd canned earlier in the year, but I made biscuits. By this stretching my limits showed me that I'm getting back to my old self again. Now for my next testing of my limits... you'll have to wait and see.

Nothing is impossible.