Sunday, October 31, 2021

Research and a Decision

I've been doing quite a bit of research on my Hashimoto diagnosis. Mainly self help because I don't have a endocrinologist yet. I just want to feel better or at least not feeling so exhausted all of the time so I can get more done. There's also the issues with my heart and cold intolerance. My heart rate and BP have switched back to normal to borderline high normal putting additional strain on my leaky valves. And temperature wise, anything less than 80℉ and I'm grabbing a throw or my flannel shirt. My hands and feet are freezing cold.  I've also gained fifteen pounds and the fibromyalgia flare up too. Although most of what I've talked about here was the sleeping/exhaustion issues.  ALL of it has to do with my Hashimoto flare up. There is so much more to this disease. What I've mentioned is just the highlights. It's totally maddening!

So, the number one culprit in a flare up with Hashimoto is gluten which mimics thyroid cells to antibodies. Almost every site I went to said so. Interesting enough, the one two-hour video, lists glutens as public enemy #1 for all auto immune illnesses even more than night shades. It had to extremely interesting for me to listen for two hours. So after a month of research into a gluten free diet, I decided to do a 30-day trial to see if it makes a difference. It's going to be difficult because I'm cooking for others too.

Nearest I can figure, I've had this disease for a minimum of one stage or other for two and a half decades! But, only recently that a doctor looked at my medical history with all the diagnoses, all my medications, what I was telling her, and put it all together. Even my allergies are a symptom of Hashimoto. According to the doctors, Hashimoto is triggers by a strong emotional event and an infection/virus that is stubborn to "cure." That's been my whole life.  LOL  

As I back tracked, I found it all fit into this neat little package. The craziest part is it isn't caused by the thyroid gland at all. The thyroid gland is a major player though that causes the majority of symptoms that leads to the diagnosis. My thyroid is responding to being under siege by antibodies. It's a misfiring of the BRAIN that causes my own body to attack itself. My poor brain. It may weigh only 2% of my body weight but it controls so much of who we are. Unfortunately, there is no miracle medicine or treatment for this disease like so many ailments like living post stroke striving for recovery. But...

Nothing is impossible.\

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Botox is In!!

 The Botox injections are in and working. Or at least, beginning to. The pressure on my ankle pulling it to the inward and downward spasms are lessening. Now, I just need to get into physical therapy to get some gains to combat the post stroke spasticity. It will means Tens application, physical stretching, exercises, and yes, even dry needling to make it all happen.

The things we go through trying to recover what we lost. Or, for me, to recover what the spasticity has taken away because I was well on my way towards recovering my arm and hand function when the spasticity gradually took it all away again. Darn post stroke complications or side effects. I could play woulda, coulda, shoulda until the cows come home... if I had some to begin with. But it doesn't change the facts. It is and I have to get it back.

Rebecca over at Home After A Stroke and Dean over at Dean's Musings have posted over and over about how many repetitions it takes to recover. Both have been at this longer than I have. The amount is staggering, but none of us quit. We're all working toward recovering.  So, once again I'll get ready to get up and go. In the hope of strengthening my tricep, extensor muscles and my ankle enough before the Botox begins to wane. The spasticity won't pull me over the abyss into full fledge painful contortions again.

This I can fight. The fight for a PCP and endo will have to wait for days between therapy sessions. I'm picking the battles I can almost win. I waited for the painful cramps during the six months of doctor scheduling. The didn't occur until the week before my Botox injections. That's a positive because normally they would have started the week before my three month Botox injections. I'm not discounting God's Grace in all of this either. I've been thanking and praising Him for weeks now. 

  Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Still Sleeping, But Getting Some Things Done Too!

Have you heard of store shelves left empty without restocking? I witnessed it today. It was panic buying  before a hurricane. I asked a stock person if there was any dishwashing detergent in the back. Sadly, he shook his head. I was left the grocery not buying quite a few items on my list.

Now, I use coupons to shop with. I don't buy twenty or thirty of the same items. I'll buy maybe four of a given item. That's my personal maximum.  I have made a conscientious decision toward stock piling items in my stores of open one buy two to replace it. This way there is enough for everyone. Sounds logical and responsible, right?

Pre COVID lock/shut down there was abundance, if not a glut, of choices. Since the reopening the choices are limited brands available and number available. Not that I'd buy a case of anything at today's prices. There would have to be a very good prices cut like 2000 prices.

Today, I'm missing our chickens and quail. I bought two 10lb bags of leg quarters for a pretty good price under $7 each...even this spring. I could get it it for $4. That's how much price have gone up. You can't see me but I'm shaking my head in disgust. We even grew our own too. We could buy straight run chicks twice a year and butcher them. Twenty-five quails provided us with meat and eggs in an endless supply chain. But that was before on the acreage. I'm in the city now and those are impossible to do here. Quail possibly, but certainly not chickens, not roosters. Only for raising eggs for your household. That won't feed us meat for the table. At least not very long. Even stretching the daylights out of it, will this household of four maybe three meals.

 I brought my prized chicken leg quarters home. I had planned on vanning it bone-in and thought better of that. I put the chicken in the pressure canner with assorted herbs and seasoning. It only took 25 minutes to cook the chicken. I pulled the chicken out, pill the meat off the bones, and returned the bones back into the canner. These will cook another two hours under pressure for a mineral rich bone broth and I did add some bones from the freezer too.. The chicken meat will be jarred and canned as meat in a

broth base. Each jar holds roughly about a pound of meat. There'll be enough broth in each jar to make a gravy. Perfect for a casserole,  pot pie, BBQ chicken sliders or sandwiches. or chicken salad for our family. I also got six pounds of ground chuck to can up. Between the two, I should have a full canner load double stacked with refried pinto and black beans for a total load of nineteen meal protein options for us. That's another thing I didn't het that was on my list Navy Beans. I wanted to can a case of chili beans for our food stores too. My son-in-law loves my chili. I found an abundance of canning jars at the local Ace Hardware. They have both Ball and Pur (a Chinese offshoot). Last week. they had them 35% off so I snatched up some cases of half gallon and quart jars. In case you're interested, I chose the Ball brand. I usually buy American when I can. I do miss my free Amish store jars. Sigh!

Not a bad day's work, but now I'm beyond exhausted. My foot is propped up for now, waiting for the bone broth to finish in my small pressure canner. Just twenty more minutes until I can turn off the heat. I'll let it naturally pressure down while I sleep, and can it up tomorrow. There should be two gallons of rich bone broth in there or 6 pint jars in there and a steaming mug of enriched for me bone broth to start the day with for me. I only slept 14 hours today. That's better...somewhat

Nothing is impossible. 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Answers and Murphy's Law

In case you hadn't noticed, I've been MIA for the past few weeks. In my last post, I told you how I was exhausted and sleeping so much. I was too exhausted to type. I think I've found the issue but am at a loss of how to solve it.

No, I haven't gotten a PCP nor endocrinologist as yet. In desperation, I called my Medicare supplement company for a doctors list that would take my plan. They said they were five and I thought. "Fine, that's a good start." I rarely need my PCP anyhow. He/She would mainly be responsible for a clearing house for my other specialists and refill my allergy meds. I have this thing with my PCP, I usually won't bother you so don't bother me. I'll go in for my post hospital and semi annual checkups, but that's about it unless I need a referral to another specialist like an endocrinologist. I called several thyroid specialist here but they all require a local PCP referral even though I send them faxed records from my previous endo quite easily. GRRR! Murphy's Law hit #1

To compound the issue I received the list of PCPs and endos from my insurance company. Of the five they have listed only one has a contact phone number but a FL address. The other four are blank except the name. So being a computer savvy individual, I do a computer search and even broke out the phone book. you know that huge, paper book with white and yellow pages you get once a year. Nothing. There were no listing for these doctors anywhere! Well, poop! I think maybe they are part of a hospital physician's group that aren't listed singly unless you search their groups. So, I search the groups and still nothing.  So how are you supposed to find them? I thought of going to the AMA site but that's like finding a needle in a hay stack. I tried phoning the one doctor that I at least had a phone number for and was told by an automated voice there was troubled with the phone service to please try again later. ARGH!!! I tell you, I can't win for losing. Murphy's Law hit #2

So left to my own devices, I started researching the symptoms on the web. I'm so exhausted I'm sleeping 16 out of 24 hours a day. I had a cardiac stress test last week and drifted off twice in three hours during it. This is insane! Oh, and the stress test results were fine. So that rules out any cardiac causes for my exhaustion. Last week I stopped the two medicines that were raising my heart rates and blood pressure. They were causing my heart to race constantly even while sedately sitting in my chair for hours/ Even without these meds my blood pressure and rate rates are borderline high for to weeks now. The meds would make them higher. During my stress test my numbers got scary. After they stops the drug and everything should drop down to normal, my B/P but mine went up to 190/110! But, the staff didn't seem concerned. When I had my first stroke my B/P was only 185/98! I'll see my cardiologist Monday. I'll address these issues then. It seems my body has switched back into chronic high B/P and ventricular fib mode again. I'm beating my fist on the desk. Murphy's Law hit #3

In my research, one diagnosis kept coming up no matter which reputable site I went to...Hashimoto disease flare up, or acute hypothyroiditis. Treatment by an endocrinologist is highly recommended. Zing! Slaps my own forehead. Why didn't I think of that??!! Murphy's Law hit #4 

Isn't it grand to be in a Catch-22, or Murphy's Law circular trap? I should be well versed with Murphey's Law being a Murphey. The "e" stands for extra oomph. LOL One day, I'll sit up in heaven and laugh, but that's not today. Today, it just seems to be yet another impossible situation I've gotten myself into. I feel like this

But as y'all know...

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Sleep Perchance to Dream

I've been extremely tired lately. Four hours of uninterrupted sleep has been the best I can manage. It's been strange but it's been my semi normal sleeping pattern for so long, anything else seems abnormal. Since moving to southeast GA again, I had extended periods of exhaustion. Granted my pain levels have creeped up a bit with the delay of getting botox and the stress of trying to replace doctors are added into the mix making the tiredness I'm feeling almost understandable. Almost.

This boggles my mind. Y'all know me. I'm the never ending cheer leader. The go-getter. The full steam ahead gal. And yet, it's all I can do to get out of bed some days. I texted the family that dinner was ready last night. My daughter came in and looked at me saying, "Ready for bed already?" I responded that I never got dressed in the first place. It was true. I'd thought about changing clothes, but instead after taking my second doses of pills at 11 AM, I had just crawled back into bed and slept until 3PM. I sat at my computer dozing after my third doses of medicines until it was time to take my bedtime meds at 11PM. I crawled into bed and slept until 5AM.

Sunday morning trying to stay awake again. I repeated Saturday's pattern of sleeping off and on. It's been a losing battle.  In fact, this has been going on for a month. This was going on for as long as my heart has been acting up. I saw my new cardiologist on Monday and he said it was unlikely that my fatigue was caused by my heart. Of course the fatigue could also be from the Hashimoto Disease, but without a PCP to order blood work or refer me to an endocrinologist, I'm pretty well stuck. Does the chronic fatigue that happened with my first stroke worsen over time? I never heard of it worsening.

Too many questions and issues to deal with, and not enough answers. Bu then again...
Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Podiatrist's Visit

 I had my second podiatrist's appointment yesterday and I noticed something strange about him. He never sits down. There isn't even one of those roll around stools for him or staff in the treatment rooms.

Okay, so I get my toes clipped and smoothed with a roto-tool. No issues with that, but then came the shaving down of the callus which honestly, had become quite painful. The familiar knife twisting in the foot with every weight bearing step pain was back after only ten weeks.  For this procedure he raised the chair as far as it would go and tilted it back as far as it would go. I was in the position of almost doing a head stand. Not really, but it sure felt like it.  Even so, he had to bend his knees to see what he was doing with the scalpel. This was no short man. Later, standing beside him,  My head may have touched his arm pit and I'm five foot squat.

We talked about ways to reduce the callus permanently or at it not reaching this painful status between appointments. I was already doing the moisturizing massages every night. Finally he said a foot transplant. I guess it was a running joke between he and his other patients. But it got me thinking, what if it were possible?

Since the spasticity is caused by a short circuitry in the brain, wouldn't it also effect the new foot? Probably. Darn. So much for that fix. The options of ankle and foot reconstruction/fusion surgery is still on the table as is the amputation above the ankle/foot and prosthetic option. Both are extreme measures to keep me walking on my own two feet without pain and AFO so to speak. But is it too extreme? Or, should I go quietly into a wheelchair for the rest of my life?

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Another Week Down

A dat late again .Sigh! It seems it's about all I can do anymore. But time eventually passes. I do keep myself busy to make the waiting go by faster and keep frustration at bay. My project that I've taken on is the family's food provisions. September is Preparedness Month. Actually, I started this project in June.

This house has a 20'x25' pantry with two upright, 27 cu ft freezers plus an additional refrigerator/freezer in it. It was almost bare. I've having fun trying to fill it. I've laid in a couple months of paper goods like paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper. But things like Tampax, menstrual pads, urinary pads, and adults diapers are also stockpiled. Once again, couponing has saved my bank account as I squeeze pennies into dimes. In  fact the $5.00 a week I spend on Sunday papers (2) more than pays or itself in savings. A lot of weeks, I'm buying about $500+ of products for at most $75. My goal is not years or decades, but are least six months with to start with. I've reached my goal in laundry supplies and most of the nonfood goals.

I'm not ignoring the food stock either. Slowly, I've been getting this big city family's going out every other night to grab something to eat, or just buy what they need for a couple of meals at a time to a more home based eating routine. It's been difficult converting them over even with the COVID mess last year. Gone are the half eaten takeout containers to be replaced by real food. Granted some are leftover real food foe them to take for "lunches." It's so much better for them too. I'm not stuck cooking every night either, it's only 3 or 4 meals a week plus the stockpile.

For the stockpiling of food stuff, I'm consolidating what's here by looking before shopping. When I first got here and started cooking. I'd find three or four opened containers of the same thing plus two or three unopened containers in different cabinets and in the two kitchens (2 fully equipped kitchens and a partial outdoor one. Plus a small "snacks" one in the bar area). I wasn't really being nosy, but really?!  I'd be cooling or planning a meal and ask my daughter if she had a certain ingredient and she'd answer, "yeah, somewhere." Then, began a mad rush to find it. I found ingredients everywhere. I reorganized, consolidated, and redistributed all the food prep areas, It was back the way my son in law's grandmother had it. There had been too many cooks in the kitchen since she initially organized it. This also went a long way in filling up the master storeroom too.  I could see what we had and what to buy. It was much easier to keep inventory too. My inventory guidelines are simple. Open one, buy one once you've hit a baseline. To reach your baseline, it's need one buy two or three.

As far as food stuffs I've put by so far, I've canned 6 months worth of pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, French fries, hash browns (cottage fries), diced onions (dehydrated), garlic (dehydrated), ginger (dehydrated), and assorted commercially canned vegetables. What is lacking is meat. I still haven't found a cheaper alternative to the higher priced grocery option. Meat prices get higher and higher as weeks go by. Although I did lay in about 3 months of mylar packaged, commercial tuna from a killer sale (sale price - coupons=free) . If I'd had more coupons. I would have gone back got more. So the pantry isn't looking so bare anymore. It's a quarter of the way filled. Not too shoddy in a three month time frame. 

In case you were wondering, my cost of this stockpile was $581 (I budgeted $600 for groceries each month/$320 a month for household) out of $2,641 for grand total of a 80% savings. You can't tell me that combining sales and coupons doesn't work. And, none of the coupons were doubled, only stacked between rewards, rebate offers, store and manufacturer coupons. Total time spent compiling data necessary to do the deals about ten hours a week. Thank God for the internet and other crafty folks out there! Average number of stores visited and time spent shopping, about 2-3 stores and two hours a week in stores. I'm not a die hard couponer who goes to ten stores to get the deals, or buys unneeded stiff because I can get it for free, and hopefully resell or donate it. I probably would have saved more. LOL Remember, I'm a firm believer smarter, not harder.

Nothing is impossible.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Breathing a Bit Easier

 Sigh! Better late than never.

The past two weeks, I've had a difficulty breathing. Yes, all that extra fluid from my ill heart finally hit my lungs. I knew it was happening and knew it would without a cardiologist's help. Lasix in high doses can be a scary thing, even for me. My wheezing got so bad, I could barely manage ten steps to the bathroom without getting raspy breaths let alone back to my seat again. I hit my inhaler so often I barely needed the drugs to raise my heart rate. My inhaler is albuterol so it raised my heart rate and blood pressure. Yes, it was that bad.

I've finally got a local cardiologist!!! Or, will have after the 13th. I just have to hold out until then. What was really shocking to me was my weight gain. Now knowing I have a heart issue, I weigh myself every morning. For me, it's the best indicator of how much of a fluid load I'm carrying. I went to my late afternoon neurology appointment and as part of my check in I got on the scale. I can usually count on a 1-5lb variance between my at home scale and any doctor's office scale. But the reading showed as 15lbs higher!! There was no way I could have gained 10lbs in less than 12 hours. This was fluid weight. My feet were puffy and my middle was muffin topped over my jeans. No wonder I was huffing and puffing over the walk to the treatment room, several hundred feet. When listening with a stethoscope my lower lungs sounded wet like I'm going into CHF (congestive heart failure).

With my midodrine and metotoprol taken early in the AM by the appointment time, my heart rate and BP was in normal limits, 72 & 124/80. Imagine what it would be without the drugs and the walking. So when I got home, I doubled my old dose of Lasix to 40 mg and spent the next 8 hours peeing every 10-20 minutes urinating. The next morning, I held off the Lasix until noon because that's when the weight piled on from fluid back up began. It was after I started my daily routine and I was up on my feet more. Sure enough, my wright was up 5lbs heavier than my first rising weight. By 1PM, my weight was up  7lbs when I took my 40mg of Lasix again. My side note was that I noticed my affected foot's shoe began feeling tight. I'd found an important indicator to the fluid build up. 

After looking at the situation realistically, I bought diapers to see me through until my cardiologist's appointment.  You see I don't know how to juggle my meds any more than I've done so far. I may need some other medical intervention like a pacemaker or a total change in medications. Both of those take a doctor. Since my bladder sling tore, my urge to urinate and actually going is about 30 seconds. It's no longer a small to medium gush of urine, easily handled by a pad. But with the Lasix, it's a GUSH that lasts several seconds and repeats with every step until I reach the commode. Think of turning on the tap full force for a 5-second increments. Even having 20 pair of panties and pads can't keep up with the flows with the Lasix. Even with a diaper, pants or shorts are left in the drawer for at least the first four hours after taking the Lasix. It's just one more thin between my backside and the commode and every second counts...even diapers have their limits. I have thought about upping my dose to 60mg of Lasix but I'm not comfortable with that without medical supervision, I'd bought a 90-day prescription the week my old cardiologist changed my dose to as needed so I have plenty.

I've been watching the flooding with Hurricane Ida, I've been going through the similar battle with my body. I hope the cardiologist has an answer I can live with...anything less than a transplant and open heart surgery. This is where I draw the line and refuse. But at least now they know what causes my v-fib and cardiac arrest during surgery...a drug allergy to propofol, an anesthesia med. Sharp, good work Emory team for the diagnosis! It was traced back to my egg yolk allergy. How's that for great detective work?

For now, I'm breathing easier and moving again. I caught russet potatoes on sale this week so I canned up some more French fries and some great waxy, baby potatoes to can whole. Every little bit counts.

Nothing is impossible. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: I Am Okay with Dying

 You know it's strange the thoughts that filter through your brain just before falling asleep at night. Sleep for more than a few hours is impossible right now. I'm fighting the painful the cramping of spastic muscles. Come on Tuesday plus a week for Botox to kick in. 

This was the case tonight. I slept for two hours. But as I fell asleep the thought struck me that it was okay if I died. Upon awakening, the thought hung with me and I decided to explore just why I took such comfort in that thought. I was really at peace with it. I mean, sure, I was  awake anyhow. I was in pain, but at three AM I wasn't about to take a pain medicine that would knock six hours and leave me hungover for ten.  I have a low tolerance for pain meds. I decided to gets up and put my arm sling back on. It did nothing for the cramping, but the additional support helped ease the effects of gravity. Putting on my AFO was a feat worthy of a circus contortionist because my big toe goes upward and the rest curled under as my foot strained downward and inward in the cramping position. Massaging the arch of my foot and my Achilles' tendon helped expedite the process some. It's more like feat in perfect timing than actually relaxing the foot to get my affected foot into the 90° orthotic when my foot and ankle are like this. But I manage.

I hobble to my computer by way of the refrigerator for a drink. The Velcro crackles as it fights against the muscles trying to pull my foot out of position as I walk. I finally plop down in the chair and the spasm relaxes a bit as I take the load bearing duties off my affected leg. Three more hours until I can take my next dose of muscle relaxers. The cranberry juice and tonic water will help some too.

<I'm wearing my "This is NOT the life I ordered" t-shirt as a night shirt.>No, I'm not on the pity pot. I'm just telling it like it is in my living post stroke life.

I'm in my rational/analytical thinking cap. Back to the thought in question. Why had that thought about it being okay to die bring me comfort? Most people would be terrified or fighting against the thought of dying. But that isn't the case with me. It may not been the life I ordered, but I've made the most of it.

  • I know what awaits me...heaven. I have no doubts in my mind of that outcome.
  • I've lived a full life with no bucket list of unfulfilled desires. I've never believed in a bucket list. I've lived my life fulfilling my desires short of a full recovery from my strokes. With the birth of great-grandchildren, it completed my parenting journey. My adult children and half of my grandchildren are set, and a firm groundwork has been laid for the rest.
  • I'll be with my beloved again. This is my greatest wish. I feel we were short changed in our lives together. We only had 25 years, but there should have been so much more and eternity sounds great...that might be enough time together. I miss him terribly with each passing year.
  • I'm ready to die. No, I'm not suicidal just tired. I've had more ups and downs on this roller coaster life than most folks more older. And yet, I'm thankful for the growing experience each has taught me along the way. I've been rode hard and put up wet in my stall too many times. 
  • I feel like I'm just biding time. I'm still doing because I'm still breathing. My life is completed.
I feel I'm blessed by this realization. It's satisfying to have a sense of completeness and accomplishment. 

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Waiting and Combating Frustration

Better late than never.

I know I'm not the only one that combats frustration while in a holding pattern. I haven't written here or anywhere else in a couple of weeks because of it. For me, it's doctors, or should I say getting new doctors in my new locale. I mean all of my old docs treated me like I was going to die instantly if I didn't do this or that immediately. And yet, it's been three months since I've seen a doctor an I'm still here. So much for being a sick, dying, old woman. 🤣   Now, that's not necessarily true. I am a sick, dying, old woman who has a complicated medical history. I just haven't had some doctors tell me so in months.

The stress it could cause not only frustration, but anger, grief, depression and a whole lot of harmful baggage nobody needs. It is like a weighted blanket, not the good kind like PTSD patients use. These other issues can eat you alive, hamper recovery, and cause actual damage to your body.

So how do I beat it? Or, at least not let the frustration beat me up and consume me? I often say that it's all a matter of perception and mind over matter. Your brain is a powerful a part of your body. Even a damaged one like for us stroke survivors or should I say, dead gray matter. In a lot of ways, we're better than everyone else because we've beaten the odds and we survived the game of life's roulette table and we're on our way back or getting a do-over. Although, it doesn't feel like that sometimes. But, life is what it is and all you can do is make what you can of it. If you aren't happy about somethings in your life figure out what you can do to change.

Keeping mentally and physically active starve frustration. By being active, you don't dwell on the problem feeding the frustration. So what am I doing? 

For the mental half, I printed a list of all the cardiologists and PCPs in the area. I run the list by my daughter, she has lived in this town for 17 years, half of which working in the medical field.  At the very least, she knows who the real stinkers are. This information is worth its weight in gold and those names are stricken from the list. It narrows down the list considerably. Then, I'll let my fingers do the walking. I'll give each practice three working days to respond and then move to the next name. When I gave my daughter my list I had her rate the doctors by stars three stars meant the practice was the ultimate and no stars meant they were passable. If she knew nothing about them, they got a question mark. I have to say there weren't many of these. So far, I'm slowly making my way down each list. I'll play computer games to rebuild and strengthen weakened areas of my brain, or watch a movie on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney. or YouTube. But, I'm doing something with my mind other than feeding my frustration.

I'm in a Catch-22 situation as far as the physical side of the equation. To walk and do I need adjustments made to my AFO. To get an appointment to an orthotics place (Hanger or another of 4 options), I need a PCP because my podiatrist is just  a DO not a MD that insurances demand. I need dry needling or Botox to make the spasticity in my foot and ankle behave which would help in the meantime. That isn't possible until after the 24th when I see my new neurologist (another waiting game). 

My brace not fitting right allows me to stand and walk in twenty-minute increments. So I'll sweep my apartment and sit down with my foot elevates above my heart for an hour. Then, mop my wood floors and back down again. And, so goes my days. By 11 PM, I'm exhausted by the up and downs, and I'm ready for sleep. At 5 AM, I'm back at it again. By the time the sun is high enough in the sky, I'm puttering around pilling this or that weed, talking to the plants, and communing with God, I'm still keeping my twenty-minute on and off my AFO clad foot. During the lull, I've got my phone app tuned to His radio and I'm praising Him the whole time I'm off my foot sitting on my outside door steps. I tend to push my limits when cooking or preserving. Especially, with the final touches. I pay for it by having to prop my foot up for the next several hours.  The dishes don't get done nor food put away until I've gotten the swelling and pain down. I'll be good for twenty minutes or so before I'm back in the chair. I'm really missing my wheelchair or beloved's rollator because I could sit and do. They got left in the barn during the move and we haven't had a chance to go back and get them yet. Mel is still holding onto them for me. 

But for now, I'm doing without. I think Medicare part B would pay to replace the wheelchair. It was bought 9 years ago not under Medicare. The rollator was my husband's as the shower chair, and bed side commode was too. so my Medicare should pat to replace them, shouldn't they? That leaves me with the problem of who writes they prescription to order them? I'll see the neurologist later this month and I guess I could talk to them when I ask for a PT order. Or, does PT order them? Or, does my PCP, if and when I find one? It was so much easier when I was in the hospital before I was discharged home after my first stroke. Sigh! 

Breathe, Jo, breathe. This kind of thinking is a trap to fall back into frustration. Okay, it's time to get busy. I couldn't manage to do the dinner ,dishes last night. Everything was rinsed off and stacked so they are ready to be washed up and then there's a peach cobbler to make for dessert tonight. That will keep me busy until the rain stops. tuning in the app on my phone. Here we go, another day's work begins...

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Being Paid for Waiting

 Do you ever wish you could be paid for waiting on doctors? I sure do. No, I'm not a doctor nor play one on TV. A doctor thinks nothing about agony he/she causes while awaiting decisions being made or even having you wait in their offices for hours past your appointment times. You have nothing better to do, right?

My old cardiologist's office called me after they faxed their notes to my prospected cardiologist's office. That was four weeks ago. I've had a minor bout of congestive heart failure as 25 lbs of fluid squeezed my heart and lungs. It's a good thing I didn't throw away my Lasix after my doctor discontinued it. It's also lucky I remembered how to balance my electrolytes with that great of a fluid loss over the next three days and continue doing it while I'm waiting to get their approval for me to be their patient. I could push the matter and just go to the hospital and take pot luck of the thirty cardiologist in town. Knowing my luck, I'd get Dr. Iamgodnknowit whose the worst in town.

That goes for my choice for PCP, Endocrinologist, ENT, and Allergist too. What is wrong with these people? Is my money not good enough for them? In Cornelia, doctors said they weren't accepting new patients which is understandable. There are only 15-minute spots available in a week. Granted, my medical history is a nightmare, but don't they have student loans, huge mortgages, country club dues, and alimonies to pay? If my medical history is too much for them to feel comfortable with, tell me so I can look elsewhere. After all, I got nothing better to do than wait on them. I don't have a life worth living.

I am trying to live my life post stroke to the fullest. I've got a garden to create, a family to grocery shop and cook for, and I can think of half a dozen things I'd rather be doing instead of this waiting around. Of course, I'm doing most of those things now while waiting on them but my frustration levels are high.

This too shall pass. Breathe. And Repeat.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Decision Making Process Post Stroke

 Some cognitive decline is expected after a stroke. While I had little difficulty with prioritizing tasks that need to be done. When faced with tasks that need to be done while my foot and AFO impairs me is a different story. It just takes one more thing to upset the apple cart, now I have two- healing broken bones and increased spasticity. 

I know before getting up I have to put my AFO on first or I'll fall with the first step I take with my affected leg. The spasticity has gotten really bad since I was unable to get my scheduled round of Botox injections in June. My foot arches downward and inward. You'd think I'd be able to walk on my tip toes, wouldn't you? But no, the inward rotation increases with weight bearing so it would be foolhardy to do so because the foot would roll farther inward. Not to mention when it does a hard spasm on top of the spasticity the shoe and brace have to come off or more bones will break. There's no denying the spasms nor controlling them. Unfortunately, it will get worse before I can get into the neurologist for my injections. 

After I prepare dinner each night, I usually get a hard spasm in my foot and ankle. Most of the times, my daughter (unless she's working late) will come in and put the finishing touches and serve the plate while I'll painfully hobble to my chair, take off my shoe, and AFO, massage and prop my foot up. It's that last half an hour of standing and moving that gets me. It's now to the point of almost an hour before I can don my brace and walk again albeit with a manageable amount of pain, instead of two hours of spasms like it will be. I can at least get to the bathroom and back again. This is how I'm managing my day now. Fifteen to twenty-five minutes of activity to an hour rest, but I am doing. I can no longer wear my new AFO with the spasticity so high. I'm stuck in my old AFO that allows for the swelling and the spasticity, and the straps need to be replaced. Come on PCP so I can get an appointment with a brace maker!

Wednesday night, I was just finishing up dinner when a spasm hit as usual. Nothing spectacular, just my butter fried chicken (my mother's recipe), boiled potatoes with herbed butter and corn on the cob. I called for my daughter to help. She drained the potatoes and tossed them in the herbed butter. She prepared the plates and brought me one at my dining room dinette before taking two plates to her husband and her into the main dining room of the house. I do so miss eating at the big table  with family. It'll be better when my granddaughter comes home from the west coast next month. She's my cook's helper. She's becoming quite a cook.

About an hour later, the rain started. The skylight in the kitchen started dripping. I hadn't put the pitcher down before because it wasn't raining. I shrugged off the sweater I'd donned. I'm just not used to air conditioning anymore. My daughter keeps the thermostat at 68℉ which is a little chilly to me since my blood pressure and pulse rate took a nose dive after my Baclofen removal surgery in 2019. That's even with the meds to raise both. *I digressed, sorry* I donned my AFO and headed to the kitchen. The pain was manageable as I hobbled across the distance. I grabbed a couple of paper towels to wipe up the water and placed the pitcher on the floor to catch additional drips. Come on two days in a row without rain so my son-in-law can recaulk the skylight and have it cure!

Of course with the dripping sound of water, the urge to pee hit me. There was no way I'd make the thirty odd steps to the bathroom. I'd just have to gush into my pad. Then, I noticed that my daughter had not put the extra fried chicken away. A quick reach under the sink to get a container so I could make chicken salad for the kids' trip out of town. I had bought croissants for the sandwiches. Just the thought of buying them still irks me, but some things just have the wait until I'm back up on my feet again. The gush had bought me some time. Another gush on the way and I was sitting on the commode.

Relieved, I hobbled back into the kitchen to run a sink of washing water in the sink. I was putting the last dirty pot in the sink when a twinge just above the ankle told me it was time to take a load off so I grabbed what little bit of trash there was to throw it in the trash can as I went. I hobbled back to my chair. The dishes would wait until the morning. I'd noticed that my bathroom trashcan was full but I'd save that chore the next time I'm up and so it goes. It's a good thing I can see a sequence of events when needed/

Prioritizing tasks has been my blessing living post stroke. It doesn't always go as smoothly as this, I wish it did. There are still times, after nine years of living post stroke, I forget to don my AFO first before getting up. All it takes is standing up to realize my mistake. Luckily, I haven't fallen in my hast of having to pee. Or, have to back track to get things done. It is what it is.

In other matters, I started a new blog. It's focus is on senior living self reliance and how tos from a disabled view point. I'll eventually start a YouTube channel along the same lines. Just because you are older, single, disabled, and living the senior living community life style doesn't mean you can't help yourself along the way. You ain't dead yet! You can find it here.

Nothing is impossible. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: An Attitude Adjustment

 I was listening (streaming) my favorite HIS radio this week trying to get out of my funk. I was on the pity pot because in spite of the podiatrist shaving my callus down on my AFO clad foot, it was painful to take a step.  Well, I had pushed pass the pain to make kimchi last week. A big mistake, 

So now, I could make one trip to the front door and back (50 ft one way) before the pain sets in. The pain is in the ankle and last all day long allowing for trips to the bathroom and back to my seat (about thirty steps) without the pain becoming too excruciating. I am now sitting in the chair playing on the computer with my leg elevated above my heart on a bar stool most of the time. I had so much I wanted to do, but can't so frustration sets in. Thus enters the pity pot. It just hurts too bad to walk any farther.

I was playing a game in the computer when this song came on the radio. "Say I Won't" by Mercy Me. It struck my heart with such conviction I thought I would share it with y'all. I didn't know the story behind the song until I watched the video. All I can say is watch and listen.

It reminded me of how far I've come since my ischemic/hemorrhagic stroke that left me paralyzed on the right side in 2012. I was thankful. No, I haven't recovered the use of my arm nor leg, but even such, there is not much I can't do that I did before even with the loss. I just have to learn a new way to do it or adapting. 

Although I've heard this song many times, this time I saw me in the song. How many times have circumstances rose before me in the past. How many times in here and in real life I've said, "Watch me!" Suddenly, the funk cloud lifted. Sure, I can't walk now because of pain. But, will it stay this way forever, probably not. 

~~I'm gonna run
No, I'm gonna fly
I'm gonna know what it means to live
And not just be alive.

The world's gonna hear
'Cause I'm gonna shout
And I will be dancing when circumstances drown the music out
Say I won't ~~

Watch me! 

Eventually, I'll get a new PCP who'll write an order for my AFO to be fixed and I only have to wait until August for my new neurologist to shoot me full of Botox to somewhat tame the spasticity. Then, I'll be raring to go again. It just seems like forever. Say I won't... my faith will show you and I'll say 'watch me' go with a renewed attitude.  Patience, Jo, patience. ARGH!!!  Repeat to yourself over and over again.... 

"God is good, all the time. Remember, God's timing is impeccable. 
Never too early nor too late. It's just a matter of perspective."

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Happy Independence Day

Today is still the 4th of July although later than my usual posting time. I've been busy chopping vegetables for today's task... making kimchi in mass quantities (only 12 lbs worth). I rediscovered by love of city life this week by going to the Asian market. I spent way more than I should have, but there was so much I had denied myself for decades that I found in this shop. But I digress already from what I wanted to chat with you today. So let's get to it.

Independence after a stroke. Yes, it is possible and doable. It may be small like being able to cook dinner or large like living on your own. Or super large like for me, coming home from the TCU, 30 days after my strokes, to be full time caregiver to my terminally ill husband. While this was my greatest blessing towards my recovery thus far, I wouldn't wish it on any other stroke survivor. I honestly had no choice in the matter and had to make do. I had to figure out how to do it, or forget about it. Or the time my husband fell out of bed and I had to get him back up into the bed by myself. It wasn't like household chores, I just couldn't leave it and forget it. I mean my beloved was on the floor. Once I got him to stop helping me help him. I finally figured out a way to get him back into the bed without both ending up in a pile on the floor. Neat trick for someone who is paralyzed on the right side. But, I did manage it. Luckily, it never happened again. Once was enough and I thank God for the wisdom to accomplish the task.

It was many incidences like this one that made me gain my independence over the next eighteen months before my beloved passed on. It was a trial by fire or under fire that made me do whether I was ready to adapt or not. I was drug kicking and screaming into functioning state of living. Honestly no one should have to recover or learn to adapt this way, but I consider it a blessing. It showed me that if I could succeed under those circumstances, there was not much the future could throw at me that I couldn't handle.

Every day I pick one thing that I've never done since my strokes to challenge myself and gain some measure of independence. The results may not be perfect, but it's a work in progress. You really can't expect perfection in the first few attempts (read 20 or more attempts). Today, I julienned carrots and daikon radish for my kimchi. The last time I made this I used my mandolin. Before my strokes, I could do this with a chef's knife all day long if needs arose, but have beenunable to do it since now though I've attempted to. 

They didn't turn out perfect nor did I expect them to. Some were thicker or thinner than they should have been. That's okay. Next time I'll do better. Do I expect to do it as well as I did with two hands? Nope, just good enough is fine. I don't have to do it professionally ever again. My strokes have taught me to be more accepting of myself. This is a very good thing. But let me tell you that it took me an hour to julienne 1 cup of daikon radish and another cup of carrots. I ended up just snipping two bunches of green onions instead of cutting them with the knife. My index finger and thumb is sore from all the knife work under tension of trying to julienne these two vegetables. It still feels like I'm working backwards using my left hand for chopping vegetables instead of my right after nine years.

But wohoo! I did it! It's independence day!!!!!!! Now I have another option if I need julienned vegetables. Life is always better when you have options.

Nothing is impossible. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: WWMD (What Would Momma Do)

There has been much discussion over the past few months over attendance to my youngest daughter's wedding in October in Arizona.Yes, we know they've moved farther west but all the wedding planning stuff was planned and paid for before her hubby got transferred. So now everyone will be traveling for the wedding. She actually had to arrange for the week off from her new job as assistant executive pastry chef. It was one of the requirements she asked for prior to taking their 6-figure yearly salary. Yes, she's that talented and has work experience to back it up at only 35 years old. I'm a proud momma, can't you tell? 

When it came down the pike that maybe I would attend her wedding after the move to southeast Georgia, everyone was ecstatic. If I was still in north Georgia, I would not have gone.  Now the plan was for me to go. On the drive moving, I offered to pay for the round trip airfare for the four of us to Tucson for the wedding and back. Yes, I had saved that much with their help. Then, I was informed that additional person was joining us. After reviewing my financial status after the move, there was no way I could afford the extra ticket. I was stuck. I'd already made the offer. To make matters worse, every one of them was a part of the wedding party so they had to go. 

As always I prayed about it. But it wasn't a GITG (Give it to God) because I couldn't leave it alone, but had to keep fiddling and worrying about it. I even did a WWMD. My Momma was a very logical and calculating woman. Above all, she was a Christian. I went to sleep in the wee hours after checking all the sites for plane fares to no avail. The prices kept fluctuating higher over the next few days.

For the better part of last week I struggled with this. In speaking with the local kids, I found that they could afford the wedding attire, the room rates, and even the food. Finally on Thursday, WWMD broke through loud and clear. "Put your feelings aside. Do what is necessary and trust God for the rest." Although I say it was WWMD, I knew it was God breaking through all the noise and turmoil going on in my heart and mind.

I checked the site I normally did got airfare and found that the tickets and even a rental car was within my budget.  The reason for this was simple. The airline tickets was for four instead of five adults. It wasn't essential for me to go unlike the other four. The wedding could go on without the mother of the bride in attendance. Without me tagging along, it was one less... plane fare, room at the resort, formal wear that had to be bought, and seat needed in the rental vehicle. I was just the mother of the bride not the matron of honor, bridesmaid, best man. nor the groomsman/usher. 

The wedding could go on without major hiccups without me. I'll be there spiritually and virtually though. They were going to live stream the wedding and reception for those members of the family and friends that couldn't attend. I wish the kids well. And who knows, if another stimulus check happens before the wedding, I may be able to make a personal appearance. Unlikely, as that may be, still the request went heavenward and into the GITG box.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: First Canning Session in the New Place

 I had my first order delivered from Walmart Marketplace this week. It's a perk that being back in the big city that I'm finding rather enjoyable. Except several out of stock items were missing and a substitution was made leading to the canning session. My granddaughter is really into Japanese cooking and wanted to learn how to make Pork Tonkatsu so I ordered a whole boneless pork loin. I'd teach her how to break down the loin to make the chops since she thought it would be a good skill set to learn. Well between the time I placed the order and their shopper went to get it, they ran out. GRRR! No Pork Tonkatsu lesson for her. this month 

The other GRRR! moment was had was when they substituted 10lbs of regular green cabbage for Napa Cabbage. I had my heart set on fermenting some kimchee. They are NOT the same thing! What was I to do with 10lbs of green cabbage?! I could have sent it back and got a refund but that would mean waiting until my daughter to get home from work and going to the store. I guess I could have just canned the cabbage plain into jars (yuck! water logged cabbage), but I ran across a YouTube channel that showed how to can coleslaw in a vinegar base pickling it. It is the heyday of summer right now. Quick coleslaw would be excellent. I always say life is about adapting, don't I?

Well, you know my love of YouTube since my stroke. I had never thought to do that before, but there was the recipe from a 1966 Ball Recipe Canning book.  A quick check with other current safe canning websites and with a tweak or two brought the recipe up to today's preserving safe canning standards and you know me I had to adjust the flavor profile a bit to suit us.

The fact that my son-in-law finally got my window air conditioner unit installed this week, God love him, was an added perk for me. It was a warm (90s), humid week in Savannah without it. I'd forgotten how uncomfortable summers could be here after six years away. Plus, being in the city with all the roadways absorbing and releasing the heat of the day. It wasn't cooler at night. Canning in my mother-in-law apartment would have been unbearable without it.

I set about shredding the cabbage. Thank God for my mandolin! Still, quite a bit of chopping was done with my old cleaver. I had four huge heads of cabbages. My cleaver has seen quite a few dozen years service and can still be sharpened to a razor's edge. It makes short work of vegetables and meat alike. I could have just used this to shred all the cabbage but I tend to vary my thicknesses with each slice. Consistency is the key when canning so my mandolin was used. Luckily, they (Walmart) had my order of onions, carrots, vinegars, and spices too. So I set to work. It took me the better part of two and a half days to cut all that cabbage. I ended up with 44 cups of shredded cabbage! I put a couple of large Vidalia onions and a pound of carrots through the mandolin as well. 

I divided all the vegetables between five mounded 7 qt. hospital basins courtesy of my stays at Emory and the NEGRMC, I has prepared the pickling solution while I salted the vegetables. I ended up making five times the recipe for the liquid to have enough. I packed it all into the jars and water bath canned it. I ended up with four dozen pint jars of coleslaw! I think that's a year's worth of fish fries and BBQs, don't you? Now all that is left is to make the pulled pork soft tacos for dinner and clean up. Good thing too 'cause I'm pooped!

An update on Lilbit and her transition to the new place. It took the better part of two weeks for her to acclimate herself to the new home. Now, she's walking around with confidence and her tail is high, She's slowly getting used to seeing through the pet gate across the door leading to the main house. It's a bit disconcerting to her knowing the dog can see through the gate and whines at her. She'll walk over to the gate and touch noses with him to check that he's okay before she continues on her way. 
She thinks it's a grand game when he comes in searching for her, but she's on the back of the recliner watching him go round and round. He never looks up. The only time he barks at her is in frustration like if she's under the bed and he can't get to her. He's too big to fit under there. She gets so lonesome at times. She'd found the spot with the best acoustics, in the small bathroom hallway, to yowl to get my attention no matter where I am in the house. Sometimes she'll just walk up to meowing. She's back into Mommy mode, where Momma has to be in line of site to her every couple of minutes or she'll have to come find me, this now includes the big house. She enjoys exploring it when the dog is in his cage in the mornings. She's three steps behind me unless she smells something interesting. When she loses me, she'll call out. I'll answer her back until she finds me again.

The landscaper friend of my son-in-law came over and cleared out the beds and area where the garden will go. It looks great. Now I see and plan where things are going to grow better. I'll be able to now widen the garden to 40' instead of 30' and still have a 4' border around it.  That will give me three more 50' rows to plant  now corn can be added into the growing plan for next spring. There's a 4' wide growing bed. that's now empty except for a kumquat tree/bush. I can't decide whether to whether to espalier fruit trees along the fence or plant blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries there. I've got until the fall to decide because that neighbor will be replacing the wood fence this summer. What I'll be able to get done will depend on when the kids find another house to buy. I figure with the housing market opening up again, it'll at least take about six months or so. Until then, it's produce what I can and preserve what I harvest. Now to arrange for delivery of that tree service "waste" to set up the garden. I'll still do the market garden setup for optimizing the space I have. Even without selling the produce it still makes sense and cents.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Elevated Raised Bed Construction Begins

 The dismantling of the deck began this week several weeks prior to when it was suppose to. Now keep in mind, I never asked my son in law for elevated raised beds, he saw this video...

and he decided on his own to build them for me out of the pressure treated wood from the deck boards and braced. When I asked him how the limber was pressure treated, he looed at me confused. I then explained that heat pressure treated boards could be used without worry about leeching chemicals. He told me that he just thought to cut up the pool liner to protect the soil. I thought about it. He's really a smart kid.   

I showed him this. It's what we did om the homestead.
He liked that idea also. He decided that where the pool and deck was, he put in the elevated raised beds. His reasoning, to make it easier on me and recycle what he was demolishing. See, I'm already rubbing off on the kids in a good way.😋

It will be  closer to Fall before they are all completed, but that's okay. I can have ;omg growing dedicated spaces for like onions, garlic, and leeks which can take 9 months to grow before harvesting. Meanwhile, I cab use the on ground garden for kale, collards, carrots and other cool-ish weather crops. I may be able to plant my Spring veggies such as cabbages, Napa, and peas in. I don't know yet. First projected frost date isn't until Nov 1st with the first projected hard freeze date until around Thanksgiving. I've given up trying to second guess Mother Nature. I'm going to plant and pray. At least until I can get a high tunnel built.

I interview my new cardiology team later this month. My daughter has heard some great things about them so we'll see. In August I meet, the neurology team I was referred to by my past neuro team, My daughter again has heard laurels about them, but not my individual doctor. That's okay, I've found it easy to switch doctors within the group. My round of Botox will be late by three months, and I'll physically pay the price for that, but I'll grin and bear it like I usually do. In north GA, I had a hard time finding a PCP to play ring leader for my circle of preforming specialist, not so much here. I had n appointment with my daughter's for next week. All that's left is choosing an endocrinologist. It would not be so bad if I didn't have a long list of specialists in this field that I will not choose because I had experience with them due to my husband's rare endocrine diagnosis that eventually killed him. Remember, he was one of 600 cases, documented world wide.

Well, that's my update for this week. How's your week going?

Nothing is impossible

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Settling Into My New Place

 My mother-in-law apartment is huge! Sleeping in my old bed wasn't bad as I thought it would be. It took some adjusting though. I mention to daughter #3 on the phone, the night before I moved in, that it was difficult to get out of so she raised the whole bed on blocks and added another box spring to the mix. Well standing beside the bed the top of the mattress came to my waist! She meant well. Her husband, as tired as he was, lifted the bed and while she knocked the blocks off the  legs. That made the bed better. It only took a little hop to get on the bed. He ended up removing the extra box spring too undoing all of daughter #3's "helpfulness." The new box spring and mattress was higher than my own. So it's a bit higher than my old set. Still lower than ideal but I can live with it.

All my things are about me and fit the space perfectly. I do have to get some shelving units for the canning stuff. I still haven't decided which spare room I'll make into the larder. but for now it's all stacked neatly into one corner of my dining room. Actually, I could convert that whole corner into a larder. There's several empty boo shelves in here that could easily work to that end. I could fashion curtains to block the light.

I've even found a gardening spot for vegetables and space for the herbs that I brought with me! The whole back of the property is   overgrown badly. The herbs that I brought with me will be planted in the flower beds along the front walk. There's a 30'x50' (that's 10- 50' rows) on my side of the side yard that will be perfect for vegetables, I'll implement the Ruth Stout method and just cover the area with cardboard and thick layers of hay all that gras wi;; become a compost to feed the vegetables. It might be late in the season for planting, but hey this is Savannah, you can garden ten months out of a year here. It won't get cold here until December or January. But, I've had it trying to second guess Mother Nature. I can remember dressing my ids in tank tops and shorts on Christmas Eve. I still may get some home grown goodness yet. There's a double gate by the trash can so unloading it all will be a breeze.

I'll have to talk to daughter #3's husband first because he'll have to do all the heavy lifting of the compost bags and hay bales. I can spread it all out myself. I do not have a garden cart here, I'm going to miss it.  I'll need more cardboard boxes too. So many little things are needed, but that's my one handed life. The beautiful parts of using the side yard is it out my door and hang a right, and then there it is. It's a short walk to the outside shed too. What's in there is a mystery but I do know the grandmother was an avid gardener.

She'd be so angry about the way the landscaping has not been kept up, but at 92, it might not matter to her now. I'll have to price a landscaper to see about all the over grown hedges and stuff. There's no way daughter #3's husband or my daughter can do it all with their work schedules. They aren't really green thumb type folks. I sure can't. There's a ton of knee high pine trees and brambles out there.

I spoke to the son-in-law, and his plan was to demolish the back swimming pool and deck area during the summer months. He also sees the need of producing our own food. He has been a city dweller all his life so he'll need some guidance. There is plenty of roof line for water harvesting for the garden beds. Currently it's all running into the sewer. What a waste! Even if we have to move from this property, the "improvements can move with them onto the new property.

He mentioned leaving the Oleander in place as a privacy screen, I said cut it down. Oleander, while beautiful, is poisonous to humans and critters. We could plant blueberry bushes along the back fence instead. We'd have the privacy restored and enjoy the berries for years to come. And come to find out, his grandmother planted an herb garden. It's very badly neglected. But, I was able to salvage a few od the herbs.

I found a tree company that will deliver wood chips by the dump truck load for free! So starting a compost pile and garden beds will be cheaper. Now if I can the county composting site, I'll be in hog heaven and my gardens building will be complete minus some minerals. Now, if I can just get my fifteen year old granddaughter excited about the prospects of gardening...I don't believe that will happen though. Although, she admitted a desire to learn alternative uses of herbs and preserving the harvest. So that's a start. 

I've cooked two meals this week. The leftover meats from the shoulder pork roast will become shredded. BBQ sandwiches later in the month. The leftover beef pot roast will become roast beef hash to serve over rive. I'm still having to adjust serving size because now I'm cooking for 4 instead of 2. I founds our old dump cart that I had loaded with jars had made the trip to Savannah with me. It will eventually have to be returned to Mel. But in the meantime, it will help me set up this garden.

I found out from my podiatrist. two days before I left the mountains that I have three more stress fractures in my AFO clad foot. So I'm back to swapping out AFOs and shoes again. The swelling in the foot becomes too bad for me to wear my shoe very long or stand more than a dew hours at a time without elevating it and getting off it. SIGH! There's nothing wrong with the AFO. It's my bones that are the problem. They just aren't back to normal yet. All the chemo and radiation has done a number on my bone density. Even with a 1200 mg calcium plus D3 taken daily and the Vitamin D3 (50,000 unit capsules) taken weekly, it will take months to recover normal density back. In the meantime, small bones like in my feet will break. Right now, my bone density loos like the bottom right in my smaller bones and right upper in my major bones which is why I'm getting the stress fractures, but I gotta walk. God is still working on my patience issues. SIGH!

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday Stroke Survival: Love it When a Plan Comes Together...Sort Of

It wouldn't be me, if Murphy's Law didn't kick in, right? For most of the day on Friday, our neighbor at the top of the drive pilled clay/sand from the upper most part of our property to fill in and grade the driveway adjacent to his property. By the time he was finished, any car or truck could drive down to our property with ease. Only to have a flood of rain wash away most of his hard work Friday night!

I was talking to daughter #3 on the phone when it started. We had a slew of last minute changes. Including a one way truck rental in North Georgia to Savannah. Who was coming also changed and it ended up being daughter #3 and her husband who took an emergency family day off so daughter #3 wouldn't have to make the drive by herself. He just came off a twenty-four hour shift at work Saturday AM. They, U-Haul, didn't have a hand truck nor a truck with a ramp unless I wanted to rent a Keri arrived around two, and then began the loading of the U-Haul truck. I ended up renting a 10' truck. Everything fit just fine with room to spare. But a few things were left behind like my bedside commode and my wheelchair. Both can be easily replaced since they were purchased under my old health insurance and not Medicare 9 years ago. I knew I should have been with them as they packed from the barn, but foot pain kept me from being there and Mel just forgot. In a couple of weeks I'll be back there again and I'll pick them up or just order new ones here. It's really nice when you reach your maximum out of pocket medical expense for the year and you see all those $0.00 on amount owed. God love my beloved husband because he's still taking care of me from beyond the grave.

They made short work of loading the totes and boxes from the barn workshop first. Then, he backed the U-Haul beside the front porch. I'd spent the morning with a shovel and push broom removing chicken poop from along the gates, and sliding totes into another staging area. I loaded the wheel cart full of boxes and pulled it to the front to be loaded into the truck. Altogether, it took four trips with canning equipment and stuff to go into the truck. By three o'clock, we were done and on the road. Climbing into daughter #3's SUV was a hiccup adventure. Me being 5' squat and paralyzed right side and all. It was just lie climbing into Mel's old truck.

All the worries of open gas stations and whether or not we'd find one had been prayed away so we had no issues. It's really sad when you think about it, The truck was 3/4 full of my stuff and it wasn't jam packed. It's ALL I had to show for belongings. It was reminiscent of my early married life when moving from one place to another. I had indeed come full circle. In that case, I didn't have much stuff because of money shortages, and now because I don't want it. 

So for now, I'm home at daughter #3's home in Savannah. Not pictured is the three car garage off to the left of the picture. It's a big old rambling 5bed/3 bath house. It'll take some time to get adjusted to it. They have moved me into the mother-in-law apartment so I have my own full kitchen and the whole shebang so privacy isn't an issue, all I have to do is closed the door.. So begins the next new chapter in this saga. It'll give me time to scare up additional stuff like a Bistro dining set, a loveseat, and some odds n ends for my own place. 

For now, I'm getting my feet wet figuring out where to put the year + pantry before I get busy working on food/essentials stores. Once a prepper/ homesteader/ from scratch chef, always a pepper/ homesteader/from scratch chef. I brought 48 cases of jars and food stuff with me from north Georgia, so it's a start. I still need to plan a trip to NC Amish country for stores and more jars and a quick visit with my girlfriends (from youtube) up there too. Maybe later this summer or early fall... until then, If I decide to move into a separate apartment whatever I put up can be split. I'll be hitting the local markets and buying in bulk. I may not be living on a homestead anymore, but old ways die hard.

Nothing is impossible.