Saturday, October 10, 2009

For Judy

I'm sorry that you aren't able to sit at the computer and play the games. I know that you'd have a blast! But, thanks for recognizing your limitations! You are so smart to put real life above "virtual" fantasies. You have such a wonderful family, and can occupy your time with them.

You are the envy of so many! Think about it--computer games vs. hubby, kids, 11 fantastic grandchildren, and a bunch of real life friends--no comparison! In your situation I'd get off the computer and play "real life" too!

Love, hugs & kisses!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Good morning!

I got up early to get my 2 farms in order and to do my morning "coin run" in YoVille before my cinnamon rolls are ready. But, Facebook is not cooperating, and it won't let me into any of their games--there hasn't been a post in 2 hours, so apparently I'm not the only one. At least my rolls won't burn up for hours, yet. It makes me realize just how hooked I am on the programs FB offers. I think that I should get off the computer, let the games go, and get on with my life. But, why? I really enjoy the games, and I have nothing better to do! So, I'll keep trying to get in, and try not to let the frustration bother me.

Huge hugs!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

See If I remember how!

Shock of shocks! A blog!! I think it's been about 4 months. I'm guessing that it's been a busy summer, and I'm settling into the old routine with Mel back at work.

Farming has finally dwindled to ONLY two farms, and I'm doing minimums in them as I've gone just about as far as I can go in them. But, I'm really enjoying Yoville. I've about filled up my apartment, and am saving to buy a house. The picture above is of my YoVille avatar. Though I gave her a hair cut, yesterday, and will have to post the new me!

I turned the heater on yesterday, and put a blanket on the bed--yes, it's definitely "falling". I brought in 6 of the 7 humming bird feeders, and cleaned them up and put them away until next spring. I still have one hummer lagging, and enjoying his exclusive feeder. I'll miss my hummers, but am ready to rest from trying to keep up with them. Each year it amazes me how much nectar they can devour each day.

Hugs to any reader passing through. I'll try to remember to check for comments. lol

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

Older son from Wichita had mentioned, a while back, that he and the family would like to visit us on father's day if it wouldn't be a burden on me. I think he had the ulterior motive of checking up on me, but I promised him that I would not overtax myself. He asked if it would be possible to keep their visit a surprise to "Poppa".  I said that I'd not tell him, unless a good reason to do so came up. 

Curt (son) had to work Saturday morning, but the plan was to drive here after work, arriving late evening. I was tempted to spill the beans to Mel a couple of times, but decided the surprise would outweigh any reason he might need to  prepare for their visit. So, Saturday evening Mel fixed our dinner as usual, and after eating, Mel announced that he was going to check the water level. (rising/falling water affects the launching of the boat). I knew that they'd be pulling in at any moment, but said nothing as Mel walked out the door.

The timing could not have been more perfect if we'd had walkie-talkie communication. As Mel stepped out the front door, Curt was turning into our drive. Now, we live in an ultra remote area, and unannounced guests are very rare. Mel did not recognize the car, and when he saw who it was, was genuinely, and pleasantly shocked. 

On Sunday Curt, Mel, and the two granddaughters went fishing. What a glorious  Father's Day it was. There was the bonus of catching fish!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Yay!

My lab reports came back with everything in perfect order! Treatment is back on the schedule. All set to go to KC on the 29th, with treatment early morning on the 30th. Can hardly wait.

Hugs!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"someday"



Yesterday was "someday"! 

My house is pretty well organized, and I try to maintain it clutter-less. But, drawers and closets are another matter.  I have improved greatly over the years, but a funny incident 1980 (ish) started the transformation. Mel is a true neat-nick and an amazing organizer. No matter the size of the job, it is compartmentalized, and if he was blindfolded, he could put his hand on any item at will. He also keeps everything in repair and well cared for. (he still has a pen I gave to him in 1973-it still works, and he has back-up refills). 

Anyway, one day he asked me where "blank" was, and I replied that it was in the junk drawer. He then made the enlightening statement, "Would you be more specific, please." I still get a laugh out of that moment's realization that all of my drawers were "junk" drawers. Mel never complained, but my lack of organization must have driven him nutty! Since then, he became the "drawer" man. If things start to get out of hand (food storage containers and lids, for instance) I can now ask "Mr. Neat" to please put things back in order.  *poof* He's on it!

One major exception to "neat & tidy" was the linen closet. That became more and more cluttered over the years, until I had no idea what was in there, or how long it had been there. It was not quite "Fibber McGee", but close. Every time we (either of us) opened that closet, (a large closet) we commented, "some day". Yesterday was "some day"! I finally cleaned out that closet, and now have lots of stuff to get to trash and to resale shop. Ahhhh! Feels so good!

Hugs!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31st



Can you believe that tomorrow will be June! Just doesn't seem possible that time goes by so quickly, any more.

Mel starts summer school, in the morning, and has quite the summer route. He also has a number of trouble makers—so it should be interesting.  There are lots of kids attending summer school, and Mel has the biggest bus in the fleet to haul the darlings. He might get a monitor aboard to help with discipline. They'll make that determination at a later time. Personally, I'm rooting for the monitor. You can only imagine what driving these winding, shoulder-less roads with 60 kids, in the heat, can be like.  And, his route takes about 75 minutes! Aarrgghh-- but he still loves it!

More soon. Hugs!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Will find list


I need to regroup in here. I've been so preoccupied at the farm. I need to check out some of the things on my "blog" list, and compose some stories.

Anyway—more later. Hugs.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

good/ bad

The good news is that we had a good trip to KC, a nice dinner out, a great room, and got all of our shopping done. The bad news is that I did not get a treatment!

We were waiting at the clinic at 5:50 am, when Mel turned on his phone. A voice mail from daughter announced that we needed to contact the doctor, yesterday. (too late*sigh*)  At about the same time, the nurse who administers treatment showed up, and said that my last lab was not in range to be able to give me a treatment. We discussed options, and I'll be referred to a cytologist for evaluation. I'm not terribly concerned—I think that the messed up meds I took while off of my estrogen was the cause, and I should be back to "normal" soon.

Yes, Judy, the methotrexate is a chemo drug, but not given in chemo doses. Some have problems with it, but I never have had any trouble at all.

I'll keep you apprised as things develop. Hugs!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Treatment on again!


My treatment is back on! I'm currently in the process of repeating the lab test that got fouled up. It is a pain—but I'm grateful that it is underway. 

My new treatment day will be Wednesday. I made a new motel reservation for Tuesday night, and everything is falling back into place. I was really starting to have problems with flailing arms, and beginning to get worried. Mel was noticing my problems, too, and we're both relieved that things are rolling, again. It still amazes me that my body tells me so loudly that it needs more of that wonderful Methotrexate.

Lo—I'm sure today's picture will catch your attention! I'm sure having a blast! 

Hugs!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2nd post

Treatment was canceled. There was a lab screw-up, so I'll have to re-schedule. The good news--I'll get more farming done! lol  More hugs!

busy


Tomorrow is the last day of school. There will be early dismiss, and we will be leaving for KC, a treatment, and Mel will do our Costco shopping while I'm "hooked up". Today, I'm preparing for the treatment with the required 2 day ph regulating bicarb regimen, paying bills, (it's pay day) and preparing to leave my "farm" for a day. I'm sure having fun with Facebook's "Farm Town" game. I'm finally getting it all figured out, and making progress toward my goals, there. I've visited lots of others' farms, and have some awesome ideas. 

So, it's "off to work we go"! More soon. Hugs!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Broken arm


I had my first "treatment" in the summer of 1998. Lucky me—I fell and broke my right arm (just above the wrist) within a couple of weeks of the treatment. And, I'm serious about it having been lucky. I didn't think it was a good thing at the time, but retrospect shows me that it was vital to my getting so much use of my left hand back so quickly. I was forced into using that atrophied left hand, almost exclusively, for weeks! So, I regained strength and control in it at break-neck speed. I'd never have been able to do the things which I was doing with my left hand without the treatment, and I'd never have attempted all that I did if I hadn't broken my right arm. He works in strange ways, huh?

The abilities in that left hand/arm never got "perfect", but I'm able to do just about everything with it, now. Testings at the clinic where I receive the treatments show vast improvement right away when I began the IV Methotrexate, with a leveling off which has remained pretty constant for 10 years. My fine motor skills lag behind my right hand, but few people ever notice—even those watching for it. I drive "5 on the floor", (left foot working clutch, left hand controlling wheel while shifting) and have for years—a feat unimaginable to me in the late '90s.

I was able to go a full year after treatment before the left hand started to deteriorate a bit, again. My neuro had changed the treatment protocol, so we decided that I'd do best with half-dose treatments each 6 months. I've pretty much stuck with that regimen ever since. One time I went 8 months after a treatment—my right hand curled up and I could not open it for a few weeks. I won't attempt stretching the time between treatments, again!

Today's picture I stole from a jigsaw puzzle page. I just had to get in on the iris sharing.  Hugs! 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

1997


1997 was a year of research and exploration into this crazy MS disease, and trying to figure why there was such a radical difference in my symptoms between Wichita and Cedarcreek. Those symptoms most affected were endurance and fatigue. I could stay awake most of the day, and actually make a few trips up/down the stairs to do laundry rather than spending 2 or 3 days to do one load. Physically, there was little change. My left side was much worse than my right, and I had little coordination with my left hand/arm. I could not scrub my head (shampooing) with both hands—had to use my right hand exclusively. Mel had to cut my food, and I needed assistance with any 2 handed job—though I got very inventive in ways to achieve what needed to get done. I'd read (in 1994) that oral Methotrexate helped with upper extremity abilities, and had started it in 1995. A note in my 1996 journal thanked Methotrexate for delaying early right hand spasms—giving me a several month reprieve.  

Meanwhile, I was in chatrooms, meeting lots of people with MS and learning new ideas, & treatments. I was feeling particularly low one day, and was violently taken away from a self-pity party by a lady (since passed) who invited me to her web site. It turned out that she was a quadriplegic using total voice control, and striving to receive a drug available only in Greece at that time. The drug was Mitoxantrone. It is now approved in the US for MS and known as Novantrone. She recommended to me that I call a Kansas City physician who had opened a trial for high dose IV Methotrexate. She even gave me the telephone number.

I called, and asked if I could be considered for the trial. They told me that I sounded like a candidate, and they sent a lengthy questionnaire, which I completed and mailed back. The next I heard was that they were very interested in me, and they set up an appointment for an examination. The exam went well, and I was accepted into the trial.

More to follow!  Hugs.

PS The picture is of a Puffin—another of my favorite birds.

Monday, May 4, 2009

1996


1996 was a pretty tough, and scary year. MS wise, my decline fluctuated between bad and worse. In looking back on my diary, "worse" was while I was at home. I had already noted that I did better when away, but I never rationalized away from "what". Hindsight being 20/20, the obvious factor was the house. As my abilities declined, I was forced to spend more and more time at home—the more time I spent at home the faster my decline—a vicious cycle. At the then rate of decline, I figured I'd be a quadriplegic within 2 years.

In the fall of '96  (Oct. 18th) my 2 sisters met me, we borrowed Danny's van, loaded up my w/c, and the 3 of us went to a timeshare in Missouri for a vacation together. We never unloaded the w/c! I did pretty darn well without it! After a week, we returned to Wichita, and as witnessed by several—there was an instant and visible decline the moment I stepped in the door of that house!! We vowed to get me out of there ASAP! 

We were moved by late January '97 (under 3 months—to view, buy, & close on a house)!  The positive factors in our new home were as dramatic as the negative factors in the former house had been. We never found out what the negative factor was, but my suspicion is either mold or radon. (or both).

More to come. Hugs!

Friday, May 1, 2009

close/open chapters




1995 brought continued decline in my MS, (I'd applied for SSDI, and was approved) and in our work income because we had to pay others to do the work I had always done. It hardly paid to keep the restaurant doors open, but we continued to struggle, primarily because of our employees (including our kids) many of whom had been with us since 1978. Sister and hubby arrived on this scene on the white stallion (actually, in their RV), and assessed the situation, recommending liquidation, giving the employees a nice severance check, (cutting the kids' apron strings) and take a well deserved vacation before beginning anew. They offered to help with the closing, and take us back to AK with them in the RV.  We accepted this generous offer, and closed the "restaurant" chapter of our lives.

The 4 of us had a fantastic trip to Alaska, pausing in Yellowstone where we met other sis & hubby in their RV. The 2 sisters & hubbies had reserved a room at the Yellowstone lodge for Mel and Me for an early 20th anniversary. It was a pleasant and completely unexpected surprise. After arriving in Alaska, (on the longest day of the year—20 hours of daylight in AK) we fished,  (deep sea, fly-in, salmon) and had the full tourist treatment, as well as indescribable fun and adventure—a "to-die-for" vacation. 

I'd done well in Alaska, but when we returned to Wichita, my progression renewed. Mel avoided going back to work in restaurants, and took a promising position with O'Reilly's in management training. But after he'd mastered all of the training, they backed out on the position, and salary they'd promised. Their loss!  

More to come!  Hugs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

happy/sad


1994 was a roller coaster year, with some huge ups and downs. On the "up" side, René & Danny presented us with our first grandchild. This is the one with the worst case of colic that I've ever heard of. Danny gets the "father of his generation" award for taking at least 50% of Jenni's upbringing.  This is from the 'all night' vigils during her first 10 months of colic, to playing 'Barbie' or 'dress-up', to coaching her athletic events, and attending all games. I've never known another dad to match him—and his attentiveness continues today!

On the down side, both of my parents died. Mom had been declining for years, and everything was blamed on her diabetes. Had I known then what I know now, I'm sure she had MS. I've since learned the close relationship of diabetes & MS, and how naive most doctors really are. Anyway, she passed 2 months after Jenni was born, and never saw her. My dad passed 2 months after mom, I'm sure of a broken heart—though brain aneurism was the listed cause.

MS wise, I was slowly sliding, but continued to work, and actually did pretty well. I had noted that on a few trips away from Wichita (to CA and to AK during the folks' ails) my symptoms lessened. Also, the more time I spent at home, the more severe my symptoms became. I debated this with my MS support groups (2) and thoroughly investigated every suggested possible cause. 

More soon. Hugs!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Casey



You seemed interested in my cane, so I thought I'd give you an introduction. His name "Casey" is derived from the initials "K" and "C" for Katy's Cane. It was love at first sight, when I was cane hunting. In case you can't make it out, the handle is a carved eagle. He's a bit beaten up, (ever dropped your cane?) but he faithfully stays by my side whenever I need him.  Hugs!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another Wedding


1993 brought the 3rd wedding, and an empty nest. Doug married the sister of Curtis' wife. In other words, brothers married sisters. My sister also had 2 sons who married sisters. It makes for a pretty close-knit family with the in-laws.

At time of the photo, my MS had progressed to the point of my using an orthodic, on occasion, for foot drop. And, I used a cane—for balance—mainly so strangers would be aware that I had a problem and wouldn't be so concerned about my staggering. But, I could still hold my own at the restaurant, for the most part. I had to slow down, and compensate here and there for some rather strange incidents. But, I attended two different MS support groups, and was learning some good coping skills. 

Hugs!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quickie


I 'm going to make this short, and go off of our story, for today. I just wanted to say that my rash is healing beautifully, and that my sleeping is improved. 

I was fooling around with the "Photo Booth" on my computer, and am thinking of using the picture above as my profile picture on Facebook—Mel saw absolutely no humor in it—what's your opinion?

Hugs!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yay!




My first hummer has arrived! I've seen 3 hummers feeding, so far, but think that two of those sightings were the same bird. Anyway, they appeared a day earlier than last year. And, Judy, they were first sighted in this county on March 23rd. But remember I'm much further south and west of you. And, they return to favorite former feeding sights, so these are MY birds! lol   They typically feed for about 10 days to fatten up before moving on to the next location in their migration. It'll still be close to May for you. Hugs!

Dx


In my studies to learn more about Ménièr's Disease, I found that there was a doctor in Denver who specialized in Ménièr's Disease, and if I qualified, he could perform a surgery to destroy the balance system which would get rid of the spinners and wobblies. I'd have to "learn" to balance without my own built-in system, but that it was doable and I'd be able to maintain my life without the nausea, and weird sensations resulting from my vertigo. This was two years after my initial "spin out", and there had been no improvement.

I wound up setting up an appointment, and arranging the trip to Denver. The clinics in Denver had some apartments for out-of-town patients (similar to Cleveland Clinic) which were within walking (staggering) distance of the doctor(s). While walking to the ear doc's office, I walked right by the Rocky Mountain MS Center. Something told me (God shoved me, again) that I'd be back there. I'd never heard "MS" with regards to my condition , and knew nothing about it—but somehow I knew that MS was the culprit.

I went through MANY tests, including one which tested my balance system. I could see, from the contraption, (an 18" platform, a harness, and a 3 sided screen) that I was in for a wild ride! I told them that I'd been living on that ride for two years, and they'd never be able to shake me off of it. They couldn't!

At the end of my all-day testing, the doctor went over the results with me. He could neither confirm, nor rule out Ménièr's Disease. But said that my balance system was profound, and "you don't want to destroy THAT". He also recommended an MRI to "rule out" MS. They had an immediate opening, and I had my first MRI—but the results wouldn't be available for days. 

Back home several days later, I got the call with MRI results—"highly consistent with MS". More studies to find out about this disorder, and, what next? The next step was to see a Neurologist. I couldn't get in to see a local neuro for months, and wound up going back to Denver to the MS Center. The wonderful neuro there gave me a thorough exam, and explained the stages of confirming a diagnosis—possible, probable, and definite. She said that the MRI had given me a "possible" and that her exam gave me a "probable". She prescribed 3 evoked potential tests to complete the diagnosis. I was able to have the evoked potential tests done in Wichita, and had the results sent to a Wichita neuro. The new neuro was another fantastic doctor! Her review of the tests gave me a "definite progressive MS" diagnosis.

More soon!  No hummers yet. Hugs!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spin-out


I'd said that The Puddle story was a set-up for  the next major event in our story. It is now March of 1990. On a Monday afternoon, we did our usual Monday after work activity, which was to hitch up the boat, and head out to The Puddle, and to the motel where we stayed each Monday night. After we got settled in our room, I went to the bathroom before we went fishin'. A few feet outside the bathroom, my world started spinning violently, and I went to my hands and knees. I called to Mel for help, and he was able to get me to a sitting position and the spinning gradually subsided. (though I've had problems ever since) We didn't have a clue then, but we now know that that was the beginning of the secondary stage of my MS.

I'd had ear problems (ruptured ear drums) my whole life, and had long ago discovered that they were primarily allergy related, and specific to something that bloomed in spring—generally April, but sometimes an early spring brought March woes. In 1990, we were experiencing an early spring, and I surmised that my "spin out" had something to do with my ears, and would likely resolve itself after spring passed. But I resolved to see our family doctor for his view.

We went ahead with our fishing, and the vertigo settled into self-describing "wobblies" and "spinners". The spinners didn't occur often, nor did they last long—fortunately, as they were totally debilitating. spinners meant "sit down" immediately, wherever I was—or fall down. I saw our family doctor after we had returned to our normal routine. He said "we'd" try a couple of medications, and if they didn't work, he'd send me to a neurologist. (he knew!) The meds didn't work, of course.

I gave it a couple of months, then set up an appointment with an otologist (ear doctor) as I was certain the problem stemmed from my ears. The otologist ran several tests, and diagnosed "Ménière's disease". The study was on to learn more about that. 

Still no hummers, here. They returned on April 16th last year—so I'm watching! Hugs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Puddle


The next story needs a bit of an introduction. 

The restaurant occupied our lives. It was do or die for us, and dying looked imminent. We had assumed the restaurant as a 24 hour operation by the previous owner. We lost much of the help, and Mel and I, (alone much of the time) tried to keep the doors open round the clock. We worked 60 hours non-stop, relieving each other for occasional brief naps. After 60 consecutive hours, Mel announced that he was not able to continue—I admitted I was in the same shape. We locked the door, and went home for some much needed rest. After the brains started functioning, again, we concluded that a 24 hour schedule would not work. We reworked a schedule to accommodate 2 shifts, and reopened. But, we could not afford to go even a day without income, so worked 7 days per week, 365 for nearly 3 years before we ever took a day off! To prevent total burn-out, we took "micro-mini" vacations, where we'd get off at approximately  14:00, drive about 50 miles, spend the night in a motel, get up at 03:00 and reopen at 06:00! We finally got ahead sufficiently that we started closing one day per week. What a luxury that was! 

Tuesdays were sacred, and to leave "work" off of our minds for a whole day was life saving. We made the most of this precious day by occupying it with our favorite pastime—fishing. We leased a small lake in the next county, and for years, Tuesday was "our" day. The lease ("The Puddle" we called it) was over-stocked, and though most of the fish were small, they were plentiful, and we learned where and when to find them most of the time. I personally was intrigued by the skittish carp, and determined that I was going to catch one. The photo above shows my first triumph! Eventually, we bought a cheap flat-bottom boat which Mel fixed up. And, all of our family and friends bonded with The Puddle. I've got a large album filled with pictures and endless stories.

More soon....     Hugs!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Another leaves the nest



The next major event in our lives was René's wedding. What a grueling event a wedding is! Like moving, it puts a strain on everyone involved. But, it also provides some serious tests for relationships. Children don't often learn from their parents' mistakes, but René decided that the alcoholism which nearly destroyed her "poppa" was never to be a part of her life again. Shy wanted a "dry" reception, and insisted, even, that her husband-to-be (Danny) be a non-drinker.  A couple of days before the wedding (invited guests on the way) Danny's buddies wanted to throw a bachelor's bash. René knew there'd be drinking and insisted that Danny choose between her and the "party". She sobbed as she explained her dilemma to us—feeling forced to go through with the wedding which we'd planned for so long, yet vowing not to cave in to her "booze free" policy. We assured her that she must follow her instincts, that we'd back her, and that we could have a huge booze-less party with all the guests, and forgo the ceremony. 

Danny did NOT attend a bachelor's party, and the lovely wedding went off without problems. The only thing we could have wished improving was that a severe thunderstorm caught them while on the carriage ride home. They got soaked! 

The wedding was in May 1988—it was the last time I ever wore "heels". Hugs!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Doin' Okay


I just returned from the dermatologist. He took a culture to check whether there was any infection, but left it up to me to go onto antibiotics before the culture results. I declined, because I'm not showing any signs of infection.

He agreed with my analysis of the cause, and agreed that I'm following the correct path to healing. So, I'll continue treating as I have been with the addition of a prescription topical ointment. I don't know (nor did doc) what might happen when the steroid shot which I got on Monday wears off, but for the moment, anyway, the rash  is looking better. I will continue using my spa, and my meds will remain the same. I'm itching terribly, which triggers "shooters", but for whatever reason, the hot water in the spa calms the itch a bit. And I'm coping fairly well.  Hugs!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hello April





The next major event occurred in 1987. This was a long planned and saved for trip to CA to celebrate my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Mom and dad had eloped in 1937, during the height of the great depression. My dad was in dental school, at the time, and to my understanding was so distracted between his studies and his courtship of mom, that they decided the answer was to get married. Anyway, since they'd eloped, mom wanted a big to-do renewal of their vows for the 50th. The event was outstanding! The gathering included friends and family from across the US. A professional photographer recorded a treasure of pictures.

We closed the restaurant for a week, and seven of us (Mel & me + 3 kids + Curtis' wife + Arno) flew out, and enjoyed a first and last vacation together. The beautiful memories will live as long as we do.

The pictures above are of mom & dad, and our 3 now grown-up babies. Hugs!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

At last


I have been suffering from dermatitis (nasty skin rash) for a few weeks. It seems to stem from multiple causes, making elimination of those causes complex. I kept fooling around with my theories, and watching the rash wane, only to re-bloom worse than before. I finally had to see doctor yesterday, and got a hefty steroid shot to hold me until I can see the dermatologist he referred me to. I'm waiting for the call as to when that might be. Thank-you shot for some improvement, today, but I've got a very long way to go. I actually shocked the doctor when he saw the worst area—a several square inch patch from below my right shoulder to below the elbow. It's all over my body, to a lessor extent, but that patch was oozing and crusted—nasty! I'll keep you posted.

Sister Linda called from SC last night. She and hubby are back there, for a bit. *sigh* Enough said.

Back to our story. 

The next major event in our lives was Curtis' marriage. This advances us to 1985—we'd been in Wichita for 10 years, and slaves to the restaurant for nearly 7 years. The kids all worked in the restaurant with us, and learned valuable work ethics from an early age. They found out what hard work is all about, and learned team work. 

Curtis married on a Tuesday, of all days. They were being sensitive to us. We were closing the restaurant on Tuesdays then, and they knew that it would prevent a hardship on us, if they didn't force us to either close the restaurant on a busy weekend or make the other employees try to do without us, so that we could attend.

The poor quality photo above is of their vow exchange. Our first fledgling leaves the nest. Hugs.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Here it comes!


I thought I'd publish a spring "thing" before the predicted weather hits, tonight. I don't think we'll get hit too hard, but winter isn't going down without a fight! 

Hugs!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm having a blast with my DSL!  You have each been through your surprises when you got rid of your dial up. It's finally my turn. It is a whole different world. I've been on other computers on high speed. But to be visiting my same old sites from my same computer is just overwhelming.

The installer/technician labored all day getting me going. It is the farthest he's ever "pushed" DSL, and was a major struggle to get it the last 400 feet. In fact, he got it to literally right outside the front door, but had to work a different angle to get the last few feet.

But—I'm going, and loving it!  

Mel is off this week with spring break, so my schedule is different, but will resume my stories soon. Hugs!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

DSL


I was going through one of my two 'medium' packing boxes of photos, (which I'm going to organize some day) and came across the one above which I just love. I don't know what prompted me to take a shot of the cat "eyeing" my beta fish (red one in left edge of bowl) through the fishbowl—but I think it "speaks" its 10,000 words.

To catch up on some stuff...

René and Jenni (daughter and 14 year old grand) came to visit us from Wichita for a few days. Their spring break is this week, (René teaches 5th grade) and they decided to take the journey, leaving dad to watch the dogs. Mel's break is next week, so he was running his route, but cancelled one field trip to enjoy their stay. It was fun, and so good to have them. 

My telephone company technician succeeded in pushing the DSL out this far, and I'm signed up to start receiving  it on Monday!!! I can hardly wait—I'm counting the minutes. I hope I'm first on his list, and won't have to wait all day! The cost winds up at about the same as the additional phone line which we'd wanted which started the process to begin with. And, Mel dropped some satellite programming, so the cost will be about the same as before. I think divine intervention played a role.

I slept in BED last night! Some of the changes I've been making are starting to "click" in. I think my treatment next week will be the icing on the cake, and I will be able to get back to normal (for me—lol). 

My endocrinologist visit went well! I told her right off that I'd gone back on my estrogen, and brought a report (which I've hung on to since 1994) which states that estrogen (in animal studies) "coaxes brain cells into forming new connections with one another, thus allowing the cells to transmit messages back and forth." That report, and my explanation that of all MSers are female convinced her that there might be a real connection between MS and estrogen, after all. And regardless, she agreed that if it makes me feel better—keep doing it! My thyroid test improved, too, and I've upped my medication slightly to get a still better # there. 

I think that brings us back up to date. More soon. Hugs!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Colic


Sorry about the long pause in our story. Things got a bit hectic, and the time to write was just never when I had the ability. I'm back to my poor sleeping—and then only in the recliner. Having tried everything that has usually worked, I decided to arrange another "treatment". That is scheduled for the 25th.

But, my crazy pattern of "shooters" (starting at roughly 23:00 and easing around 05:00) reminded me to tell you of another story—that of colic.

Curtis (my first born) had terrible colic as an infant. He was a miserable baby in obvious pain. I could set our clocks by his first awakening scream at 05:00. It was as though someone stabbed him in the gut with an ice pick. He never napped, and required constant & intense entertaining to get him through the day without continuous crying. Magically, at 18:00, the ice pick went away, and he fell into glorious sleep until 05:00 the next morning. This lasted until he was 10 months old! (hospitalization and lots of tests when he was 6 months old ruled out other maladies) On the wonderful day that it disappeared, I woke up at the normal 05:00, and by 05:05 was convinced that he'd died, since the scream hadn't occurred. But, a check revealed that he was alive and asleep! By 06:30, I had a chair set up in front of his crib watching his chest rise and fall! But, the colic was gone! After that, I was stuck at home with a 10 month old that wanted to sleep all the time—because he could!

I had thought he had the granddaddy of all cases—until Jenni (René's daughter) arrived—remember that René and I are not blood related. Jenni was definitely the world's worst! Her colic lasted around the clock, and even a brief nap was unusual. René or Danny had to be up with her all night—they alternated. I had no idea one could survive on so little sleep. For the first time, I was grateful for the experience I'd had with Curtis, and I was able to offer reassurance, and to relieve René & Danny for spells away from her. It was during one of my "watches" that, while holding her & feeling the pulsating grips of pain coursing through her body that it dawned on me—Jenni has "shooters"!!! That is when I knew that colic is neurological. I've since discovered that many fellow MSers have children who had severe colic.

The picture today is during one of Jenni's rare naps, while grandpa held her. We laugh, today, that we actually have a picture of her asleep! René says that we just caught her blinking! Anyway—the picture is a treasure, and the story is more food for thought.   Huge hugs! 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Just a friendly reminder that we change time tonight. Before bed, move your clocks forward (ahead—lose an hour's sleep) one hour.   :)   Huge hugs!

Friday, March 6, 2009

bad news/good news

We just had a bad news—good news situation. The bad news is that the second phone line we'd ordered in the house so that we could receive calls if we were on-line cannot be installed without undue expense. We are in such a rural area, that we have little/no cell phone reception so that is useless to our receiving calls. And, the only high-speed available to us (either through ISP or phone company) is pricey satellite, which is also unreliable in case of storms, etc rendering reception poor. So we'd decided to "splurge" on a second phone line to separate computer and telephone. The new line was to have been installed yesterday, but they never showed. I called about that this morning, and they sent a man out today. As I said—he could not accommodate the request without costing over $200! Butt, (the big butt, again) the good news—the installer is pretty sure he can boost DSL to us!!! Soon!! I'd said we were on the waiting list, but that meant waiting and waiting and waiting. He needs to do some checking, but thinks he'll have our answer early next week! Keep your fingers crossed, but I'm encouraged that I'll have high speed next week. Hurrah!

I had another good night's sleep last night, and made another profound discovery—two discoveries, actually. 1) the rash I've been experiencing (over most of my body) was medication related—too much Neurontin, and is starting to clear up. 2) I can achieve the slight elevation needed in order to sleep, while in bed, and won't have to sleep in the recliner!

As I nestled in the recliner, last night, I pondered what it would take to duplicate this position while in bed. I was thinking pillows, but a picture of a body pillow which we already have flashed to mind. When Mel got up for work, I ran the idea by him. He put the pillow in our bedroom, and we kissed "goodbye". Not only did I drop right back to sleep, propped in bed, but I decided to try another "no-no" a little later—I rolled over onto my right side! Shooters are sensation and pressure sensitive, so I haven't been able to sleep on my right side in about 19 years. The trial worked, and I fell asleep on my right side!! I slept there for about 30 minutes until I awoke, naturally, to begin my day.

Divine intervention interfered again! I guess, then, that the news is ALL good!  Huge hugs!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sleep!

Yay!!

I actually got some great sleep last night—at last! The old adage, "too soon old, too late smart" applied, but I finally got through my thick skull how to accomplish the difficult task of sleeping. You'd think that after 65 years, I'd have it down pat—but the MS throws curves into the "normal"—so I had to readjust. I had been trying to do things MY way, but finally remembered that I had to do it MS's (the shooter's) way!

In 1996, I was keeping a log of my "shooters". I went through a spell, back then, similar to the recent sleepless, painful episode I've been going through, recently. I've already explained that shooters are unbearable—that I WILL NOT (cannot) live with them—so whatever they want, they get! It is a matter of survival. I must either get rid of them, or get rid of myself. Simple.

In 1995, I'd had a total hysterectomy, and although I was already post menopausal, the shooters wanted estrogen, I discovered. (without ovaries I was incapable of producing any) So, in my 1996 log I experimented, and that is when I started on hormone replacement therapy. Shooters were happier, but they wanted estrogen every 8 hours—not just once per day. Okay—you got it! Another discovery, back then, was that shooters wanted me to be slightly elevated, and not on a flat bed—you may not get horizontal, but must sleep in a recliner! Okay you got it! Now, after some time of the 3 estrogen per day, I gradually was able to resume sleeping in bed instead of a chair.

All of this finally returned to mind, and I realized that I'd lapsed back to 1996 levels, having stopped the estrogen. I wrote that I'd re-started the estrogen, but was trying to resume sleeping in a bed. (of all places) But, last night, I decided to try the recliner sleeping, again. It worked! After my pre-bed spa soak, I reclined in my chair with a pillow & blanket—instant zzzzzz! I slept until Mel got up for work. After a half-hour, or so, I decided to try bed. The next thing I knew, it was 09:30! I got about 8 hours sleep total, and only took 2 Neurontin! YAY! YAY! YAY!

Hugs!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hot!!

During the intolerable heat of 1980, we had to take some drastic measures, as we were living hand to mouth, and expenses were overtaking income by a landslide. The old AC in the restaurant was not able to keep up with the demand, and was struggling to keep the dinning room semi-comfortable. The customers dwindled, and those who dared venture in, had little appetite. The kitchen was not air conditioned, and  was actually life threatening—a meat thermometer sitting on a shelf out of the direct heat from equipment read over 130°! What it was for Mel and cooks working over the grills, deep fryer, and steam table is only imaginable. We did obvious measures such as rotating wet shirts, salt tablets and plenty of drinking water to prevent dehydration, and lower body temperature, but there was no relief in sight, and we needed to do more.

Our solution was to do our necessary deep frying (tortilla chips) and baking first thing. When those were done, the fryer and oven went OFF for the day. After breakfast, the grills went OFF. We put out a notice to our customers that due to the extreme heat, we would operate on an emergency menu after breakfast. Our mexican food was all micro-waved to order, so was no problem. We put out a menu of cold foods including salads, a cold cut plate, a fruit salad, sandwiches, stuffed tomatoes, etc.. We substituted potato salad for french fries, and Mel's potato salad was such a hit he had to keep it available for the rest of the time (16 more years) we operated the restaurant. The customers loved it!! The cooks loved it!! Our pockets loved it!!

The AC didn't make it, however, and we had to buy a new one (ouch!) We also had to buy a new one for the house. The air conditioning companies boomed that year!

Looking back, I think I should make Tee shirts for us that say, "We survived the summer of 1980!"      Hugs!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Think moving day was hot?


The comments on the 106° moving day, brought to mind the "hell" we barely survived in the summer of 1980. I couldn't figure how to describe it, so just to see what came up, I Googled "weather archives Wichita 1980" . The following article came up—and just about says it all! We had to take some extraordinary measures at the restaurant, as our lives were literally in jeopardy. Tomorrow I'll discuss what those measures were.   Hugs!

THE SIZZLING SUMMER OF 1980:

Sweltering heat took a long, unwelcome vacation in Kansas during the summer of 1980. The blistering heat arrived with a vengeance on June 24th when the mercury soared lika a fighter jet to 103 degrees. Afternoon high temperatures broke the 100-degree barrier each day for the rest of the month, culminating in a monthly high of 110 degrees on the 30th. The nighttime provided very little in the way of relief as lows in the mid to upper 70s were prevalent during that one-week span. Little did anyone realize that the atmosphere was just getting "warmed up". During July, the heat wave hit full throttle when high temperatures cleared the 100-degree hurdle a staggering 24 out of 31 days, including an eighteen day stretch from the 3rd to the 20th. The 4th was, quite literally, hotter than a firecracker, when another 110-degree reading was achieved. With heat that intense, some Kansans probably did their holiday barbecuing right on the pavement. The record heat reached a pinnacle on the 12th, when Wichitans baked in 112-degree temperatures. With nighttime temperatures in the lower 80s, air conditioners received the workouts of their life. It appeared that the heat wave was losing its grip, when a cold front crossing the region on July 21st caused temperatures to "nosedive" back into the mid 90s with overnight lows dropping to near 60 degrees. Not so, as temperatures shot right back up into the 105-110 degree range from the 21st to the 28th. The heat wave that wouldn't die was entering its third month. The record heat didn't break stride as August took the baton and raced to a high of 110 degrees on the 1st. In fact, 11 of the first 13 days of August would see triple-digit highs. It was on the 14th that "the sizzling Summer of 1980" began to ease its grip on Kansas, as temperatures settled back into more seasonal levels. However, it was too late, as 20 record high temperatures were set between June 24th and August 13th, all of which stand to this day. During the months of June and July, Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport only received 1.81 inches of rainfall, 0.47 inches of that was in July.