Friday, October 17, 2014

But I don't have Ebola

My grandson spent his entire fall break on the couch with cartoons and the iPad, high fever and a bad cough, due to some nasty respiratory virus he picked up at the disease pot known as elementary school. I got it the day he went back. He felt so bad and apologized, which I thought was goofy,sweet boy behavior. I told him I'd rather have got it from him than a total stranger, because at least I know what I'm dealing with. It's one of those nasty bugs that has to run its course, and you have to rest because you can't get out of bed. 
The fever was the worse part. It came with a headache and CRAAAZZZY dreams. It was as if I spent HOURS flipping through photos on someone else's phone. Just on and on and on. Mind you I've had more than my share of kookoo dreams, and enjoy them for the most part. They're fun to analyze the next day as they come back to me in drips and drabs. These fever dreams were horrific in their sheer length and tedious subject matter. I'll take an interesting anxiety dream, chock full of unresolved mommy/daddy issues any night, over the crap running through my head this last week.
But happily I'm on the mend, still not back to my energetic self. Going to spend the next couple days in bed, then I will get up and burn these sheets!! 
  I do have the best, caring friends, too. Since I cough with every other breath, texting has been the mainstay of communication. When asked what one can to help me out in my time of disease, I'm tempted to ask one of those lovely caring people to come make up my bed with me still in it.....of course I love my friends too much to risk passing along this crud to any of them.
  I'm very anxious to finish my deck. There's not too much left to go. When that's done, I can assemble the raised beds to go around the sides and start planning the redo of another part of the yard. It sounds great until I realize my inner sleep clock has been kicked hard and I have to get back on normal time.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back to art posts

I have been fortunate lately to be able to exhibit some of my work. Plus there are upcoming shows as well. Of course, most of the work has been older pieces. I have been making a bed quilt for myself so I haven't done any artsy stuff. Except for a wall hanging made with a batik panel I acquired years ago. That's going to be in the show in November. 
  There's a show coming up in February that hopefully will knock my socks off!!  The theme is "Collaboration" and I'm working with a metal artist whose work I have admired for years. We are meeting this week to confer on our effort so I need to have something to show besides the big piece of paper that determines the size. 
  Stay tuned kids! The remaining pieces of the divorce should finally be falling into place, which will bring a huge sigh of relief from this tired old lady! 
  Plus I have been building a deck in the yard. It is nearing completion. One of my many projects to keep myself occupied. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More diversion

I was so enthralled with the first tape bound journal, I wanted to experiment further, which required acquisition of supplies. I found some artists tape that I had painted and stamped last year. (Don't leave tape on freezer paper for long as it peels away the shiny part, boohoo,but some of it worked.)
Office Max has a pretty good variety of washi tape and duck tapes in colors and patterns. The Art Center had some washi tape as well and I had plenty of white artist tape, too. I had run out of gesso so I bought a big jar of that, which is much thicker than what I had before and scrapes nicely onto the pages and is better to use with stencils for added texture.
   There was plenty of cardboard from calendars in my hoard--I mean resource center--to make bigger pages for the second journal. It was much easier to prime and paint the unbound pages, too. When all was dry, I used different tapes, but tried to use sturdier ones on the pages and then covered with the washi tape, as it is not very durable. If it wears out over time, I can slap some more on. I am NOT making a Guttenburg bible, ya know.
  So here's photos of this process.

The newest diversion

After seeing tape bound journals on a blog a long time ago, I finally figured out how to make one. It was so simple I can't believe it took me so long....duh! The "instructions" are in a paragraph in the late Shereen LaPlantz's book, "Cover to Cover", which has been in my library forever.
   So now, I have yet another distraction from the horrors of real life and one more excuse for not vacuuming my bedroom. It's pretty horrible under the bed!
These are photos of the first journal that I made and of course, in my haste to secure the construction steps in my brain, I assembled the pages BEFORE gesso and paint was applied. Grrr...never mind the date/time stamp. I don't know what's going on with my new camera. I sure miss my old one...
  Notice the gesso has been scraped onto the cardboard page with an old plastic card. Gives it great texture. The last picture is texture added to the gesso with a small plastic doily.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New fiber art

I've started a bed quilt and got it somewhat quilted then started a wall hanging, too. I've decide to not write on my artwork for a while, but I really love how it looks and will quilt messages in future pieces.
  The weather was absolutely gorgeous for several days, then the wind changed direction and all the water absorbed in the clay soil has been rising up to torment us. Can't really complain. We've had the same mild summer like last year.
  My life is settling into the dull and boring routine I have longed for, except for an occasional drama fit from certain occupants in the household. School starts in less than two weeks and structured time will reign again for most of the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


The heat and humidity returned as we all knew it would. Hey, this is Memphis.
 So I will wait for a while before I work in the yard. So much to be done. By now, I certainly know the meaning of the phrase, "Nature abhors a void." I think that's where the the tale of Sysiphus in Greek or roman mythology came from. Maybe rolling a rock up a mountain just seemed more heroic than yard work. I beg to differ. I am beating back a forest!! I am a majestic fifty foot goddess, plucking that tree seedling from the ground. 
Then I turn around and a tiny bird has pecked a hole in my precious tomato. Where was that goddam cat who's supposed to be protecting the crops? Oh yeah, that cat is sleeping in the air conditioned house, waiting for me to open a can of food. Why do the cat food companies not make bird and mouse flavored cat food? Cats are getting soft, like kids these days. 
  Where was I?? I don't know. It's still summertime. The living is easy?? The cotton is high? Wish I was. 
  Okay back to reality.....I have my bed quilt halfway done. I'm very excited to get that project to completion, mainly to satisfy the Lutheran in me. I have an idea for another small series of art quilts, that I started long ago.
  Vincent's birthday is tomorrow and his mom is making a fabulous cake. I will stay out of her way in the kitchen, for sure. Photos of that in coming days. He is very excited as he should be. Growing so tall and handsome. School will be upon us soon. Fourth grade!! 
  My life is reasonably good, if you look at the really big picture. I have a house with utilities and running water (tidy too!), a vehicle that gets me where I need to go, I'm not malnourished, by any means, family who love me, friends who care, despite my multitude of flaws. Enough technology to satisfy my want for reaching out to the world. Enough time to satisfy my want to be in control of my little patch of earth.
  My dear departed sister would put things she could not control or deal with in her outer environment. Everybody in the family knows of this place. We laughed about it at her funeral. And when you think about it, it makes sense. She used to joke that she had put so many things there, they were all crashing back into her life. I wonder if I'm doing the same thing. There's not so much that I'm in danger of stuff coming back in, but I know I have made an outer environment of my own, to keep the hurtful feelings away from my everyday life. How many of you do this? Is it a defense mechanism that everybody has? Is it dangerous or normal? 
  Gosh, I miss my sister. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I have a renewed romance! With my yard! So much digging and clearing out lately. It makes me so happy to see an overgrown space become beautiful again. AND the weather has been totally fabulous the last few days, unheard of for this town, this time of year. The last time I slept with the windows open on the 4th of July was in my childhood and we had no air conditioner!
   Of course, it will be hot again this week, but right now, I am the happiest camper, hanging out in the yard, having a drink and a meal in the late afternoon or early evening. I have to get that in early because I'm dead by 10pm.
hasn't looked this good in years

a big clear out in the shady side of front yard

my fairy garden with tiny polar bear!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A different look at life

Looking at recent post's titles, my outlook on life needs to be moving at a better pace than plodding. Of course, I wanted a more boring life than the one I was living in the last couple of years, but plodding? No! 
Maybe I need to find a more positive vocabulary to express the daily adventures I'm experiencing. But my attention to minutiae may not be everyone's cup of tea, even though it excites the shit out of me. For example, I was totally incensed that some critter ate the tomatoes from my plants I have been tending for months. I have not had much luck in the past few years growing veggies of any sort and this year seems promising that I might get some lovely tomatoes from my effort. Now that the deadly tree is gone, there is a bit more sunshine and we have had abundant rain. So, I stood in the rain and carefully arranged netting over the plants, hoping to discourage interlopers from my would be harvest. 
  On a sadder note, I found remnants of a tiny body of some sort near the pond. My heart sank as I did a rudimentary autopsy (with a stick) and realized that the smaller of the bullfrogs may have met an untimely end. Those darn raccoons!!! Probably the same ones who nabbed the tomatoes!! Grrrr...
  Such is my homebody existence. And I don't mind. I asked the powers that be for a dull and boring life. A drama free zone. That's what I have now. And I have stargazers to bring me joy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Promised photo

Here's the roaring stick fire from last Saturday. That pile of sticks put off a LOT of heat.
Speaking of heat, summer is definitely here now. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New quilt

As was the original intent of this blog, here's good news about fiber art! I am halfway done with a new bed quilt. Quite an undertaking, I must say. I haven't worked on anything this big in YEARS!
I made up a "modern" quilt pattern and used some of my precious Japanese and  Asian print fabrics that I have been hanging onto for too long. Of course, I barely made a dent in the stash.....
  The fabric that makes it "modern" is a small grey and blue dotty print. The hard part is at hand...the quilting! It's only full size, but I'm not looking forward to handling all that fabric under my home machine. I did it before with good results and need to quit stalling and DO IT!!!!

In the same vein of artiness (?) I need to push myself to catch up on my Artist Trading Cards. Especially now that I have a little free time, which won't last forever. Here is a photo I'm altering for this month's theme in one of my swap groups. They need to be in the mail tomorrow morning, so I'd better get to getting on this project.
my mama
The Summer Solstice was Saturday morning, and of course, there was fire involved. Photo of that at a later date. It's on my phone....

Monday, June 16, 2014

Still plodding along

Life has taken some very interesting turns in the last several months. I own a Ford F-150 pickup truck , a house in midtown, and all the responsibility that comes with such ownership. The utilities, cable, internet, and insurances payments are owed by me. I have to feed and clothe myself and my grandson.
  A few short weeks after getting the house in my name, I had an old, deader than dead tree cut down. A week later a smaller tree fell on a power line and had to be taken away. Huge expenses incurred for both those ventures. 
  Yet, even with all this heaped upon me, I feel okay. Maybe the control freak living inside me is happy now. Of course, so much of life is out of anyone's control, but I am slowly redoing the yard and house to my liking, with the intent of easier care and maintenance in the future. I cannot control the aging process. My digging days will be over soon enough. 
   I did do something kind of crazy and a little bit stupid on Sunday. There was a limb on the chestnut tree that was being very bothersome as I pulled in or out of the driveway. For the last few weeks, it was on my mental to do list. But the limb was too high up to trim from the ground and handy dandy chainsaw on a stick has mysteriously disappeared. Inspiration struck whilst trimming hedges and doing tree patrol in the front yard. I pulled the truck under the offending limb, set the ladder in the truck bed, and whacked it off with my new sharp handsaw. 
  Of course, the neighbors came by, walking their dogs and after thanking me for removing shrubbery branches from the sidewalk access, questioned my safety in the back of the truck, on a ladder with a saw, without a spotter. Buzz killers......
  Going out of the driveway this morning was much nicer without that branch slapping against the passenger side of my trusty vehicle. 
  Life is good. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Life plods on

The dust has yet to settle on the divorce. This is annoying and exhausting. A first world problem, for sure. But it is my first world problem and has caused much anxiety for me. I find myself short tempered, sleepless, and unable to concentrate. AND the big dead tree that has caused much worry for the next door neighbors and myself, is coming down tomorrow. Big change in store. 
  I knew this day would come, but it has caught me off guard. Wednesday is the day I clean Linda's house, and now my schedule is upset. There was no way to move it to Thursday, because that is Vincent's awards day at school and he is going to receive his ribbon for perfect attendance. He is so proud of this achievement and I CANNOT miss the program.
  So tomorrow it is. We scurried to clear the driveway and my fingers and toes are crossed the tree guys will be able to get the crane in the backyard. That is the less expensive option and lord knows I need to cut as many corners as possible these days. 
   Today was one of those crazy days where I was trying to sew and send emails back and forth and had to field a goofy phone call on top of everything else. The emailing has to do with the dusty divorce and my wishes for a complete finish to it all. Ugh. Some of the terms of the settlement have fallen into place only because I have taken the lead at most turns, such as, getting the house in my name and removing the exes belongings. These were two projects which were very important to me. Other things that had to be done, according to the decree, were done in a timely manner, per the settlement agreement on my part. I have tried to be very conscientious about keeping my end of a bargain. We will not discuss my disappointment about other's failures to do so right now. There's plenty of time for recrimination to last a lifetime it seems and dwelling on that is counterproductive. 
   So.....the control freak in me is having a hissy fit knowing there are outside forces that are taking their sweet time, for one reason or another, and I have to be be patient in the face of insurmountable frustration for some behemoth bureaucracy to move at its own glacial pace. Just to place the last piece of the puzzle to complete my divorce. 
   The really sad part is, my exhusband still has no clue why the divorce happened in the first place. From what I can tell from his recent behavior is, he has dug in his heels to hang onto the last vestige of his former life, which did not include me in any real way. And I am bound by the terms of the divorce from revealing that information. Oh darn!
   Oh goodness, this is an awful lot of TMI, but probably no one will ever see it, and my secret will be safe. Kind of like hiding in plain sight. But the joke might be on me. We'll see.
   Anyway, the house is in my name, irregardless of the phone call last week from the official from the county questioning the legality of the language of the quit claim document. Another story, for another time, children. The tree is my biggest worry right now and I'm taking the initiative to fix this problem. I think that is my best personality trait. I like that about me. I like more and more about me nowadays. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Spring is here.

We are having the most lovely spring again. Last year, it seemingly went on forever, and this season is holding up very well. Because of the prolonged deep cold we had the past winter, so many plants are responding very well, such as the jonquils. They are bloomed out for the most part now, and the peonies are looking good for beautiful flowering. Mayapple, star gazer lillies, irises, woodland phlox and deciduous ferns are all providing much viewing pleasure.
    Some things did not survive the bitter temps, and I had to replace catmint, rosemary and Greek oregano, which surprised me. It's pretty tough. The holly ferns got bad frostbite and had to be trimmed WAY back, the aspidistra too. New shoots are coming up on those hardy plants.
 The houseplants are slowly making their way outside, even though there are supposed to be a couple of chilly nights this week. Now that I have the front porch back for my use, I am filling it up with greenery and that makes me very happy. 
   I'm also feeling the urge to start new sewing and quilting projects. A new bed quilt is in my near future. Haven't tackled a big quilt in a long time, and I want something all fresh and new for my bed. I've got everything together and will begin soon. 
    Other projects in the works are some new skirts and tops for summer. I'm trying to decide if I want to grow out my hair and it's looking pretty ratty now. I figure a cute fun skirt will keep everyone's eyes off my head!!
    Stay tuned for updates and photos!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two shows

After such a long dry spell, I was in two shows this month. No sales reported as yet, but it's good to have my art work out there for people to see. I'm itching to get back into making more art and hopefully the new normal will allow that. 
This is one of my quilts at Gallery Ten Ninety One, with Pam and Peggy book ending.
Here's a shot of the exhibit at Wings Gallery. My quilt is in the middle. 
   Both shows are currently up, one comes down Saturday, the other the first week of May. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The new normal

The dust has not completely settled on my divorce and I am becoming increasingly impatient with the powers that be and a power that would like to be. The stress of this situation has crawled into my sacrosanct dream world, with visions of me performing innocuous tasks in unfamiliar places, and I wake in a troubled state of being. It's hard to explain with mere language. 
   In an effort to persevere, I am inviting friends and family over and giving them food and various beverage. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. Dinner's on me. Thursday, I had gal pals over for the sewing guild board meeting, something I haven't been able to do in ages, because of the circumstances in this house. Everyone was glad to be here and we had a show and tell of the projects I'm doing. Brunch was a success--gougeres, chicken salad from Costco, fruit and vegetables, tea, coffee, and juice. Nothing complicated and all very tasty. 
   For tomorrow's feast, I'm firing up the grill. Chicken, corn in the husk, quiche for the vegetarians, fruits, veggies, breads, crackers, cake for dessert. Potato salad, deviled eggs on request, from guests who want to participate. 
   This is what was missing from my life for so long. It doesn't take much to make me happy and I had to go to extreme lengths to get here. Life is a journey "they" say and I've packed my bags.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fiber art

Finally, at least for a little while, I'm back to the original intent of this blog! Last week was busy with artist receptions for two shows. both are group shows, one with MACA, now known as Tennessee Craft-Southwest, and the other is with my gal pals from the community center. The show with former MACA is at WKNO studio's gallery, Ten Ninety One, the other is at Wings Gallery at the West Clinic.
   I'm happy to be showing my art work again after such a long dry spell. My art is important and I really want to get back to it. My life has been turned upside down, shaken, then set upright, like a snow globe. The dust has not settled yet. Most days I feel too old for this shit, but I must persevere. Not just for me, but for my grandson. He deserves a decent shot at life.
   There are so many ideas to explore and create. Life has been good to me and should be lived to the fullest.
   Where is the drama free zone I want to be living in??

Monday, March 31, 2014

Broken promises

Oh dear, I had hoped I could post more often, but my darned life keeps getting in the way of what I really want to do. The life of a true artist is so fraught with indecision about what is important to actually making ones life happen, it's exhausting and all the banal aspects of living just take over. I must rearrange my priorities as soon as the bills get paid!!! 
   If only! 
 I spent the past weekend at one of my jobs and got to people watch. There are lots to choose from, I must say. And despite my best intensions, I have not yet fully declared my house a drama free zone! Guess I will have to put up signs.
  On a more positive note, spring is making a tentative appearance. The jonquils are bravely emerging from their underground hiding place and creating a beautiful and most welcome scene. Their subtle fragrance entices me outdoors to investigate the wonder of the season.
   The bullfrog in the pond made an appearance as well. He looked famished from his long hibernation and didn't jump away when I walked past.
   But life is good these days. I wake up and get vertical, so I can't complain too much.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring? Really? Maybe?

Earlier this evening, I stepped out to put some flotsam in the recycle bin, and smelled a floral scent in the air that was NOT the neighbor's dryer sheets. It was the intoxicating smell of spring blossoms. The kind that are almost too sweet. The kind of fragrance that is a pretty sure sign that warmer temps are on the local agenda. It was dark then, so I will have to investigate further in the daylight. 
  Other positive news. My laptop has been restored to it's former glory. Whew! During the time it was on the outs with me, I had to resort to using the iPad for my daily web functions. That exposed me to a new learning curve, which has been a good experience and exercise for my aging brain.
  All in all, life is good, despite the periodic glitches.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Another first world problem

My laptop got a virus, I think, and all my documents and photos and other info which made my life soooo much easier, has disappeared. I am devastated. As much as I love this iPad, it still cannot do all the things I need to make my life run smoothly. The stupid part of all this is, ten years ago, I NEVER would have imagined my life being so impacted and complicated by technology. 
   I smell a little Skynet right now.

The inter web community

A while back I posted a story about the demise of my favorite iron and how sad I was it decided not to work with me any longer. Some how, through the miracle of modern technology, someone googling Bernette steam irons came across my post and contacted me with an offer to sell me the same model I was missing so badly. After several weeks of telephone tag, the transaction has been completed and I am the proud owner, yet again, of my beloved steam iron. Of course, I purchased another steam iron with all the features I held so dear in the former favorite, so now I will have to make the choice between the two. 
Oh such decisions!!!! First world problems are so difficult. Shall I use this wonderful iron or the other? Shall I eat beef or chicken today? Oh goodness, which of the available fresh foods before me will accompany that beef or chicken? Should I have a bottled beverage or can I go to the tap and have a drink of water that I know is not contaminated? 
  Yes, I am full of liberal guilt and know how lucky I am to be living on the right side of this planet. Yes, I threw a little pity party for myself today because I haven't been able to make time for artistic ventures. 
But I sat on the front porch and watched a storm roll in and I couldn't have done that a year ago. I saw the meter readers walking around the neighborhood today and knew I'd be able to pay the utility bill when it comes due. When I go from room to room in the house and see the clean open space, I feel better. When I decide to move some little object from one table top to another just because it makes me happy, I know I'm going to be okay. 
  The dust will settle soon. Stay tuned for the further adventures of the newly divorced old lady. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Facing facts

February is nearly halfway done and I'm having to get used to the idea that hoping for instant change just because the calendar says its a new year, doesn't always mean things are brighter and fresher than they were at the end of the old year.
  That said, I am on the mend from my lip infection, but caught a cold and feel tired and somewhat miserable from that. The remaining shreds of the divorce settlement have not been swept up yet either. Phooey! Plus the winter weather has been dreary and grey, which adds to the feeling of misery. Soon enough the sun will come out and recharge everyone's solar batteries, the birds will sing, the daffodils will pop out of the ground and this long chilly winter will be but a distant memory, that we will sigh and wish for this cooler air when summer falls on us with its unrelenting humidity.
   With all the things going on now begging for my attention, my art work has been relegated to the back burner for a little while longer. It is very sad to not be able to give in to my creative urges and when all these necessary demands have been met, I will be happy to spend some quality time with my colors around me, buoying my spirits. I have so many ideas crammed in my head right now the hardest part will be sorting out which ones I want to bring life to first.
   Fingers crossed for that Happy New Year of creativity to be here soon!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The rest of the story

Okay. Where were we?? Let's see......the surgeons decided not to cut and signed off on the case. The abscess was draining on its own. Whew!!! My dear friends continued to visit and I am touched by their care and concern. 
   On Thursday, since I was on the mend, I tried to convince the doctor to let me go home. He declined saying that although I was getting better, I still needed to finish the antibiotics and acyclovir IVs and needed watching since I'd had a terrible infection, they needed to make sure I was going to STAY better. One more day in the hospital was preferable to being readmitted in a few days if things didn't go well because of an early release.l
   My anxiety was pretty high, especially since I had stopped taking my antidepressant the Saturday before because I was afraid of drug interaction with the meds from the minor med clinic and (mostly) because I forgot to take them. They didn't accompany me to the hospital because I never thought I would be admitted. I didn't bring my purse or my bra either. So by Wednesday I was not in my happy place the celexa makes for me, and asked if it was okay to have my daily dose. Good for me, celexa doesn't interact with the meds I was being given, and the little pills were added to the plastic cup with everything else. 
  But I still had a pity party or two or five before my happy pills kicked back in and a couple of crying jags in the dark hours alone. Waaahhh!! I want Dr. Cooper!! I almost called him, but talked myself back from the edge when I realized it was 3am. My last session was back in the middle of December and I had to move my next appointment due to a conflicting attendance in court to get the divorce finalized. I feel like I have made a huge step forward in dealing with emotional upset on my own, but I have been seeing him for four years, sometimes once a week, mostly every other week. It's been almost six weeks, so he better hold onto his hat when I get in his office next week!!!
   I think it was Wednesday night I decided to do something I never do, since I had so much free time, and stayed up all night watching tv. Saw lots of Modern Family reruns, a cop movie, and a very interesting program on PBS. It was the story of the first forensic laboratory in the New York City administration back in 1920 something. Mostly stories of poisoning and alcohol abuse connected to prohibition. Crazy stuff like you can't make up. So around dawn, I was ready to snooze, but comes everybody at shift change to draw blood, change IVs, take my blood pressure, take my temperature, give me some pills, and fuss at me for not drinking water. Just as all that settled down, the parade of doctors began, bringing students to have a look at my shrinking lip and asking me  if they could have a look at the pictures on my phone. There's nothing like documentation, I must say. 
   So between the fitful snoozing and interruptions, my mind wandered to silly places like it does when I need to entertain myself. The whole time I was in the hospital, there was a constant white noise close by and a couple days into the stay, I figured out it was the bed. But why did the bed make a constant noise? Soon after that discovery, I realized the bed was in constant motion as well. Every time I moved to adjust myself to a more comfortable position, the bed moved too. When I asked the nurse, she explained it was to relieve pressure points so the patient would be less likely get bed sores. Oh, okay. 
 So lying in the bed was really laying on top of a robot.....hmmmmm. That would explain the bizarre dream form Tuesday night that I had been abducted by aliens and wrestled with one of them. I pictured myself tossing and turning, from pain and meds, and the bed responding to each and every movement with its own motion to try and compensate, trying to keep me from getting bed sores. That was its job!!! A step further in my imagination, I concocted a scenario, of a robot bed with artificial intelligence, that would learn from the movement of the patient and it's own responsive motion. Because I have a goofy sense of humor, I thought about the bed getting frustrated in its attempts to comfort such a restless patient and just dumping me on the floor. The bed was named the Skynet Model 647 in honor of one of my favorite science fiction movie franchises, The Terminator. I want to write that story, too, someday. I did find out about thirty minutes prior to leaving, there was a way to turn the bed off. Grrr.
   Thursday dragged on and the doctors said they would spring me from the joint on Friday, since the surgeons had signed off and the infectious disease guys seemed to think the abscess was draining sufficiently on it s own. The course of IV meds was complete and I was to take similar meds by mouth according to the directions. Thursday afternoon, I called my friend and had her bring clothes since I had nothing but one pair of clean undies since Tuesday morning and she had taken my shirt to wash. I certainly did not want to ride home with my coat over my bare bosom. The nurse wrapped up the place on my arm where the IV port was sticking in me, and I showered and washed my grubby hair. Aaahhhh....I slept like a baby Thursday night. Don't remember too much of the periodic jabbing and recording of vital signs. Friday morning, the doctors came by to declare me fit to return to the world and resume my valiant march towards improved health. I called my good friend Sam to give me a ride to my vehicle, which was at his house since Tuesday, when he and his wife, my long time besty, had come to visit and retrieved my truck from the ER parking lot. 
   Papers were ordered and signed in quick time and I gathered my plants, candy, and magazines, got wheeled to the automatic doors, where my ride was waiting. Soon I was back in my house, in my jammies, cuddled in my bed. My lip still looked pretty rough, but the pain was much abated. 
    As much as I didn't want to be there, the hospital stay was a very good experience. The nurses, aides, and even the doctors were kind and concerned with my well being. Everyone was nice to me and I tried to be pleasant and grateful for how well they did their jobs, helping to make me feel better. 
   The other lesson I learned from this is to NEVER touch a booboo and to wash my hands a thousand times a day!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More hospital drama

 At the end of the last post, I was in a room on the third floor of a giant hospital in Memphis TN. The next few days are kinda jumbled together because of the pain, the meds and the fact that being in the hospital is like going into a time warp. It didn't help that I was installed in the room in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. I'm pretty much a get up in the morning, take care of my business during the course of a normal day, and go to bed around the same time after watching a little tv or tidying up. I like the comfort of my routine. It didn't help either that I had spent most of Sunday and Monday in an addled state as well as in pain. 
  The pain was really bad sometime during the early part of my stay and one of the nurses insisted I take something so I could sleep. I'm thinking he wanted me to stop crying and refusing the pain meds, because he had lots of other patients that needed his attention, and knew I just needed to chill in a huge way. So I took the lortab and at one point came to a little, saw the drab walls surrounding me and saw the rails of the bed in my peripheral vision and immediately thought I was my mother. 
   Although she passed away at her house, per her wishes, she had a rough year or two before she died. She was in and out of the hospital and I spent quite a bit of time with her there. It took me a moment or several to realize I was indeed myself and for a split second wondered what was going on, before it all came back to me in a sickening rush of pain and anxiety. 
  The other reason time gets twisted around in the hospital is because people come in at seemingly all hours of the day and night to stick needles in you, wrap your arm with tight bands and poke meat thermometers into the side of your mouth. Beep boop hiss. The reality of this intrusion is the schedule of the shift changes of the health professionals, checking on your progress or demise, whatever the case may be.
The bed goes up, the bed goes down. At one point I was joking with the two kind ladies helping me regain my normal state of good health, that I would tell everyone they were running an amusement park with cool rides and people would be lining up to get in. We laughed at the fact the bed rose at a glacial pace, but yet threw our hands in the air like it was a roller coaster on top of a building in Las Vegas.
The doctors chose to grace me with their presences on Tuesday. A veritable parade of white coats, except for the surgeon who arrived in blue scrubs, in serious life saving mode. They all wanted to touch my ever swelling lip, and for the most part were gentle, or maybe were afraid it would explode on their clean white attire if they got too close and prodded too hard on the giant purple-red monster clinging to the lower part of my face. It looked that bad.
 I'd had sense enough to take a photo-a "selfie" if you will--of my constantly changing countenance since the Sunday before. I showed the pictures on my phone to one of the doctors who was truly impressed at my record and appreciated the fact he could also see the progression of the infection. The next day he brought students in to view the mess that once was my mouth and asked if I would show them the pictures. Intellectual curiosity satisfied all round. I continued taking pictures everyday and couldn't believe my own eyes when I looked at them. 
  So time slipped away. Time for meds. Time for an IV. Time to check my blood pressure. Time to check my temperature. Time to draw blood. Time for an injection of stuff to keep me from getting blood clots. That one I figured pretty quick and made a deal with the nurse that if I got up and walked around, would she discontinue those shots. I particularly did not like them, because they were administered in my belly. And even though my lip hurt like nobody's business, I could still get up and move around as long as there was no IV running. 
   Amazingly enough, I was able to eat soft foods as long as they were cut up small enough to poke into the space on one side of my mouth that was the least swollen. Fruit and soft sandwiches washed down with juice or Sprite were on the tray at my request. The surgeon told me to drink carbonated beverages as the bubbles would help destroy bacteria. And I thought sodas were only good for cleaning car batteries and emergency spermicide!!!
   My dear and wonderful friends came to visit, bringing the phone charger, clean undies, magazines, flowers, candy and yogurt. The most important thing they brought was love and caring. None of them was really grossed out with my looks, but we did joke about a possible career for me in freak shows. I could be walrus woman or people could toss coins into the opening above my massive protruding lip for points and I would keep all the coins! 
    Friends who didn't stop by texted their concerns and encouragements, so I didn't feel all alone in my battle with staph. The nurses and other staff people were very, very nice to me, too, and I was grateful for their help and kind attention. 
    Wednesday morning, I got to take a field trip to radiology for a CT scan. Modern medical technology is so amazing. I can only think of Star Trek episodes I watched as a child when I see the advances made in non invasive testing. I also remember my parents talking about a sick friend back in the old days, having to undergo "exploratory" surgery to find a cure for their ailments. Absolutely barbaric in comparison to today's procedures. So that was fun. Then back to my room for more waiting and time travel. 
  On Wednesday afternoon during a visit from gal pals, the abscess decided to drain. Ewwww! Yet I was so relieved, physically and emotionally, knowing the end to my trauma was getting closer. The doctors had discussed surgical intervention with me at the beginning of this ordeal, but after looking at the scan results had decided it wasn't necessary and now, thankfully the rotten crap was leaving on its own! It was pretty yucky, but the pressure and pain abated almost immediately. 
   Still, I had to finish the course of antibiotics and other meds being pumped in to my veins as well as my mouth. They were throwing everything at my system to kill any and all variety of bacteria that had mistakenly decided to linger.
   Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion and the tale of the robot bed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy New Year.....when?

Oh my!! That little inspirational thing I wrote last week makes me laugh and weep alternately this weekend. The "bump" in the road turned into a full blown mountain I crashed into. 
I came back from the visit to the minor med clinic full of rosy thoughts, no doubt prompted by the shot of painkiller administered to my left buttock. Don't get me wrong, I'm still blown away with the kindness and care of hard working people, and I was dead sure the bottles of pills and a little bed rest (enhanced by a couple of pain pills), would set me right in a few days. NOT!!!!!
    By the time I came to on Monday evening, I felt a thousand times worse and my face was swollen as well as my lip. I rolled around on the bed for a little while until I felt sober enough to drive, stuck my wallet in my pocket, threw on my coat--by now it was bitterly cold as the weatherman had predicted--and took off for the emergency room. Not really sure which hospital to go to, I headed east, then decided I was not in the mood for stopping at a hundred red lights and got on the interstate. I figured I could go to the hospital in Germantown the back way in and stay off the main drag. When I took the exit from Sam Cooper Blvd onto I-240, I thought it would be a piece of cake to navigate the construction zone, because I'd done it many, many times. But this time it was DARK!!! And I probably didn't have all the faculties I needed to be transporting myself in a full size pickup truck with other kind and caring citizens risking their precious lives driving on the same roads as I. At one point I vaguely remember looking at the speedometer and I was doing around 30 mph. Oops!!!
   I managed the exit and headed east. There right before my eyes was a hospital that I hadn't considered for some weird reason. I drive by it at least twice a week. So I thought, screw Germantown, and pulled into the emergency room driveway, attempted to pull into a parking spot, but wasn't confident enough of my driving abilities to think I could get in the space without taking out some other vehicles, backed up and found a more suitable spot to wheel the truck into. 
  The doors to the er slid open, I yanked off my wool hat, which caused a great deal of static electricity, making my hair crackle and stand straight up all over my head. I walked to the admitting desk, where two of the three health professionals were wearing face masks. Their eyes widened as I approached and one of them immediately asked me to sit and explain what had happened to me. I relayed my sad story of pain and swelling, gave them my vital statistics, got my name put on the list, and was directed to sit "over there", but not before the guy asked me if I was self conscious about how I looked. He was wearing a mask and I guess figured I should join the party. So I put on a mask. About a half hour later, I was called to follow the health professional who was not wearing a mask and went to one of the inner exam rooms, to wait a little more, but at least I was on a bed. The doctor came in, took one look at me, poked on my increasingly large and painful lip, asked me what happened, to which I answered with the same sad story I told the three at the admitting desk.
  The doctor started talking about nasty infections, that if in such close proximity to your brain, can go there, infect that fine and wondrous organ, then kill you! Taken aback by his direct manner, I figured I was in for stronger drugs, and to be sent home with the admonition to obtain plenty of rest and check with my primary care physician in a timely manner. You can imagine my surprise when he told me I was going to be admitted to the hospital!!!!!!!
   "NO" I said. "I have too many things to do in the morning!" and I began to cry. A very sweet young woman patted my shoulder, told me I was going to be okay, then stuck an IV port into my arm and hooked me up to fluids and antibiotics. A couple hours later I was ensconced in a room on the third floor. 
  The only time I have been in the hospital was to tend to my dear departed mother or sister, to have an out patient procedure, visit a friend, welcome a baby into the world, or give birth to my darling boys.
Now, I was a patient. Oh my god!!!!!! Stay tuned for the rest of the story.....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year to me, sort of.......

This is the first weekend of my new and improved life and wouldn't you know it, a bump in the road. 
My bottom lip started swelling yesterday and I just knew I was getting a fever blister, which is bad enough, but it got worse and worse and became quite painful as well. No sleep for me. 
   I drove to work in the yuckiest rain--the cold, windy kind--and wound up coming back home 30 minutes later. Then I waited in seemingly agony (okay that's a little dramatic) for the minor med clinic to open and drove the excruciating five minutes, got signed in and less than an hour later had meds for this awful abscess on my lower lip!
  The nurse gave me a shot in the rear end for pain, so after a shorter wait at the pharmacy, (across the street from the clinic) I got back in my comfy bed and had a few hours of blessed sleep.
It could have been worse, like last Saturday, when my truck got stuck in the mud and I had to wait 2 and a half hours for the tow truck!  These nasty episodes could've been worse too, except for the kindness and care shown to me by the people surrounding me during both traumatic ordeals. I have to thank the people I work for, as they are the salt of the earth and I will be forever grateful to them for taking a chance on a stranger and welcoming me into their business.
 It's also good to know there are dedicated health professionals working on crappy Sunday afternoons, so they can be nice to cranky complainers, whose biggest problems are sleep deprivation. 
  When you think of all the folks out in the world who are working hard to make a living for themselves and family, keeping ungodly hours and just doing what needs to be done, it makes it easier, at least for me, to be nice to that service tech on the phone who's trying to sort out your internet so you can watch YouTube videos and keep up with your Facebook page. Sadly I used to be hateful to people who's only job was to help me solve my petty problems. One day I tried being nicer and got a lot better results. 
  So when things look terribly grim for you, remember there's plenty of help, if you are gracious enough to accept it. Plus, when you are called upon to help someone else in need, that good feeling is also on the other end of the spectrum.
  Didn't mean to get preachy and in an effort to inject a tiny bit of humor to my sad situation, I look like a cosmetic procedure gone horribly wrong! Or as if I wanted Angelina Jolie lips, but could afford only one!