About Me

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Nine years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Worked from home for the first year and a half of this pandemic. Currently working in the office because of my lateral move within the firm. For the moment, neither knitting nor [Zen]tangling.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Retiring, but not shy

The announcement will go out on Facebook after it goes to the office sometime this week.

I've prayed off and on, for the past several years, to know when it was time to hang up my spurs. The answer came midweek. I was having a spectacularly frustrating day, verging upon a meltdown, because of some tasks that I'd inadvertently neglected that resulted in a terrifying round of emails and IMs from my office manager and our managing attorney.

I've mentioned here the cascade of physical symptoms I've been experiencing over the past couple of years, which resulted in my office manager graciously finding a way for me to continue working and keeping us medicated and fed, not necessarily in that order. Anemia requiring iron infusions. The distressing tendency to fall asleep while sitting bolt upright, but thankfully not while behind the wheel. Behind the wheel, I was consistently blessed to feel it coming on and to enact countermeasures until I was safely off the road.

I've had two lengthy tangos with bronchitis this year, both of which required multiple rounds of antibiotics and/or steroids. The most recent episode took up much of July and was followed almost immediately by my trip to the ER, overnight stay, and Covid diagnosis. I had successfully dodged the pandemic for nearly two and a half years. I finished the last dose of those meds on Friday but am still using my inhaler every four hours as prescribed.

My energy level and focus, as you might imagine, are fluctuating wildly. Twice last week, while working from home, I had to log off and take a nap. I'll be typing along, checking off boxes and updating files, and then I'll hit a wall.

(Good news is that, probably because of all the steroids I've been on, for several weeks I haven't tipped over sideways in bed while reading, playing games, or watching TV.)

And in the midst of that near-meltdown a few days ago, I suddenly had the answer (mixed with a healthy side order of panic) to those intermittent prayers. Time for the next part of my life to begin. My official retirement date is October 1, and I am now peaceful and calm about that. Phrases from my patriarchal blessing have been wafting over my mind recently. We will be OK financially.

My last day in the office will be Friday, September 9, and at first I was excited to have a retirement event with friends and family invited. But after a thoughtful exchange with Middlest, I realized that I didn't want to be the vector of a super-spreader experience. Covid is rampant in this county. (Witness my own personal gotcha.) So we will have a small, private family party after the fact. The in-house celebration will be limited to whomever happens to be in the office that day.

After the dust settles, there will be a family executive meeting in which we lay the groundwork for providing that my money does not run out before my days do. But that's a whole 'nuther blog post.

Good Sabbath, all y'all.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Fridge and pantry archaeology

Chez nous, we have among us an astonishing number of condiments and seasonings. We could probably use a double-fridge or smaller industrial fridge (assuming there is room, which there probably is not) to keep everything neatly corralled, segregated by type, and used or disposed of in a timely fashion. There is simply not enough space in the door of the fridge. Items in the back of the fridge get lost, sometimes for months. That's the back story. Here's the post.

What I wanted for dinner is a pint of Ben & Jerry's. What I made for dinner was a smoothie from bits and bobs in the pantry and fridge. As I inspected the use-by dates, the list of ingredients grew smaller and smaller. I have sent a carton and a half of Greek yogurt through the garbage disposal, one dated for June of last year and the other (unopened) from November. I'm definitely willing to consume food past its use-by date, within reason. This just seemed on the unreasonable side of the line. A couple of tablespoons of coconut oil, gently warmed in the microwave to encourage it to bond with the other ingredients and not with the sides of the Vitamix. A tablespoon of chia seeds. I am hoping for extra "body" but no slime. A quarter-cup of almond slices, to go with the almond milk that was also, sadly, past its prime. A generous splash of orange juice to join the bottled pineapple chunks with their juice. Half of an extremely overripe banana, which turned everything a lovely shade of grey. I think that's it. Between the gathering and the reading of labels and the running of the garbage disposal (twice) and the running of the Vitamix, it probably took me the better part of half an hour to accomplish a task which under ordinary circumstances would have required five, maybe ten.

At any rate, the smoothie is tucked to one side of a counter, hopefully out of the way of Middlest's upcoming food prep. And I am fixin' to take the last of the refrigerated black truffle Alfredo pasta out of the microwave and chow down.

I worked today. Not quite as impressive as yesterday's accomplishments, but I think productive, given that I logged out mid-day and slept for nearly three hours. (Last night was not a good one for sleep quality or quantity, but the nap was immensely helpful.)

That's what-all is floating around top-of-mind today. Later, gators.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Eating. All. The. Things.

So: I'm a bit over one week past diagnosis, and this was my first day back at my work-from-home desk. By the grace of Heaven, I killed it today. It will take me the rest of the week, again by the grace of Heaven, to get something like caught up, but if tomorrow is like today I'll make good strides toward that.

I've finished my Prednisone. I could feel a bit of roid rage coming on Sunday afternoon, so I sent myself to my room. When I was less agitated, I went out to the kitchen and baked a pan of brownies. The bipolar bears had their share. I divvied mine in thirds, so as to impersonate a sensible diabetic. They were wonderful.

The munchies came on yesterday. I ended up making myself a four-egg-yolk omelette with cheese for a late dinner, because I wanted some serious protein, and because the eggs had been in the fridge so long that they were thinking of becoming petrified. I stirred a little buttermilk in to improve the texture. It was wonderful.

Today I was miraculously alert until about an hour before time to log off. I never once felt drowsy, just bone-weary. Throughout the day I ate: simple cheese quesadillas, nuked in the microwave. A fat mug full of the almond-based granola with a splash of milk. A small glass of juice. Once the Costco order arrived on our porch, two slices of Dave's Killer Bread slathered with guacamole, plus a fat handful of sweet cherries. A little later, small bowl of cottage cheese and half a dozen triple ginger cookies. Before that, a larger bowl of the chicken black truffle Alfredo pasta gloop that I made on Sunday night. There's one serving of that left in the fridge, and another three or four servings in the freezer for next week. And an alarm on my phone to remind me to thaw and eat it before it becomes freezer-burned.

After work, I noodled around on my phone for awhile, reading one article or another, and then I pulled on my galaxy leggings, purloined the water shoes that I gave Fourthborn some time back, and drove to Panera to get dinner for me and to In N Out (conveniently next door to Panera) to get shakes for the three of us. Over the course of three and a half hours, I managed to eat my sandwich (wonderful); drink my shake (wonderful), eat my portion of baguette, warmed in the microwave and slathered with butter (wonderful), and inhale my salad (you guessed it, wonderful).

The bill came from the radiologist at the hospital. $10.76. I am so thankful for good insurance. Had a good post-hospital virtual visit with my PCP yesterday. Have I mentioned that I got my labs back from my regular checkup, and my cholesterol was normal in all ranges for the first time in maybe ten years? Even my HDL, which has always been slightly-to-significantly low. Maybe it's all the steroids that I've been on since the first of July? Does that have any effect on cholesterol? I know that it does a number on blood glucose levels.

We have a consult booked for next week for a second oral surgery for Fourthborn. I am hoping they have a payment plan and I can break it up into two or three chunks this time without my credit rating taking a hit. Good news / bad news on the Middlest front: he needs two crowns replaced, but in speaking with the staff at our dentist's office today, they will be signing up with a company that will handle their payment plan, allegedly without affecting one's credit, and I'll find out more about that in the next couple of days and book Middlest's appointments. I just did not want to gut my 401K to pay for all of this. My financial anxiety, which spiked yesterday morning when I got the tab for the bipolar bears' cleaning and then the treatment plan for Middlest, is still there, but quieter, like when you've turned the burner off but the pot's still tossing up the odd bubble or two.

The dishwasher is humming. It's almost time for the Atlantic crossword to drop. Pretty sure that I won't be staying up to play Wordle when it drops at midnight.

I'm grateful for the friends who have been praying for me. I'm sure that that's why I'm recovering as quickly as I seem to be. I'm trying to listen to my body. I'm thankful that my sense of smell and taste have been unaffected. I'm downright amazed at the resilience of this aging body.

Night, y'all.

Monday, August 01, 2022

In which your intrepid heroine has yet another adventure.

Betook myself to the ER last night because my lungs were mocking my inhaler. The bipolar bears were asleep (and anyway, neither of them can drive). I messaged them once I was settled in a room at the ER. (It was weird when the nice triage-man announces that he was heading to room X with a 70 year old woman, and I realized that that woman is me.)

X-ray, EKG, CT of lungs to rule out pneumonia and other bad stuff. Hospital-strength Covid test to follow up on the negative one I took at home before leaving the house. Two IV tubes in my non-dominant arm. Steroid into one of the IV tubes, anti-coagulant magic into my belly, various tubes of blood drawn throughout the evening, oxygen flowing in through a cannula (leave the gun; take the cannula).

About 3am, transfer to my own room with a real commode; shortly thereafter a CPAP. Got three hours of deep, uninterrupted sleep before my bladder woke me and the tech had to come unhook me from the CPAP.  Then the nurse came in to check my glucose and something else.

This morning into this afternoon, more stabs for glucose level, two shots of insulin several hours apart, echocardiogram to definitively rule out blood clots, second visit from wonderful ER doctor, wherein he countermands the ER's "nothing by mouth" order (although I'd been able to wheedle small amounts of ice chips). A meal, finally, in the early afternoon. And the most marvelous collection of kind, competent human beings I've met in one place in a very long time (almost like going to church, it was, without the music or the prayers).

Communicating via Discord with my bipolar bears and Squishy. Communicating via Marco Polo with the non-resident blessings. (Squishy brought a charger for my cell phone to the ER last night and waited in their waiting room until 11, in case I needed anything.)

Restraining myself from an announcement on FB until I had a diagnosis and was safely home, which I am, with a couple of new Rx's due for pickup in the next hour or two, and I already feel a thousand percent better than when I walked into the ER last night.

After 2.5 years and full vaccinations + booster, Covid has finally caught up with me. This explains why my inhaler wasn't all that helpful (I forgot to mention the two nebulizer treatments I had today). It also explains the multitude of six hour naps that have occurred over the past two or three weeks.

Upshot? I feel loved and cherished and oh-so-blessed. Heavenly Father knows who I am and where I've been for the past 24 hours or so. He sent me where I needed to be, and he got me home safely.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Booboo

The bronchitis appears to be well and truly gone. I saw my PCP this morning for regular diabetic blood work and also because I have a booboo in the crease of my left leg which came on about the time I started the Prednisone. Said Prednisone made most of my eczema go away, although there are signs it wants to come back along my right jawline. I was thinking this might be a patch of eczema trying to go rogue. There is a swathe about 2" tall above the crease which is weeping lymph. It doesn't hurt, but it's sticky and annoying as you know what. Other than that, I'm feeling pretty good. Well, other than having been a little crabby and unfocused because of the fasting.

Ah, the abbreviations I have learned because I work in a law office. Dx (diagnosis), Fx (fracture), Hx (history), Rx (pretty much everyone knows that one), Tx (which I am amused to know is not an abbreviation for a minuscule map of the Lone Star State, but treatment).

I'm glad that I went when I did. The booboo is a precursor to a diabetic ulcer (ick!), and I have an Rx for an ointment which targets that. I will also be acquiring a wound care specialist. I hope he's as cute as my hematologist (think Neil Patrick Harris) or she's as witty as Dorothy Parker.

In other news, the bipolar bears were both sleeping when I got home, so I had to bring in the grocery order. That's something that Fourthborn usually handles, given her "freaking [surname] man-strength." Well, I overbalanced while bringing in a 32-pack of DP and fell. My exasperated yell woke both of them up. Nothing's damaged except my dignity, although the shock of it wore off at 3:00pm, and I emailed the office manager and took what turned out to be a six hour nap. I've been up for awhile, and I feel fine. (Also very blessed to not have broken my tailbone or my bad hip.)

I will, of course, report this to my doctor, and the automatic check-in feature will ask me about recent falls for the next year and a half or so. A small but annoying price to pay.

Later, gators. My Trader Joe's Hatch chili mac & cheese is growing cold, and the alarm for my evening meds is going off as we speak.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

I got a haircut???

Last one was at some point before the pandemic, so it's been at least two and a half years. Since then I've just twisted it up and clipped it. I think tomorrow there may be some foofing and barrette-ing.

My old Supercuts had closed since my last trim, so I had to consult the Google and Thummim to find a new one. I liked the stylist, who shares her given name with Firstborn.

I wore the new striped shirt with the old flowy pants and was well-pleased. I need to make a pair of earrings to go with. I think I have a string of semiprecious beads that would do.

Didn't sleep as well last night. Just shy of four hours, then up for long enough to do today's Wordle and the daily games on the AARP website, then back to bed for an hour and a half.

I've resumed watching the second season of an Irish legal show on Acorn, and the plot is definitely thickening. I think (another) minor character just got murdered off-screen. I'm about ready to gather up the things I will need in the morning, put on a nightshirt, and watch until it's time to take my evening meds.

I love posh British accents. I love Scots and Welsh and Australian accents (the latter, particularly, if spoken by a certain Aboriginal actor who's really something). And I think my favorite has to be Irish accents. I could sit at a table with the actors in this series and just listen to them natter on about anything and nothing. It's the linguistic equivalent of wind chimes or the oboe or the cello. Strikes something deep within my soul.

My hair feels like silk. I wish Beloved were here to mess it up.

Monday, July 18, 2022

A stellar day at work.

It helps to have one of those, every once in awhile, especially after illness and backlogs. Today I got almost all the way through my resource mailbox, which is where the correspondence comes (and goes, just like the karma chameleon) related to my record orders. There were almost 50 invoices to sort out. I got them all organized and fifteen or more of them sent off for payment. I plan to polish those off tomorrow morning.

With my office manager's help, I untangled and updated my timesheet for last week.

I got a little over five hours of sleep last night and awoke with just the merest hint of fever. Not enough that I had to stay home, but enough to make my thermometer chirp at me like an angry hummingbird.

Last week's Gudrun order arrived today, at least a week earlier than I was expecting. They must have solved the distribution problem in Germany while I was out of pocket. I have a new stripedy shirt which goes with a pair of pants I bought a couple of years ago that didn't really go with anything else. And I have a crazy-cute tunic bright red tunic with all kinds of warm-toned flowers on it. I wish I hadn't waited so long that the copper (bright orange) petticoat was sold out when I went to buy it. Maybe there will be a similar color in the fall catalogue. I'd also like a bubblegum pink petticoat, but I'm not holding my breath on that. Gudrun's colors are usually softer than that.

I have less than an hour until my final dose of antibiotic. Time to grab a nightshirt and prepare to grab some Z's.