Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Little Thing...Changing My Life

I just happened to have a brief moment of wake up at 4:00 am this morning and was so very thankful that it had been twenty four hours since I had to be awake at 4:00 am, with the alarm going off every few minutes because I didn't know how to turn the thing off.  As you can see, I rarely have to use an alarm.  It wasn't going to take that much time to get ready because, no breakfast, no Diet Coke, very little make up and wearing clothes that are easy to get out of and into.  Being fashionably attractive wasn't even an option.  At 5:00 am Roy and I headed toward the Texas Medical Center.  In the darkness of the morning a little baby bunny ran across the street and so did a big skunk as we traveled down the road to our next stop, the Shell station.  There is hardly a line at all at 6:00 am for valet parking at St. Luke's.  We didn't have to do the usual check in but went straight to the 6th floor of the Texas Heart Institute.  I was kind of surprised by this because in my mind the way the it was explained to me by the nurse made me believe the procedure would be done where I have gone for cardioversions and not the 6th floor where I had the ablation.  So it was the go back to a room with the nurse where you put on the lovely hospital gown and beautiful tan footies.  Next comes the vitals nurse who asks a million questions about your health, the spelling of your name (asks this multiple times) and your birthdate, again multiple times.   Then to end your time together, she takes blood.  Next comes the questions from the anesthesiologist nurse, who freaked me out when he told me that I was having general anesthesia, you know where the machine breathes for you.  I questioned him about this since I was told it would be like twilight sleep, you're out but not with a breathing tube.  So he had me sign both sets of papers authorizing them to use one of those methods.  By this time they have let Roy come back to the room and he has info that I won't be moved into surgery until after the staff has their Friday morning meeting, which means being there another 45 minutes.  Almost as soon as he said this, here comes a transportation nurse  to wheel me down to the second floor operating rooms.  Her name was Brenda and she was so kind and very funny.  The three of us had a good time getting to the second floor.  Once her responsibility was over, before she left, she came over to me and hugged me and prayed for me.  Wow!  God's presence to comfort and calm in the midst of nervousness and what's coming next.  The anesthesiologist doctors were so nice as they discussed the procedure with me and Roy and then it was time for the operating room nurse to come get me for the main event.  The next thing I know I am waking up in recovery and handed a cup of ice chips.  Through the haze of awakening I could see others recovering after surgery and procedures.  One older gentleman was having a difficult time and his bed was surrounded by nurses, attendants and doctors.  I prayed for him and who knows what was prayed in a drug addled condition but God knew.  I was the first in my group of four to leave recovery and to be taken to a room.  There they had me order breakfast, checked my vitals, asked me my date of birth another hundred times and finally after walking the I'm good to go home cat walk to the bathroom, they let me get dressed.  Jeff, the head surgical nurse came in to see me and so did the representative from the company that makes the device that was placed into my chest.  Soon the wheelchair attendant was there to take me downstairs where Mattress Mac was being released at the same time.  There was a reporter and cameraman waiting for him and I tried to get the wheelchair attendant to push me over behind Mattress Mac and photo bomb his interview. 

Even though I felt good I slept most of the afternoon and even went to bed early.  I am sore this morning all around my incision.  After I get cleaned up I will sit down and read the instructions to use this device that now is implanted in my chest.  Hopefully, I can use it to change TV channels if I don't want to watch the same program as Roy.  Or maybe I can use it as an emergency weather channel.  Nah, it's only for detecting erroneous heartbeats and the like to keep the threat of having a stroke minimalized and to rectify the beat and get me back in sync. 

Thank you dear friends and loved ones who prayed for this procedure.  Thank you for praying for me these last five years.  Thank you for the texts and phone calls.  Thank you for your patience when I didn't do things as quickly or needed extra help to maneuver.  Thankful for those who have come along beside us.  It dawned on me this morning that this is really the year of Proceed.  Health wise, everything I have had done this year, ablation, injections and internal loop recorder are merely just that...medical procedures.  This truly is the year of Proceed. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Lord......

Dear Lord, I am thankful this is not my first day of school.  I am thankful that it's not my first last day in high school.  Thankful for this not being my first day at college.  I am thankful that I don't have to remember the combination to my locker.  I am thankful that school gave me a love of notebooks, pens, pencils and folders.  Thankful that I have all those kind of thing on hand just in case it was my first day of school.  I'm thankful that I don't have to dread math class today.  So thankful for a hubby that loved first days of school, so much so, he had two additional first days after college getting a MBA and a Law Degree.  Thankful not having to worry what to wear for my first day of school, but mostly I am thankful that I slept in this morning on so many other's first day of school.  So, this morning I have enjoyed all the pictures from the morning of the first day of school while eating cinnamon toast and drinking a Diet Coke. 

It's not like I don't have homework though.  Our first day of CBS training begins tomorrow.  I have completed my work but need to go over everything again.  Seems like I always forget to answer a question or two.  I'm excited about seeing everyone.  We also have new leadership in many areas so it will be exciting to grow under their leadership.  We are studying Genesis this year.  A fitting place to start since there are many new beginnings. 

***Today was the second day of school and our first day back at Leadership Training.  Loved the theme of basic training with the servant team wearing camo t-shirts and bandannas...and dog tags.  We sang songs that went with that theme, but we did not sing Marching to Zion and I would have marched if Lineta had asked us to.   It was a great morning of seeing old friends and making new friends, prayer, instruction and a pretty fine lunch.  That's when I had to leave because my appointment for Orthovisc injections was at 1:10.  On the way to the appointment, the nurse called and asked if I could come at 2:30 since the Dr was still in surgery.  OK, turned around and went back to the church to finish out training, only to get a phone call just as I got to the door asking if I could come back to the office now.  So back I went, got the injections after a little wait and then came on home. 

Dr Smith asked me if I could feel any difference in my knees and I certainly can.  I helped Dena yesterday move some fragile items to her new home.  I wouldn't have been able to do that pre-shot.  On Sunday I had the step ladder out and went about the business of hanging a few pictures around the house.  Never would have happened pre-injection.  He cautioned me to take it easy the next 48 hours and I assured him I would.  Peggy will just have to carry all the heavy stuff tomorrow when we help Dena. 

So, this morning, Roy is up and getting ready to go into the office.  I am trying to wake up because no sleeping in today for me.  Back on school time.  Most mornings as I am awakening, I rub my right knee , my hand on the blankets...  Last night when I fell asleep, I was a little sore and worn from helping Dena, so I was rather startled when I rubbed my knee this morning and I couldn't feel a thing.  My hand could feel the bend of my knee but my knee couldn't feel my hand.  I screamed!  Which, is not a good thing because Roy usually does the opposite thing, like run to the front door instead of finding out what's wrong.  He came out of the bathroom, concerned and trying to find out why I screamed.  I told him, I can't feel my right knee.  Then my right knee began to move, as if I didn't have any control of it.  I was freaking out until I realized that Buddy somehow had made her way under the covers during the night and was curled around my knee.  Whew....You would have thought her fur on my knee would have given me a clue, especially since this is the summer when I don't practice the Nazarite vow of winter, not shaving my much. 

Also, everything is a go for the loop recorder procedure.  While driving all over creation, ok the Katy Freeway, I called the cardio office to get the confirmation.  Proceeding is taking place except for the surprise of the early morning Buddy incident.  That set me back a little, but I'm good and still thankful I don't have to go to a math class in the morning.   

Friday, August 23, 2013

A REally, REally Fine Day

This morning I braved I 10 early to go to my appointment at the knee doctor office since the appointment had to be rescheduled from Tuesday.  Going in you know that there is something about orthopedic offices that run behind on appointment times.  The staff and nurses are so kind there, you don't really mind.  You know going in to bring a book or something that will keep you occupied.  Over in one corner of the waiting room they have a really nice coffee and tea bar and a TV.  This is going to make me sound old, but dang the sound on that thing is too much.  Even though I brought a book that is so interesting and I'm having a hard time putting it down, I had to have one ear tuned to hear my name to go behind the golden door.  So I got the call and went into the inner office.  These shots are not my first rodeo.  I have had several before everything else started up but she had me feeling kind of nervous with the questions she asked.  She left me in the little room and she went to get the shots.  Those questions had an effect on me, I got hot and began sweating a little.  Then I worried that I would faint after the shots so I began to pop breath mints like there is no tomorrow.  There were information pamphlets on the counter, so I grabbed one and fanned 90 to nothing to cool down.  The Dr came in and did the injections and it was really no big deal except the needle for this type of thing is like --------------------------------- this long.   I go back Tuesday for the second set of injections.  I can tell a difference because there isn't as much snap, crackle and pop when I walk or get up from a chair.  I have to give it 48 hours before I can Psalm 18 it, run through a troop or leap over a wall.  He gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, so I am set for the weekend. 

So I kept a close eye on text messages today from Dena.  I met her last night at her home because she wanted to see what progress had been made since her last walk through.  They had done quite a bit and that home is looking all nice and shiny.   So at the Dr office, running errands and getting a pedicure she kept me up to date with each step of the process.  This afternoon when I hadn't heard anything since late morning I texted and asked if she was a home owner yet.  She was and had the hand cramps from signing so many papers to prove it.  We have walked this with her since February and when she said she officially had a mortgage, I sat in the Lotus Nail Salon parking lot and cried tears of joy.  I am not a crier by nature, but it felt so good to be able once again to call Dena my neighbor.  Look out Rancho De Five, things might not ever be the same, Peggy with a new knee, me with medically repaired knees, Kathleen, Emily and Dena...we are ready to roll.  Look out new Luby's being built on the corner of CRB and Westheimer Parkway...we'll be there for our senior specials. 

The book I am reading is Moon Rise by Cassandra King.  The author and her husband Pat Conroy were in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a little sabbatical and she had brought the book Rebecca to read.  She was inspired by parts of the story and so Moon Rise is the story of a young woman who is the second wife to a husband that had married the cream of the crop out of Atlanta society, beautiful and beloved by everyone and she dies a tragic death.  So here is second wife meeting his friends and making her way through the mansion in the mountains that was owned by Rosalyn's (first wife) family.  This kind of gave me an idea for the writing exercise I am working on.  Roy gave me a book several years ago with writing prompts and I pull it out from time to time.  The prompt I am working on is unrealistic expectations.  My first thought is a story of a man or woman, haven't decided yet, who lives an inadequate life only because they think they are inadequate and needs false props to shore up his or her dream to morph into a beloved person, even if it means taking on the personality of a dead friend.  The choice of lies being told or their narrative given a make over, never give them a moment's rest.  This character has unrealistic expectations on who they are and what can come out of life from their own experiences which would be fine except in their own mind.  Yea, I know...strange but it is  a work in progress.   We all deal with unrealistic expectations at sometime in life so it is a subject matter we are all too familiar with.    

August 23 has been a good day, full of proceeds on many different levels. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer Days Are At An End

The slow days of summer are coming to an end.  It has been a summer of long days of reading and just sitting, being still.  This summer could also be thematic in the number of lunches and breakfasts I've had with friends.  Several of the projects that have been on the to do list have been done and more projects remain for other days.  Staying up way past my normal bedtime and sleeping in like a teenager has been fun and brief, but realize now I don't want this to become a habit.  I am a night owl by nature.  Next week begins core leader training for Bible study and the study of Genesis begins in earnest on September 5. 

This summer I have had to remind myself that my time schedule and the Lord's don't always agree.  On my timeline I would have worn the heart monitor sooner, seen an orthopedic sooner and have my knee situation with more form and direction.  But here it is at the end of the summer and the orthovisc injections begin on Friday and next week they'll put the internal loop recorder in my chest.  Maybe I should have incorporated the unhurried approach to my attitude and expectations concerning my health into my unhurried approach to summer days. 

Happily, this summer has been filled with good friends.  I met my high school/college friend Mimi for lunch after not seeing her for forty years.  It was if a day hadn't passed.  What a joy to have her back in my life.  Beth, known since the 6th grade, came in town from Washington twice and I loved every minute I got to spend with her.  Since she has returned home she has been sending Mimi and I pictures of the area where they live, her family and wildlife...woodsy kind, not wild living kind.  Karolyn, who I had not seen since high school but she and Mimi kept up with one another, was able to go out to dinner with Beth, Mimi and me.  We saw Bobby and Marty at a high school reunion and it is always good to see them.  My college roommate and I have reconnected on FB and plan to have lunch very soon.  Emily has moved to Rancho De Five and Dena isn't too far behind in coming out to the prairie.  As per usual, Peggy is on the lake most of the summer but I did get to see her when last year's core group came out twice for fun at Lake Bain.  I got to have lunch with Geni and almost got to have lunch with Kelly.  We will get that scheduled.  Did get to have lunch with Lisa P, Emily, Peggy, Kathleen and Bev and breakfast with Jennifer, not all together well except for Kathleen and Peggy.  It has been a fun lunching summer.  Many a night before falling asleep I look at the pictures on my phone from this summer and feel very blessed and satisfied.  God has given me some of the best friends in the world!  For this I am grateful and so thankful for these kind and genuine people. 

I also was reacquainted with some other friends today.  We have a small bookcase in the hallway between the laundry room, bathroom and guest room.  I moved it into the study and rearranged books by categories on most of the bookcases.  For right now a child's roll top desk that we bought in Huntsville at an antique store is still in the study but it will be going into the Rancho De Five area garage sale....whenever that is this fall.  We used it as a nightstand for a while but have since moved onto other furniture.  The friends I reacquainted myself with were the books in that small bookcase.  I found a couple of books I had been looking for, several books on prayer that I read about eight years ago and were life changing, of course you know the southern books were well represented and several of my all time favorite Eugene Peterson books.  My collection of LSU Voices of the South series is in the bookcase.  These are reprints that LSU did of classic novels from back in the day.  All the literary works on writers from Mississippi and many books on the literary south.  If I hadn't been on my medicine for my knee pain and the side effect for me is more focus, I might still be going through the books trying to read each and everyone of them.  Roy has pretty much gone the E book route but I still like to hold a book in my hands.  Truthfully it wasn't that long ago that I would tell you that I missed my books while I was on a trip or vacation. 

It wasn't planned and as you can tell by several posts I have been reflective on the last five years and struggling to find good health and hoping for energy and interest in everyday life.  I think it's because I feel I am hitting a milestone and a turning point.  I have learned to let a lot of junk go.  I cannot be worried about what others think or expect from me and these are people who really don't have any right or access to even really know me.  They are the few that still put people in boxes and when you don't want to stay in their conceived box they have for you, they get frustrated and upset.  I saw this quote by Lecrae on FB and loved it; Some people will only love you as long as you fit in their box. Don't be afraid to disappoint them. 

Well, there is a book calling my name, Moonrise by Cassandra King.  I was hooked on the first page.  Looks like several of the projects I planned to finish up tomorrow just might get pushed into the Labor Day weekend. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fear of Missing Anything

Last night Roy and I were outside cleaning the bird bath and doing other outside chores when I got a scary moment that soon turned into delight.  I was in the side yard working with the bird bath and Roy was outside the gate checking on some shrubs when I saw something from the corner of my eye.  It was brown and I gave out a little yelp but when I saw it was a bunny, the yelp turned to laughter.  The bunny had come through the courtyard which means it came under our front gate.  It was only a few feet away, it didn't seemed scared but kept a wary eye on me.  Then bunny foo foo started toward the backyard and that is when Roy started walking towards it but that drove the bunny to the backyard, not away from it.  He didn't mind the three baby bunnies that lived in our raised flower bed but he's not wanting a trend to start here.  Our flower bed must have good vibe in the bunny world.  So this bunny sighting made Roy adjust his plans and instead of working on his original  plan, he weeded the back flowerbed and tonight I will go out there and dead head the zinnias that provided a lot of protection and coverage for them.  The bunny came back around by me and exited the way it came in.   

I saw something on Twitter yesterday.  It was from one of those anonymous accounts that are so funny.  It just said FOMA and then the explanation, it stood for Fear Of Missing Anything.  Years ago I was a FOMA member.  I went to things, parties and church when I didn't really feel like it but I was so afraid I might miss something.  Really?  I was fearful that I would miss out on the latest gossip by using the term news, miss out on what everyone was wearing and maybe even miss out on a future invitation to an event and when it came time for that event, I would go because of FOMA.  The past five years has changed me, I am no longer a member in good standing of FOMA. 

On Saturday afternoon I went over to help Dena pack.  She has boxes everywhere filled and ready to be filled.  Peggy has been in Ft Worth getting her mom's house cleaned out and stuff ready for an estate sale.  Peggy and I were talking yesterday as she drove back home.  They found all kinds of notes and pieces of paper in her dad's study.  I remember when Roy and I were cleaning out his mother's house and we found all kinds of strange and odd things.   I thought back to my grandparents and the things that my grandmother prized and kept out of harms way but when their house was cleaned out most of those things were broken or had rotted away or became dim with grit and grime.  Funny, the things that we prize and hold dear or have sentimental value to us will be fodder for laughter by whoever goes through all our junk and everything.  When I was going through things and packing for our move I came across a used Kleenex that I had placed in a baggie.  I knew it was from the last Sunday that Gerald and Trev were at First Baptist.  Why I felt I needed to keep it for so long, haven't a clue but it did get thrown away.  It would be too much of a broad brush stroke but it's true, things shouldn't have such a hold on us.  When it comes to the end of life, there might be some sentimental value in what we leave, but most of it will be garage sale junk, tossed into a dumpster or if it is lucky, find a home in Peggy's crime lab.  I do have one Bible that I have underlined the weirdest verses in it and them write a comment like good word or this means so much to me beside the verses.  I want whoever that comes behind and has to go through things to get a good chuckle.  Yes, I have a Bible that has real meaningful verses underlined and noted but really having someone's Bible from the long ago just takes up space and you feel guilty if you get use if for the pictures or get rid of it. 

Just heard from the knee doctor office and I have to go later in the day tomorrow to get my first injection or if he is still in surgery, I might have to wait a week to start the injections.  Hopefully, I can proceed tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ain't Got Time to Die...Sing With Me

I had almost forgotten how to drive in rain but it's like riding a bike and it all came back to me last night.  Thankful for the HOV lane that's for sure.  This morning I'm enjoying the overcast skies because even though I know it is hot outside, it helps me imagine the cooler days that are farther down the road.  Come October, come.

Yesterday, I experienced the Med Center in the afternoon.  I pretty much schedule appointments toward mid morning.  It was a long afternoon but it was bookended with relatively fast valet parking.  No long line when dropping off and I barely had time to get my Diet Coke before seeing Sequisha coming down the ramp when I was leaving.  Side note: how come the term 'ramp up' is over used, but hardly ever if never have I heard the term 'ramp down' used in a descriptive way?  The waiting room wasn't as packed as in the morning but I noticed the few who had signed in before me had 3:00 appointments.  Good night, who wants to sit for hours in a boring old waiting room?  Even the receptionist said to several people as they signed in after me, you know your appointment isn't till 3:30 don't you?  One thing that did not change, I was the youngest patient sitting there and I ain't no spring chicken.  You know you are in good hands when your doctor is the one teaching and speaking on his specialty to others in the medical field.  He was running late from his speaking engagement and I was the first one in our waiting room crew to be called back behind the golden door.  My appointment had been an early afternoon one and I have no clue what time those who had the 3:00-3:30 ever got to go home.  Some were still sitting there when I left at 4:30.  I had brought my birthday card from Anthropology for 15% off my purchase and had dreams of spending time looking through all the cute non clothes items, cause that's what I shop for in Anthropology.  Instead, after my appointment, I drove downtown and picked up Roy.  We had a lovely dinner at Buffalo Grill and then drove home in the heavy downpour but we were thrilled to see the rain. 

The gracious hand of the Lord was so evident to me yesterday at the doctor office.  Once you get behind the golden door, there is a bit of a process before you see the doctor.  First, they go over all kinds of stuff in your charts.  My file is rather thick.  My blood pressure was rockin it and when I say rockin, I mean it was so good.  Then another nurse brings in the EKG, hooks you up and takes the reading.  And then you wait....this was the first time I hadn't been in a room with a view of Rice University, I had no windows to help pass the time.  Fortunately, I had my Nook and if I had so desired I could have read ancient history from People magazine circa 2008.   Or even a ton of heart pamphlets.  I amused myself by reading a mystery and texting.  I could hear the doctor's voice in the hallway so I knew I would be on the clock soon.  We had a great visit and appointment.  I told him about my ortho appointment last week and the time map Dr. Smith has for my knees which also involves using an anti-inflammatory.  Then I kind of blank out on the next portion cause it all revolved around math and I would nod and say uh huh at the appropriate times but the bottom line is, my medium to high risk of having a stroke.  That does not include don't have a cow, man!  Thus, I can take care of my knees, he took me off blood thinner medicine and I take two baby aspirins a day.  I love chewable orange.  Then the last week of August he is going to put a internal loop recorder in my chest.  It's a relatively minor procedure but friends look forward to one of those after anesthesia phone calls.  And the day they scheduled me, Roy just happened to have scheduled to be off.  Ah, the gracious hand of the Lord.  Jokingly I asked if the government could track me or would it be more like being micro-chipped like  cats and dogs for identity?  Because if so, I am a rather boring person who rarely goes anyplace interesting.  Or maybe a tracking device for our church because we attend The Loop campus, get it, internal loop recorder....OK, so it's not that good or funny. 

So, this is where you find me this morning, in the proceed mode.  The implant kind of threw me...dare I say it????....for a loop...  I never knew there was such a thing and I thought I would be walking out of that office saying, see ya in a year.  I will say this, at the end of appointments with my therapist, I always looked forward to those words of encouragement and affirming my progress while she hugged me.  Yesterday, as I walked toward the golden door to leave, as the doc was going into another room, he called out my name.  I turned and he gave me a thumbs up and said, you've done so good!  You've worked hard, you've hurt hard but you always came in with a smile and humor.  Most probably you should have died or had a life changing stroke but your attitude and outlook was the difference between you and most.  Keep it up!  Wow!  That totally took me by surprise and it made my steps a little lighter and put a song in my heart.  Wait, when I have the internal loop recorder will it be able to record the song in my heart?  Hope so....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Gracious Hand of the Lord

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a friend about how perspective is changed when one experiences or has a near death experience.  We were talking about a friend of hers and the huge change in them.  Since my friend and I have both experienced the near death kind of deal, we knew a little about those changes that come about.  It is not a sudden realization but somehow slowly but surely you begin to determine what's really important, what should energy be given to and to let things go a little faster that really don't matter.   If you are legalistic, you loosen up a bit.  If you're a grudge holder, you quit holding onto that trash...well at least you let a little bit of it go over time.  You don't hold those too close to your heart that repeatedly hurt or ignore you, those who do not have your best interest at heart and enjoy a little too much your defeat or setbacks.   One begins to be a better picker of battles to let pass and knowing which wars are worth fighting for.  I guess her friend had little compassion for others, thrived at being in the know and tended toward wanting to always be right and having the last word.  Then near death....and recovery...and then the gradual take over of gratitude and a greater generosity in all things and a welcoming demeanor that hadn't always been present.  My friend and I had some inward inspection during that conversation and thankful for the changes that have come about.  For me, there are less trips to my fearless zone...maybe even more of a filter not feeling the need to express my displeasure or the irony of situations.  Amusing myself at the expense of others weaknesses is almost non-existent.   Almost...not quite.  I am mindful that every day is a gift and the little things do matter.  There is surprisingly an abundance of joy from laying down dreams, expectations and desires.  Life is much better not being all knotted up over situations, at least for me not being as knotted up as I used to be.  Writing all this is not to say I don't experience the ups and downs of life, that I don't get aggravated at things or lose my patience, it is knowing when to shut that down before it gets out of hand and it is knowing a much more peaceful approach to living. 

Yesterday morning I listened to Insight for Living on the radio and Charles Swindoll was addressing a group of 8th graders.  He taught so much wisdom from Ezra and Daniel in wise decisions.  Ezra set about to put into practice and teach what he had studied.  I mean really, Charles Swindoll has such depth and can communicate it so well.  All this from Ezra resonates with me since Dena had taught an in depth Bible study on the book.  I had forgotten about the verses that said the good hand of the Lord was upon me because____________.  The translation that I am currently using says the gracious hand of the Lord. 

It is now Wednesday and this morning I am so thankful for the gracious hand of the Lord.  Yesterday, our core group from last year got together at Peggy's for fun at the lake.  And yes, we had lots of fun.  Before going over to Peg's I had emailed the ortho's insurance and scheduling nurse.  I was curious to know if the injections had been approved.  When I hadn't heard back from her in the afternoon, I ran home to make some calls.  First to CVS and yes the prescription dosage had been resolved, the prescription was ready.  Then I called the doctor office and got the nurse on the first ring.  Yes, the injections had been approved and we will begin that process next week.  Got the appointments set up for the next three weeks.  On my way back to Peggy's the cardiologist office called wondering if I could move up my appointment to tomorrow which is today.  Yes!  Yesterday morning I felt this was going to be some long drawn out deal but the gracious hand of the Lord was upon the situation.  I am thrilled to proceed.  Last night I took my first Ultram ER and I felt the good effects from it.  My knees did not wake me up in the middle of the night!  The difference this time though, I take two pills a day instead of one at night.  So we will see how this works.  The pill makes me sleepy.  It also has a good effect on my ADD.  Oh happy day!

Now, I must get everything picked up for Chris. 

Monday, August 12, 2013


The number one thing to do on my list today; taking the heart monitor to UPS.  It's going back after staying with me for a month.  I am happy not to adjust electrodes, change batteries or listen to it sound the alarm when I have moved out of range. It will be so nice not having to peel the goo from the electrode pad off me.  And the happiest note from this month, every report, every reading was normal and they pinpointed times that my heart flutters, not the in love kind of flutter, it's heat and stress.  That doesn't come as a surprise at all.  Next Monday is the cardiologist appointment and my hope is to continue proceeding. 

We thought we were going to get rain yesterday because it looked like a lot of Rancho and Katy got rained upon.  We took the opportunity of the cooler temps to dead head roses and re-enforced the bottom of the shepherd hook that holds the bird feeder.  We had planned to go to BCF yesterday morning but we overslept.  I think it was to Roy's advantage that we did.  He has been working so hard.  We did a brunch/lunch at Victor's.  I did breakfast, Roy had enchiladas. 

I have taken the monitor to the UPS store!  I'm free from the tangled wires, the alarm sounding when I've been out of distance and the skin eating goo on the electrodes. 

Too bad it's not closer to Christmas time.  This weekend a lovely pimple showed up right there on the end of my nose.  Bright red.  Wrinkles and pimples, it's just not right.  Fortunately I was able to stick around home and not have to lead a sleigh or anything through the mist and fog even at the expense of all the other reindeers who would love me and shout our my name with glee, Nancy, with a bright red pimple your name will go down in his-tor.....y!

The angel priest story this past week on the news has created some interesting conversations.  I was just reading a blog and they asked for angel stories that were like this one.  I am not going to comment on that blog but I will tell you my angel story.  When I played tennis at the University Club on the top of the Galleria, it wasn't unusual to play, eat lunch and then stand out in the parking garage finishing up conversations.  One day, a friend and I were halfway between our cars.  We parked at opposite ends of each other saying goodbye when out of the corner of my eye I saw two thugs approaching us.  My friend and I looked at each other because we knew we were about to be robbed.  We were too far from the U Club entrance to be heard over the sound of tennis inside and the sound of cars outside.  We both turned to face the thugs wishing we had the time to pull out our racquets and make some kind of defense.  The guys ran toward us with their eyes on our purses and then surprisingly to us, they made attempts to stop on a dime.  Their attention was directed up over us and their faces reflected their fear.  In their attempts to stop and turn, they both fell down, never taking their eyes off whatever they were looking at way over our heads.  They got up somewhat confused and scrambled while they ran off screaming.  I looked at my friend and said, I think angels are with us.  I had always heard they were really tall and really big.  Every time an angel appears in the Bible the words Fear Not are used at the beginning of a sentence.  At this point we both just wanted to get in our cars and get the heck out of the Galleria, but I did say to her that God had sent his angels to watch over us and we should give Him lots and lots of praise.  Believe me, in the car on the way home, I was blasting praise songs and singing at the top of my lungs.  That was enough to keep the enemy at bay as I returned home.  My friend and I didn't talk very often about that afternoon but when she was diagnosed with stage four bone cancer, she asked me to tell her about this God that I loved and had protected us that day.  When she passed away, she went straight to Jesus.  I told her before she passed, find those angels in heaven and thank them for me. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Continue to Proceed

The timeline of life was found in a waiting room yesterday.  Waiting in Orthopedic Doctor's waiting rooms runs the gamut much more than a Cardiologists.  Several years ago I went to an Orthopedic surgeon whose specialty is joint replacement.  So the waiting room was filled with people who tended to be on the older side.  It seemed that everyone sitting there was probably in the worst health in their family and used to being listened to and catered to.  A roomful of entitlement is not a pretty picture.  The waiting room yesterday had quite a few injured high school athletes that are almost ready to return to their sport.  There were a few middle age types and several of my types, not middle aged but not yet ancient of days.  Oh yes, there was a smattering of ancients but not as many as I had anticipated.  Even though most of us were occupied with our phones or e-readers, we all kept an eye on the magic golden door that leads back to the individual waiting rooms.  The doctors were running behind schedule yesterday. 

I thought I had made a good choice on capris yesterday because I knew they would be taking x-rays.  Dang, I didn't see the small metal rivets on the pockets so I had to wear a lovely pair of shorts that are the equivalent to hospital gowns.  X-rays are so much easier now and couldn't really believe so much improvement had come in the last five years.  After that I went back to my little waiting room for the consult with the Doctor.  I really like Dr. Smith, and Smith is really his last name.  My concern is having my heart healthy enough to withstand surgery.  I thought it was really a nice gift from the Lord that on my way to the appointment, the cardiologist office called to give me the fourth good report from wearing a heart monitor.  My heart is functioning like a normal heart.  After a brief examination of my knees and having me do the orthopedic cat walk for him, we began to discuss my knees and the options available.  This will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me but my knees are really bad.  All bone on bone.  He could not believe that I have lived the past five years being unable to take any kind of anti-inflammatories or pain meds due to my heart.  Good thing I have a high threshold for pain but everyday has been extremely painful when it comes to my knees.  The extreme fatigue I endured triumphed the knee pain many days but I was always ever mindful of the lack of mobility.  Since my surgery in March I have felt so much better but ironically that meant I was now much more cognizant of the knee pain.    So he asked me was my mindset totally on surgery, which I will need on both knees. or would I be willing to start with conservative treatment of having the knee injections again since I had responded to them so well five years ago.  I told him I was open to both options.  I think the conservative route is a good place to start.  He wants a report from my upcoming visit with the cardiologist and I am to ask if I can go back on anti-inflammatories.  We will start the weekly injections as soon as my insurance okays the treatment.  I am praying that I will respond well to the injections again, along with anti-inflammatories and I will be going back onto Ultram ER.  Most people experience wild euphoria on this med, but for me it makes me much more focused and less ADD.  If the conservative treatment buys me some time of feeling good and puts off surgery, I am all for that.  If I don't have a good response, then I am ready to "Proceed" with surgery and get on the road to good knees.  It will be nice to be able to get out of a chair normally, not have to gut it up to go up stairs, turn over at night without intense pain waking me up and not having knees that lock or give way both extremely awkward and somewhat embarrassing at times.

After the appointment Emily and I met for lunch at Kay's Tea Parlour.  It was packed but we got seated without too long of a wait.  Great catching up with her.  She had to get on home after lunch but I went to a new shop that opened next to Kay's, Junk Street Market.  Very cute things.  I did not leave empty handed.  I also made a purchase at Bill's antique store.  I am a sucker for old gates.  This one has been placed on a stand so it might be an indoor thing or it might be an outside on the courtyard thing. 

Roy and I went to dinner at Tony's, Mexican not fancy place, and then did a little grocery shopping because once again, we are wild like that.  We did a drive-by of Dena's house for good measure because it will only be a couple of more weeks until she's officially a Rancho De Five resident. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just a Thursday in the Summer

Only a few more days wearing the heart monitor and August 11th will be a happy day indeed to be set free from these cords and Blackberry.  After the first week and skin that was just about done with the electrode patches, I began taking a day off from the thing to give my skin time to heal a bit.  At first when I didn't have it on or if the electrodes weren't secured, the dreaded call would come asking about the non readings.  Instead of being straight up with this corporate provider I told a little white lie and I said it as such, it wasn't really a lie but it wasn't the truth.  I'd respond, my friend lives off a lake (truth) and I don't like wearing the monitor around the water (true) but the falsehood was....I wasn't at the lake.  Since I have had three good reports maybe they've backed off in analyzing the data and knowing I'm on the last stretch of wearing, they are cutting me a break or they might be thinking, she's at the lake.  None the less, I should have been straight up with the truth of this goo on the electrodes eats up my skin and I have huge bruises from reattaching the wires to the pads. 

Last night around 9:00, I headed over to Peggy's to see everyone.  It is too dang hot for me to be over there at the lake during the day, which would make the at the lake story true, a few days before my appointment at the orthopedic doctor.  I have been filling out medical forms and such.  I came to a conclusion to write out bullet points for the last five years with my health.  It will be faster and concise more than trying to write everything out by hand or tell him.  In the highlights and lowlights I can see God's hand at work through this whole time.  I'm so thankful!  Almost everyone at Peggy's, even Peggy, was tired after a full day outside on the water.  The kids rallied enough strength to have a milkshake and I don't think they would be up much longer.  Again, I'm so thankful to live close to friends out here in Rancho De Five and be able to do the late night thing and then come home without driving on a freeway.  This week I'll also get to have lunch with Emily, recent convert to the Rancho.  It will be fun when Dena heads out this way too. 

It is now Thursday morning.   The green space is being mowed and later this afternoon Abel and crew will take care of our yard.  We are in a pause mode with our backyard flowerbed.  The little bunnies need the extra weed covering so that hawks and other animals of prey can't see them.  Roy checked on them last night and the bunnies are doing well.  I can't believe we have gotten so emotionally invested in these little critters.  Really?  Am I that surprised because I've emotionally invested in these birds that come to the feeder and bird bath everyday. 

My friend Beth that lives in the Seattle area sent me another picture of her views when she's outside.  That whole area is so beautiful and when the weather is at its best, August, she is out soaking it all in.  Not letting anytime or anyplace go to waste.  Her picture this time looks to be near the Mt Rainer trails and she and a friend are doing a day hike.  I love when she sends Mimi and me these pictures that she is including us in her life.  I've always admired Beth's free spirit.  I love that she is sentimental and gives great thought in her responses to questions and life.  Beth's life is not formulaic, she lives in honesty.  She is inquisitive.  She has a huge heart and a pliable spirit. 

I don't know if I am thinking through things because of getting to see long time friends this summer or the timing of my birthday and entering into my last year of the 50's.  It could be as I have taken a different approach to the summer and really taking the time to be still and to listen, that I am seeing life differently and even more so than usual taking stock of what's important and what isn't.  In previous posts I've written about the formulas we attach ourselves to and sometimes in doing that we are missing out on so much more of life.  One thing that I feel like I'm resolving to the finish line but this 'issue' has dogged me for the past ten years off and on.  I will go for months and not give this 'issue' another thought but when I am not guarding my heart, I can think this thing through till, well till whenever.  There are just some people that we aggravate and that causes malice toward us when we don't even know we are doing or causing it.  There was a day that it amused me to aggravate and challenge because I was sooooo good at it.  Not so much now.   I need to move on and wish them well doing my best not to set them off and yet I will have this wee little thought tucked into the back of my mind, don't end up living life like them.  Stay away from fear dominating thinking, insecurity, jealousy, and encasing those feelings in a well wrapped 'holy acting' or a victim fabrication or lie.  Which brings me full circle to telling the Life Watch people a well wrapped fabrication on why I don't have on the monitor some days.  I will speak the truth in love even though I have trouble understanding their outsourced accented reply.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Suspicion, Rebecca and Reality

I am so very happy to report that the pot roast I made last night turned out great!  We liked it much better cooking it in a Dutch oven verses a slow cooker.  I've made pot roasts before using beer or red wine but this one called for a dark ale or stout.  We bought a bottle of Mississippi Mud beer and it must have done the trick.  I also added red and green bell pepper along with the onion and about an hour before it was done added baby carrots.  Tonight the fine folks at Sprouts have prepared our dinner.  Cooking two nights in a row?  I might not recover.

Yesterday morning I got a glimpse of the two baby bunnies living in our back flowerbed.  They are so cute.  I went to well known Animal Vet Dr. Google to see if there was anything we could do to help them and the answer leave them alone.  The momma rabbit only spends early mornings and late evenings with them once they get to a certain size.  Many mistake the lack of a mom sighting as the bunnies have been orphaned.  We did put a little bit of water in a lid because of the heat out there for them or for mom. 

Tonight it must be Joan Fontaine night on TCM because two of my all time favorite movies are on, Suspicion and Rebecca.  I have them on DVR and have the DVD of Rebecca but I love watching them on TCM because you learn so much about the movies before and after the showing.  I will probably watch in one of the other bedrooms because Roy will probably be watching Castle on DVR in the living room.  I first watched Suspicion in 2005 while recovering from surgery.  During those six weeks of recovery our computer was on the fritz and I decided to only watch TV in the late afternoons and evenings.  I read and slept at first for most of the days but when I was able to get out and about for a little bit, usually friends coming over or taking me to lunch, I still kept the reading in my daily activities.  One night, Suspicion came on and it gripped me.  I was mesmerized by the story but so disappointed in the ending.  I woke up Roy to tell him how anticlimactic it was.  (He so probably appreciated knowing that at 1:00 am)  I found out later that the ending was changed in the movie and did not fit the ending of the book.  They thought no one would ever believe that Cary Grant would do such things.  Guess people back then had a tough time knowing reality verses the movies. 

The summer is winding down.  The peaches, nectarines and tomatoes will be just a memory soon.  At Sprouts today pears and apples are making the move to the front of the produce sections.  School supplies are everywhere in stores and families are wrapping up trips.  Late nights will be a thing of the past except for late night studying.  The week before school begins bedtimes will gradually return to normal.  That means summer is winding down for me too although there aren't school supplies or anything like that to be purchased.  I will need to go to get into the go to bed earlier routine because of CBS Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Last summer I read the Old Testament and spent time reading books that had to do with the Old Testament.  This summer, I really hadn't made a plan, a Bible reading plan but soon enough I knew how the summer would go concerning these things.  I did a lot of listening, spent time in complete silence, reading here and there in the Bible but without a plan.  I've read more this summer than I have in any summers past and this includes all kind of reading.  I found several blogs that have challenged and encouraged.  In the southern fiction genre, the choices have been outstanding and the non fiction I've read has been moving.  I attended a Bible study that BCF offered and have been rather social.  It has been a good summer and it hasn't come about in the tried and true ways.  I think maybe reading Wonderstruck in the winter and spring helped me have this laid back approach in spirit that transforms into really being observant and grateful in daily life and seeing where God is leading.  This has been my most unorthodox approach ever and I am thrilled with the results and changes. 

Well, Suspicion is on in a few minutes.  Hope Roy can warm up his dinner in the microwave quietly. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fifty Nine is Feeling Fine...So Far

Yesterday was a fun and fabulous day, partly because it was my birthday, Ben Stuart preached and Dena taught in Life Bible Study which just means Sunday School.  She has taught two times this summer during her sabbatical.  Afterwards, Roy and I went with Dena to the birthday lunch surprise.  One year, early on in our friendship she gave me a hint of where we were going for my birthday.  The hint, it's biblical.  I guessed it correctly, Ruth Chris Steakhouse (Ruth and just needing a t for Chris.)  Since then she has not given me a hint of where birthday dinner celebrations will take place.   I do know this, they are always at a fabulous place.  And this year was the best!  We had brunch at Brennan's.  Oh my word!  I haven't eaten at Brennan's since the night of my senior prom or one of the proms in high school.  So you know, that has been a long, long time.  Roy and I have eaten at the one in New Orleans, but that has been a while too. 
We had a great table, right by the windows and in the corner.  I think Roy was almost excited as Dena and me to be there. 
It took several attempts for Dena to get this picture without people standing around waiting for their cars.


Thankfully, we were all properly dressed for brunch.  Any other time Roy would have to wear a jacket. 

This jazz trio was soon joined by a fourth musician.  Instead of playing Happy Birthday, they played and sang the song Night and Day by Frank Sinatra.  Going to have to download it from ITunes.  The sax player said to me, wasn't that better than happy birthday?  Yes!  When this photo was taken they were singing and playing Johnny Mathis' Misty, which is a beautiful song and the sentiments of Laverne and Shirley that Johnny Mathis is the best make out music in the world is correct but, it didn't quite make me forget the movie Play Misty for Me.
Here we are in our happy little corner of the world and Brennan's. 
After brunch waiting on Dena's car.  As you can tell they do give you a chef hat to wear when they bring out dessert.  I happily wore it...for just a bit.
Roy wasn't having a good time at all, she says sarcastically.  He started with gumbo, had some kind of New Orleans dish and had a pecan pie sundae for dessert. 

This my friends is Bananas Foster, just about my all time favorite dessert in the whole wide world.  It was delicious!  I kind of went the traditional brunch route, a fresh peach green salad, crispy bacon, a poached egg,  blueberry pancakes with whipped goat cheese between the pancakes and pecan bourbon syrup.  Yes, I wanted to drink the syrup.  In fact we all quoted our favorite line from To Kill a Mockingbird, "what in the Sam Hill are you doing Walter Cunningham?  He's gone and ruined his whole meal by pouring syrup on it."  Then Bananas Foster for dessert.  As you can tell I went with the fruit themed dish.  Dena kind of went the Duck Dynasty route, turtle soup with Sherry (she opened her mouth like a little baby bird when they poured it into her soup wanting a little not really, maybe that was me), crab cakes and then the Bananas Foster.  Oh we ordered a side of the grits...I was feeling very Biltmore/New Orleans.  In fact, I haven't had an old fashioned in years and it was kind of making me want one but ice tea and coffee ruled the day. 

We had a wonderful time!  Now I want to go to brunch at Brennan's every Sunday but I'm sure that it wouldn't feel as special if we did.  Dena's birthday is coming up and guess I will have to rethink the Burgers and More and Bahama Mamas shaved ice celebration for hers. 

This was quite the trifecta birthday of favorites.  Mimi took me to Grand Lux on Thursday.  Roy and I went to Taste of Texas Saturday afternoon and then Brennan's on Sunday.  Of course all of this means I am dieting today.  Those places were calorie worthy, let me tell ya!

Also, Roy got me these hand made sheep made out of corn husks.  They are just so cute!  We are thankful that Buddy hasn't shown any interest in them. 

Yesterday was National Friendship Day.  I took time last night to gather my thoughts and thank God for the friends He has sent my way all through the years.  I'm even more mindful of them because of the Bible study Becky K had at her home on friendship, the welcomed reunion and now ongoing friendships from the back in the day, long ago, school days, younger friends, older hot dogs, Armor hot dogs, the dogs kids love to bite....Oops, squirrel.   But you see where I am going.  I would name some but I would leave far too many out because my addled brain doesn't always remember things when I want it to. 

Guess all these wonderful meals and the maturity of reaching fifty nine has kindled a little fire in me to cook tonight's dinner.  Hope Roy doesn't think this means this is the start of a new era....  Nope, Sprouts had a really good sale on roasts.  Mine turn out dry so I am making pot roast in a Dutch oven today, not the slow cooker to see if the results are different. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Last Morning of Five Eight

This is my last morning waking up as a fifty eight year old and tomorrow I enter into my last year in the fifties.  Ten years ago I was already dreading the fifties and that last year in my forties was difficult because my eyes were directed to the inevitable and perceived aging.  Once I got into the five o decade it wasn't as bad as I had imagined.   I am not making the last year of a decade mistake again.  I'm going to be present and involved this year and keep my eyes on the daily not the dreaded number of the future. 

Thursday evening Roy and I were out in the front yard.  I gave leadership to his trimming the hedge.  I had suggested that Abel and his crew trim it because they cut the grass on Thursdays but Roy says he does a better job and he does.  While he trimmed I swept and picked up branches.  Even at dusk it is still hot so we began to wind down the job.  A mother and daughter and two little dogs approached us and introduced themselves as our new neighbors that just moved in behind us.  Erin, the daughter, had been throwing a softball with her dad and the ball had landed in our backyard.  Even after getting the ball we stayed out there visiting.  They moved here from the Nashville area so we had several things in common to talk about.  She loves the City Farmhouse in Franklin about as much as I do.  When we came inside we noticed a weird pattern of lighting.  Study lights worked, library worked, guest bedroom worked; entryway, bathroom,  and kitchen lights didn't.  We figured it was a breaker but resetting it didn't seem to help.  Well, long story short...we had several give us names of electricians.  One came out on Friday morning fixed the problem...different type of breakers used in houses built after 2008 that are reset differently to what we knew and he replaced a bad plug in the kitchen. 

Mimi and I met for lunch at Grand Lux on Thursday.  She had never eaten there before so she was in for a great treat.  We ordered the same items that Dena and I usually order there and I believe Mimi will make return trips to G'lux.  When you're at the G you have to make a stop at the NR, Nord Rack.  It was a great and Mimi introduced me into the world of....oh I can't think of the name of the purse maker but it is the type that New Yorkers carry all the time and it makes a great travel purse.  It was such a deal and since she had already ordered one, she relinquished it to me.  Also found some shirts for Roy and a couple of cute tops for me.  Mimi found some awesome shoes in a beautiful red shade and nail polish.  She had an appointment to get to and it was my plan to go to Nord and check out the sale.  Peggy and crew just happened to be there too but they had moved on down the mall, so I never saw them at The Galleria. 

Tuesday night I met Dena at her home to check out the progress.  Oh my...her home is so beautiful!  It won't be too much longer until she is living out here in Rancho De Five.  We ate dinner at the Asian fusion place whose long name escapes me.  She had eaten there the week before with a friend and Dena had tried something off the Japanese portion of the menu and she loved it.  Knowing that I had always eaten the familiar Chinese selections, she encouraged me to try something new.  So, I had the Happy Sumo.  It is delicious!!!  In fact, on Wednesday night Roy wanted to eat there and I ordered it again.  It is that good!  

Yesterday after taking my car in for the 5000 mile check up, electrician visit and the annual termite inspection, Roy and I went to a late lunch at Las Amadeus.  This time I ate the tried and true and he ate something different than usual.  They have a Mexican pizza now and Roy ordered it.  He loved it!   This morning on my last day of being fifty eight I've been thinking sometimes it is good to stay with the tried and true and then there are times to try something different off the menu.  Yes, isn't this so no one else ever thought of this?  Ha!

This week was also the week that Chris comes to clean and I get the heck out of Dodge.  I ran a bunch of errands, had lunch at Kay's Tea Parlor and ended up at the library.  I actually enjoyed the afternoon compared to most times when I am chomping at the bit to come home but Chris hasn't left yet. 

Last night we waited until it seemed cooler to start pulling weeds in the back flower bed.  I hadn't made it outside but Roy came in the house, focused and non communicative...this could not be good.  He was looking for the pellet gun.  I knew what that meant.  So he goes back outside armed with a fully loaded pellet gun in one hand and the water hose in the other.  He sprays the flower bed, throws down the hose and brings the gun up to sight his prey.  He looked all Duck Dynasty like...well except for a beard and pointing the gun down and not up for ducks.  He brought the gun down to his side, picked up the hose and put it up and came into the house.  What?  He said, when he saw something move, he thought a baby vermin was back, but what he saw?   Baby rabbits.  We remembered the mom pulling up grass a week or so ago and taking it to the flowerbed.  We thought she was building a nest when actually she was taking care of her family.  We've seen mom around inside and outside the yard.  No wonder she would kind of stand her ground.  We are thinking of trapping them and then releasing them to the green space... but they might be too small to do that yet.  Roy said I wonder what kind of food rabbits eat?  Guess he didn't watch many Bugs Bunny cartoons growing up.... 

Well, on this last day of being fifty eight, I have eased into the day.  Now to get a couple of things done and then go out for birthday dinner with Roy.  Not a bad start or end to the day.