Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Naked Truth

So, I pulled out the scale this morning and hopped on. Well, hopped on gingerly. I’m still favoring my right foot. It has its moments where it prefers not to bear me up.

Anyway, I was disappointed to see I lost ground. Or rather, gained fat. Since returning from my L.A. trip in June, I was making steady progress down the number line. I was so pleased, ten pounds and counting. Soon I would be able to zip up my size 8 jeans again. I have a closet full of clothes waiting for me.

But, this latest trip cost me three pounds, and I’m not talking English currency.

It couldn’t be helped I suppose. It started with the beignets and went downhill from there, or maybe I should say uphill. That same day I was served what appeared to be a mere taste of an entrée. Four jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab laid out artistically in a row on a long, white rectangular plate. I should’ve taken a picture. Surprisingly, I could barely finish it. It was deceptively filling.

New Orleans

The girls share a moment while we wait to be seated.

Then there was the trip to Sonic; my daughter had to stop there. The commercials are so appetizing and we don’t have a Sonic close by at home.

And then The Shed, where they served barbecue chicken wings that fell off the bone, with French Fries, of course. The food was delicious, the place eccentric and the girls had a blast playing with rocks.

bbq chicken

The Shed. Pretty awesome little place.

grandchildren

Rocks. Best toys in the world.

There were the tiny star-shaped sugar cookies sent from Texas that melted in your mouth and went fantastic with your morning coffee. And of course, you could never eat just one. They were barely an inch wide; how many inches could they add to a waistline?

And the must-have trip to the family-owned restaurant to have crab cakes cooked in the shell. Oh, how I wish I had a taken a picture of them. The sight of those crab cakes would hold me until my next visit. Not to mention the hush puppies, yum, and the appetizer of fried crawfish and jalapeño peppers. Strange combination, but tasty.

And then of course, the birthday cake. Delicious. Followed by the lollipops I snagged off Alyssa’s collection garnered from the burst piñata.

And last but not least, the pepperoni and mushroom pizza on our last evening at my son’s home.

No, the truth cannot be denied. I ate too much!

 

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What Is Going On?

I have a foot. Actually, I have two, but one is acting up. Acting up so very, very badly.

It started a few months back, perhaps several weeks ago. I’ve lost track. I thought nothing of it at first, but then the pain began to visit me more and more often. Often enough for me to stop in my tracks and pay attention.

I remember telling the PA, “My heels hurt.” He stopped tapping on his laptop long enough to glance in my direction.  I could read his expression, Meh.

“I know with age you start to lose the padding on the soles of your feet,” I hurried up and said to fill the silence.

He nodded and kept on tapping. My life story, or at least my RA life story, used to be a file inches thick. Now I don’t know. It’s held within a slim, flat black box with cold, hard keys. It makes the operator of it a little cold and hard, I think. Not because that’s how he is, but because he has to pay attention to where his fingers land; before he could write with his pen while still looking at me like he was interested in what I was saying.

It’s a dichotomy. I try not to interrupt his tapping, yet if I don’t speak he has nothing to tap about. Anyway, I just wanted it for the record. My heels hurt, but not that day. Though I was a little stiff from sitting in the hard waiting room chair for two hours, I didn’t have much to complain about that day.

On the next visit, I told the doctor, “My heels hurt sometimes. “ Just in case he hadn’t read the previous notes. He glanced up from his iPhone and smiled at me, then his eyes went right back to the screen.  He is on the cutting edge, treatment-wise, always researching each new step from every angle.  So I said nothing further. I trusted he would store that little nugget regarding my feet and pull out the magic formula when the time came.

On this visit we were more concerned with having to add Plaquenil to my cocktail, so my feet were low priority. “I want to see you in six weeks,” he said, making himself a note. “When are you back? How long will you be gone?”

I love a man who listens.

“I’ll be back by then,” I said. I’d told him I was traveling to see my baby granddaughter.

By the time we left, I had an angry right foot. It could be somewhat mollified with Advil, Tylenol or Aleve. They took turns stifling the fire. The pain made itself most at home in my right heel. I’ll rest it; it’ll be fine, I thought. Hah!

It was busy, busy, lots to do. Strolling down Bourbon Street was fun while it was happening.

“Oh, my God,” my daughter exclaimed. “That bar was in Bar Rescue.” She had all the backstory portrayed on the TV show about the rivalry between it and another bar up the road. I stopped and looked at it; it didn’t look like much from across the street.

And that was exactly the trouble. It was across the street.

“Go inside and look around,” I said. “I’ll wait here with the kids.” She is a bar aficionado. Wants to own one day. (!)

She stared at it for a bit, then shrugged and kept on walking. I was relieved. As long as I kept moving, I could quell the fire. My synapses were busy concentrating on other parts of my body, but when I stopped, oh my! Even the sugar high from the beignets was not enough to distract my brain from the pain while sitting.

I blamed the extra activity for the acuteness of the pain, but once I returned home and had all the leisure I could desire I had to find another culprit.

Maybe I fractured something?

Could it be RA being its mean old self?

Yesterday, I couldn’t bear weight on my heel.  Walking on the ball of my foot hurt exponentially worse. It was so bad, I saw stars while I limped from room to room. And I thought twice before moving. Did I really have to go pee? Right then? Could it wait a bit?

I went to bed with one thought: see my PCP, get an Rx for an x-ray, and then hobble over to the diagnostic center.

Today it barely hurts and I managed to walk the grocery store without a problem. I’m stumped. As Wolf Blitzer would say: What is going on?

 

 

 

A Glow

It is eerily quiet in this house now that we two are the only ones left rattling around. For almost two weeks we had a little person around us 24/7. In preparation for our trip to celebrate my younger granddaughter’s first birthday, I kept four-year-old Alyssa away from daycare. Though she loves school, I was afraid she would pick up some germ surprises to take to Carmen, who does not go to daycare.

Sometimes I wish I could stop thinking like a nurse, an infectious disease nurse, no less. But that doesn’t seem to ever become a possibility. And of course, I can never stop being an overprotective grandmother. But my plan worked well. Alyssa remained healthy and she fell in love with her little cousin. And for her part, Carmen loved toddling around after her big cousin.

Though RA went with me, and made sure I knew it was with me, I stubbornly refused to give it any quarter. Instead, I focused on enjoying a whirlwind week with my two grandbabies. From having them pose together for a professional photographer, to our trip to New Orleans, a fun day spent touring a children’s activity museum, then stopping at a pumpkin patch to pick out 25 pumpkins to serve as party favors for the birthday fiesta.

It was a little bit of heaven while it lasted and now that I am home, I miss all that activity. I especially miss that little voice and the little hand that slipped into mine at regular intervals, wanting to make sure that I was still her Na, even though she was having to share me with someone else.

We are back to “normal” now; all of us back to our routines. After a day of rest, it’s time for me to get back to work. But I have fresh memories to keep me company. To keep me warm and my heart aglow

Birthday fiesta

One Quarter Inch

One of the most unexplainable things is hand pain. Undescribable and indescribable.

Another is the absence of hand pain.

You cannot know one without knowing the other. If you’ve never had hand pain, the kind that makes you want to chop them off, you cannot relate to hands that have stopped hurting.

The pain consumes you and sabotages every act you engage in, or try to engage in. It’s depressive and depressing. “I can see you’re not feeling well,” my doctor said a few moments after walking into the exam room on my last visit.

Body language. My body had spoken volumes without my saying more than hello to him. I smiled. No need to add words to what my body screamed out loud.

Later, when he went to bend my fingers one by one, as he always begins his exam, he noted that there was more tension. My fingers were harder to bend. More tension in fiction is great, in my fingers, not so much.

But, I refused to give in to it. During this flare-up, I made two quilts with those hurting hands. Hands that could, once again, barely touch forefinger to thumb.

So while making this last red and white quilt, I came to a decision. I would make a concession. I would no longer do hand-stitched bindings. Instead, I would machine stitch them. And that meant I would have to cut the binding strips wider, not 2 and 1/2 inches, but 2 and 3/4 inches wide.

These days I am feeling lots better, My fingers are much more pliable, and machine stitching the bindings will speed things up, making me far more productive as I head into the holiday season.  But now, I have an exact measure as to how much this latest skirmish has cost me. How much ground I concede to RA this time.  Exactly one quarter inch.

quilt

Inspired by this site.

quilt

A wall hanging I made for my granddaughter’s first birthday. How time flies.

High Noon

I felt like Gary Cooper
and his beleaguered Marshall Kane
Danger threatened from without
while the threat drew ever closer,
as the clock marched on towards me

There was no stopping at the church
to ask for some assistance.
Though the church did stop by me,
in the person of my neighbor
Say a prayer, she said to me,
ask for a drop of blood from Jesus
My brain recoiled at the thought,
but I smiled and said nothing
as I walked her to the door

Nor did I make my rounds
searching help from every corner
or try to call in favors
from them not so afflicted
Had there been will to help
there was nothing they could do

Instead I took the time
to mull things over all alone
To come up with a strategy
in how to deal with these offenders
There was no way to fend them off
No, there was nothing to be done,
but to inch myself on forward
and take my chances as I went

But, I had to choose a time
for the train to chug right in
That being the one sole thing
under my limited control

And so I chose high noon
then stood up resolute
Straightened up my RA badge,
and walked outside to meet them
Into the middle of that dusty road
where I confronted them head on

Two came up side by side
small and, seemingly, inconsequential
But what they lacked in size
they made up for in great baggage
I am to be their porter
in this never ending dance
For I must relive this High Noon
for as long as I can see them

***

Plaquenil and its side-effects gang.
Two little pills to be taken at the same time every day.
I took ten days to think things over and then took a deep breath and dove.