Archive | July, 2013

Are We There Yet?

27 Jul

I have been ill since Tuesday, July 9th, but I think we have crossed the Great Divide.
Thursday morning, I got up to go the loo, and collapsed in the hallway as I came back upstairs. (Our next house is going to have two bathrooms – one on each floor!) Blazer was quite concerned about me – snuffling and wuffling  – and I remember telling him to “Go get Papa”.  I didn’t hear him, but The Squire said the dog had scratched at the door and whined long enough to awaken him. Between the two of us, we managed to get me to my feet and back into bed, where The Squire insisted he was going to call 911 and have me hauled off to the hospital. I kept yelling “No, no, no” until he gave up on that idea.  I think I was yelling, but I was probably whispering. At any rate I was pretty firm about my feelings. The only reason I didn’t fall back wards down the steps was that I already on my hands and knees

When he got up at 8:00 he said he had some errands to run, and I asked him to take my records from Patient First up to our GP’s office and see if they could fit me in someplace.  Friday at noon.  Friday morning, The Squire had to help me get dressed, which ended up with both of us in a fit of giggles. I was so weak I couldn’t sit up unaided; he found my underwear, and pulled me into a sitting position, and I’d roll right over like a Weeble. The T-shirt was easy, but I managed to get all tangled up in the straps on my jumper.  He made up the sofa bed, helped me downstairs, tucked me in, and then went over to church to do some Property Warden stuff.  Our rector came back with him to see for himself what shape I was in, and stayed around to help me into the car, then waited in the doctor’s office to see if I was going to be hauled off to the hospital in spite of it all.

You know things are bad when the doctor comes in, takes a look at you, and says, “Oh, my goodness!”  Well, with a fever of 102, severe dehydration, and BP of 98/52 it’s not surprising I wasn’t feeling so hot. The doctor sent an script for a different  antibiotic to our pharmacy, but The Squire had to hand-carry the one for a stronger cough syrup. As it turns out, that one didn’t get filled, as it had an ingredient similar to Oxycodone;  I have a fatal allergy to The Big O, and the pharmacist, bless him, didn’t want to kill me.

I slept solidly all night, but The Squire looked tired this morning. He said he woke up every two hours and came down to look in on me. “Just watching you breathe”, he said.

I do feel a good bit better, thank you, and honestly feel I’ve turned a corner.

A Very Patient Man

23 Jul

I read in the paper my old dentist, Drexel Johnson, has died. He treated me from the time I went back into public school, until my first born was about two years old.

Bear in mind that we are talking about the period from 1957 to 1960, while I was still under my parent’s roof. Once a week my mother would give me $10 to walk to Dr. Johnson’s office so he could work on my teeth. Back then, even  I did’t think $10 was enough, but off I’d go, my money clutched in my hand, to see what the poor man could do for me. Her instructions were, “Have him do $10 worth of work, and then stop – and don’t waste good money on x-rays!”.

He once asked me what he was supposed to do if he was in the middle of something when I ran out of money? I told him he could finish up, and next time I came in, I’d be glad to give him rest of the money, and then go read a magazine until it was time to go home.  (It would not do to get home early. ) I’m probably the only kid in the world who carried a running tab at the dentist. The man had the patience of a saint.

I had an impacted wisdom tooth, and he honestly needed to “waste good money on X-rays.” Dr. Johnson asked me to discuss this with my mother. I was no fool; I suggested “Why don’t you call her and talk to her directly.” (And for God’s sake don’t get me in the middle of this!) He went into the office and I could hear her ranting at him over the phone. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but I got the gist of it. He came back into the treatment room shaking his head.  “Is she always…” and stopped.

“Like that?” I finished. “Yes. sir.”

A real piece of work.

Happy Birthday to Me.

22 Jul

Well, not exactly happy, but at least I made it this far. I don’t remember ever being this sick. The Plague we had back in January was all nose-blowing and sniffles, but this is a wracking cough that just leaves me exhausted. My ribs and breastbone are sore from all of the coughing.

Lawsy! I sound like something from Ol’ Man River, don’t I?

The Squire got me a beautiful card and left it on the key board for me to find when I got up this morning. A lovely card and he’d hand-written a very emotional message of his own.  I am so lucky to have this man by my side. He had planned to take me out to dinner, but I’m pretty much under quarantine.  His orders, not the doctor’s, but I’d just as soon not be out and about anyway.

Later, love, later.

Enough, Aleady!

21 Jul

This cough we thought had been caused by damage to my trachea while I was in the hospital had gotten progressively worse, until I was coughing almost non-stop  and really wasn’t eating and drinking properly. I mean, it wasn’t all bad – I’ve dropped five pounds -but let’s just say I’m d… sick and tired of the whole business.

Last night The Squire listened to me hacking non-stop for five minutes and then hauled me off to the local “Doc in a Box”, where I received excellent care.  (The doctor resembled the man who delivered my children!) Blood tests, a series of chest X-rays, and all that jazz. I have developed bronchitis. Probably not contagious, but not pleasant. Unfortunately, the only thing to keep the cough under control is codeine, which makes me sleepy.

We were invited to a crab feast this afternoon; I sent The Squire off to enjoy himself.  In addition to slaving over the new kitchen, the dear man has waited on me hand and foot for the last two weeks. If I went, I’d be coughing all over everybody, or I’d fall asleep in the soup.

I Want My Money Back

16 Jul

Last night, on the way home from knitting, I stopped at the drugstore for something to control this cough until I see my GP on Thursday.

While I was waiting in line, the cashier asked if anybody had a penny. I did, and put it on the counter. The customer didn’t even say Thank You, and as she left the store, she was making that thunk, thunk, thunk noise folks make when they are tapping down a pack of doom tubes.

“Did I just give that child money to buy cigarettes?” The cashier nodded. “I want my money back!” The man behind me chuckled and slipped a coin into my hand. “Don’t blame you one bit, ma’am.”

The kitchen saga continues. The Squire says he wants to get it finished “before one or the other of us dies”.  He took very careful measurements and then found he’d made the drawer too deep, because there is  a brace in the back corner, and too wide because the rollers need one-half inch on each side. Naturally, he did not make both of these discoveries at the same time. We wanted to have the door between the kitchen and “back room” (we don’t have a basement) to open into the backroom with the hinges on the left. No can do, as the door would bang into freezer handle. Well, I’m not hard to please, so we’ll just swing it the other way. As The Squire was inserting the screws, I asked him if the hinges needed to be countersunk. Nah.


I was thinking that maybe I would just hang valances at the windows, instead of both valences and café curtains, but realized the curtains hide a large bullet hole in the storm panel.

When you buy a house, ask if your neighbors belong to the NRA.

The Crazy Cat Lady

15 Jul

Saturday’s mail brought a notice from the County Police, warning us about excessive false alarms. Say what?

Well, late Wednesday afternoon The Squire had called a fellow from church to come over and feed the dog. This man has never had to deal with our alarm system, and…well, let’s just he’s a typical rocket scientist, and leave it at that.  There are two other people in the parish who know both the system and the dog, including the Godson’s mother.  There is a key hidden some distance from the house, and a “clicker” similar to a car fob, in the house. (No, I’m not  telling you where it is.) You have a full minute from the time you open the door to locate the clicker and turn off the alarm. Even if the alarm starts to sound, you can call the company, identify yourself and tell them everything is fine, and you’re good to go. If you do NOT call within five minutes, the company calls you, and then they call the police.

“Mac” located the key in the proper outbuilding, but couldn’t find the fob when he got in. He let the dog out, fixed his supper, brought him inside, and left, with the siren going all the time. Just as he was leaving, he heard the phone ring, but figured the call was for us, and let it roll to the answering machine.  In his defense – I guess – Mac didn’t know the alarm was “connected”; he just figured it made noise to frighten the peasants.

Which is why, when my husband got home from the hospital, the police were in the driveway, looking for a forced entry.

Our rector got married on Saturday, and a good time was had by all. I was supposed to read the lesson from Corinthians, but the trauma to my throat gives me coughing fits, so The Squire read it for me.  We have one really multi-talented family in our parish, and I think they could probably do the entire wedding by themselves. The father-in-law, the mother, and one son are professional photographers, and the dad makes and decorates the most marvelous cakes. All of them play musical instruments; you need a trumpet voluntary? Go it covered.

After church yesterday I came home and put on a little “skimmy” sundress. I had no intention of going outside (I consider summer simply a sneaky way to get me out where the bugs can reach me), but it was almost 100, and I figured I might as well stay as cool as possible.  The Squire, bless him, cranked the a/c to “polar” (68-F, for Pete’s sake!), so I pulled a polo shirt over my dress. Later, while I was in the den, he turned the fan to blow cold air in here. I went and got a moth-eaten wool sweater. And I was still chilly.

When I went out in the evening to feed the critters, I stepped into a pair of pink boots. Turquoise dress, black polo, baby blue sweater, and pink snow boots. In July.

Fortunately, we don’t have any close neighbors.

Me and Mrs. Kerry

13 Jul

The nice thing about a memory foam mattress is that you aren’t disturbed by your bed-mate’s movements. Nice when your retired hubby stays up until midnight and then dances out of bed at 6 AM.  However, it is not so nice when one of you is having some sort of fit and the other doesn’t notice.

Monday night, before I went to bed, I told  The Squire to let me sleep until 9, as I was meeting a friend at 11 for brunch.  I awoke around 4 AM -Tuesday morning to go to the bathroom and when I got into bed I starting shivering. At first I thought I was just cold, but I couldn’t rouse myself to get a blanket. The shivering intensified. I normally sleep flat on my back, with one leg folded up, flamingo-like, and my hands clasped on my chest. When I die, all they will need to do is straighten out my leg and lift me into my coffin. With my hands clasped, my left hand began twisting madly; when I woke up I found I’d sprained my right thumb! Nobody sprains their thumb!

The Squire awakened me as instructed, and casually remarked that I looked like Hell. He helped me down the stairs, I got in touch with my “date”, and went back to bed, where I spent a fair part of the day. Tuesday night I went to bed about 9, and at midnight the fun started again. I began tapping on his shoulder and calling his name, but he sleeps with his deaf ear up. OK. I rolled over and finally managed to turn on the light – without breaking it – and he “floated to the surface”.  Off to the hospital. We arrived at 1 AM and The Squire didn’t get away until they sent me up to a room at 7:30. He called eldest daughter and our parish priest and then let me know HE was off to bed. I know the poor man must have been totally exhausted.

All day Wednesday I was sonogrammed, MRI’d, CT’d, and  x-rayed to a fair-thee-well. Fr. M arrived in the morning to give me Communion and anointed my head. “This isn’t last rites, is it?” The Squire and two old and dear friends came by in mid-afternoon, and I tried to carry on a conversation with then, but drifted off to sleep in the middle. Some hostess I am! Eldest daughter swung by in the evening and we talked a good while. They wouldn’t allow me to have any coffee, and she offered to run over to Target and sneak some in.  Good kid, that one.

So, after all this nonsense, we’re still not sure exactly what happened. The neurologist thinks I had two TIAs back to back, which would make sense because my entire left side was weak and “uncontrolled”.  The staff physician zoned in on one medication I take and treated me as a cardiac patient.  The Red Cross has turned me down more times than a bedspread because my B/P is so low – it generally runs between 104/72 to 122/72, but they won’t take me if I go below 100, which I often do. However, I take a pill which can be used both to treat HTN and urinary retention. (UTIs in the elderly can be very serious.) Even with an explanation and  a perfectly normal sonogram of my heart, she still recommended I find a myself a cardiologist.

I just hope John Kerry’s wife had better luck with her seizures than I did with mine.

And The Beat Goes On

5 Jul

We have been working on the kitchen for what seems to be absolute eons, and I’m beginning to get tired of this game. Even after I sent boxes of odds and ends up to the thrift shop, I seem to have more to put away than I had when I started. I actually have more space than I did before, but because the configuration of the  cabinets is different, nothing is where I think it should be. And because I am still “unpacking” most things are not where they will be.

We put all of the hooks from the peg board in a mayonnaise jar when we took things apart and, of course, the jar has disappeared.  The only thing to do is go buy new hooks and keep the receipt, because the minute I walk in the door, the old hooks will jump up and down and roll across the kitchen floor.

The Squire has started to build a drawer to go under the oven, rather than put doors down there, as it will be easier for me with my mobility problems. I’ve put some of the stuff that will go there into copy paper boxes and shoved the boxes into the hole, just to get it out of my way, but there are still things all over the dining room table and the counter tops. I need to paper the walls so I can hang the clock, the grocery list thingy, the spice rack, etc. but they are on the counter and I need that clear so I can spread out the paper.

Everything has to be done before we can do the next thing. Aaargh!

Last night, The Squire received a phone call from his brother with some very bad medical news on that end, and when he called his sister in Tennessee he discovered she is also quite ill.  Visiting Florida is probably out of the question, but I did suggest last night that we at least consider a flying trip to the Volunteer State.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

2 Jul

fiddlerOn one of our visits to Chowning’s Tavern we were entertained by a musician playing the smallest violin I’ve ever seen! He said it was called a panchette which relates to the French word for pocket, and was used by traveling music and dancing masters. Boy! Did he pull the music out of that little thing! He had been there another night, playing a mandolin, but I didn’t get a picture that time.

Thursday afternoon, we all attended a discussion at the auditorium about the slave trade – who, where, and why. It began with wars between various African tribes and countries, each side taking prisoners of war, which needed to be fed and housed, even at very minimal levels. Along comes some white fellow in a big ship who says not only will he take these prisoners off your hands, but he’ll pay you money to do it! Such a deal.

Eventually, tribes began simply raiding other areas to capture slaves. Even after they discovered the ultimate fate of the slaves, the trade continued. We were shown the difference between “loose pack” and “tight pack”. The old and young died first and were thrown to the sharks. The speaker said that to this day, schools of sharks tend to follow the path of the slave ships.

We also had a chance to visit with Gowan Pamphlet, who was a Baptist minister, first as a slave and then as a freeman. His mistress paid for his preaching license while he was still a slave, and then granted him his freedom upon her death. Fascinating man, and a friend of Absalom Jones.

?????????? As I said before, The Squire and the Godson had a chance to take part in a court trial, so afterward the Godson had to spend some time in the stocks, and his sidekick kept him company. Normally, you spent an hour in the stocks, which was d— uncomfortable to begin with, but they nailed your ears to the board, and released you by cutting off your ears.

Even with the medicine,  it was obvious that I was not going to be able to keep up much longer.  If I sat for more than 20 minutes – long enough to eat a meal, perhaps – I had difficulty getting started again, and if I walked too long it began to feel as if I had a stone under each heel, so I tended to walk on tip-toe. I had originally booked the apartment to leave on Sunday morning, and the boys were both looking forward to attending services again at Bruton Parish. The Squire and I talked it over, and I offered to stay “home” (give me a couple of books and I’m good for days) so he and the boys could continue to explore. They mentioned going to Jamestown, which was covered by our tickets, but I think The Squire had visions of me getting in to visit a doctor immediately, which didn’t happen. July 22nd is the earliest they can see me.

Lucky it’s not my heart.