Archive | September, 2015

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jog

28 Sep
Just to let you that know I am, as a former rector used to say, upright and taking nourishment. Got home shortly after noon, went to the bathroom while The Squire fixed the sofa bed, and fell asleep on the commode. He fixed me a cup of coffee, and tucked me into bed. My hearing is very, very sharp, but I slept through the long-case clock beside the living room door striking every fifteen minutes, so I must have been just plain dead to the world.
I slept until Brian, my boss, came over around 3:15 with a bouquet of pink roses, ferns, and ornamental grasses from their garden. Sweet of him. Nobody can sleep through the doorbell and Blazer barking!
The surgeon went in through the front, so I have a huge bandage between my Adam’s apple and my chin. Because he was cutting so close to my spinal cord, there was a lady doing a constant EMG on my scalp, arms, and legs to make sure things were still working as they should. Plastic disc to replace the mashed “real” one, with a titanium plate – all MRI compatible, so they tell us. One nice thing this hospital does is ask you how you’d like to be addressed, rather than automatically calling you by you bare-nekkid first name. I just find being called “Anne” by somebody young enough to be my grandchild patronising.  So, Mrs Rice is was.
Being pampered by The Squire, bothered by the cat, and observed by the dog. Sofa bed is low enough he can poke me with his nose. Fortunately, he couldn’t reach my face. Took a pain pill about ten minutes ago, and it has hit bottom.
Oh, and I can’t talk. As you can imagine that is a problem. We have a dinner bell (don’t ask) and The Squire can’t hear high-pitched sounds, so if something goes wrong I’ll have hope Blazer remembers how to Go Get Poppa. He claimed he was going to watch TV, but I have the feeling he is checking his eyelids for pinholes. We got up at 5AM to be at the hospital by 6, and while I got a nap, of sorts, he’s been on his feet all day.
Speaking of the dog – normally when I come home after the shortest of trips, he is all over me. If not jumping on me, he is pawing at my legs, whompping my legs with his tail, and generally getting underfoot, but today, other than a few very thorough sniffs, he has been very gentle and “non-invasive”. How do dogs know these things? The cat, on the other hand…

Fine as Frog’s Teeth

26 Sep

Yesterday afternoon, I went up to get the last of the laundry out of the way, and as I was loading my car, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation in the next row over on the parking lot. A woman – maybe in her mid-40s to 50-ish – was talking so loudly on her cell phone that I doubted the folks to whom she was speaking actually needed the phone. Her male companion was watching her with amusement.

“Honey, you wouldn’t believe the bugs up here! Everywhere! I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was getting away from that stuff. And frogs! I thought they were extinct! You can’t walk out in the grass for them things hoppin’ and flappin’ around. I have to keep my shoes on, because I’m afraid they’re gonna bite me!

At that, the man with her turned away and I could tell he was laughing.  I leaned around, and asked him,”Where is she from?”

“Baltimore.”

 

And the Beat Goes On

24 Sep

As I mentioned in a previous post, we cannot begin work on the TV/sewing room until the exterior repairs have been “proven” by a good hard rain.  We have now had the first September since 1914 without a single named storm to come through Maryland. This could go all winter.

I am to have pretty serious surgery on Monday, so my neurologist and I decided to do an injection in my back before then, as it has been about nine months since the last shot, and they normally only hold for three to six months. That was to have been done on the 22nd. We have to do these injections for pain management, as the bottom four discs of my back as completely blown, and nobody will operate on them.

Last Friday I started with a UTI, and Saturday morning I hied myself to the local Doc-in-a-Box for a course of Macrobid. (See How to Get Killed) Today, my girlfriend took me to the neurologist, as The Squire had an eye doctor appointment. He is prone to spontaneous detached retinas, and I’d rather sit out in the waiting room with a friend than have a blind husband. I’d been NPO since I crawled out of bed at 7:30, it is now 9:30, and the doctor says he won’t do the injection because of the danger of meningitis. Perfectly reasonable, and I was glad he took that attitude, but I’m starving. We headed over to Einstein Brothers for bagels and coffee, and then to the hospital for one last test for the surgery on Monday – and I can’t find the bloody paper work. Back to the doctor’s office for a duplicate, and then back to the hospital for a MRSA nasal swab. The technician showed me a Q-tip, but I think she had a drill bit concealed behind her back. Lawsy! The backs of my eyeballs itched.

Last Thursday I went to a luncheon with a group of British friends, to meet and greet two members who have moved away, and to have a baby shower for Princess Charlotte; the gifts are given to a local charity.  When we left the restaurant, I opened my trunk to put away my purse, and all of the other ladies dropped in their gifts. “You’ll see to it that these get to Birthright, won’t you?” And I cheerfully agreed.

The trouble is that I had NO where Birthright was. As it happens, it is in Bel Air, and I am the only person in the group who doesn’t live in or near town. I went up today, got as royally lost as it is possible to get in a small town full of one-way streets, which do not always cross the main drag. You are driving down Gordon Street, headed for the other side, when you come to a sign saying  “Right turn only” Lovely, Getting to the other side of Gordon can involve driving four blocks to the next street that is going your way; the town fathers seem to have run three east, and then three west. Or if you are trying to get cross town, then it is four north and four south.  Going around the block can involve driving miles.

And then today, The Squire had gone up to take a nap just before I left to run errand today. He was in a lot of pain and had taken some strong medicine, so when I left I turned on the alarm. He woke up, got the leash, and took the dog out to get the mail. He did not realize I had armed the house until the police officer pulled into the driveway. The alarm is loud enough the officer could hear it from the road. I suppose we’ll get another nasty letter from the county about wasting police resources.

It’s like being stoned to death with pop-corn.

How to Get Killed, in One Easy Lesson

19 Sep

I had to go to the local Doc-in-a-Box this morning, and a young man – maybe 12 or so – was trying his best to get his mother to flip him across the room.

First, he refused to sit in a chair, but insisted on squatting on the floor, halfway leaning against the door. Because the door opened out, and he had his back to it, he couldn’t see who was coming in.

The second time, he ended up sprawling on the floor and nearly tripped an elderly woman. Fortunately, Mom was able to grab the lady’s elbow, so no real harm done, but she grabbed the kid by the collar and plopped him in the chair, with one off those “I dare you to move” looks moms do so well. She noticed a quarter on the floor, and told him to pick it up, but was met with shoulder-shrugs and baleful looks.

His younger sister leaned over, picked it up, and stuck it in her pocket.  He immediately started pawing at her, insisting the money belonged to him. “How so?”

“I was the one who dropped it.”

“So you dropped it, but couldn’t be bothered to pick it up?”

Mumble. “Yeah.”

“Seems to me you didn’t want it very much.”

We have a friend who has often said the boys should be nailed into a barrel when they turn twelve or so, and fed though the bung until they turn 18, at which point you can either open the barrel, or drive in the bung.

A Cascade of Minor Frustrations

16 Sep

I have been working from home for about the last month, two days a week, for three hours, from 9 until noon. It’s really convenient – I don’t even have to put in my teeth – and the money comes in handy.  Today was rather frustrating, as the program kept crashing, and I had to reboot three or four times. Not sure if it’s the program, or this laptop, but it was maddening.

I had a pre-op visit today, and my GP had said he would administer the Shingles shot for me, but Medicare doesn’t cover it. I had to go to the drug store, fork over $200 of my hard-earned cash (see above) and take the vaccine to the doctor’s office. Fortunately, our secondary coverage will pay for it, but I have to mail in a form and wait for them to send the money back. I left here at 1:15, with the form in one hot little hand and an ice pack in the other, as the serum has to be kept frozen.

When I got to the doctor’s office, I discovered I’d left the pre-op papers home, and the form The Squire had printed was for reimbursement for medical expenses, not prescriptions. And what I had in my ice box was only the powder, not the “dilutant”, so we couldn’t do the shot anyway. My surgeon’s office had to fax over the paperwork (I, of all people, ought to know better than to pull such a stunt), so what with one thing and another, my blood pressure was 155 over something dreadful. Yesterday, when I went to the surgeon’s office, the nurse had to take it twice, because it was 116/98, and she didn’t believe it. Today, we tried the b/p again, just before I left the office and it was 120/72, which is more like it.

When I got into the car, I glanced at my paperwork and discovered one test had not been done. We’ll pick that up tomorrow when I go back for the injection.

And then, when I called the pharmacy, I was told all they needed was a few CCs of saline, so I’ll have to call back tomorrow morning and make sure that’s on hand, or I’ll have to go over and pick up some at the pharmacy. I don’t think they dispense it in that quantity, to be honest. Wonder what I’ll do with the rest of it?

Blazer managed to get off his rope for the second time in as many days, and I had to verbally drag him out of the neighbor’s yard. The fool hound has managed to remove two rabies tags and a license, all on S-hooks, without damaging his collar, plus working himself out of a regular clip and a carabineer clip.

Houdini never had it so good.

Now They Tell Us

14 Sep

So – The Squire and I spent several days completely emptying the TV and guest rooms, removing the book cases that separated them, and generally disrupting our lives.

The fellow who is supposed to do the construction work came down and caulked all the windows. We had one good rainstorm, and the porch roof didn’t leak but the TV room window did, so he came back and redid that one. When the water was coming in around the window, The Squire tried mopping it up with a rag. I took a long piece of button twist, thumb-tacked one end in the middle of the puddle, and ran the thread into the trashcan. The water simply followed the path of least resistance, and dribbled into the plastic bucket. You would have thought I’d just invented the wheel, or something.

Today, the man who will be in charge of tearing out both exterior walls came down to take a look at the job. He hesitated a bit about leaving the old ceiling in place in the TV room until The Squire took him into the attic and showed him what would come raining down when he removed the tiles. “Gotcha, boss. You are exactly correct.” You just have to explain things very clearly to some people.

And then he dropped the little bombshell that nothing else could be done until we have another hard rain, the make sure the outside is properly sealed before we start working on the inside. That makes perfect sense, but we could have left some of that stuff in there until we were ready to roll.

Great. There’s no rain in the forecast until the 20th.

Maybe I can get my sewing machine back into the room and the ironing board set back up. Speaking of rolling, the contractors will remove the old rug, but they are not sure what they will find under there, and it is entirely possible we have mold to contend with.

Lovely.

Once we get it all painted, we can call the carpet man and have him come down to install new wall-to-wall.  In the meantime, we are camping out in the upstairs.

More Than We Can Desire Or Pray For

11 Sep

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we have discovered extensive damage in the TV and sewing rooms from incomplete repairs done when Hurricane Floyd came to town. As a result, The Squire and I have had to completely empty both rooms, moving everything into what is jokingly called his workshop, or stuffing things into odd corners of our own room, so the men can come in and tear down walls and ceiling.

The ceiling especially should be a classic “fun job”, as the TV room ceiling is those old, old fashioned interlocking square tiles, which are attached to furring strips. You can’t take down one without taking down the entire business. Insulation was poured in on top of the tiles. We put down a plywood floor in the attic after one of us missed our step and put a foot through the ceiling. (Yeah, that spot over there with the tacks in it.) We are going to have to put down plastic sheets to catch the insulation when they remove the ceiling. Good thing we plan on installing a new carpet, too.

We have been packing books, putting stuff on Freecycle, dismantling book shelves, and laughing as if neither of us has good sense. Honestly, you’d think we were having a party, instead of presiding over what may be the Last Rites of our own home.

Last night, as we fell into bed, we both remarked – as we often do – just how fortunate we are. My parents, in spite of my mother’s odd ways, had a good marriage, but I don’t ever remember hearing them giggle and carry on the way we do.  Neither The Squire nor I had very good first runs around the block, and I don’t think either of us (I certainly didn’t!) knew this sort of joy existed.

We wouldn’t have even been able to dream what lay ahead of us, almost forty-one years ago. We have truly been given, as the Prayer Book says, “more than we could desire or pray for”.