Monday, November 28, 2005

Weird Question of the Week

Is it okay to wear cowboy boots without socks?

When I porked up some 30 pounds in 2004--and therefore decided to go off the regular Solumedrol drips--I put away my good, old cowboy boots from 1970 (or thereabouts). When I took them out this year they were covered in what seems like some sort of mildew. Finally taking the bull by the horns, I scrubbed them with saddle soap to make them wearable again. So naturally, saddle soap makes me wheeze and cough. But I did it. Twice.

Some success. If I could continuously do so, I would eventually remove the finish and the spots left bare by the mildew. They are presentable, but will need to visit the Wizard of Awe: Limoncelli Shoe Repair in Elmira Heights, New York. This man could repair a rainy day, and even save the customer hundreds of dollars at the same time. He pretty much works when he darn-well feels like it, and is always worth the wait or return visit. Not just shoes, but all leathers, denim, even sails (yes, the ones that power boats) and other esoterica. Anything that can be stitched or pierced or tooled.

But I digress. So I want to take them to be refinished by Limoncelli, the Lord of Leather, but need to wear them a bit first to be sure they are properly stretched. And I can't get a fully socked foot in the darned things. Just maybe with nylons, but preferably bare, so I don't run anything worth keeping.

So: Is it okay to wear cowboy boots without socks? Guess I'll find out.

By the way, if you want a realistic, and still scriptural, intro to Advent, visit Jenny. She's got the goods.

Little Pond

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shhhh...Grand Rounds are up.

I'm running out of ways to announce Grand Rounds to all you medifans. But this time it's easy. Tell you why.

First a thank you to GruntDoc, for the tip, and CodeBlog, for hosting this week's assortment. (Assortment? Like chocolates? GERD diet must be getting to me.)

My favorite entry this time is I Have Seen People Die. Well, naturally, I have a little story:

It was Memorial Day weekend, 1995, I think, when my holiday was preempted by the prequel to the MS diagnosis. A very sober-faced Dr. Bhat gave me the good news and the bad news. This was not an attack of Guillain-Barre, which was often swiftly fatal. So far so good. However, he suspected Multiple Sclerosis.

Huh? What's that? The denial was immediate and complete. I couldn't possibly have something so esoteric, and I certainly wouldn't have anything potentially so debilitating.

Regardless, my butt was summarily popped into the hospital on a holiday weekend. A Solumedrol drip was my introduction to the pleasures of MS therapy, and my roommate was an self-inflicted overdose patient.

Oh, and that was the Skilled Nursing Facility. The holiday pretty much emptied the place, except for my floor, where very elderly people were dying. It took me a day to realize where I was, but my highly sensitive nose had already picked up the scent of death. Extremely subtle, yet indescribable and unforgetable.

Determined to escape, I convinced an astounded Dr. Bhat that I was recovered enough to be released within five days, instead of two to four weeks. There were a few arguments with the good man, but in the end, I had my way. The reasons were many, not the least of which was my upcoming promotion to full time at the paper. I needed the benefits, and the hours would allow me to work only one job, whereas I had been working two for several months.

But the place was quiet (except for a conniving roommate who worked the phones, day and night, manipulating her entire family, and even some exes!), and the nurses were sweet. I left nearly all my flowers with them and returned to work a day later.

Footnote: MammaDog was to become a Certified Nurse's Aide in that ward, ten years later. My atheist daughter did not suffer any of the qualms or superstitions described in CodeBlog's entry. But I enjoyed her story, nonetheless. Hope you do, too. Hats off to the dedicated staff at St. Joseph's Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility and may God bless them.

God bless you, Dear Reader, and yours, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Little Pond

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In Past Thanksgivings

I would have the week off to allow me to conserve my energy. I've been working the paper a little longer than I've had Multiple Sclerosis. Thanksgiving week is traditionally a leadup to the worst (biggest) publication day of the year. Two years ago all hell broke loose in Prepress (or was it the Pressroom?), but I missed it because I didn't work. Last year there were so many newbies in Prepress that the week was worse than hell for those left behind. Management scotched any further vacations during Thanksgiving week.

Can't complain. Seems only fair to ease up the tension on those working the worst (best advertising) week of the year. But every year I've brought Thanksgiving dinner to those who work the holiday. I hope to do the same this year, but already I am exhausted, and can't expect a rush of energy to make dinner.

So I am cooking a turkey breast, making (bread-making machine) bread, having potatoes, wild-rice-and-nuts dressing, yams and gravy, and salad. In other words, there will be what is essentially a left-overs meal cooked fresh. Husband RJ will make the potatoes. We'll nuke the yams and toss together a pretty normal salad. A can of cranberry sauce will be opened (electrically) and we have Landers Pomegranate and Cranberry juice. I can throw it together after dinner and haul it up to the night crew. Which consists of one person, working alone, in Prepress.

How can we do this and still enjoy a real Thanksgiving Dinner, with all the proper trimmings? You probably guessed it.

My Everloving Inlaws have invited us for the Holiday. Our little luncheon will be like play, making our home smell just right for the holiday. Then back to work on Black Friday, avoiding the horrific crowds, and working off the huge meals.

Little Pond

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Now I am confused.

Still quite sick to my stomach. The Internet is full of dietary information for those with GERD. Looks like a bland diet, same diet I was on in my 20's, when I was diagnosed with "Nervous Stomach Lining." Which sounds like a lot of hooey to me now.

I can easily follow the GERD diet, but I have a huge question that my doctor categorically refused to address. Flat out refused, in fact.

If we are not supposed to eat after six pm, how do I work until midnight or later, five nights a week, without eating? Low blood sugar has always been a problem for me. Perhaps because I am older now I can go without eating while I work?! But it includes heaving lifting and hauling at least once a night. This should prove interesting.

Little Pond

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hoo boy...

Stopping the Nexium was the pits. I've lost an entire night's sleep and I am still sick to my stomach. And it's coming up my throat even as I blog!

Doctor says to resume the Nexium. And lucky me. Now I'm being scheduled for an endoscopy.


Little Pond

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Clean Bill of Health?

Follow-up visit concerning the chronic cough today. Blood pressure was good, now more like 130/83 each day. Still a tad high, but it seems to be dropping ever so slightly as time goes on.

We hereby subtract the Nexium starting tonight. There is a remote possibility that I may relapse, but we have to start somewhere to narrow down the causes of the cough. This is definitely asthma-related cough. He gave it a very official-sounding name, but for the life of me I can't recall it. Don't need it, frankly.

The only disappointment was his insistence on retaining the Flonase. He even wrote a very long-term script for the stuff. There is still plenty of post-nasal drip. In fact, never noticed any change at all, there.

All told, my assessment (NOT diagnosis) is that the Advair works rather well, although my lifestyle (cats, dogs, second-hand smoke, and pressroom airborne pollution) demands the Albuterol backup. Flonase; well, let's hope its effects are cumulative.

I thanked the doctor and told him it was good to feel well again. Keep in mind that the better my overall health, the better I can deal with MS. Is it my imagination, or do the allergies and asthma increase the MS-y feelings? Even with a week's vacation, I am exhausted.

Or maybe cleaning the garage, hanging new blinds, loading--hauling--unloading household trash, wrapping and stowing items in the attic, and fall cleaning chores are setting up a mild exacerbation? Even though I am on vacation, I still need a nap everyday. And early-to-bed to boot!

I feel better overall, thanks.

Little Pond

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Medifans and Trekkers!!!

Stardate 2.07

C'mon, need I say more?

Hosted by Rita at Msspnexus. Hat tips to Instapundit and Gruntdoc.

Update: had a ball sifting through GR this week! I have a question for visitors:
Is the MSCompanion, and its ilk, a waste of time and energy? Could my time be better spent simply digging through the medical blogs and presenting a series of links? Like Grand Rounds?

Little Pond

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Calendar Time

...for all of us who must record our blood pressure readings, symptom occurrence, or even diet for allergy programs. My personal favorite, print-out calendar ties in with my other blogs, the ones that deal with local touring. If I could afford it, someday I would love just one piece of Grandma Moses. Just a little one? Please?

Go to Sheryl's websites for primitive art. I love the simplicity of it. It's all quite good, with clean lines and muted colors. The calendars are here in full color.

There is also a brief link to Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH) with an email address.

It is just me, or does everyone seem to have some connection to an "orphan illness" on the Internet? Is the Internet the only place where we can find interest and information without censure, or worse, morbid curiosity?

Little Pond

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Good Morning, Medifans!

This week's Grand Rounds is up. And scroll down for some crafty anatomy. Thanks to GruntDoc, of course. And this week he's featured.

Little Pond