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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Nov. 25-Dec.1, 2018 SNOW, Dr. Gindzin-Eye, Snow Fleas, Academics back On

Nov. 25-Dec.1, 2018 
SNOW, Dr. Gindzin-Eye, Snow Fleas, Academics back On

Henry is crazy for snow--obsessed with running in it and eating it!

 Hello Friends!
One week of recovery for Dh; he had cataract surgery last Monday; to prepare for his Tuesday surgery to fix the tear in his eye--a Detached Retina that had been growing worse and worse after weeks of not knowing what was wrong. 

We've rented this contraption that Dh can put his head down/into; instead of having to strain his neck as he keeps his eye healing.

Apparently, if you catch the problem quickly it can be a quick fix; but Dh didn't catch on and it got worse and worse. 

I looked to a table to set his contraption on, that was would be exactly the right height and was so blessed to find exactly what I needed at a thrift store--Praise the Lord for providing such a random need we had!

 His eye is healing well, or so his doctor said at this weeks appointment.  Dh is doing a tiny bit better each day, but it is really a very slow process. By far, the very hardest part is that Dh can't lay down and get a good nights sleep.  He is exhausted and his back, neck, and hips are killing him.  Thankfully, his eye isn't hurting him.

Can you see the mirrors under the pillow?  He can have his head down and still watch tv with it.

Rental Head Furniture:

Last week we rented this funky head rest table top thing.  He has spent a week trying it and hadn't been able to find a place where it works well.  I got out my tape measure and measured how tall a table we would need for him to be able to rest his head down on it for it to work.  The thing costs $81 to $64 a WEEK! So, if we can't find a good use for it we will need to return it.  I went to my local thrift store and God provided exactly the right height podium to fit his head rest thing.  He hadn't been able to sleep for the past 3 nights and this head rest on the podium has helped him a little there.

Little did I know all the paperwork that is involved in having an injury and needing time off work!  We had to get a form from the doctor with start and finish dates for the time Dh will be off work.  There is also Family Medical Leave papers and Short-Term Disability paperwork too.  It took the whole week, as Dh wasn't keen on starting it, but I got it all scanned in and emailed out.  I hope it all was done right and sent into the right places correctly.

In the winter I enjoy noticing all the animal signs on the trees and on the ground.

Grand Rapids, Michigan (where I live) had between 3-10% sunshine this whole month.  I think the news said we had 3 or 4 days when the sun was able to break through (briefly) the thick cloud cover.  We are just east of Lake Michigan and all that lake makes wonderful big clouds that blanket our skies making for day after day of dreary gray bleakness.  My SAD lamp is getting tired and depressed!  overworked!

Agnes and Henry in dog crate

Agnes Decides To Marry:
Agnes has chosen Henry.  Unlike our other two cats, Agnes came to our home when we happily had our Great Dane, Sophie.  Sophie adores Agnes and Agnes Sophie.  Agnes was walking around meowing in sad mews so often we took in the stray kittens to comfort her while we mourned Sophie.  The very first day we brought Henry home Agnes laid down beside him in the living room.  The past few weeks her love has grown.  She has now taken it to the next level---she has moved into his dog crate!!!  She has been spending hours in there---with him!!  She is also eating his food, and he watches horrified and unable to respond!  It is really cute and he can't do anything about it; she has decided!

Henry, this visit from Agnes wasn't to his liking!

Our church has asked about Dh every time I'm there.  I am surprised at how many people have said they are praying for him.  It really is deeply kind that our congregation has been praying.

I found where three deer slept in our woods this week.

Christmas Box:
Thankfully I was able to get all the books for my nephews written in and wrapped up and delivered to the post office.

Christmas Cards:
I've started working on my Christmas cards.

Dh made a table, with a hole in the middle, to sit beside our bed.  He can miserably try to sleep or put a laptop on the shelf under the hole to watch a movie.

Christmas Play Practice:
We had our best play practice this week.  Our 'actors' are really improving!!!  The script has our players pulling books out of a box, reading out the author's names. Well, I've been looking, at thrift stores, for some of the books, we need and found one this week! Yay!  John Piper was the author I found this week; although I didn't know him or his writing before.  Now I own one of his books; maybe I'll get a chance to read it.  I am having fun being the director this year; last year I was the assistant and didn't want to intervine too much.

Twice this week Dh was able to spend a little time on the treadmill getting his body moving.  Last week, before the snow, I was able to take Dh for a few walks.  This week we had so much snow and ice that, except for his doctor appt., Dh had to stay inside.  He isn't getting much time on his feet!!!!  He just walks between the bedroom, living room, and kitchen in our smallish house.  I keep trying to encourage him to use the treadmill but most days he isn't up for it.  He generally isn't a treadmill kind of person, so it is almost a miracle he did some this week.  I hope he will continue and increase his time walking while he is laid-up.

I only had one migraine this week, on Saturday, and it was a doozy.  I was really miserable and wasn't able to do much for Dh, but we made it through the day.

Snow Fleas:
I remember the first year I saw Snow Fleas on our snow; I had no idea what they were!!!!  I'd never even heard of such a thing.  For those of you who haven't seen them--, it looks like someone sprinkled finely ground black pepper on top of the snow.  When you look close enough you can see that the black flakes are moving!  Eek!  Kinda weird!

Academics for the Week:

Bible: Church, Sunday School, and Youth Program
Word of Life Bible Study each day

Grace Subjects:
Geography: BJU (Bob Jones Textbook)
Algebra I: Saxon
Spanish I
Graphic Design
Introductory Logic
(Dd is doing really well in all the classes.)

1 1/2 hours at the library for the Story Hour
1 1/2 hours at church, Olympians program--Games

Next Week:
Dh has another appt. with Dr. Gindzin to inspect the healing of his eye.  *If* his eye is doing great Dh will be able to hold his head up for 1-3 hours per day.  I'm just trying to do my best to care for him.  Right now we are just getting by.

Nov. 18-24, 2018 Surgeries for Dh's eyes, Migraines, and Dd sick

Nov. 18-24, 2018 
Surgeries for Dh's eyes, Migraines, and Dd sick

 Hello Friends!
Friday Dh stopped by Immediate Care to find out what was going on with his head--he was seeing flashes and having head pain and headaches.  He thought it was a cold, then, he thought it was a reaction to the cold medicine, then he thought it was a migraine, then he thought it was his new glasses, then he thought it was his blood pressure....three weeks later after trying everything he could to fix the problem he *finally* decided to heed my advise and go to the doctor!  Before taking Dd down to Indiana for Thanksgiving and nine days of hunting, he stopped by the Immediate Care place to check it out.    The doctor said he had a Detached Retina and needed to see a specialist that day!  (Friday)  The specialist scheduled him to have his cataract removed on Monday so it would make it easier for him to have his retina fixed on Tuesday.  It was a long weekend and a long week.  

Dr. Gindzin: Ophthalmologist
A new doctor performed the cataract surgery, we only saw him on Monday, before and after the surgery.  It was Dr. Gindzin we say on Friday night and who performed the Detached Retina on Tuesday.  Wednesday we went back in to see Dr. Gindzin to see how the well the surgery turned out.  It felt like the whole week was spent in medical buildings!  Dh has to keep his head down, can't really sleep or walk or see!  He is trying to learn how to live with his head down, but it is hard.  It is hard having to get him dressed, tie his shoes, and all sorts of little things that are tedious to mention.  Each day after the surgery, Dh improved a little bit.  The follow-up appointment on Wednesday went well.  The surgeries both went really well and the prognosis has improved so much!  Dh will be keeping his eye and his vision should return.  Dh is doing a great job keeping his head down 24/7 and the doctor can tell by how the eye is healing.  

Eye Drops:
I have to put eye drops in Dh's eyes 4x per day, three different kinds of drops, with at least 5 minutes between drops.  He needs a lot of care and time each day.  

Dh contacted his work after the surgeries to let them know what is going on.  He didn't want to tell them the news until he had a better idea of what we were looking at.  Dr. Gindzin said IF Dh had caught the retinal tear sooner it would have been an easy fix; but he didn't know and took weeks before going to the doctor which turned this into a major deal..  The paperwork we received from Dr. Gindzin said Dh would be recovering until FEB. 20th, 2019.  So, this isn't a quick fix kind of problem.

Since Dh and Dd were supposed to be in Indiana, and I was planning on being alone, I hadn't planned anything for turkey day.  Dd and I made a run to the store and bought two chickens to bake.  I made one of those Salt Bakes--- where you encase a whole chicken in boxes of Kosher salt mixed with egg whites to form a hard shell to bake your chicken in while in the oven.  The recipes always say the chicken won't taste salty; but every time we've done this recipe our chicken is salty; tender and salty.  I also made a Herb chicken, using LOTS of herbs from our summer garden.  Thanksgiving was very different this year, as we usually order lobster with Giz and Grampy.

You never know who is going to shine in your moment of need.  For us, Judy D., from our church, really made a huge effort to send love and care to us during our time of need.  Do you know she offered us a turkey for our thanksgiving?!!!  When I told her I'd never baked a turkey and so figured I better stick to just having chicken she offered me cooked turkey!  She said she had already cooked it and would love to share some with us!  Isn't that just incredible?!  She texted us a number of times this week to just check in and encourage us.  We really were so impressed at the extent of her love and care during our hour of need.  It was just really, really nice.

Last week was 4 of 7 days, this week was 5 of 7 days of migraines.  This has really been a hard month---as my tardy blog posts can attest!  So far the Botox shots haven't made any improvements in my pain/migraine management.

Dd went to the Movies:
While I was on the sofa with a migraine, Dd met with Lexi to go to the movies!  They saw Wreck-It Ralph together.  Afterward, they went to dinner and got to chat and catch up with each other.

We had a break in the weather this week.  While checking on my clear plastic hoop houses I noticed some big rips.  Believe it or not, I got out my needle and thread and sewed up the holes.  It isn't easy to sew plastic in the rain...slick on slick!

Doris and Charles A. showed up at our house on Saturday with some soup and biscuits.  What a dose of humility!  Our house was very messy and they had to step over boots to get in our front door!!  But, it was so kind of them to come and support Dh.  When we first started attending our church, it was this lovely couple that first invited us over for lunch at their house.  Doris is the heart of our church---so loving and welcoming!  Thankful.

Christmas Box:
I've been working on the Christmas box for my nephews this week.  Throughout the year I pick up good books, the past two weeks I've been writing and drawing on the inside of each book.  My brother said the boys like having me pick which boy gets which book and I write their name inside.  I'm wrapping each book so they will have more fun unwrapping the books.  I'm hoping to mail them out soon so I can send them Media Mail; which is cheaper!

Academic Progress:

Church, Sunday School, and Youth Program
Word of Life Bible Study on her own each day.

No volunteering this week

Grace Classes:
No classes this week

Next Week:
We have a new appt. with Dr. Gindzin to see how Dh is healing.
Dd's Grace classes start back up.
Lots of snow in the forecast!  Hoping December will bring some much-needed sunshine.


Nov. 11-17, 2018 Detached Retina, Hunting Season Fowled, Botox for Migraine

Nov. 11-17, 2018 
Detached Retina, Hunting Season Dropped, Botox for Migraine

Hello Friends!
Snow, Snow, Snow!  It was a very cold and snowy week.  It is very much WINTER here!  It started out nice, but then the snow arrived!

Hunting & Dh & Immediate Care:
It started out as any ordinary week, as they often do, and by the end of the week, our little world was really upended.  Thursday was the opening (gun) day for our hunters in Michigan.  

Saturday was the opening day for Indiana, and Dd and Dh were scheduled to arrive Friday night.  I'll type up this post a little backward with the big events first even though they happened at the end of the week and into the next week.  

This health scare happened between two weeks so I'm breaking my own rule by adding in some *future* events into this post so it makes sense.  

Friday morning Dd put her suitcases and bags in the van before Dh dropped her off for her co-op classes.  The *plan* was Dh would pick her up after her last class and they would drive straight down to Indiana, but Dh got the idea he should stop off at the Immediate Care (kinda like the Emergency Room) after dropping her off.  Dh had been complaining about his head hurting and seeing swirling auras for the past three weeks and I'd been telling him to 'go to the doctor' each time.  He thought it might have been his new glasses, reaction to cold medicine, blood pressure medication...and kept trying to fix it himself.  He was totally surprised when the Immediate Care doctor told him his retina was detached and he needed to see an ophthalmologist immediately; like THAT day!  The doc scheduled him to see a specialist at 3:15 pm.  Dh thought the doctor might prescribe a medication or something simple so he came home and spent the day packing the van with all his hunting equipment for his upcoming week's vacation hunting.  I had to drive and pick up Dd from her classes as he met with the ophthalmologist.  He called us and had us meet him at the office; the vacation to Indiana was officially off.  They told him to go home and lay on his left side for the whole weekend and try not to move much at all.  Then Monday he was scheduled to have his cataract lens removed to make it easier for the second surgery - reattaching his retina on Tuesday.  He had two different surgeons to do the two different procedures.  He was told he would have to keep his head down for the next 2-3 months and had to sleep on his stomach with his head straight down.  He quickly put together a table with two shelves--the top shelf with a hole in the middle for him to stick his face into to breath fresh air and the bottom shelf to put his laptop computer to watch movies.  He did it really fast and built it well then got on his side and stayed there all weekend.  They wanted him to stay on his left side so his torn retina wouldn't tear more and worsen his prospects of correcting his eye.  

Before the surgeries, the doctors really scared us.  Dh could have gone blind, could lose his eye, and all sorts of scary prospects.  We were really worried, to say the least.  Praise the Lord, both surgeries went well.  I won't bore myself with the details of the surgery, but the important part is that the doctor filled Dh's eye with gas to hold the eye in its correct shape---kind of like refilling a basketball---and then he has to keep his head down to keep the pressure on his retina perfect for healing.  Eventually, the gas will be absorbed and I guess his eye will produce more fluid to fill that space.  His eye had been leaking fluid for a while before the surgery and after the surgery due to the tear and correction.  

He can walk around our house, head down, but outside of our home, he has to be holding hands and being lead as he walks since he can't see where he is going.  No driving, no working, plus he can't see very well out of one eye that is strained right now.  I've been helping him do pretty much everything.  The hardest part, so far, is nighttime.  He really can't get comfortable and moves around every few hours, mostly laying his head on the dining room table in a pillow as he dozes.  Prayers appreciated.

11-11-18 Drove Home From Indiana
By Sunday morning we had all thawed from our miserable experience at the wedding reception in the barn the night before.  We didn't know it at the time, but Giz eventually develops pneumonia from this.  Happily cozy at our hotel, we had breakfast and chatted with Giz, Grampy, and Uncle Greg from 7 am to 11 am; that is a lot of chatting and catching up.  Since Uncle Greg's wife stayed up in her room and it Grampy eats lunch at 11, we decided to check out and head out for lunch and more chatting.  I was ready to head home after breakfast, but Dd *really* wanted more family time and voiced how important this was to her, so we stayed.  I was glad we all stayed and had a nice visit all together with Greg, April, Giz, and Grampy.  I was nice to chat and get caught up on how everyone in the family is doing in detail.  Usually, we only get to catch-up briefly at the annual Christmas party; which is just once a year.

11-12-18 Botox
I've been suffering from migraines since I was 12 years old and feel like I've tried everything under the sun.  One thing I haven't tried is Botox shots, but I had never been offered the chance to try them either!  Monday I had something like 30 shallow shots in my forehead and around my head.  So far I haven't seen any difference to the amount of level of my migraines, but the doctor said it may take until I've had two more sessions for the help to arrive.  There is a three month time between each session.  So, maybe in 9 months I'll see improvement, if at all.  I'm hoping I might be in the percentage of people that benefit from these shots!  Life could be SO much better if I weren't constantly enduring so much pain.  Hoping this might help; though not yet.  I had migraines 4 of the 7 days this week.

The temperatures have really dropped this week; it is COLD!  I've had to turn on the heat lamps in the chicken coop.  I know the hens would all be fine without it, but poor Zeus is just a heap on the floor and really does perk up when I put the heat lamp on.  He stays right under it, except for a few brief visits to the feeder.  Besides the cold temperatures settling in for the season the chickens are all doing fine and laying almost as much as they were in the summer.

Play Practice:
I'm enjoying being helpful to the actors for our Christmas play for church.  I have a lot of props I need to make and have been procrastinating...oops.

I've decided to cook down/crock pot the tomatoes that have finally turned red from our summer garden and chop up all the rest that are still green for the chickens.  This was my last batch of tomato paste for the year.  I know I could wait another week or two for all the tomatoes to turn, but honestly, I want my sunroom back!!!  I feel 'done' with gardening and processing veg for the year.

Lots of deer tracks in the snow

Dd 'hunting':
Saturday, Dd was *supposed* to be in Indiana hunting beside Dh.  Now that he will be basically bed-ridden for weeks the trip was canceled.  Dd asked Hailee to come over to our house at 6:30 am and they sat out in the woods *looking* for deer!!!  They did see a buck, but it was a little guy.  This might be as close as she is going to get to hunt this year.  

Academic Progress:

Bible: Church, Sunday School, and Youth Program
Word of Life Bible Study each day

Grace Subjects:
Geography: BJU (Bob Jones Textbook)
Algebra I: Saxon
Spanish I
Graphic Design
Introductory Logic
(Dd is doing really well in all the classes.)

1 1/2 hours at library
1 1/2 hours at church, Olympians program--Games

Next Week:
Monday Dh has cataract surgery.
Tuesday Dh has his Detached Retina surgery.
The healing can begin.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Nov. 4-10, 2018 Midterm Voting, Snow, Botox for Migraine, Wedding in Indiana

Nov. 4-10, 2018 
Midterm Voting, Snow, and Wedding

Henry running like crazy in the snow!

Hello Friends!

We had our first really big nasty snow on Friday and Saturday making our drive to Indiana dangerous and scary for Dh's niece, Cristy's, wedding.  We passed car after car that had slid off the road along our way.  The road crews really didn't do a good job on Saturday as we headed south.  

Luckily, Dh was driving or I would have turned back!  Cristy converted to Catholicism and had a full wedding service; it took over an hour of procedures.  

It was very interesting to see after all our visits to numerous Catholic churches in Italy.  

After the wedding we headed to the reception; which was held in a open November!  It was about 27 degrees!  

Keep in mind all the grandparents and elderly family members that were sitting at the tables and freezing as they (like me) lost the feeling in our extremities!  

I don't think the bride and groom were aware of how cold we all were; they were in happy bliss.  

After the reception we went back to the hotel and I slept in all my clothes and didn't get warm until after midnight--under all the covers with the heat turned up and fully dressed.  

Giz was sick by the end of the weekend! (added in December--she got pneumonia.)

I had two days without a migraine this week, which was ironic because this week I was given Botox shots in my head to prevent migraines.  We did have a big weather front come in and lots of snow, which always exasperates my migraines.  The shots were given between my eyes, forehead, temples, and all around my head.  It did hurt, but not unbearable.

Fall leaves make the perfect cover for my beloved lavender and peony plants.  I wish I had felt better this week and could have spent more time raking leaves to fill up our compost bins. 

 I did get a few wheelbarrow loads in, but not filled up.  


We had really nice weather on Tuesday, so the chickens spent a few hours scratching down in the bottom run where they don't normally get to go.  

They just love getting to run and scratch down there.

Thrift Store:
Dd's buddy, Hailee, agreed to stay at our house while we went to the wedding in Indiana.  We took her thrift store shopping and she found a nice pair of gently worn Converse sneakers that I happily bought her as part payment for her pet-sitting skills.  It sounds like Hailee had a good time at our house.

After the snow if melted and then snowed some is that time of year!  Unpredictable!

He goes CRAZY for the snow!  Oh my!  He loves it so much and runs so fast when he is out in it.  It is amazing.  He also loves eating snow and ice...a lot.a lot. a lot~!

So glad for getting to vote this week.

Play Practice:
I'm enjoying helping the cast with the Christmas play.  This week I found the prop I had been looking for--a unChristmasy mini tree that will work perfectly.

Fall Cleaning:
I don't know why Spring Cleaning gets all the attention, but I find Fall Cleaning to be just as important.  Dd and I spent hours in her room cleaning, organizing, and sorting.  We listened to our audio; The Grapes of Wrath, while working away.  

Academics for the Week:

Church, Sunday School, Youth Program, volunteering at Olympians, and Word of Life Bible Study each day.

Dd volunteered at our local library this week and also at Olympians at our church (3 hours total).

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: completed

Paths: I think I mentioned I've been building up walls for my favorite trails--it has been fun watching them get covered in snow!  It is a fun thing to do to pass the time while Henry is getting *some* of his energy out.  He never has gotten tired yet, he is just endless in his enthusiasm!  And I no longer have greens to collect for the chickens!

Grace Subjects:
Geography: BJU (Bob Jones Textbook)
Algebra I: Saxon
Spanish I
Graphic Design
Introductory Logic

Next week:
Next Friday, after Dd's Grace classes, Dd and Dh are supposed (*) to go to the farm for their annual hunting trip.  Spoiler Alert...disaster strikes and they don't end up going.  Stay tuned.