Can I Really Do This ?

I have often said those words to myself or to my husband. Chronic pain is that constant drip of the faucet as each drip corrodes the porcelain in the sink. Chronic pain can also be that little man with the hammer who is the size of a Lego figure and stands on you in his chosen location and beats you like a drum. This type of pain is stubborn and intrudes on our daily quietude, our social activities and our vocations.
Whether or not you or I can “do it” is such a complex question because each of us will do it in our pace, in our time frame and in our own style. I definitely lean toward a mixture of laughter and tears. Like the sweet and salty flavors in life, in a strange way, laughter and tears complement each other. Both are a way of relieving pent up emotions, expressing frustration and evaporating anger. There is more than enough room in my life for chocolate cream pie and a good Kosher dill pickle.
As far as the laughter part of my personal coping skills, I was “blessed” with a condition that causes others to smile whenever I explain, identify or share it with them. To have my first pain begin in my sacroiliac joints, when I was in my early forties was mystifying, miserable, sudden and also hilarious. I am a very direct person, as most of you already know, and for me it was simply a pain in the ass…figuratively, intimately and medically. When your sitter won’t sit, when you sit in a chair and can’t get up or get in the driver’s seat of the car and can’t get out, this particular medical condition is both sad and funny.
When I had to stop working as a Director of Nursing and went by my old hospital one day for a visit, the medical director and another of my favorite doctors asked me what the prognosis was for me. I had no idea so I said, “Well, I think, one day I’ll be walking down the street and my ass will suddenly fall off.”
My world was rocked. I had loss of function, loss of my beloved nursing profession and loss all around me. It took several years for me to get a definitive diagnosis, many tantrums with weeping, endless frustration, traveling out of town to see doctors while in pain and finally a good guess at a diagnosis. Even that gave me relief. I was reassured the pain was real after seeing a specialist in Los Angeles. No, I wasn’t nuts. I finally got a definitive diagnosis after several years when we moved to Oregon. There was no cure, no escape. There was only management and the staggering fact that the pain would always be there. Those were sobering days and nights for me as hope was gone but it wasn’t all bad because I knew good medical treatment could help. I have thanked God often for my medical background over and over throughout the years.
I have written hundreds of blogs and articles yet never grow tired of sharing all the many ways I have survived and convinced myself I can do this; live with this pain, these staggering changes and keep my head, my chins and my attitude above the negative drowning level. Today I would like to share two of my favorite coping techniques or methods. They help me and it is always my hope they will also help you who suffer from chronic disease and/or chronic pain.

ATTITUDE, SMATTIDUDE: Cleaning my book shelves the other day I came across a wonderful old book written by Dr. Bernie S. Siegel who expounds many of the ideas I have been attracted to for many years. Many of these same ideas have been shared over the years by other authors I had read. When I was thirty-years-old, I went through a painful divorce and had only my faith and my stubborn persistence to care for my children, to keep me going. I read everything I could find on coping, believing, lifting myself and moving forward. My faith became more real than it ever had been previously. It had to be put to the test for my survival and the survival of my children. I had no money, no job, a college education in literature, a borrowed car from my parents and all of this while recovering from a tubal pregnancy surgery. Boy, did I need direction. In a strange way, survival through that difficult time was preparing me for the disease and pain that was to come into my life 12 years later; after remarriage, after nursing school and my wonderful new life.
Although Dr. Siegel worked primarily with cancer patients, there are many similarities and lessons to be learned for those of us who have daily pain. He concluded there are three kinds of patients. He said, “About 15-20 percent of all patients consciously or sub-consciously want to die.”
He went on to explain the desire to avoid suffering and pain is great in many as well as the fear of going through something they have seen a loved one experience. Sometimes the desire to die offers freedom. Thankfully, that feeling is usually short-lived. I know living with daily pain can cause those of who have it this desire at times…escape of any kind is welcome.
Dr. Siegel goes on to explain the second kind of patient. “In the middle of the spectrum is the majority, about 60-70 percent. They are like actors auditioning for a part. They act the way the doctor wants them to act, hoping that then the doctor will do all the work and the medicine won’t taste bad.”
He states further this group to be non-interactive in their own care. They are looking for a quick fix and take a more passive role in their own health. They want the physician to do it all and never strike out on their own, never question or grow, or learn during this process involving their own health. They just want to be “fixed” without participating in their own lives.
The third group Dr. Seigel describes “At the other extreme are the 15-20 percent who are exceptional. They are not auditioning; they’re being themselves. They refuse to play the victim.”
Dr. Seigel then introduces us to another exceptional man, a psychologist named Al Seibert who explains this third group of patients as survivors. Siebert has studied these individuals and found them to have certain characteristics. Dr. Siegel explains “He found that one of their most prominent characteristics is a complexity of character, a union of many opposites that he has termed biphasic traits. They are both serious and playful, tough and gentle, logical and intuitive, hard-working and lazy, shy and aggressive, introspective and outgoing, and so forth. They are paradoxical people who don’t fit easily into the usual psychological categories. This makes them more flexible than most people, with a wider array of resources to draw upon.”
It seems that Siebert in his studies, found that survivors, unlike many individuals pursue all of their needs such as “survival, safety, acceptance by others, self-esteem and self-actualization.” These survivors acted not just from self-interest but from an interest in others. He describes them as “foul weather friends,” because they do not shy away from trouble and want to come through; not only for themselves but for others. I believe many of us who suffer chronic pain fit into this category as we struggle each day to be our best and be more than just victims of our health. To live this life, we have to be participants in our own health and wellness. We constantly search.
I have always found these studies interesting and find them more so now that I am also a cancer patient. There is so much wisdom out there waiting to be picked off of that tree of knowledge; there is no reason for us to starve.

HISTORY LESSONS: We live in the oldest city west of the Rocky Mountains so I am always surrounded by history. I have always loved to study history and find great comfort in my antiques of any shape or form. Our old Italianate Victorian isn’t fancy but it is old. Built in 1890, I wonder each day about those who lived here over the years. Our home is bulging with the old mixed in with the new. I find a mystery of survival in all things old with their rich patina furniture, polished over the years by hands that were not mine. Old quilts hold a certain fascination for me as I look at the cloth in each square or diamond shape and remember there weren’t fabric stores resplendent with goods such as we have now. Those older days were practical day when fabric was never wasted. No, these quilts are composed of children’s outgrown clothing. Father’s old work shirts, worn thin, Mother’s Sunday dress she once cherished and bought with money from her coin jar stashed up high in a cupboard.
One of my favorite Bible verses tells us to “lift up your eyes unto the hills from whence cometh our strength.” I gain much strength from that because those hills have been there and survived as we will survive. I watch the majestic Columbia River flow out to sea and remember how long it has survived. Just like all aspects of history, there are stories and strength to be gained from looking back. We are not the only ones who have suffered pain, loss and joy. I gain much strength from looking back and learning. History offer us comfort if we will reach out for it.

THESE WALLS

High on a hill
a gust of sweet damp river air
washes past the antiquated redwood frame
through the moldering wallpaper,
disrupting ancient dust.

Her new occupants have a wee child.
Loud raucous wails are balanced
by laughter and childish glee.

Tiny, running feet
shake loose dust and sand
left behind by former occupants,
or simply blown in by the last windstorm.

Lace curtains feathered by the breeze
softly stroke the leaded glass and wooden frame
in a caress that is rhythmic and soothing.

Memories swirl like the wind
inside the heart of her;
within her walls.
Some are harmonious with life,
others tragically out of tune.
Many children were born here.
They crawled.
They walked,
They giggled with joy
eventually leaving her behind.

They marked growth on her walls.
carved initials into her doorframes,
scraped knees on her stairs.

Three deaths occurred
within these walls.
One a peaceful end to a long life.
The other two resonate in her depths
their tragedy rocking her to the rafters
like an earthquake.

The handsome captain out to sea,
his raven-haired wife “in a family way”
left behind to incubate.

The day the pains began she was alone.
There were no telephones
wooden sidewalks crusted with ice,
the only neighbor yards away
across a knee-deep muck mired street.

She crawled to the door,
cried out for help
her whimpering pleas muffled
by the whine of a piercing arctic wind.

She lost her life
and her unborn child that day.

The captain arrived home to emptiness,
loss so deeply felt
he returned to sea
and left his shattered heart behind
within these walls.

He sold to a burly Irish barkeep
with a plump young wife
and six freckle-faced children.
For a time, laughter lived
Beneath her roof.

She yearns to make peace with the sad times
while savoring the joyous ones
because she knows
acts of love are perfect
and cannot die.
They will resonate forever
within her walls.

These walls.

Sue Falkner Wood

57 thoughts on “Can I Really Do This ?

  1. Sue dear, you are unique in so many ways, and have so much yet to offer by way of hope and inspiration. I sincerely believe that many, in not most, of your followers try to emulate your attitudes and physical, mental, and emotional ways. I wish them luck and hope that the doses of Sue have rubbed off on them; I know they have with me. Love you, girl.

    • Phyllis, I hope it wasn’t too sad. I guess all of history is sad when you realize they’re all dead. I think there are so many lessons to be learned as we live each day to the fullest…whatever the circumstances. Many of my ideas work well for me and are tried and true but everyone walks a different path. Join me if you want to…if not then I wish you well on your own journey. Fondly, Sue

  2. What wonderful thoughtful words..and a full life to draw upon sue
    The poem at the end was so sad yet compelling in its telling .it was very strong and you could feel your living loving house ,such a sad tale of a life for that captain .but the house had more lives to live
    This blog was a help to me at the moment in my old returned back pain
    I feel this blog must have been and left you with a lot of emotion as it did me
    Chris

    • use we are just in a long line of stories and lives. I know sometimes it is sad but since you are also a history buff I suspect you may also get the same sadness in some of your sightseeing as you and your husband visit all those beautiful old historical spots. The buildings live on after the people are gone. Lives were lived there and they were both sad and happy, sick and well, famous and ordinary. I love the stories of the past. They teach us so much.Love, Sue

      • Chris, I don’t know what happened to the beginning of my comment. I just said I was sorry if it made you sad and to remember it was just poetic license and imagination on my part to convey the personal nature of history for me personally. Sue

  3. Beautiful thoughts Sue! I’m finally having a “we can do this!” day after several “roadkill” days. Got the dishes done, kitchen cleaned up and a few things picked up at grocery store. Laid out my clothes, packing lunch and then off to bed now. Flu season is killing me at work. Kids dropping like flies. Seeing 30-35 kids per day in clinic ( not all flu, some are just the day to day school nurse stuff) My sister’s district and 5 adjacent ones in Oklahoma shut down school for two days (Fri and Mon) because of flu.
    Hope that nasty bug stays far from your home!
    Love to all, Princess 👑 Crabby 🦀 Pants 👖

    • Annie, you be careful, okay? I know you are doing your job and doing it well but I do hate to think about you being around all that viral infection. How awful for the kids. That flu this year is so terrible and the news is so tragic. Not here as yet and hopefully the flu season will close before it reaches us. Chin up sweet friend and remember what they taught us in nursing school…sing all the way through Happy Birthday while you wash your hands. Love ya, Sue

  4. Hello. I am a new reader and I absolutely loved this blog! I too deal with chronic conditions, bad degenerative disc disease (causing much chronic pain) and HIV. I find so much of what you say here, the writings by Siebert and Siegel, to be very spot-on. I too am a survivor, and it’s true we have a wide variety of personality traits that we use to cope with life and the hands we have been dealt. I would like to read more by both of these authors you speak of here, and will try to find more about them. Thank you for sharing. And your poem, that was just awesome! I look forward to reading more of your work. Peace. ~MB

  5. Sue
    I love being drawn into the past i get so absorbed into how it was,how lives were lived
    I find out all I can then my imagination takes over
    Well this is a new week for us all
    My temp has gone down from 101 but woke up wet, .throat still sore along with back
    Hope you ok Tonie and Lyn
    And yes Annie keep that flu away from you
    Chris

    • Chris, glad to hear you are feeling better. Sweating is good…get those toxins out of you.Good fever is down and please remember to hydrate like mad due to this virus and our old enemy SJogren’s, okay? Love, Sue

  6. MB, I love getting new readers, especially those who take the time and consideration to comment. I do, however hate to hear of more suffering. I am sorry for what you are dealing with and can only imagine but identify with the bits you shared. There is so much to be learned and shared by all of us and so many wise writers to read. I’ve recently read a wonderful book called THE CHOICE. It’s about a woman who survived Auschwitz as a teen and is still going strong as a very effective psychologist for damaged individuals. Does anyone get through this world undamaged? They’ve even flown her onto aircraft carriers to talk to thousands of guys and gals at sea. If you are interested in Christian writers I recommend CS Lewis and Glenn Clark, among so many others. Please rummage through all the old blogs or find me on Google. Come back to see us and keep surviving, promise? Sue

  7. Hello all
    Sue, love the blog and especially the poem. I , also, love history. I don’t really find it so much sad and enlightening. The lessons from the past make a better way for the future. I love so much reading and watching history of homes, villages and natural settings.
    It’s been a sad day here. As my FB friends know, my Brutie, my sweet loving little dachie died yesterday evening. I was blessed to hold him and talk to him when he went. Just telling him how much I loved him, and Bernard ( who is terribly upset as well). He was the sweetest dog I have ever known. I kept watching and listening for him all during the night. But the thing about loving is the loss that eventually comes. If you live long enough. But it is better ” to love and lost than never love at all”. The same goes for pets. I wouldn’t give up the 11 years I had with him.
    MB. So good to see a new face here. Although as Sue said, sad for your reasons. Hope you come back and please please comment and jump in on the conversations. Get to know us and let us know you.
    Love to all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, I know what you are feeling at the loss of Brutie and pray the healing will come soon. I can imagine how except B was, he loved him so much and know he would like to have been here for you. Hope you are physically doing okay and that the injections in the back have helped for now. Love you, Sue

      • Tonie, sorry, you know I mean upset. That’s what happens to us writers when we don’t proof read. Glad you liked the blog. Sue

  8. Tonie
    It sounds as if your Brutie had a comforting passing ,that you gave him
    The other little one must be lost without him too
    Hope you are ok
    Chris

  9. Sue, I finally had time to read. I love it! Gee, I wonder which percentage I fall into… 😉 I especially love your beautiful poem.

    MB, welcome! I did reply to your comment, but in case you missed it, welcome. 🙂

    Chris, so sorry you’ve been under the weather, glad you are on the mend.

    Annie, I know you will take care. Tonie, you know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Lyn, Glad you like the poem. I hope life is calming down a bit and pray the weather is more agreeable to your joints and overall health. I understand what you mean about SB and his problems. As we’ve shared over many years now, just be sure you always are seeing the finest doctors possible. Hope the kids are both doing well, are happy and are excited about their futures.
      It’s been a sad week here as you know from FB. Love, Sue

  10. Hey guys
    Had a cold snowy day here today. Ceasar woke me up very early and I had to kick him out because he doesn’t like snow, lol. He and I have been mourning today. He is looking for his brother. And I miss him so much.
    But… I have been busy. Sewing on my quilt, and pulled out the cutting board and just put everything I could find in the crock pot for soup. I am not sure how to ease Ceasar. I guess just like me, it will take time. Poor B, he said he went walking today and had to cry again remembering Brutus.
    Sue, I pray your pain is not so bad now. And you are coping with everything.
    Lyn, I know you are coping with these crazy weather swings like me. Now, I would like a nap, but now I have to feed everyone in a little bit, so ….no.
    Chris, I hope your dh is doing better, for him and you.
    Love to all

    • Tonie, so much pain in all forms. I know it will take awhile for the acute pain at the loss of Brutie to pass. They do become such a part of our lives. Poor Ceasar and Bernard. I’m sure he would like to be here at this time.
      By the way your soup sounds so good. We went shopping yesterday and I picked up some staples for the cupboard to do the same. Tried to find yellow dried peas but none at our Safeway. Shopping trips are getting to be so difficult. So much pain afterward in the low back and knee. Always a price to pay. Hoping to get some answers in Portland from four doctors tomorrow. Jim to see one. Long day, please pray we have strength. When is your next injection session so you can get on with the better treatments. I’m sitting here writing everything that has happened to me since I saw each of these docs and it even surprises me.
      Snow, huh? Hope it’s melting today. Yesterday on the news we could see all the reporters shivering in DC which isn’t all that far from you. Rainy here with a bit of hail which always drops our temps. Such a sad week for our family. Later, Love ya, Sue

      • Sue
        We said prayers for you last night at service dear friend. And I hope that as I write this you are in a good frame of mind and body for that trip. Dried yellow peas huh ? Ugh, don’t do peas, if someone puts them in a stew or soup I will eat them, but not alone. I made mine with chicken stock, celery, turnips, onion, garlic, carrots, grated ginger, corn, lentils, barley and some of my canned tomatoes. A few sprigs of my thyme and some salt. Yesterday I made some bread and took it all to the church for our fun night.
        Sweetie, I do pray all goes well today.
        Love ya
        Tonie

  11. DEAR BLOG FRIENDS, I HAVE OCCASIONALLY TALKED WITH YOU ABOUT MY SIL’S BROTHER, GREG. HE WAS THE SWEET BACHELOR WHO BOUGHT AND WAS FIXING A DILAPIDATED BUT GORGEOUS OLD HOME HERE IN TOWN. ONE OF THE LOCAL ARTISTS WHO WORKS IN QUILTED PICTURES AND THEN TILES HAD MADE A GREAT PIC OF HIS OLD HOUSE AND WE GAVE IT TO HIM FOR CHRISTMAS. EVERYONE IN TOWN WAS EXCITED ABOUT THE HOUSE THAT HAD SAT EMPTY UP ON A HILL FOR 30 YEARS TO FINALLY BE BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE. HE HAD DONE SO MUCH AND LOVED DOING IT. HE DEVELOPED MULTIPLE MYELOMA A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AND HAD TO HAVE DIALYSIS. HE RECENTLY GOT PNEUMONIA BUT THE CANCER WAS LOOKING GOOD. TO THE GREAT SORROW OF ALL OF US IN OUR LITTLE FAMILY, HE DIED AT HOME SATURDAY NIGHT. HE WAS THE ONLY BROTHER TO MY SIL AND MUCH LOVED. THEY HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS TOGETHER FOR YEARS AND HE ALSO WAS SO ADORED BY MY TWO LOCAL GRANDCHILDREN. HE RECEIVED AN AWARD AS CITIZEN OF THE YEAR LAST YEAR FOR ALL OF HIS WORK IN TOWN FOR VARYING CAUSES. IT HAS BEEN A TRAGIC SHOCK TO ALL OF US, PARTICULARLY HIS BROTHER. HE WILL BE LAID TO REST TOMORROW IN WASHINGTON STATE WITH HIS MOM AND DAD. PRAYERS PLEASE FOR COMFORT FOR ALL, SUE

    • Thanks Chris, this is so hard on my Beth, my SIL and the children, especially. We all will miss his quiet, fun presenc at all of our family gatherings. Everywhere I look is some thoughtful gift from him. He always makes the Chex Mix every holiday and I have his jar and jus told Jim the day Greg died, “Oh, I’ve got to give Greg back his jar.” It’s overwhelming for my SIL and tomorrow Greg will be laid to rest with his parents. “Nancy, I still miss you.”. She was such a sweet friend and fellow grandma for me.Thanks again Chris, love,Sue

  12. Sue
    Still praying for you and your family. Loss of such I have not experienced, no siblings. But I do know how difficult it must be for them. He was such a fixture in your doings and you always had nice things to say about him. What better legacy to leave ?
    I had a call from B this morning. He will see his Dr next week and determine treatments or lack thereof. His tests have been pointing all over the place, with one saying crohns, and another saying he was too old for it. But one is suggesting a message he can try to give him relief. And he is going to visit a holistic specialist as well. So hopefully he will be back home soon with a better , healthier notion of what is happening with him. We had a good cry together over Brutie. He is a crybaby like me, which is good.
    More snow tonight ? Ugh I really hope they are wrong, and calling for it again on Sunday. My body is killing me with the ups and downs of this weather, but life goes on. Just keeping busy. Today I will start quilting. I out the border on to enlarge it and yes Sue it is blue. A bright turquoise. So now the fun begins. I really want to transfer a pic of mother and granny Rose on it when I get done. Well, I guess I should do that now before quilting , duh ?
    Hope everyone is well and happy today.
    Love
    Tonie

    • Tonie, I am concerned they haven’t come up with a definite diagnosis for Bernard as yet however who know better than all of us the whimsical nature of communication with doctors. Each one has an opinion and perspective on an issue. I pray he gets a firm opinion so they can treat him and he can return to you and his new “home.”
      So sorry your weather has been so whacky and I know or can only guess at how much work you have to go to for the critters. Soon, it will surely be spring. I hate to tell you we still have flowers blooming on the porch. I haven’t had to water the much due to the winds blowing rain onto them. I know the windows all around the house are constantly getting sprayed.
      Love hearing about the quilt as I am surrounded by quilts here. Only have one left I made..always made them for someone else. How special for you to be making one started by your Mom and grandma. Color sounds lovely.
      I’ll chat about yesterday in Portland once to save eyes and energy. Much love, Sue

  13. Sue
    I hope all was as it should be for such a day as today for you all……
    Tonie
    This sounds more positive for B..maybe he will have the answer to it all and it’ll be easier than thought
    I still have the runs, was getting better..but with this cold I had some sore throat sweets…I didn’t realise they had funny sugars in.and off it went…also I had a orange juice ice and that made it worse . So I just gotta watch it
    This quilt is going to be the best
    Been busy today had new tap put in kitchen ..and as usual the place begat more problems,but sorted now..then a radiator had slipped and was bending a pipe and that was leaking …got that sorted…..what I want is normal…..
    Waiting for letter from cardiac spec for DH …may be tomorrow
    Chris
    Oh I like those yellow peas….we call them dried split yellow peas..love the texture..but don’t known if I can have them now

    • Chris
      I think you HAVE normal sweetie ! LOL, life is always full of problems, whether with our house, our health, our cars , or just…… Or that;s as normal as it gets for me ! I get one thing done and yes, it begats another !
      Is dh going to get another med ? what is the letter for ? Poor you, everything you want to eat or for help sets you off.
      It is very cold here again, but very little snow, good. I just finished my coffee so I need to get all my winter gear on and go feed. They are waiting. Warm water for the chicks and hay and feed for the horses, along with putting on their blankies for today and tonight. Tomorrow is warm again, then the next day is cold and snowing again !! Crazy weather is killing me !!
      Going for a swim later, then home to work on the quilt. I hadn’t slept good Wed night, so yesterday was just a blur. I wasn’t up to concentrating on sewing. I did, get it put together and rolled up on the table to start it. I usually either do them by hand or quilt it as I go. So this one is a bit of a challenge. I had a good tip from Sue about using a sheet for the back side of the quilt. I had a beautiful blue that will compliment the other side, so I am using it. Trouble is, it is a slick fabric, that microfiber kind, and I think it will be a little trouble. So, another adventure.
      Sue, I pray you are not feeling so bad today and that your trip was uneventful yesterday. We will wait on your news.
      Love to all
      Tonie

    • Chris dear, so you have a shiny new kitchen faucet. Isn’t it always something? You seem to have had more than the norm with that house but for us, it is also always falling apart here with our house being so old. Called a arborist today about getting our old monkey puzzle tree pruned. It’s so large and the branches have fallen a few times with our winds. I do hope the cardiologist give your DH some answers and can put an end to these constant problems. Surely there are answers to be found. I’m afraid my eyes are going quckly but I will be back soon, today. I need to hydrate like mad and also use every kind of drops I have. Love, Sue

  14. Tonie
    Well the letter is a report of his heart scan from the cardio.

    he had it today and it shows slight thickening of the left ventricle and the heart is not pumping at 100pc
    He wants to see him again to fine tune his meds so he feels better
    His valves were ok
    The new meds he had when he got taken into hosp….if he can keep taking them…seem to be helping
    So our dr is ringing us Monday to explain and I will ask if the exercise bike is ok to buy
    So not sure what to feel on this

    Strange weather indeed next week is going into -c and maybe snow
    I do hope it’s an end to your cold weather and all easier
    Id like to get onto my hobbies. ..well hobby…since I moved here I can’t settle to it
    My mind doesn’t stop
    Hope that trip is over for you sue and you are back home
    And how you Lyn are you still with that cold weather
    Chris

    • Chris, yes, our weather is still much like Tonie’s. Yesterday our temps were in the 20sF, but the wind chill was 6*F when I walked the pup. WAY too cold for me! It was a short walk. The sun is shining this morning… ugh, just looked at my weather app on my phone, at 8:18 am it is 15*F with a wind chill of 6*F. Another cold one, I suppose.

    • Chris, I also hope the new meds are going to give DH a time of security and ease with his heart. What a lot you two have been through with his heart health, your diverticulitis and the house. PEACE for awhile would be great I know.
      I also cannot recall what your hobby is but do hope you get to have the pleasure of it soon.
      It looks like we have been incredibly fortunate as far as weather this year. Rain and more rain but flowers in pots on floor still blooming and we have had enough wind they get misted practically every day. Into Feb already, don’t know if it will change. Camellia bush, the huge crimson one is already blooming but actually, it usually does start to bloom around Valentine’s Day.Our trip into Portland to see four doctors this past Thursday was as exhausting as it sounds.My wonderful cardiologist told me to stop the coumadin because I don’t have much in the way of symptoms with atrial fib except feeling the palpitations. He told me to take one aspirin 325 each day. What a relief after all that I went through on that darn coumadin/warfarin. I do have a leaky valve but we’re all not going to worry about it at my age, etc. It’s taken three days to get back to feeling fairly normal, two bad nights of pain and also relief at the opinions I got in there.
      Hope you didn’t get that cold front of weather and you are both well. Love ya, Sue

      • Well the dr rang today re the report of heart scan he said he was pleased with it .valves were clear and at his age the heart wouldn’t be pumping at 100 pc so all in all it sounded ok
        funny tho his bp been going for two weeks ok then over the weekend up high ..strange still seeing the cardio again soon
        Well done to be off the coudamin blimmin drug….
        Glad you feel relief from cardios advice…don’t like the sound of the pain dr…

        Well my hobby guess….
        Is family history and I’ve a four drawer cabinet stuffed full of filing to be done
        DH family from the first fleet to Oz and their prison sentences here.and going back a few sides to 1600
        My side I go back to 1460 with a family tree and with wills .and I want to trace a lot.. Lots to do and I like to revisit all my work I’ve done
        Also
        I stopped doing some tapestry .we used to have a canal boat …..long skinny boat 60 ft…we used to spend weekends and all holidays….it had a little log burner..you could put a casserole on in the morning smell it all day whilst chugging along on the outside….it had an area to sit and I used to do my tapestry there with a glass of wine ..then it would be ready for dinner. Used to pick blackberries whilst DH going along side in the boat.make pies etc
        But we had to pack it in with DH Menieres
        So I felt I couldn’t pick it up..it was a sad time
        And I’ve still got it there to do……just need time
        So there it is
        Been out for a run today and it was snowing pretty….gives it cold for two weeks ..-3 c tonite
        Got a cold sore lips all swollen with it. Still got some of the cold but it’s clearing
        Chris

  15. Happy Saturday all
    Today is my sister Judy’s 76th birthday. After breakfast I am making her German Chocolate Cake. And while it bakes work on the quilt a bit. Then I am going to her house and give her a “spa day”. We have hot wax machines and I have a microdermabrasion machine. Giving her a facial, manicure and shoulder massage. Can’t do the pedicure because she has neuropathy and can’t stand to be touched. So hot wax will have to suffice. Then some friends are coming over for a little birthday dinner. I like going out to eat, but sometimes I like just being home.
    I haven’t been sleeping good. Maybe 5 hours, can’t nap, and it is telling on me with lack of energy. I am awake every two hours. Guess I will have to resort to drugs for a few nights.
    Chris, hopefully the Dr will give a go ahead for the bike. I wouldn’t think it would be frowned on with that report. Most likely exercise would be encouraged. Remind me again. What craft do you like to do ?
    Sue, hope you are recouping, Lyn, hopefully you are surviving this weather rollercoaster. It got down to 7′ here this morning. Now, I must bundle up and go feed, Sweetie was looking through the window watching me make coffee, wanting her breakfast. She is getting milk now in her udders, so…..
    Sue, B will get his diagnosis next week. That three week result blood test was for heavy metals. Testing for Mercury poisoning. Evidentially when he competed in soccer, their coach injected them with some performance enhancing drugs that came from the Soviet Union. He has no idea what they were, they just took them. But he said there were bad side effects from them. So, his Dr wanted to include this test. Youth and stupidity go hand in hand.
    My left knee is giving me a fit. I pray I don’t have to have surgery on it also. I am going to get an appointment with the pain specialist for an injection before I go to the orthopod. So far, nothing else has helped.
    Well, off to the arctic blast. Have a wonderful day all
    Tonie

    • Tonie, I am guessing Judy had a wonderful birthday and seeing your cake you baked on FB…looked delicious. I haven’t made one of those in ages. The closest I’ve come is buying Jim German Chocolate cake flavored coffee for our coffeemaker. Sure hope Sweetie keeps that foal in until B gets back. How long is it usually from the time the milk starts to come in for the mama before delivery?
      I am sorry to hear your knee is acting up. Honestly, I know how frustrating that can be. My rheumy has put me back on NSAID’s starting tomorrow…had to get rid of all the coumadin first. I am hoping that will help me avoid surgery, at least for awhile. My pain doc was of little help except to suggest a $950 split level knee brace to wear while walking or a rare injection into the nerve of the knee which has certain risks. I’m not crazy about either idea right now…or her. After driving up there early for an 11 AM appt. in pouring rain, she kept me sitting in the exam room for 40 mins on my sore ass while she gabbed with some drug reps. Then she had about fifteen mins for me then said she had to get to a meeting. I was furious. May not go back. She is smart but low in compassion and I always feel experimental. Rest of the day went well. Long and tiring.
      As far as B I pray the news and diagnosis come quickly and he can get some…many answers. It is beginning to sound less likely for surgery? Some of those sports coaches have done some terrible things to their young players. I know it must be so maddening to think that might be the problem after all this suffering he has gone through. I thought it was usually anabolic steroids they used but from Russia, who knows. Prayers for answers. Love you much, eyes fading must close, Sue

      • Sue
        Glad you are off the stuff and now back on your nsaids. Maybe some relief ? Stupid DRs. I wouldn’t go back to her either. I usually let them know what I think when they leave me sitting like that, but you are nicer than me. Haha !
        Bernard is saying there is talk of a low cost older med that he can take and no surgery. Then he was going to a natural path and see what they recommend.
        As to the mare, it will be a few weeks before she gets her milk in prior to the birth, usually. This being her first, who knows ? But I a, giving her powdered milk on her food for calcium , he says it will help her create milk.
        Take care you. Glad we ou are feeling better.
        Love ya

  16. Hello, all. Sue, you were in my thoughts and prayers this week, as you know from FB. As all can see from my reply to Chris above, our weather continues to be all over the place, but mostly cold lately. Adding to weather, I had a killer rehearsal Monday evening, and haven’t slept decently all week. It’s been a busy week, and I’ve not been on the top of my game. Feeling not the best and overwhelmed. But, I have been enjoying the countertop/backsplash hunt to some extent. I think we’ve settled on a countertop we all like, and the estimate for this one looks much more doable. Now to narrow down backsplash and consult the budget.
    Tonie, I wish B would get more definitive answers/solutions. Too old for Crohns? I don’t think I’ve heard this before. Interesting. Hang in there!
    Time for a bite of breakfast, then shower and ready. DD and I are checking out renovations made to our friend’s shop this morning before DD heads off to work. She picked up a few hours today. Tomorrow she will join us for SuperBowl watching.

    • Lyn, so sorry, just found this. Hope the back splash search is in a warm place. It is fun but only if you’re up to it. Just remember spring is coming soon. Hold that thought. Your question awhile back for Tonie about Crohn’s disease? The doctors just meant that it usually begins much earlier in life like in your teens.
      Hope kids doing well. Is DD still in her relationship? Hope SB is well and if…know he is working hard.
      My good computer went down yesterday. Jim our washing our very muddy car from trip to Portland and I’m on my old one which is now his…computer that is. Will get comp. to shop tomorrow. Fourth day back on NSAID’s for me, overall better, knee slightly better. Need to see local primary care doc but can’t stand the thought of any doctor just yet. Next week oncologist and eye doc.
      Love you and forgive that I miss this…please. Sue

  17. Chris
    I should have known. I would love to see a pic of your tapestry. I remember you talking about the boat. Sad when you have to stop doing what you love. But ya’all have done so much with his photography and trips to the ocean, and all the little villages.
    Hope you are feeling better. Stay warm.
    Tonie

  18. Well got caught In town with cystitis..dh had an inr test at Drs .so I got a test jar from the surgery they dipped it and blood and Leuko stuff in it .so it went to lab and results on what antibiotic back tomorrow…..so feeling very uncomfortable here and lip all swollen with a cold sore and diver too……also I had a call from hosp this morning they want to do my colonoscopy sooner in two weeks time..when I woke up this morning all was dare I say normalish …then ……
    Tonie
    All my stuff I did I gave away when we moved and what I was working on is in the loft..so I will get it out when I go up there.i did some bookmarks that dd has so I can get photos of that
    Been feeling a bit rough for a few days I thought it was uterus stuff and I was using hrt cream I have for it..but it must have been this coming on
    Ok that’s it dr gave me some amytriptiline that the gastro said to take for diver..so I’ve got some so I may sleep,tonight
    Chris

  19. Well I’m awake had to go to surgery again before results back got a lot worse with bright red blood for urine.so tested again and all the nitrates and stuff in it ..and guess what my bp was 160/107..usually it’s low…so I’m in competition with dh
    He has given me antibiotics so hopefully they are the one for the bug
    Chris

    • Chris, oh dear. Blood in urine…bad but the B/P may just be from the stress of this whole day or two. How awful for you. Did they give you any advice about drinking or anything else. Are you able to take something for the bladder and down below pain? Forgive me for not getting back to you sooner. My fairly new computer konked out on me and I’ve tried everything so into the shop for repairs tomorrow. What a pain but nothing like your pain sweet friend. A heating pad right on the bladder might help. You must be sure it’s not up into the kidney with that bleeding. Please stay in touch with doc until they get it fixed. SO much pain…Do you have any back pain, right or left lower to the side? Love and many prayers, Sue

  20. Hope you get to have the comp fixed..it’s so irritating with a new one too
    Well the bleeding stopped but still same otherwise..maybe 10 pc easier
    Results not back yet from lab so good job I got these meds to start
    No back pain only my usual pain and I’m drinking lots of water
    Feel like sh.t tho
    I’ve got a heat pad on it need it too it’s cold -1c and snowing a bit
    Hope all ok
    Chris

  21. Chris
    So sorry for all your troubles ! I have bladder pain, so miserable. And blood in urine, not good. Maybe you have some irritation in the uterers. Sometimes you get like a waxy buildup and it causes irritation and bleeding. Used to see that a lot when I worked urinalysis dept. hoping your meds clear it up in the next day’s. Snow ugh ! Right now we are a muddy mess. Rain , a lot today, but warmer here.
    Had my injection, my sister went with and I took her by to see an old friend and former teacher. And , my sister did not hush up for the three hours down, back, and lunch ! My ears are bleeding ! Sometimes I need some quiet.
    So hope you are better tomorrow. Yes amiltryptlene is what I have for sleep . But gives me a hangover so I rarely use it. They put the book cup on my lower arm today and my body is low, but this was reading of 132/76 then 148/98. Crazy. I told her my body is not that high. She said it didn’t always work for everyone.
    Please take care of you. Like Sue said, could be the stress and also the pain causing you increased by. So don’t worry until you get well, then retake it
    Love ya

  22. Tonie
    Well bp back to normal now,thankgoodness bleeding gone and pain much better and able to get to loo ok now
    had to laugh about what you said about Judy she must have enjoyed herself…
    Yes Amytripaline does the same for me..haven’t started it yet will when I finish these meds
    The antibiotic is bringing on the diver …..where’s that normality
    Is the book cup a bp machine …it’s seems strange to have diff reads like that…I’m normally low as well
    How’s B Be great if it’s just new meds and that’s all is needed
    Sue
    Hope computer fixed
    Chris

  23. Finally back on here and caught up! Tonie, I love German Chocolate Cake! My step-dad does, too, so Mom has made her share. I’ve made more chocolate cakes of various versions because my guys always preferred them. Although, DH like a good white or yellow cake as well, but I digress. Chris, I think, asked if DD is still with her BF, yes she is. They will soon be approaching the 1 year mark! SB is with the same girl for some time, too. Chris, so glad you are feeling better! Sue, I hope you are rested up a bit anyway from your trip. I know your recent loss will take time. I wonder what will happen now to that lovely old house Greg was so lovingly fixing up. Places my thoughts go on walks with Sadie. I’m sorry it has been so long since I last checked in here. I confess, I think I have perhaps more students right now than I should, and am way busier than I should be. It is very difficult trying to keep up. We finally selected our choices for countertop and backsplash and have received an estimate to have the work done. Now checking into sink and faucet. We are looking within the allotment in the estimate, but it has had me running around more looking at options. Tomorrow I have a Memorial to sing in a small group for, and play flute in one piece as well. I will be glad when the flute playing is over. I don’t usually play anymore except in lessons and am not really in as good playing shape. At least it is an easy part. Afterward, I have a family dinner. DH’s parents’ wedding anniversary to celebrate! All who are able will be gathering at a restaurant not too far from where I will be for the Memorial. We are all looking forward to a delicious meal. Currently, DH and kids are all doing well, pets, too. Tonie, the weather has not been as kind to my body, but I am doing ok. The Feldenkrais class I attend and yoga help a bit, I think. Not been sleeping all that well, though. The last couple weeks have been rough as a result.
    Blessings to all!

    • Lyn, good to hear from you but it does sound like you are a bit worn out. Do be good to yourself, okay? I was the one who asked about DD’s relationship. Sounds like both of the kids are now adults…they do grow up so fast. Of course, when you’re an old coot like me, everyone seems like a kid…even some doctors.
      I know you all in the East have had a rough winter with all of the ups and downs affecting rheumatoid conditions and so much more. We are cool with a daytime temp of 45F and cool nights in the thirties but no rain for a few days. Beautiful blue skies with an occasional round of fog. I love the horns from the ships when we do get fog.
      I don’t know yet what will happen to the Victorian Greg owned but time will tell. I’m sure many will be interested in buying it but it is much too soon for SIL and DD to even think about that.
      Do enjoy all your performing and please take rest in between. Love, Sue

  24. Lyn
    Good to hear from you. You have indeed been busy. I was thinking when I was making that cake about trying brownies with it. Everything except the milk. Maybe it would work ?
    Me too on the bad sleep circuit. RIght now we have rain, but warm, but still the switch in barometric pressure kills me.
    In band we always switched instruments and played. Much to the dismay of our instructor. Flute was always the most difficult for me. The embouchure was difficult for me. I have too much lips , haha !! But clarinet (my first instrument of choice) trumpet (what I played) baritone, sax, and drums. We all switched about. I did play drums during marching season, couldn’t read the music , but they needed an additional player, so…. lots of fun. I played accompaniment for the choir. I was offered a scholarship to East Tennessee State for music, but……didn’t want to teach.
    Hope all your appointments and parties go well. I am always afraid I will screw up on memorial services. But I am sure you will do fine. I am sure you practiced a lot beforehand. I do all my thinking while I am swimming. Exercise gives a clean plate on which to heap thoughts yeah ?
    Hope you sleep better tonight !!
    Tonie

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