Friday, March 31, 2017

So Tired...

Jacob and I once again made an unscheduled visit to his vet this afternoon. His constipation issues are increasing and he is now averse to the needed medication. An enema and subcutaneous fluids were administered and he is to return in two weeks. I will try newborn food as a vehicle for his meds since he will not eat it on wet cat food and our adventures with pumpkin were likewise unsuccessful. Both of us, up and down for the balance of the night, are tired. The difference is that he is now sleeping whereas his bleary-eyed human is awaiting her dinner and hoping for a nap.

When we arrived home, the first thing he did after being released from his carrier, was to jump in my lap. He wasn't angry or sulking, he never is with me. Were it not for the urgency of the situation and his health, I would feel almost guilty. I don't, though. The one hundred fifty dollars charged to my credit card is a pittance compared to a trip to the 24-hour pet hospital in the event of a blockage. I so wish his old age was less problematic for him. All I want is his comfort.

Enjoy the weekend.

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Core Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Flowers and More...

I got a couple of short e-mails from the friend to whom I sent flowers earlier this week, including photos of the blooms. They are smashing, and make me smile, too.

Happy Spring!




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yesterday...

I got off my proverbial and got some things done, including tidying, ordering flowers for a friend and gathering most if not all of the information needed to file taxes and scheduled time with the tax preparer.

Because I've had rotten luck with a certain online florist, I elected instead to phone a shop in my friend's vicinity and handle the transaction with a person. Everything went smoothly and I had both the delivery confirmation and a short e-mail from my friend expressing her surprise within a couple of hours. In making my choice, I decided that the most vibrant buds and blooms should take precedence over cost and so selected a small arrangement wrapped in orange paper. The purples, reds and yellows of the flowers really popped, and this friend appreciated the touch of Spring delivered to her door. Her cancer is advanced and I am not certain to what extent she can enjoy the outdoors now but the flowers cheered her and were a spontaneous gift from the heart, so both of us benefitted.

Himself is still enjoying belly rubs, cuddles and his toys and sends a happy meow to all his blogger fans. Having read books by vets specializing in behavioral medicine, I know that he appreciates the time and attention and would not expose his belly without enormous trust. I've also read that many geriatric cats seek out extra attention and find it soothing. I'm reassured by his purring, head butting, nibbles on my arm and paw pats that he is reasonably content for the time being.

I see that efforts are once again mounting against the Affordable Healthcare Act, and that our House has voted to scrap the rules governing Internet privacy. If this happens, my time online will likely be vastly reduced and I am uncertain if the the new peek-a-boo allowed broadband providers also includes e-mail.

On a happier note, I look forward to celebrating the marriage of two longtime friends in May. One of them took me to lunch today and it was nice to catch up.

Now, for forty winks...




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Part II...

It is Saturday, and I've been out and about and tried giving the cat some pumpkin for fiber, which he did not eat at all. I knew it was a long shot, but tried anyway as some cats will eat it, according to his vet. He "went" on Tuesday evening but has not since. His vet has advised increasing his medication which has so far, yielded no results and I am to take him in again on Monday should the situation not change this weekend. How he is managing to eat at this point is beyond me. Were I in his paws, I would be most uncomfortable.

The weather has been sunny and beautiful with low humidity and a breeze. I read the paper outside for a bit without any interruptions from nosy neighbors, which was wonderful and must eventually get my tax documents together as April 15 is fast approaching.

As for the events of the week, I read online of an attack similar to that of Westminster in Lille, France in which the attacker escaped. The account I read said that the police do not feel it was the work of terrorists but nothing more about it has been publicized. If any bloggers in the EU have heard anything further, I'm curious to know as the reportage on news in the rest of the world is not what it used to be. On our shores, the pushback from voters against the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act also known as Obamacare, seems to have worked as there were not enough votes in favor of a repeal.

I am tired after spending the majority of the night up and most of the morning asleep. My body clock is as it used to be when I was working shifts twenty-odd years ago. Prolonged broken sleep is not easy to live with and I'm starting to feel the effects, unfortunately. While I meditate and do a modified yoga routine, these have not been sufficient to combat the problem. I will do further investigations to see what other options are available.

Until Next Time...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sometimes...

Words seem inadequate to express my feelings over yet another attack yesterday. This time in Westminster. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones and to those whose job it is to deal with the aftermath of such events.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Praying For Poop...

Of all the things I could possibly write about, poop, or the inability to, would never have made the list but for the little sweetheart in my house, Jacob. We had an unplanned visit to his veterinarian today because like many elders, he's a bit stopped up.

Why, if he is eating well and drinking? The short answer is chronic kidney disease and dehydration combined with an equivalent human age of between eighty and eighty-five.
When he had not festooned his box appropriately in twenty-four hours, Nursey (AKA yours truly) called in and was told to bring him by, whereupon the nice lady with the stethoscope and white coat palpated, frowned, asked if we had a softener and after my answer in the negative, prescribed one.

This is perhaps to be added to his existing daily regime of appetite stimulant and laxative. After giving him subcutaneous fluids, I was told that it was fortunate to have caught this early since Jacob did not want to eat, a situation that could lead to fatty liver and is a death sentence for felines. He has eaten since our rides in the taxi and is resting. I, however, am not and hope that another chronic problem can be averted.

Poor baby...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saturday...

Thanks to those of you who commented on my previous post and sent hugs. All very appreciated. I'll send cards regularly, check the web site for messages and send flowers when I can.

Saturday was beautiful and much warmer than the previous days. My normal day to do errands other than food shopping, I got a haircut, picked up a waste basket for the bathroom from the dollar store and got a few cards. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, the dollar store is similar to Pound Land in the UK. The one I frequent carries household cleaners, soaps, body wash, shampoo and other items, some of which I purchased during another visit recently. Having winnowed down the food bill, filled the pantry and noted what I have in the freezer, the cleaning and household supplies were next in terms of cost evaluation and reduction, and I'll be buying most of those at the dollar store from now on as the savings will mount with time. Though I was not able to visit the florist, which was closed, I felt like what I managed was time well spent.

My back is once again bothersome despite my daily exercises, so additional massages have been keeping the pain at bay and aiding sleep. My next project will be to get out to the park before the sweltering heat arrives and enjoy some outdoor time. The resident cat is holding his own and has become a devotee of belly rubs.

Someone asked me quite candidly if I am in financial difficulty. The answer is no, and I do not wish to be. While none of us can see into the future, we have today, we have health and we have habits which must come under scrutiny. In terms of money, I've always seen myself as its steward. What that means is that I do the best I can to save and spend wisely, and as I am now into my fifties and effectively retired, that is even more important.

I do get out and enjoy things, but also like being home. As a disabled woman, I've always known that I was lucky to be educated and employed for as long as I was, even in lower paying jobs. I learned how to save and distinguish wants and needs and have always paid more for insurance than others of my age. Medicare does not cover everything, and healthcare costs will only go up. At this point, I am also caring for an animal in his final years and bear the responsibility for his veterinary care, food, medicines and maintenance. These I view as an obligation and a gift, since he has given me companionship.

My yoga is progressing slowly as I've not done it regularly for years but I'm hoping to change that. The TBR pile is receding a bit and I'm enjoying a British series about people who refurbish old historical buildings or build unusual homes. I would love to be able to design my own shipping container home.

Perhaps in the next life...

Friday, March 17, 2017

How To Say Goodbye...

It is nearly 3AM and I find myself thinking about a colleague from my grad school days. Diagnosed in November with cancer about which she was totally unaware, at 66 she learned she was dying and sent an e-mail letting me know. I called her to arrange a visit, and was put off as she was starting chemotherapy and having some surgery. Understandable. A birthday card was dispatched, hoping to bring her a bit of laughter amid the chaos swirling around her life. She then let me know she was registered with a website and would no longer send individual emails as that was too time consuming. Also understandable. She loved the card.

I visited the site and left a brief message to which she responded with an emoticon last month and upon another visit today, learned that the horrors of chemo proved more than she was willing to bear, and she has decided to simply live and die on her own terms with the help of Hospice. Originally given a couple of years with treatment, the timeline has now become much shorter and while she now seems in a better place and is once more able to post, I find myself grappling with how to say goodbye to her since there will be no opportunity for face-to-face contact.

 I understand and support her decision and have told her so in my message today. I do plan to send her another card this weekend but find myself dealing with so many different emotions, some of which are no doubt related to past losses of loved ones closer to me who also died of cancer. My mother, two friends and two aunts come to mind. Past conversations with a therapist about grieving have taught me that each new loss brings with it the emotions of previous loss and so I know that what I am feeling is not uncommon or strange. It is what it is, a phrase I have grown to loathe because people say it so often without any real meaning attached to it, is the only thing going through my brain at the moment. Perhaps I will sleep on this.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

45 Degrees...

It is 5:30 AM and while the rest of the world slowly emerges from slumber, I watch as my elderly cat enjoys his dreams. The heat is on in our cosy space until the sun rises. At the moment, it is a balmy 45 degrees and windy. Because I have poor insulation and single-pane windows circa 1974, it is often chillier in the bedroom, the one part of the flat in which I seem to spend the most time these days. I've tried the thrifty trick of placing plastic sheeting over the windows but that was not successful. I'll be pricing new windows soon.

As I headed out to do the weekly shop and other errands last evening, the drop in temperature was obvious and left me desirous of a hoodie, which try as I might, I could not find at either of two local discounters in my area. My next stop is the local Goodwill. If that doesn't work, I'm calling a wonderful friend who lives in a much colder climate and asking her to locate one during her thrifting and send it to me. I should have known better than to leave my place in only a tee and some jeans because, after all the ins and outs involved with assorted errands, I was cold. As a menopausal person, that doesn't happen often these days and the wind made it worse. I also notice that, at my time of life, I seem particularly sensitive to variances in temperature, noise levels, crowds, constant talking and now, barking.

I awoke with a start the other day just as the dog upstairs reached a crescendo in her canine tirade and a neighbor in the next building over was heard to shout, "Knock it off!" My windows and doors were completely closed as this transpired and I cannot tell you how annoyed I was to have been subjected to that, and hardly for the first time. At least I am not alone in my frustration. The dog is either anxious over her owner not being home, cold, in need of a walk to relieve herself or perhaps some medication to calm her. She is trying desperately to communicate something, and no-one is obliged to help but the owner who does nothing. If I hear her, the other dwellers must also unless they are not at home.
Our board would say this is something to deal with the dog's owner about but I think the landlord should be apprised of the situation since the tenant will not deal with it.

Ironically, I am attempting to finish the book, Quiet, by Susan Cain. When I should be sleeping, I lie awake, often watching renovation programs. Why I've developed this particular penchant probably has more to do with their episodic and highly formulaic nature than anything I might glean from them. I've not seen anyone who uses a wheelchair or any other mobility device appear which tells me they're all flash and no substance and only help those who have attained either large debt vis a vis a mortgage or a large degree of affluence. I wish builders were forced to work building housing for minorities, including persons with disabilities, or volunteering with Habitat for the first two years of their licensure. That might put a small dent in housing shortages and lack of modified housing for people that need it. Unfortunately, the onus for modification falls upon the individual requiring it, and retrofitting or modifying is expensive. The other caveat is finding a builder who is both qualified and interested in doing the work.

What do you do when you can't sleep?


Saturday, March 11, 2017

This Week...

Have any of you ever been in a public place so crowded that the crush of humanity felt overwhelming? Such was my experience today as I visited a new-to-our-area upscale grocery. My original intention was simply a roll through to see what was there. Unfortunately, the layout of the store, combined with narrow aisles and people everywhere made that task impossible and after selecting some organic strawberries, broccoli and deli items, I fled to the nearest express line, grateful to be leaving.  I spent $10 and that included my lunch.

While the produce was fresh and the prices for fruit and vegetables in line with other stores in this area, I do not plan on returning for the foreseeable future. There are other, cheaper options available without crowds. Though I enjoy the music of Lucinda Williams, the volume at which it was broadcast, combined with the ambient noises made by wall-to-wall shoppers did not provide for an optimal experience. This place has been open for a few weeks. I wonder if it will succeed. I don't see the draw but then again, I don't live to consume or do so for entertainment. Apart from my weekly shop, the cat's food and litter and personal hygiene items, I don't buy much and have made a concerted effort to reduce, re-use or recycle. Haircuts, which I get about every other month, are prepaid through a gift card. Buying them this way reduces the price from $14 to $10 per cut and the cards do not expire.

My chronic back issue is best dealt with through an exercise regime and regular massage and I was finally able to resume massage today for the first time since becoming ill in January. As the hallmark of my original disability is tight muscles, I can tell a difference in my back and other areas once my massage therapist has visited. Another thing that helps is yoga and I have a DVD for wheelchair users that I am going to try.

Apart from these things and my weekly shop on Wednesday at Aldi, the week held a birthdate for the young gentleman who died in my house in 2013 after arriving for a visit. He would have been thirty-four. I remain angry over aspects of that situation most notably because his motives for visiting me were not as originally portrayed and I believe he used me as a cover to disguise the actual intent. Had he not lied and had he made different choices, he might have been around to celebrate his thirty-fourth year. His partner, who owes me money I will never see and stopped payment on a ten dollar cheque to me several months ago is not to be trusted either and while I am sorry for the tragedy that occurred, the shock, grief and lies surrounding it have hardened me, something I am still coming to terms with.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ten Pounds...

That is Jacob's new, higher weight. This news means that he is eating well, despite chronic health concerns. Although he was surly to his veterinarian during his examination, this was mitigated somewhat by an anti-anxiety pill prior to his visit. Overall, he is doing as well as can be given his age and conditions. He was quiet on the cab ride over as well. On our return home, he seemed a bit wobbly but was himself again as the evening progressed.

Today, my neighbor came over and spent several hours installing the new parking break on my outdoor chair with Jacob eying him from the sofa and a chair in the front room. What appeared to be a simple task in the hands of the product engineer on a video took longer than anticipated. As my neighbor, a very nice, laid back individual pointed out, there is always a learning curve for those who do not do this all the time. Though I initially felt guilty for taking up most of his afternoon, and will do something nice for he and his wife, I am glad this task is finally completed. Hopefully, I can now take this chair outdoors without any further problems and enjoy being outside again.

   
  
Tomorrow is my weekly shop. I never know what Aldi has in store...

Wishing everyone a good week!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Peaceful...

The weekend has been peaceful. The barking and howling have ceased at least temporarily. Yesterday, I was able to do some errands, including picking up some food for Jacob from his veterinary practice. He has had some nausea the last day or so which I will discuss with his vet at our appointment tomorrow afternoon. I've given him some anti-nausea medication which is working and he is now able to eat and play with his toys on the floor, including stalking and running after them.

Additionally, a friend stopped over today at my invitation and she was able to play with him while she and I chatted about various things. It was nice to be well enough to have someone visit. She was kind enough to change my sheets after which I did and put away all of the laundry, made dinner and some soup for the week and cut up vegetables for salad while Jacob napped. I also tidied and took out our refuse. While not exciting, it has been peaceful which at this point I'll take any time I can get it.

My TBR pile has grown by two books. I've got sixty or so unread in my Kindle of the 166 books listed there, so you'll probably be reading about a few of them in the coming weeks.  
I am slowly transitioning from happy pet guardian to pet nurse, and being able to read in the wee hours is helpful when neither of us can sleep.

Wishing everyone a good week!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Four Hundred Year-Old Tree and More...

It was my midweek foray for groceries and other necessaries. My first stop is generally a produce stand in what was once a field of groves. Thinned by overdevelopment, these have given way to a large covered roadside shed that shares space with a huge four-hundred year-old oak tree along with a barbecue stand which is usually shuttered by early evening. What was once old Florida grove land is now surrounded by a major multilane road that can take you from northwest to northeast county and the mass of traffic and build up surrounding my alma mater.

I've become a regular and earn a happy greeting from those who stock the bins and work the register. The fruit and vegetables, some of which come from this family-owned garden, are fresh and priced more cheaply than my local Publix, our largest grocery chain. I enjoy scouting the bins and being able to buy one of something should I choose. One can also buy eggs, milk, and a variety of other cold items. They always have displays and the aisles are easily traversed because the floor beneath the shed is concrete, so my wheels do not typically get stuck.

My favorite thing about the place other than the fact that it still exists, is the tree in the parking area. The other is a huge gourd prominently stationed at the entrance.
From here, I usually make my way to the Aldi just a couple miles up the road. I've shaved a good forty percent from my weekly spend this way and while the store is smaller and doesn't carry my cat's food, for example, the major chain I was using previously does not offer savings or a credit card with which I can save throughout the store. For this, I visit Target.

I'm always attuned to any specials or organics at Aldi and always go with a list, as I do at Target. The sticker shock I've experienced at other stores and the fact that my cat's food is now often more expensive than my own are two reasons I made this change. The other is literal change that over the last year has added up, enabling me to pay off holiday and other debt more easily. I've also developed a pantry and freezer so that what I generally buy is all fresh. Tonight, I had four frozen items, milk, peanut butter, cheese and a few other things for under $30 and my produce from the stand was $8. I paid my phone bill of $50 at Target and got some cat food and two other items for more than double what Aldi cost. I'm still trying to figure out how to lower my phone bill and broadband cost but so far, no luck. I've always been frugal from necessity. Now, it has become ingrained.

 My weakness has always been books. I've gotten rid of a lot of these and now read from a Kindle on to which I can download books from my local library system, a habit I've gotten away from in favor of buying from Amazon. Since my Kindle now holds almost two hundred books, I'm instituting a buying fast until all are read. This won't prevent me from using the library or creating a wishlist or digital TBR pile. Another thing I can do is utilize a small, independent used bookstore in my neighborhood. I purchased gift certificates for the holidays from there and all were appreciated and have been used. The owner uses a point system for books that are bought and then brought back once they have been read so that avid readers can keep books circulating and come back for more and the minimalist in me appreciates the re-cycling aspect of this.

Happy week, everyone!