Catching up

A lot of stuff to write about this week. I guess first I want to address what’s happening, or happened, all across this country. What is completely unreal though, is our president’s total lack of leadership, and total incapability to empathize, to care at all, about any of it. I mean, what part of that walk to Lafayette Square was acceptable? Certainly not the part where he disbursed the peaceful protesters with tear gas, shields, and rubber bullets. Nor the holding up of a Bible, as if he were a Christian man, or even had an inkling of what the Bible teaches. He’s depraved. He’s a mentally ill mental midget.

I keep thinking of Iyanla Van Zant saying, “When someone tells you who they are. believe them the first time.” I’ve never had a doubt as to who that man is, but hopefully some of those who weren’t convinced might now be. Especially combined with his threats of sending in the military to fire on American citizens, and other incitements to violence. Do they believe him now?

There is so much wrong with all that he’s done. It’s impossible to list them all. And actually, trying is not a healthy thing for me to do. Makes me nauseous.

Ok, enough of a rant on that. We are all (at least most of us) sick to death of him, and his childish chest-thumping while our people beg for leadership. Thank God for all the calming rhetoric from Presidents Obama, George W, and Jimmy Carter. Thank God for generals who will tell him he’s dead wrong. It gives me hope.

Update on my health issues. I got to the pain dr. on Tuesday. He was utterly surprised that my primary dr hadn’t ordered x-rays or an MRI. He ordered them. I go Monday morning at 8. Then he can begin to deal with the pain, once he knows what’s causing it. Needless to say, I am not happy that I have to wait another week for treatment, but I do feel like he’s going to find the answers and that I’m headed in the right direction.

Last week I was in the pool one morning for about an hour. I spent most of the time, but not all, floating on my back. It felt so good. I didn’t have sunscreen on, because I wasn’t going to be there long. Well….my neck and upper chest go sunburned really badly in that time. About 45 minutes. I didn’t realize it until the next day when the skin on my neck was a little tender. I looked in the mirror and my neck and upper chest were deep crimson red. And now…a week later the skin feels like snakeskin, and it’s beginning to peel and it’s really itchy and also stings.

Because there was another physical thing I needed to deal with, I guess.

Waah, waah waah. I’ll have some really good cheese with that whine……

Dan is still taking such good care of me. He went to the grocery store this morning. He got up in the middle of the night last night to get me a fresh ice pack. He cooks dinner and cleans up. I try to help as best I can. But I’m not a whole lot of use.

So….hope everyone is well. Love and light to all.

I’m Back, With a Bit of a Rant

I’m back. This will be a bit of a rant, because I’ve been dealing with this back/hip/leg issue for a month now, and it seems worse, not better. I’ve been going to physical therapy and they really can’t do much because I have so much pain. My dr. refuses to give me any pain meds, and the pain gets so bad at times that I consider crawling around rather than try to walk. I have learned that pain is exhausting, waking me in the night for more tylenol and a fresh icepack. So, I have just been getting through the day, sleeping a lot.

However, I at least got a reference for a pain doctor from my primary care, and will see him on Tuesday. Why my dr. didn’t offer to send me to a pain specialist the first time I asked for help, I will never know, but it irritates the crap out of me. Not like I’m a habitual user of pain meds, since I’ve never asked for them before. Now 2 weeks later, with the pain worse, I called to ask if they would refer me to someone who could actually help me, since they won’t. . I called the pain dr, and they asked if I have any x-rays or anything. No….my primary care never asked for them. To me, it’s so obviously a deteriorating condition, that it seems it would have been prudent to get x-rays or an MRI done immediately, since the cause of it is a fall, onto the base of my spine. Just seems logical.

It’s all part B Medicare, and believe me, I will be looking into changing drs and insurance companies. This guy seems fine dealing with the RA and the diabetes, but when he gets something more complicated he’s not capable of handling it.

I have been staying at Dan’s for a week. They opened his pool finally, for one thing, and floating around on my back feels like heaven. But as the days wore on, I have realized that I am basically not functional. Like walking into the kitchen from the couch, about 20 steps, is torturous. I am grateful every minute for his care and concern. He’s doing all the cooking, and cleaning up, because I can’t. I”m grateful for Instacart because I feel guilty always making Dan go to the store for me. He’s doing enough for me as it is. It costs me an extra 15% to 20% but at least I can get them.

Virus restrictions are being lifted here, for the most part. Beaches will be fully open as of Monday without the group of 10 people limit. We quickly made a decision to not hold a sound healing for a number of reasons. The first being, we really don’t feel it’s safe. Our curve, while better than some states, is not flat even, it’s still increasing, although the rate has slowed. Still, we definitely don’t want to feel responsible for bringing a bunch of people together and finding someone was infected. The other 2 reasons are my issue, whatever it may be, with my back and leg, and the heat. It’s getting really hot here, and also rainy, so we have to consider that if we want to schedule anything.

Well end of my frustrated and irritated rant. I hope everyone is well, and safe. Love and light to all.

The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday Morning

Another boring day in quarantine, in a long string of them. On tap for today:

  • going to physical therapy
  • walking out to get my mail
  • trying to write (which means staring at my laptop screen for long periods of time. Writing a few sentences. Deleting those sentences. Stare, write, delete, repeat. Until I’m sick of it.
  • Making dinner. Chicken tortilla soup.
  • Reading. “A Hero’s Journey” by Joseph Cambell.
  • A bath in epsom salts and lavender oil. To soothe my back/hip/leg thing
  • pick up my kitchen table.
  • Watch TV. The Durrells in Corfu

Yesterday Evening, or What actually happened:

  • Went for physical therapy
  • Came home in pain.
  • Made egg salad for lunch
  • Sat down on the couch to read after lunch
  • Promptly fell asleep for at least 1 ½ hours.
  • Read when I woke up but not Joseph Campbell. I like Campbell but can only deal with so much mythology. I can’t remember the name of the book I’m reading. It’s on my Kindle, which is in the bedroom and I don’t want to walk back in there to find out.
  • Did not take a bath in Epsom Salts
  • Made an easy dinner of coconut shrimp, green beans with almonds and potato salad. No Chicken tortilla soup.  Would have had to stand too long.
  • Watched 5 or 6 episodes of The Durrells
  • Killed flies.

A friend is coming over today for a couple hours. Dan is coming for dinner and to spend the night. And the sun is out. Which all means today won’t be as boring as yesterday. Crazy friggin times for sure.

Un-oppressive Silence, and a Few Bugs

I kind of have an unwritten rule, for myself. I don’t turn on the TV all day, until dinnertime. This rule only applies when I’m home alone. It works out, usually, because I’d rather sit on the deck and read or write there, enjoying the breeze and the shade.

It does not work well when it rains. Because, of course then I’m stuck in the house. Which was today.  A violent storm blew in off the Gulf this morning, complete with lots of lightning, thunder, a tornado warning and a water spout.  Forecast was for rain and showers on and off all day.   So I was inside most of the day after I went to physical therapy this morning and my back/hip/leg were killing me this afternoon. I sat in the living room, in silence…no birds, no cars passing by, no voices in the yards next door. Dead silence, especially with my hurricane windows, which shut out sound as well as wind, really well.

I promptly fell asleep. Considering I slept 7 hours last night, I was wondering why I was so exhausted. I slept for at least an hour and a half, in my recliner. I guess pain is exhausting. At least today. So, I woke up and actually did read for about an hour. In the silence.

For some reason, the silence did not oppress me. At first, it was. Oppressing me. It seemed thick, it was like the lack of sound created its own sound. I didn’t even hear my own ears ringing, though, they still are, and now that I’m awake, I hear them loud and clear, But the silence was like a cocoon I was living in, in this little house. I was hoping I would morph into a writer again. The words used to spill out of me, now I struggle to find them. I was living in sensory deprivation. It was a little weird.

So now, it’s almost 9:30. PM. I am watching a delightful series, from Masterpiece Theater, called The Durrells in Corfu. And killing flies. I swear, I got invaded. I’ve killed 5, with my own bare hands. In my pajamas. They are attracted to my TV screen, even though there are lights on. The screen makes it easy to kill them, though. They don’t see you coming. I broke a slat in the new blind Daniel bought me for my big kitchen window while I was chasing one. He bought it because the old one had a broken slat, and now the new one has one. I tried to tape it, but if you take a good look you can see it. Now I want to get another and put it up, so he won’t see how careless I was. Which is ridiculous, I can’t even walk through Home Depot, let alone put the blind up.

I’ll worry about it another day. It’s a $22 blind, for Pete’s sake. More important is the spider, small and black, that I keep sweeping off my leg while I sit on the couch. WTH? Flies, spiders. Did I just not notice these critters before because I’m outside so much? Well, I’ve watched 5 episodes of the Durrells, maybe one more and bed? Idk, I slept so much today.

Love and light.

My Friend The Ice Pack

I’m sitting with an icepack on my lower back, and wired up to a TENS unit, as I have every morning for about 2 weeks. I have something called piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle is located under the butt muscle, and the sciatic nerve runs alongside it or through it. The syndrome is caused, in my case, by a fall I took off the bottom step of my deck and landed pretty squarely on my tailbone last November. The fall causes the piriformis muscle to spasm, and that squeezes the sciatica nerve, so the pain is making a trip from my lower left back, around my left hip, and down my left thigh. Often I can only walk all bent over. I went to the chiropractor then for about 6 weeks in November and December, and it seemed like it was ok.

I went on the cruise in December and came home really sick. I keep thinking I had COVID-19 back then, because I had a temp for a few days of 102°, a terrible cough, shortness of breath, no runny nose or head cold, just cough and fever…all the symptoms. But it was only the end of December. I went to the dr who told me I just had some kind of viral infection and I had to let it run its course. Yeah, ok. No one had really heard of coronavirus then. But I think I got it on the ship. I would take an antibody test, but they’re $170, no insurance. I felt pretty good a month later, and then in February, my back started acting up again, and has just continued to get worse. I’ve just finished a run of prednisone, which at first helped but toward the end seemed to make no difference, as the pain got worse. It’s difficult to walk from one room to the next, and is made bearable by an almost constant ice pack and the TENS unit. I’m scheduled to start PT on Monday. It’s a weird kind of thing. Does not hurt when I sit, or lay down. But walking or standing are very painful.

I called the dr back yesterday to ask for something for pain relief until I start the PT. He wants to see me again this afternoon. Which means I have to shower, etc, and drive over there.

I have no idea what caused it to act up again. Recently, in the last few days, I’ve read so many articles about all the secondary problems of COVID-19, and wonder if this is not somehow related to the illness I had after the cruise. That maybe it settled in my piriformis muscle after the cough went away. It was about 2 weeks after the cough was gone that this started up again.

I guess a little information can be dangerous, lol. And all this isolation just lets my mind come up with all kinds of theories…I guess I need to stop and just let the dr. do his job. I just hope he can give me something for the pain to get by til I start PT. Dan had some tramadol pills from when he had shoulder surgery and I took one of those, but it did basically nothing. I don’t do well with opiates, like Percoset or Vicadin, they make me nauseous. I actually have a few Percoset from when I had gum surgery, but I haven’t taken them because they make me feel so shitty. I only took one when I had the gum surgery and it made me feel so sick I decided I’d rather have the pain, and just took tylenol.

This getting old thing is not for sissies. I’m so sick of being in pain. My TENS unit uses a 9V battery, and I am on my 3rd one this week. Well, hopefully, the dr will be able to do something for me today.

Dan has been so good to me through this. Making me food, and helping me get around, rubbing my back, just being there for me. It’s so nice to have someone who can actually feel empathetic.

I just saw some stretching exercises online that are supposed to help this particular thing. I’ll try them in a little while.

Dan and I celebrated, as best we could, our 3rd anniversary of being together. We went to our favorite Italian restaurant and got take out, and had a bottle of wine. It was nice. But immediately upon finishing dinner, we realized that my AC was not working. The unit was new when I bought the house 4 years ago. We drove back to Dan’s house to sleep, but I was up early the next morning so I could be home when the service guy came at 9 AM to service it the next morning. It was a clogged drain, which cost me $260 to have fixed, and a new float switch installed. I also took out a service contract with them, to have the unit cleaned and checked out once a year. Good thing for the stimulous check, right?

Things are starting to open up here, though I personally feel it’s too soon. A few restaurants with lots of outside seating will be open today, and a couple who are good friends and musicians got a Friday night gig to play there, outdoors. I’ve been wanting to go, but unless the dr can give me some relief, I’ll be staying home. I also need to see if people are wearing masks and social distancing, because I won’t go if they are not.

I guess that’s enough whining and complaining for one day. Time to try to get in the shower, and go do some meditation. I hope everyone is safe and well. Love and light to all.

Returning To Life, A Little At A Time.

It’s a beautiful morning here in the Tampa Bay area. As I sit here this morning looking outside, I think about all the places that are re-opening in the next few days, most notably the beaches. How I long for the beach. I’ve felt so blessed to live here, a few short miles from some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Long deep stretches of white sandy beach leading to turquoise water, children playing in the waves, and building sandcastles, the sea birds clustered around the edge of the water, maybe a boat or two on the horizon, maybe sitting in a chaise lounge with a cold drink watching the sunset. My imagination always has an idyllic picture of what it should be.

But I won’t go, even though they are open. It’s just too scary for me. I can wait for a time when at least the virus seems somewhat contained here. But I just saw that in our county, there were 11 new cases yesterday. I can’t help but believe that number will jump with the beaches open.

Not to mention the restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to go out to eat. I mean, actually go out, sit in a restaurant and be waited on. They can only open to 50% capacity, but even that seems too much for me. In Gulfport there are no chain restaurants, save a MickeyD’s and a Dunkin on the main road through town. The rest are all locally owned and operated and give Gulfport it’s well-deserved reputation of being like Key West, without the crowds. But again, I won’t go out to eat for a while. I will see how well the restaurants are handling the social distancing thing. When I do venture out for a meal at a restaurant, I will probably choose one with outdoor seating, which luckily is most of them in this small town.

I understand the restaurants wanting to re-open. Although, many of them here are small, not a lot of seating area, and I’m not sure they can pay their bills with 50% capacity. Especially having been locked down during the height of tourist season when they make the money they need to get through the long hot summers here. This town though has an older population, as does most of Florida, and I haven’t heard one of my friends say that they think it’s safe.

We’ve all noticed, I’m sure, how many people there are who require immediate gratification of their desires. Enough that they go stand on government building steps shoulder to shoulder with no masks as if they are rebelling against the virus. And repeatedly a couple of weeks later, we hear about one or more of the people who were there getting COVID-19, and dying from it. That these people would rant and rave over waiting for a couple more weeks is mind-bending to me. To confuse the quarantine with a government wanting power and control over our every move is ridiculous, and sad, that so many people can’t just get with the program until the threat is gone.

I hate being cloistered from my friends too. In fact, about once a week a few girls come over and I set us up in the back yard, with chairs and tables, which I thoroughly sanitize with bleach first. They bring their own drinks, and food and the chairs are at least 6’ apart. And for a couple hours, once a week, we have our normal lives back.

Tonight one of my musician friends is going to have an hourlong “concert” in his corner yard. He and a few others are going to play their music, properly distanced. He said bring a chair, and sit and listen, of course again, 6’ from each other. Dan and I will go. We’ll wear our masks. We’ll stay away from other people. If it gets too crowded to do that we’ll leave.  But we’re looking forward to it, for sure.

I guess the thing we’re trying to do, meaning me and my friends, is figure out a way to live somewhat normally and still follow the rules, and stay safe. We managed to pull it off last weekend with a parade by our friend’s house for his birthday, and we got out of our cars, masks on, and talked to our friends from at least 6’ away. It was so lovely, to have just that half-hour of normalcy.

So, while I am not relaxing my adherence to the social distancing restrictions, I am, we are, finding ways to have our lives and adhere to these restrictions. Someday we’ll hug each other again, and eat at a restaurant playing live music, and ditch the masks. But not today, nor Monday when most restaurants open around here. I will be happy to spend my stimulus money at these places, but not quite yet. But we will get take out and bring it home. Our favorite restaurant in town was giving away free meals to seniors when the lockdown first began. So we’re planning to get take out from them next week, as the first place we’ll go. This restaurant not only won a “Best Of” award this year, and the food and service there are impeccable, but they try hard to support everyone during this time.

We’re so lucky here in Florida. The social distancing thing is so hard in places where it’s still too chilly to be outside much. I am blessed to be here, where it’s easy. I hope as the weather improves for my northern friends, they too can find a way to return to normal somewhat, restrictions still in place, but still somehow connecting in ways that are familiar to us all.

Wishing love and light to all, stay safe, stay healthy.

A Little Parade to Brighten the Day

Today was one of the best days since quarantine began.

One of my friends put today as his birthday on FB. It’s not really til August but he didn’t want people to know when it really was. Another of my friends called me and suggested we ask everyone we knew to meet at the library at 3 PM and we’d form a caravan and drive past his house honking and making noise. So Dan and I decided to put a gong in the bed of the pick-up truck and bring one of the drums. We all met in the library parking lot as instructed, and formed a line of about 15 cars and a few bicycles and drove the two blocks to where he lives with his wife, who is my BFF down here.

It was sooooo much fun. We got to see a whole lot of our tribe, whom we hadn’t seen in a couple of months, obviously. We did our best to maintain proper social distancing, don’t worry! But we had a ball, talking, and walking (after we parked the car), dancing to the music coming from one of the people’s cars. I think it was John Prine, which was nice, and appropriate. The guy whose unbirthday it was loves John Prine, as does everyone in this town I think, since he used to live here.

Some people were suggesting that we drive around town banging the gong. We talked about having driveby sound healings. It might be fun! Anyway, the whole thing lasted about an hour, and I think the unbirthday boy and my BFF are coming over Friday night for a log in the firepit and some drinks and snacks. Maybe dessert.

Was really nice to get out, and feel normal, and talk to many of our friends that we were used to seeing once or twice a week. And to top it off, I have all the windows open and it’s just a perfect Florida night. Time to go to bed

Love and light everyone. Stay safe and stay well.