My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Random Things

This has been a crazy week month year for me! Two grandchildren, a new sister-in-law, a big disability hearing, finally a diagnosis for the Evil Gut Pain... life has just been speeding by me lately. Since I rarely hardly ever post daily blogs any more there are a lot of little details that I forget to share. I thought I'd do that now.

After we got our little Oliver cuddle on Friday morning they had a fire at the hospital! There's some new construction going on and I'm not even sure there were flames but just a lot of smoke and bad odors. Marquee and Oliver were evacuated from the mother/baby wing back to the labor and delivery room which they were sharing with several other mothers and new babies. Can you imagine being less than 24 hours from giving birth and having to be squished in to some ad hock maternity ward? Nuts!

I had my final doctor appointment before my disability hearing today. I've re-written that sentence five times trying to make it make sense. I had my final doctor appointment today before my disability hearing. I had my final doctor appointment today before my disability hearing on Wednesday. Confusing. English is hard. I mean the appointment was today and the hearing is next Wednesday. Obviously, I've lost my mind so... anyways... Today's appointment was to get a specific form filled out by the pain doctor. They were mostly great and I feel like we've got much more medical documentation lined up and that makes me feel better. Ultimately it just comes down to one man's opinion based on a few minutes of knowing my history and it could easily go either way.

I had one of those "duh" moments in the doctors office. You have to give a urine sample for drug testing because that's a huge hairy deal with a pain clinic. No pee, no meds. Because I'm not limber any more I get one of those top hat things to catch the specimen. Today I went and completely missed that gigantic container. I told the nurse and she told me to just drink up and try again in a few minutes. I had a gatorade that I was drinking and I chugged it. Got my specimen but then had to pee so bad on the way home I thought I would burst! Aren't you sorry I'm not daily blogging because you would have missed out on that little nugget.

I made tabbouleh today. I have mentioned before that I use the Near East brand that has the bulgar wheat and the spice mix. You just add boiling water and let it plump up and then add lemon juice, olive oil and tomatoes - or whatever veg you're putting in it. I forget how much I love it. I found some orange tomatoes in the store and that inspired me. The orange ones are less acidic.

Speaking of food... Pop made hamburger helper for dinner tonight and it was so good! Comfort food never fails. I've got pineapple upside down cake for dessert. I'm allergic to pineapple but the less fresh, the less it bothers me and this was from canned pineapple. I'm sure I'll survive.

Now that I have a smart phone I have been taking advantage of Siri. I couldn't figure out how to set an alarm for this morning so I asked siri. I was driving home from Gainesville this morning and I needed to text Austin to tell him I was on the way home and I just got siri to text him. I haven't figured out how to get her to read me the response to a text but I'm sure there's some way. And just now I asked her to remind me to take my meds at 7pm. I mean, she's a middle aged woman's best friend. Instead of having notes everywhere I just put it on siri!

Also... how have I lived all of my life without emoji's? I'm that annoying person that uses them in combinations. Sometimes I just really don't have the energy to articulate so a smiley face comes in handy. Or a frowny face. Or a red face.

I have two super cute videos to share and I'm not great at inserting links but I'm gonna give it a go.

The first one is Cosette watching herself on my iPhone. She smiles whenever you say the word "pretty" or the word "princess". She's really my girl! And Jamie's cousin! We took two videos of the same thing, one on my phone and one with my digital camera. This is the one from my camera. Obviously because you see the phone. #painbrain - the struggle is real.

Some people have asked about the red mark on her forehead. It's called a hemangioma and it's basically a cluster of blood vessels under the skin. It's not uncommon and it is supposed to go away over time. I have them in various places and the dermatologist said it's nothing to worry about so I'm going on that as a second opinion on Cosette's hemangioma. I've had mine for awhile and they haven't faded or gone away over time but... whatever. I used to have a huge nebulous something or other, I forget the name, in the middle of my forehead. I had it most of my life. I had it removed in September of 2008 which is why I have a little scar in the middle of my forehead now.

Another amazing kid video... Oliver holding his pacifier in with his own little hand while he was still in the hospital. His dad used to have three pacifiers at once... he held one in each hand and sucked on the other one.... and he turned out ok so I'm confident Ollie will as well!

By the way... Oliver's mommy has already lost most of her baby weight. I'm still trying to lose my baby weight from when I had Austin. Some folks get all the luck.

One more little tidbit that I know you just can't live without... I used one of those Pedi-egg things to get the dry skin off my feet. I'm a half inch shorter now.

And with that... I'll say goodnight, farewell and love and hugs!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Introducing Oliver Joel!

Oliver Joel Espericueta Sauls

He's here! My much anticipated Little Peanut arrived on his due date, Thursday, July 23rd. He weighed 6 lbs, 12 oz and was 19 1/2 inches long. For the sake of comparison (which, I'm sorry, it's impossible not to!) Cosette was 6 lbs, 9 oz and was 20 1/4 inches long and was born 6 days before her due date. So she was thinner and longer. Cody and Austin were both 6 lbs, 13 oz and were (I'll have to check the baby book to confirm) 19 1/2 inches long. They were both born about ten days before their due date.
So basically, Oliver was the same size, give or take an ounce, than his dad.

Oliver's birth story begins on Friday, July 17th. Marquee had been having consistent contractions for about four hours when they called and said, "hey... just so you know... don't rush down here or anything..." and so we waited. And waited. And waited. And the contractions stopped. Then Saturday came and contractions started again and I got the phone call again and then waited... and waited... and packed my overnight bag... and rallied the troops... and brought Tasha and Cosette over as a distraction... and Austin got off work early... and we waited... and the contractions stopped. So the overnight bag stayed packed and when I needed something out of it I would use it and then put it right back in the bag. I was ready. So ready.

Just for proper perspective, Cody and Marquee live almost exactly 100 miles South of us. It's not a bad drive... but the shortest route takes us through Atlanta traffic so the possibility of getting stuck in traffic plays into every possible pending birth commute. The hospital is another... maybe 20 miles or so?... from them. That was always a consideration in planning our "New Baby Vacay".

On Wednesday I got another, "hey... just so you know... don't rush down here...." phone call. Marquee had a massive, unrelenting, extremely painful contraction and had gone to the doctor to check out the old dilation situation. The doctor determined her to be in early labor and predicted she would go into labor in the next 4 to 18 hours. I think she was dilated to 2-3 at this point, if I remember correctly.

More perspective: it's boring and redundant to talk about but I do have this chronic pain issue and I have bad days and worse days and hardly ever have good days. Being in pain, for me at least, includes such fun side effects as dizziness, nausea, disorientation, anxiety and so forth. I feel ok about driving around here sometimes, most of the time, probably, and I'm pretty sure I could rally in an emergency. I WANT to believe that I could easily make the trip down South on a less bad day if I'm well rested and medicated enough to be able to drive but not so medicated as to be a risk to myself and other drivers. That was also always in the back of my mind while waiting for THE CALL. Would I, should I, could I make the drive down?

So Thursday morning, July 23rd right around 6am, I got another, "hey... just so you know... don't rush down here...." phone call from Cody. Marquee had been having contractions since 2am and her water had broken, at least part way. They were on their way to the hospital and wanted us to wait until she had been checked at the hospital before we came down. How many of you out there are thinking exactly what I of hands... ??? So you understand why I said to myself, "if her water is broken there's gonna be a baby one way or another in the next 24 hours" and made sure my bag was packed, rallied the troops, arranged for my sister-in-law to bring Tasha and Cosette over to pet sit for us, talked Pop out of playing golf and into driving us down there (because... I just couldn't.) and after dropping Austin off at work headed on our merry way. Pop, Mawmaw, Oscar and me off for an adventure in birthing babies!

I sent a text to Purple Michael letting him know it was baby day. His birthday is the 24th, the next day, so he said Marquee needed to hold off for the next sixteen hours so the baby could be born on his birthday. Pop said, "tell him she'll hold off on the baby for sixteen hours if Michael will hang on to a kidney stone for sixteen hours". Michael wrote back, "PUUUUUSSSSHHHH Marquee, PUSH!!!!".

We made excellent time down to Riverdale with hardly any traffic. We stopped at the Chic-fil-a Dwarf House to get Pop some lunch, Mawmaw a shake and me a chicken wrap (which I knew would be good for lunch). We dropped Pop off at Cody and Marquee's house so he could dog sit for Oscar and Sammy and me and mom headed down to Fayetteville to the hospital. We got a few miles down the road and realized we had Pop's cell phone in the car still so I turned around, Dukes of Hazzard style and headed back to the house to drop off the phone. They don't have a home phone (who does these days?) and we didn't want Pop to be stranded without a vehicle or a phone. And then quickly, quickly back on our way to the hospital.

Oliver was to be delivered at Piedmont Fayette Hospital (Medical Center, whatever) which was a much, much larger hospital than the one were Cosette was delivered. There were no handicapped places left open and practically no parking places at all. Fortunately they have volunteers who drive around in golf carts to ferry people to the hospital. This was much appreciated as there was so much walking inside the hospital that I wanted to save every step I could. We found our way to the waiting room, Cody came out and got us and took us back to see Marquee who was very calm courtesy of her brand new epidural. I want to say that at this point it was 11-ish but I'm not really sure.

After awhile we went back out to the waiting room to sit with Marquee's grandparents and aunt and with Cody's dad and stepmom. And there we waited for what seemed like an eternity but in the scheme of things, was really not that long. I played a gazillion games of sudoku on my phone, posted on Facebook, texted back and forth with people I was keeping in the loop (Austin, Tasha, my sister-in-law Angie, Purple Michael) conversed with folks in the waiting room and... waited. We were updated fairly often either by text or by Cody coming out or by Marquee's mom Donna coming out. Marquee got stuck at about 7 cm so they gave her a little pitocin. Then she was almost completely dilated but his chin was in a bad position so they were trying to move him into a better position.

The funniest moment of the day was when somebody came out and said that they were almost ready but had to get the baby in a better position and Marquee's grandfather came out of a semi-nap state and said, "they're waiting for the baby to get his shoes on???"

Once I knew they were pushing I was crazy anxious. You might remember that when Cosette was born, whenever Tasha was ready to push her mom, dad and myself camped out right outside the door so we could hear what was going on. Marquee insisted that we would NOT be sitting outside the door while she was pushing. They even pointed me out to the nurses on duty and gave them instructions not to let me hang out in the hallway. Eh, whatever. Nana's gotta do what Nana's gotta do, know what I mean?

I got up to go to the bathroom although I was certain that Cody was going to come out with an update while I was gone. I took my time in the bathroom washing and rewashing my hands and staring at myself in the mirror because... bored. When I walked back toward the waiting room I could see Cody there and sped my limp/walk to a limp/gallop. Oliver had been born shortly before 6pm.

Marquee's Grandpa&Grandma, Mawmaw, Aunt DeeDee, Marquee's mom
My pain at this point was crazy high but I had to see that baby on his first day of life. He and Marquee were both running a fever so they took him to NICU for some tests. I wanted to stay to see him but if they were keeping him overnight in the NICU and we weren't going to be able to see him anyways, I wasn't going to put my body through any more abuse. Cody's dad and stepmom left, they had dogs at home that had to be let out of their crates. I debated. Pop was ready to be relieved of his pet sitting duty. We were tired and hungry (that chicken wrap was awesome but it had long since worn off). We got word that we would be able to see the baby in an hour or so and I hit the vending machines for a coke and sun chips for dinner for me and Mawmaw. I never drink coke and rarely have caffeine but desperate times call for desperate measures and they don't sell wine in the vending machines.

Sammy meets Ollie
After a lot longer than we expected, we got word that they were moving Marquee and Oliver to their room. When I announced that they were on the way to the room me and Mawmaw got up to begin the loooooong walk to the room and... everyone else in the family got up and walked with us. As it turned out they weren't in the room yet so we squatted there until they wheeled them in and then... got kicked out of the room so they could get her situated and try to breastfeed. At this point it was about 8:15 pm.... past my bedtime.

So it's me, Mawmaw, Marquee's mom and dad and Aunt DeeDee and Grandma and Grandpa and Cody and Marquee's friends David and Craig all out in the hallway outside the door and I'm practically delirious from exhaustion and pain. It was almost an out of body experience, overwhelming all of my senses and then... I heard Oliver cry. I might not have heard his first cry but I definitely got to hear him cry on his first day of life and it was the sweetest sound!

Sometime around 8:30 we were finally able to get in to see Marquee and Oliver (and Cody, but we had seen him off and on all day). I called dibs so I got to hold him first. I said to him exactly what I said to Cosette the first time I held her, "I'm your Nana... " So... pictures...

He was super easy to calm. If he started to cry all I had to do was touch his cheek or cuddle him and he would immediately chill out. So much like Cody who was/is the calmest of my sons.

And then Cody walked me and mom down to the exit and since the golf cart volunteers were long since gone, we made the long walk back to the car. By this point my feet were numb and all my joints were swollen and hot and ... my mom doesn't drive after dark... so I just had to gut it out and make it back to Cody's house. I ate a donut and a bagel that I scrounged up in their kitchen and settled into their recliner in the office to go to sleep. (I always sleep in a recliner, by the way, it's my most comfy position).

The next morning we got up and drove back down to the hospital so Pop could meet Ollie. Pop told him he owed him a golf game - once he was walking. I got some quality cuddle time and took lots of pictures. Then we drove back to Cody's house, picked up Oscar and made the drive back home.

I remember being surprised after Cody was born that although it was great to have two kids at two different ages to enjoy, that they were going to both need me at the same time! I felt woefully unequipped then and I feel similarly unequipped now. There are five people in this world who wouldn't be here if I hadn't been here first. They live in South Carolina, Riverdale Georgia and Cleveland Georgia. That's a long way for my heart to stretch! Having two grandkids three months apart is something I never could have imagined for my life. It's sweet and precious and rich and amazing and I feel so incredibly blessed and so incredibly unworthy. I will spend the rest of my life marveling at this amazing gift and I will spend the rest of my life doing my best to make Cosette and Oliver know how precious they are to me.

More pics... love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finally A Diagnosis for the EVIL Gut Pain!

Approximately two years ago I started having recurring abdominal pain, commonly referred to here as "Evil Gut Pain". For awhile, other than mentioning it to my pain doctor, I had no way to get a diagnosis for this pain. This happens for people without "affordable health care". In states (like mine) that didn't expand Medicaid, some people (like me) just have to do the best they can to deal with the great medical unknown. Obamacare is about as helpful as unicorn farts in my world.

Despite having access to medical care through a local charity - Caring Hands Clinic - if you're looking for a charity to donate money to, these people do a lot of good for a lot of people who fall in the cracks of medical care in our county - the clinic is not set up to diagnose illness. They treat chronic illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure. They weren't able to do much for my Evil Gut Pain but they set me up for an ultrasound through the local hospital system to possibly get
a diagnosis.

You might remember somewhere around this post here, back in February, I found out that I was approved for charity care through the hospital system. This meant that I had a clear path to a diagnosis of the Evil Gut Pain. Clear, easy, concise, affordable... with my awesome Primary Care Doctor (who is covered under the charity care) acting as "contractor" I  would know exactly what it was in a very short time... but.... not. Sidebar: reading through those old whiny posts I wondered, "how in the world do people stand reading my blog? I'm a whiny mess!".

Gradually, through a long process that included an ultrasound, xrays, an MRI and a CT scan, we have eliminated all the big, hairy, scary problems that might be causing me pain. With every test I would be delighted, of course, that there weren't any big, hairy, scary problems but really frustrated to not know why the pain is so bad at certain times. The one really consistent factor with the pain was that it was cyclical, at it's worst at times that coincided with the normal monthly woman stuff. Due to an endometrial ablation in 2008, I don't have a normal monthly thing happening but I do ovulate and have the normal PMS headaches and such so even though it's not normal, it's MY normal and the pain was happening at those particular times.

My awesome Primary Care Doctor decided we should do the full workup with a GYN so he referred me to a guy who was also in his medical system (and therefore covered under charity care). I saw that doctor in June. Even though I had already had an ultrasound (that was terribly inconclusive) he wanted me to go to his main office and have an ultrasound done by his ultrasound tech, who he had great faith in... not that the other ultrasound wasn't GOOD but he had a few specific things he suspected and wanted to have his tech check for those.

The thing about me and pain is that I detest leaving the house, ever. I am either already in pain or anxious that pain will start while I'm out and about so I just stay where I'm most comfortable, in my nest in the Whine Cellar. For that reason I drug my heels about scheduling the appointment at his main office because that meant me having to go somewhere.

I went today and had another ultrasound that was breathtaking painful but conclusive. As he suspected, there is a complication from the endometrial ablation I had in 2008. Basically, without pushing the TMI factor too high, the ablation scars the inside of the uterus so that the usual lining that accumulates every month in preparation for a potential baby, doesn't accumulate. The lining doesn't build up so there's no period to get rid of the lining.

 What has happened in my case, there is a spot where the ablation didn't scar the uterus enough to stop the lining from building up but the scarring from the rest of the ablation doesn't allow it to come out. This has created a pocket of fluid that increases and decreases depending on what time of the month it is for me. It's this pocket of fluid that is causing the pain. When I had the first ultrasound it was at a point where the pocket was not full so it appeared as a ovarian cyst. Today it's fuller which - bad news, it hurts - but good news, they could tell what it was.

There are two ways to cure this problem - a hysterectomy or menopause. The size of the pocket is not large enough for my GYN to get charity care (or most insurance companies, as it turns out) to approve a hysterectomy. They typically just treat it with pain meds for the days that it is particularly painful until such time that the pain gets too great to handle. Since I already have a narcotic agreement with a pain doctor, the Gyn will defer to him to handle the pain management on this condition.

The main thing is... I know what it is and don't have to fear something potentially fatal (and I did there for awhile!) The GYN completely validated that this problem IS painful (as opposed to my previous diagnosis of "chronic constipation", which I'm sure is painful but not taken too seriously, I'm afraid) There's a treatment plan in place and I now know how to handle the Evil Gut Pain when it happens. AND it's one more legitimate cause of chronic pain that will help my disability case as it could/would keep me out of work for several days a month in addition to the days that I would be sidelined by migraines or back pain or fibromyalgia pain and exhaustion.

Insert many happy, celebration emojis.

Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Reasons To Love My iPhone 6! And Other Happy Things...

Those of you who have been blog readers of mine for awhile might remember my cellphone dilemma/debate two years ago. I had begun to feel particularly isolated and didn't have any way for people to get in touch with me except through my mom's phone. On the other hand, I didn't know how long this whole disability process was going to take and I didn't know how long my savings would hold out, especially with a monthly cellphone expense. The truth is I don't like to talk on the phone and much prefer text or email over talk any day. So not having a phone was hard but not really that hard and it was just necessary for that season of life.

Last Summer my parents upgraded their phones and passed down Mom's old phone (which was previously Marquee's phone) to me, complete with my very own number. It was one of those phones from about five years ago or more that had the little slideout keyboard for ease in texting. Honestly, it had no bells and whistles but it more than met my needs. My niece Jamie used it to record videos and told me she loved "old timey technology!" Truly, though, since I'm almost always at home with the luxury of my laptop, old timey technology was fine. Sidebar: I gave my old phone to Jamie, even though it no longer has a number, it still takes pictures and videos and makes a good address book for a pre-teen!

Then I became a grandmother. First to one precious little princess and soon... any day!!!... to my Ollie-Pop! Cosette is close by and I see her pretty much once or twice a week and I still miss her SO MUCH on the days I don't see her. Ollie is a hundred miles away and I'll be lucky to see him once every other month. Cosette's mom is on social media so I can follow along with photos and videos that she posts but Ollie's mom doesn't do social media and Ollie's dad rarely updates anything on his. I wanted to have a way to Facetime with Ollie so that I could watch him grow, even if it is just by phone. I wanted him to know my voice. I also wanted to be able to Facetime with Cosette for her special moments, especially on the days that I don't feel like getting out of the Whine Cellar. Just last night... for instance... Austin facetimed me while they were changing a particularly nasty poo-nami. We're talking precious memories here, obviously!

After much discussion with my parents, who, I haven't said nearly enough, have been so thoughtful and generous to me over these past two years of disability. There has never been anything I needed that they didn't take care of and there aren't many things I wanted that they haven't gotten for me.
As much of  a mental struggle as this disability process has been for me, I must say that I'm extremely fortunate to have a place to live, to have food above and beyond what food stamps could pay for, to have the medications I need and to be able to see the doctors I need to see. I'm extremely appreciative for how well they've cared for me and probably the number one thing I want to get out of my disability case is money to compensate them for at least some of the things they've done for me. I'm anxious about the upcoming hearing but I would be much more anxious if I didn't have their support.

Anyways... we all started realizing that I needed a phone that would help me be in touch with these much loved babies. I did a lot of research and by research I mean, I posted a Facebook status asking for input and read a few reviews. The general consensus from those who are most "in the know" about my light grasp on technology (my boys and their friend Josh) was that the iPhone would be the most user friendly phone for me. I was worried about the cost but ultimately it was a matter of either we get something that's going to do what I need it to do in a way I could figure it out or... there was no point of upgrading. Mom and I both got the iPhone 6 and basically shut down the local AT&T store getting things set up. There was only one guy working and it took us an hour and a half to get everything put together. About half way through a second employee got there and was able to start helping the others that had gathered. Those in the store had hung around so long that we joked that we would start having an annual reunion of those gathered that day! I love my small town! Instead of being frustrated we all just made the best of things.

I came home from the phone store and immediately started watching an hour long tutorial on the basics of the iPhone 6. I learned enough to navigate pretty well and was able to teach my mom how it works. I joked,,, "the good news is that I got an awesome phone... the bad news is that I have to teach my mom how to use it". She did well, though. There were a couple of things that tripped her up that I was able to sort out for her and although I know we still have a lot to learn, it really is user friendly. And now for my list: Reasons To Love My iPhone 6:

Facetime. Whether it's watching Cosette sit up in the bathtub for the first time or watching a poopy diaper change... I love watching her life in real time! Tasha doesn't have an iPhone so I set up another app that will allow us to do the Facetime thing... it's called Tango. I downloaded it but haven't used it yet.

Facebook. I like being able to jump on Facebook without having to get out the laptop. This is helpful when I'm away from home, like sitting in a doctors office, which happens frequently for me. I do find that I'm more likely to just like something rather than comment but... I'm connected more now. I love holding Cosette when she naps and I can hold my phone much easier than I can my laptop when I'm holding her.

Instagram. I've had an Instagram account for a few months but I had to go through so many different processes to post anything that it just wasn't worth the trouble. Now I can post instantly! Guess that's where they got the name.

THE CALENDAR!! How did I live so long without a calendar on my phone? For the appointment I have tomorrow I have the date on my calendar and when you click on it you see the Dr's name and phone number and the address mapped out. When I went to the doctor last week after the appointment I entered notes on that calendar entry about what things we were changing and so forth. I see so many doctors and am having trouble with my memory so this feature is right on time for me!

I also love Pinterest... great way to just flip through when waiting at the doctor... or wherever normal people wait. For me it's doctors or pharmacists. YOLO. (you only live once)

I'm working on figuring out Snapchat because that seems fun.

I got a coloring page app that my friend Lisa recommended (It's called Colorfy).

I can read my email easily, wherever I am.

I can access my Nook books from it.

It takes great pictures that I can easily transfer to my laptop to use the photo editing program I love.

Almost every day I learn some new app or trick or function that I didn't know about. It's just a great addition to my life!

I also got a nice Otter Box case for it in navy blue and lighter blue.

As for other happy things... Hopefully this will have a happy ending... I have a doctors appointment tomorrow to have yet another ultrasound done for the EGP* and then immediately discuss the results with the doctor. The timing of the *Evil Gut Pain seems cyclical which to me, means women's parts. The pain has been the worst it's ever been over the past few weeks, even present at times of the month that are out of my well established pattern of pain. My left hip is - I don't know - I started to use the phrase "killing me" but I'm so tired of saying that and thinking that. It hurts muchly. I am praying that we'll get some answers tomorrow. So far all we've got is "chronic constipation" (which has been resolved easily with good old fashioned stool softeners and the pain is still there) and osteoarthritis in my hip (mild, not "hip replacement" bad) and there's a teeny tiny little ovarian cyst that isn't big enough to be the source of pain. I just need it to get better. That's all. So... happy thoughts, hopeful thoughts...

The news from Cosette's x-ray the other day was good. There was a pretty good bit of poop in her intestines but no blockages and nothing anatomically awry, other than the angle/placement of her poop chute. She's had a couple of really good poops since then, without pedialax or pedialyte. Otherwise poopy diapers wouldn't be facetime worthy!

We are now 3 short days away from Oliver's due date. I. Can't. Wait. To. See. HIM!!!! It's sort of like... before I got married I never understood why people cry at weddings. Until my kids went to school, I never understood why moms cry on the first day of school (or is it just me?). Now that I know, and it's still so fresh, how amazing it is to see your son become a father, how amazing it is to have a brand new creature in the world who wouldn't be on this Earth if I had never been on this Earth. Cosette's birth was really emotional for me and believe me, I'm packing the tissues for Ollie's birth! I've got my bag ready and hope to spend a day or two down on the Southside with them, getting as many cuddles as I can with my little Ollie-Pop!

Doctor's appointment tomorrow.... then another extended, paperwork completing appointment on the 28th to get some of the last documentation ready for my hearing. Sixteen days away.

So that's all the happy I have for today... at least all that I can remember... have a wonderful week and wherever you are, whatever you're dealing with, try to find a few reasons to love whatever season of life you're in! Love and hugs, y'all!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NanaTron to the Rescue!

Yesterday morning I had a doctor's appointment with my primary care dr. He's local, it was an early appointment so I was less likely to have to wait, he's a really nice guy and ... so not much stress involved in seeing him. However, I had a migraine questionnaire to get him to fill out and I wasn't sure if he could do it.... would do it... would have to charge me for doing it... or would fill it out in such a way that would help my disability case.

While I was waiting a guy came into Urgent Care (in the same office) having cut his finger on a hedge trimmer. He had his finger wrapped up in his shirt and was bleeding a good bit. He was about to pass out when one of the receptionists ran around to grab him a wheelchair before he hit the ground. They were afraid they were going to have to take him to the hospital by ambulance but it turned out to be something they could fix at Urgent Care. Living in a small town, the attitude here is that everyone is assumed to be a friend & neighbor and people are more likely to interact than what I've seen in the suburbs. The whole waiting room was a-twitter with good wishes for the poor fella. Even the nurses in the back offices were talking about him when I finished with the doctor.

She's discovered her hands and chokes herself on them
Fortunately my doctor was one hundred percent willing to help with the form. We sat there and went over the questions together. He completely agrees that my headaches are disabling and occur too frequently for me to be employable. That made me feel a lot, lot better about things.

I went home and ate about a half a can of diced mangos for brunch. I was hot, I didn't feel great and I just couldn't manage to eat. I worked on my current embroidery project and caught up on recorded tv. Then it was time to take Cosette to the doctor.

Cosette has thrush which hasn't seemed to bother her and hasn't affected her mom so we've just been waiting for it to resolve. It hasn't so we took her in to see the doctor. Also, she doesn't poop. Ever. On July 1st the pediatrician said to give her pedialax if she goes 4 or 5 days without pooping. It's a suppository. Once they do that, she poops a bunch but then doesn't poop again until the next time they give it to her. She's eating well and gaining weight - up to 11 lbs, 2 oz yesterday! And 24 3/4 inches long! She's a happy baby up until about the 4th or 5th day of not pooping and then she's very difficult to soothe. She holds her body really stiff and doesn't just cry, she has a fit!

The pediatrician checked her out... had to do the gloved finger in the butt which she was NOT FOND OF... at ALL! He discovered that her anatomy is too close together down there. It's something called anterior displacement of the anus. It can be quite severe sometimes and hers is not but... it does make it harder for her to poop. Since she's exclusively breast fed there is no way to change the milk she drinks (I asked if there's anything Tasha could eat or do differently - there isn't) so the doctor wants to try giving her a little pedialyte every day to get more liquid in her stool so that it will pass easier. The only real cure for the problem is surgery which... we don't even want to go there.

He also wanted to do an xray to make sure the internal anatomy was ok and that there were no blockages or anything. One of us had to put on the big lead apron to help hold her in place for the xray. Not that she's pregnant or anything, but Tasha being of childbearing age, it was riskier for her to be exposed to the xray so I did it. I wanted to get a picture of me in the get up because... NanaTron is pretty awesome looking! One xray tech held down Cosette's feet and covered her thyroid and little parts with the shields. My job was to pull her arms above her head - with her elbows by her ears and baby girl was NOT A FAN of this position! She is so freaking strong! She screamed bloody murder the whole time we were in that position and it broke my heart.

They'll call today with the results of the xrays. I'm forcing myself not to google this condition because the little bit I did last night had been boohooing. Once she's six months old I want us to introduce baby-lead weaning to her. That's when the baby is still breast fed for her nutrition but gets food to feed herself - think of like playing with food - because it's not for the nutrition, just to get her used to tastes and textures. At that point we could start introducing fiber into her diet and also give a sippy cup with water.

After we left the doctor we picked up Austin from work and grabbed a few things in the market. I was coasting on fumes by that point. Austin was exhausted from a long day at work. Tasha hadn't slept much the night before and was worn out from the doctor visit. We were really a pretty pitiful pack of people. I took them home and finally got home about 7pm. All I'd eaten all day was that little half can of diced mangos. Fortunately, Mawmaw and Pop had dinner waiting for me, it took me another hour before I was settled enough to eat but it was an absolute feast at that point!  I was so tired that I didn't notice Little Kitty was underfoot and I stepped on him. Poor Kitty! He avoided me for about an hour after that... hiding under the bed like I was a stranger. He finally got over himself because I woke up during the night with him laying in my lap as usual.

Today HOPEFULLY will be a restful day. Marquee went to the doctor yesterday and Ollie's still cooking. She's 39 weeks so it could be ANY DAY! Her ob doesn't do inductions until 42 weeks for a first baby so we might have three more weeks of this but I hope not, for Marquee's sake! She's a tiny girl. I'm 5'2 and she's shorter than me... there's nowhere else for Ollie to go! I'm constantly mindful of not wearing myself out so that I'll be ready for the trip south to welcome Ollie. I can't wait to hold him!

So that was my marathon day yesterday... left the house at 8:20 to pick up Austin and take him to work before my doctor visit... then got home at 7pm after Cosette's dr appointment, picking up Austin and grocery shopping.

Pictures of Cosette are from the doctor visit BEFORE she got pissed off.

And a picture of all my indoor and outdoor cats.

Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Reasons To Love Pre-Tuesday

Dear Monday, 

I'm sad to say this but unfortunately, we're going to have to go our separate ways. It's not you, it's me. I dislike you. Greatly. I know, you've changed a lot for me. I don't have to drag myself out of bed and face a five day grueling work week any more. Thanks for that. Well, actually, you can't even get credit for that. The thing is, Monday, even though I always find reasons to love you, at the end of the day you'll always still be who you are... the ugliest, meanest, most unpleasant day of the week. So, at least for now, I'm going to stop paying any attention to you. I'll have Pre-Tuesday or Sunday, The Sequel every week. I just can't... with you... any more. 


Here's the thing... I woke up too dang early. I made this Pre-Tuesday longer than it should be. I gave it too much time today. I should have slept until noon and then had EBT (early bedtime) to lessen it's power. Instead... I woke up... MADE myself make the appointment for yet another invasive exam to try to diagnose the Evil Gut Pain. I've been putting it off because it means a trip to Gainesville (which is not that far but far enough) which means getting hot and sweaty and being pushed and prodded for what I'm sure will be, yet again, no results. I'm tired of dealing with it. I'm tired of dragging myself to doctor after doctor and although I'm immeasurably grateful to be able to receive medical treatment... so far it feels more like mistreatin' than treatin'.

I've always believed the saying that "if you eat a bullfrog first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day". So I ate my bullfrog in the form of making that stinkin' appointment and then settled in, expecting nothing worse to happen until the 21st when I go to that appointment.

I had a pleasant time sewing today. I'm working on a new project for which I don't have a pattern... I'm just basing it on a picture of a finished project that I saw online. And that picture I saw online only has a smidgeon of what I want my finished product to look like so I'm making it up as I go along which feels so AWESOME! I'm loving this project... I usually love whatever I'm working on but this one is just right in my wheelhouse. I'm using my favorite colors and feeling very artistic and creative and...

Then the Evil Gut Pain struck. I ignored it for awhile and then decided there was no reason to "gut it out" so to speak. I visited my local pharmacy (in my medicine chest) and took a few things to make me feel groovy. Once the drugs kicked in I went upstairs to "shop" for a few things from my parents' pantry... sugar, a piece of cake, leftover spaghetti (that was actually in the fridge, not the pantry), pork chops (for dinner... I wanted to avoid climbing the stairs again).

Then I got an email from my attorney's office... they want me to see both my primary care physician and my pain doctor again before my hearing for my disability on August 5th. My attorney wants to get some clarification/documentation in my medical records. So I ate that same durn bullfrog that I had first thing this morning and let me tell you... bullfrog doesn't taste any better the second and third time around. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal to call and set an appointment but the truth is, when I'm in pain I feel very awkward and not the least bit articulate. I repeat myself. I say dumb things. I make jokes that nobody gets. Talking to people is the last thing I want to do... especially when I call and say, "I know this is short notice but I need to be seen some time in the next three weeks". Just stressful.

Actually, truth be told, I've just been trying NOT to think about the hearing. It isn't life or death, of course, but it's such a pivotal moment in my life. The decision made at this hearing changes the quality of life for the whole rest of my life. When I allow myself to think about it I get so anxious and overwhelmed... so I try not to focus on it. Going to these extra doctor appointments means that I have to think hard about it and deal with it head on for a few extra days.

And, of course, making appointments for the back half of this month knowing that Ollie could come at any time... makes me crazy! I wanted my schedule to be as open as possible for the rest of this month. I had a plan:  April/May was Cosette, June was Wedding, July is Oliver. Every single appointment I have to go to just increases my activity, drains my energy and makes things like, oh, I don't know... sitting in a hospital waiting on that sweet boy to be born... more painful. I'm a little bit aggravated that my attorney is having me "sprint" at the end of a marathon but there's nothing I can do but be as cooperative as possible and just pray for perfect timing and boundless energy. And a good outcome for everything.

Then poor Tasha got stranded at the main office for her mom's job when her mom's car broke down. She called me to see if I could come get them because the office was closing and it was pretty hot outside. I had taken pain meds so I had to get Pop to drive me out there to get them and then he took me back home because I was feeling pretty icky... then he took Tasha and Cosette home... then he went to pick up Austin from work and took HIM home! Tasha's house is only a few miles from us so it's not a LONG drive but it was more than I could do at that point. Her parents are really good about taking Austin to and from work so I can't complain whenever we have to pitch in. Neither Austin nor Tasha drives yet. I didn't drive until I was in my late twenties so I get it but mom doesn't drive much any more, half the time I can't drive either from feeling sick, being in pain or being medicated so a lot falls on Pop. Good old Pop!

SOoooOOooo ... that was my Monday. P.S. I have a toothache. All hail the magic power of anbesol!

Tomorrow I'm taking Austin and Tasha to take Cosette to the doctor because she has thrush and is having trouble with being constipated. I have a conference call with my attorney at 1pm which... I always get emotional when I talk to him because this disability thing is such a big hairy deal. Then Wednesday morning I go back to my primary care doctor about my headaches... and to get him to complete a questionaire on my medical history with the migraines which, who knows if/when he will be willing to do that. I missed the call back from the pain doctor to see if they can see me before August and I have to call them back tomorrow. Then hopefully I can avoid anything unpleasant and maybe, just maybe, meet a very special little boy very soon! I'd live through a million Mondays for my grandbabies.

End of whine. Thanks for "listening". Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


The other day, Cosette's mom, Tasha, looked in the freezer in the shed outside my backdoor and exclaimed, "we need to do an intervention on you!" because of this:

I will admit to being obsessed with Luigi's Mango Flavored Italian Ice to the extent that I got all giddy and fangirly the other day when Luigi's Facebook page liked one of my status updates. The reason I currently have so many is because they have been priced lower than usual this Summer. They can be priced as high as $4.18 a box. I never pay full price, though, because they have a fifty cent coupon in almost every box (which Ingles doubles) (shout out to Ingles! Thanks for giving my kid a job!) so my highest price is $3.18 and I can easily justify $1 a day worth of treats. I eat two cups a day and they come six to a box. Right now they're selling for $1.98 a box, which, with my fifty cent coupon (doubled) makes the price $0.98 per box which means - time to stock up. Sorry, White County. If you need some, feel free to stop by my freezer.

The thing is... my obsessions don't stop with Luigi's mango... I'm also pretty partial to the canned diced mango. It's much better than canned peaches and tastes awesome on cereal. Or ice cream. Or right out of the can. The juice is TO DIE FOR! I don't currently have any but I'm also a huge fan of dried mango.

My food obsessions go beyond mango flavored things, I'm afraid. Special K, anyone?


More Gatorade?

And unfortunately my obsessions don't stop at food... for instance...

I'm slightly partial to Garnier Fructis hair care products. The struggle is real, people.

And there's my productive obsession with needlepoint evidenced by my large collection of embroidery thread.

AND my completely endless catalog of needlepoint pins on pinterest.

There's also evidence of obsessively collecting teacups.... and if you can see in the bottom left, an old holdout to my teenage obsession with Smurfs. Only two survived my kids' childhood, unfortunately. If I had the money, I'd be collecting them all over again because you can find a ton on

I obsessively DVR programs. In fact, apart from sporting events or the news, I never watch anything live. I simply can't stand to wait through the commercials. I'd rather record so I can skip through commercials.

I'm addicted to C-Span Book TV and record hours and hours of it on the weekend to watch during the week. I'm obsessed with public television and documentaries of all kinds.

I am obsessed with Alfie Boe. Click here for an example of why. Amazing tenor voice. Adorable. He's going to be stepping into the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway in September and I am duh-i-ing to get tickets. Or to just be a stalker outside the stage door.

I'm obsessed with my cats.

Taking pictures of our animals.

I think it goes without saying that I'm addicted to my grandchildren. For every dozen photos I publish, I've taken three or four times as much. (Photo bomb by Austin)

And my nieces... this photo was taken about six years ago, I think. I'm so obsessed with this picture that I have a poster sized copy at the bottom of my stairs.

I'm taking obsession to a whole new level with You Tube. WHOLE. NEW. WORLD!!!

I don't know if you can see the fine print on this screen capture but I currently have 402 videos in my "watch later" file.

I'm obsessed with family vloggers like Cullen and Katie. Mormon families like
Sam and Jennika ...and all five siblings in the Griffiths Family: Ruby, Beau, Julie, Bonnie and Ellie. Their mom, Jennifer, doesn't vlog (video blog) but she appears in lots of her kids videos and she is truly my grandma goal - she's amazing. She shaved her head to support her sister who is battling cancer so that her sister wouldn't feel so alone.

I'm obsessed with an Irish family that lives in England - The Saccone-Joly's. Their daughter, Emilia is quite possibly the cutest little girl on the internet.

I'm obsessed with other British Vloggers such as Zoella, her boyfriend Alfie (Deyes, not to be confused with Alfie Boe, although, what is it with English people and the name Alfie?) Louise aka Sprinkle of Glitter, Marcus, his girlfriend Niomi, Jim, his girlfriend Tanya, Oli White (part of the reason my grandson will be named Oliver), Joe Sugg (Zoella's brother aka ThatcherJoe because he is trained to install thatched roofs -  who pulls the most hilarious pranks on his roommate Caspar Lee). Speaking of Caspar Lee... honestly... I have a crush on him that is somewhere between Mom and Cougar. He can be a little coarse at times but is quite adorable. Most of the British Vloggers have a main channel where they specialize in topics like fashion or healthy lifestyles and then a less formal channel where they do vlogs, sort of like a video diary. I prefer the less formal ones the most. They also do a lot of video collaborations or go to events together so you can get several perspectives from the same event. I find that interesting. Or maybe I'm just obsessively nosy? I'm hoping none of you are obsessively nosy enough to check out my various fangirl comments on any of these vlogs because THAT would be embarrassing!

I also obsessively follow some up and coming vloggers such as  Erik and Jessica from New York and Alicia, the daughter of my long time blogger friend, Erica

I guess this demonstrates how obsessive I am about my laptop.

I'm obsessed with creature comforts like blankets, pillows and the colors pink and purple.

And I suppose this blog post demonstrates how obsessive I am when I set my mind toward a subject.

So... maybe I do need an intervention but honestly, where would you start?

Hope you all enjoyed seeing the things I'm obsessed with and I'd love it if you'd share your obsessions with me either in comments here on the blog or on my Facebook link to this post. If you don't mind, if you give me a lot of feedback I'd like to do a blog post on other people's obsessions. I'll leave out your names on the blog entry and just list the various categories. Thanks for reading! Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Reasons To Love July

When I first moved up here from Florida, I had a really rough time dealing with my anniversary with my second husband. In fact, on the first anniversary after we split up, I was trying to push on like everything was ok and ended up having a breakdown at work and had to leave. That was July 15, 2009 (here's the link for the blog from that day . I thought that every year that date would be a painful reminder of that terrible time in my life. Then in 2011 my house got struck by lightning and now THAT day is the day in July that gets me all melancholy. Not depressed or distraught like the anniversary did but more of a "Geez... I've survived SO MUCH STUFF" way.

You may not remember (so here's the link back to the day of the fire) but it was also the first day that Little Trouble Kitty came to live with us. My friend Tami had driven him up from my parents' house about two hours before the fire started. I never even got to cuddle him and ended up having to leave him in the car at my brother's house until my parents could get there to pick up the cats (since Jamie's allergic although I must say, she's done much better with cats lately) and board them for me until I found a new place. So today is my "Gotcha Day" with Little Kitty.

And now, of course, our little Ollie-Pop is due this month and I'm sure that I will forever have an amazing day to remember every July! He is due toward the end of the month but I don't see him waiting that long because there is simply NO MORE ROOM for him in his mommy's belly!

I'm taking a rare break from sewing today because arthritis in my shoulders is KILLING me. I think it's arthritis or fibromyalgia because we've had bad weather over the past few days and my hips are hurting pretty badly too. I had a nasty little headache last night that woke me up a few times. I'm out of advil and didn't want to go upstairs and fumble around for it because... hip pain and sleeping people. I'm going to pick up Cosette and her parents in a few minutes and enjoy a few hours of cuddle time. She went to the doctor last Wednesday and now weighs 10lbs and 8oz! Her crying the other day was caused by being constipated so they got Pedialax for her and that alleviated the problem quite quickly. They are supposed to use it again if she goes for a day or so without pooping so hopefully she won't be as fussy as she was last week.

Anyways... the point of this post was to remind me/you/everybody that it's ok to reflect back on hard times to use them as a measurement of progress... and to remind us that life does go on, even when you can't imagine how. Who could have ever predicted a JULY in my life that I would look forward to with such optimism? It's like the song says, "If you're going through hell, keep going". That's also attributed to Churchill so... I don't know... somebody said it and somebody wrote a song about it. And in the words of Shelby from Steel Magnolias, "Miss Clairee, there are still good times to be had."

We'll revisit this topic again soon when I tell you why I'm dreading August. Love and hugs, y'all.