My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dental Drama, Part Two

Yesterday was my follow up with the dentist after the extractions (x3) I had done last week. I did so good with having my wisdom teeth out a few years back and had every hope that I would skate by this procedure the same way. In the words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast..."

I mentioned the hole in my sinuses. It was feeling much better until I got the stitches out yesterday. It isn't opened back up all the way but there's a definite drip. I'm taking Sudafed for that as it worked pretty well last week. You'd be surprised how stuffy your nose gets when there's an extra passageway into it. If I'm still stuffy after Sudafed. I use vaporub.

My gums are healing pretty well. Getting the stitches out yesterday was painful but once the stitches were out it actually felt better. Except for the whole sinus thing. My main issue is my jaw. My jaw aches soooo much! Last week I kept ice on it almost constantly. This week I've been mostly using arthritis rub on the outside and orajel on the inside. Plus ibuprofen and my usual maintenance pain meds and the stronger meds the dentist prescribed. It's getting gradually better but it still hurts to chew. I went to the store yesterday and restocked on soft foods.

The dentist put me on amoxicillan last week. I've had so many antibiotics in my life that amoxicillan is like tictacs for me. I didn't protest though because I am already such a high maintenance patient with the narcotics agreement/pain thing. I didn't go into this procedure with an abscess or inflammation with these teeth so I was hoping there wouldn't be much problem with infection. Yesterday they asked if I had been taking the antibiotic and I said yes but admitted that amoxicillan never works. They asked what I usually take and my mind went blank. Usually my primary care doctor gives me antibiotic shots instead of pills. He asked if I'd had success with a z-pack - and I have - so I started that yesterday. Already I feel less ill.

This is only the first procedure out of about ten or so that I will have to suffer through to get to good dental health. Hopefully most of them won't be as painful as this one has been. Eventually I will end up with several fillings and several teeth built up to support partials. Being a single mom without dental insurance takes a toll and I'm paying for it now, both literally and figuratively. My dentist is a really kind man and was really sympathetic about how miserable I've been with this. He said it's just a matter of healing and I'm a slow healer. I go back in a week and a half but I'm supposed to come back before if I have any problems. Honestly, I'm tempted to go to my primary care doctor to see if my jaw is broken because it hurts so much!

At any rate. I read back through old blog posts about past dental trauma to remember the problems I've had in the past. This blog post is more for my records than for anything else but if you were curious, that's the story.

Today my little princess is six months old! Most people say that time passes in a blink but I feel like the past six months has been so eventful that it should be a couple of years that has gone by and not just six months. What a year this has been! Lots of happy... a few disappointments... a good bit of pain but I'm glad I've been here to live through all of it.

I guess that's about it for now... love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Reasons To Love Monday

The recovery from my dental drama of last week has not gone well. I DO think that the hole in my sinuses has closed up because water is no longer pouring out of my nose when I drink. So that's a plus. The pain has been on par with natural childbirth and hemorrhoid surgery. I have experience with both. I seriously was not prepared for it to hurt this bad this long but I am doing better today. Next time I know to barricade myself in my nest and not attempt to do things like climb stairs, tote babies, talk, etc. I also know that the "soft food" diet will need to extend for at least a week. I am still uncomfortable but not in the frantic way that I have been over the past week.

So there's that.

Yesterday I was taking pictures of Cosette. She LOVES to look in the view finder to see "the baby" after I take a picture on my digital camera. She has started reaching for the camera to see the baby and gets frustrated when the preview goes away. She also loves to see the baby on my iPhone as well... but she can do more damage by eating the phone than she can the camera so yesterday we used the camera. The following are some of the photos I took while playing "see the baby" - you can see how animated she is. I have so much fun with her! Even when I'm feeling icky she's a reason to love EVERY day!

PS... you'll notice she is usually barefooted. She is her dad's kid... cannot stand to have anything on her feet. I got socks on her briefly but she pulled them right off. I think she'll do better with tights but it's hard enough to change her without her rolling away. Sometimes her mama just tucks her up in a blanket to keep Cosie's toesies warm.

That's it for today. Love and hugs, y'all!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dental Trauma

I wanted to put a quick post up so that y'all know I'm still alive. I had three teeth pulled on Tuesday and one of the roots was in my sinus cavity so when they pulled it a hole was created between my sinuses and my mouth. I discovered it by swishing salt water through my mouth like I was supposed to... and the water poured out of my nose. It's not as fun as you might think. I've adjusted and learned how to keep most things away from that spot but it's tricky. I'm supposed to rest as much as possible, not pick up anything, not blow my nose, take sudafed to keep the nasal passages less inflamed... and when I go back to the dentist on Wednesday he'll be able to see if I need surgery to patch the hole. Good times.

I had to look back to blog posts from my last dental trauma and I remembered the ENT doctor discovering that my jaw had been broken at some point and not healed correctly. It feels like it's broken again. I'm feeling like I have the flu, probably from all the infection and stuff released from the teeth that were pulled. I just feel icky. AND MY EAR... remember about six years ago when I had the miserable ear pain? It's back with a vengeance, especially at night. I sleep in my recliner so it's not that I'm laying down putting pressure on my ear but something makes it worse at night. So. Yeah. Not feeling well at all this week. We have family coming in this weekend (more on that next week) and I'm going to try to be sociable but honestly, right now all I want to do is sleep.

My parents went down to Cody and Marquee's yesterday so Tasha and Austin and Cosette came and spent the night with me. Austin finished the porch - except for a little bit of trim work - and it looks amazing. I'm loving having that big porch where the cats (and the humans) can enjoy the sunshine.

I was feeling so bad yesterday when the kids got here and then Tasha handed Cosette to me and she put a little hand on each side of my face and pulled me to her. HUGS! My granddaughter gives the best hugs! She was in a great mood yesterday and was so much fun to play with. I held her more than I should have but I can't NOT hold her. She says "hey" and makes little coo-ing sounds in the same tone that we coo to her. She is now rolling from tummy to back and from back to tummy. She's *THISCLOSE* to sitting up. She's just amazing.

Today Ollie is three months old! He's so stinking cute! You can tell he loves his daddy. My kids make cute kids, don't they?

Anyways.... sorry that I've been unsociable. I try not to blog when I've taken any mind altering drugs and I've pretty much been wall-to-wall pain pills this week dealing with the dental trauma. Gonna grab something mushy for breakfast and nap for a bit maybe. Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Heather Philosphy 101

JUST when I thought I had gotten my blogging mojo back and was on my way to improving from weekly blogger to almost daily blogger... last week happened. Not that there was anything BAD last week. I just find myself struggling to adequately articulate life as it happens in blog form lately.  Life does happen here! The thing is, the older I get the harder it is to be completely transparent. I have five descendants who could be reading this! I have to think about not embarrassing or hurting them or sharing things they wouldn't be comfortable with me sharing. Sometimes there are really big things that are not my story to tell, even if I am a character in the story. But a lot of times I feel like I am in a safe, secluded little bubble and I don't want to burst it by saying anything that I shouldn't or that would cause hurt to anyone or myself. I'm sort of afraid that people will look into the bubble and not see the same contentment I find here. Welcome to Philosophy of Heather's Life 101.

Last week was precious in that Austin finally got to meet baby Ollie. Cody and Marquee brought their dog Sammy up to spend the week with us while they took Ollie on his first trip to Disney World. The day they came up was Austin's day off so he, Tasha and Cosette were hanging out here. My boys have impressed me so much by being great dads. Seeing them be good uncles melts my heart as well! Cosette is fascinated with Uncle Cody and even reached for him yesterday. Ollie was very studious with Uncle Auggie but still gave him a few smiles.

Anyways, last Tuesday 2/3 of my kids were here at the same time as well as all both of my grandbabies. Sarabeth and Jamie came over after school so they got to love on babies for a little while, too. I love having all my chicks in my nest, although it was the upstairs deck instead of my nest since we're being cautious about exposing Ollie to cats, just in case he's allergic. He rubs his nose against your shoulder like it's itching but he's too young to know what things cause him to have an itchy nose/allergy yet.

If I'm being honest, and I do try to be, I'm battling a lot of anxiety because of this whole chronic pain lifestyle. I'm rarely ever completely pain free but even if I am, I'm afraid to get far from my comfort zone. When I'm in pain,  I'm mostly pleasant, I think, but I do have a harder time communicating. I say things wrong or can't think of the word I'm trying to say. I'm on the brink of emotion - anger as much as anything else. I'm frustrated to be less of the me I used to be. I feel guilty/embarrassed to admit that I'm struggling and don't have the emotional energy to explain how I feel. Sometimes, with the people closest to me (my mom and Tasha, usually) I'll identify exactly what is hurting but for the most part I just say, "I can't do _______ today" and leave it at that.

I really want to cuddle with Ollie in my nest like I do with Cosette. If I'm in my nest I can stay in the most comfortable position. I'm able to take pain meds if I need them. I take some meds every day but I take the stronger ones as infrequently as possible. If I'm away from my nest I'm more likely to need more meds which makes me less able to interact with people (and less comfortable holding babies) which makes me anxious about what I'm saying, if I'm making sense or offending people unintentionally. I make plans to go places and do things and then either the pain or the anxiety about the pain makes me not want to go. And then when I back out of things I feel such major guilt...

Ollie is looking at SB the same way she used to look at people when she was a baby
For instance, I was supposed to drive down and spend time with Ollie this week. I'm fine driving around here and even to Gainesville, about thirty or forty five minutes away. Driving on the interstate or long distances or in traffic stresses me out and I used to be absolutely confident in my ability to do all of those things. Last time we didn't drive and the logistics of that stressed me out so I knew I wanted to drive. And then I ran into a round of evil gut pain / severe hip pain over a few days and I knew I couldn't drive the hundred miles down to see Ollie. I've also been coughing a lot, especially at night and I started feeling anxious about whether it was bronchitis (since Sarabeth had a bad round of it recently) or if it's the reflux - GERD that bothers me sometimes. Then I got hit with a fibromyalgia flare which feels like having the flu or having been hit by a truck. And then I thought about whether or not my clothes had cat fur on them. When my last load of laundry was done I immediately folded it all and put it all away before the cats had time to lay on them (Eddy especially loves warm clothes). But then I wondered if there was fur on the bed where I folded the clothes. Basically, I just worked up enough anxiety that I couldn't leave my nest.

Ultimately my mom decided to ride back down with Cody when he picked up Sammy yesterday and Pop is going to pick her up on Wednesday after he goes by to check on Grandma. I had the grand idea today that it would be a good time to take Cosette to meet Grandma - her great-great-grandma - and already I'm anxious about whether or not I'll be up to the long drive to Grandma's and then to pick up my mom. In the meantime, Mawmaw is getting some undivided Ollie time and I'm cozy in my nest.

I have had several discussions with my primary care doctor about this whole pain/anxiety connection. He asked if I was sad being at home or if I enjoyed it. I honestly love it. I love my time in my nest. The part I hate is disappointing other people.

Austin and his friend Pat got my screened porch about halfway or 2/3 of the way finished yesterday. I'm really excited to have my nest expand to the outdoors! I'll do a tour of the renovated nest + screened porch as soon as they're finished.

Anyways. That's the main story of this past week. Having Ollie and Cosette together again was fun for me, even if things were a bit tense/odd hanging out on the deck. The weather was beautiful. The babies were adorable. Cosette is going through a stage where when she gets excited she flings her arms open wide and kicks her feet. It's hilarious watching her do it! She got a little too excited about seeing Cousin Ollie and her fingernail scratched his little cheek. He didn't seem to notice it but Cody says it looks like it's going to scar. I hope not. She definitely wasn't trying to attack him, she was genuinely glad to see him - which makes my Nana heart just overflow! I want them to love each other.

Cosette has also started reaching to be picked up and she will lay her little head on your shoulder like she's giving you a hug when you hold her. She will also put her little hands on your face to pull your face close to hers. It's the sweetest thing!

Ollie enjoyed his first visit to Disney World. There are some adorable pictures of him in his little Robin Hood costume that his grandma made him but I'm not allowed to share them yet. Cody gets the first post on social media and then I can post some on my blog, facebook and instagram. Ollie still feels light compared to Cosette but he's catching up to her.

So that's the story of the last week/my anxiety issues and what not. Hope you enjoy the pictures of the babies and I'll try to blog again soon! Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, October 5, 2015

And Then It Rained...

Things moved to the center of the room
Joaquin was no gentleman. After all the hard work last week to get my living space reconfigured... we got a once in a millennium rain event. He didn't make landfall and we're a long way from the coast but we got the rain and wind, just none of the glory. The Whine Cellar is much more water tight than when we first moved here but we still had a little leakage courtesy of Joaquin. My mom was running up and down the stairs with towels, sucking up water in the carpet shampooer and emptying the dehumidifier hourly. Pop was outside in the dark, pouring rain digging ditches to divert as much water as possible. It was exhausting. For them.

The dreaded de-humidifier & stuff out of place
There are times that it's really frustrating not being able to do things... like dig ditches or carry sopping wet towels upstairs or move furniture. I kind of just treat it like I'm watching a movie or something. It's no help to them if I become less mobile. But it sucks not to be able to help. I did go out and buy my mom her favorite ice cream bars and I treated her to a Starbucks today.

Honestly, the weekend contained a lot of frustration for me. I ordered Ollie some baby earmuffs from Amazon for their trip to Disney. The ones I ordered had a white band. The ones that were delivered had a pink band. Amazon was helpful enough to go ahead and refund the money from the first pair so that I could order a white pair from a different seller but it took a good hour to sort that all out.

My "pantry" plus the not-plus-sized leggings
I ordered some leggings from zulily in my "first time in my lifetime wardrobe overhaul" that were a gorgeous shade of mustard yellow. I'm really enjoying olive and yellow here lately. The leggings were supposed to be "plus sized one size fits all". They were too small for even my mom who is much smaller than plus size. I spent another hour or so figuring out how to file a complaint with zulily since their stuff can't be returned. They were really nice about it and issued me a credit right away. They told me to pass along the leggings to a kid or donate them to charity which I thought was nice. Hoping they'll work for Miss Jamie who is growing like a weed here lately. Ten years old and taller than me already.

Then, along with the storm yesterday our internet went out. The internet is my portal to the outside world! Being unable to access the internet made me feel really unplugged from life! The internet company we have to use has the worst customer service anywhere. They are supposed to call me to let me know when our problem is fixed. It's been working since overnight and I still haven't heard from them. Good thing I didn't depend on them to call me before I attempted to log back on. A lot of people here lost power - so much that the school system is closed today - so I shouldn't complain about the minor inconvenience of not having internet.

Getting almost back to normal
Yesterday I dragged myself into town to get prescriptions filled and misunderstood what time the pharmacy opened. I hate wasted trips. Especially in bad weather. I made an abbreviated grocery run to make the trip seem somewhat less futile. As it turns out the pharmacy struggled all day to be able to access their computer system so if I had gone after they opened it would have been a long wait.

But today the sun is shining and there's a lovely fresh breeze blowing. The internet is working and I was able to get my prescriptions filled. Can I just tell you how lovely it was to get four prescriptions PLUS a dog toy for $7.68? My Medicare Prescription Drug Plan is awesome! I was able to drop off some medical records for my mom to change to my doctor's office and I stopped in for a Starbucks treat for us while waiting on prescriptions. Today, even though my Whine Cellar hasn't been quite put back together, everything seems brighter and I'm much less frustrated. Pain-wise I'm not feeling great but I've been worse.

One fun little thing I wanted to show you is how I've reorganized my drawers. I can't even remember where I got this from but instead of folding and stacking things, I've got them rolled. It makes it easy to see everything at a glance and you can fit more things in the drawer! I've been working on it a little at a time and it makes me so happy to see my progress!

And... that's about it. I'm going to spend the day catching up on cyberspace and resting up for a two grandchild day tomorrow! Love and hugs, y'all!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Raining, Gifting, Hurting, Growing, Blogging

Ollie is happy it's Gameday! 
Happy Saturday from rainy Cleveland, Georgia! It's supposed to be a wet, cooler weekend and I'm ok with all of that. Rain makes the arthritis in my spine and hip get out of control but I'm also having a round of the gut pain and a fibro-flare... lots of pain to go with the rain. Ever since I became a chronic pain patient, I've struggled with "proper pain behavior". I feel like I'm supposed to be angry, grumpy, whiny... moaning and carrying on but it's not like that for me. When I'm in pain I want to be as comfortable as I can and as quiet as I can. I don't want to spend a lot of emotional energy "proving" that I'm in pain. I don't want to be sad.

We've been working on reconfiguring my Whine Cellar over the past week or so. Since Austin doesn't use his bedroom any more we've made that into the Cats' Room. We put their litter boxes in there. My cats' food is on a kitchen table so that the little greedy doggie doesn't eat their food. Austin took down his bed and moved the parts into the storage place under the stairs. He moved the cats' dinner table into his room and moved a rectangle table from his room into my kitchen area. It makes a good prep surface for me as it's closer to counter height so I don't stoop over to fix food. I'd take a picture to show you but I don't feel like getting up. I ordered a shelf with little cubby divisions in it and bought baskets to go in it. I've put all my craft stuff and my nieces' craft stuff and my little random baby items in it which helped declutter my space. I'm also kind of thinking in terms of having babies who are mobile and needing to have things out of reach. When Austin has his friend over here they're going to move my fridge into the kitchen space so I have three or four distinct areas in my living room: kitchen, living room, craft and kiddie space. In the kids' space I'll have a comfy chair (for reading books to babies) and a soft floor covering for them to play on which can be removed when not in use (and wiped off to keep it fur-free). I also finally decided on a new tv to replace the old darby-issued monstrosity. It will arrive today and Cody and Austin will set it up for me on Tuesday.

Speaking of Tuesday... Cody, Marquee and Ollie are coming up to drop off Sammy dog at Mawmaw's Kennel so they can go to Disney next weekend! Ollie's first visit to Disney! We got him a little pair of the baby earmuffs so that the loud crowd noises and fireworks and stuff won't hurt his little ears. It will be the first time for Uncle Austin to meet Ollie and he's excited. Ok, I'm the one who's excited. I can't help wanting all my birdies in the same nest. Y'all know how I am.

And speaking of the birdies from my nest... last week - on the same day - Cosette and Ollie both rolled from belly to back for the first time. We got hers on video but not Ollie's. Ollie is freakishly strong... like BamBam. Cosette is really close to being able to sit by herself and already does really well if you sit her up propped a little bit. She's got all the motions to start scooting/crawling but is not a fan of tummy time so doesn't get a lot of practice. If you hold Baby Hercules (Ollie) by his fingers he can support himself on his little legs. Three months old. These babies should be an advertisement for the La Leche League... breastfeeding for the win!

My unofficial daughter-in-law Tasha tells me it's time for me to post my annual wish list for Christmas. I mean, I know it's not even Halloween yet but I'm already shopping and so is she. I've been able to splurge on a new wardrobe, a new tv and lots of bits and bobs that I haven't been able to get for myself in the past three years ever. However, I can ALWAYS think of other things I want, even though there's nothing I need! Here goes:

  • miniature smurf figurines. I used to collect these as a teen and over the years my smurfs got lost. I only have two left. They sell them on Amazon and sometimes on zulily. 
  • candles. I love fresh, green or cinnamon scents.
  • I also collect (though I haven't added to my collection recently) teacups and saucers. I love antique ones but I also enjoy new or novelty ones.
  • Actually, not only do I enjoy teacups, I enjoy tea. I'm loving a chamomile vanilla blend today. 
  • Sterling silver rings and earrings. I lost an earring at the dentist the other day and am so bummed about it! 
  • Embroidery stuff - thread, fabric, etc. 
  • I need frames for all these grandbaby pictures I take! 
  • Of course, I'll also accept donations to my dental fund. 

But honestly, truly, I'm not just saying this... I can't think of a time in life where I was more content. I don't need anything. I'm just happy to have had so many wonderful things happen in the past year. Any other happiness that comes over the holidays will just be gravy!

And with that... I think I've touched on everything I listed in the title. Trying to blog more. Hope you enjoyed it! Love and hugs and happy wet weekend, y'all!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About My Teeth

I feel like blogging today. I didn't sleep well last night and am having some shoulder pain so I'm taking a day off from sewing which is usually my morning activity. I'll blog and work on my Family Tree instead.

About ten years ago, give or take since I can't remember stuff here lately, I got an estimate from a dentist to have ALL THE WORK done on my teeth for a grand total of $13,000. It was during that time that I coined the phrase, "I need a man with a dental plan." And we all know what a miserable detour the "man with the dental plan" was for me. Once I moved up here I had dental insurance so I was able to do a few things... I had my wisdom teeth pulled and had some fillings done. Then I started having back pain and started the downward spiral from full time work to part time work to no work to trying to get approved for disability. There has been zero money for teeth during that time so I went to the dentist last week to get a treatment plan for fixing my teeth. I'm such a complicated case that they wanted to take my xrays, photos and impressions to work out a treatment plan and I went back yesterday for my "presentation".

New paragraph. Deep breath. Sticker shock ahead. In my mind I had budgeted up to $15,000 from my back pay from Social Security to put toward my teeth. I didn't WANT to spend that much money on my teeth but I did want to get to a point of the best dental health I can afford to achieve. The treatment plan comes out to a total of just under $13,000. I'm not doing implants or anything fancy/schmancy. This is for removal of several problem teeth, fillings and crowns on the teeth they can save and temporary partial dentures. This also covers building up the teeth that will anchor the partials which is costly but will be the longest lasting solution. The temporary partials will be good for a year or two while everything heals and finds it's "normal" shape and then I'll get permanent/long term partials for another $4200.

It's a lot of money, y'all. I have enough to do it although I'm not going to pay for the full thing in advance. There's no discount for paying in advance and you just never know what may happen down the road. I am leaning toward paying half of it after the first visit or two, once I make sure things are going well and I'm comfortable using this dentist. I think this will help me make sure I'm not tempted to use the dental money for something else. Once I've paid, I'm more likely to finish the entire treatment plan. Once I get halfway through, I'm more likely to finish the race.

Random thoughts about this process:

  • If I were older, I might not do this. I don't expect to live to a hundred or anything but I hope I still have a few decades ahead of me and I want to continue to eat/chew/smile for the rest of my life.
  • I want to smile without worrying about how my smile looks. I've grown self-conscious about it and I don't like feeling that way. I need to make every smile as good as it can be because smiles are hard to come by when you live with pain. When I smile at my grandkids I don't want them to confuse me for a jack-o-lantern.
  • My health is probably already negatively impacted by the condition of my teeth. If it isn't already it certainly will be in the future. 
  • There's a lot of pain in my life that I can't do anything about. I want to prevent as much future pain as possible. 
  • I might be able to find some place cheaper but I like this dentist and I like his office. It's close to home, close enough that my mom would be comfortable driving me home whenever I'm zonked out, which keeps me from having to work around Pop's very busy schedule. They took an hour with me yesterday to review everything. There was no judgement and lots of compassion. They asked a lot of questions about my overall health and had a lot of suggestions for making this the least traumatic experience as possible. They're also going to get in touch with my pain doctor to discuss what pain relief I can have that fits in with the pain meds I'm already on. 
  • I have major dental anxiety. They will be giving me meds to keep me mellow during each procedure. 
  • I feel guilty spending this much money on myself but... I also know that things are this bad because my priorities throughout my adult life were taking care of my kids and keeping a roof over their heads. I couldn't have expensive work done during those years because I couldn't afford it nor could I afford taking time off to heal. It's collateral damage from being a divorced mom without consistent child support. 

So that's what's happening in my mouth. My first appointment is October 20th where they will extract three teeth in my upper right hand side of my mouth. They are the most damaged and the most sensitive. They're also the most likely to abscess so we'll get those out of the way first. I'd love to hear your dental health stories and experiences! I'd also love to have your prayers / good wishes that things will go well.

Love and hugs and big open mouthed smiles!