In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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The Fox & The Ground Hog

We do not live in the country.  Heck we don’t even live on the outskirts of town.  We are located on a busy street and yes, we have a creek out back and lots of trees but the wild life over here is crazy sometimes.  We share our yard with families of ground hogs every year.  This is the first year they’ve burrowed under our shed.  That totally drives our dog crazy.   

I’ve seen foxes now and then, but this year we have an entire family.  I’ve seen one big one and two smaller ones.  They do make a terrible sound and if you’ve ever heard one then you know what I mean.  Foxes actually sound like a wounded woman yelling for help.  It’s bone chilling.  But I don’t think they’re going anyplace and I think they’ve made friends with the ground hogs.  Check it.

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Earth Day, Yoga Day

For the last several years, I have been responsible for bringing one of my favorite yoga instructors to town.  I do the promoting, and all the arrangements.  This year we closed our studio and one of the guys that taught with us opened his own place.  He has a beautiful studio but it’s just not the same of course.  Meaning it’s not downtown in the heartbeat of the city.  But none the less it’s awesome. 

Since this was his studio, I let him take care of all of the event stuff.  That also meant that he would receive the split of cash and I was very much OK with that.  All I had to do was write a check and show up this year.  I didn’t have to check people in, I didn’t have to meet the caterer when she brought lunch.  I didn’t have to make sure folks were feeling OK – too hot or too cold?  Who cares?  I was taking the class.  And a great class it was.  What a way to celebrate Earth Day with Thomas.  Nothing like 6 hours of yoga to make you feel vibrant and ready for spring.  Thanks  Thomas – see you again in November.

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Thai Food & Classic Tunes

This is the time of year that my husband has to work a lot of hours.  I don’t mind so much because I totally guard my time alone.  Always have.  I’ve heard people say that’s unhealthy, but I beg to differ. I think it depends on the individual.  And for me?  I think it’s totally healthy.  If I don’t have that space I get really pissy.

My daughter has a great friend who lives at our place on the weekends.  Sometimes she lives with us during the week as well.  I don’t mind.  I only have one daughter and my son is in college so he’s not around anymore.  When the girls are together I really don’t know that they’re here.  They hang out and play the PS3, they watch Netflix and geek on Facebook.  It’s all good.

Last night it was just us 3 chicks for quite awhile so I rummaged the cabinets to see what I could fix.  The rain has been totally insane for the last 24 hours or so and to top that off, it feels like freaking winter out.  Ridiculous!  In other words I did not want to go out.  Luckily we had most everything we needed to whip up a decent Thai spread.  Rice noodles, chicken, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, peanut and teriyaki sauce and red wine for me.  We jammed out to some Traffic, the Kinks and Van Morrison.  What a fun night!

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The party was in celebration of my FIRST FREE weekend after I quit cleaning.  I have had places to be, things to do or been sick since I quit!  And what am I doing on my free weekend?  Besides eating Thai food and drinking wine, I’m prepping the bathroom for a paint revamp.  Yep.  We are leaving the freshwather fish border and mossy green paint behind.  Going soft, pale blue with black accents.  Lauren will have a new background for all of her Facebook shots that she takes in there since the light is great. 

I’m covered in Kilz.  Later.



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Sulfa Drugs Can Suck It

I quit cleaning.  Not just the theater, but all of it. 

My theater cleaning partner got a job at the same place where I’m working now.  She has a two year old and didn’t want to work 7-days a week like I was.  As much as I loved that paycheck from cleaning every Friday, I decided to let it go as well.  Basically we both quit at the same time.  Not without lots of notice though.  We even helped train and I offered to work if they are in a bind or whatever.  I am crazy, I know it.  Go ahead say it out loud, I can handle it.

My new job is great!  I totally love it.  I really do.  But on Mondays I was so freaking tired that it wasn’t even funny.  I also felt like due to my fatigue I was making too many errors and that’s not a good thing.  So Sunday, March 17 was my last weekend at the theater.  I had to keep my other cleaning gigs (2 other buildings) a week longer. 

Quitting my cleaning jobs happened at the perfect time.  First my brother was ill.  I took off one day from the theater for that as I was so mentally exhausted.  Then next was my mother-in-law and her illness.  Somewhere around all this mess I got a UTI.  I chugged the cranberry juice and was feeling pretty damn good.  But.  I was due for my well woman check up and while I was there I had them check my urine.  To be on the safe side, they prescribed an antibiotic to me that had Sulfa in it. 

Remember I said I was hot at the funeral home?  Well, yeah I was.  That was on Thursday, April 4th.  I was due to take my last pill on Friday morning and take it I did.  I worked on Friday the 5th and by noon my chest, neck and face were bright red.  Co-workers were cracking jokes about how old I was and whatever.  I felt it was not menopause, like I would know what that feels like, but it was just intuition. 

By the evening, I had to take a cool bath to cool down.  I put Cortizone 10 all over my face because I had hives.  I took some Benadryl and went to bed.  Enter Saturday morning.  We are in the middle of planning a funeral remember.  I woke up totally on fire.  My back was beat red.  I looked like I’d been at the beach and fallen asleep or something.  Don’t I wish that would’ve been the case?  Yes!  I called my doctor’s answering service and they said a doctor would call me back in an hour.  Call he did.  He said take more Benadryl. I went to Wal-Mart and about my day looking and probably feeling the same way a boiled lobster does.

I stopped at the Wal-Mart clinic on the way out and the nurse working said that sometimes the doctors there cannot prescribe steroids.  I said forget it and drove straight to Urgent Care.  I was on fire from the inside out!  I walked in calmly and sat at the desk.  They told me to have a seat and it would be just a second.  I.  Am.  So.  Sure.  It’s Urgent Care and I knew I’d have to wait.  So off I went to the bathroom and seconds later they came into the bathroom looking for me.

The nurse took my arm and said come with us.  I got scared because an elderly lady tried to ask the nurse what doctors were working.  The nurse asked her if she was having an allergic reaction and when the woman said no, the nurse said, “Well she is!”  Off we went to the little doctor room.  They asked me if I was alone and if I needed to call anyone.  I was like yes and I guess.  They said I would have to stay until I was better.  Whoa.

Immediately an IV was administered because I was freaking dehydrated and still burning up.  My throat had also started to constrict so that was somewhat scary. What a weird feeling! Then they started another IV with a steroid and Pepcid.  Yep.  Pepcid is a badass histamine blocker.  I had no idea but it’s better than Benadryl.  After about 45 minutes I was feeling cool as a cucumber, still red, but cool.  They even dimmed the lights for me and I pretended I was having some sort of hydrating spa experience.  It was awesome.  I didn’t realize how hot I actually was until I cooled down.  Just crazy.

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There would’ve been no way I could’ve cleaned a movie theater or my own house for that matter that weekend.  The timing was perfect, I was more than glad that I had quit.  Of course so far I was off to a pretty crappy start with my first weekend off for sure. 

I walked out of there with a list of over the counter drugs to take.  Listen to this.  I had to take THREE Zyrtec every night (all at once) for 7 nights in a row.  I also had to take two Pepcids a day and not drink any wine.  That can exacerbate Mast Cell disease which I guess is what I have.  I am super sensitive to smells, have heightened awareness in the sight department at times and also on the level of hearing as well.  It can be damned annoying.

Have you ever taken THREE Zyrtec a night?  I sure hope you never have to.  I would wake up with sheet marks all over my body that would last for about two hours.  I am sure this was from the salt, the sulfa and I was totally exhausted until about lunchtime.  I didn’t miss the funeral.  I didn’t miss a day of work due to this issue.  And to top if off, yoga at MSU also started the week I had to start taking this crap.  Holy man.

I guess a lot of people have bad reactions to medications that contain Sulfa.  Now I know that I do.  And wha’ts weird is it happens for a lot of folks up to a week or so after they’ve finished taking it.  I was trying to figure out what I had gotten into.  Did I eat something different?  Did I touch a plant?  Was it the caskets at the funeral home?  Was it that great laundry detergent that I’d just started making at home?  Nope.  It was the evil Sulfa drug!

I am much better now.  I still have a few red splotches and feel warm now and then.  They said this can last awhile.  If it comes back you’ll see me at Urgent Care again like pronto.  In the meantime, I won’t be taking anything that has Sulfa in it.  Ever. Again.

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February Birthday Party

My husband turned 50 on February 21st.  Our niece Hannah celebrates her birthday the day after, so we usually have combined parties for Frank and Hannah.  We always go to Julie’s house (Frank’s sister – Hannah’s mom) but this year we partied at our place.  The old people next door haven’t been traveling much further than our home here lately.

My mother-in-law Juanita has been up and down for the past year or more.  She went from being completely normal to an angry, crazy old woman in a short period of time.  It was hard to get a diagnosis as her husband didn’t really think that there was all that much wrong with her.  Finally, last May she got very violent.  She was going to hurt herself or someone else (like her husband) if we didn’t get some help soon.  She received medication for Alzheimer’s and it helped out a lot.  The only regret I have is that she didn’t get it sooner.  But.  This was not my decision to make.  I am the support person who offers ideas but I don’t make the calls.  She is also diabetic and has had health issues her entire life. 

So. Back to the birthday party for Frank and Hannah.  We had a fish fry and Frank’s mom and dad walked over.  If you’ve forgotten, they live right next door.  We noticed that Juanita looked very yellow.  Not good.  We enjoyed our meal and cake and made the decision to take her to the ER as soon as we were finished.  And finish we did pretty quickly.

At the ER she was diagnosed with jaundice and admitted.  The next day they ran a scope down her throat and found the blockage which happened to be pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver.  They inserted a stint to drain the liver and she stayed in the hospital for a few days.  She is 80 years old and decided against chemotherapy.  Though it may’ve prolonged her life, it might have made the quality shittier than it was going to be.  Read on.

She came home from the hospital and walked from the car to the house.  She had a place in her easy chair for for about 8 or 9 days before she became entirely bedridden.  Just like that.  The flick of a switch.  No more moving the arms or the legs.  No more feeding herself or getting on the toilet alone.  Fortunately, Frank’s sister had quit her job in January and now we know why that went down like it did.  We needed her close by for help. 

Frank and I both work full-time and to make it worse, Frank works in Branson so that’s a 45 drive one way.  Julie bathed her, painted her nails and fixed her hair.  I went over and visited, bought any groceries if they were needed and helped get her on the potty chair.  It was getting pretty tough even for two people to do.  After all his dad is 88 years old.

On April 3rd she was fine in the morning.  By lunchtime we were all called and told she was in the active stages of dying.  Wow.  Just like that.  I left work.  Frank left work.  She passed away around 5 that evening.  By 8:30 the funeral home had picked her up.

I took off work the next day and we drove to the town she was from and spent the day there planning a funeral.  That was something that I had never done.  I actually have only attended a few funerals and I really don’t recall that much about them.  I feel lucky in that sense for sure.  I walked around the room looking at caskets and urns.  I totally want to be cremated and placed in a biodegradeable urn that holds the seeds of some flowering bush or plant.  Plant me in a park or some public place please.  Lenette.  Remember this OK?  Anyhow I started getting really hot at the funeral home and I thought that my body might actually cremate itself.  More on why that happened in the next post.  It’s been a long couple of months.

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We spent the evening picking out 50 photos for a slide show to play during the visitation and before the funeral.  We held a visitation at the church here in our town on Sunday evening and then held the funeral at the church the following day with a burial in the cemetery in her home area.  Somber day. 

I see the lines in my face and the spots on my hands.  I know I will get old and die as well and I wonder at times just exactly how will that happen.  Will I get sick?  Will I be sick for a long time?  Will I get in a car accident?  Will I fall and break my neck in yoga?  Will I die in my sleep with a book on my chest?  Who knows?  The only thing I know for sure is that I will die someday.  And oddly enough I think I will be ready for it whenever that time comes.

Good-byes are only for those who love with their eyes because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation – Rumi

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I know.  It’s been forever since I posted….as someone just reminded me.

Lots of things have happened.  My life has been full lately in ways that are good and ways not so good.  That’s just how life works doesn’t it?

So for your reading pleasure I think I’ll alternate between things good and bad.  In fact, I am sure that’s the order anyways.  So, I shall start with February, a crazy month indeed.

The middle of February my brother had a mild stroke.  This was crazy shit as he’s super healthy, an avid bicyclist and he just turned 40 in October.  He had all 4 of his wisdom teeth pulled on a Friday and sometime over the weekend he stroked out.  We thought he was wigged out on pain meds.  He even drove himself to the ER the following Tuesday…and they said he checked out fine.  To make matters more frustrating he had just moved to Portland, Oregon in November for his job with Yakima so he didn’t have the close network of friends he left behind in Boulder.  And of course our family is spread between MO and FL, so we were feeling helpless.

He could text but it was difficult.  He could talk but he was slow and at times had a hard time finding words.  My brother is no low I.Q. kind of dude so this was scary.  He said that spelling was difficult but reading wasn’t so bad.  He said typing and texting was hard and when we asked him to spell the word difficulty – he said he couldn’t do it.  Jacked up for sure.  Between my mom, my sister and I we sought out friends on Facebook.  One of the few times I’ve truly been thankful that I have a Facebook acount for sure.  People started checking on him and connected with us.  It was a good thing.


One week to the day after he had his teeth out he found himself in a doctor’s office.  The doctor immediately sent him back to the ER that released him (scary I know) to have an MRI.  The MRI showed a stroke and he was hospitalized for a few days.  My folks were on the next flight to Portland.  Mind you they live in SW Florida, so a long journey for them it was.  My brother, Evan, was assigned the top neurologist in Portland so that was a good thing.  They ran test after test and found nothing wrong with the clotting of his blood, no high cholesterol or heart issues.  He wore a heart monitor home from the hospital for a week or so. 

He could identify words that say, would start with an S, but if you asked him to pull words out of his head that started with an S, he couldn’t do it.  He could read but he couldn’t spell worth a shit.  I can only imagine how frustrating that must’ve been.  Anyways, he went home and worked with a speech pathologist who gave him exercises and installed an app on his phone and worked with him on some math as well.  The part of his brain that was affected is receiving blood flow as tiny vessels are finding their way around the dead spot.  He is very lucky that this was so mild and none of his motor skills were affected.  But what caused it?  No one seems to know.  There seems to be no correlation between the stroke and the wisdom teeth removal.  I beg to differ because he was FINE until then.  But no one can prove anything. 

We are happy he’s doing so well.  He has almost made a full recovery.  He still has to think for words sometimes and he always apologizes for that.  We tell him not to worry and that we understand.  A stroke was one of the last things that we thought about that could’ve been wrong with him.  Boy were we wrong.  I know for sure if we would’ve been there with him we would’ve been able to figure it out sooner than later.  But we did what we could from afar. 

We love you Evan!  Keep believing because with that thought, anything is possible.