Monday, September 29, 2008

Update on hubby

Okay, so we got a call today from the new "super doc" gastroenterologist. Steve's test was positive for gastroparesis, which is when the stomach empties too slowly. He's also fighting some infection of unknown origin. The doc is calling in some medication for the gastroparesis, which concerns me because of the bad side effects that some people encounter. (Apparently, there's only one medicine FDA-approved for this condition, but it has some pretty hairy side effects.)

But I'm trying not to borrow trouble and to just give it a chance and see if the meds will work. I'm fighting some very low spirits and a darkness that seems to have descended in the past few days...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday night ... I'm exhausted!

It's been a rough week. My husband has been really sick and vomiting a lot this week. He missed work Monday, and I sent around an emergency email to everyone in my office asking for a referral to a good, proactive, diagnostic gastroenterologist. One of the partners at my law firm made a call for us (actually several) and got an appointment Thursday (today) with "the best GI doctor in Memphis."

Tuesday, Steve went to work, but he was nauseous all day. Tuesday night was a really bad night. Yesterday morning, he got up and tried to get ready for work, but just couldn't do it. So I put my foot down and said "enough." I called my office and told them I wouldn't be in. I then called the GI's office (nurse's voicemail) and begged them to work him in THAT day. Got a call back from the nurse awhile later and she said she'd talked to the doctor, and we should be there at 1:00.

So, I took him and he got a thorough evaluation. They're running more tests and he got a refill on a nausea med that had worked well for him before. He was still sick last night, but went to work today and I think he's feeling a "little better." I sure hope so. I think if he can get through the night tonight without getting sick, that will be a big, big improvement.

We like this doctor. He's a professor at University of TN College of Medicine as well as a practitioner. He asked great questions and actually listened to Steve's answers. He answered our questions. He told us what tests he wanted to do and why. And, best of all, he committed to us that we WILL figure this out. It's not an easily diagnosed problem; there's no "waving red flag," but he is thinking outside the box, and I believe we'll get answers and Steve will get to feeling better.

Selfishly, I have to say that I'm really tired. My husband is a wonderful partner in helping around the house. He does a lot -- wash after I've cooked, vacuum, dust, even clean the bathroom. But he just hasn't been up to it lately, and so I've been trying to do it all. And it's hard!

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Autumn ... Welcome!

Today is the first day of Autumn and I am so happy to see it arrive. It's been a long, hot summer in the Delta, and cooler temperatures are definitely welcome.

I love fall; it's my favorite time of the year. Even more so than New Year's, to me it's a time for fresh starts. The cool and sometimes foggy mornings are so invigorating. I love sweaters, and soft fleecy clothes. I love fires in the fireplace (wood burning, please). I love big pots of soup or stew simmering on the back of the stove. I love hot tea and hot chocolate, and sitting on the sofa under a throw, reading a good book. Most of all, I love the brilliant colors that the trees put on -- reds and golds, and every shade in between.

We're planning a trip to the mountains next month, and I hope the trees will be at peak fall color. I hope Steve is all better, and that we'll be able to spend the days walking and hiking, and our evenings snuggled in front of the fire. I hold that trip in front of me like a golden talisman ... it represents so much that I want for us: health, relaxation, and a peaceful respite from "the real world." Now if we can just get there!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday night check in hasn't been a great weekend. Steve is still really very nauseated and he just can't shake it. He's not eating enough to keep a bird going, and I truly don't know how he thinks he's going to work in the morning... He has a follow-up appointment with the doctor Wednesday morning; I wish it was tomorrow. I'm just beside myself with worry, and have been stress eating out the wazoo. God help us.

I need our life to get back to normal. I need my husband to feel better. I need to stop eating. I need for things to be okay...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mom always said don't play ball in the house

Okay, to set up tonight's story, I guess the first thing that needs to be said is my husband is truly a trivia buff. Music, classic TV, old movies ... he's really good at coming up with these obscure 70s (and older) references and remarks that, the minute you hear them, you're like, Oh yeah, I remember that!

The second thing that needs to be said is that Steve and I love to play with our dog, Chance, throwing his squeaky toy, then sort of wrestling it out of his mouth to throw it again.

So last night, Steve is throwing Chance's toy. It hits a little decorative lamp I have on top of a small bookcase, and without missing a beat, Steve says, "Mom always said don't play ball in the house."

I rolled! Okay, first, I checked the lamp (unbelievably, it didn't break), but then it hit me what he said, and I laughed so hard. I love being married to someone who can still make me laugh...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kitty time...

So...last night I was lying on the couch just sort of chilling out, and my cat Boots decided to join me. He gets on the back of the couch right over me, and sort of stretches his paw down and rests it on my shoulder. I snapped a picture and ... well, you get the picture.

He's becoming a very companionable kitty.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A new low carb snack

So, I've discovered a wonderful snack that really helps me scratch that "salty / crunchy" itch. It's Planters Kettle Roasted Peanuts Extra Crunchy Classic Salt.

These are wonderful. Very crunchy, very satisfying. The ingredients are: peanuts, peanut oil, and salt. A serving of these (about an ounce) has 3 net carbs. I buy these at WalMart. Here's a link to show what they look like:

Planters Info

Anyway, if you're looking for a salty, very crunchy treat, give these a try!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please excuse me while I rant

Gas prices have shown a marked increase since Ike. Here in Memphis they range anywhere from $3.51 to $4.09, depending on the part of town and the station. Two weeks ago they were in the $3.35 range. I fail to see how this is anything besides "price gouging" and taking advantage of a scary weather occurrence. I've seen no documented damage of any oil refineries in the Gulf. And, today I read where crude oil has dropped to under $96 a barrel.

So, where do "they" get off jacking up the price of a gallon of gas? I'm sick of it and I'm taking the only action I feel like I can. I'm contacting the State of Tennessee Consumer Affairs office (1-800-342-8385 or I'm going to give them the name and address of the Mapco Express I passed this morning that is charging $4.09 a gallon. Puts a whole new spin on the term "highway robbery."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

I got "tagged"!

So, my cyber friend Gary (aka "Old Dude") tagged me! I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but a quick trip to his blog clued me in. Thanks, Gary!

Tag, You're It Meme

1. Where was I 10 years ago?

Let's see ... ten years ago I was living in an apartment by myself, dating Steve, and working for a non-profit international adoption agency.

2. What was on my to-do list today?

First, had to get gas on the way to work. Had some work piled on my desk to get through today, but got waylaid by computer issues. Our IT guy spent half the day at my desk. I was having problems with Word, Outlook, ProLaw (our data management system), and Data Lariat (a "bridge" program that works in conjunction with ProLaw and Office programs). He tried a bunch of fixes and finally ended up uninstalling and reinstalling MS Office. Sheesh! Had to take a box to the UPS store at lunch time (a pair of shoes I'd ordered from that didn't fit). Steve and I were supposed to have dinner with friends tonight at one of our favorite restaurants (it's his best friend's birthday), but Steve called me about 4:00 and said he just didn't feel like going -- his stomach is still messed up (an ongoing issue). So, the evening is free, and I'm glad! Although I sure wish my sweet husband felt better.

3. What would I do if I were a billionaire?

Hmmmm. This reminds me of the old Steve Martin (Saturday Night Live) Christmas sketch where he's sitting in a wingback chair in front of the fireplace. I googled it to get it word for word, and here it is:

"If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be that all the children to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. If I had two wishes I could make this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace. And the second would be for 30 million dollars a month to be given to me, tax-free in a Swiss bank account. You know, if I had three wishes I could make this holiday season, the first, of course, would be for all the children of the world to get together and sing, the second would be for the 30 million dollars every month to me, and the third would be for encompassing power over every living being in the entire universe. And if I had four wishes that I could make this holiday season, the first would be the crap about the kids definitely, the second would be for the 30 million, the third would be for all the power, and the fourth would be to set aside one month each year to have an extended 31-day orgasm, to be brought out slowly by Rosanna Arquette and that model Paulina-somebody, I can't think of her name. Of course my lovely wife can come too and she's behind me one hundred percent here, I guarantee it. Wait a minute, maybe the sex thing should be the first wish, so if I made that the first wish, because it could all go boom tomorrow, then what do you got, y'know? No, no, the kids, the kids singing would be great, that would be nice. But wait a minute, who am I kidding? They're not going to be able to get all those kids together. I mean, the logistics of the thing is impossible, more trouble than it's worth! So -- we reorganize! Here we go. First, the sex thing. We go with that. Second, the money. No, we got with the power second, then the money. And then the kids. Oh wait, oh jeez, I forgot about revenge against my enemies! Okay, I need revenge against all my enemies, they should die like pigs in hell! That would be my fourth wish. And, of course, my fifth wish would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. Thank you everybody and Merry Christmas."

That cracks me up! Okay, but I digress. Let's see, I would travel, travel, travel! I would take care of my family and Steve's family. I would support literacy and some mission projects. It's pretty much a moot question, anyway!

4. Five places I've lived

North Manchester, Indiana
Jackson, Mississippi
Dayton, Ohio
El Sobrante, California
Tupelo, Mississippi

5. Bad Habits

Lord a'mercy, where do I start? Let's see ...

Emotional eating (it's a hobby of mine)
A bad temper behind the wheel (potty mouth while driving, big time!)
Impatience with slow store clerks
Laziness (I am loath to admit this, but it is true!)
People pleasing (this is better than it used to be)
Complaining about things that I have no power over
A tendency to see the glass as half empty
Self-sabotaging behavior

I could go on and on, but enough, already!!

And now it's my turn to pass on the fun. So...Vikki, Chai, Niki, Roger, and Suzi -- TAG, you're it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's up with this?

Did you see the news item about Us Weekly? Apparently, they offended a lot of their subscribers with their inflammatory caption on the "Sarah Palin issue."

Ya think?

So, in response to what has apparently been an overwhelming number of subscribers saying, "Cancel my subscription," they are offering subscribers five free issues if they will reconsider and keep their subscription.

Compare the Palin cover with the Obama cover. Nah, there's no media bias in this election ... none at all.

I've never written a "political" blog post before ... but I feel very passionate about this election, and Sarah Palin is the reason -- pure and simple.

I can relate to Sarah Palin. Not the Governor of Alaska, but the mom of five kids, a Christian who is pro-life and not ashamed to be, a woman with values and pride in our country and an appreciation of the absolute privilege we have to live in a country that's free. A woman who wants to "drill now" -- not with reckless abandon, but with an eye toward the future that this is necessary and just a part of the ultimate solution. A strong, independent, capable, intelligent woman with morals and principles. I believe in Sarah Palin. And, I hope -- I dearly hope -- that she is our next Vice President.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

To weigh or not to weigh ... that is the question

So, I've been eating low carb for 15 months now. I've lost about 62 pounds and want to lose maybe another 25-30. I've definitely had my "ups and downs" in this way of eating. I started with the Atkins Induction plan and stayed on that for several months. But as time went on, I have given myself a bigger daily allowance of carbs. I've had good times -- times when it was effortless to eat this way. I was "in the zone" and cruising right along.

Then, on the flip side, there have been times when it's been hard -- very hard -- for me to maintain this way of eating. Unfortunately for me, I have always been and continue to be a stress eater. And unfortunately, there's been a lot of stress in our lives lately. Plus, it's always been my "hobby" (how sick is that?) ... I guess I've always been a recreational eater. Food scratches practically any itch. But, that's a different post for a different day.

As time has gone by and I've become more comfortable in this way of eating / way of life, my focus has shifted away from the scale and more to my long-term health. I have to be very careful not to get obsessed with the scale. I can start a day feeling good in what I'm doing, feeling like I'm making healthy choices for myself, feeling like, wow - I've lost weight - I can just tell! ... then step on the scale and in a heartbeat -- simply because the number didn't budge, or even (God forbid!) went up a few pounds -- go to feeling like a complete and utter failure.

This feeling is exacerbated when I go on these weighing binges. I mean, WHY in the world would a sane person step on a scale three times in a day? What possible result could you expect?? And yet, there it is. Sometimes.

I'm one of those women whose weight fluctuates 5 pounds, easily. Five pounds up or down is sort of "business as usual" on my scale. I know this, yet it still gets to me.

So, I've decided I need to stop weighing for awhile. I need to sharpen my focus on health. I can listen to my body -- I can pay attention to how my clothes feel -- and I can use those feelings and indicators as a guideline of how I'm doing. I don't have to let a number have so much power over my emotions and wellness.

An ideal goal would be to weigh once a month. Or maybe once every two weeks... But there's the rub ... how do I do that? So for now, I'm going to put the scale away. We'll see how long it lasts. But it feels right. For now.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just another big Saturday night ...

Steve and I had a really nice evening. I made dinner and we ate it on bed trays on our bed while we watched one of our "All Creatures Great and Small" episodes. We're now on Season 2, and I enjoy them so much. They make me want to see Yorkshire -- it's so beautiful. I'm so glad Steve introduced me to those videos. Just hearing the theme music makes me happy... It was a good BBC television show back in the 70s, and I totally missed it. So I'm really glad to be able to see them now.

Anyway, we've had a nice, quiet evening ... just about my favorite thing.

On another note, I finished my latest audio book today, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. What a great book! It's one of those books that when you put it down, you find yourself thinking about it. It's compelling, and funny, and tragic, and triumphant ... a really great read.

If you haven't read it, it's the fictional story of a fiery evangelical Baptist preacher who takes his wife and four daughters into The Congo in the early 1960s. They were woefully unprepared and he was insanely stubborn, refusing to leave even while the people of their small village tried to "vote him out" and while political turmoil and uprising is all around them. A horrible death occurs, which changes everything overnight.

The story is told from the perspectives of the wife, Orleanna, and each of the four daughters: Leah, Adah, Rachel, and Ruth May. I love the way this author gave a voice to each of them -- and such a distinctive voice for each. It was like looking at something that happened from five different views -- really fascinating.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book as a very compelling, can't-put-it-down story.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

How's your self talk?

You know, what we tell ourselves is so important. There's a saying that "perception is reality," and I have found that to be so true. My perception of myself becomes my reality.

Too many times in the past I've beaten myself up with words .... I've verbally bruised and battered myself and said things to me and about me that I would not say to my worst enemy. I've found this to be especially true in my eating and what I have said to myself about my eating. If I -- as humans are apt to do -- "stray" and eat something that is "forbidden" to me, it's a struggle to keep from saying, "Jeez, Patty, what is wrong with you? Why can you not get and keep control??" and worse ... much worse.

I think that many times, we are harder on ourselves than we would be on anyone else. I'll never forget the time many years ago that I was going off about something stupid I had done, and a dear friend stopped me in my tracks and said, "Wait. What would you say to me if I had done that?" I immediately re-framed my thoughts (it was automatic -- I didn't have to even think about it). I started giving her kind affirmations that "a mistake does not define you" ... that "you are a wonderful, giving, awesome person, and you have so much worth and value" ... and on and on. And I meant it; it wasn't just words. She stopped me again and asked me how it was that I could be so generous with her and so stingy and hateful to myself. Whoa ... that was the first time I'd thought of it like that.

So now, I try very hard to be a friend to myself. To be forgiving and loving and willing to say, "You know what, Patty? It's okay. You're human." To say the sort of things to myself that I would say to a friend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday evening check-in

It's been a good day. I had the day off, the reason being that I need a day to recuperate from my trip and sort of get back into the groove for the week. So, I did some laundry, went to the grocery store, made stuff for our lunches the rest of the week (egg salad, tuna salad, and a big green salad), made dinner (baked chicken and a broccoli/cheese casserole), AND had time for a nap this afternoon. It felt so luxurious ... sleeping during the day!

I only checked my work email twice, which was good!

I found some good deals at the grocery store (can you believe?), getting a "family pack" of 10 pork chops for $5.99, and some savoy steaks for a really good price as well. They had frozen veggies 10 for $10, so I stocked up on those, too. My freezer is pretty well stocked, yay!

I enjoyed cooking dinner, because Steve is feeling so much better and he's eating again. So I'm happy to get back into that habit.

My sweet husband had cleaned house this weekend, so I came home to a nice, clean house. He's so great with that -- he'll vacuum, dust, even clean the bathroom if he has to!

Boots and Chance were happy to have me home. Boots loves getting brushed, and he missed it while I was gone. Here's a picture I just took of him, sitting on the arm of my recliner -- one of his favorite spots.

Behind him is his other favorite spot -- his "perch" at the window. During the day we raise the blinds and let him keep an eye on the front yard.

All in all, as Dorothy so appropriately said, "There's no place like home."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back home and so glad to be....

I'm back, and none too soon. I've become such a homebody ... I'm always so happy to be heading home.

Well, my trip had some good and bad. I had a nice visit with my sister, and a couple of good visits with my mom. There was a pretty bad episode, but I chalked it up to basically a sort of sensory overload for her. We had already been out for lunch that day and done pretty well, so I think I was pushing it to attempt to get her out twice in one day. I learned from that and didn't try it again. Anyway, I think she enjoyed my visit for the most part, and I'm glad I went.

But I'm super glad to be home.

More later...
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