Friday, November 18, 2016

Appreciating the Weather

The weather has been amazing for November.  According to the  forecast, we'd better appreciate what we have now for big changes are on the horizon.  Snow and wind and all manner of wintry wildness is on the way for Friday night.  

But there are still a few flowers in bloom the week before Thanksgiving.

My homegrown variety of Gaura AAS 'Sparkle White' from Parks Seed

  Every time I walk by the gauras, I smile.  There are remnants of summer still remaining.

After last weekend's demolition of the back yard, I've been wandering around in a bit of a stupor.  Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad the septic installation is over, but putting everything back together again is going to take some time.  I've got this sense of urgency and futility battling each other all at once.  

"You need to do something with this lawn!" my Urgent Mind says, "It's going to snow soon and you won't have anything done.  It looks like you started to put a road through the back yard and then ran out of funding."

"What do you want me to do, it's too late to plant grass, and besides, the entire area will settle," answers my Futile/Reasonable Mind, "Calm down, it will be here in the spring."

 Yeah, that's right, I have a split personality AND I talk to myself.  I feel sorry for Carl, don't you?

Speaking of Carl, he and I spent all day Sunday putting slabs of hay down on the newly constructed mound system.  We're hoping to ward off having the mound freeze solid over the winter months especially since the ground is bare.  We had some old baled hay out in the Back Eight that we're using for insulation.

Carl cut the plastic wrap for me and I'd back the forklift teeth under the bale and haul it home.

We hauled six or seven bales (I lost count) and spread them out one slab at a time on the mound.   If time permits, we will spread out some more; I don't think it will hurt.  In the spring we'll have to rake the hay off and then plant grass seed, or we might rake the seed into the grass; we'll have to see what happens over winter.


 We worked until darkness fell on Sunday night.  Carl took the tractor home as the moon started to rise, but I stayed behind to spread the last bale of hay out in the moonlight.  I noticed my back was a tad tight while I was working with the slabs of hay, but shrugged the pain off as a passing thing. 

I've been feeling rather lousy the last few weeks; I've got so many random issues going on that if it wasn't me going through the misery, I'd be tempted to call myself a hypochondriac.

You may or may not recall last fall, winter and spring I dealt with annoying tailbone pain and ended up being referred to four separate doctors.  End result? All four of them found nothing wrong.  This wild goose chase cost us a fortune; what a waste of time.  Finally in late spring the pain in the derriere subsided enough so I could sit for more than five minutes, but I do have to be careful not to aggravate it.  

 Then we had umpteen garden walks and visitors again this year and I did fairly well health-wise, at least I didn't tip over when I was giving tours or anything.  But the last week in August I stupidly became dehydrated while cutting hay with the bush hog in the Back Eight.  I knew I should have taken breaks in the hot weather but neglected to.   The end result of my silliness was a monumental bladder infection.  After obtaining antibiotics, I was cured of the infection but the symptoms raged on for another two months. Talk about misery; I did an internet search looking for cures and came across supplements quercitin and bromelain and also marshmallow root which seemed to help quite a bit.  (No, you can't just chow down on 'Jet Puffed' 'Smores' along with a Hershey bar, that would be too much fun.)                      

In September I'd been started on a IV protocol which is in trial status for chronic Lyme disease.  Chronic migraines and scintillating scotomas abounded last fall and winter, but I can thankfully say I haven't had a headache or bladder issues since my third treatment.  Halfway through my round of IV's though, the trial was ended pending restructuring of the study.    I am waiting for notification of my next treatments hopefully in the very near future.  

Since the weather has been so nice and I know we are on borrowed time, I spent Monday clearing out the rest of the plant material in front of the gazebo and around the garage.  Carl came home and we were happily working together on the project when something went wrong.  

I was trying to yank a moonflower root out of the ground and had turned sideways to talk to Carl when sudden pain shot through my lower back.  I dropped the moonflower stem and went down on my hands and knees, hoping I was experiencing a muscle spasm which might pass if I did some gentle 'cat and dog' stretches.  No such luck.  When I got to my feet I had to walk bent over on my way to the house.  Raising my left foot caused immediate pain and I couldn't straighten up fully.  Doing the dishes later on that night I felt like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

My gloves where I left them. 

 I went to bed and hoped to wake up all better on Tuesday, but sadly, that wasn't the case.  I tore the house apart looking for Carl's back brace, but it was nowhere to be found.  

During my quest for the missing back brace, I came across a waist shaper that a lady had sold me when I bought the fancy dress for Joel's wedding.  I never wore the contraption, known as a Squeem (hey, I didn't make that up) until yesterday.  It took me about fifteen minutes to figure out which end was up and another five minutes to figure out how to hook all the hooks without unhooking the hooks that were already hooked.  Did you get that?  The secret is to start at the bottom, in case you're having trouble with your Squeem.  Hey, I'm here to help.  The sucker is really like a long-line corset-y girdle and is just as fun to wear as it is to squeem yourself into.   Truth be told, I did feel a little relief with the extra support, though.

With my loins suitably girded, I decided to take it easy and spent the afternoon putting greenery in the driveway pots and urns.  As long as I stayed upright I didn't feel too bad, and walking (slowly) was actually pain-relieving.  Getting in and out of a car was not, however.  I sorta shuffle-walked up to Mom's for her medication dosing. 
More spray-painted hydrangeas and greenery
I went to bed on Tuesday night thinking surely I'd feel better on Wednesday, but once again, there wasn't much of a change.  Being down on the ground didn't seem to aggravate my back too much, so I spent most of Wednesday clearing out the hosta borders along the road and by the Tardig.

After four hours on my knees I'd had enough.  Getting up and down was starting to take a toll, too.  I was starting to limp quite badly on my way to the house at sunset.

In a shocking turn of events, Carl made supper and did the dishes for me while I took an Epsom salt bath.  I felt a little better after the good hot soak, but was glad to end the day.  Surely Thursday I'd wake up and feel better.  

When I woke up on Thursday morning, the left side of my neck was horribly stiff.   I couldn't turn my head at all and my back was even worse.  Since the weather was going to be nice, Carl had taken vacation and kindly went to Mom's with her medication for me.  We decided to go shopping for a new back brace since I couldn't face another day of Squeeming, so off to Green bay we went.  I limped to the pharmacy aisles and selected ibuprofen, Aspercreme, Icy Hot and a nice back brace with velcro adjustment straps.  

"How are you today?" the cheery checkout clerk inquired.  

"Oh, I'm good," I winced as I helped Carl put the items on the belt.

As she ran each item under the scanner, I think she knew I was a liar.

Carl had me push the cart and I slowly meandered out of the store and into the parking lot.  Each step was a doozy as I carefully plodded along.  As soon as were in the car I whipped open the back brace package and with Carl's help, adjusted the straps.  Phew, much more comfortable than the Squeem.

We took the scenic route home and eventually found ourselves out in the garden after dinner.  I was in no shape to do much; I moseyed around getting shovels for Carl and other assorted go-fering, and finally did some work on my hands and knees.  The weather was a balmy, gorgeous almost 70 degrees, it's heart-breakingly perfect to work in, but guilty me should have gotten far more done than I accomplished today.   

Sometimes I have a tendency to get down in the dumps.  On Tuesday I had a crying jag come out of nowhere, right in the middle of trying to squish myself into my Squeem.  I haven't cried like that in a long, long time and even though it didn't help my looks any, I did feel better afterward.  Chronic pain and worry wear me out; it's a good thing there is a pressure relief valve. After the storm passed, I started to giggle, what a sight I must have been lying on the floor half in and half out of the girdle torture device, if it wasn't so painful, it would be hilarious.  Trying to get up off the floor was a hoot, too. 

Abby sent me a picture of Audrey last night; I cannot tell you how much seeing her beautiful face cheered me up:

 Look at her, all snuggly in her cow pajamas.....awwwww, such a Love!

I was able to make supper tonight and even did the dishes on my own, so maybe now I'm on the mend?  I did call my doctor today and he had some words of wisdom for me, too; I'm hopeful this is just a temporary setback. 

We'll see how tomorrow goes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  One change is for certain, the forecast is calling for 34 degrees on Friday night.  Winter, here we come.........





Sue said...

I feel so bad for you--back (?) issues can sure make one feel miserable. I tend to have them during the winter when I am sitting more often. Not laughing AT you, but your squeem sounds hilarious.

As for the medical side of it, find yourself a great Naturopath. I had ongoing strange issues for YEARS, getting to the point I could barely function anymore. I finally got sick and tired of endless doctor visits. Found a guy on the internet (thank you, oh god of Google!) and he gave me bloodwork. I was dangerously low on some key nutrients. One year later, I felt 25 years younger.
Best of luck to you Karen. I hope you get some relief from your pains.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh dear Karen ~ You have been through so much pain, etc. and now this. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May you be feeling much better soon.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Carol said...

Reading through your post was like reading a page in the life of Carol... I feel your pain and we are alike in oh so many ways. I keep on working when I shouldn't and push myself until I just can't to anything and then I swear at myself for being the fool that I am. But as soon as I'm able to move the least little bit I'm at it again. Do you think we'll ever learn? I'm pretty sure I won't . Sending you healing thoughts ♥

Bonnie K said...

I am so sorry about your health woes. Nothing is worse than not feeling well when the weather is good. Now it is another story when you are trying to get out of shoveling, for me at least. I hope you get your back pain figured out.

Karen said...

Sue, if I had absolutely no pride I would make a video of the squishing inherent in encapsulating myself in the Squeem. Alas, though I don't mind poking fun at myself, the resulting footage would be unfit for most audiences. I'm seeing an alternative medical doctor who I've found to be helping me much more than the past experiences with mainstream medicine. :-)

Karen said...

Rainey, thank you so much for your kind well wishes. I'm thinking of you every day, too.

Karen said...

Carol, we ARE alike! I know, I do the same thing time after time, but when the weather is nice it seems like a crime to sit around moping, doesn't it? I'm feeling better tonight, thank goodness!

Karen said...

BonnieK, how very true, I should have had my back go out when we were putting the hay down on the mound! The weather was gorgeous today and I was feeling a lot better.

outlawgardener said...

Oh Karen, I'm so sorry for your pain. Hopefully by now you're doing much better and were able to enjoy Thanksgiving! Your sense of humor and ability to cry away some stress are inspirational as is the tremendous amount of work you do. Sending healing prayers your way!