Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Dreaded Thyroid Biopsy Postponed

I had a count-down of days to this biopsy scheduled for today at 9 am. I kept busy each day, or rather life kept me busy as I have been recording on this blog.  I last wrote about this thyroid issue HERE.  Lately I have reminded people to pray about this biopsy and the results of it.

Can you imagine having a really long needle 
stuck in your neck while you watch it happen!!

I had a thyroid biopsy years ago. I was a widow then and so upset that I had no family by my side. But today hubby would be with me.

Of the three things I had to boss him around about (and really the only three things in his simple life), he accomplished one this morning--he took a shower, but standing up I am afraid. He complained about the shower seat in our large shower, but showered with it there standing up. His training for a sit-down shower isn't complete. He did not manage to shave before we left and I took his pills with us and he had them when he was good and ready for them--actually at lunch at Ruby Tuesdays with a lovely coupon from my MN friend Kathy.

It turns out that morning appointment was actually a biopsy consultation with the doctor who would do my biopsy. I told this specialist I have been tired lately. The body is so complex and so at my age he decided to also do a carotid ultrasound on August 14 and the thyroid biopsy will be on August 15th.  I will find out the results on September 3. So the wait is not over, folks. I have to wait more!

I need to keep busy. I came up with this list.
Showing the driver's license
I am stuck with for five years--
me with no eyebrows. 
  1. Practice speeches for Toastmasters. Monday on the spur of the moment because the club needed more speeches, I decided to  speak on "The Girl With No Eyebrows" at a Toastmasters speak-a-thon. It turns out this old biddy shown here was funny and was encouraged to enter the club's Humorous Speech Contest on August 19th. See post HERE.  Do you think I should enter it?  Also I am speaking on "The Accidental Rapper" on August 5th--how I became MC AC The Rap Lady. Maybe people will get tired of this old biddy speaking three times in a row. 
  2. Tweak The House That Cleans Itself so I can entertain in a month.  Lots of things left to do here. 
  3. Work on counseling dissertation. 
  4. Continue to enjoy prayer and Bible study--aways refreshing.
  5. Write letters to people who actually send mail. Kathy in MN and Joyce in TN. I do not think they read this blog. 
  6. And, of course, spend time with hubby. He is just happy if I sit by his side. Me sit? I will have to practice that one. 
What do you do when you are waiting? 
What do you think I should do? 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More Computer Trouble

Suspected Scammer Taking Over My Computer
The morning of July 26th I went in search of a missing piece for my new Mac computer--getting Microsoft Office installed. On the Internet I found a service  which reported to be experts who could help me get Office installed and they took over my computer remotely with my permission. What did I know? Best Buy Geeks said that I needed to get someone else to use the codes on my discs to credit it for a Mac and put it on this computer.

The chat began late morning and to protect myself I copied our chat when my new Mac computer was taken over by this group and put it on a note. Then I emailed that chat so I would have it on my Notebook computer.

To start Jerry gets my first and last name, my home number, cell number and my email. I told Jerry about the two PC discs I have, but need it on a Mac. Twice he asks me if I have a place to install the discs and twice I tell him the Mac Mini doesn't have that.

Jerry: Are there other computers connected to this computer in your network?

Carol: No, but I do have a PC Acer Notebook that has this 2007 installed on it and I would like to send files to that Notebook computer. I use it to do Power Point presentations.

Jerry: Thank you so much for briefing [me] on your issue. From here we will take care of this issue and fix it for you. I am going to look for reasons why you are facing this issue and possible solutions. Please let me check your MAC for a while. May I?

Carol: Thanks so much, Jerry.

Jerry: You are welcome.  I am going to look for reasons why you are facing this issue and possible solutions. Please let me check your MAC for a while. May I? [He repeats himself] . . . Carol, I tried to download but there are some errors in your Mac stopping me. Let me show you. [He shows items in red.]  Can you see the errors in your computer?

Carol: Yes, you pointed to them.

Jerry: Yes, These are the corrupted registry files & they could be causing the problem with installations ports in your Computer. These registry files might have corrupted the associated driver and the communication ports for your computer. They might have corrupted and starting to multiply to other programs in your computer. There seems to be serious issues with your computer that needs immediate attention. Some of the registry issues need to be fixed or it might result in computer crashes and the data loss. I can fix it manually for you.

What do I know about all of this? Have viruses followed me to this MAC.  Also, notice the These is capitalized. He could have copied and pasted this. 

Carol [weary for a month of hospital visits, my fall, computer viruses, no water, and pending biopsy not to mention my husband's decline]: great

Jerry: Alright [sic], May I know when you did the last clean up of errors in your computer manually by a Certified System Engineer?

Carol: Oh no! I have had this since Tues. I got it because the PC had viruses and Trojans on it and I think this Mac should have fixed everything. This Mac Mini is brand new with my old stuff installed on it.

Jerry: I understand, Did you transferred [sic] any files from your old PC to the Mini mac.

Carol: Best Buy did that for $99.

Jerry: As a certified professionals we would not like to comment on any third party applications or security software. The Network ports of your computer seems not to be secured enough to block these infections.  Since you transferred your old files (affected files) to your MAC this could happen.  .  .  .  Threats can enter in through a small loophole too, within the first 4 minutes on internet usage. If this goes on for a long time without getting the problem fixed, chances are that your computer could easily crash and stop working altogether.

Should be "infected", among other corrections. 

Jerry: Carol, Are you following me.

Carol: Yes in tears because I thought with a Mac I was not going to have Trojans and viruses as easily if at all.
. . . .
Jerry: Once I fix all the issues on your Computer  . . . I would suggest you to go for the long term as there are several issues on your Mac.  . . . We will be your dedicated support for all your MAC needs anytime with your subscription.

I remind Jerry that I bought certified Best Buy Geek support for three years and this would be a duplicate coverage. 

Jerry:  As a certified professionals we would not like to comment on any third party applications or security software. 

He has repeated himself. Now Jerry is pasting in that same sentence with the a c______ p_______s error. It is his canned speech. 

I foolishly buy this service and then am able to be offered a refund later--stay tuned. Bank of America credit card will get me out of it by 72 hours if it is not deleted by this outfit. 

Enter Valentino who calls me someone else--Thomas. 

Valentino: If you have the key for the Mac computer we will install it now.

Carol: I never told you I had a key for a Mac computer. You should have read carefully. This is a scam to get my money.

Valentino: We are certified professionals. We resolve all kinds of Technical issues.

A Lewis was brought in and while I attended to my husband, someone wrote for me to someone else right on my computer!!! Taking over my computer while I was out of the room!  As I had told them, I had to leave to take my husband to the doctor to check his knee that had put him in the hospital earlier in the month. I typed that "I am very upset" and that they could call at 6 pm. At the doctor's office on my iPhone I get an email receipt from their services and I reply on email from my iPhone: Might dispute this. False information from [your techs] who didn't read what I wrote, and took over my computer.  .  .  . We will see if [you] can deliver what [you] promised before [you] took my money. 

Thank the LORD 
the doctor said 
my husband's knee is healing nicely. 

Shortly after I got home they did call and I complained. Soon a tech was back on the phone saying they would give a refund. A confirming email followed with a ticket history note at the bottom that I had gotten irate and thought they were scammers and had disconnected the phone. No indication that I had left to go to the doctor's office.

Tomorrow is Sunday, a day of rest. 
I need it. Thanks for your prayers. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Computer

Our church starts at 2 pm, but I was on a mission--recover my computer last Sunday morning.  In the battle for the shower I put up with just hubby taking pills and shaving.  There was another battle and I couldn’t wait for hubby’s shower (which did happen on Monday, by the way). 

This was the second time my big computer had that same ugly virus. One virus or Trojan showed a picture of handcuffs and demanded money or my computer would be shut down! A friend from church had solved it the first time, and it took him a lot of time to do it. I dared not ask this gentleman again. 
 Actual Picture of a Trojan that two times infected my old computer
Me? Pornography on the computer? Send them money from KMart, 7-11 or Walgreens? The only picture I could think of as porno was this one I once used on a blog post for humor HERE

Furthermore, I am anti-addiction and anti-porography.  Why I even put anti-pornography in one of my latest raps, “Addiction”, that I just delivered in my last class for DUI offenders.

Here to be in your face
About your addiction
Don’t get me started
It’s hard to be parted
With your addiction
Lots of friction
You skip tradition
And slip into addiction
Doling out your cash
Getting high on grass
Or meth or cocaïne
Hugging, puffing
Reeling, stuffing
Alcohol seems so splendid
But just causes a dependence
Booze makes you a ball of rage
Will be hard to turn the page
Porn seems too easy
Just makes you sleazy
Relationships now measly
Life is a process
But drugs are a regress
Do you want to kill?
Take that drive
Take that pill
You won’t survive
The heat’ll get ya
And you’ll go to jail
I’ve seen it ya betcha.
So low you stoop
But it’s time you regroup
Pitch the fiction
Stop the addiction
Don’t escape life
Deal with your strive
Here to be in your face
About you addiction.
You viruses! I complain about porn, but don’t have it on my computer!  You think you are going to come and lock me up if I don't send money! You are not our government! 

I asked a police lady friend with whom I play Words With Friends what can be done.  She wrote me on the chat on our game:  If you can prove who and how it was done, you can present it to an attorney. They may ask you to get a police report with a case number to start an investigation.
This is the second time for those viruses on my computer. My husband's son-in-law said he switched to a Mac because of viruses.  I emailed my Mac/Apple sister-in-law and asked if she knew of a cheap Mac computer. 

As I indicated, Sunday is usually our day of rest, with a casual morning and a 2 pm afternoon service. But I had no rest at all. I had to do something.  Hubby and I headed off to Best Buy for a solution. Hubby found his usual spot for sitting in the Geek area. I walked by the Best Buy PC computers and found the Apple sign.
Apple Display at Best Buy

Here it was that I met Knight Mike. If ever there was a customer ready to buy, it was I!
I approached Mike as if he were a psychiatrist.  “I am grieving so much about my PC and all my work and photos I am missing on it.  Sure I have a small Notebook computer, but there are tons of files on my PC.”  Mike let me spew all my woes out. “Mike, the virus even thinks I have pornography on my computer and they want me to send money!”
We looked at options. I checked my email on my iPhone and my sister-in-law was out of church and emailed me back about the Mac Mini. You can use your monitor, your keyboard and your mouse from the defunct PC. We went back to the house and got the tower of the PC I now call The Trojan Horse, or "Trojan" for short with its ugly viruses/Trojans lurking inside and hubby and came back to buy.

I emailed my sister-in-law:  “Mike and you just sold me.”  With lightning speed Customer Service Agent Charlene completed the order and brought me to the Geek Squad who would arrange for my PC insides to be put in virus free to a Mac-Mini-Intel Core 15/4GB/500 on sale for $549.99 with DATA backup for $99.99 and a three year Geek warranty for $179.97 in addition to the year’s Mac warranty. After all my careful planning to reduce credit card balances, I put over $800 on a credit card that I had proudly reduced by $400 this month. Oops!
We got to our 2 pm church service at 2:25. After the service I confessed to pastor where we had been. That confession felt good. Would you have confessed to your pastor the frivolous reason you were late? He really didn't seem upset with us. 

Wednesday morning I had my Geek appointment to get my new Mac with recovered files from the Trojan. Geek Erin was great. When I got home I did find that the keyboard and the mouse would work, but I had to buy a new monitor. I went to Staples and got one on sale for $89.99 and with a chord for $40.79. All in all my Mac computer was a lot cheeper than the old $3000 Mac I had gotten years ago. But the Staples techie said that Mac/Apple computers do get viruses and my three year Geek warranty doesn't cover them. Hmm! 

After I taught a DUI class from 3:30 to 7:30 on Wednesday, I stopped by to see Geek Erin again for more info. What the Staples techie told me was not true and she showed me on my  warranty and three-year contract that virus protection is included, should I get a virus. Erin did give me Best Buy Tech at 1-800-433-5778 for further help. Even though I have had several Apple computers, I found that I would need help at home to finish setting up the computer. Best Buy Tech could answer my questions for about $50, but they did give me Laura at 1-800-275-2273, an actual Apple/Mac tech who was wonderful and helped me with 5 of 7 issues. Getting Word, Excel and Power Point needs to happen with a Microsoft download and I forgot to ask Laura about hooking up my PC speakers to the Mac Mini.  That short-term memory of mine again! 
Small Mac Mini at left

Now, with MY short-term memory, I wonder if I will remember all of Laura's tricks. I do wish that ridding my hubby of Alzheimer's and memory loss would be that easy as taking a virus or a Trojan out of a computer. Sigh! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sitting Down to Shower

"Sean," I told him in earnest on the phone, "we are senior citizens and both of us need to sit down in the shower. Hubby doesn't like me bossing him around, so when you come I just know that you can do wonders, because he doesn't want me bossing him around. I think he will listen to you."

Knight Sean (Occupational Therapist) drove up in our circular driveway to our door in his Hummer-looking large black four-door jeep. When Sean came in the door, Sean told hubby, "Mr. Johnson, I am here to have you take a shower." With one command at a time, Sean skillfully broke down the process and hubby took a sit-down shower! He raised the sturdy shower bench I couldn't raise and was using in the yard for weeding.  He remarked that the port-a-potty we have would also work in the shower.

Solution One. Sean told me to get grab bars installed for the shower. I once had bought them when the shower was retiled by homeowners insurance for a mold problem we had maybe six years ago before dementia entered our household, However, the construction crew did not install them and I had taken them back. I surmised that the grab bars were not part of the original construction and not needed in the repair. Bummer.

Twice as good a deal as six months ago
I have just paid off our interest-free six month Home Depot credit card balance and now I could take longer for the interest free loan.  So I went online and chatted with Tiffany to see if I could get grab bars installed.

Tiffany: Welcome to the Home Depot! My name is Tiffany and I am a Bath Product Specialist. How may I assist you today?
Carol: I need a grab bar installed in our shower.
Tiffany: Hello, Carol.
Tiffany: In regards to installation/remodeling, please contact our At-Home Services at 1-888-480-9500, press "1", and then enter the three-digit code "267." You will be asked to put in your zip code and then will be connected with a representative who may better assist you with your installation/remodeling questions and concerns.
Carol: Thanks.

When I called, I found out that they sell grab bars, but do not install them.

. . . But, Home Depot doesn't do grab bars!

So I decided to still try to obey the knight with the four-door black jeep and see about getting grab bars installed from Lowes. Lowes also does not install grab bars, but they did have something that might work--Safe-er-Grip, Balance Assist for Shower or Tub. The Lowes clerk knew what I was talking about, as his own mother had fallen and had to have surgery for a broken hip and with the anesthesia her dementia had gone downhill. If hubby can avoid falling, he can avoid the possibility of anesthesia for surgery and the accompanying decline of dementia following anesthesia. If I can avoid falling as I have done twice recently, I can continue to take care of my hubby at home. Physical therapist Susann talked me through the installation of the two Balance Asists and the best use of them--for balance, not for pulling oneself up. One fell down that first night, however.

Two large bricks covered by a rug
and Safe-er-Grip on toilet
Solution Two. I put two 8 inch by 8 inch by 16 inch bricks on top of each other between the shower and the toilet with a rug on top of them. Hubby has a counter on his right and the bricks on the left to get off the toilet. Those bricks now hold his soap and shampoo for a sit-down shower. But guess what! He moves the soap dish to where it was at the back of the shower and stands to take his shower. You know what they say—you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

Just as Physical Therapist Susann left, Occupational Therapist Sean came. The timing corresponded with another event.  Sally and I were having lunch with another friend. Jake came over to have his lunch with my husband and Susann left and Sean was there with Sally and my Alzheimer's husbands.

The two balance assists in the shower

Sean liked the two brick idea between the toilet and shower. Sean asked if they would be okay when he left and I told him the two Alzheimer’s buddys would be fine. The two men love being together and are so funny together. When hubby sat and waited for me at Best Buy recently, he said to me that it felt strange not to have Jake by his side. These men have a unique bond and fantasy life about things they have done together. When Sally and I came home from our lunch date, the hubbies were indeed happy and had planned the four of us would go to dinner and we did that. We women can’t do all the planning!

So it has been up to me to persuade hubby with our new sit-down shower arrangement. Getting him to shave is easier because he can feel his beard. He thinks he showered yesterday, when he hasn't. Alzheimer's patients need a routine and we just have to manage somehow so he can remain in our home without falling and with strengthened muscles.

Solution Three. Now hubby had injured his knee taking socks off to put in the hamper. This is how the last hospital trip happened. I got him new socks that are easier to take off. Hubby is not using this walker now, but I put the hamper between the legs of that walker so he can carefully balance himself as he takes off his socks. I notice he does hold those handles on the walker when he uses the laundry hamper.

Laundry basket in walker

Sitting down in the shower is not an embedded solution yet, as hubby  takes a stand-up shower in his sit-down shower. Calling Knight Sean! Need another lesson in sit-down showers! And hey, Home Depot and Lowes, with our aging population we need you to install those grab bars.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The House That Cleans Itself: Rugs in Areas 2, 4, 5, and 6

Looking down the hall
to the master bedroom
When I have finished a room, I have had to report that the unclean, stained carpet wasn't done and I would have to go back to that. The history of the horrible stains is that once a "professional" group came in and cleaned quickly with lots of moisture. In several months the stains appeared as the moisture came to the surface revealing the mud that was imbedded.

Today our carpets were cleaned with the help of Melody, whom we employed. In order to do this, she started with the master bedroom about 11:15 and she worked hard until 5:45 until she had done what I asked her to do. Now ceiling fans are running drying these rooms and I am sitting on the only chair in the den as I type.

"Where are our chairs?" hubby kept askinig.

"I moved them to the garage, the workshop, the guest bedroom and even the front porch," was my reply. Then he would ask again where the chairs were. At one point he moved to our bedroom to watch TV so Melody could clean the family room. His celebrated Ikea coffee table with his prized DVD collection was rolled to the kitchen. Ceiling fans in the rooms that have them are running at high speed as the carpet dries.

Products Used
Melody picked up my vacuum cleaner from our repairman, her brother, and brought it to our house. It worked well and so I have no excuse but to keep up the vacuuming. She also said I can use the stain removers to clean spots. I need to do that. She used Rug Doctor Oxy-Steam Carpet Cleaner in her carpet cleaner (my carpet cleaner is waiting for a part according to her brother). For stain removal she used Resolve Stain Remover and Bissell Big Green Commercial Heavy Traffic Precleaner you see above.

Now, my three weeks for "no sweat" after my eyebrow procedure I wrote about earlier will be up on July 22 so then I have to get busy. Also, you may notice the weights in the above shelf and my birthday treadmill in this post. Next week I need to exercise, keep up with the house and get back to weeding. Those weeds have been growing! Tentatively a yard sale will be coming up also.

There were two other wonderful blessings today beside the carpet cleaning. First, a student I had in fifth grade 35 years ago messaged me on Facebook and thanked me for the impact I had on her life. Second, I received my notice that I will be substituting again next week. (I had gotten the substitute test in late due to my husband's hospitalization recently.) 

Thank you, LORD, for such rich blessings.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pride Goes Before Destruction

MRI discovers torn cartilage

Light pink curb I thought was part of walkway
Pride goes before destruction, we read in Proverbs 16:18. Well I had a lot of pride and I fell over a long raised curb that separated our car from a brick walkway. At dusk it appeared to me that the curb was part of the walkway.
I commented in the last post about hubby being sad Saturday night as I left the hospital. He asked if it was his permanent home and of course I explained that he was in the hospital because of his knee. 
All Sunday I was back to the hospital with him. A person with Alzheimer’s doesn’t understand the hospital. He asked where our dog is. I should have put more lights on in the hospital room to avoid sundowners, but I forgot. I was tired and tried to sleep in the nice fold-down chair provided for guests. I tell you, that the staff there was wonderful—Cindy, Roy, Lou Ann, Lorrie and Tracey and I should have told have told them about sundowners as I did about his coconut oil that they kept in a refrigerator.
We left the dimly-lit hospital room as hubby’s bed was wheeled a brightly-lit room where the MRI specialist Carletta gave clear instructions to my husband as he entered her MRI machine that was to discover what was wrong with that right knee that had been giving him problems. Carletta’s sparkling personality was so much fun. She put music on my husband’s head set to mask the noise of the machine and he behaved himself all during the test that was maybe half an hour. 
Back in the dimly-lit room hubby had a sundowner’s episode, but I listened carefully and oh was I starting to be humbled. DH was uncharacteristically hurling all kinds of innuendos at me, threatening our marriage. I did start to listen, however, because I am being trained as a counselor. What is the feeling behind what he is saying even if the reality is skewed by an Alzheimer’s sundown episode?
Pride lesson number one. Hubby doesn’t feel connected to me. What he said was like a knife in my heart. I go around the house taking care of more than my share of work in household tasks, dare I say 99% of what needs to be done. But, my primary task and joy is to be WITH him. I have even blogged about this privilege of being with him as his wife. He told me point blank that I was becoming too bossy and that we needed to decide things together. I agreed with him. Everything I think is important to get done has become my altar above being a wife. I could understand how he was feeling and did not dismiss this, nor his anger.
So before going home for the night I gave him his cell phone so he could feel in charge. Meanwhile he called out Pastor who asked him where he was. He could not say where he was and Pastor had him give the phone to someone nearby. I was told that a nurse did talk with our Pastor.  Meanwhile when I got home, hubby called and ordered me back to the hospital, with strong statements that seemed to reflect on the security of our marriage. I was taken aback, but decided to take my weary bones back to the hospital. I even stopped and bought him ice cream.

It was as I got out of our car in the parking lot at dusk Sunday night that I fell. Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Down on my left side. I had learned to not brace myself in a fall and didn’t hit my head. But I was mad and in pain. Again with my pride I thought this fall was so unfair. Why had my husband insisted I return to the hospital after hours--so unreasonable, I thought!
I tried to hold back the tears from the pain as I made it to Third North with his ice cream. He was so glad to see me and had none of the anger of the previous hours. The husband in him rose to the occasion. Here he was needed to comfort me. Of course he expected that I was going to get his clothes and drive us home but I said I needed to go to ER about my injuries as Nurse Cindy started to fill out an accident report. I was sent to that same Emergency Room where hubby had been the day before. My pain had subsided by the time I got to ER and I decided to not pursue being examined in ER—possibly a prideful decision. Fortunately (better GOD’s grace than MY wisdom) I was just bruised as far as I can tell. My knee and elbow have abrasions and at this point the shoulder pain is gone. My pharmacist at Super Discount Pharmacy said to keep the abrasions’ uncovered and use Neosporin Ointment.
About 5:30 Monday night hubby came home and was wheeled in the front door by neighbor Kenny. Hubby headed for his spot in the family room by his DVD collection. We wheeled that collection out of the way so that the walker could be used. Soon Tom from Westcoast Brace and Limb was at our door to fit hubby with the brace he has been wearing on his injured knee. New items in our life: a wheel chair, walker (we have two now) and a knee brace.
Tuesday Jake came over and Sally and I attended a wonderful session with Dr. Aryn Harrison at our monthly Alzheimer’s Association meeting while Kenny stayed with the Alzheimer’s husbands.
So much help. Tuesday my main computer had a MAJOR virus and Dave from church is now working on it. I am so blessed to have all of this help. Sally and Jake’s son installed the moveable shower head for hubby to use as he sits in the shower.  The Interim Health Care have been at the house to rehabilitate my husband—three people today. Nurse Tammy, Occupational Therapist Sam and Physical Therapist Tarissa. Saturday Wayne again will mow our lawn. Thursday they are sending a social worker.  He has many adjustments so he can remain in our home and strengthen his leg, but he is on his way.
I have been remembering the lesson. BE WITH HUBBY. Fortunately there will be other people to help him exercise and take a shower sitting down. I won’t have to appear like the boss to him and we can just be buddies for however long the LORD wills.
--Carol from her Notebook computer by her husband’s side

(Corrected after first posted with pictures added when home computer was restored.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

At Hospital Again

Picture of Redman Room 312 Added Later 
Things had been going well for hubby, although I noticed he had less energy on July 4th when we went to a movie and lunch with Sally and Jake. Yesterday was a great day at home. Hubby watched and enjoyed his usual DVD and TV movies. I worked on two quilts--one for a grandson of hubby's and other one as a late gift for Sally.

Last night when we were going to bed hubby called me. His knee was out. He was sitting on a chest right by the hamper and I expect that he had just taken his socks off and twisted his knee. That right knee looked out of shape. He has had a problem with it before.

Somehow we got him into bed and he slept well, but this morning, although the knee looked better, he could not walk on it and would not get out of bed. Kenny came over early and got him into the chair by his bed. At noon Kenny came back. About four hours later Kenny and another neighbor got him into the car so I could take him to Plant City Baptist Hospital again--almost like a repeat performance.

Since he hadn't fallen this time, there would be fewer tests. Dr. B. on call in the ER examined the knee, heard the history and said he may have a meniscus injury. An MRI would pick this up, but they don't do this in Emergency. They are checking him out for a UTI.

Will update in comments below..

--Carol from my notebook computer

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Girl With No Eyebrows

I have never really had eyebrows. This picture of me at a young age is cute for sure. But where are the eyebrows? Also, the photographic studios painted my eyes blue and I grew up thinking my eyes were blue. It was not until I went to a color consultant in California in the 1970s that I even realized I had green eyes and that I am a "spring". That color consultant has shaped what colors and patterns I wear for 40  plus years, but no one, no one, has really helped me with my eyebrows. Oh I have heard to not use pencil--use powder so it will look more natural. NATURAL! EEK! By the end of the day NO EYEBROWS! NADA! I am self-conscious about those eyebrows!

Eyebrows. Why am I writing about this on a blog about caregiving? Yes, for sure I do write about the my dear husband's dementia and how well he is doing after almost five years with the disease. But I also write here about the process of aging, downsizing with the book The House That Cleans Itself, and really what can be done to simplify life in the senior years. I cannot turn back the hands of time, but maybe, just maybe, I can be more sympathetic with the aging me I see in the mirror. Maybe I can take less time on makeup and look pretty as well. Maybe this will happen when I

Have my eyebrows done
with permanent makeup!

Years ago when I taught fifth grade in California one girl came up to me and asked me how old I was when I got my ears pierced, hoping I would say "ten" and she could press her case with her mom. My answer of  "twenty-three" disappointed her. I was always sensible for years and years and years. I was always cautious in dating and only married for the first time at age forty, became a widow and then eight years later married my current husband, an attentive and Christian gentleman. But now--


Good gracious gravy! I think I am so vain and silly about this. But you have to understand, folks. If I were to use tweezers I couldn't find the blond hair to pluck out to shape those eyebrows. Eyebrow powder does fall off by the end of the day. At times I get these eyebrows waxed, but why even do that! The powder will just fall off!

The driver's license I have been stuck
with for five years has no eyebrows!

I have looked so old lately with bags under the eyes because of no thyroid pills for five weeks. Horrible. Doesn't this picture gross you all out. I almost wasn't going to put it here.

Before eyes
 I started thinking about what if I had to go to the hospital again. Or, what if people looked at the above eyebrows in a casket. Would the mortician know how to fix my eyebrows so people would recognize me and say she looks peaceful? How can I grow old gracefully?

Better after consultation
and taking thyroid pills again

Lakeland, Florida Salon
Hubby went with me to the eyebrow consultation on my birthday last week. We both liked how my eyebrows looked as Betty drew color on manually and decided the exact color and shape. All day long those eyebrows looked good and so did my eyebrows on my birthday picture with my husband taken at Grillsmith restaurant that night. Those eyebrows are going to camouflage a lot of aging and they move with my expressions. People will see eyebrows and green eyes and be distracted by the aging me. My eyes will speak, at least this is my plan.

The day after my birthday I went to my doctor and everything checks out fine. She didn't seem concerned about the 40 day wait for my thyroid biopsy. She didn't seem concerned about my eyebrows getting permanent color. I will just have to be careful to not let my forehead get an infection, she said. No sweating and no yard work for three weeks. Be careful when I wash my hair, etc.

Betty's magic is actually permanent makeup with 100% vegetable dye. It was wonderful to be pampered and really was not painful. I had asked my hairdresser Anne what I will look like if I were to go to Toastmasters tonight and she had replied: You might look a little swollen and they will be darker than you'll want, but after they heal they lighten. You may look a little strange, but you can pull it off.

A little strange at Toastmasters? I can handle that?

Yes, I thought, the lady who told her Toastmasters club about the messes in her home with illustrated pictures can handle an eyebrow transition and looking a little strange.

Before Toastmasters tonight Hubby and I went to Texas Roadhouse in Lakeland for dinner.*  When we left the restaurant, it was raining and I wasn't supposed to get my eyebrows wet! On the way to Toastmasters my forehead itched and I scratched!  But Betty had given me antibiotic ointment to put on my eyebrows tonight and I am not expecting a problem.

The theme at Toastmasters for the evening was "summer adventure". I took that summer adventure to Toastmasters! Really people didn't notice my eyebrows. Silly me! At least I don't have to work in the yard for three weeks because sweat would not help the healing and I might get an infection. Eccentric! That's what you call us old gals.  I now qualify as the old biddy with painted eyebrows! Bring on that Red Hat Society.

I do thank the LORD for a loving husband who put up with this fetish of mine and who is still able to do things with me. Next project? Work at not being so self-conscious about myself and deal with aging.

* See our pictures at Texas Roadhouse on this blog's Facebook page.

Belgium's Disturbing Take on Alzheimer's

The Wall Street Journal HERE reports on Belgium's easy euthanasia. Two 43 year old twins died together. Here is how the Journal described their death.

On Dec. 14, Marc and Eddy, after a long legal and medical journey,
met their doctors and family in a Brussels hospital, according to their doctor.
They enjoyed a final cup of  coffee and lay down in adjoining beds,
where a chaplain said a prayer. Then they waved to their family,
pointed up as if to say "see you on the other side,"
received their injections, and were gone.

What was their illness? The identical twins were deaf and were facing blindness from a genetic disorder. It turns out this is legal, not only in Belgium, but also in Luxembourg and Netherlands. France is considering euthanasia and Switzerland allows assisted suicide. In the USA the states of Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington allow assisted suicide where the patient himself administers the lethal dose.

It turns out the Belgium parliament is considering another bill on Alzheimer's according to that Journal article.

Another bill would let patients with early Alzheimer's sign
a declaration asking to have their life ended when a doctor
concludes they're no longer interacting with the outside
world, even if they seem vigorous and happy at the time.
Now, patients must be lucid to request euthanasia,
which is generally carried out soon after.

Can't you just see where this is going?! My husband takes the pills I give him, but under no circumstances do I want to let him give himself a lethal dose or his doctor for that matter. I want him alive as long as the LORD wills. At one point Hospice may need to be called in, but that is pallative care which is a whole different subject. 

The Journal reports furthermore that a lovely 72 year old lady in Belgium, Gerda Windgasse, has beginning Alzheimer's as my husband does. Her first doctor wouldn't allow euthanasia because of Gerda's Catholic beliefs. She changed doctors. Her new doctor, Peter De Deyn, says that he has euthanized about 20 dementia patients. Gerda's husband says "It's out of love for her that I couldn't stand the full decline of her personality."

As a woman of faith I see huge problems with Belgium's new laws.
  1. Thou shalt not kill means suicide in my book. It is murder.
  2. The LORD choses the time of our death.
  3. Suffering has meaning.
  4. Caregiving has meaning.
  5. Others can come alongside and share the load of the care receiver and the caregiver.
  6. I married in sickness and in health, for better for worse until death do us part.
I love the example of my care receiver husband who lives one day at a time. Sure I look to the future and what our needs might be, but I also live one day at a time.

The world is a better place because of Helen Keller, both deft and blind. The world is a better place because of Joni Eareckson Tada, gifted author, speaker and artist.  But this world is not all. We have this life as a preparation for heaven.