Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Tuesday afternoon stuff

Well, Gregg had his PET scan this morning. Thank you all for your positive thoughts and supportive comments on my last post. I appreciate every single one of them more than you know. The doctor promised to call with the results within a couple of days, so we shouldn't have to wonder much longer. I'm trying not to worry until there's a real reason to. (It's always in the back of my mind, though). 

Let me tell you about my weekend! This past Saturday morning I woke up around 3am, projectile vomiting and feeling like I might be dying! I spent the whole day in bed with nausea and stomach pain and feeling pretty terrible, bad enough that I wondered if I'd come down with the flu or something. What a great way to spend the weekend, huh? I'm pretty sure now that taking a big combination of drugs (for three separate issues) including antibiotics, prednisone, a pain reliever, and a muscle relaxer was to blame. I'm finally feeling pretty much back to normal today, and since I'm now off everything except a small and dwindling dose of prednisone, hopefully it won't happen again. It was a rough couple of days.

It looks like there's a hurricane headed to Florida tomorrow, and in the wee hours of Thursday morning it's supposed to go over eastern South Carolina as a tropical storm. I'm keeping a close eye on the Florida forecast because my friend Mary Moon is down there. In fact, when Gregg and I first saw the storm's forecast track, he said, "Hey, doesn't your blog friend live down near that part of Florida?"  It's funny how people we've only met through blogs can become so important to us. I know Ms. Moon and her family will be perfectly fine, but it's still scary having a big storm bearing down on you. We'll be watching developments closely, of course. I won't be surprised if we don't have school on Thursday, since we're going to get a ton of rain all at once (leading to minor flooding) and strong gusty winds. When it's not safe for school buses to be on the road, schools shut down. As they should, of course. 

So, we'll see what the rest of this crazy week holds! Only best-case scenarios, I hope. 

Stay safe, everyone. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Worried, but grateful

Yesterday Gregg came home from work, sat down heavily in a chair beside me, and said, "I got a call from Jamie Smith this morning. From him, not his office."

Jamie Smith is Dr. Jamie Smith, his oncologist. My heart sank.

Gregg's been having yearly chest CT scans since 2012, when he was treated for stage 3 lung cancer. One such scan was a couple of weeks ago. Apparently there have been some small but measurable changes in his chest area since the last one, and out of an abundance of caution Dr. Smith is sending him to have a PET scan next week. For those of you lucky enough to not know, PET scans are used to detect cancer. There's a small possibility that there's been a recurrence. 

Dr. Smith said (more than once) that he thinks there's less than a 10% chance that the cancer is back, but since Gregg only has one lung (they removed his left lung to save his life), there's just no room to take a "wait and see" approach. Catching any recurrence in the very earliest stages will be crucial to treating it successfully. He told Gregg to do his best not to worry over the next few days (easier said than done, of course, which he readily admitted) because he really thinks it will prove to be nothing. 

But oh, it's scary. It's hard not to worry. 

At the same time, I'm so incredibly grateful to Dr. Smith. He's been watching out for my husband for years now, and I have faith in him. He's not only a good oncologist, but he's also kind and thoughtful. He says he'll have answers for us within a day or two of the PET scan, which is next Tuesday. You can't ask for any better than that. 

But it's going to be a long week. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

"Not again!"

My new job is still going really well. Yesterday someone left this sweet note on my desk, and it made my day. I still don't know who wrote it, though! 

I'm learning new stuff all the time, and every day gets easier. I've had zero work stress. Zero. How wonderful is that?

It has been a little strange getting used to such young students after six years with tweens and young teenagers at the middle school, though. Our students are kindergarten (5K) through fifth grade. Babies! And so of course I'm already collecting "crazy shit little kids say and do" stories. Here's one of them...

One morning last week parents started showing up at the school (and calling), returning money that their children had been given on the school bus by another child. This one little boy, a kindergartener, had somehow gotten his hands on $400 in cash and took it to school with him. On the bus ride home, he was handing out 50- and 20-dollar bills to all the other kids......for no particular reason...he was just like...

Hahaha! *

And to top off this crazy story, when they called the kid's parents to tell them that cash was being dropped off in the office for them, cash their 5-year-old had given away on the bus, the first thing the mom said was, "Oh no! Not again!!!"

Yep, apparently the same thing had happened the year before! When he was in 4K, he snuck money to school and handed it out to his preschool class. I'm not sure what the future holds for this young man, but I'll say this: he's got the principle of sharing down pat. 

* I'm pleased to report that the family got all of the money back. I was impressed at the honesty of the other parents. One woman returned $100...her twin sons had each gotten a fifty on the way home!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Back on my feet

I ended up having two doctor's appointments this week. The first was with my family doctor on Tuesday to get refills for the SSRI I take. I'd made the appointment week before last, and it turned out to be a lucky thing that I did, because on Monday I woke up with a pulled muscle(s) in my lower back. I'm not sure how it happened, but I could hardly walk, so in addition to giving me a refill on the Zoloft the doctor also gave me two prescriptions for my back. That was good timing!

Along with the back pain, I've been having a massive eczema flare on my ankles and the tops of my feet. The itching, pain, swelling, and redness was making it nearly impossible to sleep at night, and between that and the back pain, it was really difficult to walk. I was miserable. On Wednesday morning I called my allergist's office and made an appointment for Friday afternoon after work.

Have I mentioned how much I love my allergy/asthma doctor, Dr. Stone? Any time I need to see him I can get appointments quickly, there's never any waiting past my appointment time, and he's always very kind. I was almost in tears when I got to his office yesterday. My feet were in horrible shape, so bad I was almost embarrassed to show them to him. I know that's silly, since he's my doctor and, as Gregg pointed out, has surely seen worse. It was pretty bad, though.

Dr. Stone was wonderful, as always. He held my feet gently in his hands to examine them while he questioned me about what's been going on. It turns out the triple antibiotic ointment I'd been slathering on the skin (in an effort to avoid infection when I couldn't help but scratch myself bloody) is an irritant that makes eczema worse.  Oops! And I did indeed have infection setting in, which of course explained the extra pain and itch and swelling. Then after examining my skin closely for a few minutes, he decided that the pattern of eczema on the tops and sides of my feet might be a sign of something called shoe dermatitis, an allergy to materials and chemicals used in making shoes. That would explain why the regular eczema treatments haven't been working very well and why the rash is all concentrated on my feet. In a few weeks, after the current infection and inflammation have been dealt with, I'll be going back to the office for patch testing, which will determine if I have it or not. From the website I just linked to:

 "Shoe dermatitis represents approximately 10% of all persons attending for patch testing. The culprit agent can range from products found in leather, colourants, rubber, or adhesive components, and can occasionally be mimicked by an allergy to agents on socks or stockings."

In the meantime, he prescribed a course of prednisone as well as oral and topical antibiotics to clear up the current crisis. He advised me to get several pairs of all cotton socks and to change them out a couple of times a day, maintaining a dry barrier between my skin and my shoes. Going barefoot or just wearing flip flops at home would be a good idea, too.

If I do have shoe allergies, I'll have to see if any companies make allergen free shoes. And it will be expensive to replace all of my current shoes, but very much worth it if it solves the problem. At the end of my appointment, Dr. Stone said, "We're going to get to the bottom of this, and we're going to fix it." I could have hugged him! 

I'm sorry I've been mostly absent in blogland for the past week, but now you know why. I hope to catch up with reading and commenting this weekend. Hopefully I'll be feeling better soon--between my back and my feet, it's been a rough time! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Just another hot August afternoon

It's really hot out today. Dangerously hot, to be precise. The heat index has been up around 107 degrees every day for a week. Monday night we got a massive thunderstorm complete with high winds and torrential rains, but did it cool things down any? No, it did not. Going outside, at any time of day, is pretty miserable. It's like putting a hot, wet towel over your face when you step out the door. Not my favorite time of year by any means!

Work is still going well. It's been a real adjustment going from such a busy, stressful environment as my last school to such a different place, though. I think I must have a little PTSD from last year, because I keep finding myself waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. Things are so placid and well-run and just...easy...that it makes me nervous sometimes.

 I know that sounds weird. It's hard to explain. It's like my nervous system is all keyed up and ready for stress to explode around me, and when it never does that anxiety/energy has nowhere to go. There are long stretches of time with nothing pressing for me to do. It's disconcerting. For six years I did the jobs of at least two people and the pace never, ever let up. Now I have a normal (one person) job. No one dumps extra tasks on me or takes advantage. (Quite the opposite, in fact. The other office people/teachers/staff go out of their way to be kind and to not impose on me or my time).  I have a great deal of freedom and a quiet, private office. There's only so much to do, even when I help answer phones and such, and it seems strange not to have to operate under a sense of urgency all the time. As to the bookkeeping part of my training (the only challenging thing) that's coming along just fine. I'm learning a lot as situations come up that require my input, and it's not nearly as complicated as I initially imagined it to be.

So, a bit weird, but all good. Since I'm off early (as usual these days) and Gregg works late tonight, I'm considering a short nap. My bedroom is cool and dark, I have a book to read*, and a quick snooze sounds like just the thing for a hot afternoon. 

*My book club decided to read a classic this month: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I'm enjoying it so far.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Morning brew

Nothing like a good hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning...and a friend to share it with. 

Happy Sunday, Friends!

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Last of the summer garden


This picture is about half of the tomatoes I picked week before last. Although it looks like a lot, I've been seriously underwhelmed at their performance this year. The garden is way past its prime, now, and I doubt many more tomatoes will be forthcoming this season. The awful heat of late July/early August really does a number on everything. Well, except for the cherry tomatoes. Those keep powering on no matter what! Everything else is almost done.

My cucumbers have been a real disappointment. I got a few, but they were mostly misshapen and several of them turned yellowish on the vine. I have no idea what the problem was. So much for the pickle making I'd planned to do!

 I do have lots of jalapenos ready to be picked. I've been waiting for most of them to turn red, and this weekend I plan to harvest them. Jalapenos never let me down! The sheepnose pimentos that I so looked forward to trying have been mediocre at best. We've had a few, and they're kind of bland, like bell peppers. There's still a few of them left to harvest but that's not very exciting. And the hot datil peppers I planted? They haven't produced a single pepper yet even though the plants still look healthy. Unless a miracle happens and they suddenly surprise me, I won't bother growing them again next year. Space in my raised bed is too limited for all that.

 All in all, it hasn't been the banner year for the garden I was hoping for. We have eaten plenty of fresh tomatoes, which was the top priority, but there weren't nearly enough for making sauce or salsa for canning. 

That's just the way it goes sometimes, I guess. At least there's still a fall garden and winter veggies to look forward to. And next year, of course.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Wednesday meme roundup: indictment edition!

Wasn't yesterday a great day in America?! These indictments are just SO MUCH FUN! I've picked some of the best memes I saw about it all to share with you. Most of them made me laugh right out loud.


Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Back to school week

I love my new work schedule! My official hours are 7am-2:30pm, but on days when I have to make a bank deposit (which is most days) I'm allowed to leave at 2:00. The bank is less than a quarter mile down the road from the school, and my house is a ten-minute drive from there. Today I made it home by 2:20 in the afternoon! How nice is that? I don't mind getting up early, either. It's totally worth it to me to have most of the afternoon free. 

My actual job is still going really well, too. I couldn't ask for a better environment or coworkers, and I seem to be catching on quickly. What a relief!

Yesterday was the first day back for students. When I mentioned that on my last blog post, several people expressed surprise that our summer break is so short. The reason why is because our district is on a "modified year-round" schedule. Basically, it means that summer break is two weeks shorter than it used to be (eight weeks as opposed to ten) but we get those two weeks back as an extra week off in October and again in February. Summer break is still a full two months, and now we have breaks spread out more evenly through the year. It's kind of nice, actually.

Speaking of the first day back:

Marla's little girl, Carsen, started kindergarten yesterday!

I can't believe she's already starting school. You know what this sassy little woman said to her mother the night before starting kindergarten? "I don't want you and Daddy to walk me in tomorrow. I can go in by myself!" Haha! She's going to do great. :) I wish she was attending the elementary school where I work (we have kindergarten, too) but she was already registered elsewhere at the beginning of the summer. Too bad! I'd dearly love to get to see her every day at work for the next five years.