Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Becoming Human

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I have turned a corner. I slept through the night and feel almost human this morning. The cough has lessened in intensity and I just hope I don't take a downturn because of the concert tonight. This morning, I am going to have Natalie listen to my lungs to see if she hears some pneumonia. Fingers crossed.

The other goals for today are to water the pots in the garden and to take a shower before the concert. Period. But tomorrow, ah, tomorrow, we are planning some fun. After breakfast, we are going to visit British Don, bring him some new sweats for rehab and some good cheer. He is really suffering. Don is a very private, proper English gentleman and having to share a bathroom and living space with three other "old farts" is just killing him. His head is spinning.

But, I love the British humor. His sister in England sent us all an email this morning:  "He is now settled in the convalescent centre by the ocean, though the downside is he is in a shared room.  Personally, having first-hand experience of the decibel level of Don's snoring, it is the other guys I feel sorry for!! ("Don, wake up, I can't hear what they are saying on the tv!!"). Apparently he has to be able to get up four flights of stairs at the centre before they will consider discharging him home; Don said "only another 32 stairs to go" so I think it will be a couple of weeks at least." It gave us a good morning laugh. 

Did I mention that we are going to watch the Super Bowl? We have hot dogs from the butcher and a 7-layer dip for Michael. Rare treats! 

Friday, January 30, 2015


It was a rough night. I did not sleep well until I got up around 2:30, climbed into my chair and slept until 4:30. The plan is to stay home and sleep today. All day.

I will be ready to play the concert on Saturday evening and a fun Super Bowl day is planned with Michael. We are going to ride down the coast for breakfast then stay home the rest of the day.

Now the nervous part: I am a bit nervous that I am getting pneumonia. Again. I have asked Natalie, the home care nurse, to listen to my lungs. If she suspects something is cooking, I will contact Dr. K. for an xray and more drugs. I so hope she doesn't throw me in the hospital.

Yesterday, I leaned over, grabbed a tissue and blew my nose. Suddenly, I could see shaking lights in my left eye. At one point, I could not see an area. It would come and go, I was unsteady and almost nauseous. It was really bad at the butcher's. Better at Trader Joe's. By the time I drove home, it was gone but it lasted for well over two hours. Many years ago, mom and I were at a casino in Reno and the same type of thing happened. I described it to my eye doctor who told me it was a silent migraine. Next time I see my glaucoma specialist, I will talk with him about it. Before I remembered the other incident, I worried about a problem with my eye or even a brain tumor!

British Don was moved to his rehab center last evening. The promised private room turned out to be not so private! He has three other roommates! He was not happy. (He called them "old farts.") I told him it will inspire him to work hard so he can get home. The goal is to walk flights of stairs. If he can do that, he will be released. He also complained about the food but, they will be teaching him what he needs to eat from now on. Don loved good restaurants so that is going to be the hardest part of his recovery.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I had a great day yesterday, had energy to do some chores, ran errands and even had a short nap. After work, Michael went to the hospital to visit British Don while I went to the orchestra dress rehearsal. I was worried about giving this flu to the other bass player, so I played with oxygen and a mask. Our usual rehearsal space was flooded earlier in the day so the city moved us to another space. It actually was nicer and a better sounding space except I had to carry my heavy bass father than usual.

But, hauling my bass out of there at the end of the rehearsal was just too much for my sick lungs. I coughed. And coughed. And choked. Then gasped all the way home. By the time I got here, my lungs were a mess. I had riled things up. We settled into bed but the fluid in my lungs was not going to settle. For an hour, I tried. I really tried to lay on lots of pillows, take slower breaths to calm my breathing and tried to relax. But, the coughing continued. Michael began to lightly snore next to me and I was fighting not to cough so I would not awaken him. COUGH! He's awake. Drift off. COUGH! He's awake.

I finally got up, grabbed a blanket and my pillow and stumbled my way to my chair in the family room where I COUGHED. It took until midnight to settle my lungs. Then, I was awake for my antibiotic at 3:30AM and was awake to hear Michael moving around at 5:15AM.

I am exhausted. Because the housekeepers are due at 9, I have to get out of the house for a couple of hours. So, after a run over the pass for groceries, I am going to sleep all afternoon. I hope.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back On My Feet Today

I stayed in my pajamas all day yesterday. Two hour nap in the morning. Two hour nap in the afternoon.  Guess I really needed that! Mom is feeling so much better after a day of her super antibiotics. British Don is being moved to a fantastic care facility just north of us. Anna called and wanted to confirm a date for a visit. That just felt overwhelming at the moment, so I picked two weekends in March just after the housekeepers will do their magic. Maybe I will be well by then!

That is it. That is all that happened yesterday.

I am going back to bed this morning then head into town to buy some coffee beans and maybe swing by Safeway. The goal is to get through the orchestra dress rehearsal tonight. It will be a late night but I need to be out of here early Thursday for the housekeepers. While they are here, I am going over the pass to the butcher's and Trader Joe's for groceries. Our cupboards are bare.

I am sick of being sick.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Plans Failed!

The plan: Shower, dress, bank and take mom to Walmart to get more minutes for her cellphone. I would be home by noon.

The curve in the road: I arrived at her home, she looked just awful and felt even worse. We dealt with Walmart and got her phone taken care of but, she could hardly walk. She was weak and very unsteady on her feel. From Walmart, we drove to the Immediate Care place she loves, saw the doctor and learned a lot. She had fluid in her ears, which was why she was so unsteady. She also had bronchitis. He prescribed antibiotics, nighttime cough medicine and said she should feel better in three days. To Walgreens! To lunch while waiting for the prescriptions! Finally, I got her settled back home, with her working phone, new drugs and food in her belly.

I didn't get home until 3PM. I tried to rest because we were going to visit British Don in the hospital last night. While sitting with him, I noticed that I began to drift off. It had been a long day.

Don was great! He was out of ICU, the neck tubes were gone, his color was fantastic and he lost a lot of weight during the quadruple bypass process. They plan to transfer him to a critical care center on Friday. Two weeks there will prepare him for his five flights of stairs at home.

Today? I am staying home all day. I need to recover from yesterday and prepare for the orchestra rehearsal tomorrow night.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Morning

The Tri Tip dinner was great but it was a lot of food. We will be having it again this evening before our visit with British Don in ICU. Approximately three pounds of meat, rice with pinenuts, cowboy beans, salad, rolls and homemade cookies. Michael said the beans and rice were fantastic.

I spent the night in my chair after trying my bed earlier in the evening. By 10:00, the cough was so bad that I had to leave so Michael could get some sleep. It is loose and productive but nice and clear. No infection yet.

It is a bit weird but I found the mornings are the most difficult. I have to force myself to make the bed, put myself together and pick up the house. By noon, I have a bit more energy, feel pretty good and are able to do a few things. By the time nighttime rolls around, I am feeling pretty good then BOOM! morning comes and it all begins again. One of these mornings will be a bit easier soon, I hope!

After visiting our bank this morning, I will drive mom to the closest Walmart about 30-minutes via a nasty freeway to buy more minutes for her phone, then come home. I really can't imagine a full day out into the world yet. Just not strong enough.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Barely Functioning

It was nice to stay home, do the laundry, water the yard, clean the kitchen, empty the dishwasher, begin a new book and just be alone all day yesterday. But, around 6:00, I began to get itchy for Michael. He went to the birthday party in San Jose then walked in the door around 9:30. I was so happy to see him! It felt like forever since I saw him in the morning!

Today, he is going to be gone for a bit but will be home this afternoon to pick up our dinner in town. It is the fundraiser for the girl's basketball team and it is nice to know I don't have to cook! Tri Tip! After dinner, we will hit the road to visit British Don in the hospital. I hope he has made his way out of ICU and is doing well.

I slept in my own bed for the first time in many nights. I propped the pillow up high enough so I didn't cough too much. The tamiflu is really remarkable at knocking down all the symptoms of the flu. As a friend remarked, "You still have the flu but you don't feel so awful." Exactly. I remember the last time I had the flu well over a decade ago, I just wanted to die as it seemed easier than fighting it. I don't feel that this time. It is just there. I cough. I blow my nose. I nap. But, that horrible feeling of flu is not present.

So, this morning I will try to iron Michael's shirts and do some paperwork/bills but that is it. Okay, maybe a nap.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Staying Home

Mom and I forced ourselves to be dressed and be presentable to the world yesterday. We both felt horrible. We were able to enjoy a drink at Starbucks on our way to the eye clinic where I waited in an outer area. As it had been less than a week since I felt this flu, I knew I was still contagious. No one wants this, believe me! Mom got her shot and we both went home for naps. It was exhausting!

It is absolutely beautiful here. The king tides are happening and it is expected that we have the warmest weather in the Bay Area today. Unfortunately, that is all they have been saying on the news so we anticipate that the roads will be packed with tourists. Michael is not going to even try to come home. He is going directly from his hobby shop to our former neighbor's daughter's surprise 50th birthday party in San Jose at 5PM. I so wish I could be there but...

I will be alone all day and most of the evening. The goals will be to water the garden pots and nap. I also want to make a new recipe for my dinner so that will keep me busy. Oh, and the laundry needs my attention. I may even get dressed!

We went for a brief visit with British Don last evening. He had been up and in a chair earlier but was just returned to bed along with a nice, heavy dose of morphine. He would drift off in mid-sentence. He actually had a quadruple bypass. Since he lives alone, I hope he is sent to a rehab center for a couple of weeks to insure he is well enough to take care of himself. We are working with his group of friends to insure he gets whatever he needs whether it is food or rides to doctor appointments.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Nasty Flu

I am feeling better this morning. It may be because I didn't move out of my chair yesterday, slept on and off throughout the day and just rested. My appetite is gone but I did cook a meatball dinner, which is more than enough for a few nights. The only thing that sounds good to me is sugar free Popsicles. Note to self: buy some at the store today.

Today, Mom has an appointment to get the shot in her eye to fight her macular degeneration. We must keep that appointment. So, after a much needed shower, I will drive her to the appointment, stay in the car and nap while she is there, then drive her home.

Tonight, we are going back to the hospital to visit British Don. He had his quadruple bypass surgery yesterday, was intubated in ICU afterwards but should have the breathing tube removed today, if all goes well. He was terrified that he was not going to survive the surgery. As he lives alone and will be unable to drive for at least six weeks, I am going to offer food delivery to him. Homemade, healthy foods.

Saturday, we have been invited to a surprise birthday party. I let the husband know that I was too ill to attend but Michael would be there. He really wants to see our former neighbors who are well into their 80s now.

Sunday, there will be a special treat waiting for us. We bought a dinner for four as a fundraiser for the girl's high school basketball team. Tri Tip Roast, rice, beans, salad, bread and dessert. All the food will be prepared by the local Portuguese Cultural Center in town. These people know how to cook. It is nice to know I won't have to cook for a couple of days! (I will be able to enjoy the meat and salad. Michael is so looking forward to everything else as it will be a special treat for him!)

I must continue to take it easy and rest to get rid of this nasty flu. Tamiflu has really helped to knock it down. I am very impressed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Waiting to Hear

I contacted Dr. K. yesterday morning, she requested a nasal swab from the local doctor to check for the virus and sent two prescriptions to Rite-Aid: Tamiflu and doxycycline. The antibiotic will probably be needed in a few days.

Mom needed some supplies as she was really sick, so I bought some drugs for her at CVS before driving them over the pass. We sat and chatted for about 20 minutes before she began falling asleep. I will phone her this morning to see how she is doing.

Back home, I stopped by the local doctor. Turns out she would not do a nasal swab. Interesting. Then, Rite-aid didn't have the prescriptions. I drove home, wrote back to Dr. K. that the prescriptions were not at Rite-aid and waited. Around 2PM, I began to think that she ordered from my prescription mail company instead of a local pharmacy, I was on the phone waiting to speak with the mail pharmacy when the phone dinged. Call waiting. It was Rite-aid. My prescriptions were ready for pickup. I hopped back into the car, back to town and discovered that they had been sent in error to the mail pharmacy.

This is the first time I have taken Tamiflu and I am very impressed. It kicked back the runny nose and the cough enough so I was able to sleep last night. The normal run for the drug is five days but Dr. K. prescribed twenty days. She is serious.

Sleep. I needed to sleep upright so I spent last night in my chair.

We got word yesterday afternoon that British Don, who was going to have another stent installed in his heart, was in ICU on a machine to keep him going until noon today when he will have bypass surgery. He was very nervous and I asked if he wanted a visit from Michael after work. So, after a quick dinner, we went for a visit in ICU (I was on oxygen and fully masked). He is in fantastic hands, the doctor is world renown and the ICU nurse was outstanding. But, Don was still worried that he is not going to survive the surgery. He, once again, told Michael all his passwords and final instructions. But, we left him laughing. That was good.

My plans for today? Wait to hear about Don but to stay in my pj's and sleep on and off all day. I need to recover quickly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cough Cough Cough

I was wet with sweat after yesterday's rehab class, bought the groceries then headed home over the pass...closed. There had been a head-on accident and it took an hour of sitting in traffic to get home. I was a bit headachy and just not feeling 100%. The nose kept dripping and I had coughed a lot during the workout. By the time I got home, I knew something was cooking.

Mom had left a message that she had been really sick since Sunday evening. She was out of cough medicine so I need to drive supplies over to her this morning. Also, I will bring honey for her throat, diet 7UP and magazines. On Friday, she has an appointment for the shot in her eye and it must happen every four weeks. We are going, I am staying in the car away from all humans while she gets the shot.

Cancelled the orchestra rehearsal tonight. I contacted Dr. K. via the hospital email, so I expect to hear from her today. I asked for Tamiflu and antibiotics. We'll see. She might just want to see me.

In a word: miserable.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On My Feet

Thirty-four years ago today, our son was born. He fought to survive a tough birth, had a normal childhood and is a happy, healthy adult. Tomorrow, he leaves on a concert tour in Singapore then New Zealand and Australia. Michael and I will phone him separately sometime today.

I stayed up on my feet and busy all day yesterday. The sheets were washed and ironed and I even removed the duvet cover and washed it. That was a royal pain to iron but it felt so good to fall into bed last night. A nice, clean, ironed bed. We both slept like babies.

While the washer was doing its thing, I cooked. Michael just enjoyed some hard-boiled eggs stuffed with shrimp for breakfast. I also baked some bacon for his breakfasts and made myself a homemade low carb pizza for lunches. Later, a shopping list was put together for food for the week. After the rehab class today, I will visit the butcher's and Trader Joe's.

Then, I went into the yards. About two hours later, they were looking pretty good. It was a day off but a day when I got a lot done and never stopped. A nice workout!

Early this morning, I am going to CVS to print the photos of Sherman's party, put them into a little book and give it to him before class today. A little surprise for him.

My friend Lois leaves for Salzburg for the Mozart Festival this morning. She has been going for the past two decades and even stays at the same little hotel with all the other international guest each year. They have become such good friends that one lady just spent a week in San Francisco with her. The weather has been dreadful in Europe this winter but the beautiful city of Salzburg is walkable in any weather and the concerts are always glorious!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Party Photos

It was a success! About 21 people shared a few hours with us to celebrate Sherman's 90th birthday on Sunday. The food was fantastic, the wine table a hit and diet coke was enjoyed by many! Over an hour into the party, I gave my speech, people laughed then we all sang the birthday song while he blew out the candles. Sadly, Dick was too ill to attend. We missed him.

Here are some photos:
Michael and Mom
Sherman, his daughter and friend George
George and Michael
Two good friends
Sherman and his daughters
Sherman's daughter (r)
mom with a rehab friend
Michael with Sherman's friend

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Party Day, At Last!

Well, the yard work didn't happen yesterday. Instead, Michael and I were in our chairs after lunch, the sun was perfectly warming our spots and we both fell asleep, he for a bit and me for over an hour and a half. I really needed the rest. After a nice chat with Anna, I ironed the three large tablecloths for the party today. We leave at 10:00 to begin our party day.

Photos will be posted tomorrow.

The week ahead should be rather quiet. The other rehab is closed tomorrow because of the holiday so I think a walk along the ocean will happen before I spend the day with mom.

My mind is filled with everything for the party. I just want to set the right tone and have everything go well. Nerves always hit me before any dinner party but I think it may be a bit more intense since I have no control over the food or the room! Deep breath. It will all be fine. I hope Sherman is pleased afterwards that he was honored by his friends in a warm setting with fun appetizers and a birthday cake. And balloons!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Aprodine and Coldcalm

Countdown to Sherman's 90th Birthday party. Lots of things on my list this morning including putting gas in the car! I did discover that they do not have linens for the table with the appetizers, cake and card to be signed by everyone so I am bringing ours (need to iron them today). I shredded some white paper into a small triffle bowl and arrange small gold and white boxes of chocolate-fillled truffles on top as the party favors. Since it is a Saturday, I still need to tidy the garden and hit the bank this morning. Oh, and do my fingernails this evening.

My Aprodine arrived at Rite-Aid so now I have another couple of years worth in the house. I noticed that my cough had changed last night so I took a second hit of Proair for the day, which seemed to do the trick. No cough this morning.

I am feeling rather smug that I have been able to use the Aprodine and Coldcalm at the first sign of a cold/flu, which stopped it from coming any further into my body. It has worked at least four times since November. No cold/flu, no infection into my lungs, no pneumonia, no hospitalization. That, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.

So, into the world I go to run my errands then back to the gardens to sweat. A nice Saturday.

Friday, January 16, 2015

No Sleep for the List Makers!

I am not sleeping well. There will be at least 25 people at Sherman's party, I worried about things like linens and flowers and a gift table last night so I will talk with the manager today. Time will also be an issue. The balloons at 10-10:30, a drive over the hill to get mom, a drive north to Costco to pickup the cake then a drive to the restaurant. All by 1:30. I worried about that all night. Oops! Forgot the flowers! I need to buy a small bouquet to be near the card for everyone to sign.

A speech. I need to pull together the facts for a short speech. Sherman has lived under 14 presidents! Just one fact! It might be of interest to learn what a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk and gas cost in 1925. The Great Gatsby was published that year as was Mein Kempf!  Anyway, I want to weave a speech together of facts from his birth year, his life and our rehab class.

So now it is pre-dawn and I need to shower before running to the other rehab to workout before mom's doctor appointment this morning. I am dragging. I hope to feel better after a good workout.

On the cold/flu front: I ordered Aprodine from Rite-Aid yesterday, Michael continues to improve and is about 80% and I feel fine. The Aprodine seems to work for me when I feel even the slightest tickle of a cold coming on. I take it two nights in a row and it stops it in its tracks. Stay well everyone.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Rather Quiet Day

Downtime was wonderful. I wandered through the house and cleaned a bit, rearranged a bit and readied it for the housekeepers due this morning. The sun was streaming in the huge windows onto my chair where I drifted off for well over an hour in the afternoon. I felt human again. I still feel almost a need to catch-up on sleep since the holidays.

Yesterday, I thought Michael should have worn a light jacket to work and...he was cold all morning. He came home with a small tickle in his throat while still coughing from his New Year's bout with the flu/cold. It scared me that this might bring on pneumonia, not something he needs right now! After the orchestra rehearsal, I stopped by CVS for Coldcalm for today and had him take one of my OTC Aprodine's last night. So far, so good. My one box of Aprodine, which has been a three-year supply, is almost gone, so I will swing by Rite-Aid to order another box after the rehab class today. It's all about getting through the flu season without getting it nor pneumonia.

We now have 24 people coming to Sherman's 90th party on Sunday. Perfect! This morning, I am going to buy a funny crown for him to wear plus I need to buy party favors of small boxes of See's Candy for everyone.

So, today is another rather quiet day except that I will be sweating a lot in the rehab class!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Little Brother Turns 58-Years Old

Mom was so happy to have two of her three children with her for a few hours yesterday. We met at her house, I left them to chat while I grabbed Michael from work before we all drove to the restaurant. We had such a marvelous, easy time chatting together. The food was fantastic and perfect for the event. Chip loved his present of a jigsaw puzzle but the hit of the night was a small plastic bird caller I also bought at the toy store. He ripped it open, blew and nothing. With a quick glance at the back of the packaging, he plunged it into his water glass then blew again. It was a fantastic bird whistle! All for $2.00!

His wife Betty is struggling with her mom and trying to insure that she is in a safe environment. She will be dealing with the banking issues today, without a lot of support from her 94-year old mean, blind, slightly demented mother. The mom keeps giving her SSI number and banking account numbers to strangers on the phone. Suddenly, the accounts are emptied. It has been a rough couple of days, so much so that Betty had a rare cocktail last night.

Me? I am doing nothing this morning except a walk along the ocean. And a nap. I want to slow down and take some down time before orchestra rehearsal tonight. The next few weeks are going to be a challenge and I really don't want to get sick. It is expected to be a sunny 65 degrees here today so I may take a book into the garden later this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Neighbors

Oh, we are going to have fun with the new neighbors! He and I had a chat on Sunday morning, I mentioned that I heard from his wife that he is a bourbon guy and that Michael has experience in that realm. Then, we started talking food and restaurants. After about twenty minutes, I looked at him and said, "I think we have led parallel lives."

Later in the afternoon, Michael went out to gather the recycling and to do a bit of work on a project in the garage when Mike wandered over to offer him a small taste of a bourbon. Yes, Mike and Michael. Well, I watched while Michael zoomed past me in the family room and poured Mike the last taste of a Heaven Hill bourbon that is utterly fantastic that we can't get here in California. I peeked into the garage, not wanted to interrupt their conversation, and smiled as they were sipping and talking bourbons. It turns out that they actually know many of the same people. Small world.

I think we have new friends.

Tonight, we are having dinner with mom, Chip and Betty. It was his birthday yesterday. I am meeting them at mom's so we can chat a bit before I picking Michael up from work then meeting them at the restaurant. Lots of driving! I also need to bring a change of clothing as I have the rehab class beforehand. This morning, I am going to take a walk along the ocean, take a shower before rehab.

Big news: Michael brought his cell phone home last night. It has been in a customer's car since 12/23 and it was returned to the shop on Saturday. He was so happy to get it back but said he really didn't miss it as it was nice not to be interrupted all day long. Interesting.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grateful for So Much

I just peeked ahead at the calendar and am wondering where I am going to get the energy to do it all. What a crazy start to the year, though I am not complaining. Last year, we were struggling with several sudden deaths, which continued through the year. We lost a dozen people last year. That was rough.

Dinner with my brother and Sherman's big 90th party are happening this week, we are invited to a surprise 50th birthday party for our former neighbor's daughter next weekend, my orchestra concert is the following Saturday, then sadly, Wayne's mom's funeral is the next weekend. Rather a bit like life: joys of a birthday, a celebration of a milestone, a little music for the soul then a funeral to say goodbye.

Mom and I have a lot to do today after I workout at the other rehab. We have to check in with the restaurant where we are throwing Sherman's party, buy the See's Candy party favors and order the balloons. Today is my brother's birthday so I want to buy a puzzle for his present when we see him tomorrow. Later, we will swing by the butcher's and Trader Joe's for some groceries.

When we were at Sherman's birthday dinner, it was clear that both of his daughters were struggling with health issues. And pain. I was reminded how very grateful I am that I have no pain. It makes daily life so difficult. It makes staying positive almost impossible. It also made me appreciate my walk along the ocean yesterday. After 12 years of this disease, I can still walk and move and breathe all at the same time! For that, I am truly grateful.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Preparing for the Week

Sherman's 90th birthday dinner was so sweet. My rehab boys, Dick's wife, Sherman's two daughters, our mutual friend George and his wife joined us for a two hour dinner. It was fun to get some rare laughs out of his daughters, Michael told charming stories, Dick was hilarious, I was totally entertained!

For 90, Sherman is still a tall man who has to wear suspenders to keep his pants up but walks like a kid. No slowing down for him! The waitresses were amazed that he was the birthday boy. No way could he be THAT old! It's true. Sometimes I forget that he is not my age when we are teasing each other. He has become such a dear friend.

This is my last day of rest for a couple of weeks! Chip and Betty come to town on Monday and we will meet them for dinner one night this week. Mom has doctor appointments, I need to confirm all the plans for Sherman's party on Sunday. All of the people from last night plus RNs and patients from the rehab class plus a nice group of his retired friends are all confirmed. I am going to pre-order all the food on Tuesday.

Jill has invited us to Wayne's mom's funeral in the Gold Country of California in February. We are honored to be invited and will, of course, be there to support the family. They are still reeling from her quick and unexpected death.

I am beginning to stress! So, the plan for this morning is to talk a nice walk along the ocean, get my mind centered and face the week ahead.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Surprise Dinner Out

I am struggling with my computer. It's a long story but it is not going to be an easy fix. The Apple Support people and I have become very good friends! While on the phone with one of them, Michael rang my cellphone to tell me we were going out to dinner. To the city. Great. I was worried about another 3AM bedtime. I was worried that he was not well enough to spend a night out in the world. I was tired and looking forward to a quiet evening.

He arrived home early, we grabbed his co-worker Mark from his home before meeting Thomas deep in the Marina district of the city. It was crazy traffic but we made it on time. It actually was a really nice dinner with just the two other two guys. We finished, walked to another bar, which was filled with more men then women (not what the newly divorced Mark was wanting) so they had a quick cocktail before we all headed home.

We were snoring by 10:30. Today is Sherman's family's celebration of his 90th birthday. We are meeting a group of people at 6:30PM at a restaurant over the pass. in the meantime, I need to move my behind this morning: bank, Safeway, yard work. Wish I felt like it! What I really want to do is to climb back into bed but...moving my body will feel good when it is over and the yards will look fantastic.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Sherman's Party

Plans are moving ahead for Sherman's party. I am meeting with his friend George today to get the addresses of some of his retired friends who might want to come to our party on the 18th. They will need invitations. The cake was ordered yesterday from Costco. Wow. What a deal. I had no idea as this was the first time I have ordered from them. He wanted white cake with white frosting. Done. I will order balloons, buy party favors and a couple of things then I am ready.

Saturday, we are all meeting for a fancy dinner to celebrate his actual birthday. I was torturing him yesterday with threats that I would tap on the water glass, arise and announce his birthday to the entire restaurant and have everyone sing to him. He turned bright red at just the thought of the spotlight on him.

Mom and I are having our toe nails done this morning followed by fish tacos for lunch. Such a treat!

Michael is better but still not totally well. I ran into mom's physical therapist yesterday who told me so many people with his same cold/fever also developed pneumonia. Scary. I am encouraging Michael to take it easy this weekend, we'll buy him a new cell phone and I hope not much else. Maybe a football game or two!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Recipes for the Week

It all went well yesterday and I am now leaving for the early morning run deep into the heart of the city - during rush hour. A challenge. But, I will be able to run a ton of errands, go to rehab class and have a gloriously quiet afternoon! I hope!

I was wondering through the yards yesterday and realized I have a long work day in the gardens this Saturday. They are a mess!

The nutritionist will see me this morning. Even after a nice lunch yesterday, I am still lighter than our last weigh-in, so I am walking in with confidence. Here are the recipes for the week for those of us on prednisone therapy. We just don't process food properly! No sugar! No carbs! Just protein and non-starchy vegetables.

Bacon and Eggs a Different Way - HERE
Breakfast casserole - recipe below

Sirloin Tips with Vegetables - HERE
Greek Shrimp - HERE
Chicken Satay - HERE

Breakfast Casserole
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 T. oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small cabbage, chopped
2 cans (14.5 ozs) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ozs) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook, stirring, until ground beef is no longer pink and onions is tender.

Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.

Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

100 Miles

Just a quick blog today as I must head out the door within the hour. Mom and I are driving over 100 miles together to visit my dad's crypt, having lunch with her group of girlfriends before driving another 100 miles back home. Then, I will have an hour to prepare for orchestra rehearsal.

It is going to be a long day.

I did talk with Sherman yesterday, then one of his daughter's phoned later yesterday to get the complete information, regarding his 90th birthday party. We want to invite his friends and the staff from the rehab class and people he is close to since retiring from UPS decades ago. They still meet every two months for lunch. I love that. We have been invited for the formal dinner this Saturday evening, which includes my other rehab boy Dick and his wife. It will be a fun evening!

Early tomorrow morning, I need to run to the city to weigh-in then swing by Costco to order Sherman's birthday cake before rehab class. Another busy day. I will need a nap by Thursday afternoon!

But for today, it will be fun to spend the day with mom, have a nice lunch with her girlfriends and just be together.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


The day moved along very smoothly yesterday. Everything on the list was finished along with a few errands for mom. It was good to hang with her and even play a good game of cards before I headed home. Michael stayed at work all day, got his hair cut before coming home to a great dinner of sirloin tips, vegetables and rice. We both slept in this morning. We are both feeling better.

Back to the rehab class today. I need to talk with Sherman. We received an invitation to his 90th birthday dinner next weekend at Outback but it was not clear if it was a surprise party. I have been trying to reach his daughters when I know he is not home but no one answers. Michael and I want to throw another party at Max's, near his home, in the afternoon on Sunday the 18th. Appetizers, wine, cake, coffee. Simple. I want to get his permission and I will need to get the invitations together ASAP. I want to invite all the people and nurses from our rehab class, his daughters, six people from his retirement group and another dear friend of his.

My brother Chip and his fantastic wife Betty will be traveling in their RV from New Mexico next Sunday. Mom, Michael and I will be meeting them for dinner later next week. Mom has not seen them since she moved three years ago so it will be good to spend some time with them. Betty is coming to deal with issues with her aging mother and she is expecting lots of resistance. A difficult trip for them but hopefully, we can give them a fun break from their mission.

The New Year is bringing lots of unusual experiences to us. It might just be a very interesting year ahead. My only true wish is for a healthy year for both of us. No hospitals. No major scares. Fingers crossed!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back to Normal

It feels like the first day of the New Year as today is the first day we are back to our normal schedules: Michael to work, me to my life. We both slept in the same bed last night for the first time in a week. It was marvelous. I missed his gentle breathing next to me.

Every Monday, mom and I spend the day together. We have a lot on my to-do list for the day so we will be busy. We will be together again on Wednesday when we visit my dad's crypt then have lunch with her girlfriends over 100 miles away. I love sitting and watching her surrounded by the love and strength of eight women. Such good friends.

Yesterday, we got dressed and jumped into the Porsche. Michael needed to get out of his pajamas and out of the house! We drove down the coast to our favorite dive, which was not at all crowded! On a weekend! What a shock! We sat at our favorite spot at the counter, chatted with the elderly gentleman owner, settled in to split a crab sandwich when I glanced over to our favorite table just as someone there glanced over to us. It was Sally, the RN in charge of the ILD Support Group! She was with dear friends from Southern California. We had a nice chat then, while paying our bill, secretly bought them two pieces of the famous pie for dessert.

Schools are back in session, the traffic will be heavy as people return to work and life after the holiday returns today. It was very stressful for us (the reinstatement of Michael driver's license process and having to suddenly pull together Christmas dinner with just a week's notice after Lenny cancelled) but it was one of the best Christmas' ever, in my opinion. The food was fantastic and everyone seemed so relaxed and having fun. We loved having British Don with us and also welcomed Shelley's wonderful Russ into our home for the first time. All in all, I am glad it is over but will have good memories to carry me through to next Christmas!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Banished

Christmas has been removed from the inside of the house. At last! Now, if only I can get the outside lights taken down! Michael is not quite well enough to attack that job yet so it will have to wait. He is better, though, and expects to go to work tomorrow, even if he doesn't stay all day.

The laundry is done and put away, the yards are cleaned up from the storms, the flower pots are watered, food for the week is in the house, cash is in my wallet so I am ready for the week! I need to return a pair of cords tomorrow. What was I thinking? I will never be a 10 petite SHORT. Way too short. Mom and I will return those tomorrow and run a few other errands. We have not been together for a week so there will never be a pause in the conversation.

Michael's appetite has returned so I am making some hard-boiled eggs right now, will stuff them with cream cheese and herbs, wrap them in bacon and cook them until the bacon is crispy. One of his favorite breakfasts.

I am seeing the nutritionist on Thursday and I am ready for him! I feel like I have lost at least three pounds since our last visit. It has been a good holiday for me. Not too many goodies!

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Have we move forward in the house since yesterday? Nope. Christmas is still ready to be put away but I am waiting for the boxes to come down from the attic. I did wash and iron the sheets to get all the germs out of them. Michael is still not close to being well but he is better. I also made my way into town to pay the mortgage.

We have no more food in the house so this morning, I am going over the pass to visit the butcher and Trader Joe's. I am leaving Michael home alone! Hopefully, he will have some real clothes on by the time I get home. He might even get my boxes down. We'll see.

My cough lessens each day and my energy is returning. Things are looking up but this has been a tough way to begin a new year.

My goals for the day? Rid the house of Christmas, cook a breakfast and lunch recipe for the week, present an enticing dinner to inspire Michael's appetite, re-organize my closet and take a nap. All worthy goals for this third day of the new year.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Turning Old...and Boring!

Not only are we turning into old people but we are now...boring! NOOOO! It's true. Yesterday: not a phone call, not an errand. I did nothing but a bit of yard work and a gathering of all the Christmas stuff into one room to be put away today. Hopefully.

Boring. But the really boring award goes to Michael who never left the bed all day, again. He will be coming into the rest of the house this morning, as I am withholding morning coffee to the family room only. No more food service in bed!

Showers. We are both taking showers this morning as well as stripping the sheets off the bed to be washed in very hot water. We are still unsure whether Michael had the flu or just a really brutal cold. With just a 99.4 fever and no muscle aches, I am leaning towards the cold.

The bad news is that I am dragging this morning. Sleeping on the couch is no longer an adventure. I kept waking through night until finally settling in for good sleep between 4-6:30AM. I want my bed back. I want to sleep again. My cough is almost gone and I am feeling pretty good otherwise.

I am whining.

This is not the best way to begin the new year. It can only go up from here! Before Michael's seizure, we were planning a vacation to a resort in Palm Springs for this week. We cancelled it after learning how much we would be paying for his medical bills. But, with Michael having this cold/flu and a sudden cold front that hit Palm Springs, it all worked out for the best. Maybe in a couple of months we can take off for an adventure. Then, we won't be boring anymore!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 1 - 2015

We are now officially old! No New Year's celebrations for us! We both slept right through it, he in our bed and me on the couch in the living room. Michael's cold is finally waining this morning, the fever appears to be gone and he is not coughing as much. All good news.

Years ago, the outdoor Christmas lights were still hanging in June. That Christmas, we made an agreement that the lights would be removed on New Year's day or we don't put them up. We shook hands on the deal and it has happened every year since. I will guarantee that it will not happen this year! But, I will ask him to take the boxes down from the attic so I can put all the inside Christmas stuff away today. Maybe by the end of the weekend, he will be well enough to climb a ladder in the cold!

I am feeling much better, the cough is almost gone and I slept eleven hours last night. All in all, I am feeling strong going into 2015.

So, dear reader, here we go jumping into a new year. I never expected to still be alive to welcome in 2015 let alone actually looking ahead to many more years. I hope this blog has inspired those who received a bad diagnosis to take control over what we can control: our diet and our exercise. It really does make a difference. Again, it does not guarantee a longer life but I can guarantee a better quality of life.

Happy New Year to you and thanks for reading.