Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Water, The Aftermath

I would post pictures, but for a couple of problems. Blogger refuses my attempts ..... and I didn't take any.

You will recall that when last we met I was longing for a hot shower. It was my one and only Christmas wish. I did get one on Christmas Eve. But, getting to that shower is the real story.

I gave you an account of the pipe bursting and water shooting into the kitchen, didn't I? Well that happened several more times. The configuration of the pipes that supply water to our living quarters, as well as the entire park are all inside, not 20 feet from my kitchen. There is no door separating this area. We need the heat from the building to keep the pipes warm.

The pipe delivering the water from the holding tank to the mouse trap assembly that disperses the water to the park, to the building, and everywhere is at waist height and it was right above this that the weak point was, so that when the pipe ruptured it shot straight into the kitchen. I wasn't too happy about all the water on the floor the first time, but took it in stride. A good rinse for the floor and not the end of the world ....... until it happened again and then again.

Finally the "plumber" gave up and we went to bed. The next day he was off to purchase more "parts" and I sat in my own sweat and waited. A neighbor learned of my dilemma and brought a 6 gallon jug of water. I used it to flush the toilet and heated it up to wash the dishes and prepare supper. I was resigned that a shower would not be forthcoming and washed my face (in cold water) and brushed my teeth. I was all settled in front of the TV in my pj's when I was told to go get my shower!!!

I was so happy. The pipes shuddered and spit water at me until things leveled out and I luxuriated in soap and water. I went straight to bed my skin still warm and snuggled down with my dogs. Before the plumber got his shower the pipe connection failed yet again.

The saga continued on Christmas Day and was finally resolved the day after. Since then we have been plagued with all the problems that come after the pump has been shut down. The sediment has collected in the pipes and I have had to take the diffuser off the kitchen sink. The shower is still spitting and sputtering and now the toilet refuses to  fill the tank. My "plumber " is putting new parts in the toilet as we "speak".

I awoke with one goal in mind today and that was to clean up the laundry/pump room. The aftermath of the floods is still there. Everything still wet. Plastic bins holding various plumbing and electrical parts were still holding water. Everything got wet. 

So, I spent the entire morning sifting through all the stuff that fell to the floor in the flood and all the containers with water in them. Not to mention the packaging of every part involved in the repair that was either on the floor (wet) or on any available surface. All clean, almost organized again. Makes me feel so much better .....

Mentally, that is. I worked up a good sweat and as the sweat rolled down and trickled across my initial outbreak, it burned like acid. The nasty looking scabs are drying. One would think that was good, that the healing process had begun. One would think that the pain would be abating with this drying. One would be wrong.

I am happy to have running water again, I am happy to have scabs instead of blisters, I am happy to have one area clean again ...... and I am happy that this year is coming to an end. Next year will be better!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Dreaming Of A Hot Shower ......

My great powers of observation are still intact. While heating a cup of yesterday's coffee, I stopped the process with 7 seconds left. This made the handle of the mug be on the wrong side! One minute and thirty seconds will leave the mug handle in the correct position. Important information.

So, why was I re-heating yesterday's brew? Because I have no water. What? How can that be? The weather is mild and no pipes are frozen. My own fault, I suppose. It is that pesky power of observation I have.

I noticed that the pump was coming on and off every minute or so. This is usually an indication that we have water leaking (gushing) somewhere in the park. Sometimes you just need to flip the big switch to the pump and leave it off for a bit, then flip it back on ...... like resetting the modem for the internet. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I did the flip switch and went on to do a load of laundry. I stacked the dishes from the previous evening and readied them for a bath, as is my habit for an early morning hot water treatment to my aching hand joints. I was offered a dishwasher, but was loathe to part with cabinet space and I don't mind the dish washing for the two of us ....

Before I washed the dishes I was distracted by the need to finish an item in my sewing room. I transferred the clean load of laundry to the dryer and put another load in the washer and decided to sit down and have a third cup of coffee and peruse my lap top. That is when He Who Tows came home and I reported the pump issue. He checked all the sites in the park and found no leaks.

This when he decided to dicker with it. He did something with the compressor in the water shed outside where the holding tank for the well is housed. He would come in and flip the switch off and on, totally confusing the washing machine. I did suggest that he wait until the machine was done and decided to leave the dishes and retreat to my chair in front of the TV with my cooling cup of coffee, made form my stash of coffee beans my son gave me. Coffee to be savored, not gulped!

The dishes still sat unattended. The washer was finally allowed to complete the cycle and He Who Plumbs made a trip to the hardware store to obtain plumbing supplies. No water. Says he will have it fixed quickly upon his return. I really wanted a hot shower, but decided it could wait until he returned. I escaped to my sewing room, half a Vicodin on board.

I plundered and played and managed to accomplish very little, as I was longing for a shower. He Who fancies himself to be a plumber returned and decided to re-route something or other to main intake of the water supply to the entire park. This contraption already resembles the Mouse Trap game. PVC and other materials bearing metal clamps and such. These metal clamped parts have been known to fail in the past ....

I kept checking on his progress as the day progressed. I still had high hopes for that shower and the dishes still sat, as well as the fact that I needed water to prepare a meal. It was starting to turn dark. I went to the freezer and filled a glass with ice and that's when I saw water shooting into the kitchen from the Mouse Trap game.

Toni Louise and Wall-E were caught in the gush. I yelled at Wall-E to "RUN" as he slinked to his belly and crawled along the wet floor like he was in a race through an obstacle course. Toni Louise stood directly in the path of the water and tried to drink it. I peeked around to see He Who was the cause, flipping the breaker. It was amusing, if you could get past the fact that my kitchen floor was flooded and I STILL HAD NO WATER TO SHOWER!!!!

I threw together a pot of chili, adding to the stack of dirty dishes and we ate a frill free dinner of sorts. It was after 6:00 and I, still un-showered, was not in the best of moods. He Who plumbs announced a trip to Home Depot for more plumbing supplies and I settled in for the evening with canines in my lap. This is the time of day when all maladies seem to be at their peak. I dutifully swallowed my last dose of anti-viral meds and took the other half of my Vicodin along with some extra-strength Tylenol.

I was miserable and could not stop longing for hot water therapy. The plumber came in with his PVC stash around 8:30 and announced that he had a two call and would be back "soon" to remedy the water situation. I went to bed at 9:30. I confess that I did the Molly Shannon thing and put my fingers in my armpits and sniffed them ...... I really wanted a shower.

I must have dozed off nestled in my bed with four dogs and a fat cat on my feet. I tip-toed out to check on the water works and saw my hero hard at work, the smell of pipe glue filled the air and I watched for a bit as he sanded a piece of PVC. I tip-toed back through the still wet kitchen floor, noting that it was after mid-night.

I don't know what time my plumber came to bed. He was trying to be extra quiet. Despite the fact that I had no shower, I still had his side of the bed warmer on so that his sheets would be toasty warm for him. I figured he showered before falling bed.

I was wrong. The big gap of connecting pipes alerted me to the fact that water does not flow. The dishes still sit and I could fry eggs with the grease in my hair. The toilet does not flush. Thank goodness I have leftover coffee in the carafe or things could get really ugly here in the land of no running water.

Maybe Santa will bring running water?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Could Be A Spokes-Person For The Shingls Vaccine

I have been sending photos of my Shingles rash to my kids as it progresses. I like to share my pain. Unfortunately (or, maybe fortunately) Blogger is not cooperating with downloading today. I started with the day I was diagnosed. It was red and angry.

Started out looking like a bug bites. I wondered about fleas at first. Those little "bites" grew to very angry sores about the size of a pencil eraser with all the tissue around the patch very red. It was hot to the touch and the lightest touch would shoot pain through my body.

The sores progressed into bigger misshapen pustules. Looked like islands on a red sea. Still very painful. Flannel pants and sweat pants became (and still are) my wardrobe.

I just swallowed my last dose of anti-viral meds. Yesterday I updated the newest photo and sent it to the kids. Because I like to share and I like sympathy. The son responded immediately with soothing words of sympathy and love. His twin sister is much more practical and artistic. She thinks my belly looks like a view of a planet from space with craters in it. The pustules have dried up and the dead skin is started to peel. Baby girl was just concerned about the location of the rash. You know, like my face!

I sent the photos to convince them all to get the vaccination. Today the rash is looking sad. The inflammation around the sores is gone, but the sores are really ugly, dark red to black and I am quite certain they will leave scars. Those scars will remind me to get my own vaccination.

I think the makers of the vaccine should hire me as their spokes-person.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Ghost of Lawrence Welk

While trolling Craigslist, I dropped the remote and what to my wondering eyes should appear ...... Lawrence Welk. The show, not the man. He must be long dead. He was old when I was a child.

My mother loved this show and forced it upon us with great regularity. This was back in the day when each household had only one TV and few viewing choices. You either endured the show or left the room. Mother would clap along and tell us all how very talented all the singers and dancers were and bubbles would appear behind the band. She loved it.

I stared in fascination as a grown man was dancing with a little girl of about 5. She was decked out in an emerald green triple ruffled dress and ankle socks with lace. I could almost swear that my Mother had cut the child's hair. Short, straight little bowl cut with extremely short bangs. I know the style well, since I wore it on my own head until I was old enough to object.

The little girl heel-toed all around the man as held her hand, then he swooped her up. Looked like he was going to plant her on his shoulders and at the last minute decided to perch her on one shoulder. Unfortunately she landed askew and her much ruffled stiff little dress was above her waist in the back, easy to see as the man twirled around in time to the music. Finally, he lifted her down. The dress, however stayed up. Lawrence Welk would never have let that happen! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How Do You Spell 40?

When I was bored enough to watch lots of mindless TV, I decided to cut back on my pain meds. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and thought I could just push through the pain and be able to get some things done.

Wasn't the best idea I ever had. Although the initial outbreak is drying up and the secondary outbreak has stopped in its track, the pain has not. Sleepless nights have followed. One of my problems is that the Vicodin does not make me sleepy. It makes me happy. Happy, while bestowing upon me a false sense of well being. The false sense of well being causes me to want to accomplish things and when I do, I end up in more pain.

A vicious cycle. I read that the pain can last MONTHS, even YEARS. I choose months and I choose only one.

It has been the longest week! We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this week. Since I couldn't go anywhere, we had take out. I was experiencing a haze of pain and He Who traveled 46 miles to get two steak dinners was tired. It was just another day. Not really a celebration. Maybe next year? Maybe in ten years.

Even though we had no big celebration, I feel accomplished. Forty years is a long time. And just to show you how Vicodin works in  my head, all I can think about right now is the spelling of the word forty and why it is spelled without a "u". Because "four" is spelled with a "u", so why isn't the spelling "fourty"?

My mind thinks too many thoughts already, I don't need the boost from my pain meds. Causes me to wake in the middle of the night and ponder weird stuff.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bored, Really Bored

I must be getting better. I am bored. Still very sore and tired of having to sleep "on guard". I do feel almost human today.

Watching too much TV. Watched a show about moving houses today. The episode I happened upon was a house that was to be on the water. It was three stories high and took 2 years to build. They had to moved it across land to get it into the water, then navigate to the slip. Took them under a bridge and through some narrow waterways. At certain turns they would illustrate what could happen should the house become unstable and fall over. I want to blame it on the Vicodin, but I found the parts showing massive destruction to be my favorite ones.

It did occur to me that He Who watches the oddest things on TV would love this show, so I recorded the next 4 episodes for him. I am nothing, if not thoughtful. We watched it together and I think he might have found it a little bizarre that I was enjoying the destructive scenes so much. He would look over at me while I was having fits of laughter as the house being moved was depicted in an illustration showing total devastation.

I am really bored. Really, really bored.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Listen To Medical Advice

Once again ... I urge everyone to get vaccinated against Shingles. You have all seen that ad on TV, haven't you? The lady has the rash on her face and in her scalp and laments that even her hair hurts. She knows what she is talking about!

Through the wonders of Vicodin and sheer exhaustion I finally slept last night. Even my old guy with bladder issues co-operated and stayed in bed a full 10 hours. I did wake from time to time to see if I really was sleeping. You know what I mean, you venture cautiously into consciousness, all the while clinging to sleep and drift back off.

The pain was back this morning, but I stumbled into the kitchen and grabbed that bottle of vicodin, secure in the knowledge that the pain would be fading as I sipped coffee. The pain is hard to describe. Almost like a sore muscle. A deep ache under the afflicted area. Not to be compared to fire of the blisters and the sporadic stabbing pains.

After my coffee and cuddles with my furry kids I felt almost human. Felt so much better that I decided to tackle the rest of my unpacking and change the sheets on my bed. I accomplished both tasks and went on to mop and do laundry. As the vicodin was losing power, so was I. My marathon cleaning was, perhaps, not such a great idea.

I was in a cold sweat, nauseous and feeling generally crappy with a dull headache. I dutifully swallowed my next round of pills, including another vicodin, all the while resisting the urge to take two of them. The bottle did say 1 to 2 as needed for pain. And I was in pain, wasn't I? I only took one and went to my squeaky clean bedroom for a little nap.

All this to say, when the doctor (or nurse practitioner, as the case may be) tells you to take it easy for the next few weeks, it might be a good idea to take that advice to heart. I spent the rest of the afternoon highly agitated and achy. I managed to put a meal together and clean up the kitchen before taking a cool shower.

The cool water seems to calm those blistered nerve endings. In preparation for my ablutions, I discovered a new line of fresh blisters. I think I will take it easy tomorrow, as I was told to.

Monday, December 15, 2014

He Who Was Right

Despite the pain this causes me and how I loathe admitting it ......... He Who is not a doctor had the correct diagnosis.

I have shingles. I was a little frantic this morning as I waited for the clinic to open and when I was told I would not be seen until FRIDAY I bawled like a baby.

The kind woman in charge of scheduling took pity on me and got me into the sister clinic to see my nurse practitioner. Just one look and she wrote out the RX for the anti-viral drug and pain meds.

And she quarantined me! Suggests that I go nowhere for 21 days to avoid infecting the unsuspecting world with chicken pox. Can't go see my dad for sure. I will have to rest in seclusion. She even suggested that it could be stress related. She wants me to be vaccinated against another out break.

No one will have to twist my arm to take that vaccination! I would suggest that everyone who has ever had chicken pox do so. I would not wish this on anyone!

Affordable Health Care Deductible ...... NOT NOW!

You will recall me mentioning a little heel and my sciatic nerve ........

Over the last six months I have been doing some heavy duty driving. Long hours behind the wheel has made me all too familiar with aches and pains. Particularly my sciatic nerve and the burning pain that sets in and refuses to be pacified with a change of position. I have toyed with thoughts of hanging my left leg out the window as I drive and would if I thought it would help. It starts out as a burning from my hip to my ankle, then a slow steady ache. Stopping  frequently and walking has helped and adding a cushion to the drivers seat helps occasionally.

Sweet Jailynn slept with Gramma Monday night. She was happy to be snug against me. Cujo was not. He wormed his way between us right away to claim his place. He was a good boy and allowed her to pet him and coo at him. As soon as she fell asleep, I gently moved Jailynn over to claim more space for myself and Cujo moved to the foot of the bed at her feet.

Oscar woke me at 5:30 for a walk outside and I leashed the two dogs and took them out to do their business and returned to the warm bed full of little girl. We cuddled and I kissed the top her head while drawing in that little girl smell to remember during the next few weeks. We both went back to sleep and I turned with my back to her. In her sleep she turned over, too. Unfortunately she used my lower back to leverage her turn. Her little heel found that spot and I felt the burn immediately.

I lay there willing it to go away. I was scheduled to drive at least 8 hours and I was dreading it. I started out with the first leg of my trip. I stopped at my dad's house and had lunch with them before resuming my way home.

It bothered me at first, but I found that the extra cushion would not work in the RV as it did in my car. After my lunch break, I was feeling better. Could have been the Tylenol I swallowed with lunch, but I was doing pretty good. It was overcast and the sun was not an issue and things were going pretty good. The wind picked up, though and I was driving directly into it.

In a car, it would not have been a problem to drive into the wind. The RV was a different story, though. Bad enough that I was fighting the head wind, but every time a semi passed it was a struggle to stay on the road. At first it would push me to the right and then as the truck came along side, it wanted to suck me into it.

I sailed through Atlanta. Then the wind was really pushing me back. I stopped for gas (you don't want to know, you really don't want to know what it took to fill that tank!) and my leg was numb and tingling and my back was hurting, Swallowed more Tylenol and sucked down some caffeine. I really wanted to make it to Chattanooga before stopping. I continued north and the pain continued roaming up and down my back and leg. The wind continued to gust and then it started to rain. It was only 4:40, but I stopped at the first RV park I found.

Didn't make it to Tennessee, but hoped a good night's sleep would set me up for the next day. I got up and was on the road at 7:00 est ....... 6:00 central time. I stopped and procured coffee and another insane amount of fuel. Let it be known that every time I stopped to get fuel, I would find it at least 10 cents cheaper at the very next exit.

Over cast again, but the wind had subsided and I was determined to sleep in my own bed that night. I was aching all over as I started out. I was tense the day before and my arm muscles were sore, as well as my neck. And my old friend, Sciatica, was front and center. More Tylenol didn't help much.

I was losing the light of day as I crossed the Missouri line, but was confidant that I would make it home. I was miserable at this point. My left leg was aching and my right knee decided to join in protest to sitting behind the wheel. I was listening mindlessly to Siri guide me along the interstate. As soon as I exited towards St. Louis, instead of staying on 64, I knew I had screwed up. Adding another 30 minutes to my already long day.

I pulled into my parking lot at 5:30 CST. Eleven and a half hours after waking up that morning. I was so tired. My knee was screaming and my back was torturing me. I grabbed the mere essentials and a dog and headed inside, leaving the other dog and unloading to He Who awaited my return.

A long hot shower followed and I gratefully sank into my chair and snuggled with my canine babies. The knee was so happy not to be bent, the pain left immediately. The back is another story.

Still hurts. I can't get comfortable in bed and sleep is not coming easily. In addition to the pain, I am numb. A contradiction in terms, right? My pain is in my lower back, but my hip and part of my abdomen is numb. Like your face feels when the dentist shoots your mouth full of Novacaine. And it itches. I scratch, but can't feel the scratch, so it does not quench the itch.

So I googled my symptoms. I have a rash on my side ...... but not where it itches. The internet tells me I need an MRI to rule out a herniated disc. He Who is not a doctor assures me I have shingles. Really, I am not happy with either.

I have been taking it easy. I have high hopes that by tomorrow I will be in tip-top shape. I was relatively pain free when I went to bed last night. I was totally relaxed, happy that I wasn't struggling to find a comfortable position. I lay there on my back flipping channels on the TV when He Who had taken the canine creatures out for last call lifted Cujo into the bed. In his joy to see me again (it had been a good 10 minutes since we parted), he pounced onto my lower abdomen and I jerked my legs up in reflex ......... I have been up and down all night. The burning sensation brought me out of a sound sleep at 4:52 this morning.

Looks like I will be calling the clinic for an appointment tomorrow. If only I could wait until January 1st. I do not want to fulfill my deductible NOW.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bargain Hunter

So, after a whirlwind visit with Jada and Jeff, I waved good bye as they headed back to the airport in Atlanta. You will recall that I was told I would not be allowed to drive the RV back unless I practiced on the way. I didn't, but there I was, with my two dogs and the RV. Left on my own to get home alone. Just me and my canine companions.

I spend a couple of days with my dad, then left to head east to stay with my great granddaughter. They had just moved into a cute little house that is indeed a "fixer-upper". I was in my element. After we dropped Jailynn at school, Her mom, Amber and I set out on a marathon thrift store adventure.

If only we had more time and limitless money! I did score some capris for a mere quarter!! I had not packed hot weather clothes and this buy came in handy.

I ventured into a furniture store in search of a rug. Goodwill had been a huge disappointment and as we strolled into the furniture store, Amber clearly thought I had lost my mind. She knew I was shopping on the cheap and could not figure my tactic out.

The salesman approached us, all giddy with the thought of commissions to come. I clearly burst his bubble when I asked to see the scratch and dent and discontinued items. We were left to our own devices in the huge basement. The prices dropped the further into the bowels of the building we ventured. I spied two rugs rolled up in the farthest corner. One green, one red. looked like they were probably discontinued displays.

I went to fetch the salesman. Totally disinterested in anything I would be purchasing he passed me off to another unsuspecting salesman. We went to the rugs and he dramatically unfurled the red one. Wool, he announced proudly. I asked how much and he asked how much I wanted to spend. I was honest. Told him that Gramma did not have deep pockets and wanted to stay as low as possible.

He hemmed and hawed and wanted over $100. I asked about the synthetic green one and was quoted $50. As We looked longingly at the red one, he decided to go "check to see what he could do". We waited patiently and he came back and told me he would part with both rugs for $50 each. I said, "We will take the red one." I was fully aware that he wanted me to purchase both rugs, but, what could he do?

It was gratifying to teach a 24 year old how to bargain! I doubt I could have gotten another deal out of that salesman. I would have offered him $25 for the inferior rug, but I knew when to quit.

Oh, and I managed to drive the RV with nary a problem. Well, not with driving. My problem was in the form of a little red dog with short legs. He was insistent that he be allowed to ride in my lap and look out the window. I was equally determined that he ride in the back with the black dog with short legs. Baby gate to the rescue.

That baby gate had to be reinforced with a wooden shelf on the long trip home .........

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back Again

This is the face of the foot that found Gramma's sciatic nerve in the night ........

It was brought to my attention that I had not posted since the day after Thanksgiving. This is true. Although I managed to find internet service a couple of times on my trip, I simply checked e-mail and then slept. My days were hectic and my down time was for sleeping.

I did take pictures, but for whatever reason my computer and phone are not communicating today.
I did a little painting, a few window treatments and lots of junk shopping. I spent time with my dad and with my granddaughter. Saw cousins and realized that there are not enough hours in a day.

This was our first trip in the "new" RV. We towed my car and met up with my son and granddaughter, Jada, in Atlanta. There are very few RV parks near the airport in Atlanta........

The trip started out right on schedule ...... until nearly 15 miles down the interstate when, He Who is attached to his phone, realized he had forgotten it. I had asked him f he had all his electronics and chargers ....we back tracked and he retrieved it.

We looked at each other and asked if we had forgotten anything else. I was a little woozy, having whacked my head on the over-cab bed for the third time. "Do we have water for the dogs?" We didn't. So, I jumped out to get the food and water bowls and a gallon of water.

You know those big side mirrors on the RV. Sure you do. They stick out really far and are big and sturdy. They will push back if you run into them. I caught the side of my already sore head and my left shoulder. This was not a good beginning.

I set up the feeding station for my dogs, totally forgetting that I had not left water out for Martha, the boy cat. I had filled his self feeder and admonished him not to gorge himself, then throw it up before we left. But, Martha shares the water dish with his canine buddies. I did leave the toilet seat up. And I sent a "Help!" text to Andrea and DJ. Martha did not suffer.

As we rolled along the interstate, He Who thinks he is the boss of me, told me that I would have to drive some of the trip or he would not leave me to dive home alone. I wasn't keen on towing the car as I drove, but told him I would. Every time I asked to relieve him he denied me the driver's seat, though. I was left to drive the RV home, having only piloted it around my park. But that is another story for another day.

We arrived in  my dad's yard and set up, I walked the dogs and Then we all trouped in to a huge home-cooked turkey dinner with Mama and Daddy.

I am happy to report that my dad is doing great! He has no more chemo in his system and has regained some of his strength and a lot of his sense of humor. It would be a wonderful Christmas if he suddenly went into remission. That is all I want in my stocking.

More tomorrow .....