Pack, purge, panic

Some random thoughts to prove I’m still alive.

I did indeed have cadaver bone put in during my osteomyelitis treatment! It was irradiated, powdered, and mixed with what is basically plaster of Paris, but it still sounds exotic. Unfortunately I’ve had some additional dental pain recently. You’d think I traumatized my teeth or something.

Arliss had her fourth surgery a week ago (vet and I agreed she didn’t need a CT scan after all) and she’s doing great! She even gained weight in the last two weeks.

Loving the Indy Winter Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. The place is PACKED and I love seeing cyclists with panniers riding in the snow! Note: the local chickens went on strike when it got super cold the last couple of weeks, so eggs were harder to come by. I like being able to get a half dozen a month since we don’t use more than that, and then I can take the carton back to the farmer to use again.

I discovered recently-reopened El Sol de Tala. This town has more Mexican (I use that as a geographic/ethnic term loosely) restaurants than you can imagine, but this one place stands out. They even have a veggie menu. It’s not the same old enchiladas anymore, people!

Following a craving, I had French toast at Denny’s, and even if they hadn’t ruined it with cinnamon and powdered sugar, it still was nowhere as good as Dad’s. He also blows away every pancake on earth.

I’ve finally heard from some of the relocation folks and the target start date in Ireland is March 1. There’s so much to do that it’s hard not just to plop on the couch with 81 SVU reruns on Tivo and ignore the obvious (that’s how many were scheduled in this two week period). One of my current focuses (okay, foci) is pantry raid: use up all the groceries that line our cupboards and freezer. In the past week we had breakfasty stuff to use up biscuits and fake sausages and last night I made chik’n and rice casserole. My freezer has several fake meat products that I’ve always kept as backup, but usually have been creative enough not to need for most cooking. I see a lot of chili in our future for the ground ‘beef’ crumbles…

Welcome to the hospital, pop. 5

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Arliss, who had her incisors removed less than two weeks ago, had another surgery Monday when an abscess popped up at her one-week checkup. Now there’s a hole in her face (‘marsupialized’) that we are flushing daily to get the gunk out and hope it heals from the inside out. Meanwhile she won’t eat so I’m syringing food and pain meds. I tend to panic when bunnies don’t eat (it warrants panic, actually). We are having lots of cuddle time even if she’s pissed about it, and it’s gratifying when she laps up the liquid food from the syringe. Poor thing is hungry but it hurts her to eat.

MEANWHILE, foster Jolene came down with one heck of a URI this weekend so she’s on antibiotics, but she’s SO congested she’s not eating either! At least I think that’s why she’s not eating. I had her in the bathroom tonight after David’s shower. He thought I was nuts, but I’m hoping to steam her nose open. She sounds terrible. Acts hungry when I syringe her food too, but it’s a slow process because she panics when she stops to breathe around the snot. I think the nebulizer is next.

Vegas has been on antibiotics for her snotty nose for weeks and is not sounding particularly better, but at least she’s acting great and eating on her own.

Of course Casper’s on quite the regimen now too, but she’s eating and holds still for fluids, plus I finally learned to stuff pills down her throat, so she’s relatively easy. Feeding her four times a day is hard on the work schedule, though.

And I had my top-down root canal on Monday, courtesy of friends Halcion and Valium, so I don’t remember a darn thing after they let me snooze with a blankie and neck pillow with the lights off, and I never did find out if they put a cadaver graft in there. Guess I’ll find out next week at the recheck. The Darvocet made me sick so I’m limping by on OTC stuff. And I broke some of my Frankengum stitches already. In an odd twist, I am flushing my surgery site with Chlorhexidine, the same stuff we’re using on Arliss’ abscess.

I’ve been so confused by all the pet medicating I keep forgetting to take my own antibiotics.

If the bunnies would just start eating on their own I would seriously cry with relief.

Oh noes, apioectomy

I thought all my dental woes were behind me now that I’ve had my restoration done for about two years. Well, a couple months ago something started feeling ‘funny,’ so I went to my regular dentist to see if there was anything of concern. Several radiographs later, she saw nothing there, but did observe that one or more crowns had gaps at the margins and she wanted to replace them. She’s doing this at her cost, since she feels they were never seated completely in the first place (and when you do 20 crowns at once I can see where something might not fit ideally), so for me it’s just more hours in the chair and some deja vu.

Of course my dentist has moved to a new practice in Westfield, which takes forever and a day to drive to, but after all the work she did, I figure I better follow her. She’s the expert in this stuff. By getting a new practice, she now has digital x-ray, and that’s why she was able to see this glitch in my crowns that we didn’t see on the old school film x-rays at the dental school practice.

So I spent three hours Saturday morning having two crowns sawed off and then had my tissues under them lasered for a nice long time. This was slightly more pleasant than the old-school equivalent electrodentistry (and smelled less like stir fry, too). The tissue-retracting astringent was still nasty tasting but was able to be applied by syringe this time so it wasn’t as bad as the cord method. In a couple weeks I get to go back for the new crowns.

Meanwhile, she referred me to the endodontist who did the root canal on the tooth that was bothering me, who says I need another root canal on it! This one will go through the gums and come in from the root end, an apioectomy. Greaaat, another chance at gum surgery! He has already agreed to give me happy drugs for my anxiety.

I asked what could cause that, since I already had a root canal and crown on that tooth. He said, “trauma from extensive dental work.” Geez. I hope I don’t need this on all the rest of my teeth… and he already sees a dark area on a nearby molar.

EDIT: Hey look, I found the blog post from when the first root canal happened. And this cool one with a picture that talks about trying to avoid the apioectomy on a different tooth!

EDIT 2: Forgot to mention that they suggested I might need a bone graft – from a cadaver!

It’s just my llama and me

I’m anxious about a dentist appointment today, since I have a tooth root area that feels way funny and I don’t think I have the psychological stamina (nor the excellent insurance) to go through any more fancy dental work. Plus I think I had a root canal on this one anyway so I’m not sure what the problem could be that isn’t really bad! I remembered one of my favorite Sesame Street clips, though, which makes me feel better:

I just called an automated prescription refill line for my mail-in pharmacy benefit. I’ve called this line for refills many times, and while the voice actuated ordering is really annoying, usually it’s quick and, oh, automatic. So I went through the whole automated refill process, including confirming my address (which it knew) and my credit card, confirmed I didn’t want any other refills, and then it said it was connecting my call and I was on hold for ten minutes. What?? Usually they confirm immediately and ship without me talking to a CSR. This must be the cost savings from the mail-in pharmacy selling their operations to someone else. Awesome! When the CSR answered, she asked me all the same questions again, and I asked, “Why am I talking to you?”

Yesterday we held a family party for my grandparents’ 60th anniversary! It was nice to rehash the old stories. Grandma wrote Grandpa a letter which recounted how he’s not often outwardly affectionate, and gave an example of her tough day home with the kids when he came home and didn’t reassure her as much as she would have liked. She asked if he loved her, and he said, “I come home every night, don’t I?” Somehow this seemed very sweet given my gentle grandfather’s nature.

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“Ah, he always smelled that way”

When I was young, we’d go visit my great great aunt and uncle’s farm on the west side of town. Uncle Walt and Aunt Dorothy had 80 acres, and at various times, cows, chickens, corn, a pond, an inground pool (this was the most exciting part for my brother and me at the time), dogs, woods, strawberries, you name it. They had a long dirt lane and when you drove on it, the resident dog (jobs included guard and groundhog killer) would come running to meet you.

My mom and her mom both spent lots of time at the farm when they were young. I am SO glad we got to go visit too, but I wonder what it would have been like to live there for whole summers. There are stories of using dynamite to blow up field rocks and my mom getting lost as a toddler and the dog finding her.

They lived in a creepy-cool 1850s(?) farmhouse and the upstairs, a place we rarely visited, wasn’t even vented for heat. The dirt cellar had amazing jarred veggies on old shelves. The big wraparound porch had rocking chairs and bees would visit the flowers while you sat around and talked.

The old barns were really amazing to me. I was not very adventurous and didn’t explore as much as I should have, but the falling-down old chicken coop and slatted corn sheds fascinated me. My memories don’t include the animals that lived there, since Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Walt were older by then and rented their cornfields to other farmers, but the old buildings were right there by the house as a reminder. There’s a picture somewhere, one I clearly remember, of kids bottle-feeding a calf. I remember the wooden ramp with rails where the grown cattle apparently climbed on the truck to go to slaughter. My mom said Uncle Walt would cry when they left.

Whatever happened to that world? It must have been amazing to be an American farmer through the bulk of the last century; the changes in fertilizers and yields, the move to families shopping in big grocery stores, the selling of this beautiful property in the country to be another fancy subdivision after the old farmers went off to assisted living facilities. Uncle Walt suffered from illnesses related to his life’s work, but I just remember him sitting in a recliner and telling deadpan jokes. (When asked why his dog was so spoiled, he responded with the title of this post.) Aunt Dorothy climbed on top of the shed in her 70s to paint; I remember her still liking to eat Long John Silver’s food, of all things, in her 90s, long after moving away from the farm and going deaf.

I was thinking of the farm after watching Food, Inc. last weekend with friends. Please go see it–it’s amazing what we don’t know about the food we eat and where it’s sourced. I visited a farmers’ market just before the movie, and went to another one this past weekend, but yet that’s not where the bulk of my food starts. I’m trying to take advantage of more markets this year while we are in growing season, plus we are growing more vegetables ourselves. When I stop to think about this basic thing, food, it amazes me what an industry it’s become. Now there are even concerns about ‘food security,’ whether from national perspectives or right here in my city.

Maybe it’s not helpful to idolize the old family farm in this day of WalMarts and a bigger population, but I know none of Uncle Walt’s cows stood knee deep in their own manure their whole lives, nor did his chickens live in cages the size of a sheet of paper. The unchecked growth of factory farming and seed law signals to me the dirty politics and the greedy side of capitalism that tosses aside any reasonable treatment of worker, animal, or planet.

The power of consumer dollars: a vote every time you eat.

I’m very excited about the upcoming opening of our first non-profit community grocery in a rehabbed building in an underserved part of the city: Pogue’s Run Grocer!

Race for the Cure Indy

A few weeks ago friends and supporters gathered at Race for the Cure here in Indy to support Linda’s breast cancer fight (I think she is just finishing her radiation therapy!) and provide resources to underserved people in our community affected by the disease.

As it goes with many things lately, I promptly put the pictures on Facebook and didn’t get around to it here. Maybe I could automate everything to feed here somehow.

Anyway, time to start the catch up. And thanks to Mymsie and Songbird who donated to our fundraising for Team Linda. Thirty eight friends and family joined Linda’s team!

This is toward the end of the 5K walk. I always find this view of downtown interesting.
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The Ghostbusters walked too!
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Lots and lots of people on New York Street
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The course went past the zoo, where this elephant with pink ribbons on his ears was doing tricks for the crowds.
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Team Linda beat the goal and raised over $2600!

Go, Speed Bleeder, Go!

I gave blood tonight in my hand-me-down Speed Racer shirt (funny how last year’s entry also focused on the outfit), the third time being the charm after failing the iron requirement twice in the last few weeks. I’m at 39% hematocrit now, baby! A couple of vitamins and a couple extra weeks must be the ticket for me. It really was Speed Bleeding because I think I set a personal record with my six-minute pint time. This is much better than the time they kicked me out after half an hour having not produced enough blood in the bag.

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Want to save three lives and maybe win a gift card or a resort stay in Florida? You can enter Manic Mommy’s contest too! Just give blood by the 28th and get your picture doing it.


In other scintillating news (would you believe we get to use a variant of that word a lot at work), Casper came home all dopey from the groomer with a bandanna AND a bow.
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And, showing off my new haircut and the cool sweater my mom made me (twice), we have this not particularly flattering picture of my apparently thick midsection (I swear it’s not).
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Attention life-savers and people sick of winter:

It’s the return of Manic Mommy’s Virtual Blog Blood Drive! Click here for details. The basics: donate blood from Jan 1 to Feb 28, 2009, get your picture taken while donating, and send the pic to Manic Mommy to enter the contest! It doesn’t matter where you live, just go to your local blood bank or blood drive and get your picture taken. First prize is a week at a Florida resort, and there are gift cards and stuff too. I won last year though it wasn’t a big enough contest at that point to give away a vacation!

A couple notes for those of you who have been rejected for low iron: I learned that ‘normal’ hematocrit is 35-45% but (at least around here) the blood bank requires at least 38% to be eligible to donate. They test this by a simple finger prick. Your iron level can fluctuate a lot so if you just supplement/focus your diet a bit before you go, or do that if you get rejected and then you can even go back the next day to try again, you may just be eligible after all! I also learned that 75% of people are able to get back to this iron level in the eight weeks required between donations and it’s harder for women than men, so you might need to focus your diet/wait just a bit longer if you have recently donated. Just because you’ve been rejected before does not mean you will be if you try again!

In central Indiana, you can even schedule appointments online, get points and prizes, and track your donations and cholesterol over time. I just signed up last week and the system knew my last 1.5 gallons and cholesterol readings from the last few years. Of course you can do walk-in donations too! Check out DonorPoint.org.

Some other upcoming events I’m considering: Komen Race for the Cure for my friend Dawn’s mom, April 18 (run, walk, or donate), and cycling around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Tour de Cure for diabetes, June 13. Who’s in?

Stress response: chewy

I’ve had my mouth guard for a little over a year. I’m supposed to sleep in it every night and probably only remember/bother about ten percent of the time. Well, I ate through it already. Check out the cracks all along the molars. I had to get a new set of impressions today to have another one made. The last one was $400…
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Told you I needed new teeth for a reason. Plus now I risk cracking the porcelain on all my expensive fake teeth, hence the pricey guard with softer plastic on the inside and hard on the outside. Not hard enough, apparently.

Meanwhile the assistant at the dentist’s office today seemed pretty new. She commented how awful it is to have impressions made. Are you kidding me? Do you know what I’ve had done to my teeth so far? At this point I think root canals are a piece of cake, and impressions are way easier and more comfortable than a routine cleaning. She had to do the upper and lower twice because she messed them up, which I predicted when I felt the trays in the wrong place. Can’t say much with a mouthful of goop though. I’m not sure the end result was correct but we’ll see after the lab tries to make the guard.

Before my appointment I traveled several miles out of my way to go to the post office that serves my old house. I had a postage due note for a mystery letter from Carmel. After driving to BFE, I discovered it was from a realtor trying to woo me away as my home listing had expired. I refused it and you can bet I’ll let them know how I feel about being inconvenienced and asked to PAY for their solicitation.

Walt gets close in the office chair again.

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All hail 2009

Welcome to the new year and a snotty nose. I have been sick for nearly a week. Fortunately I didn’t have to go to work during this time, but it’s not like I got to enjoy many of the days off–plus work kept calling and paging me anyway. I did see a lot of crappy TV when I wasn’t knocked out with Nyquil (who knew Tori Spelling had a reality show, or that there was a lobster-catching show as well as the crab-catching show?), and today my aches had declined sufficiently to leave the house for a veggie burger at Denny’s. I thought I was on the mend a couple of days ago and met Nicole at the gym and then for a nice dinner, but whoops, I wasn’t so well. Even David got part of the sickness.

My exciting purchase this week is a new office chair, which I’m not sitting in because we’ve been too ill to carry it downstairs. I’m excited about it because it met all my ergonomic requirements (I don’t take that stuff for granted anymore… I guess I’m old) AND it’s 60% recycled AND it’s not leather! Awesome. AND I had an awesome coupon! I even paid eight bucks to have them assemble it for me because I just didn’t feel like doing it. I must have arrived at wealthy status, because the old Amy would never have paid someone to do what she can do herself. Now if it were twenty bucks that would have been different.

Right after I spent too much on a chair, our microwave died. I no longer find the microwave to be super essential (meaning buy it the same day it dies) but it’s still pretty essential (within a couple of weeks). David has hated my microwave from the start, he being a person who probably wouldn’t have one if I hadn’t brought it with me, but we agree it’s nice to have. The discussions now are where it will go–in the wall? Over the stove? We have to know these things so we know what microwave to buy. But I’m just pissed that my microwave died after only two 3.5 years (yes, I looked it up…time sure flies). I thought I bought a fancy 1200-Watt unit so it would last (maybe not as long as the twenty years the previous one lasted, but still), and here we are having to decide about an appliance together. Are we ready for this kind of commitment, people!?

Guess who’s 30 today?
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My baby brother!