Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Two-Parter

Part 1 - Current Events in the Fixit Household

After Mr. Fixit's latest scans, a "few" new nodules were found in his lungs. They are very small, but the doctor advised starting a new course of treatment--immunotherapy. This therapy ramps up his immune system to fight the cancer rather than introducing chemicals to kill the cancer. It is supposed to have fewer side effects than chemo, and the treatments are scheduled every other week for only 30 minutes of intravenous infusion. I just hope that it works with few side effects and that we can afford the treatments. That's Mr. Fixit talking. I told him that if we had to sell the house and live in the car, that's what we'll do.

During the visit to discuss his scans, the doctor said that his liver looked okay after the procedure was done a few months ago, but he said the "liver guy" might want to do an MRI instead of just relying on the CT scans. I got a call saying that he should have the MRI. I was a little upset. I thought if he wanted to the the MRI things weren't as good as the "lung guy" seem to think. Our son, who was with us for the consultation, didn't seem to think there was anything to be worried about. He goes for the MRI this coming week.

I wonder why these anomalies are referred to as nodules instead of tumors. Not once since he was diagnosed has anyone said the word "tumor." Is there a difference? Is it possible that not all of these nodules are cancerous, therefore, not tumors? Are they just using "nodules" because it a little less scary than "tumors?"Every time we go to a consultation I want to ask the doctor the question, but I'm a little leery of hearing the answer.

Our weather has taken a turn for the better. The highs for today is predicted to be in the low 70's. Glorious!

Part 2 - On My Soapbox Again

With all the disturbing (to me, at least) events happening in our country, two things have happened that are truly shameful in my opinion. The worst is this country's highest elected official being absolutely rude, crude, and uncaring about the plight of the citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. His attack on the mayor of San Juan was savage and uncalled for. I sincerely believe that the man has no empathy. How can anyone support his rhetoric? Shame on you, Mr. Highest Elected Official.

The first lady sent books to schools to encourage reading for young students. One (dare I say it? yes, I dare) snooty Cambridge elementary school librarian rejected the gift and was rude and condescending. Perhaps the books selected may not be age appropriate for children in the first grade, but younger children love these books. Dr. Seuss racist? I don't think so. Cliche? Tired? Is this librarian out of touch with reality? Why did she have to be so impolite? I was taught that when you receive a gift you smile, say thank you, and accept it graciously even if it isn't something you really like or want. Then you re-gift if you feel you must, lol. I am sure that are many children who would love to receive a book or just to have access to a book. This librarian may not agree with the highest elected official in this country, but it is inexcusable to sink to his level (and that's exactly what she did) and attack the first lady for trying to do a good thing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

When Irma hit us, it had been down-graded to a tropical depression. The forecast called for several inches of rain and sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts reaching 55 miles per hour. We live about 5 hours from the South Carolina coast and about 9 hours from Tampa, Florida, and there was wind damage in our area.The following pix show the aftermath for us. All of this came from one oak tree. The last picture shows how "de-limbed" it is now.

First my DIL and two grandchildren came armed with a chain saw, muscle, and youth. My DIL wielded that chain saw like a pro. The children, Bella, 15, and Levi, our youngest grandson, dragged smaller limbs and transported the heavy branches. They worked so hard. Ben, our older son, took time off from his job to come and help. Our neighbor across the street brought his chain saw, and his wife helped to throw the mess into the ditch in front of the house. Mike had our chain saw. The whole mess was cleaned up and stacked in the ditch in about 3 1/2 hours awaiting the city to pick it up. We may have to wait a while, but that's okay. This is how the pile looked after being cut into manageable pieces.

We didn't know that the family was coming. Mike and I were just waiting for the rain to stop before we went out to work on it. His chain saw is a small electric one and I was afraid he would be electrocuted. We are so appreciative for all their help.

Another neighbor wasn't as lucky as we were. A tree in her yard uprooted and hit her house. There was some damage. It just hit the corner.

I feel so fortunate after seeing the damage in Texas and Florida. I can't imagine what those people who tried riding out the storms went through. Those 55 mph winds we experienced were scary. I just can't imagine what 150 mph winds must feel.

(Click on individual photos to enlarge.)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Eclipse Mania

We are located almost dead center of the total eclipse path. We waited too long to get the glasses, so I made a viewer from a shoe box. Mr. Fixit is working on his now. I remember a few years ago, there was another solar eclipse, but it wasn't total. Jason was still in middle school. We used two sheets of paper. One with the small hole, and one behind that one was our viewing "screen." It worked quite well.

I'm looking forward to watching the progress of the moon blocking the sun, but I'm very eager to see and experience the darkness. I hope it's as spectacular as in the movie, "Ladyhawke," when the spell is broken and the hawk becomes a woman again. It's weird how I relate things to movies. I don't really expect to have an evil spell removed and turn into Michelle Pfieffer, dammit!

Now if I could only see the Perseid meteor shower. . . I missed it again this year. I would settle for seeing just a few "shooting stars" at the same time instead of a full-fledged shower.

Note: People are renting their homes for tons of money to visitors who have come to see the total eclipse, and motels and hotels are fully booked and are tripling their prices. Money, money, money.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tuesday, A Good Day

With the world situation the way it is and Mr. Fixit's health problems, I just haven't been able to post in the last few months. Last Tuesday I had another unpleasant chore to attend to--a financial mess with Mr. Fixit's medical bills. The short story is I wrote a $2000.00+ check back in March, and I couldn't find where that money was credited.It was for the newest procedure Mr. Fixit had done to treat a new cancer that was found in his liver. (He's doing well. It looks as if the treatment worked.) I was receiving bills that should have been paid with that check. I did have a copy of the cancelled check. I was dreading going to the hospital business office to discuss the matter. I had a feeling that it would turn out that I still owed a bundle. After speaking with two people and driving all over Greenville, I found a very nice lady who took all the paper work I had and listened (yes, actually listened) to my request to trace that check. On the way home, I received a call from her and she said that the check would be credited to my statement I had been receiving as due and owing and is now, therefore, at a zero balance. She further stated that I will be receiving a check soon for almost $700.00 as a refund. Yipee! But, of course, I will be holding my breath for a few billing cycles before I'll rest easy.

We stopped on the way home for lunch. I noticed a man in the restaurant with a very frail, older lady in a wheel chair. His actions with her touched me. I was close to tears. The man was probably in his late 50's or early 60's. He fed her patiently, he patted her hand, and caressed her face several times. Throughout the whole meal, he talked to her. He smiled and carried on what seemed to be a most enjoyable, lively conversation. I never saw her respond in any way. It was wonderful so see. I know it seems like I was staring, but I was so impressed with this man. I don't know if he was a son or a caregiver, but he treated his lady with such love and respect. It melted my heart.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Good News, Bad News (Again)

Mr. Fixit had an appointment with the oncologist Tuesday. The good news is that the nodules in his lungs showed no change and one even decreased in size. The bad news is that the new scan found two "somethings" in his liver. The scan made for the prior visit showed the two "somethings" in the liver and one in his remaining kidney. The doctor was not concerned. This latest scan show the two liver somethings has increased in size. He didn't mention the kidney. I'm not even sure the scan included the kidney. The result is that he is scheduled for an MRI in early January. They will be able to see exactly what the somethings are. If need be, they will be biopsied. If they are malignant, they will be burned out with microwaves.

Mr. Fixit's new family physician also referred him to a nephrologist because his kidney function numbers were a little high. New tests were run and the numbers were down. He has an appointment for tests later in January to be sure nothing is going on. Maybe it will show what the "something" in his kidney is.

Mr. Fixit, of course, is quite depressed. It doesn't help that he has a bad cold and feel terrible. Me? I'm scared spitless.

I had a feeling that this doctor's visit was not going to go well. It's the season. We have been married for over 50 years, and it seems that something always happens during the holidays to cause problems. When we were young, it was usually car trouble or major household problems. One year we went to see the Boston Pops orchestra perform in Hartford, Ct.
It was wonderful! After the concert, our new car wouldn't start, and it had to be towed home. The last few years it has been problems with Mr. Fixit's health. I lived through all those minor problems. This one? My heart is breaking.

Monday, September 26, 2016


For the last several years, I have been going to a national chain to have my hair cut. While I don't get the best haircuts in the world, there has only been one that brought a few tears to my eyes and caused me to stay at home or resort to a wearing a hat when I absolutely had to go out. I really like not having to make appointments. I just walk in and wait my turn.

Recently they have posted signs touting their online check-in. I have been hesitant to use it because I didn't want to get dirty looks from the other patrons if I were called in before another person who had been waiting. They ask everyone who comes in, "Did you check in online?" I even mentioned to one of the young ladies that I didn't want people to think I was jumping the line. She said that I shouldn't worry about it.

This morning I couldn't put off the haircut any longer, and I had a list of errands that needed to be done. I wanted to get it all done before the temperature went above 90 degrees as it has been doing for the last two and a half months. (This weekend it was 94 during the afternoons. I can barely wait for winter!) I decided to check in online. It was simple. When I went in I was asked for my phone number. The young woman said, " You checked in online!" I said, "Yes." Then she said, "Do you have a computer?" I felt like saying, "Yes. As a matter of fact we have four desktops, two laptops, four tablets, a couple of e-readers and cell phones. I also know how to use a digital camera, and I have a gadget that counts my steps daily. I'm old, not stupid!" Perhaps this is where I should admit that I still can't program the DVD recorder, but I can cast from the computer to the tv.

Instead of acting a like a mean old lady, I smiled sweetly and said, "Yes, I have a computer and it looks as if the check-in was done right."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Just One Day without DRAMA!

Please, that's all I ask--one day without everything turning into major problems. I haven't had a day like that in a long, long time. This past month I've had major problems with Mr. Fixit's insurance company, his cardiologist's office, our internet service provider (a Major and long-standing communications company), my new computer with Windows 10 (which stinks), a local computer repair company, and most of all just the standard aggravations of everyday life. It's also so freaking hot I can't take it!!! I am woman, hear me whine.

After being notified that Mr. Fixit was due for his yearly cardiology appointment, I used the patient portal online to make the appointment. The next day Mr. Fixit received an email saying that there was a message on the portal. The message wasn't there. I waited one day before I called the office to get the details of the appointment. The phone is answered by the computer offering several options, such as requests for meds, appointments, etc. When I pushed the appt. button, I was told by the computer that it would be more efficient to make the appt. through the patient portal. Irony? It just made me angry. Finally I talked to a real person who gave the details of his appt. and was told that a stress test had to be done before seeing the doctor. She said she would send a letter with the details. I gave Mr. Fixit a detailed note so that he could put the information on his online calendar. (For some reason, his calendar no long syncs with mine.) I then let the appt. date and time to slip away. I often do that with info that is recorded. I don't memorize phone numbers. They are there on my phone. I don't try to remember the details of appts. because I usually get email or telephonic reminders days before. About a week later, I asked Mr. Fixit about the date scheduled to see the doctor. He said it was "a week from tomorrow." I got in a tizzy because no one had called or sent a letter about the test. I called the office again to see if it had been scheduled. I left a message. No one called back. I waited one more day, checking the patient portal, email, text messages, and our snail mail. Nothing. As I walked by Mr. Fixit's real calendar in the kitchen I noticed that his appt. was near the end of this month. You might say that I was a little put out--all that worry for nothing.

Yesterday I received a call from the doctor's office saying that when trying to get pre-certification for the test, she was told by the insurance company (another major business organization) that Mr. Fixit's patient I.D. number wasn't active. The woman asked me to call the insurance company to straighten out the problem. I called. It took me some time to get a real, live person on the phone. Then after explaining the problem I was shuttled to several of their reps. I was also prodded into agreeing to respond some sort of questionnaire about Mr. Fixit's general health. Then I was prodded to agree to talking to someone else about his meds (a half-hour conversation according to the rep). I begged off when asked to do it that day explaining that I had an immediate problem that needed to be resolved. (I have that little chore now scheduled for Monday at 8 am.) At last I thought I had found someone who knew their business. She agreed that his ID number was active and she couldn't explain why the doctor's office had been given the wrong info. Then she said, "I don't have a record of your having received a new card at the beginning of the year. Tell the doctor to try his number from last year." I said, "He did receive his card; I just read the number to you from that card." She said, "Well, I don't have a record of that card." I said, " I am holding the card in my hand." Again she said, "Call you doctor and tell them to try the last year's number." I gave up. I called the doctor's office and explained what I was told. I still don't know if the insurance company will pay for the test or the time of the appt. for the test. We are not sure that the test is necessary because there was a test done at the end of April when he had the little problem and went to the emergency room. The cardio guy and the hospital where he had the test done are all part of the same huge medical entity. They should be sharing info.

Also yesterday I had to deal with having no internet and waiting for the ISP tech to install our new service. But that's a "whole 'nother' story" but just a frustrating that the foregoing tale of woe. I'll get to that one later. It's a cautionary tale of corporate greed, blackmail, and plain bad manners.

While there is all this crap going on, occasionally something comes along that makes me laugh:

Mr. Fixt and ESL

Mr. Fixit is no longer young, and some of his senses have lessened as they do for most of us. He doesn't hear well, his eyes aren't what they used to be, and his sense of direction has diminished alarmingly. As a result, I get very nervous when he drives by himself. I have become a backseat driver in the worst way. I know it annoys him, but it's better than ending up in Georgia when just going to the local Wal-Mart. Since it does annoy him, I try not to say too much, even though his driving does scare me sometimes.

We stopped at the stop sign to wait for traffic to pass so he could leave our neighborhood and enter a main road. I think he realizes his abilities and reflexes have waned a bit, so he is extra cautious about pulling into traffic. Finally, he turned onto the road quite quickly. The wheels gave a little squeal. I didn't say one word, but I could tell he was waiting for my perhaps "gentle" criticism of his driving. I kept mum. He said, "Babe, did you hear that? Just like "Sparky and Hutch."

I laughed, no, I guffawed, I had tears rolling down my face. He said, "Whut, Whut? What did I say?" I laughed that much harder. Right now, I'm laughing just thinking about it. He's such a good sport. He doesn't get mad when I tease him.