Tuesday, February 19, 2008


All That's Missing Are The Mirrors

Sunday was supposed to be a rather brutal ice storm in this area, so we played it smart and visited the kids in Hooterville on Saturday so we wouldn't be on the roads in those conditions. We had a fun time, even though my little girl Brynn was having the typical 10-days-after-the-vaccination flu-like symptoms. She was very sucky and just wanted to be held and rest on daddy's chest. I couldn't have been more willing to oblige her. I just love to hold her and rub her back, and it's the most amazing thing to have her feel so comfortable in my arms that she falls asleep against my chest. Love it, love it, love it.

As the kids were being hauled up to bed, The Squeeze and I headed over to my folks' place for a quick visit. They informed us that my mother had taken a fall in the bathtub the previous week and was still quite sore. She's had a few episodes where she just blacks out and falls. Not sure what's going on there. She passed out in the tub, hitting her head, left hip and leg. Her left foot is still looking pretty nasty. My mother didn't want to go to the doctor right away, but my father finally got her to agree to go a day or two after the fact. It's weird when the youngest child begins parenting the parents. "If you fall again, especially if you hit your head, get checked out right away!" I had to put a bit of fear into them by letting them know that my friend's mother fell and hit her head and wound up in a coma, and sadly died. "Don't mess around with that stuff." I also suggested that maybe it's time to move into a bungalow so there's no chance of falling down stairs. Her knees are also bothering her a lot, so the stairs aren't doing her any good. Years ago I mentioned that they should move out of their big house, and the answer I got? "We're too old to move." What does that even mean? My mother finally has her appointment with the gerontologist on Friday. I told my father to be sure he tells the doctor about the fainting too. But he said he's only seeing her about the memory stuff. Humour me. Tell him about the fainting. Maybe these things have some ties.

Sunday we kept an eye out for the storm, but it didn't seem too bad. We decided to go spend a bit of time at an art exhibit not far from our house, grabbed some lunch and did our grocery shopping. I started to prepare our dinner and our lunches for the week, and after we ate The Squeeze cleaned up and put the pots in the sink to soak. We retired to the basement to watch some tv. I was relaxing on the sofa, knitting away at the blanket that I'm making for Brynn when I had a thought.

"It's still early, what do you say I put some wood in the fireplace?"
"Sure," said The Squeeze.

I crumpled up some newspaper and put on some kindling and opened the damper. There was quite a downdraft coming down the chimney. I lit a rolled up piece of newspaper and tried to get an updraft going. A bit of smoke was coming into the room so The Squeeze opened the window a crack. It seemed that the draft turned and the smoke began going up the chimney so I lit the newspaper beneath the kindling, figuring we were well on our way to a nice relaxing fire. I closed the glass doors and opened the vents on the bottom to allow air to help pull the smoke up the chimney. Within seconds black smoke began pouring into the room from around the doors. Something wasn't right. The smoke was not going up the chimney. In a matter of seconds the room filled with smoke. I was panicking. The Squeeze ran upstairs and I'm yelling "Get the extinguisher! Get the extinguisher!!!" He disabled the smoke alarms so that wouldn't add to our grief, and rather than bringing the extinguisher, he brought down the huge pot that had been soaking in the sink. He brought it to the fireplace and scooped water out with his hands.

"Shit! That water is hot!"
"I don't care!" I yelled as I jumped in and started scooping water onto the burning paper and kindling.

While I was downstairs dousing the flames, The Squeeze went upstairs and opened the garage doors to clear the smoke. When the fire was out, I went to the top floor and opened windows and turned on the exhaust fan and brought down a portable fan to place in the basement window to suck out the smoke.

It was amazing how quickly the smoke filled the room. It was also amazing how slowly the smoke cleared. Our throats were sore from breathing it in for the brief moments we had. The Squeeze stayed on the main floor for a while, but thinking that the fire may start up again, I hovered in the basement so I could keep an eye on it. Eventually, the smoke cleared and we were able to unwind from this bit of unplanned excitement. Unfortunately, we have a very smoky smelling house, and this just isn't the kind of weather you want to keep your windows open in. I can smell it every time I resume working on the blanket. I'll be sure that goes into the wash before I give it to her.

I'm doing some reading on using a fireplace. I'm not quite sure what happened. The chimney's not blocked. We had it swept last year and it's capped. There was a good amount of cold air blowing down. I guess I just didn't have the updraft I thought I had. Not sure why it didn't work this time when I never had a problem before. While I'm researching, I'm going to look into a gas fireplace insert. Now what to do with the cord of wood in our garage...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Ways to Maintain A Healthy Level of Insanity

I saw this on Facebook and some of them gave me a good laugh:

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write " For Smuggling Diamonds"

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

8 . Don't use any punctuation

9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme?

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.

15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.

16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

Anyone have any additions to the list?

Saturday, February 02, 2008


This Sinus Thing Is Soooo Draining

OK, so I know I've bitched and moaned more than a few times over the past nearly two and a half years about this sinus thing I've been suffering for just as long. Many, many trips to see "my doctor" (I see a different resident every time I go in), have resulted in little more than frustration and a frequent prescription of nasal spray. I've tried saline rinses, neti pots, decongestants, antihistamines, antibiotics, steroids, Flonase, Nasonex, all to pretty much no avail.

I'm always asked the same questions:
Do you have any new pets?
Do you have carpets?
Is there mould in the house?
Do you smoke?
Did you move into a new place?

No, in fact we haven't had a pet in about 4 months.
Hardwood on the main floor, carpets in the bedrooms.
Not that I'm aware of.
Yes, but that was a year and a half ago and this started a year before we moved.

The last time I saw "my doctor" back in October or November I think it was obvious that I was about to snap. I basically told her that for more than two years, I've been SUFFERING from this sinus thing and that the usual sinus spray solution wasn't working. I told her I was fed up. Something had to be before I cut my own head off. I demanded a referral to an ENT (ear, nose & throat) specialist. She told me she'd arrange something for me and be in touch, and then she handed me another prescription for Nasonex. Sure, why not?

About a week or so after that I received a call informing me that I had an appointment for a CAT scan the following week. It was all pretty quick, unless you count the two years I've waited until that point.

I went for the CAT scan, and waited for a call from "my doctor" to let me know what the result was. After waiting for a few weeks, I was just about to make the call when I received a letter in the mail informing me of an appointment with an ENT specialist on February 1st. Finally, the ball was rolling.

Yesterday, February 1st, the weather report called for seven types of hell and 6 to 10 inches of snow. I called the ENT clinic to see if I was still on, and they told me I could come in earlier since some of their patients had cancelled due to the weather. I got there at before 10:00 and still had to wait until about 11:00 before I was called in. My appointment was for 10:45. Glad I arrived early. I was asked about my condition by the nurse. I answered all of the questions listed above and then some. I told her it's been going on 2 1/2 years and at that she looked rather concerned. I wasn't sure how to take that. She seemed surprised when I told her I had already been for a CAT scan, and that the results should be on their computer. She went off to look for them and came back about 25 minutes later. She then had me sit on their exam recliner while she sprayed some sort of crap into my nostrils. "This will allow the doctor to insert the tubes in your nose and down your throat, so the spray will numb your throat, just to let you know." The nurse sprayed away and I was greeted with one of the worst tastes I have ever experienced. "I have suckers if you'd like one to take the taste away". I declined, not wanting to appear to be a wimp. She then walked away and left me in the examining room alone. About a minute later, I realized that I was unable to swallow. My throat was constricting. I began to panic. Nobody was around and I was sure I was going to die right there alone. I had to concentrate on my breathing. I felt a bit dizzy and disoriented for a few minutes.

I kept my eye on the clock that hung on the wall facing me. About 15 minutes after the initial panic my throat seemed to open up again. Another ten minutes passed before a resident came in, introduced herself to me and shook my hand with what felt like the hand of a well-chilled corpse. "Your hands are so nice and warm! I'm freezing in here today," she informed. "It sure feels like it," I replied.

The resident asked me the required questions again, plus a few others. She stuck some small version of a log-splitter into my nostrils and spread them to just before the tearing point and scoped out the area with a flashlight. The resident then took her icy corpse hands and feelt the sides of my neck, then walked out of the room and I was left alone again.

After another lenghty wait, in walked the doctor with the resident. So let's look at this again. I got there at 10:00, was brought in at 11:00 and then, at about 12:25 I finally saw the doctor. Did I mention that my parking meter expired at 11:27? But I digress. The doctor asked me the usual questions again, and a few new ones. She asked the resident to make sure that the CAT scan they had looked at was, in fact, mine and not those of another patient of theirs by the same name. Once it was confirmed that they were my pictures, the doctor asked me if I felt pressure behind my left eye or in my left cheek. "Oh my God, I've got a huge honkin' tumor," I thought. I told her that I wasn't sure if I feel pressure or not. I've had this for so long I think I'm just used to all the discomfort. She tried to insert the scope tube into my left nostril, but encountered a bone spur from my septum that blocked the path. She moved on to my right nostril and slid that tube right down my throat. Rather uncomfortable. Perhaps if she was there while I was unable to swallow nearly an hour earlier I wouldn't have felt a thing, but who am I to say?

When she finished with the scope, she brought me over to the monitor to show me the CAT scan results. Apparently this bone spur on the left side of my septum is preventing my left sinus from draining properly. This could be the cause of my problem, though she couldn't guarantee that surgery would resolve it. The doctor told me that I have a couple of options. Go ahead with surgery, or maintain an agressive saline rinse and Nasonex regimen for a few months and see where that leads. I would have to rinse and spray every morning and every night instead of just in the morning as I've been doing. If the saline and Nasonex clears it up, that doesn't necessarily mean it's cured either. It could return if I stop doing that. I opted for the rinse & spray for a few months. I will see her again in April to see if things have changed for me.

I tried the saline spray they gave me before bed last night, and it didn't seem to go beyond my nostrils, so this morning I dug out my neti pot and gave that a try. I put the spout in one nostril and poured and it just didn't flow out the other nostril like it should. I got a very pathetic drip at best. I'm hoping that that will change over the next couple of days. We'll see how things go over the next couple of months. Perhaps I'll be in there getting that surgery in the near future. Maybe while I'm in there I'll get a bit of Botox, maybe have her tighten up my turkey neck, maybe a little lipo on the gut & butt. Or I'll just get my ass back on the treadmill.

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