Posts Tagged 'Ailments'

Been Sick

Yes, indeed, I am now recovering from my marathon cold. I don’t think I’ve ever had a cold that lasted as long as this one nor that got me down as badly as this one did. First it was the four days of lying around doing absolutely nothing except sleeping. On and off. Then the days of lying around reading because everything else was too hard.

After that the nose running and coughing began. And lasted. And lasted. And lasted. I am still, on day 10,  blowing my nose and coughing, though not nearly as much as before.

But today, finally, it’s backed off a bit. A box of Wal-Act — pseudephedrine plus an antihistamine — helps somewhat; much more than the four-meds-in-one cold medication I was taking. I guess the decongestant in those OTC cold meds is a weak version of sudafed, which they can only sell through a pharmacist now. No wonder it didn’t work very well!

Anyway, I got back to work today, finally. 3+ hours on Sky. Whooeeeee!

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My Eyes

Sketch done for a project in the book Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson

Well, the Lord seems to be helping me out with my blog/news reading intemperance. Which is nice, considering I asked Him to do just that. As usual, I am not surprised that He answered, merely by the way in which He chose to do so.

I’d been having great success with my plan of getting in at least 2 hours of writing time every day, and giving myself a star on the calendar when I meet that goal. I had six straight days the week before last, two this last week. In fact my writing block had just begun to give last Monday and I was excited to get to work Tuesday.

But then on Tuesday, for some reason unfathomable to me now, I decided before I got started to just take a quick look at Drudge… and Diplomad… and then Powerline… and then… there I went like the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.

Several hours later, my eyes by then burning, throbbing and itching, I finally managed to convince myself that I wasn’t going to get the answers I sought from the news that day and likely never. For awhile I think I was looking at the scandals of Benghazi and Petraeus as part of some sort of riveting spy thriller, and was eager to get to the end of the story, were all would be revealed. But it wasn’t a novel. Or a movie. And in real life things don’t get revealed. At least not to the general public, or if to them then it’s decades later.

In any case, there I was, my thirst for closure thwarted with my eyes tired, but I still wanted to get in some more work on Sky. I did that — fulfilled my 2 hour goal, and then left to walk the dog.

By the time I returned home my eyes were burning like mad, feeling scratchy and even like something was in one of them. They hurt for the rest of the evening, and that night woke me up at 3am hurting. I got up to put some drops in, and went back to bed, wondering if I was going to be able to sleep at all – I was, eventually — and what I should do the next day if they continued to hurt. I was pretty sure it was eyestrain by then, but it still felt like I had something in my left eye. What if I did? And how would I be able to get in to see anyone on the Wednesday Thanksgiving?

Well, they were just as bad when I work up in the morning and I ended up calling the Nurseline that UHC provides. The nurse recommended I go straight to Urgent Care. Well, I had already somewhat triaged myself. There was no redness in my eye, no swelling, no discharge, no pain in my temple, I didn’t have a fever, wasn’t dizzy, and didn’t have double vision. The book I was using recommended rest, cold compresses and eye drops for dryness, not a trip to NextCare. When I asked her why she thought I needed more than that,  she said, “Because it’s your eye and we don’t know what’s wrong with it.”

Well, that was lame. So I called my optometrist, whom I’d just seen the previous Monday. He wasn’t there, but the optician who’d help me Monday was, and she agreed it probably was just overuse. When you spend hours staring at the computer, you tend not to blink your eyes, and they get dry. Then if you rub them, there’s the potential for scratching them. She’d heard these symptoms from many people and recommended I get some OTC gel eyedrops and use them that day and Thanksgiving, If it wasn’t better Friday I was to give them a call and get an appointment with the doctor. In the meantime, along with the drops, I should rest my eyes as much as possible and stay away from the computer.

So I did as she suggested. The drops helped a lot, and by Friday the pain had reduced considerably.  So I tried to use the computer, setting the timer for 25 minutes to make sure I stopped before too long. No need. After 12 minutes of reading just headlines, my eyes were throbbing and burning again and that was enough of that. They were uncomfortable for the rest of the day.  I didn’t try again until today, after Church. And even now as I’m typing this I’m closing my eyes.

Today, I tried earlier to read my blogs and news, and could feel everything heading south, so I quit. The discomfort arises to the point it’s not worth it to me to fight on through it just so I can read…. what? Some person’s opinion of the dire/messed up/stupid state of something? It’s the devil’s world. Of course things are going to be dire, messed up and stupid.

In any case, the result is that I haven’t really read any of my usual stuff, and the inclination is going away. I think I’ll be able to work on Sky tomorrow, especially if I do a lot of stuff with hard copy. Which is what I usually do.

For now, my eyes have had enough of even the partial staring at this screen I’ve been doing, so I’m going to quit and get this posted.

Short Update

Hi everyone!  Thanks for your prayers and well wishes. The surgery went “exactly as it was supposed to go” (except faster) and I came home Saturday. No sign of cancer, only the pre-cancer stuff they’d already found.  We’re still waiting for the full pathology report, but I’ll take good news in whatever increments the Lord decides to present it. 

I’ll try to write a more detailed update tomorrow. Somehow the Lord took what most would consider a “dire” event and made it into a fun weekend…

Catching Up

So, where have I been the last seven-plus days? Well, after the last post about my trip to the zoo, I actually got down to business and worked on Sky for three hours every day for the next three days. Then came Saturday, which was filled with many things that did not concern writing. Sunday was our first of the month pot luck at church and the transfer of a telescope from my carport to my car to the car of the friend who will be taking it home to keep and enjoy.  I came home and crashed, exhausted.

Monday I went to the hospital to do the check-in and pre testing for my surgery, set for this Friday. That took a couple of hours. No writing on that day, either. Tuesday I focused on catching up on housework and preparing for visitors. Today, Wednesday I continued the catch up and preparations, plus I have a standing lunch date with friends that lasts the afternoon. 

Tomorrow I might actually be able to get around to writing since I should be home for most of the day drinking my clear liquids and eating my jello in preparation for the big day… Friday. Of course, no writing will occur Friday, nor for the rest of the weekend since my son and his family will be arriving tomorrow night to help out, provide moral support etc. Can’t wait to see them!

And now, seeing as the news is almost over and my eyes keep wanting to shut, I’d better sign off. I’ll be back in a few days with my report of whether all this went as smoothly as it was supposed to.

I Know the Plans That I Have for You

Well, I’m not sure why I haven’t been posting. Off the top of my head I’m not sure what all I’ve been doing. Working some on Sky, doing Morning Routines, making cards (I have a lot of friends and family with events in March), walking Quigley, going to the Y, doing Bible Class, thinking about Bible Class and writing in my journal…

I got my surgery date two days after I saw the GYN oncologist (see last blog post). It was for three weeks off (a little less than two weeks now as I write this), the only spot the doctor had open at my hospital of choice and with my regular gynecologist to assist. Even if I took the latter two out of the picture, the most I could have gained was four days earlier. So I was looking at much longer wait than I was anticipating.

During this time, Pastor John has been teaching about patience. About how patience is part of our calling, and part of our bringing glory to God — when we trust Him and wait patiently, without anxiety, tension or frustration, and then He comes through for us… that brings Him glory.

So it was pretty clear to me the moment the surgery scheduler told me it was going to be three weeks, that this was part of God’s training in developing patience. 

 The next day, after all the carrying on about cancer and talk of how this was going to be resolved quickly, I was a bit unnerved at the prospect that now I was going to have to wait three weeks. But I assured myself that the oncologist had my best interests in mind, and is an expert in this area. He’d looked at my charts and the tests and the ultrasound, and surely if he thought three weeks would lead to a major downturn in my status,  he’d not allow this to go that long. In fact, it’s likely he knew his schedule was full when we met, because when I suggested the possibility of surgery  “next week” he did NOT say it would be then. He said nothing. I started to take comfort in that…

And then realized how ridiculous I was being. Putting my trust in a mere man? What was I thinking? Yes, the doc probably does have my best interests in mind, more or less, but God absolutely and positively does, far more than any man ever could.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him, to those who are called according to His purpose.”   ~ Romans 8:28

“I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 33:3

He sent His Son to die for me. Of course He has my best interests in mind.

“If God is for us, who against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  ~ Romans 8:31b-32

What’s more, the doc might be able to make a good guess as to what’s going on in my uterus from the tests… but that’s all it is right now: a guess. He even said as much, adding we won’t really know what’s there until he does the surgery.

God, on the other hand, knows exactly what’s going on in there — now and in three weeks. God’s expertise — Omniscience — buries any paltry insights the doc may have gained over his years in the field.

Moreover, God could have provided a spot in the schedule far earlier, if that was the best thing; He could provide a cancellation, could have popped up a red flag, if there was trouble and we needed to get to the surgery sooner. He did not.

Because this is not about my physical condition. This is about teaching me to trust Him, to know Him, to wait in Him. To be at peace in Him.

Oh! But what if His will for me is to go through (fill in the most horrible outcome possible for the situation)?!

That morning as I had this thought… as this wretched thought wormed its way into my consciousness to torment me… I realized it was an old enemy. One that’s been a peace-killer for me my entire Christian life.

So I decided not to go down the path it was suggesting I take. Instead I told myself, “Why not wait until the event happens and then you can say, ‘This is horrible, but I know God wants me to go through it for my highest and best.’ That way I’d at least gain peace from it instead of giving myself the heebie-jeebies with something that is purely speculative.

It’s an evil arrogant thought, really. I presume to guess God’s will for me and I always malign Him when I do so, because it’s always something horrible. For example, I hear a noise when I’m home alone. And I think, Oh, no! Is that a burglar? And then, being a novelist and well versed in such things, I concoct an entire story wherein the burglar/rapist breaks in, attempts to assault me, I shoot him dead and then have to go to jail for murder where I am tormented by my fellow inmates so I can show the power of God in my strength and peace and joy.

Wow, it looks even more stupid and arrogant when I set it down like that than when I just think it. And how ironic that I’m scaring myself silly with a potential scenario I’m conjuring up as an avenue for me to bring God glory with my great strength and trust in Him. Something is not computing here.

And furthermore,  look how mean I’m making God out to be. Here we’ve been studying the fruit of the Spirit as a manifestation of who God is — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control — yet when I get in these situations the God I conjure up is stern, cruel, tight-lipped, legalistic.

“This is for your own good,” my imaginary God says. “All this stuff you don’t want to do, that’s what I have for you to do. And the things you love, and like to do — none of that. It’s only going to be hardness and sorrow and suffering for you.”

No room in that thinking for God wanting me to have an abundant life full of blessing. Or wanting to fill me with power and joy and peace.

So instead of trying to guess what awful thing this phony God I’ve created may have planned for me, I decided to concentrate instead on His goodness,  His grace and His kindness. On His faithfulness, and gentleness and love.

I’ll concentrate on the fact that He’s my loving Father who has everything under control. He knows exactly what’s going on in my body right now. He could speed it up or slow it down. He could take it all away in an instant. His timing is perfect.

In 2 Timothy 3:10, 11 Paul is talking to Timothy about all the trials and persecutions he’s gone through, and ends with, “and out of them all the Lord delivered me.”

Pastor John has recently spent a number of lessons on this verse. It’s one, says he, that applies to all of us as believers. And that’s to be the focus of my thinking, not my lame what-ifs.

Quigley Update

Well, I spent the day basically pre-occupied with my dog.

He made it through the night without throwing up or having any more diarrhea. He also didn’t move from his sleeping spot and drank nothing. I gave him his pill this morning and the Fast Balance GI, which he wasn’t excited about. Then he ate a cereal bowl full of rice, chicken and water, along with a small dog biscuit that is part of my husband’s morning departure routine — and that was it for the day.

Except for leaping up to bark ferociously at his nemesis — a large, white male dog who gets walked by our house every morning — Quigley slept in the living room. He didn’t come and wait in the kitchen for us to do tricks. He didn’t come when I got out the cheese to make my lunch (usually he does, hoping for a tiny sliver which he usually gets).  I tried to get him to eat/drink some more rice, but he wasn’t interested. He just lay around and slept.

So I got to spend the day trying not to worry, trying not to make up horrid speculations relative to dehydrated dogs, trying not to call the vet again, all because he wasn’t eating or drinking. My husband wanted to wait til tonight and see how he did, so that’s what I did. But it was hard.  Doubly so because our cooler wasn’t working. When the air coming in was hotter than the air already there, I turned it off. And with the interior of the house at about 86 degrees for much of the afternoon, it was hard to do anything.

Except think about how Quigley wasn’t eating or drinking anything — even though he rarely eats or drinks anything during the day. So that was stupid, in addition to being sinful.

But oh well. At day’s end, Stu came home and Quigley woke up. He ate more dog biscuits (part of the evening return routine). He ate two bowls of rice and chicken. He went for a walk and drank water when he got back… So now I am feeling much more at ease.

Also, the cooler’s been fixed and the air is now cool and much more comfortable. Now I have to go fold the laundry before I can go to bed.

Wednesday: It’s Never What It Seems

For one thing, my Mother was not discharged today, and we did not go to the oncologist’s office. I did manage to talk to him on the phone, however.  Turns out when they did the ultrasound for the lung tap, the lung doctor asked the technicians to look at the liver for cancer spots and they had found them, larger than they’d been in January, so they know it’s reactivated.  Dr. Schwartz also said the edema in the legs is the result of the liver malfunctioning, but that the disease can be treated.

Meanwhile the hospitalist ordered an official ultrasound of the liver. Those results will not come until tomorrow. But we did get back the results of the test of the fluid that was taken from Mother’s lungs: no tumor cells. Which means there’s no cancer in the lung.  Hooray! Dr. Clements said there can be tiny holes in the diaphragm allowing fluid from the abdomen to enter the chest cavity, and in fact, he thought it did seem like there might be a fair amount of fluid gathering in her abdomen. Turns out they can extract that pretty much like the lung fluid was. In fact, if the ultrasound shows there is in fact fluid there he’ll order what they call a paracentresis — basically the same thing he did with the lung done to the abdomen. It’s possible that could significantly reduce the swelling of her legs which would be awesome. They don’t hurt her, but with the skin splitting and the fluid and blood dribbling everywhere they would be very difficult to deal with at home like that.

It’s probably unrealistic to expect results that dramatic, but still it would be nice to do something to lessen the edema. The primary means of treatment, though, is to go after the source of the problem which is the liver. Right now we’re waiting to see if mother can get back to eating and drinking and sitting up, able to move on her own again. Turns out that the fluid in the abdomen can cause the stomach to feel full and discourage eating, contribute to an acid reflux sort of effect and cause the patient to swallow a lot of air that will in turn be burped up.  So it looks like we might have an explanation for all the burping and so-called indigestion… We’ll know more later. But who woulda thought?

It is sooo cool to see God’s hand in all this, to see the way He’s got things orchestrated. In addition to all that, I got up this morning and went searching for my Thieme booklet, The Faith Rest Life, which  think I first read 35 years ago. It’s amazing to reread it and see things I never saw before, because my perspective has changed. But the coolest thing was that it really is true that I’m to do nothing. I keep fighting that. But if you’re going to give a problem over to God to solve, why would you keep trying to solve it yourself?

There’s more — he talked a lot about patience and how hard it is for us to wait on the Lord. And of course there has been a LOT of waiting these last few days. And the more I have to wait not knowing, the harder it is to stay relaxed. I even was griping to one of my friends about it… what’s the point of all this sitting staring at walls, waiting? I don’t understand. Well, there it was in the Faith Rest book — a very specific answer. And then tonight, live back in Massachusetts, Pastor McLaughlin taught  on … Patience!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” 

I love it.


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