Sunday, 18 March 2018

This and That and Back to some form of Normalcy

Well folks, I believe I am returning to work this week. My previous health problems are basically "back to normal" and I really have no idea what it was all about. The only lingering issue I have, which I don't think is even related, is a nasty case of vertigo. I basically feel somewhat drunk all the time. The world doesn't spin around me, but I feel shaky and weird, and like I'm walking on a boat. I feel like everything is rather ethereal, if you know what I mean. So... I see the doc tomorrow and I'll ask him to assess me for an inner ear thing, or test my electrolites, or whatever else might determine why I feel like my head is being pressed back and to the side (Seinfeld episode anyone?) and why I feel like there is a slight tremor in my body at all times. (Theories are welcome, as long as they aren't too scary). I did have something like this a few years ago which started one day after getting off a plane and it lasted for three months and just went away on its own.

Anyway... onward. We have been very fortunate here in Midwest Ontario with very little snow compared to others. The sun was even shining today. It's still chilly, but we are not buried under three feet of snow and are grateful.

When I spent too many hours sitting on the couch, I managed to binge watch the entire three seasons of Grace and Frankie on Netflix (Canadian Netflix, I must add, which is not the same as what my American friends can access). Is it wrong that I want to base my whole wardrobe and fashion sense on the character of Grace (as played by an 80 year old Jane Fonda)? The funny thing is I worked with a woman for many years who is basically Frankie with her hippie clothes and personality.  I also watched quite a few episodes of Comedians Driving in Cars Getting Coffee (Jerry Seinfeld). I enjoyed those.

I read a couple of books and realized that two books that I took out of the library were ones which I had already read. Has anyone else done that? I also read blogs. Thanks everyone for writing your blogposts and putting in great pictures and neat links. I do not do any other form of social media, I'm not even sure if you consider blogging social media, but this is my little way of finding out about others in different parts of the world, enjoying what they write, and sometimes commenting.

I've been a bit introspective these last few weeks and was thinking about what makes me happy. I realized that when we had our little backyard flock of chickens, it made me very happy indeed. We had chickens for quite a few years. I got rid of them about two or three years ago because I just hated the whole winter upkeep. Chickens still need to have fresh water and their eggs collected even when you have to wade in thigh high snow with sloshing buckets of water. Sometimes the heater stopped and the water froze and sometimes the chickens got sick and sometimes they were just too old and didn't lay much... but I mostly loved watching them and hearing them. I loved taking kitchen scraps out for them and watching them enjoy pecking at watermelon rinds. I especially loved the wonderful big eggs. We were never short on eggs. Sometimes friends and colleagues would buy extra eggs. Not that it was EVER a money making thing, god knows! But a little piece of me kind of wants to get chickens again. My husband said he would consider putting a waterline in so there would be water right at the chicken coop. That would be fabulous. I must say, there is a ton of stuff out there on Pinterest showing great chicken feeding systems made out of PVC pipes. Chickens are always nice in the spring, summer, and fall. But we'll see.

It was St. Patrick's Day, of course, this past weekend. I did not celebrate. At all. But, university daughter who is a Don had a BUSY weekend trying to keep the merry makers on her campus from hurting themselves or each other. I think she is very glad that's over with. Did you know a big hassle in dorms is the constant fire alarms going off because students are vaping in their rooms? Who knew? I think if I were to do university all over again, I would live in residence my first year. I didn't. I always lived "off campus" in a couple little houses which had been chopped up into a bunch of bedrooms rented out by a local landlord who had quite a few student rentals. The houses were pretty nice, actually and on a main bus route to be able to get to campus. But, I think I really missed out on meeting people and getting involved in things.

Well wasn't this just a stream of consciousness type of post? But I've been absent for quite a while and I guess it's like sitting down with a friend and catching up. Time to get ready for bed. Goodnight all.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Follow up to History

It took a ridiculous amount of time, but results finally came back saying there was no evidence of a parasitic infection. However, I am still off work dealing with D. I have finished a one week course of an antibiotic called Flagyl (not a fun medicine to endure either) which a doctor put me on, in case it was a parasite. The head space that I'm in  is pretty difficult because way back when... there were tests and so forth that never caught the entomoeba histolicia (probably spelling that wrong) until it was detected through a second colonoscopy two months of hospitalization later.

Obviously, I am very wary of these test results. The coincidence is too great that we were in Mexico and went off resort (and ate in a jungle and used incredibly questionable washroom facilities) and one month later I developed this.

In Ontario, some people have doctors who they can get in to see within a day or two, and some don't. I'm one of the ones who don't. It will not be until Monday (3 days from now) that I actually get to speak with my own doctor. Up until now I have been dealing with the emergency department.

So... I'm slowly going bonkers sitting on my couch and realizing that day time t.v. is a fate worse than hell and not even sure what I should be feeding myself, and just trying to drink enough fluids, and not let my mind go to very bad places. My husband is an incredible support and keeps telling me that everything will be fine in the end.

I have to remind myself that I am an otherwise healthy vibrant woman who hasn't had problems prior to this and I am in control of what people do to me, and what drugs I will choose to take or not, and how I choose to pursue this (as opposed to when I was in my twenties and lying in a hospital bed unable to even understand what was happening to me). I also realize that it could always be worse, and some bloggers have shared their own personal health issues. I know that this is relatively small on the "life threatening" scale and there are others going through far worse. My husband has helped me realize that it is so much more difficult to me because I'm carrying with me the mental baggage of my previous circumstances. And so, I read your blogs daily, don't always comment, but do always read. It is nice to be distracted by others' lives, and senses of humour, and book reviews, and funny pet stories. I'm posting this as a release, a therapy, just because I work through things by writing... Your previous comments on "History" were so appreciated.  Back I go to watching yet another home renovation programme...

Sunday, 18 February 2018


I'm typing this not even sure if it will be published or not. Maybe I just need to type it and it can sit in my posts which are only saved. In 1997 I had a wee girl who was one year and four months old, a husband of six years, I was working professionally, and my husband and I owned a gift and home d├ęcor store in a small town. We had moved locations of the store and spent a lot of time fixing up the building so it would be just right for our style.

We attended the wedding of the man who was our best man in our wedding. The wedding was at the end of August. I began to get ill about the second week of September. By ill, I mean I had uncontrollable diarrhea, at times bloody, was so weak I had trouble standing, felt nauseous... was just a mess. I stopped work because I was put into a small town hospital, put on IV fluids for dehydration and my own doctor was in the process of moving her practice, so I was left in the hands of whoever happened to be on call. Trust me when I say you do not want to be extremely ill on a weekend as it never seemed that doctors could be reached, or decisions could be made.

I won't go into all the sordid details, but all told, I was in three different hospitals, was told I  had ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease. A nasty little piece of work doctor stood at my bedside and told me I would be looking at a colostomy bag for the rest of my life. At the same time, I was put on a variety of medications, including a central line being attached into the side of my chest while a sweet young nurse held my hand because I was terrified of having a tube inserted into me while I was still awake. One of the medications was called prednisone. It is used for severe inflammation. One of the rare side effects of prednisone is a form of psychosis. I developed that rare side effect. Slowly but surely I lost myself, unable to explain to anyone what was happening. I didn't want to see anyone, I sunk into a horrible depression, I had no muscle strength and couldn't even get myself out of a bathtub or walk down the hall. My eyesight became effected and I had difficulty seeing. All this time, I was in hospital, having clear fluids, graduating to semi-solid food. Two of the hospitals were quite a distance from our home. My husband came when he was able, but he also had work, as well as run our store, as well as our little girl to take care of. His parents came to help out for a little while, when they could. My own parents, especially my mother, were not strong enough or capable of helping.

Finally, after two months, and another colonoscopy (my first one was an emergency one), a doctor informed me that I had an ameobic infection. Entomeoba histolitica . I never had any of the terrible diseases they said I had. I was sent home, still suffering the effects of the prednisone, and given a horse dose of antibiotics which would clear up the dysentery. Unfortunately, with being bed bound in hospital for so long, and apparently another possible side effect of the prednisone, I developed a DVT in my right leg (blood clot). I was so messed up on the mind altering drugs, I just assumed I'd pulled a muscle somehow. When I did end up going to the hospital, I was told to go directly to a bigger hospital in a town farther away (husband was with me - I was incapable of driving or making decisions). Through ultrasound, they determined I had a bad blood clot and was immediately given a blood thinner which would "keep me alive" (direct quote from a hospital staff member).

So now I'm still mentally very messed up, can't sleep at all, or so it seemed to me, was in horrible pain and swelling with the blood clot, now had to have injections of blood thinner in my abdomen from a nurse who just wanted me to learn to do it myself, and my mind won't allow me to believe that I don't still have Crohn's disease. My husband called the doctor himself, so I could hear it again and the doctor seemed utterly bewildered that I didn't believe it.

In the end, a nurse pulled my husband aside, outside of the hospital and told him that "mistakes were made" on me, which we believe was about lab tests not being done properly, or results not being communicated. I also ended up going to a hospital and was seen by a psychiatrist who admitted that prednisone was likely the problem and prescribed anti-psychotics which I took while I slowly decreased the dosage of the prednisone.

I ended up being off work for about seven months, had long lasting repercussions with the leg that had the blood clot, developed a solid mistrust of people in medicine, and was quite damaged psychologically. There are many other things that happened while in hospital that don't need to be written about, but it was the hardest thing in my life that I've ever been a part of.

Why do I write about this now? It was twenty some years ago. Well, I've been dealing with some bowel issues for the past two weeks. Not nearly as horrible as the first time this happened to me, but enough that it wasn't going away, so I tried to see my doctor. Yes, in Canada, we have free health care (to a certain extent), but I can NEVER see my own doctor right away . Often it is a two week wait. There is a nurse practitioner who you can also see, but she was sick! So I went to emerg. and told my symptoms. I was asked, in triage,  if I had been out of the country in the past 21 days. I said no. Then when I was seen by the doctor on call, she enquired further and I said that we had gone away for a week at Christmas (that was more than 21 days ago) Where, she asked. Mexico. Did you leave the resort, she continued. Yes, we did. So she sent me away with a recommendation of the BRATY died (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, yogurt) and a lab requisition and many little bottles in which to put "samples". You may not be aware, but this is a holiday weekend for us, with Monday being "Family Day". I delivered my samples on the Friday and Saturday, cringing at the thought of anything being done on a holiday weekend. I will only be told if something is found. I will hear nothing if the tests are negative. However, I am aware that these tests aren't foolproof and sometimes it takes many samples to find the needle in the haystack. I will need to see a doctor again to ask for more lab requisitions if I don't hear anything.

There has been a lot of gastro-intestinal illness and bad cold and flu viruses as well. I am around the public constantly. Could this be something that just isn't working its way out of my system? Perhaps. Could I be harboring some kind of parasite in my intestines? Perhaps. Do I have Crohn's disease. Not very likely, but my brain still goes there. My brain still fears the tests, the mistakes, the drugs, the screw ups...

I don't know why I'm sharing. This isn't my usual blog post. In fact I rarely, if ever, share private information. It's about a health topic that isn't generally discussed, people tending not to talk about their bathroom activities. My logical brain tells me I'll be fine. My scared, wounded brain continues to mess with me. Have you ever had a misdiagnosis? Have you ever suffered ill effects of a prescription medication? Thank you for reading and understanding that certain things can take you right back, even though you've grown up and lived a lifetime of wonderful things since then.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Pancake Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday, Mardis Gras (literally translates as fat Tuesday)... Thank goodness tonight's supper was a no-brainer. I've been reading other bloggers' ways of eating and preparing pancakes, and many of these people live in England, or Wales. Some of them wrote about eating pancakes with lemon and sugar, or even orange juice and sugar. This is a completely foreign (literally) concept to me. Here's how this Canadian does a pancake supper (or breakfast for supper). Please understand this is NOT a typical breakfast. It might be a weekend brunch, but nobody I know eats this much for breakfast.

First, the best way to make bacon is not on the stove, where grease spits and flies around and makes a ridiculous mess of your stove top. Instead, cook it in the oven. Line a big cookie sheet with foil and create little walls around the edges.
My cookie sheets are old and ugly. I have not attempted any of the Pinterest methods of using hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap, or whatever the concoction is.(And why does it always have to be Dawn?)  My cookie sheets have the patina of love and overuse.

Next, get the bacon. Bacon that is cut in strips. Let's clear up this whole Canadian bacon thing. In Canada, nobody calls it Canadian bacon. And what other countries refer to as Canadian bacon, is, I think what we would call back bacon, or peameal bacon which is more like ham. This particular bacon that I bought is "thick cut". I prefer the regular kind, but there seems to be some sort of scammy thing going on with bacon (oh the horror!) where we pay just as much, but the slices are much thinner, to the point of ripping them to shreds when you try to separate them. So, I went for the thick slices this time.
Lay the bacon on the tinfoil trying not to overlap. Put it in the oven and turn the oven to 400 degrees, or 375, or 425, it doesn't really matter because you are going to be watching it carefully anyway. Soon your kitchen will smell like bacon heaven.

At this time, I also opened up a can of beans. I'm not a huge fan of beans, but the husband likes them with "breakfast for supper."

This was from the CASE of beans he bought when we went to Costco. Who needs a case of beans?? We'll be eating them throughout 2018!

Yes, yes, I have made pancakes from scratch. But it's Tuesday and I work and all I had to do was "just add water" to this!

Husband was in charge of eggs while I took care of pancakes and watching the bacon in the oven so it was cooked to perfection (i.e. nothing too wobbly). You would think pancakes would be the easiest thing in the world, but I'm often not great at them. I either flip them too soon, or they're too flat, or not fluffy enough or the pan isn't hot enough. The first couple are always worthy of throwing away.

Not even round, and I'm pretty sure I can see the face of Christ in one of them!

Ahhh, but you can forgive me my pancake sins, because here is the bacon, resting on its blanket of paper towel to soak up the grease thus making it even crispier.

This is some super hefty bacon. Again, it would have been crispier if it was the "regular" slice and not the "thick" slice. But it tasted fine.

And there you have it. Egg with ketchup, pancakes with butter and maple syrup, bacon, and orange juice. I'll pass on the beans, thank you. Fat Tuesday.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A Different Supper

I tend to get bored with the same meals. I need to change things up fairly often, whereas my husband would be content to have a "Monday meal", "Tuesday meal", etc. But I knew I'd be making supper tonight, so I searched through ideas that I had pinned from Pinterest in my "food" file and found something that looked good and was different than what I have usually been making. I figured out what ingredients I already had, then made sure to pick up the rest when I went grocery shopping today, because it's Saturday, and that's grocery shopping day!

This is teriyaki chicken and rice in the making. It was pretty easy to make and ended up being a big casserole, perfect for leftovers later in the week.

You make a teriyaki sauce with soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, ginger, minced garlic and a bit of olive oil, thickened with cornstarch. Then you cook four boneless, skinless chicken breasts in some of the sauce. Once the chicken is cooked, you shred it (I use two forks to do this) and add cooked rice, cooked Asian vegetables (the packaged, frozen kind), pineapple tidbits and more of the sauce. Then this mixture gets put back in the oven for another 20 minutes or so.

Once it comes out, you drizzle the remainder of the sauce on top. It was excellent!! If I make it again, I will add more than the cup of pineapple recommended. I think the pineapple helps to balance out the saltiness of the sauce.

That's the finished product with a couple of helpings already gone. My son will enjoy this when he gets home from work because he loves anything involving soy sauce.

My daughter, meanwhile, texted and sent a picture of a place that she and her boyfriend ate at tonight. It was an all you can eat Indian buffet. It looked wonderful. We have no Indian food restaurants around here at all, and it's a pity!

What about you, do you get bored with the same old reliable meals you tend to make over and over?

Friday, 2 February 2018

February 2nd


Well, duh!!!!
Six more weeks of winter as predicted by our resident albino rodent. When has it not been six more weeks of winter?

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Asking for an Opinion

I was wondering if any of you use Spotify. It's an app that lets you download music. I use the free basic level of Spotify, but because it's free, I only get some of the features. For example, I am only allowed to listen to playlists that I have made on "shuffle", I don't get to choose what I listen to first, and next, and so on. If a song comes on that I don't want at that time, I can skip it, but I'm only allowed to skip ahead about four times, then a message comes up asking if I want to buy the Premium level. Also, I always have to be online to listen to the music.

So... Premium costs a bit of money and apparently you can listen to what you want in the order you want and there are no advertisements that come on and interrupt the music.

I NEVER EVER pay for apps. If it isn't free, I don't want it. Mind you, I'm not a big techy person, so I likely don't even know what I'm missing.

I'm asking because I need something I can listen to in different settings, not just in my own home. I've started (to prove it to myself that I can) to run on the treadmill. I began with walking and running, alternating by looking at the minutes that go by and using those to gauge when I walk and when I run. I hated it until I started to listen to music when I ran/walked and then it was so much "more fun" (it's not really fun at all, but it's tolerable with music) Now I make little bargains with myself that I'll run for three songs, or whatever. When I listen to music from my phone on Spotify, I am stuck listening to whatever song comes up, and it's pretty limiting.


So... any opinions about Spotify premium? Do you have it? Is it worth it? Do you have the family plan? Thanks all.