April 26, 2019

I Need a New Face

Wednesday, I had an appointment with my oculoplastic ophthalmologist. Say that fast three times! It was a followup visit to determine the progress of my Graves Eye Disease. I'm not sure how he made his determination because all he did was take some pictures of me, but he declared that I am in remission. Yay. Really, I mean YAY! But there's this niggling doubt that he just said that without a real basis.

Anyway, he started talking about the surgery, orbital decompression, and said he would also lower my top eyelids, reduce the swelling around the sides of my eyes, and remove the bags under my eyes too, but he needed a photo from ten years ago to see how to reconstruct my eyes. I reached for my phone and pulled up a picture and handed it to him. He looked at my phone then turned back to me with one raised eyebrow.

"This is Julia Roberts."


"I need to see your eyes."

"As long as you need a picture to go by, couldn't you give me eyes like hers?"

The raised eyebrow again.

Apparently, my eyes are so disfigured now that he can't even imagine what I used to look like. I could give him a picture of anyone (except Julia Roberts) and he would never know it wasn't me. But when I got home, I dutifully started looking for a photo showing both eyes. I know I had one on facebook at one time, but when I dumped facebook, I think I dumped that photo too. I was hard-pressed to find a photo, but finally came up with two, one from about twelve years ago, and one from fifteen to twenty years ago.

So here's my public service announcement for this week. If you don't have a photo of your face looking into the camera, take one right now. You never know when a plastic surgeon is going to want to know what you are supposed to look like.

April 24, 2019

I Was Held Prisoner at the Doctor's Office Today!

One of my worst nightmares is to drive in early morning rush hour traffic, in the rain, and without being able to see the cars beside me. In my nightmares, I either arrive late and miss my appointment, or I arrive on time only to find out I've got the date wrong. Then I have to come back again the next day, only this time I can't find the highway exit, or I've gone to the wrong office, and miss my appointment, so I have to come back yet again the next day. Kind of like Groundhog Day II, The Panic Attack Drive. So I don't make early appointments. I'll take a 3:45 appointment on Friday afternoon or the day before a holiday before making an appointment before 10 a.m.

But for some reason last month, I made an early appointment for today. I probably thought Hubby would drive me so didn't worry about driving in traffic, and he offered this morning, but my eyes weren't going to be dilated so I decided to be a grownup and drive myself so Hubby could go to work. I left an hour and forty-five minutes early, which should have given me plenty of time to search for a parking space and visit the restroom before my appointment. But it didn't work out that way.

The rain slowed traffic to a crawl in places, the spray from big trucks made it impossible to see, and there were a couple of accidents too. I pulled into a parking space at exactly two minutes before my appointment time. After drinking a glass of tea before leaving the house and white knuckle driving for almost two hours, I wanted to stop by the restroom before checking in but thoughts of Groundhog Day II flitted across my mind and I headed for the office instead. I don't believe in psychic dreams, but why risk it? As it turned out, it was probably the best decision I've made in awhile. Instead, sat in the waiting room for another thirty minutes before I was called back. Every time I started to get up and tell the clerk I would be right back, the door opened and a patient's name called. There were only two people in the waiting room when I got there; I had to be next, right? So I waited. And waited. Then crossed my legs and waited some more.

After my appointment, which was mercifully short, I found the restroom before getting on the elevator. It was one of those spacious, single occupant restrooms and on the end of the hall with private entrances to offices so not much demand for the restroom. Once inside and busy with the task at hand, I heard someone jiggling the door handle. I fervently prayed that I had remembered to lock the door, because I was too far away to stop anyone from opening it. The jiggling noise stopped, I breathed a sigh of relief and then a sigh of real relief. After I washed my hands and retrieved my purse from the hook on the door, I reached down to flip open the lock, and it wouldn't turn. No matter had hard I pushed and pulled on it, the button wouldn't budge. I looked around and there was no emergency phone number stuck to the wall anywhere, and no room to slide a screwdriver under the door even if I could call building maintenance.

So I did the next best thing; I called the doctor's office. I spoke to the lady who made my next appointment and told her I was locked in the restroom. She didn't know who to call, so she put me on hold. The minutes ticked by and she never came back to the phone, so I started working on the lock button and door handle again, pushing the handle as far as I could one way and trying the lock, and then pushing it the other way and trying again. Finally, I just started shaking the door by the handle as hard as I could. Then I heard a voice. A man's voice, timidly asking if I was okay. I stopped shaking the door and told him I was locked in. I could hear the door handle clicking as he jiggled it back and forth and he told me to turn the lock button as he moved the handle on his side, and CLICK, the door unlocked. I was so happy I could have hugged him, but I didn't want to seem deranged as well as weak or worse, stupid. I mean, who doesn't know how to unlock a door?

I recognized the man from the waiting room in my doctor's office. He was with a woman who was loudly complaining about everything from the uncomfortable chairs to the forms she was filling out. I hoped they wouldn't sit anywhere near me so I could read in peace, and then mentally grimaced when they sat right across from me. But I was very happy to see him after he freed me from the restroom. Embarrassed, but happy.

I've been locked out before, but never locked in. I don't know what made the lock jam, unless it was caused by someone jiggling the handle from the other side while it was locked. I wonder if I was the first to be locked in there? I wonder what the fear of being locked into a bathroom is called? Cleithrophobia? Or paruresis? Whatever it is, I think I have it now.

April 22, 2019

My Mother-in-Law Thinks She Died

Have I told you before that my Mother-in-law is a hypochondriac? Or she was. Now she is a ghost. Or she was a ghost; a living ghost I guess. I'm not sure what she thinks she is now.

Despite doctor approval and our encouragement, my mother-in-law hasn't gotten out of her nursing home bed since February. After being in the hospital for a week at the end of January, and soaking up all the attention there, she didn't want to go back to the nursing home. Then, when the doctor indicated that she would continue to have problems and soon be back in the hospital again, she decided to quit taking all her medications and just pass away. She did have to go back to the hated nursing home, but she agreed to go only because she didn't have to stay there long before the end came. The doctor predicted she would have five days. So she didn't feel the need to get out of bed for the event.

Then a funny thing happened. She started feeling better. She stopped complaining about everything, she started smiling again, and she even joked around with us. But she was still wouldn't get out of bed.

I think she didn't want to be standing up when it happened. She wouldn't roll over in bed either. She wanted to be lying on her back, with her eyes closed, and hands folded over her chest, like in the old movies. Let me tell you, during those first few days, it was pretty unnerving to walk into her room, see her pallid remains, and realize that she had passed on during her nap. Both Hubby and I had a couple of moments when our breath caught in our throats, tears started welling up, and then she opened her eyes and scared the crap out of us.

But last week, one of the aides called Hubby and said Mother-in-Law wanted to get out of bed and go to breakfast in the cafeteria in her wheelchair. Then, she wanted to go for lunch. We were thrilled and after we both got home after dinner that evening, we went to see her. I went straight to her room, while Hubby filled the bird feeder outside her window, her only source of entertainment, or at least it used to be her only source. When I walked into her room, she was dozing in bed but looked up as I neared the bed, just as she usually does. I sat in the only chair with my back to the window so she could see me and the birds while we talked.

She looked at me as if she were surprised to see me. I don't go see her every day like Hubby, but I do see her every few days. She looked really sad and told me, "I guess I wasn't on the list."

"What list?" I figured I must have missed something from Hubby's visit the day before.

"At the gate. I didn't get in."

Just about then, Hubby walked into the room and sat in her wheelchair on the opposite side of the bed.  She turned to him. "I must not be in the bad place either."

Hubby looked at her and then me with a quizzical look on his face, and I shrugged back at him with an equally quizzical look on mine. "What are you talking about mom?"

A tear rolled down her cheek. "I didn't get into heaven. But I don't smell my skin burning so I guess I didn't go to the bad place either." She chuckled at her joke.

Hubby asked her if it wasn't a little early to be worrying about that, and she mumbled something that sounded like she had died that morning. She was talking softly and her dentures didn't seem to fit quite right, but the gist of it is that she had been wandering around all morning trying to find out where she was. She asked us if she was in heaven, and Hubby told her no, that she was still alive and in the nursing home. She said no, that she was not alive, that she knew she had died that morning, but she didn't know why we could see her, unless we had died too. Hubby went on to tell her that we were all alive and asked if she remembered going to the cafeteria that morning.

"No, I didn't go to the cafeteria. I cooked breakfast and Aunt Flora came over for lunch, (Aunt Flora died forty or fifty years ago), then I drove to the store. (She hadn't driven in a couple of years and finally sold her car last year.) If I'm not too tired, I'm going to cook supper tonight."

I asked her where she cooked breakfast and she pointed to her closet. When she started playing with something above the bed that we couldn't see, we told her good night and went to find the nurse.

The next day, she told Hubby's cousin that she had been buried alive for four days to which the cousin replied, "I'm sure glad you managed to get out." What else do you say to someone who's been buried alive?

April 08, 2019

Mosaic Monday

This has been a great year for Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush, and our front field is a sea of color. As storm clouds moved in Friday evening, I grabbed my camera to get my first pictures of 2019 blooms. Considering this is supposed to be a hay field, these flowers are what most farmers would call weeds, but I can't bear to mow them down. I just wonder how much better they are going to look in a few days after two days of rain.

From the house to the creek and beyond.

I think this is my favorite photo though. I love the water tank in the background. Just wish I had mowed around it last fall.

For the first time, I am participating in Mosaic Monday at Letting Go of the Bay Leaf where photos can be of just about anything.

April 05, 2019

Passive Cooling is Wonderful!

Yesterday, our high was 80 degrees. Not too unusual for the first of April, but by evening, the humidity was well over 60% and it was uncomfortable in the RV. I went outside and was instantly felt like I was enveloped by a wet blanket. But inside the house, it was cool and comfortable without any air conditioning so we decided to sleep in the house.

Hubby brought our bed down from the attic, and I pulled clean sheets out of the dryer. I was a little worried that the mattress would be lopsided from being stored on it's side for so long, but it was fine. The only problem during the night was that there is a downspout just outside the window, and there was enough moisture collecting on the roof to drip through it. You wouldn't think a single drop of water would be noticeable, but when it drips from fourteen feet to the bottom of a metal downspout, it is loud. When the downspout dries out, I am going to glue a piece of rubber to the bottom to see if that will stop the sound. That dripping was a form of water torture. Steady dripping might have been restful, but this was an inconsistent water torture. Drip, drip, drip......drip......drip, drip.................drip........drip, drip, drip, drip.....

April 03, 2019

Retirement Life

I wonder if it is a sign of a vacuous life
that the highlight of my day
was being able to grab a piece of plastic on the run
and slide it under the cat's mouth
just before he barfed on the bare floor?

And how was your day?

April 01, 2019

Flickering Asus Laptop Screen

Welcome home computer!

Even though Hubby let me use his laptop, and I had my iphone, it's not the same as having my own computer in my lap. I didn't want to save anything to his computer and I don't like trying to type on my iphone. I have a lot of work to do in the house, and I need to listen to a book for book club tomorrow night, but I just have to get online right now and make my rounds first.

By the way, if you have an Asus laptop, and the screen flashes when the power cord is plugged in, consider this a public service announcement. I had been having some other problems with my laptop for quite a while, six months or more. Maybe even a year. The keyboard would suddenly stop working and I'd have to restart the computer to be able to use it again. At first, it was just once or twice a week, but in the last month, it's been every day, sometimes several times a day. I'm going to say they replaced the fan, but they used a bigger word for it, thermo-something. When I thought back, the fan had been louder lately.

But the main reason I took it to the shop, is that last Sunday, the screen suddenly started flashing when the power cord was plugged in. It didn't happen if the power cord wasn't plugged in. They did say that the battery was only holding a charge for about 15 minutes, which was odd because I used it on battery for hours every day. I wondered if they confused my computer with someone else's computer.

I took it in Monday morning, and they called Thursday afternoon to say it was fixed. They said it never did flash for them. Again, I wondered if they confused computers. As soon as I got home with it, I immediately turned it on, plugged it in, and got online. Still flashing. I called the shop and was told to bring it back in Friday morning. How aggravating! I needed to catch up on some paperwork and thought I'd get that done before taking it back in. After unplugging the cord, I made a couple of spreadsheets that I would need Friday morning and began printing them. After three or four hours, the low battery box popped up. I didn't know how much they had charged it or used it on battery power, but I was pleased that it held more than 15 minutes, so they probably were thinking of someone else's computer when they said mine wasn't holding a charge. I needed to plug in the charger to finish printing my spreadsheet and didn't know if it would work while it was flashing, but I needed to take the chance. Plugged it in, and no flashing. But after printing, I got online, and there was the flashing again. So, it only happened when I was ONLINE with the power cord plugged in. I was using Chrome. I closed Chrome and tried Firefox. No flashing. Okay, so it only happened when I used Chrome.

I couldn't think of anything I had done Saturday to make this happen, but just in case, I thought I'd restore to Friday or before. That took awhile, and when it was done, Chrome and Firefox were completely missing from my laptop! So I undid the restore. Chrome and Firefox back, and still flashing on Chrome. A Google search showed that this was a fairly common problem, having something to do with the desktop graphics refresh rate or a recent driver update. I hadn't changed any of that Saturday, and already had it set on the recommended 60 hertz rate. So after my Friday morning appointment, I dropped it off at the repair shop again. When I picked it up this afternoon, they told me it was the desktop theme color.  I know I didn't change anything there recently.

Right click on desktop. Choose: Personalize.

Choose: Color. It probably says Automatic under it.

Now choose a specific color. Anything except Automatic (with the color fan on it.)

Save. Now it will show the color you chose.

Boom! It's fixed.