Category Archives: Illness

Icing the Iron Horse

“For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. When you look around, wouldn’t you consider it a privilege to associate yourself with such fine looking men as are standing in uniform in this ballpark today? That I may have been given a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”

~Lou Gehrig~

Photo Credit: Willie Zhang via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Willie Zhang via Compfight cc

Lou Gehrig was a gentle soul with a wicked sense of humor and was also a humble man. He was taken too young by a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As Lou died pre-“me,” I never had the opportunity to meet the baseball legend. However my father did when he was with the Yankees during Spring Training in 1936 and 1937.

Pops was a pretty good player, but never actually played a game as a first baseman. The problem? Lou Gehrig, the “Iron Horse” himself.  Gehrig played 2,130 consecutive games – games where he was ejected (after receiving credit because he was already up to bat), injured (including being knocked unconscious), and ill.  But dad was in training with Lou (and Joe DiMaggio, Kemp Wicker, Frank Crosetti, Bill Dickie, Red Rolfe and other great Yanks) for two seasons before transferring to the minors.

Lou Gehrig impacted dad’s life quietly. He wanted to emulate the legend in many ways and Pops told me how Lou and Joe helped change his life not only on the diamond, but on the train rides to St. Petersburg, FL. Pops was a smoker on and off during his life. Trying to be “cool” like some of the other ball players, he was lighting a cigarette up on the train. Lou leaned over to my dad and instead of reading him the riot act, he softly explained to him, “If you keep that up, you’ll lose your wind.”

Dad kept in contact with Gehrig after leaving the Yankee organization and there is a letter tucked safely away written in 1938 or early 1939 (I can’t remember) to pops explaining Lou’s illness and that Eleanor, his wife, was taking care of him.

75 years after his death, Lou Gehrig seems to be finding himself in the spotlight again, not for his baseball prowess, but for the disease that took his life.  I’ve been watching the ice bucket challenges on social media to raise money and awareness for ALS. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or just plain Gehrig’s disease.  ALS is a neurodegenerative ailment that is as debilitating as they come to the human body and someone with ALS does NOT have a good quality of life.  Gehrig died when he was just 37 years old. You don’t have to do the challenge to help a really worthy cause. To make a donation today:  http://www.alsa.org/

If you want a weekend in, check out a movie called “Pride of the Yankees” starring Gary Cooper as Gehrig as well as real members of the Yankee organization: Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig and Bill Dickey. This was my father’s all-time favorite movie – most likely because of the representation of Lou’s character. To find out more about my father’s friend, Lou Gehrig: http://www.lougehrig.com/about/bio.html

Neither dad nor Lou are here today to witness the ice bucket challenge. I personally think both are probably sitting in a dugout in Heaven looking down and wondering what we’re all doing. However, I just know that as silly as dad would think the concept is, he’d agree it’s a brilliant piece of marketing in bringing awareness and funding to ALS research.

If I Cry… Just Lend a Shoulder & Some Tissue

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Return of the King” 

Well, it has been a while since I have written. Congested into the past six months has been a turbulence and turmoil I had not quite anticipated. Had there been a glimmer of the mayhem to come, I might have been better suited to deal with the pandemonium. Alas, I never caught a glimpse of it. Thus, the delay in writing.  My most humble apologies. 

Toward the end of December I spoke of the pending move. Yoda was transferred to the Metroplex and so it began. I could go into all the gory details, but seriously, there isn’t enough time and carpal tunnel would kick in long before I’m done. But here’s the gist: 

We sold the house, which wasn’t even on the market, in about a month open to close. The buyer’s lender insisted the close date be moved up two weeks. Because of the freakin’ weather, we were having the outside painted and the little house reroofed almost simultaneously. The paint wasn’t even dry on the final inspection. And that doesn’t even include the other little repairs that were made during that time. 

What Yoda didn’t bring to DFW was thrown into storage during the sale of the house. The remainder of the items was thrown in literally at 8:51pm the day before we closed on the house. The storage unit locked down at 9:00pm. I have a feeling I’ll never figure out all the things that were thrown out, given to charity or are tossed in boxes here and there. (And as a side note – paying rent on storage just irks me. I want a house again. Obviously I’m feeling a bit materialistic. Maybe I need to get over that.) 

So the kids moved into an apartment – the lease was signed a few days before closing on the house. Begging, borrowing and stealing came to mind when it came to the pet deposits as two of the dogs are there and one is in the Metro.  Seriously… why are pet deposits so blooming high? 

Meanwhile my sister-in-law/sister of my heart entered the hospital over 350 miles from her home because she had to undergo a more rigid cancer treatment – diagnosed in November with leukemia.  My mom-in-law for the most part moved with her to Dallas and moved into her hospital room and helped her so much as my SIL was so weak and miserable. I mean nursing staff can only do so much, eh? This started mid-March. 

Birthdays and holidays came and went and I still hadn’t heard back from the job I applied for.  You heard that right. I applied for one. It’s a specialized field and the hiring process is incredibly long. So long that I didn’t go down for an interview etc for a while. However, after all this, that and the other they must have thought I could do the job because I started the second week in June. Normally, this is cause to celebrate; however, I LOVED my old job. I had planned to retire from it. This obviously didn’t happen. So while I’m mourning my old job, I move down on Sunday and start work three days later Wednesday 6-11-14. 

Obviously God had his reasons for the timing of the madness.

My Yoda, dearest Yoda… He was a half-match for a bone marrow transplant. In the entire registry, he and his brother were the only ones. The transplant took place just days before he helped me move.  The process made him feel “blah” to say the least. But he has the biggest heart and I’m richly blessed. 

But my SIL didn’t improve much after the transplant. Apparently you have to bide your time and wait for the cells to kick in. Meanwhile, my MIL still stayed with her and cared for her. She only left the hospital for maybe a total of 2-3 weeks between mid March and June. Wow. She’s such an amazing woman. 

Saturday the 14th we went to see her in the hospital after going to church. Darling SIL didn’t look so hot. I mean, sporting a hospital gown theoretically could be a sexy look. On cancer patients, not so much. However, her bald head was beautiful and her smile still so sweet. But you could tell something wasn’t quite right. She was rather “out of it” and slept most of the time we were there. 

The long story short is the excrement hit the proverbial fan. I don’t remember how many calls and text messages flew back and forth over the next week, but too many to count. There were prayers lifted for my SIL all around the world. But she lost her fight to that ugly disease called cancer on Monday, June 23rd. Now the texts and calls fly because of funeral arrangements and all I can think about is that I just want to pick up the phone and hear her voice. I want to get her advice on some things and I can’t do that. I feel bloody selfish. I feel bloody miserable.  

Tomorrow I leave for “home” again – a quick trip. My new supervisor allowed me the day off if I work next Friday (which I was supposed to have off), but I’m not allowed to use vacation days, sick leave etc for the first six months of employment. And a SIL doesn’t apparently qualify for any kind of bereavement leave. I don’t know that I understand, but there’s no arguing the point.

I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I am in a pretty dark place right now and I have a feeling it’s going to be a bit before I’m feeling “normal” again – whatever that is.  I believe I will feel better after my SIL is laid to rest and we all gather to celebrate her life.  For now, all I can do is rely on my Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, to carry me when I’m weak and lift my heart from the darkness to the light. 

May this letter from my new home find you in a better place than I am emotionally at this time. Always…. C

Moving Reflections

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
~Walt Disney~ 


A week ago today, Yoda and I set forth on a new journey to Dallas, Texas.  We packed up our belongings… Wait. Let me rephrase that. We packed up most of our belongings – enough to get the apartment in Dallas stocked and ready for Darling to live. The movers came, loaded everything we had ready to go and we travelled the 350+ miles to our new city. 

The next morning (Thursday) we frantically took possession of the keys to our new place. At that time, quasi-misery sunk in. I feeling heartsick and anxious because we were signing paperwork mere minutes before the moving van was to arrive AND I was, at that time, showing the first symptoms of influenza.  Within a couple of hours, the moving van had departed and we were already unpacking boxes. 

Now… I think it really needs to be noted that when someone is moving into a new place there is a specific item that cannot be forgotten and needs to be unpacked first. 
Toilet paper. 
I can honestly say I went out to eat lunch primarily because I needed to use the facilities more than I needed sustinance. My word how I just wanted to pee.  It felt like releasing Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. My bladder stood and applauded. Then I had to go and drink like two or three glasses of tea thereby doing a “lather, rinse and repeat” type of moment.  Just for the record, La Hacineda on Highway 121 has a nice ladies restroom. 

While we were there for the initial move, I wasn’t in much of a condition to drive. I didn’t even care if I drove.  In hindsight this may be a problem.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to get lost at some point, but thankfully I have a GPS and GoogleMaps.  I figure when the time comes, I’ll just blow through a tank or two of gas learning the area and figure it out from there. I bring this up because we had to go shopping and Yoda needed to learn his way around.  Not only did we need the aforementioned toilet paper, but we also needed food, as we didn’t bring much from the house. We also needed silly things that people take for granted such as shower curtains and that type of thing. However, I think as Darling was learning his way around, we drove down the same street like 50 times. At this moment, I can’t even remember the NAME of the stupid street. 

For the next couple of days we unpacked pretty much the entire apartment and as we did, the flu got worse. Yoda, the tape-dispensing Jedi Master, is also a master of the box-cutter.  (Though I’m not too shabby with the blade.) He tore down almost every last box he’d so painstakingly put together, just so we could bring them back home and load up some more stuff – “my” stuff to be exact. I’m really hoping to find a job soon and be back with Yoda before I know it. 

We were supposed to come back Saturday, but I felt so miserable we came back Sunday. I don’t know that made any difference other than I got some more sleep. But Yoda Darling was a good sport and drove the entire way while I was doped up on Nyquil. As an aside: We also had kicked in the two month trial on SiriusXM satellite radio. It made more a much more enjoyable trip down and back. I’m STILL going through all the channels and have yet to find my favorites, but it’s really nice to have options. This will make the commute times in Dallas so much easier.  

What channels do you listen to? Why? 
(Need suggestions here.)


Monday I went to the doctor. I indeed have the flu and a sinus infection. I’m not a fan of this. I got a shot in the butt and two prescriptions; however, no Tamiflu for me. It was past the 24-48 hour window. The reality: I should have just found a clinic in Dallas. Hindsight I suppose. I knew what it was, but toughed it out. Now I’m still a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-headed, feverish (still!) and need to rest mess. Thank God for Nyquil (though why they reformulated it I will never know.)

Anywhoo… just catching up on a few things. I’ll see you on the flip side.

Why Yes… It IS in My Head

“And then a throb hits you on the left side of the head so hard that your head bobs to the right…There’s no way that came from inside your head, you think. That’s no metaphysical crisis. 
God just punched you in the face.” 

There are approximately 13 million Americans who suffer from a painful neurological condition called migraines;  it’s more than 10% of the population or 1 in 4 households.

I am one of those Americans.

It’s believed that migraine headaches tend to run in families and there’s a 70% chance that a child of a parent with migraines will develop them at some point in their lifetime. Wow.  I can’t say that knowing that years ago would have made any difference (as my mother has them.)  It doesn’t change the fact I have them.  I can’t say that I would have even been “prepared” for them. 

What can prepare someone for a monstrous pressure in the base of their cranium / brain stem which steadily becomes the feeling of a ball peen hammer hitting you upside the head repeatedly while at the same time crushing your skull in a vice? This of course (for me) is accompanied by other symptoms I don’t feel the urge to discuss at this time. TMI. 

The sad thing is… many people think folks with migraines don’t have a serious problem, they’re faking it, it’s “just a headache”… Gads… I could go on and on.  Consider this.  Migraine attacks can cause strokes, comas, aneurysms or death.  Each and every time someone with chronic migraines HAS a migraine we actually wonder HOW BAD it’s going to be. I’ve ended up at the doctor’s office / hospital getting injections to knock my ass out because it was that bad. 

“ We once saw a documentary on migraines. One of the men interviewed used to fall on his knees and bang his head against the floor, over and over during attacks. This diverted the pain from deep inside his brain, where he couldn’t reach it, to a pain outside that he had control over.” 
I wish I could describe that pain, deep inside the brain.  I’ve said on more than one occasion to my husband and friends that it would hurt less to run my head through a concrete wall.  It’s true. 

But did you know there are migraines where there is NO pain? A couple of friends of mine at work have these silent migraines. They don’t have the headache, but they have other symptoms. They are just as debilitating. 

There are 10 or more different types of migraine and many people have a combination migraine that sets in – which is what makes diagnosis and treatment so hard.  I have a tri-graine: Abdominal, Basilar and Transformed / generally without aura.  In a good month, I will only have a few. In a bad month, I have had 25-31 days worth of headache-hell. And months stack up. Fortunately, I’ve been running on the low end of this for a few months. I’m grateful. For a while there, it was f-ugly.

I’m on day two of this particular migraine attack – triggered by nitrates and yet another weather system that moved in. (I swear I could be a meteorologist.)  I read a blog post the other day where a woman was on her 112th day. My God. 112 days of wanting to ram your head into a wall or beat it against the floor because the external pain is controllable. I so get it. I feel ya sister. 

“His headache was still sitting over his right eye as if it had been nailed there.” 

I have run the gambit on prescription drugs – lemme tell you, some of that stuff is like taking candy. Just doesn’t work worth a darn. And the kicker is… REBOUND migraines / headaches. For the love of all that is pure and holy in this world. You think you got it licked and it comes back meaner and badder than the original.  Tylenol 3 and the “cets” do that to me… Lorcet / Percocet / Darvocet… etc. That’s a big no-no. I’ve been through everything from Imitrex to Maxalt and Treximet (which is the only thing that works for me right now. Dare I say, “THANK YOU, TREXIMET.”)  I also take daily preventative drugs that work okay, but still doesn’t solve the problem. Of course, I’m assuming the problem can be solved.  I don’t know that is the case. But I can hope. 

I’m searching for options. I’m looking at acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies, nape piercings, and other alternative therapies with no decisions having been made yet. I’m tired of the drugs. I’m tired of the migraines. I’m tired of being sick and tired of being sick and  tired and all anyone seems to want to push are pills. 

However, with that said… I really am tired (migraines tend to do that) and I need to get some rest. I’ll let you know how things go at a later date and what decisions I’ve made.  I have a feeling it’s all going to be a process of trial and error that will fall under my blanket of “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” 

Cheerio and ta-ta for now.

Source: MedlinePlus 

Hypochondria, Handkerchiefs and Other Novel Adventures

“Being sick feels like you’re wearing someone else’s glasses.” 
~Megan Boyle~



I have been down and out with the flu, influenza, or what I would not-so-lovingly call the plague.  After a week of anti-biotics, Tamiflu and a host of over the counter meds to help with the symptoms, I am still running a low-grade fever, coughing  and so congested it’s not only hard to breathe, but open my jaw.  In fact, I contemplated the entire concept of lock-jaw today.  I can honestly say I didn’t know much about it and found the following: 

In unvaccinated individuals, tetanus is contracted through a cut or deep wound which becomes contaminated with the organism. Tetanus has also been associated with clean wounds, surgical procedures, insect bites, dental infections, and intravenous drug use. It is not transmitted from person to person.  A common first sign of tetanus is muscular stiffness in the jaw (lockjaw), followed by stiffness of the neck, difficulty in swallowing, rigidity of abdominal muscles, spasms, sweating and fever.  The incubation period is usually eight days but may range from three days to three weeks. Shorter incubation periods are associated with more heavily contaminated wounds.  

Reassuring in the fact I can’t think of a “recent” wound that would allow this and I’m good on the rest – no surgeries, bites, dental work and DEFINITELY no drugs. 

With this “plague,” I have felt a bit like Typhoid Mary at work.   Yes.  I am going to work despite the fact I am still sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching and can’t breathe.   I missed almost two weeks between being out of town training and last week when this evil organism took over my body.  I don’t know of anyone at work that has this (yet), but the kids and hubby are getting a little ticked at me.  Something about “not feeling good” and sniffling, sneezing, coughing… I’m sure you get the picture. 

In fact, youngest came in earlier tonight to ask about Kleenex.  She needed some.  I don’t have any — perse. I have what’s left of three boxes of Puffs Plus, the greatest tissue for severely congested people ever made.  (Lotion is such a blessing and helps with the chafing.) 

Strangely enough, most people call tissues “Kleenex” and with good cause.  It’s the name brand that first became associated with the disposable tissues in the 1920’s.  By the 30’s Kleenex was being marketed with the slogan “Don’t Carry a Cold in Your Pocket.” Its use as a disposable handkerchief replacement became predominant.

I’m not a fan of the handkerchief.  In fact, I have an almost “Sheldon Cooper Aversion” to them.  There’s something about its reusability that rather disgusts me.  I don’t care if they are “green” or “coming back into style.”  I have a hard time with the concept of, despite being washed and theoretically clean, carrying around a piece of cloth that has been used to absorb some of the grossest bodily fluids to emit from a human is somehow wrong. 

There is also the legitimate problem of absorbency.  

I have personally gone through TWO large boxes of Puffs and an entire “mega” roll of Charmin Extra Soft bath tissue during this illness. There are not enough handkerchiefs to keep my nose dry in this city.  

And sanitation… 

The amount of laundry it would entail is insane and frankly, where does one store a used ‘kerchief? I don’t wanna carry my own snot around in my purse.  Quite the conundrum, eh?
So typically, I avoid the problem completely by carrying around a wad of tissue and a plastic zip-lock bag in case I can’t get to a trash can to dispose of the bacteria-laden paper product. 

During this viral attack on my persona, I have also found out a few things about being sick. 

1) The higher the fever, the less I give a crap about anything or anyone.  Pretty much my family could be starving or walking around naked and my only thought is, “so?” Sad, I think, when I get too far into myself to care for others.

2) Breathing is not to be taken for granted and apparently I do.  I woke up in the middle of the night the other night and I couldn’t breathe.  I’m not sure what happened, but I was gasping for air like a fish plucked from the water and dropped into the boat.  It passed, but I realized at that moment oxygen is a beautiful thing. 

3) I’ve always got to be doing something and NOT doing anything other than laying in bed is torture. 

With that said, it’s a conundrum wrapped in paradox. 
There is no energy to do anything so I torture myself by thinking of all the things I need to be doing and then really not caring about it so much as I try to take a few deep breaths.   
Lather, rinse and repeat. 

Finally, I should be working on the novel.  I don’t have the energy so I am blogging. It’s easier on the mind, clouded by good drugs.  I haven’t written diddly-squat in  a couple of weeks, the plot line is still messed up and I am cranky about it.  I’m not sure how yet to fix it and that too is bothering me.  



Scrivener looks promising, but at this point, I’m not sure if it’s helping or hurting the process.  I actually have used it for a few things, but I’m thinking at this point breaking out index cards and a notebook might be better. I don’t know.  For me this feels like one of those things that’s supposed to make writing easier and because of all the bells and whistles makes it harder.  I don’t know if others have this issue.  I should go on the forums and ask, but again… rule 1 comes into play.  I haven’t really cared THAT much to do so.  

I am hoping to get the ball rolling again by this weekend.  I want to feel productive, aside from doing laundry, and get the words back down on the page.  Maybe, just maybe, this fever will FINALLY break and I’ll get back to caring about something. 

For now though, my only concern is sleep and sleeping a few hours without having to blow my nose 437 times.  Maybe tonight is the night.