2021/05/07

2021 – Day 127: Three Years & a New Loss

Da Goddess @ 15:55

Dad’s been gone three years now. I’m 100% aware of this, yet I still have moments when I almost forget. Almost. Just before I reach for the phone or think “he’d love this!”, I remember. Or the memory becomes less foggy. Either way, I have that incredible split second moment of him being alive again.

I know I’ll never stop grieving the loss. I know the edges of it will dull and the corners round off with time. I know this. I’ve done this before. Just never lost a parent before. Grandparents, sure. But they were old and th…oh yes. That’s right. I remember now. Dad was old, too. It just doesn’t feel like he was old in my heart and my heart calls a lot of the shots on such things.

I miss you, Dad! I love you and miss you and wish I had even five minutes more with you. Even if those five minutes were you yelling. I’d take it.

Dad

* * *

I’d meant to post this other news sooner, but I somehow managed to forget each time.

Jan from the Cascade Exposures blog, who also occasionally posted here, passed away in March. At the beginning of April, I texted her a link to a place I knew she’d want to explore. I didn’t hear back right away as I normally would. Odd. And then I woke up Easter morning to “This is Jan’s mom…” and I knew. I said a quick prayer that maybe she was just in hospital or something, but I knew. I just did.

I didn’t ask for details. I don’t know the exact day she died or the cause. I’ve just felt blessed to have known her and for her mom taking the time out of her grief to let me know her daughter was gone.

Jan had just retired after 30yrs at the same job. She’d loved it. But she finally had the chance to retire and she took it. With the pandemic, work was becoming a hassle with rotating team shifts and such. So, she was excited to retire, hang out with her sweet Lily cat, and she and her mom were planning some trips for the moment they had the okay to safely travel. Jan was going to show her mom Death Valley, which I guess she hadn’t stopped talking about since she and I had gone. I completely get that. It’s a special place for so many reasons.

I wish I could say it gets easier to say goodbye to people as I get older. The simple truth is it gets harder for me. Of the bloggers I’ve lost (Rob, Mikey, Scott, and now Jan), it just seems to me that the world keeps losing bright lights and big hearts. There will always be a place in my heart for these special souls, but especially for Jan. I consider myself fortunate to call her my friend and deeply honored that she called me one, too.

Jan

Okay. That’s it. I’m going to spend the rest of my day tending to my body and soul with some TLC and a warm shower to wash away the sadness.

Please promise me you’ll be here when I get back.

2021/02/08

2021 – Day 39b

Da Goddess @ 05:44

There’s a post from yesterday (which I couldn’t publish due to connectivity issues) on another device I can’t access at the moment. In that post, I mention I’m working on something about the coronavirus and basic health concerns. It ties in with the discussion happening in the comments from this post.

As someone who spent a lot of money and time on education to become a registered nurse, and who spent a great deal of time continuing my education in the pursuit of practicing the best care possible (I still do this even though I’m no longer licensed because I want to stay informed and I like to learn), I value the wisdom that comes from those who are on the forefront of medical care — through research and clinical practice — and I have to take care to approach new information with an open mind free of personal or political bias. To be frank, disease doesn’t give a flying fuck what party you belong to or who you vote for. Disease just happens. And we fight disease with science, with fact, and with the knowledge that addresses the disease. Politics may decide funding and dissemination of information to the public, but the actual fight against the disease isn’t political for medical professionals on the frontline. It can’t afford to be.

Anyhow, I have thoughts. So many thoughts. About Covid and healthcare in general. About how information is spread. About how people want to believe in practices other than that based on scientific and medical facts. I’m all for complementary medicine — homeopathy and holistic approaches — when they’re used in conjunction with that of conventional medicine. Together, that’s where the best stuff happens. I have a few too many friends who rely on homeopathic remedies and/or supplements as their own personal shields against disease and who then are surprised when they discover they’re ill.

Basically, my thoughts cover all of this and more and it’s coming. I just want to say it right.

So, please feel free to join the conversation in this other post and I can address topics of concern directly.

My goal isn’t to make anyone feel bad, but to open minds and hope that logic and common sense win out over what feels to be self-interest (even when it’s not intended as such).

I love you all and value our conversations, whether here on the blog or via email or text or phone calls. So, don’t be afraid to join in. I won’t bite. I promise. It’s not hygienic and it’s difficult to do while masked.

2021/02/03

2021 – Day 35 34

Da Goddess @ 00:44

My sister left me a voicemail yesterday. She’s on the mend from the covid and you can hear the toll it’s taken on her. That’s pretty much what everyone I know who’s had this or has taken care of someone with it has experienced. The lungs really take a beating.

As I told my sis, the best and most fun way to improve lung function is by blowing bubbles into a drink via a straw. Like when you were a kid. It sounds silly as hell, but it works.

In other news, my first physical therapy session is Friday. My first derm appointment is next Monday. And I still haven’t heard back from the interfaith council as to whether I’m approved for rent assistance. Today I make the difficult call to the landlord. Fingers crossed that he’ll allow me to use my deposit to cover rent this month. Also, trying to get anyone to come do a TNR on the kittens has proven nearly impossible. I’ve made at least 15 calls and filled out even more web forms. I’m desperate to get these kitties vaccinated and spayed. I’m concerned we’re going to end up with kittens having kittens and I that is something I cannot abide.

And with that, you’re officially caught up on the glamorous goings on in my life. What’s new with you?

Who loves ya, baby?

2021/01/29

2021 – Day 29

Da Goddess @ 02:03

I’m still (mentally) on Day 28, but it’s officially the 29th, so blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Health update: first, my sister seems to think she’ll be “better” on Sunday, as if Covid is predictable. I’ve told her to not worry about the timeline as it’s arbitrary and the most important thing is for her to just get healthy again. My friend who had it over the summer is still struggling with respiratory symptoms (diminished lung capacity is the biggest problem) and everyone seems to recover differently from this virus. What tends to be true for the majority of people who’ve been infected is that it takes a while to feel like yourself again.

More than anything, I really just want my sister to feel better. I want her to be as fully recovered as possible so that she can get back to doing the things she wants to do. I know it’s difficult for her to accept such a passive role at the moment, but it’s the best course for her.

I have found I really really really miss our Saturday outings to the grocery store. I miss her giving me the rundown on Mom and her various health problems. I miss just being able to hear her voice and spending those few minutes in the car with her. Our relationship has had its share of speedbumps over the years, but since Dad’s death and then Covid, well, it’s meant we’ve found a new rhythm for interacting that’s been quite lovely. Go figure — it only took a parent’s death and a pandemic for us to hit the right notes of sisterhood!

But again, as much as I miss her and our time together, I just want her healthy. She’s had enough bullshit in terms of health problems the past few years. She really doesn’t deserve this. Nobody does. And I mean NOBODY.

Secondly, Mom’s finally been given some meds to relieve her intractable pain. It’s been emotional torture to hear her physical pain over the phone. I mean, it killed me to not be able to do anything to help her and to know her fucking doctor wasn’t going to give her anything more than Extra Strength Tylenol for the pain that was making her weep all day and all night for over a month. Well, enter Lil Sis and yet another trip to urgent care for help. Mom was finally put on steroids and a low, temporary dose of Percocet. Halle-fucking-lujah! I’ve now had several calls with Mom where she was able to actively participate in the conversation. There are no tears. There’s no distress in her voice. She has actual relief from the pain!

I can’t stress enough how important pain management is. Even if it’s just temporary relief, breaking the pain cycle for any length of time is HUGE when you’re dealing with chronic pain or even an extremely acute flare-up. Mom has relief for now. The pain isn’t completely gone, but it’s been reduced to something livable. Mom’s physical distress is no longer psychic distress as well. Especially in older patients, especially when they’re isolated (as we’ve all been for waaaay too long [but necessarily]). There’s a level of emotional pain that comes with unaddressed physical pain (as I’ve said in my previous post and many others before it) that only becomes more debilitating with loneliness and age and loss of autonomy. To have a doctor refuse to address the problem is a slap in the face and is cruel beyond reason. People don’t let animals suffer like that! At least now Mom is feeling better and, hopefully, this flare-up can just become a distant memory for a good long while.

Thirdly, I had my three months follow up to my diabetes diagnosis. And cholesterol problem. And…blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. My labs were fantastic and my doctor declared me his most improved patient for the quarter. I went from extreme danger zone heart disease-wise to “this is what I call healthy and normal” range. My blood glucose levels are more in line with what they should be (there’s still room for improvement) and the doc was impressed with my reduction of my A1C. I went from “so far out of range to somewhere close to acceptable” according to him and that’s good enough for me for the moment. No changes in meds. No changes in anything else, although I asked again for an appointment with a nutritionist. I know that’ll do me a world of good.

I also got referrals to physical therapy for my neck and back (work comp won’t approve/cover it, but MediCal will) and to dermatology for multiple skin concerns. First and foremost, the two areas on my nose that are suspiciously awful from time to time. One lesion has finally stopped scabbing over (never did anything to it to make it get scabby in the first place) and the other has become the current problem. I know 100% that this is the result of unfettered access to copious amounts of warm California sun exposure in my youth. The endless sunburns. The endless exposure without sunscreen (remember when you bought Coppertone because it was a suntan lotion and not a sunscreen?). The years and years of carefree days spent browning like a holiday turkey or ham. Yep. It’s finally caught up with me. I knew it would. And the time is now. I’ll let you know how this plays out.

So, despite the need for referrals, my health has taken a turn for the better. In three months, I managed to undo however many years of unchecked nasty cholesterol and diabetes and am hanging out in a much better health neighborhood. I’m proud of myself. I wish I could say my glucose numbers were better, but that’s a necessary gradual change. Still, I’m regularly under 200 and that’s a major accomplishment for someone who started out over 400! I’m no longer drinking two gallons (+) a day. I’m not feeling the need to sleep all the time (or at least now it’s because I’m tired for other reasons). I don’t feel like I would rather curl up and die. I have real, actual days of not wanting to nap! This is a big deal for me. The last several years were awful and I didn’t know why. Then, BAM! The truth of the matter was made painfully evident via lab work. Now, I’m like a real person again. I’m thrilled!

I don’t know how I managed to ramble on for so long. I guess there’s just that moment between semi-awake and total sleep where the brain can somehow form complete thoughts and demand to let them out. Lucky you! And now you know more about me than you did yesterday, probably more than you ever wanted to know (and I didn’t even get into the embarrassing stuff). But there it is.

Now it’s time to crawl into bed. The Dick Van Dyke Show will wait. I’m going to take full advantage of the sound of rain on the roof to get in some quality zzzzzzzzzs. Fingers crossed!

Here’s a quick phone snap of the late afternoon sky before the storm came in. Sheesh! SoCal has such awful, ugly skies, right? XOXO

Before the storm

2021/01/17

2021 – Day 17 Bad News + TJH: Inspire

Da Goddess @ 00:01

My sis has the covid. I wish I could have it for her. I’m the one who has fuck-all to do. She’s the who holds it all together. She handles everything with Mom. She’s the one who gets shit done. And now she’s sidelined by this fucking virus.

My fingers are crossed in hopes that she recovers quickly. Honestly, she’s the last person in the world I’d have expected to get it because she’s so vigilant about handwashing and sanitizing. However, she’s also the one who is out and about, trying to keep the water from sinking the ship.

If you have a spare moment, please say a prayer for her. Thanks.

P.S.

Single line contour drawing of my big sister

This was my attempt to draw a quick sketch of my big sister — though I’m not sure why I gave her short hair. Her hair is currently long and gorgeous these days. No color or highlights, just natural. It’s my favorite hairstyle she’s ever sported. I don’t know why I’m going on about the hair; it just feels like it’s important to acknowledge the beauty of her locks for some reason, even though I bollocksed it up in the sketch.

Carry on.

2021/01/12

2021 – Day 12

Da Goddess @ 22:48

More like “Night 12” because I’m all over the place right now. I meant to post yesterday and I couldn’t keep a signal to save my life.

Well, to make up for that, please go watch this. My heart is now full.

The kittens are kind of like Odie. Especially Tiger Lily. Cats. So fucking funny.

2021/01/07

2021 – Day 7

Da Goddess @ 02:07

Dad would’ve turned 90 today.

I miss him terribly at times. Other times, I’m grateful he’s out of pain and not witnessing the insanity of the past year. Hell, the past 24 hours have been crazy enough and likely would have caused him to have a stroke or a heart attack or something.

I think about my dad so often, it’s almost as if he’s still here. There are many things that bring him to mind, but mostly I feel as though he’s just down the road a few miles, sitting in his favorite chair, watching races or car auctions, or maybe picking tangerines from his tree.

There’s something comforting in feeling his presence. I know he’s gone, yet I feel him near, guiding me, reminding me to keep on keepin’ on.

Miss you, Dad! Happy birthday!

2021/01/01

2021 – Day 1

Da Goddess @ 11:39

And how shall we begin the new year?

Let’s see:

Couldn’t sleep, so I played a word game all night while the cat slept on my head. I have fang marks imprinted on my forehead today.

Decided to go for a walk after I fed my cat and the kittens. Two plus miles?? I’m paying for it now (although I’ve been up and down the stairs a bunch of times, which always adds another layer of fun). But all’s good.

After prepping fresh veggies for my snacks this weekend, I took the leftovers down to the goats. We’ll see what they do with them. They’re finicky, which I thought was against goat law. I don’t even know with these two.

I’ve watched the dogs go crazy and chase each other (and the poor kittens) around the yard, take a dip in the pool, get muddy again, and then roll in poo. I’d have thought they’d worn themselves out after playing with the goats earlier (hilarious!), but Bristol has been extra wound up lately and can’t seem to sit still for long. Bandit just follows her lead.

I was going to do laundry at some point today, but have decided to wait a day or three. I have enough clean everything to last me a long while, so it’s better to be kind when I’ve overdone the walk (after several days off).

My next project us to go through email and unsubscribe from every newsletter I never bother reading any longer. I’ve done this a bit over the past few months and am ready to go full scorched earth on the damn things. I just don’t care about the majority of it.

That’s it for my first day. What are you up to?

2020/11/24

Tiny Hearts

Da Goddess @ 02:21

Both kittens have these delicate faces with little hearts for noses. They’re absolutely adorable and I hate having to leave them outdoors. But having them in the house is not an option; Fletch’S physical and mental wellbeing is priority one. That doesn’t mean I can’t love these two little darlings and play with them every chance I get.

Tiger Lily and a heart for a nose

P.S. When Fletch is on the porch and either/both cat(s) are around, it’s always nose touch followed by Fletchy hissing. Everyone then retreats to a neutral place and settles in.

2020/11/16

Roll Call

Da Goddess @ 11:39

For anyone keeping track, the animal count here has been rising the last few months. It’s risen again.

Not counting the massive flock of crows that descend upon us each day, the current total is as follows:

Dogs: 4. Badger, Bandit, Bentley, Bristol. Bentley just joined the pack.

Cats: 3. Fletch (mine). Tiger Lily and Zelda (not so much mine, though I put in the time and effort).

Goats: 2. Bella and Bamberella. I’m not spending time with them the way I used to. I don’t want the kittens over there as the goats have some respiratory thing they can’t kick.

Humans: 5. Most of the time. 3 in the main house — usually, some times a couple more. 1 downstairs neighbor. 1 in my place.

It can feel very crowded when everyone is here at the same time. I don’t necessarily mind all the animals, but I do mind some of the humans when they fail to act responsibly. It’s a lot of stress I don’t need when I have kittens clawing at and climbing the door because they’re starving and thirsty. At one point, the main house folks were out of town for a week and KNEW the cats were out of food before they left. I know this because I had told them. I’d told two of them. I cannot abide negligence when it comes to animals, children, and the elderly.

There are a lot of stressors with the people in the main house and I have made aware the problems with them to the property manager because I no longer have the bandwidth to handle most of them myself. I’m officially the old guy of the neighborhood yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

One of the issues has been resolved, but we’ll see how long that lasts. I’m not hopeful. Not hopeful at all. Why? Because another one of the issues was with the dogs (I love them, but believe me when I say that’s a lot of dog shit that’s never picked up and a good deal of it is in the yard right where I can smell it). It turns out they were only approved for two dogs. Their response to the reminder from the property manager was to add a fourth. Again, dog shit. And the barking at night when they’re all left here alone is both comforting and irritating. Comforting in that I know no one could ever sneak onto the property without the four furry alarms sounding. Irritating because it goes on for hours at a time, sometimes very very very very very late. It’s just a lot. A LOT.

So, grumpy oldster that I am, I’ve been weighing all my options. I’ve been looking for a new home. The obstacles I’m facing are: 1. Cost. It’s stupid how much even a one bedroom costs in the worst part of town. 2. Availability. With Covid decimating jobs, everyone is economizing and cheaper places go quickly. 3. Cat-friendly places are few and far between. I’ve looked at places I can rent by myself (see items 1 and 2) and shared rentals. The problem with shared rentals is the ludicrous restrictions regarding cats. Outside only (not my boy; he’s strictly indoors unless on a leash and would never survive) or I’d have to keep him in my room. We went from 1200+sq ft to 400sq ft and that was hard enough. Trying to keep him in one small bedroom would be the death of him. And me. As Pam has noted with her dogs, since moving out on my own and ESPECIALLY during the pandemic, my attachment to and codependence on my fuzznugget is off the charts. Which is also why I can’t imagine giving him up just for a place to call home.

What am I going to do after next month? I have no fucking clue.

In the meantime, I’m doing my best to survive the ever-expanding roster of living and breathing creatures here on the lovely single acre I call home.

the kittens at rest

2020/11/03

Life Amongst the Ruins

Da Goddess @ 00:32

That title means nothing. Not a damn thing. I just really liked how it sounded in my head.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. It does kind of feel like my life is in ruins, which is ridiculous since I’m finally getting all my medical shit taken care of (work comp notwithstanding) and I’m feeling better than I have in a while. It’s more that I feel overwhelmed by a lot of what’s happening.

Diabetes: check
Blood pressure: check
Cholesterol: check
Mammogram: yeah, a whole other can of worms
Podiatry: if you have diabetes, podiatry becomes a “thing”
Ophthalmology: upcoming

Like I said, a lot of stuff happening at once. My mammogram was scheduled, rescheduled, and finally happened. Before I even left the building, I was called back to talk to the radiologist. She called my doc and got the okay to do a diagnostic mammo because of what she saw on the screening one. Within the space of an hour, I was screened, diagnostic’d, scheduled for an ultrasound, and scheduled for a biopsy (“better to schedule it and then cancel if it’s not needed than to need it and have to wait,” they said). See? A lot of shit at once.

Oddly enough, I’m okay with all of the shit coming down around my ears. This is what happens when you don’t have access to healthcare for an extended period of time. It’s just a lot to take in all of a sudden. My head is just now slowing the spin, this dizziness is starting to ease up, and I’m happy with how everything is being handled. Go figure.

In other news, Fletch doesn’t care much for the kittens. It’s weird, because he talks to them and will flop onto his back, enticing them to come closer, but they’ve become too wary since he hisses at them and seems to prefer hanging out with the dogs. (I don’t think he truly prefers the dogs; I honestly think it’s more a case of the devil he knows.) Still, I have high hopes for him to eventually be the elder statesman of the feline kingdom here. I’d like to see him rule with a benevolent paw and embrace these youngsters for the lovely creatures they are.

I may be wanting the impossible. I’m probably wanting the impossible. I’m totally expecting too much from a fuzzy being who’s been living the good life of an only cat for (probably) too many years.

At least I can count on the drama of the animals to keep me distracted from worrying about my health issues. That’s a good thing and I’ll take it any day of the week.

Lily finds her light

2020/10/19

Zelda

Da Goddess @ 16:21

This is the little beauty called Zelda. She’s the more intrepid of the two cats. Her name means “gray fighting maid” and it’s entirely appropriate for her. She and her sister have wonderful extra toes on both front paws. They’re solid little cats and have the most delightful and tiny meows.

Just Call Me Wilford

Da Goddess @ 02:04

After getting all my lab results from my brand new primary care physician (it’s been so so so many years since I had one), it’s been determined that I have full-blown diabeetus, just like Mr. Brimley.

In fact, chances are, I’ve had it for years.

Now, armed with my glucometer, lancets, and test strips, I can monitor exactly how rotten I feel at various times throughout the day.

Imagine my dismay when my pre-breakfast, post-walk reading was 431. Worse, my pre-dinner glucose was so high I only got “high” as my reading, meaning it was over 600. Not anywhere close to anything adjacent to the neighborhood of “yikes, that’s not great.” It does, however, explain why I feel like shit most of the time.

I’ve had three doses of metformin thus far. Two of atorvastatin. Two of lisinopril. I’ve turned down cookies from the neighbors in the main house. I walked my ass off despite severe lower back pain (I almost fell three times in the course of one walk, which is why I always carry my phone). I was busy all day long with various chores and playtime with the dogs, goats, kittens, and Fletchy*. My reading should have been lower. I’m praying for better results by the end of the week or I’m calling the doc.

Since I was an educator for new diabetics at Children’s back in the day, I have a good amount of knowledge on hand. What I don’t have experience with is the metformin and the other meds. I know it’ll likely take at least a week before I start to see my numbers come down, but I don’t like having to wait. I want instantaneous results! (I am well aware it doesn’t work like that.)

So, this is where I am now. Diabetic and impatient. But also hopeful. And grateful. Who knows how much longer I’d have had if I’d not been diagnosed and treated.

* Fletch is now an ambassador for cats who are adjusting to life amongst other animals. He even laid down for Badger, the youngest and most rambunctious of the dogs. When he met Zelda, the gorgeous gray kitty, she’d hissed up a storm and jumped from the second story porch we have. She was fine after the landing and was reacting to the dogs, not my sweet boy. Later, Fletch hissed and yowled a bit when they again met again, holding a grudge. It’ll take time for him to realize she was just afraid of the situation and not him.

2020/10/08

He’s My Sweetheart

Da Goddess @ 00:26
My sweet fuzznugget

Fletchy

2020/10/06

And, We’re Back

Da Goddess @ 10:59

Sometimes my internet connection is so poor I can’t even get more than two words down before I lose the signal and all ability to post.

I’m actually okay with that. I know, right? Me? Yeah, me. But it’s true.

Without TV and internet access, I’ve found I’m surprisingly fine. I’ve been watching DVDs and reading and doing weird things like, oh I don’t know…the dishes. Or I’m out hanging with the goats or the dogs. Or with the dogs and my cat. Yes! The cat has decided he doesn’t mind the dogs.

The other morning, Fletchy flopped down in front of Bandit and offered up his belly. OMG! It was adorable and so very very very very trusting. Bandit wasn’t sure what he should do beyond giving the belly a sniff and then walking around the cat, which led to Fletch trying to play with the dog. Big ol’ Bandit was very tentative about the invitation to play because he’s been around cats enough to know it could very well be a trap. But, it wasn’t. Fletchy just wanted a little fun.

The more the cat’s around the dogs, the more I realize just how much he needs a friend. Not that I’m going to be bringing any new fuzzy pals into the family. I just see what he so desperately wants and needs. So, I encourage the friendships with the dogs as often as possible. Maybe someday we’ll be in a position to expand our family. I just know it’s not happening any time soon.

And since I have a good signal, I’m going to have a go at uploading some photos.

TTFN!

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