Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I'm Baaaack!

UPDATE: First of all, Don's eye is much, much better. The inflammation is all gone. The glaucoma/pressure is back to normal. He is developing a cataract, which is normal, and the doctor anticipates removing it sometime toward the end of the summer, after we return from our vacation. He still can't see very well out of it, but that should improve with time and after the cataract surgery.

My daughter has had a setback in her condition. She has, as you know, a temporary ileostomy, which should already have been closed. But the j-pouch created last October has shrunk (doctor speculates due to lack of blood flow) and there was a leak into the abdominal cavity as well. (That's what caused her infection and subsequent hospitalization back in March.) In addition, the anal opening had shrunk. So two weeks ago, the day before we left for Texas, she had surgery to dilate the anus and to try to remove some scar tissue from the j-pouch. The doctor feels that the pouch has shrunk to the point where it will be unusable and is recommending that the ileostomy be permanent. She is adamant that it NOT be. The only way that can happen is for another major surgery to create a new pouch. She is insisting on this, and we'll see how things go the next few months. It's still minutely possible that the little pouch she has will be usable.

We had a great spring break, where we left town and I didn't think about work much at all. First, we spent 5 days at the beach. Camp Pendleton, the Marine base in Oceanside, has a great RV campground right on the beach. We spent 4 lovely nights there - the 5th was a howling windstorm. The weather up until the windstorm was perfect, and Don was able to go deep sea fishing as well as fish from the breakwater. I read and did some stamping and creating cards. I listened to a lot of music, did a little shopping, and worked on de-stressing.

We came home on Wednesday, T's surgery was Thursday, and then, since she was okay, we left Friday for Texas. We drove the northern route (Interstate 40) and spent the night in Grants, New Mexico. The hotel had bedbugs, which I learned after I developed a nasty rash on the inside of my thigh. Luckily, Mom had some hydrocortisone and it's now just about gone. We stayed at Mom's house Saturday, Sunday,Monday, and Tuesday,and were able to see my younger sister as well. Mom enjoyed cooking for us, and sent us home with a huge box of books for me to read. My sister,, who has lost almost 50 pounds the last year, sent me home with a huge box of nice work and casual clothes.

On Wednesday we drove to Kerrville to see my brother, who lives in a beautiful geodesic dome house on a hilltop overlooking the city. We had a restful visit with him and his wife, and left the next morning for the long drive home.

Thursday night we had reservations at the on-base billeting/hotel at Ft. Bliss in El Paso. Normally, the billeting hotels are like regular hotels, and I'm sure the main building at Ft. Bliss is nice. But it was full, so they put us in the annex, which was a converted barracks building. AAACCCKKK. No air conditioning, a full-sized bed, thin walls, and hard-as-a-rock couch. Both of us couldn't sleep on the bed, so I slept on the couch (my choice). It stayed hot and stuffy the whole night. It was so bad that the next night's Econo Lodge in Phoenix seemed luxurious by comparison.

We arrived home around 9:30 Saturday morning (we got an early start in Phoenix), and I immediately began my new, fun project:


While I was in Kerrville, I picked up a book on my sister-in-law's table called Cut the Clutter and Stow the Stuff, edited by Lori Baird. I borrowed it, and then spent the drive home reading it, taking notes, and making lists. You see, Don and I plan to sell our house in about 4 years, and buy a motorhome or 5th wheel and hit the road full time. Between now and then, we have to get rid of a great deal of clutter, which I've let accumulate over the years.

On Sunday, I threw out 2 trash bags full of junk and old, useless clothes. I then listed some clothes, rubber stamps, and kitchen items on ebay - and will continue to try to sell as much as I can on ebay. So far I've sold 8 rubber stamps, 3 foodsaver canisters, an unopened package of software, and a shirt. That's about $150 I've made so far. On Monday, I delivered a huge box and 5 hanger's worth of clothes, purses and belts to the thrift shop near my office.

This is so fun! And it's getting to be so easy, now that I've made a dent in the clutter. My eyes don't pass over it any more like they used to - I'm constantly picking things up and throwing them away - asking myself - do I use this? Do I think I'll use this? Can I sell it? Can I donate it? Can I give it as a gift?

Just having more room to move around will be worth it, and by the time we're ready to hit the road, we should be down to the basic essentials.

Anyone want a chipped, but still pretty Hummel figurine? How about one that has a staff that's been broken and glued back together? They're adorable, and if they were in perfect condition, they'd be worth a lot of money. But I can't sell them since they're not perfect. So if anyone wants them, let me know.

As far as cooking goes, it's great to be back in my kitchen. I'll be writing and posting again about food soon. I've gotten to the point where I'm cooking a lot of things I've already written about, so sometimes I just don't bother to post. I only want to write about new things. Maybe I'll work on some other aspects of food blogging. We'll see.

Thanks for reading all this, and thanks for the words of support while I've been away.


Ruth Daniels said...

Life certainly is eventful out your way! Hopefully there will be some peace soon.

Hats off to you for being so positive through it all. My thoughts are with you. Glad Don is doing better and, hopefully so will your daughter.

As for cutting down on clutter...wish I had read the book years ago! It is so much easier to just put things in the basement. Now that we're moving, I can't believe how much I own.!

Glenna said...

Welcome back! So sorry about the family health problems but good luck with the surgeries and so glad Don's eye is better. Hang in there!

Joe said...

Welcome back Cyndi! I hope all of the health issues work themselves out soon enough!

Harry & Eddie said...

Cindi, my brother and his wife did the RV thing. See my blog from today @ http://twoguysinthedesert.blogspot.com/2007/05/chicken-legs-with-kumquats-prunes-and.html