Friday, June 29, 2012

There's An App for That!

I love my iPhone, as I'm pretty sure I've mentioned.  I enjoy being able to read my book on the Kindle app.  I enjoy being able to pull up people on the IMDB app at any time, for example, today at lunch, Jennifer and I were discussing who is in the movie I'm going to go see this evening, and I was listing the people, but I couldn't remember the name of the guy or the series that he stars in.  I could only remember that my niece Natalie thinks he has creepy eyes.  (And if she's reading this, she knows who I'm talking about!)  (And if she isn't reading this, WHY ISN'T SHE READING THIS!??)  So I whipped out my phone and looked him up, right there at the table! 
I love not having to carry my Bible to church because I can just get my phone out and read the passage from the app!  I love being able to play solitaire or mahjong  or whatever bit of mindless fun I'm currently addicted to whenever I have to wait for something or someone. 
Yesterday, I was having a discussion with some of the girls with whom I'm going to the movies this evening.  One of them was going last night to buy our tickets.  I asked if she had a Stubz card and from her response of "Huh?" knew that she did not, so I gave her my card so Rose could get the points!  The other girl mentions that she has an app that keeps track of all of her cards, and when she's at the store, the sales clerk just scans her phone or, if that doesn't work, keys in the numbers.  I am THERE!!
I'm forever going to the grocery store (IGA/Buy-Low) and forgetting my card.  The sales person always dutifully says, "Keep your receipt and bring it in with your card and you can get credit for the purchase."  To which I politely respond, "yeah, thanks" when in fact I want to scream, ahem.. "IF I WAS ABLE TO REMEMBER TO DO THAT, I'D HAVE REMEMBERED THE FREAKIN' CARD TODAY!!!"  Or sometimes, I'll run into CVS with only my keys and wallet.  What's the problem with that?, you ask.  Well, I have so many of those cards, I keep them on a totally separate key ring, so when I say I only have my keys with me, I only have my KEYS.  Sigh.
Last night, I downloaded that puppy ( and quick like a bunny scanned and entered my cards.  And now, I can't wait to go to the movie tonight so they can scan my card/phone when I get my popcorn!  Yeah!
Anyway, that's my app recommendation of the week… or whatever time period will be between now and the next app I recommend.

Monday, June 25, 2012

And Now, For the Rest of the Story...

Monday began a new week.  Mom called her doctor's office and they scheduled a CT scan for Tuesday afternoon and, because the nit-wit at the scheduling desk said they (the doctor's office) might not have the CT results by the time of Mom's Wednesday morning with her doctor, they rescheduled it for Friday.
Meanwhile, Sophie did not appreciate my administering the steroid cream on her ears twice a day, but the afternoon that Mom called to tell me that she'd seen/overheard Sophie at the food bowl THREE times that day so far.  Of course, knowing my little persnickety turd, she's been at the bowl containing the Meow Mix that the other three eat and not the bowl containing her $55 a bag expensive stuff.  But at this point, I don't care what it is, if she'll eat it and keep it down.  It's just particularly irritating because shortly after I adopted Sophie and Gizmo, I attempted to get them to eat Meow Mix (because their previous caretaker fed them Science Diet, which I thought was SO expensive… little did I know that now I'd kill to feed her Science Diet) and she would have nothing to do with it. I tried different flavors, including the hairball formula, and no.  I don't think Mom and Dad had to buy cat food for a month because they benefited from every bag I bought and Ms. Picky turned down.
Also, the previous week, during my fit of feeling useless, I'd ordered something to help Sophie.  Jackson Galaxy, the guy with all the tattoos and piercings on the Animal Planet show "My Cat From Hell", well, he's written a book – a biography, I suppose – and my friend Deborah is reading it and keeping me updated as she goes.  Anyway, Deborah tells me that early on in his cat experience, he had a difficult cat… I don't remember the name… and he'd tried everything to get the cat to eat.. I think that was the problem.. and he was at his wits end when he heard about some woman selling holistic formulas made up of "essential" oils, whatever those are, and supposedly they'd help the cat.  So, like me, being at the end of his rope, he said, "WTF!?"  Now I gather that they helped his cat and Jackson was so impressed that he was like, "I've got to meet this woman!"  He met her, and ended up buying the company!! 
(Very) long story short, I got on the website,, and bought some of both the "Happy Tummy" formula for Sophie specifically, and the "Stress Stopper" for everyone in general.  It arrived on Friday and I put a few drops of the Stress Stopper in both of the water fountains and I rubbed some of the Happy Tummy in my hands and then wiped them on Sophie (per the instructions.)  And now, a weekend later, I'm telling you that I'm sold!  Well, first, Sophie is eating.  And…now here, I guess you'd have to have cats to understand this, but Sophie's fur is like silk.  I've never felt anything softer.  And when she isn't 100%, her fur loses its softness… feels like hair.. or more bristly… which is the way Winifred always feels, but with Sophie, it's an indicator to me that something's amiss.  Anyway, for the last month or so, her fur hasn't been "right."  Now, after a week of the steroid cream on her ears and a weekend of the essential oils, she is happy, silky, and, dare I say, more friendly.  She's even a little more tolerant (not 100%, but a little bit) of Winifred and I think, when Sophie chases Winifred out of my bedroom and up/down the stairs, there's a bit of playfulness in it.
One patient is fixed (literally…hahaha!).  As for the other, we went to Mom's doctor appointment on Friday.  The CT scan showed that she did have a mild bulging disc on the left side at L4-5 and a moderate herniated disc at L3-4 on the right.  But the thing on the right isn't the one she's having problems with, for whatever reason, so we don't worry about it at the moment.  The left problem isn't bad enough to require surgery.  (One of Mom's, and my, worries down.)  Then I asked the doctor if there was something she could prescribe, nothing addictive, because we are too poor to risk becoming addicts, which could help Mom sleep.  Mom not having had a decent night's sleep in a month.  The doctor gave her a prescription for Flexeril. (Another of Mom's concerns taken care of.)  And finally, Mom asked about exercises or something to help her (Mom) not feel like such a slug, just laying around and nothing else.  So the doctor ordered physical therapy.  (The third and final of Mom's concerns gone!)  When we left that appointment, Mom felt ten times better, not even having had the first pill or PT appointment!
Friday night, she took her first Flexeril and slept like a rock.  She was so happy the next morning!  Of course, as one might have guessed, she then proceeded to do too much, at least in my opinion, over the weekend, so she was rather tired when she got up this morning.  Other than her PT appointments, she is going to rest and recuperate this week!  So Patient #2 is doing better and I'm feeling useful, so all is well in Roselandia!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

And the Secret is...

Sorry.  I didn't mean to leave you all hanging in regard to the secret of picking out watermelons, I was just going with the flow of my topic.  I know that for years I was told to thump them and the ripe ones sounded different.  Let me tell you I have thumped many a watermelon and rarely heard anything different between them.  Consequently, it was more of a crap shoot as to whether it was good or not.

Holly's secret.. and honestly, I think she got it from Alton Brown on the Food Network's show Good Eats, is to look at the spot where the melon was laying on the ground (see picture below - it's the discolored area that doesn't look like all the rest) and to find the one that is more yellow. 

It's that easy - almost too simple.  Now I don't know if this is a scientific type of tip, but it has worked for me all summer.  In fact I bought two more yesterday at Sam's (oh, and I've got all my good ones this summer at Sam's - again, don't know if that's relevant, but..) and the one I cut up to put in the fridge yesterday afternoon - sugar sweet. 

Oh, and my apologies for the picture.  I kept taking the pics with my phone and I turned them all the correct way, but then when I load it here, it's on its side and I can't figure out how to fix it.  So I'm sorry for you having to crick your neck to see the pic correctly.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meanwhile, Back at the Bat Cave...

So, I've been doing all the cooking for me and Mom. Not a problem. I’m actually a good cook. My mommy taught me well. But frankly, without advance planning, my repertoire generally leans toward something involving pasta. Again, not a problem. Rose LOVES pasta. Maybe too much. Remember, there was a reason for that gastric bypass a year ago. And, yup, between the heat and the oddball working hours, I wasn’t doing my walking in the morning, and with the crappy (but yummy) meals, I gained four pounds!! In retrospect, I’m thinking some of that may have been hormone-related or maybe I needed to take a poo before I weighed because those four pounds are gone now. Whatever! This wasn’t making Rose happy and it was weighing (arr, arr!) me down.. so, that might have been a little behind my outburst at the vet’s.

I go home and Mom informs me that her MRI is late Friday afternoon. So it was a good thing I banked all that time, since I needed it for Mom’s ER visit, Sophie’s vet visit, and Mom’s MRI on Friday. It worked out perfectly!

Sophie’s vet visit: She’s perfectly healthy-looking, only she’s lost a pound. We discuss that I had given her a dose of the prescription anti-nausea meds that I’d picked up, and it had worked, she ate that evening. But it’s a two-man offense to get it down her (and I’m down a man), we get as much on us as IN HER, and she acts as though we’ve horribly abused her for the next hour or so and runs from me, and in my fragile state, I can’t take my baby girl running from me scared. So he gives her the shot, at least that’s 24 hours that I won’t have to worry about. We also discuss that Holly’s cat, Jen Jen, has IBS and they rub some steroid cream on the inside of her ear every so often and it’s changed her into a totally different cat… also, that we’ve tried to avoid the steroid route because for some reason that I don’t fully understand, both he and the specialist that saved her life attribute Sophie’s “episode” two years ago to the steroid shots she was getting… but the steroid cream is low dosage so could we try it, because I’m at my freakin’ wits end, here!! He prescribed it. Praise God.

Mom’s vet visit: We get there and she has to fill out these forms about all sorts of oddball questions and she doesn’t understand why. I explain, because the questions have to do about metal implants, that the “M” in MRI stands for “magnetic” and she’s going to be going into this ginormic tube which is a big magnet and they want to make sure that she didn’t have anything metal on or inside her. Well, turns out that 28 years ago, this August, she had this metal thing implanted into her… long story, don’t ask… and they couldn’t do the MRI and it was after 5pm, so we’d have to wait until next Monday to see what up now. I think she was relieved. Hungry, but relieved. We went to Wendy’s so she could have a burger, fries, and a Frosty to celebrate.

The weekend was relatively relaxing. I took my weekly walk with the Deaconess Healthier U thingee. It was at the Riverfront and despite the very hot couple of weeks we’ve been having, we really haven’t had that bad of humidity. That and the 130+ pounds that I no longer have to lug around mean that even though it was hot, it was a beautiful morning for a walk and I walked 2+ miles. Then I went to Sam’s to stock up on watermelon and grapes for the week and pick up some of Mom’s prescriptions. I’ve done a FABULOUS job of picking out the watermelons this year. My sisters have given me tidbits of advice in the past. Some of which I followed, others I did not. But when Holly explained to me the key to picking out a “good” watermelon last summer, she changed my life!! I have not picked a bad one all summer… and we’ve been eating them at the rate of two a week for about 6 weeks! I did other grocery shopping. I found recipes for the next week and got the missing ingredients. I have been utilizing the crock pot and I made some Nacho Cheese Chicken Chowder that very similar to Max and Erma’s Tortilla Soup and was great!.. I made a pork roast that was not… well, it was ok, but it cooked too long and was dried out… and I made Reuben Chicken Casserole and while I did have some misgivings, it was really good! I’ve had leftovers for breakfast and lunch already today! And I took a nap on the balcony. I was ready for the new week.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Livin' La Vida Loca

First, I apologize for failing to keep you up to date on my event-filled past 5-6 weeks. But frankly, the only time/place I’ve really had to write was when I was at work, and they sort of frown on that. So you ask, Rose, (because that is my name), what about your pod (phone)? your pad? your computer at home? and Mom’s laptop? Are they all broken? What! ho?!

Well, if you’ll stop barraging me with questions, I’ll do my best to winge out a bunch of excuses.  And don't call me a ho! First, it’s a pain in the tookie to type much on the pod/phone.. and you know I can ramble on. And while it is somewhat better on the pad, it’s still not the best. As for the computer on my desk at home, well, that’s just not comfortable to sit at for a long time… especially since I can’t sit there for more than 5 minutes without Gizmo hopping into my lap and he’s a 13 pound cat and he moves around a lot, so it generally takes at least one hand on him at all times to keep him from falling out of my lap, and, being a “man,” he ego is very fragile, so I do what I can to help the boy.. As for the laptop, well… why are you interrogating me!? So I’ve decided that I need to get myself a laptop. I’m doing all I can to get one. Every time WIKY, the local radio station, has one on their WIKY Word Rewards, I apply all of my points toward tickets for the drawing. I just haven’t won yet.

The rest of my month has been spend taking care of both my mother and my baby girl. Starting about a month ago, Mom started having pain in her back, radiating down into her left leg. I took her to her doctor, who only works on Wednesday through Fridays, so of course we always need to see her on Monday or Tuesday and Mom chooses to wait until Wednesday. Sigh… Deep breath. Anyway, the cursory diagnosis was that it might be shingles, even though Mom didn’t have the accompanying rash yet or a “slipped” disc or two in her back. Either way, a dose of steroids and rest should help. And Mom got some pain pills to too. After the first week, she went back to the doctor – no better, but no rash, so no shingles. Doctor said she figured it was the discs and she could either order an MRI to confirm, or Mom could just rest for two more weeks [while the doctor went to Mexico on vacation – not that I begrudge her a vacation, it’s more of a jealousy thing! :)]. The choice was up to Mom and she chose to rest for two more weeks. And by rest, this meant doing a better job of resting than she’d done the first week.

So you-know-who had to take over Mom’s usual duties: cooking, dishes, laundry, shopping, etc... basically, being Mom!  No, it didn’t hurt me, but I sure have a new-found respect for my friends who work full time and have a family to cook, clean, etc. for all the time!

Meanwhile, Baby Girl Sophie, who has a seven-year history of gastro episodes where she won’t eat, vomits up “juices”, and I take her to the vet, who gives her a shot or two, she gets better for a couple months and so on, back in May, stopped eating. I took her to her vet – yes, she has her own vet – don’t judge me, none of the others need to have a personal vet. She resumed eating, but not with quite the same gusto as usual. He ran blood tests ($200 worth) and they all came back normal. She’s a healthy cat. Grr.. So flash-forward to last week, she’s not eating again. Or let’s put it this way, she’s eating enough that she can survive, but… oh, heck, it’s hard to put it into words, but the other cat moms out there understand. She wasn’t eating, although she was a tiny bit. I called the vet. He was out that day. (It seems all of the doctors in MY life take Thursdays off.) I left a message that she wasn’t eating and I didn’t know if there was a way to prescribe me what he shoots her up with so I didn’t have to pay $100 just to come in and have him give her a shot. And I made an appointment for her for Friday afternoon (since I was planning on taking that afternoon off) in case the answer was no.

So next.. well, you have to realize that since #1) Boss #1 Steve was on vacation for the past two weeks, and since B) I didn’t know if I was going to have to take Mom and/or Sophie to the doctor/vet, I was going in early each day and taking half lunches when I could so I’d have time for any appointments that reared their ugly heads and if there weren’t any appointments, I could just take the time I’d banked off on Friday. So the same Thursday that the vet was out when I called, I’m at work, minding my own business when I get a call from Mom telling me that she isn’t feeling well and that she thinks I need to take her to the ER. Now, let me interject that I really wanted to scream, in a panic... ahem… “if you NEED to go to the ER, why are you calling ME!? Call 911!!” But instead I calmly asked… ahem.. “now, keep in mind it’ll take me 10-15 minutes to get home to get you, then another 15 minutes to get to the ER, do you have that type of time? Or is it more urgent?” sigh.. Anyway, we get her to the ER, where her Living La Vida Loca doctor said that if Mom felt bad while she, the doctor, was off, to go to the ER and they would perform the MRI for her. (Turns out that’s a lie. MRI’s are not “emergency” tests. We were told in no uncertain terms that if a patient can hang out for the 2 hours it takes to perform an MRI, then said patient’s “emergency” isn’t really an emergency.) Mom was having pain that was different from the, now, usual pain, so she was afraid all the laying around she’d been doing had formed a blood clot. They confirmed that that was not the case and booted her out. I was rather peeved, but happy she was ok. On the way back home, we call her doctor’s office to see if the dude covering for her doctor can order the MRI and were told that he’d want to see her first, so we made an appointment for later that afternoon.

Now, back to Sophie. While Mom was in the ER being given an ultrasound to confirm she didn’t have a blood clot, my phone rings. It’s the vet’s office and he happened to call in, so they gave him my message and he said that yes, he could prescribe some of the anti-nausea stuff that he generally shoots Sophie up with, but it would be a 3 times a day thing whereas the shot is good for 24 hours, or I could just bring her in for her appointment the next day. I told them I’d take the prescription AND unless she had a huge change, we’d be keeping the appointment.

After taking Mom back home, on my way back to the office, I stopped at McD’s for some tea – and despite REALLY wanting it to be the diabetic coma-inducing version, I got unsweet – and dropped by the vet to pick up Sophie’s prescription. I walked into the office and the nurse/tech person behind the counter asked “how’s your day going?!” and greeted me with such a perky smile that I burst into tears. I was really feeling like a craptastic daughter because my mother’s in pain and I can’t do a damn thing to help her and mother because my baby girl isn’t eating and there didn’t seem to be a damn thing I could do to help her!! There might have been some hormones involved there too, it’s hard to tell. Anyway, she rushed to reassure me that I was doing the right stuff in regard to Sophie at least and she felt sure I was doing a good job with mom too.

I returned to my office, where at least I felt like I have at least a modicum of control over my world. My phone rings, it’s Mom saying she got a call from the doctor who was going to see her so that maybe he’d order an MRI, advising that he’d looked at her record and said that there wasn’t anything he could do for Mom until there was an MRI, so they canceled her appointment and would be scheduling an MRI. This was good news because that meant I could stay in my happy place (which ironically, at this point, is my job) until 5:15.

I'm going to stop here in my ramblings.  This is turning out to be more than I initially ancipated and I'm tired and I need to wedge Gizmo off my lap so I can go to bed.