Blind Date

Going to a doctor for the first time is a lot like a blind date. You hope you’re going to like the other person. Maybe even someone has told you you’ll be perfect for each other, but there are so many variables! What if you find out that the other person is a Democrat and you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Republican? What if the other person is Pentecostal and you’re a Presbyterian?

So you can understand why I had a lot of anxiety about my doctor’s appointment this morning, especially since I hadn’t been to a primary care doctor in fourteen years. I had to get up earlier than normal so I would be ready to leave the house by 7:30. The doctor’s office was in a nearby town and it took a full forty minutes to get there in rush hour traffic. I found the office, went in, and started filling out my paperwork. I was almost done when the receptionist called me over to tell me that my appointment had been cancelled. Cancelled!

It seems their computer system was down and the doctor had instructed the receptionist to cancel all “new patient” appointments. “That’s a problem,” I said, “because I need prescriptions before I go out of town. Do I just let my blood sugar spiral out of control?” She shrugged and suggested that I go to a walk-in clinic.

I walked out the door in tears and cried in my car for a few minutes before beginning the drive home. I had really been pinning my hopes on getting in to see this particular doctor. I knew my next chance to get an appointment would be not days but weeks away.

As I drove home weeping, I considered my options. The walk-in clinic that the receptionist had suggested is way on the other side of town from us. However, there is a clinic very near our house, so I decided to try there. I was desperate, you understand. I am almost out of all my meds. I walked into the clinic and asked if they took walk-ins. “No,” said the receptionist, “you have to have an appointment.”

Just as the tears began to well up again, she added, “But we’re not busy, so I can get you an appointment.” Oh, happy day!

I was called long before I had finished filling out the very comprehensive paperwork. I was questioned in great detail by the nurse. My blood pressure was taken and it was 110/60. I was so happy I could hardly stand it. This means the meds are working!

Finally, the Physician’s Assistant came in to talk to me. She also questioned me in great detail and studied the chart of blood sugar readings I’d brought, along with the list of all the meds and supplements I take. We talked for well over half an hour. I think that’s the longest I’ve ever had a medical professional spend with me at one time. The longer we talked, the more I liked her. I know she’s a PA and not a doctor, but she is very knowledgeable and I began to feel that we were really on the same wavelength. She understands about my financial constraints and is willing to forego expensive tests for the time being in order to focus on the most urgent issues. The whole experience was such a breath of fresh air.

She called in my prescriptions and said that unless some new issue comes up, I don’t have to see her for another three months. She gave me a lot of control over my insulin dosage so I can adjust it as needed. My goal is to get off of insulin completely, and she is all for it. The visit was also considerably cheaper than it would have been had I gotten in to see the doctor I had an appointment with this morning.

So, even though I didn’t see the doctor I had planned to see, God had already arranged something different, that was also more convenient and cheaper. I see no reason to try getting in with that other doctor again. And for the first time in quite a while, I feel hopeful that I can start addressing my health issues (and they are legion) one by one and that I’ve found someone who can help me do that.

I was able to pick up my new prescriptions and then come home and start making a few preparations for our trip. I know you must think we’re crazy to take a trip when we have these massive medical bills hanging over our heads, but this trip was already arranged before I ever got sick. My parents gave us a week in a timeshare, where we can cook our own food, so the primary expense is gas. Lucy and Jasper have no memory of ever going on vacation–just of traveling to visit relatives from time to time. We used to go up to this area in Arkansas every year, but the kids haven’t been for 13 years. The last time Walter and I were there was for our 25th anniversary–nine years ago. So it’s a pretty big deal.

 

An Unspecified Number of Years Ago Today, Someone Was Born

Today is Lina’s birthday. I hope someone made it special for her over there in Zambia. It’s days like this when a TARDIS or a Star Trek transporter would come in very handy!

I did school with Jasper this morning and then worked on other things this afternoon. I have a backlog of things that need to be mailed various places, but first they must be packaged and addressed, a job I do not enjoy. Most of it is done now!

Jasper had his piano lesson here because his sweet teacher has no electricity at her house. I don’t think there are a whole lot of people without power in our town, but those who live in the direct path of the tornado have it a lot worse.

This afternoon I heard from my dad that my mom is in the hospital. I sure would appreciate your prayers for her. She is being treated for congestive heart failure and a serious urinary tract infection, and will most likely be in the hospital for at least a couple of days. Having been there so recently myself, she has my sympathy!

And finally pray for me too as I go to meet my new doctor tomorrow morning first thing. I am hoping for a good cooperative relationship and that we can figure out a way to get my blood sugar and blood pressure under better control.

Aftermath

I thought you’d like to see a photo of our former church that had a tree fall on it during the tornado last night:

 Westminster after the storm

The tree has already been removed, but as you can see there is quite a bit of damage. Thanks to Charissa Blake for the photo.

Today I ran a brief errand, prepared for class, and taught my class. After class I had a little while to make myself some supper. I had been given collard greens from a friend’s garden, so I cooked them and felt very southern. They are not my favorite greens by any stretch of the imagination, but they are low-carb so I ate them without complaint. Everybody else got macaroni and cheese.

Then it was off to my writers’ meeting. It was a small group this month, but one of the ladies there is someone I rarely see so it was good to catch up with her a bit. I also did learn a few marketing tips.

When I came home from my meeting I saw this:

 5-26-15 bug prank

And was a little dismayed. I believe my actual words were, “Holy moly, what is that?” It was a prank, that’s what it was. Lucy cut the bug out of paper and stuck it on the inside of the lampshade. The kids were very entertained by my reaction. I’m so glad I can brighten up their lives by humiliating myself . . . .

Two Days, Two Big Storms

Yesterday was a mostly normal Sunday. I played the autoharp in church and in the afternoon we called Lina to wish her a happy birthday (her birthday is on Wednesday). As always, it was good to hear her voice and talk to her.

Right as we were getting supper ready, the tornado sirens went off and sure enough, there was a tornado warning. Most of us hunkered down in the garage until the warning expired, then came back upstairs and ate our dinner. There was a lot of rain and thunder!

Today, nobody had to work so we all slept in to varying degrees. Walter and I were the first up. Although I had plans of my own, Walter started doing a bunch of long-overdue housework, so I went with that. We finished sorting through Flynn’s stuff and got a lot of stuff cleaned, sorted, and put away. In the afternoon, Walter and Spencer went to take a look at Spencer’s car and found that it needs some brake work.

It started raining late afternoon, so any fond hopes I might have had of grilling our burgers died at that point. As it was, we had to have fans blowing and doors open for a while because Lucy’s dessert dripped in the oven and there was a lot of smoke.

Wouldn’t you know it, right at supper time the sirens went off again and my phone informed me that there was another tornado warning. There certainly was a lot of wind and rain and darkness. Not that we’re blasé or anything, but none of us wanted to go downstairs again, so we just sat and ate our supper while the thunder crashed and the lightning flashed and the rain lashed against the windows.

Once the danger was past, I went online and saw some sad news. The church we attended for many years in Henderson, and which we are still very fond of, was seriously damaged in the storm. The massive oak tree that loomed between the two church buildings fell on the sanctuary. I loved that tree and I love that church and I hate to think of it being damaged. There was quite a bit of other damage in Henderson, I’ve heard. I hope no one was hurt.

Tomorrow’s going to be a long day, and I just remembered something I have to do yet tonight, so I think I’ll just go do it.

When Morning Gilds the Skies

Many years ago, when my kids were young, I decided to start teaching them hymns at home because the church we attended at that time did not sing many hymns, and my hope was that my kids would learn to love hymns like I do. My success in that regard has been mixed at best. Anyway, this was the very first hymn I taught them all those years ago. I still love it. I had no idea it had so many verses though!

When Morning Gilds the Skies

Translated from the German by Edward Caswall

When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Whene’er the sweet church bell peals over hill and dell,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
O hark to what it sings, as joyously it rings,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

My tongue shall never tire of chanting with the choir,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
This song of sacred joy, it never seems to cloy,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

To God, the Word, on high, the host of angels cry,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals, too, upraise their voice in hymns of praise,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this at meals your grace, in every time and place;
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this, when day is past, of all your thoughts the last
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When mirth for music longs, this is my song of songs:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evening shadows fall, this rings my curfew call,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When sleep her balm denies, my silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evil thoughts molest, with this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

No lovelier antiphon in all high Heav’n is known
Than, Jesus Christ be praised!
There to the eternal Word the eternal psalm is heard:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let all the earth around ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In Heaven’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Sing, suns and stars of space, sing, ye that see His face,
Sing, Jesus Christ be praised!
God’s whole creation o’er, for aye and evermore
Shall Jesus Christ be praised!

In Heav’n’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let earth, and sea and sky from depth to height reply,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Sing this eternal song through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

 

Late Registration

One thing I failed to mention over the past couple of weeks is the drama surrounding Spencer’s efforts to register for the SAT so he can complete his application to university. The regular deadline passed in the first few days after my surgery, when I was not on the ball enough to even think about it. Spencer certainly wasn’t thinking about it, because he didn’t realize that he actually had to take the SAT after successfully taking several university courses over the last two years.

So anyway, once my brain had regained some minimal function, I went on the SAT site to see if we could do late registration, because the test is being given once in June and then not again until October, which is too late. Well, it seems lots of other people had the same idea, and every time Spencer or I tried to get on the website to register, it was down due to high volume. The deadline was Friday. I tried all day on Thursday, and finally, late in the evening, I got the website to load. I sent Spencer to the computer immediately and after an excruciating hour of waiting time, he finally got registered! So he will be taking the test at last two weeks from today.

Today began with a solo trek to Walmart in the morning. I am trying to learn to pace myself. After doing something, even something that doesn’t seem terribly strenuous, I find that I often need to rest.

I got started on some paperwork, and took some time in the afternoon to go visit my friend Joan and see if she could help me with my blood pressure machine. Both Joans I know are nurses. Anyway, she had no more success than I did and we came to the conclusion that the machine is a dud. I hope I can return it and have it replaced with one that actually works! At least I had a nice visit with my friend Joan.

Finally, I would appreciate prayer for my son Flynn, who lost his (new) job and needs to find another one soon!

A Final Fling

Well, this is embarrassing. I wrote this post last night and then forgot to post it!

Today was a definite improvement over yesterday. Not to the point where I was terribly productive, but I did feel quite a bit better. I did math with Jasper this morning, and then after lunch I took the kids to their last social event of the school year. Jasper was so delighted to see one of his good friends there, whom he rarely sees anymore.

I made barbeque brisket pizza for supper, which was a hit with those who got to eat it. I also took Lucy up to meet friends for a movie, and figured out what I’ll be playing on Sunday. Tomorrow, I hope to get a lot more done.

Quote of the Day (overheard at the grocery store):

Mom to three small children: “Don’t worry; Mommy has special money put aside for Dallas.”

Tiny tot: “So the rest of your money’s not special?”

A Little Setback

After a fairly active day yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. Even the tiniest task required a massive effort. My plans for a productive morning went out the window. All I got done was making a big batch of mashed potatoes for our last homeschool lunch of the school year. Lucy made cupcakes for dessert, and we picked up some chicken on the way there. The theme was “Southern cooking.” There was lots of fried chicken!

I enjoyed seeing my friends but I really did not feel very chipper. When we got home, I took a nap to rest up for a visit from my friend Marsha. I don’t see her very often anymore, so it was good to catch up. When she left, I was exhausted just from sitting in a chair and talking. I wondered if I’d even be able to go on a walk this evening, but by the time we finished supper I had revived a little so Lucy and I went on our walk as usual. Still, I’m pretty glad the day is over.

 

Stir-Crazy Bees

It seems like I was busy for much of the day, but I’m hard-pressed to explain what all I was doing. I know I left the house on four separate errands. This is the first day in weeks, it seems like, that it didn’t rain at all, so this morning I told Jasper that the time had come for him to get out to the hive and finish his bee business. On the weekend he got the second box on, but he hadn’t taken any frames out to inspect his bees.

So this morning he got suited up and went out there and began pulling frames, and on frame number four he found what he had been fearing to find–a queen cell. That means that the current queen will soon be leaving with a large percentage of the bees. We have been afraid the bees would swarm because we had to wait so long to add the second box because of the lack of the bee suit. So anyway, apparently the bees are going to swarm no matter what we do and we don’t have any means of catching them when they do.

Of course, some bees will remain to raise and take care of the new queen, and the hive should build itself back up over the next several weeks. The situation is a little discouraging, but the good news is that Jasper overcame his fear of working with the bees. He was so excited when he came back in the house! His friend Sam helped him and they were able to do everything that needed to be done. Jasper is actually looking forward to taking care of his bees now.

After lunch I took Jasper to his piano lesson, and as soon as I got him home I took Lucy out to buy some new flip-flops so she will stop borrowing mine! Soon after that it was time to take her to youth group, and by the time I returned home I was very tired. It’s not like I ever had a lot of stamina, but right now I have a lot less than I’m used to.

Lucy and I went on another walk this evening. I have lost all hope that it will help my diabetes in any way, but I’ve been eager to start exercising again anyway. It just would be nice if I could detect some benefits!

Quote of the Day:

Yesterday for supper I “doctored” the leftover deeper ‘n’ ever turnip & tater & beetroot pie by making a sauce from leftover ham, and adding the sauce and ham to the veggies. Jasper was very pleased, and christened the new version, “deeper ‘n’ ever turnip & tater and meatroot pie.”

Teaching Again

Last year I didn’t have enough interest to teach any summer classes, but this year is a different story. It originally looked like my Story Quest creative writing class was going to be quite large, but I ended up with just six students, which is actually a very nice class size. I have two pairs of sisters, another girl, and one boy. Half of them have been my students before, so I that makes it easy to know what to expect.

I spent the morning preparing and printing everything out. This class is probably the easiest for me to teach since I wrote the curriculum and have taught it so many times. The time passed quickly and the kids came up with a good group story.

I was pretty tired by the end, but not in a bad way. I still don’t have much stamina, but I am working on it. Lucy and I went for a walk again after supper, even though I don’t expect it to have made any impact on my blood sugar. My body seems to be stupidly unresponsive to just about everything.

I also watched some autoharp videos for inspiration. A lot of autoharp music seems to fall into the bluegrass category, which is fine, because I love bluegrass, but I also have a lot of other musical interests and I wish I could find more examples of different kinds of music being played on the autoharp. My musical tastes range from hymns to folk to classical to negro spirituals to celtic and classic rock.

We are currently trying to fight off a fruit fly invasion. They were apparently attracted by the multiple flower arrangements. Now we have thrown the flowers out, but the flies remain. I’ll be leaving out a couple of containers of apple cider vinegar and dish soap tonight.