Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Mario and his squirrel buddy last winter right after a huge snow storm! The squirrel is trying to climb the screen door.

Happy New Year Dear Readers,

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.   We sure did, and I'm sure the pounds have gone up on the scale even tho I'm afraid to get on the scale!  ha ha - There are somethings you just don't want to know.

New Year's Eve is now upon us.   Typically we would be going to a movie this afternoon, but the frigid air is moving in to Wisconsin, and neither Don nor I feel like leaving our nice warm house!   Now if that isn't a sign of old age, then I don't know what is.  We are getting to be old fuddy duds!   

We skipped out on the Christmas Day movie also because we were both so wiped out from a day and a half of Christmas.  We stayed, sprawled out in our recliners all of Christmas Day, once our daughter and son-in-law left to go to his parents around 10:00 in the morning.   This year I'm really seeing shades of my own parents when they were this age!   I vowed to myself then that it would never happen to me.   Famous last words............................!  I think I can blame the PD for this, unfortunately!

That's all she wrote for this time.   We want to wish each and every one of you a very Happy New year - one full of good health, happiness, and enough funds to provide you for all your needs.

Love to all,

Mary


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012




Merry Christmas From Our House To Your House 2012


As I write this, I'm watching my most favorite musical ever - The Sound Of Music.  (I think I just dated myself ha ha - oh well!)  I've only seen this movie about 100 times, can sing it backwards and forwards, and never, never tire of it.   Now my Christmas season is officially "kicked off."   I love most musicals, but for some reason this one really makes me happy!

We're all ready for Christmas here - just last minute things to do tomorrow before daughter and son-in-law arrive.  We will have our family Christmas tomorrow night, and give them breakfast Christmas morning.  Around 11:00 they will leave for son-in-laws parents.  We have always been invited too and love going, but have had to give it up now because the steps are getting difficult.     Don and I will probably spend the afternoon Christmas Day at the theater watching the movie Les Mizz.   We've seen the Broadway production two times, but want to see the movie now just to compare!   Loved the Broadway production.

Oh, we did survive our first Blizzard of the season.  Well, the media called it a blizzard.  I don't think our city actually experienced one.  I never did see any whiteout conditions in our block and the snow was so heavy with moisture that it did not drift here.  I was so thankful for the man who will take care of our snow removal this winter.  He came after about 5 inches had fallen to simply try to stay ahead of it.  His theory is 6 inches is easier to clean up than the 12 that were predicted.   Then he returned the next morning after the storm had blown itself out to do final cleanup.   What a blessing he will be to us this winter!

Hope you all have a blessed Christmas or Holiday Season - whichever you celebrate.   

Thanks for reading my blog and being our blogging friend.

Mary and Don


  


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Long Overdo Rant - Personal Family Story

Clip Art from Microsoft Office

Dear Friends,


Today is my RANT DAY - something I have never done before on my blog  I usually tend to not get involved with controversial issues because I don't exactly want lots of negative comments.  But after yesterday's shooting at an elementary school, I have to say something.

My heart goes out to the parents of the students involved.  This was another senseless act that could probably have been prevented.   I'm not Einstein and my brain  isn't always all there, but we need to wake up in this country.   I know this is a very complex issue and one that is not going to be solved anytime soon.  But we need to start somewhere.  

When are we ever going to stand up to the gun control issue.  I value the freedoms we have in the US, but when it comes to guns, why do we need so much freedom.   Yes I know our Constitution says we have the right to bear arms.  But I don't remember where it ever said we had the right to kill people!  And apparently the public can't be very responsible to having those same guns so readily available.  Just yesterday a twitter friend from another country made the comment "The US's gun laws are too lenient!"  My sentiments exactly!

I live in the "hunting state of Wisconsin" and am apt to have everyone I know down on my neck.   I have nothing against hunters using their guns to hunt (although I find this idea repulsive myself because I love the same animals they hunt).   But I don't like those same guns sitting around at home in a closet or gun case that can easily be broken into.  If you are a hunter, I certainly hope you have whatever guns you have safely locked up somewhere were children or young adults cannot get to them.   You never know when someone will get into those guns (yes, even the best behaved kids experiment with them).  

Case in point:  My husband (Don) comes from a family of 3 boys (all 2 years apart in age with Don being the oldest) and a girl about 10 years younger than Don.   All three boys grew up with guns, learned all the safety rules, took hunter's safety courses, and went hunting quite often to kill rabbit and squirrel (they always ate what they caught).   One afternoon, Don and one of his  brothers were fooling around in a basement room with the guns.  Don had pointed the gun out the window just to check the site.   He put his finger around the trigger, just for fun, and accidentally pulled it.  It blew out the basement window and made a hole in the curtain.   The sad part is that his youngest brother had just seconds before walked by the same window.  Had Don shot that rifle seconds earlier, he would have shot his brother.  A very close call indeed and a move he regrets to this day..

My point is - why were those guns so readily available in the house.  Why were they never locked up! Don was in high school at that time and certainly knew better, but he still took a risk!  Now you put those same guns into the hands of someone who might have some mental problems and it's an accident waiting to happen,.. It was an accident waiting to happen in Don's house.  I don't know the situations behind the shooting yesterday, but obviously the guns were not that hard to get.   My guess would be they were available right there in his home.

I have also heard in the media that this young man had been diagnosed with Asbergers Syndrome .  Now this should have certainly been a red flag.   Why was he allowed around guns.   I don't know and we'll probably never know.

Wake up people - this same thing could happen anywhere, anytime and to any of you.  Schools can only go so far with protecting our children.   It's up to parents to get guns out of your homes so that no student has easy access to a gun.   We have seen this same thing happen too many times over the past few years.  The problem isn't going to go away by itself.

If writing this saves one child by a parent removing guns from their house, then I will consider it a personal victory.   If you know of someone with gun around the house, speak up and express your concern.   We have to start somewhere!

Mary


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Ongoing Drug Saga!

Photo of the Bay of Green Bay, Wisconsin

Hi Friends,

I feel like I'm writing an ongoing saga of drug problems!   I'm sure they are the work of the devil but  they are a necessary evil!  Just kidding  but that's how I feel some days.


The newly prescribed Sinemet drug arrived 2+ weeks ago. .  I purposely waited until a Saturday to take it.  It's a good thing I did because I got very sick to my stomach again!!   Nothing like spending 4 hours on a Saturday morning bent over the toilet "flipping my cookies,"- unable to leave!  I was really hoping the major brand (not a generic) would solve the problem.  But NO!  


I immediately stopped that drug and contacted the doctor.,   He prescribed another  pill to  go with it - another dosage of Carbidopa in addition to the Simet pill which is a combination of Levodopa and Carbidopoa.   He feels that it's  the Carbidopa portion that makes people sick to their stomach.  So, he prescribed another pill of Lodosyn (25 mg), which Levodopa only to take with the Sinemet pill.   

I dragged my feet on starting the drugs again for  fear I'd react the same or worse to the addition to the new drug.  Last night was the night to begin.   

Well, I got sick again this morning after the morning doses of pills - only this time I was not as sick as the first time.   I also found myself losing my balance more this morning so have to be very careful to use my cane and hold on to walls etc.  That has encouraged me to give it another try tonight.  We'll just have to stay home tomorrow morning and not go for breakfast.    I want to stay on this drug as it's my only recourse - if I can possibly tolerate it.  It's still in the trial stage!    

Stay tuned for the next  post to see what happens.  I Will be contacting the doctor on Monday, if he's in.  

Have a nice Thanksgiving all. We are invited to our daughter and son-in-law's home for dinner and I for sure want to go to  that - if I have to prolong taking the proper drugs until after the holidays - so be it!

Before I leave I want to bring to your attention the blog of another Twitter Kitty's human - @VincentRocket's mom.   I just discovered earlier in the week that Vincent's human has ET disease.  Essential Tremors is similar to Parkinson's so she experiences similar problems.  Both are often misdiagnosed. Today she posted a wonderful video that explains ET.  It's worth checking out to broaden your knowledge. http://vincentrocket.blogspot.com/2012/10/essential-tremor.html    You never know when one of these neuro diseases will strike you or one of your loved ones - it doesn't just strike old people either.

Until next time, have a wonder Thanksgiving.

Mary




Until next time, thanks so much for visiting.

Mary


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Udates - Kitty Jamie and Health

Tree in our neighbor's  yard, which has already shed most of it's leaves!


Dear Readers,

GREAT NEWS - on Kitty Jamie that is.   He left Greenville, S.C. by car with @Brian106sc as the first driver at 8:30 this morning.   So far they are on schedule and he's already past Jacksonville, Fla.   I'm guessing - half way to his new home.  All reports from the drivers indicate he's stolen their hearts and they all wanted to keep him.  I'm so happy Brian decided to rescue him & find him a home.    I'll never understand why someone dumped him!!  

I was a little worried yesterday morning with the hurricane so close to where Jamie was in S.C.  But fortunately, by this morning's departure time, Brian reported blue sky!  The drivers are awesome and all love cats.  So Jamie is in the best of hands while en route.   He's expected to arrive in Hollywood, Florida around midnight - plus or minus  an hour.   We wish him well in his new home and I know @MizzBassie will take very good care of him.

Several of you have left comments wondering if that shot worked that I had a couple of weeks ago!  It might have helped a tiny bit, but it did not help as much as I wanted it to.   I'm still taking pain pills.  So tomorrow it's back to Physical Therapy, and I also meet with the Physician's Assistant tomorrow morning for a briefing.  Meanwhile, the sacroiliac joints are getting very sore,and I'm overdue for that shot.   I'll have to check with the doctor tomorrow to see when I might get that.  I'm debating going back to the doctor in Appleton that has been giving them to me.   With him I know there is no need to be sedated.   Haven't decided what I'm going to do on that.  By the way, the the recent shot didn't hurt at all since I was sedated, and insurance and medicare should cover it.


Regarding the shot and the outbreak of meningitis:  I got the shot on a Friday - the same day they announced that those type of shots were causing problems and it was from one pharmacy located out East.  I was concerned, but not alarmed.  The next morning I did call the hospital just to let them know that I saw the article in the newspaper and questioned if what I received was from that pharmacy.   They assured me that it was NOT that pharmacy - they get their drugs from a different one.  When the news channels talked about the story, they showed the map of the US, and Wisconsin was not one of the affected states.  So I felt pretty confident that it was okay, but still wanted to check with the hospital to make sure they were on top of it too.  They were fortunately.   One just never knows tho so it's good to stay on top of things.


When I saw the Neurologist a couple of weeks ago, he changed my medication back to the Leva/dopa, carbo/dopa.   The medication arrived Friday, but I'm holding off on starting it until I've finished the pain meds for my tooth.  You'll remember I had trouble with the generic version of that drug, so I'm a little apprehensive about taking the new drug.   Part of me wants to test it, but the other part says be careful it doesn't knock you flat on your back again!   So stay tuned!  I'll probably start if later this week on a day where I don't have to go anywhere - just in case.

My thoughts and prayers these days are with all of our friends out East that are dodging the Hurricane - Sandy.   We hope everyone is safe and has shelter.  The poor animals that don't have food and shelter!  I don't even want to think about it.

Thanks for being faithful readers of my  blog.  It is appreciated.

Stay safe everyone.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

HEALTH UPDATE and We Need Your HELP!

Dear Readers,

As most of you know, I LOVE animals - cats, dogs, horses, goats - you name it.  No reptiles tho please - I run from those!   Well this little kitty lives in Greenville, S.C. and desperately needs a home FAST.     

Jamie was abandoned along the road,   The person that found him didn't feel they could keep him, so called shelters in the area.   All shelters were full, except the high-kill county shelter and a dog shelter.  The Dog shelter said they'd take Jamie on a temporary basis - but obviously this isn't  a good situation for Jamie.  They need to turn him over to the high-kill shelter.  YIKES!

Please go over and read @Brian106sc's post about this little guy., http://ow.ly/2syEcK. What is so heart breaking is that this little boy has such a super disposition, is very loveable, and loves laps. What a great cat he will be for someone. Mario is this type of cat, and he's the best cat we've ever had.

We need a permanent home FAST or a foster home until we have time to find him a permanent home.   If you know of anyone  in the southeastern part of the US that might take Jamie, please contact Brian at at


Brianfrum@gmail.com or

Jenna Gutierrez in care of - tomjeng@Charter.net - or - call Jenna at 864-801-3177.


Mini Health Update

As most of you know, I went to the doctor last Thursday to get a shot in the lower spine area to help with the pain in my very arthritic spine.  I'm happy to report that the shot has helped some.  At least my back is tolerable now instead of being painful.  I was "chicken" tho and opted for getting "happy juice" so I wouldn't remember anything or feel any pain.  It's the way to go, although I think I might have been okay with out the shot.   

I'll do a better up date early next week - I promise!   I want to keep rolling on trying to resolve the issue about Jamie.   His situation really weighs on my mind because he's such a sweetie.

Until next time.   

Mary


Friday, September 28, 2012

Finally!!


Dear Friends,

Some good news for a change (I think!)   Yes, I'm headed for the big needle with the hopes of getting relief for my back.   That will happen next Thursday.    I met with a new spine doctor (Pain Management doctor actually) this morning and she confirmed that my back is a mess.   
She is the first doctor to tell me that in the past 18 years.   (Yes, I've been complaining about my back at least that long.)

Most doctors usually tell me "well it's not that bad to be causing you that much grief".   Well, maybe it's not that bad compared to some, but I'm very sensitive to pain.   We'll try an epidural and see if that helps.   I've been getting shots in the sacroiliac joints for at least 4 years now (or longer), which really helps my butt cheek and leg,, but it never did much for  the back.  The doctor in Appleton kept saying all my problems were related to the sacroiliac joint when I felt all along that it was back related.   Sure enough, the MRI shows that L1 in the spine is bad - no wonder I've been complaining for so many years.  (It's all  arthritis related.)   I  will be one very happy person if this works.  ha ha - If it doesn't work, I'll eat humble pie and you'll hear me complaining again!!

The doctor also approved a back brace for me to try, and she's authorized PT starting next week.   My friends have had the back brace, so I know it will be uncomfortable sometimes, but maybe give me some relief overall.  We'll see.  I'm willing to try it and she recommended trying it as a possibility.   At least she's willing to try whatever is necessary to give me relief.  

She did mention the possibility of stronger medication, but then said she felt it might be too much for me since I'm taking Parkinson's meds that already make me tied.   I might turn into a zombie if I take anymore drugs.  We don't need that as there are already days that I feel really out of it.

Our  days presently are wonderful weatherwise.   Bright sunshine, temps hovering in the high 60's - just perfect for fall.   Don took Mario outside this afternoon, and he was one happy cat. These types of days are numbered - in another week it's going to turn very cold.  It's my kind of weather for sure.

Will close for today.  Just wanted to share some good news for a change instead of always griping.   By the way, Harrison and his dad are still doing the yard for us.   His grandmother/mother just had serious back surgery - they put 2 steel rods down each side of her spine - from the tail bone up to the shoulder.   Her husband called Wednesday night after surgery and said all went well.   I'm hoping that is still the case, but he hasn't corresponded since Wednesday night.  She needs some prayers, if you can, because she has really suffered with her back longer and more than I have.   This is her 3rd surgery on her back.  It makes me shudder to think about what she has gone through and will go through before she's healed.

Thanks for reading my blog and taking this walk with me.    I'll get back on track with PD related things soon but presently I'm status quo on that subject,

Mary

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What A Night Aain!


Mary  & Don in Cannes, France
2008 on Italy Cruise Trip

Dear Friends,

Before I give you the latest update, I wanted to apologize to my faithful readers as I know some of you and some of Mario's faithful followers on Twitter have been worried about us not being around much.   I have  been giving most of my energy the past 2-3 weeks on advertising the #nipclub Monthly's latest DinoPawty on Twitter.   Because of a bad back, I can only sit at the computer for short periods of time or i really pay for it.  I especially feel bad that we haven't been around reading your wonderful blogs because we really do enjoy reading them.   I hope to rectify this in the coming weeks.   

If you read my last post a couple of weeks ago, you'll remember I had to play detective again with my meds.   I definitely know it was the Amantadine that was/is upsetting me stomach,.   I have been limping along with taking 1/2 the dose every day instead of the full 2 pills twice a day.   It's much better, but I'm still a little woozy.    I'm especially tired and woozy tonight because last night was a very "short night" at our house.  The sad part of this change in meds means that I do shake a little more than I should be when the Amantadine dose wears off.  I'll see the Neuro in October, so we'll see what he has to say about the situation.  Meanwhile I put myself back on the first blood pressure change of medication that my family doctor originally prescribed as that med is not the one making me dizzy and sick to my stomach.  I told my family doctor what I had done when I saw him Friday.  He said he was proud of me for taking  matters into my own hands and solving the problem.  Well, in my way of thinking, it was the logically thing to do.  Even the Neuro doctor said to stop the med if it was giving me trouble!

About 2:30 in the morning last night I awoke to someone yelling "Please let me in!"  This scared the daylights  out of me as we did have two of the bedroom windows open due to having such beautiful, cool weather the past few days.   I quickly looked out the bedroom window I was in to see if anyone was around.  No one in sight.   Then I thought of calling the police to have them check our house outside and inside with me!  But that meant getting dressed. UGH!  Okay - put on your "brave hat" and check the house yourself.  

After walking thru the upstairs (main floor) and finding the doors locked, I decided the basement should be checked just to be on the safe side even tho there is no access to the outside from the basement other than little skinny basement windows that would have to be broken to enter.   Now I was too chicken to go down there myself, so I woke Don up.   I convinced him to go to the basement for me.  he he - neither one of us would be capable of fighting off an intruder of any size if we were to ever find one!

Obviously Don did not find anyone in the basement either.   We are now thinking that Don must have been dreaming and shouted out loud what he was dreaming.   He has been known to talk in his sleep.  I'm comfortable with that theory - especially after turning on all  lights in the house and finding the doors still locked.  Meanwhile Mario was sitting under the kitchen table watching his two insane humans running around the house checking it out in the middle of the night.  That was one time I wished we would have had a dog to alert us with some woofing had the situation been real!   Mario was just sitting under the table calmly taking his Friday night bath!  What a guard cat we have!

I have also been having a few computer issues, which our wonderful son-in-law fixed tonight.  He spent about 2 hours with me on the phone while he worked remotely on my computer from his home.   What a life saver that special tool is that allows him to do things remotely on my computer.  It saves him at least an hour because of not having to drive to and from his home.


I think I have mentioned several times that it takes me so much longer now to accomplish anything - either mentally or physically.   There were some days in the past two weeks (while programming tweets in Tweet Deck to go off automatically for me) where my mind just went blank and I couldn't think of how to change the sentence around to make it different from others so TD and Twitter would accept it.  Is that a sign of just getting older or is it part of the PD. Who knows!

Well, it's  off to bed for me tonight.  I'm hoping for a good night of sleep with NO interruptions!  I'll try to get around to reading blogs this next week.  Thanks for being so understanding.

Mary


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

BINGO - Here We Go Again!

Dear Friends,

I have to apologize for not being around for awhile, but it's  been a couple of busy weeks on Twitter, and Mario keeps me pretty busy over there.

What happens to you when you look at the picture of the spiral?  It makes me dizzy (ya, I know, I'm dizzy most of the time - or is that ditzy!  he he).  Anyway, I'm curious to know how it makes you feel when you look at it. so please let me know.  Why, well, I've been feeling quite dizzy (light headed) for close to 3+ weeks now and to the point where i now walk around with a cane at home most of the time as I'm never sure if I'll topple over or not..

My primary doctor switched my blood pressure meds to a new one because the old one wasn't doing the job any longer.   He put me on a lower dosage of a very common, widly-used brand.  

I started it and within three days I was feeling dizzy.  Well, it has to be from the  new meds - right?   My primary doctor then changed the med to a different brand and told me to wait 3 days before taking it so the other medicine was out of my system.    It was after 3 days - no more dizzy!

I followed his instructions for a second time and the same thing happened.   This time when I called he said he'd try a new brand again, but if the same thing happened, I should come in to see him.   

I visited that doctor last week and after checking my blood pressure himself, he looked at me and said "I don't think this is blood pressure pill related - I think it's PD related and maybe we'd better get your neurologist involved.

In the meantime I was to stop all of the new BP medications, stick with my old one that wasn't very effective any longer, and check with my neurologist.  And my primary doctor said to make an appointment in a month with him again.   I now have a call in to my Neurologist.  I happened to think that I started a new medication from him about the time I started the new blood pressure meds.  Upon checking the fact sheet that comes with my drugs - BINGO!!   The second side-effect listed is "May cause dizziness."   

I do believe the medication gods are mad at me!!  It seems like any medication the neurologist suggests, I end up with side effects!  One of these days I suspect he'll drop me as a patient!  (Not sure if that would be good or bad!) - just muttering here or as Mario would say -  MOL)

I haven't heard back from him after leaving a message yesterday.   I checked my PD handbook and dizziness is a symptom that falls within the PD disease, so maybe it's just natural progression too.   Unfortunately, the doc doesn't have any openings until the middle of October, unless after reading my message from yesterday he decides to find an opening to see me.

It's going to be an interesting and challenging several weeks until I can get in to see the Neurologist again.   As a Twitter friend told me one day - "Getting old ain't for the faint of heart."  She is so right!  Stay tuned.

For now.......

Mary

Update at 11:30 this morning.  The neurologist's office returned my call and will check with  doctor.  So they are working on it. In the meantime, I'm not as dizzy as I was early this morning or yesterday.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More...."This N That"

Beautiful Westeria Flowers
 at Dioditians Palace, Split Croatia
Taken on our cruise to Italy 2009

Dear Friends,

The most amazing thing happened yesterday and today - we had RAIN!!! We haven't had any rain since May, and the ground is so parched that you wonder if shrubs, trees, and plants will ever bounce back. We didn't get much - possibly 1/2 to 1 inch or so, but it was such a blessing to see. i felt like being a kid again and run outside, do a dance around a tree, and back in the house again. Of course, there is something wrong with this visual picture, because I can't run anymore! But it was fun to think about it. For all of June we would watch rain come close on radar, but then dry up before it ever reached us. The rain gods must have been watching over us today. he he


This was another week with another doctor's appointment - family doctor this time.  I do wish all doctor's would be as easy to talk to as this one.   He always listens to what you have to say.  If you have any suggestions, he'll listen.  Might not always agree with you, but he does listen.  And, he agreed that I could take more pain pills than what I've been taking.  I can take 2 Tramadol 3 times a day along with 2 Tylenol 3 times a day.  That is helping as I didn't hurt as much this past week. 

I'm not a candidate for back surgery nor do I want to go through back surgery.


Don has an appointment with the neurologist this week.   He's doing okay.  I think he has remained about the same and has not slipped any in the past year.  He's another year older and I can see where he has slowed down some.

I sure do hope the extreme heat and humidity go away for the remainder of this week. Green Bay never did see 100, but 99 is close enough for me! Parts of Wisconsin did see 100 tho and happened only about 45 miles away from us.  Too close for comfort!  It was miserable, and I'm tired of being cooped up in the house in the summer. I shouldn't complain because we are fortunate enough to have central air and many people don't have any air conditioning period. Even Mario was begging to go outside.  We don't let him out when it's this hot either so he had to dream about getting outside.!




Hope you all are having a good week.   Stay healthy and keep cool.   In 6 months we'll be complaining that there's too much snow and it's too cold.  The saying in Wisconsin is "If you don't like the weather, come back in a couple of hours - it will change!"!

Until next time,

Mary







Saturday, July 7, 2012

It Pays To Write A Letter!


Dear Readers,

How about my picture form Alaska 2+  years ago!  Does that help cool you off?  It's going to only be 84 today in Green Bay, WI - we may have to get out the winter parkas!  ha ha  The high temps of 99 and humidity of last 2 weeks nearly did me in.   It was a major effort to go out to feed the birds and change the water in the bird bath.  The older I get, the less I can cope with extreme heat and humidity. 

I saw the Neurologist last week.  And this was one visit with him that went very well.  He was just as nice as he could be, and I was feeling extra sharp, so I was able to answer all of his questions quickly.  


If you remember my last visit with him didn't go very well - generic drugs were ordered instead of the brand name Mirapex - I felt like I was given the 3rd degree because I couldn't take some of the drugs he prescribed even tho I had called his office, discussed it with his nurse, and she said he said to stop those same drugs -- and he clearly was in a bad mood.  I then sat down and wrote a two page letter explaining why I was unhappy and documented as much of the information as I could.   I also  asked him if he'd prefer to refer me to another doctor.   My letter was very nice, but I did remind him that I can't help it that I can't handle the preferred drug for Parkinson's unless he wants me to spend  all my time in bed and risk falling every time I got up. I also sent him the link to the Arthritis Foundation's website that had an article on generics are not always the same as the brand named drug - so I'm not crazy when I say I can't take "some" generics!.


At the end of my visit, when he was writing the new prescription for the coming year, I politely and gently reminded him that I had to have the brand name of Mirapex and not the generic version.   His comment was "I got that message, and I won't forget it!"  So he apparently remembered my letter.  I suspect he doesn't have many patients that write him a letter.   Most people my age wouldn't do that as we were taught that the doctor was always right and you just don't question them.


So, it pays to write your doctor a letter if you are thoroughly unhappy with your course of treatment or how you are being treated.    It has taken me 73 years to figure this out.  This particular neurologist has an excellent reputation for being a good one, so I really don't want to switch, but will if things continue the way they were.


Next week I see my regular family doctor, and it's a good thing because the pain pills aren't strong enough.  I'm hoping he will say I can take them every 4 hours when needed instead of 6 hours.   Summer's are always rough on me. I'm not sure why.  It might be the highs and the lows of the pressure or the change in weather.  Whatever it is, my body hurts most of the time.  It's probably the Fibromyalgia rearing it's ugly head again.   It doesn't help that we've had such extremely high humidity either, which is bad for the arthritis.


Now on a lighter note, we had the pleasure of having a visit by a good Twitter friend (MaggieTKat and ParkerTKat's mom and dad).   It is the first time we've actually met in person.   Such lovely, fun people, and both Don and I felt like we've known them all our lives.    Mario loved having them here too as he got lots of hugs, kisses and attention.  They are from MO, were visiting in the Twin Cities of MN, and were kind enough to swing over our way on their way back home (going a day out of their way to visit).   


Wanda is a quilter, who does beautiful work and makes quilts for various animal shelter fund raisers.   She just finished a gorgeous one and has donated it to help raise funds for @BabyPatches and her @nipandbones pet supply store.   Please go over and take a look at it - it's gorgeous.   If you have a spare dollar or two and wish to contribute to the fund to help save @nipandbones, and help pay @BabyPatches' mom's medical bills, it will be greatly appreciated.   @CathyKeisha is holding this auction on her blog site and it will run most of this coming week - I believe.  To see the quilt go to: http://www.stunningkeisha.com/.  If you need any pet supplies, check out the site for http://www.nipandbones.com/.  They are an excellent company to deal with and have wonderful, timely customer service if you need help with anything.


Sorry this post is so long.


Until next time - stay cool!


Mary



Sunday, June 3, 2012

It was the Jelly Beans!

Photo from Wikipedia.com
Dear Readers,

It's a purrfect (as Mario would say) day in Wisconsin - light breeze, temperature predicted to be 75 today, and humidity is low.  It doesn't get any better than this friends.  I know, I know, I know - many of my readers live in warm climates and this would feel like winter to them, but I'm loving it.

There is good news to report today.   A week or so ago I had a follow-up appointment with the psychologist to see if I was declining in mental ability or had improved.   For a change I remembered to ask him to send me a copy of his report to my neurologist and one for my records too.  

I do have to say I was in TOP FORM that day - felt good physically and mentally sharp.   Got to the psychologists office, met with his assistant (who is the one to do the testing) and promptly said to her "I don't know what's going on here, but I really feel mentally with it today."   And I did too,   

She started administering the Weschler Intelligence Scale - Adult version to me (those sections that I had done so very poorly on the very first time she tested me and also had trouble with the second time she tested me). 

The end result is that I've improved in some areas of mental functioning ("notable gains in memory, (both for verbal and visual information) Language was clear, Verbal Reasoning was Solid,, but viseospatial functioning looked slightly improved. in certain dimensions.     He did tell my neurologist that due to my family history, they should still keep an eye on my overall cognitive functioning especially with the Parkinson's.   

Now I still have some long-term memory issues and some short-term issues also. But I guess I'm at what I'd refer to as the normal (for my age) range and I can't ask for more than that.   How long it will last, no one knows, but I'll take it when I can get it.  I just feel like I've gained back the ground that I've lost over the past 9 months.   And, there was decline over those months.   Might have been drugs - who knows,

I have to tell you that I feel like a little kid who finally got an A in one of his classes after flunking last semester!!   I do feel more mentally alert these days and generally more "with it."   I really think it was the Jelly Beans I ate before reaching his office.  (shh, don't tell anyone that - he he).   I hardly ever eat Jelly beans because they are all sugar.  But the day before I picked up a bag of Jelly Belly's when I spied them at the store.,   I was running late the morning of the testing, so didn't eat a proper lunch - grabbed a hand  full of Jelly Beans and ran out the door.   I'm sure IT'S THE JELLY BEANS!   haha!

I researched on the Internet some picture samples of some of the tests.  This is not giving away any secrets nor is there anyway to practice because you  don't have the answers.  Just thought you might find this interesting.   This is just a tiny sampling of SOME of the things on the test and these same samples did not appear on the test I took - just similar things.   

Tester presented pictures of puzzle, and I was told to copy with the actual tiles.  This is a timed test, starting easy, and ending hard if, it is something that doesn't come easy for you.


Fill in the blank space.   I didn't have to do this one, but had something similar.   I could not have done this one and would have left it undone.  I just simply don't get it.
















Now on this one on the left, I think I  know the answer, but I'm not sure.  i'm guessing it's #5, but I don't know if I'm right or not.


In addition to visual puzzles, she read a list of about 40 words and I had to repeat as many as I could.   That was hard even tho she read them slowly and did it twice.


Then there was a language test where she about  read about 20  words in pairs and wanted to know how they were related or alike.   This was very hard because in some cases i didn't think they were related - opposites instead.






In another test she read a story with math problems that I had to do in my head -no paper allowed.   Now if you happen to like math and are good with it, this test would have been easy peasy.  But.....  I hated math.  I do remember the times table and can certainly add, subtract and divide.   I can't solve those problems in my head tho when they are presented in story form and you have to add, subtract, and multiply in your head while retaining the information.  it's too much for this old brain.   


All in all, I was happy with the results.  I still say I did well because of the magical jelly beans.  You know - if you were not a genius in school, you aren't going to  be a genius as an old lady!  he he  



Until next time......




Mary


All pictures copied from Internet Explorer's "Images" file and labeled to be  from the Weschler Intelligence Scale   -  Adult.  I have no idea exactly what year.





Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Art work by Ann  at Zoolatry

Dear Readers,


I'm deviating a little this week by doing a post as a tribute to my own mother, who left this world for a better place in 1995 at the age of 78 after suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease for only about 4 years.  In my eyes, she was a great lady - a hero.   No, you would not have ever heard her name unless our families knew each other - she wasn't famous.   But she was a very strong, courageous lady - ahead of her era.   And I truly admire her for her strength and miss her so much even tho she's been gone for so many years.


Martha (Mom) was second oldest of 10 children and had to drop out of school in the 8th grade to help on the farm, which was typical of her generation.   Her teacher talked to Grandpa and tried to convince him that Martha was very smart and should stay in school.  But in grandpa's eyes, only boys needed to graduate from High School - a woman's place was in the home taking care of the kids.   How times have changed - thank God!   Her life was a hard one, yet she never complained.   


She married my biological father about a year before I came along.   I think she married him to escape an alcoholic, abusive father at home. Unknowingly, my father was also an alcoholic.   She divorced him when I was about 3 because she wanted something better for me than how she grew up  - in an alcoholic, abusive household.    The final straw came for her when one night my biological father was sitting in the tavern drinking, as he often did, when I was at home with an extremely high temperature and had pneumonia.  Mother told me i nearly died that night, but a neighbor came over and took she and I to the hospital so I could be treated.   To get me out of that environment, she packed me up and we moved  with one of her married sisters until she could find a job.   She spent a few years being a live-in housekeeper so we would have a place to live too.   


Keep in mind that she hadn't even graduated from high school.  Also keep in mind this was  in the 1930's and 40's.   Women just didn't get divorced in those days - you were supposed to stand by your man! But she wanted more for me than alcoholism and physical/mental abuse.  A divorced person was looked down upon back in those days - yes, truly they were.   In fact, many times you were shunned.  Some people would not let their children play with your children for fear of what you might do to their children!   After all, you were DIVORCED!


She eventually met and married my stepfather when I was in 3rd grade.  He was a very nice man and really the one I look to and referred to as my dad. he he - I remember being very sad when my mother got married again because it had just been she and I for all my life (that I could remember).  Now this strange man was going to come between us.  But that strange man was wonderful to me and treated me like a daughter.


I know her story is not all that unusual of that generation (except for being divorced - which just was not ever done back then) but I wanted to share why I loved and respected my mother so much.   She was one strong, gutsy lady to strike out on her own with no job and no education and a small baby to boot!


I think sometimes we forget about all the sacrifices our parents have made or are making in our behalf.  I certainly never thought about all this when she was alive, so I never thanked her for it.  And I wished I had.  So this mother dear, is a tribute to you for all you have sacrificed for me.  Mother, you were the best and I love you for all you did for me.


Happy Mother's Day to to all you dear readers too.  If you are a mother to either a human or furbaby, you are appreciated even if we don't tell you often enough. 


Mary   

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Making A Fashion Statement - NOT

Dear Readers,


Dream Shoe


When you have Parkinson's Disease, there is a good chance that you will have balance problems - unfortunately it goes with the disease.  Thus, you need to have a good foundation so you can maintain your balance while walking.   Your days of wearing a beautiful, stylish shoe such as this one above are pretty much over.   In reality, you will be in the following - or something similar - especially when outside.
They don't exactly make a fashion statement, but will keep you standing versus falling flat on your face.   


I can get dizzy just walking outside to the patio to put bird seed in one of the feeders.   Yesterday  I found myself getting woozy as I looked up  to find the hook the feeder was hanging on and started to lose my balance.  Fortunately, I was able to stabilize myself and not fall.   Had I been in high heels, I would not have caught myself.   This happens in spite of my efforts to practice balancing on each foot several times a day.   All it takes is for the head and eyes to move too rapidly up or down and over you go - head over teakettle! 


Oh there are tons of flat shoes and sandals that I could wear if I didn't have back problems and foot problems.   That's a separate issue from the Parkinson's issue.   You just have to make sure you have a good firm foundation on which to stand if you have Parkinson's.   


Well, my wonderful yard crew (Harrison and dad) are here taking care of the yard, and I have to pay them for a job well done again.   So, will close for this time. 


Would you believe I managed to prepare this entire blog with the new blogger interface without screwing anything up?   As is the usual case with "new and improved" items, it's more complicated than ever to use now, in my opinion - but then, I don't always like changes,   


Mary

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Journey From D to D - - Not a Subject For The Dinner Table



Dear Readers, 

How did this ever happen!    How does one go from diapers to Depends in 73 years?   (snicker)   How can this be when in my head I'm only 53!

When I started this blog on September 11, 2011 it was with the intentions of being a helpful tool for someone else who is newly diagnosed with Parkinson's and struggling with all the changes your body goes thru - or perhaps in helping to broaden your knowledge base to better understand what your parent might be going thru.   It's my perspective of things and what I have picked up from reading various reputable articles.   Here we are - 7 months later and I'm already talking about (gasp) Depends!

When you have Parkinson's your muscles weaken.   Your bladder is one large muscle.  Did you know that?   I didn't..   Now if you have Parkinson's, it doesn't automatically mean you will end up using Depends, but the chances of it happening are very good.   Muscles tend to weaken as we age anyway, then add Parkinson's to the equation and like magic your bladder muscles weaken too.   What did we ever do before these wonderful products were available?

I am a big water drinker.  If I didn't drink so much water, I'd probably not be buying Depends.  Bbut I love water and you need to drink a lot for urinary tract health and general health.   The biggest problem happens at night.  When you have Parkinson's and Arthritis in the spine, your movements are slower.  Thus getting up out of bed in a hurry for a bathroom trip in the middle of the night just isn't always possible.   It is so nice to have the Depends to depend on for those occasiona l leakages that happen.  (I'm not being paid by Depends - in fact, I buy any brand that's available and is on sale!   They are  nearly all the same.)

While I'm on the subject, Urinary Track Infections are on the rise with the aging population. Dr. Duncan Jefferson blog post on "Sniffing out Urinary Tracts Infections -UTIs" is a very interesting article.  Everyone is susceptible to UTIs - not just the elderly or young children.      You'll remember I've mentioned Dr. Jefferson's blog in the past as being an excellent resource as he writes about all kinds of medical issues in easy-to-understand language. You might nose around in his blog sometime - it's full of helpful information and certainly this post is very interesting.

Until next time,

Mary





Saturday, April 7, 2012

What A Day!

Dear Readers,


What a day this has been.   Thankfully, everything is fine now, but it  was an interesting morning and one we don't care to repeat.    I had an entirely different post in my head for an Easter post, but that went by way of the trash bin.


Don woke me up at 6:00, out of a deep sleep, by shaking me.   "Get up - I fell and am bleeding all over the place."    Not the best wake-up call.  Having Mario give me kitty kisses or stare in my eyes only an inch from my face is much more pleasant he he.


Don's description was a little dramatic - he was dripping blood on the carpeting but it wasn't all over the place - just a trail going from the bed into the bathroom.   I'm sure he was still stunned that he fell out of bed (yes  -  fell out of bed") and apparently hit his nose on a table nearby and landed on his face.   His face and nose have a beautiful, bright red, rug burn on them,  his pride is wounded, but otherwise, he's okay.   He is lucky he didn't break something!   


It seems he was dreaming he had fallen out of bed and banged his head.  Well, in reality, his dream wasn't a dream - it was real.  


Since he is on asprin every day as a blood thinner (after having had open heart surgery about  12 years ago), I  was worried about either a concussion or internal bleeding in his head, so I suggested we get dressed right away and drive to the emergency room.   


Four hours, one cat scan of his head, blood work, and an EKG, later -  he was pronounced okay.   


Being a Saturday morning, the ER didn't seem unusually busy, but they had to wait for all test results to come  back, wait for a doctor to read them, wait for the discharge nurse, wait for, wait for, wait for.........   They sure did give him a good going over tho.


We finally got home at 1:00 after stopping off at the drug store for a prescription - very thankful that things were not as bad as they could have been.   I promptly called the man who steam cleans our carpeting, and he came right out (was I lucky or what?)  He performed his magic (he he - his business is called Magic Carpet Cleaning and he did a fantastic job.  There is no sign of an emergency situation in this house.


So, on a happier note  - Happy Easter or PassOver or Happy Day blessings to all of you.   


Until next time - 


Mary



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Feet - Human Paws

Bad picture of our Magnolia Tree this spring.

Dear Readers,

Todays post has nothing to do with Parkinson's Disease, but it is something you may very well be faced with in your lifetime - (Gasp!) Toe Fungus!   (Okay, you can stop reading here if you have any objections to this non-dinner conversation topic and come back again when I'm on a more pleasant subject.  he he )

I have had Toe Fungus for probably 20 years on one or more toes and avoided wearing sandals most of my adult life because of it.   At one time the doctor tried a dosage of Spornox on me to treat this problem, but I then broke out in a severe case of hives.   I stopped that drug immediately and just decided to live with the problem. Oh, I did mention my toes to my family doctor on occasion, and his comment was "Oh feet!"   It was very obvious he didn't want anything to do with the subject either.

Fast forward a few years and add arthritis to the toes and spine, in addition to the Fungus.   I recently had to go in search off a Podiatrist to treat the fungus problem and find one who could  cut back an ingrown toenail or a toenail that I felt was going to become ingrown.   That's when I found out that most of the podiatrists today don't want to see a patient for toenail trimming - or fungus nails.   Interesting!!   Why?   I don't know!

I finally found a Podiatrist that would treat my ingrown nail only (according to the receptionist).  (He would not trim the nails with the fungus.)   I grabbed the appointment while I could get one and went off to see that doctor yesterday.

Fortunately, he did decide to trim my horrendous nails that Don and I have trouble trimming because they are so thick.  I did not ask him to - he did it on his own,   He was hesitant to prescribe Lamisil (a medication to treat toenail fungus) because it can damage the kidneys and I'm already on lots of strong medication.   So we talked about removing the toenail covering the big toe.   I'm going to have that done - only will wait until early May so it's warmer outside and maybe I can wear open toed sandals while the toe heals.

I was really shocked when I heard doctor after doctor say that they don't do toenail trimming.   i'm fortunate that Don and I have each other, but what about those people who have no one to help them?   When you have Arthritis and get to be this age, it isn't always easy to trim your own toenails.   

Why is it that podiatrist after podiatrist office told me they were not taking any new patients for toenail trimming?   I know Medicare doesn't pay for that, and that's understandable.  But if a patient isn't capable of doing their own and is willing to pay to have it done, what is a person to do?  Yes, I could have gone to some salon for a pedicure, but I didn't want that.  I wanted to make sure the person doing the trimming knew how to work with toes that had a fungus and could maybe offer a solution to the ongoing problem.   I wanted a foot doctor!  Is that unreasonable?  

In the grand scheme of life, this is a minor problem, but it's very annoying.   

Does anyone else have that problem and have you also found it difficult to get in to see a Podiatrist for nail trimming?  

Mary

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Other Kind Of Dragon


Dear readers,


I think I mentioned in my last post that the program Dragon Naturally Speaking had arrived at our doorstep late last week.  I have spent 3 days playing with it, and i can honestly say I LOVE IT!   


In my opinion, it's a hard program to learn when you are old and technologically challenged.  But, it's getting easier each day.  Ha ha - those first 3 days were filled with my calling the Customer Service number probably at least 20 times, usually needing help with the blue tooth gizmo.   This is my first experience with a Blue Tooth - ya ya - I know we're behind the times here.  he he  - but at least I knew what a blue tooth was.  ha ha  


I have to say the customer service was wonderful, patient, and walked me through things step by step.   I do much better with learning via hands-on rather than reading.  


I'm especially happy that it will work on Twitter, which was my main reason for getting it - to keep in touch with the many friends I've met there and in the blog world.   


ha ha - I did learn the hard way tho that one has to be careful when one carries on a conversation within your own household while wearing the blue tooth.  Don and I had a conversation yesterday and Dragon transcribed the entire conversation and typed it on Twitter.   Fortunately, it was way way too long to send out, but I sure did have a lot of back spacing to do to erase all of it.


Probably the biggest challenge is to memorize all the commands one can use.   Presently, I use a combination of dictating to Dragon, but I then correct Dragon's mistakes or mistakes I've made.   Dragon and I are both trying to get used to each other.  ha ha - someone asked if I was going to call him Puff.  Actually, I think that's a good idea.   Once Puff and I get used to each other, life will be easier.


It's funny because in all my working years I used to do transcription of School Psychological Reports, and School Social Worker Reports.  All of a sudden I have to learn to dictate - which isn't easy.   You really need to pre-plan a little as to what you want to say before you start the paragraph.   Puff likes to be told punctuation, which you have to remember to toss in as you are dictating.   It will get easier as time goes on and I become more familiar with the program.  The other strange thing for me is writing something without typing it.  My brain has always automatically communicated with my fingers.   I never really gave much thought to what I was writing - it just seemed to flow out my fingers.   Now I have to think ahead.   I suspect this will become easier with use also.  


I'm sure a younger person could breeze through this without half the struggles I go through.   But, I'll get there - it just may take me longer.   Oh yes, the other downside is that it doesn't know cat talk.  So Mario has to tell me what he wants to say and then I have to tell Puff in human talk.   I could take the time to teach Puff some of Mario's special words, but that will take time also.


The entire program is rather amazing actually.   Now i wonder if Dragon can balance the checkbook for me and clean the refrigerator.


Mary