I’m alive!

Posted April 20, 2019 By Ruth

Really!  Just very brain dead.

The co-worker who had medical issues is back to work, however he shouldn’t be.  I’m not entirely sure if he didn’t explain his job very well to the doctor, if the doctor didn’t believe him, or if the doctor is an idiot.  To be fair, I’ve found that when you tell your doctor that you work at “big box store with orange aprons” they hear “I’m a cashier” no matter what you say afterwards.  I now tell my doctors that I work in a warehouse.  It’s a much more accurate description of what my job entails when it comes to physical demands.  So yah.  At any rate, I’m still working his job, hopefully only for another week, but I’m not holding my breath.  I’ve now found that the management’s apathy in regards to the folks on the sales floor is totally beaten out by their apathy towards the folks working in the receiving department.

At home I’ve been experimenting with sourdough bread again.

As much as I like a good homemade sourdough I’ve struggled with it in the past.  Struggled to keep it alive, struggled to use it, gotten frustrated by the discard-feed cycle.

This time around I armed myself with King Arthur Flour’s list of recipes for discarded sourdough.  Reminded myself that even if I didn’t want to do a true sourdough bread I could always add a scoop or so to my regular bread recipe.  And made a very interesting discovery about keeping it alive.  Every sourdough recipe out there says that once you get past the initial buildup you can use white flour to feed your sourdough.  And this is technically correct, you can.  However, feeding your sourdough starter with whole wheat results in the happiest sourdough starter EVER.  Wow.  So my sourdough starter is whole wheat.  It was an accident, I ran out of white flour and somehow forgot to buy more at the store, so shrugged and fed it with whole wheat, and wow!

isn’t that pretty?  That is a true sourdough bread, no added commercial yeast.  Specifically its KA’s No Knead Sourdough.  This particular loaf will be going with me to the family Easter party tomorrow.  Yum.

On the subject of spring: FB reminded me that on this date last year I got snow, so I’m delighted by the green grass I’ve got today.  In addition the Bluebirds are definitely nesting, though as of yesterday afternoon there were no eggs yet.  And I’m back to trapping House Sparrows.

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I have good news, and bad news

Posted April 5, 2019 By Ruth

Good news: Yesterday I spotted several Osprey and a huge flock of Tree Swallows, which means that the birds, at least, think spring is here, regardless of what Mother Nature might say

Bad news:  Mother Nature is still confused.  This is my front yard right now:

 

Good news: the coworker who was out for emergency medical is planning on returning to work next week!

Bad news: with my usual impeccable timing I have managed to come down with my spring sinus crud just exactly at the same time as when there’s zero extra coverage to cover my absence.  I spent several hours yesterday bundled up in ALL THE LAYERS shivering with a fever before the meds kicked in enough that I could cut back.  The only good part of this is that I found another doctor at my regular doctors office who believes in KILL IT WITH FIRE, and I feel noticeably better today.  Hopefully I’ll be able to go back to work tomorrow.

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Saturday was lovely warm.  Overcast and drippy with rain, but easily mid-60’s (F).  It was SO NICE.

Today?

*sigh*

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Odds and ends

Posted March 27, 2019 By Ruth

My work has gotten a bit complicated.  A full time coworker had to go out for a medical emergency and will be out for a span of months, how long exactly to be determined.  He has, so far, avoided major abdominal surgery, but only barely, and apparently the doctors haven’t ruled it out completely.  In the mean time he’s in the hospital on massive doses of antibiotics and IV nutrients and not allowed to take much of anything by mouth.  Why does this affect me?  Well, it turns out that I’m one of 3 people in the store (who’re not already working in that department) who have a clue as to how to do his job.  The other two people are department heads in other departments, which means that there’s limits to how much they can be pulled out of their departments long term.  Not that I can be yanked out of my department with no warning either, next week is Spring Black Friday (yay) which is the “traditional” start of our crazy season, so I still have to cover most of the hours I was originally scheduled for.  But every hour they can sneak me out of the Garden Dept, and every hour they can add onto the schedule, I’m now working in Receiving too.  In about two weeks the schedule should catch up with the new employee status and I’ll be in Receiving full time through the end of April at least, and likely for the summer.  And while I normally consider myself to be pretty flexible about switching tasks on no notice, for some reason my brain is not handling the switching back and forth this time, and I’m coming home at the end of each day very mentally fried.  Posting may be extra light for a while.

I got most of the seedlings out to the greenhouse on Sunday, now to I have to find energy to start the tomatoes.  I splurged on a temperature controller for the greenhouse this year.  $50, you set the “ideal” temp, and then you set how low it should allow the area to get before turning on the heater (Christmas lights in my case), and how high it should let it get before turning on the cooler (which will be computer case fans wired to blow out the vents as soon as I can get them ordered).  I’m very glad now that I did this, as my new hours make it harder to monitor the greenhouse temp properly.

I’m in the process of switching CPAP suppliers (from here on out referred to as DME), as the one I was originally assigned is struggling with the concept of sending out replacement parts and filters on schedule.  The pulmonary doc was NOT amused.  On my model of machine I’m supposed to change a filter every 30 days, and we’re now over 2 weeks past that and they’re still giving me a run around about getting me the filter in question.  Which is dumb as hell because I can go buy a 6 pack on Amazon for $10.  They’re trying to blame it on my insurance not getting back to them, but when I called my insurance (to see if I could speed things up), my insurance said that they don’t require or expect DMEs to request clearance to issue said parts, and the pulmonary doc agreed that the insurance shouldn’t be involved at this point, clearance was given when the cpap machine was issued, they should just be sending me a filter.  I may be buying a pack from Amazon anyway, just to have the spares, but really, the whole point of this process was so that I shouldn’t have to.  Plus replacement mask parts are more expensive.

I ran out to run a quick errand last night, just after sunset, and of course didn’t bring my camera with me.  I mean, it was way to late for hawks or really any of the birds I’m likely to want to photograph, even if there was enough light to do so.  So what do I see?  A big white owl perched on a telephone pole, lit up and glowing in the last trailing rays of sunlight.  There had been reports of a Snowy Owl in the immediate area earlier in the month, but its been at least two weeks since the last sighting.  *sigh*

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Red Manzano Pepper plant

Posted March 24, 2019 By Ruth

Pictures of one of the new variety of peppers I’m growing this year.  Very different looking from the more common pepper varieties!

And my current crop of seedlings

Most of which will be going out to the greenhouse today.  Then I’ll be starting tomatoes.

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Bluebirds! And snow, of course

Posted March 18, 2019 By Ruth

I don’t really consider seeing Bluebirds to be a sign of spring, they frequently hang out here all winter (as do Robins), but it still gives me a bit of a thrill to see them start investigating the nesting boxes.

As you can see, we got more snow.  If weather predictions hold it won’t stick around long, but still, everything is white again *sigh*

I’m hoping to get my little plastic greenhouse set up today, with an eye towards getting the pepper seedlings out into it this week.  I need to get the tomatoes started, and I can’t do that till the peppers are out of the way.

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Maybe the groundhog didn’t entirely lie

Posted March 15, 2019 By Ruth

 

On this day 2 years ago Mother Nature dumped about 2 feet of snow on us.  You could lose Apollo (who’s 27″ at the shoulder) in the yard.  Today?  Today I can see the grass.  The ground itself is still rock solid, though some of the areas that have been bare  of snow the longest are starting to get a bit muddy.  There’s still snow in alot of areas of the yard too.  Nor are we past the risk of another storm.  But I’ll take it!

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Cpap

Posted March 3, 2019 By Ruth

I originally started typing this for my own record keeping, but it occured to me that other folks might appreciate the info.  This post will be added to on a random basis as things change and update.

I originally went into my doctor for insomnia (and knee issues) on Sept 5th.  Symptoms: little to no snoring, waking up with a headache constantly, waking up feeling like my brain was wrapped in cotton constantly, waking up “every hour” most nights, feeling brain dead and fogged all day every day

First sleep test was originally schedule for the night of Oct 2nd.  However I ended up sick with a miserable respiratory infection and had to reschedule.  Next available appointment the night of Oct 30th.

After the first sleep test the administering nurse told me I should hear about my results in about 2 weeks.  I did not.  By the 4 week mark I kept thinking that I really ought to call the doctor and find out what the results were, but I tended to think of it as I was headed to bed, which isn’t exactly a useful time for such.

On Dec 4th (five weeks) I received a phone call from the sleep testing office to schedule my sleep test.  First available date Jan 22nd.

On Dec 5th I received a letter from my insurance informing me that I’d been approved for cpap therapy.  I guess this means they decided I have sleep apnea in some form.

On Dec 5th I called my doctors office and left a message asking for someone to call me back with the results of my first sleep test.  they called me back to tell me that they’d contacted the pulmonary specialist to contact me about going over my results.

On Dec 10th I got a letter from the pulmonary specialists office (with a date mailed stamp of Dec 5th) informing me that my appt was scheduled for Dec 14th.  At that appointment I saw a PA who said this is your numbers, you have sleep apnea, calls us back to schedule an appointment approximately 4-6 weeks after you receive your cpap machine, Bye.  I know they’re busy as hell (the waiting room was packed to standing room only when I went in), but really?  Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI) of 48.6/hour (which is high, you’re considered “normal” if your number is under 5).  Oxygen saturation dropped to 84% (anything under 90 is considered low).

After the 2nd sleep test it was confirmed that a cpap machine helps me.  The nose only mask did not work for me, 1: despite normally having no problems breathing through my nose normally the constant pressure as I was breathing made me feel like I couldn’t get a proper breath, and 2: I kept leaking air through my mouth.  Full face mask it is.  The nurse warned me it would take upwards of 3 weeks for me to actually get the cpap machine.

I picked up my cpap machine on Feb 8th.  By this time I’d done a bit of research.  Not all cpap machines are created equal, and its not just about differences between brands and therapies required.  If you’re going through this spend some time doing some research and don’t just take the machine you’re handed.  Some machines actually track all sorts of health info related to your cpap therapy and some don’t, and with that extra data you can make sure that you’re getting the proper help.  It’s worth the argument to make sure you’re getting a good machine.  Also, there are so many different kinds of masks, and not all masks fit all people.

The different machine manufacturers have software to make at least some info available to the user.  How much info they provide varies a bit, and isn’t especially comprehensive.  Especially if you start cpap therapy and your doctor insists your numbers are fine, but you don’t feel fine, seriously consider downloading a freeware program by the name of Sleepyhead.  You’ll have to join one of a couple different online forums to actually access the download, but it’s worth it.  It’ll allow you to actually see all that medical data that your machine is recording and give you all sorts of data to take to your doctor (or even modify your cpap settings yourself if need be).

The good news for me is that my very first night using the cpap machine made a HUGE difference in how I felt the next day.  I woke up with no headache, and no brain fog.  I was still tired as hell as getting used to sleeping with a mask on my face wasn’t quick, but the sleep I got was SO MUCH BETTER.  According to the cpap machine my AHI has dropped to consistently below 2, and on occasion I’ve had some nights with an AHI of 0.

My followup appointment with the pulmonary doctor is March 26th.

 

 

My husband’s been using a cpap machine for several years now.  At first it seemed to help him alot, but over the last year and a half or so he’s been waking up feeling foggy again.  His doctor scheduled an at home check, and the results said that he was fine and no changes were needed.

Once I was comfortable figuring out my data I decided to take a look at his data.  The machine he has is also one of the models that provides lots of data, so it should have been easy.  It wasn’t.  Turns out the SD card in his machine was screwed.  SO FAR, replacing it with a new SD card seems to be working fine.  The downside to that is that we lost all the saved data prior to putting in the new card, the cpap machine itself only saving “summary” data.  However, looking at those summaries, while his AHI is staying below 5, there are several days where its over 4.  Once we have a couple weeks worth of data on the new SD card we’ll be taking a closer look at it to see about adjusting settings to see if we can fix that.

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Update to the blog

Posted March 2, 2019 By Ruth

WordPress informed me that my PHP version was way behind.  I know, that probably means nothing to most of you.  I have updated it.  However, its possible that in the updating things have gotten broken.  At first glance all appears fine, but as you browse, comment, etc, if you notice something not working right please let me know.

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More Ice

Posted February 19, 2019 By Ruth

Sunday wasn’t especially warm, but it was sunny, and as a result we were able to clear the driveway of ice.  The sun warming the black pavement enough to pop the ice loose and break it up.

For some strange and unknowable reason my shoulders and elbows hurt now.

My own personal ice skating rink in my backyard.  Near the black drainage pipe its only a couple inches deep, but out in the middle of that is the drainage ditch between us and our northern neighbor, and that is full of ice, at least 2 feet deep.  Yay.