Nothing Much Archive

This and That

Posted February 21, 2018 By Ruth

I’m hoping to return to work next week (Tuesday will be 6 weeks), I likely won’t be able to do my normal lifting, but I should be good otherwise.

We moved the automated cat feeder, again, and this time start feeding Trouble her canned food out of it.  This has significantly reduced Shadow’s interest in it, and has gotten her comfortable eating out of it again.  We’ll go like this for at least a month, and then look at switching back to kibble in it.

We had a huge February thaw this past weekend.  Temps in the 60’s, and it was 72 outside this morning!  Course, as I type this a front is sweeping through and temps are crashing hard.  Most of the snow melted, resulting in flood warnings everywhere.  We took advantage of it to set up my new greenhouse:

Husband did all the heavy lifting for me.  But now that it’s setup I can get my christmas lights strung in it and start monitoring temps.  I’m a little concerned about the bigger/taller space being harder to keep warm enough.  I guess we’ll see.  Average last frost isn’t till mid-May, so no matter how tempting it is  I really don’t dare plant out before then.

Pepper seedlings are coming along nicely:

I’ve re-seeded the ones that didn’t sprout, and rearranged so that the plants that were along the edges are now in the middle.  The soda cans are part of an online contest for a Facebook group I’m in.  To see who can grow the best pepper plant in a can.  It sounded like fun, and I had the seeds, so might as well!

Update: 4 strings of C9 christmas lights are holding it 30+ degrees over air temps.  I’ll take it.

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How I spent my winter “vacation”

Posted February 3, 2018 By Ruth

This post may be TMI for some folks.  However its something I think alot of women and the guys they live with should be aware of.  It was written in pieces, so while I tried to go back through and make sure that the tenses and what not matched I’m sure I missed some things.

 

So, back on Oct 25 I had laparoscopic surgery to remove my fallopian tubes.  Or as the surgical listing put it “voluntary salpingectomy”.  There were a few reasons for doing so.

First and foremost, I don’t want kids.  Haven’t since I was old enough to get a clue about raising them.  And despite everyone’s insistence that I’d change my mind when I turned 25/turned 30/turned 35/met the right man/got married/and so on, all that has happened and I haven’t changed my mind.

And birth control is a pain in the you know what.  Oh it has its good points, everything from regulating the menstrual cycle to having no bleeding portion of the cycle at all, helping control cramping, and what not.  But all it takes is one little goof and you end up pregnant.  And the longer lasting (less easily goofed) forms like the Depo Provera shot come with an even longer list of side effects and larger risk of weight gain.  I’ve been on the Depo shot now for several years, I know of which I speak.  IUDs are even more goof proof, but when an IUD goes wrong it tends to go really wrong, which is a little off-putting.  Plus many doctors really don’t want to implant an IUD in a woman who’s never had kids.

Birth control is yet another thing for the body to cope with too.  I’m already taking prescription anti inflammatories daily, and have been for years.  Which isn’t something my doctors are happy with.  They’re already testing my kidney function yearly (so far so good!), so if I can reduce the number of meds I’m on by even one, well, that’s not a bad thing.

And when I’m on hormone based birth control I CAN NOT lose weight.  When I’m not on it I can get the weight to start to trickle off, not anything huge, but a pound here, and a pound there.  But then we’re back to pregnancy prevention.

Did you know that more and more research is showing that at least some ovarian cancers may actually start in the fallopian tubes?  I didn’t till I went looking at related research.  Turns out that if a woman, who is done with child bearing, is having other abdominal surgery, there is now a general recommendation to have her fallopian tubes removed at the same time.

Oh, I could have insisted that Husband have a vasectomy, but in the long term it may well have been a good thing I took the route I did.

Salpingectomy is done laparoscopically, it’s a “day surgery”.  I went in at 1pm, was pulled into the surgical suite just before 3pm, and left the building about 5:30pm.  All as expected.  What didn’t go as expected?  When the surgeon first goes in, the first thing they do is take a “look around” at the various organs and bits and pieces in the region and make sure everything looks ok.  Pretty much the first thing the surgeon saw is a giant massive thing where my left ovary should be.  My right ovary looked maybe a little enlarged, but the left…..I’d given her permission to remove “things” if they looked bad, but this was WAY too big to be removed via a 1″ incision.  And since there was a chance it was a fluid filled mass she didn’t want to try to get a piece for biopsy for risk of puncturing it and potentially spilling fluid into the abdominal cavity.  She snapped a couple pictures via the camera used to guide the tools, backed out and stitched me up.  She didn’t see the point in making me go through the extra healing this time when there was definitely going to be a larger and more invasive surgery to heal from anyways.

A week later I was back into her office for the surgical followup, and to do an sonogram to take a look at my ovaries.  Good news: my right ovary is within normal parameters, which is 3 to 5 cm in diameter.  Bad news: my left ovary was approximately 12 cm in diameter.  That’s bigger than a softball.  They had trouble getting the whole thing onto the sonogram screen in order to measure it.  And it is indeed fluid filled.  Fluid filled isn’t necessarily a bad thing mind, a normal ovary shows up as mostly fluid on the sonogram screen, but it means that she did the right thing by not grabbing a bit to biopsy.  So then we did blood work, specifically looking for CA-125.  It’s not 100% foolproof, but a higher CA-125 number generally means a higher likelihood of ovarian cancer.  Good news, my numbers are completely normal.

Most likely this was a cyst of some kind, and most likely it’s been a fairly slow growing one, which is likely why I’ve had essentially no symptoms.  However we probably found the cause of the screwed up UTI symptoms and kidney pain I had back at the beginning of Sept.

A note for sleeping after surgery like this.  While I really wasn’t in much pain, trying to sleep on my side was extremely uncomfortable.  At least partially because I’m overweight, so the incisions on my belly got pulled around with my belly shifting over.  I ended up buying a “pregnancy wedge pillow” to help support my stomach.  It helped a lot!  I was kinda wishing I’d thought to pick up that pillow when I had the broken arm.

Two weeks after the laparoscopic surgery and I was back on my feet and feeling normal, though I was being a bit careful still about how much weight I lift.  Back to work, and otherwise normal.

Surgery to remove my enlarged left ovary (and both fallopian tubes) was scheduled for mid-January.  I kinda got the impression that the surgeon wanted to do it sooner, but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having major surgery right before Christmas.  And since it wasn’t actually causing me problems, and it probably wasn’t cancer, she agreed.

When you have surgery you have to stop taking all anti-inflammatories upwards of two weeks before surgery.  That wasn’t pleasant back in Oct, but it really sucked in January.

Removing an enlarged ovary that is that big is a much more major surgery.  Think c-section type surgery.  At least one overnight in the hospital, possibly two.  I had to be there at 11am, for a 1pm surgery.  The surgery before me ran late, so they didn’t actually pull me into the operating room till almost 2, but otherwise everything went smoothly.  Enlarged ovary and both tubes out.  My right ovary looked completely  normal on visual inspection.  Official terminology: left side oophorectomy, bilateral salpingectomy.

The rest of that day is a blur, which isn’t a bad thing.  But I was glad to be allowed to be on my feet the next morning.  In order to leave the hospital after a surgery like this they need a few things.  You have to be able to manage your pain with pills (vs IV meds).  You have to be able to walk on your own with a minimum of help.  You have to be able to eat and drink and keep it down (with the help of anti  nausea drugs if necessary).  And you have to be able to pee and pass gas.  By that afternoon I’d made several laps of the floor on my own unassisted, I’d used the bathroom and passed gas.  I’d been using pills to manage my pain since the middle of the night before (IV morphine is not my drug of choice).  And although I didn’t have a large appetite I’d eaten enough to keep everyone happy and had no nausea.  And so by 5pm the day after surgery they agreed with me that I could go home (note, if I’d said I prefered to stay another night they’d not have argued, but I wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed TYVM).

I’ve had surgery before, but this was my first experience with surgical staples.  Surgical staples suck.  I realize it’s not really my choice, but if it ever is I don’t ever want them again.  It turned out that a huge portion of the discomfort I was in after surgery was the staples.  Partially the staples themselves and partially the fact that I may have had a minor allergic reaction to them.  All I know is that when they were removed a week after surgery I left the doctors office feeling SO MUCH better.

Sleeping after this surgery wasn’t fun either.  My little wedge pillow helped, but without the pain meds I’d have still had some very unpleasant nights.   On my back, with my knees elevated was perfectly comfortable, but I find it almost impossible to sleep like that unless I’m very well drugged.  The addition of a belly compression band helped enough, with the pillow, to make sleeping more comfortable.

The only nausea was some mild motion sickness on the drive home from the hospital.

During the follow up to check the incision and to remove the staples the doctor noticed the start of what might have been a skin infection around several of the staple holes.  She prescribed an antibiotic and neither of us thought twice about it.

Till I took my first dose.

Now I almost never react to antibiotics.  I can’t take Levaquin because it screws with my joints.  But the only time I’ve ever had nausea from one was the one time they gave me a massively strong one to combat a bout of bronchitis that wouldn’t go away.   And even then I don’t think I actually puked.

An hour after taking my first dose of Keflex I lost my dinner, and couldn’t even keep down water.  I thought accidently trying to clear my throat with a 7+inch long bikini incision sucked.  Puking when you have that kind of incision is highly unpleasant.  If I hadn’t been, yah know, puking, I’d have been swearing.  Took us a bit to realize it was probably the antibiotic that set me off.  I finally took a dose of chewable Bonine and was able to move away from the toilet without feeling like I was going to need to run back, and was able to keep down a sip of water, took a pain pill, and went to bed.  A phone call to the doctor first the in the morning and she sent in an anti-nausea prescription for me.  A week on the antibiotic and the infection is gone.

The biopsy on the enlarged ovary came back as a benign dermoid cyst.  Ever seen one of those articles freaking out cause some woman had a huge mass removed from her abdomen and “it contained BODY PARTS!!!!1111!!!!”?  Thats an ovarian dermoid cyst.  They aren’t usually that huge, but they do tend to contain things like hair and teeth.  Occasionally other things.  Don’t look up the other things unless you don’t mind looking at gross pictures.  However if you’re not easily grossed out it can make for interesting reading.

Most women find out about them long before I did.  By all rights I should have been miserable.  It’ll be interesting to see what changes in the next several months.  Of course the screwed up UTI was probably the result of the cyst.  And in retrospect, the previous time I had a UTI (3 or 4 years ago) I also had kidney pain (and although I’m not positive I’m pretty sure it was also on my left side), and that was the first time I’d ever had kidney pain with an UTI, so I’m wondering if its related.

I’ve already noticed one change though.

I’ve had “diabetic nerve pain” (actually numbness and  lack of feeling in an area just above my left knee) in my left thigh since early 2010.  Three different doctors insisted on bloodwork to confirm that I wasn’t diabetic.  And I’m not.  I’m not even borderline.  The final decision was that it must be caused by a side effect of the lateral release surgery I had on that knee (actually just above that knee, basically right where the numbness is).  Two doctors offered surgery to correct the offending tendon, I told them it didn’t bother me that much.

Barely two weeks after the removal of the enlarged ovary and the numbness has almost completely disappeared.  It’s not totally gone, but its way less than it was 3 weeks ago.  Thigh pain or numbness can be a symptom of an enlarged ovary, I’d read that, but I didn’t expect it to make that much of a difference that quickly.

Because we were able to leave my right ovary in place I shouldn’t need to worry about my hormones or the like, which is one less thing to worry about.

I’m healing well, almost completely off prescription pain meds, just an occasional one at night if I push to hard during the day.  It’ll be a few weeks before I’m back to normal with lifting things though!

The almost complete lack of symptoms is what gets me the most.  How many other women out there are walking around with major cysts and they have no idea because it’s caused so few real problems for them?  Or it has caused problems, but they were shrugged off as something else?  In talking with two women I know who’ve had the same surgery for the same problem both stated that they’d been extremely uncomfortable for months (in one case) or years (in the other) prior to the discovery of the enlarged ovary, and that in both cases it took going through several doctors to find one who’d actually listen to the symptoms and try to find the cause rather than shrug it off as something “obvious”.  It may be something that more women need to think about.

 

Edit:

When I first started researching this surgery I found a remarkable lack of information.  Most of the information I have is based off of information provided to women who had c-sections or hysterectomies.  So some additional thoughts as I continue to heal.

I stopped needing both the wedge pillow AND the compression band by about 2.5 weeks, but I still needed one or the other till just about week 4 on the nose.

While I felt pretty good by week 2, I had no stamina at all.  Doing anything more than puttering around the house and taking the dogs out to the fenced run left me in desperate need of a nap.  By 3.5 weeks this was starting to annoy me to no end.  So I hopped on the elliptical machine.  No incline, slow walking speed.  The first day I lasted barely 4 minutes, and my belly was sore that night.  2nd day was the same.  Third day I made it 6 minutes, and I wasn’t sore afterwards.  At 4.5 weeks I’m up to 20 minutes twice a day, and while I’m tired afterwards I’m not in desperate need of a nap, nor am I sore at all.  I also managed to make a complete grocery run by myself.  MUCH improvement!

Because we were able to leave my right ovary I shouldn’t have any serious hormone issues.  However I can’t find anything official about whether the remaining ovary will kick in right away, or if it takes time.  In discussions with women who had one ovary removed with their hysterectomy it appears that it may vary.  Some reported no problems at all, while others stated that they had apparent hormone ups and downs for a couple months before things returned to normal, so I guess we’ll see.

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Lets see……

Posted January 29, 2018 By Ruth

Been another busy and frustrating few weeks.  I will (probably) have a long post about what all has been going on (if I ever get it typed).

In the mean time…..

I got my pepper seeds started.  If all those seeds germinate we’re going to have ALOT of peppers next summer (yes, I know that was the point, but uhoh…..).  Tomatoes will wait till the beginning of April.  Last year I didn’t get anything started till the beginning of April.  The tomatoes were just fine with that.  The peppers not so much.  My two little greenhouses did indeed not survive the weather.  In pricing out buying new ones I discovered that I can buy a larger (with shelf space equal to just over two of the little ones) for cheaper than buying two of the little ones.  So……

 

I forgot to mention, back at the beginning of Dec, I broke another tooth.  That  makes two broken molars.  Not the furthest back tooth, but the 2nd to the furthest back.  I broke the one on my left side back, 2010-ish.  Clean split, front to back, the inside half snapping off at the gumline while I was eating a sandwich.  We did a root canal and a crown.  This time, first weekend of Dec, eating an egg and cheese sandwich from DD, the same tooth on my right side broke the exact same way.

Pretty sure I know the cause.  For one, my teeth kinda suck.  Every tooth has at least one filling, many have two.  Despite twice a day brushing.  Yes, I grew up in a town with fluoride in the water.  Yes, I had dental care as a kid.  The dentist even had  me use prescription (high fluoride) toothpaste for a while to see if that would help.  Didn’t make a difference.

In addition I clench my jaw when I’m stressed.  Not only when I’m awake, but when I’m asleep.  Discovered that after one job in particular tried to screw me over, and I ended up in urgent care with swelling at both hinges of my jaw and numbness radiating up and down the sides of my face.  I have a mouthguard to wear at night when I know I’m having issues.  And now that I KNOW its a problem I can usually stop myself from doing it when I’m awake.  But the tooth that broke in Dec has been giving me fits since all the way back in 2004, when, during a particularly stressful time it suddenly flared up excruciatingly painfully, and then subsided to minor hot/cold sensitivity before I could get in to see a dentist.  4 dentists (two of them specialists) had checked that tooth and not been able to find a problem, but in retrospect we’re wondering if I might not have cracked it way back when by clenching my jaw, and it finally gave up holding on.

I’d originally wanted them to just pull this one, and I’d decide at a later date if I wanted a bridge or what.  But it turns out that the roots of my teeth are abnormally long and deep.  It wasn’t going to be a simple extraction, it would require a surgical extraction, at which point I told them I’d go with the root canal after all.

 

First week of January, while driving into town to get the permanent crown fitted I spotted a small flock of Ring Neck Pheasants on the side of the road.  I’ve been seeing them in the area off and on since mid-summer, but of course never when I have my camera with me.  They were still there on my way back, so I pulled over and snapped a quick photo with my cell phone:

Just to have proof of what I’d seen.  Got home, snatched my good camera, and ran back out the door.  They were still there when I came back through the 3rd time:

For the curious, there were two females in the group when I stopped and got the cell picture (they were off the shot to the left), but I didn’t see them when I came back through with the good camera.

 

Not sure how many folks I have reading here with connections in BC Canada, but if you know someone that way could you please share these images:

This dog belongs to a friend of mine.  A family member was helping care for Inatci back in mid-Nov and was walking him using the flexi leash that was normally used for the smaller family dog.  The inevitable happened (please don’t use flexi type leashes folks, just don’t, especially for larger dogs) and Inatci has not been seen since.  She has followed up on every “large white dog” sighting she’s found with no luck.

 

I’m still having fun finding new things to do with my Instant Pot.  A friend recently posted THIS recipe, and of course I had to try it.  The resulting cream has a very strong caramel scent to it, though of course its far less sweet.  I put some in my coffee this morning and I like it quite a bit, though I think the baking soda tang may be coming through more than I want.  If I understand things correctly the baking soda is more for color than flavor, and I may try it without the next time I do it.  I also intend to try whipping this into whipped cream with some sugar…..

 

Someone (elsewhere) asked me to describe what sub-zero(F) temperatures feel like.  I have no description.  But I can tell you that it’s so cold that when temperatures finally rise to single digits ABOVE 0(F) it feels like a freaking heat wave, and temperatures in the teens with the sun out make you want to ditch the winter gear.  THAT’S what sub-zero feels like!

 

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Lets see….

Posted January 7, 2018 By Ruth

Christmas at work was typical big box Christmas.  I really don’t understand the fascination with glitter and fake snow on everything.  It gets EVERYWHERE.  I sure as hell don’t want to ever have to vacuum the house that has that sort of holiday decor.

Apparently the cold temps back in the fall were a warning.  We’ve been running at not quite record breaking cold temps since the day after Christmas.  The same day I woke up and discovered that our furnace wasn’t running.  The furnace problems turned out to be the result of water in the line (it was POURING rain the last time we got fuel), and was an easy fix.  The cold temps not so much.

The big storm that ran up the East Coast didn’t do much to us, a couple inches of snow.  But it sucked weather across the Great Lakes in its wake.  Areas not to far from me got upwards of a foot of snow and temperatures dipped too damn close to record breaking cold.  Yesterday, Saturday, it was -1(F) as the official temperature when I left the house for work, with a “feels like” temperature of -23(F) thanks to windchill.  For you Celcius folks that’s -17.7 and -30.5.  Its supposed to warm up this week, cross fingers!

I did take advantage of the cold temps to smoke some cheese.  Cheese has to be smoked at temperatures below 90(F) or you risk melting the cheese.  Temps below 80(F) are preferred.  This normally requires special equipment, but by propping the door of my electric smoker open a couple inches I was able to maintain ~40(F) and still get decent smoke in the body of the smoker.  The cheese has been vacuum packed and we’re slowly working our way through it.

I’ve been working on my garden planning for this year, and putting together an inside grow tent with proper lighting to get seedlings going in.  The garden is going to be mostly tomatoes and peppers this year.  Carrots, lettuce, and a couple tires of melons and cucumbers, and that’s pretty much going to be it.  Course, just as I got the garden plan set and seeds ordered BOTH seed companies I ordered from included a packet of free seeds in the orders.  Which is normal.  What’s not normal is that both free seed packets are for varieties of black tomatoes (our prefered type) listed as “great for sauce”.  Since sauce is the main point of me growing tomatoes I promptly had to re-work the garden plan to fit at least one tire’s space worth of each in the garden to try.

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Some music for your day

Posted December 25, 2017 By Ruth

Traditional

 

And not so much

 

Dear 2017……

Posted December 21, 2017 By Ruth

You can just go to hell now, k?

Yesterday, Wednesday, Husband and I decided to treat ourselves.  While we’re not huge Star Wars fans, it is the sort of movie thats fun to watch on the big screen.  And we decided to travel a few towns over to the fancy theater with the recliner seating and dinner while you’re eating.  Tickets are a bit more expensive, but not excessively so, and food was reported to be decent.

I can report that the food is indeed decent, and not horribly priced.  And the recliners comfy.

But we only got to see about an hour of the movie.

Their popcorn machine caught fire.

Pretty sure they had it out long before the fire dept showed up (which, despite the grumbling from other movie goers, was actually pretty decent timing), but of course once the alarms go off everyone has to evacuate.

We got vouchers for a free movie at least.

*sigh*

Black Friday Reminder

Posted November 24, 2017 By Ruth

Don’t forget that those sales clerks and cashiers are humans too.  And they’re not responsible for corporate’s policies or stocking strategies.  Screaming at them because you don’t like it won’t change a thing, except for their opinion of you.

I’m off to work where I can safely expect to deal with a minimum of 2 customer meltdowns over lack of advertised stock.

Drive safely everyone!

Busy

Posted November 21, 2017 By Ruth

Been both busy and not busy.  And not had much I wanted to bother to type up.

We broke cold temp records for the area back at the beginning of Nov.  And it snowed Sunday night, and it actually stuck long enough for Apollo to enjoy it.  It’ll probably melt today, high is predicted to be 51.  I took pictures but haven’t remembered to get them off the camera.

Life keeps trying to beat us over the head, and we keep resisting.  I’d hoped to build a small greenhouse structure to replace the cheap plastic things I use, but that won’t be happening this winter after all.  Which means buying a new set of cheap plastic things, because I kept forgetting to put away the two from last summer and I’m pretty sure the sun has killed the plastic (though to be fair, one of them needed to be replaced anyway).

This will be Husband’s first holidays without his mother and he’s taking it about as expected.  As in, when his sister asked him if he had Thanksgiving plans he was struck speechless, cause no, Thanksgiving has always meant his mother cooked…..

We’ve been trying to switch the cats over to a mostly wet food diet.  While they’ll both eat wet food no problem Trouble tends to be a grazer, which doesn’t work so well with set meal times of wet food, and so she looks like losing weight again, which she really doesn’t need to do.  But if I try to put out kibble for her Shadow gobbles it up.  Now SHADOW needs to lose weight, but of course its not that simple.  I do have a “food tray” that requires them to pull out the kibble bits piece by piece to get them, but once Shadow figured that out it stopped slowing him down.  There are a few different food bowls that will only open to the animal wearing the sensor tag, but I’m not sure I can convince her to wear a collar, she’s never worn one before.  Plus they’re not especially cheap, and the cheapest one definitely has some issues, based on the reviews.  There’s a really nice looking one that’ll trigger off of the animal’s microchip, and getting her chipped would be simple enough, but it’s $140.  And I can’t quite convince myself to spend that much when I don’t know that she’d even use it.  Choices.

Christmas is in full swing at work.  Except for the live christmas trees.  Which apparently got lost or something.  Us and two other stores haven’t gotten their deliveries yet.  The truck carrying them  has completely disappeared.  Awesome huh?

Speaking of fire extinguishers

Posted November 9, 2017 By Ruth

I forgot to post about this.

Over the summer, I was standing at the service desk trying to untangle a mass of spider wraps when a pair of customers walked in the front door “do you know that your cigarette butt holder thing is on fire??”  I’m thinking ok, so there’s a little smoke coming out the top, not a big deal, and walk outside to look.

Yah, it wasn’t a little smoke coming out the top.

Call a manager “hey, the cigarette butt holder outside the main entrance is on fire, like, I can see the flames on fire”.  “Can you toss a bottle of water on it?”  “Well, I can, but I’m pretty sure it’s way beyond that point……”

Walk back inside, grab the fire extinguisher right inside the door, and put out the fire.

It’s easy enough to figure out what happened.  Customers are constantly using it as a trash can, tossing receipts and other paper in it.  Then someone tossed in a lit butt.

By the time the customer alerted me to it the fire had not only melted the plastic, it was burning the melted plastic.

Lotsa fun…….

Massive Fire Extinguisher Recall

Posted November 2, 2017 By Ruth

This has made major news media, so hopefully it’ll be all over the place by tomorrow, but just in case, spread the word.

If you bought a Kidde brand fire extinguisher any time in the last 45 years you need to check and see if its part of this recall.  If you bought a fire extinguisher from Home Depot, Sears, Walmart, and any number of other big name stores, you are very likely to have a Kidde extinguisher, even if it doesn’t say Kidde as the brand, double check it.

Seriously.

CNN Article

Consumer Reports page

Consumer Project Safety Commission page

Kidde’s page for the recall

This recall includes Canada as well as the USA, though the large majority of the extinguishers were sold in the USA.  So the Canadians reading this need to check theirs too!