Sunday, August 31, 2008

Still Tweaking...

(aka lolcats)
Okay, so it's not all smooth-sailing with the new insulin! I've still got some adjusting to do...

Yesterday, I was totally jonesin' for German Food. Yes, I know, not many people wake up with an insane desire for wienerschnitzel and rotkohl - but I inherited my dad's tastebuds (he was stationed in Germany during WWII, BTW). Lucky for me, we actually *do* have a German restaurant in downtown San Jose It's both authentic (one of Roger's friends, who'd visited us from Germany, gave it her "Seal of Approval") and expensive (Ohhhh yeah!). So, again, lucky for me - the "urge" for German Food only strikes a couple of times a year!

Oh, and yes, once I actually attempted to make an authentic German Dinner at home. Talk about a TON of work! And it made one HELLUVA mess! (I've got the jpgs of "Hiroshima, after the bombing!" - Excuse me, "Our kitchen, after the feast!" buried on a CD someplace...).

After that experience, I decided that the food tastes MUCH better when one just hands over some cash!

Anyway, we drove up to Teske's and found they were having an authentic german Sommerfest Celebration - complete with lederhosen-wearing Live Polka Band! Yes, they even had an accordion! In fact, the restaurant was PACKED, and several of the patrons were even dressed up - including an attractive blonde in a mini-skirted dirndl (Think "St. Pauli Girl"). Had to glare at Rog when he started "appreciating" her a bit too much! ;-)~~

It really was kind of a hoot, actually!

So we each had german salad (lettuce, tomato, kraut, beans, and tomato tossed in some kinda oil/vinegar dressing), wienerschnitzel (veal, pounded thin, breaded and fried, served w/fresh lemon), german potato salad, and I'd ordered a side of rotkohl (red cabbage and apple - kinda like a sweet, dark-red version of sauerkraut). Oh, and apple streudel for dessert (well, of course!). It turned out to be a LOT of food! And soooo good, we just couldn't leave any of it behind!!!

I did dose myself w/Novolog prior to eating - but evidently, I under-guesstimated my insulin requirements (Oooooops!).

To be fair, I've never had to "predict" my insulin requirements before - b/c I always dosed "after the fact." In some ways, doing it afterwards is easier - but it's definitely not the most effective approach because the objective is to never have BG rise over 140.

So I still have a "learning curve" to get through...

Anyway, after dinner, my BG was up over 240 (Ouch!!!), and I was feeling all sweaty, and slow-mo, and zombie-like, and generally - well, sick!

And the fact that I'd *just* dosed myself before eating, meant I couldn't hit myself again :::sigh::: (Novolog takes 3-4 hours to work itself out of your system - and double-dosing within that time-frame could have adverse results).

As soon as I was able, I did dose myself again, and I did manage to drop back to the 190's - which is where I'm at least able to "function" (although still far from ideal).

Since I ended up "holding" in the over-200 realm for several hours, the damage had been done.

And I'm *still* paying for it today! :::sigh:::

I figure I ate about 1000 calories - 85g (or 1/3 of the calories) were carbohydrates - for dinner. And that is hell-and-gone from what I'd normally eat at one sitting.

Actually, I fubar'd in a couple of ways last night. First off - I didn't have my PDA with me (I have a Diet Program on my PDA that has the entire USDA Nutritional Database loaded on it - so I can pretty much "scrawl-in" any kinda food to get a good ballpark estimate of calories/fat/carbs/protein), and Secondly - I allowed myself to eat 'til I was stuffed (something I never EVER do!). And yes, I *did* have dessert - so that's a pretty big sin, too!

But OTOH, I do want to be able to allow myself to "indulge" every once in awhile... I just need to figure out how to do it without turning into a complete Zombie!

So now I need to learn how to "predict" my insulin requirements so I can prevent this from happening again. In other words, learn how to be a "normal" diabetic. Hmmmm...

I mean, it sux to "pay" for two days for dining indiscretions!!!

Oh, well! I think, in this case, I'm gonna say it was "worth it!" (But I've got a strong twinge of "Never Again" kickin'!)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Big Switch Update: SUCCESS!!!


I am Stunned and Amazed!!!

(Bear in mind that this has been going on for >8 months now - so my "Over-The-Top" Enthusiasm is kinda justified!!!)

I don't want to go on-and-on with "Prior History" and the "Challenges" that go along with being EXTREMELY Insulin Resistant (IR), but suffice it to say that it's been positively agonizing to find insulin that actually WORKS.

I can definitely see the correlation between the word "Patient" as used to describe someone who is undergoing medical treatment and "Patient" in terms of "Hang in there..."

I should be nominated for Sainthood under BOTH definitions!

(Just don't get me started on how Doctors "Practice" medicine!)

I gotta say - My "insistence" on obtaining a referral to the Stanford Endocrinology Clinic was the Single Best Decision I've ever made in my life (up 'til now, I'd had a "Revolving Door Policy" with 'Medical Professionals!').

BTW - I'm not big into posting on message boards anymore (I lurk, but that's about it). So - on the off-chance that I have any blog "lurkers" who are experiencing issues w/IR and want sympathy and/or want to know more about my "challenges" - pls either post under comments, or email me privately at imqtpi ~ at ~ gmail ~ dot ~ com. Put "QT's Blog" in the subject line of any emails, otherwise, you'll probably get deleted (I get a Metric Ton o' Spam at that email address!).

Annnnnywaaaaaay.... I am THRILLED to report that the Stanford Endo has completely NAILED IT - on the first try, even!

Previously, my insulin regimen included appx 85u/day of Levemir @ bedtime; 45u of NPH - also @ bedtime, and Novolog "As-needed" throughout the day. Generally in the 150-200u/day realm. And I was dosing to my BG#'s - as opposed to trying to "cover" meals (b/c Total Carbohydrate Consumption, was generally below 75g/day - I usually try to keep it below 50g/day).

Wednesday Night, I stopped all insulin "Cold Turkey."

Thursday Morning, I awoke w/FBG @ 275 (Ouch!!!). Took my first shot of the New Stuff and my BG immediately dropped to the low 100's and STAYED THERE the entire day (with a couple of 'smaller' doses of Novolog). I was STUNNED!!!

Day #2 went well. I took the day off and took my mom out to lunch at The Fish Market - a local fresh-seafood restaurant chain. We have a Fish Market near my house, but it's not on the water. Mom's FM is actually on the waterfront so - even though I'm sure they serve the exact same stuff - the food tastes MUCH better there! I did okay but ended up eating waaaaaay too much sourdough bread w/our Combo-Louie Salads (shrimp and dungeness crabmeat - mmmmm!) and Cups o' Chowdah - so I did need a good, solid dose of Novolog to bring me back under control. But still - I *didn't* end up feeling like I'd been hit by a Mack Truck (which is how I'd normally feel - just for *thinking* about carbohydrates!).

Day #3:

This morning - after sleeping through the ENTIRE night (Yet ANOTHER miracle!!!), my FBG was only 137. And I haven't had FBG below 140 since I was diagnosed!!!

I'm still tweaking-around with the various insulins - trying to get myself "Dialed-in" - but with the overall "predictability" of the new Humulin R U500 I am CONVINCED I'll have it figured out within the next week!

This is soooooooo cool!!!!

The best part is: I actually *can* eat like a normal human being, if I so choose. Yes, I can actually consume carbohydrates, even! Of course, I don't see any point in "adding to the load" (referring to glucose in my bloodstream), so I'm sure I'll stick with my fanatical low-carbing. Plus, my next step (after I prove that I can "maintain" healthy BG levels) is to get this weight-thing under control - so sticking with LC seems to be the way to go...

In any event, I am soooooo glad to have found this new doctor. And I'm very pleased with this new insulin! Best of all: After more than eight months of feeling like a freaking zombie - it's "refreshing" to feel like a Human Being again!!!!

I do have theories, and have waxed philosophic over the "underlying causes" behind my metabolic issues. I'm still "digesting" my theories and may post, later on, about what I think has been going on.

But for today: It's a simply LOVELY day, and I just want to ENJOY how GOOD I'm feeling!!!!

(It's about damned time!!!!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Insulin and Non-Swimming Phones

The trouble with "starting" a blog at a set point in time (what, a little over a week ago?!) is that one sometimes feels compelled to share Prior History when a particular rant is posted.

And on the off-chance that I do have some followers "lurking" (As near as I can tell, I have none!), well, some posts might seem a bit weird - given the lack of context.

Ahhh well - such is the case with Today's Story. And today's story is actually a Copy/Paste of an email to an ePal - who *does* know at least some of the "history."

In any event - on the REMOTE chance that maybe there are some "interested lurkers" out there - I'll go ahead and post a bit of "history!"

I am diabetic.

This was diagnosed in late-December of 2007 (between Christmas and New Years - Party on, right?!). And it really is a "recent event" given that I was experiencing Extreme Challenges with losing weight - and that compelled me to buy a Blood Glucose Meter in July 2007 (Primarily b/c my grandmother was- and mom is diabetic - and I figured I was running a pretty "high risk"). My readings, at that time, were "normal."

I also have a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGG history of A) Not getting sick and/or B) On the rare occasion that I *did* get sick, it was generally something REALLY serious, rare and EXTREMELY bizarre.

I don't waste my time with "Garden Variety Illnesses" - Ohhh Nooo! And my Diabetes has proven to be no exception. I am *EXTREMELY* insulin-resistant (this was recently confirmed by an Assistant Professor at Stanford's Endocrinology Clinic). Okay, I'm probably not THE most IR (Insulin Resistant) Diabetic in the world, but I'm definitely "up there."

And I've experienced many, many, many "challenges" with pharmacies AND insurance companies - trying to obtain the appropriate levels of medication.

I'll leave it at that, for now - lest I launch myself into a diatribe...

Well, as of my last Stanford Appt, I was taking roughly 300 units of insulin per day - three different types. I was actually seeing some significant improvement in my BG (Blood Glucose) levels, but there were some caveats: 1) When taking NPH (which has a 6 hr "Activity Curve"), I was having to wake up at 3:30am to take add'l insulin and 2) One of insulin's properties (the ONE property that seems to be working EXTREMELY well - for me, anyway!) is it's ability to convert damn-near-anything into STORED FAT! And the more fat you're carrying, the more insulin-resistant you become. Then you need MORE insulin, which stores MORE fat, which requires MORE insulin... Do you see where I'm going with this?

So, recently, the Stanford Endocrinologist has decided it's time to take a different approach. We're stopping the NPH (6 hrs) and Levemir (24 hours - Basal Insulin) and switching over to Humulin R U500 - which is FIVE TIMES the potency of "regular" insulin (So instead of taking 15-20 injections/day, maybe I can drop back to maybe 6-7!).

I'm still on Novolog (1.5 hrs - Bolus / Mealtime insulin) - I dose that "to my BG numbers" (rather than "covering meals" - which is normal. "Normal" diabetics figure out how many carbohydrates they'll consume, and dose enough insulin to "cover" the BG rise for x number of carbohydrates. I don't eat carbohydrates [okay, very "minimal" carbs], so that doesn't work for me).

See? It gets long-winded when I have to add "background info!"

Okay, that said, let's turn to Today's Story!

* * * * *
"Big Switch is Tomorrow!"

Once again, I had a simply Grand Time with the Pharmacy - trying to get my insulin prescription filled!

To be fair, this is the U500 stuff (5x as strong) and I'm sure that's not a "normal" request. And since I have to jump thru hoops for "normal" insulin refills, I wasn't the least bit surprised about experiencing delays with filling the new stuff.

What *does* kill me though, is the fact that when there are problems, they don't bother to communicate that. Or if they do, it's really "vague." In this case, I got an automated voicemail saying my Rx wouldn't be ready. I called to inquire. The first issue was that they had to order it. OK.

Then I got another automated yaya call saying my prescription *was* ready. Now, I filled a whole bunch of stuff at once (have to get in the "last" of my refills before Roger's old insurance runs out). So I go and pick it up. Three BIG bags of drugs (Gawd - have I mentioned, lately, how much I *LOVE* getting old?!! Jeeee-zus!)

Anyway, I get home and open all the packages. I got everything except the Humulin. "Lovely!"

Now this is, like, 10:30 at night, and I gotta call the pharmacy (open 24 hours, thankfully) to find out what's going on... Well, they had been trying to reach the doctor b/c they thought the prescription was wrong - and something about the syringes for U500 being different (Yes, I know that), and "We don't carry them and can't order them."

Well, doc had already explained all that to me and she'd already converted the U500 dose in such a way that I *could* use regular syringes (knowing that the "other kind" of syringes were next-to-impossible to get). So I repeated that story to the pharmacist and assured him it was correct. And "Can I please come pick-up my insulin?"

"Yes, give me an hour to complete the prescription."

So I head back at quarter-to-midnight and pick it up b/c I *don't* want to wait 'til the "next shift" starts and run the risk of going through all of this AGAIN!

Yes, I understand the pharmacist's concern. And yes, it was a valid one (And yes, I do appreciate the concern!). But it *did* have a valid explanation as well - one that I would have gladly shared, given the opportunity.

(And please don't tell me I should have explained this to the Pharmacy-Tech - at the time I dropped off the prescription! "BTDT" Anything "Outside the Box" is completely lost on them, and any attempt at "proactively addressing potential issues" is beyond their comprehension - I'm sorry to say!)

(Gawd help me! I'm turning into an Old Fuddy-Duddy, but I "remember the days" when pharmacies were small, privately-owned stores and the pharmacist actually KNEW you... Of course, I also remember when gasoline was $0.45/gallon and you could pull up to the pump and say "Fillerup with Ethyl" and 6 people would rush out to fill the tank, clean ALL the windows and check the tire pressure and ALL the fluids under the hood! Yes, kiddies, it's TRUE!!!) (And I SWEAR it wasn't THAT long ago, was it?!!)

Oops - I digress!

I think the thing that irks me (aside from the fact that eight-times-out-of-ten I go through SOME kinda B.S. trying to get insulin!!!), is the fact that they don't bother to SPEAK TO ME.

If one gets a "Your prescriptions are ready for pick-up" message, one might NATURALLY assume that that means "The prescriptions are ready for pick-up!"

I know... I know... I'm being unreasonable again!

Anyway - b/c of the timing of everything, and Roger going out of town, and the doc putting the fear of [insert deity-of-choice here] into me over possible hypoglycemic reactions. Annnnnd the general anxiety over making the switch ("I know I'm gonna feel like sh*t"), it kinda pushed off my "implementation schedule."

Sooooo... Roger's coming home tonight. My last shots of Levemir (24 hours) and NPH (6 hours) were @ 9:20, last night. I'm going "Cold Turkey" tonight, and I'll start the new regimen tomorrow morning...

It doesn't help much that my BG has been "All over the board" for the last day or two. Sunday we had neighbors over for a BBQ and I "ate like a normal person" (including - GASP! - 3 bites of carrot cake!) And yesterday the boss took us out for Ice Cream. I'd downloaded the Nutritional Info from the store's website before we left and I chose the "lowest carb" flavor I could find - and it wasn't very low-carb!!!

But it could be worse, I s'pose...Actually, overall, I'm doing pretty "okay" - just feeling sluggish and verrrrrry apprehensive about the insulin switch. I'm expecting it to suck, short-term. But long-term I believe it will be worth it...

And yes, there's the "End of Summer Malaise" that always kicks-in this time of year. I need to get out here and take some pictures of the yard while everything is still "thriving" (Definitely got the Jungle Vibe Kickin'!)

Actually, I think this week really is summer's "Last Hurrah" here. Temps were in the upper 90's today ("It's a DRY heat!") and I managed to knock-off work @ 3:00pm and swim a few laps in the pool. So that helped my attitude immensely!

Up until the point that I dropped my cell-phone in the pool!!!! I wish it had been one of those "Slow-Motion" events ('cuz then maybe I could've dove-in and saved it!). Ohhhh no! RAZRs sink *very* quickly! And naturally it was at the deep end of the pool!!!

Funny part was, I was talking to my Joysey Colleague/Friend at the time. We keep each other company when we perform mundane chores (in this case, I was cleaning the crap out of the skimmer basket of the pool). All she heard was "OHH-SH" then the phone went dead!

I have since retrieved it and, at the Verizon CSR's suggestion, I've put the phone and battery in separate ziploc baggies full of rice. "Maybe that will dry it out and maybe it will work. I see that you didn't sign up for the $4.95/mo Replacement Insurance on your phone..."

Actually, the Verizon Girl was quite helpful and nice. I mean, I'm the idiot who had the phone in a case that's notorious for spinning upside-down and spitting the phone out - WHILE I was crouched at the deep-end of the pool. How dumb was THAT?!

Well, worst-case scenario, I extend my contract and they offer me an "Upgrade" phone for $20.00 ("B-B-But! What about my Jimmy Buffett RINGTONES?!!")

(Or worse, my Jimmy Buffett Concert Pics!!! Those're on the phone - excuse me WERE - on the phone, as well)

(Yeah, I've got screwed-up priorities, I know! ;-)


Anyhooooo... Wish me luck with 'The Big Switch' tomorrow!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Musings on being "Middle Class"

Bay Meadows Race Track closed, for good, last week. And that's left me with an inexplicable sense of melancholy. No particular reason - it's not like it was a "regular hang-out" or anything - but the handful of times that I *did* go to Bay Meadows had instilled fond memories...

For starters, I grew up in Foster City, CA - up on the Peninsula - and I was a TOTAL and COMPLETE Horse-Freak when I was a girl. We're talking TOTALLY obsessed, right? (636.1 is the Dewey Decimal System for finding "horse-care books" in Libraries!). And Bay Meadows was *just* outside of the main entrance to Foster City, on Hillsdale Blvd. (which, at the time, was mostly WASPY upper-middle-class white folks - remember, this was back in the 60's-70's). The temptation to go and "hang-out" at the race-track was almost too much to bear for a Horse-Crazy Girl!

I'm not sure exactly how my parents managed to "steer me away" from hanging out there, to be honest! I *really* wanted to get a job there when I was in my early- to mid-teens (but I never did - probably under threat of death!). My dad, however, *did* take me there, one time when I was quite young (probably 8-9 yrs old), to pet the horses. First we stopped and picked up a bag of carrots, then he pulled up to the back gate and schmoozed the guard to let us in...

We hung out around the barns for a couple of hours while dad talked-up the trainers and I petted the horses - after securing permission, of course (I was a *very* polite child)! And, in fact, I recall the trainers telling me "No, don't pet that one, he bites! - Pet *this* horse instead!"

My dad was soooooo cool! I'm sure he caught a MAJOR ration of sh*t from mom for taking me to the Race Track! (You know, 'cuz "low-lifes" hang out there!).

Dad was the one who ultimately bought me my first horse, actually (and *didn't* secure permission from the maternal-unit first - another instance where I'm sure he ended up w/a fresh, new orifice ripped into him!). That's a story for another time, however...

Anyway, back to Bay Meadows... No, I never got a job there. In my early years, I had fantasies of becoming a jockey (I shot-up to 5'6" in fifth grade - so that quickly squelched *that* fantasy!) (I'm 5'8" tall now, if anyone cares!). I never really "hung-out" there a lot, either. Although back when I worked for Bank of America, they sponsored annual "outings" to Bay Meadows' Turf Club. I attended those a couple-three times with Dale, a former SO (and fellow BofA-er). Again, I've got lots of fond memories of those events. One year, in particular, we'd hooked up with another colleague who's fiance was *big* into gambling and gave us a "tip" for a long-shot who actually paid off (of course, I'd only put, like $2.00 on the horse - but still!).

So yeah, what few memories of have of Bay Meadows are quite pleasant...

So this weekend, they're auctioning EVERYTHING off. Turnstyles, horse-stalls, pictures and assorted memorabilia, furniture (mostly circa late-70's/early-80's), and I logged onto the live auction site just to watch it all...

...Almost like slowing down to look at a particularly horrendous traffic accident, actually!

But it *did* get me to thinking: Back to my mom being all aghast at the prospect of her daughter working at a [gasp!] race-track, and all the scum-bags and whatnot. Admittedly, it probably wouldn't have been the most "wholesome" environment for me... But, OTOH, I was never really "into" the hoity-toity "Upper-Middle-Class" set. I mean, for the couple-three years I was exiled to Utah w/my dad (yet another separate "story" that piggy-backs onto the "Dad bought me a horse" story!), I found that the coolest ppl I hung out with were - for lack of a better term - "Trailer Trash!"

Yeah, some of my best friends actually lived in a Single-Wide trailer about a mile up the road from us!

To this day, given my druthers, I'd prefer to "hang" with real, down-to-earth, hard-working ppl than my white-collar "peers!" Gimme an old peanut-shell-strewn Biker Bar w/spider-webs in the windowsills (if they even HAVE windows, that is!!!), over some fancy-schmantzy fern-bar ANY day!!!

Actually, in addition to lamenting the demise of Bay Meadows (earlier this summer, I'd suggested to Rog that "We should go - before they close!" Didn't happen. Oh, well!), I am sorely missing the two bona-fide Biker Bars we had "in our backyard." Quail Canyon Inn burned down a couple of years ago (Rog took me there on our First Date! There's *another* story for another time!), and Almaden Feed & Fuel (A victim of Suburban Sprawl... Multi-million $ homes built "around" a Biker Bar, followed by New Residents complaining about "All those damned Harleys!" Hello?!! You MOVED IN to a house built next to a Biker Bar!!! Duuhhhhh!!!)

Of the three, I think I miss the Quail the most (that was a COOL place!).

Anyway, I just think it's funny how this "class" thing works. And the fact that it's still in place is kinda mind-boggling. Yeah, Socio-Economically, we're prob'ly "Upper-Middle Class" - but our "roots" are firmly entrenched in a more, well, "Blue-Collar" world...

Not sure what "point" I'm making here. Hell, who says I even have to make a point, right?!

I mean, am I a hypocrite? (Okay, here comes the "philosophical part!"). I mean, we do have nice "stuff" and way-cool toys, right? But, attitude-wise, we aren't all "Look at WHAT WE'VE GOT" (I've met ppl like that, and I find them... "Tiresome" isn't the right word - ummm - "Nauseating" is probably more apropo). And yes, we're somewhat cultured (both classically-trained musicians), and we DO go to symphonies and chamber-music concerts. So, we do "Clean-up Good!" But still, given a choice, listening to a [marginal] Garage-Band playing at a biker-bar sounds FAR more appealing!

Okay, well, that's enough "musing" for one afternoon/early-evening... No real "point" here, but it's just food for thought.........

(If I were a Good Blogger, I'd have something in mind before I got started!!!)

(So just lump me in with the "dreck and drivel!" No apologies offered!!!)



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sux Getting Old (#1 of many, I'm sure...)

Okay, so when I set-up this Blog, I wanted it to be an outlet geared more toward "Creativity" and "Positivity" - rather than a forum for "purging" my (more than occasional) negative thoughts...

And, for the most part, I'm gonna try to stay true to that...

OTOH, sometimes "Sh*t Happens" and you just can't avoid b*tching about it in some shape or form! I mean, hell, that's only HUMAN, right?!!

* * * * *
Interestingly, years ago, I had the opportunity (on more than one occasion) to tag along with my mom and my uncle (mom's brother) in the car for trips to Home Depot or "Monkey Wards" or wherever. And whenever the two of them would get in a car together, I'd get to hear this non-stop diatribe about their assorted health woes. "I'm sicker than you because...." ya-ya-ya...

"My sciatica is acting up!"

"You think that's bad?! My bursitis has been..."

I'd sit in the back of the car and finally yell out "WILL YOU TWO STOP IT ALREADY?!!! If I EVER reach a point in my life where I feel the need to 'compete' over 'who's sicker?' - I hope SOMEBODY has the DECENCY to just put a BULLET in my head and end it all!!!!"

Yeah, well...

I think the first sign of "getting old" happened around the time I was 35. I remember climbing onto one of the boats (Solitaire was my "home" and Tartan was my "office" for 6 yrs - for those who *haven't* been to my website yet ). I climbed up the steps and stepped onto the side-deck, slipped, did the splits (something I was *never* designed to do!!!), and landed on the dock.

I hurt for *weeks* after that!!!

Compare that to my twenties, when I used to break horses "for fun!" I can't tell you how many times I'd been bucked off, pitched into barbed-wire fences, kicked (with both hooves) in the stomach (and sent sailing across the stall!)... Back then, I used to "bounce!"

No more!

I had a later incident, in my late-30's, where I was attempting to mount Dante, my 17h Thoroughbred gelding. I was actually able to get my left-foot into a stirrup that *I swear* was at eye-level! I bounce-bounce-bounced on my right foot and attempted to pull myself up when the horse suddenly moved forward. I landed, quite badly, on my right foot. Twisted my ankle severely, and had a HELLUVA time driving myself home that night!!! Again, it required SEVERAL weeks for recovery!!!

...And as the years have passed, things certainly haven't improved!!!

Now I'm 45. As of last December (between Christmas and New Years'), I was diagnosed w/Type II Diabetes.

Do you think I got a nice "Garden Variety" version of Diabetes?! Ohhhhh, no! I have an EXTREMELY INSULIN-RESISTANT variant of Diabetes...

That has presented it's own unique set of challenges, not the least of which was finding a doctor who actually "took me seriously" and was willing to take on the challenge of figuring out what the hell to do with me!

[Here is where I *could* insert an endless litany and share truly frightening stories of medical ineptitude! But I'll "take the high road" for now and note that I *might* choose to share said rants later!!!]

I'll cut to the chase: Presently, I am being seen by an Assistant Professor at Stanford's Endocrinology Clinic. And, for the first time in my life, I feel like I am actually receiving "quality care" by someone who LISTENS to me and DISCUSSES/EXPLAINS things to me...

And that's pretty damned refreshing!

Just FYI - Ever since being diagnosed, I have become positively obsessive about eating low-carb. And even at that, my blood glucose has been "out of control." I track EVERYTHING I eat. I test my blood glucose a MINIMUM of 5x/day (usually closer to 10x/day). And I don't even want to share how much insulin I take (generally >=300u/day). So I'm definitely not "Garden Variety!"

Unfortunately, I feel like I've been completely "robbed" of a summer (and that is just downright criminal!!!). When my blood glucose is "out of control," I have ZERO energy and feel like a freakin' ZOMBIE! I'm "just now" starting to get my glucose #'s under control - but summer is almost over...

Anyway, I will undoubtedly share more info at some point in the future - I'm actually too tired (and too restricted, time-wise since DH will be home soon!) to "rant" about it now...

For now, I'm pleased to have found a Medical Professional who takes the time to LISTEN to me and DISCUSS the various options. I *finally* feel like I'm in "competent hands!" And I'm optimistic that things WILL improve!

We'll be changing my insulin regimen in the coming days - which will probably throw me into a tailspin (and maybe I'll post - if I do, brace yourself for incessant whining!). But I think (hope) the long-term gains will be worth it!

More to come, later...............


BTW - If you *think* you might be a candidate for diabetes (I know *I* was - mom's diabetic, and I seem to take-after "her side" of the family - BUT I was "in denial!"), here is a site you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY MUST VISIT (I really, truly wished I'd stumbled onto it sooner, to be honest!) - Jenny is extremely knowledgeable and her website, and book, have been an absolute Godsend to me!!! (and I get "nothing" for referring folks to her site!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

DINKS have more fun...

DINK, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the acronym for Double Income, No Kids.

And Rog and I definitely fit into that demographic.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against kids - it's just that I never felt an overwhelming urge to procreate. In fact, I used to be fond of saying "The battery in my biological clock died, and I was too cheap to replace it!"

Seriously though. Rog and I met pretty late in life. Neither of us had been married before (one would *think* that equates to "No Baggage!" But let's not go there, okay?!). I'm now in my mid-40's and Rog is in his 50's, so this seems a little late to be "starting" a family.

Add to that the fact that, in the Bay Area, you NEED two incomes "just" to make the mortgage payment... And the fact that I can't see myself allowing someone else to "raise my kids" (or worse, have 'em running loose w/o supervision when they got older). I'd insist on being a "Stay-At-Home" mom (which would probably drive me abso-freaking-lutely insane within a matter of days, I'm sure!), and I can't see Rog wanting to work until he's well-into his 70's to support everybody..!

Plus, kids are EXPENSIVE!!!

(And I've seen the "dynamic" around here with the dogs - our "quasi-kids." Papa is all about "Fun" and Mom gets to be the Evil Dictator. I'm not so sure that's how I'd want real kids to be raised!)

So, bottom line: We chose to forgo kids. Yeah, there may come a point - in our Golden Years - where we'll regret that decision, but "It is what it is."

(Had we met earlier in life... Well, woulda-coulda-shoulda... Actually, had we met earlier in life, we probably wouldn't have hit it off at all! So 'woulda-coulda-shoulda' becomes somewhat moot.)

The Downside is: We are in a strange "niche" b/c most folks our age do have kids. If they're school-aged, then the parents' lives' revolve around their offspring ("Soccer Practice, Ballet Class, Piano Lessons, Etc."). If they're adults, then it's all about the Grandkids... So, right out the chute, we don't have much in common with other folks our age. Maybe in a year or so, we'll fit in better with some of the Empty Nesters. Or maybe not.

But the Plus Side is: We do manage to have plenty of fun. No kids leaves more disposable income for "us." So we do have our toys... The "Tropical Resort" yard, a couple-three Harleys, a couple of sportscars...

And we do manage to take at least one decent vacation per year. Most years, it's a week at some midrange "All-Inclusive" in Mexico. This year, it was a motorcycle-themed Mexican Riviera Cruise: The Hogs on the High Seas Rally ( Seems like we do take most of our vacations in Mexico - but that's mostly because I'm "cheap!" We've been to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Mazatlan...

We honeymooned in Jamaica, and took a Western Caribbean Cruise several years ago. And, one year, I'd bought us a package deal to Honolulu, Hawaii - as a surprise Christmas Gift for Rog (HA! I'd dressed Tazz up in a hula-skirt and lei - and tried to get her to deliver the envelope with the tickets. That didn't work out too well!).

Anyway, I'm satisfied with the decision we've made re: children. We've built a good, comfortable life that allows us to enjoy ourselves without having to "do without" or otherwise "scrape by." That's not to say we're "rich!" We do live within our means (and, of late, that's become increasingly difficult, actually).

But if we had a couple of extra mouths to feed (and orthodontia to face, and school clothes to buy, and college funds to save for, etc. etc. etc.), I think our lifestyles would have to change, dramatically...........

All things considered, I'd have to say I have no complaints - and this is just sort of my way of "counting my blessings" (in a sense!). Nahhh, Life overall, is pretty good, I'd say!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pool Party, BBQ and "The Morning After"

Ultra-Cool Annie
The Pool Party and BBQ was a success. Although I'm not sure if having one other couple over for dinner really counts as a "Party!" Nevertheless, it was fun.

C & D have been friends ever since Rog and I met. Actually, Rog has known them longer. D was Roger's smoking buddy at work - and, if there are any smokers out there reading this (we're a dying breed, ya know?!) - you'll know the importance of "Smoking Buddies!" Anyway, Rog used to lament to D about how he "couldn't find a girlfriend" yada yada. So every time we get together, we get to re-visit "The Old Days" and Rog gets reminded of "How lucky he is - to have met me!"

(And that ain't a bad thing!!!)

I didn't go completely "Hog-Wild" with food prep this time (the last time we threw a party - 8 ppl, so that counts! - I started food prep at 6:00am. And continued non-stop 'til the guests arrived around 2:00pm! I was exhausted!). No, this BBQ was pretty low-key. We ended up cooking enough food to feed a small army, however. I don't know why! Even when I know that folks "eat like birds" I have this insane fear of running out of food!!! Or it could be that I just don't know HOW to prepare recipes for ONLY 4 people!

* * * * *
HA! Segue into "Picnic In the Park:" Back in '01, when Rog and I went on our second date, I had suggested we have a picnic in the redwoods - I would take care of everything. Back then, I still lived on the boat where galley-space was extremely limited (considering the ENTIRE living space was 180 SF, and the galley was maybe 4'x8' - and counterspace was maybe 2-1/2'x2' - I'd say that's a gross understatement), add to that the fact that I could only run one appliance at a time (15amp AC circuit to run everything on the boat), well, I was faced with a challenge...

I opted to go to Trader Joe's. I think that's mainly a California Thing (Nope, I Googled it, they're sprinkled all over both coasts - but mid-continent folks are somewhat lacking in the TJ Dept). Anyway, for those *not* familiar, Trader Joe's is a Super-Cool, Definitely-Unique, Gourmet kinda grocery store with all kinds of tempting goodies. Most of it is ideally suited for picnic fare (though they've got plenty of "Cooking Required" stuff as well). Basically, this is one of those stores that you simply CANNOT walk into and come out with only ONE thing, okay? (And yes, I still *hate* to shop - but when one is trying to make a Good Impression on a Potential Suitor...)

Bottom Line: I came out of there with an Honest-to-Gawd FEAST. Gourmet cold-cuts, a veritable U.N. Assortment of Cheeses that represented every continent on the planet, Fancy-Fru-Fru Breads, all kinds of exotic munchables; Organic Veggie Chips and Crackers, Assorted fresh veggies, Various dips and spreads. Basically, if it looked good, into the cart it went! I'm sure I must've even dragged the wicker picnic basket out of storage (with matching heavy-duty plates, real-metal cutlery, LINEN tablecloth and napkins). Hell, I probably had candles as well! I don't recall all the specifics (and this was before we had digital cameras - fortunately, or unfortunately!!).

Annnnnywaaaaaay... Suffice it to say that when Roger met me at the park, I had enough food spread out on one (entire) picnic table to feed a good dozen (or more) people! There was sooooo much food, even passing hikers and horsebackriders gasped in amazement. In fact the equestrians even called down as they rode past "Got enough food down there?!!"

Well, I must've made the right impression b/c we ended up getting married, right? ("The way to a man's heart..." and all that!)

So this "We Must Not Starve" thing is nothing new!

BTW - Today is our sixth wedding anniversary, so that kinda explains the "Waxing Nostalgic" digression!

* * * * *
So anyway, back to yesterday's get-together: Weather was perfect. Upper 80's. Everybody DID wear swimsuits and actually got in the pool! Beer and wine and margaritas were flowing...

The Hounds were entertaining. Annie was a hoot, in fact! When C swam laps, splashing across the pool, Annie "raced" him from shore - running and barking furiously the whole way! Back and forth, back and forth! We did have Dynah outside for awhile (imprisoned in her tiny playpen), but she was a bit too vociferous in her protestations, so she had to go back in the house, unfortunately. Tazz welcomes all guests (including hired-help, complete strangers, door-to-door salesmen, burglars, mass-murderers, Jehovah's Witnesses...) by bringing her Tire Toy over to be thrown. Again and again and again and again and again and again, ad nauseum. The tire ended up getting locked in the shed!

As far as the food goes: D brought a delicious salad with mixed greens, olives, avocado, mushrooms, beans, and a whole bunch of other yummy stuff. I picked fresh tomatoes which were served on the side (since D can't eat tomatoes). We skipped the Insalata Caprese.

We had italian-style veggie kabobs and fresh, sweet corn on the cob (Hint: If you boil the corn, which we did - due to lack of grill space, add a couple of teaspoons of Splenda [or sugar] and a splash of cream to the water. It enhances the sweetness!).

We also cooked up two big London Broils. It was one of those situations where I wasn't sure if one steak would be enough for 4 people and two steaks is definitely too much! Nancy Method: "Err on the side of too much!" (besides I can nosh on leftovers all week!).

The steaks were marinated for about an hour in Lawry's Meat-Tenderizing Marinade (Envelope of powdered stuff - found on the spice aisle) to which I added about a tablespoon of olive oil, a splash (probably a teaspoon) each of worchestershire sauce, and liquid hickory smoke (from the BBQ sauce section of the store). Ours is a gas-grill (unfortunately, it doesn't have a smoker box), so we don't get that smoky flavor unless I add it! Rog cooked 'em perfectly to Medium/Medium-Well. The steaks were DEEEEEE-LISH! And I'll definitely use that marinade again!

Side dish (Rog insists on carbs with every meal) was - don't laugh! - Country Crock "DELUXE" Cheddar Broccoli Rice. Nuke it for 5 minutes and you've got a tasty side-dish! Actually, it was surprisingly good (and I hate rice - which is good b/c my diabetes won't allow me to eat starches).

I was feeling guilty for my lack of "Culinary Creativity" - what with serving pre-fab/nuke-able food! Although D says she appreciates my low-drag approach to entertaining "You're a REAL down-to-earth person and that's what I love about you!" Either she's being super-nice, or super-truthful and she's deranged! (I vote for 'B'). Anyway, I went out yesterday morning and picked a whole slew of peaches off the tree and I *did* bake a couple of fresh peach pies (using pre-fab [but not nuke-able!] pie crusts, of course!).

I think peach pies don't get much fresher than that. "Peaches were on the tree this morning and now they're dessert!" In fact, the pies had *just* come out of the oven when they arrived!

I used an "Amish Peach Pie" recipe I found via Google (on Super simple. The main ingredients for the filling are peaches (duh!), sugar (in my case Splenda Sugar Blend - halved the quantity b/c the peaches were plenty-sweet on their own), and tapioca. I also added a tsp of cinnamon for a little extra "zip." Pie was positively orgasmic!

BTW, a few weeks ago (when the white peaches were ripe), I made pies using a "standard" peach pie recipe that used flour as a thickener. Not bad - but not spectacular. Tapioca-thickened peach pies are MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better IMHO...

Well, I daresay nobody went home hungry!

* * * * *
Unfortunately, I did kinda overdo it in the Carb Realm. "My" case of diabetes is particularly annoying in that I have almost ZERO tolerance for carbohydrates - in any form. And I get to take MASSIVE quantities of insulin (and even at that, I have a helluva time keeping my blood glucose down). I try to keep daily carb intake around, or below 50g. Anytime I go over 100g, I "pay for it" for the next day or two.

Yesterday, I not only ate a PEACH and a handful of GRAPES (GASP!!!), but I also allowed myself 2 TABLESPOONS of the cheddar and broccoli rice, AND I ate 1-1/2 slices of PIE. Today's Fasting Blood Glucose was well over 200 and I'm feeling pretty Slow-Mo... I'll be living on Protein Shakes (and insulin) all day. No solid food. No carbohydrates. Well, at least until dinner since we ARE going out tonight... Gotta de-tox now :::sigh:::

I do allow myself to go Off-Plan on rare occasions, but I know I'm gonna pay for it. Oh, well!

Good Friends and Good Times... Hey, at least it was worth it!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I don't think I'm contributing to the Credit Crisis...

I'm contributing to the ECONOMY!!!

Actually, I'm one of those "Typical Americans" who's carrying too much Credit Card Debt. But there are a couple-three caveats:
  1. I have *almost* enough money in the bank to zero it out at any time (I DID have enough money a week ago! No longer true after Dynah's surgery, unfortunately)
  2. I "stay on top of" what I owe AT ALL TIMES
  3. I play the 0% Game

True, the zero percent card promotions are fewer and farther between, these days. But I do have good enough credit that I still receive the occasional offer.

I know... I know... There are Financial Advisers out there who tell you "No! No! Stay away from that!" But, in some cases, it just makes sense.

HOWEVER, you absolutely *must* read the fine print and make sure you understand, and play by the rules exactly!

In my case, one of the offers I'd received - about a year ago - was 0% for 12 months on New Purchases AND Balance Transfers - with no little asterisks or plus-signs or teeny-tiny fine print indicating a 3% "Transaction Fee" or whatever would be applied (I shred those offers immediately!).

Anyway, at the time, I was still carrying about $8,000.00 on my Harley loan - at something like 10% interest (or thereabouts). I sat down and calculated what I would end up paying in interest. No easy feat, I might add! I built a monster-spreadsheet to handle the daily calculatons and estimated payment dates and accrual rates and yada yada (it ended up being pretty damned close to HD's calculations)...

Despite the fact that I was making *at least* double-payments every month, it was rather astonishing (certainly "illuminating!") to see how much - and how quickly - those dollars add up!

The next question was: Can I pay off 8,000.00 in less than one year? Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom, I created a (GASP!) Budget Spreadsheet and determined the answer was "Yes."

So I transferred the balance over to the zero percent card. I *also* made the mistake of actually USING the card for purchases as well. But I kept on top of my budget and was able to pay it off before the 0% ran out. Actually, the "final" payment posted about two days too late - so I ended up paying $15.16 in interest for the last statement cycle (on a balance of appx $1,000). But that's ONLY interest I paid (to anyone!) the ENTIRE YEAR.

Compare that to the interest I earned in my ever-growing Savings Acct (at a Credit Union - one that still pays halfway decent interest). Or the interest I would have paid to HD Credit, had I not moved the balance...

In the end, I am definitely "Ahead!"

So yes, the 0% game "can" work.

There's a Scary Zero Percent Game, however. One that I'm playing now. When Dynah went in for surgery, I dragged out a new Mastercard (one with "limited" zero percent interest and a whole bunch of wonky rules) (Oh, incidentally, all of my credit cards - except for the one or two that I actually use - are locked inside our safe). Anyway, it's a brandy-new card with a halfway decent limit. But the 'highball estimate' the vet's office provided exceeded that, unfortunately.

So they steer me to their 0% for 12 months "CareCredit" financing. What am I gonna do, right? I signed up for it - just so I could get her checked-in and lined up for surgery...

I read the "fine-print" later, of course. Here's the kicker: Interest starts accruing the minute you use the credit-line. They waive it if you pay it off within the promotional period. However... If you DON'T pay it off by the end of 12 months, ALL of the interest, going back to Day 1, gets tagged onto the bill. And the interest rate is some outrageous amt, like >22%.

"Aye Chihuahua!!!"

Needless to say, I will *not* be a day or two late with THAT final payment!

Credit Cards definitely can be scary. And yes, I'm one of those people who "got into trouble" with credit when I was younger (and dumber, and poorer!). It wasn't too terribly awful (it was well under $10K), and the 'Bank of Mom' bailed me out (and yes, she's since been repaid!). After that, I refused to even HAVE credit cards! If I didn't have the cash, I wouldn't make the purchase (which is actually the BEST way to be, I think!).

DH Roger was the one who convinced me I needed to rebuild my credit so, over time, I started opening charge accounts again. Now I like to think I have a much healthier attitude about credit and I'm "pretty good" about keeping my spending habits under control. Actually, that's not too difficult because I am an atypical female - I actually HATE to shop. (Well, except online!!!)

I've known quite a few people with very unhealthy spending habits ("Ooh! Shiny! I think I'll buy it!" - OR - "It's on sale, I think I'll buy three!") - and I don't want to be like them!

One good "Mantra" a friend of mine shared with me: Whenever she sees something she thinks she wants, she asks herself "Do I like this more than I like my money?" I really like that approach, and I've adopted it myself!

I'll admit, sometimes I make purchases that "sane" people would consider utterly ridiculous - but they all pass the "I like this more than I like my money" test (Like $300.00 to a scalper for ONE ticket to a Jimmy Buffett concert at the Fillmore - a venue so small I could actually see him sweat!) (Or "several thousand dollars" for back surgery for Dynah!)...

My short-term goal, right now, is to get the credit balances paid down 'til they're below the combined savings account balances! Right now, I'm running at a deficit, but I think I can turn that around in the next couple-three months.........

Okay, that's enough "rambling" for now. I gotta go get started on food prep for tonight's BBQ.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Annie The Bluetooth Eater (Or "Stellar Service Story")

(Okay, it's a little outdated!)

Ehh, it's a gorgeous night and I'm still sitting out at the Tiki Bar, intermittently surfing the 'net, watching the full moon rise, and breathing the heavenly aroma of Tuberose flowers (smells like a fresh Hawaiian Lei!)...

I figured I'd share a recent story that I sent to my boss, via email.

Brief Background: I work as a Business/Systems Analyst (System Integration, if you care!) for a Payroll Company that was BIG into "Customer Service." It was taken over by a bigger Payroll Company that didn't have the greatest reputation for Customer Service - but we've been allowed to maintain our stranglehold on "Keeping the Customer Happy" for the time being...

And yes, I *am* a big Advocate of Excellent Customer Service (since it seems like such a rare occurrence these days!).

Anyway, my Actual, Honest-To-Gawd Experience follows:

* * * * *
Okay, to offset all of my woes of late, I thought it would be kinda nice to share a "Happy Story" - and I figured you'd appreciate it!

So... While Dynah was in the hospital, I kept my cell-phone at my side at all times. At one point, I'd sprawled out with the dogs on the guest-room bed and watched some TV. Well, the home phone rang (it was the vet), and I basically turned my back on my cell-phone for a whopping five minutes.

In that time, Annie managed to climb onto the nightstand and made off with my bluetooth headset...

Several hours later, I found the remains of my headset. Still functional (albeit, a bit perforated), but unfortunately she found the rubbery-plastic ear-loop thingie to be particularly tasty. So now I'm left with a functional bluetooth headset that I can't attach to my head. Kinda limits it's "true" functionality!

So I looked up Motorola's Website and sent an online inquiry to their Support Department, asking if there was any way to purchase "just" the ear-loop for such-and-such model.

The inquiry obviously went to some centralized Customer Support Center and the response was clearly scripted. "Dear valued customer, I apologize for any inconvenience you are experiencing with your Motorola Product..." Ya-Ya-Ya.

Short Answer: No, they don't sell the ear-loops separately.

But there was a blurb in there about how their products have a one-year factory warranty against manufacturing defects, and if I could respond with date of purchase, place of purchase, and was the product subjected to any physical damage - blah-blah - they might be able to replace it under warranty...

:::shrug::: It's worth a shot, right?

So I pulled out all the stops (so to speak). I did write back and provided the requested info. I also noted that the headset was subjected to physical damage - "A dachshund puppy named Annie" - and that "I'd be very surprised if that's covered under warranty! I'm willing to pay a reasonable amt to have it repaired, though"

I even dug up a jpg of one of Annie's cuter (and younger) poses. Renamed it "Annie_The_Bluetooth_Eater" and attached it to my email.

I can just imagine the Customer Service Rep flipping through her list of scripted responses, looking for the appropriate reply ("dachshund puppy... dachshund puppy... hmmmm... nothing here!"). But - to my amazement! - they wrote back and told me that they'd replace it on a "One Time, Exception Basis" under the factory warranty. Free of charge!

Well I'll be damned!!!

I mean, they could have just as easily said "Too bad," right?

I thought that was pretty cool and a excellent example of good customer service (are you getting goosebumps yet?!).

In fact, when it's all resolved I'll have to find a way to send a "Recognition" letter to someone, someplace higher-up in Motorola. While I never had anything "bad" to say about Motorola products, now I'm far more likely to say "good" things about them...

Pretty cool, huh?!

Just thought I'd share.............. (It's nice to catch a break every once in awhile!!!!)


Wiener Whining Continues...

Dynah the Cone-Head Franken-Weenie

Well, I warned ya!

Actually Dynah's shown remarkable progress this week. She can now almost, kinda-sorta, walk. Both of her hind legs are very much "alive" although her right rear is definitely weaker. At least she can support her weight and she's not dragging that leg anymore.

I'm glad she's feeling better, but it seems like the better she feels, the bigger pain-in-the-tush she tends to be! And I guess I can't really keep her tranquilized *all* the time! Actually, today I didn't tranq her at all - and she did "okay."

But once again, I tried to let her come sit outside with "the family" and all she did was yelp and complain!


I suspect it's gonna get worse before it gets better! In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she regains almost-full use of her hind-legs by next weekend - BUT!!! - She can't be allowed any "freedom" for a full month! The risk of re-injury is too great at this point.

Oh, well!

Friday, Glorious Friday is here! And we're having beautiful weather (Yay!). Once again, I'm blogging at poolside...

We've got the weekend ahead of us. A couple of friends are coming over for a BBQ/Pool Party tomorrow. Although - for reasons that completely escape me - hardly anyone ever wants to get in the pool. The standard excuse is: "I don't want to be seen in a swimsuit." Yeah, well, Guess What Sportsfans... Ours is a very private yard and we're ALL middle-aged here! Ain't none of us got 2% body-fat anymore! And if ANYONE might run the risk of being harpooned on a public beach, it's ME! Hmph!

Now if we were talking skinny-dipping, that'd be an entirely different story! (Most middle-aged folks really *shouldn't* be seen naked! ;-)

In any event, I'll hide my flab in spandex - to the extent that's possible! Beyond that, cellulite be damned! If it's 90*+ outside, I'm jumpin' in the pool! Guests are welcome to sweat like pigs if they so choose!

Anyhooo... It'll be a relatively straightforward BBQ: Potato Chips + Dip; Veggie and Fruit Platter; Insalata Caprese (which sounds exotic! But it's just fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and Balsamic Vinaigrette); London Broil, sliced thin so folks can grab as much (or as little) as they want; Grilled Veggies; Corn on the Cob; and Some sorta Rice dish on the side...

Damn, sounds like a feast!

I gotta check the peach tree. Maybe, if I'm feeling SUPER motivated (and if we have enough peaches left!), I'll bake a fresh (low-sugar) peach-pie for dessert...

That's about all the News that's Fit to Print for today!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Whiney Wieners

Biker B*tch Extraordinaire
(Dynah Lowrider - during better days)

I'm a Weenie-Dog Aficionado. It all started back when I was, like, four or five years old. I went to a friend's birthday party and the family dachshund had had a carnal encounter with a neighborhood poodle. They had an excess of puppies and managed to pawn them off on the attendees as "party favors!"

My mom wasn't overly thrilled with the idea but succumbed to peer pressure - what with all the other kids' moms trundling up their giddy, sugar-amped youngsters and new puppies into their respective station wagons...

(At least that's how I remember it!)

Heidi lived a good 14-15 years IIRC - and she was TOTALLY devoted to my mom. In fact, when she reached her final days, my mom was out of town - but Heidi waited 'til she returned and died in my mom's arms.

Wow - That's a Total Bummer way to start a post, isn't it?!

* * * * *
In the ensuing years, I've pretty-much lost count of how many dachshunds we've had. Let's see, there was Gretchen (who joined us shortly after Heidi's departure). Gretchen begat Squeak and Carefree Katrina (who was far from "care-free" - she was a nasty little fighter! But she, too, begat a litter or two... Like I say, I've lost count!).

Gretchen also begat Tuxedo - my "Once-in-a-Lifetime" dog... I chronicled much of her story on my webpage QT's Pet Page.

Tuxedo begat Baby and Babbitt. Both Baby and Babbitt ended up having back surgery (as dachshunds are prone to disc injuries). Both came through it just fine...

Baby did no begatting - so after Tuxedo's departure - I purchased Tazz the Spazz (The Last of the Boat Dogs). She's a black-and-tan smooth. At that time (early 2000), I learned that finding a breeder who will sell you a breed-able female is pretty damned difficult (that's a separate story, however), but I did find one breeder who took pity on me and hooked me up.

So Tazz is aptly named. She's a bit, umm, Schizo - for lack of a better word! She's also extremely high-energy and positively OBSESSED with chasing tennis balls. Well, at the ripe old age of 4, Tazz ALSO developed back problems. She, too, had the surgery and is perfectly fine now.

Prior to her surgery, Tazz begat Dynah Lowrider (in 2003), a mini wirehaired black-and-tan dachshund. You don't see a whole lot of wirehaired doxies, but I think they're the cutest! (DH and my family beg to differ!).

Roger wanted a "fluffy" dog he could call his own, so early last year, Princess Annie joined the family. She's a black-and-tan long-haired dachshund...

So back to Dynah: Dynah is, by far, the most compact of the three doxies. And she's a total "Mama's Girl!" She's also the laziest of the three. Although I like to think she's more "hedonistic" than anything else... Just give her a soft, warm pillow and she's Good-To-Go. I thought, for sure, she'd "dodge the bullet" as far as back-problems were concerned.

I mean, hell, this is only supposed to affect one in four doxies, right? (at least according to my web research!) And not ALL of them end-up being so bad that they require surgery!

Well... Dynah didn't dodge the bullet, unfortunately. Last week - yeah, last Thursday night - I came home from work and Dynah was in distress. Her hind end was wobbly and she was panting and trembling. I immediately gave her anti-inflammatories and locked her in a crate (SOP for back injuries). We went to our regular vet on Friday - who agreed with my diagnosis and bumped her up to Prednisone.

Saturday morning (why do these things ONLY happen on weekends?!!), Dynah took a serious downturn and was nearly completely paralyzed in her hind end. Moreso on the right rear leg, and she just couldn't support herself anymore. Plus she was obviously in serious pain - which broke my heart! So off to the Emergency Clinic, and then to Surgery.

Several thousand dollars later... Dynah came home on Monday morning, and I've been playing Doggie-Nursemaid ever since. The first day or two, she couldn't even piddle or poop without a lot of intervention (I'll spare you the gory details!). She's doing much better now and is actually able to support her hind-end for long enough to "take care of business" (Thank Gawd!). But she's gonna be on strict crate-rest for a month.

The thing that's really frustrating for me is that Dynah is a LOUSY patient! I thought, for sure, with her being such a puss and a "Mama's Girl" that she would look to me for comfort, and trust my guidance.

Not so, Kemosabe!

All of the other dogs I've had to 'nurse' have experienced discomfort, yes. But they went along with the "treatment" (including Doggie Physical Therapy where I 'bicycle' their little hind legs to keep them supple). Not so with Dynah. She fights and frets and generally gives me nothing but grief!

I try to bring her out into the den, and lay her on a pillow on the couch. She struggles and wriggles and tries to get away! I bring her outside and put her in the shade on the grass, in a little puppy playpen. She whines and yelps incessantly! I want her to be able to "be with the family" but there's just no pleasing her! Needless to say, leaving her locked in her little "prison" (a small, airline-type crate) isn't any better. But at least in the crate I don't have to worry about her injuring herself.

So, unfortunately, I have to keep her pretty heavily sedated most of the time. That's actually probably the best thing for her (she needs the rest, for sure), but it sucks. She's not really "in pain" (I keep her on low-doses of her pain meds), but she's extremely frustrated that she can't move around and "do what she wants to do."

And, for the life of me, I can't get her to believe me when I tell her "It's all going to be okay!"

So that's the story for today... And for the next several weeks! :::sigh:::

* * * * *
Oh, BTW, I do know all the "rules" for owning dachshunds. Might as well share them, huh?!
  • No jumping, leaping or flying (Try telling *them* that!)
  • No running up and down stairs - especially long, steep flights of stairs (One-story house, here)
  • No jumping off the furniture (Again, negotiating with a dachshund can be - "Challenging!")
  • If they absolutely, positively MUST get up on the furniture (Like there's a choice?!), build steps or ramps for them
  • Don't let them get overweight (No matter how sad they look while you're eating!)

How-some-ever: Sometimes you can take all the precautions in the world (I did!!!), and Bad Things can still happen...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where does one begin???

I've never had an honest-to-gawd blog before, so I have no clue where to begin.

I'm 45 years old (ugh!), so to "Begin at the Beginning" could prove to be rather onerous!

But I suppose some sort of "intro" is in order. I'm Nancy aka IMQTPI. I used to be active on the newsgroup many moons ago (I lived aboard a Cabin Cruiser on the San Francisco Bay for six years). My homepage IMQTPI's HomePage yaks about that.

In 2001, I met "Mr Right," and he dragged me (kicking and screaming) back to Terra Firma. No, not really! And I've acclimated rather nicely to having things like endless hot showers, being able to run multiple appliances simultaneously, having closets, a garage and a really cool yard. Anyway, we got married in 2002, and now I live in South San Jose - where summers are SUPER warm. Back on the boat, I considered 70* to be a hot day! Now I'm happiest when temps are in the mid 90*'s. In fact, occasionally we'll make a trek up to "The City" (SanFran) for a concert or whatever. It'll be summertime down here, but we hit this freakin' fog bank up around Daly City and I'm shivering my butt off! "Man, I can't believe I used to LIVE in this!"

Oh. Hell. I probably should've put in some "disclaimer" up-front that I can be a tad verbose! (If you've been to my website, you'll already know that!) But I like to think I can put a pretty amusing "spin" on stuff. There's plenty of dreck out there in Blog-Land, I'm sure. At least I can take pride in displaying a modicum of intelligence since I *can* spell and punctuate with "reasonable accuracy." (Typographical errors are another matter entirely!)

Anyway... Umm... Where was I? Oh yeah, yakking about "me!"

So yeah, we live in South San Jose in your typical 70's-vintage ranch house, in your typical 70's-vintage housing development. It's a quiet, working class neighborhood. The house isn't anything spectacular - 2BR/1BA, 1200 SF. It's pretty nondescript from out front and, well, the interior could use some *serious* updating! But what the hell - just OWNING a house in the Bay Area is a major accomplishment (and that was DH Roger's accomplishment). Even with the excrement making dramatic contact with the rotating blades, we *do* still have equity - Yay! And the best part about the house is the fact that we're on a 1/4 acre, pie-shaped lot. Looking at the house from the front, you'd never have any idea what was behind it. We put a pool in - in late 2002/early 2003, and I tried my hand at landscaping. The results can be found on my webpage as well (Gawd, I hope the link shows up! If not, I'll come back and edit it!). We have a really nice Private Tropical Resort and I love it!

So - just so you know - I'm wearing a damp swimsuit right now, sitting at my poolside Tiki-Bar, blogging via laptop on the home WiFi. Sucks to be me! ;-)

Hmmm... Only thing missing is "Tunes!" Hang on...

Okay, I'm back! Had to find the mp3 player w/my "Vacation Compilation" (Reggae + Latin + Calypso + Jimmy Buffett). I've got it hooked up to my El-Cheapo Boom-Box now. I also changed out of the damp swimsuit (it was getting sticky!).

So yeah, I love the yard. Love the pool. Love the landscaping and I'll admit I'm a bit proud of the fact that I did almost-all of it myself. From designing the pool and overseeing the actual "dig!" To planning - and overseeing - the hardscaping. And doing virtually all of the landscaping (except for the lawn - that was Roger's Realm - and the Cypress Trees were already here).

I'm especially happy that the vast majority of the plants are perennials and most seem to be thriving. That wasn't exactly planned explicitly - but it's turned out really well. Particularly since I've not been able to devote as much time/energy to the yard as I'd like this year (health issues - I'll try not to whine about THAT!), but it still looks mighty damned nice...

Those weeds that do manage to survive are just "part of the tropical wild-rainforest-vibe!" (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!).

Okay, here's the Direct Link to my Garden Page (Not my "Home" homepage, but I believe there's a link back to that from the Garden page): IMQTPI's Garden Page

Yep - I'm definitely a "Summer Person."

Okay, that's enough yammering for one day!

We'll see where this thing goes...............................

View my page on Meet the Phlockers