Category Archives: Health Alert


Bruderhof Communities

Playing in my art room is therapy for me. An escape from anything that is bothering me. A way to work out feelings. A joy in experimentation.

We converted a third bedroom into my art room several years ago. I helped my husband put up extra shelves all the way across one wall. We got extra stand-alone shelves and a drafting table advertised in the newspaper. We put up a few more shelves on another wall. I converted the closet into a supplies area. We put up another large table that is as long as one wall.  There is a ceiling fan from which I hung a cute mobile of merry-go-round horses.

Years ago my husband and son got together to give me a present of a lot of my favorite songs on CDs. I have a player up there, so I can fill the room with glorious music – some of which I danced to as a teenager a hundred years or so ago – and lose myself in the world of music and paint.

The only limitations is my imagination and my ability to make my visions come out on whatever I’m trying to paint. Lately I’ve been having ideas for tees on which I have spots that won’t come out in the wash. Since I’m a slob, I seem to have a never-ending supply of tees that can use a face lift.

Yesterday I finished another.


Lately I am trying to do things each day that make me stronger.  I’m getting back into exercising, monitoring what I eat more carefully, working in my flowers when the weather isn’t lethal, playing in my art room, spending time with our son, walking outside several times a day, and reading.

The result of all this is hopefully a stronger, happier, calmer me. I don’t have to be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but being able to handle whatever comes as well as possible would be good.  I am in DAY 4 today. So far, so good!


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, aging, Attitude, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, fun in my art room, Giving New Life to Old Tops, Health Alert, Lewis Art, playing in my art room, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Thoughts on a Thursday 9-5-2019


  • Try as you might, the cat jumps out of the planter just before you take the picture.

THIS is that cat – Smoke.


  • I’m watching the agonizing ‘progress” of Hurricane Dorian as it makes it way up the East coast wreaking havoc. I’m hoping it will continue moving to the east, causing as little damage as possible.
  • I did DAY 2 of renewed yoga practice yesterday, and will do Day 3 today.
  • I played in my art room yesterday, continuing the painting of yet another stained tee of mine. It seems to be coming back to life slowly. :0)
  • I am learning more about the after effects of my husband’s stroke. (“As with anxiety, anger is both a physical and psychological response. … After a stroke you might find you experience anger much more frequently, have less control over your outbursts and/or get angry over things that would not normally cause you to feel that way.” – the things I’ve read say that this may be a temporary change in personality.  Our son and I are dealing with this. It doesn’t happen often, and fingers are crossed this will pass.)
  • I am thankful that I get to spend time with my two favorite men on the planet, and that we are sharing good conversations, laughs, and hugs.

May your Thursday be full of things that fill your heart and make you smile.



Filed under exercise, Health Alert, Mother Nature, playing in my art room, Thoughts on a ________

Fighting Through the System

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Now that we’ve gotten some answers and a plan for my husband’s recent stroke, I’m having to dive into the pool again, trying to get reasonable help, rather than putting up with the runaround.

Our primary doctor and the neurosurgeon said he needs to be seen by a neurologist for circulation questions in his legs and numbness on the bottom of both feet. (He is a Type II diabetic.)  I finally got a call this morning from a neurologist’s office, giving us an appointment. I was simply speechless when she gave us an appointment for the first opening – almost the end of FEBRUARY!  Our son’s reaction was, “you’re kidding, right?” My husband’s reaction was, “I’ll be dead by then.”

We have access to a portal where we can contact the nurse of our primary. I consider this a miracle because the nurse is a true gem. She usually gets back to me by the end of the day I leave the message. She has worked tirelessly for us since my husband’s stroke, trying to help us get us the care he needed. I am hoping that we can get a referral to another neurologist who can see my husband in a more reasonable amount of time.  We are supposed to be getting tested (I think an arteriogram of his legs) very soon.

The reason I’m writing this is to again stress that each of us has to be our own health advocate. 

WE are the ones who care the most, and have the most to gain – or lose – by our attitude and effort. We need to keep pushing wherever we can to fight our way through whatever system is in place to get what we need.


Filed under Family, Health Alert, taking care of yourself

Pity Party

Getty Images

I suggested yesterday that you might consider getting the 2-shot vaccine for the Shingles virus. My husband and I got the 1st shot yesterday.

I’m STILL strongly suggesting you think about it, but I have to also warn you about possible side effects of the shot.

Yesterday afternoon my husband and I had sore arms where the shot had been administered. Not as bad as an ear ache or a tooth ache, but an unrelenting ache that made us a bit on edge.

We slept fine last night. When we got up this morning, we agreed our arms were still sore, but maybe not as bad as yesterday. You have trouble finding the spot where my husband got his shot. My arm has about a 1.5 inch raised, pink, very warm place easily seen from across the room. We both feel pretty bummed out and both of us took a nap this morning in our recliners.

I have slight flu-like symptoms. I’m achy all over, have a head ache, and generally feel as if I had been run over by a truck. I’m fondly thinking of another nap this afternoon.

We don’t feel SICK, just no energy.

So, while you’re thinking about getting this important vaccine, also note that your arm might be sore and you might feel a total lack of energy the next day or two, so you might consider getting it on a Friday afternoon so you’ll feel fine by Monday. We think it’s a small price to pay when you consider how AWFUL Shingles is.

We’ll get our 2nd shot mid March.


Filed under Health Alert, taking care of yourself

Shingles Protection

If you have had Shingles – or have tried to help someone who has it, you’re already cringing.

Shingles varies for everyone. Some people have a light case, and others a much more serious outbreak. My husband had a BAD case in around 2005 and we both cringe even THINKING of what he went through. In his case, it covered his whole left side and continuing around to his belly. His pain was excruciating and nothing seemed to help. He was in pain about 6 weeks and then STILL hurt when he laughed, sneezed or coughed for months afterward.

We jumped on it when the first vaccine was announced. It was hyped as a one-shot thing that would protect us for life. We both got the injection. THEN, when a new vaccine, Shingrix came out, we discovered that our ‘protection’ was really only for 5 years, and that we had been unprotected since 2009!

We tried to get on a list to receive the new vaccine, Shingrix, 50 mcg injection. (It’s a 2-shot deal with 2 to 6 months between shot #1 and shot #2.) We got the okay from our primary doctor and called Walgreen’s, only to be told there is a shortage of vaccine. They would put us on their list, but it would be awhile before we could get it. (They can only get 10 shots/month and the line is long.) AND, as makes sense, they’re trying to get shot #2 for the good folks who have already gotten shot #1 and need shot #2 before the six month time limit is up. We called the other pharmacies in Greenwood and Fort Smith and got the same information.

THEN, a new pharmacy opened its doors in Greenwood. We had been with them formerly, but they shut down and we had to go elsewhere. We were delighted to hear they were back! I called and she told me she COULD get the vaccine! We went and filled out the paperwork. When she called it into our healthcare provider, Humana, she reported to us that the cost for each shot would be $140 – and we needed FOUR shots! We put the whole idea on hold, hoping that the beginning of the year might bring better news as to costs.

I called Humana yesterday, finding to my delight that our cost would be $47 per shot – a much more reasonable cost. I called the pharmacy. She still had our paperwork and resubmitted it, calling us back later to confirm the cost.

We got our shot #1 today, and we’re on the calendar to receive shot #2 mid-March.

I don’t know what the difference is between sources, or why other pharmacies have so much trouble getting the vaccines. I’m just glad that our new pharmacist had no trouble and could get us started on being fully protected. The protection is for 5 years;  so – if we’re still alive and kicking by then – we’ll go in and get protected again.

I write this to urge YOU – if you are 50 or older – to seriously consider getting this protection. I can tell you that you DON’T want anything to do with getting Shingles. You don’t need the pain, and you can get it over and over again. Please research what the situation and costs are for you wherever you are and make the decision to protect yourself, if possible.

It’ll be interesting to see when and if Walgreen’s will ever call us back that they finally have the first shot for us…

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Filed under Food for Thought, Health Alert, Important Ideas to Consider, taking care of yourself

Interesting Experiment

Our son lives and works in Thailand. He enjoys discovering new food. (I’m basically discovery-averse when it comes to food. I’m usually much too hungry to ‘risk’ getting something I don’t like, but I’m trying to change my ways.)

A few days ago he mentioned he had walked to town and gotten several mangosteens. He talked about how delicious they were and that they really seemed to ‘agree with him.’

I had never heard of them. I Googled them and found that lots of supplement companies are making products from mangosteens. I found that the actual fruit wasn’t available ( or at least, not that I could find.)

Since they are supposed to be good for ‘whatever ails you,’ and “(1) Increase Energy, (2) Reduce & Diminish Pain, (3) Lose Weight, (4) Fight Heart Disease, (5)Fight Free Radicals, (6) Fight Crohn’s Disease, (7) Fight Hypertension(8)  Improve Digestion, (9)  Improve Urinary Tract, (10) Improve Oral Hygiene(11) Ease Asthma, (12) Diabetes, (13) Mental Awareness(14) Allergies, (15) Fight Infections, (16) Depression, (17) Improve Skin Health, (18)Eye Health, (19) Lower Cholesterol, (20) Kidney Stones” 

AND probably claim to make you look like Julia Roberts – ALWAYS high on my own personal list, I ordered 90 capsules (a one month supply) to see if their claims had any merit in my case.

Our son wrote that he was trying to have some of the actual fruit delivered to us! He said he thought it was shipping out of Florida, so it’s already approved to be brought into the United States and won’t get hung up in customs or any other nasty speed bumps. I can’t wait to try the actual fruit, since my son rarely raves about a food.

If you are in an area where you can buy some, or you try the supplements, we can compare notes!

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Filed under DIET!, Health Alert, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Doing Better

We have two sweet members of our doggie family, Amber (above) and Molly (below.)  I was seeing ads for doggie dental care and felt like a slob because all we’ve ever done is buy dental chews. In an effort to start being a better caregiver, I ordered some TruDog “Spray Me” Doggy Dental Spray. The idea is to peel back your dog’s lips on one side and spray into the mouth, and then do the same on the other side.


I talked to my SIL who said that her husband actually physically brushed their dogs’ teeth three times a week! (Can you see me hanging my head in shame?)  The other thing she told me, though, was that they use a product you mix with their drinking water. It’s called Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution.  I love this idea because it’s good for whatever pet you have and they get a dose each time they drink.  Since everyone uses the same water dish when they’re in the house, this protects the cats, too. (It doesn’t mention fish, so I’ll refrain from putting any in the aquarium :0) ). The bottle says the additive is odorless and tasteless.

We’ve been using the solution in the water for two days now. No one seems to notice any difference, and the water is slurped up just as quickly as always. I got the spray today and used it on both doggies. Neither dog was especially helpful or cooperative, but I managed to get a couple of sprays into each side of each animal’s mouth.  Molly didn’t say anything, but headed for the office as soon as I let her go.  Amber fought me a bit, and then was dramatically trying to spit it out. I’m glad that we don’t have TWO highly-dramatic dogs…

Between the two of these products (plus the normal dental chews we’ve always gotten) our animals will be getting much better dental care than before.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Health Alert

Nothing is EVER Simple…

I told you earlier that I was prescribed 4 prescriptions.  For the rest of the afternoon I’ve been trying to actually GET them.

First, the doctor called the prescriptions to the wrong pharmacy. I finally figured that out and called the doctor’s office again.

THEN, I got two emails from my pharmacy saying they didn’t have ANY of the medicines I need, but would order them and let me know when they were ready to pick up.

One of the emails listed ONE of the medication’s cost as 60 pills for $706.99. Once I could breathe again, I came into our office,  went to the website of my healthcare provider and messed around for about 45 minutes trying to find out if that medicine was covered and what the cost would be if it was.  I was delighted to find that I could get 90 pills for $73.99!

I called my doctor’s office back and explained the problem. The wonderful nurse offered to send the prescription to my provider electronically. I haven’t heard anything more, so I’m HOPING that means that all has gone through okay and that my pills will be on the way soon.

I don’t really like to wait, particularly when one of the meds is an anti-inflammatory for my eye, but I don’t need to send us to the poorhouse, either.  Hopefully, in another week or so, I’ll have the new meds and refills for the ones I’m using now, and can concentrate on healing, rather than fighting my way through the system.

Tonight, as part of a victory lap, my husband and I are taking three good friends for bowling and ice cream !!!!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Health Alert

Yet Another Perk of Getting Older

The good news is that my eye scratches are improving – but may take several weeks to months to fully heal. According to my eye doctor, I’m enjoying one of the many perks of getting older – excessively dry eyes. The oil ducts at the bottom of my eyes have either quit producing oil or are solidifying and clogging up the ducts.  I have extremely dry eyes now, and may have allergies, on top of the scratches.

SO – I have another appointment in two weeks, 4 prescriptions and a bunch of eye ‘stuff’ I need  to start using on a regular basis, at least until we get me over my current problem.

  • To get the oil ducts hopefully open, I need to heat a gel eye mask and put it on my eyes for 10 minutes twice a day.
  • To get the ‘goo’, wax, oil, and other ‘stuff’ out of my eyelashes, I’m to use “Lid Scrub” each night.
  • I have a prescription for pills to take twice a day to help the situation, but I’m not sure exactly how it does that.
  • I have two kinds of drops – one two times a day (down from 4 times
  • I have two ointments, one 3 times a day and 1 at night.
  • AND all of these things are now for BOTH eyes.

I need a calendar and a checklist to be sure I’ve done everything!

The doc said he would call the prescriptions in to my pharmacy so I could pick them up when I got the other eye stuff. Sadly, the pharmacy hadn’t received a call yet. I’ll need to call them back later this afternoon to see if they have received and filled the prescriptions, or if I need to call the eye doc’s office back and find out what the problem is.

Enough gritching, though. My pain is gone.  A LOT of the irritation is gone. I can see. Keeping things in perspective is something I work on all the time. Things could be so much worse. I’m lucky to have access to good health care and to be able to see someone who made the pain go away.

Will start making my checklist now.



Filed under Health Alert

The Eyes Have It

I’ll leave shortly to drive to Fort Smith for my follow-up eye exam. It’s been a week since my husband took me to the E.R. because of pain and irritation in my right eye. The diagnosis was, “Wow. You’ve really scratched up your eye.” The only thing I can think of for a cause was the last session of leaf mulching. The mulcher whirls leaves around, chewing them up and dropping them into the 39 gallon trash bag underneath. In the process, some leaf pieces, twigs, branches, etc., come flying out of the top. I wore my wrap-around sun glasses for protection from that. When I finish working, though, I’m covered with a fine ‘dust’ from the mulching, from head to toe. I can imagine that some of that managed to get into my eye, moving around and causing the scratching. Because of that, I now wear some pretty serious goggles type eye protection whenever I’m even distributing the mulch.

My husband has been putting an eyedrop and a ribbon of goo into my eye 4 times a day since last Monday.  Both eyes still feel gritty when it’s time for another treatment, and I’m having to blink a lot because of blurriness. Since both eyes are irritated, I’m suspecting I might be having an allergic reaction to something, as well as dry eye from the bad drought we’ve been having for the past 3 months.

The good doctor will tell me how I’m doing this morning. I’m hoping he can recommend something that will soothe my eyes a bit.

Meanwhile, I hope you’re having a happy day. I’ll talk to you again later. :0)


Filed under Challenges, Health Alert



Comparatively speaking, I feel as great as this owl does today.  I’m not hurting and haven’t taken anything for pain, muscle relaxants, etc.  I don’t know how long it will last, but right now, I’m declaring victory!

I actually felt well enough to take Amber out for a long walk this morning. She’s to the point where we don’t need to put the leash on at home. If she strays too far, I can simply call her. If I’m lucky, she’ll come. If not, I can push the green warning button on the shock collar remote and she comes right away. We haven’t had to shock her for anything lately, except once for dive-bombing the cat with too much enthusiasm.

The past two weeks seem to have been a lot better, as far as getting through to Amber what we would like, and having her actually comply. This doesn’t mean things are calm – far from it; but we’re living in tandem more now, rather than having to fight our way through the day quite so hard, ending in complete exhaustion.

She is doing two new things lately – I throw her toys into a clear plastic bin in the corner of the office. Rather than go get a toy as she used to, she picks up the entire bin, allowing toys to fall out as she carries the bin across the room, and then sits down and chews on the bin. I have to admit she may get this from me. Half of the time, I covet a DISPLAY, rather than the items ON the display, in a store.

The second new thing is that, while she spends less and less time on the back porch, when she does, she has started either eating or scratching off the white paint on the boards that comprise the side of the porch. We have three spots now that are down to the bare wood. I can spray those spots, but I don’t think there is enough Bitter Apple in the world to keep the whole porch covered…

She has oodles and gobs of chew toys of all shapes, sizes, colors, and squeaks. She tires of them quickly, whether she has access to all of them at once or just one at a time. We play ball with her on the porch and in the front yard, take her out multiple times a day to take care of business, walk, explore, and play. She takes a short nap in the mornings and one in the evenings, and – otherwise – is a perpetual motion machine with teeth. It’s a good thing she’s loving and sweet….

We’re going to do errands in a bit, and then I’ll TRY to do some very gentle yard work, if my back is still cooperating. Such a pleasure to move – get up and down – without pain!

I hope that you are having a pleasant day, too.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Health Alert



I’m not ready for any marathons, but my back is FINALLY easing up. :0)

I was actually able to sweep the back porch this morning – a really good thing because Amber had decided to take the bedding out of the crate and completely shred it all over the porch.

We just returned from grocery shopping. We found more bedding we can use in the crate. Fingers crossed she doesn’t decide to shred THIS immediately, as well.

I’m going to TRY to get some seeds planted inside – in a plant starter – and outside in the garden. I have no clue whether these will come up at all, (since my moniker of “Serial Seed Killer” still applies), will come up in time to actually make before it gets too cold, or what, but I’m going to try. I DO have 4 celery plants ready to go out in the garden.

I was unable to find any ready-to-plant veggies that I wanted for the fall, so I’m open to complete experimentation.

It’s still reading 110 degrees in my greenhouse, so it looks like my main time for using it will be in the winter, trying to get a good start on spring plants, and also trying to keep the plants that don’t do well over the winter here, alive to set out again when the danger of freeze is past.

I’m not really sure what is working to get me past my back problems, but I’m more than grateful. I’ll take it slow, continuing to use the various meds I have for muscle pain, the muscle relaxers I got from our doctor, the heat pad, careful stretching, my regular massage next month, etc. I’m hoping I’ll be able to resume my yoga practice soon.



Filed under exercise, Health Alert

Help for my Back

I did SOMETHING mysterious to my back a couple of weeks ago and have been pretty useless ever since, spending a lot of time in my chair with the heating pad, taking pain relievers, etc.

Yesterday I had a wonderful massage. My massage therapist always asks if I need more help in a certain area, and I told her about my back – that my muscle pain keeps moving, causing me spasms, pain, and general grief.

My doctor gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant and that has helped, but I’m still a mess.  I had to grit my teeth to get up on the massage table and lie down flat on my front.

Lynn concentrated on my back, using a spray stuff she massaged in. For the first time in a long time I was free of pain! I asked her what it was and where I could get some. She got it on a trip to Branson, Missouri, but she said the lady had a website, What she was massaging into my back is called, Kelly’s World Famous Eucalyptus Oil. It’s an all natural pain reliever. It doesn’t have an odor and rubs in, not getting on your clothes. To be honest, at this point I wouldn’t care if it looked and felt like tar and smelled bad. It took my pain away.

When I got home I went to the website and ordered two 4 oz bottles. I’m going to ask my sweet husband to spray it on me and rub it in as soon as it arrives.

I still have a super tender back today. It isn’t a miracle drug, but it DOES really ease the pain while your body works its way out of the pain cycle.

I’m hoping the combination of muscle relaxants, the spray, the heat pad, and really careful stretching will get me back to my normal state – my husband describes as, “mean as a snake!” :0)


Filed under Challenges, exercise, Health Alert