Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!

Yes, I’ve been gone a while…a long while. I’ve had some other physical and subsequent mental issues. I don’t really want to talk about them. It enhances the stress and potential depression. I read an article that explains the MIA from blogging probably better than I could.

Isolation: When Our Disease Makes Us Withdraw

So whether it’s starting over or
just continuing like I was never gone…

Welcome to my coffee shop in Cyber Space
Try the pumpkin spice scones!

Contact Nani at

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Opening Day!

kit - Talkin' Baseball by Digitalegacies Designs

Short blog tonight, but I wanted to wish everyone a happy day and weekend of celebration on this wonderful holiday, my favorite of the year – the snow can try to torment a little more, but the Boys of Summer are back, the green leaves and warm days will be back to stay soon!

We won’t talk about the disappointment in New York today, but it was a great day for National League ball!

First the Braves won! While I’m no longer thinking about making Atlanta my home, I was a Braves fan when they were at the bottom and enjoyed the ride to 1995. The Braves will always have a respected number 2 NL spot in my heart.

The highest high point of today was The Reds Opener, the Official start of the 2011 season. The season has truly started when the oldest professional team in baseball takes the field! After a shaky start, the Reds came out on top, thanks to a 9th inning walk-off homerun from Ramon Hernandez. It’s the first Opening Day win for the Reds since 2007.

According to some pre-season opinions, beating the Milwaukee Brewers today is comparable to defeating the Cardinals last year. We’ll see how the season unfolds for the Brewers, but as today closes, just like last year ended, the Reds are in first place! The Cardinals are in last. I don’t expect the Cards to stay in last anymore than I expect Albert Pujols to have another day that he hits into three double plays. But as a Reds fan, boy was it a good day!

Happy Opening Day, Sparky bless us, everyone!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm Normal?

I got the preliminary results of my CT Scan today. Quote Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop, “It’s not a tumor!” I was hoping, praying, that would be the outcome. Really, it’s not anything less than I expected. I’m getting the feeling I’m in the “testing because I have insurance” carnival.

When I was 18, I was in the hospital for just over a week. It started with double vision that I went to the eye doctor for. Honestly, my first thought was that I had just gotten my hair lightened and that it was some allergic reaction to the coloring process. My optometrist referred me to an ophthalmologist. That’s where one of the nurses in his office ruffled my Mom’s feathers with exclamations of “Oh my God! Oh God!” when I was taking the “can you see the red dot?” tests and some I could, some I couldn’t. Mom had issue with the lack of professionalism and scaring her child.

Yeah, Mom thought, “her child,” even though this was officially the first trauma in my life that I didn’t have to share with my parents. That was something totally new for me. I had to sign everything myself, including I had to give the doctors permission, if I wanted, for my parents to be told anything. Sure, I was working, in college and owned my first small business at the time, but I was also living with my parents. It never occurred to me that “adult” was more than being able to legally go to bars to see bands and that I could vote.

Anyway, the “oh God!” was because I was showing signs of potentially having a brain tumor! There would be many tests to come! I was sent to another specialist for an EKG and something else. That’s the specialist who put me in the hospital. I think that was also the point where I really did realize that I was a control freak. I hated that things were moving so fast and I was starting to lose understanding of what was going on. I was also regretting that going to my optometrist, since the problem started with my eyes, seemed like the logical choice, rather than my doctor. I totally trusted the doctor I had then and wished he had all the information about what was going on. He’d explain things to me.

Well, I got lucky. The resident on my floor in the hospital was awesome! He explained everything to me in plain English, from “what is this test for?” to “Why did they add a new pill?” It frustrated the nurses a little because if the little cup had more than the water pill I’d been taking since I checked in, I wouldn’t take it unless they could tell me what it was and why it was given to me. I was wheeled around for so many tests, including the first CT scan I’ve ever had. Here’s a great illustration of how perfect the resident’s bedside manner was for me. After the CT scan, he came into the room with a clipboard and a smile. He told me the results were in from the CT scan. “They looked at your bran and there’s nothing there!” Yes, that’s an actual quote from 27 years ago that I still remember because it made me smile on so many levels!

It ended up that I had a Pseudo-Tumor, caused by increased pressure on the spine. I had 3 spinal taps to get it normalized! It also took an additional 6 weeks to get my optic nerves right. Although I wasn’t seeing double anymore, my world was still bouncing up and down when I looked at it. There is still a slight flutter in my left optic nerve, which is why sometimes, if I’m tired, I’ll read with only my right eye open.

Today I called the neurosurgeon’s office to see what I could find out about the CT scan last week and set up a follow-up appointment. The follow-up is 2-1/2 weeks from now. There are no abnormalities in my brain and its time to pursue my mobility issues in another direction, in the original direction I thought we were going! I think this officially marks the first time anyone has ever called my brain “normal.” I try not to insulted by that. It just means normal shape and physical stuff going on. If it had been a written test, I wouldn’t be so normal! Besides, it was determined that there was nothing in my brain when I was blonde. So now, follow up appointment is in mid-April. See? “Normal” is not a priority!

I can say that I’m happy that all these tests say there’s not more wrong and the snail’s pace means I’ll be home for Opening Day and an undisturbed baseball marathon tomorrow and, although with the wheelchair, there is no question about David and I being able to go to the concert we have tickets for that is the Sunday before my appointment now.

And then, things start going MY WAY! :)

Photoblog Wednesday

Our Flowers
March 29, 2011

Here is the update on our flowers on the side of the house. Kelly and I, mostly Kelly, planted just a ton of bulbs last fall and the whole side by our door is starting to look so colorful!

I was looking at Edna's ready to bud daffodils on her blog. We have a bunch of daffodils in about the same point of almost buds too. Ah! I love spring!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Mug Shot

I’m starting to get a grasp on things again. Yeesh! Two classes and more doctor junk than I’m comfortable with had me a bit at wit’s end. Of course I said way back before I got the first MRI that I was ready for surgery and recovery, taking my classes online was part of that. It was a good plan, but it’s not running n my schedule. I’m a bit of a control freak and it’s really challenging my normally “up” disposition!

Ah, but this week is Spring Break for schools in Indiana where Tori and Rina live. Tori has a full Spring Break plate at home and Rina has some dog-training scheduled with my Dad. For the first couple of days of the week, she’s here! Yay! Happy Auntie! After breakfast out and chasing a few trains before David went in for his late shift today, we have plans for some Middle Eastern food for dinner and some relax time, maybe a movie or a game this evening.

It’s good for my stress-level. I’ve got a day with my mind off the medical junk and that last XML chapter that just had me pulling my hair out! It also gives me a time for a quick mug!

Monday Mug Shot

I Love Trains!
Minnesota Hobby Shop

I just love this mug for a bunch of reasons. Of course there is the simple railfan thing, it suits me. But there is also that it fits a cup out of the Keurig maker perfectly. The number one best part about the mug though, is that it was a gift from David on our honeymoon!

It was a day we slept in a little after waking up to rain pouring outside. Then after breakfast at iHop we started west out of St. Paul, MN to South Dakota. Of course, since there was no baseball planned that day and the rain made it a definite travel day and not one for trains, we were a bit leisurely about getting out of town. David had located and wanted to stop at a few hobby stores to check out the train selections. I stayed in the care with the CDs and my travel journal while he checked out the hobby stores. When he came back to the car from one of them, dodging raindrops that were falling by the bucket, he presented me with a bag. In that bag was this mug! How awesome! He not only accepts my strange collection, but now he’s helping!

That happened to be the day that shifted between rain and not, but was mostly cloudy until we reached a spot with sun in the distance and REALLY dark clouds right in front of us. The scanner was telling us there was a train up there, but before or after the heavy rain? We got walloped with the rain and our first sight of the train, but because there was sun coming, we followed it, hoping for sun, thinking maybe even a rainbow? Maybe?

Well, we broke through to the other side of the rain and there was the train – and a gorgeous DOUBLE rainbow! Every time I enjoy a cup of coffee in this mug, I think of that day from our honeymoon and thought it’s just black and red paint on a white mug, I see a rainbow!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Problem With Healthcare

Oh, Woman-I-Haven’t-Met. I know your name. I know you are skinnier than me and your breasts are perkier. I also know that you have nasty scoliosis of your spine. The doctors have known that since last year.

I know these things about a stranger because the medical profession seems to be more concerned with processing records and getting the paperwork out the door than they are with the patients. Plans are underway for me to go to a specialist in Cleveland for “my” adult scoliosis, to see if it might have something to do with my mobility issues. Except that the x-ray included in the packet with my MRI prints is not me. I discovered that this morning, so I can’t even stop the referral process until Monday.

After seeing the x-ray in the neurosurgeon’s office, I was a little freaked out. I saw a very curvy spine on the light box across the room. Even with my iffy eyesight, I could see that it was bad. I was a little in shock. I’d been tested for curvature of the spine when I was in middle school, no curve, no signs of one potentially starting. When I’d been in a car accident at almost 30 which compressed my lower spine, I had full back x-rays done and no sign of scoliosis. Now, here I was looking at a badly curved x-ray with my MRI print films.

This morning, I wanted to look at them again. I have three packets of prints. The set of prints I brought in for my appointment on Wednesday was incomplete. The chunk of the MRI pictures that warranted the most comments on the analysis sheet wasn’t there, but the spine x-ray that made my heart sink into my stomach was. When I looked today, the full set, that had all the pictures that were on the CD I took home was there and that x-ray with the scoliosis had been moved to in the new packet. I pulled it out and looked at the crooked spine. When I unfocused from the S-shaped curve, I noticed something wrong. I’m not that thin! My breasts are bigger and not anywhere hear that perky! Then I decided I’d see if there was a test number to compare and make sure the prints were all from the same test. Better than a number for matching, my MRI prints have my name, age and the date of the test. The information on the scoliosis x-ray was dated last year and included all the personal things I know about Woman-I-Haven’t Met!

I don’t know what part of this infuriates me the most. When I got the MRI done, I asked for a copy of it on disk for my records and a set of the prints on film for my neurosurgeon and a copy of the results sent to my doctor. They told me that because it was done digitally, they didn’t do prints, but the CD would be the same thing. My MRI was the end of the day on Friday. I think perhaps Happy Hour and the weekend had more to do with them not doing prints than the scan being done digitally. I had even expressed that the MRI I had done in January was done digitally, but I had to get prints to bring to the doctor. When I called the hospital on a weekday, there was no problem ordering the prints.

The problem with ordering the prints after-the-fact was that they were incomplete and had someone else’s x-ray in them. I have no idea who got the rest of the prints from my MRI, but I have someone else’s confidential medical information and there is confidential medical information of mine “somewhere.”

So the hospital screwed up. They screwed up by lying to me about whether or not they “did” the prints that the neurosurgeon requested, then they screwed up by putting only part of my MRI prints and someone else’s x-ray in my envelope. Again, I have no idea where the rest of the prints from my test are. But hey, the neurosurgeon viewed them twice, including the x-ray, with me sitting there and didn’t realize it wasn’t an x-ray of me.

Slow down! Read things and double check. Healthcare is dealing with very private matters and with people’s lives. Patients aren’t stupid, I’M not stupid, but when I’m presented with a terrible misshapen spine and told it’s me when I already have bulging disks in my lower back and major mobility issues, I want to be able to trust that the healthcare people, the ones who make a lot more money for their time than I ever have, are doing a careful job. When you’re sick, or getting tested for something unknown, if you’re in pain or getting stuffed into an enclosed tube for an MRI, you’re not on your mental “A-game.” It should be no problem to expect that you can trust those medical institutions with your health and safety.

What I do know is that I had to have patient advocate paperwork that we’d had done by Grandma’s lawyer to ask questions and get information when Grandma was in the hospital and when one of my best friends was dying, I couldn’t ask for information on his condition without John’s sister’s okay. I’m not happy about having a stranger’s information or that anyone else could have mine.

Woman-I-Haven’t-Met, I hope your x-ray gets into your doctor’s hands and they can do something to help you. I hope that whoever got my MRI prints finds out they have the wrong ones before they start to treat or test further for something they don’t need.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Photoblog Wednesday

The Promise
Spring IS almost here

Last fall, when Kelly assured me that flowers would grow up through those chunky mulch chips l had my doubts, but I trusted her. Kelly wouldn’t steer me wrong! And now, here they come!!!

Now if I can just keep the UPS destruction squad from putting boxes on them, I’ll have a beautiful flower bed. One crocus has already been tamped down by a UPS delivery. I applaud them hiring the challenged, but should blind men really be driving big brown trucks?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday Mug Shot

I know, I’m a day late for Monday, but I’m not going to change the feature’s name for a day late. I suppose I could call it “Tuesday Tea Cup,” but I only have one mug that is a tea cup only and I know I’ve done that one already.

I know! We’ll call it “Tuesday Tardy Mug!”

Oh, why don’t I just get on with it?

Monday Mug Shot


If you’re wondering why there is a little stuffed moose with my cappuccino in the photo, it’s because the little stuffed moose came with the mug! We stopped at the Duty Free store on the way back over the border when we had our day trip in Canada in January. When we go someplace that sells mugs, I always have to have a look.

It was a pleasant day trip. With sunny skies, we got a few nice train shots and I got a few water towers too! That was also the day I got the call about Lacey finally finding a home and that started something – we sponsored 2 more cats who found homes within a month. We also got lunch at McDonald’s, which I’ve said before is SO much better if the is a red maple leaf in the middle of those Golden Arches! It was a great day that gave some stress relief at a time I really needed it.

The border is the fun part, both going and coming home. David is used to asking, “Can you stamp my wife’s passport, please?” When we cross into Canada, I MUST have my passport stamped. It’s part of my 10-year research and statistics project. All total, that passport cost $100. The ONLY reason I have a passport right now is to go to Canada, a country I have freely traveled in and out of since I was an infant. I “earned” my right to drive on overnight trips before I was 18 from my Mom by mapping out and planning a trip to Stratford, Ontario to go to the Shakespeare Festival. When I was suddenly required to have a passport to do that I was, well, irked a bit, okay a lot. The passport has to be renewed after ten years and the stamps in it will tell me if it was a good economical investment and one worth making again. I’m just being practical and fiscally responsible.

Going home, we stopped at Duty Free where we got not only the cappuccino mug with the moose, but we stocked up on some Canadian chocolate! Okay, it was mostly the made in England Cadbury, but Canada food regulations affect a lot of items that only appear to be the same as the commercial products we have. We pay extra for chocolate the quality of everyday Canadian chocolate. The souvenir chocolate includes a huge bar of Cadbury with whole hazelnuts. YUM!

We’ll see what my calculations are in eight years when I will need to decide whether or not to renew my “Go to Canada book.” If it works out to $10 a year, the chocolate alone may be worth it!