Monday, May 23, 2022

a sleepless night and another birthday


I had planned to put in a couple of hours over at the studio working on the box and a couple of hours later working on the watercolor yesterday. I did neither. Saturday night we finally got some rain. It started with lightning and thunder and woke me about 2:30 with a trembling panting dog. I got up because the Queen of the Night (night blooming cereus) had three flowers that were going to open and when I went to bed, they hadn't even started to open. But, at 2:30, surely they would be open and so I threw on a shift and went out to look in the lightning and thunder as it was just barely starting to sprinkle. As soon as I went out the door I could smell their fragrance so flashlight in hand I managed a few pictures before going back in.



It wasn't long before the rain started so lightning, thunder, and hard rain and crazy fucking dog who would not settle or even be still for longer than about 30 seconds...under the sheet, no not under the sheet, on my head, on my pillow, on my head, under the sheet, not under the sheet, at the foot of the bed, next to me, next to me on the other side, on my head, just over and over, a panting, trembling, bug-eyed perpetual motion machine. I threw her off the bed a couple of times and then felt guilty and let her get back up. Poor thing. Consequently I didn't get any sleep between 2:30 and dawn even though the bulk of the rain was over by 4 AM (average for the area was about 2 1/2”) but the diminishing lightning and thunder continued for a couple more hours. I think I got maybe 2 hours sleep after Minnie settled down. So, yeah, didn't get any work done on either project and Minnie was lucky to get a short walk.

Today is another birthday, this time my son, my second and last baby. I guess you can tell what we were doing on those hot August nights. My two were born 2 years and 3 days apart. Everyone thought wouldn't it be cool if they were born on the same day. No, I'd reply, that would be terrible having to share your birthday with your sibling. So I encouraged the new little person to hang in there a few more days and he did. This time I woke up early, maybe around 6 or 6: 30 with some discomfort. By 8 I knew I was in labor but I had learned my lesson and declined to call the doctor right away since my water hadn't broken yet. By noon my contractions were close enough that I figured it was time to go so I called and we gathered up the stuff and headed to the hospital. At 1 PM, settled in, doctor came in to examine me and before I could object he pricked my bag of water to 'speed things up'. Then they gave me an enema (they still did that back then) and before I could get off the toilet I was in transition. Aaron was born at 3 PM, wailing and indignant. Since he was born at shift change, the nurses handed him over to Marc and I and put us in an unused room for the nurses coming on shift to deal with so we got to hold and be with our son for the 15 minutes or so before they came to fetch us and took him away to the nursery and 24 hours later we were all at home. This boy could be a sweet and loving child or very difficult and always so sensitive. After foolishly joining the army reserve in his early 20s and serving two tours in Iraq, at 43 he and his wife live quietly and are fixing up a house she inherited that they will move into soon.

The plan for today is yesterday's plan, work over at the studio after breakfast, work on the watercolor after lunch.

A parting shot or two, the poppies are done in the back flowerbed and the black eyed susans have taken their place

and the nile lilies sending up their blooms.



Saturday, May 21, 2022

a graduate, a birthday, and a busy day


You might remember my grandgirl Jade graduated from UT San Antonio last December. Thursday her twin, my grandgirl Autumn graduated from UT Austin with a major in Human Dimensions of Organizations and a minor in Pre-Med. Autumn spent the last spring semester studying abroad in Ecuador.


I know you're all scratching your heads about this degree. Here's what the University of Texas says about the program:

The University of Texas at Austin is proud to offer Human Dimensions of Organizations, a first of its kind in the nation program. Drawing on an innovative combination of liberal arts, behavioral sciences, and social sciences, we created HDO to meet a need not addressed by existing education options: providing a deep understanding of people, the key components of any organization. To advance our mission of better understanding the people who drive today's global marketplace, we developed three types of innovative education opportunities: A 15-Month Executive Master's Degree, Professional Training Programs, and a multidisciplinary Bachelor's Degree.

Career paths from HDO include human resources, people management, nonprofit leadership, project management, and government service, among others. The Liberal Arts have always taught critical thinking skills and effective communication, which are crucial to success in organizations.”

Autumn's immediate plans are to continue working at her current job for the summer at the reservation/check-in desk at a hotel there in Austin while she researches job opportunities and applies to the Peace Corps.

Since this was the graduation of this degree program only, it was held in a small auditorium in the student center and she was only allowed to have four people attend, she invited her parents of course and Marc and I, but they live streamed it so her sisters and friends could see it where they were in the student center. After the ceremony we all went for a meal and then we headed home.

Friday was my daughter's birthday, my first baby. The night before she was born, Marc and I had gone out and when we got home I wanted to do the last thing to make the new nursery ready which was to vacuum the floor and while I was doing that at 10 PM, my water broke. I wasn't having any contractions but the doctor told us to go to the hospital anyway and it was another 12 hours before she finally made her appearance. She was so small, 5 pounds 4 ounces, she came out, gave a polite little wah and that was it. The nurses took her off to do what they do and they were just enchanted with her. She was born via natural childbirth, no drugs and she was alert and looking around while all the other babies were in a drugged sleep. They even tied a little ribbon in her hair. Twenty four hours later we were at home. She was a perfect little baby and as it turned out, born to be a mom taking on the mothering of her husband's newborn when she was 19. As her family grew she took in more than one of her kids' friends who needed help or a safe place. Now at 45, all her kids are adults and she's a grandmother. She and Mike live on 5 wild acres out here with dogs and cats and ducks and chickens and neighbors and neighbors' kids and their youngest that still lives at home.

Today is going to be full so I won't have time to work on either of the art projects, the box or the watercolor. I need to go to the farmer's market and see if the honey people are there and then to a lecture on cacti and succulents in the Earth Lab series at Hesed House (where I go to yoga on Thursday nights), then make a dish to share at a party this afternoon for a neighbor who is originally from Germany, a war bride, and celebrating 50 years in this country. This is our first neighborhood get together since covid, 2 1/2 years ago. 




Wednesday, May 18, 2022

getting some stuff done and a pleasant surprise


Monday...Another day and no rain. Our first best chance is next Sunday. We had less than half an inch in April and none so far in May. The ground is cracking and I have to water every day.

We've been watching a lot of TV in the hot afternoons, streaming Barry on HBOMax, a dark comedy about a hit man who tried to give it up when he became involved with an acting class and also starring Henry Winkler as the has-been actor/drama coach til we caught up to the current season with new episodes now coming out on Sundays. Now we're watching Only Murders In The Building, on Hulu, starring Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez about an over the hill actor, a has-been director, and a young woman whose aunt lives in the building who band together to prove that the apparent suicide of a fellow resident was actually a murder and start a podcast about it to garner interest. There's a couple of others we've started to watch...Jessica Jones, MoonKnight, and Monsterland.

I think I mentioned that the truck wouldn't start a few days ago when I was ready to dump the contents on the ash pile and that Marc hooked the battery charger up to it. I'm happy to report the truck did start today and so I got the truck emptied. Yay me! The burn pile is as big now as it was when Marc burned it last week. I also went over to the studio and got started on making the blanks to construct the new box with. Baby steps but I can construct the body of the box while I mull over the little scene for the top.

I've also started a new watercolor of the yellow trumpet flower, the design with the flower, leaf, and bud but not enough progress to show, just the light pencil lines and a bit of green so far.

----------

Tuesday...Mail came early today and in it was a check from the gallery. Both trumpet flower pieces sold! And to the same person which makes me happy because I intended them as a pair. Also good because the framing turned out to be such an ordeal and to tell the truth I wasn't best pleased with how they came out. And ironically enough, the last time I talked to Barbara late March when she called about wanting a box for the anniversary show in the fall I asked her if those pieces were getting any attention. She paused and sort of hemmed and hawed before saying plainly, no, not really. But it just takes the right person, she added. Well, I guess the right person came along.



Out in the yard the purple coneflowers are in full bloom

and the butterflies,

gulf fritillary

and pearl crescent,

and some kind of bee 

are taking advantage.

The Easter lilies are in bloom but these are the fewest I've had since we bought this place, besides last year when I didn't get any due to the arctic vortex that sat on us for two weeks.

And then I saw these two swallowtail caterpillars on the parsley.

The altheas (rose of sharon) were just starting to come out when we got the first hard freeze and then we got another one and so they were all very late leafing out (and one has apparently died and a big portion of another died off as well) but this one is starting to bloom.

And here's Minnie with her 'aren't you forgetting something' look (it was either past her dinnertime or she was ready for a walk). 




Saturday, May 14, 2022

good stuff, bad stuff


OMG, it is so fucking hot and dry and way too early to be this hot and dry. Last Wednesday was the last day to burn, but only if you had to, had a hose close, and did it in the early morning before the wind picked up. Marc burned on Wednesday. Friday I emptied the wheelbarrow of a mountain of weeds that had piled up and the mountain of cleaver that has been sitting on the driveway since I pulled it all up onto the burn pile. Was going to empty the full truck bed of fallen branches that have also piled up but the truck wouldn't start. Great. So now Marc has the battery charger hooked up. So, foiled in that chore, I finally folded up the giant tarp that helps protect the tenders in the garage in winter, swept most the leaves out that have blown is, and put the recycling containers back to their summer arrangement. This little bit of activity had me sweating buckets.

OK, now to the topics at hand.

Good stuff...

Are these not the sexiest, most voluptuous flowers you've ever seen?



The rock rose are coming into bloom.



I don't know what these are, I dug up a small clump in the easement beside the sidewalk in front of the elementary school at the end of my street back when I lived in the city, but they definitely don't seem to mind the dry and the heat.



Purple coneflowers (even though they are pink) and gardenia.



Minnie still doesn't know what to make of this moving rock.



Tree frog hanging out on the yellow trumpet flower.



Don't know what this is exactly but it's missing a back leg.


Bad stuff... (I have no idea why the formatting is indented for the first 6 entries and can't undo it.)

    Arizona senate candidate calls for condoms to be banned in all states

    Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn calls for contraception ban except for married couples

    Mitch McConnell floats a national abortion ban and promises to do it if republicans take control of the House and Senate

    Missouri GOP banning Plan B and IUDs and is a debating a bill to ban women from traveling out of state for abortions

    Louisiana GOP declaring life begins "at fertilization" and seeks to make abortion a homicide and the use of an IUD murder

    Tennessee GOP law makes it a felony (with a $50K fine) to receive abortion medication via mail

Arkansas GOP trigger law will ban abortion with no exceptions and make it a felony to obtain an abortion

North Dakota GOP Gov. Kristie Noem pledges a special legislative session to pass new abortion restrictions

Oklahoma GOP passes Texas-style abortion "Bounty Hunter" law

Ohio GOP debating two trigger laws that would immediately ban abortion once Roe is overturned

Ohio GOP trying to reinstate a fetal heartbeat law stuck in the courts

Idaho passing a law authorizing civil lawsuits against abortion clinics/providers, Idaho rep wants to ban Plan B and possibly IUDs

West Virginia leaving in place a 19th Century anti-abortion law that makes obtaining an abortion punishable by up to 10 years in prison

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introducing federal legislation to punish private companies that provide travel benefits for women to obtain abortions in states where they are legal

Kansas GOP leading a push to remove abortion protections guaranteed to Kansans by their state constitution

GOP Senator Mike Braun says interracial marriage should be left up to the states on whether it's legal

This stopped being about banning abortions and went straight to controlling what women can and can't do with some states trying to prevent pregnant women from leaving the state. While they claim the high ground, forcing women to give birth, they apparently are fine with women dying as a result of withholding life saving care. These same people are angry that the Biden administration is sending formula to the mothers and infants we are holding at the border who have zero resources available to them, these same 'pro-life' people apparently think those babies should starve to death.

And if that's not scary enough, there's this:

Candidate for Michigan governor Ryan D. Kelley says those on the left want to “push this idea of democracy,” but that “in every instance” democracy ends up as communism. This rhetoric is how the right will justify their rule even as the minority voice in this country. They're not even pretending that they're in favor of democracy.

And this:

The Texas Supreme Court allowed the state's child welfare agency to resume investigations of parents and doctors who provide gender-affirming care for trans youth, overturning a lower court's decision.

In addition to Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill, Louisiana is passing it's own bill outlawing any discussions of sexual orientation or sexual identity.

New Hampshire Republican controlled senate passed a bill requiring public schools to not only 'out' trans youth to parents, but to report kids who aren't masculine (sissies) or feminine (tomboys) enough as well.


The right wing religious wackos are determined to take this country back to it's suppressive and oppressive culture, ruled by their interpretation of their religion, imposing it on us all, demonizing anyone and anything that doesn't conform to or fights their indoctrination, separation of church and state be damned. You know what to do in November. First, don't forget any of this stuff; second, don't let anyone else forget; third, VOTE BLUE.



Tuesday, May 10, 2022

updates: garden, toe, art, irony


I went to bed one night in the first week of May and woke up the next morning in August. It's hot and dry with intermittent high dry wind, temps in the low 90s and getting hotter. I spent Saturday and Sunday moving the sprinkler around about every 45 minutes or so.

Saturday was the Garden Club's annual plant sale. They buy some things but most of what's on offer comes from members' own gardens. I haven't belonged to the garden club since 2020 and the onset of covid since at first they did not pause their meetings and made no concessions like mandatory masks at the meetings or spreading the tables out and after the first meeting or two of that year people at the meetings started coming down with the virus. Then I started volunteering at SHARE in 2021, on Saturdays initially but then Thursday mornings when they decided to reopen. Since the garden club meetings are also on Thursday morning that sort of put an end to my membership since my reception at SHARE was exactly the opposite of my experience at the garden club. I didn't go to that many meetings anyway as for the most part I wasn't interested in the speaker or topic (and some would just drone on and on) or because it was too early in the morning and it was a very cliquish group, hard to break in. I was never invited to come join any group at any table when I arrived. Some of them would greet me but that's about all.

Anyway, back to the plant sale which I did donate four or five things to this year. As members we weren't allowed to buy anything until after the sale ended and then we could choose from whatever was left over. My sister Pam is still a member and she called me to get my butt down there as there were a few things she wanted. As I walked out I told Marc the last thing I needed was more plants. So of course I came home with more plants though the prices were very high this year. I got some bearded iris bulbs, surprise lily bulbs (what Mary Moon calls hurricane lilies), a coleus, a chocolate plant, and the couple of things my sister wanted.

So here's what's going on in my gardens. Top to bottom: purple coneflowers, the first Easter lily, yellow daylilies, yarrow, and what I call miniature gladiolas. 


And it looks like my double orange daylilies that did not give me a single bloom last year as a result of the arctic blast that froze the entire state will give me flowers this year as I'm starting to see bloom scapes come up.

Big toe update 19 days after the removal of my toenail: A gigantic blister formed on the inside and bottom of my toe and that was where most of the fluid was seeping from. That's stopped now but the bottom of my toe is still sensitive where the new skin is forming under the old, now dead skin which hasn't peeled off yet. On the top there's some new pink skin where the old has peeled away but basically just the scab on the nail bed and some hard dead skin on the end of my toe.

And I finally sat down to seriously work on the drawing for the coral box. I have a drawing I like, 3 types of coral, 3 colors, and I'm thinking I will do a small sculpture of coral for the top instead of the dead coral I initially considered which will now go in the box. I don't know if I will try to sculpt it or use actual coral skeletons. Probably that. I do have some around here.


I'm not going to update you on this whole abortion banning mess this time but next post I'll have a list of the laws already passed waiting in the wings and the ones being considered as well that go far beyond just limiting or banning abortion is any particular state. I will say this though, peaceful protests have sprung up outside the homes of several of the SC justices and so the Senate yesterday 100% voted to allow government security for the families of the justices. Where was their concern when abortion clinics were being firebombed, when women were accosted and blocked and screamed at that they were baby killers when trying to enter PP or other women's health clinics, when doctors were being threatened and murdered and protesters were outside their homes screaming obscenities
, when candidates withdrew from races because of threats from right wingers to themselves and their families, when Christine Blasey Ford had to move from her home because of death threats?

And from the There Is No Bottom To Irony department, Clarence Thomas feels like he's being bullied.



Saturday, May 7, 2022

a few days later...


I finally had a normal day Thursday. I went to SHARE and was on my feet for four hours and went through three bandaids. I covered the toe with a bandaid because when I am up and walking around on it with shoes (sandals in my case), it weeps and also to spare my fellow volunteers the sight. I didn't go straight to the recycling center to dump the cardboard as I usually do because I had two gallons of milk for my neighbor. We get the milk from the dollar stores that are a day out of sell by. It's still good enough to give out but by next week it won't be. It was a fairly slow day and we had so much left over that Jan was making everyone take milk home. I don't drink milk so I took it to my neighbor who cares for her grandkids in the afternoons. Then I went to the yoga class last night. Stephanie focuses on strength and core instead of a wide array of asanas and there was only one or two times when I had to modify to accommodate the toe and then a quick dog walk after.

It was my night to cook dinner and Friday and I had no idea what to fix but as I was falling asleep Thursday night I thought of a good and easy thing to fix and I'll be damned if I could remember what it was when I woke up the next morning so all day I was in the same predicament. I finally settled on salmon fillets which we have a bag of from Costco. I've cooked them before but I was just winging it and I guess I overcooked them cause I wasn't impressed with my efforts. This time I looked up an easy recipe and they came out much better. 

You may remember that I have a pink trumpet flower plant that I put in the ground and for two years it grew great but didn't give me a single bloom. Well, maybe one. So I took a cutting and it's been in a pot and last summer I got one flower. The one in the ground finally died after two winters in a row with a plunge into the 20s. The one in the pot was brought in for those two winters. Well, it's outside now, has grown a lot and I looked the other day to see it was sprouting buds all over the place after I fertilized it a couple of times. I counted at least 30 of varying size. I'm so excited!

I've been having to water it (and everything else) every day as we are in a drought with high wind many days and today our high was in the low 90s and will be in the 90s for the foreseeable future...in early May. We seem to have skipped early summer and jumped straight into high summer. This is not good.

----------

The battle over legal abortion continues to rage on FB and Twitter. It's telling that Alito, in his draft opinion, referred heavily on two treatises from a 17th century misogynist jurist who believed there was no such thing as 'marital rape', who believed capital punishment should be applied to children as young as 14, and who sentenced women to death for witchcraft as if what was common in the 1600s has more precedence than our modern society in the 2000s. Alito also references adoption as a reason for abortion to be overturned, using the phrase “domestic supply of infants” (he actually wrote this in his draft and Barrett concurs with the sentiment) indicating that banning abortion would help childless couples to get a baby as if a woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy should be obligated to go through with it regardless of the expense, time, and damage to her body and life, to provide someone else with a baby even though there are hundreds of thousands of children out there already in need of adoption. Oh but they aren't infants so I guess they don't count.

Red states and conservatives are salivating over what they see as the end to R v W and their soon to be ability to punish and control women with several senators and states having signed on to ban all abortions including ectopic pregnancies which they admit they don't know what they are or how they are treated and an Ohio bill demands doctors re-implant an ectopic pregnancy into the womb, something that is medically impossible. Ectopic pregnancies never result in a baby and will kill the woman if not removed but it's considered an abortion so not allowed. Senator Marsha Blackburn has stated that she thinks only married women should have access to birth control. Several states want to ban IUDs and 'morning after pills' and make it illegal to obtain abortion pills through the mail. Louisiana wants to be able to charge women and doctors with murder for having/performing abortions. Other measures being considered by red states are making it illegal for Medicaid to pay for birth control, making it illegal for a women to go to another state for an abortion where it is legal, deputize residents to sue anyone who helps a woman get a legal abortion in another state or make it illegal to 'aid and abet' a woman to have an abortion in a state where it is legal. I'm sure there are many others. There's been a lot of speculation on how these red states plan to keep track of women's periods and pregnancies in order to enforce these laws ranging from controlling over the counter home pregnancy tests to farming the data from apps that track your periods to forcing doctors to turn over names of women who have positive pregnancy tests (yes a violation of privacy and HIPAA but they obviously aren't concerned with that). So you ladies of child bearing age that live in states likely to pass and enforce draconian abortion laws I suggest you delete the apps now and stock up on home pregnancy tests for yourself and friends you can trust.

The thing that really stands out about these laws banning abortion, their forced birth policies, is that they are all aimed at women. There are no punitive measures for the man who impregnates a woman with no interest in or intent of being a father. Women having sex when they don't want to get pregnant is immoral but men having sex when they don't want to be a parent is just being a good ole boy who scored. And while women are expected to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term and give birth, there are no requirements for the man to aid, support, or be financially responsible for the prenatal care or birth of the baby he was an equal partner in creating.

It's time to fight. If November 2020 was a record in turnout this November we need to leave that in the dust. We need an unstoppable majority in the Senate and hang onto the House as well or this will just be the first hard won right we will lose. They will go after birth control, interracial and same sex marriage, LGBTQ rights, and integration and if they are able to make having an abortion a felony, those women will lose the right to vote.



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

over it and those fucking fuckers


This toe has interrupted the flow of my life and I am totally over it. I'm bored. I'm tired all the time from the inactivity, stiff and achy and I don't feel good. I don't even feel like doing the things I can do, like work on the drawing for the box. I've been on my foot more and more but after an hour or two my toe is a little more swollen and weepy so I go in, soak it, and spend the rest of the day reading or watching TV.

Haven't done my yoga at home or in class since I had the toenail removed but this morning I rolled out my mat and did an abbreviated routine. Most of the asanas were fine; down dog, up dog, plank, anything on the toes I sort of skipped over. Not that it hurt exactly, just twitchy. Anyway, I already feel a little better having done what I could and managed to get the grocery shopping done.

Marc mowed yesterday, going around the clumps of things still blooming even a single plant like this yellow coneflower and larkspur, and the yard looks so much tidier and when I can get out there and trim around the flowerbeds it will look even better.


----------

Well, the shit has hit the fan with the leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs Wade. Consider this...two justices who sit on the highest court of the land lied under oath during their confirmation hearings when they claimed that R v W was settled law but the Chief Justice thinks leaking the draft of their decision is the “most egregious betrayal” instead of two justices saying one thing under oath and then proceeding to undermine what they considered settled and reaffirmed law. The Court wants to send abortion access to the individual states because the right for women to have bodily autonomy is not specifically listed in the 1st amendment as an 'inalienable right' as if the right for a woman to control when or if she has children has nothing to do with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Many of the rights our citizens currently have fall into this category. This is just a ploy to enable the far religious right to impose their opinions and beliefs on all women. There are 20+ states that already have laws on the books banning abortion, many ban them with no exceptions, ready and waiting for the Supreme Court to overthrow R v W. They are perfectly happy for a woman to die from ectopic pregnancies, for an 11 year old victim of incest to have that baby, for a dead fetus to rot in the womb killing the mother, for a woman to carry a severely malformed fetus to term that won't survive past birth, for a victim of rape to have the baby of a man she doesn't know and who won't be around. And they won't stop there, these religious fanatics. There is language in the draft that opens the door to overturn the right to birth control, the right to interracial marriage, the right to not be sterilized against your will, among other things, using the same rationale they are using to overturn R v W. You can be sure they will go after birth control, interracial and same sex marriage, making certain sex acts and positions illegal as well as any gender identity that they don't approve of, integration, all things that were illegal until they were challenged in the courts.

Ladies, and you men as well, this imminent decision won't affect those of us that are past childbearing age but it will our daughters and granddaughters. My daughter would be dead from an ectopic pregnancy if these restrictions were already in place and many of your daughters and granddaughters will die if abortion is left up to the individual states while women who spontaneously miscarry will be criminalized because these states do not value the lives of women. Whether or not you personally are in favor of abortion, the fact is that it's a massive invasion of privacy and no one's business but the woman who finds herself unwillingly pregnant or willingly pregnant but unable to continue the pregnancy for whatever reason. If you support this invasion of privacy don't be surprised when the courts decide your privacy isn't worth protecting either. 

The majority of Americans are in favor of legal safe abortion but the Republican controlled states don't care what their constituents want and they have gerrymandered their districts, engaged in voter suppression, passed laws that enable them to put aside the results of free and fair elections if they don't like the outcome in order to remain in power, for the minority to rule the majority. And so the midterm elections are just as important if not more important than our last national election. If the Republicans regain the House and Senate they will get rid of the filibuster (they've done it before) to guarantee that they and only they will remain in power...the minority ruling the majority and that will be the end of our democracy.


 

Sunday, May 1, 2022

72 revolutions around the sun


I have a fairly high tolerance to pain, or I thought I did before this, and I think women in general have a higher tolerance to pain than men which some experiments have shown but which any woman who has cared for a man with a cold or flu knows intimately (no insult intended to my male readers). Maybe we have a higher tolerance to pain to help us through childbirth though we all, those of us who have gone through childbirth undrugged, would argue that notion. Childbirth is intense and transition is intensely painful but a different kind of pain. Childbirth never brought me to tears, too inwardly focused at that point, while the excruciating pain in my toe did bring me to tears a couple of times which I stifled as crying not only would not help the pain but it would add its own sort of discomfort...runny stuffy nose, red and puffy eyes. My toe was ugly enough, didn't need an ugly face to go along with it.

I don't like to cry. Every time I've been reduced to tears it's been out of emotional pain from sadness or misery or hopelessness or cruelty or any combination thereof and has just added to my misery. I've laughed myself to tears many many times but that's not crying and those tears have a different chemical composition anyway, and when my kids were young, even early teens, but worst when they were elementary school age, when I would have to go up against 'authorities' to protect or support my kids I would invariably quiver fighting back the tears. Now though, I don't cry. I spent too many years where I cried almost everyday until I was finally able to erect a protective emotional barrier. Oh certain things may still bring me to tears but those are external, like the scene in Forest Gump where he learns that Jenny's son is his. That brings me to tears every time no matter how many times I've seen it. But that's not crying either. I don't subscribe to having a 'good cry'. There's nothing good about it. Maybe that makes me emotionally stunted but sobeit.

Anyway, the toe is healing but it has kept me off my feet for the most part. I've been up and around since last Thursday but after a couple of hours my foot is tired and the swelling increases a bit. Minnie got her first, short, walk in a week on Friday. When we got back to the driveway she was all about keeping going, kept stopping and pulling in the direction of the long walk. Not today puppy, not today. Also Friday I took a picture and sent it to the doctor via the patient portal on the internet...is this normal? Got a reply this morning and he says it looks good, is healing properly. So that's good.

This is what it looked like Friday.

This is what it looks like today.

Needless to say I'm missing the last couple of weeks of work-out-in-the-yard-without-sweat-running-down-my-face weather. I have managed to take some pictures.

In general, the yellow clasping leaved coneflowers are in full bloom, the purple coneflowers have started blooming, the poppies are almost done, the love-in-a-mist and the rocket larkspur (what few that came back this year) are late but have started blooming, the Easter lilies, the last of the spring bloomers, all have buds but none open yet. The big backyard, with the exception of the clumps of yellow coneflowers here and there, is extremely ragged with everything going to seed and dying down. Hopefully it will get mowed soon and look tidier.

And yesterday was my birthday. I've made it through 72 revolutions around the sun. Here's me, 72 years and 1 day old...creases, wrinkles, droopy eyelids, thinned out lips, age spots, thinning eyebrows, and all. Hair is still dark though there's more and more gray scattered through it as time marches on.



 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

the nitty gritty


Fair warning...gross picture at the bottom.

What is today? Tuesday? I've sort of lost track. Friday evening after the procedure, my toe started to become very painful so I took one of the tramadol about 9. Then another at 3 AM, then another at 9 AM. All on an empty stomach. Well, maybe not the first since it was after dinner. I had an uneasy night with bouts of stabbing and burning. About 10:30 Saturday morning I suddenly became very nauseous and barely made it to the bathroom before I started throwing up and even into dry heaves. Needless to say I did not eat my breakfast, waiting for me on the table. I spent the day on the couch and the nausea lasted all day. I think I managed 1 1/2 crackers, four or five small pieces of watermelon, and a piece of dry toast and swore I wasn't taking any more of the tramadol. Even discounting the nausea and now the low level headache it was a hard day, edging into excruciating at times. When I went to bed at 9:30 I took three ibuprofen which got rid of my headache but did not touch the pain in my toe. At three AM, after near constant excruciating stabbing burning pain I got up, ate a banana and took another tramadol which did absolutely nothing. But I discovered when I stood up and used the crutches left over from when I got bit by the copperhead and bent my left leg at the knee like a stork the pain abated somewhat. So for the next 4 or 5 hours I managed to sleep for 20 to 30 minutes and then I would have to stand up for about 5 or 10 until the pain abated and I would get another 20 or 30 minutes of sleep. When I got up Sunday morning, I warmed up my oatmeal from the day before that I never got to eat which I managed to eat about half of before my stomach refused another bite, took another useless tramadol and alternately stood or laid down on the couch throughout the day trying to get some food in me with a little more success than the day before.

Late afternoon on Sunday I was so miserable that I decided to unwrap my toe (wasn't supposed to until Monday) thinking that my foot was so swollen and the stretchy tape was so tight that maybe removing it would get me some relief. No such luck. I got the stretchy tape mostly off and it started throbbing so now it was throbbing, burning, and stabbing. I wrapped it back up and at least the throbbing stopped. At 7 PM I ate another banana and took another useless tramadol which did nothing to alleviate the pain, managed a small bowl of soup for dinner, and about 9 I decided to unwrap my toe again desperate for anything to work. Got the stretchy tape unwound to the same point as I had earlier in the day and miraculously all the pain stopped immediately and it hasn't hurt since. Got a good night's sleep but woke up Monday with another headache, which ibuprofen took care of, and an upset stomach. Mid-morning I removed the bandage, soaked it in warm water and epsom salt and re-bandaged it and by dinner felt normal enough to eat.

This morning, Tuesday, I removed the bandage and left it exposed for about an hour when I noticed it was weeping so I soaked it again and put on a new bandage and that's the routine until it stops weeping fluid. This is what it looked like after I soaked it this morning.

Gross, right? The black is something the doctor put on it to control the bleeding. It will eventually flake off. The white at the top of my toe is my skin so I'm expecting it will peel off.

Oh, and I decided not to take the antifungal medication after further research as it doesn't work that well and is proven to cause liver damage. I may investigate the laser treatment that Georgia from the comments suggested or I may just live with it. I've been dealing with this ingrown toenail for two decades at least but it finally curled up under itself so badly it was like a hook and impossible for me to keep it trimmed down without causing it to bleed hence the drastic measure but in retrospect I'd just as soon not have gone through this. The weird thing is that it didn't hurt walking but even the lightest touch to the tip of my toe where the nail curled under was so painful and certain yoga postures would put painful pressure on it that I let people convince me to have this done. You won't feel it, they all said, they'll deaden it, they all said. And they were right about the removal. Nobody told me how painful the next few days were going to be.

And one last thing. If you are ever prescribed tramadol for pain, don't bother, just throw it away. And here's the real kicker. I was rummaging through the medicine cabinet today and found some acetaminophen 3 (the good stuff with codeine) left over from when I gouged my leg in 2016. Didn't remember it was there and sure wish I had found it three days ago.



Saturday, April 23, 2022

sometimes once is enough


Friday I went to see about my ingrown toenail. He said first off I have toenail fungus apparently on all my nails (Really? I don't see anything. He pointed out the color, yellowish, and that they didn't look healthy. They look pink and normal to me but what do I know) and that is the cause of the deeply curved under big toenail on my left foot. He could put me on toenail fungus medication for 6 weeks and see if that helped but would not undo the damage already there, he could cut off half the nail and see if it would grow back normal but he didn't think that it would or he could take off the whole nail and let it grow back in. In any case he would put me on the anti-fungal medication. If he removed the toenail I wouldn't feel it (that's what everyone has said) as he would deaden the toe. So that's what he did. This I could not watch.You might remember if you've been reading a while that I gouged my left thigh and needed over 20 stitches inside and out and I watched the whole thing, even took pictures and did a post but this I could not watch. Don't look at your toe, he says, look at me. How about if I just close my eyes I responded. I could feel the pressure and at one point some pain so he had to shoot more deadener. Then he put some stuff on the raw skin to stop the bleeding, some antibiotic ointment, and wrapped it up like a mummy.

He tried to keep me distracted while he worked asking me where I was from, if I had kids, what I did before I retired. He was friendly with a good manner, in his forties maybe, good looking from what I could see (we were all wearing masks), black haired Indian (India) descent, he had the most gorgeous long black eyelashes but obviously born here because there wasn't a trace of accent in his speech. I go back in 6 weeks.

So yeah, it didn't hurt much during the procedure but since the deadener wore off it hurts like holy fucking hell. When it doesn't feel like I'm being stabbed in the toe, it just burns. Sometimes it will settle down and be relatively painless. It's bruised and swollen and hot. He gave me tramadol for pain which I waited til bedtime to take, got up at 3 AM to take another and took another just now. I was hoping it would be less painful this morning but it's not.

I sure hope the anti-fungus med works (also on an antibiotic) and the toenail grows back in normal because I am NEVER. FUCKING. DOING. THIS. AGAIN!