Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Thursday, September 29, 2022
Officially Retired

It was a usual "revised new schedule" this week. Monday I did the usual cleaning—cleaned the master bath, sorted medications, charged the flosser and the motion-sensor light over the toilet, unloaded and loaded and ran the dishwasher, washed towels, mopped the kitchen floor. The only thing I didn't do was wash the hall bath completely, instead I just cleaned the toilet and wiped down the sink.

Tuesday I ruthlessly pruned the nandina down to the level of the porch floor. I know you should do this in February, but I preferred people to be able to see the Christmas decorations in December.

Wednesday will be our new shopping day, and I was not going to do another mad dash like last Friday: three supermarkets, gulping lunch, and then the drive to TownPark and the infusion center to change the dressing on James' PICC line. So I did it myself. It's actually easier to shop without James because he wants to find new things and I shop to the list and almost nothing else. The exterminator came while I was gone and because James was busy at work, I had to call him back because James couldn't let him in to do the deck and the back door. But that got done for the quarter, and I also put away the foam shutters I made for the sidelight windows on each side of the front door. I think they have really helped keep our electric bill down this summer. Last September's bill was over $200. This year September was $178.

On Thursday, September 29, I did laundry.

It was also James' very last day of work. He spent the last hour composing a farewell message to his boss and his co-workers, and, for the final time, he logged off at 7 p.m.

And that, as they say it, is that. We were thinking we had to return his laptop tomorrow, but his supervisor Tim won't be in the office until next Wednesday, so we get to do it then.

Thursday night there was also a new Lower Decks (a crossover with Deep Space 9, nonetheless, featuring Quark and Kira), the season premiere of Young Sheldon (which was really more serious than funny), and the first standalone Law & Order for the season. I'm really liking the new guy Jalen Shaw and how he works with Cosgrove.

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» Sunday, September 25, 2022
Fun With Friends and Foods
First week on the semi-new schedule (new schedule will not start until James' full retirement), so all the Sunday chores are now on Monday. And there are only two more weeks in which I have to cook dinner! This is totally an occasion for rejoicing.

The dog got a bath this week. As usual, he hated every minute of it, and then gamboled around like a puppy afterward.

James got an e-mail saying that he had to spend any money he had in his HSA (health savings account) before his last day on September 30. He used part of it to pay the August hospital bill, then online we ordered a shower chair for the future, a new blood pressure cuff, and one of those KardiaMobile units that works with your phone and takes your heart rate. A fellow who calls into the Tech Guy said this unit noticed that he had atrial fibrillation and his doctor told him that it saved his life.

It was a busy weekend: we had Hair Day and Mel and Phyllis came for the first time in ages (they are having trouble getting both of their older cars fixed, so have no transportation), and then Saturday there was a dinner at Longhorn for David's birthday.

On Sunday we went to Iron Age Steak House for Aubrey's birthday. We had never done a Korean steakhouse before, and this was a blast. Up to four people sit around a grill. They bring you any meat you want (it's all you can eat) and you cook it till it pleases your palate). Well, I thought James would take over the cooking, but instead I did most of this, and, despite all my complaining about cooking, I had a great time cooking for James and Juanita and I. (We also had shrimp, but Alice cooked it on their grill, because Juanita is so allergic to shellfish that she will have a reaction even if she eats something that was cooked on a grill or in oil that was used with it.) The beef bulgolgi was our favorite, but the Hawaiian bulgolgi was good, too, and so was the pork. The shrimp came with heads and feet and even with them off, it was hard to peel the shell off the shrimp.

Anyway, this isn't any type of affordable option ($70+ for both of us!), but it was a fun experience. I have to work it into one of my fanfics or stories!

Afterwards we went to Barnes & Noble and had also gone to Hobbytown.

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» Sunday, September 18, 2022
Hospital Weekend and Other Stuff
James was indeed breathing badly by Sunday morning. So we ate breakfast, I packed up everything (including the C-PAP and his pillow), and we went to Emory St. Joseph. Last time we went there, I said James was having trouble breathing, and they whisked him right in. Today the place seemed chaotic; lots of nurses, no doctors. I finally asked if they could at least let him have some oxygen, and they did that. We finally went to the back and the St. Joseph's app still said we were waiting. So we cooled our heels for hours while they did blood tests and finally the x-ray: yep, more pleural effusions. He was back on the Lasix and a Foley cath and we had a room by dinnertime.

Basically he cooled his heels on Monday getting fluid stripped off him (but at the same dosage he was taking previously when he was on the furosimide/Lasix). I wondered why they just didn't keep him on it rather than putting him on the torsemide, but then I'm not a doctor. Thought he'd be there all day Tuesday, but they cut him loose just after dinner, back on the intermittent catherization and the torsemide. Watch his sodium! they said. We eat so low-sodium now—can we not even go out to eat?

The only good that came out of this was that when he called in sick to work, Tim was in a bit of a tizzy. James is basically the only person on duty on Sunday morning eight to ten. Tim had to call IBM to get a replacement for him on Sunday morning, and thus James lost his "reliable" status. For his last two weeks of work, he got put on Monday through Thursday, which was fine with both of us. James has been on Sunday through Wednesday for three years, and he's missed Sunday birthday celebrations all that time.

A few nice things happened this week. One of our floodlights has been out for at least a year. James is too unsteady on the ladder and if I go up more than two steps I get dizzy. If I had thought of it, I would have asked Clay to replace it for me when he was here two weeks ago. When I went outside to pay Alex (our lawn mowing guy) on Thursday, I timidly asked him if he would replace it for me. He went in the garage, got the ladder, I handed him the new bulb, and it was done. Must scrape up enough money to give him a little Christmas bonus when we stop having the lawn cut at the beginning of November.

We also ordered some meat from Patak's for the first time since they caught fire. Supposedly the store should be back open at the end of the month. We'll see.

Saturday evening we went to Taste of Smyrna. This was a little disappointing. There were no Asian foods at all, Mezzaluna and the 1911 Biscuit Company had already closed up shop two hours before closing, and all Copelands had left was white chocolate biscuit pudding (white chocolate has never, ever been any kind of chocolate). Everything else there was spicy or shaved ice, so all I really could eat was from the Atkins Park booth.

On the other hand, I made up for my three-year drunken pork drought by buying two servings of it (plus a chocolate peanut butter biscuit pudding dessert that I shared with James—quite good and not overly sweet) and then a third helping before we left (I'll have it for a lunch). James had some drunken pork as well, but skipped all the Mexican food left and instead waited in line something like 20 minutes for the busiest booth, which was Rodney's Jamaican Soul Food. He brought his home to eat.

I finished the weekend by transferring all my former Sunday chores to Monday. We didn't go anywhere, so I did load the dishwasher (again), tossed out a bunch of old or salty food I found downstairs (any salty food left was old, so it did not go for donations), put James' old TV in the Goodwill donation box, and vacuumed upstairs.

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» Saturday, September 10, 2022
Starting With a Bang and Ending With a Whimper
So Sunday was James' birthday. He decided to take the day off, as well as Labor Day. I still did a few chores, but we had dinner at Longhorn (he was very circumspect, only an 8-ounce Renegade and mushrooms and onions; they told him to be good after his hospital stay and he's been trying hard), and they gave him a free dessert (vanilla ice cream with whipped cream, but at least it was decent vanilla, with chocolate syrup on it), and we went to Barnes & Noble afterward.

(I also decided I wasn't satisfied with the fluid I was getting from three catherizations a day—James' legs looked a little swollen to me, but his numbers had been fine when he was tested at the infusion clinic on Friday—and I added another, and hoped it would do. This is important to mention.)

Labor Day was quiet; I cooked St. Louis ribs with a low-salt Splenda and maple syrup glaze in the lower oven; they came out swell and we both had leftovers for a small lunch.

Two quiet days, and then we had a Thursday out: went to the first day of the Yellow Daisy Festival. Some of it was back out under the trees, but a lot of it was still on the street; once again, in the sun I was feeling hot and dizzy, and James kept getting lost on me and not answering his phone (because the volume was turned down low--not sure why this keeps happening; maybe because he uses the headphones during the week and they turn the volume down).

Well, it's happened: our Yellow Daisy days won't be the same from now on; the Country Pick'ns people are retiring after this year. I will miss them terribly, but I can't deny them the same status I enjoy. I have made so many shadow-boxes from these folks' things, most of which I have showed off on this page: my "me" shelf with other little miniatures I've added, a year-round autumn shelf in our bedroom, the seashore shelf in the hall bath, the kitchen-themed shelf in the kitchen, and the seasonal shadow-boxes (fall, up all year; Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and winter), the "our house" heart-shaped shelf, plus the tiny shadow-box with the nativity figures on it, a couple of little miniature items like tiny Christmas arrangements, and the two little gifts I didn't give out last year, but will this year. Well, since it was their final year, I wanted to buy something, so I got a few little extra autumn things for here and there, and then I got a brainstorm. I've been impossibly enmeshed in these fanfic pieces I've been writing since last year, and it's given me such pleasure, and I got the idea to make a shadow-box of the fanfic elements. I'll add some decorative buttons and it will work.

We had lunch at Chow King, then moseyed to our appointment with Dr. Kongara (nephrologist) to finish out the day. He was pleased with James' post-hospital condition and sent us on our way (this is important for what happened next).

We got home to discover that Queen Elizabeth II had died. We had heard on the news earlier that she was not doing well. Two days ago she had met the new prime minister and now she was gone. Prince Charles is now Charles III.

Friday we did the shopping and there was another turn at the infusion clinic (this will keep going until he has the PICC line removed). Got lucky and there was a box of free books there, for anyone to take. I found a copy of The Personal Librarian, which I have wanted, about the woman who arranged J.P. Morgan's personal library for him; it was not known until just recently, but she was Black "passing" for white.

Saturday James was feeling "off" and decided to go to his club meeting online. I was worried about him and didn't leave the house except to gas up Butch, because I had a terrible feeling something was wrong from the way his legs looked. I was up half the night listening to him breathe in short, staccato breaths.

So you guessed it: Sunday morning we were going to be back at the emergency room... be continued...

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» Saturday, September 03, 2022
Probing New Directions
A new "thing" has been added to our medical routine.

When we went to Dr. Jefferson on Monday, he removed James' foley catheter and we thought he was going to do a cytoscopy (urethral scan) as well as a void test. However, Dr. Jefferson has decided all this trouble is caused by nerve damage stemming from 20 years of diabetes; since it is uncomfortable for James and also a UTI vector, a long-time foley was not acceptable. He has been put on intermittent catherization, which means he has to manually empty his bladder three to four times a day. Unfortunately due to his back problems and mobility issues, he can't actually do it himself. Guess what! Yes, a new skill in my "nursing career." I got a chance to do it once, and then we got sent home with red rubber caths and lubrication. What fun.

(I told Dr. Jefferson: "Oh, like Airplane Guy." "Airplane Guy" is what we call the dude who advertises urinary catheters on whatever side channel it is, how he's happy he can now fly his airplane again with his cath.)

The rest of the week was a little more cheerful, especially as September 1 rolled around so that it's meteorological autumn finally!

On Thursday we did our monthly drive to Canton to eat at Uncle Maddio's (yes, one guy still running the entire show!) and Books-a-Million. To my surprise, I came out with no books, but I did find one for Emma. Then on the way back we stopped at BJs and stocked up on fruit cups and other items to get us through mostly payless October. This week we also hit Nam Dae Mun for the first time in months since Publix didn't have any slivered almonds for my oatmeal.

Saturday we bounced: Sam's Club to Costco to Best Buy in search of a television. Since James is retiring, I'm hoping he won't be spending all his time locked in front of his computer screen anymore. So I told him that as a birthday/retirement gift I would get him a new TV for downstairs. Combined with the Amazon Fire Stick we got as a Christmas gift, it would make good entertainment while he's modeling. Well, turned out neither Sam's nor Costco carries under 40 inch TVs anymore! (Funny, they were there a few months ago.) So we went to Best Buy, but the TV we picked out was cheaper at Target! So off we went up Cobb Parkway and got the TV, which I spent all afternoon setting up. It's a Roku TV, so not only did I tune in all the local channels, but all the Roku channels he'd be interested in. Or rather I had to tune out the ones he wouldn't be interested in, which took a while, since the darn thing loaded about 300 channels. (I'd be willing to bet James will be watching the Caught in Providence channel, since he watches Judge Caprio every chance he gets.) I also had to log in on all the other services we get, like Netflix, Acorn, etc. before I could carry it downstairs and actually plug it in. (It's better to tune it in upstairs, where the Leaf antenna gets the most channels. But this television seems to be stronger at picking up signals and he's getting most of the locals downstairs, except for GPB which we can't get upstairs anyway and what I call "the God Squad," all the local religious channels.)

But...that's done.

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