Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting answers?

If you have been reading here for a long time you may remember my talking about struggling with finding where I belong in the whole scheme of being religious.

It's not that I'm an atheist or even an agnostic. I was raised with Christian values. I have been a member of several churches.

No, the struggle has been with squaring up what other people say (ie: "God talks to me and tells me what to do") with my own personal experience of these things.

It has never seemed that simple -- would that it were!

In fact, I have felt for some time that whatever it was I was asking for must not have been the right thing because there either seemed to be no answer or the answer was no.

This week has been odd.

I'm struggling with the medical issues and the big scare factor involved there and the stresses of minimal health insurance and the worries about how I will ever pay all of the bills that will follow.

And I'm not good about asking for help --- physically or emotionally. My life experience has been that I'm the one that must deal with it, and I better just "buck up" and deal.

So, there have been several really odd experiences this week.

For one thing, when my husband had his doctor's appointment on Friday, he talked to her about my issues, and when we were leaving she took my hand and said "it's going to be okay".

A couple of days ago I got an email from a cousin that I have not heard from for about 10 years, full of encouragement and newsy updates on her life --- and I'm not even sure how she got my email address.

Then when someone I have known only a short time found out what was going on she offered to bring us a meal when I need it, and her husband will come and give me a blessing before I have the Wednesday procedure done.

And yesterday I opened my mail box to find a letter from a friend that I have known for 26 years and we are admittedly bad at corresponding except at Christmas, but there it was, a 3 page letter.


I'm up for admitting that maybe I just haven't been aware enough before to see the answers.

A while back I asked all of you to say a prayer for me. It seems you've all been doing that, because I'm being surrounded with support and love.

Thank you --- and could you please continue to do so? Even if I get good news after the biopsy, there will still be those pesky medical bills to deal with.

Thanks again to you all.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An update and a diversional rant

Accept in advance my apologies for the rant that follows!

So, I went to the doctors office yesterday and they re-did the ultra sound exam and discovered that there is not one small fibroid, but there are two of them and one of them is about the size of a lime --- all of which translates into "you're going to have to have surgery"

Next Wednesday they will do a proper biopsy -- as in under anesthesia so they can actually get enough tissue to do the biopsy.

And you're thinking, why are they doing that if you already know you'll have to have surgery? Basically to find out if this is just a "simple" surgery that my gyn can do or if there is something more sinister that will require a specialist.

Oh yes, and that insurance that's costing me $250 a month? That's going to pay for 80% of the doctor, 25% of the anesthesia and NOTHING on the hospital itself -- and that's just for the biopsy.

At this point I can't even think about the next surgery and what it's going to cost.

I've been saying for a while here that I wasn't allowed to need anything more than minimal health care for another 7 years when I'll be eligible for Medicare. Turns out I was right in saying I couldn't afford to need it.

The insurance coordinator at the doctor's office gave me all the forms to apply for Medicaid, so this morning I went to the online questionaire to determine eligibility for any benefit in the state.

The only thing I'm eligible for is a reduced rate on a pass into the National Parks (and can I tell you just how THRILLED I am about that!?)

Add to this whole mix the fact that even though I FINALLY got juried into the fine arts area of a show that I've wanted to do for the past 5 years, I'm probably not going to get to do both the show and make the trip to California for my friend's birthday ---- there aren't enough weeks in between to have a surgery and 6 weeks to recover.

oh yeah, it's going to be just a great summer --- or not

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the Garden

Things that we planted a while back are growing!

The little sprouts in the right hand picture are carrots

The other picture is either beets or swiss chard -- we planted both, and while I know which row is which in the garden, in the picture it's impossible to tell which this is since they look just alike at this point

Looks like before long it will be time to thin!

We put in tomatoes

Lots of tomatoes -- about 20 little plants, some of them that we got at the store and some heritage ones that I started from seed

With any luck we'll have tomatoes to eat and tomatoes to can and tomatoes to give to Second Harvest

In a double row along the fence behind the tomato baskets I planted these

These are not the seeds I originally intended to put there, but the ones that I started in pots indoors did not survive the transplanting, so we're trying again.

These can get to be very, VERY, tall plants, so I figured I can tie them to the fence if I need to

We hope to get sunflower seeds to share with our daughter (she has a bird that gets them as a treat sometimes)

See the string on the fence?

That is my bean lattice.

I know some folks prefer to plant bush beans, but I just don't like having to crawl around on the ground to pick them. So I've always tried to grow climbers and run them up some kind of support system.

Since we're planting all along the back fence this year, beans seemed like the right thing to put against it.

We planted yellow wax and green beans, and I only used about half of the seeds. I may run a similar lattice along the side fence and plant beans there too.

(and if all of these do well I'll be learning how to freeze them and maybe pickle them too)

We still have peppers and eggplant and cucumber plants to put in, and squash and corn seeds to plant, but when we got this much done it started raining on us, so we decided to go in the house. Maybe late today we'll be able to get back to it.

Gardening makes me think of my Mammy and Pappy (my mother's parents). When I was a child they had a huge garden. I can remember a lot of summers when a lot of what we ate came out of that garden. One of my favorite pictures of Pappy in his later years was taken of him standing in the corn in his garden.

Mammy was big on poetry. I can remember her quoting it for every occassion (maybe where I got my love for words --- especially the lyrics of meaningful songs). The garden poem (as I thought of it) was "you're nearer to God in the garden than anyplace else on earth". I know now that it was a misquote, but it is still dear to my heart and really is close to what the poet meant.

Just to set the record straight, here's the full poem with the poet's credit and the oft misquoted stanza highlighted. (I have to think somewhere Mammy is smiling about this!)

God's Garden

The Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.

Dorothy Frances Gurney

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This handsome sailor is my dad

He is a veteran of World War II

He went into the Navy before he finished high school

When my daughter was in college, her major was History, with a specialty in the WWII era.

She kept a copy of this picture in a frame. A lot of her friends wanted to know if they could get introduced to the cute guy.

How cool is that?

A few years ago we took my folks with us to do an art show in Springfield, MO. My dad was sitting in our booth, wearing his WWII Vet baseball cap.

A couple of young men were walking down the street and stopped to talk with him, thanking him for his service.

I can't speak for my dad, but for me just to hear that exchange was an amazing experience.

Just an individual part of what Tom Brokaw calls The Greatest Generation

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bad Neighbors

we have new neighbors down in the cul de sac from our house

I am not thrilled

this is the site that greeted me when I went out to get the newspaper this morning

he's got furniture and boxes on the porch like someone getting evicted -- wood all piled up on the grass --broken down pickup in the driveway -- tools all over the place ---

It looks awful

I'm thinking of sending a copy of this photo to the people that own the house --- and live in another state. They were always such nice neighbors, kept the yard up so nice.

This guy's turning it into a mess --- I hate to think what he's doing inside where no one can see!

Friday, May 15, 2009

the beets go on

see 'em?

The tiny little red and green leaves poking out of the dirt

that is my beet crop!

there are lots and lots of these little gems

and the ground is starting to crack along the line where we planted chard

and I spotted one little carrot sprout


next week we'll be putting in the wax beans and some other stuff ---- neat

oh yeah, that head line? from an old Sonny and Cher song

"...The beat goes on, the beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain. La de da de dee, la de da de da..."

ok, so now I'm off for 3 days to do an art show (particulars here if you want to come and visit!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

working in the fog

woke up this morning and I could swear we must have slept through the summer and we're somehow back in winter again

or maybe it's just that I'm feeling like summer will never get here! (or even spring!!)

After another weekend of cool grayness, this morning it's foggy again --- bleah!

Of course the next weekend is supposedly going to be the first nice weekend we've had in ages, which I hope means there will be people at the art show we'll be doing (the first one of the summer --- meaning tents to be put up and dealing with whatever the weather is for three days)

So just excuse me while I wander off mumbling.......

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Isn't my kid sweet ---- such a cute card!

Well, we have this mutual admiration society thing going on --- I'm one of her biggest fans and she's one of mine.

Hope all of you mom's have a great day!

and all of you women that are not mom's, it's your day too for the example you set for the children of others.


Friday, May 08, 2009

Rant Redux

So, I got to see the new doctor yesterday.

Now I guess I know why the other doctor's office was so reluctant to return phone calls or talk to me about anything.

Seems the two tests that they did were so poorly done that I'm basically back to square one!

The doctor failed (after TWO attempts in the office) to get enough tissue to do a proper biopsy. This was a painful "digging around" procedure, done totally without any kind of prep on my part (physical or mental).

And the ultrasound technician was so inept that they even failed to get a picture of one of the ovaries --- don't you think they would have noticed while they were doing it!?

The fact that these procedures were painful and in the case of the ultrasound, humiliating because of the way it was handled, I am not happy that the hack job shop masquerading as a medical facility that performed them will get any money from my insurance company.

In fact, I have decided to write a letter of protest to them and copy our state medical board.

So, yesterday, the new doctor, with copies of the reports in hand (such as they were) walked me through what they said --- and didn't say. She explained what she would be looking for and why it was important to check things out (for instance, one of the things that can cause the post menopausal bleeding is cancer, or something that can turn into cancer, in which case we want to deal with it pronto).

She spent an entire HOUR answering my questions, reasurring me and yes, drawing pictures!!

The end result of this appointment is that in a couple of weeks I'll go back to her office and they will redo the ultra sound --- right there in the office, with a female technician that has been doing this for 20 years and only does ultra sounds on WOMEN ---- I'm guessing she'll know there should be two ovaries in the pictures. At the end of the appointment for the ultra sound, I'll see the doctor --- yes, ON THE SAME DAY! and she'll explain what the pictures from the ultra sound show -- and let me see them.

Then, in the first week of June she'll do a procedure that will take a look inside and remove any polyps, etc. and a proper tissue sample will be sent to the lab (which I will know the results of within 48 hours --- from the doctor, not some office clerk!)

And where will this be done? Not in the office. In the hospital as an outpatient procedure. After I've had time to get a couple of medications that I take daily out of my system so they don't interfere with the test or put me at risk of excessive bleeding. And who will do it? The doctor herself --- no passing me off to yet another butcher for his share of the monetary pie ---

I'm still a little nervous about the whole issue, but reassured that even if the lab results come back with something unpleasant, it's something fixable.

I slept better last night than I had in a while

Ok, now it's time to go write that letter!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

An update --- sort of -- and a rant

Back the end of April I posted here about the medical issues I've been having.

I can report that after repeated phone calls regarding results, questions, etc., I have decided to take my medical records to a different doctor --- the whole trust issue with something this important just can't be handled any other way (to my mind, anyway)

So, today I get to go do battle with the office to get my medical records send to the new office, and tomorrow afternoon I get to talk with the new (highly recommended by the women in the office of my general practice doctor) gyn.

Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this issue --- hopefully the answer won't involve something that messes up my whole schedule of shows for the summer.

Meantime, I've been mumbling for a while about artistic competitions.

Be it performance art or the sort of art I do, there seems to be a thread of commonality --- if you've already done something, you get to do more --- if you've never gotten to do something, it's almost impossible to get to do it.

Take beadwork competitions for example. Everybody in the beading world knows the names Sherry Serafini or Heidi Kummli or Margie Deeb. So if you enter a competition and they're in it too, you can just about bet that one of them is going to win.

And in performance art there is the same issue --- if you've already had a lead part in something and the people holding the audition know you or know your teacher you're a sure bet.

So my question for the day is: how do you get known if no one will give you a chance?

just sayin'

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gardening progress

This little item is an instrument of torture!

It's a dandelion digger --- a brand shiny new one --- or at least it was all shiny before I spent some considerable time working in the back yard yesterday.

The neighbor up the street evidently thinks that yards are SUPPOSED to be covered with fuzzy yellow flowers, which means the seeds are "blowin' in the wind" all over the neighborhood.

This is NOT, however, my ideal lawn, and while chemicals may seem like the way to go, they are price-y (remember, we're in the post squirell budget month), and I'm not real wild about what they do to the environment.

So --- diggers up --- and away we go

I pretty much filled up a 5 gallon bucket with what I dug up

Yesterday's work outdoors also included planting the "low crops" section of the garden.

The tilling had been completed last week, so the soil was all prepared to receive the carrots and beets and swiss chard seeds.

I had not planted any of these things from seed before. Carrot seeds are teeny, tiny, tiny little seeds and there were bunches of them in the packet (which is packaged by weight).

Beet and chard seeds both look like little goat's head thistles, only not so prickly.

So now we're on "growth patrol" --- by about next Wednesday there should be some sign of green things (other than weeds!) growing out there --- Yippee!

The sunflower seeds that we had started in the little pots got planted too, now the trick is to keep the labrador off them until they get tall enough for her to realize they are there.

I can tell you that a winter of working at the computer and in the studio did not put me in shape for all that stoop labor, however. I have some sore muscles in places that surprised me, and going upstairs is a bit painful (ouch, oooch, ow!)

The squash and pumpkins need to be moved into larger pots, so I'll probably be working on that today (it's too early to put those in the ground here, just yet).

Onward and upward!!