Thursday, August 30, 2007

End of summer

We're still very hot and dry here. No rain for at least two months, I think. I'm glad I don't need to mow, but I'm not sure how much it has damaged crops. The farmers have been harvesting the corn for the last couple of weeks. Some of the fields of soybeans are starting to have yellow patches in them. The sorghum looks OK, but only about half the height it normally is. And I don't know what the tobacco looks like. There is not much of it grown around her nowadays.


Here's the top I made for Alexis recently. Just a simple T-shirt style, but with six stars on it - three each on front and back. Her middle name is Starr. She's gotten very good at drawing a five-pointed star, and often uses it between her first and last names when she writes her name.
Close-up of the star motif worked in double seed stitch.

Tuesday I started another pair of socks for Alexis. I had less than an ounce of the multicolor (the colors don't show very well here), so I divided it into two little balls to make the pair, and used the pink for the ruffle and for the foot after I ran out of the multicolor. I'm almost finished with the second one now. Of course one sock has about an inch more of pink than the other - hope Lexi doesn't care about that. These are made with Bernat Sox Nouveau yarn which is 60% acrylic and 40% nylon. Lexi has mentioned that the wool-blend socks I made for her are itchy, so maybe these will suit her better. She doesn't know one fiber from another, so her report of itchiness has not been influenced by anything she's heard about wool.

At the Lake Area Fiber Artists meeting on Monday, Mary brought some veggies from her garden. I wound up taking the peppers that remained after others had taken what they wanted. Aren't they pretty!?! They're sweet banana peppers. They are now in my freezer.

Among the bounty were also some yellow cherry tomatoes. They are soooooo good! Dominic and I have already eaten all that I brought home. He even cut some of them up and put them on his sandwich.


Nothing new to report here, but since several people have said that if I don't update my blog for several days they worry that I'm sick, I'd better write something. I'm really doing quite well. I've been driving myself for the last week or so. Dominic finally conceded that I can do that. I went to church Sunday for the first time since Easter. My not going was mostly just laziness, and sometimes not getting up in time to go. The late service is at 9:45, and the church is 30 miles away.

It was my right hip that was replaced, and that is the one used in driving my automatic transmission car. The leg does ache a little after I've driven for a while, but I fugure that's just something I need to 'harden' it to. My walking speed is increasing gradually.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Hot and Dry

On to Treatment Cycle 7
I went to the oncologist again today. She says I'm still responding well to the treatment - numbers coming down. Also had my Zometa treatment - about half an hour, given through my port. Their little machine to do the 'protime' test (tells how thick or thin the blood is with only a couple of drops of blood) wasn't working, so they had to take a small vial of blood from my arm. For some reason they won't do that test with the blood they take through the port. I was surprised to get a phone call already about the results already, and instructions on how to adjust my Coumadin dosage for the next two weeks.

Poor Midnight
Alyssa called earlier. When I told her that we had buried the cat on Friday night, she said, "Did she die?" DUH! No, I get my kicks burying live cats! When I was holding Midnight while Dominic dug the hole, I couldn't help thinking of the book someone gave me many years ago - something like 101 Things to Do with a Dead Cat. I wonder what ever became of that book.

When we were deciding where to dig the hole (it's been so dry that Dominic said digging was very hard), I noticed that there were a couple dozen black locust seedlings that needed to be mowed down, so I took care of that early Saturday morning. Other than that, it's been about a month since we mowed.

I don't think I ever mentioned how much knitting I did in July - probably because I didn't do much. I only knit five scarves and one dishcloth. I also crocheted several of the hexagons for the bedspread, but mostly I read. Actually, my hands had gotten tired of needles and hooks, so I gave them a rest. I haven't done much yet this month either, but I did start a T-shirt style top for Alexis on Saturday night. It's in a sport weight, gray cotton. Her middle name is Starr, so I've worked six stars (three on the front and three on the back) in double seed stitch. I'll probably finish it tomorrow - things for six-year-olds go quickly.

Much of what I've been reading is Agatha Christie. They're all small books, mostly either Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple; however a couple of them were neither and they seemed to be more 'substantial' than the Poirot and Marple ones.

Probably the best book I read was one by Wallace Stegner that a friend brought to me while I was in hospital. I'd never read any of his works, but I think I will in the future. Perhaps I'll see what else the Mayfield library has by him when I go there tomorrow. It will be good to have one book that's worthwhile along with the 'fluff' I plan to check out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family Reunion

My sister Pauline, who went to the family reunion this time, called to say that several of the aunts, uncles, cousins had asked about me. Above is the whole group, and below is the remaining children of Matilda and Ole Lien. Richard is 80 this month, and Florence and Nina are older. Last I heard, Richard was still riding his motorcycle even though his wife doesn't like it.
They had a golf tournament in Saturday, and Sunday afternoon some of the group went out to 'the old home place' for a hayride. It's nice when a farm stays in the family for several generations.
On Monday, Pauline called and said she was in Foxhome (smaller than Milburn) and asked me how to get to the farm our father grew up on. I told her what I thought was right; she said that's where she had been, but it didn't look right. Later she called to say it was the second road off the one to Rothsey; we had thought it was the first one. She had talked to a young man, and he had called his grandmother. Since Grandpa Ross sold the farm after the house burned down in a snowstorm close to 60 years ago, I doubt that it is known as the old Ross place any longer, but he sold it to the people who lived across the little dirt road from him, and that family still is there. Although we 'kids' never knew the people, we've heard the name all our lives, so can ask the locals using that name.


I had the blood test to determine how thin my blood is done this morning when I was in Mayfield, and they've already called me from the cancer group in Paducah to tell me to continue the same schedule of Coumadin that I've been on - that was fast! Since I go to Mayfield every Tuesday, I'll just have that test done there each week. Except next week they'll probably do it at the cancer group when I'm there in Monday.

Friday, August 10, 2007


We finally got some rain, but not enough in my yard to start the grass growing again. That suits me, but I'm sure the farmers are not satisfied. I tried to post this picture yesterday right after I took it, but couldn't get on-line - I guess the storm was worse in other parts of our region. A few minutes after this picture there was a very colorful sunset.

This weekend I'd love to be in Wadena MN, for the Lien Family Reunion (Mother's family). I'd like to be there, but I didn't feel like going there. This is an every-four-years event; I've been to the last three in a row, as well as to others over the years. The first one was in 1958. About 20 years ago, they decided to make it every three years, but then went back to every four years after one time of the three-year interval. The farm that my grandparents bought in 1913 (I think) is still in the family, and everyone will gather there at some time this weekend. Only three of the twelve children of Tilly & Ole are still living, but there are a bunch of us grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My older sister is there to represent our branch of the family. She'll also visit our father's one remaining sibling and some of the cousins on that side.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Pulmonary Embolism

Blogger has now reviewed my blog and determined that it is not a Spam Blog, so I can finally post this.

Saturday 8/4: Friday night a week ago, after I went to bed, I started to have some problems. When I inhaled, I got a pain just to the right and below my right breast. I was also sweating a lot even though I know the temperature in the house was comfortable, and I was lying there without a sheet or a nightgown. I'm sure I looked like a beached whale, but there was no one to see me, except God - and I don't think he sees us as people do. In addition, I was aching pretty much all over. Finally about 3 or 4 am I took a Lortab, and was able to sleep for a few hours.

The pain only happened when I was lying down, not when I was standing or sitting, so I was fine during the day. Saturday night I took a Lortab about midnight. I still had the pain when I breathed, but was able to sleep, although I woke up once sweating. About midday Sunday I stuck a thermometer in my mouth because I had thought at times that I felt feverish. It registered just under 100; since my normal temperature is just under 98, that meant two degrees of fever. I thought perhaps it was an infection in my right lung, and figured I'd call the oncologist on Monday morning. Sunday night was a repeat of Saturday night, except the pain was a little more generalized in the lung area and my right shoulder hurt if I lay on my right side. Sunday evening Dominic asked me what was with my breathing. I had thought my breathing was a bit labored, but wasn't sure until he asked that.

SOOOOO . . . Monday morning about 9 I called the cancer group, and wound up leaving a message on the nurses' answering machine. About 11 one of the nurses returned my call, asked a few questions, and told me they wanted me to get a chest X-ray. So after eating an early lunch, we headed to Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. By the time the X-ray was done, it was 1 pm. I asked the technician how long it would take for the results to be sent to the doctor. She figured it would be late afternoon before that happened; however, if the doctor called them it could be speeded up. We went to the doctor's office and told them what she had said. In a few minutes. Dr B's nurse came out and told me to go back to the hospital for a CT scan and then to come back and see Dr B at 9:30 Tuesday morning. So back to the hospital we went. While we were getting set up for the scan, I told the technician about the chest X-ray and the appointment with Dr B the following morning. After the scan, she said, "Before you leave, let me show this to the radiologist." She came back in a few minutes and said, "You're not going anywhere!" She got the rest of my paperwork and escorted us to the admitting desk, stopping on the way to get a wheelchair for me because I shouldn't have been walking. This was after I'd already walked about a mile in the hospital.

Seems I had blood clots in my lung. So I was admitted to the hospital. I was put in a semi-private room, but didn't have a roommate. I was supposed to be in the bed by the window, but the nurse couldn't get that bed to lower (it was about waist high), and we both thought being closer to the bathroom would be an advantage. (When the young, male lab tech said his info said I was in the other bed, I told him why I had changed. He said he'd never thought of proximity to the bathroom as a deciding factor. That's because he's not a post-menopausal female!) When Dr B came in a couple of hours later, she said I was not to get out of bed - even for the bathroom! So I had to use a bedpan - I hate those things! Every time I used it, they had to change the pad under me.

They gave me Coumadin to thin my blood, as well as Lovenox, which they give with a needle in the belly. Tuesday evening, the nurse-practitioner from the cancer group said I could start using the bathroom after 7 pm, because that would be 24 hours after the first dose of Lovenox. So I used it before I went to sleep, once during the night, and about 6am. Then about 7am, Dr B came in, and said NO! She did arrange for a bedside commode, though, which was much better than the bedpan. Finally on Thursday afternoon, Dr B said I could walk. I was discharged on Friday, with a prescription for Coumadin and an appointment to see her on Wednesday.

There are three factors the put me at risk for blood clots - my recent surgery, a sedentary life-style, and taking Thalidomide. I'll be taking Coumadin as long as I'm taking Thalidomide, which I guess will be for the rest of my life. . . . Maybe they should just take me out and shoot me now.

Sunday: Blogger is not letting me post, so this will be a long one when it does get posted.

As I was washing dishes a bit ago, it struck me how nice it is to be able to stand at the sink for the whole time without any problem. Before the surgery, I was listing so much to one side and having so much pain in the right hip, that I had to pull the kitchen stool over and sit on it most of the time.

While I was in the hospital, I was thinking that I'd have to start another mowing cycle, but that won't be necessary for a while - it's been very dry and hot, and the grass is brown! I think I like that, though the farmers probably don't.

Tuesday: While I was at the knitting group today, Dominic went to my friend Shirley's house (Shirley was at the knitting group) and did some work in the little house at the back of her lot. It's good for him to be doing something. He's gone to sleep now, so I guess I have the evening to myself.