Good News ~ Bad News

I recently read an article from the National Institute of Drug Abuse that said that fewer and fewer teens are using illegal drugs. The number of teenage alcoholics and cigarette smokers seems to be declining as well. If you’re thinking that all the anti-drug literature and messages were making a positive impact, think again — and don’t get too excited about closing the teen rehab centers.

While it is true that cigarette smoking, the use of methamphetamines, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, and alcohol is down, the use of marijuana, smokeless tobacco, Vicodin, OxyContin and other prescription narcotics is on the rise. Some teens report that they steal the drugs from family members, others say they buy them outright online. Teen addiction statistics may be changing, but they are not necessarily improving.

I worked in a teen drug rehab center before I went to college.  I remember being astounded because there was a six year old child in detox.  She had been stealing prescription sleeping pills from one of her parents for months so she could sleep and not hear them argue.  Her addiction came to light after the parents separated and the child no longer had access to the drugs.   Don’t just automatically assume your son or daughter is too young to have a drug problem.  Monitor your medications carefully.  Monitor your child’s internet access and personal spending habits.

Health Update: The Doctor Called

The doctor called with my test results. Men (and some of the women), you may not wish to read this.  Proceed knowing you are venturing into TMI territory.

The doctor said that he’d removed an intraductal papilloma from my breast.  The words are big and scary, but what he took away was a very tiny, benign cyst.  The doctor said that intraductal paploma cycts are akin to warts, except these warts grow only in milk ducts.  Apparently they are very common but they seldom bring any attention to themselves. In my case it had actually punctured the lining of the milk duct and the resultant blood seepage found an outlet via my nipple.

I am also given to understand the the condition is usually painless.  I am certain that the doc now thinks I am a baby, but I am here to tell you, there was nothing painless about it.  It felt as though I had a tiny hot coal sitting on my nipple.  While the pain wasn’t excruciating, it was constant.  Any pain, 24/7 saps energy.  My pain wasn’t caused by the papilloma itself, but by the resulting infection in the punctured milk duct. Add to that worry because my family has a horrific history of breast cancer, and I actually think I stayed pretty calm and level-headed during this whole thing.

Now, about that word, benign, check the dictionary.  The definition is “kindly and benevolent”.  The pain I was in felt neither kindly nor benevolent and I told Amoeba so.  He responded that he was pretty certain it was much more friendly than anything attached to the word “cancerous” would have been.  I have to concede that he has a point.

High Speed Burn Out

Today after church we finally picked up our new bed and dining room set.  We purchased them at a moving sale over two months ago, but due to a comedy of poor timing and bad accidents, it took this long to actually get them into our home.  The bed is set up and waiting for my guests — I’m going to let them decide who gets to sleep in it.

The dining room table is set up, too.  First we had to take the patio table (yes, you read that correctly) out of the dining room and put it on the back deck.  Then we set up the new table and put both leaves in it because we’re planning on having a houseful of company tomorrow!

We’re almost ready, but I still have food to cook and floor to mop. I also have to finish tidying my office so someone can sleep in it.   I have too much to do in too little time.

I feel like my life these past few days have been lived in the fast lane on the freeway.  This evening I started looking for some exit signs and my beloved Amoeba intercepted my collision course with total destruction and took me out for a burger and a beer.

It is odd that I should be so tired after spending 3 days at the wonderful resort, but the bed wasn’t all the comfortable, and then there was the sleep deprivation caused by the traveling itself.   Anyway, I would love to come and visit you all but I’m so busy I don’t have time — and when I do sit, I am just too tired to think.

Plus Thom, Susan and her kids, and possibly Sylvia (I haven’t heard a final word on that yet) will be here in the morning and then we really will be busy and I won’t have time to visit!  But I bet all the fun and laughter will help revive me!

Medical Alert Systems Save Lives

Several years ago when I still lived in Vegas, I was getting ready for bed when my cell phone rang. Caller ID told me it was my friend Liz. I answered. She said, “I know it is late but I was wondering if you could come by my house.”

Liz lived about 20 minutes away. I was already in my pajamas. I asked, “Is it really important?”

Liz said, “Well, it’s not an emergency or anything, but I have fallen down in my garage and I cannot get up. Something seems to be wrong with my arm and I can’t put any weight on it. I may have dislocated it again.”

I was already pulling my clothes on, but just the same, I told her to dial 911. She refused, saying she was too embarrassed and it just wasn’t important enough to bother them. I got in the car and started driving. When I was ten minute from Liz’s house I told her I needed to hang up the cell phone for a minute, but I would call her right back. Since I was driving she didn’t ask any questions. I disconnected our call and dialed 911. The ambulance and I arrived at Liz’s at the same time.

The paramedics were absolutely wonderful. They helped Liz up and gave her a ride to the nearest emergency room. They made her feel comfortable and kept her laughing and joking. They also did something else very important, they helped her understand that receiving emergency aid doesn’t mean one loses his/her dignity.

These days, Liz is better educated on how to keep herself safe from falling hazards.Now there is nothing in her garage except her car, and her overhead lights are working properly.

The National Council on Aging provides a 12 step procedure for reducing the likelihood of falling in your own home.

  • Step one: talk to your doctor and seeking his/her personal recommendations for your unique situation. You should also have your hearing and vision tested regularly.
  • Step two: make certain you take all of your medications accurately and responsibility, which includes relating any side-effects — especially that of vertigo — to your doctor immediately.
  • Step three: install proper lighting throughout your home, especially making certain to have switches at both ends of hallways and staircases, and maintaining a well lit, clutter-free path from the bedroom to the bathroom.
  • Step Four: keep your floor and stairs free of clutter and unsecured rugs.
  • Step Five: install at least one handrail (preferably two) on all stairways and steps inside and outside your home. Ensure handrails are securely attached and in good repair.
  • Step Six: check that stairs are in good repair and are slip resistant. If any stairs are broken, have them fixed promptly. Add a strip along the edge of each step in a contrasting color to make it easier to see or use reflective anti-skid treads.
  • Step Seven: take the same precautions for outdoor steps. In addition, arrange to have seasonal hazards such as leaves, snow and ice removed on a regular basis. Use salt or sand throughout the winter months.
  • Step Eight: wear proper footwear. Shoes, boots and slippers should provide good support and have good soles. Avoid loose slippers or stocking feet.
  • Step Nine: install grab bars in all bathrooms, by the toilet and in the bathtub or shower. It’s a good idea to have two bars in the tub, one on a side wall and one on the back wall. If you need extra support, consider a bath seat or bench so you can shower sitting down.
  • Step Ten: use a rubber mat along the full length in your tub, and a non-skid bath mat beside the tub.
  • Step Eleven: use walking aids and other safety devices for extra safety. If you use a cane or a walker, check that it is the right height and that the rubber tips are not worn. Install stainless steel prongs (ice picks) on canes for safe walking in the winter.
  • Step Twelve: invest in a personal safety medical alert system.

Out of Control

I am not working so my life shouldn’t be so out of control, but it is!  I seem to have more to do than I have time to do it in. For one thing, I now have a social life and friends with skin.  Most of that is related to selling Avon, but it is still fun to get out and about everyday.

This week I destroyed two sewing machines — well, more accuately they destroyed me.  My own has a cracked bobbin holder.  It didn’t survive the move.  I borrowed a machine from a lady at church.  It is the same model as mine, but a little older.  There was one tiny difference I didn’t realize — my machine threads left to right; hers threads right to left.  That tiny little thing gave me much frustration.  She swapped me for another sewing machine (she teaches quilting and owns a dozen or so).  This machine sewed like a dream until I broke the needle sewing elastic.  The machine is a Janome and there are no needles for it on this island.  That means I had Amoeba’s costume vest for My Fair Lady to finish by HAND.  I designed the pattern, cut the vest out of old flour sack dish towels, and made it in 2 days.  It should have taken me 3 hours max.

I have had a rush of Avon orders.  I have had church commitments.  I missed a church commitment yesterday while hand sewing the vest and cussing Automattic for their, “Gee your site is down, too bad” attitude.  And Amoeba has had me fixing costumes and running all over the island looking for this, that and the other thing.  Today I must go buy him MAKE UP!  This man who will not kiss me when I am wearing lipstick wants me to get him his own!

There is a full dress rehearsal for the play tonight.  I am expected to be there.  This play has rearranged my life and my sleeping patterns — but at least I am sleeping.  Amoeba is only getting about 4.5 hours per night.  Most of this week dinner has been after 10 pm because that’s when Amoeba gets home from rehearsal.

I potted 8 rose bushes, battled hummingbird feeders, read my assigned novels and storybooks, shuttled meals to Amoeba and battled computer woes — then my website disappeared.  I was already stressed before that happened!

It seems someone forgot to pay the $14.99 renewal fee for her domain name.  I have the domain name registered with Automattic.  Despite 3 emails and a phone call to a voice mailbox with a message that pretty much says, “We don’t really care what you need because it isn’t our department, but go ahead and tell us anyway so we can ignore you”, I didn’t get an answer until this morning — over 24 hours AFTER my blog disappeared.   The answer was, “This really isn’t our problem.”  However, when I told the guy what I thought of their system of “help” I received a much more compassionate answer.

Of course, by that point I didn’t need it.

At any rate, my blog is back until this time next year when I forget to pay the renewal again. My desktop computer is running again — I finally took the time to figure out why it wasn’t working since it had the info I needed to actually pay the bill.  My roses are transplanted.  Amoeba’s vest, suit coat and clothes are washed, mended and ready for the full-dress rehearsal tonight — and I am soon on my way to buy him pancake makeup and eyeliner (I just gave him an old tube of my lipstick).  I would have ordered the face makeup and eyeliner from Avon, but he asked for it last night at dinner and I can’t get it shipped quite that quickly.