Back to normal – sort of

It’s been a long and stressful summer and fall, but I think things are beginning to normalize. At the very least, there are days when life does return to the way things were ‘before’, the ‘before’ being before Hubby was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It all started when he was having extreme weakness in his extremities, making it impossible for him to do the site visits required with his job. Since he hadn’t been to a doctor in over a decade (our family doctor suddenly gave up his practice with no notice), he finally sought medical advice from his brothers’ family physician.

The doctor was horrified, on that first visit, when he saw the reading on the blood pressure monitor – 265/130! He immediately put him on a regimen of medications; two to control the blood pressure, one to reduce his cholesterol and a diuretic. After a few weeks of taking them, Hubby felt fuzzy-headed, finding it hard to concentrate on work, forgetting things. I read all the information given with each medication and these symptoms were among the side effects listed, so we just assumed things would settle down once his body got used to the medications. That didn’t happen. In fact, things got worse.

His first emergency visit occurred after he collapsed in the bathroom. His legs suddenly gave way under him and he had difficulty getting up off the floor. The strength in his ankles has not been good since he broke them both, almost 40 years and, as he’s aged, arthritis has grown steadily worse, but this episode did not seem to be related to that. The hospital, after running many tests determined that his sodium level was a little low, probably inducing what is known as a vassal Vegal episode – something to do with the main nerve bundle running through the body, determining where to send blood, etc. Obviously, it decided his body needed to concentrate on urinating instead of standing. This was blamed on the low sodium. He was given what he needed and sent home.

His second emergency visit was a result of his blood pressure taking a dive. He managed to drive back to his work after getting the test done, but the folks in his office took one look at him and sent him home, but were conscientious enough not to let him drive himself. The doctor had told Hubby that if he didn’t feel better, to go to the hospital. After a rather starchy lunch, he still wasn’t feeling well, so I took him to the hospital. With all the tests they did, the ER doctor came back and announced, Hubby now has the Big Three – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, because his blood glucose was 12.5. Apparently, it shouldn’t be higher than 10, even after a starchy meal. Oh, and his sodium was a little low. So, on top of everything else, we now had to watch his sugar intake and add another pill to his daily routine.

After that incident, he got steadily worse. He had no appetite, barely touching the meals I so carefully prepared. His insomnia worsened – hardly any wonder with all that had happened! By the end of the weekend, he was so disoriented and weak he didn’t know what he was doing. He’d go lie down for a nap and he’d be up in an hour or two, having barely slept the whole time. He’d wander around and when I asked him what he was doing, he’d say he was looking for the bathroom. We’ve lived in the same house for almost 35 years and he couldn’t find the bathroom! I decided, that if he didn’t get a good night’s sleep, I would take him to emergency. That night, things were worse than ever. He was up almost every hour, couldn’t find the bathroom and when I’d guide him there, he didn’t know what to do or where he should be peeing! A couple of times during his late night wanderings, he collapsed on the floor or fell onto the cedar chest. When he started vomiting at 6 a.m. I knew I had to get him to the hospital. I tried to get him dressed, but he was so out of it, I couldn’t get him to do anything but get his pants on, so I called for an ambulance.

They gave him the whole gambit of tests; CT scan, EKG, blood tests, chest x-ray. The main thing they found was that his sodium and potassium levels were so low they were almost non-existent. Apparently, that makes a person act like a drunk 5 year old. Who knew? They suggested he stop taking the diuretic, which was making him have to pee every five minutes and, with the urine, taking away all his sodium and potassium. Done. Four days later, he was still pretty confused about things, but they let him come home.

His short term memory was . . . and still is . . . a little short. His math skills were barely comprehensible to him. We tried to play Cribbage in those first few days back home, a game he’s played since he was a teen, and he had no idea what to do with the cards. His job, which all involves numbers, was impossible. He was off work for two months. He’s only back, now, half days and that’s only if he is clear-headed enough to drive in the morning. Some nights, even the sleep aid doesn’t work and he’s up half the night, leaving him so tired by morning he can’t concentrate on anything. Despite all the tests done while he was in hospital, there was no conclusive evidence that he’d had a stroke, although the doctor is beginning to believe there was some sort of stroke-like event that occurred that didn’t show up on any of the tests.

We’re still taking each day at a time, hoping things come back to him so he can function the same as before all this happened. Sorry if I bored you all, but I wanted you to know why I haven’t really felt up to blogging, until now. When he doesn’t sleep, neither do I, so I have very little energy to do anything but take care of him, maybe check emails &/or Facebook on a good day. I want you to know, though, that I am going to try to catch up on what you all have been doing and will have some book reviews posted in the coming weeks, so please stay tuned. Thanks to all of you who have showed concern and stuck around through this ‘dark’ time.

Hope you are all having a great day!

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I am alive (contrary to popular belief!)

I apologize for being rather sporadic with my blog posting lately. I’ve been insanely frustrated with my laptop, which refuses to cooperate. It either heats to the point of burning my legs, or suddenly freezes up for no apparent reason. I also have trouble even getting it started in the morning, often having to reboot it because it freezes halfway through the first loading. I know I have to take it in, but I need help backing things up before I do, so I don’t lose any important information.

Because of this, I can’t be on the machine for very long at a time, so I’ve been off doing more stuff around the house and outside, now that we actually have some warmer weather. I’ve created more than three dozen cards & worked on my daughter’s wedding album, which is almost 4 years overdue. I’ve been visiting with friends and family. I took in a movie (Captain America 2). I am helping to plan a fundraising event for the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba and working with my writers group to get our latest anthology (chapbook) published. I’ll talk more about that later during a blog hop in which I will be participating, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Some of you have been inquiring as to my health, but I assure you, I am fine and I really appreciate your concern. I sincerely regret that, because of my limited time on the computer, I haven’t been able to read all of your wonderful blogs. I definitely have to get my computer fixed (or get a new one!) so I can get back into the on-line world more often. I will sign off for now, but I’ll leave you to ponder why I have this cutie pie in my possession (wink! wink!):

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Sassy Sasquatch

Do you think YOUR winter was bad?

It’s official. My home town has experienced the worst winter in over a hundred years, according to our local newspaper.

Our front sidewalk, April 5th, 2014

Our front sidewalk, April 5th, 2014

The Winnipeg Free Press quotes the national meteorologist, Dave Phillips, who says, “Nobody alive can say they’ve had it colder in Winnipeg . . . The story about this winter was the relentlessness of it. There was really no break. It was from the get-go. Even October was a half-degree colder than normal. Nobody had the look and feel of winter more than Winnipeg,” he said. “So if we award the prize for citizens who’ve endured the toughest winter, I think you guys would win gold.”

Another view from our front window.

Another view from our front window.

There were days when we were colder than Syberia and even Mars! To read more about our record-breaking cold and snowfall, follow the link above.

Our back deck. For reference, our fence is 6 feet high.

Our back deck. For reference, our fence is 6 feet high.

And it’s not over, yet. We still have several feet of snow in our yard and had a few more inches fall yesterday. While we weren’t hit as hard as North Dakota & Minnesota to the south of us, or even east of us over the past few days, we are dreading what will happen when all that snow melts. With the Red River bringing in all that additional snow form down south, it’s anyone’s guess as to how high the flood levels will get. Our only consolation is the fact that the Floodway was recently expanded to hold more water, so the city itself should not be affected by floodwaters as much as the outlying areas.

Our back yard, with our trailer buried in the snow.

Our back yard, with our trailer buried in the snow.

However, the frost has dug so deeply this winter that thousands of Winnipeggers have experienced frozen water pipes. As of yesterday, according to the Free Press, 2, 359 properties have been affected. “While the city has been successful in thawing some lines, it can’t keep up.” There are still 1, 363 property owners who are on the waiting list. Most of those live in older neighbourhoods where pipes were laid closer to the surface. Fortunately, our neighbourhood is only about 30 years old.

In the Free Press article it states, “Even with warmer weather, the ground remains frozen and properties will be at risk of frozen lines until late May or early June.” Those affected have been asked to keep their water running 24/7 until the ground thaws to avoid pipes being damaged by frozen water. Their water bills will supposedly be ‘adjusted’ once the crisis is over.

Oh, in case you were wondering if I took the photos above during mid-winter, be assured, they were taken from my windows a few moments before posting this. While some snow has melted since mid-winter, all this still remains – and it’s already April 5th! Is there any wonder why I haven’t felt much like blogging? 😦

So, tell me about YOUR winter.

Buttermilk, just for Mike (and my other blogging buddies, of course)

While quickly perusing Facebook this morning, I noticed a friend had posted a video about Buttermilk, an energetic and adorable little goat. I immediately thought of fellow blogger, Mike Allegra, who LOVES goats. His blog, Heylookawriterfellow, is always worth the read. Whether he’s discussing actors-turned-writers or setting up doodle contests, his posts are always a delight. He’s also a published children’s author. After extensive research on the woman who began a crusade to celebrate the first Thanksgiving, Sarah Gives Thanks was born.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the video that inspired this post:

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Hope you enjoyed the show! 🙂

I’ve been cyber-hibernating

Have you ever found it difficult to get back into your daily routine after an extended holiday? Well, following the Christmas break, I went into turtle mode, tucking myself inside my shell, ignoring most things on the internet and my in-box on my computer. I can’t say I’ve done anything useful to replace all the time I used to spend reading blog posts and Facebook comments, except to admit I got hooked on a particular game I downloaded on my Hubby’s new iPad.

Yes, I have to admit, my name is Susan and I am a game-a-holic. It all started out innocently enough. Hubby went to a work-sponsored poker tournament and came home with a brand new iPad Air. He’s not much of a techno-geek, and neither am I, really, but he asked me if I could get the thing set up for him. I was a little nervous, at first, afraid I’d do something wrong and crash the device, but it was actually pretty simple. Since he wasn’t around to consult with when it came to setting passwords, etc. I came up with things I thought he’d find easy to remember.

All seemed fine until Grandson came for a visit. In anticipation of our precious little whirlwind, I thought I’d check out a few simple apps that might hold his attention for more than a nanosecond. There were a few free Disney games – or at least, a taste of them – and one that completely hooked me: Nemo’s Reef. I suppose it’s like the Farm games where you collect animals and feed them, except this one immersed the gamer in the wonderful colours found under the sea, with relaxing Caribbean-style music. I found myself tapping the screen thousands of times a day, harvesting ‘sand dollars’ and ‘algae’ from the corals and other living flora I planted. The sand dollars were used to buy the plants, the algae was used to feed new plants as well as the fish I collected. It became a total obsession, I am ashamed to say. I even went so far as to create a list of all the fish and when I last fed them because I had collected so many that I was having trouble keeping track of them! I finally realized I couldn’t possibly keep up with all those hungry fish unless I was tapping the screen 24/7. A few days ago, I deleted the game and feel so much better – and I’m finally getting stuff done around here!

So, I apologize that I haven’t been around to read any of your wonderful blogs. I have missed a lot, I’m sure, and I will try to catch up. That, however, might take awhile as I have about 4500 unread messages (mostly blog post announcements) in my in-box, right now. Please forgive my total lapse in judgement and I promise to be a better blogger. 🙂

However, I may have to make a quick trip out to visit a sick friend in Edmonton in the next few weeks, which might set back my blog reading, again. I assure you that’s not just an excuse to return to the game. My lifelong friend with MS has been suffering with some minor brain aneurisms, causing short term memory loss and, as of the past few days, some aphasia and paralysis along her right side. I want to get the chance to see her before things get worse (although I pray that won’t be the case) and, maybe, having me there will help in her recovery.

See you all on the flip side! 🙂

Season’s Greetings

hot chocolate

And all you, my dear friends & followers, definitely warm MY heart! I want to take a moment during this busy time to wish you all the best, no matter how you celebrate this winter season. I wish I could share a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, eggnog, apple cider (or whatever tickles your fancy and warms YOUR heart!) with each & every one of you. Merry Christmas and the happiest, healthiest New Year! 😀

Crossroads – A Demos City Novel

This is a cool cover, isn’t it?


I was just over at Jennifer M. Eaton’s blog. Her friend, The Little Blue Lady from Mars, interviewed Jonathan Lister on his launch of Crossroads. He’s holding a Rafflecopter – a chance to win an Advanced Reader Copy of his book, among other things. I thought you might be interested in getting in on that action, so pop on over to Jennifer’s blog (link above) so you can learn a little about Jon and his book as well as meeting the Little Blue Lady, if you haven’t already.

Happy Sunday! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday with all the trimmings!

How many of you know how Thanksgiving became a holiday? You owe it all to a determined woman named Sarah Hale. If you pick up Mike Allegra’s book, Sarah Gives Thanks, you and your children can learn all about how Sarah “dedicated her life to making Thanksgiving a national holiday, all while raising a family and becoming a groundbreaking writer and women’s magazine editor.”

It’s available on Amazon. Aren’t the pictures lovely? They were done by David Gardner. To get your copy, click on the picture. To read Mike’s interview of his illustrator, head over to heylookawriterfellow and, again, I wish you all a . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lest We Forget

Last year, on our Canadian Remembrance Day, I talked about my family’s military history and thought I would re-post it, for those of you who might have missed it. As a matter of fact, I was discussing some of the things my Grandfather had done while in the service in WWI, but I couldn’t remember a lot of the details, so this was a bit of a refresher for me, too! Anyway, here is what I wrote last year:

November 11th is the day those of us in Canada, Great Britain and the United States remember the fallen soldiers from wars of the past and present and pay our respects to the veterans who served our countries.

After reading some of Diane Dickson‘s war stories, it got me thinking about my Grandfather who served in World War I and my dad, who completed his cadet training at the military base at Shilo, Manitoba. Here he is in his uniform, just before his 18th birthday, about the time WWII ended, so he was never deployed.

I started digging through some old photos looking for pictures of Grandpa’s military days stationed at Camp Hughes in 1916. Camp Hughes was a training camp in southwestern Manitoba, near the town of Carberry. Many of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces who trained there were later involved in the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. While my grandfather was not among those sent overseas, I am still proud that he served in the best way he knew how.

Here’s a picture of him outside his home before heading out to Camp Hughes. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. They were scanned from very old faded photos.

In front of home on Furby Street

Grandpa at Camp Hughes 1916

This is his unit at Camp Hughes. Grandpa had the photo turned into a postcard but it was never sent.

Here is a postcard that Gramps sent home to his Dad from Camp Hughes dated August 13, 1916. The ‘X’ marks his ‘O.C.’ (Last year, I questioned what the initials stood for but was told they refer to the Officer in Command, which makes sense when you think about it!)

Postcard commemorating the Presentation of Colours to 100th Battalion C.E.F, Camp Hughes, Sept.9th, 1916

New Year’s Greetings from the A.D.D.S. and Officers of Canadian Army Dental Corps M.D. No.10

In case the writing is too faint to read, the above greeting states: “May the New Year Bring a Righteous Victory and a Lasting Peace.” It was dated Winnipeg, 1916-17. Too bad the peace did not last as long as they’d hoped. 😦

While Grandpa was at Camp Hughes, there was a sandstorm that knocked down the tents. Here are a couple of rather faded photos of that event, but you get the idea:

The Sergeant’s Mess Tent, August 28, 1916
(Gramps is on the right below the ‘x’)

Holding up Lab Tent

Grandpa (left) with QMS T. R. Lowres
at C.A.D.C. M.D10 Osborne Barracks, Winnipeg, 1919

He later became the Quartermaster at the Osborne Barracks in Winnipeg, as you can see from the picture above.

Well, there you have it – a little personal history, lest we forget.

In addition to this post from last year, I wanted to mention that we currently have two nephews, who are serving in the Reserves, not to mention those in my husband’s family who have served and are serving. I only hope they never have to see combat in their lifetimes.

What about you? Do you have stories about your military loved ones you’d like to share?

Sharing friends with my friends

I thought, today, instead of an author interview, I would share the sites of some of my blogging friends:

For all of you who might be thinking of taking the challenge of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), wantoncreation has some advice for you.

If you prefer a site where you can read an interesting story, Diane Dickson has written many short stories and serials, so pop over here. Soon she will be offering one of her novels for free, too!

C.B. Wentworth has a lovely variety of posts; lovely poetry, gorgeous photography, fantastic travel tales, and her beautiful knitted creations. You can find her latest poetry and photo of a Roman bridge here.

On the site, Speculating Canada, Derek Newman-Stille discusses Canadian speculative fiction, interviews writers of the genre and writes reviews. Considering the month, I recommend you head over there and read his list of ‘Canadian Must-reads-For-Halloween‘.

I enjoy reading what Elizabeth Creith has to say on her website. She discusses her writing and gives pointers to upcoming authors. For example, in her latest post, she discusses writing style.

If you want to read a charming Halloween-themed story, pop over to roughwighting and immerse yourself in ‘Witchy Woman’.

Jenny Keller Ford is a lovely woman who is working hard to get her first YA novel published. In the meantime, she has had several short stories published in anthologies put out by J. Taylor Publishers. She interviews other writers, like Terri Rochenski in her latest guest post ‘Balancing Family With Writing, and she reviews books as well as giving tips on writing.

Another writerly blogger is Jennifer M. Eaton. She’s been advising her readers with ‘… Simple Rules To Writing The Best Novel Ever‘, based on the article, ‘Hunting Down the Pleonasm’ by Allen Guthrie. She also has been providing us with book reviews and author interviews. She began the multi-author story ‘Write A Story With Me’, which has a new episode each Monday.

I think that’s enough sharing, for today, although there are many more exciting bloggers out there, writing wonderful blog posts, which I hope to share another time. I hope you will take the time, on this leisurely Sunday, to peruse the links provided.

Happy Sunday, Everyone! 🙂