Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Followers

I wanted to give a quick shout-out to all of my followers and a special "hello" to the newest followers. I'm so glad you're here and I look forward to reading your comments.

First, Orchid, from Japan... I know that she follows several of the same blogs that I follow, so one day I checked out some of her posts. I didn’t officially start following her blog until this past weekend after she sent me a sweet note. Now, she’s my newest follower and I’m also following her. If you haven’t visited her blog before, I recommend that you do.

Next, we have Carol over at Facing 50 With Humour. She also follows some of the same blogs I follow and she was sweet enough to come leave me a comment on one of my posts. Carol's blog is fun to read and I'm sure that you'll enjoy it, too.

I apologize if I have neglected any of you. Please know that I value each and every one of you and I'm so glad to see you hear, read your comments, and have you share my ups and my downs.

Bless you all.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The lost are now found!

My glasses, my favorite glasses, have now been found! They were down in the chair, where I'm sure I looked. Probably didn't see them because... I couldn't see them! hahaha!

Getting ready to have the surgery. Tuesday will be here before I know it.

I have no real news to report, but if you've got nothing better to do, go check out Isaiah's blog for a good laugh. (

Still waiting to hear from the oxygen people to get Ron a more portable system. I told them that I was having surgery next week and would like to get him in one morning this week. Well, since they didn't call today to set up an appointment, it won't be tomorrow. That only leaves Friday and Monday. After that, it'll be at least a week unless I just get to feeling great while I'm off. We'll see...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What did we do before air conditioning?

When I was growing up, we did not have air conditioning in any way, shape, or form. We had "box fans" that we put in the windows during the day to suck the hot air out, then we turned them around at night to bring the cool night air in. It must have worked out because I'm still around. :) We didn't very live close to a swimming pool so we didn't really have too much that we could do to stay cool. We sprayed with hoses, had water fights, and drank lots of iced tea.

Sleeping with your windows open was also much safer during the 60s and 70s. I'm not sure I would sleep with my windows open now. At least, not in a big city. Not even in our last town. But, in this one I might. In this town, people leave their keys in their cars. They leave their houses unlocked during the day. Sometimes, they leave their houses unlocked at night. I don't think I'll ever feel safe enough to do that (LOL - but I have done it accidentally before, and I've slept with my keys hanging in the lock - plainly visible from the street if anyone looked; also slept with my garage door open more than once [think kids here]).

Back to the air conditioning... My parents ended up buying a window unit for their bedroom. My dad was working nights and trying to sleep during the day. No way to sleep in the house that hot, even with a fan. Especially since it was summer and the noise ofkids playing outside would just be brought into the bedroom. They finally got central air in about 1977.

The house that Ron grew up in had a HUGE fan built into the side of the house, kind of like an attic fan but in the side of the house instead of the ceiling. I wouldn't have believed it by just being told, but we actually lived in that house for about a year (his sister owned it at the time). I wish I had a picture of it, but I don't. It was huge and when not in use, it had doors that we closed from the inside. That kept bugs out in the summer, cold out in the winter, and people from crawling through to break into the house. When we ran that fan, we slept with blankets at night. Seriously, it was that good.

When I was married to my first husband, we lived in a mobile home. Without air conditioning. 1980 was HOT. Much like this summer, it broke a lot of records. The building I worked in was very old and the central air didn't cool the floors evenly. My floor was one of the ones that got lots of the cool air. So much, in fact, that we ran space heaters at our feet. Imagine being so cold that you need a heater at your feet and then walking out to 115 degree temperatures, even hotter in your car. Then, coming home to a house without air conditioning. I got really sick that summer. That was fun. Not really...

Everyday that I look at my thermostat and realize that I can turn the temperature up or down, I am so grateful for the electricity that powers my central air. I feel for those who live without it and who have to work out in the heat. Heat kills many people every year and many more get very sick from the heat.

So thankful for the air conditioning that cools our house.

Do you have central air? Did you when you were growing up? How did you beat the heat?

Better today

Ron is doing better and, as such, I am also relaxing a bit. He is getting around the place without too much trouble. Our son-in-law had to come rescue him yesterday morning (not too long after I left for work but I guess Ron didn't want to confess his mistake to me) because Ron had gotten wrapped up in the oxygen tubing and couldn't get untangled. He'd done exactly what I warned to not do. Drove right over the tubing and then tried to turn and/or back-up. Somehow, the tubing got wrapped up in the wheelchair wheels. Thankfully, Rex only works about five minutes from here.

I took Ron to the new doctor yesterday. He's a nice guy and was highly recommended by not only the attending physician at the hospital, but also Amy's obstetrician recommended him as her pediatrician. LOL - he's an internal medicine doctor and a pediatrician. Completed a residency in each specialty. Ron was impressed. Since Ron was impressed, I'm happy. It's important for him to be comfortable with a new doctor. We've seen Dr. A for over 10 years (actually, not sure - we moved to Derby in 1996 and not sure when we started seeing her). The new doctor (LOL - also Dr. A) went to medical school with her so he knew exactly where we were coming from. That means, she should know him and I don't think she would have given Ron the referral if she thought he wasn't the doctor for Ron. She knows Ron takes a lot of care and that he needs a doctor willing to put out the effort to take care of him.

On another note, I was going to cancel my surgery for the 2nd. I know... I worked really hard to get the referral and the approval and NOW I'd consider canceling? I'm sure that makes no sense. But, I was worried that I wouldn't feel like taking care of myself, let alone trying to take care of Ron. I'm not sure how I'll feel but knowing that I "might" not feel very good and still have to take care of Ron was enough to make me reconsider the timing of the surgery. Ron said absolutely not - he would not let me cancel. I'd worked too hard to get it approved and we've waited too long for me to get hearing restored to postpone it. He said he will be feeling much better by then and can take care of himself.

Plus, last night one of our neighbors came over and asked about when my surgery was and if the other residents of our six-plex could help us out after my surgery. She said they all wanted to pitch in if needed and do some little things that I might need. She offered to bring over some light meals so I don't have to cook the first couple of days. Rex said that he and Amy will also be available to help after work, so that's also nice. Amy is going to take me to the hospital and then mid-morning, Ron's friend Chuck will bring him down. That way, Ron doesn't have to sit for hours in the waiting room. Chuck will bring take us both back home once I'm discharged.

I was going to clean my house today, but I've just slummed around the whole day. Played a little bit on the computer, fixed us some biscuits for lunch, and ran the dishwasher. That's it. I need to clean up the play room and find a good place for the oxygen but I walked and promptly turned around and walked out. Keith said he'd come over tomorrow and help me put a couple of bookcases together, but they're not bought yet and I don't feel like going to the store. Maybe next weekend. Maybe not. hehehe!

I do have to sweep, mop, and dust tomorrow. Plus, do up the rest of the laundry. Maybe then I'll decide to go clean the play room.

I think I'll decide tomorrow.

After church.

And lunch.

And, maybe a nap.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Truth or Dare

Don't take this wrong, but I am not a happy camper right now. Yes, I'm thrilled to have Ron healthy enough to come home. Yes, I am thrilled that this is a fairly simple "fix" for his problems.

But, it's really only pretty simple for him. He's probably needed the oxygen at bedtime for quite some time and we didn't realize it. I know that ever since his sister died in the nursing home (from no C-PAP and/or oxygen), he's been reluctant to really let himself fall to sleep. He's fought it until fatigue just took over and he had no choice but to fall asleep.

Now all he has to do is make sure that he doesn't run over the tubing with his wheelchair. Simple, right? Nothing with Ron is simple. Nothing. I think I untangled him three times tonight. He hadn't been up since the oxygen was delivered and set up so he hadn't gotten tangled before I got home. I'm not sure how he's going to get around if he can't drive around this little apartment without wrapping the tubing around his wheels.

In order to go somewhere, I'll now have to load the ramps, take his Jazzy, and load the oxygen.

It's a tall cylinder on wheels. There isn't any way I can push him in the transfer chair and pull the oxygen tank behind me. I'm good, but I'm just not that good. I usually have my hands full of other stuff so that really isn't an option. He's too short of breath to walk right now and I'm not sure if (or when) he'll be able to even walk any distance other than in the house.

We were talking yesterday in the hospital room, while we waited on the doctor to come in, and I asked him if he had been afraid he was going to die in his sleep like his sister. He laughed and said, "What is this: truth or dare?" Then he admitted that he'd been afraid of not waking up when he went to bed.

I can't say that I blame him since he's had breathing problems longer than she had them.

Later, he asked me his version of truth or dare. He basically wanted to know what I thought about it all. That was a tough question, but I said if I was being totally honest then I'd have to say that this was not the path I would have chosen (if given the option). This is not how I would have envisioned spending my 50s if asked. I'm not sure how I would have envisioned them, but this certainly wasn't it. He immediately went to "like you should have married someone else and been better off." (Seriously - I could have decked him.)  I said, "no, that is not what I said. Don't read more into it than what I said."

I said that by this time in our lives (kids grown), we had talked about him retiring at 62 and us traveling, maybe getting a small RV and spending the winters somewhere else. Big dreams on a small budget, but still something to dream about. I didn't dream about hospitals and disease processes. I said the path would have been different for BOTH of us, not me without him (silly man). But now, I see nothing but worsening conditions in our future. How much more can I realistically handle without breaking? How much more can I take on and still do the best that I can for both of us?

If things change, how in the world can I possibly pay for all that he'll need? I don't have any easy answers. I have to go to work every day and pretend that there isn't anything in my life that is affecting my day, smile and pretend that things are super-duper, bust my ass to be as perfect as humanly possible (all the while knowing that every single thing I write down is dissected and analyzed to see if I've made any errors), and pretend that's where I want to be.  

I feel totally alone in all of this. No matter what I want them to do, there are still things that only I can, and will, do for Ron. Amy asked me if I was trying to give her a guilt trip. I said I was not; it was just that if I expect nothing and get nothing, then I'm not disappointed. If I expect nothing and get something, then I'm blessed. It's unfair of me to place expectations on someone without letting that person know of those expectations, and sometimes those expectations cannot be met by others. If I ask for something that is not delivered, then I'm just setting myself up for disappointment. The kids all have jobs and responsibilities and they do as much as they can, taking into consideration their other responsibilties.

My biggest thing right now is the dog. This morning, Ron realized that taking care of her is probably not something he's going to be able to do. He agreed that we'd see if our groomer wanted her. Tonight, he's changed his mind. He doesn't think he can get through the day without her. {sigh} {SIGH} As much as I don't want to take her away from him, or him away from her, I know that this will be another responsibility that will be 100% mine. I already take her out first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and any time during the day that I'm home. I did not want to have that responsibilty. But, if I insist on giving her a new home, I'm the bad guy.

I am just not sure where our days are going to go. Ron was in Stage II heart failure for three years; now he's in Stage III. There are only 4 stages. How long will this last? Will he get better? Will he go downhill faster? Will he stabilize?

God only knows. I sure wish He'd fill me in on some details.

Finding Sarah

Now, I have nothing against the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. In fact, I admired her gumption and spirit when she was part of the royal family. I did think she made some wickedly stupid decisions, but we all have our moments that we look back on and groan about. (Thank God mine were out of the public eye!) Being in the position that she was in, and is currently in, you’d think she would have had more common sense than that. You’d think.

I read that she didn’t even know how to use a microwave. Seriously? My youngest son figured out how to use one when he was three years old. And, he couldn’t even read. I would think that any adult who can read English (or, on the newer model microwaves, recognize pictures of foods) could safely operate a microwave oven. That’s what I get for thinking…

I have no issue with her out there finding herself. In fact, I’m probably even a little jealous. Come on – free counseling, support groups, adventures, etc. Sounds like something I could use.

But wait… I’m actually part of the “REAL” world and people like me deal with REAL issues. That’s not to say that her issues aren’t real, but I don’t think she’s in jeopardy (or has been in jeopardy) of being homeless, I don’t think she’s been without food, necessary medications or treatment, heat/air conditioning, etc. She may have had budget problems and money problems, but most of those were probably out of sheer lack of knowledge and not due to circumstances beyond her control. I don’t mean for that to sound judgmental, but just factual. I do read and although a lot of stuff published about anyone who is in the spotlight is just useless fodder, some of it has got to be true. (I missed the episode of her with Suze Orman but I caught the preview and it sort of substantiated some of this.)

With all the “reality” shows out there these days, it’s not hard to be jaded about “reality.” I don’t see the “Oprahs,” “Suzes,” or “Dr. Phils” of the world knocking on the doors of people dealing with issues out of their control. Most of the reality shows (that aren’t Survivor-type items) are about spoiled individuals trying to get their way in things (Snookie, Kardashians, etc), stay-at-home wives with nothing better to do than fight with each other, selling over-priced real estate, and more.

Where are the shows that deal with things like:
  • Waiting on disability payments to kick-in so you can buy groceries
  • Waiting on disability payments to be re-instated so you can keep a roof over your head
  • Keeping a job so you can pay your utilities
  • Cleaning up puddles of blood the size of bagels
  • Hauling wheelchairs in and out of vehicles not designed to haul wheelchairs (I’m talking heavy, electric wheelchairs)
  • Figuring out what to cut (and how to cut it) something essential from the budget to make room for something else essential
  • Trying to work full-time, take care of a home, and a disabled spouse/child/parent
  • Dealing with employers who expect nothing less than perfection and who can't/won't/don't understand that sometimes life gets in the way of the very best laid plans
  • The every day, day in and day out, reality that this is the best that you've got and that it's probably not going to get any better
  • And the multitude of other real issues that millions of people deal with day in and day out
If I sound a little jaded and over the top - well, that's probably 'cause I'm there. If I had the time, I'd like to go "find Sarah" myself. Enjoy a spot of tea, a chat, etc. Get out of my reality into someone else's.

I'm sure my reality is better than that of a lot of people and I'm trying to not complain, but this week has about gotten the best of me.

I still have one day left.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Going home... with oxygen

Ron is being discharged this afternoon and will be using oxygen at home. It will be available during the day if he feels like he needs it and then will have a machine hooked up to his Bi-PAP machine at night to take the oxygen out of the air and concentrate it through the machine. His oxygen saturation level dropped to 82% when walking a short trip without oxygen. It did come back up to 95% after he rested a bit. So, they put it back on him at 2 units (or how ever it's measured). Now, he's resting without and they'll check it again (it did drop to 88% at rest so we'll see after a bit to see if that stabilizes or goes up/down).

His echo doesn't look that bad (doctor's words, but is "not that bad" better than "bad" or bad, but not terrible?) and confirms that he has pulmonary hypertension as well. His left ventricle isn't functioning as it should but not "bad" right now. His heart looks a little stretchy, which is a result of the CHF. She put him at between stage 2 and 3; when I read the descriptions to Ron, he thinks he's closer to 3 than 2. We shall see.

With proper care and monitoring, he should be doing just fine. He'll have a little oxygen backpack to take with him when he's out and about, in the car, or walking around the house.

Long-term prognosis??? No clue. We have an appointment with an internist on Friday so maybe I'll be brave and ask him at that point.

Maybe not.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I think I know too much sometimes. Nothing's going to really change in my life except more responsibility so maybe I just don't want to know everything. It's not like there's going to be some magic wand or hand reach down and rescue us from this.

I think it's all us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Have you seen my glasses?

I have four pair of reading glasses - one at work, one in my purse, one in my craft stuff, and one by my computer. Of the four, the pair I keep by my compuer is my favorite.

Somehow, somewhere on Sunday, they have disappeared. The were the perfect strength. The others are either really too strong or too weak. Those were p.e.r.f.e.c.t. They were +1.50 and my others are either +1.25 (work), +1.25 (purse), or +1.75 (craft). I have torn this stupid house apart and cannot find them.

Damnation. They weren't the cheap ones, either. And, they were pink. Double-damnation. But, they were a mature pink - not the kiddie pink. Very classy looking.

I'll have to replace them because I cannot work with the others.

On another note...

Ron is feeling better. He had an echo today and may get to come home tomorrow. Got the catheter out. We shall see. I can tell he's feelin better because he was a grumpy old man this morning. I swear, the man is as bad as a small child asking for water or ice when he knows that he's on restricted fluid intake. Silly man.

I'm tired so I'm headed to bed but wanted to touch base. I have so much to write about but when I sit down, the words just won't come or I get started doing something else.

Now, for some humor...

ATD – at the doctor
BFF – best friend fell
BYOT – bring your own teeth
BTW - bring the walker
FWIW – forgot where I was
GGPBL – gotta go, pacemaker battery low
IMHO – is my hearing aid on?
LMDO – laughing my dentures out
OMMR – on my massage recliner
ROFLACGU – rolling on the floor laughing and can’t get up
TTML – talk to me louder

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Extreme Couponing...

Extreme selfishness, or just good shopping? Not passing judgment, but definitely confused.

I understand the use of coupons. I love to use them. But, on things I need and buy regularly. Not 15 bottles of antacids, 72 packages of diapers (with no baby to wear them), 24 packages of floss, 1000 tubes of toothpaste, etc. If I had coupons for some of the stuff to get it free, or practically free, then I would buy it and donate it to a food bank or church, or give away to friends if I knew they could use some of the stuff.

But, to just stockpile it and have it in a room, closet, basement, garage, etc. so I could LOOK at it just blows my mind.

I have not mastered saving tons of money using coupons, although some of the gals I work with use duplicates of coupons to buy more stuff. I even know one person who set up fake email addresses just so she could get the extra dollars off on items that were discounted when a new account was created. (Now, this I think is just dishonest.)

I don't have 15-20 hours a week to devote to tracking store sales or finding the inserts that contain the coupons. A lot of the coupons that I see are for things that I cannot use (too high in sodium or potassium or something that Ron can't have). I just wouldn't buy this even if it ended up being very low cost. If I only have $100 in my budget for groceries, I'm not going to spend it on things that I can't use.

I wish I knew how to do it better to benefit "my" family. That would save us a bundle.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Great news in the mail

I'm flippin tired but I had to post...

I received my letter from the 2nd level appeals committee (which is as high as I can go) and they wrote...

After reviewing the case, the Committee determined the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) is covered under your Hearing Aid benefit. (heart sinks but kept reading) However, the decision was to make a one-time exception and allow coverage for your BAHA under your Prosthetic benefit. Under the Prosthetic benefit your responsibility will be 20% of the Allowed Amount when utilizing a Network Provider.

I'm ecstatic! That is the best news I've gotten in days. Heck, in weeks.

Makes up for the fact that Ron is full of "sheet." Not "bull sheet" as that is my job (hehehe!). So not only is he full of p*s* and vinegar, he now gets to have lots of laxatives pushed his way. To get rid of the sheet. They're already getting rid of the excess fluid. Dr. D isn't too sure how long he'll be there but I expect through the weekend.

(So glad he's in the hospital! I wasn't cut out to be a "toilet attendant" and I greatly admire those who can do so.)

Funny thing at the hospital today... Dr. D (he kind of looks like a cross between a stoner and a rocker, but way cooler) is in the room talking to us when the CNA comes in to check Ron's sugar. The doctor had to actually look away. Said the sight of blood and finger sticks gave him the heebee-jeebies. True story. Too funny!

Speaking of Dr. D, he's a really nice guy but doesn't have private practice. He's strictly on-staff at the hospital. Great bedside manner and great compassion. As he was listening to Ron, he was rubbing his leg and looking Ron straight in the eye. Great traits for a doctor.

New house, new community, new church, new hospital...

Yep - he just had to go check out the new facilities.

By ambulance, of course.

When I wasn't home from work, of course.

When I didn't even have my own car at work, of course.

Fortunately for me, Rex had just returned home from his business trip and was able to come to work and pick Amy and Isaiah up (Amy and I carpool - and Isaiah's summer care is right next door to where we work). I hadn't taken my car yesterday because I was going to dinner with Amy and her BFF from grade school so we were actually just sort of dawdling to kill a little bit of time before we met up at Olive Garden.

I tell you, the ambulance service in this community is stellar! Ron called me at 4:46 pm and I told him to dial 911 from the house phone. At 5:06 pm he called me back to ask what hospital because they were already ready to roll. That is service!

The hospital is small - one floor - but the ER staff some of the friendliest hospital medical professionals I've ever met (and, trust me, I've met a bunch over the past five years). The ER doctor was very nice, listened, and examined thoroughly. Although he was busy (that place was hopping) he never gave the impression that he was frazzled or too busy to listen to what we said.

After being poked and prodded, x-rayed, and blood drawn more than once, they decided to keep him. His oxygen level was 63% in the ambulance and at the hospital never did get over 95%. They tried 2-3 times to take him off oxygen and (on the monitor) it went down to 85% so they put it back on. After he came back from the second set of x-rays, the gal forgot to hook him back up to the wall oxygen and the tank under the bed ran out. I didn't know that until he started breathing hard again and since they hadn't hooked him back up to the monitors, the nursing staff didn't either. They thought he was headed to his room so hadn't hooked him up. I went out and asked if he was supposed to be on oxygen because he wasn't getting any (I pulled the cannula from his nose and felt for air coming out; there was none). The nurse came back in and hooked him back up to things and his oxygen level was 71%. Nice... They were super busy (lots of emergencies) but someone should have realized they didn't see any stats coming across the screen for him.

He finally got to a room after 11:00pm. I wanted to leave but I knew the floor nurse would have questions that he would have problems answering so I stayed. I think I got home and in bed about 1:00 am. Then, I was awake by 7:40 am. I am bushed but will be heading back out in about 30 min or so. I'm glad it's not too far away so I can come back during the day to let Maisey out. She misses Ron and gets very agitated when he's not here..

Oh... not sure what's wrong but they think it's CHF acting up. They gave him and injection of Lasix and the fluid started draining off.

I knew he was full of p**s and vinegar.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Silly man... Good thing I like him

(I love him, too - but sometimes you've got to LIKE someone as well.)

Last night, I was busy making a sympathy card for Amy that she needed today.

Ron picked up his electric shaver and tried to hand it to me as I'm putting the card together. I said, "Ron, seriously? Can you not see that I have glue on my fingers? You think I can trim your beard right now?"

He said, "No, sorry - just like me to want something right now. I'll take care of it." (He's right - he does ask me at sometimes the most inopportune moments to do something for him.)

I went about my business finishing the card. In the midst of trying to get my glue to come out of the tip (it was clogged), it ended up splatting all over - including my shirt. Since I had on one of my favorite shirts, I went into the bathroom to rinse it off. As I was washing the glue off, in rolls Ron (in his wheelchair), shaver in hand. Again, he tries to hand it to me.

"How did I do? Does this look OK?"

I wish I had taken a picture of his face directly full on... Imagine a tiny half moustache on one side of the mouth, angled down across the mouth to a full moustache on the other side. Most of his beard was gone. I was still busy so I said (not very nicely) that he should have just waited for me. Now, he was going to have to shave it all off. He said he'd just go finish it then and take the rest off. I went back and finished my card.

Today, I thought about last night and had a good laugh. Then, I took this picture...

The dark area along his neck is what he missed - about 1/2 of his beard. It looks like that all the way from one side to the other. Granted, he does have movement restrictions because of the cervical fusion but he tried to "clean it up" without using a mirror.

He really should have waited.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Amy's baby shower

Ron is off today on a road trip with his friend, Chuck. That leaves me home to have just a day to do whatever I darn well please. Hmmm... what to do, what to do...

Although I have plenty of housework to do (laundry, vacuuming, dishes, etc.), I think I'm going to just play around in my craft room and decide what kind of invitations I'm going to make for Amy's baby shower. Her shower will be on September 24, so I have about six weeks to get them all finished so I can get them in the mail. Once I decide what design to make, and make the first one, it will really just be an assembly line to get the rest of them made. I think I want either a stair-step invitation or an easel-style card, with lots of pretty baby bling. I think I will keep them a secret from Amy until I have at least the first one (that I'm happy with) finished.

I'll be making the envelopes, too so I think I will need most of the six weeks to get them done.

After all, I have to please the most difficult customer.


I'm never satisfied with my work and I want everything about the shower to be just perfect. Amy has waited so long to find the man of her dreams and to have a baby (Isaiah is eight now), that I want her to really have this special time.

It will be very, very pink. I want a 3-D cake (saw some really cute ones at the grocery store but a co-worker's sister-in-law also does cakes, so will ask her about them) that is all typically baby girl style.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Full count

Have you ever felt like you were up to bat, the bases were loaded, there were two outs, and you had a full count... three balls and two strikes? No matter what you do, it has the potential to be bad? That's how I've been this week. I'm living with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head and no clue what is going to happen or when. I have no idea when the pitcher is going to throw that curve ball at me. Will I hit the ball, get a walk, or strike out??? It's a crapfest. My review was due by 6/30. It's now 7/7 and I still haven't had it. I walked by today and saw that she was typing on it.

I know that taking this long to do something that was due a week ago just cannot be good for the home team. But, at this point in my life, I truly don't care. I just want the ball to be thrown and the inning to be over. I either win, or I lose. Either way, I think I win. I'll be without the stress and the everyday of wondering just when something will happen. I am not perfect and I am going to make mistakes. I'm tired of looking over my shoulder, afraid to say or do anything because it might be the "one" to tip the scales. Just be done with it. Put me out of my misery.


On another note, got my second denial from insurance. Bat rastards. I'm totally irritated with them. So I sent them yet another letter and will have some kind of answer within 15 days of the receipt of my appeal. That was last Friday (but, because of the holiday it may not have gotten to them until this Tuesday). If they tell me no again, I'm not sure what I'll do. I do want to say - and be very clear - that any frustration I write about, speak about, or whine about is only VERBAL. It is in no way a hint, plea, or request for any kind of financial assistance. No one has said, but I don't want there to be any gray areas. As much as we've had on our plates financially in the past 3+ years, I've never asked anyone for any money or help in any way except some manual labor. I've been blessed with gifts from friends (microwave for Ron comes to mind) in some cases, but never really asked or expected anything of value from anyone.

Now that I've cleared up that potential issue, here's my latest letter to the 2nd level appeals board;

To whom it may concern:

First of all, I must say how extremely disappointed I am that the 1st level appeal team did not approve my request for the bone anchored hearing system to be considered a prosthetic device. I laid out very good, clear reasons why is it more than a hearing “aid” (which relies on air conduction to amplify sound) and is a true prosthetic because it converts sound waves through bone conduction. Although the system is commonly referred to as the BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid), it’s description has changed and evolved over the years to more adequately describe it’s function. Just because an acronym includes “aid” it does not mean that “aid” is the correct terminology. While I appreciate the inclusion in the rejection letter of the schedule of coverage benefits, it was not necessary. I know that hearing aids are only covered at $600 per ear every three years.

I’ve tried hearing aids and because I have NO hearing in that ear, there are no sounds to amplify.I have extensively researched Cochlear Implants (which is COVERED as a prosthetic device) and it more accurately fits a description of an “aid” because it consists of tiny microphones which AMPLIFY sound via the auditory nerve. The Cochlear Implant is also quite a bit more expensive. I’m thrilled that the outpatient surgery is covered at 100%, which is the most expensive portion of this system. The device is approximately $8500 and I cannot get the implanted part without the external part. Via Christi does the billing for this surgery/device as a package – not as individual items. I cannot do part without committing to the other. $600 coverage for an $8500 item is crushing to my spirit and to my ability to live a somewhat normal life – the same life that those who receive Cochlear Implants are allowed to live.

I have done further research to demonstrate how this system has evolved over the years. Please see, which discusses how Oticon Medical introduced a new bone-anchored hearing system in 2009. The article states, “Oticon Medical introduced in 2009 a new bone-anchored hearing system, the Ponto system.” What is a BAHA? states “The Baha consists of three parts: a titanium implant, an external abutment, and a sound processor. The system works by ENHANCING NATURAL BONE TRANSMISSION as a pathway for sound to travel to the inner ear, bypassing the external auditory canal and middle ear. The titanium implant is placed during a short surgical procedure and over time naturally integrates with the skull bone. For hearing, the sound processor TRANSMITS SOUND VIBRATIONS through the external abutment to the titanium implant. The vibrating implant sets up vibrations within the skull and inner ear that finally stimulate the nerve fibers of the inner ear, allowing hearing.” A Cochlear Implant is a small device that consists of a microphone (which picks up SOUND from the environment), a speech processor (which arranges SOUNDS picked up by the microphone), a transmitter and receiver/stimulator (which processes the signals). If a bone anchored hearing system is to be considered an “aid,” then it is only reasonable that a Cochlear implant also be considered an aid. A Cochlear implant more closely deals with sound while the bone anchored hearing system deals with bone vibration/transmission. In truth, neither of these two devices truly amplify SOUND and neither of these devices are hearing AIDS. A hearing aid is a device that “assists perception of speech or other sounds.” A hearing aid amplifies existing hearing; the BAHA replaces hearing, just like a prosthetic limb replaces an amputated limb.

Most large insurance companies follow trends set by Medicare. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (, “Medicare does not cover hearing aids for adults… Since Medicare has declared the BAHA a prosthetic device and not a hearing aid, Medicare will cover the BAHA…”

The University of Maryland Medical Center, Center for Auditory Solutions has the following list: BAHA implant, Cochlear Implants, hearing aids, tinnitus and hyperacusis program. ( Notice that BAHA implant is not included in the hearing aid category, but rather is its own category, just like the Cochlear implant has its own category.)

I cannot comprehend how our insurance company can cover an implant for a man to have sex but cannot cover an implant so I can hear. It is just unfathomable. I am only asking for a one-time coverage of the cost of this processor at the “reasonable and customary” rate that Via Christi contracts with you for. This would enable me to receive the same benefits that those who get Cochlear implants receive.

Now, we wait.
Tuesday, I sent out a couple of packages. One went to Jo-Anne (who won my "taste of Kansas" drawing) and the other to another friend. Once I'm sure she has her package, I will post a picture of what I sent. I didn't take any pictures of what I sent Jo-Anne so she'll just have to post them to her blog. I'm currently (also) working on a scrapbook for someone else but I need to print some more pictures before I can finish it. Soon... I hope... soon.
It's bedtime in Kansas so I better hit the sack. I am looking forward to my weekend off.
I'm going to try and catch up on my blog reading/commenting this weekend. Saturday, we're going to go visit my mother, but I'll be free on Sunday. Ron's taking a road trip with some friends (great for him to get out with someone other than me!) so I'll be able to catch up.
Until then, God bless you all!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Larry Crowne

Seriously - how could you go wrong with a movie that has not only Tom Hanks in a starring role, but also Julia Roberts? They have a great on-screen chemistry.

The reviews for Larry Crowne have been mixed, but I think the negative ones are just blowing smoke. I thought the movie was great. Very clean, very wholesome. No cussing. No offensive gestures or language. Not too mushy or corny. Yes, it was a bit predictable. Guy meets girl; there are challenges to overcome. Guy gets girl. But, it's done in a totally cute way.

Without giving away too many of the details... The younger generation at the college takes Larry (Tom) under their wings and kind of shows him the ropes. They ride scooters around town. Vespa scooters. Very cute Vespa scooters. (Made me wish I had a Vespa scooter. And balance. ) Larry's house and his wardrobe get an overhaul. Rita Wilson has a small part (I didn't recognize her at all), which she plays very well. Tom Hanks wrote the screenplay with Nia Vardolos. He also directed the film. Cedric the Entertainer has a cute role.

All in all, a great matinee pick.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God BlessAmerica Photo Challenge

Brenda's Photo Challenge Blog is having a God Bless America challenge. I don't have a lot of pictures that would fit this category, but I do have one of my very favorite photos of my daughter when her ship was returning from deployment. You've all seen it before, but now I am sharing it with the photo challenge.

It was September 14, 2001. It was a very emotional moment for all on board.

Friday, July 1, 2011

EcoStore USA Product Review

I've used both of my EcoStore USA products for a full week now. At first glance, I wasn't sure if I was going to like them better than my current products or not. But, I wanted to make sure that I gave them each a fair trial.

They passed. They not only passed, they passed with flying colors!

Coconut and Vanilla Body Wash:

I have very dry skin and we have very hard water. Once I shower, I then have to put lotion on my arms and legs or they get very flaky as the day progresses. I have tried many different products, some with better results than others. Currently, I have been using Melaleuca Renew Intensive Dry Skin Therapy body wash. It is nice, produces great lather, and does not leave my skin looking dry 30 minutes later. The Renew is more expensive than the EcoStore body wash, but is also a thicker gel than the EcoStore. Because of the hard water, I use a bath "pouf" made of netting to get a good lather. The first time I used the Coconut and Vanilla, I was surprised at the consistency. But, it produced a very nice, creamy lather. I was thrilled when my skin did not dry up like a prune during the day. I would give this body wash an A+ for value but only a B for consistency. I like something a little thicker.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

I've used Melaleuca's dishwasher detergent for several years. I started using it because the dishwasher I owned required a liquid and because it's made with eco-friendly ingredients. Now that we've moved, I have an older dishwasher that will take powder or liquid. The biggest drawback over this dishwasher is that it does not have a dispenser for Jet-Dry or anything for hard water deposits. So, I add a product to the wash dispenser to help with that. I've had to add it while using the Melaleuca but I wanted to see how the EcoStore detergent fared without it. Not bad, but not great. There were a few items that were not as clean-looking as I wanted them to be. They didn't have food residue, but they did not look spotless. The next night, I added the additive to the other dispenser and the only thing that didn't come clean was something I put in on purpose to see how it would do. (It didn't come clean with Melaleuca, either.) I've washed pans, cereal bowls, plates, glasses, and coffee cups. Coffee residue has been the most resistant to coming off, but that is pretty standard for most dish washing detergent that I've used. Coffee stains are just tough.

All in all, I really believe these products are very quality for the money and do a great job. I can see me trying other products from this store.

I would feel comfortable recommending these items to anyone.