Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2015 just has to get better

We've all heard the adage, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

I've been taking that advice. I haven't had anything nice to say since this year began. 

English: This is used to pee in the bathroom.

In mid-January, I was awakened by a strange gurgling sound. I hopped out of bed, sleuthing my way toward the sound, tracking it to the master bathroom. I'm being dramatic; the bathroom is steps from my bed. The toilet water was bubbling, which accounted for the noise it was making. It sounded like when a five-gallon water jug is hoisted atop a dispenser, turned upside down and poured into the container. 

A quick flush revealed that none of the three toilets in our house were working. I plunged and plunged, but to no avail. A visit from the roto-rooter man the next following morning did the trick. We have a septic system and have learned the hard way that one-ply toilet paper is really a beautiful and necessary thing. Truthfully, I'm thrilled at how long one roll lasts. We could probably go out to dinner on the savings from no longer using those wasteful wads of triple ply tissue.

A few days later, came the next crisis. I convinced my husband that he needed to go to the Emergency Room. I had taken his blood pressure and gasped at the numbers. I took him to there on Friday, July 16. He was treated for a hypertensive emergency. Once stabilized, they admitted him for observation overnight. His blood pressure began to normalize and I picked him up. The next morning, I noticed he had all the classic signs of a stroke during the night. His right side was weakened substantially. He is unable to walk or use his right arm. We went to the doctor's office where he was diagnosed. 

Helping him get to the doctor was difficult because he couldn't walk. He had no strength on his right side. All his muscles were affected, including his speech. Thanks to family members who live close by, we were able to get to numerous doctor visits, see specialists, and go to the hospital for tests. He even saw a speech and physical therapists.

One Saturday I was running some errands. I crested a hill on a two-lane highway when suddenly the power in my car slowly ebbed away until the speedometer went to 0. I coasted to a small parking lot just off the side of the road despite the difficulty of no power steering. 

When the car stopped, I checked my purse for my cell phone, knowing that I didn't have it. I had left it in my coat pocket--the coat I wasn't wearing because we were enjoying one of those rare 70ยบ winter days. I couldn't even close the car window. I tried several times to restart the car, but it was definitely dead. I started walking until I looked behind me and saw an elderly lady going to her mailbox. I called out to her, to ask if I could use her phone. She was very sweet, as so many of the folks are in this part of the country. I followed as she led me to her kitchen. There, I called my husband's sister and brother-in-law who had already been so helpful. I hated to ask one more thing of them, but I didn't have much choice. They came promptly to pick me up and drive me home. Once there, I called a towing company to tow my car home. 

When I tried to start each of our other two vehicles, they too were dead. I couldn't believe it. No way to get my husband to the doctor; no way to get groceries. I was not happy!

We have a battery charger, which I've recently learned is about 50 years old. It no longer had enough power to get the truck started. So, our brother-in-law brought over his battery charger. Both vehicles--the pickup and the recently-purchased Volkswagen--were soon up and running. 

On top of all this, the last few weeks of winter have been brutal. We live in a hollow, downhill from the road. The dead vehicle--the one with 4-wheel drive--is the one that would have made it up the hill. So, needless to say we have been housebound. I tried to keep the vehicles running, by starting them often and letting them run for awhile. We were pretty well-stocked with all we needed, so I wasn't too worried about it. 

One day, after two days of warm temperatures that caused some of the ice in the driveway to melt, I decided it would be good to get to the store to stock up on groceries. Neither vehicle would start. I was furious, even though the VW was my own fault. The headlight switch was on. I have no idea or explanation as to how that occurred. I used the old battery charger to get it going again. We have since ordered a new one online and expect it to arrive by UPS any day now. 

The truck, parked in the garage is old and the battery has That isn't necessarily a bad thing, since both of us are homebodies and John can't leave the house without help anyway. As long as we have the essentials, I'm fine with staying home. Besides, I could use the down time. With John out of commission, I've taken over his chores and helping him with his daily routine. We've sorta settled into a decent rhythm though and things are getting better. At least we aren't running to doctor appointments four times per week, or to the hospital for tests. 

John has just started in-home physical therapy. That is rather hectic with nurses and two different therapists coming three times per week, but he is making progress. And, I don't have to worry about the cars not starting and missing an appointment. 

There is a bright spot. With my doing all the shopping and cooking, John has never been healthier. His beer and pizza diet has been replaced by meals that include healthy fruits and vegetables. Beer and pizza is a treat now, rather than a staple. I think it will make a big difference in his life -- and mine too. 

I'm hoping 2015 has gotten all the nastiness out of its system and we can settle into a more peaceful, quiet, and enjoyable life. Now, if only this weather would cooperate. Winter storm Thor is right outside my window. Giant snowflakes are gently falling onto the late winter landscape. Daffodils, crocuses, and hyacinths have popped out of the ground already and are poised to dazzle us in a short time. Ya know, things are already looking up around here.