Monday, May 7, 2018

Knitting and Crying

Just over a month ago I lost my mother.  It seems like all I want to do now is knit.  I think it's the only time that I feel better.  The day after the funeral, I went to a local yarn shop and bought some yarn in greens and blues that made me feel better.  I've been knitting a heavy shawl with it to wear over jackets on chilly mornings.  When I stop knitting, I start thinking about my mother and start crying.  She was my only close family. It's hard to sleep at night.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

GERD A Symptom

As a sufferer of GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease), I've never seen the disease written about accurately.  To begin with, much of the time GERD is a symptom, not a disease.  It's a sign that other things are out of whack with your body and you need to fix them.

There are a lot of people who don't realize they have allergies.  If they do, they don't bother treating them.  What makes you sneezy, sniffly and drippy is histamine.  Histamine produces more acid in your stomach.  The more acid in your stomach, the more likely you're to have heartburn and GERD. That's what led me to start taking the over-the-counter heartburn medications.  One after the other, they all stopped working.  That certainly made me miserable, not wanting to move so that the acid wouldn't slosh into my windpipe.

I discovered that all the medicines I was taking to counter the acid in my stomach were acids such as Ranitidine hydrochloride (Zantac) and omeprazole hydrochloride (Prilosec). Prevacid is in the same pharmacological class as omeprazole, so it might be an acid too.  I think after a while adding more acid to the acid in my stomach was counter-productive.

This situation led me back to my allergies.  When my test results said I was allergic to yeast, I thought it meant candida, or the kind that grew on your body.  No, it was the yeast used in food.  I immediately dropped a lot of food from my diet:  the frozen dinners I was eating because of kitchen problems, bread, English muffins, bagels, doughnuts, and pastry. I discovered a lot of companies sneak yeast into processed food, so the list of those I can eat has shrunk quite a lot.  In addition, yeast is used or created in other foods like alcohol, barley malt, cider, and soy-based Asian flavorings.  I'm also allergic to maple trees, so I can't eat foods sweetened with maple syrup either.  I stopped eating these foods and very quickly started feeling much better.

The situation wasn't resolved completely, though.  Sugar is an acid.  That's why you're supposed to be brushing and flossing your teeth.  I had to cut out sugary foods.  This actually hasn't been very difficult.  I never ate a lot of candy, lost my desire for most cake, didn't have a strong sweet tooth, and tried not to spend money on sweets.  I've had to give up my favorite chocolate-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, though.  Dark chocolate is better for me as straight chocolate than as an embellishment, but I prefer it that way.

The change in diet has helped a great deal.  My heartburn hasn't completely gone away, but I haven't taken anti-acid pills in well over a year.  I have been using Gaviscom tablets but I don't like it because it has aluminum in it.  The nurses have given Mom baking soda in ice cream because her stomach is acidic.  I've been using that in sugar-free smoothies twice or so a week and find that very helpful.  Until I came down with the flu and then a cold, I wasn't using Gaviscom very often, either.  That is a big change.  I have also lost enough weight to got from wearing size 14 jeans to wearing size 12, and even my new jeans aren't as tight as they were when I bought them.

Here is what to think about if you have GERD:

  1. Find out if you have any allergies.  If you have allergies, treat them to prevent histamine build-up in your body.  
  2. If you have any food allergies , stop eating those foods. The allergic reaction and histamine they produce will produce more acid in your stomach.
  3. Stop eating sugary foods because they are acidic and add more acid to your stomach. Bread and bagels aren't necessarily bad for you and you might not have to give them if you don't have my weird allergy.
  4. I have trouble with fried foods, so try avoiding them as well.
  5. You'll have to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains instead, which is much healthier for you.  Many of the flavors you've been consuming do exist in the real world. 
  6. If you buy your food from a local food co-op or farmer's market, it will be better for the local economy as well.
  7. This should enable you to stop taking Zantac, Prilosec or Prevacid.
  8. Chances are you should lose weight without a lot of effort. 
  9. Your teeth will be better and need less care.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Colorful cardigans

I have been thinking about knitting lately.  I have so many other things I need to do first, it's all I can do.  I recently found some nice yarn in nice colors, so I was daydreaming.  Here are some colorful cardigans (in no particular order) I found on Ravelry that would be fun to plan and knit.

38-7 Jacket by Drops Design (dk weight)

Log Cabin Cardigan by Lynn Garrett (worsted weight)

My Comfort Jacket by Kennita Tully

Stash Stripes by Judith Shangold
Color Play Jacket by Fran Jepperson (Aran)

San Francisco Cardigan by The Blue Moose (Aran weight)

Sausalito by Susannah Lewis-O'Dea (worsted weight)

Colorfall Cardigan by Kirsten Hipsky (worsted weight)

An Epic Battle in My Home County

When I decided to celebrate my raise at work, I bought the 5-movie package of Ice Age animation movies and also the movie Epic made by the same studio.  It came out while I was unemployed and I didn't have money to go see it.

A little way into the movie I was amazed to see these scenes come up:

In the county where I grew up, Columbia County in New York State, there is an ornate mansion named Olana built by the painter Frederick Church in the late nineteenth century.  It's a state park and very popular.

If it was ever mentioned in local media that the mansion was being used in a feature cartoon film, I completely missed it.  I enjoyed the movie very much and I think it's kind of cool it takes place in Columbia County, New York. I was hoping to play the movie for my mother.  She would have enjoyed it once.  Now she has advanced dementia and can't handle violent episodes in movies.  

I thought the way the woods folk were represented was very cool.  I don't know why the clothing wasn't adapted for Halloween costumes.  They may be labor intensive.  I'm afraid my short, stout figure doesn't lend itself to the loveliest flowers.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lessons Being Learned

Just short of a year ago my elderly mother broke her lower leg in two places and our lives haven't been the same since.  She's been through the wringer and I've been right behind her.  I'm her only child and the only family member who wants to take on the responsibility of seeing Mom is taken care of properly.

Lessons learned the hard way:

  1. If you don't trust your parent's doctor, see if there's a way you can intervene.
  2. Don't automatically trust the rehabilitation center or nursing home to do what's right.  You have to visit and make sure they're taking care of your family member correctly.  His or her life could be at stake, as my mother's was.
  3. Don't let the social worker bully you or shut you out. You are supposed to have periodic meetings with the social worker and you can ask them to accommodate you. If s/he gives you difficulty, speak to his/her superior.
  4. If your family member has to apply for Medicaid and is accepted, make sure you make someone tell you what is expected of your family member or you.  In three different facilities (two rehabilitation centers/nursing homes and one hospital), not one person told me the information I needed or gave me advice in any way. One other organization gave me very wrong information. Not getting the correct information can make life very difficult and make decision making and finances even worse.  Now I'm a stressed-out mess.
  5. You have the right to complain to the state (New York in my case) about a nursing home using the Nursing Home Complaint Form.  I made multiple complaints which were investigated and found to be true. I don't know what happened in the facility after that.  The nursing staff sent my mother to the emergency room because she was in shock and I refused to send her back there.
Now I've received a phone call that Mom isn't well.  I was trying to put off a visit due to lack of money, but I think I better go.


Mom had a slight cold.  She was feeling better by the time I left four hours later.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Life or Death Struggle in My Cubicle

This past Monday morning I came into work and discovered that there had been a life or death struggle in my cubicle.  I found a small glue trap which my company had been using for bugs.  Instead I found a ring of light and darker fur, several mouse droppings and a semi-circle chewed out of the trap, and also an orange bottle cap.  A mouse had been stuck to the trap and chewed its way out.  I was told that the company had already discovered the bug traps made good mouse traps as well.

I was relieved the mouse had escaped.  I had tried glue traps at one time because the old-fashioned trap didn't work.  The mice in my apartment were too smart.  The mouse I caught had been stuck by its underbelly in the trap and screamed and screamed.  It was the very last time I used a glue trap for mice.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Toe Socks

In early March my elderly mother broke her lower leg in two places.  The hospital put a heavy cast on it, leaving her toes sticking out, just like on tv.  The rehab center gave her two different crocheted toe socks for her, but Mom asked me to knit her one.  I used the cast sock pattern from Lion Yarns and added a strap to it.  I chose Cascade Pinwheel yarn in Petunia and got a little carried away playing with the colors.

In a small object, the colors didn't change quickly enough and I couldn't quite get the effect I wanted.  Mom was delighted with them, though.  As you can see, the sock fit snugly on her foot and she said it was much warmer than the crocheted toe sock that wasn't elastic.