Monday, December 20, 2021

Oh Sugar, Honey Honey

 Hello all!

First things first, we came out of the storms safe. We were surrounded by tornadoes (an almost unheard of 20 twisters at latest count-they're still assessing damage) and high wind thunderstorms (90 mph winds in a thunderstorm, in December is NOT normal) but we never lost power (had a few flickers but by golly it held on). We sheltered in the basement whenever the tornado sirens went off (it happened a few times) and our weather radio was ringing constantly for a couple hours, but then it all blew out across to Iowa and that was that. 

As I predicted, I was sitting in front of the High School waiting to pick up Danny when the first sirens started blowing. That was scary, and even more concerning because there were children that were on foot and had already left school. They should have cancelled school-all the other districts did and businesses were letting people go home early ahead of the storm. They were lucky nothing happened, but that sort of gambling and brinksmanship whether it is with weather, student safety, or covid seems to be a hallmark of this superintendent's style and I don't like it. That sort of thinking that you're stronger than covid is about as effective as thinking you're stronger than a tornado. Yeah, the odds are in your favour nothing will happen but do you really want to endanger a school to make a political point or look like a tough guy? I am answering my own question because that's exactly what's happening. They wonder why all the young people are moving out of state-look at the sort of leadership we have. I can't blame a young person wanting out of Nebraska. Anyway, no one got killed so I guess there's nothing to see here, move along now...

Thursday I took my large carton of decorated cookies over to the library. It was nice to see people but it was also extremely awkward-more about a possible reason for that later. I guess, what do you say after delicately hinting/asking if everyone made it through the pandemic? And what on earth can you talk about? "So, how's your pandemic been?" These are people I've known close to twenty years and none of us are getting younger, but we quickly shifted to talking about kids and grandkids. I left happy to know everyone's doing alright but also knowing, no one is actually doing alright. Not having covid is good, but that doesn't mean people haven't been utterly traumatised by the last two years. Interestingly, no one was wearing a mask (I was, two!) which struck me as crazy. I don't want to think about the possibility that people I've known all these years are anti-vaxxers because that would be too much for my poor brain to get around, so I prefer to think they're just fully vaccinated and sick of wearing masks. I didn't ask. Sometimes I just don't ask things I might not want to know. But it was weird, and as I already said, awkward. I wasn't sure if I was getting stared at because I was wearing (two) masks, or if it was political, or maybe people just don't know how to interact anymore or maybe I had something stuck in my hair? Who knows? But it was odd. Most of the time when things are awkward I just shrug them off as, "Yeah, sometimes it is like that" and don't spend too much time thinking about it. I didn't really think it was anything personal. I mean, they were happy to see me, and to have the cookies. So I left and didn't think anymore about it.

Here's what I wore to deliver cookies. I had to get at least one wear in of the vintage Halston skirt. The night before, when I was decorating the cookies I had a killer migraine. I pushed through and just finished as my vision got too bad for decorating. I was nauseated and dizzy, so I sat on the kitchen floor until it passed. That's not strange for me, I've always made use of the kitchen floor for a quick sit down. I keep the floor clean.  

Next day, Thursday I go to deliver the cookies to the library and then still feeling a bit run down and headache-y I went a did a couple errands before getting Danny from school. My eyes were bothering me as I made dinner, but nothing that interfered with my ability to cook. I sat down to join the boys for dinner at the table but I didn't feel right. And I wasn't. I definitely wasn't. 

I thought it was a stroke. I couldn't get words out and the ones that did were gibberish. I was shaking all over and could barely walk. It wasn't a stroke. It was a hemiplegic migraine, but it took a brain scan to be sure and although the symptoms went away the longer I was at the hospital, they insisted on admitting me because my blood sugar was 50 again and just wouldn't come up no matter what they did. That could, they also thought cause someone to be unable to speak. I really didn't want to take up a bed in a pandemic if it wasn't absolutely necessary so the young doctor looked at me and said if I left it would be against her medical advice because I could slip into a coma in my sleep and die. She said they absolutely had room for me and that was that, until she circled back to ask if I "Wanted to be resuscitated if anything happened" because my advance directive wasn't taking this sort of scenario into consideration. 
"If it wouldn't be too much trouble, sure". 

They got me up to that hospital ward and I think every student doctor in Omaha came through and had a chance to look me over and listen to my lungs. I didn't really mind but it was getting exhausting to keep explaining the same stuff over and over. I felt bad for the nurse pulling a double shift who's job was to check my blood sugar every 30 minutes around the clock. She said she set an alarm on the phone and it was no big deal, but I felt bad for her. At least I wasn't a difficult patient-the nutcase in the bed next to me was really bad. And an anti-vaxxer screaming about, well everything and blasting Fox News on her TV. Her partner at home had covid and her family members kept piling in to visit her. It was awful. I really hope I don't end up catching anything from her. I wore my mask the entire time because of course, she didn't. She was there for something non-covid related but I think everyone knew it would just be a matter of time. I felt really terrible for the nurses because I could hear everything on the other side of the curtain and it was just argument after argument and they didn't deserve that sort of abuse. It must be exhausting to be such an aggrieved person. 

They wanted to keep me another day but after we'd established that I wasn't going to die in my sleep from low blood sugar (but I do need to keep an eye on it) they agreed to let me leave, but only after I basically begged. I'm glad that bed was available when I needed it (there are very few non-covid spots available right now) but I was ready to vacate for someone else in bad shape. I have follow up appointments and new things to worry about (thanks, migraines and hypoglycemia!) but I'm so relieved it wasn't a stroke. Of course I can't always assume the next one isn't a stroke because I could still have one at my age, so the doctors made me promise I'd come back if it happens again. I asked the neurologist if it was likely to happen again and she just smirked. I guess once these things start happening they're with you. They did put me on some preventative medications and gave me something to take at the first sign of an attack which is supposed to shorten the severity, so fingers crossed, we can manage this. It did leave me horribly disoriented and weak for a few days but that could also have been the blood sugar. 

Like anyone that gets a new diagnosis, I turned to Google and did some reading. I'm now wondering if I was acting a little strange at the library but because they hadn't seen me in so long, they didn't say anything? I mean, they were still wrong to not wear masks and there might have been god knows what going on there but...sigh, what if I was acting strange and everyone was too polite to say anything? I hope not, but now I also realised I have to get a medical ID bracelet because if someone saw me like I was Thursday night, they'd have thought I was drunk, or on drugs. If a cop came across me god knows what might happen when I couldn't follow a command. I'd rather not die that way, so I'm going to get a medical alert bracelet and hope for the best. 

It also sounds possible that it might have something to do with the muscles in my throat jamming up. Probably not, but it is worth looking at. The horrible vertigo and nausea? Probably related to migraines. I always thought because I just got an aura but not much pain my migraines weren't a big deal. Maybe they weren't. They sure as hell are now, and the timing really bloody sucks. There's something terrifying about your body becoming unpredictable. Sure, I know that's always possible but the older I get the more I understand pretending to exercise any control over my body is just something I do so I don't sit down and cry. Yes, I *know* this stuff happens but who wants to think about it?! I just want to get on with it. 

On the positive side, my ELF eyeliner didn't smudge at all the entire time I was in the hospital. So there's that. I do love a good value in cosmetics. The Rimmel eyeshadow stayed on pretty well too. 
Anyway, I'm back home taking it easy though it annoys me that this mirror is so dirty. It also annoys me that my legs look like Twiglets but that's arthritis for you. I was reassured by the rheumatologist that came to look in on me (no idea why as I wasn't there for anything autoimmune) that it didn't "Look that bad." Easy for her to say, she's not walking on them. 

I wasn't really up to photographs but I did want to show how nicely my handbag matched my vintage skirt. That was a one in a million, and it would have been a shame to skip documenting it. I know what's important in life.

Yes, the Barbour handbag is thrifted. You don't really think I'd spend money on something like that do you? I haven't completely lost my mind. 

With Danny's birthday coming up quickly I still needed to bake the cake. I've been more or less using the same cake recipe for 17 years though now I use shortening and oat milk instead of butter and cream. I could bake that cake with my eyes shut, and I practically did. It is a yellow cake with egg yolks. The whites ended up in Mr. ETB's breakfast so nothing was wasted. I didn't try replacing the sugar as Mr. ETB isn't really a cake person and can just have one small piece without harm. I wore my favourite Christmas shirt to do the baking. The shirt is really a child's pajama top, but it is daywear now! I do love squirrels, as you know. 
Isn't that hilarious? 

What sort of a novelty cake can I make for my son who's planning to leave the US?  I do understand, though I wish he felt like it was possible to have a future here. No country is without issues of course-maybe Ann the Polyester Princess can gently remind him that Belgium isn't paradise even if it admittedly looks like it next to the US. I thought about making a giant waffle but in the end went with something a bit more elegant. The Curious George in the middle was just something he loved as a small child and I couldn't resist. I believe George was French not Belgian. He's supposed to be headed to France this Spring, but who knows now? There's still one more year at home before he leaves for university but I don't think he's changing his mind. He would have been happy to stay and start an exterminating business but the last few years of chaos in this country convinced him otherwise. I don't know what he'll do with international relations degrees, but with his ease of learning languages it should open some opportunities he'd never have here. The sad thing is that the biggest deciding factor was not wanting to live somewhere where there's a good chance of getting shot. And that's not exaggeration-your odds of getting shot in America are better than not. Of course not everyone dies after being shot but think about how crazy that is that we think it is acceptable to say, "Oh well, they were OK." 
I always remind him that things might get better and he can always come home but I think we both know that's not true. I can't fault someone wanting to live in a society where you won't be penniless if you get sick, be able to own a home, and not be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for school before you've even started out in life. I get it. Add in the violence, the racism, the political craziness and of course not wanting to be shot at-I'm afraid our country isn't doing a good job of selling itself to young people. Anyway, we're old and he'll have no reason to be here. Where in the EU he eventually ends up is an open guess but for school anyway, he's heading to Brussels. 

Well that got depressing rather quickly. Would you laugh if I told you I bought him an electric waffle maker for his birthday? I did, and he loved it. I also bought him a book, an ornament, and a giant onion. No reason for the onion other than I saw it in the pile at the grocer and thought it was magnificent. You don't see an onion that size every day, now do you? Eventually it will get cooked but for now it is displayed on the dining room table next to Beet Poot. It occurs to me that my son might be leaving the country less for opportunity and more for getting any from his crazy mother that buys him an onion for his birthday. 
A fine young man and his onion. 
I thought about a Belgian waffle maker but this is the sort of waffle he prefers. Most weekends I make him frozen waffles from the hippie health food store that get made in a toaster and then  topped with sautéed apples. I guess now I'll need a recipe for batter that can be made ahead and stored in a pitcher in the fridge. I'm sure he'll have fun trying things out. 

Not my fanciest cake but I'm pleased with how it came out. Tinting the icing that shade of blue took some effort. I was always good at mixing paint though.
I mean, that's some onion! It weighs close to two pounds. 

so that was the birthday.
Before all the hospital chaos I managed to wear this Christmas skirt. The blouse, waistcoat, and handbag are all recently thrifted pieces and I'm so delighted with how nice they look. A little bit nana-ish, but in a good way.
Not that I have anywhere to go, but I still like to get dressed every day.

I'm probably not going to get all my festive outfits worn this year but I just don't have the energy. Maybe I'll wear them for Easter instead. 
I'll leave you with this vintage, velvet Lilly Pulitzer skirt I bought in the 90s and this wild handbag that sadly has no label to tell me anything about it. 

Dan has one day left of exams tomorrow before going on winter break. I wish there were someplace we could take him but right now staying home makes most sense. I guess we can make waffles and watch movies. 

see you later.


Vix said...

Your migraine sounds horrific and the hospitalisation even more so. You poor thing.
I wonder if the librarians were too mesmerised by your incredible gold skirt to communicate with you properly. I always assumed librarians would be intelligent (my Grandma was) but the lack of masks on yours has changed my opinion.
Happy birthday to Danny! The cake is a triumph and the onion is hilarious. I wish I'd have been as brave as him and left these shores for another country when I was his age. He's very wise indeed.
Here's hoping you have a peaceful & healthy Xmas. Take care. xxx

bahnwärterin said...

i´m relieved you made it out of the storm and out of the hospital too!
your health issues sound very serious and seeing your legs shocked me more then your thin waist and arms - when knees a are wider then the calves you are to skinny........ really really hope it will get sorted out soon!

totally love your festive skirts in gold, green and red..... and how you styled them. and of cause the skirt matching handbag perfektion. cute squirrel top too!
and cool european cake!!
to be honest - i even would´t go for holidays to the US, even if it were no pandemic in the world..... (was at the westcoast in 1990, which seemed "less US" back then - but by coming home i was sure i´ll never go again).
europe may be no paradise at all - but there´s some good points about, you wrote them already down.....

big but careful hug! xxxx

Emily said...

Thank heavens that the tornadoes steered clear of your home and school! And what a relief it is that you are home from the hospital after such a harrowing couple of days.

I just know that all the doctors and nurses wish that every patient could be nice to deal with and level-headed like you. Your cantankerous roommate, on the other hand, is making a career in healthcare very, very hard to endure right now.

I'm sure the library folks were happy to see you and delighted with your cookies as always. The strangeness in the air may have had nothing whatsoever to do with you. The whole world is coming up on almost two years of strangeness.

I got my booster in late November, so now I'm all set and I'm celebrating my newly re-vaccinated freedom by... staying home, the same as ever. The only exception I've made is for this 90-year-old lady who recently stopped driving due to major health issues. She has no family living within a three-hour drive of Portland, so I've been chauffeuring her around a lot lately and helping her out in miscellaneous ways. She still hasn't gotten her booster yet and I'm worried for her. At least she knows enough to keep masking.

Dan's royal blue and gold cake is beautiful, and I share your quirky enthusiasm for the 2-pound onion. Two months ago, I found a maple leaf at my feet that is about 17 inches wide, and I went crazy with photos.

It's great that you still take pleasure in getting dressed and accessorizing every morning. There is something grounding about daily rituals in a time of chaos.

I'll be thinking of you and wishing you faster progress on getting all the treatment you need. You are so precious and you deserve the best.

Emily said...

P.S. I've been waiting all morning for someone to joke about Dan not "waffling" on his decision to move to Belgium! Since no one has said it yet, it might as well be me. : )

Polyester Princess said...

I'm so glad they had a bed for you at the hospital and insisted on admitting you. It's a relief to hear you've been given preventative medications, although I do realize you are not out of the woods yet.
At least you can still find pleasure in dressing up, even if it's in a squirrel pajama top and bunny slippers!
Can I say that I love the cake? And no, Belgium isn't paradise, but I'm sure there are far worse places Danny can go to. And Jos and i will only be a mere 60 kilometers and a phonecall away if there's anything he needs. I'll be sure to give you our contact details when the time comes.
The onion had me in stitches, and in particular Danny's face :-)
Take care! xxx

Beth Waltz said...

You're setting a good example in accessorizing, as usual! That wild handbag and foil corsage do pack the power to pair with the lush black-and-white knits and the velvety emerald green Lilly Pulitzer emerald skirt, and those boots are perfect with that skirt length.

Agreed: It's time to pop silver, gold and copper medical bracelets in your jewelry box. If you continue to experience the whoozies, you might also consider alarm gizmos. When I emerged from the septic shock adventure, my brother upgraded my smart phone to one that has a "call for help" option (for the sake of his nerves).

Given his talent for languages, his cosmopolitan interests (as evidenced by his birthday gifts) and his experience with life in colder climes, perhaps Dan will explore career opportunities in Canada? That was the road not traveled by my parents following WWII and my family has followed developments in St. John's, Newfoundland Island ever since...

Mim said...

I'm so glad you're out of hospital! When you said it had been stroke-like symptoms I was really concerned. The nurses were probably glad to have someone nice, given the person in the other bed was so awful.

If I could wish for one person to have a really good 2022, it'd be you!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your critique of the state of the universe ( USA ) . You are not alone in your feelings. I am in total amazement at the attitudes and actions of some fellow Americans.

It is amazing how big vegetables such as your onion have gotten over the years. I remember as a kid these products where a more manageable size. Less waste and no left overs.

Your love for Danny and his growing up must bring great joy and fear at the same time. His hand made cake is a delight.

Gorgeous and fun outfits do sometimes chase the demons away. Your Nana out fits are a flash from the past for me. I am not and never have been a Nana but the styling is right for my teen years and that was a looooong time ago.

The green pencil skirt is lovely. Now I want one too.
Take care and Best wishes,

Gail from Pa.

John said...

Goodness there's so much there.
However about the rheumatologist - I've got inflammatory arthritis as well and from personal experience and lots of reading I can truthfully say one thing. No matter how much they understand it or well intentioned they are, no health professional working in the field actually understands what having the illness is like.
One of the rheumatology nurses told me to try a hot water bottle on the 'joint' which hurts and I pointed out I would need about seven bottles and would also have to keep respositioning!
Happy holiday however you keep it and happy new year.

Goody said...

The masks have become such an argument point that I'm hoping they just didn't feel like fighting and decided to rely on their vaccines. I might be projecting there, but I'm going to keep trying to think the best of people.

I'm sure they'll fix me up. What's the saying, "A bad thing is hard to kill?" :)
Christmas Eve I was sitting up with Dan talking when a couple of gunshots rang out in the neighbourhood. This isn't a sane place to live anymore, and I'm sad about him leaving, but there's nothing to stay here for.

That's so good of you looking after your neighbour. You're probably safe around here-it doesn't sound like she's out clubbing or going to movies. Maybe you can take her for a booster. I guess we're all going for a fourth now according to the Sunday news shows?! I figured I would anyway because of my immune system but I guess that's everyone now. I really hope all the people that were stranded over Christmas went home without spreading anything around and maybe we'll miss another surge. Fingers crossed. Sending you good vibes for the new year.

That means so much to me knowing he'll have two people he knows already upon arrival. I know he has some questions about day to day stuff and maybe as it gets closer we could set up an email exchange? We still have a year, but it is definitely giving him something to look forward to. Meanwhile, I have mastered the waffle recipe ;)

I tried convincing him that Canada had a lot going for it and that in the 60s we sent quite a few Americans up there to protect the Canadians from the Viet Cong :)
He's not having it. Ah well, can't say I blame him though if he ever tried a Montreal bagel it might change his mind.
Good advice-I'm going to download an app.

Thank you ! I'm tough. Sending you good wishes for 2022 also!

These are strange times for sure.
Nana style knows no age!

A hot water bottle!!! Yeah, that's helpful.
Happy Holidays and New Year to you too.

Sheila said...

How scary to be in hospital - that sounds like it was terrifying! However, your Halston skirt is amazing!

Sending you good vibes, my friend!

Miss Magpie said...

Catching up on blogs and goodness me I'm so sorry to hear all that you have been through. I'm so hoping they are able to help you get your health back on track very soon. xx