bennington, vt.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

scent and beauty

One of the lovely parts of getting a cold or dealing with allergies . . . is to partially lose ones hearing and/or sense of smell.

I had the novelty to lose my sense of smell COMPLETELY, although, very thankfully, temporarily.

I had changed the filter on my CPAP machine.  I noticed with the first use, that there seemed to be an odd scent.  Since it was a brand new "sterile" filter, I thought it might perhaps just be a cold coming on.

At the same time, I would occasionally think I smelled gas . . .
In only one location in the entire Condo . . .
On the middle of the couch in the living room . . .
Only when the furnace came on.

The closed furnace room smelled fine and I was unable to follow the scent.  Mother and the dogs were of NO help.

The next day I asked Mom's cleaning gal if she smelled it.
"No, well maybe . . . like something burning . . . no . . . it does smell a little like gas."

I called Edison.  He finally traced it to a small pilot line to the gas fireplace.  The furnace air vents on either side caused air flow so I could smell it in that one particular spot.

Good thing, because by the time I called him I NO longer possessed ANY sense of smell.

All signs pointed to a Major allergic reaction to MOLD.  I immediately removed the offending filter, cleaned the machine to the best of my ability, mean while knowing I will be unable to use it any time soon since I already had probable Mold spores shot up high into my sinuses.

I won't amuse you with the copious and varied secretions and expectorations that followed, but it soon became obvious that the allergies had allowed a virus in too.

Nasal passages clogged, ears popping or refusing to clear, choking on muck, etc.
Hearing often muffled.
Sense of Smell . . . nada.  
Not even a faint hint.
I didn't really notice at first that it was completely gone. 
Breathing seemed such a priority.
But, one day when my nasal passages were clear to breathe, I noticed that I could smell nothing, not Vicks, not the dill pickles in their jar, vinegar, coffee, nothing.

I started to worry.  
My house is all gas . . . 
stove, oven, furnace, hot water . . .
if my dog tangles with a skunk, how will I know?

After a week, I was out running errands, nasal passages clear, I inhaled the cold crisp clean air . . . nope, still can't smell anything.

I returned to my anatomy books and reviewed the location of our smell sensory apparatus.  Very top of the sinuses closest to the brain.  So it means if I can't smell, then I have to unpack ALL that muck before it becomes cemented in.

Netti pot time.  It may be gross-but, DANG IT- it works!  Warm distilled water, (lets not introduce the possibility of new microbes with tap water), and - tah-dah, one day later I can smell and hear AND use my CPAP again.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

arm-chair knitting,

I arrived in December 2009 to help my parents.  Once I realized I was staying, I applied for a Michigan Nursing license.  I knew this would take time.
In January 2010 I took a knitting class.
(I had always wanted to learn, and had even started trying to learn on my own.  Time was always a bit of a problem though.)

In March 2010 I started my scarf.
In that time:

  1. I knitted scarves for my Mom and my Niece
  2. got my Dad through his stroke
  3. started full-time at a nursing agency
  4. my Brother and family moved here from Louisiana
  5. I cared for 4 pediatric patients and their families
  6. I visited my home 5 times
  7. Dad deteriorated and entered Rehab
  8. Dad passed.
  9. had the kitchen updated and repaired
  10. I returned Home
  11. got my old job back
  12. Mom started having problems
  13. I came back
  14. improved accessibility to Condo
  15. long distance home improvements done
  16. got Mom's weight and ambulation back

January 2013
three years, a row here, two rows there . . .
time and memories in ONE scarf.
(truer color in this pic)
Oh yes, and all the fun stuff . . . fell down a manhole, bad burn/celulitis, wound to shin/celulitis, 3 broken toes . . . most recently this week, twice (again) . . . same chair leg and same toe.  (bad enough hitting and breaking it the first time, but to hit the same toe 4 days later, insult to injury!)
I am still graceless.

into this bag

Mom and I worked together to create 24 Gift Bags--filled with homemade Orange Crinkle Cookies
Ball Mason Jars--frosted leaving a clear star--filled with a homemade
Wassail Mix
and tea lights for when the jar is empty.
They seemed to be very popular.

what remains?

Christmas Leftovers
gingerbread tree . . . no homicidal snowman this time
the large and small of it
Jack, for sizing purposes
it's real.
plastic snowmen--on around the side of the house
no two seem to be alike

Monday, January 7, 2013

to measure

As nurses we are trained to create 
well defined 

Since the original 2004 stroke, we've looked mostly at what Mom CAN do, since she was actually expected to be dead or vegatative.
She could:
By her definition, she was now . . . stupid
unable to speak, unable to actively communicate, unable to think clearly, unable to get thoughts down on paper,  sometimes unable to remember, and had to re-read everything (repeatedly).

She likes murder mysteries, and was often frustrated that it would take at least one Renewal (total 6 weeks), to finish a book.

Lately, I thought she was getting faster, but then they were books I was picking out and bringing to her.

She went to the Library and checked out:
418 pages
She finished it Sunday.  It's due Saturday.  That's 2 weeks, over the holidays and NO renewals.

Good Golly,
that's measurable!

Eight years, we've worked at figuring out what she is trying to say.
  1. "write down a subject so I know what I'm trying to figure out."
  2. listening to cadence and sound alikes.
  3. yes can mean no, etc.
  4. knowing her well enough that we often need to translate to others.
In a noisy restaurant, yesterday, she had a ten minute back and forth conversation, covering numerous subjects, with a good friend . . . with neither of them asking for my assistance.

The next day, this friend called me up, having Just realized what had happened.  She wanted to know how long Mom had been back in speech therapy.  (NOT)

What's changed?

The drugs?

She's off (June 2012) the Metapropol and Verapamil for the first time since 2004.  
I added an oral B-12 supplement for neuro-connectivity.  (I was looking toward brain/muscle communication)

Walking and independence in her home were all the goals I was looking to.
It NEVER occurred to me, 
that such a CHANGE 
might happen.

How can one create a measurable GOAL
out of what had become 
an Impossible DREAM.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

a holiday?

Christmas Redux
fresh from Maine
the lights
the tree
more lights
the Concerts
not bad for elementary school
3 generations checking out socks
flying paper