Category Archives: Chronic Pain

A true empty nest summer

Matt and I on one of our summer walks

Matt and I on one of our summer walks

The summer is over and a different summer it was for my husband and I. This was the first time in twenty-seven years where not one of our children spent the hot summer days at home. The eldest has lived in her own place for a couple of years now, middle child is off on the other side of the world (home in less than ninety days now), and the youngest was able to get summer employment with the university he attends, thus it only made sense he would continue living away from home. The youngest did come home for a week in August, and really milked the “I am on vacation” attitude.

Our summer was spent with me working in my vegetable garden, drying herbs for the winter, canning, and swimming pretty much every day. When my husband wasn’t working, he spent his time re-building his shed from the ground up, and erecting a deck around the new pool. There was no camping this year, or canoeing, which I missed horribly. We did spend a few days in Quebec visiting our son, and after his vacation at home, I drove him back to university. This meant, it would be just me and our two dogs on the return trip. It took me two days to get home. The first day I drove for about five hours with loads of rest stops, laying in the back of the van with the dogs. I then stopped at my friend’s house for the night, knowing I would not be able to make the entire drive in one day. The next day, what is normally about a four-hour drive, if I was with my husband, took me ten hours. My legs kept going numb making driving difficult, so again I stopped at every OnRoute, for a nap. Thank goodness both our dogs are great travellers, as long as you give them walks at the rest stops, otherwise they both happily lay beside me while I rest.

Another reason we weren’t able to go anywhere this summer was due to my migraines. Ever since I started menopause, my migraines have become unmanageable. After keeping track of them for four months, it seems I was/am getting about fifteen plus a month. Due to the magnitude of them, the specialist believes I am a good candidate for Botox treatment, so in a couple of weeks, I will be stuck with approximately thirty needles in my head and neck area. One bonus of the treatment, is she promises to remove the wrinkle, well actually indentation between my eyebrows. Of course my husband doesn’t notice the wrinkle, he says he sees me like the day he met me when I was twenty-two. Such a nice guy or a good liar? I think I will believe “nice guy”.

How was your summer?

Microwaves, smartphones, peanut butter, and sleep walking

For some reason my sleep-walking has become worse over the past few weeks. Besides the usual things like rearranging the towels, or being found sitting on the edge of the bed, or waking up on the toilet, I have awoken in the kitchen after microwaving my smartphone.

When my husband Matt has found me sitting on the edge of the bed, I tend to be talking to myself. Sometimes he can understand what I am saying, but mostly I am mumbling gibberish. Eventually I return to laying down in the bed, and in the morning have no recollection of the incident.

I can understand being asleep on the loo. Obviously I have gone there to do my business, and well I just don’t leave for some reason. It is not a good place to sleep for any length of time, when I do wake up, my ass is sore, to be blunt. Toilet seats need to be heated and cushioned.

The other night I found myself in the kitchen. I had filled the dog treat jar (an old cookie jar) with water. Did I turn on the tap or take the jug of water from the refrigerator? Haven’t a clue. We use a butter bell for our butter. I found I had filled the bottom half of the container which is supposed to house the water, with butter. Again, I don’t know why. What woke me this time? Apparently I had been trying to open the jar of peanut butter but didn’t succeed. Now I don’t even like peanut butter all that much, we have it mainly for the dogs. Cocoa won’t take his daily arthritis medicine without a scoop of peanut butter.

The most interesting sleep-walking experience of 2015 is when I mistook my beloved Blackberry Z10 for a heating pad (the ones you can toss in the microwave or freezer). I have been in a lot of pain since Christmas, having done far too much with not enough rest. My pain level was reaching unmanageable levels, so I was sleeping with two heating pads on my back. Sometime during the night, I assume after they had cooled off, I placed both of them on the headboard above the bed.

Next well still asleep, I picked up my smartphone (again something I normally do when walking down the stairs at night, it has a flashlight I turn on so I won’t fall, but then I placed it in the microwave. I can only assume I thought it to be my new heating pad as I entered the time of 2 minutes and 20 seconds – the time it takes to warm the pads up. After about say a minute and thirty seconds, I saw flames in the microwave. My smartphone was on fire! I opened the door, smoke bellowed out, but realizing oxygen just makes the fire worse, I slam the door closed, and turn off the microwave.

The smoke alarms are blaring as I grab a soaking wet cloth, open the door again, and toss the cloth on the phone. The flames are out so I toss my Blackberry in a pot of water, which had been left in the sink to soak from the previous night’s dinner. At the same time the young man and my husband have run downstairs. The young man was thinking he could be the hero, saving us all from a fire, only to find his mother, me, standing by the sink saying WTF over and over. The young man is disappointed and believe what I have just done.Hubby goes around opening windows, and turning on our ceiling fans, in effort to remove the toxic smoke that has filled the first floor of our house.

I cut my smartphone out of the otter box, which had melted just a little. I’m a mess, still saying “WTF, how in the hell could I have mistaken my phone for a heating pad”. My husband takes the phone from me, and removes the back off to see if my SIM card or media card have survived. Well the SIM card pretty much melted but my media card seems to be alright. Matt takes my media card and inserts it in his phone, and finds it works perfectly well. There is some good news, my photographs are all there, my contacts, etc., but I’m stunned by what has happened, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

My Blackberry Z10 after being microwaved

Note: Never ever open the microwave door when there is a fire inside, unplug it. Also never microwave your phone.

Trying something new

On the advice of my friend Suzanne, I’m tried something new today.  What did I do different? First I took my rarely used bicycle out of the shed, secured my helmet, and rode off to the local mall. Well I actually had to turn around at the corner and go back home, the back tire was deflated. Unlock gate, unlock house, route in jar of numerous keys for shed key, find key ring with numerous keys – forcing me to try one of many again to unlock shed, find tire pump, pump like mad woman so nozzle can fall off tire thingamajig numerous times, finally re-inflate tire, return pump to shed, lock shed, return keys to house, lock house, lock gate, ride off into sunset to mall.

Finally on my way, I debate riding on the sidewalk (which is illegal) vs the road. Decide on the road, only to almost get taken out by driver who obviously hates bike riders. After my near death experience I arrived at the mall. I go to the Bulk Barn to buy some steel-cut oats (one has to stay regular healthy), and dog treats. Eventually I grab a coffee and breakfast so I can sit down and write. In truth, I went to the mall for the sole intention of writing. It seems sitting at my computer lately just draws blanks.

These past three weeks have been a whirlwind of activity at our house with Suzanne visiting. I have played the tourist with her, as we toured the RGB (Royal Botanical Gardens), The Hamilton Farmer’s Market, Cootes Paradise, Lindsay Ontario, Aylmer Ontario, Port Dover Ontario, and Niagara Falls Ontario. On bad chronic pain days for me, Suzanne went out on her own walking – and boy can that woman walk, 14 kilometres one day alone! (Note: Suzanne came over quite aware, that there would be days, she would have to go it alone while I rested). Middle child graciously did fill in for me a number of times, taking Suzanne to the mall, and for a walk at Albion Falls.

The visit to Aylmer and Port Dover (where our grandmother used to live) was on the invitation of my sister, who was interested in checking out some handmade Mennonite dining room tables. Afterwards, she thought it would be nice to have lunch on the beach in Port Dover. So on a very raining Saturday, my sister drove into town to pick us up. With umbrella’s on hand (I borrowed my husband one and only, supposedly favourite umbrella, which was later turned inside out, and left broken by an extremely strong wind gust, that amazingly left me unscathed (did he ask me that – Nooo!)) Anyways, the furniture was gorgeous, though nothing was purchased, except of course slippers by me, that middle child keeps trying to steal (payback for hubby’s umbrella?)

It seemed the rain was not going to let up, nevertheless it did not put a damper on our lunch, the scene reminded my Wales-born friend of home.

Picture of the rain hitting the restaurant window.

Before you ask, I have no idea why the restaurant decided to plant palm trees on the beach.