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This and That

Good news!

•  Apple was able to fix everything I needed them to fix yesterday.

Bad news?

It took up a big chunk of my day since I wasn’t allowed to leave my computer and I had to stay in the store while they fixed it.

(But, it’s a much better scenario than leaving me computer-less for a few days which is what I expected to happen.)

I still have a few Adobe issues I need to tackle, but they can (hopefully) wait until I get through the Christmas rush.

Here’s a tip for those of you who own Apple products:  They’ve changed things and made it near impossible to go online and book a Genius appointment.  But, if you download the (free) Apple Store app you can make a Genius appointment directly from the app.

•  I’m so hopelessly behind on my own holiday stuff it’s ridiculous.

I’m trying to figure out what to wear to a Christmas party next weekend.

I’m so bad at being girly.

It’s one of those parties that’s casual dressy.

I’m thinking maybe black legging jeans, black boots, a white hole-y sweater with a white camisole/bandeau underneath, a red and white, striped, silk/cashmere scarf to add some holiday color … and some glittery costume jewelry.

??

Maybe?

I really don’t  own any  wear dresses, although I do think they look great on other people … particularly with tights and boots.

If you have any outfit suggestions, I’d love to hear them because I’m fashion-clueless.

(I’m curvy so all the cute braless stuff and boy-tailored things don’t work on me.)

•  I’m excited about some of my ideas for giving this holiday season, but I can’t write about them because it’s a secret.  Shhhh!

•  What I want for Christmas is a Newfie.  But, a dog is not going to happen until (hopefully) sometime AFTER the holidays.  Instead, I’ve been dropping hints about bluetooth speakers.  I love to listen to music while I edit photos.  It would be nice to control the music right from my computer without the “tinny” sound of computer speakers.  Do you have any bluetooth speakers you’d recommend?

•  When do you think I need to mail gifts to the east coast?  Yesterday?

•  I have a naked tree in my living room.  It’s going to have to stay naked indefinitely.

•  I apologize to everyone, in advance, for failing Christmas this year.

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I’m Thinking of You, Technically

I’m not sure how much I’ll be “here” this week.

I purchased a new computer a day or two prior to Thanksgiving.

My attempt at migrating data was partially successful.

The part that wasn’t successful was met with error messages.

Next, I had Apple complete the migration.

That didn’t work either.

In fact, they “accidentally” gave me back my computer the exact same way I had left it with them.

I’ve got an appointment to see them again today so they can try again.

Next, Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” stopped working.

I spent about two days corresponding with Adobe help people before it was fixed.

But … it was fixed.

Next, my entire Adobe Lightroom Catalog (around 100,000 photos) crashed.

I’ve never had that happen before, and I probably said a lot of expletives very loudly.

Sigh!

I’ve had a frustrating week or two.

It’s  very difficult  impossible to work without a computer, and it’s a very busy time of year.

I’m going to meet with a “genius” again today.

I’m pretty sure he/she will be keeping both of my computers for a day or two … or three.

In the meantime, while I’ve been wrestling with technology …

Somehow, it became December 8th!

I will be out of town for four days between now and Christmas.

(Because I thought it would be a good idea to cut down on the days I can get stuff done between Thanksgiving and Christmas?)

I’ve been so busy fighting with technology, I haven’t been working on any of my (many!) Christmas to-dos.

I’ve pretty much resigned myself to Not-Even-Close-To-A-Rockwell-Christmas this year.

I might need wine.

Or a massage.

Or both?

But, truly, I don’t have time for either.

I will be back with my next blog post as soon as I have a computer again.

If I can, I will try to do mini-updates in the meantime …

But, at this point, I don’t dare promise anything.

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Trolls and Assumptions

Yesterday’s post received a “negative” comment.

In Internet language we call it a comment from a “troll.”

A troll is someone who hides behind anonymity to make nasty comments.

I don’t get a lot of troll comments, but I get them occasionally.

Hey, I realize if I put even a small fraction of my life out into the public domain some people are going to have an overwhelming urge to throw rocks at me.

I can’t say I understand it, but I know it’s a fact.

(By the way, what I write about publicly is only a very teeny, tiny, sliver of my life.  To make giant assumptions about me based on very little information is really foolish.)

Usually, I delete hateful comments with very little thought.

But, yesterday’s comment made me laugh.

I thought I’d share it today, along with my own commentary.

A nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota wrote the comment.  I’ve included my responses in bold next to her comments in blue.

Same content day after day, year after year.   No, actually it is not.  Last week I wrote about my trip to shoot Texas.  A month or two ago I was writing from Vancouver Island in Canada.  Sometimes it’s about people, or pictures, or puppies, or current news events.

The sexiest and BEST therapist and pain doctors, surgeons, the OC has to offer; nary a word about the RNs who most likely see you too.  OK, so you’re a nurse and you don’t feel appreciated.  That much is very clear.  I’m sorry people don’t tell you they appreciate you more often.  

Second, I don’t consider any of my therapists or doctors “sexy” let alone “the sexiest.”  

Paul Newman is attractive, I suppose.  I know this, because I see the way women act around him.  I, personally, don’t think of him as “sexy.”  He really isn’t “my” type, but I can see why some women are attracted to him.  I absolutely will ask him to do a little hip swishing (swaggering?) for me when I see him today.  Maybe that will cause me to think of him as “the sexiest”???  That is, if I can stop laughing.

My doctors?  Well, I’m pretty sure they aren’t sexual people.  At least, I’ve never thought of them that way … and I’d prefer not to.

As for “the best” medical people?  Well, I do feel I have the best in Orange County.  And yes, it’s a subjective thing, isn’t it?  But, my orthopedic surgeon takes care of Olympians and my pain management doctor has been written up in journals all over the country as being “the best” at what he does.  I feel very fortunate to have them caring for me.  Are there other doctors just as good as they are?  I sure hope so.  I hope a LOT of people are fortunate enough to have the great medical care every single person deserves.

As for the nurses …

Well, this is clearly a hot button for you, isn’t it?  (By the way, I want to take a moment and say hello to Joanne one of my oldest, and best, friends who is a nurse.  Hi Joanne!  I love you and appreciate you even though you have never been *my* nurse.)

There are no nurses at physical therapy which is where I spend the vast majority of my medical time.

My orthopedic surgeon and my pain management doctors are not only my doctors, but they also became my friends years ago.  They don’t send a nurse to see me before they see me.  I’m sorry if that’s disappointing.  They just come right into the room to chat.  And, will it shatter your world if I tell you it isn’t unusual for them to text me or for me to text them, just randomly from time to time?  Sometimes we text about my arm, but it could also be about a photo, or travel, or … something entirely different.  (I think my last text with Dr. Painless was about his wine collection.)  

Of course, there were nurses in the operating rooms during all nine of my surgeries.  I was under the influence of anesthesia in all those instances so I can’t remember them.  I’m sure they were wonderful human beings.  I’m also pretty sure they understand I was unconscious and couldn’t voice my appreciation.

Chronic pain, pain meds, yet somehow you’re able to start a company and haul heavy equipment around, not only haul the equipment around but then set it up, get into all sorts of weird positions in order to get that perfect picture.  And your point is …??  Would it be better if I sat on the couch all day and watched soap operas?  I could weep about the pain I live with during the commercials?  Are you trying to tell me I’ve done the wrong thing by trying to carry on with my life, and make myself productive, after the accident?  Would it be better if I just “gave up?”  I have learned to do a LOT with just my left arm.  I’m very proud of all I’ve learned to do.  I also get a lot of help from people who carry my equipment, rolling cases, and other means.  And guess what?  You can’t make me feel bad about how much I’ve accomplished.  It sure hasn’t been easy … in fact, it has been damn hard.  I’m proud of every single accomplishment.

And you do all of that on strong strong narcotics that you are “not addicted to”.  Well, here you go making HUGE assumptions about me and my life.  Are you my doctor?  Do you know what drugs I take?  Or when?  Or how often?  Well, the answer to those questions are no, no, no, and no.  You know nothing – absolutely nothing about this topic.  (For that matter, you know next to nothing about me.)  I actually DON’T do all that while on strong narcotics.  I certainly don’t have to tell anyone what medications I take.  But, I will just for shit’s sake, okay?  
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I mainly take a hell of a lot of Advil.  It’s very bad for me, according to my doctor.  He wishes I would take narcotic medications more often because he feels they’re safer.  But?  I don’t like feeling foggy-headed so I mainly take Advil.  (Three at a time since you seem so interested in my personal life.)  Sometimes I get injections of Toradol  (It’s a non-narcotic pain reliever … like a stronger Advil.)  I also have Toradol (non-narcotic) pills I take as needed.  
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Now, it is true, I did take narcotic medications right after every single surgery.  And, from time to time, I still take narcotic pain medications … but only on the very rare occasion.  For instance, I took narcotic medications with me when I went on my five day shoot a week or two ago.  I didn’t take any of them though.  I probably should have.  I was really in severe pain.  But, I needed a clear head to work so I didn’t.  When I got home, I did take one after my first PT session.  I was in a lot of pain.  But really?  Is that any of your business?
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Also, I’d like to make a point here.  Why do people always assume if you have chronic pain you’re an addict?  Or, if you see a pain management specialist, you must be an addict?  What an ignorant assumption.  Did you know the vast majority of people who are addicted to narcotic pain meds are NOT pain patients?  It’s true.  The vast majority of pain med addicts are people who started taking pills for recreational purposes (often mixing them with alcohol) and became addicted.  Do some pain patients become addicted to pain meds?  Yes, a small percentage do.  Most, however, don’t.  Check your ignorant stereotypes at the door, please.
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Let’s not forget how you arrive at destinations to take those pictures: you get behind the wheel of a car while on narcotics.  Well, there you go making ignorant, and completely inaccurate, assumptions about my life again.  Really, this statement is laughable.  Do you think I would risk hurting someone with a car in the same manner I was disabled?  Think before you speak.  Or write.
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Hmmmm. I read your blog maybe once a year, the content rarely changes. Neither do the pictures.  Well, isn’t that funny?  Because my blog has a statistics program and I can clearly see you’ve visited many more times than once in the last year.  And, guess what?  I’ve never posted the same content twice with the exception of my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe.  (It was very requested so I re-posted it a year or two later.)  I also don’t repeat photos ….  So, again, you are saying ignorant and inaccurate things.
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So that’s it folks.
I did get another message from Mayo Nurse, but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. (I spent a lot of yesterday hugging a beautiful newborn boy!)I’m sure message number two from Mayo Nurse is just as friendly as her first message.I don’t know about YOU, but I’m sure glad this particular person has never been MY nurse.

The lack of compassion, the ignorance, the resentment and anger, the willingness to spew hateful untruths under the cloak of anonymity …?

I really do feel sorry for people who depend on her for care.

I do hope all the rest of you, however, have a wonderful weekend!

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Tis The Season

I know I’m going to flip out with holiday stress any minute now …

But, I’ve been too busy with non-holiday stuff to stress out about the fact I’ve done nothing (Christmas-related) yet.

Today I’m visiting a close family friend who recently had an adorable baby boy.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a baby in my life.

I’m looking forward to meeting him.

I had so much fun buying gifts for him ….

It made me want a baby of my very own.

(And no, I’m absolutely not planning to do anything about those maternal urges.)

Tomorrow I will (finally!!) see Paul Newman.

It has only been two weeks since my last visit, but Thanksgiving is always particularly brutal on my arm.

(I’m pretty sure the rain is not helping either … did you know changes in barometric pressure really DO affect joint injuries?)

I had an appointment yesterday with my orthopedic surgeon and I begged him not to touch me.

I am *that* inflamed right now.

Of course, in my doc’s eyes it’s all the more reason I need to have Surgery #10.

And …?

I just can’t bring myself to do it.

I just want Paul Newman to keep taking care of me so I can manage my life as best as I can.

(Confession:  Paul Newman wants me to have Surgery #10 also.)

Purchasing a new computer a day or two before Thanksgiving was not my smartest move.

I’ve been trying to get work done half on one computer, half on another, and partially on an iPad.

I haven’t had the time to consolidate everything to one place.

(Lesson learned!)

Also, newborn babies, and fluffy puppies, have to take priority over decorating my house and/or gift shopping.

Everything that needs to get done will get done, eventually.

I’m just not sure WHEN.

 

 

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December 3, 2014

We got a lot of rain yesterday.

Woo hoo!

Maybe Calfornia will pull out of our horrible drought this year.

I got a call from Blue Shield yesterday morning.

They have lifted the restrictions they had on my physical therapy visits.

I could go to PT every single day if I needed it now.

(Not that I WANT to do that, but it’s nice to know I can get care when I need it.)

I can’t tell you what a RELIEF it is to have that matter settled.

Medical insurance is such a stress for those of us with permanent disabilities.

On the puppy front,

I visited a litter of Newfoundlands yesterday.

The puppies are very young still … only four weeks old.

CeCe Pup BW © SHaggerty 2014 W-1

iPhone photo of Newfoundland puppy

They were adorable.

I loved the mom dog too.

I hope they continue to grow and be healthy.

It was so fun to sit on the ground and have puppies crawling on me.

Puppy breath is just yummy, and puppy kisses are the best.

The world would be a better place if we all got frequent doses of puppy love.

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Miscellaneous Stuff

I’m out of town today.

I’m meeting a woman about a puppy.

I will give you an update tomorrow and let you know if meeting her turns into a future service dog opportunity.

It would be great if it worked out, but after my really horrible previous experience, I’ve taken a very cautious “wait and see” approach.

I don’t have a computer for a couple days so I’m trying to update from an iPad.

I purchased a new work computer.  Right now Apple has both my old computer and the new one. They’re migrating all my data to the new one.  I tried to do it myself over the holiday weekend but I had a few error messages pop up. It’s so much easier and faster to have them do it.

Once I get my computer back, I will be setting it up with a 27″ thunderbolt monitor I also purchased.  The larger monitor will be a big help for photo editing.  Both purchases were made in time to be write offs for the 2014 tax year.  Both purchases were very needed also.

I’m still dealing with the nightmare called Blue Shield of California.

As I wait for them to call my doc (will they EVER call?), I’m left with an excruciating shoulder subluxation.

Yes, my shoulder is hanging partially dislocated from my arm.

There are no words to describe how much it hurts.

Things sure would get handled faster if it was the Blue Shield of CA CEO who had a shoulder subluxation.

I bet there would be no wait at all.

Did you go shopping on Black Friday?

Or arm-chair shopping on Cyber Monday?

I didn’t do any shopping on Friday.

I did buy two things online yesterday, but only one was a gift.

My goal is to start thinking about Christmas by this Thursday.

I’m juggling a lot of other stuff in the days prior.

I’ll try to update via iPad again tomorrow.

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A Little Bit of Winter?

We (finally!) have cooler weather.

We even got a couple showers yesterday.

It’s supposed to be 71F/21.6C today, and possibly rain (!!) tomorrow.

Woo hoo!

We need rain BADLY.

Everyone I know is sick of hot weather.

It also makes everything seem so much more “holiday-ish” if/when we have cool weather.

I did some hiking over the weekend.

On Saturday night, the storm clouds began rolling in right around sunset.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It made for an interesting light show.

I might have been accompanied by friends and a bottle of wine as I took these photos.

The horizon line turned a deep, vibrant, orange.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

After the sun had set, I decided to go a little further.

I knew if I rounded a bend and climbed a bluff I’d see a nice view of night lights by the ocean.

I didn’t have my tripod with me so I found a big boulder and used it as my pretend tripod.

Click on photo to purchase, or to view larger, in 24atHeart gallery.

It was a beautiful evening.

And now, if we’re lucky, we might get a little WINTER this week.

P.S.  My arm is technically still attached to my body, but it is not ACTUALLY connected.  (The medical term for my current predicament is “shoulder subluxation.”)

P.P.S.  It really hurts a LOT.

P.P.P.S.  I don’t know when I’m going to be able to see Paul Newman this week, (I’m out of town tomorrow), but I really, really, need him.

P.P.P.P.S.  It’s possible my shoulder will pop back onto my body on its own.  Let’s hope!

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Thanksgiving Recap

I had a nice Thanksgiving.

I hope you did too – if you celebrated.

This year was a very casual Thanksgiving for my family.

My daughter and her boyfriend arrived very late the night prior.

My youngest son is in town from college.

There were only five us … so, the smallest group we’ve ever had.

The weather was hot … around 90F at my house so the air conditioning was running all day.

Because it was so hot, we didn’t get dressed up for dinner.

We were in shorts and tee shirts/tank tops and flip flops.

I did all the cooking myself.

(Turkey, gravy, fresh cranberry relish, oyster/clam stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans amandine, mashed potatoes, sweet and sour red cabbage, cornbread, three types of pie, etc., etc.)

My daughter usually helps, but she was really sick this year.

I didn’t want her in the kitchen and she wasn’t feeling up to it anyway.

I began cooking on Sunday – I was cooking for five days total.

(My arm feels like it has been ripped off my body … the pain is breathtakingly bad.)

On Thanksgiving day itself, everyone (except me) sat around watching football and drinking beer.

I cooked all day.

Then we had a giant feast, followed by a serious case of food coma.

We took some time to relax.

The three males in the house did all the dishes.

We watched a Netflix movie in the late evening and had dessert (pie) and coffee while we did so.

I can’t say it was the “best ever” Thanksgiving.

The food came out perfectly.

But, it’s the first year I didn’t have all my kids together and it just didn’t feel “right.”

Also, I’ve been fighting a cough/respiratory bug for over a month and I think all the work involved was a little more overwhelming since I wasn’t feeling 100%.

(My daughter is usually a big help, too, and I definitely noticed the increase in my workload with her being sick.)

Plus, my arm (pain level) is off the charts from all the cooking.

Sigh.

But, it wasn’t a total downer either.

It was a nice day.

I was really glad my daughter, her boyfriend, and my youngest son were home.

Everyone gets along so we don’t have any of the awkward relative situations some families have to deal with.

I don’t participate in Black Friday shopping.

(I hate shopping to begin with, and shopping with crowds is even worse!)

Friday was a relaxing day.

There were plenty of leftovers so I didn’t need to cook.

The weather was summer-ish so we went for a long (long, long!!) family walk on the beach.

I know I need to get motivated for Christmas chores now, but I’m not quite ready yet.

I don’t know what I’m getting anyone for gifts this year.

I’m giving myself a few days to recuperate from Thanksgiving before I power ahead with Christmas preparations.

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Pre-Thanksgiving and Insurance Woes

I’m in Thanksgiving mode.

Yesterday, I was “stuck” at home waiting on a delivery.

While I was home I made my “best in the world” cranberry dish.

I also baked pumpkin bread.

I also worked on a potato casserole.

Last night my youngest son arrived home from college for the holiday weekend.

My daughter (and friends) will arrive today.

[My oldest son, sadly, will not be able to visit until January.]

As I was baking yesterday, I had the air conditioning running because of the heat.

This is what Thanksgiving is like in Southern California – air conditioning!

At the same time I’m busy with family/holiday activities,

I’m also trying to work with my medical insurer Blue Shield of California.

Insurance companies don’t like to pay for physical therapy.

And, to be honest, most people don’t need ONGOING physical therapy.

If you’re injured/have surgery, a physical therapist helps you get well again.

Physical therapy is a temporary thing.

For those of us with permanent disabilities, however, it is a very different situation.

I will never have much use of my arm.

I will always need someone to move it for me since I can’t move it on my own.

Having a PT do this, keeps me from losing the limited mobility I do have.

It also prevents the muscles attached to my arm and shoulder from atrophying and creating worse problems.

When I don’t have regular PT visits, I regress rapidly.

My pain increases tremendously due to severe muscle spasms.

It’s a downward spiral.

You would think insurance companies would see the benefits of ongoing care for permanently disabled people.

But, medical insurance is never easy in 2014, is it?

My doctor’s letter proving “medical necessity” apparently wasn’t quite enough to satisfy the insurance company.

(Yes, even though they do know about my nine surgeries.)

Instead of asking my doctor for more information, Blue Shield of CA simply stopped paying my PT bills.

Now, I’m in the middle of a mess … PT bills, medical insurance “committees” who don’t know me, but are determining whether or not I’m really disabled, my doctor, and my physical therapist.

My doctor is re-communicating with Blue Shield of CA.

Will good and right prevail?

I wish I could say it will, but I have no idea.

There needs to be a better system.

Why should I have to “prove” my disability over and over again?

I’m not going to grow a new, working, arm.

It’s frustrating.

But, I’m trying to be patient as “the system” works through my case once again.

Hopefully, I’ll know more within a week.

At the same time, I’m mindful to be grateful.

It is time for Thanksgiving.

My kids are healthy.

We don’t have a perfect life, but we have a good life.

And yes, I am grateful.