We’re supposed to avoid Mylar balloons because too many get let loose to mess with the environment and the power grid.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPqL6alKALQ

Now the old fashioned balloons are in trouble, too.  I saw this as I checked Duckie into the hospital last week.

latex allergy

I’m happy that the hospital protects people with latex allergies.  Still, this sign made me laugh just a little.  How risky is a latex balloon in a hospital?  And how many people are impacted and to what degree?

I asked my Physician’s Assistant whether it’s true that it’s normal for women to gain 10 pounds each decade of their adult life.

“Yes it is,” she said.  “You’re doing just fine.”

I never asked what “just fine” meant.  That said, on the plus side, I managed to hold off two decades of weight gain.  On the minus side, in spite of all my self-talk:

“It’s ridiculous to believe you should look like you did in your 20s.  That makes about as much sense as the pre-pubescent wish to never grow breasts or have a period.”

“It ain’t gonna happen girlfriend.  Stop fretting.”

“You need a little reserve.  Grandmas are supposed to be soft.”

“There are other numbers more important, like cholesterol, blood pressure, angle of mobility, heart rate, activity level….”

I wish to be thinner.  I have narrow shoulder, a size Small, and I just look and feel better if my hips are at least a size Medium.  So I watch my calories, I study the latest diets, I exercise, and I try.

Recovery from Osteomyelitis is no picnic. I find out there is no such thing as a cure. Duckie will always be considered infected, to some unknown degree. First, I find that out, then I find out other things. We’re in and out of stories, and around the bush and back. I’m happy I have a sense of humor and some training in problem solving: Asking 5 Whys, Root Cause Analysis, Pareto Charting, Process Mapping.

For those of you just tuning in to Duckie’s story please click this link for Part One, “WII:osteomyelitis as Veterans:Duckie (Putting a Healthcare Puzzle Together)”

Sky Game
Duckie and Mr. Incredible at a Chicago Sky Game. Duckie is an avid fan.

 

A quick aside: Duckie married a mildly mentally impaired man, Mr. Incredible. They live with us until the two of them get annoyed with Loved One and me. They stay with Mr. Incredible’s parents until the same happens over there. Duckie stays with me while she recuperates. Mr. Incredible visits. He needs predictability. Nothing is predictable here.

I need a little quiet time. I grew up with three of these sister. Two more; plus three brothers. No wonder Grandpa dubbed us the Magpies. Non-stop talking, and tons of laughing. In there somewhere, I’m learning a lot about myself. My mind needs some time to wander. A little time to put together sentences that become paragraphs helps the pictures come into focus.

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Most of my family lives in Michigan. Three’s just me and Frank that live in another state. (Frankie, if your read my Once A Little Girl Blog. Yes, Frankie is one of the Little Kids, the one I put the diaper on. Frankie or Frank-the-Prank, or Frankfurter, or Frank by any other name; He is my Pal.) It’s probably no accident that the two of us live the furthest from our origin. We are the most independent, the most rebellious, the most adventurous. Anyways, that’s how I choose to see it.

I had a bright idea: take Amtrak to the small town near Mom’s. I can rest, write, read. The time is a about the same, 5-6 hours, depending on whether we get waylaid by a freight train, but I’ll arrive at just about the same cost, and no travel fatigue. That is, if I don’t count getting to the train station.

First, I get to attend Duckie teaching acrylic painting to the general public.
“I hate you for talking me into doing this!”
“I love painting. Did I spell anything wrong in my instruction?”
“I can’t wait.”
“I hate you.”

20130610-070140.jpgDuckie is wonderful. She takes over the crowd with her smile and her detailed instructions. From the small piece I get to see. I had to leave for the train 15 minutes in. I could have left at 2:08 on Metra, got to the station at 3:30 and ran for the 4:00.

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People seem to love it or hate it; or so I’m told.  But I say, don’t give rhubarb a raspberry, give it a try.

Summertime is a time when almost everyone thinks of simpler days gone by.  For me, that includes remembering the wonders of rhubarb.  As children, my sisters and I loved to rip a piece out of the ground and just chew on it raw.  No harm there.  An established rhubarb plant can take the tugging, and there’s a good dose of nutrition inside.   Raw rhubarb is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Manganese, as well as chock full of dietary fiber.  
Want to introduce some nostalgia into a summertime picnic?  Hilda’s rhubarb crunch is from the 1970s, and still gaining compliments.

I’ve been watching “Mr. Selfridge on PBS.” Less popular than Downton Abby, “Mr. Selfridge” chronicles the life department store brought from those cheeky Yanks over to Britain and turning shopping on its ear.  It’s part of “The Masterpiece Classics” on Sunday night.

 httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKDA8Cam2YA

Jeremy Piven’s manic, ever-smiling, frenetic-talker character annoys me until he grew on me.  I had to do a little research.  Yes, there really is a Selfridges department stores; the first in England, founded in 1909, and still the second largest chain of department stores in the UK.  Yes, H. Gordon Selfridge did come from Chicago where he worked his way up the ladder at what is now Marshall Fields.  And yes, he really was exuberant to the point of exasperation.  That’s not the part about “Mr. Selfridge” that most intrigues me.

“For every subtle an complicated question, there is a perfectly simple and straightforward answer, which is wrong.”  – H. L. Mencken

 

Maybe this is about health care; maybe it’s about health insurance; maybe it’s about parenting a mildly mentally disabled adult.  Then again, maybe it’s just me trying to get my thoughts in order, because this is one bizarre story.  One with a happy ending.  I think.

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Duckie at her happiest: Healthy and Active.

 

I remember when the whole thing started, as clearly as if it were yesterday.  I flew in from San Diego, picked Duckie up from work and headed 2 hours north, into the next State, for a short vacation.  That day was the first of the manifestations.

“My leg hurts,” Duckie said.

“Where?”

“Right here.”  Duckie rubbed deep on the top of her left thigh.

“You did work an 8 hour day.”

Duckie is a courtesy clerk at the local grocery store.  She bags your groceries, loads blocks of salt and dog food into your car, and brings all those carts back to the store.  When the weather is nice, she walks the 3 miles to work and back.   She enjoys the walk; it’s part of her weight management plan.  Besides being a bit overweight, Duckie is in great physical shape.  Her normal work schedule is 15-20 hours a week, in 4 hour shifts.  Sharing Duckie’s life gives me a whole new appreciation