Monday, March 29, 2010

Please Send the Ark

Well, let's start with the good stuff. My Easter Egger named Chipmunk, who is a chicken but thinks she is a dog, started laying again. She layed me this beautiful double yolker blue egg. See how huge it is compared to the other normal size egg?

The chickens stayed high and dry today. Literally.
We have terrible rain and flooding in Rhode Island.
The chickens stayed inside today-
high on the roost.
They are not as dumb as they look.

Flooding by the shed.
My favorite chair under water.

But the chickens stayed dry!

This is the highest point in the yard.

Looking back toward the house.

More flooding.

This is the "dry" river bed.
All of our mulch floated away today.
And the dry river bed is under water.
Blurry pictures.
Hard to take pictures in downpours, in the dark, with a hood over your head, holding an umbrella, in the dark, with downpours.
This is the white water rapids on our street.
The end of our driveway.
If we had an inner tube we would go white water rafting.

The other end of the dry river bed.

The view off my deck.

Part of my garden.

The side yard and pool area.
The pool is under water.
Look behind the fence area.
The dogs have no where to pee.
The pond that was leaking is very much full.
The fish are now swimming in the back yard.
Look at the area behind the fence.
Backyard all under water only half hour later.

The view off the side deck.
The entire sidewalk is under water.
Remind me never, ever, ever to buy a raised ranch ever, ever again.
Donations of personal floatation devices gladly accepted.
Stay warm and dry.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicken Pasta Pesto

This was dinner last night.
Chicken pasta pesto
Pasta chicken pesto
Chicken pesto pasta
Pesto chicken pasta
It was delicious!
Here is the recipe:
2 whole skinless chicken breasts roasted and shredded
2 ribs of celery-diced
1 box cooked penne pasta
one can of olives or fresh kalamata olives
1 bunch fresh basil- chopped
6-10 cherry tomatoes halved
1 can drained Garbanzo beans or White beans
2 cups of packed fresh spinach
salt and pepper
-1 cup of fresh pesto
(or Besto Pesto-this is a local pesto available at the farmer's market)
-juice and zest of one lemon
- 1/4 cup sour cream
-1/4 cup mayo
How To Make:
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. Drizzle cooked pasta with a little olive oil,
add sauce, chicken and rest of ingredients, mix well. The hot pasta thins the sauce.
If the sauce is too thick you can thin it with a bit of pasta water.
Serve warm or cold.
Or make it Vegetarian to suit your taste.
Serving size: a big honkin bowl.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Teens and Tweens and St. Patty's Day

Our Homeschool group got together today. We were so happy to be outside for the first time this Spring. The kids have always played outside all winter long but the Mom's were certainly happy to soak up some sun and watch the kids play.

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day a day late but the kids didn't mind.
There were Shamrocks everywhere.
Little Girls and baby dolls soaking up the sun.

The yummy green cupcakes were a huge hit.

Jigglers! Gone in a flash.

We did some potato stamping today with the little ones.

Who doesn't love paint?

Joni carved the potatoes for us today.
She's an amazing Henna artist too.

The kids (all 30 of them) had race after race
in the driveway. They had so much energy.
I didn't race.
I sat and took pictures.
No one really cared who won the race.
The mom's were happy that there were some tired kids.
Fresh air, sunshine and kids exercising make for
well sleeping children at night.
The dolls stopped at the salon for some coiffing.

Some dolls needed more work than others.

After the group left (sort of) 6 teens and tweens stayed behind to play somemore.
The kids all made their own pizza for dinner.
We had olive, pepper, cheese and scallions for toppings.
And the girls even made a pizza for me.
No one ate salad.
Geez my kitchen is trashed.
6 kids=a tornado when eating.
The food was gone in 5 seconds flat.
They were a blast to have over.


Then my dorky teen took a nap with the puppy.
Not really.
The end.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where Do You Turn?

I wonder how much personal information to put on my blog sometimes. To me it's sort of like airing your dirty laundry. I guess that not all posts can be fun because life isn't always fun or fair. Today I am at my breaking point. I don't want anyone else to go through what I have been or am going through. It's discouraging and outrageous.

I used to be an ICU Registered Nurse. I took care of the sickest of the sick patients for over fifteen years. I am not a nurse anymore.

Back in August of 2008 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. Erlichiosis and Babesiosis to be exact. At the time the muscle and joint pain only minimally improved with five weeks of antibiotics. I consulted the Lyme Clinic and found out the doctor there left for another state. While at work one night, I asked another Infectious Disease doctor whom I work with what was happening with the Lyme clinic since when I called there was a four month wait. He proceeded to ask me what was wrong and after telling him I had been treated with oral Antibiotics for the Lyme-he declared me to be Lyme free and to have an underlying psychiatric disorder. He did this in front of a nurses station full of nurses and doctors. He got an earful from me. That day set off a cycle for me of mishap, distrust and poor treatment within the medical community.

I sought out the help of another Infectious Disease doctor who treated me with IV antibiotics in January of 2009 for the never ending muscle and joint pain. During this time I was having symptoms of poor memory recall, fine motor dysfunction, gross motor problems and a host of other symptoms. One week into therapy, I had an Anaphylactic reaction to the antibiotics and spent 10 days in the hospital.

The care I received during this hospital stay was appalling. Pain medication was discontinued several times until I ended up screaming at a doctor. The nurses did not know how to take care of the midline catheter I had placed in my arm at home for the IV antibiotics. The Jarish-Herxheimer reaction left me with jerky movements and in excruciating pain from a body in constant motion. The Medical Doctor taking care of me asked me when I had been to Connecticut. I didn't get the connection. Connecticut-Lyme-disease. I must have been in CT to contract Lyme disease. Apparently we don't have ticks or Lyme disease in Rhode Island.

My level of pain was constantly questioned and still is. When I complained of abdominal pain I was told it was the pain medication so they decreased my dose despite an increase in pain. My intractable vomitting proved otherwise and on day 8 I had my gall bladder removed. My team consulted Infectious Disease, Neurology (more on that later) and I had MRI's, CT scans, Lumbar punctures, endless doses of steroids, countless xrays, IV fluids and lab work. I was out of work for four months recovering from that episode.

It took me many months to even begin to feel better and I finally returned to work. However, it seemed as if any cold or illness found its way to me. If the kids had a sore throat I had Rheumatic Fever. If they had the flu, I had mononucleosis. Vague complaints once again crept in, I developed new symptoms like unexplained eczematic rashes, word finding difficulty and the pain became unbearable. The doctors dismissed most everything as viral, Fibromyalgia, central pain syndrome. I had been tested for MS, Sjogrens, Lupus, Rheumatoid, Celiac disease, stroke, mixed connective tissue disorder. I called the Infectious Disease doctor for help. She never returned my phone calls.

The one doctor in the state that has Lyme knowledge is not taking patients because... he's swamped with Lyme patients. Go figure. None of my doctors thought it necessary to pursue a lyme doctor any further since I had been treated and "cured" of lyme.

In the past year I have seen a Rheumatologist who has tried at least six different medications for Fibromyalgia. None of them have worked or have had such horrible side effects that I was not able to tolerate them.

The pain management doctor dismissed all my symptoms and declared I had Bursitis in both shoulders and hips and wanted to give me cortizone shots. I asked about other treatments. He said, No. That I had to have this done and that his diagnosis was correct. He told me I was depressed, threw a prescription at me and never asked what support systems I had in place to help me through this difficult time. I did not return to him.

I can barely drive due to pain, I cannot lift laundry baskets and I can barely get up four stairs without my legs giving out. My left eye droops and I have to use a cane to get around. My husband now does the grocery shopping and most of the cooking. I will not be able to garden this year without much assistance. Housework is exhausting and I barely sleep. My emails do make sense, I've left irons on, I have word finding difficulty and am forgetful. It has taken me three hours to write this post.

I have been labeled crazy, drug seeking and doctor hopping.

I saw the Neurologist today who accused me of being uncooperative, of giving up, of being belligerent because I questioned his treatment. He accused me of not trying enough medications at appropriate dosages. He was arrogant and demanding and did not want to listen to my symptoms or questions. He did not apologize for being rude but merely said, "Great-you got it off your chest, do you feel better now? Is there something else you wanted me to say?" I sat in his office sobbing today. It was more fuel for him that I was crazy.

I am supposed to return to him on Monday for more testing. I do not know if I will.

Through this whole course of illness, not one doctor has viewed me as a partner in my health. They all send consultation notes to one another but no one really has come up with a plan or a valid diagnosis.

As a nurse, I am appalled at what our healthcare system has become. I am dismayed that my health insurance will not pay for me to see a doctor out state to pursue this farther. I am not even sure what I am pursuing.

I am discouraged that there are no Lyme literate doctors in the state to help the vast number of us effected by Lyme disease and its after effects of pain, neuro problems and odd symptoms. I am horrified that patients are treated as if their symptoms aren't really there and when the doctors cannot find an answer you are labeled crazy. I have begun to question my own sanity and symptoms.

Thankfully, there are some bright spots in all of this. My kids are healthy and happy to help their mom. My husband never complains about having to pick up the slack. My church and the people in it are ever supportive and giving.

But I wonder where this journey will take me and why I am on it.

There will be much more to this story and the outcome is not yet known. I wonder how much more debilitated I need to become before someone sees a problem.

How much more?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wheat Berry Salad and Bruchetta

We went to the Farmer's Market this weekend.
I shouldn't be allowed in Farmer's Markets.
I found some wonderful things and tasted
every sample of cheese they had.
Then I bought a roasted red pepper, arugula, and mozzarella sandwich on some
french crusty artisan bread. It had a horseradish dressing.
I was very happy.
I bought Goat's milk cheese that they called Houligan.
I have no idea why.
But it was delicious.
Oh and fresh Mozzarella.
And a Stilson blue cheese.
And Sunflower sprouts-bye-bye mung bean sprouts.
You have been replaced by sunflower sprouts.

I'm pretty sure that Arugula is my new favorite food.
I kept ripping off leaves from the bag in the refrigerator and
nibbling on them. Yep, Arugula.
I made some Bruchetta on some Sour Dough bread that I bought too.
Arugula, tomatoes, olive oil a little salt and pepper.
And Mozzarella.
Did I mention that the Mozzarella was delicious?

Today I made Ina Garten's Wheat Berry Salad.
The recipe called for Feta....but I used Mozzarella.
It's only right.
Then I added some fresh mint, parsley and...
some more Mozzarella.

Tae ate 3 bowls of the Wheat Berry Salad.
He like the Mozzarella best.

Springtime is inspiring.
I wonder if I can grow Mozzarella in my garden?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Glimpse into our Homeschool Week

Homeschool doesn't always happen in the fashion I have planned out.
Sometimes it's much better.
Tae worked on this paper quilt for the letter Qq this week.

He has great cutting skills.

Then he decided if he made a bunch more of these that he could combine them and put them all together for a huge piece of artwork.

Here is some of the weekly work. Tae's math is up on the wall. Then I realized after talking to my kids that the two youngest had no idea how to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The Horrors!
So we made a poster and the kids learned it lickety split.
Sort of.
My file folders and organization have gone to the wayside.

The teen eighth grader worked on Literature on the computer.

Our classroom space (also known as my office) is chock full of times tables, alphabet charts, number lines, metric posters, word wall words and tidbits of our days.

This wall behind my desk is my space. I have some bible quotes, Buddhist quotes, Presidential quotes, inspiring words, some songs and hymns, a prayer flag, my mala beads, a decorated chicken egg, needlepointed cross bookmark and the shelf holds paper clips, pencils and supplies to help us through our day. A mish mash of all things important to me.

Our dry erase board is full of shape and letter magnets, family photos, some of my photography and occasionally we can squeeze in some math work.

Harley has his own bed and is usually in a down stay while
we complete our lesson for the day.

Usually much snoring ensues and we have to wake him to tell him to cut the racket because no one can concentrate with all the noise.

And he had quite the tantrum because I had to take his favorite snake toy away because he chewed a big hole in it and was eating the stuffing.

Our friends from Connecticut came to visit us this weekend. The girls wanted to make Morgan's melt and pour soap kit. It was a disaster.

The soap got all chunky and gross and the directions
weren't clear at all.

But it did smell fabulous with the lemon and lime scent.

The soap was supposed to look like lemon or lime slices.
Here I am cutting the colored portion.
They looked like gummy candy.
See? These were pretty.

Rachael and Morgan hadn't seen each other in a very long time.
They really missed each other.

These did not look like the package they came in.
Soap fail!
Our friend Stacey gave Tae a Home Depot work apron for his birthday. So of course he had to wear it to Home Depot this weekend when he went with his Dad to pick out paint.
They thought he was so cute in his apron they gave Tae a birdhouse rain gauge kit.
He was so thrilled.
Excuse the wet hair. This was after the bedtime bath routine.
This kid can swing a hammer.

Almost done!

He loves working with Daddy.

Chubby hands hard at work.

So cute! Now for the painting.

Ending the day with a puppy nap is always good.

Because puppy's don't much care whose lap it is.

Because tiredness just creeps upon them.

Any lap will do.

Until the next homeschool activity starts.

What was your homeschool week like?