I can hear you thinking....".a Jury Summons and a Hospital Bracelet. Hmmmm, strange combo" And I completely agree. I will explain the connection momentarily. Bear with me, it will be long and confusing.
First I wanted to thank everyone for all of their positive thoughts and good wishes. Made it through the third and hopefully final surgery just fine. Right now it's just a matter of time and healing which requires patience on my part. And unfortunately patience is not something I have in the great volumes necessary. (which further translates to, Poor Tim!)
Now to the story.
My most recent surgery date was sort of Sprung on me unexpectedly. I mean I knew that would be coming, just not as quickly as it did. Oh I was glad to have it over and done with, no question there, but what literally happened was I went to my regular follow up doc appointment with my surgeon as I'd been doing since surgery #2 on Thursday the 13th. At the end of this appointment we were told that I was ready for the last surgery and it would be on one of the following dates: October 24, November 10 or December 12. Apparently, there is a lot of competition for the operating rooms! Then we were told that we would hear which of those dates would be assigned to me by telephone the next day.
The next day, a Friday, passed with no phone call so the following Monday, I called the doctor office. I learned, as of that phone call, that my surgical date would be October 24th which was one week from that day. Short notice. One very short week away. Ok. I took a deep breathe and said, ok I can do that. Then I was told that I also needed to come BACK to the doc office for my pre-op appointment on Tuesday which was the very next day. What? Wasn't I just there? Couldn't we have called the visit 4 days ago the pre-op visit? Apparently not. Tim scrambled to rearrange his work schedule to get me there but he made it happen. Ok, all set. We felt that we were good to go. Managed to attend the Pre-op visit on Tuesday. Now I'm ready to go. Done and done, right? Well except for the necessary paperwork and phone calls from the hospital which would happen on Wednesday, the next day.
On Wednesday, I did, indeed get a phone call from the hospital very bright and early. In fact it was 8:00am. Luckily we are early risers. It was a long and involved phone call which mostly revolved around my pre-registration wherein I was asked everything from my height and weight (which are normally state secrets) to a very thorough medical history, my religious affiliation, insurance, significant other's information and the query as to with which gender I prefer to identify. Ok. It took awhile, but It was done. Or so I thought. Nope. At the end of the call I learn that I will be getting yet another call the next day, Thursday, from another department at the hospital. And I'm thinking, "More questions? You already know more about me than most people!"
Ok fine. But at this point, I realize that there are a lot of other things on my calendar that I need to now rearrange. Two different doctor appointments, a visit to my hairdresser and, oh yeah, jury duty. Dang!. How does a person do that? First I dealt with the things I felt confident about: two docs and a hairdresser. Ok. Done. Now the Jury Duty Notification.
I was booked to appear in Sarasota for Jury Duty on the 25th of October which is one day AFTER surgery. Nope, that isn't going to happen. How do I do this? Well I read very carefully through the Jury Summons and learned that there is a part that can be filled out, torn off and mailed back for people that wish to be excused or deferred. I definitely wish to be excused, thank you very much and filled out the form. Then I notice that the bottom of the form indicates that this form must be received 5 working days before the required date of attendance. I looked at my calendar. This was Wednesday the 19th and it will only be collected and perhaps sorted on this day. So I cannot count that day. I was supposed to be there on Tuesday the 25th. In the middle there is a Friday and Saturday. Leaving only 4 working days. This is not going to arrive in time. Ratz.
There must be another way. I popped the form in the mailbox anyway with fingers crossed but there HAD to be an alternate route. I was certain that I wasn't the first person on the planet to come across a situation like this. In carefully re-re-reading the summons, I realized that there was an email address provided. YES! I will try that. I carefully crafted a succinct but polite explanation of why I would be unable to accept their kind invitation to participate as a member of the jury, crossed my fingers and hit send. Thought that was the end of that particular story but nope.
Thursday I did yet another phone call via the hospital whereupon I learned that I had to run out that very day to have blood work done AND that there are prescriptions that have been called in for me that must be picked up prior to surgery as well as recommended post-surgical supplies. Managed to zoom out and get those chores done as well. So far, I'm thinking, I am kind of impressed that in such a short period of time, we are ON this. We Rock!
Friday, to my great surprise, I got an email response from the Court regarding my email requesting an excused absence. It was equally polite and succinct telling me that they received my request and that it would be put before the judge for the judge's decisions AND that they would let me know what the judge decided. What?
Sorry, no. Unless the judge is also my surgeon, the judge does not get to decide this. I do not have time for this nonsense. I cannot worry about this. I have things to do! Joy came up to keep me glued together and distracted on Friday for a bit and she completely agreed with me.
Saturday and Sunday were spent Cleaning with a capital C, doing laundry, sterilizing the bathroom, cooking ahead, shopping ahead and making sure everything that could possibly be ready, was ready. We had a surprise and absolutely lovely Minock Visit on Sunday which further helped to glue me together emotionally and distract me from surgery.
Monday, Surgery Day, I did everything I was supposed to do and nothing I wasn't supposed to do, before we left the house. Jury Duty was the Furthest Thing from My Mind! The hospital by the way, Sarasota Memorial, was lovely. Very New and Modern And Contemporary. I felt as if I was on a movie set. Every single person I met was pleasant and professional and exactly what you want them to be. After surgery, is a blur. The next day, also a blur. The rest of the week slowly settled into focus and by, I think, Wednesday or Thursday, I started catching up on things, returning phone calls and texts and emails.
Which is when I discovered another email from the Court. It seems that all Jurors were dismissed. (Perhaps the case was settled out of court?) So I guess I won't be arrested for not showing up to court. Actually I have no idea what happens to a person who doesn't show up to jury duty. Do you? I'm kind of afraid to google it for fear that anyone tracking my activity will flag it as suspicious.
ANYWAY, it's been a busy and crazy couple of weeks and now things have finally settled down a bit. Yes there are more post-op appointments to come (the first one Wednesday after which perhaps I can take a normal shower again...yay!). And healing is happening, little by little, step by step, Very SLOWLY. Dang.
Shockingly Slowly. I cannot believe how quickly I tire out! But as Joy pointed out to me because I was so dumb I couldn't figure this out by myself, Before the 1st surgery in March, I was 100% me. After that first one, I had time to bounce back to maybe 90%. And then there was the 2nd surgery in July, a very big, traumatic, huge, eventful surgery. And between July and October I healed and returned to perhaps 70-75% of my normal self. So here we are following this last surgery and I'm maybe 50% of my normal? Which troubled me until it was pointed out that I didn't start at 100. I started at 70. It's going to take some time and a lot a patience to get back to my normal. BUT get there I will! Little by little, day by day, tiny progress by tiny progress I will be me once again.
My goal is New Years Day. I would really like to start 2023 as fully me once again! I think that's reasonable, don't you?
Anyway, so that's the connection between Jury Duty and A Surgery Date and how that works. It was interesting and I learned a thing or two. Both good things. And of course the best part which is that I'm on my way to finally FINALLY putting this entire chapter in my rear view mirror. And that is a VERY good thing!
So you are now all caught up on what's been happening here. How about you guys? What's new with you? I'm all ears, eager to hear what's been going on with you!
And I just realized...Happy Halloween!
Yup. Once again, I will be taking a short "medical leave of absence" here. I have another surgery scheduled for this coming Monday. Ho Hum. Same sort of thing. Another surgery, another recovery with limited stuff going on and therefore limited photos and therefore limited experiences and limited things to say. You've heard me say it all before. So Boring!
But I will write when there is something worth writing about!
And meanwhile, please all of you stay safe, be well and Have Fun! And then be sure to tell me all about it. During the boring times I tend to live vicariously!
Hugs all 'round
Let it be known throughout the land that this day, October 19th, 2022, shall forever more be known as Florida Autumn! (Just this one particular day. I have no idea what season it will feel like here tomorrow.)
Yes, my friends, for the first time in, well I don't even known how long, I am wearing long pants. I woke up today to temps in the low 50's and here we are at a quarter after 9 am and the thermometer has not yet reached 60. Since it's cloudy and gloomy and grey outside, I do not anticipate that it will get a lot higher.
I know, I know, 50 degrees is nothin'. A perfectly comfortable temperature, is what I am told. But this is sunny Florida and we have now lived here for more than six years. I have acclimated. Which means I am accustomed to much warmer weather. Which also means, I am officially chilly.
Please do not misunderstand, I'm not complaining. I'm just stating a fact. When the mercury dips into the 50's, it's a wee bit brisk outside. Well actually, since every openable window in the house is currently wide open, it's a bit brisk inside too. Which, of course, does not stop me from having the windows open. It 's way past time to let some of the outside in and freshen up the house. I love giving the house a good airing out. As long as the cooler weather continues, the windows will stay open. And I will be wearing a sweatshirt. And long pants.
Not Tim. Nope. He is finally not hot. I won't go so far as to say that he is comfortable because I cannot speak for him, but I know he is enjoying this Autumn day. In fact, he is the one who was flinging open windows bright and early this morning! Okay, I will ask him. Hang on. Ok, the answer is, officially, yes, he is enjoying the weather today. Nice!
So we are both enjoying this little change of pace, weather-wise :) The difference is that I am enjoying it while drinking endless cups of hot water and wearing long pants, a long sleeved shirts, a sweat jacket and closed toed shoes with socks. Tim, on the other hand, is still in shorts and a polo shirt and is barefoot. Ah well, different strokes for different folks as they used to say.
How long will this Florida Autumn last? No idea. Not a single clue. It could be a day, several days, a week or tomorrow it could be very summery again. It's tricky. We don't have the pretty coloured leaves or naked tree branches that clearly indicate the fall season here. Ok that's not fair. Our trees have coloured leaves. And that colour is green. Year 'round. Green leaves. Nor remotely autumnish. Honestly the pumpkin spice everything and Halloween stuff in the stores is the only real indicator of the season here. I mean other than looking at a calendar. The calendar is pretty clear on it.
On the other hand, if we judged what the season one strictly based on what we find in stores, right now could be Halloween, Thanksgiving OR Christmas! So that's not real helpful. And I think it honestly makes a difference where you are. Geographically I mean. Everybody and their Uncle Fred knows what the four seasons are. But I think simply knowing that on September 22 we officially moved from the summer season to the fall season because science says so (and quite honestly, it actually does say so) doesn't mean that the seasons change like flipping a wall switch.
When we lived in New England, I remember people from far away saying that they wanted to come and see the beautiful autumn colour where we lived and then asking us, which day that was. Doesn't happen like that, sorry. When we lived in Colorado, despite what the calendar indicated, if you went high enough up into the mountains you would find signs along the road warning you that snow was possible every single day of the year. Here in Florida, the actual real feel summer - the worst of the hot, humid, rainshowery part of the year is actually July through September even though every kid in the US thinks of summer as being June, July and August.
It's a funny thing. Sort of like Daylight Savings Time. Oh I will go head and move our clocks forward or backwards as the government has instructed, but the sun doesn't stop being directly overhead at the noon of IT'S determination and not a bureaucracy's. And also my tummy knows when dinner time is no matter what the clock says.
It's the same thing with seasons. Today is definitely autumn. The calendar and Mother Nature are in complete agreement today. But I would just like to point out that yesterday, even I was wearing shorts and enjoying the air conditioning. Again, regardless of what season the calendar displays.
Talk about making a big deal out of nothing. I must be feeling extra spicy today!
Happy Long Pants Day!
Yeah, it's allergy season. And oh my gracious what a terrible 'round we are experiencing this year! I just absolutely hate it. I dispise every single thing about having seasonal allergies. And to date, there has not yet been a medication - prescription or over the counter - that really works for me. And so we are reduced to treating symptoms.
It's not just the constant sneezing and coughing, it's really not. Even though, if I dare step a toe out into public, when I sneeze (no matter that I sneeze into a tissue or my elbow pit) people stare daggers at me and stay far away. I find myself apologizing and saying, "seriously, it's allergies people!" a lot.
And it's not the inevitable sore throat that goes along with all of the coughing and nasal drip (what a gross mental image that is!), I mean that's what soup, popsicles and ice cream were practically invented for, right? Well those and a steady diet of cough drops. I favour the Ricola Brand honey and lemon cough drops myself. I don't know if they actually work any better than others, but I can tolerate the flavour more and that counts.
There is the muzzy-headed-ness naturally. I hate that part. It feels as if my head were stuffed with cotton instead of brains, so don't ask me anything tricky, like my name. I'm even slower on the uptake than usual lately. I need real time and effort to sort out unexpected statements and questions. Heck, even expected questions such as, "is dinner nearly ready?" take some serious mulling over to answer and that's while I'm standing at the stove cooking dinner! Kind of scary.
Itchy eyes! Yes, we have those too. Of course we do. Itchy, sore, tired eyes. For someone who loves to read as much as I do, that's a real issue. I recently discovered antihistamine eye drops though, and honestly, they are like a miracle. Stings a little bit when I first put them in, but aftewards...ahhhhh. So Much Better. The itchiness isn't completely gone you understand, but I not longer want to pluck my eyeballs from their sockets, give them a good scratch and put them back.
And then there is the problem with my voice. What voice? If any sound at all comes out when I try to speak it kind of alternates between an adolescent boy's voice with all of the cracks and breaks and Gravel Gertie who smokes a box of stogies every day before lunch. It would be funny if it wasn't so annoying. AND, at the moment it is nigh on to impossible to talk on the telephone. The person on the other end just thinks we have a bad connection. I don't generally do a lot of phone talking anyway, but right now, I am doing exactly none. Which is, naturally, why the phone has been ringing off the hook lately. Murphy's Law. Murphy must have thought allergies were highly amusing. He's wrong. They are not.
This year the allergies have been so much worse than the past few. I'm not absolutely certain why this year is worse but I'm going to blame the hurricane. I have no idea if it's true or not, but that's the stand I'm taking. Actually the truth is that science is behind me on this one. It's not just the mold and mildew and spores (yucky) that are stirred up, and the piles upon piles upon piles of foliage lining the roads and rotting where it sits creating yet more mold and mildew. Part of the problem is the rain. And boy oh boy did we have rain galore in that Hurricane. This is a quote from some medical journal:
"Why are my allergies worse after a storm?
Despite what you might think, the rain actually makes allergy symptoms worse for most people, instead of better. That's because the rain bursts the pollen particles prior to washing them away, putting higher concentrations of particles into the air."
And then there was the wind blowing all of those particles around and around and around....... sigh. And of course we generally have a nice little sea breeze wafting through on a regular basis. Usually it feels refreshing and smells wonderful. Right now it feels sneezy and stuffy and, frankly, I am ready for it to be over.
They say that once we have a good frost most of the allergens will be gone. Well, that could take awhile. We don't generally get those sorts of low's until January. Drat. This could be a longer haul than usual. Sigh.
In the meantime, I have cough drops and tissues on my grocery list AGAIN this week. And I think I will have tee shirts made up that say, "It's Allergies, people, calm down!"
As I was walking through the kitchen just a few days ago, I glimpsed this over the courtyard wall. I got very excited! "This is it!" They've come for the brush pile! Huzzah Huzzah! I took this one photo quickly from the kitchen window (with the zoom on obviously) then ran outside to watch. Honestly, sometimes I'm like a 5 year old. I do not know any 5 year old, boy or girl, who would be able to resist watching a big truck do pretty much anything!
I sat in the courtyard and patiently waited while they worked on the large pile next door. Eventually though, it was our turn. Yay! Slowly, slowly the truck inched forward.
As it turns out it was a very Very Big truck. Kind of like two giant bins mashed together with a crane in between. Well to a lay person such as myself, that's what it appeared to be. Decide for yourself if I am mistaken.
To get an idea of how very large this contraption is let me tell you that our driveway is of the horseshow variety. It's a half circle with a bit of grass and trees and shrubs in the center of it. Our brush pile was stacked up, higher than the house on the grassy bit in the middle. The truck covered the entire area completely blocking both sides of the horseshoe driveway! Like I said, BIG!
I snapped away as the crane chomped away at our large pile reminding more of Cookie Monster (or me!) going through a batch of cookies. It was a marvel and fascinating to me, almost mesmerizing as it lowered, chomped, lifted (carefully avoiding the powerlines overhead) and then swung around to drop into one of the two bins:
Over and again this little dance continued, whittling our enormous pile of rubbish down until. Suddenly. It. Stopped.
What? The crane operator had the exact expression on his face that I did. What happened? I've no idea of course, but I watched as the operator climbed down and then crawled underneath this behemoth. He tinkered and fiddled for quite some time. Then he crawled back out and someone else came 'round and they two of them talked, first to each other, and then to someone else on the phone.
There were a few more fiddles and tinks, discussions and calls and then, I guess, he gave up. He climbed into the cab of the truck, slowly limped into the turn of the next street (which has a nice big circle at the end for turning around). It heaved to a stop as it approached the corner and then turned back the way it came and was gone. Drat. We broke it.
Well that was my first thought. It's always my first thought. I always assume everything is my fault. At least from July 9th 1953 forward. Before I was born it was someone else's fault. And then I remember that is not the case (at least this time) We did nothing wrong. We did exactly as we were told. The machine apparently has some sort of issue.
After I watched them go, I walked up what remained. While the hard working but problematic truck and crane did a good job, there was some leftover. I cannot complain because it was a big old pile. I raked the leftover into a much smaller pile in the hopes that perhaps once the truck was feeling better it would return to finish the job? Hope springs eternal. Here is the original pile and the leftover for comparison.
Honestly, I cannot complain. Or rather, I won't. They did a good job. If they never return, I can probably find a way to get rid of this little remaining bit myself. Still it was an adventure and fun to watch the big old machine at work.
Every day I see fewer brush piles, repairs being at least started and in the meantime, while we no longer have any street signs (it turns out that hurricanes have quite the appetite for street signs), everyone here on the island has power back now, most stores and restaurants are open again - even if the hours are shorter - and recovery moves forward. Nice to see.
Hurricane Ian. Yeah, so that happened. Wow.
We are absolutely fine. Well perhaps a little greyer from the experience but otherwise, good. The house lost one shutter, some gutter guards and had a wee bit of shingle damage but is still dry and intact. Which is some kind of miracle I think.
The last hurricane we went through was Irma back in 2017, also in September in fact. It was both fascinating (as a new experience) and scary. Even though it made landfall on Marco Island as a Category Three (sustained winds between 111 and 129 mph). It was so huge that the 113 mile difference between Venice and Marco Island didn't matter much.
This time, Hurricane Ian arrived less than 60 miles away and as a Category Four (sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph). You will just have to trust me when I say that the distinction is noticeable.
Because this was a bigger storm and we are on an island which means surrounded by water, when the evacuation notice went out, we paid attention. After some debate, we opted to do as offered and hunkered down with friends who live in a new house farther from the water - meaning a house built to current hurricane safety codes including steel hurricane shutters. (as opposed to our own house built in 1962 with no hurricane shutters) While the wind and rain started much earlier, the biggest part of the storm began around noon and didn't finish banging and howling until midnight. Without question, it was the 12 most harrowing hours of my entire life, no exaggeration. But we were safe, dry and perfectly housed. Thank you, friends!
Once the storm was over, we headed home, more than a little afraid of what we would find. While we saw devastation all along the way home, as it turns out we were much luckier than a lot of people. We are not flooded, our home is mostly intact, we have power and water and each other. Not everybody can say these things right now.
I can tell you what it looked like around here as we came home shortly after the sun rose that next day. There was a lot of this:
There was quite a bit of this sort of thing too:
And even more of these sorts of things:
And in our town, the worst of the worst, our historic Theatre (not movie theatre, live theatre) now looks like this:
On the bright side, these are the situations that bring out the best in people. Neighbors helping neighbors helping family helping strangers everywhere. Supposedly 95% of power should be restored by this Friday and Tim and I remember how amazing it feels when the lights come back on! Woohoo!
Although most people are waiting very patiently in very long lines, gas stations are beginning to be resupplied. Grocery stores and other retail shops are opening and the shelves slowly being restocked. Yesterday we got mail for the first time since the storm on September 28th. Those small returns to normalcy mean everything.
We've been kept busy mostly hauling trees, branches, fronds and so forth to the front of the house. Tomorrow the town will start making rounds to pick up all of that deadfall. As of yesterday we have internet back so Tim was able to get back to work.
So there you have it, the tale of surviving Hurricane Ian.
Here is a photo of the rubbish pile in front of our house with me (looking my absolute best) in front of it for comparison. That was the pile on Saturday. We have added to it since then. Just FYI.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.