Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Soaking up Tropical Storm Debby...

  What a very interesting week this has been.  Felt like a life time ago when I last posted, because  "ME ~ The Time Bomb" post might have published yesterday {thanks to Tropical Storm Debby} but, the Research visit was on Friday.

  I had to tweak the wording on that Blog Post some, to reflect the fact that I wrote it on Friday and Forgot to publish it right away.  It's a getting older brain cramp thing.

  This photo has nothing to do with my Blog today, I just fell in love with it.   If you close your eyes and listen, you can hear the laughter of my grand daughter Jayla.  Don't you love that huge smile.  Jayla was laughing so hard because Arianna {who is hiding her face},  had passed some gas.  A small body function.. a huge reaction.

  Friday night brought us the news on Debby, a tropical storm that sat off the Gulf of Mexico.  Bringing Florida lots of flooding and rain.  Where we live is on the outter limits of Tampa, so we did not have to suffer through the ever growing Gulf and drowning road ways.  Thank goodness.  We did however, have our very own small ponds on the property.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ME ~ The time bomb...

I mentioned in a past Blog Post, about an interview I went on for Blood Pressure Research.

I was accepted.

My second visit to the  Research Center was Friday.  It was scheduled to be a longer visit.  During this visit all my blood work was drawn and some test are done.  I thought they were going to drain me completely dry of blood.  Of course they didn't because I am sitting here typing. 

But for a mad second, I felt like my blood was vanishing. 

A small mad second. 

I also had an EKG of my heart, my height and weight, and spoke with the Research physician.

Have you ever walked away from a Dr visit, scared to death?  I did Friday.

It lasted all day Saturday.  And Sunday.  Even Monday.  Plus that fear popped up a few times today.

Now, I hate going to the doctor.  I don't want to be poked.  Pricked.  Weighed.  Undressed.  
Mostly, I don't want to hear bad news.  Friday was full of bad news.

After the nurse finished all her blood drawing duties.  The Research Physician walked in.  "Hi" he said "I'm  Dr ____ and will be following you through the Research Study."   He walked over to his waiting desk and began reading through my chart.  

"Have you ever had an heart attack?" he asked while holding my EKG  "No" I answered  "A stroke?" he asked  "NO" I replied  "Hmm" he added.

As he flipped through the sheets of paper that made up my Research Study Interview he asked me "When you were admitted into the Hospital in Texas, what was your ER Blood Pressure?" He lifted his head to meet the confused look on my face "210/157 if I remember right." 

He looked over to the nurse in the room and said "I don't think she should be apart of the study."  Than he turned to me and said "Your blood pressure, after being off your medication for one day, was 157/118.  During the study you will have to be off your medication for 4 weeks in a row."  I think my heart fluttered.  Maybe it stopped for a second or two.

"I think you will be a wash.  Your blood pressure is to uncontrolled for the study.  Of course we would watch you closely but, people with blood pressure like yours have dropped dead walking down the street."  

I found myself wanting to run out of the room, except my feet wouldn't move.  Then there was the whole fear of dropping dead if I walked out of the building.

"You need to be stress free." He told me "Work in a stress free job.  Drink Decaf coffee.  Relax.  Keep yourself calm."  He added  "Do you have a Cardiologist?"  I looked at him  "No I don't"  He flipped through my 8 Blood Pressure results.  On the first visit my blood pressure was taken 4 times, it was taken 4 times on this visit as well.  "You need to get a primary physician and you should have a cardiologist that you see regularly." he told me  "We can attempt the research study but, I am not sure it is a good idea."  He pulled out a sheet of clean paper  "We would ween you off your medication starting with your Lisinopril/HCTZ first, and move on to your Metoprolol until you are fully of your medication for 4 full weeks.  Than we will start you on our medication and follow your Blood Pressure closely."

I think my face told a whole story to him, I didn't even have to say a word.

"During, and at anytime, of the study you can choose to opt out." he told me "I recommend no fried foods at all.  Stay away from salt at all cost, even if you opt out of the study.  You are high risk just from your high blood pressure readings" he said "add the death of your grand father due to heart attack, your aunt who was seconds away from a heart attack, and your brother who just had a heart attack, and I'd say you are walking a very fine line."

The nice way to say I am a walking time bomb.  

The research Study is willing to pay me for my services, but after talking to the physician and being scared to death to walk out of the building, I am going to just opt out now and stick to the medication that seems to be working for me.

Plus, I am going to work hard on getting back into shape.  The physician said he felt I needed to loose a few pounds.  Taking the extra pounds off will help bring my blood pressure down, and sticking to a well balanced diet is a step in the right direction.  I can eat fruit all day long, veggies however aren't friends of mine.  With the exercise, I was told to start with walking, it would be easier on my heart. Of Course the past few days of Tropical Storm Debby, has the walking on hold for a bit.

The problem with my blood pressure is the systolic reading, which is the bottom number {157/118} because the bottom number indicates the pressure of your heart at rest.  So, even when I am relaxed and clam.. the 118 is to high.

My Blood Pressure Study days.... are over.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bad Bad Dog.. What do I do?

 I've told you about the animals I had while we were growing up, right?  The 'I' that is spoken of is really 'WE'; as a family.  

When we moved from New York to Florida my mother and father brought Prince with them.  Our faithful loving German Shepherd.

 I loved that dog.

We all loved that dog!  And he loved us.  As long as Prince was around, I wouldn't even suggest getting close to any of us 5 children.  He didn't care for the Florida heat but he wouldn't let anyone on the yard or even close to the house.  He was a great protector.
Prince wasn't the only dog we had growing up.  There were plenty between my mother and father; and my mother and step father.  So, training a dog and tending to a dog isn't new to me.

What is new to me, as a very destructive dog.  WE have one of those.  While all my children are grown and have families of their own,  when I met my sweety;  he had a family of 3 dogs.  

The oldest of the bunch is Bandit.  A chihuahua.  Bandit is about 15 years old. 

Chihuahuas have serious bathroom training issues.  As in, Bandit would use the bathroom where ever he wanted.  This picture was taken our living room, before I learned it is all but impossible to train him in the bathroom area.  Now he stays on our extended back porch, and my sweety is responsible for picking up Bandits messes.  Because of it, I hardly even sit on the back porch I worked so hard on any more.

The next on the list would be Tesla.  He reminds me of Hooch when he runs.  His mouth flows with the pace of a full force run.  He is scary looking and his muscles are impressive.  He is very thick, and I love it when he is really full.  He is massive. When the sun goes down, Tesla parks himself on our front steps.  Scanning the road for wrong doing.  He stays on the steps until the sun comes back up in the morning.

Tesla is a Bull dog.  His jaw strength speaks for itself.  His bark alerts us to unwanted guest.  This ability to make it to the front gate, while a threat 'thinks' about entering the land;  keeps the bad guys at bay.  

The newest member of the Dog Clan is Baby.  She came to us, we think someone put her over our fence.  When we searched high and low, we could not find one single way she could have gotten into the yard.  Baby is already protective of the property.  She keeps the Boys in check.  Baby will make it to the front gate before the boys most times, and once they hear her bark; watch out!!

Baby holds her own with the guys, and she gets a lick or two in when she has had enough of the boys.  The greatest thing about Baby, is she sleeps like a human.  It is the cutest thing ever.

Baby is a hot mess.  I love looking over when she falls asleep, and seeing her like this.  To top it all of, that little girl can sure snore.  And she is loud when she enters 'deep sleep mode'.  Just like a human.

Last of the Dog Clan is Thorn.  He really puts my patience to the test.  Every last nerve on days, is stretched to the limit.  No matter how many times we tell him NO about something, he does it.  It may not be right then and there, but walk away and see what happens.  Or wait until morning. 

Thorn is the only one who rips up everything.

Destroys anything.  

He's The Unmaintainable one. 

 I am even sure I have new gray hair because of Thorn.  

Don't let that cute face fool you.  Thorn is responsible for killing many potted plants.  What dog pulls over the pots, takes out the bulbs of Tulips; and crushes them with his bite?  Or does this to my Hibiscus plant?

He is putting his nose into the pot and pulling out the potted soil.  Right down to the roots!!

I don't know how the plant is even still blooming.  The Blooms are such a pretty orange reddish color. 

Just look at that flower..

Two days ago, when my Aunt Linda was visiting;  my mother, her sister {Aunt Linda} and myself went out.  I walked to my house and told them to drive over and pick me up when they were ready.  I wanted to put my tennis shoes on before we went out.  

An OCD Feet Fetish I have.

When I walked out of my front door, I noticed one of my yard flag poles mangled.  The American Flag ripped to shreds.  The pole was bent even.  I picked it up and placed it on the stumps I have on the patio.

I was crushed.  I couldn't even speak when I seen what Thorn had done to my American Flag.  It had been in the yard for a month, why would a dog do this to a yard flag?  To my plants?  To anything I put outside?  When I got home, I took pictures of the mangled Flag Pole and hunted for the shredded American Flag.  I couldn't even drum up enough anger to yell at Thorn.  

Heart broken was all I was feeling.  

It crossed my mind that maybe Thorn was Anti American!!

Even when I place the Flag pole in the ground, next to the other yard flag I have, it was more apparent how bad the American Flag fight was.   I didn't think my heart could sink any further, until I seen the Stars and Stripes laying in the front yard.  In pieces.

With what was left on the mangled flag pole, and the Stars and Strips I picked up from the yard.  I
didn't collect it all.  I think Thorn really ate parts of the American Flag.  

How does a dog cause so much problems?

What do you do with a dog that just will not listen?  

That will dig holes everywhere in the yard, trying to get to China?  

That will not leave the potted plants alone?  

That bullies the smaller dogs?  

That is Bad bad bad? 


How do I train a dog that seems to be UN- Trainable? 

HELP!!!  I am past the point of suggesting a new place for the dog.  I am ready to call some one and Adopt the dog out.  I know this would crush my sweety, but it seems to me that Thorn needs something that WE just can not give him.  Maybe his acting out is from our busy schedules, in which case, Thorn is NOT happy.  

Do we keep an clearly UNHAPPY dog against his will?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Top Travel...

 Oh the life of a girl.  Woman.  Female.

When I first started driving, it was a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere.  I washed that baby inside and out.  The undercarriage was spotless.  No really, I washed the inside.

My car smelled of Pine Sol, and the dash was clean enough to eat off of.  But no one ever did.  Ewe!!

The seats, were a flawless blue color.

The steering wheel, was chrome.

Oh, I loved that car.  It was in an accident.  Some drunk jerk totaled it.  I was crushed.

 Today my sweety worked on my Malibu.  She needed front brakes.  The car, not my sweety.    I could not wait until he was finished.

The car had been sitting in my mothers yard for almost a year.  OK maybe it was more like 7 months, but  that's close enough to a year.

It really seemed like a life time.

While I was cooking dinner, see my last Blog post Cheesy Tuesday, my sweety worked on the car.  Tenderly.  Lovingly.  Carefully.  In between cooking, I would check on his progress outside.

Not that I know anything about cars.
Or Brakes.
Or lug nuts.

Well, that's not 100% true.  Lug Nuts hold the tire on.  Right?

Any way, moving right along.  When it was all said and done, I asked my sweety what the old brakes looked like.

 I just want to turn the key and drive.  In fact when I picked up the new brakes; I asked the Discount Auto Guy if there were classes for women to learn about fixing cars.  I don't want to go to school for it,  just learn a few simple things.

 One thing I do know is, the brake pads shouldn't be flat like the one on the right.  These are the front brakes.  Hence the squealing and squeaking. 

I would show you how they should look.....

... but they are behind here.  I don't think my sweety would want to take all that apart again, just so I could snap the picture I missed.

The Malibu is on the road again.  I can feel the wind blowing through my hair now, while the AC is cranked up to high.

And the window is down some.

It's the OCD.

I don't like being closed in while driving.

Or riding for that matter.

Thank you sweety, for putting my baby back together again!!

Cheesy Tuesday...

  Today was a very busy day for my mother and I.  First we went on this Blood Pressure Research Interview I scheduled, more about that when I know more.  Then we went to pay my electric bill, I have plenty words about that;  for a later Blog post.  Then it was off to register my car for the state of Florida, that surprisingly went faster than either of us thought it would.  From the Tax collectors office, we stopped by Discount Auto Parts, to pick up the brakes for my car.

The car that hasn't been driven in almost a year.

The car that a year ago, squeaked and squealed when ever I attempted to stop.

The car I missed driving so so very much.

The car that without the much needed help from my mother; would have never seen the dark paved road again.

Thank you so much MOM!!!! I Love you so very much!!!

  So when my mother and I were finished running around, and we arrived at her house, we could not wait to put the renewal sticker on my Florida tag.  

  Have I told you that I don't like the Florida Tags?  Two big Oranges with a twig between them, and a blooming flower.  Hmm.. just doesn't sit right with me.  Makes me feel like I am driving with Orange Balls on my trunk.  Not a pretty mental picture if you ask me.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Growing Family Tree..

I miss my sister dearly.  When we start talking on the phone, time is lost and we could talk to each other for hours.   We have you know, one time while we were on the phone; we notice it was close to 1 am before we hung up. 

Being close to my sister, and family, is paradise for me.  There is nothing like having a sister, or being a sister for that matter

My sister ~ Mary Ann
 My niece is expecting her first child; my sisters youngest daughter.  This will be my sisters 4th grand baby.  I am so excited!! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Germ; This means WAR!!!

   I think it was a week ago.  We {my sweety and I} were taking advantage of the rain we had gotten.  There was a break for a day or two, and Paul wanted to throw fertilizer on the lawn.   With the projection of more rain, we were counting on our grass thriving. 

Bursting out of the sand.  

Giving us a blanket of green.

   Who would have thought days later; we would be battling an unwelcome germ. 

  Paul can't recall what happened, but my Aunt Linda remembers when she asked what happened to his arm {because he had a small band-aide on his right forearm} he replied "I cut myself working outside the other day".  The only day I remember working outside, was the two days it didn't rain that week.  

Saturday and Sunday.

  One day last week, Paul asked me to look at his arm.  He would change out the band-aide when he showered, so I hadn't gotten a good look at it.  There was a cut and what looked like an ant bite, next to it.  The itching at this point was enough to drive him nuts.  So, I instructed him to pick up triple antibiotic ointment, an anti-itch cream, and bigger band-aids.  

The repeated "Stop Scratching!!!" echoed throughout our place.

  It seemed like overnight, his arm was reddish purple, and the small ant bite looking place {pictured above} was the size of a small mountain.  On Monday, I insisted we take a trip to the emergency room.  Paul would rather do anything in his life, than take a trip to the hospital.  Not as a patient anyway.

  I will save you from the unpleasant photos of his unprotected arm.  It is not a pretty sight.  The physician preformed minor surgery {lanced open the small mountain area and cleaned it out}, packed the now open "abscessed" hole area with medicated gauze {the look on his face told me how painful this was}, dressed the wound, and covered it with a bandage.  The though of it, even now just re-reading this, makes me hurt all over.

   A very poor bandage job in my opinion.  We were informed by the physician that a culture would reveal the type of infection that attacked the arm.  In fact, the second she looked at his arm, MRSA came out of her mouth.  The next two days that we will wait, because that is how long the culture will take, would tell us if her suspicions were correct.   Words like "Serious Infection", Critical Situation", and "Highly Contiguous"  were tossed at us.    Strict instructions were given to Paul, matter of fact instructions.  Not touch the infected area and touch any part of his body.  Her exact words were "You wouldn't want something like this on your family jewels".  Paul's eyes became very big, and I think he might have blended in with the white sheets for a minute or two.

   Before we left the ER, he was given a tetanus shot, 3 Cipro pills = 750 mg, one Bactrim pill, prescriptions for both antibiotics and a pain medication.  I was to bring him back to the ER in two days to have the packing removed.  Until then, I would have to change the bandage on Tuesday.  The high dose of the medication he was given at the hospital, he was told, would make him very tired shortly.  Our plan was to have Publix fill the medication {Cipro and Bactrim are free medications at Publix}, pick up the gauze I was going to need to change the bandage, and a few antibacterial supplies I knew was needed.  My biggest worry, outside of my Loves injury, was if the bandage would last throughout the night.  I knew, deep within, it wouldn't hold up.

   I made a quick dinner, because the antibiotics were already upsetting Paul's stomach, and when he was finished eating; handed him a pain pill.  I knew a long night was in stored for us.  Because of my bandage gut feeling, Paul and I slept in the living room.  Him in the recliner {in hopes of keeping his arm still}, and me on the sofa.  When my sweety handed me his cleaned plate, I notice two red bumps just past the bandage.  Two bumps that weren't there before. 

  Once the pain pill took effect, Paul fell asleep for a little while.  Worry and the words of the physician rang in his head; it was a very restless night for the both of us.  In between his short sleeping spells, the dressing moved.  The packing came out of the wound.  And blood started showing through the bandage. 

   I watched carefully as he slept.  When he woke from his short slumber, I changed out the dressing covering the wound, and added a gauze bandage.  Needless to say, we went through a whole box of gauze and 4x4's just that night.  I was also watching his elbow, I noticed it was swelling.  Not wanting to alarm him, I kept it to my self until he woke up at about 2am.  The pain medication had worn off, and the wound was now burning and stinging; from the removal of the inner packing.  It was at this time, I told him about the swelling in his elbow.  I made it clear that if the swelling did not go down on its own, we would be traveling back to the hospital before dawn, and he agreed.

   When we both woke, at 7amish, I dressed the wound and replaced the bandage.  The swelling in the elbow, was all but a bad memory.   I made breakfast so Paul could take his antibiotics and pain pill.  Told him we were headed back to the hospital to see if the wound needed to be repacked, and inquire about better bandages.  We both dressed, and headed back to the hospital. 

   Seeing my sweety in pain... just hurt me all over.  I waited 30 plus years to be with the love of my life, and I am not about to let a Germ bring him down.

GERM, This means WAR!!!

Through Pictures...

 Almost a year ago, my eldest daughter went wedding dress shopping with her best friend.  Tabitha was going to be in the wedding of her best friend Kim. When they met up before the shopping date she told the bride to be 'The best way to see how the dress will look on you, is through pictures.'   My daughter is just beautiful, isn't she?

My daughter Tabitha and Son in Law Cody

 That stuck with me.  Their wedding dress shopping date was a huge success and through pictures, Kim picked out her dream wedding dress.  Look at the glow on that bride.

Bride Kim and her eldest daughter
 Even my youngest daughter views herself via photographs.  What a better way to see if your make up is perfect,  pictures tell the whole truth.  Isn't she stunning?

My daughter Ashley

Friday, June 8, 2012

Planning Summer time visits

  When my family moved here, from New York, in 1976 we lived on the same property as my grand parents.  Our move here started out as a visit to see my mother's parents.  My father loved it so much that, before any of us 5 children knew what was going on, my parents traveled back to New York and sold what they couldn't travel back to Florida with.  Thus made Florida our new home location.  We didn't sight see, as my father looked for work right away.  Besides with 5 children and 2 adults, every penny counted.

   It took my father about a year to find property, save up and put money down on it.  We all cleared the land together, while my father and grand father set the pump in the ground.  The Rodriguez and Barrera team working together.  It to soon after, when the house was moved onto the property and we all began to settle in.

  On April 17, 1978 my father was killed in an automobile accident.  2 years after my family moved to Florida.  My mother was left with 5 children to raise.  There wasn't any venturing out and sight seeing for a long time.

  When I was young, my cousin Yvette visited from New York and we went to Disney World as a family.  Again for my Senior Year and my brothers Senior Year in high school.  It was the best time in my life, I can remember running to get on Space Mountain, over and over again.  I didn't visit Disney World again, until my eldest daughter was 2 years old; she is 29 now, and I haven't been back since.  

  Another place I visited often during 2006 - 2007, was Bush Gardens.  I purchased year round tickets for my eldest daughter, my grandson, and myself.  It came in handy during the summer months, and while my son in law worked; we were able to take my grandson as often as we wanted. The nice thing about the year round tickets, was being able to bring a guest with you.  So, when my son in law was able, he joined us. As well as my son and youngest daughter.

  I haven't been back to Busch Gardens since 2007.  Sad, but true.   Another place I really enjoyed going to was the Aquarium.  I had gotten season tickets for this as well, and during the 2006 - 2007 time frame, we would visit quite often.  My grandson and grand daughter loved to watch the feeding of the sharks, and touch the Sting Rays.  I enjoyed just watching thank you.

  It was so relaxing watching the fish and seeing all the different colors.  Plus during the summer months, this area was quite cool.

  Now that I am back in Florida, the thought of just sitting here; is driving me nuts!  So I am going to plan out a point of attack.  Throughout the summer, I am going to make a point of visiting something new.  Here are just a few places I had in mind...

The Dali Museum in Saint Petersburg
The Arabian Night Dinner Show in Orlando

Kennedy Space Center Tour
Tampa Museum of Art
  And any other place of history and interest I can find.  I just want a summer of things to do, places to see, and people to meet.

Have any suggestions for places I might enjoy seeing?