Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cabin fever

As I mentioned in a couple posts, while I was sick/recuperating from the cellulitis I was at home for 4 weeks, with the exception of 4 days in the hospital.  I couldn't drive and I was unable to go anywhere except the doctor's office, with help.

4 weeks is a long time to be home.  My friend Joey (who graciously visited me in the hospital and called me several times afterward to check in) asked me if I was getting cabin fever.

My answer to him, oddly enough, was "No".

When I started to think about it I found it really interesting that I didn't feel like I had to get out at all.  There have been times when we've had a freak snow storm that left us 'trapped' at home for 2 or 3 days and we couldn't wait to get out.  

I think the difference is that I knew I was physically unable to go out and do anything.  Initially I had a lot of pain, and for even longer I had very little strength or stamina.  Even simple tasks like taking a shower left me exhausted.  So I'm guess that's why I never had the feeling of cabin fever.

So, what did I do at home for 4 weeks?  I watched a lot of TV and movies.  Toward the end of my time at home I resorted to paying for on-demand movies because I'd watched everything of interest on the cable channels and the premium channels we get.

Also, I slept a lot.  I'd go to bed at 10pm and sleep until at least 9am.  

Then there were the occasional mid-day naps.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Puerto Vallarta highlights

Spouse & I arrived at the Puerto Vallarta airport just before noon on Tues 1/31.  We taxied to the condo we rented on VRBO.com and checked in.  (Be sure to look at the photos!)  It was everything we expected and more!  We thought it might be a bit small from the photos but it was perfect.  The terrace was huge (dining table and 4 chairs, 2 loungers, built-in grill, potted plants), had amazing ocean, city, and mountain views, and we spent a LOT of time on it.  Here's the view from the terrace:
Seriously, this is what we saw from the loungers.  Amazing!

And here is the view looking down over the railing:

Spouse & I walked the blocks to the beach and had lunch at El Dorado, and outdoor restaurant right on the beach.  Then we went for a walk along the beach, then stopped at a corner market to pick up some food items before heading back to the condo to wait for the Newlyweds.  Once they dropped their luggage the 4 of us sat out on the terrace and enjoyed the view as we talked and began catching up with each other.  A couple hours later when we were all hungry we went to dinner at Cafe Bohemia.  We'd not been there on our previous trip and it looked like a fun, lively place.  All the tables were outside, which we love, and after we finished eating our waiter brought us all sombreros and took our picture.
We walked around a little, then went to Bear Karaoke (Beareoke) at Blue Chairs on their rooftop deck.  Jamie & I both sang and got free shots of tequila.  Then the 4 of us headed back to the condo and talked out on the terrace until bedtime.

Wed we had breakfast at the condo, then went to the beach.  We walked over to the Blue Chairs beach resort because you can get chairs and umbrellas for free as long as you order food or drinks, of which we did both.  The exchange rate was so favorable everything seemed so cheap!  As an example, an average-priced dinner at most restaurants was around $150 pesos, which when converted came to about $7 USD.  So we didn't skimp when it came to eating and drinking.  While at the Blue Chairs beach resort we ran into our friends John & David who live near us!  Small world.  After a few hours at the beach we returned to the condo for showers and naps, then had cocktails on the terrace followed by dinner at a little hole in the wall called Jorge's Hideaway.  The food was absolutely amazing - probably my favorite meal of the trip!  Then we walked to CC Slaughters for a white party.
Spouse & me ready for the White Party


Spouse & Michael at the White Party


Spouse & me enjoying a tasty Pina Colada at the White Party
When we'd had our fill of dancing and the loud thump-thump-thump of the music, we walked across the street to a new open-air bar called Mr Flamingo for cocktails.  Our friends John & David told us about it since its new.  The music was great and we had a really fun time there.

Thurs morning we had a light breakfast at the condo, talked for a while, then checked out the beautiful, L-shaped pool with an infinity edge.  We lounged in the sun and swam a bit, all the while enjoying the spectacular views.
We had an easy late lunch at the condo, talked some more, then had cocktails at Garbo followed by
dinner at Si Senor, an open-air restaurant right on the beach.  The food was really good but we made the mistake of ordering appetizers which means we couldn't finish our meals.  Then we walked over to the Blue Chairs beach resort for a beach cocktail party.  We had a couple drinks, met some new folks, and watched the 'fire dancers', but found it to be a bit dull so we headed back to the condo and had a final cocktail out on the terrace overlooking the city lights.

Fri we had breakfast at the condo, sat around and visited for a while, and then Spouse & I headed out for the day.  Jamie was not feeling well so he and Michael (aka: Newlyweds) stayed at the condo.  Spouse & I went back to Blue Chairs beach resort where we had lunch and cocktails on the beach.  That evening we had dinner at Pizza Noche, then walked the Malecon which is kind of like a concrete boardwalk, with shops and restaurants and bars on 1 side and the ocean on the other.  Then we went to the Cowboy Party at Los Amigos where we met a couple who live about an hour away from us.  They gave us these cowboy hats!

Sat we had a light breakfast at the condo and hung out for awhile.  Then we walked over to the Mantamar Beach Club for a pool party and day at the beach.  It was a lot of fun and we met some fun people. Had had lunch and cocktails on the beach, and went for a walk.  It was a really nice day at the Mantamar Beach Club.  On our way back to the condo we shared the funicular with a couple and chatted with them a little.  When I asked where they lived, it turned out that one of them is also a realtor like me from an adjacent town.  I recognized his name when he said his full name.  Small world!  Spouse showered and napped while the Newlyweds and I went for massages.  Again, due to the favorable exchange rate, an hour massage was like $20USD!  Afterward we had showers followed by cocktails on our terrace.  The weather was sheer perfection the entire time which made us want to be outdoors all the time.  We walked the Malecon again, ducking into a few souvenir shops and such, then stopped for dinner at an Italian restaurant called La Posta.  The food was good and a nice break from Mexican and seafood.  Afterward we returned to Mr Flamingo for cocktails, then stopped in at Los Amigos for a final drink before heading back to the condo to pack.  We took a cab early the next morning to the airport. 

We had a wonderful time in Puerto Vallarta and I can definitely see us returning again and again.  Its and easy place to be, with no need for a car, and lots of variety in restaurants, shopping, activities, and of course the beautiful beaches and views.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March.

Don't feel bad if this doesn't sound familiar or if you don't know what it means.  Likely not many will resonate with this phrase.

The Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC by being stabbed to death at a meeting of the senate by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. 

According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The Ides of March are come", implying that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."  (See Wikipedia for more details.)

What's funny about this to me is that somehow the phrase "beware the Ides of March" became a running joke between me and my close friend Kerry.  This may be because we had the same English class in high school where we studied Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar".  But what I can't remember is WHY this became a running joke!  Every year on March 15 Kerry and I will call or email each other and say/write "beware the Ides of March, which will elicit laughter from both of us.  Again, I don't remember why, but this has been a joke between us for years. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Surgical follow-up

Today I went for my surgical follow-up.

The surgical assistant looked at me and said "Well, you certainly look like you're feeling better!  The last 2 times we saw you you were wearing sweat pants and you looked like you weren't feeling well at all.  Today you're wearing regular clothes and you look great!"

Indeed, the last 2 times I was there Spouse had to drive me, laying on my side across the back seat of my car, since I couldn't sit.  But today I drove myself, sitting on a memory foam pillow, and went to work after the appointment.

The surgeon's exam was quick.  He was very pleased with my progress and the condition of the "wound".  Then came what I'd been waiting to hear:  "You don't need to have the wound packed and unpacked anymore.  Just use gauze to catch the drainage."  
HOORAY!!!
Since the wound is not closed yet, it still drains so I wear absorbent pads in my underwear to catch it.  The pads are easy to change myself, unlike the packing/unpacking which I could not do myself.  Now I can shower whenever I want.  When I was being packed I would have to shower when Spouse was home so he could unpack me before the shower, then pack me afterward.  This definitely gives me more freedom and flexibility.

No more doctor or surgical follow-ups required.  I'm almost good as new.

Friday, March 10, 2017

New mattress

Yesterday I bought a new mattress.

We bought our last mattress 8 1/2 years ago, while watching TV and having never touched it.  

Spouse has been complaining of back and leg pain recently, and when we were changing the bed linens I noticed that there are 2 distinct impressions in the mattress where we both sleep. 
Not our actual bed, but this demonstrates the body impressions.
Bed companies say you should replace your mattress after 8 years, which could very well be true or just a marketing ploy, but after looking at our 8 1/2 year old mattress, it seemed pretty clear we could use a new one.

I've always been a fan of TempurPedic mattresses because they are memory foam and nearly eliminate motion transfer when 1 person turns over or gets in/out of the bed.  However, during my investigation yesterday I laid down on a couple TempurPedic models and decided it was not the bed for me.  Simply put, even their "plush" model is too firm for me.

I learned that the "hybrid" mattresses have become the most popular.  A hybrid mattress has spring coils in the core with memory foam on top.  After laying on a couple I quickly determined it was much more comfortable than the TempurPedic, and way less expensive too.

Spouse hates shopping in "brick and mortar" stores, so he entrusted me with the task of selecting our new mattress without his input.  We got a Serta iComfort hybrid Applause II Plush mattress from a local, sole proprietor bed store, from which we've purchased guest bedroom beds in the past.  It was a great experience.  The owner/salesman answered my questions, explained some stuff to me (difference between continuous coil and individually wrapped coils) and made the purchase decision easy with his no-pressure style.  They loaded the mattress onto the delivery truck while I paid and as soon as I got home and stripped the current mattress, the delivery van arrived and our new mattress was put in place and the old one was taken away, no extra charge.

Last night's sleep was dreamy (pardon the pun).  I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud!  Spouse was happy with the selection too so it was a win/win.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day.  

According to their website, it is a day to "Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world - a more inclusive, gender equal world".

What an indictment to our society that in this day and age women still make less than men for doing the same jobs and are constantly needing to fight to protect their reproductive rights.

But on a lighter note, I found this to be hilarious!

How will you spend National Women's Day?

Monday, March 06, 2017

Back to work

Today I went back to work!  After 1 week on vacation and 5 weeks at home (and in the hospital), its been 6 weeks since I've been to work.

I brought a special bag with flushable moist wipes and absorbent pads which I hid in the shelving unit that houses the toilet paper and paper towels.  Since the wound is still draining, I have to wear an absorbent pad in my underwear.  I like to change it after using the bathroom which is why I brought some to the office, along with the moist wipes.  Ugh... so much work just to use the bathroom!

The day went pretty good.  Since the nurse told me not to sit for more than 2 hours at a time, I alternated between sitting on my memory foam pillow at my desk and standing with my laptop perched on a high counter in the office.  

Everyone in the office was very nice and welcomed me back genuinely.  I spent most of the day catching up on the status of my transactions which my colleagues had helped me with, and 'taking back' the remaining tasks.  I got tired around 3:30 so I decided to go home at 4:00 instead of staying until 5:00.  

Not bad for my 1st day back!


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

What happened to Feb???

Indeed... what happened to Feb???  Well, Feb was a combination of pleasure and pain, both of which prevented me from posting here.

1st the pleasure:  our trip to Puerto Vallarta.  We had a fabulous time!  The weather was terrific and we had a lot of fun.  I'll post photos and details of the trip in another post.

Now pain:  an unexpected health issue.  Unbeknownst to me, prior to leaving on our trip I got cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection.  I thought I had a muscle strain and just took ibuprofen during the trip.  You know how it feels after you've pulled weeds or done some other kind of activity that uses muscles in a different way?  It was more of a "discomfort" rather than "pain".  

However, upon our return home it quickly became more painful so I made an appointment with my doctor.  He diagnosed the cellulitis and prescribed 2 antibiotics.  (I'd heard of cellulitis but really had no idea what it was.  I thought it had something to do with cellulite!)

The cellulitis unfortunately was on my left inner buttock, and due to the swelling and pain of putting any pressure on it, I was unable to sit or lay on my back.  So I laid on my right side while awake (mostly watching TV) and slept on my right and left sides.  

But instead of improving while on the antibiotics, the swelling and pain intensified.  My doctor's office was closed for the weekend so I called the answering service and left a message.  My doctor called back and I explained the situation.  He called in a pain medication to the pharmacy and said to come into the office 1st thing Mon morning.

However, in the wee hours of the morning on Mon I woke up in a puddle.  I was rather alarmed and woke Spouse up to help.  The cellulitis had abssessed and began draining.  Gross!!!  Spouse was a real trooper and cleaned me up, then stripped the bed, rolled up and threw away the mattress cover, then remade the bed.  He placed a couple of old bath towels on the bed where I was going to lie down again.

As directed, we showed up at the doctor's office.  Remember, since I could not sit I had to lay across the back seat on my side while Spouse drove me to and from the office.  We were escorted into the examining room and I removed my sweat pants and underwear so the doctor could have another look.  

"Ooohhh... this is not good.  The cellulitis has increased in size and has now abssessed.  There are a couple of openings.  This is beyond my abilities.  You need to be seen by a surgeon who can clean this out."

Needless to say, all this was quite alarming.  I've never been told by a doctor that my condition was beyond his abilities!  My doctor immediately called a local surgeon's office, explained the situation, and set an appointment for the next morning.  Spouse drove me to the surgeon's office and again I removed my sweat pants and underwear so the surgeon could examine me.  I guess I should have known it was bad when the surgeon called in another surgeon to consult.  There were a few minutes of talking between them in medical jargon, most of which I didn't understand.  Then I was told what was needed was too involved to be done in the office.  I would need to be admitted to the hospital and have surgery.

I was admitted, IV inserted in my arm, and prepped.  The surgery was a breeze since I was completely out.  I had to stay in the hospital 4 days while the "wound" (their terminology for the cellulitis area that was operated on) was packed (with gauze) and unpacked twice a day.  Despite being given morphine the packing/unpacking process was excruciating!  

I was released from the hospital with prescriptions for more antibiotics and hydrocodone for pain, and told to continue the packing/unpacking process at least until my follow-up surgical visit at the end of the month.  Obviously I could not do it myself due to the wound's location, so I was set up with a visiting nurse.  But then we found out the nurse would only come 3 times a week.  The wound had to be dressed at least 7 times a week!  Fortunately Spouse has lots of sick leave and vacation time.  He stayed home with me for 2 weeks after being released from the hospital to care for me.  

And I really needed the care too.  I was so weak and in so much pain!  In addition to the wound dressings, he shopped and cooked for me, helped me shower, use the bathroom, and dress me, and made sure I was taking the antibiotics and pain meds at the right times.  Since the nurse highly recommended a high protein diet to promote tissue healing, Spouse bought and prepared lots of high protein foods and helped ensure I'd consumed at least 90 grams of protein each day.

I finally began to get my strength and stamina back just in time for my surgical follow up visit on Mon.  The surgeon was pleased with the wound's progress, but said we needed to continue with the wound packing/unpacking for another 2 weeks.  Its March 1 and I'm hoping to return to work next Mon the 6th.  After being on vacation for 1 week, I've been home on medical leave for another 5 weeks, for a total of 6 weeks out of work.

Just this week I've finally begun to sit for a few minutes at a time on a memory foam pillow.  I tried one of those inflatable donuts but found it too difficult to balance.  I'm trying to build up to being able to sit a little more each day.  In the meantime I'm standing at the kitchen peninsula to use my laptop.

I'll keep you posted on my condition.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Leaving on a jet plane

Spouse & I are both working today, but once we get home we'll toss the final pieces into our bags and head to Baltimore.  We're staying at a Park/Sleep/Fly hotel near the airport tonight, leaving our car there, and taking the shuttle to the airport in the wee hours of the morning.  Our flight leaves at 5:55am so I imagine we'll leave for the airport around 3:30am.  Ugh!!  The good part is that we'll arrive just before noon so we'll have the rest of the day to enjoy in Puerto Vallarta.

Marvin & Walter will be staying home and our friend PW will be caring for them.  He stays there at night and they sleep in bed with him like they do with us, and he'll keep them on their regular feeding and potty routines. It works out really well.

I am SO READY for this vacation!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Legends returns

I was excited to get an email from the owners of the Blue Moon where I perform in the Legends show, notifying me that the Legends shows would be starting back up in mid-Feb when the club re-opens from their month-long hiatus.  The schedule is just for Feb & March, since they are planning to re-work and possibly add some routines to the line-up.  

I'll be doing Elton John and Boy George.  


But starting in April I may get a new Legend - who knows.  But when I do know, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Vacation

I'm excited because 1 week from today we leave for Puerto Vallarta!

Spouse & I went to Puerto Vallarta 3 years ago with our dear friends The Newlyweds.  We actually stayed about 15 minutes south in the village of Mismaloya, in a mountaintop villa in the jungle.  It was great!

This time the 4 of us are staying right in the heart of Puerto Vallarta.  We booked a relatively new condo on vrbo.com that looks fabulous.  It will be great to walk everywhere, and perhaps take a cab if we get tired or when its late at night.  The beach is so lovely and the town is so friendly, I can hardly wait to get back there.

Oh, and the weather this time of year is in the low 80s with no humidity.

This week I'll be picking out the clothes I want to take and getting it packed.  Since I'm not currently wearing anything I'll be taking its easy to fold and pack the clothes ahead of time, and just add our toiletries before we go.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hard to say goodbye


I am in complete denial that Donald Trump is being inaugurated today.  I will truly miss the Obama family.  

God save our country!