The Phoenix V.A. is awesome, Part 2.

Today, I’ve got an anecdote about the Phoenix V.A. Health Care System:

Last year, I took note as a gentleman roamed through the E.R. waiting room asking patients for their opinions of the Phoenix V.A. When a person stated that they’d had good experiences, he didn’t want to hear it. He moved on to his next target. It was amusing to watch him get more and more flustered as no veteran in the room had a bad word for the Phoenix V.A. We enthusiastically shared our approval of and appreciation for the Phoenix V.A., and our uninvited investigative reporter was left at a loss.

He was from Florida, if I’m remembering correctly. He was not a veteran.

It wasn’t like this guy happened to catch people in a good mood, either. No one is ever thrilled when they’re sitting in an E.R. waiting room, no matter what hospital they’re in!

Have I told this story before? How this guy wandered around needling veterans in his attempt to extract complaints about the Phoenix V.A., as it’s “one of the worst ones in the country,” as he put it?

I’m thinking of this now because I’m sitting here surrounded by things given to me at the V.A. last week… not at the pharmacy, but right there in the doctor’s office. In all my years of experience as a patient in privatized health care, I’ve never been to a doctor whose office handed out “Virus Kits” to patients with respiratory ailments during cold/flu season.

 

“Virus Kit” given to me at the Phoenix V.A. last week: lip balm; nasal spray; Ricola cough drops; hand sanitizer; surgical mask; and Kleenex

 

When I asked my friend for a writing prompt recently, she suggested telling of my V.A. adventures. They can be summed up thusly: I love the V.A., and I will defend it to the death. I’ve written about it before; click here if you’re new and curious.

The End.

p.s. Unrelated: I can’t wait to get better so I can run to the theater to watch Underwater.

p.p.s. Happy Friday Eve!

 

Sitting on my ass is hard work.

Pneumonia recovery still in progress over here. I have four more days of antibiotics, and I’m still coughing, though nowhere near as much as I was last week. I’ve been trying to just rest and do nothing, but of course I want to do everything… and during the day, no one is here to stop me.

Running Hank (our roomba, aka robot vacuum) in the kitchen/dining room the other day wasn’t as simple as that, because I wanted to dust and wipe down the counter-tops first, like I always do before I vacuum. It didn’t stop there, though, as I noticed that the drawers and cabinet doors could use a dusting, too. It’s easy and fast and takes almost no energy when you use a Swiffer wand, I reasoned.

I was tired after that, but some items on the counters needed to be rearranged, and it wouldn’t take more than ten minutes to do that, would it? (It did. But it was so satisfying!)

Then I noticed a spot of dried pasta water on the stove.

By the time I’d cleaned all of the appliances (because I couldn’t just do the stove), I was wiped out, even with lots of rest moments as I worked… but finally, I could let Hank loose to do the vacuuming.

All of this happened after I’d straightened up the living room, which isn’t even a big deal, either. None of this kind of stuff is a big deal until you’re not supposed to do it.

Every day has been like this. I scrubbed down my shower before I got into it last night, because it needed it. It’s just felt like forever since I’ve cleaned! Thing is, I feel like I can’t even work on my book if the house needs cleaning. I got some housework done over the weekend, which worked out because I had Callaghan here to help with carrying things (laundry) and moving furniture out of the way so Hank could vacuum after I’d dusted. I’m not used to asking for help with carrying things and moving stuff out of the way.

Tomorrow I’ll sort papers in my office and then file, recycle, and shred as necessary. Sit-down work.

Surprisingly, I’m still in high spirits. I can’t remember the last time I had to pull myself out of an extreme and prolonged depression abyss. I’m not sure why, but I’m grateful for it.

It’s been cozy times here with Nenette in my office. If she’s not curled up in her cat tree, she’s usually on the furniture with her glass of water. She loves to sit on the velvet panel I put there… she’s made it hers.

 

Kitty with her water! [21 January 2020]

That’s it for today’s updates, my friends. Until Thursday, then!

 

 

My immune system is stoned.

Let’s start with an anecdote! You’re going to love this one. A nurse on the phone last week asked me to confirm my age at the end of our conversation. I didn’t expect her to be surprised when I answered, but she was. She exclaimed, “Wow! You don’t sound 51 at all! I never would’ve guessed!” Haha PLOT TWIST, guys: You can “sound your age,” or not. I thought, well that’s a new one. Callaghan thought it was amusing, too.

Anyway, the current state of affairs on my end is that I still have the plague, but it’s a different plague now. I caught Callaghan’s cold at the end of December, right, then thought it was over, then seemed to relapse. My symptoms worsened and branched out over the weekend (I started coughing up bloody mucus, lost my appetite, got headachy, got the chills, got out of breath walking down the hallway). Long story short, I was diagnosed with pneumonia today. Now my ass is on bed-rest for 10 days.

I’m grateful that I was properly and quickly diagnosed (thanks to my amazing medical team at the V.A.). I’m just looking forward to going to the gym for the first time in 2020.  I’ve been told to avoid even cleaning the house, because the antibiotic I’m now taking – “the strongest one you can take without being in the hospital” – makes you prone to pulling a tendon, of all the weird side effects! Lifting weights is on the short-list of things you should not do to any degree during the 10-day antibiotic course. Not only that, but I’m contagious.

This brings me to today’s PSA: My fellow chemically immunocompromised friends, please take extra good care to avoid catching a virus. Plaquenil is effective in suppressing the immune system so it won’t attack you, and the drug continues to be effective for three months after you stop taking it. I just learned this today.

I stopped taking my Plaquenil a week before my gum-grafting surgery, but I needed to stop it three months ahead of the surgery. Sure enough, healing was slower than the doctor expected, and I needed an extra week before the stitches could be removed.

That was in November, and my immune system is still operating under the influence. My immune system is stoned. My immune system has been hanging out on a tropical beach all this time, and it wasn’t interested in fighting off the pneumonia that saw its opportunity to complicate my cold. Be SO careful, I mean, if you even think someone has a cold, do not touch them. Air hugs!

We had a cloudy day today that cast our home interior a beautiful, soft greenish-gray. Still, here’s the clearest of this morning’s badly lit, hazy selfies I took in front of the kitchen window. I think I look and feel less sick than I am, and that’s because I’m wearing makeup. I dislike putting it on, I dislike taking it off even more, but I have to admit that it’s good at tricking your mind into thinking you feel better than you do.

 

[16 January 2020]

 

Take care, everyone!!

 

 

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 5

I wanted to do this thing (you know the thing, if you’ve been here a while) where I take to Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” section to find interesting word choices and turns of phrase in the entries’ subject lines. I was also feeling in the mood for haiku tonight… so I did both. I found it necessary to break up some of the lines in order to fit the 5-7-5 syllable limit for the three lines of each haiku; aside from that and some added punctuation here and there, I can claim no credit for these little poems. The lines were written by strangers, simply plucked out and cobbled together by Yours Truly.
Enjoy!
Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 5
~~~
Where is she, the girl
with the galaxy tattoo
cozy at the bank?
~~~
Glendale glitters dawn.
We used to ride together –
gift of a lifetime –
~~~
You cut my hair. Still
can’t stop thinking about you.
Sweetwater, Sweetheart.
~~~
Breakfast! We had two
variations of the same
(WeOhweeOhwee)
~~~
Looking for you. You
(a girl) were driving on Wow,
driving to Vegas…
~~~
Missing you for her,
mutual casino friend.
“Miss our talks, Cupcake.”
~~~
Poker player, your
Obama phone was stolen.
The most frightful time.
~~~
Walked by you Tuesday.
I hope I see you again.
You liked my – I saw –
~~~

Mini life update, a New Year’s resolution, Australian wildfires, a weird dream.

I’m still sick, and today’s been the worst. It’s been one week and four days. Callaghan’s still trying to kick this virus, too, and he’s had it a week longer than I have! The same thing happened to him: just as he thought he was getting better, he woke up one day feeling full-blown sick again… even worse, in fact. This virus is the holiday gift that refuses to stop giving.

Still haven’t been back to the gym. (Last time I went was December 28.) Still would love to deep-clean my house. Despite virus-related set-backs, 2020’s off to a rockin’ start on account of the huge amounts of sleep I’ve been getting! I’m feeling upbeat and victorious at the same time that I’m blowing my nose and coughing up both lungs in my unclean house.

There are things I need and want to do, though. I have dry-cleaning to pick up, groceries to buy, friends to meet, a car to be washed; I need to hit a few second-hand stores before I can get my car washed, because I have a trunk filled with items I’d like to try to sell before I haul them off to the Goodwill. I’m behind on life, but still, I’m feeling good about life.

There’s no mail piled up anywhere, for one thing, and somehow that makes me feel like I have my shit together. Did I ever mention that my New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to get my shit together? I haven’t exactly managed this yet in the so-called big picture, but that’s okay. I don’t think everyone can stay on top of everything in their life every single day.

My resolution for 2020 is to focus less on myself and more on others. Family and friends. Veterans. Animals.

Things are good. All of my mail has been opened and dealt with. I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. Salem sleeps in her laundry room. I’m up to date on my banking. I’m free of pressing future concerns. Being sick, behind on housework and errands, and grounded from the gym (again!) are all just little inconveniences. I will get back on track, and next time my husband gets sick, I won’t kiss him until he’s well. Lesson learned.

Pretty sure it’s been weeks since I’ve seen the inside of a Target, which isn’t a terrible thing at all. Target deserves to be avoided as much as possible, for I am finally just annoyed with it. It has a way of shutting off my impulse-control, and not even in the way of impulse-shopping anymore! I mean, I’ll be in there, right, and suddenly I have to go to the bathroom and I just leave my cart somewhere and go, because I have to, even if I could actually hold it. Or it’ll occur to me that I’m hungry or thirsty, so I’ll grab an energy bar or a bottle of water to consume on the spot, even if I could actually wait.

I always feel kind of rude when I place an empty wrapper or water bottle into the cart. Thankfully, I’ve never had a cashier get mad about having to scan my garbage at the check-out.

People can be nice.

The world can be nice.

WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue is experiencing high volumes of traffic right now because the world is being so nice. Use Safari or Explorer when donating, they advise.

Two nights ago, I had a very clear dream in which the free world was ruled by a world government. I jotted it out by hand in note-form when I woke up:

Supreme Leader (w/Council – 5 people in total) of the world sitting at the center of a large sofa the shape of a half-moon, two council members on each side. Behind them is a gigantic bookcase built in from floor to lofty ceiling. The countries of the free world are stored as square or rectangular volumes in the bookcase in proportion to each other; the volume titled “U.S.” takes up almost a full column at the far right-end of the shelf, against the wall. The countries’ volumes are royal blue with their names embossed in gold. The bookcase is a dark, rich brown oak. The sofa is tan leather with a tufted back-rest. There are a few countries with unusual names, like “Measuring Line,” but recognizable countries are also there. When a country is pulled from the bookshelf, you see that it’s not a book, but a box, and when you lift its lid, a vaporous being/entity gives a signal or a vocal greeting, as in answering a door. The country I saw pulled from the shelf was “U.S.,” and the being inside greeted the opener with the utmost deference.

Just thought I’d share. It’s not often that I have a dream I remember so well, or in such detail.

I’ll close this post here before my sick ass can ramble any longer. Happy Friday Eve, all! Stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

Last “little things” loves of 2019! (December Favorites!)

Here we are at my final “favorite little things” post of 2019! Somehow, I found a lot to include on December’s list. Let’s jump right into the goods, eh?

 

1). Knives Out

 

 

I love going to the movies on my birthday. This year, I chose Knives Out, and it was a fabulous good time. A classic “whodunit” murder mystery, this film exemplifies outstanding film-making on every level. Daniel Craig with a Southern gentleman accent was a bit disconcerting at first, but it was a part of the fun! Daniel Craig, right? I hadn’t been aware of his gift for comedic timing, either. The entire cast was excellent, but I was particularly impressed with Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas. Highly recommend this one.

 

2). Reprisal (Hulu Original Series)

 

 

Hulu’s Reprisal left us immediately counting the days until S2 drops next year. This was one of those series that started with a slow burn, then fully spread and intensified until we were thoroughly captivated by the end. Reprisal is easily one of my favorite series of 2019.

 

3). The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (S3) (Amazon Prime Original Series)

 

 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel continues to be marvelous. I’m endlessly impressed with this entire production, and Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein are superb! Also, for me, as far as period pieces go, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel spectacularly fills the void left by Mad Men. Looking forward to S4!

 

4). You (S2) (Netflix Original Series)

 

 

I’m not sure where to begin with Netflix’ You, so let me just sum it up with my appreciation of how the writers took Joe’s shenanegans to another level in Season 2… and how the twist at the end is one of the most brilliant twists I’ve seen in a series. Like Reprisal, Callaghan and I were kind of “eh” at the start, but by episode 4, we were ALL IN. One aspect I particularly enjoyed this time was the added depth given to Joe’s complex psyche. Season 2 is deeper, crazier, more surprising, and just as outstanding as Season 1. You is a rare series in that I actually enjoyed its second season even more than its first.

 

5). Miyoko’s Un-Lox Your Dreams Vegan Cream Cheese. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Miyoko’s Un-Lox Your Dreams Vegan Cream Cheese

 

INGREDIENTS: Organic Cashews, Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Cream, Sea Salt, Organic Seaweed, Vegetable Juice For Color, Spices, Cultures.

December started out as I was beginning to eat solid foods again. I felt that I had a lot of catching up to do, and I definitely had several pounds to re-gain after November’s post-oral-surgery menu. This may have biased me when I went to taste Miyoko’s “Un-Lox” vegan cream cheese flavor, but I’m pretty sure that I’d like it just as much under normal circumstances. I haven’t tried a Miyoko’s product that I didn’t like, after all.

 

6). World Cuisine Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas (Sea Salt). (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

World Cuisine Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas (Sea Salt)

 

INGREDIENTS: Organic Chickpeas, Organic Expeller Pressed Canola and/or Organic Sunflower Oil, Sea Salt, Organic Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid.

I’m still not biting into anything hard with my front teeth, but I started tossing crunchy snacks into my mouth again around the third week of December. The savory such food I went for was roasted, salted chickpeas. The first few bags I devoured were these from Saffron Road, and then Callaghan went ahead and got me a huge bag of whatever the brand is they have at Costco. Salted crunchy chickpeas are all the same, and they’re all delicious! They’re crunchy, but they’re not hard, corn-nut-level crunchy. I’ve been mixing these chickpeas with raw almonds for my afternoon nosh.

 

7). Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce. (Vegan and gluten-free)

 

Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce

 

INGREDIENTS: Coconut milk, water, green curry paste (shallot, lemon grass, garlic, green chili, galangal, water, salt, coriander seed, Thai lime peel, ginger, turmeric, white pepper, cumin, citric acid), cane sugar, rice bran oil, modified cornstarch, basil leaf, green chili, salt.

Trader Joe’s satisfied my recent cravings for curry with its prepared green curry simmering sauce. A typical fast, processed lunch I enjoyed in December consisted of Trader Joe’s frozen rice medley (red rice, brown rice, and barley, I think) with this sauce mixed into it. It was like a quick and dirty Thai risotto. I must’ve curried myself out for the time-being, though, because I haven’t been wanting it lately! I loved it and loved it and loved it, and now I’m done. No doubt I’ll cycle back around to it at some point, though.

 

8). NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil (True Beige Buff). (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil

 

This tinted moisturizer became my new ride-or-die foundation the second I tried it from the tester at Ulta. I wear the shade True Buff Beige, and it’s a perfect match. A little goes a long way when you apply it with your fingers! I use a pea-size dab on each side of my face, and that’s it. I don’t know what else to say about it, really. It just works for my skin, and it’s lovely and it feels amazing and it’s vegan and affordable and available in every drugstore, and, well, I’m going to cry if NYX ever discontinues it. That is all.

 

9). The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask

 

I said that I wasn’t going to go crazy on The Body Shop’s website this past Black Friday season, and I didn’t. I only purchased a few items, and I got them at astonishing prices. It had to be one of my proudest retail moments when I ordered $41.00 worth of stuff from The Body Shop and checked out at only $11.60! I had $19.50 worth of promotions, including a $5.00 coupon found by the Honey app, and I also used my birthday month $10.00 voucher. I love that my birthday month is also Black Friday/seasonal scent month! The Body Shop’s seasonal scents are my favorites, as you’ll see in the entry below.

Oh, but first, this mask, you guys. From the first time I used The Body Shop’s Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask, I knew that it was what my skin had been needing. It’d been months since I’d done a daytime mask of any kind. I’m so glad that I tried this one. Another new favorite-favorite, for sure.

 

10). The Body Shop Juicy Pear seasonal scent (body butter). (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

The Body Shop Juicy Pear (2019 seasonal scent) (body butter)

 

Juicy Pear is one of those seasonal/limited edition scents from The Body Shop that I wish would stick around, it’s so good. It doesn’t really smell like pears to me. It just smells divine. If only they’d keep it and make a spray fragrance of it….

 

11). Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On (Vanilla Jasmine). (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On – Vanilla Jasmine

 

I ran out of deodorant and decided to try this Crystal roll-on. The Schmidts deodorant worked well for me, so I was surprised that this one worked even better. In fact, it works better than most non-natural deodorants I’ve used! The scent I chose is vanilla jasmine, but it smells herbal and crisp and kind of masculine to me, which I like in a deodorant.

 

12). Jason Powersmile Anti-Cavity and Whitening Gel. (Vegan and cruelty-free)

 

JASON Powersmile®
Anti-Cavity & Whitening Gel
Powerful Peppermint

 

Again, necessity gave me an excuse to try something new. I’m happy with everything this toothpaste has to offer, but my favorite thing has to be its sharp peppermint flavor. My teeth and mouth feel super clean and fresh after brushing with it, and again, a little goes a long way! A small dab on the toothbrush is enough.

 

So… that is IT for 2019! I hope your New Year is off to a wicked good start.

 

 

Ze plague, ze plague!

First post of 2020! There’s nothing to report here except that I’m down with the upper respiratory plague that Callaghan brought home from work. We’re both sick. He’s at the end of it, and I’m in the thick of it. We cancelled our New Year’s Eve plans. I cancelled other upcoming plans involving people, as well.

We all know this, but I have to say it, anyway: being sick with an airborne virus morally obligates us to stay away from others. It’s so simple! Just stay home. If you must go to work, at least wear a mask and/or stay out of other peoples’ offices, and please cough into the crook of your elbow. (If you’re the person who went to work sick and spent much of the day in my husband’s office, thus getting him sick, thus getting me sick, then yes, I’m looking at you.)

There’s a 50% chance that I’ll miss Body Pump on Saturday.

My spirits are high, though, and I don’t feel all-over lousy. I’m actually feeling okay despite some pretty nasty cold symptoms, as this particular virus doesn’t include fever, body aches, or headaches. I can feel a clear delineation between the half of me that’s sick and the half that isn’t… weirdly energetic from my feet all the way up to my lungs, with everything from there on up being woozy and congested. I want to take my lower body to the gym and leave my upper body at home.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you this evening… basically just an update and a Public Service Reminder. I’m going to go eat something. Stay well, my friends! Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. Avoid people you know or suspect to be ill. 

December Favorites post coming Tuesday!