The news is not really good…

…but I expect it could have been worse.

Today, during my doctor’s appointment, I received the results of the MRI I had on 20DEC2013, and I truly wish I could have skipped this one!

Getting off the bus, the Park Tower Apartments across Sheridan Road looked like this…

...and yes, it was raining!

…and yes, it was raining!

My windows finally began to thaw a bit a few days ago, as the temperatures warmed…

Icy Window-1

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…but venturing out in today’s quite heavy rain was not on MY agenda!

The MRI concluded that my back pain and leg cramping are caused by severe spinal stenosis in the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae.

Spinal stenosis is, according to Wikipedia, “…an abnormal narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal that may occur in any of the regions of the spine.

My wonderful doctor stated he would not prescribe physical therapy, which he knows from experience does not help with a ‘severe’ diagnosis, and thus referred me to a neurosurgeon, with whom I will make an appointment on Monday.

Lower back surgery is the only option–and I do NOT look forward to that–but I’ll know more after the appointment, when Dr. “L” has evaluated the DVD of the MRI.

Kind of scary, huh?

But…if it relieves me of the intense pain of the cramping, and restores my ability to walk, I’ll certainly end up being ‘one happy camper’!

Any surgery, however, comes with its own set of problems for me, due to the fact I am on ‘lifetime’ Coumadin , the blood thinner.

Many precautions will have to be taken, and I perceive I’ll be relegated to giving myself shots of Lovenox for a number of days both before and after the surgery–which means lots of black, blue, green yellow and purple splotches on my tummy!

I spent almost two hours in the doctor’s office, then ‘glided’ over a number of icy spots to the bus stop, which looked like this:

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In all this mess, I also had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up an Rx to help reduce the inflammation in my lower back.

Walking the long block from the bus stop looked like this…

...water and deep puddles everywhere!

…water and deep puddles everywhere!

My waterproof Totes boots FAILED–but only after having to wade through eight or nine slushy, mucky, three and four-inch deep, huge puddles!

When I arrived home (finally!), I put yesterday’s leftover chicken/chili into a pot, and stripped off soaking wet boots, socks, pants and jacket very quickly!

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One good thing occurred this week!

My newest neighbor was having difficulty with his printer (he is 75 and not terribly tech-savvy), so I offered to take a look at it (our computer guy was closed that day due to the extreme cold, which basically shut down the city of Chicago for two days).

I didn’t fix his printer (turned out is was the USB cord, and not a problem with the printer itself), but I did clean up his desktop quite a bit, and introduced him to hulu.com.

He has since watched all the episodes of “Jeeves and Wooster” (though born here, he returned to his father’s homeland, Britain, when he was still a baby).

When I returned home from shopping on Wednesday afternoon, a bouquet of white carnations was propped against my door!

My neighbor stopped by shortly thereafter, to tell me they were a ‘thank you’ gift from him–as if I wouldn’t have already known that!

Here they are, Photoshopped and treated with the Diffuse Glow filter:

I must say, their perfume is marvelous--a little bit of early Summer in the beginning of an icy January!

I must say, their perfume is marvelous–a little bit of early Summer in the beginning of an icy January!

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It’s been a very long six days…

…since I last posted, and I’d like to fill you in on things.

Last Friday, my doctor found I was suffering from hypertension and prescribed an ‘add-on’ pill to the BP pill I already take.

In addition, the pain medication I have been taking hasn’t been working well, so a new med was prescribed, as the rise in blood pressure is aggravated by constant pain.

When I arrived home, I took one of these as prescribed, and began to feel ‘loopy’, then spent Saturday and Sunday taking it easy (watching reruns of “Inspector Morse” on Hulu!) so my body could adjust to taking only half a pill at a time.

Then came Monday.

I’ve been going to bed between 9 and 10 PM, always reading for a while–but waking three or four hours later…sleeping in shifts is not something I enjoy, nor is it healthy!

So I returned to bed around 5 AM, woke at about 8:30, and quickly found the horrific events going on in Washington, D. C., which kept me riveted to the screen most of the day.

I used to live in Alexandria VA, just across the Potomac River, and knew D. C. quite well then, even after all the changes in the city.

I also had a son who was US Navy, so you can understand my interest in the situation there.

Another night of sleeping in shifts followed, but the pain was almost absent, so to take my mind off things, I began the very arduous task of priming my ugly kitchen walls.

It's a rather small galley-type kitchen, and with the appliances pulled out, there's still not a lot of space to maneuver. Oh, and it wasn't 'dirty yellow'...that comes from an additive to the gas(you should see my oven interior--within a week after a thorough cleaning, the same 'dirty yellow' is inside, which really can't be very healthy, can it?

It’s a rather small galley-type kitchen, and with the appliances pulled out, there’s still not a lot of space to maneuver.
Oh, and it wasn’t ‘dirty yellow’…that comes from an additive to the gas (you should see my oven interior–within a week after a thorough cleaning, the same ‘dirty yellow’ is inside, which really can’t be very healthy, can it?).

Five hours later, the kitchen walls and ceiling were finally finished…

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I took this shot Wednesday morning, before continuing climbing up and down to prime the ceiling area above my dinner table and little 'office area' where my computer/scanner/printer is located. More moving furniture back and forth really did me in--but everything looks great and is ready for the final coat!

I took this shot Wednesday morning, before continuing climbing up and down to prime the ceiling area above my dinner table and little ‘office area’ where my computer/scanner/printer is located.
More moving furniture back and forth really did me in–but everything looks great and is ready for the final coat!

Today, I had an appointment and some shopping to do–so of course, it was heavily raining!

Last night, there was an awful lot of lightning and thunder, but here there was very little rain, unlike further south in the city, where underpasses were flooded, cars were stalled, and a young sewer worker was washed away while working underground (I’m unsure if he’s been found at this point, but it’s another sadness to add to a very sad week).

I did manage to get some shots from my window of a few glorious sunsets, which I finally had time to work on today.

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Stormy Sunsets-3

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Stormy Sunsets-2

Soooo…that was my week, and although I’m tired and a bit achy, I’ll probably be able to finish the kitchen tomorrow, if I can just get a full night’s continuous sleep!

Any of you who have done your own painting know the upheaval necessary, and I’ll be very thrilled to put my ‘NEW’ kitchen back in order over the weekend–that’s the way it has to be for this old gal!

“A place for everything, and everything in its place!”

Fit for a…

DOCTOR!

During my last appointment, I mentioned to my doctor that I was again baking bread, and made a ‘mean Challah‘.

He is Jewish, and quickly retorted, “I LOVE Challah!!!”

Well, yesterday was a warm, dry day–perfect bread-baking weather, and as his birthday was two weeks ago, I decided to give him a belated birthday gift!

And, I did–with these!

I took the pix quickly, as I wanted to get them delivered while the Challah was still warm, so they're not the greatest!

I took the pix quickly, as I wanted to get them delivered while the Challah was still warm, so they’re not the greatest!  But he was impressed, and thanked me twice!

 

The loaf at top left is the one I presented to the doctor. The smaller loaves were baked in little oval pie pans--I gave each of the nurses one, and also gave one to the wonderful phlebotomist who draws my blood every month! She dove right in, proclaiming the Challah excellent, and asked for the recipe, which I will print out for her!

The loaf at top left is the one I presented to the doctor.
The smaller loaves were baked in little oval pie pans–I gave each of the nurses one, and also gave one to the wonderful phlebotomist who draws my blood every month!
She dove right into the loaf, proclaiming the Challah excellent, and asked for the recipe, which I will print out for her!

Of course, I had my camera, and took advantage of the lovely small Hibiscus in the center planting of the circular drive of the building, which I processed today and turned into Watercolors!

Small Red Hibiscus-1 Watercolor

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Small Red Hibiscus-2 Watercolor

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Small Red Hibiscus-3 Watercolor

N.B.:  I am so behind in viewing blogs I follow, so I ask you to please excuse my tardiness.

The breads were kneaded by hand, and required three risings, so a lot of time was spent on that, which is very hard on the fingers.

I found that by 7:00 last night, I had no energy left to do much of anything, and typing became very painful…so I’ll get to your blogs ‘little by little, bit by bit’–thanks!!!

So? I used to be able do to that too!

Sly Stallone turns 66 years old on July 6th…two months and three days after I turn the same.

I used to be agile, like him…but these days, the osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia do take their toll.

I, however, remain positive, and am getting my life and calm back after the nasty African immigrants who granted me the gift of almost a full year of stress, finally left on 26FEB2012.  They left their renovated apartment in a shambles after less than one year; it took three workers a week to re-paint and do repairs.

I now have new neighbors…two college-age girls with at least one cat who have been very quiet and amiable thus far.

I simply cannot say if there is a way I can conquer these debilitating diseases, or the 24/7 pain and the feeling of exhaustion they bring, but I have set goals…to walk more, to photograph more of Chicago.  And, ‘Gonna Fly Now’ , maybe even higher than I have in the past several years!