One More Time . . .

Mom’s 98th Birthday was yesterday. Her dear friend CK organized the cake and goodies, and got the activities room on her floor at Carillon set up. I got her a new top and some clip on ear-rings (she’s let her holes close)(just as well). There were over 20 of her friends present, including her nephew and niece-in-law from NM. Mom has been working with her walker (and I have a sneaking suspicion that said dear friend may have put a bug in her ear), and she very proudly walked from her room up the hall and around the corner and into the room, making quite a grand entrance. (She did forget to put on her shoes, though!)

The activities director decorated the room so nicely, and there was cake and ice cream and punch. She had asked that there be no gifts, but evidently edibles are not considered “gifts” — she got candy and munchies galore. She had great fun opening all her cards and visiting with friends.

Mom has made friends with the young son of one of the activities ladies who came to work with his mom over the summer holidays, visited and made friends with mom and the others on her floor. He still often comes by after school to spend time with his new friends. He got out of school early so he could attend her party! He has made several pictures for her and they have become great friends. He had his heely shoes on, which students are allowed to wear in school!

Because my oncologist “threw in” an extra week between my treatments, the treatment that was scheduled for the 19th was moved to the 26th, and I was able to attend mom’s party (so long as I behaved myself and kept my mask on).

I went over early and got to help decorate and set things up, and serve goodies and visit with folks. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go over there since the end of January when I started treatment. It was a chance to see people I haven’t seen in a while, including my cousin and his wife.

Happy but pooped, the birthday girl took a post-party nap. (and so did I!)

I picked up mail on the way back including some Nivea skin cream I ordered for mom off Amazon (the local Walgreen’s was out and back-ordered). I had turned her on to it a while back and she loves it as much as I do.

I had supper when I got back and crashed out at 6 p.m. (!) Of course, then I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep until after 4 a.m. As I start my last(!) cycle of chemo Monday, I had some errands to run today. There’s this nail salon I’ve been going to for years now. I went there today just to get my toenails cut — no spa treatment or pedicure, or anything, just a cut. I’ve pretty much given up trying to cut them myself. For one thing, there’s too much me in the way, and for another, I don’t seem to have enough pinch strength in my hands (or else my toenail clipper isn’t sharp enough) to cut my big toe nails. Anyway, as I was coming along 50th Street to where the nail salon is, I noticed that there was a Goodwill truck in the Market Street parking lot across the street (which there hasn’t been for months!). I swooped in and emptied my trunk of three trash bags full of items which have become “surplus to requirement” since I moved.

And speaking of moving, I realized the other day that 1 September marked my one-year anniversary of living here at Pointe Plaza. I did change apartments in January when mom moved over to Carillon House and I moved to a 1-bedroom. At the time I moved, only three of the six apartments in this hallway were occupied. Then my next door neighbor slid off the couch one time too many while trying to stand up and was moved to assisted living, and the lady at the end of the hall (aged 98) had to have emergency (damned if you do/damned if you don’t) gallbladder surgery and didn’t make it, and there were just two of us.

Then, three weeks ago, we were besieged by power tools for over a week while the renovators got the apartment across the hall (which I had been shown, but didn’t take) ready for occupancy. Took him three days to move in (rumble rumble bang bang). Then just as things were calming down, an army of renovators and carpet layers occupied the apartment next door and we had a brisk couple of days of heavy hammering. Now she’s finally all moved in (rumble rumble bang bang).

What makes all this activity even more fun is that stuff (like flooring, carpet, furniture and household goods) goes in and out of this floor via the freight elevator at the end of the hall one load at a time. And every time the elevator doors close, they make this CLANG! noise like whacking the side of a 500 gallon propane storage tank with a 10-pound sledge hammer — and if the elevator foyer door is open (which it invariably is), you can hear it clear to the other (my) end of the hall through closed doors (or at least I can). This might explain why the other apartment at that end of the hall has remained unoccupied for years now.

I will also report that I have finally (mostly) succeeded in teaching myself to sleep through the daily rolling of the trash cans from the kitchens to the dumpster which kicks off smartly at 8:30 every morning, passes en route through the doors right across the patio from my window and proceeds up the concrete walkway between the two buildings (and back again).

I’ve been pretty much resting up for my last go-round with chemo, which is Monday. I’ve been doing some knitting, but mostly I’ve been reading. I re-re-reread Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Crystal Soldier and Crystal Dragon. Every bit as satisfying a read as the other two times I’ve read them. I read them practically back to back. They are not the first two novels that were written in the Liaden Universe/Clan Korval series, but they are the first two in terms of internal chronology. So if you want to begin at the beginning, so to speak, read those two books in that order, as they are the stories of the four founders of Clan Korval and how it came to be founded: The genetically engineered soldier M. Jela Granthorn’s Guard, spaceship pilots Cantra yos’Phelium and Tor An yos’Galan, and the sentient tree.

I kinda want to read up onto Seanan McGuire’s new October Daye book that just came out, but it’s the 16th in the series (and reading 16 books in a row is a serious time commitment). (Goals. I haz ’em.) McGuire does write herself some serious page-turners, but she is so hard on her protagonist. Beats the crap out of the poor girl physically and emotionally every durn book. I’m not sure I’m up for sixteen straight books of that just right now. I might read up onto the latest Murderbot book by Martha Wells, which I’ve just gotten. There’s only six of them in the series. But I’ve gotten some other new books I might read.

Or I might just sit and knit and listen to music. Or not.

Gratuitous picture of a faun and a unicorn from The Day of The Unicorn ©2022 by Manuel Arenas

Isn’t That Always The Way

First off, I’m really bummed about the Queen passing away. Tears in my eyes bummed. Watching the Queen’s coronation (in B&W) on our floor model Motorola TV is one of my earliest memories. I had just turned 4. My brother was at the “cruising” stage of learning to walk and kept getting his head in front of the TV screen. The Queen was two years younger than my mother, who will be 98 in about two weeks. Stay tuned for that.

One of the things that has been holding up my transfer to the new computer was finding a feed reader that worked as well as the old NewsFox reader that FireFox had. I follow a bunch of blogs and webcomics, and NewsFox organized them all in one place and made it so simple to keep up with them. I think I’ve finally found one: QuiteRSS. Which is good, because this evening I was trying to clean up my NewsFox feeds so I could export only the feeds I actually wanted and accidentally deleted a bunch of feeds I didn’t mean to. Fortunately, I had already exported the “dirty” version of the feeds, but when I tried to reload the feeds in NewsFox (which runs in the FireFox browser I stopped updating about three years ago just before it was going to stop supporting NewsFox), it discombobulated.

So I set up QuiteRSS on my Windows 7 machine and imported the great mishmash of past and present blog and webcomic feeds I had on NewsFox. Then I spent about two hours going through and deleting the defunct and abandoned feeds and completed webcomics and then I had to go into properties on each and every cotton-picking feed and untick a box so QuiteRSS would display the whole webpage instead of just a “headline.” Then I could export a clean copy of the .opml file to the other machine.

QuiteRSS does almost everything NewsFox did, except it’s not set into a browser so I can’t use the browser “Find” feature to find words in the text, and when I want to look something up, I have to go to another program (web browser) instead of to another tab. It only took me about an hour to set up QuiteRS on my Windows 11 machine. Unfortunately, I still had to go into the properties on every stupid feed and untick the box so it would display the way I want it to. I also figured out how to resize the type and change the font. The font that comes off the rack with the program is some off the wall typeface I’ve never heard of and the size was miniscule. I changed it to good old Arial 11 so I can read it without binoculars. The date was given in European format (2-digit day.2-digit month.2-digit year) and I figured out how to fix that, too. So. That’s one more thing I’ve moved over to the new computer.

The hard drive on the new machine is only 250 GB, which isn’t big enough for all my music and graphics and photos. I’ve got two hard drives in the old computer, one of which is a Seagate 1 TB. I’ve decided to get an external hard drive. It would be easier than schlepping my computer tower to someplace so they can look at it to see if I can transfer the Seagate drive from my old machine to the new one. I can get a 6 TB Western Digital external hard drive for about what it would cost me to pay somebody to switch out the drive from one computer to the other — assuming the new computer even has a slot for a second drive — which it probably doesn’t. My final chemo session is the 26th. An external hard drive would be a perfect “good girl” treat for FINALLY finishing chemo.

I’ll be glad to stop straddling computers. Gmail doesn’t work on my old one anymore, and I have to boot the new computer up so I can check my email. I’ve got this jicky little Bluetooth keyboard and mouse hooked up to the new computer, and I’ve been operating for months with two mice and two keyboards and only one monitor per computer. I’m so used to having two monitors that it’s like doing everything with one eye closed.

Maybe once I get done with all the chemo stuff I can settle down and finally sort this computer mess out. Trying to write on one monitor is the pits. I’m juggling between the time line document and a dictionary app, the reference document and the actual story manuscript. So much easier when I don’t have to play peek-a-boo between what I’m writing and some other document I’m referring to. I can have references and the dictionary app, and a browser and some kind of music app open on one screen and the manuscript open on the other and I can revise and change the reference document and the time line as needed. Or I can listen to a YouTube video like a TED talk or scholarly lecture, or some music playlist on one screen while I’m working a puzzle on Jigsaw Planet on the other. My amigo Shoreacres found a version of my old werewolf monitor widget (it has a little graphic of the moon that displays the phases) that I could get to run on Windows 11, and now I’ve found a replacement for NewsFox.

Except for my writing, which is going to be a booger to transition from Word 2010 to the newest version of Word*, and transferring some programs, the rest of the computer change over is mostly just moving files – lots and lots of files – and setting up the external hard drive and the little (4 TB) external backup drive. And then when I grab a mouse, I won’t have to stop and remember which mouse goes to which computer, and I won’t have to use that jicky little keyboard anymore. (I have this lovely Logitech gamer keyboard that has a wrist ramp, a 10-key pad and a feather-light touch.)(This is my third. I’ve already worn two out — good thing I’m a touch typist. I had worn the letters off most of the keys before some of the most-used keys just quit working. Logitech has been making them for a while. I got the first one while I was still working as a medical transcriptionist. )

In the knitting news, there isn’t any. Now that the most urgent baby knitting is off the needles and gone to Garland, I’ve been taking a breather.

*I’m going to take the opportunity to work out a “universal” manuscript template so all my manuscripts will have the same margins, line spacing, font, etc., which means I will be reformatting everything. Sigh.

The Penultimate Chemo Session

This time has been an exercise in frustration. Every other time, I go in, they access my port and do a lab draw, then I go see the oncologist, then I get my chemo. It’s a long day, but it’s one and done. Then the next day, I get the Udenyca. So Monday, I’ve had my lab draw, I’ve seen the oncologist and I’m all accessed and sitting in the waiting room waiting to go back to get my chemo. And I’m waiting. And I’m waiting. And then after about two hours, the person who checks you in and gives you your arm band comes over and says, she can’t find me on the schedule for chemo until tomorrow. So I call the scheduler and go round and round with her, and that’s the way the oncologist’s office has me scheduled, to come back tomorrow for chemo.

Turns out this is the new policy that the local people come for two days instead of the one, which would be fine IF THEY WOULD JUST TELL SOMEBODY THEY WERE GOING TO DO IT ahead of time instead of springing it on you out of the blue. And by now, it’s already too late to get me rescheduled for the afternoon, and I can’t go home with my port accessed because I can’t sleep with a gigantic IV rig in my chest, nor shower, so I have to wait another half an hour until they can call me back to the lab and take the access out.

I had to come back the next day and get chemo and the Udenyca on the same day, and instead of having a wanking great half-inch long needle stuck into my port once, I get the wanking great needle stuck into my port two days in a row. If I had known ahead of time, they could have drawn my labs from a vein in my arm and saved me a stick in my port. Now I get to do the Rituxan deal where I feel like I’ve rolled down a mountainside while I bounce off the walls from the prednisone for the next two days.

You better believe I insisted on going back to having the labs, doctor’s visit and chemo all on the same day for my last session, which will take place on the 26th.

Friday, I got my first fluid bolus and guess what? I’m not home half an hour when I get a text alert saying the water in the building is going to be shut off starting at 1:30 and it’ll be off most of the afternoon. I’m full of fluid (over 2 liters in two days) and I can’t flush the toilet for four hours. What fun.

One good thing, though, I was able to get the extra week in between this session and the last one as originally my last session was scheduled for the 19th, and mom’s 98th birthday is the 23rd. However, the oncologist said he thought with the extra week, I would be OK to go over to Carillon House briefly for her party so long as I wore my mask and was extra careful.

My cousin JP is coming over from NM for a brief visit around noon on her birthday. I told him he could stay in the guest room overnight and drive back the next day, but he said he couldn’t stay as his wife recently had hernia surgery (that she should have gotten years ago but kept putting off, and no surprise that she isn’t doing as well as she might have done had she not waited so long) and he didn’t want to be away overnight. But at least he’s able to come.

We’ve been rainy of late, and the playa lakes around town are filling back up again.

In the knitting news, I have stuff finished! One more thing to finish before the package goes to Garland. I just need to sit down and do it. Poorly motivated, though. I’m just so tired of all this chemo business and of having no energy and having chemo brain since February.

What We Have Here Is A Failure to Communicate . . .

This is a first: The first time I’ve posted from the little reconditioned HP laptop I got. Frustrating. I’m used to a large gamer keyboard and this jicky little keyboard is a PITA. If I situate it in my lap, where I can reach the keyboard, I can barely read the screen. I already knew from using my BFF’s laptop that I hate touch pads, so I got an “el cheapo” wireless mouse and a mousepad, but there’s hardly any room for it on the little lap desk. Yeah. I know. First world problems.

Anyway, the failure to communicate mentioned above reared its ugly head yesterday after I’d gotten my labs drawn and my port accessed and was in my oncologist’s office. Turns out this is my fourth session of Rituxan (he counted) and not my fifth (I miscounted; chemo brain strikes again), which means I still have two chemo sessions to go, which means I’ll be having my last chemo session in September right around the time of mom’s 98th birthday (the 23rd). The degree of bummer-tude of this development will depend upon how far into September that last session falls, as my white blood cell count needs at least a week to recover from the preceding chemo session before I’ll even risk removing my mask, never mind be among a group of people of unknown COVID status. My sessions are three weeks apart. My penultimate session is 29 August and three weeks from that is 19 September. I can ask my oncologist if I can have an extra week between the last two sessions so I will be four weeks out from my last chemo instead of four days. He’s done it before. I bet I can sweet talk him into doing it again.

The best development out of this very mixed bag is that I have a chin again. The lymphomas in my neck had gotten so large you could barely tell where the bottom of my jaw was. But they have all shrunk drastically and those lymph nodes are back to normal size, which means I’m showing a good response to the chemo regimen. It will take a CT scan to check the response of the rest of the lymphomas in my chest and abdomen which he will probably order when I’ve completed all six of my treatments in September.

My chemo infusion went OK and I got the Udenyca shot this afternoon to boost white blood cell production and get my white count back up to normal. I gained seven pounds between Sunday night and Monday night, all of it from the chemo regimen. I get the decadron and anti-nausea medication in 0.25 liter of IV fluid, followed by the Rituxan diluted in a full liter of IV fluid, followed by 0.25 liter of IV fluid to flush the line, followed by the cyclophosphamide diluted in a full liter of fluid, followed by 0.25 liter of line flushing, which is 2.75 liters of fluid over the course of about four hours, plus the 32-ounce stainless steel bottle full of Crystal Light I sucked down between yesterday and today. A liter bottle of soda weighs 2.2 pounds, so imagine having three of them strapped to you. I lost 2 pounds between last night and tonight, but my poor little kidneys are having a hard time keeping up. I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow so tomorrow morning, I’m going to take a Lasix (“water pill”) and see if I can’t get my legs emptied out. (I should have spent yesterday evening and the rest of this afternoon and evening in bed with my feet elevated instead of sitting at my desk puttering on the computer.

I saw my cardiologist this morning and he said my oncologist was concerned about me, so the cardiologist wants to do a stress test — not the treadmill thing, but what they call a chemical stress test. His office is used to dealing with the VA, and they will set it all up and let me know when. I’ll have to get a ride because I can’t drive myself home after it, but Carillon provides rides to and from doctor’s appointments at no charge. I just have to give them 24 hours notice.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon downloading the requisite drivers (software) for my little Epson printer from Epson’s website onto the new computer so it could talk to my printer and I could scan financial and bank statements to the computer that has working email and email them to Mom to keep her up to speed. (Gmail won’t run right on my old computer since Google stopped supporting Windows 7 — Google is the “G” in “Gmail — which is why I got the new computer in the first place. The setting up of the software was a fairly straightforward process, but getting the computer and printer to talk to each other was tricky and expletives (and more than a few pejoratives) were not deleted!.

Among the groceries I got Monday was one of Market Street’s fruit bowls — the one I got had chunks of cantaloupe and honey dew melons, chunks of pineapple, a handful of raspberries, a couple blackberries, a handful of blueberries and a couple grapes. It’s a big enough bowl that you can get two servings out of it. I supplemented that with some cherry tomatoes cut in half and some whole black olives. I had the second serving tonight likewise supplemented, and as a side to a brisket sandwich on a big ciabatta roll which I’d already inhaled half of before I could get the camera app on my iPhone limbered up. Copious nums.

I had been using a gamer chair with a foot rest, a birthday present in 2020, as my computer chair. The desk I was using at the time was on casters, so it didn’t matter that the gamer chair wasn’t. I could just sit down and pull the desk up as close as it needed to be.

After I moved to Carillon, I had to get a longer desk so I would have a place to put my printer. I was putting it on my filing cabinet, but when I moved to the smaller apartment, there was no way I could get the filing cabinet close enough to a plug to continue doing that. This new longer desk doesn’t have castors and it was very difficult to get in or out of the gamer chair if it was too close to the desk. Unfortunately, “too close” was not close enough. So I got a desk chair with casters. It is also higher than the gamer chair, which puts my shoulders and forearms at a more comfortable angle when I’m keyboarding and mousing.

I’d gotten in the habit of just swiveling the chair around to the side to get in or out of it. I’m having to learn to roll the new one back back from the desk before trying to get out of it. I’m going to list the old chair on Craig’s List and see if I can’t sell it to offset the cost of the new chair (which wasn’t all that much, really).

In the knitting news, my dive into my button stash proved bootless, so I swung by a local fabric store on the way home from JACC and picked up what I needed. I’ve finished the little baby top. I just need to weave in ends and sew on buttons and it’s done. I’m at the heel increases on the second matching bootie and the crown decreases on the little sun hat. I’d like to get this stuff in the mail by the end of the week and get it out of my hair. I’ve got until Thanksgiving to finish the little red dress(es). I’m thinking I’ll have enough yarn for a little matching red headband with two crocheted holly leaves in the green yarn, and some red shanked buttons for berries to decorate the headband. or else I could just do the holly leaves and button berries as a kind of removable corsage that could be safety pinned to the front of the dress for Christmas, and removed later.

However, in the several matters mentioned above, the plan is that bridges will be crossed when come to.

The first season of Neil Gaiman’s dramatization of his “Sandman” graphic novels dropped on 5 August on Netflix (early reviews are that it sticks very close to the novels, has a brilliant cast and is visually fabulous) and I still haven’t watched season 2 of The Witcher (Henry Cavill!). I may be crossing The Bridge over the River BingeWatch after a certain package gets posted. Not to mention the Bridge of TV Knitting . . .

Here We Go Again

Important news first. Mom’s second COVID test was negative.

The fifth of six sessions of Rituxan starts tomorrow bright and early at 8 AM. With any luck I’ll be out before six, but not much before. I get the WBC booster shot Tuesday and then three sessions of hydration. Then I’ll have only one more to go.

I’ve got a load of sheets and towels in the wash, and after them will be a load of clothes. I need to get something to eat, too.

Friday I did all my running around. I got my refill of prednisone. I got my hair trimmed, which means I had about an inch whacked off the back along the back of my neck, and the rest of it just trimmed to even it out. I’m working toward getting it all one length. Until it’s long enough to go into a ponytail, it’s going to be a PITA. And, I got some groceries. Since they stopped making my favorite flavor of BodyArmor, I’ve quit drinking it. (So there!) I did get some peach flavor frozen things on a stick, though, which helps with the heat.

We’ve been having raisin weather again (still, actually) — high 90’s F/35+ C at around 30-40% humidity. The heat just sucks you dry. (You’re a grape til you walk out the door . . .)

They were supposed to get the AC fixed downstairs last week. It’s still not back up. Hopefully, they’ll get it up soon. Of course, the time to get the AC fixed is in winter; now that we’re in the dog days of summer, everybody and his cousin wants their AC worked on. Don’t know if that’s the delay or what. All the business offices have relocated to vacant apartments for the duration and are scattered all over the building. You can tell the moment you get into the hallway by the mail room. The temperature goes up about 10 degrees. Like walking into an oven.

In the knitting news, I have a bootie and a fourth done, and about ten more rows on the little top they match. I’ll likely finish the top while I’m infusing tomorrow, and the bootie won’t take that much time. That and finishing a hat will complete the haul for the new little 1st cousin 2x removed and I’ll get it in the mail. Finally. The baby was born 22 July. I really need to get it in the mail.

The yarn I’m using for this is cotton, and it is the split-y-est yarn I’ve ever worked with. It’s spun as a single ply from what is essentially cotton thread. Glad I’ve almost used it up. Gotta hit the button stash to see if I have the right buttons. I need three.

I’ve got the last load in the washer and it just has to go through the dryer and get hung up/folded and it’s beddy-boo for yrs trly.

Two Good Things

The first good thing is that Mom’s first COVID test was negative. (Please let it stay that way!)

The other good thing concerns this bright orange cable that had been run from an outlet in my bedroom, under my bedroom door, and around the corner to my TV. As I noted earlier, the only cable outlet in the main room of my apartment is (a) beside the front door, (b) across from one of the two large windows in the room and (c) behind my china cabinet.

In order to connect my TV to the cable and internet service, I would have had to move a large china cabinet and otherwise rearrange the furniture to put my 55-inch TV opposite two large windows, or run a cable from the outlet in my bedroom under the bedroom door and around the corner. There had been a work order to relocate the outlet in my bedroom since mid April, and I had been dealing with this large orange cable getting caught in the door to the bedroom and garishly presenting a trip hazard on the way to the bathroom since then.

Thursday, when I went down to get the mail I happened to see what looked like workmen in the hallway by the pool working on something electrical in the men’s changing room. I asked one of them if they handled moving cable outlets and explained the situation to him. He said they didn’t handle that kind of thing, but that I should put in a work order. I explained I had put in a work order months ago (April). He said he’d look into it.

Yesterday morning, bright and early, there was a plong on the doorbell. Fortunately, I was up and dressed because it was a pair of workmen come to see what the situation was with the cable. I showed them the situation, they went to get some tools and materials, and this was the upshot. They dropped a connection from the hallway through the ceiling inside the coat closet (out of frame to the left) and ran it through a hole in the wall.

Then they cut pieces of this plastic cord cover stuff, stuck it to the wall and ran the cable through it along the top of the door facing, down the side of the door, and along the baseboard until it could disappear behind the book case (out of frame to the right). It’s not the most elegant solution to the problem, but it works for me. Now if I could just get decent internet service (21 mbps download, 2.1 mbps upload, and stuttering service) through it. I’m so sick of seeing that little circle chase its tail when I’m trying to stream something. . .

Very Unwelcome News

This morning, I was knitting and listening to some Vivaldi piano sonatas (as you do), when the phone rang. It was the nurse on Mom’s wing at Carillon House calling to tell me that Mom had been exposed to COVID. Apparently, the lady who does hair at both Carillon House and here at Pointe Plaza tested positive for COVID, and Mom gets her hair done every week. They are going to put Mom in the quarantine unit for five days. She’ll be tested before she goes into quarantine and again before she comes out.

This comes on top of my BFF who lives NW of Houston having had COVID two weeks ago and being sick like a bad case of the flu. They gave her medications, she quarantined for the obligatory five days, and now she’s back to work.

Because of her severe kyphoscoliosis, Mom has significantly restricted lung function and a reduced ability to clear her lungs by coughing (which puts her at high risk for pneumonia), not to mention that she’ll be 98 this September. She’s already had a case of “walking” pneumonia this year necessitating antibiotics.

This is all very frustrating for me because I can’t do anything about it. Between my lymphoma and the chemotherapy, my immune system is a shambles. I can’t even go in Carillon House (because that’s where the COVID quarantine unit is), let alone visit her. I don’t dare. All I can do is wait and pray.

On the Downward Slope

Tomorrow is the last fluid infusion of this session. I have to be there at 8:00. So after Monday’s infusion I got home just before noon, in more than enough time for the housekeeping lady. While she was there, the maintenance guy came to say he needed to turn my shower on because there was a leak downstairs. Turns out my shower was leaking somehow (why suddenly is it leaking now and not earlier?) He had to calk it and the calk had to set, so I couldn’t use it until he came by today to put everything back together.

He said he’d be by this morning. He didn’t show up until after noon. Of course, by the time he came, I’d washed my dishes and started a pot of chai tea with vanilla almond milk. I’ve got as far as making the chai tea, which is cooling at the moment. It has to cool to room temp before I can add the vanilla almond milk. Then it’s into the fridge.

Anyway, I can use my shower now, which is good because I have to go get my last infusion for this session tomorrow, and I’ll want to shower before I go. Never mind that you don’t work up much of a sweat sitting around in an air conditioned room, I just think it’s manners if you’re going to be in a situation where somebody has to do something as up close and personal as inserting an IV rig into the chemo port on your chest, that you should have showered pretty recently. Kinda common courtesy, which doesn’t seem to be all that common any more. . . .

Saturday, my cousin’s daughter had her baby (she was due Friday), and I need to really get my rear in gear and finish stuff and get it blocked and mailed. Don’t know anything about her except her name and that she’s a healthy little newborn girl. She’s my dad’s youngest brother’s great grandchild. My dad would have been delighted. My mom got to meet her older sister. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since they came to visit.

Mom had been transferred from the hospital to that nursing home by then and I was in the middle of getting mom moved to Carillon House to finish her rehab, and getting us both into Life Care at Carillon, but hadn’t yet started in on the estate sales and selling mom’s house and getting me moved in and settled. September 1 will be a year since I moved into Carillon. Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess.

My bank sponsoring an ice cream social this afternoon, but I didn’t go. We’ve had people test positive for COVID here in the building, and eating requires taking down my mask. Not worth the risk.

My BFF who lives outside of Houston finally got COVID. She ended her period of quarantine last Thursday and was back to work. But while she had it, she was as sick as the proverbial dog.

I gulped down Aliette de Bodard’s Dominion of the Fallen series and the adjacent Dragons and Blades duette from the same universe, which was a great if slightly grim read, and I’ve started in on a reread of the four-book Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Carriger’s books are set during the reign of Queen Victoria in a Britain where werewolves are obliged to serve in Her Majesty’s army and vampires are arbiters of style. It’s fun and steampunk and ever so slightly silly. The finishing school for young ladies of quality is located aboard a dirigible and, in addition to the usual finishing school curriculum, includes coursework in intelligence gathering and assassination. It is the prequel, if you will, to her Parasol Protectorate series, and there are three books which deal with the subsequent careers of three of the friends the main character makes at school.

In the knitting news, I did get that little baby top started, and I’m losing a game of Yarn Chicken as I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it with one skein of yarn. But I have two more skeins of that yarn. I might do some booties to match. We’ll see. I need to get the top finished first, and fish out some appropriate buttons from my stash.

I’ve got to finish that one sun hat, though, before I start on matching booties, or a sun hat for the top. I’ve got about 15 more rows to go on the top but, except for the last five rows, it’s all stockinette, which means purling 117 stitches every other row. That much purling is a pain. It’s less of a pain if you’re a continental style knitter, but it’s still a pain. The pattern is only a page and a half long. You could make one in an afternoon if you put your mind to it.

Two Cycles Left, and About That Many Brain Cells . . .

As if my life wasn’t complicated enough, Google has decided that after May 30, 2022, it will not play with Windows 7 or anything older than Outlook 2016 any more. Since I use Gmail, that means I wouldn’t be able to get email on my Windows 7 machine after that. So, I got another computer with Windows 11 installed on it, and I’m having to figure out how it works.

I hate the “comes with” Windows 11 email program. I have five different emails (one associated with this blog, one I give to friends and family, one I use to sign onto things like bill paying websites and banking websites, one I use to sign onto websites I buy stuff off of, and one for games and streaming services)*, and I liked the way Windows Live Mail displayed things. Windows 11 is more like having a smart phone with a computer monitor, keyboard and mouse attached to it. It has a jickiness about it I don’t like., but I do have my email switched over to the new computer, so I can now get all my email, and not just email from 4 of my 5 email addresses like I do now.

I’ve got to find a feed reader that will display all the blogs and webcomics I read the way they are displayed on their own website, and one that is as user friendly, intuitive and logical as NewsFox was. So far, no luck. Once I do, I’ll have to set that all up (20+ blogs and about that many webcomics).

I’ve got to figure out how the newest version of Word works now and set it up to work the way I like it to (the fonts I like, the formatting I use, etc.) and then transfer all my files over and transition each one of them to the new version of Word, which will screw up the formatting and the fonts, which I will then have to sort out on a document by document basis. *&^%$#@!

I’ve got to get the display working the way I like it. It’s got stuff pinned to the task bar that I don’t want there, won’t ever use, and can’t unpin. I don’t want anything pinned to the task bar. I want icons!

I’ve got to re-sign into my banking apps on the new computer during the daytime so I can call customer service when they lock up on me because I’m using a different computer.

I’ve got to download a version of my backup software that works with Windows 11 and re-set that up. I have to move an F-ton of files. I have to redo all the shortcuts I had on my desktop. I’ve got games I want to try to bring over that I probably can’t because they probably won’t work on Windows 11. I hate the “comes-with” solitaire game on Windows 11.

Right now, I’ve got one monitor hooked to one computer and the other hooked to the other computer. I’ve been using the old computer with just one monitor and it’s been driving me crazy. It’s like trying to work with one eye closed. I don’t have enough room to do anything. I can’t have more than one or two programs open at the same time, and can only look at one at a time.

And not to put too fine a point on things, because I have chemo brain, I only have about three working brain cells, so everything is harder to do and takes about three times as long.

It’s going to be a long, drawn-out process.

We have gotten a new internet service/TV provider here, and I’m not very impressed with them. My internet was poor before, stuttering and slow. It’s even worse now. I called about it three times before someone came out and tinkered with it. I have a wire running from my bedroom under my bedroom door to my TV because the only other connection in the room is behind my china cabinet, and I’m not going to rearrange all my furniture to put my TV facing all the windows in that room. The guy said he would escalate my ticket. That was three weeks ago. I called and complained again Monday, and they fixed my internet by turning it off. I called the resident director about it, and he came up and hooked up my old WiFi modem (which I could have done myself if I’d known I could). They hadn’t discontinued the old service because they were having such problems switching over to the new one. Now I have the same pisspoor internet I had before. To be fair, part of the problem is the wiring in this building that was built in the 1970’s. But still, did they have to turn it off when I was right in the middle of reassuring Google that, yes, it was me signing in to my five GMail accounts on a different computer . . . Sigh!

Mom has been complaining about her neck hurting. Her back is so kyphotic (“buffalo hump”) and she is so stooped over that when she tries to lie flat on her back, the back of her head is about 6 inches off the bed (not an exaggeration!). I thought perhaps she needs another/or thicker pillow and tried to tell her that, but she proceeded to explain that she has one of those beds that the head and foot raise up — which is neither here nor there. The problem is that her back is so bowed that if her pillows are not thick enough to adequately support her head, that’s going to put a strain on her neck.

I had a birthday last Saturday, such as it was. My knitting friend KC and I went to Outback Steakhouse for lunch. She got me this darling arrangement and a card.

I’ve had this thing where I just hit the figurative wall and I have to go lie down. It happened while we were at lunch, and I ended up bringing 90% of my lunch home to eat later after I’d slept about five hours. (KC has been through chemo for breast cancer, so she was very understanding.)

It happened again the other day, and I’m beginning to think it’s one of my meds because it seems to happen within about 30 minutes of my taking my meds. I think I know which one it is, the PreserVision. I’m supposed to take two of their big peanut M&M sized pills, but I can’t tolerate that dose so I just take one. I’m not going to take today’s dose and see if that makes a difference. It could also be side-effects of the Rituxan, which include bloating, stomach pain and loss of appetite, as well as weakness and tiredness. Part of it could also be the cumulative effects of the 3 sessions of COP chemotherapy.

I start chemo cycle 5 of 6 on 1 June. Once that’s over I’ll only have one more to go. During this cycle, I also get to see my orthopedist for the yearly checkup on my knee replacement. I’ve had it for three years now. Still very glad I did it. And I also get to see my PCP at the VA. Why do I always seem to get other appointments right when I’m in the middle of chemo sessions?

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are ongoing, sort of. I just haven’t had the energy or the brain bandwidth to do much.

Mostly what’s showing on CatTV around here are doves (ring-necked and Inca, but mostly mourning) and grackles, with the occasional guest appearance by a blue jay, mocking bird or robin. This guy has been serenading me for a while now. WooHoooHooo.

*If one of my emails gets hacked, I know immediately what things have been compromised and what I need to do about it, and I only have to change that email address on the websites I use it on, instead of using one email address for everything and having everything compromised, and then having to change the email on everything.

Three To Go

Tuesday, I go for cycle #4. I left a message with the nurse to call me tomorrow as I want to ask her some questions about Rituxan, but I’ve pretty much made up my mind to go for it. I’ve also got to go down to the VA tomorrow to get the prednisone I’ll need Tuesday before my infusion. I dropped the ball and forgot to get the prescription refilled after my last go-round. I doubt I can get through by telephone tomorrow, but I’ll try it. I’ll probably have to actually go by the VA clinic and wait while they fill it.

Laundry time again. One of the dryers doesn’t dry all that well, so I’ll start them both off, take the clothes out and transfer the sheets and towels to the dryer that works and let them finish. I have two sets of sheets because accidents happen, especially with the side-effects of chemo, so one set is always clean. The clean set goes on the bed, and the dirty set gets washed and put away.

Last Monday, mom called and said she wanted some money. I can’t just go downstairs to the (Plains Capital) cash machine put in her (Prosperity) debit card and get her $100 because (a) they charge a fee and (b) it all comes out in $20’s and she wants tens and fives and ones. There’s no place I can get that kind of change on campus, which means I have to get dressed for outside, go downstairs, get in the car, drive to her bank and deal with the teller. Tuesday, CK texted me to ask if I’d gotten mom’s money yet. No I hadn’t. I had to go out Wednesday anyway, and I was going to do it then. CK was coming to visit again on Thursday and would get it to her then.

(Edit: Exception was taken to the above paragraph. If that’s the way some people choose to interpret it, I’m sorry. In this space, I make a conscious effort not to constantly belabor the fact that in the six or seven days following chemotherapy, my energy level drops drastically and stays there. Even when it finally comes back up, it’s still less than half of what it was prior to chemo. Welcome to the real world. Even going down to check the mail and get lunch is taxing. Wednesday I had to choose between going to mom’s bank or going down to get lunch, which ended up being a moot point because after I got back from the bank at 10:30, I sat down to wait for lunch time when I could put in a “carry out” order(11:00-1:00), fell asleep in the chair and woke up at 4 o’clock . Getting supper is out of the question as I would have to walk outside to another building over a block away to get it and then walk back. That’s the reality of chemo, folks. I’m sorry if some people take it personally, but there it is.)

In the meantime the head nurse over at Carillon House, where mom is, called to tell me that mom had awakened with pain in the right side of her chest and they were going to do an x-ray. Fine. Never heard another word about it. Thursday, when CK comes to get the money to take it to mom, I find out that mom has pneumonia, and she’s on 7 days of antibiotics. There’s some concern that it is aspiration pneumonia (something has gone down the wrong way) and they are going to have a speech therapist evaluate her swallowing. Of course, if you ask Dr. Me, a large part of it is that she doesn’t get enough air circulation in her lungs because she won’t get up and walk around the unit for any distance.

I also found out she has a pressure sore on her backside. No surprise. All she does is sit in her lift chair. She gets up to go sit in her wheelchair and wheels herself to meals because it’s easier than trying to get up and down from a chair. The only walking she does is the approximately 10 feet between her lift chair and the plumbing. One of her friends has offered to take her to church, but “It’s too much trouble.”

It frightens me to hear that she has a pressure sore. Once you get one started, they are the very devil to heal. It’s what is called a decubitus ulcer. The constant pressure of sitting makes it difficult for the blood to circulate through the skin. With no good blood supply, the skin begins to die and sluff off. Then you’ve got a sore that can’t heal because the blood can’t get to it because of the pressure. It’s a vicious cycle — the sore just keeps getting bigger and bigger. When it gets big enough that bone is exposed, then you’ve got real trouble.

She gritched and moaned about having to go to the doctor for the sore on her heel; if she doesn’t start getting up and walking more, she’s going to end up having to go back to the doctor for the ulcer on her backside and it will likely take months of treatment. I may call over there and see if I can get her another course of rehab. At least that would get her up and walking, which will also help her pneumonia.

In the knitting news, ongoing projects are ongoing. I’ve made some progress on the hat and the blanket, but won’t start the little dress until I get the hat finished.