Wednesday, August 9, 2017


The last time I visited Dr. R, he let me slide without the great big "horse" shots I usually get.  I got a prescription for a pill instead.  He wanted me to continue with the other pill he gave me last month, a fairly new product called Ibrance.  Last month he gave me a sample bottle.  We had our discussion about pain control (so far so good on OTC NSAIDs) but he didn't say anything about the MRI (Should I assume no news is good news? ).  I got my other shot, and was told the dispensary would fill the new pill prescription.  So when the dispensary gal caught up to me in the hallway, I asked her what about the Ibrance?  She said she couldn't fill that one, but would ask Dr. R about it, and call me later.  Ok, that was last Wednesday.  When I hadn't heard anything by 3 p.m. Thursday, I called the doctor's office and asked about it.  They would have to ask him & get back to me.  I did get a call back that day, letting me know this has to be filled by a specialty pharmacy (up on Church St.) and it might take them a week to get it!  The pharmacy called me early Friday to say they had the order, and would call again when the product was available.  Now, I have no idea (yet) whether my insurance will pay anything on this product.  So I went online & found a co-pay card from the manufacturer -- I hope it helps!  Wow, talk about the vibe movin' around:  I went into Blue Access to see if my med will be covered, then on to pricing the med--this has to be mail-order in order to be covered.  BUT! there should be no co-pay, which is terrific because a month's supply is over $10K (!!!) and I'd just have to say no thanks if it was up to me to pay that.  So I called the local specialty pharm (the one that called last Friday) to see if it was ready to ship or if they needed any info, and they told me the script was transferred to a specialty pharmacy in Memphis.  They were able to give me a couple of phone numbers, and I was about to call Memphis, when I got a call from them!  I should receive it tomorrow, and I have a third phone number specifically for that dept.  So, that's worked out.
Why is our healthcare so screwed up in this, the greatest nation on earth?  You can easily see how a patient could be driven into bankruptcy, trying to pay for just one drug each month.  The biggest part of the problem is GREED on the part of the providers, whether they're the pharmaceutical manufacturers or the doctors (gotta have homes in the best part of town, fancy cars, trophy spouses..), or the insurance companies.  And the Republican party agrees that those folks "ought" to have it all, provided they share with their representatives!  Let's face it, if you're worth a billion, you could afford to pay a big chunk in taxes without suffering a huge hit to your lifestyle, if you weren't GREEDY.  Who needs eight fancy autos?  Couldn't you "get by" with just four?  For your family of four, do you really need a house with ten bedrooms & bathrooms?   Just sayin"!!
Ok, end of rant.  You may return to your regularly scheduled activities.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The saga continues

One topic that came up on Sunday, during our turkey dinner on the deck, was a visit to the grave sites of Tom and Betty, the parents of this large brood of siblings.  Our little group had to head home on Tuesday, and had a plan to spend most of the day Monday in Chicago.  We just couldn't work out the logistics to include a long trip to the cemetery.  What we did instead was agree to meet everyone (except Mike & Atha) at the IHOP for pancakes @ $.59 a stack, before hitting the highway home.
But I digress -- this post is about Monday.  When we got up early on Monday, Atha's scooter was still folded up in our trunk.  We all got dressed & ate & took our meds, then got on the road to one of my favorite places, Chicago IL.  There is entirely too much to do in the Loop, and we only ad the one day, so we chose to visit the Art Institute.  Erin had never been before; I'd been once a very long time ago.  It has grown considerably since!  We cruised (me in the scooter!  What fun!) through the ancient art:
Some fabulous jewelry
Amazing small statuettes, two bronze
A terrific covered dish - have you seen it from this angle?
Greek griffins, finest kind.
And some more modern art, Picasso & Remington
Chagall windows!  So beautiful.

Most of the exhibits allowed photography, and we respected those that did not.  There was a special exhibit of Gaugain's work, which required additional tickets.  We got the tickets, and wow was that a terrific exhibit.  Huge, too!  Room after room of all kinds of items, from paintings to sculpture to adornment of ordinary items, like this dresser he decorated for his father-in-law:

Ahem, I guess you can tell I was impressed, I took at least 3 pictures.  Well, Melodee had asked me to get photos of any Salvador Dali work exhibited.  I got a few, and have sent some to her already.

One that I sent to her will not appear here as it is NSFW.  But she got a kick out of it.  We had an early supper at the museum cafeteria (French cuisine!), then cruised around a bit more, and finally decided we'd had enough.  Headed back to the underground parking, folded & loaded the scooter, and went back to our hotel.  Whew!  Slept, woke in the early a.m. and skipped the hotel breakfast, then met up with the folks at IHOP.  They all continued on to the grave sites while we bid farewell to northern Indiana.  We got some of their pictures later.  I did some of the driving coming home.  And could not wait to sleep in my own bed!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A bit late in the day

It's almost 3 pm, but I haven't seen Disco yet.  I called her (she lives in the basement apt, but I don't like yelling down the stairwell) a little while ago because "her" cat seemed to be lost in the master bathroom.  And that seems as good a point as any at which to tell you about the aftereffects of boarding this 16 year old cat at the vet.  He was there for a week, during which we asked them to be sure and socialize with him daily--he craves love & attention.  When Plaidman & Disco went to get him back, the vet tech couldn't remove him from his cage without dire bodily harm.  Poor beastie was growling (!! never heard before!!) and slashing at the tech.  Disco had to go back to the cage, calling him softly.  As soon as she got to the front of the cage, he started howling and pressed himself against the bars.  Disco opened the cage, and he pressed his little head against her hand.  She was able to get him from the cage to his carrier without much fuss, but of course he howled the whole way home (all of about 3 miles).  The scary thing was the panting -- he would sit and howl, then pant like an exhausted dog, then howl some more.  Just stressed to the max, and the only thing that relieved him at all was being held, either in arms or on a lap.  At one point he got so stressed that he "caged" himself in a cabinet in the hall bathroom vanity.  And then howled to be let out!  I went in, and opened one of the cabinet doors and spoke to him, and he got quieter.  It took him about 10 minutes to figure out he could leave.  The panting was just an occasional thing the next day, and disappeared the next, but he kept on howling whenever he wasn't being loved & attended to.  I thought about getting some Feliway, so we went to the pet store.  We found a calming collar with pheromones and some soothing scent, and since he wears a collar anyway we figured we'd try it.  It took about a day for us to notice a difference in his neediness, and now he's almost back to his laid back self.  But I'm not going to board him again!  We've decided to try a pet sitter next time we travel, so he can stay at home.  Hopefully, we can find someone who'll be willing to put in the time to get to know him.
Yesterday's account of the weekend in Portage ended with Mike & Atha showing up for the wedding feast.  Mike & Terry talked, and Mike offered us the use of Atha's scooter for our day trip into Chicago!  It can be mostly taken apart and folded to fit in the trunk of a car, so the two old guys spent some time disassembling & reassembling it (while Atha was seated at the table having a bite).  After the shelter was cleaned up, we Plaid Patrolers went back to the hotel -- I needed a nap, Disco & Plaidman needed to wash clothes.  Sunday we went back to the newlyweds' home for a big turkey dinner, had all the sibs there except Mike but his daughter Beverly came by to "represent" her DOD.
We gathered out on the deck, everybody taking it easy, lots of talk & laughter.  I have some pictures, maybe the computer will let me have the edited versions but no guarantees:
Kim, a friend of the family (I think she's related to Danny), was one of the amateur photographers at the wedding; she's a bit of a pill but has a good heart.  She came by just to drop off an entire album with CDs of the wedding & feast, must have stayed up all night Saturday to have it done by Sunday!
Karen & Melodee studying this album:
Left to right: Erin aka Disco Dame, Laura, and Cindy.  Erin has the album open to pictures of Mike, Ellen and Terry at the event. 
 Left to right: Terry, Mel & Karen.  Everybody's got cellphones, we're all so well-connected.
Left to right: Laura, Cindy, Beverly!!!, Ellen.  Behind Cindy's head is a little mini-deck enclosure built out of a window, so the indoor cats can get a taste of outdoor life.  The gazebo was bought already built, and transported to the yard.  It's all screened, probably nice on warm nights. 
Left to right: Terry, a nice photo of the bride & groom courtesy Kim, Cindy on the phone, Melodee in her sweater (it got a bit chilly), and lo & behold the man of the hour, the tower of power, Danny!  He's got the album; we all expressed amazed admiration of the effort that went into it. 

Left to right: Erin's foot, Cindy in a beautiful coat she crocheted herself -- love the colors!, and Mel.  Cindy's thing is crochet; I did try to bring her over to the dark side (knitting) but she wouldn't bite. 
Here's my chickadee, Miss Erin looking crafty and just eating up all the talk.  I know she was hoping to hear another of her Uncle Danny's stories.  We're calling him the Turtle Whisperer now. 
The beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!
Well, we stayed so long that we actually ate turkey again; the first time was like a late lunch.  We were planning to go into Chicago on Monday, so before it got dark we cruised over to Mike's to pick up the scooter.  Erin helped break down the thing, and it fit neatly in our trunk.  I think I know what I want for Christmas.  Just sayin'!  That thing was so cool, and made it possible for me to see a lot more of the Art Institute than I would have had I been walking.  And we still did not see all of it.  But this is a good stopping point, pretty much the end of the family time part of the visit.  Monday's tale is for another day.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Taking it (maybe a little too) easy

Gosh, it's August already.  I started on short term disability early in July, just don't have the energy to get through an entire work day.  So, we drove to northern Indiana to spend some time with The Plaidman's  sibs, who all showed up for the youngest's wedding.  We had dropped the cat off at the vet's for boarding -- more on that later, wish I'd been able to come up with another option.  Then we spent a day packing 3 graduated suitcases, the suit bags with 3 suits and my new dress, and of course the new shoes & shirts & ties to go with the suits.  The next morning we absolutely filled the car, taking (at the last minute!) my walker.  We drove all day, due to frequent stops (two old people in the car, you do the math).  However, we got to our hotel pretty late and called the gals to let them know we were not coming over that night.  We had a quick dinner at the Denny's down the street, then went back to the hotel and started unpacking (we stayed a week).  Right away we saw that Terry's new shoes and my dressy shoes did not get packed!  Much gnashing of teeth; Terry's footwear consisted of grey trainers and black sandals, neither acceptable with any of his suits.  I had my ratty old SAS tan sandals, much too beat up & casual for the nice sheath dress I'd brought.  The really aggravating thing was that if we had remembered to bring them out to the car, we probably would have to leave something else behind!  Erin shared the backseat with a pile of other essential items, including my support pillow.  So, here it is going on 11 pm Wednesday, and the wedding is on Saturday, and Erin is the only one with appropriate footwear.  Insert raspberries here.
Thursday we had the complementary breakfast at the hotel, and established the pattern for the rest of the week.  Then we headed over to EJ's house, and Erin & I just jumped right in among the sisters (4 of the 5 were present!) making decorations and other delights for the wedding.  A shelter had been reserved at a nearby park, which we would decorate, and there would be an arbor for the altar.  The bride and the oldest sister, Cindy, had picked up a half ton of peacock colored craft supplies and all the hot glue and other fastenings needed to make the setting lovely.  Melodee, Cindy, EJ, Laura, Erin & I just crammed ourselves into the smaller living room (the house is divvied between "public" areas such as the main living room & kitchen, Laura's bed & bathroom, and the happy couples' bed, bath, and living room) and worked on crafty stuff and told stories.  So much talk! Such a bunch of cackling hens!  It was terrific, so much fun.  I just feel so much at home with the sisters, just another one of the bunch.  After a while, Danny (the prospective groom) announced that the grill was fired up and burgers & dogs & brats! (This is Chicago-area, ya gotta have brats at a cookout) would be ready soon.  So the ladies shifted out to the kitchen, some to cook up sides, and some just to occupy the seats at the kitchen table and kibbutz about the cooking and world peace (somewhere in all that talk, I'm sure!).  We weren't sure whether sister #5, Karen, would show up or not.  Turns out she had other plans that night, but she pretty much hung in there with us the rest of the weekend.  We all ate, cut up and carried on for a while, then the Plaid Patrol was excused on the basis of my near-exhaustion.  We left for the hotel with a couple of stops at nearby stores to look for dress shoes for me & the Plaidman.  I think we hit the WalMart first; I looked for black sandals but the best I could find were some OP leather flip-flops with crocheted tops in a color that matched some of the flowers on my dress.  I also found a small crossbody purse, just big enough to hold the phone & ID.  Terry struck out there -- no wide sizes.  I think we found a menswear store too, but still no wide shoes.  So, on to the hotel.  We were unable to reserve a room with handicapped accessibility, so I was finding the bathroom to be a trial.  The toilet was quite low, but I managed.  The bathtub was awful, with a rounded narrow floor, and sides that were only just this side of possible for me to get my feet over.  I was very glad to have the old walker, which I used to get in & out of the tub.  There was a handicap access public toilet on the first floor; I made a habit of stopping there before going up to the room or on my way out of the hotel.  The bed was so tall that we brought in the little step stool from the car.  I had to figure out how to get into & out of the bed without falling, but I did get the hang of it.   Friday came, and the Plaidman was still without shoes.  EJ had asked her big brother to walk her to the altar, I was so pleased for both of them!  But the man's gotta have shoes.  So we spent some hours over at the house, having another terrific time.  At one point, Karen & I were shooting the breeze at the kitchen table, and she looked out the window.  She asks me, "Why is Danny yelling at those two old guys?" and immediately answered her own question: "OMG, it's Mike and Terry!"  And we both just about fell out of our seats laughing.  Both old guys are pretty deaf.  Terry is the firstborn, then Mike, then Cindy, and after that I can't keep them straight.   So Mike comes inside, and I was flabbergasted. He's gained 40 lbs since the last time we saw him.  We all go outside for pictures in various configurations (all the sibs! just the ladies, with Erin & Ann! just the old guys!) until I got tired of standing on concrete.  I went back inside, Karen had beaten me to the best seat at the kitchen table.  Now, just an hour or so before Mike showed up, Cindy had been regaling the sisterhood with the tale of her springtime auto accident, and decided a visual presentation was in order.  She took her phone back to a bathroom, disrobed her torso, and took a picture of her massively bruised chest.  She got dressed, and brought that pic out to her sisters (except Laura -- I don't know where she went).  We all groaned and gasped in sympathy.   Jump forward, Karen & I sitting at the table, we can hear Cindy talking to her brothers about pictures.  Karen asks what I want to bet that she's showing them "that" picture; we crack up.  Cindy comes in and takes the third seat, all bubbly about seeing Mike (she & Melodee flew up from Florida).  So, straight faced as I can, I ask if the gents liked the photo.  Cindy says, "Oh yes!" but before she can get another word out, Karen & I are ROFL.  We stayed for just a bit longer, then went out hunting for the elusive wide shoes.  We wound up in a really big mall, with about 6 or 7 possible locations of men's footwear.  Terry ran around the mall, hitting at least 5 stores, the last being SEARS -- and they had his size!  And they were handsome shoes, too!  I stayed in the first store we stopped at, Macy's, and found a great sale on ladies shoes.  There was a pair of black strappy Naturalizer sandals on sale...and I'm wearing them now.  The shoe hunt was officially over.
And just in time.
Saturday in the park -- we went by the shelter at 9 am to help decorate, then back to the hotel to change clothes.  Some pics:
Oldest sib Terry walks Ellen Jean to the altar

Her colors (when I asked before the trip) "peacock" -- didn't understand it to be literal!  Terry has on his dark navy suit, a dark navy tie with the pink ribbon, and a blue plaid dress shirt -- he was probably the only one there warm enough to be comfortable!
Danny has on a bright blue shirt with a peacock painted (quite well) on the front, too bad you can't see it here.  The lovely white haired gal to the bride's left is Melodee, and Laura is at the right in the white sweater and blue trousers.
I just love how kids and other "photographers" feel free to jump up in front of the wedding party, don't you?!?  That lovely gal off to the left in the green & white is Cindy.  I'm pretty sure the very tall person wearing black to a wedding is related to the groom.  I guess we can't pick our families....
I have wrestled with Picasa vs Picasa 3 all motherf'ing afternoon, trying to get only the edited pictures on here and I give up.  This next lousy pic is an unedited version of what I would have liked to show you, with 4 of the 5 sisters plus one brother.

Oh hey, look at that: it gave me the edited version too!  From the left is Plaidman, then Cindy, the unknown kid, Melodee, an unknown relative of Danny, bride Ellen & groom Danny, some chick's head right over Laura, Danny's brother Roger Miller (he doesn't sing), an unknown gent, and our niece Beverly.  Note the arbor that Erin helped put up.  The sign says "It was always you" -- the story is that Danny & EJ have known each other since they were little kids, and he's always had a crush on for her.  So sweet! 

 Ok, here's an unedited shot of the happy couple.  Check out the cake!  The bottom layer was chocolate, the middle was banana, and the top was white cake.  There were cupcakes for all the kids.
Well, we had a terrific party with food & soft drinks (public park, no alcohol allowed).  Mike showed up after the ceremony, but Karen had been with her sis since the set up of the arbor & decorating the shelter.  Mike brought his wife Atha, her health is poor so she was riding a very nice scooter.  Everyone had a blast, and then we cleaned up our shelter & took down the arbor & went home.  There's more material from this trip, but I'm worn out.  Stay tuned.