Friday, July 22, 2016

This and That

Day Off

Wednesday my hubby had the day off. It was sunny and breezy, so of course we had to go somewhere. We decided to go for a drive. Where to? We have all day. Why don't we go to Appleton? Great idea! We both wondered what Appleton looked like. It sounded quaint. We packed hubby's lunch bag with drinks and snacks, grabbed the GPS and some ice coffee at Perc Place. We decided to drive through Fond du Lac and Oshkosh as well. About the time we exited Washington County the land became flat. Flat as a pancake.

Note to self....research first. These were NOT quaint towns. They are sprawling cities. To be fair, we only drove through downtown in each one. We were the least impressed by Fond du Lac. It seemed seedy in a lot of places. I took 3 pictures in Oshkosh. We stopped at a resale shop in Appleton and bought a cute lamp for my daughter. We did not see any obvious access to Lake Winnebago anywhere. As I said, we were unprepared. We didn't have a list of local attractions and we were not expecting the cities to be so big...and gritty.

Downtown Oshkosh

We were happy to get back to the rolling hills of Washington and surrounding counties. 

Other Trips?

If we drive up that way again we might visit Door County. Other trips on the back burner are Sheboygan and the Dells. We definitely need to make some plans for our "spur of the moment" trips! 

Update on My Hair

The fallout is lessening, finally, but in part because I changed shampoo. I have tried several. In the past I tried a sulfate free shampoo. My head broke out, but it was L'Oreal and it had some weird smelling herbs in it.

I tried another sulfate-free shampoo, this time a brand I had good results with in the past, Brazilian Tech Keratin. Again I broke out, so I'm guessing that whatever the "better" substitute for sulfate is breaks me out. 

Since my post-op hair loss started my daughter suggested I try her $20 Biolage. Hmmm.....still falling, and my hair still feels dry no matter how much conditioner I use.

 Two expensive "fails"

I also have these conditioners that I ordered online back in California. They are not helping much. I think I paid $8 for one and $6 for the other...not sure without looking.

Soooo....I decided to try these. $2.97 each
Amazing results! Almost no fallout, my hair is soft!

Sometimes expensive is not always better.

Gritting our teeth

Well, sort of, but we are all tired of living crammed together and nerves are getting frayed. We have about one more week before my daughter can move.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Little by Little

Life is falling back into place, coming back to normal, little by little. My daughter bought a car, so now we have full use of our car. It's been difficult, with two people working crazy different hours and sharing one car. Mostly my hubby was getting rides with his cousin, which worked out, because they work together.

My daughter will also be moving into her own apartment the end of this month, or beginning of August, something that will make us all happy, because she has been crammed into the dining room for almost 3 months. The apartment is out of order, with stuff piled here and there and the table in the living room.

My hubby is on the day shift now. After working nights all that time it is an adjustment. At least I can welcome him home at 7 pm and we can eat dinner together, instead of saying goodbye till morning.

I'm able to do more before my neck and shoulders are so tired I need to sit. Cooking is easier. I'm beginning to repot some of my plants. I've found a few interesting succulents at Aldi's! My plants are crowded right now, because my daughter bought plants, so like us, they are crammed together as well.

My dream of living where I could have the windows open all summer came true. So far I have closed the windows and ran the A/C two times, once for a day and a half and the most recent time, for two days. Most days are in the upper 70's or lower 80's and only mild humidity. It's usually breezy, with blue skies dotted with puffy clouds.

Fresh air is so important to me. I've lived too long without it. From 1963 until 1969 I lived in Los Angeles, with NO air conditioning. Many times, in the summer, I went to the library just to sit inside in the air conditioning. Many times the ozone and smog was so thick my lungs hurt and my eyes burned. When I met my first husband he brought me to northwest Indiana. For a few years we had marginally fresh air when the breeze blew from the south, but as the area to the south built up we became "inner city", with the air quality to match. To make matters worse, even when it was cool enough to walk it was usually humid. My second hubby loves to walk, but my lungs always hurt.

The move to the far north coast of California seemed like a good one. It was a dry spell, so the mold had not kicked in. We had lots of fresh air off the Pacific and my lungs didn't hurt anymore. What I didn't realize (until after we moved to Wisconsin) how much mold was around. I knew my hubby had constant and severe sinus problems, but I didn't know that freshly washed clothes would soon become musty, even in our "dry and mold-free" duplex. I have re-washed everything since moving here, because it wasn't until I was here a few weeks that I could actually smell the problem.

Other bits and pieces....we have a good number of fireflies at that! We have a variety of birds, Goldfinches, Chipping Sparrows, Nuthatches, Cardinals, Chickadees, Red-winged Blackbirds, and somewhere where I can hear them, Sandhill Cranes. I have not seen any Blue Jays, and I'm a little disappointed about that. We have bunnies that eat clover and deer that eat flowers. Not sure how to protect the flowers.Thankfully we have decent streetlights, not the horrible yellow ones they installed on my former street in Indiana that made it look like a high crime area. I am able to see some stars, but there are lights, so it's not as dark as it would be further in the country. I miss not having more windows, but that is apartment life.

So...I feel like we are still settling in, but things are moving in the right direction, and goals are in sight.

Here are some pictures:
The succulents from Aldi

My daughter's car, a 2014 KIA Forte

The deer that tried to eat the flowers

The ugly streetlights in my old neighborhood. They made an otherwise relatively safe neighborhood look like a crime-ridden know...lit up like daytime at night.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Post-op Hair Loss

OMG my hair. Yeah, I was figuring it was related to my surgery.

From a post in a forum (I can't credit it because it was posted by Anonymous. I confirmed this info as accurate through some fact-checking:

"Telogen effluvium" is a term used to describe hair that has been rushed into the resting state after the body suffers a shock due to major surgery. As resources are redirected to help heal the affected surgical area, the body temporarily shuts down hair production because it is not necessary for survival.

Telogen effluvium related to surgery can be distinguished from other forms of hair loss in several ways. Individuals typically begin to notice the increasing hair loss two to three months after the surgery. Hair loss after surgery is uniform, noticeable on the scalp but never excessive enough to cause a patchy appearance or complete baldness.

Hair usually resides in the telogen phase for a period of two to four months before growth resumes. Individuals don't begin to notice the increase in hair loss when showering or brushing the hair until about three months post-surgery. Although the resting hair is being pushed out of the scalp by new hair that is already growing, it can take anywhere from about six months to a year for the hair to return to its normal fullness.

Wonderful. It's been falling like snow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Moving Forward

My PT ended June 30th. I will miss the visits. I got my exit evaluation. Then we looked stuff up on the Internet. She said she will keep in touch. I'm doing well. I still have some stiffness and lack of mobility in my neck. I can wash more dishes before needing to sit and rest. I swept the floor and mopped, which went well, but my arms felt exhausted the next day. I can vacuum a little at a time, no problem. I'm not sure what my expected range of motion (ROM) should be. I asked my therapist and as far as she knows, there is a loss of 7% ROM with each level of fusion, so I have a 35% reduction, however, we don't know how that translates into how far left and right I can turn my head. Right now I am at 45 degrees each way. That's not great for driving, but the rest of me is bendy so I just twist in my seat to compensate. I've never been one to drive distances anyway.

My daughter (formerly living in California) who moved here in May has been waiting for an apartment. One was set to open up in September, upstairs, and not her first choice. She told our caretaker the one she really wanted was the one right below it, on the first floor. It's a nice shady corner facing the woods where the deer graze at night. Low and behold, a couple weeks ago the caretaker knocked on the door and said the apartment she wanted is opening up the end of July! That's great for all of us, because we are kind of crammed in this small apartment. My daughter is living in the dining area and our table is in the living room. It will be great to get back to normal.

My hubby took me for ice cream for my birthday, and since he was off work, the following morning we walked the Lion's Den, the first time since my surgery. Afterward hubby took me shopping and bought me earrings. He wanted to buy me more stuff but I told him no, put it in savings!

Since I have Medicare, I had bought a medigap and drug plan in California. The medigap plan (a pricey plan F) went up in price in April and the drug plan dropped me because I moved. Today an agent talked to me about what Wisconsin has to offer. I believe I found a good plan for a savings of $132 per month. That money will go right into savings. I firmly believe that part of living the good life is to save, save, save, in between a little fun spending, after the bills are paid of course.

Aside from my daughter moving out, the other thing that needs to happen is that she needs her own car. My hubby can't always get rides to work from his cousin. Well, technically he can, because they work the same shift, but, well, one just needs their own car. My daughter's job transfer went through a few weeks ago, so she is working again.

Here are some pictures of Lake Michigan from the Lion's Den, Grafton Wisconsin.