THE WRITE PLACE…

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New Features and Reflections of Memoir and August

Tan steerette

From my country drive a few weeks ago here. Tan Furry Steerette (not official species name). Maybe it’s the teats, maybe that soulful look, but I love her. Cannot have steerette where I live. I’m so glad that she has that awesome rack (horns not teats) to keep those bad boys away…when necessary:>) I was very sad when we had to leave these new friends behind. I wish they had internet.

New Features & Reflections of Memoir

I have not received enough reader photos here and here to keep that feature going, so I am working on 2 new features that I hope will be more popular and useful. One is for caregivers and the other is for writers. Both of my new features are written as “Postcards” since that seems to be in keeping with my “Souvenirs from My Heart” memoir series. I intend on carrying that theme through all my writing, as it is such a big part of my former and current life.

I wanted to get the memoir postcard series here published this month, but this has been a rough month for me. As you might imagine, my emotions are pretty raw, and time spent on the memoir has been ripping off old scabs. I hope that the caregiver and writer postcard series will give me a short break and allow me step back and breathe for a short time. Both of those series are meant to help others, and that helps me get out of my own emotional way.

Reflections of August

Tomorrow, the 27th, is the anniversary date that Paul and I celebrated our new life together. He would always tease me about my bold, “Why don’t you call me sometime” gesture at the pig roast in 2005 where we were re-acquainted. The 28th was the day of his memorial. What a day. I raged in my journal about how that day was supposed to offer some “closure,” but all it did for me was make my grief worse, because it made Paul’s death so real and so final.

I will certainly be glad when August is over! With Paul’s deathday, birthday, our anniversary and his memorial in the same month, it is always hard. Leaving our home  and gardens for the last time, this past week, added more to my heaping pile of emotions.

The bright side could be, that it is all over in one month of the year. I (with lots of help) am building a new “secret garden” that Paul would love, from what I salvaged from our old garden. This year I also have my wordpress family to add to my supporting and loving circle of family and friends in “real” life. Thank you all.

Heaps of Goodness

Please continue to send all sorts of goodness to my WP friends, Ionia, Belinda and Marilyn, and my real world f/f’s who face serious health issues. For those in my circle facing emotional issues, maybe try what helps me most; give true and loving support to others:>)

I just got word that I did not win the last contest. A BIG thank you for those who took the time to read and vote on my story, “Love, Laughter and Loss” I did not win, but had the most, by 20!, facebook likes:>) Here is how the stories were judged. (I think I only had one person write to the judges.) http://midlifecollage.com/winner-circle/
Again, thank you!

See you soon,

Patti


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Request Advise and/or Feelings About Using Your Comments

My dog pals; Gertrude, in back, the late :>(Tanner, and Roo in front. Another photo with no relation to my post :>)

My dog pals; Gertrude, in back, the late :>(Tanner, and Roo in front.
Another photo with no relation to my post :>)

As you all know, I’m publishing  the Souvenirs from My Heart “Postcards” serial, which I posted here in July and August. I feel that it would add a lot to include comments that you made as I ran the serial on this blog.

I’ve done some research and can’t find a definitive answer about adding your comments. Here are some of the questions that I’m pondering:

1-Is it legal? ethical? to add your comments?

2-Do I add them all anonymously, or include the name you used to post the comments?

3-Should I offer to include your blog links to your comments?

4-Do I have to have signed releases by everyone?

After a final professional edit, I’m ready to publish the “Postcards” serial, so what do you think, should I hold off and add comments or not? Frankly, if it is going to add a lot of time to the project, I will probably not add the comments…

Thank you for your input!

Patti


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Souvenirs from My Heart; Postcards-Seven

Pelican Waves PHALL PHOTO 2013

Pelican Waves
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Here is the 6th installment of the serialized version of a section of my memoir, Souvenirs from My heart; The Patient Patient Advocate. Paul’s trip to the ER eventually leads to an appointment with an oncologist…

A reader pointed out a good reason to have links to the earlier posts at the beginning, instead of the end. If you are new to the Postcards, you might want to read starting from Postcard One. None are very long, less than 600 words each, I believe.

Postcard 1 here.

Postcard 2 here.

Postcards 3 & 4 here.

Postcard 5 here.

Postcard 6 here.

cont. medical history document…

(March 2007, cont…)

In the ER, they filled Paul with IV fluids & antibiotics. He came back out of his unresponsive “trance” and seemed better. He didn’t remember anything since sitting in the clinic waiting room. After 5-6 hours, they let me take him home, with a vague diagnosis of unknown sepsis, and an RX for antibiotics. Paul recovered quickly once home, and was back to normal in a few days.

We followed up with his PCP the next week and a lot of lab work was done. The only thing found was mild anemia, which the doctor thought was odd…why did Paul keep showing anemia in blood tests? The doctor was still unsure of why Paul continued having fevers/chills, arm cramps and fatigue. Finally, he gave Paul a referral to see an oncologist. (This is when a secret fear began to gnaw at me. I was so in love with that man, the life we had, and the future plans we were making. For all that Paul told me, he was not having the same fear. Paul was 11 years older than me, but he was actually in better health than me. Another irony.)

Dr. Oncologist was booked and couldn’t see Paul until four months later. Then Paul began having regular blood draws and consultations with Dr. O. for eight months, the last visit was March 2008, when we were told that all was okay; he did not have to come back for a year. Dr. O. mentioned sending Paul for a bone marrow biopsy during one consultation, but the next lab report was normal, so it was not done. During another consultation Dr. O. also mentioned leukemia, but neither Paul nor I could ever remember the context.

Paul had been healthy during the next year (March 2007 to March 2008); with the exception of cramping arms, fatigue and heart burn. He had no fevers or chills since the year before, when he ended up in the ER.

July 2008 (4 months after oncology appointments end, 14 months since ER incident.) Paul has seasonal allergies and takes OTC (over-the-counter) pills regularly. However, during the first couple of weeks in July he was worse than usual and tried different OTC remedies, with no relief at all. He had no energy, very watery eyes, and was so stuffed up that he could only breathe out of his mouth. He was beginning to get the fevers and chills again at night, but not as severe as before. His teeth and gums had been bothering him and we thought maybe an infection there might be causing the sinus problems, so he made an appointment for a dental check up.

Postcard 7:

This postcard asks you to go back through the scenes above and see at which points we might have gone further or done something different. Again, I ask that you take notice and action when strange health things are happening, with no answers in sight. Should we have waited four months to see the oncologist? No! Would it have mattered? We’ll never know for sure, because not one medical professional has ever been willing to say that these issues had anything to do with leukemia.

Other notes:

I took the day off from gardening, at least physically; my mind is still designing away:>)  I decided to post another installment to help ground me. I have so much writing bubbling up that I’m dizzy:>) There is an incredible amount of inspiration out there in blog land. There are writing prompts that bring up so many stories, and the real life stories of a variety of wonderful people. I have to try and keep some kind of focus if I ever plan on publishing though. The prompts are fun, but I’ve never needed a prompt to come up with ideas; stories are everywhere! It is especially fun when you are writing within a group of talented and funny writers. Back to the old grind stone for me:>)

Thanks for hanging in there, and your comments are especially appreciated.

Patti


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Souvenirs from My Heart; Postcards-5

Look at all these beauties! I think we saw a total of 5 bulls and one doe. Phall Photos 2013

Look at all these beauties! I think we saw a total of 5 bulls and one doe.
Phall Photos 2013

Did I really take another day off? No, but me and my friend drove the country back roads, the loooonnnnggg way to my destination, and I got some great shots in. Fantastic Elk pics and more.

Other notes:

Please see the Book Review on this main page (it’s in the right hand column on my screen–who knows where the hell it is on yours?).  I can’t recommend it enough.  You can buy it at Amazon.

I’ve dedicated my new photo site to my sister who died in 2012. I’ve added a page for my mother’s garden photos. She’s very good and grows an awesome garden every year in Eagle River, Alaska. Go on over and meet my mom, Rae Hall; you’ll like her! Phall Photo site here.

My son is sore but okay. Thanks for all of your well wishes to him.

Here is the 4th installment of the serialized version of a section of the memoir, Souvenirs from My heart; The Patient Patient Advocate.

cont. medical history document…

March 2006 Paul had a routine colonoscopy. The doctor that performed it said that Paul had 1 benign polyp that was removed, and suggested a follow up in 5 years. Paul’s PCP (his doctor) sent a letter saying that the “tubular adenoma” polyp was “pre-cancerous” and he wanted him re-checked in 18 months. Paul recovered quickly from the procedure, but was psychologically bruised :>) by the preparation for the procedure the night before. Being a former Marine, he had a few choice words to growl during that memorable evening. I still got him to laugh with my gross jokes about his “situation.” We were frustrated to get 2 different results and recommendations; one was a relief, while the other made us concerned.

Meanwhile, Paul was having issues with extremely sore hands and cramping–especially at night–in his upper arms. He never had aches and pains before, and we wondered if somehow the surgeries had something to do with it. Paul saw his PCP, who sent him to the surgeon that repaired his rotator cuffs …the surgeon had never heard of these kinds of side effects, and sent Paul for an arthritis test.

June 2006 Three months later, a diagnosis; arthritis in both hands, severe in thumb, but why the sudden onset? And this diagnosis still doesn’t address the soreness in his upper arms. Paul has always been very active and healthy, yet since around the time of his shoulder surgeries, he had been plagued with cramping arms, aching hands, night fevers & chills, fatigue, dental issues, and heartburn…he ate a lot of Tums.  Paul saw his PCP regularly (the months of 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12 in 2006), but no diagnosis was made. His shoulders gave him no problems at all.

For the next 8 months, Paul had the same issues, but the crystal form of  MSM that I filled capsules with seemed to help the aches and pains.

Postcard 5:

Paul and I both had gut feelings about all these strange medical happenings. Follow your gut feelings. We did do the normal things that you do with medical concerns, but we didn’t go any further. Push harder; get a second opinion if you don’t get satisfactory answers. It is your health and life on the line, so don’t worry about hurting your doctor’s feelings.

Postcard 1 here.

Postcard 2 here.

Postcards 3 & 4 here.

Thanks you wonderful people!

Patti


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Souvenirs from My Heart; Postcards-Three and Four

Caspian Tern at Dinner Table.  John's River, WA PHALL PHOTO 2013

Caspian Tern at Dinner Table.
Johns River Dike Trail, outside of Aberdeen,WA
PHALL PHOTO 2013, click to enlarge

New Header photo. I love the sun rays that shoot down from the top. I took this through the Sweet Gum tree. Yes, that was a sweet gum seed pod/fruit in the post here. None of us ever figured out why it was so elongated. But after returning to investigate, I saw some were round, some were like the one in my photo.  Jon discovered that there are two completely different shaped leaves (pic below) on same tree?

Sweet Gum Tree leaves. The white feet of a cave dweller:>) PHALL PHOTO 2013

Sweet Gum Tree leaves. The white feet of a cave dweller. Painted nails & cool sandals courtesy of my daughter:>)
PHALL PHOTO 2013

This post  is part 3 of a serialized version from a portion of my memoir-in-progress. It varies slightly from the actual book, in that it is not a book, but a blog post! Smile. Below info is from the document I gave medical staff; theirs had a few more details (exact dates, etc), and no memoir narrative. The document also included Paul’s D.O.B. and his familial medical info, such as parent’s cause of death.

Abridged Medical History

August 2005 Surgery to repair left rotator cuff, non-hospital outpatient. (On the love story side of things, although I had met Paul 10+ years earlier, I became reacquainted with him a few weeks after this surgery. More of this in the first book in the memoir series)  

September 2005 Labs show low hemoglobin. Already, Paul has me tag along to all his appointments; an advocate is born (and no, I never got a cape or badge or anything).

October 2005 Paul went to the dentist for pain associated with impacted molar under a crown and gum problems. Molar removed, recovered quickly. Not to freak you out or anything, but leukemia patients often (Remember, I’m a stickler for no statistics) have dental issues months or even, as in Paul’s case, years before diagnosis.

Postcard 3:

Do you have a hard copy list of the current names and numbers of your friends and family? Why not just go ahead and start a file for your answers to these postcards? Then, if a crisis happens, you’ll be that much closer to being prepared. Add a star by those you want contacted first. Tell your closest family member where the file is kept.  

November 2005 Labs show iron/folates a little low.  

December 2005 Surgery to repair right rotator cuff, non-hospital outpatient. Paul recovered very quickly from both surgeries and followed through with several months of physical therapy. (Love story notes: I had just sold my house, so it seemed like a perfect time to move in with Paul and help with his recovery. Smile. His personal caregiver is born. Again, no cape, but I do get to be his chauffeur in a brand-spanking new Thunderbird!) Smile.

Late winter/early spring 2005/2006 Paul had periods of 1-2 weeks where he had a fever (no recorded temp, but skin was extremely hot to touch), and wracking chills at night. I would wrap my body around him trying to warm him up and calm the chills. He was fatigued and pale during the day, but continued to work, with more rests in between, and at a slower pace. We self-treated with aspirin and anti-inflammatory OTC drugs, rest, and cool rags for the fever. Something was going on, but his doctor had no idea what. These are more statistic-free indications of leukemia.

Postcard 4:

Have you followed through on Postcard 3 yet? Please add a page of basic family (parents, grandparents, and sibs) medical info. Big time-saver: your doctor’s office has this (part of your initial medical questionnaire)  on file. If stopping by doesn’t work, call and have them send you a medical release form. Fill it out, mail it back, and they will mail what you ask for. Some folks with huge files, can often request, and get a medical file summary.

Postcard 1 here.

Postcard 2 here.  

Hope you find something useful in these posts. Please let me know with a comment?

Thank you,

Patti