Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
You may be wondering how I can have no time to write when I am sitting at a skilled nursing facility with only 2 sixty to seventy-eight minute of scheduled physical and occupational therapy Monday through Friday.
Me too. I should keep an oral diary of how I spend the minutes of every day, but I would be afraid to look at the results. I know that they will wake me at 7:30 each morning to ask if I will be coming down to breakfast. Usually I am awake two hours by then. 5:30 the pain often wakes me and I spend the time it takes the sun to rise trying to unwrap myself fro the coil of sleeping without crying or moaning. One morning when I gave in too loudly, I had 2 CNAs at my door thinking I must have fallen.
So from 5:30 am to 10:30 pm when I have settled in bed for the night is 17 hours. Where do they go? Here's a schedule from memory of one typical day:
5:30 to 7:30- Waking up, sublimating pain, wishing someone would guess oe sense I need pain meds and bring them to me. I don't squeeze my call button because I like to think of myself as stoic. It takes part of that time to hurtle myself off the bed toward my walker for the three steps and turn shuffle that gets me to the bedside potty chair. The potty chair has an invisible call button on it. I know this because someone always knocks on my door as soon as I sit on it.
7:30 to 8:10 Dressing, transferring to wheelchair and wheeling down to the dining room. Pulling up my pants consumes the greatest part of this time. I can't stand up to pull them up yet because it means I have to let go of the walker, reach around and tug--a destabilizing act. I have to wiggle, rock, and tug left right and middle to get them up to my waist. A dip at the back center seam worthy of a plumber is the common result of this system.
8:10 to 9:10 Breakfast: Most of this time is spent waiting for the meal to be served. Officially the dining room opens at 7:30 but nothing is ready to serve at that time, not even the coffee. This meal is you choice of a combination of eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, coffee, tea, and bread of some kind. You can add a hot or cold cereal. You can have it all or just one item. Fruit is scarce except for the juices, raisins in the bran or a banana which they will grudgingly fetch from the kitchen for you if you are not on the "no banana" list as I am.
9:10 to 12:30 Therapies: I know this is 3 hours and I am scheduled for 2 to 2 and 1/2. The leftover time is taken up by vital sign checks, meds, and rest which the therapists are very generous (some might say too generous) to give you between exercises.
12:30 to 1:15 Lunch: Back to the dining room. This is the main meal of the day. Since Wednesday this week, we have a posted menu--state inspectors are here, more on that in another post--but often before that no one knew what we were having until it arrived from the main dining room kitchen. Lunch consists of a protein, a starch, a vegetable, a bread, and a dessert. An alternate protein is usually available. Typical menus are fish, (or ham) potatoes, broccoli and a bowl of canned apricots; or chicken breast, (or shrimp) potatoes, mixed vegetables and apple crumble. The other day someone complained at a meeting with the state inspectors that there should be a choice of dessert for diabetics. Boooo! Up till that time I fooled myself into thinking all the desserts were made sugar free, otherwise why were they giving them to us diabetics. That noon, after the meeting that broke up at 11, the diabetic alternative appeared. Pineapple cake was stripped of its sugared pineapple topping and given to us plain.
1:15 to 5:00 Free: A large expanse of time. I should write. Instead, I call friends, text my sister, read magazines, play angry birds, work puzzles, and sometimes entertain visitors. On somedays, without notice, the therapy schedule flip flops to the afternoon. This makes the freed morning time useless because you never know when your therapist might pop in to take you to the gym giving you both morning and afternoon sessions.
5:00 to 6:00 Supper: a lighter meal than lunch. often a sandwich and soup. or a salad and chips. Usually the dessert is pudding or a fruit cup.
6:00 to 10:30 Free: One more ample allotment of time. I should write here. But my sister visits almost every evening and how can I ignore her to do that?
10:30 to bed where I lie awake until 1, 2 or even 3. Another time to write. Instead I watch TV
There you have it. My schedule where I find time for writing here at rehab but I don't do it. Rehab is not unlike home in that way. I did not include the time I spend moping, dozing. sometimes crying.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
So much for the plan to come back later the first day and write more about my experience. Here it is on Sunday, just now coming back. Since Monday I have had 10 hours of physical and occupational therapy. All you exercise enthusiasts are snickering at the paltry sum. I know it doesn't seem like much but it occupies a full morning or afternoon each weekday and is far more than I did at home were I avoided any movement that would cause me pain.
I still have pain though I have learned to ask for medication before my sessions. I have increased the weights on my arms from 1 to 3 lbs and on my ankles from 1 to 2. My standing time has increased from under 30 seconds to 1 and 1/2 minutes supported by the walker. Long way to go, but it took a long while to get to this point.
I have had knee problems for years. Bad knees run in the family. All the members of my immediate family have had knee replacements. I am stuck with the original deteriorated components not for sentimental value but due to the need to lose weight first, a seemingly impossible task for me.
In February, though, I was inspired by a tv commercial to go get some shots for my feet. I have had numbness in my feet which paired with my knee glitchiness have made me wary of driving. This clinic promised improvement through their "breakthrough" treatment and I decided to give them a try. The decision surprised my sister. I am usually so wary of doctors. She'd been suggesting cortisone shots for my knees for years. I had never complained much about my feet.
Doing the treatment series for my feet involved twice weekly shots (5) in my ankles and some electrical stimulus on my shins. February and March went by. Mary drove me to my appointments.
After experiencing some success in the foot numbness, I learned the clinic also did knee injections. I signed on for that series. Too bad I never investigated the success or composite of either injection set. The ankle injections were an NSAID combination of some kind. The knee injections were supposed to stimulate the regeneration of cartilage. In the long run neither of them worked. My ankles were constantly swollen. My knee pain diminished but never stopped.
During the process, I discovered my back pain was becoming my primary concern. It went for occasional discomfort to almost constant aching. Only when I was sitting in certain positions did it abate. Climbing up stairs was excruciating. Going down them was a little better, but scary.
Monday, August 29, 2011
The bloodsucker came at three AM. She left behind her telltale sign, a cotton ball held in place with white tape. When I peeked beneath this morning the puncture below was tiny and dry. From this draw the lab will be able to tell what I'm low on, what I'm high on (potasium, blood sugar, bad but not illegal) and what adjustments in medications I will require. It's my first Monday here in physical rehab, it's 8 AM and I think they forgot me.
I'm here because of severe lower back pain that has gradually immobilized me over the past few months. I'll give more details of my back story as I go along, for today I'll stick to current events. After Friday evaluations and a treatment plan meeting set for 2 PM, I expect physical therapy and occupational therapy to start in earnest shortly. There should be a finger stick, morning meds, a vitals check and breakfast in my room before then. Nothing has happened yet. They are not big on letting you know ahead of time around here.
I woke before 6, stiff and twisted in the position I fell asleep sometime after midnight. The blue leglifter device was still around my right ankle. This thing looks like a stiff dogleash, the kind mimes use to walk an invisible dog. I used it to lift my right leg over my left so I could turn on my side last night. Sleeping on my side is a privilege I've not had sleeping in a lounge chair in my lower level family room for the past month. It doesn't feel that good on this hard bed, but a change of position is highly recommended to prevent bedsores or skin breakdowns as they more delicately call them these days.
Too stiff to reach the leglifter, I slowly pushed my leg toward the edge of the mattress. It moved until I could sit up enough to manually push my left leg in the same direction. I could have raised the head of the bed except that remote had popped off the hand rail some time in the night. There is a potty chair at right angle to my bed, just a few steps and a half turn away. I reach it by walker and pain, a feat I could not accomplish without human support Friday when I arrived. I do it on my own now with no less pain and fear of falling but less indignity. One visit often takes me an hour with decision making holding me back coming and going.
I just rang the call button to remind them I'm here, so things should start hopping soon. I have to stow this laptop somewhere since I don't trust security in my unlocked room yet. Lord knows they pop in on me unawares often enough with soft rap on the door to announce themselves. Last night I was on the potty chair when the male nurse and the local "computer expert" resident barged in to help me get online with the guest WiFi. When they realized my embarrassment they ducked back out.
The nurse assistant answered the button and I asked for my pain pills. I heard her announcing as she left, "Everybody wants pain pills this morning, woman. 502, 509."
Gotta go, back later to proof and write more. Hit publish post
Friday, May 20, 2011
I know she didn't mean to but Oprah is probably killing Erica Kane, Luke Spencer, Bo and Nora and many of the other soap opera characters you have grown to know and love. Oprah's leaving her talk show after 25 years is creating a giant sucking hole in the broadcast TV stratosphere, and the shortsighted network execs are rushing to fill it.
Talk shows are cheaper to produce than soaps. No giant cast to pay. No multiple sets to build. No convoluted story lines to write. A talk show could get by with two chairs, a studio and a production studio. You'll need a few more chairs for throwing if the show leans to the Jerry Springer style.
Maybe it's been a long time since you followed a soap. Their ratings have decreased since the glory days. Some say the OJ Simpson trial was the beginning of the end. The soaps were preempted daily for the weeks of the trial. People were introduced to the intrigue of reality TV and became addicted. Some explored other channels and never returned.
Or maybe it was the parade of women who joined the work force and abandoned daytime TV all together that doomed the dramas. VCR's and the Soap Channel helped for a while, but who had the time to catch up evenings and weekends with meals to cook, laundry to do, and Dancing with the Stars to watch?
All I know is there used to be room for all formats during the day. A little talk, a few games, a bit of news, and the "stories" as my grandma always called them. One of my oldest media memories was listening to Ma Perkins on the radio as my mom did the ironing. (Ironing, what's that?) Later, I would rush home from school to catch what Barnabas Collins was up to on Dark Shadows. In college, we arranged our classes to be able to join the crowd in the student lounge for viewing the latest Luke and Laura adventure as they tried to save Port Charles.
Now, where will our daughters learn that all romances eventually become triangles? That most weddings are likely to be interrupted by murder, old girlfriends returning from the dead, or other assorted fiascoes? That a broken heart is a temporary thing, another cute guy is right around the corner? That most men are either doctors, lawyers, rich business men, or gangsters? That, no matter what you do to make a living, you will always have time to meet with your friends and enemies during the day? And that at Christmas time, your house will be magically decorated to professional standards overnight?
Now, it's all going. What will happen to all the soap mags? All the spoiler websites? All the fan clubs? The Soap Channel is going Disney kids? A whole industry down in flames. The end of an era.
And the reason it's happening so fast? I just have to blame Oprah. I doubt she'll make room on OWN for the soaps. Too bad.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Desert Breeze Publishing has reached the Terrific Twos and to celebrate the authors are staging a blog tour from April 15 to the 30th. I hope you made it here from the previous stops. If not you have missed some interesting and dramatic posts. I will list the previous stops at the end of my blog today along with the next blog to visit. Leaving a comment anywhere along the trail can win you a prize. The more comments the better your chance of winning.
My experience with Desert Breeze Publishing began at the beginning-- actually before the beginning. DBP Editor-in-Chief Gail Delaney were both writers at another publisher. She had a number of books published by that publisher and also worked as an editor for them. In that capacity, she edited my first book with them, Cast a Pale Shadow. I enjoyed working with Gail. She got my work and together we carved out a book that would later win an EPIC Award in Romantic Suspense.
Unfortunately, powers were at work which eventually crashed that publishing house, to the surprise of many of its writers. My book was published 2 weeks before the fatal crash, so I had to keep explaining the end was not my fault. To help us through the ensuing legal wrangling to get our book rights back and the feelings of abandonment and betrayal many of us felt, some of the writers began calling us survivors. A loop was started so we could keep in touch over the legal issues and encourage each other to move on.
One by one, the writers announced their successes with other work and other publishers. Eventually, Gail announced her plans to start Desert Breeze Publishing. By that time, I had recontracted Cast A Pale Shadow. I queried her with an historical, Listen With Your Heart. A short time later, Gail gave me the happy news that she would like to include Listen in her initial launch.
Now, two years later I'm happily back with another historical, West of Heaven which is now on sale. Here's a brief excerpt in which our hero, Jean Luc (Lucky) first sees the heroine, Marcella.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
West of Heaven
From: Desert Breeze Publishing
By: Barbara Scott
Reviewed by: Debbie Hull, author of The Men of Her Dreams
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Ms. Scott has penned another winner about a down on his luck hero, a headstrong young lady, and the “fancy ladies” that come as part of her inheritance.
Jean Luc Desloge, Lucky, seems to be anything but. He is linked to both his former boss’s murders, and spends his days loitering in town, trying his best to drown himself in rot-gut whiskey.
Marcella McGovern was raised in the best boarding schools and taught to be the proper young woman, never knowing her generous benefactor. When advised of her benefactress’ death, she travels with her attorney to Onion Creek, Texas to learn the details of her inheritance. She quickly learns she was the daughter of Sophie Castleman, owner of Miss Sophie’s Bath and Gentlemen’s Parlors, and wealthy cattleman, Clint Harte, who were mysteriously murdered. She inherits her father’s cattle, and her mother’s brothel, along with the four “fancy ladies” who reside there.
The Widow Harte, furious her husband left his cattle to his “love child,” offers to buy them back, at a greatly reduced price, or Marcella must move them off the land in five days. She also threatens any cowboy who signs up for the cattle drive, would never work again.
Desperate to hire men to move her cattle, Marcella overhears her “ladies” discuss their ability to “ride,” and decides they will be her cowboys to herd the cattle to Kansas. She convinces Lucky to help “train” them to rope, ride and wrangle, and the fun begins.