New Year’s Eve!

Yes, I'm still alive. Thank you guys for all the well-wishes. I think the cold is finally whipped. Yay! For a year-end wrap-up, here we go (in no particular order):

  • Christmas was wonderful. The kids all made it home. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law came. My parents didn't make it. Dad fell on the ice on Christmas Eve at some friends' house and got banged up and wasn't up to coming. I sent dinner and gifts home to them with my eldest son (who lives in the same town). My children made me sit and tell them how to cook Christmas dinner. Can you believe that? It felt… weird. I'm not used to being the "director", I'm used to "driving"! All in all, it was a great day, head cold and aching limbs be damned.
  • Something is going on with my internet at home. I'm so frustrated I could kick the cat. (Just kidding, kitties.) We live in the country, as I've mentioned, and we're in a wooded area that is kind of in a hollow as well. The only options we have for internet service are a.) dial-up and b.) satellite. I had one satellite service that was so-so and switched companies this summer to one that was to be faster for the same price. I've been grossly disappointed. For one thing, it seemed not faster – but the same – as the old one, for about two months. Now? It's slower than dial-up! I swear it is horrible. Plus, it costs like hell. I'm not a happy camper. I've got a year-old computer hooked to it which is only using about 1/8th of the hard drive space. I've run virus scans, spybot scans, defrag programs, etc. on the thing to make sure it is working optimally. I called the guy who installed it on Friday to see what he said. I mentioned maybe it had been blown a bit off signal… he assured me it wouldn't work at all had that happened. I find that difficult to believe when the same thing will happen to the television satellite. Hmmm…  Then he tried to tell me it was the computer until I explained I'd done all that service to it and still no better. I also disconnected any routers and networking stuff I'd had going (I'm supposed to be able to network up to 3 computers on it and I'd only been trying to network one – my laptop). Now I'm waiting for the service guy to figure out what is going on. This, of course, makes my blog-reading and writing and my gaming (oh, how I miss my WoW!!) non-existant except when I'm at work… which, we all know, is where I'm to be w-o-r-k-i-n-g. Yeah. What a quandry. Work or surf? *sigh* At any rate, this is one main reason why I've not been by to catch up with you all. Doesn't mean I haven't been thinking of you! Honest!
  • Christmas cards. They may be known as Valentines, but you're still getting them.
  • Dan Fogelburg died. Yeah. I didn't write about it when it happened, a few short weeks ago. He was only 56 and died of prostrate cancer, which he'd been diagnosed with back in 2004. I loved his music and Hubs and I had gone to two of his concerts years ago. One was very memorable as it was on Halloween and the whole band dressed up in costumes. Dan himself was a swash-buckling pirate-type with full-face mask. As the evening went on people begged him to remove the mask. In a big production he finally removed it – only to have a half-mask underneath! The crowd went crazy. Too funny! The music was wonderful and we're lucky to have such a large body of work to remember him by.
  • My son got married! In July. To a beautiful, sweet, and special girl. We love her like our own and are so happy for them. Only good things in their future.
  • After several months of increasing pain, I was finally diagnosed with a herniated disc in my neck. In about a week from now we should know what, if anything, is going to be done about it. Keep your fingers crossed it all gets resolved. In other related news – I found out I have a weird tolerance for 'potent' drugs like Vicodin and Oxycotin. Who knew?
  • The weather has been weird. We get ice, we get snow, we get fog, frost, more snow, more ice, wind… oh, what the hell am I saying? It's WINTER in Iowa!
  • Is it just me, or with each political phone call, knock on the door (even in the country), and ad it makes me hate that particular candidate more. Honestly. It is working against them. The first caucus is on Thursday and the 'big city' is going crazy getting ready for it. You think you've heard about all this stuff, you should live in MY state… we not only hear about it, but we hear about what is being done to get ready for it. I'm sick of it. Really, really, really sick of it. Is it going to be almost another year before we actually vote someone into office? Geez…

Okay, I'll shut up now. Let me just end by wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Stay warm and safe and give someone you love a hug for me!

Merry *Aaa-CHOO* Christmas!

I swear there is a conspiracy afoot.

Not only do I get to have the neck, shoulder, arm, and head pain… but noooo… that wasn't enough. There had to be more. There had to be the tickley cough… to be followed by the head-full-of-snot phase that I'm now experiencing. Top it all of with my favorite… a full moon!!! Whooo-eee! You can tell we're celebrating now!

Let's hope that tomorrow I can stop blowing my nose long enough to cook the turkey, make the coffee cakes, bake the pies, clean the house, wrap the presents and stuff the stockings. Oh, wait… "Santa" does that, right?

 Merry Christmas to you and yours~~ I'll see you on the other side!

Fun With Sue

First, thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes. I'll eventually get back into the swing of things and will be answering everyone individually, but for now I just want you to all know I read every comment and appreciate each and every one of you.

In other news, I had my MRI yesterday. How many of you have had them? Raise your hands…  A few, it appears. I've had a couple of them before in past years, but never remembered them being so painful before. It must just be where the problem is in my neck, but when they had me lay down flat on my back with no neck support, I thought I was going to scream. I was supposed to have 20 minutes of intermittant pictures, then they were injecting dye into me and taking another 20 minutes worth. I was not to swallow or cough or move… (let alone cry) when the machine was making noise, but could swallow, cough, etc., when it was quiet.

Have I mentioned I now have Hubs' cold? You know, the kind with the tickley cough? You know what hell you go through when someone says "not" to do something? Yeah. Try it sometime. Tell someone NOT to think of a white elephant. Exactly.

At any rate, I grit my teeth against the pain and held very still for 40, not 20 minutes while they took the first set of films. The whole closely encapsulated thing never bothers me, and if I wouldn't have had the pain and the fighting-the-cough thing, I probably could have gone to sleep. I always close my eyes anyway. (Yes, I know, if I wasn't having the pain I wouldn't have needed the MRI in the first place… work with me here…) Finally, without coughing once I was slid out of the machine so they could inject the dye. Oh, more fun! She torked my arm in ways it didn't want to go. (HEY LADY! I'M HERE BECAUSE I CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT SCREAMING WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I CAN DO IT FOR YOU?) Finding no useable vein, she proceeded to tork the other arm, then having still no luck, went back to the first arm where she finally found a place in my hand. Thank God.

Sliding back into the machine, I wondered if I would make it another round. I braced myself as best I could and made it through one and a half cycles before it happened. The uncontrollable cough. I yelled out "sorry!" and tried to lay still for the rest of the time, but they slid me out right after that, so don't know if they quit because they decided I was done or because they figured I was going to mess up the rest. I didn't care. It was over.

Thinking I would go back to work in the afternoon, I hadn't planned on the pain and migraine that developed after the test, so took my aching body home to ice up and try and relax.

The orthopedic doctor called me first thing this morning to give me the results. When he looked at the x-rays a couple of days ago he thought the problem was all in the disc below where I had my previous surgery. He was half right. He said the MRI showed I have a herniated disc right above where the surgery was, as well as arthritis below. Oh, yay. I'm still scheduled for the neurosurgeon on the 8th. We'll see what the next step is from there. I'm looking forward to being pain-free again in the worst way. (As is my family, I'm sure! I'm not pleasant to be around when I'm whiney…)

One last note. I apologize profusely to all of you who are getting cards. You won't get them until after Christmas. I know this, because I've not sent them out and I'm not going to kill myself to get them sent out before Christmas. Know that I am thinking of each and every one of you (even those of you who are not sending or receiving cards) and I'm hoping you all have warm, safe, and wonderful holidays…

I Only Look 29 – I Wish **Update**


You guys are good.

Some of you actually knew it was my birthday today before I made the big announcement. You are either highly organized or I spilled the beans earlier then promptly forgot. I have been known to do that.

At any rate, yes. Today is my birthday. I'm 51. I only feel 70. I've never been a woman who hides my age. As a former boss once said of birthdays, "It's better than the alternative". I do lots of stuff that I've been told a woman of 51 shouldn't do. No, not like sky-diving or high-risk behavior. More like the way I think. However, the body constantly reminds me that I'm not as young as I think I am! I wish it would shut up for awhile and leave me alone.

Thanks everyone for your wonderful kind wishes on my earlier post. I don't think the pharmacist slipped me a placebo, and really, the Oxy does not work. Call it weird brain chemistry. (And, yes, I've been popping plain Aleve by the fistful for months.)  I remembered last night as I was pondering my doctor appointment on January 8th that it was only a month before youngest son's wedding! Yikes. That means if surgery is recommended I'll either have to get in right away or else probably decide to wait until after the wedding. If I recall, the last time I had this done I had to wear a neck brace for awhile and call me vain, but I don't believe I wish to be photographed in that extra piece of equipment. Fashion statement it is not.

So…another day, another year marked "older". As much as I've put up with through this life so far, I wouldn't wish it any differently. It made me who I am and got me to where I am and except for this small pain issue I really am a pretty happy person. I have a beautiful family that takes my breath away with love, critters I adore, and even a bunch of friends who make me feel all warm and fuzzy from miles away. It's a wonderful life (yes, Frank Capra, it is) and waaay better than the alternative.

**Update** Well, the cat's out of the bag. Silly me… this is what I get for not getting around to reading you all! I found out Becky put a shout-out on her blog to everyone to wish me Happy Birthday today! Thanks, Becky – you're the best!  Then I get an e-mail that tells me my birthday pie will be waiting for me! Last year Michael surprised me by arranging a cherry pie (my absolute favorite) to be made at a nearby (very good) local bakery and he's done it again! I swear, you guys are too much. Thank you for making my day!

Not Dead Yet

I feel so bad. I missed the Blog Crush day and everything!! Yikes! Between icing and foul weather messing up the internet and socking me in at home, I've also been fighting this mystery pain.

A few of you regulars (Hi guys~~ I know you're still there and I really appreciate it~~) remember when I told you awhile back (August?) about the doctor thinking I had tendinitis in my shoulder and sending me to physical therapy. I was a good patient and did that, finally quitting when we became so busy at work I couldn't make it and it didn't appear to be doing me much good. As weeks and fall went by, nothing got better and, in fact, got worse. Now I not only had one arm and shoulder involved, but both… and all across the back and neck. Ugh.

Two weeks ago I went back to the doctor for my regular blood work and told him what was going on. In an effort to find a solution, he sent me for x-rays of my neck and put me on Vicodin…. drug choice of the stars…and what "House" is hooked on, I believe! Silly me. I thought that was going to be a wonderful escape from the pain, if only at night. No luck. I just happen to be one of those strange people for whom it does nothing. Seriously. Not a darn thing. No pain relief, no drowsiness, nothing. I swear, I felt like I hadn't even taken anything… except after awhile it made me nauseous. How disappointing. No, I'm not sending you what I have left.

So, I piggy-backed along with my husband last week when he went to his doctor appointment (same doc) for his regular blood work check. After switching out the Vicodin for Oxycontin (another supposed drug of choice that I found did absolutely nothing) we discussed my x-rays. The doctor said he couldn't see anything wrong, but set up an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.

This morning I had that appointment. They started by taking x-rays of my shoulders. (I should be able to glow in the dark any time now!). Then I was presented with them on a handheld computer which the doc was able to go into various views, zoom, the whole 9 yards. I love technology.

The verdict? While I have some tendinitis in both shoulders, it appears the vertebra below the one that got operated on (fused) years ago is now going to hell and taking the proverbial hand basket with it… that would be me. I have an appointment on Wednesday for an MRI and another appointment, this time with the neurosurgeon the first week in January. It is beginning to look like I have another back / neck surgery in my future.

To be honest? If it gets rid of the pain? I'm all for it.

Hopefully, you'll all forgive me for my lack of posting and lack of visiting. I hope to be back in full swing soon. I haven't forgotten you! Honest! Remember, if you want a card, I still need your address, too. It's still on my "to do" list! (For those of you who I've already gotten cards from, you have brighten my days!!)


Yes, I'm the one who wanted snow. I am NOT the one who wanted ice. Internet is down. I popped into work and am letting you know so don't worry if you don't hear from me. We have power, just not internet. Bah. One of the bad things about living in the country… Oh, well. The good outweigh the bad. See you when I can!


If you want a card this year please send your address to my email, sesnyde at gmail dot com. Do NOT assume because you got one last year that I still have the address. We've talked about this. I'm losing my mind, I can not be responsible enough not to lose your address. Thank you!

Will keep this one on top for awhile, so be sure and jump down for new posts.

Monday Mutterings

Friday the official snow total was 4". Not enough to strand me, but enough to whine and snivel so Hubs would drive me to the doctor.

I haven't figured out my doctor. I seriously think he has PMS. Otherwise, I think he has a man-crush on my husband. When we first started going to him (he's a G.P.) I think he was just starting out. Young and eager, he really listened to you and tried to figure out what was going on. As he aged, I think he began burning out.

I switched to a woman in the same clinic for a time and she was horrid. Not only did she not listen, but I could do nothing right – including being a carnivore! *gasp* Now I know some of you are vegetarians and I applaud you, but I don't cram meat down your throat – please don't be trying to cram anything down my… well, you get the idea. Mutual respect, 'kay?

After Hubs went back to Doc 1 and I went with and saw how attentive he was with Hubs, I decided perhaps I'd mis-judged him and he was only having a bad spell. You know, maybe someone kicked his cat or peed in his Cheerios. I started back with Doc 1 as well, but once again he was a bit aloof when we discussed my shoulder pain (several months ago). He sent me for physical therapy and threw out the word "tendinitis" and rescheduled me for my next 3-month diabetes checkup.

Fast forward. Physical therapy did nothing but suck money out of my bank account and teach me how to a.) sleep without moving b.) sleep with a sling on my arm and c.) play with various stretching exercises that make me hurt worse than I did when I began!

Then came the busy season at work and simultaneously physical therapy came to a screeching halt and everything else got worse.

Now not only do I have shoulder pain in one arm when I move a certain way, but I have constant pain in my neck, shoulders, and down both arms and sharp pains whe I move either arm in specific ways.

Because of my work schedule, I regrettably had to miss my three-month appointment in November. Friday was the re-scheduled appointment. I asked Hubs to take me, not only because of the weather, but because I needed moral support. I wanted to stand up and get the doctors' attention and try to get him to not only listen to me, but at least make an attempt to fix me!

I think my plan worked. Not only did he hear me out, but he actually paid attention and when Hubs reminded him I'd had back surgery he looked at his records and saw that an MRI I'd had in 2001 showed some "irregularities". Huh. Nobody said that at the time! As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember them saying "nothing was wrong" then and I felt like it was "all in my head". *sigh*  At least at that time the guy from the pain clinic gave me a steroid shot that kept me going for a few years!

So, long story short (yeah, I know this has dragged – sorry) he sent me for an x-ray then will see if that indicates an orthopedic referral and/or MRI and we can figure out what's going on. Oh, and he gave me vicodin to help with the pain at night so I can sleep! I was thrilled about that until I tried it … and even at the maximum dose it does nothing. Seriously. It doesn't reduce the pain, it doesn't make me drowsy… all it is doing is making me sick to my stomach. Geez… can't I do anything right??

So. Tomorrow Hubs goes for his regular checkup and I'll be tagging along to see if Doc has any other suggestions or if he figured out what the next step should be. Keep your fingers crossed!

(I changed the template so we could all read it better. I know the print is still small, but it is better spaced and I think a bit easier to read…right?)

Parenting the Hard Way

By now everyone has heard about the shooting in the mall at Omaha. That got a little close to home. My heart goes out to all those people who were killed and injured and their families. What a shock.

As most things do, it got me thinking. I wonder as a parent how I would feel to find out my child had done something like this. I can't imagine the shock and horror that would strike you. Even in your childs' worst moments would you ever think they could do something so cruel?

I remember years ago when our youngest son was about ten. He'd been having trouble in school and we had concerns. We suspected (and it was later confirmed) that he had attention deficiet hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now you hear about it all the time and, to be honest, I think it is over-diagnosed. However, at the time we took our son to a well-respected therapist in town. Well-respected by others. After I got through with him I had zero respect.

I'm no idiot, but this guy made me feel like one. He spent about twenty minutes talking to me first, then fifteen minutes alone with my son, then gave me the ten minute diagnoses. Like I say, the guy tried to make me feel like an idiot. Try being the operative word.

After fifteen minutes with my son he decided we needed to take immediate action. We should be looking for somewhere to put our son for long-term therapy. Why? Because he was going to start killing animals and setting fires. Yeah. Pretty much everyone knows what that means. We were raising a potential serial killer.

Now, I'm not one to ignore a warning… but c'mon.

We ended up discounting the well-respected-therapists' diagnoses and got a second opinion. We took him to University Hospitals in Iowa City where they were doing research into ADHD and had him tested. All day. Not just fifteen minutes. They did several kinds of tests and spent hours getting to know him. Their diagnoses? ADHD. Medication was perscribed (which, as it turned out, made him "feel funny" and after a few months of using it and trying to get the dosage 'just right'… we ended up abandoning and he got along with some learning help – like taking tests in a quiet room).

He's 24 now and I'd love to go show that therapist just how f*cked up he was. My son is the sweetest, kindest, smartest kid… he's getting married in February and hasn't set ONE fire (except what he was supposed to) and of all my animal-loving children, he's the biggest softie of the bunch!

I don't know how to talk to the parents whose children do the horrible things. I don't know what the answer is. I do know you have to listen to them. Really listen. Then? Trust your instincts. If it looks like they're having trouble you have to try and be there for them….oh, and it doesn't all stop when they turn into rebellious teens… or the hands of time turn them into an "adult". They're still your kids. You never stop being a parent. Who else are they going to turn to?

Whiney Wednesday

  • It's COLD outside
  • The weather gurus are saying 3-5" of snow within the next 24 hours. If it happens and we lose i-net again you may not hear from me for a bit. Don't panic. It is only temporary.
  • Comments aren't always showing up in my e-mail like they are supposed to. This makes me very unhappy. I like to respond to your comments. I don't like coming here and seeing that you have commented and I didn't know it. If I've neglected to respond to a comment it is likely I have not seen it in my inbox. I may have to start responding to comments in comments…
  • I was playing with my template yesterday and messed something up. Then when I went to start over and just download the whole thing again, it won't come back in. Neither will a couple of others I was interested in trying. This frustrates me. I hate Blogger, but at least I knew how to do things there. Here, in WordPress, I don't know enough about how it all works to figure out what I did wrong. I have that lovely, patient, Brad who helps out if I get in a jam, but I really hate relying on someone else. Really. That's why you are now seeing this template. I don't mind this one, and like the banner, but don't like that it is hard to read. Is it hard to read for you or just me?
  • I haven't even started my Christmas or Birthday shopping (we have four birthdays in December and early January – not counting mine)
  • It's COLD outside.
  • I love having a grandson who is old enough I can call him up and make him my 'spy' … getting some info from him on his Mom to help me with Christmas and her birthday. I love the fact when I called she was there and probably is going nuts trying to figure out what I wanted. He's a good kid. He won't tell. I'm an evil mother. I won't tell either.
  • I haven't got one Christmas decoration up, inside or outside the house. Not one.
  • Have I mentioned it's COLD outside?