Still Sick…

And it looks like I’m not going to be baking bread for a long, long time, if ever.    I have what’s called “bile reflux.”  Which means I have massive amounts of bile leaking into my stomach.  Bile is extremely alkaline.  Gastric juices are extremely acidic.  This creates the usual reaction when alkaline and acid are mixed.

Supposedly the “best” diet for this fruits and veggies.  True to form (my digestive system has never been “normal”) fruits and most veggies are precisely what I can’t eat.  And grains, other than cooked oats, aren’t working either.

Yet to keep reading and commenting on what others write, I have to blog about something…

A few weeks ago there was a silly question on the TV game show called “Family Feud.”  The question was, “If dogs could blog, what would they blog about?”  The things my husband and I came up with were as silly as the question!

So what say you?  Shall I start a new blog, written from my dog’s point of view?  Our dogs (we have two) are our children, and are very different from each other.  Both are “found” dogs.  Daisy arrived at our door about 10 years ago.  She’s a devout hunter of rodents, is always alert, and very particular about sleeping under the covers of our bed.  Jack is definitely not a hunter — he likes to chase and be chased (something even the squirrels have figured out.)  It’s not at all unusual to see him being chased by a squirrel — or even a big rabbit.  Jack arrived when a man threw him out of a pickup truck, fortunately he was young enough to survive and not break any bones — Jack is now almost 3 years old, and tries to live within 1 foot of my husband at all times, unless he’s gotten a thorn in his paw, in which case he want me, and only me, to fix it.

So what do you say?  Shall I start another blog as a dog?

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The Day After Christmas

Again I’ve been gone a long time. For the same reason: I’m sick. I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy on the 22nd, and, as per usual, they didn’t find anything they expected to find. Instead they discovered my stomach, duodenum and the upper part of my small intestine is full of ulcers caused by bile (AKA gall). Interesting since I had my gallbladder out almost 3 years ago…  So there is more to be done, and, in the meantime, I’m supposed to avoid grains…  Which puts a damper on my bread baking.

Though something else happened this Christmas.  I found myself missing my family of origin, and the way we celebrated Christmas — without being in denial about the hell that was then, and without dreaming that “this time it would  have been different.”  Christmas was both a time of great danger and of great joy in my original family.  It was dangerous because my father and mother could both be quite violent.  The joy came from all the new stuff, and the old traditions.

The old traditions started long, long before the Christmas season began.  I had two much older siblings, and the three of us had a rule that our Christmas presents to each other had to cost less than 10 cents.  That took a lot of planning and imagination.  One year my brother saved Coke bottle caps for a whole year, punched a hole in each one, and threaded it onto a heavy piece of string.  By the next Christmas there was a 8 foot “necklace” of Coke bottle caps for my sister.  Another year he made me a Viking War ship (that I still have) out of a 10 cent sheet of thin balsa wood, with carved sticks for the the dragon front,masts and shields, and braided white thread for the ropes.  (His gifts were always the most creative.)  I made my sister beaded jewelry (that she never wore) except one year when I raided a wild goose nest in Spring and carefully cut the eggs in half, waterproofing the eggshells with melted wax crayons inside and out and made a hanging “garden” mobile out of them.  Unfortunately one of the plants I put in the mobile was poison ivy from the woods, but I also had marsh marigolds in bloom, and several others.  Everyone else in the family was allergic to poison ivy, so my mobile was banished to my room.  But I liked it.  Anyhow, sometimes our Christmas gifts to each other didn’t work out very well, but we all put a lot into making them.

On Christmas Eve, assuming there were no implosions from my parents, we always sat in front of our fireplace, with the Christmas tree behind us, and my father read Charles Dickens’  A Christmas Carol aloud, all the way through.  We had a rare and wonderfully illustrated copy, though I don’t remember the illustrator.  One year my siblings rebelled and we read The Other Wiseman by  Henry van Dyke.  And that year my mother, rather than my father participated in reading.  (My parents avoided each other as much as possible, even just reading Christmas stories.)

Actually everyone except me, and sometimes my brother,  avoided my father as much as possible.  In many ways we were two separate families living under one roof; Dad and me, and my mother, brother, and sister.  In the half century plus, I learned why this was so.   And yet, thinking of Christmases past this year, it didn’t hurt to remember.  I loved my father, no matter how many times he literally tried to kill me.

And, in a very strange way, that was my Christmas gift this year.  One of my friends who was also severely abused, calls one of her perps, “my favorite perp.”  I’ve finally admitted my father is my favorite perp.  Yes, my body is covered in scars he inflicted, but, contrary to belief, “stick and stones will break my bone, but words…”  Words seem to live on forever and hurt much more…  By some miracle, I’ve learned to truly forgive my father.  Yet, at the moment, I only feel very sorry for my mother and sister.

I’ve always loved my brother, and he’s the only one alive now, thank God!

A long pause – for a variety of reasons.

It’s been a while since I baked any bread, but I definitely haven’t given up!  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my health isn’t the best, but recently it’s been one thing after the other. First I started coughing blood from my lungs, which instantly means the Center for Disease Control automatically takes over your life. Even if you only cough blood for 6 hours, if you go to the hospital the CDC will force you to live in total isolation, complete with precautionary Hazmat Gear (even plastic, disposable stethoscopes!) until you can prove you aren’t contagious. It’s awfully hard to prove you don’t have a contagious disease. And, it turns out, insurance doesn’t cover most of it…  Thanks to some help from my family we aren’t quite broke, but financially we’re stressed, which leaves me quite depressed.

When I came home from the hospital I was very weak from the testing, and all four of the major veins in my arms had “blown” (broken, popped, or had too many needles pushed through them.)  Which left my hands hurting and numb from lack of blood flow.  It’s happened before.  I have very poor blood flow from a genetically based disease called “peripheral arterial disease.”  Usually the problems caused by a blown vein goes away in just a few weeks after the last IV is removed (at least in my arms…  My legs already have so little blood flow my legs and feet are always extremely painful.)  This time it still hasn’t gone away and both hands are so full of pins and needles it makes typing a problem, still I was coping, more or less – until my Crohn’s disease started acting up, and I need a CAT scan with contrast … contrast that requires a very good vein that I don’t have, so it suddenly became necessary to at least discuss having a permanent shunt installed, but who’s going to install the shunt, how can they put me asleep to do it, and what specific type of shunt to install?  And the problems go on and on…  Various doctors have said they’ll get back to me – but no one has, and I’m in no mood to push anything that will cost us more money that we don’t have.

Which, when I think about it, means I’m the cause of my own misery.  So it’s time to kick myself in the ass and get up and do something!  It’s time to get back to baking, back to living.  And it’s definitely time to quit feeling sorry for myself.  Enough!  Enough!  I intend to live as fully as possible until I die – and I’m not dead yet!

Thank you for permitting me to whine on your shoulder.  I’ll be back!