Just in Case

I was exposed to COVID on Monday. I wore a mask and little white gloves when I picked up the patient at the ER – just in case. I only spent 5 minutes with her but I spent a few hours with her daughter.

Tuesday, her daughter’s test came back positive. I cleaned the house. I also dusted the baseboards and cleaned the basement – just in case. I canceled practice in my home and told the worship leader I may not be at church on Sunday.

Wednesday, I made a grocery list and menus for 2 weeks – just in case. My verse was Leviticus 9:4, “…For today the Lord is going to appear to you.” CSB

I watched church online and was reminded to encourage myself with Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. There is nothing better to battle fear and worry than to sing praise to God!

Day 4 of my quarantine and I read this: Leviticus 13:11, “…the priest must pronounce him unclean. He need not quarantine him, for he is unclean.” CSB

It’s funny how I looked at things differently while under quarantine. I prepared for a disaster. Wouldn’t my finances be better if I always planned ahead and was ready for anything? How many times did I say to myself, “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today?”

I worked on several things that I have been procrastinating over. I got out the flash drive from our son’s wedding to choose pictures to purchase. (Yes, it was three years ago. Don’t judge. The flash drive was accidentally put in a drawer.) I made seven salads and ordered a credit check.

I finished the week strong. I caught up with the laundry, the reports, updated our tax sheets, cleaned the computer, backed it up, and ran a virus check. They found malware but quickly quarantined it. (That is one quarantine for which I am grateful!)

I finished my work and realized. I didn’t have one symptom! I texted the worship leader to let him know I would be there to play on Sunday. My verse today was: Leviticus 15:5, “…wash his clothes, and bathe with water, and he will remain unclean until evening.” CSB

Even though I did not contract COVID, I still had to wash my clothes, including my coat, bathe, and stay away from others.

Today I made my task list and decided to continue working as if disaster was right around the corner. David saw my list and did one large project for me because he had the day off. Woo-hoo!

I practiced and look forward to playing at church tomorrow. I realize we are incredibly lucky. Many Christians do not have the freedom to go to church. In the Bible, only the High Priest was allowed in God’s presence, once a year.

Leviticus 16:2, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he may not come whenever he wants into the holy place behind the curtain in front of the mercy seat on the ark or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.’ ”

Christian Standard Bible

We get an extra hour of sleep tonight. I encourage you to come early to church. You don’t want to miss one song because praise is your weapon against fear, worry, and sadness.

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Hindsight is 20/20

My husband ran into my trigonometry teacher at the football game last night. Mrs. W. asked why I had not been writing posts. (I felt like I forgot to turn in my homework, lol!) I didn’t plan on it. I wrote a 3-page post on Sunday, October 3rd but decided to wait until Monday to type it up.

Big mistake. Monday, I got hit with an infection that took 2 rounds of antibiotics to kill. I should have taken the time to publish it that day.

Remember me?

Sometimes, I feel forgotten when I am sick for more than a day or two. I have friends who have battled an illness for years: diabetes, heart problems, cancer, to name a few. I’m sure they feel like God has forgotten them.

God did not forget us. He not only cares for us, he cares for our pets, our food-producing animals, and the wild animals whose sightings bring joy to our hearts. He cares that your dog misses you and that you miss him. He knows you need the fresh eggs your chickens provide. He blesses us by keeping them healthy and fruitful. He knows how it warms our heart to see a doe with her fawn and the awe a multi-racked stag inspires.

Genesis 8:1, “God remembered Noah, as well as all the wildlife and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters began to subside.”

Christian Standard Bible

Another storm…

He knows about our storm. He keeps us safe in the middle of it. We don’t understand the turmoil, just as Noah didn’t understand the flood because it had never rained!

Then a different storm arises. The wind blows against our ark of safety battering it searching for any crack to seep through. Why would God allow another storm to hit us on top of the first?

We feel the wind and so does the water. The wind is there to remove the effects of the first storm. The second battle is conquering the first battle.

Battles are long. The wind blew on the ark for 150 days, see Genesis 8:3. That is almost half of a year! Noah felt the wind blowing him around but God was blowing him to a place of rest above the storm, see Genesis 8:4. The ark was still and out of the water.

Noah lived in the ark for three more months while the wind drove the water back and the sun evaporated it. He went into the ark on the 17th day of the second month in the 600th year, see Genesis 7:11. He came out of the ark on the 1st day of the first month in the 601st year, see Genesis 4:13. He slogged around in the mud until the 27th of the month when the earth dried, see Genesis 8:14.

I wish I had known…

Two years ago, I bought a diffuser. I used eucalyptus oil in it to treat my sinuses. A patch broke out under my left eye. A month later, I started my first of 13 rounds of Prednisone to halt the rash on my face. It kept coming back.

Then they found a lump at my routine mammogram that had to be removed. I was the best patient. I stayed in bed and didn’t overdo it because I had trouble seeing anything! I rejoiced when Covid-19 shut down everything. I didn’t have to face anyone. I sent pictures of my face to my doctor online and he treated me through them.

It was 18 months later before I could see my dermatologist. He pinpointed the diffuser as the source. But after years of the maximum dose of antihistamines and decongestants, I had another problem – dry eye. The tears that keep my eye lubricated dried up and the tears normally released during pain or sorrow ran constantly.

Like Noah, I had an unrelenting storm followed by a second storm, and a third (a case of Covid-19), and a fourth (a C-Diff infection). Each of these battles was over the last two years.

Looking back…

I can see how God brought good out of each. I kept trying to write but the constant wiping of my eyes was doing serious damage. After the lumpectomy, I laid in bed listening to the TV and left my eyes alone.

The Covid-19 battle showed me that I was stronger than I realized. After all of that Prednisone, I feared I had no immunity at all. Yet, I battled Covid-19 without hospitalization.

And the C-Diff? It reminded me of the importance of eating healthy. I slacked off and ate more sugar. I couldn’t stop the weight gain from the Prednisone, so why did it matter?

It did.

God remembers me. He cares enough to send fawns to nap in my backyard. I don’t have pets or livestock so he fills my yard with rabbits, squirrels, ground squirrels, and a wide variety of birds.

Napping deer
Fawns napping in my backyard.

He cares for you, too. He will bring something good out of all of your battles.

Had I known what would happen, I never would have bought that diffuser! God had Noah prepare for the year he spent in the ark. He had a hundred years to prepare, see Genesis 5:32. What would you have done differently in 2019 if you knew what was going to happen in 2020?

Yesterday, I read about Joseph being reunited with his brothers, see Genesis 43:34. This was the second year of the famine. Joseph knew the famine would last seven years.

What if we are in the second year of seven years of hardship? Would we do anything differently?

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

The Secret to Happiness

Psalms 128 is one of the chapters that I “Read Today.” It was written after the Hebrews returned from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. There was only rubble, like Ground Zero twenty years ago. The temple, major buildings, and most of the houses had been razed and burned to the ground. Their captors took everything. They had to start from scratch.

The Psalm is a “Song of Ascents” meaning it was sung as they walked up to the temple. But the temple was gone. They survived losing everything and found God was faithful.

Its 6 verses reveal the secret to happiness:

  1. Walking in the ways of the Lord.
  2. Eating what your hands worked for.
  3. A healthy wife and strong children.
  4. The blessing from the Lord.
  5. Seeing the prosperity of Jerusalem.
  6. Seeing your children’s children.

The best food I ever tasted was the vegetables that grew in my garden. I remember once planting vegetables in a flower bed. At the end of the season, I found only one carrot grew but that was the best carrot I ever tasted!

You will never understand until you have grandchildren. Your baby’s baby is the most precious person.

Verse 2 summed it up: “You will be happy, and it will go well for you.” Christian Standard Version

We think our circumstances have to be perfect before we can be happy. That is backward. God gives us joy despite our circumstances. Happiness fades; joy is eternal.

2009-2021 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa

My plan was to swim in Clear Lake and have a picnic on the beach. I imagined a game of Laser Tag or going through the Clear Lake Fire Museum, which is in walking distance to the 9/11 Steel Memorial crafted from an artifact salvaged from the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001. I thought we would cruise the lake on the Lady of the Lake, a picturesque paddlewheel.

David planned on sleeping in!

He may or may not have dreaded our last stop in Clear Lake, Iowa. He compromised by taking me shopping in Mason City and eating lunch at Pasta Bella. You can tell I am all about the bread!

Pasta Bella "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

I learned a painful lesson at Pasta Bella. When the waitress asks you if you want a few minutes, take her up on it! They had 2 specials and David ordered one of them but I am a salad girl. I ordered the salad that had artichoke hearts and other ingredients I don’t normally have at home.

The waitress asked if I wanted to add meat to my salad: chicken, salmon, or shrimp. I cook with chicken all the time and I do not care for salmon. I ordered the shrimp. It cost $8.00 extra. Yikes! I regretted spending that much money on 6 grilled, jumbo shrimp! It was very good. (After lunch we went back to the hotel and relaxed.)

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Our first destination in Clear Lake was “The Landing.” It was on the lake next to the pier where the boats dock. You could eat outside or in the shade.

The Landing "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.orgClear Lake Pier "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

David ordered the “Fish and Chips” and I ordered the “Hawaiian Chicken with Parsnip and Carrot Fries.” I love trying new foods when I eat out. (Now I know, I am not a fan of parsnips.) The food was excellent and they have live music on Friday nights.

Fish and Chips "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

While we waited for our food I took a picture of my jewelry. I was wearing a ring that was a copy of Princess Diana’s wedding ring. I remember that royal wedding. I was jealous of all the pretty things but she died so young and so tragically 20 years ago. I am glad I did not have her life.

Memory Jewelry "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

The bracelet was a gift from David’s cousin. His wife died from cancer and he shared all of her jewelry. I may not have a lot of money, but I have my health and that is everything!

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

After dinner, we went to the beach and took pictures. We enjoyed watching the antics of the kids who were there.

Clear Lake Beach "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

Then we headed to the highlight of our trip –

The Surf Ballroom!

This is where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” sang their last concert. There was a marquee that had autographed guitars all along the top of it. I took several pictures and sent them to the guitar players in our worship band – just to make them jealous.

Memorial at the Surf Ballroom "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

Surf Ballroom "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

The pictures don’t do justice to all the posters, memorabilia, instruments, and autographed photographs of all the musicians who played there over the years. You just have to go see it for yourself! Don’t miss the outside display where you can hear Buddy, Richie, and The Big Bopper each singing their top hit. (Note: these were all before my time.)

Ready for Ballroom Dancing "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

The Jan Graber Orchestra was there that night for ballroom dancing. David and I don’t dance. We shuffled through our first son’s wedding and I wanted to do better at our second son’s wedding next year. I figured in 4 hours we would figure out how to get around the dance floor without going in opposite directions!

David was not enthusiastic. We sat through the “Rumba,” the “Samba,” and the “Two-step.” (I posted updates on Facebook for my friend Paula who does know how to dance.)

When they played the song, “New York, New York,” they called for everybody to dance. We got halfway around the room when David said, “Oh, I twisted my knee!” We sat back down. He rested it for a little while and I did get to dance four more times. I think we only made it around the room once!Ballroom Dancing "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

There were couples the age of our parents and three couples in their twenties. They knew what they were doing and it was fun to watch them. We found our own rhythm and enjoyed ourselves in spite of our lack of lessons.

The couples in the booth next to us were from Ottumwa, Iowa which is about 30 miles from our home. We talked with them most of the evening. One lady was the first bookkeeper for the Area 15 AEA. We told her our daughter-in-law worked for AEA when they first married and I was a bookkeeper at a local preschool and daycare for 18 years.

At 8:30 p.m. some of the older couples started going home. That was all the excuse David needed. It was starting to feel like Saturday night at Mom’s watching Lawrence Welk. (Who also played at the Surf Ballroom.) We snuck out because I had a cannoli calling my name. We bought desserts at Pasta Bella and saved them for after the dance.

Cannoli and Italian Cake from Pasta Bella "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

Monday, on the way home, we filled up the van and used our reward money from our BP Credit Card, 20 gallons for $2.18. That made up for the shrimp!

Thanks BP Rewards Card "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

Of course, if you make your husband go ballroom dancing, you will have to make one more stop before going home – “Guitar Center.”

David in Guitar Center "An Evening in Clear Lake, Iowa" frugalfish.org

My Frugalfish tips are:

  1. Be flexible with your plans; you might miss a few attractions.
  2. Take your time ordering. That last-minute addition could really cost you.
  3. Schedule in times of rest. It is a vacation, not a marathon.
  4. Enjoy what you do have and don’t compare yourself to others.
  5. Cherish your good health.
  6. Dance to your own steps and enjoy the music.
  7. Take time to get to know the people around you.
  8. Always get dessert!
  9. Save your rewards for your vacation.
  10. Be sure to stop at places your spouse would enjoy.

I was lucky, my husband made the weekend all about me! He’s a keeper.

Next week, on the first day of fall, I will give you a “Frugalfish Fall Home Tour.”

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Coping with Allergies

Ragweed pollen reached Iowa last week. When I got the pollen alert from the weather.com allergy tracker, I went right to the library and stuffed a grocery bag full of books. I won’t go back for two months. In fact, I will limit the times I leave the house until we have a killing frost.

The local Ragweed plants do not have to bloom for me to have problems. The pollen can blow in from Missouri and leave me in misery.

After I double the dose of my antihistamine, I made changes in three areas:

My bed. 

I spend one-third of my day in bed. I cannot afford to have any dust or pollen in the bed. On the days I venture out, I shower and wash my hair before going to bed. I sanitize all the bedding in hot water once a week and I use allergy covers. I also air the sheets for an hour each day, see “Allergies? Wait to Make Your Bed.”

Remove any gunk.

An effective way to remove the pollen is with a sinus rinse or Neti pot. I use “Johnson’s Baby Soothing Vapor Bath,” “Vicks Vapor Rub,” and a “Vicks Vapor Inhaler” to keep the air moving in my nose and sinuses. I gargle hot, salted water, take a tablespoon of locally grown honey, and use “Halls Menthol Cough Drops” to soothe my irritated throat. When it affects my lungs, I rely on prescription inhalers and a nebulizer. I found a neat trick a few years ago to remove the buildup in my eyes and eyelashes, see “This is Not a Shot Glass.”

Clean Everything.

Each day I spend a few minutes cleaning one room with a damp washcloth. I don’t want to move dust to the floor, I want to remove it. It’s amazing how much dust is lurking in corners and behind things. When I have an allergy flare, I have to play detective and go down the list of triggers until I find the culprit, see “Christmas Eyes.”

So…how does coping with my allergies save me money? If I let a flare go, I develop sinusitis, then bronchitis, and eventually pneumonia. I want to stop it in its tracks before it stops me in mine!

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Tricking My Sweet Tooth

I had a high metabolism. I could eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. Life was good until I went to the dentist.

“Which is worse on my teeth, Mountain Dew or Hershey’s Kisses?”

“Both!”

All the fun ended when I hit that birthday beginning with a 4. The metabolism slowed down, and even worse, I had to take regular rounds of Prednisone. When you take steroids, you don’t feel hungry but starving!

I will never forget the day I went to the doctor and the nurse told me I lost 5 pounds. I replied, “It only took 10 years.”

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

My mom loved to bake. We had dessert at lunch and at dinner – or is that dinner and supper. Anyway, I liked having something sweet at the end of a meal.

When I stepped down from my job and my clothes no longer fit, I had two reasons to give up Mountain Dew: 1) I couldn’t afford it, and 2) I couldn’t afford new clothes. I switched to sweet tea instead.

I took my coffee with 2 scoops of sugar and 2 creamers for years. I cut back there by using a dollop of whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of sugar. (There are natural sugars in the cream.)

Now that I had my drinking under control . . . ( No, wait, I never did acquire a taste for alcohol – just sugar) . . . I decided to curb my desserts. I switched to eating dessert at lunch and a few pips of a Hershey’s candy bar at supper. That took self-control that I didn’t really have.

I started making homemade trail mix. There are enough M & M’s in it to satisfy my sweet tooth and I measure it out, one-fourth a cup, in snack size bags for portion control.

My biggest weakness – well after chocolate – is ice cream. I loved having a big bowl at lunch, preferably on top of a banana! I started getting ice cream cones and reduced my consumption by two-thirds.

I was also buying yogurt, but it would spoil before I could get it all eaten up. I came up with a plan. I scooped one-fourth cup of Yogurt into muffin tins and froze them.

Freezing Yogurt in Muffin Tins "Tricking My Sweet Tooth" frugalfish.org

Then I removed them from the pan and placed them in a plastic ziplock bag.

Individual Frozen Yogurt "Tricking My Sweet Tooth" frugalfish.org

I put one in a bowl in the refrigerator 3 hours before lunch to partially thaw. Then I make a frozen yogurt cone! It is much cheaper freezing it myself and healthier than eating ice cream.

Homemade Frozen Yogurt Cone "Tricking My Sweet Tooth" frugalfish.org

Last night I made David some green tea. I brewed it on the stove and my son suggested I add honey to it. That could be my next step!

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Resolved: More Weight, Food, Spending; Less Organizing, Travel, Reading

You read that title correctly. My resolution this year is to eat more food, gain weight, and spend more. I also plan on less organizing, travel, and reading.

More Weight

I can thank Jenny Kuhn for this resolution. Here is a picture of Jenny and me, with her daughter Kathryn, around 2005.

Jenny, Katie, & I "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

She moved to Arkansas and opened Jenny’s Gym. Last October, she competed in the World Powerlifting Alliance competition in Portland, OR. She is now the WPA-APA World Powerlifting record holder in the squat and the deadlift for the 45-49 age group in the 132# weight class. She also broke the previously held accumulative world record (squat+bench+deadlift), see here.

Jenny lifting in her gym "Resolved . . " frugalfish.org

 

Jenny regularly posts clips of her clients lifting. Most of the clips are of middle-aged women who are strength training. Sometimes she posts informational clips. When she explained the proper way to do a push-up, it changed my life.Jenny Kuhn "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

I usually tried doing push-ups from my knees, but that does not use all the muscles correctly. You need the same form as you would use to plank. Now I do them off of the kitchen counter and will move to the ottoman when my arms are stronger. If I do not keep control of my arms, I bump my forehead! I know I am using the correct form now.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, I plan on gaining weight this year. I want to gain muscle, not fat, and will concentrate on that instead of my bathroom scale!

Eat More

For the past few years, I would weigh myself on Monday and plan my meals based on that number. It didn’t work! I would gain a pound and then try to cut way back on my food. Of course, that pound stubbornly stayed.

This year I am going to work my body and feed it what it needs. I will eat bigger servings of salad, vegetables, and more meat. I never have been a big bread eater, but my sweet tooth is my downfall. That is where I will cut back.

More Spending

I am a saver and try to buy everything on sale. That is not always possible. This year, I want to buy things when I need them and not do without. I have lived under the poverty level during childhood and as a mother. I have no problem telling the difference between a need, a want, and a desire.

In my wallet now are 2 months worth of allowance! I also have a note of a few things I need to order. (Hello, sports bra!) I have watched the sales for over a year and have the money. I just need to get online and order it!

Less Organizing

Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, says over and over, “You can’t organize clutter.” But I can, and that is the problem! I organize things that I should send to Goodwill or pass on to family members.

There is a box with “Graduation” written on it in my pantry. My youngest graduated in 2015. I am hanging on to it for my sister-in-law, Melinda. I need to just give it to her, even though Brayden doesn’t graduate for another year.

Less Travel

I will no longer feel guilty for staying at home. There are many opportunities to go places and do things, but if I have to take a round of Prednisone to go, it is just not worth it! (Or worse, go without Prednisone and then fight a flare for two weeks.) I don’t care that I only go out 3 times a week for four hours. I have so much I love to do right here at home.

I know my Facebook page is boring, but I refuse to compare myself to others. I will travel vicariously with my friends. (Sorry, Jill, I have no desire to go clear up to the Arctic Circle. Enjoy your trip!)

I really enjoy the posts from Australia on the travel blog, outan’about.com. It was interesting reading about celebrating Christmas during their summer!

Less Reading

I can speed read. It is a blessing and a curse. I would normally go to the library and fill a large bag with 18 books every other month. (No, that is not a typo; it is eighteen books.) We have a great library that is always getting new books and the community buys books in memory of loved ones.

Obviously, I don’t watch TV at night, in fact, I will only watch a movie once. My family will put in a movie, and if I have already seen it, I go to bed and pick up a book. I can read a 300-page book in 2 or 3 days. The problem is, I get close to the renewal date and I speed read through my stash. That is not as enjoyable as slowly reading, savoring, and even taking quotes from books.

This year, I will only check out 8 books at a time and will make sure one of those books is nonfiction. I am on chapter 2 of the book, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. There are many things I would like to do, but I get bogged down in laundry and cooking. I want to make those tasks more efficient to allow time for fun stuff!

Smarter Faster Better book "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

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De-Stress Christmas

My family has tried to guess my Christmas theme for a few weeks now. Only one has been able to guess it! It is so tricky, that none of my friends have figured it out!

Who has time for riddles?

I know. It is such a busy time of year, who has time for riddles? We want to enjoy the holiday season and there never is enough time. Here is a secret to releasing some of the stress you are feeling.

Put it away!

I had my daughter’s quilt squares spread out on the dining room table for weeks. It is like a jigsaw puzzle that we have been unable to complete. I folded them up and put them in the closetQuilt Squares "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

I planned to finish painting these figurines last Christmas. I left them out thinking I would work on them when I had a free evening. The problem is, I am doing Christmas related activities during the evenings! I put them in a box and slid it under a deskUnfinished Figurines "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

This book was due back at the library and I spent a couple of hours trying to finish it before its due date. I didn’t get it done. Instead, I wrote the name of the book, the author, and the last page I had read on a note. I put the note in a drawer by my bed and returned the book. I will check it out in January when I have plenty of cold evenings to spend reading and drinking hot chocolate. Open Book "De-stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

This is a pillow cover I planned to finish by this Christmas. I spent years working on this. First I embroidered the picture and made a pillow out of it. The pillow was too small. I took it apart and put a larger pillow in it. Then the lace laid flat. I wanted more lace! I ripped the lace and ribbon off and added more. The lace is ready to baste down and then I will sew the back of the pillow to it. But it will go in the closet with my other mending projects that will wait until after Christmas. Unfinished Christmas Pillow "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

The last box is full of donations for Goodwill. I plan on dropping it off. I have presents hidden in closets and drawers. I could use the space this box is taking up for my wrapping paper box that is full of gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, and bows! Goodwill Donations "De-Stress Christmas" frugalfish.org

Take some of the stress out of Christmas. Hide those projects!!!! Then if you find you have a few minutes, sit and admire your Christmas tree. Or try to guess my Christmas theme! Good Luck!

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Allergies? Wait to Make Your Bed

I make my bed every day. It is a habit I started as a young girl. It is not that I enjoy the task, in fact, at one point, I made a rule, “Last man out makes the bed.” My husband was not amused because he was the only man in the bed!

I have also tried making half of the bed. I would make my half when I got up. I am an early riser. (Yesterday I woke up at 4:21 am and I don’t even know why!) I thought I was efficient making my half then. David started telling people I made the bed with him still in it!

Then I read an article from weather.com, “13 Weird Things Making Your Allergies Worse.” Number 2 on the list was “Making Your Bed in the Morning.”

“Indoor allergens like dust mites thrive in the cozy confines of bedding and mattresses. That means that the bed is their sanctuary and at night — as your skin sheds and your body sweats — moisture keeps them alive and well. By making your bed in the morning, you’re tucking them into their dream home. Literally.”     weather.com

After reading this article, I started folding the sheet and bedspread back to let it air out. I have noticed my eyes are not as red and itchy. I’m sure it is because the dust mites have no moist place to live.Unmade bed

How does that save me money? I have not had to use as much medication and I have avoided a bad reaction that necessitated a visit to the doctor.

If you happened to stop by my home before noon, my bed will be unmade and I will be in my exercise clothes. But, that is a story for another post!

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Saving on Surgery

“Your gallbladder is inflamed, with over 20 stones, full of fluid, infection, and possibly gangrene.”

He went on to tell me it has been sick for over 10 years, but it was hard to concentrate because I was medicated and he looked like Santa Claus! It turned out he is Santa Claus, and had his picture taken with over 400 children last year…

…and he is married to the surgeon who would perform the operation!

(Yes, I live in a small town. My cousin’s wife is one of the surgical nurses.)

The 35-minute surgery took 2 hours. He told me it was like picking up a baseball with a pair of tweezers. My sister thought I was going to die.

(Spoiler alert – I didn’t.)

I learned a few things along the way:

  1. Take the medication: They made me drink something to get my bowels to move because the regular medications didn’t have any effect on me. I had a toddler visiting and she noticed the pretty button on the bottom of the bed. She pushed it, and as I went up, so did the medication. But I drank every concoction they prescribed.
  2. Limit painkillers: A fever forced me to remain in the hospital the second day. My system still was not functioning, even after 4 doses of Milk of Magnesia, stool softeners, and 2 suppositories. The painkillers grind your digestive system to a halt. The second day I stopped taking them. I stayed still and napped as much as possible. When I got home, I took two and went right to sleep.
  3. Fruit is your friend: I ordered fruit, fruit juice, and fruit pie to try to help my system naturally. At the suggestion of my youngest son, I finally asked for prune juice! Three hours later, my body started working again and I was able to finally go home. I continued drinking prune juice, (gag) until I no longer needed the painkillers.
  4. Keep your sense of humor: 1) Before they rolled me off for surgery, they asked my birthday. I subtracted 20 years. My oldest son quipped, “Yeah, she was 5 when I was born.” 2) I told my regular doctor that the 20 stones each weighed a pound. I wasn’t really overweight…it was the stones.
  5. Eat: I ordered a salmon sandwich and it tasted like Spam. My daughter-in-law kept pushing me to eat one more bite. When my husband came on his lunch hour, he bought the salmon sandwich. I sent her a text, “David bought the Spam sandwich!” She replied with emoticons of chicken leg = something brown = house. When I asked her about the “no-bake cookies,” she explained: food = poop = going home.
  6. Walk: My first walk was short and slow. My second walk was longer and I passed two older men. They seemed to speed up. I don’t know if it was from competition or they were hoping my gown would fly open!
  7. Nap: Our hospital has a quiet time when they ask visitors to leave. Since you are going to be awakened throughout the night, it’s a good idea to sleep when you can during the day. Rest is the best prescription.
  8. Get all the prescriptions: I had been home over the weekend when the pharmacy called to say my meds were ready. I didn’t recognize the name of the doctor and called the clinic. It turned out the infection was antibiotic resistant. They tried two different antibiotics in the hospital, but when the final blood test results came back, they realized it would take a different one to kill it.
  9. Accept help: My family and church members brought over meals. That took the pressure off of my husband who was waiting on me hand and foot. (Those were his words, not mine.)
  10. Stop: Don’t do any regular activities until the doctor releases you. Delegate anything and everything. I wanted to post on this blog the day I got my stitches out, but the doctor restricted me to the couch for another week. Take it slow.

The best way to save on surgery is to have an outpatient procedure. That means you have to take care of things right away. Don’t wait until it is infected and an emergency situation.

If that is not an option…

DO WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERS!

Your goal is to go home as soon as possible.

Some of my Get Well cards included original art!

Some of my Get Well cards included original art!

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