Monday, October 30, 2017

Sidetracked By Life


Foggy foggy day at the marsh
We were supposed to be on the road heading south, but yet again the trip got sidetracked. This time it's by my suddenly very crappy health. I don't know why, but I have something that I have diagnosed as GERD via my relentless online sleuthing. This is a true painful burning fist in the chest bummer. Now I wonder about every bit of food I put in mouth. I wonder if I'm eating too much, eating too spicy, eating too acidic, eating too much chocolate (is there such a thing?), drinking too much wine (seriously I drink less than a full glass of wine that I DILUTE!)? I haven't figured out the triggers yet, but I'm definitely working on it. And, on top of that nightmare, I also seem to have picked up a nice little virus when I spent the morning at the hospital waiting for Roger to have his most-excellent colonoscopy. Scratchy throat, persistent cough, lots of sneezing and whining about everything.
Teasel with drops
I spoke with my mom and coughed my way through a conversation about why we weren't coming down, yet again. She said, "Please don't come until you are COMPLETELY better." I said, "Okay, mom." We had a delightful conversation. I asked her if she received the card I sent with the photo of Roger's homemade wooden sun. She said she had. She told me when we do come down she wanted Roger to sign the card as the "artist." We had a good laugh about that. I told her how much we miss her and love her. She said she knew. She said "Our whole family loves each other. We're a bunch of nuts!" We laughed about that too. I love laughing with her. It makes my day, especially when I'm feeling as crappy as I am right now.
Sweet potatoes
I had a different post partially written for today. Then I got sidetracked looking for family photos to post with it. It's about my older brother Marc who I hardly ever write about here. He lives in Virginia on his beautiful 80 acres where he gardens madly, raises cows and chickens, and cooks homegrown organic everything. The thing that inspired me was a photo he sent with a some of the 322 pounds of sweet potatoes he had harvested. It made me think about how he's lived on the east coast 3000 miles away all these past 45 years, and we hardly ever get to see him except for those rare full family gatherings. He's not much of a traveler and neither am I. But there is something about family love that truly spans the distance of time and space. So, expect to see that post in the near future.

Until then, I'm going to watch what I eat and hope for the best. Hey universe, I sure wouldn't mind a break, thank you.

39 comments:

  1. Well, I hope both of your conditions get resolved soon and you can get back to your travel plans.

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    1. paullamb-- I hope so too. We sure would like to see my mom.

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  2. Ugh, digestive issues. I’m the self-proclaimed queen of digestive issues. I’ve had them all. I would never try to diagnose anyone, but I will say this - in my case, it’s always stress related. Oh, and I’m not surprised to hear that you picked something up from the hospital. They are the grossest places on earth. Well, hospitals, pediatric offices, and preschools. I wish you a speedy recovery.

    Your mother sounds like she is doing well right now, which is so nice to hear. I’m glad you get to talk and laugh with her like you do. And WOW… I’ve never seen that many sweet potatoes. mmmmm…. I can’t imagine having 80 acres. Does your brother sell what he grows to local markets?

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    1. Sharon-- I have never had digestive issue before, so this is really coming out of nowhere for me. I love spicy food, but I have a really good low-fat healthy diet. It's hard to figure out where this is all coming from. I am usually very attentive about washing my hands neurotically in medical environments, I can't figure out how I got sick like this.
      It's always good to talk with my mom when she is feeling well. It makes my day. I don't think my brother sells his potatoes. He gives them away and stores LOTS for eating.

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  3. Wow, sorry for the health issues and hope they are better soon. It is a wonderful thing to have a family that loves each other. :)

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    1. Rain-- Thank you for your good wishes. And yes, it really is a wonderful thing to have such family love.

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  4. Hope you feel better soon and that you and roger can then go forward with your trip to visit your mother.

    I know that burning fist in the chest feeling, too. Good sleuthing, robin andrea. The first time it happened several years ago, I wondered if I was having a heart attack. Once I found my particular triggers, it ceased to be a problem. I completely eliminated all the suggested triggers for a period of time and then tried them again, one at time, with dramatic recurrence of GERD when I added the triggering foods. A science experiment. I have a scientific leaning (-:

    It was at this time in October 1999 that I was spending a month living in Arcata. I clearly remember some very dense fog during that month. Beautiful fog photo. It's been foggy here, too, with lots of life's sidetracks. It's been awhile since I posted anything on my blog.

    Love the photo with your brother and the sweet potatoes. I eat plenty of sweet potatoes every day. Not a trigger for GERD! Whenever I have to eliminate a food, I find that I discover a new and delicious and satisfying food to add to my menu.

    Sending love!

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    1. am-- I think we'll probably wait until I'm feeling well to head south. I just made an appointment to see my doc this afternoon. That's how shitty I feel. I've been eliminating triggers and keeping track of the results. It's only been a few days, so not much to report yet.
      I have noticed that you haven't posted on your blog in quite a while. Always hoping all is going well for you. Thank you so much for your good thoughts.

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  5. I loved your conversation with your mom. Those are so special.

    Hope you are soon recovered. Meanwhile, get plenty of rest and take care.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- Those conversations absolutely mean the world to me. I love them so much. Thank you for your good thoughts.

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  6. I love your teasel photo, and that is a seriously impressive haul of sweet potatoes! Does he sell them at a market?

    I'm sorry about the GERD. That has got to be a drag. (Mostly because of the diluted wine!) I hope you feel better soon and get to visit your mom. At least your had a fun, positive conversation with her.

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    1. Steve-- I thought of you when I saw that teasel out there at the marsh!
      I've actually been diluting wine for quite a couple of years. We noticed that the alcoholic content of wine has increased considerably over the years. So, we dilute it a bit, 1/4 c of water to a cup of wine. It's really not bad. My brother doesn't sell his potatoes, but he does give them away and store a lot for meals for months.

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  7. Bummer. I know you were so looking forward to visiting with your Mom so your being sick is double edged. However, it was neat that you had such a delightful conversation with her.
    Hope you can get a handle on that GERD. Be well soon.

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    1. Patti-- We're hoping to make the journey soon. I have a doctor appointment today to see what's going on. Wish me luck!

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  8. Sorry to hear about the GERD thing. I'm happy that your mother was able to give you some comfort over the phone. What a treasure it is, a mother's love.

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    1. Colette-- That's it... she gave me some comfort. I really needed it because I felt so guilty about not being up to a trip south yet. Yes, absolutely a treasure.

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  9. Welcome to my world.
    I suggest a week of very plain food, no coffee, no black tea, no citrus, no spices etc. Basically no nothing.
    Instead: plain porridge (water and oats, boiled), mashed plain potatoes and plain toast. Plain whatever else. It will all taste like heaven if it stops the acid pain, believe me.
    Chamomile tea and a hot water bottle, sleep on your left (helps gastric emptying, I know it opens to the right but there's a loop . . .).

    If things are really awful, get yourself a proton pump inhibitor from the chemist, take it for a week to reduce the acid build up.

    If things still don't improve, get tested for helicobacter pylori, you'll be surprised how common that one is. Treatment is straightforward and 99% successful.

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    1. Sabine-- I'm not sure I could commit to that menu. I think if I had pain everyday as bad as the pain I had on Wednesday and Friday, I would give it try. The GERD doesn't happen all the time, and especially now that I'm attempting to be careful. If things get worse (which I so hope they don't) I'll take this path of plain food. My twin brother thinks I may have a hiatal hernia (something he has as well). Thank you for your insight. It's good to have support like this and a solid plan.

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  10. Wow, that's some haul of sweet potatoes! I don't usually have GI issues, but did a few times over the past year and have just very rarely before that. With me, I suspect it is a combination of stress and probably from disruption to my usual way of eating. That happened a lot last year. The only thing that I do and that does work for me is to sleep with extra pillows stacked so that I am sleeping with my upper body well elevated. That does really work for me when I'm having acid reflux type pain. If I sleep lying flat during a problem time, the acid really does a number on me. My dad had the same thing when he got older. He actually put some blocks under the head of the bed to raise it up. I don't bother as it isn't that persistent with me. If you really have problems and it doesn't stop, get checked out for a hiatus hernia (often missed). My mom's sister had that and went for years being told it was probably just her nerves.

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    1. bev-- I've been sitting up for 2-3 hours after dinner. That really does seem to help. My twin brother has a hiatal hernia and has had issues with GERD for years. He has been telling me all of the tricks he tries too. I'm hopeful that I'll be able manage this. The bummer is having to do that while dealing with this virus. Ugh. I'm wiped out. Thank you for sharing your stories.

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  11. Robin, sorry to hear you are suffering. I hope it resolves quickly. I hate digestive track issues.

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    1. isabelita-- The doc said I have a virus, which I suspect I do. She told me that half the staff at the clinic was out with it yesterday. So, I guess it's going around big time. The digestive stuff is teaching me a lot about what I eat, when, and how much.

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  12. I don't want to create any more fear than necessary, but I hope you can take care of the reflux quickly. Long-term reflux that was not identified quickly enough caused lung problems for my father, who aspirated stomach acids. Ever since we learned that it was a fairly common problem, my brother and I have been paranoid about any little hint of it.

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    1. Mark-- I'm trying to figure out the best approach to this. I was hoping to avoid any of the Rx and OTC meds that have been offered. Many people in my family have GERD, so they have been providing lots of insight and info. It is a total BUMMER in every way. Hope you and your brother don't get it.

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  13. My attitude is try & forget about your problems they always work out., I had a health check for work the other day and found my blood pressure was high, went off for the weekend and left my blood pressure tablets behind. Lucky on the Monday I was due to have it checked at the Hospital, it was low, lower that I've known it in a long time. I was happy and I got some more pills to boot so things worked out.

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    1. Bill-- It must have a wonderful relaxing weekend! I'm still sick, but managed a walk to the co-op today to do a little food shopping. Just being outside helped.

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  14. I grew sweet potatoes when I lived in Mississippi. Next to okra (which reached seven or eight feet in height so fast that one could almost watch it grow, and which had large, yellow hibiscus flowers), I considered it my most beautiful garden plant.

    I'm so sorry you've been unwell.

    The last time you visited my blog, you mentioned living in Eugene in 1980 and '81. We came here in '86, and have seen it grow from a decidedly alternative minded hippie town to a city of maybe 300,000 (metro area) that has lost its uniqueness. It's still not a bad place to live, though, except for wet winters and dry summers. The temps aren't bad, but the precipitation is either too much or not enough, depending upon the season.

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    1. Snowbrush-- I would love to grow sweet potatoes, but in our climate here on the California north coast, it ain't gonna happen. It's been a long time since I've been to Eugene. I think what's happening there is very much like my other favorite old hometowns of Santa Cruz and Boulder. Popular, over-populated, and beautiful.

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  15. A simple wedge pillow under my mattress solve my sore throat problem and I sleep better. All my other symptoms improved also.

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    1. Zed-- I've reading about that online, the wedge pillow. I may have to give that a try. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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    2. Have you tried them? Sweet potatoes are morning glories, so if morning glories prosper, then sweet potatoes should prosper. Okra is another matter because it needs months of heat. Although I love the vegetable breaded and stir-fried, I would grow it for its beauty alone if it did well here.

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    3. Might you have mild sleep apnea?

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    4. Snowbrush-- we haven't tried growing Sweet potatoes here. Our soil is very clay and we grow almost everything in raised beds.
      I don't think I have sleep apnea. I think it's just a bit of wicked heartburn. Still dealing with the virus, but it seems to be resolving.

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    5. Hey, Robin, I dont't know if you paid much attention to soil when you lived here, but it ranges from clay to sandy within an area of a few miles (I lived here for over twenty years before I learned that). As for the sleep apnea question, I was referring to Zed's comment. I do have sleep apnea--severe sleep apnea--and early on, I did imagine that I got at least a little relief from raising the head of my bed, so when Zed said he does that, I realized that it could be for digestive reasons, but that it's also something that people with sleep apnea try.

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    6. Just raise the top of your bed by putting two bricks under the top end legs. I did that, the bricks are about 8 cm high and that way the entire bed is slightly slanted but remains level.
      That way the acid cannot flow back when you lie down and you really don't notice that the bed isn't entirely horizontal.

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  16. Luckily, I've rarely had GERD until the last year or two, and I usually know my triggers. I don't blame you for not wanting to jump on the H2 or PPI bandwagon. If you've not already tried Tums, you might want to consider it. Pretty harmless and great as a calcium source. The double pillow and/or elevating the head of the bed is good too, but a better solution is no food or drink a few hours before going to bed. Best of luck, and I very much enjoy your blog!

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    1. SparePartsandPics-- I started thinking about Tums today. Just to have around in case of a flare up. I've been very careful, particularly in not laying down for three hours past dinner. That seems to help quite a bit. Also, I stopped doing my evening exercises, which required a lot of bending. Not a good GERD thing at all. Nice to see you here, and I appreciate your kind words.

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  17. I'm very late in responding here! Yes, GERD is painful, not merely a bother. I have actually aspirated a few times in my sleep - nothing like stomach acid in your lungs! I cannot image that you have GERD (but I believe you). You eat so well, small portions, and you don't drink a lot of alcohol. (FUCK YOU, GAWD) No doubt you have read some people suggest no spicy acidic foods while others say you need MORE acidic foods. Hell if I know. When I drink coffee it actually helps, much to my doctor's surprise.

    I can just hear your mom saying "We're all nuts" and both of you laughing your assess off. That's the Chanins that I know and love.

    Perhaps you and your brother get along well because you live so far apart and don't see each other much! That can happen. Not a bad thing, just a family thing.

    Hope your virus resolves soon so you can head down south. Take it easy, my friend.

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    1. Tara-- Well, I did diagnose myself, so who knows if it's GERD. I've been paying a lot of attention to not laying down after dinner for 3 hours, and as I mentioned above I've stopped doing my evening exercises which required quite bit of bending around the stomach. I know we don't drink much alcohol, and if you really want to laugh, we have been diluting our wine for years now, and can't even finish a diluted bottle in two nights. We're such lightweights it's gotten pretty funny.
      I've been having the most wonderful conversations with mom. She doesn't make much sense, and she mixes up her nouns, but her heart is as loving and connected as ever. Thank you for your good wishes, my friend.

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