Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu...

My cousins wife called me this morning to see if I wanted to meet her at the theater to watch The Dark Knight again and then go to Mobo's for sushi, today was the first day I ever went to Mobo's and did not order sushi and I was not disappointed.  I ordered one of those Japanese boxes and they put a little bit of everything in there.

When I came home my house smell wonderful, Heather was cooking in the kitchen.  She is going to be very busy at work until Monday so she was making a bunch of dishes to hold me over, she is always so thoughtful.  Tonight for dinner she made Chicken Cordon Blue, zucchini and green beans and roasted red potatoes and for dessert she'd made cheese, Apple and onion wraps.  She also made some beef stew, sauce or raviolis and sausage, chicken salad, a couple of her great wraps... so much stuff I cannot remember.

Pretty much yesterday and today I was playing phone tag with Dr. Martinalli trying to get some pills for Brodie.  I finally got hold of her just that I went to bed so she is going to leave them at the front desk so I can pick them up tomorrow morning.

Wound care Center...

Sunday was a real relaxing day, I was exhausted.  My body is not used to staying up in the chair 14 to 16 hours a day but I would and will do it again if given the opportunity.

Yesterday was my first appointment at the wound care Center and everybody was so nice and so knowledgeable.  I always dread when I have to transfer out of my chair for any reason but they really knew what they were doing.  They gave me some new ideas and some new products and the prescription for a Roho seat cushion because the doctor did not like the J2 deep cushion that I have on my chair now.  I also had some blisters around my SP tube probably because of rubbing and my scoliosis brace so he gave me some skin barrier pads to try.  I got home and Heather brought over some vegetable crapes with a cream sauce and made some brown rice and some guacamole, it sure was delicious.

Today after I got up I had Susanna take my van to get washed, it had not been washed since I moved here and I was embarrassed to let anybody see it.  When I lived in San Jose I got it washed about every two weeks to a month, it sure looks good would it is clean.  I remember the first time I took it to get cleaned they put ArmorAll on the floor and I slid around in the van for about a week before we could wash it off... it's kind of funny NOW.  Heather came back over and made some killer tacos, black beans, salsa and some more guacamole.  She's going to be busy at work for a while so she's coming back over tomorrow to make some chicken Cordon Bleu, stew, chicken salad and enough salad to get me through the week, I feel so spoiled eating all of this fantastic food AND I'm losing weight.

I noticed when I got up this morning that Brodie's bed was soaked so I called the vet and they're going to put her back on her not leaking pill.  They had to move her urethra because whenever she would urinate and stand back up the urine would get caught in her thighs and burn and inch because of her muscular pitbull thighs.  After a while she started leaking so they gave her some pills but took her off because the leaking stopped, here we go again.  They put her on some antibiotics because of itching and that's when she seems to be the most so hopefully it's a temporary thing.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Old friends and reminiscing...

Elaine and Sue got here early Thursday and it was SO great to see them both.  We spent most of the afternoon reminiscing about our 10 years together working at Xicor, Elaine was my boss and Sue worked in payroll.  I started out as the custodian and loved my job but after about two years everyone kept bugging me to apply for the mail coordinator job, I didn't want to because there was a schedule and it seemed like a lot more responsibility.  I also filled in for the receptionist when they would call in sick and I did some of their brakes and lunches.  There was three buildings, two of them two-story so people would often ask me to go by stores and pick up office supplies for them since it was right around the corner from the mail room.  After the mail coordinator found another job and I filled in for a couple of months while they were trying to find somebody, I found out later they were trying to find anyone, I decided to take the position.  It actually was a really fun job, it was kind of a glorified people visiting job that I got paid for.  I would go to the post office in the morning in the company truck and pickup buckets of mail, usually anywhere from six to sixteen, bring it back, sort it and then deliver it it.  I really started to enjoy it and could see myself doing it until I retire...obviously that didn't happen.  We all went out to dinner, Chinese food, and then Elaine and Sue taught us how to play this new game that I think they called 31 and we had a blast.

On Friday we decided to go to the movies to see mamma Mia.  I thought it was a good movie.  I am not much for musicals and I heard that it was a shame to cast Pierce Bronson in a a single role but in my opinion I did okay, I loved the parts where he did the deep voice singing.  After the movie I want to take them to Mobo's or sushi but it was closed to get ready for dinner.  I was trying to act like I knew my way around Santa Cruz so I took them a long way around to Mobo's, when I stepped outside the theater if you were to look straight you could see the restaurant.  We came back and got something to eat and they decided to go to the boardwalk and walk around and listen to Blue Oyster Cult, Every Friday They Have Two Performances of a free Concert.  Elaine invited somebody else that used to work at Xicor named Kelly and she brought her daughter and her daughter's friend.  I got along really well with Kelly and come to find out she lives in Watsonville, about 10 minutes away, so we plan on getting together and doing something.  Everybody was getting cold and tired so I decided to call it a day and come back here.  About 1:30 a.m. I heard Elaine and Sue screaming, apparently my uncle came over after his poker game to say hello... my uncle almost always comes over at the end of the day so we can catch up on daily activities.

On Saturday everybody woke up late so we just kind of hung around and did some more reminiscing.  My uncle came over and we followed him back to this house and he made us egg and bacon sandwiches and then we decided to come back over here and play 31 again until dinner.  My aunt made a killer dinner, pork chops with sauerkraut that we put over mashed potatoes, a wedge salad, asparagus and grilled mushrooms... that is on top of the fruit and vegetable trays that she made us to snack on while we are playing cards.  After dinner Elaine and Sue took off and I came home to go to bed, I was exhausted but have the greatest time.

When we were on the boardwalk one of the patrol officers asked me if I would mind taking my service dog to the office to get a tag put on her identifying her as a service animal.  They told me that they are having a problem because they are no longer allowed to make people prove that their animal is a service animal and they are having to give these tags to anyone that asks for them.  Apparently now you can take any animal with you and claim that it is a service animal.

While I was rolling down the boardwalk, where only service animals are allowed, I came upon a couple twice with a pit bull (my service dog is part pit bull so I have no problem with pits) as soon as the pit saw my service animal he crouched down, ready to attack.  When we walked by he lunged barking and growling and the owners were laughing.

I agree that sometimes it is not easy to produce the certificate.  I hang one on the back of my head rest, one in the side pocket of my wheelchair and I have one in my backpack.

Everybody of course absolutely love my newhouse, I am so proud of it.  I think I love it more every day and I cannot wait to show it off to everybody, it is perfect in every way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight

Actually I guess in life just in general it helps a lot if you have a sense of humor.

Of course when Heather was here on Sunday we were talking about food and I mentioned that I LOVE twice baked potatoes and my mom loves Chiken Cordon Blue so guess what we are having her dinner tomorrow night??  She keeps telling me to think of things that I have a craving for to e-mail them to her but I have no idea how to top the ideas that she already has.

Heather made this awesome Spinach, Apple and raisin salad with an unbelievable dressing and my uncle brought over some chicken soup that he had made so I had it made for dinner.

Hopefully we are on the road to solving Brodie's itchy but problem.  Now that I'm settled in I can take her to Petsmart once a month and then have them immediately put on her advantix and we'll going to try changing her diet and see if any of that helps.

After Brodie's appointment Cassie and I went to Longs to get a couple of things and I decided to go to the movies to see The Dark Knight, it was a great movie but for some reason whenever there is a distraction in the movie theater I lose my concentration on the movie.  About halfway through this movie a guy came in with a huge backpack, a large soda and a large popcorn which he proceeded to drop all over the floor because he had way too much stuff in his hands.  As he sat down next to me, of course, I noticed that he hadn't turned his iPod off and I could hear music.  After a while he jumped up from his chair and started frantically looking around and apparently he couldn't find what he was looking for so he decided to take a cigarette lighter out of his backpack and use it as a flashlight.  After a minute or so of this he decided to go out to the lobby and bring back somebody who had a flashlight.  Luckily they finally found what I was looking for, it looked and sounded like a box full of marbles, maybe it was his candy?  There was two guys sitting in front of us all the way to the right and one of them got up and came over and asked me if we were OK and asked what the guy was doing, I told him we were fine and he was just looking for something.  I thought that was very sweet of the guy to come and see if we were OK, nothing like that would have ever happened in San Jose.  Luckily my aunt and my mom want to go see it because of course I was paying attention to all of the commotion and lost track of where the movie was, I don't know if that's a dyslexic thing or just a being nosy thing.

Claudia came over and cut my hair and gave me a manicure, I really love the way she cuts my hair.  We decided to all get together next Saturday and go out to dinner and come back here and play Cribbage, I LOVE that game... and I LOVE food.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stuck in the bathroom...

A sense of humor is a MUST when you have a spinal cord injury.  This morning everything was going great, I was ahead of schedule and it looked like I was going to be on time for my appointment at Rehab Specialist at 10 a.m... wrong.  After I took my bath when I try to come back through the hall way to get dressed the lift broke and I was stuck in the bathroom with just my shower cape on.  I knew that I had seen my shower chair in the garage so I sent Susanna to look for it and she found the shower chair but not the seat, the shower chair is basically no good without the seat.  My mom called Bill from West Coast mobility, luckily he lives not too far from here.  He ended up spending the other Bill, there are two Bills that work there and he fixed it within a matter of minutes.  Didn't want to be in the lift when he got here so I had Susanna bring my wheelchair into the bathroom and she put me in there and covered me up as good as possible.  Needless to say I went back to bed for the day.

Yesterday Heather came over and she ended up making some outrageous enchiladas.  she told me that she wasn't very good at making Spanish rice but I think it was just about the best I ever had, the enchiladas definitely where.  She found some little baby zucchinis and squashs, they were SO cute and tasted great.  It were only about 3 inches tall, I have never seen them before.

Brodie and I went exploring and it seems like I'm comfortable with getting a little further every time.  My uncle was telling me tonight how to get to Costco, Petsmart, Cost Plus and a couple of the theaters in this area.  I wanted to go see The Dark Night or Mamma Mia on Sunday but Heather told me the theaters are a mad house so it would be best to not try it, I'll take Cassidy and go this week.

Brodie has been scratching like crazy so I made her an appointment for tomorrow morning to see if there was anything that they can do.  They gave me some medicated shampoo that I tried on Sunday and I thought it was going to be OK but now I can't tell if it's better or worse.  I upped her Benadryl and she takes omega-3 pills and I just don't know what else I can do, it just breaks my heart to watch her scratching and biting.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shared Adventures...

Shared Adventures :: A Santa Cruz, CA Nonprofit Organization

When I moved here I switched from Sprint to AT&T so unfortunately I had to describe over the phone what I need it as far as a cell phone... it has never worked before so why did I think it would work this time?  Everything has been so busy around here I haven't been able to find anyone to help me set up my phone so of course by the time I noticed it was the wrong phone I only had two days left to find the corporate AT&T dealer to exchange it, I found when in the Capitola Mall.  I was on the telephone twice that day and went to a singular store here in Santa Cruz to find out what my options were because of course I had no idea where the paperwork got to.  They told me over the telephone that they could not fax or e-mail the information to me so I was panicked.  My aunt Kathy showed up and she was only on the phone about five minutes and they not only e-mail me a copy of the invoice but they were holding a phone or me at the Capitol Mall, how does she do that?  Of course when I got there I think I got the most unfriendly person in Capitola, my problem REALLY seem to be getting on her nerves.  Luckily my every member of the name of the person that she talked to and as soon as I gave her the name she became a little bit more friendly and after a little bit more hassle she exchange the cell phone for me.  When I got it home and try to program in everything that I needed I noticed that there was no USB cable to get the information off of my computer, why was I surprised?  Luckily the cingular store here in Santa Cruz should have the USB cable.

Today was the day on the beach in Santa Cruz with Shared Adventures.  I was really looking forward to going but Cassidy went to San Jose to visit with her grandparents, there will definitely be another one.  It looked like it was going to be cold this morning but it turned out to be a really good day, it is generally foggy here and tell us about noon and then it clears up.  If I have my phone working I would have tried to go by myself but it's still a little nervous about going that far by myself.  I know that in a couple months I will be cruising around by myself with no cares and I cannot wait to get to that point but it does help to have an accessible cell phone.

Monday I finally get to get my new chair fixed, they called me from Watsonville and the parts are in.  The driving mechanism is still not working very good for me on going to find out what their other options are.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New people seeing my " stuff"

Yesterday was a nice relaxing day.  Heather came over and visited with me for a while and made me dinner for a couple of nights because she is going to be very busy at work.  She made Tilapia with avocado and corn on top, it was great.  She also made some rice and spinach with garlic.  She also made some tuna salad and some chicken noodle soup.

Carrie came by for my massage and brought Autumn from across the street to help her turn me, Autumn is an emergency room nurse at Watsonville Hospital.  They are both really good friends with Heather and they were teasing me about having my own private chef... I hate saying that but I love hearing it.

Autumn got me an appointment at the hospital to see a wound care specialist so I can get some advice about how to treat and prevent pressure sores.  Hopefully the doctor can tell me the best mattress for me and give me some positioning tips, I have pretty much tried everything I could think of and asked everybody I've ran into.

I really wanted to keep going to Valley Medical and Moorpark for all of my appointments and treatment but now I just don't know.  Although I know and like everybody there they no longer have a wound care specialist and Watsonville is only about 20 minutes away AND really close to The Wooden Nickel.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting doctors appointments out of the way...

Most of my day today was spent in San Jose, I had three appointments.  The first one was that Moorpark and it was really great to see everybody that worked there, it has been a long time.  My second appointment was that Valley Medical to see Tony to get my SP tube change and the last one was to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned.  I ran into Cindy at Valley Medical and I got to visit with her for couple of minutes and then she had to get back to work, she volunteers there.  I met her through the support group and we got to be a little bit closer right before I move to Santa Cruz.  Cathy, the lady who cleaned my teeth, said that my teeth looked really good and I have not been there since October.  She said that I needed to floss more but she always says that.  I'm glad that I got all of that done because now I won't have to go back to San Jose until August then I get to start all of my yearly appointments, not really looking forward to those.

I have an appointment with the wound care specialist at Watsonville Hospital on Wednesday.  I have been having a lot of problems with skin breakdowns and although they don't get really bad they are constant so I want to figure out what I can do or how I can position myself in bed so they are not so constant.

Tomorrow I'm going to take my Bluetooth viser talk over to the singular store so they can make it so I can use voice activation and then I will fill a lot more comfortable cruising around by myself.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I'm back...

Technology is so cool... when it is working.  When it is not working you sure do miss it and wonder what you ever did without it.  Actually the only thing that was wrong was my microphone had a short in it but that meant that I could not do ANYTHING.  I tried to fix it myself which meant taping the court in different directions so that the table that has my keyboard and mouse looked like a spider web but that only worked for a while, Dan the computer man sent me two different microphones and trying to be really careful.

Every Friday evening they have a free concert on the beach by the boardwalk at last Friday was Eddie Money and I was really anxious to go but of course it would not happen.  My celing lift was getting stuck and I ended up in bed all day waiting for the repair guy to show up.  Luckily he is really good about answering pages when it comes to repair and he lives here in town but of course I didn't get fixed in time to make the concert.  Bill, the guy who installs and fixes the lift system, has a son who is a quadriplegic so he knows how frustrating it is when your equipment is not working.  I love talking to him because he is so genuinely carrying and I always learn a lot from him.

The weather has been really nice here and I have really been getting out a lot, it is so great to have everything within rolling distant.  My computer went down one day and I wanted to take Brodie to Pet Smart to get a bath so I just cruised down there to see if they had any openings, of course they didn't have one that day so I made one for the next morning and it worked out great.

I have been a little leery of going around by myself because they're always this something that could happen to leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere so I found a hands-free Bluetooth visor adapter and tomorrow I'm going to take it to cingular to have them sync it for me and I will be good to go.  I'm just going to get on my chest strapped and I will be able to call anybody by voice command.

I found a new caregiver to replace Christina, I really liked her but I can just tell that it was not going to work out.  A week ago Friday she showed up with about 4 inches long nails and really could not do much of anything and then on Sunday she didn't show up at all and only called three hours later because her dad called and tracked her down.

Heather came by today and said that she had a surprise for Cassy and I for dinner... LOBSTER.  It was the best lobster I have ever had, she also made this killer white rice and green beans with mushrooms.  For dessert she made caramelized onions with nectarines and brie cheese wrapped in a tortilla, I would've never thought about putting those together but it did taste and incredible.

Tomorrow I have three appointments in San Jose.  The first one is at Moorpark to get my Depo shot and then to Valley Medical to see Tony and get my tube change then to the dentist to see Cathy and get my teeth cleaned.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Beautiful weather...

Today was a pretty good day, a lot cooler than I thought it was going to be.  Claudia came by to do my manicure and pedicure.  She has her own shop at a senior retirement complex and loves it.  Years ago I remember I used to come here and we, my mom and I, would get our haircut at her shop, I met lots of really cool people there.  I remember they had a parakeet in the lobby that actually talked, I guess you can teach them to talk but it takes a lot of work.  I met Claudia through my uncle and aunt, one of their awesome friends.

Cassie came by and we strolled down to Long's and Trader Joe's and on the way back we stopped by the Chefworks, obviously a store that has everything you need for your kitchen, for something to do... I just love Santa Cruz.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

No-show caregiver...

At the end of the cul-de-sac where I live you can turn right to go downtown or to the boardwalk, if you turn left there is a VERY steep hill that I have not been able to brave yet but I found out yesterday that if I go all the way to the end of the lagoon and then up the hill, not nearly as steep a hill, it takes me to the top.  It takes a lot longer that the view is very beautiful.  On the way up the hill there are some tennis courts, a playground for children and the dog park.  It is so great to be able to just leave your house and explore.  My only fear is that something's going to happen to my chair and I will be stuck.  Now that they passed a law against using cell phones in the car there are a lot of hands free Bluetooth speakers that you hang on your viser so I ordered one to see if I could find a place to put it on my chair.

Yesterday was a great day.  I took Brodie over to get her toenails cut and went over to my uncles where my cousin was having a barbecue.  There were some people there that I already knew and some of his friends I met a new ones.  My cousin barbecued flank steaks and corn on the cob and of course they have lots of fruit, vegetable, salads and snacks.  My mom brought over some more peach cobbler and of course everybody loved it.

I must be terribly hard on microphones because mine keep shorting out, I hope that it not just me.  The microphone for the voice activation software clips on to my shirt and since I have no hand function I have to yank it off and sometimes when I'm in my chair I drive away forgetting that it is clipped on my shirt and yank it out.  Right now I have the cord wrapped around my keyboard, this is the only way it will work.

My morning caregiver did not show up this morning nor did she call.  Her father was here, he does the yard work and owns a cleaning company that cleans here, and noticed that her car wasn't here so they started to call her and when she didn't answer he called her cousin, who also works here during the week, to fill in for her.  I felt bad because she works AND has three kids so I just told her to stay home and I decided to stay in bed for the day.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July weekend...

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays because it involves three of my favorite things...fireworks, barbecues and friends.  Autumn and Cassie came over this morning and invited me and my mom to their house for a barbecue.  I have met a few of Autumn's friends and they are all very impressive so I was looking forward to meeting some more.  I asked them if I could bring something and they said I could bring desert, I guess I forgot that today was a holiday and pretty much everything is close but luckily I had a couple of boxes of Krusteaz peach and Berry cobbler mixes, both of them killer, so my mom made them and they were a hit.  Alex, Autumn's husband, was barbecuing flank steak, chicken, beans, garlic bread, corn on the Cobb and they also had a couple different kinds of salad and fruit... it was quite a feast.  Unfortunately I couldn't stay and visit very long because the heat was already getting to me, I hate not being able to regulate my temperature.  I usually hold out as long as I can and it takes me a very long time to cool down but I just wanted to say and visit with everybody.  Cassie came back with me and put me to bed so that she could go out with her friends.  I couldn't really go anywhere anyway because Brodie freaks out when she hears the fireworks so I can't take her anywhere and I cannot leave her here alone.  Next year I will be smart and get her a tranquilizer from the veterinarian and maybe I will be able to speak out.  I tried to bring her with me to the barbecue but they have a cat and so Brodie was just acting foolish so I just brought her home where she proceeded to jump all over my couch and scratch the doors, since she can open the doors it doesn't do much good to try to take off without her.  My mom and the thing here to watch her.  I really can't blame her because she is a service dog and her job is to stay with me, protect me and help me if I drop anything or if I'd need to reach sonething.

Earlier Brodie and I took a walk to the lagoon, they finally opened it back up after all the fire scares.  The last couple of days I think it has been a little too hot for Brodie so I think we will have to start going earlier but it is a BEAUTIFUL walk... or roll.  I haven't gotten up the courage to cross over the water yet but I'm working on it, I'm tryingto go a little further each time.

Yesterday was a pretty relaxing day.  My morning caregiver and the massage therapist were not feeling very good so I just stayed in bed.  I thought it was going to be a boring day but I don't think there will be any more of those since I moved to Santa Cruz.  Terrie, Angie and Parker came by for a visit.  It was Terrie's birthday and Angie and Parker brought her to Santa Cruz for the day and to eat at Mobo's, everybody for miles around loves Mobo's.

Tomorrow Rich, Vanessa and the kids are having a barbecue at my uncle's house so my mom and I were invited, this time I'm going to bring Brodie so that my mom can go.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Procrastinating and spinal cord injuries definitely do not mix.  It just seems like four hours is just never enough and that makes it even worse when you put off getting started as much as you can, that is my problem.  I know this is a problem and they know I need to change and I keep saying that starting next Monday I'm going to buckle down and do what I'm supposed to do.  The first thing I always have the caregivers do is take care of Brodie, take her outside and give her her pills.  Then of course I have to have a cup of coffee and by the time we get started its already 7 a.m., my morning caregiver starts at 6 a.m., and we still have over four hours of work to do.  I need to just push myself away from the computer and turn off the TV and turn on the music as soon as the morning caregiver gets here, have coffee and give Brodie her pills AFTER we finished with a personal care.  Maybe if I try that a couple of times and it works out better it will be easier to keep to that schedule.

Cassie and I took off today to Longs to get some peanut butter and mint M&Ms, they are always out of the mint ones.  After that we went to Mobo's and ate WAY too much but it was great.  All the way back we cruised through downtown, I just love Santa Cruz, and then came back and threw everything in the freezer away.  I'd now have three refrigerators at my home and went bringing the one for my old house the guys just unplug it, loaded it in the truck and drove here and unloaded it in 98° weather so Heather suggested I just throw everything away and start over.  Obviously that means a trip to Costco and I'm always up for that.

The massage therapist in by at 7 p.m. and gave me about a two hour massage, after the massage therapist leaves I always feel so relaxed and tired and my arms are so heavy I can barely lift them up.  It is so nice to feel so relaxed and comfortable with the massage therapist, she is awesome.