Friday, October 23, 2009

A Couple Of Updates

Well, when I went to rehab on Tuesday and told the RTs in the office about my free rehab, they said they were going to double check with the financial counselor. They were really surprised I got it approved. They didn't hear from the counselor by the time I was done working out, so they said they'd let me know on Thursday. So, I went to rehab today, and was told that I really should not have been given a free year. However, they talked to some higher ups, and they are still going to honor it. I'm relieved! I guess I'll just have to start putting pennies and nickels away for when the year is over and I need to start paying for rehab again. At least it's still something I won't have to worry about for awhile.

I also got my electric bill yesterday. I had to pick up my jaw off the floor after seeing the bill. Last month, the actual usage was 590kw, and it was about $90-something. This month I only used 193kw, and the bill was $43. Holy crap!! Was my concentrator using THAT much energy?? I couldn't believe the drop!! Of course, I still owe $141 because of the budget plan, but at least I have it for this month. I just couldn't believe it went down that much. So now, I really want to see November's bill because I've been using the heat here and there, and I wonder how much of a difference that'll make. I still plan on keeping things unplugged, though. I still need to get myself a power strip to plug the tv, VCR, and stereo into, so I can turn them all off. I only use them at night (the stereo hardly ever anymore). Every friggin thing I can do helps!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Support Group Meeting Down!

Today was my PH support group meeting, and it went well as usual! I searched my old journal entries last night to figure out when I had started my support group, and found that the first meeting I ever had was October 15th, 2005. I can't believe it's been 4 years! I remember being incredibly nervous that first meeting, not sure what I would say, not sure how people would respond. But all I did was talk about myself, my experience with growing up with PH, and soon after, everyone was interacting. It was a small group to start out with, and eventual meetings would go back and forth from being small to medium-sized, but the past couple years, I think it's been doing well. I seem to be getting several "regulars," which is wonderful! I didn't have a speaker today, but I just wrote down some topics I wanted to mention, and left it an open discussion type of meeting. It went really well, and rather quick, too! The meeting started out with one of the members thanking me so much for doing this, and everyone started clapping. Well, they didn't have to do that, but it was really wonderful knowing how much they appreciated me running the group. I plan on doing so for as long as I possibly can!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Divine Intervention

I started pulmonary rehab over a year ago at St. M's hospital, and I really feel that I've benefitted from it so much. I've enjoyed going for the exercise part, but I have also really become attached to the people I workout with. I'm the youngest one there! There's a man who will be 92 soon (I soooo admire his determination to be there, not to mention the fact that he walks on the treadmill at an 8% incline!!), another in his mid-80s (and hilarious!), and several other people ranging from 40s-70s. It's a wonderful group to hang out with. We laugh and joke while we are working out, and share stories. I learned that the 92yr old guy built the first house on the street I lived on! I can't even imagine what my street looked like with just one house and apple orchards compared to how it is today. Stuff like that just makes me glad I'm going there!

Lately, however, I've been having a very hard time paying for the rehab classes. It's $36 for 8 sessions, which ends up being about a month if I keep going both times each week. I did ok paying for it for awhile, but by the time this summer rolled around, it was getting difficult. I wouldn't go just to stretch the sessions (thankfully if we don't go, we don't lose the session), and try to exercise at home. So finally, I found out on Tuesday about a cardio/rehab center in Another hospital that I wasn't aware of. After talking to one of the RT's there, I learned that there is a financial assistance program at Another that could possibly help pay for my rehab for a year. I went to the rehab gym on Wednesday after I got my labwork redone. I walked from the main hospital all the way to the heart center, and let me say, that could easily be rehab for me!! The 2 RTs in the gym were wonderful ladies, and I spent about 20 minutes talking to them, explaining my situation, educating them about PH, and my low o2 sats. I thought I sensed fear in their eyes, but I could've been wrong. LOL I told them I'd figure out my situation and if I needed to apply, I'd let them know. I hiked myself back to the other side of the hospital and into my car, and wow, was I tired!! There were 2 things that bugged me the most about having to make the visit to that rehab gym: 1) I didn't want to leave the people I was already working out with!! 2) The parking is horrendous for this gym!! No valet like at the hospital I go to now, and nothing but luck trying to get a close spot. Even though the possibility of free rehab was there, I really really didn't want to have to end up switching.

So, Thursday, I get to rehab, determined to ask one of the nurses in the gym whether they had a similar financial assitance program at St. M's. When I did ask, she said yes, but not for rehab. I told her my situation, and about the possibility of switching to Another, and she felt bad about it but said there wasn't much they could do. I was bummed. So I walked with my chart to the table to start exercising, and my one friend there asked me how I made out with talking to Another. I told her about it, and I told her I had just asked if St. M's had financial assistance, but they don't. She said that was too bad, however, Sister M. (who also exercises with us) was going around the hospital finding people to possibly help me with my situation. I thought that was very sweet of her! My friend also told me that if nothing could be worked out with St. M's, then she'd help pay for my rehab, and so would a few other people. I told her absolutely not! Of course, she scoffed at me and said she could do what she wanted because she wanted me to stay there. She kinda waved her hand at me as if to say, Be off with you now, I will do what I want! I just didn't know what to say. So I walked off to the treadmills to start my routine.

Sister M. came into the room about 15 minutes later, and came over to talk to me. She had a very serious look about her, a stern look on her face. She showed me a name on a piece of paper she had, and told me that I MUST go speak with so-and-so in the ER, and I MUST tell her my situation, and I MUST keep coming to rehab because she just KNEW it was helping me! She was adamant about it. I told her I would, and I thanked her for the info. I hurried to finish my exercises, mainly because I didn't know whether this lady was going to leave at noon for lunch, but also because someone came in to exercise and was wearing a ton of perfume. UGH!! My lungs wanted to take off and run. Anyway, I got finished, went down to the ER and asked for so-and-so, and waited for about 20 minutes to see her. When I did, I told her my story, educated her a little on PH (hehe), told her how much rehab has made a difference in my life, but if I couldn't get any help, I was unfortunately going to have to switch to Memorial to continue rehab there. So-and-so asked me about my income, which is SSD, asked if I had any other monies coming in (ok, come on, if I did, I wouldn't be asking for help!!), and proceeding to complete an application for assistance with St. Mary's programs for a year. A year of free rehab, was what this was amounting to! She printed out a copy of the letter, which I am to show the cashier's office when I need to pay for rehab again, and I told her how much this meant to me!!

I left so-and-so's office with tears of happiness, because I just felt soooo very relieved to be able to have rehab free for a year. I was tremendously grateful for Sister M.'s persistance, and I really think she was my angel for the day. I do believe God answers prayers in ways we never would have imagined, and when this worked out, I felt mine had been answered with the help of a nun who was determined to keep me in rehab one way or another!! So now the only things keeping me from going to exercise with my friends is a cold, or freezing cold temperatures!! I don't really have another other excuse to put it off!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Week Gone

I am here. I had a good week. Went to rehab on Tuesday, spent Wednesday making jewelry and avoiding the outdoors because it was a nasty rainy and windy day. Thursday I cleaned the bathroom, shook out some rugs, and tried to fight with the vacuum. If it wasn't for getting the cord and the tubing tangled up together and tripping on both or vacuuming them both, I wouldn't mind too much doing it!! Friday I walked a mile on my treadmill. I don't know where I got that energy, but I was happy that I could do it! I'm sure that won't happen for awhile again.

Today I made a lanyard for my friend from college, and it came out so nice. I wasn't sure about the beads and the colors, but I love it. And I think she will, too! I love making custom orders. I try so hard to get things just exactly the way the customer wants it. I spent so much time finding the right beads for my friend, and she said she felt like a pain in the butt, but I didn't want her to just go for something she didn't really care for so I wouldn't have to search more for something different. At least it wasn't something that needed a deadline!

I am still battling cold feet. Although, I have to say that I am dying of heat right now. I took a bath earlier this evening (2nd one of the day, and I even took a shower this morning), and put on my flannel pjs, my bathrobe, and I've been under flannel blanket, with the laptop on my lap. I really should do this all day, I guess, if I want to be warm!!! It's really getting to be frustrating, but I do hope that it gets better once I can put the heat on all day. I'm not doing that right now, I only turn it on in the mornings for a little bit. I might actually email my PH doc about electric socks or something like that. I have heard several times before that people with circulation problems shouldn't use things like that. I think it has to do with dropping blood pressure. It's why we're not really supposed to be taking hot baths and going into saunas or hot tubs. Well if someone told me I'd have to skip my hot baths, they'd get an earful. That's the only way I warm up!! lol

Well, I'm off to bed. Get to start the cold feet battle all over again tomorrow. Fun, wow!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Busy First Weekend of October

It's hard to believe, but October started on Thursday. Where did September go?? As the years go by, the months seem to just zoom past me and I can't remember anything I did. lol This weekend was nice. Friday I ran some errands before the o2 guy got here to fill up the Bubbas. I took it easy for the afternoon until about 6ish, when Joanie came to pick me up for a night of adventuring. We had dinner at Chili's, which was pretty good. I had only been there once, and I had dessert that time. It was busy there, but we didn't really have to wait too long for a table. I'm just glad there's another new restaurant in that area besides Applebee's. The newness of Chili's seems to have worn off, but I'm glad it's still busy!

After dinner, we went to the Outlets. Joan and Rick went into a shoe store so Rick could find a new pair of shoes for one of his suits. Then we went to Bath & Body and smelled everything in the store. Gosh, I love that place! Joan wanted to get some of the Wallflowers they sell for a coworker's housewarming party, so I helped her pick out a few we thought she'd like. We finished smelling everything and went over to Old Navy. Sometimes I hate going shopping. I found a pair of brown pants that I really liked, but I have no money, and so I just had to walk away. I even contemplated using my credit card, but I didn't do it since I still would have no money to pay for it! So I wandered the store and helped Joan look at things she might want to purchase. We left the mall a bit afterward, and I realized it felt a little warmer when we got back outside. The entire day was cold, wet and crappy, and it was a bit rainy as we were out, but the weather kept getting a bit warmer every time we went into a building and came back out! Kinda nice!

Walmart was our next adventure! I had a few things to get, and Joan needed a couple cards. We wandered around the store looking at things. I got a couple gifts for my niece. I'm getting close to finishing Christmas shopping, can you believe it?? Oh I still have some things to get, but I'm pretty happy that I've gotten so much already! Anyway, my biggest mission was to buy more socks for the winter. My feet have been freezing already with the cooler weather. It's ridiculous. I have been taking quick baths to warm up my legs and feet, sometimes twice a day. I bought a 10-pair pack of socks for $6. When I was at Kohl's last Sunday, they had socks on "sale:" 3 pairs for $6. I just KNEW I could get them cheaper at Walmart!! I also bought 2 pairs of fuzzy socks, and I am thinking maybe I'll go back and buy a couple more at some point. But even with all the socks, my feet are still cold. It's getting annoying!! We left Walmart and stopped quickly at Tops, and then Joan dropped me off with all my goodies. It was a nice evening out!

Saturday, I got my flu shot (my arm still hurts from it), and then I hung out at Mandy's for a couple hours. The kids had lunch, and my niece showed me her dress for a wedding she was in last night. It was beautiful, and she pointed out that it was my favorite color, red! After putting my nephew down for a nap, Mandy and I painted our nails with polish she had taken out. My niece was very interested in what we were doing, and asked if she could have her nails done, so her daddy did them for her! Just a very very light pink, which almost looked like it was just a shiny coat. It made her happy, though! I left a bit later to go to Joann Fabrics, and then took a nap after I got home. I had dinner at my parents' house, and after Mandy got ahold of me, I went to her house again to babysit the kids after she brought them back from the wedding reception. I laughed my ass off at my nephew (who is 2) as he frantically tried to tell me about a racoon who ran away. About 500 times in the next 20 minutes. It was hilarious!! I wish I had a camera to record it. He was absolutely serious about it, and I think he actually got mad at me for laughing at him because his little face showed some frustration!! The kids were tucked into bed, and I spent my time online while Mandy and Ron had fun at the reception. I ended up back home and in bed around my usual bedtime, but I was really exhausted!

Today was relaxation morning/afternoon until I went with Joan to her friend's housewarming party. That was fun! I know most of the people Joan works with (her friend is a coworker), and I met a few more I didn't know. There was a ton of wine and vodka, and lots of goodies to eat. We were there for a few hours, but I had a really bad headache because of the cigarette smoke coming from the back deck when a few people were out there smoking. YUCK. When I got home, I took a long nap! I've been on the laptop ever since, answering emails, joining PH chat for a bit, and chatting with a friend. It's been a nice quiet evening.

I plan on cleaning a few things around the house tomorrow, but I really must get back to making jewelry. I only seem to spend one day a week making stuff, which is not nearly enough time to be spending if I want a LOT of things to sell. I get so aggravated with myself, yet I'm not doing much to change it!! So I need to "clock in" to work tomorrow and make some new things!!