Category Archives: Quigley

Three Small Things

The problems with the email continued on from my last post, as I vainly sought to get the default mail program of Windows 8 to actually handle my mail. Remember in my last post on these matters, I had called the GoDaddy helpline about the failure of my new website url to take me to a login page. The guy on the phone saw at once that something was pointed in the wrong direction and quickly pointed it in the right one. Solving the problem.

If only I’d hung up then.

Instead, he suddenly asked me why I had the email account that I did. It was way too much for what I needed, way too complicated. “Why did they give you this one?” he asked. Well, at the time I was consumed with why was the webpage login not working and my email was far from my thoughts. When I told him I didn’t know (actually it was that I couldn’t remember) he quickly moved to reorganize everything so that I could save $30 and not have these extraneous unlimited business emails complicating things.

Several days later, after trying repeatedly and unsuccessfully to get Win8 Outlook to receive and send karenhancock.com emails, the memory of  WHY I had gotten the other package drifted up from the shadowy, convoluted corridors of my brain: because the other package came with IMAP and was compatible with Windows 8 while  the new one was not and would have to be used only as a web-based email program.  I’d forgotten all about that when I called to find out about the webpage url, and thus allowed the sales rep to “help me” by setting me up with an email client that doesn’t do IMAP and isn’t compatible with Win 8 Outlook. This despite the fact that every one of my three email clients are called Outlook. Talk about confusing!

Anyway, a tiny element, forgotten, caused the entire ship to turn in a direction I’d originally wanted to avoid.

It wasn’t the only one. Last Thursday, my hubby had left on his hunting trip and right before going, made sure there was air in all the tires on my car and everything was good.  Two hours later I came out with Quigley to drive to the park for our evening walk, and discovered one of the tires was flat. Flat as a pancake flat. Rim to the ground flat. I stood there staring at it in disbelief.

But from the start Quigley had been in a panic to get going, and now his insistence overwhelmed me and we started up the street. Or rather, we ran. As we did, I acknowledged that the earlier, very soft dropping he’d left in the back yard (which he never does) had indeed been a harbinger of worse to come.  We ran up the street until I found an acceptable spot for him and he let go. The entire rest of the walk was all about that.

So in addition to no car I had a sick dog. Well, Fast Balance GI to the rescue. At least for the dog. It’s a dark, thick paste of good bacteria and other stuff that you have to squirt into the dog’s mouth while he tries to escape. As big as he is, Quigley has to get three doses of it throughout the day. After the first dose, I had to close the door to his kennel or he’d run in there to hide as soon as he saw me with the tube. In the end, it did the trick, though, thank you, Lord!

Next day, after a neighbor helped me change the tire, I took it down to Discount Tire. They could find nothing wrong with it.  However, when they had filled it back up and put on the valve stem cap, they could hear hissing. So they took the cap off, handed it to me and told me what had happened, but that all was well. The tire was Fixed!

Well, it didn’t seem very well to me. Why would the cap being on cause it to leak? Was there something wrong with the valve stem? Did they give the cap back because they only fix flat tires, not valve stems?  I didn’t know but thankfully my husband returned early — Sunday night in fact.

Turns out a tiny o-ring that was supposed to be inside the cap, up at the top had fallen out, allowing an inward/downward pointing extrusion in the cap’s top to press on the valve and let out the air.

How weird is that? Another very tiny thing, that completely changed the direction of not just one day, but several.

And well do I know how frequently that can be the case with computer issues. In fact, as I’ve been writing this, I was trying to back up my database on my hosting service server, so I could do an upgrade, but of course there was an error and so…

Since I haven’t really done anything with the website yet, choosing to do some research first, it may not hurt to skip the back up part and just do the update. Or maybe I’ll just do more research…

I probably don’t need to mention that during all this I’ve done NO work on the book… 🙁

Trip to Moab

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my hubby’s aunt had died and they were having a memorial service for her in Moab which we were considering attending.

Since it was “only” a nine-hour drive (without stops) we decided it was doable and left early Friday morning, heading out of Tucson fairly early. The memorial service was Saturday, and we drove home Sunday. With stops, the trip was twelve hours. Which wasn’t bad, but left both of us pretty tired Monday. I did nothing but lie around and it wasn’t until Tuesday that I began to put things away, try to get caught up on the things that didn’t get done and fuss about my rose bush.

I’d asked the neighbor to water, which she’s done many times before but somehow a soap can lid fell down behind the gate she needed to open and got it jammed so she couldn’t get in. Talk about weird… The result was that neither of the roses got watered for two days, during which our humidity was something like 13% or lower and the dew point was practically zero. One of them was droopy but recovered. The other lost almost all its leaves. It was very, very sad.

But after watering, fertilizing and laying down some mulch, it looks like it will survive… new leaves are now sprouting, so I’m happy about that.

In any case, that along with all the other things, which seem like nothing but end up taking up the minutes, took most of my time last week. Plus, Monday was Memorial Day and my hubby was home… so not only did I lack the time, quiet space and mental energy to write a blog post, I did no work on Sky either. I’m hoping to get back to it tomorrow, however.

For now, I thought I’d share some shots I took from our trip.

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu's hand looking out the front window while we travel

Quigley likes to rest his head on my shoulder or Stu’s hand looking out the front window while we travel

monument valley trashed small

Traveling through Monument Valley I was shocked to see the rash of the white trailers and various structures which had sprung up at the bases of the rock formations. From a distance it looked like a scattering of trash. If only they’d painted their trailers and structures a color more like the surroundings… Ah well, I guess there’s no place left that’s immune to development these days. Maybe the Sahara Desert. Or the Gobi…

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Redrock cliffs in the waning sunlight as we neared Moab

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby's relations where we stayed.

Driveway and cliff view from the house of hubby’s relations where we stayed.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Fabulous log fence and field of yellow flowers nearby.

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

Amazing cottonwood tree on the grounds of our hosts

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned...

my poor sad, dried up rose as it looked when we first returned…

The Confiscated Dog Toy

Since my eye is still giving me problems — ie, I can’t work on the computer for long without getting it all upset — I’m going to put up some photos for a day or so.

The first is a gift my daughter in law brought for Quigley the first year she met him. He was still a puppy. It’s an adorable dog toy Santa, with a squeaker in the hat and crinklies in the legs:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fortunately (for me, but not for Quigley) she was at my mother’s house when she gave it to us/him.  Quigley was still in the tear-everything-up stage at the time, and it was so cute, I decided to wait until he was more mature.

Well, he’s more mature now, and can actually have toys without tearing them to shreds in two minutes flat ( though he still has to be supervised). The problem is, he has weird saliva. It’s very gummy and sticky and thick and once he gets it on the toys… eeeeuwww!  So. I’m not yet ready to turn the cute Santa decoration into the slimed and gross Santa toy, so he sits on our bed. Every now and then Quigley eyes him hopefully, and I know he would LOVE to have him… but…

Maybe next year…

Debates, Benghazi, Sandy…

Yes… I’ve been a little distracted of late. I’ve only managed to get around to working on Sky for two days since our White Mountain trip. So much has happened, so much to read about in the news: the debates, the election, the continuing, awful revelations about what happened in Benghazi, now Hurricane Sandy.

And boy have I been reading! You’d think I’d be writing about all that I’ve read, especially considering that I got plenty worked up about a lot of it (what happened in Benghazi torqued me the most — and the way the mainstream media’s just ignoring it — you can be sure that if George W. Bush were still in office something like this would be all over the news. But then, if GWB were in office it wouldn’t have happened at all…but still)…  ahem.

Anyway, while I was plenty worked up, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be coherent if I tried to write about it. Especially since I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to it (on account, in part, of all the blogs/news sites I’ve been reading,) and even more, not enough mental energy left when I actually did have the time. It just seemed too hard to sit down and try to describe the event and lay out my thoughts on it when all I wanted to do what howl about it.

Besides all that, I’ve had all the stuff to get caught up from after the trip as well as several social events to take part in and a general chaos around the house as a result of my hubby’s annual deer hunting trip which did not proceed in the normal manner. Usually he goes out, stays there until he gets a deer and returns.

This year he’s had trouble with his hiking boots. First the soles started to come off so he had to come home to get replacements — another, older pair. Those turned out to be too narrow and killed his feet so he had to come home again, for a third set, which also happened to be brand new, but were at least wide enough. This all over a period of several days.

Meanwhile my car’s engine is making funny smells after I drive it, but hubby can’t find anything wrong with it.  And I thought Quigley was coming down with another intestinal infection the other day when he woke me up at 6am to go outside (which he never does) and then, an hour after I brought him back in and went back to bed, he woke me up again, and me being half asleep, decided he just wanted to go bark so I refused, despite his continued whining and putting his head on the bed trying to get my attention. Finally he started throwing up.

Boy, did I fly out of bed then!

Too late. I put him out anyway, but then had the mess to clean up.  😕  Serves me right, I guess. When he deviates from routine, there usually is a good reason and it’s not just to go bark. In fact, he’ll bark just fine in the house; he doesn’t need to go outside to do it.

It’s just that I had been so hoping(determined!) to sleep in that day.

Anyway, his stools were a bit weird that night, but nothing came of it, just another opportunity to decide whether I’d put the matter in the Lord’s hands or try to handle it myself.

There’s been a lot of that lately, but not in ways one can write about in any interesting way.  Still, I did get into the office this afternoon and at least started thinking about Sky again. And I’ve now written this post, such as it is. So that’s a sign that things are finally getting back to normal, too.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write another…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

No, he’s not solely mine, he belongs to my hubby as well, but that doesn’t matter. He is still “mine” as far as I’m concerned: a wonderful blessing from God that I enjoy every single day.

We were doing tricks this morning (he rolls himself up in the blue blanket) and when he looked up at me,  I just had to get the camera!

So I told him to stay and went off to get it, and he stayed. Then I told him, again, “head down” and he did it and click. 🙂

The Long Story of Last Week

Once again, I’ve been lagging in my blogging posts — and just after I’d had a breakthrough of sorts on the matter of what it means to live as if crucified in Christ. This was partly because I needed to think things through a bit more to see where the breakthrough might be going… and mostly because I’ve been having an… adventure. A situation. A test… Pastor John started teaching about waiting a week ago Sunday and sure enough, I soon got an opportunity to apply.

So here’s the long story. It actually starts back on the first Saturday of February, when I had some spotting. Since I’ve not had a period in years, one spot is enough to warrant concern, so on Monday I called my OB/GYN. I got an appointment for Thursday of that same week, but since the office happened to be in the process of transferring their records over to digital I was advised that the wait would be long.

Thursday, when I was about to leave with plenty of time, I went to bring Quigley in and found him completely covered with dust and grass so I had to wipe him off. Then I locked myself out of the house with the car keys inside. When I finally got myself in the car and on the way, it was fifteen minutes later. As I left the house I suddenly wondered if I’d turned the oven off — if the house burned down with Quigley in it, that would be awful! But I was already late, so I gave it over to the Lord and went on.

Traffic was heavy and on the way to the doctor’s office, the car ahead of the car ahead of me ran into the car ahead of it… So everyone stopped. The two drivers got out — it was only a fender bender, if that, but here we were stopped in the inside lane and I”m thinking, “What IS this, Lord?”

Suddenly the lane beside me opened and I pulled out and was on my way. I arrived, found out it was going to be at least an hour’s wait to see the doc, so I asked if I could go home and turn off the oven. Sure. I went a different way home, but when I arrived the oven was off and there was a message from the doctor’s office: Dr. S had stepped out to do a C-sxn and we would all have to reschedule. They tried to reschedule me for almost three weeks later, but I persuaded them to give me a slot the following Monday. That appointment went as planned, and I left with orders to get an ultrasound. I made the appointment  for the following week and then scheduled another appointment over the phone to see the GYN the week after that.

The ultrasound showed some fibroids and a thickened uterine lining, so it was decided I should get an endometrial biopsy. I’ve already had several of those over the years. The day I was supposed to get it, I came in two hours later than I was supposed to because over the phone I thought the woman had said 2:40 when she’d said 12:40. Or maybe she said 2:40 when she meant 12:40. In any case another reschedule, this time for Thursday — and that one actually happened. Dr. S said they’d call when they got the results of the biopsy.

The following Monday, which was a week ago Monday, at 5:30pm the nurse practitioner called to say that the biopsy showed “complex hyperplasia with suspicious cells” that might be cancer and that I was looking at a hysterectomy. That was okay, because I had already decided if the biopsy came back anything but normal I was going to do the hysterectomy anyway. All those organs are useless now and good only to grow cancer in, so better to get them out. The only thing was, my doc was referring me to another doc whose name sounded familiar. I asked if he was an oncologist and the NP said yes. As it turns out, his office is in the same place where I had gone with my mother for the last three years, just across the hall from where she had seen her doctor and gotten her infusions of chemotherapy. Which was kind of unnerving.

The NP was quite exercised on the phone about how I had to get in ASAP, that “tomorrow” (a week ago Tuesday) the other doc’s office would call to schedule the appointment and “we’re talking days here not weeks,” she said. If I didn’t have an appointment by the end of Tuesday, I was to call her on Wednesday morning and she even gave me her special number.

So Tuesday I didn’t talk to anyone on the phone, not wanting to tie up the line, nor did I leave the house for fear of missing the call. Of course no one from the doctor’s office called.

 Wednesday I started calling the special number to tell  the NP I had no appt. No one answered. I tried the “Site Operator.” She transferred me to “Lydia” but I only got her voice mail and left a message. No one called me back. I tried the special number again, but no one answered. I called the site operator again and got a different person who said she’d go down to talk to Lydia and have her call me back. No one called me back.

Finally just before 5pm I called the site operator again and somehow got connected to Lydia. She said she’d talked to the oncologist’s office that afternoon and they said they were just getting ready to call me. But no one had called while I was home and no one had left a message while I was walking Quigley. She called the oncologist’s office again then called me back to say they’d called and left a message — apparently on someone else’s answering machine. She said they’d call me first thing in the morning.

Finally, on Thursday, they called and my appointment was scheduled for Tuesday the following week (which was yesterday at 3pm). Once I had the appointment settled, it was amazing. I just crashed. I didn’t think I was that anxious about it, but there was definitely a thread of tension. Plus, the conversation with the NP was hurried and she was kinda freaked, so later I wondered… was it more dire than it seemed? Why refer me to an oncologist? Did I have cancer? If so, why wasn’t the oncologist’s office calling?

Well, had to put all that in the Lord’s hands and really believe those promises, which mostly I did. But once I got the appointment, as I said I crashed, suddenly very tired and about an hour later, noticed that Quigley’s ears were all thick and hot and heavy with blood. He was getting allergies from the wind we were having, and shaking his ears, which was making them fill up with blood. Bear had the same problems  and one time ended up with a huge blood pocket in his ear flap that required surgery to “quilt” the skin of his ear back together — followed by extended recovery time. One vet even suggested we cut off his ear flap… but we have hounds for a reason — we love those floppy ears.

So here I was facing potentially the same thing with Quigley, in the middle of everything else. Well, put that in the Lord’s hands as well. Certainly I have no control over any of it. Thankfully, over the next few days following our  vet’s counsel over the phone,  that eventually resolved with Wal-itin and some steroid cream for the rash… Finally all was quiet.

Then, this last Monday night, the night before my appointment with the gynecologic oncologist, I suddenly had the thought that maybe I shouldn’t be so relaxed about it all. That maybe it was far worse than I imagined and I really was going to have to have chemo and my hair fall out and feel awful and all that… I surely didn’t want to go in there thinking it would be nothing when I actually had this huge cancer and was going to need chemo, etc. So I Googled endometrial biopsies and endometrial cancer and scared myself silly with all the descriptions of where the cancer could spread from the uterus. To egg me on, I got an email to a Caring Bridge entry from a friend who is going through chemo right now — the other entries have been largely upbeat or just informational. This one was about how it was his worst week ever for chemo treatments… No coincidence on that timing.

Thus, by my own idiocy, I ended up having something of a battle that night during Carnal Hour — the time between 3 and 5 am when I wake up to go the bathroom and suddenly any scary or worrisome things in my life seem incredibly real and imminent and the power of God weak and faint; sometimes the next morning when I wake up and think back on it all, it seems like I went temporarily insane because the things I was concerned about don’t even make any sense.

Anyway, day before yesterday was the appointment. My hubby met me at the office and we were there almost three hours. I really like the doctor. He was very thorough, very knowledgeable and experienced, gave us lots of time to get all our questions answered and was very accommodating as far as the hospital I want to have the surgery done at, which is not his usual one.

 He doesn’t think that my situation is “ominous” but the complex hyperplasia is definitely pre-cancerous, and the suspicious cells are, I guess, basically cancer cells (sometimes he referred to them as such, but other times as cells that were becoming cancer cells). He thought I was at the beginning of a process that would definitely lead to cancer and so we have to remove the whole thing — uterus, cervix and ovaries.

He’ll do the surgery laparoscopically, which is minimally invasive, and he’ll remove the uterus intact through the vagina so as not to spread the cancer around in the abdomen. They’ll send it off to pathology while I’m still on the table, get it examined to see if there is any sort of invasive growth they didn’t anticipate, in which case the doc can take a lymph node sample while he’s in there.

This type of procedure  usually has a recovery time of a day, but requires I stay in the hospital overnight. After that my main source of debilitation will be the muzzy-headedness from the pain meds.

I’m waiting now for them to call me with the surgery date, which hopefully will be next week. He’s going to try to coordinate with my regular GYN, but if that ends up too difficult I told him I’d be fine with just him doing it, as long as I can go to my hospital of choice. All the experiences with my mother have made me quite particular about which hospitals I like and which ones I don’t.

In any case… I’m still waiting… 🙂

Estate Taxes and a Photo

I’ve been working on gathering my mother’s medical expenses so I can have her taxes done and over the weekend realized that while I’d talked with people at her former employer — the City of Tucson — and they knew she had died, and that I was the Personal Representative, and that I had given them my address as her mailing address… that was the retirement department. Not the Tax Forms department. And last week the forwarding order at the Post Office expired (I realized that today) so if they don’t have the correct address (the Social Security Administration didn’t) it won’t get forwarded.

So tomorrow I’m going to have to call the City. Oh, joy. Oh, wonders. Oh happy day.

I already found a number for “Employee Records” in the phone book and that seeming like the appropriate place to call, I dialed it, just to see when they opened. I think it’s a fax line…

I also tried the number of the above mentioned retirement department person. I got a message saying she was no longer with the city.

So that leaves me with “Administration.”  I’m putting it all in the Lord’s hands. Father, do You really want me to spend all day talking to mindless bureaucrats, right hands and left hands that don’t know each other exists?  I shudder to recall when I tried to make headway with the insurance company last summer, passed back and forth between the same two people, who just kept saying, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

But this is borrowing trouble. And didn’t I just say I’m giving it over to Him?

So I’ll leave off with it, and put up a picture of Quigley taken during our recent trip to Los Angeles. I especially like the way the leash is all in motion. Well Quigley’s pretty cool-looking, too…