Well…. this is something new..

Living On Oxygen for Life 

This morning was all planned. I was going to wake up “casually early,” meaning around 9:30am instead of 10 or 11am and head off to get my labwork done for the month. You see, I still have to get monthly lab work to check my liver function because I take a Pulmonary Hypertension medication called Tracleer. However, for the past week, K has been off work due to cataract surgery in one of his eyes. He can’t lift anything over 20lbs for a week. Therefore, he can’t safely perform his job. He’s about to have his other eye worked on in a few days. 

Anyway, he’s been home and sees that I’m nearly awake when he recalls a VERY important factor about this month’s lab work changes that we were told by my PH doctor earlier this month. She wants me to have my cortisol level checked. I forgot all about that which is why it’s vital that betwixt the two of us, it’s handy that K has a memory like an elephant. Believe you me. I do not have a memory worth much at all. Even if I write things down, I’ll forget about it and then forget where I put my note once I actually remember that I wrote it down. 

So, I was scrambling out of bed, hot footing into the bathroom grabbing any color-coordinated clothing to wear on the way to take a speedy shower. K said I was suppose to go early in the morning. I’m freaking out because I didn’t want to delay my liver labs. I was running low of Tracleer and I can’t get those pills refilled until the liver lab results come back to the doctor. Thankfully, they usually get them the next day. But, I didn’t know how early I was suppose to show up for a cortisol lab. The doctor only said early AM which to me, that could be any various time in the morning. By the time I was out of the shower, dressed & ready go… K suggested that I call the lab first to get their interpretation of early AM for this new test. It was already 10:30am quickly approaching 11am (which happens to be my “I’m officially awake time. Let the day begin.”

So, I pick up the phone and call. I’m so glad I did. Before 9am, they said for cortisol labs. I hung up with a polite, “Thank you!” and then cringed. This is going to be hard. I’m going to have to drag myself out of the house early! It’s not even going to be for a doctor appointment…THAT, I would understand. But just for labs. Ugh! haha! I’m going to have to think of a good reward for tomorrow morning. Any suggestions?

I know I’ve seemed absent lately on my blog. I do respond to email, Facebook posts, comments of my blog here. I’m not gone at all. In between all of this, I am crocheting the Need a Hug afghans, which I have one to send out. Plus, K finished my second raised garden bed that I planted 8 seed potatoes in (so excited!) which leaves me with my other 2’x6′ bed & my 3’x4′ bed to plant vegetables in. I did plant 2 tomato plants already. As soon I finish planting my seeds, K will help me cover them with netting. The netting really helped last year to keep bugs (and stray cats) away. 

I truly hope y’all are doing well. Let me know how you are doing. *Huge Hugs* to all of my readers & visitors. 

Keeping busy and Team work… makes life easier… (with pictures!)

Living On Oxygen for Life

The other day I approached K and said, “KK, I’ve been thinking..” KK is what I sometimes call him when, of course have been “thinking” and, naturally, when I want something. It never hurts to butter him up in preparation to offer an idea to get what I want. This has to do with our kitchen renovation. Now, K has all these plans in his head on how he wants the kitchen to look and sometimes he even includes my input but not very often. He’s just so, so good at putting colors and ideas together. I’ve learned to just go with the flow. Yet, I’ve had to reign him in at times when his ideas become too expensive. But here I am… thinking away with what I think is an AWESOME idea. Not only is it neat but it something that would greatly help me.

You see, it’s become difficult to bend over or squat down to reach pans or containers in our lower cabinets. It makes me tired and/or short of breath to reach into the lower cabinets while bending over. So, I wondered if K could fix this problem with my idea. I was standing in the computer room/craft room of our house when I asked him, “What do you think about the idea of installing slide-outs in the bottom cabinets so that when I need a pot or pan (whatever I need), it will be easier for me?” To my surprise, K turned towards the computer that he was already sitting at and tapped a few keys on the keyboard to bring up a website. It was the Home Depot site and he was showing exactly what I just asked him for. He said, “I thought the same thing and I was about to order them.” I told him that he’s so awesome!

The full slide out cabinet drawers that we ordered.

The full slide out cabinet drawers that we ordered.

K tries so hard to make life easier for me. If some task is harder for me now, either he or I will figure a new way to do it so that it won’t cause me as much trouble breathing. We are a team with a common goal. And that goal is to keep me around for a long time. That means, to make life a little more accommodating isn’t such a high price to pay.

I’m so excited to show you what I finished yesterday on my own. Ok..ok.. it actually took me nearly three days to finish both priming with a special bonding primer and then paint the cabinets. Please disregard the mess. It was so hard to find space for everything that was originally in the cabinets. That’s why we are doing a section at a time. Plus, I have to go slow to not wear myself out. And, yes, K had to empty all the cabinets out for me. He painted the insides of the cabinets. He didn’t want me surrounded by paint fumes… even though we used LOW odor Valspar paint.

Before (Primed Cabinets)

Before (Primed Cabinets)

Cabinets after paint

Cabinets after paint

This is an example of something K and I do as a project. Some projects that we do are too hard for me physically. So, my job is to be the budgeter or researcher. It’s just like the trip we took to the Arboretum. We took a lot of pictures together and later, I may make another Shutterfly photo book from those pictures. I mean, what better way to capture a lifetime of memories than in a Shutterfly book? We build memories and keep the relationship between K and me happy. It’s also helps to keep me active and my health stable.

Even though I use oxygen and my lung volume is in the teens, I still find things to do that I enjoy. Oxygen doesn’t take away the joy of life for me. I use it to my advantage so that I can find a lot of hobbies that are super fun to do!

Need a Hug?

Living On Oxygen for Life

Ohmygoodness… It’s Monday and the day needs to have some good news in it. Right? YAY! Of course I’m right. Well, let’s get on with the good news part. I’m so excited!!! Now I know you all thought the “Need a Hug” giveaway was over… and you are correct. In a way. What I mean is, for those of you who sent me an email saying that you need a HUG and want to participate in the giveaway… well, your name is STILL in handy-dandy heart-shaped crystal dish waiting for an afghan to be made JUST FOR YOU! Entries for this giveaway were accepted from January 1, 2014 thru December 31, 2014.

I’ve always loved handmade gifts. I think they are extra special. It means someone put a lot of effort and love into making it just for me. These afghans are handmade for the soul purpose of wrapping you up in hug on the days when you need a little extra boost. Below is the picture of the 3 afghans I’m ready to send out. The monochrome one is my favorite! After these are sent out, I have 4 names left.

3 Need a Hug Afghans

I have been incredibly busy lately painting, painting, and more painting in our house. I’m so tired of painting. I have to do it slowly but I NEVER thought I would be a lot faster at painting than K. He paints at the speed of a snail. He’s a perfectionist (OCD) but that’s not saying that I want to do a sloppy job. It’s like… come on… put a pep in your step mister! haha! Sorry, that was my complaint for the day. We use Valspar the higher grade and I seem to do well with the lower smell of this paint until I’m in a corner where there’s little airflow. Then, K is turning on fans, opening windows (even when it’s cold outside) and I’m taking a layer of clothes off down to my t-shirt & sweats. Painting makes me really hot because I’m burning energy and my heart races. So, I paint some and then rest some.

I hope all of you are having a great day and a great beginning to the week. Stay well and if it’s still cold where you live… I’m so so sorry. *sending warm Texas breezes your way!* And as always, you can reach me via email: goredrider@gmail.com or Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (not so much on Twitter!).

[2015]

A Story in a Story part 3

Living On Oxygen for Life

This is the third part to my short story. I hope to continue it when some more inspiration hits me. The ending of this part of the story is the actual original ending. When I wrote it, the ending just flowed out on the computer but then I realized what I wrote and wasn’t sure how a soldier would interpret it. So, I rewrote it with a different ending. More  upbeat. I’d love to hear what you feel when you read to the end of the story. Thanks so much for reading this.

Do you have suggestions on which direction this story should continue? Let me know by comment or email: goredridger@gmail.com … I have some ideas but I’d love to hear yours. Have a blessed weekend. On with the story…

Short Story

Part 3

by Christine

After endless days of working, your body feels as if it is going to give out. You enter your living quarters only to find two soldiers staring at the wall next to your cot. You feel yourself begin to panic as you rush over to stand behind the soldiers because you know what is hopefully still on that wall. It has become a lifeline to you. Your inspiration for making it through this tour of duty. It has been almost two weeks since you last seen the maple leaf and frankly you have missed it.

When you look over the soldiers’ shoulders you notice what has drawn their attention. The leaf is no longer red and it amazes you because you know without a doubt that it was red when first you touched it while walking through the forest. The men in front of you ask you where you found a living maple leaf out there in the desert but you don’t want to tell them. They would probably think the story you told them was totally made up. So, you tell them it’s just a fake leaf someone sent you. They reach out to touch it but you shove their hands away quickly. You realize as the soldiers leave that now two people have seen the leaf besides you. You only worry about it momentarily before exhaustion takes over.

Kneeling on one knee on your cot, you reach across to the wall and touch the leaf gently with your fingertips to reassure yourself that it is truly real. You pull your hand back and look at your fingers and see moisture from the leaf upon them. Simply amazing, you think to yourself. Never in your wildest imagination could you have thought this could happen to you. However, it has.

You pull off your gear and lie down on your side and just look at the leaf and within a few minutes you find yourself falling asleep. This time is different. This time, you’re ready to return. Almost immediately you feel a wintery chill as you open your eyes. You find yourself surrounded by what must be the neighborhood children.

You are stunned at the sight before you. Snow piled high along each side of the driveway belonging to the three little girl’s house. It must have snowed for days to create such a winter wonderland and the children are now enjoying it to its fullest. All of them making snowballs for an all out war to come. The battle of the fittest or fastest snowball creator. You slowly move to the perimeter of the yard, not sure what you can do or where you can go on this visit. It’s always a guess for you.

Suddenly, a man walks out of the house. He’s bundled up as well as the children. He seems friendly and all the kids gather around him as he announces that they will be building the biggest snowman ever. They all forget the snowballs that they are stockpiling for the grizzly war to help create Frosty the Snowman. You see the Maple Leaf Girls hug the man who joined in the fun. You think maybe he’s their father but aren’t quite sure.

The race was on to see which child could build the beginnings of the base snowball for Frosty. The snow was perfect packing snow and soon, a giant-sized snow ball is being rolled around the large front yard. The children roll until they couldn’t roll it anymore and then begin adding snow by hand. You are becoming skeptical about this snowman. How can these children build something so tall? The base alone is about four feet wide. Off to the side, other children are rolling another ball of snow for the belly of Frosty. This one not quite so big as the first. When the children roll it over to the snowman, they discover one small problem. No one is strong enough to lift the belly onto the base.

After some grumbling and serious debating, the man proposes a solution. You can’t believe what you hear as you stand there listening to the man. You think, this will never work. You see the man get down on his hands and knees next to the base of the snowman and somehow the children begin to roll the belly snowball up his back. The belly, with great effort from the man, rolls right into place.

With the cold wind whipping through the scarves, coats, & mittens, everyone cheers their success. On every face, you can see happiness. You feel elated just watching a happy moment. But the work issn’t over. Next is the head and it lifts on with relative ease since its size is the smallest. The children donate things to decorate the snow to turn it into Frosty the Snowman. When it’s finished, the children begin to go home, suddenly realizing how tired they are.

After a few minutes, the yard stands empty now save for you and Frosty. You walk around to look at him. He is so tall; nearly eight feet high. Standing there you wonder how it’s possible to be back here in the middle of winter. You hear a noise and look up to see the front door opening.

It’s the little girl who you were concerned about the last time you were here. She looks upset and its as if she is looking straight at you. A gust of chilling wind whips past you and knocks the carrot nose from Frosty’s face. Without thinking you reach down to pick up the carrot. The little girl begins to look more distressed with each passing second. As you stand to place the carrot back on the face of the snowman, the ground rumbles as if there is an earthquake. Without warning everything begins to fade around you and the last thing you hear is the little girl yelling as she runs towards you…”Get down!”

You jerk awake to complete silence except for the little girl’s warning in your head. Just as you decide to throw yourself on the ground, you realize your life has just been saved.