2015 in the Rearview Mirror

On this last day of the year, I look back on 2015 as if it were an object in the rearview mirror of the orange Dodge Dart I usually drive. The year has had more ups and downs than usual, it seems.

The Good in 2015

I am pleased to say that there were no losses in our human family. I still appreciate sharing a home and companionship with my mom, who is the best in the world; and working with my sister Melissa on two jobs and my cousin MJ on a third.

What is more, I am feeling better than I have for quite some time. A decision to take my thyroid problems to a new doctor led to a change to Nature-Throid and a new vitamin/supplement regimen which has improved my energy level quite a bit. I am still not a “morning person,” but I am able to arise at 7:00 AM and make it to work by 9:00 AM on a regular basis, for which I am truly thankful.

I have very much enjoyed my work at church and at Birmingham Bible Institute. I love being the webmaster of three websites, accomplishing tasks in the church office, and teaching adults who want to know something about biblical Greek and/or Hebrew.

I am also glad to be back in the church choir again. I joined up on a whim in the summer, but have continued faithfully since then. I have always enjoyed singing (even when it is with only the cats as my audience), but choir is an opportunity to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”

My long-standing friendship with Nancy continues to be important in my life. Even when we can’t get together for several weeks at a time, I know she is there for me (and I am for her).

I have also enjoyed learning more about WordPress. I have taken–and continue to take–a number of online courses through Udemy, a great resource I discovered early in 2015.

The Bad in 2015

Probably the worst part of 2015 for me was the loss of four beloved cats: Revelly in March, Patch the Pirate in May, and both C. P. Pirate and Allicat (aka Googlie Girl) in November. Googlie was the oldest of my kitties; she had been with us since December 1998, when we adopted her as a one-year-old stray.

 

Googlie Girl says goodbye at age 18.

I also miss my chat buddy, Karen. We used to meet up on Yahoo Messenger for long talks on a regular basis, but since her granddaughter was born we no longer do.

Coming in 2016

I am assuming new responsibilities and more hours per week in my job at church. I am honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me, and desire to glorify God by doing my best in every task. I know I can rely on Him for strength and guidance.

 

Rascal Spatz
Seeing double? Yes, you are. This is Rascal Spatz times two.

I also have a new feline family member to get to know in 2016. His name is Rascal Spatz, and he came to us in December as a nine-month-old kitten. He has already managed to terrorize and harass several of the other cats with his rough play habits. He seems to lack the “fear gene.” He does loves his humans and has a loud purr.

Having a No Good, Very Bad Weekend

My no good, very bad weekend actually started on Friday. I did not realize I was suffering from fibro fog until the next day. What I did see was that C. P. Pirate did not look like he was feeling well. Early in the evening, when Jim told me Pirate had just gotten sick to his stomach, I got dressed again and took him to the vet.

Dr. Core gave Pirate a thorough examination. Pirate was x-rayed, had blood and urine samples taken, and got two shots to settle his stomach. His ears were cleaned as well; the compounded cream I applied daily tends to build up. Pirate’s temperature was normal, and there was no blockage revealed by the x-ray. Although I had suspected that Pirate has lost some weight, I was shocked to learn that he had lost 12.5 ounces since late September. I took him home.

Feline Farewell

Saturday morning, Pirate would not eat, no matter how often I presented his usual food. Even Spot’s Stew did not entice him. I called the veterinary hospital to get put on the call-back list for his test results. Something told me it would be a good idea to shower and get dressed. Dr. Core called me about 2:00 PM. Although his red and white blood cell counts were normal and he still had only a slight case of anemia, the other blood test results were very bad. Despite his every-other-day fluids and an adjustment of his anti-thyroid medication, both his kidney and thyroid values had risen to alarming levels. I knew it was time to say goodbye, so back we went to Gasow Veterinary Hospital. Pirate crossed the Rainbow Bridge lying in my arms as I kept telling him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him.

C. P . Pirate
C. P. Pirate in Happy Times

Fibro Fog

I was pulling into the garage at home when I got a call from my sister Melissa. Our pastor had contacted her about the location of the bulletins for Sunday. Melissa wanted to know if I had run them and where I had put them. It was only then that I realized that I had totally forgotten to run them off on Friday when I was at work. I had never forgotten to do that before, so it hit me that I must be pretty deep in fibro fog or having a VERY long senior moment. I headed over to church and reproduced the bulletins.

When I returned home again, I faced the unhappy but necessary job of interring my beloved Pirate. I found the perfect spot, right next to his best buddy, Patch the Pirate. I spent the remainder of the day and evening trying to divert my attention to less painful matters, without much success.

Today I discovered that the fog has not lifted. There was a check that I was supposed to get cashed as I worked with the team processing the morning offering at church. I had forgotten all about it until the deposit was complete and on its way to the bank. I opened the file cabinet to store the loose coin, and there was the check.

I hope and pray that my no good, very bad weekend ends today. This is not the condition in which I am able to offer my best service to the Lord and to my church. Missing Pirate is enough of a drain on my mental and emotional resources.

Back Again!

It seems like quite a long time since I posted here, but I’m back again. Lots of interesting (and not so interesting) things have been happening in my life.

I Have a New Doctor

I owe some thanks to my former endocrinologist. It was bad enough that he kept prescribing Levoxyl for my hypothyroidism, despite the continued worsening of my symptoms. What was worse was his constant tardiness to our appointments…EVERY TIME! The last time this happened, I walked out and have not been back. Instead, I tried a new doctor; actually I have had my first two appointments with a knowledgeable physician’s assistant. I am now on Nature-Throid, which provides me with some T3 as well as T4. I have dropped many of the supplements I was taking and the antidepressant that was supposed to help me with sleep (but quit a long time ago). I am getting Myers’ IV restorative treatment weekly to boost my absorption of nutrients and taking some different supplements. My adrenal function proved to be on the low side of normal in the morning and on the high side at bedtime, so I am now taking supplements to help balance me. I am feeling somewhat better and am working more hours without ill effect.

I Am Working More Hours

I am amazed that I am able to get up at 7:00 AM many weekday mornings and make it in to work at my church at 9:00. Of course that means earlier bedtimes for this night owl; I surely am ready for “lights out” earlier than I used to be. More important, I wake up with more enthusiasm to face the day ahead. My job has many enjoyable aspects, not the least of which is working with my youngest sister, Melissa. I like what I am doing, and take satisfaction in keeping busy with tasks that will benefit the church in some way. I continue to work with my cousin MJ, the staff photographer at Wayne State University, although I am on campus only one afternoon a month. I do the rest of my job remotely from home. The Wayne State VPN is a wonderful thing!

I Am Taking More Chances

One thing I fear is speaking in public. That sounds strange coming from a teacher, I know. Despite this, I was able to present the minutes I took during our church’s last annual business meeting and subsequent church meetings at this year’s annual meeting without appearing very nervous (so I am told). I also had to give highlights of my report on Birmingham Bible Institute and Grace Bible and Book Store, two ministries of our church. I have also recently rejoined the church choir. This may seem like a small thing–and not too risky–but it could only come about thanks to a certain health improvement that seems to be associated with my new medical regimen, including the Paleo diet that I am (mostly) following now. This past Sunday morning I also sang in a ladies’ sextet (as a substitute) for the service’s special music.

I Am Enjoying Life More

It goes without saying–although I am saying it anyway–that I love spending time with Mom, my sister Melissa, and my feline family.  I still get together with Nancy, my BFF of about 25 years, as often as our busy schedules and conflicting work schedules permit. I am also enjoying my role as webmaster for the Grace Baptist Church and Birmingham Bible Institute websites, as well as my own personal sites. I have found several online WordPress courses I have taken through Udemy very helpful. Designing the fall brochure for BBI was a bit more challenging than usual because of a layout change, but I am happy with the result (and hope it will attract students to the Institute). Life is good!

It’s Official: I Am Ancient

Better Than the Alternative

It is 1:00 AM on Friday, April 17; today I officially become ancient. I don’t feel 65, but I do notice some of those nasty physical changes that happen as we grow older. I often joke that growing older is better than the alternative; then I have to explain that I do not mean it in the ultimate sense. For me, as a born-again Christian, the alternative is eternity in heaven with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is nothing better than that! For now, though, I am enjoying my life (for the most part) and feel I still have goals to accomplish and people with whom I value spending time.

To celebrate my milestone birthday, I am having a professional portrait taken later today. Our church is putting together a pictorial directory this year, so I asked my mom and sister Melissa to make appointments back-to-back with mine. I plan to include a few “group shots” in my session to enjoy in years to come.

Blue Cross Annoyance

One thorn in my flesh: I should have received from Blue Cross my Medicare Advantage card before April 1 when I became eligible for Medicare. Three weeks ahead of time, I called Blue Cross because I had not received the card and was told that it should arrive two weeks beforehand. No card came. I called the Blues a second time; the gentleman said that something was sent to them in 2013, but I was not eligible at that time (no kidding!). He said that the Office of Retirement Services never sent them any paperwork about my current eligibility.

My next call was to the ORS; I get a teaching pension from the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. After a brief investigation, a very nice gentleman assured me that the ORS keeps up with its members as they become Medicare-eligible. My name was on the list sent to Blue Cross on January 2. He promised to resend my name to Blue Cross.  He also informed me that the Blues would have to send me a form on which I was to provide the numbers on my federal Medicare card, I would have to mail back it back to them, and eventually I might get my card. I still have nothing from Blue Cross. I hope I do not need any medical care until this is straightened out.