Sunday, August 7, 2022

The Regency Ball

 For the last two months, our family has been preparing for a Regency ball planned by my friend and fellow Jane Austen lover. 

The whole Lyme Disease thing put a serious kink in costume sewing, but the children stepped up to the plate and learned some stitching skills since I couldn't. I should also add that I had two friends donate significant hours to help the kids with the sewing tasks. The last few days I was well enough to do some stitching myself. 

And the last few hours before we had to leave for the ball, I was hearing Mrs. Bennet's voice from my favorite Pride and Prejudice movie shrieking, "Make haste, make haste!" Even as we were driving, we were sewing buttons and hooks and eyes. The children went into the venue to help set up, and I sat in our van pinking seam allowances. 

In the end, the costumes weren't sewn perfectly, but I thought my crew looked quite handsome. And what's more, they had such a blast learning some challenging dances. Little has been talked about since the ball except for the ball. It seems our family wasn't the only one enthralled by the evening; plans are already being discussed for a winter ball. 

My crew

Tea for all! 

This was an occasion to wear his great-great grandfather's pocket watch and chain. 

The only down side for me was my eye. I did dance the first few dances, but then the eye on the paralyzed side of my face became too tired? dry? uncomfortable! to stay open. And since the muscle that closes the eye doesn't work and the muscle that opens it does work (always if I open the other eye), I spent the rest of the ball sitting down with my eye patch on and with my eyes closed. I was still able to hear the dancers' feet get the hang of each new dance as it was taught. That was a neat experience!

I call this my faux-Regency/pirate look. I swear that is really a smile.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Lyme Update

Thank you to everybody who has been wishing me well and praying for me! 

I wish I could say that I'm all better now, but I can't. I DO think that most of the symptoms from the Lyme Disease have resolved: no fever, chills, aches, etc.

However, the facial paralysis triggered by the Lyme is the most difficult part to deal with. I never imagined all the things that would be affected by half of my face not moving (though I should have since my nephew has a host of health issues because of his paralysis). Some of the things affected are:

My eyes:  My right eye doesn't blink. I can close it, but only partially. Enter a host of eye drops (the two boxes were samples from my eye doctor) to help keep my eye hydrated and protected. I have tried unsuccessfully to tape my eye shut at night. Also, my vision is often blurry in that eye. From what I read online, that's normal for this condition.

New additions to my bathroom counter

My mouth:  My tongue feels funny, and I can't taste on the front of my tongue. I can't use my muscles properly to move food around in my mouth, and I can't properly open my mouth to eat. This was interesting when I tried a sushi roll yesterday; I had to use a fork to cut each piece smaller. I prefer to use a small straw to drink; if I don't have a straw, I have to use my other hand to push my lip agains the edge of the cup so I don't dribble out everywhere. Cleaning food out of my right cheek is difficult, and spitting is impossible to do in a proper fashion. (Is there a proper way to spit?)

My speech is a little slurred, and I certainly can't whistle. 

My ear: My right ear is quite sensitive to sound. Sometimes sounds are a little distorted. 

The big one is PAIN:  The right side of my face and neck and my right ear have a lot of nerve pain! Sometimes the pain is so bad that I can't sleep. The pain has sometimes caused me to despair. Yesterday I went to my doctor and she gave me some good recommendations for pain relief. 

One was acupuncture, and I had my first appointment last evening. I was impressed by that doctor. She was very experienced and had an air about her that gave me much confidence. The treatment did relieve my pain for a time, but more importantly, when the needles were in, my mouth barely drooped. The doctor said that is a good sign. I suppose the muscles were responsive. Whether or not it foretells recovery, it at least gave me some hope. I have another appointment scheduled next week.  (Also, for those who might be wondering, the acupuncture treatment was not uncomfortable.)

As I wait for further healing, I am trying to continue to rest, continue to take my medicine, and continue to try to eat well (a pot of nourishing and healing chicken broth will be made today). My friend cautioned me not to jump right into doing my work around the house again so that I can continue to heal. She is a wise friend, and I will follow her advice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Monday, July 18, 2022

Not Loving Lyme

Two weeks ago I was scrambling about trying to get costumes sewn for a Regency Ball. Now life is quite different. About a week ago it became very clear that the flu-like symptoms plus jaw pain I had been feeling for a couple days were not hormonal after all. After talking to my doctor, we decided what I was experiencing was likely Lyme Disease from an unseen tick bite. She called in a prescription, and I started the antibiotic right away.

The next day, we found the telltale sign-- the bull's-eye rash-- in a place I never would have seen that tiny, old tick! Later the headache pain was so bad that my husband took me to the emergency room where just about every test was performed-- from COVID to spinal tap to x-rays and beyond! The only test that showed bad stuff was the Lyme test. The nice staff gave me a bag of fluids and some pain medication which helped so I could sleep that night. I came home and slept. 

Two days later, I started feeling some weird stuff going on in the right side of my face. Twitches. More pains. A little numbness. This was one Lyme symptom I really hoped would bypass me-- facial paralysis.

Day 1 of facial paralysis

My eyes were not blinking normally, and I couldn't smile. Since then, the paralysis is worse. I can't make it look like a smile no matter how hard I try! (If you want to see me smile, cover up that droopy side of my face.)

Today's "smile"--much droopier face!

The paralyzed right side of my face produces a good deal of nerve pain. Chewing is painful, talking is painful, lots of light and sound are painful. I'm learning new ways of eating and drinking. I'm trying not to frighten my children. I avoid laughing (because it hurts!). Brushing teeth is interesting. And talking is purely functional for necessities to my family, so if you call, please don't be offended if I can't talk. I'm sorry that the children don't always give out good information, so I'll try to post updates from time to time. BUT looking at screens for very long isn't easy, and did I mention it's nearly impossible for me to read, too?

So what have I been up to? Well, I'm pretty tired most of the time, so I'm usually in my darkened bedroom sleeping or just resting away from sound and light. I also slowly eat my (often ground into mush) meals with a baby spoon so my antibiotics won't upset my stomach.

My friend Marti reminded me (literally as my face was becoming paralyzed) that I didn't have all those other things I was testing for: I didn't have a brain tumor, I didn't have fatal meningitis, I didn't have a brain aneurysm. I have a treatable disease. For that I am thankful to God (and to Marti for the reminder).

And as always, there's a silver lining to this cloud: I'm losing some weight :) And praying. And resting. And trusting God that all will be well. 

At supper this evening, I complained, "This is NOT how I wanted to spend my summer!" My son said, "There's a song about that!" Then he grabbed his phone and played for me the Minions' version of a Rolling Stones' tune:  "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Thanks, son.

Please, please, please read about Lyme Disease and its symptoms. Those tiny ticks are so small that even when they are in more visible places, they are hard to see! But if you can recognize the symptoms (and there are soooo many of them) without looking only for a bull's-eye rash (because it isn't always there!), you can get treatment early so that it doesn't become a chronic issue. Please do this for your own health and for the health of those you love.

And I've written about our experiences with Lyme Disease before here and here and here. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Vote for Sea Turtles!

 My dear daughter loves to crochet. She even designs crochet patterns. Today voting for a design contest opens, and she would be thankful for your vote. 

You can vote here.

You will be asked to select your 10 favorite designs and enter your email to ensure no double voting. Helen's design is a sea turtle and her baby, and you'll need to scroll down a bit to find it.

Such cute sea turtles!

If she wins she would get quite the prize package; I think it includes being published in a book and lots of yarn (nothing like feeding the addiction). Thanks in advance if you take the time to help her out. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

 My son just informed me that I was going to burn in sandwich hell (for saying that a taco is a kind of sandwich). The boy takes his sandwiches seriously; Dagwood's got nothing on him.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Fine Day

Yesterday was a fine, fine day. The weather was sunny and just warm, not hot. We had wind, of course, but it was the kind of breeze that would have been good for flying kites, if we'd chosen to fly kites. Days like that make everything in life look sunny.

I decided it was a day to take a few pictures of outside goings-on before settling in to wash dishes and start supper.

What was going on? Well, it seems a warm day is a day for bees.

That wind did make it difficult to keep the smoker lit.

Lots of honey coming out of winter

I know it seems like lots of honey would be a good thing, but we suspect something is wrong with that hive because there are few bees. The queen is still alive, but there is little brood. I'm guessing something happened earlier in winter to make fewer bees since there is so much honey remaining. The other hive seemed to be doing well, so that's good.

After visiting the bees, I walked toward the backyard to see what the chickens were up to.  To nobody's surprise, they were scratching about in the leaves, and Chester the Rooster kept his evil eye on me. 

Common sight nowadays

Chickens weren't the only thing I found in the leaves on the edge of the trees.

Hello, crocus! 

And, yes, according to the dictionary, "crocus" is the plural of "crocus." The dictionary also says it would be correct for me to type "croci," but that would just make it more awkward, I think. I've always said "crocuses," but I learned today that I've been wrong all these years. I will probably continue saying the word incorrectly because I like it better. I guess a lovely spring day brings out the rebel in me.