Saturday, March 31, 2012

(DF) MARCH: In like a lion, out like a lamb? ........ (part 2)

Seems like only days ago I was writing the original "in like a lion" post, and here it is the last day of March. I had hoped to make some sense of this old saying once and for all, but no such luck. If anything, I am more confused now than ever.

As you may recall, my confusion is mainly due to the subjective nature of what is a lion and what is a lamb. Where do you draw the line between the two. On March first, I decided that such a warm sunny day with a gusty wind was most likely an unruly lamb. But what about today? Today has been sunny, warm (almost truly hot) and with a gentle breeze. Does this sound a bit lamb-like to anyone but me? Does that mean that March came in like a wimpy lion after all, and that (heaven forbid) I was WRONG?

I do not like being wrong any more than anyone else, but the alternative is even more disappointing. If I was right in the first place and March came in like a lamb, and today seems to be a lamb also, then it implies that several generations of my family (on both sides) were suckered into believing this old saying when there was no evidence to support it. Consider that they all believed it completely enough to plan farm activities a month in advance and what would that say about my ancestry.

In case you don't already know, I will say it clearly ............ I am tenacious. Alright, downright stubborn and even bull headed comes closer to it. I can almost hear Anna chuckle already. Being so stubborn, it is quite hard for me to stop until I know for sure, especially when so much is at stake, so for now, I will concede that I may have been wrong about my earlier choice of the lamb on March first, in favor of watching this a bit longer to see if it is clearer with more information. In true scientific form, I find that the analysis of this year's data are inconclusive and require further study in order to eliminate more of the uncontrolled variables. In REAL PEOPLE TERMS, I'll watch how it works next year to see if this year was an odd ball.

Maybe next year we will know more, or at least have fun trying to find out. For now, let me know how the first and last days of March compared where you are, and enjoy the spring weather.

Friday, March 30, 2012

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Intro - Sinus Relief

  I get so very frustrated with going to the doctor. When I do, it seems that all they want to do is give me a pill (or drugs) to treat the symptoms I went in for, not find out what is wrong and fix it. Then . . . . when I have a reaction to, or side effects from, the pill(s) they gave me, they give me more drugs to mask the symptoms from the first drugs prescribed. Then, often times, this cycle continues with those drugs... And before you know it, I have more problems, and am feeling worse, than I did when I originally went into the doctor!!

It all gets pretty frustrating. It seems any more, that going for medical care is simply a BIG money maker for the pharmaceuticals, drug companies, equipment makers, and everyone else on that end of the stick, with little to no regard for the actual, quality health of the patient. Once upon a time, a long time ago, if a doctor knew of a 'natural' or 'home' remedy that worked as well as, or better, than any drug he could prescribe, he would not only tell you about it (making sure you fully understood how to do it), but urge you to try it before he prescribed anything. But that was back when the medical profession truly cared about the patients, before extreme monetary greed hit the system.

In today's world, more and more chemical laden drugs are being created by the day, and more and more serious side effects are coming with them. I mean, just listen to the commercials. They advertise this big, wonderful, miracle working medication, then at the end of the commercial they list all these horrifying side effects it could cause. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want all that crap in my body and I certainly don't want to experience any of those horrifying side effects.

Commercials?   For drugs and medications?  Now there's something we never dreamed we would see!  It's like they want us to be sick, like they want us to see these commercials, start imagining the symptoms, run to our doctor, ask for the medication we saw advertised on TV, hand them more of our hard-earned money, take the medications, experience the side effects, go back for more drugs to counter those side effects, so that we can go back and hand them some more money. It is a viscous, never ending cycle that appears to have been created to keep us sick and draining us of every penny we can come up with. Oh, and I find it pathetically amusing that 'they' have banned cigarette and alcohol commercials (which I am glad they did), then replaced them with 'drug' commercials! It just doesn't make sense.

Regardless of the fact that 'they' are trying every way they can to block us from growing and/or selling and using our own natural sources of healing and keeping ourselves healthy (by eating our way to good health), many of 'us' are searching high and low for every natural remedy, cure and prevention we can find to live the best quality, healthy life we can . . . naturally.  That is the way God intended, that is our right, and it should never be taken away from us. With natural living and healing, side effects are few to none, and cures are strived for, rather than simply a 'bandaid' placed on the symptoms. 

Then there is always the concern of major disasters striking, be it man made or an unexpected, enormous natural disaster. During such an event, grids and everything we have grown dependent upon will go down. Medical assistance and supplies will be spread unbelievably thin, not to mention they will run out quickly. Then what will we do?  Just live with being sick or injured? Or worse, say 'good-bye' to the world and die because we have come so dependent upon the greedy, money hungry medical profession that we don't have a clue what to do for ourselves??  NO! We need to start preparing ourselves now, learning (and practicing) every natural remedy and method we can learn, so that we can live a more healthy, quality, comfortable and productive lifestyle. And this is what PHARMACY FRIDAY will be dedicated to.

PHARMACY FRIDAY will be a weekly post discussing, not only the dangers hidden in many of our modern day medications, drugs and treatments, but especially natural remedies, treatments and daily living routines that will help us to have a better quality, healthier, more comfortable life, NATURALLY. I hope you will find this weekly post of great help and benefit to you, and I truly look forward to your input.
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*For our first post, I am going to begin with a remedy that doesn't even involve putting anything into your body. Only your body is used, and nothing else is needed ... nothing to buy, nothing to grow, nothing to harvest .... nothing

As some of you have been reading, I have been in a bad health mode myself, lately. I had to break down and go to the doctor, which ended in prescribed meds, and, you guessed it, more meds to counter bad effects of that med. Ugh!!!  Yet through it all, NOTHING is working on my extreme sinus infection. Along with that, I am having one mini stroke after the other (up to about 14 now in the past month and they are wearing me out!), which I am convinced is related to my sinus infection, but I can't convince the doctor of that. So I have been researching and digging deeply on my own to try and remedy the situation myself, because nothing they did for me has worked.

A couple of nights ago I found a website about using acupressure to help relieve your sinus pain, pressure and to help it to begin to drain. I found it very interesting and definitely worth trying. They listed many acupressure points with easy detail to follow (you can see them all here) I tried a couple of them for a few moments and could actually feel a little bit of relief. But still, I was skeptical.  But then the next time (only hours later, actually)  I felt one of those mini strokes coming on, I thought I would try pressing on one of those pressure points and see if it helped at all. I tried pressure point #2  and to my grateful amazement, the mini stroke instantly stopped! Woohooo!!!

Well, I still was unsure if it was just coincidence, a one-time thing, or if it was really going to work. Since then, three more mini strokes have come on (one was obviously going to be another pretty hard one), I immediately pressed on a pressure point (I am using points #1, #2 and #3, as needed) and every mini stroke immediately stopped! On two of them, just as the tingly numbness had begun to creep into my left side, I pressed on the pressure point and the tingly numbness faded back out in the same fashion it had come in, completely stopping the mini stroke. This even further proves to me that these frustrating and debilitating mini strokes are probably connected to my severe sinus infection. I have no doubt.

Even though this terrible spell I am going through has gotten pretty scary, kept me from working, which has kept me from making an income, without which I can't pay my bills, which has all the appearances of destroying me, I was still thinking just yesterday that there has to be some reason I am having to go through this all, some good purpose. Maybe this was the reason . . . to figure out, first hand, what triggers some mini strokes (pressure from a sever sinus infection, maybe) and figure out a simple, non-invasive, cost free, way to stop them the moment they start . . . . . which could save a person days, and even weeks, of recovery time. Now, keep in mind that mini strokes are a VERY serious thing and can be caused (triggered) by a variety of things, so if you are having them, you should consider seeking medical attention. But for me (I had no luck when I sought medical attention), this is stopping mine until I can remedy the underlying cause. And I honestly think that if I can get rid of my sinus infection, my mini strokes will stop completely, just as they did in the past. At least I hope so! (this post written by Anna)

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. We would love to hear your ideas, opinions and any suggestions you might have on any part of this post. We look forward to reading your comments. Once again, comments are currently open to everyone, members or not. No waiting for comment approval and no funny words to type.

  Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, a doctor nor a pharmacist and I am not telling, nor advising, anyone to skip the doctor's care and treat themselves. Pharmacy Friday is strictly for informative purposes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Monday evening, I hurried home from work, tired but with full intentions of spending the hour and a half or so before dark, working on the goat fence. What is it they say about best laid plans? In this case, they were led astray by small creatures of the springtime baby variety.

I knew my milk goat was bred and even the general time frame for a due date, but I really thought it would be another week. Not that I don't keep breeding records, problem is the big white billy (yes, the one in my profile photo) goes quietly about his business. No noise, no show and no stink except during breeding season (and not much then). Simply put, he was so sneaky about the whole affair that I wasn't completely sure which day to mark on the calendar. Knowing pretty close to the date, I marked April 1st +/- a week, still thinking it was more likely on the plus side. I WAS WRONG!!!

I had not yet prepared for the little devils and, of course, first thing they did when they were strong enough to walk was to start getting in trouble ........... they ARE goats after all. So it was through the fence and into the pen with their dad. He is a very gentle, good natured goat but really doesn't like things messing with his legs. The rescue was followed immediately by kid proofing the bottom of the pen, which should have already been done but had been put off in favor of more immediate considerations.

This is the mother's second set of kids, and this time looks like she will be giving more milk than last year. As the photo shows, there is reason to believe there will be plenty for the babies and some for us as well. Even though I hear that use of raw milk is increasingly coming under fire and the push is on to make it illegal, I will be using milk from my own goats. Goat milk is excellent for drinking fresh, cooking, making cheese and anything else you would use milk for, with the added benefit that the enzymes haven't been killed. Honestly, I truly believe that the stuff you get in the grocery store is worthless, and worse yet, somewhat toxic. Just my opinion, but at least it is an informed opinion. So, for now at least, I will enjoy the little goats and the fresh milk ......... just some of the pleasures of springtime on the farm.

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You - Conclusion (part 6) - The Check up

I recently went for my follow-up check up. For the first time ever, since I have been going to this clinic, I got to see a real doctor! yea!! (setting aside the dentist, of course, who is real and very good)

Once again I had a very short wait, being called in for my turn reasonably quickly.  The nurse (assistant) came in, took my vitals and went over my meds (all the standard stuff). She then looked down at her laptop (on which was my chart - sure hope they have hard copy back-up) with a puzzled look on her face. She asked me if I had picked up my new prescription for my blood pressure med, yet. I said yes. She asked if I had opened it and if it was correct. I said no, I hadn't opened it, I was finishing up my old bottle first. She was puzzled as she reviewed what my last prescription was for (dosage wise), then explained that the prescription for my last visit was written out for a dose only a fourth that size. WHAT!!!?

Okay, back up here a sec ..... In the past, my prescription was written out for a 10 mg dose at a month's supply, but I was instructed to take only 1/2 a pill each day (5 mg). That brought my cost waaaaaayyy down, and my bottle lasted 2 months. There isn't much price difference between the smaller pills and the larger pills, and the savings greatly helped. I sooo appreciated that the last PA helped me like this.

Now back to my story ..... Still looking puzzled, the nurse said, "According to your chart, your last prescription was written for only a one month supply of 2.5 mg doses. That would mean you have to take 2 pills each day to get the proper dosage, and your prescription will only last 2 weeks." Ugh!! That's crazy!
Without showing anger at her, I expressed my disgust. I was already upset that this new prescription was drastically higher than my last one (Same exact med... new price. Last one was a few cents over $18, this time it was nearly $55, and now it would only last me 1/4th as long!!!!). I am in here to get my blood pressure down, and these people are doing all they can to ELEVATE it!! I guess that sarcastic PA I saw last time just had to get in one more, hateful dig with me. I was really sick with infection then, went later that day to pick up my prescription, it hadn't even been called in yet, so I had to go get it a couple of days later when I was back in town (this included the antibiotics that I needed that day). When I picked it up, I had just come from having my tooth out, all drugged up. I had checked to be sure it was the correct meds, but, in my groggy state, hadn't thought to be sure the dosage was the same. I mean, we had discussed my dosage there in the office at the time of my appointment. Good grief!!

The nurse asked me if I wanted another prescription, so I wouldn't run out. I said that there was no way I could afford another bottle of medication! I told her how much more expensive it was than the last time (which caught me way off guard) and I had to borrow from someone so that I could pick it up because I had no idea it was going to cost that much (been too sick lately to work for even myself and sales of late have been nearly nil). She looked sincerely apologetic, said the doctor would be right in, and left. I heard her out in the hall telling someone what had happened with my prescription and that I couldn't afford another bottle. Yep, that means I have to run on half doses and less for a long time to come, and will probably totally run out. Plus, to get another prescription now, I will have to also pay for another office visit before a prescription will be written. Makes you wanna slap somebody, doesn't it?!

Shortly, the doctor came in with a very caring and friendly attitude (guess she was afraid I would go off on her about the meds, lol). She did the routine check over, but neglected to listen to my heart and lungs. She also did not check where the tooth had been pulled, which was what I was coming in here for in the first place. She took the time to explain excellent tips on things I could be doing to reduce my blood pressure. I told her what my blood pressure generally was, and that it only does this when I have infection. She simply said, "Well, you are getting older, now."  Ugh! That so ticks me off! People's blood pressure goes up .... they say it is simply due to aging, they hand you a fist full of pills .... and totally disregard finding out what is causing the blood pressure to go up so you can eliminate that. It just doesn't make sense (unless you are on the pharmaceutical end of things, of course). Although she never addressed my sinus infection nor the medication screw-up, she did ask if I had any more questions. I told her about the mini strokes that I had been having and described them to her (although they quit a couple of weeks after I had been on the antibiotics). She acknowledged that that is what they were, and said that they would continue if I didn't get my blood pressure down. Once again, the only time I have ever had those, was when I had a severe sinus infection. When the sinus infection is gone, so are the mini strokes, gone for years even.

Before she closed my appointment, she looked at my chart and said, "We haven't done blood work on you since last May. We need to get that done again"  Oh, boy.... here we go again. They actually have it in my chart that I got that blood work done!! (refer to part 4)  Once again, I reminded her that I didn't get my blood work done then, that an elderly relative ended up in the hospital and I was running hard for a good while to take care of things, missed my appointment, and time got away. She said that they would have to order it again. I reminded her that it was already paid for. She said that that was last year, the books had been closed out and started over, and I would have to pay again.I said that I still had my lab order slip. She said that it was expired, I would have to pay again.  I said that that just wasn't right, I shouldn't have to pay twice for the same blood work. She just shrugged her shoulders and said that they had lab costs to keep up, it had to go in on that, and I would have to pay again. ^%*&#$@#   (no, I kept my mouth clean in the office, but I was sure thinking it)  I told her I absolutely couldn't pay for the same work twice, I couldn't and it was just wrong. She politely said, "That is your choice. We can just go with the medications and check-ups for now." (she ignored the fact that I didn't have enough medication, that they had screwed it up)

They may have an in-office lab now, but a year ago, they were contracted out to outside labs, as they were in a smaller building that didn't have a lab. Here is how I think it went (my personal opinion) . . . . . . 
   . . . . . It is a sliding scale clinic, meaning you pay a percentage of your visit/lab work, depending upon  your income. Lab work is paid in advance. I was scheduled to go to a lab in my town, as a drop-in, no specific time and date, just a time-frame, to a lab that they were contracted out to. (Keep in mind, the clinic already had my lab order and payment for my share of the percentage). Due to a family crisis, I didn't make it. It appears that the clinic has it in their records that I did. As if my lab work had been done, government funded clinic falsely sends in to the government to collect the remainder of the percentage for my lab visit (majority of the cost) and collects, but doesn't have to pay the lab they were contracted to because I never went and they never got a bill from them for my lab work. This is FRAUD!!!!  (again, this is my opinion of how it happened, judging by all events that took place and the lack of straight answers I could get) This falsified activity fraud's the patient, the US Government, and the American tax payer. And it happens daily, all across our nation, in one clinic after another. This is the second clinic I have been a victim of this very thing. Also, as you can see, there were no lab costs associated with me a year ago when I never went. I never used the services of their lab, at either location.

Since this clinic has it in their record that I DID get my lab work done last year, I am very curious to know what my results were. One must wonder if they just make up results, use someone else's results, or have a standard set of results they use specifically for this fraudulent purpose. Which ever method they use, I don't like being used for someone else's financial gain. I went to a clinic in a life/death crisis, and came out feeling victimized. Folks, this is Oklahoma health care at it's finest!! And I don't expect it will get any better. But I don't intend to sit back and let it all fall down the tubes without at least doing my tiny little part to help mend it.

You know, once upon a time, I worked 3 part-time jobs, had a decent liveable income and did my part to help everyone else possible. Then life's hard knocks hit and I am in a 'down' at the moment. My health became life or death and I had to swallow my pride and go to this clinic for help. But regardless of where you have been in life, where you are now, where you are trying to get, etc... from the moment you step in the door of this clinic, and I am sure others like it, they make you feel like you are beneath them, like you aren't worthy of receiving their services, like you are a nobody. It's that kind of attitude, those kinds of jabs at a person's self worth, that instills feelings of low self-esteem in people while they are down and hinders them from being able to pick themselves up and move forward again. So now, after completing weeks of strong antibiotics, my sinus infection appeared to be gone and the mini strokes completely stopped. But two days ago my sinus infection returned with a vengeance, along with the frustratingly scary mini strokes. They let all the wind out of me and totally exhaust me for days.... just in time to have another. Work isn't getting done around here, and no work, no money. Yet I need money so that I can go back to that clinic for care, so that they can gouge me and our government a little more. It's such an unfortunate Round Robin of events. But until then, until I can go back for another stressful, blood pressure elevating, degrading appointment, I am searching deep and hard for every natural remedy I can come up with to help me - both my sinus infection and my blood pressure. I would love to hear, and greatly appreciate all of your wonderful suggestions of natural remedies and your opinions on this entire subject. Please feel free to post them here in the comments. I would also like to hear about any similar experiences you might have had.  Thank you!

ALSO READ:   Part 1      Part 2      Part 3      Part 4      Part 5

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


As you may already know from Anna's post, it rained quite a bit last week (almost 9 inches here, in 4 days). In some areas, that wouldn't be a problem, but here at my place it only takes about six inches over a few days, to completely saturate the ground. Everything else is run off. By the time it is finished raining, the saturation has made it down to the clay layer underneath and water runs from the base of every hill, in the form of clear, rushing springs.

Thursday evening came around, still raining and I had been dealing with a sore foot all week, so I fired up the old 4X4 Chevy truck and drove up to the back pasture to feed the horses. Well, actually, I drove almost up to the back pasture, thanks to saturated soil and the down side to four wheel drive.

Don't get me wrong, I really do like my four wheel drive, and in most situations it is wonderful. Anyone would probably agree that (at least in theory) four wheels pulling will take you through things better than two wheels pulling. Fact is, that works in practice too, USUALLY.

Now we get to the exception and the downside. When two wheels spin in soft mud, they go down into that mud, so the back end is down. If the other two wheels are spinning and the mud is soft, they go down too, and now, the whole truck frame is on the ground, spoiling any possibility of it coming out under its own power. It becomes like a turtle on a rock, flailing for all it's worth and going nowhere. This is exactly what happened Thursday evening, leaving me no choice but to walk back to the house and devise a plan to get it out. By "get it out", I really mean, get it out without too much damage and with no injuries. Not always an easy task.

Saturday, I had to work but was scheduled for an early day (7 am to 3:30 pm), so when I got home, I hooked up the tractor and trailer, loaded an old sheet of heavy plywood (to use as a jack platform), and headed up in the field, where I also loaded some rocks. A Hi-Lift jack is probably among the more dangerous tools I own, but is all too often the only real tool for the job. This was one of those times.

I waded ankle deep water to place the plywood over the mud at the back of the truck, with clear water shooting a couple of inches high from quarter sized holes in the mud. Carefully jacking up the back end of the truck, high enough that both rear wheels were suspended above the deep, water filled pits they had created, I then filled those pits with rocks and let the truck back down. A WORD OF WARNING HERE: Please do not lift the entire end of a vehicle with any type of bumper jack unless absolutely necessary, it is very dangerous. In this case I had little choice because the only part of the bumper that wasn't completely buried in the mud, was the top edge above the license plate ............. fortunately there was no problem this time. The front end was easier, with only one wheel completely down and up where there wasn't water standing.

It took a couple of tries, but once the frame was off the ground and the wheels on top of rocks instead of down in a water pit, it pulled out fine. Needless to say, I took it home a slightly different route to avoid having to do it all again. Next time, I will avoid large areas of mud, at least with a full sized truck. Some vehicles work better in lots of mud than others and mine is not one of the better ones for that application. Good luck with your own mud boggin'.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

(AF) Shrinking Packages . . . . . . Ugh!!!

Grocery shopping has become an extreme stress. All the more reason to grow as much of our own foods as possible. Every time you go to the grocery store, it seems everything you purchased the last time has increased in price. Then there is the (suppose to be subtle) trick they try and use of shrinking the packaging but leaving the price the same, and hoping you won't notice.

A few days ago I went to the local grocery store to pick up a few things I just couldn't do without any longer. One of those things was the Raw Honey I use (Cheatwood's Pure Raw Honey). I normally purchase the largest jar they have, sometimes two of them, so it had been awhile since my last purchase. My jaw dropped nearly to the floor when I saw that the price had gone up around $2.00 a jar!!!

But it didn't stop there, oh, no. Today, I went to scrape the last few drops out of my old jar, and open my new jar. Something didn't look right, so I put the two jars together and double checked the labels. Yep, not only did the price of the new jar drastically go up, but the new jar was also considerably smaller!!! It was 6 ounces smaller. That was a double whammy. I did get a small chuckle from the whole situation, though, when I was looking over the label again and really caught the brand name of the honey.

I have come to really hate going to the grocery store. I get a knot in my stomach every time I have to even think about going. So I end up putting off going until I just can't put it off any longer. Dave, we are definitely going to have to raise our own honey, too. I look sooooo forward to the day when having to go to the grocery store is a rarity.

 **UPDATE - One of our readers has very kindly shared with us, links to a couple of great coupon sites, especially for those of you here in Oklahoma. I am adding them here and linking them to make it easier for you to view.   Thanks, Kris!
     Consumer Queen                    Simple Saving Savvy   

Saturday, March 24, 2012

(AF) Sometimes It's Like 'Green Acres' Around Here

It's a beautiful, sunny day. Windows are cracked open pulling fresh air in. I had one ceiling fan in the front room going to circulate all that fresh air. Then I decided to reheat some homemade chicken soup. It was in an enamel roaster so I put it across both burners of my 2-burner hot plate (turning them both on medium) and it fits perfectly. (My stove top went out about a decade ago).

With the hotplate going in the next room, it began to get a little warm in here, so I decided to turn on the second ceiling fan in the front room. *POOF*  . . . . . it all went off, along with the refrigerator and quite a few other things. Seems when they built the addition onto this house, they did some major redneck engineering with the electrical wiring. The breaker and everything are now back on... well, that is, all but that one fan. I had to chuckle as the remembrance of Lisa and that board of numbered outlets came to mind. Maybe I should do that . . . number all of my outlets and set up a bulletin board to organize them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You - Part 5 - Dental Visit

Since I was having to take so many meds to get through this dental appointment, and there was a high risk of the appointment and procedure further shooting my blood pressure up, plus, due to all of the above, a slight risk of hemorrhaging from the socket and/or choking on blood if it didn't clot correctly (also from all of the above), my wonderful Dave set aside everything he needed to be doing to come down here, take me to the dentist, sit through my appointment with me, and keep an eye on me through the night (My appointment was actually at 6pm. Never had one that late, didn't know dental appointments could be made that time of day.)

Blood pressure med before I left the house, left off the tylenol to reduce chance of thinning blood/excess bleeding, and we were on our way. Dave kept the conversation going so well, to help keep my mind distracted and off of my HUGE fear of the dentist. About halfway there I nibbled on my horseradish folded up in a slice of bread. About 45 minutes after we left my house, we were finally there. I rinsed my mouth out well with some filtered water and took my 1/4 of a Valium, along with some deep breaths.

Once inside, I signed in and barely had time to sit down before they called me back. I was so glad to see that they still had the same dentist! He is the best one I have ever been to. He can actually get me numb, and takes the time to explain everything to me as he goes, which eliminates 2 of my bigger worries behind seeing a dentist.

I kind of feel bad that I asked (practically begged) Dave to go back with me and stay through my appointment (I am sure it was hard to watch), but I sure needed him! Every time I got overly nervous, I just looked up and saw him sitting there and relaxed. I don't know how I would have gotten through it without him!

They (the dentist and his assistant) looked over the tooth in question and take an x-ray. Before they took the x-ray, they put this BIG ole, heavy, brown apron thingy over me. Hmmm... no dentist had ever done that before. Now, I have had a few x-rays done at a stand-up machine, and it may have had some kind of protection built in, I don't know. But the ones they take when you are in 'the chair', this was the first time I had ever had one of those things put over me. And I have had a LOT of dental x-rays over the years! Interesting (and not in a good way).

In no time, the dentist comes back in and says, "Good news! There isn't anything wrong with that tooth. You have a severe sinus infection, that tooth is in your sinus (he showed us on the x-ray) and that is what is causing it to hurt. Just stay on the antibiotics a little longer and you will be fine." He said that it wasn't impossible the tooth wasn't abscessing up under the crown, where he couldn't see it, but nothing showed up on the x-ray, just the sinus infection. Yay!!! No tooth pulling!

As I sat there I kept thinking that, despite what he said, I felt like crud .... my body felt like it does when I have an abscessed tooth. I remembered all those signs all too well. So I decided to ask him to look at another tooth, since I was already there. I had one on the other side (the side that I was having the mini strokes on and the swollen glands), that didn't hurt, but had a bump on the gum. That bump had been there, off and on, for years, and I was led to believe that it was from my sinus allergies draining. After a quick look, he drew back and immediately said, "Now that's an abscess! And it's an old abscess. It's been there a loooong time!" The bump was the abscess trying to beak through the gum. He called it a "draining abscess." Oh, my gosh! That tooth had had that bump above the gum, off and on for years, 6 to 10 years! I had been to the dentist sooo many times in that length of time, and not one dentist had caught it! Forget being afraid, I was furious! That tooth had been pumping toxins and poisons into my body for years and years, doing who knows what kind of damage throughout my system.

So, why had it not been noticed before? Well, I honestly don't know why the full scale dentist I use to go to didn't catch it. His prices were so high, I should have gotten a full look-see each time I went for something. But, then, to have found something, would have been to admit that previous work he had done on my teeth had gone bad.  But the dentist at the sliding scale, government funded clinics ..... they are only allowed to look at whichever tooth is hurting you. They aren't allowed to look over the rest of your teeth..... they aren't allowed to do any preventive work. Oh, no, they can't possibly be allowed to do anything that would save the patient and/or the tax payers, and/or the government any money. You have to wait until things are bad before anything can get done.

He (the dentist) said that he did not want to pull it. He said that I really needed to get a root canal done on that tooth, he strongly advised it. I asked him if he could do that. He said no, he was a last resort dentist, only. The tooth already had a crown on it, so it was going to be more complicated, and costly, too. We are talking enough money to pay my house payment and all of my utilities for the month, and then some. I said that there was no way I could afford that. He said I needed to... the tooth was too close to the front, and it being gone would also weaken the ones on either side of it. He explained about a place online where you can fill out a form for an interest-free dental loan if you met the income requirements (Is everything online now?! And, I am betting, that site/group is comprised of dentists to ensure they get their money, one way or another. But it is good something like that is available.). He added, "The crown doesn't have to be taken off. They just drill through it and go through the crown and tooth to do the root canal." Yep, the panic was beginning at just the mere thought. Then a thought hit me and I said, "Wait, one of those two teeth up there has had a root canal done... years ago."  He asked, "Are you sure?" I said yes, I remembered it all too well (they couldn't get it numb), but I wasn't sure if it was that one or the one next to it, so he told his assistant to take an x-ray of it, too.

We talked a little more while his assistant finished the x-ray, he left to go read it, then came back and asked, "Do you want that tooth out tonight, or do you want to make another appointment?" The tooth that I had already spent a fortune on (once upon a time I had a good income) ... had been abscessed, root canal done and crowned ... now had to come out!!! The root canal had apparently been done wrong. And then I was left to wonder, 'had the abscess ever been completely cleared up?' Well, I was there, I was already medicated to the hilt, and I didn't want to go through all that anxiety and fear again, so I said just do it now and get it over with. He got me numb quickly, I started to panic a little as I heard that drill come on and start to grind against my crown, he got a good grip on the tooth, rocked it a bit, and out it came, crown and all, NO digging, yea!!! What a relief! It was like having a huge splinter pulled out. And oddly enough, as he was pulling it out, the pressure shot across all of my top teeth and landed in the tooth that I had actually come in for, pain returning. Imagine, a tooth on the left side, causing pain in the right side!

With no nerve in the tooth, I never felt pain in that tooth. It 'tingled' from time to time, but, once again, I thought it was from my sinus allergies. Amazing how many things are connected to our sinuses, even back and shoulder pain can be related. And that tooth had been pumping toxins through my sinuses and body for a long, long time! I truly hope it hasn't done damage to my body beyond repair, my body fully heals, and I can soon start to feel better than I have in a long time, better than in years, maybe, even.

Less than an hour after our arrival, we were leaving. By then the tiny bit of Valium I had taken (I sure hope I don't have to take that stuff very often) was really kicking in good and I think I probably gave Dave a good chuckle or two, not sure, memory faded a bit at that point as I relaxed with the relief that it was all over, and depression from the reality that one of my "smiling" teeth is now gone, set in.

On the way home we stopped at a small Chinese restaurant and got soup for dinner (Okay, I got soup, Dave got a dinner with some substance), because I was in no shape to cook and was suppose to rest, and Dave had  to be tired from all that driving from town to town.  I rarely eat out any more, as it is all so loaded with chemicals it practically glows, but that night, we made an exception, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I embarrassed myself, drooling soup out of a semi-numb mouth, but it really hit the spot!

It's such a relief to have it over with. And I am hoping and praying I get my strength back soon, and everything in my body levels back out so that I can get off of the rest of these meds. But I still get extremely irate when I think about all the dental work I had over the years (including braces when I was a teenager), then several crowns, and now it is all having to be removed. Folks, don't ever mess around with an abscessed tooth. They can be very dangerous and reek havoc of all kinds, all throughout your body, even causing heart attacks, strokes, and even death due to brain infections. If you suspect you have one, get it properly taken care of IMMEDIATELY.

Now, to just hope and pray that that other tooth isn't abscessed up under the crown and I don't have to go through this all over again! It would be cheaper and less hassle for all involved if all of my teeth could be checked out and taken care of, rather than as each one becomes an emergency, but logical isn't how this kind of health care works.

Stay tuned for the final part - THE FOLLOW UP CHECK UP

Also Read:  Part 1        Part 2          Part 3         Part 4    Part 6  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

(AF) Spring Came in With a BANG . . . . . . .

....... and another bang, and another bang, and another bang. . . . . . . . Yep, the last 24 hours has been solid rain and storms. I thought it would never quit! Actually, I don't think it has. I think it is just a reprise with more to come throughout the week. But I would rather be done with it for a week or so and save some for August.

I'm not sure how much rain Dave got, but I know I probably got more than enough to catch up any we might have been behind. I am figuring it was around 8-inches here, maybe more. The thunder and lightening were some of the most viscous I have ever seen and heard. My house shook and rattled so hard that, at times, I thought we were having an earthquake mixed in with the storm!

Most of my critters were all agitated for a couple of days before it hit. I guess they knew it was coming, or maybe they were feeling it in their bones, too. Every one of my 'weather predictors' were going off (throbbing and hurting) for days before it hit. I hurt in places I had never even hurt, and the last few hours before the storms hit, the arthritis in my foot swelled up so big that I could barely walk (it was more like step-drag-step-drag).

This time the weather man actually predicted that 24 hours correctly. But they usually miss by a landslide. We should really pay more attention to all of the aches, pains and changes in our bodies - in conjunction to what weather follows - then make mental, or even, written notes or logs. When and if the grids ever go down (and I have no doubt that they will), and there is no access to anything electrical, we need to be able to forecast our own weather. The signs are all around and in us. We are just no longer in tune with them. We have let ourselves become far too dependent on the local weather man (which usually leaves us frustrated because they normally don't get it even near right). It would be much handier if we could simply pay attention to the signs and predict our own short range (and even long range) weather.

Below are some pics of the aftermath of the storm. I thought I had tightly covered my precious, last bail of hay, but the storm still ripped the cover off and drenched it!  The others are the water, literally boiling up out of the ground. The 'bubble-ups' were all over the place today. You had to be careful where you stepped our you would think you were stepping on solid ground, but instead, sink. The area where I live is covered with underground springs. After a storm, there are usually several places where water comes up out of the ground, but today..... it was boiling up in places I had never seen it bubble up before. As you can see, just for a little, odd, farm girl entertainment, I dug the one bubble-up out a little bigger to watch it flow faster.

Drenched Hay - tarp blew off

Ground Boiling where it never has - before

Ground Boiling - after I dug a little

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Starting peach trees from cuttings? Yes, that is exactly what I am trying to do. I have never had much luck starting anything from cuttings, but the possible result is worth the risk of failure. There is hope that the blossoms will produce peaches this year, and that I can also try to start a few from seed.

Before I go further, let me first give a bit of background information. First off, the tree in question is getting old, around forty years old in fact, and has not had an easy life. The tree's life started quite by accident (if one really believes in accidents) when my mother threw out a bowl of peach peelings and pits after canning some peaches purchased from an orchard in the next county. As they often do, the seeds that found favorable conditions sprouted, producing the tree in question and another that has long since died. They both turned out to produce large, wonderful, yellow freestone peaches and though not of the same variety as each other, had all the characteristics of the ones that had been purchased. This all happened long before I purchased the property from my parents and the trees have had a variety of hardships since then.

First problem was my mother. Being a more devout tightwad than I will ever be, she flatly refused to allow fruit trees to be pruned, simply because you might cut off a limb that would have produced fruit. Her reasoning did not allow them to be properly and healthily pruned and trained as young trees. Later, when my parents had moved into their new home, they let my brother and his family live here. To my nephews, trees were for climbing, stick fight training and general abuse. With my brother working all the time and his wife not concerned with teaching the kids discipline or the importance of fruit trees, there was a lot of damage. When I finally purchased the property 26 years ago, all the fruit trees had been pretty much destroyed but still alive. The apples, pears and the one peach, were beyond hope of saving. This one tree; however, survived and has in recent years produced some fine peaches. Despite my best efforts to save this one, an ice storm in 2007 broke it down terribly, causing it to require drastic pruning. After finally almost recovering from the ice and heavy pruning, two wind storms last spring broke out limbs and damaged the trunk.

At present, the poor tree is growing prolifically and is covered with blooms, leading me to believe it is its last effort to produce before it dies. As a confirmed tightwad, I see no sense paying for a tree if I can save the money and grow my own, but as you can see, there are deeper reasons this time. Thursday, after work, I pruned as much as the old tree could tolerate, and put the cut ends of the prunings in a bucket of water. Next day, I returned home with rooting hormone and proceeded to pot the prunings. I really hope they take root, and if not, that there will be a few ripe peaches to start seeds from (and hope it didn't cross pollinate with the almond in the front yard.) I will post an update as soon as I know for sure.

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You! - Part 4 - gearing up for the dentist

It was finally time to go for that much dreaded  (and anxiously awaited for) dental visit. I was anxious to get the problem resolved and start feeling better, but oh, how I dread and fear the dentist! Over the years, I have had several 'bad' dentists, resulting in numerous, horrifying experiences. But it only takes one traumatic dental experience to scar you for life .... to instill in you a fear that there is no describing.

Even days before my scheduled appointment, I begin to tense up at the mere thought of making myself vulnerable to the confinement of the dental chair and the hovering, instrument toting dentist. Every muscle and nerve in my body begins to tighten up. At times, I feel like I am choking for air as a result of the panic the dental visit thoughts brings on. My blood pressure, already high from the infection and pain, soars, all from my extreme fear of the dentist.

Blood pressure must be below a certain level before most dentists will work on you, especially extractions. Extremely high blood pressure can hinder the needed clotting in the socket of the extraction, resulting in hemorrhaging . So I have an odd but desperate regimen I follow just before I go into the dentist to ensure that my blood pressure is down enough that, after all the worrying and dread, my visit can be completed and I don't have to make repeated trips to try again.

First, I make sure I take my blood pressure pill early enough that it has really kicked in by my appointment time, but not so early that it might be wearing off. Second, I try really hard to "zone out"..... to relax my entire body, shut out any chaos around me, and put my mind onto absolutely NOTHING. Easier said, than done, but I try. Then I also add in the natural remedies. Cayenne pepper is said to reduce blood pressure, so I sprinkle a good 'dose' onto whatever meal I have before my appointment. Then my secret whammy.... HORSERADISH! Yep, horseradish. Horseradish is known to drastically drop your blood pressure many points in just a few minutes. I have even heard of police officers consuming it just before they go in for their physicals to ensure that they pass. I have found it to bring on excellent, though often short-lived, results. I bring prepared horseradish with me, and a couple of crackers or slice of bread. I eat a big spoon of it, on the bread or crackers, just before I go in for my appointment, and rinse my mouth out really well with some water. And last but not least, the part I dislike having to do the most....a Valium. Absolutely none of the already mentioned will work, unless I can get relaxed enough to let it work. And it is NOT possible for me to relax even the slightest, if I know I am going to the dentist. So about 15 to 30 minutes before my appointment, I take 1/4 of a Valium ... one-fourth ... that's all. My body isn't use to meds, especially one like that, and a little goes a long way. And I think Dave can verify (poor Dave) that even just a fourth of a Valium can render me a little entertaining. (Please don't get the wrong idea. I don't think I have taken more than a total of 3 whole ones in my entire life. But when an abscessed tooth becomes life or death, I will take a dose to get it out.) I don't like that feeling it brings on, that feeling of not being in control of my own body, but then, all that fear of going in to the dentist had already robbed me of all that control.

Yes, Dave went with me for my dental appointment. God love him, he went out of his way to come down here to be with me through my fear, and to drive me to the dentist because I was definitely too sick and too loopy to be behind the wheel. It was not only for my safety, but for the safety of everyone else on the road as well. 

All this work and trouble to get me through one dental appointment . . . . and I like this dentist! You can just imagine what getting me to one of those other dentists was like. So now, the dental appointment begins.  Be sure and come back to see how it went. . . . . . . . . .  Thank you so much for continuing to follow this post.

Also Read:  Part 1       Part 2       Part 3    Part 5    Part 6  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You! - Part 3

First, I want to start by saying that I am feeling considerably better! I still have a long road ahead to full recovery, and I am very, very tired, but I am making big improvements each day. I am still having a little trouble typing with my left hand (from the mini strokes), but I figure short typing sprints with rest breaks will probably greatly help in getting it back to normal. One night I even managed to sleep soundly and restfully for 6 hours straight, and it felt soooo good! From infection, I had been struggling so hard to breathe for so long, that sleep had become nearly impossible. Every time I tried to lay down, I would stop breathing. Or if I did get to sleep, I would eventually stop breathing and wake up frantically gasping for air. Yep, all this from one little tooth.

As I ended my last post, the PA had just come in to see me. I was SO relieved to see that it wasn't the same one I saw the last time! Why? Well, I guess I better back-track a little bit here:

The very first time I went to this clinic, it was also my first experience in seeing a PA instead of a doctor. But things went well, he seemed to know what he was doing, he had a caring manner, and I was fine with it all. But then... after my exam, he made sure the door was closed, looked at my chart and asked a few questions about my finances and marital status (single - living alone), then said that he might be able to help me with my income. . . . huh? ? ? ? ? ?

He asked if I would like to know about an easy way to earn some money. [Oh, boy, here we go, *eye roll*]  He said I would have to keep it quiet, though. I was curious, so I figured I would play along and see what he had to say. He then proceeded to tell me about some kind of insurance that he sold and how much money I could make if I sold it under him, then gave me his card, told me to really think it over, and call him. He once again told me to keep quiet about it on my way out. Sheesh! Needless to say, that PA was soon replaced by another....

The next PA was excellent! You would have thought he was an actual doctor. He was very knowledgeable, listened and gave you his full attention, took the time to explain everything to you, and exhibited a sincerely caring attitude. After a couple of appointments with that PA, he, too, was soon gone. I am betting that one went on to bigger and better things, as he was a good one! .....

Then came the one with the chip on her shoulder and the "I hate the world" attitude. Where do they get these people?!  Now, mind you, I was in that time for a badly abscessed tooth (it has been missed on a previous visit) and the infection was so bad it had spread into my blood stream, infected my respiratory system, organs, and shot my blood pressure up (well, that, along with my fear of the dentist and doctor). So, my blood pressure was high, dangerously high(It's a wonder I was still walking), and she got extremely hateful with me about it being so high. Also, a few days before I went in with my tooth, I had pulled a tick off of me (which had really whelped up more than usual), and a spider had gotten ahold of my back while I was asleep (I had moved into a bedroom that hadn't been used in awhile), bit me in several places, and were starting to look pretty bad, despite everything I was putting on them, so I knew I needed to get her to look at them. Well, totally disregarding that my blood pressure was well above stroke level, and that we were in a tiny building, just feet from the waiting room (no sound barriers), she began to scream at me, "Those are bad! Those spider bites are bad! I mean really bad! Why haven't you come in here?" Well... that's kind of what I was doing, duh! So she loudly rants a little more about my high blood pressure (not a smart thing to do), my spider bites, tick bite, and anything else she could think of, for everyone in the office and waiting room to clearly hear. She loudly insinuated that I was really stupid for letting myself get into a position that I got a tick on me and said I must rub down with repellent each and every time I went outside (I live in the woods! A tick will happen on occasion. And rubbing down with chemical laden insect repellent every day would be more damaging to my body than one tick!)

By the time I left, everyone in the building knew I had probable tick fever (no test was done, she just said that was what I had), multiple spider bites (probable brown recluse) spreading through my body, and a seriously abscessed tooth. No patient confidentiality there! She was loud, rude, sarcastic, hateful, and made you feel about an inch high, not to mention, further running my blood pressure up. I decided I would have to be near death before I went back to that place!!!

Okay, so I was once again in a life & death situation and had to go back to that intimidating clinic. And I was REALLY hoping there was a new PA there this time. . . . . . to my initial relief, there was . . . . . but she actually made the last one look nice!!

So, we are back to the present and the PA came in, laptop in hand. She was sarcastic from the moment she began speaking. I am guessing that (just my guess), and referring to my weight loss conversation, she didn't like me saying that I was working harder at living naturally.  She sat in a chair, laptop in lap, eyes down, seldom looking up at me. As she read my computerized chart she asked if I was still taking this med and that med (blood pressure meds). I said that I  hadn't in a long time, but was the past couple of weeks because of my infection. I explained to her that after my last abscessed tooth was removed and infection gone, that my blood pressure went back down and I hadn't needed it. She also asked how much I was taking. I told her half a pill. She sarcastically asked if that was because I couldn't afford to take full doses. Sheesh! No! It was because that is what they prescribed and it was right there in front of her!!!

She got very sarcastic about my meds, and said that I HAD to take what they prescribed and should never quit taking them.... They have side affects, serious side affects, and I won't put toxins that my body doesn't need, into it if I am doing fine. My gosh, that medicine even carries a risk of heart failure! If I can do it naturally, I will! So, once again, this PA starts yelling at me about my blood pressure, at how high it was (at least it was a new, better building and other patients couldn't hear). I tried and tried to tell her that my blood pressure does that from my fear of going to the doctor/dentist and when I get an abscessed tooth. She ranted a little more, then looked at my tooth (the one I thought it was). She corrected me and said it's your teeth", meaning I had more than one abscessed on that side. Once again she used a sarcastic tone to say that the dentist wouldn't work on me with my blood pressure like that. I said that he would, that we had a routine we went through to get my pressure down long enough to get the tooth out/fixed, then my blood pressure would start going down anyway. I explained our routine, including the 1/4th of a Valium I was told to take just before I went in, and she really came unglued! "Valium! Where did you get Valium!?" I told her that I got it there, over a year ago. (I was prescribed 3 pills, I still have 2 of them."  The sarcasm really grew then, with the "your trash" attitude. I assured her that was the only time I ever took it, when I went to the dentist, that I didn't like taking the stuff, but I wasn't going to die from a tooth, either, because they couldn't get it out.

 She didn't check several of the usual 'basic' things a doctor routinely checks, but she did listen to my heart and lungs. She told me to breathe in deeply... then breathe all the way out. She said to do it again and keep doing it. I was really struggling to breathe with the infection, and was breathing really slowly, but I was doing the best I could to do what she said. And it took awhile to get the breath all the way in, then all the way out. So once again she started screaming at me, "I said to keep doing it!! Keep breathing in and out deeply!" and "You're not doing what I said!! I said to keep doing it!!!"  She got very irate about it and hatefully let me know it... no compassion for the elevated blood pressure.

Even though she was sitting there, looking at my chart, she asked if I was allergic to any antibiotics. I knew she was looking at the list, but I listed them all anyway. She was obviously irritated that I had already started taking some (I wouldn't have still been breathing if I hadn't), but prescribed me more of the same, anyway (a very strong, black listed, antibiotic - one of the few I can sort of take). I then tried to tell her about the glands on the left side of my head that were really swollen up big, in a large area, and a bug bite close to it. She wouldn't look at all, she wouldn't even look up from the computer screen, she just said, "That's from the bug bite. The antibiotics will take care of it."  She checked for swelling in my lower legs/ankles through my thick (scrunched up, double layered, with bottom zippers) sweat pants and deemed them swollen. First, there was no way to tell through all those layers, and second, it was the side that stays swollen up from arthritis that she checked. So she yelled at me some more for not taking the water pill. (she didn't check swelling anywhere else on my body)  I tried to tell her that I had snapped that foot during a mini stroke, but she wouldn't listen. She wouldn't let me tell her about my foot, the several mini strokes I had had the week before, the spells at night where I repeatedly stopped breathing, NOTHING. Every time I tried to tell her anything, she cut me off and sarcastically said, "You are here just to get antibiotics for that tooth. Make another appointment for anything else."  That really made my blood pressure boil!!! Yes, I was a 'walk-in' (a scheduled walk-in, at that) but my payment was the same as for a regular appointment. Everything I was trying to tell her WAS related to my tooth, and her attitude sounded like a scheme to get more money with total disregard for my health!

Next, she said she needed to see me again in 2 weeks for a blood pressure check (which they also charge for, now, like it was a full office visit, but didn't use to). She said that I needed to fast before I came in, too, so that she could do some blood work. I reminded her that the last time I was in, they had written out a form for me to get blood work done (before they upgraded the building, they contracted out to another lab for lab work, but do it there now), I had paid for it (which I told her), but I had had a family crisis come up and wasn't able to go get it done. Now, mind you, she has my chart in front of her, had been looking at all my prescribed meds and giving me heck over them, then says (referring to the blood work), "I don't know anything about that. You will just have to pay for it again." LIKE HECK I WILL!!!!!  She wouldn't let me tell her about what kept me from being able to go get it done, she kept cutting me off, and telling me I would have to pay and do it again. If the order for the lab work (paid for) isn't in my chart, someone monkeyed around with it.

So I left furious, irritated, frustrated, stressed, upset, and, well, you get the picture .... and my blood pressure even higher. But, let me tell you folks, THIS is what we can expect from government funded health care!!! 

 Also Read: Part 1    Part 2     Part 4   Part 5   Part 6  


Monday, March 12, 2012

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You! - part 2

Finally back home, I was still feeling terrible and knew I had to do something or I would end up in ER (and I hate that place!).  Since I was figuring I had an abscessed tooth, I decided I better start taking some of that bottle of antibiotic I had on had for emergency. I figured this was an emergency. I had so many of the symptoms I had once before when I had an abscessed tooth that had gotten so bad that it got into my blood stream (nope, that one didn't hurt, either, until it was extreme). Also, the infection from that last tooth had shot my blood pressure through the roof, and it was feeling like it again, so I also got my bottle of blood pressure pills out and got back on it, which seemed to help, too. (My blood pressure is only high when I have an infection in my body or extreme pain - or drink caffeine. Most of my life it was too low.)

Over the next week I had about 3 or 4 more of those 'spells'. After the second one, each one became a little lighter, but each one really wiped me out! When the second one hit, I was standing up, had just started down a hallway, and as my left side went numb, my left foot buckled  under as I took a step and something in it snapped. Judging by the way it felt (hurt like crud) and swelled up over the next few days, I am figuring a little bone on the top of my foot fractured. It's still pretty painful, especially by the end of the day, but it is gradually, and steadily improving.

......A week and a half later I finally made it in to the nearest government funded, sliding scale clinic for a medical check up (they won't see me at the dentist until I update my medical check up). Yes, that seems like a loooong time to wait when you are that sick, but the red tape for approval takes awhile, I had to scrape up money for my share of the payment (reduced, not free), and it takes awhile to get an appointment as they are almost always booked solid. Plus, I had to borrow a vehicle and a driver as my poor old car doesn't do long distances well (45 minute drive) and I definitely wasn't up to driving that far.

So, my adventure with the government funded clinic began..... Of course, since I hadn't been there in nearly a year, and they had moved to a new and updated facility, there was a mountain of paperwork to fill out, but not as bad as one would expect. Actually, they had set an appointment for me with the dentist for the following Monday (this was Friday), but they had told me to come in first to medical, as a walk-in, for a check-up before they could see me at the dentist. I would need more antibiotics, and you have to go through medical for that.

In no time I was called back to an examining room. A nurse (at least, I think she was a nurse) came in, laptop in hand, asked a few questions to update more of my info, and took my vitals. How they can measure your oxygen level by clipping something on the end of your index finger totally baffles me! But it was good, it was 99%. But she was so shocked at how high my blood pressure was she had to take it again on my other arm, which netted the same results. FOLKS... now, I know I was sick, SERIOUSLY sick, which I am sure elevated my blood pressure, and, at that point, I had been on antibiotics and blood pressure meds for a full week, but at the mere mention of the word "doctor" or "dentist", my blood pressure shoots up!!! I can be totally fine one minute . . . . . completely in the normal range (although I am sure I wasn't with being that sick), then someone says, "you're going to the doctor (dentist)"  . . . . . . and my blood pressure soooooars!!! I believe they call it White Coat Syndrome.  But I have yet to convince anyone there that I am afflicted with it. The nurse was amazed at my weight loss, though. She was even more amazed when I told her I did it by giving up on dieting and trying to lose weight, and simply started eliminating food chemicals from my diet - one chemical at a time until my body adjusted - and the weight just fell off. This staff member was very pleasant, easy to talk to, exhibiting genuine concern and care. But then .... I HAD TO SEE THE DOCTOR. It's doctors like her that have given me that "White Coat Syndrome." Actually, she was a PA, not a doctor. I have yet to see a real doctor at this clinic.

  Also Read: Part 1    Part 3     Part 4    Part 5    Part 6                                        

(DF) DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME.....a good thing?????

Well, it is that time of year again, all the clocks in most of America have sprung forward (with the exception of a few states that put it to a vote). For me it is always a time of adjustment and leaves me with an hour a day less sleep until it changes back.

The official reasoning for daylight savings time is that it saves energy and I suppose there could be some merit for that, in some cases. For instance, if I lived in a small apartment with nothing to do at home but watch tv, worked a job with regular hours in walking distance of home, and had no hobbies, I would be bored enough to turn off the lights and go to bed at sundown, thus burning less energy. This, however, is not my reality.

Reality on the farm leads one (under normal time circumstances) to rise with the sun, work outside until the sun goes down, then spend time inside after dark, which means lights on no matter what time of year or what the clock says. With everyone running on daylight savings time, businesses no longer close in the evening but an hour earlier, in the middle of the day, so I have to get up earlier and do anything that may lead to a trip to town later in the day, and since farm work doesn't go by the clock, it is frustrating to have to wait til tomorrow because everything is closed this afternoon. Driving, running tractors, welding and numerous other things done on the farm use the same amount of energy whatever time of day, so with an hour longer before dark, there is more time to burn that energy. Dark an hour later doesn't mean I can go in and go to sleep with all the chores done, it simply means I turn the lights on an hour later and still spend the same amount of time up and running. In short, I burn about the same electricity and more fuel with daylight savings time. Who knows, with fewer farmers than there were, maybe it all averages out, or maybe not.

Energy savings or not, the news for a few days has been filled with reports of studies showing that daylight savings time increases health risks, accidents and violent crime while lowering productivity. Of course, I haven't personally seen the studies, and with a background in research, I know that how a study is interpreted can be much different than it really is. The news media also take liberties with context to make things appear however they need them to for ratings. What I do know for sure is that I personally loose an hour of sleep every day until it changes back, that it takes me a few weeks to adjust to the shift, and that I am personally more irritable and less productive until that adjustment is made. I am willing to bet I'm not alone in this. When you think about what the time shift actually does, it is like going to sleep in one time zone and waking up in another ........... sounds like jet lag to me, and feels like it too, though many people don't really suffer that much from jet lag unless they jump several zones.

Setting all the social, economical, and health factors aside, everyone I have talked to about this over the past few years, whether they like daylight savings time or not, can agree on one thing. They would rather pick one and stay with it than switch back and forth.

With all of this and other factors I am sure to have overlooked, why do you suppose we, as a society, continue to do this to ourselves? Please share your thoughts and comments on this subject, and any ideas on how to ease the inconvenience it brings.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You! - part 1

I do believe that I said in one of my past posts that I would be writing quite a few posts to 'catch up' with you all. But instead, I became even more slack and I have soooo much to write about to catch up with all of our readers, that I don't even know where to  begin!

I guess the best place to start is to tell you where I have been. I have been ill for the past few months. Each day I would think, "Tomorrow, I will feel better and write a post and get something done around here.", but, instead, each day, I very slowly, but progressively got worse.

I really hesitated writing this post. I prefer to write happy, fun, upbeat, and informative posts. But, since this blog is about every aspect of mine and Dave's lives, combining them together, and all of our ups and downs, I am going to put this out there and hope that at least one of you can pull some useful info from it. After all, moving into a self-sufficient, self-sustaining, natural lifestyle isn't always easy or without hardships. . . . . . .

For quite awhile now I have been feeling like I was drained of energy. Even the smallest of chores made me feel exhausted. And I constantly felt like I just couldn't get my body to moving. Then, over the winter, I had a hard stomach virus, the flu, followed by yet another stomach virus that made the flu look like a piece of cake! (and we mustn't forget the resulting bronchitis a couple of times)   I got through them all, but after they passed, I just couldn't get my energy back. Each day I would think I would feel better the next. But instead, each day, I felt a little more drained than the day before.

My eyes hurt, and my head felt funny. Light from the computer screen especially hurt my eyes, so, consequently, I haven't been on my computer much, lately. I tried getting out a different pair of glasses, I went into my computer panel and dimmed my screen, but nothing helped. Staring at my computer made pains shoot through my head.  Without realizing what I was doing, I was also avoiding going outside in the bright sunshine (the part of the day I really needed to be outside this time of year) because the sunlight hurt my eyes so badly, too. Day by day, in teeny tiny little bits, I was closing down.

You know, I find it interestingly odd how an ill can sneak up on us ever so slowly that we adjust to it as it sloooowly grows and, well, we just .... flow with it ..... living with the minute, but constant adjustments we make by the day to flow with an ill because, 1) it comes on so slowly, and 2) -and more importantly- we are far too busy with our every day lives to take a moment to notice that we are sick, until the original little sick, festers into a big bad sick.  And that is exactly what I was doing. I was occasionally treating the annoying little symptoms and going on with my daily life, not paying close enough attention to what was causing the annoying little symptoms. Most of us are guilty of it. But then, in my defense, over the past few years, when I had gone to the doctor, doctors hadn't caught it, either!

So what am I talking about? And abscessed tooth! No, it hadn't hurt. I apologize, in advance, if this post starts jumping around a bit. Please, comment and let me know if you have problems following this post. I need to back up a little to  before I went to the dentist......

So, over a long period of time, I was feeling slow, run down, drained, and, in general, yucky.  Then I suddenly started to feel really bad, and I knew I had to get some medical help. Also, one of my top, back teeth started hurting, and, since I had lost the one behind it a year ago due to an abscess (and they said it might be, too, but then it was probably coming from the one tooth they removed and would clear up) and my sinuses on that side were beginning to hurt, I was certain it was abscessed and I needed to see a dentist, too. Abscesses are a serious thing and not to be taken lightly. But I was in a 'round robin' spot. Sales through the winter had been down, I had missed opening a lot due to feeling so badly, I couldn't go to the doctor without money, but was too sick most days to work my own business or look for work at someone else's business. So I had to swallow my pride and apply for some assistance to get some medical help because my condition was getting downright scary, literally, life or death.

While I was at the assistance office, just as they called me to come in, I started feeling HORRIBLE. I stood up, walked a few feet, looked at the woman and said, "I don't feel so good." She said, "You don't look so good, either, you look really pale. Do you think you can make it in here to my office to a chair?" Somehow, I slowly managed to make it down the short hall and into her office to a chair, but I am not sure how. I was having a mini stroke and the entire left side of my body went numb. By the time I sat down, I couldn't move any of it and I was barely able to talk. I asked for water and she quickly got that for me. She asked me what I thought it might be. The only thing I could think of at that moment (I obviously wasn't thinking very clearly at that moment) was that I had eaten some store bought cookies (which I rarely ever do) and it might be my sugars from my hypoglycemia. So she gave me a packet of tuna! It actually did seem to help a little.

I slowly filled out the paperwork (I was having trouble focusing on it), and she made me stay until the 'spell' seemed to have passed and I could kind of walk again, she said she would try to rush the paperwork through because I really needed to see a doctor, then I left to go home, head really foggy. NO ONE attempted to get me any medical attention, not even after I said my whole left side of my body was completely numb! In front of her, I had to pick my left arm up with my right arm, and place it on the paper I was filling out to hold the paper down so it didn't slide around. I could not physically move my left arm. Over the next week I had about 4 more 'spells' of varying degrees. Each one completely drained every drop of energy I had left, not to mention scared the crap out of me! 

   Also Read:  Part 2     Part 3    Part 4   Part 5   Part 6  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


As most people can vouch, the economy is not as good as it once was and it is harder to make ends meet. Economic factors as well as supply and demand issues have also made my personal level of self-employment much less lucrative of late. Lack of funds have been an increasing issue over the past few months to the point of placing me among the ranks of those seeking employment.

Today, the seeking became the finding and I stepped into the ranks of the employed. I am now working in the lawn and garden department at the local store of a rather large retail store chain. This is where the consideration of mixed blessings comes in.

There are, as always, trade offs and opposing views running through my mind. From one very clear perspective, I really need, and am truly grateful for, a job. With steady work (and paycheck), the bills can be paid and funds will, over time, be available for a number of projects to further mine and Anna's goals. On the other hand, it takes precious time away from projects that need to be finished quickly. It also feels like a huge step backward from goals of self-sufficiency, in some respects, all the way back to self-sufficiency level II.

A friend of mine who served in the military would smile and call it a "strategic deployment to the rear", but honestly it FEELS like a retreat, and yes, just a touch of bruised pride to top it off. Feelings aside, the practical reality is pretty clear. Though a steady job will limit time and delay projects, it will also provide for the bills that just keep coming due, as well as providing funds for projects such as fences, livestock, fruit trees and vegetable seeds, tractor fuel, and alternative energy projects, to name a few.

At the end of the day, even with the pros and cons, I am truly grateful to find a job when so many who are in need are having so much trouble finding work. It is my sincere hope that everyone in need can have such good fortune.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

(DF) MARCH: In like a lion, out like a lamb?

It is already March and the feel and colors of spring are all around. Frogs are even croaking and chirping in the neighbor's pond, announcing the new season of growth. As always, the first of March is a day I pay special attention to, in the interest of knowing how the last day of March will be. For the month of March, "in like a lion, out like a lamb", or visa verse, is one of the innumerable little sayings I grew up with.

Some such sayings are pretty accurate, some are not so accurate at all, and others just seem a bit confusing. This, for me at least, is one of the confusing ones. Yes, I know it is really simple, and yes, I know that such things should not be thought of too deeply, but being of such an extreme curious nature, I simply can't help it.

First off, there is the question of how a lion comes in or goes out. Is it with a roar? If so, does that imply thunderstorms, a strong wind or simply any kind of fierce weather? And what about the lamb? Does it come in, or go out, with a gentle breeze, warm sunshine, or maybe even soft fluffy snow? Ridiculous questions, I know, but please bear with me........ it may get worse.

With my natural curiosity and tendency toward finding the real truth of a matter, made all the worse by my background in field biology, I am inclined to test these old sayings. The real question here is how to test something so subjective. When you consider that lions are normally only fierce when hungry or threatened and are otherwise gentle, nurturing creatures, and that lambs are often far from the passive little balls of fluff they are portrayed to be, you may begin to see my confusion. Don't worry, I will save the majority of animal behavior issues for later .............. much later. I also won't dig into the question of where this saying may have originated that my western European ancestors who passed it down, would have had lions to compare to (at least not right now).

For the purpose of this post, lets assume that lions are ferocious creatures that roar a lot and lambs are darling, gentle creatures (which mostly they are). Now, it becomes a matter of degrees. Is that wind really a roar, or the sound of an overly playful lamb? If it shakes the windows and rocks the cars in the driveway it is obvious but otherwise it is any body's opinion. Storms are a bit more obvious but not fool proof either. Warm and sunny with a gentle breeze ......... probably a lamb but warm and cloudy with a stronger wind is iffy.

Whatever the case, it has been warm and sunny here today with a gusty wind. Since I can find no really solid guidelines, I am saying March came in this year like a slightly unruly and overly playful lamb. We will just have to wait and see how it goes out.

I would love to hear any opinions or input on this old saying, or any other. As always, your comments are more than welcome.