Saturday, June 25, 2016

My Neighbour

Last summer, I watched what seemed to be a romance blooming between my neighbour, a man in his early 60s, and a woman, perhaps slightly younger but still very attractive.  Every day, he would stand in his front yard drinking coffee, and when she walked past he would stop her and they would chat.  She walked south in the morning, and I walked north.  Sometimes, when I was a little bit late, I would pass her closer to my house, carrying a flower (I assume from his garden) and wearing a Mona Lisa smile.

I walked past the same fellow's yard every morning, but I don't recall any interaction between us.  If there was, it wasn't memorable.

After a while, I stopped seeing the beautiful, well-dressed older woman.  I guess she must have moved, or changed her routine so that she no longer has to walk down my street.

The man with the coffee started paying attention to me.

At first we just nodded and smiled at each other as I speed-walked to the bus stop.  I am always in a hurry in the morning, having stayed home until the last possible moment because, work is work.  At some point we added saying "Good morning, nice day," and so forth.  Perfectly fine, normal conversation.

Then a day came when I found him dressed in a shirt and tie, carrying a briefcase.  He popped out of his front gate and fell in step with me.  "Are you going to the bus?  I will walk with you."  Well, alright, fine, it's a free country.  Go ahead.  I chatted politely with him; found out his name and national origin (he came to Canada from Romania 20 years ago, and still has an accent).

It got a little weirder when he walked me right to the door of my bus and patted my shoulder before wishing me a good day.  I felt slightly creeped out.

The day after that, he was waiting for me again.  He conveniently had a client he had to see right near where I work.  Jump in his car!  He'll give me a ride!  Why not?

I suddenly pictured last year's lady, chopped up and frozen in a chest freezer in his basement.  Maybe she didn't move away after all...

Anyway, I said "No thank you" and made polite excuses which were actually 100% true: I prefer to walk; I enjoy the exercise and the time out of doors.  Ken can confirm that I have refused his offers of a ride to work many times.  I'd always rather walk if I can.

I don't want to be one of those women who answers every conversation opener from a man with "I'm married," but in this case my instincts said I should back off.  Happily, for the rest of the week I haven't seen him in his yard.  I can enjoy my morning walk in peace, with no social awkwardness.  Hurray!  I hope it stays that way.

P.S. The charity people picked up my donation last week!  It's all good.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Giving Stuff Away Should Be Easier

Every few months I get a phone call from the Cerebral Palsy Association, asking if I have any gently used household goods that I can donate to their cause.  Often I do, but I hesitate to say "yes" because the "convenient pickup from my home" always seems to turn into a fiasco.

Items need to be boxed or bagged and put out at the front door before 8 am on the pickup date.  I have a history of remembering at 8:15 am, and rushing out with the packages.  Just my luck that I'm first on the route, so by then the truck has already gone by in a huff.

Other things that have been a pain in the butt:

  • The day the packages were definitely for sure out on time, but the driver claimed that there was nothing there when he arrived.  I promise you that everything was in order; the boxes and bags were waiting for me on my patio when I got home that day. So, unless the donation items went for coffee in the afternoon, then walked back to my patio before I got home, they were there.
  • The day that I got the packages out on time but the pickup truck broke down, so when I got home the packages were all waiting for me AGAIN.
And today, the day that I decided to be a smarty-pants and put the donations out the night before (0% chance of rain) but I forgot about the automated sprinkler system that pops up and soaks our tiny front lawn at 4 am every morning.


Fortunately I am a belt and braces kind of girl, so all the stuff (books and old clothes, mainly) was tied pretty tightly inside waterproof grocery bags.  I noticed what had happened at around 7:20 am, so I had time to drag the wet packages back inside and transfer the stuff to new bags.  (And make a new label that says "CP" for every package.  And stick them on with tape.  And drag everything back outside.)

Let me tell you, if I get home today and the packages are still there (I'm half expecting it) you will hear me growling wherever you are.  

Friday, June 10, 2016

Exposure Therapy

For the sake of L.L. Cool Joe's peace of mind, I am going to try to keep this post free of medical TMIs.  :-)

I have gotten over the mild hysteria triggered by my first sclerotherapy appointment, and I now feel that it is going well.  I had a second appointment already, and it was much easier.  Now that I've gotten past my fear of the unknown, it doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

It's still uncomfortable; my leg is sore; and the compression stocking is so tight that I'm surprised my eyeballs aren't bulging.  But I can handle it.  I'm actually looking forward to my next appointment, in a couple of weeks.  Every appointment is one step closer to sexy legs!

My workplace is going through some major changes, which is kind of stressful, but good in the sense that I have something very distracting to keep my mind off the fact that my stocking is digging a line into the back of my knee whenever my leg is bent.  (Don't worried.  I was measured for the stocking and it was "applied" at my first visit by a professional.  I'm pretty sure that it is supposed to be this tight.  At any rate, my toes haven't turned black and fallen off, even when I wore the stocking overnight, so that's encouraging.)

I always seem to get stuck between two bosses at work, trying to keep both of them happy with me although they disagree vehemently with each other.  Since my step-dad retired, I thought that part of my work life might be behind me, but the same dynamic has sprung up again, just with different bosses.  I suppose it's my destiny.  It's not that bad; I've had years to develop coping mechanisms, and it's a lot easier when there isn't any overlap between work and family.

That's about it for this week!  Later, skaters.  xo

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Sclerotherapy: What to Expect

I went for my first vein injections this week.  Super fun!  A couple of you have asked me to describe it because you may be interested in getting this type of treatment yourselves.  So, here is what you can expect.

First, you'll do a bunch of research on the internet.  You'll watch procedures that make you cringe, but the patient always seems to come through okay, which is reassuring.  She (it's always a woman) will have her leg wrapped in a compression bandage, and then "immediately return to normal daily activities".  The videos show her smiling and striding confidently out the front door of the clinic.

The first available appointment will be three weeks after your consultation, so you'll have plenty of time to worry/psyche yourself up for the treatment.  There will also be lots of time for your custom-ordered, mandatory compression stockings to be shipped to the clinic.

When you finally arrive at the clinic for the appointment, I recommend chanting the mantra "Sexy legs.  Sexy legs," over and over again in a soothing tone to remind yourself why you should look forward to having your legs stabbed.  Check at the front counter for your compression stockings.  When you find out that they have not been shipped, try not to freak out.  Ask if you need to reschedule.  You won't want to reschedule.  You've worked too hard to mentally prepare for this moment.  You are ready to do it now!

The clinic staff will tell you it's no problem.  You can use a tensor bandage (which you have to wear for the first 24-48 hours anyway) instead of the stockings.  It just won't look as pretty.  Fine.  Go and sit in the treatment room.  Try to focus on playing Candy Crush on your phone.  Try to forget where you are.

When the doctor and his assistant walk in, explain that you will be distracting yourself with your phone.  Lie on the table on your left side.  That funny sound is the doctor working the sclerotherapy solution up into a foam.  He will say "A little pinch now."  It will hurt as much as any normal injection hurts.

Repeat the last two steps 6 or 7 times.  Keep playing your game.  It's fine.  You're doing great.  Just a little longer.  You'll start to sweat.  Don't drop your phone.  Tell the doctor you're starting to get stressed out.  He'll tell you "Just one more and then we're done."

Sit up.  Feel proud of yourself for surviving and not having a major panic attack. Get your leg wrapped with cotton wads and a tensor bandage.  The assistant will run the tape over the sensitive skin behind your knee so that when you walk it hurts and itches at the same time after a few steps.  Tolerate this, because you're afraid to mess with the dressing.  The assistant will wrap a tensor bandage over the taped cotton, so ineffectively that it will start unravelling inside your pant leg while you're walking home from the bus.  Hurry faster, because if you lose compression the whole treatment might be ineffective and you'll have to do the whole thing over again.  Stop hurrying, because if you put too much pressure on the leg while the bandage is falling off the whole treatment might be ineffective and you'll have to do the whole thing over again.  Try not to freak out.

Rewrap the bandage yourself.  After if falls off again, watch a YouTube video on how to compress your thigh with a tensor bandage.  Rewrap the bandage properly, and feel like a winner.

The bandage will be hot, bulky, and annoying.  You won't be able to walk normally or wear most of your pants.  Realize that the video of the woman striding confidently out of the clinic in the demo video was a total lie.  Be patient.  Eventually the first 48 hours will be over and you'll be able to take off the cotton padding.  And if you're really lucky, when you go for your follow up visit on Tuesday, the compression stockings will have arrived and you can ditch the tensor bandage.

Then get ready to do this whole process over a lot more times because  you put off treatment for so long that your legs need a lot of fixing.  You can do it!  Go you!