Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Edamame Bean That Got Me

Working Title: The Bite Heard 'Round The World"...

So I found myself being very tired today. And, some of you know what happens when I get very tired ... yep, I stumble around more and I lose what little control of my lip that I normally have. It isn't pretty. I flatter myself to think that it's pretty funny, though - hence the post tonight.

Today I had lunch with my dear friend, Claire. Knowing that my mouth wasn't in top form, I wisely stayed away from pasta or anything with sauce. I ordered a nice safe piece of salmon, "sauce on the side, please." So far, so good. Things were actually going along splendidly when suddenly, out of frigging no-where, a piece of yellow squash flew out of my mouth, bounced off my lap and landed on the floor. I quickly stole a glance at Claire - yep, she saw the whole thing. I had a fast decision to make - pretend like it hadn't happened, or go ahead and laugh. Ah, what the hell - I chose laughter. Pretty soon we were both laughing. We needed it.

Then tonight, the Great Edamame Attack occurred. Drum roll, please. I made a healthy dinner of bulgur wheat (hey, Jen, you reading this?) with tomatoes, onions, lemon, olive oil and lots of fresh chopped herbs ... and Edamame Beans. (Scary music plays in the background.) Willie and I sat down to the dining table to share out days with each other and enjoy the healthy and sumptous feast I had prepared. Again, things were progressing nicely when suddenly an edamame bean jumped out of my mouth, hit my chin and landed back on my plate. Willie, of course, witnessed the whole thing. This time there wasn't even a pause - the laughter just started immediately.

I decided not to try my luck with anything else. The safest move at this point is to remove myself from the vicinity of the kitchen and retreat to the bedroom. G'night folks!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Taking Stock

Well, another week has flown past and it is nearly 14 months since the Big Brain Tumor Extraction, aka Boogerectomy. Wow, where has the time gone?

I must say that I feel good. Sure, I am still deaf in one ear, and have an eye that's lost its ability to tear, and I stumble sometimes, but I am GOOD. Have I made some necessary adjustments in the last year and 2 months? You bet. But we humans are adaptable creatures, aren't we? I know that my life post brain surgery is forever changed, which doesn't mean worse ... just different. And, sometimes different is funny, for example...

Luckily for me, Willie doesn't like to dance. Imagine if I had to deprive him of twirling be about the dance floor? But, Willie hates to dance and so this whole crappy balance thing has worked out great. I confine my dancing to places where I won't be seen, like the living room. And, just to be safe, I wear bubble wrap.

And, how about the entertainment value of tipping over in my garden? That's hard to beat, isn't it? Seriously, it's funny when you allow yourself to relax and see the humor. When I fell over in the mulch a few weeks ago, I was laughing so hard I was afraid I'd alarm the neighbors.

And, sometimes just to screw with people (in a nice way) I let my right eye just stay open and stare at them. C'mon, admit it - you wish you could do that, don't you?

Okay, how about when I was at Marshall's last weekend with my friends Kura and Peggy and I heard my name. I twirled around twice in the aisle trying to establish where the voice was coming from. It was Peggy and we both cracked up.

And, the other night when I woke Willie up at 3 in the morning because I couldn't identify the noise I was hearing (turned out to be torrential rain) and was worried that something was wrong with the house.

You have to find the humor. Most days, I don't have to look very far to find it. So, any stories you'd like to share in this vein??

Monday, June 15, 2009

Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun

It was a fine weekend in the Country. Peg is in the States for a few weeks, making her spring escape from China; and Kura was in need of a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC, so it was a perfect weekend for wine, food and friends. We also had a little retail therapy, which is always fun. I don't really enjoy shopping much (I know, where was I when God handed out the female shopping gene??), but this was enjoyable. Besides, it was rainy on Saturday so sitting on the patio swilling down wine wasn't a good option. Sunday, on the other hand was beautiful as you can see from the picture above. So, since it was morning, we sat on the deck and swilled down tea...

Upon returning from the retail expedition on Saturday, we immediately opened a bottle of Prosecco - just what one needs to recover from shopping.

The only real downside (for me) is that it was more noise than I am used to, which made my hearing issues more of an issue. I hate that I can't listen to multiple conversations the way I used to be able to - it frustrates me. My ear can really only hear one thing at a time. And, my sensitivity to noise is still an issue. Cetain tones are just painful. Grr.

Anyway, I had a bit of a pity-party after everyone left Sunday. A little of the "woe is me, things aren't the same" stuff. It's really kind of silly - I am so lucky in so many ways and I shouldn't feel sorry for myself about something as relatively minor as not hearing some things and hearing too much of others. In the scope of things, this is pretty minor stuff. However, it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Let me start by saying that there are good canals - like the ones in Venice and Amsterdam. These are WAY good canals. I love 'em.

Then there are bad canals - like root canals. I could probably just stop right here, couldn't I? But where's the fun in that? Last weekend I started to have that nagging pain in my lower jaw whenever I drank or ate something cold. By Monday, anything hot or cold sent shooting pains up and down my head. Now, let me explain that these pains were occurring when I chewed anything on the left side of my mouth - which is, coincidentally, really the only side I can chew on. Why? Because I still don't have good enough muscle control on the acoustic neuroma side to keep food in my mouth while chewing!

Clearly, not eating wasn't an option, so I phoned the dentist and he said I should come in Tuesday morning. After x-rays and a few minutes of acute anxiety - he uttered the dreaded words ... "you need a root canal." Crap. I'd rather have brain surgery. Oh, wait, I did that already... I immediately asked for the "pig nose" which is how I refer to that thing they stick over you nose when they give you the "happy gas".

So, many gulps of nitrous oxide and about 5 shots of Novocain later (did I mention how much those damned shots hurt?? They should knock you out just to get the shot) out came the drill. Having your mouth drilled when you are deaf in one ear and have hypersensitivity in the other one isn't really much fun. Oh, who am I kidding - drilling isn't fun even with two hearing ears!

As you have probably already surmised, I survived the event (barely.) When they got all of the equipment out of my mouth, the dentist asked me if I was okay and I quickly replied "hrmpholsphlshmp." What???? So I tried again. Same result. I felt like I had a big water balloon lodged in my mouth - oh, wait, it's my tongue. I should mention that the right side of my tongue is still pretty much numb from the surgery and nerve damage from last years brain tumor event. I am so used to it, that I really never thing about it. Well, the Novocain completely deadened the left side of my tongue too, so when I tried to talk, I sounded like a deranged mutant from Pluto. With a giant tongue. Nice.

To cap it off, when I got home, I thought a nice cup of tea would hit the spot. I brewed the elixir, put just the right amount of honey in it, let it cool slightly, took a nice sip ... and then watched it pour out of my mouth all over my shirt. I am so glad I work from home. Sigh...

Friday, June 5, 2009

And just Like That...

The Jihad is over. Cats ... who can figure 'em out? Yesterday morning when I woke up, Rocket was settled ON (rather than under) the sitting room chair, laying on a pile of decorative pillows like some sort of hairy pasha. And, although both cats were a little nervous and "skitzy" yesterday (a few minor growling/hissing moments and a few instances of "puffage" on the part of Phoebe) but definitely the full-blown Jihad is over. For now.

I grew up with dogs, who are quite predictable and live to please. I got my first cat when I was 17 (and yes, as soon as I left home, my parents inherited him.) I went on to have three other cats before that fateful day 7 years ago when I brought Rocket home. He was a "free" kitten, one of three. Not quite sure why I ended up with him in my car that day. Fate, I suppose. He's turned out to be the most difficult, temperamental cat I've ever been around - and I love him to bits. He was so tiny that he fit in the palm of my hand when I brought him home. The adult cat I had at the time (now sadly in cat-heaven) hated him on site, and that never changed.

Rocket attacked the vet when he weighed about 2.5 pounds, leaving a gash on her. That's when I started to realize that he had anger management issues - hell, he had a lot of "issues." He's gotten a bit mellower with age, but he is still ruled by his inner demons, poor little guy. So, occasionally he gets obsessed with spots on the carpet, or thinks that something is out to get him. It always blows over, so we just wait it out. And, I always think that Destiny brought him to us, because who else would put up with him?

The worst fit was when we brought Phoebe home - she was a very small six-month old cat, docile and sweet and terrified (she'd been abandoned on a roadside at 2 months, then lived in a shelter for the next 4). She immediately took up residence in the bathroom closet. Rocket was shocked, horrified and ready to pack his bags. We had a little over a week of hissing, growling, hiding and generally apalling behavior. Eventually, they became good friends and good companions. Notwithstanding the occasional Jihad.

You might wonder what our collie, Carrie, thinks of all this? She is the quintessential peace-nik. If she could talk, I know she'd say "can't we all just get along." She lives in fear of Rocket (who has been known to chase her, and not in a playful way) but rather likes Phoebe. Okay, let me be honest, we think she may have an inter-species crush on Phoebe, but we're not going to discuss that here!

As I sit in my office each day, Carrie naps (sometimes snoring rather loudly) on her bed a few feet from my desk, while the cats can usually be found napping on one of the file cabinets. There is something strangely calming about all of this.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jihad on Tallyho

Well, Willie and I had a great visit to NYC this weekend - perfect weather, great food, tasty wine, lots of photos.  Not much can beat springtime in NYC!

We returned home Sunday and then Sunday night ... the Jihad started.  God only knows what set it off or when it will end, but it involves lots of puffed up cats and terrible noises.  Somehow, poor Rocket has gotten the Terrors and is completely freaked out by Phoebe.  He is hiding under the hassock in the sitting room and just growls whenever anything gets too close.  When Phoebe decides to invade his dark hiding place, he shrieks and comes flying out in search of a new "lair."  It would actually be a lot funnier if the noises weren't so horrific.  What is hilarious is seeing Phoebe get all puffed up - she actually gets her tail to about the size of a racoon's tail - and she makes all of the hair on her body puff out.  I must see if I can get a picture because it is quite priceless.  No doubt the whole thing will end as suddently as it began and we still won't have a clue as to what set it off.  

Great - we've got a neurotic dog and a paranoid cat.  Oh, and did I mention the whole brain tumor thing...?

Meanwhile, I've recorded a video on eye care.  I blame my parents who asked a few simple questions about eye care for a friend of theirs who has bells palsey.   Anyway, if you want a giggle, take a look: