I have a headache

Headache and distressA splitting headache, to be precise.  And I don’t really know what to do about it.  I’m having knee surgery on Friday and can’t take anti-inflammatories for the two weeks before that.  Everything in the cabinet seems to be off-limits right now – I know there must be things that are okay to take but not what they are.  I’m hoping that it will go away by itself if I concentrate on other things.

The time is getting closer for this surgery and I spent the weekend getting ready for it – cleaning (something I despise doing although I like having a tidy space), doing laundry, cooking and freezing individual portions of food that will be easy to manage on crutches. I also bought and assembled a little cart on wheels with baskets instead of shelves that I can push around to get stuff from one place to another. I have a feeling this will come in handy; a similar one did before.

A wave of aloneness hit me while I was out and about doing all this preparation and the hot tears poured down my face at the idea of dealing with everything on my own.  I live alone and have for over twenty years; that’s not a problem usually.  But having just come from a family reunion and taking care of my own mom when she was sick, being alone next weekend seems like more than I thought it would be.

I know I will be fine.  When I first come home from the hospital, I will be sleeping a lot anyway, and there really isn’t space here for anyone else to stay without blowing up that Aerobed, and then there’s no way I could move around on the crutches.  I’m just feeling sad and sorry for myself and a little scared.  I’m in a lot of pain now without the forbidden meds – what if the surgery doesn’t help?

No one has said anything to me about the knee being so bad because of my weight, but I know it’s a factor and I feel guilty.  I know that it’s not helping and that the weight adds possible complications to the surgery itself  I weigh less than I did the first time I had the knee surgeries but I’m also 10 years older.

I want to not hurt and be mobile and able to get back to normal life.  I want my head not to hurt.  I want my nose to stop running and the tears to stop falling.  I want I want I want I want.

I want a hug. And there is no one here.

Cheesecake Pudding Yogurt

Creamy yogurt with fruitCraving something cool and creamy but want to stay on program? Need some calcium in your food plan and need it to be Core? Try Pudding Yogurt! It’s so easy, it’s criminal. But it’s also amazingly wonderful and something I eat every single day.

Combine in bowl with a whisk until smooth:

1 32-oz container of Fat -Free plain yogurt (not vanilla)
1 small box of sugar-free fat-free pudding mix (cheesecake flavor is my favorite)

Fold in fresh or frozen fruit, or a well-drained can of crushed pineapple.

For better portion control, divide the yogurt into individual containers. Makes 7-8, depending on how much fruit you add.  I make 7 containers and count as 2 points.  It’s also a Core food.

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Good flavor combos:
Pistachio pudding with crushed pineapple
Lemon pudding with strawberries
French vanilla pudding with peaches
Cheesecake pudding with anything

What I’ve Been Reading

What’s on your reading pile? I just finished three very different books in the last week what with traveling and time on planes to while away. All are highly recommended, for different reasons:

  • The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, tells a long and beautifully structured tale of the search for the historical Drakula aka Vlad the Impaler. The action moves across borders and through time told mainly through a series of letters, but believe me, there is plenty of action, with librarians playing featured roles (I love it when that happens). This is an intelligent book that will make you think – make sure you have a silver crucifix and cloves of garlic handy.
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean, is a searing portrait of war and remembrance, weaving the World War II story of the siege of Leningrad and the present. Marina, then a tour guide at the Heritage Museum, is now slipping into Alzheimers and losing her hold on who she is. Her carefully constructed “memory palace” helped her preserve the art through the horror of war, but how can she cope with losing everything?
  • Sleeping With Fear, by Kay Hooper, is the third installment in Hooper’s Fear trilogy, all featuring members of Noah Bishop’s FBI Special Crimes Unit. Riley Crane is the unit’s expert with the occult but her “spider sense” and memories are Swiss cheese now. I adore all of the books in this series (and there are many), with the elements of the paranormal that are taken for granted. Fast paced and a fast read.

All in the family

Flanders Family Reunion GroupFor the last week I’ve been out in Utah for a family reunion. The Flanders Family is small – my mom and her sister, my five cousins and our families. We gathered in Park City (where none of us live but which is a lovely place with lots to do) and just enjoyed each other’s company, meeting the ones we didn’t already know and refreshing our friendship with those we last saw almost 20 years ago at the last big family gathering.

We rode the Town Lift up the mountain and explored, wandered and shopped Main Street, ate ice cream, sat by the pool, played cats cradle, stayed up late and visited the nightlife. Some of us (not me) rode the zip-line down the mountain at Olympic Park which was exhilarating, wild and FAST. And we ate a lot.

We also took billions of pictures. It’s always a pain to do that, the posing and smiling and stuff, but when it’s over and we look at the finished pictures, it’s wonderful to have the images frozen in pixels to record the memory.

My mom had scanned in dozens of old pictures from our past, divided into generations dating back to the late 1800’s, and made copies for all of us on CD. Looking back at that and recognizing how much we valued having those frozen images of people who went before us (some of them wearing very interesting clothes and not smiling much), made our contemporary photo ops much more comfortable and gave them perspective.

Through the miracle of email, IM, and cell phones with long distance plans, it will be easy for us to stay in touch. I don’t want to have another 20 years go by before we see each other again. My family is small and I cherish all of them.

Barely awake

I am not a morning person on the best of days but this is ridiculous.  I’m writing this from the airport waiting for a flight out to the family reunion at 6:00 a.m., which is early enough. But these are not normal times for people driving around Boston – last week a ceiling panel in one of the Big Dig tunnels fell on a car and killed a woman on her way to the airport. Suddenly the Dig went from local joke for its problems to a reminder to us all of how dangerous it really is to drive through tunnels and trust engineering and construction to keep us safe.  The new tunnels to the airpot are closed while being investigated both as a crime scene and for what repairs are needed.   In the meantime, traffic is snarled everywhere and we’ve gotten dire warnings not to drive in this direction.

Taxicabs on an empty streetBut how do I get to the airport for a 6am flight without being in a vehicle?  The T doesn’t run that early even if I felt like lugging my stuff up hill 1.5 miles to the end of one subway line, take it to the end, change trains, go to the airport, change to a shuttle bus, and find my terminal.  If all I had was a little bag, it might work but not with the suitcase, computer, and CPAP machine.  No, a taxi was necessary.  But I didn’t want to pay through the nose for it.

So I arranged to be picked up at 3:00 a.m. which is god-awful early.  I did get a little sleep but not a lot and feel spaced out even with my bottle of Diet Pepsi (I’m a cold caffeine person and even Starbucks isn’t open yet – it’s only 4:45 a.m. as I type).  The streets were almost completely deserted on the way to the airport in an almost eerie way after watching the news reports of clogged roads, detours and horrendous delays.  We only saw a few other vehicles, all other cabs, all headed to the airport, as we sped through dark streets. Out of a handful of buildings, but only a few, windows gleamed with warm light and I wondered about who else was up so early.

The airport is busy considering there are no flights yet.  People were waiting at 3:30 for the ticket agents to open up – obviously I wasn’t the only person not wanting to miss a flight because of traffic.  The airline people seemed to be annoyed that we were in their way while they were setting up those little mazes of poles and black webbing that keeps us in line for check in.  I don’t know where they wanted us to BE, but it wasn’t where we actually were.  Too bad.

Starbucks is open.  Time to get something else, take a little walk, and try to wake up a bit more before I get on the plane.  It’s a long day today on very little sleep but at least I’m on my way and not home sleeping through the clock, which would have been way too easy to do.  I am so not a morning person.