Tabby Love

Before Nugget took over this basket, it was a fruit basket given to my husband after his surgery.  Perfect fit, huh Nugget?

Back when I had the bluebird babies, I would put them outside daily (in their cage) on the porch or in the yard for some fresh air.  Nugget and Dakota wouldn’t take their eyes off of them.  Good babysitters.

Dakota loves the spring and the start of bug season.  This particular March night, a crane fly found its way into the house.  That poor bug didn’t stand a chance.

Gail

Posted in Animals, cats | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Hello…. It’s Been Awhile

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted here though it seems much longer.  I decided to put on some Ed Sheeran to see if I can rid myself of this blog paralysis, or whatever it is keeping me from having any desire to write.  Maybe with some Ed (and the aid of blog prompts), I’ll get back to writing on a more regular basis.

I’ll admit, when COVID hit, I was not able to focus.  I couldn’t even read and that is very unusual for me.  I wasn’t reading books and I wasn’t reading too many of the blogs I subscribe to.  I even lost my appetite for awhile. I lost 6 lbs.  I experienced an anxiety and a fear like I’ve never known before.  Gradually, I was able to get back to reading devotionals which were very helpful.  Then I began reading books again and blogs.  I knew I was doing better when I gained 3 of those 6 lbs. back.

I’m staying in for the most part.  I’m trying to order groceries for pick up only but have run to the store when I have to.  Staying home and sheltering in place just doesn’t bother me.  I love my home.  There’s plenty to do here and I got some extra cleaning done, went through and did some much needed decluttering of closets and drawers.  We’ve worked some puzzles, watched some movies, and walked in the neighborhood.  I’ve had a husband who just had surgery to care for.  I’ve been cooking a lot but that’s something I’ve always loved to do.

I was talking to my youngest son the other night on the phone and we were talking about what else?  COVID-19.  I’m sick of even saying the word.  I’m also sick of the words “social distancing” (and by the way not many people are doing it here and and that’s why our state is embarrassingly seeing a huge surge in cases).  There’s also not many people at all wearing masks here and that’s something I just will never understand.  It’s SO. VERY. SIMPLE.  Maybe it’s the veterinarian in me or that I’ve studied way too many zoonotic diseases.  But this girl is wearing a mask when she MUST go out.  It’s not about politics or republicans vs. democrats, or a president who does not want to be seen in public with a face mask on.  It’s about a very contagious and potentially deadly disease.  It’s about  staying healthy.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Anyway, my son and I were talking last week about COVID and he says to me, “I guess you’ve heard about the massive Saharan dust cloud heading our way?”

Wait…. what???? 

No, I had not heard about this Godzilla of a dust cloud.  My first thought was, “God, you’ve GOT to be kidding me.”  Because in 2020, our family has experienced:

  • the unexpected death of a very dear and beloved next door neighbor
  • learning my husband needed a hip replacement and him having to take medical leave from work due to pain
  • COVID-19
  • having that hip replacement cancelled twice due to COVID-19 (because yes, joint replacement surgery IS considered elective surgery
  • a deadly tornado in our community
  • a Derecho (which was every bit as scary as the tornado)
  • finally being told hubby could have his hip replacement and then hoping and praying we left the hospital unscathed by coronavirus
  • protests in our city that turned into rioting, burning, and looting
  • and NOW a massive dust cloud from the Sahara desert moving through our state this weekend

Yes, it’s been quite the year and it’s only half over.  

In other news, I released the bluebirds several weeks ago.  They were eating on their own and were getting more hesitant to take food from me which I considered a good thing.  They were drinking water on their own and were flying and perching very well.  I was ready to let them go but yet, I wasn’t.  It’s hard to explain.  They all flew off and never looked back.  And that hurt my feelings just a wee bit.  One came back to me after 2 days of freedom when I went out in the backyard and called for him.  He answered a couple of times and then flew to the ground and landed nearby.  I was over the moon ecstatic  to see him (he was my favorite – the biggest of the three, and I had named him Hitchcock).   He was a feisty little cuss.  He got his name by me telling him that if they ever did a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, The Birds, that I was going to audition him for the lead role and he would most definitely get the part.  Yes, I loved little Hitchcock.  That little bluebird stole a piece of my heart in a big way.  But he came back to me two days after I released him.  I realized he was in a very weakened state, and long story short, despite me going into avian lifesaving mode, he began having seizures and died in the palm of my hand an hour after returning to me.   Let me tell you, it felt like my heart got ripped right out of my chest.  I cried for days over that sweet little bird and I still get choked up when I think about him.  I tried SO very hard to save all three of those precious little birds.  I put them in God’s hands when I released them and prayed hard that they would survive and be able to find food and that God would take care of them.   I happen to believe that God has a purpose for everything, that His ways are always good, even though my fleshy self doesn’t always understand those ways.

I’m hoping the other two babies survived.  I like to think that they did because when I go out in the yard at dusk every night, there is a bluebird who answers me when I call out “Stinky birdies,” which is what I always said to them when I walked into the room to feed them.  Yes, the neighbors think I’ve lost it but I don’t care.  We’ve also seen a little bluebird on the swing set just outside our screened in porch and also on the flagpole a lot who seems to be interested in us and who doesn’t mind if we come too close.

They came a long way from this.

I found this mug online and I just love it.  I think I’ll order it.

Hubby is now five weeks post op and doing fairly well.  He graduated from the walker to the cane and is now off the cane.  He and I are both awaiting COVID-19 test results due to some very strange symptoms we’ve had.  We were tested Thursday and told it would be about a week to get the results back.  The nurse who swabbed us said the results may be back today but they didn’t come in.   We think they will be negative because we’ve been extremely careful.   But you just never know.  I told hubby if COVID doesn’t kill us, the fumes from all the Lysol and Clorox I’ve been disinfecting and cleaning with will.

Hubby will be going back to work in a few short weeks and since he’s an RN and works in a hospital, I would be lying if I said it didn’t scare me.  Two nurses, one tech, and about five patients have tested positive on his floor (that we know of).  Our state seemed to open up everything very early and bars, restaurants, hair salons, barbers, etc. are open and by the looks of things, you’d never know there was a global pandemic going on.  So yep, cases are ashamedly increasing here and I’m  not a bit surprised.  No one seems to care.  I’m tired of people telling me it can’t be that bad because they don’t know anyone who has had “it.”  I’m tired of people telling me this has been a big hoax.  Really????  Have they seen how many people have been infected?  And how many people have lost their lives to this virus?  I hear again and again that people are tired of staying in and so they are going to live their life and enjoy it and if God wants them to get coronavirus, then so be it.   All I can do is just shake my head and try to keep my eyeballs from rolling right out of my head.  My oldest son was flabbergasted at people here who said they are wearing a mask this weekend when going out because of the dust cloud, but those same people haven’t been wearing one due to COVID!  Is anyone else besides me confused about that?

Hope you all are doing well.  Stay safe.  I’ll do the same but it seems that’s becoming increasingly harder to do, at least in Tennessee that is.

Gail

Posted in birds, Blogging, Fear, Health, Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On Storms, Perching and Preening

We had quite a storm here Sunday night, called a Derecho, a term I was not familiar with.  Have you ever heard of a derecho?  Apparently this storm caused triple the number of customers to lose power than during the tornado that hit here two months ago.  I’ve lived here about 60 years and I’ve sure never experienced anything like it and hope I never again have to.  Here’s what the Nashville Electric Service (NES) had to say about it:

On May 3, 2020, two months to the day that Nashville suffered a historic tornado touchdown, a derecho struck the same area. A derecho is a long-lived line of thunderstorms packing intense, hurricane-force wind gusts. The Nashville International Airport reported winds as high as 71mph during the height of the storm. That’s the 5th fastest wind gust recording since the airport has tracked that data. Almost immediately, more than 131,000 NES customers lost power due to snapped trees and downed power lines. Both the 911 and NES outage phone lines were overwhelmed with callers reaching out for assistance. This will go down as one of the worst storms to hit the Nashville area.

The NES operations team mobilized and as soon as it was safe to go out and begin making the necessary repairs, crews set out. Twenty four hours after the derecho entered Middle Tennessee, nearly 50,000 customers once again had power. In Mayor John Cooper’s press conference on the morning of May 4, NES President and CEO, Decosta Jenkins announced that total power restoration could take up to a week or two. Other utilities in the area were also hit hard by the storms, but contract crews from other states are helping with restoration efforts; however, COVID-19 and the widespread damage across the state are affecting the contract resources available.

This storm impacted our entire electrical system, and it will take some time to get all power restored. NES is asking for everyone’s patience as crews work around the clock to make repairs, especially since more storms could pop up at any moment. NES is very empathetic to our customers that are impacted and we want to ensure you we will get power back in Music City as soon as possible.

Donelson, my hometown, looked like another war zone, with trees and power lines down everywhere.  God Bless the electrical crew members and many thanks to those in neighboring states (Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky) who came here to offer assistance.  And during a pandemic at that!  Here in my little suburb, east of Nashville, we got winds of 80+ miles an hour!  I think I experienced just a taste of what it is like to be in a hurricane.  Add lightning and thunder and torrential rain to that, and it was quite the little storm.  And we had similar storms again the very next night, with winds of 61 mph.  Our city police issued an alert for everyone to please stay home and NOT travel as power lines and trees were down everywhere blocking roadways.  NES reported another 15,000 outages with that one.  I don’t know what’s up with the weather, but Nashville has taken a beating.

We had multiple limbs down in our yard and lots and lots of sticks to pick up.  Our power did go out but only for about 45 minutes.  Our screened in porch actually had standing water in it and leaves were stuck to all the window screens.   I told hubby since there were so many tree branches down in the yard, I’d take advantage of them.  I decided it was a good time to have a lesson on perching for the bluebird babies.  It was a nice sunny day Monday and so out we went with them.

You can’t really tell from the photos, but of these three bluebirds, there is a large size bird, a medium sized bird, and a runt bird.  I mentioned one bird died during the fall of the tree, and he was quite a bit larger than these three.  I learned that bluebird eggs usually hatch one at a time and and usually one egg hatches per day.  So I’m guessing the deceased bird hatched on the first day and the little runt hatched on the 4th day.  The runt bird does not seem to be able to use his left foot well and his little toes seem to just club up in a wadded mess.  Perching of course is very important to a bird, so I worry about him/her.  The runt bird also has not been feeding well for two days.  It will gape, but then does strange things with its neck, and its mouth becomes a moving target.  It’s been a real challenge to get food down that one.  I’m beginning to think this baby is not going to make it.  I’m afraid I don’t know much about bird physical therapy.  I’m hoping with time, there will be healing.  Hubby and I wonder if there is some neurological damage that occurred during the fall from the tree.  Maybe so.  But the perching lesson went well and they learned all about balance that day and learned to flap their wings to keep their balance.  The largest bird learned to hop off the branch, hop back on, hop off, etc.  He was quite smitten with himself.  I tried various sized branches and they preferred the largest branch.  They don’t seem to have good grasping skills yet and wouldn’t stay on the smaller pine branch.

May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010. The runt is on the left. The biggest bird is on the far right and is more advanced in everything, including standing straight and tall.

May 4, 2020. The runt is on the left.  Note the left foot which stays curled. The red color is not blood, it’s just the sun shining on some thin skin in that location.

While up on the large branch, I also, for the first time, noted preening behavior in the largest bird, which I was happy to see. Preening is when a bird straightens and cleans its feathers with its beak.  Two nights ago, I also noticed all three birds began sleeping with their little heads laid back on their backs (contrary to what many people think, birds don’t really tuck their heads under their wings when they sleep, they just lay them across their backs).

After the perching practice, I put the birds on the ground.  Only the largest bird hopped around some, but mostly, they just stayed put and wanted to be close to me.  Again, they seemed very attuned to listening to the birdsong.

May 4, 2020

May 4, 2020

We have graduated to a cage as we outgrew our nest box.  I walked into the bathroom yesterday morning and had three little birds run up to me and all three jumped on my house slipper, looked up at me and opened their mouths.  Did I mention they had pooped all over the bathroom floor?  They seem to be doing well in the cage.  I’ll wait a few days and add some perches.  Right now, they grab on to the side of the cage and flap their wings.

It’s cold, windy, and has been mostly overcast here today so we’re staying inside.  I keep a portable heater on low in the bathroom where they are.  My next door neighbor let me borrow a book on Bluebirds the other day which I finally hope to start reading today.  Life has been so busy since these birds came into my life.  It’s like suddenly having 3 newborns.  My kitties will be glad to see them fly the coop, so that all my attention will once again be back on them.

Gail ♥  

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Little Bluebirds

Our mystery baby birds ended up as Eastern Bluebirds and I couldn’t be happier.  Since they were orphaned eight days ago, I have not seen one single bluebird in the area.  I’ve seen four cardinals hanging around every single day, but no bluebirds.  Back in March, my husband and I commented to each other that we were seeing a bluebird pair almost daily in our Bradford Pear tree that sits beside the maple tree that was cut down where these birds unknowingly were nesting (in the partially rotted out trunk in the very top of the tree).  I’m sure they were the parents of these birds.

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April 29, 2020

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April 29, 2020

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April 29, 2020

Today when I opened the bathroom door to feed them, they had (seemingly overnight) discovered that they have these things attached to their little bodies called wings and that these wings actually work.  Yes, the flapping has begun!  All three birdies flew to the edge of the makeshift nesting box I have them in (by the way, those small Bath and Body Works boxes make wonderful little nesting boxes).

May 2, 2020

They perched and flapped those little wings.  It was quite humorous to watch.  At one point, my husband walked in the bathroom to shave, and all three birds jumped-flew out of the box, and before he knew it there were three little birds at his feet with yellow wide gaping mouths.  Yes, I do believe we have outgrown our little box.

Yesterday, I donned my mask and went in search of mealworms.  Although I wouldn’t normally consider bait shops essential businesses right now, for me, they kinda are.  I was thrilled to finally find some LIVE mealworms (which I paid a dear price for I might add).

819f4LUuypL._AC_SL1280_So the babies had their first mealworms today and they were a big hit, although this mamma bird had a great deal of trouble getting the wiggly meal worm down their little gullets.  The worms squirmed and kept folding up in a “U” position and clinging to my thumb, making it extremely hard to get the worm into the wide yellow gaping targets.  I tried using a blunted pair of long tweezers, but the babies were afraid of the tweezers and would stop gaping.  I don’t know who was more frustrated… me or them.   But each bird successfully ate three mealworms followed by their usual canned cat food mush.  The next feeding they each ate three more mealworms (one ate four).  Hubby took photos of the feeding but every single photo came out blurry.  I don’t know what went wrong there.  Oh well.

Mommy bird is tired.  These three little ones still eat every three hours and I kid you not, they are eating more canned cat food per day than my two 12 pound cats eat!  Yes, really!  I also try to give them a mashed hard-boiled egg yolk  every other day (good protein).  We are graduating from a box to a cage tomorrow.  I do not have a bird cage (I gave them all to Goodwill or anyone who wanted them, years ago, since I was quite sure my bird days were OVER).  I do have a gerbil/hamster cage which I dug out from the basement and cleaned, and for now that is going to have to suffice.  I figure fledging is just days away.  And then the hard part the REALLY hard part comes.  Bluebird parents still care for the fledgling birds from about days 21-30, teaching them how to forge for food on the ground.  I still haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to do that.  I think God will have to take over from that point.  I do pray he will teach them (or at least that he will show me how to teach them) and take care of them.

Pray for me.  And them of course. 

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May 1, 2020

They have to have a sponge bath (a bird bath?) after every meal as the cat food and egg yolks gets all over them.  They also poop on each other now.  Yesterday and today they have started to peck at the little tiny 1/8 tsp. I’m feeding them with, and it flies everywhere – in their nostrils, in their eyes, and I even had to clean out an impacted ear hole.  That was fun.

Today it was sunny and 82 degrees so I took them out to stand in the grass.  They weren’t interested in exploring and only wanted to be near me and their nest box.  They seemed to  really be attuned to listening to the birdsong.  We put a pie tin under a tree with just a bit of water to see if they wanted to take a bird bath, but they wanted no part of that.  They hopped out of the pan.  Maybe I rushed that a little.  The four starlings I raised years ago loved to splash around and roll and flap their wings in the water.  I let them sit in the grass in the sun for several minutes until they were dry and warm.  At least they looked cleaner.

First bath. May 2, 2020

First bath. May 2, 2020

May 2, 2020

Well, this mommy bird is exhausted and I’m off to finish sipping my hot cup of lemon tea.  Then I’ll do just a little bit of reading and will hit the sack.   That 6 am feeding will be here before I know it.

Gail

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Raising Baby Birds- Day 3

Not much change today in the baby birds other than they seem to be more mobile.  They never seem to be particularly hungry at the first two feedings, but then start eating better.  I’m curious as to what kind of birds these are.  They are developing white bellies.  We’ve had a crazy mockingbird who has been serenading us loudly about 1 am for the past few weeks so I’m wondering if these could be baby mockingbirds.  I see no resemblance to a cardinal at all at this point and they don’t seem to have the short stout cardinal beaks.  But there sure was a male and female cardinal hanging around most of yesterday where the tree used to be before it was cut down.  They seemed a little perturbed too.  Of all the photos I’ve seen on the Internet of baby cardinals, the interior of their mouths are red.  These babies have yellow mouths as you can see.  Not sure if that is even significant, but just something I’ve observed.  I suppose they could be starlings too.  I successfully raised four starlings back in the seventies and I found them to be quite hardy little birds.

I guess the mystery continues…..

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Gail 

Posted in Animals, birds, Nature | Tagged | 4 Comments

And Then There Were Three

After the last big storm we had a couple of weeks ago, we noticed the maple tree, that sits behind a swing set and shades the front of our screened in porch, was leaning badly.  Hubby looked a little closer and realized that the whole back part of the tree was rotted and full of ants.  He decided that tree needed to come down before it fell on the swing or crashed into the roof of the porch, so he and our oldest son made that their big project yesterday.  Hubby could barely walk last night and today after felling that medium sized maple tree.

When it finally came down, I went outside to make sure everyone was okay and that no one’s limbs had been amputated by the chain saw.  My husband informed me that I might want to say a little prayer.  He said they realized after the tree fell that they had discovered four baby birds, who had been nesting in a rotted out stump of a limb in the very tip top of the tree.  It came crashing down to the ground.  One of baby birds died in the fall but the other three still remained in the stump breathing quite hard.  He took me to the now upright stump and showed me.  There was no nest in the stump or laying around on the ground that we could find, just four little partly bald chicks.  We left them there in the stump until dark but no mother or father bird ever returned.

I told hubby they would surely freeze if left in that stump all night, and so low to the ground, our nightly raccoon visitors, or possums, or skunks, or a chicken snake would surely find them and devour them for a snack.  We were also predicted to get heavy rains last night so I felt we had no choice but to bring them in and attempt to save them.  I donned a latex glove and carefully removed them from the rotted moist tree stump.  I laid the dead baby (which surprisingly was already green and decomposing and smelling to high heaven) on a concrete paver beside the stump.

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baby birds- day 1

The remaining three babies were cold and lifeless so I quickly went to work warming them up.  I put an old tee shirt in a small box and put them in our small bathroom and turned a portable heater on them.  Within an hour the bathroom was nice and toasty and the babies were moving around more.  I attempted to feed them but they showed no interest in opening their mouths and they made no sounds.  “Not a good sign,” I told hubby.

I set my alarm for 5:50 am (ugh) because our weather site said our sunrise was at 6 am and I figure that is when mommy and daddy birds get busy feeding.  I cautiously pulled back the flap of tee shirt I had covered them in, not knowing if I would find three dead baby birds or three gaping yellow mouths.  The babies were alive, warm, and active, but still would not open their little mouths for me.  I somehow managed to force their little beaks open and get some canned pate chicken cat food mush down their tiny throats until their little crops pooched.  Finally, by the third feeding, they started understanding the routine, accepted that I was their new “mommy,” and started gaping wide.  I went outside to check by the stump where I had laid the dead baby bird but it was nowhere to be found.  Something had gotten it during the night.

I have no idea what kind of birds they are, but today there was a male and female cardinal hanging around the swing set where the tree used to be and they were squawking loudly.  When I went outside, the female swooped low in front of me.  My guess is they are baby cardinals but you’d sure never know by looking at them would you?  The sun was shining a little so I went in and bought the box of babies out and put them by the stump and left them out there for half an hour.  I watched quietly from inside the house from a window, but the parents would not come near.  It was quite cool out as the sun had gone in and the skies were dark and starting to mist rain, so I bought the babies back in to the warmth of the bathroom (just in the nick of time before a heavy downpour came).  If they are indeed cardinals, I should start seeing some brown feather growth in just another few days.  Baby cardinals are more brownish in the juvenile stages like the mother cardinal instead of red like the male.

female-cardinal-on-bird-feeder

female cardinal

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male cardinal

Their last feeding was around 7 pm tonight and I was greeted by my new charges like this:

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baby birds- day 2

I hard-boiled an egg, mashed up the egg yolk and made a mush of it by adding warm water.  They loved it and I was happy.

Today, it was eat, poop, sleep, eat, poop, sleep, repeat.

I hope they are cardinals, but mostly, I hope these little guys (or gals) survive.  I’ve been down this road before, and I’ve learned that raising baby birds is quite a challenge.  I’ve had successes and failures both, and I can say with all certainty, that I definitely have my work cut out for me.

Gail ♥ 

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Sunday Glory

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These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you

may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, 

but take courage; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Gail

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Prayers for an Anxious Heart

I thought I would share this little gem I found in a Publix grocery store about four or so years ago.  I bought it and quickly grew to love it.  There is a meaningful prayer on each page.  It stays in a basket by my bed with other prayer and devotional books.  I must say, it has been a lifesaver during the past 5-6 weeks.  I highly recommend it.

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Here’s an example of one of the prayers:

Lead Me in Peace Prayer

_________________________________________________________________

Rejoice always, pray continually,

give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

Gail 

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Life Update in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In early January of 2020, I lost count of how many bloggers who wrote posts that said 2019 wasn’t a good year for them, how they were glad to see it go, and and how they were looking forward to 2020.  I can’t help but wonder what these same people are thinking now.

I’ve said for years now that 2013 was a year full of trials for my family and me.  Just six days into that year was when a massive sinkhole suddenly opened in our backyard on a day with torrential rainfall.  As I stood at my bedroom window watching the ground fall away, I wondered if it was going to take our house, our cars, and even our lives.  I felt a fear like I’ve never known in my life.  And in the early stages of dealing with our sinkhole, this story came out of Tampa Florida, greatly adding to our fear.

In March of that same year, we got word that our youngest son who was attending college in another state, was very sick with a severe case of mononucleosis.  He had an enlarged liver, an enlarged spleen, enlarged cervical lymph nodes, extreme fatigue, high fever, chills, bilateral ear infections, and an inability to swallow due to severe tonsillitis.  And if that wasn’t enough, he developed a rash from head to toe due to the penicillin antibiotic the university clinic doctor had put him on (thinking at first his symptoms were due to strep when in fact they were due to mono).  I learned that penicillin antibiotics given during mono will cause a rash (did you know that?  I didn’t).  I learned just how much a mother can worry and just how much a mother can pray.

My son ended up having to do a medical withdrawal from all his classes that semester  which was a bit of a financial strain, but the important thing was that he recovered – very slowly – but he recovered.  And then my best friend died on July 1st of that year in a tragic car accident.  She was buried on the Fourth of July as relentless, soaking rain beat down on a multitude of colorful umbrellas belonging to friends who had gathered at her graveside to say goodbye on the most dismal of days.  And just when I didn’t think it could get any worse, in August, my 19 1/2 year old cat developed an aggressive tumor in his lower jaw bone .  I had to make what was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make and that was to end his suffering.  The dreaded euthanasia decision.  I experienced a grief like no other.  There were other very personal and stressful things that happened that year that I won’t bother to mention, but you get the picture… it was a difficult year and one full of trials.  I can honestly say, for the first time in my life, I understood fully what full blown anxiety felt like. I reached a point where I no longer wanted to get out of bed in the morning.  I didn’t think I would ever again see a year as bad as the year 2013 was.

Now here we are in 2020 and I have to say, 2013 is paling in comparison!  Hubby, a nurse who does 12 hour shifts, has been down and out with hip and/or back pain and was getting to the point where he couldn’t get through a 12 hour shift.  You see, he took a bad fall at work at the end of December of 2017, that sent him to the ER for progressive knee swelling and pain.  X-rays showed a lot of joint effusion and swelling but no fractures were seen.  Over the next few days, the swelling worsened as did the pain.  Hubby knew something was amiss, could feel crepitation, and suspected a fractured patella.  When he was finally able to get in to see an orthopedist a week later, they repeated the X-rays, and found that his patella was indeed fractured.  The orthopedist drained 45 ccs of blood off his knee joint and fitted him with a hinged extension splint to wear for several weeks.  His knee healed but ever since, he’s had hip and back pain.

Hubby in the extension splint. Christmas 2017

He said it’s as if having to walk around with his right leg in full extension threw something off and his hip has never been the same.  Months later, he had more X-rays and an MRI, both of which showed arthritis and a bulging disc in his back and arthritis in both hips.  He was sent for physical therapy and was put on a prescription NSAID.  This past January, the pain got considerably worse.  February came, and he went back to his PCP and told him   he couldn’t work his 12 hour shifts anymore due to the pain.  The doctor  examined him and sent him for radiographs again which showed a considerable worsening of his right hip.  He was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who told us (and showed us) just how bad his hip was – there was NO cartilage in the right hip joint and hence no joint space, so he was walking around bone on bone.  There was a large bone cyst in the upper femur where the joint fluid was being forced down in the bone, and there were 2 large bone spurs.  The surgeon discussed conservative care but admitted we were already doing most of that (aspirin, NSAIDS, physical therapy, resting the joint) and it obviously wasn’t helping.  He said he could give him a steroid shot in the hip joint but admitted in all honestly, that it might give him maybe 10 days of pain relief and then he’d be right back to being in pain.  So it was agreed that a total hip replacement was in order.  My husband asked if they could do the surgery the following week.  He was tired of the pain and he wanted it over with!  But the surgeon was getting ready to go out of town and so the soonest the surgery scheduler could schedule his surgery was 3 1/2 weeks out on March 23rd.  And so the plan was to rest at home while awaiting surgery, then return to work 6-8 weeks after surgery.

In early February, we lost our dear next door neighbor unexpectedly after he had complications after heart surgery.  He was the best neighbor one could ever have and we are mourning his loss and miss him deeply.

And then the Nashville tornadoes hit.

AND THEN COVID-19 HIT. 

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Needless to say, due to COVID-19, hubby’s surgery, and all other elective surgeries, were cancelled.  Though he totally understood WHY his surgery was being cancelled, it’s been hard.  They rescheduled his hip replacement for April 15th but warned him it may be cancelled then too.  And of course it was.  For now, it has been rescheduled for mid May, but in all honesty, we don’t see it happening then either.   He hasn’t had a paycheck since February since the short term disability people mistakenly had him going back to work after the first cancellation (even though he has told them repeatedly that he is no longer able to work due to pain).  They told him he would have to provide a letter from the doctor saying he was not able to work.  The doctor provided that letter last week but then they said that will have to be sent to a nurse for evaluation and that will take 2-3 more business days.  Then yesterday he found out his short term disability was approved but only through the day before.  So he’s having to start all over and was told the doctor, who just wrote a note last week, will need to write another one.  How people who don’t have money put away in savings survive something like this is beyond me.  The red tape and all the hoops you have to jump through is just crazy.  They keep wanting a date saying when he can go back to work but how can we give them that date when we’re not even sure when his surgery will be performed?  He was on the phone with them for hours yesterday trying to get it all straightened out to no avail.

We’re at home sheltered in place and we’re waiting.  I’ve felt the old anxiety I felt in 2013 return with a vengeance.   I had to quit reading the news and watching the news.  It was paralyzing me.  It’s bad enough out there without the media trying to scare us to death. I’ve had blog paralysis and just have not been able to focus enough to sit down and write or even read many blogs.  I consider myself an avid reader but until just this week, I haven’t even been able to concentrate or focus on reading fiction.  I have continued reading my devotionals, which in all honestly have been a saving grace and helped to calm my fears.  We’re having groceries delivered now and we are not even visiting family (and that is hard but as it should be).  I’ve been trying to do different cleaning projects, mainly cleaning out closets and drawers and was slowly working on cleaning the basement (until the dust down there gave me the worst cough I’ve ever had which forced me to take a break from that).  And as luck would have it, I somehow injured my hip or back (I really don’t know which).  With all the cleaning came a lot of bending over and squatting and I injured something.  Walking has been very painful.  Going to the doctor is not an option for me right now.  I’m resting it and using NSAIDS and ice.  It’s better.  The pain has given me a much better understanding of the pain my husband has been going through these past few months and I understand just what he means now when he said he barely could make it back to his truck after a 12 hour shift, that at one point, he thought he  might have to crawl to the parking garage.

Our oldest son came home to check on his feeble, hip disabled parents, and to help out where he can.  He’s single and was self isolating and teleworking from his home in another state and so now he’s teleworking from here for a while.  I feel better having him here and it’s sure lifted my spirits.

Life goes on and trails are still a part of this life, even during coronavirus, which may end up being the biggest trial of them all.  A dear friend of mine had an outpatient elective surgery on March 20th, had severe complications, and found herself fighting for her life in the ICU unit.  I’ve been praying about as hard as one can pray for that dear sweet friend of mine, who I love like a sister.  She’s now at home so any of you prayer warriors out there who can pray for her healing, I’d sure appreciate it.  I got word 2 weeks ago that a childhood friend of mine had passed away and that news brought such a flood of sadness, but also a flood of happy memories.  We were majorettes together in high school and we had some fun times growing up together. Yes, life is hard right now, but God is good and all His ways are good.  Of that I am convinced.

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

So that’s a not-so-short update of my life during coronavirus.  I wish good health for you all.  Stay safe.

Gail 

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Another Update from the AVMA concerning COVID-19 and Our Pets

I thought I would share this link to an update from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), dated April 12, 2020.

Hope you all had a Happy Easter and are all staying safe!  I hope to get back to blogging soon.

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19/sars-cov-2-animals-including-pets

Gail

Posted in Animals, Health, Pets | Tagged , , | 2 Comments