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Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/profile/blog/normajeantrent
Rated: 13+ · Book · Biographical · #2198921
Norma's Wanderings around a small section of Montana


Well, hey there!
Welcome to Roundup, Montana! If it's a nice day, we'll sit a spell on my porch and talk awhile.

"All the resources we need are in the mind.” Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th President of the United States of America.

Another quote I find interesting: "Creativity is intelligence having fun." Albert Einstein

What's on your mind today?






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April 11, 2024 at 12:42am
April 11, 2024 at 12:42am
#1068491


So - here's the thing. I went and got the nerve test - the EMG. Nothing like lying on a table and getting shocked intentionally for over half an hour. Sometimes my arm jumped off the table, sometimes it just tingled. And lots of times it just hurt. Like sticking your finger in an electrical socket over and over. Then there was this test where thin needles, I took his word for it, I didn't check, were inserted into nerve pathways. You could hear a sound - the doctor explained that was the electrical impulse from the nerve. Then I had to engage a muscle. You could hear the nerve get louder. This part didn't hurt. Thank goodness.

The result? Surprising. I was told I have moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. Seems the myelin sheath of the median nerve, the nerve that controls your thumb and fingers is compressed. It would explain all the pain I've been having. It needs to be decompressed before it advances to the severe phase where the actual nerve that is inside that myelin sheath is damaged. Once that happens, you're pretty much in serious, if not irreparable trouble. But, I thought, how did that happen? I didn't have that problem before I broke my hand. Such a mystery.

Great. Surgery. Again. I swear. And now we hear that the car that is still in VA getting fixed up since May of last year has a new hiccup. So, the finish date is once again pushed back. I am so mad about this, you just cannot understand.

But I am writing for the local paper, got my second check today. Hurray for that! And I applied for a job with the county - secretary/treasurer for the refuse district. 15-20 hours a month. I think can do that. Extra money is good. I am going to quit doing the church bulletin. Already had decided that when this opportunity arose. I easily spend that much time doing that chore per month, and am not paid.

I guess the old adage is true - 'Nothing is constant but change'. These past few years have been the worst for me. I pray for a more quiet period to soon start.

April 6, 2024 at 11:21am
April 6, 2024 at 11:21am
#1067796

It's April - what is it like where you live? Last night we heard the large boom of thunder. Yesterday morning we woke to dense fog that gave way to a cool windy day. Then at 9 PM, BOOM! No rain. Until this morning.

Now we have a winter weather advisory. Snow in the forecast for today and tomorrow. But you know, that's alright. Because I live in a dry area. Any moisture is welcome. As long as we don't get a hailstorm like we had several years ago, it's all good.

Like I mentioned before, I'm writing for a local newspaper. It's been fun, seeing my name in print every week. As I walk around town, I see stories. So now I'm in the habit of taking my little camera with me. We don't have a cell phone, which from what I hear, take better pictures than my very pricey Canon SLR that sits upstairs in its carrier. This way, if I come across a photo op, I can snap that photo, and not race home to get the camera.

I have an informal contract with the publisher to submit one to two articles, preferably with pictures, each week. The paper is published once a week. Currently we have a story about to boil over about use of the community center. The school district owns it, and now wants to restrict its use. After 30 years of a pickup volleyball game in the gym there, the closing of the gym to community members is getting everyone riled up. I've been going to the informal meetings of parents and community members. And they are upset. But the meeting last night got into the weeds quickly. More talk of how bad the sports teams are and how bad the administration is, while the reason for the meeting was to discuss the dialogue we need to have with the school board about why the community center needs to be open to the community. Egads. I sat and listened, but it was hard to not stand up and leave. I want the information to write a story when all is said and done.

There are a few new ventures in the works. I signed up to be in the community theater here in Roundup. No driving 20 miles, so that's a plus. But the kicker - it's in the community center. The very one the school district wants to close to public use. Hmm. We'll see where this ends up. I hope we can still do the play there. The setting is not ideal. There is a stage, but the audience is in a gym. so acoustics are horrid.

I also went to a city council meeting the other night. On the agenda was an ordinance about parking vehicles on city streets. The newspaper publisher asked me to go and report back. Well, the ordinance was voted down. for various reasons.. So, no story. But, the council member that is on the county trash board - in charge of the dump - mentioned they needed a secretary/treasurer. The mayor pointed to me and said I'd be good for the job. Again, EGADS! So yesterday I submitted my application for that job. $15 an hour is not bad. Plus only 15 hours or so per month. I can commit to that. Some other task I have may have to go away, but for a job that earns me some $$. We'll see what happens.

I did have good news for my hand. I get to see a neurologist on Monday - a few weeks earlier than originally scheduled. They called and rescheduled for an earlier appointment. Finally. We'll see what this doctor has to say. I do know I'll have an EMG. Here's a definition:

Electromyography (EMG) measures muscle response or electrical activity in response to a nerve's stimulation of the muscle. The test is used to help detect neuromuscular abnormalities. During the test, one or more small needles (also called electrodes) are inserted through the skin into the muscle.

I've had this test before on my legs. Kind of strange, but it doesn't really hurt all that much. My opinion is that there is some nerve damage in my hand. But then, I'm no doctor. so we'll see.

Snow in April - Montana!!!


March 28, 2024 at 10:04am
March 28, 2024 at 10:04am
#1067078


I finished Wonderland - the Alice in Wonderland challenge that magically appears each March. You can catch up and read my adventures here:
 
BOOK
Wonderland - Version 2024  (E)
Wonderland 2024
#2313376 by QueenNormaJeanGreeneggs&vegham


Life is rolling along. Writing for the paper, got a push-back from the subject of one article. The publisher says don't worry, so I'll try not to. I haven't told my hubby yet, since he would get all defensive and tell me to quit this gig. Really? Like newspapers and the people they write about haven't had conflicts before.

My left hand is still giving me fits. Mercy me. I do have to say it's better than a few weeks ago, but still not healed 100 percent.

Now the eye doctor tells me my one eye is racing toward wet macular degeneration. Wonderful. We've been watching this for a few years, and I knew had the degeneration portion, but now, to realize it might be teetering over the edge to wet, well, bugger me. That is the condition where your eye starts leaking fluid or blood into the macula. The macula is part of the retina. If it gets bad, they inject medicine into your eye. And from what I see advertised, those are not cheap. But then, neither is your eyesight.

Wonderful. Just wonderful. I was upset with this news. The doctor may have noticed. He gave me a big hug. Nice.




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March 19, 2024 at 10:51pm
March 19, 2024 at 10:51pm
#1066595

For those that have read my other postings, I suffered a broken hand in December. December 8 to be exact. So here it is - March 19 and I still am suffering with this hand. I just went AGAIN to the ortho doctor yesterday. I think we decided on the problem.

Two broken bones in the hand. Two tiny bones - no big deal people think. But NO - seems that this whole fiasco is turning into quite the BIG DEAL. Alright, so the bones are healed. That's the good news. The cast has been off for weeks. But now:
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

The three clinical stages of type 1 complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS 1) are acute, subacute, and chronic. The acute form lasts approximately 3 months. Pain, often burning in nature, is one of the first symptoms that initially limits function. Swelling, redness with vasomotor instability that worsens with dependency, hyperhidrosis, and coolness to the touch are common physical findings. Demineralization of the underlying bony skeleton begins because of disuse.
If the process is not arrested or reversed in the acute phase, the condition may progress to the subacute stage, which can last for up to 9 months. The patient develops persistent severe pain in the extremity and fixed edema that would have been reversible with elevation during the acute phase. The redness of the acute stage gives way to cyanosis or pallor and hyperhidrosis to dry skin. Loss of function progresses, both because of increased pain and fibrosis of the joints caused by chronic inflammation. In the hand, this leads to flexion deformity of the fingers. The skin and subcutaneous tissues begin to atrophy. Demineralization of the underlying bony skeleton becomes pronounced.
If the process continues, the chronic phase may develop approximately 1 year after disease onset. This stage may last for many years or can be permanent. Pain is more variable during this period. It may continue undiminished or abate. Edema tends to subside over time, leaving fibrosis around the involved joints. The skin is is dry, pale, cool, and shiny. Flexion and extension creases are absent. Loss of function and stiffness are marked, and osteoporosis is extreme. In the upper extremity, this can manifest as a frozen shoulder and claw hand.
A thorough general history is strongly suggested. Maintaining a high index of suspicion is important because proper treatment requires rapid diagnosis and prompt therapy.
CRPS 1 commonly involves only one extremity. It is bilateral in approximately 25% of cases, but in those cases it is usually more prominent on one side.

Pain in CRPS 1 has the following characteristics:
Usually constant and disproportionate to the precipitant injury
May be exacerbated by ambient factors such as loud noises and emotional factors (eg, stress, light touch, active motion, passive motion)
May be described as burning, cutting, searing, pressure, or tearing
Usually begins locally but may progress to involve the entire extremity
Stiffness is more severe than expected and may be very distressing to the patient.

Yep - all the above. I am in the acute phase. My left hand is virtually useless. I can type a bit with it, but that is about all.

One thing I've learned - be your own best advocate for health care in the US. If I had not complained, and often, I would still be at the claw stage. At least now I can move my fingers. I did not want to be handicapped if I could in any way prevent it from happening. So I am doing physical therapy, see my orthopedic doctor, and going to see a neurologist in April.

I will not go down without a fight.

February 27, 2024 at 10:13pm
February 27, 2024 at 10:13pm
#1065046


I've discovered quite a wonderful little perk. Amazon prime video Free videos - yep - free. Right now I'm into MGM classic movies. Clark Gable in 'Mutiny on the Bounty". Ah, Gable's dimples. Sigh. But then Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh. Ugh.

Anyway, this 1935 film is a grand spectacle. The H.M.S. Bounty is sailing to Tahiti by way of Cape Horn. What a trip that must have been. And all the sailors dressed in their sailing finery with those three cornered hats. Amusing.

Of course every now and then there are commercials, but that's okay. Free works for me.
February 23, 2024 at 11:00am
February 23, 2024 at 11:00am
#1064738

So far I've had four articles published in the local paper. It's a start. I am working on another for an event this Saturday.

I also thought of writing one for Leap Year, since the paper is out once a week, and this next week it comes out around February 29th.

Perhaps I could bring in some history, some culture, some tidbits people aren't aware of. Such as, the calendar we use and why. Maybe touch on the different calendars tossed about throughout the ages.

The French tried a 10 day calendar for some years. Here's the skinny from Wikipedia:
The French Republican calendar (French: calendrier républicain français), also commonly called the French Revolutionary calendar (calendrier révolutionnaire français), was a calendar created and implemented during the French Revolution, and used by the French government for about 12 years from late 1793 to 1805, and for 18 days by the Paris Commune in 1871, and meant to replace the Gregorian calendar.[1]
The revolutionary system was designed in part to remove all religious and royalist influences from the calendar, and it was part of a larger attempt at decimalisation in France (which also included decimal time of day, decimalisation of currency, and metrication). It was used in government records in France and other areas under French rule, including Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Malta, and Italy.

Since we aren't on that system here in the US, or elsewhere, we follow the Gregorian calendar of 7 days.

I found this about Leap Year:
The rule for leap years is:
Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100, but these centurial years are leap years if they are exactly divisible by 400. For example, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 are not leap years, but the year 2000 is.
— United States Naval Observatory[2]

Leap year has to do with the sun and its movements. If you are geeky, check this out
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year#/media/File:Gregoriancalendarleap_solsti...
February 13, 2024 at 11:33am
February 13, 2024 at 11:33am
#1064121


Happy Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday - King Cake - parades - all that rigamarole...

When hubby and I were doing our full-time RV gig, we spent some time managing a campground in New Orleans. As a result, we also got to go to a Mardi Gras parade. And this one was not that big deal you hear about. It was more a family affair. If I remember right, it was on St. Charles Avenue. I still have some memorabilia from that.

Groups, called 'krewes' get together, create the most wonderful, or sometimes, crude, floats. Quite the deal.

King Cake - brightly colored cake - traditionally with a plastic baby baked inside. Find the baby - good luck.

So all this frivolity is to get all your drinking and gluttonous eating done before Lent - which starts tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. Lent is the Christian time of penitence and fasting to remember Christ's crucifixion before the Christian holiday of Easter.

The day after Mardi Gras we drove all the way down as far south as we could to the end of pavement. Ground an inch or two above the gulf then the ocean.. A number of small towns along the way, each one poorer than the next.

Good memories...
February 8, 2024 at 9:17pm
February 8, 2024 at 9:17pm
#1063794


I don't want to be a whiner, but mercy sakes. This hand is NOT getting much better. But I do have an appointment with my old friend the neurologist next week. Dr. Echeverri and I have been seeing each other since 2013 or so. He's been with me after two brain surgeries.

My primary doctor sent a referral to the neurologist group for someone to see my hand. So they called and I see him next week. After we did our 'Meals on Wheels' yesterday, this hand gave me the worst pains. I used it too much, I guess. Today I had a physical therapy appointment and we talked. The therapist did another treatment, a wrapping with kinesiology tape, and gave me a different exercise to do. I'm also taking a nerve drug, gabapentin. I've been on that before. Nothing really seems to help.

Let me see if I can tell you what is happening here. On my left hand, on the outside where my hand meets the wrist, right on that edge where a little bone sticks out is where the pain is. So my entire hand is still swollen a bit. I can barely extend my last two fingers. At times this hand feels cold, or I feel shooting pains from elbow to fingertips. Huh. Rubbing it seems to help, for a little while. Working on the exercises the PT gives me such pain, but I try. I really am over this.

So, just a two broken bones. Right. Like I said to someone, "It was like the devil picked me up and threw me down." And I heard the sound of glass breaking. Those were those bones.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving away $18 thousand to charities in town. The fundraiser I'm chairperson for gathered and I passed out checks. Now I have to go back and get that checkbook in order.

I also have had two stories published in the local paper. And more in the works! Hurrah!

Now let's get this stupid hand fixed, folks. I'm over this. And the car, let's get that done too.
January 30, 2024 at 11:40am
January 30, 2024 at 11:40am
#1063182


Things are still not good for the ole left paw. Pain, stiffness, mercy me. I am now doing physical therapy with it. I told the therapist yesterday I am considering chopping it off. But she was sympathetic, perhaps a bit horrified, and talked me back off that cliff. But when pain is never-ending, and there is no hope on the horizon, you do envision wacky solutions.

Of course I would never consider taking a knife or ax or machete or chain saw or whatever to my arm or hand. Would you? The end result would be even more pain and a bigger problem than now exists.

So we are doing multiple modalities. A TENS unit - electrical stimulation. Desensitizing the hand and arm - stimulation with different textures. Because what I perceive is most likely my nerves all jumbled up and firing willy-nilly. We have to retrain these nerves or they will always have this overactive response. Hmm. I am also going to make an appointment to see my old friend, Dr. Echeverri, the neurologist. He saw me through two brain surgeries. Perhaps he can help with this minor hiccup.

Roundup has been relatively calm, except for a few weeks ago. I found out there was a random shooting just a few blocks away one night. Some yahoo fired some shots at a house or truck, no one's talking, at night. I never heard this happen. Then someone at church mentioned it. So I wandered down to the Sheriff's office to a buddy I have there. She gave me some info. But, of course, she couldn't tell me much, other than they're investigating.

The ugly messy house behind us is getting cleaned up. The people in there were evicted. There have been trailer loads of trash taken out. Appliances sit outside. Furniture sits outside. No trespassing signs all around. Mercy. I pray any new tenants are not as messy.

It's been quite a bit warmer. Temps now in the 40's and 50's. From those lows in the -40's. What a swing! But at least all the snow has melted. Makes walking much easier, since we still don't have a car of our own. And what a drag that is....
January 22, 2024 at 2:17pm
January 22, 2024 at 2:17pm
#1062809


So the interview for the town paper went well. I will now write columns about life in Roundup - as a freelancer. This works for me. I can write on my schedule and about what I feel is important to the community. Plus it puts a bit of money in the pocket.

My first story will start tonight. A community meeting with the mayor about plans going forward. Should be boring informative, I need to get photos, since I get paid extra for them.

Then tomorrow I have a meeting for the church newspaper. This is an ambitious project, and not one I'm sure the facilitator can pull off. But we'll see what transpires. This gig pays nothing but good news for the people of my church family all over Montana. And that's fine, I still can write and be creative.

2 papers - 2 different directions.


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