Sunday, February 27, 2011

Very good news. My hands are much better, to the point where I almost feel no pain. Rob thinks it is the allopurinol working on the Uric acid level, but for whatever reason, I am in much better shape physically and mentally. I played golf yesterday with my wrist braces, and I expected my hands to be hurting this morning, but they were not. Even yesterday evening, I didn’t have to take any Tylenol to sleep. I just hope that things continue to get better. If so I may even go take a look at again.
I got the batteries fully charged and somewhat equalized so that is a relief. I shouldn’t have to do anything until late April now.
Cameron is coming out to caulk the upper part of the house and to clean the gutters on Tuesday. With that done I only have a few small things to take care of. I have been cleaning out a bag of garbage here and there and I will continue that this week.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A long week of teaching but I am finished for now.
I think the extra walk with Rob and perhaps the Monday golf have really injured my knee. I have rested it for three days and it is still bothering me. I hope it will heal back up as it often does.
I can’t shake the cough I have and I think it may have to do with one of the meds so I am going to ask Rob about it soon. It isn’t too bad but it is quickly getting old. My hands are about the same so that is reasonable.
My finances are stable but I am not sure if I should go down to Charlotte for a few days during spring break. Spring will be further along but I am trying to spend less, particularly since I signed up for the Kripalu seminar (5 days). I guess weather will help determine things. If it going to be awful up here, Charlotte or Columbia will seem more attractive.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My hands were okay from my golf outing and I spent some time on Saturday working on various projects. I planted some spinach and sugar snap peas, fertilized them and the strawberries (which are starting to turn bright green). I also fixed the broken pole in the orchard, though it was tough on my hands, though I realized at the end that I would have to go back tomorrow to fix the charger which has started to slip down the pole.
Today I went back out to the orchard and fixed the charger, finishing replacing the screen in the barn window, and fertilized all the fruit trees. I also treated the gas for the generator and yesterday the solar panels put out 5.5 kilowatts, almost a record. I hope that by changing the settings I have helped in allowing more energy to enter the batteries.
I did all my practicing (hopefully, I will play better on Friday) and some grading and reading. The Ambassadors is an incredibly dense book and I have to read it very slowly. The Mill on the Floss is a much easier read.
Rob and I had a nice hike and I helped Noah with the new drill gun and tool kit I bought him. He does seem interested and I am glad to explain things to him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Everything at the house is in good shape and this morning I decided to head off and play golf. I haven’t played since late December when my arms and hands hurt so much that night that I couldn’t sleep. I had to play at Castle Rock because the other courses were crowded because of the good weather. I decided to hit from the 150 mark on the 10th hole, and with my wrist braces on over my thin winter golf gloves, I was able to hit okay. A solid hit with the hybrid went 100 yards and I hit a few good wedges. After I was done my hands hurt some but not too much and I thought I would be able to perform later.
I went home, napped, did some chores and then went into Blacksburg to play. I made a number of minor mistakes early on, but overall the performance was adequate and we got a lot of applause. I will not play golf on a performance day again, but it was a lot of fun to play.
Tomorrow or Sunday I am hoping to go fishing and that will be a nice return to something that my hands might prevent. Let’s see how tonight is and if I sleep okay.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kelly read the poem I sent her and she wants me to work on it. She also sent me a picture of her and Liam that Alfredo took and it was too powerful for words. I can’t imagine what she went through, and what she still suffers.
My classes are done for the week and I think things are still going well. My all female poetry class is working very well and the conferences have been very productive. I spoke with Rosemary and explained my treatment plan (to work to lower the Uric acid level and see if it affects things) and she said I could wait until late summer to decide on course load. I should have a pretty good idea of how I’ll be by then.
I practiced this morning, rode the bike, and took a hike up to the orchard.
This evening I took a long walk with Rob and I may see him tomorrow after my performance. He is going dancing and I hope that turns out well.
The plugged in refrigerator is going well, and I changed the setting for the Outback. It should allow the panels to charge the batteries for a longer period.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rob clarified the situation with my hands a little. While the first lupus test and the second, more refined test were positive, he is not 100% sure I have lupus, although I definitely have an auto-immune disease. He is going to call the specialist in Richmond tomorrow and if he can’t get him he is going to call the one recommended at Duke. I really want to know what is going on but I probably won’t know for several weeks.
I practiced, did yoga and weights, got the tractor out to even out the ruts in the dirt road, and then took a hike down to the pasture, stopping at my favorite white pine to thank it for another hike and to ask it for help so I can stay for several years in the hollow.
I then went into town and helped Noah move some furniture around in his room—which he really appreciated—and then took a long hike with Rob.
I got Kelly’s letter last night and I was amazed by it, and by the strength and courage she had through her terrible experience.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The big news is that the second, more extensive Lupus test was positive so that is what I have. Not good news, but according to Rob, in some cases it is fairly easy to treat. He is going to get me an appointment with a good rheumatologist as soon as he can. He knows of a good one in Richmond and I wouldn’t mind going back to Duke. I just have to wait and see. I am on one 5mg prednisone a day and that—along with some Tylenol—is keeping me going for now.
I alerted my chair and she has been very understanding. I told her I want to keep teaching for now and it will be hard to predict if and when I will have to make changes.
The good news is that I dropped off the stuff for the easement at Stellar One and Sandra, the chief loan officer, thought the application and summary looked fine. I also mailed the application to John Eustis and the New River Land Trust to get that going. The equity line is approved and I should have access to the money on Monday. That is when I told my ex she can cash the 8000 check.
A lot of sun in the hollow so I am keeping the batteries up, and the propane is about 43% in the main tank so I should have no problem until April, at the earliest.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I took the prednisone this morning at 6 and Rob thought I should take a second one at 10. I am at Mill Mountain and it’s a little past 7 and they should start kicking in.
My septic system backed up this morning and after talking with David King (who had installed the system and serviced it last summer) I got to work. I called Mike to help out but I was able to do it myself. The big problem was getting the concrete cover off the first collection tank. It was much too heavy for me to lift but I got the tractor out, attached a chain to the cover and lifted it up. The filter inside was, as David suggested, very dirty, so I cleaned it out with a hose and a screwdriver and in a half hour it was back in. I lowered the cover and the job was done.
After practicing and grading poems and journals, I headed out to Rob’s to take a walk and when I got there Rob and I installed a dimmer switch with Rob doing most of the work since my hands were hurting. We then took a nice walk and after I picked up some antibiotics for my chest cold, I met Rob and his friend Rick for dinner at Gillies, where I had played last night (Yesterday for the first time).
I think Stellar One is going to work with me on the conservation easement, but it is going to take some time and may cost me some upfront money. I would like to get the equity line going immediately but I am not sure that I can. My money will be tight for a bit, but my income tax refunds should get me through to May when the 403B comes due.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The pain in my hands has returned to a very high level, even with going to Jeff and Dr. Cooley. The new diagnosis of gout is being questioned by the doctors since the medicines are not working. Rob thinks it might be an auto immune disease and that could be serious. I alerted my chair and my students but I really want to keep teaching and I hope things don’t get worse. I practiced this morning (my fingertips are still okay) and I am planning to play tonight at Gillie’s although my heart isn’t in it. The past week had been very difficult and I am pretty worn out. I have started the conservation easement process but I still have to get an approval from Stella One and I hope that will come soon or I may have to go to a different bank. Some of my friends are having problems and I have been able to talk with them and give them some support.