Friday, July 10, 2020

Recovery

The past 3 weeks have been a challenge, to say the least. I had my knee replacement surgery, which has turned out to be a harder recovery than I anticipated. I've only had one other surgery before, to remove my thyroid, and I was attending a wedding two days after that. I didn't plan to be down and out much longer with this surgery. Wrong.

The surgery itself went well. It was outpatient. Started at 7:30 and I was home in my bed at 3. Home health came less than 24 hours later to torture me by bending and straightening my leg. On day 3, I started feeling really lousy. All the drugs they had me on did a number on me. For nearly a week, I wasn't able to keep anything down and pretty much slept around the clock. By the time I came to, I was behind on my therapy and PT was out to get me.

It took a solid two and a half weeks to start to head in the right direction. I was released to outpatient PT this week and the torturer there is not pleased with my lack of range of motion. I'm walking on my own without a cane or walker, so I think I'm doing pretty darned good. These people need to remember it takes a 56-year-old a little longer to recover than their 20-something year old selves.

The days leading up to surgery were tough. I had to have a required COVID test a week before and then I was to quarantine until surgery. But Mom called that weekend saying that Dad was being taken to the hospital by ambulance with chest pains. For the first time ever, I heard her voice shaking as she told me so I knew I had to get over there. She said later that she thought that was it. She had never seen him like that. So I broke quarantine to drive her to the hospital and later to pick her up as she was not allowed to stay once he was admitted. The final diagnosis was his gallbladder, which is apparently in bad shape. But given his age and medical history, the decision was to do nothing. There will probably be another attack in the future, but at least they will know what it is and will likely be able to skip the hospital.

Amid all this, DS's service dog went in for a checkup and we were told she had an aggressive bleeding tumor in her abdomen. The vet wasn't sure she would survive the weekend. She went downhill very, very fast. We spent the weekend making her comfortable and loving on her and took her back to the vet on Monday to be put down. It was such a quick goodbye amid so many other events that it almost didn't seem real. I am thankful she didn't suffer long, but the house is very empty without her. We've always had a dog, but she will be our last. It's been an adjustment.

On the financial front, I'm still chipping away at the student loan. We've been using the money from my former job to finally take care of some much needed home improvement projects. The two largest jobs are that we had the nearly 50-year-old windows replaced and we are having the exterior painted and some of the rotted wood replaced. We've always done the painting ourselves, but we decided to have a professional tackle it this time and hopefully it will last longer. I love the windows and I am sure we will see a difference in our heating/cooling bills. I could immediately tell a difference in how much noise was blocked from outside. The upside of the pandemic, I guess, is that our day-to-day spending is down since two of us are staying home all the time and the other is working all the time.

The billed amount for my surgery has topped out at more than $90k. Our insurance covers the negotiated amount in full. I am so very thankful for amazing insurance - one of the main reasons DH took this job all those years ago.

Happy Weekend, all!

Sarah
 

Friday, June 5, 2020

Winning

Student Loan (C) actually has two loans wrapped into it. So, although you can't see by the numbers, last week I paid off one of those loans! My goal has been to get rid of both of them while they are sitting at 0% interest during the pandemic. I will finish paying off the other half this summer and then I can note it on my debt chart. Yippee!!

Sarah
 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

This and that

I have lost all track of time. I can't keep up with what day it is - it's all I can do to remember the month. I have tried to keep busy while staying home. I forgot how much I hate the louver doors in my 1971 house until I decided to clean them. Yuck!

DS had to go to have labs drawn at the hospital today. It was eerie. No patients. Skeleton staff. No one was touching anything. They took our temps in the parking lot and made sure we had masks.

That's quite the difference from the regular world. We are in Phase 1 and some of the restrictions have been loosened. But you would think the gates have been opened and all is good. People not wearing masks and not social distancing. As for me and mine, we are staying put.

I've been throwing money at the student loans while we are sitting at zero interest. Hoping to make a big dent by the time the government forbearance is over. We were supposed to attend a medical conference in June and that has been canceled, so the money we had set aside for the trip is going to debt and to some home improvements that have been sorely neglected. We chose to use the bulk of our stimulus checks for 2 new mattresses. I am not exaggerating when I say we have been sleeping on a 25-year-old mattress. My shoulder had been hurting for months and two weeks of sleeping on the new mattress and no more pain. So in my mind, it was money well spent and long overdue.

Grocery prices are definitely up. I think it's the lack of sales that are causing the biggest difference. I'm used to meal planning by what's on sale - but nothing is on sale! But with the drastic cut in our gas consumption and what we do need costing $1.39 a gallon, it probably makes up for the groceries. I don't think we are eating more than usual at home - DS and I eat the majority of our meals at home anyway. And DH packs a sandwich for lunch and eats the other two meals at home. All in all, we are weathering the pandemic well financially. I am well aware of how fortunate we are.

Mother's Day brought a big surprise. Our daughter and son-in-law brought the grandchildren to visit and let us hold our month-old grandson for the first time. Oh my heart! There is nothing like newborn snuggles!

I am still scheduled for a knee replacement next month. I got the financial statement the other day from the doctor's office and my estimated portion is $0. As in nothing. Good insurance is a blessing and I don't take it for granted.

I hope everyone is holding up during these crazy times. I think back a few months and just can't wrap my mind around where we are now.

Sarah
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Welcome to the world, sweet boy!

I hope everyone had a nice Easter during these strange times. We watched our church service online and then Zoomed with our life group. I'm thankful for the technology, but it just isn't the same.

Our middle son turned 29 on Saturday, so we had a family Zoom celebration. I had sent a couple gifts and he opened them during our "meet up" so we would feel like we were there.

The highlight of our weekend was having our granddaughter with us for three days while our daughter gave birth to our grandson. Having a little one around brought some life back to the house. We had some plastic eggs and taught her how to have an egg hunt. Let me tell you, we created a monster! She wanted to hide/find eggs over and over again! It was a beautiful weekend and we were glad we were able to keep her outside as she lives in a small apartment and hasn't been getting enough fresh air.

Our grandson is perfect and beautiful. We were able to see him through the window when we took our granddaughter back to her parents on Easter night. Let me tell you, I wanted to break that glass to get to that little boy. It was pure torture being able to see those tiny fingers and toes and not being able to snuggle him. Who knows how long it will be before I will get to hold him. I hate missing this newborn stage - it's my favorite. And we won't be seeing our girl in person again until this is over either. This virus is tough on grandparents.

Otherwise, we are doing fine. DH is working long hours. DS is working from home. I'm staying busy piddling around the house and making sure my parents are OK. I only go out to go to the grocery store once a week to keep everybody stocked. I go with a mask, wipes, a list, and a purpose. In and out as quickly as possible. I have a delivery of fresh vegetables and fruit from a local farmer coming today. He has a stand at the farmer's market, but isn't getting much business, so he's started offering free deliveries. I'm leaving him cash at the door to save him on card fees.

Gas is $1.39 here, but I haven't needed it for a month so it doesn't really matter. Keeps the costs down for DH, though, as he's still driving 60 miles round trip to work. Wonder how long these prices will last? My water bill is going to be through the roof - I'm doing three times the laundry and running the dishwasher daily. I guess that makes the financial gains/losses a wash :)

I hope everyone is doing well. Stay safe!!

Sarah
 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hoping the break from added interest pays off

We're in Week 3 of this whole new world. How is everyone doing? I know we are better off than many. We have a nice home, things to distract ourselves with, and plenty to eat. We are even able to "do church" from our laptop. I am so glad that DS works from home and has been able to hold on to his job for now. It allows him to hold to a regular schedule and not obsess about what's out there and what it could do to him.

My husband the UPS driver is on vacation this week. It's not what he had planned, but we are relieved that he gets a week's reprieve from being potentially exposed. He's been working in the yard and catching up on his reading.

Even though I've lost my job, DH still has his and has even seen a bit of a bump with all of the extra deliveries the pandemic has produced. We are able to pay our bills.

All interest on the student loans has dropped to zero for a few months, so we hope to come out of this having made a big dent in them. It is staggering how much faster a balance goes down without that blasted interest! I am so ready to be done with those loans.

It's tempting to skip payments on credit cards and loans when companies are offering them during this time, but we are going to keep on keeping on as long as we can.

Gas is sitting at $1.49 right now. Not that it matters much, since we aren't going anywhere.

My biggest challenge has been deciding how to spend each day. Without my job and without my granddaughter here every day, it has thrown me for a loop. Plus, I don't want to do so much that I won't have anything left to do when we are still here in a few weeks!

I've cleaned out a couple closets and a filing cabinet. I've started making a list of things I could get done. It's crazy how overwhelming it can be when faced with unlimited time.

Our granddaughter will be dropped off next week for a few days while our daughter is in the hospital delivering our grandson. We won't be able to see him for awhile, but we are excited about finally getting to hug our girl again.

We're all in this together!

Sarah

P.S. I just updated my debt tally and we've dropped below $30,000!
 

Monday, March 23, 2020

It's a whole new world

Has it only been a little over a week since the world turned upside down? Seems like months.

I lost my job today. In only a week's time, the company has suffered such devastating financial losses that today was much like a blood bath. A company that expected to double in size this year has just cut half its employees. I am more fortunate than many, in that our family did not depend on my income for survival.

I made a grocery run for my parents this morning. It was eerie. No one was talking. Most were wearing masks. One woman even apologized for stopping behind me in an aisle. The shelves are still empty here. And not just of toilet paper. Everything is picked over. They say our supply chain is fine and everything is being restocked, but I sure don't see it. I was able to get most everything my folks' wanted - well, I told Dad he would be having Cheerios instead of the cereal he requested because that's what was there - but it took stops at 3 stores to find eggs.

We have plenty. They have plenty. We are fine. We got takeout this weekend to try to help out a couple of the local places (restaurants here can only do takeout/delivery - no dining in).

I was doing OK until I got a message from the hospital saying that if DS were admitted for any reason, we would have to drop him at the door. No one would be allowed inside with him. My mind played all kinds of scenarios at that, beginning with envisioning him lying in bed, unable to turn, pick up a phone, or even press a nurse call button.

So we have upped the at-home protocol to keep DS safe. My husband the UPS driver no longer touches him - or me. At all. Which means the caregiving is now left to me 100%. At least there is plenty of time for naps these days after being up and down during the night :) In between, I am cleaning like a madwoman. On the plus side, DS doesn't touch any surfaces in the house. He's in his wheelchair when awake and uses his wheelchair tray. Theoretically, it should be easier to keep him safe. But this virus seems to have a mind of its own.

I am exceptionally thankful for technology and blessed that we could listen to our pastor preach yesterday from the safety of our home.

Today is cold and dreary. I'm hoping for sunnier days ahead. For all of us.

Sarah
 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Hunkering down

COVID-19 is the topic of the day, week, month ....

The first case in our state was in our town and was announced the day after I voted in the primaries at a polling place where the infected person had visited. We now have quite a few cases nearby. 

I am not worried about myself. I'm young enough (ahem!) and healthy enough that my odds of recovering are high. But my son and my father are both high-risk. My mom, too, because of her age, but she is in very good health. 

My son and I had tickets to see Les Miserables on stage Thursday night. At about 4 p.m., he decided not to go. (The theater credited our account without question.) He is well aware of the risks if he contracts a respiratory illness. There would not be a question that he would have to be treated at the hospital - probably in the ICU. And he knows it could kill him. He's not playing.

So he is self-quarantining. He knows it could be a long haul.

I know the shutdowns are bound to hurt many people financially and that not everyone will be able to work remotely. My husband is one of them. He is a UPS driver and his hours will likely increase with more people staying in and ordering necessities online. While that means we don't anticipate losing income, it also means he is at high risk for exposure. He is doing what he can - he showers as soon as he gets home and we immediately put his browns in the wash. Again, we are more worried about exposing our son than ourselves.

I have stayed away from the buying frenzy, but I needed Advil and Advil Migraine - both essential for the men in my house. So I braved a stop at Walmart yesterday. I had seen the images on the news, but I was stunned. Empty shelves everywhere. Even the Advil aisle was nearly wiped clean. I bought two of the last bottles. And what is it with the toilet paper??

So we will keep on keeping on. My daughter is a public school teacher and 8+ months pregnant, so I have her to worry about as well. Our schools are not closed - yet. My parents are staying in and I will deliver anything they need. 

I did make the mistake of looking at our 401k balance and was nearly sick to my stomach. I imagine I'm not the only one. 

We will get through this. Stay safe, everyone.

Sarah