Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Times, they are a changin'!

I have been gone from posting for so long, I forgot I had a blog. Our daughter graduated in May, the baby of the family is all grown up and Robert and I are really enjoying our "empty nest syndrome". Lindsay still comes home to get laundry caught up because she realized how expensive $2.50/load is not including detergent, softener, and dryer sheets! It's great when they realize how good being home really is. Robert and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary on 9/10 and had a quiet dinner at home. LOVED IT!

We sold every goat we had from 2009 and 2010 and began anew. I was blessed enough to get a yearling milker, both of her girls, and a buck from my dream Kastdemur line. All are beautiful and we are so looking forward to kidding season next year. Eli, the new buck was dam raised, and just learning that we are bringing food, or Nilla Wafers every time we show up so is starting to warm up but he reinforced my belief that the best goats are bottle raised! Javar will be missed with his wonderful personality and his antics but he bred everything we owned and I was tempted to get one of his doelings. Already had him sold when I was lucky enough to get Eli, Electra, Ella and Emma! Sweet Pea is still with us and the only reason my daughter continues to help me with our little herd of dairy goats.
We got a Angus heifer for payment for two goats and she's going to be hard to take to the meat locker. I say that now, but she will surely change my mind when she is a yearling. Dot is adorable even if she was an "opps" and born on the Fourth of July. Still a bucket baby but growing so fast! I think the weaning from the bucket will start next week so that should be interesting. The bottle feeding did not last long as Dot would about knock the bottle our of our hands and so we graduated her to the bucket. She loves that so much more and we can get the grain in her dish before she finishes.....sometimes!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Busy, busy, busy, busy!

Last night, after I got back from a week of orientation and competency testing, I went down to see the goats and feed. I was at 151 days since the buck had been put in with my does so knew we were close to birth day. I thought my 4 year old, Natasha, would go first but when Lyrical bagged up Wednesday, I changed my mind. She was miserable and when I went down to check on her at 5 a.m. yesterday, I had a heart-to-heart with her asking her to hold out until I got home at 4:30. I had my daughter check on her at lunch time and right at 3. She was stressed because we haven't had Lyrical through a kidding and really wanted me to be home. When I got home we went down at 5:30 and Lyrical was nesting but I told Lindsay we could be a long time out until babies arrive. At 6:30, Lyrical laid down pushed three times and out popped our first little girl. She, as all baby goats are, is adorable and healthy! Her name was already picked out and thus, she is Harmony.
That was easy and then let the waiting begin!! About 9 p.m., our little buck arrived. He is the spitting image of his daddy so we are lovingly calling him Javar Jr., "JJ" for short. Twins! Pretty good for a buck who just turned one today! I was waiting for placenta to arrive when I saw Lyrical lay down and pushed out another doe! TRIPLETS! As I was drying off this beautiful kid, Melody, Lyrical pushed again and here was another buckling! Quads? Out of a very young buck and they are everything we hoped for. The last little buckling is called Riff for now. Tried to stick with musical names but JJ was undeniable! All four babies will be sold as soon as they are ready, but as my daughter already emphasized, they are available only to those who consider their goats as beloved pets, not livestock!! :)

Footnote: It is midnight on 4/10 and we just returned after Natasha gave birth to twin girls. They are big, black, and beautiful! Pictures to follow soon! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ice Cream Weather!

I cannot believe I have become this complacent in blogging. I truly enjoy it and it relaxes me but didn't understand how months have passed since I wrote anything except for a grocery list for my daughter! I thought I would have so much more time now that I am once again a stay-at-home Mom. You know the saying about the best laid plans, but I do have a daughter who is a Senior with the countdown to graduation closing in quickly so many things have truly been accomplished!
So my husband bought me a Cuisinart coffee maker at Christmas and we LOVE it. I was going to get a Bunn because I loved to envision a 3 minute brew time when my coffee jitters set in, but couldn't get past the fact all the Bunn's carafes were what I would use as a gargle of coffee before the real coffee drinking began! This Cuisinart's coffee pot holds a maximum of 14 cups which equates to two cups for me, two for Robert and a swig of coffee for our daughter, Lindsay. I love the fact that you can either use the cone-shaped filters or a fine mesh filter that came with the coffee pot! I'm saving Robert money as we drink coffee by not having to buy filters. Okay, I know coffee is an expensive habit, but I quit smoking over a year ago, so one step at a time.

One thing I have not taken a break from is reading blogs. I know I can count on Holly at Easy Living the Hard Way for continuous education and the desire to see if she can bottle her remarkable drive. http://easylivingthehardway.blogspot.com/ If you are not already a follower, you should be. Her blogs are entertaining and I always learn something in each blog of hers I read.

I feel as though I have worked out both mentally and physically after reading her blog. Haven't seen the weight loss or inches lost from reading the blog though! I stopped by her blog a short time ago and saw pictures and recipes for homemade ice cream. So, because of Holly's excitement about a new Cuisinart ice cream maker, I am really doubt I will be seeing the opposite of weight loss. I have made a vow that when the goats start milking next month, I will use more healthy variations. Needless to say, after a heartbreaking discovery that the cream separator I had been wanting had increased in price by fifty dollars, I decided to drown my sorrows by ordering the Cuisinart ice cream machine. It is truly lovely.

The first recipe I used was one from allrecipes.com for a cake batter ice cream and it was delish. Lindsay said it was like having ice cream and cake in one bite. I love the difference in texture between homemade and store-bought, of course, flavor isn't bad either. In Holly's post about ice cream, she talked about the high ice cream sales in winter which made me wonder why the cold makes people desire ice cream headaches. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, maybe it was something I missed in Psychology class, but when it snowed the other day, the ice cream was in the Cuisinart.
The second recipe was of course, my favorite, mint chocolate chip. I used mint extract and when I tweak this recipe, next time I will use peppermint. When it was in the soft-serve state I added the chocolate chips and spooned it into those silicon cake pans to hard freeze so I could clean the ice cream bowl in preparation of the next flavor. Robert and Lindsay both have a number of suggestions so that is under control, but I really want one that uses Kahlua. I rarely drink any alcohol but that is a liquour that is fabulous and is a comp0nent in Mudslides. I never worried about drinking a mudslides because I would be so full and bloated way before I could feel any effects of the alcohol. Still, thinking it might be enjoyable to drown my separator sorrows, I found myself tempted to pour some in with the mint chocolate chip ice cream, but refrained.

*The author of this blog did not receive any compensation for the product endorsements in this blog. HINT, HINT!

Friday, January 1, 2010

I'm Too Young For a Mid-life Crisis!

I have not blogged in so long because I like to have positive blog posts and have felt as far from positive in so long. I believe my attitude follows my thoughts, so here goes concentrating on my many blessings. I turned 40 on the 4th of this month. Birthdays are something that has never bothered me, well, until the 4th. I found myself crying that morning because not only did I see myself at forty years of age, I never saw myself still living in Wright, Wyoming twenty-two years after I declared to all my classmates, "I AM LEAVING THIS HORRIBLE TOWN AS SOON AS I GRADUATE!" I guess the things you fight are what come your way. My daughter will be graduating from the same high school that I graduated from in May of this year. She is graduating, so put that in the blessings column.

There has been a huge shake-up at my job. One nurse quit, the clinic fired a nurse practioner and a CNA and this was all while I was home. I received numerous phone calls and was not sure if I would have a job when I returned the next Monday, so spent the weekend thinking about the pros and cons of having that job. I decided I would leave it in the Lord's hands. Thankfully, I do have my job, so chalk up another one in the blessings column.

I think I have blogged about my distrust/dislike about neurologists, and once again, things you fight........When I had a MRI done of my spinal column and brain at the end of last year, I was referred to a neurosurgeon due to spinal cord impingement, but with a MS lesion at the same spot, the surgeon left the option of surgery up to me. I asked what the risks were and decided to wait until the pain was unbearable or the disc ruptured. Dr. Kopitnik wanted me to go see another neurologist and although I protested, he convinced me to see Dr. Santiago again. The appointment was scheduled for the 22nd of this month. I was in quite a bit of pain but knew I could hold out until then to see the neurologist. Yesterday, I received a phone call from Dr. Santiago's receptionist stating someone had canceled and would I like to take that appointment. I asked when it was and it happened to be for yesterday. I took the appointment and took my MRI results to that appointment. The marks in the blessings column only began yesterday with the appointment change. I am somewhat a skeptic but truly am trying to change that character flaw about myself. With that being said, my optimistic attitude surprised even me when we started to town. I had decided I would give this neurologist another chance. The appointment lasted nearly an hour and forty-five minutes. He listened to everything I said, even the bitter-ridden comments about neurologists. When I finally stopped my run-down of the last ten years of medical experiences he just asked if he had gotten this right, I had fired at least six neurologists in the last ten years since my first symptoms set in and I answered that he was correct. His next statement perplexed me and relieved my mind. He just matter of factly asked what he needed to do for me so he was not fired by me. I contemplated this question for a moment and answered that I just wanted him to listen to me. He felt that was quite a minimal requirement on his part, we shall see. Blessing column for the time being.

This blog has taken me nearly one month to post. I have to refocus on positive attitude before finishing sometimes but last week found me feeling that I was being led towards a place in my life that is better for me and my family. I have felt so much pressure and stress as the nursing supervisor that I feel as though I am heading for another exacerbation, not that I fully recovered from the relapse back in November. Last week I sat down with the clinic supervisor and told her my frustrations with the direction our Urgent Care is going and all the stress from the job. By the time I finished, the only thing left to say was I will be resigning my position. Instantly peace settled in my heart, blessing column, and I am looking forward to being home and at the barn. I need some Caprine Therapy! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Multiple Sclerosis Sucks!

It has been quite awhile since my last post, but once again, Multiple Sclerosis came up when my life was going great and kicked my butt. My nursing job was offered back to me in June after I left a year ago because of this disease. I love nursing so much but it is a very physical job. My co-workers quickly picked up on my left leg drag when I get tired and accommodate me in so many ways. Fortunately, this Urgent Care is very compassionate, understanding, and willing to work with me when MS rears its ugly head.
A little background might be helpful to understand how this all began. In 1999, I began EMT classes and had visions of becoming a Paramedic. I love emergency medicine and will admit, adrenaline rushes are addicting! During the course of my classes, it was required that I get a TB skin test and begin the set of three Hepatitis B vaccines. After the first Hep B shot, I got pretty sick and thought I had a bout of flu. The second shot brought me to my knees, literally. I didn't walk for nearly a month. I talked to my doctor, the CDC, and researched Hepatitis B vaccine and side effects. CDC's response was that there was no proof that Hep B caused any health issues. The Doctor told me I was depressed and put me on an antidepressant. My life continued on, as did my career as an EMT. A year later, the leg weakness began again. I went back to the doctor and he sent me on to the first of several neurologists. Did I mention I despise Neurologists? This neurologist heard my symptoms and that these began after my Hep B vaccine. He told me that I should try another antidepressant because the one I was on was obviously not working anymore. Once again, I followed the doctor's orders and began the new antidepressant. To make a long story short, this pattern continued through four neurologists over a five year period and the primary doctor sent me to a rheumatologist in this span of time, too. The bills from the neurologists obviously were not sufficient! By this time, I truly was depressed and so tired of hearing there was nothing wrong with me, yet no testing was done to determine this.
During the summer of 2004, I spent the entire night on the ambulance for two separate calls for motor vehicle accidents. When we pulled into town after the second accident, I thought the exhaustion and nausea could be accredited to the physical work involved with both calls and the growling of my stomach. I went home and went straight to bed. This was the beginning of six full weeks of vertigo, loss of balance, and weeks spent on the bathroom floor. If I lifted my head, the room began to spin, and the vomitting began. I told my husband I wasn't going to the doctor or a neurologist again. This was all in my head and this too shall pass. When the vomitting finally stopped and the room only spun when I turned my head, I decided I needed to find another doctor. I went to a general medicine doctor in Gillette. I still had no balance and it was very obvious. The doctor immediately noted the nystagmus, the lack of balance, and other neurological deficits. She said that I was experiencing a severe vertigo episode, but that she felt there was something neurological going on with me. I began to cry and told her I was not going to another neurologist. She said she would order a MRI of my brain and we would come up with a plan of action after that. After the MRI results were sent to Dr. Thomas, she called and said she needed a spinal tap. She would set up an appointment after the results of the spinal tap came back. Did I mention I despise needles, especially in my spine? I went anyway and had the spinal tap. A day later, my doctor called and said she would like to see me and I should bring my husband. I knew she found something and my imagination went wild. That was a long 24 hour period. The next day I was told that the lumbar puncture showed I had oligoclonal bands in my spinal fluid and lesions in my brain. I had multiple sclerosis. My mother came to the appointment along with my husband, and my Mom began to cry while I sat there and listened to the doctor as she told me I needed to find a neurologist. That last statement was the thing that nearly made me burst into tears. When we left the doctor's office, my Mom asked me why I wasn't more upset, why I was acting like I didn't hear the doctor. I took a deep breath and told my Mom that I finally had a name for what was wrong with me. And yes, it was all in my head and in my spine, but I now had a name for what was wrong with me, something to fight against, and something to treat with medicines! Needless to say, that was easier said than done.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here comes the sun and I say, "IT'S ALRIGHT!"

Hey, Natasha, do you think Mom knows we're out?

Our weather was unseasonably frigid last week. My goats were not happy to see the wet snow, chilly winds, and cramped accomodations in the barns. This week, a complete temperature turn around. Although we are veterans in drastic weather changes in Wyoming, no one had warned my goat "newbies" about Wyoming weather. Out of my eight goats, six have not had the pleasure of experiencing a Wyoming winter up to this point in their short little lives. Regardless, I spent last week with snotty goat noses and they were just like little kids when I tried to wipe their noses. They tried to throw their heads back and forth, back up, lower their heads and avoid the paper towel at all costs! Mom finally prevailed but they sure spent last week giving me a wide path. Needless to say, no one was more thankful for sunshine than stir-crazy goats. I had decided on the first day of snow when the baby of the herd, Sweet Pea was forced out into the cold by Lyrical that Robert was going to have to separate the big goat pen into two pens. The two big girls Natasha and Lyrical had to be penned up in the milking barn until the separation could be done this week. I don't believe they thought Dad was quick enough. Thankfully, Robert got the pen separated so the kids have the barn without Natasha and Lyrical bossing them around. The big girls seem happy not to be bother with silly kid games. Now Javar and Prince are so thankful to be out of their barn and spent the day sunbathing! I spent my time cleaning the hay and goat pebbles out of the barn. Amazing how quickly it piles up when the goats don't go outside for a few days. Regardless, everyone seemed so happy to be free. Forecast shows rain for Tuesday but I will keep my fingers crossed. I was not ready for winter to begin so soon and, obviously, neither were the kids. I hope they get ready quickly because it is inevitable that the snow will fly and stick for a few months. I did notice this week that the kids were getting fluffy so maybe Mother Nature just needed to nudge them a little last week. I truly hope they don't experience snotty noses every time it is cold and wet but all the noses are clear of mucous right now. I guess it was quickly remedied without intervention from me. Robert questioned me on whether I thought we had everyone taken care of for a little while. He is always building pens, repairing barns, building barns, reinforcing fences and separating areas for me. I told him I thought we were fine.....well, until kidding season! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flu, flu, go away.....

I know I should be thankful for a busy work day for our little Urgent Care, but have seen so many children running dangerously high fevers and looking like walking zombies. These kids are SICK! So many positive flu tests that I see pink lines in my sleep. Our Urgent Care is one of the only clinics that still has regular influenza vaccines in Gillette but we are racing through our supply at a record pace. In 8 days, we have depleted 125 flu tests, we saw 73 patients in one 12 hour day, many leaving because it was standing room only and a three hour wait. I thank God for job security but didn't expect it to come in the form of a near pandemic. Just when we have clinical staff scheduled to handle the increased patient load, our clinic is scheduled to receive the "swine flu" nasal spray. This is an attenuated vaccination which means it is a live virus but it has been weakened. Great precautions are needed for people who get this form of vaccine. Pregnancy, children under 2, adults over 50, people with a weakened immune system are all contraindications for this vaccine. Because I regularly get IV steroids to knock out my immune system, I am being very cautious. We have a HEPA filter and a room specifically set up for the administration of our vaccinations and I will stay clear of this room. The CDC states that the transmission of the H1N1 virus by people who received the vaccine was rare. I would have prefered the term "impossible" to be used but I am thankful that I was warned. So, my blogging will be slow until.......probably February, my hope for all is to stay healthy, wash hands frequently, and don't spend too much time around crowds.