Monday, August 23, 2010

Agnes of Glasgow... and other stuff

Last night I went out to dinner with my dear friend Rob, his partner Steven, their son Kofi and the newest addition to their wonderful family little baby Gil! They were in town to introduce the baby to Rob's family and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with them!

We decided to meet at Saffron for dinner, which I had not been to in a couple of months. When I walked in I immediately noticed they had completely remodeled. The new design for the dining room was wide open and not as cozy as it used to be. Kofi had a great time testing out his vocal range with all the echoes that the new wide open space provided! After we were seated the server gave us menu's and after a long wait someone else came over and said the previous girl had given us the wrong menu's. It was a little annoying since we had already decided what we wanted from the former menu! I felt bad since the service we were getting wasn't that great and I'm the one that suggested the place!

After finally getting our orders situated we tried to catch up as much as we can, which is pretty hard to do with a very active toddler! Rob and Steven told me all about baby Gil's adoption process and the difficulties with the birth mother, the hospitals, physicians and social workers in Texas. What an overwhelming ordeal to go through! I'm so glad it finally worked out for them and now they can just focus on the being the fabulous family that they are!

For some reason, Rob didn't know about my whole cancer ordeal so I told him about all of that. They asked about my Mom's house and probate and I told them that I finally got a letter from the attorney's office stating the house is now officially out of foreclosure (yay!) but that my sister Janine has apparently been at the probate office raising hell and saying that I have not handled the estate properly. Oddly enough, she has never asked me for any details or any receipts, copies of insurance policies... nothing. I'd be glad to show her so she won't have to speculate, but I think she feels that she will somehow convince probate that I am evil. The sad thing is that she has no clue that I have to file all the receipts and account for everything with them, proving again, what an idiot she is.

The last thing I had to do was get Janine to sign the "receipt and release" form and I was done with all of the things I was responsible for with probate. According to Traci, Janine told her "I'm not signing anything!" so that's what I filed at the probate office. There was no way they could formally close probate because two of my Mom's creditors have filed liens on the house because I refused (and not that I could afford it) to pay. I figure that when the house is sold they can have their money, though I'm not sure when that will be! I hope they have some time on their hands. At least I don't have to worry about probate/estate paperwork, deadlines, extensions and all of that hoopla anymore!

Robin and I are finally on the mend health-wise. She still has a serious cough and horrible sinus pressure. We have been through every remedy we can think of and every prescription the doctor can give us... I think I actually have 2-3 different prescription nasal sprays! Our last resort for Robin was to get a Neti Pot. I picked one up for her last night on the way home. She did one application and wasn't impressed so I said she must be doing it wrong! I went into the bathroom with her and administered another treatment, which she said got a little deeper into the nasal cavity. I have never actually used the Neti Pot - I normally use a little baby nasal aspirator and make my own solution involving 8 oz. warm water, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. of baking soda. The nasal aspirator shoots the water into your sinus instead of the gentle pouring that the Neti pot provides. I'm all about aggressive sinus therapy! I think we will have Robin try that next!

I thought today I would find out the results of my 24-hour urine test that I did last week. I really tried to watch the iodine/salt intake for the last couple of weeks so my iodine level would decrease, but it's relly one of the hardest "diets" that you can go on since most foods are overly processed and contain incredible amounts of sodium. If you don't make everything natural it will probably be bad for you. Even if you cook meat... what are you putting on it? Have you really read that label? Even plain spinach and broccoli has a lot of sodium. How is that possible?

I managed to stop drinking soda and tea and made small changes in my diet to lessen my salt intake. I really hope that it helps and we can finally schedule the radiation.

While thinking about this whole radiation situation I have been wondering if I should actually put it off for a while. I received this email from my Aunt Peggy on Friday:

We came home early from our vacation because Chuck got sick. We got home Thurs at 9am went straight to the 24/7 clinic at Siteman. They did a blood test and swab of his nose and throat to see if he got a virus from the plan. His blood work looked good so far. The swab will not be back til over the weekend. They are suppose to call with that. They gave him fluids coz he was probably dehydrated, he had lost 6 pounds from the previous week. He is sleeping a lot and is now on penicillin so hopefully that helps him feel better. But, that is not why I am writing. Ralph had his brain scan and abdominal scan yesterday and the doctor called them last nite at 7. His cancer is more aggressive and has spread to his brain and abdomen. They have given him weeks instead of months and have suggested Hospice. I talked to Mil this morning and she wants me to call the doctor and arrange it. I called the doctors office and am waiting for them to call back. I want to try to get the same nurse that mom had she was wonderful. I wanted to let you all know where things stand. Ralph is in denial and does not want to give up his keys to the car. We are going to try to get up there tomorrow, to help Mil convince him to do so. Will keep you updated when we find anything out. Love Peggy

So, the cancer has progressed in Grandpa and his prognosis is now weeks instead of months. When I got the email I was stunned. My friend Duste had just come to visit from Columbia, SC so she really helped me keep my mind off of the situation, however, the next morning Robin and I were waking up and it was the first thing I thought of. No matter how hard I tried the tears kept coming. I just can't believe what my family has been through and continues to go through. We laid there for a while and said nothing while I cried. Fortunately, Robin has a wonderfully strong shoulder that doesn't mind getting a little (a lot!) wet.

Now, I've got the dilemma of having my radiation scheduled and the fact that I have to be in quarantine for 5 days and can't leave my room, scares me a bit. I hate to say "Gee, can we wait until after my Grandfather passes away to do this?" Also, my rockin' friend Duste said she we can borrow her truck to take it to Ohio to go get my stuff! We planned to do that on Labor Day weekend... There is just so much stuff up in the air right now and I have no idea where all the pieces are going to fall. I'm afraid to plan, I'm afraid to stray too far from home... I wish I were closer to my family in Illinois right now.

Going back to dinner conversation last night when I was telling Rob what was happening in my life I started thinking to myself "listen to yourself... everything in your life is so negative and unhappy right now... this IS what is happening but it's so sad... when does it get better?" I am so looking forward to a day when I don't have stories like this to tell regarding my normal, everyday happenings. Trying to remain happy and positive in a reality like this is so draining.

Robin and I did manage to get out for a bit a couple of weekends ago. We drove up to Camden, S.C. for one of my crazy adventures. Of course it rained the whole day, but we tried to make the best of it.

For over a decade I've wanted to visit Agnes... Agnes of Glasgow, that is! I have no idea where I first heard the story but it has always intrigued me:

Agnes of Glasgow (1760–1780) is a woman of American folklore, but nonetheless was in fact a real person. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Agnes followed her lover, Lt. Angus McPherson, who was a British Army officer, to America during the American Revolution. She stowed away on a ship bound from England to America, arriving in Charleston, South Carolina. Believing his unit was assigned near Camden, in Kershaw County, South Carolina, and having heard that he may have been wounded, she wandered through towns and the wilderness hoping to make contact with him or someone who knew him. However, she became ill and died before she could find him. She was buried under cover of darkness by Wateree American Indian King Haigler, who had befriended her. Local legend maintains that she searches for her lover still, and that her ghost haunts the "Old Quaker Cemetery" where she was buried, and the surrounding wooded area to present day. The legend is such that it has received media attention in South Carolina, as well as ghost hunters from around the country. Local historians confirm that the British Army did arrive in Camden during that year, but since it is not known as to which month Agnes died, it is not possible to know if they were in Camden at the time of her death. Yes! I love this story and I've always wanted to find her grave to pay respect, so that's exactly what I did. I know Robin thinks I'm nuts to drive almost three hours to see a tiny little grave, but my curiosity always seems to win.

After paying our respects to Agnes we explored Camden a bit. I had never been there so we wandering aimlessly was the plan. We saw a couple of fun things...

Who doesn't love a random mural?

The kitties are watching you.

Hidden in the bushes on a residential street.

We also stumbled upon a Revolutionary War site that was ours alone for the day, it seemed!:

The Kershaw-Cornwallis House was originally built in 1777.
It was reconstructed in 1977.

I wish we had more time to explore the area, but unfortunately we left the house quite late and after this little bit of sightseeing it was starting to get dark. There are still several other places around the area that I want to visit so I guess we'll have to go back!!

I guess I need to take "Visit Agnes" off the bucket list now!

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