Saturday, October 20, 2012

The hits keep coming

I'm trying to figure out how to write on here using my cellphone since it's hard to use my laptop very long. For some reason, the screen sets off a massive migraine & I have far too many as it is. My newest fun symptom is dizziness. I have trouble standing or walking without falling or bumping into things. After a shower yesterday, I leaned over to turn off the water & bang! Hit the knobs. Just missed taking out my left eye. I have to keep my hair covering the left side of my face because it's all bruised & a lovely shade of black/blue/purple. Arielle came home from work last night, took one look at me & just started crying. I'm afraid to go to the ER because I think I did some real damage this time & they'll want to to a MRI. I'm terribly afraid of being trapped in that little tube. Last time, Randy had to sit in the room & hold me because I was shaking so bad. That was just a simple 5~minute scan to make sure there were no tumors. This scan Will have to be much longer & will need contrast I have trouble with that too. I'm allergic to the contrast material & guess what it does? YES! Another migraine! I have a regular appointment with the doctor on Tuesday afternoon, so maybe I'll just wait until then to let him decide what to do. October 19 I stratred writing this earlier and couldn't get my Stupid Droid to post it, so I'll just finish it here. I ended up in the ER on Sunday. I was getting ready to go to bed Saturday night and the next thing I remember, my daughter was screaming my name and crying. It was 6 a.m. I had somehow passed out and 8 hours went by. I made the mistake of going to the local hospital. They did the usual scans and tests, but found nothing. No broken bones, even though my left arm was so swollen, I couldn't bend it, my head was covered with bruised and lumps and I could barely walk without help. They wouldn't give me anything for the migraines, even though they have records of almost 20 years worth of migraines and calls from my neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic. I BEGGED for something for the pain. Gave me a shot of what might as well as water. Then the nurse patrictioner said they wanted to admit me for the night. Will they help my head? NO, sorry. Well, then no, sorry, I'm going home. A new malme nurse slams in, rips the IV out of my arm, then squeezes a piece of gauze so hard I cried. Then he bent my arm up HARD to find a piece of tape. I was crying by that time. He came back with the tape, I was holding my arm and told him he hurt me and not to touch me again. He shoved a clipboard at me to sign since I was going AMA and he left. Luckily, my mother was with me or I would have been crawling out of there naked. I could barely walk. I was given NO discharge papers, test results or the required wheelchair ride to the car. Mom walked me to the nursing center. I asked for the "nurse's" name since he hadn't bothered to tell me his name or if he was even a nurse. I called the hospital and made a formal complaint. The "nurse" lied and said I was the one causing problems. I couldn't barely move and couldn't think because my head was so badly injured. The hospital knew he was lying and said they with my results that day. I did get the call and was told there was nothing wrong with me. HUH? Being unconscious for 8 hours is normal? An arm swelled twice the size of a normal arm is fine? Not being able to converse like an adult is normal? Fine, go ahead and cover for your staff. The lies will come out. One of these days, they will push the wrong person and they will call me. Lying, cheating and more is wrong and hurting patients is sickening. What happened to, "Do No Harm?" I will see my regular doctor on Tuesday. After he finishes yelling for not going to his hospital, he'll take care of me and make sure he does his best to help me. He's the only doctor I truly trust. Please, feel free to tell any problems you have had with medical staff. Have you been treated like a piece of meat and then thrown away? It's time to make people accountable.

Back to real work - FINALLY!!!

I finally got to write a real hard-news article for the newspaper I freelance for the other day. I felt alive for the first time in an unreal time. Since I got so sick and had to give up on being a full-time staff reporter and went back to freelancing, I try to keep my work to firemen saving kittens from trees and lots of other fuzzy stories. I've written hard stories, sure, murder trials and many other legal stories, but this one beat the local paper. They were too afraid to even bother to write about it. I happened to walk in and hear one of the "top ladies" thanking him for not writing about it. PUKE! I Know, I Know, Gretchen, keep your mouth shut. Don't do it!!! Well, as we all know, those words don't mean a whole lot to me. I had to tell her, "When you hide things, then it just makes it look like you have done worse!" She glared at me and sat down. Refused to speak to me the rest of the meeting. Ah well, her loss. We've never been fans of each other. She's pushed me too far once before and her pet project no longer gets ANY coverage in my paper. :) Sad how these things happen! When her events are going on, I'm forced to be at other events and there is only one me. The story was our local sheriff walked off the job and it was being kept under the rug. The local paper refused to write about it, the other large paper wrote a tiny bit, but I got a HUGE front page story on it. Made my day! I actually cried when I saw my By line! Writing that story made me remember why I became a write to begin with. I felt good telling the truth and letting people know what was really happening. I had one lady comment on my article (she had no idea I was a reporter, let alone the one who wrote it) and was saying she was going to subscribe to this paper because you never hear the real news in the local rag. I almost died laughing!!! Thank you to the two brave souls who gave me the tip and to the paper who believed that I could still write hard news. It means the world to me that I'm still a real reporter!! :)

Monday, October 8, 2012


I had planned to see Taken 2 with hubby this weekend, but then our daughter had a disaster of a day. Her best friend blew her off to spend the day with boyfriend and didn't bother to tell her til she was 5 minutes away from picking her up. They were doing the whole girl thing, new hair, nails, lunch and a silly movie. Hubby and I had slightly higher scale plans.
When we ran into each other, she was crying her eyes out and nothing could help. By then, all the beauticians were closing and she couldn't get her hair colored. SIGH! What else could we do? Go see the movie I absolutely did not want to see - Frankenweenie. I had said it from the first preview, I CAN'T SEE THIS MOVIE! I knew better. There are just some things in life, I can't deal with. This movie matter happens to be one of them. I've lose far too many good friends to ever be entertained watching it happen, but she's my daughter and clearly needed me.
I sit down, and the movie starts. OK, not too bad until the baseball scene. Damn that father! Why can't he just be happy to have a smart son? Why does every father think he has the next million dollor baseball player? Of course, the worst happens. The boy's dog, Sparky, loves baseballs and goes chasing the one Victor hit. Car doesn't see the dog. Tears, burial, etc...
That's when the tears started and didn't stop until it was over. Well, til long after it was over. I couldn't eat and almost 12 hours later, I'm still crying. WHY??? Why do we all have to be reminded that losing our best friend is a nightmare we can't wake up from and our idiot parents don't know what they are talking about?
If I thought for one second I could bring back any of my beloveds, I'd be up in the attic with Mom's muffin pan. It can't happen. What comes back isn't what always leaves. My heart is smashed and I'll never get over the last loss. Adonis was the love of my life. He just knew when I needed him and was there. I'll never be able to replace him, even if I wanted to.
Just a little warning before taking your children to this movie - Yes, it has a happy ending, but the other images can't be taken away. Make sure your child knows it's only a movie and it can't happen in real life. If you think there's a chance your child will be confused, don't go to this movie. Go see Hotel Transylvania.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trip to Phoenix

Hi All,
My son is a high school senior this year. He's working on the college search and our local school gives each senior 3 days to visit college. Son has decided he wants to go to a college in AZ (All across the country), so we're flying out there in early Nov. to check it out.
We're also thinking about hitting Mexico for the day.
My question is: What are some things out there that can't be missed? I know we're eating at Hardrock Cafe one of the nights. It's my favorite resteraunt and I'm addicted to their pins!

Anyone else go out there in the fall? I'd really appreciate some
suggestions on places to see and what kind of clothes we should need.
Also need advice on photographing in the desert. My son wants his senior photos taken out there and since that's my job, I'll be lugging 50 pounds of camera equipment onto the airplane.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Day at the Hazen Flea Market

We love heading off to the Hazen Flea Market. They're open the first weekend of each month during the summer months. This weekend was the final of the season. You can find anything there! I do mean anything. I get my favorite jerkey and meat sticks there. I love turkey jerkey! My favorite retailer has the best turkey jerky around. We have a fridge filled with it from yesterday's excursion, but I know it won't last too long. It never does.

I didn't photograph the colorful bongs (the sellers didn't look amused when I lined up the shot), but have some of the many knock off purses. I LOVE designer purses, I have a serious addiction to Coach bags and I will never admit exactly what I paid for the last one I bought, so I find it very offensive to see such obvious fakes for sale. They can't touch the lines and gorgeous materials of the real ones.

There was an awesome guitar that I would truly have loved to bring home.

The flea market attracts hundreds of Amish families. To keep from offending them, I only take shots from the side or behind and never photograph their faces.

Already looking forward to May, 2013!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Drum and Bugle Corp. Competition

I'm just getting back from a Drum and Bugle Corp. Competition in Johnsonburg, PA. It was pouring down the rain and there were lightning strikes, so the start of the competition had to be delayed approximately a half hour. Because of the delay, I wasn't able to stay long enough to see all the band compete. Such a pity. The three I did see were very talented.

Here are a few photos from the event. If you see your child and want the photo removed, please let me know. If you have names, please send them and I'll add them right in.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

America's Got Talent

OK, I'm finally watching last night's AGT and try to review it before the votes are announced. Did anyone else watch it? I'm fast forwarding through the acts I'm not a fan of. Six minutes left to find three more acts worth sending though. I believe that the acts are manipulated to make sure the judges' favorites go through. There is no doubt about that comment. OK, stop the blasts. Here's why I think that. Andrew DeLion. HUH? Big Barry has absolutely NO TALENT, but was put through over Andrew who has real talent. WHY would that happen? Because it made sure Barry would be voted out and one of their favorites would be put through. Andrew will be brought back as a wild card. Howard talking about him really showed the judges are getting more than a little flack about it. Andrew should have been put through. I think the show made a big mistake here and now people are positive it's fixed. Hate to write that because I've loved this show from the day it started. Getting rid of Piers and adding Howard Stern as a judge was the perfect move. He brought all his millions of fans to the show, just to see what he'll say. He also brought his millions of haters, just to see what he'll say. Those people will tear apart a show and making it so obvious that America is being manipulated might have been the wrong move.

I adore the Untouchables.
Fire Juggler, not so much.
Inspire the Fire, not a chance. (The lead singer doesn't have a strong enough voice to carry the song they chose this week & one of the dancers fell.)
Cristin Sandu, he fell. Can't say anything else about him. He's out.
Elusive, cute kid, but he's not going to make it. I'm bored and I grew up in the 80's.
Jake Wesley Rogers -- He's not Buddy Holly! Not liking his song choice, but do we have any singers yet? Maybe.I'll have to see the other acts.
All Wheel Sports (what about the gymnasts??) I saw this act at Cedar Point in Ohio. Left early and I would NEVER pay to see this. Not a chance of winning the whole thing. Again, another maybe. Need to see the rest of the show.
Word Spit and the Illus -- GAG! Haven't liked them from the start. They were put through because they will be voted out. I couldn't understand a single word he was "singing."
Jacob Williams -- Can't touch Tom Kotter.
All Beef Patty -- Middle America will NEVER vote this guy through. It's unreal. Yeah, he has a voice, but I have to ask myself, would I pay to see this guy? No.
Spencer Horsman -- Decent, but I give him a no tonight even with no other talents, he can't win.
Lightwire Theater --  Hmmm ... who does this remind me of? How about Team ILuminate?? Sadly, there was no talent tonight, so I have to give them the last spot.
My Four Choices:
Untouchables                       AMERICA
Jake Wesley Rogers            AMERICA KICKS TO THE CURB
Jacob Williams                    AMERICA PICKS
Lightwire Theater               AMERICA PICKS
There we go, I might be wrong on some, but those seem to be the only real talent.

Hubby picks:  Untouchables, Jake Wesley Rogers, All Wheel Sports, Lightwire Theater

UPDATE:  Flipped over to the results show to see how close we came to thinking like the rest of America. Lets see: Jacob Williams (My Choice & will annoy hubby with my insight for the rest of the week), Lightwire Theater (Both our choices), Untouchables (Both our choices) and to round out the night All Wheel Sports (Hubby's choice to laud over me).

Next week's show is going to be amazing! I already have more than four acts I love. Of course, get rid of Horse, the Canonball guy and the TV lyrics guy. Those are without even seeing the show.
G:x lovestruck

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Friday the 13th!

Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday the 13th! I had a banner day, got out of the house with a fun trip to the hospital for more tests! Woo Hoo!!!

Until next time!


More health fun

Life is really hard these days. I guess they are most days, but when it gets to a point where standing up isn't possible, I suppose that "hard" can be preceded by a "really." It's the way things are, I suppose.

I was sent to yet another pain clinic where yet another doctor poured over my mountainous records and decided to try an occipital nerve block. That means, he jabbed a needle into the bottom of my skull on the right side. Always fun. Within two minutes, I was on the exam table, writhing in pain. Probably not a sign that it's going to work. The nurse takes off the vital signs machine because it's beeping really loud and constantly. Probably because I'm hyperventilating. I'm told to go home and keep track of how much better I feel following week. Yeah, right.

We're 40 hours from home, but I'm out cold within second of getting into the truck and only wake up when we get home. Long enough to stumble in and drop into bed. Next thing I know, it's Friday afternoon and Randy has had to give me pain shots to keep me from yet another hospital stay. It's about 30 hours after the injection before I'm even semi-normal. Of course, I don't know that I'm ever normal.

The real fun begins the next day, when my right eye starts to go numb. Then it's my temple, ear and nose. By the time I get back to the pain clinic, my cheek is numb. He says that isn't possible for the cheek to be related to the injection, that part of the brain's functions. Wonderful! Can it get any better? Have I had any recent scans? Yes, I have been scanned, x-rayed and more enough so that I probably glow in the dark by now.  He wants me to see a neurologist ASAP. Anyone who knows anything about neurologist knows ASAP means maybe 4 months, 3 if it's a real emergency.

The nurse calls me the next day and I have an appointment a week and a half later. That is fast. Never heard of such a thing, but at this point, I'll go with it. As anyone who knows me knows by now, I've tried some interesting things over the past 20+ years. Lets see, 4 or was it 5 neurologists all over this State and out to the Cleveland Clinic. At least a dozen different regular doctors, 5 pain clinics, a faith healer, Reiki healing, massage therapy, physical therapy, a past life regression punctuated by a goat hoof rattle -- Don't ask, it's better not to ask. I'm getting pretty tired of all of it. Nobody can help me. Most give up quickly, some take a little longer, but they all end up punting me to another place. Making me someone else's responsibility relieves them of having to try and fix me anymore. I do have a really great PCP. He's doing the best he can. I'm just one of those cases that nobody has been able to figure out. I haven't received the full body transplant I've asked for more than once. Some day. I've asked for a Native American medicine man and a friend is working on that. Maybe a voodoo priestess? I've always wanted to get to New Orleans..... 

Anywho, here I sit, watching more mindless TV, praying, demanding, bargaining, etc.. with whoever is listening at this moment in time to help stop it or even make it a bit less painful. Again, no such luck.

I'm open to all sorts of suggestions, give it a try and let me know your thoughts. I need help ~ desperately.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fed Ex Frustrations

My cellphone died over the weekend and the helpful Verizon associates were shipping me a new one overnight. It was to arrive today. I got up at 8 a.m. and sat here til I had to get ready to leave for another doctor's appointment at 1:30 p.m. My son then sat here, waiting. Sometime in the TWO seconds I wasn't sitting on the porch the driver supposedly came to my door and then went to my neighbors. Of course, knocking on the door or maybe ringing a doorbell was beyond this person's ability.

I get on the phone at 1 p.m. and Bryan (employee #876992) gets on and is oh so sorry. He called the driver and my package would be delivered NO LATER than 3 p.m. today. OK, fine. I go to the doctor and it takes quite a while with the numerous health issues.

Well, 3 p.m. arrives and my son gets a call, that there will be NO delivery today. The driver's too far away. It will be delivered tomorrow. Ah, Right! Tomorrow is a national holiday and I know very well, there will be no delivery on that day. Why lie again?

Well, I get back on the phone and this time it's Jesse who answers. I give him the option of putting me right through to a manager because I was beyond livid. He assured me he could help me and he was oh so sorry. Well, after five minutes, he realized he was over his head and transferred me to the "manager" that I asked for to begin with. Connie gets on the line. "Are you a manager?" I ask. "Well, no, I'm a customer service representative and she's oh so sorry," she admits. Yet another lie from this company. Don't they know what the truth is? I don't want to talk to her, give me a manager. She puts me on hold for 20 minutes with horrid elevator music. No, music is too strong a word for the noise I had to endure.

Then John gets on the line. He sounds like he at least shaves. Are you a manager? Yes, he replied. I give him a minute to read the notes that I know are on the screen about me and how furious I am and I'm sure a few colorful metaphors. He said they OUTSOURCE their calls and the people I talked to didn't know what they were doing. Why are they employed then? He's oh so sorry. If I hear those three words again, my head may just explode. He said the driver was here at 12:50 p.m. and he even spoke to my neighbors? Ah, they all work and there is nobody home anywhere near us at that time of the day. So, yet another lie.

After 20 minutes of arguing with him, he says he'll call the driver and see where he is and maybe "I can go pick my package up there."  He calls back and says that the driver will be here at 4 p.m., which is only 45 minutes away. Right! I had to express my doubt and the fact that every single person in his company has lied to me today. He starts screaming at me if I don't stop, then I won't be getting my package. So a manager at Fed Ex is threatening me that he will make sure I don't get my new phone. This is the type of people in charge there? I would NEVER USE FED EX again. From now on, I will make sure to request a different delivery provider. I can't be the only person they lie to and play games with. Threatening me went way over the line. Is that what the corporate office really wants to portray?  Feel free to share your problems with this "customer service" giant. Let them know what they do is not right.

I'm a reporter, my phone is my life. Without it, I can't get in touch with sources, do interviews or anything else. Everything is on that phone. There are some sources that aren't to be named and I don't write their info anywhere but in my phone under a pseudonym. It is vital I have a phone 24/7.

So, here I sit on the porch, it's pouring the rain, waiting for a driver that I know very well won't show up.

UPDATE:  It's 4:30 p.m. and the driver pulls up, gets out of his van and starts screaming at me. OH YEAH? You're coming to my house and scream? Game on. He admitted he never rang the door bell and tried to say he talked to some guy standing on the street. Wonderful. Amazing he didn't just give the box to that stranger. Oh, if you're on Facebook, feel free to join the rest of us who have been mistreated by this corporation.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy 20th Birthday, Arielle!!!

Today is my precious daughter Arielle's 20th birthday. I know, I'm too young to have a daughter that age, but it's true. Twenty years ago today, I was in the hospital, waiting for my beautiful girl to make her appearance. She was late, but it set the tone for her entire life. She does things he own way and marches to her own drum!

She's ready to graduate from massage therapy school next month, a full month before she was scheduled and was already offered a job last month. She chose this career and life path because of my health problems. She was born for this and seems to have the magic touch. (Meaning, she can zero in where it hurts the worst and poke it until it stops hurting).

We're going to meet her for dinner at Red Lobster this afternoon. She's gone there and had her own lobster since she was a little girl. Can't wait to see her and give her a birthday hug, then take her shopping for the required new BIRTHDAY SHOES!!!

Love You!

G (aka MOM)

A new start

So I haven't been on here in a while and when I do, they have deleted access to my blog - Gretchen's Travels through life. Maybe it's a sign? Nah, it's the digital age and I haven't been able to be on line like I use to be. I literally only use the laptop when I have an assignment. Thanks to my cellphone and Kindle Fire, I can be on line with those devices and it doesn't set off the migraines like the laptop screen does.

I'll try and be better about posting. It's June, but is that too late for a new year's resolution?