Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

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We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.


On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy




So cold, so cold…

My mantra today* has been “There’s no point in being angry.  It doesn’t help anything” and repeating it ad nauseum.

For the last two weeks, I had been trying to get a prescription refill on some maintenance meds (I know, I know.  I, too, remember the time before middle age and genetics caught up with me when I could jump out of bed, brush my teeth and hair, get dressed and be done.).  Apparently, my mail order prescription company had my old doctor’s information on file.  Understandable, since the last time the company had to refill this order was about 9 months ago and I’d moved twice in that time frame.  Due to misunderstandings, people not caring and/or not doing their job and my erroneous belief that I didn’t need to intervene and screw things up even further, I ran out of an important med.

Not until I became proactive did anything get done.  I was making phone calls and trying to keep a civil attitude about the situation.  It was hard, and I did have a slip-up when I used a curse word when speaking to someone who, I know, had nothing to do with the foul up.  I apologized profusely.  That still doesn’t make up for the fact that I lost my temper and that word can now never be recalled.

So, in desperation, I called the prescription company – they were familiar with me and my situation at this point – and they told me to call me doctor so he could call in a 7-day carryover supply without any cost to me, since I was not the one who caused the problem.   I did.  About 10 minutes later, my short-term pharmacy is calling to let me know they can’t fill this.  The insurance won’t cover it.  I called the prescription company back and they said the pharmacy should be okay with, she can’t understand why they called.  I called the pharmacy back and told them what prescription company said, and they said “Ooooh.  A seven day holdover.  Yea we can do that.”

So I jump in my car with my husband and we make the trek into Auburn.  When we get there, it’s not ready.  That may have been my fault – ahem!  So we wait.  And wait.  And we finally get my meds.  As we are driving home, I get another call from my temporary pharmacy telling me that they won’t be able to fill it.  I tell the person that I just picked it up.  The person on the other end pauses and then says “Oh, yea.  I see, I see.  Well you have a good day.”  I hang up and my husband and I are both thinking the same thing:  I immediately pulled out my prescription bottle to check if, in deed, these are the correct pills.  The label looked correct, so I opened the container and pulled out a tablet and read the writing on them.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  Yup.  We had them.

My question, if there really is any, is why?  I have decent medical and pharmaceutical coverage and I thought everyone knew their job, but apparently that wasn’t the case.  And it wasn’t just one agency; it was everyone involved.  Kind of gave me the willies, when you realize just how easily information can be lost or misplaced.  Is it because everyone is overworked because no one can afford to hire the manpower they truly need or is it symptomatic of a deeper rooted problem?  Either way, I got real mad there and now I look like the villain.  At least, in the end, I got my regular ‘scrip and I lived to tell the tale…LOL!

*I started writing this post Friday, August 23rd.  I stopped, because I realized that it would be one hot mess if I published it on that day.  Now, August 27th, I think I can handle it!