Battles

Last week we had several coldish, rainy days. I like both, although I imagined the rain water nibbling at our driveway. The driveway is the only less-than-perfect thing about our new house. Everything else we absolutely love.

It would be nice if we could afford to have our driveway blacktopped, but we can’t, so EJ discusses the erosion problem with the Gravel Man to find solutions that we can afford. We had ordered pea stones for the places where the rain water needed to be able to drain without taking the driveway with it. Thursday we bought straw to spread in the gullies to slow the erosion and EJ also found rocks, old firewood, chunks of cement, and other things to throw in the gullies as filler. On Friday the Gravel Man delivered unfiltered topsoil–meaning it had rocks and stuff in it, which was perfect because the rocks fill up the gullies so we need less gravel or soil to fill it. EJ and I worked all day Friday shoveling the soil into the wheelbarrow, which EJ wheeled down the driveway and dumped in the gullies.

We stopped when we were totally exhausted. We still had more than half the dirt pile left, but we had made a lot of progress. I learned that 15 tons of dirt covers more area than 15 tons of gravel.

Saturday was Shabbat so we rested. We really needed the rest.

Sunday morning I snuck out while EJ slept and worked on the driveway for a couple of hours without him. EJ and I are having sort of a lighthearted battle. The driveway needs to be fixed–we can’t delay–but I worry about EJ’s back and health so I try to do as much as I can without him, which includes sneaking out until he notices that I’m out working and comes out to help. I am not particularly strong, but I have very strong determination so I work hard and don’t give up. I can’t load the wheelbarrow as full as EJ can so I just fill it less full and take more trips. I never really notice how tired I am until I stop working so I prefer to take short breaks. If I stop for too long, I don’t have the energy to get back to work. EJ needs longer breaks because of his health issues–and besides, he does the heavier lifting AND he has to go to work! However, he won’t stop working as long as I am working–even though I tell him “for goodness’ sakes” I can do it–because he doesn’t want me to do such hard work alone. He worries about me. That is why I sneak out to work without him and that is why he joins me when he catches me.

I worked for a couple of hours on Sunday before EJ woke up and joined me. We together we worked and worked for hours and hours. We had only a small mound of dirt left but we were just too tired and too hungry to finish. Then, because we were too tired to cook and too hungry to go without food, we took showers and went out to eat. We felt we had deserved it.

We will have to buy more top soil next weekend to finish the job. At least, I hope we only need one more dump truck load. When we finish filling the gullies, we are planning to grow plants in the top soil that will help stop erosion. We are hoping to find some winter seeds that we can plant now and then we can also scatter wildflower seeds next spring.

Monday morning JJ and I had to leave early to drive to the hospital for his CT scan, which he has every few months to make sure his cancer hasn’t returned. It’s always kind of scary and we hold our breaths until we get the results back after a scan. I think that if this scan is clear, JJ will not have to have scans quite so frequently, but because his last CT scan showed a shadow (which, after a PET Scan, was thought to be just scar tissue), his new oncologist wanted to have a CT scan done to make sure that everything is good. If it’s good, JJ will have to only have a scan every six months…and then it will go to once a year.

Because we had to leave so early, we left EJ home. He works second shift so getting up early is like getting up in the middle of the night for him. I don’t have a problem taking JJ to his medical appointments now because I find it easier to find my way in the North than I did in the south. The south has more limited access highways with entrance and exit ramps, which I hate because if I take the wrong turn, I will have to maybe drive miles out of my way to an exit ramp and then have to figure out how to get back on the correct highway going back the other way. In the North there are no limited access highways so if I take a wrong turn, I can simply go around the block. That is a very good thing for someone who is as directionally challenged as me.

I had forgotten to give the hospital our new phone numbers so they had been unable to call us to remind us of the CT scan and to give instructions, but the oncologist’s office had given us printed instructions when they first arranged the scan. We stopped at the Information desk when we arrived at the hospital and they updated our information.

JJ and I found our way to the Radiology Department. The technician brought JJ his two drinks and asked if he had ever had a CT Scan before. JJ said yes, many, but he had never had the clear liquid drinks that he was given today. When I saw them I thought. “Yuck, they are going to be unflavored and taste nastier than the shakes.” The technician said that this hospital preferred this type of drink rather than the shakes and that they tasted like raspberry flavored water. JJ took a sip and said it was really good–MUCH better than the shakes. Also, they didn’t make him as cold as the shakes did. However, he only had to wait an hour for the scan after drinking the shakes and he has to wait two hours after these drinks, which makes for a long morning. The technician said we could leave if we wanted and return in two hours, but neither JJ nor I wanted to risk getting lost in the hospital. We did find our way to the cafeteria so I could get a coffee and maybe wake up a bit and then we returned to the waiting room. I read my book and people watched while JJ surfed the Internet with his phone.

JJ survived his scan, but as soon as it was over, he said, “LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!” Cancer survivors and their caregivers can suffer from PTSD and hospitals trigger JJ’s memories of cancer.

We had about an hour to spent with EJ before he had to leave for work. After he left, I took a short nap–I was so tired! Then I went outside and worked in the driveway for a short time. When I came back inside, I most of the laundry and other household tasks.

 

 

 

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