Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where was I...

Hey! Remember me? Sorry for the long absence, guys. Life has been getting in the way in good and bad ways lately.

The bad: My father has been in the hospital 3 or 4 times in the last month and a half for his heart. Without getting into all of the medical-ese and details (which I have a propensity to do) he had an irregular heart rate the likes could contribute to a blood clot. He went into the hospital to have a procedure to correct it and ended up having the complication of bleeding and a fluid collection in the sac that surrounds the heart which had to be drained by a tube. After discharge, the fluid persisted which kept the heart from being an effective pump and contributed to the beginnings of congestive heart failure which I was able to identify.

Now let me jump out of my nurse pants with my sub clinical explanation and jump into my daughter pants (don't look) to explain the other side.

it. scared. the. shit. outta. me.

My father is six foot one inch burly, country, Paul Bunyan (at least in my eyes) type of man. He tells stories of working cattle with his dad and brother sustaining injuries like a broken bone or a metal spike through his hand, splinting or tying it up with a rag and continuing to work as long as there was daylight. (Isn't my daddy the cutest little boy?)

Fast forward to his post-operative state enduring enough pain to make this larger than life man grip the bed rails with a furrowed brow requesting pain medicine. My stomach clenches at the very thought of it. He improved, was sent home but started to complain about things like being short of breath, coughing, swelling in his legs and sleeping in the recliner because it was easier to breathe. The parade of red flags was overwhelming. The nurse in me knew it was congestive heart failure and the daughter was scared to death. Thankfully, the nurse took over and in her best no-nonsense, boss-lady-nurse voice dispelled any excuses for the symptoms and demanded that my father go back to the hospital. Back he went, the fluid around his heart had re-accumulated so IV diuretics were continued for 2 days which relieved the problem.

To make a long story short, he is now back at home and doing well.

The good:  I have a new gardening obsession. I have hauled, lifted, planted and bought more dirt, plants and bedding material than ever. I started reading Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. I now have two 4' x 8' raised beds for vegetables and I added a raised flower bed beside my patio with paver stones. I even installed a rain barrel to divert water from the patio gutter to be used for garden watering. I'm even growing flowers from bulbs, y'all! (Ignore the rusted back door. With an obnoxious large dog who likes to jump on the back door, replacing it would be an exercise in...stupidity)

My imaginary psychiatrist would say that I'm anticipating empty nest syndrome by feeling the need to nurture a garden. I say until you have eaten a garden fresh tomato (not the supermarket kind) you have not truly eaten.

I haven't been too scientific about the process. Basically, I buy a plant or seed I like, stick it in the ground and hope for the best. I visit my garden every day and see what's doing well and what needs help. I'm sure I will kill a few things. My daughter jokes that our house is where houseplants go to die. I own that. Failure to thrive due to inattention. It's getting better.

Cast list for my first EVAR garden:

In pots:
Mexican lime tree
Improved Meyer lemon tree
Mystery bulbs I found sprouting in the garage
Rosemary and German Thyme

In vegetable beds:
Better Boy tomatoes
Roma tomatoes
Bell Pepper
Corsican mint
Sweet Basil
Purple Basil
Italian Oregano
French Lavender
Sweet Lavender
Texas Onions
Bok Choy
Rainbow Chard
with a few Zinnias, Marigolds and Daisies cuz ima girl and they help deter insects

In my flower bed:
Red Honeysuckle - attracts hummingbirds
Pentas - attracts butterflies
will be planting Dahlia and Gladiolus bulbs soon