Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rockin Robin

So this morning I was just doing my normal work stuff when I headed to the kitchen to fill up my coffee. As I approached the kitchen, I heard some strange noises and immediately saw the source of the noise... a tiny little bird was in a panic on the kitchen windowsill - somehow this bird had flown into my house!

Before you ask "how the heck did that happen?", you have to realize that in this house, with two dogs, the 'terrace' door is almost always open with a big long hook so the dogs can go out in the yard during the day without me having to open and close the door each time. I can only assume my little birdy took a wrong turn and suddenly found herself in the house.

Keep in mind - this house has two dogs and two cats. Birds, while cute, can cause quite a commotion around here and this one certainly did.

Since the bird was on the windowsill, I immediately thought if I just opened that window, out it would go. Things didn't go according to plan. By the time I managed to swing the window out, Ms. Birdy had taken flight towards the other end of the house. As soon as she took to the air, Petey the cat started chasing, and as soon as Petey started running, Lexi and Zoe were off in hot pursuit. So, to sum up, bird flying, cat chasing bird, dogs chasing cat, and me freaking out about how I am going to get this bird safely out of my house! My next step? Call Ole.

Not that the phone call accomplished anything other than to let Ole know that we had a bird flying around the house, but I just had to tell someone so that I could calm down and stop panicking. While I was calling, Ms. Birdy had perched herself on a door frame. By the time I hung up, she wasn't there anymore, Mr. Pete had lost interest as had the dogs, and everything was calm, so I just assumed she must have found her way out.

Fast forward a few hours. I was sitting in my office working and every now and then I would hear a strange rustling noise. It finally dawned on me that the bird must still be in the house. There is an empty cardboard box in my office and the sound was coming from said box. I walked over to the box and shifted it about one inch and the bird took flight again! This time into the computer room - to the top half of the window (the part that doesn't open). Mr. Pete once again arose from his slumber to investigate. I didn't worry that Petey would actually catch the bird - he's far too fat, slow and dumb, but he made a good effort on the chasing part!

Following a 'bird' theme - I decided to send a 'twitter' to thewriter , the only person I know who knows anything about birds!

I managed to open the window in the computer room - Ms. Birdy still on the top half. Then I stood my distance to see if she'd find the open window. At one point she perched on the bar that turns the blinds and slid down a bit and I thought.. ahh.. she's going to get out! Then poof, into the air again and up to the top of the bookshelf to hide behind some boxes there. Foiled again!

Fast forward another hour or so and this time I'm on the phone with my office. Suddenly Ms. Birdy flies out of the computer room and heads for the spare bathroom. When Ole then came home, I suggested she may still be out in that area and that he should open the door out there, but he couldn't find her, so again, we hoped she had found her way out.

She hadn't. She was hiding - behind some boxes - again. (I really need to get all of these random stacks of boxes out of my house!) This time she flew toward the terrace door and we finally had a real chance to help her. We opened both terrace doors all the way, all the while holding back 2 extremely curious dogs that really, really, really wanted to help, and finally, after a few shuffles around, Ms. Birdy managed to fly to freedom. Yeehaw!

Lexi and Zoe quickly took to the yard and did a full sniff investigation to see if this flying creature really had left the premises.

Ms. Birdy has left the building.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Advantages and Disadvantages

Hot time, summer in the city. That is, if you can refer to 75F as hot, and a very small town in the middle of Jutland as 'the city', which really would be stretching it, on both fronts, but stay with me here.

We are having summer weather in DK and I love it!! It's quite rare that wind ever stops blowing in this country, so I have yet to witness a truly hot, humid day of the kind I grew up with. This hot is more like pacific northwest heat - hot if you're in the sun, relatively cool out of it. I miss my humidity filled days with the late afternoon thunderstorms, but given that there is little AC in this country, we're probably better off without that!

But I'm not here to talk about the weather (had you fooled, didn't I?). Let's chat for a moment about baldness - the pros and cons, so to speak! Keep in mind this is coming from someone who has not only had long hair for the last 20 years, but extremely thick hair as well!

  • It's cool! In this (relative) warmth, it's quite a treat to not spend even a second of my day figuring out whether to do a ponytail or a braid as the chosen method for keeping my hair up. Timing is everything - It's the summer. Were it winter, I think perhaps I might miss the hair and it's associated warmth.
  • New sounds! If I put on the right pair of little hoop earrings, and then go out in the wind, I get all sorts of cool new whistling sounds as the wind passes by my naked head and through the little hoops. Interesting, no?
  • Speaking of the right pair of little hoop earrings - people can actually SEE my earrings now! It does encourage the wearing of the ear jewelry when it can actually be seen rather than hidden under hair.
  • Hair care products - zero, zip, nada! I spent some time last weekend going through every cabinet in the bathroom - took all the hair stuff (shampoo, conditioner, gels, sprays, hairdryer, hair clips, scrunchies, other assorted miscellaneous products related to hair) and put it all in a storage container and out of the room. Freedom!
  • No shaving! It's not just my head folks. I have smooth legs! I'd love to say I'm taking full advantage and going the 'who wears short shorts' route, but I'm no Daisy Duke and those types of shorts don't really fit the current body shape. I'd prefer not to frighten those around me. Even so, the razors were all packed away with the hair care products, yeehaw!
  • Fast showers!
  • If it's not there, it's not gray.
  • Boys will be boys. It was actually quite an amusing moment, but telling nonetheless. We went to my in-laws last Saturday and my mother-in-law must have told my nephew in advance that I may not have hair. He's umm.. 5 or 6? Anyway, I was wearing a cap, but he was curious. When I sat down in the living room, he came over and asked me.. "Do you not have hair?". I explained that I did have a little bit of hair, but for the most part, it was gone. "Can I see?" So, I decided why not, and took my cap off for him, at which time he pointed to my head and laughed. In fairness, I thought it was actually quite a funny moment!
  • The sad looks. Yes, I'm bald. No, it's not by choice. No, I'm not dying. Stop giving me the droopy face. I'm fine!
  • Scarf tying 101. It takes longer to tie a scarf than a ponytail. The time I save on not 'doing' the hair is instead being spent on figuring out how, exactly, to make a scarf look fashionable on my head. The little hats I have are the quick alternative, but the scarves are also fun - if I could just get the tying part of it figured out!
  • Bug bites! Did you know mosquitoes and other assorted flying annoyances will bite your head? ARGH! We take our dogs to a doggy play date on a field near our house nearly every evening, and apparently the bugs that call that field home are not too thrilled by the exuberance of 5 dogs and have chosen to take out their anger on those responsible for bringing the dogs to their field. They bite. On my head. It's really, really, annoying. I've always been a bit of a mosquito magnet, but this biting on the back of my naked head is just adding insult to injury - knock it off! Speaking of which, can one even purchase insect repellent in DK, and if so, what exactly is it called and where does one get it? I can't take much more of this but I don't want to cover my head in something designed to kill aphids on rose bushes either. And, I don't want to spend the entire summer looking like I just spent 39 days on Survivor. My head is bald, it is not, however, a pin cushion.
So there you have it, and if we're going on bullet points alone, it seems that the 'pros' have won the debate!

Go ahead ladies - you know you want to join my little party!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Drip, drip, drip...

Last Friday was treatment #2, another joyous morning of visiting Viborg Hospital!

This time my appointment was 9:40 AM and this time, I was a bit more prepared. After doing some reading of various forums concerning chemo, I found that although the various pills they give me just say to take them before treatment, they don't really give any kind of time frame. Forums full of people that have been through it - this is the real place to get some decent information!! So, pills were consumed at 9 AM, shooting for the 'one hour before treatment' time frame. I was right. Though my appointment was at 9:40, it was 10:00 am before any type of treatment would actually begin. I also drank an entire liter of water before arriving.

Last time they told me that they were going to have a group of patients for this treatment slot that all were breast cancer patients. However, when we got there, I was taken to the exact same chair I had been in the last time, and again, I was the only one in this particular treatment room. I wonder if they fear I will scare away the others? While it would have been interesting to chat with some other patients, I wasn't horribly disappointed that we were alone again.

I am very happy to report that this time they stuck the needle on the first try - WHEW! I was not looking forward to another Guantanamo Bay torture session. Perhaps that's an extreme description but when you're the one sitting in the chair having the needle poked in and taken back out multiple times, it certainly feels extreme!

The nurse stays and monitors while they drip in the red juice (drug #1). I'm not entirely sure why this particular drug requires full time monitoring, but who am I to argue. During this first half of treatment, while having poison dripped into my body, I get the pleasure of attempting to figure out what the nurse is trying to say to me, in Danish. Needless to say my brain isn't really in full gear during these moments, so it's probably good that Ole comes along. I just look over at him, he tells me what she said, and we can all get onto the next sentence.

After the first bag is complete, the nurse switches the IV, and then she leaves. Because I am always thinking of all of you, my wonderful readers, I decided to pass the time by attempting to get a picture of myself. After several failed attempts at doing a self-portrait, I handed the cell phone over to Ole, who then, after a few deleted (by me) attempts, managed to finally get this shot.

I'm sporting one of the snuggly caps that my mother crocheted for me - isn't it pretty!? The treatment chair is fully adjustable - not because you need to make all kinds of adjustments, but just to give you something to do while you're sitting there bored out of your mind. Or at least, that's my take on it.

After about 45-50 min, treatment #2 was complete. We made our way home where, after approximately 1-2 hours, I fell into dreamland.

Today is one of those better, but not quite normal yet, days. Little pangs of nausea come and go, but nothing to get too anxious about. I'm coming around the bend of treatment #2 - only 1 more of this drug combo, and then 3 of another drug to go!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The wrong side of the bed?

There's an old saying about 'waking up on the wrong side of the bed' that serves to tell others you're having a bad day. It's always been a bit strange to me. I mean, even when I was single I had a double bed all to myself, I don't recall ever having woken up on the other side of it. How does that happen exactly? And if it did happen, I'm not sure I'd have gotten out on that side, I would've just shimmied my way over to the 'right' side and went about my day. Now I share a bed, and now it would be virtually impossible to wake up on the wrong side - I mean, seriously, what kind of sleep are you getting if you actually switch places at some point in the middle of the night. It's not like Ole gets up to go to the bathroom and comes back and shoves me over while I'm sleeping. Zoe does try to shove me over, but not to the wrong side, she's just shoving me OFF the bed more than anything. So, no, I don't wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Based on personal experience, I think a more accurate description of a day filled with confusion, is one described as 'having showered out of order'. Let me explain. Unless I'm the oddball (no worries, it's happened before), I'm assuming that most people have a routine when it comes to showering. Something you do every day (or at least most days) and probably something you do in the same order, each day, without thinking. Mine has always been:

  1. Get wet
  2. Apply shampoo, rinse (no need to repeat, those directions on the bottle serve only to sell more shampoo)
  3. Apply conditioner
  4. While conditioner soaks in, soap up and rinse
  5. Shave legs
  6. Rinse out conditioner
  7. Stand under hot water and contemplate the meaning of life (optional - depending on time)

Then it's time to move on to the drying stage of the routine. So I reach for the towel (mine is furthest from the shower, and no, I don't know why, considering that of those who use towels in this house, I have the shorter arms, but oh well, it's not like I'm bitter about it) and once I have grabbed the towel, the face is dried first. The rest is a bit tough to describe, because I'm not really conscious of how it's done, it's just done. However, the last step of the process involves turning around to face the shower, followed by flipping the head upside down, throwing the towel around the shoulders, then wrapping said towel around all hair and turning right side up again so that I end up looking a bit like a naked Carmen Miranda minus the fruit basket on top.

There have been days that, for inexplicable reasons, things suddenly get out of order and that out of order-ness, in and of itself, can throw off everything that happens for the rest of my day. Like accidentally grabbing conditioner before the shampoo. Or applying shampoo for a second time when it was actually time for the conditioner. Or suddenly shaving my legs before having shampooed. Any of those things will cause not only the rest of the shower to be in a complete state of disarray and confusion, but the rest of my day!

In the past 3 weeks I have gone from thick, curly hair in need of deep conditioner, to short hair I wasn't sure what to do with, to short hair being pulled out in seemingly bizarre clumps, to no hair. For the 3 weeks that I had short hair, I didn't know what to do with it. Seriously. How much shampoo do I use? Do I even need conditioner now? Does this shampoo make my hair spike a bit more or lay down flat (I was going for the spiky)?

Through all of the short hair phase, I kept my drying routine, and dutifully kept doing my big hair flip only to be suddenly reminded, each and every time, that there was nothing left to flip. Really cuts down on the drying time but (til gengæld), added to the styling time because I couldn't figure out what the heck to do with the hair - gel, no gel, mousse perhaps, hairspray, what to do, what to do - each day became a new experiment. Some were successful, but were doomed not to be repeated as I couldn't quite figure out by the time the next day rolled around, what exactly I had ended up doing with the hair the previous day.

And then, the short hair exploded in hand fulls. And finally, I pulled out the clipper, and took off what remained. Yes, it was an extreme move, but quite fun actually and what was left was nothing short of irritating and no longer necessary. Now I'm just a stubble strewn head in a world full of hair. If you think going from long hair to short hair messed up the shower routine, try going to NO hair! I'm no longer quite sure what to do with myself in there. I've officially moved on to the Reader's Digest Condensed version of 'how to take a shower':

  1. Get wet
  2. Soap up and rinse
  3. Stand there dazed and confused wondering if that's all there is to it
  4. Stand under hot water and contemplate the meaning of life (fully dependent on the length of time spent on #3)
So, what do you think? Are you a wrong side of the bed person or shower out of order person? Or are you now just shaking your head trying to figure out why I'm so strange?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Get out that Dyson!

Something in this house is shedding and in this case, it's not a 4-legged creature. Well, they're still shedding too, but now something new is shedding!

Today when I got in the shower and went to put shampoo in my hair, my scalp was so tender that I couldn't even rub in the shampoo, and I said to myself.. this is it, this is the moment that I freak out.

I rinsed out the shampoo and then started running my fingers through my hair to figure out whether or not I was right on this one and voila, there it was. It has officially begun - my hair is falling out! EEEEK!

When they told me it would start 2 weeks after treatment, no one mentioned that it would be exactly 2 weeks to the hour - these treatments really should come with better warnings, or at perhaps they should just hand you a ticking time bomb and tell you that when it explodes, so shall your hair!

So I spent most of the afternoon sitting at my desk picking at my hair. It's fascinating and freaky and I'm completely obsessed with it at the moment.

When I was about to leave work, someone said 'Don't pull all your hair out!", and then followed-up by saying, "It's not every day you can say that to someone and mean it literally!"

Ole's in Poland this week and I told him when he booked the trip that I was going to lose my hair while he was away. Right again! Hope I'm not totally bald by Saturday when he gets back.

Oh well, I've got my caps ready! But I really hope I look more like this:

... then this!

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