The next chapter in my life

Not a whole lot has been going on since the big show (which was FABULOUS, btw!).  I’ve been re-sorting and organizing the left-over product and deciding where it will go next; to my booth at Stars or to the ‘Every Husband’s Nightmare’ Spring Bazaar.  I’m doing a little work for an interior designer, whom will be opening her own shop in the area soon; AND learning how to get around the house while tethered to THIS thing!


Yep.  that is a portable oxygen machine.  An oxygen ‘concentrator’ actually.  I don’t have the big heavy tanks of oxygen as this machine MAKES the oxygen as you use it.  The small portable (???) tank on wheels is for ‘away from home’ use.  It holds 2 hours of oxygen and gets refilled on the concentrator, but it takes four hours to fill.

But you probably didn’t really want to know all that.  You’re probably wondering WHY, all of a sudden, I need supplemental oxygen?!?

First off, it’s not an all of a sudden or unexpected thing for me.  I’ve known for quite some time that I was eventually going to need it.  Albeit, not quite THIS soon.  I just have weak lungs.  Even as a child, I remember not being able to hold my breath under water for as other kids at the pool, or my siblings could.

It has a lot ot do with my bad back too.   I have scoliosis.  I had surgery to prevent my curve from progressing past the 50 degrees it had reached in 2001.  That surgery was supposed to make my life better and prevent my premature death from congestive heart failure.  Reason being, that once a spinal curve reaches 50 degrees, gravity will quickly accelerate it’s progression, causing the ribs to crowd into the heart and lungs causing CHF.

When the spine specialist (typically a neurologist will do spinal disc surgery) did my spine surgery, he removed a few ribs; scraped out all the ‘disc material’ from the affected discs; straightened my spine to the extent possible by attaching titanium rods and ‘jacking my spine up’ (much like you jack up a car to change a tire.  Seriously, THAT is how he explained it to me!) then securing the rods with screws and filling the empty discs with bone graft.  (they actually ground up and used my removed ribs for this!) So my spine, from C-7 through T-9 is a solid piece of unbendable bone; so it cannot curve anymore.

That surgery left me severely limited.  Much more so than I was forewarned it would.  (And I asked, believe me!)  I also asked about post op pain, and was told that this surgery was NOT done to address pain issues; and that once I recovered that my pain level would be the same as it was before the surgery.  Thing is, my back didn’t hurt or even bother me before the surgery.  I had the surgery ‘sooner’ as opposed to waiting until later to IMPROVE the quality of my life and my longevity.  I guess I’ve got the longevity; but certainly NOT the quality of life!

 I worked in the restaurant business around second hand smoke for 27 years.  In 1995 I developed asthma.  Just prior to my first spine surgery (I ended up requiring a secondary surgery a year later to remove the titanium rods) it was discovered that I had a heart murmur caused by a defective aortic valve.  All the more reason to have the surgery to prevent my ribs from ultimately crowding into my heart and lungs.

I started going to a pulmonologist a few years ago for my lungs and had a pulmonary function test done.  That test showed that my lungs were only functioning at 30% of normal.  Still, I felt fairly normal still, and because I couldn’t be athletically active because of my spine anyhow, it really didn’t affect my everyday life very much.

Alas, a few months ago I began to notice that I would get out of breath doing everyday things.  Rushing in the rain to carry groceries into the house from the car, vacuuming the house etc.  Then I noticed that my feet were cold ALL the time.  Even with the thermostat set at 70 and wearing 2 pairs of socks and slippers around the house.  And then I noticed that the base of my fingernails had a purple tint.  I had a feeling that ‘it was time’.  And the pulmonologist agreed.

I don’t need the oxygen ALL the time (yet!),  I’ve just been using it around the house when I’m not going to be doing too much moving around.  Just that little bit of use, her and there has made me feel better for the rest of the day.  And I sleep much more soundly after having used it before bed time.  (don’t need it while I sleep)

By the time I need to use it ‘away from home’, I’m hoping to qualify for one of those little ‘purse size’ devices that you can carry over your shoulder.  The ‘portable’ ones I have now would be pretty difficult to do anything with.  And they are NOT very light weight at all.  I’d probably hurt my back just lifting it in and out of the car and in and out of shopping carts at the store.  Kind of difficult to push a shopping cart with one hand and pull a small oxygen tank with the other!

So, I’m really not sure what’s next for me as far as my ‘work’ goes.  The Junk show REALLY took a toll on my.  I was wiped out for nearly a week afterwards, and that was WITH my son and daughter in law doing most of the tear down work.  I’m HOPING that the supplemental oxygen will allow me to do ‘one last show’, next February.  but only time will tell if I am physically able to do so.  I’ll continue to do Every Husband’s Nightmare bazaar in the spring and fall because it’s a week long ‘blended show’ and I don’t have to ‘be there’ manning a booth.  Just deliver and set up; then pack up at the end.  They sell for me and send me a check, minus their commission.  So it’s not nearly as labor intensive as the junk show is.

I foresee myself most likely shifting to more small hand work kinds of projects, and less furniture pieces in the future.  Eventually I’ll have to ‘go with the flow’ of what everyone else at the antique mall does; and just sell vintage finds and give up making them over.  But I’ve always foreseen that as happening.

And that is how this next chapter in my life begins!

Published in: on February 21, 2018 at 1:02 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wishing you good luck with your health and using this new machine. Maybe you will be put on a waiting list for a transplant.

  2. So sorry to hear about your health problems! I have marveled at all you accomplish. Hope you will still be able to do the things that bring you satisfaction and joy. Sending out prayer good ‘vibes’!

  3. I have really enjoyed following you and your accomplishments. Your booths have always looked fantastic. I wish you the best in fighting your health problems. Keep doing what you like and always know that you have a fan club. I paint and try to sell furniture and other home décor items. We will all pray for you.

  4. Wow! With all that information I am amazed you have managed as well as you have in the past! Well done of having a positive attitude and knowing your limitations.
    Having something to do I think is a great way to keep in a good frame of mind as well, so maybe stepping back and just doing the finds might the way to keep your creative side happy and still make a few dollars.

  5. Thanks for sharing. So sorry for all the health problems you have had to endure. I, myself, have seen things getting more difficult to do as I get older and wonder how I’m going to manage to move things around and haul this and that around in my truck as time goes on. I like to do the same things you do and enjoy reading your newsletters. Hope this new oxygen treatment works for you and you can continue doing most of the things you love. Bless you!!

  6. God bless you!

  7. Wow! You truly amaze me! I’m going to be praying for you daily about this situation. I believe the Lord is still a healer and that He is well able to touch your body.

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