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Medical update

January 17, 2022

David retook the third eye test he had failed and passed it. He does not have glaucoma. He is so relieved.

As for me and my right shoulder pain, I have decided to live with it. I was supposed to undergo an MRI at Straub on January 13, but it was cancelled when they would not let me wear my muumuu during the test even though there was nothing metallic on my clothing. I could not change into a hospital gown with one hand. Too painful.

Because the MRI was cancelled, there will be no surgery. It’s fine with me. I am immuno compromised and have other health issues. I don’t consider myself a good candidate for surgery.

Tomorrow, I’ll see my orthopedic surgeon at Pali Momi and will request a referral to physical therapy. Dr. Fei told me at my prior visit that my pain will decrease in 3-4 weeks, so, I’ll wait for that to happen.

Meanwhile, I bought a Brondell left-handed bidet from Amazon for $60. Shipping was free, because I have Prime. Maria installed it for me:

Turn the large knob to the right for the rear spray and to the left for the front spray. The small knob is to clean the nozzle:

This is the nozzle:

Since I can use only one hand, I cannot use dental floss. I bought this Hangsun water flosser from Amazon for $30. You fill it up with water, place the spout between your teeth, and press the top button. The water shoots out the food particles. Every three months, you have to recharge the battery.

Somehow, I have managed to keep myself comfortable with David’s help. It’s all I can ask for at a time like this.

And, yes, I typed this post with only my left forefinger. Slowly, but surely, my blog gets written, and it makes me so happy to express my thoughts for all to read.

Julia: Soccer in Arizona (Jan. 2022)

January 14, 2022

My 14-year-old granddaughter, Julia, had a great time in Mesa, Arizona this past week. She and her team from Hawaii played their hearts out in the ODP West Regional Soccer Tournament. Julia scored 9 points in the tournament, controlling the ball and passing very well. Unfortunately, they lost to SoCal. However, they beat Washington in the consolation game. All in all, it was an exciting tournament.

As usual, her father, Grant, was her chaperone. He said the weather in Mesa, Arizona was very cold, ranging between 40-70F. Brrrr.

May be an image of 14 people, people standing and grass
May be an image of 8 people, people standing and outdoors
May be an image of 9 people, people standing and outdoors
May be an image of 3 people, people playing football, people standing and grass
May be an image of 3 people, people standing and grass
May be an image of 6 people, people standing and grass
May be an image of 2 people, people standing and outdoors
May be an image of 8 people, people playing sports, people standing and grass

David’s sleep apnea test

January 12, 2022

Normal breathing during sleep (left) and obstructive sleep apnea (right).

***

In 2012, David was having trouble sleeping through the night, so he underwent a sleep apnea test at Straub Medical Center. His co-payment was $400.

He showed up at the center with his favorite pillow and changed into a hospital gown. Electrodes were placed all over his body and extremities. He tried to fall asleep. Then, he told the technician that he had to urinate. He got up and dragged the wires with him to the toilet. He went back to bed. A few minutes later, he told the technician that he was thirsty and needed to drink water. The technician argued that it would make him urinate again. David insisted that he could not sleep when he was thirsty. So, he was given a cup of water. He settled down and dozed off.

Test results: David has mild sleep apnea. No need for a special machine. He is to continue using nose strips. The test also revealed that his feet twitch a lot, and this wakes up his brain. This is called restless leg syndrome. His neurologist decided to prescribe Mirapex for it. I don’t think it helps David. There is a hole in his bed sheet, which indicates that his feet still move while he sleeps. He should stop taking this ineffective drug.

What does wake him up is the periodic need to urinate. Then, after going to the bathroom, he has difficulty falling asleep again. He should avoid drinking water before bedtime. Common sense.

So, that sleep apnea test back in 2012 was useless. It cost $400 and did nothing for him.

There are home sleep apnea tests that you can purchase on Ebay for $98. But, are they accurate? And are you able to interpret the results correctly? I wouldn’t buy these home tests.

What an awful birthday!

January 10, 2022

It was my 76th birthday last week, and David and I spent the morning at two separate hospitals. He went to Straub Clinic Pearlridge to undergo three eye tests for glaucoma. He passed two tests but flunked the third. He has to retake the visual acuity test, which tests the peripheral vision in his left eye. If he flunks again, then he obviously has glaucoma. He previously had cataract surgery on that eye and has been experiencing floaters, too. Thank God his right eye is fine.

As for me, ugh!!! I just hated my 76th birthday! It was just awful. Ever since I threw a heavy object into a closet on December 26, my right shoulder has been hurting when I move it. I am typing this post with my left hand. It is very difficult. So, on my birthday, I had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at Pali Momi Medical Center at 10:45 am, whereas David had his eye appointment at Straub Clinic Pearlridge at 9:30 am. Logistically, it was impossible for him to take me to Pali Momi. I took the taxi, and he drove his car.

The taxi took me to the brand new lobby at Pali Momi. I was so impressed with the beautiful lobby. They really did a good job remodeling the medical center. It is so much nicer than Straub. I just loved the sleek new lines of the building and the ultra-modern features of the clinic. I can just imagine how wonderful the hospital wing must be.

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Pali Momi Medical Center.

Anyway, my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Timothy Fei, showed me the X-ray of my shoulder. It looked bad. No wonder I am in so much pain. Diagnosis: Traumatic complete tear of right rotator cuff. The ball of my shoulder has fallen out of the socket due to bleeding in that area. I need an MRI to see the extent of the damage. That will be scheduled as soon as my insurance company approves it. Dr. Fei said that I might need surgery. After the MRI, he will discuss treatment options with me. Meanwhile, he recommended Tylenol for pain relief. No narcotics for me.

So, that is how David and I spent my 76th birthday. Bummer. I guess I should be grateful that Maria came by in the morning and hugged me before going to work. Lisa called long distance from Nevada to wish me a happy birthday. It was very sweet of them to remember their mother’s birthday.

David bought a large hand tossed pizza, topped with pepperoni and pineapple, from Pizza Hut. Delicious! I don’t care what President Obama said, pineapple does belong on pizza!!! As a Hawaii born son, how can he possibly say that it does not? Come on, Obama, you can’t be serious. Pepperoni and pineapple on pizza – why, it just about made my birthday bearable! Who needs a birthday cake with 76 candles?

Pizza, topped with pepperoni and pineapple.

Must learn to drive again

January 7, 2022

In 2019, I sold my 3-year-old Hyundai Accent sedan to Servco, a Toyota dealer, for $7,500. The reason for this was that I rarely drove it, and it was expensive to own two cars.

Since then, David has been driving me everywhere in his red Hyundai Tuscon SUV. It is wonderful to have a chauffeur, who doesn’t complain about being my chauffeur. This guy just loves to get into his car and drive.

Our 2022 Hyundai Tuscon SUV.

However, it was very inconvenient for me when my friend, Lynette, invited me to her home for lunch in December. She had also invited five other females to join us. David was not invited. Since I was unaccustomed to driving after selling my car, I was hesitant to drive to her home in Manoa, which was quite a distance from my home. It would have necessitated driving on the freeway, and I was afraid of doing so. Anyway, David drove me to Manoa, dropped me off, and then he picked me up after two hours to bring me home. Oh, it was bad!

I have decided to drive again. As soon as my right arm pain subsides, I’ll get back in the saddle and familiarize myself with the car. By the way, our 2022 Tuscon SUV was purchased in July 2021, less than a year ago. I still have not driven it. I must learn the different features of the car, which buttons to push and which levers to pull.

Slowly but surely, I’ll regain my independence.

Grin and bear it

January 5, 2022
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Lanikai Beach on Oahu.

***

On December 26, I had to put the house back together after our Christmas party. One of the things I had to do was store the bag of paper plates on the top shelf in the closet. There were around 100 paper plates in that bag, and it must have weighed 20-25 lbs or more. I swear it was as heavy as a tree trunk. After all, aren’t paper plates made from trees?

I lifted the bag up and threw it at the top shelf. It missed and fell to the floor. I lifted it up and threw it at the shelf again. But, it again fell to the floor. I called David to help me. He picked it up, complained that it was heavy, and threw it at the shelf. But, that, too, fell to the floor. Using a stool or ladder was pointless, since the bag was too heavy to lift. We decided to store the bag of paper plates on the floor of the closet, and that is where it is right now.

Since then, I have been experiencing sharp pain whenever I move my right arm. I can’t lift my right arm or twist it or move it sideways without it hurting. I even have a hard time typing. It’s primarily my shoulder muscle. Is it torn, strained, sprained? I don’t know. I have been treating it with Tiger Balm patches, Advil, and black tea. These remedies are helpful, but the pain is still there whenever I move my arm. I have an appointment with my doctor on January 14 and I’ll discuss it then. I might need physical therapy. Hopefully, not surgery!

Meanwhile, David has been helping me as best he can: Buying take-out food, washing the dishes, clothing me, driving me to appointments, placing Tiger Balm patches on my arm, etc. I am so grateful for his assistance. More than ever, I am so glad that God brought him into my life. What would I do without David?

I endure the pain and grin and bear it.

Happy New Year 2022

January 3, 2022
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Fireworks in Hawaii.

It rained and stormed all weekend. However, that did not stop people from burning firecrackers on New Year’s Eve. It was noisy and smokey. But what could we do? It’s traditional to do this on New Year’s Eve. David and I stayed indoors and did not participate.

On January 2, we attended a lovely concert at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. It featured the world-famous violinist, Joshua Bell, who performed the Barber Violin Concerto and the Price “Adoration.” He has a beautiful vibrato and expressive bowing. His wife, soprano Larisa Martinez, performed Moore’s “The Willow Song.” She has a warm, mellow voice, not screechy at all. Then, they both performed a duet with the orchestra accompanying them in Bernstein’s “West Side Story Suite.” Outstanding!!! Well-deserved prolonged standing ovation!!! They seemed to be so in love with each other, performing with sensitivity and refinement.

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Joshua Bell and Larisa Martinez.

The concert hall was not as packed with people as expected. Many people chose to stay home because of the rain and the Covid. We all had to show our vaccination cards at the entrance and wear our masks at all times. There was no social distancing. However, we were told that the Blaisdell now uses Hepa filters and UV rays to kill the germs in the air and on the furniture.

Members of the orchestra wore masks throughout the performance. I think the only ones who didn’t were the brass and wind players, who needed to blow their instruments. The conductor also wore a mask.

Hawaii Symphony Orchestra.

The case count in Hawaii is surging, and we are being told repeatedly to wear our masks and get our booster shots. It is so hard to do this. But do this we must. Our lives are at stake.

I think the Covid virus is here to stay. It’s like the flu; it will never go away. We’ll have to take the boosters and wear our masks for the rest of our lives.

Annuities

December 29, 2021

An oil painting by my friend, Flo Miyahira.

***

We have decided to invest a sizeable chunk of money in annuities. The reason for this is that interest rates from the banks are so low that they are a joke! And we are leery of investing in mutual funds because of the risk of losing money in the market. At our age, we don’t have time to recoup our losses.

There are two types of annuities: Short term and Lifetime annuities.

David is investing $40,000 in a 5-year short term annuity at 2.8%. He can withdraw up to 10% per year without penalty. There also is a death benefit whereby his heirs can inherit the balance of his principal. At the end of 5 years, he gets his $40,000 back plus interest. His insurance company is Americo.

I am investing $100,000 in a lifetime annuity at 6.66%. I need to boost my monthly income. I’ll continue to receive $555 per month from my annuity until I die. My mother lived to age 99, so I might get lucky and do the same. If I die prematurely, my beneficiaries will inherit the balance of my principal plus interest. I can also withdraw the principal, but I will have to pay a penalty on a sliding scale. After 10 years, there won’t be a penalty. My insurance company is Global Atlantic.

Each investment is insured by the State of Hawaii up to $250,000 per policy, so we need not worry about losing our money.

We hope that this is the right decision for both of us. We can’t see a better outcome for us retired people.

Christmas 2021

December 27, 2021

We had a very nice Christmas party in my home on Saturday. There were 12 of us. I invited Maria and her family, my sister Sylvia, her boyfriend, her son and daughter in law, and my nephew Charles and his fiancee.

Some highlights of our party:

Sylvia cancelled her trip to Portugal, because she was afraid of contracting the new variant raging in Europe. Not to mention there are all kinds of rules and regulations that she would have to adhere to over there. Hence, she didn’t go to Portugal as planned.

Sylvia’s boyfriend, Sonny, is a jazz guitarist and a home refinisher. We know the musicians, conductors, and composers he has worked with.

Sylvia’s son, Travis, graduated this month with his MA in Polynesian Island History and Literature from the University of Hawaii. He presently teaches at a school on Oahu.

Charles and Toni plan to move to Las Vegas, Nevada sometime next year. They said that they will contact Lisa when they get there. Lisa has been living in Las Vegas since 2012 and bought a house and adopted two dogs. It will be nice for her to see her cousins regularly.

It was potluck. I cooked some pasta, meatballs, and sauce, made a lychee-orange salad, a romaine salad, and provided a large bowl of chips. Others brought rice, meat juhn (Korean beef), Korean chicken, poke (raw fish), deviled eggs, beets, brussels sprouts, custard pie, and apple pie. It was all good, delicious, and plentiful.

In order to minimize viral transmission, we sat in two large rooms plus the patio. The temperatures were in the 70s and low 80s, but we did not use the air conditioners. We opened the windows and ventilated the rooms with a ceiling fan. Travis brought a canopy for the patio so that guests could sit in the shade.

I hope your Christmas was a good one. Blessings, everyone!

Holiday newsletters

December 22, 2021

I have finally sent out my holiday newsletters to friends and family. I emailed them to as many recipients as I could and snail mailed the rest.

Imagine snail mailing the newsletter to everybody. The cost of postage would be prohibitive, not to mention a lot of trees would have to be cut down to make paper.

In my newsletter, I wrote a bit about my year, during which I got involved with the violin, collected art, and renovated my home. I also included two photos: A photo of me and David dining at Michel’s and one of me playing the violin. This was quite simple to accomplish with the help of my computer.

These are the two photos that I included in my holiday newsletter:

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What would we do without the computer? It’s a godsend!