Keeping a Low Profile

In the days following my foiled attempt at finding clues after sighting a deer poacher on the neighboring property, I found myself keeping close to home. The weather had become cold and blustery, with occasional fog and drizzle, and I was anxious about continuing my investigation before the coming weekend when rifle season would open. But that would have to wait now, as I planned to leave on Friday morning to join my brother’s family in Wichita, where both of their children live, for an early Thanksgiving dinner celebration. With FD off hunting, I packed up Mr. T and Oscar and we headed north.

The weekend in Wichita was wonderful! We all laughed about having seven dogs and two cats to the seven humans present. There was never a dull moment. And despite having a restful weekend with good food and great company, I awoke on Sunday with a headache like no other. Instead of journeying home that day as planned, my niece Rachel took good care of me, and we watched movies, while I dozed mostly with an ice bag on my head. Finally, on Monday, I felt well enough to drive the nearly four hours home.

The drive home was beautiful. Redrock walls, colorful oaks and elms, and twinkling sunlit farm ponds and waterways made for stunning scenery, as I took the winding rural roads the last fifty miles home. I have skirted Oklahoma City all of this year and, for this trip, had chosen, once again, to go around to avoid the road construction going on in the city. This route was much more scenic and took just a bit longer than driving through OKC. And, on this day, the drive was more than pleasant. We had not had a spectacular show of fall color like this for many years. And when I arrived home, FD had a surprise for me. While I was gone he had made arrangements to have the electric buggy batteries replaced – something we had put off for far too long. I was excited! The shop that did the work had just called for us to pick up the buggy. So back we went towards El Reno, which was the way I had just taken home.

Tuesday morning I was itching to head to the river to continue my investigation, but there was work to be done here at the house. I could not ignore the fact that I had been gone a few days and there were chores to be done. The weather looked warm and windy for the days to come and I knew there would be time to slip away for a bit of snooping around.

But that did not happen. Tuesday night just after dinner, I experienced the worst pain of my life on my lower left side. A trip to the local emergency room confirmed kidney stones. So for the next five days the pain came and went. Prescription drugs kept me comfortable, and I laid in bed most of the time. I was thankful we had just invested in an adjustable bed, and found myself raising and lowering the incline level – trying to find just the right spot. I was also thankful FD could be home with me those first days. Through our bedroom’s sliding patio doors I watched the wind tear at the trees, ripping all of those beautiful leaves away before I could photograph them. I also watched FD feed Punkin the squirrel on the back porch, who seemed to be taking advantage of his kindness – I never indulged her in that many pecans! FD also brought a very frantic Oscar in to visit me every so often. Mostly, I snoozed away the hours with the TV on. And, for the first time I can think of, I had no desire to get out of the bed.

I cannot tell you the last time I took prescription medications – maybe more than a decade ago!
My view from our bedroom. At least I could stay connected to the outdoors with a view!
Without the mama around to play with and run around outdoors, what else is there to do but nap all day?
Thank goodness for my gadgets!

By Sunday, I had passed a second kidney stone. The CT scan showed another yet on the right side, so someday I will have to endure this agony again. But I did not think of that now. Food began to appeal to me a little more, and I got up to wash a few dishes, and puttered around with a load of laundry. On Monday, other than feeling fatigued most of the day, I felt back to my usual self. I moved at a slower pace, but it felt good to be back on my feet. After lunch, I felt up to a buggy drive. I did not do a lot of walking, but I did get out and walk around the lower west end while I watched the harvesters move around the soy bean field across the way. Dust kicked up from behind the giant combine and drifted off to the south in the gentle breeze. Hawks showed up, perching in nearby trees while watching for field varmints on the run. When the combine moved to the westerly field, I continued my buggy ride into the woods. A group of Tom turkey’s quietly lurked through the downed trees and woodland debris, headed the opposite direction from me. I knew better than to try to follow them. Turkeys have keen eyesight. A little further down, I saw a lump in the dried weeds. Walking over to the spot, I discovered a dead armadillo. Opportunistic ants were already at work on the carcass.

I could not determine what happened here, but this kill was just hours old.
After a few days of fierce winds, only the Bradford Pear trees and a few oaks kept their leaves.
This White-crowned sparrow enjoyed a view of the last of the soybean field before the harvester moved in.
What a lot of dust this machine kicked up! Thankfully the breeze kept the dust and debris to the south, and I was east of it!
I counted eight tom turkeys in this flock. They never flew away, instead they marched quickly and quietly through the brush and dried grasses.
When I am finally able to walk to the island and beyond to the river, I will have an easier time crossing the fields, now that the soybeans have been harvested.

Feeling a bit tired, I decided to head home. As I bumped along the path through the orchard, I noticed another dark lump just ahead. It was a turtle of some sort. I laughed to myself at the significance of this turtle showing up just as I was about to head back into the house for the evening. To me, turtles symbolize slowing down and pacing oneself. Yet they are determined and persistent. That pretty much described how I felt at the moment, and how I would carry on in the coming days…

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


55 thoughts on “Keeping a Low Profile

    1. I suspect the headache (one of the worst I’ve ever had) could have had something to do with the onset of the kidney stones. If so, though I’d hate to have another headache like that, it would be good to have warning of the other kidney stone passing. What I nightmare that would have been to have had to deal with sudden onset of a kidney stone on my way home from Wichita – not to mention having Mr. T and Oscar with me! I truly thought I was at death’s door passing those stones!

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  1. So sorry to hear what you went through with the kidney stone. My hubby had one and landed in the ER many years back. Said it was the worst pain of his life. Glad that’s behind you now. Sometimes they can do a twenty-four hour urine analysis to see what chemicals might be passing through your kidneys that form into stones and you can alleviate that from your diet: like oxalates which is what they found with my husband. He just doesn’t eat spinach and has had no further episodes. It sounds like you had a lovely Thanksgiving and nice drive back. Take good care. Sending a special hug and ❤

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    1. Thank you, Paulette. I hope that stone on the right side passes easily when it finally decides to pass. Right now the thought of going through that again is worrisome!

      I am so thankful I took that back roads drive – I wish I had stopped to photograph some of it that day. We rarely have weather and conditions that give us stunning autumn color, but this year it was spectacular.

      I’ve just started your latest book… I can’t seem to put it down! 🙂

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    1. Yes,exactly! I’ve been watching with a binoculars from our property and have not seen anything. I wonder if the game warden got a hold of him or at the very least, talked to the owner and guy who leases the property. I’ll take another hike as soon as I can get free. I’m back to good healthwise!

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    1. It sure was a gorgeous trip home! I’m glad I took the back roads. I read this other kidney stone on the other side, but maybe I’ll get lucky and it won’t be as bad as the others. I’ve read sometimes they don’t pass at all or they can break down and pass normally with little pain.

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      1. Crossing my fingers that it’s the later for you! I had a Kidney infection at one point and that was bad enough. I can’t imagine the pain of passing a Kidney stone!

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        1. That brings up a good point – kidney infections often follow passing a stone since the stone sort of tears up the ureter lining. I made sure to drink a lot of water and cranberry juice after I passed the stones.

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  2. My husband had kidney stones one year ago this thanksgiving. It scared me, especially when the young (insert idiot here) doctor told us that one of his kidneys looked cancerous to him on the scan and we should get to the doctor ASAP. Talk about a scare! Turned out not to be true…whew. However, there were definitely kidney stones. He passed them and hasn’t had them since. He didn’t drink enough water, but that has improved significantly which I hope has helped.
    I’m glad you are feeling better.

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    1. Good heavens! What a terrible scare, Kim! I’m not sure my diagnosis that night in the ER was totally correct either. They told me I had passed a stone, but at home I kept screening for a stone since I was still in a lot of pain. Sure enough I passed a stone. So either I had not passed it (but they couldn’t see anything there anymore) or I had and they missed a second one. In all, I was a bit upset that as healthy as we are and follow a very healthy eating lifestyle, I was still susceptible to a diet-related issue. So much for bragging rights about eating well.

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  3. Rats about the kidney stones, but glad you’re back on your feet! I’m sure it must have been frustrating to be laid up instead of out and about as you like to be. Love the turtle — do you know what species he is? (I don’t know turtles well…) I like the wavy edge to the back of his shell. 🙂

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    1. I did a lot of research, Kim, and could not pinpoint what species that turtle is. The dark coloring of the shell and legs along with the dark eyes, did not match anything with the Oklahoma species. I usually like to research what I photograph, but this time I came up with nothing. It’s frustrating when I can’t find what I need.

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  4. Oh that was a rough stretch of illness for you. I am so sorry that you had the dreadful pain of kidney stones. I hope that by now you are feeling up to snuff again. I really enjoyed the photos. All of them are good and so interesting.

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  5. Lori, I am so sorry to read this! Kidney pain weather stones or infection is killer pain! I have had both. I’m so glad you are up and about again and agree with the PofMD that you should investigate the cause further. If you know the poison that is setting your system off, then you can avoid those foods and the misery.

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    1. I have to admit, eating so healthy like we do, I was a little bit disappointed to deal with an issue that is due to diet. I’ll have to wait now to have another stone (on the other side) analyzed to see what needs to change. I am all about changing things up – I never want to go through that kind of pain again!

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      1. NO, never again if you can prevent it. It is surely misery. 😦 Last person I knew with this problem it was because of proteins in meat and milk products. My friend (his wife) said he was going crazy without his red meat and cheese! I also had a preschool student who had surgery to remove one the size of a walnut!!! She was only 4. I never knew what brought mine on. I was 24 and on a road trip with friends from Pomona to the Pinnacles National Park. All the way there (about 300 miles) I had this pain in my back and thought I had sprained something. Then when I got home the stone passed and the ache went away.

        It is crazy what our bodies can do to us if they don’t like what we are feeding them.

        And on a happier topic: If you get a chance to go to the Pinnacles, I highly recommend it! It was beautiful and a wonderful hiking spot. https://www.nps.gov/pinn/index.htm

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        1. I am leaning towards the fact that I never have been good at drinking water. If I capture this other stone, perhaps we will have a better idea about diet causing the problem. For now, I’m really upping hydration. You’re right though, our bodies give us clear messages about what isn’t working!

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  6. Oh Lori, that sounds awful! So sorry to read this. I’ve heard how very painful kidney stones can be. Do take your time to get back into a normal routine. I’m sure it is a big blow to a person’s body to have to deal with the stones and the medication involved. Big hugs.

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  7. Lori, I am thankful you are through all of this and without surgery, although the process of passing those stones sounds horrible. My husband has been through this, but required surgery. Anyway, it’s good you are back outside, in the place you most love. So glad also that you could spend time with your family.

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    1. I cannot imagine being a man passing a stone. They say it’s much worse for them. Anything worse than I experienced – well, I just can’t imagine. The ER doctor only stated “another one on the right side” so I assume it’s another small one. Thankfully the two small ones I had on the left finally passed. I think the key is taking pain meds immediately, and taking in a lot of fluids to push things through – and also to keep pushing fluids to avoid an infection. It certainly was a learning experience.

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  8. From the easy way you include physical setbacks in your weekend story, which is highlighted by beautiful and interesting photographs, I can tell, Lori, that your outdoor interests and adventuring (including nature detective work!) have made you strong, resilient, and other-focused.

    I’m glad you have that nice view outside your window as you recover. Think upon that turtle: no need to rush back to your work&play routine. Slow and steady. That’s the way everything grows. You know that, but the turtle never forgets. Take care.

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    1. Thank you, Albert. The turtle was a welcome “sign” for me, and quite fitting. Any time I cross paths with a wild critter, it means something to me. I am at a point in life where “slow and steady” appeals, and feels good.

      I do hope to get back to my detective work soon. 🙂

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  9. I’ve never known anyone who had kidney stones, but I’ve read about how painful they can be, and your experience certainly does support that.

    I went to the Mayo Clinic site to read up on causes and symptoms, and found this very interesting tidbit: “Often, stones form when the urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.”

    Do you remember writing some weeks ago about your experience of exhausting yourself in the pecan orchard, and our discussion of dehydration? And do you remember my mentioning that headaches can be a result of dehydration? It’s worth some thought. It may be that diet isn’t at issue in your case at all, but water. Over time, low-level dehydration may have contributed to the formation of the stones, and all of us know how hard it is to stay hydrated when traveling as well as working.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re feeling better, and are back on your feet. You might consider how much water you’re drinking, even in this cooler weather. Ounce of prevention, pound of cure, and all that!

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    1. While I was laid up I read that very same information on the Mayo website. It hit me that my headaches had been more frequent this summer and fall – although this last one was very intense. I had not thought about the heat exhaustion since it happened. It all makes sense that I was probably somewhat dehydrated most of the time. They did give me fluids at the ER, and the nurse kept saying again and again that hydration was so important. So, Linda, I believe you have hit the nail on the head.

      On reading about how I can make the best of passing another stone, again it’s about good hydration. I am also taking a supplement that may help in breaking down the stone so it may pass easier. Lemon or lime juice added to water may also help with that. Regardless, I have a tall glass of water with me at all times! And if I’m cold, I’m good to sip on hot water.

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      1. Strangely enough, I have as much problem keeping hydrated in winter as in summer. Because it’s cool (or cold) and I don’t sweat or get thirsty, I forget about it — until a headache comes along, or my skin suddenly isn’t as elastic, or a foot or leg cramp wakes me up. So often it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference, and water is one of those things. Drink up!

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  10. You were in Wichita, Kansas on Thanksgiving Day? We were not far from there on Thanksgiving day. Moundridge. We could have met to say hi! 🙂 We had a good day too. Lots of good food camaraderie and holding brand new twins. I am so sorry you had a bad time with your headache and kidney stones. I have not had the pleasure of having kidney stones, and I really don’t want to. I have a cousin who has had a very bad time with them, and know several people who have also.
    I think God was keeping you away from the poacher. You can get hurt, or even killed trying to track one. I had a mouthful to say to one once, and if looks could have killed, I would have been dead. My husband was upset with me when I told him. So glad you are safe. It is good to take things slow and steady sometimes.
    I love all the pictures. Glad to hear Punkin is still around. And your dogs are so pretty. Take care.

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    1. I know where Moundridge is! They have that cool city sign along the interstate. Actually I was in Wichita two weeks before Thanksgiving – my brother’s family had an early celebration where they could all be together. I was happy they asked me to join them. Wichita is half way for me and my brother. Both of his children live in the Wichita area. I would have loved to have met you – do you have family in Moundridge?

      I thought about that too – that maybe I was being kept from harm’s way! If anything will stop a person in their tracks, a kidney stone will sure do the trick!

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      1. My husband’s brother and his wife lives there on her family farm. Their children live within about a mile from them. My sister-in-law has Thanksgiving dinner every year and we usually go there on the day. Maybe sometime we can go down and you can come up and we will chat in person. I used to go to Wichita occasionally when the Equifest was there each year in February. Since I am a horse nut, it was an excuse to go for the weekend and have dinner with the family. Now they have moved the Equifest to Topeka the last couple of years. So we don’t have much of an excuse to go to Wichita before Thanksgiving.

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        1. We can hook up via email and let each other know about travel. It would be great to meet you! I will be traveling through Wichita a good bit this next year – we have a graduation and a wedding in Nebraska in the spring.

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          1. Will you be coming through Topeka? It would not be a problem to come there. We are in Topeka a lot. I grew up there. We are only about 20-30 north. Or if you are going to be going through Holton, Kansas, coming or going, that would be better. We will be going to Moundridge again around December 30 for a Christmas gathering. And to see another new baby born to the other brother of the twins. Can you get my email from my information on wordpress? If not let me know and I will give it to you. I have an email just for my blogging.

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  11. all your lovely readers .. I enjoyed reading all the comments too. Sometimes I see a snapping turtle on my track and i always stop to watch him. they seem to slow us down without much bother. my fingers are crossed that you are successfully dissolving stone number three. ghastly. I should get them, what with my terrible lack of water habits. maybe the wine helps!! i will follow your lead and get to drinking the warm water – i hate ice in water – cold water – warm or hot water is the one for me. I had a friend who had an app that told her when to drink water but i need a butler to follow me about WITH the water. love love c

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    1. Ha ha ha! I don’t think they make butlers that could keep up with you! The phone app might be a good idea for me though since I do carry my phone with me most of the time. I’m looking into that today – it could be a very useful tool! Funny thing about that too. I detest these cell phones that seem so important. The ONLY reason I carry one is in case that I got bit by a copperhead snake (they’re all over this area). Seriously. Getting bit by any venomous snake (we have a couple varieties of rattlesnake here too) means getting help ASAP and keeping mobility low. Since snakes love wood piles and debris, I see them a lot in my work.

      We have many species of turtle here, but the snappers are my favorites! I posted long ago about a very old snapping turtle that crossed our front yard. She was an absolute beauty, all smooth from age – no spikes on her back, no sharp beak – just a confident girl moving along. Another species I love are the red-eared sliders. Since we have the slough and old river channel, we see a lot of water turtles around.

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  12. Not good at all when one’s in pain. Someone active like you being down is all the more depressing! Take care and have plenty of water.
    Am glad you’re back on your feet though!

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  13. Hi Lori, As the festive season bears down, I hope you have fully recovered from your bout of ill health and have been able to resume your normal activities. I hope you and yours are all safe and sound.

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    1. I’m doing well, Margaret. I just made a trip to Nebraska to visit with family before the cold, blustery weather hits up there. The rest of the winter here in the south should be nice, and I hope to have plenty of good weather to get back to the orchard cleanup.

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  14. Oh man, I’m sorry about he kidney stone… I know VERY well the pain. Same thing here a few years ago. I learned how important drugs are when used in the proper manner. It’s good to know that when there is real pain it can be managed. I had a morphine drip in the hospital and it was amazing to feel the pain completely go away in seconds. Good news is that the recovery is rather quick and life goes on. Your other kidney stone may stay right where it is forever, don’t worry about it. Or, it’ll pick the worst time to move, you know when you’re on a plane going on vacation! ha ha! Sometimes they can dissolve and pass without you even knowing it too… so just enjoy life and forget about it. Love the post, always a joy to read.

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    1. Aw, thanks! I’ve been drinking lots of water and plan on keeping it that way. You’re right – there is no sense in worrying and anticipating the stone on the other side. I hope it stays or goes peacefully. Regardless, it’s all about keeping hydrated for me now. I learned a lot on this “adventure”! 😀

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  15. so sorry to hear about your pain and kidney stone – hope for your quick recovery, drink plenty of cucumber or Gatorade, they both are helpful to reduce any pain!!!

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