Category Archives: Annice’sAngle

Care-giving for Husbands and Dogs


Just when I thought my care-taking days and nights were diminishing, life decided otherwise.  For starters, my husband’s surgery to pin his hip back in place failed, and ten days later he was back in the hospital for a full-blown hip replacement.  While I know this is a very common procedure, it doesn’t mean it’s easy or pain-free, not to mention what it’s been like for moi.  This time, the doctor recommended home health care, and thank god for Care Partners (and drugs).

Care Partners is providing quality nurses, physical therapists and even an occupational therapist who come to our house for support and care which is not only needed but greatly appreciated.   But, it’s a slow recovery, and my husband hates being dependent on anyone, even me.  And he won’t let me insert a photo of him doing his physical therapy, claiming he has privacy issues.

And for those of you who asked about my sweet rescue, Gus, I’m happy to report that his anal infection is practically gone and he’s doing much better thanks to the very expensive auto-immune drug treatment he was on for thirty days.  Now, he/we have a new problem.  Well, it’s not entirely new as he already had a bad knee (ACL) so, you can imagine the beating his knee took while being severely constipated and forced to squat to do his business.  This all happened while Len was in the hospital, and I had to actually help Gus (all 85 lbs. of him) get up and down despite the customized dog bed I had made for him and Carli.  Thank you Kathleen for making such cool looking beds for both my dogs.     

In between Len’s surgery, I found myself scurrying home to help Gus go out and then finally taking him to the vet – very difficult getting him into the car.  The doc gave him a stronger anti-inflammatory (short term because it could damage the liver) and after 2 days he was improving.  Now he is back to himself and Len is home and I’m exhausted.

And just when I was feeling sorry for myself, I turned on Dr. Oz (daytime T.V. is quite an experience), and  on that particular day I saw a short piece about a young mother who has three (NOT 1 but 3!) autistic children.  That certainly put it all in perspective for me.

A Big Pain in the Hip


It’s not supposed to snow a lot in Asheville, but this winter (like the rest of the country) we were covered up.  During the last snow storm, my husband decided to shovel his car out of the driveway even though I told him there was a huge sheet of black ice and it was too dangerous, and in fact stupid.  However, my dear husband was determined to get his car out of our driveway no matter what.  Did I say I live on a mountain 2200 ft. high and our driveway is one hell of a steep slope?

I won’t bore you with all the details about our driveway and the fact that a standard 8 ft. plow is too wide to go down it.  So, on that particular day, two weeks ago, my husband slipped and fell.  He said he didn’t hurt himself and proceeded to walk around for almost a week with pain that eventually got so bad he had to go to the doctor.  The next day, he was in surgery for a broken hip and 3 pins.

broken hip with pins

Continue reading A Big Pain in the Hip

Women Over 50 Who Love Their Pets


If you recall, over a year ago, I wrote about Gus, my 10 year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever.  We rescued him eight years ago, complete with a bullet underneath his belly.

Gus taking it easy

My post at that time was about how constipated he was and how putting him on prednisone turned him into the dog from hell.  Needless to say, it was a messy time for both of us.

Well, poor Gus is not only constipated again but it’s much worse: perianal fistulas.  When the vet gave me the diagnosis, I immediately went home to research it.  I already knew the condition was painful because poor Gus took forever to poop, and moan while doing it.  Besides the pain, there was the itching, and irritation of the skin surrounding the anus.  Worse still, the poor guy has the beginnings of small ulcers surrounding his anus (I’ll spare you the photos).  Since Gus can’t take prednisone, he has to take an immunosuppressive medication (cyclosporine) which costs almost $300 for a month’s supply, and that’s if I buy it in Canada.  The doctor doesn’t know how long he has to be on it, but Gus doesn’t care than it costs more than my car payment.  Oh, he’s also on an antibiotic, and Flagyl (prescribed for  anti-inflammatory bowel).  And don’t let me forget to mention, he’s also taking Tramadol for pain relief for the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) connecting the shin bone to the thigh bone.)

Gus at play
In the end, we’ll probably have to change his diet to an even more expensive one because studies have shown the benefits of feeding afflicted dogs a grain-free diet containing one single protein the dog has never eaten.  This reduces the possibility of triggering the immune system and preventing abscesses from healing.   Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance (Venison & Sweet Potato, Lamb & Rice, Sweet Potato & Fish) and Blue’s Buffalo Venison, Sweet Potato & Vegetables is another option.  Oh, I could also make his food, in which case, I could eat it, too, and keep it simple in the kitchen!
Good dog

Despite all that, Gus is still very athletic, eats like it’s his last meal, and scares anyone who comes to the door unannounced.  And most of all, he’s extremely affectionate and worth all my efforts.  Obama care for dogs?  That’s what I’m talking about!

A Woman’s 88th Birthday Celebration: High Tea at the Biltmore Inn – Oh so civilized!

The next time you or one of your dear friends celebrate her 88thbirthday, I highly recommend afternoon tea at the Biltmore Inn located on the Biltmore Estate in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

The Biltmore Inn

You all have been introduced to my dear friend Adele Rose, and on Nov. 24th she turned 88.  I say that’s a cause for celebration in grandiose style.  Joined by our favorite yoga teacher and friend, Cindy Dollar from One Center Yoga, the three of us arrived promptly for tea at 4:00 p.m.

In the Library at the Inn

Continue reading A Woman’s 88th Birthday Celebration: High Tea at the Biltmore Inn – Oh so civilized!

How far would you drive for a great AFFORDABLE haircut?


How far you would drive for a great AFFORDABLE haircut?  Would you drive 2.5 hours?  I confess, I did exactly that.  Included in that haircut was color to banish the gray, a few caramel-colored highlights that my sister says is needed to lighten up the face, and since I had to wait for the color anyway, I went ahead and had my eyebrows waxed.  So there, I drove 2.5 hours up and over the mountains (round-trip) from Asheville, NC to Unicoi, TN for a day of high maintenance.  On the way, I picked up my friend Betty in Marshall where we had breakfast  at Zuma’s before heading out to the Dragonfly Salon.

Me, Betty and Zuma's

“Why do it?, my husband asks.  “You’re crazy.  You mean to tell me there is not one hairdresser in all of Asheville who can cut your hair?”  Of course there is, but I don’t feel like paying two hundred dollars every time I need a cut and color.  You see, I was spoiled by Mari, who is not only a great haircutter and colorist, but does it very affordably.

The Infamous Dragonfly Salon in Unicoi, TN
Me and Mari - the process begins

When Mari first moved to Tennessee I told myself I would never drive to another state for a haircut.  That was before I spent two years in search of the perfect hairdresser, stopping women everywhere asking them who cut their hair and how much they paid.  I had no shame.  I want to tell you, no one has ever accused me of being cheap.   I completely support stylists getting as much as they can for their haircuts.  It’s just that I can’t pay those big city prices, and let’s not forget that the economy tanked and without any cost of living increase over the last three years, my salary has been going down instead of up.  And yes, I’m happy to have a job – no whining here.

So, after considerable introspection, I embarked on the Big C (the big compromise).  I opted to go local and accept a mediocre haircut and color at half the price.  That lasted for two years until my mediocre stylist turned what was supposed to be brown hair (with caramel highlights) totally blond.  I screamed.  I had no one to blame but myself.  Why did I tell her to leave her lazy husband who hadn’t worked for two years and forced her to pay the mortgage, the loan for his houseboat, and his kid’s vacation at Disneyland?   No doubt, my blond hair was  punishment for giving out free advice when not asked!

So that’s how I ended up driving 2.5 hours to Tennessee with my good friend Betty,  only to return to North Carolina at 4:00 in the afternoon, nicely coiffed and colored.  And in case you’re wondering why I  just don’t go gray, let me tell you, if the economy gets any worse, I will have to because I won’t be able to afford the gas.

Annice and Betty looking good!