Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I know I said that I would update this either Sunday night or Monday morning, but, things happen and that wasn't one of them.

Bill was very surprised with all of his guests! His youngest daughter and her daughter arrived Friday night and met us at Perkins for dinner. Bill still didn't really suspect anything until Em, Bryan, and McKenna showed up about 30 minutes later with his oldest son. They had picked him up at the bus station since it was closer to their house. Then he knew there was something going on!

His other daughter and her family, a grandson and his new wife, and his youngest son with his crew all arrived on Saturday. Bryan cooked enough food for an army, or so we thought. But, when you have a houseful of 24 to feed, you have to cook a lot! Only one son didn't come and his reason was really no reason, but it is what it is. 

Saturday everyone left to go back to the hotel and swim and then went out to eat together, so I think they all enjoyed each other. Bill and I were really tired and I could have gone to bed before it was even dark! We made it until about 9 and then called it a night.

Sunday Rodger and Diana had to in the morning, but the rest all came and had some lunch. John's bunch left soon after that and we took Harris back to the bus that evening. There was more swimming and Aimee made a birthday cake for her husband who hadn't been able to come due to being in the field. Since she had to use my kitchen we just ordered pizza and we went to bed rather early that night too. 

The girls both left yesterday, Aimee around 8 and Mary-Rose about 10. We heard from all of them when they were all safely home.

Kitty has been at the vet since Saturday morning. She had some bloody diarrhea Friday morning and I took her in. She got a shot and some medicine, but when we gave her the medicine she immediately threw up and started drooling really bad. The vet said that the fecal sample he took didn't show any parasites, just blood and mucus. But he said if she started vomiting to bring her back. I took her back Saturday morning and he was going to just have me bring her daily for shots, but decided to keep her. She's doing better, eating and drinking more and gets to come home tomorrow afternoon. I still don't know what made her sick, I'm just glad she's better. 

Because she's been gone I've slept in the last 3 mornings, it was almost 7 this morning before I got up! But, I also lose my quiet time, but the extra sleep is so nice!

I don't know if anyone will remember the incident I had a couple of years ago with my throat when we were in Florida with not being able to eat. That has started happening more and more and today, after coughing out a lot of phlegm while I was trying to have lunch for 2 hours, I broke down and went to the dr. about it. She said it's probably what I thought it was, my esophagus is constricting and needs stretched. She said it will probably need to be done every couple of years. So, just waiting for the referral to the gastro dr. to have the endoscopy done. It's at the same place that does Bill's colonoscopy and right next door to my cardiologist, she I know where it is. 

Bill has done well in therapy and has been riding the stationary bike while she is here. She comes once more on Friday and then will only come once a week for 3 weeks. Bill has gotten stronger from doing the exercises. 

He doesn't feel well today and is running a low grade fever. I think it's a combination of being tired from the week-end and not being on steroids any more. He sees Connie next week and she's going to put him on Prednisone again for a while. We'll see how he is tomorrow.

We've got to go to Dyersburg to get my military ID renewed and he has to be with me. It has to be done before July 10 so has to be soon. I let it expire once and that was a pain to deal with.

Well, I've got to go get some more Tylenol, we've used it all! Will probably give a short update this week-end. I hope all the fathers had a good day!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

This has been a rather quiet week after our trip to Illinois. There was no drama at Gene's service and the church was full. Mostly it was family, he had a big family, and some childhood friends. Everyone behaved themselves which we hoped would happen. Now that it's over and everyone is back home, it could be gloves off for some. There have been accusations of theft already, and the accuser's wife could be the thief, but, I'm staying in my own house and not getting involved.

My long to-do list got way-laid Friday when home health showed up to evaluate Bill for physical therapy. First there was our friend Ricky, the nurse, who had to go back over all his meds and everything from before. Then came Kevin the therapist. He was pleased at Bill's strength in his hands and arms, so they are working more on conditioning and stamina. He's had two sessions now with Tammy. He hasn't felt well since we've been home, air quality has been bad, so he didn't do his exercises in between days. Hopefully I can get him to do them this week-end.

Bill has reverted back to waiting on me to do everything for him. I know he's tired from the trip and we've had a code orange air quality alert all week so he has just stayed in. But, he's again not moving off the couch unless it's to use the bathroom, he's not reading, he's just back to watching really stupid shows on TV that I can't stand. But, then he wants me to sit with him and not do anything that needs to be done! He'll tell me I'm working too hard.

My repeat eye appointment was yesterday and they did 3 different tests. They mapped my eyes, check peripheral vision and then did another test with me hooked to electrodes to see how my optic nerve transmitted info to my brain. The hemorages (sp) he saw are gone. I told him that it was all his fault I had to see the cardiologist and have the new meds, but he was just glad he caught it.

My pressures have been in the normal range, even through all the stress of the week-end. I did notice some swelling in my leg but I think that was more due to driving and then having my legs dangle too long. By morning it was back to normal so I'm just keeping an eye on it. The dr. had said that swelling was a side-effect of the new med and since it's a high dose to watch it. I need to call and see if she wants me to cut it in half or just continue monitoring.

The surprise Father's Day party is going to happen. I've heard from all the kids except Joe. I still don't know when/if John is coming. He says he is but he doesn't know when or how many yet so he's on his own as far as hotel goes. They will start arriving Thursday night, others on Friday, some on Saturday (will probably miss the party) and then they start leaving on Sunday, with 1 staying until Monday or Tuesday (I can't remember which). This will be a hard one for Emily and Ryan so it may be good that they are going to be here.

I woke up in a rather bad mood this morning, so I'm going to read my stress-relief book (that doesn't seem to be helping too much so far) and see if I can work myself out of it. Maybe it's just anticipating this week-end and all the things still to be done. But, I can already tell that it's not going to take much to really set me off today.

So, that's where we are. Don't look for a post next week until late Sunday night or Monday morning and I'll let you know how things have gone. Wish me luck on getting through the week-end. It's been 25 years since they've all been together with their dad and who knows what will happen...or how Bill will hold up!



Friday, June 1, 2018

It's early Friday morning and I have a to-do list that gets longer by the minute! We're travelling tomorrow, which is why I'm updating this morning.

This week has not been a good one. But, there has been good mixed in with the bad. Bill had his check-up with his regular dr. and he got a very good report. His white count is still high and she now believes that is due to the steroids. He comes off of them this week so there should be some improvement when he gets labs done next week.

He's been more active still, walking through the house more and doing more for himself. He's not getting as winded as he was moving around and the dr. said he's moving air quite well now. He was also able to stand without my help, and we did not use the wheelchair. So, some improvement. He's still doing a lot of coughing, but our weather has been unsettled for a few days so that could have something to do with it. We getting a little thunder storm right now, after several moved through the night.

My blood pressure has been staying steady in the normal range for the most part. I've been surprised that since it has been a stressful week that it hasn't been off the charts, but it hasn't. (For some reason this morning, my eyes are closing while I'm typing this. I know I didn't get enough sleep last night between the storms and the gunshots but I should be able to function better by now with the infusion of coffee!)

On Monday my ex-husband was killed in a freak mowing accident. Emily has been devastated as she freely admits that she's a daddy's girls, but she has stepped up to the task of planning everything that goes with dealing with death. Ryan still hasn't actually let his feelings out and that will probably happen this week-end. We've all been in shock of course. Brianna and Kayden, as the oldest grandchildren have both taken it hard, especially hard. Bri told me that just a couple of weeks ago he had asked her if she wanted his stamp and coin collections. I think her answer was just "sure". He even assured her that he wasn't planning on dying any time soon, so she feels some guilt over that. But I told her to take them and proudly display them and if anyone asked about them just tell them they were her grandpa's and he wanted her to have them. Kayden just regrets that they weren't able to spend a lot of time together since Ryan and Mistie's divorce and it's mostly due to Ryan not taking his visitation week-ends with them. But, I told Kayden that he was so proud of him because he was his first grandson and that he was busing with pride when he was born, and to keep that in his heart.

He didn't want a funeral and he has been cremated. There's going to be a celebration of life, that was supposed to be a gathering to laugh and tell stories and memories, but it's now turning more into the type of service he didn't want. But, it's not my place to say anything. I did write his obituary since that had been my job at the newspaper many years ago, but that's about it. The service is going to be in his hometown in Illinois, and Bill has decided that we need to go. He's had a hard time with it, as they were friends. It's a 5-6 hour drive which isn't too bad, not has hard as a drive to Florida would have been when he was so sick a couple of months ago.

So, we're leaving in the morning, the service is Sunday afternoon, and we'll come home Monday. Most of the family is leaving today. This will be a first from Brianna as she and McKenna are going to go by themselves in her car. Of course they will be travelling with Bryan and Emily, but first major road trip for her to drive. And since it is a dreary, wet, rainy day, please pray for travelling grace for them and the rest of the family. We're bringing Kayden and Kiyann with us, at least until the first pit stop where we'll meet up with Ryan and Amanda and then Kayden is going to ride the rest of the way with them. Kiyann says she's staying with grandma, which is fine, too. We're all staying in the same hotel so it doesn't matter where the luggage ends up, I mean which car! So, also pray for travelling grace for us, and peace and comfort for all the family on Sunday. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters and there had been some bad blood, and I'm hoping that differences can be set aside for at least a few hours.

Another thundershower is moving through and I'd better move on to the next item on my list. Hopefully next week's update will be better!


Saturday, May 26, 2018

She did it! Kenna made it through her year of virtual school! She passed all of her core classes but she really had to push this last week. As much as that child likes to talk, she doesn't like to talk in front of people and 2 of her assignments were presentations. Luckily, she ended up not having to do them. One of her teachers kept changing which assignments needed done which complicated things some, but all of the required assignments, except for a final math project was done on time. She and her mother decided that her math grade was acceptable so she didn't do it. I'm not sure I agree with that decision, but she's not my child.

Bill and I have had a decent week. He had labs done and his white count was higher again, yet he feels better and seems to have more energy. He's been walking around the house and getting his own coffee and breakfast and not getting as winded walking. So, it's a mystery. He sees the dr. Tuesday, so we'll see what she says then. Emily thought it may be a glitch in the machine since an abnormal came back on a child and because of what he had presented with he was sent to the children's hospital in Memphis, where the blood test was perfectly normal.

The smart watches/pedometers came in this week, and while I like mine, Bill didn't like his. The main drawback is that you have to push a button to see the time. And, I couldn't sync both of them to my phone at the same time. It sometimes doesn't pick up like it should. It says I've only walked 24 steps today and I've probably tripled that. But, it does show my sleep patterns, and I've noticed that I spend more time in deep sleep than I thought I did. 

Since Bill didn't like his watch, I got online at Walmart and found a simple pedometer that he can set and put in his pocket and forget about it. It worked for 1 day. I don't know if something pushed against it and drained the battery or just what happened and I haven't spent the time yet to see what happened. We also got some light handweights and some resistance bands. So, we're ready for therapy. We still haven't heard anything about when it will start and we weren't required to have these things, but I thought we can both use them later.

The books came in and surprisingly, Bill is reading a couple of them. He started reading one that is more spiritual about anxiety and he's almost halfway done with it. He also started the one I wanted him to read about living with COPD. The other one I got him about COPD is more of a therapy course over 10 weeks. So we'll see if he does it. I really like the book on Taking Your Life Back about caregiving. It has some worksheets and questions after each chapter and I'm really trying to be totally honest in my answers. I haven't started the book on stress yet as it came in last.

I've done really well with my water intake. I found a sport bottle that holds 32 ounces which is 1/2 of what she wants me to drink. I also found an app for my phone and I can pick which size vessel I'm using. It reminds me every 2 hours that I need to check in with how much I'm drinking. I've also done well with cutting out the soda...until yesterday. My IBS decided to flare up so I was drinking more of it to keep my stomach settled. But, I figured that only getting away from the water for 1 day wouldn't kill me immediately. I've also kept the food diary honest, and I haven't stopped eating as I had before. If I eat jelly beans, I put down jelly beans.

Emily and I are meeting for breakfast this morning and going over some of the things for Father's Day. It looks like the surprise of Bill's kids is mostly going to happen. I still haven't heard from 2 of the boys, and 1 grandson and his new wife are coming, which is another surprise. We're then going to do a little shopping. Bill is fixing his breakfast now so I don't have to worry about him eating.

We have no plans for the holiday. I've seen a lot of comments on Facebook from friends about going with grandparents to decorate graves, and it reminds me (although I always have cherished this memory) of going with my grandmother. We would get to one country cemetery in time for the legion 21 gun salute and then we were allowed to pick up the spent shell casings while Grandma tended the graves. It was also a time when there would be family members there that we didn't see a lot, so Grandma would have a nice visit while we inspected the graves. That's probably one of the reasons I love walking through cemeteries to this day. I have passed that interest to Ryan, and I think that Bri and McKenna both like it too.

It's about time for me to get cleaned up to head out to meet Emily. Have a good weekend and week ahead. Sure doesn't seem like it should be June already!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Weekly post 5-19-18

Has it only been a week since Mother's Day? It seems like it's been a very long time ago! The week has been basically a good one and there has been a breakthrough somewhat with Bill. I have suggested that we move his treadmill into the house and he is totally against that idea. But, all of a sudden he has started to get his own coffee or water and take his own dishes back to the kitchen (sometimes). He also told me yesterday he's going to start walking around the house. He's not been as winded as he had been when he's walking so the antibiotics and steroids are working. His sugar is also staying stable. It's still high, but he hasn't needed a shot in several days. 

He will start physical therapy sometime after the 1st of June. The therapist starts then and I imagine that there will be a few days of getting acclimated. But, he's anticipating it. His appetite has also come back and he's putting some weight back on.

I had my appointment Monday and didn't really learn anything yet, except that my EKG was normal. She did change one of my blood pressure meds. She said it was the lowest dose possible and she doubled it, but she didn't change the diuretic that goes with it so I won't go to the bathroom any more. She also wanted me to cut back on the Aleve that I take morning and night, but she said that if I can't move in the morning without it, the pain would raise my blood pressure also. She's more concerned about the lower number and heart rate being high than she is with the top number. I have to keep a food diary and drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, and if I drink a diet coke I have to add an additional glass of water. So far  I've been doing pretty well with that, although I've had terrible headaches from the caffeine withdrawal. I may have to change to caffeine free, but I have such a high tolerance of caffeine that that would probably do the same thing as not drinking it. I do have an echo scheduled for August and then will see the dr. after that. They can do the echo in the same building. I don't know who will go with me, my friend Phillis said she would if she's around. Emily said she would see what is going on with her then, and I don't know if Bill will want to go or not.

Phillis and I had a good visit together. It had been too long since we were able to just talk. And Bill and Brianna did fine together.

I bought some books this week, 2 for Bill on dealing with COPD and 3 for me on stress and caregiver stress. I've read one of the books I ordered for Bill and it was excellent and if he will read it, I think it will help him. He thinks he can't do anything, but the author of this book says that you can do almost anything you want. He's had COPD for several years, and from a young age. He's also a single parent and I was amazed at what he could do. I read it as an ebook on my nook and wish I had waited to get it in real book form to mark different things. All of the books have been shipped so they should be here sometime this week.

That's about it for this week. We're both feeling better and that's a good thing! See you next week! Oh, I forgot, I got an etching of Kayden and Kiyann for Mother's Day that had their pictures etched and in between in said "Grandma I know you've loved me since I was born, but I've loved you my whole life" Made me cry!



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Summer has arrived! It's been super hot this week, and not looking to cool off much. We're going to be setting some record highs in the next few days...which means we will not go out much at all. There have been some lovely breezes/winds, but they are very warm so don't do much to cool things off.

Bill had a consult with Connie Monday morning. She agreed with Dr. Patel and he's back on Augmentin, Doxycycline, Prednisone, cough syrup, nebulizer treatments and having his blood sugar checked. He's one of those that is susceptible to "steroid induced diabetes". It's not true diabetes, his sugar goes up when he's on steroids and then goes back down when he's off. She did hear a little crackle in the bottom of the left lung, but he's moving air well, even though at times he has a fierce cough.

He didn't feel well Saturday and spent most of the day in bed. He also had no appetitie all week-end. I think it was a combination of all the travel and the elevated white count. He finally coughed some nasty looking stuff up and out. I took a picture of it to show Connie and told her that the consistency was about that of a raw egg, it was that clingy. The cough hasn't been that bad since so maybe he got some of the infection up. It wasn't green or gray or bloody, but think and yellow. Eww, enough of that!

His sugar, as expected has gone up. I took it yesterday morning before he had anything to eat and it was 221. A little while later, still with nothing to eat but a little coffee and water for his meds, Amy came and drew labs and then called and said that I was to take him off the Prednisone for the week-end because it had gone up to 253. I was also supposed to give him 5 units of insulin. I checked before we had supper and it had gone up even higher to 273 so another 5 units of insulin and then before bed time, 2 1/2 hours after eating, it was 249. So, it's all out of whack. Today if it's between 200-250 he gets 5 units of insulin and if it's between 250-300 he gets 7 units. She said if it's over 300 to call her. Hopefully we'll get it under control soon. 

We still haven't heard anything from physical therapy and we are not doing cardiac rehab. She agreed that by the time we make the 2 hour round trip drive with the therapy in between he would lose any gains made. But, we did have a little break through yesterday! He actually picked up the small trash can we keep beside our chairs and carried it into the kitchen and emptied it (one of his normal jobs that I've been doing) and then he walked back into the kitchen a little later and fixed himself a cup of coffee! He was still a little winded when he sat back down, but not as much as he had been. I've been telling him, and the drs. concurred, that just 5 minutes of walking through the house a couple of times a day would be very helpful. He finally told me last night that he thought he could start doing that! So, small steps!

My appointment with the cardiologist is Monday and my friend Phillis is going with me. Brianna is going to stay here with Bill for lunch. She may have to leave to pick kids up from school since that is her job, but he should be OK and maybe I'll be heading home by that time.

I've felt very well for the most part except for the past couple of days, but the pollen count is extremely high and I can tell it's affecting me. The B12 pills have kicked in and I do have more energy, but when it leaves, I'm done in. There have been a couple of nights this week that I've been totally exhausted by 8 and can't keep my eyes open. And when I can't stay awake to watch the end of a Cubs game (unless they are on the west coast) I'm tired! But I'm getting some things done around here. You can't tell it much, but I can!

I think that's about it from this end. Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's out there, and the Dad's that pull extra duty. I'll let everyone know how my appointment went and how Bill's doing next Saturday! Have a lovely week-end and week ahead!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

It's a rainy morning, just a gentle rain. Not supposed to be a major rain event. And the heavy rain we were supposed to get yesterday did not materialize.

We got home about 12:30 yesterday afternoon. Kitty arrived shortly after that and she let us know most of the afternoon and evening that we were very mean to send her away like we did. But, she has calmed down some this morning. We got up extra early as Bill had a coughing spell a little after 4. Kitty and I got up then and she's had breakfast and is back asleep. As you can tell, I'm not back asleep.

The trip home was basically uneventful. Thursday night we went to bed a little after 7 and slept until 5. We both woke up then, so we were on the road earlier than we could have been. We hit some rain in Jackson, TN, but that was the only place.

There was a message from the dermatologist on the patient portal that the growth he cut off Bill's ear was cancerous. But, he said that he had gotten all of it and there shouldn't be any re-occurrence. I change the bandage yesterday and hopefully the new one will have stayed on all night. The top of the ear is not an easy place to up a bandage.

His dr. appointment is set up for Monday morning to discuss what Dr. Patel wants and I'm going to print out his notes to take with me for Connie to read. She told Emily that she would prefer Home Health to do the physical therapy in the home instead of any of the places here, but the cardiac rehab would have to be done in either Jonesboro or Memphis. My sister brought up a good point about that, if he's tired after riding for an hour to get to therapy, then tired from the therapy, then tired from the hour home, he will probably lose all of his gains the next day, because he'll be too tired recovering from all the exertion from the day before. So, that will be some kind of consideration. Maybe Home Health will have some suggestions. And maybe the physical therapy will strengthen him enough first that the drive won't be too detrimental.

Today may be a lazy day for both of us, although I could do laundry and get that out of the way. I probably need to take stock for the pantry to see what food we have. I'll have to see about that. I have a couple of new books to read and I need to get back to some knitting projects that are going to take some time to do. We'll just see what the day brings.

So, just wanted to let everyone know that we made it back home, safe and sound, and the fatigue will go away with a few days in our own bed...felt pretty good last night, even with the cat on my legs! See you next week!