Monday, December 11, 2017

Here it is, the long awaited post check-up post. We also had an interesting week before heading south. But, first things first...the check-up.

Bill got a good report. From his heart standpoint he's good. His blood pressure was good but it dropped on standing. So Stephanie just said to stand for a minute before trying to walk. She said that his echo from Memphis looked good also. We didn't get to see Dr. Hosenpud so we saw his assistant Ginny. We hadn't seen her for a couple of years. She said that as far as she was concerned he could start using his treadmill again, but only for 10 minutes at a time. I will probably go out with him the first few times just to keep an eye on him. Other than that they were pleased. They did want to make sure we were seeing a lung dr. for the COPD and we are. They didn't have the results of the lab work so I don't know if they will make any med changes or not. If they do Stephanie will call tomorrow. So, that's it as far as his check-up went. For those of you who are only interested in that, you can stop reading now. Otherwise keep going!

Tuesday our furnace went out. It's about 10 years old so should have had a lot of life left in it yet. I called Emily and she called a guy from their church and he came that night. A motor was frozen from corrosion and he was able to get it working. He didn't know how long it would last, and of course last week was the coldest weather we were to have for the year. He was able to get the part ordered and in on Wednesday but got hung up on another job and didn't get it fixed until Thursday. He said there is one more little part that could cause a problem and if it did he would come out and swap it out for no charge.

We were really watching the weather for the snow that was falling in Alabama. There was a lot of snow on the ground starting just north of Birmingham and ending just before Montgomery...just the route we were travelling. But, the roads were good, wet in some areas but clear. Traffic was pretty light and we didn't have any problems.

We did well with the new oxygen concentrator. He used it in the car, and when we stopped for breaks or lunch, he just used a small tank. It worked really well. So, from that aspect, it's been a good investment.

Last night we decided we wanted a light supper so decided to go to Bob Evans across the street for soup and a sandwich. But, it has closed down! So, we decided to go to Denny's instead and it was closed! It's open today so maybe they were closed for an employee Christmas party. Anyway, after driving around looking for a homestyle restaurant we ended up a TGI Friday's. It took 15 minutes for our waiter to come and take our drink order and another 10 minutes before he came back with only Bill's coffee to take our order. I had to go out to the car to get a small oxygen tank for Bill as his batteries were getting low and I hadn't brought the back-up batteries because I didn't expect us to be gone more than 2 hours. We left the hotel a little before 6 and we finally got our food about 7:45, but they brought the wrong soup and didn't bring any silverware. I did finally get my drink. We finally got some utensils and I had finished my salad and was helping Bill eat his chicken when we were told that they were out of broccoli cheese soup! We told him to forget it, I had gotten enough to eat anyway. Because it took so long Bill's meds were late and we were both pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the room.

Bill did have a rough morning. He has hurt his right arm and shoulder somehow. We think it is just muscular and Ginny did say that his muscles feel tight, but he was having a hard time with his concentrator and breathing. So, we decided to use a wheelchair at Mayo. A lovely woman offered to help us maneuver everything to the lab as she was going there too. I was figuring out how to change things around while he was getting his blood drawn and there was a nice man across from us that figured an easier way and off we went. We just parked where his next appointments were and we knew we had a 2 hour wait, but I could plug in his concentrator. I got us some lunch and we just stayed there until it was time to check-in. Stephanie was really booked today and she was actually coming out and getting her patients herself instead of having an aide do it. But, Bill walked in to the clinic area and then he attempted to walk out when we were done. We had to stop several times and I finally switched him to a small tank. It was hurting his arm to pull the other one. He is having a hard time walking. It could be that he's still recovering from the pneumonia, but it could also be that his lungs are deteriorating more. He's sees Dr. Burbeck in February and we'll see what she says.

I'm planning on leaving super early to get out of rush hour traffic. Tomorrow is the hard drive (longest) but it won't be too bad, I hope. I don't know if I will update this or not Saturday. I don't anticipate anything happening except for travelling for 2 days and then doing laundry and getting the cat home from Brianna's. But, check in just to see.

So there you have it. We have found that there are still good people in the world that offer to help others who need it. And, while it goes against my independent nature, I accepted the help. Now if the car would just load itself in the morning!



Saturday, December 2, 2017

December already! It seems like this year has flown by!

We had a pretty quiet week, compared to the last few. We've mostly stayed in with only a few short trips just to get Bill out of the house some.

I finally went back to the eye dr. Wednesday and all is well, just watch for any other signs of a problem. I don't even see the floater in that eye anymore, although the one in the left is still around. 

Bill has been coughing a lot this week. I don't think it is anything new starting but the remnants of the pneumonia and the emphysema. I told him yesterday that I could do 2 things. He's still taking Musinex twice daily and we could possibly stop that. But, that's keeping that pneumonia area broken up. Or, I could give him some cough medicine to suppress the cough, but I think that is the absolute wrong thing to do. I'm pretty sure that it is just fall allergies from everything I'm hearing and seeing. He was also complaining of having a "full" ear for a couple of days. I did increase his Zyrtek to twice a day and he hasn't complained anymore so maybe that has helped. It is supposed to finally get cold by the end of the week, so maybe that will help. Of course the front arrives Friday and we leave Saturday for Florida!

McKenna came for school Thursday. She hasn't been back here for school since Bill went to the hospital and has been doing well on her own. But, their internet was down and instead of waiting until evening to be able to work she came here. They have their standardized tests next week. I don't know if she will need to come here or not. I read through the log-in information this morning and they are going to be monitored more closely than before so if she gets kicked out she should be able to just wait 30 minutes instead of having to contact her instructor to have it reset.

We're finally going to take Kayden out for his birthday breakfast this morning, which is one reason for getting this update done early. Now I won't forget about doing it! He wants to go to a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, which is one of our favorites. Usually they just pick to go to Perkins since it is the main breakfast place in town, but he said he wanted to try this one.

I also may try to get some of the Christmas stuff out today. Kayden had said that he would help get things out of the attic, but it never did get into the attic last year. I just put it in the back bedroom. But, he'll be able to put it into the attic this year. I keep forgetting that he is a strong young man now and not just a little boy anymore!

I hear Bill coughing again so he may be getting up. It's time for his meds and he will need to get moving to be ready when Kayden says he's ready. I don't think I will update this until Monday night, the 11th after Bill's appointments. But, if something happens this week that needs noted, I'll post it. If you don't check back in before the 11th, you'll be able to catch up then. 

Better get moving, have a good week!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I hope your Thanksgiving was as nice as ours. It was just the 2 of us this year so it was a quiet day. But, we had a good meal (turkey is Bill's favorite food) and spent the day watching old westerns. I did some reading and played computer games.

Bill got a good report at the Dr. Tuesday. His white count was at 8000 which is normal and she said he was moving air really well, both top and bottom. His last Prednisone was last Friday and I didn't give him any insulin Monday night. His readings did not get above 200. So, we are just to randomly monitor him and if there are 2 back to back readings of 200 or above that can't be accounted for by food, then I'm to give him 4 units of insulin instead of the 8 I had been giving him. And so far so good. So, the meds and infection were the culprits. He can also start using his treadmill after we get home from Mayo. He still does get winded some walking, especially if he gets up in the night. But after laying down it all moves when he stands. Such are the effects of COPD/emphysema.

We are not Black Friday shoppers, not even online usually, so yesterday was also quiet. There were several things I could have done, but I hadn't slept well so was tired. The cat went to bed with us and whenever she does that I can't get comfortable. She likes to sleep on my legs but she doesn't give me a chance to get settled before she climbs on. Last night she was asleep on the couch when we went to bed and she didn't come in until after 5 this morning so slept much better.

Kayden and Kiyann are coming for music lessons today. Kayden had asked me to teach him to play the piano. He got a keyboard for his birthday so he wants to learn how to play it. Kiyann is starting to play the recorder at school and she is scared she won't know the songs. Kenna got a recorder with her school supplies so I can show her (Kiyann) the fingering. Bill will probably go crazy, especially since he can't go out to his man-cave!

Bill managed to get a haircut this week, but I have not. I haven't looked for a new beautician since mine left her shop. She decided she could make more money doing embroidery work than being on her feet all day. I just hate breaking in someone new since my hair grows so weird. I think a lot of hairdressers don't believe the 7 cowlicks (sp) and that it gets longer instead of shorter when it dries.

So, it seems that things are getting back to normal in time for the holidays and our trip to Florida. And for that, we were both very grateful Thursday. Have a good week, enjoy all your shopping if you are in to that. My daughter left at 5 on Thanksgiving night and didn't get home until after 3 yesterday afternoon! I don't know how they did it!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Compared to the last 2 weeks, this one was a piece of cake! We spent a very quiet week-end and somewhat recovered from all of the medical issues. I did have to get one med filled for Bill and had to go all the way across town since the nearest and best pharmacy is closed on Saturday. 

Bill has still been tired, but yesterday he said he felt better and didn't get as tired walking as he had earlier in the week. I think part of that is just so much inactivity so it's more taxing to make an effort to do anything.

We didn't pick the cat up until Monday morning and she's just so pitiful. She still has a hard time walking and doesn't want to eat much. It's affecting her bathroom habits too and I was considering taking her back to the vet. I was able to get her to eat while letting her lay in my lap and holding her food bowl and she finally starting using her litter box. We're still using the shredded paper litter (gives us a reason to shred old paperwork) and she has worried at her paws so much that there is a little open place that I'm watching. She has chewed all of the glue off and I can see the stitches. They didn't say that she needed to come in to have them removed so I'm assuming they will dissolve or come out on their own. We both wish we hadn't had it done. 

If I didn't know better I would say we are having a blizzard from the sound of the wind whistling around. We have a wind advisory until this evening and it is really fierce. It's also very warm and we are to get rain starting later this morning but ending by early afternoon. It will be a good day to do laundry.

We got the new appointments for Mayo and I'm surprised they could get them, but since it's just labs and then Stephanie and Dr. Hosenpud, it was a little easier. They are going to use the results of the echo done in Memphis. We leave on the 9th and will be home on the 13th. Quick trip, and it will be tiring, but then we should be done for awhile. 

Bill does go see Connie this week, just as a follow-up. He is now off the Prednisone so maybe is sugar will even out and his A1C go down and we can stop using the insulin. He hates the shots, although I think it would be easier for him to do them himself but he won't even consider that idea! I'm trying to make him take more responsibility for his care. I know that I've contributed to his decline by waiting on him so much, but if I'm up why can't I get him something from the kitchen. I need to redo the med list that is in his medicine box so that anyone else could fill his weekly containers if I'm not available, including him. Maybe that's something we'll work on this winter.

The part has been ordered for the furnace, we just don' know when it will be installed. I've got to get the area cleared out first. Another reason to go through things!

We're having a very quiet Thanksgiving, just the two of us. I think I'm getting a very small turkey breast and Bill has said not to go to a lot of trouble. Turkey is about his favorite thing to eat, but I read an article this morning that said to think of a meal that we don't have very often and that brings us pleasure and have that instead. I haven't really been able to think of anything yet, and since turkey brings Bill pleasure...we'll have to see. But, we're not going to have a lot of leftovers that will just get thrown out. That's one thing I'm sure of!

So, that's been our week, just a normal one again. I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving. Be thankful for what you've been given, even if it doesn't seem like much. Emily and I helped a young mother this week. Her ex-husband has custody of their children and he announced he was dropping them off this week-end for the week since school is out. She's been out of work with medical issues and told Emily she wouldn't be able to feed them, which would give him more ammunition. So we went together and got a Kroger gift card so they could have Thanksgiving. That's what the holiday is about. If you go black Friday shopping, be safe and use your heads. It won't be the end of the world if someone else grabs the last item of something you wanted. As for me....I'm staying home!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

What a week, what a week, what a week! It's hard to think that it is Saturday again already!

Let's see, since I last wrote, our week-end was quiet after Bill came home on Friday. I called the vet and made an appointment for Cat to have her front claws removed for Tuesday morning. And, if I had known just what they do during this process, I wouldn't have had it done. Yet, at the same time, since they were suspecting that Bill had Bartonella, which is also known as Cat Scratch Fever, his health is more important. So, they told me no food or water after midnight and let me tell you, she was one miserable kitty by the time we left! Those great big eyes looking at me and following me everywhere thinking that it was FINALLY time for food was almost enough to make me give in for just a little water. But, I just took her in early. They told me that she would be there overnight and I needed to have shredded paper litter to use for 7-10 days so there wasn't any chance of infection.

Wednesday was Bill's follow-up appointment with our dr. and his white count was back up and he was crackly again. I had noticed Monday night that he was short of breath walking again and Tuesday night he started coughing again, so it was a good thing he had the appointment. Connie decided that she didn't want to take any chances and called the Infectious Disease Dr. So, we left and after I took Bill back home, went to pick up Cat. That poor kitty! She was very vocal as they put her in her carrier and in the car. She threw up in her carrier (she does get car sick if she has recently eaten) and could barely walk. I had moved her food, litter box and bed into a small towel covered area in the dining room so we could see her, but all she wanted was to be held. 

Connie called about 1:30 and told us that the infectious disease dr. wanted him re-admitted and to just go to the emergency room again and he would have made the arrangements. So, I called the vet back and asked if I could bring her back for boarding, then packed a small bag for Bill and a bag for my stuff (knitting and books) and loaded everyone up. Bill held Cat's carrier and unzipped the end a little and she put one paw out on his chest and had her head out enough to get a little head petting. Dropped her back with the vet and we hit the road.

We got to the hospital as the school across the street was letting out and traffic was horrible. Luckily it is a high school so there weren't a lot of little kids about. There was no parking and since I'm uneasy leaving Bill where questions will be asked, we unfortunately had a long walk. We finally made it to a bench close to the door and I was able to get a wheelchair. There was nothing in the system about him being a direct admit back to the transplant unit and we were in the er for 5 very long hours before he was taken upstairs. He was very grumpy by then, mainly because he was hungry and they stuck him so many times. They had to take samples from different arms to rule out a blood infection. I know at one time they ordered 29 cultures! The er dr. was the same one we had seen and his first words were "I remember you". Finally at 8 we made it upstairs and the nurses remembered him. We got all the questions answered and meds gone over and he was waiting for transport to take him for another ct scan of his chest when I left. I was so tired I talked to Mistie most of the way home. There had been an accident on the northbound side of the interstate the day before that damaged an overpass so it was closed and traffic was being rerouted and it was a nightmare. We had seen the back-up on our way south and I didn't want to go that way. Mistie knew a way through the country and I thought I knew the same way. It would bring me out on the west side of the town (where we live) instead of the east side where the detour was. I got home at about the same time I would have normally. I fed the outside cat, took my meds and was in bed 10 minutes after I got home.

I had told Bill I wouldn't be there early because I had some business to take care of. I had to cancel an appointment and make a couple of other phone calls and it was mid-morning before I got there. Of course I had missed some of the drs! I did see Dr. Yusuf, the transplant cardiologist in the hallway as I was leaving and he said he needed to talk to me, so he detoured to Bill's room. He said the ct showed that the pneumonia area was still there at the bottom of his lung, in 2 places, but it was smaller than before. So he thought some more IV antibiotics were necessary.

Before I go on, I need to say that Connie had checked with home health on IV antibiotics at home and they said all they do is teach someone in the home to administer them. They just change the bandages and bring the supplies. And, the antibiotic he had been on was $4000 a bag and insurance would not pay for it!

OK, back to the hospital. I told Bill when I left that I would be there early yesterday so I was up at 5 and out the door at 5:45. And of course, the drs. didn't start rounding until mid-morning! I never did see Dr. Yusuf, but did see the nurse. We got lots of conflicting info, he was going home on IV meds, he was going home on no additional meds, he was going off the IVs and being watch for a day...very confusing. Finally it was decided by a different infections disease dr., who I really liked, that he didn't think he needed any antibiotics. He said, after consulting with the pulmonary dr., that this pneumonia may never completely go away. But, again, everything they were testing for was negative. The only thing that showed up was E.coli in his urine and that could have been from a little accident he had in his pants. They didn't seem to be concerned about it as being the cause. So, after another long wait, we were finally discharged about 4. Of course I hadn't brought any oxygen with me, but Lincare brought us a tank to get home on.

I talked to Stephanie after both of us playing phone tag and she cancelled his appointments. She had his records and said that it included the echo so they could use that. They are going to reschedule him and we are just waiting for that. I don't know if they will be in December or have to be after the first of the year.

I was going to get the cat this morning, but I think we may leave her through the week-end. I have until noon to decide if I'm going to get her. I do miss the little critter!

We had talked about needing to get some good room air purifiers with HEPA filters to maybe help and when I told Emily she said that they have a friend who is a heat/air guy and he could install a filter on the furnace itself that would purify the air before it gets forced into the room. She checked with him and it is only $200, which we would spend on the room ones if not more, she she's going to tell him to order it tomorrow when she sees him at church. Maybe that will help both of us. She knew someone who had it installed because the whole family was suffering from allergies all the time.

So, that's our week. Hopefully we can have a relatively quiet week-end. Tomorrow Emily will be 40. Doesn't seem like my little girl should be that old! See you next week!


Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sorry I didn't update last night. Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day and then we made it an early night.

I was up and out the door by 6 yesterday morning hoping that I would be at the hospital before the drs. rounded, and I was. Bill was up but still in bed and watching TV. He said he hadn't slept well, whether it was noisy or just his bed not being comfortable, I don't know. This was the first morning I had been there for his morning pills and discovered they were only giving him 1/2 of his cellcept, which is one of the transplant drugs! It was put in wrong in the ER and because I wasn't there to question it the other days, he was not getting the correct dose. It doesn't seem to have done him any harm, so I'll just keep an eye on him. Of course I got him back on his usual dose last night.

He was discharged at lunch time, which actually is a good time to get out of the city! We were home by a little after 2. I called Stephanie because they wanted to make some other changes to his meds. They had been in contact, at least from the ER, and she was going to request his records and then is going to call me next week. We will be there the 20th for his regular appointment so they will be able to check him out for themselves then.

He did come home with a slow acting insulin that he gets at night. The pharmacy was able to fill it in the pen form and the pharmacist showed me how to do it. I told him we had no clue what to do. There were also good instructions with it. But, we weren't given any instructions on what to do if it was high. I know at the hospital, only from yesterday's nurse, that they were supplementing with a fast acting before meals if it was 150 or above, because at lunch it was 149 and that's when she made the comment. We do have a test kit and strips and hopefully it will work so that I can test it some during the day even though I can't do anything about it.

We are to see our regular dr. this week, probably to make sure his white count has stayed down and that he is still moving air well.

I picked up some bbq plates for supper last night and will now take stock to see what groceries are in the house. I'm supposed to take the cat in for her allergy shot, but I want her to get de-clawed in the front so I'm going to see about taking her Monday morning for that and get the shot at the same time. 

I'm not looking forward to the time change tonight, even though sleeping for an extra hour seems nice. I know that won't happen and it means that Bill starts taking his meds an hour earlier. I also don't know what time the cat will start trying to get us up. It was 4:30 this morning!

I will probably go back to once a week for the updates, unless something else happens. Happy Time Change!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

We are still on for discharge tomorrow as far as I know! His white count is normal, the slow acting insulin is keeping his sugar in check and he's moving air well. He still gets short of breath with exertion, but it comes back up as he rests and takes some deep breaths. I know he's ready to come home!

There is still no definite diagnosis as far as the infection goes. Some of the more obscure tests they are running take several days to grow. One thing they are testing for is cat scratch fever. He did get scratched by Kitty, but we immediately washed it and applied Neosporin, but who knows. I think they are testing for everything they can think of since everything so far has come back negative.

I don't know if he will come home with insulin or if we are just to monitor it. I also don't know if he will be on oral antibiotics or still IVs. The internal medicine dr. came in while I was getting something to drink and he said he would be back to talk to me, but I waited 2 hours and then had to leave. It was the time of day that traffic was very heavy on the interstate so I came through downtown. There was still a lot of traffic, but it was manageable. It just took and hour to get to the bridge instead of 30 minutes. But, traffic was lighter once I got across so it wasn't too bad. I stopped at the store and got something to cook and the cats and I have eaten and now I'm wearing out fast. I didn't sleep well last night and didn't feel well this morning. My lunch stayed with me all night and into the morning. Finally chewed an antacid and it finally stopped.

I'm going to try to be at the hospital early in the morning, so I'll probably need to set an alarm. But I definitely want to be there when the drs. round, and maybe they'll make the decision for sure to discharge and we'll get back home sooner.

So, the crisis has been resolved and hopefully he will continue to improve. He's making plans for things around the house, and they are things that need done but most will have to wait until spring. At least his mind is working better!

All for tonight. Now that I've eaten I'm getting sleepy. Goodnight!