Saturday, August 17, 2019

I've been turned around all week and seriously confused on what day it was, several times. It's not the kind of "what day...oh yes, it's (insert day)" kind of turned around it was much more than that.

On Monday I took Barb, our neighbor, to the wound clinic to get the dressing changed on her foot. This is the one I change on Thursdays. They were having some work done on their house and I knew Joe wouldn't want to leave it unattended with workers there so I told him I would take her. It's just down the street at the hospital. A piece of stew meat had gotten stuck from my lunch, (I still can't get it through my head that beef, except for ground, is the main thing I can't eat still, even after the procedure to dialate my esophagus), so I did a lot of coughing and choking that up. But, in the early evening that morphed into vomiting and diarrhea. Yes, the stomach bug also hit, for sure this time. Usually I take meds to stop all of that but Emily had told me that I need to just let it go to get it out of my system. So I spent a miserable night on the couch. I was finally able to keep some sips of water down...until I took my meds, only the essential ones, and they all came back up. Except for the diarrhea, which lasted until yesterday, it was pretty miserable. I was finally able to eat on Wednesday, but nothing even sounded good.

Wednesday I took Bill to the dr. He didn't really want to go, but he also didn't put up much of a fight. He's got the upper respiratory infection going again, so more antibiotics and increased steroids. His chest x-ray looked as good as it ever does. His left lung was as clear as it ever is but there is a spot in his lower right one that could morph into something. I think it's probably where the pseudomonas has colonized. Even after the first dose of antibiotics, he seemed much better. His sinuses stopped dripping as much and his coughing stopped. I'm relieved that it was not pneumonia starting again, although I didn't think it was.

Wednesday was also the day that I was really turned around as to what day it was, and I thought it off and on all day. As a way of saying thank you for caring for Barb's foot, they were going to bring us Zaxby's for either lunch or dinner. I told her I didn't care which. But, I texted Joe early that morning and told them to hold off, I didn't think I was quite ready for that, so I had convinced myself that yes, it was Wednesday...until I saw a pick-up truck at the cancer center on the way to the dr. I knew Joe had his immunotherapy this week and he gets it on Tuesday. And this looked exactly like his truck, so there we go again, my brain went back to thinking it was Tuesday.  And then I wondered why I had told them to hold off on the food because I might be able to eat it on Wednesday. Then something would happen or be said and get me back on track again.

Bill is still improving although he is still getting so winded when he walks and tries to do anything. Using the bathroom seems to be the hardest on him. I don't know if it's because he's concentrating on what he has to do that he automatically starts breathing harder through his mouth, or what it is. It happens also when he's getting dressed. Maybe he's running the steps through his mind as he does them and he's concentrating so hard on that. But, he will use his rescue inhaler and then sit quietly until he calms down. I have to stay very calm with him too, so that he doesn't think that something is really happening that is bad. He just needs to be more active. His lungs are so weak that any movement is taxing to him. But trying to convince him to just walk back and forth into the dining room a few times would benefit him is like talking to a brick wall.

I kept thinking again, off and on, that yesterday was Thursday. And then I would realize it was Friday, until something else would happen or be said, and then it would start again. I don't know if it's because I pretty much lost Tuesday with being sick or what it was.

I've finally been able to eat and keep in solid foot. Turkey and mashed potatoes taste about the best so far. I've gotten a few of the little entrees of that to eat. Hopefully I'll be able to branch out more this week-end.

I go to the cardiologist Monday for a 6 month check. Yesterday I spent the morning doing paperwork for that to take and have more to do today. I got the impression at my last visit that she doesn't understand the incredible stress caregivers life with on a daily basis. So, I'm doing a daily schedule of just my day to take with me. I'm also writing down all of the strange symptoms I've been having, along with side effects of the meds I'm on that correspond to the symptoms to see what she thinks. Of course these symptoms can also be symptoms of different diseases or conditions. Now I'm not one to have the disease of the week and worry that because my skin is very dry and itchy that I have leprosy or something dreadful, but there are some conditions that could explain some things. As I was compiling all of this yesterday I had the thought that I either need a housekeeper or a secretary! With being sick this week, the kitchen looks like a bomb went off and if I don't get some laundry done, we'll be going to Memphis naked! I told this to Bill last night and then said maybe we'll just hire both and I can be a lady of leisure! He said, that we could do that and pay them from the millions we received each month in income!

 So, that's really been our crazy week. We've had fun watching Mouse. He's discovered a toy that we've had for more than a year and he's played with that all week. He has also started getting to the toybox and getting out the toy he wants. Maybe there's hope yet that they can stay picked up. I've been opening the kitchen door and the back door, they're connected by a hallway that has the furnace in it, and letting him "talk" to the outside cats. Floozy is his aunt and sometimes his brother Ducky is here and comes to the door. They put their paws under the door and touch each other and just chirp and purr. And the kittens will come up and check him out too.

All for now. I'll let you know next week how the cardiologist goes. Bill is going with me, which will show Dr. Morrow some of the stress, worrying that he will have enough O2 with us that maybe she will understand that just saying to reduce stress is easier said than done in the best cases and impossible in most cases. See you next week!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

It seemed like this week has gone very fast for some reason. We weren't exceptionally busy so I don't think it's because of a busy social life, but it seems like it should not be Saturday already.

 Monday was my birthday, I'm now on Medicare, and we had planned on going to Jonesboro. We were going to get Bill's labs done and have breakfast and then do a little shopping if Bill felt like it. But, I woke up with a headache so we decided not to go, or I decided not to go. I just didn't wake Bill. But, felt better by evening so we went to a little BBQ place not too far from the house for my birthday dinner.

We did the labs Tuesday and then had breakfast at the Waffle House in Jonesboro.  I thought the only choices we would have for breakfast would be Waffle House, IHOP and Cracker Barrel. But, as we were heading to Waffle House, I spied a little place that had egg in the name and a breakfast plate picture. So, something to consider for the next trip over. We figured Cracker Barrel would be too busy in the store part and it's difficult to get Bill plus oxygen through there, we had recently been to IHOP and Bill loves Waffle House. So that's what we did.

Nothing much happened the rest of the week. It rained off and on and was very muggy, even at 6 in the morning when I go out to feed the cats. So, we've mainly stayed in.

 My IBS decided to flare up yesterday, at least I thought that's what it was. But as the day wore on and the antii-diarrheal meds weren't working, I was beginning to wonder if I didn't have a touch of the little stomach bug going around. I didn't eat any supper and, poor Bill, he only got a hot dog. I did give him a couple more choices and that's what he chose. I finally at a cinnamon roll in the evening, but it sat like a rock. When we finally went to bed I didn't sleep well and am still tired this morning. But the cats let me sleep until 5:15, which would be nice on a good day. Other than feeling so tired, the nausea is gone and I'm tolerating coffee.

I'm going to have to write down all of these different symptoms I've been having and then figure out which type of doctor I need to see. I do see my cardiologist in a couple of weeks. I think that with some of the symptoms, that lead to others, I need to start with a dermatologist. I actually think I have a mild form of psoriasis. My skin is really dry, no matter how much lotion/moisturizer I use and it's red and itchy, especially on the knuckles of my hands. I don't have the huge scaly patches that usually appear, but from what I've been reading, that doesn't always happen. All of this is leading me to think that my feet hurting, and the way I've been hurting all over my body, is actually psoriatic arthritis. So, that leads to a rheumatologist. I did pull out the Medicare handbook yesterday and I don't need a referral to either of those if they accept Medicare so now it's just a matter of finding ones. The dermatologist most people use say he is a good dr, but he's not got a good bedside manner. So I don't know about him. There are some others in Jonesboro. The one who was local here closed his office years ago. I have checked on rheumatologist yet. Maybe that's for today. I don't know if starting at our primary dr. would really do any good. She's already given me so arthritist medicine that actually made me sick the last time I took it. So it's a dilemma. 

Stephanie called yesterday afternoon with Bill's lab results and his white count is up again. But, it's lower than it was when we were both in for sinus infections in June. I asked her if she would feel better if we had a chest xray done and she said it was up to me. So, we may both go to the dr. next week and have him checked since we know his white count is up. He's still feeling well, he's gained enough weight that I gave him back his rings since they won't fall off. And it's not fluid weight. That's one thing I do watch for. They are taking him off his Lasix, so apparently his kidney function is good so we'll see what it is after coming off the med.

That's the scoop for this week. It looks really cloudy out now that the sun is trying to come up but we aren't supposed to have any rain, depending on which local station you listen to. But, there's nothing we can do about it so we'll just watch and see.

Have a good week-end and a good back to school week, if you are going to school, or have kids in school. I'm glad that's over for us, although I do keep up with the grandkids.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

There's not much to tell this week, which means it was just another week.

I did not take Bill to the dr. The cough comes and goes now and I'm pretty sure it is still all stemming from sinus drainage. If I get him to take some sinus meds, it's much better. He does cough on exertion, as he gets things stirred up when he moves, but it settles back down. His oxygen level has been staying in the low 90s which is acceptable. 90 is his baseline so anything over that is a plus. 

There was a little scare with his level. It was only 75 when I checked it. Sometimes it will come on really low like that but changing fingers or hands usually gives another reading since it could just be a cold finger. But it was the same on both hands. So then I start checking his tubing to see if there are any holes and find that the concentrator is off! Usually there is a very loud alarm sound when it's turned off, whether by the button or loss of power, but I didn't hear it. I don't know for sure if it was the cats (they sometimes jump on it to get to the buffet (that's where Cat hides from Mouse although he's figured out how to get up there now), or if it shut down spontaneously due to a problem. It hasn't done it since so I'm leaning more toward the cats. Once I turned it on and it got back up to the level it's set on I checked again and it went immediately to the 90s. So, we now know that Bill cannot function on just room air, especially if he is walking.

He's also still using his inhalers and one of them makes an audible click and a slot changes from green to red when the dose has been delivered. Sometimes he gets it the first time but a couple of times it has taken several tries before he inhales hard enough to trigger it. I always have him use his Albuterol inhaler first as it is faster acting, so I don't know what was going on that day.

He gets his labs done next week for Mayo and I think we are going to go Monday and get it out of the way. The lab we've used before opens at 8 and since they are fasting labs we'll get breakfast afterwards. I don't know if we'll do anything else, depends on how Bill is doing. 

We did have a good time with the girls at breakfast last week-end. And Kiyann was thrilled that her daddy was here waiting for us with a couple of presents for her. She was so happy she cried.

That's about it for this week. I'll let you know what we find out from the labs next week. Happy August!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Bill's cough has gotten worse, yet it still seems like it stems from sinus drainage. But, it's starting to worry me, so next week, like it or not, he's going to the dr. He also is getting very winded with any type of movement. And it could be all related. The only therapy we haven't do ne is a breathing treatment. I had him use his therapy breather yesterday and he doesn't like using it.

We did make it to Dyersburg...twice! The first time was Sunday night and we just went to eat the new Southern Fried Chicken at Cracker Barrel. It was really good, but since they give you half a chicken, we brought home enough for another meal for each of us and sent some home with McKenna and her friend Carrington. I noticed that Bill was very disoriented and uneasy at the restaurant until the food came. There were so many people there and it was so loud, as it usually is in Cracker Barrel. But, crowds bother me now too, and if he's uneasy, then I'm naturally uneasy. We talked about it in the car on the way home and he said he's felt a little uneasy at home lately. He couldn't pinpoint anything, just that he felt like he should be doing something or something was supposed to be happening that wasn't. So, I'll ask Connie about that, too. He may need a low dose of an anti-anxiety med.

We went back to Dyersburg Wednesday and the ID office is closed until Monday. So, we went back home and I looked online for other facilities in the area that issue IDs and there was one in Jonesboro. I called them and got an appointment for the next morning. It was easy to find (with navigation, but won't need to use it again) and the woman was very nice. As I was attaching Bill's oxygen to his wheelchair (there's a huge lawn area, even from the handicap parking so I knew Bill couldn't walk it), a young man walked by to his truck and then came back and asked if I could use some help. I had just gotten the hardest part done, so I thanked him for the offer. As we were approaching the door, another young man in uniform came and opened the door for us and then told us where the office was, which was right inside the door. We had a 10 minute wait and then it only took 10 minutes to get the ID. I found out that the reason it was only done for 1 year was because I was approaching 65. I had to show my Medicare card and then she switched me from standard Tricare to Tricare4Life. She said it would now continue to expire every 4 years until age 75 and then it would not expire again. I didn't know either of those things. The person who did it last year should have told me that it was only going to be done for 1 year, and maybe she did. But, Bill was in the hospital, or had just gotten out, so I had other things on my mind.

I took Cat to the vet for her yearly check-up and she's been sick ever since. She threw up on the way home in her carrier and as soon as she was release she had bloody diahrea. She's been sleeping most of the time, but this morning her stool, while soft, was more normal and there was no blood. I told Bill it was just like when the kids got their shots as babies. Cat is still in the bedroom sleeping with Bill which is very unusual. I don't know what time she came in the bedroom. I had to adjust the air sometime in the night and she was still on the back of the loveseat. But she's on her favorite box now and was when I got up at 4:45. Yes, Mouse let me sleep a little longer today.

Today we have 2 granddaughters celebrating birthdays. McKenna is 15 and Kiyann is 12. We have a tradition of going out for breakfast and usually going shopping for gifts, but they both just wanted money this year and I don't think Pa is up to shopping.

It hasn't been quite as hot this week, but the humidity is building again and we could get some rain tomorrow. It has actually felt like fall in the mornings, only in the low 60s.

That's been our week. A little nerve wracking at times, but we'll get Bill figured out...I hope! All of his vitals have been good, except that he's lost a little weight even though he's eating, which is also worrisome. And yesterday afternoon his blood sugar went way up for no apparent reason. So gave him some extra insulin and when I check it after dinner it was still higher than it should have been, but was coming down. It will be interesting to see what it is this morning. The odd thing was that he hadn't eaten anything sweet all day, and no heavy carbs, just a few chips at lunch, and it had been several hours after eating when it was so high. But, he never can do anything the easy way!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

I had a little insight into what Bill would do should something happen to me, and it wasn't a good feeling. I woke up Wednesday with an episode of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I get them every 3-4 weeks, just something to deal with. But, we were supposed to take McKenna to the dentist to have her braces tightened. Luckily Emily was able to get her niece Kassidy to take her. But, I needed to go back to bed and as I was getting Bill's meds and glucose meter and insulin ready, I told him he needed to learn how to check his sugar and how to administer the correct dose of insulin and get his meds out (they were already sorted) and he told me that, as far as the blood sugar/insulin was concerned, he just wouldn't do it. So, I guess it's time for a talk. I already have all of his meds listed in his medicine box with the dosages and when he takes them so that if someone else had to give them they could get them sorted. But I hadn't done anything with the insulin. So I guess I need to do that, sooner than later. Luckily the episode didn't last long. Amodium, pepto, sleep and light food took care of it. Bill was on his own for breakfast, but there was cereal so he was fine.

I don't remember if I said last week that I've started Bill back on his inhalers. But, I did. He's had some problems walking and breathing. Part of that would go away if he walked more, but getting him to move is proving very hard now. And he's coughing more, but he still assures me that it's all upper airway and because of how our weather has been, I believe him. He says he has no chest pain and the cough isn't coming from down deep. My sister had read something somewhere that using an albuterol rescue inhaler before using maintenance inhalers is actually the better way to administer the drugs. The albeterol opens the airways immediately so that the other medications can get into the lungs faster and farther. So we've been doing that and that seems to be working.

The first week in August we're to get labs done for Mayo. I think they will take him off his Lasix, but the rest of the meds will probably stay the same. I would be surprised if they were changed.

We didn't get as much from the hurricane/tropical storm as feared, but the track moved farther west than predicted. Most of our rain came in the night and the winds were just the perfect rate for me. I told Bill the morning the wind was here that I wished we had an enclosed place to sit outside. It felt so good. A friend came by and told me they had been sitting on their enclosed back deck and having their coffee in the mornings and any time I wanted to come sit I was welcome, but I don't think she would want me there at 4:30!

After the storm came through the heat arrived, as it has for most of the Mississippi Valley and Midwest. Mid-week our temperature was 91, but the heat index was 110+. We've been under a heat advisory or heat warning every day this week. This morning at 5 the temp was already 77, and it is so muggy you can hardly breathe. Bill has not left the house and I've only done what was absolutely necessary out. I've made sure the outside cats have fresh water more and I've noticed they aren't eating as much, so the heat is affecting them too. They are staying under the house or under the "jungle" that separates the 2 backyards. There were a couple of them laying in the grass the other night at dusk when it was a little cooler, so they are instinctively doing what we humans are also doing.

We've got to go to Dyersburg before the end of the month to get my military ID renewed. I renewed it last year and she only did it for 1 year instead of 4 like they usually do. I just happened to look at it the other day and caught it. Otherwise it would have expired and getting it renewed then is really difficult. I know this from experience!

That's it for this week. Stay cool as most of the country is now under this heat dome. See you next time!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

For those of you who are early risers and read this early, I'm sorry it's late. I was still tired when the cats woke up so I pushed them out of the bedroom and closed the door and slept until 6:30. I still feel tired, but haven't had any coffee yet (it's in my cup, just haven't taken the first sip).

Not much happened this week. It was hot, very, very hot. We've had heat indices between 105 and 110, so there is no leaving the house then. It's too hot to sit in the car and going in and out of places just saps all your energy.

After my post of last week, which I re-read this morning, I woke up Saturday morning feeling like my old self, with some energy. I was able to get some things done around here and didn't nap at all in the day. I woke up Sunday raring to go. Got all the laundry done, washed, dried, folded, put away. Bill helped some with hanging his clothes which he hasn't done in a long time.

The energy lasted all week...until yesterday. It was another day of dozing and sleeping in my chair with no energy. And I think I've found the culprit...Zyrtek. I had started taking it again since the weather has been so bad for breathing and I had taken it in the day with no problems. (Bill takes it twice a day with no problems). But, that's the only thing different. So, I didn't take it this morning but I'm going to take it tonight. I've noticed the last few nights I'm back to my tax season sleeping...awake every 2 hours and then sleeping really good when it's time to get up. So maybe the Zyrtek at night will help with that.

We got Bill's insulin this week, and it's all messed up. I don't know if they sent 3 months at a time, or just 1 month. I can't tell from looking at the prescription. With the medium acting one, which he gets 5 units twice a day, we got 3 vials, which would be for 3 months. But, for the regular acting, which he gets only if his sugar gets above 200, he got 9 vials! If we do have to supplement the medium acting, he gets 1 unit starting at 200 and it increases 1 unit for every 50 points its above 200. So we use very little of that. I don't know what is going on. I guess I need to call the dr and the pharmacy both to see what the deal is. I told Emily to let me know if anyone uses the kind of insulin we have and has a hard time getting it. They can have the extra we have. She said Connie may want to use it for the free clinic here in town. So we shall see.

I started Bill back on his maintenance inhalers this week. He's been coughing so much and when I checked his oxygen level it started at 88 and took it awhile before it got to 90, which is his baseline. He was also having trouble walking, not the physical act of walking but breathing when walking. Part of that is because he is so sedentary, partly the COPD. He told me that the coughing was still all upper airway and he had not heaviness in his chest at all. Yesterday when I check is O2, it went straight to 96 and didn't move. So, we'll keep using the inhalers. I had to get a new prescription for Advair but it's already been sent to ExpressScripts and should be mailed out in the next few days.

We're bracing for the Tropical Storm/Hurricane. I haven't looked at the current track lately but I know we had a flood watch issued starting tomorrow afternoon and going through Monday night. The last I saw last night before we went to bed was that it had moved a little farther west and should track right up the middle of Arkansas. And we will be on the rainy side. They were forecasting 6-8 inches of rain before it's completely out of here and 30-40 mile winds. So the next few days could be a little rough. I'll make sure today we have all the supplies we need as far as food for people and cats.

Today it's a beautiful sunny morning and it was 76 and pleasant when I fed the cats. I guess the calm before the storm. But 76 with no heat index is better than 80 with a heat index of 93 like we've been having in the mornings. 

All for this week. If you're in the path of the storm stay safe. If it's hot where you are, stay cool. See you next week!

Friday, July 5, 2019

It's nearly 11:30 on Friday night, at least I think it's Friday night, and I can't sleep. I'm tired, and I slept for 90 minutes or there about, but now I'm up. There's been something going on with me this week, and I'm going to have to go find out what it is. But, let's start with Bill and the week.

We had some friends in from out of town last week-end and we tried to get together several times. One day I didn't feel well, one day we were in Jonesboro picking up a book Kenna needed to read for school, and one day Bill didn't feel well. We finally decided on Monday morning for breakfast before they left town. We met at Perkins and had a good visit. 

Bill has had a good week. He did catch both arms on the security door while getting the mail and banged up both elbows. They have healed over now. His skin is so fragile that the least little knock gives him a bruise if not a skin tear. He still has his cough, and he still says it comes from up high. He also tried to fall getting to the front door to open it for me after a trip to the grocery store. He got his feet tangled in his oxygen tubing. He winds it up, like a cowboy does a rope, and lays it on the floor at his feet. Then the first thing he does when he stands up is get a foot right in the middle of it.

I think we finally got the problem with the insulin straightened out. I went to the doctor's office Monday morning with the information I got from ExpressScripts. They told me that they needed more information on the prescription. But, Amy showed me the prescription they had transmitted and it was very plain. Anyway, Jamie was going to call the numbers I gave her and when I checked online it said it was being processed. It was supposed to have been shipped on the 3rd and it still shows in process, but that could be because of the holiday.

We had a quiet holiday. Bill had seen some sausages cooked on TV and thought they looked good so we planned on grilling them. I decided to use my grill pan for the stove because it was horribly hot. I got ready to cook them...and couldn't find them! I had put them in the freezer! So, before I could cook them, I had to thaw them in the microwave. They were actually better re-heated today for lunch. 

Allergies have plagued both of us this week. We've both used inhalers and allergy meds and most of the time it doesn't make any difference. And it's rained again today and may rain more throughout the night. 

I think I've said before that my potassium has been low for some reason. It was low before and then I started taking potassium and it came back up and even though I continued to take it, it was way down again when we went to the dr. a few weeks ago. So, the dose was doubled and I got it checked again after a week. It was still low, but had come up and was almost at the normal range again. When my new prescription was called in, it was for the higher dose, but for twice a day instead of once. 

Most of this week, and part of the last week, I've noticed I've had absolutely no energy and I sit and can just fall asleep. And not just a light sleep, I go to sleep. That is not like me. I don't want to do anything, including knitting or reading, because I fall asleep in the middle of a row or a sentence. And I think it basically stems from the low potassium, although I had the fatigue when I was on the medicine for my foot, which is better, by the way. I told Bill today that my entire body hurt today. It may have been from the rain. And tonight, not only do I hurt everywhere, I itch everywhere. I don't have hives, but I just itch. I did take the extra potassium tonight so don't know if it's that or something else. I've looked at the side effects of all my meds and, even though I've been on them for a year or more, I have several of the side effects. So, since we both need blood work again this week, I'll ask Connie about it. When I got up tonight I took some Ibuprofen and Benadryl. I'm still itching but I'm not hurting like I was. It's hell to get old!

That's been our week. I'm glad Bill has felt like venturing out some. Oh, and I got a "good job" from the wound care doctor when Barb went in this week. I changed the bandage on it again Thursday and it is much smaller than before so it's healing quite well. They are going to try some artificial skin next week and then I won't have to change it. Now, my cursor just went wacky and I've got to find where I've typed or someplace won't make sense. It's almost midnight and I'm getting sleepy again so maybe this time I'll be able to go to bed and rest.

Goodnight all! (I didn't see any glaring mistakes, but then my eyes are tired now, so any words that don't make sense, just ignore them)!