Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tropical Storm Cindy has come and gone, and we are none the worse for wear. It had been forecast that we would get 4-7 inches of rain. We may have gotten 2 inches and there was so localized flooding, in the places that usually flood with heavy rain. 

We had a quiet week, not leaving the house much. It was still so hot and steamy. Thursday morning it was 77 when I got up at 5:15 and 78 Friday at the same time. The rain didn't cut the heat much, except for when it was raining at times. We did have one little storm earlier in the week that dropped the temperature from 90 to 69. But as soon as it stopped raining, the temp started climbing again.

Bill hasn't had any issues this week, just the usual ups and downs. He had a couple of days where he stayed hydrated without me having to nag him, and then a couple of days where his mind was cloudy, which usually means he's a little dry. When I say that he's dry, I don't mean that he's dehydrated as most think of dehydration, but his blood volume is low. And, no, I don't check that, it's just how it was explained to me.

I'm still waiting for my referral to the ortho dr. about my ankle. Hopefully I'll find out soon.

We found out this week that one of the two great grandchildren we're getting this fall is a boy, so I've been looking at baby patterns. I think I cast on 10 different patterns before a very simple, but intricate looking pattern dropped into my lap (actually in my Facebook Newsfeed). I've also tried to work on some of the other projects I've had (4 afghans in various states of completion) and have aggravated the carpal tunnel in my right wrist and thumb. I don't know where I put my braces so I've been struggling through with just my compression gloves. I still really want to work on the afghan that causes the strain (it's really heavy and I have to manhandle it across the needles), But I want to finish it because the child that it's for is afraid that it will never get done!

That's it from this end. Just another normal boring week at our house! See you next week!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Good Morning!

It's only a little after 6 and I've been up for an hour. She still thinks 5 is a good time to wake up, and usually once I'm awake I can't go back to sleep, no matter how much I want to. Of course now that she's had some loves and a little food, she's back up on her perch snoozing away.

This week seemed to drag on forever. We got part of the outside painted. (Of course we didn't do it ourselves). We found that some of the trim had dry-rotted so I had to get a new piece of molding. It just needs cut. 

It was extremely hot all week, in the 90s with the heat index 95-100 most days, so we just stayed in as much as possible. We had a chance of rain every day, but most days it by-passed us. We finally got some yesterday and ended up with about 2 inches in about 4 hours. One town not too far from us got more than 4.5 inches! They said that the little cell just sat over the area for awhile. There were also some high winds and some places got some hail. We had a little wind and no hail that I could tell. It did drop the temp from 90 to 69 in a couple of hours before it started back up, ending in the 70s. 

Bill has done well this week. His coughing comes and goes and this week it mostly went. He seems to cough more as bedtime gets closer. I haven't followed it enough to see what could be the trigger for it. A couple of times this week he has used an extra pillow at night, although sometimes he gets all scrunched down so he may as well only have one.

Yesterday, for the first time in the 5 years since his transplant, I forgot to give him his medicine in the morning! I didn't even think about it until it was almost time for his night doses! That is so unlike me! And, I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me and I remember when it went off! I don't know if it's because we're getting up earlier or what. Bill doesn't get up at 5 with me since I try to keep the cat from waking him up, but he's been up by 6:30 most mornings, which is very early for him. So, I don't know what it is. I do know I was a little grumpy yesterday morning so maybe that was it.

That's about it, nothing major or newsworthy, and that's a good thing! Until next week, have a good one!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Sorry to keep you waiting today. I woke up sick and have spent most of the day in bed. I still feel lousy but decided to do this before going back to bed.

We had a quiet week ourselves, but it was a very productive week around here. We got all of the screens replaced and the outside windows washed. We also got the house washed and it looks so nice! Instead of hiring someone to pressure wash it, a friend of mine recommended Jomax Mold and Mildew cleaner and preventative. This stuff is great! You mix the cleaner with bleach and water, then spray it on the siding, let it sit 10-15 minutes and spray it off. That's it! There were a couple of places that had to be brushed where the buildup was heavier, but most of the time you could see it sliding off. We couldn't believe the difference. Now, to get the painted surfaces scraped and painted and the outside will be done.

Like I said, we didn't personally do much this week. Bill did get out and walk once. I went to the dr. for just a check-up and to get new prescriptions. Connie, the nurse practitioner, told me that I was perfect. All of my bloodwork was good, weight not so good but she doesn't tell you what you already know. I showed her the place on my ankle that I thought was a strained Achilles from the way I sit (curled up with most of my weight on that ankle), but my sister had said it looked like the fatty tumors my mother gets, so it needed seen to. She felt it and said that part of it felt like a tumor, but the other side didn't. So she's referring me to an ortho to have it checked out. He will probably want an MRI of it to make sure what it is. I'm still just waiting to hear back on it.

The cat that lives under the house now, I call her Lola, has had her kittens. I only know this because she's not as fat as she was and she now eats like a horse! When they are old enough to venture out I'll get animal control to come and trap them. Our kitty gave us a good laugh the other night and it was one of those situations that will cause giggles for quite some time after. She was sitting on her perch looking out the window. It was dark and she was really watching something. All of a sudden she jumped up and jumped down from her perch and took off running to the kitchen. We both looked at the window to see what scared her and it was a....lightning bug! She had been watching it intently until it lit up and that's when she took off. Bill laughed for an hour!

He's done pretty well on his own today. He hasn't eaten like he should have, but he did fend for himself. I think I will feel like cooking something light, at least for me, but he'll get a decent meal tonight. We went out to eat last night, and I think my whole problem is that I had a big salad. Sometimes I can digest greens and sometimes not so much. This just happens to be one of those times. I also have had a bad headache, but I think that it is from not having my usual amount of caffeine.

I don't think we have anything on the calendar this coming week, unless I hear from the other dr. I need to get some things ordered that we've been talking about getting. May do that this evening. They won't get here unless I get them ordered.

This is longer than I thought it would be for not doing much this week and not feeling well. I'll talk to you next week!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Good Morning! Our cat has decided the last couple of mornings that 5 am is time for breakfast and she'll start batting my cheek and sitting on me to wake me up. But, it does give me some quiet time with my coffee.

Our trip home was uneventful. We drove 11 1/2 hours the first day and 4 hours the next. We made it home with 1/2 of a big tank of oxygen left, and we nursed it along until we got resupplied yesterday. Bill stayed home a lot just to conserve it as much as possible.

Stephanie called with his biopsy results and it showed no rejection, so he's good to go. We're doing the stool specimen collection now and I'll be able to mail it next week. The one from yesterday got contaminated and I don't think I have one of the collection things. But, we had some and I may have put it away in the closet in the bathroom.

We've neither one felt really well this week. I think it's probably more to do with being exhausted than anything else. But, we have nothing that has to be done this coming week, so we can continue to rest.

We're getting the screens replaced on the house and then getting the house washed. The man we had hired to power wash the house did about a 3rd of it and hasn't come back. He also ruined a couple of the screens which is part of the reason of replacing. But, they were also 18 years old and were seeing signs of age. While the screens are off, Joe, the one doing the work now, also washed the windows. We have the kind that will fold in to wash them from inside the house, but doing that involves moving furniture. I don't have to move it as much to just do the inside ones. That was my plan for today, but since I got up so early, I don't know. It's supposed to be somewhat rainy today so I don't know if Joe will be able to work or not.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with our oxygen delivery man. We were talking about how inconvenient it is to travel with all of the tanks, and having to stop to change them when empty or going into a store. He said that the ones who make these decisions on supply and reimbursement need to get out into the real world to see just what patients go through, especially travelling. He said that writing letters to congressmen would be a good place to start. So, I'm gathering addresses. I'm also going to check to see who is on which committee that makes these decisions. Who would have thought I would become an activist at the age of almost 63!

So, that's our week. We don't have any travel plans now until July when it's a trip to Illinois to see family and attend a class reunion. We have a grandson getting married in September in Oklahoma and we're not fully committing to that. They may do a destination wedding and that may be the deciding factor. Then it will be time for another trip to Mayo in November and by then the year will almost be done.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another annual visit is in the books! It's been a crazy, exhausting, frustrating trip, but the bottom line is that they were pleased with Bill. They realize that most of his problems now extend from the COPD and emphysema and they were not upset that he has slowed down so much.

There is a small growth on his left ear that the dermatologist froze. He didn't say if he suspected anything with it, and since he just froze it I suspect it was not cancerous. Bill is susceptible to skin cancers because of the immune suppression meds. I would think that if Dr. Hall thought it was cancer he would have done more.

All of his labs were good, the chest xray didn't show any difference from the last one except that they could see the emphysema on the films. Dr. Hosenpud said that everything went fine with the heart cath. His arteries are clear, his pressures were good and the heart looked good. I don't know if there were any changes in the echo, but we should find out tomorrow when we get the results of the biopsy. I think they did a complete right heart/left heart cath and biopsy. They took him back about 7:45 and got me about 9:45. He was already back in holding and the sheath had been removed. He only had to stay flat for an hour and we were back at the hotel by a little after 12. He's still taking it easy and can shower and remove his dressing tomorrow.

We finally got the oxygen replenished yesterday afternoon. It took 2 different phone calls to our provider before we found out that this Lincare didn't deliver and we had to drive across town to exchange the tanks! When we turned them in Bill had less than an hour of portable oxygen left in the original tanks. And, this morning as I was changing tanks in the hospital to come home, the new tank was empty! But, I had 3 of the big tanks still in the car and he could stay on Mayo air as far as the car. Makes me kind of leary on getting home, but I'm going to trust these big tanks are full and will get us home.

We've had storms this afternoon but since rain is badly needed we've just sat and watched. We had brought pizza in last night and had some left over so we had lunch without going anywhere. I may go bring something in so that Bill doesn't have to go back out. There are also frozen dinners in the snack room that can be charged to the room so we may do that.

I'm mentally and physically exhausted. We had to be at Mayo at 6 Monday and today. This was the first time that knitting didn't relax me while I was waiting. I had 2 projects with me and completely ripped one out and I've knit back the other one twice to where I started. I also couldn't concentrate on reading which isn't like me at all. I think I'm just tired.

All that's left to do is pack and go to sleep. Of course Bill isn't able to lift anything which bothers him more than me. I'd rather do it myself anyway. I want to leave pretty early to get out of town before rush hour starts. We're going as far as north Alabama tomorrow. It's about 40 miles north of Birmingham. It will be a good drive, but then it won't be as hard on Friday.

So, that's what we've gone through this week. We still have to do stool samples after we get home and mail them back, but that isn't hard to do. I don't think I will update after we get home. Take it on faith that we made it home with no problems. Talk to you in a week!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another busy, busy week. We went to Brianna's awards ceremony Tuesday and Bill made it OK. Sitting on bleachers in the gym about killed both of us and people are so rude. He finally just ran over someone with his oxygen tank when they stepped in front of him and then stopped. There was one kind man who directed traffic a little bit to get us through the mess. There was also an announcement made during the ceremony that really offended me and things only got worse the next day.

There's going to be a special election to build a new fieldhouse and sod the football field and give teachers a raise. It will raise property taxes a little over $100/year. This is coming on top of just approving an increase in sales tax for police and fire and to build a new police station. It was announced during the awards ceremony that if we voted for the millage increase then we wouldn't have to suffer through another program in a hot, gym with no air conditioning. That was not the venue for that and that's why I was offended. I also didn't appreciate that flyers were passed out before hand.

Wednesday it was announced that graduation would be moved from the football field to the gym because there was a 50% chance that it would rain. That is standard, but the call has always been made the day of graduation. This created a firestorm because students were each issued 7 tickets. Our family had several coming from out of town and other relatives, on the other side of Brianna's family, thought that she should give up one of her tickets so that their family could use it. That wouldn't have been a problem if she was the only one graduating, but her cousin, on that side of the family was also graduating. It was then announced late in the day that it would still be held on the field unless the weather did get bad.

My sister and niece arrived Thursday night for the graduation and it was still up in the air as to where the ceremony would be held and who would attend if it was inside. Bill had decided that he would not go at all. He doesn't like crowds any more. That was one reason I wanted him to go to the awards ceremony. He at least got to see her walk and get several awards and scholarships. I had decided that since Ronna and Brooke had come from Illinois, they could go in our place.

Friday it did start raining in the afternoon and the school announced that if it rained they would hold off making the decision until 9 pm, just pushing the time of graduation back until then, and then if it had to be moved it would be moved then. We had several family members in to eat. Emily provided all of the food and paper goods, I just provided trash bags. Our house is bigger than hers and could hold everyone. We got some pictures taken with Brianna and then everyone took off for graduation. Ronna ended up staying at the house with us. We had both done too much and our backs were killing us. Plus, we had stayed up very late the night before so we were really tired. When everyone got back to the house Em said it only lasted 1 1/2 hours. They practically ran the kids across the stage. But, they graduated. Brooke came in with the "official" graduation fan...advocating for the millage increase! It's just about lost my vote, and it won't affect us because Bill is exempt from property taxes as a 100% disabled veteran. It's all just the way they have done it.

We hit the road about 8:45 Saturday morning after leading Ronna to Emily's house. We had rain most of the way and in Montgomery AL, it was raining so hard that I could only see the semi in front of me. It got dark enough at 3 in the afternoon that my headlights came on automatically! It rained that hard again 2 miles from our hotel for the night and I had to pull over. I told Bill that I just couldn't do it another time. I got soaked getting things out of the car and then getting us dinner. I was in bed before 8. Heard thunder several times during the night but slept pretty good. We got up a little before 8 so had a good long night.

We got into Jacksonville about 3:30 and got checked into the hotel. We've already had dinner because Bill couldn't eat anything after 6. His appointments start at 6 tomorrow morning.

We weren't able to get the portable concentrator but we were able to get 3 extra large tanks. We are also supposed to get re-supplied either tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday morning. I told Bill as we were switching tanks around today that the powers that be that make decisions on the types of oxygen people can use should have to travel with an oxygen patient and see what it entails. We used 2 large tanks yesterday and 1 today. We have 1 left for tomorrow. We do have 5 small tanks left, because we were switching between the large and small when he gets out of the car. I will take small ones tomorrow also because he's going to be at the outer limit of the large tank. He'll be able to get by Tuesday with small tanks and Wednesday he will be connected to Mayo air for his heart cath.

So, there you have it, our busy week. When we get home from here we'll be ready for a rest!
I don't know if I will update daily or not, but I will after the heart cath on Wednesday. See you then!

Friday, May 12, 2017

This has been a challenging week, at least for me and electronics. Healthwise there was nothing new going on. I have noticed that Bill's memory has not been good this week, but I think he's just dry. I've had to make him drink more.

My laptop crashed Monday morning so had to get a new one. It came in Thursday and I'm still working to get it set-up. I finally made some progress with it today. I wish they wouldn't come pre-loaded with apps "they" think I want. I've spent a lot of time going through everything to uninstall some of them. I'm also trying to remember what I had on the laptop that I want to put back on. Luckily I save everything to "the cloud" so I didn't lose much. At least I don't think I did.

I did a little experiment with our internet service. I don't remember if I said anything about AT&T dropping the bandwidth which doesn't let us watch baseball through our Roku device. I noticed that during the day we didn't have any trouble with it dropping...until 5:05. I was even checking facebook on my phone periodically. Yet, in the evening we can hardly get a game started when it starts reloading it because the bandwidth has slowed. I'm pretty sure that after we get back from Mayo we're switching providers.

I got pretty short tempered with Bill about his oxygen the other day and that isn't like me. I was having trouble changing tanks and he said something about it. I told him he should learn to do it himself. He also disconnected his tubing from his concentrator by yanking the tubing when it gets caught on something instead of looking to see what it's caught on. I don't know if I was just tired or what.

We've had another round of storms this week. The cat was really unsettled with the storms Wednesday night. There was a lot of lightning and she was very agitated. She also
got into things before it started storming that she hadn't gotten into before. I don't know if it's because she's feeling better, or if it was the storm. She has finally just about stopped sneezing and her eye that was so weepy has cleared up and is open most of the time. Now if she would just poo in the litter box!

We've been busy getting ready for Brianna's graduation and then our trip to Mayo. My sister and niece are coming for the graduation and I feel kind of bad that I have to kick my sister out so early the next morning for us to leave. We are going to leave later than I normally would so we'll have to go through Memphis instead of the way I prefer to go. But the extra hour that adds would make it too late getting to our first stop. I would really be tired.

I'm trying to find out if we can get one of the portable oxygen concentrators from our supplier. They've been working on it all week. With graduation and then 2 days in the car, all of Bill's tanks would be empty and we need at least 7 hours of O2 for the first day of appointments. Hopefully I'll hear something Monday. There is a place that rents them for travel but I don't know how much lead time they need. Just one more thing to stress about.

I'm sure there was more going on this week than I've remembered here. I may have to start writing and saving it as a draft as things happen! I know I don't cover Bill's health much anymore, but that's the beauty of transplant...you generally go back to leading normal lives. But, I keep this up for my mother who lives in another state. And, even if our normal lives give people some hope, or a laugh, then my job is done.

And speaking of mothers, Happy Mother's Day Sunday to all of the mothers out there, especially mine. If you still have your mother, at least give her a phone call. I know I'll call mine!

This may not get updated until we get to Mayo next Sunday afternoon. Hope everyone has a good week!