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!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

It's been an eventful day, so decided to go ahead and update this while things are somewhat fresh. We're both really tired. It told Bill part of me wants to get up early and get out of town before rush hour like we usually do, and another part wants to sleep in and leave later. But, since we have reservations in north Alabama tomorrow night I would get through Birmingham at the wrong time of day, and Birmingham is not fun at any time of day. I also told him that if we wouldn't lose the money for the room tonight, I would leave this afternoon and get partway. Can you tell I want to go home?

Except for Bill's white count, which is up again, all of his labs looked good to Dr. Patel. He said the stress test today was fine and he didn't see any problems with the heart. He did talk extensively about the inactivity and lung problems. He is wanting Bill to have some physical therapy when we get home, followed by some cardiac rehab. But, he doesn't want to step on Dr. Bubeck's toes. He also agree with Connie that he would benefit with a low dose antibiotic continually and he suggests a 3 month regimen of a steroid before tapering off. I've already talked to Emily about setting us up with Connie Monday to discuss this with her. Emi also said that if Dr. Patel would send the order to their office, they could probably set up the rehab and therapy. I will probably call Dr. Burbeck also when we get back to see what she thinks. Dr. Patel said he would be glad to prescribe everything, but since pulmonary is not his area of expertise, and he doesn't know if he is legally able to prescribe in other states, he would like for them to do it. But, if there are any problems, he will be glad to do it, all we have to do is call.

The dermatologist removed a small growth on Bill's ear that he suspects is cancerous. One was removed last year in about the same spot and this one has grown up since then. The other one was not sore, but this one hurt. So, a little snip and it's gone. He said he would call with any "bad" results and that I could read the results on the patient portal. He said he would also send a letter. There was another spot on his cheek that he thought might be pre-cancerous and he froze that one. He didn't think he (Bill) would need to be seen any more frequently that yearly and to call if there were any other places that appear or might be concerning.

I did buy a small wheelchair after we got here, and put it together in the parking lot of the hotel in the back of my car. All that had to be done was attach the wheels and foot rests and it was actually easy to do. There was a young man sitting at the end of the parking lot talking on the phone and I heard him say he was watching an old lady try to put a wheelchair together in the back of her car. My thought was why don't you come and help her! But, got it done and it has been a wonder! I'm so glad we did it.

We've been so tired at the end of each day that we haven't been to the beach or pier. I'm already tired today so don't know if we'll get there this evening or not. We did eat in Jacksonville Beach last night, but the restaurant is not on the beach. It's a small Greek diner that has fantastic food. Bill had fish and chips and ate all 4 pieces of fish and most of the fries. I opted for breakfast and had a ham and cheese omelet with home fries and toast. Ate all of the huge omelet and some of the fries and toast. We've talked about going to our favorite pizza place tonight, but I'm not sure it I want pizza or not. We still have some time before we have to decide.

I must say that this trip was stressful, but my blood pressure stayed down, was actually 127/76 this morning, although my heart rate was high. So, I'll be glad to get to the cardiologist in a couple of weeks to see just what is going on. I did notice that I did not get as stressed driving (Alabama drivers are the worst) so my little pill was working, but it was not helping deal with Bill at times. I remember my grandmother getting very short with my grandfather at times and I catch myself doing the same thing. I try not to, but my goodness, he can be very whiny at times! I told him the other day he's becoming very negative about everything and I was going to start doing the little engine that could...I think I can, I think I can. I know things are hard for him, but all of the sighs and groans can be exasperating! And of course, Dr. Patel told him the same things I've been telling him. It was all I could do not to say I told you so!

So, that's the update for this trip. Tonight will be for packing up and getting things ready to leave in the morning. We told the grandkids that we would stop at a shoe outlet tomorrow on the way home and get them the shoes they love. Hopefully they will have them in the colors they want. I don't know if I will update now Saturday or not, just check in and see!