Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Hospitals Reprised

Around 6 a.m. this morning Hubby had a bleed into his brain.  The ENT (ear, nose, throat) doc saw him about an hour later but didn't realize what was happening.  His report is that Hubby has a serious mass (not a tumor but some kind of infection) in his lower throat pushing on his vocal cords.  Surgery was / is still scheduled for 12:30 tomorrow to drain it.  When I arrived I began making all kinds of noises about this not being the Hubby I left at 6 p.m. last night (teach me to go home and try to catch some rest).  I had missed the ENT guy but soon others began to arrive and our primary care physician and our floor nurse listened to me about my rising concerns about Hubby's condition.  So ordered a CAT scan when Hubby finally offered up that he had a terrible pain in his head.  He was less than alert and got more and more "cloudy" as the morning wore on.  A STAT order for the CAT showed the bleed and the upshot is that Hubby is now in the ICU with thoughts that he may need to be intubated to make sure he can breath and swallow.  Right now they are inserting a PIC line in his upper arm to help deliver the meds.  The bleed did not initially look serious enough to require surgery but could be handled with clotting drugs -- which is the double edged sword when dealing the heart patients who throw blood clots into their lungs if their blood is not thinned. 

The mental condition of Hubby is what's so very scarey right now.  Hopefully we caught the bleed quickly enough to ensure a full recovery.  Prayers, please. 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


I haven't given up on the blog but Hubby is back in our local hospital.  It's not heart related this time for which I'm very grateful.  He has been having trouble speaking, swallowing, and sometimes breathing for the last four years.  Also lots of problems with foods that aren't soft.  The last two weeks have been especially bad -- to the point where I thought he truly was in congestive heart failure.  But the pacemaker is still doing the job and the heart is beating fine. 

Yesterday the ER took lots of history and did a scope of his esophagus which was clear except for some polyps which they biopsied.  But he was having real trouble gathering breath after he had swallowed some aspirin so they determined it was time to look more intensely.  He was admitted -- on Labor Day rooms in the heart ward were scare so he got himself the VIP suite (very plush) -- and today they have CAT scanned and done a swallow test and scoped some more.  Maybe tomorrow we will know more. 

He was NPO (nothing by mouth) from 8 a.m. yesterday until 5 p.m. today so he happily downed the banana I got him from the cafeteria before I left for home.  He is only being given thin liquid and soft foods right now so he is pretty unhappy, laying about and NOT eating.  He announced that tomorrow "I'm going home, I don't care what they say," so we've had the encouraging talk which I think he completely ignored.  However, they don't keep you in the hospitals now unless they need to -- so I truly imagine he is coming home tomorrow. 

It's depressing sitting in hospital rooms 12 hours a day.  I'm not staying with him at night -- he's not in a precarious position, just miserable, and the dogs need to see a human at least for a bit each day. 

Peace out -- until we have some good news to share (or maybe just news).  M. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Acturally reading -- a book!

In my marathon TV watching of the 1990's series Reba and Murphy Brown, my brain (after a second miserable round of eliminating mood enhancement drugs from my system) suddenly said, "Hey, stupid, maybe you might actually enjoy reading a good book.  Not just a ladies magazine or a People-type magazine, but a real book."

Earlier in the summer I had optimistically ordered several Kindle books that promised (from their reviews) a good old-fashioned wallow in literature.  I had just never had the ambition to crack their spines, so to speak (Kindle books don't have spines, of course).

Earlier in the summer I had devoured Robert Galbraith's (AKA J. K. Rowling) The Cuckoo's Calling but after that my reading had been relegated to fluff -- or absent all together in favor of marathon TV reruns.  But yesterday I actually finished Elizabeth Gilbert's (of the Eat, Pray, Love fame) The Signature of All Things:  a Novel.  Granted, I found it tough going in spots and all the scientific philosophizing had me out of my depth but I read the entire 501 pages and can recommend it to my friends who care about botany or how Darwin came up with his theories.  It's a family saga, supposedly, not a mystery (my favorite genre) and nobody really has a happy ending -- but that's life, yes?  Gilbert can tell a good yarn and she is so very smart that all through the cataloging of mosses and orchids, one is mesmerized by how much she knows about such things. 

Now I'm finally ready to delve into the new Charles Todd (I've read EVERYTHING by this mother / son writing team) World War I novel, A Duty to the Dead which is a Bess Crawford Mystery and, based on past history, I probably won't emerge until the novel is finished. 

Brief update on the med situation:  the second round of pills was no better than the first.  Now we're ready to try round 3 with the adviso, that if this doesn't work, we are out of options.  Also last week, Hubby decided that big shiny steel machines at the Y was the just the things we HAD to try, so we went and I tried and was fine on the simpler machines, like the recumbent step, but then I moved on to something with weights and pulleys and back bends and spent all last Friday laid up in bed, moaning and groaning.  Now we've added in the muscle relaxers.  Hurray for good meds!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's the meds fault

The new pills, to help me gain energy and feel happier, kicked my butt big time.  Last Wednesday I slept  four hours in the morning, three hours in the afternoon, four hours after supper which was a can of soup, and then slept all night long.  This from a woman who is going to the doctor because she can't sleep.  Thursday was worse.  When ever I stood up I had to sit back down.  I slept all day and all night, and then most of Friday.  However, on Friday I was smart enough NOT to take any more of the new meds.  By Saturday I was able to go with Hubby to the movies which was fun -- we saw The Expendables.  Then on Sunday to dinner (at Denny's, no less) and back to the movies to see the highly recommended Guardians of the Universe which we hated.   This was actually the sum of my activities for the entire week.  Oh, I did make Hubby some tuna salad.  Otherwise, I watched TV and slept. 

On Monday I was finally able to go back to water aerobics but still felt pretty out of it.  I also had an acupuncture treatment for my knees Monday afternoon.

Today Hubby picked me up at 1:00 and we went over to the Y to actually workout on machines.  It had become clear that Hubby was desperate to try all the iron equipment in the gym but wasn't willing to go without me, so I finally dressed myself up in workout gear -- that means real athletic shoes instead of my swim shoes -- and we trudged over.  The only machine I could manage -- and like at the same time -- was the recumbent step machine.  I tried the bikes but they were too high and I tried the knee presses but they were too complicated.  The recumbent step machine was comfortable -- and slow -- and nobody was on it because, well, it's recumbent, comfortable, and slow -- and according to it I used up 5 calories before I burst into flames and had to get off -- meaning, I began to sweat. 

The doctor has just called and announced I should stop talking the horrible medication -- you think?  But she also sent out a script for something else to try.  We'll see what happens this week. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bad news

Yesterday I could understand why my sister-in-law explains every Christmas that she does not watch the news; it's just too depressing.

Tony Stewart ran down a 21 year old kid -- mistake or not -- and killed him after he had bumped the kids car off the track.

Stewart and his 21 year-old victim
 Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old, was shot and killed in the St. Louis area. 

Brown's mom
 Ferguson, MO erupted after his death with rioting and looting that has lasted for two night.

Teens in St. Louis demonstrating for the police -- Don't shoot!  I surrender! 
 President Obama goes on TV to remind us that the bombing in Iraq will not solve the ISIS problem; the Iraqi prime minister refuses to step down and the power struggle in Baghdad grown worse.

Iraq -- again
 Finally, our muse, Robin Williams felt he could no longer overcome the ravages of depression and took his life at age 63.  I especially loved him in Mork and Mindy, The World According to Garp, What Dreams May Come, Bicentennial Man, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Toys, Moscow on the Hudson, Dead Poets Society, and of course, Mrs. Doubtfire.  I happily watched every episode of his 2013 / 14 TV series, The Crazy Ones -- it was sweet and always ended with a good moral.  I was sad when I learned it had been canceled.  I know he screwed up his personal life and I can only imagine what that kind of rapid-fire mania his brain must have experienced -- but he brought such joy to his public.  He was a genius with a good heart and he brought us much happiness. 

It was a bad, sad day yesterday.  Today we try to correct the problems and recover from the grief. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

One new doctor; couple of new meds

Dr. Megan McMannus

When our GP moved on to private practice he recommended a woman doctor for us.  We met her early this morning, got a pretty clean bill of health -- all the old meds seemed to be working fine and I got a couple of new ones to try.

I liked the new doctor a lot; I think because she was a woman I was able to open up to her about a couple of personal and cosmetic issues I had ignored with our male GP.  Consequently, I had a three annoying skin tags removed and I got two new scripts and had a skin culture taken.  Hubby came off even better -- he was pronounced just fine and jim-dandy and nothing new was added to his health regime.  I'm not so sure he liked the new doc as well as the previous three men we have seen but maybe I needed the change, and since Hubby's doing so fine right now, I'm happy to be the center of attention.

Interactive Therapy was prescribed in continuing doses and I'm thrilled about that.  I have an appointment next Monday for more acupuncture and then the next day for massage and I can hardly wait.  You can't beat having a doctor you really look forward to visiting. 

I was the only "lab" rat today with blood drawn for a couple of small issues -- just to see how the new meds for the last three months from the Interactive Therapy had been working. 

We started out at 8 a.m. and were both back home by 9:30 -- including labs, skin-tag removal surgery, skin scrapings, and new scripts called in to the pharmacy.  That's a pretty productive morning. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday afternoon movie

After watching CBS Sunday Morning and ABC Sunday news and walking two doggies and heating up a couple of day-old donuts (from LaMars -- um, um good!), we headed out to our favorite cinemaplex to watch an old-folks film, The Hundred-Foot Journey staring Helen Mirren.

Our theater ($4.25 a ticket during daylight hours) usually shows the top movies but, the marginally intellectual or independent films come four to six weeks late, or sometimes never unless they are nominated for awards.  However, over the years the business end of the movie theater chain has begun to realize that us "older" folks have income to spend on movies if we're not being offered mutant turtles or blood stained vampires at every showing. 

Only three times were offered for the Mirren film while Guardians of the Universe had two separate theaters and shows offered every two hours.  I figured the 12:30 showing of our film produced by both Speilberg and Winfrey would be well-attended but we hadn't expected a sell-out.  Even the front rows were filled. 

The movie is fun and sweet at heart -- not great -- but full of family value pronouncements and lovely scenes of France.  Hubby napped a bit, especially during the intense foodie scenes, but on the whole, we both thought it was a very good film. 

That's two movies starring older actors and decent plots that we've enjoyed this summer.  The Michael Douglas / Diane Keaton movie, And So It Goes, honestly was better and funnier and it had some pretty good scenery too -- not France but lovely seacoast scenes. 

Maybe the movie industry is finally getting the message that money can be made with established stars and well-planned plots if we oldsters continue to attend these well-made movies with handsome but aging stars.  Can't beat a Sunday afternoon with popcorn, a big soda, and an engrossing film on the big screen -- and toss in Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, or Helen Mirren and you've got yourself some "dreamboat" material.