Thursday, August 28, 2008

Surgery a success!

Ron had his third - and hopefully final - surgery on his right foot yesterday. The doctor came out to talk to me afterward and said that everything went well and he's very pleased with the healing that has come about since the pacemaker was installed. I was relieved to hear that.

Ron got a spinal instead of general anesthetic so he recovered much quicker than last surgery. He couldn't go home until it had all worn off and he was able to use the bathroom. It took a while for that to happen but they finally discharged him around 4:00. It was a long day and we were ready to come home.

Ron wasn't in any more pain than usual last night, so that was good. The wound vac was making a lot of noise so I had to unwrap the dressing and add some more tape to it. I think it had shifted a bit and the connection wasn't as good, so the suction was not as tight as it should be. I got it to quiet down and then I added my special diaper-dressing to help pad the area.

To make the dressing I take one newborn diaper and gut it in half, front to back so I have two equal pieces. Then I take each piece and cut a circle out of the middle of it. LOL, you have to do this over the trash can because the dry absorbent material leaks out of it. I take those two pieces and layer them over the wound area and then take a second diaper and wrap the ankle just like a baby's bottom. I'm quite creative in my heel diapering. I figure if a diaper holds in baby mess, it can hold in ankle mess if it starts leaking. I've been using the diaper routine for several months and the nurses are all impressed. I do have to use tape to get the diaper to stay on the foot, but it's worth it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Laser Lipo

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? My step-daughter told me there was a place here in town that does it and it didn’t seem to be too expensive, so I tried to find some more information out about it. I’d love to lose the little fat pockets that I can’t ever seem to diet off and I have some "uneven-ness" on my hips. I found out quite a bit.

I visited the local dermatology clinic and found out they don’t do this procedure and they referred me to someone else. In the course of the conversation I discovered what Stacey was talking about (non-invasive) was totally different from what he was talking about (minimally invasive). He gave me a brochure and I did some Internet research.

What he’s talking about is SmartLipo ( is one of the Web sites I found), which uses small incisions and a laser to melt the fat, then it’s suctioned away. The down time is supposed to be very little compared to traditional liposuction. I watched the “you tube” video and it didn’t look too interesting. You have to be awake during the procedure. No thank you! I don’t want to be awake for any procedure that involves incisions, lasers, and suction material. Ick, Ick, Ick!

I did call the phone number the dermatology office staff gave me to get some information (curiosity about price) but they never called me back.

In the meantime, Stacey brought over the advertisement card she’d received in the mail. I knew the address was close to where Ron goes for his orthopedic doctor so I decided to see if I could find the office and get some information on the procedure. I was able to talk to one of the doctors (he’s actually a chiropractor) right then and found out this is totally non-invasive and does involve a type of laser.

I did some more homework on the Internet. and are two sites I found that explained what they do and I found them to be very interesting. It’s not terribly inexpensive but nothing compared to the other laser lipo option (roughly $4,000 for the first area and then $1,000 for each area after that) or traditional liposuction. This clinic charges approximately $60 per session (30 minutes) to treat one area and less for a package of several sessions.

This system melts the fat by placing the laser electrodes on the area to be treated and then two other probes are placed over lymph nodes. The idea behind it is the laser melts the fat and the body absorbs the liquefied fat and it’s excreted with your normal waste. Each session lasts for 30 minutes and the areas to be treated can take 2-3 treatments each.

The clinic I talked to said if you’re at the end of your package and you’ve not achieved the results you wanted (some get quicker results than others) they’ll continue to give you treatments (at no additional charge) until you’re satisfied with the results. They have some other things that will help speed up the inch loss.

Hmmm…. Sounds like a deal for me. Painless inch loss to go along with the weight loss I’m already working on. LOL! Probably not. Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

While I’m at it, brown age spot removal seems like a good idea. This also uses a laser and takes 1-3 treatments. I did have one of these treatments. It did burn a little bit and the spot actually got darker. It’s a good thing he warned me about that or I would have been freaking out. He said that it will slough off as dead skin and the reason it gets darker first is because the laser is bringing all the pigmentation to the surface. Because I’m so light skinned, it was easy to target just the area that I wanted treated. I scheduled a second treatment for five weeks from now.

I’m anxious to see what my final results will be.


Amy was changing light bulbs in the kitchen for us. We’re trying to conserve electricity by converting every light we can to the little fluorescent light bulbs because they’re almost as bright but use just a fraction of the energy. I was holding her legs and holding onto the stool she was on. Isaiah said, “you hold her legs Grandma and I’ll hold her feet.” Then he started singing “What’s it gonna take? Teamwork. What’s it gonna take? Teamwork.” It’s from the Wonder Pets show on Noggin. It’s about a hamster, a turtle, and a rabbit that fly all over in their Lego boat helping other animals who are in trouble.

It’s cheesy and the animation is horrible, but he loves it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I'm angry...

Ron said that to me today and at first I denied it. I'm not angry in the sense that I walk around all day with an attitude, but I do have issues with inconsiderate people and little things set me off. I'm sure it's because I deal with the big stuff all the time and since I have no control and no choice, I have to deal with it. But, when something little happens - like someone cuts in line in front of me - that shouldn't shake my rafters, and it does - then I'm angry. Ron said I should see a psychologist.

No, I don't think I should see a psychologist. I don't need someone to tell me what I already know. I am angry at my situation and because I can't change my situation I'm not dealing well with other situations. I just need to have a different response to things.

Two things today, back to back, really ticked me off. I'd been saving this store bag for a couple of months because it had a $10 off coupon on it, or what appeared to be a $10 off coupon. I took the coupon to the store today because there's some hemp seed lotion I wanted there and it's $20. When I walked in the sales clerk asked if she could help me and I replied that I had this coupon to use but wasn't sure exactly what I wanted. She informed me that it was only $1 off. The extra "0" was part of the word "off" and I wasn't the first person to confuse it. Well, if I'm not the first person - and I'm sure I won't be the last, that should tell them there's a problem with the coupon. I just walked out of the store. I'm not going to do business somewhere that has such tricky tactics.

I hadn't gotten over that yet when the next incident happened. Ron and I were waiting for the elevator to go down to the lower level and we'd stood there for quite some time. A couple and their daughter walked up to wait also. I know they saw us because the daughter came and stood by Ron's scooter for a minute and then walked back to her parents. As soon as the elevator door opened they scooted in, effectively making us have to wait again for the elevator. It's not like they couldn't have walked down the stairs that were right there. They had no physical restrictions - nothing like an electric scooter. I was so ticked!

About the time the elevator came back, another woman with a stroller started to scoot in and I just glared at her. I couldn't believe that she was going to have the nerve to actually try to take the elevator. It's a small elevator and Ron's scooter is big so there's no room for anything other than it and me. I wasn't going to stand idly by and have another rude person cut in line.

That's when Ron said I needed to see a doctor. I didn't find it amusing.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ron and his foot

We saw Ron's foot doctor on Wednesday and got the news we were dreading... he is having surgery again on his foot. It’s next Wednesday (8/27) at 8:15 in the morning at St. Joseph.

We both saw it coming but we’re still not thrilled about it. If it’s the key to new healing taking place, then OK. I’m sure it will be fine but it is discouraging for him. He is afraid that he’s really going to lose his foot before it’s all over. The doctor said there’s still some necrotic tissue that he’s concerned about so it’s better to clean it out again. I could see it when the nurse took off the bandage so I know he’s not rushing Ron into surgery. He’s talked about the possibility for weeks and was trying to hold off to see how things went. The foot has gotten better but not good enough to continue healing. The doctor said he can see a big improvement since the pacemaker went in so maybe this is the kick it needs.

Ron thinks the problem is that he's mainly unable to keep the foot off the floor when transferring and it ends up on the bed during his sleep. I prop it up over and over again, but it still falls off the pillow. He thought he'd do better if we could get a knee walker, which is a contraption on four wheels and has a padded area to rest your lower leg as you walk with the other leg. It's safer than crutches, has a hand brake, and is generally fairly easy to get around with.

Ron used one in 2006 when he had his other foot surgery (we rented it for $125 per month) but the place where we got it from no longer handles them. We went to another location but the one they had doesn't have fixed front wheels. Turning wheels makes it easier to maneuver corners and around things, but if you don't have really good balance and control it's very easy to have a disaster. Ron would be a disaster waiting to happen, especially since he only has 1/2 of his left foot to deal with. It was scary watching him try the thing out.

I found one on eBay but I've been outbid on it. I'm watching a couple more of them but not sure any of them will be within our price range once it's all said and done.

The physical therapist came out today to do an evaluation on Ron, his strength, and the house. He's got some recommendations and thinks he should come out three times a week. I don't think we need that often (we have a co-pay for each visit) but I do think twice a week for a while and then maybe once a week for a while. Ron is very weak and his muscles have atrophied considerably. We shall see...

Our Anniversary

After a day of doctor's appointments for Ron, we checked into the Hilton. Our room was actually a suite with a separate bedroom, which was huge. The living room boasted a sectional sofa, desk and chair, flat panel TV, coffee table, and TV armoire. The bedroom had a king sized bed, flat panel TV, dresser, and arm chair. The bathroom was very large with a whirlpool tub and separate over-sized shower. Finally, there was a small kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker. It was nice. But it was not $450 PER NIGHT nice. I don't understand how and why people would consider spending $450 per night on a hotel room. Why would anyone need a hotel room with that much space that costs that much money per night? It's beyond me, but then again I'm not in the income bracket of people who would think that this would be the norm. This suite was bigger than the one bedroom (550 sq ft) apartment that Ron and I rented last summer. The only thing missing was the washer and dryer.

We ate dinner at Legend's and enjoyed the rib eye steak dinner. They were very good and the portions large enough that we had the remainder for dinner last night. It was also quite expensive. Two dinners, water to drink, and two pieces of cake came to $58 with tip. That's not something we would do on a regular basis.

After dinner we decided to go to the hot tub. The pool area was deserted except for us, so that was nice. I turned on the jets according to the instructions and waited for the water to churn. And waited. And waited. Finally it looked like there was some movement in the water. What a sad, sorry excuse for a hot tub! The water was barely warmer than a normal bath and the whirlpool action was pitiful. Isaiah could make more bubbles in the water than this. But, I stuck it out for a while before I said I'd had enough. Besides, we had a whirlpool tub in the room and I could enjoy that.

Later in the evening I ran the water for the tub, anticipating a wonderfully relaxing soak. I made sure the water was just the right temperature and high enough to cover the jets but not so high that it would bubble over once it was turned on. I got in and got all comfy and pushed the button to turn on the tub. Nothing. Pushed again. Still nothing. Ron and I just laughed as that seemed to be the theme of the day. He came in on the scooter and tried to see if the circuit was tripped. Nope, it was just fine. I saw a timer on the wall so got out and tried it to see if it made the jets run. Nope, that wasn't it.

I decided I'd had enough and I was going to just go to bed and watch TV. As I'm draining the tub I noticed another timer on a different wall (not even close to the tub) so I turned it on. Lo and behold - it turned the jets on. So I stopped the draining and re-filled the tub. I was finally able to enjoy a 15 minute soak (before the timer turned off) and whirlpool action that was actually something.

We watched television until about midnight and then turned out the lights. Part of our stay included breakfast in the concierge lounge so the next morning we hauled ourselves up there to enjoy a complimentary breakfast. As far as free breakfasts go, it was OK but nothing spectacular. Scrambled eggs, old-fashioned potatoes, an assortment of fruit, yogurt, and juices, different breads, cereal, and milk. Not bad for free.

We checked out about 10:00 am yesterday and headed home. That was our exciting anniversary.

I'm expecting to do something really spectacular for our 25th. I'm envisioning a cruise... I better start saving my money now!

Friday, August 15, 2008

First day of kindergarten

Isaiah came home extremely pleased with his first day of kindergarten and "key latch" (he gets it backwards). He got to eat a gingerbread man and made some really cute "first day" stuff for his mom. He got a green star for the day, which meant that he had a very good day. (Hmmm... wonder how he had such a good day there? Maybe because they are aware of his limitations and work with them. Amazing.)

Amy had been told that he wasn't eligible for the bus because we live too close to the school so he was not ready yesterday morning at 7:30. She told the bus driver that she didn't think he was a rider so the driver said she'd check. Amy decided that she'd have him ready at 7:30 this morning just in case. The bus came at 7:22. LOL - the driver told Amy that Isaiah was indeed eligible to ride the bus and that she'll be here to pick him up at 7:22. School starts at 8:00 and we're less than 3 miles away so not sure why he will get on the bus so early. Oh well... Saves Amy (and me) having to take him. He was very disappointed that he didn't get to ride the bus to school.

He's very excited to ride the bus to latch key in the afternoon though.

Confessions of a fat woman

I haven't always been fat although I've always thought of myself as fat (except for one brief period of time from 1983 to 1984 - but that was when I was poor and had no money for groceries). It might have something to do with the input I received from people I loved. Children really do believe what they're told and if you tell someone often enough that they are fat and ugly, it will eventually become fact in the mind of the recipient.

I know that my dad, in his ill-equipped mind, didn't want us to be unhappy adults so he tried to toughen us up. He thought that if he told us all the negative stuff that we'd do the exact opposite. I guess it worked with some of my siblings and didn't with others. I was one of the others.

I remember being told that no one would ever want me, men didn't want to be married to fat women (I might add that my mother was overweight at the time, so what was he really saying?), and that fat women were ugly. I was 5'8" (before scoliosis robbed me of about an inch) and never weighed more than 150 in high school. At one point I was about 125-130 pounds. Looking back, I know that 150 is almost too low for my bone structure. I weighed 145 in 1984 and I looked sickly.

My first husband even told me how fat I was. Of course, he is 6'2" and was about 155 pounds at the time. Silly me... I went and married someone who was as emotionally abusive as my dad was.

After Shaun was born I thought I was horribly fat. I honestly don't ever remember getting any positive comments about how quickly I lost the baby fat. I look back at pictures of me then and realize I was SKINNY! I have a picture of me holding Shaun and he's probably less than two months old. My arms look like sticks (now they look like small saplings) and my face is very thin. Those were the days, for sure.

I did get quite a bit heavier when I was pregnant with Amy but a lot of that was water retention. My legs were the same size from my knees to my toes. In fact, my toes looked like little stubs on the end of a club. It was awful. I had pitting edema all the way up. I lost all of that very quickly, too but I shied away from cameras because I was convinced of how unattractive I was. It saddens me to think that I have no pictures of me with my daughter as she was growing up. (Actually, I have very few pictures of me with any of my children as they were growing up. I was too fat and unattractive to have the right to be happy and to be in any pictures. What was I thinking???)

When Ron and I got married I was at my lowest weight. I'd been the previous 18 months without sufficient income (and no child support) to keep us all in food. I ate, but just not on a regular basis. Ron was a bit overweight but I didn't think that his bad eating habits would rub off on me. Boy, was I ever wrong.

By the time Keith was born in 1986 I was overweight. Truly overweight. And I gained 50 pounds while I was pregnant. I had a lot of the same water weight with him and swelling that I'd had with Amy but I didn't lose it as quickly. He weighed 9 pounds 1 ounce but I came home weighing only eight pounds less than when I went in. That was very discouraging.

Over the course of the last 21 years, I have probably lost and gained about 1,000 pounds. You know the routine.... lose 30, gain 35 - lose 15, gain 20 - etc. Every time I'd go on a diet it would become more and more difficult for me to maintain it. Some diets were literally starvation diets - the cookie diet, shake diet, grapefuit diet, cabbage soup diet, etc. Ron, although I'm sure he thought he meant well at the time, would bring home Braum's ice cream or candy or shakes or anything else that people shouldn't eat. He definitely should not have been eating the stuff anyway because he is diabetic. I believe that he wanted it and because he was breaking the "rule" he could justify it if he could get me to break it, too. I wouldn't buy it for myself but if it was stuck in front of my face, I was going to eat it. I should have had the gumption to say no and to not buy that stuff for me anymore. But, I never talked back to men so that was a problem and I didn't want to rock the boat. (I don't have that problem any longer. LOL!)

This time around I'm doing it for a different reason. I am tired of considering myself unworthy and unattractive. I'm tired of thinking I have no right to look nice or to wear nice clothes. For years I've worn t-shirts and blue jeans thinking that was all I should wear. I believed fat girls should be ashamed - and I was very ashamed. I had failed at yet one more attempt at something. My whole life was considered a failure because I wrapped my entire existence around what my weight was.

I know that Ron has loved me through thick and thin (very literally) and he never meant to trample on already fragile feelings. Even as close as we are, and have been our whole married life, even he has not been aware of the depth of disregard I have had for my own feelings or the depth of disgust I've had for my own body. I'm struggling to overcome that. I have gone shopping and enjoyed trying on new sizes and having things fit. I have enjoyed buying things that weren't t-shirt material. I've enjoyed buying new jeans - but these are nice, dressy jeans that could go to work or a dinner out. I even bought a really nice pair of slacks and vest, with a totally new style of blouse. I will probably take it back because I don't like the blouse on but at least I bought it. If I could find a different blouse I might keep it but it's a totally different look.

My success or failure should not be measured by what the scales say in the morning. The overall success should be measured by what the scales said when I started and what they'll say when I'm finished. I am a work in progress. I struggle every day to not be upset if the scales go up .8 or 1.2 pounds. I'm ecstatic when it moves down .2 or more. Water retention can make my weight change a couple of pounds either direction in one day. I know this but yet I still fuss over it.

I'm still overweight but now I know that I'm winning the battle instead of fighting a losing battle. My eating habits are changing, I don't want to end up with some of the same health problems that Ron is facing, and my resolve is stronger. I still like to eat things I'm not supposed to have (last night it was pizza and I paid for it with a 1.4 water weight gain) but I do it in much greater moderation. I'm trying to not hate myself for my little indulgences. I'm working on not looking into the mirror and filling my head with negative thoughts about myself. I realize that I'm no beauty star, but I have the love of a good man and my family loves me - so what does it matter that my nose is a bit big and my profile isn't the greatest (and neither is Jody Foster's). I'm not ugly and if I'm only just average then that should be OK, too.

I just have to keep telling myself that I really am OK and that I have a lot to be proud of. I know I have a lot to be thankful for and that's never been an issue. I'm always thankful and have been amazed at the love my husband and kids have for me. I have some great friends, too that really love me and I'm very thankful for that, too.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inconsiderate People

Yesterday between doctor's appointments Ron wanted to go to Golden Corral for lunch. I don't usually like to do buffet's (being on the "diet routine") but I caved and said I'd take him. When we pulled into the parking lot I noticed that all of the handicap spots were taken. I decided it must have been "Old Day Out" or something.

No big deal, I'd just park away from everyone else so I'd have room to lower the wheelchair ramp. I pulled into a spot with several openings on either side and figured that I was safe. I put the ramp in the up position to be considerate of others who might be driving by so they wouldn't have to do defensive driving to avoid it.

When we came back out the spot on the passenger side of the car was taken by a red Suburban. That would not have been so bad, but the driver pulled in at an angle and there was no room at all for Ron to even drive the scooter to the door to get in. I was livid. It's not like the parking lot was full and that was the ONLY spot the guy could use. Oh no -there were spots immediately to his right and several to the left of my car. I mean LOTS of parking spots.

I had to back the Explorer out into the parking lot so I could let down the wheelchair ramp and get Ron taken care of. I wanted to leave the idiot a note but I decided that would just make me look bad so I did not. But seriously, do people not have brains? If I pulled in a parking lot and saw a car with handicap tags and a wheelchair carrier I'd assume that someone in the vehicle was in a wheelchair and not park close. And I'd especially not park there if the rest of the parking lot was virtually empty.

So was the driver of the Suburban an idiot or just totally inconsiderate? That's hard to tell.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


When we stayed at the Airport Hilton a couple of weeks ago (when we had no A/C our builder paid for two nights there since it was his fault), we had a few minor issues. The handicap accessible room was nice, but Ron couldn't navigate into the bathroom from the little access hallway. More and more people are using electric scooters instead of traditional wheelchairs so I'm sure this is something that will come up again in the future. In order for him to get to the toilet he had to park his scooter and hobble into the bathroom. He's got so many other problems he can't really hop so that was a bit of an issue. Something about ½ of his left foot missing may have something to do with it. Hmmm – sounds like it could be.

In addition, the shower doesn't have a lip on it, so water from my morning shower got all over the floor. In addition to the floor mat, I used nearly every towel there to clean up the floor. The sign said if you can re-use the towel, hang it up; if not, leave it on the floor and housekeeping will pick it up. These were soaked so I left them on the floor by the shower. We were gone for most of the day and when we got back in the mid-afternoon, the room had not been serviced. I figured that maybe since we were staying two nights that it was normal procedure to not have it serviced. No big deal, except I didn't have any other towels for another shower.

I also didn't have any coffee for the in-room pot for the next morning. Oh well… I'd have to purchase coffee after I checked out.

I decided to check out the Jacuzzi since I knew the hotel had one and I was looking forward to relaxing my sore, tired muscles. (Loading and unloading that heavy scooter is very. Even though we have the wheelchair trailer, I still have to raise or lower the hitch [that thing is heavy, too], raise or lower the ramp [depending on if it's loading or unloading time], roll the chair up or down, and then tie it down [or untie]. If he's got more than one doctor's appointment that day, it could mean as many as 12 times of up/down.) The Jacuzzi was broken. That was totally disappointing but I did get into the pool for a bit. (I know, big surprise – me in a swimsuit but with a 35 pound weight loss I was game to do it.)

When we sat down to watch the television we noticed that CBS made a noise. The louder we turned up the volume to hear the show, the louder the noise got. Bummer… We watched it anyway – or, at least I did. Ron went to sleep pretty early.

The bed was pretty comfortable and since we didn't have air conditioning at home, we greatly appreciated being able to cool the room down.

On the check-out statement there was a note from the hotel general manager, with his email address. He said he'd like to know about our stay – good, bad, and the ugly. So, I told him. I gave his front office staff a 10 because they were very pleasant checking in and checking out. The room rated an 8 since it was very clean, the linens very nice, and overall very comfortable – just not truly totally accessible. The TV choices got a 5. HGTV and TLC were not even channels I could find that were offered so that was a bit of a disappointment (those are what I watch the most on the weekends).

I didn't actually expect to hear back from him, especially since I got an email survey a couple of days later. Imagine my surprise when I got a return email that not only apologized for the inconveniences, but wanted to give us a complimentary one night stay. He indicated that he'd like for me to come out one day and take a tour of rooms that he thought would accommodate the scooter and then set a date for us to stay. Since our 24th anniversary is the 20th I asked if that night would be good. He said it would.

We went to the hotel today to take the tour. Oh My Goodness! The rooms the office manager showed us were AWESOME! In my wildest dreams we could never afford a room like that. The first one had a big office area when you first went in. Next to it was a small kitchen and through the kitchen was the bathroom. Ron could get into the bathroom but there wasn't any room for him to turn around. That would be OK as he could back out again.  The tub was a HUGE (at least a two person) Jacuzzi tub. Man, would that be nice. The bedroom area had a very nice king-sized four poster bed and a TV armoire at the foot. It was a bit tight on either side of the bed but could be maneuvered. The living room area had a nice sofa, love seat, tables, and big TV but it was only separated from the bedroom area by a half wall. Just for grins Ron asked what that room rented for. $400 per night!

Unbelievably, the second room was even nicer than the first. The living room was big and had a sectional sofa and a flat panel TV! There was also an office area and a small kitchen. The bedroom was totally separate from the living room (with its own door) and you could access the bathroom from both rooms. The Jacuzzi wasn't as big but there was also a separate shower. The toilet was in such a place that Ron could drive through from the bedroom and out the second door into the living room. It was awesome! That's the room we're going to get – except it will be concierge level and we'll get a free breakfast delivered to our room the next morning. I was afraid to ask how much that room rented for.

We never had a honeymoon so that will almost be like having a mini-honeymoon. It's not quite like being able to go to Vegas to see some shows (which we wanted to do this year before all the turmoil started) but it's better than sitting at home and watching TV.

One doctor – good news; other bummer news

Today was a 50-50 day for news. Dr. Peterie thinks the wound is healing nicely and doesn't want to see Ron for another month. That's great news.

Dr. Heady did some cutting on the wound, just like the Home Health nurse predicted he would. He says that Ron really may need to have some more OR work done on it. He cut as much as he could without causing too much bleeding. He did have to cauterize it though. We go back next Wednesday (which just happens to be our 24th anniversary) to find out if more in-patient surgery is in the works. If so, maybe it can happen on the 22nd instead of the 27th. I don't really care about the 27th per se, but my birthday is the 29th and I'd just as soon not be at the hospital for any reason that week.

Ugh, ugh, and more ugh!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Weight loss

I've been quietly working on losing weight since about April and I've managed to lose about 35 pounds - give or take a pound depending on water weight. I took Phentermine the first month (1 pill per day), then for the next 30 pills I took a whole pill every other day and 1/2 pill on the "off" days. The next 30 pills I'm taking 1/2 pill every day. The weight loss has slowed down some but I think it is better that I don't lose it too quickly.

I briefly saw XXX but then shot right back up to XXX. I’m sure it was a fluid thing and not a true indicator of weight loss or gain. I’ve been holding at XXX.6 for several days but this morning was XXX.2, so that was nice.

I’d still like to be under XXX when I go back to work but I’m really not sweating it. Whatever happens will happen. I’ve bought quite a few new clothes in a new size and they fit nicely – but they have to have a bit of stretch in the fabric to be comfortable. Amy brought me some Lee and Docker dress jeans in the smaller size and I was sure they would not fit, but they did. Woo-hoo! I bought both pairs plus another pair of Nicole jeans in the same size. They were all on sale and very comfortable so I was pleased. I’ve had to get one size larger in a couple of pair of jeans (Gloria Vanderbilt, but they run small) but that’s ok. I’d rather they fit comfortably than to worry about a size number. I don’t have many shirts that fit, though. One size is a bit too big but the next size down is just not quite comfortable in some areas. I like the looseness of the larger size in the body but some of them really look too big on my shoulders and stick out too far at the hemline. It’s a compromise no matter what size I get – I have to choose which part of my upper body is going to be comfortable and covered. My arms are the things that still give me the most grief. I know I need to do more with them but haven’t had the motivation to do so or a really good idea of what to do. I'm also out of ideas for healthy eating that I have time to prepare and that everyone will like - and within Ron's eating restrictions.

I might join our local recreation center ($35 per month for individual) and spend some time there exercising after work. If I don’t keep the membership past 2-3 months then that will still be a benefit. Just depends on if I use it enough to justify having it. They do have an indoor pool so that kind of has me interested in joining. I’d like to do some water aerobics and maybe that would help my knees and my left hip, which hurt all the time. I’m practically living on Aleve these days.

Expensive July 4th weekend

When we went to KC for my family reunion we had to take two cars. Shaun, Jenny, Alexander, Isaiah, Keith, Amy, Ron, and I wouldn't fit in one vehicle even without taking two car seats, a stroller, a playpen, an electric scooter (which rode on the new scooter hitch), folding chairs, a cooler, and food. Ron wanted to take his left shoe with his orthotic (1/2 foot) in it. I wasn't too keen on it but I didn't argue.

Do I ever wish I had! The shoe didn't make it home. So, after spending $200 on gas, whatever I spent on food, tolls, park fee, etc., we had to replace the shoe and "foot."

The total was $604 and some change. Insurance does not cover "orthotics" regardless of what they're for. That absolutely sucks!

Monday, August 11, 2008

More so-so news

The nephrologist's nurse called today and said she had the results from Ron's blood work on Friday. His calcium is back down (7.8 and should be 8.7-10.5) so they want him back on medication for that. He's also going on a Vitamin D-3 (it's a prescription strength) so they're calling that in for us.

His hemoglobin is 8.9 (it was 12 on July 14th and 11.5 when he was in the hospital) so he's going back on Procrit shots. They're increasing them from 10,000 units to 20,000 units.

His potassium is up a bit, but not in the danger zone. The increased Lasix should take care of that. He (we) just can't catch a break these days. We're still waiting to hear from the cardiologist.

The home health nurse says his foot looks better but she expects the doctor to cut some on it Wednesday. He's got a lot of macerated (wet) skin around the edges of the wound. That could speed up the overall healing or cause it to just get bigger. I don't know.

I'm tired of the whole routine and I know that he is, too. I just don't know what to change to make things better.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

This is getting old...

Ron's gained about 20 pounds in two weeks. It's not all from having more energy and wanting to eat more. It's fluid build up - again. The doctor increased his furosemide to 160 mg twice a day and had him take a Zaroxolyn today. In addition to that, he's to wear the CPAP when he's even just sitting around and resting - in the chair or in the bed. That is a sucky thing to have to do. Tomorrow the home health nurse is to draw blood tomorrow to run a bunch of tests, including a renal panel.

On top of all of that, he may need his pacemaker leads re-implanted as one has shifted. We went to the cardiologist today and the Medtronics person did a check of his pacemaker. We could tell by the look on his face that something was not right so we asked. He said it wasn't quite in the right place and was using too much of the battery power. This will run down the battery much too soon, which would require having the whole thing removed and a new battery put in.

They sent us for a chest x-ray this afternoon. The results will be faxed back to the cardiologist and then they'll decide if he needs further surgery.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A/C working great!

Got everything fixed up and ready to go. Thermostat set on 75 and it's 75 in here! That's a first!!!

It got so cool that Ron was saying he needed a blanket and for me to turn it up a bit. LOL, that is great. Maybe my electric bill won't be sky high next time.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Hambuger and fries...$8.95
Chocolate souffle...$5.95
Chips and salsa...$20.00
2 Diet Cokes...$5.00
Tax and Tip...$11.10

Ordering room service in a swanky hotel... Priceless!

Never done it before; never doing it again!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Going to a hotel

Our a/c just has problems - plain and simple. I called the builder today to tell him how things were going (as per his request) and he decided to come over and take another look. When he got here, the temperature was 85 and the thermostat was set on 72.

He said he came prepared and handed me some folded money. He said, "Two nights, at the Marriott. They have elevators. Go and get out of the heat." I tried to not take it but I decided that it was a wonderful gesture and I would take him up on it.

The Marriott is booked tonight and tomorrow so I tried the airport Hilton. They had accessible rooms, a pool, and a jacuzzi. The total price - $299.17. I thought he had handed me at least $200 but when I opened the folded bills I saw he had given me $300. Awesome!

Amy and Isaiah have it much cooler in the basement but it will get hot in here tomorrow afternoon again. I said they could come over to the hotel in the afternoon and Isaiah could swim. He will like that.

Tonight, we're going to have dinner in Legends. Saturday night is seafood extravaganza. Unfortunately, Ron is allergic to seafood but I can eat it {grin}. He can eat something else. Sunday morning they have a brunch, so that will be good.

We'll check out Monday morning since Ron has a doctor's appointment on the west side of town. It should be very relaxing. I'm taking the laptop, though. LOL!

Design Star

I loved that show and tomorrow night is the finale. It was easy for me to pick a favorite early on and she is in the final two. Her competition is another early favorite for me but I think on the whole, he is not as versatile as she is. I liked the winners from season 1 and season 2, but I think the finalists from this season are the best yet.

Jennifer is from Kansas and has a design company with her husband. Matt lives in LA and has a lot of great ideas, and his Web site is awesome, but I think his designs are a bit too minimalistic.

If I had the money to hire a designer to come in here and finish what I haven't been able to complete (with life the way it's been), it would definitely be Jennifer. Maybe they'll have her show be in the Midwest so people who don't live on either of the coasts can benefit from top designs.

whine, whine, whine...

I don't know what is wrong with me. I actually told Keith today that I wished I was dead and that I hated my life. I don't mean it - I don't wish I were dead. I'm just tired of my life the way it is right now. Ron said today that I treat him like s**t. That kind of got to me. I have to admit that I'm sometimes not as patient as I should be, like when he asks the same questions over and over again. Or, he'll rephrase the question and ask again; I don't know if he's trying to get a different answer or if he doesn't think I understood the first question.

We were driving down the street and he said, "Oh, the Tree Guys have another location." I laughed and said that it was their location - not a new one, but the one we've driven by more than once. That's when he dropped the bomb. If I hadn't been so far from home I might have gotten out of the car and just left him in the parking lot. I've threatened to walk home before when he said something that offended me. I wouldn't leave him stranded though since he can't drive. Plus, it was too far for me to walk in sandals anyway. I'm not entirely stupid. ;>P

I was going to apologize to him today for something that I said yesterday but I don't think I'm even going to talk to him for a while. If I'm not speaking then I won't be talking mean to him.

Yesterday we were leaving the chiropractor and he was having difficulty getting his new (bigger) scooter through the door opening. I told him to back it up and get closer to the wall opposite the doorway. That way when he turned the wheel, he would have more space between his left wheel and the door frame. He didn't do it. He just kept trying to do it his way. I finally took the handle of the scooter and drove him backwards to where I wanted him and then told him to make the turn. I said he acted like he'd never driven before - forward or backward - and that he'd never tried to park anything. I said he had to put some thought into driving and where the scooter was going before he just drove it.

Even though my point and my advice were valid, I was frustrated and I did say it in front of other people. That's wasn't very nice. But, he doesn't act like he's making any conscious decision when he's driving the scooter through doorways or in a room. I'm constantly having to be on the lookout for him to be stuck or him running into stuff. It's just one more thing I have to be thinking of all the time.

A person we know said the other day that Ron has been through so much and how admirable his attitude and behavior have been. While I'm not disputing those facts (because it is true - trials and attitude), I was a bit miffed as it was like he's come through this all by himself with no help from anyone. I didn't see me gone during all these years and I certainly didn't tell him to let me know when life was smooth sailing once again. He's had his share of depression and disappointment but I'm the one who has been there for every day, every achievement, and every setback. Hello???? What am I - some kind of chopped liver??? Ron gives me credit for being there for him so that is all that should matter but it still kind of ticks me off to hear people say "poor Ron, he's having such a rough time." I know it is jealousy causing me to be irritated and I am ashamed of it. I wouldn't want to trade places with him - I would just appreciate recognition for what I'm also contributing to his healing and his quality of life.

In all honesty, I can't say that I haven't had any recognition or any help. I've appreciated the help and the encouraging words. It has just been a very trying year and I'm having a pity party right now. Things that are suggested that I should do are impossible. Ron can't be left home alone right now. He can't even really be trusted to watch Isaiah for a couple of hours because he goes to sleep so easily, so how could I go and leave him for any length of time? I can't.

We have monthly women's ministry meetings at our church but children are never included. Everyone else who has children Isaiah's age also have a spouse to take care of said children. We don't have that. We've tried asking if we could hire some teenagers to take care of the children at the church while we have our meeting but they've said because of liability issues they are unable to do that. So, on any given month Amy or I have to stay home. Today is also a baby shower and since Amy is in charge of the games, I will be the one staying home. Today is probably a good day for me to be the one staying home.

A/C back in working order

It was very nice to sleep in a cool house once again. Evidently the first repairman had topped off the freeon too much and it wasn't pulling the hot air from the house. Our builder came by with two repairmen - one with freeon in case they needed it and the other with parts since they didn't know what was up with the unit.

They did find a piece of copper in the pipe, probably from when they soldered the pieces together and an extra piece of copper solder broke off and wedged itself where it shouldn't have been. The one repairman said the copper piece, with the extra freeon, wouldn't let the hot air be drawn from the house.

Now we'll see if the combined actions have fixed this thing once and for all. If not, they have already said they'd replace the whole unit.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Still too darn hot in here...

The a/c cannot keep up. We were gone all afternoon and came home to an 85 degree house, and that is with the thermostat set at 70! The air coming out of the vent is just cool - not cold, cool. I could just scream. I cannot take this heat. My electric bill is going to be through the roof! I don't know whether to be more angry at the a/c man or the builder. As much as I like him on a personal level I am leaning toward he cut corners and built a nice looking house that is not well insulated. I already know the heat bill in the winter is outrageous and now I'm faced with the cooling bill being just as bad for the summer.

I'm afraid my blood is about to boil. It's not like I need any more stress in my life right now. I'm already about to blow just from the day-to-day stress of dealing with Ron's health.

If I don't melt from the heat first, I may just explode.

A balmy 92 degrees...

I got a taste of living in the tropics and I don't think I'd like it. Our air conditioner went out (it was functioning at a very decreased rate) so the repairman ordered a new compressor. It only took a couple of days for it to arrive and he came back yesterday to put in the new one. Once he left, Ron and I decided to go to the mall as I needed to pick up some slacks that I'd ordered for him a couple of weeks ago.

When we got home, Amy and Isaiah were already here and she said it was 100 degrees in the house. Obviously, the a/c was not functioning correctly. It wasn't quite 100 degrees but it was 92. It just felt like it was 100 - or higher. I called our builder (didn't have the a/c repairman's phone number) and got his voice mail. So I called his house number and got a fax machine. At this point I was very frustrated. It was hot, hot, hot! I don't do "hot" very well and neither does Ron.

We decided to go to Kohl's (just to browse) and then to Lowe's (got a couple of fans). While we were out the builder finally answered his phone and I told him what was up. Unfortunately, the call dropped and every time I called back I got voice mail again. I was afraid that we were out of luck and would end up in a motel. As we were unloading the car the a/c guy called and said he'd be out later in the evening. He said to turn off the a/c and turn the fan on to defrost the unit.

I told Amy to do that. She didn't understand what I meant and only turned the fan on. I even checked it and didn't notice that she hadn't turn the unit off so when he got here to work on it, it was still frozen. He said he'd be back this morning before 8:00 am to work on it. (He was true to his word and got us fixed up very early.)

Sleeping was not a lot of fun. I opened the slider and stuck one fan there to blow the cooler night air in. Then I put another fan inside the bedroom door to bring the air from the first fan into the room. We had the ceiling fan on high and then I directed the last fan at the ceiling to bounce the air back down. It was very loud and sleep was elusive. It reminded me of sleeping without a/c when I was growing up. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. I don't know how people do it and it makes me feel very blessed that our trip to the tropics was only one night long.