Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011; hello 2012

It's been real... It's been fun (some)... But, it's not been real fun!

2012 has GOT to be better!

Looking back... the good times:

The birth of Anna tops the list
Moving closer to Amy/Rex/Isaiah (and now, Anna)
Keith and his new girlfriend, Lindsay
Ron getting more mobile since he had his knee replaced
We didn't end 2011 with Ron in the hospital


The not-so-good times:

Ron didn't recover as well (or as quickly) from the knee replacement
Ron had a pretty rough year (which meant that I did as well)
Work was very difficult this past year
Losing our house, our car, our credit
Moving to 900 square feet - and only 1 bathroom
We ended 2010 with Ron in the hospital

In looking back at my posts for 2011, I don't see too much that I'm proud of. I posted a lot of misery and discontent. I'm sure that things must have been better. Right? LOL! I think that I did a pretty good job keeping it all together, especially considering the fact that the first six months was really rough at work, Ron was in the hospital more than once (that's not new for this year but did add to the stress), we lost our house and had to move to a much (much) smaller place. Those were all things that could have really made me rethink my sanity. The issue with my former manager really got to me and I got to the point where I continually doubted myself and my work. Once you're in that position, it's hard to rebound and get back on track. I think I have done that. We have a new manager and I think that has helped tremendously. I still second-guess myself more than I probably should, but I've never oozed confidence in the first place.

My goal for 2012 is to maintain a more positive outlook on life (gotta improve on 2011 no matter how I look at it). I plan on getting back into a healthier lifestyle and shedding some extra baggage. I am starting a new side business (I know - some of you are wondering how I'll have the time.; this will be part of what I do to help have a healthier lifestyle). I am going to focus on the "good" things more.

I'm looking forward to going to WA to see Shaun and Jenny's kiddos (my WA grandchildren) for my vacation this spring. That will put a lift to my 2012, for sure! I sure miss seeing them and interacting with them. (Sometimes I feel guilty getting to spend so much time with Isaiah/Anna when Alexander/Kaitlyn/Zachary miss out on the same opportunities, but it can't be helped.)

Many blessings to you all! I read a great quote in an email my mom sent me. I don't remember the whole story but one thing that stuck out was the phrase, "I pray you enough." In the email, it stood for "enough good times" to sustain the other person. For me, I like the good times, but it's also short for I pray you enough health, wealth, happiness, and blessings."

God bless...

Friday, December 30, 2011

Irony, really

I have a Samsung Galaxy 10.1” tablet that was Keith’s. He owed me some money and offered his tablet up in trade. I accepted and I have loved the freedom it gave me, especially at the hospital when Ron was in surgery, recovery, or just plain sleeping. Much easier to carry around than my laptop and I was able to install the Nook app to read my books. Great concept. Because I had something that was so light and easy, I have read several books since Keith gave it to me. I also use(d) it to access Facebook and my email. Love it. I even bought myself a pink case for it.

Ron thought it was pretty cool and wanted to know if I would install his Nook library on it so he could read the Bible. The only problem with doing that is User 1 (me) and User 2 (Ron) have separate accounts. He has things that he likes to read on his account and I have things that I like to read on my account. In order for us to use the same device, we’d be logging in and out. That’s fine for me but Ron can barely remember how to turn on a device, let alone find the login screen each time. In order to make it work, I would basically just log out, log him in and give him the tablet. It would be a pain in the rear to have to do it all the time.

So, I was being selfish (because I didn’t want to have to do that all the time) and bought Ron an eReader for Christmas. It was $100 – Velocity Cruz – and worth about what it costs. I figure if people expect Samsung or Apple performance, they should expect to pay for something that performs along those lines. I didn’t want to spend in excess of $200 to get something else and thought the Cruz would work. It had decent reviews. Most of the people who had never used a tablet before thought it was pretty slick. The negative reviews came from people who were used to Galaxy or iPad performance. I figured it was worth a shot. Boy, was I wrong. I had to reset it to factory defaults twice and download a new version of the firmware before I could get it to even access the Internet. Luckily, I had read this little tidbit on a review so knew that I would probably have to update the firmware. No problem there – and then I could get it to work pretty easily.

Strike #1 – it won’t let me download the Nook application. No matter what Web site I come at it, the app just won’t download. Says it “will be downloaded” but it never happens. Strike #2 – the touch sensitivity won’t recognize Ron’s touch. He doesn’t have a lot of dexterity in his hands and he’s very “choppy” when he tries to access the buttons so about 75% of the time nothing happens. Strike #3 – since it is 7” (and not 10.1” like the Galaxy), he can’t hit the buttons in the virtual QWERTY keypad so typing in his user ID and password at any given time is not going to happen.

Summary… the Cruz is going back to the store this weekend.

The irony? A couple of years ago (after his health had “apparently” stabilized), I was going to go back to school. I bought myself a pink Dell laptop with the 10-key keypad, and extended battery, and lighted keys for when I was working in the dark. Last year, the laptop Isaiah had been using bit the dust (it was an older one that Shaun bought me in 2003). Ron was using a laptop that had originally belonged to Amy (it was also fairly old – just not as old as the first one). We passed that one down to Isaiah and I ordered Ron a new laptop… 17” with a 10-key keypad but no lighted keys and no extended battery. He was obsessed with my lighted keyboard so one day I just said I’d switch with him. No big deal. Except it took me HOURS to get all of my files off the pink laptop and onto the black laptop. Each laptop still has the original setup information in it (thinks the pink one is still mine; black one is still his) and I couldn’t figure it out. Literally within 30 minutes of me finishing the switch, Ron was saying the speakers in the black laptop were better and since I was deaf in one ear I didn’t need better speakers. :::::::::::::::::::::::::::screech:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Did he just imply what I think he is implying??? He wants the BLACK laptop NOW??? Sorry buster – it’s not happening. You bitched and moaned about the pink laptop for days (basically from the time I got it a year earlier) and how you really needed the lighted keys and now that you have it, you want the better speakers?????? I was seriously ticked off. I didn’t switch it back and he’s learned to live with the speakers it came with. It helps that I bought him a new speaker for it. (LOL!)

I decided to return the Cruz and give him the Galaxy. I don’t have to be selfish and keep my Nook library on there. I can read from my phone if I’m away from my laptop, or read from my laptop. I can get myself another tablet sometime in the future when there is more money to spare. Maybe by then I’ll be able to spring for something that actually acts like a Galaxy or an iPad. Might even be another Galaxy or an iPad (my secret desire – lol!)

Now he has two PINK items. LOL!

Happy New Year's to you all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It has been a very blessed day! Our holiday weekend started Friday as my company gave us Friday and Monday off for the holiday, plus I also took my last 8 hours of vacation time so I'll be off Tuesday, too. We met Amy and the kids and Keith/Lindsay in Wichita for lunch then I let Keith keep my van (his car needs a new alternator) and Amy brought us home. Keith came to town (hehehe! our little town) yesterday and is spending the weekend with us.

We had a lazy morning while I fixed the pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie (nothing from scratch - truly a lazy morning) and then I took the food and the rest of the presents over to Amy/Rex's house. We left here to go over there about noon. I regifted Keith and Lindsay a table-top water fountain that is in the shape of a heart; I'd received it at our Dirty Santa exchange at work and knew it would be perfect for them. She loved it. I also gave her a tote bag from Thirty-One Gifts (I'm going to become an independent consultant for them soon) and a ribbon necklace. Keith also got $20 and a $15 gift card (regifted - I won it in a door prize drawing). He was happy. I pretty much stayed in my $20 per person limit and was able to get them more than one item. Not bad...

I got Amy one of the ribbon necklaces (they were $4 each at the craft show I went to last month; I actually got one for all of the girls) and 1/2 half of a set of Wolfgang Puck Salt/Pepper mill (it was a set of 2 for $24.95; we kept one for ourselves) and a set of storage containers (they're really cool). Rex got K-State shot glasses, coffee cup, playing cards, and key chain. They were both happy. Amy loves the storage dishes. I had ordered enough that each family would get a set (they were on an infomercial and actually something that looked like it would work) but only half of the order showed up. So, we got some, Amy got a set, and Jenny got a set. Keith and Stacey didn't get theirs.

I got the box for Shaun/Jenny and kids sent off last week and she picked it up from UPS on Friday. The kids loved the presents that were in there. I took pictures of the items before I wrapped them.

The big thing I did for Katy was to take a Thirty-One tote and make it into a baby bed/carrier for her. I had her name embroidered on it and she can use it for many things as she gets older. I got the doll and accessories, then some diapers from Anna (that she'd already outgrown), and had a blanket made for her with her name embroidered on it. I think it turned out adorably.



 Before I wrapped it up, I also put a "baby" in the baby doll's arms and the pacifier in her mouth. It was stinkin cute. I liked it so much that I made smaller versions for the daughters of a friend. LOL - they ended up costing a bit more than I planned, but it was all worth it because the girls loved them. I bought three dolls off eBay (one was new and two were used). Oh welll... you only go round once in life and it was important to me to do this for them so they'd have a keepsake. Plus, I did it in stages so it didn't seem like I was spending that much money until I sat down and added it up. LOL ! I was surprised.

These are the rest of Katy's presents. She's got a white cat "ears" and paws" set, socks, jammies, her blanket, a 2nd tote (smaller than the first but I got it on-sale), and some of the doll accessories (I actually gave the bowl/spoon to one of the other girls).

 Close-up of her "paws" and "ears" that I got from Jenny over at Knees and Paws:


Alexander's (some of his went directly to WA):

His ears and paws are wrapped up in the paper behind the Hot Wheels cars. He's got a camo tote (like Katy's small one) He has a really nice easel/wipe off board already at his house.

Zachary's presents. I had him a "taggie" blanket made. The camera I found used and it's just perfect for Zachary. Jenny got the two older ones "kiddie" cameras so I decided that Zachary needed one, too. The jammies I got Black Friday; the race track at Wal-greens on sale.


He had quite a bit delivered to his house directly, too - including a couple of big ride-on toys. Grandma found some really good deals on Kitsap Military Online page and was able to score some great gifts (gently used) and had them delivered directly to Jenny.

A couple of Anna's things. Her basket is full of clothes and has her blanket that I had made for her. The little "bee" in back is a V-tech toy that I got from the Kitsap page and Jenny shipped it to me. The little white thing is a soft lamb - the head at one end and the feet at the other, with the middle being like a "taggie" blanket.



I didn't get any pictures of Isaiah's things before he unwrapped them, but here are a couple of pictures from him opening things.




Did I mention that he loves K-State - so he LOVED his hat! He about didn't want to take it off. I got him some miniature skate boards, a Cars race track, the hat, some jammies, a Mario shirt, a fake Transformer (Wal-greens), and a little remote control car. And... his "big" gift was a Spy Net wrist watch. He can take pictures, video, and it really tells time. He thought it was super cool.

It was great watching them open their presents. Well, Amy opened Anna's but it was all good. I got her a K-State tutu and wrapped it for Rex to open instead. LOL! It looks better on Anna.



I took some pictures of Isaiah and Anna and some of Keith holding Anna.



Jenny's mom and dad sent us a lovely tea set (cups and coasters). They're too pretty to even use! The box they came in is a gift all by itself.



They also sent us a Visa gift card (for $150!!!). Jenny sent us a gift card as well from her and Shaun for another $150 - so, all I need to do is come up with about another $400 or so to purchase our tickets to go see them after Shaun's ship returns from deployment (I've seen Shaun's homecoming each time; Ron has never been and this will be the last deployment for the next several years and I really want Ron to go). We got a pound of Sees candy and Ron got a pound of sugar-free peanut brittle from Sees. Jenny also sent me some scrapbook supplies. Very great gifts!

Rex and Amy gave Ron some nice Dead Sea Salts hand lotion. His hands are really dry and it will work great for him. They had originally bought my mom some K-cups for her Keurig but she got so much from other people already, and she's on a liquid restriction, they gave them to me. Cool... Amy also bought some of the moisturizing cream that I use, so that was nice. Only thing is I have a nearly full container so it'll be sealed up for a while. It's good stuff though.

Keith is pretty broke right now but he gave us $50 last week for something else and said that was our Christmas. Sweet...

Ron wanted me to get an OnStar FMV mirror. It would be something that I'd use and might come in handy, especially considering my commute. It's about $250. I wasn't willing to spend $250 on myself when we're pretty much looking at increased medical expenses starting 1/1/12 and I just spent $324 in car repairs last week. I decided that I wanted to get him a little eReader with a touch screen and found one yesterday at Radio Shack for $100. Ron's birthday is 1/8 so I decided that I'd get the eReader and a leather case - and call it Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday. I knew that he'd be sad that he didn't have anything for me but it was important to me for him to have that.

All in all, it was a great holiday.

I hope your holiday was at least as, if not more, happy and blessed as mine!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's been almost a week...

And I have been busy AND in avoidance mode. I'm just not in the mood to deal with much of anything. But... I do have good news -

Two little words with such BIG meaning! Not CANCER! Cirrhosis – yes; Portal hypertension – yes; Enlarged spleen - yes; Cancer – NO!

We can handle it. Ron will be seeing another specialist on February 6. I figure since the appointment is so far out and the doctor didn’t see a need to squeeze him in sooner, then this condition is not any more life-threatening than what he’s currently facing. What a BIG sigh of relief!

It has been an emotional roller coaster. I’m not sure if people think I’m nutty or not – and frankly, I really don’t give a rat’s ass what people think – but my way of dealing with what may be coming down the pike is to look at everything from every angle I can possibly think of. I analyze and then analyze again. And, just for good measure, I rethink it a few more times. I have to run the “numbers” in every way possible so I don’t overlook anything that I could have done or done differently. It helps me keep my sanity (wait… I know – I have to have sanity before I can keep it, but I can pretend that I have sanity, right? Hehe!).

Ron's dealing with some depression right now and it's making things difficult for me. He is really starting to "feel" all of the things wrong with him. He's had a pretty good outlook (for the most part) over the past several years but being sick wears on you. Add being "chronically" sick with no real hope for improvement to that and it's no wonder he's having some depression. Problem with HIS depression is that I'm gaining weight because I'm a stress eater. He won't eat and all I can think about is food. {sigh} Such a double-edged sword.

Ron has been concerned that he's not done enough the past four years. I told him that he has been busy concentrating on staying alive. I told him that God didn't call us to be perfect - that job was already taken by Someone else. Our job is to do the best that we can and we have done our best - as much as our human bodies and failings will allow - then we have done what was expected of us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moving on…

I’m as ready for Christmas as I figure I’m going to be. I had big plans for cards this year. Didn’t happen. I did manage to send a card to my WA grandkids and managed to get the cards I sold made, but that is all. I have all most of the pieces cut for the Santa panorama card but I’ve not had time to put them together. I think I’ll be able to get one done each night and get it in the mail the next day. I have gift cards I should have bought and have not yet. I have children recipients that I don’t want to disappoint. I need to get busy. It's not going to happen.

I think I can be ready for Christmas if it happened about a week later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for me, I'm just not in the mood this year. I think I'm tired. There has been one thing after another for the past four years and it's enough to try the patience of a saint - and I'm far from being a saint. I need to pull my big girl britches up a notch or two and keep on moving forward. Things WILL get better. I just need to keep on keepin' on. I need to keep the faith that all things work together. God never said it would be easy - just that He would never abandon me. Even in my darkest hours, I have to hold on to that truth.

Found out that Ron's chair can't be fixed. That sucks big time. We don't really have the money to replace the chair. So, he's having some difficulty getting out of the regular recliners. I ended up bringing the Jazzy back into the living room so he could sit in it some. So, we're back to square one on trying to find a lift chair for Ron.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And now, we wait...

Ron had the abdominal/pelvic CT scan this morning. Results should be sent to the doctor within 2-3 business days but no later than 12/20.

Neither of us are worried. Ron's a bit stressed, but that's understandable. We're just not focusing on the negatives. Either way, we feel like we've been given a gift. Good news means we can breathe a {BIG} sigh of relief, not-so-good news means that we can effectively plan for the future. How many people really get to plan how they want their remaining days to be covered? I'm not being morbid or negative. It is what it is and we can't change that, but we will be able to make rational decisions based on "it" instead of wondering.

Naturally, Ron is more stressed than I am and anxious to find out what is going on in his body. I just want to make sure that we (I) do all that can be done to get the best outcome possible. 

The doctor's office will call me as soon as they have the test results.

Monday, December 12, 2011

On edge this week...

Ron is not feeling too great today. Not bad - just not good. He's feeling sad for what he's done to "me" and the changes that are about to take place. More on that later...

We had a nice weekend with our friends. It didn't start out too great but it ended nicely.

Ron had a couple of appointments in the morning and the original plan was to hit the road after his second one (noon, in Wichita). Ron fell (again) the day before and his new knee was very painful so we needed him to have an x-ray before we could decide if it was OK for him to travel or not. So, while he was seeing Dr. A anyway, we asked if they would take some x-rays of his knee to make sure that everything still looked good. The appointment took even longer than I had anticipated so we ended up having to cancel the second appointment because we couldn't get to Wichita before noon.

I finally got things packed and the car loaded by about 12:30 (a bit behind my original goal but not too bad). I needed to get my oil changed but couldn't find anyplace to get it done. Down the road we go and still needed to get some lunch. Finally, after a stop at Sonic we're ready to hit the road. Time now... 1:30 but that's OK - no biggie. I knew we'd get there a bit after dark but still a comfortable drive.

Fast forward two hours and Ron is teasing me about when was I going to have a bathroom stop. All of a sudden, I had this totally sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had packed our toiletry bag and left the whole thing on the stove. Sick, sick, sick. If it was just my medicine, I could go a couple of days without it but I knew that Ron could not go two days without his, especially since he takes so many different things. So, we turned around and headed home. I called Amy and even though she had to wait until Isaiah's bus dropped him off, she said she could pick up the bag and drive to meet us. She ended up saving us about an hour, so that did help. If I had been forced to go all the way home, I would have just stayed there and started out Saturday morning instead.

We ended up arriving at our destination at 10:00 PM instead of the planned 5:30 or 6:00 PM. All we did was fall into bed. Ron drove about three hours, so that did help (he drove back from where we turned around and back again toward our destination).  Our friends were late getting there, too so it was a comedy of errors all around.

Saturday, we spent some time walking around the outlet mall. I bought a new wallet (mine was shot) and got Anna a cute little Santa hat and bib. We finally met up with our friends in time to grab lunch before we headed to see The Miracle of Christmas (free tickets, compliments of our friends' friend). We were going to drive around and look at the "festival of lights" but instead of being a "per car" charge (like we'd been told), it was a "per person" charge and was $10 EACH!. We decided that $40 to drive through 2.5 miles of lights just wasn't a good idea. Too much money. It might have been different if the money was going to charity, but it was not. Even then, I'm not sure that we would have wanted to pay $20 per couple to see light displays when we had been planning on paying $7.50 per couple (we were told it was $15 per car). Oh well... no problem.

We headed back home yesterday afternoon and got here about 5:30 PM. It was a nice, relaxing weekend after all and one that we needed.

Our lives are fixing to take a change and one that we're not sure about.

In Dr. A's office, he brought up the results from the hospital tests - the CT of his chest and the echocardiogram. He said the echo looked pretty good and there were no surprises. The CT showed a portion of his liver and Dr. A was concerned about it. He wasn't Ron's doctor last year when he was hospitalized with the increased aluminum (December 2010 hospitalization) and it's not something that I thought about when Ron changed primary care physicians. I don't know how much the liver disease has increased, but Dr. A is concerned.

He told Ron that his chest CT showed cirrhosis in his liver and he wants him to have further testing. He's scheduled Wednesday for an abdominal and pelvic CT with IV and barium. Ron doesn't drink and has never had more than the occasional (very few and far between) beer, so he asked Dr. A what could cause the cirrhosis. Dr. A said there were several things, including medications and liver cancer. I looked online to see what else I could find (I didn't want any surprises) and discovered quite a bit that I'm not too thrilled about.

Ron has several symptoms of cirrhosis that I would not have connected if Dr. A hadn't brought it to my attention. Bruising, fatigue, and loss of appetite are things that he's been dealing with for the past few months and although they could mean nothing, they can also mean the cirrhosis has progressed beyond "mild" and is now more severe. Dr. A says the test results will be back by the 20th and he'll know more then.

Until then, I think we're going to be on pins and needles. We've talked a little about it and Ron says that he doesn't think he wants to take any treatment. It might extend his life but he's not sure he can handle being so sick from the drugs used in the treatment.

For me, I'm just going to do what I can to make life a comfortable for him as possible.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ron's home

He was discharged this afternoon. Official diagnosis is heart failure. He's feeling pretty good - not great, but pretty good. Got started on some new medications - another blood pressure pill, lasix, and a potassium pill. We'll have to discuss these with the kidney doctor because we don't want the combination of those to adversely affect his kidneys.

Tomorrow we're back to our regular routine. Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts, comments, and well wishes. I appreciate it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Energizer bunny or Timex watch?

Energizer bunny keeps on going and going and going... A Timex watch takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

I feel a special kinship with each of these icons.

I'm right there with them. One step forward and two steps back.

Ron is back in the hospital. Could be a blood clot in his lung, could be some mild heart attack issues, could be some mild strokes going on, could be just plain ol' congestive heart failure. Could be a combination of any of the above. Any of them could cause the Parkinson's symptoms to be worse or the Parkinson's could be causing one of his other issues to be worse.

Any way you look at it, it's not a good thing. He just can't catch a break and because he can't, it seems that I can't either.

At what point is it just too much? At what point do I say my body cannot do this any more? At what point do I say that my mind can't keep up with the demands that life continues to throw at me? At what point do I say that we have no choice but to seriously consider assisted living?

I don't know the answer. I'm not sure I want to know the answer. I always land on my feet, but at what cost?

My kids seem to think that I'll be able to afford care for Ron and my other expenses if we choose assisted living but they don't really see the big picture. Even if I don't lose money through taking time off without pay, I don't believe I clear enough to pay the expenses but I'll do my best. I have started over before, from scratch and with nothing, and I suppose I can do so again.

Whatever the cost, I'll do what I have to do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And the winner is...

I couldn't decide what to title this. I had so many ideas, including these...

"I'll take 2 ribs for $200, Alex."
"That'll be 2 ribs... Not McRibs."

Yep... he's got two broken ribs. Not feeling too great today.

My mom's in the hospital in KC. She's got nearly carbon copies of the same diseases that Ron has, except she still has both of her feet/legs and she's 81. She's more frail because of her age. Her visiting nurse insisted today that she go so my SIL took her. She didn't want to be admitted but she's there to get some fluid drained off. She's got so much fluid that it's formed blisters on her feet and legs. Ron's been down that road.

Speaking of Ron...
Back in the day when Ron was much younger, he knew a bunch of people who are now famous and successful people in the entertainment industry. One is Sinbad (he got his start in Wichita through a TV station where Ron was part-owner) and another is Martina McBride's husband, John. Martina (with George Strait) is coming to Wichita in February and Ron really wanted to go to the concert. I think he was hoping that somehow he'd be able to see John again and say hello. I've been watching Select-a-Seat and, so far, the tickets are not available there. But, another retailer has them (GetTickets.com or something like that) already and I got all excited thinking about surprising him for Christmas/birthday. We don't really do much for each other for Christmas - usually go shopping together and just pick something out. But I was going to see what I could come up with on the tickets.

No way, No day!!! The cheapest tickets are $90 EACH and that doesn't guarantee anything but a seat. I can't specify handicap accessible or wheelchair access. The "better seats" are well over $100 each. I'm sure he'll get over it but at those prices, there's no way he will be going to see the show.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

He fell again today - but he's OK.

Landed on his right shoulder, with his arm tucked up under his rib cage. Said he heard a crunching noise but he doesn't want me to take him for x-rays. We shall see how he feels in the morning. When he fell the other day, I told him that he should make sure he falls in the kitchen or bathroom next time so he can get the cleaning supplies out from under the sink and clean the floor. Of course, that was after I'd determined that he hadn't hurt himself and said totally in jest. After the fall today, it no longer seems funny.

I sold some cards today based on my Christmas card for the kids. I'll be burning the midnight oil this week/weekend. I promised them to her by Monday so she can get them in the mail. I told her $7.50 each, which I think is fair.

On my shoulder... Got a couple of cortisone injections which hurt like the dickens but I did OK. The needle got stuck in the joint (sounds gross but I didn't look) so she had to use a hemostat to get it out. I actually thought it was quite amusing. I have a good sense of humor when it's something that I don't feel or have to see (by then, I was numb from the local and I had my eyes closed because I knew it was a big ole needle).

I will be having an MRI arthrogram. Sedated, of course. It'll be worth it to find out what is going on inside the shoulder joint.

Hope you all have a great week! We've got a busy December planned. This weekend I'll be doing cards, next weekend we're visiting some friends, the next weekend we're going to KC to see my mom, and the next weekend is Christmas! December will be over before I know it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Good Monday (evening)

Ron had a good time this past weekend with his friend. Tiring, but enjoyable. He walked more than he has recently so he's in quite a bit of pain today. Plus, he fell last night and landed hard on his right shoulder. Ouch... his leg came right out of the socket. But, he rested up today so I think he's back on the mend.

I see the orthopedic specialist tomorrow about my left shoulder. He's the same doctor who did Ron's total knee replacement and we think he's really good. I had rotator cuff repair in July 2004 and it was a rough recovery, but my shoulder felt so much better afterwards. I had bone spurs and the rough edges had begun damaging the muscle. I was told then that I "could" have a recurrence of the condition so I won't be surprised if that is the issue. My only thing is I need anything he's going to do taken care of in December so I don't have a big deductible beginning January. Plus, effective 1/1/12, I'll have a larger co-pay.

This past weekend (while Ron was out playing), I played in my craft room. I'm NOT an artist, but I have ideas in my head of things I'd like to see. I just don't know how to get the things out of my head and onto the paper. Thankfully, Provo Craft has lots of artists who are able to create images of things that I can get out of my head.

I had decided (last year) that I wanted to do a panorama card but didn't know exactly what I wanted. I started working Saturday and worked off and on all weekend on this. My first card will be going to WA to my grandkids up there.

The inside left panel has a cat on a red pillow in a chair; the stockings on the mantle have Alexander, Katy, and Zachary on them. And, there's an oil lamp on the mantle. The middle panel has cookies and milk on the table and presents under the tree, some with name tags. I drew the table and cut it out freehand (but it was an easy thing to do). The right panel has Santa with a bag full of gifts and one in his hand. The whole card is 12 x 6 and folds up to 6 x 6. The "body" of the card is made with two complete sheets of 12 x 12 paper.


If you look closely, you can see Rudolph's red nose...



I'm going to make one for Isaiah and Anna, one for Amy's nephew's Dalton and Hayden, and then some for some other little family kids (my nephew has two kids, and two of my nieces each have two kids). So, I need to get busy. But.... I wrote down what sizes worked and what cartridges I used so I can more easily recreate these. They are still time-consuming and not a cheap undertaking, but I love it and I know the kids will love seeing their names on the stockings. I'll make the cuts and then put them together in assembly-line style. Once I get the images cut out and put together, it'll move pretty quickly. The card bases will all be different. I don't know exactly what "wall paper" each one will have, but I think they'll be nice. If I have time, I actually have some other people I want to make one for but I'm not holding my breath. I still have regular Christmas cards to do.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mr. Impulsive Stikes Again!

Twice... yep... twice!

First:
The guy who made Ron's prosthesis and makes adjustments to it added a soft leather piece to the back where his knee "folds" over it and one on either side of the interior to help cushion his leg when he walks. In the beginning, he thought they were really helping but then felt like his leg was in a vice after about 10 minutes of walking. So, we took one of the them out the other day.

Let me tell you, these things were GLUED in with some industrial-strength stuff. My fingertips are all messed up from the darn weather (just gotta love split finger tips this early in the season) and my left arm is having some issues, so it was very difficult for me to get the thing out after he had started on it.


The part folded over the back is the leather piece that cushions the back of his leg.



The red arrow shows the leather piece. The two odd shaped "boxes" show where the interior side cushions were located. I say "were" because I had to take the 2nd one out last night because HE decided at 11:00 PM to start taking the 2nd one out. I knew that HE was not going to rest until the piece was out and if HE isn't resting, you know that "I" am not resting. {sigh} I was not happy. Especially since he dropped his leg on my foot about 20 minutes earlier and it was throbbing.

It might be kind of hard to see, but those discolored areas are bruises and a knot. I took this picture tonight and he dropped his leg on me Wednesday night. That is a very heavy leg. It hurt to wear my shoe both yesterday and today.

I did remember something about when they need to form and re-form Ron's prosthesis and that is the use of heat. So, I decided to get out my embossing gun (it gets hotter than a hair dryer) and try it. It worked! The adhesive softened enough for me to be able to pry it off and it only took me about 15 minutes.

Second:
It's my day off. No alarms set. No reason to suspect that anyone (if you know who I mean) will think I need to get up for any reason.

That would be negative. Of course, he had a reason to wake me up. Of course, it wasn't on purpose.

He was trying to get Maisey's attention.

By rubbing MY stomach as he called her.

Yeah... right... that's not going to DISTURB me at all.

I was seriously ticked.

Me:  What. Are. You. Doing?
Him: Trying to get Maisey's attention.
Me: And you think rubbing MY stomach is going to get HER attention? (she wasn't even on my side of the bed)
Him: Mr. Blah Blah emailed me back. They don't want to trade the keyboard.
Me: So, you really wanted me to be awake so you could tell me that.
Him: I've been up since 5:00, got dressed, put my leg on, and I've been waiting for you to wake up.
Me: It's only 7:00 AM. I don't have any reason to have to be out of bed for any reason for at least an hour.
Him: Oh. Do you want me to go into the living room and leave you alone?
Me: What do you think???

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Black Friday

This will be the first Black Friday in a long time that I don't go out shopping. I have to say that I ENJOY getting up on that one morning of the year and going out with either Amy or Kris (those are the two people I usually go with; I've gone with my step-son's ex-wife one year). I don't go alone. It's just not as much fun.

I stand in the lines, pick out things, and put them in my cart. As I go through the store(s), I decide if what I want is really in my basket or not. Sometimes, I see people who were really, really looking for 'that' particular item, so I'll give it to them. I figure I have it on a "maybe I want to buy this" and they might have come for that ONE item and I have the power to make it a reality. So, I do.

Anyone who knows me very well knows that I love to buy, give, or make things for others. That's just how I do things. Many times, I'll buy something because I know that I'd like to receive it as a gift and I know that "so and so" would also like it. So, I give it to the other person. Usually, I can only afford to buy one of the items so giving it away is the right way to go. Eventually, I may (or may not) have an opportunity to buy one for myself. Usually not, but sometimes.

I haven't got a lot of money to spend on Christmas presents this year and I have extra babies now to spend money on. I have been buying used items from a FB page where Shaun and Jenny live (for the Navy families to buy/sell/trade items) for their kids. It keeps things out of the landfill, puts a little money back into the Navy families' wallets, and is saving me money on gifts. That helps a lot. I've spent less money on more things that I know they'll be happy with because I'm running everything by Jenny first. I'm saving postage because the trades are local for her. It's a win-win situation.

I've bought local stuff here for Anna and I have a few little things here to mail for the three up there. One of the items I did for Katy was to take a tote from Thirty One Gifts and I'm making a "baby bed" for her with it. I had her name put on the tote and I bought a little baby blanket (had her name embroidered on it, too). I bought some little doll accessories off eBay and once it's finished, she'll have a portable baby bed, complete with doll and everything her "baby" needs. I have a couple of other little girls that I'm doing something similar for. I think they'll be a big hit.

I still need to get Isaiah covered and something for Alexander (I've only bought him one thing up there).

But, because I've got so much covered from other places, I don't NEED to go out Friday. But, I WANT to go out Friday. Amy will be out of town and Kris will not be here, either. So I guess I will be staying here. Bummer...

If I had all my shopping done ~ AND ~ I had lots of extra money ~ AND ~ nothing better to do, I'd probably be tempted to stand in line at Wal-Mart for this:


I do not need it, but it would be nice to have. The regular retail price on this baby is nearly $500 ($399 when you can get it on sale). I'm sure there will be TONS of idiots fighting to pick this little item up. LOL - I'd love to be one of them. Hehehehe!

(Just a disclaimer... I am not spending money I don't already have put back for gifts. Nothing is going on credit and I'm not taking away from other bills or living expenses to spend on gifts. I learned a long time ago that I didn't want to be paying for one Christmas during the whole next year.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Madness

I love my husband...
I love my husband...
I love my husband...

Really... I do...
And, most of the time, I even like him.

My cell phone rings at 6:10 AM and I answer but he can’t hear me – and I can’t hear him because he doesn’t have the blue tooth on (even though he thinks he does), so I get up and go into the living room… “It’s time to get up. You said you wanted up at 6:30.”

Me: It’s not 6:30
Him: 6:15 is close enough
Me: it is 6:10 and it’s not close enough if you’ve had a crappy night of sleep. I had my alarm set for 6:30.
Him: your coffee is ready.
Me: I’m not in the mood for coffee. I am in the mood to still be sleeping.
Him: you said you wanted to start your Wii program this morning.
Me: I did… but I had a bad night and I wasn’t going to get up before 6:30. (maybe not even before 7:00)
Him: Mr. Blah Blah’s not on Facebook. I found Mrs. Blah Blah and I found Daughter, but Mr. isn’t there.
Me: (getting my computer) Yes he is. I’ve seen him there.
Him: no he’s not. I requested Mrs. and Daughter and sent Mr. a message.

::::::::::::::::screeching brakes in my mind:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Me: how did you send him a message if you couldn’t find him? Are you saying that you found him but he didn’t have a “friend request” button?
Him: yeah, that’s right.
Me: (by now, I’m looking at Mr. Blah Blah’s picture on FB, and very clearly see the friend button.) Here is the button (show him).
Him: I know. I clicked it and then I got friend requests from all these other people.
Me: you didn’t get friend requests from them… they’re his friends and what you got was “suggestions” for other people you might know.
Him: Oh… well, I wanted to be friends with some of them because I know them.
Me: fine, but that’s not what you told me. You said “Mr. Blah Blah isn’t on FB.” You had to have sent a friend request to him to get the suggestions for all these other people. The whole reason you got me up was to tell me you couldn’t find him.
Him: No, you said you wanted up.
Me: but your impulsiveness made you get me up RIGHT NOW so you could talk to me. I heard you come in and leave the bedroom three times and we didn’t even go to bed until almost midnight. I feel like I haven’t even been to bed. I can’t take a nap today if I’m tired. You can.

He finally said that it was not very nice of him to make the decision for when I was getting up for me. I think we need separate bedrooms again. He loves the bed without the extra “cushion” on it and I hate it.

He gets a wild hair up his butt and he’s acting on it without even stopping to think about it.

He said he won't wake me up tomorrow... hehehe!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I've been "outta here"

Life has been soooo busy around my neck of the woods. Work has been crazy with deadlines and everything that can go along with end-of-year deadlines. We have several guides and help files that have to go to print this week and everyone has been working diligently to get everything taken care of.

Ron's had a few appointments and is (overall) doing much better. He's walking around the house with only a cane. The visiting nurse is amazed at how well he's doing. He's been faithfully doing his range of motion and stretching exercises every day. I'm very proud of him.

Anna is growing and Isaiah is a very proud big brother. I bought him a shirt that says Most Amazing Big Brother on it. His current favorite word is "amazing" so I thought it was fitting.

Shaun's ship is at the half-way point for deployment. If all goes well, we'll be traveling to see the ship return when the time comes.

I've had my ups and my downs. I come home from work and don't really want to do too much except put my feet up. I rearranged my craft room because it just wasn't working and we needed a bed there. We found a sale for twin "back to school" special for $179 so that worked out very well. The rearrangement of the "cubes" makes the room much more functional. As soon as I'm finished putting things away, I'll have to post new pictures.

Thanksgiving cards are not going to happen this year. But, maybe it's not too late for Christmas... We shall see.

I've been doing shopping for my WA grandchildren online - 2nd hand and like new items. My DIL connects with the sellers and pays them. I send her the money to cover it. It's working out quite well. No shipping. I have 2-3 things that I've purchased here to send to them. I bought a set of ears and paws for Katy and Alexander from my friend Jenny over at Knees and Paws. She has an Etsy shop that you should check out. She's very talented and the stuff she makes will encourage creativity.

Anna is bought for. There's not much you can buy for a newborn. Can't share what I bought (Amy sometimes reads my blog) until after Christmas but I know it will be a hit. Isaiah - now, he's a different story. No clue on what we're getting him. The teenagers will get a bit of cash. They like that better anyway.

Thanks to all of you for sticking around in my absence. Thanks, too to the new folks. It's lovely to have you all  here. Life will slow down in the next 2-3 weeks and I can get back into the swing of things.

May God richly bless you all today, tomorrow, and always.

Teresa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ron update

Ron is doing so well that it is nothing short of amazing. He feels like he has a new lease on life. In fact, he has decided to join the blogging world and created a blog. It's called In His Service - TRC Audio. He only has one post there now (he's still learning) but if you wanted to pop over and leave an encouraging comment, I know he'd appreciate it.

Ron is going to start touring with our friend, Chuck Haukos, and be a part of the gospel group Closer Than Brothers. Chuck writes the lyrics, soundtrack, and sings. His brother, Mike, also plays guitar and sings harmony. As Ron gets stronger and learns the songs, he'll be playing bass guitar with them. In the meantime, he'll be doing the CD sales desk. (You can listen to some of Chuck's music by clicking the above link.)

He's walking around the house with a cane. He's even walked a bit out and about with a cane, too. He's lost his balance a couple of times. {sigh} But... he's doing great.

Hope you all are doing well.

Hugs...

Teresa

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Catching up

I'll catch up with you all tomorrow but wanted to share two pieces of news....

Amy and Rex had their baby tonight. Anna Catherine Schertz arrived at 4:58 PM weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and 19.5 inches long. She's beautiful.


Ron is doing great. He's walking around the house very well and using his wheelchair very little. Very good.

I got my processor yesterday. I have worn it most of the day yesterday and today but had to take it off tonight because my head was hurting. I put some antibiotic ointment on just to make sure everything is ok.


Keith thinks I should bling it up. LOL - probably not.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired so I'll hit the hay and try to catch up tomorrow.

blessings to you all.

Teresa

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

700th post

This is my 700th post. I would have been at this number sooner but I've deleted a few along the way. Oh well...

Ron is coming home tomorrow. He's doing much better - amazingly so. We're all surprised.

My son posted this on his Facebook status today. I thought it was so nice.

When I was younger, I was a fan of Country music. I blame lack of access to Metal and Classic Rock, but that is beside the point. For my birthday, my mother (who worked second shift, did most of the chores, handled all the bills, and still found time to cook dinner) waited outside of a Dillons from the moment she got off work til 6:00 AM the following day to purchase floor tickets to Garth Brooks... (my favorite, at the time). We were not rich, and the tickets were not cheap, but I was too young to truly understand this concept.



At the concert, I could not see because everyone was standing and I was so short (hard to believe, some 15 years later, right?). I stood on a chair, and was able to enjoy the show somewhat, until the security guard forced me to get off of the seat. The music was so loud, that I couldn't really understand what was being said. 10 minutes into Garth Brooks' portion of the show, I left the floor and waited in the hallway. My mother bought me a Garth Brooks hat and took me home. I was angry that I didn't get to enjoy my present. I was selfish, and I cannot blame it all on not knowing any better. My mother just smiled and drove me home.


I complain from time to time that my life is not as good as it could be, or even that my life is horrid. This is unfair. No matter how bad it may get, I am one of the lucky ones that still has both parents (happily married, mind you) who love their children without cause or question. For that, I am blessed.


For a mother who does everything thanklessly.


For a father who would give you the shirt off his back, or the shoes off his feet (if he had feet, that is).


For brothers and sisters who protect each other, even if they don't always get along.


My life is great, and I would do well to never forget that.


I'm not very talkative tonight. I've visited a few of my friends' blogs but I'm just not up to commenting tonight. Tired and my stomach is a bit upset.

Friday morning, I get my sound processor so I should be hearing all the things I've been missing. My surgery site is still very tender so they may postpone until it's better. We shall see...

Until then, good-night my friends. I do have a post for Halloween but it will have to wait.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday is definitely looking up

Ron has done very well in the rehab unit. He walked down to breakfast this morning, then to physical therapy, and then back to his room. Of course, he has been in the bed the rest of the day but he's still done very well, all things considered.

The hospitalist doctor was in this afternoon and they're going to remove the Foley, the IV, and re-dress his blisters (which no look like healing burns). He looks much better today and although he's in more pain from being up, says he feels better.

I couldn't be happier.

On another note, I spoke with my company's insurance representative and found out that I can enroll Ron in one of the plans my company offers. It's still quite a bit more expensive, for less coverage and for a fairly hefty deductible, but way less expensive than purchasing Part B, Part D, and any "gap" coverages. I spoke with the transitions representative today and he said I'd save hundreds a month by enrolling Ron in my health care plan, if my company allows it. So, the plan is to look into our policies during the open enrollment period and see what kind of coverage I can get for us for the most reasonable amount of money.

I'd like to find a hospital bed for Ron and a twin bed for me. That would give us more room in our bedroom because I'd set them up like an "L" and put the bedside tables on the inside. If I did it right, Ron would have more wheelchair room and a hospital bed would be much more comfortable for him.We shall see. This is a very rough mock-up of our bedroom - obviously not to scale - of what I'd like to do. I'm definitely not an architect or engineer.



I'll look around and see if I can find something that's a reasonable amount of money and then see about selling our king-sized bed.  That's the plan anyway. We'll see how that pans out.

I'm feeling much more relaxed about things (for the moment). I slept in this morning (to 8:15) and then cleaned up my kitchen. Yay! Now when I walk in my front door, the first thing I run into will be a clean kitchen. Our front door comes right into the kitchen. I'd like to get laundry done and the living room swept before the weekend is over. It may or may not happen. I need to clean the 2nd bedroom up and do some crafty things. I never did get any Christmas cards made.

I might actually be able to get some things accomplished.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday updates

Got to the hospital this morning and Ron was still resting. I'm glad that he was able to rest some last night.

The blisters on his arm were merging into bigger blisters. Three of the bigger ones became one about the size of a bagel. Yuck.

I spent hours on the Internet last night researching the Medicare parts and Medigap coverages. I wasn't able to make any determinations that would be beneficial to us. I talked to the insurance company and they informed me that effective 1/1/2012 that they will no longer be providing any kind of insurance coverage - ANY, including prescriptions. That was a very big disappointment.

I contacted the insurance company at my employer and am waiting to see what they say. The best I can come up with on my own makes our premiums nearly 4x higher per month than what we're currently paying, and that does not include co-pays or deductibles. I had a rough day after processing all of that.

In fact, my whole day only had one bright spot... Ron walked about 230 feet this morning and then about 60 feet this afternoon. As soon as he is medically stable, he'll be transferred to the in-patient rehab unit.

Tonight, he's not feeling well. Has a fever, had to get two more units of blood because his hematocrit was 23.7 (should be over 43-ish) and his hemoglobin was 7.9 (should be over 14). Dr. A decided to drain the blisters because they were so massive.

I wish I had better news. I am having a bit of a pity-party today so just not too "with it" this evening. I'm trying but it's a struggle today. It's been a very emotional week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The news of the day

Ron is definitely better today. He's about back to his normal self. But, the day didn't start out too greatly.

In fact, it started out too early for me - at 6:00 AM. My cell phone rang with Ron's special ringer (Alert! Alert! Your husband is calling...) and jerked me awake. He was frantic, thought they were trying to kill him. He said, "You've got to come down here. They're trying to kill me in this place! They haven't exercised my leg at all, they're not feeding me, I haven't had any insulin, they're giving me too much pain medication, and they didn't take me to therapy yesterday. I'm going to die in here!"

I assured him that he had indeed had his leg put on the exercise machine at least twice (I had been there and helped even one of those times). He had been given stuff to eat; the nurse's aid had fed him once and I had fed him once. He'd been given insulin because I watched an injection. He hadn't had any dilaudid for hours because the pump was empty and disconnected last night. He had been taken to therapy (he told me so himself earlier yesterday) but they had been unable to do anything because of his lethargy.

"Besides," I said, "you wouldn't die if they tried to kill you because there are too many people around the world praying for you." But, I told him I'd be down as soon as I could get ready for work and get there.

He was quite surprised to discover how much he had missed during the previous two days. He was very shocked to discover that I had actually been there for part of the times he was sure nothing had been done for him. Next, he told me that he was overdue to have his patches changed. I'd already checked them (last night) and they were dated 10/24, so they're not actually due to be changed until tomorrow morning. That was another surprise. So far, he's batting 1,000 in being incorrect.

I finally convinced him that he had just lost that time and the reason he was in such bad shape was completely due to blood loss and his red blood count. His hemoglobin count should have been from 14-18 but instead it had dropped to 7, which is dangerously low. He is prone to low red blood count due to kidney disease and the surgery just made it worse.

Dr. A came in while I was there and we discussed the blisters and everything else that was going on. They're keeping a close eye on the blisters to make sure they don't get infected. Then, Dr. K's assistant came in and changed the dressing on Ron's knee. It looks really good. I was impressed. She removed the drain and re-dressed it.

This afternoon, the therapist tried to get Ron up to walk but he'd been so long without his shrinker on his right leg that his prosthesis wouldn't go on. I had to come home after work and get one to take back down to them. If it stays on all night, he should be able to get the socket on tomorrow. The therapist did do several sets of exercises with him, so that is good. She also changed the settings on the range of motion machine to make the range broader. Ron rated his pain at 0 today, which is wonderful. If his patches don't get changed tonight or in the morning, that will probably change. But, he did say that his knee joint did not hurt at all. Big improvement!

The dark spot in today is a piece of mail we received. Because he is on Social Security disability, he is also on Medicare Part A (that's the free in-patient coverage). His private insurance from being a Boeing retiree has been picking up the tab all this time for his care over the years. They notified us today that as of December 31, he would no longer have Boeing retiree as primary and he would have to take Medicare Part A and Part B. I don't consider myself a stupid person, but all these things are very confusing. Part B costs more per month just for him than we currently pay for BOTH of us. Add to that the cost of Part D (which is the prescription drug plan) per month, the associated deductibles, co-insurances, what I'll have to pay for insurance through my employer, my prescriptions, etc. and we have a recipe for disaster. Serious disaster.

Ron's prescriptions run approximately $39,000 (retail) per year. Plan D doesn't even come close to paying this much out. The best I could figure out (online) was the monthly premium would be about $110 but the deductible would be about $7,000, and then the monthly co-pay would be around $300 (some months up to $1,100 in the "doughnut hole" period where the plan covers nothing). It would be sad to think that he's come all this way just to have Medicare kill him because he can't get his prescriptions. If we were considered "low income" he could get outside assistance (Medicaid or something) to help pay for the prescriptions (this doesn't even count the $100 per month for diabetes test strips). But, we're not truly low income.  I thought if we got divorced maybe then he'd qualify for assistance but then that would make things worse for me.

I wouldn't be able to live here if we were divorced (even if he was still in Independent Living). If he did go into assisted living, they'd take everything, even the portion of his retirement pay that as a survivor I'm entitled to.

I called my mom to ask her about how she's covered under Medicare. She retired from Southwestern Bell and was a member of the union. As such, her retiree insurance is secondary and her prescription drug coverage picks up where Medicare doesn't. This makes me feel a whole lot better to think that Boeing might be secondary for Ron and cover his drugs. Based on what I read in the mailing it doesn't sound like they will pick up that tab, but I need to talk with one of their representatives to find out for sure.

Either way, this could be really, really ugly.

Better today!

I'll post a more detailed update this evening, but I wanted to touch base and say how much better Ron is today. The two units of blood he got last night made a big difference in his confusion and "alertness." He was pretty much his usual self this morning.

Wonder how many more lives that man has? LOL - he's got more than your average household cat!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the wonderful support, prayers, and words of encouragement!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wish I had better news...

But, it's not looking too great for the home team.

Recap:

Slept in until 7:45, which was great. I fell asleep in the recliner last night while I was watching TV. Woke up a little after midnight and took myself to bed. Only got up once to use the bathroom (yay!).

Got to the hospital about 8:30 and managed to see Dr. K. He'd already been in to see Ron and was not pleased with how he looked. Said he was moving very slowly and he did not think Ron would be ready for Joint Camp today (that's the rehab program at the hospital). He said that Dr. A is very concerned about Ron's heart and the combination of all of the different medications he's taking. Everything he takes could cause a problem with something else and any of them could send him over the edge. Ron already takes very strong narcotics for pain and received very strong medication yesterday. In the spinal, they included a drug that should have given him pain relief for 18-24 hours post-op. It did not give him any relief at all. The dilaudid should have filled in the gap from the other medicine. It did not.

I got into Ron's room to see him sitting in a chair. That was good. He was non-responsive to communication though. Sleeping between words. That was not so good. His IV had been moved to his other arm and he had a bloody bandage on his arm where the first IV had been. I asked him what had happened. He couldn't tell me. I figured since he bleeds easily that the bandage was there because he'd bled when they removed the IV. I stayed for a while and then left for work.

I called him at 1:45 this afternoon to see how he was doing. Questions I asked him were not answered with appropriate responses so I told him I'd see him tonight.

I got to his room about 6:30 tonight to find him in the chair again, sleeping, but holding onto a cup of liquid (either tea or beef broth). I asked him what he was doing. Silence...

Me:   Ron
Him:  huh? how long you been there?
Me:   a couple of minutes. What are you doing?
~silence~
Me:   Ron!
Him:  huh?
Me:  what are you doing? are you eating?
~silence~
Me:   Ron!!!
Him:  what!
Me:   are you eating?
Him:  I think so.
Me:   then you need to pick up the cup and drink or else let go so you don't spill it.
~silence~
Me:   Ron!
Him:  what do you want me to do?
Me:   either let go of the cup or drink it. if you don't eat you won't keep up your strength.
Him:  they're not giving me anything.
Me:   you have a liquid diet (tea, broth, juice, jell-o), and toast. you need to actually put it in your mouth.
~silence~
Me:   (picking up the jell-o) let go of the jell-o so I can help you. (he lets go)
Me:   you have to shut you mouth on the spoon to get the jell-o off.
(finishes the jell-o)
Me:  (picking up the toast) open your mouth to eat the toast.
Me:  shut your mouth and take a bite (he'd opened his mouth but did not close his teeth on the toast)
~silence~
Me:   Ron! bite, chew, swallow

This went on for every bite until 3/4 of the toast had been eaten. He still had one hand on the tea/broth cup. Then, I noticed that his bandage on the right arm had shifted and looked like it needed to be changed, so I put it back into place and rang for the nurse. While I waited for her to come, I took a look at his arm and it has HUGE blisters (about the size of a quarter and 1/4-1/2 inch raised) all over his forearm. It looks like something burned him. Yesterday afternoon I had said something to the nurse about his right hand being swollen and asked if his IV had gotten infiltrated. My dad had one do that and his arm swelled up so I wanted them to look at Ron's. She turned on the light and said it looked fine.

Evidently, it was not fine. I'd post a picture but it really is quite shocking.  I took several pictures of it for safekeeping. I've seen what an infiltrated IV looks like on someone and this did not look like that.

While the nurse was changing the bandage (she said she'd never seen anything like that before) she told me that his hemoglobin had dropped from 11 (which is low) to 7 (which is dangerously low) so the doctor had ordered 2 units of blood. They couldn't find a new site for another IV so they called in the IV team. They couldn't find one either so he'll probably get a PIC line put in either tonight or tomorrow. She also told me his kidney function blood work shows that his kidneys are struggling.

In order to get him into and out of bed, they have to use one of the lift machines. He can't even transfer on his own.

I am looking into our options. I found out that if he is not able to transfer to the rehab program, he'll be sent to a skilled nursing facility (i.e., nursing home) in this area. Schowalter may or may not have room to take him so he could be in the town (or two) north of us or the town south of us. That would not be very convenient for me at all. Medicare will pay for 21 days a 100% and then we'd have a co-pay or maybe our private insurance would pick up the tab. We don't know. If during the 21 days he's progressed enough to be transferred to rehab, he'd go to where ever there was an opening, either at Schowalter or back at the hospital.

If he doesn't progress well enough then he'll probably be in the nursing home for a long time. This is not good. I could be homeless in a matter of weeks. I'm not worried about me; I can put things in storage and hopefully be able to find a room to rent somewhere. There is a hotel in town that does weekly rent so that might also be an option.

There's also my van. I could put it into an RV camp and sleep there if I had to. There is a little place off the highway that would work. That's a last-ditch resort. (Just kidding. I wouldn't park my van in an RV camp. Trying to keep it light-hearted.)

I think I'm going to call it a night. I got home about 8:00 tonight, took out the trash, ate some chicken and some grapes, and now need to do up the dishes and go to bed. I'm planning on getting up early tomorrow so I'm not too late for work. I can't afford to have more unpaid time on my next paycheck. I'm already at 11 hours and that will be a noticeable amount.

Take care ya'll. Extra prayers would be appreciated.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fatigue?

I never truly understood the term "bone-crushing fatigue" until today. We went to bed last night at our usual time and got up at 5:00 am. That's a bit earlier than usual but not that much earlier (I'm usually up by 6:30). I didn't feel this tired driving to the hospital or even sitting in the recovery room. Our pastor came by a couple of times and I spent the rest of the time reading a book and surfing around the net.

The surgery took longer than anticipated. Instead of 1-2 hours for surgery, he was in there closer to 3 hours. They had a hard time getting the spinal started. Then, he bled a bit more than they expected. Add to that the fact that he had quite a bit of scarring in the joint and muscles from previous injuries and surgery - and contractures of his muscles. That combination lengthened surgery quite a bit.

The surgeon finally came and talked to me around noon. He'd gone into surgery at about 8:00 am.

After he talked with me, I went and had lunch and then went to move my car from the emergency room parking lot (which is also the parking lot for admissions) to the regular parking lot.  I got out to my car and literally had to sit there for several minutes before I felt like I could drive around the building. I think it was just the relief of the whole thing washing over me that made me feel so exhausted.

I had to go get some lunch stuff for this week and mail a couple of things, so I left about 3:00 pm and made plans to return later. I had an appointment for cable repair this evening between 5:00 and 7:00. I got the stuff unloaded from the car, put away the cold items, and then collapsed in the recliner and slept until the phone woke me around 5:00 or so. I'm not sure how long I actually slept, but it did give me back some energy.

I'm the same age NOW that my mom was when she started doing the "hospital routine" with my dad. She did it for 18 years. I don't know how she coped through the exhaustion. I'm sure none of us kids ever gave her the kudos she deserved for all the things she did. She made my dad's last years much longer than they would have been if she hadn't been there to take care of him. I never heard her complain although I'm very sure she must have been extremely worn out through all the times he was in and out of the hospital.

We should have been more considerate of her. Yep...

I'm turning off my alarm and will get up when my body says it's time. Then, I'll go to the hospital and on to work. I need to put in my 8 hours before I leave, but I'll work through lunch (I know... I should get up but can't do that; I'll heat my lunch up and eat as I work) to cut the day down a bit.

I'll try to post tomorrow with an update. Maybe not until Wednesday.

(Note - I didn't post any pictures. Poor guy... I didn't have the heart to even take his picture today. There's always tomorrow.... )

Relief

No matter how often I am in a hospital waiting room and how prepared I think I am to receive news, it still surprises me how that news and the waiting has worn me out.

I am typing on Keith's tablet and it is quite different from my laptop. But the surgery was a success and Ron is currently in recovery.

I will write more later.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Thank You Cards

Well, I finished them. I wanted to get them completed before Ron's surgery so I worked on them today. I'll package them up to mail tomorrow.

The pictures aren't the greatest because I took them with my cell phone. They're pretty "busy" but my customer likes them, so that is OK. She wanted them all to be in the same color family so that's what I did.






They are black and white with various shades of green. The neon green flowers were purchased but I made the rest of them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Truth Is Thursday

I have better things to write this Thursday...

Truth is... I have so much to do at work that I have to remind myself to go to the bathroom.

Truth is... I don't have time to eat a meal, either. I eat my lunch in pieces throughout the day.

Truth is... This will go on through the month of November and then slow down (I hope).

Truth is.... I worked on one chapter - that is ONE chapter - today for FIVE hours (yes, 5) getting the pagination to be correct. For any of you out there who might know what MadCap Flare is, you'll appreciate how much trouble that was. We have one source file and four different target outputs. When you paginate one, it could mess with another. It was a pain in the royal behind.

Truth is... Ron is looking forward to his surgery.

Truth is... I'm not so sure I am.

Truth is... I am looking forward to the finished results.

Truth is... Had a great time last weekend with friends.

Truth is... Looking forward to this weekend. I have cards to make for an order.

Truth is... I'll be posting pictures. Hehehe! I'm such a braggart.

Truth is... I am behind on card making. Need to get going for fall and Christmas cards and orders (which I hope I get).

Truth is... I decided that I'm not making my co-workers anything for Christmas this year. Just decided that I'm not doing it.

Truth is... Would you like to know how Ron got himself into this position?


Truth is... He fell in the bathroom AGAIN. We couldn't get him up from in there so he's in the process of crawling to the living room so he can get up into his chair.

Truth is... Crap. What's next? Luckily, he did not cut anything this time.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Had a great time...

We got to Branson about 4:30 Friday afternoon and needed to be at the Sight and Sound Theater by 6:15. Not much time to get unloaded, get something quick to eat, and get over there. Of course, the traffic was wicked busy but my friends knew how to get there a quick way so we were on our way. McDonald's dinner "to go" and we were in the parking lot by 6:00. Great timing.

The outside of the theater is just beautiful.



The inside was really beautiful, too.



Herb, Debbie, Ron, and Wanda
(Herb and Debbie are my friends; Wanda is Herb's mom)

We did not plan to both wear pink shirts; it just worked out that way.


The road between Sprinfield, MO and Branson is very hilly and cut right out of the mountains. As we were driving, I took a couple of pictures of the scenery. The rocks were really interesting looking.



Saturday evening, we went to Yakov's Dinner Theater.



Yakov wrote a book called Little Ballet Slippers & Big Red Nose and he had performers from the Moscow Circus performing the story as he narrated it. The book is loosely based on the story of a circus performer he met 20 years ago in Vegas who told him how much he missed his wife and son back in Russia.

The story follows Andre, a lowly circus clown, and Marina, a beautiful circus ballerina. They share a special friendship and "heart" connection that Marina's sister (Olga) is very jealous of. She is the ringmaster and the owner of this circus and she gives all of the orders. She makes arrangements for the circus to travel to America to perform, but instead of everyone being able to go, she makes sure that Andre goes and Marina is not allowed to go. Love prevails and eventually Andre and Marina are reunited in America.

The true story is that Andre really was the circus performer in Vegas and Marina was his wife back in Russia. Yakov arranged for them to come to America. They both perform in this play, along with their son. It's a very touching story and beautifully done.

Neither of them looked old enough (far away or up close) to have a son old enough to be performing.

Andre and me.
(It's a terrible picture but I wanted to post it anyway.)
Yakov is a very talented performer and artist. The painting in the picture behind us was done by him. The gift shop was full of his artwork.  He's also a professor at Missouri State University.

During the story, the meal is served by the performers and it was very tasty. The food is prepared by a Russian chef and consisted of a potato soup, beef brisket, chicken breast, sauteed vegetables, mashed potatoes, sweet cornbread muffin, and a "twist" on strawberry shortcake - Russian style.

Sunday, we ate at Cracker Barrel and then headed home. On the way home, I snapped a beautiful sunset.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The weekend starts

Right Now!!!

I worked enough overtime this week that I only need 5 hours of vacation time tomorrow, leaving the other 3 hours for some other time that I might need them.

Bright and early tomorrow, Ron and I will be packing up (well, I'll be doing the packing up) and hitting the road. We have an appointment at the chiropractor at 10:00 and I have to take Maisey to the boarder (our groomer keeps her for $8 per day - and she lives in the house with her and not in a kennel) before that. So, we have to be ready to hit the road by 9:00.

I'm looking forward to our weekend away. I think Ron is, too.

On a side note, we're meeting my best friends from childhood - Debbie and Herb. Debbie and I have been friends for a long time. Over 40 years (yikes! did I just write that?). In fact, her husband was my first serious boyfriend. We were all 14 at the time and went to the same church. Herb and I were an "item" at all the church functions (that was the only thing we were allowed to do) until we were 16. My dad decided that I could no longer go out with the church crowd, so he made me break up with Herb. That catalyst for that was he'd seen Herb's brother kiss his then-girlfriend (fiance - now wife of 40 years) in our driveway in - GASP! - broad daylight!!!! Oh my heavens - how scandalous that was.

We were still friends but didn't even have an official real date. Herb started dating Debbie during our junior year of high school and they got married the year after we graduated. They've been married for 36 years. My next serious boyfriend was Herb's best friend. It was kind of cool... Debbie and I were best friends; Herb and Bill were best friends.

That lasted another two years but since Bill and I went to different colleges, we didn't see each other too often and just drifted apart. Bill ended up marrying Debbie's sister. LOL...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Madness

Our company celebrated customer service week last week and as part of the festivities,we had a health fair with different vendors coming in to show different ways to get healthy and other ways to get people involved in activities.

One of the vendors was giving a sales pitch to someone about a diet program he had, so I picked up a brochure to read what he was saying. As he was quoting this price to her ($90 per week for their food), he was saying how it was all the food you need to buy for the week. I nearly snorted out loud because I was reading the brochure and how it said their food + fruits, vegetables, and an additional protein each day. This would add up to considerably more than the $90 per week he was quoting. I just quietly put the brochure down and walked away.

Other vendors actually did have things that were worthwhile. I picked up some literature about foot care for diabetics and the importance of correctly fitted shoes. Many of the other vendors had free ink pens and I'm always looking for comfortable, good writing ink pens.

As part of the company telling us all "thanks," we got an afternoon snack (pretzels, popcorn, or peanuts and a drink) each afternoon. One of the days that the office air conditioning was out, we also got afternoon ice cream delivery from Schwan's. It was nice.

I ended up working about 7.5 hours on Saturday. Because of that, I didn't have to take any unpaid time for being off with Ron on Friday morning. I'll be putting in some extra hours this week because we have a deadline that is fast approaching. I'll be off on Friday (Ron and I are taking a weekend off) so will probably put in 9-10 hours tomorrow through Thursday. I'm updating screen shots to reflect 2010 data, which is a time consuming operation but necessary. Easy, so I can listen to music while I'm replacing them. I do a pretty good job in MS Paint in doctoring screen shots to say what I want them to say, so I just do my thing while I'm enjoying some good music.

The sinus infection is on the way out of here. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm back among the living. Not a day too soon, either. I want to feel good for this weekend. We need the break away as it will be the last one for a while, especially with the surgery coming up.

We finally got some much needed rain. All weekend. That's OK. The ground really needed it.

That's about all of the madness for the day. Tomorrow will be here too soon!

Ya'll have a great week!