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» Sunday, October 15, 2017Surviving Nephrology Depression
We have not been in a good mood this week. Despite trying our hardest (except for the stupid hamburger on Saturday afternoon) with salt and severe dietary restrictions last weekend through Wednesday when he had more blood drawn, when James' test results came back Wednesday night his creatitine score had gone up to 4.6. It wasn't long afterward when a nurse called following up, and the doctor called up James the next day. He already has an appointment with a vascular surgeon at the end of the month about inserting a fistula. Once that heals, it's dialysis time unless a miracle occurs. Whether it's temporary or permanent is to be determined.
But it's fucking scary is what it is, and there have been some sorrowful evenings and sleepless nights and terrible dreams.
So we were determined to cheer up a little this weekend, and if no salt doesn't actually help the results, we can go back to low salt and be happy with it. So we had supper at Fried Tomato Buffet on Friday night and filled up on salad and shrimp. (Why everyone has to have their shrimp fried I'll never know; it's extra work. Why not just broil it in butter? But their fried shrimp—for fried shrimp—is quite good; it's not overly salty and very lightly breaded in panko rather than in some heavy, greasy batter.) Then we went to Barnes & Noble, where I found two nice cross-stitch magazines and something for a gift.
We were in bed fairly early Friday night because we were heading out early on Saturday. Since the model contest at Free Time Hobbies was on Saturday, we decided to combine it with the first week of the Georgia Apple Festival. We usually wait until the second weekend when it's cooler to go to the Apple Festival, but we figured if we got there early enough it wouldn't be too bad.
Unfortunately I didn't calculate arising time very well. We should have at least gotten up at 6:30; 6:45 and having to stop for gasoline and breakfast got us stuck in a very long line waiting for the parking lot at the Lions Club where the Apple Festival is held. We also usually go on Sundays, when it's less crowded. Even at 9:10 a.m. it was very crowded. Still, we made our way around the booths, tasting the dips and the jellies—one booth had some really delicious citrus marmalade jam, but we didn't buy it—and admiring the wreaths, alpaca cloaks, and other crafts. We did buy fudge and half a peck of Granny Smith apples and more sweet ginger pickles, and I found a cute little embroidered round scarf, a Hallowe'en motif with owls. (Which tells you it's very cute, as I usually don't buy Hallowe'en things.) Two booths were selling stainless steel rings and jewelry, and in front of one they had some men's rings in different sizes and styles for only five dollars. Well, James has never found his wedding ring; it fell off a second time after we found it the first time and we haven't located it yet, even though he's sure it's in the house. He found a very nice silver ring that alternated with textured black bands. Eventually we got all the way around, and, tired of the crowd, skedaddled up the road to Blue Ridge and the hobby store.
While James was inside enjoying the models I walked across the parking lot to the Amish store to stock up on pot pie noodles. I also wanted what they call "soup mix" and I call "veggie flakes" (their veggie flakes have potatoes), but they had only one package left after a big mail order; I bought tat, along with some cranberry honey mustard which I thought James might enjoy with his turkey sandwiches. It was their customer appreciation day, so I got a discount, munched on free popcorn, and they had a country band playing for the customers. I also walked next door to the country store/feed store. This was a real feed store: they even had horse tack and medicine.
Strolled back to the hobby shop and looked over the models; there were a lot of nice pieces, but nothing really funny or outstanding about any of them, like the Car 45 model in the past, or the Humphrey Bogart figure last year. I do admit there was a great Tusken Raider and a Rancor beast!
We rode home munching on an apple and the clouds parted and by the time we got to the traffic jam at downtown Marietta (it was Chalktoberfest—professional chalk artists drawing on the street along with beer—this weekend) we were both kind of tired. I ended up taking a nap for an hour, then we went to Hibachi Grill for supper, then stopped at Publix for the twofers. Even with the nap, I was so happy to get home and divest myself of outdoor clothing and get into something comfy.
I finished reading my big beautiful Colonial Williamburg book I found for a dollar at the book sale that evening. Really enjoyed the history as well as the gorgeous color photographs.
This morning we could have slept in, but were both awake a little after eight. We took advantage of it by getting to Kroger early (lots of handicapped parking spaces at nine o'clock on a Sunday!) to finish up grocery shopping, and even running by Publix to pick up the paper towels the Macland store didn't have last night. This afternoon we finally replaced the erratic LED bulb in the kitchen fixture (don't tell me that LEDs take "years" to burn out!), I sorted both our pills and made the bed, and then spent the afternoon getting more things off the DVR: "Fox Tales" and a Rick Sebak special, plus nine of my favorite episodes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (since GetTV showed the episodes uncut, I really wanted to keep them). That afternoon task wandered right into dinnertime—James was looking for comfort food, so he made chicken and dumplings in the pressure cooker (well, the chicken, anyway; the pot pie noodles stood in for dumplings)—and early evening.
Sigh...and now it's time to get ready for work again.
» Sunday, October 08, 2017Grocery Deals and Wet Streets
Now, Tropical Depression Nate was in full storm when we finally got up at ten. The sky was slate grey and low, the trees were shaking their heads restlessly, and the rain was pounding down heading north up the street. I waited long enough that there was a slight break in the downpour to take Tucker out. It was still raining (just not sideways as earlier) and I put him in the dog coat so he wouldn't get too wet. He was glad to just pee on the lawn and beat a hasty retreat into the house.
We needed Chex Mix for my work lunches, so we piled in the car—the rain had slowed down, but it was still pretty steady—and went to Sam's Club rather than Costco, which has Skinny Pop but no Chex mix. Bonus: the Skinny Pop at Sam's was cheaper by at least a dollar a bag. Looked at the magazines, bought an Instant Pot cookbook, the popcorn, the Chex, some Lesueur peas (or as we call them, "leisure peas" after a typographical error in a Kroger ad many years ago), three gallons of milk at $1.86 each (!!!), and, in the meat case, a big hunk of boneless pork shoulder which was only $2.18/pound. Sampled some really good lobster ravioli (will have to remember that for a birthday dinner). Oh, and today the Sam's Club mobility carts were working fine; we usually take the power chair because they are usually badly charged and break down halfway through the store. James noted that there were all new carts; maybe someone made an ADA call on them?
We lucked out exiting; the rain had nearly stopped. I shoved the meat and the milk into the insulated bags, since we still had stops to make: first Petsmart for more dog food and a cuttlebone for Snowy (he loves sharpening his little beak on it and then using it on me 😀 ), then Nam Dae Mun for more ginger tea for James and sesame oil. We ran out of luck here: I dropped James off to park the car, and he couldn't find a mobility cart (they were hidden behind the cash registers; nice move, guys), so he limped around the store in considerable pain from his knees. (The new Nam Dae Mun with the better parking and more available carts that's near our house sadly doesn't stock the ginger tea.) Finally stopped at CVS with my 27 percent off coupon (yeah, I know...why that amount?) to pick up BreatheRights and other things, and then we could go home.
It wasn't the end of the chores, though; finally got to sit down after putting all the stuff away, making the bed, sorting both my and James' pills, getting ready for work, emptying the dishwasher, etc. It was quite late before I finally got to finish up Europe on Saturday Night, and then it was time for dinner. James cut the two big long pork shoulder "steaks" in half, I browned them in the Instant Pot, then browned some onions, then poured a concoction of no-salt vegetable and beef broth, miso broth, a little Grade B maple syrup, and water (two cups in all) on top of it all and we pressure cooked it for 65 minutes. It came out fork tender and James made a gravy with some of the juice, and we had it with teriyaki rice. Two other portions went into the freezer; the liquid was so basic that we can make one as a barbecue dish and another as an Asian dish, just depending on the sauce.
Later it was time for Alaska: the Last Frontier. My, all that snow looks good in this smothery weather. It was supposed to go into the 70s next weekend until Nate stuck his big frippin' tropical nose in. I wish Africa would keep its hot weather to itself!
» Saturday, October 07, 2017An Uncommonly Nice Day
It started out a little dicky, however; James woke up feeling a little odd, but it turned out to be low blood sugar and a serving of juice straightened it out. This got us up earlier than we'd planned, so we were able to have a slow breakfast and then get on the road. It was spritzing lightly, so we covered the power chair and got on the road. Hurricane Nate [neé Tropical Storm Nate] has put a crimp in the weekend, leaving heavy clouds everywhere, although it's good for James and I, as neither of us are supposed to be out in the sun.
By the time we got to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, the spritz had gone on the fritz and we were able to have a good time at the Warbird Weekend. This year they were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen, and two of the gentlemen were actually here!
We were greeted practically at the gate by the IPMS folks, including two of the guys from IPMS Marietta who had sent James a get well card. There were several exhibition booths there, including a display about service chaplains that looks like it was borrowed from the Tennessee Air Museum, and then we walked out to the flightline. There were a good dozen planes out there, and I'm starting to be able to recognize some of them (but then Corsairs and Stearmans are very recognizable, and the DC3 said "Douglas" right on the side).
We walked about and took photographs of all of the planes, plus a World War II-era ambulance and fire truck. Some folks were dressed in period dress, and there were other vintage items dotted about. (One "Rosie" had her little boys in caps and shorts and they were adorable! There was also a General MacArthur; as he walked by I whispered to James "He has returned!") There was a film you could see about the Tuskegee Airmen, but there was a long line and no way for James to step up into the theatre. Then I took a seat on my folding cane and James tooled around a bit on his own, taking photographs himself. We also had a tangerine ice that was very orange flavored (colored an orange not found in nature) and listened to a trio of women sing World War II tunes!
However, we were able to listen to one of the Tuskegee Airmen talk about his career. This was Lieutenant Colonel Harry Stewart, who played with wooden airplane models as a boy and fought imaginary World War I battles with his friends. He volunteered for the service instead of being drafted so he could choose where he went (if you were drafted you went where they sent you). He had already heard they were choosing young African American men to learn to fly, and that's what he did. He made a record three kills in one day (he shot down two planes, and the third crashed trying to follow him) and won a Distinguished Service Cross. After the war, when the Air Force was incorporated, they decided to reinstate "Top Gun" wargames to keep up the flyers' expertise, he and his Tuskegee companions came in first!
He also had a very funny story about when he was training in a P-47 during the war. The rule was that if another fighter plane entered the training area, he was to engage it as if in a dogfight. Whichever plane got on the tail of the other plane was the "winner" and the other plane had to acknowledge being "shot down." So he was doing training maneuvers in his fighter when another P-47 appeared. He waggled his wings at it and then engaged the other P-47 in "combat." Well, two "Lufbery" (tight turn) moves later, this other P-47 was on his tail! He acknowledged the "kill" with a wag of his wings, then turned back to the airfield. The other P-47 turned back to the airfield. He landed. The other pilot landed. He rolled to a stop and got out of his P-47. The other pilot rolled to a stop and got out of his P47. Stewart took off his helmet to face the guy who'd beaten him. The guy took off his helmet and he saw flaming red hair...
...fall down around the pilot's shoulders.
The P-47 was being transported by a WAAF!
About this time the sun came out and we had to beat a retreat into the shade since neither of us can be in the sun, so we missed the final five minutes of his interview. We left after that and went in search of further lunch (James had a sandwich with him, but I had just had a Kind bar and a juice box) and ate a bit at Wendy's, then went to Trader Joe's to pick up pumpkin fruit bars before they are gone (they are only sold in the fall and James likes to have them all year long). We brought some salad greens as well.
Finally got to the planned event of the day, the October Hallmark Ornament Premiere so James could get his Sherman tank. He also bought the Airplane! airplane, plus bought me a cute little silver bird with a cheeky look on his face and a little resin Christmas tree that was on discount.
On the way home James waited outside at Sprouts while I ran inside and got more shredded chicken. We had it for supper in a salad while watching Father Brown, and later watched the first episode of the new season of This Old House (featuring Mike Rowe, as this year is dedicated to advising young people to go into trades). Then it was back to Britcoms.
» Friday, October 06, 2017Nephrology 101
We knew it might come to this...
James went to the doctor a few days before his heart attack and had a creatitine score of 2.8. After the attack it jumped into the 3 point area, but it didn't appreciably go up after the cath/stent, just like last time. But now it has jumped to 4 and they don't know why, save that it is probably a late reaction to the dye used in the cath process. There is a chance James might have to go on dialysis.
When we saw the nephrologist on Wednesday, he wanted to try something first: taking him off his diuretic for three days, in case his kidneys are being overworked by the diuretic. So we are being oh-so-careful for the next three days with the salt (not that we're exactly using salt that much these days) so that it won't aggravate the situation. We are to watch out for swelling, weight gain, blisters on his cellulitis, and especially breathing problems to show water is building up in his body.
So yesterday I did a cooking experiment. Don't faint. I do do them sometimes. For a while I have been thinking about my mom’s chicken cutlets. As I said, I'm not into cooking, so I never much paid attention to what she did to cook them. She just grilled them in a frying pan, and they had a nice brown crusty outside and tasted good inside. I guess they were chicken breasts, or as those flat pieces are called, chicken tenderloins. I don't consider chicken breast fit food for anyone. Dry, tasteless things. Anyway, wanted to make something by hand that would be very low salt; ran to both Publix and Sprouts at lunch, with the idea of taking Sprouts' shredded chicken and making a soup with no sodium broth. Sprouts didn't have any ready (really upset at this, as Sprouts has never let me down before), so it was a good thing I had picked up boneless skinless chicken thighs at Publix.
At dinnertime I took the thighs and cooked them on the griddle on top of the stove. Minimal olive oil, showed it a picture of salt, put ginger, tumeric, and cinnamon on one side, kept them flat using the bacon press. I cooked them on each side about a minute, and they took about eight minutes each all together. When they were done I used a scant teaspoon of bourbon pineapple glaze and a half teaspoon of sweet onion relish on each as a finishing sauce.
It was, amazingly, delicious and juicy. We had it with a side of applesauce. Must do that again. Of course this stove helps. If you pay attention to your cooking it does everything brilliantly.
So today was my off day, which, yes, I took advantage of by sleeping in until 8:30. After breakfast and pooch perambulation, I headed toward Buckhead, since there was another book sale at the Northside Library today. I first stopped for gasoline at Costco, then, since I was going to be in the area anyway, drove into Buckhead to check out the Barnes & Noble. Found a new "Best of British" as well as the new "Smoky Mountain Living" and an autumn issue of "Down East." I checked out the books and the clearance items, but didn't buy anything except for the magazines. There's a coupon this weekend, but not sure I want to use it on the new Flavia DeLuce book or not. I find myself getting a bit tired of Flavia, but perhaps it was just that last book.
I reached the library exactly at noon when they open. Not a lot there, but I found a copy of Tasha Tudor's Take Joy! Christmas book. This was badly foxed on the top, but it had an embossed cover and decorated endpapers, plus a dust jacket. Since it was only a dollar, I bought it, even though I have a copy. (Checked out my own copy and it looks like it is a less expensive knockoff. Same content, but a plainer book.) I also bought Fred Allen's Much Ado About Me.
I still was determined to try to make that soup tonight, so on the way home from the library I stopped at Sprouts. They had exactly one package of shredded chicken meat left, which I brought home with some cashews for James and some "Asian-inspired chicken soup" (it had ginseng in it) for my lunch, since by that time it was 1:30 and I was as hungry as Red-Riding Hood's wolf. The latter was good, but came up on me all afternoon. I should know better.
I spent the rest of the afternoon vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, making the bed, and fixing up the Take Joy! dust jacket.
The resulting supper soup was...okay. Needed salt. 😊 I put one container of no salt chicken broth, about half a container of no salt vegetable broth, a big sprinkle of Litehouse salad greens, some vegetable flakes, and a freshly sliced stalk of celery in a saucepan with most of the shredded chicken and just let it simmer from 4:30 to when James got home. I cooked some vermicelli noodles to go with it and it made a nice filling dinner. Later we watched Doctor Who—well, I watched it; James had dozed off during the news—and I had on a couple of episodes of Lassie until Hawaii Five-0 came on. I like that they are not forgetting that Chin Ho and Kono are gone, and are still missing them. We also met the new guy tonight, an ex-Navy SEAL. He will have to go through the police academy before McGarrett will take him on. He has a sweet smile. I liked the subplot of McGarrett getting involved with the injured drug dog.
» Sunday, October 01, 2017In Kneed
It's been a quiet weekend. James had a big flare-up of gout on Friday, so all we did that evening was have supper at Ken's Grill and drop me in at CVS to pick up some bandages for James' leg (he has bad cellulitis there and occasionally needs it covered). Friday night his left knee was so bad he had to take a pain pill in order to sleep because it was three a.m. and he was still awake. So we were in bed until almost eleven on Saturday and really didn't go anywhere because he was hurting so much. It wasn't much of a loss: although it was cooler than it had been all week, the sun was still scorching. Terry came over and got the two office chairs we are getting rid of, and soon after that, about 3:30 I was getting a killer headache from my stupid glasses, so I invited James to nap with me for a half hour.
And then it was 5:30... We had soup for supper and while wandering around the television dial found Sneakers and kept watching. I think this is the second time I've seen this movie in the last few months; I'd forgotten how much I like it.
Anyway, James got through last night without pain meds and his knee, while not painless this morning, was feeling some better. We had to determine if he was okay enough to go into work tomorrow, so we started by doing the usual Sunday thing: going to the supermarket. We hit Kroger for sandwich bread, the Damned Bananas, and a few things we had coupons for, and sundries like tea. Those were brought home and James thought he felt okay enough to go out and do a couple of other things.
We stopped briefly at Publix for his low-sodium low-carb wraps since he is running low on breakfast burritos, then bought gas for the truck at Costco, and finally took a break and stopped at Barnes & Noble for about an hour. I found the Christmas "Country Sampler" and some pretty little stocking stuffers on discount, and James got a few magazines.
It was also a beautiful day! It was 57℉ this morning and even when we went out was beautifully breezy, with a bright blue sky and shredded-cotton cirrus clouds up ahead. At 12:30 when we were at Costco it was 66 lovely degrees. I took a photo of the red Cumberland Mall sign up against the wonderful blue; the sky never looks like that in summer, but is pale and milky and yellowish at the horizon.
By the time we emerged from the bookstore it was after two. James thought to go to the new Panera for lunch, then just as he turned into the parking lot I realized we had an O'Charley's coupon that would die tomorrow. So we had Sunday dinner instead, 6-ounce steaks and baked potato, me with salad, him with cole slaw. O'Charley's was very crowded, so we had to wait, then more waiting at table, so we had a nice leisurely lunch.
When we got home James worked on his burritos and I sorted his week's pills for him. Wish we had been able to go to "Woofstock," though, the dog exhibition taking place in Smyrna this weekend. It looked like fun. We had light suppers and waited for the season premiere of Alaska: the Last Frontier.
» Sunday, September 24, 2017Good and Bad Discoveries
We couldn't sleep too late this morning, but I was dismayed to find out James didn't get to sleep until the wee hours. He was the one who was ready for bed early!
We forewent breakfast, except for a BelVita bar, and got to Costco ten minutes after they opened, and the parking lot was already crowded. Luckily a space opened two spaces from the door, so I pulled in there while James got one of the little carts. We found the first thing he was looking for right off, a chair cushion to use at restaurants. His back pain is so bad that he has problems on hard chairs. We also found a new heated throw for him to use in winter (his old one burned out). Plus we got popcorn, milk, Swiffer wipes, a "Milk Street" magazine, and an autumn magazine.
After tucking the milk in the insulated bag, we nipped across the street so I could run into Bed, Bath & Beyond with two expiring coupons. I picked up some LED switchlights for the library bays and, of course, since the rule at BB&B is if you don't need anything else, buy "doggie bags," I did. Tucker will fill them up! 😁 By this time it was getting on to lunch, so I stopped by Tin Drum and got some teriyaki and James got chicken at Pollo Tropical, and we took it home for lunch.
Eeek! I did not notice when I dropped the Swiffer wipes off that the floor in front of the washer was wet, so the box got sodden. I was flummoxed and a lot more upset than I should have been. After all, the washer is 11 1/2 years old. Things happen. Judging by where the water was, I also thought it might be a problem with the dispenser. I watched a YouTube video about this, but it went a little beyond my comfort zone. But I could check out the dispenser, and that's what I did. I've cleaned it out before, and I did again, because the spot where the Downy goes in was sticky and a bit grotty. But I've never checked out the dispenser drawer slot. There was a thick crusty sludge on the bottom of it as if powdered detergent had gotten wet and formed a coating (I've never used powdered detergent in this washer in its life!). Cleaned that out and washed a load of towels, and...no water on the floor. Whew. I guess it backwashed and the sludge got in the way.
Anyway, spent the afternoon half relaxing and watching an entire house-remodeling story on Rehab Addict and reading The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which arrived today. Also helped James sort pills, put all the stuff we brought home from the hospital in one place, cleaned the floor in the hall bath, put junk on the table away, and got stuff ready for work tomorrow. Plus the "trick" with the TV worked and it automatically changed channels to Ion Life at seven, so we didn't miss Colour Confidential again. Wish they weren't repeating stuff we'd seen a few months ago. There is a Saturday showing, too, and I wish they'd alternate them.
Ate leftovers for supper, then waited (practically forever) for Star Trek: Discovery. I like the characters, but the stupid show had something like four thousand commercials in it. This is why I DVR everything anymore; too hard to keep track of the plots anymore with all the commercial interruptions! Do you get commercials on CBS All Access, on which the remainder of the series will be shown? If so, it's a big ripoff. Is that all the series is going to be, about the war with the Klingons?
» Saturday, September 23, 2017Books and Mags and Friendship, O My!
It was a relief to sleep later, but this won't last: James' doctor said he can go back to work Monday. Sigh. I could use a few more days of sleeping late! Just a few more moments of peace.
At least we had energy to work on today, because we were busy. We had breakfast at the IHOP on Dallas Highway, then went to the Barnes & Noble out a little further to check out their magazines. Score! One "Country Living" Christmas issue, a fall magazine, plus the new "Breathe," and I am trying "Lapham's Quarterly." I've been seeing this on the stand for a while, but it is very expensive; it collects essays on a different subject every three months. I skipped "Discovery" in the spring, didn't want "Fear" this summer (summer's fearful enough, thank you), but since I had 20 percent off everything, I thought I'd give "Music" a try. I also bought Caroline since there was such a discount on it. I have another Laura Ingalls Wilder book coming from Amazon as well, and am reading a third on Netgalley! James bought a discount teacup gadget as well.
We also stopped by Hallmark, as they have some items on sale until the end of the month that I thought would make good gifts. We bought two different presents.
Next we wanted to stop at the market, so we took the shortest way to where Publix and Sprouts lie across the street from each other. We stopped at Sprouts first, mostly buying meat (except pork, because Publix has pork loin slices on BOGO), plus some shredded chicken. At Publix we picked up the pork, some other twofers, low-salt lunchmeat for James, and some bagged salad (also twofer)—and the Damned Bananas, sadly. So with the shredded chicken and the salad and some slivered almonds, we had a nice low-carb lunch to make up for breakfast being the opposite.
At 5:40, we went rushing off to David Gibson's birthday dinner (rushing because I thought it was at 6:30, not at 6). We were right on time and had a great meal (Keegan's Irish Pub is usually great for food) with our friends (most of whom we saw yesterday). Came home relaxed and happy, and willing to drift off to bed at a decent hour. Watched some Lassie to chill out completely.
» Friday, September 22, 2017Post Operative Rest
So Thursday we had a long, long sleep. It wasn't anywhere near enough, but the dog had to be walked and things had to be done.
Mostly what James had to do was make followup visits with his regular doctors. He was lucky and got his GP right away, for next Tuesday. The nephrologist didn't have anything until late October, but she put James in that slot and said she would call back if she had cancellations. (She called back later in the day and got him in October 4.) The cardiologist had an opening—at 7:30 tomorrow. At Glenlake. Oy.
Which is why I was up at 5:50 a.m. on Friday (groan...) and we were driving in rush hour traffic to get to the Kaiser Glenlake office near Perimeter Mall. Thirteen miles of aggravation.
The traffic was bad enough that we beat the doctor there. After an EKG, the usual chat, a new prescription for James' new med (Brilinta), and a visit to the lab and the pharmacy, we were out of there. We'd eaten a quick breakfast, but were both thirsty, so we headed to the Barnes & Noble nearby. It's a special member week with an additional discount on everything. I just had lemonade myself, but saw a chai beverage on the menu. James likes chai, so I suggested it. Ugh! He let me sip it; it was SO sweet. He could have had the lemonade, or even a double chocolate chip drink and had less sugar. Won't do that again. James bagged some modeling and aircraft magazines and I found "Project Calm" at the checkout counter. Was tempted by a book, but didn't buy it.
Since Trader Joe's was on the way home, we stopped there for chicken apple sausage and other goodies. The place is full of pumpkin items already: scone mix, cookies, tea, everything, in fact, but James' favorite fruit bars. They said they might have them at the other store.
Then we came home and, tired out from getting up early, did nothing for the rest of the afternoon, which was really a trap. We should have just taken a nap and then gone to Publix or something. Relaxing all afternoon made us feel lousy.
However, the evening was fun: we went to the Spiveys for Aubrey's birthday party. This was a great evening. We got a big surprise at the end of the evening that I won't mention, but needless to say we have some of the best friends in the entire world.
» Wednesday, September 20, 2017James is Home
Wish I had a turkey, because it's just like Thanksgiving.
» Tuesday, September 19, 2017How We Spent Our [Sudden] Summer Vacation
Wait, didn't you once say you didn't take vacations in the summer anymore? Yep. Let's say it wasn't much of a vacation, either.
So the day we got back from DragonCon James went to see his cardiologist, who took an EKG and said it all looked good and to come back in six months. On the 15th he saw his GP, who renewed his prescriptions and gave him a flu shot.
Friday morning the 16th he forgot to take his pills with him. I was a bit ticked off because he's done this once before and he will get chest pains if he doesn't take them. I was going to take them to him at noon, but he called me saying he didn't feel good, would I bring them immediately. So I did, he went back to work, but came home after lunch not feeling well. He confessed he was having chest pressure. He took a nitroglycerin and the pain went away, he got a violent headache, and then the headache was gone and the pain was back.
He had changed clothes, so we got him back into trousers and shoes. While I was making a pit stop, I looked mutely up to heaven and asked "What do I do? Give me a sign, please!" The books sitting in the little shelving unit on the stool promptly fell over. Well, that was clear enough.
Wellstar was the nearest emergency room, so there we went, taking encouragement in the fact that they didn't bring us to the back right away. Well, this was an oversight. The EKG was showing an irregularity and the blood they drew was showing enzyme markers that weren't good. So we sat there in the little cubicle in the back expecting to do the usual wrangling with Kaiser, and eventually to have an ambulance to ship James off to Northside.
They didn't do it. [Insert mind-boggled sound effect here.]
We were told to stay at Wellstar (unless James needed actual surgery) and that is where we have been since Friday afternoon. Because it was the weekend, they didn't do much Saturday and Sunday except keep him on blood thinners, watch for pain (it pretty much disappeared after his first dose of blood thinners), get his medicine straight, and keep consulting Kaiser. I went home at night and slept (no sleeper chairs in the rooms, just a hard recliner) and then came back in the morning after breakfast. Finally Sunday Kaiser told them to do the catherization here at Wellstar as well, and to put in any stents needed. (We were still shocked; Kaiser's never done that before. Always it's been the ambulance ride to Northside, usually at the worst traffic hour of the day.) At midnight on Sunday (Monday morning) he got put on nothing by mouth (except for sips of water and water needed with his meds) and we spent a nerve-wracking Monday first because they said he would go downstairs before noon, and then it crept to one, and two—James growing ravenous as the minutes ticked on. An emergency case came in and that person had to go first. Finally they took him downstairs about 3:00 with me trotting behind, and then he went back to the cath lab at 3:45.
Now it was my turn to wait. At first this was fine; they warned me it would take "about an hour." So when 4:30 ticked by, I noted it and kept reading my book. At 5:10 I started checking my watch. By 5:30 I was starting to get a tad upset. I asked a person in the waiting room to let them know I was in the bathroom as I retreated to use the facilities. But still no word when I got back. Finally at 6:10 someone came and got me. The cath lab was slammed, she said, and she was sorry, but he was okay; the procedure had just taken a little longer than they planned. James was lying on a gurney at the end of what looked like the longest telescoping hall in the world.
The doctor explained that they had had to put two other stents in another main artery, although the actual pain from the heart attack was caused by a little capillary that had actually closed down. There was still a tiny capillary that was blocked, but they weren't able to see it clearly and it was minor. The only problem was that they had been in longer than they planned and there was a good chance there might be a kidney reaction because of having to use more dye for a longer period. James was blinking sleepily at me with his blue eyes and the utter relief that he was still here and all the medical information was too much to process. I started to cry and then to hyperventilate and someone had to get a chair for me because I could not quit gasping (although there was a teeny corner of my mind shouting furiously in my brain "What are you doing? You can still breathe!"—it was surreal). So both of us got a ride upstairs and I wrapped myself in the scarf blanket and watched the nurses plug in his oxygen and set up his IVs. Once he was settled I rose on very wobbly legs and was able to help him order some supper and then rush downstairs before the cafeteria closed since I hadn't eaten anything since a bowl of cereal at noon.
He had pain sometime longer this time than last time, presumably because of the length of time they were poking around in there. Luckily they went through his wrist this time instead of his femoral artery, so he did not need to have people keep pressure on the spot for a half hour or to lie flat for six hours. I was actually able to feed him some broth and sherbet and he could eat a turkey sandwich. They gave him a small dose of morphine and the pain subsided and so far has not returned. Anyway, it was a bit of a rough evening for him, although by eleven he was pretty much back to normal. I managed to sleep in the awful recliner for two nights with the help of a duvet cover and two pillows and the scarf blanket. The worst part was when they came in to check him and had to turn on the overhead light. Very bright. Pain.
Today has been quiet. I went home this morning to walk Tucker (Aubrey Spivey was "a brick!" as they say in Victorian children's novels and did reveille and bedcheck yesterday) and shower and bring back some clothes. It's been quiet today. His creatitine level is still high (it went up even before the cath, the result of not getting to drink properly for fourteen hours), but if it doesn't spike they say he can go home tomorrow. So, we'll see.
Except for yesterday, it's been a much more positive experience than last year at Piedmont. The staff know their business at Piedmont, but it's like a big factory farm. Here at Wellstar we have seen a doctor (both cardiologist and nephrologist, not to mention the house physician) every single day. At Piedmont we were lucky if the Kaiser doctor wandered in every two days. No one told us anything. Even the techs here tell you everything, and they are all lovely. When we call the nurses or the "care partner," they respond, even yesterday when we realized that Saturday and Sunday were just quiet days here and on Monday bedlam breaks loose. They bring ice, they bring water, they close doors, they even moved the bed once. Someone comes in—over the weekend it was a lovely man named Jean and now we have had Candace—every day to sweep and clean the room and they are friendly, unlike Piedmont, where the cleaning staff was surly and left a "biological spatter" in the bathroom from the time it happened till James checked out, a period of over a week. James has a nice menu to choose from, just counting his carbs to keep them in range, and his food has looked and tasted good (okay, he didn't enjoy the curry chicken all that much, but he said the turkey melt was outstanding). Hell, the cafeteria is good! They not only have had edible (and not overly salted) meats and veggies every day (including teriyaki wings, beef brisket, barbecue ribs were just some of the main meats), but you can get a meat or panini or burgers from the grill, there's a salad bar, three kinds of soup (although they seem not to know what chicken soup is), a "freestyle" soda machine, a yogurt machine and toppings, a bakery case, a juice case, pre-made sandwiches, chips, hummus and dips, cereal cups and chips, candy (if that's your bag), and also stuff like pancakes, sausages, two kinds of bacon, yogurt, etc. for breakfast. The only thing they don't have is bread. You can't get toast or a bun or a biscuit, only bread with the pre-made sandwiches or if you get a burger from the grill. The cashiers, the cooks, and the staff are friendly.
If you have to get stuck in a hospital and use up your vacation days, certainly better off here!
Sadly, we missed going to Taste of Smyrna—no drunken pork for us—and the Beatles Tribute concert on Saturday with the band "The Return." Juanita was able to find homes for our tickets (all the while juggling fraud on her credit card) and they had a lovely time; she dedicated a song to her husband and Aubrey was able to capture the set on her phone, so we could at least be part of that event. I need to do laundry badly (am running out of underwear), but on the way home to wake up the fids this morning I did stop at Publix to grab milk and some twofers. Saw another Christmas magazine!—a welcome sign since the weather since Irma cleared has gone back to hot. And Alice and Ken came to visit tonight, which was sweet, and we have been "lifted up" by messages of love and prayers from friends and family on Facebook.
We shall see what tomorrow brings. Please God that it is something hopeful.
» Tuesday, September 12, 2017
FOR TODAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2017
Outside my window...
...it is grey and rainy-looking, but not the lowered-cloud darkness of yesterday. Irma passed through here in a gentle fashion, just lots of rain (which depressed the dog) sometimes driven down the street by the wind, and a few tossing branches. A couple of power flickers, nothing went out, and we were safe and cozy teleworking inside. I see dry spots appearing on the street already. I have put the chairs and table back on the porch and put out the fall banner, wreath, and basket, and our "guard sheep," Ivy, is back in her place under the table.
I am thinking...
...of a nap! Really, I have not been sleeping because of anxiety and this rash I have. This means back to the doctor.
I am thankful...
...for little damage after the beating Hurricane Irma gave some of those Caribbean islands and Key West. All my friends in Florida are safe, and I think of friends and family in Georgia the only thing that happened is that some lost power.
In the kitchen...
...James just warmed himself up some turkey for lunch. I'm ravenous now.
I am wearing...
...a black sweatshirt which says "Bibliovore" and cheap sky blue scrub pants.
I am creating...
...or just finished creating, a little "Country Pick'ns" vignette I picked up at the Yellow Daisy Festival on Sunday. Photo is below.
I am going...
...crazy being itchy. Stupid rash. I can't even do housework because even a hint of perspiration makes it worse.
I am wondering...
...if there is anything, anything else I can do to keep from going to the doctor, but I've tried everything already. Bother.
I am reading...
...Pioneer Girl Perspectives, which are essays written about Laura Ingalls Wilder's original memoir Pioneer Girl, which was finally published with copious footnotes awhile back. Subjects include how Laura made her little house years sound so safe and warm without touching on the more frightening parts of frontier living—like almost being assaulted by an alcoholic neighbor whose wife she was helping to care for—and how the "Little House" books are so anti-Government even though the Ingalls family accepted government assistance.
I am hoping...
...there will at least be a breeze Saturday when we go to Taste of Smyrna.
I am looking forward to...
...Taste of Smyrna! More drunken pork! And Thai chicken. And maybe barbecue.
I am learning...
...to be more self-sufficient, since there are so many things James can't do anymore. But...scary...what happens if I can't do them?
Around the house...
...it's a mess. As I said, the rash gets worse if I perspire, so I can't do anything useful, like wash the floors or vacuum; that's what set this off last week, as I did both last Tuesday.
I am pondering...
...a nap. It would be so nice right now.
A favorite quote for today...
"By all these lovely tokens,
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer."
. . . . Helen Hunt Jackson
One of my favorite things...
...the spaghetti sauce I made last week, which we'll have part of for supper tonight. Comfort food.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
We are planning to attend Taste of Smyrna and also see a Beatles tribute band with friends. I don't particularly like the Beatles, but it's with friends and I hope it will cheer James up.
A peek into my day...
If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.
Labels: Simple Woman's Daybook
» Sunday, September 10, 2017Storm Watch, Part 3
And then I woke up at 4:40 a.m. and never really got back to sleep! So tired of this, figuratively and literally. I know I did get back to sleep for a tiny bit, because I was dreaming, but not nearly long enough. And here I thought we would get to sleep to 7:30, when we had to get up and head for Stone Mountain.
Last night I had bought the Early Bird tickets so that we didn't have to wait until ten o'clock to get in. It's highway robbery, but half the profit goes to a mobility charity, so I'm not kicking much. At least it was a beautiful day for the Yellow Daisy Festival; when we arrived in the parking lot it was still only about 60°F. We had had to wear long sleeves on the ride over, but took them off before entering the park. (James regretted this. Under the trees it was still cool, even before we left at 1 p.m., and he was cold to the touch.) It never got above about 72, and was comfortable to walk.
So we roamed the paths as always. I stopped at Country Pick'ns per usual; I don't really have any more themes I want to do, but I bought a little star-shaped shadow "box," and a tiny Nativity to put on the little shelf (made of wood molding), and a "Christmas is from the heart" and a plaque about angels to trim it. I also bought a black cat and a ghost to add to the fall shadowbox for Hallowe'en (if I don't forget to put them out as I've done the last few), and just two tiny arrangements (a Santa and gifts and a tree, and a gingerbread boy dancing near a lightpost) to tuck somewhere. I showed the proprietress a picture of my Thanksgiving shadowbox that I made with her things. The lady behind me had a tray full of gardening and outdoor items; she showed us a photo of the fairy garden in a bowl she made from the things she bought last year. She was going to use the new stuff to make another. It was so cute!
We stocked up on the basic "Smack Yo Mama" barbecue sauces; bought another jug of maple barbecue sauce; picked up a couple of new flavors of dip mixes; got James some more "1st Sergeant" salsa (it has no salt or sugar added and the profits go to servicemen); picked up the first of our two fudge desserts for the year; bought small gifts for Juanita, David, Ron, Lin, and James' mom and sister; and bought Tucker some home-made dog treats. James, who is still struggling with back and neck pain, bought a heat up back wrap and a heat up shoulder wrap with flax inside. You heat them in the microwave and apply to the afflicted place. Didn't see any new Christmas CDs, and the Native American artist I used to like does not show up any longer. And at the final woodworking booth on the way out, I picked up a small, cute whatnot shelf for the wall for only $5.
On the way out we saw a beautiful blue-grey 1949 Pontiac in the parking lot near us; I couldn't resist taking pictures so I could show it to my cousin Carol. My Uncle Ralph sold Pontiacs all his life.
We didn't eat there because the corn was so bad last time, but just came home and warmed up our soup from Sprouts when we got really hungry. Before James pulled the truck in, I removed all the small cow and sheep decorations from the front porch, took the wreath in, and the banner, and even took down the handmade autumn leaves that hang on the brickwork, since the forecast still looks pretty bad. They are all dirty with pine pollen anyway; hopefully I can clean them off when I feel better and James will put them back up with masonry hooks rather than stuck up with Scotch outdoor tape like they've been. They are one-of-a-kind since the dealer doesn't come to Yellow Daisy anymore, and I would hate to lose them. Then I put the two porch chairs (just small metal chairs) and the glass-topped table in the garage as well,
I also put the bird feeders in the storage box on the deck, stacked the two plastic Adirondack chairs on each other and stuck the little plastic table under them. And that's our storm prep.
Spent the evening watching the news or whatever was on, which wasn't memorable enough to note here.
» Saturday, September 09, 2017Storm Watch, Part 2
Sigh. When I need to sleep, I never can. Put me on the futon in the middle of the afternoon, and I will pass out like a tightly-corseted lady dancing too much. At night, toss, turn, leg hurts, knee hurts, rinse, repeat. Grr.
Anyway, we had Hair Day this morning—the usual tumult of haircuts, chat, and snacks. We were glum that we had to go back to Verizon after that—since the phone did its thing perfectly and quit making calls and started rebooting after 12 hours—but to our surprise, this didn't take long. We found the same tech (Robert) and he called James' phone and again it didn't work, and he immediately put in an order for another phone. It will be mailed to us within three days, which still doesn't get it here for Monday. He will just have to use my phone.
It took so little time that we made a short trip to Barnes & Noble, but we stayed only a few minutes. I was about to fall asleep on my feet. James picked up "Airfix" and we went home, but I had so many other things to do that I didn't get to lie down until almost four o'clock and then had to rise in a hurry to get to Publix to pick up James' birthday cake and then get all the way to Brookwood for his birthday dinner (we should have had the cake done at the Macland store, which was closer and on the way).
But, we got there on time, and a good time was had by all, and the chocolate cake was a hit: James had it as chocolate cake with fudge filling and chocolate frosting. Even with small pieces we were chocolated out. 😊 Of course we missed James' mom and sister, and Maggie and Clay; they were supposed to come up, but that got scotched by the mass evacuation of Florida due to Hurricane Irma which has I-75 north from Warner Robins bumper-to-bumper with cars, vans, mobile homes, scooters, you name it. Someone from Florida is already taking refuge in our neighborhood, and the news coming out of the Caribbean has been genuinely scary: Puerto Rico got clobbered.
After the party we came home to collapse but ended up not getting to bed on time again.
» Friday, September 08, 2017Storm Watch, Part 1
This weekend was shaping up to be busy despite the weather; the weather just added a menacing fillip.
Friday was my compressed day off, and I decided to blow off my original plans based on the weather reports coming out of the Caribbean. I did the grocery shopping at Kroger, diverting from the usual list only to get some additional bottled water (the gallon containers were nearly gone already). On the magazine stand I saw my first two Christmas magazines, but hope to get them at Barnes & Noble (or even as an e-magazine), and then at checkout I saw the fall preview "TV Guide." Oh, that brings back memories, all the way back to 1963, which was my first fall preview (we had a 1961 that turned up in a pile of newspapers in the cellar, but that didn't turn up until 1968 when my dad fixed the basement). I received special permission to keep it, and the Christmas issues, which back then had poems by Alan Sherman in them, because my mom was afraid I'd fill the attic with "TV Guide." (I did keep special issues, including the 1964 issue that was completely devoted to how television covered the Kennedy assassination. Let's see the "People"-clone that TVG has become do that.) Over the years I walked a mile to the grocery store (or to Thall's Pharmacy, which got TVG before anyone else) for that elusive issue. After a while I started buying two, so I could cannibalize one for my scrapbooks and keep the other (except for a new series description I might be keeping that was on the opposite side of another new series description). The only other TVGs I collected were the ones I picked up going on vacation, because in those days before cable there were different regional editions and the programming was different in each—especially in vacation spots near the Canadian border where there were CBC listings in with the US ones.
I couldn't get to the Smyrna Publix to pay for James' birthday cake due to construction, besides, I had to book on to CVS; I had a 30 percent off coupon and needed to get a few staples. I also stopped at Sprouts and picked up some soup I could save for Sunday dinner. Then I had to make a trip to Hobby Lobby. I have this summer rash problem that is really bad this year, so I wanted to buy some flannel as extra absorption of perspiration (which is aggravating the problem). I was in a hurry because I had a few perishable things in the car: in front of me were three ladies getting fleece for a bunch of Girl Scout projects! Happily, they called someone to help, so I could get the soup and the perishables home and the flannel in place (ouch!).
Unfortunately, we had an odious task tonight: we had to go to Verizon. James' phone hasn't worked properly since the Sunday of DragonCon. It drops phone calls, shows static on the screen, reboots when you take it off the charger or wake it up, just a whole list of things. I told him they would ask him if he did a backup and restore, so he did one himself, and while it made calls fine for a while, it crapped out again after 12 hours. So we went there and, guess what, the guy made us do it again, and not load any of the apps—because like James' lung doctor, he zeroed in on one thing—Zello, the walkie-talkie app we have been using for nearly six months—as the culprit, or another third party app. Grrr. So the phone is working again right now, but I don't expect it to be by tomorrow. And tomorrow we have forty places to be.
Needless to say, I couldn't wait to take a shower and get to bed.