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» Sunday, August 28, 2016On the Edge of Fall
It was very nice sleeping until after nine this morning, and I was very happy with the new FitBit, which tracks your sleep automatically instead of your having to remember to set it to sleep mode when you turn out the light and then wake it up in the morning.
We stopped at JoAnn on the way home; I had a couple of coupons and I needed superglue and James needed a new bulb for his Ott light. (I wish I known this when I had a 50 percent off coupon; those things are expensive!) I also picked up an interesting-looking magazine called "Herb Quarterly." They have some lovely flannel-covered fall-themed pillows in plaid patterns. We don't need new sofa pillows, but they are awfully tempting at half price. We came home through one of my favorite routes, the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park.
Had "teriyaki" turkey with Asian salad fixings and frisee for supper (with the peach vinegar as dressing, and wasn't that good!), and later watched Raiders of the Lost Ark.
» Saturday, August 27, 2016All Full of Vinegar and Vinegar
I would have thought that all that driving yesterday, in combination with one Ambien, would make James sleep like the proverbial top (one wonders how soundly a top sleeps), but he was up in the middle of the night making himself more sleepytime tea and reading. I didn't start sleeping soundly until after that, and when the alarm went off at eight I really didn't want to get up.
But we did get up and went to the Farmer's Market. Had to park in the back of Johnnie McCracken's pub because they were having yet another running event. Why don't they ever have these in good weather? Why would you want to run when it's in the 80s? Anyway, bought scones for dessert (and one for breakfast, as it turned out), tomatoes, more dog biscuits, some goat cheese, and sweet corn. The Local Exchange was open, so I treated myself to some flavored pretzels as well.
We had to go back to Sam's Club because at the rate we're eating Skinny Pop, we need more. I got three bags this time, plus found Chex snack mix which I will need when I go back to work, and milk. I broke down and got myself a new FitBit, the Alta. The one at Sam's came with an additional wristband in "plum." (If you remember, my old FitBit Flex met an unhappy end. I had to remove it when my wrists swelled up from an allergic reaction to the shingles vaccine last winter, and I'd left it on my computer desk. Somehow on trash night it got knocked off into the wastebasket and was taken away.) Once we had hurried the milk and cheese home, we were free to do something else a little more fun.
First we decided to have our big meal as dinner, so went to Olive Garden. We both just had pasta with meatballs, but James had the whole wheat in deference to his diabetes. The only bad thing was the salad dressing, which was very salty. We will see if there's an alternative next time.
Next we made a short stop at Barnes & Noble. They had a special 40 percent off coupon on coloring books, and I wanted to get a special one for someone. Happily, the fall "Just Cross Stitch" was out, and I got a "Cross Stitch Gold" with an autumn sampler.
I remembered we had wanted to go up to Woodstock to the olive oil/vinegar store that was next to Fox Tale Books. The bookstore looked like it was hosting some sort of event, and we had had to park in a very haphazard fashion because there is limited parking space there, so we skipped going in and just went to the Leaning Ladder. This is like the oil and vinegar store in Helen, GA, that we patronize which sells flavored olive oils and vinegars. There were many good vinegars, including a dark chocolate and a tangerine. But we both tasted the peach vinegar and exclaimed "Salad!" in near unison. It made me want to grab some baby greens and have a salad right then and there. So I bought a bottle of that. We also sampled an excellent olive oil dipping sauce. You know how when you taste these you're never quite sure what you will get? maybe too garlicky? or too oniony? Or too peppery? This tasted green! of springtime!
We came home by Publix to pick up about three BOGOs and ended up buying a lot more. We didn't buy anything we didn't need, but...really!
I had a quiet night at home, but James has been prowling like a tiger all night for something to do. I finally gave him "Bookworm" to install on his computer. I've found The Last Unicorn on Netflix.
» Friday, August 26, 2016Down, But Finally UP
Well, it looks like this is it. If James remains okay through next week, he will be going back to work. It's going to be hard to let him go alone. Oh, he's gone off to his club meeting alone, and to the store, and I sure can't keep him caged up or stuck in a bandbox. But it certainly makes me nervous.
I've actually been "back to work" since August 8, but it's been telework, and I can't tell you how reluctant I am to get in that car and drive on the freeway again. The longer I drive back and forth to work, the more frightened I am on every trip. People are driving crazier every day, darting across multiple lanes, swerving into openings in traffic, not paying attention at traffic lights; I've driven in Boston and in Los Angeles, and Atlanta traffic scares the daylights out of me. And that doesn't even cover the problems that are going to happen once they open The Monstrosity (the new Braves field) seven miles from our house! The traffic there is maniac now.
So we are trying to have a nice "final" weekend.
The last time we were near Perimeter Mall, I had spotted a "Giant Book Sale" in an old storefront. So today we decided to go check it out, since we needed to stop at the Container Store as well. So when we got to the building where the book sale was, we couldn't get to it; there was only one elevator to get to the second level and it was broken. The repairmen looked at James in his power chair and told us we would have to take the escalator!
We just shook our heads and went to the Container Store by way of Barnes & Noble, where James picked up some modeling magazines, and we bought him more lunch containers and a couple of shoe boxes to keep his no-salt seasoning packets in (the company just sent them dumped in a big cardboard box). Then we had lunch at Panera. He had to skip the soup (any of them are too salty) and instead had half a sandwich and a small version of his favorite salad.
Then we did pop over to the "Giant Book Sale." Yeah, lots of books, none that I wanted nor that I thought other people would want. I almost bought a sketchbook, but it was discounted at eleven dollars. I can get something less expensive at Michael's with a coupon!
It was hot and sticky by then, so we came home for a while to literally "chill out," then had dinner at Ken's Grill (they cook salt-free) and ran into Deb and Jesse Medina again. There was a 50 percent off coupon for Michael's for today only, and I figured I'd go in and see what they had in calligraphy paper, just a quick hop leaving James in the truck. However, this took longer than expected since the Michael's at Hargrove Plaza has been completely remodeled. When I walked in, I got lost in autumn and Hallowe'en, as all the seasonal things had been moved to the front. After rooting around for a while—the poor cross-stitch stuff has been stuffed in the corner of the back of the store—I just got some parchment calligraphy paper. However, they had some art things on sale half price for back-to-school, so I picked up another set of drawing pencils, some charcoal pencils, and another set of watercolor paints.
By the time we got home the sun had set, and I took Tucker outside. Whew! It's gotten hot again and it's smothery outside after dark.
» Monday, August 22, 2016A Scare
If it was "radio silence" around here yesterday, here's what was going on:
When we went to the cardiologist last Saturday he was perturbed that (1) James had gained back most of the weight he lost in the hospital and (2) that when they released him from the hospital they had not put him on a diuretic. In the hospital they took him off the one he was on previously and were giving him something called Lasix instead, because the latter was kinder to his kidneys. The cardiologist took an EKG and listened to his lungs and admitted that both were fine, but warned us to keep monitoring for edema.
We have been keeping eagle eyes on James' legs and ankles to make sure he is getting no edema down there, and there is no way the weight gain can be from food: we are being hypervigilant with portion control of meats and starches, and beef only once a week. It may be six ounces of meat versus four, but he's also not having the sides like they gave him in the hospital like a roll or small cornbread, and if he's eating anything more, it's vegetables (and not sweet corn, which is a starch, not a veggie). The extra weight had to be mainly fluid buildup.
The one thing James hasn't been doing well is sleeping, and tending to be up at one, two, three in the morning reading. So when we got done with going to Sam's Club and the Austell Farmer's Market on Saturday, he was going to take a short nap. But when he lay down he started feeling like he couldn't breathe when he lay down like he had when he first got to Northside. This has happened each time he lies down.
So we've kind of been in a swivet since then, and when we went to see the doctor this afternoon I had a little bag packed in case he had to go back into the hospital: a couple of books, his e-reader, socks and underwear, his colored pencils and his aircraft coloring book. The only thing missing was the C-PAP.
Thankfully, the doctor thinks we are not at that point yet. He listened to his heart and his lungs, examined his ankles and his legs, and then ordered a battery of blood and urine tests, gave him a prescription for a sleep aid and another for a diuretic. He took the latter the moment he got home.
I am not sorry I packed the bag, but am so glad we didn't have to use it. I just hope his creatitine hasn't risen. We were doing such a good job getting it back down.
After our trip to the West Cobb Diner Friday (which the doctor thinks might have triggered more fluid buildup), we have just decided we are going to have to go places where we can get food "made to order" and ask them to cook it "no salt."
» Saturday, August 20, 2016Hunting Pokemons and Food
Well, I had a good week at work. I got a nice bargain for one end user and after a week of badgering got a quote out of a vendor who's notoriously hard to reach. I was feeling pretty pleased when I logged off Friday afternoon.
We decided to have supper at the West Cobb Diner. James decided to have turkey and just happened to choose the night when the gravy was really salty. :-( Wish he'd had something else. Luckily his portion was smaller than mine. I took about a third of mine home and scarfed up both of my cucumber/tomato salads. We made a brief stop at Staples so I could get some correction tape, then we spent an hour at Barnes & Noble on Dallas Highway. For dessert we stopped at Brusters since we had a free cone coming.
I had the Pokemon Go game going the whole time and I caught a bunch of the little critters; more Pidgeys (a cardinal like bird), several Rattatas (rat critters), a Zabat (weird bat), and a couple others. It kept nagging me for going too fast and saying "Don't play while driving!" Good God, who would be dumb enough to do that?
Later I put on some of the Olympic jumping.
Furious when I got up this morning because I had another of those nagging dreams all bloody night. I wish I could fix it so I didn't have to dream. Really. There was something I had to put together or fix or some nonsense and I couldn't do it until other parts were done or I had done it backwards and now had to wait to reassemble it (not remembering what "it" was) because one part had to fit into the other...it's maddening. Felt like I tossed and turned all night.
Had a quick breakfast and then went to Sam's Club to stock up on Skinny Pop (it is low sodium so James has been having it for a snack) and Chex. They had no big bags of Chex mix. Grr. Got milk, Kraft cheese, mushrooms, eggs, Swiffer wet cloths, and sugarless gum. James' cart, which ran very well through 2/3 of the store, was giving up the ghost by the time we started heading from the dairy case to the cashier. James had to stop it, start it, let it trundle on quickly until it slowed down to a crawl, and then repeat until he got up front.
We dropped the stuff off at home and had lunch at Hibachi Grill (it's cheaper for lunch). James loaded up on veggies and fruit and mushrooms with meat around the edges; I had a little chicken, a little beef, some shrimp, seafood salad, and lots of cucumbers and tomatoes. Then we went to check out the new Austell Farmer's Market. This is basically an ethnic grocery store, not as good as Nam Dae Mun as a whole and nowhere near Buford Highway Farmer's Market, but they have tons of alternative spices, they do carry Belgian endive (unlike Nam), and had lamb steaks, which Buford hasn't had in a while. Found an aged steak and some Luigi's lemon Italian ices, which James had in the hospital and liked.
Had coupons for JoAnn, but by the time we got home I was hot and sticky. Summer is when I'm at my crossest, and today was a prime example. We just stayed in the rest of the afternoon. Had rhythmic gymnastics on for a while; what wonderful things those girls can do with balls, hoops, and ribbons! I took a nap, James took a nap, it rained, I read from a bound volume of St. Nicholas. Finally we had a light supper (I had a peanut butter and preserve sandwich and James had some light soup). Watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Ensign O'Toole off the DVR for a while, then put some Christmas music on while James went downstairs to model. It is so hot and stuffy downstairs I had to turn on the A/C down there.
» Sunday, August 14, 2016Triple Treat
So I was back to work last Monday, teleworking except for the afternoon James went to the doctor. I already have an order awarded, two advertised, and three more in progress. I spent the first morning just cleaning 500+ e-mails out of my Outlook box and following up on a delivery that still had not been made (and still hadn't when I logged off on Thursday—grrrr...).
Friday was my compressed day off, and I did my best to sleep late, as even getting up at seven seems exhausting. I will never be a morning person!
We started out the shopping on Friday at Nam Dae Mun, the Asian/exotic grocery on Spring Road. We wanted low sodium teriyaki sauce and none of the grocery stores carry it. We did pick it up there, as well as some tea and Light Asian Sesame Kraft salad dressing, which none of the grocery stores seem to stock, either. James was still looking for little packets of no-salt seasoning. They gave them to him at Northside, so the hospital has to get it from somewhere. We tried a new place on Roswell Road called Restaurant Depot. We had gone to the little restaurant supply store in Smyrna, and it was just supplies, but this place had food, too: big containers of spices and herbs, big bags of shrimp, big cans of veggies, etc. along with cooking implements. Well, they had everything but little no-salt packets: little honey packets, tiny jellies, lemon juice packets, salt and pepper, of course, syrup, sugar substitutes, in short, nada.
If life gives you no Mrs. Dash, go to a bookstore. We did, the Barnes & Noble at Town Center. I'd already ordered the book I wanted with the coupon I had, and James got the new 1632 book with his, plus the recipe book from the Cook's Country television show, which was on remainder, and a magazine. I wanted the new Entertainment Weekly, but they didn't have it out yet. I bought it on Zinio instead.
We had never had lunch, so we went over to Hibachi Grill early enough to get the lunch rate. James chose food as carefully as he could, trying to pick the less salty things, and he mostly had vegetables and some watermelon. I pretty much stuck to chicken and had one shrimp. No scallops in the afternoon, though. Had watermelon instead. He did have a headache later, and figured they had used MSG.
We were in bed early Friday night because James' followup appointment with the cardiac surgeon was at 8:30. Yes, a.m. on a Saturday morning. All the way on the other side of town at the Gwinnett County Kaiser office. We had no trouble with traffic, but when we got there the building was closed and there were two other people waiting outside. However, there was an arrow pointing to the "specialty building," so trundling off we went. Yes, this building was open. We ended up sharing the elevator with James' doctor!
Well, it was a really strange appointment. We thought we would be discussing when James would have the other stent(s) put in. Instead the doctor took an EKG and asked James if he was having any kind of chest pain (running through a checklist). James responded honestly and said he had none, even climbing stairs. The doctor then said he wanted James to continue watching his diet and making sure no edema was returning, and do as much exercising as he can with his arthritis, stay off work until his temp disability payments expire, and then go back to work. He'll have more blood tests on September 1 to monitor the kidney function. But he doesn't want to put the other stent in right away; he said the stents they put in at Piedmont corrected the "ticking time bomb" portion of the event. His analogy was a tree. He fixed James' "trunk" and the other blockage is in a very small branch. He said if there's no trouble (i.e. chest pain, heaviness, breathlessness, etc.) in the next few weeks he isn't going to worry about the "branch" unless the chest pain comes back. Right now our job is the kidney function. Very unexpected.
Anyway, since we were already on that side of town, we stopped at the Buford Highway Farmer's Market. We haven't been able to find cardamom anywhere (it's good for meat), and I wanted frisee if we were going to have salad. We also got some nice pork chops (enough for four meals) and some chicken thighs and ground turkey), plus I stocked up on lupini beans and some peppermint chocolate for desserts. We also stopped on Roswell Road to get James some alternate-salt seasonings at Penzey's Spices, and get a few things at Trader Joe's.
With all this we still got home in time for James to head for his club meeting. I let him go on his own for the first time since the heart attack. It was a bit scary for me at least. Not sure how he felt. I had a headache, so after tidying up the house a little I lay down on the futon until Juanita and Betty arrived. They had let me know they were coming by with a turkey from Honey-Baked Ham as a welcome-home for James and also so we didn't have to stress so much about making a couple of dinners. I was happy to see them; it was nice to have a really good chat with someone about what had happened, and get it all off my chest. James arrived home from the meeting in time to talk for a little while, too.
We had supper at O'Charley's because we had a coupon; they made James' steak with light salt and we both had big salads and plain baked potatoes. Afterwards we stopped at Kroger to finish the shopping.
James was up early this morning to finish thawing the turkey and then warming it up (it was already cooked). His mom and sister were driving up from Warner Robins to join us for dinner. We cleaned off the dining room table so we could actually eat at it (I know! What a concept!) and cleaned off the rocking chair so James mom could have a nice place to sit. They arrived just as James had finished resting the turkey and completed the potatoes and heated the gravy, and we sat down to all that as well as carrots and carrot salad. We had a nice chat at table, and while watching House Hunters, and during dessert (trifle they brought along with our strawberries). It was a great afternoon, and after they left, we dismembered the turkey. We now have four packages of breast meat to eat with salad, two legs for a meal, two big wings for a meal, one bag of thigh meat for a meal, and a carcass to make soup with.
And now we're watching 50 Years of Star Trek to end up the weekend.
» Tuesday, August 09, 2016By the Numbers
James had a visit with his primary care physician today and updated him on all the wonderful [sarcasm alert] things that happened in the last month. Since he can't take ibuprofin anymore, the doctor gave him a week's course of steroids to get rid of the knee pain (he can't exercise because he's limping so badly) until the gout medication kicks back in. Of course he had labwork, and his creatitine is down to 3.2 and his A1C (diabetes-related) is 6-something, under seven where it should be.
So apparently we are doing good and should continue.
Next milestone is the doctor's appointment—on Saturday at 8:30, of all things! Hopefully we can make arrangements for the other stents soon.
» Sunday, August 07, 2016Food, Revised, and Other Stories
After my update on Friday, we headed to Kaiser at Town Center to get James' catheter incision checked. The bandage has stayed solidly on since last Friday, and James has not had any problem with it. The appointment went smoothly, and the nurse practitioner was extremely happy to find no bruising, swelling, or infection. I had to look at it myself; he's gotten worse cuts while shaving. What was there was a tiny scab no bigger than one of my pinky nails. Before we headed up there we had lunch at Ken's and ran into Jesse and Deb Medina. The waitress assured us that none of the meat was salted, so James ordered a small cheeseburger, and had about a dozen fries (also unsalted, as far as I could tell). I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a baked potato.
We stopped at Publix to pick up some twofers on the way home from Kaiser. This was James' first time at someplace commercial since his heart attack. Routine is good. :-) Found the fall "Country Sampler" there, too.
For supper we went to Giovanni's; I was dying for some real food: plain old macaroni and meatballs! We both brought at least half of what we ate home.
Saturday was a quiet day. James finished his project extracting recipes from "Good Food" and spent today sorting them. I made use of the NBC Sports app and watched a bunch of dressage on my tablet. (There was also some on TV this afternoon. For an hour including all the commercials. I think they showed about eight routines. Generous of you, NBC.) I also scrubbed the kitchen floor and mopped it down with vine and vacuumed.
For supper, we went to Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint. James had a mostly vegetable personal-size pizza (onions, mushrooms, diced tomatoes) with a little ground beef on a wheat crust. He hadn't had any carbs this morning, so we figured it would balance out in the end—it was fine this morning; his blood sugar was 102—and both of us brought pizza home. Me, I think I've found the perfect pizza. I had bacon, black olive, and diced tomatoes with no cheese, with fresh basil leaf scatted on top. Absolutely delicious (the basil gave it an extra "ooomph!"), and Uncle Maddio's makes wicked good crust.
We tried going to the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble because that is small enough for James to hobble around without his chair, but one of his meds has messed with his stomach, and I just had time to peruse the books and buy a cross-stitch magazine before he needed to come home. Ah, well, maybe next weekend.
Today we went to Kroger and bought lean meat and veggie burgers among other things, and I spent most of the early afternoon watching more dressage, reading the paper and cutting out coupons, and reading "The Simple Things." Got on a House Hunters watching jag; haven't watched in a while, so these were all new. Found a couple in Atlanta who turned down a house for an ugly condo. Ew. James warmed up the pizza on the griddle so it was nice and crisp again for lunch, and we had leftover pork chops for dinner with mushroom rice. During the afternoon we slow cooked some pork ribs we found at Kroger, adapting a recipe we had that called for a cup of brown sugar! James only used a quarter cup of Splenda brown sugar, along with mustard and cinnamon. It smells heavenly and the finished product has a light sweet taste rather than it being overwhelming. I can see us serving it with some pineapple. We had to run the resulting sauce through the fat separator. Thank God for those things; ugh, don't want to eat that yucky grease. ::shudder::
» Friday, August 05, 2016Update
There's not a lot to say about the rest of the week. James did get another dizzy spell on Wednesday. By a process of elimination, we believe it is the blood pressure pill which is causing this problem; the pharmacist did warn us that, while taking it, if he sat up or stood up suddenly, he might get light-headed. On Thursday, instead of taking the pill before breakfast, he ate it with breakfast. He has been okay for two days, so we may have this licked. I guess absorption with the pill is important.
Now that this problem is (hopefully) taken care of, and after the nurse visit today, I should feel safe going back to work.
James has nearly finished his "Good Food" recipe project (although I think there are more "Good Food" mags downstairs in a box; we'll see); he's just cutting them out of the pages now and putting them in brown envelopes. I've finally vacuumed the stairs; the dog has been bathed, medicated, and his bedding washed; the refrigerator is cleaned out; the kitchen is back together; and the animals are happy (we assume they're happy, as Tucker is over his clinginess and Snowy has been singing since James got home). I don't think I've caught up on sleep yet, but that seems to be a perpetual problem. I'm still having nightmares, though, and I woke James up last night crying, although I didn't realize I was.
Other miscellaneous news: our bats are back. I saw them Wednesday in the lower cul-de-sac during Tucker's end-of-the-night walk, three of them flying around the streetlight, hopefully catching lots of mosquitoes. They also appeared to be dive-bombing my head, whether it was just being protective or just for bat laughs, I don't know.
We've had thunder with no rain, thunderstorms with spitty rain, and the heavens opening up, but nothing slow and steady that will help the drought. BTW, a funny: the other day the Channel 46 weatherlady stated that the reason we're in drought conditions right now is that it's been so dry. Um. Ya think?
Houdini and Doyle was cancelled. I'm really not surprised, but it was a fun series. Historically, it was a mess, but it was entertaining. I didn't like it much at first, but I kept watching and grew to like it. I think the one that tipped it for me was the one where Doyle was poisoned. But I had a feeling it wouldn't survive. A pity, since even the worst episode is better than any reality series going. And I loved both the leads. Stephen Mangan has such beautiful eyes.
» Tuesday, August 02, 2016Tired to the Bone
I keep thinking a good night's sleep will refresh me, but I'm not having a good night's sleep yet: still wake up thinking I'm in the hospital (never woke up at the hospital thinking I was at home). I crawl out of bed with muscles still aching from that foldout chair that turned into a very hard and uncomfortable bed. The worst part is that I feel still strangely disconnected from everything. James had to order more test strips for his diabetes meter and they weren't showing up online, so we had to truck out to Kaiser to refill the prescription. I feel like everything I see is on a television screen in front of me rather than being real; the only thing real is the heat and the humidity, but the rest is like a classroom filmstrip. I wonder how long it is going to take me to make a connection again. In the meantime it is quite disconcerting and eerie.
We had a bit of a scare this morning. James was sitting at his computer and watching a video about Babylon 5 when he suddenly reported feeling lightheaded. I had him go into the spare room and lie down, and did all the tests: asked if he had chest or arm pressure or pain (no), did the FACE test (or whatever it's called to determine if someone has a stroke, since he is on blood thinners), checked his sugar (not high for immediately after breakfast), took his pulse (which was 62 resting), and anxiously kept an eye on him. The light headed feeling went away, to be replaced by a minor headache. Luckily the pharmacist called to make sure James had no problems with his new medicines, and said that both his new blood pressure drug and the Plavix could make him light headed; to just make sure the dizzy feeling did not last too long, went away after lying down, and when to call 911.
I did two loads of clothes today, but never did get the dog to the dog wash. James has started a project to cut down on his BBC "Good Food" magazine collection, which is to just cut out the recipes that interest him: good plain soups and meat and vegetable dishes, no fancy cakes or paté items, or rich desserts, a few commonsense big things for Hair Day, stuff like that. We got in from Kaiser just in time to miss a rainstorm and had a whopper of one that beat against the windows.
Supper was baked chicken legs (skin removed) with Litehouse Salad bits and ginger and a very small sprinkling of salt, with a big cucumber/tomato/onion salad and a 90-calorie brownie for dessert. James has been making tea regularly since he came home, so I hope all the drinking is doing his kidneys some good.
» Monday, August 01, 2016Well, I Thought I Would Get to Rest...
...but all I did get to do was sleep until I was ready to wake up (which is a blessing since you don't have to chivvy to an alarm).
We went to pick up a few things at Costco today (actually we went for toothpaste and the only Colgate they had was paste, which James doesn't like). Picked up some low-sodium chicken burgers for lunches for James, orange juice, no-salt seasoning (generic Mrs. Dash), a couple of meds, and I bought an autumn magazine and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. We also fed the car since gas at Costco was cheap, cheap, cheap.
Then we stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond for a scale as suggested at Northside to head off any edema forming again, and were going to go to Sam's Club (in hope of toothpaste, Skinny Pop—good snack for James because it's low sodium, and mushrooms), but the traffic was horrific and I was already exhausted from driving again.
So we spent the afternoon putting the kitchen back together after John and Betty helped me empty it out after the Attack of the Ants. We have decided to get rid of one of the spice racks and the old tomato sauce jars we had saved to put other things in. James put the plastic containers away as well, and I spent the rest of the afternoon reading Cursed Child, which made me cry.
We had pork schnitzel for dinner, just sauteed with no breading, with just garlic and onion salt and some onions on it, with ramen noodles (rinsed) on the side and James had peas. It was such a change from that horrible hospital food. Yummy.
» Sunday, July 31, 2016The Rest of the Story
It took James' kidneys five, count 'em, five, days to recover from being stripped of fluid by the stupid "MoviPrep." One day was very bad because there is just so much time you can stay staring at a television with about ten decent channels, and then the channels don't offer anything good. I remember when you could count on the History Channel for good documentaries and the Discovery Channel would have something science-related or other interesting program. Now History seems to be American Pickers, Pawn Stars, or Mountain Men, and Discovery has endless reality series, especially the dreadful Naked and Afraid. We tried to play a game and got interrupted by the vitals squad, the vampire squad, and countless other hospitaly things. We tried to watch Murdoch Mysteries on Acorn TV and the program stalled out after eight minutes (the wifi is good enough for Facebook, but not for streaming). Even our books had lost their charm.
Finally in the morning the creatitine was down to 3.5, so they scheduled the stent for Friday at two. I had Aubrey Spivey do "reveille" with the fids so I could be there all morning. Finally they came and got him—and I had to stay behind because the stress flipped out my digestive system. I finally got downstairs a half hour later, to be set waiting in a plush little waiting room that looked like a doctor's office. Finally I got to go stand in a bleak hallway where James was wheeled out from the procedure room, looking a bit spacy, but not from being put out; he watched the whole thing and said it looked like a giant spider was attacking his heart.
The next few hours were really hard. His legs were involuntarily twitching from the restless leg syndrome and he had to keep the right leg still because they went into his heart through the femoral artery rather than through his wrist as in the original catherization. So I basically sat at the side of the bed holding his right knee down while he had these terrible leg cramps. They gave him some oxycodone for his back pain, which came back stronger than ever while lying flat, but it helped the leg cramps. He also had a small, localized pain in the chest area, and they called the doctor for it, but apparently this is common: the artery reacts to being stretched by the stent. It went away in a half hour, his blood chemistries remained the same, and his EKG was fine.
After almost four hours, a team came to remove the catheter from his leg. They had to pull it out and then one person had to keep pressure on it for thirty minutes. I was watching her and I did not see much blood, so they did a really good job! Then when they finished, he had to lie flat at least until after 10 p.m.!
I ran home to tend to the fids and take a shower during this time, and rushed right back. They let him stand up, finally, a little before 11 p.m. and he got a little dizzy, but we were told that was normal. I noticed that his blood pressure was very low (his systolic under 100) while the catheter was in, but the moment they took it out, he returned to normal.
Saturday was kind of a coasting day. The creatitine numbers were great; he had only gone up a tenth of a percent after the procedure (they used a minimum amount of dye, something like 15 percent rather than 55), and they asked that we wait one more day to make sure he didn't have a delayed reaction. I had brought James' colored pencils and an aircraft coloring book, and that's how he occupied most of the day and night while I divided my time between Two Crowns for America, a book of Doctor Who essays, and magazines on my tablet. The cafeteria actually had something decent for lunch, so I had that, and brought back tuna salad for a supper sandwich, which I made with part of the baguette I picked up at Publix yesterday when I bought milk.
I slept at home last night because the unfolding (and unyeilding) chair that becomes a bed has been doing absolutely rotten things to my back, not to mention the hard foam pillows vs. the arthritis in my neck. Of course, I ended up not sleeping well at all, including having a bizarre dream of having a kid take our vacuum cleaner and sell the parts to buy a video game. Er, what?
But, happily this morning, first one doctor came in and said James could go home, and then finally the other did, but he came so late that James had already ordered lunch. So we packed up slowly, and he took a long luxurious shower, and I went down to Au Bon Pain and had a last bowl of chicken noodle soup (I have had it up to here with soup and rotten salty food), and he ate lunch, and finally I went off to the car with the little shopping cart (which has already earned its keep) and picked up James at the back door.
This was around one o'clock, but we didn't get home until almost suppertime. First we decided to stop at Kroger with James' big new stack of prescriptions to see if any of them qualified for their $4/$10 prescriptions, only to be told they don't do that anymore! Well, this explains what happened with my own prescriptions, but why didn't they tell me they didn't do the program anymore? They only told me my two prescriptions didn't qualify anymore. While we were there we bought juice, Crystal Lite, and sugarless cookies for James and a few other things.
Then, in order to get the prescriptions filled, we had to truck all the way up to Town Center to the closest Kaiser office open on weekends. We got everything—of course the new heart medication is the most expensive!—except for the iron supplement they want him to take. They don't carry it. Walgreens doesn't either, but we can get it at CVS, for twice the price it is online. ::sigh::
If I was tired before, I was exhausted now, and it was already four o'clock. For a quick but not too salty dinner, we stopped at the closest Kentucky Fried Chicken to get some baked chicken. They were having trouble at the window and ended up basically ignoring it. I got in a snit and we tried instead to find a rotisserie chicken at the Kroger up the street, but of course at this hour they were all gone. So we slunk back to KFC, got the last six pieces of baked chicken (two miniature legs and four equally miniature wings). As James came back out with it, it started to pour and we had a nice brisk rainstorm and thunderstorm.
So, at quarter to five, we finally, finally got home.
I'd rather be sleeping, but we're watching television (with more channels, there's still nothing good on) and I'm washing my blanket for tonight.
Needless to say, Tucker is very happy to see his daddy, and Snowy has sung him a long complicated budgie epic.
» Monday, July 25, 2016Interim Bulletin
No stent today because two days of stupid "MoviPrep" screwed up his creatitine scores.
Getting really sick of the doctors making him sicker.
I also brought him up some cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets from the salad bar. How they expect him to stay regular with only 10 green beans or 15 carrots at every meal is beyond me.
» Sunday, July 24, 2016Short Update
Since both of us are exhausted...
I thought that bowel "Draino" was strong enough to peel paint off a wall. Evidently I was wrong. James had to go through the whole shebang again last night; needless to say, we are bung-eyed and tired today, but the colonoscopy came out clean.
(I wish I could say the same for the ants. Still caught two hanging around the door to the deck today. More vinegar. Put black pepper on the doorstep because someone said it repels them.)
The first stent is scheduled to go in tomorrow between noon and one ("with the help of God and a few policemen," as Mom always said) and they will keep him overnight. If all goes well, we should be at Kaiser with a handful of prescriptions on Tuesday.