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» Friday, August 31, 2018Sleeping Beauty and the Nervous Wife
Normally yesterday we would have made a Publix run and then rushed home to cook some chicken to make sandwiches for DragonCon, and today we would have been on the way downtown with our backpacks early, swearing at rush-hour traffic and getting our con badges before going to Peachtree Center for breakfast at Cafè Momo.
Alas, this year has driven us to hospitals, too many visits to urgent care, an interrupted Atomicon, and pretty much nearly crazy. James had sort of decided he could manage the convention even with a power chair and a catheter, but the prostatitis was the last straw. He can't sit still long because of the pain and it especially hurts when he drives. So we weren't planning on attending today, and, really, I wanted to get some sleep because I haven't gotten much the last couple of days.
I thought I was okay with it, but when I got up this morning I realized I was feeling sad at not being downtown, and was thinking wistfully of all the Brittrack panels that I would have loved to have seen this morning ("Brit TV You Should be Watching," "The Science of Sherlock," etc.). It wasn't James' fault he wasn't feeling well, and I was being childish, but I was longing to do something besides cleaning and grocery shopping. I was planning on going downtown tomorrow on my own, because Saturday is always the hardest day at the con for James since you can't get an elevator for love or money. He can go to lunch with the guys from the hobby shop, who still go to lunch even though the hobby shop is long gone. Me, I've been trying to walk a mile a day in training, except for those two wretched weeks after July 14 when I was incapable of little besides brooding.
In retrospect, it was good I sat the day out.
Let's go to Publix and get the shopping over with, I told James, and stop at CVS to use our coupon. Then we could go to Barnes & Noble with the coupon they had sent in e-mail. This would make up a little for DragonCon. So we did the Publix thing, and the CVS thing.
I noticed on the way home James was acting a little...fuzzy, I guess. He was driving perfectly, but it was as if he had to concentrate on it, and when we got in the house, he sat down in his computer chair for a moment. He said he "felt a little off," but had no chest pain or breathing problems. I don't think he was even winded from the stair climb, just hurting in the hips, knees, and back as usual. But he acted like he was about to fall asleep...or something worse. So I fetched his blood pressure cuff and his blood tester. His BP was fine and so was his sugar; it was still up from breakfast. We both guessed he hadn't slept well. He went to get a drink and was falling asleep in the middle of it.
So I figured we'd chill out for a little while. I scrolled through what was on television and found that Canadian ocean rescue movie I watched a few weeks ago, The Neptune Factor. Ben Gazzara (with a hideous Southern accent), Ernest Borgnine, Yvette Mimieux, and Walter Pidgeon were the stars, but most of the cast was Canadian, including Chris Wiggins and Donnelly Rhodes. (I'd commented on Facebook last time it aired that if it had Colin Fox in it, we'd have a 1970s Canadian actor trifecta.) Sadly, it's rather dull, except for the laughable sequences where they used blown-up images of tropical fish to create menace. James sat down to watch it with me, sipping on a slushie, and promptly fell asleep. He kept saying his mouth was dry which is why he was talking so slowly, but it worried me.
He slept through the whole movie, then went into the bedroom to change his clothes. I went through to our bathroom and just for the heck of it, checked out his pills.
The Friday morning pills were still there, although he said he'd taken them. The Friday night pills were gone.
And so now I knew what had happened: he'd taken his night pills instead of his day pills. Which meant he'd had an Ambien at breakfast this morning. Plus, because he didn't realize he'd taken the wrong pills, he took a pain pill when he got up as well. No wonder he was "feeling a little off."
Well, at least he hadn't had a stroke or a TIA. I let him sleep, and he was okay by suppertime and evening.
However, I was a nervous wreck half the afternoon.
Spent the evening watching a rerun of Fury and two episodes of Hack My Life, which is silly, but it was better than what was actually on.
» Sunday, August 26, 2018An August Weekend
I guess it was a normal weekend except for James still being in pain when he sits. On Saturday afternoon we went up to JoAnn to buy some upholstery foam to hopefully make his chair at work more comfortable. They had some pre-cut foam pillows on sale, but we ended up just getting a thick, heavy duty piece instead. It's amazing how much foam costs. The thickest foam we found at JoAnn was $85/yard! For a piece a half inch thinner it was $65/yard. We found a piece that was actually valued at $37, but the lady at the fabric counter suggested I sign up on the JoAnn app because there was a 60 percent off coupon there. I did and James got the piece for $15. (Her name was Cynthia and she was just terrific; after we paid for the foam we went back and she used an electric scissors with a long blade to cut it in half for us.) Now we just need to get a pair of cheap pillowcases.
Then we got gasoline for the truck at Costco, and went into Costco as well; since we were there, might as well get milk, and we needed toilet paper, and James wanted more of the chickpea "Cheetos."
We also stopped at Publix after we dropped off the milk and had lunch (we bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco and ate the legs and the wings) to get the twofers, but had to stock up on Crystal Light since James drinks so much of it, and stocked up on other stuff, so it was an expensive trip.
We ended up spending the rest of the night watching the M*A*S*H marathon on Sundance Channel, from the last few episodes with Trapper John through BJ and Colonel Potter's opening episodes. Frank Burns becomes incredibly annoying when you binge-watch; he was easier to take in weekly doses. 😃
Didn't get to sleep until two, so actually slept in until 10:30 this morning! Only woke up once to use the bathroom; James said he woke up an hour later, but his pillow called him back to bed. I see this is the only way we can get a decent night's sleep; go to bed late so we're exhausted. At 10:30 p.m. we are just not tired!
Skipped breakfast to get to Kroger before all of the churches let out; it was still pretty crowded, but we got around okay. James had some "Kroger bucks" and coupons for vegetables, paper towels, and cleaning products, so we got mushrooms and other things, and even found a chuck steak in the "Manager's Special" area for supper. James found a tiny piece of steak there as well, so he cooked it up with eggs, mushrooms, and onions and had half for lunch and saved the other half for Thursday when he will telework. I had the rest of the trumpet pasta from our macaroni dinner the other night, with Publix French bread to "zoop" in the leftover sauce.
Watched Rehab Addict most of the afternoon except when we went out to Ollie's to look for cheap pillowcases. Found pearl couscous, a new spatula, and a couple of other things, including a hardback mystery book for $4
Watched Guy's Grocery Games tonight (a pizza competition) and then turned the remote over to James so I could read magazines.
» Friday, August 24, 2018We Just Keep Plugging Along...
Not much to write about in the last couple of weeks. We thought James had a UTI again, but it turns out to be "prostatitis"—once again caused by long-term use of the Foley catheter. They put him on a month's worth of Cipro, but that's not the problem: it's causing him severe pain when he sits down. The guy who didn't want to see pain medication and hid it in the back of the drawer is now taking it regularly and he said it does very little to help. The problem is that his entire job is sitting; he has to sit to take calls. And he can't stand up long due to his back problems. So he's pretty damned-if-he-does damned-if-he-doesn't.
Of course if the original plan had come to fruition, on Monday he would have been having surgery and maybe getting over this crap. But his cardiologist wants to be very careful and doesn't want him to have the surgery until it's been a year since his heart attack. We appreciate that. But his urologist wants to get this through before Kaiser jumps ship at Northside Hospital and transfers to Emory Midtown (the thought gives us both the shudders). Supposedly Northside is no longer large enough for the amount of patients Kaiser sends them.
He's still alternating teleworking and going into work. He teleworks on rainy days (the power chair isn't supposed to go out in the rain) and on doctors' appointment days, and he also worked at home while he made sure he didn't get woozy from the pain medication. His big problem, as I mentioned, is the sitting. Tomorrow we are going to go to JoAnn and buy a piece of thick foam for him to sit on. His most comfortable seat is at the side of the bed, which is a foam mattress. He's been teleworking on a Serta padded chair with a pillow on top of a cushion, and that doesn't help. Last weekend he tried to go down to his hobby room and work on a model, and he could only bear the chair about an hour. So this is kind of put a kink in the works to go to DragonCon, too. He's managed it with the chair, and thinks he could manage it with the chair and the catheter (he just has to keep drinking). But he can't sit still, and he doesn't know how he would manage through panels.
So he's miserable and I'm miserable because he's miserable which means he's miserable for making me miserable and we're just going in circles. It's not a happy revolution because we're feeding off each other's depression.
I've been trying to pull myself out of this loathesome post-accident depression with mixed results. I've gone back trying to get in my minimum of 30 minutes a day "vigorous exercise," which would be easier if Tucker wasn't so reluctant to accompany me. I pretty much have to coax him through half the walk, at least the outbound leg. He walks fast enough coming home. In the morning I've been leaving the subdivision and crossing the street (no sidewalk on our side of the main road) to walk down to the stop sign in one direction and the day care center in the other, and Tucker doesn't like the sound of the cars thundering by on their way to work. (They do thunder, and drive a lot faster than they should.) And of course I'm doing the decluttering thing, just a little slower than I have been. Monday has become my "clean the bathrooms" day and Thursday my laundry day. Somewhere during the week I'll wash the kitchen floor.
The success list is mostly minor, but all mine:
Tonight when James finished work we had supper at Folks and then we did the rounds at Michaels (I bought a gift for someone and James got wooden stands for his models) and Five Below. On the way home we had a gorgeous combination: a bright orange-and-pink sunset spread all over the western sky while in the southeast the moon rose like a light-saturated glass globe. So lovely!
» Tuesday, August 07, 2018Tale of the Car: The Bittersweet Final Chapter
Yes, I'm still alive.
However, I'm still recovering from an emotional tailspin that's been a nightmare.
The foley catheter that James had inserted after the urodynamics test on June 26 was defective in some manner and kept disconnecting from the leg bag. He had to come home from work one day, and, because he sits off in an area with no one else around, went through another day with the damn thing popping off about a dozen times. That Thursday he called Kaiser urology, but they couldn't get him in. They told him if he felt it needed to be changed, he needed to go to...guess where: Urgent Care. So we did that on Friday afternoon after taping the catheter output to the leg bag with electrical tape.
The tech they had put the catheter in was not experienced at it. By Saturday afternoon, July 14, it went sour. James called me about 3 p.m., after walking out of his club meeting in terrible pain. I asked if he felt capable of driving to Urgent Care at Towne Park (he was about three or four miles away) and he said yes. So he went there and I went to drive to meet him. I was nearly there when I had to slow down for traffic. It proceeded forward and then had to stop again, but I reacted three seconds too slowly and rear-ended someone. Alice and Ken came to rescue me, but amazingly the car was driveable even though the hood was bent up and the grill broken and the A/C quit working. In fact, according to the HUM device plugged into the car, all the systems (battery, coolant, engine, transmission, etc.) were working perfectly. I drove it home (with Alice as co-pilot) and ironically they were going to take me back up to Urgent Care, but James was on his way home. They had to put in a new catheter (and this time they did it correctly). We need to have a big, big talk with Urololgy or someone at Kaiser. This is the second time we've had a foley put in at Urgent Care and it's gone bad.
I had a big bruise on my left shoulder where the seat belt caught me and I ached all over for a while, but the biggest ache was in my heart because I hit someone. (The lady wasn't hurt.) I've never hit another car in my life. And I knew Nationwide would want to total the car. Even though I've taken such good care at it, and even coddled it after the bridge collapse on I-85 last year, and the seats and the interior still look brand new, the body work would be a bear. I did take it to my mechanic and he said he knew a fairly honest body shop; I went there next and they said it would be $5K to fix and even then, because the hood was jammed shut, they might have to make more repairs after reaching the $5K limit. After the impact of the accident, vapor came out of the vents and the A/C quit working. There was another $1K right there. In misery I just gave up.
(Incidentally, the HUM from Verizon worked fine, just like the similar gadget in those OnStar commercials. I had barely reached for my phone to call 911 when the dispatcher came on the line and asked if I'd been in an accident. They called the police for me and the dispatcher stayed on with me until the police showed up, while I sobbed to poor James stuck at Urgent Care.)
On July 25, exactly fourteen years from the day I bought my PT Cruiser, I had to tell the insurance company to come take the car away. They were fourteen good years and so many adventures: my mom's house for Thanksgiving after the car being broadsided by an SUV costing $13K to repair, LaSalette Shrine, Udvar-Hazy (twice), Newport, Orchard House, Quonset Point, Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg, Valley Forge, Roadside America and The National Christmas Museum (now both closed), Hershey, the PA Railroad Museum, Strasburg Rail Road, Newport News, Norfolk, Dayton, Wapakoneta, Bronners CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, the Henry Ford, Greenfield Village (where I still want to live), Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Helen, Toccoa, Chattanooga, DragonCon, Owensboro, bringing Schuyler home from Petco...and surviving I-75/85 and I-285 weekdays. It was the last car I had that my mother rode in, and, with our finances, the last new car I will ever own. Lots of memories. Much heartache.
On Saturday July 21 at Aaron Lawson's going-away party, Jerry, bless him, was trying to cheer me up and asked if I'd like to look at his car to maybe think about getting a used Kia Soul. (Both he and Clair seem happy with their Souls.) As we were leaving, Jerry invited James to sit in the car to see if he had good head clearance. Just as we approached it, a big red-tailed hawk swooped down over our heads and landed in a tree almost right over the car, and looked back at us. It was so close we could see the beautiful patterning of the spots on the chest feathers. So James "tried on" the car, and then we got in the truck to drive home. We were approaching the end of Sewell Mill Road, almost at Roswell Road, a few miles from the Lawson house, and I saw a flash of white next to the window. Flying right next to the passenger side of the truck, so close that James couldn't see it, was another red-tailed hawk.
Just for the heck of it I Googled and got "The hawk is a messenger bird. Usually when we see a hawk it means to pay attention because a message is coming to you. Hawks represent clear sightedness, being observant, our far memory and guardianship. They also bring courage, wisdom, illumination, creativity and truth. Hawks give us the ability to see the larger picture in life. They can help you to overcome problems and make wise use of opportunities."
The last time something like this happened it was right before Mom died. I was trying to take her out to Riverside and maybe to where Crescent Park used to be. It was before they redid I-195. I drove to work that way for 3 1/2 years; I could have done it blindfolded. But three times, no matter which way I turned, I kept ending up on I-195 pointed toward Fall River. So we went to Ste. Anne's instead, and I remember Mom looking at me with a beatific face and saying "I'm so glad we came." Me, too.
James whiled away some hours for me by looking for used Kia Souls. We found one with a great Carfax report (one owner, no accidents) except for a lot of miles (150K for a three-year-old car!) up in Roswell. So we went up there Sunday the 29th and got caught up in a whirlwind of perky car salesman (so help me, I asked him "Are you always this relentlessly cheerful?"). Anyway, we drove it and it seemed okay. It's got a smaller engine than the PT so it's noisy, but it runs okay. Beggars can't be choosers, and because James needs the power chair to get around, we won't be using it on vacations anymore, except maybe for weekend things where we are not moving around much (like when we went up to his sister's for Thanksgiving in 2016). It will strictly be an errands and emergency car.
So I had it checked out by my mechanic on Monday the 30th and had it bought by that afternoon. The tow truck came by for poor Twilight last Friday (I promised not to cry anymore but I did after the taillights disappeared from our street). I've put all the shopping bags and etc. in the new car—it's a 2015 white Kia Soul, and it is definitely not "bigger on the inside" like the PT—and did a bunch of errands in it today.
Ambivalent about names. Since Twilight and Cloudy (the truck) had weather names, I thought "Hoarfrost" or "Frosty" for short, and James started singing "Frosty the white car, is a jolly, happy Soul..." I laughed and considered decking him at the same time. But a couple of times I've called it "Butch." It does have a flat top, after all.
Still, miss my "boy." And still miserable about hitting someone. I've been driving since 1971 and never hit another car in my life.