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» Sunday, January 26, 2020That Was the Week That Was - A Medical Review
Yeah, I just had to go open my yap on the 19th about how quiet January had been. Never open your big mouth about this kind of thing. Next thing we knew poor James was in the hospital for two days, precipitated by chest pain about 4:10 on Monday morning the 20th. He took two nitroglycerin and the pain lessened, but didn't go away, so we hotfooted it over to Emory St. Joseph (our first time there since Kaiser changed hospitals) and they did a battery of tests which indicated negative for a heart attack, but they admitted him anyhow, and did more tests. By the time rush hour started on the freeway (which was in eyeshot), the pain was gone and he was hungry and thirsty. He also had an x-ray and other things, and the Kaiser hospital doctor was all for rushing him into the cath lab and fixing that last capillary, but James demurred: the last thing he wants to do is go back on kidney dialysis and the contrast dye could easily push them over the edge. He told them to contact his cardiologist: if he wanted it done, James would willingly have the cath. So we had to wait for Tuesday for the verdict (the cardiologist was off for MLK Day). In the meantime we cooled our heels in the hospital, where everyone was super nice, especially the nurses Jasmine, Martha, and Lorrie, plus anyone who came to draw blood. Unlike at Piedmont, where we never saw any doctors and hardly any nurses, and the cleaning staff was surly, we saw two or three every day, from various departments, including the cardiologist.
(The only fly in the ointment in the entire stay was when I ran home after they admitted him to get his C-PAP machine. I'd left my two tablets in a carry case in the room because I saw no need to carry them home just to bring them back. While I was at home, the toilet in James' room flooded. They couldn't clear it, so they moved him to another room. About the time I was packing up to go home for the night, I asked about my carry case and my tablets. James said "Oh, we moved everything," and we started going through the stuff on the shelves in the cupboard. No carry case. Martha asked us what was wrong, and when we told her, she said, "Well, they've cleaned that room. If they found anything they should have turned it in, but I'll go check," and she came back with the case with my tablets. It was sitting in the chair where I left it; they'd cleared the toilet and "cleaned" the room and no one apparently noticed it. 😒 )
They finally decided to send James home Tuesday afternoon—by then his creatitine had climbed to 2.8 where it has held steady at 2.3-2.4 for months; they thought it was because he was dehydrated (well, of course, you nitwits: they only give you ice in the hospital now, not water, and they don't have pantries like Northside, where I could go get him a drink when he needed it). So they took him off his furosimide [diuretic] until he could see his GP and have his blood retested on Friday; it was permissible for him to start re-taking it if (1) he gained a great deal of weight immediately, (2) got short of breath, (3) started showing signs of edema, or (4) blisters on his legs.
Incidentally, on my hospital cafeteria ratings, this one gets a mediocre C. Now I admit I never did see it in complete action on Tuesday; it shuts down on weekends (which is bizarre; isn't that when people visit???) and seemed to be at half-operational status on the holiday. The food I had was okay, but I freaking object to paying $14 for two meals that consisted of a hamburger on a bun, a bag of Doritos, a pint of milk, and a pint of milk, a dozen cucumber slices, and a chicken leg quarter that looked like it came off a robin. (Let's not even mention $6/parking! If you are tending a person in the hospital, you should be able to park for free. I never heard of hospitals charging parking until I was an adult.)
So, Tuesday afternoon James finally got some sleep, with a very insecure Tucker tucked between his legs as he zoned out on the recliner. Next morning he was back to work, and he worked Thursday, and most of the day Friday, until he lost only 3 1/2 hours from the whole thing, and ended up with only a one-day weekend. I have to hand it to James: most guys would have said screw it, I want at least two days for my weekend, but he soldiered through, and he was massively busy all three days.
Friday we went to see James' GP. He was seen an hour and a half late and the first thing the doctor said was "I see you talked them out of the cath" and frankly, I wanted to belt him one. No, James didn't "talk them out" of anything. We both clearly said, several times, that if his very own cardiologist, the one who removed a couple of liters of fluid from around his heart in March of 2018 and who knows the kidney situation more than anyone except his nephrologist, wanted him to have the cath, he would have had the cath.
Anyway, the doctor told James to hold off on the furosimide until the blood test results were back. They came in Friday night and his creatitine was down to 2.1. I daresay if he could stay off the furosimide totally it might go lower. But from Sunday through Saturday James had gained eight pounds, he was puffing a little coming up the stairs where he hadn't before, and Friday night he had two small blisters on his left leg. So we made an executive decision based on what the hospital told us: he took two furosimide Saturday afternoon, and two more Sunday morning, and he's now down four pounds. Hoping he can stay on the dose of two rather than the four he was taking previously as it is better than his kidneys. His weight and his legs will keep us apprised of the situation.
We spent Saturday morning at Publix and went to Hobby Lobby as a treat, but otherwise relaxing was the theme of the day, and James was back to work yesterday.
Just keep still, Linda. Just keep still.
» Sunday, January 19, 2020
FOR TODAY, Sunday, January 19
Outside my window...
...it's dark. No time to do it during daylight, I have been quite busy all day, doing my regular Sunday chores (washing the towels, charging the flosser and the motion sensor light in the bathroom, and sorting medications for the week) and my Monday chores (cleaning the bathrooms and washing the kitchen floor), plus cooking Sunday dinner and washing the comforter for the bed and taking my usual mile-plus walk.
I am thinking...
...how fast the Christmas holidays went by! Seems like it was just December 1 and I was starting to put up the candoliers and the outside lights. I just got the last bit of the decorations (the big tree in the living room) down last Sunday. But what happened between those two times buzzed by at the speed of light! I know we did things: went to the Apple Annie craft show, watched this year's performance of "An Atlanta Christmas," had several gift exchanges, went to the Butlers' house for Christmas, and I took my annual Christmas walk in downtown Marietta. Plus we went out to celebrate "my Beatles' birthday," as Alice put it. But those swept by like the click of a finger.
I am thankful...
...for a quiet January so far.
In the kitchen...
...all is cleaned up from the dinner I cooked today: pork chops. I sauteed them in sesame oil with ginger, onion flakes, and some herbs, then finished up by poaching them in a little beef broth. Had mine with leftover rice pilaf and James had leftover spaetzle.
I am wearing...
...dark green sweatshirt, grey sweatpants, and white socks. Tomorrow I will have to put boot socks on; the low is going to be 22°F.
I am creating...
...nothing, really, since it was a work day. Well, I did create some warmth for tonight by washing the comforter. I washed it before I put it away, but we haven't used it in three or four years, and it smelled stale, and I worried that some of those stupid carpet beetles might have gotten in the bag. So I spent the afternoon washing the comforter and then running up and down the stairs restarting the dryer because a king-size comforter may be dry in one place, triggering the dryer sensor to stop, but may still be wet in other places. Had to keep pulling it out and putting it back in wet parts first so they hit the sensors.
I am going...
...to relax for the rest of the evening, I hope! I never plan on anything anymore.
I am wondering...
...if there's anything more I can do to save money. It seems to disappear so quickly, and all on things we need. I thought my spending was over for the month and here comes the bimonthly bill for the garbage collection. Sigh.
I am reading...
...in print media: Philip Pullman's Daemon Voices, about the craft of writing; in e-book format: Candid Christmas, a history of the holiday; in e-magazine format: still on the December "Good Old Days"; in magazine format: the last of the Christmas magazines, saved for last to be savored: "Early American Life Christmas."
I am hoping...
...to be okay enough tomorrow to go to the Atlanta History Center and that I can find a parking space. Tomorrow it is free for Martin Luther King Day and they have a new exhibit on Jim Crow, as well as an exhibit that is ending this month about women's suffrage. Plus they now have the Cyclorama there and I have never seen it—it used to be at Grant Park, near the zoo.
I am looking forward to...
...Anachrocon on Valentine's Day weekend. Sadly, this is the last one. I will miss my yearly dose of history panels!
I am learning...
...since I've been listening to the Colonial Williamsburg podcasts all afternoon, lots about colonial and Revolutionary War history!
Around the house...
...I've had this and that for an evening meal, and James is eating soup. There's nothing new good on television, so I have put on The Waltons on the Hallmark Channel.
I am pondering...
...the rest of the week. Not sure what to do if tomorrow doesn't work out.
A favorite quote for today...
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
One of my favorite things...
"Early American Life" magazine. I must renew the subscription this year.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
Well, tomorrow, I hope. Shopping on Wednesday because James has a doctor's appointment then and is working Thursday instead.
A peek into my day...
[Coda: Well, never did get to the History Center. About 4:10 a.m. James was having chest pains so I had to take him to the emergency room; chest pains disappeared about a half hour after he arrived. He is staying overnight so they can monitor his blood enzymes, and decide if they are going to take him for another catherization. The dye will do bad things to his kidneys, so his cardiologist has been avoiding doing this. We were told this morning that the blood enzymes did not indicate he had a heart attack, or at least that was the verdict this morning.]
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» Saturday, January 18, 2020Rain...and Then, For an Encore, Rain Predicted
Happily, it rained early in the week when James had to go to work, so he had the opportunity to telework. Then it was nice for two days.
Then, of course, on the day his monthly club meeting fell, it was supposed to pour.
I wasn't hors de combat today with toilet problems or any other nonsense, so I left myself open to do anything I liked. They did, in fact, open a new Cobb County library last year, and I could have gone and checked that out if I wanted. But I didn't. So we left the house about 10:45, and we made it to the restaurant before it even opened. Once the doors opened, James was off, and so was I.
I carried a coupon off to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy some more doggy debris bags; we were down to our last three. I also found, on clearance, two pairs of thick men's socks for James to wear to bed; because of his diabetes his feet are always cold. Then I hopped over to JoAnn and bought another skein of Etoile floss and silver/blue ribbon on clearance (I need this for our winter wreath, as the Georgia sun has rotted the silver ribbon I have on it.) The last craft stop was Michael's, where I found the recent Crayola pearlescent crayon box. I didn't know these existed until last night. I had coupons for both stores, so escaped from both for less than $3/each.
Next I went to 2nd and Charles, the (mostly) secondhand bookstore. I am always aggravated when I go there, because despite the big bright halogen lights overhead, most of the rows of books are in the dark because of the positioning of shelves vs. lights. There were several times I wanted to turn on the flashlight on my phone to check out what was on shelves. As always, I found no books I had on my "wanted" list, but I did find a book: The Moor, about the English moors from Dartmoor to Yorkshire, their history and ecology.
By the time I got out, my eyes were aching from squinting and I needed to sit down (particularly in a rest room). So I went to Barnes & Noble. We got two $25 gift cards for Christmas, one from B&N and one from Amazon. James, since he now has a Kindle Fire, took custody of the latter, and I had the former with me. There was a 15 percent off entire purchase coupon this weekend, so I was able to get two books with the gift card plus less than $3: Meg and Jo, a modern retelling of Little Women, and Never Home Alone, a book about how many little critters, however clean you keep it, exist in your home. I'd been looking at it in the hardback version.
James gave me a call not soon after I'd headed back to the hobby shop and parked outside, and we wended our way home (ironically, except for the fifteen minutes I was in JoAnn and James was eating lunch with the guys, it had not rained at all). For supper James took the Italian sausage we bought at Patak's yesterday, cooked it with onions, and then made some "tater tots" in the air fryer. Oh, these were exquisite, crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, not greasy or "wet" feeling when you bit into it.
It poured again later on, but it had slacked off by the time I took Tucker outside for his final walk.
» Friday, January 17, 2020Friends and Farewells
Now, today, today was perfect weatherwise! Cloudy, breezy, in the 50s. Cold enough for long sleeves and a jacket, but not so cold that you are freezing, going down to the 40s at night to keep the bedroom, even on a second story, cool enough to sleep. There are so few beautiful days like this. It's either raining and cold (okay if you don't go out) or sunny and hot—which sucks out the nose.
It was finally time: we had to go to Walmart. We were out of the waterproof Nexcare "band-aids" that we use on James' legs when his cellulitis acts up, and he wanted more sugar-free candy. So we timed it so we went there before lunch, picked up both the bandages and the candy, a couple of other minor things, and then headed for lunch at Hibachi Grill, where Alice and Ken, and Mel and Phyllis joined us presently. We were talking about the shocking news that turned up on Facebook: musician Ken Spivey had died on Tuesday! We first met Ken at Timegate, later WHOlanta, where he played Doctor Who-themed music. His shows were always enormously fun. Apparently he had been ill for some time. I shall always remember Ken, and my favorite of his songs, "Companion's Lament," which always seemed to me to be the best theme for the last day of a convention. Alice also passed around photos of Juanita and her new Sheltie puppy, Riley. We ended up telling pet stories.
When lunch broke up, we went to Patak's Meats for some mortadella and pastrami. Of course we came out with lots more: beef for stew, pork for stew, chicken wings to make in the air fryer, and Italian sausage. At the supermarket this would cost a fortune; at Patak's not so much. We stuffed the freezer full again, and had the lunchmeat at night since we'd had dinner in the afternoon.
» Thursday, January 16, 2020Shop Till the Money Runs Out
But, alas, it was another stock-up week: we needed toilet tissue, bath soap, Swiffer cloths, almonds, and orange cups. We got to Costco rather late as we were both up late reading last night and woke up to find the morning mostly gone. After circling to see all the toys, including one of the Scott Wilkinson-touted OLED televisions and a Surface Pro 7 and Surface Table, and all the books, we got down to searching for our targets, plus sampled some apple juice, gluten-free crust pizza, and a trail mix of very dark and not very sweet chocolate chips mixed with almonds, cashews, and walnuts. We also got vitamins, but were pissed that Costco did not have their own brand of soap. We were out, so we bought Dove, which I hate. I miss the soap they had many years ago, which was French-milled, lasted for ages, and wasn't goopy. I guess we will have to go looking for a new brand of soap again.
We also bought gasoline, then headed for Publix. Some of this was another stock up mission, plus we found a real bargain that was providential: we forgot to take something out for dinner/supper and their soups were BOGO. We got a chicken noodle for me and chili for James for today, and chicken and wild rice for another day. Also of note: BOGO chicken thighs or legs, which will make another nice supper.
Finally we stopped at Lidl for milk, bread, and ground turkey; also picked up chocolate, celery, grapes, Granny Smith apples, and onions. Some of the children's toys they had for Christmas are now on discount, so I decided to start collecting for Toys for Tots early and bought a cute little doctor's kit, and also a stuffed alpaca.
The result was that by the time we got home, changed clothes, and put the perishable foods away, it was wayyyyy after three. We had our soup and watched Caught in Providence for the afternoon, and then later on had a sandwich and did the game shows, Young Sheldon, and a Nature I recorded at Christmastime: "Snowbound: Animals of Winter."
» Saturday, January 11, 2020Stormy Weather and Other Weekend Tales
Thursday morning we had to make the long, long (45 minutes) trek down to Morrow and Kaiser's Southwood office for James' urology followup. Luckily it was a nice sunny day, there was no backed-up traffic (although even moderate Atlanta traffic these days gives one the impression they are trying to run you down), and we were taken in almost immediately. Dr. Starr was pleased, we got a new "hat" (urine measuring device), and were off after stopping for lunch at Krystal. We had no plans for the rest of the day since we had the later doctor's appointment cancelled yesterday, so, since the Books-A-Million in Acworth closed, we thought we would stop at the one at Arbor Place Mall; it was on the way home.
Boy, what a disappointment. The old store was large, and you entered from the parking lot. It's now squeezed into a storefront no bigger than an old Waldenbooks and one third of it are silly toys. I found a bargain book as a cute gift, but it's not worth driving out there anymore. Sad. James had been jonesing for a frozen hot chocolate at the J. Muggs coffee shop, and of course that was gone as well.
On the way home we stopped at Lidl to pick up milk and other necessary things.
Friday morning we rushed through our shopping trip to Publix to get on to more fun activities: lunch at The BBQ Place. I got a simple sandwich and fries, James got a sandwich platter, and we were stuffed—the portions are enormous. Aubrey was able to take some time off work, and joined Alice and Ken and Mel and Phyllis as our lunch companions. We asked after Juanita, who had been poorly at our party and it turned out she had pneumonia and was resting at home!
On our way home James stopped at Kroger for gas and I nipped inside to get some no-sodium-added mushrooms. Valentines Day was already spilling out of the seasonal aisle and sending creeping tendrils elsewhere. Once I got home, I did more Christmas divesting: woodland tree down and spare room decorations put up, Rudolph tree, master bedroom mini-tree ditto, all put up in the same box, and the box taken downstairs. Later on we had sandwiches, having had our main meal at lunch, and watched Hawaii Five-0.
Saturday we took the opportunity to sleep in. A big rainstorm was stalking in from the west and it was oppressively warm and humid for January. We decided to try and beat the rain, and went off to Barnes & Noble with coupons. James got a new John Ringo book, a "Cook's Country," and an aircraft magazine, and I scored Northland, the story of a man who hikes the US/Canadian border. Then it was finally back to work: while James retired to the kitchen to cook and roll thirty hand-made burritos to take for breakfast when he goes into work, I removed and packed up all the decorations from the kitchen and the dining room and took those boxes downstairs, leaving the foyer, the 1940s Christmas village, the living room decorations, and the tree to go.
We had the back door open and the fans madly trying to keep it cool in the master bedroom when the wind gusted and knocked one of them out of the window. I raced in the bedroom and closed the windows just in time; outside the air turned into a welter of water pounding against any horizontal surface it could, and Tucker was at the back door looking rather disbelievingly at the wall of rain beating on the deck footing. Rain was splashing in, so I shut that door, too. It was so warm the air conditioner came on not long after that.
For supper James and I had the chicken and wild rice soup we'd picked up at Publix, and did a long delayed action: turned on the Roku, went to Acorn, and finally continued watching Murdoch Mysteries. We had watched the first episode of season nine, some time back to see if Crabtree cleared his name, and then never returned. Now last night when we watched Hawaii Five-0, Grover was investigating a murder at the swanky golf club where he was trying to get a membership. Once he saw how badly the members treated the help, he didn't want to join. So tonight we rejoined Murdoch at season 9, episode 2, where Mark Twain, an avowed anti-monarchist, is invited to speak at the Empire Club, where Inspector Brackenreid is seeking a membership. After seeing how snooty they are, Brackenreid decides he doesn't want to join. We were amused at the parallel plotlines of two shows four years apart.
Was rather delighted, as well, to see William Shatner playing Mark Twain. He turned in a nicely restrained performance as a man beset by debts and required to lecture to pay them off.
» Wednesday, January 08, 2020Rhythm Found and Lost
And then came 2020 (whose song should be "I Can See Clearly Now") and Bill and Caran's New Year's Eve party, and the Tournament of Roses Parade now being ruined by performances at the beginning and end, and they actually stopped the flippin' parade in the middle to have another musical performance—are you kidding me? And then came cleaning the house for the party, and then The Party, which was a blast.
And so came Twelfth Night, and so came Epiphany, and Monday night, with the usual regret, I pulled all the plugs on the lights—except for the Christmas tree, which we shall enjoy at night until I take it down, and the airplane tree, which is in the spot opposite the door to the garage that provides James light "downrange" (so to speak) when he leaves for work in the morning.
So when I got up Tuesday, where to start? Upstairs? Downstairs? In my lady's chamber? I ended up doing a little bit of everything: herding things in corners out to where they will be found when I pack up (for instance, the red wire tree in the master bath or the gingerbread decorations on either side of the kitchen window), taking down all the indoor door wreaths and candoliers in the windows, packing up the couple of Christmas pillows and a throw and most of the Christmas stuffed animals. What I definitely wanted to get accomplished was taking down the airplane tree and putting back the usual light source there: the lighted autumn-leaf tree we bought at Cracker Barrel in Knoxville on our way to vacation in Pennsylvania in 2009 (so it was 10 years old in November). Got not only that done, but took down the library tree and packed up everything downstairs.
I took the opportunity to put a few things into the donation box: some candles I've never lit and don't intend to, three of a set of nine small ceramic houses, as only six fit under the library tree and there's no real room for them.
I got almost all the boxes upstairs to start packing that stuff up, but fell victim to the allure of designing a new web page. Thought it was high time to do that tribute to Kate Seredy I'd always intended to do; I'd already screencapped some of her art, but had not assembled all of it, or put together a biography and a bibliography, so I spent around three hours working on that throughout the day, then had to lay off since it was time to cook dinner: made steak and buttered potatoes. Today would be different.
But trouble was brewing: James came home Tuesday night complaining about a pain in his right lower back. It had come on him suddenly around five o'clock, and, had it been ten years ago, he would have just suspected he turned wrong. However, since the pain was near one of his kidneys, we were now more suspicious. He had to forego his Ambien to take a pain pill and then says he didn't sleep most of the night for the pain. By the time five a.m. came he was groaning audibly and said we might need to go to Urgent Care after breakfast.
Needless to say, that was enough to keep me awake until first light, not to mention wreaking havoc on my digestion. James called in sick and we decided to eat breakfast first, because once you get to Urgent Care, you could starve to death or eat the dreadful pre-made ham and cheese sandwiches they keep back there.
Kaiser keeps advertising these Express Clinics at each of their facilities, so I wondered if we just couldn't go to the one at Cumberland. So we went there first, thinking all they could do was tell us to go to Urgent Care at Town Center. I went in to see if the Express Clinic was actually open, as it wasn't last week, nor was it today (so why keep promoting it, guys????), but they had available appointments, and James could either go to a strange doctor at 9:20 or see his own doctor at two. We chose to come back at two; James swigged another pain pill and planted himself in his computer chair with a heating pad, and I frankly fell asleep on the sofa for over an hour. Then we both had something for lunch and went back for his appointment.
The doctor thinks James might have spinal stenosis (he has all the symptoms, including the pain lessening when he leans forward) in his compressed discs, and is arranging for an MRI. Oddly, we had an appointment arranged with the doctor for tomorrow after we got back from Southwood to see James' urologist, so he let us roll tomorrow's appointment into today: James needed four prescriptions renewed, asked what to do about a minor problem, and got a "prescription" to see if we can afford to get him a new power chair (he is apparently allowed one every five to six years, and he is going to have to replace both motors on the old chair anyway, which will run about $600). I just realized he forgot to ask for a referral to the podiatrist so he can get new orthopedic shoes; his are two years old and pretty scuffed up. Ah, well, we remembered most of it.
We got home in time for me to take down the net and bush lights outside, pack up the outside decorations, banner, wreath, and mailbox cover (since it's supposed to rain like crazy starting Friday), and put up the winter banner and wreath, and then come inside for supper, which was leftover egg rolls from the party and not very appetizing. I am irritated with myself for getting so nerved up I couldn't do anything during the time we were at home this morning and just lost my rhythm. (I did take the decorations down in the hall bath—but that takes like ten minutes, tops—except for the snowman soap dispenser which will get put up once it's empty.) But I could have managed more today with a lack of sleep and a dicky digestive system.
Really enjoying the Jeopardy "Greatest of All Time" tournament! The questions are really challenging and it's always fun watching these three guys play, they are so good.
Man, is anyone else staring when the date pops up on a screen or a paper somewhere "January 2020"? I mean, it's 2020. When I was a kid, that was supposed to be the super future. We were supposed to have cured cancer, defeated racism, had flying cars, and Picturephones. Of all that only the last has come true via Skype and Facetime, and really, who cares?