Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Thursday, December 31, 2020
And the Year Came Tumbling Down
I usually write about Christmas and New Year in Holiday Harbour, but these winter dates have been no holiday for us. 2020 ended, as it has for many people, on a bad note for us. On Christmas night, James developed a fever and his left food was red and swollen. On Saturday morning I took him to Urgent Care. Of course I was not allowed in, so I went off to make some after-Christmas purchases. I wandered aimlessly around At Home (formerly Garden Ridge), found a couple of things at And That, stopped at Barnes & Noble, then came back to Urgent Care. They released James about suppertime, with two doses of antibiotics and some Tylenol3 (Tylenol and codeine) for pain. I thought this was very strange, as the last time his leg and foot looked that bad, they kept him and gave him IV antibiotics. But we ate a small meal at Panera and went home.
James seemed fine in the evening, but at bedtime when we uncovered his foot for him to wash, the foot was scarlet, swollen and angry. I was appalled. Why had they sent him home with antibiotics? He needed IV medication! I called the Advice Nurse and she said we should wait the forty-eight hours Urgent Care told us to wait and if he was worse to take him in. He did develop a temperature, so I suggested he take some Tylenol3 and see if it controlled his temperature. It didn't, but it rendered him almost totally insensible. I finally walked him to the futon in the spare room and there we stayed until he wasn't so zonked out.

The next morning James' foot looked quite a bit better—it wasn't anywhere near as red or swollen—and he had no fever. This was the first day of his vacation and he rested and I did a few of my usual Sunday chores. But by the time bedtime was back, the foot looked horrible. I took him back to Urgent Care and they kept him overnight on IV antibiotics. On Monday morning, January 28, he was transferred to Emory St. Joseph Hospital. And there he stayed for four days.
Even though the ingrown toenail I was treating since mid-month showed no sign of infection—not red, swollen, oozing pus, or any of the other signs—there was an infection, and it has turned inward. The reason James' foot was so red and swollen, and his left leg up to the calf was swollen and hot, was that the infection was growing into his bone. I am furious. If podiatry had cut the ingrown toenail when we asked about it at the beginning of December, this never would have happened.

The doctor at Emory thought James was dehydrated and started loading him with IV fluid. Plus, he has not been able to wear compression socks, as he is required to to control the cellulitis on his left leg, due to his swollen foot and leg. So wham, next his left leg broke out into blisters, including a big bottom-of-a-teacup sized blister on the arch of his foot. We had to nag them for a couple of days to just bandage the thing. In the meantime James was given IV antibiotics.

Several things bothered me about his hospital stay. I would have settled for the olden days visiting hours of two to four and seven to nine, just to get some input. He said everyone was very nice to him, but they never gave him a sponge bath, and he had to complain that the blister was leaking on the floor when he walked before they bandaged it. He wasn't sure he was getting all his medication (he wasn't). We asked them to get James an unna boot like they use at the Wound Clinic at Kaiser and put it in a pressure bandage, but instead they have just wrapped it in some zinc-impregnated bandage ("viscopaste," nasty stuff) and covered that. Since he was required to treat it once he came home, I had to learn how to rebandage it by contacting James on Zoom and watching the nurse do it. How frustrating and infuriating.

New Year's Eve they fitted him with a PICC line. This is a catheter that goes into a main vein of the heart to deliver antibiotics. On New Year's Day they will send supplies and a nurse to the house to show James and I how to give him IV antibiotics twice a day through this line until February 10! (We tried to get a home health nurse but Kaiser would not allow it because they say we are capable of doing this ourselves. They would only send a nurse if we were incapacitated in some way.) We will also have to go to Kaiser once a week to get the PICC line cleaned. Every day I will need to irrigate it, prepare James' medicine to go through the IV tube, connect it to him and let it flow, and then irrigate it again and flush it with Heparin, in the morning, and at night. And all with keeping it germ-free.

What a wonderful new year this will be! [I'm sure you don't need a sarcasm alert for that statement, either.]

Emory didn't release him until 8 p.m., what with one thing and the other, and by the time we got home we were both exhausted. He'd probably slept eight hours in the four days he'd been there and was tired out. We sat in the living room and cossetted Tucker for a while, because he was trembling at the fireworks already going on outside, but finally we got James cleaned up via sponge bath, and by the time 2021 began we were already in bed, listening to the cannonade of fireworks going on outside from various homes in the neighborhood.

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» Friday, December 25, 2020
Alas, Not The Christmas We Expected
Christmas goes slightly awry...but this is 2020, after all...

(In better news, on Wednesday, along with making Christmas Eve dinner prep and doing the laundry and cooking lunch, I went online to find well-rated junk removal people. I got a college student named Preston Peretti first try and he came over an hour later and took that damn mattress away. The albatross is gone, which is my best Christmas gift.)

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» Saturday, December 19, 2020
Softer Feelings

Yes, we deliberately chose “firm” on the mattress over “medium firm” after trying them both out a second time. Didn’t feel much difference at the store.

However, after sleeping on it two nights…

Can’t be helped. Monday I got online and sought out reviews of mattress pads, finding a list that was the ten best reviewed pads on Amazon. I picked out the one that came first on the list, a 2-inch gel-infused pad, which is supposed to make it cooler in summer (I’ll believe that when I feel it). It was delivered on Tuesday, whereupon I decanted it from its sealed state–it rather looked like a large taco–and laid it out on the library floor to swell up. Wednesday it got put on the bed. Better now.

On Monday I thought I’d better get a start on wrapping the gifts. I figured I would do the five gifts than were sitting on the arm of the futon since they kept falling off each time James had to retreat there in the middle of the night because his shoulder was still hurting from his fall (this was going on every night for a while), and then decide if I wanted to keep going. The next thing I knew they all were wrapped, as if Dudley the angel from The Bishop’s Wife had helped me some, something I am truly grateful for. I usually come out of wrapping gifts in pain and hungry as a bear.

James had another MOHS procedure on Thursday morning to remove a small skin cancer from his left cheek. I wasn’t allowed to come along, but he did fine although he was gone a long time (or at least it seems so when you are sitting home clock watching). It took them a bit longer than usual to stop the bleeding due to his blood thinners. After he arrived home, we picked up some prescriptions at Kaiser and stopped at Publix to do the shopping, and then kept ice on the surgical spot on and off for the rest of the night. He said there was little pain and only used the ice because it was suggested in the post-surgical instructions. He had no problems next day as well, to the point we could go to Lidl and spend some time at Barnes & Noble to boot. Then when we got home I did my yearly baking of a batch of wine biscuits. It’s been very difficult to rouse Christmas spirit this  year and I wasn’t feeling like baking, but there was no having the wine biscuits if I didn’t bake them, so I just did it. It ended up being almost as easy as wrapping the gifts, and when the lovely smell of the cookies permeated the house I felt better.

Saturday ended up quite pleasantly. Since it was more prudent for the Lawsons to cancel this year’s game night/Christmas party, they brought our gift by as they did their weekend errands. Jerry always picks some clever way to package things, and this year he found some surplus Royal Mail postbags--these are actual mailbags that have been used by British postmen--as a gift container! These are bright red, so quite festive, and no wonder they called the postmen “robins” carrying those red bags. In the late afternoon we finally had my birthday dinner at Fried Tomato Buffet, stopped at a couple of stores (where I picked up another gift), looked at the puppies at Petland, and then finished off the night taking a ride home through the battlefield park and seeing a herd of deer grazing peacefully on a swath of open grass, and stopping for ice cream before arriving home.

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» Saturday, December 12, 2020
Not The Birthday Gift I Was Expecting

To say this has been a week full of ups and downs would be an understatement.

The good news: I finished putting up the downstairs decorations on St. Nicholas Day (as well as doing most of my Sunday chores) and put up the Christmas tree the next day. Alas, even these fun events were fraught with frustration: the top half of the library tree did not light, I couldn’t fix the problem with the Lightkeeper Pro, and I ended up just replacing bulbs until it came back on. It looked as if most of the yellow bulbs were burnt out! I lost count of how many I replaced, mostly yellow, but also some at the bottom of the tree where I’d replaced lights last year! Not only that, when I plugged in the three segments of the main tree to test them, the top did not light. I left it plugged in while I decorated the library tree and the library, and then the downstairs hall and the airplane tree. When I came upstairs with the tree ornaments, nary a light did I see in it.

Until I kicked it. Then it lit up!

Since I started late (I was sick during the morning), I had to quit tinseling the tree halfway through to attend an online seminar on “Christmas Past” that I signed up for last month, thinking it would be fun. It was, although I didn’t learn anything I didn’t know. The company was nice, though. Then I did finish the tree and it was safely pushed in the corner for this Christmas season.

Tuesday I found some special programs on Amazon Prime about Tasha Tudor, and really enjoyed those, especially the Christmas-themed one with her children. This was filmed, of course, before she died; apparently there was then a big court battle because she left everything to the son and not her other children. Happier times at Christmas, at least. And Wednesday I found out where to drop my Toys for Tots contribution.

And then Friday we thought everything was really hunky-dory because we went to IKEA and finally bought a new mattress. It was a great birthday gift: our old one that we bought at the Home Show had gotten so soft James was sliding off the side of the bed. It was warrantied for fourteen years and only six years old, but the company that made it had gone out of business. Bye-bye warranty. So we went there and once again tested all the foam mattresses (we have to have foam, as we have a adjustable bed), and still decided on the same mattress we had picked out a couple of months ago, except instead of the medium firm we got the firm. We made arrangements to have the mattress delivered and the old one taken away, with signed documents to that effect. Cool, right? Well, maybe… On the way home we stopped at the Buckhead Barnes & Noble, which had been the best one around here. Alas, it has been as denuded as the others, the magazines aren’t up-to-date, and there were panhandlers hanging around the doors. At least we had some ice cream as our dessert.

And then came Saturday! We had a delivery window from 1 -5 p.m., so I took my time getting up. It was 9 a.m. before I noticed I had a call from a delivery service at 8:05: it was the people delivering the mattress. He said it was contactless delivery and he would just leave it on the porch! Sure enough a few minutes later Tucker barked, and a rolled up mattress was dumped on our porch. A few minutes later the dispatcher from the delivery company called me to make sure we got the mattress. I explained it was supposed to be delivered, set up, and the old taken away during the afternoon. He said he’d call to see what was going on. I continued calling him all afternoon, but never got any satisfaction, and of course I tried calling up IKEA, but their automated message continue to inform me that they were too busy to take calls and to contact them online (but the only thing you could do online was cancel the delivery, and that had already happened!), and then it would hang up on me! I finally got through via a different phone number only to be told that they shouldn’t have told me they would do a pickup; they weren’t doing any pickups. Our salesman called the desk and asked before he made out the paperwork! This is a violation of my contract with them–we wouldn’t have bought the mattress there had I known they wouldn’t take the old one away. Basically after several calls they tell me they are refunding our delivery fee and we will have to make arrangements to get the old mattress removed ourselves.

About five o’clock I got mad. The mattress was in a deflated roll, and I just kept upending it until I got it on the landing, and then I managed to tug it up the nine stairs left one at the time till I got to the top and James could help me pull it. We always turn the mattress when we change the bed, so it wasn’t much different to actually get the old mattress off the bed (it took about ten minutes of tugging and grunting because the old one has no handle). After that, the new mattress was positively a doddle to cut open and unroll on the bed to inflate. I know it’s supposed to inflate for a whole day, but it can’t be helped. Tired of James thumping his heel against the side of the bed when he starts to slide off and it must hurt his feet as well.

So yeah, we have a new bed, but now we’re stuck with a queen–sized mattress leaned up against one wall of our bedroom, blocking the chifforobe, the toy chest, and the chair that I sit in to put on my shoes. Not only that, but just as I finished taking my shower, I got heart palpitations! I’d already taken my pill over an hour earlier, so I didn’t know whether I was going to bed that night or Urgent Care.  I finished drying off and put my nightgown on and went to lie down, taking deep breaths and willing my heart to get back to normal rhythms. It would beat-beat-beat-beat then try to slow down then go back to beat-beat-beat-beat to start the cycle again. And then it was back to normal rhythm. The whole incident only lasted about 20 minutes at the most, but seemed like hours. Now I know how my mom felt when this happened to her. She would be doing something and just stop in her tracks and sit down and be very quiet until it passed. Scary.

In the meantime James admitted to me on Monday morning that he almost fell again in the bathroom–I was really upset and went ballistic, which was why I was sick on Monday morning. He is continuing to have problems with his shoulder after the fall, even though the X-rays determined he did not break anything.

This has not been one of our better weeks, even with the comfort of the Christmas tree.

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» Saturday, December 05, 2020
Our Aching Heads

Well, it was a week. And boy what a week...

It did indeed rain on Sunday, but with the lights already outside the rest of the First Sunday of Advent decorating was a doddle. I put additional things out on the porch, and hung the garlands on the inside doors and set the candoliers in the windows. Our neighbors were already brightening their homes as well. Pam next door has a plain white lit tree downstairs, and a red-and-white peppermint tree upstairs. Miranda and Eddie strung multicolor outlines on the front of their house later in the week. Even the lady across the street put a color-changing tree in one of her bedroom windows.

About 2 a.m. Monday morning everything went pear-shaped. James got up to use the bathroom, fell asleep as he leaned forward to pull up his pajama bottoms, and took a header into the wall. I was woken from sleep by an enormous thump and raced into the bath to find him on the floor with a big black-and-blue goose-egg already forming on his right temple, coherent but in pain, and no way to get off the floor, since his knees are so bad he can't roll on them to get up. So I had to call the rescue squad. Four nice firemen/EMTs rescued him, checked him out including his blood sugar, thought he was okay, but since he banged his head, also thought he should go to the hospital to get checked out. The EMTs were geeks and before they left we were talking Star Trek. Then James went off to St. Joseph's via ambulance and I tried to get back to sleep and miserably failed since most of what I was doing was crying.

He was only there about four hours. They took bloodwork, checked his sugar again, did a CAT scan of his head and thankfully detected no internal bleeding, gave him one pain med, and then had him call me to take him home about 7 a.m. He looked terrible for lack of sleep, his shoulders ached terribly, and he said they seemed really in a hurry to get rid of him. Once Kaiser opened, we got the earliest appointment for him with Kaiser, right after the one I had on Thursday, but with a different doctor. Hell, I was going to take him with me anyway if he couldn't get an appointment; I didn't care.
Tuesday he did still get up and work. I wrapped up and mailed the out of town gifts [and made a big goof, but didn't realize it until later]. I also got Thanksgiving and fall packed up and got the last of the boxes down myself since James wouldn't be able to help me.
Oh, Thursday, Thursday, terrible Thursday. Thursday morning I was sitting at my computer just doing some odd writing and I experienced a terrible dizzy spell. The room didn't spin, but my head did, lasting about fifteen seconds. I could still see straight, I called out for James and could speak coherently and not slurred, and could grab his hand, but I have never been so giddy. It frightened the dickens out of me. By the time we arrived at the doctor's office that afternoon, I was scared out of my wits and my blood pressure was normal for anyone else, but high for me. By the time the doctor came in the office (he was running late, so James and I basically rolled in for our appointments at the same time). After listening to me babble hysterically for fifteen minutes and checking my heart and breathing, the doctor decided the dizziness and the blood pressure was caused by stress, and he authorized a sonogram for me so we can figure out what caused the stomach pain last week.
The doctor James saw authorized some x-rays to check out his shoulder pain, but, alas, the Cumberland office had no x-ray tests happening that day (the tech was out sick) and the West Cobb office closed at five, and we didn't get out of there until 4:55. Sigh. So we went home and didn't get the x-ray until Friday morning. We also went to Costco to pick up James new glasses, and he was quite pleased with both pairs, once the lady at the counter figured out which was which, but the line was so long we nearly missed lunch with Alice and Ken and Aubrey. He got two pair, one for distances and one for use at the computer. I can't wait to get my eyes checked on the 22nd and go to Costco for glasses; I'm also planning to get one pair for distance and one for the computer.
In the afternoon I put up most the rest of the upstairs Christmas decorations. Sigh. Sand is leaking from the weighted bottom of the woodland tree—never knew it had sand in it—but the little white star lights I bought for it at Lidl work pretty well, as do the lights I bought for the mirror above the Rudolph tree. The dining room and kitchen are all nice and sparkly, and the 1940s Christmas village is up.
On Saturday we had Hair Day and Chinese from Dragon 168 for supper. Cross fingers I will be able to put up the downstairs decorations up on Sunday. Then all I will have left is the tree.

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