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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» Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Coasting in January
So, what have we been doing since James' return from the hospital?
Not much of anything, which suits me just fine, although James is growing more restless by the day.
I did, after seven days of sporadic work, manage to get all the Christmas stuff down. I really didn't feel like doing it, so it came in fits and starts over a span of a week and a half; I started with the small stuff and of course then finished up with the big tree, and everything was down by the 22nd. I was restless and unhappy over James' foot and how he was feeling, and I just wanted to disappear into whatever story I was writing or editing and not be here. Living in my head was much more preferable.
Did get the bed changed finally, and the usual housework.
Amazingly, James thought he would just get out of the hospital on Wednesday and be able to go shopping on Friday! I said nope and have done the shopping two weeks in a row; I prefer doing it by myself anyway, as it goes so much faster—James likes to browse; I take pride in being able to do three grocery stores in less than ninety minutes (that's driving time included, BTW).
We had snow on Sunday the 16th, but no accumulation. It just looked like a snowglobe outside.
James had two followup appointments last week, and will have another one Friday. The Wednesday one was just with his GP and most of what Dr. Mobley did was update his prescriptions and check his heart and breathing. Dr. Friedman in Podiatry did unwrap his foot, so I was able to see the surgical area for the first time since the surgery. The swelling had gone down markedly from the hospital, and from now on until it is healed I have to clean it every two to three days, apply betadyne, and then re-wrap it.

Monday was kind of a medical day. James has had a bad sore throat since they intubated him to close up the surgical wound, and it has been bothering him. He skipped work on Monday and got an early appointment with Dr. Ellenoff to get that checked; threw off my entire day and discovered I can no longer eat quickie breakfasts like Belvita breakfast bars like I used to. Boy, was I sick!

I also got to tend the wound on Monday. It got messy; I don't have the same bandages and gauze as the doctor did and the betadyne I put on the gauze that went over the surgical wound got on the spread, the rug, the sheets, the blankets...sigh. The wound itself looks great; the swelling on the foot right now seems to be completely gone. James does have two blisters/rough spots where the surgical boot is rubbing on his big toe and the toe next to it, so I had to treat those, and he barked the middle of his lower right leg on something, so I was wielding the betadyne with impunity that night.

We will be glad when he gets done with the antibiotic because it has completely screwed up his blood sugar—not making it go up, but making it go down! He has had crashes almost every afternoon for the past few days. Today I fed him pudding, two slices of American cheese and three slices of low-sodium ham, and applesauce, and still had to make him two slices of wheat toast with blackberry spread liberally on it to get his score up from 46!

(At least we think it's from the antibiotic; we don't know. It could be the new blood pressure medications the hospital put him on, including a medication they took him off years ago because it didn't work! All we know is that with him taking the antibiotic, he hasn't needed Metamucil for a week.)

It was cold enough today that we could open the curtains and let the sun in; can't do it any other time but in the winter because it makes it too hot in the house and the air conditioner will immediately snap on and labor away wasting energy. Better to keep the shades down and the curtains closed and save the energy; the LED bulbs can't use anywhere near the power the AC does.

Other stuff: watched the remake of The Magnificent Seven. Denzel Washington was great as the lead (but Vincent D'Onofrio's character could have been much, much more fleshed out... 😁 ). Slowly working our way through the end of season 14 of Murdoch Mysteries (love Detective Watts, really hate Constable Higgins (or maybe it's his dippy wife I really hate) and season 2 of CSI.

James is planning to make another stab at coming shopping with me; so far just the doctors' visits have been wiping him out.

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» Thursday, January 13, 2022
Just Another Hospital Tale

We arrived home from the hospital yesterday and have spent the day trying to be normal.

Going home yesterday was a total surprise; we had been told at the earliest it would be Thursday but more probably Friday. But the doctor looked at his foot yesterday morning and said it was healing well enough that, if James rested, he could go home. And I won't even have to tend the wound: it won't be unwrapped again until he sees the podiatrist next week.

He did have to have a second surgery on Tuesday. When they amputated his toe, they left the wound open so that it could drain. On Tuesday they took him down and closed up the wound. He came upstairs slightly more groggy than he had the first time, and for some reason they intubated him this time, so he had a sore throat which we plied with endless hot teas until I left for the evening.

Monday I also brought steak for a hot meal, but had to wait over an hour and a half to eat. At Northside Hospital they had a snack room where you could use the microwave and the refrigerator. At Piedmont and Wellstar they had microwaves you could use near the cafeteria. Here they have a "snack room," but only staff can access it, so I had to wait for a nurse to be available to microwave my meal. I feel this is terribly demeaning for the nurse! She's a professional, not my servant to warm up my food. But the cafeteria at St. Joseph's is only open breakfast and lunch and when they are closed, if there are any microwaves they are locked up in the cafeteria. I guess they expect you to not stay long, go out to eat, or get UberEats to bring  you something. Sorry, can't afford that. Also, the cafeteria food is awful. They put pepper in the meats, and their salad is packaged in plastic and dessicated. Ugh.

So on Tuesday I did something a lot better, I went to Hibachi Grill and got food by the pound: barbecue chicken and pepper steak, a few french fries, seafood salad, a big container of fresh (not dessicated) cucumbers and tomatoes, and two little desserts. I brought James half an orange worth of slices and some pineapple, and all this only cost me $2 more than the lousy chicken salad sandwich I had the first day. The salad I had with the salami sandwich I had made.

Did the same thing on Wednesday, but didn't need to, because they sent us home by suppertime. Good thing I did, though, because by the time we got home (after having to stop at Kaiser Cumberland for prescriptions) I had a killer headache that only went away after I slept last night.

Surprisingly James has not had a problem with his foot; it doesn't even hurt.

Today we have just laid low and relaxed. WEtv had four episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on today, so we watched those.

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» Saturday, January 08, 2022
Happy Blue Year
Remember in my December 18 entry I mentioned this?

Friday morning we had to get up really early for an 8:40 appointment, but it was worth it: Dr. Friedman says the ulcer on James' left "ring toe" is finally healing as I thought it was (for once I was feeling good about a doctor's appointment!).

Yeah, well...

We'd juggled a whole bunch of treatments, but what was working best on closing up the hole in his toe was an application of medihoney on the wound and then covering it with a pad of Mepelix AG (antibiotic foam with silver in it, which retards infection). Well, I ran out of the Mepilex on New Year's Eve. Instead, until I could find some (you have to order it online and it's terrifically expensive), I was using the other silver-infused foam that we had tried earlier that didn't work as well. On January 3, there was a tiny pinpoint hole left to close up. I was getting quite impatient for it to do so.

The night of January 4, the whole thing had opened back up to the way it was back in October/November. Sorry for the language...but what the fuck??? So I drowned it in Betadyne, then the medihoney, then used the foam.

Here's where it gets yucky: Twelfth Night evening, when I went to treat it, it was full of pus. Well...crap.

It was still pus-y at noon the next day, so James logged off work and we went to Urgent Care. They let me wait with him, but not go in the back with him, and he finally got back there about three and about 4:30 (of course at rush hour) they said they were going to have to keep him overnight. So I had to go home for the C-PAP machine and socks and underwear and other supplies (and more oranges and Kind bars because they keep you up all night and you're starving instead of sleeping) and bring it back, and I couldn't even say goodnight.

So bye-bye Wednesday and then comes Thursday. Yep, he has to go to the hospital because this is bad, bad, bad. They decide this in the morning, but the hospital doesn't have a room, so he's waiting, and then he calls (again at rush hour and this time it's raining) that they have a room at the hospital, but they can't get an ambulance to get him there, so it's me and Butch on the road again because apparently though I can't go in the back, I can drive him.

So we get him to St. Joseph's, and they told us to bring him to Emergency and say he was a direct transfer for room 460. Emergency says they don't take him, Admittance takes him. So I drive the 30-40 yards to the Main Entrance, but Admittance is closed. Back to Emergency! They were good-natured about it and I actually got to go in. In fact, I almost got to take him upstairs, except the emergency room nurse did it instead. And I can stay, if I want, but it's only that stupid uncomfortable folding chair. So Thursday night I go home to the fids.

Friday they had a surgical procedure scheduled on the toe. Basically they would initially debride the wound and then assess it and decide how to treat it. Unfortunately, he was number four in line, so they fed him an insipid breakfast and then he was NPO. They came to get him about 2:55 and he was back about 6:30. Alas, the damage was too bad; they ended up amputating the toe, which we had been advised might happen. Plus tonight he wasn't allowed to get up, so this made it really difficult when he needed to pee. So I decided to stay. I always have a spare heart pill with me, just in case, and the rest of the pills (thyroid, cholesterol, and allergy) could wait until tomorrow, and I'd slept on the folding reclining chair before. Aubrey Spivey wonderfully gave up an hour of her evening to come over, feed and walk Tucker, and put both him and Snowy to bed, and shut off the TV and the lights.

Well, apparently I can't sleep on the folding recliner anymore. With the icky hospital pillow (I had brought James' real pillow to Urgent Care) and a blanket, in one of James' T-shirts and one of his sleep shorts, I was freezing, uncomfortable, and the one time I did fall asleep I was woken five minutes later by someone coming in to take his vital signs. At two o'clock, annoyed at my weakness and blubbering about it, I woke James up and got dressed and went home. The stupid parking lot payment computer would not take my credit card and kept chirping "use another card!" What, you think I'm Rockefeller or something? I only have one credit card, and I don't remember the PIN for my debit card because I almost never use it. Why don't you have tap to pay, you retro assholes? Finally I had to press the assistance button and they just let me out. Get your card reader fixed!

Drove home half dazed, considered just bunking on the futon, but felt icky and sticky with used underwear on, so I did the full wazoo and even washed my hair, which felt like an oil slick after three days of not washing. By this time it was 4 a.m. and I fell gratefully into bed. James wasn't expecting me early, so I hoped to sleep until at least nine.

Thank you, Mother Nature! Chivvied me out of bed at 7:30 and then when I tried to go back to bed, gave me bellyaches for the next hour, so I finally gave up and got up. Snowy stared at me is dislocation for a few minutes until I put the television on, Tucker was walked, fed, and watered, and I finally got breakfast. I also took down all the outdoor decorations, since it's supposed to pour tomorrow, and put up the winter wreath and flag, and pulled all the candles from the windows. Then I had to tackle the problem of food. St. Joseph's cafeteria is only open in the mornings and early afternoon, not at night, and not on weekends, and, as I experienced last time, fairly limited. Your alternative is "the coffee shop," which sells Starbuck's overpriced junk and Newk's sandwiches. Even Piedmont wasn't this bad. I paid $8 and tax for a chicken salad sandwich that I only ate half of; James was so hungry Friday after surgery he finished the dinner the hospital gave him, the turkey sandwich they gave me, and the rest of the chicken salad in the sandwich.

So before I left the house, I made myself another salami sandwich (before I went to the hospital on Friday I went to Lidl and bought "dinner rolls"—"buns" in Rhode Island speak—and salami, and also found Beyond Beef in the "Too Good To Waste" bin for $1.50 each and grabbed four) and grilled a steak and cut it up. Half I brought to the hospital with me along with a container of milk and a banana. James' nurse for the day, Kevin, said there was a microwave I could use. So I had a hot dinner (well, the meat was hot) which I could share a few pieces with James, and he got to attend his monthly club meeting via Zoom while I typed this screed.

I stopped for gas on the way and, yes, dudes, my credit card is working.

Life truly is what happens when you're making other plans.

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