» Saturday, August 27, 2022
Friends and Flying Things
Summer's fading away...and good riddance. It's been a crap summer, from the temps to poor James' perpetual illness. I started the last full week of August by "drowning" the dog—Tucker always makes me laugh; he looks pitiful through the whole process but is happy and smiling once I'm done and enjoying his nice clean coat, and the inevitable cookie. The next day we had the first of James' post-hospital doctor's visits, to his GP. 3:20 p.m. appointment; didn't see the doctor till five. Sigh.
Started the weekend early as we had some friends come into town on Wednesday staying over until the next day. First I did laundry and cleaned off some of the kitchen, though; they didn't come over until this evening, where we finally exchanged Christmas gifts. I had a nifty little pocket knife and also a Barnes & Noble gift card, so maybe I will get Ali Hazlewood's new book after all. James got a knife sharpener, which I hope will improve the performance of our steak knives.
On Thursday we met Maggi and Clay at the Tin Drum at Perimeter Mall for lunch, and to our surprise ran into Lin Butler there as well (she was having a monthly lunch with her old Coca-Cola co-workers. They got both Clay's and my lunch wrong, so it took a while. Then we all went off to Penzey's (the spice store). James and I picked up some sweet curry and ground celery seed, and he wanted to try some Aleppo pepper. Penzey's is next door to Trader Joe's and we filled two Trader Joe's shopping bags with goodies like their orange chicken (which is a nice quick lunch) and the chicken apple sausage, and they finally had fruit bars. James has tried the fruit bars at Lidl, but says they are too much cookie and not enough fruit. We parted ways at Trader Joe's; Clay and Maggi went south back to Warner Robins and we headed home.
Friday was our only morning appointment at the infusion clinic, then we went to JoAnn, where I picked up a couple of gifts and a mug for me that says "I've been ready for fall since last fall." (That's not true; I've been ready for fall since winter was over, which in north Georgia is the end of February when it starts going up to 70...). James said he wanted to go to Hobbytown USA; he didn't buy anything for himself, but he bought me a gift to make up for the horrible hospital week, a miniature Squishable white-and-blue budgie I named "Robbie." He is the cutest thing (but nowhere near as cute as Snowy).
And then we got the truck inspected so James could renew his license plates for the year, and finally we had the podiatrist appointment and we could go home.
Because we didn't go grocery shopping on Thursday, we had to do this Saturday morning. It actually wasn't too bad, although after Lidl James was stuck in the truck with the A/C on since we got leg quarters on sale for $1.67/pound and three pounds of ground beef out of the "too good to waste" bin for $1.50! Had to play freezer Tetris when we got home. Saturday I also made "gravy" with the boneless pork ribs I got off the manager's special bin at Kroger. We'll have a pair of leg quarters tomorrow for dinner and then macaroni on Monday because it will be easy (cook the macaroni and warm up the sauce) after James has to go for his cytoscopy.
Labels: chores, dogs, food, friends, gifts, health, pets, seasons, sickness
» Saturday, August 20, 2022
PICC-ing It Out
of this benighted week has been at least better.
I had to hustle to Kaiser Cumberland on Monday morning so James would have his sevelamer (apparently his phosphorus is too high) in time for lunch, then I had to play grocery store hopscotch since there was no shopping on Thursday, then I had to wash towels, and finally the nurse showed up from Pruitt Health Services to show us how to do the infusion. This is so much easier than it was last January! There's no pole, no bottle to mix, no long tubing. The ertapenem this time comes in a little round ball (smaller than a baseball) with tubing attached. After sterilizing and saline injecting the PICC port, you just twist it on and pressure pushes the antibiotic into the PICC line and deflates the little ball. Then you flush with saline and then with heparin and you're done for the night.
Thursday was James' followup at the oral surgeon, who said it was healing nicely despite his cleaning regime having been interrupted by hospitalization. He said it would be fully healed in three months and then James could think about implants. The implants are $4200 each
. Are they mad
Friday had lunch with Alice and Ken, picked up 2023 calendars at Dollar Tree, and James had his first appointment at the infusion clinic (the dressing on the PICC line has to be changed weekly, so we'll be at Kaiser every Friday for six weeks).
And finally Saturday was Hair Day, so we got to see more
friends, and that was nice, although we left fairly early because I had the headache from hell. Had to put a strong reminder
on the Echo because twice this week I forgot to take the antibiotic bolus out to warm up, so James got infused late.
Labels: friends, health, sickness
» Monday, August 15, 2022
Hell in a Handbasket
Sunday night James had to send another note to his urologist: he was showing signs of a UTI again
, and we had noticed that his urine output had been halved. He also had a low-grade fever all weekend, but it never got over 100℉ and the oral surgeon and
the pain clinic both said what he had done could cause a fever. This is getting so frustrating. He does not
want to go to Urgent Care; they'll just keep him there for hours and send him home with antibiotics and won't let me come in the back. So I spent Monday morning on the phone with Kaiser, and finally the urologist said to go give a urine sample. He worked a full shift and then we went racing to Town Center to make it before the lab closed at 8 p.m.
That should have been that.
So I sleep in on Tuesday and wander out to the land of the living to ask James, "Good morning, how are you?"
And he says, "I'm having trouble breathing."
Oh, why, oh, why, didn't you wake me up earlier?
He was so distressed I packed everything; if he was having trouble breathing I was sure they would keep him at the hospital, so I packed up the C-PAP and his pillow, and we went to the emergency room instead of Urgent Care. It cost more, but they let me go in the back. He had pulmonary edema, his creatitine was way up in the high fours, and all his blood values were crazy. Yes, of course they kept him, although he didn't get a room until almost midnight and it was a stuffy little triangle of a room; it looked like they kept junk stuff in there.
To sum up, he was in the hospital through Monday (the 15th, the Assumption, which would have been my mother's "name day"), infused with liquid furosimide and stuck with a Foley catheter. The infection in his bladder was e-coli and the nurses had to all gown up any time they came in the room. They stabilized him and got his creatitine down to 3.7 before they released him (although the first day they had him on so much diuretic that his creatitine went back up the next day!). He had prostatitis again, which was blocking his urethra and of course his bladder was backing up into his kidneys again and screwing up his creatitine and his GFR, but thankfully the IV antibiotics did not make him have breathing problems like the month of ciproflaxin did a few months ago. By the time Friday came he was tired of the hospital bed, bored out of his mind, and by Sunday I was so stir-crazy I was in tears. The Kaiser doctor said James couldn't go home without a PICC line to completely wipe out the e-coli, but they never put it in on Friday so we had to twiddle our thumbs over the weekend. After my meltdown I tried to put on a better face but it was really hard sitting around all day Monday first waiting for the PICC insertion and then waiting for the discharge papers.
In the meantime he couldn't take the second step post-oral surgery; he'd had five days of only rinsing his mouth out with salt water, now he was supposed to be irrigating the gaps where they pulled his teeth. I finally just got him a cup and salt from the cafeteria and he rinsed his mouth twice a day at least, but he confessed his gums were really hurting and we finally had to ask the meal clerk to send him meals that were easy to chew, as dry chicken breast just wasn't doing it.
The other problem was that he was so wobbly when they brought him in they put him as a fall risk and put an alarm on the bed and the chair they finally let him sit in and he got pissed because he couldn't move around. James is not used to being still and having to sit in a bed or, later, in the chair next to the bed, is anathema to him. Supposedly he was supposed to get physical therapy; he only got it one day, and one night he didn't get his Ambien and couldn't sleep—the whole thing was a mess.
The nurses were fab, the doctors were good, but the hospital still sucks and the cafeteria still has crap. I ate at Hibachi Grill one day and from Lidl the next, but got a couple of meals down there. The fried shrimp was okay, but it was fried, and one day they either had alfredo chicken breast (barf-o'-matic for both the breast and alfredo, neither which is edible) or something spicy, so I ended up having a hamburger with brown gravy over it. The menu posted on the front of the cafeteria wasn't what they served, and everything's overpriced.
Plus by the time they discharged him on Monday it was too late to go to Kaiser to pick up his meds. Sigh.
Labels: annoyances, food, health, sickness
» Saturday, August 06, 2022
Mostly a Figurative Bloody Mess
Well, now that the toe, and almost the teeth, are out of the way, it's time to attack all the other little irritants. This morning I got up at seven (ewww) and drove Butch to Advance Auto to see WTF is going on with him. Got a ride home and did various chores until the insurance adjuster came; pretty much what I thought: won't reach the deductible amount, which is $1,000. Well, I'll see if anyone knows a good tree service...
This actually ended...happily. Alex showed up to mow the lawn Wednesday morning and I went out there to warn him about the tree. He looked at it and said, "I'll take the wood and cut the poison ivy vine and toss them into the very back of the yard, and it'll be $30." Blink. Well, sure, I'll take it! (And "I don't deserve this man.") When I paid him for the lawn and the tree I actually gave him a little more because I was so happy to be rid of the fool thing.
Once the tree was taken care of, we had to head to Glenlake to get James his steroid shots. Now, when he made this appointment, they gave him no specific instructions, nothing about fasting, etc. So he was going to quit work at noon, we would have sandwiches, we'd go get the shots. Well, they called him at 11:45 to ask if he wanted to come earlier. We scrambled to get dressed and I made myself a peanut butter sandwich and he just had a 90-calorie brownie and scatted.
And then when we got there he was honest and said he'd had the brownie.
They hashed this out for ten minutes and then decided the 90-calorie brownie wasn't a threat. He got five shots in his spine and I picked him up in the truck.
Well, he wasn't supposed to drive home just in case he had a reaction to the shots, but just as we were leaving, Advance called and said Butch was ready. Oh, Butch's problem was that the camshaft sensor wasn't talking to the crankcase sensor. When they don't talk to each other, apparently the car's computer system has hysterics and just quits! (God, I miss Twilight. He had sensors, but he had sensible ones. This was only for the anti-skid system. When the sensors don't work why not just turn the anti-skid system off rather than the whole damn car?) Anyway, $311 worth of two tires and the sensor thing brought it up to $1100. Urgh.
On the way we picked up supper at Zaxby's. Good God, wings have gotten expensive.
James and I wrangled about this on the way home (and this took a while because the stupid Braves game was just getting out and the traffic was unbelievable) and so I let him drive from Advance to home, following him carefully. The spinal shots gave him no problems, no swelling or anything, although they warned him his blood sugar might spike. Boy, did it, it was in the high 300s when he went to bed!
Thursday morning I got up about 8:30, and I looked at the calendar and there was James' oral surgeon appointment at 11:15. But why did it say it was on the 11th? And then I realized he had never put the oral surgery on his calendar; this was the original appointment that was cancelled when he made the July 28th appointment. James called them in a hurry, apologized, and they said they could get him in at 11:30. Whew.
So I sat in the lobby on the free wifi, typing a story on my tablet while I listened to Rupert Holmes on my phone, until he emerged about quarter to three, rather bloody around the mouth. We stopped at Kaiser on the way home to pick up his pain meds and his antibiotic, and then went home, where I spent the rest of the afternoon putting on and taking off icepacks. He had a hydrocodone around dinner time: I made rice and gave it to him in some Campbell's chicken broth cut with vegetable broth and some squished up canned carrot and Lighthouse salad bits to give it a little body and a little ginger. It tasted pretty good. I just had the rice in broth.
By the time bedtime came he eschewed the pain meds and just took the Zolpidem and Tylenol. The bloody gauze for a while was pretty gross, but he took it out about nine o'clock and never put any more in, nor did he have very bad swelling.
He woke up Friday morning pretty chipper despite my having a crying fit about seven a.m. about what to do about the antibiotics: Kaiser shorted us; we only got twelve. By the time I got up, I was in a better emotional state, called Kaiser and got through the four hours (it seems like it, anyway) of COVID messages to talk to advice, who connected me with the West Cobb pharmacy, and they said they were sorry and said they'd prep a bottle with the remainder of the scrip for me to pick up. So, took the dog out, dressed, got $5 worth of gas at the BP so I could make it safely to Costco to eventually fill my tank, picked up the rest of the pills at West Cobb, went to Lidl, went to Publix, went to Kroger, and then came home with relief to lose myself into Law & Order: Criminal Intent and sit under the fan.
Saturday I helped him make the meat for his lunches since the steroids don't kick in, according to the post-procedure instructions, for three to ten days and his back was killing him. We were rapidly running out of acetaminophen, and I didn't want to go to Costco on a Saturday, so I actually got on the computer and ordered that and two other things and they were delivered by dinnertime; the $6 Instacart fee was worth not having to go there on Saturday. These things are so easy...we're starting to call it "phonewavium" by how we can get on the internet and order things so easily.
Labels: cars, chores, errands, food, health, illness, shopping, television