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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» Sunday, October 30, 2022
The Leash, and Other Annoyances
I know he needs it, but James' oxygen line is an absolute pain in the ass.
It turns out the oxygen bottles, which we have to drag with us everywhere we go, are an absolute walk in the park compared with the home oxygen; we can just sling the carry bag with the oxy bottle in it on the back of the power chair and zoom on. But the oxygen concentrator for the house, the 40-pound behemoth that sits in the bedroom closet and sounds like a fishtank oxygenator—that's what we call it, "the fishtank"—means James has to wander around the main floor dragging a length of oxygen cord and he's already bloody fallen due to the damn thing. They pulled so much water off him he is weak and tired, and his hands shake.
James had a bone scan on Sunday, believe it or not, and also had blood taken; Monday evening Kaiser called him about 10:45 with a frantic call about his BUN being 125! I was so upset I got onto chat with my friend Sherrye (the former nurse) and she had to talk me down. Luckily James was talking to his nephrologist the next day and Dr. Kongara says this probably stems from being on too much of a diuretic. He told him to not take any on Tuesday, then go down to two in the morning (from three) and two in the afternoon (from three) of the torsemide.
In the meantime we toted those oxygen tanks to the supermarket and to Ron and Lin's house for Hair Day; Saturday James attended his club meeting via Zoom. Sunday we took Tucker to Petsmart on a birdseed expedition. And I uploaded a new fanfic. And that was our week.
(Oh, such sad news...almost forgot. Sweet, funny Leslie Jordan was killed in a car crash. They think he had some kind of medical episode and passed out; his car smashed into something and they couldn't save him.)

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» Thursday, October 20, 2022
Scared and Scared Some More
James has been grunting when he breathes. When I ask him about it he says he isn't or that he "can't hear anything." If this is a comment about how bad his hearing has gotten, so be it. But I can hear the grunt sitting three feet away from him.
Otherwise he was doing okay—he had his PICC line removed (although he had a low-grade fever the day after)—and we went shopping and picked up some oral antibiotic for him.

Then came Thursday. Started out great: we went to the Cobb County license office and renewed the handicapped tag for the truck. In fact, they let him have a handicapped license plate; when he first got the handicapped tag way back in 2014, we were told he could either have the license plate or the tag; since we sometimes use both cars the tag was the better option. Now he has the permanent plate for the truck and the tag is in "Butch" for when we use the car together. He also straightened out a problem with his bank account.

We had supper. We watched Young Sheldon and something we had on the DVR. Then I put on Law & Order from the DVR. About three-quarters through it, James had to use the bathroom.

All of a sudden he was calling my name. And also telling me to call 911.

He'd sat down on the toilet and all of a sudden felt like he couldn't draw a breath. He grabbed the pulse oximeter on the divider, clipped it on, and his pulse ox was 65! (It later went up to 73.) You bet I was on the phone to 911. I kept telling him to breathe as deeply as he could, and he got up, crossed the bedroom, into the hall, the bit of the living room, and one by one down the stairs, still having trouble breathing. I talked to the lady from 911 all the time. His color was fine, no blue lips or anything, he was just having trouble breathing.

EMS finally showed up, he went the rest of the way down the stairs and they put him on the stretcher. The moment he lay flat he started gasping and saying he couldn't breathe. They propped him up finally and that was better. In the meantime we discussed hospitals. They could take him to St. Joseph's, but they were worried about his breathing. I would have preferred Wellstar Cobb, which is the closest, but they took him to Kennestone, which has the best trauma center. I walked Tucker and then covered Snowy and turned out the lights and beat it to the hospital, stayed with him until six a.m., went home to shower and sleep for a few hours, walk the dog, turn the TV for Snowy, then back to the hospital at eleven. He was all day in ER, and they didn't get him a room until 10:30 p.m., a tiny room with a recirculator fan in it, as it had been used for COVID patients, and he was back on oxygen, and furosimide. And here he stayed until the 18th (they took him off the cardiac floor on the 17th and into a nice big room). I was in pieces off and on, my only respite a Sunday seminar I had signed up for where Vincent D'Onofrio talked about his approach to acting; "method" acting has always been kind of made fun of, but I enjoyed listening to him talk about where his "inspiration" (for lack of a better word) came from when he did various roles—it could also be applied to writing, using your own feelings from your memories to bring life to your character. (He did this from his apartment and it was neat watching the sun lower and then sunset fall in NYC from the window behind him.) Once he got to breathing better, James was bored and restless, and even after they transferred him off cardiac and they let him go the next day, he was looking so wan and defeated that I went out into the hallway, telling him I wanted to walk a little, but instead I was out there crying my eyes out to the nurse.

Wellstar Kennestone's food has gone way downhill; every time I ate in the cafeteria at night I got sick, gravies or ketchup on everything, although the brown gravy on the hamburger the first night wasn't too bad. Their wifi wasn't anywhere near as frustrating as St. Joe's, but the doctors gave us hives: every single time the cardiologist came in, he was hectoring James about eating too much sodium, that we must be mistaken about how much sodium he was eating, that his cardiologist was "not telling the truth" about James' real condition, on and on and on, and yet none of the doctors had any answers about why this happened. He had no weight gain, no leg swelling, we had no clue that something was going to go wrong, we had gone out that day and he had no problems with breathing. It just hit and hit hard. I wanted to scream at someone; we kept pressing for info and got absolutely none at all.

Discharge was absolutely disorganized. Instead of the doctors coming in to tell you you were going home and what you had to do, they basically just said, "You're going home today," and then we cooled our heels through three Law & Order episodes before the nurse came in and asked what was up and we said we didn't know. They also had to arrange for a portable oxygen unit to go home with us until Apria could deliver a bigger model for the bedroom (and then Apria would also deliver oxygen tanks for when we wanted to go out). First they told us the oxygen unit would go to the house, and then they said "No, he must be on oxygen on the way home." So Apria delivered it to the hospital, and then we had to go downstairs to "the discharge center" (the old emergency room). This is where they pull the IVs out of your arm and give you all the instructions. It was horrible.

By the way, it was only when James got dressed that we discovered that they had cut his shirt off him when he arrived at the hospital. He was so out of it he didn't remember.

So we didn't get home until almost suppertime, I had to drag that "portable" oxygen thing up the f*cking stairs, and James just had to get himself up. We had Trader Joe's orange chicken for dinner and remained glassy-eyed for the rest of the night.

The other bad thing about going to Wellstar instead of a Kaiser hospital is that we had to make all the followup appointments on our own. We managed to see Dr. Mobley on Thursday, but James basically spent Tuesday making doctors' appointments.

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» Friday, October 07, 2022
Back to Old Favorites; or The Last of the Desk
We went straight from James working to both of us being busy. Friday we had to go to the bank to take care of some checks. Next, we were off on a search for burritos. Since we can't find the Tina burritos (which have the lowest sodium content—well, their Beef and Bean flavor anyway—and are also the least expensive) at Kroger any longer, we've discovered they do have them at Walmart. So after leaving the bank we went to the Powder Springs store. Unfortunately they didn't have the right flavor, but we did make a swathe through the store and bought new underwear. (Yeah, this is big fun for adults. 😁 )

Then we ate a quick lunch at Krystal before going to the infusion clinic, the next to the last, thank goodness. Since we were just down the road from the Kennesaw Walmart, we went there, and lo, there were Beef and Bean Tina burritos. We also got a few of the Red Hots.

Saturday morning, for the first time in ages, we went to the Marietta Farmer's Market, which is still being held in the parking lot next to the Starbucks. We bought some dog biscuits (of course), James got some cookies and cranapple jam, I got some goat cheese, and we got a black garlic garnish. We also dropped off our empty jam jars with the guy who makes his grandmother's Hawai'ian sauce.

We also strolled around the artists' market; there was a used book dealer there and I found a nice copy of Lab Girl, which I've wanted for ages.

We got home in time for James to leave for his club meeting. Usually I stay home and watch videos when he does this, but today I decided to go renew my library card because I read online that the Cobb library now has Kanopy, where you can stream movies and documentaries. Seriously, the main library is pathetic. They have fewer books than when I went there last year. With the bright white lights, the metal shelving (and almost every shelf is 3/4 empty, at least in nonfiction), the blue carpet and chairs, everything is very sterile and cold. The lack of books is really noticeable. I used to love the Dewey Decimal classification 394, which is celebrations and customs; Christmas books are in this category. This used to be a very full 30 inch wide (at least) shelf with Christmas, Hanukkah, and a few other holiday books there, also books about parties and other celebrations. Today there were ten Christmas books there and nothing else. One brand-new book I noted last year about Yule is no longer available, nor is it in any of the other Cobb libraries.

For supper we went to Fried Tomato Buffet (yay, pork ribs), then stopped at the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble, then finished our evening by having ice cream from the newly remodeled Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins down the road. Drove home through part of the Kennesaw battlefield park and think I saw a deer grazing
—before we had to turn around and go another way because we got caught in the traffic backup for the penultimate day of the North Georgia State Fair.

And Sunday we passed another milestone: I cleared off James' faithful work desk, tossed a bunch of things we don't need anymore, put up his spare keyboard and monitor and mouse, and brought the desk downstairs in case one of us wants to use a laptop downstairs.

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