Thursday, September 22, 2011

A bittersweet memory...

As part of my August antics, Rheid and I traveled to Burley, Idaho, for a long weekend.  Our county fair, held the third weekend every August, brings lots of family and friends back home.  So it is also the typical time for Burley Bobcat alumni to hold their class reunions.  This year was Rheid's 30th (gasp)!  I can't believe it has been that long.  Since I was two years behind him in school, I know many of his classmates.  They were the mighty Seniors when I was but a lowly Sophomore.  So it was with more than a little trepidation that I strapped on the portable O2 and made my appearance at the reunion--not the look of  "what a lucky guy Rheid is to have such a young, hot looking wife" that I wish I could have gone for.  But I am glad I didn't talk myself out of attending because everyone was gracious and friendly and soon I was able to just relax and be me.  For better or worse.  We had a great time catching up with people and remembering old times.

Another big reason we took the trip was to be a part of my 89 year old grandmother's gigantic living estate sale.  She moved into assisted-living housing last year and had been storing things in case she didn't like her new place.  Well, now she is settled and enjoying her living situation.  Mom and Dad planned to have the sale over fair weekend knowing we'd all be home to help out.  My sisters and their kids did the majority of the work because Rheid and I came later in the week.

Grandkids having fun at the check out table.  
I had no idea how much stuff there was in Grandma's storage unit. Table after table of memories filled my parents driveway and yard.  It was hard to watch people carry away Grandma's things.  Large bowls that used to hold mashed potatoes and fried chicken.  Bags after bags full of colorful yarn she used to crochet afghans, dolls, animals, pot-holders, or just about anything you could imagine.  Clothes I remember her wearing.  Knickknacks that sat on her shelves and fireplace mantle.   It took a lot of will power to not make "treasures" out of everything.

Even this picture doesn't completely capture the magnitude of the sale.
But the things that reminded me of Grandma and Grandpa the most were the contents of the toy closet.  I picked a few toys to bring home with me because I couldn't bear for them to end up where someone didn't love them as much I as did.  There were just too many fun memories to let them go easily.

In fact, I couldn't think about many things too much or it felt too sad.  So I chose to focus on the good memories and remember that stuff is just stuff after all.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Can I just say...

(Editors Note:  Whining alert.  Don't proceed if you don't have any cheese and crackers available.  Thought about not posting this because there is a lot of sniveling involved and the rational part of me knows things really aren't that bad and could be a whole lot worse.  But here it is because, it is what it is.)

Sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks, typing through the blur, and wishing things were different.  Today is Day 15 and can I just say I'm tired of it.  Tired of it all.  Tired of beeping pumps that take forever to get turned off.  Tired of meal trays being sent to my room that I DIDN'T order.  Tired of describing the color and texture of what I'm coughing up!  It's the same and thick.  Believe me, you'll be the first to know when it changes. Tired of hearing "I can't find your orders for D-nase."  Uhhh, maybe because I don't take the stuff...sorry to disappoint you but D-nase doesn't do a darn thing for me so I choose not to waste my time breathing it in.  Tired of hearing "Your lungs sound clear!"  from nurses, RT techs, and even the glucose management team who listen to me.  Yes, things do tend to sound clear when your airways are not open enough to let the junk move around.  The doctors can hear and know the difference.  I can feel the difference.  Tired of stethoscope wielding people, period.  Next person who says, "Do you mind if I take a listen to your lungs?" just might get an earful of  "Yea, I do mind.  Go away!."  Along the same vein, "Take a deep breath for me."   Are you kidding me?  If I could do that, I wouldn't be here.  Do you really want to wait for 5 minutes for the coughing spasm to stop so you can continue to listen to me breathe in and out?  Because I do sound clear FYI.   Tired of reporting every bowl movement with its accompanying consistency description.  Tired of saying thank-you hundreds of times a day for every thing that people do for me.  I am grateful for their help, I am.  I want to be a nice patient because I want them to want to take care of me.  But I'm tired of being nice.  Tired of asking for blood sugar checks and then having to tell them they don't need to push hard because I'm a good bleeder.  Those darn finger sticks can go to the bone it feels like.  When the CNA rubs the alcohol wipe long and hard enough to erase your fingerprints, you know your poor finger doesn't stand a chance.  Clearly, they will not be the insightful person to grasp the concept of easing up.  Tired of nighttime saline boluses that turn me into Old Faithful--every hour and a half the pressure builds and even ambien can't stop that force of nature.  Maybe I'm just tired.

Whew, I just realized the tears are done.  I wonder if I can bill myself for my own therapeutic rant.  I feel lighter.  I feel better.  I believe I'll even be able to say thank you when the lunch I didn't order arrives in my room...again.

Friday, September 2, 2011

August antics...

My August antics, now stretching on into September, need to get out of my head and into this blog.  Heaven knows it's not that I don't have time on my hands--I just can't seem to put my random thoughts together coherently.  I'm blaming it on the drugs!  They're tough, they can take the heat.

I've been lounging at the Denver Bed and Breakfast since Monday the 22nd.  Yeah, not how I wanted to spend my last two official weeks of summer.  But at least I got a trip tucked in just before my lungs went south.  I felt very blessed that the hemoptosis (bleeding from lungs) waited until a few hours after we got home (aka: the dead of night) to make its appearance.  The tell-tale gurgle interrupted my sleep and then my life.

Because my last IV therapy benefits didn't last near as long as the doctor and I thought it should, we decided to change things up with this hospitalization.  We dropped my old standby, Tobramycin, for a different drug, Colistin.  Colistin is a very strong drug that acts like a detergent in your body. A weird side effect of Colistin is how it makes your tongue and mouth kind of numb and tingly--I didn't like that too much but it faded after several days. Also, it can be harmful to the kidneys so they must do blood draws one day and urine samples the next to monitor kidney function.  Because of this potential problem, they don't send patients home on it.  Therefore, instead of my usual "I'll stay until I feel better then I'll finish the IV's at home" routine, I've had to resign myself to two weeks of inpatient-ness.  I didn't realize how much being in charge of my timeline helped to make the stay seem shorter.  This has seemed extra loooong.  But all this being said--I LOVE COLISTIN!  This kidney clobbering medicine has upped my FEV1 to a whopping 35%--a number I haven't seen since the Great Debacle of 2009.  I am cautiously excited that it can really help me in my fight.

One disappointing part of this stay has been my loss of Vancomycin.  This red-man producing medicine now causes me bronchospasms.  Even with Benedryl on board, my lungs twitched for hours every time it ran. The twitching just about drove me nuts, especially during the night.  Finally I figured out the spasms were coinciding with each Vanco dose--about an hour into each infusion.  The weekend coverage doctor didn't think the Vanco was causing my symptoms but humored me nonetheless and discontinued the drug.  Taa daa!  No more twitchy lungs.  Haa!  Take that mister doctor who doesn't know my body as well as I do.

Other than drug issues, the only out of the ordinary thing here has been the ICE agents who have been guarding door #902.  The patient name listed on the doorplate definitely looked like a fake--I honed into that immediately using my NCIS marathon training.   The name started with a V and had about 13 more assorted letters strung along after it.  Finally on one of my intelligence-gathering laps around the floor, I got a good look at the offending patient.  Can you say terrorist??  I know.  Profiling is so yesterday.  But seriously, he fit the part.  I realize he probably wasn't feeling good and I wouldn't want to be judged  by how I look at the hospital but he sure appeared sketchy to me.

I guess I didn't get any real "thoughts" out--still processing the whole experience, my future, and other deep things.  But I am grateful for the tender mercies and protection I've felt through these past twelve days.  I am truly blessed.

Feeling so good, I asked if there was an available bike to use.  This top of the line
1980's model now adorns my room.  Check out that high tech wheel belt.  
Needing a new, clean pillowcase, my son sent along this old one a sweet lady made for my wedding.  The matching case says "I rule the Rooster."  He thought it would be hysterical.  Problem was whenever a healthcare worker saw me on my pillow, especially the night nurses, they thought I was bleeding. Really freaked out a couple of CNA's.   Sent the rooster packing!