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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What A Happy Weekend!

Well, the last six days since getting out of the hospital have been a big, happy blur of activity! I had a burst of energy on Friday and cleaned, getting ready for my sister Celia's visit. She is a hairdresser with her own salon and she came up to Council Bluffs to attend a big hair show. Then she took some time off and came over to spend Sunday through this morning with me. Spending time with her is such a gift! Long story short, I didn't eve know Celia until I was about 30... I had been adopted as a baby and she and I were raised separately. We met once when I was 10 and she was 5... but we lost track of one another for many years. Once we were reunited, we instantly bonded and became best friends as well as sisters.  She had some new toys from the hair show - my daughter and I had fun being "guinea pigs" for her new "bling strands" and instant hair color, which is awesome to hide that gray stuff in between hair colorings!  The bling strands are just pure fun. You tie them into the hair like extensions and they stay there indefinitely. As you may know, I pretty much love anything that sparkles! Anytime I get to have her mess with my hair it's a huge treat for me. She taught Cari how to put in the strands so here she is doing Celia's hair.

Yesterday we had a ball at the Goodwill store! She and I both love thrift store shopping. She found a great sweater for me and I found a pretty silk blouse for her. After a nap and a spaghetti dinner, we had a girls' night out last night and went to see "The Help," which I thought was awesome. It left me with a kind of bittersweet/sad mood, but still a very good movie. It'll probably get added to my permanent collection eventually.

Sis left early this morning and I overslept! I woke up late, in a lot of pain from the long time of inactivity (arthritis makes you "rust in place" when you are not moving for a long time).  It's going to be just a bad day. That's ok, if I overdid it a bit it was worth it.  Hopefully on October 10 I'll get a new hip and I won't have to deal with days like this anymore.

Off to catch up on email and probably crochet for awhile. I'm working on a lap afghan for myself out of all the white fancy yarns I have left over from the scarf project last fall.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still Mending!

I always expect, when I have some medical crisis happen, that once everything is figured out and treated or fixed, I should bounce back right away and be able to "hit it."  Meaning, be productive.  Today I woke up sore all over and feeling like warmed over death, and just could not get going. The worst of this is the chills. Just can't shake them. We don't have the heat on yet and while it's not actually cold in here, it stays in the low 60's. That along with chills is just misery. I can't get warm no matter what I do.

The nurses called and said they wanted to come this morning to do my IV and I actually said no.  Not for at least two hours anyway!  Finally around noon I managed to get myself cleaned up and dressed and put on my face for the first time in a few days.  That in itself felt a lot better!  Got the dishes done, tidied up the house just a bit, and by 2 I felt strong enough to go outside and get some fresh air for a few minutes.

I turned on the water and picked up the garden hose to water the container plants and the new babies in my 'out my window' garden, and promptly sprayed myself right in my newly-applied face full force with the hose. Well, that really woke me up, I suppose!  I watered kind of in a daze, kept twisting up the hose and doing awkward things.  I quit and went indoors and the nurse arrived right after that. She asked me to do my blood sugar and it was only 53!! No wonder I was out of it!  Luckily Heidi had just arrived with fresh baked white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies... so that fixed me right up. I have no idea why my blood sugar went so low, but it got by me - I had no idea. Not good. I'll have to keep a closer eye on it. Maybe it's the infection, the antibiotics, who knows.

Was a bit miffed today when the nurse asked if I could just take out my own IV after the infusion was done. I mean, I've dealt with ports and picc lines but IV's kinda creep me out.  For an $8,000 visit, not the greatest level of service.  'm-I bad? I did it anyway but just didn't like it.

Koby is doing so great! I really need to weigh him again. I'm sure he's up near 20 pounds. He really has his routine down! He's like a little alarm clock.  8:45 am he starts "moo-ing" for his breakfast.  6:45 p.m., same thing.  He cracks me up. Lately he has decided he likes to take a little nap in his kennel after he eats. (I put him in his kennel to eat so the other dogs won't eat his food).   I read tonight about a friend's cat who was not able to get insulin for three days due to a flood, and despite heroic efforts, died today. So sad.  I just hate illness. In dogs, in people... it is always so unfair.

I'm so sad to see the first tinges of color on the trees. Fall is going to come early, no two ways about it. There's a frost advisory out tonight for our adjoining county to the north. I need to get the plants indoors for sure this weekend or it's going to catch me unprepared.  Always hate that, it's such a mess and makes things more crowded indoors for the winter. But I can't leave them out, no way am I going to lose them! Last year I brought in two pots of Gerbera daisies and I was so thrilled when they made it through the winter and bloomed again outdoors this summer. This year I'll have to try and save the geraniums Ron got me, and the mimosa trees I grew from seeds in the pots (here are both, together), and of course my bougainvillea must come in... I have a gorgeous Lantana that got just huge and I've never tried to save one of those. Sigh. I know one thing, with all the transplanting I've done this summer, I will have some beautiful gardens next summer as they all mature!

My sister Celia is coming this weekend and I'm so excited! I haven't seen her since about May, I guess, when I went down to visit her for the weekend. That was the precise weekend my left hip (the unreplaced one) gave out. I'll never forget that Sunday morning. Things are much better now and hopefully that hip will finally get replaced on Oct 10 as scheduled this time! I refused having a new port or picc line put in just for that reason. I don't want ANY avoidable cause of potential infection to interfere with this surgery again! Three postponements are more than enough.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On The Mend!

After a long day with no coffee (who cares about food!) I finally got word just after 3 that I was headed to surgery to remove the port. They just wheeled me in there in my own bed, draped it all up and went to work. Nice dr and two helpers. When he removed the dressing he was shocked and told me the port had actually eroded through the skin and was exposed to the air! That's so incredibly dangerous for infection!

So after a bit of iv sedation and a local, he went to work removing it. That was the easy part, I guess. It took him over 30 minutes to close the incision because my skin was so thin and there wasn't enough to stretch. Damn prednisone. He finally got it to work, telling me, "You sure made me sweat there!" It had been hurting a lot before, and while it's been pretty sore after, the deep icky pain has gone.

Now that this infected hardware is out, my body (and Cipro) can start killing off all the nasty bugs and get well!

Sitting outside, it's about 60 and pretty breezy, but for the first time in a couple weeks I don't have chills, so it's almost pleasant. I've spent so many nights over the past year roaming deserted hospital corridors and parking lots thst I've lost count. I think it's about enough already! I'm really hoping they'll let me go home tomorrow. I can hear my container plants gasping for water from here!

Last night Ron brought Koby up here so I could give him his insulin. That was awesome to have some doggie time! Koby's totally blind. I "shhh'd" Ron and just put my hand up to Koby's nose. It confused him for a second before he figured out it was me, but them he wiggled and wagged like a happy puppy! I love that boy so much.

Well, time to head inside hopefully for another nap. Night all...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back in Club Med

I have this thing called a Port. It's like a central line that goes to your heart. Nice thing to have if you have lousy veins and have to have IV meds all the time... Which I do. Well, about ten days ago the opening to it got infected. In the hospital twice for it. Iv antibiotics all week at home. Then I got this phone call today, the culture results came in
And I'm growing pseudomonas in the actual line. Thats bad. Doctor said the antibiotic I was on won't kill it, so get my fanny in to have different antibiotics and surgery to remove the port. Not what I planned but I kind of suspected that's what was going to happen.

I came in about 4 pm, having run out for Koby schnauzer's prescription food and gotten everything done that I could at the house.

It was all going well until they started to put me on monitors. I have this problem with being tied down to a bed to do with being trapped. I saw no reason for it so I objected. My wonderful nurse called the doc and made the bad monitor go away. So I went out for a walk and I was fine. Had a nice dinner about an hour ago and now I'm officially on nothing to eat/drink. Don't mind that too much. I'm outside right now and it's a gorgeous perfect night.

I guess my family thinks I'm some tough cookie. Lately I drive myself to the hospital, see no one, and drive myself home. I guess that's ok. Well, maybe just the tiniest pity party... Why does no one seem to think this is s big scary deal... Which it actually is, this time. I'm just feeling a bit scared and alone right now. Oh well, woman-up... It'll be over soon. Then I can drive home port-free, firing up a Camel and blasting 'Moves Like Jagger' (I LOVE that song right now!!!) not so much the words but the music.

Well kids, that's it for now. Back inside to do what needs doing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yes, I know this pic is crooked.  If I had Photoshop going, I'd fix it.  But.... this is a picture about best friends, not photography.  This is my fairy goddaughter Laurie.  I adore her. Always have, since I met her when she was just 4 years old! She is my friend Sally's daughter.  

This picture is taken at Laurie's beautiful home.  She has the eye of an artist in her decorating. Everything is so well coordinated, creative and out of the ordinary. LOVE her house and things.  She gets this skill honestly, as her mom is also a great decorator.  When I walked into Laurie's the other night to visit she and her  mom, who was up visiting from KC, I realized that Laurie's house is just like Sally's house... when you walk in, you are HOME.  It's just a feeling, hard to describe.  

To her left is Lucky Dog.  I adore him too. He's a big, loveable 11 year old boy.  Very shy! It took him close to two hours to come over and get a piece of cheese from me! (I never give up!) He finally did, and before the evening was over he surprised me by smacking me with his paw to shake hands! I should go and see him more often, he's a sweetie. 

Laurie's two daughters, Lacey and Chelsea, are just angels. Such good girls and smart, sweet personalities - I truly do love them both.  

Nothing new to report with me, still on the IV antibiotics at home, just trying to get a few more things done before the Oct 10 hip surgery. If it happens that is. I'll believe it when I see it! 

The flowers and weather are just amazing right now. Everything is so happy. I was so inspired I finally got cushions for my patio furniture. We'll see how long those last... 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's The Perfect Day!

So beautiful out my window... somewhere in the high 60's... sunshine sparkling on the ferns and hostas and wisteria in my "out my window" garden... watching the brown and black squirrels sneaking in and out to bury their treasures.  AND I'm feeling pretty decent this morning! And if that's not enough, my BFF Sally is in town visiting her daughter and family, and I'm pretty sure I'll get to see her while she's in town. Daughter's off to church, husband's off to golf, son's off to breakfast with his girlfriend, and the dogs are even behaving:) Koby's doing so well. I'm really amazed at his progress on the new food and new insulin dose. He's so happy, too. Despite being totally blind, he's always brave and wagging his tail just at the sound of my voice. I love that boy.

Keepin' it short today. Too much "out there" to enjoy. Plenty of time for "in here" later on. Today's word, if there is one, is "enjoy."

Today's picture is my favorite container this summer. It has a Mimosa tree I grew from seed this year, three geranium plants which are pink, white and red but not blooming right now, and the mystery Shamrock plant. Mystery because I keep forgetting the bulb in containers after the plants die off for winter, and I never know where it's going to pop up next time! The shamrocks are huge, about 4" across.

Friday, September 9, 2011

You Just Never Know What's Around The Corner...

Last week I was all about getting ready for this Monday's upcoming hip replacement. I was doing all the things I wouldn't be able to do for awhile, shopping for stuff, all the usual things.  Little did I know that by Tuesday of this week I'd be admitted to the hospital with a serious infection!

I have a port.  It's an implanted thingy that they can access your bloodstream with. It's for people who are "tough sticks" for IV's, receive a lot of infusion treatments, and so on.  All that is me. So I got my port implanted about 4 months ago when I started receiving IVIG infusions every week for my myasthenia. After my infusion last Thursday, I noticed on Friday that the port site was kind of sore. By Saturday and through Sunday, it got even more sore. By Monday, it was sore and red.  On Tuesday, it was all that plus swelling around the port opening. Oops, time to go.

Got to the ER about 6 pm and went through triage, then I sat and waited for a few hours. It turn to be designated trauma site and they got slammed hard. Finally got checked out, admitted for IV antibiotics, and in my room with the drugs running by about 1:30 a.m.  They were not sure if the infection was subcutaneous (in the skin around the port) or actually IN the port (far more dangerous, and an indication the port would have to be removed). I was lucky - as it turned out I had a sub-Q infection only. That in itself is no picnic either, but it's responding well to IV antibiotics so far and I won't have to have the port taken out (that would be another surgery).

Got back home last night about 7, it was great to be home. Had a really nice night's sleep in my own bed. Today the home nurse came and accessed the port, and started the first dose of 14 days of IV antibiotics here at home. So far, so good - I'm feeling ok and no side effects so far. Tomorrow one of my BFF's, Sally, is coming up from KC to see her daughter's family for her granddaughter Lacey's birthday coming up the 11th. I'm thrilled I'll get to see her, as it's been a pretty crappy week otherwise!

SO... this infection had one major effect, it instantly scrapped the hip surgery for Monday. They will not do this operation if you've had an active infection within two weeks, so we are rescheduled now for October 10. This is the 4th postponement, I believe, I'm starting to lose count....  The hip is doing that thing the other one did for awhile where it'll catch on a bone spur every so often and cause excruciating pain until it "pops" back in. Usually that takes an hour or two to happen.  My other hip did that before the surgery but eventually got to the point where it got stuck in the bad position and stayed there... and I stayed like that for several months before the surgery could be done. So let's hope this postponement is the last, and we go in October - I don't think I could go through what I did the last time, again.

In other news - Koby is doing great! I'm having to keep a little t-shirt on him to keep Scrappy from licking his back. Petsmart had a sale last week and I picked up several cute ones for him. Today he got to wear his new "Lynyrd Skynyrd" t-shirt, my son John (a big fan) was really impressed:) I always knew Koby was a rock star:) Seriously, he is still gaining weight and drinking less water. I think he is so much better and so much perkier than he's been in forever. Definitely going the right direction!

SueSue has been getting into trouble this week. She's going through one of her extreme jealousy phases and her target seems to be Ladybug. She has attacked her twice in a week. She's not hurting her, it's all noise - but it still scares the crap out of Ladybug and that's no good. She has had to "go kennel" for an hour each time afterward. She livin' HATES that kennel. She can't stand being away from me for any length of time, even tho she's just in the next room. We had this problem a couple of years ago with her. It took about 4 trips to the kennel to get her to knock it off.  Hopefully she will respond in the same way this time. Really odd, her trigger is going into the house! She and Ladybug and all the others were out on the patio with me for a good two hours tonight, and the minute I headed to the door to let everyone in, she went off on Ladybug.

Tomorrow is supposed to be yet another in a series of perfect weather days! I need to do some tiny gardening - just in the front steps garden, putting a few seedlings into the bed for winter. That, some laundry, and NO IVIG tomorrow (due to the infection)!! Happy Thursday to me!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blogging It Al Fresco Today!

Well, at least to start with... the bugs started winning and I retreated inside! I tell you, it HAS to be the weather - which has been in the perfect 70's for a few days now... that is affecting me in such a positive way! During some random moment, I'll have these little "flashes" of happiness about whatever is going on at the moment. I'm normally pretty contented, but to be "actively happy" is another thing!  Whatever the reason, I sure have enjoyed the last three days. I hope this continues all week up to the surgery next Monday! Wouldn't that be nice.

I've been doing a lot of organizing - putting away little things here and there. Today I started trying to clean house and got to the point of dusting, and couldn't find my duster spray - so off to Walmart I went. Here are four of my purchases in the photo - can you spot them? I fell in love with the Better Homes & Gardens floral and stripe coordinating prints earlier this summer. Today I picked up a chair cushion, two pillows and a tablecloth.

Came home and tossed together dinner, baked an orange cake that was to-die-for, and then after eating, my stupid hip popped out again. It's doing that numerous times every day now. When the right hip went bad it finally went out and stayed out... for months. I'm really hoping we go next Monday as planned in order to avoid that.

Koby is doing great! His drinking has cut back and he's continuing to eat well and regain weight. I am thrilled!  It amazes me how happy he is, even tho he is blind. Always wagging that tail! Here he is with best friend (and nurse) Scrappy Jack, who thinks Koby's ears need cleaning.

I tell you, if I could bottle the last days and preserve them somehow...  I surely would. Abject happiness. And wearing my hair in braids:)

Friday, September 2, 2011

To Sleep, Perchance To... Have Another Episode of the Nightmare?

I have always found dreams to be really fascinating, have even written them down here and there over the years. Right now I'm in the middle of a "theme" nightmare. At first I thought it was an episodic, or serial nightmare. But no. As I just discovered, when I awoke at 3:50 a.m. for the third consecutive day, it's definitely a theme. And the theme is lost, scared, and out of control.  Now, having had my surgery cancelled three times in a row and enduring a lot of pain feels something like that, so I'm not too surprised. Just my jumble of emotions working their way out through dreams. If you don't find weird dreams interesting, bag it right here and move on... because I'm going to journal them HERE. (How's that for brave, huh?)

The first dream two nights ago involved getting into my car as a young teenager to go home. But I kept going in and out of consciousness (in the dream) and the car would't work right. After going through a few scary places, I finally found a UP caboose car in a well lighted parking lot with lots of people around. I crawled myself in there and got help. After figuring out I'd been kidnapped and drugged, I woke up.

Dream two picked up where dream one left off.  The people who were helping me were also helping a little girl who had gone through the same thing as me. She had a cute little dog. During the process of helping her, I started having recall flashes of things that had happened to me. Then it went on into lawyers, DNA tests, and ended with me having dinner with my new attorney in an abandoned picnic shelter.

Dream three - I was driving to a meeting with Martha Stewart to make some type of pitch to her about the rescue. (Think Martha Stewart Pets!)  Martha Stewart's Pet Research/Product Testing facility! The inside was entirely sloped floors and I couldn't stand up anywhere. It was some type of adoption day and there were hundreds of dogs and people there. Lots of sliding around on muddy floors, never quite falling down but totally out of control.  At the end I learned it was in Jefferson City, MO. When I went outside, there was a tornado touching down next to the building and I was leaving on a bicycle.   All I know is that earlier that day I'd been looking at Martha Stewart's line of doggie outfits at Petsmart! That'll teach me...

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