Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Simple Woman's Daybook



Outside my window...the sun is shining brightly but there is a nip in the air.

I am thinking...of Christmas! What it really means! And which should I be worrying about....teaching the kids the real meaning of Christmas or how am I ever going to be able to afford it?

I am thankful...for my awesome and wonderful youngest son. He comes and he seems to know just what I need. He paid for the furnace, he went to the store for me and he gave me time off from my care giving job.

In the kitchen...I am planning on a cookie bake for the weekend

I am wearing...shorts (yep, it is winter here and freezing outdoors) tee shirt and fuzzy socks. A sight I am sure

I am creating...cookie cutter picture frames to give the kids to hang on their trees

I am the gas station soon to gas up the car!

I am Richard can listen to news ALL DAY LONG

I am reading...Blood Ties on my Nook Color

I am hoping...for relief from my money worries

I am looking forward to...the weekend...make cookies on Saturday with Darian, Harley, Piper, Willow and Tucker and having Paige with us on Sunday

I am hearing.....President Obama trying to convince us how wonderful he is :)

Around the house...Christmas has arrived...all is decorated and looks so festive

I am it is that Richard can become so confused at times.

One of my favorite things...Thanksgiving...and we really enjoyed having all the family here this year.

A few plans for the rest of the week: shopping for groceries, gassing the car, making cookies and church on Sunday

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Our 2011 Christmas Tree

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We dodged another Bullet-Part Two

     When I returned to the hospital the next morning, Richard was awake. He said he slept well. No one was around so I could ask "What's up" His heart rhythm looks regular and around 56. That is awesome. BP is 156/65. A bit high but I knew they had held his meds. Soon into the room comes Richard's nurse and the doctor's PA.
     The PA was discussing Richard with the nurse (and ignoring us). One of my biggest pet peeves, as a nurse, is when the doctor does not include the patient and the family in the conversation they are having right in front of them.....about them. She (the PA) told the nurse..".the plan is to keep him NPO (no food) and arrange for a colonoscopy and an upper endo so that we can find out where he is bleeding. We can move him upstairs until these can be arranged" So being the person that I am....."Excuse me," I say, "but this will be up to us to decide what we are going to do, won't it?" She turns to look at me with that facial expression that says "who do you think you are to interrupt me?" So being the person that I am...."Are these tests going to take place today?" I say. She says that they probably won't. So I say, 'then we want to go home and we will schedule them as an outpatient." She proceeds to tell me that will be up to his primary doctor that she only represents the cardiologist (really, I thought I just heard you talking about scheduling these tests/)  A few more words and she leaves the room.
     Richard's nurse Renee (great, by the way) said I will call his doctor for you and see if we can get them scheduled as an out-patient and see if he can be dismissed. I had already by this time asked about the hemoglobin and potassium results and was told they had returned to normal and his heart was now doing what it is supposed to be doing. There was really no further need to remain in the hospital.
     Then in came a NEW doctor. He introduced himself and said he was a kidney specialist and the cardiologist had asked him to come see Richard about how bad his lab looked and make some suggestions. He said that his potassium was way too low and his calcium was too low and the albumin was low. He wanted to know how Richard was eating. I said, 'he eats great, not as much as he used to but has a good appetite." So his suggestions are to start him on oral potassium 3X daily and to give him calcium 3 times daily and he would like to see him again in 2 weeks with some follow up labs. Okay! Add another doctor to the already too many who see us.
     Then this guy leaves the room and is sitting at the desk with Richard's chart. Pretty soon he comes back into the room and pulls a chair over closer to me. He says, "Something is wrong! But Not with Richard" What the heck! He then goes on to tell me that he just reviewed the labs that were drawn this very morning and compared them to the admission labs. His very low hemoglobin was now normal. Impossible with just two units of blood. And his potassium was now at the top side of normal. Again, probably not possible. And his calcium was normal and his albumin was normal. In fact, he didn't have any abnormal values at all!
     So forget about the meds he just told me to give. But come see him in two weeks just to make sure all is still okay. I heard him on the phone call the lab. I heard him tell them to find that blood and rerun all the labs using the same blood.
     Next time, Renee, the nurse was in the room she received a call on her portable phone from the lab. It was about Richard. When she hung up she said that they had done a finger stick blood draw and there was no blood left to run another test on WHAT????  They did not do a finger stick. I was in the room. The drew the blood from his left arm vein just before the IV was started. They did NOT do a finger stick. I examined his finger tips to see if there were any puncture wounds and there were not. What is going on here?????
      Now we are preparing for discharge. The snooty PA has returned twice to talk with me. She has explained that we would still like to do an occult blood check on Richard's BM (that tests for bleeding) We did it and it was NEGATIVE!  No blood! And he could be discharged from the hospital. A low dose of potassium ONCE a day would be started so that he would stay in the normal range. This woman couldn't have been nicer. HMMMMM!
     So we are now home and all is okay. He feels good and his heart is beating normal. He takes a new pill to make sure it stays in the normal rhythm. But he received 2 units of blood that he probably didn't need in the first place. That is probably not a big deal. He received a BIG dose of potassium that didn't cause him any harm cause now he is in the high normal. But potassium is deadly. And it could have caused harm.And it scared the holy crap out of his family again, thinking he was really, really sick! But he's not!   If you want my take on what I think: one, somewhere in that hospital someone needs a blood transfusion and some potassium. Or, two, with all the prayers we were receiving while there, the Good Lord above healed Richard over night. Thank you Lord. And please, please, please to all lab personnel make sure you know what you are doing. A person's life depends on you knowing what you are doing!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We dodged another Bullet-Part One

     Tuesday afternoon Richard had an appointment with his cardiologist. Just a follow-up for the carotid stent procedure that was done in October. Not a big deal. He was doing good. No problems. Or so we thought!
     We were shown to the exam room. The nurse took his BP and pulse. I asked what they were. Like I always do.BP 106/60. Not too bad. Pulse 112. WHAT?? He usually runs about 56-60. Okay, she probably didn't count right. After she leaves the room, I get up to take his pulse. WHAT?? It is 110. Well he did walk all the way back into this room. And climbed up on an exam table. That is all that it is. Exertion!
     The doctor comes into the room. He examines him. He sits down and begins to ask him questions. Richard looks to me for the answers. He has done this since his stroke. But this is a 'no nonsense' doctor who wants the patient to answer the questions. So.......he finally gets around to the elevated pulse and says that he would like to run an EKG. Okay. Good idea!
     So in comes the EKG machine. Now I can read an EKG....a little. I am not an expert by any means. But I do know a bad EKG...and this one didn't look good. Back into the room comes the doctor with the EKG in hand. He says 'this is a fatal rhythm and he needs to be admitted to ICU at the hospital' What did he say? FATAL!
     Now my darling husband does not like being in the hospital. Wait! Not like might be not a strong enough word. He HATES being in the hospital and he doesn't want to go. I tell him that the final decision is his. He is 78 years old and it should be his choice. But I make sure that he understands that it could be FATAL.
     He decides that maybe he should go to the hospital.
     So off to the hospital we go. It is just across the street. We make it through the admission process and off we go to the ICU. Hey, they remember us from our last stay. Several of the nurses come to the room to greet
They also know me. This is the same hospital where I worked for 23 years.
     He is hooked up to the heart monitor, an IV is started. The BP cuff is attached. An o2 sat monitor is taped to his finger. And the Lab people come in to draw his initial labs. We are on the way. And by the way, his heart rate doesn't look so bad right now. But he is going in and out of V-tach. For anyone who doesn't know....that is the FATAL rhythm. The nurse is waiting for the IV Amiodorone to come from the pharmacy. This will be the first line of action. And if the medication doesn't work...then in the morning they will plan to do a cardioversion. Shock him for all the lay people who are reading. Now we settle in to let the medication do it's magic. relaxing here. The nurse comes in and says that his hemoglobin is 6.5. And his potassium is 2.0. Those are very low counts. She calls the doctor. Four units of blood are to be typed and cross/matched and 2 will be given now. And he will get two oral doses of potassium and four IV packets of potassium. He is a very sick man.......Again!
      But he doesn't look all that sick. And he doesn't act all that sick. But he must be. Because those kinds of lab results show that he is sick.
     The blood transfusion is started. They start a second IV site so that he can get the potassium. So, three IV sites are now going. They are monitoring his heart continuously and his BP is being taken every 15 minutes.
I go home for a short bit. Talk with the kids and my son. Make some phone calls. Grab a hamburger and a coke. And head back to the hospital to stay with him until he is ready to settle in and go to sleep for the night.......

(to be continued)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today (November 15, 2011)

Outside my window..Sunny, windy and 48* I think there is a change in the air

I am thinking...about the change that my life has taken now that I am a full-time caregiver

I am thankful for... my family and how good everyone has been to us since Richard's stroke

From the kitchen... I am making baked chicken, mashed potatoes and some kind of veggie for supper tonight. Justin and Paige will be here

I am wearing... jeans and tee shirt

I am be leaving soon to take Richard to the doctor for his first follow-up since the carotid procedure

I am reading...True Blue by David Baldacci

I am hoping... that Richard will let me sleep tonight. It seems when I am my most tired is when he is awake a lot

I am hearing... the, endless news

Around the house... doing a lot of cleaning getting ready for Thanksgiving

One of my favorite things... having my family here for Thanksgiving

Inspired by our wedding song... The Wedding Song."

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts
Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love,
there is Love.

Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.
As it was in the beginning is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.
And there is Love,
there is Love.

Well then what's to be the reason for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?
For if loving is the answer, then who's the giving for?
Do you believe in something that you've never seen before?
Oh there is Love,
there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is Love,
there is Love.

The minister who married us by the lake in Colorado, brought his guitar and played this song and sang to us
A few plans for the rest of the week...
  • clean the bathrooms
  • finish my laundry
  • borrow the rug shampooer
  • help the kids finish up with things out in the yard

Here is a picture I am of my favorite of Paige...I love all the freckles

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Today we ripped off a blogger named Tense Teacher from the blog Tense for a Reason. It's long so we'll do it in two parts. She stole it from The Coffee Table. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part 2

Cheers to all of us thieves!

23. Do you ever walk around the house naked? is my house! And sometimes as I walk past an open window, I wave; in case anyone is looking.

24. If you were an animal what would you be? Why?
I would be a cat because they are lazy and they get to lay around and do nothing all day. I would not catch mice, however.

25. Hair color you like on someone you’re dating?
Since I would never date anyone (I am married after all) I won't pick.

26. If suffering an injury, would you rather be left blind or deaf?
This is a hard one but I think I would have to pick that I would rather be deaf.

27. Do you have any special talents?
I have to say that I am a darn good caregiver since that is what I do. And just ask my hubby and grand kids and they would tell you I do it well.

28. What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?
Close the door and put my keys on the counter.

29. Do you like horror or comedy?

30. Are you missing anyone? mom who died 6 years ago, my best friend who died 4 years ago, and the man who used to reside in my husbands body (he had a stroke in September and is just not the same anymore)

31. Where do you want to live when you are old?
I do not want to live when I am old.

32. Who is the person you can count on the most?
Wow....I used to say my husband but not anymore (see above) SO  now I guess it would be me

33. If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be?
Elvis Presley and have him sing to me everyday

34. What did you dream last night?
The same dream I always have when I am stressed....that I am at work at the hospital and I have neglected my patients all shift...what the heck does this dream mean?

35. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Ice skating

36. Are you named after anyone?
Yep named after my mom. Pauline

37. What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

38. Non alcoholic drink?
Recently it has been screwdrivers.
39. Have you ever been in love?
Most assuredly

40. Do you sing in the shower?
No but I cry in the shower

41. Have you ever been arrested?
Not yet

42. What is your favorite Holiday?

43. Would you ever get plastic surgery?
If I could afford it I would....I would like a face lift, a boob lift, a tummy tuck, and liposuction

44. Have you ever caught a fish?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Won't someone tell me...................

That is what I want to hear 
I want it to be alright.
I know that it will get easier
But right now it all seems so hard
And so unfair
And so sad
But I know that it will be alright.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And a tumble he took

I awoke early this morning to a crash. The bedroom was dark. I felt next to me and no Richard. I jumped out of bed and flipped on the light. I expected that he had fallen out of bed. But I found him laying between the dresser and the window. With blood running down his arm. And he was pale and sweating. I helped him up and to the bathroom. Cleaned up the long skin tear to his right forearm. And tucked him back into bed. He admits that he tried to get to the bathroom without waking me up. He thinks I needed to sleep.
God Bless his little heart.
But please wake me up the next time.
I used to have patients in both the hospital and the nursing home when I worked that would get up to help themselves because "I didn't want to bother you". I used to tell them that helping them after the fall, doing all the paper work and monitoring was far MORE trouble than the simple assist to the bathroom in the first place.
Today I noticed a little more droop to the left eye. And he is struggling some with doing simple math.
Did he have another little stroke. Or maybe a TIA. Who knows! We see the doctor again next week.
I will continue to monitor.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Stealing

Today we ripped off a blogger named Tense Teacher from the blog Tense for a Reason. It's long so we'll do it in two parts. She stole it from The Coffee Table. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Take the time to comment on other player's posts. It's a great way to make new friends! Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!

Sunday Stealing: The Madness Meme, Part 1

Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?
Nope....and I have never heard that this worked. In fact, I have never heard of anyone doing it!

2. What’s the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?
My current husband is 18 years older than me right this very minute!

3. Ever been in a car wreck?
Yep, just before I was 16 my brother flipped the car we were riding in on a country road!

4. Were you popular in high school?
Nope and I am still not!

5. Have you ever been on a blind date?
Yes a couple....and they were both disasters

6. Are looks important?
Not now! When I was younger I thought they were...but not anymore.

7. Do you have any friends that you’ve known for 10 years or more? best friend Roseanne.

8. By what age would you like to be married?
I am already married

9. Does the number of people a person’s slept with affect your view of them?

10. Have you ever made a mistake?

11. Are you a good tipper?
Usually the normal 15% and that is enough. In fact I really don't like the whole idea of tipping

12. What’s the most you have spent for a haircut?
$30.00   and I think that is outrageous

13. Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?
Yes, my 8th grade Civics teacher

14. Have you ever peed in public?
I am not sure what this means...but I probably have

15. What song do you want played at your funeral?
MY WAY..... Elvis Presley

16. Would you tell your parents if you were gay?
Of course...they wouldn't care...they are both dead

17. What would your last meal be before getting executed?
Lobster, baked potato sour cream salad and lots of WINE

18. Beatles or Stones?

19. If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who would it be?

20. Beer, wine or hard liquor?
All of it but I am a wine girl

21. Do you have any phobias?

22. What are your plans for the future?
Just to make it through today

Earthquakes in Kansas?

     Craziest thing ever happened last night at our house. I was sitting here at the computer desk and my husband was in his recliner watching TV Both of the grand kids had already gone to bed. Suddenly, the lamp on my desk started to shake and move towards the edge. What the heck? I thought. Then I looked up at my husband and he had the funniest look on his face. He said that he thought his legs was shaking
(he has Parkinson's) but he looked down and his legs were still. About that time Darian, our 13 year old grandson literally burst into the living room and said "What the heck, someone is shaking my bed!" That is when I decided we were having an earthquake. At that very moment the newscasters from a near by town broke into the TV program and announced.....Oklahoma had had a 5.6 earthquake and we here in Kansas could feel it.....What???? Who ever heard of an Earthquake in Kansas?

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Darian, my 13 year old grandson, went to a Lock In (I don't know why they call it that because they weren't locked in...they drove around all night to different venues) last night. We dropped him off at the church at 6:30 for a bus trip to Wichita, a town about 60miles from us. It is actually not a town but a huge city. When I picked him up at 6 a.m. (yeah, early, I know) he had not slept at all but had a blast. They went ice skating, bowling, rode go-carts, played racquetball and had church activities with a huge number of other kids. He came home and crawled into bed and it is almost noon and he is still there. Sweet dreams Darian!

Friday, November 4, 2011


"How silently they tumble down

And come to rest upon the ground

To lay a carpet, rich and rare,

Beneath the trees without a care,

Content to sleep, their work well done,

Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly

Until they nearly reach the sky.

Twisting, turning through the air

Till all the trees stand stark and bare.

Exhausted, drop to earth below

To wait, like children, for the snow."

- Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Daybook


November 3, 2011

Outside My Window...
It is dark and cold.....only 27* Winter will soon be here

I am thinking...
About how much I don't like winter. I hope it goes by fast and isn't very cold with very little snow this year

I am thankful for...
My family

From the kitchen...
I have cooked a lot lately. I recently made chicken and noodles for the first time in ages. Tonight though only hamburger helper (sigh)

I am wearing...
sweats and a tee shirt. Almost time for bed

I am creating...
Space in the house....learning to let go of STUFF

I am going...
CRAZY!!!!!! Every day I think this is the day I will wake up and things will be normal again.

I am reading...
mostly on my Nook.....cannot remember the name of the current book and too lazy to go find out

I am hoping...
for Hope! and Change! and Security

I am hearing...
the TV that Richard is watching while I wait for him to want to go to bed.

Around the house...
I will be cleaning and getting ready for Thanksgiving

One of my favorite things...
having my family over for the Thanksgiving meal

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Darian goes to a lock-in and I need to go to the store

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sadness and Depression

     Today I have felt sad. And depressed. It is not going to get better. I am not going to go back to work. We will learn to live on just his salary and it will not be easy. I have been going through the office and his desk. Things are kind of a mess. I think he has probably been struggling with this for longer than I knew. I think he had some dementia that I just didn't want to admit. Trying to find the important papers has been fun. And finding out what he has not paid has not been fun. I will work to get it all straightened out again. We have moved my desk and computer into the living room so that I can be near him ALL the time. He doesn't like it if I am out of the room for long. I have turned off the land line. To save money. I am doing the grocery shopping and I look for the cheapest and the sale items. We never did this before. He bought what he wanted. I now use a list. I have to watch carefully if we are going to make it. I will not qualify for my social security for another 18 months.
     He cannot help me with much of anything. He cannot remember. He knows that he gets a pension check, but not when it comes. He knows that he gets social security, but not how much. He doesn't have any of the answers to the questions I ask about his Medicare.
     He cannot remember what kind of oil we use in the car. He cannot tell me where to find the titles to the cars. I continue to look. And I will figure it all out.
     He smiles a lot more than he used to. He jokes with the kids. He laughs. He is funny. He is fun to be around. Much like having another child in the house. Now I feel like a single mom with three kids. It is like my husband left me and now I am alone. With half the money we used to have. And I am now responsible for a big house with a big yard.
     My oldest brother comes often. And he always brings something. A walker, a gel pad for the chair, a blender, food. He has been my rock. And this week we found out that he has plaque in his carotid and his retinal arteries. He needs surgery. He wants to wait until December 1 so that his Medicare will kick in. WILL THIS NIGHTMARE EVER END?
     I have a good family. They are here for me. I do not hear from my sister. She is still upset. Another long story that I don't feel like going into here. I needed her and she didn't come. It really hurts. But she is still my sister. I will go on. And so will she. But my brothers have been awesome. And my sons. And my 'adopted' daughter. And my cousins. And many many good friends. They have been here for me.

     We also have a new church family that have been very, very good to us. When the kids came to stay with us Marvin and Heather took them to their church. First Church of the Nazarene. The kids have thrived and grown in that church. They were baptized there in August. We had begun to attend on a semi-regular basis. And people who were almost like strangers to Richard and me have been there for us. They have prayed for and with us. And it is awesome. They have provided financial help. They have provided rides for the kids to and from their activities. They have called on us. Richard's first outing after coming home from the hospital was to church. And he loves to go. It is good for both of us. It is God's will!
     I feel better now. I think it helps to write things down. And it will give me a place to look back. And see how far we have come. And see how silly I was to be sad and depressed.
This was taken on his 78th birthday in January 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

This is the Way it Now is!

     Well the stoke now was more than a month ago. We went into the hospital for an uneventful overnight stay and had the carotid cleaned out and stents placed. Now it is just the day to day living.
     Not much has changed. Richard's memory is much the same. He remembers everyone. And most long term memories he still has. But there are some things he4 does not remember. The layout of our house seems to cause him a big problem. He has to be told each time which direction to turn when we are going out of the living room to the bathroom or to our bedroom. He doesn't go anywhere without me. He asks me to help him with everything. It is like he has forgotten how to do the simple things. Like fasten his pants, shave, brush his teeth. It is very interesting. I have taken care of many stroke patients over the past 28 years that I have been a nurse. But I have never taken one of them home with me.
     The first few days were really a struggle. For me....not for Richard. I kept thinking that we would wake up one morning and he would be normal again. We found that reading the paper was a real struggle. Doctor had warned us that his eyesight could come and go and not to try to see the Optometrist for at least 6 months. In the beginning, I read the paper to him each morning. But now he can read most of it himself. But by noon he cannot remember that he read it so he will read it again. And it is news to him all over again.
     His personality seems to have changed also. He is much more gentle with the kids. And kinder. And very touchy, feely with me. He wants me in the same room with him. And he always used to sleep with his back towards my back in bed and now he has to face me and TOUCH me. It is like he is afraid, but he does not know what he is afraid of. He faced death. But he does not know that. Or if he does, it is in his subconscious and he is not aware.
     I put up a piece paper each day with the month, date, day and year. He only has to look around to find it and then he knows what the date is. I help him with dressing and personal hygiene now. He does not go to the bathroom alone. I prepare all of his food for him. I give him his medication twice a day and again at bedtime. He does ask repeatedly if he has had his pills. He spends most of the day sitting in his recliner watching TV. It is sad. But he does seem happy.
    And this is our new life!