Sorry I’ve been away, and sorry I didn’t finish the A to Z Challenge. Again. I did get farther this year, though!Les was in the hospital all last week; he came home on Sunday afternoon (the 26th). I noticed over the last few weeks that he just wasn’t himself, you know? He seemed to be having more “weak” days, and in the days leading up to his hospital stay he was often out of breath for either no particular reason, or after having done something that wasn’t normally strenuous (like wrestling with the blankets on the couch). I mentioned it to Sissy, and so she was eyeballing him pretty closely on the weekend.
I’d been writing my challenge posts several days in advance, but got behind by Monday, the 20th. I was down at Mom’s and figured I would do a double post on Tuesday, writing my content at work (v bad). I got a call from Sissy during the afternoon asking me to bring Mom home with me that night; do not spend the night, do not pass GO, do not collect $200. I normally stay over Monday night and head to work Tuesday morning from Mom’s place. I asked what was going on; she said that while she was in the shower that morning, she heard Les say, “Oh look, my stoma is bleeding!” (A stoma is a surgically created opening on the abdomen which allows stool or urine to exit the body). When she peeked around the shower curtain, she did not see what she expected – a little oozing or small blood drops or similar – but rather a stream of blood squirting from it. (Sorry, getting a little TMI here). It wasn’t like he was going to bleed to death or anything, but the sight of that caused Sissy to do a little panic dance and zip out of the bath tout de suite. She called the doctor and they said to take him to the ER, and they could also address why he is out of breath as well.So they hustled on over there. While in the examination room, Les suddenly went into full respiratory distress after laying him down flat on the bed. They immediately sat him up, gave him a breathing treatment, hooked him up to oxygen and admitted him. When his blood work came back, it showed his hemoglobin count was five (normal range is 14 to 18 in men). Hemoglobin is a protein used by red cells to distribute oxygen to other tissues and cells in the body. Since his count was so low, there wasn’t enough oxygen being taken to his lungs, so he could not breathe. He was also extremely anemic, so he had a decreased blood volume as well. He has been really anemic ever since his surgery to remove his bladder; no one seems to know why, and there has not been a lot of pursuing the cause (which frustrates the snot out of me). They called for a couple of units of blood for a transfusion, wherein we discovered another problem: since Les has had blood transfusions in the past, he has developed an antibody in his blood. This antibody must be matched exactly or his body will reject it, which is BAD. So it took them almost two days to get the blood he needed. It had to come from Seattle, after waking up the lab supervisor at home. After x-rays, CT scans, an endoscopy, and a colonoscopy, they could not find where all his blood went. He had trouble breathing for days, and was on oxygen until the day before he went home. The good news was that with all the tests they ran, they didn’t see any signs of additional cancer. Yay for that!
Eventually they did an EKG (electrocardiogram – where does the K come from? Another mystery…) and determined that he has Congestive Heart Failure; his involves his whole heart, whereas Sissy’s is only one side of her heart. His legs and hands were really swollen with retained water, so they put him on a diuretic to get rid of the fluid he was retaining, which was accumulating around his heart and lungs. Finally, he was well enough (and could finally breathe normally) to come home on Sunday. They still don’t know why he is so anemic; they think that he may have had some sort of upper GI bleed a while ago and he just could not manufacture the blood cells necessary to keep him healthy fast enough to make up for what he lost. He is still a little weak but seems to be getting stronger every day. To say he is milking it would be wrong, but I think he is just a little. He likes to be waited on! We were really happy with his care in the hospital; the nurses all get A+’s across the board.I took Tuesday and Wednesday off last week so that I could keep an eye on Sissy while she was keeping both eyes on Les. She is not healthy herself, and I wanted to make sure she had everything she needed/wanted, actually ate real food, and got as much rest as she could (which wasn’t much). Mom, bless her heart, stayed at the house with all the dogs (six of our little ones plus one big one, and her two that she brought up with her – yep, nine dogs in total, plus our two cats! Oy!) and cleaned house like a maniac while I was up at the hospital with Sissy (or running around getting/buying/shuttling things). She cleaned things that we totally forgot we even had until she uncovered them! I took Mom down to Portland the Sunday Les came home so that she could work on Monday, then we came right back Monday night and Mom continued her stay here this week. She’ll be going back home tonight with Sissy and probably won’t be back for a while. I personally look forward to sleeping right smack dab in the middle of my bed, free from mothers and their little dogs (I didn’t mind too much, but I’m fat and take up a lot of room on my own without the added company).
How’s that for an excuse to miss the rest of the blogging challenge?I hope to make some cards on Saturday; my crafty mojo is screaming to be released and I have some new stuff that I ordered/bought locally that I am dying to play with. It’s hard with my new schedule to fit in time for me and what I want to be doing; I’m up at 5am to be out the door by 6am to be at work by 7am so I can be home by 7-8pm (depending on if I need to run errands after work or not) and be in bed by 9pm so I can get up and start all over again the next day. So no time for crafty fun Tuesday-Friday; Sunday I go to Portland so that I can take Mom to work on Monday morning, take my sister’s paycheck to the bank for her in Vancouver, then pick up Mom from work. Tuesday then starts the whole cycle over again. Saturday is pretty much the only day I have to run my own errands, do chores - laundry, etc., and get a little sleeping in time. I often feel guilty for playing back in my room when Les is out in the living room by himself; he is alone all week and loves to have my company just watching TV on Saturday. I’ve tried hauling my stuff into the dining room to work there while watching TV with him, but it doesn’t work out very well. But, since the house has been full of women this week while he’s been home, he may very well welcome some solitude!
I am currently reading a smashing book by Gretchen Rubin called Better Than Before – Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, and I think it’s going to change my life. I love it; very enlightening and in some spots I keep expecting her to call me out by name. You might be familiar with her first book – The Happiness Project. I haven’t read that one yet; I had it on hold at the library, but when it came in last week I couldn’t get to the library quick enough and it went to someone else. Which, ironically, made me unhappy. *shrugs* Go figure.One thing that happened did make me very happy: I got one of those shellac/gel manicures. Wow – it is awesome! I never paint my fingernails because I am absolute rubbish at it. Since I am right-handed, my left hand comes out marginally passable, but my right hand turns out a complete disaster. I lurve nail polish but never buy it because what’s the use? So I splurged and did the professional manicure route. I was just going to do the regular kind, but the gel one was loitering in the back of my mind. When the beautician suggested it, I thought what the heck? Normally polish lasts about…oh…five or six hours on me (outside of the initial buggering up I manage within the first five minutes). The polish will usually chip, then I start worrying at it until it peels off all in one big piece. Nice. Now I have one naked nail; however, the rest soon follow suit. This polish does.not.come.off. You can see where it has grown out, but there is not a chip or flake or bubble to be seen. I feel pretty! Totally worth the $22 it cost, and I plan to make it a regular thing (see book on habits above).
Well, there you have it. Everything you didn’t want or need to know this week. I hope to have something crafty to show on this blog next post.Until then my lovely friends – TTFN.