Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No place like it...


I was released from the hospital late Monday evening. It was a long, rough ride home, but better with Vicodin... I think we got home close to 9:00pm (so now you know what passes for "late evening" in my book).

The weird thing was that during the process of being released from Covenant, along with all the paperwork, they gave me 4 hand-written prescriptions; 2 were for antibiotics, 1 for the home nurse and 1 for more vicodin. I remember thinking what in the heck am I supposed to do with these?...

I knew that relatively early on Tuesday, I was going to need a dose of vanco (vancomycin, one of the 2 antibiotics), so when we got home, I called the service out of Mt. Pleasant that provided me with the supplies and vanco before. Since it was late, I got the on-call person, who happened to be a very nice RN named Kathy, who I had talked with before. I read to her what the prescriptions said, and she took it from there. Then I called the MidMichigan Home Care, but there was nothing to be done that late at night; I had to call them the next morning. All this seemed very strange to me... when I was released from this hospital in Midland, a woman named Wendy handled all of these communications.

But honestly, I barely remember those phone calls Monday evening because by that time, I was out of it from pain and tiredness.

The next morning, I remembered that earlier Monday morning I had talked with a woman named Barb at Covenant. Barb would be the equivalent of Wendy from Midland... so I found the business card she had stapled to a "Preparing to go Home" brochure, and I called her. Turns out she would have handled all of this had she been informed I was being released Monday evening. Oy.

So from there, everything went more smoothly. The supplies all arrived shortly after 9:30am yesterday, and Kathy the RN had told me to immediately start a dose of vanco, so I did. Then a home care nurse arrived about 11am, and I was re-instated into their system. The other antibiotic that I have once per day, the meropenem, comes in powder form in a bottle because once it's in liquid form, it doesn't last long. I have to mix it up, and the home care nurse showed me how to do that.

So I'm all set now with the 2 antibiotics, & I got all my what, when & why questions answered. Feels much better having some semblance of control.

A different home care nurse came out this morning, before my first dose of vanco, and she took some blood for a test (they call it a trough test), to see what the levels of the antibiotic are in my system. She also changed my PICC line dressing, and she changed the dressing on my incision. (Here's the latest incision photo, for those interested.) I can tell I'm doing better now that I'm home, but I can also tell I've got a pretty long row to how in front of me... because after the nurse did her things, then after I had set up my morning vanco dose, I was beat. I can hardly believe how much just that tuckered me out.

After my 1st dose of vanco, I then have to do the dose of meropenem... and when that's done, boy! am I ever sleepy tired. Seriously, the antibiotics make me very, very sleepy.

Dr. Abter, the Infectious Diseases specialist, wants to see me in a week, so his office called to make that appointment, and when the woman on the phone asked how I was doing, I told her how sleepy I was from the antibiotics, and she confirmed that most people feel that way. She said the best thing to do is to enjoy it and take a nap. So I did. Good advice.

So I laid down on the sofa and looked at this beautiful view until I dozed off...

Isn't this bouquet gorgeous? I love the iris, delphinium, tulips, and all. So pretty. It is from my 3 sisters, Janet, JoAnne & Kathy, and it's cheered me up considerably. It's also made me think of my flower garden, where I have quite a few blue delphiniums planted. Six weeks of these antibiotics will take me to early April, and then I'll have a good month or more to get back to normal, back into the swing of things... and this year, I'm going to be able to really enjoy working in my gardens. I'm so looking forward to that.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Maybe someday…

Photo Friday’s ‘Art’ challenge continues to keep me happily occupied. This entry from “Barcelona Photoblog” really caught my interest. You really should click on that link to see the beautiful photo there. I also found this photo by Montrealais on Wikimedia Commons:

This is a photo of the stained glass skylight inside the concert hall of the Palau de la Música Catalana in Becelona, Spain. Isn’t it gorgeous? I found more information on this structure on Wikipedia...

     --The Palau de la Música Catalana (Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

     --Built between 1905 and 1908; inaugurated February 9 1908

     --The concert hall of the Palau, which seats about 2,200 people, is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes set in magnificent arches, and overhead is an enormous skylight of stained glass designed by Antoni Rigalt whose centerpiece is an inverted dome in shades of gold surrounded by blue that suggests the sun and the sky.

And here is a link to the concert hall’s official web site, though it didn’t help me much since I don’t speak Spanish.

I just love that skylight, and I like the description of how it “suggests the sun and the sky.” Beautiful. I'd love to maybe see it in person someday.

I couldn’t find very much information on Antoni Rigalt, except his full name I think is Antoni Rigalt i Blanch, and he was from Barcelona, born in 1861 & died 1914 at age 53. So when the Palau de la Música Catalana was finally finished and inaugurated on February 9, 1908, Antoni was about 47 years old.

I found some more absolutely stunning photos on another web site, a blog called “Mosaic Art Source.” This blog has many, many beautiful structures photographed.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another inspiration

Here's another interesting link from the Photo Friday 'Art' challenge... this one by "Pfluegl's photostream" on Flickr, & it's called "Kollage". Take a look; it's cool.

So I decided to play with .jpg files, & being inspired by "Kollage"... here's my Toad Collage:

And since I spent so much time fiddling around with a photo of a toad (a photo that Sammy took last August), I started doing some toad research on the 'net just for fun. I discovered the "toad-in-the-hole" fascination that reached a peak in Great Britain in the mid 1800's. Toad-in-the-hole is the supposition that a toad can live inside of a rock or tree or whatever for years... and that several were found, for example, by workman cutting limestone or sandstone. Here's a long, but interesting, article about it from Fortean Times UK. It's kinda freaky. But the article states that this toad discovery was still occurring as late as 1980. This toad-in-the-hole is also known as the Entombed Toad Phenomenon. This weirdness isn't limited to toads; it seems frogs are included also... and it may possibly be true. In any case, there's a ton of info on the 'net for it... Google hits for
     toad in the hole - about 145,000
     Entombed Toad Phenomenon - about 17,200
     frogs in stones - about 531,000
That'll keep ya busy, eh.

Also interesting, Toad in the Hole is a traditional British dish, pub game, and British pub located in California, of course (though I don't see "Toad in the Hole" on their menu).

If you follow the link to the dish (on Wikipedia) above, there's a link to the recipe. The instructions, or "method," given in the recipe ends with this:

     Race the dish to the table immediately
     it is taken from the oven, while it is
     puffy and crisp; cut out each sausage
     in a frame of batter.

Race, race! the dish... you can't make this stuff up, y'know...

Just how I'm feeling

I was looking through Photo Friday, and I saw this wonderful photo taken by Eng Loy Tan, a doctor from Singapore...

You can see his beautiful photography here at his photoblog. The above photo he took was submitted for Photo Friday's 'Art" challenge; here is a link to his entry, which is on his photoblog.

This photo is exactly how I'm feeling right now.

Not that I'm proud of feeling this way, because clearly it's yet another big ol' pity-party. But when I saw this photo, I totally connected...

  • My PICC line dressing was coming off last night, so the RN changed it in the middle of the night... and she didn't let the alcohol totally dry before she put the plastic on, so my skin underneath is like when you get all prune-like from being in the bath too long, and then she put clear tape on the end to hold it better, and I'm so allergic now to clear tape... so that whole area of skin around my PICC line is raw and painful. They had to change the dressing again just a bit ago because of it. Totally hurts.

  • Dr. Adams closed up my incision with stitches instead of staples, as I've mentioned, and the ends of the stitches are long and sharp and poking me, when they poke me in the incision, it causes a severe spasm of pain.

  • I'm supposed to be wearing my collar whenever I'm out of bed, but it presses on those stitches and hurts like heck.

  • I can't take a bath or a shower here, only a sponging off, and I feel yukky and my feet are dirty and I hate this. Also, I haven't had my hair washed since Thursday morning. Ugh.

  • They still don't have pain meds right so that I can get through the day (& night) without a pain meltdown.

  • I miss Reilly.

Also, all my posts lately are about this, and I'M SICK OF HEARING ABOUT IT!, aren't you???!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What is it - my hospital room version

I've mentioned that the room I'm in here at the Covenant hospital is quite nice. It's very large, because it's intended for 2 beds. Kevin told me today that he had heard the previous occupant needed some kind of machine with her, and it was so large that they had to put her into this room and move the other bed out so the machine could also fit into the room. A regular private room was too small.

Also, I think the bed I have is different than the usual hospital room beds. For one thing, after I adjust the head up or down and the feet up or down, the bed will then make additional adjustments all by itself. The first time that happened, it freaked me out. But then I realized this bed is pretty darn smart, coz the adjustments it makes are more comfortable. It was still strange to feel my butt sinking a little when I didn't ask for that to happen. This bed makes a lot of noises also, strange noises. One set sounds like a cicada, and another sounds like a large engine getting ready for take-off. Just now, it's not making any noise at all.

The TV's in these rooms are very small and attached to the floor, and the TV swings out on an arm. The arm doesn't allow the TV to swing out in front of this bed, and since I cannot turn my head to the right or left, I can't watch TV. I'm not missing it much. I think I'll ask Kev to bring me a couple of DVD's tomorrow, so I can watch those on my laptop. Joycie and Mike brought my laptop in for me when they visited me yesterday, along with my camera.

So I've got my laptop and my camera, a nice, big hospital room, and not much to do... a perfect time for another round of "What is it?"... my hospital room version...

What it is could be

UPDATE: My post below is about what I thought the infection I have is... the dreaded MRSA. I got that info from a conversation with someone at Midland Hospital, but the RN's here at Covenant say that if I was diagnosed with MRSA, then I would be almost in like state of quarantine hospital room, and since I most definitely am not being handled that way... I'm just another patient on this floor, then MRSA is unlikely. I haven't gotten a definitive answer on what the infection is, or if the fluid that was removed during my surgery this past Thursday evening contained any type of infection. I know I have a staph infection; that's what Dr. Abolo called it.
Basically, I'm in info limbo...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called "staph."

Oh crap.

Two good links I found with info on this:

1) this one from the Mayo Clinic, and

2) this one from "Medline Plus," a service of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

I found it interesting that there is no information about MRSA on the "MidMichigan Health" web site, which includes the hospital where I had my original surgery back on January 18th... and which is where I most likely contracted this infection.

I'm now in the Covenant Medical Center Cooper in Saginaw, as I mentioned in my last post. Dr. Adams wanted me here because there are a couple of doctors who he considers the best at fighting infections. This is quite a bit larger hospital than the one in Midland, e.g. this one has 700+ beds, while the Midland facility has 250 beds.

I found this information on MRSA on Covenant's web site. Kudos to Covenant.

I'm still getting the same antibiotic by IV that Dr. Abolo (from the Midland hospital) had prescribed for me, vancomycin. That is the most commonly referred to antibiotic when you find info online about MRSA, and the most commonly prescribed. But Dr. Abter, here at Covenant, also has me on an IV of meropenem. Both of these 2 antibiotics' bags on the IV pole say "piggyback," which for some reason I like seeing that word on the labels... Piggyback sounds like fun.

I'm getting the vancomycin every 8 hours and the meropenem every 6 hours. When I'm not getting one of those 2 drugs by IV, then they've got me on a really large IV bag of potassium chloride 20 mEq in NS 1,000 mL infusion. I'm not sure why I'm getting that, but I've sure got the routine down flat of unplugging the unit, wheeling it across the room and maneuvering it into the bathroom. Did I mention it was a big bag?...

I'm still taking Vicodin, which is the tradename for acetaminophen and hydrocodone; taking it for pain. Getting it about every 4 hours, which is the minimum. It's not enough, so they're supplementing it with shots of Dilaudid, which is the tradename for hydromoarphone hydrochloride.

It's interesting how the shots of Dilaudid has been given to me... the first RN, John, whose head I rubbed, shot it into my arm, the next RN shot it into my belly, the next RN diluted it with saline and pushed it very, very slowly through my existing line attached to my PIC line (and whoosh! did that one hit fast). Today's RN, Gail, is shooting it through my PIC line with no dilution and going at it pretty fast, and it hits fast, but doesn't seem to really be getting at the pain as well. This second time she gave me Dilaudid, just now, she shot it in very fast; I know she's really busy and I'm pretty sure she was rushing through. The shot instantly made me feel ill. I think the best pain relief I had was from the shots in the belly. You really just have to watch out for yourself in the hospital, and you have to not mind about offending someone. I know the next time I need Dilaudid, it will work for me if Gail would dilute it and give me the shot slowly in the belly. She won't want to do that, I suspect, since it'll take longer. I can understand her position, too... just like where I work, they want you to do more and more all the time. I can hear them out in the hallway (because no one ever closes my door here), and they've been super busy all day. I think they're a bit shorthanded because it's the weekend. Also, this facility is really full, as I mentioned before. More patients and less RN's makes for a heck of a busy day.

Anyway, that's what the infection is as far as I know, though the culture data should be available today, and we may find out more. I want to know what the pocket of fluid contained.

I somehow feel better looking up all this stuff. But right now, I'm gonna lay down and try not to barf...

Déjà vu all over again

Long story, short: Kathy took off a morning of work and drove me over to Saginaw for my follow-up 9:00am appointment with Dr. Adams this past Thursday. I was thinking he would look at the incision, see how it's improved, tell me to go ahead and finish the 2 weeks of antibiotics and then be done with it.

My Mom used to call me her little Golden Girl when I was a kid, and even sometimes as an adult... she'd tell me her little Golden Girl was good, and when she was good, she was very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid. It's kinda like that, when I'm wrong, I'm really wrong.

Instead of the fine plan I had in mind, Dr. Adams sent me 2 miles down the road to the Saginaw Covenant Cooper hospital for an emergency CT scan. The scan showed that the pocket of fluid behind my incision had increased in size by about 50%. Two weeks ago, when I went into the hospital in Midland, it was 6 inches x 4 inches x 2 inches; so it was then about 9 x 6 x 3 inches. Dr. Adams admitted me into this hospital, and I had surgery that evening around 8:30pm, where he re-opened the incision, drained the pocket of fluid, cleaned it out in there and stitched me up. Everything was done very quickly, with not a lot of time to dwell on what was happening. Dr. Adams was headed out to a conference out of state the next day, so he zoomed me through it all. He is an amazing man, and I am so fortunate to have him handle this problem for me. I'm now under the care of an infections specialist doctor, one whom Dr. Adams approves of highly, and one he thinks will take charge of my infection problem and get it resolved (unlike my experience with Dr. Abolo in Midland, who kept deferring to Dr. Adams instead of getting it done).

It's strange, though, to be in a hospital so far from home.

That was one helluva rough day. And each time I think of how rough it was, I also think, "Thank God for my sister, Kathy." I had a bit of a melt-down when I was finally admitted into my hospital room. This was about 2:30pm and I was ill from not eating all day & in a great deal of pain. The room was, unfortunately, not a private room because this hospital is super full right now.

The first thing I had to do was use the bathroom... apparently, my roomy needed to provide urine samples often, and it looked like one (or several) had recently occurred. There was urine in the toilet & the seat was up, I used a piece of toilet paper to put the seat down, & there was urine all over it. There was a potty chair thing in there also, and urine splatters on it, the tray/dish thing they use in that chair to collect urine was setting on the counter near the sink, with urine all over it, not having been rinsed out, and urine drops all around on the counter top. I had to pee so bad, that I had to use the gross toilet, so I wiped the seat off as best I could and did the perch thing. A position that made my neck scream with pain. I rinsed off my hands because I couldn't get to the soap or towel dispensers because of the urine tray thing. It was so gross.

I was not happy, and it was my very last straw... I became the crying, bitchy strange woman. Much occurred at this time, that's not really worth detailing. All the wonderful details I gave you about the bathroom were plenty of details, don't you think? Anyway, Kathy explained to the nurses how rough of a day I'd had... and so on. Then she calmed me down, and we got through it. Her talent for diplomacy was a thing of beauty. She made sure the nurses didn't hate me, and I did apologize to them later.

Through all that day, while I was focusing on my pain & discomfort and my hunger, Kathy was also sitting on all of the uncomfortable chairs and not getting anything to eat, either. And she was constantly giving me comfort and encouragement, making sure I was ok. All day long.

One thing did go very right here at Covenant... I got moved into a private room just as I left for surgery, so Kev moved all my stuff there after they wheeled me away. I remember nothing of the surgery, of course, just waking up in recovery and getting a ride up to my room. I was loopy as all get out. The RN in charge of me was a man named John, and he had short dark hair. I remember rubbing his head. Twice. Holy cow, I was one happy loopy chick. I seem to remember making some sexy suggestions to Kev. In front of John, no less. Totally appropriate, I'm sure.

And yes, the above is the short version.

I have an updated photo of the incision, taken yesterday when they changed my dressing earlier in the day. I can't seem to utilize FTP here, though, to upload the photo and link to it... so I'll use Blogger's photo service and I'll post it way, way below after the end of this post. This one is kind of gross, so don't scroll down unless you really want to see it.

As usual, my family has made all the difference throughout this recent experience. I've heard from all of them and seen a few already. Joycie and Mike came to visit me yesterday and stayed almost 3 hours. I love seeing the 2 of them together, they're so happy together...

Mike is getting around really well after his major surgery from two weeks ago. He showed me his 5 healing holes in his belly. Mike is one very strong young man. Strong, kind, considerate, thoughtful, funny, smart and loving young man. I'm so proud of Joycie; she's made a wonderful choice in falling for Mike. They're happy together, but they are also so easy with each other, so relaxed. Real and natural. I love being with them and seeing how they are with each other. I've never seen Joycie this way with a boy before; the girl is long gone for him, and he is for her, too. He's gone and done it for me, too... I love that boy!

Joycie snapped a few photos of Mike, and of me and of this lovely hospital room. Here's one of her photos...

Joycie and Mike left about 2pm. It was about close to 4pm when I was surprised by a visit from my in-laws, Dad T. & Sharron. It was so great to see them.

Unfortunately, while they were here, the nurse came to change the dressing on my incision site. And earlier that day, Dr. Schinko, who is covering for Dr. Adams while he is out of town, came by and noticed that the drain on my right side was getting nothing in it, while the drain on my left side was going great guns. So he told the RN, Lisa, she could remove the right drain, and I was happy about that. One less point of pain. So after she took off the old dressing, she worked at clipping the stitches holding the right drain in place and then removed it. As soon as she took it out, I could hear this little noise in the small, plastic bottle of my left drain. It was filling up with air. The drains work on suction, and somehow removing the right drain compromised the suction of the left drain. Lisa rushed to talk with Dr. Schinko; she said she had never seen that happen before. The doctor said there was nothing to be done about it now, and she should also removed the left drain. So when she came back in the room and told me that, I lost it immediately. My first thought was that pocket was now going to fill up again with fluid, and that left drain was getting a LOT of fluid, so it scared me. I don't even want to think of re-opening that incision again. I bawled like a big baby, in front of Lisa and my in-laws. Lovely. Thankfully, even without Kathy's actual physical presence, I regained control... I could hear her in my mind telling me to stop crying, that's enough now, somehow very firm & bossy, yet very, very soothing & loving at the same time.

It was good I got myself under control, because Kevin and Sammy arrived shortly thereafter.

So here I am again, sitting on a hospital bed, using their wireless high speed Internet connection and hoping for the best. At least this room has gorgeous big windows and there's lovely sunshine and sky out there. The view is even quite nice; it's just another part of the hospital complex which is a building of light yellow brick, with a skywalk thing between this building and it, a parking lot and then beyond that, a residential district which is comprised mostly of older homes. The one facing my windows that is the closest, looks to be very old, but in pretty good shape. Interesting things to look at.

I just had a long conversation on the phone with my brother, Jim, and then my sister-in-law, Sue. I know I'll hear from more of my family today, and Kev and Sammy will be here this afternoon for sure.

All in all, I'm a very lucky woman.

Remember: I have an updated photo of the incision, taken yesterday when they changed my dressing earlier in the day. I can't seem to utilize FTP here, though, to upload the photo and link to it... so I'll use Blogger's photo service and I'll post it way, way below after the end of this post. This one is kind of gross, so don't scroll down unless you really want to see it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tonight's rising moon

Early this evening, before Kev and Sammy got home from Sam's basketball game, I walked by some of our windows that face East. I noticed a full moon rising... so I grabbed my trusty Sony, threw on a coat and put my bare feet into a pair of Kev's big ol' boots by the back door and I WENT OUTSIDE ALL BY MYSELF. And since I'm typing this blog post at close to midnight, you can plainly deduce I survived!

I got several horrible shots of the gorgeous moon rising through the trees across the pond, and just a few passable ones...

It was damn cold out there!

I woke up about 20 minutes ago, and it felt like the middle of the night... like the wee hours of the morning... imagine my surprise that it was only 11:38pm. Strange. I haven't been keeping to much of a routine, so now I'm up and back down sleeping or napping at any ol' time.

In lieu of taking some more pain meds, which I'm not due for until 1:00am at earliest, I decided to see what my camera had in store for me. It's worked to keep my mind busy and off that strange pain on the left side of my neck. But now I'm done, so... Oy, enough with the poodles already!

No cartwheels anytime soon

Late last night, I remembered that after getting x-rays, the guy gave me a CD of the 3 images to give to Dr. Adams. I had wanted to look at them when we got home, but by the time I remembered, I was too pooped to get up off the sofa. So I checked it out this morning. Meet my new, improved neck:

The third image was very similar to the 2nd one, and it was very light. I think I see the pocket of fluid in that first picture... maybe it’s that dark, long oval thing, you can barely see it... But maybe that’s not it... I know diddly-squat about reading x-rays.

I know that Dr. Adams said the right side of my C6 vertebrae was broken off, so that's the reason there are only 2 screws on the right side, on the C5 and the top of the C7, it looks like. Nothing there on the C6 to screw into. As I understand it, the screws are actually hooks that hold the metal rods in place.

After looking at these, I feel like I should feel the hooks and rods inside of me, but I don't. I just feel pain there. Sometimes I have pain that moves around... like this morning, if I turn my head at all to the left, it hurts my neck on the left side and up my jaw. This moving pain thing is somewhat confusing. I think it must be related to all the nerves there at the incision site.

I tried to find out what kind of “metal” the screws & hook and rods are made from... all I could find was references to stainless steel, titanium or its alloys.

Kev took another photo of the incision this past Monday evening, so here’s the link to that photo, and to an updated group photo.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just a Love Machine

  • I left the house today! I had to have x-rays done before my doctor appointment next Monday morning, so I went into town this afternoon. It felt so strange to be out of the house. Just being designated "house bound" has driven me crazy the past couple of days. So I'm ok again now. I'm pretty sure I'll make it to Monday.

  • After I had x-rays taken, Kev and I zipped into K-Mart. I needed to buy some Glade Press 'n Seal wrap so I can wrap it around my arm to protect the PIC line when I take a shower. The PIC line should not get wet. They also had Vitamin Waters on sale 10 for $10. What a deal! Sammy loves Vitamin Water, so we bought 20. But Kev dropped one in the store on the way out, so we came home with only 19. Sammy very happy. We didn't tell him about the one we lost.

  • I was going to provide a link to the Vitamin Water web site, but that sucker takes too long... Just "anything worthwhile is worth waiting for" over and over and over and over and over and over... where was I? Oh yes, over and over in a bunch of different colors, representing, no doubt, the many flavors available. Flashy, flashy. Anyway, I found this site instead. Interesting.

  • I had expected to get a CT scan in preparation for this upcoming doc appointment, but I was told x-rays. I had to get into only 3 different positions for the x-rays, and one was simply looking straight ahead. The other 2, though, were painful. Oy! Enough with the poodles already! (Fortunately, I only said the Oy! part out loud... the x-ray guy didn't look like much of a Gilmore Girls fan, so I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have had a clue.)

  • The nurse came earlier today and changed my PIC line dressing. This must be done once per week. Even if I get to stop the antibiotics next week, my PIC line will likely remain for quite some time. I'll have to continue to flush it daily, first with saline, and then with Heparin. The Heparin keeps the blood from clotting at the end of the line; clotting would plug the line off. Also, the dressing will have to continue to be changed weekly. This could go on for a very long time. Seems weird to have this tubing hanging out of my arm, but each day it's less weird. I suppose by the time it's taken out, it'll seem strange not to have it.

  • Kev is on days this week, so he's taking Sammy to school in the mornings. Sam didn't have school on Monday, a day off for the students & a working day for teachers. So this morning it was the usual Kevin and Sammy hurry battle. Ugh! They should be leaving by about 6:45am so that Kev can drop Sam off & still get to work on time. Since Sam had practice after school & then made plans to go home with Zack & then to the game at the high school (where Kev is now picking him up), I knew Sammy would need some cash. It was close to 7am, so Kev was tense. I asked him if he had any cash for Sam. Kev said, "Yeah, because I'm a freakin' money machine." (He didn't use the word freakin' though, just so you know.) So I said, "Hey, that's not fair. All this time I thought you were a sex machine, and now I learn you're also a money machine?! I've been gipped!"

  • Reilly just saw Kev and Sam drive up, and he's doing a barking thing combined with a talking thing. It's so cute.

  • Since the USB port for wireless connection I bought for Sammy's computer upstairs in his room didn't work, I bought a long cable instead. I ran the cable from the router across the dining room and up the stairs to Sam's room and his computer to check and make sure it'd work. Which it does, like a dream. So now, we've had this black cable going across the dining room, perched on the light fixture and sometimes hanging a bit low. We have plans to drill a hole in the ceiling/Sam's flooor. For now, though, the cable hangs in the way. I put a sign on it that reads, "Watch Your Head." A few days ago, I wrote on the other side, "Clock Your Fred." No one has noticed it yet.

  • A different young man came to the house this afternoon to drop off more supplies and bags of antibiotics. He was wearing enough cologne for 5 men. Boy, did he stink up my house. I was waving my front door back and forth in an effort to air the house out as he walked down our porch steps and the sidewalk. I'm sure he wondered what in the hell I was doing. I wanted so badly for him to ask me. But he didn't.

  • I believe everyone who is involved in any way with a medical profession should not be allowed to wear cologne, perfume or even perfumed lotion. It should be illegal! They're dealing with sick people, and when you're feeling sick, some strong scents can make you feel worse; make you feel like barfing. Hell, some perfumes can make me feel sick when I'm feeling perfectly healthy. Attention Human Race: Enough with the perfume already!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mmm... yummy carcass..

A while ago, Kev brought in the game camera because where he had it set up near his automatic feeder, we were getting a lot of photos, but they were pretty much all the same after a while... deer eating. We see that every day out our windows, so it began to be not so interesting. Once you’ve seen a couple hundred night shots of the same group of deer eating, well... you’ve seen ‘em all.

So about that time, he dragged 3 frozen deer carcasses way out back. There was no activity around them for a few days. When Kev finally saw tracks, he set up the game camera. We anticipated some great shots, hopefully something we hadn’t yet caught with that Moultrie camera.

Kev checked the Moultrie camera one day last week, and he saw there was close to a hundred photos on it. So he grabbed the card, and we had us a look...

The Red-Tailed Hawk was back, often. Several photos of him. Look at the talons on him.

Seriously, look at those talons!

What a gorgeous bird.

I love this shot with his wings out...

And he has to be huge... look at him in comparison to the carcass. And notice where the carcass is... this was taken, as you can see, at close to 10am on Saturday, February 9th...

This was the very next photo on the card, taken close to 2pm the next day, Sunday... notice where the carcass is now... and whatever moved it wasn’t caught by the camera...

Until later, that is… finally! A photo of the elusive coyote... We have some really cool photos, though none of them show his head and face clearly.

Here he’s digging for the 3rd carcass that Kev put below the 2 on top...

Lots of photos of his backside, while he’s filling his belly, which is probably making him happy, but more likely wishing it was a nice, warm kill... notice the temperature... brrr...

This is what all the face shots are like… I think of all the creatures we’ve caught with this game camera, this coyote seems to be the most aware and leery of it...

Now this photo is later that same day, late Sunday evening, and notice the temperature now. It was so cold that day... wind chills of something like -20 degrees F., and the Moultrie clearly had some trouble handling it. Kev said the clock is off now, too, by about 20 minutes or so. We’re lucky it kept photographing.

Still digging at that 3rd carcass...

Nice photo of the bottom of his back left paw...

We really enjoyed all the photos of the coyote. I guess I was expecting more than 1 if we ever got coyote with the Moultrie. Kev said, though, that he’s seen just 1 on occasion during the past couple of years. I thought coyotes always ran in packs. Makes me wonder why this one is alone.

The hawk wasn’t the only bird caught by the Moultrie, and I was very happy to see this crow. I only wish it were better focused. Very cool profile, though.

And there were many shots of blue jays... I didn’t realize the jays would pick at the carcass... but then, all the birds seems to love the suet balls I buy at the local butcher shop, and those are made with various farm animal fats, like cattle and hogs. Do you see his little friend in this photo?

We had 2 photos of the hawk leaving... beautiful...


Sunday, February 17, 2008


I've been playing around again with a masthead idea. This would likely fall under the category of "too much time on my hands" but I'm still thinking on that... there may be a better song title to capture my current experience. Anyway, do you like it? Why a pumpkin? Just coz I like pumpkins... I have a thing for 'em.

I'm currently working again on my desktop computer, which I adore. My lovely, fast, reliable computer. I'm sitting upright in my desk chair, no recliner! Though I can't really stand it for long...

My company laptop that I've been using has decided to become slower than molasses in January. I've been trying to keep up on some things, as I've mentioned before, including e-mails, and also some reports that I would normally run daily off from a secure web site. I was up early this morning, around 5:30am, and I made myself a pot of coffee, got all settled with my laptop in the recliner. I thought to myself, this morning, it will work. Boy, was I wrong. I spent 45 minutes just trying to get to the reports web page, and I finally gave up. Did the same thing about 3 times yesterday. Investigation will commence soon. I'd like to keep up on those reports, otherwise it's gonna be a bitch when I have to do a ton of them at once. Ugh.

Kevin never did end up meeting up with Bob & Janet at the game hunting expo yesterday. Instead, he took Sammy with him, and I think they got there at about 1pm. They didn't stay super long, and on their way back home, they stopped and got some groceries for Kevin to make dinner. He took foil and made little pockets of potatoes & onions, and some with peppers, with butter & a few spices, and grilled them, along with 3 very, very nice New York strips. The steaks were excellent, as were the potatoes. Sammy, Kev & I had a superb dinner together. Followed by cheesecake. What a man!

Yesterday afternoon, my brother, Jim, and my sister-in-law, Sue, drove up to visit with me. They live about an hour away, and they decided it was a nice, sunny day for a drive, and I'm so glad they did! I had the 2 of them all to myself. It was such a nice visit.

I've been getting into little drawers and things, lately. Not really sure why. It's not really that I need something more to do, I have plenty on my little "to do while recuperating list," which I'm finally kinda sorta feeling like getting back to...

The top, tiny drawer of my jewelry chest was one of my recent snoopings. It had in it a red and white pacifier with a baseball motif... the last of Sammy's binkies that I couldn't bear to throw away. I also have in there some awards (pins and charms) that I won in high school... 2 of them are for typing and shorthand. Yes, they're old. I also have one of my Dad's military dog tags from when he was in the Army during the Korean war. I can't even remember how I ended up with it, but I know I've had it most of my adult life.

In that little drawer, I also found a baby bracelet. Way back when us kids were born, the hospital didn't print out a plastic arm &/or foot band. They strung glass beads onto gold elastic thread, using white beads with black letters to spell your last name, and then on each side of the last name, a little row of small beads, either pink or blue. I suppose how many little pink or blue beads depended upon how long your last name was. I remember us kids getting into that baby stuff where these bracelets were, and I talked with my Mom about it yesterday when I saw this little bracelet. She said she had tried to keep us out of that stuff, but we all got into it, and she's not sure where a lot of it is now. She used to have our baby shoes, too. For example, I don't think she knew I had this little bracelet. Funny thing is, the one in my drawer has little blue beads on it. Since I'm the youngest of 5 kids, and there's only 1 son... I somehow ended up in possession of Jim's baby bracelet. Weird, I know. And I've had it for years and years and years. I don't know why yesterday it suddenly struck me that, hey, the beads are blue, so it's Jimmy's bracelet and certainly not mine. When Jim and Sue were here, I found a box for it and taped it shut and gave it to Sue. It's only right that they should have it, and I know Sue loves that kind of stuff. Sue said she thinks she has a pink one like it, and she's going to look for it. It'd be cute to have the 2 bracelets displayed together.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Verbal diarrhea

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much lately. Each time I sat and attempted to write something, my brain mushed out. I am hereby feeling so much better. I feel a long post in me just waiting to get out. Here I go...

As I start writing this post, I’m getting my morning dose of antibiotics via my PIC line. I was just thinking, as I was setting everything up, that I know how to do this so well now that I don’t even need to have the instructions nearby, let alone refer to them. Then I skipped a step. I forgot to load up the tubing and get the air bubbles out before attaching it to the clave. Cocky me.

I have something Major (well, I think it's major anyway) planned to thank my sister, Kathy, for her Band-Aid suggestion. Going from those tapes to Band-Aids has made such an impact on how my tape-raw skin feels; the relief is wondrous. Wondrous, I tells ya. I hope Kathy will be pleasantly surprised. And now that she’s read this, she’ll be wondering and wondering... hee hee.

My Mom & Dad came over and visited me yesterday afternoon, and they brought me a loaf of Daddy’s white bread. Also some butter, since Kevie forgot to get that item when he got groceries the other day. The loaf is already half gone. No way am I going to keep Sammy and Kev out of it; anyway, I want to share it with them. Well, part of me wants to hog it all for myself. Yes, Daddy’s bread is that good. Kev got home at 4:00am this morning from work, and he made himself some toast with it. He was so tired, and I know he would not normally have bothered with toast. But he was too enticed by Dad’s bread.

I have gotten so many phone calls since my surgery, and almost all of them are from my family, and many from my friends. Just checking on me, saying hi. I love it when they call me. This week has been really difficult, and all the phone calls have helped. Warmed my heart. Helped me ward off my tendency lately to have a big ol’ on-going pity-party for meself. My family rocks.

When Mom & Dad were here yesterday, Reilly was almost beside himself with joy. My Mom got Reilly as a puppy, trained him well, and then we got to keep him with us when he was about a year old or so. Reilly sheds his long white hair a LOT. Drove my Dad bonkers. It is difficult to keep up on the dog hair in the house, but Joycie, Sammy and I were overjoyed that Mom decided we could have him and his long hair. Kev not so much, but he’s been won over. Reilly still remembers who his first love is; he adores my Mom. The noises he makes when he sees her are very entertaining. He’s telling her: oh, I love you, I love you, how are you, I’m so happy to see you, I love you, yes, scratch me there, oh, I’ve missed you, I love you, I love you, you smell so good, ah, yes, there, oh, I love you, I love you, I love you...

Now that I am not overwhelmed with itching and agony from the tape around my incision, I can actually feel my incision more now. The one spot that’s just below the crease of my neck where there’s one of the holes that’s still seeping a lot... and I’ve realized that spot really hurts. You are cordially invited to my pity-party.

Joycie stopped by Space Studios and picked up some of my pieces that were done and some that were bisque fired, just needing some clear glaze. Kathy Space sent home a bottle of clear glaze so I could work on those if I’m able. Just unpacking the box and setting all my new pieces on the counter made me feel so good. I cannot wait to get back to pottery class at Space Studios. My fingers itch for clay. I can almost smell the studio. Pics of my newly finished pieces soon.

My best friend, Sandra Jean, sent me a package beautifully wrapped up for Valentine’s Day. It had so many incredibly thoughtful things in it... herbal serenity aromatherapy overnight hand treatment lotion and gloves (which is so great because I’ve been washing my hands so much lately, they’re painfully dried out), a spa neck wrap that you warm up and put on your neck (I’ll use that later), pretty heart-shaped glass tealight holders, 1 red & 1 clear, and lovely scented tealights (aromatherapy) called "escape", oh my gosh, so much! Also a pretty pink pad of paper, the long kind with magnets on the back for the fridge that says "Love Notes" at the top... so cute. That girl has good timing. It cheered me up on an afternoon when I really, really needed it... Thursday afternoon, when my sister, Joie (aka JoAnne), brought Sammy home for us, and the 2 of them had swung by my folks’ to pick up this package from Sandy where our mailman had delivered it. When Joie came into the house, she said, “Come here, you need a hug.” And she was right, I did. And I bawled my head off on her shoulder while she hugged me tight and rocked me. And then I felt so much better. Then I opened Sandy’s oh-so-thoughtful gifts, and I cried some more. Happy tears.

Joie & Sammy had also swung by and picked up something for me from my nephew, Michael. He co-ops at a pharmacy, and they were cleaning an area out yesterday. They found this round pill-minder that has in the center a clock with an alarm. The packaging was opened, and instead of tossing it, Michael snagged it for me. Thoughtful nephew! And perfect timing. The reason I had such a rough day Thursday was because I forgot to take my Effexor pill Wednesday afternoon. Effexor is usually prescribed for depression, but a couple of years ago, my doctor suggested I try it for my pre-menopausal night sweats. It worked, and continues to work. Only women who have had those nasty night sweats can understand how happy I was to find something so quickly that was so effective. Effexor has pretty much eliminated night sweats for me. But... if I forget to take the pill (which is just a 75mg capsule, rather a small dose), the next day I feel yucky and pukey and kinda dizzy. And apparently, a bit more emotional. I’ve always used my cell phone alarms to remind me, but I’ve got so many things to remember now, that I’ve goofed up on the Effexor a couple of times. This pill-minder that Michael gave to me will be perfect for this! It’s large and oval and green, and it’s called The Turtle.

This item is something I have found to be invaluable lately...

A bamboo back scratcher I got at a dollar store years and years ago. I bought a few of them, and they’re scattered throughout the house. I also took one into work. Oh, the joy of being able to reach That Spot that’s itching. I’ve been using it to scratch my head, neck, shoulders and back a lot lately, yes, softly and carefully. Of course. But it’s also come in handy to reach things. When I’m ensconced in the recliner, and the pad of paper I want is just out of reach, this back scratcher is very helpful. Every room in every house should have a cheap bamboo back scratcher.

Oh! The sofa pillow I peed on and ruined, the one we thought was going to cost us a bit of a bundle to replace... well, turns out our Flexsteel purchase was a very good purchase. Lifetime warranty. They’re sending a replacement cushion for free. Free. We don’t even have to pay shipping and handling. We’ve had this sofa and love seat, and the ottoman, for about 14 years now, and they still look pretty good. When it comes time to replace them... Flexsteel it is. My sister, Kathy, and my brother-in-law, Bob, just ordered new living room furniture, and they bought Flexsteel. I think it should arrive any day now. Getting new furniture is so exciting! Flexsteel, you rock!

Kev is going to meet my brother-in-law, Bob, and my sister, Janet, today over in Mt. Pleasant at a hunting expo. They wanted him to go with them to breakfast first, but since he didn’t get home from work until 4:00am, he passed on breakfast. The expo starts at 10:00am, and he’s supposed to be over there to meet them at that time... Kev asked me to make sure he was awake at 8:15am this morning when his alarm went off. I heard the alarm, I heard him get up and go into the bathroom, I heard him open a window blind, but then nothing. Finally, a few minutes ago, I got myself out of this recliner, grabbed my IV pole and went into check on him. He was back in bed. I said, “Honey, are you awake?” He said, “Yes, just laying here for a few more.” I don’t think he’s going to make the 10:00am meeting time with Janet & Bob... but they’ll catch up somewhere at the expo. My poor, hard-working, tired hubby.

Sammy’s cell phone has been beeping for at least the last hour and a half, while he sleeps, because he either missed a call, got a voice mail or a text.

Kev just got up, and I convinced him to go right back to bed. He must be tired. I called Bob (I have 2 brothers-in-law Bob!), and told him not to wait for Kevin-the-Tired.

I brought home from the hospital one of those pink, cheap plastic bins that they give you with shampoo, lotion, baby powder, etc., in it, and which also can handily double as a vomit catcher because those stupid little kidney shaped plastic containers they give you for that purpose are mostly worthless. (Yes, mine is clean; it’s a puke virgin.) I’ve been tossing every syringe (no needles) I’ve used thus far into it. The first nurse, Pam, instructed me to toss them, and I asked if she had a problem that I save them to use for craft projects, and she said knock yourself out. I am such a packrat.

Kathy just called me and told me I needed to put the photos of my incision as one pic, progressively next to each other. Good idea! (She's so full of those!) So here it is. I guess I see a little progress... but not much. Crap.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I was released from the hospital Monday evening... 4 days ago now, but it seems so much longer than that...

That Monday morning, a nice man named Darren came to my hospital room and had me climb up onto this skinny bed, and then he wheeled me through the hospital to an area that I could not find again if I wanted to (which I don’t). There I went into a room that resembled a surgery room, and a team of about 4 people, who were so very, very nice, inserted a PIC (peripherally inserted catheters) line in my left upper arm. It all seemed extra serious, but Joe, one of the team, explained that it really was a relatively quick and simple procedure, and I should be in no pain, possibly only some discomfort. He said that it all looks so involved and serious because they are super concerned about keeping the area sterile. Since the PIC line goes through my vein very close to my heart, I was fine with the emphasis on clean and sterile.

The team of 4 moved together like a choreographed dance. It was kinda amazing laying there on this skinny hard table covered in warmed blankets watching the flow of activity above and around me. I said, “Y’all look like you’ve done this before.” Joe said, “Well, we saw it done last Friday, so we feel ready.” Cracked me up. I was happy; the PIC line meant I could go home.

My sister, Kathy, took me home from the hospital; Kev was there at the hospital with me right up until the very last part, and then he left to go watch Sammy play a basketball game. I insisted (and Kathy’s big car is so darn comfy to ride in). Another sister, Joie, came over shortly after Kathy and I arrived at my house. It was wonderful. Those 3 words don’t do my feelings justice.

Around 7:30pm or so, a young man named Matt arrived with supplies for my IV’s and with 8 bags of antibiotics.

Kev and Sammy arrived home shortly after, and Sammy’s team had won their game. Yay!

A nurse from a home care outfit arrived the next morning, Tuesday, close to 8:30am. She had called the evening before, and I was prepared for her arrival. Pam, the RN, taught both myself and Kevin how to give me the antibiotics using the PIC line. She also went through many other things, and she did a lot of paperwork and input on her cute, little laptop (smallest laptop I’ve ever seen someone use!). Pam left close to 11:30am.

One of the things Pam did was to change the PIC dressing. This had to be done the day after it was inserted, and then once per week. She, or another nurse will be back next Tuesday morning to change it again. It’s not really gross or anything, but it’s not pretty either, but here is a photo of my PIC line, if you’re interested in seeing what it looks like.

I felt pretty comfortable with the IV; Pam was an excellent teacher. Another nurse, Sharon, arrived Tuesday evening about 8:15pm or so, and she went through the process of watching me handle the next bag of antibiotics.

Since then, I’ve been giving myself the antibiotics each morning and each evening, and I’m very comfortable doing it. It’s actually pretty easy.

Another nurse, Becca, arrived yesterday morning at about 8am, and she took some blood for testing. She then set up this machine called a telehealth unit. Each morning at 6:30am (I chose the time), it say’s “Hello, it’s time to take your vitals” or something like that. I then stand on a scale when she tells me to (it’s a woman’s voice), step off when told, put the blood pressure cuff on when told, and the finger unit, it takes my BP, my heart rate and blood oxygen level and transmits the data, along with my weight, back to the home care outfit that’s handling my case. I then have to record the data myself on a form they gave to me. It’s one very cool unit. The primary thing they are monitoring is a weight gain of over 2 pounds in one day or 4 pounds in one week, which could indicate a fluid retention (not a good thing).

I gave myself the last bag I had of antibiotics yesterday evening, and the nice young man, Matt, arrived shortly afterwards with more supplies.

I can do this. But I hope, sincerely hope and pray, that this will be over within a couple of weeks. My next appointment with Dr. Adams is on Monday, Feb. 25th, and I’ll know more after that about what happens next.

One thing is for certain sure... having this PIC line and doing this at home is better than being back in the hospital. So much better.

I had Kevin take another photograph yesterday evening when he changed my dressing. Here is the link; I don’t think I see a lot of progress... and here’s a link to a photo he took this morning. Also, here’s a link to the post that had all the other photo links in it.

If you’re interested in seeing what my surgery was like, I found this web site that explains it very well. Two major differences in that animated explanation vs. my surgery is that the animation shows 2 cervical vertebrae, while mine included 3 (C5, C6 & C7), and also Dr. Adams did not take bone matter from my hip for the fusion; he used the bone matter removed from the site (my neck).

I’m still struggling with pain management. I’ve had some really rough evenings and nights, and mornings. Yesterday I got a tip from yet another nurse (I’ve talked with so many lately!).. and so last night I set my alarm for 1:00am. When it went off this morning, I took a couple of pills, so later, when I woke at 6:00am, pain meds were still working, & I wasn’t in agony. Nice tip.

I also got a very good suggestion from my sister, Kathy. If you have looked at the photos of my incision, you may have noticed the skin past the redness immediately around the incision.. the tape that’s been applied for the past 4 months to hold the bandages has been doing a number on me. The skin around my incision is incredibly sore and sensitive. The various tapes we have tried makes my skin itch like crazy... and the site was already itchy enough when it began healing. Whenever the dressing had to be changed, I loved the part where the dressing was peeled off... and I dreaded the next taping. Kathy suggested we try Band-Aids. OMG. Relief. You have no idea the relief. Thank you, Kathy! O Wiser Sister!!

This experience is definitely the most painful event I’ve had in my life. I feel that I’m pretty tough, and that I have a high tolerance for pain. But this stuff... it’s intense, and it’s kicking my butt. Thank goodness for the meds.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Awww... sweet...

Speaking of beauty (just go with it), while I was getting admitted to the hospital Friday evening, Sammy was at the basketball games at the high school. Due to the new rules regarding high school sports in Michigan (don't ask me any details), both boys and girls varsity games were played. He then got to go home with his friend, Zack, and stayed over night with them. Zack's mom, Tracey, has been such a huge help with Sammy during this time. Love that gal!

Sammy wanted to go to the games very much, and when he found out that maybe he wouldn't be able to go, he was very unhappy... Then I discovered that his girlfriend, Morgan, was going to be at the game. Ah, I see.

Sammy e-mailed to me this photo of the 2 of them at the game that he took with his phone.

Morgan is a very pretty girl, and she seems very sweet. She and Sammy have been talking on the phone a lot. Whenever I would holler for Sammy to help me with something while he was talking to Morgan, when he tells her to hold on a minute because he has to help his mom, she tells him to tell me hi. Not many 7th grade girls are like that.

However, they are not "officially" going out or "officially" boyfriend & girlfriend... Morgan's mom won't allow it. I feel bad about the situation, like I'm participating in a big fat lie to Morgan's mom... but then I found out that Morgan's parents were at the game, and they know she sits with Sammy. I think her mom knows they are crushiing on each other, but seems satisfied with not allowing Morgan to officially declare she's "going out" with Sammy. Also, Sammy says he thinks her mom doesn't like him, because when he says hi to her, she ignores him. But I think he's being very polite to her mom and trying to win her over. What I wanna know is how could that woman not adore my boy?! If were the mother of a 13-year-old girl, I could find no better boyfriend for my daughter than Sammy. (I'm not the least bit biased, it's the honest truth.)

Clearly Morgan's momma isn't checking out her daughter's myspace page the way I check out Sammy's. Otherwise, boy oh boy, would she be clued in.

Driving me bonkers

This clock is on the wall facing my bed in the hospital room. This little video does not do it justice... it is such a loud clock, especially for such a small room... click on the clock to get to the video I uploaded on YouTube... if I did it right, that is...

Turn your volume up as loud as it'll go to get an idea of what this is like. The few times I've turned on the television, I've had to have the volume up almost too loud for my enjoyment just to hear it well enough over The Damn Clock.

Right next to the clock is a whiteboard where the nurses always write the day and date and then their names. They usually have an RN and an LPN team. Yesterday morning, the LPN, Christina, updated the info on the whiteboard...

Thank goodness Christina gave me something to smile about! I usually find such obvious misspellings irritating, but Christina is an entertaining young woman & I like her... and it's something OTHER THAN THE CLOCK to think about. It's not just Saturday, it's a day to fully satisfy, to fill to excess... it's Saterday. Yay!

When Kev brought in my laptop, I also had him bring in my trusty Sony... so here's a pic of my boys visiting me yesterday evening...

Aren't they beautiful? Yes, yes they are. I'm trying real hard to focus on the 2 of them, Joycie, and my whole family, instead of all things I hate about being here.

Like the bed. I understand why they have mattresses covered in plastic (and judging from the smell that was wafting around last night, the plastic was likely very handy in one of the beds on this hall... OMG, words cannot describe). And the pillows, too, are plastic covered. But they all make me sweat. Sheets covering plastic still make my ass and back sweat. I lie in bed and get uncomfortably hot and sweaty, then I get up to use the bathroom, which is like a freezer for some reason, and then I get chilled, so I hurry back to the bed to cover up, but within minutes, again, I'm hot and sweaty.

I would like to leave the bathroom door open to maybe warm it up a little in there, but there is a fan going constantly, and it is very loud. At first I thought that was a good thing, coz is would help to drown out That Damn Clock. But I was wrong; it simply added more loud noise into the room. And made the room chilly.

This hospital is one of the better ones in Michigan, and there is a lot of new construction. But I am in a room that's an older part of the complex. And you can tell.

Bottom line is that I don't want to be here so badly that I'm apt to find fault with everything here. Except the nurses; almost every single one here is wonderful. A couple of ornery ones out of the 20 or 25 I've had help me is a darn good ratio.

One of the nurses for today, Kristina, who is older than the other Christina, and very nice and a very pretty woman, just came in a took my vitals. She then brought in for me new bed linens (and she already knows I like to change my own bed... gives me something to do) and towels to shower. Since I've been hot and sweaty, then chilled, then hot and sweaty, then chilled, and so on, ad nauseam, since my shower yesterday morning, I do feel the need, and the desire, to shower. But knowing I have to enter that freezing cold, ceramic tile covered chamber to shower is no strong incentive.

Also, the pain pill they gave me 2 hours ago has done pretty much nothing for pain.

I do have yet another gross photo of my incision from yesterday. After the visit from Dr. Adams and then Dr. Abollo, who both had looked briefly at the site, I had Kev finish pulling the bottom half of the dressing down and take a photo before he taped it back up for me. Warning: yes, it's still gross. But I think it's improving. If you're really interested, which you'd have to be to wanna look at this pictures, here are links to all of them, in reverse order...

Ye of weak stomach, don't click on the links below...

February 10th

February 6th

February 3rd

January 28th

January 24th

January 20th