Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

23 October 2015 - part 2

Several people have told me I have the best view in the hospital. Only the night crew got to see the Halloween snow live. It was fun. Today has been gorgeous with a cloudless blue sky. The sun filtering thru the changing trees has been especially lovely. 

The chaplain stopped by today. She's sweet. 

Another woman visited this morning with, for me, odd questions. Among other stuff she said three words which I had to repeat. The words were sock, blue, and bed. I didn't say anything, just pulled my feet out from under the blanket. It took her several seconds to catch on.
I think the woman was evaluating my mental condition.

Once again I was in agony with gas pains. I skipped the morning therapy. Eventually I got a pill for gas which helped a little. Meanwhile I figured out that I could upend myself without hurting the new knee. That got everything moving. TBTG. I could power several days of the new London bus.

Bronnie stopped to deliver my laundry.

I still can't get my leg flat. Still 6°. Bend was 118° tho. We walked down to the chapel so she could see how well I handle carpet and single steps with the walker. I have permission to take 2 strolls per day without an escort. Yea. 

23 October 2015

No, I didn't vanish or move to the other side or croak. Tuesday was a zoo. Among phone calls, visitors, therapy, nurses, aides, meals, meds, the machine, etc. I was tugged in all directions. And I'm not sure what happened when so I'll leave this as it is, a compilation.

The highlight of the day, or night, was my elimination problem. Not. Monday night I was in absolute agony. A case of almost but not quite had me extremely uncomfortable - actually in great pain for several hours. Sitting or even lying was a literal p.i.t.a. Warm prune juice, some bubbly stuff from the doc on duty and lots of effort eventually remedied the situation resulting in a plugged toilet and flooding the next day. Wow. I'll spare the details but it was spectacular.

Trying to get my Percocet settled was a nuisance. I was arriving at therapy already in pain. Nurses were arguing with me and everyone else about the dosage and times. Lying about the pain level didn't work because it panicked the nurses. It and I were a mess. Finally the therapy people got together with the nurses and got it settled. Percocet certainly doesn't make life painless. Sometimes I wondered if it is helping at all. I'm unwilling to try without it. For now. I might be crazy but I don't think I'm stupid.

Meanwhile the therapy people decided I would go downstairs at 9, 11 and 1:30. So when could I do the hellbender for two hours? I settled that. 5 1/2 hours out of 24 wasn't that big a dent. Of course the machine doesn't bother me. I go to sleep.

Thursday was relatively quiet. After therapy they decided I should stay a few days longer. I still can't get my leg to lie flat without intense pain. Not surprising to me since I have been babying it for a year or more, especially since July. I will go directly to Dr Anderson to get the staples removed then, assuming all is well, home. I can't say I was disappointed. I would rather be in their care as long as necessary. Besides the food is good and friends visit.

Bronnie was here when I got the news and took my laundry home. Jim B visited for awhile. Jim D brought me some cider in the evening. I kept falling asleep on my visitors. They really aren't boring. I just can't stay awake very long. When I wake up for meds at 3 am I have no trouble going back to sleep.

Meanwhile I've modified my eating. I don't need a full meal three times a day when I'm mostly just lying around. The choices are tempting but cereal for breakfast and soup for lunch are more than adequate.

And then there is the toilet paper. Just getting a new roll started takes enough for a couple of wipes. Strings of tp really don't do the job. If you don't get enough, you might poke a finger thru the wet paper. Icky! Apparently everyone complains. I can't see the economy in cheap toilet paper. What should take a half dozen or so sheets often requires many times that. Is cheap paper really 60-80% less than good paper?

So on to the day. Apparently Friday is team spirit day. Lots of Steeler stuff.

Monday, October 19, 2015

19 October 2015 #2

Lunch is yummy today. Fruit and cottage cheese. I'll munch away on the salad all afternoon. They forgot the coffee tho.

The importance of keeping a regular regimen for meds is obvious today. My Percocet was an hour late. At least they gave me two. The attempt at therapy may have made it worse. I don't think there is much less pain two hours later than there was before. Frustrating for me and for the therapist. I seem to have at least as much pain now as I did several days ago. That is discouraging. Yet yesterday morning I had far less than now. I don't understand.

It doesn't matter if I'm trying to press the leg down or not. Lying with it extended hurts. The muscles on the back of my leg are being stretched and they hurt - both up and down. The muscles at the outside of the knee hurt. Everything about the knee hurts and makes me cry involuntarily eventually.

I did three steps today. No problem except whatever pain.

Jim is coming this afternoon and will take my laundry home with him. I think I'll ask for a gown to sleep in tonight. I don't expect him to walk it back this evening.

A dietitian came in earlier wondering why I was on a low carb, low fat diet. I explained that the diabetic diet had too many carbs. They will let me choose what I want to eat as my choices are at least as healthy as the prescribed.

19 October 2015

Happy Birthday, Ginny in North East.

Up and on the machine a little after 5 am. I wish I slept this well at home. But then, maybe I would if I could shut my head off. Getting meds with the midnight gang is easy. They know what they are doing. And with the exception of Jenn who is off today, they are my favorites so far.

100° on the machine. 20 to go. One of the night gals said I'm to up it 5° every day. I'm doing it every session because that's what I understood from Edgewood. At my rate, the max will be reached tomorrow. From here I think the swelling is keeping me from much improvement. There now are outlines of a knee visible. The colors don't seem to be in any hurry to disappear however. It's hard to keep ice on it.

I have to call and cancel one of my two Anderson appointments today. I'll find out about the new knee. I'm curious to know what it is and how heavy it is.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

18 October 2015 evening

I have so much to learn! After the machine my calf was sore - muscle soreness - and tense. So when the nurse asked my pain level and I said 4 or 5 she got all worried about a blood clot and went to get help. Fortunately in the 15 or so minutes it took for someone to come and look, the knot in my calf went away. Apparently it was a cramp which is quite ordinary for my legs and feet. It seems I have to be in serious trouble before they will give me 2 pills as the therapists think I should have. Another thing to mention when I call the doc tomorrow. I was warned by Edgewood to call them if I have anything unusual happen because MMC will throw me in the ER and we'll have all sorts of other problems.

So I finished my lettuce salad bit by bit while on auto-exercise. I had saved graham crackers from lunch and milk from supper too so I've been munching all evening. I also have some ginger ale from this afternoon. Come tomorrow I suppose everything will change as we go on a "normal" schedule. I'm enjoying the vacation from dishes and choosing what to nuke from the large selection of stuff in the freezer. I just circle what appeals to me and it appears the next day as if by magic.

BUT I don't enjoy the politics. The therapists don't want me to have any pain that will interfere with their work. One pill every four or five hours wasn't adequate so they told me to take two. Getting the nursing staff to give me two is almost impossible obviously. If I say I have enough pain to warrant two they get all frantic. For the life of me I don't understand what is so great about Percocet or plain Oxycodone. They dull the physical pain but they certainly don't seem to affect my mood. Why anyone would jeopardize life and/or freedom to get the drug escapes me.

Meanwhile sad that the Cubbies lost. Tonight doesn't look any better. Baseball should be over by 1 October at the latest. Having football, baseball and hockey going at the same time is financially wise? Actually having separate facilities for football and baseball is a massive boondoggle usually at the taxpayers' expense. The leagues are playthings for their owners. Taxpayers shouldn't be buying toys for the people who can afford them otherwise.

There is a man on the corridor who has been coughing loudly for 15 minutes. First patient I've heard. Hope they can take care of him. I haven't gotten a roomie yet. The bed runs regularly even tho there doesn't seem to be anyone in it. Haven't noticed a ghost either. Doesn't bother me but seems a waste.

I miss Tim snuggling next to me on the couch.

18 October 2015

Grea-at day! So far. Big goal met so I'm a bit lighter. And my leg bent to 102 and straightened to 7 which was so much better than the 15 last night. So 18° and 7° to go. Hopefully swelling is part of that. There are finally the outlines of a knee. There is still much muscular pain. And according to the therapist a lot of blood to be eliminated. The extensive bruising reminds me of my encounter with the bird feeder years back. I can probably find that photo if anyone is really curious. My entire lower leg and part of the upper are covered with "bruises" which are actually just leaked blood. Pretty impressive.

The sun has revealed itself again. Pretty trees outside my window. Weatherpeople say the temperature Tuesday will be 20°F warmer than today. Northwestern Pennsylvania fall. Means nothing to me I guess. All night there were huge snowflakes illuminated orange by the streetlight just in time for Halloween. At one point I really wanted another photo and had the nurse close the door which was reflected in the window. Of course it quit snowing then and for the rest of the night when I was awake. I didn't look to see or ask if the white stuff had accumulated at all here in town.

Breakfast included a bagel on which I could put real butter thanks to Shirley. Bronnie brought some too so now I'm set. I don't eat the phony stuff. And there was a real serving of eggs this morning. I wish there were some sort of breakfast meat on the menu but there isn't. The meals are good.

I rarely order anything with gravy out because the stuff is usually very salty and sometimes full of MSG. I suspect the kitchen got complaints about this meal. I wrote them a note saying how pleased I was. The gravy was tasty and the pork was fork tender. The asparagus was just right and so were the potatoes. The taste is good to me but probably not to others who prefer the taste of seasonings to the taste of the real food. I wrote a note to the kitchen people. Then just now the dietician came to collect the menu and it is a gal who used to sing in my kids choir. I've been thinking about her but I was under the impression that she had moved away. I had supper with her cousins in San Antonio in June.

The local priest visited and brought me communion even tho she isn't my priest. She witnessed a disagreement with a nurse and taught me what I need to do to get around that. We don't know if there is a communications problem or a staff problem but I had to ask three times and wait half an hour to get the pain pill. Then she only gave me one. I now know how to work around her. She just introduced me to the next nurse. 

A therapist came around about 1:30, suggested I go on the machine at 2 and said she would come back. She reappeared at 2:40 but I had done what we had agreed to. She seemed surprised and pleased. I'm learning to not wait for these people. I wish I didn't have to be escorted to the bathroom. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

17 October 2015 continued

Yes it snowed today.

Still snowing under the lights.

Now the outdoor lights are off so I have no idea what is going on outside and I'm not getting up to look as the machine has another 35 or so minutes to go. The hellbender, as Cheryl Wild in Grove City, PA calls it, exercises the leg and knee. I have to increase the angle by 5° every use and use it for two hours three times a day. The goal is 120°. I'm at 80° at the moment. When I step it up to 85 I may have trouble with it pulling on the staples.  More swelling may go down overnight tho. One of the nurses tonight said she's surprised how little swelling remains.

I've been surprised at the variety of knee replacement therapies friends have had. One in Austin, TX got right out of bed and was out and about two days later. She's a better man than I with pain apparently. The staff here is very defensive about their orthopedist Frndak. They believe he's the best in the nation. All I know about him is it takes three months to get an appointment just to see him and he's going away for several months soon. This would have happened well into 2016 had I waited.

I went down the hall to eat with a couple of older men tonight. They are from Linesville. Both suffered falls. One of them had an eye like mine a few weeks back.

Randal visited earlier today and Shirley visited this afternoon. I'm surprised I'm not bored.

I've had trouble getting my Percocet on time so the therapist said I should take two for the time being. I can't get my leg to lie as flat as it did at Edgewood. The bed doesn't help. I got an extra pillow to put under my foot forcing the knee down farther. Hopefully that and stronger meds will remedy that situation soon. Everyone is surprised how well I walk.

Hope I can remember that pill time is near 12, 4 and 8. Trying to figure out how to set an alarm to remind me.

Meanwhile my A1c is 6.0 which I think is down a bit. My triglycerides are slightly too high but the rest are good. Being able to walk should help. My glucose has been just nuts as has my blood pressure. Nobody seems worried.

17 October 2015

Here we go again. I need to learn how to deal with the hospital staff. My pain med is now two hours overdue even tho I asked for it. I know what to do in the evening but not during the daytime. I hate to really borrow the nurses but I don't want them to get in the way of my recovery. Once I figure out their schedules I can fit in. The night staff has already done that. Here she comes with an apology. I  understand that hospital nurses are overworked and often unappreciated.

The egg situation is similar. A tiny portion. It's the only meat option for breakfast. At least I have cream cheese for the English muffin. And a large dish of unripe melon. the decaf coffee is drinkable. I wish I had my fiber stuff to put in it. Lots of stuff to work out here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Grove Street for rehab, 16 October 2015

Just met my new doctor, Dr. Nam. A very quiet, sweet guy who asked me all sorts of weird questions about my background and family. He is an American of Korean descent.

And I got the next pain pill. The pain is slowly going back to tolerable. I'll go to the head and see if I can walk again.

I think I need to do a Rod and take selfies. I'll be here long enough.

The sandwich I got really stinks. I can't tell what it is supposed to be. I think it has very strong onions. A couple of graham crackers would be best.

The TV is fixed fortunately. It's nice to be back to Erie TV. Looks like there is snow on the weathermap. Exciting. But I don't have to be out in it.

It is weird to be in a nightgown for a change. Nice.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Knee surgery 13 October 2015

The surgery was on 13 October. These photos were taken on Thursday, 15 October. The physician was Dr. Stuart Anderson and was done at Edgewood Surgical Hospital in Transfer, PA, south of Greenville.

One thing I do not want in my house is more stuff. But I'll be going home with more stuff for which there is no place. sigh. My temperature is all over the lot. Last night it was 101. I would have known if I had a fever like that. The night nurse measured 98.8 so she and I think the ear thermometer is nuts. Something to check out this morning. I have this little blue plastic breathing thing I'm supposed to use regularly. It supposedly keeps my temp regulated. I like it. I think it is actually improving my breathing. I can use it any time. That is one stuff I will be happy to have. I don't want the toilet and I won't need it. I never use the supports on the regular one here. The walker is all I need. My pot at home is tall and my kiddie size walker will fit in my bathroom.

I have some pain today. I may have to go back to two pills. It takes much effort to lift my leg and my body doesn't want to do it but I lift anyhow. I wish there were a scale here but there isn't in the hospital. Maybe I can talk the trainer into going to the other part on my walk this morning. 

I've laughed at the meals here for good reason. Tiny portions of foods which don't raise glucose level yet a largish bag of potato chips? At least I'm getting plenty of veggies and fruit. The decaf coffee is drinkable and available whenever I want it tho I only drink it in the morning beginning at 5 am. I'm amused that I can have regular ginger ale with my meals - a tiny can of it but that's all I need.

The nurses know what they are doing. They have five patients each and, due to the nature of the hospital, have plenty of experience with everything. Makes me feel even sorrier for regular hospital nurses. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tim is home

She got to go outside for the first time since May. She sniffed all around the neighborhood then came back in.

She found comfort in her nook again.

She's finally willing to lie on the couch with me.

A favorite perch.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Rant #2, Food - 17 July 2015

When you donate food or money for food to a cause what do you expect from the donation? Do you believe it will be packaged up and delivered to the intended recipient within a reasonable amount of time? Or do you think it will be stored for months, perhaps years before being given? 

This spring M witnessed the delivery of a shipment of donated food. If I remember correctly, she said the delivery date was supposed to be in November but it was delivered many months later. Many of the items were well past their expiration dates. The semi-perishables had not been packed securely and were infested with maggots and rat feces, among other vermin. Much of the food was not usable. Was the woman unpacking it angry? No. She was grateful for whatever they could use. Was M angry? Very.

Where was the snafu? Who knows? Who cares? Obviously the shipper didn't. And people have been known to donate food long past the dates on the packages. Why? What is charitable about giving something that is useless and perhaps harmful? When your local food bank or the post office collects food, do you go thru your pantry and pull all the old cans to donate? Or do you check to see what is needed and pick up those items on your next shopping trip? Think about it. 

Whether the food was individually collected or purchased with donated money or part of a government program, it was not properly handled. Somebody didn't care. That somebody was probably wasicu. Makes me embarrassed, angry, sick.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

An Episcopal Rant - 16 July 2015

It’s nice that some of our young people are headed to the Dominican Republic to host Vacation Bible School. It’s good to get a sense of other cultures. I contributed to the expenses for one of them. But.

In June and early July, I drove to Portland, OR to sing a week with Berkshire Choral International then headed home. I stayed with friends including many I had known only online. The one person I wanted to meet and visit more than all the others was Rev. Margaret Watson, Episcopal priest on the Cheyenne River Mission in South Dakota. 

Margaret is a hero for all of us who know of her work - carefully documented on her blog Leave It Lay Where Jesus Flang It and on Facebook. First of all, there are 9 active parishes under Margaret’s charge. She and her husband Joel, also ordained, live next to St. John’s in Eagle Butte, SD. I don’t know how far some of the churches are from Eagle Butte but I know that Cherry Creek is at least an hour and the road I saw isn’t paved. Dupree is close. Promise looks to be an hour and a half. Getting the eucharist to all of them once a month is probably the easy part of her ministry unless the weather doesn’t cooperate. 

Life on the reservation is unlike anything any of us can imagine. It is not a different lifestyle. It is a different world with different rules and expectations that are somewhat rigid and knowingly prejudiced against wasicu - us - for good reason. The Lakota were migratory but they were forced onto reservations where they could not travel. They did not have the advantage of staying on familiar land like the Navajo and Hopi. On Cheyenne River four tribes were forced together. They have not adapted as well as the Cherokee and other groups. Their history is a sordid example of US government mistreatment, theft and lies. 

Alcohol, drugs and suicide provide a steady stream of trauma and funerals for Margaret. One recent weekend she had a wedding plus three funerals with wakes. She attends tribal events and is heavily involved in the lives of the Lakota in her charge. When I was there over the 4th of July she was called to the tribal hospital twice, once for an infant who survived then again for a teenager who hanged herself and didn’t. At the powwow she baptized two then buried five or six people the following week. Many of the children are alone and basically feral. There are gangs of course. Even the young ones wonder if it will ever stop. How can the children be inspired, led, corralled, educated to see that there can be a future? I left with lots to ponder. 

Margaret deals with all this herself. She has immersed herself in Lakota culture and endeared herself to the people. She is only one person however and the work is immense and intense. She needs another priest. Desperately. Her husband Joel is not well enough to help except as support. She needs our prayers and far more.

Fortunately she has a most wonderful bishop, John Tarrant. He appeared on Easter a couple of years ago to help visit the many parishes. He is totally supportive and much appreciated.

Meanwhile our Episcopal young people go out of the country. Why can’t they help Margaret and others like her try to deal with our own people? While Sudan and other places need help, why can’t an Episcopal diocese or two fund Native American seminarians? Or help rehab homes, schools and churches? Or work with the youth? 

Why can’t the sister city of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania be Eagle Butte or Promise or On The Tree??? They are certainly easier to get to and at least as needy and deserving.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

On to Portland

The Portland journey blog is here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

And more clouds on 21 April 2015.

What glorious skies we have had! The weathermaps look like they have polka dots with little storms coming and going. Here are today's photos.

The cloud below reminded me of a spaceship overhead. I didn't get a good photo of it tho.


Clouds on 20 April 2015

A trip to Pittsburgh had us watching the clouds as the sun would appear for awhile then the rain would come for a few minutes. Some of these were taken with the iPhone, others with the camera. They are in no particularly order timewise other than the last two.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

June journey planning

The map is inaccurate but the itinerary is getting together.

Boone, NC
Chattanooga, TN
Birmingham, AL
Thibodaux, LA
Houston, TX
San Antonio, TX
Sailing near Austin?
Albuquerque, NM
Grand Canyon, AZ
San Diego, CA
Watsonville, CA
San Francisco, CA
Napa, CA
Portland, OR
Salt Lake City, UT
Denver, CO
Eagle Butte, SD
Kirksville, MO
St Louis, MO
Muskego, WI
Chicago, IL

Suggestions, invitations, warnings, and other thoughts are welcome in the comments!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This was a good Thanksgiving. Given nearly catastrophic weather predictions for Wednesday I decided to drive all night hoping to avoid the snow. That I did. I had to stop for a nap twice and am grateful to my guardian angel for keeping me alive when I got sleepy. I'd prefer to not do that very often.

I still don't think the turkey was totally cooked tho we didn't get sick. The thermometer said it was done.  Maybe it was just a tough turkey. It was a gift to an employee with whom we spent the holiday. The red hots in the apple sauce were abundant making it more like spicy cinnamon chunky sauce. It was really good that way. The sweet potato souffle, forgotten by the hostess when she left, hence available for us was awesome. I brought some home. Yum. The green bean casserole and smashed potatoes were also good. Then after an interval, we ate the pumpkin pie with an unlimited supply of foosh foosh and nobody to tell us we were using too much. Sorry I didn't take any photos except of the dog.
This is Kaya catching her tail and going round and round with it.

Here she is much quieter guarding the door.

I'm glad we don't have this here. Fortunately I had the twenty I needed to pay cash. Would our prices be lower if we had this option?

The drive home was quite lovely. There were slowdowns by shopping areas, especially the outlets near Tannersville. Otherwise everyone was in a hurry, most driving at least ten mph faster than the limit. The State Police made a huge haul near Lamar. One guy followed so closely that I could see everyone in the car but not the front of the car. Eventually he whipped around me on the right and drove alongside for a bit. I gestured that he could pull in front of me. Eventually he did and roared off. I prayed he was one of those caught but I didn't see him pulled over. My gas mileage was awful. The Prius doesn't like to go 72 or 75 in a headwind in winter. At all. But it will.

I hoped there would be a pretty sunset when I took these on 58. But there was no color at all. The sun just disappeared behind the clouds.

On a whim I messaged my Westminster Choir College German teacher Wednesday when I recovered. She responded and we had a long conversation. Next time I go to NJ we need to get together. I'm sure I'll find an excuse before next Thanksgiving. This really made the trip extra special!