Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I Have Some Lovely Friends....

who have been worrying about me while Jim is in the hospital.  They think I might not be taking good care of myself.

Today, one picked me up and took me to The Cheesecake Factory, where we met another friend, and we all had lunch. I've been craving protein, so I had what they call a "slim - alicious burger (I think). It was good!  But the salad served with it had a vinegar dressing that I couldn't eat - too sour for me!!  

My two friends ate omelets.....and it's odd that I didn't, since I really prefer to eat breakfast foods most of the time, if I have that choice.

After lunch, one presented me with a lovely scarf (a copy of one she had bought for herself) and I can't wait to wear is so pretty!

We went to Homegoods afterward, but for the first time ever, I didn't find anything I wanted to buy. They have a lot of cute items for  Halloween and Thanksgiving, but I don't really need anything like that. I have way too much stuff now. 

I thank God for all my wonderful friends; who have called, emailed and texted me throughout this ordeal. I am trying to take good care of myself, since I will have to have a  big reserve of energy and patience when Jim is released to come home. 

He is working hard in rehab (where he was taken last Friday) and we are hopeful that he will be able to walk soon, and come home. 

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Day 42....tomorrow

Jim, my husband, has been in Duke University hospital for 42 days. He finally received the okay to be transferred to acute rehab and will be moved tomorrow by ambulance, if nothing happens overnight to prevent it. 

He will have to work very hard to get to a point where he can walk again, and we are hoping against hope that he will be motivated to do just that! Please pray and/or keep him in your thoughts. We both need support. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Jim is still in the hospital.....This is day 34.

and hoping to be released to a rehab center by the end of the week. This time, God willing, it will be to an in-hospital rehab, such as UNC. It is much closer to our home and we hope it will be just what he needs to get walking again, and if he has a problem, he is where he needs to be to get the correct care.  

Let this be a lesson to those of you who are too sedentary for your own good:  

when you sit in a chair all day and don't get your body moving (get your heart-rate up), you do damage to every organ and system in your body.  It may take a while for the damage to show up - but it will. Your GI tract doesn't work as well as it ought to, your muscles contract and your joints freeze somewhat.  I know there are other signs and symptoms of body dis-use, but I don't know all of them. 

The old saying "If you don't use it - you lose it" is true!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

What's Happening Now?

Jim was released from the "step-down" unit at Duke University Hospital on August 14th, and taken by ambulance to The Brian Center in Durham, a rehabilitation center, about which we had heard good things, plus it is closer to our home. 

That evening, my daughter and I went to see him, and he seemed to be settling in, although complaining about meals being late and staff not quickly responding to calls for help. We asked about his evening medications and the lady who was dispensing pills to residents didn't know he required evening pills. Had we not asked about them, he would not have had them. Grrrr.  We left to go home about 9 am and he appeared to be going to sleep.

The next morning, my daughter took him a biscuit and coffee about 7 am. He had not slept a wink; the bed hurt his back and the patient "call bells" rang all night long.  Our daughter noticed that his color was bad (very pale) and weak, so she insisted they call EMS.  It is a good thing she did, as he had internal bleeding and might have died without intervention. She asked them to take his blood pressure before dispensing his morning meds, and they reading was so low that they took it again. I don't think they ever got a good reading. 

EMS took him back to Duke ER and they moved him into their "critical care" unit pronto. 
Meanwhile, I was at the UNC dental urgent care in Chapel Hill, to get care for a broken crown. When I was done there, our son took me to Duke......yet again.....where I was ushered into the critical care unit. Our other daughter drove up from the Pinehurst area, and it is always good to have a nurse as an advocate when you are in a hospital!

He got lots more tests, cat scans, ultrasounds, etc. and they knew he was bleeding from somewhere. It was decided to to a gastric scope to see if that was the source of the bleed. They also wanted to remove a portion of his colon, where the original abcess was. 

So he was taken to ICU in preparation for surgery. They found a gastric ulcer; the source of the blood loss, and they removed 8" of his colon. He seemed to be doing well after that, although groggy from the anesthesia.

Yesterday, they told us he had formed clots due to A-fib, and since they cannot give him blood thinners until they are sure he won't bleed any more, it is a wait and see proposition. Last night, they put a filter in a vein in his leg where he had a clot.  So......more anesthesia. I don't know how much a 79 year old sedentary man can take - but he is still breathing on his own. I thank God for His strength and Jim's. If you are a person who prays, please say a few for Jim. We are not ready to let him go yet. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What's Happening?


My husband has had abdominal pain for 3-4 months, that was not constant, but frequent. Like most men, he minimized it and refused to say anything to the doctor about it. Lately it was getting worse.

On Tuesday, he slipped off the bed while reaching for a cup of water, and I had to call EMS to get him up. They discovered that he had a fever of 102*. He had not complained of being warm, so I didn't know. They told him it would be good to let them take him to the ER, but he refused, with some flimsy excuse about having a lot to do.  (HA!)

My three kids were apprised of the situation, and of course, they wanted him to be seen. But I can assure you that if you look in the dictionary under "immovable object" you will see Jim's photo!!

On Wednesday, at one point he agreed to go to the ER, but when I called EMS, he changed his mind and said "tell them not to come."  By that time, I was crazed, as it was apparent that any time he moved his torso, he hurt. 

Finally, on Thursday morning, he agreed to let me call them. They came, and we arrived at Duke U. Hospital at 9 am. It was a zoo. At one point, there were 80 people lining the halls (on stretchers) waiting for rooms. He had various tests, and we were apprised that he needed surgery ASAP, due to an abcess in his colon. There was a possibility he could become septic, so time was of the essence. 

At about 8 pm, they took him to pre-op. He was insisting that he had to see a priest before surgery, as confession was imperative, in case he died.  Apparently, no priests were available throughout the Triangle area. The hospital chaplain and my daughter called many, but no one responded. Finally, one called. Unfortunately,  he was over 30 miles east of here and traffic was very heavy. 

He heard Jim's confession over the phone (as had a priest friend of his in NYC, by phone) and he was made to understand that was sufficient in times of emergency. He finally agreed to let them take him to the OR.

The surgery took less time than expected, and he was in ICU by midnight. He appears to be getting better, little by little, of course.  Thank God for large favors.....Jim didn't make it an easier for Him by waiting. 

He was moved to a "step-down unit" yesterday afternoon.

EDIT:  as of August 13, 2019, he is still in the "step-down" unit at Duke.  

Friday, July 19, 2019

A Trip to The Ackland Museum in Chapel Hill

A group from my neighborhood organized a trip to The Ackland Museum the week and afterward we went to Top O the Hill restaurant. I had always wanted to go to the museum, so I looked forward to it. I was not disappointed; the museum had a nice array of art, a nice gift shop and 2 docents to lead us through the galleries.  I am posting a few photos I took there:

The entrance, has sapling sculptures by Patrick Dougherty. These are teapots. Next is a pair of Chinese sculptures; I didn't take notes and I don't remember their purpose. Below that is a Japanese artist's sculpture: Fujikasa Satoko, called Flow (2013). Below Flow is an Asian flask - a beautiful piece of pottery. Below that is a painting by Rubens, I think. I wish I had written it down. 

This painting is by Amadee Ozenfant, called Sisteron, between 1919 and 1928.  It reminds me of Arizona and New Mexico.There is quite a good number of blue and white porcelain dishes, plates and bowls. Plus a lovely statuette below. If you have an opportunity to visit The Ackland, I recommend it, and I recommend obtaining a docent for your tour.

Monday, July 08, 2019

I've Lost an Inch....etcetera

and it wasn't from my waist, as I'd prefer, but in height.

People from my insurance company have been hounding us to agree to a "home health visit", as they call it. Never mind that we both see our doctors regularly, go to the dentist, see eye docs, etc.  They urge you to let them send a doc or a nurse to check on you, ask a lot of questions and  do a cursory exam.  

The man who came to us last Friday was a retired endocrinologist, who lives in Durham and spends 4 months a year in Chile. He is our age.  I think under other circumstances, we might have found him to be an interesting person - but as this was an "official" visit, we didn't ask him many questions.

He measured us, and I have now lost 2 inches total - I'm 5'8. I hope I don't lose too much more before I pass.  Jim has lost a bit too, he's now 6'2" - down 1 or 1 1/2".  
Other than shrinking, we are in good health, he says.  


I saw a good movie at our clubhouse on Saturday - "The Mule", with Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper. Clint plays a man who becomes a driver for a Mexican drug cartel and Bradley is a DEA man, trying to track him down.  There is a family story along with the drama, and it makes for a good two hours.  

We are also watching "Queen of the South" (first on Netflix and now, the third season is on USA) about a women who becomes the head of a drug cartel out of Sinaloa, Mexico. I love the characters in this show, especially 'Pote', played by Hemky Madera. He is a killer with a heart of gold, as they say.

For my book club, I am reading "The Shell Seekers", which is turning out to be a great book, in my opinion. I don't read as often as I used to, but this is a book I can't put down easily. I have a need to know what comes next, and I know that when I finish the book, there will be a sense of loss. Luckily, there is a movie!! It's an oldie, but I am going to try and find a way to see it!!