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!!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

I'm Starting to Feel Guilty..... and other things

every time I use a straw or plastic bag. I do recycle as much plastic as I can, and I take re-usable bags to the grocery. But it seems nearly impossible to avoid using them these days.

Global warming, and all the problems it causes, is beginning to worry me too. We watch a lot of nature shows on PBS and Nat Geo, and they are more and more often sounding the alarm that we must do something to stem the tide. But I hear people say, why should we do anything if China and other countries are not? 

My answer is, we should do it because it is the right thing to do! The planet we are leaving for our children and grandchildren is a horrible version of the one we inherited. Our oceans are polluted and warming up to the point of causing damage to sea creatures and reefs. Each of us ought to be determined to do whatever we can to stem that tide.

All nature is interwoven and if one thing is damaged or interrupted, it creates problems for many other systems, too. 


I posted something against Trump on Facebook and one comment said I should ponder that Trump may be "my" last president. I didn't answer him, although I wanted to take him to task for making assumptions about my age and health. I'm not quite sure what his reasons were...knowing the possibility of that doesn't make me like him. He is a daily embarrassment, and the fact that there are many who don't care about that boggles my mind.      


I made barbecued ribs and wilted kale with fresh bacon bits for dinner tonight, with citrus fruits over cottage cheese and cherry pie for dessert. It was all delicious.  


It has been so hot as to wilt me if I step outside for a minute. This weather is enough to make all of us stay inside as much as possible. I surely do feel sorry for people who have to work outside this week, as it will be in the high 90's all week long.   


My car is on the fritz.  I was picking up two friends to go play Scrabble on Thursday, when the car over-heated all the way up to H!  I parked my car, and my friend drove us the rest of the way. Afterward, my daughter put antifreeze in the car and it didn't leak out, which was a good sign. I am going to have the car checked tomorrow, to make sure there isn't a hole in the radiator.  Pray that it doesn't, please!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

We have a winner!!

I, who seldom win anything, have just won a jar of fresh, local honey!  I came up with a slogan for the girls at Double B Farm to use for their honey:

"Busy little bees at Double B Farm - making life sweet!"

Jim and I love honey, and it being fresh and made locally is a definite plus!  When I wrote the caption, I was thinking more of the two girls who run the farm than I was of the bees. But both are very busy - the bees and the girls!  

The girls' grandmother and I became acquainted when we were neighbors in north Raleigh, and although she has moved to Florida, we stay in touch via Facebook.  When I was a florist, I did flowers for Nan; wedding and parties, and I did their mother's wedding flowers. Too bad I won't be around to do the weddings of these girls!!
Meanwhile, we will enjoy their honey!!

Friday, June 07, 2019

You may remember this post....

UPDATED BELOW:   about trying to get a new "real ID" card. The saga continued today, when I had an appointment to try again.

I went with a baggie of ID information:  driver's license, social security card, birth certificate, marriage certificate, and official mail showing my current address. As I left home, Jim hollered out "I sure hope you have all the info you need!!" and I assured him I did. 

We arrived, and as I had an appointment, we went right in, past the line of people waiting outside because there were no seats available inside. 

The woman asked for my license and social security card, which I have her (the corrected one, with the right name on it - matching my license).  She then asked if I was married and I answered yes; then she asked for my marriage certificate, which I produced.  She took one look and said this is not "certified."  I asked what would make it certified, and she said a raised seal.  Apparently, the one I have had for nearly 55 years is from the church; not the state of  Virginia, even though it says issued by  "The State of VIrginia " on it.  

Can you say "infuriated?"  I don't know when I have ever been as mad or near tears about something that doesn't seem fair. Why didn't they tell me at the last appointment that my marriage certificate was not certified?   Had I known that, I could have gotten one that was certified in advance.  That makes sense, doesn't it?  Bureaucracy doesn't make sense at all, though I had enough info to prove who I am, and let's face it, at 78, I'm no threat at all.

If I had a current Passport, it would not matter about the certificate. However, my passport expired a few years ago and since we had no plans for foreign travel, I did not pursue a new one. I guess that was a mistake. 

Be forewarned; if you go to get a new "real id".....make certain you have the info they require and that it is "certified".  

UPDATE:   Guess how much one certified copy of my marriage certificate costs? 

$29.45  Sheeesh!  The state of Virginia takes advantage!