Monday, September 29, 2008

Drivin' Ms Sharon

Yes, I got out of this place today. Thanks to the wheelchair I was able to have a short ride out to the coach and go for a ride this afternoon. We had to pick up medicine and got some tacos for lunch while we were out. I never even got out of the van but it was nice to be out of the hotel. It was pretty warm outside so we used the AC and it was pretty comfortable. A front is coming thru tonight and supposed to be cooler for the rest of the week. My body chemistry has been so out of "whack" since my surgeries that I am usually freezing up here in the room. It was nice to be out in the sun today.
The home nurse came this morning to draw blood and change the dressing on my intraveneous line. Tonight Joe did my infusion by himself-he is quite the nurse. Hopefully we are getting some more supplies tomorrow as our first shipment is mainly depleted. These infusions will continue until Oct 31 and then I will only have to take a pill twice a day. My infectious Dr. says I'll be taking these the rest of my life.
Had to get my early this morning to meet the nurse but tomorrow we can sleep as late as we want to. I couldn't seem to get comfortable for the whole night last night so I slept half of the night in the recliner. Hopefully tonight will be better.
That's all for today and tonight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday - A Quiet Day of Rest

It's 10:00PM and we've had a very restful day! Some might say "boring" but that about summarizes our status these days. We did manage to rearranged the furniture so that the recliner they brought if for us has a better place to fit and be used. We did manage to attend the services of Prestonwood BC again. Of course, it was by streaming video on the 'puter. Someone, no names provided, however, did manage to doze through the sermon! That just goes to prove that it's just like being there! [:D] Sharon is managing to do more things on her own! She has washed dishes and cleaned up the kitchen for all the meals today.

Thanks to the newly borrowed wheelchair, Sharon took a nice around the block ride while Bulli was getting one of his walks. She was rather glad to get out and see the world for a change. We also discovered that a sidewalk that Bulli and I normally use on his walks has no wheelchair ramps. That required a small backtrack and gave her a little longer ride! LOL Can't really say I'd given a lot of thought to how much those are really needed!

Almost time to go up and check on the laundry! Should be about dry by now! (Did someone say this was a day of relaxation?)



Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Process Continues

Bulli likes a little "perk", too! He's discovered Blue Bell Vanilla and he's pretty sure he likes it!

Sharon, napping in her "Eskimo" mode! There's more depth in those covers than meets the eye!! LOL

This temp was more suitable and acceptable to her needs today! Not much for sunbathing, she sure enjoyed it today!

Our first Saturday in the Extended Stay Post-Op is now history! We made it with very little problems, if you discount Sharon needing to wear a parka and wolf fur hood all day! [:D] She is still in the "thin blood" mode and is about to freeze at the least bit of cool! We had her bundled up all morning and finally took her out to sit on the bench at the front door mid afternoon. She sat basking for a pretty good while and came in warm for the first time all day! Of course, that didn't last long before the warm clothing came out again. I have turned up the t'stat a little but it is so sensitive that it ranges from comfortable (my definition) to scorching (again, my definition!) with just a touch of the lever! There doesn't seem to be any mid-point!

Milestone day - Sharon put together lunch for us! This suite we're in is handicap designed and the kitchen is built for the use of a wheelchair. The dining chairs here are actually wheeled desk chairs (great idea, BTW!) and the first thing I knew anything was going on, she s aid "Lunch is ready!" She had scooted around on one of the chairs and put it together for us! We both were proud of this seemingly "small" accomplishment! I followed up later with my Pretzel coated Smashed Pork Chops!

Other big news of the day! MamaCache, one of our caching friends, borrowed a wheelchair from someone and brought it to us! Nice chair! This will give her a whole new horizon and I can get her out to the "warm-zone" much more often! I didn't want to get a script for one here and have to transport it back to Nashville (a space deficient thing in a little motorhome!) but we will get one once we get back. We can do that easily now thanks to this great act of friendship! Thank you so much, Sharon (MamaCache) and to the unknown benefactor who loaned it to us! I do regret that there was a total screwup at the desk and they sent you on a total wildgoose chase instead of giving you the proper room number!

We are seemingly settling in even farther into our routine. We just need to shift the infusion time forward a little so it doesn't end so late in the evening and we can get to bed a little earlier to be back on a more normal set of hours!



Friday, September 26, 2008

Infusion - No Confusion!

Every day seems to hold new adventures! Today was my first day to put on my Nurse hat and do Sharon's infusion on my own! Wasn't bad - at least the patient survived! I did have my practical tonight with a real nurse looking over my shoulder. Basic drill is something like Mix, Shake, Clean, Establish Flow, Clean, Connect, and Oh, lest I forget, DeBubble! Not necessarily in that order! Last night, the saline infusion solution was removed from the fridge just before we mixed and infused. She said it was really cold! Soooo, tonight we took it out of the fridge about three hours early to let it warm a little! OK, those of our friends who are in the medical field, you can quit snickering now! Just remember the old thing about Old Dogs and New Tricks!! [:D] Guess I'll be an old pro in a couple of days!

Managed to get a grocery shopping trip in today! Really stocked the kitchen with the basics so we can have some "real" meals for a change! So, what did we have for dinner tonight? - how 'bout a granola bar and some toasted nuts! Yup, sounds like a real meal to me! Actually, I don't think we officially had supper (dinner, if you prefer!). I got in and unloaded the groceries just before the nurse got her and we just sorta' munched while the infusion was happening! Don't worry, Mom, I got veggies, too!

Sharon is getting stronger every day. She's doing really well for two surgeries so close together such a short while ago. I can tell that the short leash prescription is going to need some strong reinforcement before too much longer. She has rested quite a bit today. The big highlight of her day is that the Extended Stay finally delivered a recliner for her to use. It's actually quite comfortable. It's quite "sleepable" if necessary and can be used rather nicely for that mid morning and mid afternoon naps. It should give her life a little more variety as that leash tightens!

Bulli has been funny during this infusion time! He's not quite sure what is going on with this thing his mom's hooked to. He has watched intently as the lines are connected and showed some concern about the whole thing! Even the nurses made note of how attentive he was to what was going on!

I do make note that, for once, it's not Texas that had a hurricane aimed at it's head this weekend! Good luck on the way to New England this week!



Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Day Of Settling In

We both slept well last night after it was finally time! A lettermark day, but it sure was busy! Today on the other hand, has been busy in its own way. Had a fairly late start but it remained at a relatively steady pace all day. Did laundry after getting breakfast for us with the full intention of going grocery shopping later in the afternoon! Never happened. The day just unfolded with a mind of it's own and never allowed silly things like that to happen! Our home nurse came in at almost 9:00 PM to start the infusion (and to give me my first full OJT session. Tomorrow, I get my "practical" as I give her the infusion for the first time. It is a simple procedure with about 20 steps, but I anticipate no problems.

Sharon has done rather well adjusting to Non-Institutional life! [:D] She does keep looking for the call button, but you can bet that I hid that sucker!! LOL She has been up quite a bit but has been shoo'd back to bed some also. We still don't have a comfortable chair for her to use yet, so we may have to make some other arrangements to make one available. She says she has felt better than she did while she was doing time over there! Hummmm! Wonder if she was beginning to feel like she was in the pen or something?

Actually she's getting around a lot better, her color is better, and she says she doesn't feel like she's in a fog now!

Tomorrow MUST include a run to the grocery store! Gotta' go check the drip line!



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Free At Last! Free At Last! Halleluyah! She's Free At Last!

Today was the day! It started slowly with starts and fits, a lot of hurry up and wait, and endedinamadhouseofactivitythatdidn'tevenstarttoslowdowntilaboutteno'clock! Whew! Glad they all aren't like that! It has been quite a day! We finally left the hospital at 3:00PM. To keep Sharon from having to negotiate the steps in Geovanii, Ron Leach did a great repeat performance of his last year life-saver! He volunteered to give her the first ride from the Presby to the Extended Stay. Thank you! Ron! That began her transition into civilian life again! [:D] Once here, we got her into bed and I went in search of the drugs that we need to administer her follow-on treatement! I thought that I would be crafty and kill two birds with one stone - I went to the Wally World SuperCenter just a few blocks away from the hotel! First stop, pharmacy! Drop scripts. Er, what was that again? You mean you DON'T HAVE THAT ONE? No, just give them ALL back to me. I'll go somewhere I can get them done at the same time! OK, grab a few groceries while here! OK Let's try CVS, I am already in their computer. Wait, what was that? You mean you don't have that one either? Maybe I can get it at the pharmacy at the hospital, it's just right across the street! Oh, they closed 15 minutes ago! OK, where do I have to go to get this? Do they have it as close as Waco (100+ miles south of Dallas, for you non-Texans!)? Anyway, the ladies at CVS came through - they have some of it at the Trinity Pharmacy! OK, where is that? Turned out it was "only" seven miles away through "go home" traffic! Not bad! OK you can fill the other two, right? OK I'll pick it up on the way back! After the drive, I found that they do not have the full amount but they do have a 5 day supply! This must be some rare stuff! I paid my co-pay share and thought, WOW! That's some expensive stuff! Only 5 day share and it cost me THAT MUCH FOR MY SHARE? Oh, that's for the whole 90 day supply! Not too bad! Wait, how much is the insurance part? Gulp! Sure glad I have THAT coverage! Won't say how much, but each pill is well more than my copay! And she's taking two a day!

While all this search was going on, I was getting a lot of phone calls or rather I was getting a lot of missed call dings! I finally figured out that, somehow, my ringer volume was dropped to zero and I only knew of a call when it was missed. If I didn't answer some of you, I apologize! It was purely unintentional. Also, concurrently, I was directing two different groups of home care people into the Extended Stay and trying to coordinate with ATMA to get to the ES at the same time they did. Somewhere, I think I almost talked to Wanda and had such a poor connection that we were going to talk later and never did. When I got back, Tim and Rhonda were waiting for me and we got into the room just in time to run head on into a Bulli that needed a walk pretty BADDLY! and the home care nurses who were to begin the infusion tonight and give me training on how to do it myself after one more OJT session. Tim and I had already agreed we were going to get food and bring it in for dinner. OOPS, Tim, I've got to get training! Tim and Rhonda graciously went for the food. We ate while the infusion thing was going on and the nurses were getting the paperwork done. The infusion took a little over an hour and had to finish before I could get the last of my OJT.

When all this was finished, Sharon looked at me and said, "Boy, am I tired! That wore me out!" I just smiled!

Thank you for dinner, Tim and Rhonda! I'm not sure we got that far. Was so glad you came by. Hope you find all well back home in Galveston!

Sure is good to be back under one roof! Looks like we'll have to stay about another two weeks from now. Have, I believe, two Dr's appointments. One with Dr Emerson and one with Dr Baum who was treating the infection in the joint!

Better get to bed. Have a mega-laundry to do in the morning. I won't even go into what I may have to reuse AGAIN before I wash this time!



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday Evening, Sep 23

This looks like it could be our last night in the "Big House!" Dr Emerson told her yesterday that he felt confident that she could be released on Wednesday. He said nothing this morning to condradict that. She is rather excited at that prospect, to slightly understate her feelings! I'm sure that 21 days in that room has nothing to do with it! [:D] She keeps doing things that she was doing easily last week and gets frustrated that it's sometimes difficult to do them now. It's all too easy for us both to forget that little minor "thing" last Friday and that it was only 5 days ago!

I spent a bit of time this morning getting some things done to the room to make it ready for her. Simple little things you wouldn't normally think of. Things like raising the bed by 8 inches so she doesn't have to bend her hip too deeply. Making sure the recliner is high enough for the same reason. Actually, I spent a big part of the whole day doing that. Had to construct the bed riser from scratch with a sheet of plywood. Tried to get an extra set of box springs from the hotel but, while they did that last year with the queen size bed, they don't have the extra king sets to spare.

While I was in the process of getting all that done today, I had a bit of a twist myself! I was backing out of the coach and managed to step from the top step to the ground. That's a blind-sided three step drop. I didn't "fall" as in SPLAT! but did manage to roll hard to the ground! I might point out that I did fall pretty well on my most padded part of my posterior, but did roll on my left side and apparently bruised something in my left rib area. It is a bit sore, but like I told Sharon, it's nothing like having two operations on a body part in two weeks! Just glad that I didn't get more than a little sore!

We have a poor little critter on our walks (Bulli and mine!). Several days ago, Bulli chased a squirrel up a tree and I called him off (more like hooked him to the coach and pulled him off) and we went on about our business, er, make that HIS business! I noticed that the little guy was a little slow in getting out of the way. The next day, I saw it on the sidewalk ahead of us and it didn't seem to be in any hurry. I held Bulli until the little fellow made it to the nearest tree. Then, I noticed it was having trouble climbing the tree under the pressure of the white flash! I held Bulli back and watched the little thing. It was then I noticed that it had no use of its rear legs. It was motivating strictly by the front legs. Apparently, sometime ago, it was hit by a car or something, and lost its rear leg function. Today, while I was building the bed riser, I saw it crossing the parking lot to the hedges row in front of the dentist office next door to the Extended Stay. It was moving slowly, but seemed to have adapted to its front leg only life. I now know what Bulli has been hunting in the hedge behind the motel. He's known about the little ground bound thing since we've been here this time. I did see it climb a tree one day before I realized what was going on, but it was slow and barely got out of Bulli's way that time. I guess we need to catch the little fellow and outfit him with a pair of rear "wheels" like I've seen some doggies. Would probably have to motorize them so it could climb trees!

More later!



Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Evening - Things Looking Up!

Sharon, as you might have noted, was up EARLY today and was none worse for the wear! I got over mid morning and found her still sitting up in the recliner. Actually, I believe she had been back to bed in the meantime! She was having some "discomfort" during the day and asked for meds for it late afternoon. Overall, though, it was definitely a big "UP" day!. One thing that helped that was that when he came on rounds this morning, he told her he believed she could go "home" around Wednesday. "Home" in this case means, of course, the Extended Stay. If Wednesday is indeed the magic day, we'll plan on leaving here on or around the 3rd of October. That will give us almost 10 days post hospital for things to settle out into a non-institutional setting. Considering she went into the hospital on the 4th of Sep., that's a stay that is much more than adequate for any of us to enjoy a hospital stay.

You know you've been there too long when the staff just drops by to see how you're doing, even if you're not in their area! We sure have met some super, dedicated caregivers here! They have added greatly to the "pleasantness" of this long a stay. I can't say too much about how great the service is that they provide.

I'm having to spend some time tomorrow getting our place here ready for her to come out of the hospital. We're going to have to raise the bed about 6 inches so that she can get in and out of it. She needs to be able to basically sit onto the bed at just under, how do I say this, butt level! Any lower and it places too much stress on the spacers and the incision. I also have to have a recliner brought in to give her a place to sit that she can get out of. The same criteria applies to the chair. More than likely, we'll have to put a spacer under it as well to get that same height. The manager is helping with these tasks, as far as he has resources and items available.

She's ready, I'm ready, the leg's almost ready! Let's Roll!



4 AM????

What in the world am I doing up at 4 AM? I'd rather not be but sleep just wouldn't show up at that time. It was such a shame to waste such a great period of time: no pain, temps in room were just right, stomach wasn't upset-what great conditions. So, here I am at the computer to wile away the hours to daybreak when things start happening around here. Those of you who have had the privilege(?) of an extended hosptial stay know that there are a bazillion reasons why your room door can get opened and disturb your rest. In fact, let's just turn that into:
10-to fix the drip in the sink
9-to pull the shades so the sun won't come streaming in
8-t0 change out the menu listing on the bulletin boad
7-to dump the used needles box
6-to hunt for the clipboard that can't be found
5-to bring new sheets in for the bed
4-to bring in a fresh dressing gown for the morning(couldn't have been in with the linens)
3-to check out the "beeping" IV pole
2-to bring another blanket as the room is cold enough to hang meant

#1 reason for a hospital room door to be opening(especually in the middle of the night):


Now I will turn on the TV and catch up on the latet news.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Evening - Have had better days!

Sharon has not had a particularily great day. Actually, it wasn't bad considering it was only two days out of surgery, so close on the heels of the other one! What made it seem not very good was the fact that yesterday went so well. Several things probably contributed to that. She was completely unplugged from all the "surgical hookups" and she got out of bed for the first time. Although she had a good meal yesterday, her system really wasn't fully ready for "big time" meals yet. And, one of the pain meds apparently upset her stomach to the point that she "ralphed" while she was eating lunch. That, of course, took any desire to eat totally away! (Imagine that!) One of them also made her really drowsy the whole afternoon. In fact, we both dosed through the afternoon - I in the recliner and she in the bed. She did have a baked potato for supper later in the afternoon and that seemed to be rather good.

We went to church this morning via computer streaming feed from Prestonwood BC. Seems strange to look out the window of the room and see the church from the outside while you're in the middle of the service! Had two or three visitors from Prestonwood after church was over.

We look forward to a better day tomorrow!



Oh, yes! Both the Titans (our home team) and the Cowboys (our other home team) had pretty resounding wins today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday - 2nd Day is PROGRESS!

I came to the hospital a little late today and found a bright, cheery, almost perky Sharon in absolutely great shape for someone who was only about 18 hours out of some rather large surgery! She did have a pain shot a little after I came in and was "droggy" (may not be a proper word, but describes is perfectly!) but was otherwise in the best shape I've seen her at this stage post-op! Now that I think about it, I really, really wish I didn't have reason to know that!

She even ate quite a meal tonight. She ordered Herb de Provence Pork Tenderloin with Potato Cake and Apple Slaw, a side salad with Ranch dressing, and Walnut layer cake ala mode! Hmmmm. Hope she won't expect that kind of cusine when she goes home! [:D] I can do pretty well on a big pot of chili or a pretty mean omlet, but this herb encrusted stuff I'm not really into!

We have had three visits today from Prestonwood BC. They are so appreciated and help the morale and spirits more than they will ever know! Thanks!

Not much else to say tonight. She's doing great with great spirits!



Oh, yes, Mike! Thanks for the reference! To finally pass the final, I'll need to do a little more work to use in the practical. Are you available?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hip! Hip! Hurray! Friday, Sep 19

It's almost 8:00PM and this is the first time to sit and bring everyone up to date. Sharon's hip was reopened this afternoon around 3:00PM and the old spacer and the old allograft (cadaver bone splice) were removed. Dr Emerson did basically two debriedments (scrubbing and cleaning) while in there just to make sure that they had removed all traces of the fungus that may be there. He said that the tissues and bone looked pretty good for a re-installation of a new prosthesis when they are as sure as possible that no more traces show up in the lab results. He plans to keep her in Presby for at least a week and wants us to hang around for a week to ten days after that so that they can track locally the "counts" that measure the demise of the fungi. After that we can head back to Nashville for a couple to four months before we come back to get the final prosthesis installed. As per usual, Dr E had a quote of the day: "We are going to keep her on a short leash!" Last year, his motto was "Calm and Still!" I think "short leash" implies that and more. We will go into a "no big crowds" mode when we leave the hospital to make as sure as we can that she stays "clean" for the next op! I hope I can live through that! More than likely, we'll even hire the house cleaning done so that she won't have that to stretch the leash! When we go grocery shopping, she'll likely sit in Geovanii and I'll go through the stores so she isn't exposed to whatever may be going around at the time! Thank goodness we have Geovanii. As an extension of the house, it is going to make her life a lot more pleasant!

She is still heavily sedated and isn't likely to be much more out of it until sometime tomorrow. I plan to stay here as long as I can throughout the night so I can make sure she gets what she needs to make her comfortable. The nursing staff here is absolutly great but they carry a pretty heavy patient load. I'll help augment that staff tonight!

Cheers! Keep her in your prayers for a quick recovery from this op!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Evening, Sep 17

Thursday, one day pre-op and all systems go. We both had somewhat of a kick-back day because neither of us slept very well last night! Funny how that works, we were in different locations and both had the same sleep difficulties! Not sure what that means! I was up very early so I went in search of a place to actually sit down and have breakfast brought to me! Seemed like a rare treat, but I had to get out of the "pretty people" part of Plano to find such a place! Great little place that does a mom and pop kind of business! Been a long time since I've had eggs, hashbrowns, biscuits and Chicken Fried Steak for breakfast! CFS is really a Texas thing that I've never gotten over! While out, knowing that Sharon wanted a light meal day, I dropped by La Madeline and got her a "fruit cup". She did rather enjoy it, even if she did offer me the shell that was left after she had taken the "good" stuff our of it! Thought that was downright generous of her! [:D]

She is in great spirits going into this next op phase tomorrow. We took a wheelchair ride for about an hour and a half mid afternoon. We went all the way out to where I parked Geovanii and she and Bulli had a nice visit. He didn't even have to hunt for a while. Sharon gave him a string of string cheese and that kept his attention for a while. I gave her a tour of the hospital in places she hasn't had the chance to see in all the time she has spent here. We went down to the public cafeteria and I had a bit of lunch while she has some apple sauce that she said tasted devine! She seemed to thrive on the fresh scenery. I guess that's a real treat, indeed, for all she's seen for the most part, is the inside of her room for 11 days! I'd probably be climbing the walls by now. The nurses and staff that came in for evening shift are now on their second rotation since she's been here! She feels like that is way too long!

She is scheduled for surgery around 1:00 PM and it should last not longer than a couple of hours. I will not likely post a blog in the AM but will post after surgery and I talk to Dr Emerson and Dr Barrington.

Thanks for your prayers.



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday, Sep 17 AM

I got up early this morning so I could be over at the hospital when Dr Emerson came by on rounds. In his world, that is EARLY! I was over there before 5:30 and he came by not a whole lot later. He is pleased with the looks of the incision and ordered the staples removed and be replaced with SteriStrips. That will let that area settle down before he opens it up again! Seems strange, doesn't it!

He is planning a mid-day Friday operation. That will let he and Dr Baum work out the proper approach. Although they have slightly different opinions of the impregnation of the antifungal, I fully believe that Dr E will prevail and use a compromise between the two stances on that impregnation. After talking with him this morning, I believe he is probably on the right track, with probably a smaller dose of impregnation than Dr Baum had counted on. Refer to my post last night for her opinion. Dr E feels that it MAY reduce the need for the infusion in her pickline. At any rate, I feel confident that they will do the right thing to get the job done.

He feels like she will be in the hospital around a week to 10 day post-op and will then be able to head home. He used some words like "extremely limited mobility", calm and still, around the house, and some others that mean that we are not very likely to range very far from the home base. On the other hand, the View is also our home.....................................! That will probably let the scenery to change somewhat in the picture window! Hey, It could be a lot worse!

I'm getting to play hooky this morning after rounds. I had to make a grocery run and do the laundry! This is my part of the "relaxation" phase! I may even go out and find a big old steak somewhere in the next couple of days!

That's the jist of the good news today, thus far! We have a schedule through a return home! Can't ask much more than that at this point!

Oh, yes, Mike, I'm thinking about taking the test to get certified in my "other" role as official Nurse! [:D] I think I've already had the practical!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time Marches On - some days better than others

Sharon had a pretty rough morning today. We "partied" until late last night and I believe she suffered the worse for it! Actually, we watched Monday Night Football and I stayed until the game was over. She did some paperwork, worked on the computer for a while and may have watched a couple of minutes of the game too. She had wanted me to come later and spend some of the later evenings with her. She was getting to bed too early and couldn't sleep. Last night disproved that theory in spades!

She did have a much better afternoon and evening. She perked up and actually felt rather good. I had dinner with her (the Beef Tip Stroganoff wasn't bad at all!) and stayed for a little while afterward. Actually, I want to get over there in the morning so I can be there when Dr Emerson comes by on rounds. He is likely to give us the next surgery schedule for the next step tomorrow and I would like to be there to get a few answers to some basic questions from him. Dr Baum came by this afternoon and said that she has come to the conclusion that they don't want to infuse the new spacer with the fungicide as originally planned. In lieu of this imbedding, she wants to continue the drip through the Pick line (super IV line!) instead. This is because there is no records of this having been done before. She is sure it has but there is no body of evidence to tell what works and what doesn't. She doesn't want to take the risk of experimenting with Sharon's case without some precedence or protocol having been set. There are just too many unknowns!

Had a nice visit with Ken Casto from Prestonwood BC again. Again, we appreciate these visits and have enjoyed getting to know Ken.

The Extended Stay is almost filled with evacuees from IKE. Many still don't know what the condition of their homes is. Word is beginning to slowly get to many of them but not to all yet. That just has to be a devestating feeling not to know. They feel pretty much in limbo and unable to make plans until they can get more information.

More later after the operation decisions are made.



Monday, September 15, 2008

Time Marches On!!!!!

It's hard for me to believe that I feel so well and only had surgery a week ago. I get myself in and out of bed now when the inflatable booties aren't on my feet and I walk around the room just a little. Today Joe took me outside in the wheelchair and then he brought Bulli over to see me. That little rascal said a quick "hi" and then dug his nose into some bushes to see what varmits had been around. It felt so nice to be outside these 4 walls and to feel the nice breeze. IKE came thru with a "tinkling cymbal" on Sat. so now the weather is really nice. Tonight, in fact, is to be coolest in several months. We have a huge window here in the room and I like to look outside to see the lights or the birds or the planes flying by.
We've spent the evening watching the Dallas Cowboys football game. We were avid fans while we were living in TX for 14 years and still have a place in our hearts for them since we moved away.
My surgery could likely be as late as Fri. because my Doctor's are still getting their heads together. Stay tuned for more news as we know it.

Monday Madness - Well, maybe not!

Dr. Baum made a visit today. Sharon is treading on thin ice with the blonde jokes with the one doctor that is crutial to the solution to her fungal challenges! The sign between them is one example!

Today is when a lot of things have begun coming together. Dr. Baum was by early this afternoon and and verified some of what we can expect in the coming weeks - not as a hardcore, fixed in concrete schedule but general estimates of what they expect at this time. First, she has to finish determining just which antifungal they need to use to mix with the spacer material. This is a fine line, balancing the proper material, in the proper strength so that it is strong enough to do the job and not so strong that it causes unintended consequences. She's sure some of her collegues have been there before and wants to tap that experience as they go into largely uncharted territory. When asked how long she believes the drip infusions will go on, she feels like 6 to 8 weeks is a good extimate. They have a lab and home infusion agency here that also has a outlet in Nashville. They will set up proper care through that group to support Sharon's needs when we get home. Did you notice that, for the first time, we have a positive reference to returning home? We suspect another three weeks here, providing all goes will with this next procedure. That will be done one day between Wednesday thru Friday. I suspect it will likely be later in the week, most likely Friday. Of course, I'm NOT on the decision making side of the table, so my thoughts are strictly non-consequential! [:D] I'm largely basing that on the time for proper fungicide to be researched and decided.

Dr Emerson keeps shaking his head with the unbelieveable turn of events thus far. He has said several times that he wishes she would quit being such a challenging patient! Hmmmm! Think we'd kinda like that, too!

We keep having daily visits from Prestonwood BC deacons. They are a very welcome part of the day. It's great to have a friendly, non-medical face show up at the door and stop in with a pleasant visit. Thank you so much, Prestonwood, for being so diligent in your ministry!

I'll be shifting my "at-the-hospital" times a little. Sharon needs the help and company late in the afternoon and in the early nightime. That is the time that the staff is somewhat scaled back and she needs the extra company to help keep the night from being so long. That means that Bulli and I will probably shift our day slightly to the west a little so we can get his scheduled shifted too.

Sharon wanted a something different for lunch/dinner today. Already she as been through the hospital menu and, while the food is great, her enthsiasm for it has already dwindled to the near zero level. I dropped down to Cowboy Chicken and brought back a batch with sides for our whatever you call the meal at 3:00PM. It was rather tasty, even for me that normally would rather have a live cow than a fully cooked chicken! They have pretty good sides as well, and their creamed spinach is right up there with the best! Pretty soon, she'll want me to go get another "fruit cup" from La Madaline! Hmmm! May not be a bad idea, at that!

I was supposed to go over to an informal geocaching dinner with some of the local folks tonight, but I believe that with Sharon's desires for evening company, that I'll have to pass this time. Was looking rather forward to that but we'll do what we have to do!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Day Of Rest?

Sharon has a day a the "spa" ala hospital style! Nothing quite like a good shampoo!

Prestonwood Baptist Church as seen from the window. Could see the church as we worshipped with them! Yes, that LARGE building IS the church! We're about a mile and a half from it!

Sharon with the choir during the service!

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and that is just exactly what we are doing BUT that's all we've been doing for a week now. Lots more of it to come.

Last night was probaby the best night of sleep I have had since being here. I was actually able to get in 3 periods of longer sleep. For those of you who have had to spend time in a hospital, you know that people are in and out of your room all night so you just can't pull the covers up over your head and sleep until the morning.

My Dr. wants me to keep my hip quiet so basically all I am doing is lying in the bed and getting up to the bathroom and/or sitting in a chair. Today he added that I could look out in the hall-wow! we're really progressing. He says we are just taking things a day at a time and we're right there with him.

Have a big picture window here in the room that looks over the city of Plano and we watched as remnants of hurrican IKE were passing thru. It didn't end up being very bad here-some rain and wind for a while but that was all.

Joe got here this morning after I was all cleaned up and sitting in the chair. He brought the computer so we went to church via computer broadband. We have visited Prestonwoood Church several times when we have lived here or came thru last year. They have a wonderful service that you can enjoy in your living room or in our case, a hospital room. Joe was stretched out in the recliner and I was here in the bed so how was that for a worship service? I'm on the 8th floor and we have a beautiful view of the church in sight.

Not much more to report from my side today. Joe will keep you up with the medical details-he's alot more "wordy" than me.

Love ya'll


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Eureka! They found IT!

Sharon with the flowers from Aunt Kay! These are the only flowers she's had during any of the trips to Plano! They were beautiful, Kay! Thanks!

We have great news this morning! The internal medicine doctor came by just after I got to the hospital with what turns out is good news! Not good news as in "there's absolutely nothing wrong!" but good news in that the same mold has been identified in three different cultures they were growing! What makes that so great is that NOW we have a target to shoot at and they can properly treat the real cause. Thank you, Father!

Dr Emerson came in on rounds before I got here, but outlined what he knows at the moment. Plans are to go in to the hip and remove a little more of the installed components to be replaced with the fungicides that can be mixed with the spacer construct. This is rare treatment and research has to be done on the proper mix of "stuff" to get the job done. I think I said something about this in the blog late last night. This turn of events brings us closer to the "Big Fix!" Sharon made the comment this morning that the thing that is keeping her going is that just ahead on the "other side of all this" is the life and mobility that we have known! How's that for a positive, let's this this done attitude?

Thanks for all your expressions of support today. You know who you are and I am in deep gratitude for your love and care.

Friday Night Entries – Long Day

I’m sitting here back in the Extended Stay after a pretty long day, both in hours and emotionally. I did manage to leave for a while this afternoon and come back to the hotel and do a couple of loads of laundry, but for the most part, have been with Sharon at the hospital. We had a very nice visit from one of the deacons from Parkwood Baptist Church. Ken’s arrival was very welcome and he provided some comedic and devine relief that was much needed at the time! Thanks, Ken!

Ken was there, actually, when Dr Baum came for her visit. We were discussing some of the difficulties that Sharon was having when she came in, and he welcomingly stayed while she explained where we stand with the lab cultures and some of the things that are changing and a little of where we need to go for a good outcome. They have finally grown something in the samples that were taken during surgery last Monday. They have found a mold growing that is not exactly what they were expecting. She and Dr Emerson are going slowly on this until the slower growing cultures are finished so that it can be verified as the cause of the difficulty. When and if that culture is verified, the treatment will change to the antifungals that are required. There is much more to follow on this, for there is a lot more involved than I can outline here yet. The simplified version is that it looks like Sharon will have another operation sometime this coming week to do two things: 1. Remove more of the other components that are most likely infected by the mold and 2. replace the spacer that is impregnated with anti-bacterial material and replace it with one that contains the anti-fungal materials. Number 1 is the primary cause, but number 2 is a pretty big player init as well. We don’t know the schedule yet, and even the doctors are not sure what the timing will be. The major cause for the uncertainty is largely because we are working in unknown territory. What we have here is a very very rare situation and there is not a set protocol to work with. Both doctors are very contentiously researching the possibilities for successful treatment.

Sharon is supposed to have a more “mainline” shunt installed tonight so that the hardcore drugs can be inserted. The two IV’s that were installed earlier this week had to come out today because of their limited use time. Four days was all that they can stay in. The new one can stay in basically an unlimited time. That will make the coming days a much more pleasant experience. (that really sounds strange, considering what we know is coming!)

Since I’ve been back to the Extended Stay tonight, I’ve met two groups of folks who have come up from Houston to move out of the danger zone of Ike. They both asked if they could pray for Sharon and her condition. Of course, I replied in the positive! I ask your prayers, too, please. Tonight has been, in some respects, our darkest hour. My heart aches for what Sharon must go through before this is laid to rest. She, on the other hand, is saying, “Let’s just get it on and get it over with!” She’s one tough girl! Crying Uncle is just not in her nature. We now know that there are at least two more operations before it is finished. Don’t know the timing. I expect to be back in Nashville for some time before the second one of those is done.



Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Morning - An early start to the day!

I knew it was going to be along day this morning when the phone woke me up at 6:00 AM and it was Sharon after not having slept well and needing some early help! It was at a time when the doctors were making rounds, the floor was full of new surgical patients from the Thursday surgical marathon day, shift change was taking place, AND, perhaps most important of all, Sharon was literally sitting on a potential first-time-after-surgery elimination problem! All of it together, with a lack of sleep, had her quite in a dither that she needed a LOT of help with. After taking care of the little boy and getting him walked and fed, I finally made it up, totally unshaven, while the doctors were still on the rounds. I helped her get up in the chair for a while, get breakfast, and make it to a couple of false alarms to the bathroom. It's now 10:45 and it feels like I've been here for a week or two! Such is the benefit of an early hurried start! [:D] She has already had two PT walks down the hall and is now back in bed resting again! Oh yes! We had the big event about an hour ago! I learned a lot about the hospital utility systems in the process of all this. Their air evacuation systems to exhaust the air are TOTALLY INSUFFICIENT! You don't really want to know just HOW I can be so emphatic about that! Fortunately, this is a sight and sound only media!

The Extended Stay is rapidly filling up. I expect to have to park quite a way out tonight when I get back to the room. Bulli and I walked past several cars in the lot this AM that were stacked full of personal possessions with only enough room for the driver in the car. You gotta know they're escaping the storm.

After I wrote the late note last evening, the news talked about how fuel was going to be in the wake of the storm here. Sooooo, Bulli and I went out to the only station near us that has diesel fuel available to top off. We were down about a half a tank and I did not want to run short of either driving fuel OR enough to run the generator when it was needed. There was a line at the diesel pumps when we arrived and we just waited our turn to fill. While waiting, I noticed that they had sold OUT of mid-range and high test fuels. Fortunately, there was diesel left and we got our fill. That should hold us through any contingency plans we need to make, either for medical purposes or for weather related events. Of course, we're not expecting a transportation requirement for weather, but, being good Scouts, we wanted to be prepared.

OK, she's finally napping again, so I think I'll take a stroll to keep it quiet in here for a while!

Until later, Cheers!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Later Update - Thursday Night, 10:15

I left the Hospital around 9:00 PM. I hadn't even gotten home when I got a call from Sharon. She said I had missed Dr Baum by about 15 seconds. Looks like I went one way and Dr Baum came in from the other direction. She said that they indeed have cultured a substance in the lab that is a fungus. BUT, the one that has grown is one that COULD have come from the air in the lab. Sooooo, we still aren't sure what the results of that will be. Suppose we'll hear something from Dr Emerson tomorrow or Monday. Waiting is frustrating!

The real purpose of this late edition is, as I sit down to type this, the news makes it sound like the whole of Texas is going to bear the wrathe of Ike. Along the coast, that is likely true. We are a couple of hundred miles up the track of the storm after it makes landfall. What that means is that we will likely get a lot of rain and some mild winds - in the 30 to 40 MPH range, but will largely go unscathed. The major projected track presently show it going far enough to the east of us to place us in no danger, as long as we don't walk in the rain with our noses stuck straight up in the air! Those of you in normal hurricane territory know of which I speak. This is for those of you who have not had the pleasure of going through the real thing except through the eyes of the Weather news ala Jim Cantori or the Crisis News Network ala the ID 10 T's (read that word a couple of times and you'll finally see it!) who have to show how bad it is! (Even if it isn't!)

It does bode well that Sharon will stay in the hospital until next week. By Sunday, there won't likely be even any rain for her to get into coming out of the "Big House!" Wait! Wrong place! [:D]



Thursday PM - Milestone day

I asked Sharon what she wanted to tell every one tonight! She said for me to just outline the events of the day! OK, Hang on, it's been busy!! To preface the events, though, I'll tell you one of my events of the day and that will explain it when you find an occasional typo or something else not right. I decided that today was the day to put a new hole in my body! Nnnnooooooo! I've not decided to get a belly piercing! (you may not want THAT visual!) I poked a small very sharp screwdriver through my index finger. It's really not a big deal, and it really doesn't hurt, but it, and the bandaid on it, are wreaking havoc with my keyboard skills. Can't feel the "Home" keys and that makes using the keyboard, not painful, but extremely frustrating! So, now I have an excuse for all those wrong words and it is, the worst part, slow me down and making me type most things twice. Aaarrrrrggggg!

Ok, now to the important part. Sharon took TWO walks down the hall and she sat up in the recliner chair for a while and actually ate sitting in the chair. She's back in bed now but she has been out of bed for a good two hours today. Her head almost belongs to her again as most of the fog from the anesthetics as disappeared! (that's my story and I don't plan to change it! [:D]) She has even talked briefly on the phone twice during the day. Once to Abigail and once to her mommy! That just about has done her in, though, and she is deeply dozing as I'm writing this. I brought her a chocolate milkshake this morning (actually just before noon) and, I believe that was about the only food she hasn't complained about yet! Said it was rather tasty, as a matter of fact.

We've been waiting all day for the Internal Medicine doctor to come by. It's after seven as I write this so that is not likely to happen now, I think. I had one of those brain anomolies last night as I was going to sleep and may have had an insight to the infection in the hip. Have no idea why it hadn't come to us before.

Since she's sleeping, I'm going to close this out and may get back to it later. This is really about the whole summary of the day.

Until later,


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Post Op - Day Two

I have been banned from posting pictures of the day's activities and threatened if I do! Sooooo, this will be just a plain old boring narrative log about another day in 889! She is definitely getting better - read that to mean that she is coming out from the "funny juice!" That's a good thing, for the most part! I do lose a lot of humor in my life when that happens, however, because she's so much fun for that first day or two after surgery as she is still under the influence! Makes me think she would have been a hilarious drunk if she ever drank! The other side of the coin is that my "Hey, boy!" role increases now for a day or two until she can get up and around a little! [:D] That's not a problem, though, because, really, that's about what my contribution can be at this point to making sure she has a good, comfortable recovery. We all have to do what we have to do!

Today was a day of milestones! She was out of bed for the first time. She went to the bathroom for the first time. She had her clothes changed to HER clothes! And, more important that ALL the rest, her diary has the entry that everybody wants post-op - and I quote, "I farted!" You know that is significant since it was HER that made the diary entry! WOW! That's not something she would normally take great pride in!

Dr Baum, her internal medicine doctor, came in a little while ago, and, after giving her a full check over, said that the lab should have some results within the next 12 to 24 hours, if not sooner! That well be a good thing because that will mean that they can target a specific growth instead of pouring in a copious quantity of several antibiotics to cover all possiblities. At least, to this point, she has had not shown any allergies to the regimen they have prescribed. We're keeping our fingers crossed that doesn't happen. I keep telling Sharon that she is treading on dangerous territory. Dr Baum is a very attractive young blond lady who is a former Army doctor. Sharon has been insistent on telling her all the blond jokes in her repertoir! She actually found one that Dr Baum had not heard. To appreciate the full humor in this, you really should heard Sharon try to tell a joke while she is under the "funny juice!" It's usually funnier than the joke itself! Jay ain't worried!! [:D]

Poor little Bulli is having a hard time coping with this massive disruption of anything resembling his normal routine. He knows his "Mom" is not where he can find her, but he smells her on Dad when he comes out. He's pretty well been "in storage" in the coach for the duration and has gotten to the point that almost hates to get into it. I try to get out to let him out fairly frequently but, of course, that's never enough to satisfy his need to roam and be with us! Yesterday, we were walking down a sidewalk by a parking lot and, sitting right out in the middle all by itself, was a New Beetle the same color as Sharon's. He went straight to it and went to the door to get in. He looked really disappointed when I told him it wasn't Mom's.

The staff here at Presby is great. They have very been very attentive and, with a lot of the staff here, it has been old home week because a lot of them were here last year and remember her from then.

She is beginning to eat a little, but she claims it had NO taste. I tried a bite of her Lasagna last evening that she said had NO taste, and I actually though that it was OVER seasoned! The herbs were really strong. Food service here is a different experience. They have a menu that you order from and your meal is brought up individually instead of in a mass "delivery" wagon. I ordered from the menu last evening and found it to be a very well prepared, tasty meal.

Bottom line, today is very much better and will get better as the next few days unroll!

More later!



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Real Day After

This guy's business is really picking up! It may be a really crappy job, but he's cleaning up making piles while he's doing it! (This picture has absolutely NOTHING to do with this subject, but I just couldn't resist!

I slept in really, really late this morning, and after acting in my other capacity as "Canine Support Unit", we came over to the hospital via Mooya, a burger joint for brea...., er, lunch or what ever you have at that time of the day. It is cloudy, rainy and dreary today, so Bulli was really interested in only the minimal time in the outside. It is so cool this morning, that he only has ambient air available and is not basking in the chilling cool of the generator-powered air conditioning of Geovanii. Poor fellow! Having to give up some of this luxurious living! Speaking of pups, I found an interesting truck with signs as I was having my burger-breakfast. It's posted above. It pretty well speaks for itself. Any comments by me would be uselessly tacky, but I made them anyway, just because I can!

Sharon says Hi to All!

Sharon is doing rather well today. They took away the "funny juice, push the button for a really good jag" box this morning. Much to her chagrin, I might add! Now she had to get relief from a shot that lasts only 6 hours! She is still under the impression that she is fully lucid, but just keeps drifting off mid sentence! She asked for a magazine and lasted two pages before it fell down in disuse! The doctors made the rounds about 6:30 AM and were pleased with where she is at the moment. As she gets unplugged, she will be able to sit up beginning tomorrow. All her signs are looking good. They still have drips in both arms to get the full amount of antibiotics into her. That is probably going to be a continuing thing as long as she is in here. She says to say Hi to everybody. It will probably be a couple of days before she will be able to talk to anyone, so my phone is still the contact point.

Posted the pic of her to let you see the great strides she's making in very small steps!! [:D]


The Morning After the Night Before!

Sharon and her support equipment
It's almost 1:00 AM and I have just gotten back to the room. Sharon is resting well, although she probably won't sleep much more than a doze occasionally throughout the rest of the night. The Internal Medicine doctor, Dr Baum, came in tonight around 10 and stayed for almost an hour getting Sharon's history, both medical and living places. With the places we have spend some time, she wanted to compare notes to see if there could be anything left over from those places that may have lain dormant all these years. Who knows? Nothing is going unchecked now at this stage. They have prescribed a rather rigorous schedule of drugs to be infused with the IV to get a good start on whatever the little buggers may be. Culturing the samples taken will take a few days, depending on what there happens to be. (Gramatically incorrect, but, dang, I'm sleepy! You figure it out!) I feel good about where they are going. Just have to make sure the patient survives the treatment! [:D] The nurses were doing their checks and the respiratory therapist came in with the "huff and puff" meter and had her breathing through it.

She had a spell of nausea just before I left but we settled it down before anything happened. Nurse Thompson can handle some of these little crises, but given the choice, will let the staff nurses handle the ugly stuff!!

When I brought Sharon's clothes back to the coach this afternoon, Bulli was waiting for me to get back (don't feel sorry for him, I'm running the generator with airconditioning for HIM!) After I let him out to take care of some personal matters, I unpacked her clothes to hang them in the closet. He sniffed her pants and looked at me like just what did you do to her? Where is she? She's supposed to be wearing those things! It looked like he was accusing me fo doing something to her! Humph! Kids!

Better run. I hear a pillow calling me to rescue it from loneliness!!



Monday, September 8, 2008

Post Op Doctor Visit

Drs Barrington and Emerson came down about 7:00 PM and said the operation was a success. The loose prosthesis was removed and a temporary spacer with cup was installed. The area looked really bad with infection as indicated in the fluid samples. They have taken numerous tissure samples to use to culture so that the actual problem can be isolated and destroyed. She has just gone into the recovery room and will be up in the room in an hour or so.

The plan at this stage is for us to stay here until the infection/condition is stabilized and then we can return to Nashville for a period of time. Weeks, months?? Bottom line is we don't know at this point. The spacer/cup will give her stability to get around with crutches and Dr E and B are not in a hurry to rush into a full replacement until 1. they are absolutely as confident as they can be that the Bad Stuff is gone and 2. that enough time has passed to let the area and tissues are sufficiently calmed and healed to make the final replacement feasible. There is still a possibility that the femurial prosthesis may have to be removed. We REALLY don't want to go there if at all possible, but the condition there may require it to go to make sure all the bad stuff is gone.

More as we learn more. Both Dr E and Dr B are on weekend duty this weekend and will be on top of the situation and her condition.



PreOp Afternoon

The Crew Getting an IV started. It took doppler radar to get it done!

We are presently in the surgical prep room for them to take Sharon to the OR for her surgery. We came in at One o’clock as requested and now are waiting for them to take her back at the appropriate time. It may be closer, but she is on the schedule for 6 PM. I just took a little break and went down to check on Bulli and to make sure the generator was still running. He was OK, the generator was OK and we all had a needed little break from this Non-routine routine!

Dr Emerson drops by before surgery to discuss plans

Dr. Emerson came in right after we came into the room. He was between other surgeries and stopped in to say Hi and to let us know what they had found out. The cultures of what they aspirated last Friday have grown some “Stuff” Instead of finding the bacterial growths they had expected, they found a fungus being cultured. That leaves a lot of questions about treatment and other possibilities. Bottom line is that we will most likely be here a lot longer than we had planned. He said that in his 25 years of practice, this is only the fourth case of fungus they have seen. There is no indication where it may have come from or, really, just how to fully treat it. It is NOT an easy thing to get rid of. They have a top notch internest and infectious disease doctor already working on it. She is supposed to drop by before the surgery to discuss an outline of treatment. As Dr E was leaving, he smiled and looked back in and said that he wished Sharon would quit trying to be such an interesting case and just settle into another dull, routine boring one! I think that pretty well said the whole thing!

The nurses had a terrible time (read that painful for Sharon) getting the IV into her. They finally brought in a device called a VeinViewer. It is a Doppler radar unit that lets them look into where the veins are. Once that was brought in, a connection was made rather quickly. It was rather funny, in some ways. This is a new machine for the floor here and there was only one training session on it but not many of the nurses were able to attend. One of the nurses that was trained came in and made the insertion. There were seven nurses in getting trained on the use of it while she was working. Heck, with THAT machine, I could have done it myself! This Doppler is the same technology that is used to show you the inner disturbances on the weather on TV. Kinda’ neat! Does that mean that Sharon is all stormy? [:D]

Dr Barrington just came in. He is one of Dr E’s young partners. Dr E is in another surgery and Dr Barrington is going to begin the opening and will have everything ready for Dr E to come in and get to the real work of the prosthesis removal and the build up of the temporary spacer with cup.

Anesthetist came in at 4:15 and gave her the required cocktail and hauled her away.

More to follow when the op is over later tonight. Could be a three hour op. Time to get a little lunch for Bulli and myself!

PreOp Morning

We are getting ready to head out to the hospital in just a minute or two. Will post a short note here when Sharon is out of surgery to let all know she is OK!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm!

We've been kicked back yesterday and today giving Sharon a "Calm and Still" break before the Big Event tomorrow afternoon. We did manage to get to a Geocaching Event Saturday morning for breakfast and did a very little caching afterward. We were even back "home" to the Extended Stay by early afternoon. Of course, our route passed by La Madeline and a stop was MANDATED. Since I wanted to retain all my body parts, I reluctantly agreed to make that stop with her! Seems like she wanted another Fruit Cup! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought the above lead-in visual could say it better than I could! Notice, please, that I was a bit too slow to be able to show you what a WHOLE one is like, They are really pretty when you see the whole thing! [:D]

Our weekend started with a bang Friday night! We were reading email or something in the living room and Sharon said, "Is that water running?" Oooppps! The bathroom sink was flowing over and the water wasn't even running! Quick examination and the use of every towel in the house prevented a MASSIVE flood! Seems like the sink had backed up from someone's dishwasher draining upstairs and chose our sink to escape! I don't like couscous particular the FIRST time around and to have it coming from my own bathroom sink was a little disconcerting! I went to the front desk to find that the maintenance guys had just left! I asked the desk clerk to get a plumber and get it fixed. Even to call the manager if he had to to get it done! No results Friday evening! We got back Saturday to find that our key cards didn't work in the door. Went to the desk and found that the same clerk had come up the the, surprise, plumber Saturday morning and fixed the sink! OK, having the key card reset was a minor convenience compared to brushing teeth and that kind of stuff in the kitchen sink! OK, there can be ripples in anything in life! All's well that ends well! Hoping for that kind of hip event this series!

Went out for a mid day lunch, breakfast, well, something you eat at the first meal of the day! She wanted some more of that Cowboy Chicken for her "Last Supper!" before the operation. I will admit it was rather worthy! (See my food blog for more info on Cowboy Chicken - )

Tonight, we're kind of laid back awaiting some kind of action. I have brewed a batch of "Cold Brew" coffee and it is draining into its container as we speak. Sharon has taken her "great tasting Lemon flavored drano." Like I said, we're waiting for some kind of action!! [:D] No, siree! I'm NOT going to block that door!

Sharon is in good spirits tonight. She just wants to get it finished so we can be out doing something! She's concerned that she might miss a couple of TV shows tomorrow night that she wants to see! She's not even going to know if I'm there or not and she worries about missing a TV show! She's the ultimate optimist! I'll have fun listening to her logic and sentences for the next two or three days!
I'll update things as they occur tomorrow. It will be late in the day because we don't even go to the hospital until 1:00 pm.
Until then, Cheers!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Tale Continues To Shift

Well, as of last night's blog, we were staying through the weekend and headed home after the weekend. That change to plans changed, too! We will now be here for an undeterminate time, it appears.

When we met with Dr Emerson this morning and he reviewed the results of the aspiration from yesterday, he was not at all happy with what they had found. Although Sharon is not running a fever or showing any outward signs, there is an infection going on in there. It is very low grade and is possibly the cause of this prosthesis having failed. SSSSooooooooo! Here we go again! Shades of '91 and '92 again!

Monday, she goes into Presby for the old prosthesis to be removed. He will replace the present device with a build-up of a cement type stuff with a cup attached for the femur ball to fit into. This will space the leg, keep it from just flopping around like we had last time, and will be a temporary useable fix for the situation. It is of an antibotic-impregnated material that will go after whatever the infection is from the inside. There will be a line installed for us to administer some serious "drugs" to go after the little things from the outside. One major advantage this time is that she will not have to be intraction with no joint support at all. That got really old really quickly last time.

Sharon will probably be in the hospital for a week to 10 days and then come back to Extended Stay instead of a trip to therapy. We will stay here until Dr E clears us to head back to Nashville. That trip will happen when he feels that we can get the proper support for what is needed back there. Lab work will done weekly to see if and when the "stuff" is cleared up. When things are clean again, then we will have a new permnanent prosthesis built and installed. That could be 3 to 6 months or it could extend over a years time! At this point, there is no way to predict a hard timeline. We only know basically WHAT the events are, not WHEN they will happen.

Yes, this is a bit of a shock to our systems, but I will confess that somewhere in the back of our minds, we were aware that this was a possiblity that we really did not want to even breathe about. I'm not real sure if the familiarity with this experience is a conforting knowledge or not! As well and knowing the steps, we also know the "dreads" that accompany that knowledge.

We're counting our blessings! As we've been in and out of the doctors office and the hospital this week enough to KNOW without a doubt that we have been so blessed over our lives. Our immediate future looks a little rough, but we can see the end of the tunnel out there. Many we have met this week, do NOT have that bright a light to look forward to.



Thursday, September 4, 2008

The PreOp Begins

Today was the first day of the new beginning! We spent the middle of the day over at Presbyterian Hospital Plano (Presby) getting the lab work, the aspiration, and the scans done for Dr Emerson to use tomorrow as he evaluates just what is feasible to do as a revision. The scans will show Dr E just how strong (thick) the bone is in the asitabular region as well as give the diagram of the full shape of the new prosthesis. The lab work will give him a very good idea of the condition of the joint area. We look forward getting this evaluation completed so the design and construction of the new prosthesis can get underway.

After we left Presby, Sharon said that she wanted a fruit cup! I know the image that brings to mind to most of you, because that is what popped into my vision as she said it and I mentally raced to remember where a good example could be had. HER vision, however, was quite different than yours and mine. She very specifically wanted a La Madaline fruit cup. Still the image isn't correct unless you've been to La Madaline! What she called a "fruit cup" is in reality a fruit topped custard tart. They are about 5 inches across, have a graham cracker crust, a vanilla custard filling and topped with about a cup of fresh fruit, including large strawberries, blueberries the size of your finger, kiwi fruit slices, and mangarin orange slices in large quantities! Now THAT is a fruit cup!!! I will confess that I also have had one. As a matter of fact, when we were here post-op last year, we were out getting a "therapy conditioning orientation" in the mobile portion of our house, she saw La Madaline and wanted something tasty! I went in and found that beautiful concoction and brought one out for each of us! It did rather much hit the spot for her (not that I didn't enjoy mine, too!)! That has become a regular La Madaline favorite now, I suppose! Oh, yes, she DID enjoy it today, as well!

Presently, it appears we will be here through the weekend to make sure the cultures in the aspirated fluid are clear. Then we will slowly make our way home.

Cheers! More after the 10 AM appointment with Dr E.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Live has it’s little unexpected twists

In a world where unexpected twists and turns are somewhat normal, ours has just taken a totally unexpected one! Sharon’s operation has been postponed and rescheduled for later. As we were visiting with Doctor Emerson this afternoon, he outlined options of what could be done. These ranged from a repair that would be pretty well the last that would required, but would greatly limit her mobility options and would require, as a minimum, full-time crutches and restrict long walks, to a full rebuild of a new type prosthesis that is far more advance in metallurgy than the last. There has been a huge breakthrough in that area in the last few months (since the last operation 11 months ago) and will be the “gold ring” that should be the “Big Fix!” This last will result in more or less normal activity levels and allow Sharon the type lifestyle she wishes to continue. Guess which one she chose?!?! Naturally the one that lets her “go-for-it!”

Having said all that, our time-line has greatly shifted. Instead of going in for the operation tomorrow, she will go in for an aspiration of the hip tomorrow to let Dr. E have a chance to evaluate the condition of the hip area and insure there are no infectious “stuff” there. If anything shows up in the fluid that indicates anything wrong, then other options will have to be immediately implemented to remove any infection. Hopefully, and as best as can be told today, this is not a concern, merely a precautionary concern. Also tomorrow, she will have the hip area computer-scanned so that the new prosthesis can be made. This manufacture of the prosthesis normally takes about 6 weeks. Dr E thinks it could happen somewhat quicker than that and he will try to get it done as quickly as he can.

We will meet with Dr E on Friday morning to make sure that this plan is feasible and that we are cleared to proceed. If all goes as planned now, we will remain in Plano until Monday or Tuesday to make sure nothing is cultured from the fluids removed from her hip. We will take a few days to get home and take a breather along the way. We’re both a little swirly-headed over this latest turn of events, but we know this is the BEST option available to us right now. Again, we ask for your prayers and thoughts during this process.

More to follow as we learn more tomorrow.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday, September 2

Spent another night at Lake Lewisville last night because our hotel room wasn't going to be ready until this afternoon. We slept late and then did some caching before going over to the hotel. Our room was ready and we moved our things in. We have a suite this time and it gives us so much more room than that small room we had last year. We had a lovely dinner at a nice little restaurant that we discovered when we were here before. Then it was off to Wally World to get some things and close up for the evening. We are doing e-mail tonight and watching TV. We should have a pretty easy day tomorrow as we don't go to my Dr. appt until 4 PM. I will see the internist for a brief physical and then see my surgeon. We will find out more details about Thurs after this appt.
We really made a good choice to leave for down here on Sat. Gustav has really brought wind and rain to AR and that's just where we came thru on Sunday.
James laid his father-in-law to rest this afternoon in Jackson, TN. We were so sorry that we couldn't be there to offer support but this hip "thing" just couldn't be changed.
Something cute from 7-year-old Abby: she and James were driving past the Dollar Store and she said Grandaddy used to take her there every day. But she said he was dead now so it wouldn't be advisable.
Mr. Norment actually died at the assisted living where he and his wife have been living since last Feb. However, he wanted to see Carol and Abby again so he hung on until they got there. His lung collapsed on Fri morning and he died Sat. night right after he saw the girls. He did it his way and very peacefully.
Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and also Joe and I in these days ahead. More tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Texas Update

We did a little exploratory run around Plano today. Coming in to avoid the potential of the pending Gustav had it's advantages, like getting to make ourselves at home before the big event starts. This place sure feels like home! James made the comment that we have probably spent more time in Plano in the last year than we actually have in Madison! That may well be true! I had just as soon NOT have it for the reason that we're here but, Yes, Matilda, I really DO miss Texas!

In our running today, we managed to get in a stop at Planet Burrito, Sharon for a fabulous salad and I for a Stuffed Southwest Burrito. Yup! Just as good as last time! Plenty of that nice spicy Diablo sauce on mine! Just sitting next to it was hot enough for Sharon! My, but that stuff puts a rosy glow on your cheeks, er, face! I even had to carry some home in a bottle last time we were here!

We do have a couple of more places to return to before we get locked in to the hospital routine. Sharon has some more tastes she wants to satiate before Wednesday, too. I can take care of mine while she is in the hospital and in rehab!

We went by the Extended Stay today to make sure our room will be ready for us. We're getting a slightly large suite this time to make it more comfortable for her in house therapy. The folks in it wanted to extend for a while longer but the lady on the desk told them that there were reservations waiting for it. We move in tomorrow afternoon. There were a large group of folks there who were refugees from Gustav and Lousiana.

More later, Bulli is stressing out to go out for a little session!