Issues of Aging

Once again, I’ve changed the focus of this blog.  This time to the issues and problems that come with aging.

In January 2018, I managed to do something painful to my thumb.  I finally couldn’t take it anymore and went to the ER on February 1.  They did x-rays and sent me away with a spica splint (I thought they were calling it a thumb spike), a diagnosis of deteriorating thumb joint plus tendonitis, and a referral to an orthopedic doctor.

Here it is the end of March and I still haven’t been able to get to that new doctor.  Maybe soon?


February 6, 2018 we were still living at the Residence Inn due to water damage at our home on November 6, 2017 (more on that in another blog, someday).  My mom and I were coming back from WalMart and she fell in the parking lot.  Luckily, DH was still in our apartment and he came right down.  He couldn’t get her to stand up, so I drove the car over to her.  Although she didn’t want to go, we took her to the emergency room.

They did lots of scans there.  The first determined that she’d broken her pelvis in 2 places.  Thankfully, they don’t do surgery for a broken pelvis.  They thought that they would send her to Mount Vernon Hospital for intensive rehab.

Her white blood count was high, so they assumed infection and started 2 IV meds for that.  Her blood pressure dropped very low several times, causing her to pass out.

A chest x-ray was clear, so no infection there.  Because of the passing out episodes, they sent her for a head scan in case there had been a stroke.  Nope.

About 1 am on the 7th, a hospitalist came in to admit her.  He asked if she had abdominal pain and she said yes.  So, he started palpating various areas and found a tender spot.  He called for an abdominal scan, which showed internal bleeding.  So, the WBC wasn’t from infection but massive blood loss.

They called an ambulance and sent her to Fairfax Hospital for emergency surgery to stop the bleeding.

At Fairfax, they did a new scan with contrast – missed that she was allergic to that – and found that the bleeding was stopping all by itself.  Then, they gave her Benadryl.

She stayed there for 3 nights because Medicare required 3 midnights before going to rehab.  <Sheesh!>

From there, she went to Manor Care for rehab.  She no longer qualified for Mount Vernon.

She was doing really well…until she started having internal bleeding.  Back to Fair Oaks.  Same room.  AARRGGHH!  She was admitted for a few days to stop the bleeding and turned out to have an ulcer.  Then, edema.

Finally, she came home and is doing really well with a walker.  The pelvis is supposed to heal itself in a couple months.


 

 

 

Wednesday, Nine Weeks Post-Op

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Running Late!  The Nine Week Anniversary was 2 days ago.  I got so tired singing  Holy Thursday, Good Friday and three Easter Services that I’ve just been resting up for a few days.

It also turned out that our son came home Thursday night, after rehab, after that service so my energy has been really sapped.

DH is still doing well, the rehab continues and he’s done 5 as of today.  We also signed up for our first patient meeting next Tuesday and a class on Cardiac Valve Surgery later this month.

So…we have rehab Wednesday and Thursday this week, Mended Hearts on Saturday, Monday rehab, Tuesday patient meeting, Wednesday and Thursday rehab…

Soon we’ll be experts!

Because DS was here, we ate some foods that I doubt are on the new diet.  I hope that there are no setbacks because of this.

Yesterday was one of those busy days.  A friend happened to call on Monday while we were driving back from rehab and DH took the call since I was driving.  As a result, DH, DS, my mom and I all went out with the friend in the afternoon.  In the morning, I had a staff meeting for work.  Our son decided that it was closer for him to take the train back to NYC from our friend’s, so we swung by the train station on the way home.

A tiring, but fun, day.  Our friend also has stairs up to her house, so it was one of the first times DH climbed a lot of them.

In church on Sunday, someone prayed for another who had had surgery before DH’s and wasn’t doing well yet.  It makes me very thankful for how well things are working out here.

 

 

 

Monday – Eight Weeks Post-Op

Monday

I’m happy to report that life continues to return to normal.

I was out walking the dog this morning, and it was snowy again.  The sidewalk was very slippery and it reminded me of that Monday two months ago when I was out with her and slipped and fell.  My shin still hurts a bit from that day.

DH has been out to several meetings and has won a court case – all without driving himself.  He’s still having to “pay” for a lot of activity by napping later.

He’s able to easily put on sweaters now that go over his head.

Tomorrow is our first rehab appointment.  We’re both looking forward to that for different reasons.  I’m eager to get my life back on a schedule.  He’s looking forward to being able to drive and become stronger.

We’re still mostly vegetarian.  I hope to get some food/cooking advice at the rehab meeting tomorrow.

DH went to church again yesterday for Palm Sunday, then we went out for breakfast again.  He’s found a healthy meal at a local restaurant without too much prodding.

He’s busy trying to find a timeshare in Japan that we could trade for although it will be a while before we could consider that kind of travel.

On the 20th, I had to make a very difficult decision.  There’s a Cushing’s Conference in Las Vegas next month.  I already had plane tickets but hadn’t registered for the conference or a hotel room.  I decided that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving DH alone for 5 days with a dog he couldn’t walk or a car he might not be able to drive.  I’m also just afraid to be away that long, just in case…

Hopefully, next week’s update will have more good news to report.

Monday – Five Weeks Post-op

day-mon

Today went pretty well.  DH did some computer work with an employee.  After about 2 hours, DH rested his eyes for a bit while the other guy finished up.

I took the opportunity to go out to do some grocery shopping.  Exciting stuff!

A few phone calls, then DH napped some more – a bit of computer and you know the rest!

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies

Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometime before this adventure started, DH had ordered 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Those arrived this evening and DH said he’d have “just one”.

I didn’t check how many he had but I saw that 4 (the typical serving size for Thin Mints) is 125 mg of sodium.  Possible trouble looming.

Maybe I’ll have to sacrifice myself and eat them all first 🙂

day-tues

Today was a pretty good day.  DH actually did some more work got a testimony ready to file, then some napping.  He went out with a friend to meet some others and actually had half a cup of coffee for the first time since surgery.

While he was out, I went to bell rehearsal to sub for someone else.  A very odd feeling to be subbing in my own group but they’re getting ready for a festival and someone has to ring my position – and it can’t be me.  I won’t be able to be away overnight for a while.

It was nice to be back, even briefly 🙂

day-wed

Up early in the morning for the stress test on the treadmill at the cardiologist.  I dropped DH off at the front door.  By the time I’d parked and gotten upstairs, he was already hooked up to the monitors but they wouldn’t let me go in.

Apparently, he passed with flying colors, all the way up to a 7% grade so he can start cardiac rehab as soon as we can get it set up!

On the way home, we saw my mom out walking so pulled over to say hello.  She was on her way to the library.  She had an appointment with her oncologist next Wednesday and she had been dithering about changing that in case DH’s rehab was on Wednesday mornings.  I told her not to change it – she might change TO the rehab date.  As it turned out, the oncologist had cancelled her.  Problem solved.

We decided to be brave and went to Bob Evans for breakfast.  DH did fairly ok with veggie omelet, egg beaters, fruit plate and dry whole wheat toast.  Another step in getting out into the real world again…

day-thurs

Last night didn’t go well.  I tossed and turned all night.  DH started trying to sleep in our room and went to the recliner about 1:00am, then back to the room about 4:00am.  About 8:00am he was in the recliner again so I guess he didn’t sleep well, either.

The day was like most days – a lot of napping and working.

DH called rehab and he can’t start for 2 weeks.  A bit disappointing 😦

I cleaned out our pantry and got rid of all the canned foods with sodium in them.  I took some to my mom, then took the rest to church to send to Western Fairfax Christian Ministries.

I went to church choir.  They’re getting ready for Holy Week and Easter so there’s lots of new music to learn.  I’m starting to feel less mole-like.

day-fri

Another lazy day.  We were going to go to the mall to walk but work and naps got in the way.

DH is sitting in his recliner listening to some app that will teach him Spanish.

Our son came home and DH actually went with me to Union Station to pick him up from the train.  I parked as close as I could so it was a short walk to the escalator, then another walk, another escalator and a longer walk.

DH was hungry so we went to get some Jamba Juice.  Even though the store was open, they said that they were cleaning up and closed.  DH went into Starbucks against my better judgement and got some kind of strawberry muffin thing.

On the way home, he wanted to go to McDonalds so I went through the drive-through and got 3 shamrock shakes, a grilled chicken sandwich for DH and a quarter pounder, no cheese for me.

Going out into the world is going to wreck all my careful food planning over the last 4 weeks!

day-sat
I woke up at 4:00am with a raging headache, possibly from that shamrock shake.  I’m not used to all that sugar any more 😦  It’s too bad – that’s about the only thing I really like(d) at Mickey D’s.  Oh, well.

At 11 we had our first Mended Hearts meeting.  That went pretty well.  I actually talked some – DH, of course, talked more.  I found it ironic that the snacks included no coffee but the raffle gift was a coffee cup.  HMMM…

It was good listening to other patients and caregivers talking about some of the issues we’ve gone through.

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Today was a take-it-easy day, a bit of TV, napping and playing piano duets with our son.  At night, we took him back to the train station.  Later, DH said that his chest was hurting a bit, probably from so much walking in the train today and Friday and the walking through the parking garage and hospital on Saturday.

Hopefully, a little Tylenol will help.

Next report next Monday…

Monday – Four Weeks Post-Op

This is the first of the timeline posts that I’m actually writing more or less as they happen!

day-mon

Last Monday, Feb 18 was the first visit with the cardiologist.  Getting there was a bit of a problem but the appointment itself went smoothly.

We got into the inner sanctum and a very nice nurse named Lisa took down DH’s info.  It worked out well that we hadn’t finished all the paperwork since she had lots of info fron the hospital, anyway.

She took DH’s blood pressure and oxygen levels (both good), then took the bags of meds and vitamins away for cataloging.

The doctor came in and asked some of the same questions as everyone else about how he was eating, sleeping, exercise, swelling, pain.  He listened to DH’s heart and lungs and everything sounded good.  He checked the legs for swelling…none.

We made 2 more appointments – one for a low-stress treadmill next week and one with him for three months out.  There’s also bloodwork to be done before the treadmill. After passing the treadmill test, DH can start rehab.  Yea!

When we got home, there was a call from the PCP’s lab.  DH called back but had just missed them.

day-tues
DH slept in the bed and out of the recliner for several hours last night.  Another step forward!

DH finally got through to the PCP’s lab and the cholesterol numbers were excellent.  Hooray!  Other numbers such as liver enzymes were good, too.

day-wed
DH did some work today, with several naps in between. I got the car taken care of. He got the disher unloaded and reloaded – with resting afterwards.

He decided to start off the night sleeping in bed and made it until about 4:00 am. He said that there was no pain but he would be more comfortable in the recliner.
day-thurs
DH spent most of the morning working (at home) on a proposal, then most of the afternoon napping.  Most of the pain seems gone – hooray! Evening there was a short meeting with a nap before and after.  Then, dinner and another nap before bed.

He started out for about an hour in bed, then back to the recliner for the rest of the night.

He doesn’t seem to cough nearly as much. Hooray!

day-fri

Friday through Sunday – lots of napping, trying to sleep or nap in the bed but usually winding up in the recliner.

day-sun

 

It was a nice day so we took the dog outside for a very short walk…followed by more napping.  DH is looking forward to the treadmill test on Wednesday so he can start the rehab soon.