Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday, Monday

Snowing.  When will it ever stop????

G has been on the phone most of the morning--making appointments.  Apparently, everyone in Maine who had the right set up--had a heart attack in March.  G has to wait to get into Cardio Rehab and has to wait for appointments with his doctors.  On the positive side: he didn't have the Widow Maker. Others weren't so lucky and their families are planning funerals.  Two that I know of last week.

The Open House was good.  I was very tired when I got home and am happy to have today off.  I have already watered the plants "over-wintering" in the attic-- and they are doing very well--even the geraniums.  I need to start my tomato seedlings. And my pepper seedlings.  And the onions.  And the fennel.  And, I need to take the dog for a walk.  He hasn't had a walk in quite a few days.

What I actually want to do is sit on the cozy couch and read my library book.

The visiting nurse is here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Open House @ Work

I've gone back to work.  Three part time days and tomorrow a full time day--starting way too early.  I have to go in and water before the Early Bird Sales.  I am NOT an Early Bird.

I went to the grocery today and stocked up on elements.  Sweet potatoes to bake (I like them as a meal).  A roasted turkey breast from the deli.  Sliced ham and cheese.  Some ground beef to add to a can of marinara so G can have "pasta" when ever he desires.  Even a wheat pizza dough ball for an onion and mushroom pizza. Items that can be quickly mix and matched for a low sodium meal or two.  And for me, two large tubs of Greek yogurt as my favorite lunch is yogurt with fresh fruit.  Grapefruit.  Mango.  Peaches and raspberries.  Sounds like Spring doesn't it.

I started watching "DIG" last night.  Jerusalem is the setting.  Plenty of twists, turns, levels, cliffs in the car and on foot chase scenes.  Should be exciting but is mainly confusing. We have to look further and further for things to watch during the basketball playoffs.

Today I moved all the furniture back to the original spots.  G is no longer sleeping on the couch or needing a special chair to sit in (easy to get up and out of).  He looks and acts like he did prior to the heart attack and the surgery.  He may even be feeling better than he did--before.  And yesterday he sneezed and it wasn't the horror he had been led to believe it would be.  His chest didn't split open. Ha!!

Today we are having a light snowfall.  And it's very cold.  But the first crocuses are coming up in the lawn where the snow has melted.  I put all the pots of bulbs outside.  Might as well get used to the real weather.  Tough love.

Well, that's it for now.  I still have the taxes to work on--once I figure out my work schedule.  And then I need to start seeds.  And I have two off site classes to teach on April 14th.  And more classes during the month.  A very, very, busy start to the season.  Whoosh!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Have A Seat

We just got back from  this week's visit to the heart surgeon's office.  G can now sit in the front seat of the car, and drive the car, and tuck in his own shirt tails.  Nurse Joanne has been given the heave ho.
In fact, G drove us home and we got him a Butterfinger Blizzard at Dairy Queen to celebrate.

The last bits of "getting back to normal" will be going to cardio rehab for a few weeks.  An exercise program that the local hospital runs.  G has to make appointments with his lung doctor and with his new heart doctor.  But that's it.  Seems anti-climatic doesn't it?  After such an intense three weeks. Of course, G will still be taking 2 or 3 hour naps in the middle of each day for awhile.

Really, that was three weeks???????  Wow.  Amazing what heart surgeons can do these days.

I went in to work yesterday for a few hours.  It was super nice.  Warm and sunny and it smelled like dirt.  My boss was telling people to go see me because "she's happy today and it won't last". I think it will last because I had a glimpse of what "unhappy" might look like and I don't want to go there anytime soon. Now I can tell my boss he can put me on the schedule.  Back to work.  Nice.

Thank you to everyone--your comments waiting for me when I arrived home each evening meant the world to me.  Like getting hugs from people who cared about me.  And your thoughts and prayers were with me on the long drive and the long days sitting next to G in his bed or chair.  I never once felt alone.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I will try my hardest to pay this forward for anyone who has need.  I promise.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cymbidium Orchids

I was given four pots of these orchids--two quite awhile ago and two more a year or so ago.  They are outside from Spring to Fall and in the house for the Winter.  When they are supposed to bloom. I am having no trouble getting them to grow nice green leaves, but flowering?  Not so lucky.  One of them did  manage a flower stalk but an accident involving G dropping something on the pot--ended the possibility of flowers.  Two plants are white flowering and two are pink.

The "trick" to flowering cymbidium is lots of nitrogen spring to midsummer and then a wallop of  super phosphate in August and September.  I get the nitrogen part every year, but miss the deadline for the bud setting phosphate.  The orchids, with nice leaves and no flowers, are up in the upstairs bathroom.  In the tub.

G had a shower today.  He had been apprehensive about getting all the "wounds" on his body wet, so we kept putting it off.  I did sponge baths for him.  But today, he had a shower and loved it.

It's really the small things in life that bring the most pleasure, isn't it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Will Spring Be Colder Than Winter???

The wind is blowing.  And it's very, very cold.  G is bundled up in as many down items as I can stack on top of him.  He's cold.  Stays cold.  But is getting stronger every day.

We are on that "one day up and one day down" roller coaster that is "recovery". We've had the visiting nurses here.  One just to "check on the household" and today's visit from a very nice RN who checked G throughly, took blood for the doctor's visit tomorrow, and chatted with G about how he feels, is using the pain meds etc.  She wants more walking.  So I got him set up with a heavy sweater, gloves and his chest vent "tote bag" and off he went--around the house.  All by himself.  For 8 minutes.

I used the iPhone to take a picture of the lung vent tube inserted in his right lung.  He had no idea what it looked like.  We also took a picture of the "knob" and"zipper" he now has down the middle of his chest.

He's coughing a bit more than usual today (loosening up the junk in his lungs) and he hasn't had the "sneeze" yet but has been told it's pretty horrible when it happens.

He's eating.  I'm not sure I am making him things he actually would pick off a menu.  Today it was fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Basil leaves.  A crusty bit of baguette. (probably not something for a cold day) Dinner will be pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce.  Familiar favorites. G doesn't like soup other than chicken noodle--salty--so I can't make that.

I bought a nice pork tenderloin and am looking for a recipe for cooking it.  G likes his pork sweet and sticky.  So, I am looking for something Asian inspired.  But not too much soy--as we are low sodium now.

I was going to make his new favorite lasagna "cupcakes" but can't find the package of won ton wrappers I tucked into the freezer.  I have pulled open the drawers three or four times, looking, and still no luck.  I have a small amount of egg noodles in the fridge and might just layer them up with lasagna fixings and bake them.  I think two small oven proof cups.  Easy enough to pop into the oven to bake.

I have the dishwasher going, am in the middle of cleaning my bathroom vanity (ick), have to do the evening pills and we have to be at the hospital by 9:45 for the chest X-ray.  So, we need to leave home by 8:45 at the latest (to find parking)---- it takes quite awhile to get G up and dressed in the morning so I think I will be setting the alarm for "still dark" tomorrow.  Early bedtime.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Is It Spring Yet????

No grass showing but the expected storm--well, it went somewhere else, I guess.  Not that I am complaining.  I was not looking forward to shoveling the driveway.

G is home.  This happened on Saturday morning.  We got settled into a sort of routine with visits to the bathroom (thank you to our daughter for installing the raised toilet seat), naps, adjustments to the wing chair where G is napping, reading email and watching tv.

He slept on one of the two extra long couches in the living room last night because out four poster bed is just a little too high.  The couch is just a little bit too low.  As is the case in most everything, getting down onto the couch was a whole lot easier than getting up off the couch.  We managed with the 9 step program (of my own making) starting with two or three harder pillows being added behind his back to get him into a more "seated position".  We had to stop often while he worked through the discomfort.  He has a lung tube that cause "twinges".

My friend P, asked at her gym this morning, and they are graciously lending us one of their "step" exercise steps.  G will be able to step up on the "step" and then settle his bottom onto the bed and "roll" onto his back.  This also will "twinge" quite a bit.  It looked so much easier when the PT helpers did it.

Best of all, G is finally eating and has some appetite.  I served him a simple pasta with marinara and he had two servings.  Still not happy with the low sodium turkey or ham I got for him but he liked the cracker (only one) and the chocolate chip cookie I home baked for him.  I skipped the salt in the recipe.  G is lucky--not diabetic.  So he gets all the sugar he wants.

I want you all to start looking at the labels on the stuff you eat.  So much sodium in everything. Fat-well I was into that on Atkins and I know what has fat and what doesn't.  The lower the fat content--the higher the sodium.  Wrong on so many levels.  Try to lower your fat intake and they kill you with sodium.  And bread.  Try to find low sodium bread.  Even the multigrain loaf was over the top.  360 grams in one slice.  Limit is 2000g per day.  About a teaspoon.  I will be making my own bread for him to eat.  I think the no knead one you toss into a hot cast iron casserole.

In fact, I will be taking care of him 24/7 and not going back to work until his recovery is complete. Six weeks. I'm not being a saint here.  For better or worse.  He'd do the very same for me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Things Are Improving

Another update.  The only thing hooked up to g when I left the hospital room at 4 pm on March 11th were the chest drain tubes.  the oxygen is only being used when he does his "lap" walks around the nurse's station.  And he even tried that with out holding onto the cart handles today.  He also washed his face and brushed his teeth standing up in the bathroom.  Yes, I am bragging on him!!!

I also passed a threshold.  I drove the car to the hospital instead of asking for someone to drive me.
Well, there wasn't anyone to drive me.  So, my choices were to drive myself and be with G or stay at home and feel defeated.

I also had to pump gas.  Since I went as far as the gas station, I decided to go a bit further down the same road and visit work and pick up the floral basket they had made for me.  Beautiful.  Really, really beautiful.  And they were so happy to see me.  The concern was evident on all their faces.

So--it was a four star day today.

Oh, and I walked Riley when I got home (at 4 pm) and he was very, very surprised and delighted.  The floors in the house are covered in dog toys.  I am just going to leave it all out since that's the way he likes it. Riley has been so good.  I leave him in the morning and come home after dark (usually) and he doesn't complain.

G had a feeling that he might be able to go home on Friday.  I'll let you know.

Many, many thanks to all who have mentioned in their comments and emails that they have the two of us in their thoughts and prayers.  As I mentioned to my co-worker --- I can feel the good vibes.
don't ask me how I know that's what it is--but I feel like I am wrapped in happiness and kindness and that feeling is transmitted to G when I sit next to his bed or his chair.  And to Riley who is eating and sleeping and feeling quite positive about his person.

Saturday, March 07, 2015


Well, Friday G had his bypass surgery. 11:30 to 3pm. The breathing tube came out at 9:30.

It went very well and three arteries were bypassed.  His heart re-started.  His lungs inflated.

G was back in his room 40 minutes after surgery--this hospital has what is know as "single stay" and he is admitted to a room, stays there prior to surgery, returns to it after surgery (the room had ICU equipment rolled in), does rehab in the room and walks the halls outside his room to build strength and process oxygen, and is then processed to return home from this same room.

No moving around the hospital.  Same staff caring for you from being admitted to being discharged.
Continuity.  Friendship.  Caring.  Establishing who you are as a person--not just a patient.

Which is amazing.  One nurse said "we have to judge the truth of the situation by what is happening with the patient not just judging by the machines".

As my dear, dear friend N was dropping me off at the main door this morning for the fourth day in a row, the iPhone in my purse rang (it's G's) and it was him.  Yes, less than 18 hours after bypass surgery, calling me to ask where his glasses were.  Everyone was looking for them.

Amazing.  N and I shared a very happy high five.

He looks good.  Because of a prior lung condition, they are having to tread lightly with oxygen and other things.  The blood pressure was fluctuating until we realized his hands and fingers were cold.  So, under the blanket they went and the numbers were soon in the acceptable range.

Coughing with a split sternum is not pleasant.

And the reason I am not driving myself is that the return trip would have to be in darkness.  I don't see well in the dark.  And, while the daytime drive would be stressful, the anxiety of thinking about when to leave to miss darkness and rush hour traffic is more than my compromised nervous system could deal with.

My daughter and I are now thinking ahead to discharge day.  Choosing a television room chair that is high enough to get G in and out of without use of arms (by him).  Getting into our tall four poster bed--we are considering some kind of sturdy step--with no arm use to pull up or balance with.  And the toilet.  Ours are not (yet) chair height. We already have a shower seat but no spray wand.  These are all things that we WILL have when the two baths are remodeled.  Because we were PLANNING for when one of us might need special handicapped things thinking it was in our future not our present.  The joke is on us, isn't it?

Well, we'll REALLY KNOW what is needed after this won't we.  A bit late but still.........

No arms (in use) because pressure exerted by the arms puts pressure on the wired sternum.  Pulling the healing bone--apart. Ouch!!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Life Is Never Boring

I was working on the laundry and the classes.  G was out clearing last night's snow with the snowblower.

He came in, pale, shaking with chest pain.
We talked about what it could be. The chest pain increased. I gave him baby aspirins.

I drove him to the local hospital emergency room (but I had actually tried to talk him out of going).  While I was parking the car about 20 people descended on him and started hooking him up to things, reading the machines, and calling for more doctors. It was serious.

My husband had a heart attack, right there in front of me.

He got a very fast lights and sirens ride in an ambulance to a cardiac unit at a larger hospital.
He had a completely blocked vein which now has a stent.
He may need bypass surgery on an artery, we'll know tomorrow.

He apologized to me for being in the hospital and having a heart attack. (tears)

My daughter was a real trooper.  She drove from work and was there in the big hospital when he got into his room. (she stayed calm and strong)  (very proud of her)

I had to find someone to drive me  to the big hospital (fantastic neighbors and co-workers).  I was shaking like a leaf after driving home from the emergency room.   I could have gone in the ambulance but I had to go home to Riley.  Make sure he was okay. He knew something was wrong before we left for the ER.  He kept putting his head on G's chest.

Tomorrow I'll take G a library book and his hearing aids.  As the nurse very strongly told me " he isn't going home tomorrow--he had a heart attack today".

I know.  I saw it happen.  On the monitors.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Let The Spring Cleaning Begin

The dust here in the living room finally got to be "too much" and I had G help me take down all the curtains.  Into the washing machine they went and I started in washing the windows, the lampshades (gosh do they get filthy), the tables.  I'm leaving the floors to G.  Once he vacuums, I can go over the hardwood with some Bona.

I'm liking this piece of fabric art I got off the internet, so much, I am thinking of drafting a plan for something "like" this but not this.  I don't have any of these colors in my fabric closet or boxes.  It all reminds me of the very first hand appliqué project I made.  Years and years ago.  In a box, unfinished because I outgrew the primitive look.

Yes, I outgrew it.  For awhile there I was into primitive, depression and civil war because the gals I hung with were and well, it felt okay.

But eventually (I visited California) I started enjoying polka dots in cobalt blue, golden yellow and magenta.

And, as the colors heated up the friendships cooled.

The colors up top make me wonder what friends I would have made if I had chosen coral and aqua instead.

These are the thoughts one has, going into the third month of furlough from work.  I called work today and there is a truck bringing over some perennials to fill the annual house.  The greenhouse is still empty.  I am still not needed.  But, soon.  Another week or two.

This year the furlough has gone so very fast. Whoosh!!  I have been reading, napping and walking the dog with G (sometimes).  The sun has been shining a few days in a row (still way cold) but a few inches of the skylights are free of snow pack.  I am working on two classes we'll (work)be teaching off site in April--which makes the days go by.  Vegetable Gardening and Container Gardening.

I'm thinking of trying my hand (well, G's with me giving orders) at Power Point.  The attention span of the audience: they like to look at pretty pictures and forget anything you said while they look at the pictures. I have pinned a great many container pictures on Pinterest.  A pinning whirlwind. And, was amazed to see a great many emails regarding the "repinning" of the items I pinned.  So odd. The internet is indeed a powerful force.  Which reminds me--I need to print the "pin" of the bathroom vanity I want.