Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

As I said, I’ve been feeling really, really tired since getting home. So, I didn’t do much on Monday morning. After the home nurse came and then left around noon, I took a long nap. Then I made some god-awful soup. I browned up some hamburger, onions and celery, then I added some frozen mixed vegetables and the last of the cauliflower Joe and Kathy had bought me (I ate most of the cauliflower over the weekend). I should have added some stock and then a small can of diced tomatoes, but I just put in a large can of crushed tomatoes, instead.

What was I thinking? (I blame it on the drugs). Tasted like tomatoes with stuff in it. Yuck.

Tuesday morning, I tried out my new shower chair. I had to use the main bathtub as my walker won’t go though the small downstairs bathroom door. But, it worked okay, even without the “wand” shower they told me I should get.

I got dressed and was just putting my shoes on when my Brother Carl pulled in. B___ was originally scheduled to take me to my spine doctor checkup, but he came down with a wicked cold/flu thing I didn’t want to expose myself to. So, Carl volunteered.

The doctor visit was shorter than getting the x-ray’s! He said everything looked great and that I needed to keep wearing the brace and to gain some weight.

I asked how long I had to be off work and he said two more months! I told him that was unacceptable and that I had to be back by March 15th so, after asking what I did, he said it would be okay if I took it easy.

I belatedly asked how long I had to wear the brace and he said at least two more months and then “we’ll see.”

All the way back home, Carl kept asking me to let him take me to lunch, but I explained I was really nauseated and didn’t care eat. We stopped at CVS to get my prescription (it still wasn’t “pre-approved” yet) but grabbed a few things I needed (most important was flexible straws – there’s no way to drink from a glass sitting down with the brace on).

I shared some apple juice with Carl at my house (I’ve learned to crave it since being in the hospital) and then he left. I took off the brace, changed clothes, popped a pain pill and went to bed.

Other than answering calls and waking up to go to the bathroom, I slept until 8:00 PM. I made a sandwich for dinner, watched a little TV, took my nighttime pills and went back to sleep for the rest of the night. Not sure if it was the shower, the road trip, the walk into CVS or what, but I was pooped!

Came up with this thought in the hosptal, but...

... still haven't thought of how to work it into a poem...

"The rising sun alerted the trees to unravel their shade and the earth’s breathing seemed to somehow inhale the morning’s mist."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

(Well, okay, it’s a back brace, but you get the idea).

So, once again, I innocently went to a doctor’s appoint and ended up in the hospital. Here’s how it went down:

I went to see the infectious disease doctor, who was displeased at the length of time it would take me (as an outpatient) to get an MRI. Since both he and the spinal doctor wanted one and the infectious disease doctor also wanted to do some extensive blood work) he suggested me going back into the hospital for two days MAXIMUM! After some internal debate, I agreed and was immediately admitted on Wednesday, February 16. I got the MRI the next day.

Following the MRI and exam, they determined that the ninth and tenth vertebrae that are disintegrating were pushing the disc into my spinal cord. Due to risk of immanent permanent paralysis, they performed an operation to fuse my seventh to twelfth vertebrae on Saturday.

The MRI showed that the mass had not decreased in size even though the signs of infection had gone down. According to my doctors this is not abnormal due to the body's defense mechanisms not allowing the antibiotics to penetrate the mass. They drained the mass and removed all they could during the operation to hopefully lessen the pressure it was putting on my back.

Following this procedure I remained in the hospital for a couple more days before being released to an assisted living facility (also in St. John’s Providence Hospital).

I passed all the therapy tests and was finally released this last Friday.

There was a ton of interesting/funny/sad stuff during my hospital stay that I could have put in the Blog, but didn’t. For example, it took them four times replacing my PICC line so it would finally work, all while poor Joe and Kathy were waiting to take me home before continuing on their trip to Florida (sorry and thanks!)

Since I have been home, I have mostly been very tired and doing a lot of napping. This is why I haven’t been keeping the Blog up, but I’ll try and do better. I am adjusting to the brace and zipping around on my walker.

Thanks again for all those who visited, called or even just cared. I really feel like I am on the road to recovery this time. But, with me, who knows? God only knows what’s coming up next, LOL!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


When I first moved in here on San Jose, I felt a little like Goldilocks. The house on Palms Road was too small and the house in St. Clair was too big. But, this house was “just right.”

But, I have recently noticed an interesting phenomenon. With this enforced staying at home business, my “just right” size home is slowly becoming somehow larger and more empty.


I was still hurting on Friday morning. I’m not sure why, but it’s getting really annoying (and really frustrating!) Worse yet, I am now unable to find a spot that allows me to sit in the chair without pain, so most of the day was spent in bed (which is why the Blog entry wasn't done).

I managed to load the dishwasher and ran the load through. I made a fried egg sandwich with mayo and American cheese for brunch.

Carla called and we chatted for a while. While we are having a mild winter, they are having an outstanding one! I’m sooo jealous!

I talked with Melissa in the late afternoon. After we hung up, I cut an acorn squash in half, dug out the seeds, added a tablespoon of butter in each cavity and sprinkled them with dried thyme, dried parsley, salt and pepper.

I stuck them in the toaster oven at 400 degrees F. for an hour. It occurred to me about half-way through the hour that I should have used the regular oven and baked a few russet potatoes while I was at it. I normally use the toaster oven in the summer so I don’t heat up the whole house, but that wouldn’t have been a problem today. It was overcast and chilly, for a change.

My brother Jim called in the evening to check up on me.

I was tired again and sore, so I just taped the Friday Night Fights and went to bed early.

Groundhog Day

I woke up early on Thursday and watched the news, waiting for the groundhog’s prediction. He did see his shadow, so we have six more weeks of winter (according to the folklore). However, if it’s the same kind of winter we’ve been having, it should be no problem.

I fired up the coffee pot I’d prepared for B___ the day before and had a couple of cups while I shot up.

As the day was still fresh, I thought I’d tackle that potato soup. I just got the potatoes cubed before my back gave out again.

The visiting nurse’s office called and asked for another inventory. I told them to call me back in 10 minutes (I didn’t want them waiting while I tried to walk into the bedroom). I got it completed by the time they called back.

I didn’t have any breakfast or lunch. I kept trying to rest and then doing a little more for the soup (i.e., I cut up about a cup of celery and then rested; I peeled two onions and then rested; I diced up about two cups of onions and then, oh, you get the idea).

I boiled the potatoes in some salted water and a whole clove of garlic while I sauteed the celery and onions in some bacon grease (I was trying to build layers of flavor).

I sat in the living room chair from 4:30 PM on, waiting for my delivery. Jake called around 6:00 PM and we exchanged stories. His were a lot more interesting than mine, of course.

The guy finally came around 7:00! He said he had a lot of traffic problems.

I mixed the drained potatoes (after I fished out the garlic) into the softened onions and celery. I added just whole milk (instead of my usual chicken stock and heavy cream) and tossed in some thyme, salt, pepper and parsley. I let that get happy while I rested up.

I pulled out some of the potatoes (maybe too many, I learned later) and, using the stick blender, creamed the rest. I added the cubed potatoes back and dished up a half of bowl. I sprinkled a little grated cheddar cheese on it and ate it, lying down (finally!)and watching TV.

The two-day soup was good. The only complaints I had were that it was too thin (I obviously took out too many potatoes or added too much milk) and it needed more salt.

I was beat, so after the soup cooled, I stuck it in the fridge. I left the mess for the morning and went to sleep.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 1

Well, it was February first and we here in Michigan were still waiting for winter to start. Wednesday (the first) was yet another day with some sun and the highs in the mid 40’s.

I had coffee for breakfast and then took a shower. My friend B___ called and said if I wasn’t busy, he’d like to stop by for a visit. (Ummm... busy doing what?)

So, he got here around noon and we chatted for a couple of hours. He kept asking if there was something I needed from the store or done around the house. Finally, I asked him to put the Christmas decorations and my suitcase up in the attic. He also checked out and adjusted my back brace so I could wear it sitting down (it’s still terribly uncomfortable, though).

I kept offering him coffee and he kept turning me down, not wanting to chance any bathroom urges on the long way home, I guess.

After he left, the house seemed empty. So, I thought I’d make some soup (anything to keep busy and not to “think” so much). You’d be surprised at how depressing one’s thoughts can get when you are home alone for an extended period of time.

However, there was a problem. My back really hurt. So, I got as far as peeling the potatoes (I thought potato soups sounded good) while sitting on the bed. Next would have been dicing onions and celery, but I had to give up. Its not gonna happen today. I covered the potatoes with water and stuck them in the fridge.

Instead, I made a peanut butter sandwich for dinner and ate that watching the nightly news. I alternated between the chair and the bed the rest of the night, never really finding a position that didn’t hurt.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I can finally hold my head up high again!

Tuesday was incredibly warm here for the last day of January. The high was 54 degrees F.! So, I walked to the mailbox instead of driving.

The only major accomplishment was getting my indoor Christmas decorations down. I say “down” as they are no longer in the living room. I just moved them into the office until my friends can get them upstairs in the attic.

But, the living room is back to normal and so I feel better.

I ate a can of chili for dinner, which resulted in the normal repercussions all night.

I said “I can finally hold my head up high again,” meaning as well as a person with a degenerated spine can. The reason? The Redwings beat the Calgary Flames 3-1. Since they clobbered us the last time, I’ve been dreading hearing from Canada Cathy. But now? :op