July 31

The last day of the month. August is looking even busier; the high (low) point being the surgery scheduled for August 7th. This is to replace my kidney stents and more kidney replumbing.

Today my visiting nurse is scheduled to make sure my vitals are vital. I really think her visits are a waste of time but this isn’t my call. After my surgery, my GP has to reapprove her visits. Every six weeks after my surgeries per Medicare procedures. sigh

I wrote my letter of resignation from the Board of Education and we will deliver it Wednesday. I feel I am slowly letting go of my life.

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My Doc Appt

Today I went to see my urologist as a followup from my last hospital stay. I have never had such a whirlwind visit. Doc seemed more concerned about my pee bags not being strapped down than anything. Ultimately he decided to do some replumbing on my back when he replaces my kidney stents on August 7. He is hoping to simply all the tubing on my back. OTOH, it bothered me he had no concern for my kidney functions.

In answer to one of my cell texters, Yes, I had a nice lunch of an overdone petite sirloin and veggies I am not supposed to be eating! Lol. I am rarely sick enough to go see a doctor and not eat. 😉

Aurora theater shooting: Trauma rooms scrambled to save lives

AURORA — In the early hours of Friday, Children’s Hospital Colorado received word that an ambulance was on its way with a female patient in full arrest.

 

She had three severe injuries to her lower chest and abdomen.

A team of at least six attending doctors and residents and five or six nurses were ready in an operating room to work on the woman.

 

As a former ER volunteer, this was my first thought: the shit was hitting the fan all over Denver ERs.

Similar scenes were played out across Aurora and Denver emergency rooms as staffs geared up, calling doctors, nurses and security staff. Even additional custodians were called in when the chaos began after 12:30 a.m.

 

The injured streamed into six metropolitan Denver emergency rooms in police patrol cars, ambulances and private cars.

 

Six went to Children’s Hospital; 23 to University of Colorado Hospital; 15 to Medical Center of Aurora; four to Swedish Medical Center; two to Parker Adventist Hospital and six to Denver Health Medical Center. Officials at Emergency Medical Services Command were sending patients to hospitals with available rooms and staffs.

Parker is on the SE side of Denver. I am not sure how that came down but assume the victims were from there. It had to have been a harrowing scene.

 

In each hospital, emergency room doctors set up triage areas. Patients had gunshot injuries from a high powered rifle, buckshot injuries from a shotgun, shrapnel injuries from flying metal and debris or burns from tear gas.

“We were already having a very busy night,” Sasson said.

 

Leg Stockings

Leg Stockings

These are very tight stockings in an attempt to reduce the swelling in my legs. It felt good but didn’t shrink my legs.

One of my friends requested I post a picture of these. 🙂

My New Oncologist — Preliminary Appointment

I met my new Oncologist and his Czech nurse this afternoon. And the Infusion nurse.

While my hormone therapy is technically a form of chemotherapy, the medical establishment doesn’t see it that way. Doc wants to stop my current hormone suppression to confuse my cancer and then throw some Zometa at it, too. Zometa will help my bones get stronger while helping suppress my cancer.

There are supposed to be few side effects so I consented to the treatment. I know I didn’t want to get chemotherapy but my objection was to the debilitating effect of the therapy.

Since I already had an appointment with my GP next Wednesday, we piggybacked my infusion (A method of putting fluids, including drugs, into the bloodstream. Also called intravenous infusion. ) for the same day.

And Doc wanted my catheter removed. My Urologist had mentioned a surgical solution in his comments to my new Doc. So, as soon as I got home, I called and set up an appointment for tomorrow.

Then the icing on my medical cake: I am having sharp abdominal pain. It seems familiar. Like I am passing the kidney stone found during my January CATscan. And my pee bag has pink liquid.

My New Oncologist — Intro

This will be the first time I have had a real oncologist since August 2010! That was when I switched my cancer therapy to my urologist. But  my rapidly rising PSA scared him off!

The new guy has decades of experience and I got two good reviews of him. He only works one day a week in Salida but normally that is adequate for cancer treatment. My appointment today is called a  “preliminary”, a legal requirement for us to actually meet before our relationship is official.

My appointment is at 2 PM.

Water

Donna has scheduled a load of water today because my future is murky at this point. It is hard to manage the transfer of over 1000 gallons of water with just one of us and the truck driver. And our water supplier has a new truck and driver; who we get is the luck of the draw. Or the whim of the owner! Lol. If it is the new guy, we will have some [minimal] training time.

 

We have no idea what my new doctor will do or how I will feel after he does it! So she has a “better safe than sorry” attitude. In any case, tomorrow will be a pivotal day in my life as we meet him in Salida. It has “only” taken a month for this appointment to come to fruition!

 

Anyway that is the big deal of the day around here. I feel as if I am on hold which I guess I am. Sucks.

Update

I am still struggling with blogging with my laptop. Anyway here is an update.

Yesterday PM, my catheter plugged and off the to ER we went again! Donna is becoming a good “ambulance” driver for these crises! By the time we got to the ER, I was in a lot of pain and I had taken one of my Vicodines az we were leaving! I was surprised to see the same nurse there who treated me earlier! She had had a couple of days off but was still ill.

This time she was able to clear the cath with a back flush and I was soon good to go. She also gave Donna a kit for doing this at home ans instruction in how to do it without injuring me. Th place was busier than our other visits but we got done quickly. Once I was functional again, I was ravenous for, of all things, a chili cheese dog! So Donna took me to the drive up at Dairy Queen and treated me to dinner! Even with all that, we got home about dark, Sure beat getting home at 3 AM! Lily was happy too!

Donna went and got the mail which had two surprises in it: a card from my Boss and the office staff up in Salida. And a bottle of pills! I have no idea who sent them but will try them. They are Astaxanthin, an antioxidant. I have no idea who bought them for me but will give them a try. One claim for them is wrinkle removal! I assume one of my friends ordered me the bottle; whoever it was, I appreciate it!

I got my doctor appointments sorted out. My next one is with my new oncologist Wednesday PM; will he be surprised to learn about my cath! I hope he can bail me out on that!

I am still kicking

but medical problems are preventing me from updating my Blog! I can’t sit!! I cannot figure out how to lay in my bed and use my laptop! I have two days off from my problem then it will start again Thursday.

I have some prostate scar tissue blocking my plumbing and my urologist can’t get it to clear. We are gonna try again Thursday. I think using a corkscrew or something. And another catheter will be inserted.

I am getting a lot of reading done! And texting.

I WILL be back!

My Specialist Ophthalmologist Appointment

I have two ophthalmologists, my regular one in Cañon City and one who is specifically for my macular degeneration in Pueblo. For these appointments, Donna comes along as my designated driver to get home.

This one was the best yet: no Flourescein Angiogram; no eye treatment. So I was soon good to go with “eyes wide open”! I was very dilated so Donna still had to drive.

As I waited for her to go potty, a series of emergency vehicles went screaming by: an ambulance followed closely by a police car went past the end of our street then turned onto the perimeter road to go behind the two medical buildings to the east. Soon a fire truck joined them with two police cars. As we left the parking lot, another police car came down the street but non-emergent. This was a total of six responding units. They all disappeared behind the two big buildings, neither of which have any kind of medical care facility, just offices and labs.

Donna didn’t wanna go see! And there was nothing in the news about this run.

Then we went to Hobby Lobby for Donna to shop.

My ER visit of 2012

I hope this is the only one this year! I started having diverticulosis pain over the weekend and by Tuesday morning, the 3rd, I was in serious pain. I expected to hear from my doctor from the tests last Thursday but, it turns out, they were gonna send me a letter about it since the results were so good. The doctor recommended I go to the Emergency Room so Donna and I saddled up for a trip to Cañon City.

We got our stuff and Donna drove us to the hospital on the north side of Cañon about 3:30. This was the first time I had been out of bed since I ate breakfast. She only got lost once when she turned one block too soon off US50 but found her way back on course! The little ER parking lot was full which didn’t sound promising; the last time I was here was about my ministroke and I was the only patient.

The waiting area was empty so the unit clerk took my vitals and tagged me. Then I went back to the waiting area. For a very few minutes then we moved to an exam room. They really only did two things: ran a bunch of lab tests and did a CATScan.

This is one “slice” of me of the about 200 the machine made of my midsection. Red spots are items of interest except the sections of my hip bones at lower left and right. This is the first time I have sought medical attention for a diverticulitis attack; I usually just reduce my stress level and let it run its course. The red speckles are on a section of my colon where it is inflamed. This attack actually began at the beginning of December so has been a long one.

The report mentions a couple of other things I didn’t expect.

The stuff about my bladder, kidney, and spleen were new to me! I go in for one thing and three more show up! Which will involve both my GP and my urologist who are in different counties from me. In opposite directions, one up the river (Salida) and another down the river (Pueblo).

The ER also did a bunch of blood tests. They were all normal or close. I am so healthy.

So they ended up giving me two scripts for antibiotics: metronidazole 500 MG 4x/day and Ciprofloxcin 750 MG 2X/day also called Cipro..

My Absence

This has not been a good year so far. It has been one medical emergency after another. But now I am “turning the corner” and have a lot to catch up on.

Another Doctor Appt

I finally got alarmed about my lack of stamina and made an appointment with my GP for yesterday. Especially since after New Years, I begin a different course of cancer treatment.

After some discussion, he wrote a script for a bunch of lab tests. He wants to check my liver functions, my kidney functions, my thyroid functions as well as for anemia. He seems to think the anemia is likeliest due to something called “chronic illness anemia” caused by long term medication usage. And he thought I looked a bit pale!

I made a joke about him getting to see his favorite hypochondriac. He said “You aren’t . . .” when I interrupted to say “I am not your favorite?”. It took him a while to get the conversation redirected!

Anyway, he wants to make sure the Lupron hasn’t caused any liver damage and that my thyroid is functioning OK since the Firmagon (There were some jokes about the name of this drug!) works through the pituitary gland. Which also affects my thyroid.

So this turned out to be more than just my present condition. He was a bit concerned my Urologist had not been checking anything but my PSA but he knows I am largely a self-managing patient.

So nothing changed. Yet. He will get the results either today or Monday then we will know.

Donna’s Gastric Uptake Test

This was the last of this series of tests for Donna. This test followed a radioisotope from ingestion through her stomach. It was 2 and 1/2 hours long!

It started with her being given one microwaved egg with radioisotope seasoning! And 4 oz of apple juice to wash it down. Donna had NEVER had a microwaved egg before! Poor woman! One of the easiest and best breakfasts in the world is microwaved eggs and cheese (shallots optional).

Then she lay strapped on an X-ray table for the next two hours with the “camera” on her belly. This makes it impossible for her to read. Or scratch her nose. No TV. And this time the tech was busy doing at least two of these at once so wasn’t much company. She meditated a lot.

I went shopping after a very good breakfast of biscuits and gravy with unlimited coffee for $2! I went to Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply for bunny supplies: a pet baby bottle kit and some kitten milk (!). The expert there insisted the bunny would be fine with cat milk. So I bought both but a small can of the cat milk.

I got back to the hospital before Donna was done.

She actually came out a few minutes early in great spirits, maybe because it was like gaining one’s freedom from lockup! Then on to lunch. The irony is she felt sorry for ME for having to hang around! I actually had a very good morning!

I suggested Quincy’s for lunch. I was actually surprised when she agreed. The eggs made her decide to have lunch, I guess!

She had a pulled pork sandwich and I had a Reuben. Both were good. Then we went to a farmer’s market and bought eggs (from happy chickens), veggies, and bread. Then came home.

She will learn Monday what all this revealed.

Donna’s Test

We went up the river to the Salida hospital for Donna’s colonoscopy. She had not eaten in 36 hours and swigged a bottle of citrate before we left. But we managed to get to the hospital with NO emergency stops! Lol. Barely!

We had arrived about an hour early because we had factored in a stop or two so assumed an extra hour at the hospital. Nope. The nurse came out for her before she got out of the restroom! So she was taken back to the pre-op section. I went with her. She changed into the typical hospital gown and got an IV “installed”.

Then the anesthesiologist arrived. He was a Nurse-Anesthetist! This was new to me but it made sense for such a routine procedure. And he was competent. When he gave her an injection via the IV of a sedative, they rolled her out and evicted me to the waiting area!

I drank coffee, read, and waited for the doctor. He came out, still dressed in a tie, to tell me the test went well and he only found one polyp which he removed. The biopsy will determine how soon she has to have another one.

The dark thing is a Vilus, a normal part of the intestine to extract nutrients and looks like a finger. The offending polyp is circled above it, looking (to me) like a pimple! It isn’t there any more but is in the pathology lab awaiting analysis. 😉

As she recovered from the anesthetic, the post-op nurse monitored her then removed the IV and monitors. Finally the O2 canulla. Finally she was told she could dress. The nurse gave her a personal card.

This was a very nice gesture by the nursing staff.

We went, at her suggestion, to the former Bongo Billy’s Salida Cafe, now the Salida Cafe and Roastery. We had cold smoked turkey sandwiches. For 20$!! That included greasy potato chips and iced tea. Such a deal. We sat on the deck and watched the trees, mountains, and river.

The view was nice but not worth the extra cost!

Then we made a stop at Safeway for her to pick up something for dinner then drove home. She is feeling good and seems to have recovered from her exam.

My Doctor Appointment

I had an appointment with my GP at his satellite office in Cotopaxi, which is considerably more convenient for me and gets his traffic up at that location (which he wants). On Friday, the patient load was not high so we had a leisurely visit.

This was supposed to be a followup on my TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack or ministroke) of two weeks ago. I mentioned the artifact on the CATScan of my brain that showed I may have had a stroke before. He said it is quite likely I had one if it was not a part of my brain that controlled some function of my body; I would have likely just lost some memory and, naturally, would not remember what I lost! Nice thought.

He mentioned, as a bonus, that cancer patients, for some unknown reason, tend to get strokes more. I am to stay on the 81mg aspirin regimen unless/until I have another one and he will then prescribe a stronger anticoagulant. More “good” thoughts.

I asked him how I would know when my cancer changes to an undifferentiated version and didn’t need testosterone to grow, which would mean my PSA results would no longer be a reliable indicator of cancer growth. He said I wouldn’t! I won’t know until either a bone scan or increasing symptoms of the cancer show it. I was down 3 for 3 this visit!

I mentioned the insect bite on my ankle but didn’t show him. He said it it were a brown recluse, the wound would turn black from necrosis. At least I won this one! Lol.

He did marvel at my quick discharge from the ER. He had assumed I spent hours there, not one and one half hours.

I thanked him for this cheery visit making him laugh. He likes me as a patient since he doesn’t have to sugar coat things. He can just say it and he knows I am not gonna fall apart or go nutso. 🙂

Donna’s Test and My New Phone

We went up the river to Salida really early for old people like us! We left about 7. She was scheduled for a HIDA test to see how her gall bladder was functioning.

On the way down, we expected to meet the school buses anytime. Today was the first day of school! When we got to Cotopaxi. Still no buses! School started (I thought.) at 8. The buses should be picking the kids students up by 7:30 in our neighborhood. There were parents at the bus stops waiting with their children.

So I took time to drive the half mile from US50 to the school. The buses were neatly parked by the garage. I was thinking this wasn’t right. I called the office but she didn’t know. We met a bus coming back from Howard. So now I am asking the School Superintendent. That is NOT as ominous as it sounds! We are friends! He has said they were on time so I am confused. Imagine that! Lol.

We got to the hospital long before her appointment. I started activating my new phone. So that was when the nuclear medicine tech showed up to take her away! I was doing what my phone told me and they waved off! Shortly after I got the new one in service, Donna and the tech showed up again! There was some question about her paperwork from the registrar. They showed her having an appointment in outpatient but this turned out to be an error. So my wife, with an IV on her arm, and the tech went back into the inner sanctum. And I went to the snack bar for some FOOD! (I skipped breakfast.)

I had nice breakfast for under $2!! Free coffee, a scoop of eggs (!), with a biscuit and sausage gravy. Mmm! I hung around, texting and reading (I took the Kindle, its first outing!). Finally Donna came out, none the worse for wear and said, not to my surprise, “I am hungry. Let’s go eat.”! Lol.

Since this was her trip, I let her choose where we went. She picked number 2 on my secret short list: the Patio Pancake House!


[This is my first picture with my new phone and it didn’t crop like I expected but has good definition.]

She ordered Eggs Benedict, one of her favorites. Then we did some shopping; one special place in Salida was Murdoch’s, a farm and ranch store. They have the best boxes of suet in the Valley! Then a trip to Walmart. That was when she started getting sick. She finally sat down and waited for me to check out.

We went directly home from there. With Donna mentioning every few miles she may have to throw up! That made a tense trip!

We finally started up Road Gulch Road when we reached a construction zone along the dirt portion of the road. There was a berm the grader had made in the middle of the road. I started up on my side of the road when I met a dump truck coming down the same side of the road! And he was not slowing down! Donna woke up and started yelling, “Honk your horn! Honk your horn!” while I was shifting into reverse! I honked and began backing down the road! The truck had not stopped! I got down to the end of the berm zone when the truck turned into a driveway.

I continued back up the road which was very slippery from the water truck wetting the road. Maybe the truck was afraid he’d lose control but I am unsure. Donna was pretty shaken up from waking to see the front grill of a truck in the windshield! I have no idea if he needed to change his undies after this but mine got close!

But we got home OK, to Lily’s delight. Donna went to bed and crashed!

She is better but not 100%. Both times we went for a test, she has had this problem, either from the food she ate or some reaction to the tests: psychological or physical. But one was an ultrasound. What can that do?

I dread what happens after the colonoscopy! 😉 But my new phone works great except I lost all the wonderful vocabulary I spent two years creating!

Donna’s Breakfast

After we dropped Kimi off to her fate, we went to Village Inn for breakfast. Donna was hungry and ordered a vegetarian omelet. Then we went to Hastings on the other side of the parking lot for her to shop and me to drink coffee and make cell calls and texts.

But after she found a book she liked, she kinda crashed. I found her outside with her head on the table. She was feeling nauseous but couldn’t tell me what she wanted to do. She did seriously consider our getting a motel room for a while. So she could nap, in case anyone gets other ideas! 😉

Finally we agreed on finding a shady park to wait for The Call. I found a private parking lot to hang out in. The lawn sprinklers helped keep us cool. She actually dozed off as I read. But suddenly opened the door and tossed her breakfast on the pavement! sigh. While this was going on, The Call came in! After her heaving, she felt better and we went on to get Kimi.

But that drive and the heat made her nauseous again. She didn’t throw up in their parking lot but didn’t have fun waiting for me and Kimi.

We had one more stop to get some scripts before making our way up the mountain. Neither of the ladies were happy about that. But Donna didn’t throw up and Kimi didn’t complain too much. Once the AC was on, they both felt better.

When we got home, Kimi and Donna let me take some pictures of Kimi’s tail then they both disappeared for hours!

This is why Donna has a full schedule of tests this month. Both are feeling better tonight.

Kimi’s Adventure

Kimi was held “prisoner” all night then this morning, forced into the carrier again! She suspected what was gonna happen and wasn’t cooperative. 😉 As usual, there was much protesting on the trip down the mountain. At one point, she was so angry, she sounded like her big brother yowling!

We left her at the vets and went to breakfast, waiting for The Call. Which came much later, about 12:30 PM! She told me Kimi had an infected bite on her tail which should heal well since she drained it.

So back up to the north end of Cañon City we went. There was a crowd in the office by then: A family with a three-legged dog; me; and a guy dropping off a horse! The vet was gonna work late today! The little girl with the sick dog talked my ear off!

The vet asked me to come in an exam room while she showed me the wound and how to clean it a few times a day. I asked how much she cooperated during the cleaning and she said she was very cooperative, just one person holding her. There were some tendons showing but it will fill in if we don’t allow a scab to form, she said.

She thought it happened 3-5 days ago. I recall there was a late night cat fight about then with Lily barking and Kimi dashing into the house. But Stubbs went missing for hours! He showed up the next morning none the worse for wear. Now I can guess that Kimi was in the fight and Stubbs and Lily came to her rescue! If it were Mittens who bit Kimi, Stubbs probably followed/chased him down to the barn where he seems to live and they had a discussion.

Kimi gave no indication of being attacked. But when her tail infection got going, then she acted injured. When we got home, Kimi grudgingly allowed me take the pictures then dashed under Donna’s bed! Haven’t seen her since!

My ER Visit

The whole thing started on my way back home around noon from Westcliffe where I had taken the plastic recycle. My vision dimmed slightly, my head felt odd, and I had this detached feeling. I slowed down and it soon passed. No headache or other symptoms like high blood pressure or a heart problem.

Donna wanted to go see the “Planet of the Apes” movie so we went to the 4 PM showing then to dinner. I joked to my brother that the ambulance company was right across the highway if I needed one!

My head felt kinda odd on the left side, almost like sinus pressure so I suggested an ER visit to make sure it wasn’t serious. So off we went. Donna was doing the driving since she wasn’t sure I was stable. Lol.

We got there about 7 and left about 8:30. A fast visit for an ER! I got poked twice for an IV; got a head CATScan; got a chest X-ray; gave them some blood for testing; and got an EKG.

The curtain was not around the bed but was a screen for the doorway; all the ER rooms are private.

Donna tried to get some reading in but her husband kept talking to her between staff visits!

I tried to look pitiful but not very successfully!

It was a good thing I didn’t have my pen; I would have graffitied this sign with a snarky note, “Only if you inhale it”! And a criticism of the grammar.

The doctor and I got the same answer: I likely had a mini stroke. I was surprised to learn these usually leave no trail. Mine didn’t; all my tests came back negative. Except there was some indication of an old stroke in my brain scan. Maybe from one of my concussions.

So they discharged me. Donna was glad we went just for the peace of mind of knowing it wasn’t serious.