Status: Donna

Note: we have so much going on, I decided to post individual updates on each family member.

Donna is doing good without a gall bladder. She is increasing the amount of fats into her diet and is approaching normal food with no ill effects! Although she did eat some cookie dough (a favorite treat of hers) yesterday and got nauseous from it! But it was short lived.

And her A1c test the other day was lower! And she lost a little weight. But mainly she feels better. And can have tacos again!

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Donna’s Belly

This is what her belly looked like the day before the doctor took her stitches out. I winced when I see the hematoma around her navel. She said it is not tender.

She is doing very good after all her ordeal. She just has to not eat fat for two weeks and not lift anything over 20#. Soon her sexy belly will be back to normal.

Donna’s Surgery

This is a day which changed Donna. She no longer has a pesky gall bladder! This adventure began when we left the house at high noon. The time it takes to get to the hospital is about one hour and 15 minutes. She had to be there at 1:30. But as she pointed out, they aren’t gonna start without her! Lol.

We were doing good until we got near Wellsville, 7 miles from Salida. Highway construction! Flagman, etc. And a line of waiting vehicles.

We each took a picture, me of the line; she of the place! This vehicle in front of us went roaring by a mile or so earlier. 😉 I figured he was working up to a heart attack since he was in such a hurry! We sat here about 20 minutes.

There are many worse places to sit and wait! The sounds of the river soothed us and the mountains were nice to watch. On the left is part of the mine there; the mill has big piles of white stuff. Dunno what it is.

Finally our escort dumptruck arrived to lead us to the promised land. At 30 MPH! The construction turned out to be over a mile of highway resurfacing. Then we went on to the hospital where things got more efficient. Except they had lost her lab results so they had to be redone!

This is my lovely wife in pre-op. Lots of questions and pokes here! One that doesn’t show is on her upper left arm where they did an allergy test for the antibiotic they will use. She passed!

She had TWO anesthesiologists.

This is Scott, the doctor anesthesiologist. His hair got like this when he had chemotherapy. I didn’t get a picture of his shoes and so regret it! The laces and other parts were all different colors! Made me think of clown shoes!

This was Scott’s assistant, a trainee. He was very professional and made Donna feel comfortable which was the main thing! I figured between the two of them, she was in good hands!

He injected the anesthesia into her IV tube and away they went. I went to lunch! This being Salida, I was not surprised when I had to stop for a deer on my way to Wallbangers where I had a great mushroom and swiss cheese burger!

I got back to the hospital and took a place in the now almost empty waiting area about 3:30. In case she came out early. All that did was give me 30 more minutes to text and read! Lol. I finally had to go to the restroom at 4:30 and naturally, that was when her surgeon, Doctor Menart came out! (I took a picture of him in scrubs with my phone camera but forgot to save it! These things should save by default.)

He told me the operation “went well”; I was hoping this was exuberance for him and it was something beyond just successful. Anyway he gave me an outline of when she would be discharged (tomorrow) and when he was gonna remove the drain (before she leaves if it is not needed). I asked for details on how he removed the organ (I was envisioning chopping it up and vacuuming it out!) and he explained it was small and flexible so it comes out intact.

I went on up to her room to wait; he said she would only be in recovery for 30 minutes. She got to her room at 5:30! Her room number is 2516. As I went to the elevator (I am old with achy joints, OK? Lol.), I asked at the desk if that was on the 25th floor (It is a two story building.) One of the receptionists laughed but the other was less amused and told me it was but the floors are numbered downward! I replied that I was impressed with their basement. It turns out the “2” was the floor and the “5” is kinda the hall number. They also number the rooms different: up one side and down the other. Creative numbering.

Again I got to do some reading but the view out her window was great.

The little lake is a drainage pond from the property with ducks and reeds like a permanent pond but with less landscaping! From her bed, this is what she could see.

Still nice with the Sawatch Mountains in the background, the helipad windsock, and the historic Smeltertown mill stack.

She eventually came in, about 30 minutes later than projected. She didn’t recover as fast as normal. And was still very groggy.

She looked awful, frankly. Poor baby! And was barely cognizant. The staff had not removed the room’s bed so the nurse’s moving her from recovery had to move it. This way she did not have to be transferred between beds.

The nurse on the left is a recovery nurse while the other one is a ward nurse. It turns out she sits just outside her room monitoring her and another patient. I have not seen this setup since my Dad was in ICU! She is pale and barely responsive from the anesthetic. All she would say is “Thirsty”. But didn’t want ice. When my flash went off, she thought it was lightening and jumped!

This is Kate who, as she said, was her nurse for 8 more minutes! She deliberately turned her back. I had harassed her earlier when I came up face to face with her in the hall while she was standing there. I said she looked lost. When she said she had forgotten what she was doing, I said she was too young for that!

When she asked Donna if she could get her something, she got the “water” answer. Then I, naturally, butted in. When Kate suggested ice, I told her she had already refused that. So she ended up giving her some tap water.

I stayed until 6:30 then drove home. It was dark and Lily was feeling insecure. What an adventure.

Donna’s Tooth Ache

A tooth that Donna is sure was supposed to have had a root canal has lost its cap. And is painful! So much for a root canal.

In any case, she needs dental attention. I finally urged her enough to call our dentist in Cañon City for an appointment that she did. I had urged her to declare it an emergency to get in sooner. She didn’t. So she now has an appointment on September 6 after my library job. So I will run back up here, pick her up and dash back down to Cañon.

And she will endure pain for a week. It could be a long week.

Donna’s Doctor Appointment

Donna was very nauseous last night but was better this morning but this gave her more resolve to get the problem fixed. So when she saw her doctor and he said it was her gall bladder, she was actually glad. The doctor could fix that by removing it!

Her problem is “biliary dyskinesia”. No stones but her bladder isn’t contracting right when it injects bile into her intestine. I said it wasn’t ejaculating right; the doctor didn’t disagree but said they use other terminology! He also said there isn’t anything he can give her to help; the only resolution was removal. And she would have to limit her fat intake since that would cause diarrhea. But she had a problem with his saying she’d have to cut her cheese intake! Other fats she could handle but she likes her cheeses!

She was in the mood to accept this choice and agreed to surgery. It will be done lapriscopically unless there is a problem. Then he will open her up. He is a trauma surgeon so I feel very comfortable with his operating on her. I am unsure how she feels about him doing it but she does want SOMEONE to remove the offending organ.

All along she has said it was her gall bladder and this diagnosis proved her right! She knows we will have a lot of out of pocket expenses even with insurance but she is “sick of feeling sick”.

Her surgery is now scheduled for September 29 sometime around dawn! Lol. She will be in the hospital overnight which complicates things with the dog and cats but I’ll figure it out. Either the kennel or going back and forth.

I later realized today many of my friends made life-changing decisions. It must be a favorable position for the planets today!

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.

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.

Donna’s Trip to the Doctor’s

Wednesday it was Donna’s turn for a doctor visit. Her’s was up the river and I suggested we stop at Barry’s Den in Texas Creek for lunch on the way. I got a Reuben; she got a cheeseburger. She had been having problems with her digestion before and this meal really made her sick. I still feel guilty for making my wife sick!

But the scenery was great! This is the view out the window from our table.

I had never noticed before but there is a pole with a flag on it on top of this mountain! Whoever put it there has my admiration!

She wasn’t sure why she had this appointment! Her GP had made two appointments for her and she wasn’t sure which was which. One was for a colonoscopy. 😉

We got there early but that didn’t cause a longer wait, fortunately. She and the nurse figured out why she was there: to plan a colonoscopy! They did some talking and some paperwork and declared her fit for the test.

Then we came right home since Donna was in distress by then.