A Scary Fall, Saturday Night

First, and most important: she’s all right. Mostly.

The GI trouble had come back big time, late Saturday night with a diarrhea attack. We had finished up taking care of it, and had already decided to go to bed, since it was nearly midnight.

About a half hour after getting to bed, she could feel the rumblings of another attack coming on, so she peeled off her BiPAP mask, sat up on the edge of the bed, and grabbed her front-wheel walker to head for the bathroom.

Normally she can make this trip with no problem.

But she didn’t give her heart enough time to catch up to sitting up and getting up to walk, and halfway to the bathroom, she got dizzy. I heard her blood-curdling scream as she fell, along with the crash of the walker, going the opposite direction.

I leapt out of bed and saw that she had fallen in the only open space between the foot of the bed and the big armoire. She had only hit her head a glancing blow on the armoire, and was not bleeding and felt that she had not broken anything. Thank you Lord, for watching out for her…The next thing after seeing if she was (mostly) okay was to call the paramedics.

They arrived in short order, and after making an assessment, were able to help her get up and the rest of the way to the bathroom. After that was taken care of, they asked if she wanted to go to the hospital……

Now, my wife doesn’t swear, and she gently and often reminds me not to do so. But after being in hospitals and rehab facilities for five months, I could hear an implied, ‘hell no!’ in her simple answer of, “No.”

Next, they asked if she had a walker with a seat. Yes, it’s brand-new and it’s in the kitchen. They sent a man to go get it for her.

They got her stood up, and with the help of the walker, into the bathroom. As she came out, they gave her ‘the briefing’ on how to use the wheeled walker, and with the circumstances what they were, the briefing was to-the-point, and well understood.

She got into bed just fine, and had a good night’s sleep.

In these few days since, the jolt that her back took has become plainer: it has been hurting more; but maybe, just maybe… today (four days since) it seems to be a bit better. She had already been lined up for a trip through the MRI, and hopefully that will reveal if any other damage has been done.

She has been using the wheeled walker as a wheelchair (something the manufacturers really caution against), because her back and knees have been hurting so greatly. Her ability to get around the house has been very much hampered.

We were going to roast a chicken for Sunday dinner; I had been looking forward to her doing cooking again – and she had, too. But this meal is now on indefinite hold, with the chicken now in the freezer.

Meanwhile, we have made arrangements to borrow a wheelchair to help her get around in the “upper” (two steps up) part of the house. That aid will be coming this evening, courtesy of a good friend.

Again, it becomes my gentle request: if you find yourself before our Creator and happen to remember her, your mention is most appreciated.


A week of Doctor, Clinic, and Scan Visits … and the Scare of a Near Fall

She is so glad to be home – when she has been home, this week. As the title says, it’s been a week with something going on every day.

Meanwhile, at her GI doctor’s request, she had begun to follow the Low-FODMAP diet (difficult to explain here, I must ask you to look it up; essentially, it is a diet for people who are having IBS troubles), and she had been beginning to see success with it.  This after two years and more of, shall we say, ‘runny guts’. Her troubles are like the woman in the Bible with constant bleeding; except so many times I have prayed for Jesus to come walking by, so that she might touch the hem of his robe…
And I do NOT say that lightly, rather it is in all seriousness, coming from great anguish of spirit.

On Saturday, the day after she came home, she had been craving Chinese take-out. Months to think about it, to savour it, vicariously.

Annnnnd… that… was… a mistake. Immediately she was back to the old GI problems. Consider that her insides have been in rough shape and have currently a low tolerance for irritants.

Monday came and she was better. Thank God.

So this week her Monday appointment was with the Transition Team at the Clinic – they ‘transition’ you out of your hospital stay and to regular life. She saw the Osteo folks at Rebound on Tuesday, who made her stand for radiographs of her back; she came home really tired from that, and unknown to us, her knees did not recover sufficiently for Wednesday. That morning we were going to her appointment for a ride through the CAT, and she was having trouble with her stamina in her knees.  She paused to sit and rest in the hallway, and then said she was OK to go all the way down the ramp and out to the car.

But as we got close to the car, she began to call for help. I whipped the door open, and was in the act of helping her sit on the seat, but her knees buckled…
… but at least she ended up in the footwell instead of on the ground. And no injury. Oh, thank you Lord.

We called a neighbor, who helped her stand, then sit on the car seat. A long sigh of relief, a tiny pause for a thankful prayer, and we were off at speed to make it to the appointment.

She will see her GI doc, sometime after yesterday’s CAT scan. The trip through the CAT was to provide evidence for/against Crohn’s Disease. And it appears from the Radiologist’s evidence that she doesn’t have Crohn’s. Or nothing else serious. Again, thank you Lord.

I began composing this post Thursday afternoon; that day we got a new bed delivered (there is now hope for fewer backaches) and she was seen here at home by the Visiting Physical Therapist, and the Visiting Nurse.

She is frustrated, to say the least; at the Physical Rehab/Care Center, she had been walking 250 feet at a stretch, with minimal problems. But here at home…? 30 feet gets her winded.

Let’s have some good news. Yes, there is some.

The great news is that after all her Occupational Therapy, she feels confident in beginning to cook again! So Thursday we also had a Safeway delivery; just some basics to start with, as I was working from home. But stuff for her to begin cooking again.

Hope rises.

Thank you all for your prayers for her. May she continue to improve.




A short postscript –

Dear Safeway:
I have bad news for you: your “updated” app for the iPad just … sucks. The page formatting is off (with text displaying on top of text), and what happened to the ability to shop aisle-by-aisle…? Please fix it. You’ve taken something that was only mildly frustrating and turned it into something genuinely frustrating.

She’s Coming Home – Finally

Finally our nightmare will be over. My wife is coming home Friday afternoon.

It’s been five months – FIVE MONTHS – in and out of the hospital, then to the Care and Rehabilitation center.

Our confidence is high this time. She isn’t plagued by that awful cold which hung on for two months, she’s been working diligently at her Physical and Occupational Therapy, and she is more capable than she has been in a very long time. Her GI problems (chronic diarrhea) is clearing up with diet changes and good medical treatment, and her physical condition is so very much better than it has been, again in a very long time.

Oh yes, we ARE looking forward to this. And to being better. And to going camping again.

Thank God. Thank you all for your prayers.

A Better Way to Microwave Hot Dogs

I’ve had a craving for hot dogs lately. A week and a half ago, I bought some, and quickly put them in the freezer.

Tonight was time to strike; (and if you’ve seen this method elsewhere, you are better travelled than I).

I had four left from the package (two were sacrificed to unsuccessful scientific experimentation) and I needed something quick for a dinner.

The problem with microwaving hot dogs is that the ends get all burnt, while the middles are cold.

Here is the solution: you must cook enough (at least three) so that you can put them in the microwave on a paper towel with the ends touching.

(Alton Brown mode on) Doing them this way makes the energy from the microwave penetrate evenly. The result is nicely done, unctuous frankfurters, evenly heated throughout.

Here’s an example, and the main idea is to make sure that all the ends touch (looks like I goofed up, but you get the drift)… before you press START:

(Alton Brown mode off) Yes, this is four, but someone has to be willing to step up and give of themselves for the good of all.

Sunlight in the Forest – A Photo Post

It’s that time of year when the sun angles are just right and the setting sun will penetrate deep into the forest and set the trunks of the trees ablaze. It’s like this for mere seconds sometimes, and last night was one of those rare times. I didn’t even have time enough to get to the window; in the foreground is a Sapho rhododendron which has yet to bloom. (Yes, our growing season IS short.)

But here it is, a blaze of glory and color.

Kind of puts an underline on our Men’s Breakfast devotion this morning – which had some notes about the glorious planet where we live, and from Psalm 46:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

The Home Visit

This could have maybe gone better from one standpoint, but on the other hand, we reluctantly admit that it accomplished its purpose. She has been looking forward to being released from the Care and Rehab outfit on May 8; but a few of the Therapists had strongly suggested she spend one more week beyond that, to give them time for additional work. She has been adamant about leaving ASAP. I don’t blame her: She’s been out of the house for FIVE MONTHS.

My wife had been looking forward to yesterday, and all went well with the car: she showed her Physical Therapist (who was to accompany us home) how she was able to lift her feet in to get in without help. She thoroughly enjoyed the drive – remember, it’s been months since she’s seen ‘the outside world’. She noticed all the new construction around; something I don’t have time to do when driving.

All went well with the new ramp: she got right into the house, and was doing so well that she didn’t have to have a sit-down just inside the door – instead she went to the kitchen, and under direction of the Physical Therapist, tried out some things, like opening a cabinet and getting out a plate, opening the fridge.

She sat down at her workspace at the end of the counter, and explained to the Therapist how we had that end of the counter made into a custom workspace for her, and how it makes it easy to do prep work. Kitchen session completed, she needed to hit the bathroom. We were off to a very encouraging start.

And then she found she couldn’t get up from the chair.

She was frustrated, because this was a new thing. She’d been able to get up, no problem, for years. But her Therapist helped her, and watched her on the way to the bathroom. She did fine in there, but began to run out of breath, her knees were starting to give out, and she needed to sit somewhere, NOW. She opted for the bed. (Earlier that morning, I’d gone through the house with the folks from the Church Rummage sale, and -among other things- my wife and I had selected the bedside chair to go, as this was the chair she’d gotten stuck in, unable to get up. So now there was no chair there.)

She became worried about her heart rate. Her Therapist went and got her pulse-oximeter from the side table, and her pulse was 116. He said, “That’s up, but not worrisome high”. She was also saying that it was good to sit, as her knees weren’t going to support her for much longer.

It was at this point that her Therapist decided against doing any more work at home. She was going to try the new ramp to downstairs that goes through the sunroom, but they both agreed that this was not a good idea, and cut the work session short.

So she took her walker to the laundry room, and she recovered there by sitting on the seat of her new rolling walker.

She took her standard front-wheel walker down the new garage ramp and did just fine. She also was able to get all the way to the car and sit down. I helped her get her feet in, as her knees were really tired.

On the way back to the Care and Rehab facility, she turned to me and said, “I need to work on my endurance. That was scary, with my knees about to give out like that. I think I’d better stay another week and get stronger”.

So, reluctantly… the 15th. Can’t wait for life to get back to right-side-up.

As we find ourselves before the Throne of our Creator, let us please remember her and ask for stamina, strength, and confidence.

Thank you all.

Working on the house while she’s in Physical Rehab; stage two, in pictures

So my nephew came back down and we (he) did more work, assisted by a good friend of mine. The challenge was those two steps, going through the sunroom. You saw where we started; now here is how we finished. This was another all-day project. The space doesn’t lend itself easily to photos, but I’ll do what I can.

Part way along:

And finished – looking in from outside at the same angle as previous:

And here’s a shot looking down the ramp, which makes its construction details clearer:

I was worried about how Dara would take to the ramp, but hey, no problem.

And another shot, just because she’s a cute dog.

And I found out something important: my compression stockings have NO traction on this plywood; can’t wait until we can cover this with the low-nap rug material I bought. I actually tweaked my knees and back on Friday night. Fortunately, I’m mostly recovered as of Monday, but my back still has a knot in it.

Thank you all for your prayers for her recovery and rehabilitation; and to be free from pain.