Thursday, November 6, 2008

Men can be hard headed...

Monday night, dh took a tumble in the driveway. Now, one would think that this was news to share with your wife, the nurse. But we had company, and it was only when our friend said "what did you do to your eye?" that it was brought to my attention that he had a gouge in his eyebrow, made from his glasses. That was just the easy part. He had broken the fall with both of his hands before hitting the ground, head first. Most of his weight went to his right hand. That night, it started swelling. The next morning, PT further aggravated it, and by Tuesday night it was really swollen. Because he had full range of motion, moving all fingers, wrist, hand, etc. without difficulty, just swelling and tenderness, we decided to wait it out. So, we kept ice on it for the next 24 hours, yours truly getting up and down to change the packs out as the ice melted. Today, the swelling is nearly gone. We are thankful for that. Meanwhile, he has had to sit around and do practically nothing, while it "healed". I am sure that it was likely a nasty sprain, or at least muscle swelling. But the teddy bears have had to wait patiently, and other small projects that he has worked on.

Today was "skills day" at the hospital. That meant 7 stations that you go to, learn about anything new with various things, take a test, get "signed off", etc. so Joint Commission cannot site us for being non-compliant. Things like new IV pumps, Blood Glucose Monitors, Chest Tubes, Infection Control, Wound care, Code equipment. When you work nights and you are suppose to be asleep during the hours that this day included, it makes it kind of hard. But I got home and to bed by 3 p.m and slept until 9:30! So all is well again. Ahhhh...sweet sleep....At least I did not have to work tonight.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Physical Therapy continues

We thought yesterday was dh's last day of PT, but we were mistaken. They will evaluate his progress sometime next week. They really pushed him yesterday, and while he felt tired afterward, he felt better. They have really zeroed in on some balance issues that he has been struggling with, and he is learning things he can continue at home, after the sessions end. He continues to make Teddy Bears. He is getting some ready for a show up in MD, so is getting them stuffed and ready to clothe. They are really cute!

Tonight I have been working on several little projects here in the quilting studio. Mostly Christmas presents.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Well, the frost is on the pumpkin....

This morning, when getting off work after working nights, I had to wait until my windows defrosted before I could drive. Yep, we are officially in Fall; James Taylor sings "The frost is on the pumpkin and the hay is in the barn." Thank goodness we did not have to mess with hay, as it makes me sneeze. But the plants are pulled into the garage, and our cat, Smokey, thinks it is great that she has more places to hide when out there. She is very fickle this time of year. She wants out first thing in the a.m., but stops short when she feels the nip of the air. She does her business, then wants back in. If the day is particularly warm, she wants out again, sooner than later. Come evening, however, she is more than willing to dash into Oma's room where she curls up on her special pillow, and does not budge until we let her out in the a.m. again. Oma is 97 years old, and she speaks German to the cat. Does the cat understand her? She seems to, but she won't tell us for sure.

I have been working on my quilt challenge tonight. The rule is that we are to WOW people with the last row of what we are working on. Dh had some suggestions, but I told him that the idea had to WOW me first, or it likely would not WOW anyone else! I am also working on a couple of Christmas/Hanukah quilts that should be cute! They are incorporating fabrics from both holidays, since we celebrate a mixed bag at our house. Our dear friend "W" (not the president) is Jewish, and she always celebrates our Christmas with us, since her job so nicely lets her off work that time of year. Sometimes Hanukkah falls close to Christmas, and she brings the dreidle and taught us years ago about the games that go with it. It is lots of fun, and we like to do it all. Dh turns our home into a Christmas wonderland every year with decorations from near and far. It takes him the better part of 6 weeks to decorate. I told him that since his stroke, he may have to start even earlier this year! He has actually already started putting a few small things out. It is like one of those search games you can play on the internet. You have to look closely to find them, but they are there. We don't decorate Halloween style, but rather Fall. Slowly those things will disappear.

And suddenly, it will be Christmas wonderland at our house.

Tomorrow is his last day of official Physical Therapy. We have a new fitness center that opened here in our town and we are going to check it out. We could both use it. It is affiliated with a local university, and by the looks of its write up in the newspaper, it should be very nice.
We will soon find out!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

How could I forget the race? This was the last sunday in September. We got a team together, and we made tye-dyed t-shirts. DD has 4 friends from work, and one brought her mom, and then another friend, a guy, joined us too. He said he was not too proud to wear pink! I made sure to put two large dark dyed fuscia colored circles where my breasts USED to be! Once I get the pictures from DD, I will post a picture of our team. We had a great time, none of us were there to actually RACE, but to walk the circuit like so many do. It was actually a hot day, and we were glad to have lots of water and other donated drinks to cool us down. I saw lots of people that I knew, many of which have been a part of my cancer journey over the last 5 years. DD and I always try to do the race together, and so far, we have done it all but one year out of the last 6 races since my diagnosis in 2003. I "attended" my first race, not as a participant, but sat in the survivors tent, about 6 weeks after my bilateral mastectomy in 2003. DD and the friends were there to actually do the walk and I was there to cheer them on. I got my first pink hat and t-shirt that year and a pink ribbon to wear on the hat.

God willing, I am cancer free and will take my last pill of my 5 year pills, in a couple of weeks.

A Chill is in the air

I love this time of year. It seems like the right time for things to be winding down. Isn't it wonderful the way God created the seasons to follow one another like they do? Stepping outside, taking a deep breath of the clear air, the wind high in the trees, pulling my coat around me as I walk down to the mailbox, feeling the warmth of my home as I step back inside - all things that make me feel cozy. Then I come down to my quilting studio, and see the mess that is all around and I wonder if I will ever get all the quilts made that are swarming through my mind! I have always been able to "think" faster than "work" when it comes to quilts!

And I look on one side of the studio and see the big mess that comprises my dh's side of the work table and area. He is Bear Man and has his own blog spot for all the bears he makes. He started making teddy bears about two years ago, spurred on by a simple, faceless Amish bear that someone gave Oma (his mom who is 97 and lives with us). He has been sewing since he was a tailor's apprentice when he was 13-19 in Germany. So, the sewing machine is no stranger to him. We share the space, and the bear pile is growing. Sometimes I fuss because there is such a fuzzy mess everywhere. I go to work with bits of fuzz on my uniforms sometimes!! But then, I have to stop fussing and realize how close I came to losing him this year, and I am thankful for the mess of bears that is piled there. He has made so many people happy with his bears. I am so grateful that he has something that keeps him happy and busy, while I sleep the day away with my crazy night schedule that I am on right now. At night, I make quilts. During the day, he makes bears. He also designs and sews the clothing for them, also adding jewelry and other accessories. The fine work is helping his dexterity return as well, after the stroke. We are really very blessed. He was complaining to the therapist this a.m. about not being back to 100% already. After all, it has been two MONTHS since the stroke. I listened, as did she, and then I said," honey, you are walking, talking, eating, dressing, bathing, all by yourself. You are not paralyzed and drooling out one side of your mouth. We have much to be thankful for." He was subdued, but still feels cheated. He feels he is letting ME down, for not being able to do more.

He is scared to death of having another stroke. That is the bottom line.

Where did the year go?

Has it really been 9 months since I posted? Yes, it has. What a lot a "stuff" has happened so far. I have a hard time comprehending it all sometimes!! Let me see if I can capsulize things. Maybe on a month to month basis.

February - dh is learning to live with the changes that are occuring in his body since the first chemotherapy shot he got in January: Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings. Oh, and I am learning to live with them too. It is funny, I have had these for years, but seeing it in someone you are close to is harder.

March and April - rather status quo months. Life proceeded as usual, with me continuing to be a travel nurse, quilting when I can. Finished two quilts. One for a co-worker, an irish chain that a friend and I worked on together, and another one just for me. This one was a red/white/black quilt that I saw on the cover of a magazine years ago, and had to make one just like it. It is now residing in the guest bedroom.

One special thing that happened in March was a visit from friends from PA that we had become reaquainted with in January. Old Army friends from Germany, circa 1972. They came for a too short 5 days, but promised to return.

May - dh received shot number two. The first few days are always the worst, when the amount is the most intense, I guess.

June - we had our 2nd visit with the oncologist, who planned to start chemo by the fall. We were supposed to go for a "marking" session (read TATTOO) and ultrasound to pinpoint that, in the first week of September. But more fun things happened, and that did not.

August 28 - I flew to Las Vegas for my yearly visit with best friend J.
August 29 - Received call from dd asking which hospital to take her daddy to. He had had a stroke. Life as we knew it, changed.

Flew home from LV and all the help that had arrived to take care of things while I was gone, all disappeared, leaving me to handle everything on my own. The first few days were overwhelming, but we made it through. God was very good, and dh had no lasting paralysis, but there was marked balance and coordination problems. Home health was started, but it was determined that he needed to come in for outpatient therapy to a facility where they had equipment to deal with his particular needs. So we started PT, 3 times a week. Our daughter that lives here locally, was a help, whenever she could be, but she also has a demanding job and is in a supervisory position.

I had myself put on FMLA. My Director of nursing had told me that I could use my short term disability to stay home and take care of family, but a week later, I found out that was not true. I began the search for an in-town job, and found one immediately. Again, God is good. I stayed on FMLA for a month, running dh back and forth, and taking care of things here at home. Meanwhile, our friends from PA came back for a week, helped me with things here while I went to a two day orientation at my NEW job. My NEW job happens to be where I worked before I became a travel nurse. So the work environment and even most of the people, are not new to me. Only thing is, I had to start on nights, as if I were a young thing right out of nursing school! You know, "doing my time". But I am not a young thing anymore, and this is a challenge. But I am told after the new year, I will be back on day shift.

Well, that brings us up to October!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Home again, Home again...

Wow! What a whirlwind couple of weeks. But we had a great time and we are home once again. We left last Monday, drove for 10 hours to reach our destination. The weather was considerably colder up north of us, but we had piles of coats, hats, mufflers and gloves for all kinds of weather and we did not experience much cold with all those to choose from. On Tuesday we touched base and had lunch with old friends. That was a lot of fun. Later that night, we had supper with another couple of old friends. Again, just lots of fun catching up since we had not seen any of them for over a year. On Wednesday, we helped our friend W get her things together for the quilt getaway that we went to on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The getaway place was another hour north of W's and I think it was colder still up there. There were about 60 of us at the getaway, and we had a lovely time sewing together. It seems you can get lots more done in a group like that. Either that, or get nothing but a lot of chatting done. But W and I were focused and we did turn out some great stuff.
Driving home yesterday, DH and I stopped several places along the way, enjoying going to antique stores and basically turning what should have been a 10 hour trip into a 15 hr trip. Oh well, why not. We had nothing but time. We listened to a book on tape that we picked up at a Cracker Barrel on their "lending library" program. The name of the book is "You've Been Warned" I think the author is a Peterson or Patterson. I was not acquainted with the author. It is a psychological thriller and quite good. We actually need to "read" or "hear" the last two CD's in the book before we turn it in! And we need to find out what the ending is!!!!!
Today was a day to see the oncologist. He was fabulous in his taking the time to really go over lots of stuff, and let us ask tons of questions, etc. We feel better about everything now, and we found out that before the radiation can begin, he has to get one more shot in May. They really want to shrink the prostate, so when they begin the radiation, the surrounding "structures" as the doctor so nicely called the bladder and colon/rectal area, will be less likely to sustain damage. So, it is hurry up and wait. He did tell us that the kind of cancer that he has is not the slowest growing, but not the fastest either and that is in his favor.
Almost February... yikes...2008 is slipping by.