Saturday, October 25, 2014

Surgery Update

On Thursday, I took my dad to the hospital for his surgery.  Yes, finally, it was scheduled and happened!  What an ordeal trying to get it set up these past many months...and it shouldn't have been that way.  

A year and 10 month's ago, my dad had a cervical fusion involving the C-level vertebrae.  During that surgery, the surgeon implanted hardware - kind of like wedge-shaped spacers - between the vertebrae and then put plates over the fronts of them (anterially - front of neck side).  With the lower of the three, surgeon #1 left jutting out about an inch saying that he couldn't insert it fully due to bone spurs and proximity to the spinal cord, so with that in essence it was like having a big speed bump in my dad's throat, which obviously would be both uncomfortable and create some swallowing difficulties.  This, coupled with his dysphagia swallowing difficulties and choking issues created a rather burdensome situation for him.

The original doctor left town for back east "due to family emergencies"....well, I'm not so sure, but he isn't here, so we found a new surgeon and my dad really likes him too, though it is a further drive to that hospital as it's not here in his town.  So back to the surgery, Dad was scheduled for 2:15, but didn't get wheeled in until close to 4:30 - yep, a long delay - but it did happen.  The surgery lasted about two hours, during which time I drove the 45 minutes back to the house to eat as I'd only had breakfast, tend to the cats, and pick up my cell phone and make some calls.  Yeah, I'd forgotten my cell phone at the house that morning so couldn't keep anyone informed other than a few via my laptop, which I remembered.  I got back to the hospital about 10-15 minutes after the surgery was finished, and after missing the surgeon's call as I didn't answer my phone while driving - no bluetooth, I'm so behind the times - and it was a couple more hours before my dad was put in his room.

The surgery was 'successful' in that the surgeon was able to remove the offending piece of hardware and did not have to put a new one in as the neck was now fused at those vertebrae (a good thing medically) but the surgeon was a bit stymied as to why surgeon #1 did the original surgery in the first place - he said he saw no need from what he could ascertain via the records and from his exploration during the surgery.  He also removed a lot of the bone spur growth and I'm hoping that will help relieve some of the arthritic pain he feels.  We knew going in that this wasn't being done to relieve pain, but to give him better comfort from a swallowing standpoint.

It took four hours to get him released from the hospital yesterday (my only complaint) after the doctor did his morning rounds and pronounced all was well and good.  He has few restrictions which is good, he's a very non-compliant patient, he slept very little last night he said - not surprised as he sleeps very little usually but with, I'm sure, still having certain drugs in him from the surgery, it increased his hyper-ness rather than the reverse. He has also, up until the last hour or so, talked incessantly in a rather Marlon Brando-ish whisper (think The Godfather).  He's walked to the store - in the rain, worked busily in the garage for hours after getting home, with flashlight in hand went slug-hunting in the back yard last night, and is working on his very rustic leather projects.  

With the surgery going well, and his not needing a great deal of after-care, I see no reason why I can't go home on Nov. 10th as planned, and I pray I can stay home until after the first of the year.  One day at a time though.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Duck, Duck, Duck

Yeah, I'm watching the Ducks womp Washington.  While I did not attend either school, I am rooting for the Ducks of course, after all, I am a Duck Out Of Water!

And speaking of Ducks, yes, I am here in the wet land again, and hooray, it has been wet off and on.  I've enjoyed that part.  I will most likely be here for another three weeks, maybe more.

My dad had a medical procedure on Wednesday - nothing requiring recuperation time, and it went well and so far nothing appears to be amiss but full results won't be in for about a week.  The very next day we drove over to the hospital where he will, finally be having the surgery on his cervical spine to remedy his previous surgery in the same location, for his pre-op.  I hope he quits complaining after this, but that's highly unlikely.  At his age, it seems he's constantly complaining of some ailment including his inability to regain the 20-25 pounds he's lost this past year, and that he no longer has the muscle mass of a 30-year old.  It's tough to be 81!

I'm hoping to take part in Bonnie Hunter's annual Quiltville Mystery Quilt again this year [watch for any updates at my quilt blog Webs of Thread, if I have any].  At the very least I will be following other bloggers' progress while I print out each week's instructions.  I've already picked up the paint chips from Lowe's and was surprised to see that the yellow one wasn't quite as yellow as my computer monitor made it appear.  I may be stretched to shop my stash for this one, not to mention my not being home, so may end up with some additions to my stash numbers again - oh darn! right?

With this trip north, I brought a box of genealogy to work on in my spare time and I have an embroidery project I can work on too.

Those of you who do, please keep praying for me in all areas as I continue to help my dad, rub elbows with family, and am so very far from my husband, son, and church though all are accessible via the internet.  Oh, and include my dad with his surgery which is for this Thursday, and that he'd be a "nice" patient - his reputation is one of non-compliance, impatience, hostility and a whole lot of 'language'.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Surprises can be nice, and some surprises can be not so nice.  I've had a little of both this week.

I'll start with the not-so-nice and get it out of the way.  I was doing laundry and other chores earlier in the week.  We have a lot of dust here.  Dust is not my friend.  Dust is winning has won here.

It was time to flip the mattress.  It flopped down on the box spring and dust swirled in the sunlight.  I'm sure a hoard of dust mites was flooding the room about that time too.

Progressing to the laundry room with the sheets and pillowcases in hand.  A bald man + a CPAP machine and a pillowcase needed a super-spraying.  I use Amway's Classic Laundry Prewash Spray Spot Treatment (formerly SA8 prewash) - good stuff.  I think I sprayed TOO MUCH.  Between the dust & the spray, I was suddenly thrown into a severe coughing spasm for the next half-hour, to the point of gagging all while trying to breathe.  If I were to self-diagnose, I would call it chemical-asthma.  I went to the doctor the next day, received a breathing treatment, a chest x-ray, and sent home with a diagnosis of 'bronchitis' (really?) and a prescription for drugs to use in our nebulizer.  I gave myself another breathing treatment yesterday.

I have had one other incident like that.  Many years ago, our street was repaved and I had to park over a block away.  It was very hot out, the chemicals were coming off the pavement and I'd walked very quickly to my car and immediately began coughing in the same manner for about the same length of time.  Not fun!!

I'm thankful to be better today though, but I'm being very cautious and waiting on doing any more laundry for a few days, especially any that requires pre-treating!


I had just redirected my living room blinds to allow more light in, laid my finished Gathered Over Time flimsy out on the floor and was standing on the arm of the sofa to take a picture of it and could hear a child's voice approaching my door.  I have to admit, I groaned with the thought that it might be a child working on a fund-raiser for school.  About that time Marty had looked out the window from his computer chair and said, "Oh, it's (old roommate)!".  

What a NICE surprise.  Marty and this former roommate had bought our house many years prior to any of us getting married and shortly after he & his wife married, they moved up north, and now he was making an impromptu visit along with his 5-year old adopted daughter.  This was such a pleasant surprise as we'd lost touch with them a few years ago after they moved from one house to another up there.  

The only one missing was his wife as she was visiting another friend of hers here in town.  The wife is also a quilter.  Both are just the nicest people and I made sure I got their new address and phone number!! They only live about 25 miles from my dad so I can go visit them when I'm up there too.  The little daughter was so precious, and not at all shy.  As soon as I opened the door, she came in and wrapped her arms around me before I could say howdy, sweet!
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