Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bullseyes Everywhere

I've been out of the hospital for 2 weeks and am doing better, although not quite up to par.

The Lyme disease had covered my back with big splotches of red rash that I didn't know were there and thankfully, didn't itch.  My doctor told me something I didn't know -- almost every splotch was a bullseye!  (This isn't evident in the one photo that Ed took) I asked if that meant there was a tick in each of those places.  He said no that this was an indication I'd had Lyme disease for about 4-6 weeks and this is how the bacteria manifests itself. 

He said the blood test clearly diagnosed Lyme disease.  In most cases, if they catch it this early, the antibiotics knock it and hopefully, this will be the end of it.  He was pleased at how quickly the rash disappeared.  Some people aren't diagnosed for years so it becomes a chronic problem.

My large intestine is still slightly "iffy" in spite of all the prunes, Kale, high fiber cereal, and yogurt, so he's giving me something to try to keep things moving.  My weight is lower than it's been in years but my tummy (better described as a pot belly, errgggh) is still there.  Let's hope this new med will rectify that annoying situation. 

My legs have been affected  Yes, I still have "jello" knees so he's sending me for some therapy. 

I discovered that if I don't hold to a railing when going up stairs, I can NOT step up with my right leg and when I get into a car, I find myself lifting the right leg in.  That's VERY scary!!!  I will be a willing therapy patient, that's for sure.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Elite Greet, Meet, and Eat

Last evening our cousins, Mary Margaret and Hunter Hollar gave a dinner party in our honor.   It was so much fun to just talk the evening away, eat some good food, and be with some of our favorite people.  

(Click on each photo for a larger view) 
Linda Heatwole, Mike Frank, Mary Margaret Hollar and Deane Geier

Thelma Hollar and Deb Frank

Mike Frank, Mary Margaret Hollar, Jim Bowman, Hunter Hollar, Beth Foerster, Linda Heatwole

Thelma Hollar, Maggie Gridley, Deane Geier

Deb Frank, Ed Angelil

Dick Heatwole, Clarence Geier

 Ed and Mary May Angelil

Thank you Margaret and Hunter for a wonderful evening!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Foxy Loxy & More on Bluebird Hill

Caution:  Weak stomached people might not want to see a couple of photos at the bottom of this post.

Living in the country brings all sorts of adventures and unexpected nature shows.

Yesterday morning we looked out the laundry room window and there was a big red fox under the tree.  Pouncing and appeared he was eating a few mice or other small creatures.  He then calmly walked down the driveway.  I couldn't get over how bushy his tail was and the fact that he was out in the open in broad daylight!
Click on photo for a larger view.
 I'm pretty sure it was Foxy-Loxy from the Chicken Little "The Sky is Falling" fable!

One problem around here is groundhogs.  They dig holes that cause cows to break their legs, they dig holes under the foundation of your house AND they eat your garden -- always choosing the best vegetables and most expensive flowers.  My cousin says he thought groundhogs served no purpose until he decided they were created for target practice.

We've been seeing this huge groundhog and five babies throughout the summer.  Ed shot two small ones.  Last week he saw one out the front door and it went under the front porch.  For some reason, he got his rifle and went around the end of the garage.  Sure enough, the groundhog emerged from under the deck.  That's VERY bad because it means they've dug a tunnel under the garage or house!  Anyway, his Savage 22 Magnum did the job and the groundhog suffered not a second.

He put the carcass down in the field in towards the road.  It took several days but the vultures (a.k.a. buzzards) found it.  It's fascinating to watch how they take turns eating.  Seeing them that close makes us realize how huge and how ugly they are.  But they do serve a purpose to help scavenge and clean up dead animals from the environment.
Nature's garbage service. 
 p.s.  The giant groundhog is still out there somewhere!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cat Trees by Ed & Robert

Ed's been a busy bee in his woodworking shop this summer.  The cattery where we bought Blanche had cat trees that intrigued Ed.  We took pictures of several of them.

Cousin Bill May let him cut some little sumac trees from his woods.....the idea being that the cats could use the bark for scratching.  Neither Pepper nor Blanche does that but the tree bark gives a unique look to the cat tree.  

Mary's nephew, Levi, said,  "Oh, look, a jungle gym for the cats!"  Blanche likes the top perch and Pepper sleeps on the 2nd one.

I was invited down to the shop last evening to see the latest creation.  This one will be disassembled and taken to our house in Florida. 

We had planned to paint it when we get there.  I took one look at it and suggested that the wood looks nice and we might decide not to paint it.
Finishing touches.

 Congrats, Ed and Robert Forester on a job well done!
 We'd like to bring the cats down, especially to see them discover the ramps that go to the next level.  However, we fear they'd start exploring the shop and we'd never see them again!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jello Knees

So far the doctors are right in that I'm more comfortable at home.  I actually slept through the night instead of waking up at 4 a.m. in pain.  My goal today was to take a shower and wash my hair, which I was pleased to be able to accomplish.  I'm trying my best to take as little for pain as possible -- I just don't think it's good for a person's body.  The best part is that there was less of that intense, piercing pain today.

Ed is very strict and is not about to serve me meals in bed.  He does serve me meals but I must do my part and get to the table.  That's good because it can sometimes be easy to let myself fall into the Poor-Little-Me category.

All day I've had this strange sensation that my knees were like jello, as if they would buckle backwards instead of staying straight or forwards.  Our neighbors, Faith and Jonathan Histand, brought some food and stayed for a short visit.  When they left, I stepped onto the porch to show them something.  

When I came back inside -- it happened -- the jello knees went the wrong way and I sat flat onto the floor.  Ed was able to help me up and I wasn't hurt.  Needless to say, I'm not making walking a high priority for now.  What a strange sensation!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Home, Sweet Bed 'O Mine

I came home last evening after 13 nights in the hospital ..... walked in, laid down on the flat, soft, comfortable bed (Mind you, this means no plastic over the pillow under the thin pillow case, no plastic mattress or lumpy pad, no side panels with a "Call Nurse" button that keeps going off, even if you barely touch it) and just started crying.  Ed asked what in the world was the matter and I responded that it just felt soooo good to be home.

The doctors explained that this does not mean I'm well -- by any means.  It will probably take a few weeks for my bowel to settle and function.  In the meantime, I'll be more comfortable at home in my own bed -- and how! 

I work up with that all-too-familiar feeling that a Mack truck has mowed me down and squashed me -- especially my legs, the area between my shoulder blades and the bottom row of front ribs ache.  Neither flexeril (muscle relaxant) nor Tylenol help much at all;  but when one knows that's a normal part of Lyme disease, it's not as scary.

The doctor thinks the Lyme's Disease and the bowel "on strike" are related issues, after all.   

These symptoms are like my current fibromyalgia diagnosis and the mononucleosis pain that I had in college.  My mantra these days is, "This too shall.....or at least get better."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Different resort next time....

Last night was night 11 in this Rockingham Memorial Hospital.......for my next vacation I plan to choose a different resort!    I've lost 14 pounds since I've been here -- the least I've weighed in years but this method isn't recommended.

Progress is slow but my large intestine does seem to be showing some progress.  I have advanced to a full liquid diet -- which means cream soup and pudding -- yee-haw!  Am not complaining - after 5 days with nothing except IVs, pudding tastes good.   Hope to get home soon but am not pushing -- I'll go when they say I'm ready, no need to risk a relapse.

The Lyme's Disease has been confirmed and has cleared up nicely.  I did learn it's caused by a deer tick, not a dog tick.  Also, recovery is like mono recovery - progress, but with bouts of unexpected fatigue for quite a long time. 

Apparently the Lyme's Disease and the bowel "on strike" are two different issues.

p.s.  Please keep holding email for now.  Or you can write or call Ed for updates.  Thanks for all your cards, etc. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Still in the Horse-pital

I was admitted last Thursday evening and am STILL here!  A doctor who met with us last evening said that if this were a teaching hospital, he'd have a line of students to meet me and hear about my strange case.  Ed says they could use it as a storyline for House, the medical show on TV.

I started with a 102 fever for about 5 days two weeks ago, then temp started going up in the evenings.  I had some wild, strange rash which they thought was Lyme's disease but now are not sure.  Those tests were sent to a state board to be evaluated and results aren't back yet.  They put me on an antibiotic for that and the rash is almost gone.

My fever has come down the last day or so but not much change in my condition has taken place.  Basically, my large intestine has become paralyzed.  I've had daily X-rays, tests, etc.    I've had nothing to eat for 5 days, various enemas, etc. but there is still no "action."  My pain level has been very high for several days, as has my blood pressure.  They changed my pain med yesterday and that has helped some.

(I can't believe I'm telling this to the world.  Some days I have felt too bad to talk, which is why the internet is helpful and I've decided to tell all here.)  

My nurses have been really special and caring, as have all the lab people, etc.  There have certainly been a lot of doctors and they have coordinated with each other.  People have been so kind with cards, flowers and calls to Ed.    Hope to be back to the "land of the living" soon.

It's amazing how long a day can be with no meals to look forward to.  On the bright side, I've lost 9 pounds in 4 days!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More Miserable

I'm here in the hospital in Harrisonburg, Virginia and might be here a several days until they figure out what's wrong with me.  Ed brought me to ER Thursday evening and they kept me, much to my surprise.  My abdominal X-ray and CAT scans are normal and my kidneys are OK.   Dr. Overby said it might take a bit of time to track down what's causing me to have a fever for 10 days.

The pain in my right leg, upper abdominal area and middle back is off the charts.  I can have a pain shot every 2 hours but I fear that the dilaudid is "wearing out" on my body already.  Dr. O. said that my fibro is probably intensifying my pain but that's not what is wrong here.  So far they've ruled out the flu (did you know they have a test for that?), a kidney infection and a couple of other things.

I declare that Dr. Overby is thinking up every test known to medicine -- even a TB test.  Now's a time when I'm blessed to have the best doctor in the county.

This is a brand-spank-new hospital -- just opened in June of this year.  I'm getting a tour from the inside out.....would prefer it the other way around.  The hospital has free wi-fi but allows no Facebook ....gasp... how will I live?

Short email personal notes are welcome but please understand I feel too bad to respond for now.  Still hurtin' for certain and feeling like a stuck pig -- about 20 sticks so far, which doesn't work well with my needle phobia.  I'm not going to have any blood left!

Hope to bring happy news and a diagnosis the next time round.  Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts.