Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ranting and musing

Donny's been driving me crazy lately. Ever since my parent's friend, Bob, came to stay here while he heals Donny has been awful. He's insanely jealous about Bob, to the point that I have to be very careful not to even mention him. It's absolutely awful. This morning when I got up I came into the office without talking to anybody. (I was feeling less than human and wasn't ready to be nice and polite.) A little while later Donny stuck his head around the door to tell me good morning and joke with me for a minute, then he went into the restroom. Donny saying good morning made Bob aware that I was in here so he came in to say good morning. I spent then next couple of hours calming Donny down from the horror of coming out of the restroom to find his wife exchanging brief pleasantries with another man. It was awful.

Add to that bit of drama the fact that I'm pretty sure that Donny has pneumonia again. His breathing sounds awful and his cough is horrible. He's making that crackling noise that grosses me out when he breathes. And when he coughs you can actually hear the gunk in his lungs chanting, "Hell no! We won't go!" (Okay, the chanting is a bit of an exagerration, but the rest of it's true.) All of that to say, I want Donny checked by a doctor. If it's nothing then I want a doctor to say so, because it doesn't sound like nothing to me. But the problem is that Donny's convinced that he has pneumonia, which always translates to a stay in the hospital. And if Donny stays in the hospital then I'm home with Bob without Donny. Never mind trusting me, never mind the fact that my parents and grandma are here, in his mind I'll be alone with Bob. And so his jealousy causes him to refuse medical treatment.

However, Donny still expects the same kind of care that he would get at the hospital. I'm to be his 'round the clock nurse. And since he's my only patient he's to get my complete, undivided attention at all times. I am to follow him everywhere, only leaving his side for 60 second potty breaks or to run fetch something for him. The only problem is that I've never wanted to be a nurse. (Nothing against it, I just wouldn't make a good nurse.)

A few days ago my mom started asking about untraceable poisons and I couldn't help but wonder, who is it for? Right now I'm pretty sure that Donny's at the top of everybody's hit list, but you never know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Flu

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I totally forgot to earlier to post about one of the better things to happen lately.

There was a tape that my mom owned when I was a teenager that a couple of fun songs on it that the whole family enjoyed. There are a lot of great memories assosciated with that music. As seems to always happen, somewhere along the line the tape got lost. At first we said that it had to be around somewhere, and then eventually we forgot about it for a while. But after a bit something sparked the memory, and all hope of finding our tape was gone.

The truly unfortunate thing was that we couldn't remember the name of the tape or of the group that did it. Without those 2 key pieces of information it can be very difficult to find what you're after. Sporadically we would search music stores, but that became less and less often. We really had no hope of ever finding that tape again.

And then early this week I went looking for something else. There's a song that's kind of been the family anthem that I decided to find online. After I showed the youtube clip of it to my mom and dad I made a comment about how you can find anything online. That's when I was challenged to find a copy of the missing tape. And so the search was on.

I was getting frustrated at my inability to locate anything and went to vent to my mom about it. She had been using what she could remember to do her own search and suggested that I take a look at what she had. There were several dead ends, but then I found an article about a group that sounded promising. They had changed their name, but under their old name they had released an album under their own record label. They didn't keep using that label, since a bigger label picked them up, so that record company is now gone. It really sounded like it might be them, I just needed to find a way to contact them.

Two nights ago I finally found it. They have a myspace page that I was able to find. I emailed them and described what I was looking for and why, and asked if it had been their project. I also asked that if it was theirs, would they please let me know how to buy a copy.

Last night I got a reply saying that my request was rather unique and if I would send them my address they would send me a copy of the CD that I was looking for. So I sent my address right away, and this morning I got a note letting me know that my CD had been mailed. And all of that was free of charge. I am so excited!

More Updates

It's kind of sad when you have to read your blog just to figure out how much has happened since your last post. So let's get caught up, shall we?

Last Sunday saw me sitting at a hospital with my mom and one of her friends after he fell off of a ladder. On Monday Bob had surgery on his knee, and he'll need another surgery in about 3 months. There's a whole lot of damage to his knee and it's extremely painful. He came through surgery great and is in the process of recovery. Yesterday Bob was released from the hospital, but was unable to go home. (Living in an upstairs apartment and a hostile environment combined to ensure that it would be a bad idea.) So for now Bob is staying with us. He's a really nice guy and I enjoy trading insults with him, so this is no hardship.

On Monday my mother-in-law was moved to a nursing home. She needs a few days in there to get really good at walking before she can go home. She seems to be doing well and making progress on her recovery as well. We haven't been up to see her in a few days because Donny hasn't felt well enough to ride into town. We've tried to call and check in with her, but we have a hard time getting an answer on her phone. We check in with Terry every few days, but I have to admit that I'm not real diligent about it. I feel that mom's being well cared for, so I don't worry about her.

Today has been a good day. I've stayed home all day and enjoyed relaxing. It's my birthday, so grandma's boyfriend bought everybody pizza for lunch. Tonight my parents are taking the family to dinner at the Thai restaraunt to celebrate. My Uncle Doug made me a lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. Bob has generously offered to pay for my mom and I to go see Mama Mia when it comes out as my birthday present. By husband gave me a box full of teddy bears, and my 3 year old nephew came by today to give me a present that he made for me at preschool. I am very spoiled, and very well loved.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I saw this on Mielikki's blog and thought that it would be fun to try.

Here then, are the questions, with my answers in parenthesis, and explainations, if needed!

1. Your first name (Jamie, and do you know how many pictures of Jamie Lynn Spears are out there?)
2. Favorite food? (pasta, for today at least)
3. What High School did you attend? (North Salinas High School was the first one I attended, this guy is their mascot)
4. Favorite color (yellow)
5. Celebrity crush? (Winnie the Pooh always has been and always will be my hero)
6. Favorite drink? (root beer)
7. Dream vacation? (Ireland came to mind first, although I really want to travel all over Europe)
8. favorite dessert? (Chocolate)
9. What do you want to be when I grow up? (happy)
10. What do you love most in life? (fammily)
11. One word to describe you? (caring)
12. Your blog name (Jamie's World)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Day

Drinking coffee in the evening is a bad idea for me. It was 4:00 this morning before I was able to unwind enough to even think about going to sleep. I was absolutely wired. And I had drank the coffee at 7:00 in the evening. It was awful.

I got up at 8:30 this morning planning to go to church, get a little work done, and then go visit mom in the hospital. After church Donny called me and asked me to come home before doing my work. When I got here he let me know that Bob, a friend of my parents, had fallen off a ladder and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. He then had me call my sister-in-law, Terry, who told me not to drive all the way into town, to take a day and rest. So I went to work with the idea that afterward I'd go home and relax for the rest of the day.

The only problem with my plan was that my mom was at the hospital with Bob, and I was worried about her. I couldn't stop fretting about the fact that she might not be taking care of herself. I was finally able to talk to her and I convinced her that she needed me so that I had an excuse to go watch over her. But that meant that I was off to the hospital.

I took some food with me, since neither my mom nor Bob had eaten since breakfast. Bob was astounded when I pulled some tuna salad and a loaf of bread out of my backpack. Then came the fresh fruit, followed by some bottles of water. I also had my cross-stitching and a book with me. They both laughed about my level of preparedness for the ER, but they were grateful to get something to eat.

It turns out that Bob tore the ligament behind his knee, or something like that. He has to have surgery tomorrow to get the damage repaired. Then he'll be in the hospital for a few more days. Since they were admittiong Bob we decided that we should stay with him until he got settled in his room. The only bad thing is that he's at a different hospital than what Donny and his mom use, so I wasn't able to go check on mom while we waited.

At shift change the nurses hurried up and got Bob moved, to simplify giving report. As he was being wheeled into his room a nurse was passing by and she stopped, looked at me, and then came over and gave me a big hug. She asked if the patient was my dad, so I explained that he was just a friend of the family. She told me that she would be on until 11:00 and Bob would be one of her patients. After she walked away my mom asked me who she was and I had to admit that I didn't kbnow her name, just that she had been Donny's nurse previously. (He stayed in that hospital 1 time and decided that he likes the other one better.) My mom just laughed at the fact that every hospital that she goes to with me I wind up running into a nurse that remembers me and/or Donny.

I feel the need to add that the reason that this nurse remebers us is actually a good one. (For a change.) When Donny was staying at that hospital he had a very difficult roommate. The day that Donny went home his roommate got upset at breakfast time. He threw his tray hard enough that his cup dented the floor. The nurse that I ran into tonight came in and was trying to take care of this man and he started hitting and kicking her. Now, this kind of behavior is never okay, but this lady is only a few years from retirement, so it really got to Donny. Although the nurse hollared for help, no one came in. That's when Donny got up and helped this lady get away from the patient so that he couldn't hurt her. For that reason she absolutely loves Donny, and by extension, me. She's probably the only nurse in the area that actually likes Donny, but at least one does.

MIL update

Mom was scheduled for surgery Friday, but that didn't happen. What was really frustrating for us was the fact that nobody told us what was going on, and nobody seemed to have a clue. She was scheduled for surgery at 2:00 and we were told that they'd take her from the room around 1:00. Around 3:00 a nurse finally told us that her surgery was cancelled, but she didn't know why. The nurse put a call in to the surgeon, who came to the room about an hour later. He told my sister-in-law that a CT scan of the hip had been ordered that morning and that was why she had been taken off the schedule for surgery. He had no clue why it had been ordered and seemed really put out about it. He got mom scheduled for surgery at 1:00 the next afternoon, but explained that because it was the weekend a different surgeon would be doing her hip replacement.

Today (or is it more accurate to say yesterday?) everybody went up to see mom right before surgery, around 11:30. A little after 12:00 the nurse let folks know that surgery had been bumped back to 3:00. At this point we were all getting a little tired of playing this game, since this was the third time that her surgery had been rescheduled. Around 3:00 my sister-in-law, Terry, called the hospital to see what was going on with mom. The nurses told her then that mom had not been taken for surgery yet, that it would be closer to 4:00. Around 4:45 Terry called again to check on mom and was told that they had just wheeled her down to surgery. At this point frustration levels were very high.

When it got close to time for mom to be coming out of surgery we went to the hospital to wait for mom to get done so that we could talk to the doctor. It was around 7:00 when he came out to let us know that he was done. He had a couple of xrays in his hand. He showed Terry the xrays and explained that because he was able to set the hip well with pins he decided not to do the hip replacement. He didn't want to put an 86 year old woman through such a traumatic surgery unnecessarily. He went on to explain that her origional xrays had been read by the radiologist as there being no sign of fracture. According to this doctor the other surgeon had come to him for help yesterday and that's when he had ordered the CT scan. Because it was late in the afternoon before the radiologist read the scan they had been unable to operate yesterday. He was a really nice guy, and he gave the 2 xrays of mom's hip to Terry. When Terry asked about the ever changing surgery schedule he said that he had changed mom's surgery to 4:00 when he came in at noon, because of an emergency surgery that he had to do. For some reason he also made a point of telling us about some piece of paper that mom's PCP had forgotten to sign, and that he had gotten another doctor to examine her and sign it. I walked away happy with the report that he had given us.

That happiness has faded as I've thought things over. I now have a couple of questions. If the other surgeon had asked for his help, and , according to this guy, was there when the CT scan was ordered, why did he seem so put out about it later? He really came across very strongly as seeing the CT scan as an unnecessary test. Also, why did the surgeon not discuss with us his decision to put pins in instead of the hip replacement? We had been told that while pins could be used, there was an increased risk of needing surgery in the future if they were used. Because of mom's age the other doctors had strongly recommended going ahead with hip replacement to avoid the risk of her needing another operation in the future. Shouldn't decisions like this at least involve the patient and her caregiver?

Now that I've had a few hours to think things over I'm really upset about how this surgeon handled things. There's a part of me that wants to accuse the surgeon of purposely getting mom bumped to today so that he would be the one doing her surgery, that way he could do it the way that he thought best. And maybe his way was best, I just think that he should have let us know that he was changing the plan before going ahead and doing the surgery. Especially since, from what he said, he knew when he walked into the operating room that he wasn't doing a hip replacement.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Quick Update

Mom saw several doctors today, one of which was the ortho surgeon who's supposed to do her hip replacement today. After evaluating her it was decided to postpone surgery until Friday, although it seems that the decision was due to a scheduling conflict for the doc, rather than a problem with mom. So she's staying in the hospital, heavily medicated, until then. Even though she can't walk she did her best to talk them out of giving her a catheter. She can be so funny sometimes.

A little after 8:00 tonight I called the nurses station for her unit to check on how she was doing. Her nurse had just been in with her and seemed to think that she was rather amusing. Apparently my mother-in-law and her roommate decided that they want their pain medicine to be on the same schedule, that way they'll both get to sleep. Leave it to mom to think of organizing the schedules at the hospital. She is such a character.

My sister-in-law, who takes care of mom, did talk with mom's PCP for a few minutes today. He says that mom will probably be in the hospital for 3 or 4 days after surgery, and then will need to be in a nursing home for 2 or 3 weeks. He also said that we need to be aware that because of her age there is a 30% chance of complications, either before, during or after surgery. We are all well aware that old people with broken hips often don't recover well, but it seems that surgery really is the best option.

Please keep my mother-in-law in your prayers as she goes through this.

More Worries

My sister-in-law called me a couple of hours ago to let us know that my mother-in-law had fallen again. Since my mother-in-law is in her eighties falls are to be expected, and must be taken seriously. When my sister-in-law tried to help mom to get up, mom couldn't stand. After a few calls to the doctor it was decided that an ambulance should be called to transport mom to the ER.

Ex-rays were done and it was discovered that mom has a broken hip. If it were me with the broken hip it wouldn't be such a big deal, but I've seen this be the top of the slippery slope for some elderly people. Tomorrow mom's supposed to have hip replacement surgery to repair the break. Recovery from that is going to take quite a while. I hope that mom has that much fight left in her.

I worry mostly because I'm not convinced that mom does have that much fight left in her. Several times lately mom has gone on and on to me about how she's tired of living, tired of burying loved ones, and she just wants to die. She doesn't want to outlive another child, and Donny seems intent on dying soon. I'm just not convinced that she'll try to recover, I believe that her lack of will to live is what's going to kill her.

Monday, July 07, 2008


I'm home again, and so is Donny. He got out of the hospital last Wednesday, but we've been staying with my mother-in-law so I haven't really had computer access. Donny's lungs are doing much better now, although they still aren't perfect. This last bout with his breathing finally convinced him that he needs to come up with a plan to quit smoking. I'm working on getting him some nicotene patches, we have high hopes.

It wasn't until I camped out in Donny's room on Tuesday, July 1, that I finally got to meet a doctor. A resident came in to see Donny that he hadn't seen before. One of the first things I did was point out that they were giving him too low a dose of lactulose. The doctor hadn't checked what dose he was on at home, so they gave him the standard dose of 2 tablespoons three times a day. The problem being that he needs 3-4 tablespoons three times a day. I had asked his nurse the day before to point this out to his doctor, but it hadn't been resolved. So the new doctor now feels the need to defend what the other doctor was doing, after a few minnutes we got it cleared up and the dosage was corrected.

The new doctor also was trying to discuss what was going on with us while tiptoeing around the fact that Donny was hallucinating in tghe ER. She said sometrhing about him being sleepy when he came in and I just looked at her and said, "No, he was hallucinating when we came in." She said something to the effect that she was trying to put it nicely. That's when I told her that we've dealt with the encaphalopathy enough times now that there's no more need to put things nicely and she could just be blunt with us. It wasn't until a few hours later that I realized it was her first day of residency. Poor lady. She really was just trying to be nice, I hope I didn't burst her bubble.

Today was Donny's follow up with his PCP. The doc said that all the tests that the hospital ran looked good. I asked him about what to do if the hospital won't keep Donny, but I didn't get an answer. The only thing that I got out of him was that if the ER doc wants to admit Donny and the resident won't then to ask for his attending. But what about if the ER doc says that Donny doesn't need to be hospitalized? And why am I borrowing trouble from gthe future? I suppose that if I ever feel backed into a corner I could try saying that I can't keep him safe at home. I don't know if it'll help, but I feel better if I tell myself that those are the magic words that mean that they have to help. It's not that I want to dump my husband on a poor, unsuspecting hospital, but I worry about not being able to care for him. I worry about a lot of things.