Thought Provoking Moments

Now that the new sump pumps have settled in and are much quieter, life at home has almost become a bit complacent.

I had my annual check-up at St. Joseph’s in Hamilton. My Nephrologist and I got each other caught up on our version of events during the Thrush fiasco. Apparently he knew quite a bit more than I was told. He had been in constant touch with the Doctors on my case and despite the fact I was told nothing, my medications were practically being changed on a daily basis (which originally had me puzzled, but was helpless at the time) only because of the constant conflicts with one of my anti-rejection drugs. I guess my transplant meds were keeping the powers that be on their toes. I then had my turn and a chance to rant and rave about the Dieticians constantly nagging me to eat, and my constant explaining that how can I eat, if I can’t swallow?????  At least now we were both in sympatico and I felt better being updated on the whole affair. I really do have to know what exactly is going on when it comes to me, myself and I.

I also had to explain to the Doc about the number of times I had fallen, hit my head and was now having balance problems. Knowing what I know about concussions, I had become concerned as the old noggin’ is taking its time getting better. The Doc then put me through a series of tests, as his trainee interns watched on. He had me stand up while he put one of his arms in front of me and the other in back and asked me to remain standing for several minutes. I could feel my body wanting to sway back and forth, but I held my ground. He could tell I was wavering but was satisfied how I did. He had me walk back and forth across the floor, touching my left index finger to my nose and then try and touch his index finger, repeating with my right finger. He appeared satisfied that I was alright and then explained to Nat and I how to proceed. As I’m wanting to loose at least 5-8 pounds, he agreed that the treadmill would be perfect for helping my balance and that a regular routine was now really recommended. It was also a given that I would strengthen my legs and concentration. I will admit this treatment is a great relief from what I had previously been thinking.

With more information in hand, a couple new medications (for blood pressure), Nat and I had lunch on the way home and then settled in for what was left of our day. My appointments in Hamilton, despite being at 10:00 am, usually take up over 5 hours. The drive (both ways) and parking alone are 3 hours. The walk from the parking garage to the Clinic is close to 20 minutes (2 ways), the waiting to be seen is usually another 30-45 minutes, the check-up close to 60 minutes (depending on scenario). Now you can understand why we just clear our entire day for that one appointment.

The sore back is continuing. This has been going on for several weeks and there have also been a couple of days where I couldn’t even stand up without a stabbing ache in my right hip and back. I was walking bent over like a pretzel and it was agonizing. I sympathize with all those in my family who are also experiencing back problems. Thankfully as the days have passed, most of the pain has eased up, but there’s always that little weak feeling in my lower back that reminds me not to go for a run!!

Our routine has now returned. Nat has his golf games 3 days a week, I’ve been trying desperately to get the baking caught up-to-date. I’ve not made bread in several months, the cookies are in extreme low supply, along with the Raisin Loaf and Scones. I started something almost 20 years ago, that I can’t stop. Nat has become use to having fresh baked goods for his Tea, it’s going to be a struggle to wean him off when the times comes that my baking slows to a “crawl”.

A few surprises have also come our way. From the beginning of the year, Laura has been coming by periodically for a visit. Sometimes she brings Zoe and sometimes not. She’ll stop by Timmies for us and we have a great visit. This has continued right up to this past week, and even Susan and Tom have caught on. I have no idea why they decided to change their ways, but it’s been absolutely great. The visits break up the days for their Father and I, plus we have a chance to visit more often than in the past.

In previous years I was enjoying Nat golfing and having a few hours to myself. I would eat lunch when I wanted, watch some crap TV, muck about on the computer, play games on the iPad or generally amuse myself without the love of my life looking over my shoulders. With the Thrush trauma last year, the old body walking like a drunken sailor, and now the back pain,  I’ve become a bit complacent and my ambition has given up the ghost. I long to sit in the recliner, play games on the iPad, watch boring TV and become brain dead. My emotions are also on the edge.  I’m now getting lonely while Nat is golfing. I’m dwelling on having dentures and my life has become quite stagnant. Even shopping has become somewhat boring. Believe it or not!!!!!! Not having a car, nor being allowed to ride my bike and being just a bit too long of a walk to downtown can add to my loneliness. Nat struggles to come up with any suggestions, despite his tries, as his imagination is a bit lack-luster and his spirit of adventure has disappeared with his childhood. I love him to death for even trying.

Getting out of bed is also becoming a struggle. Not that I’m sad, but I just don’t want to leave the warmth of our bed, close my eyes and return to the Land of Nod. My pill routine is the reason forcing me to get up and at ’em as I have to take one at 9:00 am on the dot. After 20 years this, too, can become a bit of a drag, but my health and well-being are more important than snuggling in bed.

I’m trying hard not to allow my depression to rear its ugly head. I’m hoping that if it does I’ll have the sense to talk things out with myself on my website. The last extreme depression I experienced almost became fatal. The sisters I called were unavailable and Nat tried with every fibre of his being to understand. Nothing in that world makes any sense to him and if he doesn’t understand then he shakes his head and struggles for words to say to me. With the passing of days, talking in bits and bobs, we soon stick our heads out of the sand and get on with our lives, as boring as they are.

More Bang For Your Buck

The new year was rung in quietly at our house. I managed to stay up past midnight for the first time in years. Really wanted to keep Nat company and give him a big kiss. The least I could do for what he’s gone through with me in 2018. I then toddled off to bed with my brain going every which way but loose wondering how 2019 is really going to turn out.

Nat celebrated his birthday over several days. Why not spread out the frolicking, frivolousness and debauchery over time?? As usual, we had a great meal at Canyon Creek Restaurant at Fallsview CasinoOur steaks were delicious despite my minor chewing problems (explanation below). The wait staff were reallly nice and friendly which always makes the evening more enjoyable. A nice night all around.

Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget then invited us to lunch the following Saturday. She asked us to pick out the restaurant which is always a mistake as neither one of us can decide on anything these days, despite our best efforts. We ended up choosing Lina Linguini’s in St. Catharines. An Italian place with just a touch of American food. Another nice lunch and getting caught up on the family’s news. On a disappointing note, I had a craving for a hamburger, which was a bad choice. The burger was overcooked and contained some other food items which made the burger a bit chewier than I’ve had in the past. Warning: Don’t order American food at an Italian Restaurant!!!!  I still had a great time and Nat and I were so pleased Susan had taken the time out to do this for us.

With the celebrations over, it was now back to reality with errands to run, laundry, cleaning and baking chores on the horizon. It was now that Nat decided to call the Company we rent our water heater from. We’ve been experiencing banging pipes at varying degrees of noise for a couple of years now. We’ve spent money on regular plumbers each of whom had no idea where the noise was coming from, what was creating the banging or even solve the problem. Each one of them had us bleed the pipes (run every tap in the house for several minutes to hopefully push the air out of the pipes) but each time the noise returned after the plumbers were long gone. All that bloody money for nothing. By this time, and with a damn good guess from the last plumber, Nat kept wondering if the noise was coming from the hot water tank. By coincidence that’s where I always heard the banging sound, but like stated before No one ever listens to me!!!!!

Nat’s frustration was now at a high level, and as he procrastinated over calling the water heater company, my frustration was also getting higher by the day. He has a habit of thinking of every scenario that could happen, afraid to make a wrong call, and really wants to make sure the right thing is being done. Well, he should trust his instincts, as he finally called Enercare and what do you know, he was right. This plumber came in, checked the water heater, told Nat what the problem was and asked if he wanted him to remove the valve that seemed to be the culprit. Naturally, Nat said yes, and with that the plumber was gone. A couple years worth of aggrevation, research and high plumbing bills was fixed all within 5 minutes and was the size of my pinky fingernail!!!!! Finally we had peace and quiet everytime we use the hot water. God, when will we ever learn??

With life in our household getting back to our usual routine, I decided to finally get new dentures made. With loosing close to 40 pounds during that Thrush episode, my dentures were now too big for my gums!!! Go figure?? They are again giving me trouble but in a new way and frustrating way. I surmised if I paid all of that money to get a new set of teeth, I should at least get the perfect fitting pair. So I got up the nerve to book another appointment with my Dentist to tell him what I want. I’m willing to go through this whole rigmarole once more in order to finalize this whole matter and let me get back to enjoying meals again and not talking with a new found lisp!! This is where I’m going to do what my gut is telling me, so stay tuned.

Another update I also have to take care of is my eyes. My prescription glasses seem to be a little out-dated as I’m having a hard time using them and have to go back to using the cheaters I purchased.

I’m in an upbeat mood now and loving it. Despite the fact that the St. Catharines General Hospital cancelled the one medication that keeps me upbeat and helps me sleep, replaced it with another one without my knowledge, I’ve managed to keep my mood and thoughts in good places and believe it or not, am not even holding a grudge against my dentist who could have prevented my adventures from 2018 had he caught the Thrush in time. Trust me, I’m not bitter!!!

Hell Has No End

After arriving home from my first stay at the hospital for a day or two I was feeling a little better. I then had a follow-up with the Internist and as the Thrush was still very present he doubled the dose to speed up this whole process. He also explained where they would have to juggle with one anti-rejection drug that was conflicting with the Thrush medication. More pill juggling but hopefully not for long.

A few days after that appointment, I was still struggling to eat anything that even looked like food and as a consequence was just getting worse. I forced a few morsels down and it soon came to a shouting match with Nat repeatedly telling me to eat. He was totally out of his mind with worry and I, for some unforeseen reason, really had no feelings about the whole matter. My mind, body and spirit had given up. I didn’t give a damn. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted no one around me. I never gave one thought to my consequences despite everyone around me yelling and screaming. I was giving up.

The day finally arrived as I woke up one morning and told Nat I had to go to hospital. He totally agreed and we were off again.

We arrived at The General and was admitted without haste. They gave me a temporary bed in the C Ward on the first floor and was soon having blood work, blood pressure, etc.. done every hour on the hour. My left arm was now bruising up. More questions, more explanations and more answers. I was getting tired of repeating this whole process. Soon enough they had a bed for me on the third floor where I was permanently placed for the duration of my stay.

I was lucky in getting a single room where I could be left in somewhat peace and quiet, and the nurses and doctors could come and go in privacy and hopefully get me out of this bloody mess I had gotten myself into.

The medications (OMG, the medications!!!!) soon began to arrive at their off-scheduled times (according to my time table) and without hesitation the amount increased. The Thrush pills came, the appetite meds began and whatever else they could think of to get me to eat. At times there was so much medication my stomach was full of liquid and there were times I was feeling woozy.

During these long, quiet days it was nice for family to drop by for visits. Family is good. Family is unconditional love. But each family member has their own idea of how to get their sibling(s) better. I was under the impression that my doctors were there for that, but no, they were following doctor’s orders above and beyond their calling. I’m afraid I tore a strip off of one family member, but her nerve, strength, resolve and dogged determination are more than I’ve ever seen, nor want to see again. Truth be told, I was so glad to each sister when they dropped by. It was a relief from my misery and for an hour or two could forget what I was going through.

Dear hubby visited every morning, bringing anything I needed, from fresh T-Shirt to food or treat items. He was tired. Too much worry to sleep and I could see it in his face. His patience was waning and he could no longer think straight or function properly. It was now up to me to take my responsibility by the reigns and fight my own battle.

The physiotherapist and dieticians soon began popping in and out of my door. Dieticians seem to be another doggedly determined group that won’t let go of a bone (pardon the pun). No matter how many times I turned my nose up at something, they were right back at ya with more. This was a war I was not going to win, but I didn’t have the brains to admit it yet.

The days went by, the tests continued – ECG, EKG, chest X-ray, blood, blood and more blood. I could hear the sound of the footsteps and their supply carts as they were approaching my door. Then the food trays would arrive usually around 8:30, 11:30 and 4:30.

I would find the breakfast tray by my bedside at 8:30 just as I was beginning to wake up. It’s bad enough I don’t eat a breakfast at all, but let alone one just as I’m waking up – and then a hospital breakfast. Please spare me the agony. I was struggling at every turn with my dentures . The tops continued to stab away at my gums and would not remain in my mouth very long. I could never get them in a good position, the adhesive(s) were giving me trouble. I tried to make every attempt to put the dentures in every which way I could, as I wiggled and jiggled them in place. It was becoming fruitless and both Nat and I knew I would have to get back to my dentist without haste, as soon I could. Time was now of the essence.

After many discussions with the various dieticians, it was decided that in the beginning my food would be minced up – thus the constant dried-up scramble eggs with some sort of “rock-throwing” Scone sitting beside them. The usual white milk and juice accompanied the tray. After several days of nagging, cajoling, badgering and my dentures getting wiggled into a good position, I began to nibble away at the scrambled eggs and our good friend Cecil’s voice kept ringing in my ear – “you have to force yourself”, to which I did. Suddenly, one day I had managed to keep at least half in my stomach. However, I had to take a large drink afterward and lay back in bed to let my breakfast somehow settle.

Lunch time was just scary. My very first lunch tray consisted of Manicotti!!! Nat and I are light lunch people – usually just a sandwich and small treat for dessert. Manicotti is never on my lunch list and now I see why. Two large rolls of pasta stuffed with (I’m assuming) what looked like cottage cheese (double, triple ‘yuk’) and some sort of sauce on the side. Sorry, folks, I was not going anywhere with those. Besides, two more pieces of weaponry that could hurt someone. I refused.

Suppers were just as bad at times. Mince and gravy, minced chicken with mashed potatoes, Alaskan Halibut that was so hard it could spear another fish. Seriously?? Who cooks like this. These are people in a place of healing, a place of support and help to get people home in a healthier state than when they went in. Truthfully, the food ain’t going to do it. One day I got lucky and managed to eat some turkey breast for lunch and then some (actually tender) chicken. Most other nights the meals were a struggle to at least eat enough to prove that I was doing it.

When left alone, my days in bed were long, boring, and consistently made up of nodding in and out of sleep. With no meat left on the bones, my ass got sore fast, the bone getting numb as the hours wore on, my back getting stabbing pains just behind the shoulders due to extremely pour posture and then there was my hair!! My God, we won’t discuss the hair. I had just cancelled my hair appointment before my first trip to hospital and it was now well overdue for any help it could get.

A few days into my stay, a nice young nurse managed to get me into the shower and wash my hair by turning my wheelchair backwards. What a treat – just letting it dry naturally, I was still a happy camper.

The days began to pass, I slowly began to rise from the ashes and with the Physiotherapists working away at my legs, I began to get out of bed and walk. Albeit painfully slow, I did make progress. I seriously couldn’t lift a leg, let alone take a step. It was going to take me months to get any strength into my upper legs to able me to walk the walk. I will admit the mind had to fight the heart with every ounce of strength I had. Then, at last, after a few weeks, I managed to talk the Doc, the Dietician and the Physiotherapist to let me go home.

For the first couple of days at home things began to improve. Nat and I soon devised a routine and methods for me to get from one wheeled chair to another. With the help of a walker leant to us by Gail, my life really perked up. I was now able to sit and have Nat walk me to the bathroom. It also helped that a cammode was delivered to the house and there will be another “assisted living” assessment done tomorrow. Grab bars can be added in the bathroom, at my bedside or even a chair-lift recliner can be loaned to us for a month, which will prevent Nat from having to assist me in standing.

Now, after even more weeks and a lot of work, my legs have gained a little strength, I’m now able to walk using the walker, can almost stand on my own. It’s taken longer than I had ever anticipated, more work than I could have dreamed but now that I’m on my way, my determination has risen, and at least now I’m beginning to see the end of this whole horror story that’s been turning it’s pages since July 18th.