Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Home, day 2 and it never felt so good.

But it didn't start off well, I slept down stairs, assuring Bruce I would be fine and I was until I crashed and burned into a kitchen chair and then into the base of the fireplace. You can't believe how quickly the weakness comes, I was on my way to the bathroom with my trusty walker and next thing I knew, I was on the floor with a bruised chest and nose. I left the carnage and crawled back to bed so Bruce was rather upset when he found it.

I spent the day cautiously motoring around the house, reading some of the piled up mail, trying to make sense of more bills, what is paid and what isn't, it gives me a headache. Blowing and sucking on my little breathing machine then coughing my head off, scaring Clyde into the next room. In his delicate condition, any loud noise sets him off, someday I'm afraid he is going to have a heart attack. He still tip toes around the walker, waiting for it to lurch at him and being scared all over again. Zoe is still being a little standoffish, she hasn't quite decided if I'd paid penance for abandoning her so long.

I'm happy to have my tablet loaded with good books and even a jigsaw puzzle to break up the day. I decided to sleep upstairs last night so Bruce solicitously helped me up and get ready for bed. Then I couldn't sleep, isn't that just the pits? But Zoe graced me with her presence, tucked in under the covers by my side, so I had to stay until I dozed off just before Bruce came up then woke at 11, wide awake. I sat up on the bed, ready to sneak downstairs and he came full on alert, had the light on and the walker ready. So I went to the bathroom and back to bed to lay for another hour. My second escape attempt was better, I'm so thankful for Bruce putting railings on the stairs and down to the basement, I hung on for dear life and was ready to plop my butt down on the stairs if I saw stars again. I fixed a cup of 'Sleepytime Tea' compliments of Jean and a piece of cinnamon toast and was going through more mail when I heard the creak of feet on the stairs and Bruce was there, checking on me. What a loving hubby! I'm sure he was just glad he didn't find me laid out on the floor.

After sleeping on the couch with Clyde and a Hallmark movie running, I finally went back upstairs only to sleep fitfully the rest of the night. Beth, Dr. Lunning's nurse extraordinaire, called yesterday and said I needed to get a blood test but I told her I just wasn't up to it so she let me go till today. Bruce woke at 6 and told me to stay in bed till he got back from chores so he could help me shower, who was I to disobey? Thanks to a loaner shower chair that went well and we got to Cherokee to find Carey, my guardian angel nurse, was assigned to me. We can't say enough about the care and compassion of this outstanding young woman. She was very concerned about my cough and the fact that I felt I was getting another UTI so she called over to the other side of the hospital to Dr. Vandelune to get the okay for more tests. I know I have Rhinovirus which is a step up from the common cold and as a virus, antibiotics do nothing to cure it. So I peed in a bottle again and warned them of the blue color, this stuff isn't leaving my system anytime soon and Carey wanted us to stay till all the tests were in clear me to go home, in case I needed some fluids. 

This is the way it is supposed to work, not call SC and not get any answers for hours, we are extremely grateful for all the loving care I have received. It took about an hour but we had a TV to watch (Hallmark!) and Carey brought us drinks, I'm supposed to be really pushing the fluids yet, I feel as though I will float away sometimes. Dr. Vandelune also told me to take some Musinix DM and Bruce had just bought when he first caught cold, how fortuitous! My potassium was a little low which could lead to weakness so we stopped at the store for bananas, the one food that I always associate with high potassium. No apparent UTI but the 'Blue' antidote has a history of irritating the bladder and they found glucose so told again to push the water. I was masked up and stayed in the car, then we stopped at Dollar General for some personal items and headed out of town. Halfway home, I reached in my pocket for the phone and it was gone! I wore stretch pants and was reclined in the chair at the clinic so just assumed that was where it was lost. But a call to the clinic brought negative results from the office gal. By this time we turned around and were headed back to Cherokee, so we turned around again toward home. Then I got the bright idea to call my phone, it took 4 times and then we heard Carey's voice, "Well, hello Bruce and Julie French!" Very welcome words indeed. Carey said a patient told her, "there is something ringing under this chair!" I was relieved they found it and said we would pick it up on Thursday when we are back. So if you are trying to call or text, give it up now!

I've been up more today than yesterday, finished with the mail and washed some dishes, our dishwasher is on the blink for a few days. I fixed meatloaf for dinner, had some frozen just for this reason and then collapsed on the couch.We are still blessed with people wanting to feed us but we are fine for now. Love to you all.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day 5 at NMC and the scenery hasn't changed

I never thought the events that would unfold when I came in for the 3 days of chemo, Bruce was here, waiting to take me home Thursday night when he noticed I wasn't myself. I was having a bad reaction to the Ice regime and was out of my head. When I was asked to open my eyes, I opened my mouth. When I was asked what year it was, 1969. When asked where I was, Cherokee and in the morning I ammended it to Marcus. The scary thing was I knew I was talking crazy but couldn't do anything about it. In the middle of the night they did a CAT scan to make sure it wasn't a bleeder and thankfully it wasn't.

Bruce was here all night with the PA coming in often, they started me on a blue antidote to remove the effects of the reaction, I thought it removed the chemo from my body and was bummed, thinking I had to go through this again. But that was not the case, just the side effects.

They had a terrible time getting me up to the bathroom, it took 3 people and they finally brought in a comode.  I remember  at one point Bruce telling me to sit back on the commode or I will make a mess, he's always there with the good advice. It's humbling when you realize someone else wiped your bottom! Bruce said at one point he thought I was nearly in a coma, totally unresponsive. By morning the cobwebs were clearing, I was getting a big syringe full of a beautiful blue every 4 hours so I was peeing a beautiful blue. One of the aides was rather taken back and said, "Do they know your urine is this color?" But I was able to answer a little more coherently although I still had to search for my words. Now I know how my brother, Denny, feels.

Late in the morning the doctor on call came in and ran me through my tests, he said it was very lucky that I wasn't home when this hit, this is why they do it in hospital. It is rare but can happen.He also said I avoided a lifeflight to Omaha, me who hates to fly but guess I would have been out of it anyway.

Bruce went home to do all the chores and came back to spend the night again, poor guy was running on empty because he hadn't got much sleep with people in and out all night. Rosanne met him in Smithland with a complete turkey dinner that we thoroughly enjoyed and Bruce got to of see the Iowa Hawkeyes pummel Nebraska. Then he crashed on his pull out bed at 7:30 and slept off and on, depending on the nightly interruptions, till 5:30 this morning. Then it was off to home again to do chores and catch up on his lost sleep.

I got no sleep Friday night, whenever I closed my eyes I saw pictures on a slideshow, letter writing, scenes from something I had seen, it was so wierd kind of like my brain couldn't rest. Besides that my cough started coming back and you know what it's like to try to sleep. By Sat morning I was so exhausted I felt sick and they started looking for something to help me. The best thing was this machine I had to blow and then suck into, I guess it expanded and exercised my lungs. They also gave me a codeine laced cough syrup along with some adavan that left me relaxed enough the sleep. 

I got better all day, still searched for words and that is frustrating. Thank heavens for my cell phone and texting, believe me, that is something coming from me but I would be up a creek without any communications were it not for the phone. Their wifi stinks, it only lets you on occasionally and then will kick you off with no advance notice. I know by the time I'm ready to send this I won't get on. It was a relief to get a decent nights sleep but eating is a struggle, I tried hot chocolate and cinnamon toast for breakfast and had carton of Yogurt while waiting for Bruce. He fixed me a  Thanksgiving dinner and that tasted is good in small amounts. Saturday night my niece, Nancy, hubby, Frank and kids, Vanessa and Joshua showed up unexpectedly with a care package from Sister Sara, more Thanksgiving. It was greatly appreciated, Nancy fixed me a small plate, Bruce doesn't get the word small! Nancy did but I had to send the rest back home with them because there was no more room in my little fridge. But I'm sure they will enjoy it.

This morning I asked for a shower and clean clothes and by the time it was over, I couldn't even dress myself. I made it to the bed and the aide helped me, I feel like a piece of limp spaghetti. When the doctor came in I told him I wanted to go home and he asked who would take care of me, Bruce would, that's who. Of course I haven't told Bruce yet!! But I know he's all in, we are in this together.

So we are now back home in our nest, both of us slept most of the evening away and I convinced Bruce to go to bed, it's obvious he is exhausted also. I ate a little supper and might go for some sherbet before bed. We made a stop at the old house and got a walker so I have some support, I feel like an old woman! As usual Zoe had to play hard to get but she finally settled down into my lap and slept, her Mama was back. Clyde staggered over, fell in my lap, laid awhile then went back to his end of the couch, his job was done.

I'm sitting here looking at the east window and its lightening! Bruce drove most the way to Omaha in rain and most of the way home, but it's better than snow.

The virus I have is contagious so people need to stay away and I will be holed up here at home trying to regaine my strength. But feel free to send all the prayers you have in your reportar. We love you all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 2, try, try again

After trying all day to no avail, I was finally able to access the guest network at Ne Med Center so making good use of it by updating. The chemo last night went well but the steroids keep me from sleeping well and I've been awake since 3:30 am with only a couple short naps. Luckily I found the Hallmark channel that was not on their TV guide and vegging out on Christmas shows, interspersed with reading the books I downloaded on the tablet.

It takes 13 laps around this ward to make a mile and they encourage you to get out and walk. I can only make a couple laps before huffing and puffing so I go out more often and think I put in my mile today. I'm still swilling down my 64+ oz of water everyday, it washes out the dead dragons from my kidneys and hopefully will prevent a repeat performance of dehydration. Dr. Lunning did some adjustments on the dosages to help with that also.

Food is still a struggle, I have a refrigerator in my room and a microwave down the hall, they encourage you to bring food from home that you like. Last week I brought a container of Rosanne's chicken and noodles but I felt like I was jinxing myself so left them home this time. What a mistake, they have a great sounding menu but it never tastes as good as I think it will. The dietition was in today to see how things are going and she encouraged me to keep trying, to lose an significant amount of weight now, even though it wouldn't hurt me, could set things back. And I don't want that!

I'm looking forward to Bruce coming tomorrow and spending the day, I even promised him the TV to watch Vikings as long as he did some recording at home for me, guess? Yes, Hallmark. Rosanne said she will send leftovers from dinner home with us when we come through Smithland and you know it always tastes better the second day, but it will be a late night. I'm on my last of three chemo drugs and this one goes for 24 hours so wherever I go, my pole goes with me, even for walks.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, enjoy and appreciate your friends and families tomorrow, they are precious as you are to me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hot Damn and Hallelujah!!!

I'm comfortably ensconsed in room 7482 at the Neb. Med Center, eagerly awaiting my first dose of chemo. If that sounds crazy, you don't know the roller coaster I've been on for the last few months. I was supposed to be here last week but elevated liver functions lead to an ultrasound that showed suspicious lesions on my liver. The ones that were supposed to be gone after the last round. So another PET scan was set up for today, a week of thinking of the 'what ifs.'

The dragons in my body are constantly on my mind, having a cold and not feeling well anyway didn't help. The PET scan is a 2 hour ordeal and then the wait for Dr. Lunning to see the results. Janet came with us today and it was appreciated. She not only has family home but they are celebrating their Thanksgiving tomorrow so it was extra special to have her along.

I just had the feeling when I saw Dr. Lunning come in the room, he didn't bounce in with a big smile and shout "Good News!" But he said it was good, the PET scan showed what was on the ultrasound was dead and dying tissue on my liver so it was onward and upward with the chemo to keep the bastards on the run! I never thought I'd be so happy to be in the hospital, his nurse, Beth and Stacy, the transplant nurse case manager already have the schedule set up for transplant, they are that sure it will happen. The 20th of Dec I will begin the pre-transplant stuff so be home for Christmas.

It all feels rather sureal, after all the road blocks it seems as though we are finally on the right track. I sent Janet and Bruce on their way so they could get out of town before it got very dark, this city driving is not for sissies. Besides I'm in good hands here, I only have one complaint, they don't have Hallmark on their TV! How can that be?? That is unamerican!!

Thank you all for your prayers, just when I was ready to throw in the towel, they have been answered abundently. 

Oh, me of little faith....

Monday, November 21, 2016

The first snow

We have had wonderful fall weather, still in the 70's and gazebo time, much to Zoe's delight. Then last Friday blew in with wind, rain, snow and plunging temps.

When the snow blows and the temps plunge, a fire in the kitchen can't be far behind. And, no, my kitchen is not this clean, I lifted a couple of pictures off my blog because I've been down with a bad cold.

With a fire going, bread baking can't be far behind, we were out and I didn't feel like going to town so got out my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer and turned to Pinterest. I tried a honey, wheat, oatmeal bread on Saturday but it wasn't very good, never fear, we like meat loaf and meat balls so I simply ground it into bread crumbs for another day.

Sunday I turned to my favorite, buttermilk, honey white bread, it never fails. It made two normal sized loaves and a bit left over so I made it into cinnamon bread. YUM, YUM!

The house was toasty warm and smelled heavenly and I needed someone to enjoy it with me so texted, yes, I'm texting, Kim "What ya doing? I know it's cold but the fire is going and I just pulled fresh bread out of the oven?" 

I just stepped out the back door to shut up the chickens when I heard a 'ping' - "I'll be right over!"

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I don't even know what to call it any more, a bump in the road, a detour, one of those damned roundabouts but again we were stopped from proceeding full steam ahead at the doctor appointment yesterday. It was to be my 2nd round of ICE chemo, leading to the stem cell transplant but Dr. Lunning wanted me to have an ultrasound first on the liver to see what was going on. Nothing, that is what was going on, the lesions had no significant change and that did not bode well. Something else that didn't bode well was when Dr. Lunning came in the room and started beating around the bush, he can't just come out and say, "GOOD NEWS! WE ARE WEARING THE BASTARDS DOWN!!"

He explained that this ICE treatment was good for 28 days, yesterday was day 21 so it still had another week to work. But because he is such a conscientious doctor, he couldn't and wouldn't send me through it again without knowing exactly what the dragons are doing. So the next plan is for a PET scan next Tuesday, depending on the results, I will go into the hospital for the ICE chemo, if it isn't good I will get a chemo on outpatient and come back home that night. Dr. Lunning keeps telling me he is working toward a transplant but when he started talking about clinical trials, cold chills ran up my back, that seems like a last resort.

After braving the rat race and seeing a traffic stop on Interstate 29 on the way home, found out it was a guy who tried to entice a young girl into his car in Onawa, BUSTED! we called both Rosanne and Sam and Larry Waugh to see if they would meet us in Sloan for Pizza. Everyone but Larry made is since he just got home from trucking. It was good to see them and not have to think about things for a bit.

Then we wound our way home across country, it probably took longer that if we'd gone straight to SC but it was kind of fun. Bruce has had a bad cold and I woke up with it myself this morning, great. This is supposed to be our last nice day so in between bouts of lying comatose on the couch with Clyde, I get up and do a few things outside. Luckily I did most of them earlier in the week.

I know I have all of you in my corner, pray that I'm in the hospital over Thanksgiving, that would be the best scenario.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Working cattle on a balmy November day....

.....and we don't get to say that very often! Bruce has been hard at work doing odd jobs with the cattle working lurking in the back of his mind. He finally bit the bullet and scheduled it last week for this morning, not knowing what the weather might bring. But Mother Nature looked down on us with kindness, it was a chilly morning but sunny and less windy.

Bruce has been baiting the cows, who are running out on stalks and pretty wary about being shut in, with corn and dried distillers grain, a highly nutritious by product from our local ethanol plant. It is a tasty combination that the cows can't resist and they paid the price yesterday morning when Bruce slammed the gates shut behind them.

He was off and running early this morning to get the calves in the barn, the cows up in the pen by the barn and the runway to the chute that the vets would bring, set up. My job yesterday was to make rolls and I turned to Pinterest. The guys love my caramel pecan rolls but I've been wanting to try the raspberry rolls so made a double batch, Oh, my, come to Mama!

Raspberry with cream cheese frosting.

The old favorite, caramel pecan.

Dr. Lisa, running the show, pouring for parasites, shots for health.

Bruce, very happy that things are going smoothly,

Jade, Dr. Lisa's right hand woman, deftly manning the hydraulic chute, last spring a big cow got stuck in the manual chute and it took 45 minutes to get her out. Since a lot of our cows are big, Bruce wasn't going to risk that again.

Roger, one of the invaluable wranglers...

....and Freddy Boy.

The most important job they have, besides guiding the reluctant bovines through the alley way so Bruce can convince them to go into the chute, is to check the barn for any wayward calves. One year a little one bedded down in a dark corner and was over looked. This group looked like it was eager to leave.

They worked the cows first, then drove them back to the dry lot so they could go to the field and they wasted no time. This little girl is the last baby born so she is still with her mother and what a live wire. I don't think the cows quit running until they reached the far end of the field.

A hard working crew deserves a break, rolls and pop, they didn't seem to mind eating in the shop.

We couldn't ask for better help and Bruce says with the cattle worked, it is the official end of fall!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

My thoughts on the election

The election is over, thank heavens, and little did Bruce and I know the day we rode on the Trump bus at the Marcus Fair, how far he would go.

We didn't start out supporting him, like others, we thought he was just a flash in the pan. Dr. Ben Carson was our man and I hope some day we see him in the White House, such a good, honest, christian man. But as the field winnowed down and Trump was left standing, we threw our support to him. We were both so dismayed by the antics of the Clinton's, they feel they are above the law and have managed to get away with so much for so long. Also the entitled feeling that this was her time, she deserved it. Really, that is how you pick a candidate?

It was such a brutal, nasty, long campaign that stretched everyone's nerves, I quit watching national news, stuck to my Hallmark and muted any commercials that weaseled their way in. More and more I sought the solitude of my gazebo with Zoe and my tablet loaded with easy reading books. I avoided any political conversations with friends, it was just upsetting. We are in the 60+ % who were troubled with the direction this country was taking. We felt like Obama thought he was King rather than president, what he couldn't get through in the lawful process, he dictated with his 'pen and phone.' 

We've been looked down on by the elites on the East and West coats as being 'fly over country', that we were told we had no voice. As everyone knows, most of the pundits gave Trump no chance of winning. But as we, and others, drove around the country, what we saw were Trump signs, every where, and hardly any for Clinton, was that the first clue that something was brewing?

It was a stunning turn of events Tues night, early Wed morning when Trump came out the winner with votes still being tallied. When I saw the map on Fox News that had more red than the Verizon cell phone map, I was in awe.

There really was a silent majority and they stood up and shouted. But there is another theory by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, who I have great respect for, the God Factor. Hundreds of thousands of Christians across the country have been praying to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking over the country.

We love the fact that Trump is an outsider, never a politician and owes no one.

We love the fact that Trump is a business man, yes, he has been shown to be rude and crude but the alternative was unpalatable and proven to be downright dishonest. 

We are confident that he will surround himself with smart people, no one person can run this country, and will listen to them.

I think it's hilarious that Trump is downsizing, moving into the White House, it's smaller than his digs in Trump Tower.

I realize that there are a lot of people who vigorously disagree with everything I've said and I respect that so please keep any comments respectful. We are disgusted and appalled with the demonstrations that are destroying property belonging to innocent people because of the hired thugs. Compare this to 2008 and the Tea Party - no wait, there is no comparison because there was no rioting and destruction of property, we all went back to our lives and accepted the results.

Our wish for this country is that the vitriol will end, people will stop and think before tweeting out or posting vicious words. We are all adults here, aren't we? The internet has contributed to the rudeness of American's you can spew out anything and very few ever take responsibility for their actions. 

The gridlock has to end in D.C., they seem to forget why they are there, that we sent them and they work for us. They should each be required to read the Robert Fulcrum book "All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." If you haven't read it, please consider it. Wouldn't it be a movement to send a send a copy to your Senator or Representative, would they get the message?

We have a long way to go in this country, over the last 8 years the division has grown so much, I just hope Trump takes this opportunity and doesn't blow it.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Odds and Ends

It's Friday, Veteran's Day, did you thank a vet today? It's a beautiful sunny day and I'm feeling much, much better, no more close encounters with the floor. Still eating small amounts and drinking copious amounts of water, I was ordered to drink at least 64 oz a day so that kept me tied pretty close to the 'loo', as Gary Puckett put it one summer when he played at the Cherokee Co Fair. He said he had to drink a gallon of water a day to keep his vocal cords lubricated. I've always drank a lot of water but not that caliber and, at first it was hard but now I find my body has adjusted to it and I think I'm going over. The water is to protect my kidneys from the dead dragons that the chemo is slaying.

So I thought I'd just go back through the last few weeks and catch you up to speed. I was doing laundry one day and went upstairs to strip the bed but found Clyde comfortably ensconced in the comforter.

Now be honest, could you look in those eyes and boot him off the bed? I couldn't either and he stayed up there most of the day so the sheets waited for another day to be washed.

Bruce loves his new load out from the drying bin, it cut 2 hours off the time he spent unloading and that is big in a farmer's day.

He's checking the moisture of the corn that is coming out to make sure it's not too wet. If it goes to the ethanol plant he gets a dock and if it is being transferred into another bin, it won't keep.

He still loves his new combine and is all done with the crops.....

....even 200+ round bales are lined up neatly for winter feed and bedding.

The anhydrous ammonia is on all the fields, thanks to some good help from Ryan at the Coop for hauling tanks this year.

And friends Opal, Alex and Becky are keeping us well fed.

This is Becky with too many Red Bulls in her system but she means well.

I might add that since it is Veteran's Day, don't bother to go to the mailbox, don't ask me how I know.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

It's a roller coaster out there and not the fun kind....

....as if I would ever think a roller coaster would be fun!

I've found that I can hole up in the house or gazebo, wrapped in quilts but I can't hide, when I had a phone call from a friend wondering how things are going. It's not a easy ride, such a roller coaster from one day to the next. Yesterday I woke up with a nose bleed that freaked me out, but after a call to the specialty clinic, found my platelets were down and that was to be expected. By then, the bleeding had stopped and I was calmer. Things did go down hill though, literally, when I was in the chicken house and next thing I knew, I was laying on my back after getting light headed. But the good news was, I did not break my camera, slung around my neck, my new cell phone that fell out of my pocket or the egg I was holding. 

My back, side and butt wear the imprints of the bucket I hit but other than that, I think I'm fine. So I'm sticking close to the house and walking very carefully. Thanks for all your concern.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Enough about me, it's time to get the bees ready for winter

I knew my time was running out to get the bees winterized before I would be in Omaha for the long haul so took advantage of a beautiful Monday 2 weeks ago. I plugged up the two extra entrance holes, and stapled hardware cloth over the remaining one. That really ticked them off even though I tried to explain that would keep the mice from moving in.

There is no reasoning with bees.

The next step is 'diapering' the bottom and stapling tar paper around any cracks to stop the wind. Not the prettiest job but it will help keep them warm in the winter. (I thank Bonger for all the tar paper!)

I was just amazed at all the pollen the bees were bringing in, the most I've seen in a long time, I don't know where they are finding it but you can see why the worker bees just work themselves to death. They range out miles, fill their little saddle bags with pollen and then back to the hive. I asked a lady who was selling little bottles of bee pollen how they collect it. She said they have a pollen trap, a small screen that the bees legs go through, stripping the pollen out of their saddlebags before going into the hive.

Wouldn't that be a revolting development? Can you imagine working that hard and having the fruits of your labor so rudely taken away?

"What the hey? I had it just a minute ago!"

I made two trays of sugar bricks for the bees to feed on through the winter, it took 20 cups of sugar mixed with 1 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar until thoroughly moistened. A paint stirrer on the  electric drill makes this an easy job, then I spread it in two wax paper lined jelly roll pans, pressed and rolled it until packed and baked it in the lowest oven temp for several hours. Basically just drying it out. I cracked the top bars and flipped this tray over. They will come up through the cracks for food, it worked well last year and I'm hopeful for a successful wintering of both hives this year.

I put a 2" piece of Styrofoam in the bottom of the peaked roof and the only thing left is to surround both hives with straw bales. That has to be later or every mouse and shrew around would be taking up residence. I will wait till it's cold to encourage them to find a home underground. Last year I did have a possum that thought that would be a lovely home, he made a mess under the hive and tore off a bunch of the tar paper. The dogs none to gently escorted him out of his winter home.

Life is tough out in the world.

Elizabeth called me yesterday afternoon and said if I wanted to know where my bees were getting their pollen, it was at her house. She was out in her garden and found the broccoli plants were blooming again and they were covered with bees. Of course it's really hard to say they are my bees but it's possible, they range out around 5 miles. I wish I could outfit them with little radio collars and track them. I do have to wonder how some people can call their honey 'certified organic' unless they have entire acres netted to keep the bees at home and I really doubt it. But, hey, if you can get people to believe you, all the better.

So that takes me back to broccoli honey, YUM! YUM! Ya think??

Later today: I stopped at the bees on the way back from helping Bruce get the electric fence down at the pond. I had garbage bags with shredded paper to put in each end for insulation, no bee gear, it would be fine.


They ran my butt out of there so fast, a couple got in licks under my chin, I did see that they are mowing through their sugar brick so it's a good thing I have two more bags of sugar in the pantry. But they are also still bringing in pollen.

And next time I go armed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My 2016 stay at the Cherokee Hilton, the entire sordid tale.....

....intrigue, deception, worthy of a best seller, well, perhaps not, I might be exaggerating just a scoosch. As I said before, Saturday went pretty well, I was out and about with Bruce, Sunday morning was a harbinger of bad news, I should have been prepared of what was to come. I spent the entire day cocooned in the prayer quilt and dozing. The sh crap hit the fan on Monday morning, Bruce was gone with chores and we had an appointment at the Specialty Clinic in Cherokee for blood tests and wellness check, which I failed miserably. While waiting for Bruce to come in I was trying to eat and drink and suddenly was so light headed I couldn't control my muscles and first staggered around and fell over the lap top stand, nearly knocking it to the ground. I headed for the bathroom and never made it, the next thing I knew I was on the living room floor and it felt so good I just laid there. Bruce came in a little early and I was like the old lady on the commercial, "Bruce, I've fallen and can't get up." 

Of course he felt terrible for not coming in sooner and managed to drag me upstairs to the shower, I was so weak I could hardy wash myself but anything was better than nothing. Bruce patted me dry, dressed me and dragged me back downstairs and into the car. It was so weird, in the bathroom even my vision was wonky, it looked like the room was full of bubbles. The Specialty Clinic rallied the troops when I showed up looking like something the cat dragged in, Carey put me in a wheelchair, bypassing the scale and straight into a room. She knew I needed fluids but couldn't do anything until the blood test was in and a Dr. read it so we went home.

And waited, and waited, and waited.....

Dr. Lunning was calling the shots from Omaha to Dr. Rao's office in Sioux City, Stacy called about 1:30 to see how things were going and it was apparent things were going steadily downhill. She said to give Dr. Rao's office another hour and then call, they should have the fluids on order. When the call came, finally, it was a nurse from the office telling Bruce to take me to the emergency room and that is not what we wanted to hear. We had a similar experience in 2014 where we spent hours for things to happen in the emergency room. Dr. Harrison, my former MD, who now just fields emergency room calls, was on duty and she arrived soon after we got there but everything moved with the speed of a sloth, who was tired and had a sore foot. They didn't get an IV bag hung till 5:00, I'm so sorry, Alex, you told me that Gatorade was a cheap IV, I tried, I really tried but when nothing tastes good, it's so hard.

They kept popping in from the party that was going on at the desk, it sounded like it anyway, they were yukking it up and promising me that "they would get me upstairs and comfortable soon." At
5:30 I insisted Bruce go home, he had chores to do and it was obvious I wasn't going anywhere fast. I finally go to my room at 7:98, I know because Bruce called and I looked at the time, I was in a rather surly mood by then and none too nice to the nurse who kept asking me interminable questions, the very same questions I'd just spent answering Dr. Harrison. Thank you Obamacare, nurses can't do what they do best, they have to follow a strict guideline of Government mandates. I said to the nurse, "now I now you have that information on your computer that you accessed from my admitting  record," she said, "Yes, but I still have to ask you." Then she pulled out a scale, I said, "I was just weighed this morning at the Specialty clinic," and got the same automatic response, "Yes but they make me do it again anyway." Like I was going to gain or lose an ounce or two was the least of my problems then. One of the questions was, "Do you have an Advance Directive?"
 "Do you want to be resuscitated in case of an 'event?'  
"(DUH!) Yes, do you think I've gone this far to just throw in the towel?"
That would have kind of defeated all the crap I've been going through."
Dr. Harrison asked who I wanted to see on the floor as our PA, Brenda, doesn't do that, I chose Dr. Vandelune and that changed things for the better. Dr. Vandelune and Dr. Lunning look like they could be brothers from a different mother and he is just as caring as Dr. Lunning. I know he wears cowboy boots and heard him coming down the hall later on Monday morning before he knocked on the door wearing jeans and a shirt, come to find out it wasn't his day to work but was willing to come in to see me. He listened to our tale of woe, suitably outraged at the long wait in the ER. Dr. Vandelune found I had a U.T.I so started antibiotics along with the all bags of fluid that had been running into my port. He also wasn't very happy with the response we got from Dr. Rao's office but did say that you can't just go by lab reports, you should have a face to face visit with the patient. It made sense but I still felt let down by her office.

Carey came to see me around noon, she said she'd been calling the house since the day before, getting no answer and knew something was wrong. She ended up calling Bruce on the cell and found out I was incarcerated. Carey agreed with us, I needed a doctor right there in the hospital for something like this, she never did get a reply back from Dr. Rao's office either and she thought Dr. Vandelune would be glad to do it. The Specialty Clinic works with all the Dr's, and Dr. Lunning is running the show from Omaha. I know he wanted to keep Dr. Rao in the loop but it did me no good to have her in SC when I desperately needed a doctor here and now. 

I spent another night, trying to eat and drink, it's such a struggle, napping from the exertion, reading my tablet, watching Hallmark Christmas shows and trying to be the model patient to make up for my surly mood on Monday night, thanking them for each little kindness. I also made a shocking discovery, I spent all summer being hairless, not having to shave my legs was a bonus. After my last chemo in August, it wasn't long before the hair started to regrow, it was so light I couldn't see it but if I was out in the wind, wearing shorts, I could feel the hair rippling in the breeze. A really weird feeling. But I digress, as Jeannie would say, I was lying in bed looking at my bare legs when suddenly I thought Sasquatch was lying there, I couldn't believe it, when did THAT happen and why didn't I notice? I was appalled and disgusted but much too weary to even consider shaving the hair away. Besides, with all the stuff I've been given, it will soon fall out on it's own.

Another observation I made was, when did I inherit my brother, Tom's toes? Tom has the longest toes I've ever seen and that was what was looking back at me from the foot of the bed. Or maybe it was the drugs.

This morning Dr. Vandelune was the yuppie doctor in a suit, he asked if I was ready to go home and I was so ordered another IV antibiotic and some pills to take at home to rid myself of the UTI. I asked him if he would be willing to be my go-to MD here and he was happy to do it. He'd been to the Specialty Clinic and got the entire story and felt I was making a wise decision and we shook on it, I refrained from spitting on my hand as that might have grossed him out. Carey stopped in and told me to  call Dr. Rao's office and Stacy in Omaha and inform them of my decision and it is my decision. I don't want to, no I won't go through this again.

The discharge papers we printed in record time and the line pulled from my port, I was dressed and ready to go when Bruce got there. We picked up my script from Main Street Pharmacy and got home about 11, Bruce decided to eat then and go back to the field. Poor guy has to scrounge, I have a good supply of Rosanne's chicken and noodles that keep me going, and a fridge full of Gatorade, I'm really trying, Alex! I decided while he was eating his hotdogs, and he informed me he only ate 2, not 3 as I'd reported in an email, to make my calls. I couldn't get through to Dr. Rao's office, what a surprise and left a rather emphatic message to please call me back ASAP. I was looking for Stacy's number when the phone rang and it was a nurse from June Nylen where Dr. Rao has her office. I explained everything to her from the start and learned that they never did get hold of Dr. Rao on Monday, she was in one of the hosptials and unable to contact her. So they had another Dr. in the practice, whom I've never met, made the decisions that Dr. Rao should have been on top of. 

When I was going to Storm Lake, I never knew who I would see in their practice but I was also doing all my chemo down there. It's totally different now. Dr. Lunning is making decisions and expecting Dr. Rao to follow through from here and it didn't happen. If I could have had a Dr. in Cherokee, I would have been seen right there at the Specialty Clinic and got the fluids started, I don't think I would have spent 3 days there. Even if Bruce had to take me back on Tuesday, I would have been better off. There are just too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak and that was ending. I told the nurse I didn't want to burn my bridges with Dr. Rao, who knows if I need her in the future but right now she is not meeting my needs.

And it's ALL about me and I'll be the first to say it.

I have a great doctor 11 miles away and I feel good about it. My second call was to Stacy, got her on the second ring and explained it to her and she will relay it all to Dr. Lunning. I can't imagine he will disagree with me but this might be our first argument, after all, in another two weeks I'll be back down in Omaha for a marathon chemo session and I want to be more prepared for the after effects.

I called Carey and thanked her over and over for her compassion and professionalism, she is an outstanding example of a nurse putting her patients first. I thanked her parents, (Delmer and Cindy), they brought their kids up to be such great adults. I've always loved Monica who works there, the two of them make a formidable tag team and I know I'm in great hands. After all that, I had a small helping of chicken and noodles, took my water and a bottle of Gatorade, my book and Zoe to the gazebo and sank gratefully onto my nest out there. After several days of damp, foggy weather, the sun came out and we spent all afternoon there with time out for a nap.

I'm feeling 100% better than I did on Monday and even cleaned off the table and counter, put things away that Bruce didn't know where they went, filled and ran the dishwasher and paid a bill. I'm looking forward to things getting back to normal, we have another appointment tomorrow for a blood test and I have no doubt the results will be good. 

And just to keep life interesting, Zoe ran through the living room with a mouse clamped in her jaws, heading for the upstairs bathroom! Bruce looked at me and I looked back at him, hey, mouse dispatching is the man's domain. He reluctantly left the World Series, after putting the DVR on hold, grabbed a boot and headed up. The mouse will not make it home to his family tonight. I'm extra grateful I did.