Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekend at the Beach!

Ooo-rah! I mean... surf's up! Sorry, we were at Camp Pendleton/San Onofre for the weekend and with hubby being a retired Marine... well, you get the picture! That's our "rig" waiting for our campsite. What a wonderful weekend! Brought Duke home from the hospital on Tuesday, and I spent Thursday night – all night - as in we never went to bed – packing, and were on the road by a little after 4:00 am Friday morning. My packing fiasco was just a combination of goofy unforseen issues like trying to install a new battery in our truck that didn’t fit and that the cables didn't reach, and then missing bike rack parts, all of which required some “creativity” and literally took until midnight. Then I couldn't remember what was already in the trailer because it's not here at home. I can't get Duke in and out of the truck with the trailer in the driveway... AAARRRGGGHHH!!! Anyway, once we arrived, the weather was perfect, met lots of new sisters, hubby enjoyed every minute, and so did Lisa - except for her migraine - but what better place to recuperate? Cool breeze, sound of the surf... that'll cure anything! Duke parked himself in a Cabela’s lounge chair that I brought for him – just what the doctor ordered for keeping those feet elevated! (Run, don’t walk to Cabela’s website – they are still on sale for $49!) He got a death grip on that TV remote and he was good for the weekend. Let the pampering begin! Pretty much every time I'd return from somewhere, he'd announce, "Some woman came by to check on me and say hi!" Sisters take very good care of each other!!Next time I will not take my trailer. I set it all up, erected the E-Z-Up for shade, hooked up my cute patio light, unfolded enough patio furniture for a parking lot sale... and walked away. Never used any of it. Lisa, however, did sleep in the trailer both nights, so that was good! The handicapped cottage we rented in addition to the campsite, was in fact a two bedroom single-wide mobile home with ramp access and a HUGE bathroom - all of which worked very well for us. Nice deck out back with an ocean view! We WILL be making this trip again...

Lunch! Duke's very own wine charm...
Adorable Sisters on the Fly "Cupcake" Cake - everyone had blue tongues!!!

Lisa and I hit the MCX on the way out and stocked up some cool USMC doodads for Duke - he was beyond thrilled!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back to the Melodrama...

Oh, look! Another hospital story!! Let’s see…where’d I leave off on this series… oh yeah, March 10th with the pain management appt… so, on Monday night I was bandaging Duke’s foot and it looked WAY worse, as in red, infected, and downright scary. Tuesday morning Margo drove us over to Santa Barbara as I was a complete basket case with intermittent pounding heart and less than normal breathing issues. Duke's primary care doctor sent him packing across the street to the Cottage Hospital emergency room. They started IV’s to pump him full of antibiotics, and after about an hour or so, Duke, being the “fun” patient, asked the nurse “could I get a grilled cheese sandwich?” Huh? Who knew you could do that in the Emergency Room? Well, apparently you can, he did, and he got it! Finally got him into a room, Margo and I hit the road, and we were home by about 1:30 Wednesday morning. Lisa drove up that day and checked into a hotel, I still had to get myself recuperated and organized, and I headed back over on Thursday. I stopped by my favorite computer expert on the way through Bakersfield and he spent a couple hours getting my new netbook all properly set up. Very happy with it, one of my smarter purchases! So nice to be away from home and still in touch with everyone and everything, and not on a dinky little phone screen! Duke had offered to get me an iPhone and I declined ‘cause there’s just not a single thing I want to do on a screen that small.

Anyway, Duke was in non-stop vomiting mode Tuesday night and all day Wednesday, but they finally got that under control. Now he’s in leg spasm hell. Thought they were easing up, but they're every 12-15 seconds and they can't seem to get them under control. During the couple days I was there, they asked me, "has he tried Ativan? Baclofen? Celebrex? Cymbalta? Darvocet? Dilaudid? Flexeril? Lidocaine? Lyrica? Neurontin? OxyContin? Paxil? Ryzolt? Savella? Skelaxin? Valium? Zanaflex?" Sigh. Yes, yes, yes to all and no they didn't work, or not for very long. Hence, the referral to the epidural approach and possible subsequent implant, which we'll have to postpone until he's off the antibiotics. I should be bringing him home on Tuesday, if he can walk, which is scary, because right now he can't walk on that left foot, and the right leg is no sure thing either because of the new twice-dislocated hip which is missing LOTS of physical therapy appointments! Sure glad I bought that nice new wheelchair on eBay… and I still plan on dragging him down to Camp Pendleton for our “sisters and misters” camping trip. Have I mentioned that I need a vacation??? We have, in addition to the campsite, reserved a two-bedroom handicapped-equipped cottage right on the beach, so we should be MORE than good to go, right?? Don’t be surprised if you hear a Sig Alert about a crazy woman headed south on the I-5 hauling a beat up old travel trailer and gurney with some poor retired Marine duct taped to it… there’s a visual for you!

The high points of his stay besides the exceptional care are 1) that he somehow scored a very pretty, private, frou-frou “movie star” room with lovely hardwood floors, highly upgraded guest furniture, and a wall of glass complete with sliding doors out to a private balcony with, if you look between the trees, a view of the ocean. I told Margo that we should have brought a blender and some little paper cocktail umbrellas! And 2) all the visits from the therapy dogs!! So far he’s seen Diamond the Dalmatian (see her on Facebook!) BB King the Australian Shepherd, Buddy the German Shepherd, and a Sheltie whose name I did not get.

Lisa working on her needlepoint...

You can just barely see the ocean through the coastal fog... very low between the trees... honest, it's there!

Lisa and I did get out for a break on Friday – went down and walked along the beach, the pier, and then had Clam Chowder and Fish and Chips at Brophy’s.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One Week of Weather...

Since it was so warm, sunny, and gorgeous today, I thought you’d enjoy a picture of my big, sleek, shiny thoroughbred. Hey, where’d he go? And where’d this enormous, hairy, prehistoric horse-like creature come from?? What a mess. With all the rain and snow and this three-inch long winter coat, he’s a lost cause until the REAL spring arrives. I spent some quality time with my entire collection of brushes and managed to remove most of the mud and enough hair to make a couple of small yappy dogs!

And then there's this day! I can’t keep track. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next it’s snowing, raining, blowing… I give up! At least the house is a nice color now… oh look, a little travel trailer in the yard! Nope, I do NOT drive down that in the snow!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Saga Continues...

Well, this is what I was going to post at the very end of February – before everything took another left turn!

Well, I feel like I’m finally coming up for air. Hubby is doing really well - he’s done with physical therapy, down to a minimum of painkillers, and this week he washed dishes and spent a couple afternoons outside (yes, on his walker) installing new locksets on our front door and putting together the cart for his new welder that just arrived – a Millermatic 211 for anyone that’s interested! This welder does just about everything, hopefully replacing the stable of single-purpose welders he has. It will be nice to be able to repair aluminum window and door frames on these trailers!

I’m anxious to get working on our little trailer, but I’ve so much other stuff to catch up on that I’m not sure when that’s going to happen. On top of all the “routine” stuff that needs doing, I still need to paint our front, back, and garage doors, we have decorative frames to make and paint for the three attic vents, and we’re going to make those cool looking “storm window” summer shade screens for all the windows on the south side of the house, and sometime this summer I need to paint the shed to match the house.

Tuesday, March 2nd 9:30 am, Duke calls me at work to tell me that he dislocated his new hip. Again. Thank goodness 1) I work so close to home and 2) he actually had a phone on him! I raced for home while Margo called 911, and poor Duke, who was outside installing new locksets on our back doors, had to stand there on his "good leg" and his walker until the ambulance arrived. They loaded him up, and off we went to San Joaquin Hospital. Once there, they gave him the "Michael Jackson" special to knock him out. Sadly, the anesthesiologist says, "Hey, I remember you guys!" Well, isn't that just great. Heavy sigh. Duke was out maybe ten minutes – the doctor actually stood on the gurney to wrestle the hip back into place, and me with no camera! Darn! Anyway, we were home by 6:30 that night, with Duke terrified to leave his big ol’ chair in the living room. He did figure out that he may have tripped when starting to come in through the sliding glass door – it’s hard to tell since he has no feeling in his feet. Hopefully it was a trip, and we can maybe avoid a “three-fer” by him being more careful, if that’s possible.

Part of this was kind of amusing - the Fire Dept showed up to help load him, and we knew two of the three firemen - one was the guy that actually built our house back in '87, and the 3rd one (didn't know him), maybe wants to buy Duke's Unimog! I told him to stop by and see me at work later on and I’d make him a deal! It's not like Duke will ever be able to get in the darn thing again, and he’s ready for it to go to a new home where it will be used and appreciated. Anyone out there interested? Buy it now for $10K! Entire box is rebuilt with aluminum, new steel cab, new custom canvas door, and it comes with a additional BIGGER Mercedes engine... you know, more power and all that! EVERYONE needs one of these - you just never know when you'll need to chase down a bunch of military tanks! Uses plain ol' leaded gasoline, can go a whopping 55 mph fully loaded... so long as you're going downhill, mileage... not so great... 10 maybe??? But, you will be the envy of every off-roader on the planet! Can't even being to describe how fun it is - your buds are crawling along in their fancy 4x4's, easing over bumps and ruts, and you, in this, can literally floor it, sail past all of them and not feel a single bump thanks to the type suspension and articulation! Did I mention you can actually drive OVER a Hummer with one of these? And then there's that dinner-plated-size Mercedes emblam on the grill - always a head turner in the supermarket parking lot! Before, during and after pics:

On Sunday, March 7th, Duke was complaining that his left foot felt “stiff”. I looked down and it appeared that someone had placed a half of a grapefruit on top of his foot, inside the sock. I “assumed” it was general swelling which he has a lot of, peeled off the sock and nearly passed out cold. It was a blister. Three inches in diameter, one inch tall. I refuse to post a picture of it, as you will never visit my blog again after seeing. Not even going to discuss the management of it. On to March 10th.

On March 10th Duke had appointments in Santa Barbara with his neurologist, his pacemaker checkup/tuneup guy, and his orthopedist to update him on the latest dislocation. Pacemaker check went well; Duke’s heart just keeps getting better and better with each visit. Orthopedist placed him on a couple antibiotics for the foot thing, and another couple months of physical therapy, and made sure he knows that one more dislocation and he’s back on the operating table. Neurologist determined that all the issues with Duke’s legs (numbness, pain, spasms, swelling, different color and temperature every day) fall under “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” and referred him to a pain management specialist later the same afternoon. And so will begin the process of exploring various treatments possibly including the “placement of stimulating electrodes next to the spinal cord which provide a pleasant tingling sensation in the painful area and appears to help many patients with their pain.” Yikes. But you get to a point where you will try anything.

Other than that, I’m just trying to get caught up both at work and home – not like I think it’ll ever happen, but I do keep trying! Our weather has been tough to keep up with – one gorgeous warm sunny day, the next day a blizzard, then rain, then wind, back to sun. Tough to plan your outside chores! Here’s Miss Libby enjoying one of those sunny days – she’s planted herself in our dormant veggie garden!