Archive for August, 2012

Jim’s Home (Again…)

Hi All,

Jim’s home (again).  It’s good to have him home.  Hopefully, he’ll be home for awhile now.

Love, Cheryl  

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It’s been awhile since I mentioned Kendall so I thought I would share a story that Jim and I were laughing about earlier today. It’s really nice to see Jim laughing. In my opinion, it doesn’t happen enough nowadays. This story is from when Kendall was only a few months old. Funny, the Holy Terror part of her kittendom is starting to fade away… Gradually…

The story goes…

I went to my monthly quilting guild meeting with my good friend Bethany. The week prior I had gone with some friends to NH to meet Jennifer Chiaverini, a well known author that writes a series of novels known as the Elm Creek Quilt series. I had purchased one of Jennifer’s latest novels for myself and Bethany and gave Bethany her copy at the guild meeting. As we were leaving the meeting, she handed me a $20 bill for the cost of the book, and I just shoved the bill into my raincoat pocket. When I got home, I threw the coat on our dining room table and sat on the sofa to tell Jim about my meeting. I then called Mom and while we were talking, all of a sudden Kendall comes out of nowhere, jumps on Jim’s lap and spits out a $20 bill. You should have seen the look on Jim’s face – it was priceless!! He opens up the bill and exclaims “it’s a 20!! Where the hell did she get this?”. It dawned on me she got it from my coat pocket. He then started to tell her she was a good girl and to do it again!!

Kendall loves to play fetch and she will bring us everything and anything to throw such as (but not limited to) the twig from a broomstick, one of her toys, the twisty plastic thingy from a milk bottle, a Q-tip (her favorite) and apparently now $20 bills!!


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Hi All!

Remember I said Jim’s home?  Never mind!!  He’s back at Tufts…  We enjoyed a nice Saturday (well a very busy Saturday) together…  We got a 7:00 am call from the Walgreens visiting nurse to make sure I was OK with giving Jim’s IV antibiotic for his shingles. Then we got a call from the VNA to confirm when they were taking over and to clarify some confusion as to when they they were taking over and what they would be responsible for – that took a couple of phone calls to be straightened out.  Then Jordan’s furniture called to confirm the delivery of our dining room set.  Then Jordan’s called back to ask if they could come between 9:00 and 9:30 am. Whoo hoo.  Dining room set was delivered. It’s beautiful!!!!!!!  Anyways, back to our busy day, the VNA came by at 11:30 am to begin their admitting process. I went to the pharmacy to pick up his scripts and the visiting nurse from Walgreens came by at 4:30 or so and did a blood draw to check his INR numbers.

At 8:45 pm we get the call from Tufts. His INR came back way too low.  They thought it was a false reading and asked us to go to our local ER for another bloodtest. That unfortunately confirmed the first blood draw.

So it’s 11:30 pm and we are back at Tufts.  He’s in Cardiac ICU until a bed is available in the Cardiomyopathy unit.  Of course he needs a private room due to his shingles.  The poor guy cannot catch a break!  They think one of his meds might be causing the INR to plummet.  He is actually in good spirits – joking that at least he got to see the new furniture.  Gee, maybe next time he can stay long enough to enjoy a meal in the dining room!

The nurses were laughing because he put his hospital gown on over his shirt and jeans and it just looks like its so he can rip the gown off and bolt!  Joking aside I’m pleased that Tufts doesn’t take a passive attitude and really seems to be working hard to keep Jim safe.  Unfortunately, clots are a very very real issue – life with an LVAD…

Hopefully this stay won’t be a long one…

Lots of love!!  Cheryl

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Happy Birthday, Rob!! Keep the faith!!

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Jim’s home…

Hi all

Just a quick update. Jim is home.  We are waiting for the Walgreen’s nurse to come by to show us how to give Jim an IV as he needs to continue to get antibiotics every 12 hours.  Super…

Will write more later.

Love, Cheryl

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So because Jim is having a flare-up of shingles, I got tested for any antibodies for chickenpox and it came back negative.  Never had them.  The infectious disease doctor at Tufts found it rather humorous that I somehow survived 47 years without getting chickenpox!!  So I got the first of two shots today for the chickenpox virus. It took a little bit of discussion along with the blood test to assure the infectious disease doctor here in town that I NEVER had the chickenpox.  He was ready to give me the shingles vaccine.  Anyways I should have some antibodies in approximately 10 days.

Jim is doing well although anxious to come home. No word on when but the only issue now is the shingles. All cultures have come back negative so that’s good. The drainage at the driveline exit point is just drainage apparently.  His INR (sp?) is also heading in the right direction.  However there is no discussion as to when he might come home.

As soon as I hear anything I will let you guys know ASAP!!

We are getting a dining room set delivered on Saturday. He’ll probably get released then!!

Talk with you soon. Lots of love. Cheryl

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Hi All, Apologies for being so behind in giving you an update!  It’s been a bit crazy. I decided to take two weeks off for vacation when Jim got out of the hospital.  We did miraculously get the house finished six days before Jim was released from the hospital.  Huge shout out to my parents who are the ones responsible for making that happen!!

GOOD NEWS!!!  Jim was released from Kindred Hospital on Thursday.

BAD NEWS!!!  He was admitted back into Tufts today – Monday.

BAD NEWS!!  He has Shingles!  Potential issue is I’ve never had chicken pox…  Ugh!!

Here’s the poop.

I had been signed-off on doing sterile dressing changes and knowing the ins and outs of his LVAD. I wasn’t supposed to do a dressing change until Monday (today).  Needless to say when he had a bit of drainage I just wasn’t mentally prepared to do a dressing change on Saturday!  I did feel it was important though. There was enough drainage to worry me enough so I went ahead with it.  I took pictures. Want to see them??  If so, send me an email.

We sent the photos to Tufts and asked if there was anything to be concerned about. An email back said everything looked fine.  However, that same doctor called us on Sunday and said to come in first thing Monday morning.

What a long day!  We got there at 8:30 am and immediately went for bloodwork then back to the Clinic (which is where Jim’s appointments are) and we meet with the LVAD coordinator and the Infectious Disease doctor (who had a cold, by the way).  This was where they noticed a peculier “bubbling” at the top of his chest incision and decided to culture it.  They also take cultures at the driveline site and changed the dressing and deciding to err on the side of caution sent us down for Jim to get a CT scan.  That took approximately 90 minutes – mostly due to the prep.  During the wait for the CT scan the drainage at the driveline site came through the gauze and his shirt.

Before the CT scan, they told us to get something to eat. Now Jim decided he needs a wheelchair. No problem. I’ve never “driven” one of those before but seriously how difficult can it be?  Well…  We get into the elevator and I inadvertently let his feetsies hit the back of the elevator. No problem.  We go to the cafe on the first floor. They have a wheelchair ramp to get to the seating area. How nice!  Easy to go up the ramp.  A little scary going down the ramp. Especially while holding a bottle of water in one hand which made my hand wet and slippery. I nearly lost my grip trying to hold on and control the speed while going down the ramp and all of a sudden I have a visual of accidentally losing my grip, sending poor Jim CAREENING down the ramp!  I now start laughing uncontrollably – ever get like that?  I don’t know about you but laughing like that makes me weak and being a woman over 45 it also makes me want to do tinkle.  We are in the middle of the ramp in the cafe, and I have to stop to try to compose myself. [Translation – try to stop laughing and cross my legs so I don’t lose control of my bladder or the wheel chair!!]. Jim didn’t understand the humor (or the predicament).

So. This is where we stand after a very long day. The CT scan shows a layer of fluid under the skin but on top of the muscle in his belly and they don’t know what it is or where it came from.  His white blood cell count is elevated but he has no other sign of infection – thank goodness.  Unfortunately,  the bubbling is Shingles!!  BAD NEWS. I’ve never had chicken pox before.  I got tested this afternoon to see if I have any antibodies. UGH!!  Stay tuned…  Lastly, after a two-month stay in the hospital and only a three-day release, Jim has been re-admitted to Tufts.

Hopefully, this is but a small bump in the road which will make a heart transplant that much more of a blessing!!

Lots of love and I promise to be better with updates!!


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