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Archive for January, 2013

Hi All,

Hope all is going well.  Things are going well here.

Jim has recovered from his incident last week and is doing very well.  He is going back to work tomorrow.  He does want to start driving (against my wishes but I can’t sit on him, I suppose) so he has a service taking him tomorrow, and we are going to go out again on Saturday to see how he does during and after the drive.  I googled “driving with an LVAD” and was surprised that a lot of people with LVADs are driving and had tips such as wearing some sort of information packet around your neck so if you are (God forbid!)  in an accident, the EMTs will know what to do.  People with LVADs do not have a pulse so we want to make sure no one is erroneously pronounced dead because a pulse couldn’t be found.  No chest compressions either…  Someone else suggested putting a pillow in front of the steering wheel in order to help absorb the airbag should it deploy in an accident.  Ugh!!  All things I don’t want to be thinking about, but like I said before I can’t sit on the guy…

He did assure me that:

1)  he would listen to his body before getting in a car;

2)  he wouldn’t be working every day;

3)  he would return home before it got dark and

4)  he would have me on the phone for his entire trip.

OK just joking (slightly) on #4.  🙂

Not long ago, I had put my foot down and insisted we hire a cleaning service to take care of the domestic housecleaning…  Things are crazy enough with working full-time; grocery shopping, meal-planning; paying bills, laundry – goodness the laundry!; doing daily dressing changes / infusions – even just having to take out the trash can seem overwhelming sometimes and oh by the way – I have to remind myself that I have chronic illnesses…  For the most part, I make it through a day unscathed, however, I can get fatigued if not careful…  Having said all of that…

It is still very important to have a clean house…

Thank you EcoClean!!!!  They have been with us for a while now and do a fantastic job each and every time!  Plus, they do not use any type of horrible chemical when cleaning your house…

Another way I’ve tried to simplify life — a Slow Cooker.  Thanks to my parents (DAD!! or Mom but blaming Dad – it’s hard to tell), I now have quite the library of slow-cooker cookbooks.  It does make life a a lot easier to not have to do much to prepare dinner (or clean up dinner J) when I get home from work…  I made Chicken Tortilla soup the other night.  It came out pretty good (although spicy!!).  Last night I made a Curry Beef Stew.  I was concerned because Curry can be very strong.  I remember a friend of mine telling me she had made veggie curry in her crockpot and when she got home the entire house, her closet of  clothes, her sofa, her curtains, her dog – everything smelled like Curry.

This recipe only called for 1-½ Tbls. of Curry so it wasn’t

CUUUURRRRYY!!  Whoa, where did that come from?

Anyways, the stew was delicious.  The recipe is a keeper…

Today, I am making a roast pork soup with ginger, soba noodles and bok choy.  I couldn’t find any soba noodles in the international aisle at Stop and Shop so Vermicelli it is!!  I haven’t tried it yet but Jim called and said it tasted really good.  Errr – thanks Hon, but that’s for dinner…

Note:  Do not put the Vermicelli in at the start.  Cook it separate and add it to the soup when you’re ready to serve.  Trust me on this J…  Jim had to add more broth because the noodles soaked them all up…  It also looked like I could have added about half the amount of Vermicelli…  Learning curve.  I definitely want to try it again though.

Next is a ground turkey 3-bean chili, but I might save that for Game Day – Go Pats!!

Gotta run but will write later.  Thanks for stopping by – appreciate it!

Lots of Love!!

Cheryl

PS:  I haven’t mentioned Kendall in a while so here is a picture of her playing with one of the new toys that Santa had brought her.

Kendall - Christmas Day

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Hi All – how are you all doing.  We are doing well here.  Apologies (again :)) for the lack of posts, but I have been on vacation since December 21st.  It was a great vacation – We enjoyed Christmas and New Year’s, rested (took naps) and just putzed around the house getting various things done.  My Dad took care of a lot of the stuff around the house – I helped a little bit – not much…) 

 I am happy to report that we now have curtains!! 

Also, for the first time since 2004, my laundry is all caught up!!

 Jim has been getting great reports during his LVAD clinic visits.  Life has been good.  Unfortunately, we were being lulled into a false sense of security – I was actually entertaining thoughts of somehow going to Quilt Camp this spring…  Jim had been doing 5, 10 or 15 minutes on the treadmill each day – depending on how he was feeling, and he was following a rather aggressive diet plan.  Then, this past Monday he got the go-ahead to drive…  If Jim could have done cart-wheels in the halls at Tufts, he would have.  I have to admit that I wasn’t happy with the idea of Jim driving.  I hated to pop his bubble of happiness and independence, but I asked him to really REALLY listen to his body and to not drive to work every day…  He humored me but did promise that he would “of course” listen to his body before hopping into a car… 

 On Saturday we did a drive to his work to see how he would be during and after the drive.  I have to admit (and I told him this) that I was concerned.  He was hugging the guard rail for some reason and twice the car alarm came on because he got too close to the car in front of him – in other words, he didn’t hit the brake fast enough.  I wasn’t happy…  We made it to and from and didn’t get in an accident but it wasn’t pretty…  Also, and this was weird, we had signed paperwork from Tufts about driving with an LVAD and it talked about how an LVAD alarm should it happen could be a big distraction to a driver, and I brought this up to make sure he understood that and would keep his cool if his LVAD alarmed.  Not even 5 minutes later, the LVAD lets off one beep.  The DC power cord must have loosened or something but the timing was weird and yes, it did distract him while he was trying to look at his LVAD.

 Yesterday (Sunday) we slept in late and we went to HomeGoods to go look at artwork for the house.  We have a gift card (thank you Kathy and Paula!!) and wanted to see what they had.  When we were done checking out the wall décor, Jim told me he needed something to eat like right now…  So we went home and made sandwiches.  I also started roasting two chickens so we would have something for dinner later in the week.  We had one of the chickens, carrots and some roasted potatoes for dinner.  His potassium was a little low (it gets checked twice a week) and potatoes are high in potassium.  We went to bed relatively early for us and around midnight Jim got up to go to the bathroom and came back jokingly saying don’t check him for a DUI – he was feeling very lightheaded and shaky on his feet and he wanted something to eat.  I talked him out of it because he was trying to lose weight.  He opted for a diet caffeine-free Coke instead.  I know you’re wondering why we seemingly poo-pooed this symptom, but you should also know that last Monday they doubled one of his blood pressure meds and said he might feel light-headed a bit.  We just thought it was the result of the higher dose…

Anyways, around 6:30 a.m. on Monday he awoke again to go to the bathroom.  I am awaken to the sound of Jim coughing and dry heaving rather loudly.  Concerned, I get up out of bed and look down the hall into the bathroom, and I see Jim clutching his stomach and starting to pass out.  The rest is in extreme slow motion…  I am now running down the hall screaming the entire way as I watch Jim falling, taking down the shower curtain and rod, his head hitting the tub and landing in a heap on the floor of the bathroom.  I am still screaming (I had no idea I could scream like that – it was so involuntary and was like I was hearing another person screaming) but Jim is not responding to me at all.  His eyes are wide open / looking at me but only the whites are showing.  Reminded me of a horror movie – scared me like you can’t believe…  I run back to the bedroom to grab the phone, call 911 and run back into the bathroom.  Again, this is all in slow motion.  I want to know why my screaming self didn’t think to grab the phone BEFORE running down the hall to the bathroom…  Jim has now gained consciousness at this point and literally while he’s lying on the floor with his head on the side of the tub is looking at me (with eyeballs this time) and says “I’m OK.”  I start a dialogue of questions.  He could feel and move his legs and arms, he knew his name, he knew where he was but the weird part was he just didn’t seem to care that he was lying on the bathroom floor, and he was perfectly fine to sleep there.  The ambulance was there in minutes but seemed like hours.  They asked him a series of questions, strapped him to a board and then brought him directly to Tufts Medical Center in Boston since that’s where he’s being seen.  While they were questioning Jim, my parents came in the house.  Jim and I live in a duplex style house and my parents live on the other side…  Apparently, they heard the “THUD” when Jim collapsed.  

They also heard my screaming… 

 I am someone who is proud of the fact that at work over the years my reviews have always stated that I can stay calm in any situation.  I handle whatever comes through the door with maturity, calm and professionalism.  It’s my job.  I remember a former boss giving me an example that even if the roof fell in we do not run around yelling Holy Crap – the roof fell in!!  We instead simply say – OK, the roof fell in, let’s fix it… 

I can still hear my screaming…  I need to get a grip… 

It’s about 10:30 p.m. now.  I’m home watching Ice Loves Coco.  It’s all I can handle right now.  It’s a very sweet show, and I just love their dogs.  I know that I should go to sleep now because I’m planning on going into work tomorrow, but I just can’t get myself up the stairs to go to bed.  I’m extremely on edge…  

 Jim is in the Cardiomyopathy Unit at Tufts.  He is much better now.  They did a CT scan because he hit his head and takes Coumadin (a blood thinner) and a brain bleed would just be really bad right now.  Thank goodness that came back fine. 

 They also interrogated his internal defibrillator and they determined it didn’t fire so that’s not the reason he passed out. 

 They are thinking he passed out because his potassium was too low and he might be dehydrated.  They gave him some IV potassium and some fluids and he feels much better.  They are keeping him overnight to monitor him and they want to interrogate his LVAD as well.  “Drink water”  is something that people with heart failure usually don’t hear very often.  It’s usually “watch your fluid intake.”  I am thinking that with his walking on the treadmill he might be sweating out more fluids than he’s taking in.  The LVAD is also good at keeping the fluids moving and we have to remember that – it’s very difficult trying to find the fluid balance…  

 This was a reminder.  A reminder that things can go wrong very quickly.  We were just starting to get into a comfortable routine.  We had a good run – 6 months…  Maybe this was God’s way of saying – no driving…  Imagine if this happened when he was behind the wheel!!  Ugh – I shudder to think…  Jim and I will need to discuss his driving – I just don’t think it’s a good idea…  Sorry Lovey!  We’ll talk when you get out of the hospital… 

 Signing off (it’s now midnight and I’m watching Jay Leno) but probably not going to bed…  Talk w/you later.

 Lots of Love to you all!! 

 Cheryl

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