Jessica goes vacationing

Jessica is our bright blue Subaru Crosstrek

Sunday, Jan 5

We last left you with Sunday, Jan 5’s medical report on Nancy: (bottom line) Because I had very high blood pressure that morning, I went to Urgent Care, a new street-side facility, to be evaluated for a viral infection. I knew that a virus could cause higher blood pressures. I knew a local nursing home had one wing closed down for Norovirus infection. The local Urgent Care in EBRG is not associated with the local

KVH hospital. I only found that out, on the visit there. They gave me a “flu” test (swabs of my nose), which ruled out my having the flu. We have had our flu shots. The diagnosis was definitely bronchitis, and they had the facility to do chest X-rays. I looked at the X-rays with the technician and only saw a normal looking chest X-ray for me. I’ve seen many of mine in the past, because I always request a CD from the hospital with the X-rays. I’ve seen it when I had pneumonia and when I did not. The medical professional examining me was an ARNP (Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner). She was very thorough.

She reviewed the X-ray and reported there was a questionable image in the lower right lobe. And I told her, I am aware of that, and it is always there, as scar tissue from previous infections. I previously have had pneumonia and I knew I did not feel the same way at all. She said she didn’t have access to a previous X-ray to compare this to, and without it, “Pneumonia cannot be ruled out.” Because they are not part of the KVH system, she cannot access my previous medical records in any way (all my X-rays are in the Kittitas Valley Healthcare). So, as a precaution she put me on two medications for Pneumonia: Augmentin (Amoxicillin [875 mg] & Clavulanic acid [125 mg]), and Doxycycline Monohydrate 100 mg.

Before I left Urgent Care, I requested a CD with my two chest X-rays on it, to compare with my previous ones in the system in Cle Elum (which is part of the KVH network). I get all my lab blood tests drawn at the hospital in Ellensburg. Good reason for not going to the Urgent Care in Ellensburg. The Urgent Care in Cle Elum would have been the one to go to because they would have access to previous records (chest X-rays with and without pneumonia). Live and learn.
[I also use a battery powered wrist cuff for BP, and that might be an issue, so I planned to take it with me tomorrow to the PCP’s office to compare with the results of their cuff.]

Monday, Jan 6

John got up before me but I slept in until just after 8:30 a.m., and called Cle Elum for an appointment. My PCP was not in the office today. I requested Andy Thomas who is the only MD on the staff and in charge of all the PA-Cs and ARNPs. My normal PCP is a PA-C (physician assistant-certified). We have not seen Dr. Thomas prior to this (and John is not along, because he was in the dentist have a crown seated). I drove myself to the clinic.
I took my med not requiring food this morning, at 6:30 a.m., next one is due 5 hrs. later with food. (Taking those medications was cancelled at today’s doctor visit). I no longer need them after today’s diagnosis.

I went to Cle Elum for a 10:30 appt. After the normal interview with the nurse as to why I was there, she took my vitals, and I asked to check my wrist BP monitor to see how it compared. As expected it was different (and higher) by 21 “points”. This discrepancy is noted on many sites on the web. I spent 2 hours there, and came out with good news that reversed the need received and the recommended medications bought at Fred Meyer pharmacy after being started yesterday at the Urgent Care facility in Ellensburg.

I had two new chest X-rays and a thorough examination of my lungs. Plus, he looked back at a good one of my chest X-rays, and found it looked the same as today’s. His decision was I do not have pneumonia and now I’m on the correct medication for suppressing the cough and getting rid of the mucus in my lungs by thinning the texture of the phlegm. The two new meds are better than the Tussin CF I was on, which has one major ingredient that will increase blood pressure. The only good one in the mix is Guaifenesin, which he put me on as a tablet, not syrup. The worst for causing high blood pressure is Dextromethorphan. That part in the cough syrup causes enhanced blood pressure.
Once at the PCP’s office with the local MD in charge, Dr. Andy Thomas, I went to the lab for a blood test to determine my INR, which was already high (3.9) – supposed to be between 2 & 3, and mine usually is. It can be raised within 1.5 hrs. after taking, and especially with this one pill having 875 mg of Amoxicillin. I know that antibiotics increase my INR calculation.

I met the MD and he listened to my story, symptoms, and concerns. I gave him the CD and he with others tried 4 different computers and could not display the image (or see it) at all. He examined my breathing, congestion, and heard and saw the results of my productive cough. He evaluated my lungs considerably with a stethoscope. He felt comfortable with my not having pneumonia, but I knew we had to get the current status by X-ray into the KVH system, so we agreed to retake them.
A different radiologist sent his interpretation back to the doctor, who sent it on to me with his (the MD’s) comments (received Friday (1/10) of the week I went in on Monday). The report is reassuring (lots of medical terms we don’t relate to):

My MD’s comments:
I have reviewed the results from your recent studies.
The radiologist did not see any sign of pneumonia and reports that the thickening of the lung (described as infiltrate here) is less prominent than the previous study – not sure if that means it is resolving or that is just a “camera trick” of the x-ray photograph we took this time. Either way that seems like good news!

XR Chest 2 View 01/06/20 11:57:09
Previous comparison 02/28/2019 INDICATION: Persistent cough and SOB (shortness of breath) w/o other illness symptoms
FINDINGS: There is marked cardiomegaly (enlarged heart). Patient has a single lead pacemaker (it’s actually an ICD) with tip in the right ventricle. The wire is intact. Patient’s had previous cardiac surgery. The lung fields are moderately expanded with evidence of mitral valve revision (I have a porcine replacement of this valve). There are patchy increased densities in the right lower lung field distribution with lesser prominence that on the previous exam. This is consistent with atelectasis (blockage of the air passages can be by mucus) and some minor infiltrate (thickening). There is some blunting of the left costophrenic angle (places where the diaphragm [phrenic] meets the ribs [costo]) on today’s exam suggesting possible mild pleural effusion (fluid around lung).

My harrowing trip to Cle Elum was in a raging snowstorm. I decided to take I-90 figuring they would have it plowed and not the state highway #10. I looked at the DOT cameras and knew I was leaving in rain but there was snow at all the major traffic cameras from Indian John Hill through and past Cle Elum, where I exited. It was snowing hard in Cle Elum. It was a trip into blowing large snowflakes making visibility tough. The most interesting thing was the large semi-trucks slowing to 40 mph. I was happy for that slow down. While in the clinic for 2 hrs., it stopped snowing and started raining. Rained on me all the way home. I came via Hwy 10, which was fine traveling.

Tuesday, Jan 7

I want to add some photos from Leavenworth which my friend Evie Schuetz took on Sunday, January 5. I would have enjoyed that a lot more than where I was that day.
She and her family visited because the Christmas lights are still up on all the buildings until Valentine’s Day! She took many photos that she posted on her Facebook site, which you can get to if you have a Facebook (FB) account by looking up her place on Facebook. Her FB name is EvieMae Schuetz.
I chose only my favorite few to share with you. We have never been there to see the lights, but we have been to Leavenworth many times for different reasons. 2020 Christmas lights, Leavenworth, WA by Evie Schuetz

I hope you are able to look at all her pictures—exceptional photographs, as I know you will agree. I suppose there is still time for you to go in person to view them. You’ll see a link in John’s Not So Nasty News to the town’s web-cams; now with snow. In case you cannot find it, or don’t have a Facebook account here it is:
Weather webcams in Leavenworth show Xmas Lights
Still, the best entire set is on Evie’s Facebook page.

We stayed home today. I did computer chores and household things, and cared for myself. Also dealt with medical questions with the Cle Elum clinic, and with planning for upcoming geology lectures. Had to work on setting up playing music on Thursday, and calling two people to cancel tomorrow’s Food Bank music. I shuffled cats and dog in and out. And, set up a meeting tomorrow in Cle Elum to loan John’s Crosstrek for a couple weeks to a friend whose old Subaru totally broke down and needs to be replaced. She’s working on that, but needs a car that is all-wheel drive and her husband doesn’t have one.

John investigated our neighbor’s mail and papers. She leaves for long periods and her mailbox fills up, but the paper box is worse. On top of that our rural carrier often puts her mail in our mailbox (they are adjacent, as are our paper boxes for the local newspaper). Yesterday’s mail of hers ended up in our box, five pieces. So he collected that, and put in a blue bag, and put all in a green bag already in her carport. Also took all the newspapers. Then almost at dark when he had gone out to grain the horses, I had an email from our hay provider, that he was bringing our last two tons of hay. I yelled out to John so he was aware of it and could open the gates, and turn lights on.

Continued with normal things and are getting to bed later than desired.

Wednesday, Jan 8

Canceled two normal doings for the second Wednesday of the month: Retired geographers meeting at Hearthstone, and playing music at the Food Bank Wednesday lunch.
Good thing, John had to go to Stewart Subaru today to have his car’s 6,000 mile tune up, oil change, and service, and while there he made a run to Costco. I stayed home taking care of things here, and getting ready to leave for South Cle Elum.

John called at 11:30 from leaving Costco for the Subaru place, and probably is a couple hours from home. Will check in from Selah Gap – out of the urban streets – on his way so we have a better grasp on timing. He got a sandwich at Costco, so I can eat something here for lunch.

We went to S. Cle Elum to deliver John’s Crosstrek. A short term loan. Our banjo player is Evelyn Heflen. Her Subaru’s engine is totally ruined. She will use the Crosstrek for transportation to get to work and community activities, and to find a car. It was a nice day for the 30-mile trip. No snow and good roads. We were back by 4:00 in time for John to grain the horses before dark. Thinking of that need, we skipped our invite to tea with Evelyn.

The weather then changed. This is Sunday’s view of the snow from her front door. Taken Sunday, 1-12-20 at Evelyn’s in S. Cle Elum, WA

Thursday, Jan 9

Getting ready to go play music at Meadows Place, and just got all the audience copies sorted out and ready to add to my music bag.

A neighbor, up the road, called to say there was no wood under our “Free Wood” sign – and did we have any. John’s loading her pickup with enough to last to February.

We just found out another neighbor age 97, died overnight. Not unexpected, and I’ve been in touch with the family.

I also contacted the Yakima Herald Circulation department, to find out if our WSJ carrier had changed. I was unable to get in touch with the phone number she left for us. I thought maybe she had moved on, but not. The phone number they had for her is the same I had, but it just beep beep beeps and doesn’t ring. I need to write a note to her and put in the paper tube to find out her new phone number. She’d given us this other one when introducing herself as our new carrier (back in March). Might as well connect the note to a bunch of plastic bags, along with some rubber bands she can use on days when it is raining. I also need her last name to write a check for the end of the year, thanking her for her delivery service. She’s always punctual, 6 days/week, early a.m. Now is the time the pass can be closed and occasionally the papers don’t make it from the west side.

I took my morning meds and tablet for relieving and releasing mucus in my lungs. It is still working and I hope I’m done with it before I go to play music, but will carry along a box of Kleenex.

Yesterday, John bought Danish pastry at Costco, and we each had one – he brought 4 each of cherry and cream cheese.

I am dressed and my alarm set to take my pills and get prepared to leave.

John went with me, to help me carry in all the music bag weight, and my violin, and carried along a copy of a book to sit in an adjacent room to read, about the chemical elements and the history of completing the periodic table. Today, he read fascinating things about Radium, and shared some things on the way home.

We had a great player turnout, and a good time entertaining the residents. People there were: Sandy, Nancy, Manord, Evie, Kevin, Gerald, Tim, Roberta, Charlotte, and Minerva.

After helping with chair setup and take down, we left for Bi-Mart, which had set a very good price on their 40# bag of black-oil sunflower seed, the birds favorite. It was $5.00 less than the lowest price we can find it in EBRG. While there, I got another box of Fisherman’s Friend cough drops. Actually, I picked up two, one a new one I had not seen before, honey-lemon, and didn’t know until I got to the cashier it was sugar-free. I definitely do NOT like their other sugar-free one I have previously tried. So John returned it to the shelf, and I should have had him bring me one of my old standby menthol original flavor ones. It’s okay, I still have some at home.

We stopped at Super 1 grocery store for their large (occasional) Thursday sale. We eat lots of eggs, which were on sale for 68₵/dozen [limit 2] ($1.10 off normal price); so each of us bought two dozen. I also love their English Muffin Toasting bread, which has increased dramatically in price since we moved to town. Moved here in 1988, when it sold for 88₵/loaf. They had it on sale today for $1.98/loaf (normally a $ more). Unfortunately, the shelves were empty after 3:15 p.m. when we arrived. So, I asked for a raincheck at checkout and received it at the lower price.

Final stop, Fred Meyer, which had my PowerAdeZero for only 58 cents/bottle if you bought 8 bottles. Navel oranges were 20 cents less /lb. than at Super 1. Got just 3 of those.

Friday, Jan 10

I never received a Mid-State Coop bill and normally I pay it right away. I last paid Nov 6, and nothing in early Dec. Yesterday’s postal mail brought the account bill, and it had an interest payment attached. So that’s why I looked it up.

Called this morning, apologized to Kim, and we figure the bill was delivered wrongly to our neighbor’s mailbox, or not at all. Guess we’ll have to start checking daily (take along a flashlight because mail often comes after dark). Mail story, above on Tuesday.

Main reason I’m home today is to take a tablet of Guaifenesin every 4 hours (only took one yesterday because I couldn’t drink that much water while going to town and playing music.

Guaifenesin belongs to a class of drugs known as expectorants. It works by thinning and loosening mucus in the airways, clearing congestion, and making breathing easier. I certainly need that.

John fixed a really good baked chicken dinner.

And, he finished his Not So Nasty News after losing the Internet connection numerous times.

Earlier today, he fixed my broken Medic Alert bracelet and saved me a bunch of money, and I didn’t want to get something other than what I have, a black band with purple staff and white notes, so it’s quite musical. They no longer carry the design style in their inventory.

Saturday, Jan 11

I reached my neighbor absent neighbor to tell her about the mailbox issue, and to find out when she plans to come east.

Right now is not a good time to be traveling the pass. Pass keeps closing with multiple spinouts, ice, eastbound, and westbound lanes. Stevens Pass has fallen trees (unscheduled) and avalanche control (scheduled). That is the road to get from Puget Sound region to Leavenworth, shown above. Plenty of traffic but not an Interstate Highway.

Doing the dishes.

I copied the dates off the plastic on the new year’s calendar, and now I have to enter all the stuff we know on the paper. Guess it will get done Sunday.

John’s cooking brunch – bacon with a pancake (blue with blueberries), also included pecans, and had with peaches and maple syrup.

Security alert from our online banking system that our account login ID is disabled since 12:33 today. I received a phone number to call to ID myself with a bunch of security questions and I had to give my social security #. I asked what caused that decision, and she said someone tried 6 times to get into my account. Whether malicious or some lost soul with a similar name – we don’t know. I had to wait 15 minutes to speak to an agent, but she did ask us to change our login code to something that was not our name, birthday, or any identifier someone might figure out. So, I made it through and we changed it.

I logged on with the new Login ID and it worked, so I’m back in business with no idea who was messing with my account. That took a half hour of my time.

Sunday, Jan 12

After 10:00 a.m., I called (509) Urgent Care and requested a copy be emailed to me of the radiologist’s report on my Chest X-ray taken last Sunday at my appointment, Jan 5, there.

Called and left a detailed message at 10:20 a.m. 1/12/20.

Ashley responded quickly 10:38 a.m., and then called me to tell me she’d sent the radiology report from last Sunday to our email account password protected… and gave me the password to use.

We talked and I asked her for a report also of the transcription from the “physician” at Urgent Care, in addition to the radiologist’s report. She added that to document and sent it to me with the same security code to reach, download, and open.

I did not have a decent night’s sleep with the chest congestion, so I got up at 6:30 a.m., put one of the cats out, took my Acetaminophen and went back to bed for almost 3 hours. I still wasn’t feeling great, but I am expelling mucus. Need to take one of the mucus releaser pills and drink all the associated required water. Okay, I took Mucus Reliever 400 mg and am drinking my large glass of water at 10:30 a.m. It’s already working 10 minutes later. Rascal’s now in my lap, does not like my coughing, so I hope it keeps expelling quietly without having to cough to get it. So far, so good.

Take next pill at 2:30; set my computer alarm. Just learned a few days ago how to set alarms to remind me of the timing on my computer (when I’m on). I can name each one to indicate what is to do and when.

John’s been out pushing snow, of which there is very little. Still, that keeps the places drier and mud free.

1:00 p.m. just started snowing hard with big flakes, while John naps. Stopped and sun came out, but wind is supposed to start blowing hard. John’s in the backyard removing a bird-feed structure. It was too close to the patio door – glass with sky reflections – and little birdies were knocking their heads. Out front the feeding is farther from the doors and windows.

I spent a bunch of time on-line donating to the APCG (Association of Pacific Coast Geographers). My retired dues are $15, but I always donate to 3 other scholarship funds. It’s a recognized non-profit organization (for tax purposes).

I finally finished loading the dishwasher to its capacity, and for the next hour it will swish and swash.

I worked on the blog, and set up the heater for the back bathroom shower to get cleaned up for an early Monday morning visit to the foot doctor who comes up from Yakima on Mondays. It’s a 9:30 appointment for both of us to go in together.

Tonight’s dinner was the rest of the chicken soup with large cheesy biscuits John makes that are better than any in town (including those at the Yellow Church Café, renowned for theirs). We have a large piece of John’s Chocolate birthday cake (that has been frozen) for dessert.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan