Memories, Medical tests, Music, & Miscellaneous

Sunday, June 15 Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day — all you fathers! (that’s a link after the date) Very interesting history John found.
I don’t have many pictures of my dad, because he died when I was in the 9th grade, but you can see from this young military cadet picture where I got my brown eyes. It’s a little lopsided because I took it from a scrapbook in Atlanta, GA while riding around in a relative’s car in 2011. I need a better copy. I received my musical abilities from him too. He played drums and a Cornet. His name was Thomas Harold Brannen.
Nancy's dad as a young man; head and neck; old newspaper look, brownish

I put this on my Facebook page and had 33 likes and a few messages that I’ve reproduced next.
Nancy Thompson Small: What a handsome young man! You favor him (not the man part! LOL)
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks, Nancy S.– True. I always was told I looked more like him until after he died and people only knew my mom and said I looked like her. I have his dimple too that doesn’t show in this photo, and his lips, small mouth-closed smile, and his height. He was over 6′. Some of my older cousins, aunts and uncles, will remember him as Uncle T. I grew up being a tomboy, ’cause he taught me to fish, cast into a small circle in a lake in Piedmont Park, crab, throw a baseball, darts, pass a football, climb trees, ladders, and get on the roof to clean pine needles out of the gutters, drive a car, help him fix everything mechanical on it, spell correctly, do math, take good photographs (even if it was a Brownie) and the list goes on for the very short time I had him molding my life. Thanks for the memories.
Sam Scripter: And what were the First and Middle names of this fine man? [I know the last.]
Nancy B. Hultquist: I thought I put that as the last sentence in the intro above: His name was Thomas Harold Brannen. His dad was Thomas Henry Brannen, a Druggist in Atlanta, GA on 4th Street, but they were both Thomas H, and my dad sometimes used a Jr. after his name, T H Brannen.
Sam Scripter: Thanks! Interesting name history.
Bruce Seivertson: Happy Days.
Lee Sechler: Nancy, I see the resemblance.
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks, Lee. By the time you and I started bowling together in competitions, I think my dad was gone. I do have great memories of the Junior traveling leagues we were in. I don’t remember the year Broadview Bowlerama opened (in Atlanta), but it was a lot better than the old duckpin lanes in Buckhead, where we learned (and had to set our own pins)! Most people nowadays won’t likely ever have experienced those. Do you remember my middle name is Lee?
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks to all my friends who LIKED this conversation — now — someone who uses Facebook more than I do, please tell me if the people who liked my original post will get the rest of the comments (I rather doubt it)…so perhaps I have to write them individually? Thanks for your advice.
Michelle Lee Wittreich: I got all of the messages, and I think everyone on your friend list who got the original message saw them too.
Nancy B. Hultquist: THANKS, Michelle. I’m sure Sam Scripter will be happy hearing from you too. I always am.
I didn’t know that about “likes”. Learn something new each day. Thanks, “teach”, to my former student at the University of Idaho, Cool.
Colleen Post: Love the history…….Love the history with you and I…. Love you!
Nancy B. Hultquist: Thanks, Colleen, and I love you as my sister (as an only child your comment once to that effect you felt like that with me-really hit home), and I will always fondly remember “mom” Marge as my wonderful roommate in the Rehab center where we both were recovering. She’s up there singing with the angels looking down on us.
Most of the day we did strawberries. John picked and I did a lot of cleaning and making ready for the freezer, and then he came in and helped more. It went faster with the two of us working. I worked on videos from the secretary’s (Geog.) retirement celebration. I did a tiny bit of music, getting ready for the 4th of July music, when we play at the Adult Activity Center for the BBQ and Happy Patriotic music on July 3. Today I worked some on America, the Beautiful. Yesterday on There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere.

Monday, June 16

Today was a day for making doctors’ appointments, arranging for such, and doing more cleaning and sorting of movies and photos from Friday. We also had a long phone conversation with John’s sister Peggy in Ohio about relatives, ailments, and the weather. Such things remind John of the Bruce Springsteen song, Glory Days. We had fresh strawberries with dessert tonight. John has one type of everbearing – Quinault – with a 2nd variety just planted this year. Quinault’s have a less firm berry and a lot of small ones. Maybe, like weeds, they have become crowded in their space. We now are picking large-berry Cavendish, Jewel, and Honeoye, with the largest – Cabot – about to start. Our supplier of plants –-Indiana Berry Co. — offers a large berry collection (4 types) for 36¢ per plant. This is the first year for that patch. A different location has a patch of berries put in a few years ago. That is where the Quinaults are and these in the photo.
(click image)

    Cavendish, left; & Jewel, right.

Just picked Strawberries: on left, a bowl-shaped colander; on right a plastic 1 Lb. container
John says this year’s harvest of Strawberries is going to remind me of the Diary of a Snow Shoveler. Cousin Pat, in Pennsylvania, reported feelings of too-much too often a few winters ago.
My appointment scheduling today was with a Pulmonary Specialist to review my history and particularly my CT scan, mentioned in last week’s blog. I cannot get in until July 22, or if there is a cancellation earlier. I feel there is somewhat an urgency with this, if it is likely they will determine that I need to be taken off the medication that may be causing it.

Tuesday, June 17

Just got off the phone with another billing problem for John for our eye exam. Mine was all covered because I had reached my deductible this year, but he hadn’t, so Medicare paid $24, and Group Health paid nothing. Of the bill, $44 was charged for refraction, that is, doing the measurements to get lenses. He did not have them do that as his glasses are fine. He was charged $7.68 for an Obama Care tax, only they called it Medicare and Commercial Services. It all was readjusted, and I paid the final bill $153.15 for John’s.
Saddest thing of the day was spending from 11:05 until after 4:00 working on getting the backup of my laptop onto my new Seagate Terabyte drive, only to have it fail. Working with backup computer on new Seagate drive, and sitting on the phone waiting for the IRS to answer, supposedly within 10 minutes (after spending 5 minutes + going through telephone tabs). Been working on other email necessities. Everything takes time. Finally, with another fail, I have started backing up things by selected folder and that, in fact, is likely a good idea as I don’t need half the stuff backed up anyway.
John is out picking more strawberries. I will get to work with those. I did about a pound, but he joined me for another couple/three pounds, and then he did more after I left to play music at Royal Vista tonight. Wind was really whipping during the hour + that I was gone. Gusts to 44mph. The car rocks when it’s blowing that hard. John says the trees look angry!

Wednesday, June 18

Tomorrow evening is when I go to the overnight sleep test. Meanwhile, I have to leave about 1:00 for music, and I am only expecting 2 others to be there. It may be slim pickin’s. One guy just called from Cashmere, WA, enjoying a Bluegrass festival. Our winds are still blowing. I have been working on bills today, washing clothes to get packed for tomorrow’s event, and otherwise doing e-mail, arranging appointments, and other fun things. Never a dull moment. John cleaned the burner we accidentally coated with plastic several days ago. A white plastic food wrapper was stuck to the bottom of a cast iron skillet, and we didn’t notice until it started smoking. There were no flames but it melted nicely. I did not go for my normal Wednesday activities because my banjo buddy who goes along to the Food Bank had a conference, so I used the time to get ready for my sleep in Yakima trip.

Thursday, June 19

John will go to town with me today to the grocery store, while I play music. I leave for Yakima at about 7:15. John needed to pick up my Metoprolol meds today and some blue cheese dressing. He forgot the dressing, but I needed some of the pills to finish my week’s supply of pills, so I opened the bottle that was supposed to be a 3-month supply, and it seemed quite small, so I counted. There was only a one-month supply with 30 full size pills and 30 half-size pills. (I must take 1.5/day). I called right away and told the pharmacist, who set aside 90 more pills for me to pick up next week. Good thing I was on top of it the same day we picked it up. It might not have been as easy a week later.
We had a large audience turnout at Dry Creek Center today, and 6 players. I was surprised by two of them, not expecting them to be there. Many were missing because of being out of town, or otherwise occupied with conflicting events.
We will be eating early tonight and then I’ll head to my sleep test. John’s fixing a ham stir-fry for dinner, and I just found out I can go to Costco for gas on my way home for 11 cents/gal less than in Ellensburg, and they open at 6:00 a.m. Nice. I think I will try to start my sleep at 10:30 or a little before, and hope I can get in 7 hrs before the wake-up at 5:30. I did not get to start until after 11:00 p.m.
My trip down was not uneventful. No problem on the Interstate, but once there, I went to the 40th Avenue exit off the Naches Highway. I was going to access Tieton Drive (road the Yakima Memorial Hospital is on), from the north a few blocks, and save riding on the bumpy other access road to the south (16th Avenue). Various construction projects had the roads blocked and I had to drive around unfamiliar neighborhoods for 15 minutes looking for a way to the Hospital. At the first blockage, I was forced to turn left onto a detour not well marked. I turned south figuring it would take me back to the vicinity of where I wanted to be. Instead, I ended up on Englewood, which should be renamed Anglewood, because it took off in the wrong direction, on a diagonal. I managed to cross 40th again to the west, and stopped 2 women walkers. They guided me around and back to near Tieton, but once I got close, that access road was closed. When I finally got to cross Tieton, uphill from the hospital, it also was closed. What’s a person to do? I stopped 2 more families while trying to get there. The 2nd couple (runners) got me back toward the hospital. Once close, I crossed Tieton, now headed north, and was stymied again, when I got on another closed street heading east, and I stopped another family walking their dog, and finally got advised to go down to 26th street. That was the closest I could get to the hospital, (which is between 29th and 30th), so I went around the Road Closed sign and between orange cones, and made my way to the first hospital entrance, passed on to 30th, to the West Pavilion. I figured if a cop stopped me I would tell him to put on his flashing lights and drive me to the hospital as I was now 15 minutes late for my check-in time for overnight. I got in without further imposition. Another patient (there were 4 of us there last night), had reported to the technician the same problem, so she wasn’t surprised I was late.
My blood pressure at arrival was higher than usual, so we waited until later, and it had decreased significantly. Even surprised the tech. It was down to 104/59, from 146/76. I will review the procedure set up and occurrence tomorrow, so keep reading.

Friday, June 20
Morning came too early without enough restful sleep. I was awakened at 5:30, but not before being awakened at 1:30 and then 3:30. Thankfully, the awakening was not for installation of a CPAP mask, but for an adjustment to my head’s raised position to try to make me flatter (for better respiratory sensing). I was in an adjustable hospital bed, for head and feet. I am used to sleeping on my back in a raised position, with two pillows. So, when I was flattened out, I couldn’t get back to sleep, because I was very uncomfortable and hurting. Finally, my wish was fulfilled when my head was again raised by the technician. Apparently, they got a verification of the respiratory data they needed in the time period I was so miserable.
No CPAP mask was used in my testing. Actually, before being wired for the test (discussed below), I had to be fitted for one (with a choice of two different types). I received a nice demo of each from my technician. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a ventilation device that blows a gentle stream of air into the nose during sleep to keep the airway open. During my testing examination, I would only have one placed on my head, if my test results “qualified me” for apnea or hypopnea. They planned to awake me to put it on. Hypopnea is defined as shallow slow breathing–breathing that is usually shallow and slow—and is distinctly different from apnea in which there is no breathing. The next set-up (after my blood pressure reading), was to wire me for measuring various things they were interested in. I wish I had thought to ask the total number of electrodes hooked into me. I had a portable unit so I could get up (after being unplugged from the wall), to go to the bathroom or walk around the room.
The wiring up procedure was interesting. I had surface electrodes on my face and scalp, legs, and on my chest, and other places that send electrical signals to the measuring equipment. I was down the hall and around another hallway, from the control room. My technician had two patients and was viewing both of us all night, and our readouts (graphs, much like an EKG).
Another technician was there with 2 other patients. They had infrared cameras on us and a sensitive intercom allowed us to communicate easily.
The signals sent through the electrodes to the machine room are created by my brain and muscle activity, and recorded into a digital format. More below, but things such as eye movement, brain waves, and muscles are monitored, including the heart muscle.
At setup and before take down, I had to do a number of movements that I imagine was for checking the equipment’s receiving the digital signals. One of my electrodes had to be reseated on my head. Those were the most uncomfortable to “install” (taking alcohol and some horrible goop, which adhered to my hair long after the test was over).
The kind of movements I had to initialize were eyes, back and forth, left to right, up and down, wiggle my left foot, then my right. Inhale and hold my breath. Inhale, hold my breath, and move my stomach in and out. Grind my teeth. Snore, which I don’t do, and didn’t know how to replicate, so I was asked to clear my throat. I don’t remember any others, but there may have been. Belts were placed around my chest and abdomen to measure breathing.
An EEG (electroencephalogram) measured my brain wave activity.
An EMG (electromyogram) recorded muscle activity such as face twitches, teeth grinding, and leg movements, and to determine the presence of REM stage sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. During REM sleep, intense dreams might occur as the brain undergoes heightened activity. I had no dreams, and if I had, the technician would have awakened me and asked what I just dreamed.
An EOG (electro-oculogram) records eye movements. These movements are important in determining the different sleep stages, particularly the REM stage sleep.
An ECG (electrocardiogram) records my heart rate and rhythm.
A nasal airflow sensor records airflow.
A snore microphone records snoring activity. My tech showed me all these devices and explained what they monitored.
The last thing put on me was an oximeter on my finger to measure the amount of oxygen in my blood. I knew that well from stays in the hospital and even which finger I preferred.
I had a good cheerful and informative technician, which helped. I was even tagged with the plastic wrist ID from Yakima Memorial Hospital.
A black & white bracelet with doctors names and Memorial Hosp +Nancy's name and id numbers
I have heard horror stories about technicians other people had for their tests. Mine was very helpful, compassionate, and had been through all the tests as part of her training, learned in on-the-job experiences right there, but had to pass a state test to qualify as a somnographer. She just tells people she is a sleep technician. She’s a local kid having been raised in Selah. Yes, I interview all my caregivers when I’m in the hospital. I like to know as much about them as they are allowed to tell. I got a lot of practice 4 years ago. Below is my photo she took of me the morning after my test. I took hers too. Her name is Trudy (as you can see on the wall chart).
Nancy in white sleeping attire with a dozen wires attached to face and skull

The sleep tech holding the wires to be attached to Nancy
I should have thought to take a photo the next day to show my better clean hairdo.
Boy, what an experience. It was very tiring.
I bought gasoline before leaving town at Costco for $3.739/gal, — currently, $3.849 in Ellensburg — saving me $1.30. I got home, did a few things, and went to bed at 10:00 a.m. Slept hard until noon.
Then John fixed a great lunch, ham, fried potatoes with eggs over easy, and fresh strawberries he picked this morning. Now I have to make time to clean 4 plastic pound containers worth. A welcome-home treat because of the truly lousy breakfast given to me at the end of my test. A plastic-wrapped Danish pastry, a cup of coffee with dry creamer, orange juice (ok), and strawberry yogurt (the best part of the meal). I’m glad I had nothing else on tap today. I’ll be ready to play music tomorrow at Briarwood. I think.
I had an amazing amount of goop left in my hair from the electrodes hooked up to me. The room had a nice shower but the soap was totally lousy for cleaning. It was in a dispenser as a body soap, and difficult to get much of to spread on a washcloth to rub my head and hair. I should have taken my own shampoo. I still have two globs of goop in my hair after washing thoroughly with hot water. I couldn’t get rid of it until I was home and had John’s help with a hand held sprayer in our kitchen sink with me first scrubbing my scalp and hair with fingers of both hands using a heavy-duty cleaning shampoo.
I think it will be at least 2 weeks, before I can return to learn the results. I don’t remember being scheduled for it after my first appt (when it was made). Maybe they wait to see that you complete it first. The technician seemed to think I should have been previously scheduled. On my way home from Yakima, today, I called and left a voicemail message for the woman I had been going through, but she never returned my call. I did ask Trudy the tech, before I left the center, if she had gathered enough data so that I did not have to return for another test. She had. That was good news. Also knowing I am not a candidate for the mask makes me happy.

Saturday, June 21

Been cleaning kitchen sink and counters while John picks strawberries. I’m going to select some nice ones for a small basket and take them to the place we are playing music today. I did and also took photos off my camera for this week’s blog. We had a small lunch. We got ready to leave about 1:12 and picked up our neighbor Lorene, who went with us to the music and food at Briarwood Commons (a retirement community of apartments). They treat us once a month to a great meal, and sing along with us to all the old songs (we give them a songbook of lyrics).
For the main dish, one of the residents ordered chicken potpie soup from the Dakota Cafe’ and it was delivered to the place by them. It was quite good. All things you would expect were included: chicken, peas, carrots, and crust chunked up in a nice base. Boy was it ever good. There was a crock pot of bbq beans. Desserts included chocolate chip cookies, snicker doodles, some sort of apple pastry with a thin layered crust, and some other cake-like stuff. There were also hot rolls and butter, crackers with a neat dip, and chips. We won’t need supper. Our strawberries were a huge hit.

Hope your week was fine.
Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan