Not so Nasty News January 29th

Item #1: Really Old

Sister Peggy celebrated 80 this week. Photo was the summer of 1963, I think. Two of the 4 kids had red hair.
Neither of our parents did, but there is red hair on both sides of the families.
Brother’s wife, Kit, also had a birthday, but is a decade older.
Happy Birthdays to you.

Item #2: Calving season

On Thursday I noticed several Bald Eagles in the trees, about 5 miles south of home. How they know when the calves are about to arrive is a mystery to me. I haven’t seen any calves or eagles closer to home. Then again, we haven’t been out and about much.
Will try for a good photo this year. We have several but none of high quality.

Item #3: Candy floss ice

That’s the English term. Here in the USA some call it “hair ice.”
Candy floss

Or:
Hair ice

Item #4: To wait, or not to wait?

We will see about signing up in a week or so. We likely won’t see more than 5 people in the next 5 days. Under 6 feet? Tuesday when Nancy gets blood drawn.
Being in a small population rural county, the Covid Panic of 2020 has had moderate impact. Never made the news.
Now that vaccines have started to flow, the County made national news.
Fun with numbers

There it says:
ELLENSBURG – Kittitas County is making national headlines over its ability to administer all its vaccination doses.

Read down and the numbers are not so stunning. There are two places where shots are being given – the goal is 215 per day at each.
They actually did better with a bit over 250 at each site. Eat your hearts out, you with a population of a million or several million residents.

The county folks claim dealing with wildfires has given folks experience coordinating multi-agency activities. So all that you need to do is have more wildfires to make giving Covid shots efficient.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

More than you want to know – Nancy

Hi Folks,
John writing. Not much new here, as of Saturday morning.
I’m late with this, so this one is just a marker.
I need another hour, and then will post on this simple link below.

http://rocknponderosa.com/

February 27th
FIFTH OF UPDATES More than you want to know – Nancy

Tuesday was a blood draw with INR and K both within range.
Getting a plump vein to tap has been a problem. Conversations with others suggest diet and fluid intake need an increase. Looking back, I think she drastically cut Powerade (sports drink) along with total removal of Ensure protein drink (about the highest Vit K item in her diet – still not real high).

As a substitute I’ve been making what I call “blurpies”. If you put fruit, ice cream, and yogurt in a blender the first sound produced sounds like “blurp.” Well, it does to me. She uses Almond Water (COSTCO brand) to dilute coffee, so we also add that to the Blurpy.
So, we are working in this.

COVID SHOTS
Friday at 3:30 we went for the 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine. We were met in the parking lot and handed a 2-sided survey – filled out in the car. I took those to the greeting table. We were escorted inside and passed off to person #3. We asked for a high chair for Nancy. Most chairs were of the folding metal type, and 10 inches lower. (More of the higher chairs are needed in this world.)
Because Nancy is on a blood thinner (question was on the survey) we were visited by a Nurse (#4), who explained possible bruising from a shot. Nancy showed her a few, and she was satisfied we would not be startled if such happened at the site of the poke. (Without a mirror we can’t see that spot.) The nurse summoned #5 who led us to a table (with a high chair) where #6 was waiting.
We wore short sleeve shirts and warm vests without sleeves; and a warm winter coat. Remove the coat, and there is the bare arm ready for the shot. Next we were off with person #7 to the waiting area. Chest tag had the time 1551 (24 hour clock) at which we could leave. About five minutes into the wait, person #8 arrived with a computer on a high rolling cart. For maybe the forth time we gave names, birth date, address, phone number, e-mail.
Person #9 appeared and we asked to short-circuit the longer exit route, pass through curtains, and exited where we came in, about 30 feet from the car. We thanked all the outside greeters as we passed.

Our 2nd dose was scheduled, but she could not alter the 21 day period. We want to stagger those by 3 days. Some folks can feel a bit off (symptoms vary) as the body’s immune system ramps up after the 2nd dose. It is not likely that both of us would be impacted, but that is possible, and easily prevented. We just have to call the County Health folks and reschedule. I had to call to get us in the same time slot on Friday. The computer system tossed me out when I tried to fill a second slot from my computer.

Saturday morning and into the evening we can feel where the shot was given, only if we put a hand on the arm. Otherwise, it is not noticeable.
That’s it for now.

February 20th
FORTH OF UPDATES More than you want to know – Nancy

We started off the week with a haircut, just around our rural block, from Nancy’s long ago (in EBRG) “find” – – Celia Winingham and husband Bob. He was cleaning snow from the driveway as we arrived. I passed her off to Celia at the door, and then I came back home where a couple of workers were working under the carport. Forth minutes later I went back and picked her up.

Tuesday was the blood draw – INR and Potassium were within range.
Kidney function remains an issue with a high marks for “blood urea Nitrogen” (BUN) and Creatinine. No surprises.

Wednesday, with nice weather and dry roads, we visited with Dr. David Krueger, cardiologist in Yakima (50 miles). He was pleased with the lowering of swelling in feet and legs. We talked about how to ease the pressure on her heart – see the section under the red stars, below, Saturday January 30th. Lots of protein can be an issue, but her intake of meat protein is low, so I don’t see a lot of help via diet. He is also thinking the CPAP (sleep study day is March 10th) apparatus will help. Next visit with him is March 31st, after CPAP or whatever. We also need a new “pulse Oxygen meter” (oximeter). The one we had quite working. $20 for a simple one; $100+ for a recording one, but I haven’t figured out if our WiFi will work (no smart phones here).

General: cast is off unless we are out-&-about. Sling isn’t needed in the recliner, and she has use of her right hand for laptop use. That makes things easier.
An elderly local lady is reported to have had a serious reaction to the 2nd Pfizer Covid dose. I don’t think that means Nancy will have an issue, but on Monday we will ask about this. Our 1st dose shots are scheduled for next Friday.

For now: “That’s all folks!”

Saturday February 13
THIRD OF UPDATES (2nd follows, then 1st at the end)

Not a lot happened on the health front this past week. The Tuesday trip to town allowed her to walk a few hundred steps in the grocery store. Much more exercise would be good.

I had removed the wrap that enclosed her thumb and wrist late last week. Swelling on the back of her hand/thumb/fingers did not increase after that, and maybe went down a bit. Feeling and color were normal, so that is how we left it.
Thursday, after 3 weeks, we did go to Cle Elum for cast removal and a follow-up X-ray. That seems to show normal healing. We were instructed to replace the cast if out & about and, also, take the arm out of the sling a few times a day and do mild exercise of that arm. After 2, days the swelling is now gone, or almost.

I had hoped to get her outside and walk for more general exercise, but the cold air mass seeped into the area – a rare event. Thursday evening we got snow, about 4 inches and a morning temperature of 12 degrees F. The snow and the cold continue. Outside exercise is cancelled.
Neighbor Allen cleared the snow from the driveway. That was the first for this year. He commented that with much more in our forecast he was making sure the equipment {John Deere tractor} was working. As expected, snow continued. He came back just before Noon today and cleared it all again. I need to clean up around the edges.

Drawing blood on January 26th was a left arm affair, and even then had to be from the back of her hand. Both INR and Potassium were in range so we didn’t do them this week. Next week they can go back to the right arm. That’s Tuesday.

On Wednesday (2/17) there is a cardiologist visit in Yakima. Previously an interim meeting (1/20) with his assistant, Buffy Sawyer, provided a “maintenance” status. This will be a more thorough and important exam.

Nancy may add a few notes tomorrow, but that’s all I have for today – 2/13/21.
John

Saturday, February 6th
SECOND OF UPDATES (1st follows below)

ZOOM to sleep [Tuesday, 2nd]
A consultation with a person at Memorial Sleep Specialists (Yakima) had the expected result. Nancy has to go for a sleep test. This may be later in February, with cast off, but maybe not the sling.
The ZOOM experience was horrendous. Lighting on their end was poor and the audio was worse. We understood enough of the words (2/3) such that we did not have to use another method. A phone call would have been better. An in-person consultation preferred.
The doctor that we dealt with in 2014 has assumed higher level administrative duties so the contact was with Allison Morgan, about whom we know zilch. She read the letter I wrote about Nancy’s non-apnea results from back then. Nancy’s issue is, apparently, hypopnea, or shallow breathing that results in reduced Oxygen in her blood.
However, Nancy – on Dr. Kim’s strong urging – lost weight, enough so that a new test is called for. Something about properly prescribing and calibrating the equipment.
Nancy and I thought her CPAP equipment was less than stellar, and not highly advanced in the sense of being tuneable to a particular situation. Have these things gotten better? We can’t find that they have with respect to Nancy’s needs.
We’ll see.

Moving on to COMPRESSION: I wrote earlier:
“Meanwhile there was significant swelling in the legs, below the knees. Not good.”

I intended to explain our encounter with (think of a mad Badger) compression socks. One soon learns of the lies photos tell. Below is the evidence.
First, nothing so colorful seems to be available in EBRG. We bought the largest size (white) at BiMart. Doc Chelsea showed us how to put these on. She is young, with nimble fingers, and experienced. Still it was difficult. She suggested getting a “sock donner” and that we did. Cost was $45 and a second set of stockings ($10.00); also White. A friend offered a pair of black socks. From “all colors” to no color – great!
Notice the enticing look in the left photo above. Note also the legs are not swollen. Same thing on the right. No swelling. Easy-peasy.
We are now experts at sock donnering. Meaning, with significant effort on my part and great patience on Nancy’s the mad Badger has surrendered – each leg gets donned. The amount of Lasix {LAst SIX hours} is doubled, so Nancy is wearing out the carpet in the hallway.

Next: arm wrap
In this image the cast is in light blue. That is dressed with a Velcro closure elastic wrap; horse owners will recognize this. Also, I bought a dozen rolls and carry a few in my backpack. I took one out over a 10 year period. That was on a trail repair workday at Mt. Rainier. A tourist fell and our best trained crew raided my pack, then went to help. The roll was not used so I still have it. I digressed there.
Note where the hard cast and the wrap end. Well the back of Nancy’s hand, and fingers, became swollen. We’d been keeping Nurse Lacey and Chelsea informed, and on Wednesday (the 3rd) I wanted to either go to the Clinic, or release some of the pressure.
About 10:30 AM, with Lacey having heard my latest concern, and having consulted with Chelsea, we cut the wrap away from the hand and back to the yellow line.
I also realized the hard cast came out to the carpal bones (pisiform bone?) [Yeah, I looked that up.] The cast will have been on for 2 weeks on Thursday the 4th and it immobilizes both elbow and wrist.
We’ve been advised that the cast can be removed for an hour or so if Nancy is a good girl and doesn’t move the elbow much. If we do that, I think I will take about 3 inches of the end – red line above.
Not only has the exposed part of the hand puffed out a bit, but she has complained of it being cold. With slowed circulation out to her fingers, I suppose that’s not a surprise.
We’ll see if we can fix that.
Saturday afternoon we have keep the cast on.

End of 2nd update (1st post follows)

Saturday January 30th

A few years ago the computer place in Ellensburg shut down and we had to create our own domain name. We either lost, or just can’t find the early editions of the writings about Nancy’s health. For any new acquaintances, I will briefly summarize. Skip to the red stars line below if you like.
Nancy, the child, had rheumatic fever. Heart valve damage is a complication. This isn’t a big deal, until it becomes so. For Nancy that started in 2009.
She began that year with a slight persistent cough. No one thought much of that except me. However, either from a dental procedure or bad luck, she contracted “Endocarditis”, a life-threatening inflammation of the inner lining of the heart’s chambers and valves (endocardium). That was taken care of, then followed with a visit to an amazing (we agree on this) cardiologist, in Yakima, WA. Dr. Anatole S. Kim is responsible for Nancy being alive. Next in that sequence is Dr. Baljit Sharma, heart surgeon. But I just jumped ahead.

Early Friday morning, after Thanksgiving Day in 2009, Nancy developed an artery blockage that took us to EBRG Emergency and then on to Yakima and a Cardiac Catheterization unit to remove a blockage in an artery across the front of her heart. From home to removal of the blockage took about 4 hours, enough time for some heart muscle damage. Not good, but not a catastrophe either. Then a sudden calamity. An anticoagulant, unfractionated heparin (UFH), was given to prevent clotting. Most people do not have a problem with Heparin. Nancy was unlucky. By Saturday afternoon she was experiencing a reaction that makes red blood a target of immunological response, resulting in the degradation of platelets, which causes thrombocytopenia. In simple words, her red blood cells were dying. The shorthand for this is HIT, for Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.
She was sedated and put on life support for 8 days. When I got to the intensive care unit, I was advised that she might not live. She surprised them all.
Over the next few weeks we learned about the intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP), a mechanical device that increases myocardial oxygen perfusion and indirectly increases cardiac output through afterload reduction. A computer-controlled mechanism inflates the balloon with helium and so on. Wow. Look it up. A typical yard-stick leaned against the bed. Among all this high-tech (science fiction like) stuff, a wooden stick was used to make sure the heart and pump controller were at the same height. [Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of The Future, 1961]
With a bit of time and prodding by Dr. Kim, the surgical team went to work on December 29th, cut Nancy’s chest open, fixed two arteries, replaced her native Mitral Valve with one from a pig, and used fractionated heparin with low molecular weight to finish the day.
Whew!
Eleven years later she is using her second implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). Actually, the ICD is there, but not used. The first was used once, shortly after being implanted when she was, again, ill with Endocarditis. The “pacer” part is almost never used, but it is there too.Late last year (2020) a routine blood exam [Basic Metabolic Panel; BMP] showed a spike in Potassium (K). We cannot identify dietary or other reasons for this, so a few tweaks in medication and dropping Ensure from her diet have followed. (Ensure has K, but not all that much.) One med was dropped, a second was cut by a third, just this week. The test on Tuesday was still high for K, but not as critically high as a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile there was significant swelling in the legs, below the knees. Not good.
We visited, on the 20th, with Buffy Sawyer, the Cardiologist’s assistant and will see Dr. David Krueger in February. Our “doctor” is Chelsea Newman (physician assistant, certified) at the Cle Elum Clinic. Nancy’s favorite drawer of blood (Kim) is in EBRG, where her blood is most often tested. Chelsea’s nurses are Lacey and Summer. A great team – we like all.
A recent echocardiogram (echo) was not a whole lot different than in previous years, although the pulmonary artery pressure was higher, causing swelling of legs (edema), and Tricuspid Regurgitation – backward leakage through an intended one-way valve. Not good.
Images have “exploded” views on the lower left of each heart.
On the left image, blue arrows show flow of blood in open & closed positions. The right side image has a red arrow showing back-flow or regurgitation through a valve that does not completely close.

The hypothesis is that improvement is possible if the cause is Hypoxemia – oxygen deficiency in arterial blood. This can be caused by slow breathing and heart activity while sleeping. This is undesirable because the amount of Oxygen in the blood drops and the organs have an insufficient supply. An exam in a doctor’s office now (for us) includes using a Pulse Oximeter to discover the peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2). When the heart and lungs do not send sufficient oxygenated hemoglobin to your finger, the rest of your body suffers. A good reading is shown in the image below, along with the pulse.

Low readings, say near 88, are seriously low.
However, when the saturation drops by 3%, say from 97 to 94, that’s not good either.
Nancy used breathing apparatus (continuous positive airway pressure) (CPAP) and an Oximeter for about 4 years but lost a few pounds and seemed not to need it. Now stopped for about 4 years.
Our issue with CPAP was/is that it is designed with stopped breathing [obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)] in mind, rather than shallow breathing – and there was no way to record the SpO2 monitor readings with the rest of the (cumbersome) setup.
Nancy will likely return to the CPAP, maybe with a newer and better technology. Consultation will be by ZOOM, on Tuesday February 2nd.

NEXT (problem):
Nancy goes to Kim (phlebotomist) almost every Tuesday for a blood draw to check clotting time [international normalized ratio (INR)], and now for the Potassium level. When INR is stable she is only tested about once a month. The spike in K changed the routine.

Heading for the medical building, On January 19th, Nancy was turning to get into our Crosstrek and fell. She landed with her right arm between her body and the ground. Ouch!
This resulted in a “closed fracture” with a tiny bit of movement, about where the blue line is in the diagram.
This shows on the X-ray, but we can’t get to that via the medical portal, and Chelsea would have had to use a cell phone camera to send us the image. It was not worth the effort.

She got a modern-day splint, with arm in sling. Photos below are not Nancy.
They put a cotton sleeve on first. The photo does not show the first cotton sleeve.
Then a mixed fiber/plaster (wet first) “splint”, and then wrapped with an outer fabric.

The right photo shows the fiber/plastic that quickly hardens.
Left photo shows the outer wrap, that can be loosened if more swelling (not expected) occurs. Why? Because the fracture happened on Tuesday, we had the visit with cardiologist Buffy Sawyer scheduled on Wednesday, and didn’t get to Chelsea and Racine until Thursday, the 21st.
Because hers is the right arm, and the left shoulder is the one that is bad – the next 8 weeks will be a pain – literally and figuratively.
Chelsea (our “doc”) sees very few fractures, so Racine, who has worked in a special ortho (bone) clinic came to help. She was a pro, so Nancy got all fixed up like a high performance downhill skier. Neither elbow or wrist can move.

They also fitted her with a nondescript black sling, very un-photogenic, unlike in the photo here. I’d add some decorations, but who’s to see?
The restraining cast is due to come off about noon on Tuesday, February 11th. I think Chelsea said the sling should be used for at least a month after that. Maybe Nancy will have enough allowed movement to use the right hand on the keyboard.
The sleep/breathing issue will be addressed starting on the 2nd of February.

Better news:
Nancy has been using a 40 (?) year old recliner, sleeping beside a monitor that sends nightly updates to the ICD folks. It uses the plain old telephone system (POTS). The chair’s lift system died, or the buttons did. We ordered a new chair, but there is a two month wait. So, Korbie, a former student from 16 years ago gave us a very new chair (dog chewed the right side arm and left a hole), used briefly by her father-in-law. I gave her 10 pounds of home grown onions. What a deal! When Nancy’s new one arrives, I’ll move the given one into the converted (new) room.

That’s it for now.
Updates to follow, when things happen.
Such will appear at the top of the page.
Thanks for the good wishes being sent Nancy’s way.
Typing is hard for her, but you can call:

1-509-925-3304

Week of Doctor Visits

Monday, Jan 18

Shortened weekly blog because of typing one fingered with splint over fractured elbow bone. Also in a sling to keep things in place. Much less typing for me (being right handed). Simple daily notes.

Tuesday, Jan 19

Sunrises – We don’t see most parts of sky from home.

Sunrise photo in EBRG by Lori Waters

This is errands day when we drive to town to do all my medical needs. Start with before NOON to Medical Arts Bldg for Kim to draw my blood for MCP test and for my normal INR. I fell getting into the Crosstrek and landed on my right side, with arm and elbow between me and the gravel. See coming Thursday.

Picked up my Metoprolol prescription medicine from Bi-Mart Pharmacy. Sunset photo by Christopher Cyrus Peterson

Wednesday, Jan 20

John drove to Yakima, WA today leaving at 10:15 for two locations, Costco & Yakima Heart Center to appointment with Cardiologist Buffy Sawyer. Not returning home until 3:30.

Reason for Costco trip was to buy the 2020 TurboTax software to have for all medical costs and to buy some Vitamin D3 2000 IU.

Reason for Yakima Heart Center was to meet with Dave Krueger’s assistant to view my swollen legs. We left her at 2:30.

Thursday, Jan 21

We drove to Cle Elum Clinic to see our PCP, Chelsea Newman about our talk with Buffy Sawyer yesterday in Yakima. Swelling in legs responding to increased dose diuretic to 80 mg. That’s good. But, . . .
X-ray of elbow showed a fracture with a slight movement – thus the need for the splint to immobilize broken bone. That to last until a 3-weeks out visit (Feb, 11th). Likely after that just a sling for another 5/6 weeks. That’s not good. So, with my good hand out of commission and my left shoulder of dubious character – I’m not very functional.

Friday, Jan 22

We have been Brittany breeders since 1977 and made a lot of friends. Here below is one, Ray Trimble. Read the text on the feat he accomplished this week.

Saturday, Jan 23

We’d were up at 4:00 am to take medication and potty. Then back for more Zzzees. John slept in until 6:30 am, then up to open our gates for the Contractor to arrive at 7:00 with a load of decking lumber that will be the roofing over the back patio area.

Prior to Noon, I spent 41 mins reminiscing by phone with Dot Smith about our childhood days in Atlanta, GA.
John is shopping in town leaving a little after 10:00 and the house temp is now down to 70.2° – – at 10:30 the programmable thermostat lowers to 67. I’m getting colder hoping he’s back soon; here at 12:04. I’m used to 74°. {Okay, time to re-program.}

Once home John made me a blender strawberry smoothie.
Managed donning the compression socks we bought when we bought the Sock Donner at the Medical Supply store. The package contained a cm measuring tape for the calf sizing. So we used that and wrote the circumferences.

Sunday, Jan 24

Slept in till 8:00 after being up at 4:00 AM to take my medications.

Because of the immobilized right arm/hand, I need John’s help filling in a form for the Sleep Center. We are having a ZOOM consultation, they still want a bunch of information. The form deals mostly with Sleep Apnea while my problem is (apparently) shallow night-time breathing. More next week.

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

Not so Nasty News January 22nd

Item #1: Could have been worse

A trip to Costco resulted in me buying a 5 terabyte disk drive, the Copper-fit product, and a Turbo Tax package for 2020.
The first was meant to be a CD-Rom reader. The one recently bought had found a hiding place in our stuff. The Tax software comes on a disk, thus the need ’cause Nancy’s laptop doesn’t have one built in. At home, and being told of the situation, I conducted a thorough search and found the recently acquired one.
The TurboTax package in the store is fake. It is taken to the checkout and a “runner” is called to fetch the product. Checkout was fast and a young lady pushed my cart out of the line and into the open traffic area, and said the normal pleasantries. I said similar, and headed out of the store. Oops! The runner had not returned. This I did not realize until unpacking at home. {I think this happens to others, also, because no one batted an eye at my problem.}
The center item was meant to be a double box set of compression socks. The package shape and color is the same as socks given to Nancy by friend Amy. I did, in fact, open the package at home before discovering I had “knee sleeves” and not socks. Ouch! This revelation happen after the return trip to Costco.

I headed back to Costco on Friday and went to buy gas. There I discovered I did not have my membership/charge card. The Amazon Prime card was rejected. Thus, no gas. I think that makes 4 bads.
I did have a receipt with my ID# and with that and my WA Drivers License I was able to get a refund (cash card) and a temporary shopping permit. Whew!
I didn’t buy gas, but still have a gallon or more to get back to town.
I also retrieved my credit card from the shirt I wore on Wednesday.

I had a better outcome than this person:
And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Goings and comings on the Fan

Monday, Jan 11

I’m driving myself to check in for the Echo Cardiogram at Noon at KVH Hospital Imaging. Must dress properly, no bra, green shirt metal buttons okay.

Once there at Imaging, I must request to fill in the form for the results to be sent in the mail to all who need a copy of the results on a CD sent: Chelsea Newman (PCP), David Krueger (Cardiologist), Kumar (Sleep Apnea Doctor), (I always get one too) Nancy Hultquist.
Either tell Donna or Lauren at Imaging when I check in. This is supposed to take one hour.

I must get me some compression socks soon, (will try tomorrow at Bi-Mart, where they have them, but need to know how to able to calculate the size I need. I am set to meet a person there to search for the size given by the measurements of my distance Knee to floor, and of the size of my calf. I’m just getting one pair for now.

Go to Jerrol’s today for tax income folders. They sent me $10 off coupon, and I just realized I was out of them, from setting up hanging file folders for 2021 tax receipts.

Tuesday, Jan 12

Bi-Mart went to store mgr, Heather, with measurements for the compression socks I need being (1) Length leg knees to the floor= 1’ 11 and (2) Calf measurement=1’ 6”.

I made connection with the Yakima Heart Center scheduler, and my Cardiologist has no appointments opened until springtime, so I’m scheduled with his Assistant (whom I have seen previously, named Buffy Sawyer, who will be aware of the urgency of this appt., regarding the severe leg swelling I’m having. The left side of heart is operating at only ½ capacity. The appt. is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan 20th at the Yakima Heart Center across from Memorial Hospital.

Safeway, picked up tax records total for us for year 2020, to put in Tax Form record or receipts for 2020 now.

I spent 39 mins on phone with Kaiser Permanente Mail Order Pharmacy about getting the amount of money we both spent on prescriptions for 2020 tax year sent to us. It will be available tomorrow and they will walk us through how to get it. Unfortunately, we have to go through Kaiser member services and it will come via email, with support to help us obtain the printed record. This seems a terrible time sink, and is so much easier at other pharmacies.

Wednesday, Jan 13

Cannot believe nothing happened today. Check the calendar. Maybe I spent the whole day sleeping.

I’m seeing Chelsea tomorrow quite early about my situation of swollen legs. We need to be in bed early so we could get up at 6:30. We plan on a 45 minute trip to Cle Elum.

Thursday, Jan 14

We went to Cle Elum to see our PCP, Chelsea Newman. We arrived via I-90 Interstate route which sped up our trip. It was not snowing or raining. We expected snow because of the Cascades (Snoqualmie Pass) being snowed in (See John’s Friday Column below, in Not So Nasty News, for that news, plus some other very interesting information, regarding our trip this morning to Cle Elum).

We got there at 9:00 a.m. They didn’t have us wait a long time to be seen. We left the Medical Clinic, at 10:00 a.m., driving to Ellensburg for planned meetings there. Nurse Summer did the preliminaries. We were there awhile, dealing with my swollen legs, calves, ankles, and feet, and putting on compression stocks (way too tight for my likes). Chelsea actually put them on. It is a most difficult chore. She told us about a Sock-Donnor gadget that can be used to help. We have since bought one (on our way home today, from a Medical Supply Shop). They’re not cheap. When we get it to work, it works well, but we need to look for some instruction videos, because we don’t really know the procedure correctly, yet.

We drove home down Hwy 10 and had a back left tire blowout and flatten. John put the spare tire on, but had to not drive it over 40 mph. No traffic on the road, at 10:00 in the morning, so no problem, except for John’s hard work. He drove to Les Schwab where they repaired the hole, figuring a rock puncture. John & I heard a noise but never saw the rock. He stopped when he saw the low tire inflation light, but didn’t see what was causing it. Finally, when it went flat, he pulled over and put on the spare tire. Once at Les Schwab, we found another COVID-related problem. Because of COVID, their waiting room cannot serve popcorn, and that was sad, because I always enjoy that. They still have a waiting room with a TV and restrooms, which we both needed. One other good thing, the hole in the tire was repaired at no cost. The tire mileage is at about half-life, and we didn’t know if it was damaged beyond repair. The crew there is fast and efficient. In and out in just a few minutes.

From there we went to Kittitas County Medical Supply store and bought the Sock-Donnor.

From there to Shaw’s Furniture & Appliances Store where we ordered a recliner. That took longer than the doctor’s visit. The chair won’t be delivered until late April or early May. The chair will have false-leather (a reddish/brown color called Rawhide); we think will be best in our dusty house. The one in the store was fabric, or we could have had it.

Friday, Jan 15

Contact Chelsea about compression socks. Chelsea says don’t wear them at night. Thank God for a reprieve.

I’m looking forward to seeing Buffy Sawyer on Jan 20th at 1:20, assistant to Cardiologist, Krueger; then see Chelsea the 21st Jan, in Cle Elum at 11:00 a.m.

I called Jon Lawson, Shaw’s clerk to see if they could provide a loaner-chair. Jon arranged for one to be delivered Monday after 2 pm.

Meanwhile, a student from 15 years ago recently had a chair in a storage locker after the death of her father-in-law for whom the chair was bought and used only a little. She and her hubby drove the chair to the end of our driveway and moved it into John’s old 4WD pickup to get into the house. My old garage sale (?) one quit working this week. It does not raise my feet as high as desired. I’m going to put the donated one in our new room where all my income tax files are stored and use it there when filing and organizing tax information. It’s been a life saver since it arrived. The one on-order gets the head lower and the feet higher – called a “Zero Gravity” position.

Saturday, Jan 16

Morning sunrise I tried to photograph and failed from our perspective so got these from a friend, Cindi Crawford Ackerman, location South Thorp Hwy, and the photos are 2 minutes apart to show fast change. Left taken at 7:25 a.m.
Slept in ‘til 8:30.

Breakfast as usual, John made my Blender Smoothie (Peach). Thanks to my caregiver and for all the other meals he fixes for us.

Tonight I have to get ready my evening pills for Saturday, and my Sunday morning & evening pills. Little glass dishes, like for apple sauce, are great for this.

Monday had only the loaner chair on the schedule. I called and canncelled the delivery of the loaner chair. Just now, Hay Guy Mario called and wants to deliver hay around lunch time.

Sunday, Jan 17

John spent time outside replacing two gates – difficult to use – with less cumbersome ones. He says it is an age thing – them and him.

At 1:00 pm we called our cousin Ethel, 103 yrs old in PA. We had a nice 35 min conversation. The complex where she lives is about 35 years old (and so is our house) so we talked about the parts that are failing. And we all had dental visits cancelled during Covid closures. Things could be worse.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Not so Nasty News January 15th


Item #1: Nice weather

The weather contrasts this week have been interesting. Here on the Naneum Fan we started with cool and wet, although western Washington has had high winds and rain. About 500,000 were without electricity. The peaks of the Cascades have gotten snow.
Scott’s Weather Blog

Meanwhile, in Europe, cold weather and snow have been a bigger burden. Madrid had issues.
Snow and cold
In a mountain location the temperature dropped to -35.8°C., about -32°F.
Our airport – KELN – reported a high of 52° at mid-afternoon Friday, clear sky, and brief gusts of wind. The nicest day this year.

Item #2: Other winter photos

Item #3: Need for a short piece of pipe

The photo (left) is of the tire change kit that comes with Subarus. The spare is a temporary (go slow) item, but works.
A digression: The piece with the small circle just below mid-photo is a threaded steel deal that can be used when in need of a short pull. My Crosstrek has a pop-out square piece of plastic in both the front and back of the plastic body (right photo – rear of car). Plastic is a key issue, because a chain or strap hooked under the car will put pressure on the plastic and cause damage. Thus, one can pop the square and screw in the O-hook, attach a tow line, and pull hard. The threads go into the steel frame. Neat.
The shiny item on the left of the photo with the dog-leg toward the up-end is the wrench to remove the lug nuts. Great. Except it is quite short. It is so short that I could not get even one of the nuts to come loose with my no-longer great strength. I had to invoke brute force. That is, I had to position the wrench in a way that I could give it a good kick. Had I not had on thick soled work boots, I’d have been down in the Yakima River looking for a large rock.
So – wanted: a 2ft. section of pipe that will provide the leverage to break the lug nuts loose. Subaru owners, be aware.

Item #4: New grocery items


Both of these items pose questions. How do you package 99 cans? Packaging and packing are complex issues. Just think of an item of odd shape that comes in a cardboard box. There are folds, tabs, fillers, and empty space. So, 9 x 11 works. How are they in there?
I do like the idea of “boneless” potatoes. I never buy a whole chicken because of all the bones and other waste. A boneless potato is so much nicer then those with bones. How do they do that?

Item #5: Deliberate, or not?

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Winter 2021 on The Naneum

Sunrise on the Naneum Fan
Photo by Allen Aronica, from just north of us on Naneum Road 1/2/2021

Monday, Jan 4 _____HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOHN !!!

Thank you to all senders of various forms of birthday cards to John for his birthday, including phone calls.

Now to GeorgiaThank you, Gerri & Allen Aronica for their nice gift of a Claxton, Georgia Fruitcake; I’m sure more of a Christmas gift than a birthday gift, but it was so close, John double-dipped. I’m a born and raised Georgia Girl. The bakery is 30 miles from my Grandparents farm, but I grew up in Atlanta and, with my dad, eating fruit cake, and learning about all the geography of the places from where the ingredients traveled to the factory to make it to the cake.

Almost like going in John’s home state of PA to the Hershey PA Candy Factory, where I loved to do the same things with my Economic Geography students. Boy, has that changed since I was younger (and John is the same age), and we could WALK above the tubs of chocolate, right down by the side of the stirring tank, and see the chocolate kisses coming out in front of you all wrapped up in foil. No such views now. You are guided in cars or walking through Disney like characters, occasionally way above completely enclosed windows, and it looks now like no fun at all.

Video of the Hershey Chocolate Factory Plant the largest change of all my memories (probably 50 years).

Hershey, PA – (10 mins)

It’s quite similar to the Sunnyside cheese tour of their packing factory. A person once was able to walk beside those up close.

And with the Cheddar Cheese factory in Tillamook Cheddar Cheese Factory in Oregon. No longer a walk through as once was, and we did that together in 1970.
Time moves on. More memories:

From Fire and Rescue, Sullivan’s Island, SC.
The photo is of Mandy Hawver Hydrick, who is getting a COVID vaccine as a first responder (fire & rescue): Assistant Chief Amanda

This reminds me of my summers there riding bikes around the Island with her mom (my cousin), Cindy Wilkins, climbing on the rocks at Fort Moultrie, and walking the beach.

Tuesday, Jan 5

Town day: Pickup my meds, Atorvastatin, at Bi-Mart pharmacy. Go from there by Super 1 to pick up LASIX at the drive-up window. Exciting!

Wednesday, Jan 6

Trip to Cle Elum for 3:00 PM visit with Chelsea (PCP) regarding swelling in my lower legs and decision on change in meds to reduce by using drugs rather than foods. My food intake has not changed at all, so it has other components and she is involving my cardiologist. Seeking an appointment with him ASAP, in Yakima, WA.

Lunch: John came home with Super 1 fried chicken we warmed and had with peaches.

Supper: Two entrees: Oven-warmed fried chick thighs & legs, plate; and a Bowl of Beef Stew John made with ground beef in the sauce, grated cheddar cheese, and I had Cheez*its spread around the edge of the bowl.

Thursday, Jan 7

Call from KVH imaging for 12:30 Appt for Echo Cardiogram this coming Monday afternoon.
Supper: Cooked Frozen Lasagna, John made baked apples.

Friday, Jan 8

We missed getting food for the family in EBRG both days last week. So back to the Kittitas Pantry where I fell 2 weeks ago.

On the road I called my aunt Marise Wilkins, in Guyton GA. It’s her 90TH year Birthday today. Her hubby, now deceased, was my mom’s youngest brother. Henry was the family’s representative that “gave me away” at our 1969 wedding.

At the Pantry, John walked through with me as the staff and I chose things for the family we are shopping for.

We get stuff too – a single layer chocolate cake for John’s birthday. Through the year when we grow onions, we donate them. When Bi*Mart Kitty Dry Pellets go on sale, we always donate one a 16-# bag. We make other donations as well from around our house.

A couple of kids like the little boxes of raisins as shown on the left.They seemed to have lots, so when I was asked if he should put some in (we are not allowed to touch anything), I said “All you want to give them.” He gave us an entire box – – but it had 24 pounds in plastic bags – – as we found when we started repackaging things prior to the first stop. Likely, we won’t need to get any for awhile.

Seems odd that this small town “Pantry” has more food than they can give away, while we hear of shortages elsewhere in other states.

One of the director there with her husband, is a doctor, at the Kittitas Valley Hospital, had just gotten her shot of Covid vaccine. We visited about the distribution of these, and are glad to know the local medical folks are being served. The County got just under 1,000 doses a week ago.

When we got home, there was a stack of stone siding under the new car port, plus some other things Contractor Walter had dropped off. So, soon we’ll be back to the remodeling.

Supper: Baked potato blue cheese, mushrooms, cooked pears, chicken.

Saturday, Jan 9

Nancy’s awake every morning at 5:00 a.m. to take medication, regardless. Takes care of other things (putting out dog in yard), before returning to sleeping). John is up & about earlier because of going to bed much earlier in the evening. I went back to sleep and slept in very late this morning until at 10:00 a.m. from needing to sleep in after late night hours and with badly interrupted sleep. I’m unaware of when John was up first, but I know he was taking care of animals, inside & outside the house. I guess I’m alert to the comings and goings, but I don’t really wake.

I called “Hay Guy” Mario and he’s bringing 4 tons on Monday. If he can get 2 trips in, double that. I’m driving myself to EBRG for my Echocardiogram at the hospital imaging department. It will take 2 hours! So good I can leave John home to handle the hay.

Brunch: Smoothie with pureed and strained blueberries, plus the liquid ingredients.
Supper: Some butternut Squash cut and baked with Mini-marshmallows on top, baked potato with blue cheese, mushrooms, cooked pears, chicken.

Sunday, Jan 10

We both slept in until 8:30 a.m. John’s been for the mail that comes after dark. I still haven’t gotten the compression socks Chelsea wants me to wear. I talked with Janee’ at Bi-Mart but sizing is an unresolved issue.

Brunch: Bacon, Pancake, with strawberries atop, under Maple syrup.

John started his afternoon moving firewood stacked in a small shed just off the back concrete slab. A couple of holes need to be dug and a sack of concrete mixed and used as a footer. There needs to be space for the posts that will support beams of the much expanded patio roof. The back space will be snow and rain free – about 28 feet wide and 14 feet out from the door. Holes will be dug Monday, by Nate.

Supper: Chicken, fried onion rings, Butternut squash with walnuts in sugar/cinnamon sauce, under toasted mini-marshmallows baked on top, breaded shrimp, PowerAde for drink. Chocolate cake and ice cream will finish off the evening.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Not so nasty news January 8th

Not much to report this week, except I had a birthday.

Picked this photo off the web; no idea who it is or if he got cake.
I made a “spice” cake from a box — well past its best by date.
It doesn’t taste like much of anything, but what is a spice cake supposed to taste like?

Today we made a trip to the Kittitas Food Pantry. The lady we have been taking food to for a year or more was apprechitive.
We missed both times last week. The lady at the Pantry gave me a single layer chocolate cake. Something to look forward to this weekend.

The weather is cool, damp and overcast — has been and continues.

Maybe your week was more exciting. Hope so.
John

Happy New Year Week!

Monday, Dec 28
Blue Bird Ski Day – White Pass, WA Photographed, by Lise McGowan, Ellensburg, WA, Kittitas Valley, 12-28-20.

John did all the work on the cleanup of the stuff in the Curved Glass China Cabinet had us up at 7:30 to begin cleaning up stuff around patio doors inside our den. I got a little more involved with drying the cleaned stuff and storing those elsewhere. The process slowly continues. Need to do more soon. John’s gone to bed, and I have about 20 more minutes until I can take an acetaminophen, fluoride my teeth, put my gen teal drops in my eyes, and go to bed.

Tuesday, Dec 29

We left home, John driving, so I could make phone calls. I had two blood-draw tests noonish blood draws at Med Arts building on Jackson Street. We dropped off a red package of blood vials at KVC hospital front desk. While there, I called Cle Elum Medical to leave message for Nurse Lacey.

From there by AAC on to drop off package for Katrina,
then Super 1, then we went by Amy & Haley’s with ceramic things and Raisin mini-packets.

This photo in the snow of the Kittitas Depot is awesome taken by friend EvieMae Schuetz.

Wednesday, Dec 30

At 10:00 a.m., James Hickey at Umpqua Bank set up payment to Davenport’s for finish of one of the remodel contracts. Checked with Lyn; later will get a USPS notification the money has been deposited in their business account there at Umpqua Bank.

With this telephone and digital transfer, and not going in person to the lobby of the bank, I’m a happy “kamper.” James Hickey has done this previously and sent to the Davenports and also delivered to us for our records. I’ve also dealt with Brandy, but she is off this week. Didn’t get this done until noon because he spent longer with a bank client, & went to his lunch before calling me.

John went to start his car to leave for Cle Elum Clinic. He left at 10:30a.m. and has an hour (roads okay, but he went the Interstate rather than the Old Hwy 10).
John plans on calling me from the road to report in on the snow situation on timing his trip to Cle Elum for his appointment. He doesn’t want to cancel because of snow that they have in Cle Elum today.

John called at 12:18, they got his ears cleaned out. He is heading down the Freeway to buy gasoline at Pilot, and plans to call me from Bi-Mart Parking Lot in 45 minutes. Going for wild bird seed.

Week coming will be busy. I have two appointments we must go to Tuesday & Wednesday, which John must drive me to. He still have a pickup load of fine horse manure to deliver to the vineyard. And the remodel crew may want to come start on the next project.

I have adjusted to putting a pillow on the end of my recliner because just putting the swelled legs down on the recliner HURTS them way too much. The pillow is difficult to manipulate from the table to my right, but I can manage the pillow while using my laptop not to have the severe pain pressure without the pillow.

However, Chelsea needs to know I still am having slight instability factors, e.g. at the Medical Arts Bldg. Lab yesterday where the better K test was performed, but still some, difficulty moving around the house, some painful muscle movements today, changed from the leather shoes today and now using an open non-laced shoe for walking, but still have on same socks.

Lunch: John came home with Super 1 fried chicken we warmed and had with peaches. He also got some cans of tuna to share among the 4 cats.

Supper: Spaghetti with ground beef in the sauce and pieces of cook chicken cubes, grated cheddar cheese, and I had Cheez*its spread around the edge of the bowl.

We soaked washed dishes in the dishwasher and ran it.

Thursday, Dec 31 New Year’s Eve

We snagged this image from the web, so have no information about it. Odd thing is that the photo is not taken from Midnight.

Seems more like sunset – a good time to celebrate, and then go to bed.

Last Pink Sunrise of 2020 photographed by Janet M. Downs, who only saw this for 8 seconds.

8:46 a.m. we received a phone call from our Contractor Walter, wanting John to view a post & beam patio cover he had built in EBRG. John took off soon as he could to meet him at the home. Here is a photo, but ours will be a little lower and a bit wider. Details in a later edition with our own version over our patio.

Skipping Zoom Game Day today at 11:00 AAC to work on the den moving project. Game was going to be Pictionary.

Lunch: We ate at 2:00 p.m., after blending me a Smoothie Low potassium content. (We re-wrote the recipe on Fridge door). As dessert, we each had a piece of Claxton, GA fruitcake (a Christmas gift from our neighbors, Gerri & Allen Aronica, who likely don’t know I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA! And also, need to thank them for a Jar of Honey made from bees on their property, just a 1/2-mile up the road from our house. John had a grilled cheese & deli ham on one piece of large Wheat bread, folded over & sliced.

Tried calling sister at 6:00, but no answer at either phone; she called back at 6:16 and we decided the phones were at fault for her not answering. We discussed my current medical issues, so I must contact her again after Wednesday’s appt in Cle Elum.

I have large swelling of my legs, calves, and feet beneath my knee. NEVER in my life have they ever been this huge. I have had them raised now since 6:00 p.m.

Supper: Oven reheated fried chicken from yesterday, also served with Russet baking potato covered and sliced, baked into a shell of Beer Batter Mix; later Baked Apple Crumble Cake Topped pie, with strawberry / vanilla ice cream for John, and vanilla for me.

Friday, Jan 1

Sleep: interruptions off and on throughout the entire night by a “dream” awaking me over and over. We have got to get to the bottom of what is causing this disruption to my nightly sleep pattern.

I have more blood draws test this coming Tuesday to see the results. That will last for the next two months. The Potassium test is being continued. I am faithful my medications. On Vitamin K, I have changed no food intakes, except suspended taking the Ensure with the high amount of Potassium. My doctor restored taking two medications related to potassium lowering, and increased my Furosemide to daily up from every other day, with the hopes of decreasing the incredible swelling side of my legs, thighs, ankles, and feet, and will examine me in the office in Cle Elum, also to view the bruising, and blood in contact with the fall outside their building, when my muscle stability tossed me down on the concrete sidewalk.

When the phone rang this morning at 8:43 and John had to leave, I was sleeping intently, and awakened abruptly. A neighbor needed help – it’s a long story – but the short of it was she needed to make long distance phone calls and doesn’t have that on her phone contract. John was going to use the Bluetooth in the Subaru, but would have to go toward EBRG.

John left the house at 8:43 a.m. – returned at 10:45, and is now out feeding horses. I’m doing my morning activities with computer and medications. Additionally, the first day of a month means redoing certain charts for keeping track of daily measurements, morning and night.

Supper: Boiled Cocktail shrimp, with tails to remove, plenty for each of us; Breaded Cod, Potato pancake. Dessert: Heated Dutch Apple Pie, with Crumbled cake topping on pie, served with vanilla Ice Cream.
John finished his Friday weekly blog, Not so Nasty News about 7:35 p.m.

Saturday, Jan 2

I slept in even though I had a good night’s rest, and John slept in a little longer too but got up to take care of the cats, quail, horses, and other things. John is cleaning out kitchen cabinets of china cups, saucers, plates, bowls, we no longer use, don’t want or need to donate to Naomi’s Hope charity.

Brunch: A piece of ham, 2 eggs over easy with a little cheese, small bowl of peaches.
Supper: Best part was Butternut Squash cubed and baked with Mini-marshmallows on top.

Sunday, Jan 3

Decent weather so John cut brush for an hour just west of the house. A fire reduction action. Most every thing else was standard stuff.

Supper: Stew, potato tater tots, I had Cheez*It on the side of my bowl. PowerAde for drink.

Late Sunday night, 1/3/20, my Sunday Night’s blog will create its own new Live Link for the third day of Jan, 2021, from which to begin next week’s blog. Probably will just finish Sunday, and start afresh. Actually, I know we’ll be getting ready for appointments on Tuesday in Ellensburg and also a Wednesday trip to our PCP in Cle Elum.

I’ll have to take my camera along, in case I see a photo
opportunity that I can post on the Kittitas County Visual Delights site.

Hope your week was fine.

Nancy and John
Still on the Naneum Fan

Not so Nasty News January 1st

Panic2020 Jokes

– Some person thought that Panic2020 has turned us into dogs.
We roam the house looking for food. We get really excited about car rides and walks.
– Another person declined to tell a Covid-19 joke. He said, I don’t think you will get it.
– If you are quarantined, only inside jokes are allowed.
– Nancy taped a world map to the wall and then gave me a dart and said, “Throw this and wherever it lands—that’s where we’ll go when this pandemic ends.”
Turns out, we’re spending a week behind the couch.
– Ran out of toilet paper and started using lettuce leaves. Today was just the tip of the iceberg, tomorrow romaines to be seen.
– After years of wanting to thoroughly clean our house but lacking the time, this year we discovered that wasn’t the reason.
– The best way to avoid touching your face? A glass of wine in each hand.
– After months at home, a friend wrote: The dog is looking at me like, “See? This is why I chew the furniture!”

Item #2: Crazy things on internet

I was wondering about the height of a car tire from road surface to the rim – that, of course is variable so I visited several sites looking at various types and sizes. Since then the crazy internet has been pushing ads as though I wanted to spend a fortune on tires I don’t need.
Today I used the search term “black hole” because I was interested in a formal definition to compare with the photo at the bottom of this page. Here is a screen grab of what DuckDuckGo served up:With all the hype about Artificial Intelligence – are these folks paying for this nonsense?

Item #3: What part of closed . . .?

There are just 4 roads with mountain passes that one can use to go from Eastern Washington to Western Washington. Two of these are closed for months because of snow. Very rarely one or both of these can be kept open. This is well known, and the closures are marked, and with much more visible signs than the one here.
In 1976, Chinook Pass did not close because of lack of snow. That’s 44 years ago. In 2020 it was closed by November 12th.
Some photos:
The Hidden highway; Trail Bridge over the road; What signs?

I’m thinking he was drunk

Maybe Mercedes’ drivers are mentally challenged.

Item #4: 2021?

This isn’t an original idea from me, but I did put this combo-image together for the change from 2020 to 2021.
The question, seems to me, is whether or not the situation continues on a down hill path or might we climb out of the chaos of 2020? Either case looks like a long and winding road.

Item #5: Look-a-likes

I was watching a video from a Canadian source about Gordon Lightfoot, 82 this past November.
We are a bit fuzzy on this, but I believe we went to a concert at the University of Iowa (about 1970 or ’71) where he and two other folks each did about 40 minutes of songs. This was inside where basketball was than played, and marijuana smoke filled the stands.
I only remember that he started a song, played just a few chords, and stopped. He said he was in the wrong key or tempo or something and started again.
He looks to be about age 6 in the photo. So that makes it about 1944 – the year I was born. The odd thing is that the woman, his mother, has the same hairdo {where does that word come from} and overall looks just like my sister. Enough like that I backed the video up and captured the image.
Someplace we have a picture that my dad took, and I would like to compare the two, but that would take a herculean search and hardly worth the effort. Besides, my sister agrees she and Gordon’s mother look alike.

And that, for this week, is the not so nasty news.
John

Nothing escapes a Black Hole.
Here is a picture of one near a dinner table.