Starting again this week with Sunday, because the last blog date of publication was Saturday. This taize’ service had two more musicians join. We had a piano, two violins, a viola, a flute, and a recorder.
[from John: I have to look things up, thus, learning a recorder is a type of medieval flute revived in the 20th century, partly in the pursuit of historically informed performance of early music, but also because of its suitability as a simple instrument for teaching . . . The name comes from at least as far back as the mid-1300s when one meaning of the word “record” meant to practice a piece of music.]
Next week we are going to add even more music to the service. It went for ½ hour and we went downstairs for homemade lasagna, like you have never had. It was made by a gentleman in their church, and had these unusual ingredients, but it was awesome: pumpkin, walnuts, pine nuts, cheese and whole wheat lasagna noodles. There were at least two different types of really good cookies, and my favorite was peanut butter with peanuts. Also there were chocolate chip ones.
Monday brought a trip to my family physician—just a 6-week check-up from the last visit. It was a nice visit with no call for a follow-up in a month. He listened to my heart and didn’t even hear a murmur. My blood pressure and heart rate were right on, and I’m up on my weight to 150 (with clothes on). All my lab work is good for red blood count, % iron, and other things. He was so happy to see me back to good health. Now I need to stay that way.
The mail brought my MedicAlert bracelet today. I’m happy with it too. It is a sports band with musical notes around it. I’m in a database with all my medical information. There is a 1-800 number on it to call in an emergency. They had not listed my “allergy” to Heparin, so I called them and they will add it and make me a new bracelet. [remember HIT?]
I also went to my exercise class in town today, and by the grocery store on the way home. So, while I was away, John worked on the barn, opening up a side of it for the horses to be able to have a place under shelter if they desire. The deer (mamma and two small ones) hung around all day. In the morning they were in the orchard, and in the afternoon they were in the pasture with the horses. (cont. Sat.)
Also got a phone call this afternoon to fill a slot at Yakima Memorial hospital for a TEE. I passed on this one because I already have two major things happening this Wed., and one of them was scheduled by the same organization, the Yakima Heart Center. They should realize there is only so much time in one day, and a patient should not have to do two procedures in two different cities, in the same 7 hours (not to mention the travel time to Yakima).
I cannot drive myself and have to have a driver, so that means John has to be available all that time too.
Another frustration. I received a bill from a lab in Sandy, UT but with the headquarters in Michigan. This was from my last stay in ICU at Yakima in August. It appears that Medicare paid part of a bill I had never seen, and they sent me the remainder I owed, with a nasty note that it was overdue and being the second notice. I NEVER received the first, and they obviously have not billed my secondary provider of insurance, Group Health. (John says “Get used to it.”) Tomorrow morning I will notify them to do so.
Finally–Tuesday morning came and I made several phone calls, not the least of which was about the bill mentioned previously. I had a very nice person on the other end of the line, which was a pleasant surprise. She checked my records and said she needed to contact Medicare again to pay more of the bill, and once she heard from them, she would bill Group Health for the remainder. Meanwhile, she is removing the warnings so I will not get nasty notes about not paying my bills, automatically sent by their computer in the “snail” mail, USPS regular delivery. She asked if I would like to switch to on-line payment, but I told her, while I was capable of such, I didn’t wish to because I wanted a paper trail of my bills and what was paid by whom. (needed for tax purposes)
The other major accomplishment of the day was getting the Biotronix device checker set up next to where I sleep. It has to be connected to a phone line of the old fashioned variety and also to a power source. John ran a telephone extension cord connector line up around the room for access. At 2:00 in the morning it automatically senses my ICD and reads the report therein, sends it across the land to a company computer for analysis, and sends that to my doctor’s office in Yakima, WA.
If there is a decided change in anything that should not be, bells ring at Biotronix headquarters and around the world, they will notify my doctor, and I get a call suggesting I get by butt into his office, pronto.
I must be within 2 meters of the device for this to work. We did a connection test and the unit is functioning properly. If I’m awake at 2:00 a.m. I will look at the lights on the unit to see if it is connecting and operating. I’m not supposed to feel this transfer. I suppose if I awake near 2:00 and need to potty, I will have to wait till the thing is through transmitting, because I would be farther than 2 meters from the base station. Isn’t technology amazing? What I am concerned about is when I travel, and have to take this unit along with me and all the wires to hook into a phone line. That might be a challenge.
Today we got our first snow. It probably left an inch or more on the ground but was followed by rain, so we have none on the ground.
This was the first day we didn’t have any reason to go to town. Nice for a change, although I planned to cut John’s hair and we never got around to it. (Please don’t send me any round TUITs).
I did write a few more thank you cards/letters, but that has also been a slow process.
The next paragraph talks about a Pulmonary Function Test, which is defined in the medical dictionary as:
PFT: Pulmonary function test, a test designed to measure how well the lungs are working. PFTs gauge how the lungs are doing their jobs — of expanding and contracting (when a person inhales and exhales) and of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently between the air (or other gases) within the lungs and the blood.
For example, one PFT calls for the patient to breathe into a machine called a spirometer. It is a mechanical device that records the changes in lung size as air is inhaled and exhaled and the time it takes for the patient to do this task.
Wednesday I went to the hospital early (10:00 a.m.) for a Pulmonary Function Test, ordered by my cardiologist at the last appointment in Yakima. Interesting that the entire test was transferred electronically to my doctors, at the end of the test. No waiting around for curriers and putting on a disk or print out to send. The technician explained as much as he could to me about my results, but mentioned that my cardiologist has to read all the parameters and evaluate in light of my whole medical picture of everything since last November, 2009. I was in the “low” range when compared to my reference group (age, sex, height, weight), but apparently improved when given an inhaled drug to relax the bronchial muscles that might have been stiffening my lungs. It was an added test at the end of the normal set of things to measure my breathing. On the report are those figures (mentioned below) and the numbers for Lung Volume, Diffusing Capacity and Resistance. It was an interesting test. I await the results. The reason for it was that I’m taking a drug called Amiodarone to control my Atrial Fibrillations. It has lots of side effects, the worst of which is damage to the lungs.
Here are some of the several items they tested on me:
FVC – Forced Vital Capacity, which is the volume of air that can forcibly be blow out after taking a deep full breath, measured in liters. Mine was 71% when compared to a reference group. They’d like it to be over 80%.
FEF – Forced Expiratory Flow, the flow or speed of air coming out of the lungs during the middle portion of a forced expiration.
TLC – Total Lung Capacity is the maximum volume of air present in the lungs.
There were many measurements and the last thing that happened was I was given 2.5 mg Albuterol/NS for a brochiodilator. Almost all my parameters increased. It is a mist inhaled that relaxes the bronchial muscles around the lungs, mentioned above.
Exercise class was in the afternoon, and I’m doing better each time. We had the 5th in the series of 6 Washington Geology lectures during the evening. The topic was Lava Flows and Floods in the PNW. Next week is on the Geology of the Kittitas Valley, where we live. It is the last in this fall series of community lectures.
Thursday was play day at the Rehab center. We had a good turnout and enjoyed our time together.
Friday we got ready for the potluck and jam session in the evening. We both spent a fair amount of time on the computer in the morning, and I consulted with my cardiologist’s nurse in Yakima and the device technician as well. Results: the device technician reported that the device is sending information well, in the middle of the night, to describe what my heart is doing.
The nurse reported that my Cardiologist, had reviewed all the parameters from Wednesday’s PFT, and decided I was good to stay on Amiodarone and needed to have another PFT in 9 months. That’s good news.
I cut John’s hair before we ate lunch. It had been awhile–since a few days after my birthday in early September.
John put pork ribs (two large pieces—Baby back ribs) in the oven at 1:00 p.m. and went out and worked in the yard till 4:30 when he came in to open the top and put on BBQ sauce.
My exercise class had been cancelled so I spent much of the afternoon working on music for the jam session, and burning copies of a CD of Jimmie Rodgers – 24 blues songs, to give to the people in the music group. We had a great meal and then a fantastic time afterwards playing music.
Saturday we played at Briarwood Retirement Community. You have heard this before, but they always sing along and fix us a late lunch (or early dinner). This will be no exception, EXCEPT, I need to print out some words for some of our songs, at the request of the audience, so they can sing along. Gives me something else to keep me busy on the computer in the morning before going to play. I got it done, and they treated us to homemade potato soup with bacon that is more like clam chowder. They had a table full of crackers and cheese spreads, Fritos, and yummy cookies for dessert. They copied the words I took along and passed them out among the group. They were delighted and sang along really well, on such songs as Side by Side, Jambalaya, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, 5-foot’2, and Yes Sir, That’s my Baby.
I will close and send to John to put out on the blog.
[from John: the CWU equestrian team hosted a riding show today and I went for a couple of hours as I was curious whether or not some of the young ladies could ride our horses – they get local horse owners to bring in horses so the out-of-town ones don’t have to bring their own. I learned that, even when well trained, our horses won’t be a good fit as they are gaited horses and the show expects the traditional movements of walk, trot, lope, and canter. Still, it was interesting. In the afternoon, while Nancy was doing music, I directed my problem horse, Jazz, into the round-pen and set about rasping his hoofs. When the hoofs get too long the back hoofs will hit the front ones (forging) and the front ones don’t “break over” soon enough and his movement suffers. All went well except when four deer (incl. one small buck) came out of the brush and walked up to the pen to see what was going on. I wish they wouldn’t do that when I’ve got one leg of a thousand pound animal in my possession. I tried to chase them away with little success. Jazz and I got the job done despite the audience and they were still around when I turned him loose.]
We wish you a nice next week, and hope you are staying healthy. Okay — that’s about it for this week.