SATURDAY — spirits, harmful and harmless

This weekend ought to bring out spirits of all types.  So get in your costume, don your mask, and hide from the bad guys.

Sunday night I participated again in the music for the Taizé service at the Episcopal church in town.  This week we had different musicians:  a pianist, two violins, and a flute to play the background instrumentals for people to sing along.  Afterwards we were served Lasagna and bread.

The past couple of days I have worked on the order for a “musical notes bracelet” with a Medic Alert on it for me.  It has a 1-800 number with contact to a data base with all my medical information.  It only costs $20 for the bracelet and $39.95 plus handling to get established in the data base.  The continuing cost will be $30/year.  That’s not bad for the purpose it serves, and I will be able to get rid of the red plastic band Allergy warning to Heparin that I have had on my wrist for the past 10 months.

Monday I went back to the dental hygienist for a teeth cleaning after 1.5 years.  I was concerned because that’s what started all this medical stuff April of 2009.  I took a high dose of antibiotics, and still was on the tail end of the 5-day antibiotic for my sinus infection.  The plaque build-up was not as bad as everyone feared.

I wrote a letter to my infectious disease specialist and my family physician to ask when I should go for a culture again after this to be sure no bacteria were introduced to my blood stream.  It seems I’m susceptible more so than others to endocarditis and we want to catch it sooner than the last two times.

While I was going to town, John helped more with chores around the farm of our neighbors across the street.  Today he is cutting wood again in the upper part of the neighbor’s land.

It’s a rest day for me to catch up more on thank you notes and emails, filing receipts, and paying bills.  John is going to a meeting tonight on the use of State lands. With a push from the Feds, the State fish and wildlife folks have to respond to any use that might directly or “incidentally” harm/take/kill plants or animals deemed threatened or endangered.  This meeting is intended to explain the process.  Being dog and horse owners and belonging to clubs that might be impacted, John and some others from the Trail Riders club are going as a team.

Wednesday was the start of a busy day to get us ready for an even busier day the next.   I took care of email and some stuff in the morning and then went to my SAIL (Stay Active and Independent for Life) exercise class again… this time paying my quarterly fee of 3 bucks.  Heck of a price for an hour’s exercise MWF each week, with a knowledgeable leader.  I wasn’t able to participate in the time several weeks after August’s event, but now I’m back to okay… and everyone was happy to see me back.  I’m not quite 100%, but really am better than I was the last time they saw me.  That evening John and I attended a Washington geology talk —  The topic was the potential for massive earthquakes just off of Washington’s coastline. It is well attended from the community and well done.

Thursday brought all sorts of activities.  I actually slept in a little more than usual, and then we got to Kittitas to Curley’s in time for Taco Thursday specials and to meet 8 people who rode their horses down the John Wayne Pioneer Trail from the Fairgrounds at Ellensburg.  It’s about 6 miles.  There were at least 8 others from the club who met there and had lunch.  From there John took me to Hearthstone Cottages, where we entertained a good group of people who appreciate our music and will sing along.  John and I left a few minutes early to go to a great lecture at CWU Geography, on field work in Mexico and Peru.  Then we picked up my Subaru we had left last night to be worked on today; just an oil change and lube.

There are no close yard sales Friday, so we will stay home in the morning and hope to install the unit to send my ICD readings up at 2:00 a.m. in the morning from beside my bed.  Perhaps I can make some more inroads into cleaning out spaces to hang the new clothes, and get down to more of the old to take to friends who can use them.  I am down enough on my weight that I can fit into some Medium shirts; however,  I’m still better with L.  Nowhere near the previous 2XL and some 22W sizes.  Not the way to lose weight, but it’s very nice to be able to exercise with less weight to move around.  I’m sure my horse will appreciate having me aboard once I get there too.

Noon Friday was a scholarship luncheon at CWU in the CWU Theatre department.  After that was my exercise class at the Senior Center (oops, more properly called the Adult Activity Center for political correctness).  There was a Halloween Bingo party there in the evening, and I went with my neighbor.  Neither one of us won a single game.  They had some good prizes too, so that was disappointing.

It rained most of the night and started again Saturday morning.  We thought about not going but decided to go to a garage sale 6 miles away from us.  It was a nice trip through the countryside, in the rain, but nothing grabbed our fancy there.  We have empty boxes in the back of the car for use tomorrow at our friend’s house who has offered us some garden vegetables and to pick some apples.  Could be Halloween evening I will go to town to visit the family with the puppy Rhu we kept for so long.  They are fixing chili and invited us in to share in the Halloween fun with their kids (2 and 4 yr old boys).

We’ll be back next week on the blog with any news.  It’s probably going to be a lighter week but who knows?
Nancy

SATURDAY — Music, Music, . . .

Last Sunday night I did go to a music service at the Episcopal church — at the north of B Street.  Turns out it was much more than I realized and is the first of a Taizé for our town – an ecumenical service with scriptures, silence (meditation), music, prayers, communion, and more music mixed into the entire service.  There are several denominations involved:  (alphabetically, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and me, the one lone Baptist). We had a pianist, two violins, and a guitar to play the background instrumentals for people to sing along on 5 song-like chants.

That night I missed seeing flyers for a lost Brittany puppy, that turns out was “our” Rhu.  Little Rhu went out of his yard/garage door, on the south end of B Street and, luckily, was picked up by the police almost immediately and taken to the pound for two nights.  Making contact with the pound care-givers over the weekend wasn’t happening, so it wasn’t until Monday morning his owners found him and he is back home with the family.  The reason I mentioned the location of the church on B Street is that there were flyers for the lost puppy at places I was before getting to the church.   I was at the grocery and on all the roads where flyers were posted all around B and other streets. Had I seen one of the posters I might be back in the ICU.

Monday was a slow day.  I managed to get an order from my doctor to the hospital so I could have the PICC line removed.  I spent the rest of the day and the day before, getting the lyrics to songs we will sing and perform later this week.  More music.

Finally, Tuesday morning we succeeded and went to town for the removal of the PICC line.  I was so tired from dreaming all night and not sleeping well, that I rested / napped in the afternoon.  Then I went in to play more music at the Royal Vista Nursing home (with The Connections—a different religious group who sings to the audience and also sings along with them on old church anthems they know from their younger days.  It is simply amazing to watch even the Alzheimer patients sing along.  It’s really rather remarkable and enjoyable to view.

The rest of the week has been fun but mostly normal fare.  Wednesday I was still sick with a cold and stayed close to home until we went to Ellensburg for the Geology lecture on Tsunamis in WA & OR coasts from offshore underwater large (> 9) magnitude earthquakes.  Thursday, was play day for music at the Dry Creek facility and we practiced for our playing Friday night in a fundraising benefit dinner for the Cascade Land Conservancy, to get money to pay for protection, preservation, and enhancement within the 22-mile stretch of the Yakima River Canyon for a Scenic By-way.  This is along Hwy 821 from Ellensburg to Yakima, WA and is very picturesque, with all sorts of vegetation and cactus and river scenes, basalt cliffs, and this is a classic “catch & release” stream as well.  Fly fisherman come in from around the world.  Sightings of Big Horn Sheep, elk deer, Ospreys, and other wildlife are possible.

Friday and Saturday mornings, we went to several yard sales.  One was a rummage sale at a church and for $3 we got a bag with neat stuff in it: vest, jeans for John, sweaters, blouses, skirt, making the items cost less than 50 cents each.  They are all new-like condition.  Before stopping there, we went to a “guy’s” sale in the rural area and I found a CD of 24 songs of the blues, by Jimmie Rodgers.  We sing at least two of his songs in our music group – 1929, “Waitin’ for a Train”, and “T for Texas” so I was thrilled and picked up some other blues and guitar CDs and vocalists I didn’t know–but for a quarter each, it seemed like a fantastic deal.  I’m still happy with my newly found music.  Saturday morning we found some more good deals, again, blouses, shirts, and jackets for a quarter, with two at fifty cents, which are in excellent condition and probably originally were very expensive.  John found the fancy jackets that were marked $1, but I bargained and got them for less.  He has a good eye for such things, so it’s nice having him along but he hates asking for a price reduction when the stuff is almost free anyway.

Now I still need to spend time cleaning out closets to have a place to put this stuff.  And, I also need to sort out the large sized things I have not yet given away and get them to my friends or another appropriate destination.  At the sales, I found a couple of items that I can gift to some friends, who are collectors.  John found some straw placemats that he plans to use as window shades.  Clever guy.  The lady of the house was willing to give the 4 to us for a buck.  One of the neatest things about sales in a relatively small town, is you see people you know and can visit.  One wants to say “Small World” but it is just a small town.  This happens every time we go out and about, including to the grocery store, the bank, or whatever.  The hospital is a bit different in that I now know half the folks that work there.

Well, the week started with music and will end with music tomorrow, but we are going to try to get this on the blog on Saturday night.

We’ll be back next week.

Nancy

SUNDAY — There is a time . . .

Nancy writing each day:

Sunday was a light day mainly used for resting from the week previous and all the exciting things that happened.

Monday found us going in for a blood culture draw and for other blood lab tests to check on the existence of bacteria or if they had all been eliminated by the two antibiotics.  We won’t know the culture results for a few days.

Tuesday found us on the road to Yakima for almost the whole day, leaving at 8:45 a.m. for a 10 a.m. appointment to have my ICD (device) checked.  That was over in 12 minutes, but we had to wait around to see the cardiologist at 11:15 a.m.   We were late getting in to see him and then he spent over an hour with us, reviewing all that had happened since the last visit (July 21st).  Lots surely had transpired.  He was very thorough as usual and dictated facts and all his opinions of which we will get a copy.  We didn’t get home (ate a lunch there), till 3:30 p.m.   Then I went by myself to play music at 6:30 p.m. at one of the nursing homes.  Came home to a dinner cooked by John for me.  I’m eating again, finally, so that’s made him very happy.

Wednesday – we decided to make some Chocolate Chip cookies, but only made one cookie sheet and put the dough in the frig to cool down for more during the evening.  Our main chore of the day was to figure out some of the TIAA-CREF paperwork that never got completed in April.  We needed to process the papers to get our money invested there transferred to Vanguard where we have an investment counselor to help us get some income into our checking account for our retirement.  There is no “pension” from the university*, but they matched part of our contributions to mutual

[* from John : Years ago we were given the opportunity to opt out of the WA State Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) and, instead, our retirement dollars were directed to retirement plans sponsored by TIAA-CREF, Vanguard, and Fidelity.  We were warned that once we signed out we would be stuck with our decision.  We signed out and never looked back.  Nation-wide many state and local plans are now under funded.  Can you say “Taxes will go up.”]

funds and stocks, over the years.

Even when John taught part-time, he was able to put a few thousand aside in a retirement fund.  We had an appointment in the afternoon with our helper at the CWU Human Resources department and we saw her to get the forms we had filled in, notarized*, and to check to see we had the correct ones.

[* from JohnThe State of WA assumes a 50-50 split of retirement funds between spouses so a paper has to be signed by the spouse giving consent to move money out of the CWU Plan and the signature has to be witnessed by the plan representative or a notary.]

On the way home we stopped at a nursery and bought 4 small bushes, Rose of Sharon (or Althea, as Nancy remembers it from her childhood in Atlanta). Two are good to 5 below and the others to 10 below.  John is going to put them out by the road because he has a vision of a different gate entrance in the future for our home.

In the evening we took off for town again, after a bite of dinner, and heard a geology lecture for the community by a CWU Instructor, titled: “The geology of Mt. Stuart: A closer look.” Washington is a jumble of parts that came from elsewhere. They arrived from who knows where and got plastered onto others and the edge of the old North American Plate.  Mt. Stuart is a 93 million year old granitic mountain of unknown origin.

Thursday will be the normal music at the Rehabilitation Center where I spent 6 weeks getting back on my feet–January and February.  It is good to go back now that I can walk again.  We sneaked out of the music early to get to the University by 3:05 to hear our newest faculty member, a biogeographer, talk on paleo-ecology found in cores (mud) of lake beds.  It was a fascinating lecture.  She has done work on lagoons and lakes in Belize and will be doing research here in Washington.  She also has cored many lakes in Oregon.  After her talk, I went to Out Patient Services at the hospital for a dressing change and flush on my PICC line, and we took some of the cookies to the group of nurses.  John and I both went to the Trail Riding club meeting tonight.  A busy day.

Friday. The fast-test for bacteria was negative and today, after extended culture time, none showed their ugly tell-tail presence.  Hurrah!  We’ll schedule a PICC removal celebration for early next week.

We have a potluck/jam session with the music group to practice for our “gig” next Friday night.  We’ve been asked to play music for a fund raiser in the Yakima Canyon for the Scenic By-Way.  That’s a 22-mile stretch of Nature’s beauty down the Yakima Canyon Road between Ellensburg, WA and Yakima, WA.  There are many basalt cliffs, a few Ponderosa pines, black cottonwood, cactus, and big horn sheep occasionally within view.  The Yakima River (catch & release) runs the entire stretch along side of the road.  It is a very scenic place.

John spent most of the day planting Rose of Sharon (Althea) trees (small) we bought a day or so ago.   He’s planting them near the road and the entrance to our driveway, with the hopes getting some pretty flowering trees up there for color.  He’s also been cooking pork ribs all afternoon for the potluck tonight.  It’s his specialty and everyone loves them.

Saturday brings more music.  The Kittitas Valley Fiddlers and Friends entertained at Briarwood, a retirement community.  This is the place where they provide us food after we play and sing.  It’s a nice group of people and they normally sing along and some get up and dance.  They had sandwich makings today and desserts.  There were several types of meat, tomatoes, lettuce, 4 different cheeses and two kinds of bread.

This morning we hit a couple of yard sales and the bank. There they counted our piggy-bank-change – actually a plastic gallon bear – and converted it into cash for us.  A few weeks ago John accidentally hit the bear in the nose and the thin plastic shattered and spilled coins onto the dresser and the floor.  The time had come to gather the coins and count them.  [Ecclesiastes 3]

Sunday; nothing is planned, except I will go to the Grace Episcopal Church for another music program, to play along with one of my friends.

Nancy

SATURDAY (eve.) — TW3

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_Was_The_Week_That_Was ]

What a week this has been, full of fun things and no new medical issues.  I’m also feeling better and doing more.

Sunday was spent recovering from the week before and the day of celebration before.  You have heard some of the things about the retirement party, but things kept changing as I tried to reconstruct the people there from memory.  I finally stopped, thinking I was done, but I should have waited to see the pictures that the new geographer at CWU (Megan) took for us.  She even took movies of the beginning speakers, including a short little piece from me, about how we got interested and involved in the geography of wine.  But, there are lots of pictures and there I was reminded of some people I knew were there and others I did not see.  The time was filled (after the talks) with greeting folks from my past.  I may still not be through with the list, but I now have a count of 109 people who were there.  The oldest friends there were from 1974 and our job at the Univ. of Idaho in Geography.   One of them was a total surprise.  As already mentioned, some of the students from my first quarter here (1988) came over to celebrate (from the west side of WA).  Many past students from the 1990s were there, and a number in this Century, plus their parents in one case.  Everyone there was a special highlight of my day.

Thanks also to all the donors who gave to the scholarship fund in my name.  Few could believe the total that it reached, $2535.  I received names and addresses so that I may send a thank you card, but I’m only told the total amount donated to the fund, not any individual amounts.  So when I get thank you notes out, I will be responding only to the thought and not the amount.  I will say, the advancement officer in charge of the College of the Sciences funding was surprised at the turnout at the celebration and also at how many $$ would be generated for the special award, The Distinguished Service Award, for students in Geography and the graduate Resource Management program.

All-in-all, the retirement fling went amazingly well – others did all the work, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves at the party.  I certainly did.  Turns out the potted flower I couldn’t identify last blog we picked up at school and found it is a Calla Lily.  It is so beautiful (big yellow blooms), and we have searched the web and found how to care for them, and to winter them.  I think we will leave in a sunny window as a potted plant as long as possible, and then hopefully plant it in the spring.

Monday was the time set aside with an appointment to take Rhu, the 19-week old puppy we have been raising, to the vet for his Rabies shot, another puppy vaccine, and for his blood work for a titer to see if he had immunity from Parvovirus.  He passed the test, but we didn’t know the results until the next afternoon.  We had set up delivery of him to his new home after we knew he was cleared.

Monday afternoon, I was walking down the hall and heard a sound coming in the bedroom window.  It was a meow.  John went to look and said it was a little orange kitty.  John had heard a similar sound out near the barn.  We don’t know if there was a litter there and the owls or coyotes picked all but him off or what.  But, John came back in the house to get gloves in case he was “wild.”  He went back out and he was no longer under the window (inside the backyard).  A little later John heard him again, and found him on the outside of the fence headed toward the compost pile but still missed a catch, but about an hour later — success. Once picked up he is a quiet kitty.  We think he was close to starvation.

He wasn’t taking a drink or food at first, but he has a full set of teeth.  He cannot be more than 8 weeks old, and maybe less.   We put a towel and papers in a crate and put it in our washroom on top of the washer where we can talk to him and feed and water him.  We started with milk and finally pushed his face into it, and he began drinking.  We only had a can of Tuna in the house, but he was happy to eat that.  However, we bought some cat food Wednesday, kitten food Thursday, and he absolutely loves the moist kitten food (turkey).  He has a full tummy now.  We have named him Sunshine, and are calling him Sunny, or sweetie, or kitty.

Tuesday’s big excitement was packing Rhu in a crate, carrying his baggage containing his food, milk bone treats (large and small), his “bone”, his “Rhu’s Shoe”, and his “Big Mac” squeaky toy.  It was a great meeting, a little rocky at first because it was a new and strange environment with two little boys and a big black (female) dog in the house.  He was nervous and shy at first, but as the time went by, and we moved to the backyard, he began to warm up and play with the kids, and to sit in new laps.  They invited us for supper, and we stayed.  By the time we left, puppy Rhu was adjusting quite well.

Wednesday’s events were going to CWU Geography to pick up some flowers left there Saturday after the party, and to pick up the memory book Marilyn compiled with emailed comments before the party and then some entered by hand at the party.  There were some wonderful stories from each person who contributed, and it will bring joy (and maybe tears) in the future re-reads of them.  I have read them all once thus far.   If you are reading this blog, and were one to send or write an entry, please accept my thanks.

Thursday brought our normal playing at the nursing home, followed by a trip to the hospital, Out Patient Services, for a changing of the dressing and flushing of my PICC line.  I have to do that weekly until it is removed.  Next Monday is the time for blood lab draws and a blood culture to see if the bacteria are all gone.

Friday.   We moved kitty Sunny to the front porch and yard.  He ate a big serving of kitten food and then departed.  We did not see where he went and he has not returned.  It rained starting at 2:00 a.m. last night, and the temps didn’t get too cold, only 55, but he has not returned.  We hope he will when he gets hungry again.  It’s now Saturday, and he is still not in sight.  I have some pictures of him on John’s shoulder.. a favorite place he had found.

Afternoon Friday found us traveling in the ’89 Ford truck to west of Yakima to friends taking some 6 x 6’ chain link panels for their new Golden puppy they get Sunday.  They invited us for dinner (great), and I was pleased to be able to eat a full meal with friends, finally after all these months.  Then we listened to a surround sound music system and saw a DVD of the reuniting of The Eagles (Hell Freezes Over – 1994).  We’re old enough to have enjoyed them in the 1970s.

Saturday – and no kitty in sight.  We keep hoping he will return.  Otherwise we have a new bag of kitty food, and three cans of the special stuff.

Saturday morning we finished up stamping. folding and taping the Kittitas Valley Trail Riders Newsletter that John cobbles together each month.  We are up to 50 households, so it is a major undertaking.  He has been writing and working on it a little for the past several days, and gathering information from members and the President.

Friday and Saturday mornings we hit some garage sales, not many, but we got some good stuff.  We ran into friends and visited as well.  This is getting to be addictive.   We got nice men’s shirts for 25¢, and a pipe wrench for a buck, some socks and a pillow for 10 cents each and a nice pillow for 50¢, that goes in my passenger seat of John’s car, nicely and comfortably.  We found a special gift for a friend, a nice wooden Scandinavian horse napkin holder from Poulsbo, WA.  I got a new CD holder for the other car (John’s) to put the CDs we have gotten at yard sales recently:  Shelby Lynne, Trisha Yearwood, and Leanne Rimes.  They have remained in his car for playing.   Then another place I found a vest and a nice shirt for me for a quarter each.  The last sale we attended was not too far from our house, and we bought a HUGE umbrella for a buck.  It came into use at a potluck Saturday afternoon, for the Resource Management welcoming one, at our Geography Chair’s house.

For the party, he fixed a smoked turkey, grilled garden veggies, and everyone brought side dishes.  Another geography faculty member brought his apple press, and people brought apples, which were cleaned, chopped, and pressed into fresh juice.  A little was consumed there and much went home with the guests. A good time was had by all, despite the intermittent rain that kept bees and yellow jackets away.  It did not dampen our spirits.  A couple of students made homemade fresh tomato salsa, and was that ever good, both of them.   Someone brought a peach cobbler to die for, and another brought yummy “brownies” made of toll house cookie dough.  There was plenty of potato salad, chicken salad, and macaroni salad to add to a plate, with the smoked turkey, grilled brats, and grilled veggies. Yum.

Sunday is likely to be cool and wet, so a lazy day for us, but maybe a day to catch up on dirty dishes and clothes.  I still have all my thank you notes to write.

We will try to post this Saturday night, because nothing is on the schedule for Sunday and I’m out of things to say.  John will think this is much too long, but I had a lot to tell you all.

Best to all who continue to follow the blog, and thanks to John for continuing to post it.
Nancy

SUNDAY — Slow week, nice party

(Nancy writing – day by day.)

Sunday was an easy going day, after we sent in the blog Saturday night late.  Nothing to report there.

Monday has provided some changes to the schedule.  Instead of December for a preliminary visit with the doctor of Gastroenterology in Yakima we will visit this Thursday a.m. to contemplate a photographic adventure.   That  being the swallowing of a camera (Canon or Nikon, maybe) that will careen through my intestinal tract and send Technicolor video to the whole world.  Just kidding — it is the size of a large pill and at the moment that is all we know. The visit is scheduled for only ½ hr but there is paperwork and explanation and releases to sign for when “IT” will happen (and that has not yet been scheduled).  This whole medical system is fraught with time being spent by the patient that seems unnecessary.

Nothing else on the calendar today except the penultimate infusion of Rocephin.

And, something else got on the schedule, with a call from a lady whose yard sale we were at last Saturday.  She had a large lumber pine headboard for a home-made bed. This was where we got the two nice shirts (John wore his blue/yellow one yesterday and looked quite fancy).  He was so happy that he only paid $1 for a “new” Wrangler shirt.   She tried to give the headboard to John, even saying she would deliver it, but we left and told her if she could give it away to do so, if not give us a call.  We really don’t have a place for it.  However, she called midday today (we left our phone) and said it was ours if we still wanted it.   We had to drive the old truck down for it because the newer one wouldn’t start.  Guess John needs to fix that before Saturday and using it to carry in the cases of wine for the retirement celebration.

John had a hard time lifting the heavy piece of furniture, but he said there is probably $80 worth of wood in it, so he is happy.

Tuesday.   The day was mostly spent with John retrieving cases of wine from the crawl space under the kitchen for the retirement “party” this Saturday.  Many partial boxes had to be sorted and combined.  I worked much of the morning on the slide show for the event.  We went in for the last infusion and was that a memorable occasion.  We will see them again on Thursday to change the dressing and flush the PICC line.

We dropped by the Geography Department on the way home and had a great visit with the people there.  It was good to see them all and have them see me looking better than the last time I was in.  We made some final plans for Saturday with the powers that be.

I dropped off a few old 35mm slides for one of my former students to scan for me for the show I’m making.  That was kind of him to offer to do that.

Tomorrow we won’t know what to do with ourselves, not having to go to the hospital, so we will probably do some shopping.  Mostly we need to get a new battery for the truck that has to be used to deliver the wine to the Saturday event.

Wednesday.  Started early without much sleep not going to bed till 12:30.  The puppy and an older dog wanted to go out at 4:30 a.m.  After that episode, I didn’t  sleep well– kept having dreams about arriving late to my retirement party.  When I got up early this morning, there were two does and their young deer in our driveway.  They looked healthy with good coats, so maybe they will be fine for our winter that is expected to be colder than usual.  A robin was eating fat berries from our Mountain Ash tree out front.  The sun is up, but it is cold–still 43 degrees.  The heater came on in the house this morning.  Puppy Rhu is back in bed after romping around both yards and checking out the deer.  He gets to see coveys of quail running/flying around the yard too, but he hasn’t been allowed to venture outside the fence because we are being extra cautious about the parvo threat.

We got ourselves together to take the truck and its charged battery to town, buy puppy chow and other groceries for us, get some donuts.  I drove John’s car and he took the truck, figuring we might have to leave it an hour to be fixed.  However, the first stop for the battery showed the charge he had put on it was fine, and the 5-year old battery did not need replacing.  It must have a slow electron leak called “parasitic draw” by the auto guys.  So we drove to our mechanics to see if they could have a look-see, yet they said it should just not be left sitting for a couple weeks and to clean the connections and replace the bolts.  That’s going to take John’s time, but cheaper than a new battery. We stopped at Bi-Mart after parking the truck at the grocery, and got some doggie bones and cashews on sale.  Then back to grocery shopping.  I walked around both places for my exercise.

Home and I was tired, so after a little to eat (apple fritter and donut) I told John I would lay down awhile to rest and get up for a late lunch.  That never happened, as I guess I was really very tired from the long night, and I slept the afternoon through John’s nap, the puppy going back outside after his nap, and John picking me some wonderful tomatoes that now I will have with dinner.  He also put a “roast” in and it cooked all afternoon while I slept.  Now John also put in a bunch of time mowing the grass/weeds under the trees on the east side of the house.  And, he fed the horses and took 2 dogs for a run.  They had to dodge deer who were sharing the space–5 with a cute and pretty baby.  Then for the mail and papers, and they all are back.

Good I got all rested, and hope I can sleep tonight.  Tomorrow a.m. brings a trip to Yakima to visit the Gastroenterology doctor at 10:45 a.m.  Thursday is also play time with the Fiddlers and Friends at the nursing home behind where I spent all my time in January and February.   When I was in Rehab, John would roll me over in my wheel chair to participate with the group there.

Thursday.  Well it turned into a jam-packed day.  We got to the Yakima Gastroenterology office in time for a huge amount of paperwork about my health history.  I filled most of it out before being called into the office to wait for the doctor.  Finished the rest of it in there, and he came in after awhile.  We had a very nice talk with him and he mentioned about the capsule and camera and how it would not necessarily be done if my anemia has cleared up.  We will test Oct. 11th particularly the iron in my system and consider putting me on iron pills if needed.   Then we will check again in 3 months, before deciding to go through with the procedure.  There are potential concerns, in my case with a defibrillator.  No research has been done, but there is the uninvestigated opportunity for an interaction of the ICD with the camera in the capsule.  The doctor also noted there is a possibility of the camera getting stuck, which doesn’t happen often but requires abdominal surgery if it does.  In my case, they would do this over an 8 hour period in the hospital telemetry unit where my vital signs could be observed the entire time it is in my system.  I keep them on their toes!

We picked up a fast lunch in Yakima because we were noon getting out of the doctor’s office.  Then we rushed home to pick up my fiddle so we could go back to town for me to play.  There were only two fiddles, a banjo, accordion, and 3 guitars, and we had a good time.  Then we went to the hospital for my dressing to be changed on my PICC line, and for it to be flushed with saline solution.  That has to be done once a week till it is removed.  I still have several draws necessary for upcoming appointments with my cardiologist and family physician and my normal INR check.

After that, we went by school to pick up some scanned slides for the “show” on Saturday, from a wonderful grad student who did them for me.

Friday.  Not much on tap.  There are only two yard sales, but we need to go to town anyway, so why not hit them?  We found a nice jacket for me at one and some sweaters / vest for John and a nice cowboy hat for me, plus some great sweaters for me and some night sleeping clothes (flannel pjs and a gown).  I think I need to get rid of more of the older larger clothes to make room for all this.  At the sale with the hat I also got John 6 books (some hardback) for a quarter each.  All the prices were less than the hat at $2.  Amazing, and it’s quality stuff.

Saturday – the day of my retirement reception.  I have remembered the names of 100 people.  Maybe more, but have to check the memory book for additions.  A couple of colleagues, now Emeriti Profs, and several students got up and gave some incredible talks about what I had meant to them.  It was awesome and almost overwhelming, but I didn’t tear up.  I gave lots of hugs and visited the rest of the entire time, 2:30 to 5:00, and stayed after and watched a bit of the clean-up while visiting with the last of the guests.

I received many cards, several gifts, and many well wishes.  The new biogeographer took pictures.  That was really nice.  We carried in about 22 cases of wine but some were not standard size, some cases were not full and thus an exact count is not possible.  The guests drank some, took some home, and there are about 10 cases left for the department for any upcoming events as they wish.
I was surprised at some of the students who came that I wasn’t expecting.  Several went back to the “beginning”… when I started in 1988.  One couple came who were in my physical geography class taught my first quarter there, and then they took other courses as well.  They were not married then and their oldest daughter is 12, youngest is 3.  However, 1988 was eclipsed by 1974’s “first academic acquaintances” from the University of Idaho.
Food:  fruit, cheeses, sliced meats and the like, and tomatoes/with/garlic (made by one of the faculty members), strawberries and a fondue chocolate dip, other chocolates I didn’t see all of but heard there were lots that other faculty brought.  There were grapes rolled in some sort of sugar.  I did have some of those and some fromage.  There was coffee and tea and ice water for those who don’t drink wine.
Marilyn picked a bunch of grape leaves from her yard and brought grapes she had grown, and decorated all the tables with flowers, weeds, and grasses (from her yard) in vases.
I don’t have the book of memories yet because the entries people made on paper yesterday will be added to the book, after holes are punched in them.  We left some of the flowers people brought.  There is a beautiful yellow flower I don’t know what is.  We will have to check– it’s still at school.  We brought home a little pink rose bush and a yellow potted plant something like a chrysanthemum, but no card, so don’t know who brought that.
It was really a great event.   Thanks to all who came.  And to all the others we’ve heard from.

Nancy

SATURDAY (late) — rare events

[Written over several days this week.]

The infusions via the PICC will cease after Tuesday.  It would be nice to have a way of preventing infective endocarditis (IE) by these bacteria because of the damage they cause and because the treatment is long, involved, and a pain in the arm.  Having dental work, even flossing, is a risk factor and while there are antibiotics and oral rinses (Now using Chlorhexidine gluconate 0.12%.), The American Dental Association thinks that “. . . only an extremely small number of cases of IE might be prevented by antibiotic prophylaxis for dental procedures even if such prophylactic therapy were 100 percent effective.”  That’s not highly reassuring!

After Tuesday we wait two weeks and have blood drawn and cultured.  If Nancy’s blood is free of the bacteria, the PICC will be removed.  So while IE may be rare in the overall population, Nancy has had it twice.  Our response is going to be extreme vigilance, being on the watch for any of the signs of IE that we are now (unfortunately) too familiar with.

And speaking of rare events.  Last Sunday a storm cell hit Ellensburg just seconds after we entered Dean Hall on the CWU campus  — thunder, lightning, hail and wind, the storm swept right over the campus where we were going to the memorial service.  They took me in an hour early at the hospital for my infusion, and I was able to make it to the campus in better time, and got in the building right before the “bottom dropped out”.  Luckily, the major storm cell was 10 miles south of our house and the puppy and his dad, out in separate yards, were not exposed to the bad part.

We had gotten there early, so we stopped at Hebeler, a building two down from Dean where we were going, to clean out my locker from several years of teaching there in a computer lab.  We didn’t have a big enough box or a cart to carry away all the stuff, so we will have to return one of these days.  We loaded a small box, and two plastic bags, with books, paper, and things.

Then on to the other building, with huge drops of rain (and we had no umbrella), but we parked right behind it and went in the door before getting soaked.  We watched the storm from the 3rd floor of Dean Hall, and we could see the other end of the valley north, and realized our house was not really in the storm.  In 30 minutes it had blown on to the east and the rest of the afternoon was exceptionally nice.  Many years ago we lived in places where summer thunder storms are common.  Not so here.

Monday found us on the road to Yakima to Costco, as we were out of lots of things we need.  Then Tuesday, visited my doctor, family physician.  I’m in much better shape than when I last saw him, in August.  We also got our flu shots, both of us, this visit.  Normal afternoon visit for antibiotic infusion.  Tuesday night I went and played music with “The Connections”.  They were all happy to see me back among the living.

Wednesday… was another busy day.  Had to be at the hospital for an Echocardiogram at 12:45.  There wasn’t time and I didn’t feel like starting my exercise class, so we went to lunch.  Ate well.  Then dropped by my class at the end to say hello and let them know I was alive, and in better shape than when I last saw them in August.  I wanted to thank them for the cards they sent to ICU Yakima in mid August.  On from there to the hospital for an infusion, after an ice cream cone for each of us.  McDonald’s has a good deal of a 50 cent soft serve cone, and I get it in a cup with a spoon.

Thursday.  Time to go play music, but all morning was spent either with the puppy or on the computer putting together a slide show of my students in action over the past couple of years, for showing at the retirement “party”, Saturday, Oct 2nd, afternoon.  Then after music at Hearthstone, we went to the hospital and then home.  Today (Thurs.) was the day for the PICC line dressing change (once a week).  John is busy now, making a pecan pie and another for a scholarship luncheon tomorrow at CWU, Friday.

The Scholarship luncheon is a group at CWU of mostly staff members, who get together and someone fixes lunch.  Then the money for lunch goes into a scholarship fund at the Foundation, and is distributed to needy students.  I have been in this group since 1988, and a few of the people from the beginning are still there.    Now it is Friday, and we went and had a great garden salad and rolls.  The garden salad was all from Ruth’s garden, i.e., tomatoes, corn, (doubt she grew the black beans), onions, and a slaw of grated cabbage and carrots.  Yum.  On the way home, we hit a couple of yard sales.  At one, John found a Wrangler shirt in new condition, for $1, in the blue and yellow colors of Sweden. (Many web sites render the yellow incorrectly but the shirt gets if right.) I found a lovely western shirt for a buck, as well.  Then we came on back home, but on the way saw a long time friend in his yard splitting wood, so we stopped and visited for a nice visit, before getting home for a stop before going back for an infusion.

Saturday, brings more music at Briarwood (a retirement community).  They provide us with a free lunch for playing and singing.  This time, they are planning to feed us cabbage rolls.  I checked today, and will go a little late to my infusion, so I can participate.  I did and we had a great time.

John and I hit some garage sales this morning.  We didn’t get as much as usual, but did get some good things and deals.  John did not bargain on his major purchase, a set of 5 unopened packages of cedar wood thin pieces.  (John, please elaborate.  Okay – glue on panel replacement, 3.5 inches wide and a fraction thick.)  He also found a stuffed horse (2 ft. high) for $2.  At the same place I bought a brass giraffe and baby on a small stand.  It is for me to give to one of my nurses who loves giraffes.  It was only $1 and is about 6 inches high.  Then another place I found some moccasins that fit for $1.  I found a stack of various kinds of greeting cards to replace the stash I used the last of recently.  All plus some other stationery / cards for a quarter.  We did walk through some sales that had nothing to offer, or whose prices were out of line.  Another sale made us question, “Why bother?”  There was so little stuff.  At least I got some exercise walking around them.

Sunday, nothing is planned… to my knowledge, except for the infusion again.

The other thing I have been working on all week is a slide show (mostly of recent students and other things) to show in the conference room of Dean Hall during the retirement party.  It will just revolve through them without intervention.  I’m cleaning my computer and snagging smaller pictures of my students in action – for the past couple of years.  I have pictures of them presenting their map projects and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) projects in 3 different classes at the end of a quarter, in a University Poster session in the Science Building.  I have done that for at least 10 years.  I also have had my Urban Geography class do posters on their final term project.  As well, I have pictures from some of our Wine: A Geographical Appreciation class field trips.  There are pictures from different award banquets that I have nominated students for over the years.  Pictures of events during classes, such as orienteering on campus, or visiting the Map Library to learn about maps and research in Government Documents.  I have fun pictures, as well, of a Halloween pumpkin carving contest one year, when we shared a building with geology and physics.  Now we share a building with anthropology.

That’s it for the week.  Hope yours was good.  Stay tuned for next weekend, hopefully not before.

Nancy

SATURDAY — a quiet week . . .

. . . but not on the western horizon.  A major storm approaches and at this time next week western Washington (the Olympic Mtns.) is expecting a major wind and rain event.

Again a relatively quiet week.  Sunday, Monday, Tuesday were the same with infusions that worked well.  Actually, Tuesday, the Culligan Softener that broke was replaced and we added a reverse-osmosis system for giving us nice pure drinking water from our own well and our kitchen sink has a matching faucet from which it comes.  The company operating from a phone-hub in Spokane (3.5 hours away) has a sub-base in Yakima (50 minutes away).  There are glitches and this week’s was a requested “first in the morning” scheduling didn’t happen so by the time the installer arrived it was not possible for John “the driver” to perform that function and I had to get myself to the hospital.  Look out Kittitas County! – down the Naneum fan I went.

We returned to routine on Wednesday and added two new stops:  1-a haircut for Nancy; 2-another setup with a 24-hr Holter Heart Monitor, but this time from KVCH in Ellensburg.  This one was very nicely administered with care, and I will go back in the morning to have it tested before removing all the connections.  This is quite different from ripping off the contacts and pushing into a mailing envelope to return to the Yakima Heart Center (never heard the results from that one either).  Makes you wonder…. Hmmm.

Thursday was another busy day.  Back to the morning hospital removal of the Heart Monitor.  That went fast and John got to visit with a friend who volunteers there in Respiratory Services.  On to the grocery for donuts to take by another friend’s house on the way home.  Yum.  It was to talk about taking one of our horses, Myst, back to their house and round pen, and on Saturday, to a horse training clinic.  She needs exposure to different things, and we are too busy going to the hospital for IVs to take her ourselves.  One of their horses is lame so they offered, and we accepted, gratefully.

Once back home, John moved horses around, and they came and picked her up in their rig.  We went to town for me to fiddle with my “group” at a retirement center.  It went well and we had a good turnout, despite vacations.  From there, right away to the Out-Patient services for the IV of Rocephin.  They were ready with room #4 which is most often my room of the 12 there.  They had to change the dressing today on the PICC line (once a week).  They are so good and had my Chocolate Milk Shake with added Glucerna, ready for me.

Friday was less involved.  We played with the puppy, and went for the infusion.  No surprises. Hit two garage/yard sales.

We planned for Saturday to be morning garage sales and a search for paperwork for retirement.  We must have stopped midstream when my health went downhill and lost track of what we were supposed to be doing.  Then buried some papers.  There is no real harm done, it is just that the consolidation we were working on has been delayed.

Did not do the paperwork search, but did the garage sales for a couple of hours.  It was successful, and then home for a good nap, before going for the afternoon infusion.  Sale items, I can remember:  western shirt and knit shirt and pants, $2 for all; nice old axe with a new handle ($5), a couple of bags, just nice looking, and one full of plastic coat hangers, $1 each.  Then to another fun sale a few roads west, where John saw some boots (almost new, hiking type) that fit me perfectly, $1.  We also got tongs and a nice saw for $2 total.  John found a Louis Lamour paperback for a quarter.  Oh, a throw for the furniture to keep the dogs from eating the quilt, $1; and a nice sweatshirt for John, $1.

Then more–  A strange collection of CDs still packaged, one of Shelby Lynne for $1.  Then one with a hat over the ears such as John wears for .25.  On to two sales, one proceeds going entirely to the American Cancer Society, where we got John another sweatshirt for working around the place. $1.  Then we met some friends at a sale in an alley, and found a cute little girl selling her plastic horse collection for 50 cents apiece.  We gave her $2 and will put in the raffle at our trail riding club.  We might keep one that looks like our horse.  Another dust gatherer.  John found two nice new potholders, large, both for a quarter!

Still more.  We went to another at the SR. center where I was going for my exercise class before I ended up so sick in August.  There we found 5 glasses to match the 4 we packed away last week.  They are Christmas glasses which we were told came originally from Dairy Queen!  While there John found me a beautiful quality sweatshirt with inlaid hearts, $2, and the lady in charge gave me a hanger that holds 5 or 6 blouses.

On to the last one, after a stop for donuts at Super One and my medication mouth wash to try to prevent these bacteria from entering my system again!  There we found a leather jacket (a little small, although a large size, but I can wear with a light blouse beneath).  It’s cool and only was $2, and nearly in new condition.  John found a horse lead and rope halter there for $5 total.  Each alone alone costs at least $10 or more from the store… maybe more.  We haven’t bought either in awhile but will do a post-purchase check sometime.

Yes, I know this is not all according to my health, but I’m getting clothes that fit me in my new weight.  And, I get my exercise in walking around the sales.

The infusion today was in the Intensive Care Unit and I had a nurse who was the one who got me there last summer when I was going downhill from the bacteria and they thought I was having a heart attack.  Turns out my lungs were full of fluid from the bacteria loaded on my heart and causing the blood flow to decrease through my heart properly.  That time, in 2009 June, they pulled off 4 quarts of fluid from me.  Amazing.

Well, I’m much better now and able to navigate and might be up to exercise classes when they resume on Sept 20th at the Sr. Center (oh, properly called the Adult Activity Center); no one wants to be politically incorrect.  What’s wrong with saying this place is for old people?  It is a nice provision the city has for its “seniors.”  They have trips planned and also lunch is provided for a reasonable fee every day but Friday and the weekend.

Sunday we go early for the infusion so we can get to a memorial service for an anthropology colleague who died from liver disease.  John will go ahead and post this Saturday night because it could be after 6 or 7 P.M. here on the western edge of the continent before we could return home and add Sunday’s news (or lack thereof).

Have a nice week, and we hope to talk to you next weekend, having gone through a nice normal week.  What a concept!

Nancy

SUNDAY — Happenings before Labor Day

Many of you were not expecting anything to be written this past week till today, but we sneaked some in on you when things starting happening.  The end of the week was less eventful, thankfully, on the health, antibiotic infusion part.  The rest of the time after the mess on Monday, was pretty smooth sailing.   Today had a funny note, but the infusion went well.

The Out-Patient services put in a standing order for me for a milkshake with boost of Glucerna added to chocolate ice cream, two scoops.  Yesterday went without a glitch and the kitchen provided my shake.  Something got lost from yesterday to today, and first they brought a bottle of Glucerna with a cup, no shake.  The people in Med-Surg sent it back requesting a shake.  What came next was the Glucerna in a cup with ice as the base.  Finally, the third time was a charm, but it was only 10 minutes before I ended for the day.  I drank a bit and took the rest with me for the trip home.  We’ll see if tomorrow the kitchen gets it right the first time.

The other nice thing that happened today was a visit with friends, now in Rockville, MD who we have known a very long time – since starting at the Univ. of Idaho as an undergraduate student, going on through to a Masters, and being involved with me while a GIS manager on the west side, by employing several of my students as interns.  He and his family flew to Seattle, rented a car, and were driving over to Spokane, when they stopped off for lunch and a visit with us.  We met them at the Deli at Super One in town.  That was a good choice because the town is inundated with rodeo and fair goers and all major restaurants probably were packed.

The rest of our last couple of days was filled with moving hay (John), and playing with the puppy, who has taken a liking to the sofa in the den.  He actually made it halfway through the night in the washroom, went out to “pee” at about 2:30, and spent the rest of the night till morning, happily sleeping on the sofa with his mom.

We do not have any special plans for labor day so doubt there will be any blogs till next weekend, but that’s what we said last week.  So we will not speak ahead and just keep you informed if anything big happens.

Much of my time this past week was spent on email, contacting former students and workers who employed my students to invite them to my retirement party.  If you didn’t get an invite and are interested, let me know by email (nancyh@ellensburg.com) and I will send you the invite, knowing you cannot come but might just be interested in seeing the celebration the Geography Department has planned for me, Oct 2, Saturday afternoon.

Former students have responded by email with some good memories that make my day.  There are comments from them about their connection to me (and John) that I would never have known.  There will be a memories book at the reception, for people to write in, and they also can send to our secretary, for her to include in the memory book.  I hope she will just print the emails and save herself  the effort of writing in the book, and just slip them in the back.  Otherwise it might be an impossible task.

Other things have happened this week, on the minor side, but major in my book.  John had planted some tomatoes, but our temps have been low and the winds high, so we had broken plants and not a lot of ripe tomatoes.  Yet, this week he has harvest a few small ones and they are wonderful, tasting like tomatoes.  What a concept !  [from jfh, We have had many clear-sky nights and at 2,240 feet elevation the night temperature will and has dropped well below 50o F.  Tomatoes hate that.]

I’m sure I left something out, but not to worry, there is another week.  Thank you for your phone calls and birthday and get well cards.

Have a nice week, and we will try to do the same.  I still have till September 28 to go daily to the hospital for the infusions, which have decreased this week from two to only one – 30 min., Rochephin.

See you on the blog hopefully only next weekend.   Nancy

THURSDAY — Smooth flow

Have to report on my birthday (67) yesterday, Sept 1.  It was a good uneventful day.  I didn’t want John to make me a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting, but I did want two presents.  One was a squeaky toy and a rawhide chew for the puppy, Rhu.   He now has a name, and a neat toy hamburger he loves.  He can jump up on the sofa along with it and settle down for a nap with his mom, John, or an aunt.

John put in more time digging for the bottom of the stand pipe where the leak is suspected.  He then went to the pasture to mow old grass, roses, and other nasty weeds, and ended up getting a stick caught under the drive-belt.  Apparently the belt and the stick both fought gallantly until they both died. The mower quit moving forward when the friction and heat stretched the belt.  So, yet something else to fix.

Birthday afternoon at the hospital out-patient clinic was delightful.  They were all attentive and everyone on the staff came by to wish me a happy birthday.  They had a little snuggle bear on my pillow for me to have and take home.  There was a milkshake ready with extra protein and supplements.  All went well, and they changed the dressing on my PICC (has to be done once a week).  It is nice to be able to report nice things.

Today is Thursday and was another great day.  We got my other present I requested when John got a haircut from the lady who has done my hair cuts since I arrived in town in 1988.  I normally do John’s hair, but was unable in the past few months and his hair was beginning to look like Einstein’s.

Then I went to play fiddle and sing at a nursing home and had another good hour.

Finally, left there in time to get to my infusion, which again went smoothly.

That’s all, but wanted to give you some good news for a change.

TUESDAY — A fibrin tale, er, tail

[posted Tuesday, after John said no more reports till Sunday]

A continuation of the drip, drip epistle:  We’re good at prematurely speaking about successful activities.  For my blood draw and infusion today, at 3:00 p.m., we found that the the PICC line would not flow, unlike the water line at home that won’t stop.  There was not a drip of blood to be had because there was a clot in the line acting as a stopper and wouldn’t allow anything by or from.  The first saline solution seemed fine, but subsequent attempts to draw blood resulted in dry air.  This normally is just over an hour in and out for the antibiotic infusion.  Not today.

The problem would have been either a fibrin tail or an intraluminal thrombus.

These and other PICC issues are reported here:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/508939_6 Here are quotes:

#1  “Fibrin also may build up on a catheter without completely enclosing it. In this scenario, a small piece of fibrin hangs off the catheter tip. This is known as a fibrin tail, which also represents a persistent withdrawal occlusion. These can sometimes be resolved with an infusion of low-dose alteplase over 2 to 4 hours, but this is not always successful, and the fibrin tail may develop again.”

#2  “An intraluminal thrombus forms inside the catheter and can result in partial or complete occlusion. It often can be dissolved with a small dose of alteplase, a fibrinolytic agent that is instilled for 30-120 minutes and then withdrawn from the catheter.”

~ ~ ~

When the PICC is to be used the first thing done is to apply suction until blood is seen.  When none shows up it indicates a blockage.  Fibrin is explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibrin

When fibrin attaches to the inner-end of the line or tube (lumen in hospital speak) it floats in the blood stream until that backward flow from the external suction causes it to be pulled into the open end of the tube. If the lump or clump (thrombus) is formed inside the lumen then the condition is called an “intraluminal thrombus” as in quote #2, above.

If you have a broadband connection, try this video for an explanation of these things and the solution.  (This is an ad-like video for the chemical used in my PICC.)  http://www.cathflo.com/media/cathflo_moa.mp4

The production of this stuff involves recombinant DNA technology, fermentation, and Chinese hamster ovary cells.  Why Chinese hamsters?  Who knows?  We didn’t even realize hamsters had nationalities!

Which ever it was, we had to go to plan B.  That meant an extra hour plus while we awaited delivery from the pharmacy of  Cathflo Activase® and its forced entry into the PICC line with turbulent motions.  Push, push, to get the fibrin broken up and the line unclogged.  Meanwhile, John retrieved me a warm blanket to try to get me comfortable.  Those 45 minutes seemed to last forever.  I called a friend on the cell phone to tell her my plight.

Finally, the time came to search again for blood from the PICC turnip.  It came!

First item on the agenda was to draw blood for an INR test, from the PICC.  Before that, one has to clean out the Cathflo Activase® and about 10 cc of throw-away blood.   (No wonder I’m anemic; they put blood in one week and take it out the next).  So we continue.  She draws a full vile of blood for the INR test, more than enough to be on the safe side.

I had started the paperwork over a week ago from my family physician’s office to put the INR on tap for being done by a nurse in the Out-Patient Services where I am every day except the weekend.  This is a great service that prevents being “poked,” but Lab personal cannot take from a PICC line; only a trained nurse is allowed.   When I came in, before she started the antibiotics I mentioned the need to do the INR test and that the paperwork was in place.  Normally, I have a standing order at the Lab, but nothing at the Out-patient Services.   This nurse couldn’t find anything in the records, so off she went to call my family physician’s office to request it before she could draw.  There was plenty of time while we waited for the fibrinolytic agent to work its dissolving wonders.

Once done, as mentioned above, the nurse could change the head on the PICC line (cannot use one through which blood has been taken, and infuse the antibiotics into my PICC.  I think it was 4:16 when this part started that usually takes an hour.  We were about on schedule, only an hour + later than usual.  So begins the drip, drip – one from each bag of the two antibiotics, combining into one tube headed into my superior vena cava — a large diameter, yet short, vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the upper half of the body to the heart’s right atrium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_vena_cava

I slept through the first 35 minutes, but by now my back was hurting, the pillows weren’t right, and I was a basket case for reclining in an uncomfortable set up so long.  Oh, I had made a couple more cell phone calls to friends in the set up stages when we were just waiting.

So, I mentioned my discomfort to the nurse.  I was in a special bed with remote controls to determine height of back raised and the same with knees.  I played with the controls and finally found a good position.

At some point I was really wanting a chocolate milk shake.  The nurse overheard me and said they could order one for me.  They did.

I managed to rest through the last hour of the infusion.  We didn’t walk (wheel) out of there until 6:30.  That was 3.5 hours for an expected 1 hour stay.  I was not a happy camper.  Except I was thrilled to see the double saline solution flushing with a turbulent short pushes motion to force the solution to the line with the hopes of breaking up any clots.  I surely don’t want a repeat.

~  ~  ~  ~

In the “for what it’s worth” department:  At home, the day started with nary a drip.  In order to prevent loss of water from the well John flipped the circuit breaker to the pump; turning it on only as needed to have running water in the house.

A Culligan man was due at 10:00 a.m. but was delayed ½ hour.  He got to the house and John explained the problems.  They determined the Culligan-Softener (21 yrs old was shot) and the Iron removal equipment was doing fine still. (Ours is ferrous iron that oxidizes in the lines and tanks.)  The Culligan-man and John discussed the pressure problem in the tank and decided there was a leak in the house or between the house and the barn somewhere.  Turns out it is between the house and the barn but John hasn’t yet located it.  He has to dig 4 feet down through alluvial fan material that has been refilled in a ditch for the buried water pipe.  He’s hopeful that the leak is in a frost free stand up faucet for the horse tank at the barn. While the exact location of the leak is sought, replacement equipment has been ordered to provide sparkling water inside the house.

Blood and water go drip – drip.  Money goes in clumps.  Ouch!

Life continues . . .