Please note that Monday is the 12th of July. In 1969, the 12th was on a Saturday and we married on that date – 41 years ago. So, Happy Anniversary to us!
[from John : Wikipedia < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_Days > has an interesting write-up of the Dog Days of Summer which references Sirius, the Dog Star, and “a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress.” As a side note, years ago Nancy named one of our Britts ‘Sirius Sashay’ and the puppies we now have are her great grand children.]
from Nancy: John reminded me I am supposed to write an update on my health for the blog, as promised last weekend. I must say sadly I don’t have a lot of good things to write, except that I’m alive and still kicking but I’m not ready for the Rockettes, just yet. My energy level has not returned, and I find myself only good to gear up for a couple of hours for an event, and then I have to rest. It could be that sleep during the night being interrupted with puppy care is part of the problem. They usually have us up at midnight and then 3:00 and finally when it is light, we can put them out in the backyard as early as 5:30 (this morning). They turn 7 weeks tomorrow. We transferred a sweet puppy today to her new owners (more on that later).
Back to my health and lack of energy. At first we wondered if the change in meds might have prompted some of the problems – that may still turn out to be the case, and tomorrow is a doctor’s visit to my family physician in Cle Elum. I was scheduled last week at the hospital here in town for blood draws for various lab tests. I had them all done right after playing fiddle with my group for a little over an hour. I did not drink during the playing time. I guess I should have and should have been hydrating my system all along (I thought I was doing this). I drink an awful lot of lemonade that John makes for me from powder. However, a call from my family physician’s nurse indicated my lab tests showed I was dehydrated and needed to intake more liquids. That said, I did. That probably explains why I had a headache and was feeling so lousy. I missed my Friday afternoon exercise class because I didn’t feel up to getting there and doing it. It’s from 1:30 to 2:30 MWF and in an a/c room with a bunch of supportive ladies (and one man).
The other tests were apparently okay, although one was still being processed. I do not know if the results will be back before my appointment right after lunch tomorrow.
The new medication affects my potassium balance and that was one of the tests. I called my pharmacist Saturday morning (who also is my fiddling buddy), and she ran all my medications through the system to alert them/us to any possible drug interactions. None were found except for the concern with this new medication and the potassium imbalance, and the need to keep an eye on the potassium. That was my cardiologist’s concern for this doctor’s visit and the labs drawn, 3 weeks after my last visit with him. He wanted to stay on top of that.
I’m still on a diuretic (Bumex) and that pulls fluids from my system, contributing to dehydration. It’s to keep the fluids from piling up in my lungs or my legs. The potassium was cut back because of the interaction with the new drug that actually helps shed sodium (the Na of salt) and retain potassium. This means I have to be aware of something called hyperkalemia, or “ higher than normal levels of potassium in the blood.”
“The hormone aldosterone regulates kidney removal of sodium and potassium. Lack of aldosterone can result in hyperkalemia with an increase in total body potassium. Hyperkalemia may be caused by medications, including medications that affect kidney function (potassium sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone, amiloride, or triamterene) and potassium supplements (especially intravenous potassium).” (Taken from a Mayo clinic site)
Spironolactone is the new med I am on.
My pharmacist continued to counsel me from her records and outlined the symptoms. My cardiologist had also mentioned some of these and said if I had any such signs of severity that I should check myself into ER immediately. These are the symptoms in her literature: muscle weakness, cardiac Arrhythmia (which I have anyway), and hypotension (low blood pressure).
The symptoms mentioned in the Mayo Clinic report are as follows, “Hyperkalemia often has no symptoms. Occasionally, people may have the following symptoms:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Slow, weak, or absent pulse
Well, the first I always have; the second I have occasionally too, as today when my body decided over the noon hour that it no longer wanted to keep the strawberries from morning late breakfast, in my system. I have had a lower heart beat (in the 60s), but not worth worrying about, and certainly no absent pulse. In recent checks on my trusty measuring device, my blood pressure has been fine and the heartbeat as well, although it will occasionally show the atrial fibrillation we already know I have.
Well, the few sentences John is expecting me to write have gone on into much more, and I will stop now on the health part. It’s good for me to review this before I visit my doctor tomorrow. Food for thought and he will be interested in my research and reporting.
I will end on a nice, fun note. We transferred a white and orange female, Milly, to her forever home today. We gave her a bath before the meeting, and she slept afterwards while drying. I also clipped her little toenails (with a human’s toe clipper) while her toes were moistened. We did that first drying and changed to a different towel. She laid in John’s lap awhile and then we changed towels and I had her again in my lap. She went through the bath just fine; John is good with bathing young puppies, and she handled it well, not fighting it at all. Her new owners already have a Brittany from us and she was along to meet the new entry to the family. This will be a wonderful home and we are grateful.
Not much else new in our world. There is the daily horse routine, plus John has been volunteering time to help our elderly neighbor with his haying, and getting the bales to the barn. Yesterday and today it was more a re-stacking thing from a harobed. I know most people not in the rural west do not know what a harobed is. That truly is what it is called, and it was named after the inventor’s daughter, Deborah (spell that backwards). It is a piece of machinery that goes through a field of baled hay and lifts them up into a carrier that can be stacked as high as 9 bales, 3 across. Once filled, the load, having been lifted row by row, is ready for the barn. The harobed comes back to the barn and a lift stands up the stack and pulls away from it (under good smooth and clean conditions, the stack stays standing). Under a full load, one of these can carry 3.5 tons. Yesterday was not working well, and the stacks kept collapsing — the old shed has an uneven floor and the bales are not as uniform as the ought to be. Today was a better hay day.
What a technical advancement from loading bales of hay by hand onto a truck or wagon and stacking in the barn! (And before that loose hay was muscled onto a wagon and off again in a barn.)
Thanks for staying tuned in and I hope for a nice week this week with more energy. Yesterday, a few of our musical group went to Briarwood Commons (a retirement community in Ellensburg, for people over 55). We go play for them the second Saturday of every month at 2:00 pm. till 3:00 and they serve us a late lunch for our efforts. They love us and always sing along and sometimes get up and dance. It is a worthwhile event that pleases us as much as them.
And on another worthwhile event: Wednesday night last week we had a great experience. We joined a group of square dancers and host families and friends, at the Swauk-Teanaway Grange. There are six young people (most are in their Junior year in high school) here from July 5 to Aug 10 in a program called the Children of Chernobyl.
Most are from the region around current day Minsk, Belarus. One of our musicians in our group that play at nursing homes, and his wife, are again a host family this year, for 3 of the gals. The other 3 are guys and are in different households. We met them and had a great potluck. Afterwards the Blue Agate Square Dance caller got most of the people on the floor to do some dancing (I sat it out and watched and enjoyed seeing how well the kids did). We stayed also through one of the gals playing a piece on the piano. She is quite a musician. Turns out she also plays the guitar, and she joined us at our Rehab facility play date the next day, Thursday. Amazing. She was playing songs she had never heard and sitting where she could watch Charlie’s fingering for chords.. and keeping up with us all. One we had printed words for and she sang along and one she knew the words. What talented people exist in our wide world !
Hope you have a nice week as well.