Sunday, August 30, 2015

R. I. P., my love

John David Zelle, 29 November 1934 - 30 August 2015

You did everything on your own terms, as usual.
Love always.

An ending

we have, at John's insistence, agreed to turn off the machines. We have no idea how long this will take. Right now , Sue Ann and Al are here. Alison is coming tonight. Love us.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday 3;15am. Mountain time

things are not going well.  They started him on steroids Friday, and said this was the last treatment they had to offer him.  He seemed to be doing fairly well, and then took a bad turn. The crash team came in (7 people and machines in his tiny space) and they've gotten him stabilized for now.

Sue will be here tomorrow, and Ann and Al are coming back here a day early. We'll just have to see what happens next.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday update

He had a good night, and seems maybe some better today. They're going to take the catheter out today. We've talked to the team again today, as usual. The head guy has talked to the insurance company about options and finances. He told them it'd probably be another week to get him so he would be able to go home on a commercial flight, vs the cost of sending him to a local hospital in his home network sooner via air ambulance. The insurance is supposed to be checking to see what his policy allows. The doc here said that , in the meantime, they'd treat him "like a Canadian".

If we're here past Monday, there are things that will have to be arranged at home. But things are okay until then.  We do think we'll be looking at moving to an independent facility when we get home. The time table just got moved up.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday midday update

I left the hospital yesterday about 3.  Got some takeout from McDonald's , and checked into the motel. After a shower and dealing with expected leg cramps, I crashed about 8. I had breakfast at the motel, then headed to the hospital.

John had a pretty good night, only one low oxygen spell, and le looks good today. The "team" came in, and again, a good talk with them. His white count has been low the whole time, which makes this an atypical pneumonia. They're still thinking three or four causes - the radiation scarring, probably some damage before that, pneumonia, etc., and all exacerbated by and precipitated by the altitude.

They're continuing antibiotics, but orally. All IVs have been removed. He's been fed, bathed, clean sheets, and other bodily functions are working. Now the plan is for more improvement and to get us home, and to a lower altitude. The docs here are going to talk to medical people at the insurance company to talk about covering medivac. That might just wind up being the transport, just to get us to a hospital in Chattanooga. That's still at least a couple of days in the future.

They've pretty much worn him out, so I'd guess he'll sleep most of the afternoon.

As we told the doc, what we want most, and what I think will do him the most good, is to get home.  I wish I was Dorothy and could just click my heels.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday noon, mountain time

After last night's panic, things are better today.  To recap, his oxygen level dropped to 55%, and the doc on duty was talking ICu and intubation .  John refused, and while was stuck in horrible traffic because of a wreck, (took 5 hours to do what is usually an hour drive), he started to improve. He was getting more aggressive oxygen therapy, and lasix to draw off fluid. The house doc this morning told him he hoped last night was the "nadir" of the problem.  John said first time he'd heard the word outside a crossword puzzle. 

The pulmonary team came by a little while ago. Great head guy, dr. Ward flemons. They're going to take over his case. Doc had spent time with radiologist going over scan. Still not 100% sure of problem, probably combination of scarring from radiation, scarring from something older, bronchitis, pneumonia ...all set off by coming to this altitude.  

So they're treating aggressively for pneumonia, with antibiotics and diuretics. No idea of when going home.  We'll probably be changing our flight so we don't go through Denver with even higher altitude. We could go directly to Chattanooga, too. Plus a Medivac flight has been mentioned as a possibility.  

Ann and Al have gone on to their week in Jasper. I'll be moving into the Travelodge Valley Park this afternoon, very near the hospital.  Btw, he's in #624, but no phones in rooms.  This is a bigger room , only two beds, but still co-Ed.  

Guess that's all for now.

Monday, August 24, 2015


John will be in the hospital until Thursday or Friday.  I'll be moving into a motel nearer the hospital tomorrow, and we'll decide whether to go to Jasper to catch up with Ann and Al then, or change flights and go home.  They did a scan last night and there in no evidence of blood clot or cancer, but he does have extensive scarring in the lungs, so his recovery will be slower than might otherwise be expected.  We'll move along, slowly, one day at a time.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

And then things turned bad...

Yesterday started out great. Beautiful scenery with new snow on the mountain tops , and bright sunshine.  We got to see my favorite waterfall, Takkakaw Falls. But the altitude seemed to really be getting to John .  He did get great cards when we played bridge, though.

Things turned bad overnight. John's coughing was getting much worse, and he started coughing some blood. He woke me about 2 a.m., to take him to the hospital. The folks in this small local hospital stabilized him, got him on oxygen, and sent him via ambulance to the major hospital in Calgary .  They're treating him for pneumonia, keeping him overnight,  and we hope he'll be well enough to leave tomorrow .  Then we'll have to see what happens about the rest of the vacation. We'll finish it out if we can.  At least he's in good hands. I'm back in the condo for the night.

Friday, August 21, 2015

From Canada

sorry to have not been writing. Our travel day was a bit longer than planned. In Houston our plane "broke", on the ground and before we boarded, fortunately. But it took them about 1 1/2 hours to get us a new plane. But we finally arrived ok, got rental car, and to motel. Ann and Al arrived shortly after.  We went to Drumheller the next morning.

Great day touristing there, especially the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. Fabulous place - look it up, and visit if you get a chance. Then we came to Canmore for a week in a condo.

We've done driving around this incredibly beautiful country. Ann and Al did the walk into Johnston Canyon. I remember it from years ago - a gorgeous place. It's colder and rainy today, so there will be a lot of bridge playing going on. We'll be in this location until Tuesday, then off to Jasper.

I'll try to write again before long.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The day before

Our bags are packed.  We're ready to go...

(Postings will probably be spotty for the next couple of weeks.)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sunday Stealing

I want you to be free from me Meme

Stolen from: Everything Goes To Hell

Are your nails painted a dark or light color?

Light, with a sparkly overcoat.
Have you ever order pizza online?
What color was the last candle you lit?
Red - probably at a Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago.
Is there something written on your shirt right now?
Not today - usually it’s a YMCA t-shirt.
Is there a bookshelf in your room?
Not specifically, but there are piles of books in every room.
Do you own a treadmill?
No. We currently have on loan a recumbent bicycle and a rowing machine.
Have you ever signed up for a gym membership?
We belong to the Y. Does that count?
Is there a garbage can in your room? What color is it?
There’s a wastebasket, kind of a brown color.
Have you ever read in the bathtub?
I did, in another lifetime. I can’t remember the last time I sat in a bathtub. I’m sure it was at least 25 years ago.
Have you ever had to wear a hairnet?
Do you know how many pages the last book you read had?
No. That’s something I never pay any attention to. Also I read e-books almost exclusively now.
What day of the week does the laundry usually get done?
Do you use the Facebook chat often?
I’ve never used it.
Do you have any baby pictures of yourself on your computer
Good heavens, no.
Do you eat onion rings?
Given the opportunity, of course.

What flavor of tea did you last have?
I’m not generally a tea-drinker, except iced tea occasionally.
Do you own a bathrobe?
Yes, but I can’t remember the last time I wore it.
Did you/will you have coffee or some other form of caffeine today?
Of course. Coffee keeps the world going.
Do you have a mailbox or do you collect your mail from the post office?
Mail is delivered to the mailbox in front of the house.
What was the last animal you saw, and was it a pet?
I don’t guess squirrels count as pets, do they.
What was the last documentary you watched focusing on?
Terrible wording on this question - I guess it means the subject of the documentary. It was probably Nature or something like that on PBS.
Is there anything you need to remember to do before the day ends?
Continue with the packing.
Is your car messy, or do you like to keep it clean?
Somewhere in between.
Are you the type to wake up before the sun has even risen?
Depends on when the sun rises. I used to be a very early riser, but I have gotten to where I can sleep later.
Do you get uncomfortable when people stare at you?
I don’t think I remember anybody staring at me.
Have you ever been admitted to the hospital for a long period of time?
When our girls were born, it was customary to stay in the hospital for 5-6 days, but since then no. I was in for two nights when I had my shoulder replacement last year.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday stuff

     I skipped swimming this morning - not something I usually do.  I decided to favor the ankle, even though it felt better after yesterday's steroid injection (spill-over from the neck area).
     We played duplicate.  It seemed like we were "all thumbs", and had pretty yucky cards.  But we came in the middle, so didn't do too badly.
     We had such great cards last Monday.  I checked, and I came in first (5 tables) and John came in third.  It felt good!
     The best part of the day was having dinner at Old Saigon with Tina and Missy.  So much fun and laughter.  We are going to miss them so much when they move.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Would you like some whine with that?

The Valium must have hung around in my system yesterday. I slept straight through from 11:45 to 6:15 - without even a potty break. I can't remember the last time THAT happened.

The cleaning lady came today. We've turned the mattress, and she put clean sheets on the bed, so that's a once-every-so-often chore done. I got to Aldi, too.

I saw the spine surgeon’s PA this afternoon. She showed me the MRI and explained the problems with the various cervical vertebrae, and what was likely causing the pain I’m having in my neck/shoulder/back. She told me that I didn’t have the severity of symptoms of nerve compression that would cause them to recommend immediate surgery (WHEW!!). But this did not rule out surgery at some point in the future. As long as the pain I have isn’t worse (usually around a “2-3”, at times up to a “7+”) or remain at a high level, I’ll control it with medication. When that doesn’t work any more, I’ll go back and we’ll talk surgery. In the meantime, she gave me a steroid injection in the neck/shoulder angle. I hope that helps over the trip.

But wait, there’s more. You know how I say, “ if it ain’t roaches, it’s piss-ants”. Well… Tuesday afternoon, my right ankle started hurting. I didn’t fall or twist it or do anything that I know of, but it has been killing me. So now I’m going with the compression and elevation and ice. Phooey! So much for the whining.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday wrap-up

All went well with the MRI. I guess the Valium did the trick, plus some help from the earplugs. I was pretty relaxed and kept my eyes closed (of course). The tech did talk to me each time the sounds stopped to tell me how many more sessions were to come and for how many minutes. Plus they gave me an emergency button to push. So all went well. And I was only there for about 1.5 hours total. The only bad part was that it was incredibly cold in there and poor John about froze to death (I had a blanket). They had had an a/c malfunction overnight, and it had gotten down to 52 inside overnight - and was only up to about 60 by the time we were there. Brrrr. Now I see the doc at 1 tomorrow to see what, if anything, they found.


I fixed a yummy supper tonight. If you have access to an Aldi store, check out their frozen food section for a package of frozen mussels in tomato garlic sauce. They are delicious, just as they are, following package directions. Tonight I made additional sauce with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, white wine, and basil, and reduced it. Then I cooked fettuccini and drained it. Then put it all in a big skillet, with the mussels and cooked per package directions. Oh, so good!


Sometimes there are obituaries of people you don’t know that make you wish the person has been part of your life. Tina gave me the link to this obit of an obviously delightful 104 year old lady. So I’ll share. Please click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I just did WalMart this morning, but that was it for the day. We had a quick thundershower this afternoon, just as I was getting into my nap. Although it cooled things off, we didn’t get a lot of rain.

It's not been one of the better days - lots of pain in the neck/shoulder/arm areas - fortunately relatively short lived. It surely has cut my appetite - guess nothing is without a silver lining. I certainly hope tomorrow’s MRI gives the docs something to work on.

Monday, August 10, 2015

August Monday

We had pop-up thundershowers this afternoon - all while we were playing bridge. I had great cards for the first four rounds - not too good the last round. But I came in second last week. We’ll get in lots of bridge-playing while we’re gone. We usually play every evening when we’re with Ann & Al.

I have an MRI scheduled for Wednesday. I hope they call me tomorrow with instructions. The doc prescribed some Valium to take beforehand, but I have some questions about when to take it.

I hope this produces some answers as to why I’m having this pain.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Another quiet Sunday

We drove over to Margaret's this afternoon for a short visit. It's about 1 1/4 hours drive usually, but we went the "back way" (i.e., not on the interstate), so it was a little longer. But it was a gorgeous day for a drive. We sat out on their porch and just talked for about an hour or so, and then came back home. Bobby is doing fairly well - still in some pain, and not walking very much yet. He's back in hospice care, so that makes things easier and is a relief for them.

We have a busy week coming up.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Crazy Random Twenty Meme

Stolen from: My Random Randomness
Have you ever demolished a wall or building?
If you and a friend both wanted the same thing would you let the friend get it first?
Of course! Why should something like that be competitive?
Have you ever argued over who should pay for something?
Not seriously.
Do you have any family heirlooms?
Yes. And the girls are just waiting for them to passed down.
Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous?
I’ve always been told that Captain Bradford from the Mayflower was one on our family tree.
What's your favorite ocean?
All of them - any place with salt water.
Do you correct people’s mistakes?
Sometimes. It would depend on the person and the circumstances and the mistake.
Have you ever helped out an injured animal?
I don’t think I’ve been in such a situation.
Do you throw bread for the ducks?
Not since we had small children - and that was a long time ago.
Do you think babies are little bundles of joy or smelly noisy things?
Do you give money to buskers?
I haven’t been in a place to see a busker in years, but I probably would.
Do you ever forward or reply to chain mails?
Do you often have a tune in your head you can't name?
Has anyone ever approached you thinking you were someone else?
Not that I recall.
Have you ever starred in an amateur or professional video?
Have you ever been in a position of authority?
I’m a mother, so of course! I’ve also been president of an organization. Won’t do that again.
If you were ruler of your own country what would you call it?
I don’t know what it would be called, but I would politely decline to serve.
And what title would you give yourself?
See above.
If you invented a monster what would you call it?
And what features would it have?
My imagination doesn’t go to places like that.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Doctor visit

It was only in the mid70s here, since it’s been cloudy with rain showers all day…definitely a nice change.

I saw the spine surgeon’s PA today and the visit was, as I expected, fact-finding, exam, and conversation. I’m set up for an MRI next week, and then to return to the office again after that. I’m not really claustrophobic, but I’m pretty uncomfortable with MRIs. They offered to call me in some Valium, and I took them up on it.

The PA was very thorough in her explanation of the x-ray and possible problems. She felt that my physical symptoms weren’t too bad at this point, i.e., no numbness or loss of strength in my arms, but that we’d wait to see the MRI before making any further decisions. I told her that we were going to be traveling, and she said they might give me a steroid injection in the neck/shoulder area to help with pain during that time. Then when we return, maybe they would prescribe some PT before getting into anything more invasive. I can live with this plan.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Wednesday haiku

When there’s naught to say
It’s better to be quiet.
Doctor tomorrow.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Monday Miscellany, except....

Usual morning stuff.
So-so cards, except for a small slam John and I bid and made.
Best thing was dinner - casserole made with last Thanksgiving turkey, dressing and gravy.

But NEVER miscellaneous....
Happy Birthday, Jean!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Sunday Stealing

Shout Out The Answer Meme

Stolen from: My Random Randomness

Do you shout out the answers at the TV while watching quiz shows?
I haven’t watch quiz shows in years, but I have been known to shout at the TV
Do you get over-involved with TV or movie plots at times?
Not really, although I do cry sometimes.
What's the highest hill or mountain you've ever climbed?
Climbed? None. But the highest I’ve been on is in Switzerland, the Jungfraujoch (3,454 m.)
       Do you have a piggy bank? Nope
What's the fastest you've ever traveled in a car?
Maybe 80+ MPH.
Could you ever hand milk a cow?
I doubt it very seriously - and would never care to try.
Which was your favorite science? Biology, Physics or Chemistry?
Biology - and I never took physics
Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise)
I haven’t had one for me, but I gave John one for his 21st birthday - and it was definitely a surprise.
Have you ever worn clothing with the labels/tags still attached?
Not the outside labels.
Have you ever slipped on a banana skin?
Fortunately no. I fall over almost anything, though.
Are you scared of the dark?
Do you have a lawyer?
Not right now. The guy who wrote our wills has died. We’re waiting for Sarah.
If you had a paid year off, what would you want to do?
Since I’m retired, I’m pretty much there. But if someone wanted to pay all my expenses for a year, I’d travel.
How long did your last phone call last?
I was talking to a doctor’s office, making an appointment. It was probably 15 minutes or so.
Have you ever helped someone across the road?
It’s much more likely that someone will help ME across the road - at least I hope someone will help.
Have you ever been wolf whistled in public?
If that happened, I totally missed it.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Culinary fusion

Fusion is the melding of several cuisines, hopefully to the enhancement of all.

I frequently head into meal prep with the intention of using leftovers, both fresh and out of the freezer. Tonight was no exception.

I had rice and fresh field peas (from Margaret and Bobby) left over from dinner last night. I thought I could add some sausage (kielbasa or brats) and come up with something like a Cajun red beans and rice. As I rummaged through the freezer, I realized there was none of that meat. All I could find sausage-type was breakfast sausage and two kinds of Italian sausage - hot and mild.

Well, let’s see what I can do with that.

So the dinner in a bowl was rice, field peas, and crumbled, browned, mild and hot Italian sausage. It was really quite good (if not reproducible). I guess we wound up with…

Cajun-Italian-Southern Fusion Cuisine.