Friday, June 30, 2006

A Fine Start to the Holiday Weekend

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Today was the first day of a 5-day holiday weekend for me. And I spent the whole dang day in bed. No kidding, I've not been out of bed more than 15 minutes all together today, and 5 of that was looking at my e-mail a couple of minutes ago.

I awoke at my usual 5:15 am with a raging headache. I thought it was a sinus headache. Since I didn't really have to go anywhere today, I took a couple of aspirin and snuggled back under the covers with MeggieDog. I never really went back to sleep, just dozed a bit off and on.

I dragged myself to the kitchen and made myself a little breakfast about 7:30 and took my medication. I called and talked to Mom for a bit about 8:30. After we talked I still felt pretty awful, so I took a couple more aspirin and laid down again.

I got progressively worse, and about 10:30 violent nausea set in. After I lost my breakfast I went back to bed and dozed all afternoon. Each time I woke up I debated on whether or not I wanted lunch. I didn't.

I finally decided around 6:00 this evening that I'd better try to have a little something so I could take my medicine. I settled on a plain baked potato and some icy cold sugar-free ginger ale. That's still staying down, so I'm hopeful that whatever caused today's illness is over and done. I'd sure hate to spend my whole holiday weekend being sickly!

I'm still a little shaky, so I'm headed back to bed now. Meggie will be thrilled. :-)

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Lovely Uneventful Weekend

Randy's follow-up visit with his primary care physician went well. We'd planned to lunch at Fuddrucker's (kind of a tradition when we go to Johnson City), but he had to hurry back to help his brother with hauling some dirt.

After I dropped him back off at his apartment, I went to Wal-Mart to do a bit of shopping, then went to spend some time with Mom and Dad. They'd offered to loan me a tent and a screen tent, so we practiced setting up the tent in their back yard. It's just beautiful; looks like brand new. In fact, it practically is new. Even though it's probably 15 years old, it's only been slept in once.

During the tour Randy and I took at Beartree Campground a week earlier, he'd become all enthused over the possibility of us doing some camping. I told him that I actually used to camp A LOT and still had a lot of the equipment. With Mom and Dad loaning us the tent, screen tent, and a camp stove, we were ready to go.

So, we already have reservations for July 13; four days and three nights. This will tell the tale of whether or not Randy's really a camper or not. *LOL* I asked if he'd ever camped before, and he said he hadn't since he was in the Boy Scouts! This should be interesting!

Saturday we went to a birthday party for Randy's great nephew (grand nephew?? His niece's son.), Noah. It was at the Eastman Park; the weather was pretty hot, but the party was in a shelter beneath some lovely shade trees, so it wasn't bad at all.

After the party, we went to Dairy Queen (Randy felt the need for a custard), then stopped by Mom and Dad's for a brief visit.

The only thing we did Sunday was make a Wal-Mart run. While Randy was watching the Braves on TV, I dragged some of my camping equipment out of my storage area and began cleaning it up.

I'm looking forward to spending some time in the great outdoors. Sure hope the weather cooperates!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A "Regular" Day

You know, sometimes it takes having your world shaken up a bit to learn the joys of a "regular" day. The most exciting thing that happened to me yesterday was going to the dentist's office to have my teeth cleaned. Admittedly, I live my life in a rut, but I LIKE it. *LOL*

Speaking of the dentist's office, if you're reading this, Kris, Esther asked about you. Her oldest is now 16, and the twins are 12. I feel old!

Randy continues to do well. Tomorrow is follow-up day with his primary care physician. I'm hoping that's followed by an uneventful weekend. We're invited to his great-nephew's (grand-nephew? How do you say that? His niece's son.) birthday party Saturday, but I don't know if he wants to go or not. It's not been mentioned since we got the invitation, so I have to remember to ask him about it when I talk to him tonight.

Did you hear about the guy who ate nothing but monkey chow for a week? It was silly and funny and weird. If you'd like to take a look, go to The Monkey Chow Diaries. Be sure to click on the links to see his daily videos. That was my favorite part.

Gotta love the internet.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Saga Continues

So, we waited in the trauma room until they got a room for him upstairs. Randy's sister arrived while we were waiting for a room. It wasn't long before they moved him, thank goodness.

He was alert enough by then to be complaining that he really wanted something to drink. However, because of his recent seizures, the doctor's orders were nothing to eat or drink for awhile. They did let me use some sponge swabs to moisten his mouth, which helped somewhat.

Randy's brother-in-law arrived and we filled him in on the happenings. While he and Randy's sister were there, I ran home to check on Meggie, take my medicine and eat a quick bite. I grabbed a few items I thought Randy might need in the next day or two and sent out a couple of quick e-mails.

It was 10:45 pm before the doctor came to see him in his room. That doctor confirmed the earlier diagnosis of cellulitis and amended the order to allow him to have food and drink. The nurse quickly brought him some ice and a Pepsi, along with his medication (which by this time, he hadn't had since breakfast). She also told him that a sub sandwich had been ordered and would be delivered "in a little while".

At midnight, the sub still hadn't arrived, so the nurse brought him some peanut butter on saltines to tide him over. The sub finally arrived at 1:00 am, by which time he really didn't care anymore. He nibbled a bit, and we settled down to try to sleep.

Ever try to sleep in a hospital? It's just ridiculous. You try to get adjusted to sleeping in a strange place; just as you doze off, someone comes in to check your blood pressure and temperature. They turn off the lights and leave; you doze off again and someone else comes in to draw blood. They turn off the lights and leave; you finally manage to doze off again and the IV thingee starts beeping because the fluid in it is running low and needs a new bag. Needless to say, it was a long night.

Because they were giving him antibiotics and medication to control his nausea, he was able to eat regular food all day Monday with no ill effects. He began to feel much better; the seizures did not return, thankfully. His leg still hurt if he put it over the side of the bed and was still red and warm to the touch. Otherwise, he seemed much improved. He was well enough, in fact, that I was comfortable leaving him alone in the hospital and going home to sleep that night.

I returned early Tuesday morning so that I could place the order for his meals for the day. He'd only had one big irritant during the night. His IV machine had started beeping in the wee hours, and the nurse didn't come to reset it for what seemed to be a very long time. The third time he hit the buzzer to ask them to come stop the beeping, he suggested that if they didn't come make it stop, he'd put it throught the window and they could go to the parking lot to reset it. That seemed to get their attention.

I ordered his meals and went to work. He called me several times during the day to report on his progress. They did a dopplar procedure on his leg to rule out blood clots, and all went well. At about 3:30 he called to tell me he was being released from the hospital. I left work at 4:00 and went to pick him up.

He was so happy to be getting out of the hospital; we went to Ryan's for dinner and he ate a good meal. I took him to my apartment so I could keep an eye on him; I actually felt they'd released him a little soon, but what do I know, right?

Sure enough, at midnight the vomiting began again. It continued nearly constantly until I decided at 1:00 am that we had to go back to the hospital. He was much too sick to get dressed, so I just put a robe over his pajamas and slippers on his feet and helped him to the car. I live less than 3 miles from the hospital, but Randy needed to use the small trash can we took with us before we arrived at the ER.

They put him in a trauma room, started an IV, and gave him nausea medication. They also gave him some more IV antibiotics. It was a ridiculously busy night in the ER, so it took a long time to get everything done. The doctor ordered blood and urine tests; when the results were back, he told me that he could put Randy back in the hospital or send him back home with nausea medication and let him rest there. I asked if it was safe for him to go home, and the doctor assured me that it would be fine.

We left the emergency room at 6:00 am Wednesday. I called in to the office to let Deb know what had happened. I took Randy back to my place and got him back in bed. I waited until Walgreen's opened at 8:00 and went to fill the prescriptions we'd received from the ER doctor. When I got back home, I began my day-long unsuccessful attempt to get some sleep.

It was just nuts. Before I tried to go to sleep, I made calls to Mom & Dad, to Randy's sister, and to the brothers I could reach. I told each of them that we'd had no sleep all night and were going to try to get some rest. All day long we'd no sooner doze off before someone would call. Around 2:00 pm I finally gave up. I told Randy that at 6:00 we were going to call everyone in his family and announce that we were turning off the phones at 8:00 pm. I told him that if there was an emergency, they could send someone to knock on my door.

It's amazing how great it can be to sleep all night long. Thursday morning I felt groggy because I'd slept so hard. However, I awoke to find Randy improved enough that I could go back to work. We talked several times during the day so that I could keep tabs on him, and other than being bored with the clear liquid diet, he was doing really well.

Friday dawned bright and beautiful. I had to run to the office to take care of a few things, but was back home before Randy was ready for breakfast. Even though the housework had really piled up that week, I suggested that we take the day and go to White Top Mountain. I did a few quick chores, and away we went. We stopped to pick up a box lunch in Damascus and drove to the top of the mountain. The photo on my Flickr site (see the box at the right) will show you just how gorgeous it was that day. What the photo doesn't show you is that on our way to the top of the mountain, we met one pickup truck and two vans coming off the mountain. However, once we got to the top, we didn't see a single human being there while we were having our lunch. The only sound was the buzzing of insects and the chirping of birds. It was just heavenly.

As we came off the mountain, we stopped at Beartree Campground for a quick tour. On the way back home, Randy suggested a stop by Dairy Queen, feeling the craving for a cone. We were tired when we got back home, but it had been a very lovely day.

Saturday was spent running errands and catching up a bit. Mom and Dad invited us to their house for a cookout on Father's Day. That, too, was a nice visit. All in all, we had a great weekend after a dreadful week.

Things seem to be looking up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another Round of Illness

Gosh, lots to catch up on. Last Sunday morning (June 11), Randy woke up feeling fine, ate breakfast, and sat down in the living room to watch a little television while we decided what to do with our day.

Suddenly, just past 9:30, he became violently nauseous. After throwing up three times, he began having terrible chills. I thought he'd caught yet another virus (there's ALWAYS one going around, it seems), and told him he should go back to bed. He was chilling so hard his teeth chattered. I wrapped him up in several layers of blankets and even put a heating pad in bed with him. He dozed off, so I went into the living room to let him sleep for awhile.

I went back to check on him about noon and found that he was feverish. I took his temperature and was alarmed to find it was 103.8 degrees. I gave him a couple of aspirin with just a sip of water, put a cool cloth on his head, and let him go back to sleep. An hour later his temperature was 103.9. I called the local urgent care facility to see what time they closed on Sunday afternoons. They were open until 4:00, so I told Randy we needed to get him cleaned up a little and get him out there to see if they could determine what was causing the fever and nausea.

As I was helping him get cleaned up, he went into a seizure. This was not at all surprising, since he'd not been able to keep his seizure meds down. When the seizure passed, I finished getting him dressed, and we went to the urgent care facility. He was terrible feverish, but walked into the office without too much difficulty.

I put him in a chair in the waiting room away from other patients (in case he was contagious) and went to check him in. When I told them the situation, they had a doctor come out into the waiting area to look at him. A nurse took Randy's temperature....104. When the doctor heard the word "seizure", he immediately began saying that the center was a small facility and he should go to the hospital. I tried to explain that the seizure did not cause the fever and vomiting, that the fever and vomiting caused him to be unable to keep his meds in his system which caused the seizure.

However, the doctor had already panicked, so I just said, "Fine. We'll go to the hospital." The doctor insisted that we have transport to the hospital, so they called the rescue squad to transport him....less than 1/2 mile. Geez.

While we were waiting for the rescue squad, I noticed that the calf of his left leg was really red and hot to the touch. I briefly wondered if he'd kicked anything during his seizure, but didn't think a lot about it.

At the ER, he was triaged and placed in a small cubicle. A medical student came to take a history and talked to us both. I pointed out Randy's leg, which continued to grow redder and warmer all the time. The student said that it appeared to be cellulitis, and that the doctor would be in to see us as soon as possible. When the doctor arrived, he examined Randy and agreed that cellulitis was the problem. The toxins from the cellulits caused the high fever and vomiting, which in turn caused him to throw up his seizure medicine, which caused him to have a seizure.

FINALLY!! A doctor who LISTENED!!

So, he said he was going to send someone in to draw some blood for some tests and he'd get an IV started and get some antibiotics into him as quickly as possible.

Shortly after that, the phlebotomist drew some blood, but didn't get it all drawn because the vein collapsed. She said she'd be back in a few minutes.

Randy dozed intermittantly, but I suddenly noticed that his head was beginning to draw to the left. That's the first thing that happens when he's having a seizure. I ran around the examining table and shouted his name. He didn't respond, and began to seize. I threw myself across his chest to try to hold him on the table and keep him from falling to the floor.

I grabbed the nurse call button, pressed it, and counted to ten. No response. I reached up and slapped the call button marked "STAFF ONLY". An obviously annoyed voice responded "Can I help you?" I said, "Mr. May is having a seizure. I need help NOW."

The door immediately flew open; four nurses, the med student, and the doctor ran in. By that time, the seizure had begun to slow down. He'd bitten his tongue and was bleeding from the left side of his mouth.

The nurses moved him into a trauma room, hooked up an EKG machine and began attaching leads for various monitors. They were still getting him hooked up when the doctor reappeared. He asked me if they'd finished drawing his blood. I told him no, that they'd started, but the vein collapsed. He asked if he was getting his antibiotic. I said no, they hadn't yet started the IV. He reddened slightly, turned to the nurse in charge and said, "WHY hasn't Mr. May's IV been started?" She stammered slightly and said that they were waiting for a doctor's order and that it had been really busy. The doctor interrupted her and said, "I'M the doctor, you HAVE the order, and I want it started NOW."

He turned back to me and said that he'd be back in just a few minutes. Well, in that few minutes, they not only started his IV, they took a chest x-ray, they finished his EKG, and they finished his blood draw.

When the doctor returned, he said the test results did indicate cellulitis and they were going to admit Randy to the hospital to run fluids, get the antibiotics running, and get his seizure medication level back to where it needed to be.

Ooops. End of lunch break. I'll finish this tale later.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Day in the Sunshine....For Awhile

Today my sore throat was all better, thank goodness. Randy wanted me to take some pictures of an old log house where his family lived when he was three years old. So after breakfast and a few household chores, away we went to the community known as Hickory Tree.

I took pictures of the old house for him, then we rode around back roads for a bit. We were both hungry, so we went in search of a place to eat. We wound up at Fuddruckers in Johnson City. Luckily, the worst of the lunch rush was over, so we had a leisurely enjoyable lunch. He had his usual burger and Fudd Fries, and I had my usual taco salad. *yum*

After that, we went to the cemetery to visit the graves of his Mom, Dad, and his brother Ronnie who died in 1941 (crib death, twelve years before Randy was born). It was our first visit since Irene's burial last Sunday. He handled it really well.

As we started back from Johnson City, we ran into a dreadful thunderstorm. It's been raining and thundering around off and on ever since. If Meggie wasn't so horrified of thunderstorms, I really wouldn't mind. It makes me feel all dozy and warm.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Joy of Crowds of People

When I woke up Monday morning (no work, Memorial Day!), I had a bad sore throat. I honestly didn't think a whole lot about it, because during Irene's visitations and funeral I'd been exposed to hundreds of different colognes, after shaves, and flowers. I have allergies to many items in all three of those categories, so I figured the sore throat was just an aftereffect of an allergic reaction.

My throat was still really sore Tuesday, but I went back to work. I felt worse and worse as the day wore on. After work, I went to see a doctor at the Urgent Care center. They did a strep culture and found that I didn't (thankfully) have strep throat. I really didn't think I did, because I wasn't running a fever, and I always run a fever with strep. The doctor took one look at my throat and said, "Well, it's not strep, but it's definitely an infection. Have you been exposed to anything in the past couple of days?" I told him I'd just been through a funeral over the weekend and had probably been exposed to a couple of hundred of people who could have had ANYthing.

So, he gave me a sackful of antibiotics to take for 8 days. Yesterday (Wednesday) I just felt terrible, so I stayed home from work. I could barely swallow at all. Gargling warm salt water helped more than anything I tried. (Love those old home remedies!)

This morning, I felt much better, so I trudged off to the office. Thankfully, I feel better as the day wears on. I might even try "real food" for supper. Glucerna has kept me going for the last few days. It's not a "steak and Lowenbrau" (as Randy's always saying), but it's nutrition, at least. :-)