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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween To All My Werewolf Buds!



And I guess we'd better do something 'bout "BILLY", right?



And you didn't think I'd forget this one, didja? This movie plays on my birthday every year! No not on Halloween! On December 31st!



Have a "Ghoul Night" y'all!

Bill

PS: And don't forget the 4-legged ones who aren't werewolves! Thanks!

The Animal Rescue Site

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dementia In The Classroom, Part III

I had to think about that title for a bit, but what the heck, it fits, right?

Well, I got a really quick reply from Georgia Department of Education's Pam Smith, and a really nice follow-up from Therese McGuire:

Good afternoon Mr. Craig,

Pamela Smith forwarded your email to me. I am the health education program specialist at the Ga Department of Education.

The Georgia Department of Education sets health education performance standards provide an outline for curriculum development. Those provide concepts in health curricula, which is to provide a framework from which curricula (which is often topic specific) can be developed aligned to local needs.
Local school systems develop and design their own curriculum, instruction and assessment. Here is a link to those standards:

https://www.georgiastandards.org/Standards/Pages/BrowseStandards/HealthEd.aspx

There are several ways to work with local systems and help provide curricula and/or information concerning Alzheimer's and other dementia.
One you mentioned are one time school presentations. In addition existing educational materials that may be available can be shared with schools and local school systems.

There are eight national health standards.... materials aligned to those standards and aligned to grade levels help schools to better use the materials.

If these exist for schools, I would be able to share those with contacts statewide. (I am not able to share or forward for profit information or anything that might be inappropriate for children)

If such educational materials do exist for children in grades K-12, it is often good to send them out to schools in conjunction with awareness months or campaigns but they can be shared at any time.

I hope this provides some insights and direction.

Therese McGuire, Ed.S.
Program Specialist
Health and Physical Education
Georgia Department of Education

Well, it does provide direction for me. Insight as well, and I thank Ms McGuire for her quick and detailed answer!

My next step is to schedule an appointment with Cindy Saxon who heads up the grades 9-12 curriculum for our schools here in Carroll County, and see what can be done to include teaching about Alzheimer's and related dementias in our schools.

Failing that, I'll just go and teach it myself  by invitation(and give a pop quiz afterward, if they'll let me!).

I'll keep y'all posted, but you know I have to stick my nose in just about everything to have something to do, right?

On another topic, Dondra wanted me to say thanks to everyone for their thoughts, well-wishes and prayers! She continues to recover, but still isn't able to walk for very long at a time. Don't worry, y'all! I'm taking very good care of her!

It's the weekend, so here's one my band and I ("BC And The Cavemen") used to play, and you're not allowed to dance to it! (J/K :))





In an upcoming blog entry, I hope to introduce you to Mr. Rick Phelps, another proactive Alzheimer's patient with a huge amount of talent. Just a really special and likeable guy.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, (stay warm, fellow Georgians!) and don't forget the 4-legged ones, who are lonely, cold and hungry. Just click the link below to feed!
The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks!

Bill

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My E-Mail To The Office Of Curriculum Of The Georgia Department OF Education

I was surprised recently to learn that Alzheimer's and other dementias aren't taught in our Georgia school system unless we, the advocates teach it by being invited into the school.

I have long thought that this is inadequate, being that a diagnosis is made every minute, and that our kids know this disease exists and kills, but may not know why.

For this reason, I have asked Pam Smith (director of curriculum) of the Georgia Department of Education to help me sort this out and hopefully work this into our Biology and/or Human Anatomy programs.

Here is that e-mail:

Dear Ms Smith,


My name is Bill Craig. I am a 61 year old Young Onset Alzheimer's patient and an advocate working out of our Atlanta chapter.

As an advocate, it is my job to oversee any legislation which affects the patients and caregivers who have to deal with the 6th-largest killing disease in our country.

We make ourselves available to anyone who needs assistance, as well as speaking to communities and contacting our state legislators to ensure their support.

Being that my "specialty" is non-compensated caregivers and community education, I recently discovered that Alzheimer's and other incurable dementias are not taught in our school systems unless we Advocates are invited in to speak to the students.

While we are happy to do so, we believe it should be made part of the curriculum taught to all our high school students. Alzheimer's is diagnosed every 69 seconds and chances are good those students already know of a patient with the disease or soon will.

So I am hoping you can advise me on where to begin with my task, who to contact and what
we can do to bring our effort to fruition.

Thanking you in advance for your assistance, I am

Sincerely yours,

Bill Craig
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Alzheimer's joke:
My grandmother had Alzheimer's and Bulimia. She'd binge-eat and then forget to vomit. That's why she was so huge, I reckon.
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In other news, the aarp wants you to send 'em $5.00, so they can tell that 12 person super committee not to cut our Social Security benefits.

Something tells me they already know our feelings on that matter, so I'll just hang on to my five bucks, thanks!
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Thinking of driving drunk? Don't do it!
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And don't forget the animals and click to feed.
The Animal Rescue Site
Thanks,
Bill

Sunday, October 23, 2011

" A New Study Shows....."

If you've followed this blog for a while, then you know how much this crap frustrates me. More often that not, the "meat" of the story is followed by, "although more study is needed......" blah, blah, rackenfracken BLAH!Here's an example:
Okay, maybe this is the one, but I've been eating B12, fish oil, coconut oil, E, everything but suck some normal person's blood out of his neck for the three years that I've had this stuff. I've even been asked if I've been "washed in the blood of the lamb?". I'll try anything once.

I really don't mean to be so cynical, guys, but dammit, some of our time's running out, and it seems to me that for whatever reason, we're still pussyfooting around this disease with really nothing to show for it.

Over on the Straight Dope Message Board, we have some of the most interesting and knowledgeable people discuss some very interesting stuff, and here's a subject I participated in: a thread called "Will There Be A Cure For Alzheimer's Disease In My Lifetime?"
. Please pay special attention to Lane's
post, because it seems that he or she has really done some homework and I'm wondering where they were when I needed help with my term-papers.
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In other news, the lady-wife (Dondra) is feeling much better, and sent me to Dairy Queen a little while ago for some chicken fingers. The jury's still out on whether or not she'll return to part-time work at her hospital, especially since she still has her cervical fusion yet to be done.

While we're talking about it, here's something I didn't know about Pulmonary Hypertension: It could have been caused by a diet drug called FenFen (off the market now). I signed us up for a PAH (pulmonary arterial hypertension) website last week, and they've been all kinds of great help with med recommendations and checking to see if there may be a class-action suit she can enter into.
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Had me an Alzheimer's Nightmare last night.

I got lost walking around Carrollton (where we live), got disoriented and got really scared because I had no idea where I was. People I stopped kept running away when I tried to show them my bracelet with all the info on it, and when I tried to call D on my cell phone the whole thing just blew apart.
Finally a police officer stopped and said he'd call someone to help me and get me home.
Next thing I know, some paddy wagon type thing drove up, two guys jumped out, put me in a strait jacket and took me to this place where they started shooting me up with all kinds of experimental drugs. It was a really detailed dream (mine all are) and I felt all the effects of the drugs, saw my bed I was tied into, the pain of the catheter (told you it was detailed) and everything associated with my dilemma.

I figure I dreamed all that because of all my bitchin' about there not yet being a cure! LOL!
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The Animal Rescue Site
Thanks for clicking to feed!

Bill

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good News About The Medicare Part D!

The insurance company has agreed to begin it November 1st,which is only 13(!) days away.

Meanwhile, I have checked into "Georgia Cares" (neither of us can qualify for "Extra Care', which they feature on the site, because we make too much.)  One has to make under 22, 300K for 2 persons in a household, so why not give this a try if you live here in Jawja. Maybe you'll make the cut.

The Sun Assocation is much more liberal. Here are their conditions and secondly, D and I want to apply for this, because for a $25.00 application fee and $100.00 a month for all of the costs they can reduce, we can save a lot of money, because our med costs are killing us.

They do all the paperwork, although one (or two of us because Dondra will be involved), but we have to do some as well: List all prescriptions and dosages, the prescriber, his or her address and phone number. We don't mind paying the fees, if it's legit.

Check into it, at least. It's nationwide!

I'll leave you with an Alzheimer's joke and ask you to please remember that I laugh at this stupid piece of shit disease and how it affects all of us!
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Do you want to join the Alzheimer's protest march? If so, learn the chant...

"What do we want?"

"I don't know!"

"When do we want it?"

"Want what?"
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We're bad and we're "Nationwide"! Contact your local Alzheimer's Association if you need help, or leave me a note here! I am an advocate for you and I don't care where you live!




Thanks for remembering the animals, but no sympathy for the a-holes who try to keep predators on their so-called "preserve"!
The Animal Rescue Site

I appreciate it!

Bill

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Problems With Medicare Part D And A Few Words About Dondra

And because she's the most important, she gets the number 1 slot.

She continues to recover from her surgery, but still has a lot of pain. Today, though, she was upset because, except for me helping to exercise and take her showers, she can't do anything yet but lie in bed.

But today the dam burst and she began to cry, telling me she was so tired of being in bed, but because of the pain, she really can't do anything she usually does, such as housework and cooking, which she loves to do.

I gave her a hug and reminded her of how big the gallbladder was, and that removing one of that size would cause some serious post-operative pain and that everything is okay. I'm taking care of her and everything which needs doing, and all she has to do is her breathing exercise, and continue to ambulate. (and give ne a little "sugar" every once in a while, LOL)

She gets very short of breath because of the pulmonary hypertension, but she has an oxygen concentrator and some portable O2 tanks if she needs them.

I know it must be tough on her, being such a normally active person, but I'm thinking positive and remind her that now she no longer needs to use her cane or her walker. I think both of those things are part of what's making her feel so bad, so we'll continue as we are, and I'll continue to take care of her.
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My Medicare Part D (the drug coverage part) is driving me up the wall, dammit.

I went online today to enroll and when I got to the very last page, I was informed that it won't be effective until 1.1.2012, and that is unacceptable because I need all my meds to be filled at reasonable Medicare prices, and I don't need to run out of any of them.

On the entry page I was told if one is new to Medicare (as I am. It went into effect on 9.1) one could still get coverage for 2011, but when I called and talked to service rep at United Healthcare, I was informed after 10 minutes that unless I had something wrong with my retina or had recently moved, I had to wait until January 1st.

In all, I had to talk to 4 different people, in addition to an online chat with customer service ( one of those guys was very hard to understand due to being English speaking challenged)., and when the phone lost it's charge, and I got a monster of a headache, that was it for tonight. Northing is simple anymore, is it? I'll try again in the morning, I reckon, but I have drugs for 2 weeks, so I'm hoping one of my docs might have some samples to get me through if nothing can be done.
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The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks for clicking to feed and for letting me vent a little.

B~

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Long-Time Friend And Fellow Animal Lover

Sharon Amaya, MD was my consulting physician on the first Texas to Georgia bicycle ride I ever did (www.d2d4wetnoses.com). She and I worked together in the ER, and she was also the friend I confided in when I noticed something going wrong in my brain.

I haven't seen her in 3 years, but we keep in touch via facebook, and I'd like to share with you some pictures of her and some of her other friends from a recent vacation:



Sharon and Greg Amaya and friend. Both Sharon and Greg are ER docs and world travellers. Pearl Jam is probably the one band they'd drop anything (hopefully not a patient! lol) for!

Oh, yeahhhh! Can't forget this one: It's the dolphin's "Oh, shit! Not again!" picture of Sharon and Greg kissing over their friend's head. Look closely at their friend's face!.....



A little something appropriate to your last vacation, Sharon. Listen to it when you need to relax and remember.

And thanks for everything!



Please remember to click and feed. If you'd like to be sent a daily reminder, go to the "register" tab and fill it out.
The Animal Rescue Site

Hope you enjoyed this little "different" blog entry, and Sharon, I remember our work together with much fondness.

Thanks

Bill

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Bob" At Our Recent Oktoberfest Party, And A Dondra Update


This is my buddy, "Bob" who helps protect the house, having a  bit of Oktoberfest "cheer". I'll post some other pics later.

Dondra continues to recuperate, although she doesn't have much of an appetite at present. It's good that when I fix her something, I'm usually a little hungry too, so I eat what she doesn't want.

As I write, we're enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon, just lying around and watching movies, with Bert squooshed in between us.
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The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Saturday, October 15, 2011

WE'RE HOME!!!!

We're home! Walked in the door last night at about 9:30 and shortly thereafter our home oxygen guy came to set Dondra up with her tanks and concentrator. I hate that my otherwise so active wife has been brought down by these stupid happenings, but I'm making it my project to get her back on her feet and, as soon as she's able, taking her with me to the track so she can walk and build her strength again.

Funny story: Before we left, as D was getting dressed, and I had already taken some stuff down to the car, I came upon her nurse giving report to another nurse outside her door.

"She's doing so much better", she told her, "and will be going home within the hour and thank God she's taking that asshole husband of hers with her!"

I walked smiling past them into D's room, and I know she knew I'd heard her.
But I don't mind being thought an asshole as long as I know I did the best I could to watch over my wife. They'll meet many more assholes worse than me, I think!

I got her up for a little while earlier today, but she gave out on me about 10 minutes later, so I'm letting her rest and will try again later today to walk her around a little.

Because she is still in a lot of pain from the surgery, we're asking our friends to give us the weekend to let her rest and get re-acclimated to being home. We appreciate all the calls, visits and well-wishes, but lets let her relax a couple of days.
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The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill and Dondra

D Update #14: We're Home!!!

We're home! Walked in the door about 3 hours ago. I hate that my otherwise so active and beautiful wife has been brought down by these stupid happenings, but I'm making it my project to get her back on her feet and, as soon as she's able, taking her with me to the track so she can walk and build her strength again.We were discharged this afternoon, but didn't leave the hospital until 8 PM Friday night.

Dondra is far from well, and will need home oxygen, physical therapy, many follow-up doctor's visits and much TLC (that's  my department! LOL!).

Funny story: As D was getting dressed, and I had already taken some stuff down to the car, I came upon her nurse giving report to another nurse outside her door.

"She's doing so much better", she told her, "and will be going home within the hour and thank God she's taking that asshole husband of hers with her!"

I walked smiling past them into D's room, and I know she knew I'd heard her.

But I don't mind being thought an asshole as long as I know I did the best I could to watch over my wife. They'll meet many more assholes worse than me, I think

Just to recap for y'all:

1. She had a severely inflamed and infected gallbladder which HAD to be removed. Our surgeon told us it was the largest one he'd ever seen, and it almost didn't pass through the bag used for laparoscopic surgery.

To put the size into perspective for you: Look at a bottle of Snapple tea, and then any plastic bottle containing 2 ounces of any liquid.

The 2 oz. bottle is a normal gallbladder and the Snapple bottle is what they pulled out of Dondra.

2. We found out she has pulmonary hypertension, a disease of the heart which is incurable, and can only be helped with home oxygen, medications or, in extreme cases, a lung transplant.

3. Because of the PH, we now have to watch out for any heart arrythmias, because the heart will have to pump much harder to get oxygen to the lungs.

There is no cure.

We have home oxygen for her, and we have the meds which will hopefully make a difference. The last resort is a lung transplant, because the pulmonary hypertension can destroy everything the lungs can do.

It hurts to see such a beautiful woman be weakened by this disease which can't be fixed, but I'm making it my quest to see that she'll keep active within her means, take her with me to the track to walk (when she can) and build her endurance, and to always know that I love her.



She's been with me pretty much all our married lives (both marriages! lol!) and shared my love for the animals. She's been with me through both rides: D2D4Wetnoses (www.d2d4wetnoses.com) and the Carrollton to Carrollton Ride To Care (www.c2cr2c.com), and I could not have asked for a more wonderful or loving companion both times. If I succeeded at all, it was her who put me there.

In short, I hope to one day be worthy of her love.

Please click to feed our little four-footed friends!
The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Friday, October 14, 2011

D Update #13: Still Here, Part Deux

We are still here in the hospital. Her cardiologist stopped by earlier and told her that her increased pulmonary pressure is due to a leaking heart valve. That's all he said, except "it is what it is", which, to me, is a phrase which cancels itself out and isn't really saying anything at all.

D's room air oxygen saturation is 88% without 2 liters of O2. Her normal room air sat is 99 to 100%, so this is of some concern to me. When I was an RT, we'd send people home on oxygen with a room air sat of only 88, and she has never smoked or inhaled dangerous fumes in her life. Oxygen Saturation is the amount of oxygen carried by the red blood cells. O2 saturation is usually measured over the fingernail, although it can be measured with an arterial blood sample, which is very painful.

As I write, we just found out that the nurses will be taking her on a 6 minute walk without oxygen to see how far her sat will drop.

For that reason, I'm not letting Georgia Lung sign off on her yet. Something still needs fixing that isn't being fixed yet.

The good news is that her temps have settled down. Her latest was 99.2.

Her surgeon came by the morning and told us the site was fine, and that she'd have pain for at least two more weeks.

That's all we know for now.



The Animal Rescue Site

Don't forget to click and feed the animals. It's free.

Thanks,

Bill

Thursday, October 13, 2011

D Update #12: Temperature 102

Dondra's started running a temp tonight (102). Blood cultures have been drawn, as well as a urine specimen taken to lab. We're thinking atelectasis, but no chest x ray has been ordered as of yet.

Atelectasis sets in when a post-operatve patient doesn't cough or deep breathe with the aid of incentive spirometry. It sometimes happens when the patient is under general anesthesia and is being breathed through an endotracheal tube by the anesthesiologist. The patient avoids deep breathing afterward because of the pain at the operative aite. Pneumonia can be the result of atelectasis, sometimes referred to as "whiteout".
The blood cultures have to incubate, but the urine specimen might reveal a kidney infection. D's is very concentrated, even though she's been drinking clear liquids.

I sometimes wish I didn't remember so much about my days as an RT.

Thanks

Bill

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

D Update 11: Still Here

The wifi here is horrendous, so I haven't been able to write until just now.

D is getting up to go the bathroom, although she's still in a lot of pain. She's doing her incentive sprirometry exercises, but still gets short of breath so she's on O2. I'm keeping her spirits up by being her very own 60's dj from songs stored on this laptop. One she likes is at the bottom of this entry.

We don't know yet when we'll get to go home. We had hoped it would be tomorrow, Thursday, but they're not talking like it.

The gallbladder from hell was so large they had to keep drawing bile out of it, to make it small enough to fit into the bag. They gave us a view of it, which I told her I would frame once we got home. Here's what she said: "Not!" lol

Maybe since she's up and around, albeit slowly, it might not take the entire 14 days to recuperate. We hope so, but I'm not letting her get up until she's pain free

Since I don't drive anymore, a couple of our friends will come and the husband will drive us as his wife follows, thereafter I'll be taken to the grocery and drug store to pick up enough drugs and foodstuffs to get us through a week at least, so we don't have to inconvenience anyone else. I already do most of the house cleaning, so except for doctoring Dondra (she's going to fix her own daily meds from the bed), it won't be anything tough I'll be doing once we get home.
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Thanks for clicking to feed the animals!
The Animal Rescue Site


Thanks,

Bill

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

D Update 10: The Rest Of It

One week today.

The lung guys (Georgia Lung) still are not satisfied with what they're seeing, and, as I mentioned before, they're seeing the symptoms but not the cause.

What's left is the echocardiogram, and "working in" a therapeutic dosage of Coumadin (a blood thinner) before we're discharged - but I don't see that happening until Thursday.

Meanwhile, she's in a lot of pain from the surgery and it looks like we're in for a long recuperation (14 days at least) time at home.

Dondra was originally scheduled for a neck fusion, but it has been postponed indefinitely.

A word about the nursing care: great! About the only complaint we have is that they can't remember to close the door all the way! LOL!

We'll both be glad to get back home and into our own bed!

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If I have to look like somebody, I prefer to look like this guy.
I don't like hearing I look like Jerry Springer! :)



Please click to feed the animals.
The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks and Good Night!

Bill

D Update #9 --- Out Of Surgery And In Recovery

I spoke with her surgeon shortly afterward and he showed me a picture of the gall bladder before removal and said it had swollen to 5 times its normal size.

She'll be in recovery at home for about two weeks.

The next echocardiogram is still pending, but the surgeon has released her from his service.

We don't know yet when she will be discharged.

Thanks

Bill

Monday, October 10, 2011

D Update #8 The Right-Side Cardiac Cath

After several false starts, a cancellation and a re-order, Dondra's cath was finally done this morning at 11. Dr. Miller told us that becaus the results are inconclusive, he wants to repeat an echocardiogram when she's in "normal sinus rhythm" (otherwise known as a normal heart beat, not blowing one's nose to a rhumba!) so he can take some measurements and put her on the correct meds.

One thing he did notice is that her heart has a "stiff" left ventricle, which interferes with the regular pumping of the heart. For this reason, he says, her case is still a mystery, so he'll continue the IV's and cardiac blood tests.

Also nothing conclusive about the pulmonary hypertension. But, taking all the symptoms together: the swelling of the extremities, the atrial fib and the chest tightness, it's been determined that all are contributary.

On a related matter, her Nephrologist came in this morning, told us the scan of the gallbladder was normal and the removal of it is therefore and "elective" procedure, meaning he wasn't planning on having it removed during this admission, and would send her home with gallstones and pain.

I do not agree with this and have said as much. She's here, she's been here almost a week, and there's no reason why a cholecystectomy can't be done now rather than have her go home and come back in pain. It's not only silly, it's stupid. I'll see an ombudsman (person) to get this done if I have to.



The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Sunday, October 9, 2011

D Update 7

Dondra is in good spirits today, although she's still getting IV Heparin and all the drugs for her heart, and of course, the pain.

One thing we haven't discussed are the results of the complete pulmonary function test. Although she's never smoked or inhaled anything damaging to her lungs, she has reduced values in her FeV1 and Total Lung Capacity. (FeV1 is the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled in one second, and total lung capacity is the amount of volume retained after a maximal inhalation). We don't know for sure yet if this is what's causing her pulmonary hypertension, so tomorrow's cath will hopefully shed some light on that mystery.

D says to thank our friend ninetywt for the phone call a couple of nights ago. That is something I forgot, so I apologize. Thanks also to our friends Becky from California, and BillDL from Scotland for the phone call.

We had family to come and visit last night, and the night before my bro' came to get me so I could go home, feed and water Bert and pick up some more things for the both of us.

All vitals are looking good today, and she's not as SOB (short of breath - the other SOB is me!) as she has been, so all in all, a very pleasant Sunday.



Please remember to click to feed.....
The Animal Rescue Site

and thanks to all of you for your concern, thoughts and prayers.

Bill and Dondra

Saturday, October 8, 2011

D Update #6

Hidascan (of her gallbladder) done today in nuclear medicine. That took about three hours due to the contrast not visualizing the organ, so they gave her 2mg of morphine and that relaxed the valve which goes into the gallbladder, so they could see inside.

If I had 2 mg morphine, I'd show you all kinds of valves!

Other things we know is that D is anemic, so the doctor is going to put her on an iron drip beginning tomorrow.

Meanwhile, she's laughing and kidding with family who are here as I write, so I know she's feeling much better and the atrial fib is leaving her alone.

So after a busy afternoon, we're going to settle down and watch some movies on my mini DVD player and go to bed early for a change.



Thanks!

Bill

D Update #5

D is feeling better today, although one of her meds is making her perspire profusely, so bad her sheets are wet, but we'll trade all of her pain for a little sweat any day!

Her atrial fib is gone for the time being (due to the Heparin kicking in, I reckon), and she had a pain-free night for a change.

The cardiac cath is now definitely scheduled for Monday, and the gallbladder surgery will for sure be done after that laparoscopically.

She'll be going home with a rolling walker, which, to me, will take a lot of getting used to, because she's always been so strong, but I can put up with it since it's temporary. We don't know yet when we'll be discharged, just sometime next week.

The not so good news is that she's throwing some PVC's (pre-mature ventricular contractions), and that is some concern, because if they keep up, she'll be moved to ICU.

Other than that, we're good, and still optimistic, because, after all, they did find all that stuff IN the hospital instead of having to come to the ER multiple times.

Please remember to click the icon below to feed the animals, and by the way, if you're one of my international followers, please try to click and let's see if it works. If so, please join the rest of us and do it every day.

Thanks,

Bill
The Animal Rescue Site

Friday, October 7, 2011

Update #4 On D

We're still here, although we had a bit of a scare last night.

D started to feel bloated, which is one of the symptoms she experienced last year when her anestemosis incision burst and rleased "free air" into her abdomen. Quick surgery was what saved her life then and we thought it was happening again last night, so we had the nurse call the doctor who ordered a stat xray to check for free air, but she had none, so we dodged that bullet.

So, we're still dealing with the atrial fib and she has a Heparin drip to help with that, but so far nothing, and D says it's a very UNPLEASANT feeling which keeps her awake all night.

Hematologist was in llast night and told us that ALL her blood values were low, so the neck fusion surgery is off indefinitely.

Lung doctor just left and told us pretty much the same thing: the high PAP is a symptom of something, but they don't know what just yet, so they're going to find out what it isn't and go from there.

Again, I think we're looking at the right sided heart cath as soon as she stabilizes a bit, but for the interim, we're still here at least for the weekend.

Just now, we found out she also has gallstones and fatty deposits on her liver. So, some kind of surgery will be done sometime soon.

Thanks

Bill

The Animal Rescue Site

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Update On D #3

Not good. We learned this evening that her pulmonary hypertension is worse than we thought: a pulmonary artery pressure of 70 - dangerously high, and high enough for a blood clot in the lungs.

What this means is, she's a poor risk for her neck surgery for the arthritis in her neck. What happens now is we treat the pulmonary hypertension with drugs and (we're about 80% sure) a right-sided cardiac cath.

Both of us are optimistic, but with both of us being respiratory therapists, we know the score and we know she's in trouble unless we do something quick.

I'm sure you know that a blood clot ("embolism" - in this case a pulmonary embolism) is like a dormant bomb: No one knows when it might blow.

Meanwhile, the blood thinners, anti-arrythmia drugs, blood tests, etc. continue. Tomorrow, she'll be seen by a doctor in one of the finest pulmonary groups in the nation: Dr. Chad Miller of Georgia Lung. Dr. Miller actually specializes  in pulmonary hypertension and comes highly recommended.

2 of our friends from The Straight Dope sent her a teddy bear and a musical flower, and as I write, I see her lying in the hospital bed with the teddy bear in the crook of her arm.

She looks like a little girl.

Thanks, everyone for the well-wishes. We appreciate it!

Bill and Dondra

It's A Big Deal (Pulmonary Hypertension)

"Pulmonary Hypertension"

The quick definition: High blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, veins, or cappilaries, making the heart have to work harder to pump oxygenated blood through it. Because the heart tries to fix that, it enlarges itself and that threatens the heart and lungs and can cause a blood clot in the lungs and or heart failure.

This what we're dealing with right now. More tests to see how severe it is will be done.

She could need a right sided cardiac cath.

That's all we know so far, but we know it's much more serious than we thought at first.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Thanks, Bill

The Animal Rescue Site

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cardiac Issues Discovered In D

Looks like we have some other stuff we have to correct: D's been having chest pain all day, and she's going on heart meds and oxygen to try to correct this. She's very weak in addition to all her other problems.

More later.

Bill

At Cobb Hospital With D

My pretty but stubborn wife got herself admitted here yesterday, because a few of her meds had stopped working for her and she got really sick, and finally broke down and listened to me and e went to her doc who immediately admitted her here and now she's having all kinds of tests (again), this time for Osteoporosis, since she had a stress fracture of her foot, we think due to the brittle bones that disease causes.

We had hoped she might have had her cervical fusion done while we're here, but no, that is scheduled for October 31st, which means mine will be done sometime in late November, yay! :(

She is feeling better as the new meds are kicking in, and we hope maybe to go home by Friday. Meanwhile, I'm being her caregiver, and I am very happy that I still can be.
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In other news, you may have seen me mention my hopes that the teaching of the various types of dementias and their causes is being included in the curriculum of our high school students here in Georgia, but sadly it isn't.

You know who does teach it? According to my counsellor Kathy Simpson of the Atlanta chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, we do. We go into the schools when we're invited and speak to the students about Alzheimer's and other related dementias.

That's actually a bittersweet kinda thing: at least we're being allowed in the schools to teach and speak, but being that those students will have (or already do have) a loved one with the disease, it really needs to be a part of the curriculum and that's another thing I plan to make a project.
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Speaking of, uh, speaking, I've been invited to speak to the Carroll County Alzheimer's group on their Resource Day, October 24th. I'll be addressing pending Alzheimer's legislation, as well as recruiting some Alzheimer's Advocates. If you're following me from Carroll or surrounding counties, maybe you can make it. Contact Leesa Copeland at 770-537-4482 for more info.
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That's it from "on location" at Cobb Hospital. Please remember the animals who need you to click on the below icon for food. It's free and just takes a couple of seconds.

The Animal Rescue Site

Thanks,

Bill

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Altruistic? Moi??? Just Some Musings.

Oh, I don't know. Maybe. I certainly want to be and did start out that way early in life.  At age 17, I asked my then-girlfriend, Lynn, if she'd like to spend a couple of years in the Peace Corps with me after we graduated, and got laughed at for my trouble. So no Peace Corps, 'cause I sure didn't want to go by myself - not that I might not have met someone there and developed a relationship.

So up we broke and went our separate ways: college.

In my broadcasting days, I hosted numerous telethons (seemed like I was on for some cause every weekend) to the point where people would tell me, "Bill we just love you to death, but you're on the air all the time, asking for money!!!!" Oh well.

At West Georgia College (now University), my Philosophy Prof once asked us: "How do you justify your existence?", and that's been on my mind ever since. Why am I here and what am I here to do?
For that, I go to the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm". But I have harmed. With words and deeds.
Always with regrets, yes, but that didn't stop me. Maybe you have hurt someone too and were sorry afterwards?

Whatever happened to live and learn and how do you justify your existence?

I haven't talked about it very much but during my divorced days, I considered entering a monastery. But no, I am not that disciplined and, though having grown up in the Catholic Church, don't know for sure if there's a God. I have many questions for the Big Guy, if he's there: such as why so many wars in His name and why so many churches/religions. Apparently people can't make up their minds and neither can I. Will Dec. 21 2012 make a believer out of me? Maybe in the Aztecs.

So I try my best to make life better for the animals. Both unwanted and mistreated, and that's how I justify my existence, and that, I feel, is how Saint Francis justified his. So when it's my time, I hope someone will say about me: "He sure did love the animals, didn't he?" Leaving something behind, as it were.

My Alzheimer's Advocacy? Well yes, that too, but there's a bit of selfishness there, I think. After all, I am helping myself as I try to help others. Still, I will do what I can and all I can for as long as I can.

Thanks for allowing me to vent a little, although "venting" assumes anger, doesn't it? If I'm angry at all, it's because I have this stupid disease and one day, if there's no cure, will be of no use to anyone including the four footed ones.

Have a great weekend. It's cooling off a little here in Georgia and I'm looking forward to our little "Oktoberfest/Birthday Party" (for my brother) tomorrow. Some pickin' grinnin' and drummin' with some good company.

May I share a bit of music for the season with you? Here's the song of the Oktoberfest from my homeland: "In München Steht Ein Hofbräu Haus":



As always, please don't forget to click and feed!

The Animal Rescue Site

Danke Schön (Thanks) und SERVUS!

Bill