Saturday, September 07, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm back--is anyone still out there?

It was only supposed to be a little break--but it's been almost 10 months since I've posted. And I'm still not sure I have anything worth blogging about!  Not to mention I have to dust off the camera and get busy with pics.

We've all had some health issues. My diabetic meds weren't controlling my sugars last fall, so I was dragging my way through the days and not realizing what was going on, because I'd quit checking my sugars. Bad girl. They had been stable so long, I just took it for granted they'd stay that way, even though I know diabetes is a progressive disease.

So my doc added Actos in early Dec., which controlled my sugars very well. Problem was, the side effects were awful--chest pain, shortness of breath, weight gain, blurred vision, back pain, and-- overwhelming fatigue. I was right back where I started. March we stopped that and tried going with only the Januvia again, but that still wasn't enough. Then we tried the Januvia with Metformin, even though I historically couldn't tolerate those side effects either. Nothing's changed there--still can't tolerate Metformin. Now we're trying only Glipizide. If that doesn't work, we go to Victoza, which is an injectable non-insulin medication. My doc says starting insulin on a type II diabetic is a slippery slope and we're trying to avoid that. So far, so good.

J-Man is doing okay--has a biopsy scheduled for Tues., so we will know more in a week or so. It's a guy thing.

Tandi--my little furbaby--finally healed from her second knee surgery and rehab and all was well for 5 months. Then she began getting very lethargic, feverish, and wasn't eating. And when she doesn't eat, she's really sick. Thought it might be dental-related, but it wasn't that, and during the cleaning, she really bled. Her platelets were pretty low. A week on antibiotics didn't change that, and didn't stop the fever, and her platelets dropped more. Her vet had me take her to the veterinary hospital in Greenville, SC, about an hour away, where they kept her for 6 nights over Memorial Day weekend. Turns out she has an autoimmune disease that kills off her platelets, and she could have bled out. The platelets should have been around 200,000, but they dropped to 2,000 at one point.

But they managed to turn her around, and now she's on Cyclosporin ( at $100.00/ 30 pills) and Prednisone. A cocker spaniel on Prednisone? Can you say "voracious" appetite? Poor little thing wants to eat constantly. I had to take the toilet paper off the roll and put it up on the counter, because she was unraveling that to eat it. Two weeks ago I bought a big basket of peaches at the local farmer's market to put up for freezing, and the little foodie managed to get 3 of them out and eat them before I caught her! She gets green beans in her food at suppertime, because the fiber makes her feel fuller, and I go through a huge bag of carrots about every two weeks, because we give her those for snacks during the day. And apples. I've never had a teenage boy, but I'll bet it's not much different!

I'm still loving Hospice nursing--can't imagine going back to hospital nursing. I'd retire first. The plan was to stay at the inpatient unit for a while, then go to home hospice, but I'm so happy where I am, I'm planning to stay for now. Plus, I think I like the structure. My job can be difficult at times--the families, especially, break my heart--but it's so rewarding. I feel blessed to be a part of their lives at this critical time, and sometimes I can make a difference. And that's what we all want, isn't it? To make a difference in this world?

(Taken from our facility last Dec.)

In other news, the countdown to Hallowe'en is on. I'd almost decided not to do it this year, as it gets harder every year to come up with something different, and get it all set up and taken down by myself. Plus, I was scheduled to work. But a couple of months ago, a young mother was pushing a stroller down my street, with another small son, maybe 4 years old, trailing behind. I was out working in the yard (before the Great Monsoon of  '13) and she waved and called "Just want you to know how much we enjoy your yard every year at Hallowe'en!" I thanked her and asked the little guy what he was dressed as last year. He said he was a character from "Cars"  (I don't remember who) and he's going to be Darth Vader this year. I was suckered in. The show must go on. I requested off and got it, and the planning and search for props are in full swing. More later.
I was doing pretty well at reading your blogs until Google  discontinued its Reader (though they still let you post--where's the sense in that?). Took me a while to find bloglovin', so now I can find out what you've all been up to this summer.  8^)

Anyway, if you're still out there, thanks for hanging with me. I'll try not to let you down again.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Hallowe'en 2012

Winds from Hurricane Sandy changed the plans a little, but the parts that got left out can be set up next year. I didn't get a single pumpkin carved this year; as it was, I got the last cobweb strung up at 10 minutes to four that afternoon. It was just enough time to jump in the shower, put on some black clothing, and get all the lights turned on, lit, placed and whatever.

Here are some of the scenes from the night:


My sort-of them was "abandoned house". Earlier in the week, my "adult" skeletons had been sitting on the delapidated lawn swing Jack and DD had bought me many years ago, while shorter skeletons were riding the tricycle planter. For the big night, the swing was shown in its true collapsed state, and the tricycle overturned, with pumpkins smashed around, and cobwebs everywhere.




Loved how this guy threw shadows onto the side of the house:
We didn't get as many Trick-or-Treaters (ToTs) as in some years, but it was the middle of the week, and it had been really windy from Hurricane Sandy, so many went down to Main Street. However, we have a loyal following, and the night brought many kidlets who come year after year. For the second year in a row, the couple who sold us the house have come back with their twin daughters to see the place.
No less than 5 neighbors have remarked on how late I was at getting set up this year! Two separate groups have vowed to come help when I get too old and decrepit to do this anymore. I'm counting on their loyalty, as I had a little vandalism for the first time in the 10 Hallowe'ens I've been here. I'm pretty sure who did it, and fortunately, the damage wasn't permanent, but I found it disheartening that after all the time, effort, and expense that went into this display, someone would try to destroy it. I briefly considered giving up and not doing this anymore. Frankly, traipsing all over my uneven yard, getting up and down ladders, and making my way in and out of the crawlspace is killer on my knees.  No one but my husband knows how much work goes into this year after year, and bless his heart, he and the dog and the house have been neglected far too long.
But as a friend posted on my FB entry, "don't let them win." So I think I'm going to let some of my neighbors know about the vandalism and maybe pressure will be brought on the perpetrator to confess. I know just how I'm going to have him make amends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall trip

Just a quick post to let you know I haven't fallen into a bottomless pit somewhere! (Oh, and the below pictures have nothing to do with my recent trip, but didn't want to leave you high and dry!)
Last week, I left hubby at home and drove to Gatlinburg to meet up with my nursing school roommate, whom I've not seen in over 20 years! In fact, the last time I saw her was in 1989, when we were flying from Albuquerque to Birmingham, and had a few hours layover in St. Louis. She came to the airport and we got to talk for a little while, but my hubby, daughter, and foster son were there, as were her 2 little girls, so not much was accomplished. Before that? 1975, nearest I can figure.

We met when we went for our nursing school interviews. She was from Helen Keller's hometown, and I was from Birmingham, and there was no guarantee either of us would be admitted. In fact, there were lots of gals there, and there was more than one weekend of interviews, but we found each other and almost immediately decided to be roommates. We were 17. Amazing, huh? We've been friends 43 years now.

Gatlinburg was gorgeous this time of the year, (which is why she trades her timeshare for that time and place), and the weather was nice, but all we did was talk. And talk, and talk, and talk. We did go outside to eat a couple of times, but that was it. Her poor husband just took naps and watched TV and just generally chilled out. He's her second husband, and it was the first time I'd met him. What a nice guy!

I took my cameras, because that's where my photos are, and she brought her wedding photos, but the only pictures we took were of us together on the tiny balcony just before I left. We have vowed to do this every year, so I can plan to spend more than just 24 hours and we can do some shopping or sight-seeing or something. Husbands are optional.

So it was a wonderful interlude, but now it's back to the yard haunt. It's coming along, though there's still lots to do. I had requested 2 vacation days this week just to enjoy the weather and work on my haunt, but it's hard to squeeze a month's worth of Hallowe'en into only a week. I need to be cloned! Pictures and details to come later.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

It's 25 days 'til Halloween, and I haven't even started to decorate--inside or out. I don't even have a plan. I had an idea, given to me by my daughter, but it involves some building, and that's not my forte. Maybe I can execute that one next year, and it will give me time to find someone who's handy with tools. In the meantime, I have no idea what I'm going to do THIS year!  AAAGGGHHH!!!! 

Tomorrow is supposed to be chilly and rainy, so I won't be able to do anything outdoors.
I think I'll just start decorating inside and maybe that will put me in the mood. Last year I just started putting things up outside, and it evolved into a funeral theme almost by itself. I'm hoping the same thing will happen this year, but it feels really odd not to be knee-deep in Halloween preparations by now.

Work has been really busy lately.  Since we are a non-profit organization, relying mostly on Medicare and donations, we are especially budget-conscious. Our computer system is the dollar-store version of the kind we had at the hospital and is dealing us fits. It makes charting longer, not faster, and there are so many Medicare requirements for documentation in order to get reimbursed, it just seems endless. One of our nurses is out with her knee, and another with illness, and they hadn't yet filled my preceptor's position when she went to days. With the census high, and the staffing short, we've all been putting in extra hours. I work with a great group of guys and gals who really pull together with a minimum of complaining. It would be easy to deteriorate into a pool of negativity, but they don't. We're hiring as fast as we can, so this will hopefully ease up by December.

Remember way back in 2008, when I made a little star quilt for M, a blue star mom?

She left the hospital not long after, to work at a long-term rehab facility, and I haven't seen her since then. Well, she's been one of the home hospice nurses here for a while, and I didn't know that until just before I started working here. She is transferring to inpatient hospice nights, with me, and will be on board the first week of November. Another friend from my hospital has applied for a per diem position on  nights, too. Funny how so many critical care nurses seem to end up in hospice.

I must say, though, I am most impressed with the leadership in our little organization. Not only does our manager work shifts or partial shifts to help, so does our VP, who is an RN! I have never known a Director of Nursing who truly COULD do our job, much less one who WOULD do it. They truly care about us, our patients and families, and not just the almighty budget. It is such a pleasure to work here.

I don't get a chance to read blogs at this job, so every week there are over 400 posts in my Reader on my offdays. There are about 22 more hours of computer videos I am supposed to watch for my job. Add to that, Windows installed IE 9 and erased all my pictures and bookmarks. I'm trying to get everything back to normal, but I haven't gotten it all figured out yet, and I can't seem to get caught up. If I don't comment as much, please forgive me. I'm trying to get as much read as possible and sometimes I have to choose between reading more posts or commenting.

One of these days I may even get to sew again!