Nichole’s Slices Of Life, 13

26 04 2009

Did I mention how life is uncertain last week?  Well, I plunged right into an uncertain week with Jim calling me home from work on Monday morning.  I knew he wasn’t feeling well when I left but I had no idea I would end up spending the day with him in the emergency room.

I rushed home and called 911.  I knew that Jim would never be able to endure waiting in the emergency room to be seen.  By calling 911–he would be assured of instant attention.  We had a long day.  Ben, my son ,and Sandy, my oldest daughter ,spent most of the day with me.  Vera was able to come when she finished teaching her class.  Maria had to work at the post office and couldn’t come but her husband came for a bit.

There was nothing very conclusive about the day other than the doctor was very nice–kept checking on us –and worked hard to communicate with the VA in Nashville.  Since it is written all over Jim’s charts that he is inoperatable –no one was in a hurry.  Jim’s main complaint that day was his legs. 

We left the hospital with an energency appointment at one of the VA clinics in Nashville on Tuesday morning.  The doctor there was very attentive and started cutting back on Jim’s medicines.  He also was very compassionate about Jim’s leg problem and ordered him some medicine for “restless leg syndrome”. This doctor checked on Jim both Wednesday and Thursday mornings and further changed his medications.  I have a pill cutter and he would instruct me how to shave the medications.  He also reminded us to keep our appointment with the cardiologist at the VA hospital on Friday.

That proved to be an event that I hope is life changing for the better.  The heart clinic is only open on Friday.  That is why we couldn’t get in to see him during our crisis.  The cardiologist was a “bulldog” of a doctor who gave us an hour and half of his time.  He completely threw out four more of Jim’s medications calling them “crap”.  He told us that by the thickening of tissue in Jim’s CT scans –it is apparent that Jim has never been properly cared for with his chronic blood pressure problem.  That was news to me as Jim has faithfully followed all doctor’s orders about his blood pressure since he was diagnosed at age 28. 

The doctor drew a chart for Jim to take his blood pressure daily.  He made a column for breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime.  Jim is to take his blood pressure only twice a day alternating between those times.  Jim has kept a notebook of bloodpressure checks but the doctor said that the way Jim has recorded his checks is absolutely useless.  We have two weeks of BP checks on this new system and then we return to see the “bulldog”. 

I have panicked though because Jim’s blood pressure has been too high with each check.  Jim has been on a roller coaster for six months now with his BP  either being too high or too low.  Lately, it has been too low a great deal.  I’m concerned now that with so many medications taken from him that he is going to have high bp for two weeks.  That can cause further dissection in his aorta.  Jim said I was extremely odd for singing the praises of this doctor but worrying about whether to trust him now.  I guess I am odd.  Afterall, I’m the one who takes care of Jim in crisis.  It does take a toll on me. 

After dealing with crisis all week–I was wiped out yesterday.  Furthermore, I was wiped out today.  Jim and Vera were able to go the church but I stayed home for the peace and quiet.  I haven’t had a quiet day in months.  I should return to work tomorrow but I don’t really want too.  It is going to be hard to leave Jim alone all day.  Vera always has a long day with her teaching on Mondays.  She is finishing up her classes this coming week.  Then she is leaving us for three months to do an internship with a new Orthodox mission in Kansas, City, Mo.  I have depended on her help so much –especially since Jim has become ill.  It will be a tough adjustment.  Yet I understand that she has a life too–and I want her to live it to the fullest for the Glory of God.

I, too, left my mother at a difficult time in her life.  Mother had Parkinson’s disease and was also taking care of my grandmother.  I wanted to go away to college and taste life to the fullest.  I now understand just how sad my mother was because I’m sad that Vera is leaving.  However, I must let her go.  She has been faithful in helping us in so many ways through my cancer recovery and Jim’s illness.

Hopefully, this week will be a little calmer.  We are indeed blessed to still be together as a family.  I will visit with each of you again next Sunday!

God bless!

Nichole

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3 responses

26 04 2009
shadowlands1501

My dear friend,
That certainly was a roller coaster kind of week. Those are difficult hours and sometimes, minutes.

I understand your concern over Jim’s B/P. It may be necessary to report the readings to the cardiologist and ask for perameters as to how high is OK and if it surpasses that, then do you call the cardiologist or what does the “bulldog” want to do about it. It is reasonable since Jim has been taken off of so many medications to have higher readings, but, most doctors set these kind of guidelines as to what is acceptible and what isn’t.

I think that if you need one more day to recoop from the past week, you should take it. I learned early on that if I didn’t take care of me, there was no one to care for Dan and there wasn’t. His parents have dementia, his brother has a church and teenage children, his son lives in Washington State and his daughter was pregnant with her second child and she has a 2 year old.

The same for you. You have more options, but Jim would rather it be you to care for him than any other, I am sure. So…take care of you…There will always be bills and utilities. No stopping them.

Hope this week is not eventful, at least, like the events of last week…

Your friend,
Shadowlands

14 05 2009
nichole3

Dear Shadowlands,
I’m sorry to be so late in responding. I’m going through a time when I don’t want to communicate with anyone much less blog. It is a time of darkness for me.

Yet, I am grateful for the blessings we do have. I’m grateful that Jim has a good doctor and we have been back to visit since you wrote.

Jim’s beta blocker has been changed to help lower his heart rate. That is what the “bulldog” seems most concerned with now. The heart rate has a very direct affect on the aorta. But the medicine has not come in the mail yet–so things are still the same.

Wow! You were the only one to take care of your husband. That had to be difficult for you but you seem like the kind of person who would rest when needed.

The substitute jobs are slowing down here at the end of the school year. I’ve enjoyed some extra sleep. When summer comes I have my gradsons to take care of and sleeping in won’t be an option.

Thanks again for your love and encouragement.

Your friend,
Nichole

13 06 2009
shadowlands1501

I understand completely about not blogging lately. As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted much of anything on my blog until last evening. It seems that when things hit hard, the words can dry up and the feelings just roll in and out like a flood.

Hope you have a great summer and take care of yourself and Jim, my friend.

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