My blog is a way for me to share in the wonder of each day. I know there are others like me that due to medical issues have our days numbered and would like to make the most of them in a positive and gifting way for ourselves and for those around us.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Myrtle's Fishing Woes

Remember the lovely Sunday afternoon Fishing trip we took last weekend? Remember how Myrtle went fishing for fishing hooks instead of fish? Well, here's "The Rest of the Story!"
Poor Myrtle! Here she is after surgery this evening. As I related yesterday, the vet fed her flavored cotton balls in hopes they would wrap around the hook and carry it on through her system.
When we arrived this morning, the vet took another exray which showed the hook still floating around in her tummy. The cotton balls worked but it didn't seem to want to go on through so she said surgery was a go.
They gave her the anesthesia and pain meds and opened her up. Hmmm... no hook. The vet opened her up a little more and probed all around and deeper. Still no hook. She had the other vet look as well and they searched all the small intestine too. After cleaning her up and closing her up they took another xray and found it in her colon, probably still wrapped in the cotton balls.
She said only 1% of pets (this is her 2nd), pass the item between administering the anesthisia and opening them up. Guess the meds relaxes the muscles and the item just slids quickly through the intestines. They have decided to add a new policy in their office to take one more xray after the meds and before opening the animal up, just in case this happens again.
Anyway, as you can see by the picture, Myrtle isn't exactly with it tonight. She is still groggy and droopy and somewhat weak but at least she is ok. I guess it doesn't always pay to try and save a little and end up in an area where people just don't care about anyone else but themselves and throw hooks and other trash on the ground instead of keeping the public area clean and safe for everyone including our beloved pets. Kids beware too and wear tennis shoes and not sandals or go barefoot.
On Memorial day, when we went to my Dad's house I got to splurge in my hobby of taking pictures of beautiful flowers and they definitely have an abundance. Here are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Myrtle at 10 wks on a hot summer day 2007

Well...... last time I left off with a strong reminder for everyone to start their Memorial weekend off right by keeping safety first in everything they do. Guess what..Myrtle, our 1 year old english bully dogge apparently doesn't read.

On Sunday my husband and I went with a friend and her autistic son fishing. Kordell was so excited about going fishing and just couldn't wait. We brought Myrtle, of course and they brought their big dog named Sasha along too. We walked half way around the lake it seemed (me, I took about a dozen rest stops to huff and puff) and finally found a likely spot.
I put Myrtle on her extra long lead (20 feet or so) and wrapped it around a small tree. As we began to set up our folding chairs Myrtle sniffed happily through the leaves and bushes like she was in puppy heaven. It couldn't have been more than 5 minutes and she came to me all tangled up in someones old fishing line. What a mess. As I began unwrapping her unhappy self, I noticed the line in her mouth and I got a sinking feeling about it. Sure enough, she swallowed the line and was trying to swallow more. I very gently tried to get it out of her mouth and looked deep in her throat but it dissapeared in her mighty bullydogge throat. I just knew she swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

My husband left with her immediately to take her to the emergency vet (on Sunday... on Memorial Weekend no less). He packed his chair, pole and the dog up and I stayed to fish with Kordell who had panicked, thinking he wasn't going to get to fish and with worry for Myrtle.

Rick couldn't have been gone more than 10 minutes when Sasha, the other dog came to me all wrapped in fishing line also. It was wrapped so tight around her upper snout that it cut into her gums. As I unwrapped it, I found a fish hook in her lower gum. Fortunately it hadn't gone through with the barb yet and I was able to pull it out without hurting her. We almost had to follow Rick to the emergency vet with another dog.

Needless to say, we did a thorough cleanup of the area and gathered a walmart bag full of old line, hooks, sinkers, etc.
I am thinking about calling the Parks Department and complaining about the unsafe and unpet friendly conditions of that lake and surrounding area.
On with Myrtle's saga. The emergency hospital found a hook in her stomach for sure. Great!!! It would cost $1400-2000 at least to do surgery and they wanted to do it NOW. Rick opted to go home and wait for our own vet on Tuesday.

Of course our vet wasn't open on Tuesday because they are moving their office and then they won't have their hospital ready for another 10 days. I went through a few vets and even a specialist who wanted $1600-2000 for a scope procedure that had 75% chance of success and then if that didn't work, surgery would be added onto that. Mind you, we are talking about a 3/4 inch fishing hook, size 8. Anyway, I finally found an Alaska experienced vet who said she was extremely fish hook savey with all the fishing and the animals she encountered up there.

There is a chance we won't have to operate because she gave our dog (who will obviously eat anything), some wet cotton swabs dabbed in baby food to eat. She said they may catch on the hook and wrap around it and carry it on through her system. If not, then surgery is the next option. Her charges for everything including surgery will be less than half of what any of the others mentioned. I will let you know how it turns out after tomorrow.

At least it's not Me this time in the emergency room, but it's no fun worrying over a dog that is just about like our only child now since ours are all grown up and out on their own. Gotta smile at her and groan though. What an expensive fishing trip that didn't yield anything. By the way, we were at a lake in town to save money, ha!

Ready for the "Rest of the Story?"

When it was time for my friend and I to go home from the lake on Sunday, we packed up the gear like we were pack mules (Rick...this was not a good time for you to abandon us..). anyway, we get to her car and the starter has been acting up so of course now is the time to show us whos boss. When she finally does get it started, she discovers that most of the fluid in her radiator has drained out so we are pouring what's left of our water bottles into the radiator to hopefully get us to her house. Oh, and of course Rick took our car which has all of my extra oxygen tanks and I'm on the last half of my 2/1 hour tank.

We finally get to her house and her daughter is waiting for us so her mom can take her to a special event. The car decides it's gone quite far enough, thank you and won't start again.
Poor friend Kimm, her daughter is throwing a teenager fit cause she now has no ride to her thing and is calling all her friends frantically to hitch a ride, her auatistic son is now in melt down stage from stress due to both dogs and the fish hooks, and worry about me and my oxygen and that the car is broken. He starts screaming and demanding she call a tow truck NOW, ( his behaviors are part of the asperger's syndrome type of autism) and won't settle down until he get's inside the house and hides. And then there's me stuck with no air and my husband at the vet emergency center.
Enters my hero once again, my daughter Amber, gracious as ever who loads up her baby and comes to rescue Mom. Ever had one of those days? Boy was I glad to get home to husband and dog once again.

Hope your weekend was eventful but safe. I'm waiting to hear about it for sure. As for me, tomorrows another day (at the vet)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial weekend with a smile

Memorial Weekend is a time for family and fun!

I want to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement! I have already faced many dark days and will surely face more but for right now, my face is sunny and my body is following along with my mental leading. God surely does have a blessing for each of us and a reason for our being here, no matter how long or short.

Top of Cottonwood Pass, Colorado

Ooops, forgot our ice! Lucky this pass has some extra snow!

Mmm, marshmellows over the campfire at night in the cool crisp mountain air! ahmmm, albeit a little smoky at that moment.

A little more of my Miracle Lady story to consider....
When I was in the hospital the first time for 3 months, and just realizing how close I'd come to going home for good, I could hardly soak it all in. When you are in a coma, you don't remember anything of course, which means you also don't go through all the emotional turmoil that your family faces. Death did not threaten me, it threatened my family. When I woke up and they told me all about it, they felt it but I didn't. I could only trust what they told me and empathize with their feelings. I felt so sorry for them, not myself because I wasn't there (mentally) to feel the fear and greiving they felt. I didn't feel the daily stress of going to the hospital every evening after a full day at work while worrying that something would happen while I was away, like my husband did. And then sit all evening beside my comatose spouse until time to go home for a fitful night of sleep, again worrying that my loved one would die before I could be summoned.

The more aware I became of what they went through the more guilty I felt. I couldn't stand it that I had caused them such pain. I sometimes wondered if it would have been more merciful to them if I had died and it would have been over for them once and for all. Not this ongoing struggle for life and health. How unfair it felt for my family. I truly didn't really feel any saddness for myself at first, since I was spending all my strength and focus on learning how to think and write and walk again.

I remember hearing from a nurse that on a recent morning while I was in there, a man walking down the sidewalk in front of the hospital just keeled over suddenly with a heart attack and died. I was shocked and mad then and very confused. Why did he have to die and why was I still here. Why was I given chance after chance and he had no chance.

By the time I was in the hospital again last summer, I had died or almost died 3 times. the last 2 summers I had massive bleeding in my right lung and coughed up cups and cups of blood. They had to do emergency intervention to go into my lung and block the vessels that had given way and bled. If I had been out of town or in the mountains camping like we love to do, I wouldn't have made it. Only because I was at home and minutes from the hospital did I make it.

But then, there was that man who died suddenly. He didn't even get to say goodbye or to tell his wife he loved her one more time. I got to do that (more than once). It's a privilage to have that opportunity but not fun to say goodbye, just incase things don't turn out good. My poor husband had heard that goodbye too many times and when is enough, enough? When God says, I guess.

I am so much better now and hoping to stretch that last goodbye for much longer than even the doctors can imagine. That's my hope and my determination. If I don't get that long, it'll be ok, because I've had the wonderful opportunity to tell my loved ones what I want them to hear and I have written a few letters to be received at the appropriate time later on. In the meantime, my family and I are so happy just to be alive and seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and otherwise absorbing God's great earth and the family and friends we have been blessed with.

For any of you who have visited my sister's page my daughter's page, you will understand what I am saying about being blessed with a wonderful family who loves and supports me.

Thought; If you were given a second chance at life, who, in your immediate family or close friends would you most like to be. Who most represents the kind of person you would like to be? Hmmmm.......

With 5 brothers and a sister and loving parents, It'd be a tough call for me I think.

I know that at times my blogs are pretty long so I am going to try to confine my writing to shorter, easier to read blogs. At least I'll try.

Words to start the weekend...Think Safety first in all things.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More in the life...of a Miracle Lady

I've been out of touch with my new blogging life for a few weeks but now I'm back. I have been trying to put our yard together some although it is hard when I have to stop and rest too often. it takes most of an afternoon to get what once took about an hour. My breathing has been somewhat more of a chore and I have been tiring much easier. My bloodpressure is up and I have been generally fatigued. I haven't had any fevers or other signs of something serious and yet I knew something was up. Since it has been building up for a few weeks I figured it was too soon to raise my ramodulin dosage yet. I got suspicious that maybe I was having some more bleeding in my lung like the last 2 years about this time of year again.
I finally decided to get things checked out. Yesterday I had a chest exray and today I went to my in town pulminologist (lung) doctor. Fortunately my lungs are clear and no signs of anything more serious than usual going on. I was very happy about that and now I don't have to worry about it (hopefully) anymore this summer. I went ahead and upped my meds and hopefully that will help my bloodpressure go down, my breathing improve and my energy level to rise again.

I think I will take this time to fill in a few holes in my health problems so all this will make more sense to anyone just checking in.
After I had a kidney transplant with my loving husband as my live donor (Dec 2004), I did pretty well for about 6 months. I had several months recuperation after surgery before I could resume work part time. After 4 months I went back full time. I used oxygen part of the time but did ok. I even travelled to Maryland for a TDY training for work and since it was at sea level I didn't need any oxygen and I felt great.
I didn't feel well on Nov.1,2005 and so went to the doctor. I had a high fever and he sent me to the hospital asap. They found the huge clot that plugged the main pulmonary artery leading into my right lung. They put me under and did what they called a "clot buster" procedure to try and bust up the clot.
Then for some reason I started bleeding internally massively and they couldn't find out where it was coming from. All told I went through more that 10 pints of blood and 4 pints of plasma. They never did find out where the bleeding occured before it stopped by itself. During all that though, I was in a medically induced coma that ended up stretching out for over 3 weeks.
Most of my organs began shutting down and they thought my newly transplanted kidney was gone. My heart, lungs, liver, and kidney all started shutting down and in fact my heart actually stopped at least once and they had to start it up again. My family stood vigil through those weeks and prayed and talked to me constantly, holding my hand and just letting me know they were there. The doctors called my husband and daughter twice and told them to gather family because I probably wouldn't make it through that day or night.
As my body ecventually got somewhat better they tried to wake me up so they could take the breathing tube out but each time I woke up even a little I began to fight the tubing and couldn't breath so they had to put me out again and put the tube back in. My daughter and husband told them I was extremely claustrophobic but they wouldn't listen to them and kept trying the same way. Finally my family told them they had to take it out while I was out or they would never get it out so they tried it and it worked. Of course the doctors warned my family that the longer I was in a coma the less chance I would ever wake up or that even if I did I might have brain damage.
I truly believe that it was my family and friends faith and being there letting me know they were with me that kept me alive. Some how I clung to life and on my husbands birthday, November 26th I finally woke up. ( I don't remember anything though until 3 days before Christmas. Everything from November 1 until then is a total blank for me).
I was in the hospital 3 months recovering and going through physical therapy since laying there so long left my legs useless and curled under partially atrophied. I didn't know if I would ever walk again. I also couldn't read, or write (my writing was like a babies scribbles at first) or even figure out the numbers on a phone. I had to relearn or as the therapist said remind my mind how to work.
I went home in a wheelchair and braces on my legs, with oxygen, many meds, and was as weak as a baby but at least I was home. My cousin came and stayed with us for 2 months until I could fend for myself enough to get around and eat and do personal care, etc. Recooperation is a long endeavor but I am here with the nick name the hospital doctors and staff gave me as "The miracle Lady".

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Myrtle wasn't Impressed

Well, today was a perfect day, almost. Fortunately the almost came first. Remember all those cute little flowers I've been planting and tenderly tucking in at night during our late freezes? They all came through the frosts pretty good but... then came Myrtle. Remember our 'cute' or 'ugly' (depending on your point of view) bull dog? Well, she started her morning in full freight train energy and speed and proceeded to dig up and chew to pieces at least half of my beutiful tulip bulbs complete with shredded flowers. Oh..what a naughty doggy she was. You can imagine my joy at the sight that I beheld. Well, we took her with us anyway and went down to Brush Hollow near Penrose and hopped in Ricks new (I'll explain 'new' in a minute) fishing boat. I tried to contrive a fishing life vest for Myrtle but she wasn't too impressed. She was a great fishing buddy all day though, and took in all the goings on. I kept a tight leash of course so she didn't try to go fishing by herself. I did catch two baby catfish about 8 inches long but I threw them back. Otherwise we just got bites.

Myrtles first boat ride

You don't expect me to eat that thing do you?

Back to the 'new' boat. It is a fishing boat made from scrap aluminum from world war two. The boat is almost fifty years old as it is. Aluminum boats are light and easy to manuver though and Rick's little trolling motor was so quiet I didn't even hear it. We had a wonderful time trolling along and letting the currents gently move us along. (I'm still feeling a little rocky rolly dizzy like I'm still on the boat).

Fast forward to our second half of the day fishing on the shore. No fish of course but Myrtle had a great time in the mud. She looked like a pig rolling in the stye so she was very excited when we got home and I ran a big tub of water for her bath. NOT. Anyway, she is now clean and sound asleep after her full day at the lake. P.s. she did decide to dig up one more tulip to finish off the day this evening so she may be sleeping in the 'dog house' tonight instead at the foot of our bed. Ha, sweet revenge doggy. (not really).

I noticed the Thursday 13 items on Brenda's great blogg and I'm going to have to check it out soon. Looks like fun.

Anyway, to end the day I have to admit that the day was perfect with sunshine, a nice warm breeze and great company to spend it with. Not to mention enjoying my favorite pasttime of fishing which I hardly ever get to do since I got sick. My time with my husband..and yes... even with our little baby...Myrtle.. is precious to me and I can't think of a better way to gift my day to us. Here's sharing it with you too.