Archive for October, 2006

Senescence. Oy.

Some time ago, I blogged about the possibility of having my father-in-law moving in with us. Well, it’s happened. Last week, he nearly fell while grocery shopping, and he sounded so panicky that my husband — his only child — went racing down to NJ on Thursday and brought his dad back on Saturday — just packed a few clothes, two (!) radios, and two large boxes of oatmeal (at FIL’s insistence, of course — like we didn’t know what oatmeal was in the Wilds of NH), and up they came.

People have been trying to make out like we’re saints or something for having him here. WE AREN’T. There simply is no other choice. He’s 94, blind and deaf, and he shouldn’t have been living on his own as long as he has. But it wasn’t till June that he consented to move in with us, and of course after that, we had our own difficulties.

It’s already looking like we will have to consider assisted living for him, mostly because my husband finds he can’t sleep at night — keeps waiting for his dad to get up out of bed and fall to the floor. Then there is the drinking. Apparently my FIL is accustomed to downing half a pint of scotch every evening. Half a pint, in case you missed this in arithmetic class the way I did, is an entire cup of scotch. Not at one sitting, mind. He has 3 oz. for his first drink, 3 oz. for his second drink, and the remaining 2 oz. as an after-dinner “aperitif,” as he describes it. My husband and I just looked at each other, as the pint-size bottle he brought with him got lower and lower. I’m wondering what he will say when he finds that the bottle of scotch he thought came up with him, was never packed.

I hate to ask for yet more prayers, but they would be appreciated.

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Today was a “killer” day for appointments — three on the same day — but here are the results:

1. Wound Clinic, 8:45 a.m. I am done with this. Discharged. The doctor started to scrape at the scab covering the incision and said, “There’s no point my trying to do anything with this. It’s healed.” Checked the two drain sites and said, “That’s skin growing in there.” Was it just five weeks ago that we all thought this would take until Christmas?!

2. Infectious Disease doctor, 12:30 p.m. “You look so much better than the first time I saw you. As long as you’re not having any fever from the removal of the drains, I don’t need to see you again.”

3. Coumadin Clinic, 3:00 p.m. (theoretically — I didn’t get in till after 3:30). No change in the dosage, and apparently, the blood clot I got from the PICC line will dissolve itself over a period of about 3-6 months. Once my clotting level stabilizes, these appointments will gradually decrease from weekly to monthly.

Oh, and the best part: I get to take a shower again. If you hear a faint rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus clear the other side of the country, around 6:00 p.m., that’ll be me.


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OK, picture this: You start out with a lengthy tube that is inserted into your abdomen somewhere in the region of your navel. A few weeks later, feeling as if you are at death’s door, you find out that you have not one, but two abscesses, one each side of your abdomen, that need to be drained of the fluid in them because it contains a potentially lethal infection, so two more tubes are inserted into these, attached to plastic drainage-collection bags that have to be emptied every four hours or so. Now you have three tubes sticking out of your abdomen.

As of today, all three tubes are gone. The center one was removed about three weeks ago — or was it only two? Seems to me it was three, but I know I haven’t been sleeping in a bed that long — when the incision became so small that there was nothing left for the wound vac to suck off. That is continuing to shrink, and I will know its status when I return to the wound clinic next Tuesday. The two side tubes came out today.

Relief is spelled “Ahhhhh.” I’m trying to imagine what it will be like to lie down to sleep, something I’ve only been able to do in the past ten days, with no tubes to be careful of. I have yet to conceive of actually being able to take a shower, instead of a sink bath — that won’t happen till all the holes are closed over, and that will be at least another week.

But oh my gosh, THE END IS IN SIGHT. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train. Time for a prolonged happy dance!

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After a day of doctors’ appointments, I have to share this:

1) The incision that opened up after surgery is finally closing up. I am off the wound vac, and the depth has gone from 4 cm to 0.3 cm! And the length has gone from 8 cm to 5.2 cm (that’s 5” to something like 3”).

2) Also saw the infectious disease control doc this afternoon, who says that I may have to take antibiotics for just one more week, and no more than two – the MRSA I was hospitalized for in September appears to be dead. All my most recent blood work is in the normal range, except for my albumin count (protein) – she says I need more protein. Since I’ve been consuming hardly anything but, that was almost laughable. So I guess I’m not giving up my breakfast eggs any time soon.

I am absolutely floored. Was it three or four weeks ago that the wound-care doctor said healing would take a lot longer than originally projected, and now — he says it will be completely healed in 2-3 weeks, which is pretty darn close to his original projection. The drains that I have in place to drain off the two abscesses are a little dicier, at least till I have another CAT scan, but the last CAT scan looked pretty good, so I’m hopeful the next one, later this week, will show that both abscesses have collapsed, and that will mean they can take these drains out at last. You have no idea how “interesting” life can be when you have three lengthy tubes coming out of your abdomen….

Now, if I can just start going to church again! I’ve only been once in the last two months. But I’m hoping to go again this coming Sunday. And once everything is closed up and healed, I will be able to receive Communion again — how I have missed that.

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xx Years Ago I….

Cribbed this from Philippa’s blog http://philippaalan.blogspot.com.

25 years Ago I…
– Was 34
– was living in Waltham, MA
– had a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old
– experienced my first real New England autumn

20 years Ago I…
– Was 39
– was working at Harvard University
– together with my husband, bought our first (and to date only) house
– moved to NH

15 Years Ago I…
– Was 44
– became Orthodox
– watched the fall of communism in the Soviet Union with a feeling of utter disbelief
– worked for an educational assessment firm

10 Years Ago I…
– Was 49
– was attending college, at long last, to become an accountant
– was stunned to learn that my mother-in-law had died suddenly
– was thanking God that 1995 was over

5 Years Ago I…
– Was 54
– was struggling with depression
– was dealing with the loss of my mother, the transfer of my spiritual father, and the marriage of my daughter
– was fired for the first time in my life — from a volunteer job!

4 years ago I…
– Was 55
– rediscovered cross stitch
– finally figured out the sequence of Matins and Vespers
– broke my wrist in a fall down a flight of stairs, and had it healed by the Kursk Root Icon of the Theotokos

2 Years Ago I…
– Was 57
– lost my son when he moved to PA
– went to Jordanville for the last time (there’s always next year!)
– had the kitchen updated and renovated, at long last

1 Year Ago I…
– Was 58
– took the train to PA to visit my son
– started a cross-stitch piece as a gift for him, a steam train rolling through the mountains at evening
– finally realized that it was OK to power down on activities — I’ve earned my retirement!

Yesterday I…
– read Matins at home
– finished the last of seven books lent to me by our priest’s wife
– listened to the rain
– cooked my first meal in two months (dh has been cooking since my surgery)

Today I…
– hope to get back into cross stitch
– plan to wash towels
– need to find something else to read
– gear myself up for marathon doctors’ appointments all week

Tomorrow I…
– visit the Wound Care Center w/r/t the healing of my incision
– visit the Infectious Disease Control doc to see what’s up with MRSA
– get ready to visit a doctor I no longer have any confidence in (on Wednesday)
– try to remember that at some point, all this will end

Tag: To anyone who wants to pick it up.

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