PT appointment yesterday. Talked quite a bit with Jeff (Physical Therapist) ...
Rick is having good rotation in the shoulder/rotator cuff. He has good passive strength - meaning that Jeff can move his shoulder as much as he wants, with little to no pain or discomfort. But the aggressive strength is just not there.
When Rick is given an exercise that requires strength to either raise his arm, extend his arm, or do anything (no matter how small) with the arm - just does not work. He is able now to do small things if the arm is kept low, the arm held close to his body and the arm not raised any more than the elbow is bent. Make sense?
What is the problem? That is what we don't know at this time. The latest MRI showed good and strong healing in the rotator cuff. Dr. Devinney said that it might be a nerve compromised - and said that one way to release that nerve was with surgery. He also said that it could just be taking longer to heal because of the dialysis that Rick is having to do. Jeff agreed, and said also that with Rick's blood sugars running high - that that could be a major contributing factor. High blood sugar plays a definite role in healing and strength - and not a good or favorable role. Sigh.
No word on the EMG nerve test even having been ordered, let alone approved, or scheduled. I cannot get an answer. So yesterday, we basically told Jeff that we were handing this off to him and Dr. Devinney to deal with. If no one will even talk to us - maybe they will talk to a professional? We hope. We are frustrated. Sigh.
The Occupational Accident Insurance that Rick is under (not worker's comp) told us last week that he is insured for 116 weeks of care with them. Which is good ... we just need to know what that "care" is going to be!!!
Jeff told us yesterday that all we can do at this point is just keep plugging away with the exercises. That they will make sure Rick keeps what mobility he has right now, not allow the shoulder/rotator cuff to freeze, and will either work to loosen the compromised nerve (if that is what this is) or it won't. If it does, then great. If it doesn't, no big surprise.
Physical therapy is 2 or 3 times a week right now ... and Rick is to be using the pulley and bands every day here at the house.
And we wait ... wonder ... wait ...
A quick update on the blood tests from last week, and the PET test results ...
Rick's total blood count has come up to 11.3!!! Praise the Lord!!! A year ago, it was as low as 6.8.
His potassium level is now "perfect" @ 4.8 -- a year ago it was at the critical level, causing much concern with the doctors. They were considering ICU.
Phosphorus is good @ 5.5 ... it is at the top of the number it needs to be. He is still taking the phosphorus binders with everything he eats. Needs to be lower - but good for now.
Iron is still low @ 23. Needs to be at least 30. So, he will be getting an iron IV on March 27 when we go back to he Dialysis Center.
Albumin (protein) has dropped from 3.7 to 3. 6 - so he is being told by the dietitian (yet again) -- PROTEIN, PROTEIN, PROTEIN. He is eating a LOT of protein, rarely does he take a bite of anything that he doesn't have protein with it. But the dialysis removes so much protein from his body that it is hard to keep up.
Parathyroid is at 300.5 - normal is no higher than 300. =)
BUN has come down to 47 - still way too high.
Creatinine has come down to 5.5 - still way too high, too.
His A1C is @ 11.9 - way too high. But Dr. Greenwell is aware of the problem. The dialysis solution is a dextrose base. Which causes a spike in blood sugar anyway. He is working with Rick to adjust his medication and get these numbers lower. We are PRAYING for wisdom and understanding - to Dr. Greenwell, and to Rick as well.
Now, the PET results ... he has tested as an "average low transporter" - which means that the lining of his peritoneal cavity is slow at reabsorbing the toxins =) ... this is a GOOD thing to be low and slow =) ... it will help them to make the correct adjustments if he decides to use the cycler for dialysis at night.
Also, Lisa (his dialysis nurse) told us that the "number" they want to see a dialysis patient at with the PET test is a "2" ... Rick tested at 3.79!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!! This shows that not only is the dialysis working, but so are his kidneys!!! His kidneys alone tested at 2.2!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!
We are waiting to hear from Dr. Greenwell - see if there are any adjustments to be made to the dialysis - either less solution, or less times per day. We will wait and wonder ...
Sometimes it is hard to know what to write ... our days and nights seem to flood into one another. Like we go from one exchange to the next. And kinda wander the 4-6 hours between each one.
What is there to write about?
We go nowhere. We see no one.
No one calls. No one visits.
We struggle against discouragement and depression - more than we want to admit. More than anyone can imagine.
We sit here in a house filled with sorrow and sadness ... dreams of a HOME that are nothing but ashes in the wind now. (Long story there ... sigh)
This is the longest winter of our lives. The hardest, too. And I am not talking about the weather!
My last thread of sanity that I hold on to? Looking for that promise of SPRING ... LIFE ... a new beginning ... healing ... strength ... vitality ...
We wait to hear from Dr. Devinney about Rick's shoulder/rotator cuff. Will he continue with the PT? Or has all the good that it's going to do been done? Will Rick be released from Dr. Devinney's care? To return to work? How? He cannot use the arm in the smallest way, let alone to drive a big truck, or hook/unhook trailers! Will he be listed as disabled? What does that mean to us - paycheck wise?
And of course, we deal with the dialysis now, too. 4 times a day doing the exchanges. If he goes on the cycler, he will most likely only need the exchanges at night - one after another, all regulated and monitored by the machine. Which will free up his days to do whatever he wants to do, or needs to do. And depending on the decision of the doctor with his shoulder ... and depending on the decision of anyone to actually work him because of the dialysis ... sigh.
I am beginning the process of going thru all the recipes and ideas, trying to put it all together in a way that I can access them from anywhere, at any time. Hopefully, it will help someone else too. We are finding out that although there is a lot written about the kidneys, about the diet and nutrition needed for healthy kidneys, and about dialysis -- there isn't a lot of organization to it. What is out there is either hard to decipher, or hard to find, or scattered about. Sigh. Lord, help me please!!!
This house has gotten to me. Almost 7 months of being told to "take it easy" - don't lift, don't bend, don't vacuum, don't, don't, don't. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
I understand all the why's and wherefore's. I do. And I appreciate the care and concern of my doctor.
But how hard to sit here and not be able to do what needs done, and no one else is helping. I'm sorry - I don't mean to whine or gripe and complain. I'm just VERY frustrated and discouraged.
I can only take it so long ... and then, I spend some time cleaning - which my body screams back at me ... "NOT YET"!!! And I pay dearly for not behaving. Sigh. But for a moment in time, at least some things look better, smell better. Sigh.
And the words of others about me "milking my surgery" doesn't do any good!!! Those that have said these words should know me better than that! I don't really care that she thinks - what aggravates me so much? That she is going to family and friends telling them this ... or telling them that SHE is taking care of us. Yeah right! Whatever! NOT!!!
We have had to explain my surgery over and over and over again ... as well as the caution of the doctors to me - of all the bad things that could happen if I don't mind my ways until the body is healed. Sigh.
I am also trying to work on our genealogy, and our pictures. Trying so hard to just focus on those things that I CAN do. Things that need done no matter where we are, or what we are doing. Sigh.
Quilted Joshua a quilt - made it from bandana's. He is a cowboy and works on a ranch. It looked good, and he loved it. =) Made momma happy to be able to do this for him.
Quilting us a quilt now. Will post pictures when I get it finished.
Keeps my hands at least busy during the quiet and still hours. I also think about my momma ... she quilted as long as I can remember back. I helped her with it as much as school would let me. I miss her so much!!! She would like and approve of these hand quilted quilts ... and that makes me smile.
There are days (like yesterday) that are such a struggle to get thru. Once that time of going to bed is upon us, it is such a relief - just to know that the day is done. And for a few blessed hours, all is still, all is quiet, and the aloneness just surrounds us, overwhelms us - but we really don't know it, because we sleep.
God is good - all the time. We pray. We read the Word. We worship Him.
Sadly tho, sometimes we just need to know a Jesus with skin on ... sigh.
Thank you Lord for loving me. I love you back!!!
Life is a struggle. I know this is true for everyone. And that everyone has their own lonesome valley to walk thru, their own mountains to scale. And I realize that we are not alone in our trials and struggles. But I also know that in the long and quiet days, in the dark and lonely nights - it sure feels like we are alone!!!
Hours turn into days ... days into nights ... and the nights become day again - a cycle of being alone, lonely. Wandering thru this house, wondering what we are going to do, when we will know, and how in the world we will. Sigh.
We know that worker's comp will not carry Rick a long time. They have a cut off. We just don't know when it is. Will he be released to work? Released to full disability? Or just released on his own to figure it all out?
Lord, help us!!!
We try not to stress. Just to trust in the Lord with all our heart. But the thoughts come ... and thoughts tend to become anxious thoughts when we find no answers. Course, then the anxious thoughts become worries and worries turn to fear. So, yes - it is a battle of the mind and the heart.
We know that God is God. And HE is our Provider. HE is the one that takes care of us. No matter who signs a paycheck - GOD is our Provider. Lord, help us believe. In the darkest of times, help us to believe. When we have no sight for our faith, when the worries and fears threaten to overwhelm us - Lord, help us trust in you all the more.
God, forgive me - but I do not like this house!!! It is so big just for Rick and me. Way too much for us to clean and to keep and to fix - especially as we deal with all the health issues.
And sadly, unless God does an absolute miracle in our bodies, these are CHRONIC conditions. Not something that we will just "get over". Kwim? Which that seems to be the hardest thing for some people to really get ahold of. This is not like a cold or the flu that we will get over and get back on our feet. These things that we are dealing with? For the most part? We are struggling to learn this way of life. Oh we know that God can do anything - and sometimes He chooses to. But what if the healing doesn't come? What if this is the way of our life from here to then? We have to understand that for His own reasons, sometimes He doesn't heal. At least not to our standards.
And if the healing doesn't come? This house and place is more than we can handle. That is a proven point to us these last few months.
We are praying about what to do. Trying to look at all things in a mature way, realistically. Trusting in the Lord and His wisdom, His will, His way and His time.
All these hours alone are teaching me to call on Jesus ... more and more. He is my Ever faithful Friend. Ever present One. He is teaching me to walk with Him and talk with Him on a level that I have never known before. Pretty cool, really. I will be sharing more about that ...
Due to income being so small, and expenses being so great - we have lost our phone service, and our internet service. We do have a phone - thank you Joshua. (Shell had his phone that he wasn't using, and Joshua sent it home with us - so that he could talk to us and keep up with us. =) )
I will once again call the phone company (Verizon) but I do not have a lot of hope that they will work with us. They have in a small way - but not in a major way. ???
We are looking at and thinking about Smart Talk. Not sure yet. Still divided.
We don't want to get into another contract with another company and find out that we cannot afford it either.
Course, the contract with Verizon was way too expensive for dealing with on worker's comp. We went into the contract when Rick was working 6 or 7 days a week and bringing home a good paycheck. Sigh.
Praying for wisdom and direction.
The Lord is good ... always.
Just glad we don't have to have a phone to talk to HIM!!! =)
Rick -- scheduled for a PET test this week @ the Dialysis center. (Done this last week ...)
Monday he will catch his urine for 24 hours, and we will hold all the exchange bags. Done. The nurses and the doctors were WELL pleased with the amount. Said that they had never had a patient bring in 2 urinals!!! Told us that most of the patients are doing good to bring in 500 mL ... Rick brought in 3600!!!
Tuesday we go to the Center and they will do the exchange - and take a sample of dialysis every couple of hours. Done and waiting on results. Should hear back the end of this week. Dr. Greenwell said he was expecting good results - because the amount of dialysis is high.
Wednesday we will go back to the Center, meet with the nurses and with Dr. Greenwell - for the results. Actually, Dr. Greenwell was at the Center yesterday - so we met with him then. Thank you Lord!!!
He has changed Rick's blood pressure med in the evening - taking it from 50 mg to 100 mg. But he said it was a good thing - because this medication helps Rick to maintain the kidney function he has.
He also has changed Rick's diabetes meds - adding back the Glimepiride. Because of the dextrose solution for dialysis, Rick's sugars have been running HIGH - into the 300's and 400's.
Praying for an excellent and most awesome report!!!
Asking for improvement in his kidney function ... and that the dialysis is working - perhaps even too good, that we might be able to decrease it, either in amount per exchange, or perhaps in going to only 3 exchanges per day.
Me -- an all clear for the next 3 months from Dr. Michael @ MD Anderson.
However, diabetes ... and high cholesterol. Dr. Michael wants me to check in with my doctor in SS to discuss these things, and to schedule a chemical stress test.
Knowing that we had to go to Houston, MD Anderson, we packed everything up, loaded the car and drove out to Joshua and Dessie's for a few days before going on to Houston. We had told Joshua and the grandkids that we would be there on Friday. We told Dessie we were getting there Thursday evening. The look on Joshua's face was priceless. And to hear the screams from the grandkids did wonders to our hearts and souls!
We enjoyed the time with them SO very much!!!
It is so much fun to cook for someone who not only enjoys the food, but appreciates the time and effort to cook it.
Rick and I were privileged to eat lunch at school with both Shell and Kyla. Met a few teachers and friends.
We helped the grandkids with homework =) ... that was actually fun! Just to see the learning process - take a problem and it is so hard to them, they work on it, figure it out, and the joy when the light shines bright with understanding and clarity!!!
We spent 6 nights with them. 6 amazing nights. The hardest time came the morning it was time to leave.
Joshua put his arms around me and held me for a moment. I looked up and there were tears in his eyes. I lost it. Total meltdown. Oh my! How I love that boy!!!
Everything got packed and loaded - well, except for the EPO shots and 2 vials of insulin - and we got on the road towards Houston, Wednesday around lunch.
My best friend from 6th grade, Nina, had invited us to stay with them for the time we were in Houston. It was a joy to look forward to spending time with her and Mike. But the joy of looking forward to that time pales in comparison to the actual time with them.
OMW!!! Nina has the ultimate gift of hospitality - and she used it fully on us those 2 days!!!
She gave up her bedroom to make us comfortable, so that we didn't have to negotiate the stairs. King size bed with 3" foam topper. pearls, lace, satin. what a beautiful room! made me feel like a princess =)!!!
Coffee pot in the room, with coffee waiting, cups, sweeteners, creamer ... oh my!
Luxurious towels for after a relaxing shower. Gotta have one of those rain shower heads!!!
And sitting on the couch - 2 picnic baskets filled to overflowing with ... devotional books, pens, notepads, coffee cups, chocolate, snacks, sachets, fingernail polish, hand warmers, bath soap, Rick got a small teddy bear, and I got an adorable pink monkey. Talk about feeling spoiled!!! It was Christmas in February!!! LOL
Supper was ready - and oh how good it smelled. Tasted even better. Meatloaf, turnip greens, green beans, squash casserole, and cornbread. A perfect candlelit supper with Mike and Nina. We laughed and we talked way into the evening.
Breakfast the next morning before MDA - bacon and eggs with biscuits. Of course, my COFFEE!!! LOL
Lunch after my appointment was the most mouth-watering beef stew. I usually do not like the stew meat in stew, I make mine with hamburger meat. But I have never had stew meat that tasted like that!!! Oh my!!!
Rick and I went for a walk with the puppy ... then, went to Jo-Ann's and picked me up a lap quilting frame. Went to Wal-mart and walked around a little more.
Back to Nina's ... what a supper!!! 1 1/2" New York Strip steaks ... baked potato ... and a salad bar that was over the top!!! Strawberries dipped in powdered sugar for dessert, along with heart shaped homemade cookies and banana-walnut bread hot from the oven.
Yes - a 5 star bed and breakfast!!! And the best part? Staying with my bestest friend and her sweet hubby!!!
The last morning was a breakfast for the road -- bacon, eggs, biscuits, pancakes!!!
It was so hard to leave - I have never felt so pampered and spoiled in all of my life!!!
Back to reality a few hours later ... got to the house ...
Rick built the fires ... we unloaded ... unpacked ...
Trying to settle in some ... again ...
And missing Joshua, Dessie, Shell, Kyla, Mike and Nina so much!!!
Thank you all for making those 10 days so wonderful - in every way!!!
There are some days that are just TOO much for me. I keep hearing the song that Matthew West sings, "Strong Enough"... sigh.
We have been thru so much -- well, "BEEN" isn't exactly the right word ... we are "GOING" thru so much!!!
I am trying hard to trust in the Lord with all my heart (Proverbs 3:5-6) ...
Trying hard to keep my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith ...
Trying hard to stand firm on His promises ...
Trying hard to remember that He is with me always ...
That He will never put any more on me than what I can handle - and will always make a way of escape ...
Trying hard to believe that God is all I need (even tho sometimes everything in me screams for a Jesus with skin on!) ...
But then there are "those" days that are just TOO much!!! And all I can say is "Lord, I'm not strong enough!!!"
Rick fell yesterday afternoon in the kitchen.
He was sitting at the table with me while I was getting french fries seasoned up to go into the oven. We were talking and laughing and teasing. Just an easy afternoon. Spending time together getting lunch ready.
Our oven is more than due for a good cleaning. But with all that we both are dealing with? Not an option at this time for either of us to do.
But, we have to keep using it - how else are we going to fix our meals? Especially since most of our meals are either frozen foods that are cooked in the oven, or a casserole of some kind that I can stand up long enough to put together?
When I put the french fries in the oven and turned away from the stove, I heard a sizzling and then a loud explosion. I turned back to the stove, opened the door and a MAJOR flash fire was going on! I screamed - "We have a fire", shut the door (with hopes that it would put itself out if it had no more oxygen added) ... ran to the back door to open it, and get something to put it out.
All of a sudden I heard a LOUD noise, turned around and Rick was on the floor!!! OMW!!!
I screamed, asked him what happened! He said that he fell. He was going to get up and help me tend the fire, and when he tried to stand up, it was like there was no right leg to stand on! He went to the floor. Landed on both knees and his hands. And since we have no carpet in the kitchen, there was no softness to land on.
There I am - a husband on the floor who cannot get up alone, I cannot pull on him, and a fire raging in the oven!!! Talk about stress!!! Talk about TOO MUCH!!!
I cried out to God for help - and the fire went out, Rick managed to turn around and use his chair to struggle up.
Horrible pain ... finally the pain meds caught up ... and the rub I put on him helped, too. He found a measure of relief, watched a couple of movies, and took more pain meds before bed.
He said this morning that it isn't as sore as what he had expected it to be! THANK THE LORD!!!
He is crippling around some, but without a cane this morning. THANK THE LORD!!!
We are thanking God this morning that he didn't tear out his catheter when he fell, nor did he land on his bad shoulder.
Praying that ALL soreness will work its way out today.
I don't understand all that is going on in our life. Sometimes the human side of me gets in the way and I wonder "why" and I think maybe God has forgotten us ... maybe even He doesn't care anymore ... But then, I know better - and those thoughts have no grounds.
I don't know much about making pottery, but I know that if the potter sees a flaw in the creation, that rather than cast it away into the trash pile, the potter takes it down to a blob of clay and begins again.
Not sure what the flaw in me, or in us, was - but I sure think that the Potter has taken us to a blob of clay with everything and is doing some re-creating. That gives me a measure of comfort in the worst of times, just to know that God hasn't left us alone. That He is still in control, and that He IS doing something with us. Course, it doesn't take away the PAIN!!! Sigh.
Lord, help us!!!
Spending some time today working on the computer - trying to organize and get some things cleaned up. Goodness! How do I get so much out of order on this thing??? LOL
Thinking I need more COFFEE!!!!!
I am also working on Joshua's quilt. Hopefully will be able to get it finished before we leave for there the end of this week.
Speaking of going to Joshua's - looking forward to seeing them again. We were blessed to spend 5 days with them back at Christmas - but that was LAST YEAR!!! I haven't seen my son and daughter in love and grandkids ALL YEAR!!! (snicker ... like Buck does ... LOL)
I don't know what God is going to do with us. But I do believe He has a plan and a purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 Yes, sometimes I do wish that He would pull the veil back just a tad and show us a little of what He is doing, or going to do - I wonder if that would help me walk this life of faith ... but then again, sight is not faith. O Lord! Help me anyway - please.
Surely God has a place for us ... something creative and constructive to do ... But for now? More than not it is just breathe in and breathe out ... shut up and pray ... and just do the "next" thing.
Rick has taken his 3rd dose of Insulin now ... still not seeing a good drop in his blood sugars. Still over 200. He is only taking 5 units once a day. Dr. Greenwell said to do this for a week, then to call him with the numbers. Lisa (Rick's nurse) said that sometimes it takes a little while for the Insulin to "catch up" to his body. And that after a few days, to watch him closely - for that first "drop".
I talked with the doctor's office about me ... My A1c is higher than normal ... Cholesterol is too high ... and a Urinary Tract Infection. Sigh. I will be getting a copy of all the numbers this week.
Taking antibiotics for the UTI ... learning about high cholesterol and how to treat it. Facing the reality of having to watch my blood sugars as well.
This week? PT is to start back (had to wait on Dr. Devinney to sign papers for an extension of the therapy ... and wait for worker's comp to approve) - IF Rick can do it with having fallen yesterday.
Next week - I have an oncology appointment in Houston @ MDA.
We made a meatloaf the other day, and made it different than what I have ever made. It was SOOO good!!!
I used the lower fat ground beef (2 1/2 pounds - Rick is to eat a LOT of protein now) ... 4 eggs ... added 16 oz of mild picante sauce ... a can of whole kernel corn ... 4 oz shredded cheese ... and crushed up croutons ... mixed it all together. Put into a pan. Used about 1/2 cup more picante sauce on top. Baked it @ 300* until all the pink in the meat was gone. OMW!!! I do believe it was the BEST meatloaf I have ever tasted! Just a delicious combination of flavors and textures.
Thank you Lord for the creativity to try this!!! And for a willing husband to eat the "creations" - LOL.
We are looking forward to our trip next week. Leaving SS on the 8th - and going out to the Graham area. Spending 5 days with our son and his family =)!!! Then, we are leaving out there on the 13th, driving to Houston. We will spend that night with Rick's cousin - Al & Christine. Appointment at MD Anderson on the 14th. With friends, Mike & Nina, that evening and night. Nina said that Mike will be grilling steaks for our supper =) ... Rick's mouth is already drooling!!!!! ROFL
Excited about spending time with family and friends ... and getting out of the house ... away from here longer than a doctor's appointment or hospital stay!
We don't always (rarely) understand all that God either allows or does in our lives. But then, we are told to "not lean on our own understanding" (Proverbs 3) anyway!
I know that God is good all the time ... and all the time, God is good. Trusting Him is easy - yet oh so very hard.
I have said many times that this life of faith would be so much easier if the money was in the bank!!! But then, Rick keeps saying, "Honey, that wouldn't be a life of FAITH." Well, maybe not - but it certainly would be easier!!!
I am thankful that God understands ME!!! And thankful that He doesn't require perfection from us - just persistence.
Persistence is something I can do! LOL
Spending today and tomorrow trying to get caught up on the computer and on some "projects"... hopefully & prayerfully will have a weekend of creativity and accomplishment - while having a weekend of joy and laughter with my hubby =) ...
We spend a massive amount of time together right now. A fair estimate would be that 95% of our time, 24 hours a day, are spent together, alone. Guess it is a good thing that we actually LIKE each other!!! LOL
Trusting in the Lord ... Calling on Jesus ... and depending on the truth of His promises ---
Jeremiah 1:19 ... "They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you", declares the Lord.
Thank you God for loving us this much!!!
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here