Dwindling Numbers

July 8, 2018

As the celebratory week winds down, our numbers are rapidly decreasing as well. At brunch there were 23.

We got to spend an afternoon on the beach with friends. Hot in the sun, even with the wind. But just getting partially wet was enough to cool down.

Dispersion of folks downstate, UP tourism, Canada and flights from both Soos. By dinner it was down to 8.

(Dinner for a few of us was Clydes, the only boats were small motorboats and the Sugar Island ferry. And strangest of all, no seagulls harassed us for food, only a fly intent on Allen’s Big C burger. )

Such is the way of the world.

Work continues for most, and for most that means being somewhere other than here. So we flit in and out. The wedding provided a focus that allowed me to be here at the same time as others.

I often feel removed when we are at the cabin. Lack of connectivity through the little hand held device accounts for some. No TV is yet another normal home source of information that is not in attendance. I do understand there is wi-fi available, of sorts, and much can be found if you bother to get a computer out.

Maybe tomorrow. I think I will pick up my book.

They’ve Only Just Begun

July 7, 2018

Rey and Becca

The day was beautiful, in so many ways. People helping out, small gestures and large.

I so missed Carl, and Jane being present for the festivities.

Video phone call back home for the first dance. (I’m glad I figured out finally how to hold the phone so Carl could see some of the fun.)

Good food, friends and pie.

Arrival, and We’re Off

July 6, 2018

Chippewa International airport, about 15 minutes after arrival.

The plane landed a few minutes early, baggage a few minutes later, and then it was empty, save a few of us waiting for rides.

I am ensconced in the loft. Almost a private room by cabin standards. Comfortable enough and I don’t need to worry about keeping others awake with the light from my phone.

Today was all about people, family and friends, old and new.

Family at the falls

The falls. Tahquamenon that is.

Mom and Dad, reading.

Dinner topped off by a visit to the locks where we saw a Holland flagged ship bearing windmills upbound, the Indiana Harbor downbound and the Tregurtha (largest freighter on the lakes at 113 feet long x 105 feet wide) waiting for an upbound lock.

Who knew windmill vanes had teeth.

Most of the out-of-towners have arrived, with one significant hitch. A missed connection and quick decisions made for a reroute and a volunteer for an unplanned 6 hour round-trip drive to just barely be here in time. It could work.

Tomorrow is the day. But first, enjoy tonight.

Happy July Anniversary

July 5, 2018

1st – Happy Anniversary Carl, the big 33.

Followed by parting is such sweet sorrow. Sweet because it is to witness the creation of another July anniversary, and sorrow because we won’t be together for our son’s wedding.

The full picture

A huge shout out to Jane for making it possible for me to attend, and learning the IV infusion ropes in one easy lesson, taking on lab tests and xray visits and keeping Carl well. And of course, the ball of antibiotics had a recalcitrant cap. Thank goodness I had done 2 successful infusions so I knew it was not normal. For those that know me well, I am a control freak, so this is either a test or lesson in letting go.

The last few days, since release have been filled with medical appointments, visits from friends that allowed some errands to be completed and continuing to learn the ropes of caregiving, and receiving care. It’s an interesting dance, trying to do more without going too far.

Rainbow super hero cape infused with tylenol

So, the 3rd sister, who is actually first, whipped up this awesome cape in response to a text string talking about Carl’s bionics. I had sort of forgotten that conversation until Jane reminded me, but the forgetting was all on me, too many things to remember lately. I don’t know how she found the time and the perfect material.

I have tried to download it all to Jane, and left her the book of everything. (If Ashlan reads this she knows what I mean.) And the book is more than half full. When this started, I thought it was way too big, but it was bound and on hand, easy to grab. The marbleized cover of this essay book says, “Reynard’s driving log”.

So off we go, solo, with the occasional tear in the eye. Happy anniversary to my sister and brother in law, several cousins, countless others, and especially Carl.

The Blue Jacket, and Happy Birthday

July 1, 2018

On the day of Carl’s big heart surgery I spent time in the waiting lobby. I noticed the information desk person noted me as, “blue jacket”. I was wearing a light blue Lands End fleece jacket that zips and has two zipper pockets.

This jacket has become a primary piece of my hospital attire. It’s enough to keep me comfortable in the rooms and not too warm outside, where it has been in the 60s. And I can put a cell phone in each pocket (mine and Carl’s). I had been wearing this piece now and again, but not every day.

I wonder if it has been long enough to become a habit?

We have a reasonably good chance of leaving today. They are working on discharge paperwork as I type. And giving the last/first dose of the newest antibiotic. Last in the hospital, and first of the variety we will learn how to administer at home.

Many notes to take today before we walk/ride out of here.

Oh, and Happy 60 to the guy. First present of the day

And, while we are missing Carl’s birthday party at Safeco Field, we should be able to make an appearance at this evening’s film festival.

Heard a shout out to Carl on the TV broadcast as a nurse delivered him a celebratory cake pop (only 22 carbs).

IV nurse kicked me out of the room to insert the mid-line that we will be using for the next month. One more step closer.

And finally ready to go home.

The discharge directions are daunting. We have 2 appointments, a blood draw and prescriptions to fill tomorrow, and then another appointment the next day and a further one to schedule. It’s exhausting.

I felt organized, but not so much now. I think it’s partly because I am leaving town in 4 days and won’t be able to control the situation in my own freaky way.

But on to happy moments.

Arriving home. So helping Carl get his walker up the stairs.

And then off to a truncated (for us) film festival with friends who helped us celebrate, everything.

And now we get to sleep in our own bedroom. First time for Carl in 2 weeks! But we are here, and that’s what’s important.

Good vs Not as Good

June 30, 2018

GOOD:

Knee was exposed, under shrink wrap. Looking good, still bigger than normal, but better than before.

Before

After

Climbed a flight of stairs. This means we don’t need to set up an alternative sleeping quarters at home.

Saw several friends at the hospital.

The highest temperature last night was 99.4 degrees.

The Mariners won!

NOT AS GOOD:

They are still trying to determine the best antibiotics to send us home with.

Our friends had to go to the hospital to see Carl.

He will not be able to attend his Suite 60th birthday party at the Mariners game. Still holding out hope for the film festival tomorrow evening.

Evil v good

June 30, 2018

T minus 1

June 30, 2018

Goals.

Getting out of the hospital is all about meeting enough marks that you pass the test and graduate back to the real world. And there are several that must be met. And they always seem to shift, not in unison.

Several days ago they seemed simple. Learn to be careful moving. Move more and more. Have movements. (come on, everybody knows you must do this to get out) Meet your INR number of >2. And we were moving smoothly forward more or less on all but the INR.

This was in large out of our control as the docs watched to see whether the extra hardware (pacemaker) was required. And it was, and it was added. Back on the road to meeting goals, again.

We were so close to the exit, but then the moving decreased with the size of the knee increase. So, onward to the knee surgery and start over on most of the goals. With both upper and lower issues to deal with, for a time the goals seemed even further away. And stability of temperature as an indication of infection control became primary. Slow progress, but not always forward.

Yesterday morning the requirements seemed far away. By the evening they felt within reach.

So we are hoping again to be released in time for Carl’s party, film festival and seeing the many friends that are on their way as we speak. All eyes are on Sunday noon.

This brings us to all of my non-medical goals. Beds are made, ticket distribution is underway, dishes are clean, and house modifications for 7 visitors are sort of in place.

O Can we leave? Sung to the start of the Canadian national anthem. July 1st! Canada, Nelson Cruz and Carl’s birthday! Let’s Get Ready to Party!

We hope.

Number 3

June 27, 2018

3rd time’s a CHarms!?!

This late afternoon was surgery #3.

At hospital #2. (Same care provider, but out of the cardiac specialty location to the version with orthopedics.)

The goal today was to flush suspected infections out of Carl’s knee. Arthroscopic with 2 incisions.

And a few more days in a larger facility. At least the parking lot is a lot bigger.

Day 9 – it just continues

June 26, 2018

So, we were all getting ready to head home. Heart’s looking good, just trying for a good number. And then the knee happened.

Went from walking carefully at will to can’t get out of bed. So today they took some fluid out to send for tests. No smoking gun yet, but the knee is a bit smaller.

Ashlan left without getting to help him home, but was immensely helpful in helping me (pick raspberries) and generally keeping us company.

Today was good for me. I had some time to take care of a little work, do some digital and telephone errands and continue to hang out.