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elvan Blog

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Update on @youngatheart

Posted by elvan Oct 24, 2018

Nancy is home...she had a nerve block so she said that her arm is a "noodle."  She is doing great, they have her arm in a foam splint and she feels comfortable.  She is not going to need the elevated walker...she will use her present crutch and just take very small and decisive other words, she will pay very close attention to what she is doing.  She would have been able to come home much earlier this afternoon but her oxygen saturations were not as high as they wanted them and they attributed that to the nerve block.  She was told that she will be able to care for herself in about three days and Andrew is going to stay there and make sure she is cared for in the meantime.  


I told her that I would update everyone and that she could just take it easy.  


Keep those thoughts and prayers for her recovery coming.  She has a post op visit on the 5th and might be able to get a much more flexible two piece cast if I understood her.  They commented on how toned her arms are...she's been carrying herself around on crutches FOREVER.  That will help immensely with her recovery.  She said the nursing staff was wonderful and attentive and caring and she is very appreciative of that...oh, and the warm blankets.  Those blanket warmers are the BEST!


Just wanted to let everyone know that she is doing beautifully.



I worked Saturday but had to leave early because my oxygen sats kept dropping into the 70's and while I could get them up with controlled breathing...I couldn't KEEP them up.  I went home and used the nebulizer (I had used it before I went to work)...and I put my night time oxygen on early.  


I called my pulmonologist this morning because my sats still keep dropping and I feel as though I am really struggling.  They gave me an appointment for the 11th...that's TEN DAYS from now.  SERIOUSLY???  Her nurse called me later and said that she really could not get me into the office BUT...the doc said if I could not get in with my PCP, I should go to the ER at her hospital and she would be my doctor since she is on call today.  I went to my PCP last Tuesday after I had been to my rheumatologist in the morning.  I did not know what was going on but I felt seriously like I had been hit by a truck.  My doctor was on vacation all week so I saw the Nurse Practitioner who was convinced that I had the flu and did a test which was negative.  She said she was going to put me on an antibiotic just in case I had an infection brewing. I had dark colored sinus drainage (sorry, gross, I know).  I took it easy until I had to get Mike to the doctor on Thursday, the drive was horrible but, once again, we survived.  He is down to two drops now...instead of five and only one ointment as needed for pain.  He was on drops every two hours now it it three times a day for one and twice a day for the other.  


When I got up Saturday morning to get ready for work, I went to use the bathroom and the toilet seat came off causing me to smash my back on the toilet tank...NO WAY!  I made coffee, fed cats, gave Mike his morning drops and left him a note for the ONE drop he had to give himself and asked him to see if he could fix my toilet seat...turns out I had to get a new one and it is NOT RIGHT.  I know it will break soon.  He called me in the middle of the day to ask what drop he was supposed to give himself, I told him the PINK top, like the note says.  He lost the note.  It was taped to the fridge.


We were incredibly busy all day at work, it was Parent's Weekend at the college and the weather was beautiful.  I made it until 4:00, should have been there until 4:30 and I was not able to do the sweeping or clean the bathrooms.  I CAN'T bend over, it literally takes my breath away.  I am not sure if it is from my ribs pressing on that lung tissue.  I rested all day on Sunday and most of today.  I will call my PCP tomorrow and see if she can get some x-rays or a scan because I can't not be able to bend down.


I thank all of you for the well wishes and the prayers.  I am going to get through this...I will be back.  Again, many thanks for your love, I love you right back.



Long day...ready for bed

Posted by elvan Sep 23, 2018

If I am not around much tomorrow or the next day...I may be resting, I HOPE I am resting.  I am exhausted and my say was difficult to say the breathing kept getting more and more labored and I had to bend over more than once.  Bending over is really hard since it crushes the lung tissue I have left.  I have to share this photo I took this morning after I got to daughter in law looked down and burst out laughing and said..."Ellen, are you wearing two different shoes?"  Well, I was SO PROUD of myself for getting to work early and remembering my phone and my teeth.  Some days are just not easy....


Hey, they were both black and of approximately the same had an insert and the other did not which made me limp terribly.  No one else asked about my mismatched shoes...I suspect they did not want to upset the crazy old lady who breathes like Darth Vader.


Love to all...


I am working tomorrow and need to get some sleep tonight...had to increase my prednisone to a very high level in order to breathe and it kept me from sleeping well last night.  I need some rest so I can get through working tomorrow.  I am always seriously exhausted after work and on Monday...I don't expect things to be different after tomorrow.  We are expecting heavy rains so that may impact business negatively.  I am not a fan of working when it is really slow, it just makes the day seem so long.


Hope everyone gets a good rest tonight, I will check in before work.





Update on Pops

Posted by elvan Sep 15, 2018

I heard from Ken yesterday and he said I am free to pass along to the community how he is doing...


 "I am getting stronger every day. 1 day at a time. Tough sledding here...but I am growing each day.  14 days sobriety today. That is because of my willingness to participate in my own recovery and a strong spirituality based sponsor with 39 years, and the grace of a loving God, that I am desperately trying get to know better.  This sobriety is of paramount importance and I will certainly be back after I have a stronger base to stand on. Thanks again, and feel free to pass that message along to others."


I do believe that he will be back and that, for now, his priority has to be his sobriety, he is deserving of our support and understanding and is not in need of anything more of less than that.


I hope I did this justice Pops



No bad news...the ophthalmologist who saw him on Aug 31st said that the gas bubble in his eye was 85% intact and he went on and on and on about how imperative it is that he looks down, watches TV with a mirror set, lays on his stomach...he basically said that if he DIDN'T, the gas bubble would fail, the retina would detach and likely tear and the only treatment would be to put in a silicone bubble which would need to be removed at a later date.  I have yelled and screamed at him and been left completely exhausted.  Well...the resident who saw him today could not see ANY gas bubble in his eye.  Swell.  He called in an attending we had not met who had the characteristic sunshine (insert sarcasm font) personality of an older, well established physician and surgeon who also teaches.  Get the picture?  I did not like him AT ALL.  He said that the gas bubble is 90% intact, he said Mike still has to sleep face down and maintain a position of head down for a MINIMUM of 45 minutes out of every hour.  I asked what would happen if he didn't and said that he is always falling onto his back to sleep.  He said..."then he will get a cataract."  I asked how long he thought it would be before he has any vision because right now, he has basically none...he avoided that question so I moved on to how long will he need to be on the eye drops and ointments...he acted rather annoyed and asked WHY?  I told him that putting eye drops in every two hours from 8AM until 11:00AM is VERY difficult, I did not tell him what I REALLY was thinking which was...DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH THIS STUFF COSTS????  He didn't look like he would be very receptive or anything other than judgmental.  Hey, I am tired, I am in pain, the stress of driving up there and then waiting four hours to be seen is horrible.  He said Mike should go back to the closer doctor next week and then go to the original surgeon's office the week after.  He was not concerned.  He said there is no sign of infection.  The weather changes are getting to well as the stress of driving and dealing with people who have superiority complexes...maybe MY inferiority complex is coming out.  I am just exhausted and I need to rest.  I am so worried about this hurricane and the number of people who may be impacted and HOW SEVERELY...I can think of nothing else.  I am going to take a nap before I just start sobbing...Mike thinks he's fine.  Clearly the bubble is still there and I am a control freak.  He dismissed everything else that the doctors said.  I'll put in his damn drops but aside from tying a cinder block to his head, I don't know how to make him keep looking down.  I have no idea how to get him to watch TV with the mirror apparatus...oh this doc said the same thing as the other guy on the 31st...there is an entire "cottage industry" of places to get chairs and large mirrors for TV and things to shove your face in at night.  Nevermind that none of those are covered by insurance and just RENTING them would cost as much as a small car.  They have no clue about the reality of people who are living on minimal fixed incomes and, quite frankly, I am tired of feeling humiliated all the time. 


Yeah, I need a nap, maybe I will wake up feeling like a new person.  Let's HOPE so.


Love you all and thanks for prayers and concern.


I may not be able to get on here tomorrow...I am taking Mike to the eye clinic tomorrow because he is having pain and I am really afraid that this surgery did not work...he needs to be checked to figure out if there has been ANY progress in his healing.  We have to leave early and that's going to be a real trial since he does not awaken easily.  In any event...if I am not here, it is because I am traveling to or from the clinic or I passed out when I got home.


Love to all,


Mike is in a great deal of pain, he has to have eye drops and/or ointment every two hours and administering them is absolutely horrible.  His eyelids are so swollen and discolored and the eye itself is simply bloody...some drops are particularly painful and it is really hard to give them.  He does not stay face down like he is supposed to, I have yelled and begged and cried and threatened and I cannot get through to him.  He either really does not understand or else he is just being defiant.  I have told him that if this does not work, there is a good chance that he will never have vision in that eye.  He SAYS he wants to do whatever he is supposed to do but he keeps turning onto the wrong side, laying on his back which is a HUGE no, no.  Whatever they have advised, he has not done.  The only thing being done as ordered is the medication administration and that's all on me.  I have to work Sunday and if he cannot put the drops in himself by then, I have no idea what will happen...he will have three doses due while I am at work.  Our son is completely grossed out by how the eye looks and he doesn't dare to go near him, not that I would really want him to.  He has a cold so I don't want him here at all.


In any event, thank you all for your love and your prayers...I am getting there, I have done workouts at the pool two days in a row...will probably not be able to tomorrow because of the appointment and Saturday they are having a dove hunt which makes me want to puke so I am not going NEAR that place.  Maybe, I will try to rest Saturday, if I alarm goes off every two hours and, of course, knowing that, seems to stop me from sleeping.


I took this photo in the waiting room at the hospital outpatient surgery is for Youngatheart.7.4.12...she is a great admirer of this animal, hahaha.  I was in that waiting room for over 5 hours and did not notice this until about ten minutes before they took me to the recovery room to see my husband.  I love you all, I appreciate every thought, every prayer, every message more than you could possibly know.



Special thanks to jonescarp.aka.dale.Jan_2007 for supporting me and for passing along information.  




Trying to get back to being ME

Posted by elvan Aug 22, 2018

Most of you know that I had to have my beloved cat, Bijou, euthanized on the 9th...I have been in so much pain that I cannot describe it.  I am sure it is a combination of grief and guilt...I feel guilty because I could not help her.  I did not have the money to have extensive testing done so we will never know what was wrong...I carried her to the litter box several times a day, padded my bed in case she had an accident during the night, I even had a small litter box on the bed the last few days.  I was so proud of her for using it the morning of the 9th.  I did not realize until later that she was also using throw rugs and clothing that was on the floor.  When I found out,  I had so many loads of laundry to do and the SMELL was absolutely overwhelming.  I made the appointment feeling like I was punishing this poor little thing for something she could not control.  She could no longer stand up, her front legs and back legs were so weak and wobbly.  She used the throw rugs to pull herself around when she was on the floor...I had a pile of clothes waiting to go to Goodwill and she apparently pulled herself to them and lost bladder control.  The vet said she was probably so uncomfortable being held upright to pee that she never emptied and she likely had an infection, hence the strong smell. The vet told me over and over again how lucky she was to have me and that we had done much more than most people would have.  She knew how much I loved that cat, she was like a baby and I felt like it was my responsibility to care for her so losing her was simply crushing.  I still cry when I think of her, I cry when I look at the place where she slept...I cry a LOT.  I haven't been here much because it's not your responsibility to get me through this, it is MINE.  I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable because I cannot stop crying, I know from past experience that I will get stronger.  In the meantime, I cannot be here as much as I used to even though I do get great comfort from each and every one of you.  I thank you, with all of my heart for the prayers and the love and the messages.  


We heard from the hospital an hour ago...Mike has to be there at 8:00 for surgery.  We will have to leave home no later than 6:30 (I work the day before so I am usually half dead on Monday).  I don't know how long the surgery will take, we will stay in Charlottesville at the Hospitality House overnight.  It will cost $20 for the two of us, we will have a room and a shared kitchen.  He has to keep his head down for the first two weeks...maybe longer.  Looking down like he is reading a book.  He can only raise his head to eat and to swallow pills and liquids.  I may try to take my tablet with me but I have no idea if I will be able to connect to wifi.  I couldn't connect at the hospital when he had the heart attack...this is a different hospital.


I am going to finish getting my house ready for us to be gone, our son is going to spend the night to feed the cats...we have a feral cat who is on the front porch and who HATES him and our other indoor cat who is in serious mourning.  I don't want them alone overnight if it can be avoided.


Thank you all and much love,


I got a call this morning asking me if my husband had had anything to eat or drink today and I said, "he is eating right now."  It was from the eye center at the University of Virginia which is about an hour and a half from here.  She said that the doctor wanted him to come in and that he could not have anything to eat or drink for eight hours prior to surgery, they wanted to do surgery tonight and then send him home and have him return in the morning for a post operative check up.  I told her that I cannot drive at night so that's not going to happen.  She said she would check with the doctor and I asked about his medications because we were told by the ophthalmologist here that he would have to be off his plavyx for at least five days before surgery.  They disagree and think he will be fine.  He should just go ahead and take his medications in the morning and they want him at the clinic by 8:00 for a 4:00 surgery...wait, WHAT?????  I had a fit, seriously, I cannot have him there that early unless I get up at 4:00AM because it takes me 2-3 hours to be able to WALK, let alone try to drive.  I was ready to tell them to plan for NEXT week and a different assistant called me back and said that it would be a very bad idea to wait another week because there are changes in the retinal tear that could end up making the damage irreversible.  NOT my favorite word.  In any event, they agreed that he does NOT have to be there by 8:00, he can arrive by 11:00.  They gave me directions and we are eligible for free valet parking because we are BOTH handicapped.  If the surgery is at 4:00 and that IS an IF because another surgery could end up taking more or less time...IF it is at 4:00, he MIGHT get out and be able to be home before dark.  If it is after dark, Damon, our son, says he will come and drive him home and that I can go home before dark.  I said that would be okay...I guess.  I am not leaving until he is out of surgery.   He may be able to have his post operative check up at a doctor's office that is closer to here...if NOT, I will have to drive him back there on Thursday morning.  I am concerned about him getting carsick because he gets really sick in the car when he is not driving and there will be two trips in one day...there and back and then again the NEXT day after surgery.  I will ask them to medicate him for nausea so that maybe he will be able to sleep.  This is crazy...although I will be really glad to have his vision restored, if that happens.  This has been going on for well over a year but it got significantly worse after the heart attack and eye surgery cannot be done for at least six months after bypass surgery.  I am learning so much...I never assisted on eye surgery or cardiac surgery and everything would have changed so much in the time since I retired that it would not matter anyways.  


I will check in tonight, I have to run to the store for a few things...will probably check in quickly tomorrow but then I MAY be absent for a couple of days, depending upon how he does.  


Love to smoking!



Quick update on @Mandolinrain

Posted by elvan Aug 3, 2018

I just got a quick text from Missy...she did not have biopsies...had blood work but only one nodule was suspicious...and smaller than 1 cm..if it grows to 2 cm by winter, they will biopsy it then.  It's really good news and she said she came home and cried happy tears.  She had to cut the text short because company arrived.    This is great news, hopefully more to come.



I worked yesterday and I came home so tired and in so much pain that I really thought I might just die but, of course, I started a load of laundry, scooped the litter box, and got on here...then I saw a pair of support panty hose on the floor and they were supposed to be in the laundry.  I was really annoyed...I picked them up and went into the bathroom and threw them into the sink with some soap and turned on the water.  I FORGOT to turn OFF the water...I flooded the bathroom AND the husband has to deal with the basement because I CAN'T...I used every towel I have and soaked the water up, had to wash and dry them AND the rugs that got soaked.  I ended up filling a huge garbage bag with all of the things that were under the sink...mostly makeup that I don't use any more...lotions that I received as gifts and did not like, and other CRAP.  I now have a clean bathroom...I can't WAIT to see my electric bill and my water bill.  Dear God...when you are THAT everyone a favor and GO TO BED!  The cat kept looking toward the bathroom and the OTHER cat was walking around in it but I was watching TV, decompressing and I didn't HEAR the water running.  Neither did my husband, he came in here and talked to me and went down to the basement...boy did he come upstairs FAST!


Love you all,



Not MY blog

Posted by elvan Jul 27, 2018

I went to Florida Quitters because it was highlighted so that Ralph1955 might be able to find some people who are quitting and live close to him.  I saw this comment and I decided to copy and paste it here because it really is incredibly interesting.


So your feeling lite headed? Thanks to Chris the Science Geek we know why...

When you burn the leaves of tobacco and inhale the combustion products, you inevidibly inhale a whole bunch of a certain chemical called carbon monoxide. You may be familiar with this chemical; it's the same one that spews out of the, uh , "backside" of your car. So, yup, it's kinda like doing tailpipe hits. The carbon monoxide, aka "CO", takes up space in your bloodstream that would normally be occupied by another certian chemical that goes by the name of oxygen, aka O2. Funny thing is, your body uses the O2 but can *not* use the CO. In fact, in large enough doses, CO will suffocate/poison you. This is why doctors do not recommend that you get into your car in a closed garage, run a hose from the tailpipe into the window and start the engine. Take it from me, this is a Bad Idea.




Anyway, your body, being the unbelievable wondrous machine that it is, responds to this mini-suffocation that you are inflicting on it by increasing something called your "packed red cell count". Why does your body do this, you ask? I'll tell you why: in your blood are cells (they're red, go figure) that carry O2 from your lungs to other parts of your body. Because the CO uses up some of their ability to carry O2, you need more to carry the amount of O2 you need to live. So, your body produces about 10-20% more red blood cells. When your doctor is looking at your blood they will often separate out the red blood cells by spinning your blood in a centrifuge. The red blood cells all go to the bottom of the test tube, nicely compacted. The doctor measures the volume of these packed cells and that number is called (wait for it) the packed red cell volume. Neato, huh?!




Because humans have a pretty consistent level of red cells, doctors can actually tell if you are a smoker by looking at your level.




So, now your body is happily chugging along, coughing and hacking a lot but at least getting enough O2 to keep you alive. Then you quit smoking. Very rapidly the reduction in CO that you are breathing causes a precipitous drop in the amount of CO in your blood. But here YOU are, still walking around with 10-20% higher O2 carrying ability. So, you get a little, well, giddy. Kinda dopey. Hell, you're stoned, let's call it what it is. You are actually walking around in a state of constant, low-level hyperventilation.




Eventually your body realizes the big favor you have done it and stops producing red blood cells for awhile so that you can get back down to your normal level. When that happens, the dizziness will go away.




What can you do about it? Well, my advice is to breathe deeply and enjoy this free buzz. Ever hear of oxygen bars over in Tokyo? Well, they have them. You go in and belly up to the bar, lay down your coin and huff pure oxygen for awhile. But YOU get to do it for free!!! Take advantage of your inebriated state and blame absolutely every little mistake, faux pas and error on it. You won't often get this opportunity so DON'T BLOW IT!!!




One more word of advice: you may want to avoid making major decisions, operating heavy equipment or performing death-defying stunts for awhile. Ya just never know...




This has been a public service announcement by Chris the Science Geek. No warranty, expressed or implied, is given - use at your own risk. Offer void where prohibited, please allow 10-12 weeks for delivery. Your mileage may vary.


Enjoy, I certainly did.





Posted by elvan Jul 23, 2018

I worked Saturday and came home in my usual state of pain and exhaustion.  My son asked me if I would consider moving from Saturdays to Sundays partly because it is much slower on Sundays and also because we do not have to set up for dinner on Sundays.  Once we slow down serving on Saturdays, I get the tables in the dining room ready for the dinner rush and I sweep the room and make sure everything has been cleaned.  I also clean both bathrooms and sweep the grocery area and make sure that the outside tables are cleaned and the porch is swept.  Because there will be no dinner rush, I will not have to make sure the outside tables have been cleaned, I will still do the bathrooms and sweep both rooms but I won't be running back and forth from cleaning to answering the phone and checking people out. It really should be much more relaxed.  My grandson will also work Sundays, that was one reason I wanted to stay on Saturdays but they are moving HIM to Sundays as well.


In any event, I am exhausted and this is my second day off.  I did not get to the pool today because the weather was weirdly threatening.  Of course, when I completely surrendered and decided I would not go...the weather cleared up, at least somewhat.  The humidity is horrible and since I seem to be sneezing and starting a cold...perhaps it is best for me to just take it easy.  I will probably not be on here much longer tonight since I am fighting falling asleep as I write this. 


Be safe and smoke free...




Help for a newbie

Posted by elvan Jul 13, 2018

I saw this post in the Daily Pledge:


Triggers :

Has anyone been part of this site before the facelift? Before you could click a trigger and it would give you detailed information on how to beat the trigger. Example: After waking up you would wait 5 minutes before smoking and the next day you would wait 10 minutes, etc. Eventually breaking that bond. 


Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Because now you have to input how you yourself overcame a certain trigger. I need the detailed information. Please get back to me asap.





I did respond via direct message and I suggested moving the question to Community Help, I also pointed out the Quit Plan and the magnifying glass to allow searches for triggers.  If anyone has any other ideas...please contact this person.