Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Roundup Update


Aspergantus says he's recovered enough from his gall bladder surgery that he's going back to work today.

That's one down.

Kenny says his legs are still messed up, but he's seeing the docs about it. No word from him on the bride's gall bladder surgery recovery. But in a comment on his latest post, he says she's home. That's good, right there. Once they let you out of the hospital, you're (hopefully) on the mend.

That's one holding, and one waiting to hear but probably okay.

And Walrilla himself? He's home.

Home home home.

He's still scarfing down diverse antibiotics. But it looks, again, like his infection is regular staph cellulitis, rather than MRSA. The docs cultured the germ, and he sees them again in early December. On the downside, just when he was about ready to get his prosthesis set up, the swelling and changes in the stump means he has to wait all over again. I guess they can't fit it until it goes through the proper shrinking and shaping, and that can't happen while it's all riled up with infection.

Meanwhile? He has a new endocrinologist. He's also switching hospitals. Now he'll be going to a teaching hospital. And that, to me, sounds like an excellent idea.

This last one still a bit dicey, perhaps...but on the other hand, maybe more hopeful overall - in the big picture - than before.

That's all four. Getting better all, it looks like. Okay. I feel better.

Now: I'm still wrapping up this blasted paperwork here, so please, I hope NOBODY out there decides to have any more gall bladder attacks, or terrible infections, or complications from surgeries, or heart attacks, or ANYTHING.

Not till after the holidays. There's a time and place for everything.


Is this what happens to you, reading this, when I run around having rude health episodes myself?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Roundup Needed: Send All Available Good Thoughts, Positive Energies, Prayers, Whatever You Have...

Most of my fave fellow bloggers may have noticed I haven't been by in a while. Between dodging Walter's incipient heart attacks, both of us being out of town for so long, and me doing a massive paperwork project here, I've been putting up with the withdrawal symptoms and a keeping my fingers crossed that everyone's okay.

They are not.

After I found out what I did this morning, I went through my entire blogroll for the first time in ages, just checking to see if anyone else was in trouble with health issues and such.

They are.

First: Walrilla, our beloved half walrus/half gorilla of a man, is back in the hospital with another case of cellulitis. I gather from his post that it's in his stump. The same one that stubbornly refuses to heal enough so he can get his prosthesis and start running around on two pins again.

Not long ago, he discovered a bone chip almost as large as a penny festering its way out of his stump. I find this outrageous. Little did Walrilla know, his doc had NO experience doing amputations. Perhaps this is why he left a big bone chip hanging around in there. Aren't they supposed to xray the thing after they're done sawing, make sure they aren't leaving random bits floating around where they aren't wanted?

Not to mention, I was NOT happy with the wound healing treatment he was getting. Maybe it's just me: but to hear he wasn't slathering that stump with Silvadene every day made me nervous. When you're prone to infection, as Walrilla very clearly is, they should be considering some serious antibiotic treatment if he's not healing right.

Today, he's getting an MRI to see if the cellulitis has infected the bone itself, a condition called osteomyelitis. This is a very serious problem and could result in his losing more of the bone in that leg.

So please, all of you who've noticed this very fine man's spirit and generosity, send all the good thoughts, prayers, however you do that - send him all you have. He not only needs it, he has actually earned it.

In the process of finding out what's going on with him - Nancy had alerted me - I realized that Kenny (Coffee in the Morning) not only had both knees replaced recently, his much-loved bride had a bad 911 experience the day before Thanksgiving. This culminated in getting her gall bladder out on Thanksgiving eve. Kenny got to hobble around on his new knees to get her rescued. Good grief! Please include him in your thoughts and prayers as well.

It looks like Mick (Beware the Aspergantus) decided to set the fashion trend on this gall bladder thing. He just got his out, too. Folks, I did that a few years back, and it was no picnic. For some people it's not that bad any more. They do it with laparoscopy these days, instead of cutting your whole midsection open. It used to require 2 months hospitalization for recovery. Granted, it's better today. Still, it is major surgery, and usually extremely painful during recovery. So HE could used some of those good thoughts and prayers too.

Those are the major ones. I noticed a fair amount of boo-boos and other incidents in that blogroll roundup, and some bloggers on hospice. For now, I hope we can concentrate on seeing those four get better for us, okay?

Y'all have to CUT THIS OUT. Stop scaring me. Get. Better. Now.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Purple Potato Pancake

Yes I did.

I made the leftover mashed Purple Potato into a Purple Potato Pancake.

Following the diabetics' call to Never Eat a Naked Carb, I mixed the mashed potato up with lots and lots of cheese: extra sharp cheddar, parmesan, and gruyere, coarse grated, with the gruyere mostly on the outsides of that pancake. No cheese in the world browns quite as nicely as gruyere, to my taste anyway.

Then I fried that sucker good and brown on both sides. It stuck to the pan just a bit here and there - now that I threw away all my no-stick pans - but honestly, just a bit. Not bad. Where it did stick, it unscraped itself fine with the spatula. The metal (not rubber or plastic or other questionable materials like in the ones I threw away) spatula.

Seeing the pancake be purple was every bit as gigglish as peeling it and mashing it was.

Then I sat down and ate the whole thing for lunch.

Boy, was it GOOD!

I ate it so eagerly I didn't even get a pic. Sorry! Please to forgive!

I hope everyone else is enjoying their Turkey Day Leftovers just as much as I am. Including: If you don't enjoy them, don't eat 'em!

And I also hope the resounding sound of silence across the internet means you're still sleeping it opposed to getting stomped on by the shopping frenzied madding crowd.

Unless, of course, you do that for the fun of it.

Just in case anyone forgot, for a moment, how my life priorities are ranked.

Friday, November 23, 2007

This Thanksgiving, I Ate a Purple Potato. And an Orange One. And the Regular Kind Too.


It's very late and I'm very tired. But I'm very happy too.

I not only made the Purple Potato...I broke down and got a little turkey. They had some less-than-10 # turkeys. Fresh not frozen. I mean...come ON.


The Purple Potato Man at Penn Dutch said they were purple all the way through.

I did not cook the breadfruit. We didn't eat the persimmon or pomegranate yet either. Or the acorn squash.

The purple potato provided enough entertainment all on its own. As you can see, the Purple Potato Man was right.

The red potato was white inside. Just like always. The sweet potato was orange inside. Just like always.

I guess the purple potatoes are always purple inside. See, I wouldn't know. I have never ever heard of such a thing as a purple potato in my entire life. And folks, this woman has seen a thing or two in her day.

The Purple Potato Man told me he'd eaten them once before. He said they reminded him of beets, the color. So he said it was, perhaps, psychological, but to him that potato tasted just a bit like beets.

Not to me. It tasted exactly like regular potatoes.

Beets? Nah. Poi. The mashed purple potato looks a lot like poi, IMO.

The turkey and dressing and gravy and mashed potatoes - white and purple and orange - and the broccoli and corn and cranberry sauce -

were all good. Walter even said, VERY good. That's sweet music to my ears. He never says things like that unless he means it.

The rice pudding, well...I ended up overcooking it and he didn't like it any more. I'm still experimenting with that recipe. At least this time I didn't try to use basmati rice.

OH! And the pumpkin pie I didn't try yet.

Hold on a minute.


I hope all y'all had a wonderful happy Thanksgiving too.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Home For This Holiday

Walter is still here. I'm glad. But he will be going back to work pretty soon now - the doc gave him his medical clearance. He almost went today, but he was feeling a bit unwell; and with tomorrow's holiday, there's probably not going to be a lot of trucking jobs for him anyway. So, home he stays.

We seem to have settled on having a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey.

The trimmings are sometimes the best part anyway, right?

Plus, you see, I thought he'd be gone, so I didn't get a turkey. And people who scooter around and are easily stepped on, due to being close to the ground and thus less visible, are best off not shopping during crowded store hours.


We have a significant amount of smoked turkey hanging around from sundry cooking projects. All the fixings for stuffing - or will, when my bread comes out of the oven. Cranberry sauce? Just made a big batch. Green veggies...broccoli and artichokes, I already ate all the asparagus. Salad stuff.

If I get milk and graham crackers, then, we can also have some pumpkin pie (NOT Walter's favorite!), and rice pudding, which he loves; and tapioca pudding, which he likes and I love.

Heck. I even have an acorn squash. And a sweet potato, and a purple potato, a breadfruit, a pomegranate, and a persimmon.

Chicken drumsticks in the freezer, should we want fresh meat and a bit of gravy...

heh! Now I'm getting hungry.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, right?

Yeah, right. ;-)

A Walter and k Health Update

Please forgive me for this way overdue update. Walter had his heart catheterization last Thursday, and his vessels are clear as can be. So much so that the doc was quite surprised.

All clear. REALLY clear.

This means - to me, at least - that it's constriction rather than blockage that plays havoc with his heart from time to time.

And that comes back to smoking and stress.

So we'll work on those. There's one and only one stop-smoking aid he can use. The nicotine patches, all that, are just as bad for heart patients as cigarettes.

A new product, Champix (sp?) works to make cigarettes taste bad to a smoker. Sort of like Antabuse for an alcoholic, I'd guess.

But Walter's insurance doesn't cover it, and it costs $101.00 at the Sam's Club pharmacy. This will require some thought, and some negotiation with Aetna. An attempt, at least, to get them to understand this is medically necessary.

I have some interesting new developments on my infection-fighting front too. My IgG is still low; I've found a local allergist/immunologist who gives IgG treatments - that's rare - and is also willing to take me on as a patient, despite my CA MRSA carrier status. That's rare too.

His staff didn't seem too happy about it. They did the Giant Step Backwards, every single one, and opened all doorknobs for me - using paper towels - and hand-sanitized every chair I sat in almost as soon as I got up. Didn't smile at me any more either. Poor fools.

The minocycline has discolored my legs so badly the ID doctor said to stop taking it for now. She wants to see if we can do a sensitivity test on that third antibiotic before trying the hospitalization thing - that was her plan last spring, to keep me for at least one night to see if I react to the new antibiotic. If I can handle the med but it doesn't work on the infection, then she'd incarcerate me for 7 weeks of IV treatment.

One reason she's holding off a bit is because when I came back from my summer odyssey, the lumps in my right arm were noticeably smaller. In other words, the combination of Cipro and minocycline was working - slowly, but working.

However: When I stopped taking the minocycline a few weeks ago, two things happened. I burst out in little skin surface MRSA infections from head to toe. Scary. They didn't clear up with Silvadene like usual.

Here's what else happened: Two days after I stopped the minocycline, I had the worst rheumatoid arthritis flareup I'd had in years.

It was excruciating.

And one of my knuckles in my right hand has been growing in front of our eyes ever since. Every single day it was bigger, until yesterday. Walter and I kept checking it, and yesterday, finally, it was no bigger.

But the next finger over? Looks like it's sprouting a new mess now, itself.

I tolerated it as best I could for about a week. The pain was excruciating. Terrible. I went through my oxycodone way faster than I wanted to, and knew it wouldn't last out the month. That was when I only took enough to keep me from screaming out loud.

So, yeah. I started taking the minocycline again.

The pain resolved. Not gone, of course; but almost back to where it was. Only a little bit worse than before I stopped the antibiotic.

There have been cases of minocycline - an antibiotic - helping people with rheumatoid arthritis.

But why?

RA is a classic autoimmune disease. Why in the world should an antibiotic help an autoimmune disease?

The RA doc is having no end of interesting fun with this. When he saw all the new lumps in my joints he did a bunch of xrays. There were no bony changes and no discernible tissue changes - he compared these to some xrays he took in 2003. The huge swellings were still mostly fluids and inflammation.

Naturally, I thought I'd dodged a bullet. OH, I got all smug on him.


He explained to me that the permanent bone damage takes time. First comes what I have now. The bone malformations take longer.


I have bone cysts all over, had them for a long time. No changes in those. But they aren't a very bad source of pain, and they don't really malform your bones and joints.

See, since I was eight years old, I had a type of RA that just hurts. I wasn't a candidate for the plastic knuckle crowd. They LOOKED fine, mostly. I liked that arrangement.

I always knew it might not stay that way. The docs always made that clear.

And now, with the CA MRSA and the disseminated HSV-1 and the mycobacteria chel. abscessus, and being generally immunocompromised, and having low IgG - I am absolutely not a candidate for plastic knuckles.

Not allowed for people like me. The smallest surgery of any kind is way dangerous. Surgery that inserts any kind of foreign object into my tissues is far more dangerous than that.

So now, if I'm heading in the direction where I could benefit from plastic knuckles to replace my messed up ones...sorry Charlie. No can do.

Ah well.

As I explained to the ID doc, I really don't care what the minocycline does to my appearance, as long as it keeps me safe. Let me do some IgG booster therapy first. Then we'll look at the antibiotic array again.

So yeah. I'm gobbling it up, just like before.

It's my friend. We get along just fine.

Scientists Find Fossil of Enormous Bug


What a cutie!

Of course, as I'm sure you all know, a *scorpion-like creature* doesn't approach even the usual misnomer of *bug.* I mean, come ON! Eight legs = not an insect. Orf! And only true bugs are bugs, among the real insects.

But hey. Let's not split hairs - uh, antennae? How about, let's just enjoy this wonder for who it is. A rose by any other name...


[Click the link and check out the pic!]

Scientists Find Fossil of Enormous Bug

By THOMAS WAGNER, AP Tue Nov 20, 11:04 PM EST

This was a bug you couldn't swat and definitely couldn't step on. British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever.

How big? Bigger than you, and at 8 feet long as big as some Smart cars.

The discovery in 390-million-year-old rocks suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were far larger in the past than previously thought, said Simon Braddy, a University of Bristol paleontologist and one of the study's three authors.

"This is an amazing discovery," he said Tuesday.

"We have known for some time that the fossil record yields monster millipedes, super-sized scorpions, colossal cockroaches, and jumbo dragonflies. But we never realized until now just how big some of these ancient creepy-crawlies were," he said.

* * * * *

"I was loosening pieces of rock with a hammer and chisel when I suddenly realized there was a dark patch of organic matter on a freshly removed slab. After some cleaning I could identify this as a small part of a large claw," said Poschmann, another author of the study.

"Although I did not know if it was more complete or not, I decided to try and get it out. The pieces had to be cleaned separately, dried, and then glued back together. It was then put into a white plaster jacket to stabilize it," he said.

[Ed. note: Hmmm. This sounds bassackward to me. At the Fossil Farm, we don't do lab work while out in the field - wrong environment, and field time is far more limited than lab time. Plus, you use the plaster jacket to stabilize the delicate, disarticulated, crumbling, etc. pieces in order to take them to the lab to be cleaned and glued. I'm guessing this is a reporter's error.]

Eurypterids, or ancient sea scorpions, are believed to be the extinct aquatic ancestors of today's scorpions and possibly all arachnids, a class of joint-legged, invertebrate animals, including spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks.

Braddy said the fossil was from a Jaekelopterus Rhenaniae, a kind of scorpion that lived only in Germany for about 10 million years, about 400 million years ago.

He said some geologists believe that gigantic sea scorpions evolved due to higher levels of oxygen in the atmosphere in the past. Others suspect they evolved in an "arms race" alongside their likely prey, fish that had armor on their outer bodies.

Braddy said the sea scorpions also were cannibals that fought and ate one other, so it helped to be as big as they could be.

* * * * *
On the Net:
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rest in Peace, Alpha Cat

I'm terribly sorry to say that Pretty Lady's magnificent cat - Alpha Cat - has passed away. Whatever maladies were troubling him recently became insurmountable; he was suffering, and finally it was too much for him to bear.

Pretty Lady posted a personal history and pictures of Alpha Cat today. He was extraordinarily beautiful, not just in appearance, but in his countenance and attitude.

He also looks stunningly similar to my cat April.

He lived a long and particularly good life, from 1989 until today, November 15, 2007.

From personal experience, though, I can say this with certainty: That doesn't always comfort the humans who loved him and are left behind to grieve over losing him.

He is free, now, of sickness and pain. He's waiting for Pretty Lady and her friend, I've no doubt, in that place where April and BabyCat are waiting for me and for Walter.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Repost for Pretty Lady and Alpha Cat.

Pretty Lady's Alpha Cat has become an elderly gentleman, much as my wonderful Babycat was toward the end. He's having some health issues, perhaps some kidney problems. But he's still a happy boy, who loves his human. He's one of the very few, very lucky cats who has a Human Who Sings To Them.

So I thought I'd repost this erudite discussion of Mr. Babycat's interesting outlook on his kidney situation, and its resolution.

BabyCat's Latrines: Seek and Ye Shall Find
Thursday, February 09, 2006

My cat is 21 years old.

Now, that's a very old cat. The vet tells me cat years in human years are approximately this: 10 years the first year of the cat's life, then 5 years after that.

So my guy would be around 110 years old, in human terms.

Like a lot of older gentlemen, his kidneys and prostate aren't in such great shape any more. He gets pee issues.

He drinks loads of water. Then he wants to go - but he can't.

This never fails to surprise him.

We keep two indoor boxes for him, and have a cat door to the outside. In Florida, especially the central and southern parts, we have sand for our dirt. For a cat, this is great. One big giant natural outdoor litterbox. And this particular cat has always been a rather fussy, tidy-minded guy. He constructs nice neat holes, covered up afterward with attention to detail.

So imagine his confusion when he carefully prepares his little latrine - and it doesn't work.

I watch him at this exercise in the back yard. He'll dig his hole, squat, wait - patience all over his face - wait some more - look puzzled - stand up, turn around, check the hole, and...NOTHING THERE!

Hmmmm. He sniffs around. Thinks a while. Looks around - is there some pee-stealing entity causing this condition? Nope, doesn't see anything.


That hole he dug just plain didn't work.

So he goes to dig another one.

Digs. Squats. Waits. Checks it.


Two broken holes in a row?!

Now, this is getting strange. He looks around again for the Pee Stealing Conspirators.

Doesn't see any.

Thinks awhile.

Well. Another latrine Out of Order. That's life. Got to try again in a different spot.

Okay, he decides. I can do that.

He hunts and hunts for a Working Latrine plot of land.

Sometimes this goes on for 10 or more tries.

Finally! The search is rewarded with a hole that actually works. Yay! He pees about a gallon into it, then carefully and respectfully covers it back up. You don't want to dis the only working latrine in the whole back yard. Might jinx your next try.

And holds his dignified old head up, and comes back inside for a well-earned nap.

All that latrine construction can tire a guy out.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

All Clear

He's home. He's fine. There were no obstructions, no stents needed. No nothing.

I think - I think - what that means is this: His cardiac episodes are from the vessels constricting rather than obstructing.

I'm intensely relieved. He's relieved, too. Understand, it's sort of good news/bad news: another obstruction means angioplasty and/or stent, problem solved. In the long run, I think it's worse, because it means the obstructions are still building. I don't want that. I prefer the constriction thing, because I think it can be controlled in ways that involve less *quality of life* issues.

He wants to believe it's just pain from the pacemaker. That lead running from the pacemaker to his heart could trigger some pain, sure.

Yet I highly doubt he'd be getting the heavy punching heart attack type pain from that. Remember how long it took for him to accept how close he came to dying last year. He kept repeating how the medicos described his continuous series of heart attacks as *mild* simply because they caught them soon enough to keep his heart from serious oxygen starvation and muscle death.

That doesn't mean his CONDITION is mild. He had almost 100% blockage in one vessel and some 85% or so in two more. He was quite ready to die, and only twenty years ago, even in the best of care, he would have died.

After six months or so, he pretty much accepted that truth.

So I have to take this reaction today with a BIG grain of salt.

Now, he's ordered into bed rest for one week minimum. And just now, his employer called to say he can't get short term disability payments again yet. He used up his annual quota last year, 100 days, late November 2006 - February 2007. We were hoping it went by calendar or fiscal year. Nope. It's a year from the date you got sick last time. No more short-term disability pay until November 30, 2007.

Well. We tried.

On the long-term side? He should be eligible mid-June, 2008.

For now, then, he can stay at home without any problems from the company. He has a huge amount of unpaid leave time built up. What happens when you stay on the road for 7 months, I guess. But it is unpaid. So me, I'll get busy on any and all other income-earning projects I can come up with.

He really does want to get back to work, and after the follow-up appointment with his doc, he'll probably be cleared to go. What we want is for him to stay healthy until mid-June.

On the good news side? I think it means his eating and exercise habits weren't the worst culprits this time around.

The smoking and stress probably played a very large role.

If he stays off the smokes, perhaps we'll have him doing yoga in his truck after all.

Or some nice meditation?


He's In

I dropped Walter off at the heart surgery place around 6am. He's officially scheduled for the heart catheter at either 7:30 or 8:00, depending on who you talk to.

They estimate they'll take around 6 hours for the whole thing. I don't know if that includes any stents, if he needs them.

I'm glad he's there. He hasn't been feeling so well. The past two days, he's said if he weren't going in to the hospital Thursday, he'd go check himself in for the heart pains he's been feeling.

For him to say THAT much is serious indeed.

Yesterday I found that one of the few flame lilies I actually paid money for - three different varieties of yellow - has bloomed for me.

Yellow. That's for coming back home, safe and sound.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Back to the Medical Business...

Walter saw the cardio doc today, Monday.

The heart catheter is back on the table. He goes in on Thursday for that. If he needs stents, they'll put them in during the heart cath, and keep him there overnight. If not, he comes home the same day. They said to allow 6 hours for it: arrive at 6am for paperwork, start the procedure at 8am, done by 2 pm...we hope.

And then, more 30% of the bills. We still owe around $7000 to various places in Indiana.

Walter came home from the appointment today and told me this: --I told the doctor the truth. I didn't hold back. I told him everything.

Meaning, the continuing shortness of breath. The two episodes of heart-attack type pain two days ago. They were mild and transitory and we watched for it to continue, but it stopped.

As far as I know, anyway. I don't care so much if he tells ME everything. I just want the doc to know. If Walter's not telling me everything, I know he's either trying to spare me more worry, or spare himself the anxiety of telling me, or whatever. That's fine. I decided long ago that married people have a right NOT to tell each other absolutely everything. They may even have a responsibility not to, sometimes.

I don't think he's really able to keep working any more. But the problem is, he has no retirement plan. There is a long-term disability insurance plan we've been paying the premiums on for several months now. If he does become too sick to work, he can't use that insurance unless a year has passed, first: the heart problems are a pre-existing condition and won't be covered.

So he wants to go back to work as long as he can. If his health improves enough to stay on indefinitely, so much the better. If he can at least work until his insurance will cover him, that would help. It wouldn't pay for more than a few years, but still, it would help. His Social Security disability won't be that much.

Walter told me today that about 10% of bypasses close back up. I didn't know that, I'd only heard it about stents. Commenter Marian had the only case I'd personally heard about where that happened: her husband had a stent that became 70% blocked, and quickly. They swooped in, cleaned it out, popped it back in, and Bob's yer uncle.

From what I understand, there are two major ways the blood flow to the heart gets restricted, leaving part of the heart muscle dead - meaning, a heart attack.

There can be obstructions inside the vessels, like the famous cholesterol etc. buildup we hear so much about. Or perhaps a clot.

Or, the vessel constricts. It clenches. Spasms.

I'm not sure how medically accurate any of this is, okay? I'm kind of translating it as I go, as best I can.

Apparently, the constriction - coronary insufficiency - is usually brought on by things like smoking and stress. So the diet - the clogging-up stuff - actually works in a different way.

Walter's had an extraordinary amount of stress over the past year and a half. Most of it hasn't really been bloggable. I finally posted about the baby granddaughter that passed away, and the new grandson now born. But it's way, way more than that. The family in Europe, the stress on the job, the hurricane issues, the creep bank trying to foreclose after they told us not to make payments...and of course, dealing with my own health problems doesn't help his stress level, either.

I never in my life thought I would have a man like him with me. He is not perfect. Good thing too, because neither am I.

What he is, instead, is a truly good and decent man. A sweet and devoted man who loves me for who I am. And despite who I am, as well.

He will love me no matter how sick I get, how old and ugly I get. Just as I will him. He delights in my little achievements and admires my flowers and bricklaying. He wonders at my love of life, and how I love my neighbors, and love to cook for him. He respects my blogging and my pix, way more than I think they deserve.

He has adopted my family as his own. He's brought us closer together than I ever thought was possible. He and my mom get on like a house afire, and talk on the phone maybe ten times more than she and I do. Which is wonderful, by me. It tickles the hell out of me.

That, people, is a dream spouse. The kind of old-fashioned one we longed for as teenagers, and too often, gave up on as being unrealistic.

I want one and only one thing from him: I want him to live.

If he can't work any more, if he can never go back to work again and it leaves us broke, I do NOT care. As long as he's alive, we can make it.

That's all I want. All I need from him is him.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Baby Gecko

What a CUTIE! Go ahead, click away, big it up. One pretty little lizard coming up.

This little one was hiding under my computer monitor. They're quite shy, and generally active only at night. They have a wonderful zig zaggy way of walking, and the patterns on their toes and back sort of scintillate as they run about all ziggy that way.

We have two versions here in Florida, both *exotics,* meaning naturalized critters that came from Somewhere Else. Once is pale tan, the other darker like this one. I believe we have the *Mediterranean gecko* here, but I'm too lazy to check just now.

People bought them, in years past, as natural pest control. We do get some bugs around here, right? Okay. So Florida is legendary for them.

Geckos living in your house gobble up any stray ants and/or palmetto bugs, silverfish, what have you. IF you have. heh!

And because you almost never actually see them, they don't trouble most people. Out of sight, out of mind, eats bugs, is cuter than all get out on those rare days you do see them?

Sounds like good Natural Pest Control to ME, anyway.

And Now, For a Little Flower Power

I decided to take a day off from troubles. Walter's holding steady and I am too. My neighbor to my east just put up a brand new board fence, replacing the one Wilma ate. It's nice and it's pretty and it means I *get* a new fence for free, yes? I won't even discuss what the nasty workmen did to my pretty E. radicans (a ground orchid), lignum vitae tree, bougainvillea, and the odd bedding plant here and there. Nope. Not today, anyway.

No, I'm just going to enjoy my pretty day out in the yard. The flame lilies are blooming. Three orchids are, too.

Next Friday is *bulk day,* and I'm gathering up all the yard trash that accumulated during my absence, and maybe a few other things too. The old chain link fence of my east side neighbor's that was encroaching on my property since we bought the place in 1996. That would be good. I never said a word about it - or the fact that her old board fence was ALSO encroaching! - because I really like her. I didn't care all that much anyway.

I mean, sure, most people can use an extra foot of land down a 125' boundary. But all I was actually concerned about was that the bank might figure it out, and I'd be forced to ask her to cure my title defects by moving the fences. Now I don't have that hanging over my shoulder any more. Yay! Maybe I can toss out some more hurricane-damaged furniture too. I'm not going to repair it, and I took enough pix to make the insurance company happy. Time to get rid of what's left.

Blogger and gmail are having one of their periodic misbehavior fits, it seems. So I hope this will post okay, and that nobody suffered any Comment Eating Experiences today.

Not to mention - I hope everybody had a nice pleasant Saturday, too.

Cause it's time.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

More Flame Lilies

The flame lilies here are coming up all through a little border of kingsmantle. (Not the ixora kingsmantle, the Thunbergia erecta one. Blue blue blue.)

The vines are mixed throughout the kingsmantle, but only the vines at each end are blooming.

Having suddenly acquired some 1100 flame lily bulbs last year, I really had to think hard to find them homes. Here, I planted a good dozen or more around my variegated Euphorbia lactea v. christata. I bet you were just dying to know that guy's full name, huh? ;-) You can hardly see him, though, he's so covered with the little flame lily vines.

At different points of the flower's cycle, it has either a yellow margin along the petals' edges, or the petals are solid red.

Long ago, I fell in love with the flame lily's strange shape. The petals actually curve up and then backwards over the pistils and stamens - the flowers' reproduction apparatus.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Home Is Usually Better Anyway

When I visited Walter on Halloween, the *transportation* lady who pushed my wheelchair had serious trouble finding him. He was supposed to be in Room 210 Bed 1. We went all the way up and back and up and back the looooong hallway, and I can bear witness to the fact that Room 210 does not exist.

However, some large areas with incongruous 4-digit room numbers were there. When Ms. Transportation Witch - an absolutely stunningly beautiful young woman in a witch costume that was only scary due to excess loveliness - did the female thing and asked for directions, we were sent into one of those large areas off the main hallway.

Holy Cross has an odd mix of fabulous modern ER downstairs, and decrepit old rooms and old-time institutional canned green beans type service upstairs. I found that out when I was inpatient with the lung infection last spring.

This area was a sort of cardiac intermediate-intensive unit. Ms. Bewitching was directed by the nurse at a desk to the end of the hall. She wheeled me past a series of little bed areas on our right, closed off by curtains on a ceiling track like in many ER's.

See the #1 up top in the pic? That's for Bed 1.

We got to the last one, and the curtain was pulled. The #1 wasn't directly above it - it was off to the left, above a narrow door, where you'd have to wind around past some storage shelves with bags hanging off them in order to go through that door.

We thought the last bed on our right MUST be the one. Surely.

*Walter?* we asked softly. Ms. Bewitching finally pulled the curtain aside - and we found we'd awoken a young and pretty cardiac patient. Crap!

Okay. We hobgoblinned our way around the shelving clutter and through the narrow door. We ended up in a sort of little foyer or vestibule, with more shelvy equipment hanging around.

To the right, though, was a cubby hole of a room. It had real glass and a real door.

The glass to the right of the door was taped in a star pattern. It looked exactly like the totally ineffective hurricane taping that some silly folks still do.

Maybe this room used to be a balcony? And they closed it in like some folks do with a porch?

Ah! YES! There's my guy! All tied up in bed with the billions of tubes and IV's and monitor leads sticking out of him. What a sight for sore eyes.

These old icky rooms, though? They are NOT a sight for sore eyes. Not good for the kinds of emotional states people feel when they're stuck in a hospital room.

Especially not when you realize the curtained windows would look into that young lady's cubbyhole. Or when you realize there's a permanent spy camera pointed at you.

Home is definitely better.
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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Still Got Rope to Go

At 9:40 tonight, I'd just finished a post about how something must have shown up on Walter's stress test, his angiogram, today. That's the one where they image your heart, then put this dye in your veins, put you on the treadmill or give you a drug to make your heart race, and remap the heart and vessels as the dye moves through them. The dye shows where any blockages and so forth are located.

The test was finished around 4pm. Dr. Cardio had left instructions that if nothing negative showed up, Walter could go home tonight. If something did show? He'd need to stay and get a heart catheter tomorrow.

When he hadn't heard anything by 9:30, it looked like they found something wasn't right. I asked if perhaps the Stress Test Interpreters just got tired and hungry and went home. Walter said they'd showed no signs of closing up shop when he left.

Earlier on, Walter was pretty smug about his stress test performance. He said they had trouble getting his pulse and BP up high enough to run the second part of the test. That could be because of all that nitro and blood thinners and extra Lipitor and heaven knows what. Sure.

His opinion, though? It's because there's nothing so wrong with his heart.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll hear all the gory details. Because just before I hit *publish* around 9:40 pm, I got the call. He's coming home.

For now, for tonight, he sleeps at home. My mom is here doing her snowbird thing, and she'll pick him up and bring him home. Walter had a long hard day today. I did too, and I'm no good for driving even that short distance tonight. But all that news can wait until tomorrow.

Tonight, I bet I'll get the first decent sleep I've had since Monday.

News like this makes it so suddenly okay to feel drained and frazzled and at the end of your rope. You look back and see, Hey. It's not the end of the rope after all.