Monthly Archives: October 2015

Happy Halloween and The Farmer’s Market

So I had my first big outing…I went to the Farmer’s Market. I bundled up and wore a scarf to keep myself warm, it wasn’t particularly cold, but I wanted to make sure not to let my lungs get cold. Today was the last Saturday for the Farmer’s Market so I really wanted to go and say goodbye to my friends until spring. One of our favorite vendors won’t be back in the spring and so I was really glad I got to talk to her today.

Walking around took a LOT of effort. You don’t think about how much a little walking takes a toll on your body, but I am totally exhausted and ready for a nap. I probably will nap to be honest just because I know I need to rest and heal and that I am not at 100% right now. I know that I need to allow myself to slow down and take breaks and honor my limitations. We ordered a cane for me which is really honoring my limitations because up until now I had been very against the idea of walking with a cane. I am conceding that with the extra work that my heart and lungs are doing right now, my leg is just not holding up as long as it normally does hence why we ordered a cane for me to use.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Halloween and enjoys trick or treating if you are doing that. Enjoy your party if you are doing that, or enjoy your time at home if that’s what you will be doing tonight.

Life with a Rabbit

As I have posted before I have a rabbit. I have had said rabbit for 4 years now, he’s 5 years old. I got him from a co-worker who was moving from a house into an apartment so she couldn’t keep him. He really cracks me up at times because he will just flop over in his cage like okay I’m done PLOP. He and the cat will also have these secret meetings where they sit and just look at each other, but only IF he is safely behind bars. If he is out of the cage she will have NOTHING to do with him. He will try to sneak up on her and she will jump and RUN for her life.

It makes me laugh, probably more than it should, but I really do laugh at how they interact. He just wants to play with her and she wants NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING to do with him, unless he is safely behind bars. Of course I totally encourage him to chase her just because I can. She can safely jump away from him, and then she looks at me like now why are you telling him to chase me?? It’s like that look of distrust and betrayal which of course usually sends me into giggles because it just doesn’t take much for me to start giggling.

Otis loves dried papaya. I was reading online and found that dried papaya when given as a treat helps with their shedding and I can confirm that it definitely helps. So we give him a piece usually daily, sometimes every other day. Papaya is very sweet and Otis DEFINITELY has a sweet tooth so we limit the sweet stuff. I also will go and pick the dandelions out of the yard for him to give him some fresh greens to supplement his pellets and alfalfa hay. Sometimes he gets other fresh treats but we really watch what we give him because we don’t want to make him sick.

A rabbit’s average life span is 10 years, so he’s now middle age. He definitely brings a lot of joy to this house and we definitely get a lot of laughs with the interactions between him and the cats. One time Nicco walked up to Otis and bopped him in between the eyes and I laughed much more than I should have. Now please understand that Otis was not hurt, Nicco had been front declawed by his previous owner. But Otis just hopped towards Nicco and Nicco ran away. I laughed and laughed and thought well that’s one way to respond to a face slap!

Pets are good medicine studies have shown they help lower your blood pressure, lower stress and elevate your mood. We also get really good stories from our rescue animals because they have such big personalities! Of course living in this house we really would expect nothing less!

It’s all about balance

Anytime you have a chronic illness it’s all about balance. It’s about knowing your own limitations and honoring your limitations even when you don’t want to. Today I was supposed to go with my Mom to see Price is Right Live! we bought the tickets several months ago. We had been looking forward to this for months and then I got the blood clot. So I told Mom to go without me, I wanted her to go and use her ticket and to HAVE FUN. She tried to find someone else to go with her, but with it being such short notice she couldn’t find anyone to go with.

Am I disappointed? You bet! I am. I want to be there, but I just got out of the hospital, I still have a massive blood clot, while my body has absorbed enough of it that I was able to come home, it’s still there. I need to rest and relax this week. I have to take it easy and honor my limitations. I have learned that lesson with my back pain. I used to try and push myself but then I was in more pain. So I learned real fast that the more I pushed myself the more pain I would be in so it was a lose-lose for me. So I learned that I needed to speak up when I started to feel tired. I learned that I needed to sit down. I also learned that in large stores it was okay for me to get an electric cart to use so I didn’t tire myself.

Mom laughs that I am really proficient at driving the carts now. I told her that 2 years worth of driving the cart I can really drive! It’s a little scary how good I can drive it hahaha. I just learned that if I tried to walk around the bigger stores my back would not hold up. I also have learned that it’s okay for me to say I’m getting tired so I’m going to go sit in the car.

So if I could pass on one piece of advice to someone newly diagnosed with any chronic illness I would say it’s okay to honor your limitations.

Zestfully clean!

You never realize how AMAZING a shower is unless you’ve gone an extended period without being able to take a proper one. This morning’s shower was AMAZING. Seriously! While I was in the hospital I was not allowed to shower because I had to have a heart monitor on me 24/7 to make sure I was still alive so the closest I got was a sponge bath and the closest I got to washing my hair was this heated shower cap. Now I was grateful for what I got because at least something is better than nothing, but this morning THAT was the real deal and it felt FABulous. I took a longer shower than normal (but I made sure to keep my arm dry) just because after 10 days in the hospital I missed my shower so much!

I also missed a good cup of coffee, but that is going to have to wait a bit longer. My wife is not a coffee drinker, she is a tea drinker and so in the 10 days that I was in the hospital the coffee that I brewed the morning I passed out well it grew mold. So before I can make myself a good cup of coffee I am going to have to clean the coffee maker out really well. Yeah it sucks, but such is life. I’ll forgive the tea drinker this time 😉

I will say that I have noticed that my breaths are shallower which they tell me is because of my blood clot. I try to remind myself to take deeper breaths, but I kind of feel like I am breathing through a straw and that apparently is also due to the blood clot…the gift that keeps on giving. When I lived in Spain I got used to that no one uses ice in their drinks, so when I came back to the states I stopped using ice in my drinks because I found it unpleasant to add ice. When I was in the hospital they added ice to my drinks, so I got used to having ice in my drinks again. So my sister picked up one of my empty cups and says to me hey there is ice in here, so me being me go yeah apparently when you have a near death experience you change your beverage choices. The entire room including my sister starts to laugh. Of course my sister also shakes her head at me, but hey I gotta keep my humor about all this!

They say humor is the best medicine and I really am trying to keep a positive upbeat attitude the whole time I was in the hospital I only cried twice once was when I thought they had blown the vein in my arm and I was upset that they weren’t going to be able to get blood easily for all the blood tests they had to do, and trust me when you have a massive blood clot they are drawing blood like every 6 hours! The 2nd time was when I found out my INR was 1.9 AGAIN and I didn’t think I was actually going to be discharged yesterday and I was upset because I really REALLY wanted to be home for my wedding anniversary, I mean can you blame me on that one? I was the youngest person on my floor because it was a cardiac unit and it was all the people with severe cardiac issues so I tried to lighten the mood for the nurses by keeping it light. At one point I was going through my Heparin IV bags every 2 hours, so I would have to call the nurse to have them come change them. Well I decided that instead of calling and saying “My Heparin needs to be changed” I needed to come up with more creative phone calls so here are some of the phone calls the nurses received
“Mr. Heparin decided he needed a new playmate because he’s bored with me, can you come here and play?”
“Mr. Heparin needs a date for the dance, can you please be his date?”
“Mr. Heparin needs a massage because it’s been a long day, can you spare a minute or two?”
“Mr. Heparin wants to talk and he says I’m not a good listener, he wants someone else, can you give it a whirl?”

Yup they are all crazy, but the nurses found it hilarious. One of the nurses challenged me to come up with even better ones the next time I needed to call her, so she kept me on my toes That was a good nurse! LOL I liked when they challenged me.

Happy Anniversary to ME!!!

I am HOME!! Yes you read that right, I am home from my 10 day stay at the hospital. The magic number for me to come home was 2.0, so yesterday my Coumadin level was 1.9 so we pretty confident that I would be able to come home today. I asked the nurse what my Coumadin level was and she said 1.9 and I said to her wait..that’s what it was YESTERDAY! She said, I know I didn’t want to give you the bad news so I wasn’t going to tell you unless you asked me.

So I took a deep breath and sighed a little because today is my 2nd wedding anniversary. I wanted to be home with my wife, and really who can blame me? I had been in the hospital since October 16th when I was brought in by ambulance. I had been told by at least 3 doctors that I should be dead, and they were amazed I was alive and kicking. I have bruises everywhere from the blood thinners they have been giving me to try and thin my blood enough to absorb the massive saddle pulmonary embolism. I called my Mom to tell her, she was on her way in to the hospital to keep me company and I started to cry a bit. The nurse had told me that I would have a blood re-draw at 2:30pm and we would see if my levels had come up that .1.

Well around 10:30am the vampire came in…I mean the lab came in and drew my blood and when the results came in I was at 2.0!!!! So when the doctor came in, he told me that he was discharging me and I was the happiest girl alive! I was very pleased that I could FINALLY go home. It’s the little things in life like being able to go to the bathroom without an IV pole, or being able to sleep through the night without someone coming in to take your blood pressure, or just make sure you are still breathing.

I was really ill, I should be dead, and I understand this. I also understand that I am not dead I am very much alive. I also understand that I will have to go to the Coumadin Clinic, I will have to change my diet a bit, and I am taking this very seriously. I am also going to be humorous because that is who I am. I am going to make jokes, but that does not take away that I don’t know how lucky I am. I will have to go through some cardiac testing in 6 months checking for some possible permanent damage from when the clot passed through my heart.

You are the weakest link GOODBYE

When it comes to nurses I am a pretty understanding patient. I understand that I am not the only person you are caring for and some people need more attention than I do. However the nurse last night and tonight my understanding, go with the flow attitude is about to jp from the 2nd story window.

I am on a Heparin IV to help dissolve my saddle pulmonary embolism while the Coumadin reaches therapeutic levels. I go through a Heparin IV bag about every 2.5 hours, so they get changed often. The first night Zoe was here it didn’t seem like she knew how to program the IV pump and I look at the bag of Heparin and it’s totally empty and part of the IV line is empty and I look at the screen and it thinks there is still 200mL of Heparin in the bag. So I pause it and call her. She hangs a new bag and tells me that I was in no danger.

No a good first impression! So needless to say the first night was filled with similar examples of her incompetetentce. Then I finally fall asleep around 4am and she wakes me up at 7am to look at the scars on my back from surgery…..REALLY? You didn’t look at them when you listened to my lungs. So when I found out that I got her again tonight, I was less than thrilled.

So I take morning medication and evening medication. I did not get my evening meds until almost midnight! Zoe was tied up/busy so another nurse came around with the cart and meds. So he gave me the meds. Then Zoe showed up around 12:15am. So she did her normal exam. Her two infants we taken off and put in their play area.

My levels were much better today and the doctor actually said that I might be discharged tomorrow! That was music to my ears. Lab came to try and draw blood but she missed the vein so I am waiting for the next person to try.

But I am really hoping that I can go home tomorrow. 9 days in the hospital is too many for me!


I know I have been unusually quiet and the rest reason is I was taken to the hospital by ambulance on last Friday because apparently I got a HUGE blood clot.

Now I didn’t have just any blood clot I had a saddle pulmonary embolism and apparently it was big. The trauma doctor looked at me and my family and said that I should be dead. I was lucky that when it broke passing through the heart it became small enough that blood could just barely squeeze by.

So I spent 4 days in ICU and now I am on the heart ward. There is a possibility of permanent damage to my heart from all this, but we won’t know for sure until I get an echiocardiogram in 6 months. The hope is that once the clots are dissolved the heart can repair itself.

So I get a continuous heparin iv and I have started taking oral blood thinners which I will continue to take at home. But this also means LOTS of blood draws. My poor little veins, for the most part they have not had trouble getting blood from me which is good.

So I am still in the hospital. I have no idea when I may get out. Prayers are welcomed.

It’s not easy being wheezy!

So I have asthma and when you have asthma you are used to having asthma attacks. I had one of those asthma attacks this morning just before 6am. If you have asthma or have a family member who has asthma you should know that asthma attacks rarely happen at NORMAL times. They like to happen late at night, early in the morning, at the most inconvenient times. Because I sleep with CPAP, I pulled off the CPAP mask and grabbed my rescue inhaler and headed towards the bathroom.

It didn’t take long for me to deem this a serious attack. Even after getting my rescue inhaler administer I was still having chest pain and I realized really fast that I needed medical attention. So after consulting with my parents and my wife, we went to the ER. This was the first time that my wife has dealt with a severe asthma attack. After taking my vitals and doing all the assessments it was decided I needed a breathing treatment, chest x-ray, blood work and IV for possible fluids.

My wife said it was interesting to watch the breathing treatment, but could hear a vast improvement in my breathing afterwards. I was glad to get one! My asthma has never been severe enough that I have had a nebulizer at home, but after today I am going to be talking with my pulmunologist to see what options might be available for me.

So once everything was said and done….I have pneumonia. Which was a huge shock to myself and my wife, even my Mom was surprised because up until last night I was feeling okay. So moral of the story when you have chronic illnesses LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! I knew I was having a bad attack and so we went to the ER and the doctor was able to do all the appropriate testing in a couple hours. I also knew I needed the breathing treatment.

Ahoy Mateys!

I think with all this motion sickness I should be getting travel miles with carnival cruise lines or somebody! I mean geez! So this is just about the right time for all the neurological symptoms to start showing up and just on cue….they showed up! Now really you would think the US Postal Service could have lost their invitation to this party…or I could have been better prepared and just not written an invited out to them, I really thought I had taken them off this party list…anyHOW…. today driving to physical therapy I got terribly carsick and pretty much stayed that way. Fun times…NOT!!!

Physical therapy went well this morning, I got off easy because they did a evaluation of my current abilities and then we did some easy post surgical exercises. Fun stuff like pelvic tilts and leg lifts, of course the hard part is doing everything slowly and controlled. My left side did better than my right side which just means there is probably more muscle fatigue on that side. My right thigh is numb so we know there is some muscle and nerve damage on my right side, I was just surprised when there was such a difference today in physical therapy.

I woke up early due to pain in my hip which is nothing new. I laid in bed and tried to fall back asleep, but that didn’t work so I got up, got dressed got my coffee. I watched the sunrise and enjoyed the quiet. Sometimes you just have to start your day thinking of all the things you are grateful for. A minute of gratitude can go a long way when you wake up in pain.


Ever have a moment when the information you are looking for is right beside you? Like you are looking for a phone number and you are looking high and low and the you realize you have an ad or a business card on the fridge? That’s what I feel like today! I thought I needed something from my wife and she’s like ummm no you can just look here. As soon as she told me where to look I go DUH JENN!!!! I knew that, I knew that I knew THAT! I should have looked there. Oh well no harm no foul. I got what I needed done done.

Tomorrow is my first physical therapy session since January and I am looking forward to it. I like my physical therapy office. I like the staff. They like me because I’m upbeat and funny and I work really hard. I want to feel better. I want to be better. I don’t want to rely on everyone around me for everything. Now I know there are limitations with my body right now and we are working within the limitations of my body, but I also know that there is some wiggle room. I know I can build strength in the muscles, I know I can regain flexibility, but I have to work with the physical therapy staff to do all that. I have to do the exercises.

The cat and I keep having this staring contest today, she wants water out of the sink, and I refuse to be her trained human. Of course having this staring contest I think is her way of breaking me down…maybe breaking me in?? She keeps popping around the corner of the sofa and just watching me like I’m her next prey but not in a I’m going to eat you way, but I want something way. So I’ll look at her but if I say anything to her, she walks off like I wasn’t looking at you- you aren’t worth my time. Then a little while later she’s looking at me again…..

The rabbit is ignoring me for the most part. He’s ignoring the cat too which normally he tries to get the cat’s attention so I can’t tell if he’s mad at both of us, or if he’s just having a lazy Tuesday I’m having rabbit time kind of day.