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Ahhhhhh Pooh!!!!!!!!!!!!

11 Jul

Seven years ago when Hubby had MAJOR, SERIOUS, EMERGENCY surgery and spent ten long days in this same hospital, they had to remove about 12” of colon. They sewed it back together, then waited (and waited and waited) for it to work. He walked miles around the hospital trying to force something to happen.

His (now deceased) mom, a retired nurse, visited every day. She’d call before she left home to see if there was anything we needed. Her first question was always “Has he had a BM?” Huh? I was unaccustomed, thus uncomfortable, discussing bodily functions with others. When she arrived at the hospital, she would ask again. When she went home, she called as soon as she got there (about 30 minutes away) to see if “it” had happened even though I’d promised to call the minute he got a result. Hubby explained it was a normal question for her because she was a nurse. It still freaked me out.

A few years after that my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. He’d had some procedure done and I mentioned to her I’d talked to him on the phone. It all clicked when she asked if he’d had a BM yet. With as straight a face as I could manage, I told her I didn’t know. We hadn’t discussed it.

This hospital stay for hubby was because he started vomiting Wednesday night and continued for about 14 hours. When they did a CT, they saw a bowel obstruction. Hoping it would clear on its own and he wouldn’t need surgery, they first put in an NG tube. After they removed it, they put him on clear liquids, then solid foods. The goal was to make sure his plumbing was working before discharging him.

His first day eating solid food, he felt queasy whenever he ate, but did whatever it took to keep the food down. (Throwing up would mean reinsertion of the dreaded tube which went through his nose, down his throat, into his stomach.) He managed to make it through the first day and overnight. The next morning (yesterday), he had oatmeal and coffee for breakfast. Before long, he turned green, then grey and his tummy distended–not good. He said he felt like he did Wednesday night. When the doctor rounded, he took him off all food and liquids, told him to wrap himself around the fact that he might need surgery and ordered an X-Ray to see if it showed anything. (It didn’t.) The question (in our minds) at that point was whether the surgery would be laparoscopic or traditional.

Hubby got a shot for nausea and we both took a nap. When he woke, he felt better, said he thought he’d turned a corner…but still no output from the bottom. When the doctor came back in, he said to try solid foods again to see if they could “force” something to happen.

Some good friends had stopped by after church with fried chicken, red beans and rice and German chocolate cake. I’d already eaten some (yummy!) but saved enough for Hubby. That’d either get things moving or get him puking. Either way, we’d have an answer. He kept it down and even ordered a hamburger from “room service” last night. But, still no poop.

This morning, however, EURIKA. Not one, but two BM’s.

What? I’m monitoring and even blogging about his bodily functions? I now understand what my mother-in-law was thinking. She’s probably LHAO from the great beyond.

So here we are, sitting in the hospital room, ready to be discharged. We’re all packed up, just waiting for the attending. My plan is to go home and sleep for…I don’t know…maybe a week. He’ll probably want to go back to work tomorrow.

I don’t claim to know a lot, but I know this. We’ve got to find a better place to spend quality time!

~ Kay

 
 

Oh no, not again!

07 Jul

You know, I have a pretty good life. No, I have a great life. Wonderful husband who adores me (most of the time), super friends (some going back as far as elementary and high school and college), fun neighbors. Our kids are grown, gone and happy with the life choices they’ve made. The two that are married picked girls absolutely perfect for them who were made for our family. We have two adorable grandsons. Sadly, they live in NC and we don’t get to love on them enough. But then, would it ever be enough? We have godchildren, nieces and a nephew whom we love, as well as loving, caring siblings. All four of our parents are gone (and we miss them), which makes us the oldest in each of our immediate families. But back to the happy: Hubby makes enough money that we can live a comfortable lifestyle, travel AND I don’t have to work; therefore, I can stay home and pursue my dream of writing.

Why then, is it I only blog when I’m in a twit about something? To be fair, when I started my blog, I posted faithfully three times a week for three full years. What I found was it was taking away from my “real” writing time. I could be a consistent blogger and let my craft suffer or I could post less often and focus on writing short stories and novels. I chose the latter. I’m still happy with the choice.

So back to my question: why are most of my blog posts when I’m upset or need to vent? I guess it’s cheaper than therapy. I constantly process my thoughts and feelings, though not usually in a public forum. But, when I also have information to impart this seems to be the easiest way.

Some backstory: In 2009, Hubby had emergency (and I do mean emergency) surgery for a bowel obstruction. For years, he’d though he got food poisoning easily. Then, one weekend, he had it for three days. On the second day he and a doctor friend diagnosed it over the PHONE. On day three, he finally let me take him to the ER. They did a CT, found a “mass” and had him in surgery before they finished prepping him. Scary stuff. It was the best possible outcome. He had a rare situation where a Meckels (he actually had two) had wrapped themselves around his bowels and cut off the flow. They had to remove about a foot of bowel and he was in the hospital for ten very long days. Meckels are kind of like an appendix, once gone, they don’t grow back. Unlike an appendix, only a few people have them.

Back to the present: Hubby got home from a meeting last night. His first sentence to me was, “I think I have food poisoning.” He headed to the bathroom as he told me he’d been throwing up since about 7:30. He’d eaten some organic carrots throughout the afternoon and thought perhaps they’d gone bad. On top of that, on his way to his meeting, he’d stopped for sushi (yuck—no wonder he was sick, but I digress). He vomited ALL NIGHT LONG. Literally. All. Night. Long. He couldn’t even keep a sip of water down. He got no sleep (and I got very little). About 5:30 he slept for about an hour and a half, but then was up vomiting again. This was his first episode of “food poisoning” since his Meckels surgery. Hummmmm…

I called our family doctor’s office who said they could see him about 10:15 and would call if they could get us in earlier. We were only five minutes away. As we left the house, I grabbed my phone and computer chargers, my iPad, and my toothbrush—enough to hold me overnight, just in case. Did I think we were going to spend the night at our doctor’s office? Not really, but something told me the journey wouldn’t end there.

During the short drive, we decided what he needed was fluids to replace what he’d thrown up, especially since with his recent mild heart attack and regiment of medicine to thin his blood, clots were a concern. We went into the doctor’s office and learned they didn’t have fluids in the office. After talking with the nurse, we decided to forego a doctor’s visit and go straight to the ER.

Now, I was heading to the hospital where he had his heart episode two weeks ago today, but Hubby said he’d rather go to another hospital all the way across town. Why? Fluids are fluids, Right?…Right???

Well…maybe he hadn’t told me the last couple of times he had thrown up it had smelled different, had a fecal odor. OKAY, new information! Yes, we’ll drive across town to the hospital that did his meckels surgery and has all of his medical records. Should this be a bowel obstruction presenting as food poisoning, that’s the hospital where he needs to be. But, why the hell hadn’t he told me this two hours earlier??? Why were we even going to the doctor’s office in the first place? Arrrghhh!!!!

I dropped him off at the ER and searched through two counties for parking. By the time I hiked back (no Uber in the parking garage), they had him in a room. EKG looked good. Not heart. Sigh of relief. Blood was drawn. Because of his history they took him for a CT. They got him hooked up to an IV of fluids and some pain meds. He was having some significant abdominal pain by then. The results of the CT came in: partial bowel obstruction. Damn. But, not surprised.

The good news is there wasn’t a complete obstruction. They had to admit him to the hospital but don’t have to do surgery…yet. They put an NG tube in his throat (so he can’t eat or drink) and they hope the obstruction will resolve on its own…in 2 to 5 days. If not, then surgery is back on the table.

So, there you have it. Here we are. Back in the hospital. This time across town from home. One plus…his hospital bed has an air mattress. He’s lost about 13 pounds from this vomiting so I think his hospital bed is big enough for two! We’ll see 🙂

~ Kay

 
 

Be still my heart

25 Jun

Hubby and I are at that age (61) where ailments are going to start catching up with us…even if we work out three times a week, like my Hubby does. (I plead the fifth.) 

Thursday, after his “normal” three-hour workout at the YMCA, he called to say he was going to Costco to pick up a few things. A little while later he called back. I was expecting him to tell me he’d found something cool on his trip (he loves Costco), like the latest and greatest big-screen-TV, but instead, he said, “Kay, I’m in trouble.”

Of course, as my heart dropped to my feet, my response was “What’s wrong?” Had he been hit by a car? Lost his wallet? Something worse? 

Hubby: Both of my arms hurt—bad—and my chest hurts, too.

Me: Where are you? 

Hubby: Sitting…on a bench outside Costco.

Now, it was about 95 degrees with humidity to match…this was about 4 p.m.

Me: Go inside where it is air conditioned and sit inside. Tell them you need help. Do you have water?

Hubby: I drank plenty of water while working out but don’t have any now.

Me: Tell them to give you some water. Stay on the phone with me. 

I could hear him talking to the door person at Costco. It was obvious he was showing her his card. WTF?

Costco is about 20-25 minutes from our house; our hospital of preference another 20-25 minutes farther. We decided he should call an ambulance. A friend from out of town was visiting. She and I jumped in my car and headed to Costco. Even if I could get there to take him to the hospital myself, I had no medical equipment in my car and, if I did, I wouldn’t know how to use it. Ambulance. Best call. 

As we were turning into Costco, the medic called and said they were on their way to the hospital.  

Me: Our hospital of choice?

Medic: No, Nearest hospital.  

Damn. I knew what that meant. Hubby had been overruled by the ambulance team based on EKG. Hubby’s dad had died of a heart attack at age 58. Take a deep breath, Kay. His dad smoked three packs a day and didn’t work out. Hubby had never smoked and well, I’ve already said he’s a bit of a work-out fanatic IMHO. 

Of all the times NOT to follow Hubby’s example of keeping ½ tank of gas in my car…I was sitting on empty. I filled up at Costco, and my friend and I sped the five miles or so to the closest hospital. The good news was this hospital is only about fifteen minutes from our house. 

My friend who drove in with me had someone come pick her up and they went to Costco to rescue Hubby’s car and take it home. I made a list of things I “needed” from home (computer, blanket, wool socks, change of clothes for him and me, tooth brush, phone chargers, etc.) in case he had to stay overnight.

I won’t relive the hours of tests, blood work and waiting done prior to the decision to do a heart cath. We really liked the cardiologist on call. He did the Echo cardiogram himself and when the repeat blood work worsened (okay I relived it a little), he came back in and the cath team was activated.  

Once called they had thirty minutes to get ready for the procedure, so things started hopping. People were working on both sides of him putting in IVs and such. 

I hadn’t called the kids (only youngest is local) because we didn’t know anything until then, but at this point I called him and texted his out of town brothers. He called them on his way to the hospital. He got here and was with me during the procedure, which took very little time. 

Long and short of it: it was a “very unusual finding” which is why the tests were inconclusive. He had a partial clot in the left anterior desceding coronary artery. In other words, a mild heart attack. 

They moved him to CCU. His son got to visit as did a couple of friends who dropped by. The very kind nurse found me a reclining chair. I thought I’d write all night, but I slept for about three hours. Storms rolled through, so that was interesting to watch. The next morning the doctor decided to anti-coagulate him all weekend then re-cath him on Monday to see what is causing the clot. Our hope is the clot will have dissolved over the weekend and everything else will look good. Another night in CCU. At least the severe pain was gone.

As I write this, we are waiting for them to move him to a room on the floor. Advantages: room will be bigger and have a bathroom with a shower. Disadvantages: In CCU he had 2:1 Nurse to Patient ratio—on floor it will be higher, On the floor he will be monitored with telemetry where he can move around more freely (which he sees as an advantage. I, on the other hand, would prefer he remain still until they do the 2nd cath in case there are any issues. But, my medical credentials have long been revoked, AND no one asked me!)

I spent the first night here in a very hard, kind-of reclining chair. Last night, I went home and got a great night’s sleep until he texted me this morning adding something to the list of items to bring from home. I got all of the plants and the yard watered. A kind neighbor will be doing this until we get home from the hospital. Maybe the chairs in the regular rooms will be more comfortable.

As the news has spread, we’ve been awed by the outpouring of love from family, his friends, my friends, our friends, work colleagues, neighbors… My “update list” has about 75 people on it. Wow!

He’s been bored silly so the e-mails, texts, calls and visits have helped keep his spirits up.

I have a couple of friends who have dealt with chronic health issues (either themselves or their husbands) and have been in and out of hospitals most of their adult lives. I’ve always admired their fortitude; Now, I’m really astonished. Had I been in their shoes, I’d probably be CEO of a funny farm somewhere by now. I may be a junior officer before the weekend is over.

 ~ Kay

 
 

Mother’s Day Post

07 May

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New Frontier

26 Apr

I have another short story coming out in an anthology to be released in June. We just got the cover.

 

thenewfrontier (1)

 

Cool, huh? ~Kay

 

 

 
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It’s finally spring

19 Apr

It is finally spring at my house. Yesterday I moved all of the plants outside. Well, I didn’t, exactly. I hired some young, strong guys to move the big, bulky heavy ones.

 

Anyway, the back porch and patio are clean and plants are in place. We never stopped barbecuing (even in the snow).

 

Best of all, we have a new (temporary resident) right outside the back door. She’s not afraid of us. Sometimes she stays on her nest and sometimes she flies off and leaves us to guard her eggs.  Here are some pictures.

 

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Happy Spring

~Kay

 

 

 
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RIP Patty Duke

29 Mar

One of my childhood heroes, Oscar winning actress Patty Duke, died today from sepsis caused by a ruptured intestine. As a child, I thought she was “cool.” As an adult, I admired her talent as a serious actor and her passion for mental health awareness. It’s a sad day.

 

RIP

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12/14/46 – 3/29/16

~ Kay

 
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Let’s change hosting companies…NOT!

23 Mar

I’ve had my blog for six years. I know not only because of my calendar but also because of my billing history.

When I originally signed up in 2010, I got a teaser rate of $142.20 for three years. I did have to renew my domain name annually, but that was only $9.95 a year, so my website cost me $162.10 or a little over $50 a year for the first three years, if my “in my head” math is right.

Three years later in 2013, I got my first bill at the standard rate. Gulp! $312.59. It had almost doubled to a little over $100 a year. Wow!

Now, I will say, the web hosting company I was using was top notch and offered many services I didn’t use. Also their customer service, both on the phone and through chat, was excellent. The $300+ price included everything for the next three years so I didn’t have any annual costs.

Three more years have passed, and it was time to renew again. I started getting notices about 90 days in advance. The new rate for the same services was going to be a little over $400. That’s about a 25% increase–not as bad as the last time but still excessive.

I put on my thinking cap and deduced if this company offered a teaser rate other hosting companies might do the same. Hum…

Before checking prices, I researched companies and found the top ten. Three ranked above the one I was using. I went for the gold and priced the number one company in customer satisfaction. I could get what I had and a little more (free cloud back-up) for a three year rate of $99.00 Say what? I was switching this baby.

If I were computer savvy, this would’ve been a snap, but therein lies the problem…I’m not. When I was in college a million years ago I took all of the computer classes offered–both of them. But, other people do this every day. Surely, I could figure this out. This turned out to be faulty logic.

Part of my problem was my new best friends at the help desks of both hosting companies were telling me slightly different ways to transfer my blog from the old hosting company to the new so I got confused and frustrated.

I’m going to stray from the subject (so what else is new?) for a moment. When I called the original company and told them I was moving my business they didn’t even ask why. I’d hoped they would be appalled they were going to lose my account and match the pricing and all would be right with the world.

This was an issue I had when I was in sales in Telecom (dial tone, Internet, etc. with THE major player). We’d have fabulous new customer promotions yet loyal customers were offered nothing but rate hikes. It was in the customers best interest (though I NEVER told a customer this) to cut to a competitor under a short contract, then cut back to us when the contract was up and lock in their rates with a three year agreement. I complained about this all of the time. I finally left the company to sell equipment with a privately owned company who had discretion over pricing.

Now, back to my original story…how to get my blog from the old hosting company to the new.

Luckily, Hubby and I have close couple friends, and the husband teaches computer classes at a local college. They come to visit for my recent birthday and I was stressing over this. He took my computer, created a “ghost” of my website, put it on the new web-hosting site and that was that. He also told me some things to do–like register my domain name–that I thought were being handled by the hosting company and were not. He helped me register it through a company he uses, but I didn’t read the confirmation closely and “verify” it so they cancelled the order. That was this week, only days before my old site expired. I e-mailed him and he gave me a remedial lesson on registering my domain name, assured me I would not lose the website even if the site went down before the switch because he’d already save a clone to the new site.

Once I understood and got the domain name locked in, my WordPress website moved to the new hosting company. This is my first post here; my first post in over a month. If you’re reading this, everything worked!

Of course, as soon as I realized I had the site again, I went to the admin page and messed something up. Seriously, in the six years that I’ve had the site I’ve never done that! I e-mailed him, he went in, saw what I’d done, fixed it, and added himself as an administrator to make it a little easier to troubleshoot in the future. I’m not touching the settings again!

One thing about the switch that was disappointing that I caught. As I perused my AX bill, I saw three charges from the new company, all from the same day. I called them and asked what they were for. The $99 was for the hosting and all of the goodies that go with it like the cPanel. The other two charges — twenty something and thirty something, I think — he said were default charges for site lock and a different cloud storage. I told him I thought the site came with unlimited cloud storage. He verified it did, but this was an outside company to use as another level of back-up. I might have considered the site-lock had they been up front about it, but had him remove both charges just because they added them without my permission.

So, when your time is up with your current hosting company do you switch? It depends. How much is your time worth? How computer savvy are you? If you know what you are doing, it should be easy enough. If not, look under the seat cushions, in old purses, under the seats in your car, maybe even drive for Uber for a few days, and pay the difference.

If I were doing it again, knowing what I know, what would I do? Switch companies and save money, of course.

Have a good one…

~ Kay

 

 

 
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RIP Harper Lee

20 Feb

Harper Lee died in her sleep yesterday at the age of 89.

 

No question she was a noted southern writer, known world-wide for her classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, published in 1960. It won a Pulitzer in 1961. It remains a bestseller, with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted the “best Novel of the Century” in a poll by the Library Journal.

 

George W. Bush gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. It recognizes individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interest of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the United States government for “outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts.”

 

I take a special interest in her because she spent her freshman year in college at my alma mater, Huntingdon College, before transferring to the University of Alabama where she studied law but, interestingly, never graduated.

 

Huntingdon’s president wrote:

 “It is an honor and a privilege to call Nelle Harper Lee a Huntingdon College alumna. Ms. Lee came to Huntingdon from the small town of Monroeville, Alabama, in 1944, twelve years after her sister, Alice, attended in 1932. Sixteen years later, To Kill A Mockingbird was published and made her a literary icon. Her novels call us to consider the reality of evil and the important choices we make in life, presenting examples of goodness and courage that stand firm in the face of that reality. Particularly in her second published novel, her words resonate with evidence of personal and social holiness that reflect her own Methodist heritage, which she held dear. Huntingdon celebrates with the world a life well lived, as well as words and stories that will live on.”
President J. Cameron West

 

One of my Huntingdon classmates was from Monroeville and knew the icon personally. In my convoluted way of thinking, this made me one step closer to the legendary author.

 

A second book, Go Set a Watchman, was released in published 2015. amidst much controversy. The State of Alabama found the timing strange (less than three months after the death of her sister who handled her affairs). The HR Department for the State launched an investigation as to whether Ms. Lee was competent to make the decision to release the book written more than half a century earlier. The investigation found that the claims of coercion and elder abuse were unfounded.

 

Ms. Lee lived in an assisted living facility and was nearly deaf and blind. She will be missed by the literary community.

RIP

Harper Lee

April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016

~ Kay

 

 
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What do you write?

18 Feb

 

 

Blogs?

Lyrics?

Music?

Poetry?

Novels?

Novellas?

Shorts stories?

All of the above?

I think most writers dabble in most if not all of these areas from time to time. If I’m working on a novel and feel stuck, I might stop and write (or more likely start)  a short story, for instance. I guess it’s a brain break.

I suppose the voices in our heads tell us what to write and when.

I’m thinking about writing something completely new (to me)–a chapter book. Not a chapter book like a child’s bedtime story, but a chapter book where chapters are released one at a time online. Poe and Hawthorne and even Mark Twain did released some of their work a chapter at a time (not online, of course).

I was contacted by a company that facilitates this and was intrigued. I’ve thought about it frequently since.

Advantages:

  • Accountability — If I had a deadline and a readership I’d have to get the work done.
  • Create a readership – This is nice if blog readers turn into future book readers
  • Income — No need to elaborate on this one.

 

Disadvantages:

  • Each piece of work would need a distinctive cover. These may be purchased for not too much. It wouldn’t be bad if releasing a novel chapter by chapter, but if releasing a short story every month, the income would need to be sufficient to cover the cost of lots of new covers.
  • They don’t provide editors. No matter how many times I read my own work, I won’t catch all of my own errors. No one can see her own mistakes. Beta readers won’t catch all of them either. A lack of good editing has been my biggest problem with self-publishing all along. Editors can be expensive and the quality varies. This isn’t really self-publishing, but it has a lot of the same characteristics.

 

So, what are your thoughts on this? Have you considered publishing a chapter book? Would you buy a book chapter by chapter once a month or so if the chapters were inexpensive? I’d really like feedback on this topic.

-Kay

 
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