Karen's Page

Welcome to Karen's Page, a web page intended to keep Karen's family and friends informed about her cancer. Karen, age 40, has a rare form of cancer called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei. She and her husband Tom have 2 children ages 4 and 7.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas was good!

Well, a Merry Christmas to everyone! You may have noticed that I have not written for a few days, and I will tell you why:

For the past four days – excepting some light conversation about chemo vs. no chemo – we have been a normal family. Cancer was absent from our family life for a few days and we were normal again. We had good nights’ sleeps, ate a lot (Karen too) and played with toys like crazy. It was so normal that it did not even occur to me to blog about what is happening because hey, who needs a blog when you have nothing to talk about, right?

Right.

Our Christmas was the best ever. The boys did not get video games or bicycles, but rather a flotilla of Playmobil toys, which is what they really wanted. For those of you who are not familiar with Playmobil, they are little sets of detailed ships, vehicles, and action adventurers that come complete with tiny accessories like hats, scarves, cups, guns, gold coins, buckets, telescopes, maps, and the like. They really are impressive and the boys now are the proud commandants of four pirate ships with rigging, two large castles and even an airport with a pair of jets. In addition, there are an army of little troops from pirates to revolutionary war soldiers, to knights and kings, and even a glow in the dark skeleton or two. Each one requires careful assembly, and as a result I spent the entire day putting together castles and ships, and Karen and Joyce did some time as well on the airport. What a time! I enjoyed it.

Karen ate and slept just fine, and the only thing that was a bit off was the fact that she had some passing gas pains. She went to the Christmas Eve service at church with all of us, and walked up and down the street a couple of times. Overall, she did very well. At this point she does not seem to miss the hormones at all, and the cramps from last week are a distant memory. I think that her plan for the time being is to leave it alone until she feels a need. As I recall, the docs in DC did mention that she might not need them much because she is in such good shape. We’ll see about that.

Our only real discussion right now is about doing chemo, as I have mentioned before. It is certainly tempting to just not do it right now and use the excuse that we have no way to measure the results as a reason. But that being said, we have pursued everything so far with as aggressive a path as we could find in an effort to avoid having someday to say, “ gee, we shoulda tried that . . .” I have no patience for Shoulda-Woulda-Couldas and this one would be the ultimate gamble if we decided not to continue with the advised program now. It would be a shame and a waste (in my opinion) if we went through all of the surgery and pain and then did not follow their recommendation for chemo right away. I think that we are in agreement on this, and we have to let Dr. Luke know in the next week or two what we want to do.

Again, I hold 49% voting stock in this deal, and Karen has 51%, but I think that we are going to be on the same page here. Stay tuned!

Now that Christmas is past, I look forward with great enthusiasm to New Years. We are going to have a womping big and great New Year's Eve party here on Bradford Circle, and I am enjoying the planning of it. Once again, we are going to use our beloved Cul de Sac as the party place but instead of cold drinks and a movie we are going to have a climbing wall jumpy, several wood fire rings burning, a nice movie on the big screen, and great food and fellowship all night long. It’s also Sean Roberts’ and Brian Tucker’s birthdays this week, and these are two guys who deserve a party! If any of you have been to a Bradford Party, you know we do it up right as a big family, and this will be no exception. And hey, if you are in the area and would like to stop by, please do! Bring your own main dish to eat and a dessert to share along with your favorite beverage, and voila! Our party can only hold about 400 people, so the more the merrier. Bring chairs. Email me if you have questions. (tpendleton@dc.rr.com )

So, have a great ‘tweener week and we’ll talk soon!
Blog Man

Friday, December 23, 2005

Good News!

Hello Friends,
I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah. I have to agree with Tom, that though the cancer could have overshadowed a lot of 2005, I also end the year feeling very blessed and grateful. Many of our family and friends came to our aid and helped out so much, that our hearts remain full. As I continue to heal and gain strength, I look forward to paying it all forward. God will show me a way.

More good news - my PICC line was removed today!! I am surprised at how excited I am about this. It was the last remaining tube/reminder of my hospital stay. I feel so free without it.

I talked with my oncologist today and a decision whether to do systemic chemotherapy must be made soon - within a couple of weeks. Tom and I will prayerfully consider all the plus' and minuses. But, I won't think about it until after Christmas!

Love,
Karen

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A note from Kathryn

I know you haven't heard from me in awhile. I have finished all of my english handbell performances and the day after the last performance (12/16) I had laposcopic surgery to remove my appendix as a "precautionary" move since that is where Karen's cancer began. I am happy to report that the pathology report came back normal with slight indications of endometriosis. I have no symptoms of that disease, so we will deal with that when I have to. I am recovering well. My family and I wish you all a very happy holiday season. Many thanks to those of you who felt compelled to email Karen's family and our family wishing us many good prayers and thoughts.
Kathryn Rudd

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Wednesday

Hi Everyone!
I just want to let you all know that I am feeling better. My cramps are subsiding and I am able to eat a little more. Unfortunately, I lost some weight (not eating for 4 days will do that), so am working on gaining it back. You know what that means!! Chocolate shakes, cookies, ice cream and candy! Thanks for the prayers. Once again, they worked.

I'm starting to get out a little. Last night, I surprised my Jazzercise class with a visit. It was sooooo great to see them and I can't wait to join them again. Today I went to the bank and to buy my kids some new tennis shoes. So, hopefully you'll see me out and about more. I can't drive yet. I have 2 more weeks to wait. So my parents and husband chauffeur me around.

If you want to email me, you can now use
karenpendleton@hotmail.com. Don't use the comcast address anymore. Thank you.

I know that this entry isn't as funny as Tom's, but there's no way I can compete!! If you haven't read Tuesday's entry from the blog man (Tom), keep scrolling down and enjoy. I read it last night and got a good ab work out (which isn't hard for me, since my abs are so weak anyway)!!

With much love,
Karen

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tuesday - On track!

This is going to be quite a Christmas. I mean, from my perspective, things are just fine. The biggest present is of course that Karen is here. “Oh”, you say, “ isn’t that sweet?” Yup. When we take a look at how close things came to not being this way, it’s a Merry Christmas indeed. I am a lousy Christian in that even when God shows me the good stuff, takes care of this or that, and makes a path for me to travel, I still end up doubting and having to focus on re-establishing that faith. So many times in my life things have happened and solutions have come about through no power of my own, and often through channels that I have nothing to do with.

Let’s take a look at this year’s big present. Many of you know this story, but many don’t. I offer it to you as a testament that there is a Big Guy upstairs who is watching. I will present it in a list of facts, much like one of those list books:

When I left Palm Spring Motors I set up our own company which allowed us to get a PPO instead of an HMO. The PPO had just taken effect when Karen went to the doctor for her stomach pain.

At our Doctor, an HMO gets you a physicians assistant and a PPO gets you a doctor if you want one. Dr. Becker was suspicious of the kind of pain she had and ordered a CT scan in addition to prescribing antibiotics.

The pain was gone in 24 hours after the antibiotics kicked in. Had Dr. Becker not taken the steps, the cancer issue would have been left untreated until who knows when?

When Dr. Griswold had Karen on the table and saw the field of cancer in her belly, she and Dr. Schultz did not take matters into their own hands, which would have made things worse. They buttoned up and moved forward. That may have given Karen lots of years.

Does that sound like chance? I think not! So, if for nothing else than being thankful for ‘luck’ if that fits your mind better, what a great year!

And there are other presents as well. I got to spend time with BroMark which would not have happened except for this. The Guys have had lots of time with Bumpa and Grandma which would not have happened in this amount or intensity had it not been for all of this. We have a trainload of warm fuzzies from our friends who have come together and created miracles for us this year, and they aren’t done yet. Wow.

Over the weekend it was mentioned to me that it was nice to see that my spirits were so high this year, what with all that has been going on. I had not stopped to look at it from the outside but after taking a 3rd party inventory, I guess it does look pretty crappy. When I list them, it is not too pretty: Two Grandparents passing away, issues with my mom, worry about dad, and then this cancer thing. Yuck. Poor guy. Glad I’m not him.

But I am him. I don’t feel like I should look, I guess. There has just been so much good this year that it outweighs the bad and as we launch into 2006 (which can’t help but be a better year) I am as optimistic as ever.

What a Christmas babble, no?

You all read about the hormone thing with Karen, and how she pulled the patch off on Saturday. I am so please to report that she has been feeling better by the day and last night she seemed almost normal. Keep in mind that on Thursday, the last night I spent with her, she was moaning all night, we had the TPN bag hooked up, and she was up and down throughout the night with pain.

Last night I was greeted by a different woman who was standing in the kitchen making popcorn when I walked in the house. She was walking, laughing, and completely free of the pain wrinkles on her face that have been with us so much lately. Last night she went to sleep next to me with no TPN and with nice deep breathes and not a moan all night. It was as normal as life has been in 6 weeks, and that’s pretty good. She has lost some weight in the last few days but that does not concern me so much because until the last day she has hardly eaten anything at all and is not drinking as much as she should – but she knows all of this and is trying to ramp up right away.

Today Nurse Bill comes for his weekly visit to change the dressings on her PICC line, although we are not using it right now. We still flush is once a day and put new Heparin in the line to prevent blockage, just in case we need it.

Her incision looks pretty good, now that it has been released from the bonds of suturage. The top of it is a little red and is not as pretty as the rest so she keeps Neosporin on it and we move forward.

The guys are on break now and are eager for Christmas to come. So are we, actually. It’s going to be a fun one.

The trip home for Gram’s memorial service was nice, and it is cold there. I am now really unprepared for that kind of cold so I showed up with a very weak hodgepodge of clothes and coats. Spent some great time with Neil, Aileen, Andrea, Paul, Bob, Ginny, Mom, Dad, Theemy, Bob (Steg), JB Holden, Mike Steg, and the list goes on.

Great plane story before I go – on the way out from Palm Springs to Chicago I asked for and got at the last minute a window seat in an emergency row – I dig those for the leg room. I parked myself in 21A and sat back. There are only two seats on that side of the aisle in an MD super 80 airplane, and behind me in 22 A and B were an older couple. She sat behind me in A and Pops was in B. Now Pops was a big guy, at least as big as me and he wore one of those back braces that supposedly help your hernia, sciatica, or some other ailment and hardly fit in the seat at all and I felt for him. You know, ‘ been there, done that’ kind of thing. Whenever he wanted to move positions he would grasp the seat next to me and give a mighty heave, thereby flexing the entire frame system for both 21A and B shocking me either awake or to action, and causing me to check to make sure that I had the proper earthquake supplies in place. But overall a nice guy, and friendly. Somewhere over Denver, however, it happened.

Dragon breath.

I have been privy to some bad breath in my 40 years. I have smelled breath that reminded me of sewers, dog pee, onions, rotting apples, and some others that I don’t care to mention in this forum. But Pops had the worst breath I had ever witnessed. I think it was a result of poorly cleaned dentures because they did not seem to stay in his mouth very well and in between breaths he would suck on them and click them around in his mouth. People, I have seen some stuff and experienced some smells. I can do vomit, gore, blood, childbirth, feces, pus, landfills and the like but this man’s breath brought me to my figurative knees. It took me from calm and quiet to almost literally gagging with one hand considering reaching for the never-before-used-by-me barf bag. I do not say this lightly! Those of you who have spent time with me know that I can tolerate just about anything, but this breath was off the hook.

Naturally, being a big man, he spent a lot of time leaning forward in his seat to be comfortable on the four hour flight and that put his mouth no more than 18 inches from me no matter where I sat. There was no escape! Faster, me mighty steed! Faster! Mach .81 (according to the pilot) was not enough! ***Santa, for Christmas I want an afterburner for this airplane to get us on the ground fast. Please. Love, Tommy. PS, I've been good. ***

I put my coat over my head and filtered the air with the insulating layer. No good.

I hid under a blanket AND my coat. Still no joy.

I begged the pilot to turn off the No Smoking sign and have the entire cabin light up. The lights stayed on.

I tripled up on my Altoid mints in an effort to thwart the stench and surround myself with helpful vapors. Only short term success, and I was risking permanent taste bud damage to my tongue if I kept up the mintage rate I was doing.

Finally, I employed the fresh air vents for both 21A and B in a two fold approach. Since he was in B, I used my B vent to blow a flow of air back towards him in a force field move. Then secondarily I used the A vent to blow down across my face, giving me the direct fresh air that I needed to block out the cabin air that Pops was using up. It worked as long as I sat perfectly still in the air flow. My neck cramped, my butt hurt, my left arm was frozen to the wall of the plane, and my eyes were dry – but it was worth it. The breath was awful. I prayed that somehow Captain Underpants would appear in the aisle and woosh by at that moment to take the foul stench with him in his wake. Did not happen.

Then – Respite! Over Iowa, Mrs. Pops offered him a mint. (‘Offer him the whole package!’ Screamed my mind) Thus, with the dentures confined to the mouth and the lips closed while the stench devoured the helpless mints, we finished Iowa and Illinois without barf.

Whew.

Monday, I checked in my bags at Toledo and the gate dude arranged for me to have my good old 21A back for the trip from Chicago to Palm Springs. Groovy. I sat and read Memoirs of a Geisha and looked forward to a pollution-free run to Palm Springs. As we boarded the plane for Palm Springs, I walk down the aisle and as people take their seats and the view clears, who is sitting in 22A and B? Its Mr. and Mrs. Pops!

“Hey,” he says, “ Werent you on this flight on Friday?”
I tried not to look disappointed, or break into tears. “Heyyyyyy . . . . .how are you?” Weak, but genuine in my inquiry.
“ Well, “ says Pops, “ You didn’t cause too much trouble on the way out, so I guess it’s OK to sit there again!” He chortled.
“ I’m so glad you’re not sick!”, chimed in Mrs. Pops, “because it turns out I had the flu and I was so worried that all of my coughing on you Friday had made you sick. I thought I was contagious” Frankly, I hadn’t noticed.

So there I sat, with this big stupid smile on my face, hand on my box of Altoids and trying not to laugh out loud. What were the chances? But the trip home had a better ending because although the chair still shook alarmingly and Mrs. Pops coughed a lot, apparently the grandkids or the Moose convention had worn him out because he slept the whole way – with his mouth shut. I am done flying for a little while.

So have a mint if you need one and count your blessings this Christmas!

I am.

Blog-Man.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday, Dec. 17th

Hi Everyone!
It's Saturday and the boys are at their last soccer games of the year. Unfortunately, I don't feel well enough to attend. I'm still experiencing stomach cramps and they're driving me absolutely crazy. My Mom has a theory. I have been using some estrogen patches to deal with the menopause that I'm going through. One of the side effects (we learned from reading the literature this morning) is abdominal cramping. So, I decided to take the patch off and see if it helps. I would rather feel grumpy than crampy!! I hope that is all it is, and I can get back to eating again! I feel as though I've taken ten steps backward and am feeling very frustrated. You have all been so supportive, I can't thank you enough.
I have only been on a few outings - mostly doctor's appointments. I got my stitches removed Tuesday - YEAH! I went to my oncologist yesterday, and they gave me a shot (procrit) because I'm still a little anemic. The most fun outing was when I went to Tucker's class yesterday to view the gingerbread village that he and his friends worked all week on. The village was really amazing and some of it came home with us. It tired me out and I came home and immediately took a nap.
Tom is in BG to attend his grandmother's memorial service. I believe she lived to be 96 years old. We feel fortunate that we were able to visit her last August before she passed. The boys miss him and so do I. Please pray for safe traveling for him and his family. He'll be home Monday night.
In addition to that prayer request, I would like to add that I would like for you to pray for my cramping to stop. Once that happens, I think I can make more progress again. Also, pray for my parents who are doing such a great job of taking care of me and the boys. It isn't easy and they have managed with great grace and love.
Don't be afraid to call. Hopefully this cramping will stop and I'll be up to more visitors and more outings!!

With lots of love,
Karen

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday the 15th. Retro day

( Sing to Chestnuts roasting on an open fire)

Gas globs gurgling in the dead of night,
Karen’s pain jacking up her day
Tiny grunts, with her eyes full of pain
It’s really hard to sleep tonight.

We know that poos are on their way
They're bringing lots of strength and healing the next day
And every gurgling sound that we may hear
Means a functional intestine tract is near.

And so I’m offering this simple blog,
For addicts from one to 92
And though it’s been said many times, many ways
Won’t you please pray . . . for poo.

Thank you . . thank you verra much.

Bloggers, it has not been a good day and I write this little Christmas ditty to keep up the good spirits. On Tuesday Karen had her most active day yet and that included a nice little lunch and a quite respectable dinner. Unfortunately, it looks now like she is still paying for it. She was miserable all yesterday and all last night with stomach pains, and as a result, back pains from being tensed up all day, and the like. Last night was miserable too, as she was always trying to be comfortable and not succeeding. Lots of moans there.

But the dock workers are still producing, and aside from all the ruckus going on in the warehouse, things are OK, albeit uncomfortable. But to be safe, Karen went and saw the doc today who prescribed something to calm the stomach down and promote sleep. I pray that tonight will be better.

Overall, I would say that the last 36 hours have been the worst since we have been home. When I talked to Karen today she sounded completely whipped and very much like the exhausted person who laid in the hospital bed a month ago. A big change from the chipper girl of 72 hours ago. A bummer.

So, we are starting again with the really bland food, clear liquids, and the like. Square one, if you will.

I’m going to Ohio tomorrow where it is sunny and warm. Lousy time to leave, but we’ll get through that!

Blog-man.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tuesday - Dock Workers Strike is ending!

It’s Tuesday now, and things are actually ramping up!

First off, I must comment on Karen’s overall better mood. Since going to the doc last week, she has started her hormone therapy, also know as ‘happy patches’, and they seem to be kicking in and making her overall mood better. She takes a joke better, has more energy, and seems to weather the little bumps in the day much more easily than last week. Of course, it’s possible that it is more a matter of having another week of healing under her belt, but either way I don’t really care.

This morning, Aileen drove her to get her sutures out of the monster incision. Karen said that things went really well and that there was a small area that looked like it wanted to open up a bit but the doc showed no concern over it. She is now cleared to take a bath! I expect that she will be soaking in the big tub tonight, luxuriating in one of her favorite pastimes for the first time in a long time. So we have the first of the two big medical events behind us for this week. The second, of course, is to lose the TPN at night, and that will happen on Thursday.

News from the docks! Great news from yesterday is that the dock workers shipped two boatloads of product! Management was thrilled to learn about it, and the best news was that no further union negotiations were necessary; the workers did their job and the product went out! That’s as good as news as any for this week, and we hope that the shipping department continues to adhere to its contract, thereby allowing the receiving department to crank up again.

This morning, after suture removal, Aileen took Karen to Starbucks for a sit and grocery run, and then Karen stopped by my office to say hey and show Aileen the digs. She looks great and is now ready for her nap to be sure.

Life is good!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday the 12th - Docks are Open

Sorry that I have not blogged for a few days here . . . now that we are home things do not happen as fast or with as much severity as that did there for a while, and that is a good thing. The last week has really been settling into a pattern and getting used to having Karen home. It’s not like she is difficult to have around – quite the opposite! She takes long naps and perches on the couch during the day, and is usually in bed by 9 or so. That’s a day for her, and each day the awake time gets a little longer.

She is more mobile every day and is taking her own showers without a shower seat. I think that one of her biggest peeves is her case of LGS (leftover goo syndrome) Over the weeks in WHC she had so many things stuck to her with tape that now the little goo residue patches do not want to leave. She has tried all kinds of solvent, and even sand blasting, but to no avail. The only way to get this stuff off is just to pick at it and try to roll it up into little rubber balls for disposal. It’s a regular source of humor and comment to talk about the tape.

If you have not seen her, Karen looks great. Her hair is getting quite long and I think she looks beautiful that way, although I am also sure that when she is well enough she will get it cut. Bummer. She is quicker to smile every day and has actually asked for some things which I can deliver on like more ice cream and Molasses Cookies, a batch of which I and my Mighty Kitchen Aid mixer will mix tonight. Good stuff.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, she is going to have the sutures in her super-incision removed and then she can let that heal a bit and finally take A BATH! That will be great for her as it will sooth her aching back and body more than a hot shower. She is making a huge effort to wean herself off of the Percoset and is moving to OTC stuff like Aleve and Tylenol as quickly as she comfortably can. Sometimes they just don’t cut it, though, and she has to back them up with the strong stuff. It’s an ongoing experiment and the results do not always stay the same from day to day.

We visited Dr. Luke, her Oncologist, on Friday and talked about Chemo. He was duly impressed by her incision and still a bit wary of the whole Sugarbaker process. However, as always he is tremendously supportive regarding the cancer and talked to us about the upcoming Chemo. He is of the mind to perhaps wait on it for a bit, with his reasoning being that if we jump right in and do it now as Dr. Yoo has recommended it will be more of a proactive, preventative measure. Sounds good, right? Ahh, but there is more. The downside to jumping right in is that we don’t know where the baseline is so if we do Chemo soon we will not be able to look back after a few months and see if we have made any improvements. It’s like leaving on a plane flight at night with no directions. When you land you know you made the trip, but you don’t know how far you’ve come or where you are when you land, because you don’t know where you started. Luke’s thought is that we let Karen heal completely and watch the CEA cancer markers. If and when we see a spark on that scale, then we go with the chemo. Of course by then the cancer will have progressed farther, right? Right. But since we don’t know if doing chemo right now will do anything other than make her uncomfortable for 6 months, do we want to give up that quality of life? Is the tradeoff worth it? Well? Is it? Huh? (If you have the right answer to this question, please submit it in writing. We don’t)
One thing that Luke is very sure of is the exit of the TPN. The TPN holds up the dock workers and prevents her from developing an appetite because her body has everything it needs without having to do anything. The only part of the body that does not appreciate the TPN apparently is the liver, which is used to helping create food for the bloodstream, not receive it as a premade TV dinner. The liver sends little liver hate mails through the blood stream which cause some strange readings, but nothing to worry about. Pesky liver.

His bigger concern is the PICC line, and its potential for infection. We agree. So after Karen finishes off her latest run of TPN on Thursday, we are going to remove the tube and let her eating stand on its own. She is making the plan that the reduced Percoset plus no TPN and more eating by mouth will indeed get the shipping department up and running, and as a result provide more opportunity for the receiving department to bring in some regular food. We just have to watch her weight. Right now, she is at about 130 which is above her pre-surgery weight. It’s the TPN. After we take that away and she has to eat on her own we will watch that every week.

Sunday Karen had her first outing to Church to see Tucker in his stage debut as an orphan in the Christmas Production. Now, I may be a little (a lot) prejudiced ( a whole, whole lot) here but he has to be just about the cutest orphan on the face of the earth. I could not stand it! I was so proud that he was up on the stage and having the time of his life. I went back stage and adopted him on the spot. He did a fantastic job with the children’s ensemble who had their act 100% together. It’s nice to know that when the old man can’t be involved that I now have a protégé that will step up! And I don’t doubt a second one in the wings as well.

But that outing wiped her out. Last night she was overtired and could not sleep. How frustrating. So tonight its warm cookies and some milk and early to bed.

Joyce and Al are down in San Diego on Coronado island enjoying some much deserved R & R. Sister in law Aileen is in from Chicago for the week, and has already spoiled the guys with Playmobil and a new pedal car for Hudson. Shoot, Christmas is already over! They are thrilled, and did I mention spoiled???? It’s great to have her and she seems to like our weather. Can’t see why. 20 and snow or 70 and sun. Hmmm.

Hey, enough already! Blog at you later.

Tom

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thursday

Happy Thursday to you all! I am very pleased to report that last night was one of the best nights that we have had. Karen is very tired of the TPN bag weighing her down in the evening, and is very driven to get it over with but for now it is still there. Last night I went to our small group Christmas Party (Thanks, Eric!) and had a wonderful time. It would have been great to have Karen there with us, but she just does not have the batteries yet to handle such an outing. I got home at about 11:0 and she was drowsy but awake. I slid into bed and soon afterwards the three of us were asleep.

About one o’clock I was awakened by a buzz saw that had planted itself in my room. Karen was snoring like I have never heard before, and she was out. I did not even feel her get up for bathroom runs but rather did not sense any movement until about three when it was time for meds. After that she was soon snoring away again. When I asked her how she slept, she said that she had had a pretty good night. That’s encouraging to say the least and the fact that she was sleeping so deeply was fine news.

This afternoon at about noon I hit a wall, and am now exhausted. I think it must be the past month of frantic activity and now that I ‘m home and things are in hand, my bod just says “time for a nap.” Wow. My brain hurts!

Have a great day, y’all!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wednesday Morning

Hello Faithful Bloggers!

The last 36 hours have been merely OK. While Karen gets stronger and stronger by the hour it seems sometimes, there are those days when it seems that progress becomes a bit flat.

The nights are still rather incomplete and with the TPN going in all night, regular trips to the bathroom are at least every couple of hours. Then throw in a wake up beep for meds every four hours, and at least one session of gas bubbles and walking per night, and you have a pretty chopped up sleeping experience for those in room 1A. (That's us.)

She has completely lost her shuffle, and now walks very nicely as well as handling the steps without any issues. Exercise is the key to movement from the underleg department, and to that end (no pun there) she is doing the miles.

She's feeling a bit down, though, and I think that it because now that she is dropped back squarely into life around the house, she is for right now a spectator, on her own schedule and not really interacting with life around her and that is causing a bit of depression. It's important for us as caregivers to remember that. The common attitude that I find myself having is to assume that she is just so thrilled to be home (which she really is) that she does not mind sitting and napping and reading while the rest of us run around doing our things. But the real matter seems to be that whereas she is normally the one doing the running, it is hard to sit by and watch others do it. We think that she is glad to be resting while life goes on, but she is feeling like she is not healing fast enough to keep up with the pace. Does that make sense?

Last night was especially trying. As mentioned, after these many days with some occasional solid food meals we still have had no action on the shipping dock. Trying is not the issue, and all protocals have been followed but the dock workers are not producing as they should. This caused much angst in the head office, and it becomes a pain. Last night the gas bubbles and belly pain were pretty intense so Karen finally called in the Liquid Negotiation Team to address the Dock Workers. (Follow me here.) After about 30 minutes of intense negotiation, they were able to come to an agreement and some product was shipped via China Bowl Express.

Savvy?

This gave some relief and she was asleep quickly.

The nurse, Bill, visited yesterday afternoon to draw her blood, change the dressings on her PICC line, and do a general check up. Based on her blood work the next batch of TPN will be prepared and delivered by the end of the week.

I know that many of you have been hesitant to call and chat with her, but now I ask you to stop with the hesitation. Her stamina is tremendous and she would love to speak with you. She does not drowse in and out anymore so pick up the phone! She wants to feel in touch, and you all are who she wants to be in touch with!

OK, then.

I'm off to be useful at work. They have been so gracious and supportive. I hope they remember who I am.

Later!

Tom

Monday, December 05, 2005

Monday the 5th.

Monday December 5, 2005

Things are starting to settle into a pattern here, and while many patterns and activities are new some are definitely old ones coming back to visit.

For example, last night, while hooking up the TPN machine, Joyce thought that there were too many bubbles in the air line going into the PICC. Small bubbles are just fine, contrary to what I learned from John and Roy back in the 70’s on EMERGENCY. They don’t instantly make your heart stop and kill you and it is not necessary to administer 700cc of lactated ringers and call Rampart to talk to Dixie for further instructions.

No. You simply let the little buggers run their course. Well, as Karen gets more and more on her game daily she is watching more details. Last night, as we set up the TPN she watched the entire process until I had started the programmed infusion and then declared that there were too many bubbles. Instead of quoting the above mentioned TV show, I began a logical process of stopping the pump and in the process used some buttons that she had not seen me use before.

“What are you doing?” she asked.
“I am stopping the program so I can re-purge the line to get the bubbles out, like you want.” I replied in a reasonable tone of voice.
“ Why are you pushing so many buttons?”
“ To stop the program to purge the line.” Roy never had to explain himself. And it’s not like there was a manual really handy to look this up and then verify through three independent sources. There was TPN dripping on the couch, for the love of Pete.
“ How do you know what you are doing?”
“ It makes logical sense. Stop the program, get back to the prime screen, and then reset.” I was getting miffed at her lack of confidence.
“ Why are you pushing the arrow button?!? You don’t know what you are doing! Stop ACTING like you know what you’re doing!”

Now it was on. Karen is back: Get the job done and now, but do it so it makes sense to ME.

“ I Do know what I am doing and if you will have the least bit of faith in poor, unmechanical me, I will fix this in a minute.” Said I with gritted teeth and a firm glare.

She rolled her eyes and was quiet. I am always astounded when she makes an issue out of the smallest thing on a machine! When I swap out a water heater or rebuild an RV, I get a smile and a “that’s nice, honey.” But when I am asked to stop and restart a tiny little pump I get the Denial Of Skills. She has no idea how angry that makes me, but I doubt it is going to change. I am The Fixer, for cripes sake.

Aside from the annoying spouse routine, yesterday was again a big stride in strength and pain reduction. She walked three times up and down the block, and last night we walked for ½ hour or so and it was a breeze! The shuffle is all but gone, replaced by small steps as we walk along.

We added to the routine a nice kitchen timer that counts down 4 hour increments and one of those little pill boxes so that in the middle of the night she gets a beep and then takes the next pills. Easy. That keeps the meds in line.

But the evil gas bubbles were back last night, and she was up and walking around the bedroom and through the bathroom in the middle of the night trying to break those things free. Two nights ago her pacing sounded like “ssssssssh.ssssssssssh ssssssssssh.ssssssssssh.” at a slow pace. Now it is a pretty quick walk without any shuffling at all. There were two episodes last night of gas bubbles but I think that it may be a good thing because she is eating more food and that should be producing more gas, right?

This morning when she got out of bed, she virtually hopped right up and walked out of the room. With her Dr. Suess socks and purple slippers she is a vision of comfort and fashion as she almost breezes around the house.

Her body seems to be finding a pattern as well. Yesterday afternoon, after a busy morning, she took a 3 ½ hour nap that was really good for her. Then she spent the evening with the family watching The Wizard of Oz downstairs. She only really wants to be in the bedroom for sleeping and otherwise is downstairs. That’s a good thing.

I am planning to be back in the saddle on Wednesday at work, and am looking forward to that. Sister in law Aileen Pendleton is arriving Friday night for a week, and next weekend is Tucker T’s debut in the Southwest Christmas Program. Then Bumpa and Grandma are leaving for a few days of R & R down San Diego way.

Things do roll on, don’t they?

Tom

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday the 4th - Trying to settle in

One thinks that coming home would be somwhat of a respite from the crazy life that we lived at Washington Hospital. On the contrary, having touched down on Friday afternoon things have only ramped up to a now frenzied level as we rush to adjust to life with the patient home.

Strangely enough, the boys don't seem to subscribe to the notion that there should be a bit of rest time now for the travelers. It is important for mommy to see and hear everything that has been going on for the past 3 weeks so why not show it to her all at once? Trains, books, projects, cars, homework, craft projects - all of these demand immediate exposition and acknowledgment before heading off to soccer games, etc. So Karen has had a whirlwind of things to see since arriving.

The night time ritual is very interesting, and I am the lucky guy who gets to play with the nifty machine. Before we touched down, a local company dropped off to the house 7 big bags of TPN, seven vials of multivitamin stuff to be shot into the TPN, a pump, a backpack, loads of 10ml saline filled syringes, 5ml Heparin syringes, alcohol wipes, tape, batteries, needles and tape. All of this equipment is used to hook up the night time feeding for Karen to keep her health and weight up until she is eating normally.

The TPN is still fed through the PICC line in her arm, which is the front end of the tube that actually runs all the way up her arm and across into a large vein just below her throat. the idea here is that TPN is pretty hard on the skin and smaller veins and need to be introduced into a large vein for prompt delivery, so everything is hooked up and delivered via sterile fittings.

We start by removing a bag of TPN from the fridge (and starting tonight we will warm it up a bit as I understand that there is nothing like a new liquid delivered into your bloodstream at 40 degrees to bring a chill to your bones) and we run a new set of tubing and filter from the bag of TPN, through the metering pump, and into Karen's arm at the PICC line. Next we mix the multi vitamin and use a needle and a syringe to inject the vitamins into the bag. There is a sequence of flushing the PICC line, priming the new line and filter, and then activating the pump to deliver the entire contents of the bag (the better part of two quarts) in a precise twelve hour period. Once everything is set and humming, the pump and the bag fit neatly into a smart backpack for easy carrying and transport. Nighttime makes the most sense for this delivery as the only carrying of the bag that needs to be done is from the bed to the bathroom and back several times a night.

Karen's two sleeps home have been pretty good. Last night she was up quite a bit and had a bout with the old gas pain demons for a while, but overall it went well. Although at the time it was scary for her, she could not remember if she had taken her Percoset pain meds at 3AM and instead of risking overdosing she waited until 7AM to take the next dose. She survived it and pretty well.

Our bed is quite the sight. Karen is right center with a mountain of two pillows and two pig pillows below her. The TPN pump (about the size of a large backpack) lays in the middle of the bed and clicks and hums all night. This is covered by another large pillow. There are also mounded along the centerline of the bed another 2 or three pillows just in case, and then on the remaining portion of the bed is me. I can't see Karen when laying down without sitting part way up and craning my neck, but I know that if the TPN is a-clicking next to me under the pillow, she is still in bed. If not, i have concern.

In the morning, when the TPN has all been delivered, the pump makes a little beep every fifteen minutes until I unhook everything and send Karen unattached into the world.

Her mood is good but she is establishing her level of energy which is better than expected but still very low. She is up to taking phone calls but they most likely wont be long ones so be not surprised in the middle of a conversation if she announces that she has to go and get some rest. It seems to happen that way. Certainly a change from her marathon-level phone talking skills of norm.

Last night the boys and I went and got a tree and put it up, and this morning they helped put up all the ornaments. Very busy.

I have to run to the store this morning and get one of those pill-box things like my Grandma used to use, and some extra trash cans. I believe that a while back I mentioned the amount of waste generated by the healthcare industry. Yow.

Have a great day!

Tom

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Home at Last! Phase 1 is complete.

Saturday December 3, 2005

Hey everyone! We have arrived and in great fashion.

We left DC on Friday morning at OH dark thirty, with Bob and Ginny driving us out to Baltimore, and Bob Jacobs showing up to help us move gear down to the lobby. The trip was uneventful to the airport, and I was pleased that Karen showed no signs of distress at road bumps, direction changes, etc.

Once at the curb, our bags were whisked away for check in and the wheelchair arrived. Allow me to recommend traveling with a wheelchair whenever possible, as she was rushed past the waiting throngs of people, past the checkpoints, through barriers that were opened for access to her ( and to me, her loyal packhorse) and within 10 minutes of our arrival, and that may be a bit on the high side, we were standing in a very sparsely populated concourse with two hours until flight time. A quick run out to gate D16 and we were actually sitting in front of the gate. We were the only ones, of course. It was a bit early.

I was concerned that the two hour wait might burn up some valuable resources so first thing was to strike out in search of some breakfast offerings. Karen asked for a bagel and cream cheese, so I set out to find such a thing. Unbelievably, even amongst the coffee shops and bars trying to make a few breakfast bucks, there were not any to be found, so I settled for a collection of muffins and a water for her. The blueberry muffin got a wrinkled nose and ‘I don’t like blueberry’, but the coffee cake was a hit and she nibbled. Enlightened after 16 years to the fact that she does not like blueberry muffins (?????) we put away most of the goodies, and then Karen decided that she needed a walk. So, using her wheelchair as a walker she ventured off to walk. Said she would do it by herself. Away she went, and after about 5 minutes I looked and she was a good 25 feet away. I turned back to my book and after another chapter or so I looked up and she was a good 30 feet away. This was easy. Like a slow-motion toddler who does not go very far and needs no direct supervision. Over the next 30 minutes she traveled about 150 feet and back, and then sat back down. What a walk! She was doing great, and then announced that is was time to pee.

Now, this had been a concern because right up until we left there was usually some kind of assistance for the pees. I had seen no 'family' restrooms and was sure that the other traveling ladies would not welcome my foray into the restroom in a supporting role. The good news was that she had no attachments now, and right off she offered to go pee by herself. We had the time, so I said, “Okay, then.” And off she went.

Then came the chairjacking. The rickety chair she started with was really wide and beat up but it worked just fine. She went to the restroom, parked the chair outside the stall and then when she came out, she was approached by an airport guy who asked if she was using the chair. He must have been blind as well as stupid and She said that yes, she was using it. He asked if he could trade a small chair that he had for the big one that she had as apparently a sumo wrestler or someone needed to catch a commuter to Boston. So the trade was made and she came back to me with this different chair. What an idiot! “do you need this chair?” ‘No, I like to hobble like this to bring attention to myself.’ No tip for you, goofball.

We got on the plane and settled into our seats. Kudos to BroMike for setting us up in first class. Tremendous. Karen was quite comfy and they brought her yogurt, water, juice, and a fruit plate so she nibbled and slept all the way to Denver.

Coming up the jetway in Denver (as you have all seen by now) I noticed a familiar profile standing far off in the concourse that looked amazingly like BroMike Rudd. Sho nuff, it was Mike! What a treat. He talked his way onto the concourse to say hi after driving all the way down from Fort Collins. It was cool to see him and he promptly escorted Karen to the potty while I grabbed an overpriced and tastless deli sandwich. He also brought a new pink pig pillow, a duplicate of the one originally given to Karen by the Rudds for her trip. The pig is filled with tiny beads and can be used for a head, a prop pillow, or a cough pillow as needed. Karen had made mention that pig #1 was a little worn and suffered through sweat, hospital fluids, etc. So Mike pulled from a bag a new pig. Karen was pleased. Then, in about as long as it has taken you to read this paragraph, it seems, it was time to board the flight for Orange County so we hugged Mike goodbye and assumed the same seats on a different plane for home. Thankfully, both flights on this day were on time.

I had had concern about gas pains and back pain that had plagued Karen right up to the night before we left. In fact, we were up from 2AM to 3AM walking the halls trying to work out some gas bubbles. Then we napped until 4AM when the nurse woke us up to remove the TPN (food) bag and start with the discharge process. I was worried that the gas pains would crop up and we would either need to walk ( unstable as it would be) up and down the aisle) or she would be in pain the entire trip. Turns out that the pain was not a big issue at all and the only gas pains that I was aware of occurred west of Kansas City until about the Colorado line. That was it. What a blessing.

Touch down at Orange County was easy and by the time we had wheeled Karen down to the baggage claim, Steve Blair materialized and commandeered Karen from the wheelchair guy ( who promptly faded away) and scooted her out to the curb to the awaiting Duchess of Kent. The Duchess is Steve and Chirstines fabulous motor coach, who sat at the curb in all of her splendor taking up about 6 parking spaces. (Steve and I both strongly subscribe to the theory that there is nothing wrong with employing a 30,000lb machine to move a 125lb woman.) Karen was quite the celebrity as she was walked into her private bus. I waited for the luggage with Steve until the parking police began to have issues with the bus at the curb, and then he went to deal with that. After I had the luggage I went and stood at the curb with the other people waiting for their rides. It was very funny and I felt again quite star because as I stood with other people craning their necks for their pick ups, Steve guided the Duchess up to the curb to pick me up. First off, in mixing with four lanes of taxi cabs and mini vans the Duchess stood out like a giant amongst minnows as the traffic inched towards me and you could see her from the second she entered the long tunnel. Then, with a mighty blast of wind and a silent glide, Steve bumped over two subcompacts and slid to the curb. In so doing, he also pulled up in front of 26 other waiting people to my left and about 6 to my right. Where moments before there was an open view of traffic and of the world, in a few seconds they were 2 feet from the shining chrome and gold mass of the Duchess, who came to a stop with a mighty blast of air brakes and diesel sounds. Then the door glided open and I was swallowed. Another blast from the brakes, a rumble of diesel, and the curbites were left to wonder either (1. Who that was or (2. How Pete Rose had gotten so tall and gained so much weight.

On Board the Duchess was Christine with Baby Olivia ,and Karen was put on the couch in the living room and seated comfortably while Steve played rush hour limbo with traffic. We motored home in the lap of luxury, and for the last half Karen stretched out in the bedroom, pillows under her knees, and dozed to the rumble of a diesel at work. Could there be a better sleeping environment??? I think not.

As we arrived at Bradford Circle the boy were playing out front as Steve backed the Duchess up in front of the driveway. After gawking at this sight, Hudson was the first to see me through the windshield and he started jumping up and down. After I opened the door and hugged them they ran up the steps into the Duchess and saw mommy. A very happy reunion indeed! The guys had to learn where not to hug mommy but they got that down pretty well.

Soon after we moved Karen inside and got settled, the home nurse showed up. Karen will continue to be on the TPN for nutrients until her appetite comes back so every night we will hook her up to a nice portable pump and a bag of TPN. It’s a nice setup, and all fits into a backpack if she wants to be mobile. She will keep this until she can eat 2/3rd of everything offered her at meals.

Karen was glad to be back in her own bed. I, as husband and night nurse, get to sleep on my side of the bed with the pump and bag of TPN between us. Since her PICC line is in her left arm and she sleeps on the right side of the bed, the pump sleeps in the middle, covered in pillows to keep its busy whining and bumping sounds to a minimum. I thought it would be a problem but didn’t even notice. Since all meds are now oral, we are up every couple of hours to visit the potty and take meds as needed so the night is actually a series of 2 hour naps, but good naps. No hospital paging going on.

This morning, Karen got up and had a busy morning around the house, taking a walk up and down the street, and as I write this is napping. I think that she is going to make huge strides in the next few days and the back pain and gas pains are already significantly reduced.

It’s good to have her home.

A bit of clarification: She is not quarantined, or on a restricted diet, or limited to who she can see. There is no fear of any kind of abnormal germs, sick people, or anything like that. Once she has rested a bit she will be able to walk, talk, and socialize as normal, within rest periods. That’s her big issue now is that she tires very fast. Call her on the phone and see how she is if you want to stop by. That’s perfect! Just know that it will probably not be a long visit! Thanks to all for giving her this day or so to get her bearings.

She is thrilled to be home without a doubt. I think that just getting out of the hospital, which is not a very healthy place, will help her tremendously.

Now that I am the sole blogger, I will keep up with the blogging and take it all the way through her recovery at home and then chemo. We are not even close to being done with this, but we have finished phase 1.

Thanks for your support and interest!

Tom

Friday, December 02, 2005

Denver Surprise!


Since Karen and Tom were scheduled for about an hour layover in Denver on their way home today, I drove down to the airport and managed to talk United into giving me a gate pass to go down to see them (very nice United lady that I thanked profusely. They are allowed to do this, but discouraged from it).

I had sent Tom an email that I might be able to do this, but he hadn;t read it yet. So, they were both stunned that I was at the gate waiting for them. Remember when we all use to be able to do that?

So, I had a nice 40 minute visit with Karen and got to take her on walk to the bathroom. I was also able to deliver the new pig pillow, as the last one was worn out in DC. Karen looked great and sounded good too. Flight from DC to Denver went well and she seemed excited about getting home to see the boys.

For one last finale, I snapped this picture of the two of them in the airport just before they boarded the flight to Orange County.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thursday the 1st of December - SHOWTIME

Let's cut to the chase. We are coming home tomorrow, on our scheduled flight. Could not have worked out better. This morning Gary and the team wandered in, looked things over, and said that it was time to get thee out. So we are going to do all of the discharge stuff, prescriptions, and the like today for an early exit tomorrow.

The hospital here is calling ahead to set up a visiting nurse to come and do the TPN and monitor her vitals once home. That will be set up to start tomorrow evening. We asked the questions about restrictions like food, walking steps, etc. and there are none. Nor are there any restrictions for her as far as quarantining her from the general public. That's not an issue for her.

The two main issues are still the lower back pain and the occasional nausea. As long as she sticks to a schedule with Percodan for pain, she seems all right.

So now I am trying to pack the hotel room into the suitcases that it arrived in, and of course that does not work. But I will make it fit and then schlep it over to the hospital room so that all we have to do in the morning is pick up and shuffle.

The airline is aware of the need of a wheelchair for all flights and connections, so I think that we will now be some of the people who need ' a little extra time' to get on board. Ha!

I think that the trip will wear her out in a big way, and I would not expect her to be talkative or very social until Sunday or so but we will see.

So for now, that is it! A big IT, granted, but an it nonetheless.

Discovered why all of a sudden Kathryn could not get wireless in the lounge. The computers that were the wireless access point are gone and they have framed in a new office there. I imagine she tried and tried and did not put that together but when I walked out of the elevator into a wall that was not there last week . . . well . . that pretty much explained it. Mystery solved.

I'm off to pack and check out of the hotel. It's going to be an interesting day.

Talk soon@!

Tom

Wednesday Night Late

  • November 30! Happy birthday, mom!

    Here I am. 2 hours late on a flight out of Chicago, crammed in to a seat that is made for a person half my size. I’m on a nice little McJet, on my way to Baltimore. We were delayed this afternoon for two hours because the front tires needed replacing, and apparently AAA was backed up or something. I think that the actual changing only took an hour or so, but the remaining time was the paperwork and the runaround as we got signed off to leave. I think it is hilarious, and I suppose crucial at some point, because if this plane augers in to a cornfield in Tennessee, how will people know who to sue for my wrongful death if we don’t have a signed log book that shows who changed the tires? It does make me sad, though, and a bit more understanding of the reason that the airlines are in such trouble. I reckon it took about seven guys standing around looking at this airplane to get those tires changed. It was not tough, and in fact looked like it was more simple than changing the tires on the family Oldsmobuick. (Spell check hates that word). As I witnessed it, it went like this, after jacking up the nose gear:

    Step one: Remove large cotter pin from hole.
    Two: using large, custom made wrench, remove nut. (first discuss if it is lefty-loosey, or righty-loosey, depending on which side the wheel is on.)
    Three: Using lateral force, remove entire wheel/bearing unit.
    Four: Gaze at now naked, unladen axle for 25 minutes. Talk about sister’s new punk boyfriend.
    Five: Send five guys in two trucks across the field to the hangar to get new wheel/bearing unit.
    Six: Stop for coffee at snack shack. Re-address punk boyfriend issue.
    Seven: Mosey to full, waiting aircraft and again regard still unladen axle.
    Eight: Find smallest hole in center of new wheel/bearing assembly and carefully fit it onto axle. (This should take three guys NO LESS than four tries.)
    Nine: Break time. Punk boyfriend ain’t so bad. Maybe Sister ain’t so good.
    Ten: Re thread big nut and use wrench to snug it up. ( See step two to avoid saving time.)
    Eleven: Realize that no one remembered a new pin. Send three guys back to hangar to get pin part number 19448372888399939948777387487-B. Not A! B! And get some coffee.
    Twelve: After pin arrives, discuss proper reinstallation, then force pin in any way it will fit.
    Thirteen: Using big boy letters, and staying within the lines, fill out the part of the log book that says ‘tire’ and ‘who dunnit’.
    Fourteen: send log book back to hanger in order to cause delay of plane even further
    Fifteen: Ooops. Forgot to take book back to plane. Play four hands of Hearts to decide who is going to drive back across the airport and return the log book.
    Sixteen: Have coffee.
    Seventeen: Call it a day.

    Finally, I have arrived at the hospital. Bob and Ginny were there extra early for my arrival, and were the perfect chauffeurs all the way in. They brought me up to date on what they had seen and experienced with Karen since I left.

    When we finally gained 2NW, my first sight was the backside of Karen tooling down the hallway with her stand in her hand, doing some laps. There was only the one bag, the TPN, still connected to her, and she was actually walking instead of shuffling like when I left her. As I walked up, Ann saw me and the jig was up! It was great to see her, and she really looks good. Her hair is clean, her eyes are bright, and except for the very slow speed at which she moves, she looks like herself.

    But, alas, the evening went downhill. Soon after I arrived was the time when all of the meds were due, and they brought her a new cocktail of stool softeners and muscle relaxants for her back. Taking these at once did not sit well in her stomach, so the nausea came back. Then it was time for the heparin shot which is still as painful as it ever was. And the pain meds seemed to take a bit longer than usual to kick in so before long the back pain was really bothering her. We watched the Jazzercise video ( which she loved by the way) and started Benny and Joon, but soon it was the same way as I had left her. Very uncomfortable with the back pain and some nausea. I was amazed. Was it my very presence? Krikey!

    Now it is 12:30 and she is still awake, and we have done the turning, removal of heating pad, and massage of lower back. It does not look like she is close to sleeping yet, I’m afraid. How things can change quickly.

    The word on the street is that she will leave and come home with the TPN bag for food, but only use it at night. This means that we will set up an IV machine at home, and have a nurse come in and check on her regularly. Having been here for a few hours now, there are some items that I will need to install once I get home that I had not considered. First off, she walks to the potty but I don’t want her to have to turn on the big lights at home, so I may run a little night light path to the bathroom or maybe even some low voltage rope lights along the floor to guide her.

    One big thing that I forgot was a chair! What was I thinking??? She spends a lot of her time sitting in a chair by the bed. I am going to have to remedy that, by gum – and it was not even something that I had considered. Big goof there.

    It looks like right now she is drifting off to sleep, finally. Let’s hope. Time to smother the couch!

    Stay tuned tomorrow as things may get interesting. As we still fight with the back pain there is a rumble that she may be released in the next couple of days. I have been planning to stay in the hotel for a couple of days to bring up the post-partum comfort level but after talking about it with Karen tonight, she is of the mind that when she is let out we should just go and get there. Okay, says me, its her call but it does make some sense now that we have to set up and work with the TPN. It also means that she will not be in as good shape as I hoped for the trip home, and from how her stamina seems to be (or not, actually) it is going to be a challenge.

    But we knew that going in, didn’t we? Ann has had things well in hand here and I find myself again re-learning the nurturing details of tending.

    Now it gets interesting.