Healthcare

We learned yesterday that Jack won’t have his Mohs surgery until October! He will be seeing a new doctor. The Mohs Surgeon who operated on me is no longer practicing in our area.

This leads me to a big concern that I have. Why are the premier doctors that have practiced at DHMC either gone or leaving?

I wondered if I am getting old (this is entirely possible, as many of them were older than me) and have retired, or if they are leaving because politically, they do not like what is happening at the hospital?

The gifted Retinal Surgeon I had a 15-year relationship with, left last year. He had not been happy at DHMC for some time. We spoke about it one day, and when I called and learned he was gone, I was not surprised. Saddened, yes, but not surprised.

I feel, much as I did when I moved back from Florida twenty years ago, that I am in the process of developing new medical contacts for all my needs. It’s a bit unsettling.

At least, I have been relatively healthy, and Jack’s doctors at the VA have been good at caring for him.

Happy 80th Birthday Jack!

Today is the eightieth birthday of my husband Jack. It’s quite a milestone for him and for us. We met many years ago and were friends for a long time. We saw each other through many difficult times in life, and eventually, when we figured it all out, we got married and started our life together. That was thirty years ago. How the time has flown.

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Today we celebrate Jack’s birth and here is hoping for not only a happy day but a healthy and wonderful year ahead!

God Bless Our Veterans

I am grateful to all the men and women who have served our country. Also grateful that my Veteran Husband, Jack came home alive from Vietnam.

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A very young Jack.

Hubby served in the early 1960’s in the Army. He was a fixed wing pilot on the Otter and the Caribou Aircraft.

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Here is Jack with his Army Aviator friend, Jim. They’ve been friends all these years.

This group of men had flown Otters and Caribou aircraft during their time in service to our country. This museum had a beautiful Caribou aircraft for all to see.

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Now, in Jack’s later years,¬† it is Jack and I going through his Agent Orange Health problems. We’ll get through it. I am just so grateful that Jack made it back. If he hadn’t I never would have known him or had him in my life.

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The last thirty years have been good ones for us. And on this Veteran’s Day, I am so grateful to have my Veteran sitting next to me at home.

God Bless the Men & Women of of Military. I thank them all for their service.

Family Recovery

It’s nice to have Jack home, where I can care for him, feed him and watch over him. Add to that, the fact that I no longer am driving two and a half hours a day, and we just about have a perfect situation.

Jack is sleeping quite a bit. I think this is a good thing, as his body needs a chance to fight the infection that he still has, as well as get over the surgery he had.

I would think that the body reacts badly when it loses part of itself. Even though Jack feels nothing in his feet, no pain, due to his Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, I imagine that the body itself knows that something was done.

I am Jack’s chief nurse. Once a day I clean the toe-less area and bandage it up. The first time I saw it, I was shocked. It looked odd to see his foot with no big toe. But now I am used to it, and I think once it is healed, well, it will be rather beautiful! After all, it looks far better than the infected toe that they removed.

I’m insistent that he eat three meals a day. Even if they are small ones. This means, I also eat three meals a day, which is good for me. Both of us have little to no appetite, and have lost weight.

I have been joking with Jack, telling him we should take that Princess Cruise to Hawaii in the Autumn. It’s 15 days. From Los Angeles, four days to Hawaii. Then four days cruising around the Islands, then four days to Mexico, and one day back to LA. Jack says that 8 Sea Days would be terrible! What would we do?

Hmmm! Well, we would sleep late. We would lie in the sun and swim in the pool. We would eat lovely meals. We would drink champagne. We would see a different act in the theater every night. And for those 15 days, we would be alone! Quiet, loving and alone.

He is not convinced! But I am still working on him.

Arnie is intrigued with the tennis balls on Jack’s walker. Arnie loves to chew and destroy tennis balls and we actually had to spray on bitter apple to keep Arnie from eating them. Now Arnie lies under the walker, guarding it!

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Have a wonderful Sunday!

Jack Comes Home

After Breakfast:

Jack is still in the hospital awaiting more surgery. Whether he has more of his toe/foot removed, or they just simply close the wound, we don’t know. It seems the two services here at the hospital can’t decide.

We are frustrated. Jack wants to get out and come home and I am looking forward to not having to drive two and a half hours each day! But, there is no place I would rather be than at my husband’s side.

After Lunch:

Well, Jack is being discharged! They decided to leave the drain in for a week before doing a final closing when we return.

I will be trained to dress the foot and be his at home nurse. Actually I am not worried too much about doing this, as I took care of his toe before he lost it.

I’m slightly nervous about them sending him home because I am not completely comfortable with them leaving the infected bone in his foot! I voiced my concern about this to them, but they tell me that the dual antibiotics will keep the infection from spreading. I felt that no one was really listening to me. I pray this will all turn out well.

After Supper:

Jack is home, sitting in his recliner, with his laptop on his lap and he is sound asleep. Finally, he is relaxed and resting!

The 4th of July

I continue to drive back and forth across the State of New Hampshire to be with my Jack. It’s just over an hour each way, and the first few days I did this, I didn’t feel too bad. But today, oh wow, was I tired!

Of course there is no place else I would be right now than at Jack’s side. He is going through something that no one should ever have to go through.

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On Tuesday he got to see what was left of his toe. Quite frankly, there is nothing left of his toe. They didn’t necessarily lie to him, but there is no half toe. It is completely gone.

There was a sadness in his voice as he told me about seeing it. And later I shared his sadness when we were told that he will need at least one more surgery on the toe.

We were also told that he may need a PICC Line, and at home IV antibiotics. Does that sound familiar? And here is the even stranger part, they are talking about using the same two antibiotics that I was given.

We both feel a bit shell shocked, and we hope that this will be over soon. However, I am starting to feel that Jack’s recovery from his infection will take as long as, if not longer, than mine.

My friends asked me to dinner tonight and it was the first normal, wonderful and delicious meal that I have eaten, since Jack got sick. I am so grateful.

I hope you all had a Happy 4th of July!

Jackie Nine & A Half

On Monday morning, around seven o’clock, I got a call from Jack telling me that surgery was scheduled for noontime. The Vascular Surgeons had been in and determined that the best way to contain the infection, which is¬†Osteomyelitis, was to amputate part to most of his right big toe.

I raced to shower, dress, and call my friend about walking the dogs, and I was out the door by 8:15!

It took me just about an hour to get there, and get to Jack’s room. Where his Nurse was preparing him for the surgery. His Nurse, stopped to talk to me as well, and all I can say is…what a nice man!

Jack and I talked until they came for him at eleven o’clock, almost an hour earlier than scheduled for his surgery. I walked down to the pro-operative area, and waited with him while Anesthesia came to speak to him. Jack does not do well with general anesthesia, and I wanted to stress this to them. Well the Anesthesiologist couldn’t have been nicer and she switched his drug mixture, which in the end, was perfect for him.

Surgery lasted well over an hour and I texted with my step son the entire time. I was so grateful to him, because he really helped me to stay calm and to relax. Love you Jon!

Finally they came to get me and bring me to recovery, and there Jack was sitting up, wide awake and with slightly less than half his right big toe. His foot was wrapped up in thick bandages and a compression bandage on top.

But best of all, Jack was smiling. He was happy that it was just half the toe and not the entire toe, or the toe and foot! Since he has almost no feeling in his foot, the pain was minimal.

Jack’s only complaint was that he was hungry! But when we arrived back in his room, not only did he have lunch waiting, but he had two roommates!

I got him settled, made sure he was eating his lunch before I headed home. As I got ready to leave, I gave him a big hug and kiss, and whispered in his ear, “Just remember, I love you, Jackie nine and a half toes!”

I’d had only 3 hours of sleep on Sunday night, (a slight panic attack) and I needed rest. I played with the dogs, got them fed, and at 9:30 last night I climbed into bed with the dogs and I slept until six o’clock this morning.

Today I am off to see him again. They mentioned that they may release him by the end of the week, so once I find out when, I need to do a big grocery shopping.

So that was my day yesterday, and now it’s time to drink my coffee, and then get ready to hit the road. Thank you for all your prayers!

My Husband, Jack

So much has been going on the last few days. I have hardly had a chance to sit, sleep, let alone write. But tonight, I have the time, and the inclination to sit and write.

Jack, my husband was admitted to the hospital on Friday with a severe infection caused by his diabetes. It started in his toe, and spread into his foot and up his leg. His body wasn’t fighting the infection, so he had no fever at all. Oddly enough, his temperature was only 97 degrees (F).

They took him by ambulance to the Veteran’s Hospital in Vermont, where they began treating him with two strong IV antibiotics.

Meanwhile, I’ve been driving back and forth (an hour each way) and I have tried to keep the house running, the dogs cared for, and at the same time made sure that Jack has what he needs at the hospital to be comfortable.

Today his 18 year old cell phone died and so on my way over, I had to stop at Verizon and get him a new one. He did not want a Smart Phone, but just a simple flip phone like the one he has had. Here is the miracle. They actually still make them.

Once I got to his room, I set about adding a few of his contacts, and showing him how to use it, which is basically how the old one worked. Score one for me! He was so happy and when I glanced at his face, he looked a bit better.

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The last few days travels have not been uneventful. Yesterday on my return home I was two cars in back of a compact car that suddenly went off the road and hit a tree going 40 miles an hour! The airbags deployed, noses were bloodied, but all five young people walked away with only bruises. The car was totaled. I saw it happen and pulled into a parking lot and called 9-11 and got police and fire on scene in under 4 minutes. The police arriving in under 2 minutes. I felt quite shook up witnessing this, and I guess it made me think of my own accident all those years ago.

The dogs are a tad confused with Jack gone. Arnie lies on the floor by the bedroom door waiting for his Daddy. And when the door gets opened, his little heart breaks when his Daddy is not there.

My friends have been wonderful. They have helped me with the dogs, listened to me, and one friend is going to help with our lawn. I need to line up help with the fruit trees, and possibly get someone to help me with the cleaning.

I guess I am trying to put everything in order so I don’t feel so overwhelmed.

The prognosis for Jack’s toe, foot and leg are still unclear. For now he will be in the hospital until the infections are under control.

But I’m here, and I will write when I can.

Memorial Day Thoughts

My husband is a Vietnam Veteran. You know, the unpopular war. Wait, most wars are unpopular, but the Vietnam War found many young Americans treating the returning military abominably. So it was with Hubby.

He served his Country proudly. he made many sacrifices. He was out of the country for over a year. His plane was shot at. He had friends that died. It was a tough time, but he did it because he believes in our Country. As did the men and women, so many of them that did not come home.

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I was not married to him then. I was just a wee bairn. I am grateful I did not know him then. I am not sure I could have taken him being there at that time. During the Vietnam War, there was no Skype, just Ham Radio Operators who occasionally put a call through Stateside.

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He did come home, to a country of hostile people. But thank you to God, for bringing him back.

Now he is having health problems directly related to his service in Vietnam. The VA is helping with his healthcare, but the toll that the war, so long ago, took on his health, is very sad to see.

My point today is to always appreciate the military that serve our country. They are your fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts.

May this Memorial Day be a day of reflection, when one considers the sacrifices made by these men and women in service to our country.

To those who came home, and to those who did not.

God bless them all.

Happy Birthday Hubby

Life goes by so quickly, doesn’t it. One day you are 16 looking at the world ahead, the next you are 21 and starting your life, 50 and half way through and then 79. How on earth did that happen?

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Hubby has lived so much. He has been so many places and done so many things. More than I could even write about here. You see, he is 20 years ahead of me, and so much of his life happened before I was even born.

But for the 30 years I have had him in my life, we have traveled and raised puppies and shared so much.

So Happy Birthday and may you have many more!