Friday, December 21, 2012

Where I've been...

Hello friends and followers, I thought it was about time, I took some time to post to my blog. I've been trying to stay fairly current on at least Facebook, as it it so much quicker to just post an update.  However I know not all of you are on FB, or are not my friend on FB.  Sooo here is what has been going on. 
(Plus some art)

Starting in June, June 14th to be exact, Hubs was not feeling like himself. On the evening of the 15th we found ourselves in the ER. His symptoms...feeling a little constipated (which is NEVER, EVER a problem for him) and just feeling "sick inside".  Well they stripped him down and put on a gown, and the doctor and I both noticed his right foot. IT HAD BEEN AGES since I have seen him without socks or shoes on his feet.  I HAD noticed he was walking a wider step than usual, and told him a few times, bring your foot in, why are you walking like a duck?"  I should have looked closer. His foot was totally contracted.  They told me it was "ankle roll". (later when a podiatrist came in to see him, he told us it was almost complete ankle roll...severe case, and a bit of foot drop, and ankle roll was starting on the left foot)  BUT, that was not the reason for being admitted. Blood work came back, showing he was "septic" - infection throughout the body, in the blood. He was in the Hospital for 8 days and rehab for 10.  He kept falling, and retired during this time. 

Ron continued to have falls, and near falls, and finally had 2 out patient appts. with PT. Got a walker, and the CORRECT foot and lower leg brace that he needed. There was a trip to the ER during the month of August, and he was send home. Another on September 8th, and he was admitted...Glucose extremely high. Hospital 7 days, transitional care unit (in the hospital) 11 days (was supposed to be 14)  (I am NOT going to discuss my outrage with certain actions or inactions, or people involved with Ron's care, or I'll be here forever)
It was now Mid October.  On October 16th, I trimmed his toenails, and checked his feet (which I wasn't trusting him to do any longer on his own...due to the contracture being so bad, we could have helped it, had I known) His feet were fine.  On the 19th he decided to BBQ a steak on the Grill.  He fell...leaves, dirt, tree roots, stacked crab traps and yard tools etc. Our son was an hour away. As most of you know, I can not lift anything over 17 lbs.  I do push it sometimes to 20 or 25, but I pay for it.  I am missing bones, ligaments and muscle in left wrist (and permanent nerve damage) and 4-5" of muscle in the lowest part of the upper right arm and elbow area. (this is on top of lumbar spinal stenosis and cervical disk herniation etc and bad knees)  I used all my might and grabbed him by his belt loops in the back and together we tried to get him on an outside chair, it was soo hard and took me forever to dot it. Called my neighbor, she said her hubs would be back in 15 minutes, and she would call his cell and tell him to come directly here.  he did come, but it was 30 minutes or more, she walked over to help also. It took the three of us and his "yard walker" 5 minutes to reach the driveway and switch to his good walker, and then they walked him behind me into the house...another 10 minutes, and I took him the rest of the way to the LR and into his chair. He had some blood on his jeans which was coming from a gash on his pinky finger. he said nothing was hurting him. (keep this in mine for the next segment)

On October 27th, he felt ill all day, and towards evening started vomiting...this is a key symptom of his glucose being through the roof. Our son and I begged him to come downstairs in case he got worse, all day! he refused. then at about 10pm, he called for my son, out of his bedroom, and he wasn't answering, I asked what is the matter, what do you need from Tom? He said, "I have to go to the ER" ...It took Tom almost 10 minutes to get socks and shoes on my hubs and a flannel shirt, and then the two of us over an hour to get him from the upstairs hallway to the bottom of the stairs, then out to the porch. He was slurring his speech...I called an ambulance. I am glad I did, as it turned out he was in A-FIB. I wrote the last couple of glucose readings down for them, and told them I gave him some REGULAR Insulin. (I was in a LOT of pain this night, so I didn't go. I stayed in contact with the ER by phone)
Turned out he had a necrotic (gangrene) big toe, which was broken in two places and the next toe was broken at the base. I told the nurse the above story and she said it sounds feasible, that perhaps I was right and he got some dirt or pine needle, etc. in his shoe, which then rubbed and irritated his callus (RT foot, so he has a large callused area due to the contracture, and his gait) got infected and couldn't heal with his sugar the way it was.  

All specialists were  called in...the toe has to go, we have to clear him for cardiac reasons for the surgery.  He was in CCU again, then moved to telemetry the day SANDY hit!  NOW I am stuck in the house. But I was glad he was improving enough to get out of the CCU, he didn't even remember me being there with him on sunday afternoon/evening.  A stress test showed some irregularity BEYOND his previous 2 MI's and double bypass, and some other test showed a possible blockage in the lower right leg arteries. He was sent the following monday to DEBORAH HEART & LUNG HOSP. they catheriterized his heart and put a stent in is right coronary artery. Two days later they did and angiogram of the right leg only, found the main artery in the lower right legged block almost completely for the length of it, they ballooned it open, and then amputated his rt. great toe.  The head of the vascular team, told me it was this blockage and lack of blood flow that caused the toe to go bad, not his sugar, but the toe turning bad made his glucose go through the roof, and also gave him the A-FIB. 
The following Wednesday he was sent to HEALTHSOUTH Rehab hosp. in Toms River NJ... much to our distaste...we wanted him back at our hospital's rehab unit.  They kept telling us they didn't have a bed...for reasons I won't go into, I think the charge nurse didn't want to shuffle any patients around (which is done all the time) for my husband, her and I have butted heads a few times. They called in a different podiatrist instead of sending him out to our guy. This QUACK, never even took the bandages off to look at the wound (which was open, you could see his metatarsal bone) he was supposed to come back the day after TG, but never showed. hubs was discharged on the monday after TG. and I was handed a huge bag of bandages and stuff and told to change his dressing every night. I was told by the surgeon that the podiatrist may make the decision to close up the wound on that first visit.  OBVIOUSLY he did not want to be held responsible as not being the surgeon etc.  Our Pod. told us it was waay past time for closing it up, now, when he saw him in wound care.

He was in the hospital for about 30-31 days that do round. he was in for SANDY, (good place to be) in for Halloween, Our 27th Anniversary, veterans day, and TG.

The 2nd trip to wound care showed that the infection was making a come back, he was put on new meds , and a medicated patch was put over the wound. However the sugar kept climbing so back in the ER he went last friday, and he is still in there now. He had a PICC Line put in and will be on Vancomycin for about 8 weeks.  He may be discharged today.  

During the last 2 weeks of his 30 day stay. both of our trucks died 4 nights apart. I lost a front capped tooth during the night, and can't find it (think I swallowed it) tooth next to the eye tooth. 3 night later I broke the same tooth on the other side, this one had been root canaled but only had a vaneer on it.  so now I look like a hill billy (olbviously I'll be getting this fixed). Tom was unable to get to work, and I was unable to get to the hospital. My daughter's friend lent me her car so I could go on TG and spend the Day with Ron. Sadly I was coming down with something.  By the time we had eaten the TG luncheon. I was running a fever and had the chills, so as to not spread more sickness I left, cutting our visit short.  It was a sinus infection, and within days it was starting to move into my chest...augmentin and good cough med. prescribed!

This seems to be rearing it's ugly head again now, not sure, but the cough is coming back.

We have had a HORRIBLE year, and these last 6 months are the worst!  We appreciate any prayers, good thoughts, candle lightings, energies sent, spells and incantations etc!

Additionally, we have NO CLUE on how we are going to afford to live, we owe everyone, I mean EVERYONE is on the past due list.

Here are the missing pieces of art I created for  THE GAME:

Dress up-  Halloween
6 x 6 canvas, distress ink, and tattered angels mists. I started this project a few years back at a friends, but never put it all together. The stamp is hers, I do not know the company's name.  This is Tom  his Sr. year of HS as Charlie Chaplin for Halloween.

Name that Tune

Decorative birdhouse. very old sheet music, acrylic paints, Black Enamel Accents by RANGER, flowers by both PRIMA MARKETING and WILD ORCHID CRAFTS. Bird from MICHAEL'S and ribbons from my stash.

 both side views

Duck, Duck, Turkey
(quick and dirty sample, as hubs was in Hospital and I was not feeling well either)
Thanksgiving card with embossing (Unknown, received as rak), stamping(STAMPIN' UP)  and stickers (COLORBOK).  I gave this to My daughter's friend, as I was soooo thankful for her gift of lending me her car to visit with Ron on TG.

The 2 December creations will be posted over the next 2 days


Gina said...

Hope the New Year brings you more joyful times :D XXX

Gina said...

....Have a Blessed Yule :D XXX

petoskystone said...

So much trauma & drama! Hope your new year starts out better for both of you :/

AutumnWind said...

WOW Susan, what a rotten year! I hope this next one is good to you. If you could send me your mailing address (email it to me autumnwindreno at You won my giveaway - now I know why I didn't hear from you :( - The Lace Top hat is waiting for you.
Sending you love and strength!