Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reflections on Events of 2010

During this time like so many others, I tend to reflect on the events of the previous 12 months. With each year, it gets more difficult to remember everything so I write notes on my wall calendar. Today I'll take it down and have a look back at the first 6 months of 2010.

The year started off with our celebration of 21 years of marriage, then Mom's fall and subsequent hospitalization, and back surgery, my sister's multiple plane trips to visit and help with the care and rehabilitation for Mom and cooking for Louise during Mom's recovery at the Skilled Nursing Facility.

February brought a record snowfall in 24 hours of 12 plus inches.  March would have been Dad's 86th year. April brought us a new puppy , June - surgery for Tony and the rest of the year is a blur at this point.

Looks like my sister and I hang out at hospitals, doctor's offices and airports. To be continued . . .

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Reflections Two Days to 2011

Tony Decorates the Tree His Favorite Way
A belated Merry Christmas to you and I hope that you and your families had a good season of feasting and celebration! Now comes the time of reflection and goes on every year after the shopping and planning is done, the gifts have been given and exchanged and the leftovers remain crowded into the fridge.

Today I started off trying to plan the New Year; always good to start off the year with a plan. The first change is to outsource the housekeeping for mom and auntie.  It's something I tried to handle myself for some time and doing a mediocre job at it. So to get a head start on finding housekeeping services in our area, after a commercial for Merry Maids (they all looked so happy) . . . . I called the 888 number advertised.

My call was routed to a central information desk and I was asked for my zip code. They gave me a phone number of the nearest location to me but their Street Atlas or Google Map must have been outdated because I reached a number in Mesquite which is a pretty far drive from us. The lady was friendly and helpful with answers to my questions - except when it came for maid service coverage in our area. She was emphatic - we were just too far out. Maybe Plano office could help me. So I wrote down their number and called.

It was the first lady I'd spoken to at the call center again. WHAT? Why had Mesquite given me this number? They don't service my area. Period.

So I Googled: Housekeeping Services in North Texas. All kinds of helpful numbers came up: The Maid Place (I got voice mail so I hung up); Just Cleaning (They won't go more than 50 miles from their base location in Dallas); The Maids ("Just TOO far out. They can't go."); Pop-ins Maid (Sorry); MaidBrigade (No luck) and finally, several phone calls later I was thrilled to find someone who said "Yes!" They COULD service our area. Yahoo!

So they want me to call them back on Monday after the New Year. Okeedokey. . . . .Whatever.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Changing Prescription Medications

Have you been to the pharmacy lately with a new prescription or a refill? Our pharmacist has started offering "consultations" with each bottle of medicine I pick up recently. Is this something new? Maybe it's some HIPA regulation or what? I keep reminding them that the patients I pick up the pills for have been on the Rx for years. No surprises there.

When there is an actual change, the real kicker is the medicine dispensing employee who shouts "You'll have to talk to the pharmacist." in a loud annoying voice that gets me looks from the other people standing in line. Anyway, after trying out the new prescription for eXForge, things are going well and Mom's Blood Pressure readings have returned to the nearly normal range. (It's a combination of 5 MG Amlodipine and an additive to boost the effectiveness of the meds.) Still waiting to hear results of last week's blood work to monitor the potassium levels on the new drug. To be continued. . .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Importance of Monitoring Blood Pressure

Yesterday was another example of the importance of monitoring Blood Pressure Readings for those folks taking blood pressure medication. I feel really lucky that Mom has only a couple of prescription medications to take regularly. For someone who is 85 plus years old, she's in an enviable position to most seniors whose daily pill regime is complex and confusing.

Mom takes 5 mg of Amlodipine (substituted for Norvasc) to help control her hypertension, or high blood pressure. It's only been in the past few years that she's needed this medication. But it comes with its own lengthy script on cautions, side effects and warnings. I've become to a small degree skilled in reading the "normal" ranges and what to worry about when the readings rise or fall.

So when Mom called me at 8am last week and said she'd been monitoring her blood pressure since 5am and it was "high" my first question was "How high?" She told me it had been at 184/96 which is ALARMINGLY high when it's supposed to be controlled with the medication.  I went across the street and took my own wrist cuff monitor to be sure it wasn't a problem with the equipment or the batteries. A couple of hours later and about 10 repeated readings on all three of our monitors showed her readings to be nearly normal.

We went to our family doctor yesterday and the Nurse Assistant took the reading which I immediately repeated with Mom's wrist cuff device to compare the results. The nurse got 114/60 (which is good!) and I got 140/64 which is a tad bit high on the systolic (upper reading). Normal BP should fall in the 90-120 range. So I immediately thought that our machine was off. Not so.

When Doctor Hussey retook the reading moments later, the systolic was around 150 which is Not Good. He sent us home with some samples of a new prescription which combines Mom's previous Amlodipine with another added ingredient to help stabilize the pressure. In two weeks she needs to go back for a Potassium evaluation (draw blood) since this Rx sometimes affects Potassium negatively. Oh boy. So now, we wait and see how she does on the new meds.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fall is in the Air - Tomorrow is the First Day

Ahhhhh, cooler weather. Wonderful! Makes me want to bake a cake. Soon.

The leaves are beginning to take on a yellow hue and although we don't get to see a dramatic change in the seasons here in Texas, fall will soon fall upon us. The two best months of the year to be in Texas IMHO are October and April. In the first few days of October, when a light breeze drifts in from the north cooling off the heat of summer, one can actually sit out on the porch for a while and take in the beauty before the weather gets so cold it becomes unpleasant.

This morning started off with a crisp 68 degrees. Much more pleasant than the past few weeks of unrelenting sweltering heat. The high today is expected to be in the 80s with a slight chance of rain. How lovely!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Today is Tuesday, You Know What That Means?

Today is Tuesday and in the land of Musketeers that always meant Guest Star Day.  Those were the good ole days with Annette and Toby and Cubby and Jimmie.  How would they compare to today's shows?  Oh well, we loved them and Jimminy Crickett too.

Going to get busy today and write a hub about my weekend experience with Urticaria. Yep, that's right, Hives. That is, if I can stop scratching long enough to type. So without further adieu, I'm off to Hub Pages where I've been writing for 12 months now. Wow, how time flies when you're having fun.

Looking forward to receiving a copy of my friend's new novel When God Turned His Head available from Cygnetbrown's web site. Her link can be found on the right side of this blog if you scroll down a bit. Hope you'll give it a look. I love to encourage new authors. Someday, maybe I'll be there too!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tony the Nose, our new family member...

The focus at our house since April 15th has been our new puppy, Tony. We found him at the SPCA after two unsuccessful trips to find just the right pup. We knew this would take a really special guy; after spending twelve years with our Buddy, it would be hard to find his equal.

The name given to him by the SPCA was Curtis. When we first spotted him in a pen with his sister, Connie, he was fast asleep despite the rousing round of barking that our entrance had stirred up. We asked to use the get-acquainted room to see what the little guy was like. It was love at first site.

The name Curtis just didn't fit this little bundle of joy so we gave him a new first name, Tony. The first week he spent in our home he was barraged with a succession of names until we stumbled onto the one that fit. Tony Curtis. Yep, handsomely dark, gorgeous eyes, soft cold nose.

The first night we carried all 9.2 pounds of him upstairs to the master bedroom and placed him between us on the king sized bed. After the grueling day he'd spent, meeting his new parents, traveling for an hour in the car on a human's lap and meeting his new canine sister, Cookie, he fell fast asleep. I woke up a number of times during the night, worried that he might have tried to get off or fallen off the raised mattress, a daunting task at that size. But my fears were unfounded; he remained unmoving in the exact same location until about 2am when he began whimpering. I scooped him up in one arm and staggered downstairs and out the back door. Setting him down in the yard, he took two steps and made his business. Wow, what a guy. We returned upstairs and resumed our still-warm places in bed. Amazing!

Like a new grand-mom, I'm eager to share his cute photos and videos and will begin to post these on this blog. So until next time, may all your pets be the best one yet.