Sunday, October 28, 2012

Iowa Plans and Change

We had planned to be in the car headed to Iowa today to get the folks back to their place in Belmond.  But, plans changed.  Yesterday (and through the night on Friday night) Ev had the flu.  She was alarmed and ended up with an Emergency Room visit, but all is better today.  The doctor thought that she was dehydrated so they gave her some fluids and then sent her home to rest.  Today is a little better so now we plan to leave on Monday mid morning.  We want to be sitting in Belmond in time for Dancing With the Stars.  
Glenn will come down on Tuesday morning early and we will finish the unpacking and do a couple projects for the folks and then he and I will head North.
Hopefully it all goes fine after we leave.  The folks have a lot to deal with now, from Warfarin management, to doctor's appointments, to getting their local MD on board with Dad's diagnoses and prescription management through the VA system.  Nothing medical is very easy.
The biggest change is that Ev is the driver now, so that will take some time for them both to get used to.
We are lucky that there are O'Toole kids not too far away and some grand-kids very close by.  
Good friends there in Belmond will also be needed to help the folks transition back into being in Iowa.
The apartments have a 'Care Car' that can be used for trips in Belmond, the folks will have to start taking advantage of that benefit too.  Many changes to deal with.  And who likes change anyway?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hello Fans

Hello fans of Wally & Ev,

We are still planning the trip to Iowa on this Sunday, October 27!  

Today Dad had a doctor's appointment to check up on his current medication dosing and also to double check his electrolytes.  He got very tired yesterday and it worried us.  I guess we all need to keep remembering that Dad has a heart in atrial fibrillation, and some days he will just be out of gas.  It is easy for forget since there is no outward sign that his heart is running at a different speed and beat than normal folks.  The doctor said that she thinks all is just fine for a move back home for the folks, as long as he is followed by a doctor there in Belmond.

Yesterday we met with the neurologist / Sleep Doctor in Eau Claire.  He reviewed the results of Dad's sleep test and explained to us about sleep apnea causes.  Dad has an appointment on Thursday morning here in Rice Lake to get his machine.  They will give him some education about using the machine and keeping it maintained.  The sleep machines now come with a memory chip that has to be taken to the doctor in about 6 months.  This chip records how often Dad uses the machine and how well the machine is working to prevent sleep apnea.  Ah maze ing.  Medicare requires that the machine is used a certain percentage of nights in order to continue to pay, so this memory chip provides that data as well.

We have already set up Dad's first doctor's appointment in Iowa with a family practice doctor and today we got hard copies of all Dad's records to take with him to that appointment.  We want to be sure that he has good follow up in Belmond.  We will set up an appointment with a Sleep Doctor too.  The Belmond Clinic runs a Warfarin/Coumadin clinic twice a week, and now Dad is signed up for that as well.  I think we have transitioned everything to Iowa now.

The last of the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Appointments happen tomorrow afternoon.  The Home Health Care has been really important to Dad's recuperation.  Dad will talk his Belmond doctor about continuing some Physical and Occupational Therapy.  The OT folks will even help with evaluation of fitness for driving and then helping prepare for driving again, in the meantime, Ev will be the new chauffeur.

We are thankful to have our Iowa O'Toole family who are close enough to help the folks once they are back in their own apartment there in Belmond.  The Belmond Apartments has a Care Car too, so the folks can take advantage of that for rides around Belmond.  And of course, Dad and Ev have many other friends in the area who are willing to help whenever there is a need.  

Life is Good!

Monday, October 22, 2012

We have a plan

Dad and Ev have decided the time is right for them to head back to their Home Sweet Home in Iowa.  So I will drive them home on Sunday.  Dad ia feeling much better and it will be good for them to get back into their own digs.
Life is good.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Practice Players of the Day

Kyle forwarded this text message to me today, and attached was the image below.

Cole and I got this for yesterday's practice.  Thought that you might want to pass this on to aunt Wanda.  Alec.

I am sure someone found this on Facebook and used it to make the award sheet, maybe thinking this was their Mom or something, but but who cares, and it surprised me so much when I saw it that tears popped into my eyes.
And...It made my day.
These two young men are pretty special to me, and I can see by the comments written, that they are continuing to be dedicated to their sport and behaving as leaders do.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Body Snatched?

We had a visit from Gus and Jack and Gage today.  They were headed Up North to the cabin for the weekend.
Gus and Dad visited while I got caught up on all the Luck sports by chatting with Jack and Gage.
We snapped a quick picture before the kids left to head North with Gus.

Dad continues to do so much better is is almost as if the 'unwell' Dad was body-snatched 
and replaced with a new version of a much healthier Dad!  

His sleep study results showed that he stopped breathing 23 times in one hour and his blood oxygen level dropped significantly to 89% as well, so next week we will see the Neurologist to review those findings and talk about a C-Pap breathing machine for Dad to use at night.  We are also on our last week of home visits for both Occupational and Physical therapy.  
Next week they will do the final assessments and then wrap up that part of Dad's rehab.

We are still working with the Marshfield Warfarin clinic on the dosages of his Warfarin/Coumadin, he is not in the therapeutic range yet, but they are taking a nice slow approach to his dosages, so in due time he will be where he needs to be on that too.

Now we are starting to talk about scheduling the return to Iowa, or as I call it "Escape to Iowa".  I will drive the folks back to Belmond, stay a night of two and then Glenn will come down and pick me up.  We are looking at either October 28th or November 11th as our departure date.  Exact scheduling depends on Glenn & his schedule and also a little about how it goes here between now and then.

If we wait until November, then Dad can have more physical therapy here at the clinic.  Once back in Iowa, I am sure he can take more therapy there.  But all of that can all be decided once we get them back to Iowa and he starts to see his doctors there.

So, Dad will miss deer hunting this year, but we are already talking about planning better for next year.  Hopefully next summer's visit goes a much smoother than this one, but I am pretty confident that Dad is going to do fine now that he is taking the right medications.  He has started using just his cane around the house again and that goes very well, so by the time he is back in Iowa, 
things might be about as they were before they left, 
if not a little bit better.

Happy to share good news once again,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Another update about Dad

It has been a while since I have sent an update from Rice Lake.  We continue to make good progress here.   For the past few weeks, Dad has had home health visits from Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy twice a week.  He is making good progress on his strength and balance.  The Occupational Therapy folks really went to work on his swollen arm and other edema with very successful results.  Amazing really.  Lymph-edema massage techniques combined with medication to minimize fluid retention have really worked.  The therapists have all commented on Dad's progress and plan to stop the home visits after next week's visits.  Then, if he is still here, he can continue Physical Therapy visits at the clinic.

Dad is back on the Warfarin/Coumadin for blood anticoagulation management and the Marshfield Clinic folks are working on getting his dosage adjusted to have his blood levels be therapeutic for his atrial fibrillation condition and to minimize the risk of stroke.  Hopefully he will be in a therapeutic range in a week or so.

Last night Dad had an overnight sleep study in Eau Claire at the Marshfield Clinic there.  Glenn stayed there overnight as well and then Ev & I met them 1/2 way between EC and RL this morning to get Dad.  After a big breakfast at the Norske Nook, we all came home to rest.  Not sure when he will get the results of the testing, but I expect we will hear from the doctor when he knows if Dad needs a nighttime breathing assistance device.

So, now that Dad is feeling so much better and is getting stronger all the time, we are starting to plan their return to Iowa.  I am not sure exactly when that will happen, we have to coordinate the driving and schedules, but if all goes well, hopefully in 2-3 weeks they can settle back into their Iowa digs and daily routines.  There will be some adjustments to those routines until Dad can drive again and they may need more assistance from the Iowa families, but all is probably doable.  Getting back home sounds good to them, and why not, they planned to come here for an 8 week vacation and have already been here almost 16 weeks, the last 1/2 of which has been filled with lots of medical stuff.  At least we had a beautiful fall for them to enjoy during all this medical stuff.

Ev had another appointment today with the eye doctor and she had another injection into her eye for her macular degeneration.  The doctor is very pleased with the improvement he sees in the scans of her eye although the vision is not much better than 4 weeks ago, but there is still hope that the vision will improve some.  Either way the eye is healthier and there is less fluid present that does not belong there, so yay for that. 
Very interesting scan of Ev's eye, showing progress from the first time we saw the doctor about the blood behind the retina.  Even without knowing what you are looking at, you can see the eye looks better in the top pictures.

As Ev and I left Marshfield Clinic today, I thought about a friend of mine in Colorado who took her toddler to the hospital for an overnight stay for a special medical test.  When they were leaving the hospital and the nurses were saying goodbye to the little girl, she said to them "Goodbye, I'm never coming back!"  
I hope we have seen the last of Lakeview Hospital and Marshfield Clinic for a long time, but they have all taken really good care of Dad and Ev and we feel lucky to have had such good medical folks and facilities here in Rice Lake.  Just the same, I hope we are not going back.

All else in Rice Lake is getting back to normal, 
I went back to piano lessons this week and the cats continue to be spoiled rotten.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday Bluebird

It has been a real treat this week to see Eastern Bluebirds at the bird bath.
Eastern Bluebird in my front yard
On Sunday morning when I went down to get the newspaper I was greeted with a mess.
The board under our mailboxes had deteriorated and mailboxes and paper holders were on the ground.
So, I had to get busy.
I took apart all the rotten stuff and replaced the platform for the mailboxes with some reclaimed wood from the front entrance remodeling.
Later that day, the bluebird was admiring my work.
New mailbox platform and charming Bluebird admiring my work.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Tufted Titmouse makes a visit in between PT, OT and clinic visits

This morning, after the Physical Therapist was done working with Dad and was gone, and just as the Occupational Therapist pulled in the driveway, I saw the Tufted Titmouse at the bird feeder.  I managed to get a couple of quick photos through the window before he took off. 
 I recorded the sighting on as it is still considered rare to see a Tufted Titmouse this far North.
After Dad's lab appointment, we 3 went out for a late lunch at the Cafe Mexicana in downtown Rice Lake.  It was yummy, we were all ready for a break from Wanda's Cafe.
After lunch we took a chance and drove past the barber in Cameron and Dad was able to get a quick haircut.  He was going to need a rubber band for a pony if he didn't get it cut soon.
Mark Loyas came by this morning and picked up my old sectional couch. 
I hope it works out for he and Krista and the girls.
Now my garage has space so I have no more excuses I have to get busy with the fall work of putting away pots and patio furnture....maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A new grand entrance

This house has 3 doors to the outside.  The 'front' door is never used by guests.  It opens into the living room but to get to the deck / door, a guest would have to tromp across the yard.  The sliding door to the back deck also would mean that guests would have to trek across yard to get there.  So, the door that everyone uses, comes in from the garage / parking area.  I call it the Servant's Entrance.
Since the person that comes and goes there the most is me, the name fits.
For a while I have been wanting to redo that entrance to the house and add a little deck area for a sitting area and have the steps come straight up from the garage, which will make navigating that area in the winter a  little easier.
Today it happened.
Ronnie and Roger Petersen (my 2nd cousins) came over from Luck and spent the day.  They are not quite finished, but you can see what a difference it makes.
Before the make over.

Now you can see the sitting area to the left in this picture, and a nice wide stairway into the house.
Once it is all stained the same, it will look very sharp!
It is fun to have Roger and Ronnie here.
They like their sweets so coffee is at 5 to 10am, lunch about noon (they bring their own) and then afternoon coffee is at 10 to 3pm.
I got up early today and made apple crisp and chocolate chip cookies so I would have good sweets for their coffee breaks.  
It is fun to visit and have them here, they do excellent work and they are so reasonable on price.
I love how it looks now and once it has railings and is all stained the same, it is going to look like a grand entrance, no longer just the servant's entrance.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Anders and school

Lora sent these photos a while ago, but wanted to get them in the blog book so will post them now.
Anders started school, PreK but still school.  He's getting to be such a young man.
Gotta have his blanket

Ready for school

Big smile for first day of school.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Busy Birds and Cardiology

For the past few days the bird feeders have been very busy.  
And I do not think I have seen the bird baths this busy all summer long.

Juvenile Chipping Sparrow

The last of the leaves

Female hairy woodpecker

Purple Finch
Dad had an appointment with the Cardiologist today.
Not much news, he has to start the Coumadin anticoagulant to help prevent the risk of stroke.
So, we continue with the home health care physical therapy and occupational therapy.
Next week Dad will have a sleep study test.
Depending on how all this goes, we might start talking about Iowa.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

More voodoo

The Occupational Therapy folks have been using a massage technique for lymphedema to help reduce the swelling in Dad's arm.  They are also addressing the edema in other parts of his body, but the arm is getting the most interesting treatment.  This KTape lifts the skin and give the lymph (fluid) a pathway to move out of the limb.  This week they went after the swelling in his fingers too.
Looks like Dad is going as spider-man this Halloween.
It all seems like voodoo, but then it works, amazing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cold, windy, must be football season

On Thursday, I blasted over to Luck after I finished with my Bridge group to see Jack play football.
The teams are now 8 man so there are some rule changes.  It was not that obvious to me however.
The middle schoolers from Luck seemed much smaller than the Prairie Farm kids,
isn't that always the way?  The enemy team seems unfairly large.
So, a few photos from the game.
Unfortunately I do not know who any of the Luck kids are other than Jack, who is number 3.


It was very cold and windy and you can see the players were feeling it.

I hate to see our kids on the ground, I'm actually not a very good football fan when it is kids I know.

Jack is on his man.

Jack taking on a giant!

Quarterbacking is better, Jack in the shotgun

Gotta move Jack

Smaller but faster than the green and white

Heading down field

Stepping high

Putting on the brakes

Nice run Jack

Whoa, hang on to the ball Jack!

Cold and thirsty

Done for today.

The field at Luck is Rowe Field.  Garfield Rowe was a respected teacher / administrator.
It was fun to see Jack play, probably won't see him again this year.
I'm not very happy with my photos as I was cold, so was the camera and the light pretty murky.
Hopefully, I'll get another chance next year to get some better ones.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Highs and Lows

So, the news here is that Dad is doing okay but he sure has highs and lows in his energy level.  
Wednesday we went to see Dr. McClelland, his primary care doctor.  The Physical Therapy folks and the Occupational Therapy folks were concerned about Dad and the visiting nurse recommended we go see her as well.  On Tuesday Dad was pretty groggy most of the day, falling asleep almost in mid sentence.  He also seemed to have some swelling in his ankles and legs.  Dr. Mc changed his meds a little bit.  A little less of the drug that lowers his blood pressure, a little of the drug that helps him get rid of excess fluid and a little more of the steroid to help his airways open up.
Last night he seemed much better and this morning he was up at about 7am.
So, we hope this change to his drug line up gives him a little boost in energy.
We are lined up to see the Cardiologist, Dr. Alaoua, on Monday to find out about rhythm.
The weather changed overnight.  
Today, Thursday, we have wind, clouds, cold.
But....we still have tomatoes!
Picked these on 10.4.2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Go Dad

This morning when I asked Dad how he was doing this morning, his reply "Well, I wouldn't brag about it".  Today he has two therapists coming, one Physical and one Occupational.  
As long as he shows progress, Medicare will pay for these folks to help us.
Go Dad.


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