Monday, July 28, 2008

Update on barium/dye crap

Well, this was a crappy weekend. The I.V. dye and barium they gave me (or one or the other) made me really, really sick all weekend. I was up Saturday night with burning joints and diarrhea. and was in so much pain had to take pain medicine to be able to sleep. Then all day yesterday I was sick to my stomach and everything hurt. I phoned into the urgent care center and they say that sometimes happens. The barium can cause a number of reactions including constipation, nausea, cramps, or joint and back pain. No one warned me about that before the test, and I have had this sort of test before, years ago with the drinking of the barium crap.

Anyway, feeling tired but better today. Still having some achiness but am drinking water like a fish trying to flush this stuff out.

When the hell are they ever going to invent a real Star Trek tricorder?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Don't be fooled when they tell you this is just like a milkshake . . . it's not.

I had to go for a CT scan of my left adrenal gland today, and I suspected I would have to drink something nasty when they told me to get there an hour early. I was right. I signed in and filled out the usual medical information forms and a few minutes after I had been sitting there a man comes out with two bottles like the one pictured here and tells me they are barium "smooties" that are "berry flavored." The image on the label is misleading. The label makes it appear as if this concoction is some kind of yogurty-fruity blended drink when it is nothing like that at all. It's still barium. There is simply no disguising it. It tastes just as nasty with a hint of berry flavor . . . barely. I was told to chug one in ten minutes and then about twenty minutes later to chug another bottle. I tried to drink it fast but after three gulps it wanted to come back up. I am not a baby, and have been through lots of medical tests that require drinking of weird crap and things that make you sick, but when they try to disguise this stuff as something else, it just makes it worse. They should have just left it clear like it used to be so it's not so thick.

After I drink it then they tell me it could give me diarrhea. Great. Just what I was looking forward to! Every time I go in for medical tests feeling good, I always come out feeling bad. This day was no exception. On top of the barium cocktail, I also had an I.V. of iodine dye. But that just makes you feel warm for a bit. The barium crap made me feel gross and I had places to stop on the way home. I made several "pit stops" before leaving the medical facility, and since I had had no breakfast and my medicines I take every day requires food with them, I had to stop and get a sandwich even though my stomach was churning away. The place I stopped to get a sandwich was a place that is popular in the area called The Creamery. They sell ice cream and sandwiches. This one was all outdoors but I thought they would have a restroom since their other shop does in another town. Well, it didn't. I ordered my sandwich and ate it as I drove to the grocery store where I had to stop next and knew they had a restroom there. The more I ate, the more my stomach churned. By the time I had finished I felt like I was going to explode.

Doesn't it seem that whenever you really have to "go" that traffic is crawling? I got stuck behind a woman who was driving so slow I could hardly stand it. Stomach churning and then pain starting and the pressure! Eeeghads! I made it there with no "accidents" and took me about two hours to grocery shop and I was in the ladies room longer than I was in the store itself. Then, only thinking about getting out of there I didn't "smart shop" like I usually do and ended up spending $175! I was like those contestants on the shopping game shows where people have a certain amount of time to grab and fill up their carts and get back to the check-out. That's how I was shopping. I just wanted to get it done. I bought way, way too much fruit. Hubby is going to have to give up the Snicker's bars for awhile and help me eat this produce.

So, another fun day. NOT. Test results should be in by Monday or Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Click on cartoon to enlargeSince before gas prices rose above $4.00 a gallon, hubby has been doing as depicted in the cartoon above...hypermiling. I know that we all need to slow down to conserve gas, and people don't need to squeal their tires when the light turns green, nor do they need to race up only to stop at a red light, but it drives me batty when he plays the hypermiling game (pardon the pun).

He accelerates super slow when the light changes from red to green. It takes him nearly a minute to get up to just under the speed limit and he stays under the speed limit no matter how much traffic there is, no matter if we are on the super expressways and tollways where we live. People are whizzing by at about twenty over the speed limit and I feel like we are going to get run over. At least go the speed limit! But no, he wants to save fuel. It does save money, but is risking safety IMO. He also coasts to a stop when he sees a red light or stop sign ahead. He takes his foot off the gas a few blocks way from the intersection, probably driving the people lined up behind him mad. It feels like I am riding with grandpa when I go anywhere with him. When I am doing the driving he calls me "lead foot" or "hot rod" because I am merely driving normal.

I hope if gas prices keep going up that his speed doesn't keep going down.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a week!

This has been a week of total stress. Our oldest son, Jason who lives in Chicago became very ill with intense abdominal pain early Tuesday morning. I was on the phone with him many times, keeping tabs. The poor guy finally staggered in pain for two and a half city blocks to the UIC Medical center to the ER there. And while there he vomited all over, and was quite sick and in intense pain and what do they do? They gave him two kinds of LAXATIVES and pumped him full of morphine and discharged him, telling him to come back if it got worse. Diagnosis? Constipation.

Now who the hell gets that kind of pain and vomiting from constipation? I have had pretty bad constipation in my life and never a level of pain to make me want to pass out like it did him. He had to walk back home that way (he should have called us), and then was in horrible pain all night long.

The next morning, Wednesday, he phoned me and I then phoned hubby to go and get him (I had no car since Jason has our car still in the city). Jon took him there and got him settled in and then drove home to get me. We stopped by Jason's apartment for my husband to pick up the car and I took the van and drove to the hospital's ER. When I went in I was told that I couldn't park in the ER lot if I wasn't dropping someone off. I told them my son was in the ER and I needed to see him. They said I had one hour to move my van! In the suburbs we can stay parked in the ER lot with no permit as long as the patient is in the ER. Not in the city! The parking situation is awful.

So, I went in to make sure he was being taken care of, and to find out what was going on and then went off to find a damn parking spot. I couldn't park in the hospital garage with the van. The van was too tall. So, the only places to park were by meters and you could only put in enough money for two hours at a time! So, had to keep going back to the van every two hours to feed the meter.
While I was sitting there by his bed, he looked sicker and sicker to me and when I touched him he was burning up. I pointed this out to a nurse who said they better check his temperature. (Ya think????) I asked what his temp had been earlier and they said they never took it! Then they took him away for a CAT scan eventually, then later came back and said it looked like it may be appendicitis. I started getting nervous because they were taking so long. When I pointed out the fever though and they finally took it, it was 102. Then they started paying attention.

A surgeon was called in to read the scan results, and then they were scurrying around, but still seemed not to be moving fast enough. They finally took him to surgery around 4:45pm (he got there at 7 a.m.) and the surgery seemed to take forever, too. A doctor was supposed to come out after the operation and tell us how it went and what they did. We sat there and sat there. Two other families were also waiting for a loved one to come out of surgery. Each one called on the phone to see what was up and were told their relatives were either in recovery or in their room already. So, I finally called and they said Jason was still in surgery. Then another hour went by and I called again. They said that he was in recovery and doing well. I asked "isn't someone going to come back and talk to us?" and the person said "no one came back to talk to you?" I said "No..." So she said someone would. And someone didn't. So the nurse called us back to the recovery room and paged a doctor who was involved in his case. The surgeon had left already, never speaking to us. An assistant came to talk to us and tell us what went on, that Jason's appendix was badly infected and nearly ready to burst. Lucky they caught it, yadda yadda. They act like heroes sometimes when they could have saved the patient a lot of suffering by being on the ball better. Jon expressed his displeasure and said he was going to complain to the higher ups. He expected more out of a top university medical center. The assistant apologized.

Jason was taken to his room and after he was settled we went home. We drove both vehicles back to our house, which was not fun to fight Chicago expressway traffic after a hectic and stressful day. The next morning I went to work with Jon at 4 a.m. to eliminate the need to find a place to park that didn't cost $17 a day. He brought me over to the hospital around 11 and had to drive back to work. I stayed with Jason all day and no one ever came in to help him get a bath, no one changed his bedding. His food came late. No one knew anything about when he was going home. Finally after dinner Jason started telling them he was ready to go home, find the doctor. They had to hunt one of them down. He got his discharge papers about 6 but we didn't get out of there till nearly 9 because they didn't leave any discharge instructions for wound care. They never changed his dressing on his puncture opening in his navel where they took his appendix through. A doctor came in and changed his dressing and then we were on our way. We were all pretty crabby. Jon was the crabbiest. He doesn't cope well with medical situation. He hates incompetency especially when it concerns him or his family.

Jason came back to our house for a few days to recover and hopefully will be well enough to start his new job on Monday (These things always happen at the most inopportune times.) But he is now on the road to recovery and glad this little event is nearly over with.

Sears sucks

The Sears guy came back today to fix the washer and guess what? They said the wrong part was bad. Now we have to wait another week! I just want to ship the thing back, but hubby says when the new part comes in he is just going to put it in there even if it might void the lame warranty we have. I just wanted to send it back and get a fresh one somewhere else. It isn't new if it needs this much work already.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mr and Mrs Mallard make a home in our still covered swimming pool

We've been so busy with other things this year like redoing our basement, keeping up with home maintenance and other things that we have not had a chance to get our pool opened up. Difficult to do everything ourselves, and no help. This is the first year we haven't had our pool open on Memorial Day weekend because we just haven't had time. So, in the meantime the wildlife have found it makes a nice little pond. A pair of mallards have claimed it as their temporary home. Once we get it going and the chlorine in they will wonder what the heck is going on. Hopefully they will find somewhere else and not keep coming back because I don't want to have to be cleaning mallard poo out of there all the time. Yuck!

Here are some photos of the ducks enjoying what we should be enjoying right now...and at the bottom one of the many rabbits that also have found they like the long, long, long grass that we are having trouble keeping mowed. I can't mow the grass because of my bad back and the RA, etc. Hubby has a tremendous amount of stuff to do. I think we might just have to start hiring people before things really get out of control.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New front load washer . . .

. . . doesn't work!

We bought this new washing machine back around Memorial Day along with a fridge and stove. The fridge and stove arrived ok, but they had lost our washer. It took days to find out where it was, and it was delivered finally and we didn't get around to hooking it up until the other day. Jon took his bedding down to try it out for the first time and it wouldn't even give a blink of a digital read-out. Then when he went to open it to get his clothes out, the door wouldn't release. He was trying to get someone on the phone to ask what he was supposed to do now, and could not get ahold of a live person. Only that recording crap with a message that if we want someone to come out and get it there would be a $75 charge.

He went over to the store where we bought it after work one day and they scheduled someone to come look at it for yesterday. The repair guy came, and said it was a broken main control board, so he ordered a new one which should be delivered to us, and he will come back out again next week to replace it. I wanted a NEW washer, and this one seems used if they have to do all this repairing already. Not a good sign.

Stardust by Nat King Cole

My favorite song brings back so many childhood memories:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kidney stone

Unfortunately for him, hubby had a kidney stone and finally passed it yesterday morning. He has a very high pain tolerance, so this thing was what was probably giving him some persistent back pain for a couple of weeks, then when it finally started to come out he couldn't stand it. He said it felt like someone kicked him in the gonads.

The pain came on suddenly after dinner Monday evening. He ate some leftover Kung Pao Beef and we were thinking that maybe that was it. Then when the pain started to worsen and he started to vomit, then we thought "oh no! not another blockage!" Back in 2000 he had an intestinal blockage caused by a blood clot and had 18 inches of his small intestine removed. I was hoping that was not it.

When he finally agreed to go to the ER he was pretty sick. I had to stop along Rt 6 to let him throw up and thought for a minute I was going to have to call 911 on my cell phone. But we managed to make it to the hospital finally. They took him back while I waited and waited for someone to call me to the desk to take care of paperwork. When no one was calling my name for about twenty minutes I told them I was going back to see how he was doing and to just come and get me when they were ready. I saw them chatting it up behind the desk and it was a quiet night for an ER so they were just taking their sweet time.

When I went back he was hooked up to a BP machine and they were putting an IV in. They said it was one of two things, a blockage or a kidney stone. I hoped that it wasn't the blockage thing again. That would require major surgery and possible loss of even more of his intestine. They whisked him off to get a CAT scan and then came back and said it was indeed a kidney stone. They gave him some morphine and we had to wait till it took effect to be able to go home. They gave him pain meds and they gave him some Flomax to dilate the urinary tract to help the stone pass easier.

Now he is pretty much back to normal. Hopefully he won't get any more of those.