Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Worst. Week. Ever. (Part Two)

(On my last post, I said I would continue my story "tomorrow". Well, you know how they say tomorrow never comes? In this case, it came the day after.)

OK, where was I? Oh yeah....

So, by the time I got to the Heart Tower at Memorial Mission in Asheville, the hubs was all settled in his room and the cardiologist had already come in to see him. They came in not long after I arrived and did yet another ultrasound as well. (And I do have to say, I forgot that a chest x-ray had been done in the ER here in Spruce Pine as well. They were really on the ball.) I was a bit blind-sided though when Chris told me that he'd had a "mild" heart attack after all. (If you ask me, the word "mild" should never be connected to the phrase "heart attack".)

Here's the gist of what happened: The electrical signals in his heart got messed up somehow causing his heart rate to go up. The heart tried to compensate, but was not able to d/t a possible blockage (they did not know for sure at that time), which caused the heart attack. We had thought they would do a stress test, but instead they were going to do a heart catheterization the next day. For those who may not know what this procedure entails, you can check it out on Wiki ( if you'd like. The short of it though is that they cut into the femoral artery in the groin area (something that thrilled the hubs to no end for sure) and the catheter is inserted through there and up into the heart. They then inject a dye and see what's what. Sound scary? Yeah, it did to me as well.

That first night at the hospital was pretty miserable. I stayed there with him, trying to sleep on one of those recliners they have in the room. Mostly I lay there in the dark, staring out the window at the flashing red lights on top of the two cell towers across the way. The hubs didn't sleep much either. Besides all the stress of the situation, people were coming into the room every so often to check his vitals, take more blood for tests, etc. I was freezing as well, but wouldn't let them turn up the thermostat since the hubs was comfortable. It's easy to add more blankets, and bless the nurse who brought me one from the warming cabinet. He was a sweetie. (And, I do so want one of those cabinets in my house.)

Anyway, made the trip back home the next morning (Wednesday) to check on the cats, grab a quick shower, grab change of clothes for the hubs (they were saying he'd probably be going home on Thursday) and then headed right back to the hospital. (For those who don't know the area, it's a bit over an hour drive.) They still hadn't taken the hubs down to the cath lab. It's kinda one of those hurry-up-and-wait situations. You know  you're going that day, just not exactly when.

(As it is now getting late, and I still haven't had a good night's sleep since we got home last week, I'm ending this here. Yeah, I know. Maybe if I shortened it up, put in less detail, I'd have it all out there now. But, hey...this is me. I'm a talker. So, hopefully, I will be back with the rest of the story tomorrow. Not promising that of course, but I will at least try.)    :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Worst. Week. Ever. (Part One)

It could be said that last week was the worst week ever in the Bell household. It was definitely the scariest for us.

The week started off like any other. Sunday was a day of finally getting my garden started, and I was pretty proud of my work. Monday evening brought the monthly meeting of the Mayland Writers' Group, which is always a good thing. The rest of the week was to consist of pet sitting and a scheduled AFLAC training session in Hickory, which I was actually looking forward to.

Then came 2:30 on Tuesday morning. I was awakened by a loud thump. I looked over the edge of the bed to see Chris, my husband, laying on the floor, passed out. He came out of it pretty quickly, but something obviously wasn't right. Now, the passing out thing had happened before, right after one of his phlebotomy appointments. They had taken that pint of blood even though his blood pressure was very low that day. So, a few steps down the hall and he hit the floor. That's what I thought this might be, a low BP issue, but he couldn't snap completely out of it this time. He tried to lay down for a bit, but couldn't get comfortable. He had a bit of pressure in his chest, but no pain. He had a bruise starting up on the left side of his back where he hit the bed frame (we have a water bed, lots of wood) and another on his right arm where he hit the air purifier, so there was a bit of pain there. But his hands and forearms were hurting, finger tips going numb. That was odd.

After a bit, he finally decided it might be a good idea to go to the ER. Besides the numbness and pain in his hands and arms, he just couldn't get his breath. And when he tried to get up to go take a shower (something he just felt he HAD to do before going to the hospital), he couldn't make it there. Walking from one room to another was a chore that made him nearly pass out again. So, I got us dressed, moved the truck so that it was a straight shot from the front door to the passenger door, shoved all his meds into a bag to take with us, and drove us to the local hospital. I reckon we got there about 3:30am.

At the hospital, I had to get a wheelchair and bring him inside. Walking was pretty much impossible for him. The nurse triaged him, trying to get him to slow down his breathing to no avail, and sent him on back. When they got him hooked up to the monitor, his BP was high and his heart rate was 213 beats per minute (bpm). Normal resting heart rate is 60 - 90 bpm, so this was definitely not good. They put him on oxygen, managed to get an IV inserted, and gave him something to get his heart rate to slow down. It finally started working and he was pretty well normal.

EKG's were done (several) and an ultrasound of his heart was done. He was admitted, being told he would be there for at least 12 hours so they could monitor his heart. Blood was taken, of course, for various tests, and not long after they got him in his room and served him breakfast, his GP came in and said there was some concern with some sort of enzyme level. It's something that goes up when there is a heart attack. We were assured that he did not have a heart attack, but that he (the doctor) didn't want to take any chances and so was ordering an ambulance to take him to the hospital in Asheville. He wanted him to see a cardio specialist and though he could wait and see one here, it wouldn't happen until Friday and the doc didn't want him to wait that long.

So, they piled him into an ambulance while I ran off to get some stuff together (clothes and such), quickly feed the cats, and see if I could get a pet sitting client of mine to prepay me so I could put gas in the truck (she did without hesitation...I have some great clients) otherwise I would probably not make it to Asheville.  Then I was off to rush to the Heart Center at Mission Hospital where, unbeknownst to me, we would be spending the next couple of days.

{Wow, that's a lot. I will continue the saga of our worst week ever tomorrow.}

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gardening 2012 - Part 2

So, after nine bags of topsoil, I still need more. Sheesh. I thought I'd estimated correctly. Guess not. But, that's OK. I got most of the stuff planted, the rest will just have to be done later this week.

I had planned on only doing one, maybe two tires with potatoes this year. My friend Meredith called her in-laws and got me some seed potatoes. A lot of seed potatoes. I now have three tires planted with potatoes, plus enough left over to pass along to my friend Judith. Cool.

I got these crates free from a local produce stand. The two in back are planted with peas (on the left) and green onions. The one in front is planted with black radishes (had to use a bit of garden fabric to block the gaps on the sides of that one). These are sitting by my back deck. My idea, if it works, is to tie twine from the lid of the one holding the peas up to the railing of the deck for the vines to grow up. We'll see if it works.

I'm doing the tire and crate thing since kneeling on the ground with my arthritic knees is not an easy thing. These containers are pretty low to the ground, but will still make it easier when it comes time to harvest, especially the tires as they will be stacked up 3 high and, in theory, you can just push them over to get at the potatoes. Plus, my yard has a very limited area that would be good for planting, so I'm able to plant more in containers.

My pepper plants; one red pepper and one yellow pepper. Wanted green peppers actually, but no one seemed to have any. But, it's more expensive to buy red or yellow peppers than green ones, so I might as well grow those.

My tomato plants. There are three in there right now, but one is so tiny, I might just take it out and throw it away. I'm also thinking about getting cages for these as well as the peppers instead of using the stake and twine set up I did last time. Right now, I'm just waiting to see how they do.

Yes, I have corn seeds planted in cat food cans. I'm sprouting them here, then will plant them somewhere in the yard; just haven't figured out exactly where yet. Hopefully I'll know by the time they're big enough to actually plant.

I am going to be getting another crate for more radishes. Or, I have these big wooden containers that held boat motor parts when I worked at OMC, and I may just drag one of those to the back yard. I have red radish seeds as well as small carrot seeds that I'm hoping to plant as well. I'm not putting any root veggies directly into the ground because the last time I did, everything got eaten. I had a lot of potatoes planted and every single one I dug up had teeth marks in it. Obviously my vole hunting cat wasn't too diligent that year.

Besides the small bit of planting I have left to do, now the whole waiting thing starts.   **sigh**

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gardening 2012 - Part 1

So, I have decided to try the vegetable growing thing again this year. Going about it a bit differently this time, though. Almost everything will be in a container of some sort.

Right now, I have tomatoes and peppers in buckets. I have corn planted in several cat food cans to sprout, and I still haven't figured out exactly where in the yard I will put them once they are ready. (The only thing that's going directly into the ground.)

I am planting potatoes in tires and radishes, small carrots, onions and peas in a pallet and wooden crates. Well, that's the plan right now anyway. I even have a packet of black radish seeds. I've never even heard of a black radish and definitely had to try those when I saw them. I've also thought about cabbage or maybe some kale, but need to get the rest of that in first to see if I can manage that. Might just have to wait until next year, see how I do with what I have first.

Hopefully I will have all that done by tomorrow and will then post some pictures. For now, wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time Flies/Not Happy

Jimminey Crickets. A month has gone by. What the heck happened? I reckon I got busy, as we all do. **sigh**

Today is not a happy day in North Carolina. Amendment One passed yesterday, and I think most of us knew it probably would. But, we were hoping. I am sad for our state, sad for the fact that we have enshrined discrimination into our constitution. But, I am also hopeful. I am hopeful that so many who came together in opposition to this amendment will continue to stand up for equality for everyone.

I have relatives and friends in the LGBT community. I will never look at them as second-class citizens who don't deserve the same rights as everyone else. What kind of friend would I be if I did?