Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Update

With the numbers of people expected to get ALZ or other forms of dementia rising rapidly, there's a lot of research going on to find newer, better medications. Today Sweetie and I went to the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research to register for a drug trial. 8 pages of medical information and half an hour of questioning later, he was turned down. One of the criteria that is hard/impossible to get around, is cancer. The patient needs to be 5 years cancer-free. Unfortunately, Sweetie has had two spots of melanoma. The latest just 2 years ago, so his participation was declined. With lots of trials coming down the pike, it could be that he'll be considered at another time. Before we left we talked to a friend from church who works there. With a strong faith, Amy talked about God's perfect timing that guides her life. Interesting how that works.

Not much has changed since Sweetie's diagnosis in May.  His memory has not diminished to any noticeable degree. His mood is pretty stable. I say this even though he's been the "primary caregiver" of late, and we all know how stressful that can be. His crabbiness is in direct proportion to the crabbiness of the person he's caring for.  As my ankle continues to heal, and I begin to get around easier, I think my crabbiness is waning. Is crabbiness in the eye of the beholder?

There have been a few times we've asked ourselves what we were thinking when we said okay to a puppy. It's hard, though, not to be in the presence of Buddy and not smile. He's all puppy - running at top speed, terrorizing the cats, jumping on his sister's head, chasing balls and chewing on anything that is left in his line of vision. He's getting better about doing his "business" outside. As of yesterday he's moved into an "XL" crate. It's a pretty good bet he'll weigh in at 80-90 lbs when full grown. He starts school next Saturday.

Some of my favorite Buddy moments are in the early hours of the morning. Not my best time. I wake up just enough to hear Sweetie talking to Buddy. Between 5:30 and10 is boy time. They go outside together, eat breakfast, take naps, play and take more naps. I've noticed when Buddy is bored and wants to play he'll sit next to Sweetie's recliner and whine. "Play with me!" I can see that the bond is going to be comforting and reassuring in the years to come.


Monkey see. Monkey do.



Merry ME

Monday, September 21, 2015

Free At Last ... Well Sort of

It was just about this time 8 weeks ago, I fell and broke my ankle.
That was 8 very long weeks of trying to maneuver around the house in a wheelchair that made it through doorways with no room to spare. Like an Indian's trail markers in a tree bound forest, my path(s) are noticeable by the ruts in the carpet, scratched wooden doors and chipped paint. The paint that we used to cover up the marks my father made with his electric wheelchair.

On Saturday I felt like a sore was forming under the bandages so Dr. Sweetie unwrapped me. While it felt marvelous, let me tell you it wasn't pretty. From the knee down, my leg looked like what I imagine a mummy would look like if it's wrappings were removed. My first order of business was a long hot shower. I let the water run over me to loosen some of the dried, scaly skin. Then got a scrubber and carefully worked off all that I could. Once out of the shower I slathered my leg and foot with lotion, hoping that would help a little. Sweetie wrapped me back up as if he knew what he was doing. The good news is there were no sores forming. What I was feeling had the steri strips that covered my incision were coming loose and irritating it.

So today was the day I went back to the doctor to have the wrap removed for good. I thought I was going to get an "air" boot but I got the okay to go straight to a brace and walker. I asked the doc about wearing high heels. For a tenth of a second, I think he believed me. On the way home we stopped at the medical supply store for a brace. I'm ready to get this walking show on the road.

When we got home, I held onto the walker and put my foot down to take a step. Then picked it right back up. It felt as if an electric shock ran from the bottom of my foot through to the top. Whoa, Nellie. This is not going to be easy.  Not only is my ankle still swollen, my foot and leg are pretty weak from lack of use, and most of my foot is still numb. Numb as if in a deep sleep. Can your foot be in a coma? I can feel that it is without feeling. Does that make sense? My toes have awakened some, I can tell by the burning when I touch them. The rest of my foot is still snoring away.  The doc thinks it could be related to my back problems. The back doctor isn't so sure. The foot doctor's assessment is this: It has nothing to do with the broken ankle. If the numbness is from the nerve block that I had as part of anesthesia before surgery, the feeling should come back. If it's from the spine, I could possible need another surgery on my back. To top that off there's not a great chance that the feeling will come back 100%. More like 50%. Not wanting to spoil my good mood,  I stopped listening early on in the conversation, The next step is to have a nerve conduction test. I'm thinking electric cattle prods. I really hope I'm wrong about that.

Once I finally walked myself into the house, I tried on the brace. The 70 dollar brace that looks like it's made out of the same stuff used to make cheap, inflatable swim toys. There are two sides and a place for my heel to rest. Velcro straps hold it all together.  It appears to stabilize my ankle all right. However I look like Cinderella's step-sister trying to fit her size 9 foot into Cindy's size 5 shoe. Add some swelling and you'll have an idea of what it looks like.

Now let's talk about the walker. I think thing may be the fly in the proverbial ointment. I traded my non-wheeled walker for one with wheels - just a basic walker. No snazzy paint job, no seat, no basket, no brakes. Rolling is much easier than picking up the thing with every step. My wrists and arms didn't get as much of a workout which is a really good thing cause I really don't want to add arthritic wrists into the mix. My one good leg doesn't care much for doing all the work. My sleeping foot prefers I don't use it. It sends shocking reminders with every step.

Guess I won't be dancing any time soon. Funny how you don't miss something until you can't have it.
I remind myself this is only the first day. Things will get better. If I can just keep my balance so I don't fall and have the walker come crashing down on top of me, I'll be doing ok. I thought I'd take Buddy for a short walk tonight. Looks like that's going to have to wait awhile, also.

Can't walk, can't dance, but I can shave my legs which I'm going to do as soon as Sweetie comes home to stand by. Woohoo!
Merry ME