Tuesday, February 28, 2023

winter reading list

Fairy Tale by Stephen King – Back when I got bit by the copperhead and since all 7 books of the Dark Tower were out, I decided that I would read them while I was laid up. So I did. And when I was done I swore I would never read another of his books again, it pissed me off that much. I slogged through those books to get to the end and dammit if it wasn't just Groundhog Day. And I haven't until I decided to read this one because everyone was saying it was good. Don't get me wrong, I used to like King. Salem's Lot is probably the scariest book I've ever read. And I think The Green Mile is one of the best stories ever told. I've liked a lot of his books but he seemed to peter out to me. Anyway, I read this one and I liked it well enough but I think it would have been a better book without the weird referencing to fairy tales like Rumplestiltskin and not just fairy tales but fables like The Three Little Pigs and nursery rhymes like The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe and stories of other places like Oz and I think even Star Wars and writers like Edgar Allen Poe. The main character would see something and make the connection in his mind and I'm going What? No! Sometimes the connection was so slender as to be contrived. And especially when the most obvious one, to me, in the whole book was never made...See no evil, Speak no evil, Hear no evil. I understand the point I think, but still. Anyway, after this long introduction to the book in which each chapter begins with an illustration: The main character Charlie, 17 year old athletic student whose mother died when he was a child, whose father became a drunk and then got sober, who made a promise to whatever god that he would not shy from the task given so long as his father remained sober. Charlie finds his reclusive angry old man neighbor and dog in need of aid and befriends them while being his caretaker during the man's recovery from a fall off a ladder and ultimately is told of a passage into another world as a result of the friendship. Charlie has an objective for going there, to turn the clock back for his dying dog, but in the process he becomes the Promised Prince that brings about the restoration of the ruined fair world of Empris and restores the rightful rulers after vanquishing the monstrous enemy who usurped the throne and turned the country and people to ruin. I don't feel like I'm giving anything away because it is a fairy tale in its own right and isn't that how fairy tales go?

Strange Weather by Joe Hill – Let me start out by saying I really like the way he writes. This is a collection of four short novels and each story begins and ends with an illustration. I like that.
     Snapshot is about 14 year Michael who helps his neighbor suffering from dementia to get back home when she warns him not to let the 'polaroid man' take his picture because he steals memories. Michael later has a disturbing encounter with the man with the camera and sets out to protect his neighbor, the woman who was his caretaker growing up and the current victim of the Phoenician, from the memory snatching polaroid. He discovers how much this woman loved him and the story culminates in Michael's final act of caring for her.
     Loaded is the story of a violent and angry man whose wife divorced him and has a restraining order against him and who is no longer allowed to own or possess guns and who works in a mall as a security guard. Regardless, he has obtained a gun from a friend and the day a woman shot and killed her lover at the store where they worked, he responded and four other people ended up dead. Hailed as a hero, his story of the shootings starts to unravel when a local reporter starts digging up his past and he does not react well.
     Aloft is the story of Aubrey, a man who agrees to skydive to impress a women he is in love with who does not love him. The jump does not go as planned when he lands on a semi-solid cloud with no way down. The cloud responds to his wishes for comfort and other desires but he is stranded with no food or water and knows he will eventually die up there unless he can find a way down.
     Rain is the story of Honeysuckle, a lesbian waiting for her girlfriend to arrive in Boulder to begin their life together. Just as Yolanda arrives a sudden rain bursts that isn't water but sharp crystal needles that kill everyone who had the bad luck to be outside when it happened. More crystal rains fall spreading out over the country and world as Honeysuckle tries to find her way in this new environment, avoiding the crazy nihilists out to get her, while the world falls apart and she discovers how it all began.

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd – This is the third book in a row that has an illustration at the beginning of each chapter, not an illustration so much as a graphic, and if this is a new trend in publishing, I like it. Why shouldn't adult books have illustrations? Anyway, this the story of the shipwrecked Batavia, en route to the Dutch East Indies from Holland. On board is 9 year old Mayken whose mother has died and she is being sent to a father she has never met. She spends the months of the voyage going on 'misadventures above and below the deck' hunting for a mythical monster she is sure is haunting the ship. One night during a storm, getting separated from the rest of the flotilla, the Batavia runs aground on a coral reef, the ship is abandoned, the survivors are stranded on an atoll from which a boat is launched to go for help. While they struggle to survive waiting for rescue, Mayken learns that the true monsters are all around her. Three hundred and sixty one years later, after the death of his mother, 9 year old Gil is sent to live with a grandfather he barely remembers on the same island that the survivors of the Batavia were stranded on which is now the base for fishermen during the season. Gil is a lost and lonely boy left to his own devices, and his own entertainment, while his taciturn grandfather is out on the boat. He finds himself in the middle of a feud between his grandfather Joss and the dominant family on the island and his strangeness ignites hard feelings into violence. I've barely touched on the stories of these two children, told intertwined in alternating chapters, and what becomes of them. It's a good book, well told, easy reading. I'm going to see if the library has anymore of her work.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave – Sarah and Andrew take a free weekend at a resort in Nigeria to try and save their marriage. They decide to take a walk down the beach, leaving the safety of the resort and run into two girls being chased by mercenaries as they flee the destruction of their village and the murder of their people by an oil company who wants to drill there. The hunters catch up with them as they run towards Andrew and Sarah. The hunters give Andrew and Sarah a chance to save one of the girls by cutting off a finger and so Sarah does and then both girls are dragged away. Little bee is released and makes her way to a port where she sneaks aboard a ship to London and is turned into a detention center. She is kept there for two years before being released illegally and makes her way to Sarah's house. The rest of the book is about the relationship they develop and what to do about Little Bee. The story is told alternately from Little Bee's viewpoint and Sarah's. I didn't care for the ending personally but it does reflect what happens in real life.

French Braid by Anne Tyler – I have no idea why she titled this book French Braid because the reference to that happened only once at the very end of the book as in what was the name of that braid she used to wear? The story opens with Serena and her boyfriend from college catching the train to meet his parents and she sees a man she thinks is her cousin Nicholas. She's not quite sure and doesn't speak to him. Her boyfriend thinks that's weird and can't believe her family is so unconnected that she wasn't even sure the man was her cousin. Then it segues to Serena's grandparents and their three children, Alice, Lily, and David, and tells the family's story through three generations and doesn't get back to Serena until the very end and then only peripherally and it's at least a decade later. I enjoyed it well enough.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – There is London above and London below. We all know London above, few know London below where magic and creatures and people live and haunt and struggle. Door is being chased by two hunters sent to kill her. She's exhausted. Every door she creates or opens, they follow and it has drained her. She is wounded and needs sleep and reaches out mentally for one last door to open to someplace safe and falls through a brick wall at the feet of Richard and his fiance Jessica, late for dinner with her boss in London above. Richard stops despite Jessica's urging to leave the girl be and come on. And so Richard is drawn into the world of London below when he helps Door escape her pursuers and then finds that he has become invisible to the world of London above. In London below, Door's family has been murdered and she is on a quest to not only not be killed as well but find out who and why her entire family has been. She acquires the hapless hero Richard because he has nowhere else to go, the marquis de Carabas for his help and information, and the bodyguard Hunter to protect her on her mission. I really like Gaiman's storytelling and he weaves a tale with a very satisfying ending.


Sunday, February 26, 2023

what I did on my...er, last week

This is a long post, here it is Saturday, the first chance I've had to sit down and write. Nearly a week has gone by and I've yet to get back out and work in the garden but that's the plan for this afternoon. Tuesday, like Monday was very windy and grocery shop day and gas up the car day and fix dinner day and always walk the dog day. Wednesday we had to get up really early and get to Victoria for a follow-up X-ray and appointment with the pulmonologist. The most recent x-ray showed his lung nearly clear with the upper right section still densely white. He's feeling better I think than he did before he got sick but he's still on antibiotics and steroids there's that.

Thursday was my SHARE day and then I had an opthomologist appointment in the afternoon to check the progress of my cataracts (still not bad enough for surgery, come back in a year) and she dilated my eyes which made my left eye feel weird and when it got dark, all the lights on buildings, headlights on cars, traffic lights had rays coming out from them to a wonky shaped halo but only with my left eye. 

Never had that happen before and then yoga. And Friday we drove to Shopping Mecca for a series of purchases, some successful, some not, but the main one is that we bought a new washer and dryer. I mean, as long as we're throwing money around for a new water heater and two new iPhones, why the hell not? The ones that came with the house have to be 30 years old if not older and the dryer quit working the week before I took Marc to the ER and the agitator in the washer starts out vigorous but then gets sluggish and we're not at all sure just how clean the clothes were getting and besides that one of the springs that balance the tub is broken and no longer available for replacement, same with the discharge hose that broke in two so we had to glue it back together with Gorilla glue. Suffice to say, a new washer and dryer was not a frivolous expense and besides, I was out of clean underwear. Delivery is imminent.

out with the old

in with the new

After two days in the 80s, really? it's February, this morning was a bit chilly which is more like it though it didn't last long and warmed up. The first EarthLab talk for the year at Hesed House is this morning on creating a successful butterfly habitat and since my sister is the one who organizes this lecture series my presence is de rigueur, not that I mind as she arranges very interesting programs, but it does mean those Saturdays start earlier than usual.


Well yesterday didn't play out at all as planned. I did go to the EarthLab presentation from the Texas Master Naturalists Coastal Prairie Chapter on building a healthy habitat for butterflies, which mostly boiled down to creating a 'pocket prairie' that is consistent with our ecoregion which is coastal prairie, you want to have the proper plants that bloom at the proper time to support our region's butterflies and caterpillars for food and shelter as well as those migrating through, and leaving it all the fuck alone. So if you like a neat lawn of grass with tidy bordered flowerbeds of forced garden center annuals, which she said very often don't even produce nectar, this is not the style for you. Don't rake those fall leaves, don't mow the spring 'weeds', learn to love the look of a natural habitat through all four seasons. Here's their website if you want more information about the Texas coastal prairie which the speaker says, because of all the human intervention, is nearly extinct and is, in actuality, functionally extinct.

When I got home and came in the garage door and crossed the threshold I saw a thick line of fire ants marching along the baseboard. Backing up, Thursday morning as I was getting ready to leave I noticed ants around the baseboard of my workroom and into my bedroom so I spooned out cinnamon along their path which a friend had recommended for getting rid of ants and it had worked for a previous attempted incursion from the door to the little backyard and left for SHARE. When I got back I swept it all up and then discovered they were making a nest under the rubber mat right outside the door into the garage. Swept them out and sprinkled some ant poison under the mat. Problem solved. Ha. Saturday, I followed the thick line of ants to the corner where Cat's litter box is. Picked up the litter box and there were thousands of the fuckers setting up shop. No no no no no! Can't spray poison in the house so out came the vacuum cleaner and then I moved the plants in the opposite corner back outside and vacuumed there and then along the baseboards of all four walls following the trail of ants.

Then I figured as long as I had the vacuum cleaner out I would do the rest of the house which I did and threw that bag into the trash can in the garage. Later I checked and there were still some ants traversing the baseboards in the big room, sucked them up as well. So now, this morning? Yes, still some and I'll get out the vacuum directly. I just wonder if these are stragglers or new ones coming in wondering where the hell the nest went. Surely, eventually, they'll figure out that ants come in but they never come back out. Now I need to take the plants in the garage back out, pull up the mats around the door and along the wall, move a small shelf unit, and sweep and use the leaf blower and clean out all the accumulated dirt and put the mats back down. They probably initially came in with one of the pots that have overwintered in the garage.

So, yeah, still haven't gotten back out in the yard but here's a few pictures...the first amaryllis, the pink rose bush, false freesia (freesia laxa), and more daffodils.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

more early spring wildflowers

Our son and daughter came out to visit Sunday to see their dad. They both brought food already cooked, Sarah brought lasagna and Aaron brought tortilla soup. Since Aaron lives in the city we don't see him very often and it's even rarer that we see the two of them at the same time. I did more weeding and turning of the earth Sunday. The wind had died down and it was sunny and had warmed up some, really a perfect day to dig. This is the same area I started on before. I didn't get it all done but I'm getting there. Next throw in some fertilizer and compost and turn that in and it will be ready to plant for a small spring garden. Also I have two shepherd's crooks I'm going to experiment with planting squash maybe in hanging baskets. Don't know how it will work, or maybe green beans. Anyway it will be my first food garden in years.

The yard still looks pretty bleak even though it is covered in 10 petal anemone flowers. I've tried to get a picture but they just don't show up well, can't see in the picture what the eye sees. This is a small section but the whole yard is like this. 

And the purple woodland violets are starting to fill in where the anemones aren't.

The long bed on the east side is completely dormant, well, some of the love-in-a-mist are sprouting. I don't think I'm going to get many rocket larkspur this year or poppies for that matter. Not seeing any sprouts for them but, as I keep reminding myself, it's still just February. On the other hand some of the bluebonnets in the front are already sending up first blooms.

Besides working in the flower bed I went around the yard digging up the sow thistle, some of which were already three or four feet tall. Back to being overcast and windy Monday. I finally started cutting down the dead confederate rose stalks after breakfast. Got all of one done and half the other when it started to sprinkle and since there was an 80% chance of rain I came in and read for a while and then took a nap. I could have taken another one while I was writing this yesterday but it was almost time to get changed for yoga. It never did rain and now the howling wind is back.

The other thing is that our new phones came yesterday. We're moving up from an iPhone 6 to a 13! Marc got everything switched over on his while I was at yoga last night and he helped me with mine this morning.


Saturday, February 18, 2023

attempting normalcy and spring sprung

In an attempt at restoring normalcy, I went to yoga Wednesday night, then fixed a quick easy meal of baked perch fillets, steamed broccoli, baby croissants from the freezer, and grapefruit halves. Yesterday I finally made it back to SHARE which was short staffed and busy. First thing I had to do was restock my station while the baskets piled up but eventually caught up. Another cold front started blowing in and by late afternoon it was cold and windy and I was napping on the couch, opting not to go to yoga that night. Still catching up I guess. Yesterday morning I had to wake up before dawn to get Marc to the follow up appointment after his Wednesday appointment to get the results of his blood work. No waiting for the doctor at 7:15 in the morning. At this rate being sleepy is going to be a permanent condition. Then I finished my book, French Braid, and can start the one on loan from a different library, Neverwhere, so I can get it read before it has to go back. Did the dishes, took Minnie for the longest of the long walks, and fixed dinner.

Despite the current cold weather, spring happened while Marc was in the hospital. One of the tallows and both ginkgo trees and a few other trees in the neighborhood have put out their new spring leaves. Yesterday I saw two red bud trees in full bloom. The big backyard is covered with 10 petal anemone blooms and dandelions coming on.

The ground orchids (bletilla) are blooming,

daffodils starting,

some early amaryllis bloom stalks appeared,

and my personal harbinger of spring, the crane flies, hatched.

The shop yard already had to be mowed, the spring weeds and grass were so high. The birds are still mobbing the bird feeder, big fluffed up blue jay on there now, lots of cardinals, chickadees, titmice, goldfinches, sparrows, an occasional little warbler and wren are what I'm seeing right now.

The week before Marc went into the hospital, I finally hung my collection of chandelier crystals that I've been accumulating for years, some of which I bought at the Thieves Market in Portugal. There's still three but I ran out of room in the window because I already had three things hanging there. I may take the big flower on the left down and put it elsewhere as the last three would fit nicely in that space. But for now this is how it looks. They throw prisms all over the room in the morning as the sun rises in the winter when the trees are bare.


Wednesday, February 15, 2023

settling in and trouble #3

Discharge went quickly after the morning visit from the pulmonologist. Apparently they want people out by 2 PM and about 1:30 they wheeled him out of the hospital and into the car. I spent the afternoon cleaning Marc's bedroom and setting up the air purifier the kid's bought. I shouldn't have had to clean the room as grandgirl Jade had arranged a professional cleaning service to clean the house while Marc was in the hospital. Apparently all they did was dust and then only the top surfaces. Granted, there was a huge accumulation of dust and pet hair in his room and on the wall of shelves but I don't think they wiped down anything with so much as a wet rag, much less cleaner and the shelves which I had emptied prior to them coming were grimy. And while I didn't expect them to oil the furniture, they didn't even clean off the visible mildew on the chest, bed frame and doors. Didn't even wipe off the windowsills. No complaints really about the rest of the house but his bedroom was top priority.

How did it get so bad you might ask? Well, we sleep in separate bedrooms because of his snoring and our individual general restlessness. Before when we slept in the same bed we were both sleep deprived much of the time. I admit I'm not the best housekeeper, too many other things I'd rather do with my time, but I keep my bedroom relatively clean and the floors and occasionally dust the rest of the house though I do keep the bathrooms and kitchen clean, but I don't go in his bedroom. The shelves on his side of the bed were a nightmare of paper and pictures and ball caps and all kinds of miscellaneous stuff and containers of coins, an avalanche of loose coins in one corner that I put into the two smaller jars. If you want to know why there was a coin shortage during covid...

I'm taking them to the bank and converting them into paper money.

Yesterday was arranging for a primary care doc with which he has an appointment today to get the referral for his follow up care with the pulmonologist, bill paying, grocery shopping, dog walking, and dinner fixing. I had about 20 minutes of sitting and relaxing all day until after dinner. This evening I'm going to yoga class for the first time in 3 weeks.

So, the third trouble, and some of this may be TMI but too bad. At 72, sometimes, and this only happens at home, sometimes when I have to pee it is URGENT (amount has nothing to do with it) and I was struggling to get my jeans down before I wet my pants and my phone slipped out of my pocket and, yep, into the toilet. Well fuck. Heard of that happening to many people and I always thought to myself, really? How on earth are you so dumb as to let your phone fall in the toilet. 

Just call me dumbass.

Anyway, I fished it out, dried it off, used canned compressed air to blow out as much water as I could and nestled it in a bed of rice in front of the electric space heater. It was working mostly OK as soon as I dried it off and blew the water out except it had reverted to silent/headphones mode. Eventually I got the sound back and I can hear everyone on the phone perfectly but they hear faint garbly speech from me and I have to yell to make myself heard. So I'm getting a new phone which I really did already need. Maybe Friday, probably next week as the rest of this one is devoted to getting Marc set up with a primary care appointments and a referral.


Monday, February 13, 2023

no good deed goes unpunished

This was supposed to publish this morning but apparently I didn't do something right. Anyway, big surprise when I got to the hospital Sunday afternoon, they had completely weaned him off oxygen. I guess 14 days of IV antibiotics, steroids, breathing treatments, etc finally hit a watershed and BOOM. This mornings x-ray was so so much better than the last one last Thursday but still will take time to completely clear. His general health had improved so much that he was too healthy to qualify for the insurance to pay for the in house physical therapy so they discharged him from the hospital. Oral antibiotics for two weeks instead of 6 but that could be extended. Now to get a primary care doc and a referral to the pulmonologist who has been treating him and Home Health Care to work with him on physical therapy.

After fixing my dinner Thursday night, I turned on the hot water faucet to wash the few dishes and waited for it to get hot. And waited, and waited, and waited and no hot water. Checked the water heater and the pilot light was out. It had gone out a few weeks before Marc got sick so I didn't think anything about it and followed the instructions on the tank...turn the knob to pilot, hold down the knob, push the striker button, continue holding down the knob until the status light comes on. OK, pilot light would flame but the status light would never come on and when I released the knob it would go out. Well, fuck.

Called Rocky 8:30 Friday morning, could he come light my water heater as I was having no luck. No problem, I'm nearby, I'll be right there. He couldn't get it to light either. Called his plumber friend who said the thermostat was bad, it would cost as much to replace the thermostat as to get a new water heater, you need a new water heater. Well, fuck.

Rocky located a same size, 30 gallon, water heater in El Campo, about 20 minutes down the road, went by his current job doing something for the Methodist Church to ask if they would give him half a day to help me out and they graciously agreed, so off he went to get the new propane water heater.

Now, when we bought the one that had just failed, the one we were replacing was too wide to get it out through the door to the closet in which it sat so they had to take the molding off and remove the door jamb to get it out. The new one one was smaller in diameter and it could be installed or removed without having to do that again. So Rocky gets back, takes out the water heater, puts it in my studio room, opens the box of the new one and I'm looking at them and the new one is wider, 18” to the previous 16”. Rocky, it's not going to go through the doorway unless you dismantle it. Well, fuck.

He takes off the molding, removes the door jamb, gets the new one in and hooked up, tests it to see if all is well, pilot comes on, puts the doorway back together again, we turn on the hot water faucet in the kitchen and no hot water. Pilot is off, won't come on, further investigation and the guy sold him a water heater for natural gas. Well, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Rocky is not happy. Takes the doorway apart, removes the water heater, boxes it back up, takes it back and gets the one for propane he ordered, gets it installed, pilot comes on, burner comes on and we're in business. By this time it's 5 o'clock. I sent him home, we can put the doorway back together later. He came back Saturday morning and finished up.

the result of all that trouble

Consequently I didn't get anything done I had planned to do on Friday while at home, ran a few errands Saturday and catching up on my sleep, and headed back to Victoria Sunday.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

nasty virulent bug

First, thank you all for your comments, concern, and love. I would reply to you each individually but just no time or energy but every one of you, those whose names I know and all the anonymous, have touched my heart.

They wouldn't let me stay overnight in the ICU so I would go home every night and come back in the morning but it was only a 30 minute drive. After the first day on IV antibiotics it appeared to be starting to bring the white blood cell down and very minor improvement in the infection but the second day it was all going back up again. This hospital didn't have a pulmonologist on staff so Tuesday they brought in a teledoc pulmonologist to confer. He still wasn't eating, no real change. By Thursday he was feeling a little better but still wasn't responding to treatment which involved IV antibiotics, breathing treatments, oxygen, etc., still not eating, heart rate still high so they brought the teledoc back in. He recommended a bronchoscope, a procedure where they put a tube down his throat and into his lung for a look see that can also collect phlegm and tissue and flush out the lung. The problem was, this hospital couldn't do it so Thursday night, Feb. 2, they transferred him to a hospital in Victoria that agreed to admit him.

Victoria is an hour away from home so I didn't get there until late morning on Friday and missed the initial consult with the pulmonologist who didn't think that the procedure was immediately necessary, that the bacteria causing the infection is very virulent and aggressive. So he changed the IV antibiotic, continuing the treatments and meds, adding others. I've been staying there with him since he's not in the ICU, just acute care. I've been home for just for one night during his second week in hospital and came home Thursday (the 9th) to take care of some things, pay some bills, love on my dog and cat, etc. My sister has been taking care of them during the day and my grandgirl has been staying at night.

So long story short, he is slowly responding to treatment. While the phlegm he was finally able to cough up didn't produce any bacteria the doctor surmises it's already dead and is just a matter of clearing the lung from the solid consolidation of gunk and the small pockets of bacteria that might remain. White blood cell count is slowly coming down, heart rate slowly coming down, still on oxygen. Finally started eating Saturday the 4th, every day feels a little better, a little stronger, every day a little more himself, every day his mental acuity improved.

Thursday (the 9th), his 12th day in one hospital or another, the bottom half of his lung is starting to show some clearing, top half still dense. The pulmonologist feels he's on the right track, wants to keep him on IV antibiotics through Sunday and settled on an oral antibiotic he felt would continue to fight the infection which they will start on Monday and which he will have to take for at least 6 weeks but he figures it will take 3 months for his left lung to be completely clear of the infection.

They started physical therapy last Wednesday and Thursday the pulmonologist and the floor doctor both recommended in house intense physical therapy, 3 hours a day spread out over the day, for 7 – 10 days which they can do there on a different floor, still a medical floor but with the focus on PT but it depends on if our insurance will pay for it and we are still waiting to hear. I'm headed back to the hospital tomorrow (Sunday). The pulmonologist will be back doing rounds after the weekend off, it will be 4 days between x-rays and I want to be there when the doctor comes by.

Prognosis is good, the doctor expects a full recovery from the pneumonia and then he can start treating him for the emphysema. He'll have to be on oxygen at home but we expect that to be a temporary measure. If he gets to do the in house PT, he should be strong enough not to need a walker when he's released. He is fully committed to doing whatever it takes to regain his health.

I'm doing my best to take care of myself, being good about eating even when I don't feel like it, and getting as much rest as I can, one of the reasons for coming home now and then because no one is getting much rest in the hospital, in fact I slept most of the rest of the day after getting home on Thursday.

Well, this is far too long, I had thought to break it up into two posts, but didn't so next: trouble comes in threes. 

Friday, February 10, 2023


I'm telling this without asking him if he minds. Because right now, I don't really fucking care if he minds. (edit: I wrote this a week ago, he has since said no restrictions.)

Pneumonia. Of course it's way more complicated than that. This is a man who comes from a line of folk who are generally healthy and long lived. This is also a man who joined me in an artistic pursuit that did not offer the benefit of health insurance. This is a man who wouldn't have gone to the doctor anyway even if he had had insurance. This is a 71 year old man who had only been to the doctor a handful of times in over 40 years. And not once since getting on medicare, health insurance for the first time in our working lives. A lifelong smoker whose part of the creative process was sandblasting and plaster/silica mold making, who did use reasonable precautions whose breathing and lungs have been compromised for 6, 7 years? We all assumed it was from work, this state of his lungs but it turns out not so much. Turns out it is primarily because of his smoking. And I base that opinion on conversations with the doctors. It may change when he gets released from the hospital and starts going to a PC and a lung specialist but immediate diagnosis...entire left lung infected with pneumonia. Secondary diagnosis emphysema in both lungs from smoking, no obvious evidence of silicosis. The doctors in the hospital are concerned with getting rid of the pneumonia, the emphysema falls to the primary care physician or specialist. Cure the infection, then deal with the rest.

This is what I think, that Marc was feeling bad enough to quit smoking (4th try, nicotine is heinous) about 5 weeks ago which he never bothered to mention until he started to crash the first weekend in February. He started to feel bad the last week of January, appetite sort of deserted him. By February 1st feeling worse. By the 3rd looked terrible and increasingly breathless, would still not entertain the idea of going to a doctor, clinic, or hospital no matter how many times I suggested it. Saturday the 4th felt scared enough to say he would call a doctor on Monday. Dude, he's just going to tell you to go to the hospital. Sunday could barely sit up, very labored breathing, instability, pain when coughing, mental fogginess, and the cherry on top, incontinence and still refusing to get help. Called our daughter to come back me up...you can get in the car or I can call an ambulance. Those are your choices.

He got in the car.

By the time we got to the emergency room of the hospital in Bay City, he could barely get out of the car into a wheelchair. Sarah wheeled him in while I parked the car. They were on him like a duck on a june bug, wheeled him back to triage before he was even completely registered. Seemed like half a dozen nurses and techs swarmed in and were hooking him up 9 ways to Sunday...oxygen, IVs, checking vitals, starting fluids, drawing blood, X-ray and CAT scan, EKG, and with the first blood test result, low kidney function. The doctor came in before they were even finished hooking him all up, quizzing Sarah and I. Before he sent him off for the chest X-ray he said 'Don't know what we will find, but it won't be good.

Well, we already knew that.

The doctor came back after the X-ray, his entire left lung was encased in infection, basically completely whited out in the X-ray but the CAT scan did not show a mass hiding under the infection, about the only good news of the day.

As soon as they had all that done they took him to the ICU.

More to come.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

place holder

Quick note to explain my absence. My husband is in the hospital with pneumonia, not sure when I'll have the time to blog again (but I will). Certainly not this week. He's responding to treatment and may be released Friday.

See y'all down the road.