On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

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Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Finally Back (but will the Blog slip down?)

Whew...the surgery went well, I came home, rested up a bit and THEN, hubby had some mild chest pains and ended up having open-heart surgery (triple bypass) in Roanoke Carilion's state-of-the-art cardiac unit. It's as if we were taking turns!

Friends drove me there and back every day he was in the unit, because Roanoke Memorial is in the midst of renovations so it was either walk a mile into the parking garage (and back) or have dear friends from church drop me at the hospital entrance and then pick me back up there.

Dick did amazingly well. He is in excellent physical shape, strong heart muscle, doesn't smoke or drink. Dr. Baker and an assisting cardiac physician said his body was actually creating new arteries to and from his heart! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Instead of actually replacing three arteries, they took a short one from his shoulder and another slightly longer one from his thigh. One of them replaced two clogged arteries.

He was walking the next day (Saturday) and they wanted to send him home the following Monday, but he asked to return to the 9th floor and get one solid night's sleep before we brought him home on Tuesday. As you can imagine, the CSICU isn't conducive to sleep! Beepers beep, rings sound, nurses hurry past the 12 units.

He is home now. They told him he couldn't drive for 4 weeks and he is having a hard time with that! As for me, I can drive now, but I'm not certain I can last for four weeks of constant instruction from the passenger seat: 'Turn here, it's a short cut. No, don't take that street. You're going too fast. You're going way too slow. It's raining and your wipers aren't working right. I TOLD you this was the wrong way to get there....' ARGHHHH

But I am so glad he is home, and well. And I'm home, and well. Sadie Mae went into a frenzy every time a vehicle came down our gravel driveway and it wasn't her guy. Now she sleeps curled up into his back. The hospital gave Dick a big teddy bear to hug so he can protect the incision where they cracked open his chest; Sadie Mae seems to understand. She's just glad he is BACK.

BTW: There is a site called CaringBridge.org (it's being worked on today, to add Spanish) out of Minnesota. You enter a person's name who is having serious surgery or has cancer, and visitors to the site can get daily updates on someone's progress and can leave messages for the patient. It saved me over 300 phone calls and contacts, and when Dick read the messages, he was in tears.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blog slip-sliding away~

I had a brief problem with the last posting; it finally appeared, very far down the page and to the left!

I'm still doing well after the surgery for a hernia that was strangling my colon (!)...who knew? And I see my surgeon on the 18th who believes the three health crises I went through since 2004 were related. I just want them to END! Rushing to the ER and then spending weeks in the hospital, one crisis even involving a helicopter ride as the doctors told Hubby "Your wife is dying."

I had six specialists getting me through that one. One for each organ that was failing in severe sepsis...

Meanwhile, I have dear friends who are several years older than I, who are driving great distances, flying here there and everywhere, ah well...I guess it is in the DNA somewhere.

OK, enough about all this health stuff. There may even be more surgery ahead; I'll know more when I have my follow-up appointment with the finest surgeon in this entire area.

Let's hope this Blog goes on the 'page' correctly!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sicko, the movie

I've never been a fan of Michael Moore's, but am watching lots of TV these days and his documentary, Sicko, showed up on my schedule (HBO? not sure).

There was no way I could turn this off. Here was MM traveling to Canada, France, the UK, places where there is a National Health Service in place, and interviewing citizens, seriously ill patients, doctors, everyone with a strong opinion in FAVOR of NHS. I'd always heard those systems did not work, that they were too costly to taxpayers, that the health care was inadequate, that Canadians had to travel to the US to get their needed health care unless they wanted to wait up to a year for surgery.

I guess I believed what the U.S. gov't wanted me to believe...particularly those members of Congress who receive massive donations from the insurance companies.

The beginning segment of Sicko covered people in the U.S. who had been refused coverage under their insurance primarily because their insurance company rewarded those employees who turned down the most appeals, calling procedures "experimental" even though they were clearly NOT experimental.

Well, I'm probably the last person around to see this movie, but if not, I'd highly recommend it. People live longer in those countries with a NHS in place. MM even took some 9/11 firemen whose health issues had not been covered, to Havana, Cuba (!) where they were instantly eligible for the needed health care...for free...and meds...for free. And Cuban firefighters even had a small ceremony when they heard they were there, to honor our firefighters before they left to go back to the U.S.

Watch the documentary. It is such a wake-up call.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Surgery went just fine

I feel great. When I see the surgeon on the 18th, she'll let me know if I need yet another surgery...or not. I am hoping NOT!
There's an upcoming author presentation at Ferrum College that I've signed up to attend. Every year, Ferrum has a one-day women's leadership conference, at no cost, and they even feed you a very nice lunch without cost. One year, we were fortunate enough to sit with a reporter from the Roanoke Times who was very informative. This year, the conference is being held beginning at 8:30 am on Tuesday, 24 March 09.

The following text is taken from Ferrum's brochure:

This year, the main attraction is the 7 pm keynote address by Deborah Rodriguez, author of Kabul Beauty School. Rodriguez has been a hairdresser since 1979. In 2002, soon after the fall of the Taliban, she went to Afghanistan with a degree in cosmetology and a desire to help. There she helped found Kabul Beauty School and spent five years teaching at and later direction the school. While there she learned of life behind the burka, and, in her best-selling book, she introduces us to an amazing community of women struggling for autonomy in the midst of a strict society and shows us that across cultures we have much in common.

After Rodriguez speaks, there will be a reception and book signing at 8 pm.

Again, there is no cost for this conference or for the reception. Copies of her book will be available for purchase and signing. If you are interested in attending, e-mail Ferrum at: http://www.ferrum.edu/wlc

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More Health Updates~

Sorry to dwell on the health stuff, but I am scheduled for day surgery this coming Thursday. I'm feeling very optimistic...

As for sitting around the house (ARGHH) I admit to watching movies, and just watched Vicky Christina Barcelona on PPV. I hadn't known it was a Woody Allen movie...he wrote and directed it. Some of his films I really love, some just don't work for me. This one both of us thoroughly enjoyed. Penelope Cruz, who doesn't show up until nearly 2/3 through the movie, is a real kick.

Rent it, but don't let the kids watch or you'll have a lot of explaining to do!

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