Well, here I am again.
Things have been pretty up-and-down for the past month. Larry landed in the hospital twice - the first time because he was having atrial fibrillation, and the second time because of a bad reaction to Coumadin, which he was given as part of the a-fib treatment.
The Coumadin caused Larry to have internal bleeding, and he ended up with a major hematoma around his kidneys. The hematoma pressed on the kidneys so that he couldn't produce urine, and of course that is not good. To make a very long story short, he was in the ICU for 3 days, then in the hospital for a week, and finally sent home on NO blood thinners (not even aspirin), and a note in his chart that he can't tolerate them. Duh.
Since the hospitalization, which was right before Thanksgiving, Larry has had a lot of trouble bouncing back. He is sitting in the wheelchair twice a day, but only for about an hour at a time, and he looks uncomfortable the whole time he's up. He doesn't want to go for walks or go outside, and seems to be uninterested in doing much of anything. At least he's comfortable when he's in bed, and is enjoying watching football on TV (which he hardly ever did before the stroke). I'm trying to get him off as many of the medications as I can; I don't feel like they are helping him much, and I think he's over-medicated, given that he was on a dozen different things at one point. He's down to 3 daily meds now: Pravastatin, which has gotten his cholesterol from 280 to 170; Sotolol for the atrial fib (which seems to be working); and Zolpidem to help him sleep. He's off the anti-depressants, which were not helping him, and off the BP medication (he doesn't need it, now that he's lost 60 lbs), and definiely off blood thinners! I found out that Coumadin was originally marketed as rat poison, and I can well believe it. It is nasty stuff.
We had a great Thanksgiving, with 20 people over for a fabulous dinner that Larry's daughter and sister cooked. I just stood back and watched the masters at work - they are amazing cooks and I don't even play in their league. So much so that I've decided to make Mexican food for Christmas - I don't even want to try to follow the turkey that those two cooked up. It was wonderful that everyone came to us, since we can't travel, and I think it was good for us both to have a lot of company and all the excitement. Judy and Cynthia (sister and daughter) made it very easy for me; all I had to do was set the tables and pour the drinks! They have been so good to us through all of this, and I'm really lucky to have them in my life.
And now we are heading into the home stretch for Christmas - again - already! Where has this year gone?? I'm sure I don't know. We've adjusted as well as we're going to, I think - things won't ever be the same, but they're not insurmountable, and life is moving on. The next few months will be challenging as I get Larry's retirement settled, and get his Social Security in place, and all the stuff that has to happen. Believe it or not, he is STILL collecting full salary and on sick leave, which will finally be used up on February 10th (no wonder the State is bankrupt - teachers may not make much, but their benefits are amazing). Once that happens, he can collect disability insurance and other things, and then formally retire in April 2009 when he turns 66. A ton of CalPERS and Social Security paperwork, but I'm getting through it. Looking forward to Christmas, and then to saying goodbye and good riddance to 2008!
I'm doing OK. I feel like I've come a long way, and like there is still a long way to go. I'm getting from one day to the next pretty well, but can't say that I feel like I'm living a life at this point - my life is really Larry and making sure that his needs are met, and that's just the way that will have to be for a while. Those vows turned out to be serious business! I go to work, and come home, and do chores in the evenings and on weekends, and go to sleep, and do it again the next day. Just like everyone else - I don't feel sorry for myself; I know that I'm lucky that I can continue to work and maintain some semblance of normalcy. I have dear friends and a great family, and a lot of support; more than many people have, and I'm grateful for that. Life really does go on, and that's maybe the biggest surprise out of all of this. At first I felt like the world had come to a stop, and then I figured out that it was just me, and then got myself moving again, and found that the world hadn't stopped at all - I just dropped out for a bit. Now I'm trying to get back up to speed, and although things will never be the same again there is some normalcy and routine now, and that's very comforting.
I hope all is well with everyone here, and I'll try to check in when I can.
xxx's and ooo's