11/25/12 Chuck’s report
We are still in the Bay area, things could be worse as we are able to spend time with our daughter and grand daughter. Lorraine is really loving the quality time she is spending with Kaitlyn and vice versa, they have so much fun.
Once again Lorraine is not writing her report. She still is having trouble putting/writing the correct words and she is playing with Kaitlyn now anyway.
We’ve started with the doctor visits here and as expected, things are going slowly. I was scheduled for a pulmonary function test on Monday, basically they put me in a glass enclosure about the shape and size of a phone booth. They then have me blow into a machine that tests how well my lungs are working then redo the same tests after I use an inhaler. Of course, I can’t get the results from the tech running the test but have to wait until I see the doctor next month.
Then on Tuesday we had to drive about 50 miles to a different VA office and pick up a machine that I would wear overnight to conduct a sleep study. It tests my oxygen level, heart rate, breathing rate and carbon dioxide level while sleeping. The tech gave me instructions on how to hook it up and told me to return it the next morning so he could issue it out again that night.
Later that afternoon we saw Lorraine’s new doctor for the first time. He checked her over, ran some tests but mostly just listened to her medical history and asked questions. He said he wanted her to see three different therapy folks, physical, occupational and speech. With this being Thanksgiving week, we didn’t figure to hear from any of them until next week. But Lorraine did feel comfortable with this new doctor and they agreed that he would be her primary doctor in this area.
Wednesday Kaitlyn didn’t have school so we picked her up from her mom’s about 9 and drove over to return the sleep study machine. There was a wreck on the road which caused a huge traffic jam, we must have taken 45 minutes to travel two miles. We don’t know the area well enough to take a different route so we just stuck with the freeway. It was over an hour before we finally got to where the traffic was flowing better.
It only took a few minutes to return the machine and once again the tech told me I wouldn’t hear anything until I saw my doctor next month. That is, unless there was some problem then the doctor who read the results would call me.
This VA center is in a nice country setting and there are signs to not feed the wild turkeys. We drove around a bit and soon found some wild turkeys, lots of them. They were spread out with some right alongside the road, others across the field and still others in a different area. We parked the car and got out to see if we could get closer. Kaitlyn wanted to get closer still and finally the turkeys started running away. Kaitlyn started chasing them and soon they were across the field, faster than this old man could keep up. I told her the turkeys didn’t want to end up as our Thanksgiving dinner, that’s why they were running away. She informed me that turkeys didn’t know it was Thanksgiving. She had lots of fun chasing those things around.
A couple of hours later I got a call from the doctor who read the results of my sleep study. I was surprised because the tech said I wouldn’t hear from anyone. Anyway, the doc said I failed the test, I have sleep apnea which was no big surprise. What was surprising to me was there are three types of sleep apnea, central, obstructive and a combination of the two. I have the combo type, apparently pretty severe. Central sleep apnea, as I understand, means the brain doesn’t tell the body to take a breath while sleeping and is more of a problem while obstructive is more common and means the airway is constricted when I try to take a breath.
Anyway, the doctor wanted me to know there was a problem and said he would contact me later with more information. About an hour later he called back and said he is setting me up for a complete sleep study workup at Stanford University. We don’t have a date for that yet but he said he will push for an earlier vs. later date. This may be part of the shortness of breath I’ve been having but they will check that out to be sure.
In between these calls, we got a call from the physical therapist for Lorraine. He wanted to come to our place to evaluate her and complete paperwork on Friday morning. Lorraine wanted to do some Black Friday shopping but I told her I thought it was more important to start the therapy so we made the decision to meet with the therapist then she and Susy could do some shopping later in the day.
Thanksgiving we spent the morning around the coach with Kaitlyn and Susy then met Mark for dinner at Black Angus. We’ve done that for the past five years and find those who want can get a full turkey dinner and others can get steak or seafood, so something for everyone. And the place is packed every year so we aren’t the only ones who do this. We had a good dinner and a good time.
Friday morning the therapist got here at 9:30, right on schedule. He had a 20 page form that had to be filled out plus a bunch of other paperwork for insurance and such. He then checked Lorraine’s strength, movement and muscle control. His determination was that she would benefit with some therapy from him, between 4 and 6 sessions over the next two weeks.
He said the paperwork they filled out will work for the occupational and speech therapists and they will be calling her to set up appointments too. We expect both of them will want to have more sessions her, especially the speech therapist. But they haven’t called yet for their first evaluation appointment so we’ll see.
Susy has been having a time with pain in her back for the last couple of years. She had a MRI last year that shows she has some damage to two disks in her neck. She had another MRI last Friday and because it didn’t heal itself they are going to do some “repair” to these disks. They will start with a cortisone injection into her spine. This will be done at an outpatient surgical center with her being having to be there for a few hours, at least until she is fully awake and they are sure the injection didn’t cause any damage.
That will let them know more about what needs to be done but at this time she is looking at the final repair being an operation. We will be here when she has the injection on Dec. 4th to help her as needed. And of course, if she has surgery later we will try to be here to help then too. That’s a good thing about being retired and living in our motorhome, we can adjust as needed.
After the visit from the therapist on Friday we drove over to Susy’s place. The gals went out shopping for a few hours while I brought Kaitlyn back to our place. We played with some of her favorite dolls and such, watched some kids shows on TV and took a walk with the dogs. Lorraine and Susy soon tired out and came back too.
On Saturday we went over to Susy’s place again. This time the gals took Kaitlyn with them while they were shopping and I did some repairs around her place. One of the shelves in Kaitlyn’s bedroom closet had fallen and Susy’s garage door opener was broken and she couldn’t get the door to open. She doesn’t have a man door for entry into the garage so the only access is through the garage door.
I went to Lowe’s to find a new remote and found they had a sale on new garage door openers for $35 each, normally over $250, so I bought one of those instead of a new remote for $34. Seemed like a no brainer to me, two remotes with the new one too. But when I got the box open I found the new remotes required me to push a “learner” button on the actual opener so the remote and opener would “learn” the same code. I couldn’t get inside to push this button so these remotes wouldn’t work.
However, they also sell a universal remote that could learn or could be set with the proper setting of the 12 dip switches. Seeing as how I had the old remote, I knew the proper dip switch positions so was able to get her a remote that worked but the two with the new opener didn’t work.
I was going to return the new opener but it happens that the garage door opener at Mark’s place was broken and the new one I had bought will be installed there. So it was a good deal after all, at least I hope so.
Today Lorraine will help Susy and Kaitlyn put up their Christmas tree. Susy can’t lift or move as well as normal and Lorraine tires out quickly so I’ll probably make sure they take lots of breaks and not overdo it. I put her tree up yesterday and brought the boxes of ornaments up from the garage yesterday so it’s ready to go.
Kaitlyn want’s to spend each night she can with us but Lorraine gets pretty tired when she does so I’m limiting the nights she can stay. She has already spent a couple of nights with us but has been here parts of every day. She did spend last night here and is her now with Lorraine taking care of her, feeding her and playing with her. They are sure having fun.
We’ve also been able to spend some time each evening with Susy after she gets off work. We know we change/upset their normal routine but it’s nice to be here and spend time with them.
Our plans were to leave her tomorrow and head for Palm Springs 1000 Trails but we are going to stay here this week for Lorraine’s therapy. I had to change our reservations there and was surprised to see they still had opening for the following week so I have reservations for two weeks.
So at this time, we plan on staying here for another week then heading out to Palm Springs. But I have a feeling the other therapists will be making appointments for Lorraine over the next two weeks so we will probably just stay here through the rest of the holidays and maybe head out after the first of the year.
Lorraine hasn’t taken too many pictures this weeks so I will go through the ones she has and add some here. She does have more pictures taken with her phone but I don’t know how to download them to my computer.
Kaitlyn playing at the park.
Kaitlyn has her hair curled.
At Thanksgiving dinner.
Ok, now to post this and head over to Susy’s place.