No report from Lorraine this time!
3/29/15 Chuck’s report
I just finished posted a blog covering the week of 3/8 – 3/15. This will cover the past two weeks and get us up to date.
On Monday 3/16 we got the coach ready for travel, moved to the sewer dump area and dumped our holding tanks before getting on the road. Lorraine checked with Susy to make sure everything was ok with her before we got too far, she said she was doing pretty well and got Katie off to school that morning.
We were heading to Santa Maria, about 300 miles South, not a bad trip down highway 101. We have traveled this road a few times over the years and it’s always nice to drive through all the agriculture down there, lots of vegetables and such. We got to the the Elks, checked in and got set up then just stayed around enjoying the afternoon.
Tuesday we decided to tour the area a bit, we’ve been here before and mostly just wanted to re-familiarize ourselves with the area. Our portable GPS mounting bracket broke on us so we decided to go to Costco and see if we could get a new bracket and keep our current GPS. They agreed to let us purchase a new one, take out the parts we needed then return it right then and there, nice. So that’s what we did. But (seems like there is always a but), they have changed the mount and the new one doesn’t fit our older style.
They suggested we just keep the new one and return the old one for full purchase price so we went that route. We knew we would lose all our saved stops but figured we would just rebuild them as necessary. After getting the new one home and trying to set it up the way we wanted, I found that Garmin does not have different “dashboards” on the new style. These dashboards allowed us to set up the display to show the info we wanted and was one of the best features we liked about Garmin over some of the others. The new one only has one display and it doesn’t include all the info we have become used to see at a glance. I did ask Mark, my computer guru buddy, to see if he knows how to reconfigure to add the dashboard feature but he’s been busy and hasn’t had the time to do this yet. But the new one does work just fine, I would just like to have it display more info.
After we got back in the car with the new GPS, Lorraine was checking it out and found there was a casino a few miles away and wanted to check it out, not a big surprise. As we got closer, I realized we had been here at least once before and they confirmed it when we checked in to get our player’s card. We played on the slots for a few hours, Lorraine even won a bit and I broke even, but we decided not to eat at their buffet, it was too expensive at $18/person we thought.
Thursday morning we wanted to head North and tour the area around Pismo Beach and check out the Oceana Elks Lodge RV park, we were considering going there for a few days. Susy and Katie went to Pismo Beach last year for a short vacation and really enjoyed the area so they planned on meeting us there this weekend. Santa Maria is about 20 miles away but Oceana is only about 4 miles from their hotel.
We drove around, stopped off at the beach a couple of times and found the Elks. Their RV park is ok, not fancy at all and all the sites have 30 amp and water with a dump site available. We talked to the park host and they will have a site available for us for the few days we plan on being there, yea.
We then drove back to Santa Maria, stopped by Wal-Mart before returning back the rig. The lodge was having pork chop dinner that evening and we we planning on going. This place has a “dress code” that requires long pants and a collared shirt. Seeing as how I almost always just have on a tee shirt, I had to change before heading inside.
Once inside we met a nice couple who sat at our table. We had a very good time visiting with them but I seem to have forgotten their names already, my bad. But it was a very good meal.
We were planning on staying in Santa Maria on Friday then moving to Oceana on Saturday but decided to head over on Friday instead, that way we would be ready for whatever when Susy and Katie were up and ready in the morning. They were driving down after school and wouldn’t be getting to their hotel until after Katie’s bedtime so we wouldn’t see them on Friday and wanted to be ready to go first thing on Saturday morning.
So we got everything ready for travel, dumped our tanks (each site has full hookups, water, power and sewer), hooked up the car and headed North for about 18 miles, a very short trip. We got to the Elks and got set up with no problem, went inside to pay and found they were having dinner there that evening so we made plans to eat there later.
We drove around the area a bit more then came back for prime rib dinner, good one too. Once again we met a couple from the area who sat at our table, nice folks too. But again I’ve managed to forget their names, shoot. I can’t even say it’s an old age thing, I’ve always had problems remembering names.
Saturday morning Susy and Katie came over for breakfast then we went over to rent two 4 wheelers to ride the sand dunes. We spent a good three hours out and about, only issue we had was Susy fell once getting out of the buggy but didn’t hurt her shoulder, whew. Plus we managed to get each one stuck at least once. It was a very nice day with very little wind, in fact, the only day we were there that didn’t have winds at least in the 20 mph or higher range.
We also walked the beach a bit, I’ve never seen so many sand dollars on any beach before, we must have found 50 or so intact sand dollars in just under a half hour. The beach was really nice and of course some of us had to get their feet wet in the COLD water but not me.
We then drove up to Pismo beach and walked the pier and beach. We then walked through a couple of the tourist shops before finding a good BBQ place for dinner and an ice cream place for desert later. Susy and Katie stopped by our place for a little bit then decided to head back to their hotel and meet us the next morning for breakfast at the Elks Lodge before heading back to their home and we back to Santa Clara. All in all, we had an outstanding day!!
Sunday morning we were packing up, getting ready to leave after breakfast. About 9:15 I moved our car, it was parked in front of the rig. When I came back inside, Lorraine was standing and appeared to be disorientated and confused. I had her sit on the coach while I went next door o talk to the camp host about the nearest hospital.
I was only gone for two minutes or so but when I returned, Lorraine was showing signs of a having a full stroke! She was paralyzed on her right side, her face was sagging on the right side, she couldn’t talk or understand when I tried talking to her. I attempted to assist her into our car but soon realized she couldn’t walk at all, even with my help. I then called 911 and had the paramedics and ambulance come by to take her to the hospital. I also called Susy to let her know what was happening.
The paramedics got there within 7 minutes and started checking her out, realized real soon that she needed to be carried out of the rig and transported to the hospital. Susy and Katie got there just as they were loading Lorraine into the ambulance then we all headed out for the hospital. This was a traumatic thing for Katie for sure, sorry she had to go through that.
By the time I got to see Lorraine in the hospital emergency room, she was even in worse shape. I don’t think she could see, for sure her eyes didn’t focus, she didn’t understand what was happening or who Susy or I was. The doctor ordered complete blood work, UT and CT scans. Lorraine was still paralyzed completely on her right side during all this time too.
They sent her out for the UT scan and when she came back she was still out of it completely, same when she returned from the first MRI. Susy and I were talking with the doctor about further treatment when suddenly Lorraine moved her right hand to cover her forehead, just like she had a headache. Wow, all the sudden. The doctor was very surprised to see that, said it seldom happened like that. Lorraine still was unable to focus or converse but she did show a very good sign of recovery, this was about 11:40 when she moved.
The results of the CT scan showed signs of a full stoke, probably caused by a blood clot in the brain. At this time the doctor was discussing inserting a stent in the blood vessel in her brain, probably coming in from her leg. This clot was in the area of her brain that controls vision and speech, her major two concerns once she recovered movement. The MRI showed that she had indeed had a previous stoke in a different portion of her brain, not just a TIA as we were informed.
The doctor ordered a different UT scan for her and when she returned from this one she was able to focus her left eye and appeared to understand what was going on but still couldn’t talk to us. But once again, a very good sign of recovery.
None of us had eaten that morning, we were planning on eating breakfast at the lodge before all this happened, so we walked down to the cafeteria to see what they had for us. We all found something then went back to the Lorraine’s place in the emergency room. She didn’t show any further signs of recovery, in fact, she didn’t seem to know where she was or why she was there. Shortly thereafter Susy had to start back home, Katie had school the next morning and I wanted them to make it home before dark. Katie was able to see Lorraine in the emergency room before they left and Lorraine seem really happy to see her, she definitely knew her grand daughter. Plus it was a good thing for Katie to see her Nana when she wasn’t being carried into the ambulance.
By now, Lorraine was able to speak a few words and sometimes understand what was being said/asked of her. But she was still very confused, she couldn’t find her elbow, nose or other body parts when asked. But she could say that she had a headache and on a 0 –10 scale it was an 8. They gave her some pain meds that seemed to help but said they didn’t want to give her enough to mask her understanding and attempts at conversation.
Soon it was time to move her to a regular hospital room. I overhead the emergency room nurse talking to the regular room nurse and he said her blood work was really good, better than his in fact, ha. While they were moving her to her room I made a quick trip back to the rig to walk/feed Misty.
When I got back she was in her bed and showing more signs of improvement in her speech but she was really worried about her vision, she couldn’t see anything on the right side, even close up. The nurse was running tests every hour to check for changes, by now her biggest problems were eyesight and conversation, both hearing/understanding and talking. I noticed she seemed to be able to talk much better if she started the thought but if I asked a question she didn’t comprehend and got confused.
I hung around and finally saw the doctor assigned to her about 6 pm that evening. He said the neurologist would come by before 8 to check on her. Lorraine still had not eaten anything all day so I had the nurse get her some food and water, all she had had was ice water up to now. She didn’t have any problem swallowing, a good sign the nurse said. I hung around her room until after 10 pm, no sign of the neurologist so I went home to walk Misty and get a few hours of sleep.
Monday morning I got back shortly after 6 am and found the neurologist had shown up about 11:45 and checked her out. He left me a note to call his office and make an appointment for Lorraine him and to see a Vascular Specialist in Santa Barbara within the next 10 days. I still haven’t seen or heard from him or his office since although I’ve called them twice. He did tell the nurse that he didn’t think she was going to need a stent after all but would need therapy, which he ordered to happen while she was in the hospital.
Lorraine was awake when I got there, said she had a bad night, lots of headache pain and really worried about her vision problems. The doctor had ordered yet another UT and CT scan to double check on the first and check out one new issue he wanted to look at.
Lorraine did get a breakfast delivered to her, scrambled eggs, toast, fruit and coffee, yea, she got to finally eat a real meal. She could hold a conversation, once again it was much better if she originated the thought but given enough hints she could answer some questions. The nurse soon made it plain that I was not to be giving her hints, rather I should just let her flounder around trying to find the answer. This made Lorraine upset so when the nurse wasn’t there, I continued with the hints.
She was very happy when she finally could find her elbow without any hints. One other item I noticed was she didn’t remember what she had previously learned, even just seconds ago. But she could remember stuff we had done on Saturday and previous to that too.
They still wouldn’t give her much pain control, they wanted to make sure any issues were real and not from the meds so she always was complaining of a bad headache. Other than that, she didn’t seem to be having much pain except for her IV on her left hand.
She had her UT and CT scan and the doctor said the UT showed blockage on her carotid artery, the big veins in her neck. The second one didn’t show as much blockage so they decided not to worry too much about this issue.
The nurse also kept up with the hourly checks and her method made Lorraine upset that she couldn’t remember. I pulled the nurse aside and asked her to slow down but she said she knew what she was doing and that’s what the doctor ordered. Oh well, it was only for 5 minutes an hour so I didn’t push it further.
Lorraine didn’t get her lunch or dinner delivered and I had to ask them to get it for her each time. Seems there was some problem between the floor and the cafeteria and they would work it out. But at least she was eating full meals now. I was tired and went home after shift change, the nurses change at 7 and I hung around to talk to the oncoming nurse so left after 8:30.
Tuesday I was back once again shortly after 6 am, no night time doctor visits this time. I talked with the night nurse and she said Lorraine had a very quiet night, seemed to have slept well. She introduced us to the oncoming dayshift nurse and told Lorraine bye, she was off for the next couple of days.
Once again, Lorraine didn’t get her breakfast tray, I had to get them to order one for her. But she was able to walk to the bathroom and even brushed her teeth and washed up some, with the nurse’s assistance. She was still getting saline through her IV so we had to wheel it around with her wherever she went so it was a bit of a hassle. But shortly before noon she finished her last bottle of saline solution so all she had was the IV without anything attached.
The first therapist came by before noon and wanted to check Lorraine and maybe take her for a short walk. She asked Lorraine to identify lots of things in the room and on the walk, she failed miserably. For example, she could see the clock with her left eye, in fact, she could tell me the time, but when the nurse asked her to find the clock Lorraine didn’t understand what she was supposed to be looking for. During the walk, Lorraine noticed a tree with blossoms and commented on the nice flowers. The nurse asked her what the plant was that had all the flowers and leaves on it and she couldn’t come up with the word “tree”.
After lunch a different therapist came by, this one to check out her vision issues. About all she suggested was for me to move to right side of her bed, sort of force her to use more of her right-side vision. She said they may recommend an eye patch but wasn’t sure if it would be over her good eye, forcing her to use her weaker one or cover the left so she didn’t get so upset about the vision loss.
The nurse also wanted to inform me, three times in fact, that all her issues may be permanent and not to get my hopes up too high, what the heck is that about! I didn’t tell Lorraine that and continued to be upbeat and let her know about every sign of improvement she had, I think that is better.
We haven’t seen any doctors for awhile and I kept asking the nurse to find out when he would be coming back. We were using what the call Hospitalist or the doctor on call for the floor. Finally I went to the supervisor and pushed the issue a bit, she said she didn’t know but amazingly the doctor came by less than 1/2 hour later. He didn’t really have any new news or info but said the neurologist would check in later. He said he has been in contact with some specialists and they wanted to do yet one more MRI, again to check the carotid artery and the area of the brain where the stroke happened.
About an hour later the tech came by to get Lorraine for her MRI and said she would be gone for about 45 minutes so I made a quick trip home to feed/walk Misty. She wasn’t back in the room when I got back so I just sat down to wait. About 20 minutes later I asked the nurse where she was and all she knew was she was out for an MRI. By now she had been gone for 1 1/2 hours or so, I was beginning to worry.
Soon I heard her coming down the hallway, yelling for me to help her and crying hysterically. Seems the MRI was with contrast so they had to inject some material into her IV and when they did that, the vein ruptured. She was in lots of pain and very mad that they didn’t stop the procedure but attempted to finish even though she was in lots of pain. She had a very tight muscle in her shoulder and her little pinky finger on the other hand was hot along with the pain from the bad IV site.
There were two tech that delivered her back to her room and I think I may have attempted to hit one of them when he told me what happened, I was mad. They left the room in a big hurry and one of the nurses came in to try to help settle Lorraine down. I told them to just leave and let me work with her but they needed to get her some serious pain medication this time.
The nurse came back later and said the doctor said to put in a new IV to give her some pain meds but Lorraine refused to have another IV. So they came back with two pills but they took over an hour to help relieve SOME of the pain. I was able to help her settle down and massaged the tight muscle and it finally started to loosen up some and the pain was better. Boy, that was a bad time for her and I must say, for me too.
A bit later the supervisor from the X-ray area came by, I think to give me some grief over my handling of the techs earlier. But he soon realized I didn’t intend to harm anyone and soon he was helping us. He agreed to have all the information from all the CT and MRI scans she had on a CD when we checked out although he said he may not have the last doctor report but he would try. The nurse said they never do that for anyone other than a doctor so something must have triggered a good deed in him. Maybe the fact they messed up by continuing to finish the MRI.
A couple hours later the doctor came by to check on Lorraine and we decided to keep her in one more night. He also had the nurse inject some Benadryl in her arm/wrist/hand were the IV had ruptured. They said it would help her body absorb the contrast material, which I found out was iodine of some sort. The doctor said he would be in early the next morning and Lorraine could be released when he got there and he would give us info on any follow up needs and concerns then.
I also went to the records department to get all the hospital records in hard copy when we left the next morning. They said they would have them ready for me when we checked out, again, something they don’t normally do. I think they understand we are travelers and therefore were willing to help us using a different procedure than normal.
I finally left after 8 again, this time I went by Wal-Mart to pick up her new prescriptions but they didn’t have the order from the doctor yet so we would need to stop by on the way home in the morning.
Misty has been by herself in our rig for the past three days so she was excited to see me and wanted to walk a bit, even though it was dark by now.
Wednesday I was back at the hospital by 6, waiting for the doctor. Lorraine was having a hard time waking up but she did know I was there. By the way, she tried to watch some TV the night before but couldn’t see too well or understand everything that was happening or said.
The doctor came by about 7:30 and checked her out, said to make an appointment with her doctor here in Santa Clara and follow up with a neurologist and vascular specialist probably at Stanford Medical or where her doctor sends her.
She did get her breakfast delivered and shortly after the X-ray supervisor came by with the CD disk he had promised and it did have the doctor’s report from the last test too. He said the tech didn’t want to come by, don’t know if he was afraid or what but I told him to let him know I was sorry if I did swing at him.
I helped Lorraine get her clothes on then waited for the nurse to come by with the wheelchair. Even though Lorraine was able to walk on her own, they had to have her ride a wheelchair out of the hospital. We got her into the car the stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up her prescriptions then to the rig.
When all this happened Sunday morning we were almost packed and ready for travel so we were almost in travel mode. I did clear off the coach so she could lay down if she wanted, that turned out to be a good thing as she felt better on the coach instead of having all the distractions from looking out the windows while sitting in the passenger’s seat.
I did call Lorraine’s doctor back here in Santa Clara and made an appointment to see a doctor on Thursday. Her normal doctor is on vacation so we are to see his replacement who would set her up with some therapy. We had an uneventful trip but it did take longer than normal as I stopped twice just to check on her and once to get fuel.
Once we got here, Lorraine insisted she had to help me back into our site. I told her I could make it but she wouldn’t stay in the coach, had to be out directing me. I asked the guy in the site next to us to watch her and between the three of us we got backed in and Lorraine back in the coach resting.
Shortly after we got here, Susy and Katie came by to help. Our normal routine is for Lorraine to handle most of the inside duties and I handle the outside jobs. This time I tried to do Lorraine’s normal duties but didn’t get everything where it normally resides. But at least we got set up and spent time with Susy and Katie.
Thursday morning we went to see Lorraine’s doctor but she wasn’t much help, she had a meeting she was late for and didn’t want to spend much time with us. She said Lorraine’s normal doctor would be back next week and told us to make an appointment to see him. She did, however, set up for the therapist and I was to call them to set up the times.
After we got back to our rig Lorraine needed to rest for awhile before we picked Katie up from school. Later Susy came by and picked up KFC for dinner. After they left, I set up Lorraine’s computer for her but she said it was too hard to read, couldn’t even play her slot games.
But later she picked up her computer and when I checked on her, she was looking over our checking account and credit card statement, wow. She even remembered the passwords to get into these accounts and asked what the last two checks were for, wow again. But I asked her where her forehead was she pointed to her elbow, still not there yet but getting better. Some things are just fine but others need more re-wiring I guess.
Friday I called the therapy place and they had not heard from the doctor about setting up some therapy for Lorraine. I called the doctor’s office and they said they would take care of it. But when I called a couple of hours later the therapy place still hadn’t heard from the doctor. Maybe we need to look for a new doctor in this area?
Yesterday Susy and Katie came by then we headed out to go to the movie house, the wanted to see a movie called “HOME”. I don’t really like to go to the movie house but I went along to see how it affected Lorraine, no problem. We ate all the popcorn we wanted so only needed to stop by for a burger later for supper.
Latest update on Lorraine’s condition. Physically she is back to practically normal, equal strength on both side, good movement and control of both legs and arms. Hearing is normal on both sides. She still has very little peripherally vision on her right side, especially out of her right eye but the left one seems normal. She is still having trouble with her memory, once again especially when asked a question. She has trouble reading and for sure writing but all these issues are getting better. I plan on getting the therapist situation worked out tomorrow and get it started, mostly to make sure she gets all the correct help, not just what I’m thinking is working. Katie really likes to help, she asks Nana to point to her ---- and then helps her figure it out. One of the hardest for Lorraine is her toenail, she understands fingernail but has trouble with toenail?
Susy has posted some of this on Facebook and I’ve called a couple of our friends to have prayers for Lorraine. I know they are helping and ask for everyone to continue thinking about her and asking for more prayers.
No pictures to add here and no immediate travel plans so guess that is all for this long blog.
Thanks Chuck and Lorraine