Monday, June 29, 2015

We’re in Santa Clara, California


6/29/15                                                                                                                                        Chuck’s report

I wanted to send out an update on Lorraine’s latest aneurysm repair.  Very short version is she came through with flying colors once again. 

Longer version, we got to the hospital by 6:15 am this morning.  The nurse took her into the waiting room and prepped her with the IV and such.  She came and got me a couple of times to help with the paperwork then I was able to stay with Lorraine after the 2nd time.  The gas passer came by and talked with us about what he was going to do and asked if we had any questions.  A short while later the operating room nurse came by to take her to into the operating room at 7:58, not bad for an 8:00 schedule.

Having been through this before, I hung around outside in the hallway and caught the doctor as he was headed towards the operating room and talked with him for a bit.  He said he would be finished in less than an hour and would see me again afterwards. 

I walked the hallways for awhile, tried reading a magazine then returned back to the hallway to wait for the doctor when he came out of the operating room.  An hour passed, then 90 minutes.  By now, I was thinking all kinds of bad thoughts, he said he would be done in less than an hour.  About 9:50 I saw him and asked why so long.  He said he was doing paperwork and everything had gone extremely well, whew.  He told me if there were any problems that they would show up in the recovery room or even in her stay in the ICU but that Lorraine had done very well on the “table”.   

He did say the gas passer had thought the procedure would take longer and Lorraine was really out and it would be 15 minutes or so before she would be transferred to the recovery room and I could see her as they wheeled her out if I waited in the hallway. 

Soon I did see then wheeling Lorraine out in a hospital bed but she was still pretty much out of it.  I could get her to open her eyes and knew she was able to talk a bit but that was about all.  But she didn’t appear to be showing any bad symptoms, at least any I could see. 

I had to wait in the waiting room while she was in the recovery room but the volunteer at the front desk checked on her a couple of times and gave me updates that all appeared to be well in there.  A little more than an hour later they were wheeling Lorraine out of recovery and headed towards ICU and I could walk alongside and talk with Lorraine.

She had a very bad headache but they did give her some pain medication and it was getting better.  Once again, I didn’t detect any symptoms that she was having any problems and the recovery room nurse said the same thing.  Lorraine was holding a cup of ice chips so they had allowed her that much at least and they said she didn’t have any problems swallowing, one common issue from this procedure and I was glad she didn’t have any problems with that. 

I had to wait while they got her transferred over to her regular bed in ICU then was allowed in.  She was allowed to move around some in bed but she had to keep her right leg straight and not move it from the hip for 4 hours.  This was because they inserted the camera and other tools in her femur artery and they wanted to make sure the “plug” they used to seal it off had time to do it’s thing without any movement.  She was doing well but was still very tired, sleeping off/on for the first two hours or so. 

The nurse gave her more ice chips, some ice water and a cup of Jello, she was happy to have that as she hadn’t had anything to eat since about 9 pm yesterday evening.  I asked the nurse if Lorraine could have a liquid diet lunch delivered late and she said she would see if she could make that happen.  About an hour later they came by with a tray with some chicken soup, iced tea and another cup of Jello.  They also gave her a menu so she could order a regular, full meal deal for dinner. 

She enjoyed this light lunch and didn’t have any problems swallowing except for a sour throat from the breathing tube she had while in the operating room.  And she was hungry and wanted to have her dinner delivered on the first delivery if possible.  She ordered turkey dinner with gravy and said it was really good.

About 5:00 she was allowed to sit up for the first time since 8:00 this morning.  I was pleased to see that she wasn’t dizzy at all and was able to stand and turn around just fine, yea.  She was only up for about 5 minutes before she had enough but she did just great. 

I was getting pretty tired, didn’t sleep well last night and got up early this morning.  The day shift nurse was working a 12 hour shift and getting off at 7 so I wanted to wait around to see the oncoming nurse before I left.  But it was only a few minutes after 7 when I did leave after meeting the night shift nurse. 

Susy’s was watching our dog so I didn’t have to make a quick run every four hours or so to walk or feed her.  Susy is still recovery from her neck surgery earlier this month and can’t drive yet so I really appreciate her taking care of Misty for me. 

When I left the hospital I just came back to our rig, ate a quick meal and started this note.  I’ll be going back to the hospital about 8 tomorrow morning and the doctor told us he would probably allow her to check out before noon tomorrow so that’s our plan, have her back home by noon tomorrow.

I would like to thank everyone for their prayers and good thoughts for Lorraine as she went through this one more time.  Like I said, everything is fine and we don’t anticipate any problems to crop up overnight although that is why she is in ICU, she gets more attention from the nurses there than if she was in a regular room. 

Susy posted a note on Facebook about Lorraine and she was able to read it and all the replies.  She was happy that so many people were praying for her and wants to thank them.  I’m sure she will be sending out her thanks on facebook tomorrow.

On a side note, I would like everyone to put my BIL John in their prayers.  He has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and needs all the prayers he can get.  Too bad we can’t be there to help you and Thelma at this time but we have to take care of Lorraine’s issues down here.  But we do have you in our thoughts and prayers everyday! 

Thanks   Chuck


Saturday, June 27, 2015

We’re in Santa Clara, California


June 27, 2015                                                                                                                          Lorraine’s report

I  just want to say “Happy Birthday to Rick.”  I really miss him, hope we can see you soon…

Today I had my hair done.  Chuck’s haircut turned out fine, by my hair cut/color was awful.  It was all black, she said it would wash out, but it was waaay too dark and I hated it.  She did it over and it is still way too dark.   It will take a long time for it to grow out.  I have to have someone that will listen to me and have it turn okay.  So that is it for me.  Have a good one.  Hugs,  Lorraine


6/27/15                                                                                                                                        Chuck’s report

Two occasions to talk about today, First, our son is having his birthday today.  Happy Birthday Rick, hope you have a great one.  Second, our friends Richard and Sandy are celebrating their wedding anniversary today with a trip to Vegas.  I know you are having fun there, we’ll make it there with you some year. 

We are still here in California going through and getting Lorraine’s medical issued resolved.  She’s been going to the speech therapist twice a week and had a couple follow ups with her doctor and one with her eye doctor.  The therapist tells her every time how well she is doing and makes note of her progress.

Lorraine’s visit to her eye doctor this week was good.  He checked out the peripheral vision loss in her right eye that came from her stroke and said it is almost back to normal, yea.  He said what little loss she still is experiencing should get better in the next couple of months.  I also asked him about Lorraine driving a car and he said as far as he is concerned, she is good to go there too.  But she doesn’t have permission from the neurologist yet. 

Her regular family doctor set her up with a visit to a cardiologist, just for a check up and suggestion.  He set her up with for a nuclear stress test for Thursday this week.  Based on family history, he wanted to check out a few possible issues and get ahead of them, if she had them. 

She walked a treadmill to get her heart rate up, got a set of x-rays, got injected with some sort of isotope then did the treadmill and x-rays again.  Then she took a break and ate (they suggested a donut so that’s what she had) then one more time on the treadmill and more x-rays.  She was pretty tired after this but made it through just fine, biggest problem was they had trouble getting an IV started, poked her arm/hand 4 times before getting it.  Her hand is very bruised because of this. 

Friday we went to see the doctor for the results of the stress test and good news once again, he said she doesn’t appear to have any issues.  Her blood pressure is under good control and she doesn’t have any blocked arteries in/around her heart that the found, yea.  I guess this was a good week for her, two good reports from two different doctors and her therapist. 

She does have her last aneurysm repair scheduled for this Monday the 29th. Once again, we report to the hospital at 6:15 am and her surgery is scheduled for 8:00.  She is scheduled to stay in the hospital for at least one night and hopefully will be released on Tuesday. 

Last time the doctor fixed (inserted coils in it) one aneurysm and prepped the second one (put a stent in the main artery before/after the aneurysm).  This time he will fix (insert coils) the second aneurysm.  As I understand, once the coils are in place, he injects some material that completely fills the aneurysm and reduces the possibility of them causing any more problems for her.  Sure hope that’s what happens, she’s had enough issues and worries. 

So once again, I’m asking for your prayers and good thoughts for Lorraine as she is going through this one more time.  We hope this will be the last procedure until she returns for a check up in 6 months. 

We are trying to make sure Susy doesn’t spend too much time alone in case she were to fall or have issues from her surgery, she had two discs removed and the vertebras fused in her neck.  We either go to her house or pick her up and have her spend her day with us at our place.  She is able to do lots of normal things, no problem walking but has to be carefully bending, twisting or lifting.  She’s a lot like me in the fact she is trying to get better too quick, I think. 

Monday she had a follow up with her surgeon who checked checked her out and said things are doing/healing well and she should continue wearing her neck brace for another three weeks.  

We haven’t been able to spend as much time with Katie as usual, school’s out and she is busy doing swimming and soccer lessons.  Her aunt Christina is getting married this weekend and she is going to be one of the flower girls, she is looking forward to that.  Her other grandmother, Mary, came down from Seattle for the wedding so she is trying to get some time visiting her too.  All in all, Katie is a busy little girl who’s growing up too fast, I find it hard to believe she’s already 10 years old.  But at least she’s not 10 going on 20, she is quite content to be a girl and play with her dolls, her friends and such. 

Last weekend we made a day trip to Santa Cruz with Susy and Mike.  We toured parts of the beach, part of the town, the college, had a great meal and a better day.  It was good to get out and not have to think too much about doctors and surgeons and such. 

We’ve sure been enjoying the fruits and vegetables we get this time of the year.  Susy said she thinks we have eaten two watermelons every week along with all the nectarines, peaches, grapes, cantaloupes, honeydews, oranges and such.  We have had BBQs at Susy’s place quite a few times plus Lorraine and Susy have fixed a few very nice meals too.  I guess the easy way to say it is, I certainly ain’t starving. 

Once again, I have great things to say about the weather we’ve had this past two weeks.  We had a few days when the temperature get into the 90s but most days we only get into the 80s.  This area seems to have a repelling factor for rain, some of the other portions of the Bay Area have gotten a little bit of rain but we’ve only had enough to get the cars dirty.

We have no travel plans yet, waiting on this next procedure for Lorraine before we attempt to make any plans.  We have started the process to get our house ready for sale again, it’s tough to do when we aren’t there.  The guy we hired is finishing up replacing the front and back decks, a big job but the pictures I’ve seen look good.  Here’s hoping for a quick sale, lots of folks say the market is picking up now and people are looking to purchase before the interest rates are raised.   

One of the natural bridges at the beach in Santa Cruz. 

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A flock of pelicans on the left, up the beach on the right. 

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The same rock, on the left on low water, on the right, as a wave is coming in.  Looks to be about 4’ waves. 

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Another natural bridge and another beach picture. 

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The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum. 

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One of the 20 or so Missions in California, this one is the one in Santa Cruz. 

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The dormitory, Lorraine coming out of one of the rooms. 

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Whole families lived in one of these rooms. 

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The one on the right was rented out to a family as late as 1950, still not for me. 

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Some large trees behind the dorm. 

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That’s Susy beside one of them. 

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Just a nice house on the left.  A large Catholic Church in town. 

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UC Santa Cruz College.  A large tree on campus. 

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On the right, Mike is climbing the tree.

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Finally, we go to the beach.  Surprise, pictures of Lorraine getting her feet in the water. 

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Susy and Lorraine in the surf.  Susy is wearing her neck brace. 

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Katie and Nana working on a project in our coach. 

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Lorraine’s hand showing where the IV bruised her hand.  Susy says “You should have seen the other guy”, ha. 

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Guess that’s it, I’ll attempt to get this posted now.

Thanks   Chuck



Sunday, June 14, 2015

We’re in Santa Clara, California


6/14/15                                                                                                                                       Chuck’s report

Not much to write about this week, just wanted to get an update on both Susy and Lorraine’s recovery.  Short version, both are doing fine.  More on both later.

This week has been sort of a quiet week, we didn’t attempt many things, kept pretty close to home.  We did make it to one speech therapy session for Lorraine, the second session was canceled due to the therapist calling in sick.  First time In awhile that she’s only had one session in a given week. 

We made a couple of trips to the store, to the mall once and made a short stop at the swap meet to get some fruits and vegetables.  Susy and Lorraine were both able to do the walking portion pretty well although Susy did take a nap afterwards, she was tired.  Susy isn’t supposed to lift anything over 5# so I was along to carry the bags. 

Thursday we went to Katie’s school for her last day of school.  Her teacher had a deal set up in the classroom with a slide show of all the kids and their activities throughout the year.  I didn’t know they had gone on so many field trips this year.  The kids were sure excited but I was amazed how well they settled down when asked.  They were all proud to be 5th graders next year. 

Saturday morning there were a couple of classic cars parked in the street in front of us and more kept showing up every once in awhile.  Lorraine and I walked out to see them, there was about 15 or so.  One of the owners told us they had a car show and BBQ here at the Elks and they were just waiting to get inside and parked. 

Susy found there was a Relay for Life Cancer Walk in Sunnyvale, just a few miles North of us, and Lorraine wanted to attend.  This is a major fund raising event for the American Cancer Society and has been going on for 25 years now.  She has made one of these every year since her bout with cancer back in 2000, 15 year cancer free!! 

We drove to the middle school where the event was happening and shortly Susy, Katie and Mark came by too.  This was a small event, we’ve been to some fairly large ones over the years.  Lorraine met a few other survivors and some of the volunteers too.  One of them mentioned to her about another Rely Cancer Walk held later in the afternoon, this one back near Susy’s house and Lorraine wanted to try to attend this one too. 

Lorraine walked the first lap, the survivors’ lap, as always but this time they asked the caregivers to walk the other way and meet them halfway.  Then they could walk together.  It was getting pretty warm so after the first lap, we checked out a few of the tents, Susy bought a couple of items then we headed to our cars.  Mark and Katie were heading for one of Katie’s friends house and we headed to our place. 

There were lots more classic cars out front so we decided to once again walk out and see them.  By now there must have been 50 or so cars, some were really nice and others were work in progress type.  They were getting registered and driving into the back lot when we left, nice.  Don’t know why but I didn’t bring the camera either time, shoot. 

After our walk, we picked up Misty then drove over to Susy’s where we filled up on water, dropped off the dog and headed to the second Cancer Walk of the day.  This one was pretty small also but they said most of the towns around here are starting their own Walks so there are more but most are smaller.  I imagine they will grow as the years pass.  Unfortunately, until a cure is found, there will be more lives touched by cancer.  

Once again, Lorraine walked the first lap with about 10 other survivors.  By now it was getting HOT so we didn’t stay too long after that, needed to get someplace and cool off. 

We thought about going to a movie but when we got there, the show we wanted to see was already sold out.  So we just headed back to Susy’s house for the rest of the afternoon.  We had a nice time and a good steak BBQ dinner too. 

Susy got out of the hospital last Sunday about noon and we came back to our place where she stayed with us for a few days and nights.  She is getting along very well although I think she may be pushing herself a bit.  She has a neck brace and says it gets hot therefore she likes to take it off as often as she can.  But she does wear it whenever she is in the car and when walking, just has it off around the house and such. 

She has pretty well weaned herself off the pain pills although she does take one at night, helps her get to sleep.  Like I said, she is able to walk with no problem other than her sight is a bit limited due to her neck brace keeping her from seeing her feet.  She was using a cane for support while walking for the first 5 or 6 days but says she doesn’t need it anymore. 

Her incision site looks good, the doctor did a good job of following a natural crease on her neck so when it heals it will not be very noticeable.  Some of the stiches were left a bit long and she wanted them trimmed back but otherwise it looks good and seems to be healing nicely. 

She has spent the last three nights at her place but someone is always there with her just in case.  I don’t want her to be alone for any length of time yet, just in case she were to fall or something.  She may have to spend a few nights at our place again but that’s better than being by herself and having an issue when she’s by herself. 

Lorraine is still showing signs of more recovery in her speech.  She did see her family doctor this week and everything was OK.  She did suggest that Lorraine see a Cardiologist as a precaution so we’ve set that appointment up with him for Tuesday. 

We also called the doctor at Stanford to see about the results from the heart monitor she wore for two weeks.  They called back later and said they would send the complete results to her doctors but the short version was they didn’t find any problems.  One of the main things they wanted to check was to see if she had A Fib or an unusual heartbeat.  Folks who have A Fib are at a much higher risk of stroke and we wanted to make sure that wasn’t an issue with Lorraine. 

This sort of re-enforces what her neurologist told us last time, that his best guess was the aneurysms were the cause of both of her strokes.  We may never know for sure but it’s nice to have the A Fib issue and both aneurysms repaired and not worry about either of them causing another stroke.  Would really be nice if she never has another one!!!

Just for info, Lorraine is scheduled to have her last aneurysm repaired on the 29th of this month.  I’ll send out a notice before that as a reminder to put her in your prayers and thoughts for that procedure.  And of course, any time you want to pray for us and our family, we’ll take it!!

The weather is once again warming up.  The forecast was for a heat advisory in the area earlier in the week but we only had 1 1/2 days of high temps, low 90s, before it clouded up and started raining on Tuesday.  This was a fairly good storm, I heard the area got more rain from this unusual timed storm than in the normally rainy month of January.  But the area still needs lots more rain to fill the reservoirs, they are pretty low and the whole state is on heavy water restrictions. 

Friday and Saturday the temps once again climbed into the upper 80s, low 90s with no sign of clouds.  The hills are mostly brown now, not much sign of green up there. 

We are planning on staying here until after Lorraine has been given a clean bill of health after her next procedure.  I don’t know the exact follow up plans after that but will certainly be here as needed afterwards.  Although we are both ready to go someplace, we’ll stay around here as long as necessary. 

I know there are some pictures in the camera so I’ll go through them and add some. 

Katie and her best friend on the last day of school. 

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Katie with a big hat at the Cancer Walk.  Lorraine is holding the blue flag on the right. 

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During the first lap. 

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At the second Cancer Walk.  Lorraine under the red umbrella on the right. 

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Lorraine and Susy, she has her neck brace on here. 

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The Cancer Survivors wear the purple shirts. 


Ok, that’s all.  I’ll get this posted and get on with our day. 

Thanks   Chuck