Friday, November 15, 2019

Eating Heart Healthy

All my spare time has been dedicated to hunting down recipes that are low in sodium and saturated fat. I suppose I should be happy that they did not include sugar in the prohibited list. 

Sugar is pretty easy. You can find a plethora of products without sugar. Salt ….. well I am here to tell you that is not so easy. You can pretty much eliminate any prepared foods and packaged stuff. Even canned goods have sodium. Hunts does provide salt free tomato sauce and tomato paste. He is allowed 1200 grams per day. That is not a lot. He could wipe that out in one meal. HeWho had a habit of salting all the food on his plate BEFORE even tasting it. 

The sale shakers have all been removed from sight and he is into Mrs. Dash. I confess that I am not a fan. The other habit he has had to eliminate from his life is smoking. Despite my nagging, begging and cajoling he refused to even try any of the medications available to help. No patches or gum for him. As a result, he had to quit quite abruptly when his heart refused to allow it anymore. Being in the hospital for 10 days took care of the initial withdrawal. Did not hurt that he had morphine for any twinge of chest pain.

Now that we are home, he has become addicted to Jolly Ranchers. Oh, and gum. His favorite is bubble gum. Smells a lot better than cigarettes! Not that he smoked inside, but I could smell it on his clothes. 

Food is my biggest obstacle. I am eating what he eats and let me just say, it is not tasty. I confess to sneaking a little salt on mine. I found a recipe for Taco seasoning with no salt. I will be trying it out tomorrow. I found some tortillas relatively low is sodium and can manage to let him have two tacos and stay within his sodium limits.

After losing 12 lbs. in the hospital, he continues to lose weight. He did not need to lose any weight. Low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium food is not helping with the dropped pounds. He is drinking Ensure twice a day. If he finds that palatable, then having no salt should not be an issue. He offered me a taste, but my gag reflex took over with just the smell. I just couldn't bring myself to put my lips on the bottle.

When asked what he would like for any meal, the answer is the same, "A nice juicy ribeye and French fries." He can have red meat ONCE a week. He is not happy about that. Thanksgiving dinner should be fun.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

An Hour Gone By

I should probably take my blood pressure and go hide in a dark quiet space.

Upon the release of the very sick man from the hospital, the nurse went over everything very carefully. There was an issue of discontinuing some of his current meds and starting some new ones. I made it a point to ask about the new prescriptions being called in to Humana mail-order pharmacy and I was assured it had been taken care of. Twice I asked. Then I made sure that the new drugs would also be called in to the local pharmacy for a one month supply to tide us over until Humana shipped the drugs.

Made sense. I enunciate and speak clearly and I don't think I come across as the hysterical spouse with the very sick man. I have been managing his drugs, well, forever. He has not a clue about what he swallows when I hand it to him or he tips the pill taker in his hand.

But, today, as I am about to fill the pill taker, I decide to call Humana and make sure it has all been taken care of. An hour of my life I will NEVER get back. Short story, it was NOT called in. I hate incompetence. Taking care of prescriptions is not a good field to work in if you do not plan to follow through with what you tell the patient. I can assure you that he would have just run out of the new prescriptions, assuming that it had all been dealt with. Him and how many other people who leave the hospital and don't think to question and then investigate.

So, already annoyed that things have not been taken care of, I am greeted with a perky voice with an accent I cannot place. Just know that English is not her first language. She is nice and courteous, but I would take gruff and knowledgeable over that any day. Be rude, I don't care, as long as you can do your job and make things happen. 

I tell her that I need to have 4 of his current prescriptions on file discontinued. After answering a series of identifying questions that I had already answered and giving the phone to the very sick man to give his permission for me to handle his medications (something they already have on file … or should), I proceed with the name of the first drug. I am ready to give her the name of the second one when she begins telling me the last shipping date of the first drug and what the estimated cost is and when I can expect it! NOOOOO, I scream in my head while I bang it against the cabinet door.

Deep breath and I start all over again, saying that he will NOT be taking this drug in the future, as it has been replaced with a different drug. They have my credit card on file and I do not want to pay for something we can't use. You cannot return a prescription once it leaves the facility.

So, we come to an understanding and I start again with the second drug and suddenly I was transported to Groundhog Day and it happened all over again. I see my mistake now that I am living it for the second time. I used the term "discontinue" and she was using the term "deactivate". Means the same thing, but, if she has been trained with only one term to apply to this action, then this is the term she knows and will not know what to do with other terms that mean the same thing. Part of the insanity that people get so frustrated with when dealing with companies who outsource their customer service.

Finally, having made clear what I need done, we go on to the new prescriptions. I give her the names, dosage, and instructions on the three new drugs. I give her the doctor's name, address and phone number. Oh no! I do not have the fax number!! She puts me on hold while she gets it. I feel my pulse pounding in my temples. I wonder what would happen if I had a stroke while on hold. The very sick man would find me, his caregiver, crumpled in the kitchen floor still attached to Humana Pharmacy. 

I am on hold for awhile, so my mind has time to wander. There is no easy access to get an ambulance stretcher into our living quarters and I see myself being dragged by my feet through the door into the store and around the registration desk to the front door where they will heave me onto a stretcher and get my vital signs, if I have any left. I decide right then that my plan to rearrange things will definitely be activated. Activated, a word the lady on the phone would understand.

She pops back into my ear with the good news that she has gotten the fax number and verified it! She wants to share the number with me. Why would I need it, I stupidly wonder aloud. So I will have it for my records. Learned my lesson with that first question and do not voice my thoughts any more and just take the number. Hoping that the call will end soon, as I have had 3 calls that I ignored while on the mission of taking care of the very sick man's drugs.

Then I sabotage my own life by asking about the other new drug that I have not included in her list. Brilinta. New drugs are expensive, but Astra Zenica may be able to help. I just wanted a price quote with my current insurance. Over $400. I will be contacting Astra Zenica for help. I tell her to leave it off her list of drugs and that I will be getting it elsewhere. This sends her into a litany of  telling me that if a drug is prescribed, then the patient needs it. I breathe deeply and just let her go on. The phone call seems to be near the end!

Hope runs deep. But, now I am put on hold after being told that the only one who can deactivate the drugs is the pharmacy technician and I have to give the order to him. She comes back on the line after about three minutes and proceeds to introduce me to the pharmacy tech, who seems as thrilled as I am about meeting each other via the customer rep.

He deactivates the four drugs and I am excited to end the call and see who has been calling me. I am on my cell phone and not the store phone. Hoping it is not one of my kids with something wrong. I check the recent calls. Six, count them, six from the same number. It is Humana asking me to take a short survey about the quality of their customer service. I gave them what they asked for. I doubt it will do any good, but I was able to voice my opinion at the end of the multiple choice ratings.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Old People Chair

HeWho was gifted an old people chair. I had purchased a recliner with heat and massage for him and heard endless complaints about how uncomfortable the chair was.

While my son was here and HeWho was safely tucked away in the hospital, I tried this chair out. He was right. First of all, the seat area was tight and not very accommodating to my generous derriere. HeWho took no-ass-at-all tablets his entire life and this was not the problem he had with the chair. 

The reclining of the chair did not bring the leg support to a level that was comfortable, making me feel like I might slide down to the floor. Especially with my lap full of dogs. Considering the weakened state of the man of the house, the chair had to go. The heat and massage function works fine, but is just not worth the level of discomfort. Wayfair, I thought they had just what I needed.

But, old people chair to the rescue. I wish I had video of all the older guys here, watching HeWho demonstrate the lift mechanism of his chair. Much amazement going on as I heard someone comment, "Look, it will stand him up!!" Just a bunch of grown little boys looking at someone's latest toy.

Kevin was jealous, so another old people chair came into the park today for him. I see more coming in the future. Just think of all the energy they can save by not having to create the momentum to expel themselves up and out of the chair!

Me, the one with arthritis, well, I am still sitting on my young people mini sectional. If you were here, you would notice all the popping of joints as I struggle to rise after sitting for too long. I am nothing if not long suffering!

Many thanks to Bud, the benefactor of old people chairs. He is a generous guy! 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Pharmacy Is Out Of Drugs

I am exhausted! I would rather mow all 17 acres of fields with the push mower than do all this running around! I have gained a new appreciation for HeWho and his willingness to run endless errands.

Here's hoping he will be back up to the task soon. He had an appointment with his primary care provider (PCP) this afternoon. They gave him the pneumonia shot and will be setting up his rehab. The problems with living in the middle of nowhere are becoming increasingly apparent. Cardiac rehab is usually done in the hospital.

Now, I am quite familiar with the drive to the hospital, but it is an hour one way. If it is important to be in the hospital for this rehab, then the patient should not be driving himself to that rehab. That is my take away. HeWho seems to think otherwise and has said he is perfectly capable of driving himself. I think it is kind of cute that he thinks he will have any say in it.

After the visit at the clinic we headed to the pharmacy to pick up some nitroglycerin. Kind of important to have on hand. The pharmacy was out of nitroglycerin! Maybe it is just me, but I would think that particular item would be a staple. They promised to have it tomorrow. Oh, goody, another trip to town.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Still Waiting For My Halloween Costume

Today was a long one. HeWho continues to get stronger, so we left here this morning to sit at the hospital with kamper Cheryl while kamper Craig was in surgery to have the lower lobe of his lung removed.

He was in his room when we left the hospital and doing as expected, considering the procedure. In a lot of pain, that can't be avoided. But we were happy to hear that the cancer did not spread! Can't wait to get him home and healing along with HeWho is complaining that he should be all better by now.

Funny how tiring it is to sit and wait! I managed to spill coffee in my lap. Fortunately, the coffee was not hot and my pants are black. Too much time to sit and think. I have decided to completely redo the office/store. I won't be sharing this plan with HeWho is healing.

I recently bought a small shed from a camper that was leaving. It is small and I wanted it to keep all my gardening stuff in. My very own she shed! I managed to store all the Halloween props and my garden tools and pots in it. It is quite full and I doubt HeWho would be able to stash anything in it.

I painted the front porch rails. They were black. I went through a period of painting all trim black. I am done with my black paint phase. My new happy color is bright white. I painted the porch trim and the door white. Looks so clean and bright. I didn't go nuts, though. I left the windows and the trim around door black. The building is painted gray and will need to have a good coat applied come Spring. Martha, the boy cat, has left his mark on all the cedar posts. He sharpens his claws out there. We will be having a long talk about this bad habit. I will talk and Martha will listen. I don't know just how much good it will do. I know he understands me, but he is a cat and apt to do what he wants anyway.

In the meantime I will be measuring and mentally placing things in the store in a different setting. As it is, I am facing the door and the sun will hit the chrome on a vehicle and bounce the light directly into my eyes, blinding me. I also do not have a good view of the vehicles coming in and out of the park unless I happen to be looking out the window. I want to remedy that. I need to know who is coming in and out. I want to know everything!!

Did I mention that my Halloween costume did not come in before Halloween? Turns out I had no need of it, since I was back and forth to the hospital. But I paid for expedited shipping! It did not come today, either.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

A New Normal

Adjusting to a new normal here. HeWho scared me, is still very weak. He sleeps a lot and tires easily. I feel like a mother with a newborn ... just wish he would stay where I put him!

I am dustiung off old nursing skills. I am the pill giver, blood pressure and temperature monitor. Most of all I am the person saying, "NO, you can't do that!!" His heart took a big hit. Some damage cannot be repaired. His new doctor will be looking at the blockages left untouched at a later date. HeWho was expecting to bounce back like he did 20 years ago when he felt immediately better after the stent procedure. 

His appetite is returning and it is challenging to find snacks he can have and keep the fat and sodium level down. HeWho thinks eating fruit should be in pie form. With lots of whipped cream or ice cream topping it off. He hasn't actually wrinkled his nose at my creations low in fat and sodium, but it is early days.

His truck keys were confiscated by Kevin and underwent a thorough cleaning by Craig and Kevin. All cigarettes are gone, along with fat laden snacks he may have had stashed there. He still is not allowed to drive and when he does achieve that goal, I will insist on a passenger riding along. I will not be leaving him alone when I have errands to run, since last time he picked up Cujo and Eddie, both dogs exceed that 5lb. limit.

Yes, he will have a sitter! I am having trouble sleeping. I find myself waking frequently to check on him. I managed to take down all the Halloween decor in the past two days. I pulled my three bins out to store it all and found that I needed another bin to store it all. Why does it seem to grow? I did add a lot with the spooky trail, but it seems to have overflowed into the child sized casket someone gave us years ago.

Why someone would have a casket hanging around in their basement is weird enough. The fact that my husband eagerly accepted this "gift" and put it in his "barn" is equally disturbing. We do use it on Halloween. One year we had some people here with a child around 5 years old and his father urged him to get in the casket and "act like your dead". That was really creepy. Anyway, I am using the casket to store some props. So, I now have 4 bins and a casket, along with other props that will not be contained.

Weather is promising to be nice today and I plan to paint the front porch. HeWho can sit in a rocker and chat with me. He took two short walks outside yesterday and two long naps. He was ready to go to bed at 7:30! I convinced him to sit up until 8:30, which will be 7:30 tonight with the time change. He is messing up my nightly pill schedule!! He is still abed and it is 8:30 now (9:30 old time). 13 hours in bed would make my joints cry out!! Time to wake him to take his morning dose of pills.

Thanks to all the kind comments and concern and prayers from everyone. I felt them all. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Home, Day Two

I collected my husband from the hospital yesterday around noon. I am wondering if it was easier to have him in the hospital and visit, or here and wait on him and control his actions!

While I was in town picking up his new prescriptions, he picked up the dogs! The instructions say nothing over 5 lbs. None of our babies weigh less than 5 lbs. 

My new challenge is to feed a man who applies salt to his entire plate of food before even tasting, something palatable without salt. Mrs. Dash came home with the skim milk and shredded wheat. He hates oatmeal. His idea of oatmeal is a Little Debbie cake. I did get the shredded wheat with frosting. He wants steak for dinner. I will give him steak, but he is not going to be excited for any more steak. His baked potato will be equally bland. Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.

No more smoking. I bought a good supply of jolly ranchers and chewing gum. Too bad he can't have a pacifier!

The new prescriptions have been doled out in the pill taker and the discontinued ones put back in the bottles. The kitchen has been cleaned out and all the food he loves has been redistributed or tossed. I will just eat whatever he eats. Can't hurt, might even be good for me. He lost 12 lbs. during his stay. I think I might have dropped 2 lbs.

He is still very weak and it makes me nervous to leave him for an extended period of time. I am afraid he will fall or trip over the crazy cat. I feel like I have a newborn, except that he can get up at will.

Kevin gave me the store phone yesterday. He was happy to hand it over. I am back 100% now. Just trying to acclimate to my new normal. Thanks to all of you for the prayers and good thoughts. I have been surrounded with so many wonderful people throughout this event. 

Blogger buddy Linda, of Write From The Heart fame hunted me down at the hospital during the surgical procedure. She was afraid I might be alone. I am blessed to have so many people in my life! I had my son, Jeff and Drew's cousin (more like a little sister), Doris and her husband Kevin with me. Kampers Terry and Sharon, and Craig and Cheryl with me until the surgery was over.

Now that we are home I have a park full of help at my disposal! I am looking forward to a nice day tomorrow that will not be spent in a vehicle running errands!!