Sunday, January 31, 2010

Going out to breakfast !!!!

It's 10 degrees out and Mr. DEDS wants to attempt to go out to breakfast somewhere! And to take pics for his blog!

Update on how we do when we get back....


OK.....we're back.

Upon leaving the house, Mr. Downeastdoingstuff says, "Let's see how the lake looks first." (That was his first thought.)

So, off we go to Sebago Lake. Sebago Lake has a nice boat launch that is used in the winter for the ice fishermen. (ICE FISHERMEN n. 1. A lifeform, from unknown origin, that has lost its mind and labors under the illusion that fishing, especially  when it's 10 degrees outside, is fun.)

Now, Mr. DEDS hasn't been out very much since his heart repair and need to be careful. He still has some anxiety/hyperventilation issues that he needs to conquer. So, cognizant of this, I pull the car up to the ice as close as physically possible so that he could just open the door, step outside, and take a shot.



Off he goes......slow but steady.....out toward the ice. Just a little at first, and then a little more.

Next thing I know he's ON the glassy ice in his Sperry Rand topsider boat shoes, shuffling along.

And he keeps going....

Meanwhile, I'm in the car freaking out. I've seen him lose his breath just opening a bag of prunes. (That's another story...) As recent as last night!

I unbuckle my seatbelt just in case I need to make a dash for him. My hand is on the door handle ala Meryl Streep in Bridges of Madison County in a white knuckled grip.

I have issues with lake ice under normal conditions. I do not believe that it can hold a lot of weight. I KNOW that if I, Elenkaever step out onto a frozen body of water, EVEN if there are trucks, snowmobiles, ice shacks, overweight fishermen and elephants on it, the additional weight that my body would put on the ice would be the straw that breaks the camel's back. So I don't even try.

But there goes my delicate, newly repaired husband, getting smaller and smaller in the grey distance.

I just about called the psychiatric version of 911.......for myself. I was that freaked out.

Would YOU walk out onto this......EVER??? Even in perfect health?  Not me.

Oh yeah, we did go out for breakfast, to the Front Room. It was very nice.
Then after that, I chauffeured him around town, down obscure streets along the docks, dodging wharf cats and high tide puddles. All for the cause of his blog

Another adventure under our belts.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

He's drained....

"Mr. Doingstuff, we couldn't find the really big, gargantuan needle, so we're going to have to use this one. We'll just do it a couple of times."

Mr. Downeastdoingstuff is now one Liter lighter.

1 Liter = 1.05668821  Quarts (US)

That's how much fluid was sucked out of dear hubby's chest cavity.

1 Liter of stuff pressing against his delicate, pink little lung.

No wonder he couldn't breathe!!

Now he's probably going to start talking foolish again. 

We can't have everything.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It's three weeks today since Mr. Downeastdoingstuff's surgery. He's doing pretty well. There's just a concern with him being able to breathe. Now, I'm no nurse (well documented), but even without medical training,  I know that one should be able to breathe. I think it's a right or something. His issue is that he never knows, when he gets up from a sitting position, how far he will get without doubling over to catch his breath. Sometimes he's fine. Sometimes he's not. He would never know when the issue would arise.

It became quite annoying, to say the least, and rather inconvenient. 

Another glitch that came up was he developed a condition called Thrush. In his mouth. It may have been from all the plumbing that was in his mouth after the surgery. I assumed they would disinfect those things, but maybe not. The economy is bad everywhere.

So, for those of you that don't know, Thrush is when everything in your mouth and throat is bright red (sometimes white) and feels like someone ran coarse sandpaper all over the inside of your mouth for about 20 minutes with an orbital sander. It makes it rather difficult to eat, even the magic medicine (at least for me) Ice Cream.

So, Mr. DEDS was losing weight everyday. Some of that weight loss was welcome, although he was rather svelte before, in my eyes, but I wouldn't think, health-wise, that this was the right time for a diet. 

So another new medicine was administered and that problem is improving. I am just drinking my wine to make sure I am in good shape to dish out the ice cream when he's ready.

So, back to the breathing stuff. It appears he has fluid in one of his lungs. It is not his heart.

We had our first appointment with the surgeon yesterday and he diagnosed this current ailment.  He said his heart sounded terrific, his low blood pressure is the way it's supposed to be right now and the weight loss is good. But the fluid has to go.


Tomorrow the doctor is going to take an enormous, gigantic, gargantuan needle and poke it in between a couple of ribs and suck the offending liquid out. No prob.

Of course, this was the same doctor that thought the heart surgery itself was no prob.

We all have our things, I guess.

And thank God for that.

                                                        Really big needle.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New painting....

Last July, Susan, on her blog, posted a picture of this scene she took in an area near her home in Nova Scotia. (Lucky Susan, no?) I loved the photograph so much, I asked her permission to paint it.....and she said YES. Took me a while to get started, but now, finally, it's done.
(I did move the ship/boat a little for composition purposes.) The paint used is tempera and the size is 29" x 21". I really loved working on it. 
(You can click on it to enlarge it.)
Thanks so much Susan!!!!!!!!

Note: Mr. Downeastdoingstuff photographed it for me. He is improving baby steps at a time. Seems to find it hard to fill his day, now that I, his major source of pathetic entertainment, am back at work. It's very hard to do anything. His mind wants to do things that his body is not ready to do. But he'll get there, right Don??

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My top Eleven list....

Top eleven things to know if you suck as a nurse but are relegated to be a nurse anyway, kicking and screaming:

#11. Do not leave the hospital until you twice interrogate every single doctor, nurse and candystripper you see  about what you should do with the heart patient at home.

#10. Have stuff ready for the heart patient to do, ie. laptop, books, magazines, camera,
tissues, spirometer and TV, so he doesn't bug you all day. (because he WILL!)

#9. Get a Netflix subscription. (In this case a gift from a dear friend!) Put 400 movies into the movie queue.

#8. Drink wine.

#7. Put all pills into a teeny-weeny, small plastic cup before administering to the heart patient, so they all get swallowed. (This doesn't explain the pink pill that was found on the couch today.)

#6. Tell heart patient you are going to the Post Office (in our case) to get all his new get well cards because you know how good it makes him feel to open them. (**Mostly it gets you out of the house so you don't have to listen to all the weird grunts and groans for a while....)

#5. Move out of your own pillow top bed with the heated mattress pad for the foreseeable future and onto the couch in the next room. Plan on it. Live with it.

#4. Keep a detailed  chart of when all the medicines were given. (Take a few yourself.)

#3. Drink wine.

#2. Plan to get right up again every single time you sit down to get, move, find or throw out something.

#1. Two tablets of Senecol followed by 10 dried prunes in the morning make for an interesting day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First outing....Walmart! (parking lot)

There are many souvenirs of our adventure last week. This handy-dandy drinking cup from the hospital, which was invaluable when he was there. It's losing it's novelty here at home, but we have other cups....

The flowers behind the cup settling in next to the Christmas Poinsettia.

Many cards and food from family and friends.

THIS ring was around my neck. If Mr. Downeastdoingstuff couldn't wear it, (for the first time since we were married) then I was going to wear it. And I did. Along with the heart locket he gave me a long time ago. (which houses a photo of my son when he was little, and it used to have a picture of Mr. Downeastdoingstuff at one time, but he fell out....)

Today he got to put it back on. So now when he hugs the heart pillow the hospital gave him to use when coughing or sneezing, the ring is in its rightful place. Amen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

He's home!!!!!!!!!!!!

Home sweet home, that's for sure. That's for darn sure!

My sweetie is home. I arrived at the hospital this morning to participate in a 'class' for patients and family on "Going Home...". A sweet, sweet nurse outlined the details of what life at home will, should, might be like. There were 2 other patients there, all men, one other guy with his wife. One man appeared to be half asleep during the informal presentation and the other guy was moving furniture around and hopping around like a bunny. (He was promptly told to cool it...)

There was still a chance he might not go home, as we were waiting for the results of a blood test to see how well his blood was thinning. The results came back just under the wire for going home-ability, and he got the OK!

He really didn't eat or sleep well in the hospital, or as they say in England, didn't sleep well in hospital, but on the way home he made me stop at a local deli and get an 'Italian' (New England) sandwich and a large container of beef stew, which he promptly devoured! We started watching Julie and Julia, upon which he fell asleep in the recliner. He slept for about 2 hours and now is reading his e-mails on his laptop!!

Here's hoping for a strong and uneventful recovery, because, as I told you before...I 'suck' as a nurse!

Happy Day !!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fifth Day.....

Pretty good day. He's getting bored, but he's also tired. He isn't getting much sleep ..... it's a pretty noisy place and they keep coming in and out of the room. He's eating a little, but not great. It's very tough to cough. He's been walking around as he can now, with the aid of a walker, get up and walk himself down the halls and to the room where the computers are. He even left a comment on his own blog today! (Good job, Birdman!)

He still might be coming home tomorrow, but we still don't have the final OK. His sugar levels are still a little too high. 

My son and I went in to visit this afternoon and before I knew it, after our walk, #1 son laid on the bed and promptly fell asleep and Mr. Downeastdoingstuff fell asleep in the lounge chair and there I was, staring at the both of them sleeping. The nurses thought it was quite humorous. I read the paper, did a crossword puzzle and went and got an ice cream in the family kitchen. I almost fell asleep as well! We're an exciting bunch.

Hopefully I'll be tellling you all next that he's home. Although I don't want him home if he's not ready. I, myself, am not ready for that!

Thanks for all of your comments of support. It means a lot to me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fourth Day....

Today at around 3 it was exactly four days since the operation. We were told that this would be a roller coaster ride, and so far it has been.

Today Mr. Downeastdoingstuff experienced what they think was like a panic attack. He had just finished eating supper and felt bloated and warm. Went into the bathroom and then he just didn't feel right. Nurse came in and his numbers were a little off, but soon came back to normal. Later a doctor came in and explained that this could happen. It needs to be mind over matter. But I still find it worrisome.

Now they say he's probably coming home on Monday. I would rather that anyway, because then, at 10:00 am we can both go to a little class on what to do and expect when going home after heart surgery. They don't offer this class on Sundays. Also, apparently, a visiting nurse will come out and evaluate what he might and might not need at home. ( Guess I need to clean the house!)

He's is also struggling with nasal congestion, something he gets even at home. The air is so dry in room at the hospital. They finally brought him a humidifier to use.

His roommate went home tonight, 2 days after a lung operation!!!! Good grief! Just a young guy.

So I'm home. It's 10 degrees out and I stopped for some groceries on the way home around 10 pm.

So......tomorrow is another day.

Third Day.....

What a change! Yesterday (Friday) was his best so far. He had the drainage tubes removed which made him much more mobile, although the process they utilized to remove them was very technical and complex:

"We're going to take these tubes out today."
"OK. Good"
"Now this is going to hurt somewhat...."
Nurse grabs a hold of the 1/2 diameter clear tube protruding out of patients stomach and using her best pull out methods, with one good yank, out it comes.
"&^$@$%*(((()(*&#@@@#$%!!!!!!!!!!!",  replies the patient.

By the time I got to visit Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, he had already taken two walks, and had managed to eat more than yesterday. He seemed much more comfortable, although we all would probably be more comfortable if we didn't have a garden hose in our guts anymore.

Just looking at the way he was sitting in the lounge chair told me so much. Much more relaxed, leg crossed or one foot up on the bed and leaning back. I could tell he was feeling much better. There is still a tube in his neck, I think it's a port because it wasn't connected to any saline bags and he is still on oxygen and still wired to the temporary pacemaker. But all in all, a much better day.

They tell him that he might be coming home on Sunday!!

Guess I have to go out and load up his birdfeeders which I just noticed are empty. I've been coming home in the dark everyday and didn't notice that. It's 20 degrees out in I'm in my PJ's. That ain't happening for a while.......

Friday, January 8, 2010

Second Day....

They told him that the second day would be one of the worst, and it was. He is being weaned off of a lot of the meds he was on, including the push button morphine doohickey. He was administered a pill for the pain that made him extremely nauseous and sweaty and his 'numbers' were thrown off. (their words, not mine)(sounds like some Las Vegas terminology)
He was feeling so poorly that he called me and asked me not to come in right after school. I was to wait a few hours so that he could rest.
I kept myself busy at school because it would have been pointless to go all the way home. So my nervous energy got a lot of work done in my classroom!!
Fortunately when I finally got up there around six, he was feeling much better.
His color is very good. They did take him out for his first walk in the morning. He managed just fine but said that his legs felt very weak, plus he has no appetite. I, myself, because somebody has to do it, had to eat his ice cream.
The nursing staff continues to be a source of wonderment.
I still keep asking him to try and stay there, oh, about 3 weeks and that I WOULD come up and visit him everyday, but he doesn't want to for some reason. Since I 'suck' as a nurse (sorry), I thought that was a great idea, but it didn't go over very well.
Seriously, I'm looking forward to Saturday. I am tired. My alarm at 5:20 am is not welcoming these days.
I am so thankful to all family and friends who have been so supportive. The support from my cyber friends, many of which I have never met, has been wonderful. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's over!

Heart surgery for Mr.Downeastdoingstuff aka Birdman finally happened yesterday.

Surgery was scheduled for 12:30 pm. We went into the hospital in the morning and spent time with him until around 11, when they took him to the holding area for surgery. Not knowing where to go and how to get there in this massive hospital, the driver of the bed told us to come into the elevator with him and he would drop us off at the floor where the cardiac waiting rooms are.
That was one of the hardest parts, for us. Having said goodbye and wishing him well in his room, we now found ourselves leaving the elevator with Mr. DEDS/Birdman still inside. We tried to hold it together as best as we could for him, but were overwrought with emotion as the elevator door slowly shut with us on the outside waving goodbye to the inside of the elevator. 

The operation was supposed to take 2 1/2 hours and actually took 2 3/4 hours. Not bad.
The doctor came in and told us that everything went very, very well and he was happy with the outcome. His valve did NOT have to be replaced, just repaired. That was what we were hoping for. 

After about 45 minutes more, we were able to go into the ICU and see him. We were told that he would look terrible and to be prepared, but I think it was one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. There he was, not really bloated, pretty good color, breathing calmly with 20 million machines, tubes, wires and pumps all making sure my guy was alright. We stayed for about 5 minutes, talked to him a little and then left. I knew he didn't know we were there, but just in case he somehow subconsciously felt our presence, we wanted to be there. This was about 4:30, I guess. I lost track of time after diligently watching the clock during the surgery.

We had planned on going back in around 9:00, just in case he would wake up, but once we got home, we both discovered just how exhausted we were and decided not to take the 40 minute drive back. I called the hospital and they told me that he was starting to wake up, they were giving him ice chips to quench his massive thirst and the breathing tube was out. That was good news.

I went to work the next day (today) and while driving in, I got a phone call. It was Birdman!!!!
I was shocked beyond words. By 2:00 am, they had put him into a chair and by 6:00 am he was moved into a regular room! AND he sounded very good. Music to my ears.

We went in around 10:00 am for a quick visit. He was up in the chair again because he is the most comfortable there. This time he sounded quite a bit more tired, but still was very, very chatty! Talked nonstop. Voice was a little hoarse from breathing tube. Said he wasn't in very much pain, although a hiccup, cough or laugh made him uncomfortable.

Went back around 3:45 and stayed until around 6. He seemed a little more uncomfortable, but still good. He was quite tired and if I wasn't there, he probably would've dozed off right in the chair. He will be walking tomorrow.

I am soooo  tired, that's it for me. Hoping everyday gets better.

It's over!

Monday, January 4, 2010

So far, so good....

Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, AKA Birdman, passed all medical tests today without studying. White blood cells still in normal level so it's on with the show!!

He rates the facilities good, the food OK, but the nurses....the nurses get an A+. Truly, they were top notch. It takes a special person to be a nurse, that's for sure.

He got moved to another room to get ready for surgery, so new nurses.

He's ready.

Here we go......

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Am I ready for this?

nurse waving Hi there, Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, AKA Birdman. I just have to find my non-latex gloves, snap them on and I'm ready! (I think.......????) (Yeah, I am.) (I think.....)

Tomorrow you are registering into the hospital. You are having your heart fixed. Make sure you tell the doc to be careful, since you already have my heart. You've had it for over 34 years.


But back to reality, as I said in a comment on your blog, my dear Birdman, I've been studying Nurse Ratchet for several weeks now and I must say, she's got it all together. 

So off to the hospital you go. (Again....)

Now even further back to reality, it's been snowing for 3 days now and you are out snowblowing the driveway as I type. Two days ago you had ME try THIS THING out......
And I drove it directly into this....

No damage done, missed the electric eye of the garage opener by a good eighth of an inch, so all is well. Are you trying to tell me that you won't be able to snow blow for a while??? 

Today I have to try raking the roof. With a snow rake. What's up with that?

And you tell me  that 'I' have to actually put wood into the woodstove?? That I have to go outside to the woodshed all hours of the day, and pick up logs and bring them into the house?

I thought that happened automatically.

So, I guess I'm ready. (

Just as soon as I practice doing this....

needle    animation

Friday, January 1, 2010

My first anniversary !

One year ago today I was sitting on my couch and Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, also known as Birdman on his blog, said to me:

"You should do a blog."

This was from the mouth of a person that had just started his own Daily Photo blog the day before, so by now, he was a blog expert.


"You should start a blog."

"Nah.""I don't need one more thing to do...."

"Well, you should just check it out."

So he told me where to go on the internet and by that night, I had a blog.

One year ago today.

I just want to thank all the lovely folks that have bothered to eyeball my blog and especially to the people that have written comments. It's been a lot of fun and I so enjoyed reading all of your blogs. There are so many lovely, lovely people out there. 

As Birdman and I go on our next adventure (his heart surgery on Tuesday), I know I will be given so much support via this blog. It's been a wonderful journey.

Thank you all.