Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving part 1

Yesterday we flew from Houston to BWI to begin the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. Our Continental flight left at 7:25 AM and so we were up at 4AM to get ourselves out the door by 4:30AM. I was concerned about parking but when we got to my preferred floor 7 of the Terminal E parking garage, it was almost empty! Getting through security was quick, we had 2 people in front of us. We spent an hour in the President's Club getting coffee and reading the paper. There was a nice surprise waiting for us at the gate, because when I went up to counter and asked about a possible companion upgrade I found they had already upgraded us. So we had first class seats and very nice service. And yet another breakfast! We arrived in Baltimore on time and got the rental car quickly (another free upgrade too). I don't know if leaving early was the key, but we had absolutely no trouble with our inbound travel. A big relief.

DH seems to have stood the trip well, no distress on the flight. I am so grateful for that. And today he is cheerful and ate a good breakfast of waffles and jam and coffee. Hopefully the healing process is well on its way.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November in Houston - garden update

November in Houston is usually wonderful - the temps can range from warm to mild to cool, and we usually get some rain. Today is a warmish, humid day with sun peeking through the clouds and the promise of thunderstorms this afternoon.

I spent an hour pulling weeds in the garden (this time of year is the only time it's possible to get ahead of them) and noticed that my giant passionflower vine has quite a few buds! A nice surprise. Giant Granadilla source and photos

The fig tree is bravely producing fruit but the chances of it ripening are slim. We have had one ripe fruit from the fall flush.

The pineapple guava trees had LOTS of fruit this year, but they have all fallen off. Perhaps it was too cold, or too dry? Or maybe they needed some fertilizer. I've been lax in that department this year.

Most of the plants and trees have recovered from the hurricane damage they suffered during Ike. The crepe myrtles look less lush because all their leaves blew off and the time for growing leaves had pretty much passed. I still need to work on the climbing rose - it was severely blown around by the winds. That is a prickly job though, and I haven't taken the time to do it.

Inside the house I completed a second batch of limoncino. We should definitely have enough for years to come, now! Sometime in late December I will bottle the first batch and let it mellow. Now I am on the hunt for a good coffee liqueur recipe to use up the leftover vodka and grain alcohol. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's been a week and two days...

... and DH been home almost all of that time. The procedures (gallstone removal and gall bladder removal) went very well. We did spend a few hours in the emergency room yesterday evening, for severe stomach cramps - again! But it was probably too much rich food that caused it. All the blood work and scans came back normal. So we are going to stick with low fat, low cholesterol foods for a few weeks until his body gets used to having no gall bladder.

We have had wonderful care at the West Houston Memorial hospital - the staff has been kind and competent and for the most part, cheerful. Houston is famous for its healthcare options and I'm glad we live so close!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

a BIG gallstone

I'm glad to report that the surgery was successful. DH came through it just fine! The surgeon said the gallbladder was quite enlarged, and there was just one stone - the size of a robin's egg! He has 4 small incisions about an inch long.

You should have seen how he attacked the chicken broth and fruit! :) That was great.

We got a bit of a surprise though, because his cardiologist has done a chemical stress test (at 9 today) and we don't have the results yet. We are speculating that the doctor is taking advantage of this time to get further information on the progress of the congestive heart failure that DH has to cope with. I guess that means he still won't be allowed to come home today though.

Anyway - the best news is that he got through all the procedures beautifully. I am so thankful.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

One down, one to go

Today my husband had the gallstones removed from the bile duct. The doctor said that what he found was really like grainy sludge. He cleaned it all out, irrigated with saline, and made sure that the opening was clear. The procedure went well - took about 45 minutes. I was treated to lots of details about the machine, which apparently looks like the arched neck and head of a dinosaur. And the doctor has to wear a suit to protect against the radiation. Our patient was sedated for the procedure itself but I guess had lots of time to look at the equipment.

When I got there around 4:30, he had only been really awake for about an hour. And he was so hungry and thirsty, and still designated as no food or water! It had been more than 24 hours since he was allowed anything... So I got the nurse to call the doctor, who approved that he could have anything he wanted. What DH wanted was chicken broth and rice. After eating the whole bowl, and getting pain medication (the procedure left his abdomen quite sore) he was happy to settle into a doze.

The surgeon came to visit and discuss the gallbladder removal surgery tomorrow. He seems like a very nice guy - so far everyone has been - and explained that it will be laproscopic, with an incision near the belly button for the camera, and another small one to get the gall bladder out. The main concern is that since this is done under general anesthesia, there is risk because of the heart condition. Our doctor is confident that he will do well, and I am too.

The surgery is scheduled for noon tomorrow. The surgeon said that lots of people go home the same day, but he is going to keep the patient overnight to watch the heart and make sure the recovery is smooth. So, right now we expect that he will be home sometime on Saturday. We are both looking forward to that!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thursday and Friday

As some of you know, my husband went to the hospital last night while I was in Tampa, complaining of very severe stomach pain. They kept him overnight, and have done several blood tests and a CAT scan.

The diagnosis is gallstones. He has to have the gall bladder removed, as well as the gallstones themselves, which are lodged in the bile duct. The removal of the gallstones is done endoscopically, and is scheduled for mid-morning tomorrow. If all goes well, then the following day (Friday) they will remove the gall bladder. He should be home on Saturday.

He is feeling wretched right now, lots of nausea and fever/chills. They've started him on antibiotics and gave him a good shot of Demerol (pain) and phenargan (nausea). He's also on oxygen. When I left him the Demerol had taken effect and he was sleeping.

He looks so vulnerable...

a little better

Husband called to say that they kept him overnight for tests and have moved him upstairs, out of the emergency area. He's complaining about the noise... He doesn't know what kind of tests but hopefully by the time I get home we will have a few more answers. And probably, more questions too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

worried in Tampa

I flew to Tampa this afternoon... have a deposition tomorrow. But almost as soon as I got here my husband called to say that he had severe stomach cramps. And now he is in the emergency room and his doctor is on the way... I don't know what to do and I am just waiting to hear from him again.

He has been troubled with cramps a few times lately and I've been after him to call his doctor. But it didn't happen until now.

I wish I was there.


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