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2/28/2005

THE WHEELS ARE TURNING

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 3:41 pm

Dr. Rohlman, the infectious disease doctor, is taking Dane off his vancomyacin drip on Friday, if all continues to go well. He’ll then go on some pills that he can take orally which will make him eligible to go to a skilled nursing center. Dr. Roman will continue to monitor him wherever he goes as there is still a possibility that his “bone flap” from his surgery is infected.

We’re aiming for Life Care of Wichita, near Central and Edgemore. Jennifer, his case worker, is starting with the preliminary inquiries and setting the stage for his move. Interestingly, they have never taken a patient from this Select Specialty Hospital but they have taken numerous patients from the same hospital at Via Christi.

I had thought he would receive the same level as here or more physical therapy at Life Care, but I apparently am not as informed as I thought. Maybe it was wishful thinking. They do have some, but not as much as here. None of the skilled nursing centers in the area have a great deal of therapy to offer. The main thing with him will be to get the bed sore healed and get him in a wheel chair and standing by the bed so that he can proceed to Lady of Lourdes for rehab. He is very weak and that continues to be a problem.

Thursday I am accepting the generous invitation from Betty and Pete to come stay with them for a few days. Ginger’s daughter, Jill, and son, Luke, are coming to visit Bobbo (Ginger) and YaYa (John Elway) and they need more room at the inn. That Luke is a character…two years old and a bundle of fun. I’ll stop by Ginger’s to post my blogs or try to do them here at the hospital since Pete and Betty don’t have a computer. I might add that Pete had one of the first computers when he worked for the UP back in the days when they were the size of a room and used punch cards. That would be a deterrent to anyone to develop a love for computers.

Brit went to Salina today to try to get a glimpse of the Global Flyer in action. He had a spot picked out off Burma Road that he thought might give him a good view. Knowing him, he’ll find a good vantage point. I wish he could get up close and touch it. I would love to be going on that flight! I’d call my friend Joyce as she’d go too. She’s the one I tagged along with when we flew the Goodyear blimp over Houston and handled the controls of the USS Topeka, a nuclear class attack sub, out of San Diego for a day. We did angles and dangles and upped the periscope. We did it all. Those were two of the best experiences ever!

Well, it should be safe to return to Dane’s room and see how he handled “standing up”. My guess is that it wasn’t successful, but we’ll continue trying. It hurts him so much I don’t like to be around when he yells. This too shall pass.

Tonight Ginger and I are going to have our usual Monday night two for one hamburgers from Spangles. She and Don used to do that all the time. I go get a couple of bacon cheeseburgers or the ones with mushrooms on sour dough and eat them at her house and watch the tube. They are actually pretty good.

Last night we were invited to Martha and David’s (her son and wife) for an excellent dinner. I explained carefully to Dane where we were going as he met David long ago. But, it was too much. He asked if we were going to eat in the store. I realized he was talking about the trendy “Martha and David’s” clothing store in Salina. He said, “You don’t seem to think I get out very much, do you? But I do. I just saw Martha and David last week!” But then when I had a lapse in memory myself and said I couldn’t remember Martha’s maiden name, he told me. He’s meds and being in bed for so long tend to confuse him, but otherwise he does very well in the memory department. It gets better all the time. I have no such excuses!

More as life unfolds. For some reason when I post on this computer at the hospital, it drops words or parts of words. I’ll try to fix this tonight.

P.S. Brit went to Burma Road and found a place he could see the Global Flyer take off. With his binocs he said he had a good view. Then he went down town for an errand and by the time he returned to his spot, the police had the road blocked off. So he went home to see it on TV, but like the rest of us, he missed that too. Maybe we’ll catch a rerun sometime today on the news.

ANOTHER MONDAY MORNING

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:13 am

I should be on my way to the hospital so this will be short.

Sometime during the night Saturday night Dane’s trach came out. Before the RT’s discovered it was out, it was too late to get it back in. Don’t ask me how that could happen when that is their job to check it all the time. In any event, no matter the circumstances, they are moving ahead with him to leave it out. I don’t know about last night as yet, but he did fine yesterday, his blood gases were okay and it might turn out to be an okay happenstance.

Also, the speech therapist was in the hospital yesterday so I asked her to reevaluate Dane’s drinking/eating standard so that he can have three meals a day and water when he wants it. She did that and he got a green light for “food” of his choice.

They prop him on his side and pump up his bed and he eats that way. Well, I fed him his one meal that way yesterday. He isn’t on his tail bone. But, I’m not sure how he is going to feed himself, but that is what I’m going to work on today. If he’s on his left side, he can use his right hand to eat, that is if he doesn’t fall over in bed. Getting someone else to feed him will be a challenge as they are always so short-handed for aides or nurses to help.

We’re winding down at Select, I think. The infectious disease doctor will be in today and I’ll find out how many more days he has on his vancomycin, then we’ll proceed with our efforts to get him admitted to Life Care.

More tonight.

2/26/2005

A DAY OFF

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 3:56 pm

I have the day off as Mackenzie, Luke and Ally are keeping Dane company. Kimberly, his nurse who adores him, is also looking after Dane. They managed to get him on the side of the bed so he could have lunch, so that was a good thing. Luke brewed him a lot of tea and he drank a quart of it. And, Dane talked to me twice to say that I had to report back for duty tomorrow, among other things. He was funny and very much himself. I’m sure he enjoys seeing faces other than mine.

Kimberly put on a new pain patch as she felt the old one wasn’t adhering properly. She shaved his arm and put it on the right way. She thought that would help with his pain, which has been a real problem of late. I, for one, am weary of him yelling “HOWWWW” all the time. Dane’s roommate, David, just buries his head under the covers! Wise man.

Ginger is still struggling with her shingles, but thinks she might feel like going out for a quick dinner at Sweet Basil tonight with Mackenzie, Luke and me. Maybe Ally will hang around long enough to go with us. That will be fun.

Meantime, I’ve done nothing but sit and stare into space. I watched the BTK info unfold on TV and watched a couple of other mindless shows. It was nice just to have my feet propped up, but I wouldn’t like it as a steady diet.

We’re going to be gearing up to move Dane in a week or so. If nothing new emerges, he’ll be on his way somewhere the 7th. I hope that is to Life Care of Wichita. He has to be off his antibiotic drip before he can leave, and it appears he’ll be getting off that soon. We’re anxious to move along.

More tomorrow.

2/25/2005

A LONG DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:15 pm

Yay! Mackenzie and Luke arrived today at 11:00 am from Dallas in time to see Dane sit up and eat. They both marveled at how much better he looked than the last time they saw him. He can’t sit up long, but managed through his lunch then was ready to lie back down again. PT tried to get him to stand by the bed at midafternoon but they couldn’t get him to cooperate. I don’t know what the problem was, if not the pain.

Becky E. and Tim M. came from Salina to visit with Dane. Pete and Betty P. have been so good to come to see Dane regularly and that helps him so much. They were there again today to offer their support. They have been just wonderful.

Dane hasn’t been sleeping at all well, or at all, as far as I can tell. His charts indicate he is awake every time they come in his room and I know he isn’t sleeping during the day when I am there. So, I hope they will see that he does sleep tonight as I know he needs the rest. He was very agitated today and restless, and in a lot of pain. Something was going on with him today that was different so I hope we can pinpoint it tomorrow and Monday and get him settled down.

I was going to take Ginger, Kenz and Luke out for dinner tonight, but no one felt like it. Kenz and Luke left Dallas very early this morning and were very tired. Ginger is fighting her shingles and didn’t feel like going out either. We opted to stay at home and have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. They weren’t your ordinary fares, as you can imagine, and really were very good.

They took Dane off one of his antibiotics today. He’s still on the vancomycin drip and if he’s off that in time, he’s scheduled to go to a skilled nursing center on the 7th. We hope we can get him in Life Care of Wichita. His condition will have to be evaluated and they will have to have a place for him. They are very much in demand so there are no promises. He won’t be ready to go to rehab without the intermediate stop at skilled nursing. He just isn’t ready for it.

We all hope tomorrow is a better day.

It’s only 8 but I’m off to bed. Today was exhausting.

2/24/2005

SELECT SPECIALTY

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 5:32 pm

Dane had a morning visitor from the First Presbyterian Church in Salina, Becky E., and he was pleased to see her. It always helps him to have a friend stop by for a chat. She may be able to return tomorrow with another friend from the church. Also, Mackenzie and Luke will be here tomorrow around noon. Lisa will be here later in the afternoon. Kenz would like to be here when her dad gets to sit up and eat, and make another stab at standing. Ally, Todd, Karen and the boys (in whole or in part) will be here sometime this weekend.

For some reason they are very short-handed at the hospital. They still haven’t cleaned the room from the catheter bag spill. Housekeeping hasn’t been around since it occurred. I suppose it happens every place. If you haven’t had a relative or friend in the hospital recently, you might be very surprised at how much things have changed. As you know, I’ve been with Dane for many weeks and this past summer I was with Ally for a couple of weeks while she was hospitalized in Salina. I won’t discourage you by telling you all I have learned except to say that if you have a loved one in the hospital, someone who really cares needs to be there too to watch what happens and keep an eye on things. As far as I’m concerned, Hillary had the right idea about how to proceed with our health care. What we have now isn’t working the way it should.

I couldn’t be happier with with the doctors who look after Dane. And for the most part, the nurses are very good and attentive, but they switch them around so frequently that I find I’m talking to a parade about how he is supposed to be positioned in bed to take the pressure off the bedsore, that he can have nothing by mouth (one exception is now at noon when he is sitting up), don’t give him dilaudid, that he can’t sleep with his trach cap on, etc. Communication isn’t the best so information like that doesn’t get passed from the day shift to the night shift or to the next series of CNA’s, regular nurses or agency nurses and some things have happened that have not been good. I can’t begin to count the number of different nurses he’s had since he arrived. Seeing a familiar face is a good thing and I look forward to that. But I honestly have been talking to a parade since Dane was admitted. If he goes to Life Care, I don’t anticipate that happening and, by then, there won’t be so many admonitions handed down by the doctors that need attention.

They had a big harness, table-like contraption they were going to use on Dane to help him stand up today. I left the room and walked down the hall so I wouldn’t have to hear him yell with the pain of it. And it didn’t work after all of that. So we are going back to the business of trying to have him stand by the edge of the bed. We’re not making much headway as long as the bedsore hurts so much. It’s right on his tailbone where all those nerves converge that are so sensitive.

Dane did well sitting up eating today. He didn’t shake the rafters and sat there for about half an hour hanging on to the bed while I fed him his meal: roasted pork loin topped with a baked apple wedge, escalloped potatoes, steamed broccoli, slice of pear, roll and butter and fresh melon cubes. And his favorite: three glasses of iced tea. He ate it all. He weathers the strain of sitting and eating better with each attempt. If JoJo and his team could get Dane to stand up straight, he could teach him how to walk. Dane wants to, that’s for sure, but he can tolerate just so much pain.

Yes, Ginger has shingles. Depression goes with it, and hers is attributable to the $178 bucks it cost for 21 pills. And, shingles isn’t/aren’t contagious unless you haven’t had chicken pox. I will leave a sweet little, informative note for the nurse who told me they were “highly contagious and I could expect to get them and probably bring them to Dane, who’d pass them on to the staff, etc.” Well, I knew better, since I had one light bout with shingles about 10 years ago, but well…

We made my hominy casserole last night to go with enchiladas Ginger made and had in the freezer. Her freezers full of food are a culinary delight! It was a great dinner. She is going to fix hominy that way for her family as she loved it. She’s whipping up one of her famous cheese souffles tonight. I’m in charge of beating the egg whites. Also we’re having a bierock casserole that she conveniently had in her freezer. I’m a very lucky house guest! She is an excellent cook and loves cooking.

Tomorrow should be a busy, productive day for Dane. Everything is looking good in all his charts, graphs, tests and analysis. He’s feeling better…and we’re on a roll. His infectious disease doctor who is such a delight says there isn’t much of anything he can catch now. His system is full of meds to counteract everything except, perhaps, some weird, rare disease known only to exist in some inaccessible remote region of Borneo. Keep the encouragement coming his way. You have all been very kind to Dane and our family.

2/23/2005

BANANA DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:45 pm

I parked in the banana section of the fruity parking lot as it was a zoo there today. The banana section is at the top and exposed to the elements, for the most part. I was hoping to find a place to park protected from the elements in case of snow and ice, but nothing fell from the sky until I left about 5:00.

It was a different day at the hospital today as it appeared no one showed up for work. They had 2 CRA’s for 24 patients so Dane was lucky to get a bath and a change of draw sheets. His foley collector sprung a leak and ran over the entire room. Housecleaning never did show so we mopped the best we could with towels. And the man with the maroon zipper bags arrived again today. He comes with regularity. By the time the day ended, I was tired. There was much to do to try to make Dane comfortable.

Dane sat on the edge of the bed and ate his lunch, some of it. He really enjoys the tea I make for him and said it was comfortable for him to be upright. Later he tried to stand three times but never made it up as far as we hoped. It’s really painful for him but we’ll try again tomorrow. He can learn to walk even if he doesn’t have full use of his left leg and JoJo is trying to teach him how. He keeps telling Dane he is on his side, but the way it hurts, Dane is dubious. JoJo knows what he is doing and we appreciate his attention to Dane’s needs.

I think my housemother has shingles. I’m not sure, but I think that is what she has. She’s going to the doctor tomorrow. The nurses at the hospital told me they were contagious, but I wasn’t aware of that.

Mackenzie’s other grandmother passed away today. She was a wonderful woman and fought a long and hard battle with cancer. It’s just a hard time in many respects.

Time for bed!

2/22/2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KAREN…MY FAVE DAUGHTER-IN-LAW

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:30 pm

YAY! DANE STOOD UP THREE TIMES!

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 5:26 pm

Today Dane sat on the edge of his bed then stood up briefly, sat down, stood briefly, sat and sorta swore because it hurt so bad, and stood for the third time. Standing, he was only about my height, but he stood and will soon tower to 6′ 2 1/2″ again, with practice. It was all very good.

He also got to eat after that and had a full, but small casserole of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy and a few bites of baked fish. That’s what he ordered. Tomorrow he’ll be on a regular diet with veggies, fruit and meat and he’s looking forward to that. The plan is to let him sit on the side of the bed at noon and have his one meal at that time. When his wound heals enough to allow him to do that for all his meals, I presume he willl get to do that.

The plan is to get the nurses and CNA’s to help Dane at noon then JoJo can bring the tilt table in mid-afternoon for more exercises. JoJo wants to be aggressive with his physical therapy as he says Dane is ready for it. We’ve got to help him build up his strength again as he’s lost so much and shakes terribly from weakness when he attempts to do anything requiring physical activity. He’ll get it back but it’s going to take a lot of work on his part. I know he is determined to do it. He wants out of the hospital and in more rehab activity.

Dr. Fearey and the pulmonary doctor were in and said everything about Dane is looking very good. It’s a slow process, but they say he is doing very well.

Lisa, Edie and George and Don Kozicek. came to visit him today. I enjoyed that a lot too. I don’t get to see many people from home and I miss my friends. It was nice of them to stop by today. I think they’ll take a good report back on Dane.

I parked today on the east side of the hospital as it was supposed to rain, and wash off my dirty car. But, there weren’t any sprinkles all day until I headed back to Ginger’s. I’ve heard varying reports on the weather for tomorrow, rain, lots of snow, ice. Just rain would be good. I love it when it rains.

There are leftover ham and beans in the refrig so Ginger and I are going to have that and some cornbread. She’s playing bridge today in one of her steady foursomes. She plays bridge with different groups a couple times a week and bowls twice a week. She had a 210 bowling yesterday and brought home a pocket full of quarters. She loves the way they run the bowling lanes here as it’s so much fun for everyone. You make money on about every combination of pins, so it seems. She’s team captain and has three men on her team. They have a good time. Ginger always has fun no matter what she’s doing…she makes it fun.

That’s all for now.

2/21/2005

E-MAIL TO DANE AT SELECT SPECIALTY HOSPITAL

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:31 pm

I had several requests for this url again. If you copy and paste it in your address line, it should take you to the email site.

http://www.wesleymc.com/EmailForm.asp?strGUID={F33708A4-F847-11D4-A2E9-00508B62BE1F}&strThankYou=PATIENT_EMAIL

or Click Here

Dane is in the Select Specialty Hospital Building 4, room 1-404.

Thanks for your emails to Dane.

Peg

WE’RE ALMOST UP AND RUNNING, ALMOST

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 5:15 pm

There was so much activity in Dane’s room today that I left early. There was no way to work around it as they moved a new patient in the room and that brought on traffic. They replaced Dane’s PICC, had to take an Xray of that…well, with the stream of doctors and therapists, it was endless. There wasn’t any room for me except in the hall so I decided to leave after his physical and speech therapy as he was doing well.

I finally was straightened out today. The doctor who came to see Dane about his pain was Dr. Gael, not Dr. Gao. It was all very confusing to both of us. I requested Gao for acupuncture pain relief, but they sent a pain specialist, which was fine. I was just very confused with our conversations and his orders. So was he.

I managed to get some macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy and a slice of bread from the kitchen for Dane’s 2:00 pm sit on the side of the bed therapy. I put some peanut butter from the break room on his bread for a little added protein. He ate half of everything and drank a lot of freshly brewed tea. We talked about getting him on a full unrestricted diet tomorrow. The nutritionist was to visit with him about that this afternoon. It takes the recommendation of the speech therapist to his admitting doctor to get the order through. I tried today and will for sure get it tomorrow. He’d like some meat, veggies and salad. That’s a very good sign. If we can get him to eat during the day, they will only give him the supplement at night through his feeding tube. Yay!

I was so pleased at how well he did sitting up today on the edge of the bed. He’s still pretty wobbly and shaky, but he fed himself most of his meal and I helped him with the rest when he got pretty tired. Every day he is up is a plus. He’s ready to sit in a wheel chair and go to therapy, but his backside isn’t. His wound is definitely healing and the doctor is pleased about the progress it is making. BUT, he still has to stay off his backside and must be turned every two hours. He still has pain with it and all the other various tubes extending from his body.

He has a new roommate now. They group patients according to infections so they share that in common, but probably little else. David can talk and converse so that should be helpful to Dane as well. His two main themes are religion and politics so I suggested to Dane that he might try to avoid those subjects from what the nurses have said. His previous roommate couldn’t talk loudly enough to be heard. Maybe they will watch the KU game tonight…or argue over what to watch. Who knows?

So, today was a good day. I think Dane was going to have some company later this afternoon and I’ll be back on duty in the morning.

2/20/2005

HITCH

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:10 pm

“Hitch” is a very good movie. At least, Ginger and I thought so. It’s sweet and loving…and funny. “Finding Neverland” is another good one. We saw it a couple of weeks ago.

Dane’s cell phone that I’ve been using shot craps again today. It’s not the battery as Lisa replaced it. It’s a connection, she thinks, or maybe we just need to replace the whole thing. I haven’t dropped it, but it looks as though it has been in a few road races. So, I can’t call or receive any calls until Karen tries to figure out the problem tomorrow. I can be reached at Ginger’s or the hospital.

Todd and Karen came today to stay with Dane. He didn’t have the kind of day that we hoped for as he
was very confused and I can only attribute that to the combination of pain killers. I will chase it down tomorrow to see if there is some explanation. Maybe it was just a chance off day.

Ginger and I went to Jimmy’s Diner, a landmark on Rock Road, to have breakfast. They serve fried mush so we went especially for that. It’s a real, old-fashioned diner that has lots of character. All the waitresses wear poodle skirts. The place really has character and good food. They are famous for a lot of things, malts being one of them. In diner technology, it is small and the waiting line is long, but they service is good and fast and well worth the experience. My kids and grandkids would love the nostalgia of it.

We found some purple eyelash yarn at Michael’s. Karen’s birthday is coming up and Ginger is going to knit a trendy scarf for her. It will be a tad late, as most everything is these days, but maybe she won’t need it until football season next fall.

Mikki and Randy came to see Dane last night. I left just as they were heading to the hospital so I didn’t get to see them.

It will be a long day tomorrow so I need to zoom. Thanks again for your letters, calls and thoughts.

2/19/2005

THE WEEKEND

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 7:21 pm

Weekends are slow. There is no therapy on weekends and I know Dane gets bored and depressed with the long days with nothing to do to stimulate him other than what I offer. Nurse “Bob” keeps him going. She’s a hoot. She once did agency work in Ellsworth at our new hospital, so we’re connecting. We had our misunderstandings in the beginnings but she and her son have beds in our house anytime. She loves to fish at Kanopolis. Several nurses have Ellsworth connections. Teri Martin’s in-laws live and farm around Wilson Lake in Russell County. The Salyers connect. Small world. And the hospital has about 5 families with patients from Ellsworth.

Dane and I watched the last half of the KU-Iowa State game after Brit called and reminded us it was on. I never know.

Lew and Cindy came to visit and they offered a real relief to both Dane and me. Dane loved hearing their conversation and certainly I did. The three of us went across the street to Panera’s for lunch and ran in to the Harms, Pat and daughters, so that was nice as well. Mikki and Randy were on their way to the hospital as I was leaving. Tomorrow Todd and Karen will be there. The stimulation is good for Dane.

It rained today so I parked my car where it might get washed. I haven’t had it through a car wash since Panzer’s in November.

Yesterday I thought my car had been stolen. That’s an easy conclusion to come by in that weird parking garage. I parked in what I thought was slot 479; the numbers are dim if there are numbers at all. I write it down every day or I’ll never remember since the days run together. After I parked, I was joined by a woman who had also just parked her car and was heading to the elevator. She started to walk down then decided she’d ride with me. She got in the elevator and she told me she wanted off on 1, although 1 is where we were. I didn’t mention that. I asked if she wanted to go to the main floor and she said she did, so I punch the G button. “Wrong!”, she says, “we need to go to 1″. “Patience”, said I. She said again we needed 1 and that I had punched the wrong button. Well, by then the door opened and I said, “This is a strange parking garage and it is always confusing, but I think we are both where we want to go.” Then she agreed with me. I wonder if she ever found her car at the end of the day.

I didn’t. I went back to slot 479 and my car was gone. Stolen, I thought. Oh well. So I have no car. I wasn’t even upset. In the overall picture of things, losing a car seemed to be small potatoes. So I headed back to the elevator tell a security guard and call Ginger to come rescue me. Then, while approaching the elevator, I recalled my morning experience with “that lady”. I looked around and some young man was walking to and fro looking for his car. I know how he felt. You look where you know you parked it and it isn’t there, so you look around and then go back where you know it should be. People are wandering around all the time looking for their cars, me among them.

So, I dragged out my notation and sure enough, it said “479″. But something clicked and I headed to the right and finally resorted to my remote locking device which is great for locating “stolen cars”. Sure enough, the familiar horn honked and I found my way to ENNUI. I was in 419, not 479. Some kid should get a job repainting those numbers so you could read them!

Ginger is talking to her friend Marianne, a friend since the second grade, a friend of 70 years. They call each other every Saturday night, alternating the initiation of the calls, and talk an hour. I’ve given them a lot to laugh about. They have such a good time and enjoy their visits so much. They’ve done it forever and I think it is very sweet. Meantime, I blog. Dinner will come off in beautiful fashion (don’t let Brit read this). We had shrimp from the freezer for hors d’ oeuvres to tide us over with our “toddies”. The Fatoush salad is made (I’ll share the recipe at another time), twice baked potatoes, grilled French bread and she’s broiling inside a big thick T-bone we’ll share. She can’t find the propane for the cooker outside. And her famous Victoria (KS) vinegar cookies. She loves to cook and hasn’t had anyone to cook for since Don died. You have to know how much I am enjoying her efforts as she’s an excellent cook. Whatever she fixes, I just love. We’re having a good time, as time allows, and she’s keeping me sane.

Tomorrow is the day I take off when I can. Todd and Karen will be here to cover for me and stay with Dane. Ginger and I will do what she wants to do. It’s my treat to her to take her to her favorite place for breakfast, then to a movie, the grocery store and elsewhere for whatever she and I need for the week. We’re going to buy some purple eyelash yarn for a scarf for Karen that she will make for her. She’s churned out a lot of them and offered to make one for Karen, my only family member with a neck skinny enough to wear one. Purple???

If you are in Wichita, please stop by to see Dane. He’s feeling much better about seeing friends now. I can’t say he’ll be his usual self and responsive, but he’s getting closer to it. I think it helps him to see his friends.

Thanks again to all.

2/18/2005

RELATIVELY GOOD DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:22 pm

I headed to the hospital rather early this morning, stopped at Dollar General on the way to get a couple of large jugs of bleach and talked with Wayne, the manager, who has connections to Ellsworth, so I learned. Forsythe, he said. It didn’t ring a bell with me, but he said his ancestors lived in a dug-out off road 23 east of Carneiro.

Dane had a relatively good day today and that always makes me feel better. A lot of his pains from yesterday were gone and he seemed more restful today. He sat on the edge of the bed and did much better than he did yesterday. We’ll let the wound doctor, Dr. McDonald, check his bedsore on Monday and see where we go from here. We don’t want to over do it as we think the wound is on the mend. Those in the know seem to think the silver cloth packing is working.

The speech therapist was in and had a good conversation with Dane. I’ve tried to explain to them that he isn’t going to continue answering the same questions over and over about his family, the name of his cat and what month it is. He’s said those things way too many times. So I prompted this therapist yesterday to talk about his Eisenhower Fellow work (he’s the only one in Kansas and one of a handful in the U.S.), his work with the Department of Interior as a Reagan appointee, the stock market, his work in Hungary and some of those kinds things. She hit a bonanza and learned things she never knew. All she wanted him to do is put a complete sentence together. I told her she just had to ask the right questions and that was easy to do. Marci says you call that “Appreciation Inquiry”. She knows those things. Dane’s doing very well.

Since he has no control of his left arm, Dane’s arm and joints have started to hurt a lot when we move them, his elbow particularly and it looks like it’s out of “joint”. I asked his admitting doctor, Dr. Fearey, if it might not be a good idea to X-ray his arm just to be on the safe side. They took three X-rays then came back and took two more of different angles. I don’t know if he’ll ever regain the use of his left arm, and it isn’t important to him or the rest of us, but he needs to keep it safe. He’s starting to learn to protect it with his right hand.

I skipped out early today as Dane was feeling alright and Ginger had a friend she wanted us to have dinner with later on. We did, went to the Outback and had a good time. We’re all the same age and had a heck of a time thinking of Verne Miller’s name. It’s frustrating to get old and/or forget names! I called Brit and he couldn’t remember either, since I asked him. You know how that is. The woman we had dinner with has a son who is a sheriff’s deputy and works in the jail and the subject of Verne came up….you know, “that Attorney General we had who wouldn’t let people drink in airplanes as they flew over Kansas…”.

I had some good conversations with some of the nurses today. Some have become pretty good friends and almost all of them really enjoy taking care of Dane and continually request being assigned to him. They’ve all followed his progress and can see how much he has improved since he came there the first of January.

Next weekend we are going to Savute’s for dinner, says Ginger, whether the food is good or not. It’s an Italian restaurant on Broadway in a bad section of town, but they are having music, they are friends of hers and she loves going there. She and Don used to go there all the time and she hasn’t been there for a long time. We’re going.

Sunday Todd and Karen are coming to relieve me and Ginger and I will have a day out. We’re going to Jimmy’s Diner Sunday for noon breakfast as they have fried mush (we both love it!), we’ll buy purple eyelash yarn so she can make a scarf for Karen and we’ll go to the movie…then run grocery and shopping errands. I just need a part of a day off now and then.

Thanks for all your messages and thinking such good thoughts about Dane. We appreciate it very much. It must be helping as he’s much, much better than he was when we put him on that helicopter in Salina the first part of December.

Mackenzie and Luke will be here next weekend.

Time for the feathers!

2/17/2005

A BIG DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:04 pm

Dane sat on the edge of the bed today. His bedsore was looking better so JoJo got permission to let him sit a few minutes. It wasn’t a long sit, but he did it. He couldn’t stand up, but that will come. Tomorrow we may try it a couple of times. He was hurting today so he slept a lot.

Barbara, the speech therapist, quizzed him and he did very well unless she asked him mundane questions that he is weary of answering. She asked him to name some European countries and he balked. “Make that eastern or northern European and I’ll answer”, he said. When she asked about his family, he just gave up. He’s been asked that a million times and he’s tired of going through all of that. Ask him the “stans” of the Russian stans and he’ll rattle them off. After he’s had his pain meds, he wanders off to have lunch with Mark Parsons or leaves to take a hot shower and shave. We both wish that were true.

Dane’s cell phone that I’ve been using shot craps yesterday. It’s working again, thanks to Lisa, and I’m now in the loop again.

It’s nice to have John Elway back. He jumps, twirls and does the dervish thing when I come in the back door at night. Then he races to let Ginger know I am here. He’s pigeon-toed and out of alignment so he’s a hoot to watch him as he runs sideways through the house. What a dog!

Well, it’s 8 pm and that signals my bedtime!

2/16/2005

DANE WAS FULL OF HIMSELF

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:35 pm

A stream of doctors filtered in and out today to see Dane and each said, after I posed the question about how he was doing, that he was doing very well. He is getting better day by day. Yay!

Dane kidded and joked as he was on the tilt table, ravenously ate a few spoonsfull of hospital soup, drank some tea then told JoJo to uncrank him and get him back in bed. The new bed is a real puzzle and getting him in and out is a challenge. We need to bend him in half to get him situated from the table to his bed and he doesn’t fold that way. He can help us getting him off the bed on to the table, but going back he can’t help as he’s so exhausted. He gets better each day.

Tomorrow he has Ginger’s ham and bean soup to lure him onto the table. He is looking forward to that with a lot of relish. He had a bite of canned fruit cocktail today and one of the therapists asked him how it tasted. “Even a hospital cook can’t do much to change the taste of canned fruit cocktail”, he said with a grin.

Dane’s cell phone that I have been using shot craps today. Lisa took it to Salina for me and called to say she had a new battery for it and thought it would be operational again for me tomorrow. My umbilical cord to the outside world was severed in a call to Dane’s office with Kim. Those things are so unreliable!

Gayle N. called today to give me very good reports on the Masonic Home. Her parents are there and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about the quality care they receive. We are going to see their skilled nursing unit soon to see if it is a possibility for Dane for a few weeks until he is ready for rehab. I’m still leaning strongly to Life Care of Wichita. Dr. Fearey goes there and his office is right across the street from there.

Heather stopped in to see Dane and showed him pictures of her new 3 pound 8 ounce grandson, Aiden John Moyer. It was good to visit with her and she was so nice to take a bag with a couple of books back to Ellsworth for a good friend of mine. I miss Brit, my family and friends…but I am where I need to be.

Dane talked a lot today as he had his cap on his trach. When he wants to talk, he does it in streams. They are weaning him off his trach and hope eventually to get him off entirely and back to his C-PAP machine at night. He will sleep better with it.

There are nurses now that are requesting that they be asked to take care of him and I like that. He’s a good, cooperative patient and it makes me feel good to have such good nurses go out of their way to come see him (when they aren’t assigned to him) and ask me to put in a word for them. They are good people, good nurses and consciencious about their work. He’s been such a sick puppy and they are delighted to see him get better each day. He’s been there longer than most patients and they are growing attached to him. And he’s a good patient. He just doesn’t complain.

Tomorrow is Thursday, the day the wound doctor debrides his bedsore. It’s a very painful procedure. I just hope it is getting better. Sinia changed his dressing before I left today and it was the first time in weeks he didn’t moan and groan with a simple dressing change. She was good and quick. The only way for it to heal is to keep him off his tailbone, and that is very hard, as you can imagine. He’s a big guy and he can’t lie on his stomach, or that would solve the problem.

Dane got a lot of mail today and I will read it to him tomorrow. Thank you for your thoughts and messages. Keep the stimulations coming his way. They help enormously.

A QUICK ENTRY

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:56 am

Ginger and I rolled in at 7:00 last night, she from KC and me from the hospital. We both had long days and decided to go to Sweet Basil for a salad for dinner. It’s a good place and the favorite Italian haunt of my friend Sandra W.Z. We’ll go back some night and try their real food. It’s very close to Ginger’s house.

Dane’s stay at Select has been extended until March 7th for sure. After that, we go pretty much day by day depending on what medications he’s on. We’re looking at skilled nursing homes in the area as a stop gap measure until such time he can handle at least 3 hours of PT a day. At this point, he is unable to do that. We’ve visited three and will consider two, Life Care and Catholic Care. We’re also going to take a look at the skilled nursing center at the Masonic Home, which we heard was very good. We just pop in, unexpected and take a look. There is always someone to show us around. Those are the three in the area that are highly recommended. Andover and Whitewater are too, but we’ve ruled them out for other reasons. We’re looking at the ones with good wound care, staff doctors and physical therapy facilities among other things. If you have any input on the subject, please drop me a line. After what we hope is a short stay at the skilled nursing facility, we’ll head to Our Lady of Lourdes for serious rehabilitation. After that, home!

Yesterday Dane did pretty well on the tilt table. The wound is still the problem. Since he can’t sit up to eat, he’s still getting the brown protein stuff in his feeding tube which is good stuff for the wound. He drinks tea while standing on the table.

They brought in the new bed and it’s the same kind he had at NCCU at St. Francis. He does not fall out the end of it. It’s an air bed that is firmer and less friendly to his bedsore, so they have to be diligent in rolling him completely to one side or the other, every two hours. You can imagine what that and all the other pokes and prods do to his ability to sleep.

And, another reason to have me there. He was left with his trach cap on all night, which was completely against the orders from the doctor. I called in at 8 night before last to make sure that cap was taken off and was assured it would be, but it wasn’t. He has very serious sleep apnea and leaving that trach cap on bottomed him out on his stats. I don’t think that will happen again. In moving him around yesterday, his trach came completely out, but not in a way you could see. Fortunately, I was there to notice something was wrong. If it isn’t one thing, it’s something else. I’m just glad I can be there for him.

He had visitors yesterday and that was very nice for him, and helpful: Roger N, Pete and Betty P., and Art B., that I know of. I went to the baby building in Wesley and visited Nicole and Heather. I met Heath in the elevator. Sometimes, it’s a small place.

And right now, it’s time to head that way. By Golly!

2/14/2005

OOPS, ANOTHER LONG DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:02 pm

I don’t know how the days can run together like they do, but Todd, Mackenzie and Luke spent five weeks with Dane while he was at St. Francis in NCCU and said each day was like Groundhog day. You remember the movie. Each day is the same, over and over.

I can’t tell you from one day to the next where I park, and if I didn’t write it down, I’d never find my car. Like others, I resort to using the remote locking feature a lot to sound my horn and inch my way to wherever it was I left my car. Alas! The parking garage has a clearance just 3 inches over Tyler’s head. It’s a nightmare.

Phil Parsons came by to visit today…and Lisa, but then it could just as easily have been yesterday. I’ll say it was today. John Dickerson and niece Andrea called today, along with the usual calls from family members.

Dane did well on the tilt table today lasting longer than ever before. I suppose from start to finish, it was close to half an hour. He drank ice tea that I made for him that tasted good to him. He was in a lot of pain or probably could have lasted longer. He’s just very weak.

Dr. Qizhi Gao came to see him today, but couldn’t do acupuncture to help the bedsore pain. He said he’d be back in a couple of days. He increased Dane’s pain medicine and we all agree he should not have to endure such pain. You can’t get well when you hurt. Dr. Roman, Dane’s infectious disease doctor, said she had no problem with him trying acupuncture as long as Dane had a current tetanus shot and didn’t roll over on the needles. I love her humor.

The new air bed arrived this evening but they haven’t put him in it yet. It’s like the one he had at NCCU with a trapeze he can pull himself up with and exercise his right arm. But, the thing is, with this air bed, they will have to turn him every two hours to make sure he is not on his bedsore. We’ll see how well they do with that.

He had his Passey Muir valve on most of the day and can talk very well with it. We encourage him to talk with everyone who comes in the room, but he doesn’t always feel like it. Maybe he’ll do better tomorrow. I have arm exercises for him, so maybe he’ll have something loud and noisy to say about that.

My housemother should be home sometime tomorrow. That will be nice. It’s lonesome and quiet around here without her and John Elway.

Something is wrong with my Graymatter blogging program. Letters and words are dropping out of sight. I’m not sure what to do about it.

2/13/2005

A TWELVE HOUR DAY

Filed under: prairie musings, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:03 pm

Today was quiet and fairly restful for Dane and with the right amount of visitors to make it very pleasant. Alyce and Dean stopped on their way home from a sign sale in Oklahoma to see their third son, as they’ve always called Dane. Heather, Dick and Heath stopped by as well as they were visiting the hospital on other business. I’ll let them explain that good news. Then Dave and Cheryl stopped by on their way home from Florida. They had the tans to prove it and looked rested. Dave always has lots to talk about with Dane that brightens our day. Dane’s just not adjusting to his new trach all that easily so most conversations were quite one-sided. That will change in a few days.

Tomorrow Dane is going to get a larger, different bed. We hope it helps with the healing of the bedsore. He’ll get moved every two hours from side to side, come rain or shine, so that will keep him from getting good, sound sleep. I’m not sure that is possible in the hospital as they are constantly doing one thing or another: blood tests, blood pressure and temps, breathing treatments, tube feeding, meds and other such things they do on a regular basis that awaken him. But, it’s all working as he is getting better and looks better. Since I see him every day, I have to rely on others who see him every week or so to fill me in on the changes they notice.

I found out that Dr. Gao is on the staff at Select so I’ve requested a consult with him to see what recommendations he might have (since he’s done extensive stroke research) and if he can do anything with acupuncture to relieve some of Dane’s bedsore pain. I asked a few nurses if they knew him and they were awed by what they said they have seen him do. It’s the kind of thing you can’t really describe logically so they just sort of wave their arms to describe the mysterious ways he works and heals people. Oriental medicine can be awe inspiring.

A friend and I are going to check out skilled nursing homes tomorrow. A patient in Select with whom I was chatting today told m his line of work took him all over the state to visit nursing homes. He had two to recommend that we’ll visit. Andover and Mulvane keep sifting to the top.

I’m rarely at the hospital on Sunday, but with Ginger gone, I left early this morning and spent the day…like 12 hours. I watched parts here and there of a couple of my favorite movies, “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail”, and that other one with Meg Ryan who jumps off a girder into the past. Whatever. The nurses were a delight and did very nice things for Dane. Most of them do and we appreciate that very much. It’s a good place to be if you’re really sick, and everyone there is.

I stopped at the Great Wall by Wesley and got Chinese to go. I’ll have most of it for lunch tomorrow. And now it’s past my bedtime! Thanks for all your kindnesses to Dane and me.

2/12/2005

VISITORS

Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 8:52 pm

Brit, Todd, Betty and Pete Peterson were Dane’s visitors today. Mostly, we just talked around him. He can’t talk with his new trach very well, for some reason, so he just listened and dozed. We watched the KU game. Todd and I cleaned out his locker that was a catch all for the residue of “stuff” from his roommate who left earlier this week. We assembled his C-Pap machine to see that it works when he is ready for it. And we tried to make Dane comfortable, watch his stats, etc. That was our day.

My housemother called tonight to check up on her house sitter. I told her someone broke in during the night and ate all the bean soup. She makes the best bean soup you ever put your lips around. Mr. Elway got her in big trouble. She and grandson Luke were going to story hour and both stepped out the front door with a load of something. John Elway, who loves stories too, tried to follow, jumped on the door and closed it, locking her and Luke outside. She had a key she always carried with her, but it was inside the house in her coat pocket. She was locked outside for almost 2 hours while they waited for a locksmith to arrive, break and enter. And she got pretty cold. She was horror struck at the thought Luke might have been locked inside.

Betty and Pete’s daughter called and gave me a good lead on a doctor who is on active status at Select. He’s been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1980 and is president of the Kansas College of Chinese Medicine where he serves as College President. Apparently, he has done extensive research on stroke patients at Wesley Rehab Hospital that has attracted nationwide attention. I’m off to hunt him down on Monday. I never overlook a good lead.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:52 pm

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