Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

I've been thinking about 39 for a while now. There are several ways to think of this age--I could be pouty and say this is my "last" birthday, never adding another number to 39 each year after this. I'm not so narcissistic as to be that way.

I could also say that I've been three years old 13 times. Not sure that's much fun, though.

I could be thirteen 3 times. Nope--teen years, *shudder*--I don't want to relive those.

I'm one less than forty. I'm one day younger than Rachael Ray. I'm now older than my sister-in-law (and she will most certainly stop by my blog to remind me!)

I was born in a year that was hugely pivotal for this country, 1968. I'm hoping I've had the same force of impact on someone else's life, in a good way.

Doing nothing today at all--same stuff, different day--it's all different when you get older, isn't it?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

On Her Way


Little girl...


...all grown up.


Just dropped her off at college today. That's 2 people gone from my home, but it sure feels like more. So many left to take care of, you would think the busyness of it all would help. Where did all that time go?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Coming Home and Public Service Announcement

Well, not home, but far closer! Marty is being transported back to our area today for physical therapy rehab. The trip there is so short compared to the one I was making--about 20 minutes. This will make my days far easier-and I really need a break about now, talk about burnout! Four hours a day on the road for hospital visits can wear a person down pretty quickly.

Let's talk about Public Service a moment, shall we? For the first few days in the STICU (Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit) Marty received quite a bit of blood. It most certainly saved his life. There was never hesitation about giving it to him, never a moment where they said, "Oops! All out of that type!" It was nice to know that blood was available for Marty at any time he was in need of it. It's also there for YOU, if you should need it. Now that I've said that, I'm going to hit you up for your own blood.

If you are able to donate blood, please do so. If you can't there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available during blood drives. You can be the cookie person, or the "Hi, how are you today?" person or whatever it is they need that day. Please consider it and know that even my 17 year-old daughter has given blood during drives at her school--and she's a big 'needle chicken'. If she can do it, so can you!

Check out the Red Cross site and look for a drive near you, or start a drive of your own! Believe me, the people who receive your blood will be more than appreciative, and you just may save a life.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Getting Better all the Time

So, Marty has been out of ICU for 3 days and he has absolutely no IV's, no tubes or breathing apparatus on him at all. He takes his medication by mouth, has been eating (very sparingly) and was up today on a walker and sat in a chair!

He can't put any weight on his left leg and his right arm needs a small armrest attached to the walker so he can hold himself up, but the bottom line is, he is slowly becoming mobile. He has a long way to go, but he's definitely moving forward.

I talk to him on the phone, which is so odd to me, he sounds a bit gravelly from the ventilator being in so long, and is fairly quiet, but that doesn't matter to me. I'm just grateful to be able to hear him at all.

We're still trying to get a line on when he will be moved closer, but it really is all up to Marty's body at this point. The Drs have done all they can and Marty just needs to heal enough and pass some milestones first before they will transport him here.

Here on the home front I'm trying to hold things together. My oldest daughter is moving to college on Saturday and we have an orientation on Wednesday. I still need to finish school shopping for the younger kids, the yard looks a bit forlorn, the laundry needs some doing and a sit-down dinner would be nice someday soon!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Getting Better

Good news all around: Marty is in a regular room--OUT of ICU! They took the ventilator off the night before last and I was able to TALK TO HIM yesterday! Not very much, and it was hard to hear him, but that didn't matter--just the sound of his voice at this point was one of the best things I've heard.

He has some memories that aren't real (from the meds), but I'm sure he'll be back to normal really soon. I don't know when they will move him back to the LV, but I'm hoping it's very soon now that he's no longer critical.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Forward, back, forward

Yesterday as I was getting ready to leave for the hospital I received a call from them that Marty's white count was up, he had a fever and some fluid in his lungs. They said they would do a CAT scan to see what was going on and possibly extubate (remove the ventilator) him later in the day.

When I got there they had just finished with the CAT scan and Marty was very awake (or as much as can be with all the medication) and when he saw me, he cried. I told him everything was OK. They still didn't have the results of the scan when I left and weren't ready to extubate him at that time.

When I called this morning, the nurse told me that Marty had an OK night, but was "complaining of pain", and a little light went on and I said, "Oh! You extubated him!" The nurse told me they had removed the ventilator last night at 9 p.m. 


I'm hoping the scan shows nothing and that he's just getting better and better and can be moved to our area soon.

Thanks for the prayers and well-wishes, again.

Monday, August 13, 2007

ALL DONE!

Long story very short--the surgery took 6 hours. The wrist is plated and pinned and the hip/SI joint has a 15cm (6") pin throughout.

He WILL WALK--his nerves are showing damage on the left to his foot so he may have a "foot drop" that will need therapy and possibly a lift in his shoe. The wrist will take at least a year before he can use it, and he will not be able to do ironwork ever again. It takes too much balance, which he will no longer have, and too much strength and flexibility in his wrist--which is gone, too.

Now we wait to see how his lungs are doing before they can remove the vent and send him WAY CLOSER for therapy. Maybe 4 days, maybe a week--nobody knows right now.

So, WHEW! Biggest hurdle over--NO MORE SURGERIES NEEDED--and we can move on--slowly, but ever so surely.

Today

I got a 6 a.m. call to let me know that Marty's surgeries will be at Noon. They're doing some labs this morning to make sure everything is good to go and then they're off. They'll assess the pelvis in the OR--they have plans for everything, but they also know that things can look very different once you're in. They're doing both the wrist and the pelvis, so I'm sure it will be a lengthy procedure. I'll update when I can. Send up prayers, please.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Still the Same

For anyone checking for updates, there really is none at the moment. Marty is still heavily sedated, intubated etc. and unable to speak. I haven't been to see him since Thursday, and most likely will not be back until Tuesday. While I really hate not being there, I've had so much going on here that I can't visit and get it all done at the same time.

The nurse told me this morning that he responds (groggily) to basic commands when they "call his name", but that's it for now. The ventilator is still breathing 100% for him, and will continue to do so, until he has his surgeries. We're still hopeful for Monday, but the nurse said the schedule isn't posted until after midnight tonight.

She reminded me that he's being well taken care of and that he will really need me when he comes home. I'm trying to take everyone's advice and do what I must here at home, but I can't help but want to be there to check on him--after all, I know him better than anyone.

So, that's it for now--I want to pass a Thank You out to everyone who has been emailing and calling and donating, we truly appreciate it all so much!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Number One Son!

Declan is 8 today! Happy Birthday, sweetheart.



Monday, August 06, 2007

Procedure and update

Marty is having an angiography right now-they will give him dye and feed a little camera up into the femoral artery and outward to check for blood leaking. His hemoglobin will not go above 5.5 and that is even after they give him blood. He's bleeding somewhere and they need to find out where that is. They called at 7:15 and said they were starting then-it's now 10:00 and I haven't heard back. I know it can take quite a bit of time, so I'm trying not to get nervous. I won't sleep until I hear that he is OK.

They brought in the x-ray machine today (I'm wondering why they didn't before) to re-check his breaks and see if there was one they missed or if the bones had shifted. They were as they had been, so they are checking to see if the bleeding is in the pelvis.

The problem with this is that his kidneys are already not doing well--his creatinine is at 3 and that's bad. The dye is not kind to kidneys and they are afraid this will ruin them. The alternative is to let him bleed or do a CAT scan, which would show where the bleed is, but then they would have to fix it in another way and this way they can check and fix all at the same time.

He is still in a medically induced coma, suffering ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) and will be that way until the bleeding stops.

The emergency the other night was a result of a blood thinner he was given--shortly after they gave it to him his blood pressure dropped, his O2 plummeted, and his heart began racing "dangerously so". The Dr thought they may lose him at that point, but obviously they pulled him out of that.

SO ... pray right NOW if you can, that he will pull through this angiography and they can find the source of the bleeding and FIX IT. I have great hope that once they find it he will begin to get better.

Tomorrow I am staying home to get some things done. I hate taking a day off, but I have so much to do that I can't see any other way.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
UPDATE! They found, and embolized, a bleed in his pelvis--hopefully he will start healing now! They will call and let me know what his hemoglobin is as soon as they get labs back.

And more...

Sorry for cut-and-paste again ... someday I'll feel like typing more.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Marty is not doing so well. He had a respiratory emergency on Saturday night and the Dr simply said that they "lost a lot of ground" because of it. They put a line into his heart through the groin (like a cardiac catheter) with a sensor to monitor things better there. They also have him on a paralytic (a medicine that keeps him paralyzed) to give his lungs a better chance to heal. It sounded rather horrific to me, but he is also on Ativan and Fentanyl, so there really isn't any way he would know anything.

They checked yesterday for DVT's (blood clots) in his extremities and they were finishing up when it was time for me to leave, so I haven't hear yet if he was clear or not. He is too critical to move at this point, they are unable to do CAT scans or x-rays to check for clotting elsewhere. I contacted his regular Drs so they could fill in the Hahnemann team on what tests were done when he had the last clot. They would like to put an IV line in his chest, but can't do that either until they feel it's safe from clotting.

The fever broke and the cultures should be back today. They will treat him regardless--and act as if he still had the fever--just to be safe. It may be from the wrist surgery and the still-open wound where the external fixator is, or something else.

They gave him blood yesterday since his hemoglobin was low, his potassium is too high and they don't know why that is, either. He has a long way to go. I was beside myself not being able to talk to him, wondering if he will ever come home. I can't imagine that happening, but God knows my heart anyway, so I'm just going to put that concern out there and ask for prayers on that end.

The kids are OK, not fully understanding what is going on--Megan saw daddy for about 5 minutes and was very upset. Cassidy didn't want to go in at all, and I can understand that. The other kids are too young and so far I've only taken the baby and one older girl with me. It's such a long drive for such a short visit. It's very emotionally trying.

I'm calling this morning to see how he is doing, and if I can get there (I need to return the jeep I was borrowing today) I will go and see him again. I've still not been able to see the films of his many fractures, or talk to social services about the compensation etc. but hope to do that if I can get down there.

For now, please pray that he will stabilize so that they can operate and he can begin to heal. I'm trying to lean on God and finding that difficult at best with so much to do.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Updating

This is cut and paste from other updates--I just don't have it in me to re-type it all!

This is from yesterday:

The first wrist surgery was done early Friday morning-all 6 hours of it! The ortho said on a scale of one to ten it is a 15. She's not seen many worse than this one. He basically switched around his radius and ulna and so they pinned one and put in a 'fixator' to keep it all open until he heals some and they can see how best to proceed. He most likely will not be able to rotate his hand anymore. The elbow is not broken-whew. The pelvis--broken at the sacral joint and both acetabulum are broken. The gash on his face is sewn and will heal-but scar.
From my trip to Philly today:
Marty has a fever-they haven't done cultures yet to know why--he's already on vancomycin, so I don't know what is up there, and neither do they.

His O2 sats are staying below 90 and they aren't able to get them up. This could be two things--a bruised lung (he has a huge bruise just under his right ribs, and may have bruised the lung, too) OR blood clots-since he is prone to those. I gave them Marty's regular Dr's # and told them that he treated the last blood clot and ran every test known to man to see WHY it developed to start with. They had a call in to them when I left. They need to know about the clotting since they want to put an IV line in Marty's chest. They can't do his neck since he is still in a brace because of the ventilator and stomach pump (which just goes hand-in-hand with being intubated since you would aspirate more easily then).

They can't do the pelvic surgery until he is stable-and that's just not happening.

He is still fairly non-responsive, he's on heavy drugs--Ativan and Fentanyl (which is like morphine to the Nth)--so he will slowly turn his head, but not always, and won't open his eyes. When the nurse does dressing changes, etc. she is able to get him to squeeze her hand in response to questions, but nothing beyond that, yet. They don't really want him more aware at this point anyway.

They shaved his moustache so they were able to tape his lines down better, and he looks so different. The only response I could get from him was his respirations increasing when I would talk to him, which would cause his O2 to fall, so I just shut up and sat there--lost.

I uploaded photos to WalMart of the kids and put one in a frame and others in a book so he can see them when he is able and in case he 'comes out of it' when I'm not there.

I'm tired-I will go back down tomorrow-the ortho resident was in ER and then OR immediately so I couldn't see the films and the social services was out so I couldn't ask about financial stuff--all tomorrow, I hope.

All done rambling-my brain is a tad funky today-it's all catching up a bit after the initial shock kept my feelings at bay.

So, please pray--more--that this fever will go away and his lungs will get better and they can do this surgery on his pelvis that so badly needs to be done.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Prayers, please

My husband fell off the roof he was working on today--26 feet--and has fractured both the right and left acetabulum and several other spots throughout his pelvis. He has a compound fracture to his right wrist, a broken elbow and a gash on his face. His heart was beating irregularly (dipping to the 30's and 40's and back up to 90 etc.) so they did an echo cardiogram and found a small area of fluid around his heart. They think that is from the trauma of the fall and will be watching him during the surgeries he will need very closely.

He was airlifted to Philadelphia and that's 60 miles from me, so the commute will be hard. I'm sure he'll be gone for a month or more, I have no idea at this time, though. I'm sure this won't be easy by any stretch.
Please pray, if you would.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Veggie Wednesday: Earthbound Farms Cookbook

I recently received a copy of The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook, Food to Live By, by Myra Goodman with Linda Holland and Pamela McKinstry, from Lillian Margolin, an intern at . As soon as I had pulled the book from it's box, I started reading and couldn't stop. I even found myself reading it by candlelight that evening so I wouldn't disturb my infant daughter sleeping nearby.

I was captivated by the story of the young couple, Drew and Myra Goodman, living on a farm in exchange for property improvements, and selling raspberries to help pay the bills. Captivated because it's exactly the sort of thing I would do myself.

It's hard to believe that came from such meager beginnings considering just how large they are now. I think one of the most fun facts about them is that they were the first to introduce and sell pre-washed bagged salads. I don't know of anyone who hasn't purchased bagged salad, and it was neat to read that Earthbound Farms is where that idea was born.

This cookbook has quickly become one of my favorites, and I can see myself turning to it often. The recipes are fabulous--there is no ingredient so foreign that it can't be found--or at least a suitable replacement--nearby. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow and each recipe has a little history or fact written about it. That's something I truly appreciate, since the recipes in my own family cookbook all have a little something written about them. That extra makes the book very personal and also tells the reader that each recipe has actually been made, and loved, by the author, Myra Goodman.

The photos are beautiful and story-telling. This book is not just packed with over 260 delicious recipes, it's full of helpful tips and interesting facts; Myra's 'Four Food Choices I Live By' is something everyone should read, and heed. I also love that it's not just a cookbook, the story it begins with could easily stand on it's own.

A short time ago an acquaintance suggested I use 'X-Product' on my tomatoes, and I just nodded politely, all the while thinking, "WHY would I put a chemical on, in or near my food and then feed it to my family?" No thanks--garlic and marigolds planted near my tomatoes have provided all the protection I need. Reading this book has made me feel completely vindicated in my own gardening practices, which I didn't really see as organic until now.

This is one of the many, many wonderful recipes from Foods to Live By. I made this granola (which can also be purchased at the Earthbound Farms website) just before my oldest daughter took off on a camping trip. She and her friends loved it, as did the rest of my family. So we've eaten it straight up, as a cereal with cold milk, and as a hot cereal one morning. The only thing I did differently was to use chopped, dried apricots in place of the raisins; I love raisins, but I have a few 'raisin-haters' here.

Earthbound Farm's Famous Maple Almond Granola
Makes about 8 cups

4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup (3 oz) shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups slivered or coarsely chopped raw almonds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup raisins

1. position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F.
2. Place the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the maple syrup and oil and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened.
3. Spread the granola on a roughly 12 by 17-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake the granola until it begins to brown, about 25 minutes, then stir it with a flat spatula. Let the granola continue to bake until it is light golden brown, dry and fragrant, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Stir the granola at least once more as it bakes and watch it carefully during the final minutes because it can burn quickly.
4. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack, add the raisins, and stir to combine. Let the granola cool completely. Transfer the granola to an airtight container. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 month or frozen for up to 6 months. You can serve the granola straight from the freezer. It doesn't get hard and it thaws almost instantly--just pour on some milk.


You can purchase your own copy of Foods to Live By from the Earthbound Farms website or at Amazon.com. If you love vegetables, if you're striving for a healthier body and earth, please pick up a copy of this cookbook, you'll come to appreciate and love it as much as I do!