06.15.17 Lightheadedness…………..

Thursday, June 15, 2017 – If you’d like to skip past today’s blog post feel free to do so. It’s mostly my own documentation of the current medical issues we are dealing with.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had four medical tests to help determine why I continue to be lightheaded. Some people call this dizzy but the emergency room doctor explained to me back in May that dizzy is what a kid gets when he spins around. Lightheaded is what someone experiences without all the spinning around.

I describe it as having my vision close in on me, having to grab on to something to stop from passing out and hearing loud humming in my ears. Sometimes this is brief and sometimes it goes on for a couple of minutes. At first I just stopped doing anything, becoming quite the couch potato. I’ve learned to cope with it and not let it stop me from doing things as time has gone on. It happens every day and has been for quite a while, long before I wound up in the hospital with the bleeding ulcer.

I use to think it was because of one prescription that I take which is Invokanna that removes any sugar in my system through pee pee. Thinking that was the cause of the lightheadedness, and wanting the benefits of taking Invokanna, I thought I had to suck it up. I’ve been off of the Invokanna just to test if that was the cause since being in the hospital, and still the lightheadedness continues every day.

The first test was an MRI of my brain, second was a carotid artery ultrasound, then a holter monitor worn for 48 hours and finally yesterday an Echo Cardiogram. All of these were done at North Oaks Hospital. Wednesday, Roy and I met with Dr. Valdes to get the results of those test.

Seems that all the test showed NOTHING that would cause lightheadedness. I am thankful that my heart got checked out and I know that is fine. There was a little plaque build up in the carotid artery but nothing to worry about. So!

Since all this is good and my blood count is back to normal Dr. Valdes said he wants me to stop taking several of my prescriptions for the next 7 days to see if that causes any change to the lightheadedness. Some medicines I can’t just stop taking but those that I can stop, I am. Now that I know it’s not something having to do with my heart I am going to gradually start pushing myself physically harder and harder each day. All this cautious stuff needs to stop and I need to get back to being me!

So, from here we go next week to Dr. Booth’s surgical center to have another endoscopy and a colonoscopy. That will show how well the large bleeding ulcer and inflammation of esophagus have healed. I’ve been on Protonix for six weeks and have not taken Naproxin or Plavix for six weeks so I am hopeful that we’ll get a great report from that doctor!

We’re now aiming to leave Louisiana on Monday, June 26th!

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06.14.17 Happy Rocks, Smiley Rocks, Patriotic Rocks, Yes ROCKS ROCK ROCKS!!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – We have collected large, medium and small rocks from all around the United States and have them in our garden at our home base in Amite, Louisiana.

Recently I’ve been thinking how cool it would be to paint on some of those rocks with my grandchildren.  I decided to take a shot at it, before getting the kiddies involved, keeping in mind that I am a pretty pitiful painter.  Even when painting walls more paint winds up on me and my clothing than on the wall.  I don’t have artistic capabilities but I have a love to share positive messages with others. The key in my plan is to leave inspirational messages for others to find.  If it makes them giggle, smile or out right laugh I will have accomplished something that makes me happy!

I recently posted on Facebook that I was going to do this and asked guidance from my artist friends as to which paints they recommended.  One of my FB friends, Kelley O’Connor, tagged a friend of hers, Connie Meades Ferguson.  Apparently Connie has been doing this same thing for a while on a big scale. On her Facebook page called Montrose “Rocks”!  a lot of inspiration for rock paintings can be found! Click on the Montrose “Rocks”! link to be taken to her Facebook page.

“Spread happiness, love & inspiration through the simple gesture of painting rocks & “hiding” them throughout the community for people to find. This is a community-building group meant to inspire creativity in all ages & bring kids/families back together again in a world gone completely wild.” – Connie Ferguson

This is a link to a great video about Connie’s project!

 

Connie’s endeavor, and her guidance of what paint supplies to purchase, have inspired me and obviously many others as can be seen by all the rock photos posted on Facebook! When doing some Google research I’ve learned this is exploding all around the country!  What a beautiful way to unite our country!

I won’t be painting the largest of our rocks.  The medium ones have the name of the state they are from written on them already, though I will be adding some cute decorative art to some of those.  The ones I will focus on painting are the smaller ones, 2″ to 6″ in size.  I collect craft supplies for Madisyn and other children that come to play.  I have several colors of glitter and other paints in those boxes.  We purchased some clear, white, black and light pink spray paint and six paint pens.  Being as inexperienced and untalented as I am artistically I thought the paint pens would make the finished product come out better!

Yesterday I got started by spraying several rocks and today I painted designs on some of them!!  Now that I’ve started I see I need some additional colors.  How can I paint anything patriotic with just white, light blue and light pink.  No, gotta be red, white and blue! Can’t paint a decent Southeastern or LSU rock with the limited colors I have.

My plan is to not only leave painted rocks around places we visit, but to place them throughout my gardens at home and in the gardens of those I love.

I’m not ready to photograph any of my rocks yet but here are just few of the ones on the “Montrose Rocks” Facebook page.

   You never know what you’re going to get when you open a blog post from Dora and the Explorers!  If this rock painting sounds like something you might be interested in I recommend going to Connie’s Facebook page and reading how she recommends you do it, including what type paint to use!

I may create my own Facebook page for myself and others to post their painted rock photos on!  If you do get into this please send me a photo of your rocks to rosalyn@selu.edu!  We will see how this develops as time goes on!   I’d love any feedback ya’ll can give me on this.  Do you already paint rocks and leave them for people to find?  Do you paint them for your own or others gardens?  I love using stickers, glitter and other creative items.  If you use some of those I would love to learn more! Also if you have rocks that you’d like me to take a stab at painting something on (something extremely simple) please get them to me and I’ll be happy to do that!

I just had a thought…… Christmas rocks for the garden!!!!!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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06.11.17 I’ve never been a member of a church that…………………

Sunday, June 11, 2017 – Yes, I’ve never been a member of a church that called a new pastor.  The church I grew up in, Lakeview Baptist Church in New Orleans had its pastor, Rev. J. Richard Randels, before we joined.  The church we joined in Hammond, Trinity, had just called Dr. Randy Davis when we joined. So this was a first for me and I’m sure happy about how it all turned out!

The process that a Southern Baptist church goes through to call its own pastors is unique and I will be writing about that in a future blog post.  A lot of denominations have their pastors chosen for them.  We do not do that.  Through God’s guidance and much prayer following God’s will, and a huge amount of work by a Pastor Search Committee, we call our own pastor to our local church.

That is for another day, but today is all about the new Senior Pastor that Trinity Baptist Church in Pumpkin Center, Louisiana (technically its Hammond, Louisiana) just voted on this morning! I couldn’t write about this before now because our new pastor is currently the pastor at another Louisiana church. It wouldn’t be fair for the members of that church to find out about him leaving through my blog.  When we were told at the end of our Worship Service this morning that the votes were counted and that he’d been contacted, I knew I could make it public!  So you see, Yes I can keep a secret! Good thing it wasn’t any longer than a week!

So now for the big announcement.  Our new pastor is Bro. Avery Dixon!  His family includes his wife Misty, son Aiden and daughter Mia!

Last Sunday this amazing family spent the day at our church.  Bro. Avery preached, Mia (the young daughter) sang, we sang joyful music Worshiping our Lord, we all ate together and then we spent two hours of question and answer time.

For a 38 year old young man he and Misty handled the questions posed to them very well.  His beliefs are all directly tied to what the Bible says and that is my heart’s desire for a pastor who will shepherd our flock at Trinity.

Each church family was sent a packet of information about Bro. Avery the week before.  Of course you know I did as much Googling as I could before he even showed up!  I don’t even have words to express the amazing Worship Service we had last Sunday.  Our own Cindy Shelton introduced Bro. Avery and Mia to the congregation.

Young Mia’s voice was pitch perfect as she shared her confident love for our Lord with us. She sang “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us”, acapella.  I don’t know how her dad preached after that!

Bro. Avery’s sermon from Lamentations spoke straight to my heart.

Bro. Avery earned his Masters of Divinity at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans. He has served as Pastor at Hope Church in nearby Waldheim, Louisiana, for the last 8 years. He is an Expository preacher which means he presents the meaning and intent of a biblical text, providing commentary and examples to make the passage clear and understandable.  An expositor cares little if his audience says, “What a great sermon” or “What an entertaining speaker.” What he truly wants them to say is, “Now I know what that passage means,” or “I better understand who God is and what He requires of me.”

As always. dinner on the grounds was delicious and we got to visit with so many of our great Trinity friends.

Bro. Avery and Mrs. Misty Dixon

The question and answer time was well attended and a lot of thoughtful questions were raised.  After hearing their answers I was quite reassured that this young man and his family were indeed led to us by God to serve at Trinity!

Mrs. Cindy Shelton opening the Question and Answer time. This sweet lady is everything I want to be when I finish growing up!
Even the younger church members had questions!

It will be a few weeks before he starts his new position at Trinity.  We may be well along our journey down Route 66 by that time.  We will be watching via Live Stream as this young couple settles in at Trinity. I am looking forward to seeing where God takes Trinity Baptist Church now that Bro. Avery will be joining us.  He’s young enough to be my our oldest son’s age! yet quite mature in his beliefs and knowledge.

Before closing I want to say MUCH THANKS to Bro. Derek Wall who has filled in as our Pastor after Bro. Bob Adams needed to step down due to health issues.  Bro. Derek has been our Minister of Youth and Education for several years and will go back to that position when Bro. Avery arrives and settles in!  Thank you for being willing to step up and take us on, Bro. Derek!!

I cannot say enough about the kindness, compassion, genuine love for our church, and guidance that Bro. Bob Adams, our Transitional Pastor, showed to us during his time at Trinity.  He led us, the members, to understand the process and to be prepared to welcome a new shepherd which is what we consider our Pastor to be.  He guided the Pastor Search Committee while they were doing their work and is in full agreement that Bro. Avery Dixon is the pastor God’s chosen to lead Trinity Baptist Church forward doing His Will.

This next thank you may be last but it is certainly not least.  May God bless each of you greatly for your service to our church.  So many hours of hard work goes into the work of a Pastor Search Committtee.  Our committee was comprised of Ms. Cindy Shelton, Ms. Megan Wild, Mr. Doug Williamson, Mr. Philip Bankston and Mr. David Thompson.  They are all individually exceptional Christians and collectively they’ve outdone themselves in their work serving our church.  Thank you so much guys for being strong Christians and allowing God to guide you in all you did for us!

Welcome to the Trinity Baptist Church family, Avery, Misty, Aiden and Mia!

I leave ya’ll with several photos I took that Sunday of our church members through all the day’s activities.

Mr. Gene Traylor
Mr. Doug Williamson
Mr. Mike Whisenhunt, our sound guru
Mr. Bill and Mrs. Sylvia Sims
Evynn, Caroline and Sean
Larry, Annette, Blanche, and Wanda Forest
I couldn’t pass this one up. Ms. Emily and Ms. Louise just a sharing world matters together!
Sometimes glare just gets in the way of a great photo. Ms. Emily, Ms. Louise, Ms. Octavia and Ms. Hubsch!
Ms Grace and Mr. Charlie Turk
Charles and Marie Robbins
The one and only Spot and Leanna Traylor
Just a little part of the Martin family!

I am hopeful to have some answers about the cause of my lightheadedness this week!  One more test, an Echocardiogram and then a doctor visit for all the results!! The following week is the endoscopy and colonoscopy, oh my!!  And hopefully, that will wrap up all this health mess so we can get busy on Route 66!!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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06.06.17 Southern Women

Southern women are unique and deserve for others around the country to learn about us.  I am proudly a Southern woman, raised by a strong Southern woman.  Even my faith is Christian Southern Baptist!!  It is a way we were raised, morals we were taught, manners we had instilled every day and examples we learned from all around us.  I smile often when we are home in Louisiana at all the Southern things I see and hear that we do not see at all in other parts of the United States.  We are blessed in the South for our heritage and all it brings with it! Southern men are unique as well but today’s article by Allison Glock is all Southern Woman!

Southern women are different. That is a fact. It is not posturing, or hyperbole, or marketing. (See: all those song lyrics about California girls and their undeniable cuteness.) Southern women, unlike women from Boston or Des Moines or Albuquerque, are leashed to history. For better or worse, we are forever entangled in and infused by a miasma of mercy and cruelty, order and chaos, cornpone and cornball, a potent mix that leaves us wise, morbid, good-humored, God-fearing, outspoken and immutable. Like the Irish, with better teeth.

To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort. Which is why even the girls in the trailer parks paint their nails. And why overstressed working moms still bake three dozen homemade cookies for the school fund-raiser. And why you will never see Reese Witherspoon wearing sweatpants. Or Oprah take a nap.

For my mother, being Southern means handwritten thank-you notes, using a rhino horn’s worth of salt in every recipe, and spending a minimum of twenty minutes a day in front of her makeup mirror so she can examine her beauty in “office,” “outdoor,” and “evening” illumination. It also means never leaving the house with wet hair. Not even in the case of fire. Because wet hair is low-rent. It shows you don’t care, and not caring is not something Southern women do, at least when it comes to our hair.

Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches.

This is less about vanity than self-respect, a crucial distinction often lost on non-Southerners. When a Southern woman fusses over her appearance, it does not reflect insecurity, narcissism, or some arrested form of antifeminism that holds back the sisterhood. Southern women are postfeminism. The whole issue is a nonstarter, seeing as Southern women are smart enough to recognize what works—Spanx, Aqua Net—and wise to the allocation of effort. Why pretend the world is something it isn’t? Better to focus on what you can control (drying your hair) and make the best of what you have. Side note: Southern women do not capitalize on their looks to snag men, though that often results. The reason we Southern women take care of ourselves is because, simply, Southern women are caretakers.

An example: I have lived in the North off and on for fifteen years. In all that time, only once did another woman prepare me a home-cooked meal (and she was from Florida). I recently visited Tennessee for one week and was fed by no fewer than three women, one of whom baked homemade cupcakes in two different flavors because she remembered I loved them.

Southern women are willing to give, be it time, hugs, or advice about that layabout down the road. Southern women listen and we talk and we laugh without apology. We are seldom shocked. Not really. Sex in the City may have been revolutionary for the rest of America, but not for Southern women. Of course we bond and adore each other, and talk about all topics savory and otherwise. That’s what being a woman means.

In Terms of Endearment, a dying Debra Winger visits a friend in New York and is immediately bewildered by the alternately indifferent and aggressive way the women relate to each other.

“Why do they act like that?” Winger asks a friend, genuinely confused. Why indeed.

Southern women see no point in the hard way. Life is hard enough. So we add a little sugar to the sour. Which is not to suggest Southern women are disingenuous cream puffs. Quite the opposite. When you are born into a history as loaded as the South’s, when you carry in your bones the incontrovertible knowledge of man’s violence and limitations, daring to stay sweet is about the most radical thing you can do.

Southern women are also a proud lot. In any setting, at home or abroad, Southern women declare themselves. Leading with geography is not something that other ladies do. You do not hear “That’s just how we roll in Napa.”  Or “Well, you know what they say about us Wyoming girls…” You may hear “I’m from Jersey,” but that’s more of a threat than a howdy.

There are other defining attributes, some more quantifiable than others. Southern women know how to bake a funeral casserole and why you should. Southern women know how to make other women feel pretty. Southern women like men and allow them to stay men. Southern women are not afraid to dance. Southern women know you can’t outrun your past, that manners count, and that your mother deserves a phone call every Sunday. Southern women can say more with a cut of their eyes than a whole debate club’s worth of speeches.

Which brings us to what can only be called: the Baby Thing.

Southern women love babies. We love them so much we grab their chubby thighs and pretend to eat them alive. This is not the case in the North or the West or the middle bit.

I grew up, like all Southern girls, babysitting as soon as I was old enough to tie my own shoes. I was raised to understand that taking care of children was as natural and inevitable as sneezing, that when we were infants, somebody looked after us, and thus we should clutch hands and complete the circle without any fuss. I was also taught that your children are not supposed to be your best friends. Southern women do not spend a lick of time worrying about whether or not their kids are mad at them. They are too busy telling them “No” and “Because I said so,” which might explain why there are rarely any Southern kids acting a fool and running wild around the Cracker Barrel.

I have two daughters, Dixie and Matilda, and when we go down South, they are surrounded with love from the moment we cross the Mason-Dixon. Elderly men tip their hats. Cashiers tell them they are beautiful. To be a girl these days is more fraught than ever. But growing up among Southern women sure makes it easier.

Which is why we are moving back home. I want my children to know they belong to something bigger than themselves. That they are unique, but they are not alone. That there is continuity where they come from. Comfort too. That there are rules worth following and expectations worth trying to meet, even if you fail. If nothing else, I want them to know how to make biscuits. And to not feel bad about eating a whole heaping plate of them.

Because before I know it, my girls will be grown. And they will be Southern women too. And that, I believe, will have made all the difference.

Southern Women, By Allison Glock – http://gardenandgun.com/feature/southern-women/

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06.05.17 “Thank You,” “No problem”: Yes, it’s a BIG problem

Monday, June 4, 2017 – First, I truly cannot believe it is already June!

I didn’t write this post, but stumbled upon it while working on a very similar blog post of my own, so I stopped and am sharing his. In recent years the response to “Thank You” has become “No Problem” by a lot of folks. Mature adults still say “You’re Welcome” or “My Pleasure”. I often want to say what the writer of this article wanted to say to folks when getting the “No Problem” response. While I believe that “No Problem” is ever an appropriate response, the writer does give some examples of when he thinks it is okay. To my children and grandchildren, listen to me, not him. To the rest of you, please at least think about the whole concept.

 

“No problem”: Yes, it’s a BIG problem, by Bill Flanagan, CBS News contributor

When did everyone born after 1980 decide that “No problem” was interchangeable with “You’re welcome”? Who spread that virus? The Taliban?

Listen, today’s young people: If you want to infuriate someone born before 1980, just keep telling him “No problem” when they ask you to do something that is most certainly NOT a problem.

A very nice young man who worked for me used to have a little trouble getting in on time. Like, every day. Once a week I would say, “Look, you really have to be at your desk at 10 o’clock.”

Did he say, “Sorry, I’ll try to do better?” No. He would just smile and say, “No problem.”

That nice young man does not work for me anymore.

Saturday night, I took my wife to a good restaurant. The waitress asked if we wanted sparkling water, still water, or tap water. I said, “Tap water, please.” She said, “No problem.”

I felt like saying, “Why do YOU think I think it would be a problem for you to get me a glass of water?” Luckily, my wife gave me a look that said, “Don’t start.”

And of course my wife was right. The waitress didn’t mean to be rude. So consider this a public service announcement.

To all the young people of the world: If you want to get good tips or just generally not infuriate older people, PLEASE, only say “No problem” when there is a reasonable expectation that the task you are performing might be PROBLEMATIC.

i.e.: “Thank you for stopping your car in the rain to help me change a flat tire.”

“No problem.” Appropriate.

“Thank you for lending me ten thousand dollars to stop the bank from foreclosing on my house.”

“No problem.” Gracious.

“Thank you for giving me your kidney.”

“No problem.” Classy.

That’s what “No problem” is for! It’s a graceful way of telling someone you’ve gone out of your way to help, not to feel indebted.

But if you work in a doughnut shop and a customer thanks you for selling him a coffee, don’t say, “No problem.” He’s paying for the coffee!

Just say, “You’re welcome.”

Try it. “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” Is that so burdensome?

And look at the bright side — all of us old people will be dead soon, and then everybody born after 1980 can say “No problem” to each other for the rest of your lives.

Just hold off till then, okay? Okay.

You’re welcome.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
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06.02.17 One last look – well not really!

Friday, June 2, 2017 – This was originally put together the day before I was taken to the hospital by ambulance on Thursday, May 4th for the bleeding ulcer. We thought we were leaving to see Route 66 on Monday, May 8th. But no, we’re still home enjoying all the beauty we are blessed to live in on Rohner Road in Amite. Here’s the blog as I wrote it that day with a few little updates.  I ask a couple of questions about blueberries and satsumas.  If you have knowledge about that please let me know!!

One last look around Chauvin’s RV Resort in Amite, Louisiana before getting back on the road.

This is truly the nicest and prettiest RV Resort we have ever, or will ever stay in! I walked around the property Saturday snapping some photos of our flowers, our relaxation area, fruit trees and pond. While I love sharing this with ya’ll, it’s actually for us to look back on while we’re gone so we don’t forget how wonderful “home” is!

Roy getting ready for one last ride at home on his shiny new mini motorbike!

Roy dug dirt out from under our storage building. it seems to need this about once a year since every rain pushes dirt down the hill under the storage building.

He took four wheelbarrow loads up the hill, near the house, and spread it out hoping to help grass grow in that space. It’s been wonderful being home a little longer into the spring this year and getting to see our flowers bloom and bushes grow. These photos are from the areas immediately around our motor home we are blessed to enjoy every day.

 

On our way down to and next to the pond are our blueberries, figs, satsumas and other beautiful space.  We have a total of 5 blueberries growing on our 8 bushes.  Pretty sure that’s not right.  Any tips on growing blueberry bushes that produce more, please pass them along.  We have not seen birds eating them so I don’t think that’s the problem.  They may not be getting as much sunshine because of the abundance of oak trees in that area.  Is that the problem????  UPDATE:  Good news is we’ll be here when those 5 ripen!!!

One of the newest amenities at Chauvin’s RV Resort – our lovely hammock! This may not look like much but it is a wonderfully peaceful addition! From here on I was walking away from where our RV, Dora, lives down towards the pond.  

This was transplanted from the side of the house and is coming out great!

The older fig tree and the one passenger hammock.

The younger fig tree.

The three satsuma trees.  There is only one satsuma on those three trees.  What do they need to produce more or is it just not time for them to start making fruit? Looking back up towards the house and our motor home from the side of the pond.

I’ll probably be out taking more pictures when we finally do get to get back on the road in late June!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!

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06.01.17 Much cuter elbow, MRI, and Bessie the Cow!

Tuesday, May 30th we went to Dr. Chiasson for the fourth visit to check on my previously ugly elbow which is now much cuter. Last Friday when I went for the third time, it was better but still swollen,hot and painful to touch or move. They drained it again last Friday after much discussion and a big decision by me to pull my big girl britches up and do it. What they drained was so ugly they sent it off for a culture again. I didn’t have to be taken out in a wheelchair this time so that’s improvement. They added a second antibiotic to the mix to hopefully kick this things butt!!!

Today’s appointment with Dr. Chiasson went well. Roy and I were twins wearing pink shirts and black pants. We’re cute like that!!

Doctor found no heat in the elbow, some swelling and I was having no pain!!! After talking about options, I chose to not have it drained again but let the two antibiotics do their thing. He ordered blood work to check on things from that standpoint. I was able to go directly there to Quest for the bloodletting and got that done.

After that we went by Chip’s work, Bill Hood Nissan, for one of his special hugs. Since I was feeling good we went to Cici’s Pizza and enjoyed ourselves! He told me he thinks I looked younger which was such an uplifting comment. That boy sure knows how to make his mama feel better!

This photo is from the second visit to Dr. Chiasson – the day I saw all three doctors. Roy caught me trying to get some rest between visits.

This was from last Friday. I chose not to show the very up close photo as I may lose followers.

This is today’s cuter elbow. Again I won’t show the very up close photo but you can see from this it’s looking better. It’s gone from swollen above my elbow down to my fingers so much that I had no wrinkles. Now I have wrinkles, yes I am happy about having elbow, and all is healing! This was the first Dr. Chiasson appointment about my elbow. I’ve surely come a long way!!!

Now to switch back to the bleeding ulcer, low iron issue. A couple of days ago I bent over outside to put a light weight flag in the ground. Upon standing upright I got very lightheaded and had to hang on to Roy for a while. It got better but that prompted me to call Dr. Valdes to get an appointment to see him and not wait 3 more weeks till my scheduled appointment. He had an opening Wednesday at 1 pm so we scooped it up and went. On Tuesday, we asked the elbow doctor, Dr. Chiasson, if the lightheadedness could in anyway be associated with the staph infection. He did not believe it was because of my lack of other symptoms that would point to that.

Dr. Valdes has again proven to be an outstanding doctor. We went to see him yesterday, Wednesday, and after a good long talk he ordered several tests. Because my lightheadedness has been something I’ve had for at least a year (but certainly not at the level I have it now) he did not think the low iron would cause that. The blood tests from Dr. Chiasson shows that’s very close to normal limits. He focused on looking into any changes in my brain and any heart issues.

He ordered an MRI of my brain which I had at 3pm yesterday. Roy was able to stand outside the door and take a photo of me before going into the machine. My head is enclosed in this picture. The technician told him he couldn’t come inside the room because the magnet is always on and it could suck his camera right into it! I have claustrophobic issues with MRIs but they most kindly gave me great sedation and I almost fell asleep in the MRI!

A heart holter monitor was ordered which I can pick up on Tuesday the 6th. I’ve never had any experience with one of those monitors so I am looking forward to learning about it. A carotid artery test and an echocardiogram will be scheduled by the hospital Waiting to hear from them.

My blood pressure was again great!!!!! They checked it in the office when I was laying down, while sitting and while standing up. All good! Roy ordered online a new blood pressure monitor that doesn’t require pumping up, just push a button. After a recent lightheaded episode he took my blood pressure and it was quite good! Yay for having good medical high spots! Can’t get much better than 120/76!!!!

The MRI of my brain was done mostly to look for for new circulation issues. They got the results and just called me saying there has been no change in that respect. I have known documented circulation problems in my brain but at least that hasn’t grown worse.

We are enjoying a nice day staying home today – all day! I dream of a world where we don’t see doctors all the time and I can just walk or run around anywhere I want without worry! I ventured out a tiny little bit today to pick blackberries. Didn’t go but maybe 50 feet from our motorhome but it was wonderful. I’ve been so cautious the last few weeks in taking every step slowly not walking around without Roy holding my arm and mostly just sitting on the sofa. This is not the way I want to live so I’ll still remain cautious but want to build up my ability to get around. We have two baseball games for our only grandson on Saturday the 10th and it is now my goal to be okay enough to go to see him play.

My first goal is to get to church again this Sunday. I don’t want to share quite yet but this coming Sunday is a monumental day in the life of Trinity Baptist Church. I always want to be in church but this is such a special Sunday I can’t wait!!!

Yesterday we noticed that one of our neighbor’s cows (across the road) had been sitting down in the same position since the day before. I named her Bessie and we started keeping an eye on her because we were concerned. Roy texted the owner of that property and he said he’d send someone to check on her.

When we came home from the doctor and hospital yesterday there was a big John Deere tractor like thing next to her. Roy talked to the man who said they think she’s just old and has arthritis and was resting. She stayed there over night but this morning we saw her up and around a little. Lots of their other cows came to visit her and she sat back down kind of enjoying their visit. She’s since then gotten up and quite slowly made her way off to where we can’t see her.

That concludes my health update and neighbor’s cow update!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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05.09.17 North Oaks Hospital, Hammond, LA – Room 3403

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – Warning:  This post will contain bodily function wording.  If you don’t want to read all that, close this one now!  If you don’t care and you want to be informed about warning signs I should have paid attention to these signs before finding out I had a bleeding ulcer, read on!!!

Here’s a little cutie to keep you from seeing the rest if you choose not to:

Okay, if you’re here you’re okay with reading about bodily functions!  I recently spent five days in North Oaks Hospital in Hammond, Louisiana in Room 3403.  I want to document this event in my life and share some things I learned.  I’ll tell the story and then point out somethings afterwards.

I woke up last Thursday morning around 8 am with my stomach hurting, felt like indigestion.  I thought if I stayed in bed in a different position and wait it out I would feel better.  I quickly realized that wasn’t helping so I thought if I went to the bathroom that would help.  I tried to stand up and couldn’t go anywhere without holding on to the bed further than one step before having to sit or lay back down wherever I was.  This happened enough times to get me around the bed nearer to the bathroom.  When I tried to stand up to walk towards the bathroom and passed out, landing on the floor next to the bed.  We live in a motor home so the space between our bed and the door to the bedroom is barely big enough for anyone to lay down there.

Let me say now that throughout all this I can now see God taking care of me.  Believe me folks, if you are not a follower of Jesus Christ and haven’t given your life to Him you cannot imagine the wonders of having God in your corner every step of your life.  I said this here, because for some reason I have recently begun the habit of pushing all the bedding decorative pillows to Roy’s side of the bed when I get in bed at night.  They land on top of two small containers of Madisyn’s craft things. Those piled up pillows on the containers are where I landed when passing out causing me to have my head raised some which was perfect.  God thing, right???

I had been calling to Roy who was in the living room about 20 feet away at some point after getting up.  He was there when I passed out and said that while I was out I made guttural sounds that sounded to him like death sounds, my eyes rolled back in my head and he was very troubled.  He immediately called 911, told them I passed otu and was incoherent..  I don’t know how long it took the Husser (a nearby town) Fire Department to arrive but they made it there first before Acadian Ambulance.  I was awake by the time they arrived. My wonderful husband, Roy, is my absolute hero for his care and concern of me throughout all of this, especially those moments till help arrived.  A very nice fire lady was able to fit in the tiny bathroom hallway next to me.  No one else would fit.  The first thing she did was check my blood sugar which was 467.  Shockingly high.  When she tried to get my blood pressure, trying several times, even having someone else try with different equipment she couldn’t get one and I don’t understand this but it was finally called 80 stat. They could not find a pulse for a while. They started giving me oxygen then also.

Hearing all this I knew I was in trouble.  But I knew God would get me through this or He had plans for Him to join Him in Heaven when I’m more than ready and happy to do.

When Acadian Ambulance got there they took over.  I will forever be grateful to that lady angel with the Husser Fire Department who comforted and cared for me first.  Acadian verified everything Husster FD saw and prepared me for an ambulance ride to the hospital.  I was given Getting out of our motor home would involve the stretcher having to be lifted through a too small door and over a passenger seat and with me on it that couldn’t happen.  Because of this they have this big canvas mat with handles that they placed me on and dragged me through the RV, over the passenger seat and down the steps to the stretcher.

Once in the ambulance, my first time ever as the patient, the Acadian EMT or Paramedic was wonderful.  The drive to North Oaks is not a quick one.  During the drive I was hooked up to an IV I felt very peaceful.  I’m always up for an adventure, although I never want to have this one again.  That being the case, once I was all hooked up I started to pay attention as best I could.

Arriving in an ambulance lets you by pass the ER waiting room which was a big blessing. I was taken immediately to a private ER room and hooked up to everything there.  After twelve hours of testing it was determined that it might possibly be pancreatitis and I was admitted.  They started me on Protonix also known as pantoprazole (I think in the ER) to treat and soothe my stomach pain.  During those twelve hours my husband was with me, both my sons and my daughter in law Misty took off work and came to be with me.  Madisyn was brought in to brighten up Grannie’s world after she got out of school.  The time I got to spend with my husband and sons, our original family, were precious moments I am also deeply thankful for.  God’s blessings are abundant.  Chip helped me see what a blessing that was through my foggy thinking, one reason I love him so much!  Our oldest son came all the way from Baton Rouge and had to make up the work time, working till 3 am that night so he wouldn’t be behind.  That’s love, and I am thankful for it.  I have good sons, I might want to beat each of them – often – but they are good sons.  The rest of the family is pretty cool too!

Once I was admitted I sent Roy home since by then it was 9 pm.  I was feeling much better by that time and felt he needed home rest instead of hospital rest.  Thus began the rest of the five day hospital stay.  Room 3403 was a private room in the Surgical section of North Oaks hospital, a fairly new part of the hospital.  I’m going to summarize the next few days so this doesn’t turn into a book.

I cannot say enough for the efficiency, kindness, responsiveness of all the nursing and support staff in that part of the hospital.  Really all the hospital, because I was visited by case management, respiratory for my sleep apnea, diabetic dietician and probably others.  All were quality professionals. Some people prefer St. Tammany General Hospital to North Oaks Hospital.  That’s fine but my experience with North Oaks deserves an A+.  Except for the long ER time and the food, but what can you expect from a clear liquid diet other than some serious eye rolling.  One nice and important thing about North Oaks is that all my doctors are North Oaks affiliated doctors so all their computer systems are connected.  If I’ve kept my doctors information current, which you know they make you do that, then if I go to the hospital they don’t have to spend time asking too many questions.  They can immediately start to treat me.

Okay, on to the summary of my stay.  I was kept comfortable with the Protonix through IV and kept on a fluids IV.  I had a chest xray, a CT Scan of my abdomen area, an ultrasound of my pancreas and gall bladder.  My primary care physician,  Dr. Hugo Valdes came to see me every day.  Having my very own doctor there was so comforting.  He called in Dr. Giesler, in the same group as my gastroenterologist, Dr. Booth.  They determined it was not my pancreas or gall bladder but suspected it was a bleeding ulcer.

It was determined that my blood pressure drop was because of extensive blood loss, which if I had paid attention to signs I may have caught before it go to that point, more on that later.  My elevated blood sugar (which was 512 by the time we got to the hospital) was not from my diabetes, but from the stress my body was under from the blood loss and very low blood pressure.

I was on a clear liquid diet through most of my stay there.  While not fun it was all quite tasty, even if it was the same thing breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I continued to be light headed even when in my hospital room laying still.  Since my blood count was very low I was given two units of blood on Friday.  This helped the light headedness and made me feel significantly better by Saturday. I even got out of the hospital bed and sat up in a chair without being lightheaded for a couple of hours! This is me with some make up on!  That was a big deal!!

A gastroscope (endoscopy) was ordered.  Due to it being the weekend and a back up in procedures that needed an anesthesiologist, the endoscopy couldn’t be done then, so there I stayed.  Wonderful friends like Jim and Jean Crain, Ms. Olga Hubsch, Chrissie McGhee and Rev. Derek Wall, along with my outstanding older sister Harriett paid me very welcomed visits passing the time nicely.  I was capable of doing my RVillage work Saturday so there in the hospital bed I did my RVillage magic and worked!  No magic involved, just lots of love for that company!

During my stay I got really good at handling night time visits.  As soon as I heard the door open my arm went up for the blood pressure cuff and my finger went out for the thing they stick on that.  My mouth opened for the thermometer.  All without moving and fully waking up.  This didn’t work all the time but mostly it did!

There were a couple of difficult times when my veins did not cooperate with being found or being used.  I’ve never had that issue before but remember my mom having problems and I now know how painful and troubling it was.  The IV put in by Acadian Ambulance had to come out after two days because it was only intended to be temporary.  That meant another site had to be found.  One was found but eventually blew and another had to be found.  When I was given blood that required a separate stab (I thought about calling it a stick but it feels like a stab not a stick!).  I ended up with five IV locations over the course of the five days.  The administers of these IVs did really good and were always very gentle.  I only have one small bruised area on one arm.

On Sunday my oldest son, his wife, and their four children came to visit.  There is nothing like the magical place a Grannie gets in while having her little grandchildren cuddle around her on her hospital bed.  They are amazingly sweet, joyful and well behaved children and it was a deep blessing to have them spend their Sunday afternoon with me.  This was followed by a visit from my youngest son Chip and his wife Misty came to visit.  What a treat it was to sit there with just them (no kids around) and have an adult visit.  My husband, children, daughters in law and grandchildren have all been very attentive to me during this time and I thank God for all of them.  I’m sure you know what good medicine love like that does for someone.

Sunday night was pretty awful for me.  I think I hit the wall with being okay being in the hospital.  I cried and wanted to harm everyone who came in all night.  They were all just as kind and great as they had always been.  It was me and some of my brain issues kicked in big time making me miserable.  Upon wakening I sent Roy a text about how miserable I was and he started getting ready to come to the hospital.  Right after that the nurse came in to tell me I was being taken down for the endoscopy!  I raised my arms and said Thank You God!  I couldn’t have been more delighted and I believe this was God seeing how desperately I needed this to happen NOW and it did.

I was so happy to be having the procedure that the people taking me down for the endoscopy were given flowery praise and love.  I thought the nurses that greeted me and prepped me for endoscopy were the prettiest best angels God could have sent to care for me!  They explained the endoscopy to me, showed me the mouth piece they would put in right before starting and began giving me the wonderful stuff that immediately knocked me out.  What felt to me to be a second later I woke up fully awake thinking I just skipped a second but they were done!  I liked this better than even twilight anesthesia because I knew nothing of what they did!

The nurse told me that a bleeding ulcer was found and there was extreme inflammation in my esophagus and another area I can’t remember.  During the procedure they took a biopsy of the ulcer which looked to be benign and the results will come back in two weeks by the time I follow up with the doctor.  They continued me on the Protonix, which turned out to be the perfect thing for them to start days before because it allowed me to begin healing quicker.  Another God thing and a great North Oaks catch.

After coming back to my room Roy arrived, and shortly there after I had my discharge orders reviewed with me.  This included being taken off of my Plavix and Naproxen for a while to aid in stopping the bleeding.  They called in a prescription for oral Protonix and we picked it up on our way home.  We also stopped at Winn Dixie, yes I felt good enough to do that, to pick up some reward treats for me like bananas and blueberries.  Roy got a couple of good boy treats as well.  Being an adult is fun like that!

I tried to do a couple of things in the afternoon and needed to rest the remainder of the day.  Guess feeling better doesn’t mean I can get back to normal quite yet. After a good nights sleep in my own bed and a very attentive hubby Roy cooking dinner and taking care of all things needed doing I am starting to feel better today.

Okay here come the bodily function stuff.  I will keep it as non descriptive as possible.  A couple of weeks before the hospital even my stools were quite black and my urine was darker than normal.  I figured it was too many blackberries.  Not!  It was blood mixed in with my bodily products.  I learned that when you mix those things an extremely stronger odor than usual comes out with your gas (farts) and much more abundantly.  My abdomen also started to grow the last couple of weeks.  Had I picked up on the warning signs of black stools, darker urine and horrific stools (Roy threatened to put me outside sometimes it was so bad!!!) and seen the doctor about that I would never have ended up in the hospital.  By the time I got to the hospital my stools were so black and tarry and trying to escape my body it cause a lot of issues that I won’t describe.  Like I said I attributed it to blackberry eating, and just figure that a lot of things are just life as an old person.  Don’t do that!  Pay attention to the signs your body is giving you.  I can see now that mine were quite obvious, almost screaming at me.

Since the problem wasn’t blood sugar or heart related I have no changed to my diet!  Crawfish here we come!!  I am making changes to how much, how often and what I eat for right now, and am avoiding all things acidic to aid in the healing process. Prayers are requested for complete healing from the bleeding ulcer and inflammation.  God’s got this and your prayers are welcomed!

I have follow up appointments with both Dr. Valdes and Dr. Booth on Monday May 22nd.  I also have to have another endoscopy and a colonoscopy to make sure the ulcer has healed and to makes sure nothing else is going on.

Lastly, my skin has become quite strange lately.  When putting on lotion, touching my skin or taking a shower rubbing my skin, it will peel off in places.  While in the hospital two places where tape was put on, when it was removed my skin came with it.  Also tiny marks on my skin including larger skin openings (I call it my skin bursting open all on its own) start on my skin all the time.  I’d say at any one time I have between 20 to 40 of them on both arms and hands.  They go from that to larger really ugly boo boos which heal strangely.  I keep antibiotic ointment on them most of the time.  I try to not cover them so they can dry out but that really doesn’t seem to help.  Anyway long story short, Dr. Valdes saw them and said I needed to see a dermatologist really soon.  Today I called Dr. Bob Benson in Ponchatoula today and they just had a cancellation so I now have an appointment tomorrow morning.  Yay!!!!!  I’m hopeful this is just an old age thing but now that I am more aware I should do something about odd body things I am taking action.  Maybe he can do something about my skin slipping down off my face too!

Roy will be going with me there and to have my hair done tomorrow.  My sweet always kind big sister Harriett swapped her appointment with mine so I could go sooner to get a new doo and some hair color! While in the hospital, having plenty of time to think and reflect on my life I felt like I was being blessed with some mental clarity and spiritual guidance in many areas.  I’d like to share that with you guys and will write about that next.

If you read all of this to here, thanks!  I hope this helps someone else not ignore bodily warning signs.  I’ll let you know about my visit with Dr. Benson soon as well!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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06.19.14 Frankenstein staples, Raising Canes and Godzilla!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 – I’m sitting in the surgical waiting room while Roy is in surgery to remove some lumps from his chest and back.

I just ate a delicious meal of North-Oaks_3-1024x640baked spaghetti casserole and green beans for only $3.20. Food at North Oaks Hospital is always very flavorful and plentiful.

They took Roy back about an hour ago and I’ve been told he’s doing fine. We prayed before he went back and I know God is watching over him so there’s no need for me to sit here worrying.

The waiting room is oddly quiet and empty right now. Sitting here in the waiting room, it seems that my mind is very clear and I find myself thinking about Roy. We’ve had a lot of years of marriage, not all were great years but we didn’t gave up on our marriage and when we were wise enough to let God guide us we’ve been very happy.  I really don’t know what I would do without him. Even as recently as right before they took him back to surgery I couldn’t get internet on my phone and I needed him to figure it out for me, which of course he did! Not just for the technology loss I’d suffer, but for so much more. He does all the driving of our RV, the hooking up and unhooking of the utilities each stop we make, all the RV maintenance and finds time to keep an eye on me, love me and do lots of special things for me all the time!

Roy’s surgery went well and now, two days later, I just took the bandages off all his bo bos.  He’s got lots of staples which will come out next Thursday.  I think Frankenstein would be proud of Dr. Liner’s handiwork with all the staples!

Roy got some great news this week. He got a call from Southeastern Louisiana University that they want to hire him for a temporary (at least 3 months) full time job doing what he use to do there before he retired! That is so perfect and a huge blessing for us. We will be here at least 3 months trying to sell our sticks and bricks house so we’ll have extra income to see us through that time. Since he’ll be recovering from surgery this week, unless they find out he committed some crime during our one day stay in South Dakota, he will start at Southeastern next week. I still have my work at home with RVillage.  I may take the extra alone time I’ll have to visit with friends and family, or I may be lazy and read! Probably some of both!

We spent a wonderful Father’s Day with our son Chip and his daughter Madisyn. Our church had Donuts for Dad which Roy, Chip and Madisyn went to. We all went to raising canesSunday School and then our Worship Service. It was a wonderful day in the House of the Lord and I am thankful for our Christian family to worship with. Chip treated us to dinner at Raising Canes, a local amazing chicken place.

We’ve been able to spend a little time a couple of times this week with Madisyn.  When I go to pick her up from summer camp and see the surprise and joy on her face, it’s the best!  We asked if she wanted to go with us the the peach farm on Friday or go with her friends at camp to Tickfaw State Farm water park.  She chose the water park and then thought a bit and said “But you know I’ll be missing you all the whole day, so please bring me some peaches and nectarines”.  Guess she’s figured out how to get the best of two choices!

I went outside to pull weeds earlier and lasted about 15 minutes before my clothes were drenched – and I was in the shade.  Louisiana’s heat is one of the reasons we loved being able to live up north during the summer.  This year we can’t help being here but it reinforces in our minds that we’ll never be here for this awful heat in future years!!  The boiled crawfish, shrimp, peaches, strawberries, king cake, etc. etc. do help make up for the heat a bit!!!

We’ll let ya’ll know how our visit to Walter’s Peach Farm goes when we get home today!

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