Thursday, December 06, 2007

Doo See Doo, Doc, and Around We Go

Over the past couple of days have you, my blogger friends, missed my brilliant comments deposited on your blog posts? You haven’t! No one missed me at all?

Yesterday and today I’ve been dancing the V.A. jig. Yesterday it was the Veterans Administration Hospital all afternoon for tests. Today it was back to the hospital for x-rays in the morning and then in the afternoon to the outreach clinic to which I’m assigned to see my M.D. case manager. Tomorrow it’s back to the hospital to have the x-rays retaken (evidently today’s pics of my innards didn’t cover area of my lungs needed to be seen) and then to pick up a bunch of new meds. (Sorry, Dr. House-like addicts—no Vicodin).

None of this deals with my still swollen foot and leg, or my deafness in my right ear, or my increasingly poor vision. All of these visits center on my increasing difficulty breathing. The new meds I’m to pick up tomorrow are three new inhalers to supplement (no, not replace) the Combivent I’ll still be using but which simply ain’t doing the job of keeping me breathing.

Example: last night I was cuddling my furball and decided to carry his ten pound cat-bulk from one room to the next. Before I made it, I was wheezing and gasping for breath. I even feared passing out and/or dropping Alex. (Which, of course, would have done no damage to my feline housemate since, being a cat, he would have landed on his four paws).

This V.A. jig turned into a square dance this afternoon when my doc decided to see what would happen to my blood oxygen level if she and I went for a walk. Of course, we weren’t going to stroll around the garden outside the building: we she-didn’t have time to go down two floors and, besides, the temperature outside was in the low thirties (F).

Therefore , with one of those thingies on my finger and the doc carrying the thingie that reads my oxygen level, we walked (slowly because of me and my cane) down the short hallway outside the examining room and, when we came to the end, did an about face and walked back again. We did this three times, with the doc saying each time we reached the end of the hallway, Doo see doo and around we go! That’s what I mean by our doing a V.A. square dance.

By the third around we go my oxygen level had dropped from 96% to 82%. The doc said it appears that I may qualify for V.A. at home oxygen therapy. She then sat at her computer and prescribed the three additional inhalers to supplement the Combivent.

Ain’t I been having fun, ya’all?


  1. I wish we were neighbors, Nick. I've got this overwhelming need to come over with some chicken soup and brownies.

    You could get some rest, and I could do your laundry for ya...and then we could watch a couple of old movies or some BBC mysteries...


  2. CATNAPPING: Sounds wonderful to me, Cat! I really don’t get out much any more (being unable to breath is a bummer) and could really use the company. Alex is a great buddy, but he's rather demanding and he’s never made me any soup!

  3. You poor thing. What a shitful way to spend the day. hope you're breathing easier today.

  4. aww nick, i'm sorry. i hope you start breathing better soon! tell the truth though...didn't you have the tiniest urge to trip the doc with your cane somewhere around the second doo see doo?

  5. I fervently hope and pray that all your "fun" improves soon, Mr.Nick!


  6. I'm sorry to hear you're having so many problems. I hope the extra o2 helps. (Be extra careful around candles!)

    I had noticed you weren't around as much. I've missed your comments.

  7. PS- Could the hearing loss stem from your days driving around in a tank?

    My father has trouble hearing, and we thing it stems from his days firing artillary in the Army. He fired the big guns- coastal artillary.

  8. Uggghhhhhhh.....*sigh*.
    Nuthin says lovin' like the aging process, eh? Why it's a reg'lar opportunity to practice those acceptance skills, ain't it?

    Bah humbug. *spit*

    /shaking head
    I hear you, Buddy. I hear you.

    Sending healing and peace of mind.

    'Course I missed you, silly.


  9. Yes, you are missed....and I hope you are up to traveling the blogosphere because I have a little something on my post yesterday just for you.

    Know all too well the VA shuffle having done it with my uncles, and listening to my father complain.

    I hope you find some relief soon sweetheart, and I'd be over with the kids and warm soup too if we were close by.

  10. I’m here at the computer awaiting 8:30 a.m., the time I need to leave to drive the 4 or so miles from my house to the V.A. hospital. Thankfully, the hospital is close, but it will still take close to an hour to get there, find a parking spot, and walk I don’t know how far from the parking space to the X-ray place.

    Thank all of you for your words and comments! Now, until I have to depart, I’ll spend individually to your comments.

    STEPH—Thank you! I certainly hope that the new meds I’m picking up today help my breathing. This morning, when Alex and I got out of bed and I disengaged my oxygen concentrator, my inability to breathe was so poor I came close to dialing 911.

    ROBIN—Thank you! Yes, I had the urge to trip the doc during the “doo see-doo and around we go” walk, but not just because of her words. But that’s another story that may or may not reach the pages of this blog.

    RENIE—Thank you! I really need all of the prayers I can get. This inability to breath has kept me at home and near the oxygen concentrator much too long. There are folks that I really want to visit during this holiday season. Perhaps the new “emergency” medication will allow me to risk the treks.

    THOMAS—Thank you! No open flames around that oxygen concentrator! When I was a young social worker I had a client who chain smoked with oxygen was going into his nose from a tank a few feet away. That flame so close to the oxygen tube horrified me. Of course, these days I would tell him to put out the cig or I’d leave his home. Back then I was too insecure about what authority I had to say that.

    Yes, Thomas, you hit the nail on the head: I’m certain my hearing loss comes from being around and inside tanks when the 105 mm main guns were fired. There’s a story behind that, too, that is a chapter in my never finished memoir: “The Rogue’s Tale, or How to Step on Your Trunk without Really Trying.”

    PSYCHO THERAPIST: Thank you! You are so right! I remember what Joseph Campbell wrote about accepting the aging process. Of course, when I first heard his words I wasn’t this far into the process! I appreciate the healing and peace of mind you’re sending me. I need both. It’s nice to hear that I and my silly comments have been missed. Since, after today, I have no more medical appoints scheduled until next Tuesday, I hope to be again dropping my gems of absurd wisdom in the comment sections of blog this weekend!

    Well, folks, it’s time for me to grab my coat, hug Alex, and head out into the 34 degree (F) morning outside my door. I’ve not the time to proof read this, so you get it as is!

  11. Ahhh Nick (((((HUGS))))), sorry about your breathing, you have got to keep doing it Nick, ready "breath in, breath out, again, now keep doing that until I say stop".

  12. Sorry to hear all of this Nick. I hope things improve soon. Cheers my good man!!

  13. You are probably still at the VA hospital, and hopefully when you return, you will have what you need to ease the breathing difficulties.

    Sending warm, healthy thoughts and prayers your way from wintery, cold, western PA. :-)


  14. Hope the air comes to you better, Nick.

  15. Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog about Orchid Care

  16. Oh my Nick you sound as though you need rubbing out and drawing again!

    Hopefully the new meds will help.

    Reiki blessings to you. x

  17. My prayers go out to you Nick! I know how it feels to not be able to breathe well.

    Hang in there!

  18. I hope all is going OK. Good thoughts heading your way.

  19. i find a nice cuppa tea always helps. chin up!

  20. SASSY LUCY: Thank you for you concern and for the Major Award! So I’m not alone in doing the “VA Shuffle?” I was beginning to accept the paranoid belief that the system was out to get me alone. Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one! I suppose that Wisconsin is a bop far away to bop over to my house with a bit so soup. The thought, however, is much appreciated!

    QUEENIE: Thank you! I’m doing my best to keep breathing and the one new strangely administered medication called Foradil that the doc prescribed already, after only one dose, has me breathing better than I have in months. I hope that it and the other new meds do the trick.

    MATT-MAN: Thank you! As wrote to Queenie (above) I already am experiencing an improvement. BTW, I see that you, too, are a recipient of Sassy Lucy’s Major Award. Congratulations buddy.

    LOU LAUGHLIN: Thank you. I returned home from the V.A. hospital about two hours ago—long enough to take the new meds and feed and catnap with Alex. It was another draining experience for me and, after feeding myself in a few minutes, I think I’ll return to napping, with or without my furball of a cat.

    ANGUS: Thank you, my friend. We’ve known each other about 45 years and you’re my only regular blog reader who lives in Louisville and also makes frequent comments. Do you want to share a bowl of chicken soup with me over the weekend? Your treat, of course!

    WUTTISAK: I appreciate your compliment. I’ll drop by to see what you say about orchids after I eat and take another cat nap.

    AKELAMALU: Thank you! Rubbing out and being redrawn—starting over—seems like a good, if impossible, idea to me. Perhaps I just need a real resurrection?

    DEB: Thank you! Your prayers are genuinely appreciated, as well as your authentic comprehension of what it’s like to be unable to breath. It’s a damned frightening experience, ain’t it?

    CHINA GIRL: Thank you! I can use all of the good thoughts that you can direct toward me.

    MAXXO: Thank you! I really wish I could fly across the pond and share a cuppa with you in person.

  21. I hope the new meds work better and that your breathing and general health improves pdq. Take care Nick.

  22. ` Jeezus Pleezus! Please don't suffocate, Nick! We would miss you so much! (Although I didn't miss you before because I haven't been online much lately.)
    ` BTW, be careful of my new post - it might take your breath away because of its shockingness. Or not.

  23. Oh Nick, I'm sorry to hear you've been having such an awful time. I do hope that things turn up better for you and that you don't get too much more of a runaround.

    It's a shame things can't be made easier for patients with multiple troubles...all that backward and forwarding must have been most difficult for you.

    Take care, Nick and I hope the extra inhalers help.

  24. PAULINE: Thank you! The new meds seem to be working great. Of course, I’ve only had one dose thus far. Still, the past few days have exhausted me.

    S E E QUINE: Thanks Sara. I certainly hope not to suffocate! Hey, after the life I’ve lived, I really don’t think anything can shock me!

  25. PUSS-IN-BOOTS: Thank you! Hopefully, the new meds are doing the trick. I’ve thus far not had a wheezing spell since I’ve taken the first dose. The back and forth stuff has exhausted me and I’m about ready to join Alex in an extended cat nap—like all night!

  26. I hope you feel better soon and that all is well. Take care.

  27. Nick, I don't really know what to say. Lung disease is tricky. I hope they get you in-home oxygen. Sounds like it would help a lot. Sending prayers.

  28. Ray's oxygen has made a lot of difference. Hope you qualify. Meantime, glad the new meds are working.

    Spunky picture on blog. She's sitting here reading over my shoulder at the moment.

  29. LITTLE WING: Thank you.

    PROFESSOR: Thank you.

    SQUIRL: Thank you. In today’s mail I received a letter from VA that informs me that I have an appointment at the Oxygen Certification Clinic on December 18th.

    GRANNY: Thank you. I suppose I know about VA supplied oxygen before the end of the month. I still have the oxygen compressor, but it is 15 years old and I really question its functionality.

  30. Always look at the bright side. At least you have the care you need to try and combat your illnesses. I hope you start to feel better soon though. Lack of oxygen is not fun.

    And if you had dropped Alex I am sure you would have got "a look". hehe

  31. XMICHRA: Yes, I concur. I went three years without health insurance and it was a very rough time. Perhaps much of my present health problems can be traced to those years.

    Alex sometimes squirms out of my arms (especially when he suspects I’m going to try to force his medicine into his mouth), so the furball knows well how to land.

  32. Jeez Nick, that doesn't sound real good. I hope the inhalers help.

    Look after yourself.

  33. Poor you. My mother-in-law has oxygen in the house. It seems to help her. Hope Alex is being sympathetic.