Sunday, April 14, 2019

What happened to me?

Dear friends,

I wanted to tell all of you what has happened to me.

I entered the hospital on May 29th (2018) to have my bariatric surgery. My surgery lasted 8 hours instead of the usual 2 or so, because the doctor found adhesions in my bowels. Also, instead of using scopes and probes, I had to be opened up. The doctor followed the line of my hysterectomy scar. Instead of staying a day or two to recuperate, I was in the hospital for a week. I left the hospital on June 5th.

Each day I was at home, I felt worse and worse. Finally, on June 8th, Katie called 911, and I was transported by ambulance back to the hospital where my surgery was performed. My doctor was called, and I was rushed into surgery.

What had happened was my remnant stomach had so much stuff in it that it ruptured my “new” stomach pouch. I had sepsis. I went into ICU for 14 days. I was close to death. The staff couldn’t get my body to regulate its temperature or blood pressure. I was in a drug-induced coma and on a respirator. I was a bit combative, too. I wanted to pull all of the tubes off of me, so they had to put mitts on my hands.

Once I had stabilized, I went to the step-down unit where I could still be monitored closely.

I need to tell you that these were stories that were told to me by Katie. I don’t remember most of my hospitalization. She told me the stories usually at night when we were laying in bed together. I would have time to think, and I would ask her how certain things came about and who visited when. It was amazing to have my stories told to me!

I think, after I left the step-down unit, I went to a regular room with a regular nursing and aide staff. I had been given a certain medication for my bipolar depression that worked the opposite from what it should have. It made me paranoid, and I thought people were going to eat me. I told Katie not to listen to them, but Katie insisted that they were there to help. This might have been a time when I had vivid dreams about the staff. I didn’t trust some of them at all. The dreams felt so real.

Eventually, I didn’t take that drug any more, but then I was presented with a new problem. I was sleeping all day and awake with anxiety at night. Katie would come to visit during the day, but I couldn’t stay awake to interact with her. Eventually, she brought stuff to do just so she could be there with me even though I wasn’t talking to her. At night, I would constantly ring for an aide or ask for a nurse. I didn’t want to be alone. They didn’t have orders to give me anything to sleep, so I just stayed up. Also, I wasn’t making a lot of sense when asking for something. The words for things and concepts eluded me. The staff about had it with me.

After I spoke with a psychiatrist, he put my medications into an order where I took certain ones in the evening and others in the morning. It took a little while, but I was finally able to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.
I received IV nutrition from the time I was in ICU until I was close to leaving, and then I was fed through a G-tube. I could not consume anything by mouth during this time. The G-tube went to my remnant stomach. This went on until the very last 2 days I was there. I still had to use the G-tube, but I could finally have juice and broth by mouth. Fast forward to today: I’ve stopped using the G-tube for nutrition and am getting all of my nutrition by mouth. The G-tube came out on December 7th. Yay!

I had to learn to walk again. I’m not very good at it, so I was using a walker with a seat. I put it away right after we got home from our visit to Columbus for Thanksgiving. I started walking the halls at the hospital with a walker about 3 weeks before I was discharged.

In order for my “new” stomach to work correctly, the tear had to be repaired. I kept going to radiology for tests. I had to drink black licorice-flavored contrast, so they could see if the tear was repaired. I had several EGDs where the doctor placed patches in my “new” stomach. They never worked. I just healed by myself eventually.

Since several of my body systems were out of whack, including my kidney function, I also had to have hemodialysis. This required about 4 hours in a cold room hooked up to the machine. I also required several blood transfusions.

I was very lucky to have people visit me, even when I didn’t know they were with me. Katie’s dad, Katie’s sister Meg, and my daughter Jawnna came when I was in ICU and totally unaware.  Once on the step-down unit (7th floor), my sister Crystal, and Katie’s niece nurse Margo visited. Our sister-in-law Tracey (Andy’s wife), my brother Aaron and Katie’s sister Elizabeth visited when I was aware. Elizabeth spent days with me talking, taking me down by the fountain in front of the hospital and watching some British baking show. We had fun. My brother Aaron helped Katie around the house and visited me. He rode his motorcycle from central Ohio to southeastern North Carolina. Katie’s brother Andy visited after I’d been home for a little while. He helped fix the ride-on lawn mower and planted a tree with Katie.

I spent my birthday in the hospital. I spent Hurricane Florence in the hospital. I spent Katie’s birthday in the hospital. Hell…I spent the whole summer in the hospital…the exact summer that Katie took off so we could do stuff together! Rats! She’s taking next summer off, too. We’ll try again! I was finally discharged from the hospital on September 25th – after a total of 108 days in the second hospital stay.

I am quite thankful to be alive.

If there are any questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fonda's Fabulous Funday Finds #11

This thrift store trip is close to home. It's the Family Thrift whose proceeds go toward helping people in our own community.

This time, we found a handful of cat toys:

Gotta take care of the kitties.
I don't think a trip to the thrift store is complete without bringing books home:

The first time I used these, I got my finger caught along with the dish towel!

These were a tad stiff when I used them the first time!
I'm a little confused about this Scrabble game. Is it newer, cheaper, or what!?! It doesn't look like any game I have ever seen.

Box top.

"Colors and parts may vary from those pictured"? What?

The font is all wrong. Why change that?

And, the trays are made of plastic!?!
Is anyone more in the know about this type of Scrabble game than I am? I always pick up stranded Scrabble games for the tiles, but I can't combine these tiles with my current stash.

From cat toys to strange Scrabble games...and everything in between...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

My Art: Artist's Trading Cards, Continued

Last week I showed you my sewing-related ATCs, so you can see the beginning of the story there.

This week, I'd like to share the variety of ATCs I have made. They can be made out of any kind of material - fabric, paper, metal - which I will show.

Rubber stamps, flower cut from a postal stamp, red vellum circle, paper. One of my favorites.

Certain information is expected to be on the back. Here, I used a Change of Adress rubber stamp.

My use of my odd-ball rubber stamps. Front on the left; back on the right.

Aluminum paper, copper wire and band, paper from Asian novel.

Aluminum paper, circuit board {?} and transistors {?}.

This ATC has a secret compartment.

This ATC is in the shape of a purse. Inside, paper was folded origami style to fit inside.

Another purse with paper inside (not shown).

Metal mesh, metal watch faces, beads to hold them on, and seam binding to keep the edges smooth.

My favorite number and the initial of my first name.
The following are all made of fabric with miscellaneous embellishments. The fabric was woven on a paper card.
Paper and metal embellishments.

Copper sequins and small silver beads to hold them on.

Paper and metal embellishments.

Alphabet and other beads and a paper flower.
I haven't made any ATCs in awhile, but after showing these, I just might get in the mood to make more. 

I hope you enjoyed these, and I wonder if any reader has ever made some.

From fabric to metal ...and everything in between...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

My Art: Artist's Trading Cards - Sewing Related

In my art, I sometimes combine two of my favorite hobbies, which are sewing/quilting and paper crafts. 

Today, I will show you my Artist's Trading Card, or ATCs for short. These cards are the size of a playing card or sports trading card. They are always traded and never sold. They can be made of any material. I have used paper, fabric and metal to make mine.

The following are my sewing-related ATCs. Keep in mind that I have scanned them in, and since some are three dimensional, they might be somewhat fuzzy in their appearance, but you'll get the idea. For all of these, I started with a scanned picture of the front of a sewing pattern. Most are from the 50s and 60s. Some of these started out fuzzy due to the production of the patterns at the time they were made. So, here they are:

The heart brad and the veil to the hat was added to the picture.

Perhaps for pregnancy??? Something that would not be blatant in the 50s/60s.

This is my favorite.

I will show you some others next time showing a wider variety of subject matters that I have dealt with. I hope you enjoyed these.

From buttons to thread ...and everything in between...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Bariatric Surgery - Yikes!

Bariatric Surgery   5/29   10 AM !!!

I'm having Bariatric surgery today. I am having what is called a Roux-en-Y, which is a gastric bypass surgery. When all is said and done, I will have a tiny pouch of a stomach (about the size of a walnut) and will have to eat far less than I have been. It's just one more tool I will use to take care of myself. My hope is that my blood pressure will come back to normal, my insulin levels will come down and my arthritic knees will feel a little better once they have less weight on them. I should feel better and have more energy.

I have set up a few posts for while I'm recuperating, then I'll be back. I'll be showing off some of my art. I hope you enjoy it.

Send some positive energy my way, and wish me luck!


From this weight to that ... and everything in between...

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Fonda's Fabulous Funday Finds #10

Today's finds take us to the Fancy Flea II, so I guess we could call today's post Fonda's Fabulous Funday Finds at the Fancy Flea II. How's that for alliteration!?! My college education was not for naught!

Anyway... Here's what we found:

10 mullions.
We plan to use these on the walls of our bedroom to create a design. We'll see how they turn out. It will be awhile.

Domed plate.
 I suspect these two pieces were married at one time. One reason is the price going from $18 down to $5, and another reason being that the theme of the etching is not carried into the dome. It's good enough for me, though. I'll find something to put under the dome!

McCoy planters.
 Isn't the color gorgeous on these two planters!?! I want to use them in the living room, so you might see them when I reveal the completed living room. I am worried about the cats knocking them over, though. I'll have to find a good and sturdy place to display them against the pink living room!

Modern round two-tiered table with glass top.
 When we first saw this table, we loved it. I can't remember the exact price, but I think it was way over the amount we were willing to spend. Something tells me it was over $100. We thought about it and kept it in mind. On this visit, it was in the large out building where reduced items go to die. I just needed to say that, because I'm not sure what the purpose is of this building. All I can say is that it wasn't in with the regular booths. So, on this visit, it was marked down to, I think, $60. We were happy to see it, so we scarfed it up and put it in the car. When we got it home, it didn't work as I had intended. It was too tall to be a coffee table, so it may work in a different role. I still have time to decide.

On this day, we also went to what I call the Red Barn. Although we pass it frequently, I couldn't tell you the name of it. It's on Main Street in Shallotte, NC. We found lots of goodies.

In the forefront are sewing supplies, a small creamer with forget-me-knot flowers on it, red crochet thread, a darning egg, a pattern, tassels, a bird book, a knife, a box of utility knife blades and a plastic bag full of various kinds of clothespins.
 I love the little creamer. I think I'll be putting it our guest room with little flowers in it.

In the back left are these candle holders with a clip so they will stay upright on a tree, although I would not recommend lighting them!

My friend, Donna of Distressed Donna Downhome, told me what these are, and I forgot!
 Here's what they are like: The metal parts have some writing on them. They seem to have started out round and flat, then they were rolled up with one end being wider than the other. In the narrower end, there is a decorative rope. From what Donna had told me, I am thinking that these ropes were longer and were hanging from something. They intrigued me. That's why I have them. If anyone could tell me what these are, I'd appreciate it!

Where I show off:
Create, Bake, Grow & Gather Party #316
Share Your Cup #291  

From McCoy to mullions ...and everything in between...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fonda's Fabulous Funday Finds #9

Today, we're off to Leland, NC. We used to live in Leland, but now we only visit when we need to do something in Wilmington, NC. It's on the way. On this day, we hit the Leland Habitat for Humanity ReStore, The Hope Chest (raising funds to assist victims of domestic violence) and CIS (Communities in Schools) Thrift.

These are the items we found at the ReStore:

We always find books to bring home.

Misc. findings.
In case you can't make them out, we picked up some small white plastic baskets, some white-on-white fabric, Avery stickers, small cow bells for crafts and a package of brad punctuation marks.
A multi gadget knife.

A lawn edger that works great.

And, we put some of it in here!
Next are the items we purchased at The Hope Chest. We like to support them in the work they do to help victims of domestic violence. They have a few stores in our area, so we visit them when we can.

A book for Katie, a natural sponge, snowman garland, a wreath of bells, red yarn and red pompoms.

Katie decided she needed this sponge for her biology class room. I was hoping to use it to texture paint! This is larger than my hand!

"Rusted" metal snowflake garland, up close.

A test tube vase.

The following we found at CIS thrift:


The glass was broken, and we had an extra piece of glass at home.
For Katie.

I'm not sure why we purchased this Madonna. We usually are drawn to plain white AND without a baby. What were we thinking? Maybe Katie remembers?

A rubber stamp.

Older tinsel garland, for crafts.
There are several CIS thrifts stores near our neighborhood, too.

Well, that concludes our trip to Leland. For a tiny town, it has these three thrift stores plus a furniture consignment store.

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Where I am showing off:
Share Your Cup #290 
Create, Bake, Grow & Gather Party #315
Vintage Charm Party #134  
Talk of the Town #124 

From ankle weights to tinsel garland...and everything in between...