Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Another Update

I'm hoping this is the last update I need to do for a month, when John's next doctor appointment is scheduled.

He's fine, he's back to work and tomorrow he gets his first paycheck in 5 weeks.  Thank God for his military pension that pays his rent!

They never did find out why he had that fever.  It very well could have been the shingles trying to flare up again.  He's now on Valtrex  for a week (since shingles are  known as herpes zoster) and Valtrex is also used for genital herpes, in case that drug sounds familiar  from commercials (he doesn't have GH!).  He got sprung on Monday night.

Tuesday he had an appointment with is oncologist and she is VERY pleased with his progress!  He no longer needs to get blood work done since his white blood cell count, his platelets and his ANC  numbers are all good. 

So, late this afternoon he went back to work!  He's upset that he lost another 3 days pay.  Hopefully that won't happen again.  He's supposed to get a CT scan in 6 to 8 weeks.  With luck, he can schedule in the mornings and not miss any more time from work.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

John Update

This afternoon John was moved to a regular medical floor.  He was in ICU as a normal  precaution because he had just been released from the hospital a few weeks ago.  All his tests have come back negative.  It could have been just a little bug he picked up, like the kind everyone else is getting... a 24 hour virus or something.

Because he has this lesion on his neck (remember when they wouldn't start the chemo because of the rash on his neck?  That was more than a month ago!!)  Anyway, it was a type of herpes, shingles to be exact and it's a common "side effect" of chemo.  Anyway, to be on the safe side, until the dermatologist sees it, they put John in isolation.  That's fine with him!  It means he gets a private room!  He's been on Acyclovir (an anti-fungal antibiotic) since August 14, except for 3 days when his course ran out.  Now he's getting it via IV.

I called his oncologist yesterday and told her what was going on.  She felt as long as he was comfortable where he was, there was no reason to transfer him to HUP.  If anything turned up bad, she wanted him at HUP, but since everything is coming back negative, he's fine where he is.  She just wants copies of his records.

The nice thing is, the hospital is 20 minutes from John's apartment.  I do stay there at times if I don't feel like driving all the way back to Pottstown.  The down side is, if I have to work the next day, I have to get up and drive an hour to Pottstown! 

So that's where everything stands now.  Boy, I sure will be glad when we can get back to our boring normal life!

The only real regret I had was John and I weren't able to participate in his area's Light The Night Walk.  We were looking forward to it so much! Darn!!

PSST!!!!  I left a clue in the comment section of the Riddle!  Look!  It's right below this post!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Riddle Me This and a clue was added to comments!

I thought I'd get a post ready in case I don't get home tonight or tomorrow.   Here's another riddle.  I'll add a hint in the comments if no one figures it out by the time I can get online again.  As soon as someone guesses correctly, I'll let you know!!!  (hahaha  I forgot the answer to this one!  I have to think about it for a bit!)

Anger, Cowardice and envy
Appear to be just base emotions.
But overhead they guide your feet
And stipulate your forward motions.

(Credit for this riddle goes to Tower of the Riddle Master)

Damn it!

It's after 3 am and I just got home from the hospital.   Before John went to work today, he was feeling very very cold.  It was roughly 75 degrees outside and the sun was HOT!  John put on thermal underwear (top and bottom) under his uniform, then a tee shirt and his work shirt and pants and a knit cap on his head and he was STILL cold!  He went to work and asked if anyone else was cold and his boss made him go home.  

John took his temp and it was 100.7.  Anyone else would take a few Tylenol and go take a nap.  Not so with cancer patients.  If your temp goes to 100.5 or higher, they want to see you, pronto!  Fortunately John didn't take any chances and drove himself to the ER.  Not the one at HUP, but his local hospital only 20 minutes away. (Matty, he's at Abington Hospital)  At that time of day, it would have taken John 2 hours to get to Philly and HUP.

He was in the ER from about 4 pm to nearly midnight.  They wanted him in ICU but we had to wait for a bed.  A little past midnight, they got him up there and I was sent out of the room so they could examine him.  They are afraid of infection.  They took all kinds of blood and urine tests and I guess we have to wait for morning to get results.  They did give him some antibiotics via IV while he was in the ER.   

By the time I left it was after 1:30 am.  My plan was to stay at John's apartment since it's only 20 minutes or so from the hospital, but I remembered I saw the cats' food thing was just about empty this morning, so I had to go all the way home and pick up cat food on the way.  I live an hour or so from the hospital.  If John is still in the hospital tomorrow night, I'll stay at his place.  

I can't believe he's now spiking fevers!  This was supposed to happen a few days after transplant, not on Day 28!  Hopefully, this isn't serious and he can go home soon.  I also wonder if his oncologist will want him transferred to HUP.  I guess I'll learn more in the morning.  I called out of work for tomorrow.  If John was in a regular room, I'd have gone to work and gone to visit him after.  But with him being in the ICU, I feel better being there. 

Anyway, I'll probably have an update in a day or so.  If I stay at John's tomorrow night, I won't have internet access.  I'll post when I can.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dear So and So

Dear Bloggy friends who sent cards to John,
Thank you so much!  He loved getting cards, especially since his family didn't bother to call or send cards.  It was very kind of you and it really lifted his spirits (and mine!) when they arrived.

Gratefully, Joanie


Dear Bloggy and Facebook friends,
Thanks so much for the birthday wishes!  It really took the sting out of turning 54!

Love, Joanie


Dear TGI Friday guests,
 Please come back!  I miss you (and your generous tips) terribly!  My bank account would be oh so grateful if I fed it  more roughage (greens and stuff) more often.



Dear Son,
Thank you for taking your old mom out for dinner on her birthday!  The only thing that would have made it better if that bitch, Tabitha wasn't our waitress.  

Happily, Mom


Dear Daughter,
Thanks for asking your Dad if he'd give us a room at the Marriott (with his Marriott points) when we drive to IUP to see your sister in her play.  I didn't want to have to ask him, but it was terrific that you could.

Love, Mom


Dear Younger Daughter,
Congratulations on getting a role in the play on your first day of college!  Even though you'll be playing a dead slut with a foul mouth, I'm still very very proud of you.  Just make sure, if your father insists on seeing the play too, that he chooses to go the week after me.  Actually, it would be fun to see his reaction to your role!  If only I wouldn't have to meet his fat-assed, slut future ex-wife, I could enjoy the moment. 

Proudly, Mutti


Want to share in the fun or Dear So and So?  (you can get a lot off your chest!)  Pop on over to Kat's Place, grab the button, sign in with Mr. Linky and have fun!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Riddle Me This

This is something I've been thinking of doing for some now.  But with John being in the hospital, then his recovery at home and finally with my computer crashing, I didn't want to start it.  But all is well now (knock wood!) and I can do this!

I wanted to do a weekly blog post with a riddle y'all can try to solve.  Some are easy, others more difficult.  I can even post a hint or 2 in the comment section if y'all are having trouble finding the answer. 

So I figured out to make a button and I added a link on my sidebar.  I'll figure out who to finish it up tonight.

(credit goes to Tower of the Riddle Master)

When air is still, and waters calm,
You will find me every place.
But come the wind or falling rain,
I go and hide without a trace.

You no doubt hate the tiny gifts
That I bestow each time I feed.
But as I give I also take
For you contain the gift I need.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm back!!

Finally got my computer up and running again. Apparently I had a few corrupted files and it was very possible I may have deleted something I shouldn't have when I didn't recognize it. After the nice man in India from Dell helped me wipe out everything on my computer, I finally realized all the drivers were still there but hidden. I found them, unzipped them and voila'! I'm back in bidness! The big down side is I have to reinstall every single program I had on here before. Luckily no mega important stuff is on the computer. I'm going to catch up on blogs tomorrow (my day off and I'll be ALONE!!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Robin Hood, one piece at a time

My good friend, Mary Ellen at Adopting ME sent me this wonderfully fabulous jigsaw puzzle called The Adventures of Robin Hood from a now-defunct company called Buried Blueprints.  I love these puzzles!  They are challenging to say the least.  I decided to save the puzzle until John got home from the hospital. 

We started the puzzle on Sunday.  Just putting the frame together was a challenge since so many pieces sort of fit, we had to keep making adjustments.  I have to hand it to John.  That man is relentless when faced with a challenge (as we all know just by the way he fought this cancer).  He worked on this puzzle for hours on end.  We were able to get it finished by Friday night (and we weren't even here from Tuesday morning until Wednesday afternoon!)

So I took a few pictures of each day's progress.

This is the puzzle that Mary Ellen sent me.  I love her!

Day One  We got the frame complete, after only about oh, 4 hours!

Day Two. We're making a little progress.  John worked on this all. day. long.

Day Three  Now it's starting to look like something!

Also Day Three  This was the day Cameron was feeling a little neglected.

Day Four!  Nearly complete!

Day Five  The finished product!

This was really fun, Mary Ellen!  Thanks for sending it to me.  It gave us something to do while John was recuperating and besides, we were flat broke.  We couldn't have gone anywhere even if we wanted to!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Do you think we weren't paying enough attention to Cameron?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Uncle Fester? and an update

So whatya think?  Does John look like Uncle Fester or what?  For those of you not old enough or not famiiar with 1970s American TV, there was a show called The Addams Family and one of the characters was Uncle Fester.  When John lost his hair during chemo, one of the gals at work thought he looked like Uncle Fester.   She went online and ordered a lightbulb for John (we had been looking for one with no luck).  It arrived today.  He's having lots of fun with it!  He might even take it with him to his next doc appointment in 2 weeks!  hahahaha!!!!

Speaking of his doctor appointment, Dr. S is VERY pleased with John's progress!  Apparently he is a star patient.  The record for release from the hospital after transplant is 11 days.  John was released in 12 days.
John has permission to return to work on Monday!  He's very happy!  I hope he can handle it ok.  So far, he seems to have a decent amount of energy.  I've been taking more naps than he is right now!  lol 
So that's where everything is for now.   I guess my real empty nest will start next week.  John will be at his place from Monday.  My son is coming home on Monday to take me out to dinner for my birthday and will stay overnight.  I can't believe I'll be 54 in a few days!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


My computer crashed.  As soon as I get a check from my ex, I can call Dell and see if they can help me.  For now I'm on John's laptop.  Not sure when I can get online for any length of time.  this sucks. 

Monday, September 14, 2009


Dear Alix and Larry,
Thank you so much for the winning Florida Lotto Ticket!    The $15 million will sure come in handy to clearing up our debts.  Please join John and me on a cruise around the world, our treat as a thank you for all your kindness.  We can sample wines from every port we find!  We'll send the jet for you next week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nap time!!

Yesterday, when I got home from work, John said he wanted to take a little nap. So he laid down on the sofa and I came in here to waste time online check email and stuff. When I walked back into the room, this is what I found.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where were you when it happened? a rerun

I posted this blog back in December 2008. I thought with the 8th anniversary of that horrendous day, I'd post it again

I don't think there is an American alive who doesn't know where he or she was and what they were doing when they heard the news about the attack on New York and Washington DC on September 11, 2001. I was driving to Kutztown, PA to my job at the restaurant my ex-husband and I owned. I was listening to Good Morning America on my car radio when Charlie Gibson reported a plane crashed into Tower 1, the North Tower of the World Trade Center. They didn't know it was intentional at that point. It wasn't long before the 2nd plane crashed into the South Tower and the world knew America was under attack. I rushed into work and put the TV on. The employees and I spent the better part of that day and indeed the rest of the week, absolutely glued to the TV, watching in horror as the government tried to get a handle on this horrific event. Our business took a major nose dive as Americans stayed in their homes, afraid to travel anywhere.

I have a friend who was in the air, flying home from France on business when the towers were hit and his flight was diverted to Canada. He somehow managed to get his hands on a car and he and a colleague drove home. It took hours to get over the Canadian border.

I knew 2 people who died that day. On the night of September 11, we got a phone call from Greg's sister, Rita. Rita's husband, Bryan had a sister named Deborah Jacobs Welsh. Debbie was the head purser on Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, PA. She was the first person to die on that flight. Debbie tried to keep the terrorists out of the cockpit and they slit her throat. What a shock it was to get that phone call! We didn't know Debbie well, but we saw her from time to time over the years when Rita would have a christening or First Communion party or something like that.

The second person I knew was Maria Behr. Mia worked as a Securities Trader at Cantor Fitzgerald in Tower 1. She is the sister of my friend, Delmi. Delmi's son was friends with my son, Tim. I remember Tim coming home from school on the 12th and telling me they can't find Max's Aunt Mia, that she worked in one of the towers. I told Tim they probably just can't get in contact with her because communication was really bad at that time. It wasn't long before we found out the awful truth, that Maria was in the Tower and that she did die that day. Mia was a beautiful, vibrant, sort of wacky woman who had so much going for her! She left this world way too soon.

Our restaurant was in a college town, and for most of that week, the place was like a ghost town. No one came out, whether they were afraid of more attacks or just glued to the TV for news. But that Saturday, we were so busy, with families... parents and their college children, coming in for lunch and dinner. You would have thought it was Parents' Weekend, but it wasn't. These kids had just gotten to school 2 weeks before and Parents' Weekend wasn't for several more weeks. It was just parents feeling the need to see their kids and spend time with them.

So that is my memory of September 11, 2001. It is a day that I will never forget. If you get a chance, visit Ground Zero in New York City. Say a prayer for those who lost their lives that day.... all the folks who were on those planes, the brave police and firefighters who entered those buildings, the people who worked in the towers, the brave military men and women who were working in the Pentagon in Washington DC. Pray for those heroic people on Flight 93 who fought the terrorists, knowing they were going to die, but realizing they must do this or many more would perish along with them. Pray for the loved ones left behind. Pray for the soldiers who are searching for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, that they find him and bring him to justice, one way or the other. Pray that something like this never happens again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Home again, home again

I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring them. As soon as I catch up on some sleep, I'll be back to reading blogs. In the meantime, I'm enjoying some quiet time with John. I can't even stay awake for Casablanca!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Keep Your Fingers Crossed! And A Top Ten!

This is a real quick update. I had it all typed out and lost it! I hate using the laptop here. I lose stuff all the time.

John's doctors are so pleased with the progress he's making and how his blood count numbers are rising, faster than they expected, that he might get released from the hospital by Wednesday! Possibly even Tuesday, but not really expecting that.

The doctor said this only happens with about 10% of transplant patients... that they recover so quickly. Also, his blood pressure is under control. As a matter of fact, they might have to lower his dosage. His glucose levels are better than they've been in years. He now keeps apple juice in his little fridge because sometimes in the mornings, his glucose level is too low! Let's see how these number react when he's home and not under such a strict diet!

Ten reasons (in no particular order) I'm really looking forward to John coming home.

~First, It'll be great having him HOME!
~Second, I won't have to drive into Philly every day, fighting the traffic to visit, only to fall asleep in his chair. lol
~Third, I might actually catch up on reading my blogs.
~Fourth, I won't have to buy gas 3x a week any more
~Fifth, I won't have to pay for parking any more.
~Sixth, I won't have to eat cafeteria food any more.
~Seventh, I won't have to lug bags of stuff from the parking garage to his room and then lug more stuff back (laundry, dirty and/or clean, bottles of his favorite iced tea, movies, mail, magazines, books to name a few). Did I tell you it's an 8 minute walk from the car to his room?
~Eighth I'll be taking a week off to SLEEP!!
~Ninth I can finally get my house cleaned up (did I say that out loud??)
~Tenth I might actually get a chance to enjoy my Empty Nest Syndrome! I haven't been home to enjoy it!

So keep your fingers crossed that John doesn't have any setbacks to hold up his getting tossed out of the hospital!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

John Update

So far, so good on the recovery front! It's been 15 days since John was admitted for transplant and 8 days since the actual transplant.

John blood count number continued to drop for several days after the transplant took place. He was told he would most likely spike fevers (his highest so far has been 99.5), he could have nausea and vomiting (he barfed 1 morning and has had teeny bouts of nausea but the Zofran is taking care of that) .

Things that HAVE happened so far are: he needed a blood transfusion on Thursday (got 2 bags) and he received platelets on Friday. This was expected. Because John's numbers are low (but slowly beginning to rise) he needs some help there. I know yesterday his platelets were 6 (150 to 300 is normal) , his white cell count was 0.1 (hey! not zero any more! should be 4-10). I forget his hemoglobin numbers. They are definitely moving up!

The blood transfusion went fine but he had a reaction to the platelets. John was itchy all over! And they gave him benadryl before they started. So he had to have some steroids to help with that, but hen everything was fine. I'm not sure what today will bring. I haven't heard from him yet.

Another good thing we found out from one of his doctors is when he leaves the hospital, he'll no longer by neutropenic! He can eat salad when he goes home! He's been craving salad for weeks now. I have a feeling we'll be stopping somewhere on he way home for him to eat!

Another bit of good news is his glucose levels have dropped to normal numbers too! Of course, this is with insulin injections, but John hasn't seen numbers under the high 100s in years! I think they are finally figuring out a good formula for taking insulin. Hopefully, his diabetes will stay under control after he leaves the hospital. The hardest part is keeping him away from carbs. He loves loves loves carbs! (the man's Italian! He's gotta have his carbs!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

The "Fun" Of A Hospital Sleepover Party

Last night I stayed overnight at the hospital, as I do from time to time. They are very good about letting caregivers stay, and will even provide a roll away bed for your "comfort".

We watched TV in the family waiting room until a little past 11. I don't like watching the news with John because he yells at the TV. I got ready for bed (shorts and a tee), got the bed open and sheets on and settled in with John's laptop. I was so not tired last night.

I played around on Facebook, read some blogs, played games on pogo before shutting down the computer for the night. Then I laid in bed and read for a time.

At 1:30 am, I shut out the light and tried to go to sleep. Not happening. Things are beeping, people talking, equipment is being moved and the wheels are making noise. Now I know why they like to give patients sleeping pills!

Finally, a little past 2:30 I drifted off. Next thing I know, it was 3:30 and here comes the CNA to take John's vitals. The blood pressure machine beeps as she starts it up, beeps when it's finished, beeps twice when she shuts it off. The thermometer beeps when his temp comes up. The glucose monitor beeps when it regisers the number. All the while, she's talking to John. I just want to shout SHUT THE F*** UP!!!!

I drift off to sleep and then it's 5:30. Time for your bloodwork, John!!! (groan) More vitals, more beeping, more talking.

Do you know what happens when the sun starts to come up? People talk louder! By 6 am, the announcements start. It's getting to be time for shift change, so the nurses are filling in their replacements with the happenings of the night.

Funny thing is, I set the alarm on my phone for 8 am, just in case I didn't wake up beforehand!! Hahahaha!!!! Silly me!! I gave up trying to sleep around 7am. I got up, shuffled down the all to get coffee from the nutrition room.

Before long, John's breakfast tray arrived. He was busy doing this: zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I lifted the cover and just laughed! John had ordered spinach quiche. He doesn't eat quiche!!! (don't you know? real men don't eat quiche) So back down the hall I go and got him some rice crispies. I enjoyed the quiche. Best part of my sleepover party! (with the exeption of spending extra time with John, of course)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Question

A question. Does anyone know how to turn on the thing that sends you an email when someone makes a comment? The only way I know is if I make a comment and click on the box at the bottom to have the notification turned on. I often forget to do that. Thanks for any help!!

That's A Lotta Dough!

I discovered something on my way home from visiting John last night that has me shaking my head. I was crossing the bridge from the hospital to the parking garage when I saw this piece of paper that looked like a paycheck. So, curious me picked it up and looked at it... and looked at it... and looked at it.

It was the pay stub of a doctor who works at the hospital! Now I'm not telling his name. I'm not even going to mention his specialty. But this man makes more in 1 month than I do all year waiting tables! If I add in my alimony for the year, that would be about 6 weeks pay for him.

His paycheck for the month is $38,000+. The federal government take $11,000 out each month. When it's all said and done, he gets over $16,000 taken out of his pay for taxes, insurance and other fun stuff. He clears just shy of $22,000 a month.

Damn!! If I could get my hands on 1 of his paychecks, I'd could clear up my debts but good and still have enough for a nice cruise!

Now I'm not begrudging this doctor his salary. He went to school for a lot of years and by the look of his picture (I googled him), he's been in practice for many years.
He earns every penny he makes. By the look of his profile page, he's a busy man, working in a teaching hospital, and he helps a lot of people! But damn!!!

I think I need to buy another Powerball ticket. Saturday could be my lucky day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UPDATE: Neutropenia

This is going to be a quick update because I have to get down to the hospital and I'm afraid I'm gonna hit rush hour traffic (so what else is new?)

John's doing pretty well. His blood count numbers are dropping daily. His is considered neutropenic, meaning his immune system is gone and he has to be careful of bacteria, mold and other fun stuff. He has to wear a mask when he leaves the room. I have to wash my hands whenever I enter his room. His meals must be fully cooked, no raw fruits or veggies, no soft cheeses, no blue cheese dressing, no fountain drinks, etc.

I wasn't able to go to the hospital on Friday or Saturday because I had to take Dani to college, so John had no visitors (this just pisses me off that his own sister and/or brothers don't call, don't go in and 2 of them live in the city!!!!) Sorry.. that was turning into a rant! He had a visit today from my daughter's boyfriend's aunt who works in cancer research at the hospital... a complete stranger takes the time but his own family won't. OK, enough of that.

Anyway, by Sunday morning, I'm getting text messages from John saying "I'm tired of being here". "The food is so bland. I don't want to eat it any more." "I have no more good movies to watch." I thought, "OH Lord! I need to get in there!" I walked in the door with 3 Red Box movies, Wawa Diet green tea and clean clothes for him and he was a happy man! He jumped out of bed, and gave me a big hug and started to cry! He just missed me so much! He cheered up right away which was good. I got his glasses fixed so now he can see clearly again.

So this morning, before I left for work, the doctor came in and told John he can expect to spike fevers in the next 4 or 5 days. He also thought John looked much better than most transplant patients at this stage, so that was encouraging!

John can expect to be in the hospital for and other 2 weeks or maybe even more. Only time will tell. I know there's nore I wanted to tell but now I can't remember!