Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend Bullets

I've been cooking like a crazy woman all weekend, which is always a fulfilling and exhausting experience. As I've been cooking, I've been doing lots of thinking about many different topics. Thus my weekend bullets:

  • On Friday, I went for drinks with my dean and another colleague who was also up for tenure. It was a "congratulations" drink. So even though things are not official, the process is pretty much over for both me and my colleague. And we're in. Tenured. Movin' up to associate. Which leads me to think about how things will be different for me now. Mostly I just feel a big sense of relief that I don't have to put together a packet of materials every year.
  • Cooking this weekend:
    • Rye bread in the bread machine. For the second time, the bread I cooked in the bread machine rose and then fell, hard. Result -- a small, hard, solid loaf of bread. No worries. Slogger has decided he likes that hard, solid bread dipped in olive oil.
    • Rye bread in the oven. Just to see if the yeast was good.
    • Roasted chicken, which we ate for dinner last night.
    • No-salt chicken broth, made with the bones of the roasted chicken. The recipe called for me to roast the bones for an hour before using them to make broth. Never done that, but it made loads of chicken broth, which I'll be using to make chicken and dumplings tomorrow -- plenty left over for later use.
    • Minestrone. Yummy, veggie goodness.
    • I had planned to use some leftover steamed sweet potatoes to make sweet potato biscuits, but I figured that between the various loaves of rye bread I've made, we're good on breads.
    • I'm heading out of town on Tuesday for an important accreditation workshop, and I'm trying to get as much cooked up for when I'll be gone, so Slogger can take it easy and just reheat.
  • We've upped Slogger's heart muscle meds recently, which leaves him with a bit lower blood pressure, feeling kind of "punky." But he just took his evening pressure (we take it twice a day, just keeping track of how he's reacting to his meds) and it was 105/69. Decent.
  • Tomorrow I have a meeting that I'm going to skip. Is this because I have tenure? Because I want to spend as much time with Slogger as I can? Both, really.
  • I talked to my friend, Miss Bliss, who has quit her job as a university type and is now very happily going to massage school. She's organizing a yoga/writing retreat in the mountains next fall, which I'm going to attend. I told her I know jack about yoga, but I'm looking forward to spending time with her and writing, and learning yoga is a bonus.
  • I realized at the last moment that I hadn't prepared this coming week's minilecture for my online course. This necessitated a quick trip to the office and a hurried recording (yea, Camtasia!) of the minilecture. Glad I remembered that.
  • Got rid of some super-spicy stuff on Freecycle. Turns out the guy who's been taking all of my spices, etc. was my buddy the post office clerk. Funny.
  • I've watched more mens and womens NCAA basketball in the last week than I had in the previous 40-odd years of my life. Addicting.
That is all.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I'm experimenting with feeding my blog to twitter. That sounds dirty, doesn't it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Great Salad Dressing Hunt

As a result of Footslogger's heart attack, I've been spending some quality time this week looking for low-sodium, low-fat alternatives to things like chili powder (did you know that the kind you buy at the grocery store has salt in it?), chicken broth (again, store-bought is LOADED with sodium, even the stuff that's advertised as low-sodium0, and salad dressing. This one looks like a great possibility. Plus, the creator of this recipe lives in the same town as Dr. Bad Ass' mom!
Joel’s Salad Dressing Number 1


2 ribs celery
¼ C raw ginger
2/3 C non-fat sour cream
½ C non-fat plain yogurt
1 clove garlic
¼ C rice vinegar
Juice of one lemon
4 green onions (tops and all)
½ red bell pepper
1 peach
¼ t. dry mustard
Onion powder to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate to allow flavors to blend and serve over fresh green salad. This recipe makes two cups and a 2 tablespoon serving has, 20.33 calories, 1.4 g protein, 4.06 g carbohydrates, .11 g fat, and 33.54 mg sodium.
blog it

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Six Word Meme

Being tagged always makes me feel (even if for only a short time) like one of the "popular kids." As a former band dork, choir nerd, and drama freak, this is certainly a warm-and-fuzzy for me, though short lived. So thanks, Brigindo. I know you tagged me for an earlier meme, and I still have that on my to-do list (since it happened at the beginning of the hospital stay from hell).

Here are the instructions:

1. Write your own six word memoir

2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like

3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere

4. Tag five more blogs with links

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

Here's my six-word memoir.

Show me a hoop. I'll jump.

Now I turn to the tagging. So, I'm going to tag Kathryn and Paul, Weezy, Jen, Russian Violets, and anyone else who wants to play.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bronchial Problems

Almost as soon as we arrived back home in High Plains City, my coughing (which had been rather subdued, but persistent while dealing with Footslogger's crisis) elevated itself to a much higher plane. So yesterday I took myself off to see my local nurse practitioner, get a prescription for some antibiotics and -- as an exciting bonus -- a bronchial inhaler. Yes, that's right. Bronchitis. Lovely. It seems that bronchitis will now be an annual event for me.

If anyone can give me advice on how to catch a cold and NOT have it turn into bronchitis, I would be happy to hear it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Back in High Plains City

Drove in this morning, with clear roads, blue skies, and a good bit of wind. It feels fantastic to be back home. Fantastic. And hairy. Why hairy, you may ask?

Because the cats spent their last two weeks pulling out big chunks of fur and rubbing them on EVERY. SURFACE. IN. THE. HOUSE. Not to mention the hairballs, but we won't go there.

Footslogger is doing well, still tiring easily, but hanging in there. We're working on planning, buying ingredients, and cooking low-sodium, low-cholesterol meals. With smaller portion sizes.

Thanks again to all of you who have sent your best hopes and good wishes. We're hanging in there, and trying to imagine how life will be now. Working hard to stay connected to each other and honest with each other.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Word of our release

It seems pretty certain that we'll be out of here tomorrow morning. So I'm making a list of things I'm looking forward to:
  • Slogger's release from the hospital, hopefully tomorrow morning.
  • sleeping in the same bed with Slogger
  • delivering bagels and shmears to the folks in ICU, probably Monday morning
  • checkup appointment with the cardiology practice, also Monday morning
  • head for High Plains City, hopefully on Monday afternoon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

At the top of this particular roller coaster....

We were both scared shitless last night, so I spent the night at the hospital. Meaning I didn't sleep much, both because I was scared that Slogger was going to die, and because I was sleeping on a couch designed for midgets. I did sleep some. Just not enough.

Today the roller coaster is up high again. Slogger had his procedure, which he came through just fine even though it involved STOPPING AND RESTARTING HIS HEART.


He was loopy for a good bit of the day, but now he's feeling good, sitting up in his chair, and looking like nothing but himself. I'm happy, and even if it doesn't last forever or even for very long, it feels great.

I'm not even going to say a word about when we might get out of the hospital, but I do think we'll be back in High Plains City by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Ready to begin our new lives, whatever that may mean.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Or not.

We were in fine spirits this morning, expecting to be out of the hospital today. However. There is one more procedure that the docs want to do, one that will be instrumental in saving Footslogger's life should he have a second heart attack, so we'll be having that at 10:00 tomorrow.

Then we'll probably be out of the hospital, should all go well, sometime on Friday.

Scary times, folks. Very scary.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

...and Moving Out (possibly)

Footslogger is
  • down to one liter of oxygen per hour
  • walking around the cardiac telemetry floor 3-4 times a day
  • talking about rehab and resuming exercise
  • texting nonstop with Precious Firstborn
  • planning low-fat, low-sodium menus.
I think we're about ready to be released from prison. The cardiac surgeon dropped by today and told us he was thinking of having us out of the hospital tomorrow; the insurance company is starting to also push for us to be released.

All of this makes me very happy. Giddy, even.

Except. That it makes me very afraid. I know that I'm driving him crazy, but I can't stop looking at him and asking things like "Are you feeling dizzy?" "Any chest pain?" "Are you out of breath?" I want him to rest, to recover. He wants to push. That will be the story, I imagine, for the next 6 months. I hope we can meet in the middle somewhere.

And I've found that I have a new sympathy for folks in ambulances. I've been walking about 30 minutes a day in the park across the street from the hospital, and occasionally an ambulance will come by, with or without lights and sirens. When that happens, I shake my head, sigh, and mutter "I'm so sorry" to the folks inside and the ones hurrying to meet them at the hospital. I know it's not my fault -- that's not the issue. It's just that I have a new sympathy for people who are suffering from medical emergencies and for their family members. What a hardship that is. And how lightly I've taken our good health up to now.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Stepping Up

Today the hospital gods smiled on us. Footslogger was moved out of ICU and into a telemetry (sp?) wing. I gather that the main difference has to do with a lower degree of scrutiny, plus instead of being plugged into a monitor that gives constant feedback on heart rate, oxygenation rate, respiratory rate, bank balance, hair loss, armpit odor, etc. (ok, those last three are an exaggeration. But only barely.) he is plugged into a small box that transmits his heart rate to a central monitor on the wing. The nurses come in every couple of hours to check his blood pressure and oxygenation; plus they are carefully monitoring his intake and output, since he is on a drug to help him get rid of excess fluid on his lungs.

But the main part that he likes the best? He can get orange sherbet on request.

My fave? I don't have to vacate the premises between 6 and 8:30, which means that I can sit with him through dinner and leave once he starts to get sleepy. Instead of leaving at 6, coming back at 8:30 and sitting with him until 9:30. That was starting to get extremely wearying.

So tonight I went to Subway and purchased a tuna sandwich (comfort food) and as I was walking out of the store I found myself smiling giddily for the first time in a week. Really, all I want in this world is for him to be healthy. The rest means nothing.

For the first time since his heart attack, I feel certain that we are on our way there.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on Our Way Home

Friday night, February 29th: We pack up after work and drive down to the home of our hiking buddies, Skidmark and Balloo, for Skidmark's 30th birthday bash. Lots of friends, lots of beer. Our gift to Skidmark was a framed photograph of a group of hikers (her included) in varying stages of undress at Bryant Ridge Shelter in Virginia.

all day Saturday and Sunday morning, March 1st and 2nd: We drive into the mountains for the Rockies Ruck, a gathering of long-distance hikers held annually for the last 4 years and organized by our friend and triple-crowner (ie., has hiked all three big long-distance trails in the US, the AT, the PCT, and the CDT), Mags.

Sunday afternoon, March 2nd: Our world changed forever. We decided to drive the back way to High Plains City, driving through the mountains and small towns. We had just passed through Small Mountain Town (where I had noticed a big blue H for hospital sign, only because it was right next to a sign for a library. I always notice those library signs.) when Footslogger started complaining of pressure in his chest and difficulty breathing, nausea, and dizziness. We turned around and went back to the hospital in Small Mountain Town. They diagnosed him with a heart attack and decided that he needed to head for Big Western City, where hospitals with cardiac cath labs abound.

And the crying began. I mean, my crying, out of fear and shock. How could my husband, a fit, strong, not overweight, healthy-eating guy be having a heart attack? The doctor and nurses at Small Mountain Town talked about getting a helicopter out for him, but the weather was too bad.

Oh, did I mention that all of this was happening in the midst of a huge snowstorm that eventually shut down the interstate?

But back to our story. The ambulance came, with two EMTs, Shannon and Mark. They gave me the option of riding in the ambulance, but I decided to follow the ambulance in my car, thinking that would give me more flexibility in Big Western City.

I spent the next four hours trying to keep up with the ambulance (I eventually got stuck behind a snow plow and lost a good bit of ground there) and crying. I was reminded of the days around my divorce from Bad Andy, when my friends Kyle and Debra said they didn't know that anybody had that many tears in them. I'm not saying this out of pride, believe me. I tried to stop. But I was scared, and fear always brings out tears in me.

I arrived at the hospital around 4:30; the ambulance had arrived about 15 minutes prior. The cardiac surgeon who met us there had already started prepping Footslogger for cardiac catheterization. He stressed to us the need for speed in this, and we agreed, so they pushed him off to the cardiac cath lab very quickly, shunted me off into a waiting room, and we waited. Footslogger's sister and brother-in-law live in Big Western City, so they joined me to wait, we ate a terrible dinner in the hospital cafeteria, and waited some more. They finally brought him in to ICU. One of his arteries (the one often called "the widowmaker" -- I can't tell you how much I hate typing that) was completely clogged, so they performed an angioplasty to clear it and put in two stents to keep it open.

Today is Friday, and we are still in ICU. Every day he makes a bit of progress, but it is slow. He's had some difficulty with breathing, so he is on oxygen, but we expect that to be a temporary problem. Yesterday and the day before he sat up in a chair to eat; today he is going to be walking around the ICU floor for a bit. Slow and steady progress, that's what we're looking for.

I hesitated to post this, but I know you'll be rooting for him, internets. Positive thoughts, prayers, meditation -- whatever you believe in will be greatly appreciated.