Thursday, July 31, 2008

Each day, getting better - YEAH

Today was mostly good day. I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and felt a little pain so I took an Advil. The pain got worse so at 8:30 a.m. I took a ½ Perco. This is actually good news since I am not getting up at 2-3:00 a.m. and 7:00 am to take full pills of Perco. Now, I only need a ½ Perco at the end of the 12 hours long time pain pill cycle. I take a long term pain pill at 9:00 a.m. and then at 9:00 p.m. and Perco as needed between the 12 hr cycle. So my pain is much less now and I am not taking as much as Perco as last week.

We had the cream of wheat for breakfast. That seems to suit me well so I have been eating everyday and will do so, until I am well. I also add some fruit to top it off. I drink decaf coffee- one cup a day.

Tess, as usual left her duty post when I took my 9:00 a.m. pills but quickly returned when breakfast was served. After she got a nibble, she went to visit Jeff. Apparently, I am much better today as she hardly clung to me all day, only bits and pieces.

Today I felt very good and it was the second day that I had energy. It was all I could do not to dance a few steps. Instead, I went for the loops around the house. Dr Austin wants us to follow his walking schedule so I am. I plan my walks….first walk is looping around the house. Second is around lunch time, again a loop around the house. Third one is down to the barn and back. The fourth loop is how I feel, either a walk around the house or the barn walk. The barn walk is much better since I go outside and see nature, talk to the animals and just enjoy the fact that I can walk and enjoy it.

Today was the visit to Dr Austin. As I said before, he is one of the top notch surgeons in the nation. He is quite nice and makes you like he cares about you….which he does. I am blessed to have him as my Surgeon

Usually he is dressed very formally but today he was wearing his cowboy boots and a cool salmon colored shirt….much less formal. It made me more relaxed. He knew I was felling better as I sassed him back and he sassed me back. The checkout was fine except I was not doing a high enough volume in the air puffer. My scar is healing up well….it’s amazing how tiny the long scar is. He did such meticulous work so there will hardly a scar. If you want the best, be sure to have Dr Austin as your surgeon. The team that did the work on me was exceptional. Both physically and emotional.

My upper jaw was hurting so I called my Dentist. It might be an infection or just sore gums/teeth. She called in a prescription for me and then Deb and I headed off to Safeway to get it.

Safeway didn’t have my antibiotics ready so we had to wait for am hour. It was called in and they had the order for over an hour and hadn’t filled it.

Up to this point, I was doing quite well; I walked to Dr Austin from the parking garage, and then back. Then we had a 40 minute drive each way. So by the time we got to Safeway, it was a long day for me. We had to wait and when we actually got the antibiotics, we had waited for an hour. So by this point I was worn out. I think if they had the antibiotics, I would have been fine.

I got home and was hurting so I took a ½ Perco and took a long deep nap. It was a couple of hours and I needed it. When I did wake up I felt much better.

We had some company, Claire T. who is a friend of mine and Daryle, my college lab partner. When Daryle and I graduated from college, we kept in touch. He is a very dear friend and we had a blast in college. Mind you, we went to a private Engineering College together and we had a blast, He is the only person that I kept in touch with from college.

We all sat around and chatted and we took a bunch of pixs. Hopefully I can post them soon. I am the one who looks like heck.

I got a cute pink toy animal from Audrey and Neal. It is called a Pugly. Which means it is an ugly toy. I named my toy “Pinky” ( it is a pink toy) and Pinky has turned out to be very useful.

When I lie down, get up, walk etc….I have to have my heart pillow or Pinky with me. I wrapped my arms around it and hold it to my chest. That way, if you cough, the cushion will help you by the padding.

So I walk either with my heart pillow or Pinky. When I lay down I use Pinky to support my head. Pinky is thin so I can flex Pinky as needed for support. It’s perfect and Audrey and Neal did great on getting Pinky for me. Neal is a PT and knows about what I have to do and they got just the perfect pillow.

Chuck stopped by after dinner and filled me on the wood story. He cut down two trees and today he used my truck to haul a load home, He has a lot of wood to haul. It will be used with his new fireplace insert. It is good when he comes up to the house after he is done cutting the wood. He is keeping an eye on my sheep and updates me each night. That takes a lot of worry off my shoulders,

Dinner was salmon and pasta. The pasta was delicious so gobbled it up. I also gobbled up some raspberries. I think before I go to bed, I will have some more fruit.

I feel the progression towards feeling better and must not try to push myself. I do not want a set back. Each day, a little piece. At least I am not in pain all the time and now want to go for my walks and be active.

Deb and I have been watching TV some afternoons and we decided there is nothing good on TV. The only time, we see something we like to watch is after dinner. We have been watching CSI, Cold Case, Forensics Files and Without A Trace. I take short cat naps during the day and that seems to rejuvenate me.

Tomorrow my mom is coming over to relieve Deb. She told us she will make us Japanese Dinner. We all dance for joy (I danced in my head as you know I can’t do that quite yet on the floor). My mom’s is the best cook in the world. When I first came home, I had no appetite but when she made me her special Japanese meals, I woke up from my groggy state and ate.

I came home from the hospital weighing 135 lbs (water weight) and dropped down to 104 lbs. I need to start gaining weight back. I am up to 106 lbs today. I would like to get back to my ideal weight of 125-130 lbs but it will take a while.

Jeff has been great in support by making sure I take my pills on time, sitting up late to chat with me and doing all sorts of stuff. Having a surgery like this can take a toll on relationships as he is carrying all of my share of the work at the farm. Have someone like my mom or Deb stay during the day makes it possible for Jeff to go to work. We all have had enjoyable dinners together and it is just relaxing. It has been two weeks since the surgery and I am glad it was done. Even though it hurts now, in the long run it will be great for me. I look forward to the day that I can run my dogs in a trial. By keeping this goal in my mind, I pace myself and not overdo it. I do the 4 walks a day and just try to heal. So far, so good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Turn Around....

July 30, 2008

This was a good day. In the middle of the night around 2ish, (which seems to be the standard time since I have been home), I woke up with a little pain. I have been taking 1 Perco but in the last few days trying to only take .5 pill. I took the .5 and went back to sleep. At 6ish, I woke up with a little but bearable pain) and my one lung seemed clogged. So I lay down and took a bunch of slow deep breathes and it worked its’ self out, Then my lungs were clear and I able to take deep breathes. It has stayed that way all day and I have not felt short of breathe all day. That is great. I am still not able do deep puffs on the Air Puffer though (sigh). All times during the day I have been taking deep breathe and holding it and it is not painful.

My dear friends, Nancy and Courtney came over to visit. Courtney made a home made crossword puzzle and word gram for me. That was so sweet of her and she put some time into it. They also brought some homemade banana bread and apple strudel bread. Then they went to work dogs, Logan and Jack – their dogs and two of my dogs. They also brought bread for the sheep. Nancy and Courtney are two of my students who also ended up being my dear friends.

Most of my students now that have come here close to two years have turned into good friends. They are all caring people and I am blessed to have such good friends. They are a great support group now for this surgery and I really appreciate them.

My mom came over today. She was worried since I had slept most of yesterday. I felt great today and it was 180 degrees from yesterday. She made me a delicious lunch. Japanese pancake with mushrooms and squid, vinegar cukes, string beans, and crab. I ate a HUGE PLATE and am stuffed. My appetite has picked up considerably and today I have been eating every 1.5 or so. I have not taken a nap as of 3:00 p.m. I do feel a little tired since this was a full day but not too tired to sleep yet. I will take a short nap later, I think.

As you all know, Tess has been protective of me. There was someone at the door earlier and she leaped off the couch to the door. We didn’t know who it was until her whole hind end of her body went in huge wags….she was wagging her body for all it was worth. At that point, I knew it was my mom.
It was my mom and I was abandoned by Tess. Since my mom has been here, Tess has been next to mom. I guess I am chopped liver now.

My brother called in the afternoon and he came over at dinner time. Deb and Nelson made more tacos. Last night, Nan jumped on the table and spilled the taco meat. So we had to make a new batch today.

Nelson also brought over plums and rice protein mix. Yesterday, I had fallen asleep right I drank a full glass. Turns out I am dairy intolerant. So when I drank it, my tummy felt full and hurt so I feel into a deep night. That explains why I had a weird afternoon yesterday.

So Nelson gave me the rice protein and that should fix me. I am glad we figured it out. Nelson brought me some sweet, juicy plums from his garden. I ate one and it was so juicy and tasty

Deb, Nelson and I took our walk to the barn. He caught Kodi and put him away. We checked out the critters and came back to the house. We took a short break at the barn and went back to the house. He kept his hand underneath me for support. That was very tiring, He left after making sure I was ok, He is a cool and caring brother.

Overall, I felt really good today. I had an appetite, was full of energy and alert. I am on the turn around now. Not to mention, Tess has been lax in her duties by my side so I know I am on the mend.

Again, I am very thankful for my support friend…all of you have been wonderful and helpful over this. Not to mention, the great Doctors who took care of me so I can be a whole person again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watched over by Tess

Last night was a weird night for sleeping. I woke up and hurt at 2, so I took a ½ pain pill and then back to sleep. At 6, I woke up and felt funny and had realized that I had gotten stuck in the couch. I tried to wiggle myself free but couldn’t so I paged Jeff. He came out and reset me so I could sleep better. I took another ½ pill and was lying on my back on the couch. Tess slowly sneaked up and laid fully stretched out next to me on the couch, her muzzle next to my head and her paw on my hand. She then gently licked me on my face and then I fell asleep. I remember at one point she stood over me and sniffed my head, neck, shoulders and chest and then climbed off. She let me know the worse was over, Nan came into the room and lay on the floor next to me. Tess went to the other side of the room and slept.

About 8ish, I heard Tess and Nan growled and woke up and looked at them. Both of them were halfway up and their hackles at full mast. Then they settled down once they realized it was Deb coming up the stairs.

I ate well at breakfast, some cream of wheat. Deb went and got me some coffee cake from Starbucks and I had a thin slice. I did my walk abouts and about noonish had a Carnation Instant Breakfast drink with protein with milk and it was a large glass. I was feeling tired and took a nap. I think the drink was a bunch for me and my body needed some time to digest it. I slept hard and fast. It was hot and humid and it rained today.

Later in the afternoon, I woke up and felt much better. I was able to walk out on my deck and see Chuck cut down a tree. I wandered around the house and petted the dogs.

I had a much better appetite at dinner tonight and ate two tacos. Not much to write now but feeling better each day.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hardest Day so far

It’s has been one of the roughest days that I had in a long time. I woke up at 4:30 to take a ½ Perco pain pill and then went back to sleep. I was still feeing the pain from the night before and I was wore out. I just get exhausted so easily.

Again, July was just being July and was hot and humid, I had the fan on through the night and it helped but still felt the heat. I managed to eat ½ piece of toast and Japanese Pancake for breakfast. I weighed myself and now weigh 110 lbs which is too thin. My calf muscles are all flabby and the daily walks I hope will firm them up. I have managed to flush all of the hospital water weight which is good.

Yesterday we had talked to my surgeon, Dr Austin about my funky heart rate….1 then 2 beat, then 1 then 2 then 3 beat and then back to 1 then 2 beat. We are hoping it is not flutter or whatever. He told me to call my Cardiologist, Dr Condon and have a EKG done, Audrey had checked my heart beat on Sunday night when I walk taking a walk. It felt off so I asked her to and it was off. I am sure that Dr Austin was amused by being called by a vet!! Thanks to Audrey for checking me out.

Deb got on the ph this morning and set up an appt for 2:30 p.m. I slept on/off all day and did my walks. I was tired and not my usual up-beat self but the humid air did suck us dry.

So off we went to the Dr…it was a 40 minute drive and by the time I got there I was very exhausted. Then we had to park and walk in and wore me out too. This is much more work than my 11 or so minute walks.

They ran the EKG and saw that the flutter had returned and that would explain the shortness of my breath and unable to blow more than 1250 on the Air Puffer.

I am doing ok for a person that had 2 surgeries and therefore slower to recover. He gave me OK not to wear the hospital socks that prevent clotting, which is fine be me as I hated them. They are tight on the legs like nylons and those of you that know me, know I do not wear nylons.

My BR and HR are what we are getting at home so that is a relief. There is some fluid in my lung but not much. The tingling in my left breast area was concern to me but Dr Condon said it was the nerves healing and not to worry. He looked at the incision and was happy with what he saw.

I point out a lump in my lower left groin, about 1 x 2 inches and 1 inch high. It was puffy but did not hurt. I had not seen it below so either it just swelled up or was hidden with my water weight. When they had opened me up for the first operation, they had realized the tubing would not go through the leg and then opened my chest wall to do it. Later, after they repaired the hole and then they saw some issues so they rushed me back in and opened up the rest of the chest. So needless to say, I had three openings for the two operations.

The lump was not hurting and was more than fluid. We set up an appt for Thursday with Dr Austin to take a look at it.

Since I had 2 operations and both involved opening the chest, then my recovery would be a lot longer and harder. The original idea for the operation was to be done via the groin and we set a goal for the LaCamas trial. Now all of that had changed as I had 2 major operations via the chest and that takes longer to heal . I asked Dr Condon….”was I able to stand in full sun for 10-12 minutes and work a dog in about 14 days.” I told him with the way I felt I didn’t think I would be able to and he confirmed that. Had we done the groin approach, it would have been a strong possibility.

So needless to say, I am going to pull out of LaCamas. I asked Monique is she wanted to run Lucy in PN for me and she is seeing if she can get the time off work. If not, I’ll pull her too. I’ll have to drop an email to Lani who I was going to stay with and share expenses. I hope she can find a sub, if not I will stay pay her my portion. No sense in messing her up at the last minute. Lani is a very kind person who not only has the *most handsomest white headed m male* named Blair but she makes the coolest lanyards. I really enjoy hanging out with Lani and will miss that.

Deb and I got home about 4:30p.m. and I was super wiped out. I ended up having to take another pill and feel into a deep sleep. I slept for 2.5 hrs and then woke up for a bit and then back to sleep for 1 more hour. I can’t believe how exhausted I was and how deep of a sleep I fell into.

Several people had called and I had given Deb my phone to answer as I was too beat to do that. She field several calls and got people up to date. That was very nice of her. Tomorrow I will call those people back after I feel better.

We had a late dinner around 10ish as they waited for me to wake up. Jeff cook filet mignon and cream corn. I ate about 10 small bites of steak and some corn. I have to keep eating as I cannot lose anymore weight.

When were are at Dr Condon, he recommended protein, soy, tofu and all sorts of stuff for me to eat. He also said I could eat salt again as it will help retain some weight.

It’s 11:30 pm when I wrote this and it is the best I felt all day. I am going to have a protein drink and then hit the sack.

Tess, as usual, has been my shadow. Always next to me and at night when I fuss, she will poke her nose on my arm as if to say “I’m here”, She has been very cautious next to me and keeps her eyes fastened upon at all time. She has give Nan the lip curl to stay out of the room. Nan does sneak in and sleep next to me when wanders off but then immediately scurries off when Tess comes into the room

If you happen to notice any typos. It because I am loaded on meds. My eyes are not totals focused on word very well either.

Thanks to all who check in and Thanks to Deb Nicholas who flew in from LA to stay with me for a week.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The gang....of shepherds!!!

Today the gang did the sheep chores for me today. Monique got a group of people together and they wormed and did hoof trimming of all the sheep. It was about 70 total. One got castrated by Audrey and Kevin (both are vets). The ram was not amused. I guess I should say that wether is not amused.

I stayed up at the house during this as you know I would love go to down and give a helping hand....but it would not help me recover so I was banned to the house. Monique came up and told me the game plan. She has been my friend for over 2 yrs and is a generous, kind hearted person. She first started off as a student but ended up being one of my dear friend. Audrey is in the same boat. Well, all of my students are now just more than students but good friends.

I was so drugged when they came, I did NOT hear Chuck cut down a huge tree and saw it into may pieces. I was talking to Monique when he was running the saw and never heard it. Monique heard it!!

I appreciate the gang of Monique, Audrey, Kathleen, Chuck, Irene and Tony. The newcomers were Kevin (vet) and Charles (?), and 2 other folks that Monique works with. I'll have to get their names and update this but I managed to forget their names. I really appreciate they did all of that for me and it puts my mind at ease.

Today I was more tired but some contributing factors were it was very hot and humid during the night so I tossed and turned. And I got wore out on my walks from the heat and humidity.

Not much new today except the my mom went home to Tess's dismay!! But I told Tess that Grandma would be back on Friday.

Then Deborah, (a friend I have known for 20 yrs) flew up to take up the slack and be my babysitter until next Saturday. Deb and I hit it off really well when we used to work at Boeing. She left Boeing and so did I, but we kept in touch. She moved to Calif about 4 yrs ago but the distance doesn't affect our friendship. email and ph are good life lines.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Long Day.....

Today was a hard day to start. I slept until 3:45 in the morning and woke up with some pain so I took another pill and then was in la-la land. I woke up ago at 7ish and felt much better. Dr Austin was right when he said I would feel good BUT not to rush it. Being a Type A personality, it will be very difficult for me to be laid back and ask people to do the simple chores that I take for granted. Like pull open my screen door or put on socks, Basically, I can not use my arm above my shoulders and below the hip. Also I can not use my arms to push or pull. Otherwise it will hurt like heck and does not help me in my recovery.

We changed the meds about to see if I can sleep longer through the night. It has helped, a couple of hours but that is better than the night before. And I slept in a deep sleep,

Today I felt more energetic and was able to walk to the barn without shuffling or slowness. Of course, you know that I had to take a look at all the animals.

Rigby, our resident cat, has also taken a shine to my mom. E is a barn cat but managed to convince my mom that he needed to be in the house, Like most of the day. Our decision was based as look as he was a good cat and didn’t jump on the counter. He had no desire to be on the counter when he could be on my Mom’s lap being hand feed. After he ate, ten he kicked Tess out of her dog bed and slept in most of the afternoon.

Again, my mom made super tasty meals, home made soap, rice bowls, hamburger and many dishes of fruit. This is so awesome that she can do this for me.

I think I might have mentioned that my weight goal was 118 and I could be off the Lasik and Potassium. So tonight, I hit 118 lbs. I’ll weigh myself tomorrow and hope it stays at that weight or goes down a pound or two. We do not want any weight gain.

On a side note, the job opening for the Pillsbury Doughboy is no longer available for me. I no longer have the fat fingers and feet. Each morning my mom puts on these special socks to prevent clots. Today was the first day that she was able to put them on rather quickly since my legs swelling has gone down.

Yesterday my guests were Kelly (my FAA friend), Heidi (wife) and Kai (son). They brought me a Wisteria as a gift from the FAA gang. I started to nod off during their visit…I got tons of cards from work and it helps the spirits.

Today Audrey and Neal showed up. They are a super nice couple and added a much needed boost for the day. We all had tea and some of the yummy carrot cake. Then we down to the barn and I got to pet some more dogs (Jeff, Dan and Kael – that Audrey and Neal had brought.) Then we went back to house and the walk and hot weather wiped me out. It was great chatting with them. I am going stir crazy trying to watch TV or read a book.

Later in the afternoon, Janet showed up and we chatted. She is babysitting Kuro for me and it seems like he doesn’t mss me at all. His new pal is Mattie, the Smithfield Sheepdog.

Chuck popped in for a minute and helped by unloading the loose hay in the back of the truck. Every little bit helps.

My visitors have been gracious and as soon as I look fatigue, they all leave. They even understand when I start to doze off. Everyone has met my mom and my mom really likes my friends.

I’ve been talking to Kathy Davis several times a day, It helps when I have a concern or I fill her in on the day’s happening.

By having this surgery, it really shows your true friendship with people, I have had people call me the last two days and I remember talking to them but I can’t remember who!! I hate my brain being fuddled.

Tonight while having dinner with Jeff and mom, I turned to Tess and said “Look at mom……Nelson….. no, I mean Jeff” (I don’t remember whose names I said but I know the first two or three were not Jeff’s name. I know it surprised him as well as me. Talk about a brain cramp.

Each day I feel better but have to restrain myself from overdoing it. It’s very tempting but I have to control myself and ask for help, Boy is that ever hard.

Tess still beds down next to me at night and put her head upon when I stir. If she can. She will lick my face. When I get up in the morning, she is my shadow. The when my mom comes upstairs, she races off to greet her and be her shadow. We let Tess and Nan be spoiled as much by my mom. They both love the extra attention and have been very quiet and loving. My mom is also spoiling Jeff and me. I am blessed to have a mom like her.

Well, it’s late and I am fading so will sign off for the night. If you have any questions, post them in my blog and I will answer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another Day, another dog!!

Tess was so happy to see me when I came home…..she did the butt wiggle dance. She was very cautious near me and made sure she was not on my chest but laid off to my side and put her head in my lap. She keeps staring at my face and licking me and giving the heavy Border Collie sighs….

But obviously I must have turned the tide in her eyes as she is now devoted to my Mom. Tess shadows her every step and some times even get to take her outside and toss the ball for a few hours.

I do manage to get Tess to cuddle next to me at night. And she will slide up next to me for a bit but you can see her ears swirls around to see where “Grandma” was in the house. Grandma makes sure is the “food taste control dog” and gives her pieces of food all the time. You never know, someone might try to slip me a poisoned meal!!

She looks well fed from the extra food but don’t worry, we have adjusted her dinner to reflect that.

Nana wants to be Grandma’s best friend but Tess glares at her and makes sure that Nan is not to close to her Grandma. Tess is no doubt going to have some major Grandma withdrawals on Sunday. Grandma will be going home for a bit.

As for me, I am doing much better now. I only woke up once last night and had to take a pain pill. The first two nights I woke several times and had a hard time sleeping. I slept on the couch last night and it was great. We believe the lack of sleep was due to the bed.

One of the many goals was to drop my water weight from 135 to 118 lbs. I am at about 123 right now and the progress is good.

My Blood pressure and heart rate are still good. A real bonus is that my heart has not gone into the arrhythmia or flutter state.

Mom has been cooking delicious meals for me. I just gobble up her food. I love her cooking…I wish I was as good as a chef as she is.

So, each day I have to go for 4 walks, each day it increases one minute. The first night I was home, I had a hard time and my mom had to be backup next to me (Mom grabbing my elbow or back) Today I was able to cruse for my walks at a brisk rate and my chest doesn’t hurt as much.

We had to go back to Dr Austin for a check-up after the operation and he was pleased with what I have done so far. There is a little water in my left lung and we hope it will be re-absorbed. I am losing the weight he wants me too, the walks are good and I am keeping my air flow 1000-1500. Each day it is easier to blow in it. Jeff was the driver while I took a nap. He even got me a Almond Latte Breve- Decaf while I waiting for the Dr appointment

My grass hay arrived today and I got about 370 or so bales….it was cut from a local field. George Magnoci, a local dairy farmer took on the task of cutting/baling/stacking my hay. That took a huge load off my chest (no pun intended). George is a well known person that is a local icon known for his generosity.

Thank you George, Diane (his wife) and hay crew. You made me feel much better

I am glad I am feeling much better and soon I hope to be painless.

Thanks again to everyone for the flowers, gifts, candy and cards. No to mention your ph or emails of support.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surgery Update

Hi y’all,

I am home and glad to be here. It was a tough week at the hospital.

I went in Wed and at 2/3:00 they had prepped me and then they opened me up (open heart and not via the leg vein) and cut a patch from the lining of my heart. They sewed it between the two upper right and left atrium. The hole was so large they couldn’t have a upper wall to attach so they attached it to the top part of the heart. The closed me up and were checking the vital and they saw there was a problem with one of my major veins so they told Jeff that I had to be rushed in and they opened me up again, EXCPET this time they open the entire chest area (with a bone saw) and then found the problem.

When they had stitched in the patch they went over a vein they and had looped that patch over it. So they had to remove and re-stitch me. When they went in they had no idea what was wrong and Jeff was upset…..he heard they had problems and that was not good news.

I was on the bypass machine for 8 hours and normally it should have only been three hours. Plus I was bleeding and they had to fix that.

I don’t remember hardly anything except the nurses refilling me with plasm/platelets? A lot in fact .

Kathy Davis, a DR friend of mine came up and stayed with us…she talked to Jeff and got him less worried, She also called the hospital trying to find out what was wrong. She couldn’t find out until after the surgery.

Kathy spent most of the week in the room with me, making sure I was ok, working with me to do the exercises and eating and great support. It really means a lot when someone is in the room with you. She was able to take the Doctor’s Speech and translate to laymen’s words for me, my mom, Jeff, brother Nelson and other folks.

Each day was really rough as I have never been is so much pain. You are very helpless and can’t use your arms….try getting off the couch, bed or anywhere without using your arms. You can not use them to push, pull or hold yourself steady.

I was not healing as fast as they wanted, I threw up 3 meals and had no appetite and felt weak and didn’t care.

I had a air-puffer in which you blow air into and my goal was 1200 and I could barely do 750, no matter how hard I tried.

On Monday, they did a chest x-ray and saw there was fluid in the lungs. They waited until after breakfast and I threw that up, for me to settle down. They did a ultra sound and saw there was fluid in my lungs. It was in the part that does not drain but just builds up.

So they had to do a lung tap….there is some fancy name but what it is that they stick two tubes in your back, one to each lung. They drained 1200 cc of blood from the right lung and 800cc from the other. It hurt like hell and I wept and Kathy held me for support. I had to wait until it was drained before they took the tubes out and it hurt so bad. Then after they pulled the tubes out, my lungs hurts since it was trying to expand. Jeff had not gotten there yet and it was a good thing as it would have freaked him out. Jeff and my mom arrived later when I felt human.

I know a few of you folks came to see me but I was so drugged up that I hardly remember seeing you. I know on a couple of your folks I just fell ASLEEP in the middle of our conversation!! Don’t take offense. And thanks for the cards and flowers….they sure brighten my room

Mom, Nelson, Jeff, Kathy and Kumiko (mom’s best friend) were pretty much there the entire time. It helps when one wakes up and sees friendly faces. I know Jeff had to limit people on visits as I was very ill and weak. (A lot of it had to do with the 2 liters of blood in my lungs.

So that afternoon on Monday, we decided one more day in the hospital to make sure there were no more nausea and lung issues.

I got the green light on Tuesday and we finally arrived home. The walk from the upper driveway to the couch wiped me out. My mom made a huge spread of food and Jeff, Chuck (herding friend), Nelson, mom and I had dinner….well, I had 2 bites of beef and ½ bowl of soup and then had to go to lie down as I was feeling bad. So they had dinner without me but I heard how tasty it was. Nelson apparently chatted with me and I don’t remember a single word he said. He is a really cool brother and I blessed to have him. I got the best mom in the world….she is staying here and cooking home made Japanese meals for me each day. I can eat her food and trying to make up for lost food time. The food in the hospital was dry, overcooked or quite good. I ate lots of sorbets and fruit pieces. I know they try really hard to make a good meal but being able to have sugar or salt sure narrows your food choices. I know when I got out of surgery I looked like the Pillsbury Dough boy, I had 2 or 3 chins, round face, huge fingers….and had gained over 27 lbs…all water weight which I am trying to lose now.

Each day I have been getting better and better but it will be 8 weeks before I can semi function as a human again. But it is better than being dead!!

I still have a lotta pain in the chest area where the tube was for drainage and the front incision. This is going to take awhile so I can not lift more that 5 lbs or use my arms above my shoulders or below waist.

Tess has been missing me….when I was in the hospital she just moped and refused to get out of her bed. When Kathy shows up, Tess will leap all over and act out of control. However, when Kathy went upstairs to see Tess, she gave a weak wag and didn’t move at all. Then she knew Tess was missing me. Tess barely acknowledged Jeff too. Nana was nervous and trying to figure out what as going on.

Tess was very happy to see me when I came through the door…you would think she would bounce all over me but she stuck to my side and was very serious. She would crawl up on the couch and cuddle and kiss me all the time. She knew that I was hurt and was very careful when she was next to me. Normally, she would flings toys in my lap for me to throw them but she laid next to me and kissed and cuddled me. Nana tried to get on the couch a few times but Tess snarled at her and so Nan only could visit when Tess not next to me.

Jeff has been a wonderful husband. He helps me up and down, sets the med out for me and takes care of the farm. He had a bunch of stuff dumped on him and has very well.

I have wonderful set of friends and you all know who you are. The road to recovery will be a long haul but with good friends like you the road is much smoother. My students and friends took dogs to help with the workload. Sue MacDonald has been keeping informed as well as others. I asked Jeff who called him so I could thank that person and his eyes glazed over…so if I did not acknowledge you, that is why. Tony from work (like my second father) has been keeping people informed and I love the *bit of honey* candy that I got from work. Kathy also kept people up to speed. As well as Monique and Audrey and so forth

I’ll post to the blog daily on what is happening. Each day, I am better and losing the water weight, eating lots more and more energy. But when I am tired, I just pass out to sleep. I am awake more of the day too. Be warned if the words don’t look right it is because I am on heavy pain meds all the time

I had some of the top surgeons who took care of me and the Nursing staff was a 10 plus scale. I don’t remember all of them but the few that stick to my mind are Vita (sp?) Cherise (sp?), and Christina. There was a super Nurse aide (?) named Mariana….she was born with a heart of gold. The staff was just awesome and made me feel like I was a human than a patient with a number. I was really fortune with the great Doctors and nursing staff….it made my stay lots nicer and they care. If you ever are at Overlake, I sure hope you get the great staff I did!!

I am fading now so going to sign off. If you want to come out to the farm, you are welcome anytime after 12:00

Thanks for caring

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Surgery Delay

The surgery got delayed one day. Tomorrow I go in at 9 and it will be in the afternoon and I should be done by 5 or so.

We got there and all checked in, had to take the pre-surgery shower, wear the non-fashionable attire and wait. They drew blood and then I watched CSI.

Then Dr Austin comes in at noon to tell me the surgery has been delayed one day.
His top nurse was ill during the morning surgery and his second nurse was unable to take her place at my surgery. He only wants his top nurses and so do I.

He is a really cool Doctor and I am blessed to have him. On a side note, he used to have livestock. such as horses and sheep. That give him extra bonus points on my book.

He told me the story of when he banded the lambs tails and one day his children grabbed one of the lamb's tail and it fell off and they were horrified.

Not only did I get one of the top surgery but one that talks "sheep"

Tomorrow look at the comments for updates...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Offline for a bit

More than likely I will be offline for a bit.....why?

Heart Surgery.....

Tuesday (as in July 15th) I am going in for major heart surgery at Overlake in Bellevue. They have to repair the wall between the right and left atrium. It is a ASD...a hole in the heart. Most of them are quite small. A lot of children her the *hole in the heart* but most of them close. Those that do not close are about pencil thick. A few, very rare case the holes get bigger. I am one of those chosen ones. The surgeon said it was the largest hole he has seen.

...from a website....."An ASD results in excessive blood flow to the right side of the heart and lungs. The more blood that is diverted to the right side of the heart, the harder the lungs and right ventricle must work to compensate for the problem.

Eventually, the stress on the right ventricle can cause it to enlarge (dilate) to make up for the increased workload. Also, the lungs can become congested upon receiving more blood than is needed, which may lead to high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). Other problems associated with an ASD include regurgitation of blood into the right atrium, respiratory infections, the formation of blood clots (which could lead to a stroke) and the development of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). In some rare cases, an untreated ASD can lead to sudden cardiac death.

No matter when it is noticed, the sooner as ASD is corrected, the better for the patient. Small holes may close on their own in the first years of life without any symptoms or harmful effects. However, they could lead to the production of blood clots that may be carried to the brain and cause a stroke. Larger holes allow more blood to pass through, increasing the risk of symptoms and other harmful effects, including arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

When an ASD is present, some of the oxygen-rich blood that should travel to the left ventricle from the left atrium is diverted (shunted) through the ASD and into the right atrium, where it mixes with oxygen-poor blood from the rest of the body. The right atrium of the heart is thus receiving blood from two different places: from the veins and from the left atrium (through the ASD). This results in too much blood flow to the right side of the heart and lungs. The more blood that is diverted to the right side of the heart, the harder the lungs and right ventricle must work to compensate

Since my ASD is so large they are moving quickly to repair it. They will have to make holes in the left and right side of my chest to so the operation. Prior to this they used to open the chest up so I am lucky they are not doing this . The surgeon will remove a patch from my heart lining and then put it where the hole is and sew it in. This should help with the enlarged right ventricle.
I also have arrhythmia and after after I heal they will have to shock the heart to re-set it. For now, they hope the heart can re-set itself and then they do not have to do it.

The bright side is my heart will be fixed and I will be much better. The asthma that I have had for years is probably NOT asthma but the heart issues. So that should go away. No heart issue and no asthma....what a blessing.

The surgeon in one of the top surgeons in the nation. ( Dr. Joseph Austin at Overlake ) . I will go in on Tuesday and out 4-5 days. I will be in the Coronary Care Unit. No doubt I will be eating the fine cuisine. For the last three weeks off and on, I have been there tasting their fine meals while I went through a bunch of tests. I'll be asking Jeff, Nelson (brother) and my mom to bring me real food when they visit.

I will be off work for 8 weeks and out of trialing for a month. I hope to be running at LaCamas. Prior to then I will be going stir crazy at home with my daily 5 minute walks. My doggie bed warmers during this will be Tess, Nan and Lucy.

I'll be looking forward to getting back at the post again and finally in good health!! WHOO HOOO

Thanks to all who have been supportive in this. I really appreciate it. Also I'll be offline next week more than likely

I'll have some friends post on the blog with updates......

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's my Birthday!!

Birthday by the Beatles

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too--yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party.

I would like you to dance--Birthday
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance-Birthday
I would like you to dance--Birthday

You say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too--yeahY
ou say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Happy Birthday Tess.

You came into our lives and brought us JOY

We began herding so many years ago....

Together we climbed to the top.

You proved yourself to be a top Open dog.

And took care of me along the way.

You worked hard at home. In rain, mud, major floods and heat...nothing stopped you. Your heart never quit. You were true to your heritage.

You showed those who didn't believe. And those who believed.

2001 6th Place Nursery Nationals (Scott Glen)
Qualified for Open Finals several times, ran once and placed.

Earned her ABCA papers on ROM (Registered on Merit)

Your pups had proved themselves on and off the trial field

They have been to the USBCHA Sheepdog and Cattle dog Nursery Finals.

Fearless and willing like you have done. Your legacy lives on.

You made it look easy.

Your courage never wavered.

You changed as needed for the job. Tough rams, ewes and lambs, large flocks, lambs, did it all. And did it well.

And that it was never too late to take new challenges on...and not to be afraid

Today you are TEN YEARS OLD and still the love of our lives.



Saturday, July 12, 2008

It was about a yr ago when I went to Wales for work. Then after a week of very intensive work, I took some vacation and went to Scotland to visit some dear friends of mine. ( Angie and Kelvin) They took great care of me and I had a blast. I will post a blog on that wonderful adventure later.

I came home with two puppies. They were picked up for and cared by Angie until I went home.

I named them Sava and Coll. Coll just recently went to a great home.

Sava and Coll in the creekbed at Angie and Kelvin place.

Sava.....aren't I cute?

Let me look for sheep

Her sire is Aled Owen's Roy. Roy just won the International last year. (Reg. No 266416). Roy's sire is Bob. (Reg. no. 224454)

Her dam is Dot. Dot is a daughter of the other Roy. (Reg. no. 200199).

As you can tell, they are heavily bred Aled Owen lines.

Dot (dam)

I am keeping Sava. She has turned out to be a nice dog. Very full of herself and lots of push. But biddable but will push if she can get away with it. Nothing fazes her.

Sava is a nice working dog with lots of push. we got her down and square her flanks. She is willing to work with the handler but if you are weak, better work another dog!! She has a lot of talent and great balance. we love her stock sense and how well adapts to each new changing scenario

She turned a year old in April and I remember when she was a fat squirming pup. Now she is a lean machine.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where's the BEEF!!

Tess has several pups that work cattle. One even ran at the USBCHA Cowdog Nursery Finals. One works on one of the largest cattle operation in eastern Washington. Another one works on a small cattle operation.

Coming in from the marsh across the bridge

So it is only naturally that Tess decided to do some cattle work. (At the age of 10, or almost ten) Last yr she worked the dog-broke calf and really enjoyed it. She would do heel or some head grips and great air snaps.

She just heeled the calf to make it trot

I gave her redirect and she took it. Notice she is using her tail as a rudder to turn. You can't see it but she was ready to grip the calf.

The calves that I have this year are not easy to work. They will turn and squash a dog rather quickly. Tess has not gotten squashed but she loves to get their respect. She doesn't do stupid gripping but places herself so the cattle will move off her.

Turned her head to avoid a possible kick

She will never be a top Open cow dog but she gets the job done. At her age, she will be just working the cattle on the farm. She reads the stock and knows where to be. I had her go out to the marsh and bring the 2 calves in.....

Turning the calf. You will see she is very determined.

Another redirect to turn the calf the other way.

Photographer is Wayne Seward,. Wayne will be coming out here for herding lesson with his dog. Thanks Wayne for the pixs!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Horse grooming and pixs from Lori


More work from Lisa and Lori of

As I said before they do great work. I had her do TH Morgana so I can put her up for sale. She took her, washed, clipped, groomed, and set up and took pixs. She is wonderful as well as her sister, Lori!!

They pay attention to the fine details. I recommend them for horses as well as dogs. They line in Carnation, WA.

Interested in a nice horse?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

DeltaBluez Jade

Jade is a rough coat tri female puppy. Her sire is Tait and dam is Imp Peg. She is a real pistol and keeps you on your toes. She is a very tough pup and takes no prisoners. Tait is a smooth coat tri male and MINUS-10 on the good looks scale. However, he is one of the top Cowdogs in the USA. I got his from Scott Glen and ran him in sheep and cowdog trials. He can move anything and is very brave.

Peg is from the UK...brought over by Merion Jones. She ran in the Nurseries and did well. She is a very go-forward type of dog and has worked cattle and sheep. She has a lots of push and doesn't back down. So I bred Tait and Peg wanting a go-forward type of dog.

There were three pups in the litter. One went to Ron Green and one to Jamie Green. (not related) Both are very happy with their dogs. Jade was raised and got her puppy manners by Kathleen. She took her everywhere and got her socialized. She got her a good start in the round pen on sheep too. Kathleen did a wonderful job in puppy raising Jade. She is her God-mother!!

I have been working with Jade. She will take a mile if you let her and is fearless. Her flanks are nice and square (thanks Kathleen!!) and he rates her stock very well. She might not be the most biddable pup but I want a go-forward type of pup and that is what I got.

I really like Jade...she is a very sweet pup with a huge heart and tons of push. She still is a baby so she is just growing up and getting more manners and learning some basic sheep work. She is very talented on stock and I expect her to go far.

Short clip of Jade on sheep with Kathleen (July 2008)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Off to the groomers

Today was the day that Kodiak and Scott went to the groomers. Kodi since he liked to roll in cow poop and part of his fur was very matted. Scott went since his new coat was growing in. About 2 months ago, we discovered Scott was low on his thyroid and he got put on med. His coat was dry.

So today, Lori and Lisa came by and got Kodi and Scott. I was told by my Dr to take it easy so Lori and Lisa came to load up the dogs. Last time, I loaded Kodi I had to lift all 150 plus pounds of him into my truck and it was tough.

Then as I was explaining all of this to Lisa and Lori, Kodi just HOPPED into their SUV. No lifting just being perfect. Yep, Kodi, make me look like a fool!! Good move. I kept my mouth shut about sense in putting the other foot in it!!

Scotty, of course hopped in like a trooper. I am sure he thought he was going to work sheep or cows as that is the only time he goes in a SUV, aside from the vet visits.

Guess what, no sheep or cow for Scott...but a great grooming. Lisa got his hindquarter matts off and had him all polished up looking quite nice. Got rid of his old coat so his new coat would come in better.

Apparently both dogs behaved themselves quite well. Kodi got his long dewclaws trimmed as well as his nails, all brushed out and all the matts gone and he was shiny, stunning white. He was gorgeous!! I hardly recognized him. His report card from Lisa was that he was a good boy when she really had to work his matts out. He was sheared in March but it was quick and not very good and since then he got huge matts on his legs and so forth. I am sure he was a real challenge for Lisa. He really needed it. I have had my dogs groomed before and by far, this was the best I have ever seen!!

Kodi before the grooming

Mr Handsome after the groming

Lisa brought the dogs home and Scott promptly jumped into the pond to swim after the ducks and ignored Lisa. After we turned Kodi loose, he ran into the pond. Goofy dogs, all that time Lisa spent on them and they have the audacity to jump into the pond within seconds of getting home

But that ok, as they both came out of the pond, a bit wet but you could see how great of a job she did. Maybe I can sign myself up to groom long hair gets knotted up too!!

I am very thankful and appreciative of the stellar job she did. Not only did she bath, groom, de-matt, blow- dry, trim, combing, clipping she also loves dogs. I think she spoiled them while they were there.

In case, you want to get in touch with Lisa this is her website. I highly recommend her and some of the other dogs will be visiting her shortly.

In addition to dog grooming, she can prep/photo/full groom/flyers your horse for sale. She can also do a youtube clip. I am going to have her do Morgana, my Arabian since I need to sell her. Also horse and dog boarding.

Lisa also has very nice Aussies. They have been out to the farm to work sheep. They are solid, well built dogs and are very sweet.

Lisa's website!!

The dogs are happy and stunning with their new grooming jobs and Lisa is a Godsend!! Thanks Lisa for the great grooming!!