Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dec. 31, 08
The visiting nurse took a blood sample from Val and found a low (red, white or platelets we don't really know) blood cell count. Dad drove Val up to Central Vermont Hospital in Montpelier for one or two pints of blood transfusions. Rudy and Lea went to the hospital today to relieve Dad and be with Val. Baine and Denise are going to pick up Dad at 10:00 pm to bring her home around 11 pm. No way to ring in the new year that is for sure. We are happy Dad asked Baine and Denise to help him get Val home tonight. She will sleep better in her own bed. Well, she will feel like a million dollars now that she has the blood she needs to circulate in her body. She is eating, pooping, sleeping, and now she will have the strength she is actually regaining!!!!
Love, prayers and good health to Val and all in 2009. Salynn

Dec. 31

I called Dad this AM. Val had a shower and was resting. Dad was making her ice chips...both are a bit tired today. Dad wants me to sit with Val on the 6th of Jan. while he attends an appt. I am so happy to be of help. I asked Dad again today if he would allow me to drive them to the next chemo treatment in Burlington on the 9th of Jan...I am hopeful he will agree to this. Praying for Good Health for all in 2009! :-) Baine
December 30, 2008: Salynn and I (Alison) spent the afternoon in Barre yesterday. On our drive to Barre Salynn made many calls to Val's friends and relatives to tell them about the blog. Hopefully, some of you are reading this today. I dropped Salynn off at Rudy & Lea's house. She attended a doctors appointment with Rudy (more on that latter). I went to Dad and Val's and when I arrived Dad was very glad to see me because they were having problems with their phones. We had to unplug all the incoming lines and the alarm system, let it all reset and then plug them all back in. Val was tired when I arrived because she had just had a visitor. When Val awoke yesterday she ordered her breakfast, which was the first time she actually asked for food. She wanted an omelet with tomato and cheese. Dad made her 2 eggs and she ate at lease 1. She is eating much better. Dad is feed her every 2 hours and just bringing her things instead of asking her what she wants. We brought her a snack of Kiwi and grapes and tea with her vitamin D dissolved in it and moved her to her chair to eat. While she was eating I organized her clothes in her room. We had brought some plastic bins with us and we filled them (4) with her clothes in an organized manner and gave them a lot more room to move around. I told her that when she is better Salynn and I will help her clean out her entire draws and closet so she has room for her clothes. While I was there she also had a bowel movement which was good because we have been concerned about constipation. Because of the cancer in the Lung, she does have some fluid on her lung which is causing her to have a mucusy sounding cough.
Salynn, Rudy and Lea arrived around 4:00 with some soup and to visit. Val had a big dinner, soup, salmon and cereal. Then Salynn made her walk down the hall and back (that was great). For those of you who do not know, Salynn is a Physical Therapist and is very good at keeping Val active.
I would like to request that everyone try not to call the house after 6:00. Both Dad and Val are in bed by then and are starting to rest. I did teach them to turn down their ringer so that they do not hear the phone upstairs.
Love and prayers for Val, Alison
DEC.31, 08
While I was with Rudy yesterday Alison spent the 4 hours with Dad and Val. She adjusted the ringers on the phones to a lower tone and showed them each how to turn the ringers off. To all who would like to call the house Dad and Val have requested that you call BEFORE 6pm. Val is on a new schedule for all those who are in disbelief....yes she is tucked in bed at 6 pm with Dad and is asleep by more David Letterman and the late night shows for Val right now! Thanks for your understanding. Val is up at 7 am which I can't believe either.

All Val's clothes were organized and put in bins. The bedroom floor has been cleared and now we can move her chair closer to the window. She has been upstairs in house since Thursday do last week. Our goal is to get her to do the stairs on New Years day to go downstairs for a while. At 5 before we left, I made Val take a walk with me down the hallway and back. Her main complaints are upper back and shoulder pains and general fatigue. Her legs were not mentioned. I keep telling her she has to push herself. She can do this. Now I have Rudy and Lea telling her to do what Salynn has asked you to do.

Val's laxative is working so all good in that dept. He has no fever still. She developed these tow weird small pimple looking sores which are very painful and pus filled. If anyone knows what this is please blog us. She will ask the nurse. She is eating great not back to normal, but definitely more every day. She is developing a cough which Dad feels is a sign that the fluid on her lungs is worse....we have no medical confirmation of this until the MD or nurse listen to her lungs. Sadly, Dad of course is saying this from what he remembers from mom 30 years ago.
Love and prayers to Val Salynn
Rudy's appointment was very encouraging with the cardiologist. He is having a drop in blood pressure form 145/85 to 80/40 when he stands up. So the MD is changing his medications to allow his blood pressure to come up. He allowed me to shop with him and Lea for the shower chair which we bought. He is also open to having grab handles put up throughout his house and one grab bar in the shower. Rudy didn't feel good this day and was very tired. Who wouldn't be with such low blood pressure. Val and I were the only ones to remember him having this problem a few years ago. As he ages the medications he is on may change effectiveness on his body. So now he will wait two weeks and go back to the MD to check if the blood pressure has come up. Decreasing his lasix and stopping the vasotec. He will take it safe for the next two weeks. Baine may go down put the shower chair together with Denise. We are all less scared Rudy will fall and break a bone as John and Joe will install the grab handles on Thursday am.
Love to Rudy and prayers for his safety. Salynn

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dad called to say val is up in the chair and he forced her to walk to the bathroom to brush her teeth. She is very weak and needed to sit down to brush. She tried to walk to the upstairs hallway yesterday and dad said she collapsed in his ams. Understandibley, he was very upset about her inability to walk and her weakness. Today he has her on a two hour schedule of eating. She will continue to take her laxative as constipation is the #1 complaint of chemo. She ate scrambled eggs with cheese and tomatoe for breakfast. Today is Rudy's MD appointment with the cardio which he has allowed me to accompany him to. After, our plan is to go the medical store to purchase some safety equip for his home if he is open to it. Val continues to be on 2% oxygen all the time. Dad has a new pulse - oxygen machine which he is abel to monitor Val. Her pulse goes up to 125 with just the walk to the bathroom. I tried to expain to Dad that this was just showing how deconditioned she really is; bedrest will cause her to really get weak. 125 is not anything dangerous. It is upsetting for him for sure though. So now her main problems are: malnurishment, dehydration, deconditoning. Love and prayers to Val Salynn

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dec. 28,08. I visited dad and Val for almost 2 hours. I arrived with new lighter Popsicles, a new potato and leek soup and some Christmas presents. Val had been sitting up in the chair in her bedroom since 10 am by the time I arrived at 12. She looked weak, but good. I encouraged her to drink 2 oz of the energy juice Alison had sent even though she said it tasted awful ( it was pure beet, carrot, celery and zucchini juice from Ali's juicer). I asked why she wasn't sleeping was she having bad dreams or worries? She said no and she didn't know why. She is in no pain, yet has residual leg and arm aches from the shot on Monday. She ate the most today with the salmon again and more soup. She doesn't want to drink alot, but I told her it was her job to eat and drink as much as she can in the next 14 days before chemo starts again. Eat every two hours. Drink the Ensure drink even though it doesn't taste as good as the yogurt. She asked about how to roll and sleep on her stomach so we talked about the pillows and positions. She said she would continue to let Baine and John drive her to and from visits. She will let Denise accompany her to the nutritionist Dr. Kaplan in Montpelier to be a third set of ears. We will cancel the MD in Burlington as Val prefers the Montpelier location. I tried to explain how this MD would help her get the best nutrition in between her chemo treatments. Dad's only fear is that this MD would send them home with all these pills extra things to eat and drink. Val is not being that good of a patient for Dad as it is so he can't imagine trying to get more into her. I verbally said maybe she would do it if the MD told her to do it. "She will do it for you Salynn but not for me". So she is not as good a patient for dad as she is for me. Her temperature is down to normal. She is stopping the gallbladder powder for the diarrhea since she hadn't had a BM in 3 days; now she thinks she is constipated. Dad and Val both thought the blog was a great idea since she just doesn't feel like talking to anyone yet. She gave me her address book to add some more friends. She has three caps for when she looses her hair which Cindy Cato knitted...all beautiful. We measured her head to get one of the wrap scarfs. She doesn't know what she wants to wear on her head when she looses her hair. All in all , Dad looked better than I thought he would and Val agreed he was doing well. He apparently takes a hit of Pepsi for a caffiene boost during the day which is new for him...join the club dad. Rudy and Lea continue to visit Val every day for 2-3 hours every afternoon. This frees Dad to go run errands if he wants to. All was good on windy wood road today. Love and prayers to Val. Salynn

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Joe and I just arrived in Vt from NJ. I called Dad and Val to let them know our drive was safe. It is day 8 after chemo #1. Dad reported that Val had no vomiting or diarrhea today. Her fever has continued at 99 to 100 for the last three days. The MD says if it gets to 100.5 then she may need antibiotics. For now, she is not on them. Apparently, the fever is from the growth factor shot she was given on the monday after chemo. The growth factor shot keeps the white and red blood cell as well as her platelet counts up. For the past three days she has tolerated the powder mixed antidiarrhea medicine(I don't rmember the name) that she feels has been the most beneficial. It is an effort for her to drink it though. She showered and had to use the oxygen in the shower with her shower chair. It took at lot out of her, but she did it. The report of food intake was amazing! Given she hasn't eaten in 8 days since her first chemo on Friday Dec. , 08. She ate almost 8 oz of turkey vegetable soup frozen from thanksgiving. She ate 8 crackers with smoked salmon on top. I was giving hip hip hoorays for both of them in the great day of eating!! Strength will come back with nutrition and hydration. For the first time she spoke to me through Dad ( I heard her weak voice next to Dad) today. So for anyone with hurt feelings that she won't talk to you, don't take it personally. She hasn't spoken to me since the Saturday after chemo. Everyone should be happy for the progress today. Love and prayers to Val Salynn

How's Val?

In an attempt to defray the numerous phone calls to Val and allow her the rest she desperately needs we started this blog to inform you of her progress. We plan on updating this as often as possible. Please feel free to check here often and add your well wishes, questions and comments.