Thursday, June 29, 2006

More Updates

Jeff's surgery has now been moved up to July 5th, next Wednesday. It has not yet been approved by anyone, but they recognize the need for it, so they are waiving approval at this time so that he can get the surgery done. They will decide who has to pay for it after it is all done. My guess is it will be us, I do not have much faith in insurance companies and government agencies. So approximately one month after his injury, he will finally have some relief from the pain.

He had to go to the hospital yesterday for pre-admission testing and then to his doctor after that for something (I'm still not sure what). We left the house with him laying in the back-seat of my car with a lot of pillows around him. I felt that I should have a sign on my car somewhere saying that I had a fragile passenger to explain my idiot-like driving. We made it to the hospital and I took him to the door to drop him off while I parked the car. We had brought a little wooden stool from home to assist in his getting in and out of the car because he is no longer able to walk at all. :( The stool also came in handy when trying to get him into the wheel chair. Being unable to sit, he had to kneel in the chair facing the wrong way. I left him sitting outside the door (he did not want to go in to wait) and went to park the car. Of course there were no parking spaces remotely close. So I parked way out in the parking lot. I was trying to hurry to get back to him so that he would not be sitting out there by himself for long, so I hurried and grabbed my purse and started walking to the door. About 3/4 of the way there I realized that I did not bring his paperwork or any of his cards (insurance and BWC), so I hesitated for a second, not wanting to have to go back but knowing I would have to anyway. So I went back to the car, got the papers and headed back to him.

Getting everything situated and Jeff as comfortable as he could be, I began pushing him through the hospital. He was facing me, so that meant of course, that his butt was sticking out at all the people we passed. When I asked him where we were supposed to go, he replied, "Past as many people as you can so that they can see my butt."

That must have made him think about it because his next question was, "You can't see my butt crack can you? I don't want people saying 'there goes another plummer' when I pass." So, even in pain he manages to be a comedian.

We arrived at the pre-admissions area and there was a couch. I went to the desk and answered the questions while he waited, then I was sent over with some paperwork to ask him questions and get his signature. One of the questionnaire was very strange. It asked what time he went to sleep (varies due to his job); if he woke up for any reasons during his sleep (no, not normally); if so, what for? - it was at this point he said, "What does this have to do with anything?!?"

I wasn't entirely sure but it eluded to the care given during his stay in the hospital, so I told him they probably wanted to know so that when he was there after his surgery they would be prepared a little better. I don't know. So then he changed his mind about the prior answers. "Tell them I get up several times a night to eat, and I need a lot of chocolate."

I don't think so. I left the answers the way they were and turned the forms back into the desk nurse. They did come to get him rather quickly but when we got to the small room, there was a recliner and a chair for the nurse, and a computer. Not a lot of room for the wheel chair and the nurse thought he might be OK in the recliner. He attempted to get into the recliner and the nurse tried to quickly recline it so that he would not be sitting, but she tried too quickly - before the wheel chair was out of the way. His feet hit the wheel chair, causing him severe pain - which sent him flying from the chair and onto the floor. (I do not know if I mentioned it previously, but his right foot is VERY sensitive to any form of physical touch - he cannot even stand for a blanket to be tossed onto it.) Seeing the amount of pain he was in prompted the nurse to want to speed things up for him so he didn't have to suffer any longer than necessary. She went through the check list and asked him all the necessary questions, Jeff tried to make jokes at some because I think he wanted to make her feel better. She was quite freaked out when the whole chair incident occurred.

He was *supposed* to watch some computer animated information program about his stay in the hospital that he says is horrible (he remembers it from the last surgery), but the nurse said he obviously could not sit at a computer. And he was in too much pain so they wanted to get him out as quickly as possible. Next step was the blood taking... she went and got a different nurse to come and take the blood. This part I could not watch - I can't stand needles! But when it was done Jeff said, "That's it, you're done? Wow, you do a good job taking blood, that didn't hurt at all!" He was clearly impressed, but I think he was just sucking up for some reason. Probably happy he didn't have to watch that video.

So that was it, we were free to go. We maneuvered him back into the wheel chair and I wheeled him back outside. He wanted to wait outside rather than inside while I went to get the car. He said if I get him a can he could probably get some people to give him money... :)

So, back in the car we head to the surgeon's office. They did not have wheel chairs, or a door to pull up to, so he had to crawl from the car to the office. This he hated and he started saying something about trying to walk.

"Oh, so you are willing to be in pain and possibly make your pain worse because you are worried about what other people think of you crawling?? Who cares?"

"Yeah, you're right. I just hate this."

We made it in the office, and they gave him a little stool on wheels to roll around on. They checked his blood pressure and went over the surgery, gave us a list of things that he could and could not do after the surgery and that was about it. He had some forms that he needed filled out by his doctor and she said to have the people at the front desk fill them out. We also asked for another prescription for the muscle relaxer he had been taken because he did not have enough to last until his surgery date. So she wrote him another prescription and sent us on our way. At the front desk we were told that the person who fills out the paperwork was in their other office and they could send the papers over to them and it would take 7-10 days to get them completed. This was not good as the BWC wanted the papers back ASAP, so they said we could take them over to the other office ourselves and she called to make sure the person - Katie - would be there to fill them out.

Good news, she was there and she was starting vacation the very next day, so it was a good thing we could take them to her today. Jeff wanted to try to walk back to the car, so he stood up and put his arm around my shoulders, and tried to hop on his good leg out the door. His face was filled with a pained expression and I knew he wasn't going to make it. He said to me, "Just get me out the door, hurry." So I did. As soon as we went through the door he fell to his hands and knees in pain. After pausing for a moment, he started his way to the car. He got in and got situated with the pillows, and we were off to the other office - which happened to be at the hospital we were just at on a different floor. Yep. That's right. The same place we just were. Now, why they couldn't just let him be seen in that office while we were in the same building I do not know.

We started down the street and Jeff needed some of his meds because his back was paying him back for his little walking stunt. I did not have anything to drink and there was nothing in site, so I drove past the hospital and finally found a UDF. I went in and got something to drink and went back to the hospital. I left him in the car this time while I went up to get the paperwork filled out.

As it turns out, Katie does not do fill out these forms, Babe does and she is off on Wednesdays. But she would be returning on Thursday and I could come back and pick them up. There was nothing I could do about it and I was too tired to be irritated, so I just said OK, I will come back tomorrow during my lunch hour.

I returned to the car and started to head home. Jeff was quiet in the backseat and didn't say much on the way home. We listened to NPR on the radio and didn't say much.

I do have to add something that has noting to do with Jeff. On the way to get him a drink I passed a sign that I felt was a little strange. It was a 'Caution deer crossing' sign, which, OK is fine. But it said "for the next 1/4 mile." So apparently someone has trained all the deer in the area to only cross the road in that 1/4 mile stretch of road. Or, maybe the deer in that area are really smart and can read, so they know which parts of the road are OK to cross and which parts are not. Or maybe whoever put the sign there is an idiot. Whatever the case, it irritated me enough to want to write about it. :)

We arrived home and Jeff crawled into the house, into our room, and fell asleep within minutes on his 'bed' of pillows on the floor. I unloaded all the stuff in my car and headed off to work.

The countdown has begun.... 6 more days.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Gage As A Baby

Ever taken a picture of a picture? That is what I did here. This is Gage when he was a little less than a month old. You can see the date in the picture - 4/23/02. I was holding him while he slept in this picture. :) Isn't he sweet?

Gage's 4th Birthday

A little over-due, but better late than never... :)

Chef Conor

The Birthday Boy... Jake turns 20

Just a'swingin'

Allie and Ceara swinging at Jake's 20th Birthday Party....

Friday, June 23, 2006

Update on Jeff

On Wednesday, Jeff's doctor called and told him not to bother to come in to see him that day, he had the results of the MRI and was referring him to a surgeon. So he called the surgeon and they did not have any openings until July, but told him to come in the next day (Thursday) at 11 and they would work him in. So, I took him to the surgeon's office. He was, at that time, able to walk for approximately 5 minutes at a time. Other than that, he cannot sit or stand; he is usually laying down or crawling around the house. So when we got to the surgeon's office, I went in to sign him in while he waited in the car. We were not sure how long it would take, and he didn't want to have to lay on the floor, so he chose to stay in the car until I was able to find out. Turns out they have a couch in the waiting room, so I went back out to get him to come in. We did not have to wait too long, I had to fill out some paperwork for him and then it was time to go back to see the doctor.

The diagnosis was just as expected, the disc had ruptured and was hitting his sciatic nerve. This was causing the severe pain in his leg. He will indeed need to have surgery and the doctor wanted to schedule it for the week of July 4th. He escorted us to the woman who does the surgery scheduling - since this happened while at work and it was being handled by workmen's comp, they would not be able to do the surgery until they have approval from the BWC. This approval has never been quicker than 2 weeks, so the surgery is scheduled for July 11th. Both the doctor and she felt that it would be easier to reschedule it if the approval was not received by then than it would be to try to fit him in after the approval. The doctor also prescribed a couple of medications that might help the swelling to go down a bit and possibly relieve the pain a bit while he has to wait. So, 2 weeks and 4 days from now, with any luck in the approval department, Jeff will have some pain relief then.

That might not be soon enough, however, because today Jeff has not been able to be on his feet for any longer than 15 seconds. He said he does not know how he is going to last 2 1/2 weeks the way he feels today.

Based on the surgery happening on July 11th, the doctor took Jeff off of work until August 18th, and that will be pending the physical therapist's analysis of him. If he does go back then, it will be "light duty" until 6 months have passed.

So, that is the update for now. The bureaucracy of it all is driving me crazy! Jeff has really good insurance (like 100 times better than mine!) and I wish we could just go through that instead of having to deal with the BWC. Approval this, approval that! They are not the ones who have to live with the pain, or with him while they decide if it is really necessary for the surgery. If they have the ability to decide better than a doctor what action should be taken, then they are in the wrong line of work!! Shouldn't they be doctors? They'd make a lot more money that way.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Just Stuff...

Well, it appears I am not getting the 6 foot privacy fence that I wanted. Ugh. Our HOA (Home Owners Association) denied it. Apparently, in our neighborhood, privacy is not allowed. We are not allowed to have a 6 foot fence. We can have 4 foot fences, but that is as tall as they will allow. Unless we get an in-ground pool. In-ground pools are required by city ordinance to have a 6 foot fence around them and city ordinance trumps HOA's rules. So - I got a shovel out and started digging..... OK, not really. We are now getting a 4 foot picket fence. Believe me, I would love to get a pool, but since I do not want to live in that neighborhood any longer than 2 more years, I am not putting a pool in! I'll invest in that when I am in a house I want to stay in...

In other news, it appears Jeff will be having back surgery again. As most of you may already know, Jeff has injured his back again. He had an MRI on Friday and managed to sweet talk the woman doing it into giving him a set of pictures to take with him. So he went to see his own doctor on Monday, with the MRI in hand. His doctor cannot "officially" do anything until he gets the "official" analysis of the MRI from an MRI specialist, but "un-officially" he will be referring him to a Neurosurgeon when he gets the "official" results. Now, what that means exactly, I do not know. It is the same disc that is ruptured as the last time. So, if there is not enough left of the disc, I am told by others that they will need to do some type of "fusion" on his spinal cord to make sure there is proper space where the disc should be. I know Jeff is in severe pain - a lot worse than the last time. He is unable to walk or sit, so he either lays down or crawls if he needs to move. And neither position is painless, just less pain than walking or sitting.

Now, believe it or not, his 1st doctor felt that he was capable of reporting to work for "light duty." Even though his work is about 45 minutes away and he is only allowed to sit for a maximum of 5 minutes at a time (that does not happen), they felt that he should be able to find someone to take him to work and he could lay in the back seat of the car while being transported. This is why a second opinion was needed, because he is hardly able to walk, let alone have to stand for 8 hours doing "light duty" jobs at work. His 2nd doctor removed him from any type of work pending MRI results.

So, the doctor's office is expecting the "official" analysis today and Jeff has an appointment at noon tomorrow to get the diagnosis. At that point, we believe he will be referred to a Neurosurgeon for surgery. I will try to update you all as soon as we know something.

On a lighter note, Conor decided that he wanted to stay home with Daddy today. Jeff felt that he would be OK with him there, so he stayed. I called just a little bit ago to find out the manufacturer of our dishwasher (it's broken and I want to see about getting it fixed). Jeff gave Conor the phone to talk to me while he went to check. Conor got on the phone and said, "I hit my head on the table, I want some chocolate and I want some money."

Simple as that. Chocolate and money make pain go away apparently. :)

Have a great day!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Being Neighborly

Suburbia. I really didn't think it would be that bad. I am a friendly, easy to get along with person, so I never imagined that I would have any problems with living in Suburbia. I was wrong. When we first moved in, we did not have any neighbors, their houses were still being built. We had met both of our neighbors at different times when they were visiting their houses during the construction phase, and on both sides of us seemed to be great neighbors. To the South of us we have a couple that had just gotten married and she has a boy - 3 or 4 years younger than Allie. To the North of us is an older couple, retired, who appeared very nice.

When Bob and Carol first moved in, they had a dog - Penny. They did not have grass however, because the builder had not had the opportunity to lay the sod. Penny did not like to "do her business" in the mud, so they asked if she could use our yard. I certainly didn't have a problem with that, it wasn't going to hurt anything. Bob and Carol were very nice, always chatting with me when we were all outside. Penny passed away not long after they had moved in, though, and they did not get another pet.

Then we got our first dog - Teddy. We rescued him from a dog shelter and to this day, he is still hesitant about meeting new people. He is a very good dog, house broken, good with the kids. Since he is a house dog, and we do not have a fence, we put him outside periodically throughout the day. The leash that I had gotten at first was a bit too long, and he was able to reach Bob and Carols back yard. He didn't do any real damage, just messed up some of the mulch surrounding one of their trees. I had come home at lunch time one day and Carol showed me where he had messed the mulch up and asked that I shorten his leash. I even wrote a blog about it... if you go back to last year. I was extremely apologetic, I shortened the leash immediately, and I even got them a gift basket to apologize.

Then a few months later, Carol stopped me outside one day and said that Teddy had been using the bathroom on her tree - and that it was turning it brown. I told her that Teddy could not reach her tree - and that even if he could, he did not yet lift his leg to pee. So I did not feel that it was him that was doing the damage to her tree. I was very nice about it, I even showed her that the leash did not reach her yard. During this very conversation, a stray dog walked up to her tree and peed - right on the brown area. So, my dog was free from suspicion, or so I thought.

While I was in Florida, Jeff had gone out and bought a new leash - just one, because we have tried to do 2 and let them out together, but they always get tangled together and it was a headache to get them apart. When he called to tell me about it, the very first thing I said was, "Make sure the dogs can NOT reach Bob and Carol's yard." He said that he had.

The Monday following my return from Florida, I called a local fence company to set up an appointment to get an estimate on a fence. They were coming out on Tuesday to take the measurements and give me the estimate. Monday afternoon, our network went down at work, so I was sent home to work from there. When I walked up to my door, there was a note left on it - from Carol, of course. "Kate - will you please shorten your dog's leash, he has been in my yard and messed up my mulch." Signed - Bob and Carol and other neighbors. I was irritated by it, and went directly to the back yard to check the measurement of the leash - to make sure Jeff had shortened it. I walked it as far as I could towards her yard and it did not come close. We had a shed built last year, and they could not reach past the shed - and we have a few feet past the shed that is still our property. So, having verified that they could not reach, I put Teddy out first. I started working on my computer - which is in my bedroom, right next to the window. After a little bit, I went to let Teddy in and put Zeus out, then returned to working.

Through my window I could hear Carol saying, "Get! Get! Shooo!" so I looked out the window to see what she was doing and I see her spraying Zeus with a water hose! He was in MY yard, no where near her's, and it was enough to make me snap. I'd had enough of her false accusations and trying to be nice and ignore it. I opened my window and said, "Carol he is nowhere near your yard and you have no right to be spraying him with a hose while he is in MY YARD!"

"Well, he messed up the mulch around my trees here."

"No, he did not - the leash he is on does not reach your yard. It could have been some other animal in the neighborhood." I replied.

"Well, I'm home all day and I haven't seen any other animals in this area besides yours." she said.

"Well, I'm NOT home all day, and I HAVE seen other animals in this area besides mine. Did you see either of my dogs actually doing it?"

"Well, no, but it had to be them."

OK, stupid people really irritate me. I walked outside, walked Zeus over as far as I could stretch the leash and said, "See - he cannot reach your yard."

She replied once again, "It had to be him, there are no other animals in this area that could have done it."

My patience was gone at this point. I said, "Oh, please! Do you remember last year when you accused Teddy of making your tree turn brown?? And while you were telling me about it, ANOTHER dog walked up to that very tree and peed on that very brown spot. Do you remember that?"

"No, I don't remember that..."

"Well, it's a good thing there was a witness here besides you and me, then! I don't know what your problem is that you have to blame everything that goes wrong with your yard on my dogs, but they are not always to blame. When they did do something I apologized to you for it and did my best to make it up to you. I have tried to be a good neighbor to you, but I am tired of all of this. I initially thought you would be a good neighbor to live by, but boy was I wrong! I have an appointment to get an estimate for a fence tomorrow, so hopefully I will have a fence soon and I won't have to deal with you anymore."

"Well, good. I'm not going to stand here and argue with you about it."

And she walked away. I actually have not seen her since that day. I got the fence estimate, approved it, and it should be started any day now. They were a few weeks behind schedule when I got the estimate, but that was 3 weeks ago, so it should be ANY day. I can't wait!

I have honestly tried to be good neighbors, I have taken them baked goods when I make them, I have talked to them when I see them outside, she has even borrowed things from me before - Conor's high-chair when her grandson was over and she didn't have one. I do not know what has happened to make her all of a sudden not like us, or if she just is one of those people who like to complain about everything, but I'm done being "neighborly" to her. I'm glad the couple on the other side of us are good neighbors! We haven't had any problems with them at all. Their son plays with our kids, their dog has played with our dogs (stayed with us while they went on vacation), and they are always talking to or inviting Conor over to their yard to play if they are outside.

My experiences with Carol, however, make me want to flee suburbia ASAP!