17 August 2012


At the request of a few, here's a quick update:
So Colorado has been great so far. We got here at the beginning of June and were in an apartment until July 5th. That's the day the movers brought our stuff to the new house. It's been a slow and stead process for unpacking, cleaning and adjusting. Mainly the only places left in the house that need to be straightened are the basement and garage. The basement is not too bad, no boxes, just stuff not organized; really the same is probably true about the garage.

The biggest adjustment to moving here was all altitude based. Exercise for the first 2-3 weeks was a little uncomfortable when I would try to put any real effort into it. I walked around with constant dry mouth for at least the first month as well. My fluid intake increased by about a liter/day during that time period in attempt to stay hydrated. I'm finding now that my fluid intake is about 2.5-3 liters/day depending on the exercise duration for that day, so that's a normal range for me now. Another altitude adjustment was fatigue I think. Around week 2 here, I just felt beat up and had no energy for 2 weeks. I was not sick, just couldn't do anything.

Despite the "abnormal" weather everyone keeps telling us that Colorado is experiencing this summer, the higher temps really are nothing to turn your head about. When you come from a place where humidity is above 75% during the summer months and temps are above 95, then coming here where the humidity is only 5-15%, it's really wonderful every day. Besides, there's not much weather wise that can ruin the view of 5 layers deep of mountains every time I turn my head westward!

Ryan started first grade yesterday and Brayden will start Pre-K 3 half days/week at the same elementary school on Monday. They are both excited about being able to meet some kids. It seems the only bad side to the neighborhood is the lack of children (and younger couples for that matter). Although, coming from our old neighborhood of 30 kids ranging in age from 1 to 21 in a span of 9 houses really sets a high standard. We've got both boys signed up to start soccer next week and then swim classes should start in another month or two.

Gabby is in full force; she's babbling a lot more, walking/jogging with much better balance and stability, learning to keep up with the boys. She loves them to pull her around on blankets and even tries to play ninja spinners with them. She's got a great personality still and aside from the occasional crankiness from me trying to keep her awake too long, she's wonderful!

I'm looking for little odd jobs to keep myself occupied and to try and meet some people. I'm working out about 5-6 times a week now, mainly running with a spin every once and while just to mix it up. My mileage has steadily increased over the last month and my times are looking pretty good for me when you take everything into account. I'm keeping everything pretty aerobic, not really pushing paces right now, but I feel really good with it all! Maybe I'll try some speed work later into the fall or winter and then try a few road races next year. The competitive part of me misses racing, but I'm just not very motivated right now to do anything other than the relaxed "training" that I'm doing. But mostly it's adding the other two sports to the mix that I'm not ready for.

Tim has been getting solid training in for about 2 months now, he's got a 70.3 in Aurora CO in 3 weeks that he's getting ready for. We settled in Longmont CO, which is about 20 miles north of Boulder where he works. He's been biking to work 3 days/week, which is a great ride not to mention the gas savings!! Depending on how this race goes, he's contemplating the IM attempt next year.

31 May 2012

The last 3 weeks

So from Saturday May 12th until May 26th, it had been a continuous uphill climb for dad.  He had been acting more like himself every day as the medications have changed and he's gotten back on his regular medications.  He was down graded again at the hospital in Greenville to a general room.  Mom and Trudy had been trying to get him transferred to Duke for two weeks,where all his heart doctors are and so that he would be closer to home.  Mom and Trudy had been staying in the hotel across from Pitt Memorial the entire time, so being closer to home would be nice.

You wouldn't believe the amount of red tape that has to be cut in order to transfer a patient.  Basically, if there is no medial need, the current hospital has all the facilities and equipment to provide the proper care, then insurance companies will deny claims from the new hospital.  So we were turned down by 3 hospitals in our area for the transfer.  We finally got a plastic surgeon to agree to take dad and he was transferred to Duke on Friday May 25th.

The leg is healing very well, but he's going to need extensive physical therapy.  The skin grafts actually started today and they won't know how many he may need.  We're all hoping it will just be this one.

I've been taking care of all the house "repairs" that the buyers requested and I've been trying to survive taking care of the kids without Tim here.  The housing market in Colorado in the Boulder area is totally a sellers market.  Houses are only staying on the market for a week or two and then it's typical for multiple competing offers...wish that had been the case here.  Although I can't complain because in the end our house went under contract after 4 weeks on the market.  We've lost 5 houses that we wanted, either with them going under contract before we could get ours in, or getting out bid.  We have just put another offer in on a 6th house yesterday and are still waiting for final signatures.  If this one works out, we would close around the 28th of June.

After having a teacher conference with Ryan's kindergarten teacher, I found out that he's actually reading and writing at the first grade level and that he's been working on first grade sight words for the last 2 months.  Math seems to be the same story.

So everything is getting better, settling down and less of a roller coaster.  Now here's to people on the mend, lives better adjusted and being more prepared for mass chaos that seems to rear it's ugly head in our lives when we feel there is no more room for such things.

27 May 2012

It was getting better

Sunday May 6th (continued): Tim and I spent the day getting some running around done for Brayden's party while his parents watched the kids.  I showed up late to my son's party, and he didn't even notice.  There were several people there already and all the kids were playing.  I tried to enjoy watching Brayden "ham it up".  His party was over at 6:30, we went home to put the kids to bed and then I drove to the airport to pick Trudy's husband up.  His plane arrived at 10:30 (I think) and then we drove to Greenville to be with mom and Trudy.

Tim stayed at home; we had planned on leaving the next day to make the drive to Colorado for a house hunting trip.  It was supposed to be a mini "vacation" for us, sort of the last hoorah before we were grandparentless.  I wasn't going with him.  I was going to stay until dad was stable.

It was at this point that we received on offer on our house.  So Tim and I tried to communicate while I was in the ICU waiting room  trying to concentrate on my dad, and we ended up settling with this offer.  Given the same offer under different circumstances, these people would not be buying my house...we settled merely to get the house off of our plate of things to do.

Monday May 7th: Dad's vitals were rocky all day Sunday and most of Monday.  His kidneys were starting to function on their own again, but he was still on the respirator.  The only good thing about that is that he was initiating all of his own breathing and the ventilator was only helping to make it easier once he did.  His blood pressure was still unstable and his heart was back in afib.  It was jumping from 90 bpm one second to 130 bpm next second and then right back down...literally in a matter of 5 seconds the beats were fluctuating that widely.

They were keeping him heavily sedated and on the ventilator until they were sure they didn't need to do another surgery.  I went home Monday night so I could see the kids, but didn't get there to see Tim leave.  I was told that it was an emotionally charged good-bye.  Brayden was sad daddy was leaving, Tim didn't want to leave for numerous reasons and his mother was also there saying good-bye.

Tuesday May 8th:  When I got back to the hospital, they had "woken" dad up, or should we say they had decreased some of the medications so that he was conscious. I saw him and he was still on the ventilator and trying to talk around the tube in his mouth.

They started weaning more meds so he was becoming more and more aware.  And as they did this, the more anxious he got over the situation.  He couldn't communicate with us and you could tell he still didn't understand.  He was taken off the ventilator and again decreased pain meds.  He tried talking with little success.  The infectious disease guys came by ( I can't remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday) and said that they believed the infection was no longer in his blood stream but they were going to test one more time.

Wednesday May 9th: (mom's birthday) I decided that I would fly out to CO and meet Tim to look at houses for a few days.  Dad was stable but completely unaware of anything going on around him.  He was hallucinating badly and one moment would look at us and know who we are and ask what happened and where he was; and the next moment looked me in the eye and said "would you please go get my daughters Angela and Trudy?"  "Dad, it is me Angela", "No, my daughter Angela and Trudy".

I thought it was better for me to go while he wouldn't recognize that I was gone and then be back in a few days when he was more himself.  As I was leaving the hospital, Trudy's husband Chris got a phone call from his relatives in Indiana that his grandfather had been taken to the ER with "heart problems".  Chris said it was a common occurrence and his grandfather was in his late 80s.

I got home around 12:30, quickly packed, stashed Gabby in the car and Chris dropped the two of us at the airport.  She was a trooper on the flight but when we got there, she was running a fever, not eating and very fussy.

Thursday May 10th (Brayden's real birthday): So Thursday, after looking at houses all morning, we ended up at an Urgent Care to find that Gabby had a virus causing ulcers in her throat.  Then Bowden (Tim's dog- for those of you wondering Tim is a die hard FSU fan and the dog's name reflects as much) was peeing blood, so we took him to a vet.  Thankfully Bowden only had a scratch in his nether region and it was nothing serious....well you know what I mean.  We got back to the apartment where Tim is staying and got on Skype with the boys so we could sing Happy Birthday to Brayden.

Later that night, I got a call from Trudy that Chris's grandfather had passed away and Chris was flying out to Indiana for the funeral...at this point, I'm emotionally exhausted and wanting a "do over" button which would reverse the universe by 8 days where I could tell my dad that I wanted him to stay in town and hang out with me and the kids; so that maybe  90% of this would have ended differently.

Friday May 11th: More house looking in the morning, cranky baby and realizing the real estate market in Colorado is completely opposite of NC.  We went into Boulder and surrounding areas just looking around and I had a few hours of excitement of the upcoming move...a few hours of looking at snow capped mountains from every turn and being able to imagine what it's going to be like to live in such a beautiful place.

Nightly call from my sister revealed that dad coming off his medications was not only causing major hallucinations, but was causing him to have some rage and anger.  The Dr's were very quick to explain to everyone that everything they were seeing was normal for a person of his age (68 years) and considering the medications (both the strength of and number of) and strain his body had been under the last week.

Trudy also sent me pictures of what his leg looks like.  I took gross anatomy in college and was familiar with cadavers and skinning small mammals of all kinds...but when it's your own father, it was a little more unsettling. 

Saturday May 12th:  Tim and I looked at more houses in the morning and then I was back on a plane with Gabby.  I got home at 9:30 Saturday night.    The best news I got was that dad was finally downgraded from the ICU, to the intermediate care unit.  They had changed his pain medications, so he was starting to be more himself  and was asking questions about the accident.