Friday, December 7, 2012


6 December, 8 a.m.

I woke up at dawn with the sensation of urine leaking out around the Foley catheter in my urethra. It was only a small amount, so I relaxed as best I could, listened to Margot breathe, and watching light arrive outside. A few minutes later, a flood of hot liquid poured out of me.

Either my Foley has dislodged or it is blocked to the point where my bladder is finding another escape route. If it is the latter, I am at grave risk of bladder rupture.

I had to have my Foley replaced yet again yesterday, because the botched job done the day after Thanksgiving had come loose, with much blood and sediment appearing in my tube and bag. Jessica came to do it, swiftly and accurately, and I had Margot here to hold my hand. I rested afterward, relieved for good medical care and especially M's presence. My urine cleared and we had a sweet day.


Until around 8 p.m., when suddenly my urine went bright red with blood again. We opted for me to push water, keep track of the flow, and wait to call the nurse in the morning.


Didn't work. Likely my Foley has clogged from blood clots and sediment, but when I called Jessica an hour ago, she said she thought it was probably time to get an ultrasound done on my bladder. You can't fool around with bladder damage. And there is no mobile ultrasound here for bladders. I am looking at a trip to the ER, if her assessment is correct.


She has a call in to my doctor, and will be arriving herself in 20 minutes to see if by chance my Foley has simply worked loose again, a more benign scenario. I am now tight and breathing shallowly, making plans in my head, and since the clock that marked Marj's departure had already started, I am donning the emotional garments of possibly being in the hospital or here in recovery on my own.


Need to go arrange packing a bag, etc. Cannot eat or take insulin until I know if I am facing a possible procedure. My bladder feels tight, but I can't tell if that is real or just fear.


One of us will add a note later with an update.


10 a.m.


I am in the ER at Brackenridge Hospital (same place I was last December), with Margot beside me. Not in pain but I passed so much blood my nurse freaked and insisted I call EMS. Another ride on a too-narrow gurney with damned nice professionals looking after me. I am waiting to be assessed and offered a treatment. Will write more then. Hugs, y'all. And take care of our Marj, this is new for her.


12:30 p.m.

Doctor arrived, list of possibilities range from infection to cancer; odds heavily on infection. Once UA is read, very likely I'll be given antibiotics and sent home. They have given both of us warmed blankets and much respect. We have eached dozed off.

Thank you for all the love; I feel it. More in a bit.



7:00 p.m.


We are home, as of 6:30 pm. I spoke too soon earlier about things being resolved. While waiting for discharge, I apparently passed another clot that clogged my Foley and eventually sent fiery pain into my low back area. Two nurses flushed the Foley and that took care of it for that incident.

However, clearly, I continue to have clots in my urine. Current diagnosis is that it is the result of trauma and/or infection, and will clear with antibiotics, liquids and rest. The doctor did not want to proceed with anything more invasive until we try this approach. However, further clogs will mean I cannot pee and will need emergent flushing.

Best practice would be for me to be at home and get the flushes as need arises. To arrange this took a frustrating array of calls to various offices, and I still feel like I am facing a night or perhaps several nights of waiting hours for help. Jessica is on call this weekend, that's one good thing. I have already peed on myself a little since getting home, but the ambulance ride home was extremely hard on my body and may have shifted another clot.

I can't bear the idea of returning to the ER anytime soon.

Debra apparently did not show this evening, so we have no help here. Margot did not eat opr drink all day and is now ill herself. We need someone to pick up my antibiotics at the pharmacy before and get me started on it. I had one crappy half-frozen sandwich around 3, that's my calorie intake so far, but my sugar just now was 122 so stress has kept me conventiently elevated.

We'll sort it out. At least Scout and Dinah have us back.


7 December, 10 a.m.

We survived the night all right, going to sleep early, exhausted. I felt tight and battered in my nether regions, and passed another massive couple of clots, with enough worry that I asked Jessica to return first thing this morning to check on me and flush out the tubes. I am still bleeding heavily from my bladder or urethra, and have not started antibiotics yet because Tammi is picking them up the hospital would not fill the scrip in time). I do feel hope that I can ride this out and get back to normal sans surgery or further ghastly trips to the ER.


Brackenridge is the county indigent and teaching hospital. Once it became clear my condition was not "serious" as they'd define it, we were ignored for long stretches. The bed was far too small and the transpo conditions were brutal. I feel covered in bruises and strains.


And Margot leaves tomorrow.


For whoever made the joke about honeymoon cystitis, it didn't land so well with me. Without venturing into TMI, the days of Foley troubles this trip have put the kibosh on much of what I would have enjoyed us doing, and I am bitter about it. I feel bad about myself. I am ashamed Margot is having to deal with this, and then ashamed that she has to witness my shame. She has been spectacular, and the only comfort I find is in (a) I offer this much intimate caring right back to her and (b) we clearly, deliberately chose what we have, the obstacles included, and we process our way through everything. Rather elegantly, as it turns out. The stories she can share from yesterday alone are hilarious if only between us.


It took hours for the ambulance ride back home to get arranged. Finally four burly men, a small record-keeping man, and a woman driver filled the tiny ER room to whisk me away. As we waited on the inevitable paperwork delay, the burly guys joshed with each other and I heard one of them say something like "Well, I do like poetry and that's my guy Langston."

I jumped in. "Langston Hughes?"


They all looked at me in surprise, except Poet Burly Guy who said "You know him?"


"What happened to a dream deferred?" I replied, and he lit up in pleasure, exclaiming to a friend "See, I told you that was a real line." So as I was hauled through the rabbit-warren of hospital corridors to the ambulance bay, we talked poetry and writing. You never know what you will encounter in people. and that's a very good part of life.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012


(Margot doing the librarian vamp)
Another gourmand's lunch: Local hen-of-the-woods mushrooms (maitake) sauteed in lashings of butter, fresh angel hair pasta, sauteed mustard greens, and for me, a cod filet. When Scoutie came to lick clean our plates, she zeroed in on the mustard greens over anything else.

Jessica the nurse came and took a urine sample because the overfull Foley incident of a few days ago may have caused another infection -- some indications one has begun. I will have to monitor Debra more closely. Jessica was upset about it, but the standards (and training and pay) for attendants are not the same as those for nurses, despite patient needs being often identical.

I had nightmares last night, waking up at one point weeping because Margot is going to leave again and it is increasingly hard to bear the separation. We have no alternative, and we choose to stay fully open instead of guarded because we know the loss is the same whether you allow yourself to feel it all the way or not. M woke up enough to say "I have to go but I never leave you" which did not actually help, press herself against me which DID help, and after a few minutes I slept again.

Last night's possum was the first-year female I've called Pennines or Pennie. She looks in better shape than her putative brothers. She ate enthusiastically, washed her face, and watched us through the window. M did not approach her for a photo; I think we both suspected she would flee.



Here's the weekly best of what I've gleaned from I Can Has Cheezburger efforts. There are some really creative folks out there.


Monday, December 3, 2012


(Today's luncheon beets before roasting)

Margot has adorably bound her hair into a bun using a red plastic sword as anchor. No wonder I love this woman.

I had PT this morning with Eddie and Margot an observor. Because the room is rearranged for cohabitation, I did not have the black shelves as my usual handhold, so I was forced to get sitting upright in a different manner. To my pleasure, I managed it. Despite waves of deep vertigo and pain, I sat up for 12 minutes while Eddie walked me through resistance challenges to my core. Scout was in avid attendance, and Margot's face was luminous. 

When it was time for me to go back down, I did so as smoothly as an able-bodied person, with that kind of fluidity and control -- my legs did exactly what I asked of them. A first. We all burst forth spontaneously into a cheer when this happened. and Scout streaked away into the other room.

I have been pushing water and rebuilding stamina since; I was left my usual depleted and shaky self. But with M here calling me a hero. After Eddie left, I wept on her shoulder. This is as hard an effort as humans face, my beloveds. And incrementally slow progress. Yet it is progress.

Yesterday M massaged my shoulders and somehow eradicated the pain in both: A miracle, as far as I am concerned. The rotator cuff problem in the left has this morning resurfaced, but my right is still fluid and unhurting. She has also renovated my feet entirely.

Dinner last night was spectacular: Massive portobellos stuffed with shallots, garlic butter, provolone, ricotta, and panko; a Romaine salad with paper-thin slices of fresh radish, grape red and yellow tomatoes, toasted pecans, and peppery hot radish sprouts; and for me a roux to into which leftover roast beef had been shredded. Lunch today is imminent: roasted golden and pink-striped baby beets with roasted potatoes, shallots, carrots and garlic; mustard greens; and more of the leftover roux. Plus for M the last of the homemade whole-grain mac-n-cheese I made for the day of her arrival.

Scout is blissed out by getting to sleep with the both of us, moving from one to the other during the night. Dinah is also a frequent presence, allowing M the kind of mush and contact nobody else dares impose on her cranky self. For those who wondered, the "Dinah-charming" song is Dinah won't you blow followed by Someone's in the kitchen with Dinah -- she knows it is about her and melts as much as she ever does when I croon it to her.

Scout does not as yet have a song. Are there any songs out there with scout in the lyrics?

We have watched occasional episodes of University Challenge, deriding Jeremy Paxman but between the two of us coming up with a respectable number of answers. We also watched a special featuring Bill Bailey and an orchestra backing him as he talked about music, highly entertaining and informative. I go to sleep rapidly and deliciously when M is beside me, and we have been waking up together with a shared need to ingest caffeine before attempting anything like conversation -- a habit I wish the whole world emulated.