Friday, February 25, 2022



The little mini Tete-a-tete Daffodils are beginning to bloom in our garden. The buds on the big ones are swelling. 

I found a few struggling crocus.
Leaf buds are opening on the barberry, and the white flower racemes are emerging in the native Indian Plum. 
I emerged too! I joined our Friday morning breakfast group for the first time in months! It was wonderful to be able to be with old friends and visit and share stories and eat a breakfast someone else cooked that was not in a hospital!

I spent the rest of my morning visiting with son Jake. He has now moved on to stay with a friend before returning to his San Juan Island home tomorrow. He and Tom attended the Sounders match together last night, while I joined them by watching it on TV.

I have been learning how to do less and less. I did get our taxes done on Wednesday, with the help of TurboTax, and some assistance from Tom, who usually just leaves it to me. I felt I needed back up for the slight brain fog I sometimes still feel while recovering from the experiences of last week. 

In further conversation with my cardiac team I have learned that recovery from the TAVR procedure might take 3 to 6 months, and recovery from pericarditis might take 3 months, so learning to do less is important. Some days are better than others, but I take my walking stick with me when I go out because I can still get wobbly and light headed. With stick in hand, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down". :-)

It's still cold here but tomorrow the clouds will move in and bring warmer rain by Sunday.

My poor hellebore and primroses should perk up. The ice will melt. 
I'll miss the blue sky, but variety is good. Spring will continue to emerge. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022



Happy Twosday!
Yes, it's a special day on the calendar. I'm not sure how we are supposed to celebrate it, but I hope you are happy anyway. 

I'm happier. As of this morning I have had contact with all of my health care teams and now know what to expect for the next month or two. Pericarditis takes time. Fortunately I am not in pain and will have to deal with the restrictions that fatigue and lack of stamina cause. I am back to doing most of my physical therapy. My hip tendonitis flared up when I was in bed too much. Gotta' keep moving. 

I saw both of my kids yesterday and that made me happy. We met Jill and Irene at the airport last night as they returned from a long weekend in Alaska. They booked some excursions to see Northern Lights, and they didn't fail. It must have been spectacular sitting under a sky filled with bands and waves and ribbons the green and violet light. They did lots of exploring too, saw lots of taxidermy bears and other critters, ice sculptures, and had a dog sled ride, all while dressed in their warmest mountaineering gear. 

Jake took a week's vacation, since it's a slow time for work on Friday Harbor. He spent the weekend skiing with his cousin, stayed here last night, and is skiing with my cousin today. He will probably be back for a bed tonight. Not sure what's next, but he will attend a Sounders match with Tom on Thursday, since I'm not fit to go yet. 

I am slowly getting back my physical and emotional equilibrium. I Zoomed with my breakfast/teacher friends this morning and shared my story.  Now I need to move on. 

I am fortunate to have such a good life, good friends, including you, and a wonderful partner. 

Peace be with you.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

New Medical Update- Things Get A Little Crazy

 Is this only Sunday? 

As you regular readers of my blog know, last week, on Tuesday, I underwent TAVR surgery, which is a non-invasive, catharized aortic valve replacement. It all went very well, as I wrote earlier, and I was back home on Wednesday. I had a list of symptoms that I should watch for, and on Friday, I hit one of them, dizziness and loss of balance.

I called my TAVR team contact and was advised to go to the nearest Kaiser Permanente clinic to have an ECG. That's what I did. When the technician finished, she just left quietly. Huh? Then she came back with three or four other staff from the clinic, they huddled, and then the attending doc said I was having a heart attack. WHAT?

I was transported by ambulance first to the local hospital but apparently there was some reason for me not to stay there and I was put on another ambulance and transported down the freeway to another hospital about 10-15 miles away. No sirens, and the strange part was that they kept getting normal vital signs. The King Co. Medic on that ride was wonderful, though, as were all of the medics. We chatted while all of this was going on and they learned I was a former teacher, and one of them even said, "Thank you for your service" when we parted. That was a first!

At St Frances Hospital in Federal way, not where I wanted to be, but considered the nearest, the staff began to run all the appropriate tests. There was a long list. Readings kept coming back normal. Finally after elimination of other more dire results, it was determined by the cardiologist there that I had pericarditis. This is serious but not life threatening. No, I was not having a heart attack.

All of this time, Tom was trying to keep up with me, where I was being taken, what was happening with me, what were there findings. He got quite the run around for too long a time. He had hurried home to grab a bag for me. When I was whisked away I didn't even have any identification, and no phone. Eventually he was able to talk to the cardiologist and get the diagnosis. I was still in a bit of a blur, but at least I knew now that I wasn't dying.!

To shorten this story, I went through a lot of processes.  I finally got my bag and phone delivered when Tom got their attention by saying I really needed it, not because my phone was in the bag, but  because "her bra is in it!" That worked.  Now I could check with Tom and make sure he was alright, and then I was settled in for an overnight stay in the ICU, because that was the only bed available. No visitors, of course. 

 There were a few more tests the next morning, and unbeknownst to me, the cardiologist signed me off, cleared me, once I was put on the appropriate medication. However the medical doc in charge wouldn't discharge me. Through my nurses, I learned that he wanted a head MRI to rule out stroke. There was no evidence of stroke. As the afternoon began to fade away I began to press for action. My nurses, who were wonderful, told me he wanted me to stay overnight to see a physical therapist. WHAT! Like I needed someone who had never even spoken to me (he never did) to assign me PT - ME, PT Queen, and to have to spend another night in the hospital to do it? I don't think so. 

Well, that did it! I called my sister, who is a retired nurse. She said "WHAT?!" With her advice to start pressing, I told my nurses what I though of the PT idea, that I wasn't staying. I had the most wonderful young nurse and she told me I didn't have to. I had the right to refuse further service. She brought me the papers, I signed them, got dressed and called Tom to come and get me. 

We were both so relieved to be out of there. We stopped on the way home for something to eat, and rejoiced in being back in our recliners and our bed. That night I called the KP consulting nurse and told her a shortened story and said I had come away with out my pericarditis medication. She ordered it for me and Tom drove into the city this morning to get it. On Tuesday when offices reopen, I will contact my TAVR team and my cardiologist, and we will go from there.

My health is back in the hands where I want it to be. These are people who are invested in me, know me. And all of this has underscored an important lesson: treat people the way you want to be treated.

All of this was scary for me, but I worked on not being scared. I was lighthearted and warm and friendly, full of thank you's and praise for all of the people who came to my service. I related to them anyway I could, including the lovely African man who did my final test, another echocardiogram. It's a long test and we had plenty of time to talk so I asked him about soccer. That was a hook I was pretty sure would work. Turns out soccer was one of his lifelines growing up in Africa. 

Through all of this I maintained a warm glow of almost love as they cared for me and I cared for them.  It's the feeling that is top most in my mind as I think back on this experience. 

If you made it through all of this, thank you. If not, that's OK too.

Be well. Stay well. 

Be kind. I will be returned to you. 

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Medical Update

 It seems that some of you have been a little concerned about me. I'm OK and I thank you for your concern.

My heart surgery on Tuesday was successful , at least according to the many monitors and wires I had hooked up. The doctor and nurses said everything was good, according  to my vital signs, taken every time I was beginning to fall asleep. I'm glad I had only one night in the hospital because that is not fun. Besides being checked on all the time, my roommate, who  had the same surgery, developed spontaneous bleeding so there was a constant parade of practitioners  in the room all night. Needless to say I got very little sleep and I am still trying to catch up. I'm just thankful I did not have her complications. 

My complications were typical for me: lack of sleep, upset digestive system, and a very messed up neck. I had severe gas pains in my upper digestive track, that caused a lot of pressure, which was scary since I just had heart surgery, but there were no indications of anything serious. It is slowly resolving itself. My neck was messed up from being in bed all day and that was very painful. I'm slowly recovering from that to, and I'm moving very carefully so as not to set if off again. 

Tom is being a very sweet care giver. I appreciate him so much. 

I'm still a bit fuzzy headed, so I hope I have cleaned up the many errors in my typing. I'll be taking it easy for a while as everything evens out.

Thanks for all of your support. Your caring means a lot to me. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Happy Valentine's Day


Some days are diamonds, some days are stone. I'm working hard to polish this rock of a day up. 

The rain has returned, but that's ok. We had several beautiful sunshiny days. I even got some walks in, both 1.20 miles, one in our little local park, and one just on the neighborhood streets. Maybe that's why I hurt today. But the walks were a victory after weeks of not being able to.

I had my COVID test yesterday - I passed, and I gave myself a Starbucks treat - but that meant we had to go grocery shopping this morning instead of our usual early Sunday morning shopping.

The first thing I noticed was the very busy flower shop right by the entrance door. Lots of guys were buying bouquets. :-) There were lots of pretty flowers!

But when we got over to the deli section we discovered that ALL of the store's refrigerated cases were covered or being covered. A cable had failed and cut off the power. This affected much of the store from deli to dairy to meat to produce. We were constantly having to rethink our shopping process and modify my list.  It was stressful. We did just lift the black curtains to get milk and eggs. 

Back home it was time to start the laundry and launch into the house cleaning. I have quit halfway through my jobs because moving is hard today and I decided I wanted to sit and blog instead. I do want to make sure Tom doesn't get dumped on though. And some things I'll just let go. It's isn't as if the house is really even dirty or dusty. We live clean. And Tom does the bathrooms. :-)

On Sunday we had a visit from son Jake. He made the trip off his island for the day to visit people even though his weekend ski trip got cancelled. It was good to see him and have a chance to catch up. 

In the afternoon, after my walk, I sat down to read the paper, work my Wordle, and turn on the Super Bowl. I confess I didn't really watch much of it. I took the time to clean up the thousands of photos on my laptop and on my iPhone. I looked up when something exciting happened. Although I didn't really care, I sort of hoped the Bengals would win. Nope.

I have read some reactions to the half time show and most are positive. I was not a fan. Hip-hop/rap is not a genre I care for. It struck me as babel with a boombox beat, obliging backsides, and frequent checking to see if my balls were still there. Ya' know? But I am an old white woman, so what do I know. I only listen to old stuff. :-)

Oh my, the sun just broke through the clouds and is shining on me through my office window. This stone is getting shinier, maybe not a diamond yet, but definitely getting a glow. It helps to talk to you all. 

I'd better get moving. I have some laundry to fold and it's time for lunch. This afternoon I'll sit down and study my instructions for tomorrow. We'll be off early on my heart day.

Wishing you all the love and kindness returned to you as you give it to others. Now I'll go collect a hug, and give one back, to my Valentine. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Borrowing Flowers

The weather was mild Friday afternoon and I wanted to be outside. I had used up all my flower photo opportunities for now in my own winter garden so I needed new subjects.  

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is just a three mile drive away, the walking is easy, and it's hellebore season. 

The Edgeworthia by the gate is coming into bloom.

Someone has placed painted heart rocks throughout the garden.
This edging rock almost looks like a heart, loving it's pretty companions. 

Hellebore were often referred to as Christmas or Lenten Roses because they emerge through the winter debris and bloom so early. 

Older varieties of hellebore are shy and seldom show their pretty faces. 
This one is almost black.

Wow! Double beauty.

From here we walked over to the Japanese garden.

Foliage can be a pretty as flowers. 

We found a bench and sat in the sun for a few minutes before leaving for home.

We had the garden mostly to ourselves, and it was a lovely way to get some outside time. Thank you for the borrowed flowers.