Saturday, June 22, 2013


So. Yesterday, I run down to the hospital cafeteria to get a soda. Shortly after I return to Hubby's room, our cute little Infectious Disease doc elbows the door open, clad in his haz-mat gown, gloved hands held aloft. He turns to me and says "I need to take a look at that wound, and I'm going to need your assistance. Well, I'm your proverbial deer in the headlights -- frozen in horror and unable to even squeak out a reply, though my brain is screaming "Oh-HAIL-No!"

A few seconds later, both Hubby and the doc burst into guffaws. Turns out the doc had actually been in to see my hubby while I was downstairs, and John must have told him about my freaking out at the sight of the wound (from all the way across the room!) yesterday. When he passed me in the hallway, on my way back to the room, he just couldn't resist coming back for a wee bit of mischief. Ha. Ha. Very funny, guys. Not! You're lucky I didn't leave a puddle on the floor.

Know what does put a smile on my face? My crazy coneflower collection!

I planted every variety I could find this fall, and they are finally coming into bloom.

There're a couple more that haven't bloomed yet, and I can't wait to see what they look like. I was thinking there was an orange one in there somewhere.

They are planted all around this fun lantana.

I'm thinking I should move some of this fuchsia yarrow over there as well.

Can't wait for everything to spread out and fill the bed to overflowing!  Know what else makes me smile? These guys!

They demolished my fennel in the blink of an eye, and yet, they make me laugh!

Friday, June 21, 2013


We didn't see a single doctor yesterday, so there's nothing to tell on that front. Let's talk about fun stuff instead!  I believe we were touring the awesome Findlay Market in Cincinnati when last we met, no?

Well, in addition to the fabulous permanent stalls on the inside, they've got all these cool temporary stalls outside...

not to mention the fun shops in all these color-mad buildings that line the streets (including the little tea shop where I spotted the waving queen). They even have one whole side street dedicated to local produce, products and flowers.

But wait, there's more! We just happened to be in Cincinnati on one of only four or five days per year that The City Flea was open, so we headed over there next.

The City Flea is a curated urban flea market, only open one Saturday per month during the warmer months, and there was some goodness to be had there!

Not only did I nab some uber-cute earrings, I even managed to find a few goodies to use in my art journals as well!

Speaking of which, I've got a new Art of Wild Abandonment class with the amazing Junelle Jacobson starting up tomorrow (woohoo!), and I'm thinkin' the kool-aid-orange, handmade journal that my new friend Shelly just gifted me with would be the perfect home for all the summer-packed-projects that Junelle has in store for us.

In fact, I started playing with her little sneak preview project right there in the hospital yesterday.

Just what the doctor ordered!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


You know how Chinese restaurants always have the cat figurines, with perpetually waving paws? Well, this little statue is like that, but she does the "Queenly Wave."
Par for the course, this hospital saga is filled with ups and downs. On the plus side, my tea tasted really good this morning, which means I'm starting off in a much better frame of mind than I was in yesterday. It's amazing how much little things like that matter, when you are dealing with a lot of stress.

The biggest plus is that the staph infection was very localized this time -- not coursing through my hubby's entire bloodstream, as it was last time -- so, now that the metal gizmo which was the source (and which seemed to protect it from the antibiotics) is gone, it should be much easier to treat.

On the downside, Infectious Disease doc has recommended leaving the wound open and keeping him in the hospital until the early part of next week, and not doing anymore surgery until after that. Soooo, when they said "a few days" in the hospital, what they really meant was the usual week and a half.

On the upside, that means I'm not the one who will be unpacking, cleaning out, and repacking that hole in hubby's chest, as I would have been if they had sent him home with an external pacemaker to wait it out. Yippee! They have a special Wound Care nurse who does nothing but that. She has an icky job.

On the downside, IVs don't last indefinitely. Yesterday my hubby's started leaking while they were trying to do his 2:00 infusion of antibiotics, which means they had to stop it, remove the IV, and start a fresh one. Or at least try. It seems my hubby has flat run out of veins that will work. For four or five hours they brought in one person after another, moving up the ranks of people with "the magic touch", letting each one of them poke, prod and stick him for at least a half hour, with him not making a peep, and even trying to cheer THEM up when they got frustrated and upset, but to no avail. Finally they brought in the lady who does the PIC lines, and had her searching for veins on his neck with a sonogram or something like that, and even that didn't help. But then, just by chance, she managed to find a place on his wrist where they could get one started. Let's all pray that it lasts until he's out of the hospital!

On the upside, in between his every-four-hours infusions, he's not attached to anything, so he's completely mobile, and free to move around.

On the downside, he's free to move around -- as long as he doesn't get out of range of the heart monitoring equipment. He can make two complete rounds of his allotted territory in less than five minutes. No trips down to the pretty courtyard garden, the cafeteria, or the gift shop, I'm afraid. Yep, someone's fixin' to start climbing the walls.

On the upside, though he is sans pacemaker for the time being, his heart seems to be chugging along just fine. No alarms have gone off. No one has rushed into his room yelling "CODE BLUE!" or anything. Which kinda makes you wonder...did he really need the pacemaker in the first place, or was someone in the ER at that other hospital just imagining things?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Well, the Evil Pacemaker is toast! I sincerely hope they ran it through a metal shredder and made it suffer, once it was out of my hubby's body. Hubby offered to let me take a picture of his gaping wound for the blog, but I declined. You can thank me later.

In other news, as of yesterday, we now have both our well AND our water catchment system up and running again. Woohoo! Unfortunately, judging from the suckiness of my tea this morning, it's gonna take a while to get the last of that scummy well water out of our pipes. Blech! This morning the people from Verizon are finally supposed to come and fix our land line. It's only been at least two weeks since we called to tell them it had quit working! Hope they come early and work fast, so I can get on up to the hospital, and get some news. Yes, here we are again, waiting around for someone, anyone, to please give us a clue as to what is next on the agenda. Deja vu!

Speaking of deja vu, have I mentioned that Cincinnati ROCKS? Other than flying in and out of the airport, and attending my niece's wedding at a very cool museum venue there, I've never really seen much of it. This time, however, we had planned on spending two entire days there. We ended up only getting one of them, but that alone made up for everything else.

Today I just want to tell you about Findlay Market. As my dear BIL pointed out (10 or 12 times), it's Ohio's oldest, continuously operating, permanent farmers' market, and stepping through its doors was like being transported back to one of the infamous covered markets in France, which I so dearly loved.

It had aisles filled with cheese and spice stalls, coffee and gelato shops, bakers of bread and pastries, mongers of fish and purveyors of charcuterie, all under one roof, and all open year round.

No, I did not eat this. I stopped a total stranger and took a picture of hers!
I did, however, catch a couple of our guys taking a gelato break.
And all of this is just what was on the inside. Just wait 'til you see what surrounds it on the outside!

Monday, June 17, 2013


Well, they couldn't get Hubby's surgery scheduled for today, so it will be tomorrow at 10:00 AM. I can't decide which is worse. Being sick in the hospital? Or being stuck in the hospital when you actually feel pretty good? I think my hubby probably felt like today was the longest 24 hours of his life! Anyhoo, they can't really tell us what's gonna happen next until they get in there and see what's going on, and get all the test results back from those blood cultures, so I'm afraid that's all I have to report right now. Instead, I'll share a few more pictures from the Ohio trip.

This is the whole gang -- my hubby and his big brother Mike, Mike's wife Priscilla, their two children and their spouses, and Priscilla's parents, Jack and Alma, who happened to be visiting from south Louisiana. I adore Priscilla's parents!

Mike and Prisi live in Middletown, which is halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati, but both their kids live in Cincinnati, in historic neighborhoods near the heart of town. Megan and Ben have been there ever since college, and I got to see their precious house when we were there a few years ago. Geoff and Jessica, however, just moved there recently, and this was my first time to visit their new home. I love this little house almost as much as I love Jack and Alma!  Cincinnati is the home of Rookwood Pottery, and lots of darling little Craftsman style bungalows. Check out this fireplace.

Okay, time for some shuteye. I'll check back with you as soon as there's more to tell.


 The trip started out so well.

There was a bit of puttering in the garage...

a bit of beer arranging...

a bit of "manly meat" smoking...

some manly meat tasting...

a bit of wine sipping...ok, maybe more than a bit...

and a whole bunch of synchronized sofa snoring! What could be better, right? But then things had to go and take a turn for the worse.

For those of you who haven't seen John's facebook post, we came back from Ohio a day early to put my poor baby back into the hospital. We had a wonderful visit while there, and he felt great most of the time, but Saturday morning he woke up thinking the site around his pacemaker felt a little more itchy and lumpy than usual, and by that afternoon it was obviously inflamed. We got in touch with his cardio's office, and the doctor on call said it sounded like they needed to pull the pacemaker out, so he either needed to get to the hospital there in Middletown and let them take care of it --  and stay there until he was recovered enough to travel -- or get our butts back to Austin pronto. We were on the first plane out Sunday morning, and went straight to the hospital from the airport (well, except for that quick little stop at Whataburger). They immediately started him back on the antibiotics, took blood to run more cultures, and called in the EP specialist (electro-physical?). Removing a pacemaker (like to replace batteries and such) is no big deal, but to pull the two wires out that lead down into the heart, and which have been there long enough now to have become firmly entrenched, requires a special person. The EP came in to chat with John last night and told him he plans to do it as soon as possible -- hopefully today -- but first he needs to check on a few things, such as why, if John has v-tachs, he only has a pacemaker and not a pacemaker/defib combo (he seemed surprised/confused by that). He wants to talk to the manufacturer as well.

So there my poor hubby was, spending yet another holiday, Father's Day this time, in the hospital!

A funny sign we saw at Findley Market in Cincinnati  which everyone swore was my hubby!
 (he even had on a matching hat that day)
That's about all there is to tell right now, but I promise to let you know, as soon as we hear anything else.