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How I Feel Today 01.03.14….

03 Jan

Gosh so much has changed and so little is different. That statement has zero impact or significance to this entire post. I said it, because it sounded cool and profound in my brain. That folks represents the kind of year 2014 well be.  So much has in fact changed but so little is different.  It is a bright and sunny (though a tad chilly @ 46 degrees) day here in Florida.  As I told a buddy earlier today who was whining about the weather up north, how cold and nasty it was, how the snow was coming in sideways, and that he was freezing his ass off. I completely respect your right to live where you want, I appreciate 3 of your 4 seasons, but I moved south to avoid winter, and wintery mixes, and foots of snow, and sleet, and freezing rain, the beltway becoming a parking lot when snow falls, and the runs on super markets when the “S” word is even mentioned during a newscast.  Folks even on my worst day here in Florida, I have never had to shovel heat. Smiling.  I truly hope each of you had a wonderful New Year’s gathering or the quiet evening of your choice.

 

Having said all that, and used it as a warm-up, I am going to rate this week a solid 3.  I have many reasons, the most important is that 3’s aren’t bad, they are better than average.  They aren’t stellar, but then they aren’t in the pits either.  I have had a nagging cough, mostly non-productive, but when I do manage to cough up a lung, other than being a pasty white and thick, there is no color to speak of.  That as all respiratory patients know, when you cough, and when that cough is productive, as long as it is not yellow, we are pretty much good to go.  Another indication that things are okay is that my white blood count is real close to “normal.”

 

This week I have had 2 doctor’s appointments.  One with Doc Lungs, and he gave me the okay dokie, and doesn’t want to see me for 3 months.  That is a very good thing, of course he did immediately say that if I started feeling bad (at all) to get my butt back into his office ASAP.  And I also talked to him regarding the use of Vitamin D.  He said he had no issues with me taking it and wrote a prescription for 1000 mg daily.  It was the 1st prescription for Vitamin D he had ever wrote (by his own admission). Clearly I wasn’t paying attention or I would have realized that he didn’t give me what I wanted.  So I made an appointment to see my internist.  He immediately understood the need, and prescribed the exact medicine that my pharmacist and recommended.  The dosage is 50,000 mg (or whatever measured unit) once a week for 3 months then a recheck.  Folks I have never had a pill that was 50,000 whatever’s.  As I sit here and talk about it I am thinking I will have to use a steak knife to cut it into pieces easy enough for me to swallow.  Just so you know my Vitamin D level was slightly low.  Suggested norm is between 30-100, mine is 27 (in whatever units they measure). My internist wants to get me to the 60-80 range before we make any changes to the dosage.

 

During the upcoming week my only doctor appointment and that’s with Doc Head.  It has been a few weeks since our last visit, so I am sure we will more than enough to fill my allotted time.

 

My vitals for the week are very good.  I am sure there are folks out there who are significantly more healthy than I, who would love to have these numbers (except the weight), oops sorry forgot to put it on.

Vitals for the week ending 01/03/14

INR = 2.1 taken 12/30/13 at 1220pm

BP 112/60 = taken at 9am 01/03/14

Heart rate = 98 taken at 9am 01/03/14

Temp  = 98.7 taken at 9am 01/03/14

Weight = to friggin much 01/03/14

O2 level = 96 pct at 330pm 01/03/14

  

2013 in Review….

January started off great, I had just completed my last visit to Pulmonary Rehab, after 36 sessions, and I was in the best condition I had been in for a while.  It was a major victory for both my head and body.  But January found me back in the hospital suffering from pneumonia again along with other issues including a partially collapsed lung.  I would be in the hospital for 21 days.  And that would be the start of a 40 day union with a pic line.  It was also during this Jan-Feb time frame that the list of drugs that were no longer effective grew longer.  There is some hope that if I don’t use some of these antibiotics for an extended period that their usefulness will improve.  During February I spent a lot of time whining. It wasn’t pretty, but then neither is COPD.

  

The hangover from the January hospitalization continues into early March. The 1st week of March showed improvement in the lungs, but the pneumonia that had been in total control of my lungs would not finally clear until the end of March.  The SOB which I suffered in March is the SOS (same old shi…) and my life has adjusted to it.  I just haven’t said anything because it is part of my new world.  Also during March I had another exacerbation which landed me in the hospital briefly.  I was discharged with the pic line in my arm for post hospitalization medical purposes (20 additional days of pic line service).  Through the spring it was a constant battle. The MRSA and Pneumonia repeatedly flared up.  Doc Infectious and Doc Lung got together to give it a good fight.  Thru the 1st half of 2013, I was sick or borderline sick most the time.  The pic line had become part of my normal circumstance.

 

No significance changes in my health took place thru April, but my head was getting so screwed up because of the constant illness or close to being ill, that I had begun to have doubts about the fight. In reflection over the year SOB and mental willingness to fight were the rulers.  I had very little opportunity to gain ground on my ailments but by the same token I didn’t lose much either.  May found me back in the hospital, and then the race began.  Everyone knew the Disney cruise was looming, and Doc Infectious and his team put on a full press.  My May stay in the hospital was only 9 days, but put my count to 38 for the year.  I do know by the end of May I had utilized a pic line for over 60 days.  Things did improve thru June, (both mentally and physically) but, again just 3 weeks prior to the cruise I had another exacerbation.  Doc Infectious jumped on this like stink on poop.  Had me back on the Pic, and had a very intense 10 days of a daily three-hour injections which put the exacerbation down so the cruise was a go.  About this time I got my mental shit together, and was fully engaged in the fight.  After the cruise I was back on (oral) antibiotics for 14 days.

 

We had a wonderful cruise, and managed to get thru the rest of the summer without incident.  My head getting better and better.   It is now towards the end of August, and my health had been edggie at best all year.  I had not had an opportunity to get my legs under me again, and was fighting one small battle after another. Thru this point in the year I had the services of a pic line for close to 75 days, and the year was only 2/3’s done. 

 

September and October were building up months.  I believe for the most part it had been a steady improvement.  But again in late October a pic line was once again installed to fight off another exacerbation without a hospitalization.   November and December were really uneventful health wise, the big decision during this period was to go ahead and have the Mediport installed, which took place shortly before Christmas.

  

For the year I was hospitalized 3 times for pneumonia, MRSA or a combination of both.  I also had at least 3 exacerbation which did not require hospitalization, but required a Pic line.  I had a pic line in-place for close to 90 days during 2013 for IV drugs to fight the bouts of Pneumonia and MRSA. 

 

Also during 2013 I started my relationship with Doc Head.  This has been extremely worth-while.  I didn’t have a clue just how much crap I had floating around in my head.  While I know I have made significant progress, I know there is more progress to be made.

For 2014, I swear I will not let my head get in the way of my fight against my illness.  I will be fully engaged in hanging in there all year.  

Folks thanks for sticking with me.  I hope you had a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve, and are no worst for wear. I also hope that you have a great 2014. As always your thoughts, comments or concerns please feel free to let me know.  Take care, Bill

 
22 Comments

Posted by on January 3, 2014 in How I feel on a particular day

 

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22 responses to “How I Feel Today 01.03.14….

  1. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    January 4, 2014 at 1:15 am

    A solid 3 and Dr. lung doesn’t want to see you for 3 months is great news. Go Bill!!! xoxox

     
    • FlaHam

      January 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Paulette, I am starting to feel rejected LMFAO. Doc Lungs doesn’t want to see me for 3 months, Doc Infectious doesn’t want to see me until I think I am sick (and I know he isn’t talking about being sick in the head), my internist gives me some Vitamin D and says check with him in 3 months, thank god Doc Head hasn’t kick me out of her office or I would think I had bad breath or something. With all this rejection, I will be hard pressed to have anything to write about in my weekly post on this subject. Which means I have get off my dead butt and actually find something interesting to write about. LOL LOL There could be worst problems I guess. Having said all that, the reality is that it is good news and that my (and my doctors) efforts seem to be paying off. And that makes me smile. Take care, Bill

       
      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

        January 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

        Well said. I’m very sure you will cultivate the art of writing about nothing. Hey, there are books that write about nothing that have sold millions. It’s very Zen. 😉 xoxox lol

         
  2. jmgoyder

    January 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

    BRAVO BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
  3. Chatter Master

    January 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Another 3 week!! Fabulous! The year’s recap ended pretty well considering how it started. Here’s to all of us having a wonderful 2014. I look forward to the words we all share. 🙂

     
    • FlaHam

      January 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Colleen, Soft smile, I woke this morning therefore it is a good day. Those are words I live by. The trapping of COPD are an inconvenience, that require my attention from time to time, nothing more. I hope to share a ton of words with you during 2014. Take care, Bill

       
  4. benzeknees

    January 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Sorry Bill, but I’m going to ask a lot of questions. I am very new to COPD, so some of what you wrote about is like Greek to me.
    – what is MRSA?
    – what is pic line?
    – can you explain what you mean by exacerbation?
    I’m sure there are other things I will need to know, but I think that’s enough for today. Thanks Bill!

     
    • FlaHam

      January 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Benze, Please feel free to ask tons of questions I will be as honest as I can be in my answers. Under an email being sent to directly to you I am going to add some additional comments. Here I will just answer the questions as asked. The following was taken in part form WEBMD MRSA = Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus — or staph — because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics. Though most MRSA infections aren’t serious, some can be life-threatening. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-mrsa-methici llin-resistant-staphylococcus-aureus A Pic (actually it’s Picc) line is a catheter inserted into a vein. Thru the picc line blood can be drawn as needed for tests, and IV’s medicines can be injected. I have had picc lines for as long as 45 days in one go. Normally when they put a picc line in it stays for about 30 days (as determined by your Doctor). They use a picc line when you are going to get numerous injections or if your a hard stick. The repeated bouts of pneumonia that I have had and the associated blood draws, have made me a very hard stick. Here is a link to more information regarding Picc Lines http://picclinenursing.com/picc_why.html Benze, below is a very good link to what an exacerbation is for a COPD suffer. I define it as having a major or massive flare up of my COPD related illnesses, such as pneumonia. Also I qualify it as being sick but not so terrible sick that I need to be hospitalized. That I can be treated at home, and don’t need 24/7 monitoring and treatment. http://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/knowing-when-you-are-having-an-exacerbation

      Take care, Bill

       
  5. huntmode

    January 4, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Dear Bill, such good news re your current state that the doctors are at threes – three months, three weeks – and you, yourself, at a 3. I’m with Benze, though I think I’m further along than she might be. I get those exacerbations as you define ’em (no hospitalization, can be treated at home).

    So glad to hear you consulted re the Vitamin D and, on reflection, got what you needed from the second doc. Since I was at an 8, and without insurance after the test, I did some research and spoke with a friend, who had tested in your realm (I think) – at 27. She was taking 10,000 iu daily. Other people in my category were put on the BIG 50,000 dosage as well. I decided to up mine from the 1,000 per day to 10,000 per day, which would equate to 70,000 per week. The improvement seemed to happen quickly for me, though they caution it can take closer to 90 days to see improvement. Maybe because I was so low, it was all good. As I said, I saw a huge improvement in not needing to use my nebulizer (and less use of my inhaler, but still on Spirva and Advair) as often as I had prior to boosting the Vit D to 10,000. One little bout with the mucus going from white to yellowish, but no pneumonia this year – a fantastic improvement. The 2011 and 2012 I had at least three, maybe five over the two years and one that kept out of work for over 15 days.

    Productive vs. unproductive coughs – oh yes, the joy of COPD and learning how to spit and other less savory things.

    You are so generous in sharing this info and helping us to understand – for those without COPD, but maybe for us who have it – nothing more scary than not knowing what’s coming and worrying ourselves into an exacerbation.

    Thank you, Bill. You are wonderful.

    Best ~ HuntMode

     
    • FlaHam

      January 5, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Hunt, Smiling, one of the most significant things you can do is gather information. COPD strikes so many, but there is no true set pattern on how it strikes, when it strikes, how intense each exacerbation can be, or the duration of an exacerbation. There is no time table on how one will work thru the stages, and it is even hard to clearly define the points between stages. So much is still to be learned. But COPD is getting much more attention and much more press than it did even 4 years ago. It truly is amazing. I try to avoid the hospital at all costs, it really exposes you to illnesses and other hazards you aren’t prepared for. At least with a home treatment I know the environment, I know when I will be disturbed, and I know that the medicines will be delivered in a timely fashion by someone who cares (namely me). So clearly staying out the hospital is always my number one goal. Again thanks for the heads up on the Vitamin D. Once I found I was deficient it was a no brainer to get a second opinion, and move forward. Coughing has become almost 2nd nature. Yes it can be gross, but you really need to get that crap out. I will admit that publicly I try to be as discrete as possible, it’s not like being a kid and trying to win the gross out contest. The whole concept behind my blog when I got started was to get as much info as I could out to as many people as I could regarding COPD. After I did a bunch of clinical stuff, I realized that it was more beneficial to me (and maybe to others) if I made it real life. I started speaking in 1st person about what it was doing to me, and what I was doing to fight it. Sometimes I think I have shared to many details, but then, I also think that has helped folks as well. This 1st person approach has clearly worked. I have been graced by so many readers to have COPD or know someone with it, them sharing their stories, and thanking me for the stories I share. Asking questions and sharing info (like you on the Vitamin D), it has taken a life of it’s own and I am just steering the ship. Thank you again for your wonderful comment. I truly appreciate it. Take care, Bill

       
  6. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    January 5, 2014 at 2:51 am

    You made me smile at your “feeling profound statement” 🙂
    Ha! Never had to shovel heat.
    I enjoyed your round-up, hearing of your side of the world. My son was considered Vitamin D deficient & had a prescription once, but only once. I think it will do you good. Stay with it – I’m sure it will (it improved his energy).

    Happy new year 🙂

     
    • FlaHam

      January 5, 2014 at 7:12 am

      Words, Happy New Year to you as well, I hope that 2014 bring you joy in many ways, I am glad you enjoyed my profound statement. Sometimes it gets lonely on this soap box, just kidding LOL. I am glad it help your son, if it gives me a boost in energy I will be extremely grateful. Words, I hope find many reason to visit my blog in the future, please take care and be safe. Bill

       
  7. Wanda

    January 5, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Bill, I enjoyed your yearend roundup–especially the fact that you closed out the year in a much better place than where it started. And the good news from all your “doc” friends is a plus for sure! As for cutting the Vitamin D pill, please check whether that is recommended for that particular medication. Sometimes the filler substance inside a pill is difficult to swallow–that’s why some pills have the smooth easy-to-swallow coating.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Wanda, Smiling, 2013 started out as a pile of poop, and yes thank the lord it ended so much better than it started. Well it turns out I won’t need a knife and fork to cut my 1.25mg — 50,000 unit pill up to swallow it. The pill is no bigger than an asprin and goes down easy with a gulp of water. I am so fortunate to have the friends I do, either real time or cyber time. Both are real person to me, and everyone of you’ll have made my life a wonderful place to be. Especially you Wanda. Please take care, Bill

       
  8. mydailyminefield

    January 5, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Trade you blood pressures – I still have to go visit relatives for a belated Christmas lol!!!!! If you get feeling a tad ornery you could always use one of my favorite Pearl Jam lyrics as an opening line for your blog, ” nothing’s changed, but the surrounding bull**** that has grown!” Stay cool!

     
    • FlaHam

      January 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Minefield, That indeed would be a great opening for my post, and I may well use it. But if nothing changes in my case, that is good news so I might have to find a lick that has a more positive updraft to it. I am surprised by the blood pressure, but not much, it has been running low normal for a couple years. Every time I see my Heart Doctor, he lowers the medication. So I must be doing something right. Besides he tells me my lungs will kill me long before my heart. I do believe it was a left handed compliment. Anyway thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I truly appreciate it. Take care, Bill

       
  9. Clowie

    January 6, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I’m glad your year is off to a good start. I just stopped by to wish you all the best for 2014. I’ve lots of catching up to do after my break for the holidays.

     
    • FlaHam

      January 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm

      Clowie, Thank you for your well wishes for 2014, I appreciate them and would like to send some right back at you. Good luck getting caught up. Take care, Bill

       
  10. gpcox

    January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Well, you’re holding better than I am, Bill. Great news from the Doc – keep up the good work!

     
    • FlaHam

      January 6, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Gail, I am doing the best I can, I only ask that if your not, I will gladly offer whatever support I can. You don’t say, but it appears to me that you may be ill yourself. If there is anything I can do please let me know. Take care, Bill

       
      • gpcox

        January 7, 2014 at 5:10 am

        You’re a dear to say so, Bill.

         
        • FlaHam

          January 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

          Gail, the fact remains I will do what I can to help. Please take care, Bill

           

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