How I Feel for the Week Ending 07.25.14…

25 Jul

Good day folks, my home has been invaded by three of the dearest friends my wife has in the world.  They are the loveliest, sweetest, wonderfulist, grandest folks you would ever want to meet and they all read this, so I am not saying anything harsh, they know where I live.  But for the next 5 days (starting late last night) my role around the house will be that of H.R. Step and Fetch, and duty chauffeur for the lot.  That’s not to say I won’t have my fun, just that I am sure I will be busy.  Weather here in Tampa is working its’ way back to normal, with afternoon thunderstorms, and a ton of rain in selected spots. The humidity is normal for the conditions, which just means if you’re outside you will have issues breathing.

I had 2 medical appointments this week, one with Doc Head, and the other my normally scheduled visit with Hospice. 

The appointment with Doc Head was helpful as always. I did speak to her about a concern/fear I was having regarding someone who starts reading my blog, as I begin my journey towards the end of retirement.  The symptoms I display and the information I provide may be a tad bid disconcerting to someone who themselves are just being diagnosed with COPD.  My concern lies in the potential impact my blog may have on mindset of someone in the mild or moderate range of the disease, and reading about what the end stage is like.  Being honest my recollection of the conversation is a bit muddy, but I believe (or want to believe) that I need to remind folks that I had all the symptoms of COPD for almost 20 years before I was officially diagnosed with the disease (at the moderate stage) and it’s been well over 10 years since that formal diagnoses.  

Doc Head also suggested that I do in fact report weekly on my mental state, to clearly show that while the body may be headed in one direction, the mind and attitude does not have to follow.  So effective this week I will in fact be giving a score on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 equals less than piss poor, and 10 is friggin great, and there will be no half or quarter points.  So for the week ending July 25, 2014, my mental health score is 8.  Remember this number has no bearing on my how I feel physically number, and there is no unified number that combines them.  For references purposes the week I had lunch with Colleen and her husband was a 12.

This week during my normal Hospice visit, my nurse and I discussed a multitude of different things. Of course we had the weekly “what is important to me question” to which I answered having a great weekend because Steph’s friends were visiting was important to me.  We also talked about pain (beyond plain old getting old pain) and my pain level.  My current nurse is leaving Hospice to pursue other job opportunities and will only be with me a couple more weeks. I should expect to meet my new nurse soon.  A common complaint I have had for weeks and weeks is that I just don’t sleep as well as I should or need to.  More than once I have asked the prescribing doctor if he would increase the dosage, to which he has said “No.”  I do understand no, and have left that alone.  I did suggest to Hospice that maybe because I have used this drug (Zolpidem Tartrate 10mg) for such an extended timeframe that maybe my body has become accustomed to it, much like it has to some antibiotics, and is no longer effective. The nurse said she would address this with the Team Doctor and advise me.  We also talked about my SOB and the impact it has on my day to day existence.  I can barely walk across the width of my home without stopping to gather myself.  More and more it takes less and less to cause me to stop and gather myself.  I would be lying if I said that the drugs don’t help they do especially the morphine sulfate.  I am allowed a dosage every 4 hours (as needed) which equals 6 doses a day. I have never done 6 doses in a day, I have always found enough quiet time to prevent me going there.  But there are times when I could do 2 or 3 doses in a 4 hour period, but haven’t.  

Considering all the information I am going to rank myself as 2.5 for the week.  Of course this rating doesn’t include the normal aches and pains of everyday life.

So to wrap up week ending 07.25.14, we are ranking the week an overall 2.5, but the attitude is an 8.  So we can move on to the vitals for the week ending 07.25.14

  • INR = 2.3 taken 06.30.14 – next test will be 07.28.14 – but no change in meds

  • O2 level @ 2.5 LPM = 93 taken 7.24.14

  • Peak Flow = 205 taken 7.25.14

  • BP = 118/68 taken 7.24.14

  • Heart rate = 92 taken 7.24.14

  • Temp = 98.7 taken 07.24.14

  • Weight = 266 taken 07.24.14

So ends the technical aspect of my “How I Feel This Week” report for the week ending 07.25.14, moving now to the word of the week discussion aspect. This week I have chosen the statement “How I choose a word or phrase for this portion of the post” as the word/phrase of the week. Again this week there will be no dictionary definition because one doesn’t exist.  So I will be speaking off the cuff again today.

It really is quite simple.  If during the week I see a doctor, or read a post, or witness an event (medical or not), or have a conversation either live or in chat, or someone has made a suggestion, if it has meaning to me, if I have experienced it, if my imagination catches it and grabs it, I will write about it.  Some weeks I will write down 8 or 9 potential words or phrases to talk about, other weeks I struggle right up to the moment I get to this portion of my post. I will stare at the screen, I will stick a word or phrase in, and if it doesn’t take off then, I keep searching, until the right word hits me at the right time.  The meter for if it grabs me or not is short.  If I am not typing at full speed, and my brain not working overtime throwing words out with moments I discard that word or phrase until the right one pops.  Twice over the weeks I started with a word then threw it out, only to come back 3 or 4 weeks later and write 5 or 6 hundred words on the topic word.  Also there is no minimum amount of words I will use when describing my feeling towards a word or phrase.  I write until I am done, or until I think you have heard enough.  Smiling that’s the point I am now on this phrase.  Thank you.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to bring them to my attention, I will answer as completely and honestly as possible. Please take care, Bill


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28 responses to “How I Feel for the Week Ending 07.25.14…

  1. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

    July 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    An 8 emotional score is great! I love that you gave the comparison of the 12 for Colleen and her hubby’s visit. I can understand your concern over someone newly diagnosed with COPD reading your posts and not wanting them to feel discouraged, etc. but really what comes across in your posts is perspective and the fact that you’ve been many years along in the process. Plus, your uplifting attitude never screams of suffering. That’s my take. Honestly. Have fun with your wife’s friends and thank goodness the weather is getting better. Hugs to you. ❤

    • FlaHam

      July 26, 2014 at 9:13 am

      Paulette, Smiling I wanted to establish a benchmark Those that know me and Colleen will understand and immediately be able to judge my emotional state for any given week. It is my true hope that your assessment of my post is how it works, when your told you have a terminal disease, your mind freezes up, and you don’t normally hear much after “terminal” hopefully the folks that are at the mild or moderate stage will take the time to read past posts, before they go into all out fret mode. So far so good on the weather LOL LOL but it is Florida. We could have a hurricane by Monday LOL. Take care, Bill

      • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

        July 26, 2014 at 9:16 am

        Well said, Bill. Your comment on the weather made me laugh. Happy weekend and catch some rest in between go-fering for the ladies. 😉

        • FlaHam

          July 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm

          Paulette, Trust me I look good in a little black cap, smiling and saying yes ma’am a lot. I really look in my element. I am sure I will have a fine weekend. Take care, be safe. xoxo Bill

  2. Chatter Master

    July 25, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    WE GOT A 12???? 😀 You made my week Bill! ❤

    I can understand your concern for how newly diagnosed persons may feel. But I think putting the span of years of the progression also gives a great picture of the medical care that one can get to help slow down and manage the progression. Your truthful depiction of what you deal with has got to be beneficial. It is to me.

    I can see you now, running all over Tampa in Big Red. 🙂 I know you will have fun. And please tell your lovely Stephanie we say hello. ❤

    • FlaHam

      July 26, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Colleen, Smiling you earned every bit of that 12. It is my true concern that someone who just starts reading my blog will go to the archives and begin there, as you say and I totally agree if they start there that will give them a perspective that’s it a long haul disease, and you do not normally progress thru any of the stages in a rapid manner. That a good doctor might truly be able to slow it down, and you as a patient can also do your part to slow it down. Steph got your message and smiled. We had a great time. Take care, Bill

  3. jmgoyder

    July 26, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Bravo! I haven’t been keeping up but you know how it is!

    • FlaHam

      July 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Julie, I do indeed know how it is and I am okay with it. I hope everything with you and Ants is going okay or as best as can be expected. Please take care, Bill

  4. kanzensakura

    July 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Bill! “Emotional = 8 – woohoo, goody good for you. Somehow, when you said you looked good in a little black cap, my first thought was a yarmulke…..then it hit me: chauffer. Sometimes I am so duh. Reading your blog is always one of the highs of my week. Hangeth in there mon ami. It seems you and Big Red have been doing some happy wanderings for the ladies. Must be nice to have a handsome guy driving one around. You take care of yourself and keep on with your bad self. Hugs, Toni

    • FlaHam

      July 27, 2014 at 7:14 am

      Kanzen — Smiling, I would make a yarmulke look good. It gives me such a positive jolt when you tell me the impact of my blog on you, it really does. Thank you!! So far me and Big Red have not let the ladies down. And I will indeed continue to give myself Selfies Hugs, LOL how cool is that. Take care, Bill

  5. huntmode

    July 27, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Bill, I came to your blog – hard to believe – less than a year ago, and you steadied my world with your writings. Dinna fash yerself about the newbies coming along – they will thank God there is somebody out there telling the truth without scaring them to death. Trust me on that one. Plus, you always, always reference length and time. You have given me a great gift with this blog of yours. xxoo Hunt

    • FlaHam

      July 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Huntie, it seems like we have been friends forever, and I say that with great affection. But if you say it has been less than a year, who am I to argue with you. Thank you for thoughtful words, I appreciate them, and as you and many others have pointed out any newbie out there that comes onboard will find enough information to take some of the scare out of it. And that is the goal. Thank you and all of you for helping me keep this in mind. Take care, Bill

      • huntmode

        July 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm

        With some friendships, Bill, some come with Tesseracts! Grin. do you know about tesseracts, Bill?

        • FlaHam

          July 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

          Huntie, So continues my education, I had no clue what an “tesseracts,” is so I’ve spent the last hour online visiting “Wikipedia” and many other fine spots all defining tesseracts and opening the potential for me to explore it in many other dimensions. A unique word which I never thought in a million years could be applied to my blog. All of this to say our friendship is unique and defined on many interlocking and interrequiring components. Take care, sweetness. Bill

          • huntmode

            July 29, 2014 at 7:43 pm

            Huge grin, Bill – I had hoped you’d do that! I learned about tesseracts in the 4th or 5th grade because of a wonderful story by Madeline L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time.” Some concepts just stick with you!

  6. Wanda

    July 28, 2014 at 5:53 pm


    Can I say again how impressed I am with you? I really appreciate your concern that “newbies” might be frightened by the open, honest, no-holds-barred description of your medical condition you provide in these posts. COPD is a grim, unforgiving disease, but hopefully newly diagnosed readers will be able to balance your situation against their own experience and other sources of information about COPD.

    That said, you might consider adding a prologue of sorts to your “How I Feel” posts that forthrightly explains where you are along the COPD continuum, that people shouldn’t prematurely project your current symptoms/experiences onto themselves, and, as much as possible, point recently diagnosed readers to other sources of information about COPD. It could be something that you copy-and-paste as a header or footer to each “How I Feel” posts.

    You are doing a HUGE service with your blog. You don’t pull any punches, but you soften the blows with your own unique combination of humor, grace, and common sense. Your posts are wonderful, but the give-and-take in the responses are even better–I’m still trying to figure out whether it is you or your readers that benefits most…

    • FlaHam

      July 29, 2014 at 7:38 am

      Wanda, I had something stupid to say regarding you being impressed with my writing, but the fact is THANK You for being impressed with the effort I make in writing this blog. Your comment has given me a thought for a post, I will indeed write a post about how my COPD has crawled thru my body over the significant period of time it has. Soft smile, Wanda as to the matter of who benefits most from my blog, myself or my readers, clearly I am the biggest beneficiary without those who read my blog I would have lost direction, I would have most likely stopped writing. I would have lost some of the strength and courage my readers give me. Clearly I am the big winner. Comments like your, are a constant source of strength for me, they keep my foundation strong. and allow me to wake each day with a smile and the courage to prevail once again. Thank you all and you specially Wanda, Love Bill

  7. sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    July 31, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Bill, Your gift to the COPD world is insurmountable but I can also vouch for your contribution to anyone looking for clues as to how to live a better life. I always come away from your blog with a wealth of information.

    • FlaHam

      July 31, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Sheri, that is such a truly sweet and kind thing to say, and I appreciate it more than I can adequately express. But when I get a comment like this it really makes it all worth while. I have truly tried to offer my experiences to show that there is life with COPD. Again, thank you, take care, Bill.

      • sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

        July 31, 2014 at 7:24 pm

        Bill: Not only are you showing there is life with COPD, you are showing there is life for EVERYONE to live and not just a chosen few. When you talk about needing to rest part of the way across your living room, my first thought was sad but then I thought of all those you encourage to even take a first and second step until they too have managed to walk to a short place that will give them the boost they need to keep on going. We all know, or most of us who have lived any length of time at all, how frustrating it is to not be able to do something we’ve always taken for granted.
        Additionally, who among us, or at least most of us that wonder about the Hospice experience dare fear to be with you until you wish to or cannot write any longer. Of course, our time may end long before yours.
        Your blog has so much to offer the non-COPD reading individual. Yes, I take in your information about living with COPD and have a greater understanding of what and how it treats the human body but most of all, I take the human aspect of what you write and that is the bare and honest truth of humanity and how you face it on a daily basis. For that, I will be forever grateful.

        • FlaHam

          August 1, 2014 at 7:46 am

          Sheri, I am trying to lead by example, by letting others know that they aren’t alone in their struggle. And I am doing so in as soft a voice as I can muster. As the end of retirement approaches I hope I still have the strength to at least post shorter but meaningful posts. Don’t know how I am going to approach that but we will see. Kinda laughing, this Hospice experience is not what I had envisioned, yet in many ways it is exactly what I hoped it to be, and in others not at all. I am sure this will come out in future posts. Sherri, your comments have been wonderful and I appreciate them far more than you may realize, their candid nature and their soul searching ways appeal to me. I know face to face we would have some wonderful conversations. Please take care, Bill

          • sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

            August 2, 2014 at 3:54 am

            Bill – There’s not a doubt in my mind that we could talk forever and have wonderful conversations. Thanks for the work you do for all of us. Sheri

            • FlaHam

              August 2, 2014 at 9:00 am

              Sheri, If the notes we share are the comments section of the posts (either yours or mine) then there is no doubt we would have great conversations over a cup of whatever. Please take care, and be safe. Bill

              • sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

                August 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

                Bill – I’m up earlier than usual today (10:30 my time). I’m headed to the kitchen to grab a double espresso. Is there something I could fix for you while I’m there. I’m trying out a new/old recipe from 1980 Weight Watcher’s of a cheesecake that takes the place of your protein and is just like having dessert for your entire meal . . . does it get better than that! And, it’s good for you!

                • FlaHam

                  August 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm

                  Sheri, I truly love espresso, but I drink so little coffee these days, a double espresso would keep me up for a week. LOL LOL. I haven’t done that since when I was in the Navy. I can say without a doubt the cheesecake would be great. Take care, Bill

  8. benzeknees

    August 13, 2014 at 2:27 am

    This week when I saw my doc we talked about the pain in my chest which doesn’t seem to be getting any better regardless of all the tests. We are going to treat it like muscular pain & try muscle relaxants for the time being since nothing else seems to be working. I will start taking them tomorrow.

    • FlaHam

      August 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

      Benze, You are doing the right thing. You are working with and continually communicating with your Doc about this issue. It is thru this communications you will gain the most benefit. Keep it up. Take care, Bill


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