Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Be It Ever So Humble

Home, Sweet (New) Home

Trudie is now settling in to her new "home."

New Contact Info:
(770) 936-9546

Someone usually answers that number and you can ask for Trudie. If it rings a bunch of times and then a machine asks you to key in the extension, her extension is 2239.

4598 Barclay Drive
Dunwoody, GA 30338

Take I-285 to exit #30 (Chamblee-Dunwood Drive from the west and N Peachtree / N Shallowford from the east) and go north on North Peachtree. Pass First Baptist Church entrance and a Charter School.
Just past the school turn Left onto Peachford Drive.
Take an almost immediate Right onto Barclay Drive.
Go down a couple of blocks and you'll see the sign on the Left.


You can visit most any time. Just ask someone to show you to room #8. She would love to have the company.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Digs - Hospice

Heartland Hospice - formerly Portsbridge Hospice

Later tonight we will be moving to Heartland Hospice which is here:

View Larger Map

I'll let you know her room number later.

A Good Day

Today, Trudie was "here" more than she has been in a week. She was aware of where she was and wanted to know why she wasn't having the hip surgery tomorrow. I explained that the next right step is to go to hospice. She will be better served there and we will be better served there. We can't plan step two until we are finished with step one. Step one will be to go to hospice to get stronger to be ready for the next step which, hopefully, will be hip surgery but we cross that step after we take step one.

More of our family will be able to visit her there more. The have the services we all need. They don't have wireless access (it didn't seem like any of them did) so I will need to work on that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Searching for Hospice


She has completed the antibiotics for the Klebsiella pneumoniae infection. She seems to be slowly getting better. She is still fighting the multi-drug resistant C.Difficile Toxin infection so she is not out of the woods yet. But now she is not on antibiotics and she can start to build the good germs to fight the C-Diff.

In a regular room

She has been moved from ICU into a regular room. She is resting better now that she doesn't have fifty-eleven million wires, tubes, etc connected to her. We can also visit her with no time restrictions. She is in room 612 of St. Josephs.

Insurance "challenges"

The good news is that our insurance will cover 100% of in-network hospice care. They pay 0% of out-of-network facilities. Humm... I guess I'll stick with in-network hospice providers.

But here's the catch, the in-network facilities are not very close to our house. There's one in Decatur, one in Duluth, one in Dunwoody (the closest) and one near Emory Univ. The one that is closest in Marietta but is out-of-network. We tried to work with a in-network provider to get her placed there but have had no success. So we will work on it more tomorrow.

Palliative Care

She was assessed by a palliative care nurse today. She said that they could do a better job of managing her pain. She has still been in quite a bit of pain even though she could get a shot of morphine pretty much whenever she said she needed it. But this wasn't working so well. So now Trudie is on a very low dose continuous morphine drip. This seems to have helped her and she is in less pain now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Next Phase


Again, Trudie is not better and not worse. The Dr. has suggested that we consider moving her to a hospice. So this afternoon Avery and I met with a Case Manager and a hospice representative. We both feel that this is move would be in Trudie's best interest.

Giving Up?

Both Trudie and we are getting hospital burn-out. The hospice can be a more pleasant setting for Trudie and us to get through her next stage. What will that stage en tale? Our crystal ball is still broken and so only God knows what will happen and we are in His hands. All I know is that what we are doing isn't working so well and so we need to do something else. The change of scenery will probably lift her spirits. She may get to where she is ready for the hip surgery. But in the mean time, we will be able to be with her more and she will have better surroundings. So, no, I don't consider hospice giving up; we just are trying something different.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

ICU Day 4


More Of The Same thing today. She's still in ICU, she doesn't seem any worse, she doesn't seem any better. She really wants a change of scenery. And who can blame her? She's not aware enough to watch TV, the walls are all white and sterile, she's probably bored to tears. I'm going to get some pictures tomorrow and see if I can't put them up somewhere.

Cleaning people

I asked a neighbor if he had a recommendation and he gave me the card of some cleaning people that he uses. They came over today and we settled on a day of the week and a price. This will be a load off my plate and well worth the money.

Avery and Gracie

Avery and Gracie flew in last night. Avery left Gracie today with a cousin and Avery and I went and spent some time with Trudie.

Gracie is cute and I've created a three minute video of her climbing stairs last week: (url:

Friday, October 26, 2007

ICU Day 3


Trudie now has two infections. She has the initial infection that landed her in ICU 1) Klebsiella pneumoniae and now 2) C.Difficile Toxin. They are both very bad. Apparently the antibiotics that kill the bad bacteria are also killing the good bacteria that normally live in our gut. But without the good bacteria, the other bad bacteria now are multiplying. C.Difficle is apparently one of those bad bacteria. And this guy is not easily killed with antibiotics.


She seems to be holding her own for now. She is somewhat conscious but not very coherent. She wants to leave and is frustrated that she can't. She can't seem to grasp that it is in her best interest to be there. Her blood counts are a little bit better today but not by much.

Surgery On Hold

I spoke with the orthapedic surgeon and he said that until she regains a significant amount of strength, the hip surgery she needs would be too much for her. We will wait for that until she gets her strength back.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

ICU Day 2

Better but not great

Trudie is better today. She is conscious and recognizes people. Her blood counts are better than yesterday although still they are not that great. She has not mentally returned to the "real world." She asks us to do "interesting" things and makes strange comments. But, as she frequenly says, she's "better."

Myrtle Road Trip

A group of three Myrtles made the trek from Columbia, SC over today and got to visit with Trudie. She was clearly surprised and pleased to see them. They were here for three hours, got to see Trudie twice, and now are on their way back to CAE. It was great to see them again.

How Long?

The doctor says that we are not totally out of the woods yet. She is still battling the bug. So the estimate is that she will be in ICU for another two or three days. The hip surgery is on hold for now. We will get it rescheduled when she has her strength back.

Thank you for all your prayers! We all appreciate them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Please Pray


I don't want to be alarmist but Trudie is not doing so good right now.

The fever yesterday has become a full blown case of sepsis(also known as septic shock). It is an infection in the blood stream and is impacting any organ that gets blood. They are fighting it with massive antibiotics.

What isn't helping is that her body hasn't quite gotten used to the fact that it doesn't have a spleen any more. It was in the process of adjusting to no-spleen when this infection hit. So she is very sick now.

I'm here at the ICU waiting area. Her hematologist will be by this evening and I'll get more from him then.

Hip Reschedule

New Digs - ICU

Trudie has been transferred to ICU now. They evaluated her fight and decided she needs more intensive treatment.

New day - same plan

The hip rebuild is now scheduled for sometime Saturday, 10/27th. This is assuming that the infection is beaten by then. The nurse said that one of her cultures was growing something so she does have a germ of some description. They haven't been able to make a positive ID on which germ it is yet but they are putting her on more antibiotics.


She can have visitors today and Thursday. ICU lets visiting for 30 minutes every two hours (e.g. 6:00-6:30 AM, 10:00-10:30 AM, etc, etc, etc.) She may or may not remember your being here. Friday she has a pre-op procedure and may be gone part of the day. She is pretty disoriented now because of all the pain meds she has keeping her comfortable.

Keep praying

Keep prayers going for this battle. I'm struggling to keep my energy up. I feel like I'm swimming with a sea anchor. I feel like I should be getting more done but I just can't seem to get there. Keep me in your prayers too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

If It Ain't One Thing - It's Another


Today, Trudie's temperature went up and she now has a 102 degree fever. They have assigned her an infectious disease doctor now. Please pray that the drugs will get this under control!

Surgery Postponed

Since she has the fever, the hip-repair surgery has been postponed. They will not operate when she has a fever. We will get a new date once the fever is licked.

Deck Postponed

The contractor who was going to supervise the deck repair has a conflict on 11/3. So we've tentatively penciled in Saturday 11/10 to do the deck R&R.

Please be in prayer for me too. I need wisdom on how to budget my energy which isn't up to what it used to be pre-illness.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Gracie Visit

Gracie visit

Today, our granddaughter, Gracie, and our kids, visited Trudie. They raised her spirits greatly.

Results of the MRI

The MRI showed a fracture of the left hip. The hematologist said that the plan is to let her heal a few more days from the splenectomy. They will then operate on next Wednesday, Oct 24th, on her left hip.

New Update

I have just spoken to the orthopedic surgeon. He said that this will not be a run-of-the-mill, "I've fallen and I can't get up" hip surgery. He said that it appears that the hip tumor has severely attacked her hip bones. This will be more than a hip replacement, it will be a hip reconstruction surgery. But, the good news is that this should help alleviate the intense pain that she has been experiencing the last two weeks. After a few days, he expects her to be up and walking again.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

On The Floor

Back to a normal room

She is back to a "normal" room today. They took her to get CT scan and a MRI. I didn't hear how they came out. Her good friend, Valerie from Florida, came to spend the weekend helping her (and indirectly - helping me).

Trudie is in room 372 (phone 404-851-4372). If you want to visit, please call first 1) to make sure she isn't off getting poked, prodded, or scanned and 2) to make sure she is up for company.

Next Steps

I know our hematologist has brought an orthopedic doctor in to assess her leg's status. I'll find out more of what he thinks tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Out of Spleen Surgery

Surgery went well

I just talked to the surgeon. He said it went well and she is now in recovery. He said that her spleen was two to three times the normal size. They have sent it off to see if it had a tumor or it was big because of "sequestering" her blood cells. He is sending her to ICU for hopefully an overnight stay.

More updates to follow...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shifting Gears

Back to the Hospital

I spoke with our hematologist today. He said that due to her decreased mobility, he thinks it is time for her go back into the hospital. He wants her to under go an new round of diagnostic MRIs. He thinks he can get them made faster if she is already an in-patient. So he will admit her to St Joseph's Hospital right from our office visit tomorrow, Tuesday.


They are still planning to take her spleen out on Wednesday morning. Please pray that everything goes OK and that she will recover from that surgery quickly.

The help I've had

I've had a bunch of great help recently. My sister and brother-in-law spent almost the whole week with us last week. They enabled me to go to the office. Trudie told me, "go to work so that you can get some rest." It was great to be able to get away and use my techie talents. Brother-in-law Drew was able to accomplish a number of nagging household maintenance items. He drew up plans for the deck remodel and developed the materials list. He was able to help make our bathroom more "accessible" than it was. They were a huge help for us last week.

A week ago, Trudie's long-time friend Laura came from Nashville and spent a couple of days. Laura was a big help.

Then today, Trudie's very good friend, Jeanie, came and spent the day with Trudie while I "went to work and got some rest." Jeanie fielded a number of calls and did many little things for Trudie. She was a great blessing.

We are blessed by each and every one of you. They have helped me keep going a hard as I have been going. Thank you for all your prayers. We need those the most now.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

New Challenge

Increased Leg Pain

This week presented a new challenge for us. Trudie's left leg pain has increased. It seems to have started on Tuesday after our two appointments that day. We have spoken with her doctors and they want to press ahead with the splenectomy next Wednesday.


The neurologist wanted some MRIs done of her lower back and leg. Unfortunately, the pain medicines are causing uncontrollable leg twitching. This prevents getting good MRI pictures. The hematologist suggested that the hospital where she gets the splenectomy can give her a stronger sedative that will allow them to get good pictures.

Mossy Creek

We usually do the Mossy Creek Barnyard Festival the third weekend in October. Trudie definitely won't be able to make it this year. I am debating whether to go myself and sell what dolls she was able to make this Spring and Summer before this all started. The money isn't really the issue. I know a LOT of people who know her will be VERY disappointed if no one shows up. If I go, I will be able to tell what has been happening and give them this blog site to watch for future developments.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Four Appointments in One Day

Appointment Creep

We had a serious problem of "appointment creep" today.

First we had two appointments. One was with the surgeon who will do the splenectomy. He added an appointment to get Trudie's immunizations updated.

Then the second original appointment was with the neurologist. He added an appointment with an X-Ray lab to get some pictures of his handiwork.

So two appointments became four appointments in three buildings. We are both very tired tonight.


The surgeon will remove Trudie's spleen on Wednesday, October 17th. They will probably keep her overnight. We don't think this surgery will be as intensive as the last. In fact, he may be able to accomplish it with a laparoscope.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

If I Only Had a Brain

Half Brain

It has been very wierd for me lately. It feels like I only have a half of a brain. For example, a couple of days ago I stopped to talk with some landscapers who were working next door. I tried to talk about some plants of which I know their name and am familiar. But when I went to start talking about those plants I suddenly couldn't think of their names. It's been like that. I can't remember words. I am also finding that I don't remember to bring something I wanted to bring when I go out. I get half way to my destination and I go "oh crap!" Trudie has an excuse of good drugs to plead her mental lapses, but I don't have any excuse. We say that since each of us is running on half a brain, and that then, between us we have a whole brain. We just have to talk more and coordinate more.

Transition to Home

Trudie is feeling better and is getting stronger each day. We have visitors almost every day and she enjoys them. [ Fair warning: please call first if you are thinking of visiting - we have many doctor's appointments next week. ] Tomorrow, her precious friend Jeannie will be with her in the morning. This is a great service to me, too, because it will allow me to go be a volunteer camera operator at our church. Doing this really excites me and I always look forward to the Sundays I get to "shoot." We are also getting visits from home-health nurses, home-health physical therapists, and home-health occupational therapists.

Next Steps

Monday we meet with the surgeon, and at that time will probably set a date for the splenectomy. We also have follow up appointments with the neurosurgeon on Monday and hematologist on Tuesday.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Trudie's Home!

She's Home

I brought Trudie home today. Yea!

As of tomorrow, it will be five weeks since she had been home.

We go tomorrow to see our hematologist and find out what is the next stage.


A big thanks to Robin at Dr. J's office. She got a handicap application filled out, notarized, and personally delivered to Trudie at the hospital this weekend. I was able to get the handicap mirror hang card today from the county vehicle tag office.

Also a big thanks to all those who have been making food for me the last interminable weeks. It's been great. Thanks!


Some guys in our small group are coming over to our house tomorrow evening at 8 PM to devise plans for a ramp up to the back deck. If you are interested in being part of this effort, let me know.