Day + 15 + Great Escape +Retail Therapy

Saw Zip’s numbers this morning on My Chart.  They looked much better, but since I’m not a doctor, I really don’t know. Got to his room around 8:30 AM and his breakfast, which I get to order by phone everyday, came in shortly after.  He actually ate some of the oatmeal and some of the fruit, more than he has been eating. Yeah! Dr Mead came in around 9:15 and the whole room cheered up.  He thinks Zip’s numbers were good enough to send him back to our little home away from home. That being said, they didn’t think they’d get him out of there until 2 or 3 PM.  So, I say to myself….hmmm. You got it…Retail Therapy.

I ended up at Towsontowne Center since they have a Walmart up the street and I could buy my English muffins.  Of course I said, I have to get my English muffins at Walmart and there are no Walmart’s in the JHH area.  Sooo, I went to Nordstrom Rack, not as good as it use to be, but, I did find a couple things, that I needed (OK, I didn’t need them, I wanted them) As I was getting in line to pay, I thought, maybe there’s a J Jill in the mall.  I went into the mall and looked on the directory and guess what, yes, there was one! So, I travelled the mall from 1st floor to 4th and came upon the strangest thing.  There was a huge, huge, huge line of many women, young and old.  I thought they were waiting in line for a movie.  It ran from, what I thought was Nordstrom, almost back to Macy’s, which was probably about 1/4 mile or more.  I went into J Jill and they were talking about the line in there.  I asked what was going on and they told me, that the MAC store was having it’s big lipstick give away.  I don’t think, in my wildest imagination, that I’d stand in line for hours, just to get a lipstick.  I might be crazy, but not that crazy.  Back to J Jill, my favorite store in the world, well Steinmart and Beall’s is close. Of course I found a couple things on the sale racks in the back.  I am a happy camper.

As I was turning the corner to drive into the garage, Zip called to say he could be sprung at anytime I could get there.  So, I have Zip sitting in his recliner, watching TV and drinking water and napping.  He’s not as peppy as I’d like him to be, he hasn’t peed as much as I’d like him to, he’s not exactly upright, and he’s not exactly walking, but he’s back where he belongs. We don’t go back to IPOP until Monday morning, so, don’t know what to expect and how soon we can come back home in Ocean Pines.


Day + 14 + Still In Patient + Quiet Soap Opera

Zip is still In Patient, but doing better.  Dr Mead doesn’t like his kidney functions right now and wants to give him a different antibiotic that will make Zip urinate (nicely said) He’s so bummed, not because he’s staying as in patient, but, because he’s eating nothing and gaining weight.  I think by tomorrow, he’ll be down about 5 lbs, easy. So, we’re still here.  He’s keeping up with the times in Ocean Pines, the Slobadon and Herrick incidents. He’s taking long naps and just trying to chill.  Wants to play golf today, but I told him it’s raining and no golf today.  Got this from my Chorus buddy Suz… very appropriate today. Where does she get these things.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Singin Rain

And now for the photos of our view from 5D-08 In Patient Weinberg Bldg.


Last night, before I left Zip for home at Hackerman, I didn’t have to use my binoculars to see one of the panhandlers, the bosomy woman, wander around, staggering around and crossed over to Popeye’s, which you can see clearly in the photos. I thought she was headed for Popeye’s, but she staggered over to a gentleman that was watching her from the corner.  She passed him and then turned around and walked up to him, said something and he backed away from her.  She kept talking and he just stood there saying something and she then staggered away.  Now what do you think she said to him?  I don’t know, but I can only surmise.  After she walked away, he immediately walked over to Popeye’s and opened the door of a pickup.  He was just looking into the truck shaking his head.  Quiet Soap Operas on Broadway.

Hoping today that Zip “pees” (not nicely said) a lot and that he’s semi upright and semi walking.  Right now, he’s back in bed and sound asleep. Hope to get out of this place tomorrow.  Back to IPOP!

Update for In Patient Zippy and Inda Out Patient

Zip got through the night and lost his temp…yeah.  Having stomach problems, but upright and walking. A little slow though.  He doesn’t remember much about yesterday.  So, I had to tell him where he was and how he got there.  He had no idea the IPOP is walking distance from where he is now and that he actually walked over here (stubborn man refused the wheelchair ) He remembers nothing.

So we’re here for a couple days, WAIT… Dr Meade just came in and thinks he’ll be out of here in 24 hours.  Yeah! That being said, we’ll take it hour by hour.

Now on to Inda (Gene Ringsdorf) Zippy’s buddy in their fight with cancer.  He’s having difficulty with talking, so, he emailed us.  So, keep Zippy and Inda in your prayers…this is what Inda is up to…

I finish my general area radiation treatments tomorrow. My oncologist told me yesterday that up until Thursday the radiation was focused on tissue surrounding the base of my tongue to which stray cancer cells may have migrated (lymph nodes, etc,) From Thursday through my last treatment on 8/7, the radiation will be focused almost entirely on the base of my tongue where the tumor is located. My throat is scratchy and it is getting harder for me to talk any length of time. I am still eating soft foods which I occasionally supplement with a liquid meal substitute.

So, here’s praying for Zippy to be upright and walking and Inda feels better so, he can talk.

Day + 13 Review of final Day+12

You saw my “Rant” yesterday and when people say “You should think about what you ask for, because it may not be what you want”, I’m there.  I wanted some “me” time, I was feeling sorry for myself, I was an unhappy camper.  So, what did I get?  Exactly what I asked.  Zip ended up an in-patient at IPOP and now I got a lot of “me” time.

When we went into IPOP yesterday morning, Zip had a temp of 101.  I had taken his temp day before and it was low around 97.  Then he started the shaking, because he was cold. We couldn’t get him comfortable and they didn’t know if he had an infection or if it was the growth of the platelets that were fighting in his system.  They gave him fluids and antibiotics and he seemed to settle down. They were going to get a CT Scan and then send us back to Hackerman with something called “Eclipse”, which are little balls of antibiotics that you plug into his catheter, almost like an IV drip.  We were onboard.  So I left IPOP to get some groceries that we needed for the next couple days and clear my head.  I got back and he seemed a little better, until he asked for them to take his temp, which they had been doing constantly.  Well, Nurse Laurie, didn’t tell us, just said it went up.  I later found out it was 104.  I am so glad we had Laurie yesterday (she even looks like my Laurie) She knows how to keep you calm in a storm and it turned out to be a storm. Between Nurse Jackie, Dr Swinnen and Nurse Laurie and Nurse Helen, I couldn’t have had better, unless our main Nurse Laura (went on a much needed vacation last Friday) was there. That whole IPOP unit is truly an awesome group of oncology warriors! So, Zip went to IPOP in-patient, not exactly lucid and not happy to be in the hospital overnight.  Little does he know, he’ll probably be there for about 4 days.

The good news?  His platelets are rising leaps and bounds.  Those little buggers are fighting whatever he has going on, but they are too young and not enough yet.  The other good news?  I had to go over to Hackerman to get some clothes for him to wear and as I got out of the elevator on Floor 2, there is an office that is all glass and windows.  I looked over and there were at least 10 rainbows all over the inside windows.  You know what I’m saying?

I’m alone at Hackerman, after coming back around 8:30 and falling into bed.  Up now at 3:00 AM, can’t sleep.  I miss Zippy.  Hope today has Zip upright and walking.  I’m not asking for anything else right now.

Day + 12 + Grumpy + Binoculars

I am tired, I am grumpy, I have a short fuse and I have a sty in my eye.  I guess my respite is never going to come, therefore, I am going out as soon I drop off Zippy.  IPOP will take care of him today.  Zip doesn’t need my attitude today.  They love him at IPOP and he’ll bask in their adoration.  Nordstrom Rack is a 1/2 hour away.  TJ Maxx is a 1/2 hour away.  Since I have a window of opportunity of about 2 hours, it’s not worth the drive.  I guess it’ll be Target again today. That’s the end of my rant.

Yesterday, they announced that Zip’s platelet count was starting on it’s upward trend.  He was at a whopping 23.  But, they say it should grow by leaps and bounds.  They also are setting us up for a discharge class this Thursday, which means we may be out of Johns Hopkins by late next week.  I still can’t go to the Sweet Adeline’s seminar at College Park next week.  That had been my goal. Guess not. And Delmarva Chorus is going to the beach this Thursday.  Another Guess not for me.  And the Peach Festival at St Peter’s is next Thursday, another guess not.

On to my Covert Operation.  It had it’s moments, nothing monumental, several interesting arguments, a clandestine meeting by a car stopping on North Broadway and a guy wrapping a t-shirt around his head, walking up the side of the street then turning around and talking to the driver of the car.  Not sure if it was drugs or something else.  The most interesting was young couple walking up the sidewalk to the corner, turned around and walked to the bus stop bench and she sat down and he walked away.  Next thing I notice, he’s back with a huge folded cardboard box, and Popeye food and drink. My mind is saying to me…what the heck are they going to do with the box.  Are they moving, are they finding a box for kids to play in?  With my trusty binoculars I take a closer look. She’s dressed in black short shorts and tank top and tennis shoes.  He’s dressed in cargo shorts and t-shirt.  Then I thought…hmmm…maybe that’s going to be a bed for one of them.  Maybe they are homeless and are going to a underground or over ground  box city.  Who knows.  They finished their meal, and around 10:30PM they lit a cigarette and walked away with him carrying their box.  It just seemed, in my head, to be a little romantic.  I don’t know why.

Zip is not feeling so great today.  His body is hurting and his stomach is not happy and his taste buds are leaving him.  One of his favorite breakfast choices is bagel and cream cheese.  Not today.  He says it tastes like paste and asked for jelly to give it flavor.  I’m hoping for semi-upright and semi walking today.

Day + 11 + Wonder Woman + Ledo’s

OK, Zippy is not completely upright and walking right now.  His platelets were very low, his body hurts, his pressure is low, his magnesium is low, his potassium is high, but his glucose is good.  They gave him a big bag of fluids, a big bag of platelets, told him to take Claritin again for the pain (can you imagine Claritin works on bone pain because of the Heparin they are giving him? and yes it does) They gave him 2 magnesium pills to take and sent us limping home. We were going to the store afterwards, but Zip was not feeling it yesterday.  Could only get part of the way back and had to jump in the wheelchair.  Plus, since I poisoned him with diabetic candy the other night, he still had gas and a little diarrhea.  Enough of Zippy.

So many think I am Wonder Woman. HA.  No I am not.  I had a total breakdown yesterday.  Felt pretty sorry for myself.  Which culminated into, what is commonly  known in our family, The Jeannette’s Disease.  When my stress level becomes too great, my body says to me…stop…if I don’t stop, it gives me great gas pain in my stomach, which ends up with me running from bed to bathroom. Still not sure I’m completely over it, but, I do feel a tad better.  I guess that’s why they say caregivers need respite, not because we can’t handle the job, but just because we need some alone time to resolve the whole magnitude of our situations.  Enough of me.

Ledo’s Pizza.  After I wrote about Ledo’s Pizza, John told me, my error.  I didn’t correct it, but now I will.  My buddy, S of S and B, (Sharon) gave me a great story about the beginning of Ledo’s and here it is…

Ledo’s is not an Ocean City thing. Ledo’s started as a family run pizzeria on University Blvd in Adelphi. I grew up in Four Corners and we used to go there all the time when we were little kids, my dad would only eat their pizza said everybody else’s was crap. They made square pizzas which I think is why dad liked them the best. They had a slogan that they ”didn’t cut corners with their ingredients” Then when we were teenagers we would go there on Friday nights after the Teen Club dance was over. There was only one location and it stayed that way for years. Old man Ledo (that wasn’t really their names, I don’t think, but I can’t remember what their name was) anyway the father died when I was in my twenties and mama Ledo kept the restaurant going for a long time and it wasn’t until after she died that the ”kids” (maybe grandkids) decided to franchise out the name and now Ledo’s are everywhere. I haven’t found one yet that compares to my remembrance of ”real” Ledo’s pizza. Aaaahhhh, the memories.

Hoping that Zip is upright and walking today.  Oh, forgot to tell you about the binoculars.  I was too sick to even look outside last night.  Will try for tonight.

Technically Day + 10, but it feels like +9

It’s 2:21 AM on Monday and I can’t sleep.  Why, I don’t know.  Beth, Adan and the girls came to visit us Sunday afternoon.  We had a really nice visit, although it had to be down in the Common Room.  Anyone under 12 could not be upstairs in the suites.  (GERMS) I walked over to CVS with Eva and we had an interesting time.  While in CVS, a rather nice older gentleman asked me for 50 cents to get candy. I knew he was panhandling, but I just felt the need to give him money.  He did buy candy, we were in line behind him.  On our way back, we discussed the gentleman and I told her what I told you.  She then told me about a disorderly guy that asked Beth and the girls for money.  Beth gave him money and asked if he needed a sandwich (they had packed sandwiches for a picnic or something).  He said no, he just needed to get a beer. I said to her that sometimes you just have to go with your gut and give to those people.  That being said, we were walking by the parking garage and a nice looking young man came and asked me for change for something…I can’t remember.  I told him no, I had no change.  As we walked away, I told Eva (this is the truth) that same young man had asked me for money a few days ago.  He said he had just been discharged from the hospital and needed the money to get his car out of the garage. Sometimes honesty pays off.

Zippy is doing OK.  His blood pressure isn’t quite as low, but he still got fluids.  His platelets are at 17, so tomorrow he’ll get a couple bags.  His glucose is under control.  We’re not idiots about that anymore.  Can’t say we won’t make any more mistakes, because I did.  Zip wanted some sugar free cookies, but CVS didn’t have any, so I got him sugar free chocolate caramel pecans.  Well, tonight I realized why I didn’t buy them for him anymore.  They upset his stomach, give him gas and sometimes, diarrhea. I poisoned him again.  His tummy is really talking to him. Another lesson learned up here. I hope I don’t forget.

Oh, I found out I can get Netflix for 30 days free.  I did it and watched Gabriel Iglesia.  I laughed and laughed.  It was good.

So, right now Zip is not upright and walking, but he will be when he wakes up.

Day + 8 + The Covert Binoculars

Day + 8 brings us to low, low blood pressure, which means another bag of fluids this morning.  High glucose, which means insulin shot and watching his kidneys very, very carefully.  Low, low platelets, which means he got another nupagen shot which he’ll continue to get until his platelets start going back up.  He’s freeeeezing, but, he’s upright and still walking back and forth to the hospital everyday (mostly, he pushes his chariot until he can’t walk any further).

On to my covert late night binocular experience.  What I found, is that on Friday evening, the Johns Hopkins people leave the area.  I thought it was just Saturday and Sunday.  Nope, they leave the area.  The panhandlers, the drug transactions, the ladies of the night, go somewhere else on Friday.  There was nothing to look at last night. The street was almost devoid of any cars.  I was so bummed!  The most excitement I had, was a firework in the sky, probably around Federal Hill (A Firework) One dazzling red starburst only.  I watched the planes coming in for a landing at BWI, I watched a couple sitting on the bus stop bench, I watched trash blow down the street, nothing.  Never fear, I have Monday to look forward to for action.

Just so everyone knows and can sigh a sigh of relief.  I found a plumber for Jen’s 2 toilets, which were in need of repair. For anyone that needs a plumber, Paul Miller, Michelle’s husband came to the rescue.  He went in this morning and fixed the toilets.  He is now my go to plumber guy. I don’t know why I didn’t think of him right away.  Which brings me to the next thought…I have been really, really quiet, semi-calm and just trying to be a Mary, not a Martha.  I thought I was doing a good job.  I’ve been working on my trust and trying to listen to I need to do and believe that God is with us in the adventure.  I know he is with us.  I think I’ve been patting myself on the back, so, God decided to test me.  When I got the call from Jen that both toilets were down and that the plumber hadn’t called back and then he didn’t call me back and it was getting to be close to 5 PM.  I panicked, as some of you know.  I was calling and asking everyone I know.  I was getting crazy.  Somewhere in the midst of calling 5 plumbers, and going crazy, a little thought just popped into my head.  Michelle Miller’s husband Paul.  Why did I forget that?  I emailed Michelle and within a couple of minutes she wrote back that Paul would do it. So, the moral to this story is…God always has my back…even when I lose my way.



Day + 7 I have Binoculars

Had some problems at IPOP since Day +5.  Zip went on insulin and no longer needs his Glipizide for the time being.  His glucose level was 116 after the insulin.  We finally got back to our home away from home later in the afternoon yesterday.  I asked Zip for his Glipizide to put it away and of course he said, I won’t take it.  Of course, he forgot and took it, which made his blood sugar spiral, which made him think that he needed to eat something to bring it back up and of course it was peanut butter and jelly on white bread, PowerAde with sugar and who knows what else.  I was not privy to his concoctions.  Of course when he went into IPOP the next morning and his blood sugar was 238 and of course they couldn’t understand what had happened.  And of course, I told on him.  What are good wives for, but to tell the truth.  They did ask if I took the Glipizide away from him.  I did.  Oh, and I’m giving him insulin shots now.

So now we’re at Day +7 and he’s doing pretty good.  Seems to be having some mouth issues from the chemo, a sore mouth.  He’s seems to be dehydrated, even though he drinks a lot of water. He’s still not eating much, so, I can see he’s losing some weight. He’s got pain from the nupegen shots. But, as I keep saying, he’s upright and walking.  I’m pretty proud of Zip.  He’s looking at the sunnyside and working at getting better.

So, my niece contacted me for a visit.  She’s coming back to work at JHH in Labor and Delivery.  (What a cool job!)  She asked if I needed anything, since she lives in the area.  I said – Why yes, I need to borrow a pair of binoculars.  So today she came by and we had a really nice visit talking about our huge Lithuanian family and she brought the coveted binoculars.  I am soooo excited.

Stay tuned for my big covert stakeout on North Broadway and E Fayette St.


Day + 5 No Idea of Days or Time

Zippy and I go into IPOP this morning around 9 AM.  His numbers are going down, yet his blood sugar is going way up.  Blood pressure is way low and so, the saga begins.  He got 2 bags of fluids, and Nurse Jackie, who just loves Zippy, decided that he needed insulin and not pills for his diabetes.  Only for a short term while in JHH.  While Nurse Jackie was sweet talking him into insulin, which Zip DID NOT WANT INSULIN, she got him to start on all his stories, and his favorite one, broken ribs on the golf course and kinds of other stories between the two of them.  This made another caregiver person, in the unit, jealous and that person was vying for her attention.  Zip needs to lay low, this other person happens to live in Berlin and happens to have an old family name on the Eastern Shore, and, I think he may be pretty important.  Don’t know him. Don’t want to have an important good old boy from Worcester County checking Zippy out.

It turned out to be a very, very long day for us.  They have 2 shifts there.  One for mornings from 8 to 12 and then they start over with the next shift at 1 to 5.  We managed to drift into the 2nd shift and left around 2 ish.  Except for the hour of sweet talk and shots, it was  a very boring day.  In fact, I have totally lost track of days, times, dates, I got nothing in my head.  I asked for boring, I didn’t ask for a snore fest.  So, tomorrow I ask for calm and no throat problems with Zip.  He’s still upright and walking, a little slower today.  He’s got color back and gaining his beard back…probably going to lose it next week again. I have high hopes for tomorrow.  Planning on another field trip.

PS I need a pair of binoculars to see what’s going on outside at night.  There are some strange happenings out there on North Broadway.