Friday, October 28, 2011

Nook Color Thumb

I have a new syndrome (ailment) to report—Nook Color Thumb.

Nook in its cover:


Nook with cover open and folded back:


My hand holding said Nook:007

I hold it like this so that I don’t accidently cause the pages to flip when I don’t want them to flip.

My hand with fingers in normal position:


My hand after holding Reader for a length of time:009

Note the position of the thumb. It is drawn up against the forefinger and won’t move. After massaging it a bit, the cramp-like sensation disappears allowing the thumb to move again. If I again hold the Reader, the thumb and parts of the hand cramp again.

I wonder if this will be recognized by the powers that be as a legitimate syndrome. I would like it to be known as Lucy’s Nook Thumb Syndrome. I’ll be famous!

Hmmm. . .My 7” tablet doesn’t cause me this problem. Of course, the tablet is less weighty.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall in the Southeast

Last week Mr. Fixit and I drove out to Lake Hartwell. It was a blustery day, chilly and overcast. The water was rough.
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The maple in the front yard looked like this just a few days ago—very little color
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Yesterday morning it looked like this.
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Yesterday we drove to Johnson City, Tennessee, to see the foliage. We were almost too late. The color wasn’t as vivid as it is some autumns. There was very few reds. Even the sumac was dull. These pictures were made at an overlook on I26 between Asheville, NC and Johnson City, TN just over the Tennessee line.
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(Click on Photo for Detail)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Calling Dr. Doofus!

Mr. Fixit saw the cardiologist Friday. His blood pressure has been very high for a few days. The doctor put him on a new medication to control it.

It was during the visit that he asked us why we were upset during the stay at the hospital. I finally got to have my say to this guy.

When Mr. Fixit was sent to the large hospital the physician that we normally see was off for the weekend.  He saw Mr. Fixit in the emergency room Friday night. We didn’t see him again until the office visit Friday. His partner arranged for the transfer and said the heart cath would be either Monday or Tuesday. We assumed it would be Tuesday. We didn’t expect to be put ahead of others. However, the nursing staff at the hospital began paging him Sunday evening after we arrived to get orders from him. He never answered his page. Monday we didn’t see a doctor at all. All day long the nurses were trying to get in touch with him. They told us that this group had a reputation for ignoring their pages.

Tuesday morning came and still no orders had been received. The nurses were upset and finally paged a third partner in the practice. We had never heard of this guy. By this time Mr. Fixit was getting ready to leave.

When the third partner came in, he said, “We didn’t know you were here. If I had known I could have done your procedure yesterday.” I was so angry. We didn’t know this guy from Adam, and he assumed that he would just walk in without the benefit of knowing Mr. Fixit’s history and do the heart cath. When he walked out of the room for a moment, I asked the nurse, “Who is this guy? How do we know if he is competent?” The nurse explained that he was a new partner in the practice and he was competent to do the procedure. She also told us we didn’t have to let him do the procedure. She suggested that we talk to the patient advocate at the hospital. But we decided to go ahead and let him do the procedure so Mr. Fixit wouldn’t have to spend an extra day there.

After the procedure, I did speak to the advocate, and I asked her not to do anything until I called her. We wanted to wait until after the first check-up. We wanted to speak with this doctor face to face and let him know that his handling of Mr. Fixit’s case was not acceptable.

The next morning the third partner came in with the discharge papers, and he knew we were upset. Apparently, the advocate,or perhaps the nursing staff, had told him that we were very angry. He said that he would take over the case if we wanted. I had a feeling that there could have been a power issue within the practice. We made an appointment with him for the follow-up.

I received a call from the first doctor the next day        asking us to change the appointment and see him. I agreed. When he put his office manager on the phone to make the appointment, she asked me what the problem was. I told her that I would discuss it with the doctor when we came in Friday. She said she wanted to know because the doctor wanted to document the situation. That made me even madder. I declined to discuss it her again.

During the office visit, I explained to him that we had very little confidence in a doctor who “forgets” that his patient was awaiting a procedure. I also explained that I was angry that his office manager said he wanted to document the situation without talking to me himself. He apologized several times and denied that he received the any page from the nursing staff.  He tried to blame the whole thing on the second partner. He also said that the new partner could not have performed the procedure on Monday because he (our doctor) had booked the cath lab for most of the morning. He had one excuse after the other. I told him I didn’t care to hear his excuses because forgetting his patient was completely unacceptable under any circumstances. I was completely civil to him. I didn’t raise my voice one time.

When Mr. Fixit had his stent put in several years ago, we had a problem  with him, too. We were told the procedure would take about 45 minutes. Two and one half hours later, we still hadn’t heard that he was in recovery. We were in the waiting room. Finally, my son called someone and found that his doofus had neglected to let us know that Mr. Fixit had been returned to his room. I was a nervous wreck by that time. I was sure that there had been complications.

When the doctor came into to speak with us later, I told him then that he or one of his team should have let us know what was going on. He apologized that time, too, but he said he had an emergency come in and he had to save a man’s life. I told him I was glad he saved a life but that he had a responsibility to us to let me know that my husband wasn’t dead. I told him that time, too, that his actions, or lack of action, was unacceptable. Fat lot of good that did. He also decided to do the heart cath at one hospital and to put in the stent in another hospital almost doubling our bill.

As soon as Mr. Fixit’s blood pressure problem is resolved, we will attempt to find another cardiologist who associated with our insurance network. Dr. Doofus thinks that the problem has been resolved;  he might be a little surprised when he sees a request to transfer Mr. Fixit’s files to another physician. No,    maybe not. I have a feeling that as long as he has patients needing his services who are in our  position  he won’t give two hoots unless we  decide to make a complaint to the hospital.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Smack Upside the Head?

Today a water department guy came to our door and said that we should check for a leak because our water consumption doubled for last month.

This afternoon we found the leak. It’s between the meter and the house; therefore, it is our responsibility to repair it. Mr. Fixit is making plans to dig up the area to fix it tomorrow.

I reminded him rather forcefully that it was only two weeks ago tonight that he had a heart attack. He says he fine and he’s going to start it tomorrow after his checkup with the doctor.

What do you do with a person like this?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hospital Stay

There were some problems with Mr. Fixit’s recent hospitalization. They were disturbing to say the least.

Sunday night after moving to the large hospital, Mr. Fixit woke about 3:00 am. The heart monitor that was in his pocket slipped out. I helped him find it in the bed linens and put it back into the pocket of his gown. Apparently, there was no interruption of the data being sent to the people monitoring him because no one came to see if there was a problem.

After waking, he said that he was experiencing that indigestion feeling he had Thursday night. (That’s when we suspect he had the actual heart attack.) He pushed the button to call the nurse. They answered quickly and ask his about his problem. He explained and they said they would send a nurse to his room.

After about 10 minutes, the discomfort had lessened, but the nurse hadn’t come to check on him. In 20 minutes the discomfort had completely disappeared. I stayed awake from 3 am to 7 am and not one nurse so much as stuck her head in the door. I have a feeling that she thought I was asleep because I didn’t turn on the overhead light. I was reading using my reader.

We didn’t know whether to mention it or not. When you are in a vulnerable position as we were, you think twice before making waves.

During the course of the morning when the day shift started making rounds, a nurse asked if he had any problems during the night. I then explained that he had some discomfort but that it disappeared. I then told her that we had asked for a nurse, but no one checked on him.

I went to sleep about midnight and slept until he woke me at 3:00 so I suppose someone could have checked on him between those hours, but no one came to check on him after he reported his discomfort.

The next night we had a different nurse, and they seemed to be very solicitous. The fact of the matter is that we don’t know if the nurse ignored him or if the person who answered his call neglected to notify the nurse.

The next day there were problems with the cardiologist who was to do the heart cath. More to follow tomorrow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Home Again

Mr. Fixit is home now. The heart cath went well and showed no blockage either in the old stent or in any of the other arteries.

Several unsettling things happened while he was in the hospital, but those stories will have to wait. We are both very tired today. Let’s just say that hospitals and doctors aren’t like they used to be (to their detriment).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

Here we sit at a large hospital in a neighboring city. We still haven’t been told when Mr. Fixit will have the heart cath done. We are waiting for the cardiology team to let him know. It could be this afternoon or sometime tomorrow. It seems that things are a bit unorganized in this institution.

He is feeling okay. He’s just tired. When we were in the smaller hospital, they woke him at least every two hours to check on him. After you wake, it’s a little difficult to get back to sleep. The staff at the small hospital was terrific and very helpful.

Not knowing the immediate future causes a bit of a hardship on me. I need to have time to go home to shower and to get a decent meal instead of eating out of the vending machines. I don’t have some of my meds with me either. My glucose levels are either sky high or low enough that my mind is a little muddled. But maybe that’s because I’ve had very little sleep since Thursday night.

The cats haven’t been fed today either. They may revert to their feral nature and start hunting leaving the remains as gifts for me. Yuk!

I rode in the ambulance yesterday when they transferred him. That was exciting; I’ve never been in one under any circumstances. I suggested that I would drive if the need arose. I think that might rank up there with driving a lap around a speedway in a stock car. They didn’t take me up on my offer. I didn’t ask to turn on the siren and lights, but I was sorely tempted.

And so we wait.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Mr. Fixit is doing quite well. He has been stabilized and will soon be moved to a regular room from Critical Care. I can hardly wait. Once you are in this unit, you can’t just leave and return. You have to be admitted each time. I try not to leave so I don’t have to bother anyone at the nurses’ station. .

He will be moved to a large hospital tomorrow for a heart cath and possibly a stent. If the blockage that caused the event is in the old stent, he will have by-pass surgery. If a completely different artery is blocked, they will put in a new stent.

He didn’t sleep at all last night because he was tethered to monitors and there is still an IV being used. He was so uncomfortable. I slept a couple of hours in a recliner, but I’m very tired also. To say that he was not a happy camper is a gross understatement.

I’m glad there was only minor damage (as far as we know at this time). 

Broken Heart

Today didn’t go exactly as planned. In fact, not one thing went as planned. We were going to Barnes and Noble to ask a question about my Nook. I also planned to go to the hairdresser and to take some books back to the library. We didn’t accomplish anything on the “to-do” list.

It all began last night. We had three baseball games scheduled. We skipped Levi’s game because it was Owen’s turn for us to watch him play. Noah’s game was scheduled immediately after Owen’s.

During Noah’s game, Mr. Fixit bought a snack and ate some it. It seemed to cause him to have heartburn or indigestion. We arrive home about 10:00 pm. His discomfort continued after he went to bed.

After breakfast this morning, he was feeling okay except for the heartburn. He decided to check his blood pressure. It was okay; it was lower than usual. The BP monitor also shows your pulse rate. This wasn’t okay. It was up to 155 and indicated an irregular beat. I suggested that he take it again; it remained in the 150’s. His indigestion went away and he felt fine and his color was normal.

While I was in the shower, he decided to go for his walk. While he was gone, I called his cardiologist, and the nurse suggested that I take him to the emergency room ASAP. I picked him up in the car and passed on the information from the nurse. He was having none of it. He said he felt fine. Finally, after “discussing” the problem for several hours, he decided maybe the best course of action would be a visit to the hospital. We arrived about 2:00 pm.

It is now just past 11:30 pm, and we are in the Critical Care Unit. The medication has finally kicked in. His heart rate is down to 60 as it should be.

When we first arrived, an EKG was done. I asked the attending ER physician if it looked as if he had had a heart attack. He said that it didn’t appear so. He said it showed only a very irregular heartbeat. We were told that if he didn’t respond to the medication to reduce and stabilize his heart rate, a pacemaker could have been in his future. I guess we don’t have to worry about that now.

When he was brought to Critical Care, the nurse told us that the blood work indicated that he did, indeed, have a mild heart attack. He had no symptoms except for the “indigestion.”

Tomorrow morning there are some tests scheduled to determine how much damage was done to the heart and to check to see if another heart catherization and stent is in his future.

Today when I was trying to get him to the hospital, I was thinking about his 74th birthday that is in a few days. I was thinking that he was very lucky not to have had a major heart problem by this age. Lots of men have. I still feel very lucky that even though there was damage to his heart; it seems to be minor. I hope the tests tomorrow prove it so.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Picky, Picky, Picky

During the ‘70’s when mini-series were very popular television programming, I chose not to watch. I missed “Roots,” “The Thornbirds,” “Shogun,” and all the rest except for one; I watched “Chiefs.” It was based on a novel by Stuart Woods. I liked the mini-series very much so I read the book which I also enjoyed. I may have read one or two other stand-alone novels by Mr. Woods.

Mr. Woods has written several series books including one series featuring a character named Stone Barrington, a lawyer. To be perfectly honest, the character left me cold. I read one book in that series and left them behind.

Mr. Woods then began several other series, one of which featured a retired female MP who becomes chief of police in a small Florida. I liked this character more.

He has another series which I can read featuring another lawyer. While he is not one of favorite characters, I can find positive things to say about the writing, plots, and characters.

I checked a couple of his books out a week or so ago, and I discovered something that put me off a bit. At the end of the books, there is an “Author’s Note.” In this note, he has instructions for his readers as to the contents of any e-mail they may send. While I understand some of his comments, his tone is arrogant. Among other things, he wants no attachments; he doesn’t want to be added to mailing lists for “funny stories, prayers, political causes, charitable fund-raising, petitions, or sentimental claptrap.”

He wants no ideas for a book. “If you have a good idea for a book, write it yourself, but I will not be able to advise you on how to get it published.”

He wants to hear nothing about typographical errors or editorial errors. “If you feel an irrestistible urge to tell someone, please wire. . . Do not e-mail your discoveries to me, as I will already have learned about them from others.”

He doesn’t even want to hear from anyone who may want to acquire the film, dramatic or television rights to his books, but he does include an address for his agent. I wonder how many people who read his books are begging to acquire such rights.

While I do understand why he doesn’t want book ideas (I suppose he could be sued if one of his books contained one iota of anything similar from a fan), and I don’t like getting forwarded mail either. However, it seems to me that as a writer he should have been able to make his requests a little less arrogant and a little more civil.

I get the feeling he will be glad to receive emails with glowing reviews of his talent, but little else. I will have a little problem spending my hard-to-come-by dollars to purchase any more of his books.