Tuesday, December 4, 2018

12/4/2018 Update on my Life

So, several things have happened to me lately--some good and some not-so-good.  I have been very busy grading papers and getting ready for the upcoming winter semester, and it has been too cold and rainy to do much sightseeing in this area, but I do want to visit the university museum when I get a chance.  I also want to rent a car and go for a drive up to Portland.  

Most of my medical issues are getting resolved, but two things I did not expect have happened lately.

First, I went to the LensCrafters store at the Eugene Mall to get a new left lens in my glasses.  My eyes have been getting tired lately, and I had noticed that my left eye was getting worse.  I have really had problems reading and grading students' papers online and had to take a lot of rests.  And it has been two years since I had a new prescription, so the solution seemed evident--new prescription and new lenses.  Except, the ophthalmologist told me that It would be useless because what I really needed was cataract surgery and an eyelid lift.  I've known for some time I had a mild cataract in my left eye, but it had never bothered me before, so figured I would get it done next summer at Cleveland Clinic when I was visiting my younger son and his family.  

I also knew that eventually my eyelids would continue to droop, and I would need a lift, but like the cataract surgery, I figured I could put it off for a few months or next summer, at the earliest.  So, now I need to find someone to do the surgery near here.  Got one recommendation, but other things have interferred--like Situation #2.

So, the second thing was that a few weeks ago, I had a cat scan for some unrelated issues.  This cat scan with dye showed clearly that my left kidney was not working well and that I had two collections of stones.  One was in the ureter, near the bladder and was clogging the flow of urine, which is why my kidney was not functioning well.  And the second group was a little nest of stones in my lower kidney that was in a place that meant they could not easily pass. 

So, a couple of weeks ago, I made an appointment at a urologist, and after looking at the cat scan, they got me scheduled into the hospital to get them out--fast!  I have been a regular kidney stone former for over 35 years, but have not really had any pain with these last ones, which puzzled me, although I did have some back pain I blamed on muscle spasms. But it was not constant and did not feel like kidney stone pain, so this one completely missed me. 

So surgery was scheduled for last Thursday afternoon.  They went in and discovered the lowest stone had already passed, but they used a laser lithotripsy to blast the "nest" of stones in my lower kidney.  It meant general anesthesia and an overnight in the hospital on an uncomfortable bed, but it had to be done.  They put in a stent from kidney to bladder to help them pass, but I have had stents in the past and they typically cause pain and a lot of bleeding.  It did not help that my platelet count has been very low, making the bleeding worse, but no choice in postponing.  

So, I have spent the last few days mostly sleeping or sitting in my recliner.  I made sure I had plenty of food, water, propane, pain meds, and stuff before all this started.  But today, I had to go out to get blood tests done, and drove, plus I also did some grocery shopping--big mistake.  I have to go out tomorrow to get the stent removed, but I think I will take Uber because I had a lot of pain after getting home this afternoon.  Basically, the doctor said to focus on being a couch potato for the next few days, which I need to do a better job at.  

I am feeling much better right now, after dinner and a pain med chaser.  Got papers to grade, but luckily that is easily done while sitting. 

So, "they" tell me cataract surgery is very easy these days, but I think I am going to wait a bit before tackling that item on my to-do list.  I also really need to get a colonoscopy and a breast exam, but those are on the back-burners also.  At least I am in a place with lots of good doctors.  But, I am still anxious to head someplace warmer and sunnier as soon as I can!   

And speaking of staying warm--I got two new electric heaters that really do a much better job of keeping me warm.  They use the same number of watts, but blow the air around better, plus they have an extra safety feature.  Nearly all small electric heaters have a feature where they shut off if tipped over.  These also turn themselves off if they overheat, which is a concern when you live in a small place.  

It is going to drop down to 26 degrees tonight, and I have filled my fresh water tank and unhooked the water hose to prevent it from freezing.  I also wrapped an old towel around the area in the utility cabinet  where the sewer hose exits to keep cold air out.  There is furnace duct in that compartment which should prevent freezing down to around 20 degrees, so I should be OK. 

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