Sunday, March 27, 2016

Looking back Sunday -

Happy Easter -

We went to church today - much to everyone's delight - The Shepherd is very active in our church - he is the Choir Director, The Grounds Keeper, on the Board of Directors and has been involved in many committees important to the church, like the last two Ministerial Search committees - so people there were feeling, I think, a little vulnerable perhaps? I think any time someone you are close to give you a worry of "what if this were to happen to me" -   But, things went well and some of the choir members had even "modified" a version of an old Methodist hymn, "Low in the Grave he Lay" - with some significant changes in the words - gave everyone a chuckle - especially The Shepherd.    

Since we don't have any lambs yet (but there are some pretty good baby bumps on Donna & Vanessa out there)  I thought I'd bring you memories of years past -

I don't know who this little cutie is. Born March 27, 2009.  Generally these ones with the dark bodies and white heads turn grey. 

Here it is a couple of months later - that grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. 

This fine fellow was Wicket - he was born in March of 2010.  
 Some of our "Farm Fresh Eggs" -

A couple at church brought a dozen of their farm eggs to church this morning.  Our Sunday School kids put together gift bags that go up to the hospital for the nurses to give to children who are visiting and need something to do, - the bags have crayons, stickers, other fun things in them.  The idea of the eggs was to "auction" them off to raise money for the Hospital Gift Bag project - Lets just say that someone is going to be eating a pretty expensive omelet tomorrow morning and they raised enough to fill 10 more gift bags.

It's time to get all of his bonsai plants out of the greenhouse!  One of his friends is coming over to help him on Tuesday. Yeah Kurt! 

 This picture always reminds me of "home" - ie, where I grew up over in Eastern Washington.  We had literally thousands of these plants, "Grape Hyacinths" lining the garden paths.  My little clump grows every year, but it's going to be a while before they line our garden paths. They are, however, one of my favorite spring flowers. 

I hope you enjoyed this look back with me.  Can you believe April is only 4 days away?  I could say, "what happened to March"  but I know that 3 weeks of it was spent with The Shepherd being sick - with 10 of those days in the hospital.  Whew - I hope that doesn't happen again. 

Happy Spring to you all! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Lookin' good here

 I haven't quite gotten the hang of taking pictures with my camera yet - they always look cloudy - maybe I have fingerprints all over my lens... ha ha - I took this picture of our front garden the other day.  Since then, the "glory of the snow" has doubled and it's all OVER the place! 

But it is pretty and springy, so who cares. 

Pesky stuff is everywhere!
The Shepherd continues to improve - he had a shower tonight - and it went well - the one he took at the hospital was a fiasco - he wasn't ready to be off the oxygen yet, and he panicked - this time it went much better and he felt bolstered by the improvement of not needing the oxygen, so that was good too.  Plus, I think it was just time for a shower, ya know...

I have to work tomorrow (normally have Fridays off, but one of my co-workers is taking off the weekend for a trip to see family for Easter.  Nice for her as she has been working hard, and nice for me, because I get some extra hours.  Always good. 

The sheep chores come early - gotta go. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

He's Home!

He's still on Oxygen, but it is minimal, and he has a 50 foot tube, so he can pretty much go anyplace in the house.  I was so pooped out by the time we got home (trip to the grocery store to get prescription and a few groceries, etc) and met the guy from the medical supply who set up his oxygen maker machine I just called work and told them I wouldn't be in.  I really hated to do it, but I was exhausted, and still had chores to do. 

Gracie is a little bit freaked out by the fans from the O2 machine, but she'll get used to it, I'm sure.  You'd think that I was the one who had been gone the way George is sticking to me like glue. 

Thanks so much for all your support over the past two weeks.  I'm just looking for "normal" now. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Well, what happened to the weekend and Ta Da - the "lost post #1000!"

Miss Frostiana - isn't she lovely?
 This post was supposed to happen back in February - you know, right after we sheared - right when The Shepherd started getting sick...

So we have double duty tonight - first - the Shepherd Update.  I can't figure out why I didn't post last night - I think it might be that I did an update to my Church email list and then, just slipped through my mind.  Not much has changed - they have been steadily dropping the liters per minute for the Oxygen - tonight (Sunday) when I left he was down to 7 lpm. and his "saturation rate was staying above 90 even getting up to 100% -  That is good - very good.

Micah, our Ace Shearer and barn helper
What wasn't so good was he tried taking a shower this a.m. without the oxygen and got a little panicky when he had some breathing difficulties. Once they put him back on the O2, he recovered very quickly, so I think that it will not be long before he can get along without it.  They said that he had to be down to 5 liters per minute before he could come home (on oxygen) - So maybe Tuesday or Wednesday - hope above hope...  We'll just have to wait and see, I guess. 

Emily throws those ewes around like a pro! 

These pictures were taken back on Feb 26. We met Micah through our friend Janet Maricle who is a 4-H leader and a Shepherdess of a beautiful, price winning, flock of Dorsets.  She recommended Micah to help John with some tasks, like worming, moving the ewes after they had been bred and she also mentioned that Micah and his sister Emily have both taken the WSU (Washington State University) shearing class.  After meeting him and seeing how he worked with the sheep, The Shepherd decided to take a chance and have them do our shearing this year.  They just did a fantastic job.  Because of school commitments and weather, we decided to do shearing on Friday evening - and we did it right in the barn for the first time.  Worked like a charm.  The Shepherd put a 150 watt bulb in the one light in the barn and it worked pretty good - (I think that we could have used another light on the other side of the barn - hopefully we won't be doing it at night again)

 The shearing went really smoothly - the kids sort of tag teamed - switching on and off - very few nicks on the sheep - one cut toenail, that they sprayed the heck out of with that purple stuff (should have put some spider web on it - bled like crazy)  Only one was hard to shear at all and that was Garnet - I think though, that she might have been coming on to the rise - Micah said that her wool was just "sticky"  (Shetland sheep, if left to nature, naturally shed their fleeces, called "rooing" and if you are trying to shear into the rise, well, it's just "sticky" 
Garnet being Miss Nosey

And luckily, unlike in years past, it didn't snow the day afterwards - although it did turn pretty darn cold and rainy.

Both Donna and Vanessa are showing baby bumps.  I don't think they are due until the middle of April though, so The Shepherd is going to have a couple of weeks to get better before the Blessed Event happens because you know he'll want to be out there snooopervising.  
Nekked girls - good haircuts, don'tch think?
It was a good shearing - Micah & Emily can shear for us again anytime -

So I have some observations on the past week:

~ The people who work at our local hospital, St. Joseph's, Peace Health Medical, are just fantastic.  Everyone has been so friendly and helpful.  I can't say enough about how nice they have been.

~ Sometimes you just have to depend on the kindness of strangers.  But the kindness of neighbors and friends can't be overlooked.  I have had so many offers of help, it has been really gratifying.  This has really made me step up to the plate and quite frankly has helped me get a little bit healthier.  I can certainly walk a lot farther than I could a week ago.  I can't remember if I mentioned in any of my updates that after nearly loosing my balance and falling over in the wind storm that we had last Sunday night, I determined that I would be safer to use my walker to get from the car to the hospital (about a block -maybe not quite that far, but it seems that way...) People are very willing to help you when you are using a walker - it is very sweet actually.

~  I'd like to mention, if you have a friend who is caring for a loved one, or has someone in the hospital, it is nice of you to say "let me know if you need anything"  - but here is what you might say:  "Can I go to the grocery store for you - give me a list of what you need" ;  "Can I bring you lunch at work" or, "What would you like for dinner, my treat".  Because I had been on the "sickly side" the whole time The Shepherd was getting worse and worse, things had kind of slid (worse than the normal slide) and I had 4 big loads of laundry to do - of course it had been raining cats and dogs, so I didn't dare do it at home - (drain-field issues) Our friend Nancy helped me take it to the laundromat - just the assistance of helping carry the laundry bags in, sitting and chatting while it washed and dried, then help with the folding when it was all done - that was enormous.

Sometimes it feels like there are too many balls in the air - juggling hospital, work, home, sheep.  Yes, I have hope above hope that he gets to come home this week.  Then I can at least take one of those balls out of the mix...

The "fruits of his labors" 

Ok, fellow spinners - doesn't Frostiana's wool (second from left on top) just make you drool - look at the beautiful crimp on that baby.  And it is snow white.  Lilah is the youngest of the six and her wool is the longest - I think it is probably about 8 or 9 inches long - I should go measure it.  One or two of them are pre-sold - the rest will go up for sale at the Wonderful Woolies Farm sale on April 9.

So there it is - Post #1000 - Michelle you won the "contest" - I'll be in touch about that lovely alpaca :-) 

Oh, and PS - Happy first day of Spring!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Things we take for granted and UPDATES BELOW

Who are you and what have you done with our Shepherd? 
Saturday, March 12, 3:00 a.m.  Just a quick note to update you on The Shepherd.  He is in the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs (is that double pneumonia?  I don't know) but the scariest part is the big blood clot that was hiding in the top of his right lung that they found with the CT scan, which was probably what was causing him to be so short of breath.  They have him on IV antibiotics for the pneumonia and IV heparin for the blood clot.

It's 3:00 in the morning and I'm going to bed.  Phew, it's been a long day.  Send your prayers and good thoughts to St. Joe's South Tower, 4th floor.  He's now in ICU 3rd floor instead - if you'd like to send a card, leave a comment and I'll email you our address -  Thanks.

UPDATE:  SATURDAY MARCH 12 - I spent the afternoon with The Shepherd in his ICU room - they had him on what I would call and "industrial strength" c-pap machine for the first two hours - he basically slept, but I could tell that he hated it.  BUT it was  helping his oxygen levels.  We had a visit from our new minister and Rev. Amy cheered him up lots (Thank you! :-) )  A very wonderful friend took me out to dinner, and,  I called the hospital when I got home and they said that he was doing pretty well.  He will be hungry for breakfast because they wouldn't let him have any dinner - being afraid that the c-pap would make him nauseous - didn't want him throwing up in it! (Ick) Friends and neighbors are helping with the critters, but I figure it's my turn to "step up to the plate" as he has taken care of the place when I've had various and sundry ailments over the years.  I'm getting my exercise, as the closest parking (handicapped - and I have my placard) is about a block from the main entrance of the hospital!!

UPDATE:  SUNDAY MORNING MARCH 13 - I just talked to his nurse and he did not have a very good night. He was on the c-pap all night and they plan on putting him back on it today - they will start IV feeding because they cannot let him have anything to eat or drink.   He is extremely fragile right now.  I'm starting to lose my brave face.  Please everybody hold him in your thoughts and prayers.  We've got to get him through this!

Our friend Nancy G is coming over this morning to help me get caught up on a few things.  It will be good to have another person in the house with me - the cats and I are getting lonely.

UPDATE:  SUNDAY NIGHT MARCH 13, 10:45 pm   What a crazy day - I was able to get a good rest last night.  Our friend Nancy came over this morning and helped me do some cleaning (that needed two people) and put a new cover on our couch.  Then we went off to the laundromat to do a passel of laundry.  Thank heavens for friends.  

Laundry dried and folded, she headed home and at about 3:00, I headed to the hospital.  He looked better this afternoon - his oxygen saturation level was up (his skin is returning to pink instead of grey)  and he was much more alert today than before.  Because of all the breathing apparatus they still were withholding food and were "considering" a feeding tube, which I really pushed for.  They got that in tonight - what a harrowing experience that is (!!) and were set up to start at about 7:00.  I'm really hoping that once he starts getting some nourishment he will begin to recover.  We're a long ways form being out of the woods, I fear.  
Activate lasers! 

We had another very bad windstorm here tonight - with gusts up to 60 miles an hour - it blew over a couple of his trees that are in boxes.  I'll have to have the neighbor guys come help put them back up.  They are blocking my way to the barn, but I can get around them.  The sheep were all pissed off at me because they were just a little bit late in getting fed and I think that the wind might have been freaking them out some. Such is life on the farm.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, and your comments of love and support.  

UPDATE MONDAY MARCH 14 7:00 pm   I have about  3 minutes and need to be on my way out the door for church choir rehearsal.  I HAVE GOOD NEWS for you - they moved him out of ICU this morning!  They are still having problems getting his oxygen levels stabilized, but we'll take what we can.  The sheep, cats and I are doing fine - the cats especially miss The Shepherd.  Well, and the sheep still think I'm the boogie man, but they have started to come running when they hear me hobble out to the barn :-)    More later. 

Down the street from my office
UPDATE TUESDAY MARCH 15, 11 pm   The Shepherd continues to improve - This morning when I went to see him he said he was barely able to move from the bed to his chair for breakfast.  When I left him at 11:30 he had just gotten his lunch and was eating mashed potatoes and gravy "with gusto". He called me at about 5 pm and he had just come back from a walk down the hall and back!  I think he is feeling like he is being "nibbled to death" by all the OT's and PT's and RT's, but he is definitely getting the attention that will continue his path to health.  Maybe I'm being overly optimistic but I think he might be home by Thursday if things keep improving! 

Beside our front gate

The sheep girls now come running to the barn when I call them from the path.  And they are almost used to me, enough that they run in, grab a mouth full of hay, stand there, trying to decide if they should dart back outside or grab another mouth full of hay.  Donna and Vanessa definitely have baby bumps but they are a ways away from lambing - maybe 3 or 4 weeks I think.  

I am so grateful that I have my new android phone that I got for myself for my birthday.  It has really been a life saver/godsend to be able to get messages out and to be able to use my email away from home during this time. And since I have it in my pocket all the time, it's handy to be able to take some fun pictures like these last three.  

I've only lost "my brave face" once in front of The Shepherd.  My sister said that was only to be expected, but I know that it won't help him to get better if he thinks I'm "freaking out".  So, we're doing the best we can.  TTYL

UPDATE WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2016  My update for today is "The more things change, the more things stay the same"  We are pretty discouraged today - they are still having a whole lot of trouble getting his oxygen regulated - they are giving him 15 liters (an hour?, not sure) but in order for him to come home, he has to move down to needing only 5 liters and that seems a ways away.  He is annoyed with the food service - he is on a soft food diet - they are worried about him choking, so all the food needs to be soft and maybe have a sauce on it - but he's not big for sauces and gravy, so the dietitian said she would order his food to come "with sauce on the side"  -  well tonight he got his mashed potatoes and gravy with gravy, AND a cup of gravy on the side.  He actually laughed about that.  

Between going out to the barn to feed sheep, and walking from the parking lot to the hospital and back (a block even though I'm in the handicapped lot)  I'm really getting my exercise.  I did decide to stash my walker in the trunk and use that to go from car to his room - much easier on my back than trying to walk all that distance with my cane and people are so sweet - they really scurry around to help me - opening doors or what ever.  Never underestimate the kindness of strangers.  

Thanks again for all your offers of help, your prayers and good thoughts.  Visualize his lungs healthy and strong, if you would.  I think that's what it is going to take.  I am grateful it is "only pneumonia" though - a friend's mom is down the hall with a blocked bowel - Colon cancer?  Maybe...And another friend whose FIL is in with "c.diff" - google it - it's nasty stuff - I think one would be a step up if you had e.coli and like that, it shuts down your kidneys.  I guess I'll take the pneumonia over those other two.  

UPDATE, THURSDAY, MARCH 17 - Hello - nothing really new to report today.  He is getting stir crazy and very lonely - even though I have been going up twice a day now.  Poor guy.  They did turn his oxygen down to 13 liters per hour but he has to be down to 5 before they will let him come home. 

Meanwhile life goes on - I have been going up to see him in the mornings and getting to work at about 12:30 - The last couple of days I have gone after work too - if I leave by 7:00 there is still enough ambient light for me to see to feed the sheep. I just ordered a better flashlight and some solar pathway lights from - he's not real crazy about outside lights, but hey, I'm not real crazy about wandering around in the dark either.  I have the next three days off, so maybe I can spend a little more time with him. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day - we had food left over from a luncheon at work - they had corned beef and cabbage - it was delicious!  I had some for my lunch and there was enough left over for my dinner!  Yum!    

Thanks again for all your notes of encouragement.  I need to go fold some laundry before I head to bed. 

UPDATE, FRIDAY MARCH 18 -  What's that old camp song - "Same song, second verse, a whole lot louder and a whole lot worse" ??  Not a whole lot of change today - although he did go for a couple of walks around the ward and they are trying to wean him down on the oxygen - he was down to 11 (liters per minute) when I left and the Respiratory Therapist said she might have them turn it down to 10 for the night and see if his numbers stayed up. Remember they said he had to be down to 5 before they would let him leave the hospital.  And, he actually ate all of his dinner tonight - chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy (with gravy on the side - ha ha) beets, applesauce and ice cream.  I stayed until almost 9:00 - didn't want to have them lock the front door and have to go out through the ER on the other side of the hospital.  He had some visitors today that cheered him a lot. 

My friend Misty came and did some cleaning for me - back porch and the little bathroom that The Shepherd uses.  It is nice to have her do the cleaning, but stressful for me because she throws stuff away without asking the significance of the item.  (like my $15  bottle of lavender oil that I put in the water when I wash my yarn - had to snag that out of the garbage sack!)  Our Gardening Angels - friends from church, are going to come spiff up the yard a bit in the morning, so he won't be stressed when he gets home and feel like he has to get out and clean up all the stuff that blew out of the trees when we had our recent wind storms.  We'll be OK as long as they don't dig up the asparagus...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Is it really Springtime?

The past two weeks have been a blur - a blur of pink cherry blossoms, yellow forsythia and that light shade of green that the branches on the weeping willow trees turn this time of the year. 

It's been a blur at work, since we just finished our annual Home and Garden Show - I wasn't able to physically help out at the location, but instead stayed back at the office to get the phones and help people coming in for one thing or another. 

And it's been a blur at home, because The Shepherd has bronchial pneumonia again - started about 10 days ago - he went through one course of antibiotics that normally kick it, but they didn't and we waited too long to get him on something else, so he's gradually slipping down hill.  Do you realize that he actually had ME go out and do chores this evening - what's that old saying "Whoa, momma" -  I just emailed our doctor and the next step is probably a trip to St. Joes.  Send good & healing thoughts this way, OK?  I'll keep you posted.