Tuesday, July 7, 2015

He Stood Up!

Today was a good day, maybe a great day! The PT and OT people came to Don’s room and helped him stand up to a walker. Wow! What a big step forward! He didn’t stay up long because he started getting dizzy, but he used his legs pretty well and showed more strength than he has in a long time. Later he said he forgot just how far down his feet were – a whole 6 feet (his height)!


We learned from an MRI conducted last night that he suffered a stroke during surgery, which accounts for the lack of use of his right hand. But the PT person raised it and flexed his wrist and elbow and said, “There’s definitely something here we can work with.”

To backtrack a bit in case you didn’t hear, Don had a problem during dialysis on Saturday, July 4 in Sierra Vista. They rushed him to the local hospital (the new Canyon Vista, a nice modern facility), ran lots of tests on him, and determined that he has a blood clot in his lung. He was then taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson where his heart surgery was done. He loved the lights and siren, used the whole way (about 75 miles) because of Independence Day celebrations making for heavy traffic!

I moved the motorhome from Fort Huachuca back to Davis-Monthan AFB on Sunday. The bedroom (driver side) slide-out came in okay, but is still a little crooked. I’m keeping the other side in until it can get fixed.

The nice end site I had last time at D-M was one I had to back out of, and I was chastised a little by the managers (who weren’t there when I checked in) because a 40-ft rig can’t make the sharp right turn out of the site. Okay, so I backed out, no big deal. I just couldn’t hitch up the car the night before to reduce the work the morning of departure. This time, I picked a better site and even got some shade from the tall tree to the west. The FamCamp is so empty, there’s nobody on either side of me.


The move back to Tucson will probably be good in many ways, with better health care options at more facilities, and the possibility of going into the hospital’s rehab unit instead of a nursing home/rehab center. We were disappointed with the care he was getting at Kindred Hacienda in SV, and we’ll have a better chance for a higher level of care in the bigger city.

While packing up the motorhome Sunday morning, I discovered the drain pipe under the galley sink had once again leaked. The big wok was full of water, and it had overflowed to soak the entire floor of the cupboard. Just what I needed. I bailed water with a smaller pan until the wok was light enough to lift out and dump in the bathroom sink, dried things out as best I could, and repacked everything on top of towels for the trip.

Happily, Ken Cameron of Cameron’s Reliable was able to come today and he fixed the pipes so they won’t fall apart again. Gravity and the “earthquake” effect of moving the motorhome kept breaking the seals, so he put longer pieces of PVC in and made stronger joints. My hero! Now I can wash dishes in the galley instead of the bathroom! I don’t know when he’ll be able to fix the slide-outs though, as he’s a very busy man, working on both RVs and other structures.

Meanwhile, Don’s getting Heparin in an IV drip to prevent the blood clot from growing and keep other clots from forming. And he’s getting Coumadin (blood thinner) by injection. We are told the clot will disintegrate on its own. As soon as it’s determined that he no longer needs the Heparin, he will be eligible for full-time rehab. Until then, he’s getting good care in the critical care cardiovascular unit on the 3rd floor at St. Mary’s. The rehab unit in the hospital is our first choice, as they do rehab for 6 hours/day, whereas he only got about 1.5 hours in the nursing home. So he would probably get stronger/better faster. And the environment is so much better in the hospital, without the typical smells and sounds of a nursing home.

Every prayer and positive thought from every friend and family member is so appreciated as we tackle every challenge during this difficult time. Please know how much it helps me to get comments by email, phone and Facebook, and I pass them along to Don. The greeting cards and flowers are also appreciated but certainly not necessary or expected. Don and I both feel loved and supported by you all!


  1. O My Goodness! You two have been having an on-going medical adventure! So glad that Don is back at St. Mary's. It sure sounds like a much better place for him to be. Continued thoughts and prayer are winging your way. Hugs, Jan & Chuck

  2. WOW You are both in our thoughts. Don must be feeling better if he enjoyed the sirens and flashing lights. Live Strong!!!

  3. Wow, you two sure have been through a lot. Lynn and I continue to pray for both of you.

  4. What a beautiful picture of Don! Not beautiful in the usual sense but so good to see him up. Tell him hi from us and hugs to you too Sharon. Love and prayers for you both.

  5. What an experience for you both! Larry & I will keep sending positive thoughts and prayers for your continued strength and Don's full recovery. It does sound like he'll get more attention and care now. That, too, should speed up his progress.

  6. I know this is a difficult road for you two, but know Don could have no better advocate than you, and he's got the will to get back "up to snuff" soon! We are wishing it to be so VERY SOON! Big hugs and many prayers for both of you! M&B

  7. So sorry Sharon to hearing of Don's ups and downs, especially the added small stroke he had. But, it sounds as if things are looking up in a big, big way and with his better care at the hospital, the only way now to go is UP!! We'll continue to keep you both in or prayers and thoughts.

  8. We've never met, but I have been following your blog since your trip to Alaska. Don is on my prayer list and I am really impressed with your positive attitude. May God continue to heal Don and be with you as you wait and take care of him.

  9. I think you have turned the corner Sharon, stay strong, hugs to both of you

  10. Diane and I are both happy that Don is making progress.


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