Friday, July 28, 2006

Another transfusion

As expected, I needed another blood transfusion this week. After getting back from the lake on Monday and feeling drug out, I went for a blood test on Tuesday, a day early. My Hgb was at 8.5 so I was back in on Wed for 2 units of "red blood cells, leuko reduced and irradiated", the typical fare. My white cells and platelets were essentially unchanged in the normal ranges. I did not have my blood clotting checked, but will next week.

I went back to work 4 hours after the transfusion, but then on Thurs after lunch, I felt tired and went home to bed for the afternoon. Today, I felt fine and worked 9 hours. Tomorrow, I need to work on the 97 Malibu's front suspension which appears to have broken a spring.

Overall, it does not appear that the Rituxan is working, but will give it another 4 weeks before discussing a possible BMT.

I visited my mother at the nursing home on Wed and Thurs nights. She now has a bladder infection, but seemed to be more alert last night. When I got there, she was getting a shower and then stayed up until 9 pm with me while we watched "America's got talent" on TV. I did not make it there this evening, but instead got Marilyn's computer data recovered from her burned out eMac. That's another story that I plan to put on my neglected Njerd blog.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fish Biting - Clouds

Andrew and I have been at the cabin on Grace Lake near Bemidji since Friday night. Planned to go back home on Monday, but may be tempted to stay a while. Temperature was near 80 yesterday and made it to about 87 today in the shade. I took the thermometer down to the lake where the water temp was at least 79 and the temp in the sun was close to 100.

The fish were biting, but I was not fishing. I think the crappies and sun fish in the lake have been cross-bred with pirrahna. When I walk into the lake, they swarm around me. If I stand still they try to nibble on my lake shoes, swim trunks and a dark growth on my shin. When I float in the inner tube, they try to bite the moles on my back. If I float on my front, they will "nibble my nipples". They are pestier than any of the flys. Thankfully, I have not seen a mosquito. Must be too dry.

We have a rubber raft that works ok to put something between my body and the fish, but it was too windy today. I quickly became winded trying to paddle against the wind just to stay in front of the cabin. Then I thought of a solution. We have springy steel and wicker style recliner. When on the porch, it springs back so far, it is almost impossible to get out of. But when placed in about a foot of lake water, it works beautifully. The waves cause it to bob up and down, scaring away the fish and continously splashing water to keep me cool. I placed it under the white birches that overhang the lake and provide shade.

So where do the clouds come in? While cooling off in the lake, I looked up to the heavens and saw several types of clouds. Low in the sky were the cumulus clouds which seem to be constantly changing and could develop into cumulonimbus storm clouds. Just like troubles in our lives, these tend to block out the sun for a while and may develop into bigger storms. But high in the sky were some cirrus clouds at 20,000 feet or higher. These wispy clouds generally occur in fair weather and appear to me as angel's wings, showing God's grace and protection above all of my troubles. Also when next to the lake and when driving here through some wide open farm country, I could see the clouds for miles. There may be a cloud above my head blocking the sun, but not too far away, I can see the sunshine. Quite a change in weather from my "Son Shine" post of Feb 19.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Delayed Status

Sorry that it has been 11 days since the last entry, but life has been slow. The Summer is half over and we are half-baked with about a full week of 90+ degree weather. It was actually 100 on our thermometer a couple of days. We finally got about an inch of rain and temperatures back in the 70s. Forecast looks more moderate for the weekend when Andrew and I will be up at the cabin. I pick him up from Bible camp on Friday and we head up to stay until Monday.

My energy is marginal for the weekend since my hemoglobin was 9.3 today, not quite low enough for a blood transfusion which I certainly will need next week. It only has been 13 days since the last transfusion and my Hgb only dropped from 10.0 last week. Maybe the Rituxan is taking effect and next week will be a good indication. My other counts are in the normal range with white cells at 4.9 and platelets at 436. Last week, my clotting Factor 2 was right on target at 20 so I am not getting it checked every week.

Since I reported on July 5, my mother has been moved to a nursing home and is doing well. She is now getting around some with a walker and had the catheter removed today. We played Scrabble Friday night and went to the chapel service on Sunday morning. When I left this evening she prayed for many people by name, mentioning facts in their lifes that we had discussed recently. May God bless her and give us some more time to enjoy her company.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Well with my soul

Marilyn and I are at the lake cabin. The moon is just rising in the East even as the sun is setting in the West. It is almost full and looks like it will be a clear evening to enjoy it reflecting off of Grace Lake. It has been a beautiful though hot day, close to 90 degrees, but will be back down to about 60 over night.

We have Anna's old iBook laptop with all kinds of music, video and podcasts stored in iTunes. One podcast from the Speaking of Faith public radio show caught my eye. I fired it up and we both were truly blessed. It was a interview with the late singer and educator Joe Carter, an expert on the African American Spiritual. He explains the origin of the spirituals and sings many of them.

He tells a story about Elijah and a woman who's son had died. When he asked her "How is it with thee?", she answered, "It is well with my soul!" He said that this is typical of especially older people who really have faith. This reminded me of my mother, though with all that she has been through in the last couple of weeks, does not complain. She sets a good example for me, reminding me that all that matters is the condition of my soul.

If you wish to listen to this podcast, you can download it to your PC at the Speaking of Faith web site. You can also listen to his music directly on line.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blood Needed - Mom OK

I was in for my third Rituxan IV this morning at 7:30 am. Finished at 11:30 and was back to a meeting at work by noon. Worked two hours through VPN network this morning and six this afternoon. My weekly bloodtest showed an Hgb level of 9.1. It was 8.2 last Wednesday causing me to have a blood transfusion last Friday. It may have dropped to 7.8 or less by Friday and possibly increased to about 10 after the transfusion. Anyway, I will have another blood transfusion tomorrow, making it the shortest time (six days) between transfusions, not considering when I received 4 units over 1 to 2 days in the hospital. Each transfusion is normally 2 units, making this 35 total units over 17 transfusions since June 2004. Trying to keep the average Hgb higher, especially since I would like to go to the lake cabin on Friday.

While I was getting my IV, my mother was getting a stent put into her right carotid artery. Everything worked out OK and they even were able to retrieve the remainder of the old clot during the procedure. Thank God for an answer to prayers. I am heading out to visit her right after posting this blog entry.