I finally got it straight, between Leland, Mama and my brain, that the heart doctor wanted her to go see her primary doctor at some point in the next eight weeks so that he could refer her to a vascular surgeon--this is in reference to the subclavian steal syndrome that she suffers from on her right arm primarily. It hurts terribly with the least bit of exertion--just think how your own muscles pain you when you've exerted them into oxygen deprivation, that's what she's got a giant head start on, that sort of pain. So today I called her primary doctor and got the appointment changed from March 1 (Mama and I had totally misunderstood what the doctor had meant, thank goodness for Leland's young mind and memory) to this Friday. Leland's going to take her. While it's not likely that much can be done for her about this, we at least don't want to not try. (What a pitiful sentence. It shows you just how tired I am right now.)
Then I called her lung doctor to try to find out the results of the chest CT scan that she had done on Monday. A nurse practitioner called back in the afternoon--the lung doctor is out until Monday. She said that the only person who had looked at it so far was the radiologist. For that person it showed fluid in her lungs, emphysema in the upper lobes. The fluid is consistent with congestive heart failure, so she talked with one of the other doctors who said to get the heart doctor's heart failure nurse to call me and see if the heart doctor wants to set up an appointment for lab work and then there could be the possibility of altering her meds. Why didn't the heart doctor's people do lab work last Thursday when she was there for her office visit/check up? Duh.
I asked the nurse practitioner about the continuous oxygen and the manner in which Mama should be breathing in and out. I've been suspicious that lately she's not taking deep enough breaths--on Saturday I asked her to take deep breaths with her mouth closed. "Why?" I said I thought it would help. "Do you see people doing that? Breathing through their noses with their mouths shut?" Yes, I said, I believe I do. She started then to take a few deep breaths now and then. For real, the nurse practitioner explained that Mama ought to be taking deep breaths with her mouth closed, then slowly letting it out through pursed lips. It seems this method allows more oxygen to make it into her lungs. The problem is that she cannot remember to do this very often. So I've got my aunt down in Mississippi reminding her--they talk on the cell phone every day. Tomorrow I'm going to talk with my brother and get him in on it. I'll remind her when I talk with her every day, too. Plus I'm going to get Lamont and Leland to do it, too.
She and Duncan are in bed now, Wednesday night, as I sit her typing, breathing through my nose with my mouth shut. She's reading; he's sleeping.
Now for the snow.
These men have been shopping at Fred Meyer on Burnside. I can tell by the paper shopping bags with handles that you see in the hands of two of them. They're walking east, about the cross in front of our bus. Those cars are on Burnside. And you see the McDonald's--our goal, the bus stop alongside it, just out of the photo to the left.
See that 20 bus, To Portland? Our skilled, determined driver did and calmly said, "Maybe that 20 will help us." It did, eventually, once our driver sent strong vibes to that driver who then sort of blocked both west-bound lanes for a few moments so that we could take advantage of an opening in the east-bound traffic flow.
Hooray! We're finally on Burnside, head west up the hill. It would take about half an hour more before I could get off at the top of our street, four blocks away from McDonald's.
Next time, the last of the snow.