Scary Times

Hello friends, when I last left you I told you about Mark having those dreaded shingles. He started on the antiviral meds last Tuesday, a week ago, afternoon along with a pain medication. He called Vanderbilt, where our kidney transplant team is, and told them what was going on. They immediately upped the dosage of the antiviral drug.

Within a couple of days it was quite clear that Mark was getting no better. If anything the blisters and scabs looked worse. Also he had break outs on his head and face that almost looked like chicken pox. By Thursday they had spread to his neck, shoulders and upper back. On Thursday morning Mark sent a picture of all of this to the transplant team at Vanderbilt in Nasvhville. They called within five or ten minutes and told him to be on stand by and as soon as they had a bed available they would admit him. They felt like they needed to get the meds in by IV.

Now keep in mind we are about three and a half hours from Nashville maybe four hours if the traffic is bad. Mark called me at work and told me all of this and I ran home to pack an overnight bag and try to work out a plan to get all the babies taken care of.

I called my sister, Sandy, first thing because she is always my right hand and helps me with everything. I called my sister in law Pat and asked if she would take Scruffy. She said of course. I got all the things together that we might need to leave behind for Molly and Kitty Kitty. They are not quite as needy as Scruffy. The only problem we had was having someone come to the house twice a day to let Molly in and out. We don’t like leaving her out at night because of coyotes. She has gotten so old she can hardly hear and her eyesight is not good. Kitty Kitty only needed food to be put out for her daily.

It doesn’t help that we live about thirty minutes from all of my family so it’s not like they can just drop by and let the babies in and out and feed them. A plan had to be made and my sister took over the next day and had several of my family members coming to help out. Let me say right here, I have the best most wonderful family in the world. When anything like this happens they go into full “what can we do to help” mode. I don’t know what we would do without them.

We took off for Vanderbilt on Thursday afternoon. It was pouring down rain and the visibility on the Interstate was terrible. We got to the hospital in pretty good time and got quickly through admitting. They took us to a room and immediately started running some tests on Mark. They wanted to make sure it was shingles and not some other kind of infectious disease. At this point I started questioning it too. The doctors and nurses were coming in suited up in what looked like hazmat suits. Maybe it was some kind of flesh eating disease or something. See what I do???

There was a large chair that pulled out into a cot-like bed and that is where I spent the next three nights. Because I can sleep anywhere, including falling asleep standing up a few times, the cot was fine for me. Of course you know I brought my knitting and MacBook and made myself at home. Mark wanted me to get a hotel nearby but there was no way I was leaving.

The really scary thing was that we knew the kidney was in jeopardy because of all the different medicines that Mark was being given. The Prednisone was really scary. Luckily he wasn’t on that one for very long. But the wonderful thing about the transplant team was that they were right on top of it. Another good thing, the kidney was transplanted nine years ago and not six months. That would have been really scary. The doctors were constantly checking Mark’s blood to make sure that the kidney, whom we call Baby Kay, was doing fine. One of the transplant doctors told us Mark’s was not the worst she had seen. She said she had about three or four patients a year that had to be hospitalized because of shingles. She said because of all the immunosuppressants their bodies just couldn’t fight it off. The immunosuppressants were also the reason the shingles had disseminated and spread all over his body.

Scenes from our room.
Life Flight came in many times a day and night.

After three days of tests and IV’s and many many doctors coming in to look at the shingles, including an infectious disease doctor, they felt like the virus was under control. They said when he hadn’t had any new break outs in twenty four to forty eight hours they felt it was under control. The shingles had started to dry up by Sunday morning and they told us we were going to be able to go home. The new thing would be for us to watch carefully for infection. It took a few hours to finish the last IV’s and get all the discharge papers and have the doctors make their final rounds.

We ran by and picked up Scruffy on the way home so all the family could be back together. It had only been three days but it felt like forever.

I know you have been there. Whether it was you, your spouse, family or other loved ones things can be so scary when health is involved. I found myself at times, while we were in the hospital, almost letting myself be consumed by fear. To the point that I couldn’t think rationally. I knew if things went bad for the kidney we could be leaving there with Mark having to have dialysis. I had to go outside and have some very strict conversations with myself. I walked around, got fresh air, coffee and a blueberry scone or two and tried to calm down. A friend gave me some great advice and told me to envision Mark as whole and healthy. She said to pull my thoughts out of worry and focus on sending him healing thoughts, powerful energy and prayer. That is what I did and I really believe it helped. The alternative is really just too scary.

We are home and Mark is doing better day by day. The blisters and lesions still look horrible but there is improvement daily. There will be some additional blood tests and another trip to Vanderbilt for a follow up to check on the kidney. I am happy to do all of that to make sure everything is good.

Life is precious, always remember,

Love your day your way!!!!

When You Look Fear In The Eyes

Hello friends, I know I start every post like this but man what another crazy week in our household. Actually a couple of crazy weeks.

About two weeks ago my husband told me he thought he had pulled a muscle in his lower back and abdomen. He thought he had done this from working out. After a few days he had such pain that he couldn’t sleep and had spasms along the front of his stomach. A few days later a rash broke out around his abdomen. If you have ever had the dreaded “shingles virus” you know where this is going. I am not going to bore you with the details of shingles. You can google them yourself. But having them is freaking horrible. Last Saturday night he finally came clean and told me how bad it was. He lifted his shirt and showed me the blisters and rash and I freaked the F out!!!!

Having a transplanted kidney does not make any situation that Mark has an easy one. Having shingles is no exception. I finally got him to go to the doctor on Monday morning. Well I practically had to haul his butt to the doctor but he was feeling so bad by that time he was willing to go. The doctor said it was the worst case of shingles she had ever seen. Of course. She said if he had come in the week before when the break out first started it would have been easier to deal with. Yep that’s my husband. At this point all I could do was glare at him. However, I am scared shitless. Could this affect the kidney? definitely if infection occurs. Could this lead to other issues with the kidney function? It could. Could the meds he will have to take interfere with the anti rejection drugs? They could. Add in the very fact it makes me feel ill to watch him go through the pain he is in. Of course it is never easy watching a loved one suffer, you know that. Why would he wait this long before seeing a doctor or letting me know how bad it was. I don’t know.

The local doctors were a little wary about prescribing a lot of meds until we heard from Vanderbilt. They were not nephrologists and they didn’t want to make that call. A trip to Vanderbilt may still be in our immediate future. I know the four hour trip each way would be hard on Mark but all of our doctors are there. Finally Vanderbilt called in meds to our local pharmacy and Mark started them today. Please pray for healing and comfort during the healing process. The next forty eight hours should tell us some things that we need to know.

So other than dealing with all of this and working between the doctor and pharmacy visits, things are as well as they can be. I try to stay busy when I am worried so that is what I am doing. My husband is my first priority. The babies still need to be cared for but taking care of the house and my job still has to be done also. But in the back of my mind I have a back up plan if we do have to go to Nashville and maybe plan a stay there. I have a plan for the babies, that is the most important part, and other than that we just have to take it as it comes. Did you notice I mentioned plan like three times. GEESH!!!! This is one of the hardest things for me. I want everything fixed before I realize there is a problem. That is not always possible. I think times like this humble us and make us realize just how precious life is and how the day to day boring is not always boring it is something we can cherish. We must take things one day at a time!!!!

This sweet girl loves being on my lap and I love having the snuggles.

A few years ago when my brother Allen was sick, he had leukemia, he told me that he hated hearing bad news from his doctor. Not just for himself but because he could see the fear in his wife, my sister in law’s, eyes. He said that scared him more than anything the doctor could say. WOW!!! those are some powerful words.

What do you look like when you look fear in the eyes? Are you positive? hopeful? scared? the person looking back may need you to be their only courage.

Friends, always remember

Love your day your way!!!

Making Madeleines

A Madeleine is a cookie or wait is it a little cake? No matter what they are, I have been wanting to make some of these forever. I bought a special Madelines pan. I think you could use a muffin pan but then they won’t have those adorable little ridges. So they won’t be the same. Sorry but they won’t. I actually bought the pan several months ago and just haven’t gotten around to making any until now. I searched the internet and put several recipes together and came up with one I thought looked really good. There are a lot of rules to making Madeleines so don’t get discouraged. I am sharing my experience with you as I go. I made these last Sunday.

These are some of my finished ones and I will tell you I was pretty proud of them.

This is a Madeleine pan don’t you love the little fan ridges?

Here is the recipe I used:

Pre heat oven to 375

Bake time about 10-12 minutes.
2 large eggs at room temperature ( Room temperature is very important)
1/2 cup of butter (I used salted but you can use unsalted)
2 Tbs. of melted butter for oiling the pan
1 cup of plain flour sifted
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/8 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp. of lemon zest
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Mix eggs and sugar together and mix them with an electric mixer for 8 minutes. This is a long time but it makes the eggs inflate and that is what makes the Madeleines so light and airy almost spongy. This will make the eggs and sugar frothy and pale.

Melt the butter and let it sit for about 8 minutes while you are beating the egg mixture. This way the butter won’t be hot.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.

When you finish mixing the eggs and sugar, gently, and I do mean gently, fold the flour mixture into your bowl. The reason you want to do this gently is because your eggs are light and airy and you don’t want to deflate them. Next add the lemon zest and the vanilla flavoring. You don’t have to add lemon zest you can use orange zest or only vanilla flavoring. I loved the lemony flavor the lemon zest gave them.

The next step is letting the batter rest in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes.

After you have brushed your pan with butter put about a tablespoon into each little Madeline form and bake for about 10-12 minutes. You won’t believe how they just pop out of the pans. Brushing the pan with butter is best because it tends to make the ridges on the other side of the Madeleines browner and crispier.

They will slide right out of the pan when they are done.

I sprinkled half of mine with powdered sugar and left the rest of them plain. This recipe makes about 2 dozen. They dry out really quick so you might want to eat them really fast. I took mine to work and everyone made short work of them.

Don’t they look yummy!!!!

I hope you get a chance to make them. Let me know if you have any questions.

Always remember

Love your day your way!!!!

What Happened to the Weekend!!!???

Last Saturday morning I had to be at the Nissan dealership to get a few things done to my car. I had to get a software update, an oil change and my tires rotated. My car is still under warranty so I make the one hour drive to the dealership when I need it done. Plus I had the software update so I had to go to the dealership. The last time I was at the dealership they told me it would take about two hours for the update and oil change. So I had to schedule accordingly.

I am probably the only person who doesn’t mind sitting in a waiting room at the car dealership waiting for my car to be serviced. I take something to read, some knitting and coffee and I am in heaven.

When I arrived on Saturday at 8:00 AM the tech told me that it would be an hour and a half, two hours max. I said ” don’t you worry about me I am good” I settled into the waiting room with my coffee and knitting and ear buds for my phone. This is one of the few places where I have uninterrupted time to knit and read or whatever. I so enjoyed it!!! It only took about an hour and a half and they were finished.

I decided to make at least one stop while I was in Knoxville so I chose Target. It has been about six or seven months since I have been to Target. It was still pretty early only about 9:30 so there were not a lot of people there. I found some really neat things:

This is one of my favorite spots at Target. There are some super cute things here and really cheap. Just some little things that you wouldn’t find in a lot of places. I found these little cloth pumpkins here and they were only $1.00. I bought seven of them although I now wish I had bought more because I needed a few more to fill my bowl and I don’t know when I will be back. I didn’t have any luck finding them online.
Aren’t these adorable?
I love these colors and the way everything is put together but I found most of the items a little pricey for Target. Like this large wooden tray below. I love trays and I have a lot of them. I have to bring them out a few at a time and keep the others stored or I would have them all over my house. This was was about $40.00!! Ouch!!
I am sort of on the fence about these shirts with the really large puffy sleeves. I am a bit top heavy and I think these sleeves would make me look even more so. I wasn’t able to try it on because Target still has their dressing rooms closed. I will have to think about this one. I love the look on other people but not sure for me.
I absolutely loved this little purse but little was the key word. It just would not accommodate everything I carry day to day. I do love the color and design though.
I did grab this little brow pencil and brush by elf. Elf has gotten a bad rap on some of their products because they have been known to scrimp on some of their sizes and content. But people come on this was $2.00. I mainly bought it for the brush but after I got it home I noticed that the pencil has quite a lot in it as well. I love it!!!
And last but certainly not least I just had to stop by Starbucks and try this iced coffee I heard about. You may have tried this combination but if not you need to. This was a Venti iced white mocha with sweet cream cold foam and extra caramel drizzle. A splurge but definitely worth it.

The rest of the weekend went by pretty quick as weekends and days off normally do. I did some baking and some knitting and I made Madeleines. Have you ever made Madeleines ? I have been wanting to make some for quite a while. You have to have a special pan. I will have a full post on those in a couple of days. They dry out pretty quick so I took the entire batch to work and everyone loved them and ate them all up.

Madeleines, They are yummy!!!

Watch for the blog post about making Madelines you just have to try them.

Have a great rest of the week and always remember

Love your day your way!!!!