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Hard Landing Leads to Two, Maybe Three (Impossible?) Surgeries

I’d like to tell you that the past couple of months–during which I was not writing–have been a piece of cake.  Au contraire! They have been a constellation of events–almost beyond my comprehension–certainly a test of my faith!  (You are always in my thoughts and prayers but time seems to run out every night/day.)

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Home from the hospital for just an hour, Someone sat on the ground to love just some of the dogs who have been missing him!  (Big) Bunny Bun Buns (who turns 12 the end of March, 2020), Jed the white Poodle Doodle, Bitty Bits (center) and Sissy (who turns 10 the same time Bunny has her birthday!)  Since we don’t know Bits and Jeddy’s birthday, we are going to have one cake and celebrate their birthdays all together at the end of the month. They each have an amazing survival story!  (More dog birthdays  (and ours) this summer and then more in the fall.) 

 

First, Someone’s Benefits Were Wrongfully Terminated

Someone, has a terminal neurologic illness, Lewy Body Dementia. There are about seven stages of this disease in total that lasts from 5-7 to 20 years, depending on each individual’s health and complications.

This part of the latest odyssey began in January.  Someone’s disability benefit is key to paying the mortgage, utilities and insurance and not anything more.  That said, the last check deposited was in December, 2019! This is a man who is terminal and granted permanent disability.

When January’s check wasn’t auto-deposited,  I waited until early February to see if there was a banking glitch–and to see if that check and the past one would show up. Nope. Nada. Turns out that someone was put on a list of terminal people whose claims had just been “terminated” without so much as a phone call–but he is still very much alive and should not have been on that list!

I was assured that some paperwork and a brief questionnaire substantiating that Someone was still alive and a physician confirmation would suffice and he would receive back payments.  (I am still kicking myself that he didn’t sign up for supplemental disability insurance.)  As of this writing, however, it has not been rectified yet–going on three months of no income.  **(Scroll to the end for today’s update.)

His Fall

To begin to make matters worse, right after Valentine’s Day–after we had a few wonderful days to enjoy good food, cupcakes and doggie toys and cards and bones that some of you sent (thank you!!!!), Someone had a very bad fall. Living with extremity tremors that come and go, mostly that ‘come’ these days, along with an altered sense of balance, falls and slips are common. This fall was different. Someone put his arm out straight to break his fall with his hand.  The damage done, however, was, to quote the head of orthopedics at the hospital, “massive.”

When I took Someone to the hospital and saw the head orthopedic surgeon, he ordered an MRI to be done right away. (We could see his arm was “wrong” without the MRI!)  As it was explained to us, we have two bicep muscles in each arm.  One of Someone’s in his right (primary) arm has been disconnected/everything shredded from the shoulder down and the bicep is down near the bend of his arm.  It could be pulled up and sewed back in place with anchors drilled and embedded in his bone if surgery were sooner than later…that time now has passed (see below).

In addition, the rotator cuff (four big muscles that hold our shoulder together) has a “massive tear” (and there is other damage) but the bigger issue is that the labrum (that surrounds the socket) and the bone around the head of the arm bone and the rotator cuff are all retracted (cannot be pulled up into place without a two to three hour intense surgery–and it still may not be able to be totally repaired.) Someone had an anxiety attack just listening to what had happened to his arm–and I am pretty sure he didn’t even understand it all.  I have had to do hours upon hours of research to do so.

The surgeon wanted to operate two weeks ago–less than a week from the injury would be a safe window to reattach the bicep at the same time as one or two other surgeries.  The surgeon discussed his plan that involved drilling holes in the bones to place/insert (two year) biodegradable “anchors” to have something to hold the sutures and sutured tendons and muscles back on to the bone.  The surgeon was then going to add a large biologic Regeneten patch of processed (cadaver?) tissue over the shoulder that strengthens the torn areas and speeds up healing.

Every step of the way, he and his staff kept stressing how extremely painful shoulder surgery is and that it would take 4-6 months to have just a moving arm and with rehab, up to a year to be mostly functional.  (One time, when he thought Someone wasn’t in the room, the surgeon actually said to me, “If he only has three years left, don’t bother. Recovery alone will be a full year and require intense rehab.” Unfortunately, Someone was just around the corner and heard him. This was not something he should have heard.)

Since I disclosed that Someone has LBD, the doctor required pre-surgery clearances and tests and even pre-surgery rehab to reinforce post-surgery restrictions, how to get dressed, how to put on the surgery brace (it’s all complicated for him), etc. The clearances were to be from Someone’s heart doc (blood tests and an EEG); his main neurologist; and since he was in the middle of trying to have dental work done (four dentists all had very bad and complicated prognoses), a dental clearance.

Unexpected Jawbone Replacement

His heart doc clearance was done that day.  A-OK. A blood test and EKG.  The neurologist, however, wrote a letter that said in a nutshell, surgery is OK physically but I/Someone needed to be told that Someone may not come out of General Anesthesia–either at all; as “himself”; could be fully dementiated (my word because someone would cringe if I wrote demented) and needing to be in an institution for months or forever.  It was also, in my opinion, meant to be a “liability” warning letter to the surgeon.  Finally, the dentist would not grant surgical clearance. Oh, brother.

A CT scan was done of Someone’s mouth/head after no surgical clearance from the dentist would be granted (the dentist wanted to start/finish his proposed work BEFORE surgery)–but in waiting,  the surgeon would lose the ability to reattach the bicep muscle and possibly more damage would be caused in the rotator cuff area.  Which was the more important issue to be fixed had to be established.  The CT scan showed that Someone needs to have at least his lower right mandible replaced–not just some dental work!  It is dangerously close to breaking, the bone rim is so thin.  This disease and complications just destroy their bodies!

Once this was all discovered and reviewed, the surgery that was scheduled for March. 3, 2020 was cancelled.  The head ortho surgeon classified Someone as “high risk” for any surgery–put it all in his records including the clearance/no clearance letters and I was told emphatically by the head neurologist that Someone has to avoid GA (general anesthesia)–period.

All surgeries, the one or two to repair his arm–the massive rotator cuff repair and a capsular repair to hold his arm ball and socket together/it is loose (there is a more technical name but I am too tired to remember it right now) as well as the lower jaw mandible replacement–in which a bone graft from Someone’s hip has to be taken out, molded on the table, while his mouth in surgically opened up while the old lower right (or whole??) jaw bone is replaced/grafted–all require long GA surgeries-and the mandible surgery, maybe the shoulder surgeries as well, require hospitalization.

With these delays, it is now too late to have Someone’s bicep muscle repaired and reattached to his shoulder.  (The one good news in this is that the muscle will “scar in place” and the pain will stop at least in the bicep and it will work even in this odd place.)

More Opinions

I was not going to take “No” for an answer.  I lined up two more ortho surgeons to get their opinions.  Surgeon Number 2 was willing to help but only with GA.  He did at least say that he will be actively researching if there is anyway to help Someone get help/surgery without general anesthesia but it is nearly impossible to do. Surgeon Number 3, I had to reschedule for early this coming week due to Someone’s limitations and pain level–and now with the virus, I am going to have to re-re-schedule because Number 3’s office is inside the hospital.  A quarantine hospital.

I called the Lewy Body Dementia Association for additional medical referrals/resources.  After making sure that I knew that over 65% of LBD caregivers pass on/God calls them before their “patient’–and making ng sure that I grasped that I must take care of myself, too, with all of this going on–the facilitator asked me to think about this: If I can’t get any surgical help for Someone, that it may be time to call in hospice. Hospice.  That was a shock for me to hear or to even have to consider. I pray to God that this does not become the only option.  I don’t like making any of these decisions about Someone else’s life, but at least with the amount of research I do about any one of them, when I have to make any decision, I will be at peace.  Right now, I am still in the “I can fix it” mode.

Can’t Carry the Burden

I was told during a near death experience, after a duodenal ulcer perforated in 2018, to leave your/our burdens at the foot of the cross. Let God handle them! And so I do or I’d be a wreck!

I have also learned to say, “Jesus, I Trust in You,” whenever I get anxious or to get me to the point of remembering to go leave the burden.  We must walk blindly in unfaltering faith–just surrendering it all to Him. No amount of worry or anxiety will help even in the slightest way.  Year after year, my understanding of how faith works–and acting on it–has carried me through some of the hardest, most painful times.  You can do it, too!

I learned how important that is to say that (and to stand in faith after you say it) after reading the diary of Sister (now Saint) Faustina, whose experiences gave us the Divine Mercy chaplet (in song–my favorite!) and a Holy Day, Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter). (Jesus told Sister Faustina that you can say that phrase as many times a day as you need to!)

Thanks for listening and for caring. Especially for caring.

I will have another update soon. I have some other posts that I’d like to write if I have the time, too, especially about this virus and what you should be doing to prepare for home isolation just in case.

What you may not be thinking about, is that even if we have to go into isolation perhaps two to four weeks regionally or as a country–or not at all–the supply chain is being disrupted.  I need you to hear this–items that come in and stock our shelves AND pharmacies are going to be months behind coming in to restock our store shelves after the virus or virus hysteria has passed.  IF you can, buy extra things to anticipate a post-virus gap in many things–pet foods, too!  (more on this below…)

(Please sign up to get my posts in your Inbox–look for the three lines at the top of this page.) In the meantime, I would be grateful if you would keep Someone in your prayers.  Prayers accomplish great things!

Sending much love and always Hugs from the Herd!!

Jane

PS  If anyone would like to help with the RR dogs or would like to write to Someone, the address is:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Suite 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

Much needed:  (Imagine trying to prepare for a 2-4 week isolation with Someone in this condition and a Herd full of special needs dogs–feeling overwhelmed is an understatement! My back feels like it is broken!  I don’t even know if we have shipping time these days before things stop being open/available but whatever you choose to help with, I will be grateful, including prayers–always!)

  1. HEB, Walmart, generic Visa/MC gift cards or e-cards.

2.  Amazon.com e-credits to a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

Tubs–10 oz. and 3.5 oz–of wet dog food (HEB, Amazon, Target)

Walmart and HEB:  Big bones/chews, chicken jerky/dried chicken;

…as well as McDonald’s, Burger King, HEB.com and Kroger.com gift cards are needed. (Generic Visa cards can be used anywhere, on any site, in any store.) Prayers are always welcome and are not the “only” thing you can do…but is a magnificent thing you can do!  We all pray for you every single day!

The Virus

At the time of this writing, the COVID-19 virus is in our counties and countries.   Please take all precautions.  I have been studying this and talking to some experts for a few weeks and need to share some of what I have learned.

There is a lipid layer (fatty) around the outside of the virus which is destroyed by using soap–especially blue Dawn dish soap–and then, to be extra vigilant, spray your hands, feet, area with alcohol or another disinfectant.  

Staying 6 feet or more away from people, you must also stay out of the path of their sneezes and coughs, which can propel molecules as far as 20 feet–and linger in the air after they have left the area! The more you can stay in, work from home, don’t go to public places, especially at peak times, the more you can limit your exposure.  Drink plenty of water, build your immune system ahead of time (now) and pray.  Our lives are ultimately in God’s hands.  Remember–Don’t give into fear.  You may choose to self-quarantine sooner than later, too.

Do be smart and get food, water and other things you may need if you were to be told/choose to self-isolate for two weeks to a month. (Some people are guesstimating that there may be a three month isolation if things are very bad.) You want to do the same for you/your family and your animals.

The last thing you want to do is have to expose yourself to lots of potential virus carriers or sick people in order to stand in a government food line because you didn’t prepare–or to have to greet the National Guard every day to get your emergency food box or meal and a soda, as I was told, that would be left at your door–and then how then do you deal with the garbage that will not be picked up? Yes, we’d be grateful for their mercy/help but if you have special diets, food cravings, need more calories, have pets, etc. you won’t have the option like ‘room service’ of ordering what you want!

IF you never need what you buy/bought, just use the emergency items like a pantry and rotate out things as you use them, replacing them with newer expiration dates.  You will always be ready for a storm, another emergency, etc. and I hear that this is just the first wave of the virus.  In six months another may come.

Sign up to this blog to get my next posts about what to do if you haven’t started already.

God bless everyone and all of your animals.

PLEASE…IF there is absolutely anything that I can do to help you, please email me with “URGENT” or “HELP” in the subject box: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com  (–even if you just need emotional support or have a question on how to deal with some unexpected issues.)

 

**Divine Intervention?  As I was writing this post, particularly about faith and the power of surrendering your burdens, I received an official call that Someone and his disability will be restored in the next few weeks. He has been “un-terminated” or “restored.” Funny, I just had spaghetti with Someone earlier tonight so I’m glad he is still officially alive!   Thank you, God. Thank you all.

Grateful always.

 

My apologies for any errors.  I will fix them when I reread this with wide-open eyes!

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Bunny’s new ride is a special wheelbarrow with lots of softie toys from her angel!  She is very much less able these days and so is my back to lift her up to go potty.  This is a perfect solution for her to just get in and out easily.

 

 

 

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Surviving the Rain of Noah: Houston’s Latest Storm Imelda

The Rescue Ranch is in the greater Houston area and yes, we experienced Imelda or what felt like the rains that lifted Noah’s boat out of the water in biblical times! Thank God, we are all OK–emotionally, spiritually and physically–dogs, people and property. Many others were not so lucky though.

We knew there was a storm coming and while we keep sandbags and plastic sheeting handy to block the doorways outside, we didn’t have to use it.  We are in a little “island” of properties that seem to be protected–while the area around us gets high water in the streets mostly.  The buildings and homes have not flooded were we are.  We can’t get out of this small area though–the roads are blocked off to stop people from leaving and winding up under water!

The rain came down so hard and fast–and thick–that it blocked the air conditioning unit outside from working–and it was starting to whine and sound very stressed so it had to be turned off.  Anyone in the southeast knows that keeping the inside free of humidity and heat is very important to more than our comfort.  While we keep it between 75-76 degrees to keep the bills down, we cannot just open the windows for fresh air and cooling.  There is none to be had!  The air outside turns inside hinges to rust in the house, brings mold and can wilt anything in a day or two.  We were told by the builder, when we first moved in, to never open the windows and to decide on a a/c temperature we could live with and keep it on and steady–always. (We also run two dehumidifiers 24/7 as well.) I love sleeping with the windows open at night and so this was a real adjustment for me not being able to.

For storms and very hot days, I keep ice blocks and frozen ice bottles in the freezer and have battery-operated fans to keep the dogs cool in case the electricity goes out as it often does.  If it gets really really hot, I put a cold facecloth or towel (depending on the size of the fan) over it to blow the cool air at the dogs.  I also keep a bathtub filled with cool water and can add ice to it if need be to cool off our feet or the dogs!

The dogs have never heard rain like we just had in Imelda.  Even Harvey was a multi-day event and we had lots of notice that it was coming.  There was panic in the dogs’ voices and barks but with reassurance and calming chews, they all gnawed on a bone until they calmed down.  I stayed up to comfort the animals, just listen to the rain and the sirens (and pray for those in trouble) and just pray prayers of protection.  I never get upset with storms–they always remind me how powerful God is and I appreciate it and just am in awe more than am frightened by it all.

We lost the television signal and the phone and internet right off the bat.  I wondered how would we call out if there was an emergency!  We had no idea for a good day or so what had happened to the area.  Even my radio was not getting reception because of the thickness of the rain and quantity of lightening I think.

The lightening was and still is very dangerous right now.  We have ground lightening–which means when a lightening bolt comes down from the sky that one from the ground goes up to meet it in the middle.  We also have side to side lightening that is about five to six feet off the ground.  It is very dangerous and when an animal won’t come in when it starts, you have to go out to get it.  I had to go get Big Mandy, the St. Bernard, one year who was stuck on the side yard.  I had to run down low to make sure we didn’t get hit by the side-to-side lightening and hope that the ground lightening didn’t start just yet.  It was counting on faith and a “Grace of God” moment.

People were stranded on the highways going across the area and north and south. Just two days prior, we had been on those highways to the city, anticipating the rain that was to come, we ran a few errands early.  Thankfully.  Some people have lost their lives and it makes me sad.  A young nineteen-year-old man went out to resuce his horse but the lightening plus the high water caused his death. No one has mentioned what happened to the horse. Another man thought he could drive his van through the water until he hit a dip in the road that was eight feet under water and despite ten good Samaritans going in after him, he perished.  Others went to farms and one by one, carried goats and led cows and horses to shelter.  The water was going over the huge animals’ backs and still rising!  There are more stories like that but I will just ask that you pray for the people of the area who lost their homes–again–who lost their lives, who lost their workplaces, and more.

Thank you for asking if we are OK and for praying for the Houston area.  There is great power in prayer.

I think the powers that be in state government need to fix the flooding problems here.  They had no zoning in the past so every inch of property in the city was cemented with roads and parking lots and buildings–leaving a city built around bayous and rivers, on the Gulf of Mexico, with no where for water to drain off so it just builds up and goes into the buildings and homes.  Even the corrections that were made to fix the problems with Hurricane Harvey after August, 2017, had a negative impact on some communities that never flooded before!  It is an engineering nightmare that needs to be addressed.  It is just not fair for so many people to keep losing their homes and property year after year–they can’t even sell it to move on because it keeps flooding!

Sending lots of love and always Hugs from the Herd!

Jane

 

To help the Rescue Ranch rescue dogs…

*You can send an e-card or amazon credits (needed right now) to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

*Send a gift from the Rescue Ranch Amazon Wish List: http://a.co/5Gay7Cf

OR mail cards, generic Visa cards, prayer cards, Everything Dog to:

Mailing Address is:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX   77386

 

We have a dog with cancer, two dogs with congestive heart failure, one dog with serious skin issues along with lots of special needs dogs–all who need medicine, supplements and vet care never mind the basics of eating and bones for stimulation since some of them cannot even walk. We need your help in any way you can–prayers included. Thank you for caring, Especially for caring.

Just an idea of what your gifts help with:

$10 is one meal for all little dogs

$20 is one meal for the medium dogs

$20 is one meal for the big dogs

$60 is knuckle bones for all for one week

$325 is medicines for big dogs for a month

$225 is medicines for little dogs for two months

$15-25 is a Burger King Whopper-only dinner for all (or Wendy’s or McDonald’s)

$9 is bones for a day for the big dogs

$9 is bones for four days for the little dogs

$30 is a bottle of 500 ppm Silver Wings Colloidal Silver (for their water)

$35 is a bottle of Manuka Honey for those with immune system issues (caused, for instance, by being spayed too young while sick with distemper)

Medical supplies, vet bills, peanut butter for medicine balls, supplements like Manuka Honey and colloidal silver help keep the dogs with weak immune systems strong, are all extras, nevermine the chicken for those who can’t eat dog food (mouth injuries cause all kinds of problems), or fresh milk and whipped cream so the blind dogs can gauge the milk depth in the bowl, kibble, canned dog food, etc. etc. etc.

If you want to just give a gift, you can go to the top of this blog, click on the black spot and it will open to a way to get email post updates as well as a Go Fund Me link to help the dogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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