Catching Up with the Blog in Wisconsin

I have really been remiss in keeping up the blog.  Blame it on the Clostridium Difficile. Yet, some days I think I am getting better.  Some days I don’t.  On one of those bad days, I made an appointment with a Gastroenterologist for Wednesday. I’m keeping the appointment even though I’ve had three good days in a row.

Here is a sight I forgot to post when we were at my Sister Barbara’s house in Maryland.  She is using nephew Jonathan’s bedroom out as an Air B&B while he is in the Peace Corps in Ghana. This woman from California is a pipe fitter and is working at the nuclear power plant.  She is living in her pickup truck but, was staying in an air conditioned room for the hottest days.

b1 Gypsy Pickup
Gypsy Pickup
b2 Gypsy Pickup Stbd Side
Gypsy Pickup Starboard Side
b3 Gypsy Pickup Back
Gypsy Pickup Back
b4 Gypsy Pickup Port Side
Gypsy Pickup Port Side

Now, on to Wisconsin. I haven’t been taking many pictures, so you know I’m not feeling great. The ones I am taking are not turning out very well either. I have to post something.

Son-in-Love George bought the whole family matching shirts.  I’m not sure but, they probably have something to do with motorcycle racing.  Or maybe tools; he recently left Harley Davidson and is now working at Milwaukee Tool. They were not posing so no one is looking at the camera.

b5 Barton Family
George, Owen, Jennifer, and Cam

I don’t know where that blue hair came from.  No one in my family has blue hair so it must be from the Moulton side.

As in previous years, the boys come into the motorhome in the morning to wake me up.  If I am already awake, I pretend to be asleep.  After all the bouncing and squealing is done.  They want a biscotti from which they eat off the chocolate. Notice that I have them seated on the “pleather” sofa and not the fabric one.

b8 Eating Chocolate Off the Biscotti
Eating Chocolate Off the Biscotti

We had several hot days so Jennifer had the boys cleaning and filling the wading pool. A whole lot more water went into the sky, on the shed, and in the grass than went into the scrubbing and cleaning of the pool.  Yes, both boys were soaked. Then, the weather turned cool and they have not been in the pool.

b Filling the Swimming Pool
Cam and Owen Filling the Swimming Pool

Yesterday, we went to the Discovery Center right on Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee. It is a great place for kids. We got a treat.  Jennifer’s Zumba teacher works at the aquarium at the Discovery Center and she took us behind the scenes and showed us tanks with baby fish.

b9 Behind the Scenes at the Discovery Center
Behind the Scenes at the Discovery Center

Here is a spherical tank filled with tiny sea horses.  They were less than an inch tall. There were also several tanks of very tiny clown fish.  Owen exclaimed, “Nemo!” Those pictures didn’t turn out so well.

b13 Baby Seahorses at Discovery Center
Baby Seahorses at Discovery Center

This was an exhibit on hydraulics.  It was a life sized back-hoe.  There were four or five levers alongside the hoe part where the children could operate the hoe and make it dig mulch.  The levers in the cab did nothing but, that didn’t stop Cam from operating them at a furious pace.  I could not get him out to let some other children have a turn.  Jennifer came and carried him out.

b11 Cam Operating Back Hoe at Discovery Center
Cam Operating Back Hoe at Discovery Center

You can see the two red marks by his eye where he fell and hit the rocks at a local eatery.  A woman asked him what happened to his face and he said, “A rock did it”.

While Cam worked in the back-hoe, Owen and Jennifer were placing plastic balls over a sphere.  I was not close (I used the zoom) and didn’t understand what was going on.  Was it air or magnets? Whatever, the balls were floating like magic.

b12 Floating Balls at Discovery Center
Floating Balls at Discovery Center

Another discovery was a revolving door which the boys pushed round and round.  When some bigger kids came to join in, Andy got Owen and Cam out so they would not end up being pushed around when the big boys pushed faster.

b10 Revolving Door at Discovery Center
Revolving Door at Discovery Center

Andy and I didn’t notice that Jennifer and the boys stopped in the gift shop and went to the garage looking for them.  Jennifer bought me a present! It is a C-Diff microbe plush toy! The tag says it is over a million times actual size. I’m pretty sure the actual microbes do not have eyes though. The inside of the tag is filled with a description of C-Diff. Cute, but he’s hard for me to love at the moment.

b Clostridium Difficile Plush Toy
Clostridium Difficile Plush Toy
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More Adventures in C-Diff

I called the gastroenterologist’s office this morning and made an appointment with the Physician’s Assistant. They had an opening at 1130. I know I am not supposed to take it but, I was not willing to go out without an Imodium.  I may as well admit it; I have been keeping a poop diary lately, so I took that with me. After she reviewed my chart and the diary, we chatted a bit.  She was surprised at the dosing I’m using for the Vancomycin.  She said it did not agree with Dr. Haque’s notes.  I have been taking 500 mg once a day.  She said I should be taking it every eight hours at this point.  I was certain that I was following the instructions on the prescription package and Andy and I both remembered that one-a-day is what Dr. Haque had said.

She consulted Dr. Haque (somewhere in Scandinavia) and wrote up a new plan for me, but the capsule strength did not match the remaining (very expensive) capsules in have left.  Then she said for me to go home, count up how many doses I had left and call her on the phone.  She would make up a new plan and fax in a new prescription to the pharmacy accordingly.

We took advantage of the Imodium doing its job and had lunch, went to the post office, and back to the hospital to pick up the results from the urine culture from last week. No luck at the hospital.  I wasn’t in the system.  I called the walk-in clinic and was told I had gone to the wrong place at the hospital.  I’ll follow-up on that tomorrow. Our last stop was the grocery store, where, among other things, I bought a Dragon Fruit. It was so strange, we just had to try it.  I Googled how to eat it.

When we got back to the motorhome, there was no electricity.  It was hot and humid. Andy and Tom tried to figure it out.  They found that the back side of the vanity light over the bathroom sink was extremely rusted.  Tom took it down and went to an RV store to buy a replacement.  There is no telling whether that will fix the problem or not.

Stay tuned.

p.s.  I love to write, but never in my wildest dreams did I every imagine I would be writing so much about poop!

 

May 28, 2016 – Enterocolitis due to Clostridium Difficile

The lab results came back.  I have “enterocolitis due to clostridium difficile”. Of course, that is the layman’s term.  The proper medical terminology is “Shi**ing my brains out”. Apparently clostridium difficile is a nasty bacteria and very contagious.  It can survive on surfaces for months.  The nurse said I could have picked it up anywhere, “even at Walmart”. The doctor prescribed Metronidazole, which I have been taking for about 24 hours now, and I am starting to feel much better.  The terrible pain has subsided and I have gone several hours now without an emergency trip to the toilet. Truly, this was just like pre-colonoscopy prep, just lasting for a couple weeks.  On the bright side, Andy and Spence seem to have escaped contamination. And, I’ve lost about five pounds.  However, I’d recommend another weight-loss plan. Any other weight-loss plan.

The Memorial Day holiday is in full swing.  It seems that all the ten park campgrounds are full.  Big Creek was overrun with day visitors and hikers.  Andy and Spence were directing people to park in the horse camp day lot, which was also full in the early afternoon. Then they parked illegally on the roadsides, in front of the no-parking signs, and even blocked the gate to us and the group site. Of course, I did not wander more than a few feet from the motorhome door.  That gave me a minute to make it to the bathroom. Every day, mid-to-late afternoon, I get cold.  I mean shivering cold.  I don’t warm up until I get under the covers in the bed with my park fleece on.  It take about an hour to warm up.  I guess that has something to do with the fever.

The park radio is buzzing with traffic stops, injuries, and accidents. The worst that I recall today was that a motorcycle ran into the back of a car and the female passenger went through the back window of the car. She left in an ambulance. It is non-stop, one call after the other. I think there are three dispatchers on duty on holiday weekends.

All during May, park people have been reporting bear sightings.  There must have been a bumper crop born last winter. There may be a dozen or two reports a day of bears along the road, in campgrounds and picnic areas, and historic sites. We have seen many more turkeys wandering through Big Creek this year too.  We have not seen them, but campers have reported two elk sightings.