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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Yes that's right...Joe is walking with a cane now! As of Monday, I got him a lovely little $20 chrome cane from Walgreens. After practicing all weekend with the physical therapist's cane, getting the turns down (that's where he gets dizzy), we even ventured to the mall on Tuesday morning and did the "before opening mall walk" as many do, old and young, walkers and strollers, lots of morning walkers. Joe walked the entire mall, first and second floors!!! He is much slower than with his walker, but he looks pretty distinguished! There was a 90 year old guy that passed him up with his walker, but Joe wasn't discouraged, no not at all!

THEN, he even walked around Target for a little to pick out some groceries we needed...what a morning for him. He was pooped, but he felt really good about his accomplishments.

Here's some really good news, too....since Sunday morning he hasn't had one single oxycontin! He's off of the looney stuff! I'm giving him tylenol in the morning and his amitryptiline at night, and he reported on Tuesday that his head is actually hurting less and less. This new stuff must be working just like Dr. Arroyo said...what a concept!!! I'll tell you one thing, Joe is a totally different person without the looney pill! AND, one more good thing, his blood level was perfect so we even have the coumidin dosage right now. Soooo much good to report.

One bad thing...he's still have a terrible time with the double vision. He's tried to read and watch tv and do some emails on the computer, but it just starts his headache in a matter of minutes because he's trying to focus and just can't. It's got to be such a frustrating thing to deal with!! The opthamologist said to give it six months...and then "prisms" or even surgery. I hope he will get over this part....

But he's doing what he can...walked around the culdesac yesterday with Lindsey and neighbors came out and said hi. THEN, today he walked all the way to his favorite hairdresser to get his haircut (by Einstein's). I said I'd love to take him but he wanted to enjoy the wonderful 70 degree sunshine. See what I mean about getting the old Joe back? OH, AND THE NEATEST THING....the vacuum turns out to be kind of like the cane, and now that he has the balancing figured out, he can vacuum all he wants! HELLO.....CARPET LINES ARE BACK AT THE ELLSWORTHS!!! YAY!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Neurologist Visit Friday the 16th

Well, Joe and I trooped on down to downtown Denver to see Dr. Quigley, the neurologist, at 9 a.m. yesterday. Joe got a little dizzy on the ride, but I got very happy when we could use his handicapped pass to park right in front of the building! Wow, that SO beats driving up the parking garage, taking the elevator down down, and then walking for miles to get in the building!

Okay, for the visit. Dr. Quigley was quite fun, and teased Joe that he could start to try to do more even if it hurts. She couldn't find the cat scan on the records in Joe's file, so we told her the blog address and she looked it up there! Ha! She was impressed that I could almost spell all the meds right. She checked all the pertinent neurological functions and declared that Joe was doing pretty well, considering! First, if the dissection of the vein had been any higher, he might have died! Absolutely are we grateful that didn't happen! Then, she said if Joe compares himself to how he was on November 21, it seems like he hasn't made any progress. But if he compares how he was on November 22 at 10:30 p.m., he's made AMAZING progress. Nice optimistic way to look at things, don't you agree? We are to make an appointment for a few weeks from now for an MRI and an MRA to check on his brain and how it's healing.

Meanwhile, she gave Joe the lecture that he needs to try to do MORE, so that he can heal faster. I liked this advice because I miss my "movie buddy" and have been begging him to try to go to a movie for weeks, to no avail. A movie might be a little much yet, but at least I can go "walk him" through the mall or something, right? His physical therapist also came on Friday, and said Joe ought to start using a cane around the house and get a feel for balancing with that, and then work into going out with it.

ALSO, Friday Joe DID declare that his headache seemed to be a little better! Maybe this amitryptaline is doing the trick! Of course, later in the day he was in pain, and all day today, but we aren't giving up hope!

Ok, long winded, but that's the gist of the news for today. Thanks again everyone for your help and sweet comments....can't EVEN begin to tell you what it means!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another day in the life...

Hello! I've got to say, it is so neat for me to get on here and see who has checked in or written something. It is really touching, and keeps me going. And I run into people each and every day that say they have been "checking the blog"...means a lot to both Joe and I.

Not too much to report...Joe continues to work with the physical therapist and occupational therapist, and is trying to walk around the house a lot with his walker. I caught him trying to vacuum a couple of days ago...big no no. He just misses that vaccum! He claims it is so heavy it holds him up. I had to scold him.

Latest: Dr. Arroyo upped his dosage of amitrypaline (NOT the right spelling but I'm too tired to get up and go look at the bottle) which he takes at night and which wipes him out. It takes about a month to kick in, I guess, and it's been about three weeks. He reduced his oxycontin (sp again?) to only the morning dose. His head still hurts, but we are hopeful that this medicine is going to do the trick. And they also continue to increase his wayfarin (blood thinner) because his levels are "dangerously low"...I really don't like it when they say that. I still worry that he doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything much, because of the constant pain. He seems to be getting a little less dizzy, and a little more of his appetite has come back. Did I ever say that he lost about 20 pounds? That's a lot for him...skinny thing he already was. I think he's gained about five back, despite my cooking, and thanks to those goodies/meals that still magically show up sometimes (thanks). He felt like eating something sweet today (I've been eating sweets for two)! He also started talking about what he's going to do in the future, something he hasn't even wanted or felt like looking into at all.

Also, he's listening to lots of books on tape (thanks to those who lent us some...you are lifesavers) ... which is the only thing he can really do. He can't read because of the double vision which is still there, or watch tv. But he gets through about a book a day...wow. He goes to the neurologist on Friday, so I'll report what happens there....

Meanwhile, thanks so much, again....and again....we are feeling that love and those prayers. I went with Brittney to the Chatfield/Columbine basketball game tonight...it was really great to see these guys that we have come to know and love play so well. And to see so many of our great friends that asked about him. Hopefully he can make it to one of the games soon for an hour or so at least....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Update...Opthamologist Visit

Hello everyone! Today Joe went on his longest car ride yet up to the Lakewood Kaiser Office to see an opthamologist about his double vision. He spent a lot of time with Joe which was nice. He determined (and I will get this description wrong no doubt) that he has weak "oblique" muscles in that right eye, the side of the stroke, which is something that usually always happens. He said that it takes a long time to fully get better and gave him some tips on how to strengthen the eye. He showed me how Joe's eye actually won't go as far down, up, to the side, as his left eye, and you can even see it kind of "twitching" as it tries to go in tandem with the other eye...hence the double vision! Makes sense! (Marcie if you are reading this don't laugh too hard at my uneducated descriptions). SO, yet another thing that is going to take a long time to heal. He DOES have less, or no, double vision when he looks straight ahead, which is better than he was even a couple of weeks ago. YAY!

I tried to figure out how to take off the Christmas template and music from this blog and add something more Januaryish, but I need Steph for that. It reminds me of my house, where Christmas is still up all around the house (ok, I did start on it, but Linds and Mike are coming on Saturday to help finish it up...another yay!) Meanwhile, Joe continues to slowly improve. I'm worried about his wayfarin levels. They have had to up the levels three weeks in a row now. That reminds me, I need to go play nurse and give him his extra dose right now!

Love to all! Thanks for the continued thoughts, prayers, phone calls, visits!!! love it!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hello and Happy New Year!

I'm finally taking a minute to write and catch up. It seems to be just as busy after Christmas as it was before. Joe is slowly slowly doing a little better each day. The doctor said that improvement would kind of taper off and that seems to be the case. Yet when we were at church last week, I noticed how much better he was than the week before (he goes for just one hour and then goes home to rest). And the week before that he went for the first time and barely barely made it through. So it WAS uplifting to see that he actually had improved compared to the weeks before. The usual day for him is to get up and have breakfast, take a shower, rest, work with the physical therapist, rest, work with the occupational therapist, rest, have some lunch, rest, listen to a little of his books on tape (while he rests), eat dinner, rest, go to bed. He absolutely hates to ride in the car as his headaches are still pretty severe and any bump in the road is excruciating. We did make a big excursion to the DMV to get the handicap sticker, but have yet to use it (wait we did at church yesterday!!). Hopefully that will start to improve so we can get him out of the house some. He is still trying this new medicine at night, and the doc raised the dosage, but results won't be obvious for about a month he said. Patience is the key I guess.

Another worry is that his double vision has not improved. The doc said that may not be connected to the actualy dissection of the artery and may be something else entirely associated with the stroke. That has us worried! We have an appointment with the opthamologist on Thursday....we'll see what that entails.

Meanwhile, I wonder just how much of all this will stay with him and whether he will ever be the way he was. I shouldn't worry about that but I do. But thanks to prayers and food and love and kindness we are getting through it just fine!

Love to you all, a million million thanks!