Monthly Archives:

July 2014


Laughing When We Can

Technology these days is amazing.  Mayo Clinic has an app – so I downloaded it on my phone a few weeks ago.  It has campus maps and stuff like that, but the most amazing thing is that I have access to all of Tony’s medication information basically as soon as it is available.  Lab results, doctors notes – it’s as if I have an electronic file of Tony’s whole medical file since he’s been here.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen or read anything from my medical file!

One of the cardiologists is big and boisterous.   He actually reminds me a lot of my Uncle Dave.   Anyway, Tuesday night he stopped by to introduce himself.  He discussed that the main goal was to get all the fluid off so that we can get his heart biopsy today.  Yesterday I was able to log onto the app and read his notes.  So I am reading the last paragraph out loud to Tony and the doctor ended the notes with “discussed the plan of action with patient and his daughter.”  The doctor thought I was Tony’s daughter, not his wife!  That made us laugh so hard!  (and for the record, I am only 7 1/2 years younger than Tony).

So yesterday morning this doctor came in and took one look at Tony and said “why didn’t you tell me you were a mess?”  Somehow overnight Tony’s blood count dropped substantially – they had to give him an emergency blood transfusion and as of last night, he’s gotten 4 units.  His kidneys also weren’t functioning, so they have to figure out why he’s losing blood and that’s there focus now.  He’s nowhere near getting his heart biopsy done, and my guess is that it won’t be until sometime next week.

Luckily his kidney ultrasound didn’t show any signs of constriction or anything, so they need to concentrate on his blood right now and figure out what’s causing what.  We both were thinking that if we had waited until yesterday to come here, it really night have been too late to save him!

So I confessed on Instagram that I may have had more than one share of cheese spread and crackers the night before last.  I am an emotional eater and I am by myself.  Trouble with a Capital T.  So I decided to bring all my food with me yesterday.  Down the hall from Tony’s room is a family waiting room.  It has a full fridge. microwave, etc.


They had a package with stickers and a Sharpie, and I labeled my food and dated it.


On the drive to St. Mary’s I had a piece of my granola and some cheese.  I wasn’t very hungry!


When Tony got back from his ultrasound, I heated up my leftover chicken stir fry.


I brought a serving of my Cincinnati Chili for dinner, but wasn’t really feeling it.  Blog reader Joanne (Hi Joanne!) who has been to Mayo and St. Mary’s for medical issues suggested a café that was right across the street from St. Mary’s.  I really needed to get some fresh air, so while Tony waited for his hospital food, I walked across the street.


While I saw the fried cheese curds on the menu:


I ordered a pork souvlaki pita with tzatziki sauce on the side and a lime chili cole slaw instead of fries.’


I liked that the dressing was on the side, but it was chopped up bok choy and cabbage and didn’t have a ton of flavor.  The pita was pretty good though.  And you can’t beat the price of $5.25.

While Tony naps I’ve found myself downloading stupid apps – check this one out – it’s called Face Juggler!  It looks like I am smoking Tony’s cigar!  Hahahaha!


Thanks again for all your comments to yesterday’s post.  I feel much better today and will pull on my positive pants before leaving the hotel this morning.  Your kind words, emails, etc. are what are keeping me going.  THANK YOU!

Now one more time, don’t forget to vote or my Pan Seared Pork Chop Recipe Contest Dish!  I wish there was a way to see who was in the lead, but I guess we’ll just have to wait.  Thank you for voting!

Off to shower and head to St. Mary’s – hopefully Tony got some sleep last night.  Make it a great day!



A Room With A View

I got up an hour before Tony yesterday morning.  Posting my blog, finishing packing the car.  By the time I needed to wake Tony up, the only thing I had left to put the car was basically Tony!

But it was with a mixed heart I had to wake him.  Sound sleep eludes him most days.  He cat naps at best.  Most nights he spends flipping the channels with the sound off in our bedroom, hoping that anything will finally lull him to sleep.  He looked so peaceful that I felt bad that I had to wake him up, but we were on a time schedule – we had to meet his cardiologist in between patients at 2:00 p.m.

We got on the road by 8:30.  I ended up bringing one of my Nature Valley granola bars with me.  I ate half around 8:45, then the other half around 10:00.  At 11:30 I saw a rest stop and saw that the next one wasn’t going to be for 57 miles, so I said “I’ll stop if you don’t mind.”  Tony said “why do you have to stop already, we just left the house 3 hours ago?!”  I didn’t argue, just peed really fast and got back to the car.

I made a sandwich for lunch and thought since we were stopped, I would grab that sammie which was in the cooler in the back of the car, and grab my insulin and put it next to me when I needed to eat.  I brought the two separately packed half sandwiches and set them next to me, and Tony looked down and said “you already ate two granola bars, are you going to eat again?!”

I threw the sandwiches to the back of the car and said “I guess not!” and got back on the highway.  He knows I only get mad when my blood sugar is low, but I was mad about the comment.  WTF?!  Are you calling me fat?  He reached back and handed me a sandwich and said to eat it.  It wasn’t until then that I could detect the sense of urgency in his voice that he just wanted to get to the hospital.  I was so close to just go off and yell “do you think these last three weeks have been easy for me?!”  but I slowed my roll, we both apologized for being on edge and we finished the road trip.

I have to be an asshole to think that a stupid off the cuff comment like that set me off – but in all reality – it’s really hard being the strong one.  And since basically 2007 when Tony first got sick, I’ve pretty much had to be the strong one.  While Tony worries, I am the one who tells him that everything is going to be okay.  But that’s easy coming from me – I am not the sick one, and Tony is the one who’s had to go through all these awful health problems. 

But here’s the other part of shit that I just have to realize.  This is our life now.  My vacation days are not being spent being on a lake fishing with Tony, they are being spent in a hospital, and I just have to stop pining over other peoples Facebook vacation pictures:  boat rides, bonfires, family reunions, farmers markets.  And I need to just focus on the positives that Tony is in the right place at the right time.

When we met the cardiologist last week, Tony had just come out of sedation, and would periodically start to fall asleep while the doctor was talking to us.  I actually thought ahead and downloaded an app that was a tape recorder, and recorded the whole conversation.  I told Tony that I had that when we got home if he wanted to listen to it, but he said it was okay.

So fast forward to yesterday – the doctor took one look at Tony, realized he was retaining too much fluid and wanted to admit him in preparation for his heart biopsy on Thursday.  He picked up the phone to call the St. Mary’s admit desk and starts to speak “I have a 53 year old male in severe heart failure. . . “  I could see by the look on Tony’s face that he was shocked by that.  I knew it.  I offered that information to him and he declined.  But I think if nothing else, he knew coming here was the right thing to do.


I have to say – the process from admitting him all the way through meeting with the heart doctors and starting the IVs was two hours.  TWO HOURS!  That’s amazing.  Joanne (blog reader) you were right that the care here is amazeballs!  And as is the case, I am the sleep whisperer!  And I think his growing in mustache and beard are sexy – salt and pepper hair and all. Open-mouthed smile


Once his diet was approved that he could eat, he ordered his dinner.  I went down to the hospital cafeteria.  There were quite a few people in there, and I have to say, most of the food looked like ass, so I ended up sticking with something that usually is okay – the salad bar.  This salad cost $3.07.


Tony?  He ordered a plain hamburger, red Jell-O and iced tea.  That’s all he wanted.


When we were getting admitted, the person asked if Tony wanted a private room.  She stated that a private room would be an out of pocket expense of $75 a night.  Done.  We have been in shared rooms too many times over the years, from roommates who have their t.v. volume on so high you can’t hear you own t.v., they don’t knew where they are and yell “help!” every few minutes.  Roommates that have coughing fits.  So worth it.  More importantly Tony is worth it!  Just to know that he can be peaceful in a room by himself is all I wanted for him.

And, his room has a gorgeous view!


I finally left around 8 p.m. to go back to the hotel I reserved.   I had to park about 3 blocks from the hospital and I find it interesting that after regular hours, they have an “honor parking” where you take an envelope and put in what you think you owe and leave it in another bin.  Parking is cheap – $2 for the first hour and $1 for each hour after that – I wrapped my parking ticket with a $5 and put it in the bin.



I have to admit, it was weird to be here all by myself.   I ended up falling asleep with the t.v. on because Tony does that at home and it was comforting.  I fell asleep before 11:00 p.m. and just woke up at 8 – nice!

I am off to shower, get some breakfast and head back to St. Mary’s.  Not sure what the day will be like, but you all know I love the emails, comments, etc. about Tony – it’s appreciated more than you know!

And one more shout out to Vote for My Recipe.  If you click on this link, it will take you right to the page to vote – thanks for voting!   My Mom made my recipe last night and texted me “best pork dish ever.  Restaurant worthy!”  Thanks Momma – and I know you are saying that not only because it was delicious, but because I am your favorite, right?!

Make it a great day!


Off to Mayo and Don’t Forget to Vote!

Thanks to everyone who voted for my Extended Stay America recipe contest!  You can vote once a day, as many emails as you have until August 22.  THANK YOU!

Click here to enter today.

This post is going to be short and sweet – you know, just like me!  Tony isn’t feeling well, obviously, but worse than last week.  We called the doctor at Mayo and he thought it would be a good idea that we come in tomorrow and access the situation before his heart biopsy on Thursday, and we couldn’t agree more.  It would have sucked if we got up there on Thursday only to find out that he’s retaining to much fluid to do the procedure.

So third trip to Mayo in as many weeks.  We are getting the lay of the land in Rochester – and hopefully by now I won’t whiz by the exits I am supposed to get off of!

I skipping right past breakfast and lunch because it was BORING.  Egg white spinach omelet with cherries for breakfast and Michael Symon’s Cincinnati chili for lunch.

Dinner however, was all Biz.  Tony’s been eating bananas, rice and crackers.  When I found out he only wanted rice for dinner, my mind went right to spicy chicken stir fry.  One of my Instagram friends Larry put up a picture of firecracker chicken and mentioned to me that I would have loved it.  I am all about flavorful spicy!

But when I went to Pinterest and found out that you had to toss the chicken with the sweet and spicy mixture, then bake it for 45 minutes, I quickly went to Plan B.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Stirfry


  • Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stirfry
  • 6 ounces boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon mushroom soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup cooked white rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts


  1. In a wok, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and get it nice and hot.  Toss the chicken in the cornstarch, then fry the chicken in batches, only enough to brown the edges and get the chicken crusty, then remove to a paper towel.  Add in veggies, add about 1/4 cup of water, put the lid on and cook the veggies for 2 minutes.  Toss the chicken back in, put the lid on for 2 minutes.  Mix the hoisin, sriracha, honey and mushroom soy together.  Add in the cooked rice and the sauce mixture and toss to coat everything and cook for 1 more minute.

That’s enough for 2 servings.  I’ll be taking one serving to Extended Stay with me.  Divide mixture and top each one with 1 tablespoon of the crushed peanuts.

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FYI – that picture was taken with my iPhone 4 – I used VSCOcam app to take the picture, and HDR FX Pro to correct the white balance.  Not too bad if I do say so myself!

So I packed our luggage last night, just have to throw food in a bag for me.  Luckily I made another batch of Nature Valley granola bars so I’ll have one of those with water for breakfast.  I am sure Tony is thrilled that I’ll be driving again too – but hopefully he’ll be able to sleep on the way up.

Thanks again for you continued hugs, prayers, voting (Momma’s gonna have some medical bills!) so I can make it to the final round.  You guys are the best and I feel your hugs every day!

Make it a great day!