Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rehab Lunch

Dinah's friend Kay and I joined Dinah for lunch today at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico cafeteria. Dinah continues to do well, and should be home in nine days!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Today is the100th anniversary of Dad's (Herb Downs') birth

If Herb Downs, my father, were alive today, it would be his 100th birthday.
He was born 30 March 1912 in Fitchburg, MA, the first of five brothers.  He grew up in a single parent home in Reading, MA and with relatives in Fitchburg, MA.  After working for the Reading Chronicle Newspaper, he decided to go to college, graduating from Fitchburg State Teacher's College as one of the oldest members of his class.  .
In June 1942 he married Eleanore Dort, of Rockport, MA.

His career was as an industrial arts teacher at Weeks Jr High, but in addition to his day job, he had a print shop in his basement, and he was a children's entertainer, doing magic shows at children's birthday parties, holiday parties, and other events.

He personality was that of an entertainer, and he loved to get a hold of someone new on whom he could pull all of his jokes and tricks. 
When anyone showed him pictures of their kids or grand kids, he would admire the pictures then offer to show a picture of his pride & joy!

One of my favorite pictures was taken on the day my family delivered me to Worcester Polytechnic Institute to begin my freshman year of college.  It is of Dad and my youngest sister, Lois.

In the late 1960's, dad returned to school evenings and weekends to get his Masters in education.
Herb Downs family in 1968

Brothers Stew and Herb Downs
Dad died in October, 1982. Thirty years have passed since then. I find it hard to believe that in two years I will have reached the age at which he died.  We miss him.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dinah's doing well

Yesterday was a busy day for visitors - Between visitors and phone calls, Dinah's social life is picking up!  She is doing well with daily physical therapy and not too much leg pain.  And she is looking forward to going home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lily visits & an end date is set

Monday was Lily's day to visit Dinah, out on the patio - no dogs in the hospital. It was a happy reunion.

Dinah's wound is healing, but looks angrier than it did after the first operation. Some of the discoloration is due to bleeding which is in turn due to the blood thinner to reduce the clotting danger.What look like stitches are actually metal staples.

Dinah called this evening to say that a release date has been set for her to leave the Rehabilitation Hospital; she should be coming home on Monday, 9 April!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Noodle Visits Dinah

This morning Noodle & I visited with Dinah outside (Noodle is not allowed inside). This was the first time they had seen each other in 3 weeks and it was a happy reunion.

Dinah did not get therapy yesterday because her blood is not yet thick enough, and today is so far undecided.  She is holding up well, and looking forward to getting home.
Noodle & Dinah in front of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rehab all over again

Dinah is back again at Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico located in Las Cruces.  She is wearing clothes for the first time in a week and is getting around by wheel chair; no longer stuck in bed. They found her blood a little too thin to risk therapy so her first day back was a day off. She should be starting therapy tomorrow.
She is located in room 620 and would enjoy hearing from you.

After seeing her off to the ambulance yesterday, I was to follow in the motor home. But I had put down a hydraulic jack to level the motor home and could not retract it. After fiddling with the control panel, and trying to jumper the solenoid valves directly, I ended up loosening a hydraulic line to bleed off fluid and raise the jack.  Worked OK until I loosened it too much and got bathed in a spray of red hydraulic fluid!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

She's on her way to rehab!

Dinah was wheeled out of her room with all her baggage 5 minutes ago headed toward the ambulance.

In an hour or so (Say 1:30PM MDT) she should be moved into her room at the rehab in Las Cruces.


Today is the day! - Las Cruces here we come

As of 9AM this morning, there is a space for Dinah in rehab and she is scheduled to depart Las Palmas Medical Center at 11AM today.  We have packed up all her stuff and she is rarin to go!
Last evening she had a visit from her sewing buddy Stella, who happens to work in the same hospital as a neo-natal nurse.  After a visit, I left and Stella gave Dinah a bed bath - her best so far.

In trying to describe the break in Dinah's femur I said  "The break started on the inside of the femur, perhaps 1/4 of the way down the bone and 1/2 way down the shaft of the replacement. It then curved up to the top of the bone near its center."  But the Dr said "Periprosthetic fracture type A, however, the fracture line going only 2 centimeters proximal to distal fixation, large displaced medial fragment."  I hope that clears things up!

I'm packing up the motor home so I'll be ready to move when Dinah does.  If all goes well, the next report will be from Las Cruces.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Release to Rehab

This morning (Wednesday) both of Dinah's Drs (Lung and general) have approved her release to rehab.  But the wheels grind slowly; It may happen today, or maybe not until tomorrow.  In the meantime, she is schedule for an AM and a PM walking therapy session today. She had her first therapy session yesterday and walked perhaps 20 feet down the hall and back, and did not have a lot of pain as a result, very good news. Last evening she had a visit from Ron Green, an RVing friend.
Dinah is in minimal pain and good spirits
The animals and I are doing fine in our home away from home.  I planned to eat my meals in the motor home, but Dinah has found that she gets more food than she needs, so I get to eat the stuff she doesn't like, plus what is left over from what she does.
Las Palmas Medical Center is on the left. I'm parked in an employees lot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blood Clot

Dinah arrived at Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso by ambulance on Saturday night, and on Sunday they started medications to thin her blood to avoid additional blood clots.  It has taken a couple of days to get things in order, but as of today she has been cleared to begin physical therapy and she had her first session this afternoon (Tuesday 20 March).  We hope she will be released in a few days, and will then return to rehab in Las Cruces.  We have our fingers crossed!
Here's Dinah looking chipper in her bed in Room 310 of Las Palmas Medical Center.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Second Operation

Late Friday Dinah returned to surgery. The plan was to replace the long portion of the replacement with a longer one that would go deeper into the left femur bone.  But when the Dr got inside, he decided on a different approach and nothing was removed.  The break started on the inside of the femur, perhaps 1/4 of the way down the bone and 1/2 way down the shaft of the replacement. It then curved up to the top of the bone near its center.  So they used some medical "zip ties" to bind the bone back together.  In the x-rays in looks like a bunch of skinny hose clamps pulling the broken piece of bone back into place. The operation went well and I believe she slept well Friday night.
But on Saturday morning it was apparent that something was wrong; her vital signs were not where they should be and she was very uncomfortable, and not very coherent.
She was given a CT scan which showed a pulmonary embolism; a clot in her lung. El Paso Specialty Hospital was not equipped to handle emergencies that might arise from the clot, so early Saturday evening she was transferred to Las Palmas Medical Center, about 2 miles away in El Paso.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Dinah entered the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico as a patient Thursday evening.  She found the facility to be well designed, well maintained and clean.  The staff and the food were great.  She got about three hours of therapy a day and was doing well. Except when doing therapy she moved about by wheelchair.

  But on Wednesday morning she attempted to dress herself with out help, fell, and broke her left femur about half way up the shaft of the new hip replacement.  Late Thursday she was returned to El Paso Specialty Hospital.  I followed the next day in the motor home.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hip Hip Horray!

Dinah has been having hip pain for some time now, and it was decided that she needed to have her left hip replaced (Her right had been replaced in 2006). The surgery was scheduled for Monday 5 March, and we drove to El Paso Specialty Hospital (where the surgery was to be done by Dr Bean) on Sunday afternoon in the motor home with our 2 dogs, 3 cats, and 2 visiting cats.  The surgery was completed Monday morning with no hitches and she began to recover quickly.
 Dinah received two units of blood after the surgery.

  She was released Thursday afternoon and transferred to the Southern New Mexico Rehabilitation Hospital in Las Cruces.  I followed the next morning with the motor home and animals.