Repeat, Repeat …

My inquisitor and I ended up sitting almost knee-to-knee.

I was asked to recount the whole experience up until then. I tiredly, bare-bones explained the events of the night before and the morning of.  I was asked a lot of clarifying questions.

I told him about sleeping on the couch, about the bacon and about Sadie sitting perfectly still.

When asked if I thought Jeff might have decided to overdose on purpose, I said, “No.”

“Maybe accidentally?” was the next suggestion.

“Absolutely not,” I insisted.

“Was he depressed?”

My hesitant answer was yes, but that Jeff was taking medication to help with that.

We spoke for a while about how Jeff felt awful he couldn’t work. How he hated saying he was on disability. How he meticulously filled his tackle bait box to avoid any over or under medication misses.

How he was doing less of the things he enjoyed. But, also about the way he rose each morning, verbally thanking God for another day. And how he repeated the sentiments aloud each evening, saying it had been a good day to be alive.

Then, we went back to the sequence of events.

I explained again what had happened.

There were questions about what time it might have been at certain points and when Jeff last took meds.

I guesstimated on the times and had no idea about the drugs. I learned later, Jeff’s estimated time of death coincided with Sadie’s signals.

What I find odd now, is that I really don’t remember Jeff taking pills. I can’t even picture it in my mind. I obviously recall the medication box and the myriad of reminders I arranged to be sure his meds were taken. To-do lists, email, phone calls.

Insulin was occasionally out in the open. Sometimes right before going into a restaurant, sometimes at a restaurant table, but rarely at home.

I suppose Jeff may have been discreet for my sake. Likely, though, it was more for Jeff’s sake – so he didn’t have to listen to my objections about his self-administering through the leg of his jeans or through the middle of his T-shirt.

It was commented more than once, that they would be able to tell by the pill count if he might have overdosed.

I repeated, “Absolutely not.” More than once, as well.

Then, came the canned movie line. If I thought of anything else that might help, I should call the number on the card I was handed.

I took the end of the interview as a sign that it was settled; that he finally believed me.

Jeff would never do that.

Quote for the Week: 2019 11 26 There are times when it is appropriate to be thankful jakorte

Common. Quirks.

“Oh, geez,” he protested. “I was just waitin’ for the end of the song.”

He smiled, and waited for me to smile back. I smiled back.

It was one of the crazy quirks we discovered we had in common, on our first date.

We’d pulled into our second restaurant location for dessert and what was supposed to be a good-night, night-cap.

Jeff pulled the handle to get out of the car, then glanced over at me, questioningly.

I hadn’t moved. My hand hovered over the dial. Poised, because, the song on the radio wasn’t at an appropriate end-spot. For my tastes, anyway.

Sheepishly, I explained my compulsion to listen all the way until the end of a tune. Or, at least, wait for a well-timed verse break or chorus completion or the top (or bottom) of an instrumental break, or when the singer took a big breath or something.

Jeff’s concerned expression had quickly morphed into a high-eyebrowed, silly grin. “Me, too!” he endearingly exclaimed.

My expression morphed into a silly grin. I flipped the switch as a comfortable place to end the music arrived, and we exited in sync.

We spent a good 20 minutes or so talking about the best place to stop listening, if you absolutely had to stop listening. If you didn’t have to, we agreed it was best to wait until the song ended. We also both expressed a dislike of DJ’s who liked to talk over carefully crafted ending instrumentals, and confessed to not being able to put a book down until the next chapter; or until the last line of a page had a completed sentence that ended in a period.

Jeff sat down at the kitchen table, while I dispersed groceries. I set a pot of water to boil. Spaghetti was always our back-up when Jeff didn’t feel like cooking. Or, when he took an unplanned afternoon nap that lasted a few hours.

“So,” I asked, after loading the milk Jeff said he’d drink into the fridge. “What was the song?”

“I don’t remember. It was kinda a surprise when I woke up.” Jeff told me.

“Hmm,” I wondered aloud. I asked him what his most recent blood-sugar was. “Oh, that’s ok!” he reported. “It’s only 220!” 220 was a low. Norm was 250-280, fasting.

“Why is it 220?” I asked. “What did you eat today?”

He told me he’d made fried eggs and fried bologna for breakfast, and hadn’t been hungry since.

I continued my inquiry. “Any of your meds change? Have you missed any? Run out of anything?”

He thought about that, while tapping two fingers on the table. “Nope. Got ‘em all picked up last week. Nothin’s changed in a while,” he concluded. “I’m just tired.” He chuckled. “Yep. Guess if I keep fallin’ asleep, I must be tired.”

“Well, maybe you should mention that to the doctor, at your next appointment. Do you have another appointment?”

“Yeah. In a couple weeks.”

“Maybe, you should call before then.” I suggested.

“Yeah.” Jeff agreed. “Maybe, I should call.”

Quote for the Week: 2019 05 07 most relationships begin with quirks jakorte

Pill Fill & Other Stuff

I’ve mentioned this before, but the Rx tackle box really was an amazing work of art.

Sunday afternoon was pill fill day. It’d take Jeff about an hour to prepare for the week. It was also the designated time to evaluate what was needed: reorder meds, restock OTC’s. When he was done, he’d make some sort of punny fish announcement.  “All set to go fishin!” “Now, I just gotta find a pond!” “I’m ready to fish for meds!”

Jeff took somewhere between 18-20 pills a day, and used a few ointments, as well. Without fail, every week, he’d need a refill/restock on something. Occasionally, Jeff would discover he only had a few days supply left, or that he’d miscalculated and was completely out.

There was always at least one trip a week to the pharmacy. If it worked out, timing wise, Saturday morning was preferred. It didn’t hurt that we had to be in Tecumseh to open the store, anyway. It absolutely didn’t hurt that the locally owned family pharmacy was a few short steps down from a locally owned family bakery.

If not, it didn’t bother him at all to have to pick up prescriptions more than once a week. Pretty much like all else, Jeff’s necessary errand always turned into social visits.

Later on, it bothered me, because a weekday collection would mean I’d want him to find a ride, He’d ignore that request and end up driving himself, which wasn’t ideal. Plus, a round trip to Tecumseh from Adrian in our old Buick ate up a lot gas.

By the end of summer 2016, after our last race trip, our outings were limited to stores with electric carts or very small spaces. Meijer had carts. Aldi was small. Both were very close to home at 2 miles away. Also close by: a butcher shop, three gas stations, a do-it-yourself home supply store and quite a few restaurants.

It was nice that all of that was relatively close, but it wasn’t foremost in our minds when we chose our home. Back then, we were both commuting to Ann Arbor, sharing the driving and necessarily passing through Jeff’s hometown five days a week.

Way before I ever met Jeff, he always preferred offering his local hometown support. When that was no longer a convenient option, Jeff felt badly. With exception of, perhaps, the pharmacy, I don’t think we were any Tecumseh business’ mainstay.

As our purchasing center shifted, Jeff made an effort to support the local Adrian butchers, farmer’s stands and non-chain restaurants. He’d very seriously discuss with anyone, anywhere, the economic benefits and the importance of “doing what’s right” to keep America’s small towns and farms “booming.” Small business Saturday was akin to a serious holiday for him.

There was an unofficial access road that ran between our community and the Museum of Walmart,. Which, meant I could send Jeff out for an errand in the middle of the day, and not have to worry about him driving on a real roads. He could get to Aldi that way, as well.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, also, that going to Walmart was never a fast trip. It was our Sunday, after church, after breakfast outing with a purpose. Jeff would happily go up and down every aisle, in every section, in a motorized scooter, just to see what was new. I always went where he went.

I know all of this information seems a bit random. It’s stuff you need to know, though, to understand the chain of coming events.

Quote for the Week:2019 0 15 theres always more to the story jakorte

Cramming Love

It’s been a short decade since New Year’s Day became my dedicated day for sorting miscellaneous paperwork and receipts and preparing to file taxes.

It’s an unfortunate luxury; having time to dedicate.

There wasn’t that kind of time in my life with Jeff. We were too busy cramming love and fun in between hospital visits and medical appointments.

Fun was anything and everything.

Eating dinner. Folding laundry. Grocery runs. Anything hot sauce or store related. Puppy playtime. Kitty cuddle time. Diner breakfasts. Church. Anything NASCAR. Talking about our day. Watching TV. Just being in the same room together. Anything we did, together.

Fun was everything, every day.

Except for the scary moments, hours, sometimes days of broadening health failures. Those were downs. The downs started coming more quickly in 2006.

Medication adjustments didn’t always solve the problem. Jeff was unhealthy enough to be excluded from certain paths. Being told Jeff didn’t qualify for next level treatments, wrecked me. Many times, it seemed I’d be more upset than he was.

“Let’s just leave it,” he’d sigh. “Docs know what they’re doin’. They went to school for that.”

He’d say, “Don’t be upset. It wasn’t meant to be.”

Or, he’d say, “It’s ok. Something better will come up.”

It wasn’t ok with me. I searched out medical articles, suggested seeing different doctors, trying non-medical over-the-counter remedies. I checked on available studies and made him apply.

He did get into one. Before the wrist band fitness tracker craze, Jeff was given a combination glucometer/pedometer that had the ability to down-load data and a variety of noise choices.

They day he got it, I was in the kitchen emptying my lunch bag after work, when Jeff strolled in.

Hey, check this out!” he laughed. “The faster you go, the faster the music….”

He then proceeded to take circular baby-steps while wildly swinging the pedometer. The music sped up to a maniacal pace.

“That isn’t really getting you anywhere,” I scowled. “Yeah, I know,” he shrugged. “But, I’d never be able to make it go that fast walkin’ and it sure is fun!”

I was disappointed when he did not get into a test-trial for a new drug formulation. “Well,” he commented after reading the rejection letter. “It was just another pill, anyway, and my tackle box is full-up.”

Quote for the Week: 2019 01 08 the view depends on the focus jakorte

My Dogs Are Barkin’

While Nannee was staying with us, Jeff was attempting to sort out his medical problems, as well.

In December 2003, his feet became too painful to walk on and moved from sometimes-pain to constant-pain. Original suggestions of taking time off for pain management and keeping his legs raised for two weeks straight had not helped.

By February 2004, Jeff was still off work and having to use his short-term then long-term disability benefit. The diagnosis of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy sparked a series of long trials attempting to ease the constant 7-8 pain rating on a scale of 1-10. On really bad days, when the pain jumped to a 10 or 11, Jeff used his sense of humor remained. He’d explain to me, his doctor, a nurse, anyone who really needed to know why he was moving so slow, “My dog’s are really barkin’!'”

In addition to his Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Venostasis (bursting blood vessels), the Neuropathy, Hypertension, pitting Edema, skin ulcers and possible Sleep Apnea were added to his diagnoses, as well. Jeff’s medication list began to grow: Percodan, Neurontin, Elavil, Lasix, Lipitor, Humalog Lantus insulin, Zestoretic, Lopid, Glucophage, Celexa and a multivitamin.

That was in 2004. By the time Jeff passed away 2.5 years later, the number of drugs he needed to take had grown to over 20 daily, with many taken multiple times a day. Those cute little regular daily pill containers were uselessly too small, and only had compartments for morning, noon and night. Jeff creatively converted two tackle trays into his medication monitor. He’d fill them up once a week and it would take him about an hour.

I do believe having Nannee with us was more of a blessing for us than for her. Up until then, Jeff had been spending his days mostly alone, trying to handle the pain. Weekdays, we spent about 4 awake hours a day together – one in the morning and three at night. Weekends, though, we were inseparable, much like our 24 hours a day for two days courtship.

On one of those weekends, Jeff casually suggested we stop by a local farm where a new litter of Jack Russell puppies had been born. I reminded him we had a cat. He said we were just going to look, because they weren’t ready to leave their mother, yet. The only reason I agreed was that I knew there was no possibility we’d be taking one home.

My only previous puppy litter experience was gained in Tennessee. A friend’s dog had gotten out in a storm and had a clandestine canine affair. The adorable yelping squirmers were contained in a makeshift arena for adoption. It was entirely up to you whether you wanted to lean in and pet them, or not. With no intention of adding a dog to my life, I simply leaned in to scratch a few ears… and came up with Cab.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 17 Let_s Just Look jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Why Do We Love Puppies: Scientifcally? Oxytocin

Neuropathies: There’s More Than One

If You’re Diabetic: Pay Attention!