Getting ready for company..

Living On Oxygen for Life

This is how K looks out for me. He’s awesome. I meant to post this last year. I just wanted to show you that there are some really great spouses out there. There are so many things that are just too hard for me to do and that’s when K steps in and takes over. I love this man.

Me: (finally lying in bed with Bipap & oxygen on totally exhausted from working along side K to super clean the house) Thank you so much for your help K.

K: (while mopping the hallway) Is the music too loud?

Me: No. Right now I don’t care about the music or the light being on. I’m exhausted. What you’re doing is so appreciated.

K: (stops mopping) This is what you wanted done.. What you needed, right?

Me: What you’ve done is awesome. You’ve gone above my expectations. Thank you.

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PCV13… the other Pneumonia shot..

Living On Oxygen for Life

PCV13
Yesterday, I went to my Primary Care Physician to receive my shot called PCV13 (Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine). This shot is what I like to call the “other pneumonia shot.” Based on the website Vaccines.gov:

There are currently two types of pneumococcal vaccines: pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23).

There are more than 90 types of pneumococcal bacteria. PCV13 protects against 13 types and PPSV23 protects against 23 types. Both vaccines provide protection against illnesses like meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) and bacteremia (blood infection). PCV13 also provides protection against pneumonia (lung infection).

If you’ve already had a “Pneumonia shot”, most likely you’ve had the PPSV23 as it came on the market in 1983. It was called Pneumovax and made by Merck and now referred to as PPSV23. You can read all about what these vaccines are and when they were created at: Immunize.org. It’s all so confusing.. I know. Just give me the shot already! Sheesh!

But wait… for some reason, you have to be of a certain age or have a qualifying illness to obtain the PCV13. They are expensive and not all insurances will cover it. From what my doctor has told me… they are about $100 per shot and he has to order them in small amounts at a time. It’s not like ordering a batch of flu shots where the doctor knows they will be used up.

Technically, I do not qualify to receive this vaccine. Check the list at the Vaccines.gov website. However, my doctor felt so strongly that if I were to come down with Pneumonia… Well, let’s just say that better not happen *knock on wood*. Seriously, it’s a thought that I don’t even want to imagine because it would be very, very bad if not fatal for me. Sorry for the doom and gloom there.. My bad! Anyway.. ALL of my doctors agreed that I should get a PCV13 shot and so I went in on Friday because my doctor finally got it (it took about a month).

I was sitting there in the doctor’s waiting room when the nurse called my name and that’s when some sort of dinging started to go off. We both looked around asking what was that?? I knew that I heard that noise before. I said, “Could that be me??” and I lifted my purse up to my ear and sure enough it was my phone. K was trying to let me know that he’s been texting and calling me but I had my ringer turned down. Hey, I’m in the doctor’s office! It’s a rule to turn the ringer down. Sooo… I was explaining to my nurse as she whipped out the syringe that K and I have our phones linked and we use the “Find my Phone” app to know where each other is at anytime. It’s great because on that app you can play an alert tone so that you can either find your phone or get someone to answer their phone! The nurse and I were laughing and that’s when she stabbed me in the arm. I was NOT prepared for the shot to sting like it did. I was like, “Ouch that hurts!” She said, “Oh yeah, it will sting a little bit.” No kidding, right? But, I wasn’t going to be a baby about it. I’m tough…

By the time K met me at the mechanics to drop my van off, I was already starting to feel the vaccine move into my shoulder joint. The Flu Shot does the same thing. It makes my joints in my arm hurt for a day or so but for me that was child’s play compared to how I responded to the PCV13. I’m not saying that my reactions will happen to anyone else. I think it’s just that my body is not very strong and it wasn’t quite prepared for this. By the time I got home, about 30 minutes later, the joint pain spread to my left rib cage and it hurt to inhale deeply on the left side. That freaked me out a bit. K had to help me out of his car. We took a nap and I slept with a heating pad which helped me get a little sleep. When I woke up, K helped me sit up in bed because my arm just wasn’t getting the job done and my breathing wasn’t as good as it should be. The stress of dealing with the side effects of the vaccine was wearing me out. I knew I had to just get through a couple of days of feeling like crap, and then I’ll be right as rain.. right? And before I forget, I asked my nurse if I still had to get my flu shot in October and she said, “YES!” Ugh! Another stabbing! haha!

Today, I just feel really tired and slightly warm as if I have a tiny fever (it was only 98.9F). No big deal. My arm is doing better now. I can lift it up without too much aching. I think because I kept moving it around yesterday really helped make it feel better today. The heating pad helped too! Thank you K for the advice even though it was the last thing I wanted to do was to move around an arm that REALLY hurt.

Would I do it all over again, if I knew what I know now? Yes I would because I will protect my body from whatever illness I can. I love living and I love life. Most of all, I love K and I want to continue to be with him for as long as possible. I can hear you saying… “Awhh!” I know, I’m so goofy and that’s a good thing. If I can find humor in things while feeling not-so-good, life will be ok. Love to you all!! Hey check out my NEW Need a Hug Project blog. That’s where I will be updating all the packages of afghans that I ship out. FOLLOW it if you don’t already. Have a great day!

Doctor appointment & medicine update!

Living On Oxygen for Life

I’ve been keeping myself busy with my fun garden which I’m growing in pots near the back door of my house. I’ve added more herbs and I’ve attempted strawberries but I think only one strawberry plant has survived. My raspberries tastes awesome! I’ve not given up hope yet! The day is so beautiful outside. So, my windows and back door are open until it starts heating up to the point I can no longer stand the heat. I’m sure it won’t be long. After all, I live in Texas. But all that aside, I wanted to tell you that yesterday I went to a new doctor. He’s a cardiac electrophysiologist. I sure hope I got his title right! His title takes up the whole left side of his doctor coat with the MD and PhD added to it.

The big reason I chose to go to this new doctor was because of the current cardiac medicine that I’m taking and have been taking for the past 20+ years. It’s called Cordarone (or amiodarone HCl). This medicine is used specifically for ventricular arrhythmias. It also has a pretty bad side effect of possible Pulmonary Fibrosis. I have been very lucky to not have developed this so far… but my ability to breathe has been getting worse over the years and really, I don’t want to be taking a medicine that could potentially be harming my lungs. That is why I went to see this doctor. I wanted to know if there were any new medications out that I could take for my arrhythmia problem.

Luckily for me, there is a new medicine out and of course, wouldn’t you know it… it’s a “Specialty” drug called Tikosyn. Not only that, to be able to start taking this medicine, I will have to stop taking my Cordarone for two weeks and then be admitted to the hospital for three days. It’s the only way the doctors allow patients to start this medicine. It’s because the patient has to be connected to an EKG to be monitored to determine the correct dose and to make sure the person’s body will tolerate the medication. The patient information packet that I was sent home with to study was geared towards people who are diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation/Atrial Flutter (AF/AFL). That confused me because I have what I’ve been told is called Ventricular Tachycardia. Once I figured out that Tikosyn is a general purpose Arrhythmias drug, it only made me feel a tiny bit more comfortable with the possibility of this drug. It’s all a little scary to me. I haven’t decided on if I will do it but I’m leaning towards it. K is letting me decide this but I think we are both playing this off as a possible mini-vacation for him. LOL! Don’t get me wrong! He will be worried about me. He’s a great man.

Right now, I’m trying not to think about it other than for this post on my blog. I just thought you’d like to know what’s going on. I’m also still on the new PH medication called Opsumit (macitentan). I am doing a lot better on this go around. I had taken this medicine for the first time only for a week when I must have developed a sinus infection and had to stop the medicine for a whole week. I’m now restarted on Opsumit and am on the 5th day with no serious sinus problems and only a twinge of a bad headache occasionally. I think I will be okay on this stuff. If it helps my aorta artery and my breathing ability, then it will be worth it. Plus, there is the bonus of only needing to get lab work done once every three months now. That rocks!

I’m so looking forward to heading to Oklahoma to see my family. That means if I decide to try Tikosyn, it won’t be until sometime in June, after having all the fun I can have with my family. Besides, I don’t want to be off Cordarone while away from home and away from my doctors. To me, that’s risking a little too much. I’ll play it safe!

Don’t forget to follow my blog so you won’t miss anything! I haven’t forgotten the “Need a Hug” giveaway! I’m making the afghan and it will be finished very soon! I will get a preview picture up soon. Here are the pictures I took of my garden this morning. What do you think?

Herb garden in a pot with: chives, lemon thyme, spearmint, lemon balm & peppermint.

Herb garden in a pot with: chives, lemon thyme, spearmint, lemon balm & peppermint.

Newest herbs in my 5-in-1 dwarf apple tree pot: basil, cilantro, & dill.

Newest herbs in my 5-in-1 dwarf apple tree pot: basil, cilantro, & dill.

Tomato plant and jalapeño plant (can't wait to make salsa!)

Tomato plant and jalapeño plant (can’t wait to make salsa!)