Friday, February 11, 2011

Feb Numbers and a Minor Freak-Out

Hi gang-

We went into NOLA for Dom's monthly infusion of Zometa yesterday.  As usual, they did a CBC when we got there.  The numbers were all in the normal range, other than his HCT.... as per usual, a little low.

I pulled out his numbers from past months this afternoon.  Even though numbers were "normal", they were all DOWN from last month.  Freak Out Time.

Called Tulane and spoke to our Post Transplant Nurse, Colleen.... who's a doll.  She pulled up his numbers from yesterday and told me that all was well.  Everyone's CBC changes from month to month.  Plus, he had an upper respiratory infection a month ago.  That would have messed with his bone marrow. 

She assured me that there was nothing from yesterday that would have given her an "uh oh" moment.  She then went on to tell me that these numbers are nothing more than a guide.  Dom looks great, feels good, and that's what matters.  Colleen said that an individual can have "great numbers" and still feel like shit.

Sooooo..... that being said, here they are:

HCT:   34.0
WBC:   4.9
ANC:   2800

His INR is still all over the place.  So, he needs to have it checked locally every week until it gets under control.  It was too thin yesterday, so they cut him down to 3 mg of Coumadin per day.  (from 4mg).

That's it with medical stuff.  Other than that, nothing exciting going on here-  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Why We Shoot Deer"..... an hysterical email from my Glenda!

I had this idea that I could rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on
corn for a couple of weeks, then kill it and eat it. The first step in this
adventure was getting a deer.  I figured that, since they congregate at my
cattle feeder and do not seem to have much fear of me when we are there (a
bold one will sometimes come right up and sniff at the bags of feed while I
am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away), it should not be difficult to
rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its head (to calm it down) then
hog tie it and transport it home.

      I filled the cattle feeder then hid down at the end with my rope.
The cattle, having seen the roping thing before, stayed well back.  They
were not having any of it.  After about 20 minutes, my deer showed up -- 3
of them.  I picked out a likely looking one, stepped out from the end of the
feeder, and threw my rope.  The deer just stood there and stared at me.  I
wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end so I would have a good

      The deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was
mildly concerned about the whole rope situation.  I took a step towards it,
it took a step away.  I put a little tension on the rope -- and then
received an education.  The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer
may just stand there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are
spurred to action when you start pulling on that rope.

      That deer EXPLODED.  The second thing I learned is that pound for
pound, a deer is a LOT stronger than a cow or a colt.  A cow or a colt in
that weight range I could fight down with a rope and with some dignity.  A
deer -- no chance.  That thing ran and bucked and twisted and pulled.  There
was no controlling it and certainly no getting close to it.  As it jerked me
off my feet and started dragging me across the ground, it occurred to me
that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as good an idea as I had
originally imagined.  The only upside is that they do not have as much
stamina as many other animals.

      A brief 10 minutes later, it was tired and not nearly as quick to
jerk me off my feet and drag me when I managed to get up.  It took me a few
minutes to realize this, since I was mostly blinded by the blood flowing out
of the big gash in my head.  At that point, I had lost my taste for corn-fed
venison.  I just wanted to get that devil creature off the end of that rope.

      I figured if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck,
it would likely die slow and painfully somewhere.  At the time, there was no
love at all between me and that deer.  At that moment, I hated the thing,
and I would venture a guess that the feeling was mutual.  Despite the gash
in my head and the several large knots where I had cleverly arrested the
deer's momentum by bracing my head against various large rocks as it dragged
me across the ground, I could still think clearly enough to recognize that
there was a chance that I shared some tiny amount of responsibility for the
situation we were in.  I didn't want the deer to have to suffer a slow
death, so I managed to get it lined back up in between my truck and the
feeder -- a little trap I had set before hand . . . kind of like a squeeze
chute.  I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I could get my
rope back.

      Did you know that deer bite?

      They do!  I never in a million years would have thought that a deer
would bite somebody, so I was very surprised when . . . I reached up there
to grab that rope and the deer grabbed hold of my wrist.  Now, when a deer
bites you, it is not like being bit by a horse where they just bite you and
slide off to then let go.  A deer bites you and shakes its head -- almost
like a pit bull.  They bite HARD and it HURTS.

      The proper thing to do when a deer bites you is probably to freeze
and draw back slowly.  I tried screaming and shaking instead.  My method was

      It seems like the deer was biting and shaking for several minutes,
but it was likely only several seconds.  I, being smarter than a deer
(though you may be questioning that claim by now), tricked it.  While I kept
it busy tearing the tendons out of my right arm, I reached up with my left
hand and pulled that rope loose.

      That was when I got my final lesson in deer behavior for the day.

      Deer will strike at you with their front feet.  They rear right up on
their back feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their
hooves are surprisingly sharp.  I learned a long time ago that, when an
animal -- like a horse -- strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get
away easily, the best thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an
aggressive move towards the animal.  This will usually cause them to back
down a bit so you can escape.

      This was not a horse.  This was a deer, so obviously, such trickery
would not work.  In the course of a millisecond, I devised a different
strategy.  I screamed like a woman and tried to turn and run.  The reason I
had always been told NOT to try to turn and run from a horse that paws at
you is that there is a good chance that it will hit you in the back of the
head.  Deer may not be so different from horses after all, besides being
twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned to run, it
hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me down.

      Now, when a deer paws at you and knocks you down, it does not
immediately leave.  I suspect it does not recognize that the danger has
passed.  What they do instead is paw your back and jump up and down on you
while you are laying there crying like a little girl and covering your head.

      I finally managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away.
So now I know why when people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a
scope . . . to sort of even the odds!

      All these events are true so help me God . . . An Educated Farmer