Then and Now
Where to start….let’s see at the beginning? I went to EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) school way back when (over 30 years ago) with John’s youngest brother. After we graduated I got a call from him asking did I want to do some part-time work with them and being the single girl that I was I said sure (you always need more money for shoes). I went to work for Rebel CB Ambulance service (a then up until we started a volunteer service) with him working for pay during the week and every couple of weekends volunteering. I was the first woman in that part of the country to work on the ambulance and the first time I called the hospital they thought it was a joke.
I meet John because we still used volunteers a lot sometimes one EMT and a volunteer working calls. I guess I worked there for a couple of years full-time and moving there before we ever even “noticed” each other. We worked together and ended up getting married and eventually having 3 children Nicole, Katelyn and Miles. Now we have 3 grand’s also Montana, Lilly and Rylee.
We knew about 4 years ago that John had Hepatitis C but he was healthy so we didn’t think anything about it at the time and I started college to get my degree in early childhood education and John worked hard at home and work. One afternoon we came to pick me up at school after he had been to the clinic at work (that is who did all our blood work and health coverage). The NP had told him that according to his bloodwork he needed to see a gastroenterologist immediately because it looked like from the numbers that he had liver cancer. It took over a month to get in to see the specialist and in this time we had to tell our kids that they thought he had cancer it was a devastating time for us. When we finally saw the gastro he did a lot of VERY expensive test and we found out that he had cirrhosis from the Hep C and that it was so bad it is considered to be end stage liver disease.
What followed was a lot of new medications, test and 2 hospital visits for increased ammonia levels that almost had him in a coma that could have been fatal. The good news is that he took the 12 week regimen of Harvoni and he is not Hep C free but the damage is done and all this really means is the continuing damage from it will slow down some, he is not contagious and he is a better candidate for a transplant. His doctor has referred him to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta to be evaluated by the transplant team so we will see how that goes when we hear back from them. This is a process that can take months so we are kind of in a limbo about what will go on
One good thing that has come out of all this is that we are using the time we have to do things we have never done before. The first of his bucket list we did was year before last (last year was a not so good year for his health so didn’t do much) I surprised him with a BBQ competition (yes we had NEVER even smoked anything much but we placed 7th in ribs!!!) and we went to Myrtle Beach SC (both got food poisoning). The last trip we took was to Chattanooga TN and we really enjoyed that. We figure this will be our one and only road trip and we are taking the bus route because it is so hard for him to ride and on the bus there is a bathroom, he can move around or keep his feet up. Living on disability we don’t have extra very often so we are welling things we no longer need and I am entering contest and contacting businesses to find discounts etc.
Last year we went to visit our son in Rockford Il and spend 2 days in Chicago then on to Nashville. We did the whole trip on Megabus and on public transportation so it was an adventure to be sure. We were super lucky to find some great people in Chicago who provided us with free tickets to the observation deck at the Willis tower and to the great restaurants, Grand Ole Opry and Chamber of Commerce who provided us with meals, tickets to shows and to see most of the sights in Nashvile John got to check quite a few things off his list.
This year we want to visit The Fitzpatrick Hotel in Washington Ga and to go to Savannah and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge. The theme for this year if I ever get us started and we can save some money with the huge power bills we have will be visiting the paranormal. We are both excited since this is something that is on both or our list. We would also love to visit DollyWood again (we went right after we got married I believe the first week they were open). John or I (my asthma has been awfull this year) can handle the heat or much walking but we plan on doing our best. The funds will go to car rentals (ours is not capable of the Savannah or Gatlinburg trips), gas, food, lodging, etc. Unused/unwanted gift cards, days at a time share etc are also something we would love.
Camping is also on our list and we will throw the tent in the car and do some once it cools off. I keep waiting for someone to leave me a light pull behind lol
Thanks for taking time to read about us and maybe share or help out.
I look forward to sharing our travels and the planning with you and will keep everyone up to date on John’s health and what the transplant team has to say.