Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer Updates & Begin Respiratory Program!!!

It has been a long time since I've updated (sorry about that)
mainly because Josh's health has been pretty stable (thank God)
and because I have been SO busy preparing to be in school full time...
which has now begun. I'll tell you more about that later, but first...
I'll catch you up on our summer.

Over the summer, I took two classes that are part of the Respiratory Program
but neither is specific to that program.
First I took English Literature 1302

Then came General Psychology 1301

I made an A in each one, so I've kept my GPA at a 4.0 ... yay me! :)

Those classes, though they were online classes, took so much time and effort, that I decided to quit my job at the daycare a little sooner than I originally planned.

I knew I would not be able to continue working there while going to full time day college classes. I miss the kiddos but it sure helped me focus on my school work and preparing both Josh and me for the beginning of this school year.

A big part of our summer was also spent learning the art of Extreme Couponing!

First, there are some great websites to get you started...

These often have all the ad details along with a database listing of coupons available for each item... you can make your list plenty ahead of time and collect all your coupons and be ready to head to the store and save money!

We got coupons from several sources,

cut and organized them all (which is a BIG job, I must say)

and planned many, many shopping trips.

My sister (college grad, gainfully employed, and a coffee junkie)

is a spreadsheet queen.

She used them to help us maximize our coupons for several of our trips - especially to Walgreens and CVS, (where they use Register Rewards and Extra Care Bucks to keep you shopping there, but can also save you big bucks if you know how to use them).

So over the months, we stocked our shelves with all sorts of needed items: toilet paper, paper towels, kleenexes, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, laundry and dish soap, toilet cleaners, ketchup, mustard, cereal and the list just goes on and on.

We are stocked up now with enough of most of those items that we shouldn't need any more for several months.. maybe even a year or so! So, that should help reduce our grocery bills while I'm in school.

Then, this week, looking for more ways to save money, we finally cut the cable.

I hadn't realized just how much we were really spending to watch tv -
$100 per month is about what it added up to.
We had basic cable through ATT U-Verse $69 per month
plus 3 boxes for DVR that were an additional $7 each.
Add in taxes and fees, and it came to about $100.

My sister already had signed up for Netflix basic (about $8 per month) which hooks to 4 devices... one of them was Josh's Wii. So, we have LOTS of things on that we can watch as long as my sister isn't home watching it on her other devices. But, it's free to us.

And I got a converter box from my daughter, bought a nice $15 antenna at Walmart and found we had like 15 channels or so of regular TV that came in crystal clear! And of course we have DVDs and VCRs and still have internet where we can watch many shows on or and dozens of other sites.

With our lives already so busy with school, work, etc.
we should be plenty entertained with what we have
and busy the rest of the time...
so without the cable bills, we should save
like $1200 a year!!! Nice!!!

Next, we're thinking of cutting our home phone bill by looking into Magic Jack.

A lot more happened over the summer....

In June, we lost an especially remarkable woman...
my Grandma Day...

(pictured here with my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Jr)

she had been suffering with Alzheimer's for quite a while...
she had been living in a nursing home...
Her passing was pretty sudden and sad,
but we know she is now in heaven.

And in attending her funeral, we got to visit with many people in our family we had not had a chance to see in a really long time.

Then, in July, we took a mini vacation
to the Gulf of Mexico... where we did some fishing
and had a great time... despite it being so HOT!

In August, we tackled a project James had wanted to do
for a long time.... we ripped off the carpet and took out
old wood from our stairs and put in nice hardwood
steps and risers

Oh... and we had Logan (the grandbaby)
with us every once in a while...
like on this trip to Lowe's to look for supplies

he's growing up so fast!

Josh helped his dad and me with the project
(which is a good thing since he is in woodshop
this year in school!!)

here 's the new steps... Josh and I stained them!

We also collected school supplies... which for me included
scrubs, a stethoscope, new shoes and expensive books

So, I officially began classes ... Respiratory Classes... this week.
And I've got information on where I will be doing my clinicals - at University Hospital, San Antonio. Luckily, they don't begin until mid-October. Until then, we'll have our hands full learning all sorts of information we'll need before stepping foot in a hospital. I will take a refresher CPR class on Monday, Aug 29th, so I can renew my certification for another 2 years. I am super excited about starting the program. And I can't wait to graduate ... which should be sometime in July 2013. (so I may not be on here too much between now and then).

Another big change as we began school... we decided to have our home agency nurses take Josh to school this year, instead of having the school hire a one-on-one nurse for him during school hours. It works out much better this way. With our agency nurses, they can drive him - so no having to ride the bus every day. Also, if Josh gets sick and has to come home or stay home from school, he will have a nurse who can be with him the whole time, rather than me missing class or clinicals if we can't find a nurse to step in at the last minute. And if Josh wants to participate in an after school function, his nurse can stay with him. A school hired nurse would not be able to do that. Plus, we have a great team of nurses right now who all had a chance to train with Josh and us prior to school starting and communicate with one another well. Josh even has a guy nurse like he's wanted for a long time. So, we are looking forward to a great year.

Josh is still using his diaphragm pacemakers during the day... but has to take his ventilator, etc. with him just in case. And his nurses have to take his vitals several times per day to make sure his settings are good. They can also give him medicines to help regulate his temperature when needed, etc. And if he needs attention to his trach or anything, they are there to help. It is really good to know there is someone there who knows what to do if anything horrible should happen and to help prevent that before it does.

Discovery Documentary - Life or Death : Battling to Breathe