Saturday, February 27, 2010


Greetings from beautiful downtown Haines City, Florida from your... formerly among the missing...intrepid blogger Julie Joy. Phil and I want to say ... Thank you! Thank You! To all my dear loved ones, my special friends and faithful readers for all your kind thoughts and prayers. I want to be a wise guy and say, "Thanks I needed that" but I hesitate to make light of what I have been through and what I am still experiencing. However you may believe this dear reader, my months of denial are over! Neither Phil nor myself will ever ignore a symptom again regardless of how minor ... and if you are smart, neither will you. I am one lucky lady and they told me so in post-op and the ICU. The junk the doctors found upon getting a good look inside (we have a copy of the pictures) was incredible but they managed to repair my broken heart and fix me up good as new (well maybe not that good!). However, that does not give me a free ride and from here on out Phil and I are actually looking forward to improving the way we cook and eat. He is also going to have a complete cardiac checkup when we return to WA this spring.

My hero and I hope to live smart and long from here on out. I wish the same for you!

PS: How about that Margie!!!? Three cheers for her excellent coverage the first two weeks! Thanks doesn't begin to cover how grateful I am for her assistance and her support.

With love to all,

Julie Joy

Where it all began. South Lake Hospital in Clermont, Florida.

Just a simple Angiogram, right? That's not how it happened--I was bundled up and sent to the next hospital the same day. Since Phil was driving me, I stopped at home to pick up a few things ... they weren't happy about that.

Pretty scary ..............

Come on people, let's get this show on the road!

Hoping this will be a easy repair and a happy ending.

One out of two "ain't" bad!

Post surgery, in ICU at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida.

Not feeling much of anything ... yet :)

Almost ready to go to Haine's City Health Care Center. Up and about, feeling pretty good and happy to be alive!

My home-sweet-home for another week or so post surgery. Going through rehab and getting some tender loving care for my wounds.

99% of the people who work here are absolutely great and Phil was released from having to worry about bandages and exercises until I'm ready to come home.

One of the most expensive pillows I have ever received. It is used to hold against my chest when/if I cough. Fortunately, there wasn't much of that.

I also use it as a buffer between my chest and the seat belt when I ride in the truck. If there was an airbag on the passenger side, I would have had to ride in the back (HA!) seat.

The local bird population FINALLY found our feeders that have been out since we arrived. Phil took this picture so I could see them too.
Two dozen long stemmed red roses arrived from our dearest friends, Gloria and Les back in WA!

I told everyone I knew now that I was loved :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


First, I'd like to say thank you to Joy's blog readers for their comments of concern for Joy. Those comments mean a lot to Joy. She doesn't have Internet access or she would be making her post today so I'll be giving the weekly update again this week.

I'm happy to report, no make that very happy, to report that Joy is doing much, much better this week. Wednesday, however, was a very stressful day for both Joy and Phil. More so for Phil than Joy probably. Early in the day they were told that Joy would be released and transferred to the rehab facility. Then the next nurse or doctor in the room would say, no, it would be Thursday. Then they would be told, no, it will be today. And on and on it went throughout the day. Then there was the indecision of whether she would be transferred by ambulance or whether Phil would drive her.

At about 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday they finally released Joy to Phil and his GPS to drive to the rehab facility. Talk about stress! This particular area is not GPS friendly. Names of streets have been changed, new streets have been added, etc. Add to that the fact that it is dark and they are driving in an unfamiliar area, let's just say it wasn't a good experience. They finally arrive at rehab about 8:00 p.m. if I remember correctly. Luckily her room was ready since they were expecting her so she was able to get settled in.

Let me mention that Phil is a great guy and that he is doing everything in his power to be sure Joy is well taken care of during this time. His caring and concern are amazing to me - he absolutely loves Joy immensely. He will challenge anything out of the ordinary in Joy's care. On Thursday there was a discrepancy between the hospital and rehab over the dosage amount for her medicine. After phone calls and lots of questioning, the issue was finally resolved. Phil's the kind of guy you would want as a caregiver to be sure you are getting the proper medicine and care. Having said that, I thought we might have to have Phil admitted to a hospital for stress overload that day!

Roger and I visited with Joy and Phil at rehab on Friday. She looks great, was up, dressed, and walking. That morning she had some breathing problems and had to have a little oxygen but was off the oxygen fairly quickly. It was great to see her without tubes and wires hooked to her and to hear her laughing. No one wants to be in rehab, but she is making the best of the situation and doing whatever is required of her. She's a tough, determined lady so I fully expect to see her out of rehab as soon as reasonably possible - Phil expects it to be a full two weeks.

So that is the update for this week. Hopefully soon Joy will be back to posting again and reading the blogs of her many friends and family members.

Have a great week.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Hello Blog Readers/Friends of Joy:

Joy won't be making her Sunday blog post since she is still in Intensive Care. I'm Joy's friend, Margie, and she asked me to do her weekly post for her. Roger and I visited with Joy and Phil last night and we were amazed at how great she looked after what she has been through this past week. She was sitting up in a chair and had her pretty smile and sense of humor going strong.

Joy had a cardiac catheterization on Wednesday, the 10th of February. Some blockages and a potential valve problem were discovered during the test. After getting the results, Phil was instructed to take Joy to another hospital to be admitted for open heart surgery the following morning at 8:00 a.m.

Joy had a triple bypass and a valve replaced during her open heart surgery (she may start oinking at anytime now). When she gets back home, she can give you all the details. Suffice it to say that she is one lucky lady to have had this surgery in the nick of time. She came through it quite well and we are all thankful that she had the necessary surgery. She is still on an external pacemaker, but hopefully she will be able to get off that soon. Her doctor told her that she can expect to be around for another 20 or 30 years now!

Every day Phil stops by to give us updates and every day he stays at the hospital with Joy. They are both going to need a lot of rest when Joy returns home.

I asked Joy if she wanted me to take her photo for the blog, but the nurse quickly informed me that no cameras were allowed. Phil snapped a few before he got caught, so they might show up on the blog later. I took two photos outside the hospital - that's the best I could do.

I'm sure Joy would want me to thank everyone for their thoughts and concerns about her. THANK YOU!

Saturday, February 06, 2010


I have not mentioned what I’m about to tell you before because I wanted to have the results of all the tests before I shared my recent medical problems. Well, the hypothesis has been made and my decision is in the works. But first a little background. You who read my blog regularly have read my remarks about my “anxiety attacks” and my love affair with an OTC product called Calms Forte. It worked very well and I had hoped that story was over and done with. However, that was not to be and eventually, along with the anxiety attacks came some chest pain. The first time it happened I was really scared but after taking two Calms Forte, the pain diminished rapidly and from then on, if I felt a (what I am now calling) panic attack coming on, I’d promptly pop a couple pills and be fine in less than a minute. Since my father died from a heart attack at 54 years old and my half brother and sister both died from heart attacks at 60 years old, I decided that maybe I should start taking these symptoms seriously. Are you following me so far?

After a few months it became obvious that I was unable to walk very far without triggering the chest pain. Now it really has our attention and Phil and I discussed that fact that when we settled down for the winter here in Florida I would go to the doctor and see what was going on. So, after two electrocardiograms, a stress test, an echocardiogram of my heart and a carotid artery sonogram (this result was very good—less than 40 % blockage) it has been determined there is some blockage on the left side of my heart. There is also some valve leakage but according to my cardiologist that is not a big problem … yet. The name for this is coronary hypertension. I am scheduled for a cardiac catheterization on Wednesday, the 10th of February. At that time they will check for the blockage, examine the valves and main pumping chamber, then assess whether I need: no treatment, a change of medication, another type of catheterization called an intervention procedure or cardiac surgery. If all goes well, they tell me I will be fit as a fiddle by the next day. Stay tuned … next weeks blog with let you know how it all turns out. If there is no blog next week … well, hopefully I will just be taking a week off.

Last week’s word: Detritus, noun. Definition: Debris or discarded material. Geology = fragments of rocks that have been worn away. Ecology = organic debris formed by the decomposition of plants or animals

WORD OF THE WEEK: divination. Hint: Gypsies come to mind.


Don’t Wake me at Doyle’s by Maura Murphy

The title confused me until I remembered a “wake” is a celebration of someone’s life before the burial, often with the deceased in attendance and later discovered Doyle’s was the name of a prominent drinking establishment mentioned constantly in this book. I really like to read memoirs but this was very different from my usual choices. It has been compared to Angela’s Ashes (which I haven’t read) and is written by an Irish woman in the twilight of her years then published just a year before her death. She considered herself uneducated so the skill demonstrated in her writing is puzzling. One of the reviewers of this book suggested she may have had a ghostwriter but none are specified or credited in the acknowledgements. I was fascinated by the abject poverty this woman endures while she gives birth to nine children and has several miscarriages. I knew about the influx of Irish immigrants during the potato famine in the early 1800s but according to this tale of wretchedness, it wasn’t much better for the poor in Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. The ongoing drama between her and her alcoholic husband is a roller coaster of emotions played out over almost 50 years of not so wedded bliss. She blames the Catholic Church and family pressure for her health problems and the years of deprivation suffered by herself and her children while her husband spends nearly every bit of money he makes in Doyle’s Pub. I understood her devotion to her church but found it frustrating that she didn’t look for a better way to protect her kids from the ravages of a drunken father which of course, much to her annoyance, they adored when he was sober. If all the incidents in this mesmerizing book are factual, it was a real eye-opener and I will never complain again about my early (poverty stricken) years. Compared to how this family lived for decades, my life was blessed. Rating: Seven


Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away—never to return. So, while we have it, it’s best we love it, and care for it, and fix it when it’s broken, and heal it when it’s sick. This is true for marriage and old cars, and children with bad report cards, and dogs and cats, with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special—and so, we keep them close!
Author unknown.

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time …

This is the complex where all my tests were done. Six cardiologists work here.

On the road to Clermont, FL for a doctor's appointment we spotted this trailer. Shelton (in WA) is our former home town.
This "Shelton" truck belongs to a local trucking company.

We have no idea what kind of tree this is but I found the black spots (leaves? nuts?) along the limbs fascinating.

We went out to dinner with our good friends, Margie and Roger. Roger said he had the best fried catfish he had ever eaten. Margie had pork ribs that were very good as well.
We will definitely go back.

Great food, decent prices, excellent service and the biggest ceiling fan we've ever seen!

Joy's 6 oz. Filet Mignon. Also cooked perfectly and I took half of it home for later ... :)

Phil's New York strip steak. Perfectly cooked and tender. Delish!