27 May 2010

Rolla Coaster

Stress level at the moment = high. This morning and last night = low. Life is a roller coaster. Would it be boring if it was fine, just fine?

I had the kind of night I love last night: sitting on my porch with my fan blowing on me and my laptop on my lap. I stayed out till dark. The ruby-throated hummingbirds not only spent a lot of time at my feeders, but one stayed perched atop a shepherd's hook supporting one of them for minutes on end. What wondrous creatures hummingbirds are. I think we only have this one variety in MD. Too bad for us. So good for me that an activity like this recharges my batteries and for a while, at least, makes everything right in the world.

Actually, things are pretty good. My relationship with my daughter has been good for a while now. I relaxed about some things and it made the world of difference. Who said conventional is the only way to go? Things are good with Rob. Work is always good. The garden is looking great. My weight is still down. My knees hurt, but I think they'll get better.

I brought my mother home from the rehab center today. Both parents are now in the same facility. I mean house! I spent 12 hours with my father on Monday. 6 hours with them today. My mind is a highway right now and it's rush hour traffic. So many details are in my head, but they need to be right now until I get them figured out. I'm talking mostly about multiple doctor's appointments and home visits for both for OT, PT and visiting nurses. It will all work out...I'm sure of that.

It's brutally hot today. If the pool were open I'd be so happy cause I'd be in the water. I was so anxious to leave my parent's house, but it's too hot to do anything outside. So, I'm at Caribou Coffee having a strawberry banana smoothie. It's very delicious. My stress level is going down. I think I'll head home. Mow the lawn. Order a pizza. Sit on the porch. Sound good? It does to me.

23 May 2010

Wedding day pics

The wedding day was just great! Fun. Nice to be dressed up, yet comfortable. Good to be with family. Here's the pictures. Excuse how many there are of Emily and me...what can I say? Click on the picture, and then slide show. The cake, BTW, is from Charm City in Baltimore. An Ace of Cakes cake, a gift to the wedding couple. The topper was Jess in her nurse's scrubs, and Eric in his snowboarding duds with a board that says RIDE. To me it was the best part of the cake. Happy Day!

22 May 2010

Early birds on a Saturday morning

Day two of being the early bird. Yesterday I woke at 4:30 and after realizing I wasn't falling back asleep, decided to seize the day and get going. I like having a lot of time in the morning. I was able to drive to my parents house and help my father and be there while he showered, dressed, etc. Then I worked a full day. This morning it was up at 5:30. I woke up worrying, but I'm not even going to say about what. If it's bad, I'll tell you later. I'm trying to ignore it because I've always believed that most worries are wasted. So, I'm sitting on my porch in my p.j.'s, listening to the morning sounds. A hummingbird just came to the feeder. There's a duck across the street that my neighbor is feeding. It's just slightly cool (not like Ms. Jule's part of the land) and cloudy. Or maybe it's that the sun hasn't risen. Not sure but it doesn't matter. It's nice enough to be outside.

I just finished my 4-day workweek, the last three being 11-7. That's a hard shift, especially when you're really busy before you start work, while you work, and when you stand for a living. I've been using my cutting chair this week for the first time in years. I bought it ages ago when I was having a problem, and held onto it with the thought that one day I might need it. Right now my knees are hurting. Probably from all the planting I've done. Sitting while working puts me at eye-level with the hair I'm cutting, and I think I'm doing better work. The Graham Webb Academy, where I've taken classes, advocates cutting at eye-level. They have clients stand for at least part of the cut. The chair is comfortable, and hydraulic. Woohoo! Now there's three of us at my salon that use cutting chairs. We're also three of the oldest. Ah the joys of aging.

Today is an exciting day! My nephew Eric is getting married to Jessica! Eric is my sister Lisa's younger son. Jessica has been my mom's aide/companion for years. She's already family. Here's the happy couple....

The logistics of the day will be interesting. My brother will be getting my father ready. I mentioned he lost 40 pounds in rehab? His suit will be swimming on him, but Lisa bought a new belt. It will at least stay up. I'm not going to worry about the fact that despite what the rehab center said at his discharge, he needs oxygen. I'll be getting my mother ready. At the rehab center. I'll have to get ready at home except for getting dressed. I'm sure it will be quite a sight for us to be walking out in our fancy dresses. Emily will meet us at the rehab center, and we'll go from there. And it will all work out, right? Right.

So, here's a story, as long as I'm writing. Have I mentioned that my mother's been missing a front tooth this whole time? Her crown fell out and she had a dentist appointment to have it put back the day she went to the emergency room. Unfortunately, she left the crown on the kitchen counter in a tissue. Big mistake. So, she's had wild too-long hair and a missing front tooth this whole time. Oh, and didn't have her hair washed for almost 3 weeks because she couldn't take a shower. Not a pretty sight. The great rehab center she's in has a salon that's open 2 days a week and the first service is complimentary. We happily signed her up for a haircut on Tuesday. My mother was so happy it was clean and cut, but she said all her curls were gone because it was short. OK. On my way in on Thursday I peeked my head in the salon to thank the stylist. Then I saw my mother. That stylist should be slapped. Really. Imagine a bowl being placed on a head. The bangs are 1/2 inch long. It's that short all along her hairline, past her ears, and to the back. And horribly uneven. I was nice and cropped this picture. Visualize this haircut on a person with a missing front tooth. My mom couldn't believe I wanted to take her picture, but it made her laugh. I was at the rehab center shaving her legs while she was in the shower. I stopped for the photo op. Then I got soaked when the shower nozzle got loose. Serves me right. I dried by the time I got to work.

The good news is that she got a pass yesterday and Lisa took her to the dentist. She was waiting on a partial denture and the dentist took it upon himself to attach the crown to it. It will never come out again. That's as long as she doesn't lose the denture. So, she'll have a front tooth for the wedding pictures. My parents will make a dashing couple. At least they'll be there. That's a blessing. I'll take lots of pictures and post the good ones here. I'm hoping that being at the wedding will be a happy reprieve for the whole family.

It's 7:30. If I hadn't woken at the crack of dawn, this wouldn't be posted. I think I'm going to get the last of the impatiens in the ground. The early bird catches the worm. Happy Saturday!

17 May 2010


I'm posting, but because I'm so far behind in reading blogs, it doesn't seem right to write. I'm super stressed. I brought my father home today. It was a day fraught with bureaucratic BS, again. It took hours to get him out, with no part of it working as it should have. It was a 13 hour day, including spending time with my mom in her rehab. My dad is so happy to be in his own house again. I met my parent's new aide. She's as sweet as they come. I'm stressed because of the lack of 24 hour coverage. It will all work out, I know it will. My father is walking fine, with and without a walker. He doesn't need oxygen. I'm just worried. He should have someone there all the time, for now. We have things in the works, but that's like saying we have good intentions. If only his discharge happened when it was scheduled, last week. When my GA sister was here. Lisa and I are doing our best. Whew. This too shall pass, I know it. I talked to a good friend today on the phone. Her family situation is so, so much worse than mine. Here's where I say something positive. It will all work out. I just have to put some perspective in this and relax a little. That or drink a lot of wine.

15 May 2010

I said I'd write about cupcakes, right?

Cupcakes. I figure I write so much about rehabs and hospitals that I need to insert sweetness and light lest you think I'm all about family drama.

I woke on Mother's Day morning with the inspiration to make mini-cupcakes for the staff at the hospital and the rehab center. If there's an invention for dispensing batter into mini-cupcake papers, I'd like to know. I used a tablespoon and a glass measuring cup. The mix made close to 60 cupcakes. That's a lot of dispensing. When the cupcakes were cooled, I made butter cream frosting. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of turning the mixer on too high after adding a batch of confectioners sugar, and the sugar flew everywhere...the floor, the counters, the stove, the cabinets, etc... I'm thinking, why did I decide to make these? So much work! I used a pastry bag to pipe on the pink-tinted frosting and sprinkled clear decorative sugar on top. They were so pretty! I put all that could fit into a covered plastic tray from an old deli platter. The rest I put onto extra-large plastic party plates that I covered with plastic wrap. I put them on the floor of my car and made sure they wouldn't slide around. The second corner I rounded knocked my mom's presents on top of the cupcakes. Smashed them. My first thought? I have to blog about this. Then I laughed at the irony. I brought the deli tray of perfect cupcakes to the hospital. The staff loved them. I brought nothing to the rehab center. I ate a lot of smashed cupcakes. That's it. The cupcake story. They were delicious but not so pretty.

My mom was moved to a fantastic rehab center on Thursday. When I call her I ask, is this the country club? On her second day there she was doing 90 minutes of therapy. She's going to come home so much better than before she even went into the hospital. My father should get out on Monday. He's lost 40 lbs since being hospitalized. He needed to lose weight. The plan was to have my GA sister here when my dad got released. Red tape kept him stuck in rehab, and my sister had to leave this morning for her son's graduation. I spent today totally stressed about how my dad is going to do at home, who's going to be with him, etc. I just couldn't shake the worry. On the one hand, I think he'll be fine. On the other, he hasn't been alone for at least 6 weeks. We have some help for the weekdays. Some ideas for the nights. Tomorrow I'll grocery shop and make food for him. Monday I'll make lots of calls to Medicare, The Dept. of Aging, etc. I'll pick him up and bring him home. I was able to let go of today's stress when I got home from work. A phone call to my sister Lisa helped a lot. I'm not going to worry until I have to. That will be tomorrow or Monday.

I'm back at my old haunt for the first time this season. I picked up a sandwich from Potbellys (I wanted to see Emily at work). I've got my laptop and I'm sitting at a table outside of Starbucks on a beautiful night. I'm feeling good. It's like old times...a great way to spend time on a Saturday night. Simple pleasures, right? You have to seize them when you can and hold them tight.

10 May 2010

Life is fine

My personal life has been "fine". Work is great. Things are calm at home. Rob has been busy in his neck of the woods, so it's been a week since we've seen each other. He'll be here tomorrow night, I think! Emily got a job! She'll be working at Potbelly Sandwich Shop starting on Thursday. For now she's borrowing my father's car, and she's loving that. We worked together (!) detailing it yesterday. It was a great mother/daughter time and a great Mother's Day activity. Really. Did I mention work is great? It's one of the only times I can be totally distracted from all things medical. This morning was medical. The afternoon was gardening. Then back to medical.

Mom update.

Let's see...where did I leave off? Mom had the stone removed from her bile duct. Then she was fine, then the Rapid Response team had to get her out of some sort of medical distress on my watch. Then ICU, then fine, then lots of abdominal pain followed by a CAT scan and then old-fashioned (not laparoscopic) big incision surgery to have her very infected gallbladder removed. It burst during surgery. The surgeon said it was only the second time in her professional career that she's ever seen that happen. My mom had a very serious infection. She's on at least 2 weeks of IV antibiotics. She had a scan today to see if she's leaking bile fluid through her incision. Leaking bile fluid is serious. Geez. She had her first semi-solid food yesterday. We think she's getting better. She knows I took this picture, but don't tell her I posted it, OK? She has her Mother's Day gifts. I think it pretties-up the surroundings.

Dad update.

My dad has been doing great! He gets dressed every day. He has such a good attitude. I visited him yesterday and told him how proud I am of him. He could have fallen into a deep depression at the rehab place, but instead he's worked hard and gone along with the program. What follows is a story of bureaucracy at it's best. My father had a sleep study done for sleep apnea on Wednesday night in the building next door. We were told it would take 2-3 weeks to get the results. He needed the test in order for Kaiser to pay for a home bipap machine. We got a call on Friday saying that Kaiser would only pay for him to stay at The Magnolia Center (pretty name) till Tuesday. Magnolia didn't think my father was ready to go and told us we could appeal. We want him home and said no! My sister Ilene made arrangements to drive up today from GA so she could be here 24/7 till Saturday. At 3:00 today I got a call from the case worker at Magnolia saying that my father couldn't go home without a bipap machine and he couldn't get it till they had the results from the sleep study and that Kaiser wouldn't pay for him to stay beyond tomorrow, Tuesday. Got that? Yes, I put on my General's cap. After many phone calls (some of them a little heated), my father was authorized to stay till the results come in. They said that might be tomorrow or Thursday. Like my father said when I told him he was coming home on Tuesday, I'll believe it when I see it. He took the news very well. The biggest problem is that my sister has to leave to go to her son's graduation from Duke Law school on Saturday. Here's a picture of my dad. He doesn't know I'm posting it either.

Next post I'm gonna talk about cupcakes. Really.

09 May 2010

All kinds of stuff

It's been way too long since I've posted. I meant to do it today. Too late and too tired. Check back tomorrow for new and exciting stuff. Well, maybe just stuff. I'll surprise you.

03 May 2010

Tick tock....

Once again, I'm thankful for all the hours in a day. It seems like forever since I woke up. And it was. I took care of stuff at home. Laundry. Lots of phone calls. Etc. Before I knew it, it was noon and I was frustrated that the day was passing me by. Isn't that strange? I was busy but felt like nothing was being accomplished. Why do I feel like I have to do so much? I can relax; it just has to be later in the day. I brought my dad clean clothes and talked to the case worker for a while. That was frustrating. The opinion of all is that he needs 24 hour supervision at home. How are we supposed to do that? I made a few phone calls, and will save that worry for another day. I went to Home Depot and bought more plants and dirt and grass seed. I ran into my old neighbor from when I lived in an apartment. I hadn't seen him for probably 20 years. We had a great visit. I went to Kohl's. I came home and started working on the grass/bare earth/weed patch that I think is called a greenway. It's the area between driveways and the sidewalk and the curb. My little neighbors from across the cul-de-sac came to help. I'm so glad I saved Emily's tools. They helped me rake the weeds and sweep the curb. There were so many weeds, despite the weed killer I put down weeks ago. I put down topsoil, then some fancy seed that's coated with something that absorbs moisture, then fertilizer. I raked and watered. Maybe I'll get some good grass there. If it works, maybe I'll have the energy in the fall to take on a bigger project and maybe grow more lawn. I've written that before. We'll see. It felt good to work hard outside. I came in and made a simple dinner. I've watched TV. And here I am. Two more hours till bedtime. So glad there's this many hours in a day.

02 May 2010

The best laid plans

I've been sitting on my porch for what feels like hours. Actually, it has been hours. Just relaxing. Being still and watching nature. Reading the newspaper. The day will get busy, and being tired, which I am, won't stop that.

Parents Update

My dad is doing pretty well in rehab. He wants out, badly. My sister visited him yesterday, brought lunch, and took him outside. She gave him a pep talk about getting dressed. He's been wearing a hospital gown the whole time he's been there, though almost everyone else is dressed. He says it's just easier. I spoke to him and reinforced what she said. The staff needs to see him take care of himself. We'll see if he's dressed when I visit today. I'll stop at the grocery store on my way and bring lunch.

My mom was doing great yesterday. She was in a chair, she was talkative and she was hungry for real food. She called as I was leaving Borders and on my way to see her, very agitated that I wasn't there yet. When I got there, she looked terrible. She was moaning and nauseous and terribly uncomfortable. She hadn't been seen by a doctor all day. I had the nurse in and out of her room, and she assured me the doctor had been paged. My mom was freezing, and 3 blankets didn't help. She was shivering and I noticed that her lips were blue. She started wheezing terribly. I got the nurse, and all hell broke loose as the room filled with staff and I was made to leave. Yes, I was scared to death. Her blood pressure skyrocketed and she was in respiratory distress. They did all kinds of tests, and got the situation under control. She was moved to ICU so she could be closely monitored. Her nurse was wonderful. When I left, my mom was resting comfortably in her nice, quiet room. I called at 6 this morning and Mom's nurse told me my mom slept well, was doing great, and would probably be moved back to her old room today. I spoke to my mom and she said she felt perfect. My sister is with her now. I'll be there later.

I watered the newly-planted annuals when I got up. I love puttering in the garden. I went inside for a minute and when I came out there was a pair of Mallard ducks walking down the sidewalk. They were gone by the time I got my camera. Last year they laid eggs in my garden. Once was enough. I've seen the day go from cloudy and humid to breezy and sunny. I saw my first goldfinch. Still no hummingbirds. There's loads of bees around here, but none have bothered me. I wish I could sit here all day, but alas, it's time to get moving.
Plan for the day

Rob will be here in a while and he'll go to the rehab center with me. We'll have lunch with my father and hang out, hopefully, outside. We'll go to Emily's school afterward to see the matinee of Grease! Emily saw it Friday night and said it was fantastic. After that, and maybe some dinner, we'll visit my mother. Till whenever. I hope all goes according to plan.