Sunday, January 31, 2010

If there is any humor?

It has been hard to find humor in the past few weeks, and I can usually find humor in anything. I am sure at the end of this situation, there will be humor in the retrospect, however I have this little vignette of hilarity to share about last Saturday.

Disclaimer: Some of the names and places have been changed to protect the not so innocent, but mainly to prevent me from the lawsuits that could ensue.

Last Friday, we were informed that my MIL, Marilyn (real name) was to be released from Allegheny General Hospital (also real name), Fredricka, the social worker (not real name) called us on Friday morning at 7 AM to let us know and to tell us that we needed to take her to a step down unit and that we had to find one that day if we wanted one. Fredricka dropped the ball in my opinion and I have a complaint lodged against her with the higher ups at AGH, although they are not returning my calls. Fredricka says that she was not able to contact us for three days, and through gritted teeth I informed her that she had a home number, a work number and two cell phone numbers all with voice mail and that someone has been present at the hospital all three days and that she didn't try very hard, but that is another story. We make a phone call to Shady Pines (again not real name), recommended to us by our pastor (luckily he is an entire country away on a mission trip to the DR and Haiti and I will have cooled down by the time he gets back). We make all the arrangements on the phone (big mistake) and we have everything set up to take her there on Friday for STEP-DOWN. A two week stay for physical therapy and daily IV antibiotics. Through some mix-ups at AGH, she is not released until 9:30 PM (another complaint I would lodge if anyone would call me back) and my husband arrives at Shady Pines at 11:00 at night, gets her settled in and gets home at 1:30 AM and rants for another hour about how terrible the place is. We sleep, fitfully and get up and on our way to Shady Plains at 7:00 AM, my husband, step-daughter and I. We arrive there at 8 to see my MIL being pushed in a wheelchair by a cute little aid, talking all the way on her tour. What we see next and the chain of events that transpired have to be nothing more than something out of a cross between the Navy Seals and the Keystone Cops. The first thing that happens is an aide walks up to my MIL and gets real close to her face and says, "WEEEE AAAREE GOOOIIIINNNG TOOOO HAAAAVE A MEEEEETIIINNG ABOOOUUUT THEEEE NIIIINNNEETEEENNN FIIIIFFFTIIIIESS, WWWOUULLD YOOOUUUU LIIIIIKKKEEE TOOOO JOOOOIIIINNNN USSSSSS? This woman has a Facebook page, she texts on her cell phone, she is witty, she is current and they are very lucky at that point that she didn't drop the F bomb on the woman! Jenn and I look at one another and at the same time say, "We have to get her out of here!" and that was after Jenn, who really is not a touchy person had some guy grab her arm and pull on her. She makes that statement as she is scrubbing herself with hand sanitizer. I proceed to the desk and tell Nurse Cruella de Ville that while I am sure her facility is fine for some patients that it is not a good fit for my MIL and that we will be taking her home today. I thought I made it very clear in a very nice way and she took extreme offense, telling me that I could not do that. Of course, I informed her that this was America and that I could do whatever I wanted and that this was not a prison and that we were taking her home, NOW. She was again tried to tell me that I could not and I said something to the effect of "Watch this" We proceeded to her room, began packing with Cruella in tow, yapping all the way. My poor non-confrontational, keep everybody happy husband is trying to sooth things over, Jenn is trying to make light of the situation when I tell her that there is no humor in this now...maybe later, but not now. After many mishaps, including Jenn nicking the foot of another resident with the wheelchair and a rough ride out the back door and over grates in the pavement for my MIL, me moving the car while John is inside signing Against Medical Advice papers and then not knowing where we were, you had to see it all. From above we had to look like ants scurrying around a picnic. We brought her home, she was happy to be in her own home, we were able to set up visiting nurses for her, everything was going to be fine.
Unfortunately, she has a relapse on Sunday and had to be taken back to the hospital. I am comfortable that we did the right thing and I really feel that the relapse would have happened at Shady Pines also and I am afraid that had it happened there it might have been worse because of not being watched as close. We had to have an ambulance transport her to the local hospital where I completely threw a nutty (still not ready to find the humor in that one, maybe in another week and maybe by then my picture will no longer be posted in the security office) At any rate, they transported her by helicopter to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh. We are still not sure whether the helicopter was for her health or to get rid of me.

She is in the recovery stage of her illness, now we have to make the choice of a skilled nursing or home. What decisions to make. We visited one yesterday, the big drawback, they schedule their two showers a week. Two showers a week? No wonder those places smell!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dishclothes, Puzzles, and a Book

What a difference a week makes. One week ago, I made a post at work before I left for the local hospital where my MIL had been admitted for dehydration. She had been sick for a week or so and after going to the doctor, they wanted to admit her, give her some fluids and send her home. She had been admitted the Friday previous and by Wednesday was doing no better. Wednesday evening she was worse and we made the decision to have her moved to a hospital in Pittsburgh. Very early Thursday morning, she was transferred to Allegheny General Hospital and that is where my husband and I have lived since then, holing up for the nights on waiting room chairs and love seats, showering in the handicapped shower early in the AM, and living on hospital cafeteria food. Our daughters have come to visit and brought clean clothes and more yarn. Knitting makes people pause and ask what you are making and allows you to hear, "My mom always made those" Grandma made those all the time," "I would love to learn to do that" which then leads to conversations of why they are there? who is sick? and so on. The other ice breaker I found was a jigsaw puzzle. I kept one going on the table and met so many people and heard stories of how they did this when they were a kid and they would stop and put in a few pieces. I even spent a nice evening listening to the stories of an Iraqi war veteran that was there having surgery from injuries.
My mother in law? Many, many problems, kidneys, liver, infections and other problems, doctors, nurses, residents and medical students until our heads are swimming with information. Tomorrow they will start her on dialysis. It is not something that she ever wanted to happen, but being in the waiting room and in the lounge and hearing all the stories around me for all those days, dialysis does not seem so bad comparatively, but then she has not been hearing the stories as I have. I am also reading have a little faith by Mitch Albom. It is really hitting home and a perfect read for the situation that we are in right now. Relying on God and knowing that he is in charge and allowing him to be in charge at this point is a huge comfort.

Tonight I am home. My husband is still at the hospital and I feel guilty for being at home while he is still there. She has been moved to a private room, so he will be able to stay in the room with her tonight. I wish that it were not necessary but the doctors come in so early and it is sad but you almost have to be there to be an advocate for the patient. She is not able to process what they are telling her right now due to her health and we feel that someone needs to be there to make sure that everyone is on the same page, that the three doctors know what each other are doing and that it is accurately relayed to the nurses and dietitians.

If this all sounds disjointed, it probably is, I am tired.

This is a quote within the book I am reading, how true it is.

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If you want to help.

I am glued to the TV and have no words for what I am seeing in Haiti right now. Having been there and having seen the conditions that the people live in, I cannot imagine how they will survive this catastrophe. They are going to desperately need help. I can personnally vouch for this organization, our pastor is on the board and all the money donated goes to feed Haitians. There are no paid board members, offices to maintain, etc. All of the money goes to food and the delivery of food. Please consider a donation. The need is so great!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wooden shoes

My Dad carved these and brought them here for me to paint for him. They actually fit me. So much detail and so much work in carving all this.

And the hummingbirds? Not my favorite bird, but they are graceful looking.
And my wool quilt that I started. My Mom got this pattern for me for Christmas and it was shown on a medium color background, but I could just see it on black, so I am trying one block on the black to see if I like it before going on.

A group of us went to see Menopause, the Musical yesterday. What fun! I have not laughed that hard in quite awhile. If you get the chance, go see it. No matter what age, it is funny, we have women from their 20's to 80 and everyone found it just as funny.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do you have a pair of these?

They are not pretty,
They are not girlie,
They are not sexy,
They are not new,
They are not trendy,
They are not fashionable,
They are not even flattering,

But what they are.......

is WARM and DRY!!!

I bought these close to ten years ago. My feet were always cold, I always bought girlie boots and I bought cheap boots. These were a huge splurge for a single mom with two kids in college. I fought the justification of paying that price for shoes that were so ugly. They are 800 thinsulate, the highest that I could find in a woman's boot at the time and they are Gore-tex to stay dry and I have worn them and worn them and worn them. They required a huge search to even find warm women's boots, but they were and they still are the best shoe purchase I have ever made. We are going to a show in Pittsburgh today and I want to wear them there....but vanity will make me leave them at home today and my feet will freeze!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Cost of Getting Healthy - A Man's Version

The other day, my husband sat me down and asked me to record some numbers and add them up. Here is what he had:

Dick's Sporting Goods - New Running Shoes $ 89.99
Misc. Workout Clothing 175.49
Tractor Supply - New Winter Carharts 245.99
Cabela's - Hunting Clothes 312.99
M & M Leather - New Leather Bike Coat 249.99
Macy's - Various Church and Dress Clothing 935.67
Gym Membership 360.00
New Steeler Jersey 59.99
5K Registrations 45.00
Doctor Appt - to reduce medicines 180.00
Misc work clothing at Discount Store 200.00
Total $2,855.11

As I gasped in horror at what this little health kick had cost us over the past year, My dear, much thinner and healthier husband looked at me and said, "So what do you think the copay would have been on cardiac bypass surgery?"

Got's only money, right!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rest + Vitamins = Still Sick?

After the last bout of cold and throat issue, or should I say DURING the last bout, I bought multivitamins, vitamin d and c and started taking them everyday. After the antibiotics, I thought I was on the right track and surely I would not get sick the rest of the winter...wrong! I am down with the second cold, or maybe the first one never really got better and now I have another sore throat....or maybe the first one never really got better. Anyway, I am trying to rest as much as possible (thanks to nightly doses of Nyquil, gotta love that stuff) and still taking the vitamins (maybe they take awhile to kick in) and hopefully this round will not require another trip to the doctor and more antibiotics. Also hoping to get all healed up BEFORE I leave on our annual mission trip at the end of this month. Nothing worse than a cold when you are flying.
This is what the backyard of our shop looks like right now. For those of you that have never seen this, it is a drilling rig and they are drilling for natural gas. We had a well drilled there a couple of years ago and they hit high pressure gas and were unable to finish the well at the time because of all the pressure. It was quite a fiasco, with news teams and everything. They had to burn the gas off and that meant a 40 foot pole with flames shooting in the air. Not a happy sight for the neighbors there and certainly did not give us the Good Neighbor of the Year Award for that year. This time it is going off without incident so far and when I left work last night they were pulling pipe and finishing up. We have had free gas since they did that and when they came back out to redrill we had to be hooked up to public utility gas again. Amazing how much colder we keep the shop when we are actually paying for the gas! During my "rest" holiday between Christmas, New Years and the back to work day on the Fourth, I managed to finish another scarf, hat and this board. The hat is going in the donation bin, not sure about the scarf, and the board was an order.
Also finished some more squares for Warm-UP America. If you have a participating store near you, Michaels, JoAnns, etc, this is a great way to use up scrap yarn and do something good with it. I know that I have mentioned this before, but our Michaels has a group of ladies that meet once a month and sew these together and donate them to shelters. They meet during the day so I am not able to go and help, but I try to donate squares to them as often as possible.

Also managed to change my furniture around in my family room. I have had this desk under my stairway for the five+ years that I have lived here. I could not think of anywhere else to put it. I did a HGTV trick the other day and moved everything out of the room and then started with the biggest piece first and rearranged the room, working down in size and then down to lamps and accessories. Such a good feeling to have it all look different. It rearranged in a way that I never thought of before. Even Tyler, at four years old, walked in and said that he liked my "new" room.

And this is where it was before. The kids have all their books on the shelves under here and this makes a great "grandma" corner for them to play.

Friday, January 1, 2010

And appearing in the same spot...

...from the last post, is the scarf finished! You see, yesterday, my dear husband thought, should be a day of rest AFTER the girls and I decided not to go to Ohio to see my parents because of road conditions. He gave me this whole speech about how he thought I was somewhat of a social outcast, blah, blah blah as I was trying to look through him to watch this tv program I had been waiting to see. In my defense, I don't mind going places and being social most of the time, however my internal clock does not allow me to be on top of things from 10 at night until 4 in the morning.
Breakfast outing? I am so there!
Lunch? Great!
Early supper? Perfect!
Late evening dinner? Yawner.
New Year's Eve? Comatose.
Normally that causes me to cringe when it is time to think about what to do on New Year's Eve. I am perfectly happy to sleep the New Year in. He, on the other hand thought that I should do my best to stay up until....ONE! His thoughts? Rest all day, nap and you can do this. So I sat,
and sat
and sat,
and knitted, and sat some more,
and napped, and knitted,
and sat, and watched tv,
and knitted, and
sat, and

and sat and watched a Las Vegas marathon,
and knitted some more,
and you know what? It worked. We left our friends' house at 1:3o this morning and we had a great time. Attended two parties actually and I did not yawn or stretch or scratch once!
And finished three scarves in the process!
Not sure what to do with today though, because of course my internal clock had me wide awake at 5:00 this morning!
Happy New Year to everyone out there. I really appreciate those of you that read what I have to say and those of you that take the time to comment on it! Thanks so much!