Friday, February 26, 2010

Scary Yesterday

Mom scared us yesterday. We thought she wanted to leave us. We did get the paperwork straightened out on her living will and fixed the communication glitch. By last night, Mom was talking about her inexpensive ring from Paris and then she was saying "Molly THE dog" and I told her I was getting help taking care of her from the neighbor after work and June going by. They did get the breathing tube out but Mom didn't do well just on the nose piece so she had to go to the nose and mouth mask. And it's very uncomfortable.

I went home earlier on Wednesday and had a message that my car title was ready so I went yesterday morning to get it, update the insurance, and go to the tag office. Luckily I found out I didn't have to go to Girard to take care of the tags.

This morning, Dad was able to see her without the mask and talk to her. He said she asking for me. They had a patient issue so the doors were shut when I got here and when I went back the mask was back on. The nurse here last night said we could bring socks and suggested a hairbrush since they only have combs. She did want the socks but they were harder than I thought to put on. And she wanted her hair brushed more than I did initially. Then I let her rest.

Gary Gillum was here when I arrived and took us to lunch at Cracker Barrel. We may go to the Knights of Columbus fish fry tonight - it probably depends on whether or not Dad feels like he can leave or not.

The speech therapist was there when we went in this afternoon. She can't swallow yet without it going into her lungs. They will probably have to put a small tube down her throat for nutrition - that way the rest of her digestive system will still work - and it will help her with her medication. Apparently we're getting close to her moving to her own room but we won't know anything until this afternoon.

And, I've learned not to expect too much.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Still With Us

The good news is that Mom is still with us. The ear, nose, and throat doctor wasn't available on Sunday and wasn't coming into the hospital on Monday so the nurse took some pre-emptive action to stop the bleeding in her mouth. They discovered it was coming from the tubes in her nose. Smoking also makes the sinuses delicate.

She was partly awake more than once yesterday. It cheered Dad's soul to see her eye's open and have her squeeze his hand and move around. I kept telling her the tubes were temporary. The nurse said that she won't remember the last time she was awake each time she wakes up. And, Marcia told me that based on her experience you know who has come to see you but your are also hallucinating. After her wreck, she thought people were coming to see her in Mexico.

A large group came in last night with another heart attack victim. They were all good people and luckily had mostly well-behaved children in contrast to the other group. I did talk to the Service Excellence Director yesterday about the continuously loud cartoons on both the DVD and the personal DVD player blaring into the room. Given that this is the most critical ICU unit, we need occasional peace and quiet. He stated that no children should be there and even if they had permission, as soon as someone complained, they were gone. We did finally see security more than once yesterday without calling them.

Some of my students took it upon themselves not to show up for class yesterday to turn in their first lesson plans. What their friends forgot to tell them about my notices to the online classes was that although there had been a family emergency, deadlines remained the same. The department secretary even went downstairs to collect their work so they didn't have to walk up to the office but they never showed up. They weren't on the highest road to begin with this semester. I'm certainly not in the mood to suffer fools gladly but it doesn't surprised me that this crew took it upon themselves to make the wrong decision without the wrong information.

Dad finally got some sleep last night - I was certainly getting worried about his not sleeping - esp. when day before yesterday it was too loud in here to even cat nap. I'm hoping to get him out of the hospital at some point today. But I certainly am glad he is sleeping at home and gradually processing the upcoming changes. This morning he was discussing Mom's moving her bed downstairs since obviously going up and down stairs won't be in her repetoire for awhile.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Carol Berkin's Civil War Wives

Carol Berkin's Civil War Wives

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Blog as Therapy

We've spent another day in the ICU waiting room. Noisy children and adults who act like children are making it more difficult than it already is and I am pursuing the "policy card" to get it stopped. Children aren't even supposed to be here, let alone running around, running into people, nor blocking the main route for doctors and patients being moved. Getting the doctors to write notes to let them miss school is also something I don't understand. My cousin who is a nurse said she didn't understand why children were even allowed up here. Let alone noisy disruptive children. It's the most critical ICU unit here.

Dad is doing okay but obviously still not sleeping well. I finally slept 7 hours last night thanks to two benadryl.

We went to mass at St. Mary's. This was where we went as a young family when we lived on the south side of town over here. By the time we went to communion I was crying but it was something I couldn't control and it wasn't a loud cry so not embarrassing. I know I was thinking about Mom's singing and how she hasn't sung in church for quite awhile given the poor condition of her lungs.

We ate lunch at a local family pizza place with a great buffet and so Dad had a meal that tasted good.

Mom is experiencing some clotting in her mouth again so she is still sedated since they can't risk taking out the tube yet.

Molly is spending a great deal of time at the neighbors thank goodness. It's also helping with her fear of men since she's around one regularly.

Keep your fingers crossed.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Not a Good Reason to Blog

Despite my best efforts, blogging remains spotty this year.

I'm sitting in a hospital ICU waiting room with Dad. I was in Newark on Thursday morning when I received word that Mom had suffered a major heart attack. Friends in New York helped me get a flight home arranged relatively quickly after I was able to figure out how to go "back" on the new train route between NJ and NY I was trying. The security line was the longest I have ever been in but ended up being the worst travel headache of the day. I scored an exit-row seat at check-in and no one sat next to me so I had two seats with no one in my lap nor a seatback in my face. My luggage arrived quickly and friends arrived shortly thereafter so that they could drive me home and not leave my vehicle at the airport. Another friend brought me from my home tot he hospital and I spent the first night with Dad. I missed Molly the Dog but given her still having issues with Dad, it was better to leave her at the vet's office another day. The neighbor was able to pick her up before closing last night since I was getting home late and another friend who had to come back to hometown to attend an event drove me back. It was good to drive my own vehicle over today. And to sleep in my own bed last night and great therapy to see my happy little girl last night. I've made arrangements with the vet for when my neighbor (her boyfriend's mom) can't keep an eye on her since we just don't know what the next week even brings.

My brother's friend who is a doctor came down and explained to us more about what was going on. Mom's smoking damaged the walls of her blood vessels and one gave out Thursday morning and caused a total cardiovascular shutdown. She is still sedated but once they feel like they can remove the vent, her will to live will most likely be the ultimate determinant. She is mildly responding to us by squeezing our hands and so we continue to talk to her and hold her hand when we can.

The only close relative I've lost is my grandmother when I was a junior in high school. But I was a teenager and she was an "old lady". And she was never the nurturing kind even though she loved us so there was much more distance. And two people my age were killed in accidents in their 20s and 30s but that, too, was different.

I had been in hometown twice last week for various meetings and events and Dad and I had talked a bit about how we knew we only had a year or two more with her but we certainly weren't expecting this event this soon. From what I've learned, she's known for about 6 weeks that something was different. Most likely her chest didn't hurt (as a prime heart attack indicator) because her chest already hurts from her labored breathing. And until they can take the vent out and quite sedating her, they just won't know how much damage has been done to her entire body. The nurses and doctors have been good about explaining what they know but it's mostly waiting. Luckily, I can do most of my essential work next week online.

And Facebook has been a wonderful tool to communicate as has text messaging.

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Monday, February 15, 2010


February is going almost as fast as January did. We have a dusting of snow this morning and definitely cold temps.

Last week we took our TAH grant teachers to the National Archives in Kansas City. Based on their reflection papers, they seemed to really enjoy the experience. It's also a learning experience for me because I went over some of the material during our first meeting last spring. I'm wondering if it's as simple as the continual repetition to help them understand how ARC works? I hope they'll tell me more as we progress in the grant.

I also now know to emphasize more the "Our Documents" and the "Document of the Day" at the site.

I'm working away on grant proposals and also picked up my new vehicle last week.

An alumnus is coming to speak to my teaching methods class - it's a great way to help them better understand the real world. I'm not sure either of them currently knows where that is but maybe today will help.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Computer Assistance

This is so true!

My parents are finally understanding that they aren't really saving money by holding onto a computer for 7 or 8 years and I've finally had to let them know if they don't update at certain points, I just can't help them anymore. But once I get them to move forward, they pick good equipment. I also just ordered a new router for them to upgrade their wireless network. I think explaining the viruses and potential hacks and malware that newer software and firmware helps prevent is finally making a difference. I will, however, always treasure Dad's manual (gear-based) adding machine.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Course Evaluations

As someone who regularly teaches the courses that prepare students for the real world. And it's a world with a constantly changing and often political target, I heartily agree with this.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My hero!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Where Did January Go?

I had every intention of writing a longish post before January was out but I obviously didn't make it.

The year is off to a great start. I've been to Vegas for fun and Newark to work this month and the new semester of classes started on my terms - that translates into not being diverted by those who don't want to learn to continue to assist those who do.

Saw the place "Race" with James Spader and visited The Tenement Museum and caught their tour centering on Irish immigrants.

Today is the usual busy Monday of courses and grading with the recently announced TAH competition thrown in.

We're off .  .  .

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