Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dad Update- FINAL (we hope!)

So...just got a call from mom, and dad is HOME!  They released him from the hospital a little while ago....YAY!

He'll now go back to the hospital three times a week for therapy, and will , hopefully, by late spring or early summer be almost back to "normal" (or as normal as dad can get...HA!). 

This certainly could have gone the other way, so your prayers/well wishes/good vibes have done their job, and have been REALLY, REALLY appreciated!

I'll update as needed, but hopefully they'll be few and far between...if even that!

I wish for you the all the best in the coming year. God bless, and happy new year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dad Update XVI

So...we made it through the snow and rain, and general ICKINESS of today, and are now safely tucked in at mom and dad's as the roads freeze, and the snowfall amounts increase, and the news stations recommending that no one travel...THANK YOU SOUTH ST. PAUL for letting me take an "emergency" personal day to get out before it got bad.

Dad continues to improve!  We saw him today, and he was coherent (mostly!), and could carry on a conversation, and looked really good!  He's still a little raspy from the tracheotomy (which has been removed, and is healing), and he still can't walk very far without getting tired, and has MRSA (an antibiotic resistant infection that he'll have a strain of, in his system, for the rest of his life, but of which the hospital staff doesn't seem too concerned), but, the MAIN POINT is that he's better, and he continues to improve, and the hospital staff  seems to think that he'll be able to come home mid-week next week.

He's lost about 40 pounds, but it's mostly muscle, so he looks thin, and a little older, and kind of frail.  He's dealing with "tremors", especially when he sleeps, and is having hallucinations (due to medication to stop the tremors), but, went back to Des Moines on Monday, via ambulance, to see a neurologist, who expects the tremors to decrease over the next year (the hallucinations are already mostly gone...).  The prognosis is that he should not have the tremors at all within 1 to 2 years. 

The neurologist was actually surprised to see dad again.  He didn't think he'd survive the earlier stuff, so your prayers and good wishes have helped TREMENDOUSLY.  Thank you!!!!

We will spend the next couple of days going between mom and dad's house and the hospital (the new one, into which they just moved this past Sunday!), but it's only 15 miles away, instead of 90, so will be a MUCH better commute!!!

Happy holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Joyous Kwanzaa!  Whatever celebration you are participating in, enjoy!  Blessing to you all!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Woodbury Christmas Show!!

This past weekend was the Christmas show that I did with the Woodbury Community Theater in...(where else??!!)...Woodbury!!

It was a fun little show, in conjunction with the East Metro Symphony Orchestra, and one of the dance companies in Woodbury, and was held at the GORGEOUS East Metro High School Loft Stage.

Our group was small...6 men and 8 women, but we had a GREAT time, and, I think, sounded GREAT as well.

I was in a cool trio version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?", and had the solo "poem" part on "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".  I WISH I could say my stuff went off without a hitch, but, that would not be true.  Even though I went OVER AND OVER AND OVER the poem before the show each day, I STILL managed to "go up" in the middle of it TWICE during the second performance.

I learned that you really can't FAKE it through "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"...because
1.  everyone knows it, and
 2. you have to rhyme...

and it's VERY difficult to rhyme off the top of your head...even with an end phrase as easy as "and giving a nod up the chimney he rose" (nose...toes...joes...suppose...).  I think, in my brilliance, I said something PROFOUND like..."uh...he sighed, and nodded his head, and then rose up the chimney"...STELLAR...

Anyhoo...great group of people to do a show with!  I had worked with the director and a couple of the actors on "The Best of Gilbert & Sullivan" this fall, and met a bunch of new, fun people as well.

Now I think I'm taking a break for a few months...this was my FOURTH show since LAST Christmas, and I'm ready to "just" come home each night, instead of coming home for an hour or two, then heading out into the night to rehearse until WAY past my bedtime!

Here are a couple of photos from the show...

Happy holidays!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dad Update XV

Good news!

We are FINISHED with Mercy Hospital!  ESPECIALLY good news, since the transitional vent unit experience was somewhat LESS than ideal.  SERIOUSLY...why do these people still have jobs?  Bad nurses (not all of them...we liked Laura and Treva), miscommunication, neglect...SERIOUSLY how INEPT can "medical professionals" BE???!!! 

Apparently there were TWO patients who needed to be transferred to Mt. Ayr today, and they got the first one (not my dad) out, then didn't realize that there was a SECOND transfer, so didn't get him out until this evening (he was supposed to go around noon).  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!!  MORONS...'s in the past, because, AS I TYPE THIS, dad is in an ambulance, on his way to the "transitional care" unit at the Mt. Ayr hospital (15 minutes from home, instead of 90!).

They took the tracheotomy apparatus off Friday, removed the feeding tube this weekend, took out the catheter, and dad is now going to spend 4-6 weeks in Mt. Ayr, and will then, hopefully, be HOME!

He's still "foggy", can't walk, is experiencing frequent "tremors" (which, we've been told, will dimish over time), and has a really long road ahead, but at least he'll be closer to home, and the "journey" for mom to sit with him will be MUCH better!

Keep praying/thinking good thoughts/offering good vibes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SNOW DAY??!!!!!

Wow!  For only the THIRD time in TEN YEARS of teaching, our district called off school today because of the blizzard that is blowing past the window as I type this!

I used to be so jealous of my "teacher friends" when I was working at the public library.  As each snow day was called, I thought..."great (not really)...good for them (sarcasm), but I still have to get to work".  They'd tell me about how they were going to spend their day "catching up" (on sleep, on laundry, on wrapping presents), and all I could think was "will I make it to work without sliding into a ditch?".

Well...PAYBACK BABY!!  I get to stay home today and catch up on sleep, and laundry and wrapping presents...whoo hoo!!!!!!

I truly AM sorry if YOU have to go to work today in bad weather and treacherous conditions.  Be safe, take your time, and watch out for the crazies!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dad Update XIV

So...Duane and I flew down to Des Moines today to see dad.  I hadn't planned on going, but Duane convinced me to go, and I'm glad that we did...if we hadn't, it would have been CHRISTMAS before I was able to get back down there again.

We got there around 11:30, and talked briefly with Robin, who has been there since Thursday.  She's spending large portions of each week down there to be with dad, so that mom doesn't have to keep driving back and forth from Tingley (90 minutes each way, and a trip she's been making almost every day since October 28th...). 

Robin called yesterday to "vent" because dad wasn't getting the care that we thought he should be getting, now that he's in the vent unit.  A couple of things happened last week that "the family" wasn't notified about (including a night where his blood pressure went "whanky", and they couldn't get him stabilized).  Robin had a "come to Jesus" chat with the people at the nurse's station, and was able to talk to doctors, therapists (respiratory, physical, etc.), and we are fairly certain that things are where they should be now, care-wise, and that they will stay that way.

When we got there, dad was sitting up in his chair, and they've now got him on a vent collar, so he can rasp out words (no more miserable attempts at reading lips).  It was good to see him more coherent, and he seemed GREATLY improved from even last weekend when I was there.  I even got a couple of unsolicited winks, and an "I love you" (with some prompting).

His weekend nurse is Laura, a very competent, forceful (but in a nice way), caring person, who we met last weekend.  She's been very reassuring to dad, and has continued to remind him how far he's come (while NOT letting him forget that he needs to work REALLY hard to continue to improve).  She doesn't take his crap, and he knows he can't "smooth talk" his way out of doing what he's supposed to do.

He's still not able to walk, talk much, or do much, and he's doing A LOT of worrying as he's lying there thinking about mom, and insurance, and his job, and fearing that he's going to be an invalid, (and a million other things), but he IS improving.  He's more attentive when being spoken to, and actually DID the exercises that we were instructed to do with him THREE TIMES before we left (thanks to Duane's insistance). 

We DID get a reality check though, as they were struggling to get him from the chair back in to bed.  I realized that we still have a REALLY long road ahead.  At LEAST two more weeks in the transitional vent unit, then a month or more in transitional care at the hospital in Mt. Ayr.

There were also a couple of things that he said, which remind me that he's still not completely back to normal (asking me to open the door to the room...which was already open, and asking how many customers were in the vent unit...even after I asked "do you mean patients?", and still insisting that he meant customers...), but it's a DEFINITE improvement over ANY time during the last 36 days!

One good thing today:  he asked where we ate lunch, and when I said "McDonalds", wrinkled up his nose in a disgusted way...perhaps his diet will take a turn for the BETTER after this is all behind us??!!

Keep praying/sending good thoughts/offering things up to the universe.  It's working!!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And Now for Something COMPLETELY Different... of the "travel tree"!  This year, due to the situation with dad, I opted to skip all of the stuff I usually do to decorate for the holidays (HUGE tree, garland everywhere, nativity scenes, stockings, figurines, bows, lights, etc.).

Instead, I put up Duanes and my "travel tree"...ornaments I created from all of the trips we've taken (see 10/27/09 entry for details), white lights, gold stars, and, to top it off, a replica of one of the jets we've taken to get to some of the places we were going.  I think it turned out QUITE nicely!

Here's hoping YOUR holiday decorations are full of whimsy and GREAT memories too!