Living Well with a Bad Diagnosis - Lung Disease

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Entering a New Phase


We have begun a new phase of changes again. All good changes. Michael is moving into a shop with his friend, which will be good for him. He will be able to choose his work and set his own work schedule. We did make an agreement that he will still take every Sunday off to spend with each other.

I also noticed that we have been staying home too much. We were spending all of our free time in the back yard. That was fine but to do it exclusively, I was feeling like a hermit. We have made a commitment to get out into the world: lunch somewhere on Sundays, a quick jaunt through a store or market after work or just a drive down the coast after dinner.

The past few days, he has taken care of a lot of things both here and professionally. It has been fun to watch. On Sunday, he fixed all the sprinkler problems in the yard, bought and applied the anti-algae chemical to the new fountain, re-screened the sliding door that little Steven ripped then washed and waxed both of our cars.

For the past two years, we have had a friend’s car in our garage. Michael was working with a woman whose husband died and she needed some help with her cars. It was finished but he was storing it here while waiting for a mutual friend to be available to drive it back to her. It needs to be stored with four other cars in her tiny garage in the city. It takes two people to squeeze all the cars into such a small space. It has been close to impossible to arrange this to happen as our friend just brought a new tablet to market and has been crazy busy spending most of his time in China.

Michael arranged for the car to be given back to this woman this Friday. I am full of joy. I will be able to park my car in the garage for the first time in years!

So, we are feeling very positive about the future. He already has jobs lined up and finished arranging the new work space yesterday.

With all of this change and excitement, Michael has jury duty next Tuesday. Great.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Seven Pounds


My brother’s wife Betty phoned last Tuesday. She needed help. She has been struggling with high blood pressure and has horrible reactions to the medications so the doctor just gave her an ultimatum: Lose seven pounds in 22 days which will lower her blood pressure and she won’t insist that she takes the drugs.

So, she phoned for my help.

Seven pounds. Snap! Done! Easy peezy.

I told her to eat 3-4 ozs. lean protein with a plateful of vegetables at every meal and to eat four 300-calorie meals a day. Along with that, she needs to walk or move an hour a day. Since they are in the middle of the hottest summer in years in New Mexico, she bought a treadmill on the weekend. I hope it changes her life as she is also struggling with arthritis. The doctor wants her to exercise to ease those pains.

To help, I e-mailed all my low fat, low carb recipes which I have culled from the Internet. She has already made the crustless quiche for breakfast and loved it. If she drinks the 12 glasses of water a day, exercises for an hour and eats from a low carb menu, she will drop the weight very quickly.

As of yesterday, she has lost six pounds. Both she and my brother love the food. Last night they ate the chicken taco salad with salsa and non-fat sour cream. I will bet that she is around 15 pounds lighter when she see the doctor and with the treadmill, a few muscles will be on display, too!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is That Me?


It happened again. It was still quite a shock. I was changing my clothes in my mom’s guest bathroom where almost the entire wall is a mirror when it happened.

Glancing up, I caught the reflection of myself in the mirror. Wow. That’s really me? I had just put on a black pencil skirt with a Faconnable shirt with lots of tailored detailing on the front. It has stitching of red and pink so the high spiky red sandals completed the outfit perfectly.

Turning to the side, I saw my nemesis: hips. Always a problem. Clearly a problem no more. It still was a surprise.

I guess since I have not purchased a lot of new clothing since the weight loss and I spend most of my days in workout wear, I have not seen myself cleaned up! It is still something I need to get used to.

So odd, I know.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Research Regarding Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF)


I received the following in an e-mail from my favorite people at the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis:
“If you are a Pulmonary Fibrosis patient and would like to help us find answers to PF, the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) urges you to consider being involved in clinical trials. No treatments or cures can be discovered without these trials.
One important trial is being conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and it is called "PANTHER". It is studying the use of steroids (prednisone) and N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) in PF. Please read below information regarding the importance of the trial in a message by Dr. Jesse Roman. There is a full listing of clinical trials on the CPF website at   http://www.coalitionforpf.org/cpf_research_clinical.php or on www.clinicaltrials.gov
Patients are closely monitored, no one is required to stay in a trial if they have any issues with the treatment and any patient who volunteers may find they have participated in a trial that produces a viable treatment!
The PANTHER-IPF: Prednisone, Azathioprine, and N-Acetylcysteine: A Study That Evaluates Response in IPF trial evaluates the effectiveness of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) alone, and in combination with prednisone and azathioprine, at preventing the loss of lung function in people with IPF. This trial is available to all subjects with IPF diagnosed in the last 48 months between 35–85 years of age with moderate disease who meet study specific enrollment criteria.
Note from PANTHER research leaders and Dr. Jesse Roman:
The most important question in Pulmonary Fibrosis research remains unanswered:
“How Can PF Be Stopped?  Sadly, we don’t yet know the answer to this important question. New treatments are being investigated and meanwhile traditional therapies are used but still need to be proven.  Since Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) also referred to as PF, was first described several decades ago, physicians prescribed steroids (e.g., Prednisone) for its treatment. This practice continues even though their true effect in IPF remains unknown. Studies also suggest a role for a special kind of anti-oxidant called N-acetylcysteine or NAC. In fact, a well-known study suggests that the combination of Prednisone and NAC (with another drug called azathioprine) may be useful in patients with IPF. Today, however, data are not available from large, well-conducted studies testing the true effect of these drugs. 
It is imperative that IPF experts determine if these agents are beneficial.  Acknowledging the critical nature of this question, the National Institutes of Health is currently sponsoring a clinical trial called PANTHER-IPF, which is expected to answer the question once and for all. Conducted by the IPF Clinical Research Network (IPFnet), patients are being recruited to PANTHER-IPF in 26 centers around the U.S. The IPFnet successfully concluded two important IPF clinical trials in the past few years, and has taken on finding an answer to this question. Half of the patients needed in PANTHER-IPF have been recruited, but more are needed to complete this important trial.
Understandably, some patients worry about the side-effects of steroids. However, steroids are being used effectively for many medical conditions worldwide. Yet, we do not know if they work in IPF, nor have they been tested in combination with anti-oxidants in controlled trials as is in the case in PANTHER-IPF.  We eagerly encourage patients to participate in PANTHER-IPF.
By answering the question about steroids and combined therapies using it, PANTHER-IPF may prove to be one of the most important trials conducted to date in the area of IPF.  Regardless of the trial’s result, it will change medical practice – physicians will know with more certainty how to better manage patients with IPF.  
If you are interested in participating or referring a patient to this trial or simply need more information, please contact any of the IPFnet centers which are listed below and on www.ipfnet.org with links to their research sites." -
Source:  Dr. Jesse Roman and IPFNet”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Less Oxygen Needed

During the Pulmonary Rehab education classes, we learned that supplemental oxygen is an irritant to the lungs. I thought that was odd. Because of this, the goal is to supply supplemental oxygen to the lungs as needed but no more than necessary to keep the saturation levels above 89%.

The past few weeks, my numbers in rehab have been changing for the better. Saturation rates on all of the equipment has risen dramatically.

Last Thursday while on the treadmill, I was working out at 3.4mph on 2 liters of oxygen and hit 100% saturation. Remarkable.

So with this information, I spoke with the head RN on Tuesday (she is only with us on Tuesdays as she slides into retirement). She reduced my oxygen level to 1 liter. One!

So, back on the treadmill, I worked out on 1 liter and then she checked me to be sure I was above the required 89% saturation.

It was 94%. Unbelievable. Then, I hopped on the bike. She checked. 92%.

We looked at each other, smiled and both shook our heads in amazement.

It has to be related to my almost 60 pound weight loss. Now I am thinking about kicking it up on the treadmill to 3.5mph. We’ll see.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Other Rehab


With all the time I have spent with mom the past couple of weeks, I was not able to go to the other rehab. This is the rehab that is not the class with the rehab boys. This is the Monday, Wednesday, Friday rehab.

I was able to work out at this rehab last Monday. It felt great to be back in my groove. My body was beginning to rebel. I swear I could see my thighs begin to lose definition. It was time to get back to my routine.

What I didn’t expect was the amount of attention afforded to me. All my buddies, both men and women, dropped by to ask if I was okay. Apparently, they were worried that I had a downturn with my health since I had not been there. How sweet they even noticed I was absent.

What was even more surprising, the RNs dropped by to ask if I was feeling well. Then, the people who I really didn’t know well also came by while I was working out to check in.

I was very touched by all of the unexpected attention. I guess we all think we stumble through a day or life without much effect on the people around us. Apparently, I was missed. It made me smile all day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blog Stats Update


I am always stunned and amazed when I look at this blog’s statistics. So many people from around the world are getting the information they are searching for from this simple, heartfelt blog. It encourages me to continue to be honest about the process and my feelings about it all.

This week alone, readers from the following countries have read my blog:

USA, Latvia, Netherlands, UK, India, Malaysia, Egypt, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Germany.

In the past, so many other countries have been represented including France, Canada, Slovenia, Ukraine and the Netherlands.

Since July 2009, there has been well over 10,000 hits to the site.

I am honored. I am touched.

Many thanks to you, dear reader.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Strength Through Adversity


There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.

 -Washington Irving

I believe this. It happened to me. I also believe that the biggest lessons in life are learned in bad times, not good. 

I have learned a lot.

Michael was talking with one of his friends who is very successful in life. A self made man. They were talking about how I am determined to outlive my mom - I think it would be so hard on her to lose a child - and to life long enough to allow a trust fund to be passed to our son. If I die too soon, he gets nothing. Michael's friend said, "Women! They are so much stronger than we are. I'd just give up!"

When it comes to our children, I believe that, too.

Again, we all have a choice on how we get through the adversity. Rise or fall. It's your choice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rehab Written Report to Dr. K.

Though I had only been to rehab once last week, my numbers were amazing.

While on the treadmill at 3.4 mph on 2 liters of oxygen, my saturation rate was 100%. A first. Ever. If I had been off of any oxygen, I probably would have been above the 89% minimum. In other words, I was working out hard and my saturation level was not bad. Good, in fact.

Rather remarkable.

This Tuesday, my 3-month written rehab report is due for Dr. K. The RN will note my blood pressure, heart and saturation rates as usual but they will also take a blood pressure while working out. They have a list of questions they ask and report back to the doctor. Things like, "Do you sleep through the night?" or "Are you in any pain?" or "How do you generally feel?"

My doctor always mentions these reports when I see her. It gives her a good snapshot of how I am currently doing in the bigger picture.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home


We escaped from mom's rehab facility yesterday. They thanked her for being such a good patient. After her handyman changed her shower heads so she can sit and shower, I made her dinner then headed home.

Home.

It never looked so good.

I am exhausted. Really exhausted. Michael let me sleep in this morning so I was able to enjoy just under 12 hours of sleep. It is going to take a few days of that for me to get my energy back.

My goal: rehab for me. I need to return to my routine.

Maybe we will go for a drive and out to lunch today. I missed just being with Michael.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lung Issues Found In Veterans

The current August 13th issue of Science News has an interesting article regarding lung issues in veterans who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Biopsies reveled that they were suffering from Constrictive Bronchiolitis. Bad. Really bad.

It reminded me one again how important it is to realize what we are breathing into our lungs. So many invisible antigens can cause our lungs to be injured. In my case, I did not realize that I was inhaling an antigen that was permanently damaging my lungs until it was too late. The symptoms were just a dry cough and being short of breath.

I feel so bad for these young veterans who now must adjust their lives to living with a lung disease.

The full article can be found here:

In other news:
It was nice to spend an entire day home yesterday. Well, I did go to rehab, cleaned the house, cooked several meals for Michael while I am gone and finished all the laundry. I am leaving again this morning for two days with my mom. She is being released from the rehab center on Saturday and we will begin a new phase towards her full recovery from her fractured pelvis.

She is feeling confident.

She is one strong woman.

Once again, I am learning so many lessons.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Introduction of Legislation Regarding Pulmonary Fibrosis


A must see. The legislation is being introduced. Congratulations to all who have brought this bill through the process so far.
From the site: “U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and former Rep. Mike Castle (R-Ill.) joined the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation to announce the introduction of legislation to strengthen the fight against pulmonary fibrosis in the Capitol on July 12, 2011.
Dr. Daniel Rose, President and CEO of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, was a featured speaker during the press conference.”
Here is the video:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another Great IPF Site and Getting Closer to Normal


Thanks to one of my reader, I was directed to this site:

This is a great site with plain positive language about IPF. It has good information and maybe helpful to those readers with IPF.

I am rested. I am ready for the week. Michael came home Sunday evening with stories to tell. He had a ball with a bunch of guys at Hot August Nights in Reno.

A bit of a scare yesterday. Mom was ill and they were considering another trip to the hospital. Thankfully, the fever and other symptoms subsided and she was feeling better when I spoke with her after dinner. 

I am leaving home before dawn today to spend two days with my mom. I will return once again for two additional days with her on Friday.  It is another week of driving hundreds of miles in difficult traffic. Hopefully, mom will be released from the rehab facility during the weekend. I am planning to bring some homemade foods for her freezer as it will be hard for her to cook and get around her kitchen for a while. Food is important to the healing of her pelvis so I want to be sure she has delicious, healthful and easy to reheat food available to her.

After she is released, I will spend one day a week with her for a while. I am sure she will need some help shopping and other errands but it won’t be so intense.

But right now, my body aches for exercise and my rehab. I miss my routines. I miss Michael.

What I worry about is when a scary incident is over and life returns back to normal, that is when the body lets down and an illness appears. I can’t get sick. I need to stay well. I am a bit worried and trying to be mindful of eating properly and trying to exercise whenever possible.

Monday, August 15, 2011

For Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Patients and Doctors

Someone from my ILD group suggested that we check out this site. It seems to be well thought out and interesting.


Here is a blurb from the site:

What is PILOT?
PILOT™ is a national education initiative designed to provide physicians with a comprehensive continuing medical education program that focuses on the early and accurate diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) while addressing educational objectives critical to optimizing disease intervention and management.
PILOT™ 2010 Overall Objectives
            Utilize indicators of disease status to diagnose, assess, and manage patients with IPF
            Discuss recent evidence of therapies used in the management of IPF
            Describe important treatment considerations in addressing comorbidities in patients with IPF
            Engage in effective patient communication and collaborative care practices to improve patient understanding and use of ancillary therapies in IPF care
In 2010, PILOT™ will promote IPF awareness in the medical community through the following components:
            Informational booth at ATS
            PILOT™ Compendium
            PILOTforIPF.org Web Site
            CO-PILOT™ Point of Care CME
            CME Peer-to-Peer Dialogue
            PILOT™ Reading Room
            Image Library
                        CME Interactive Cases

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Homecomings

Michael is coming home today. I am so looking forward to hearing about all of his adventures. I have rested and tried to resist working in the garden or any other projects. I read, napped and sat outside. Daydreamed.

Today is also a very sweet day for me. My son has a day off from the tour and happens to be in Albuquerque. My brother Chip lives about an hour from the city. They have made contact and he is renting a car for a visit with Chip and Betty.

It has been a deep desire of mine for my son and brother to get to know each other as adults. They are so similar. I think William will recognize the similarity once they spend some time together. Both have pinball machines in their living rooms, though neither knew about the others.  They both love vinyl records. They both would rather starve than do some job they don’t want to do. Neither is driven by money. Both are very good money managers. Both are engineers with the stereotypical engineering minds. They look similar. They speak with the same cadence. Often I have to wait for a couple of words before I know which is calling me on the phone.

I think William has often wondered where he came from. He is so different from Michael and me. I think spending time my brother will begin to fill in the pieces of the puzzle of genetics. So, in a way, it may be a homecoming for him, too.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stopping

I am a bit concerned about my health. The past week has been a challenge with a lot of driving to my mom’s rehab facility and my doctor appointments with no down time. I am completely exhausted.

It was in the high 90’s at my mom’s but foggy and cool here on the coast. The dramatic temperature change has been a surprisingly difficult adjustment. I breathe so much better in the cool weather. I sleep better. I am better rested.

In the heat, everything takes more effort. Maintaining mom’s garden and house along with buying and transporting things for her to the facility has been a true challenge.

I am also home alone until Sunday afternoon. Michael is with friends at the car thing in Reno and is enjoying the full VIP treatment. My plan: to do nothing but rest on Saturday, try to gather my strength and get ready for another wild week ahead.

My mom’s 83rd birthday is Wednesday so I want to be with her. I am driving the 100 miles on Tuesday and coming home after her birthday luncheon. We have permission to take her out for a party with her girlfriends. I will also vacuum her house and prepare the house for her return either Friday or Saturday.

My health. I don’t want to get worn down and ill. I need time to recover and just stop. Nap. Read. Play the piano. Not talk. That is the plan for today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nutritionist, Rehab, Mom and Hot August Nights!

Last Friday after spending a night at home, I went to visit our friend who lives on the way to my mom’s house. Michael went to school with her and she was my niece’s day care person for most of her childhood. A good woman.

I was able to visit with her and drop off most of my clothing which are now too big. It was almost like saying goodbye to good friends. But, they went to a good home. They looked good in her closet.

On Monday, I wore a new outfit to the two doctor’s appointments. It felt really good to wear clothing that fit properly. But, I was a bit nervous. Because I had been with my mom most of last week plus we went out to eat a couple of time along with no rehab for a week, I thought I might have gained weight.

The good news is I lost two pounds. I would love to lose another five so that is my latest goal, even though the nutritionist said that I would not be able to lose weight especially through the transition to real food.

I went to the rehab class yesterday and finally saw both Sherman and Dick who are just returning from being ill. It was good to have the gang back together again. After such a wet weekend, I was not able to work in the garden until yesterday after rehab. It felt good to get it all cleaned up.

Within an hour, I am once again heading deep into the city for a very early appointment with the nutritionist, Mr. B. I will then go to the other rehab, swing by the butcher's and Trader Joe's then cook our final dinner for the week. 

Tomorrow, I will drive the 100 miles inland to be with my mom for a couple of days. As the weather has been so wet, cold and foggy here on the coast, I am rather looking forward to the 90+ heat in her city.

Michael leaves on Friday morning for Hot August Nights in Reno. It is a car thing. We will reunite on Sunday afternoon.

I will write again in a couple of days.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pulmonary Fibrosis Bill in Congress

On August 3rd I received an e-mail from the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis, the wonderful group who has funded research and is now putting the spotlight on the disease through a Congressional bill. I have copied the entire e-mail below. Please contact your representatives and ask that they support this bill.


Capitol in Spring
This is the Time to Ask Your Members of Congress to Support the PF Bill!  The Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act (House version H.R. 2505 and Senate version S. 1350) was recently reintroduced and we need your help! Congress is scheduled to begin its Summer Recess next week.

So, the time is NOW to schedule your meeting with your Member of Congress and Senators while they are in your home district!

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act (PFREA) was introduced July 12, 2011 in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
Remember, There are 3 Easy Ways to Help

1) Visit your member in district (face time with your Member really works! Share your story about PF)
The CPF encourages you to schedule a meeting now with your member of Congress when he/she is in your home district to support the Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act. Letters are important, but having a face-to-face meeting with your Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and your Senator will allow you to share your personal story of your connection to PF and to personally ask for your legislator’s support of H.R. 2505 and S. 1350, the first legislation that will directly help PF patients. If your legislator is already a co-sponsor, visit him/her and thank them for their support. To find out who is a current co-sponsor (or who is not), please go towww.thomas.loc.gov, open the website and type the bill number, in the box in the center of the page - H.R. 2505 or S. 1350. That will give you a link to the co-sponsor list.
2) Take action today by calling your Representative and Senator 
To contact your Representative call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative or Senator or give your zip code if you do not know their name. When you are connected to an office, ask for the Health Legislative Assistant.
3) Send a letter or email  Click Here to Email Your Members of Congress Now!
Another effective way to contact your legislator is via email or a letter. Call your Representative’s office and ask for the Health Legislative Aide’s email address.

If you leave a voicemail message, include your name and phone number so that they can call you back. Sample phone message:

“I am a constituent and a Pulmonary Fibrosis (patient, family member, friend) and I am calling to ask Rep/Sen. to co-sponsor the Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Enhancement Act, (for the House H.R. 2505– for the Senate S. 1350). These bills will create a much needed national patient registry to help  scientists and researchers to learn more about the disease as quickly as possible so that treatments may be found. There is currently no FDA approved treatment for PF and as many people die to it each year as to breast cancer. Please help us now by signing onto (H.R. 2505 or S. 1350).

To your Representative: Please consider co-sponsoring the bill - we need your support. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) is leading this bipartisan effort along with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

To your Senator: Please consider co-sponsoring the bill – we need your support. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) is leading this effort with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)  as co-sponsors.

You can also help by:
  • Telling all your friends and family to sign-up as an advocate for the CPF http://www.coalitionforpf.org/cpf_join.php to receive the latest news and to write their members of Congress for their support of these bills.
  • Posting this news to your Facebook wall and Tweet to your followers on Twitter to spread the news! We can facilitate change if we mobilize everyone and tell Congress we need their action now.
Urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor House bill H.R. 2505 and Senate bill S.1350 now. Click Here to Contact Your Members of Congress Now!
Mishka Michon
CEO, Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis

Monday, August 8, 2011

Two Doctors Today

We had a very quiet day yesterday in preparation for another busy week ahead. The weather was once again very wet and foggy so we went in search of sunshine. We drove to the Stanford Shopping Center's Nordstroms and Michael picked out four shirts and a wonderful sweater for me. We then went to lunch at their cafe. Lots of healthy choices for me. We bought some groceries for the next five days then headed back home.

Early this morning, I will begin the long trek to the hospital deep in the city for an appointment with the Weight Management doctor, Dr. M-J. I am very nervous about my weight. Since I ate away from home last week and was not able to exercise in rehab, I hope I haven't gained any weight.

After the appointment, I will hop in the car and drive to my other hospital in the city to see Dr. M, my endocrinologist. He is the one who gave me the referral to the Weight Management Clinic. He is going to be so happy with my weight loss. The reason for the appointment is that I have Hashimoto's Disease, which is an auto-immune disease of the thyroid. This is my once a year check up with him.

A long day ahead. It is exhausting for me to do this amount of driving especially after all the driving and stress of my mom's recent hospitalization. I am forcing myself to keep going. I am already looking forward to the weekend with plans to do NOTHING but sleeping.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Home - For a Few Days

What a week. I am home from my mom's for a few days. I am seeing Dr. M-J at the Weight Management Clinic in the morning then my endocrinologist at another hospital in the afternoon. It will be a long day.

Tuesday, I will meet my rehab boys for the class then Wednesday, I am back in the city for an appointment with the nutritionist. I am going back to spend a couple of days with mom after all the appointments.

While with my mom at the hospital then later at a rehab center, I stayed at her house. She will not be able to maintain it for several months, so left it cleaned, vacuumed and ready for her homecoming. She may be ready to be released from rehab in about a week.

The doctors, Occupational Therapist and the Physical Therapist have all been stunned watching what she is able to do with a fractured pelvis. She is one strong woman. They said that because she has been so active, it is paying off now. Also, she is not a person who would ever lay in bed all day and moan.

Guess where I get my drive to stay active?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Fountain








Before I take off for a couple days to be with my mom at the rehab center, I thought I would share the photos of the new fountain. We were able to complete it before our company arrived. Barely!

But, it is finished. The fountain is a grouping of rocks with lit water pouring from two of them onto others surrounded by even smaller rocks. Perfect for our Asian inspired garden.

It wasn’t like our older one that was just plugged in and off we went. No, this one had to have an electrician for 5 hours install special wiring so it is waterproofed for the switches for the water pump and the tiny lights that light the water as it flows out of the rocks.

Then, we did not get the right light for one of the rocks. Return, Fed Ex’d new one. Also wrong. Finally sent the right one.

Once all the lights were in and the plastic tub was filled with water, Michael arranged the huge rocks and finally added the smaller rocks to cover the tub.

Finished. Pretty. Lit at night.

It was a lot of work.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mom, Hospitals, Rehab and Visitors

Photo of fracture of the Iliac shown in the upper right part
of the hip bone.
Just briefly: My mom has been dealing with pain in her hip which had been growing in intensity. Several trips to doctors and ER departments kept revealing no problems just maybe a need for a hip replacement. Finally, she was unable to get out of bed on Tuesday morning. She called 911 and somehow was able to open the front door for the ambulance drivers.

After an x-ray in the ER, they discovered that she had a wing fracture of the Iliac - a broken pelvis. Odd. It is the break they normally see after a car accident. Nothing they can do; no surgery, no cast. Though she is 100 miles away, I was able to get to her before she was admitted and spent the last two days with her in the hospital.

I think I have moved half of her belongings into her room. Makeup, hair things, files, books, Rolodex, appointment book....We will need a crate to move it all on Friday.

Yesterday, they continued to make sure she had plenty of pain pills in her body before the physical therapists arrived at her bedside. It was rather remarkable that she was able to get up and stand and even walked with the help of a walker. Amazing. They recommended that she is not mobile enough to go home for outpatient rehab but needed to be an inpatient.

The wonderful RNs gave me a list of things that she will need at rehab - shoes, socks, underwear, clothing. I have them all packed in the trunk of my car. While I was in her house, I also washed down her new white tiles that lead to her kitchen and bedroom which had big dirty shoe marks from the ambulance people. I am not complaining but I know that she would be on her hands and knees to clean it all up the moment she would get home from rehab.

On Friday, she will be moved to a rehab center very close to her home. I am going to visit my friend Barbara early in the morning then head the 100 miles back to the hospital. Hopefully, I will arrive before mom is transferred to rehab.

The other good news is that Michael took Tuesday off from work to spend the time with our visitors - his sister Anna, her daughter April and 4-year old Steven. They had a ball at the tide pools and their visit to Apple Computer Headquarters. While April took Steven swimming and a nap, it was an opportunity for Michael and his sister to spend some time together. Alone. Without me. They both enjoyed themselves and got to know each other a bit better. All good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mom

Bad news. My mom could not get out of bed this morning. 911 was called. I am on my way to meet her in the hospital about 100 miles away. I may not be on line for a couple of days.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Visitors

What a day yesterday! Anna, April and Steven arrived. A four-year old in my house! He is an interesting kid. He totally investigated every inch of the house and garden. He rearranged a lot. We have a bowl of sea glass on a table in the family room and I continue to find hands-full of this glass stashed throughout the house. I gave him several kid-sized garden tools which he used to dig in the yard. Loved that.

It is very difficult to understand what he is saying and he is still in diapers. He ate a lot of chocolate and not much else while he was here as he was just too interested in his surroundings.

As a person whose job included observing that aged child, I find him so interesting. I am not sure if there is a delay issue or if what I am seeing is a result of a lack of any structure due to a lack of parental follow-through. He eats only when he feels like eating. He eats only what he wants to eat. He has a short list of seven foods that he will eat. Maybe. At four, he should be sitting at the table with his parents trying the foods that are traditional to their family.

He will be many months into his fifth year when he should be going to kindergarten but April is thinking of holding him back a year. She just doesn't want to let him go. I have known several cases of parents choosing this option but each child had difficulty graduating from high school. Too old. Too mature.

Dinner was great. So many leftovers that Michael brought them into work. Tonight: Ancho Chili with mashed potatoes and cabbage. The praline covered cake was a huge hit.

While finishing dinner, Anna's phone rang. It was their father, Grant. The father who left them all when they were little never to be heard from again. The father who we tracked down about 14-years ago. The father who recently phoned each of Michael's five siblings to apologize for being absent in their lives. During the phone call, he told Anna he loved her. Better late than never! What were the odds that he would make contact while she was with her siblings?

Anna looked great. She had lost about 30 pounds and, with her hair and glasses, so reminded me of the Anna I knew in the early 1970's. Downright cute! At 60-years old! April is always beautiful and, I swear, a size zero. She is such a nice woman and I really enjoy our time together.

Today we are headed to the goat farm and lunch at the dive that is delicious and so famous. Early tomorrow morning, we will go to the tide pools just north of us for a few hours then head to the Apple Headquarters for a shopping spree - their request. T-shirts for everyone!