Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Day

This morning I was headed into my room to grab some clothes and Donny woke up. He looked at me and said hello. I asked him to take some lactulose and he agreed. After that he just kept saying hello over and over again. After about 5 minutes he went back to sleep. I decided that he'd be okay for a bit and I went to church.

Church had ended and we were all standing around talking when my cell phone rang. My battery chose that moment to die so I didn't get the call. Then my friend's phone rang, and I knew. My mom was calling to let me know that Donny was sitting in the living room with his pants down and he didn't seem to know anybody. So I went home.

After much hard work I got Donny in the car. This was after he tried to simply walk through my frail, elderly aunt. My mom helped me get all Donny's stuff out to the car and made sure that I had some form of money on me. Then we were off to the hospital.

What does it say when ER staff members recognize you? Especially when one of them is the head security guard. I know he recognized me since he talked with me about what happened last time and the fact that security might get called again. The nice thing was that he helped me keep an eye on Donny, who felt the need to sit in as many chairs as he could find available. And he almost tried to sit in a couple of chairs that weren't available.

The tech in triage recognized us. He was helping the little blonde nurse that lives on the other coast the last time that we were in. I liked him that time, but I'm not so sure about this time. He seemed a little to quick to move to force with Donny, but maybe he was having one of those days.

Both doctors that we saw recognized us. The ER doc is one that I really like. Come to think of it, I like most of the ER docs there. He was as nice as always. Then came the resident. This is the same resident that had me in tears last time. He asked me if I thought that I could get Donny to take his lactulose at home. I could see where this was going, so I told him no. He was really going to try to send him home again this time.

When the lady from the lab came to draw Donny's blood I had to help pin him so that she could do it. When the nurse needed to start an IV I had to help pin him so that it could be done. When the lady wanted to do an ultrasound I had to pin Donny so that she could. When the other lady from the lab came for the second round of blood work I had to help pin Donny so that she could draw his blood. Then she called his nurse in and the lady from the lab and I had to pin Donny so that the nurse could draw his labs. And the doctor thinks that I can take care of him by myself. They're going to do a feeding tube to get his medicine down him, but he thinks that I should be doing this at home. How stupid can you get.

The hospital has assigned a sitter to be with Donny because of his confusion. It's the first time that this has been done. It's a nice alternative to restraints. I wonder if he'll be able to stay out of the restraints throughout the night.

Admitting never came and saw Donny while I was there. They never got his insurance information. It makes me wonder if they're just going by his files from previous trips. All the information is the same. Still, I thought that he'd have to sign something. Oh well, that's their problem. I don't need to worry about it until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Bad Wife

I often feel like a bad wife. I doubt myself and my choices a lot. Right now Donny is sleeping, just like he has all day. He's refusing to take his lactulose. When he wakes up he tends to be combative. I know where this is heading. But he's not at the hospital. Why? Well, that's where the bad wife part comes in.

I have decided to wait and see if I can't get him to improve here. I'm fairly certain that he's not bad enough to be admitted to the hospital yet. There's nothing that ER can really do to help, so we wait. Tomorrow things might change, but right now it looks like we'll be headed to the hospital in the morning.

All of this is made worse because a friend of my mom's woke up to find that her husband had died in the night. He was really sick and we knew that this was coming, but we all thought that there would be a few more months.

This lady is the one person with whom I've truly been able to share my journey, since she was walking the same path as me. We've vented about our husbands together, knowing that we wouldn't be judged. Through her I discovered that it's okay to be upset with somebody, even if they are sick.

My heart breaks for her. It's way too easy to imagine what she's going through. And yet I can't imagine it at all. To lose your best friend must be a bigger pain than I could ever imagine.

Today I got a reminder of why we're making decisions and arrangements now. It may be morbid, but we're planning Donny's funeral now. I don't want to be faced with all these decisions when I'm in the worst possible frame of mind to deal with them. I'm actually looking forward to getting it all done. Once we've done all that we can to prepare for death we can get on with life.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Let me start off by saying that Christmas was wonderful. We had brunch with some close friends of ours, then we had a family day at home. Everybody took a nap, followed by game time. The friends who provided brunch stopped by and we played a game together. After they left we sat around talking and just enjoying being a family. It was nice while it lasted.

Yesterday I took Donny to see the GI. This doctor is one who we've not cared for in the past. I'm sure he knows his stuff, but he has the personality of a wet rag. The first time that we saw him (which was about 2 years ago) Donny walked out of there describing him as House. His personality really does rival Dr. House.

The doctor did tell us that if Donny wants to get a liver transplant he has to stop drinking and give up the pain killers. The smoking thing makes sense, but the painkillers just aren't happening. He has very bad chronic back pain that can't be fixed. We looked into all the options before the rest of his health got so bad, painkillers are all that can be done. If you think that I'm going to live with him while he gives up the painkillers and smoking then you're smoking something. It will be ugly.

While the doctor didn't do much for us, he did spark a conversation about quality of life versus quantity of life. If you're going to have to live in excruciating pain, do you really want to go on living? At what point do you say screw it, I'm just going to enjoy what's left? And who should you discuss this with? Do his daughters, who have very little contact with us, deserve to be a part of this decision? Do I force the issue of including them? And do we put it off until the youngest decides to start talking to us again? I hat the decisions that have to be made.

The other thing that this Dr. is doing for (to?) Donny is an endoscopy. Apparently this should have been done a long time ago, since he's been diagnosed with portal hypertension. I swear, liver disease needs an instruction manual. There are so many things that I don't know I should be asking about. Every time we go to the doctor I have a list of questions for him. And there's still so much more to learn. I need to become a nurse just so I stand a chance of understanding what's going on.

In other news, my dad's cousin is supposed to be getting out of jail. We have high hopes that this means that grandma's sister will be moving out. Glen gets out of jail sometime in the middle of January. Donny says that Lenora said that he'll be living here until they can find a place. Lenora asked my mom to drop her off in the town that they usually live in on the 31st so that she can look for a place to stay. Please join me in praying that she has much success with her search.

My dad's brother is checking in to jail on the 8th. He has court that day and then he goes to jail from there. I really need to do some research to find out what kind of penalties a pedophile faces for not re registering every year. It'd be nice to have an idea of how long we can expect him to be locked up.

Well, I believe that's all my updates. Goodnight for now.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Reason I Celebrate

Luke 2:1-20

The Birth of Jesus
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


What the hell possessed me to make me think that I wanted to bake cookies? And why on earth would I think that I wanted to make cookie trays for people? How long could my brain been out of commission for, that I actually bought the ingredients?

My grandma bakes cookies on a scale only rivaled by some of the larger cookie manufacturers. Those little elves in a tree don't know what baking is. I think it was last week that I mailed off 18 boxes of cookies for her. The week before that it was only four since they were going overseas. And now there are more boxes to be mailed. I think it's about 16, but I'm not sure.

All of that should give me a clear idea of what I was undertaking, and I did it anyway. I'm only doing cookies for 3 or 4 families, so I don't need as many. I had figured that if I did one kind each day, starting on Wednesday, I'd have no problems being ready. Ha!

I think it was Tuesday night that I made my sugar cookie dough. It has to be refrigerated, so it didn't get baked that night. On Wednesday night I made some no bake cookies since I was too tired to do anything else. On Thursday I didn't get home until late, so nothing got done. Last night I was too tired to attempt anything. This all leads to me having too much baking to do today.

This morning I tried to get started, but Donny needed me. So this afternoon I went in and made the truffle dough. Then i baked off sugar cookies while the truffle dough was in the fridge. Then I rolled out truffles. Then I made mocha truffle cookies. Oh wait, somewhere in there I stopped for dinner. All I know is that after 9 hours of baking I'm still not done. There's still gooey caramel bars and lacy oatmeal cookies to do. Oh, and one more kind of no-bake cookie. And tomorrow we go see my mother-in-law.

Have you ever tried baking while dizzy? Let me tell you something, it adds a whole new level to the baking. I felt like some dumb drunk. Walking in a straight line is an under appreciated talent.

Well, I gotta go to bed now. I'm hoping that the baking will seem much more manageable after a good night's rest.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not Now

I went to the doctor today. The bottom number on my blood pressure was a little high. I figure that there's enough stress in my life that I should be allowed the occasional high reading. All my previous readings have been normal, so one high reading isn't going to freak me out.

I talked to the doctor about the dizziness. He's going to run some blood tests to make sure that we don't miss anything, but he seems to suspect that it's stress related. I'm hoping that's all it is. I'm scared of having something wrong that means missing more work. I don't like starting a job at the same time that I may end up needing frequent doctor appointments.

I go back in a month for results. If anything major shows up in my blood work he'll call me in before then. I was going to get away with going back in three months, but then he looked at my blood pressure. He wants to check it again in a month just to be sure that it's nothing.

Christmas Fun

This post comes via Mielikki. It looked like fun, so I decided to play along. If you want to play too please join in.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?- Depends on how hard it will be to wrap. I prefer using wrapping paper though, it's more fun to open.

2. Real or Artificial Tree? Artificial. My mom's allergic to real. This time of year sucks for her.

3. When do you put up the tree? Normally it goes up the day after Thanksgiving, but this year it was a little later. Last week we finally bought a miniature tree that's fiber-optic to put on a table in the living room. We just didn't want to go to the hassle of dragging out the big tree.

4. When do you take the tree down? As late as we can get away with. Actually it usually comes down around January 2nd or 3rd.

5. Do you like eggnog? I love the stuff, but not with alcohol in it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The only ones that I can recall was the year of coloring books and crayons. That was all I would ask for, so that's just about all I got. My mom counted something like 22 coloring books and about 10 different boxes of crayons. Not much variety, but I was thrilled.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Not that I can find, but I know I have one somewhere.

8. Worst Christmas Gift you ever received? I can't think of any truly bad gifts.

9. Mail or E mail Christmas Cards? What Christmas cards?

10. Favorite Christmas Movie?- The only one that I've watched recently is the Polar Express, and only because it's the only movie that my 2 year old nephew will watch right now.

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I have the money.

12. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Everything. (I didn't get fat by being a picky eater.)

13. Clear lights or colored? Colored on the tree, clear outside

14. Favorite Christmas Song? All the traditional carols and anything by Trans Siberian Orchestra.

15. Travel at Christmas, or stay home? Right now it's stay home, but when I lived away from my parents I would come home for Christmas.

16. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Nope, I have better things to do with my memory.

17. Angel or Star on the tree? It was an angel as I was growing up and I always figured that's what I'd use on my own tree someday. The first year that I had my own tree my best friend gave me a star for the top and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

18. Presents, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day? When I was little it was 1 on Christmas Eve and the rest in the morning, then we moved close to my grandparents. When my grandma was about 9 she watched her identical twin sister burn to death on Christmas Eve. With her we always open gifts on Christmas Eve to help keep her mind off of that memory.

19. Most Annoying thing this time of year? The fact that Jesus is being taken out of the celebration of his birthday. I know that everybody doesn't believe the same way as me, but that doesn't give them the right to tell me that my beliefs are insensitive and need to be hidden so as to not offend others. What about the possibility of offending me? Where are my rights? (Okay, I'll step down off the soapbox now. Otherwise this could take awhile.)

20. What do you leave for Santa? We never did this. I guess Santa's on a diet at my house. I'm sure that Mrs. Claus will thank me.

21. Least favorite holiday song. I can't think of one.

22. Do you decorate your tree with any theme or color? No, I love our hodge-podge collection of ornaments. To me it's way more beautiful than the department-store-perfect trees.

23. Favorite Ornament? The crocheted iceskates

24.Family tradition? We always have clam chowder on Christmas Eve. The night that we decorate the tree we have the first eggnog of the season and cookies. We turn it into a little party, just for our family. Also, my mom has a tree skirt that was made with quilt blocks. Every year she writes where her and dad spend Christmas on one of the blocks. It goes all the way back to the beginning of their marriage. It's a really neat record of their Christmases. I have a tree skirt like it, but I haven't had a tree of my own since getting it. When it finally gets unpacked there's going to be a lot of catching up to do.

25. Ever been to midnight mass or late night Christmas Eve services? The latest Christmas Eve service that I've been to starts at 6:00 p.m., not that late. But when I was little we would go to church on New Year's Eve. We'd have a church service and then everybody would play games and eat until midnight. It was always a lot of fun. And it was the one time all year that I got to wear pajamas to church.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A busy day

Donny finally got over being mad at me, although after today I don't know if that will still be true. My day was busy. It got off to a great start. Donny and I did fine this morning. My mom took me out to breakfast. And then I went shopping. I got everything I was looking for at the first store that I went to. Go pick up my mom and she takes me out to lunch.

I knew that things were going to get a bit hectic when I called my friend that's doing the tax stuff with me. I needed to let her know that I would be meeting her at our training session instead of having her pick me up at my house. That's when she reminded me that's when she reminded me that I was supposed to watch her son for about an hour this morning. I had completely forgotten. She was quick to forgive me and reminded me that I was babysitting tonight. Good thing she reminded me.

As I sat waiting for my mom to finish what she was doing so that we could go to lunch I had another dizzy spell. These are getting annoying. It was followed by the trick my eyes play on me where it looks like there's fog rolling in waves up my eyes. It's really weird. And then at lunch I got dizzy again. This time it lasted close to half an hour. That's when mom took the car keys away.

After lunch mom dropped me off at our training thing. It was long and rather boring. I was getting sore because the chair I was in was tilted just right that I was fighting to not get dumped in the floor. I would have gotten a different chair, but the next available chair was spoken for by the guy that was sitting on a box.

After training I went to my friend's house to babysit. I know that Donny's upset that I didn't tell him in advance that I had this to do, but I had completely forgotten. I had expected to be done in about 3 hours. It took a little over 5. But that's okay, we had fun.

Have you ever done a gingerbread house with a 2 year old? Let me tell you something, they're not that interested. The only reason that he stayed by my side was because I had a steady stream of sugar available. he was licking the trees that I was making. (They're covered in frosting.) He finally took a sugar cone, heavily frosted the inside, and ate it. He also helped himself quite heavily to my candy. A little after 10:00 he greeted his mother as she came in by running in circles right in front of her. I hate to think how she'll get me back for this.

Well, I'm dizzy again, so I must need to go to bed. Goodnight.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lord help us all!

Donny is pissed at me. He is so pissed at me that he tried to ground me. Now you may not know this, but I can be rather stubborn. When he tried to ground me I laughed at him. To prove that he couldn't ground me I then went shopping with my mom. (I still can't find blouses for work.) The worst part about this fight is that it's because I force him to take care of himself.

Yesterday I needed to go to the grocery store. Donny said that he'd go with me. He wanted a soda and he wanted out of the house. This sounded good, so my mom told me to use her money to get him some soda and a thing of Limburger cheese.

We got in the car to go and Donny looks at me and says, "Let the fighting begin. Can I have a couple beers?" My immediate, and rather emphatic, answer was no. I will not let him go down that path again. So he got out of the car and went back in the house. I went in and got dinner ready so that I could go shopping with my mom. I decided to go with our original plan of me fixing dinner and then we'd go to the grocery store before heading into town.

As I was fixing dinner Donny came in and told me that he'd changed his mind and I was no longer allowed to go shopping with my mom. I ignored him and continued what I was doing. He came back a few minutes later and said that he wanted to talk to me. I filed that away in my head and finished what I was doing.

When dinner was ready I found Donny to see what he needed. He told me again that I wasn't to go shopping with my mom. He claims that I have him trapped in our house and won't let him go anywhere or do anything. That's why for the next 2 weeks I'm only allowed to go to work and then come straight home.

That didn't really fly with me. I pointed out that I'm always asking him to go places with me, but he doesn't ever feel like it, so I don't push it. He then said that I have him cut off from everything. I asked what I have him cut off from, besides booze. He said his medicine. I pointed out that I give him his medicine just how it's prescribed. I told him that if he had problems with his medicine then he needed to take it up with his doctor. He quit trying to argue with me then.

So I left, and came home to one very pissed off husband. I went to church this morning, and came home to one very pissed off husband. I'm now wondering how long he'll nurse this grudge. I hope it passes soon, I don't have the patience for this for much longer.

I'm now wondering if any of this is related to his medicine. He just started a round of steroids and I've heard that they can make people aggressive. If that's the case then I've got 2 weeks of this to look forward to. May God have mercy on us all.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Yeah Me!

I got my score from my final back today. I got 100%! This gave me 98% overall for the class. That was the highest grade in our class. My friend that was doing the class with me (who did taxes last year) got a slightly lower score than me, which means that I get the bragging rights. I get a couple days to bask in the joy of this, and then I start my training. At least that's paid time. I'm so happy! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Decisions, decisions...

For a while now Donny and I have talked about moving once we get our finances in order. Things are finally looking up, so the debate has become more involved. We really don't know what to do.

Living in our current home is not an ideal situation. I love my family, but they drive me nuts sometimes. The worst of it is that my grandma and her sister don't deal well with Donny. They have a hard time accepting that his brain is gone and so there's no changing his odd behaviors. And, to be honest, I'm sick of hearing how awful my husband is. He may not be very functional now, but this isn't the real Donny. The real Donny is buried somewhere under all that confusion and it's for him that we keep trying.

The drawback to getting a place of our own is that I'm starting a full time job. Who's going to stay with Donny while I work? I certainly can't leave him home alone all day. He's not safe by himself. Everybody that I know has a life of their own and is unable to drop everything to sit with Donny all day. I just don't see how we'd get around that.

So the debate rages on. At the moment it's all academic anyway. But the day is coming quickly where we'll need to make a decision.

Good News

I just talked to Donny's lawyer. He's been approved for Social Security disability! This opens up so many possibilities for him. After comments to my last, rather depressed, post I started looking into hospice care. It was really discouraging to see them all talk about getting Medicare to pay for their services. Now that he's been declared disabled I have hope that he'll qualify for more services. I really think that this will open up a lot of treatment possibilities. There's hope again!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More questions

Could somebody please tell me what to expect? How much worse will Donny get before it's over? How much time do we have left? Isn't there anybody out there who has some idea of what's going to happen?

I don't know how much more I can handle. And I don't know what I'll do when I can't care for him anymore. If we're nowhere near the end, and it's going to get a lot worse, I just might lose my mind.

Do you have any idea what it's like to watch your husband lose his mental function? Donny was never book smart, but he used to have street smarts that could get you through anything. Now he can't dress himself unless he's wearing sweats and a tshirt. And even then he can't always dress himself. And don't even think about getting him to shower by himself. How much worse can it get?

I fear the day that we have to switch to using diapers with him. I can change a baby, but how do you change an adult? And yet, I can't be home all the time to take him to the bathroom. Life has to keep going somehow. What will I do?

Our insurance doesn't cover a nursing home, so there's no way in hell that they'll cover home nursing. And if I can't get Social Security to declare him disabled, then most services for low income disabled people aren't available to us.

I feel like I'm beating my head against a wall. All I want is good healthcare for my husband, but I can't figure out how to get that.

If a doctor could tell me what to expect I could at least start looking for solutions to coming problems, but they're vague at best. And the specialist that's supposed to see him keeps putting him off. I keep get the feeling that folks are just making excuses, biding their time, waiting til he dies. Then the problem goes away, and they never have to deal with it.

Our regualr doctor does what he can, but this isn't his area of expertise. He tries to help me, but he can't force other people to do anything. He just can't provide the answers that I need.

Where are all the answers?


Yesterday was a long, but fun day. I went shopping with my mom. I need clothes for the office, but I'm on a budget. This makes clothes shopping a challenge. I love a challenge. I was at one of the pricier stores that I like, looking at the clearance racks. I found some pants that were exactly what I was looking for, and they were my size. So I started looking for a price. The only sign that I could see said $4.99. Now, I know that I was shopping a clearance rack, but these were $44.99 normally, so I knew that couldn't be the price. I finally asked somebody who worked there to check the price for me. They were $4.99! I got three new pairs of pants.

Last night I babysat for my pastor. I got the kids from the other babysitter at 8:00. I had the girls put their jammies on right away because I wanted to get them into bed. Their mom had laid out clean jammies for all three girls right where they couldn't be missed in the living room floor. So the girls stripped down right there in the living room and changed. The youngest one took the middle girl's jammies and had the shirt on before anybody realized what she had done. Getting the right jammies on her caused the first meltdown.

They informed me that they were hungry, the other babysitter didn't give them dinner (not true), they always get a bedtime snack, and so on. So I let them have some crackers with peanutbutter and a little milk. The youngest one got over her meltdown and joined us for snack. her cracker broke and so it became unacceptable to her. So she threw it across the table at her sister. That's when I removed her from the table, and so began the second meltdown.

I took her in the hallway, awa from the noise, and was kind of rocking her and trying to calm her down. I asked her if she wanted a snack and she told me no. So I asked her if she wanted some milk and she told me no. Then I asked her if she just wanted to be disagreeable, and she said yes. Lovely, she's not quite three and she's already PMSing.

Snack time was over and I got the girls to brush their teeth, one at a time. (The girls, not the teeth.) I was a little alarmed at the number of books tthat they had brought to me for bedtime story, but figured that they would get one each. (For the chapter book it was one chapter each.) I was informed that they normally got two books or two chapters each at bedtime. That's a lot of reading, but their dad's as big of a nerd as mine, so I could see that being the norm.

At the end of story time the oldest tried really hard to convince me to read one more chapter out of her book. When that didn't work she tried to convince me that she always gets time to read to herself before lights out. She was really put out when that didn't work. And the youngest was really put out when I didn't let her crawl into bed with her sister. And so she tried to go into meltdown number three, but she was just too tired.

Somewhere around 9:30 or 9:45 I finally had the girls settled and left their room. By 10:00 they were all asleep.

I still say that it's harder to put Donny to bed.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ho hum...

I had a fairly average day today. This morning Donny decided to take his medicine after all. He's terrified of being put in restraints again. When his head's clear he realizes that he can avoid restraints by taking his lactulose, so he's usually pretty good about taking it.

I went grocery shopping with my parents today. We spent $478.37 in one LONG trip to the store. Let me tell you, our monthly shopping trips are not for the faint of heart. My mom and I got worried when we realized that we'd lost my dad and he had his own cart. Fortunately he didn't put very much in it, because I had to track him down and trade carts since mine and mom's were full. I was exhausted by the time we left the store.

After spending almost $500 dollars on groceries, we had KFC for dinner. I was too damn tired to cook. Donny woke up just as we were sitting down to eat, so for once he actually joined us at the dinner table. It was nice to have a family dinner, even if Donny and Aunt Lenora couldn't stop sniping at each other for very long.

After dinner I took a chair into the kitchen and sat down to start working on the groceries. I had to sort through all the bags and make sure that all the perishables were put away. I also had to sort out the stuff that's being saved for something special and set it aside. As I was sitting there doing this a large can of pumpkin fell of the counter. The edge of it hit my knee and it felt like it dug in behind the knee cap some. Let me tell you, that smarts.

I found out today that my babysitting job tomorrow will be easier than I thought. I'm to show up at 8:00, just after the first babysitter puts the kids to bed. I just have to be a live, warm, adult body in the house. A piece of cake!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ups and Downs

Today was a day of ups and downs for me. I didn't do the reading for my class this morning. I simply had run out of time well before I ran out of stuff to do. I was also a little worried because I thought that I needed to study more before my final on parts 2 & 3 today.

When class started the instructor asked the class if anybody had done the reading. Nobody spoke up, so at least I wasn't alone. He then said that it was okay since none of it would be on the final. What a relief!

It got better when we only used about half the morning session for that chapter. Our instructor decided to use the other half to review what would be on the final. He told us that we could have a page of notes for the closed book portion of the final. And then he went over each question one by one, telling us the answers. He didn't say that we were covering the exact questions from the final, but I had a hunch that we were. That's why I wrote down the answers as he gave them.

When it came time to do the final I took out the notes I'd taken during the review. I read everything carefully, just to be sure that the questions were the same ones that we'd covered, and then I copied the answers over. The open book part was really easy too, since we'd been told exactly where to find the answers.

The third part of the final was to do an actual return that included all the schedules and forms that we'd been studying. If you own your own home, have a rental property, hold a job, own a business, and are raising a couple of kids, one of whom is in college, I can do your taxes.

I got this return done and just needed to print and sign it when I discovered that there was a problem with my computer and I couldn't print. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, just sign in on another computer and print your return. Unfortunately my computer was not hooked up to the network so I couldn't access my work from another computer. This meant that I had to start all over again.

So I switched computers and redid my work. After I was all done I realized that I was wrong. I hadn't turned in my work yet, so I was able to fix it. It took me an hour to find $15. What really sucked was that once I found the error I realized that it was something that I would have gotten right if I hadn't second guessed myself. Oh well, at least I found the error in time to fix it. I should get a good grade on this. The best part is that there is only one more session of class, and that's just to get our scores and go over last minute tax law updates. I'm done!

I came home all excited. I was ready to celebrate. And then I realized that I'm teaching Sunday School tomorrow and I still haven't prepared. So I went down to the church to get the supplies only to discover that there was a dinner being held in the room where the supplies are. I was able to discover that there was no green paper for our craft tomorrow, so I got spend a couple of hours coloring some paper green. When I get done here I have to go back to the church and try to get my supplies. (Having keys to the church comes in handy sometimes.)

As I was working on coloring the paper green Donny came in and asked about getting his medicine. I had him bring me the bag and I got out tonight's pills. As I was doing so it became obvious to me that he got into his medicine today and took some. This wouldn't be bad if he would properly dose himself, but he gets it all wrong. I no longer have enough pain killers to make it until time to fill them again. It doesn't help that day 30 falls on the weekend, so he can't get his medicine until day 32. I had it all worked out, but he just screwed that up royally. I am so pissed!

I confronted Donny about this, but he just got all mad and swears up and down that he didn't get into the medicine at all. But I'm absolutely positive that he did. So now he's refusing to take any medicine at all.

The no medicine edict includes his lactulose. I am so not looking forward to this. He's going to get stubborn and not take his lactulose until it puts him into the hospital. I'm expecting Tuesday or Wednesday to be headed to the hospital with him. I'm getting really tired of this routine.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

And then he pulls a stunt like this...

My husband can be so sweet. I got paid today, and due to getting extra hours we had more cash than usual. I was thinking of all the things that we need to get done and trying to prioritize them. That's about when Donny told me that I had to put $100 in my dad's wallet.

Donny's not allowed to have cash, so I wasn't surprised that he said for me to give the money to my dad, what surprised me was the amount of money that he wanted put away. So I started questioning him. Why do you want me to put that money away? Is there something that I should know?

Donny had to think about it for a bit before deciding to answer me. At first he just said that it was for a Christmas present. That's when I started trying to bargain him down to a smaller amount, but he was adamant. He thought about it, realized that I would have to be in on the purchasing phase of things, and decided to tell me what was going on.

My husband wants me to buy myself a pair of shoes. He wants me to actually spend $100 on 1 pair of shoes. For budgetary reasons I just can't bring myself to spend that much on 1 pair of shoes. This is why tomorrow my husband is going shopping with me while I look for shoes.

Just when I'm convinced that the sweet, thoughtful man that I married is gone for good, he goes and does something like this. I really do love him, even when he doesn't insist that I buy new shoes.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Black Monday

I'm beginning to think that I should not attempt to do anything outside of the house. I went to work for about an hour this evening. Donny called me while I was there to let me know that he'd had 2 black, tarry bowel movements today. Thanks for sharing.

Maybe the problem is that I had nowhere to go tomorrow. I thought that I was finally getting a stay at home day, but maybe not. I now have to give his doctor a call in the morning and ask him how concerned we should be. I'm really hoping to hear that we should give it a couple of days and see what happens. I'm still holding out hope that it's something that he ate.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A punch in the gut

Last night was the annual tree lighting in our small town. My mom had a craft booth and my church was passing out cookies. The two booths were side by side so being at them both was easy. I was able to visit with people and spend more time getting to know them. It was really fun.

At one point a man brought his daughter to the church's booth to get a cookie. She was 15 months old and she was adorable. With her dad's encouragement she would hold one little tiny finger up when asked her age. She smiled real pretty at everyone and seemed to be a very happy child. It was great.

That's when the punch in the stomach came. I never see it coming, it's always too late to back off before it hits. I want one. Donny and I really wanted to have a child together. Unfortunately I can't have one without a doctor's help. And right now the doctor won't let me because it would be too high of a risk health wise. The truly awful thing is that I know that Donny and I will never have a child together. It won't happen before he goes. Even if I were healthy, he couldn't now.

I know that there is still the possibility of having a baby some time in the future. However, I'm 30, so that window of opportunity is getting smaller. With all my health issues this is something that I should have done in my 20s, but it wasn't time for a baby then. By the time that I find somebody else to start a family with, if I ever do, I'll probably be a lot closer to 40. I'm getting really afraid that I'll never know the joy of being pregnant. At least there's a much better prospect for knowing the joy of motherhood. There's always adoption.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Today my mom and I were sitting eating lunch when she started complaining to me about how her finger hurts. She was telling me about how it hurts to use the mouse and so she thought that she might be using the computer too much. And then she said that she had started noticing it while doing other things, like holding a puzzle book open. She seemed to believe that she might have a repetitive motion injury in her finger.

It was at this point that I asked her when she first started noticing the pain. She thought about it for a second and then said that she first noticed it Wednesday night. I couldn't believe that she hadn't put 2 and 2 together yet. You see, she fell Wednesday afternoon. I pointed out that most people's natural reflex is to catch themselves with their hands. She stopped and thought about it, and then realized that the finger that hurt was on the side of her body that she fell on.

We're not talking about the kind of fall where you jump up and hope nobody saw. We're talking about she laid on the sidewalk until a passing car noticed her and stopped to help. (They went in and got a chair from the salon that my mom had been headed into when she fell. Mom's not small, so having her pull herself up was the best solution.) This was the kind of fall that would lead some people into going in and getting checked just to be sure they were okay. So thinking that mom might have injured her finger when she tried to catch herself is not a far leap in logic.

So I bugged my mom until she called and made an appointment with her doctor. I want to be sure that there's nothing that can be done for her. Of course she can't get in until a week from this coming Tuesday, but at least she's going. And until the doctor sees her I had her put a splint on her finger. She barely has any range of motion, but when she tries to bend the finger it hurts. So I'm the Meany who's making her wear a splint so that she remembers not to bend the finger.

I was telling a friend about this and she told me something interesting. She said to cradle my mom's hand in mine so that my hand is lightly supporting the weight of her hand, with her palm up. She told me to then flick my mom's finger tip. If she doesn't scream in pain then the finger's not broken. I wonder how accurate that is. I also wonder where my friend learned this. Did a doctor or nurse teach her, or is this a trial and error thing that she came up with? And if it's something that she came up with, who was stupid enough to let her test it out on them? Or for the matter, who let a doctor test this out on them?

If I thought that my finger was broken I'd be decking anybody who said, "Let me flick it to see if you scream in pain." I'm sorry, but I don't want to know that bad. If you think that what you want to do might make me scream in pain then I don't want it done. Period. I do not enjoy pain, I do not want you intentionally inflicting it. Have you ever wondered how we came to know a certain piece of information?

Think about some of the things that we know. There are plants that are poisonous raw, but edible cooked. Who discovered that? What made a person think, "Hey this killed Joe, let's see if it kills Sally after we cook it." And who looked at a cow and thought, "Let's drink the white stuff coming out of that!" What made us take leaves that are rather gross to chew on and boil them to make a drink? Look around, we do some strange stuff. Have you ever wondered why?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decisions, decisions

I had a job interview a couple of weeks ago. It was a group interview with about 30 people. It went well, and at the end they asked that we all take turns meeting with the district manager's secretary. She needed to get us put into the system so that our paperwork could be processed. This ended up taking about 3 hours. And of course I wound up being the next-to-last person. If I'd quit visiting and get in line then I probably wouldn't be last so often.

As I sat there waiting to be seen one of the more experienced preparers came in to the office for reasons that I still don't grasp. He sat down at the table where several of us were waiting and started visiting. The number of people dwindled and it ended up being just the two of us talking. We were having the usual conversation where we talk about what I can expect as a first year preparer and he gave advice about things that help improve your skills.

At some point in the conversation we started discussing what my expectations were. I told him that I wanted to pick up as many hours as I could. I then explained that this would be hampered because of Donny's health. He thought about it for a couple of minutes, and then he recommended a certain office for me. It wasn't the office that I had originally applied for, but I've spent a little time getting acquainted with the manager of that office. Her dad teaches my class and she comes in to help him, so we've spent some time talking. I originally applied for the office that my teacher works in.

After I was done with the interview (actually the computer broke and so I had to do my paperwork later) I was talking to my friend that worked for this company last year. I told her about my conversation with Al. I was surprised to hear her shock at the fact that he had told the district manager to hire me. Apparently Al doesn't normally get involved in the hiring process. And a suggestion that I thought could be shrugged off as somebody not knowing what they're talking about is now being taken very seriously. I guess Al pulled the office manager that he wants me to work for aside and told her to hire me. And he talked to the district manager again. And my teacher knew about it before I ever said anything. Everybody who is already in this business is taking this guy very seriously.

And so now I'm not sure what to do. I mostly chose the office that I applied for because my friend was applied there also. But she's now been promoted to manager of a different office. The manager of the office that Al recommended has been asking me to go to work for her. She's even guaranteeing that she'll keep me on after peak, which usually doesn't happen your first year. But the other office has a lot of experienced preparers who would be able to help me if I need it. But the manager of the recommended office already knows about Donny's problems and is willing to cut me some slack for appointments and medical emergencies. I know that the office where I applied would hire me, but I can't be sure how many hours I could get there. All in all, I think that I may change what office I'm applying for. The manager of the recommended office has assured me that it would be no problem to change where I'm applying for.

The best thing about all this is that I've never been seriously recruited before. It's nice to feel so wanted.


One of these days we'll learn that I shouldn't be the one that takes grandma to her appointments with Dr. Late. I swear we came close to me doing something that would force my grandma to switch doctors. I just couldn't think of anything that wouldn't lead to me being thrown in jail.

I can't see any reason that expecting people to wait 2 hours to be seen is acceptable. If you have an emergency that puts you that far behind schedule then calling patients and telling them to come in later would be an acceptable way of handling things.

And how many emergencies are you having? Every time that I take my grandma in you are extremely behind schedule. To me that smacks of poor scheduling. I realize that you have a god complex, but my time is valuable too. There are much better things that I could do in those 2 hours if I'm not sitting in your waiting room.

And then , when you do show up, do not have the nerve to harass me about my obvious shortage of time for getting ready. I realize that big fuzzy slippers are not normal footwear for your office. I was hurrying to make it to the appointment on time, a concept that you clearly do not understand. And if you choose to give me a hard time about the slippers, don't get your panties in a bunch when I tell you that if I'd known you were running 2 hours late I would have taken the time to find my shoes. Just remember, you opened that particular door.

And is it just me, or is voicing concerns about nutrition something that should be done in the doctor's office? I can't believe that it would be wrong to point out that the patient hardly eats anything and so they may have nutrition problems. I was even nice in how I said it. And still the doctor seemed to get his feathers ruffled because I dare question what's going on with his patient. I presented it as something that I didn't think you were aware of because I was told that you weren't aware of her drastic diet. I really was not trying to be sarcastic, which is how you seem to have taken it.

(I must apologize for the rant, but that doctor tends to really piss me off.) We now return to our regularly scheduled program, which appears to be the sound of silence.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I went into town today to pick up Donny's antibiotics. This means driving the back roads where the speed limit is 55. There's this long straight stretch with no stop signs where everyone goes a minimum of 70, and I was cruising it at 73. I know the exact speed I was going because the officer who ticketed me was nice enough to let me know. Now why the hell can't I ever remember the lessons that I've gotten in how to get out of a ticket?

My mom has a couple of stories about getting pulled over that end with the officer laughing too hard to write a ticket. Since I seem to be lacking in the humor department maybe I should get a fake ID. I bet giving a fake ID to a cop would get me into lots of trouble. At least then I'd have a good story to tell.

Well, since I don't have any good stories I guess I'll have to find another way to amuse myself. I think that I'll enter the contest over at Mommified Me. That is, if I can get blogger to work correctly so I can get the music. And if I can think of anything truly inspired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, the experiment with Donny turned out about how I expected. While I was at school Saturday he slept. He slept the day away yesterday. He only woke up to go to the bathroom, where he forgot to shut the door and then fell asleep sitting there. The door thing wouldn't be so bad if there weren't 3 other women living in this house.

This afternoon I woke Donny up to check on him. I probably should have done so sooner, but I couldn't deal with things emotionally, so I failed him. When I woke him up today he seemed okay at first. He held a reasonably coherent conversation with me. He was a little out of it, but it seemed to be the kind of confusion that many people have when waking from a deep sleep.

I kept him awake so i could get a better understanding of how he was doing. I laid in bed with him and we watched TV and talked a little bit. At one point he looked over at me and said, "I love you honey." I told him that I loved him too. A minute later, for some reason that I still don't know I asked him who I was. He couldn't answer me. After thinking about it for a little while he decided that my name must be honey. It makes sense since I answered to that.

I continued questioning him and found that he didn't know where he was, what day it was, or who he was. I became concerned. It seems to me that after 50 years he really ought to remember his own name. I finally convinced him to get in the car and we went to ER. If I had to be a little misleading about where we were going, I had the best of intentions at least.

We arrived at ER at 4:30. By 5:30 he'd been triaged. Sometime after that the lab people came and got him and got his blood work started. Around 7:30 he went to a bed. By the time he got a bed his labs were already back. By 8:00 he'd seen a doctor and been told that he'd be staying since his ammonia level was 117. The doctor said that he'd go call the resident that covers for our doctor to come admit Donny. He then sent Donny for a chest ex ray just to be safe, since he has COPD.

The resident got there and decided that Donny didn't need to stay after all. He told me to take Donny to see our regular doctor tomorrow and also to take him to get his ammonia level ran again. He then told me to take Donny's pain meds away since they were probably adding to the confusion. He walked out of there and I just started crying. Our doctor never gives same day appointments. And I couldn't figure out who was supposed to get the results from the lab for us. But the biggest problem was I didn't know how I was going to deal with Donny while he was doing without pain meds.

Donny in pain is not a pretty sight. And if he happens to know that he has pain meds on hand then he yells at me to give them to him. He doesn't care what the doctor says, he's hurting and he wants his medicine. Normally him yelling at me wouldn't really phase me, but right now it's killing me. We fought through what was probably our last Thanksgiving because I was trying to force him to follow the doctor's orders. I'll never get another Thanksgiving to make up for this one. It's not fair to expect this of me.

I pulled myself together after about 10 minutes of crying, and then the first doctor came in. He let us know that the ex ray had shown some bronchitis. He started Donny on zithromax and talked to me about how to care for Donny. He helped me so much. He told me to give him his medicine as prescribed, just to try to cut back as much as possible on the percocet. He also told me not to bother with the doctor tomorrow. He said that was pointless since there's no way that Donny will be better by tomorrow. He told me that if Donny's not better in a couple of days to just take him back to ER. He said that since his doctor would just send him there anyway we could skip the doctor and go straight to ER. He also said that Donny's regular appointment in 2 weeks was a good follow-up time for today's visit, unless of course he needed to go back to ER before then.

As I was writing this I realized that the biggest reason that I preferred the first doctor that we saw was because he didn't treat me like an idiot. I wanted so badly to tell the resident to call our regular doctor at home and ask him if I was somebody that could be believed. Dr. Cohen listens when I say that Donny's different. Most of the doctors that we deal with realize that I'm intelligent enough to know what Donny's usual behavior is and whether or not it's altered. But this resident acted as if I couldn't be trusted and treated me like an idiot. It was really nice to have the more experienced doctor come in and validate that I'm not wrong in trusting my instincts. I think he knew that I'd been crying, because right after he walked out after the last exam he did he came back in and told Donny that he's lucky to have me taking care of him. He really helped me calm down.

One thing that I've been thinking about lately is that I want to know what the ER is pumping through their air ducts. I've noticed that as soon as we walk in whoever is ill starts to feel better. It's happened with me, and I've noticed it with my mom and with Donny. Whatever they've got in the air I want to just pump through my house. It would save me and them a lot of time and hassle if we didn't have to go in for it. I've even considered taking sick people down just to sit in their waiting room. If you know what it is, please let me know.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good News

We got our finals back today. I got a 96% on mine. It was the highest grade in the class. The teacher announced it because he found it amusing that I scored higher than my friend who was taking the class for the second time. (She passed the first time, she just wanted a bit of a refresher.) Out of the four sections on the test I got a perfect score on three of them. The one where I made mistakes I knew walking out of there last week that I'd made mistakes there. And I still got most of them right. I am so happy! :)

Friday, November 23, 2007


I have done something that may prove very stupid. I turned my husband's medicine over to him. The last time that I did this he wound up in the hospital. We'll see how this goes.

We've been fighting non-stop for a few days now because of his medicine. He wants to take more painkillers, while I think he needs to take less. It's not that I want him to be in pain, but the percocet seemed to be causing some confusion and possibly some hallucinations. In an attempt to get his brain function under control I forced him to take the medicine as prescribed. He wanted more than that.

The problem with getting fed up and turning the medicine over to him is that I know there will be consequences that I don't like down the road. He's going to run out of pain killers before the they can be refilled. He very well may put himself in the hospital. But I just can't take the fighting anymore.

One of my biggest worries when I'm doing his medicine is that he'll accuse me of withholding medicine in the presence of somebody who has to report abuse. I don't know how to prove that I gave him his medicine. The pills being gone doesn't prove that he got them. I'm hoping that the medicine would show up in a drug test. And the worst part is that he believes himself. He forgets that he's already taken his pills and he wants them again. I'm going to have to be vigilant about watching for signs of overdose. And yet that's easier than fighting with him all day every day.

Well, here's to good results from a bad experiment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things that confuse me

Because of my current obsession with medical stuff I tend to read a lot of medical blogs. In theses blogs medical professionals are a little more honest and blunt than they can be at work, for obvious reasons. Several of them have now referred to fibromyalgia in a way that suggests that it's not real in most cases. This prompted me to look up what it is.

O my God, I could have fibromyalgia! If I tried hard enough I could get a doctor to say that I have it. I mean, muscle pain and fatigue are a constant part of my life. And all this time I thought that my back hurt because of the extra weight that I make it haul around. And I thought that my shoulders hurt because of poor posture. And I could have sworn that the fatigue was because I'm up all night on the computer instead of sleeping.

I seriously believe that I could convince a doctor that I have this. That is, if I can find a doctor who believes that it's real. I now understand why healthcare professionals don't automatically believe that there's a real problem just because you have a fancy name to put to it. If I wanted to insure that I get narcotics I suppose that I could get a fancy name put to my pretend pain.

I understand that there are probably people out there who really do suffer from fibromyalgia and are not just in it for the drugs. For their sake I really wish that people wouldn't use this as a crutch to get meds. Nobody is going to take it seriously if 99 times out of 100 there's really nothing wrong with the patient other than an addiction to strong pain meds. I hate it when people fake an illness because it really does make it harder on people who are legitimately sick.

I sometimes wonder why people feel the need to fake an illness at all. I've found that when I go to the doctor with a problem that may cause pain the doc is usually very liberal about giving pain meds. The only time that I ran into a problem was when I was visiting my grandparents out of state and had a toothache from hell. The first doctor that I saw looked at the fact that I was from out of state and had no insurance and wouldn't prescribe narcotics, but that was okay since she gave me the antibiotics that I was after. When I showed up three days later looking like a pregnant chipmunk (which is how my mother described me) the doctor was very nice and gave me vicodin. I wanted stronger antibiotics, but he seemed to think that what I had was plenty strong. Whatever, it got me through long enough to get home and see my dentist. My point being that I almost never have problems getting the pain relievers that I need. Drug seekers just baffle me.

Wish I May, Wish I Might

There are times when I wish that I was a doctor. This is one of them. Donny is confused again. He's doing this weird thing where he says one word, but means another, and he doesn't realize that he's saying the wrong word. I've upped his dose of lactulose and I'm hoping that will fix things. I wish I was a doctor so that I could figure out whether or not he needs to go to the hospital. I know his ammonia levels are probably elevated. What I don't know is how badly. I also don't know at what point he needs to be in a setting that can deal with a medical emergency. I really wish that he came with instructions.

Right now this is somewhat of an academic debate, since I don't have reliable transportation to get into town. The cars will be home in a couple of hours and so I'll give it until then to see if he improves. If he can't wait I'll start calling friends, or worst case scenario, I can call for an ambulance. I just hate the thought of tying up an ambulance unless there's no way to safely transport him to the hospital myself.

Yesterday Donny had all of his teeth pulled. (There really weren't that many, it took all of an hour.) The oral surgeon gave him percocet for the pain. Since the surgeon and his doctor have been talking to each other, I'm assuming that the doctor approved of this. So he's been getting one every 4-6 hours since we picked them up. I can't help but wonder if the increased percocet is responsible for his confusion. And I'm back to the question of whether or not that deserves a trip to ER.

I would love to be able to call the hospital and ask them whether or not I should take him in, but they're not allowed to tell me anything over the phone. They definitely are not allowed to tell me not to bring him in. There's just way too much room for a lawsuit in that, no hospital will allow it. Some insurance companies have started hotlines where you can call and talk to a nurse. Of course, when you're on the county MIA program there's nothing like that available. So I'm back to wishing that I were a doctor.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I took my final today. Boy am I glad that I went to that extra study session. I was the first person to finish, and that had me worried. There were 4 parts to the final, and one of them was to complete a return that combined all the different areas that we've been learning about. The instructor was able to tell me that the bottom line on the return was correct, but I don't get my grade until next Saturday. But at least there's nothing left to stress about. What a relief!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Patience Pays

I got to teach Donny a good lesson today. For a long time now he has had no patience. When we're having to wait somewhere I usually send him outside until it's our turn because he's so bad at waiting. He gets so frustrated that he becomes verbally abusive.

So today was medicine day. At the pharmacy that we have to use the wait is usually about an hour. I took a textbook in with me to study while I waited. I left Donny in the car to try to nap.

After I dropped off the prescriptions I sat down in the waiting area and started to study. I heard a lot of grumbling around me about the long waits, but that's par for course. I realized that I'd never remember what I was reading so I closed my book and started talking to the people near me. This is usually a good way to get amusing stories for later.

All the people around me were normal and so time seemed to drag by, but I continued to sit there hopefully. At some point Donny came in to check on me. I let him know that I was fine and sent him back outside.

Finally the really nice lady that I prefer to deal with caught my eye and let me know that I would be next. I gathered up my things and stood behind the "privacy line" to wait my turn. Donny came back in so I let him know that we were next and told him to wait in the car for me.

When I got to the window the lady made a comment that led me to figure out that we had been bumped up in the line a little because she appreciated how patient I was. It was obvious that she was frazzled and so I felt bad for her when it turned out that his medicine had somehow gotten strung out between four or five different places. She even found my refill in the process. I told her that I'd have to come back for my meds since I had failed to bring my insurance card with me. She asked me if it was up to date and I said yes. So she told me that she'd vouch for me and let me get my meds while I was there anyway.

So after this was all over with I was talking to Donny about it. I finally had proof for him that a little bit of patience pays off in the long run. In fact, if everybody would be more patient there would be a lot less crabby people in the world. Or at least I think so.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Time Well Spent

I have the final on the first part of my tax class coming up on Saturday. I have to get at least 70% to get certified by the state of California and with at least 80% to get hired where I applied. This has me very worried since this class is kicking my butt.

And that's why I went to the lab class today. It's not required, but I figured that I could at least get some more computer time in, since the program we use isn't available for home computers. These labs are a great way to make up missed classes. I really like the fact that the teachers are taking turns doing these for us.

I got to lab today to discover that there were only 2 of us taking advantage of the opportunity. The other student is taking the course as a refresher since she passed it last year. (So much is covered that it's highly recommended that you take it 2 years in a row.) She was only there because she wanted more practice on the computer. That meant that she didn't really need much help.

All of that adds up to me getting a lot of one on one time with the teacher. The guy that was teaching today isn't my regular teacher, but he's the one that taught this course to my regular teacher however many years ago. He was great. I told him that I was studying for the final, so he grabbed his copy and started quizzing me. He actually went through and read each question to me straight out of the book and helped me find the answers that I didn't know. I now know exactly what areas I need to really concentrate on as I continue studying. It was great. He really boosted my confidence level. I am so glad that I went.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Round Please

I went to the doctor again today. I had taken my last dose of zithromax last night and I just wasn't feeling any better. In fact, I now am having problems with one ear. So I actually managed to get in to see my doctor. He seemed rather surprised to discover that I developed an ear infection while on antibiotics, but the infection is definitely there. So here we go with another round of antibiotics, but this time it's amoxicyllin. I just hope that works.

On to happier things. Mielikki posted about Christmas trees, asking whether people prefer real or artificial. Her post got me to remembering. My family always uses fake trees because my mom's allergic to the real thing. When I got out on my own it just seemed natural to buy a fake tree, I never even considered going for a real one.

That first Christmas that I decorated my own place was hard for me. Our family tradition had always been to decorate the tree together. We have a hodge-podge of ornaments that have been collected over the years. Many of them my sister and I made. As we decorate we talk about the memories that go with the various decorations. We even enjoy the annual debate over who the crocheted ice skate ornament belongs to. (For the record, it's mine.)

That first Christmas on my own I was homesick. I went and bought a tree, and then I put it up in my living room. I then cried to my best friend about how my tree looked like a Charlie Brown tree and about missing the tradition of having ornaments that mean something. I just couldn't bring myself to go buy decorations for my tree, because it just wouldn't be the same.

A few days later I was at my friend's house and she handed me a couple of bags. She explained to me that she had bought a Christmas starter kit for me. In the bags was a turkey baster, meat thermometer, and tree decorations. There were even lights and a star for the top of the tree. She told me that way there would be a memory attached to my decorations as I started a tree of my own. It was one of the sweetest things that anybody has ever done for me. That has become one of my favorite Christmas memories.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

More Medicine Please

I went to see the doctor today. I didn't bother trying to get in to see my PCP. He never has same day appointments. I went to the Urgent Care Clinic instead. That was interesting.

The good thing about Urgent Care is that it's faster than ER. For that reason alone I prefer to go there unless I think that an ER is absolutely needed. I reserve ER visits for if I think that an admit to the hospital is likely, or for sudden injuries like a broken bone type of thing. If all that I think will be needed is a prescription then it's Urgent Care if I can't get in to see the PCP.

The bad thing about Urgent Care is that the only way somebody can accompany the patient to the exam area is if the patient is a minor. This isn't a problem when I'm the patient, since I don't need help. But when Donny's the patient it's a whole different story. I can't rely on him to understand what the doctor says, or to correctly relay the information. It's rather frustrating to me.

But for today, Urgent Care was a godsend. I needed a doctor to tell me that I have a cold and there's nothing that can be done so that my family would quit worrying. I really thought that's what would happen.

According to whoever that doctor was, I have bronchitis. I'm not convinced, but that's what the doctor says. Usually, when I have bronchitis, I feel way worse. And I've barely even had a fever, and even that's been off and on, emphasis on off. And besides, can a cold really turn into bronchitis? I think that the doctor just didn't want to tell me that there was nothing that could be done and to quit my bellyaching. However, he was nice enough to give me cough syrup with codeine, so I love him.

My aftercare instructions made for an interesting read. They included instructions that I was to see my doctor if I have any dizziness. I didn't think to tell the doctor that I've been having dizziness, I really didn't think it was important. I hope that I was right, since I didn't go back and tell him. But I think that the dizziness might have predated the bronchitis, in which case it's unrelated anyway.

Well, I need to take more cough syrup and go to bed, so I guess that's all the confused ramblings you get tonight.

The Real Me

Jogger-Abducting Monster from the Isolated Earth

Get Your Monster Name

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I give, I give...

Okay, it finally happened. My hectic schedule finally kicked my ass. I have been down all day with either a hell of a cold or a mild flu bug. Either way, it's not been fun. The up side though is that I've had a day at home where nobody expected a damn thing from me.

I really should have used today to get some homework done, but I just couldn't stay awake long enough. Maybe if I hadn't taken a benadryl it would have been easier. However, I did rule out allergies as the culprit. I just hope that a good night's rest will cure me.

Tomorrow mom has a doctor's appointment at 9:30 in a town about an hour to the east, and slightly south of us. After her appointment I have to take her and my great-aunt to a town about a half hour north of where mom's appointment is. I'm to drop them off with a friend of my mom's so that they can continue on to a town about an hour north of there. (They have to drop my great-aunt off so she can make sure that her son turns himself in on Thursday.)

In the same town where I'm dropping folks off I need to attend another make-up class, because I missed school last Saturday due to being up all night with Donny at ER. I'm getting worried because one of the finals for this class is in a couple of weeks, and class is kicking my ass. I'm normally good at school type stuff, but I'm having a really hard time keeping up. I have got to get better study habits.

I was rereading my old posts and realized that I didn't really describe the last ER visit. It was actually really interesting. First of all, we got the same nurse that we'd had a couple of weeks ago, and she's wonderful. Once I got Donny in front of a doctor he stopped acting sick. He would wake up just fine for them. He'd carry on a normal conversation with them. It's like he was out to make me a liar. My only saving grace was that this nurse remembered him, and she told the doctor that the sleeping wasn't normal for him. It was really nice to have somebody there who knew that I was right in what I was saying.

This nurse also let me know that I wasn't overreacting when I took him to ER. Because she saw the same things that I did she was able to tell me that he did show signs of hepatic encephalopathy, and that I was right in thinking that he needed to be evaluated by a doctor that night. I was really worried that I would be seen as just another hysterical wife. It was nice to know that my judgement wasn't that far off.

In the middle of the night every now and then a nurse will catch a break and all her patients will be asleep at the same time. If she's really lucky they'll stay that way long enough for her to catch up on her paperwork and be able to take a break. During one such break we started talking. I was really surprised when, in all seriousness, she told me that she lives in Florida, and just comes to California to work. Her husband and her son both live in Florida. Talk about a commute!

There was a couple in there that had everybody misty eyed, they were just so cute. They're in their 80's and they've been married for over 60 years. She had a minor fall at home and came in by ambulance. She didn't break anything, but other problems were found and she was waiting for a bed in ICU when we left.

When she arrived she immediately started asking if somebody would call her house and tell her husband that she was alright. She was sure that he was fretting, and wanted to soothe him. There was no need to call though, since he was pacing in the waiting room. They brought him back, and he sat there and held her hand and soothed her forehead. After they knew all that they would for the night, and she was fast asleep, he had to be strongly encouraged to go home and get some rest. In fact, he wouldn't leave until the nurse pointed out that his wife would need him to be in top shape the next day. They were just so darn cute together. I know that's how my parents will be in 30 years. I wish that I could be that certain about Donny and I.

With any luck it'll be a while before I have any more ER stories to share with you. I have to stay away from the hospital, I'm sick. :)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tag, You're It

I've been tagged. No, it's not a toe tag, it's just a game. So, here are the rules.

1). Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.

2). Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

3). Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.

4). Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, let's see if I can think of 7 things that I'm willing to share.

1.)  One time, when I was around 7 years old, my sister and I convinced a bunch of kids that we lived in an igloo, had a pet killer whale and rode a polar bear to school. (None of that was true by the way.) We were living in Alaska at the time and we were visiting my grandparents in California. We were sick of all the misconceptions that people had about our lives, so we played along with the kids next door, just to see how dumb they really were.

2.) I love spaghetti, but don't care much for lasagna. Most people seem to assume that if you like one you'll like the other, but they really are 2 different things people.

3.) I used to be a minister.

4.) The guy that I had my first date ever with turned out to be gay. He came out of the closet on

5.) I went to my prom alone, after my date bailed on me a few days before the prom. While I was there I ended up inheriting my friend's date, since they had a huge fight. It turned out that he was gay. There seems to be a pattern developing here.

6.) I didn't get my driver's license until I was 20 years old. I started trying to get it when I was 16, but I couldn't pass the driving test. It was until I spent a summer in Wyoming that I finally passed a driving test. If you're having problems getting your license I highly recommend going there. the test took less than 20 minutes and it included making 3 right turns, turning around in a driveway and making 3 left turns.

7.) I lived in Arkansas for a year and fell in love with it. I know that this likely means that I'm a redneck, but it's a gorgeous state. And they have 4 distinct seasons, which has always been a requirement that I've had for my dream home. I loved it enough there that I wouldn't have moved back to California if my sister hadn't needed me so badly.

Okay, there's 7 facts. That was harder than I thought it would be. I'm only tagging one person, since she's the only one that I 
know well enough to feel comfortable tagging. I've known her 
since junior high, so she probably could have done a better job answering for me than I did. I don't know how to do a link on here, but her blog is linked on my sidebar. It's called Mom's the Word. Go check her out.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It keeps going, and going...

The last few days have been crazy. I spent Wednesday in town getting my stuff done. I had a physical therapy appointment and then in the afternoon I had to go to a make up class. (Not learning how to do cosmetics, I was making up for missing a class to take Donny to ER.) That evening I was supposed to go to work, but when the boss brought his kids by trick or treating he let me know that he still wasn't ready for me to come in. I ended up passing out candy. Which made trying to eat dinner an interesting ordeal.

Thursday morning I took my grandma to her doctor's appointment. This was with the doctor that I don't like. He was so bad that I made my mom switch doctors. (Which has worked out very well for her.) Dr. Late has been doing better lately, but I still don't like him. My grandma had a 10:50 appointment. I figured that left plenty of time for me to leave town at 12:15 to go to my physical therapy appointment. Boy was I wrong.

At 11:16 my grandma was called back to have her vitals done and be put in a room. At 11:55 I went out and found somebody who works there to point out that we were still waiting and I needed to leave town in 15 minutes. At 12:10 the doctor came in to see my grandma. I know that doctors are busy people, and that their time is valuable. I'm busy and my time is valuable too. And you just put me behind schedule for other appointments. It really pissed me off.

After my physical therapy appointment my mom and I went to a big city that's about an hour away from us to go pick up my cousin. He had my aunt worried because he told her that he had nowhere to stay until he turns himself in on the 8th. (Yep, he's spending the holidays in jail, and he can't wait to get there.) He told his mom that he was sleeping under a bridge. On Saturday my parent's had gone up to get him, but he had decided to stay there. And he pulled the same damn stunt again. After having us run from one side of town to the other and back again several times, he decided to stay with a friend there. So we let him know that we wouldn't come rescue him again, and managed to get home around bed time.

I had plans for Friday. My mom and I were supposed to get my 2 year old nephew in the morning and take him swimming. After swimming we were going to the park until it was time to meet his mom for lunch. And then in the afternoon I would go to work, since I still needed to get this week's stuff done. In the evening I was going to do homework to get ready for class today.

What ended up happening was that my nephew slept in until it was too late to go swimming. In fact, by the time we got him dressed and ready for the day, and got the extra errands that we were given at the last minute done, we barely had time to go meet my cousin who's a truck driver for lunch. He happened to be passing through a town about 20 miles away at lunch time, so we got to visit with him. It was great to see him again.

After lunch we returned the kid, having properly wore him and us out. I came home ready for a nap, only to realize that my husband had now slept for 2 days. This was not a good sign. I managed to wake him up, but it was really difficult. He was not exactly "with it" mentally, so I knew we had a problem. I went in my mom's room, had a nervous breakdown, and then asked her to make some sandwiches to take to the hospital. It took an hour, but I got Donny to get in the car so we could go get him some medical help.

We got to the hospital around 5:30 and it was already a mad house. Yesterday seemed to be the day for toddlers falling and hitting there heads on sharp corners. It was amazing the number of little ones there with head injuries. It was 6:40 when Donny got triaged. I only remember so well because we were discussing the fact that it was almost change of shift. The triage nurse decided that she really liked me when I offered to reset the clocks to say 7:00. I really think that 12 hour shifts are cruel and unusual punishment.

Somewhere around 8:00 admitting finally did the paperwork to get the insurance to pay for Donny's visit. It was around 8:30 when he was taken to a bed. Not as bad as I had feared time wise. Friday night in ER sucks. I strongly urge you to do everything in your power to avoid going to ER then. I've yet to find an ER that's not crazy on a Friday night, but definitely avoid the county hospital at that time. It's not a pretty picture.

I think it was somewhere between 10:30 and 11:30 when we got Donny's lab results back and I knew that he wouldn't be admitted. It was a long time until the doctor said that, but with an ammonia level of 54 I knew that he didn't need to be there. It was around 2:00 I think when the doctor said that all we were waiting on was for Donny to wake up and pee. She wanted to run some urine tests, and we weren't leaving there without them. The nurse and I woke him up and wouldn't let him go back to sleep until he peed. That did the trick.

It was 4:00 when he was finally discharged. I'm glad that the doctor was so thorough. We found out that he has a UTI because she insisted on some tests that the nurse and I thought were pointless. Needless to say, school didn't happen today. Later I have got to remember to tell you about some of our other experiences last night.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Week In Review

I just realized that it's been a week since I last posted. I really wish that was because I had nothing going on.

My therapist is back, so occupational therapy restarted for me. It turns out that he was in the hospital. I've teased him mercilessly about running away for a vacation.

On Tuesday I took Donny to see the oral surgeon. He absolutely refuses to put Donny under general anesthesia. I can't say that I blame him. So instead he's going to give Donny a pill to relax him and then pull all his teeth. But of course that can't happen until he talks to the doctor and finds out for sure what kind of infection Donny has in his legs. I think that the blood cultures should be done now, so that shouldn't be a problem.

On Thursday I took Donny in for a follow up with our doctor about his legs. We've been there so many times lately that I'm beginning to wonder if the doctor hates to see us coming.

That afternoon he had an appointment with a doctor for Social Security. Donny thought that he'd be seeing a regular doctor, but that's not what happened. He saw a psychologist for some mental testing that they wanted done.

That appointment was actually rather interesting. It started with an interview. The doctor would ask Donny a question and then we'd sit there while he'd try to figure it out. Then the doctor would turn to me and let me know that now it was okay for me to answer. There were very few questions that Donny could answer. Even when the doctor was asking about Donny's sibling's mental health history I knew more than Donny did. I was shocked to realize how little Donny remembers now.

I was able to sit there and watch the doctor administer the tests. It was really interesting to see what Donny could do and how much was beyond his grasp. There was even one point where the doctor and I started discussing how interesting it was to see how Donny's mind processes information.

And then yesterday I had a day without Donny. I went to therapy in the morning. In the afternoon my mom and I went out to her friend's house to pick yams. The field behind this lady's house was harvested earlier in the week and the owner had said that what was left behind she could help herself to. He also said that she could let her friends help themselves as long as they understood that it was at their own risk, if they fell on the uneven ground his insurance wouldn't cover it. So now we have more yams than we'll ever eat.

Last night I had to go in to work, I thought for about an hour. When I got there I had more to do than I realized. I was printing raffle tickets when the printer stopped working. I got no error message or anything, it just wouldn't go. It took me a few minutes to figure out the problem.

If you open your printer up most likely you'll see a cable that looks like a ribbon that runs the thing with the ink cartridges back and forth. That cable had completely disintegrated and the wires inside it had frayed and snapped. The worst part is that this may end up being expensive to repair. My dad said that the part is cheap and the labor is easy, so getting one installed shouldn't be that expensive. (He's my leading authority on all things computer, since he's a programmer.) He also said that unless we know why that happened it's pointless to try and fix it. So I broke the printer at work, possibly beyond repair. Not bad for a couple hours work.

And then today I had a midterm in my tax preparer class. It was actually pretty easy, but since I never found time to study I was a nervous wreck going in. I can already tell you one thing I got wrong, it was a bonehead mistake that I made just because I was nervous.

That's what my week looked like, how was yours?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ER vs. ER

The fun began again. Yesterday I was sitting in class when my cell phone rings. It was Donny letting me know that he was going to the hospital. His legs were swollen and had ared area on the front of them when I left the house that morning. He said that they were even bigger and the redness was spreading. I got off the phone with him and made arrangements to go to the ER to meet him.

On the way to ER the friend that I was with called my mom. She apparently was unaware of the fact that her and my dad were taking Donny to the hospital. When I finally got it straightened out it was a case of miscommunication, but it was frustrating getting things resolved.

I ended up waiting at the ER for an hour before Donny arrived. (This was to be expected since we live about 45 minutes away, but my class is just a couple miles away.) When he got there I signed him in and the waiting began. I hate going to ER unless it's bad enough to think the person might need to be admitted. However, on a Saturday our choices are limited.

Donny had been signed in for probably an hour and a half when he got one of the hall beds. This was much faster than I had dared hope for, so I was pleasantly surprised. The only real problem that I have with a hall bed is that there's no curtain to pull around Donny so that he can't see what's going on. When he saw a lot of people being discharged around him he started complaining about being ignored. He stopped everybody in scrubs that he could get to stop to try and get what he wanted, whether it was a blanket, something to eat, or pain meds. And we were by the door to the break room, so I had to hear an endless complaint about how the nurses weren't doing anything but drinking coffee. I hate hall beds now.

Finally one of the nurses that Donny stopped said that he'd go check the board to see where we were at in waiting for the doctor, since it'd been a while and still no doctor. He came back and let us know that he'd try to find somebody to see us since we'd been waiting longer than anybody else and, even though you get bumped for more critical patients, it had been too long of a wait. I was surprised that anybody would actually say that somebody had been kept waiting too long, especially in the ER.

When the doctor got there he seemed rather put out at having to deal with Donny at all. He barely said anything, did a quick exam, and disappeared. I don't understand why, but he seemed to have ordered every test under the sun. They did a chest exray, sonogram of the legs, EKG, and a wide variety of blood tests. The blood tests and sonogram made sense to me, but not the exray or the EKG. When they came to do the EKG I asked if there were concerns about his heart, and the nurse said no, the doctor just ordered every test for Donny. It was just odd.

In the end they decided that it was cellulitis and that he could go home once he'd had his antibiotics. The doctor came to tell us this and he started talking about the prescriptions that he was going to give Donny. At that point we let him know that our pharmacy is closed until Monday. He said to go to Walgreen's, just down the road. I let him know that we're on MIA and so we can only use the one pharmacy and he looked at me as if I was something unpleasant that he had just stepped in. The only reason that we even said something is that one of the ladies at our pharmacy said that there's supposed to be an agreement with the ER that if they see an MIA patient on the weekend that needs meds at home they'll be given enough to make it to Monday out of the hospital's pharmacy. I won't make that mistake again.

When Donny's nurse needed to do the blood tests and put in the IV she had a really hard time with it. She didn't manage to get it until the fourth try. It was really hard on him. And then the IV only worked for a little while. When the IV quit working the nurse came back to take a look at it. She said that it hadn't gotten pushed in too far and she pulled it out a little. Donny let her know that it was really hurting him, but she seemed unconcerned.

A little while later Donny asked me to check if his IV was still dripping. At the same time that I was telling him that it had quit working again another nurse came by and heard us. Since it was change of shift he just took a look at it himself. Donny's IV had fallen out completely and was just dangling there. This guy had no problems getting a vein to pop up for him, and he got the IV in without any trouble. Or at least, without any trouble until Donny sat up. Then his freshly placed IV started dripping blood everywhere. There was enough blood that he could almost make the claim that he'd been shot and have it look believable. Oh well, at least that nurse was willing to joke around and so he got Donny back into a good mood.

We signed in at ER at about 1:00, Donny got discharged at 9:00. It took 8 hours to find out that he had cellulitis. But at least I know that he didn't have a heart attack. I got home and fell into bed.

This morning I got woken up by the sound of my mom saying Ow repeatedly. A little bit later there was a knock on my bedroom door. It was my mom. She fell in the shower and reinjured herself where she hadn't healed yet from falling 2 weeks ago. She wanted to know if I would take her to the ER.

At least they use different ERs, so I get a little variety. The one that she went to today was recently rebuilt and it's nice. There's 2 rows of room with a nurse's station in between. I finally found one ER that has a window for the staff. And the covers on the light have pictures, so there's something to look at when you're laying in bed. It's really nice there.

We walked in to ER around 9:50. My mom checked in and a few minutes later was seen by triage. A doctor came in and talked to her in triage. We were sent back to the waiting room to wait for exrays. After mom had gotten exrayed we went back to the waiting room for just long enough to speculate how long it would take for the exrays to be done because we figured that's when she'd be taken to a bed. She was in a room for less than 10 minutes when a PA came and let us know that she hadn't broken anything, and he did a physical exam. He determined that there was deep tissue bruising and told her how to take care of herself. A few minutes later we had discharge instructions and prescriptions. We walked out the door at 10:55. It was amazing.

What really amazes me the most about these experiences is the difference in attitude. At the county hospital it's assumed that you're there looking for drugs, especially if you're of a low enough income that you get MIA or MediCal. The nurses are more apt to be cynical, and we find a lot more rudeness. Where I took my mom today they took her word for it that she's not on drugs and they didn't bat an eyelash when she asked for pain killers. But what sticks out in my mind more than that is how nice everybody was. We were treated like regular people, deserving the same respect and common courtesy that you would ask be extended to you. I wish that more people would just treat others how they would want to be treated if they were sick and in a hospital.

Friday, October 19, 2007

And More Narcotics

I've been trying to think of a really great post, but I can't get past my gratefulness for percocet. On Wednesday Donny woke me up WAY too early wanting pain killers. I pointed out that it was 6 hours until his next dose and begged to go back to sleep. He let me, for a while.

Wednesday was a bad day, but Thursday was worse. When Donny's hurting he spreads the misery around liberally. Apparently I have no clue about anything because I refuse to give him more medicine than what's prescribed. Never mind the fact that it was his habit of taking too many that made the doctor ask me to take over his medicine in the first place.

So, after 2 straight days of being yelled at for not giving him extra pain killers, I cracked. On Thursday night I gave him 3 benadryls and put him to bed. It was the first night of decent rest that I'd gotten in a while. I'm considering stocking up on the stuff.

I actually shouldn't need more benadryl. We went back to the doctor today and asked for more painkillers. At one point I was muttering under my breath about how short Donny's life would be if he didn't get any more pain medicine. I think that the doctor heard me though. It was decided that since Donny's liver is already completely shot that we really don't need to worry as much about Tylenol. So Donny got a prescription for percocet.

When I took the prescription to the pharmacy the lady gave me a funny look and headed to the back where the pharmacist is. She had just looked in the computer and so I'm sure she saw that we picked up morphine on Monday for this same person. I was absolutely positive that she was going to come out and accuse me of drug seeking and refuse to give Donny his medicine. Apparently the pharmacist didn't have a problem since they filled the order without any more strange behavior. Or maybe I'm just paranoid because I read too many blogs about people who are just looking to get high.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Things

Today was a day of little pleasures. I woke up next to my husband, who actually got a good night's rest. I had a slow, lazy morning. We went on a picnic at the city park. We sat there and watched the kids playing. Then this evening we went to my friend's house and visited with her for a little while. My two year old nephew, Dennis the Menace, even gave me kisses goodbye. He always does my heart good. I baked bread with my mom this evening. After it cooled the whole family had some, and we sat around talking and enjoying each other's company. All in all, a really good day.