Monday, May 31, 2010

We remember ..

. . . on this Memorial Day -



. . . and many others as well. Thank you.

Maxine Monday

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Guess who is back in the hospital?

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Too tired to explain right now, and not wanting to be all boo hoo and wha-a-a wha-a-a about it now either. I took this picture and ... wait ... is that Bret Michaels in my Mom's hospital room???




Wow, he really IS popping up everywhere, isn't he? Amazing!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

There's something to be said for a little recovery time.

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I mentioned my concern about Bret Michaels, Poison front man and man-whore extraordinaire. He is diabetic, has been since he was 6 years old and insulin dependent. He had an emergency appendectomy in April and maybe 10 days later he suffered a brain hemorrhage. If that wasn't enough, a short time into his recovery he had a "warning stroke" which led to the discovery of a hole in his heart that will have to be surgically closed.

So it was with trepidation that I turned on the finale of Celebrity Apprentice Sunday night, he was expected to be there.

Yes, Bret Michaels was there, albeit moving a little more slowly than usual but it was obvious he's still the same fun, enthusiastic guy. After the show people managed to interview him outside and he admitted that his doctor had said it wasn't a great idea that he travel to New York. And it turned out they had to land in Nashville (part way there) so Bret could get out and walk around because his head was hurting so badly.

I thought wow - this is a guy who honors his commitments! Admirable quality, sure. Except he didn't stop there. He went on Leno. He went on The Today Show. He went on Regis & Kelly and he went on Ellen. Last night he showed up on the finale show of American Idol - and he performed! Today? Today he went to be on Ryan Seacrest's radio show and is supposed to be on George Lopez tonight. And from what I understand tomorrow he goes back on the road in Biloxi, MS to begin his tour again.

So now I am wondering, where will he show up next?

Dancing with the stars?




Maybe he's hankering to show up on Grey's anatomy.



Y'never know, maybe he wants to join the cast of Glee!




At this point I might not be surprised to see him in the new Sex in the City movie.




I mean hell, I swear I saw him at President Obama's press conference today. Maybe he has an idea for plugging that oil well!



But honestly. Really. I hope someone who knows this man has told him - GO HOME AND TAKE A FREAKING NAP! NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOU DROP DEAD ON NATIONAL TV!
Cause that's what I'm thinking.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

I love her.

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There used to be lots of quiet moments to myself. LOTS. One reason I will never marry again, I LIKE my own company and I LIKE quiet sedentary time in front of my computer or whatever.

There doesn't seem to be much of that alone time anymore. My mom looks forward to se
eing me, I'm her lifeline.

But I DO love the lady in my car.


If I had had the lady in my car when my kids were little maybe we would have gone more places, maybe I wouldn't have been so housebound and panicky about going places I was not familiar with.

The lady tells me where to turn, gives me the fastest route if I'm in a hurry or the one with the least use of highways if I'm not. She's always polite and she always knows where she's going.

I love her.

She takes care of me and asks nothing in return.
And if I make a mistake or don't listen she doesn't get aggravated she just finds a new way of getting me where I'm going. And right now with my brain as mushy as it is, it's nice to have one thing to hand off, to not have to worry about right now.

She really is a lovely lady, I'm telling you. I should introduce you.


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Maxine Monday

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ah .. Fresh Air!

There are very few things I remember happening when I was a kid that changed my life. My parents divorce, a falling out with a cousin, but something big that wasn't bad? Something positive? Not really. Except for one summer 2 boys came to stay with some neighbors.

The way it was explained to us was that these kids lived in the city (Chicago) and didn't have the freedom to run and play like we had in the suburbs. Where they lived it wasn't as safe and it was a whole different experience. It was kind of like a summer vacation for these kids, to get out of the city and stay with a host family with kids of their own and just blend in. Experience a fun-filled, worry free, summer.

I doubt very much that my neighbors knew how the experience would affect any of us who already lived in the neighborhood. But it did. You see, these 2 boys were black. I grew up in a white bread neighborhood, not necessarily bigoted but I'm pretty sure the only place I had seen black people were on TV at that point. I don't know if I was 10 or 11, I just know I was a year or 2 older than Billy and Bobby. Yep. Those were their names.

When they first arrived it took us all about an hour before we realized that these were simply 2 more playmates to add to our games, even though they were - you know - BOYS!

We spent the entire summer playing, those 2 boys were so much fun, I think it was their enthusiasm. Going to the public pool that we took for granted was a big adventure to Billy and Bobby. And the fact that we could pretty much go day after day after day if we wanted to was so exciting to them. It felt good to share our every days with them. To share the evenings playing kick-the-can or catching lightning bugs, or getting a parent to set something up for us to toast marshmallows on. It was all new to them which made it all new to us.

I think we all cried when it was time for them to go. They missed their families but now they were going to miss us too. And oh how we missed them too. I've never seen them again, wouldn't know them now, it's been 40 years! Yes I AM that old. But I've never forgotten them. I learned the value of sharing what you have with someone who doesn't. I learned to meet new people and form friendships and welcome people who were in a new situation for them. But more importantly I learned that kids are kids. Everywhere. Not all of them have the same advantages, some have very different ethnicities and cultural differences or religions but in the end - kids are kids. Billy and Bobby were different. But really - they were only different on that first day.

I received an email about putting a post up - or tweeting about The Fresh Air Fund. I think I ignored the first email. But when I read the second email I realized it is the same program - whether or not it is run by the same people or in the same place - it gives kids that chance to get out of the city for the summer, and gives the kids as well as the host families a truly wonderful experience as well as a life lesson or two. But mostly - it's fun for everyone. I hope you pop over to their site and take a peak.





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Monday, May 17, 2010

The next thing and the next . . .

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Amazing that it's only been a week. Feels like a lot longer.

Mom is settled in a rehab/long term care facility. I hate to say nursing home because it makes me want to wash my hands. She is off the pain meds and doing quite well. She played bingo yesterday and had physical therapy today. She also lost her cell phone.

Got the netbook connected to the available wi-fi, delivered some clean laundry and took home some more clothes to wash. Next is getting all her paperwork together and seeing an elder-law attorney, getting her pre-paid funeral transferred to Illinois and picking up her new glasses.

Why is it I find myself wishing I liked bingo?


I am tired, ya'll.

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Maxine Monday

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

New twist

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I love this stuff. And I need to keep it profoundly secret. Sh-h-h ... !!
Please don't click on anything!



ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONITARY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN RUSIAN FEDERATION
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001
Website: www.fbi.gov
Email : agent.mariamaccarthy@fb-i.org

ATTENTION FUND BENEFICIARY,

THIS IS AN OFFICIAL ADVICE FROM THE FBI FOREIGN REMITTANCE/TELEGRAPHIC DEPT., IT HAS COME TO OUR NOTICE THAT THE C.B.N (CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA) HAS RELEASED The paper work of 100,500,000.00 U.S DOLLARS INTO BANK OF AMERICA which was been handled by GUARANTY TRUST BANK PLC. and your name was included as the BENEFICIARY,BY INHERITANCE MEANS.


It comes to our notice after several meetings with the UNITED NATION (U.N) over Internet Fraud which have been going on around the globe recently and rendering innocent individual homeless and bankrupt, therefore we have made connections with every NATIONAL GOVERNMENT and we have been successful so far by getting most of the funds released and we are transferring it into the rightful beneficiary accounts.


Therefore you have to report back to us through email so that we can confirm the paper work of your fund that the bank sent down and process the investigation so that the transfer can be deposited into your designated bank account and you can finally get your inherited fund that was denied of you by some unscrupulous element de-frauding you and taking your hard earned money.We will advice that you do not make contact with any individual, firm and company who claims you have won a lottery or you have some fund somewhere because they are all frauds and lies.


Immediately we recieve your response, we will direct you to the bank where your fund is and you will make contact with them and your fund will be transferred into your designated bank account through thier ONLINE BANKING SYSTEM (OBS) within 72hrs immediately your form are submitted.You are to note that this should be keep profoundly secret so as to avoid loss of funds by any means.


MRS Maria A McCarthy
FBI FOREIGN REMITTANCE/TELEGRAPHIC DEPT
agent.mariamaccarthy@fb-i.org
206-376-2739

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sometimes it sneaks up on you

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Driving home from work there is a cemetary I pass. Monday as I was driving home still unaware that my Mom had fallen and what was to come, I was looking, but not - through the cemetary fence. You know how you sit in your car (when you're not in a hurry) and just zone out? You might be looking at something but you're not really seeing .. that's what I was doing.

Right before the light turned green I realized I was gazing at a lot more flowers than usual on many, many graves in the cemetary. Not sure I have ever seen that many flowers there since I've been driving that route.


Then I realized why.


Sunday was Mother's Day.


Kind of took my breath away.



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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Things have changed!

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I broke my ankle in 2000. Or 2001. I can never remember. Regardless. My mom is in the hospital I was in. I was in your garden variety semi-private room, had a morphine pump and IV fluids attached - even on my trips to the bathroom. The menu was put on the tray with your meal and you went through it and checked off your choices and sent it back with your dirty dishes.

Fast forward 9 or 10 years depending, and my mom has a private room, flat screen TV, no IV attached, a huge window with a view that has a parking lot but also a golf course and tree tops across the neighborhood.

The walls are painted a warm brown, the cabinets are cherry (probably laminate but I didn't check that close) and even the necessary tile floor isn't industrial white with speckles.

The bathroom has 2"x2" brown tile, fashionable wall sconces on either side of the mirror and a stylish faucet and knobs. There are framed prints on the walls - even in the bathroom, a shower with pretty earth toned tile with contemporary looking drains.

There is a large drawer under the TV that is accessed by punching in a code (and it's electronic and probably tracked) where all patient medical supplies are kept - meds and syringes and I don't know what else. My mom has a hospital bracelet that has a bar code. Every time someone comes in the room to administer any kind of med they scan the bar code which pulls up her info on the computer in the room. They input the information and when they are done - they scan the bar code again. The hallways are quiet, everything is organized and just flippin' COOL!!

Obviously I am impressed. I didn't realize it but this is a new wing of the hospital that has only been open weeks. WEEKS! So everything is new, the latest and greatest and they thought of everything! Kind of made me think they surveyed patients and staff alike and accommodated everyone. Me too! I was very comfortable. There was a small couch that had a pull out from underneath and the chair that I sat in reclined and had a matching ottoman. I mean - you can tell it's a hospital, there is still one wall covered with plugs and places for every kind of monitor and thing that goes beep. But obviously someone went out of their way to consider the ambiance as part of patient care, as well as making visitors welcome while supplying the staff with everything that makes their jobs easier while being more efficient as well.

Oh, and remember those big dinner carts with tray after tray all stacked on a rack and passed out room to room to room with a lot of clatter and activity? Uh huh. There is a standard menu that has options a patient can choose from depending on their diet. Including personal pizzas with choices of toppings. There are set times (like between 6:30 and 7:30) when dinner is delivered, and the patient calls a number and orders whatever they want. My mom had grape juice. JUST grape juice. I'm sure if she tries to do that for more than one meal she will be encouraged to eat more, but there was no tray delivered with something from each food group, diner coffee cup and silverware/napkin/and salt and pepper packets wrapped in plastic. I'm guessing they throw away a lot less food and patients are happier.

As stressful as hospitals are - this is totally the way to go.

There is something they do there that I imagine other hospitals do but I mention it because I think it is so sweet and makes me smile every time. When you hear a lullaby in the air - it means a baby has just been born. I heard 3 - today. :)

Coolness aside, there is one thing that never seems to change - the socks!



*

Train is still on the tracks .. sort of ..

*
Spent about 10 hours in the hospital with my mom last night. Apparently she fell and smacked her back against the night table in her bedroom sometime during Sunday night/Monday morning. Did I know about it? No.


Monday morning before work I gave my mom her breathing treatment, as well as moving her nebulizer from the bedroom into the living room as has been my practice so she can do her daytime treatments there. She sat on the edge of her bed and spoke to me. I called home halfway through the day and she didn't mention anything. "Everything is fine."

When I got home from work Monday at about 5:30 - she was in her bed in a ton of pain.

Hospital did x-rays and took a ton of blood, I think they were more worried about why she fell as opposed to the actual fall that caused the hospital visit. They didn't say so but I think they thought she had had a stroke. Cat scan on her brain was good - blood tests good - but she has a small fracture of one of her vertebra in her back. Doc says it's stable, not really treatable, kind of like when someone breaks their tailbone. But - she is still in a lot of pain so they decided to keep her overnight. Or maybe it was the fact that she kept saying "Percocet. Percocet works really well." Sounded like a drug seeker, I swear.


Neurologist saw her today - ordered an MRI on her back, we will see what that shows. Off to shower and get back to the hospital.

Good news? This may fast track her placement in a nursing home since Illinois requires an evaluation for care, first. Not the way I wanted it to happen, however.

**Update - They are keeping her for another day for sure, MRI is not until about 8:30 tonight. Pain management is a big concern and they may do some kind of "plasty" - okay I forgot what it's called, don't judge. It would be a minor procedure to fuse the bone that is fractured but that's a maybe. Long days here!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

On a lighter note ...


This is one of the funniest things I have ever read. If you ever had a colonoscopy or are planning on one, you can't miss this one!!!


ABOUT THE WRITER


Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.



Colonoscopy Journal:


I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through
Minneapolis.


Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.


I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'


I left Andy's
office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.


Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my
preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.

Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon..


The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.'


This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.


MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.


After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.


The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.


At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked..


Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.

At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.


When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere.. I was seriously nervous at this point.


Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.


There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.


'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.


'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.


I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.


Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that IT was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.



On the subject of Colonoscopies...

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous..... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:


1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!'


2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'


3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'


4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'


5. 'You know, in Arkansas , we're now legally married.'


6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'


7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'


8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'


9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'


10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'


11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'


12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'


And the best one of all:

13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Member? Do ya?

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Member when your kids were born? Member how you didn't sleep because they didn't sleep and you spent all your time restocking diapers and making bottles and oh - yeah - working a full-time job? A stressful one at that?

My life. Except the baby is an elderly woman and the bottles are breathing treatments and the diapers are .. well .. let's move on.

I'm tired. 2 falls and 1 bump on the head later, Mom is actually doing quite well. She carries her bag of Hersey's dark chocolate kisses from room to room leaving little purple pieces of foil behind her. But she's using the bathroom by herself and gaining some strength in her legs. I keep threatening to get her on the treadmill and I'm only half kidding. We've gotten the nebulizer routine down, when to prepare them ahead and where to put them so they are easily accessible.

The job of putting all her contacts in her cell phone fell to me. Woo hoo. Wasn't that fun? I made the doctor's appointment and the eye doctor's appointment, I called the nursing home in NJ for some records and a hospital that wanted my first born in trade for an EKG. There has been a lot. Of everything.

Monday when I went to work I was terrified leaving her home alone. I was so on edge that when I called a nursing home nearby that was my first choice for her and they explained the cost - I hung up the phone, put my face in my hands and started to cry. BUT - I ran home at lunch and checked on her and when I went back - I was a bit better.

Not sure where we are going from here but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be damn tired until we
get there.

Still - I feel a lightness - and if I look behind me I'll bet there are big boulders of guilt lying in my path for all the time my brother took care of my mom. It feels good to do the right thing.

I didn't expect it to be easy.

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Monday, May 3, 2010