Saturday, January 25, 2014

Kilts and Tattoos

What an interesting day.

Of course, the past week has been rather…interesting.

Every morning, my siblings and I head to the hospital, where we don a gown and gloves in order to visit my Dad for a few hours. While in ICU, only two at a time can visit, so we've had to take turns. We have assignments…those of us IN Dad's room are assigned to not only visit with him, but also take notes when the various doctors, nurses and other specialists pop in with their findings and orders. Those of us NOT in Dad's room - but in the ICU waiting room - are assigned to discuss what all of the various findings and orders actually mean…and how they affect Dad and his prognosis.

It's amazing how we love to play "Monday Morning Doctor" - or "Back Seat Physician"…but with NONE of us having any medical schooling, we have certainly come up with some amazing diagnoses on our own. Scary, for sure.

The hospital imposes "Quiet Time" in the ICU for several hours each day, so afternoons have been spent trying to have some measure of relaxation and de-stressing while we're visiting Ft. Myers. Today, along with our aunt, we headed to downtown Ft. Myers for the Caloosahatchie Celtic Festival - where we rocked out for a few hours in the beautiful sunshine to some tribal Celtic bands.

The headline band, Albannach, is one that I've seen perform before - while in Estes Park last September. They're ah-maz-ing to listen to - the drums and the bagpipes stirring the soul. This was my initial view of the stage:

Well. This will never do. Through some strategic maneuvering, I managed to get a little closer:

That's better.

An added bonus…not only did I enjoy the band, but I enjoyed this guy's hair:

It was really fascinating when this guy was dancing and bopping his head…I would have videotaped it, but that might have been a bit creepy.

Check out one of the guys in the band - he's pretty cute:

Men in kilts. Yum.

I think my aunt was enjoying it - she says she LOVES Celtic music. Personally, I think she also loves men in kilts.

After the festival, my brother went to help my Mom with some errands, and sister and I were driving down the road when we passed a tattoo parlor. Being the type of girls that always think things through before making rash decisions, this was the conversation in the car:

Sister: Hey, a tattoo parlor! We should get one.

Me: Really?

Sister: Yeah! Why not?

Me: Okay.

So, I turned the car around, and before I knew it, I'm getting "Karma" inked my neck, while Sister gets "Courage" on her foot:


Sisterly bonding…fun times. Imagine what trouble we could get into if we were, like, SPONTANEOUS, or something.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Somebody, Please, Tell Me What Is Going On

See, I KNEW if I posted about the "routine-ness" of my days - that something would happen to bite me in the ass and send my life into a spiral of craziness.

Only, who knew it would be the health of my Dad that would bring this on??!!

My dad will turn 72 years old on Sunday…and although he's not in perfect health, he's managed to hang in there and stay somewhat healthy over the years. Until this Christmas, that is. Right before the holidays, he got very, very ill - chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, and bowel issues. After suffering for several days, he relented to being admitted to a hospital in Kansas City, where he was subjugated to a battery of tests. All of which revealed what was NOT wrong with him, but nothing that said what WAS wrong with him.

Don't you hate that? "Well, we can rule out this…we can rule out that…but we don't really know what it is."


And that's why we pay you the BIG bucks, doctors.

Anyway, he seemed to bounce back after a few days of fluids and antibiotics, so as soon as he was discharged, he and Mom hit the road and drove 1400 miles south to Ft. Myers, impatient to enjoy their brand-new (to them) condo for the winter. When I heard their plans, I was a bit skeptical - wondering if this was the smartest thing to do when one has been so sick - but did they listen to me?

Oh, heck no. Just like I pretty much never listened to them when they were giving ME advice over the years.


So, of course, what happens when they take up residence as Snowbirds in the Sunshine State?

Dad gets sick again. Same symptoms. Only, worse. By Monday night, he was so violently ill, that he begged Mom to call an ambulance - which, if you know my Dad, was SO out of character. Upon admission, they found his blood pressure so low that it wouldn't even register on their measuring devices. Into the ICU he went…and when the doctor told mom that Dad's condition was "life-threatening", it was a no-brainer for my siblings and I to jump on a plane Tuesday and fly south to be with them.

They are "guessing" that he has C-diff, a highly contagious infection that can be life-threatening if not treated properly. But they're not positive. And we know that the doctors in Kansas City tested him not once, but TWICE, for C-diff, and ruled it out both times.

So we're at a loss.

Yesterday, Dad was pretty incoherent for most of the day. Today, he seemed to perk up a bit more, and was almost overwhelmed to see that his three kids had traveled 1400 miles to be with him. Tonight, however, he had relapsed a bit, so it seems to be a matter of day-to-day on how he's doing.

This is where it's frustrating…this not knowing…this guessing…this hopelessness and dependence on the knowledge of the doctors treating him. What is it? Why is this happening? How can we treat it? What does the future hold?


Dammit. I want answers. I want it fixed. I want to know that when I go back home - and I need to go back home pretty soon, as I have responsibilities and such there that need to be taken care of - that Dad will be okay.

Sigh. We can't always get what we want (with homage to Mick Jagger and the Stones), and that is sometimes the hardest lesson in life of all.



Monday, January 20, 2014

Reassurance That I'm Not Dead

So, this is REALLY going to date myself, but anyone remember the (most awesome) movie, "Fiddler on the Roof"?

A song in that movie keeps going round and round in my head…"Sunrise, Sunset", which can really drive one INSANE, as well as others around you, if you just so happen to constantly HUM LOUDLY AND OFF-KEY said tune…I may or may not be that annoying person, but anyway, I digress.

So that I can get that song stuck in YOUR head, as well (you're welcome), here's the particular stanza that is stuck, STUCK, in my head:

"Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days…"

This is because my days, for the most part, have been swiftly flowing by…to the point that it's been almost a month, a MONTH, GAH, since I've posted on my blog.

I know.

You all missed me.

But…as Jack Nicholson famously said in another (most awesome) movie, "The Shining", "I'm back."

Woot woot.

So…from sunrise to sunset, my days have been filled with the minutiae of every-day life…besides unwinding from the holidays, I've been spending time doing such blog-worthy things (NOT!) as reading books, watching old movies, cooking up new creations, hooking up with old friends, cheering on my favorite football teams (to no avail), and hanging with my fabulous family.

Speaking of cooking…at the pushing of my doctor, I visited with a dietician last week, so I could gain confidence and creativity on my gluten-free journey. Sad to say, she DIDN'T suggest substituting chocolate (or wine) for bread and pasta, but she DID have some great suggestions for new recipes. With her support and guidance, I set a goal of trying two new gluten-free recipes per week, until my confidence in the kitchen, and my family's confidence in ME, grows.

Today, I've attempted an Italian Polenta Mozzarella Bake…which is not only gluten-free, but also healthy in general. (As my dietician said, I have to be careful to NOT assume that a "gluten-free diet" automatically assumes it's a healthy diet, as some people do. One must still be careful and selective in what to eat, and make healthy choices. Chocolate and wine in moderation, she said. Of course, her idea of "moderation" and my idea of "moderation" may be slightly different.)

Doesn't it look YUMMY??!!!

I spent about an hour with the dietician, discussing my breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks…as well as my beverages. I was relieved to know that for the most part, I'm doing things "right." Which is good, because if I do things wrong, I pretty much WANT TO DIE BY BEING STABBED BY A THOUSAND NEEDLES because that's pretty much less painful than a gluten attack.


I'm alive. I'm well. Life is good. Reading some good books, watching some good movies, and dining on some pretty tasty creations, all while dishing with some fabulous friends and family.
It doesn't get much better.