Monday, May 31, 2010

I am wondering how Mary's family trip up to her dad's camp went this weekend. They were taking Zoey. This pic is of Mary curled up with Zoey at 13 weeks. She now is so long she takes up the whole couch and over 85 pounds. Mary was trying to figure out how to fit her in the front seat with her while Scott drives. The three kids take up the whole backseat. I can't imagine having a dog that big. I'd worry about getting knocked over.

It has been a quiet weekend. Yesterday was our 8th anniversary and we just stayed home and watched old movies. I had not seen Mr. Roberts with Henry Fonda, James Cagney and William Powell. I love William Powell as Nick in The Thin Man series of movies with Myrna Loy. Some folks know this movie more for the canine star, Asta. Anyway, Powell plays the older philosophical doctor on a cargo ship during WWII in Mr. Roberts. Fonda, who plays Mr. Roberts, wants to be in the action but Cagney, the tyrannical captain, won't approve his transfer to another ship. It is a delightful movie and a nice way to end our anniversary.

I've not been doing well after the 2nd episode and most of the weekend before last in the ER - first at St. Joe's and then UK Hospital's ER. Our neighborhood St. Joe's doesn't have a neurologist on call and the main St. Joe's wasn't taking ER patients as their power was out. So I was sent to UK's ER by ambulance. First time in one and I hope my last. I got to UK around 1 a.m. and was put in one of those rooms with the curtains between patients. I got to listen to a drunk UK student whine and throw up - she was found sitting in her car passed out and brought in by UK's police. What a "story" she had for her mother the next morning! Oh fun! The guy on the other side of her was waiting to be admitted and listened to a foul mouthed group of comedians roast Bob Sackett on Comedy Central that lasted all night. I've now heard the f-word more times than I ever want to. The nurses didn't ask him to turn it down and it could be heard well outside of of the room as the door was wide open. I had the bed next to the door so got to see everyone going by in the hallway and they saw me. Sleep wasn't possible. No lights out and even worse, no call button. I had to scream to get one of the nurse's attention to help me get to the bathroom, which was filthy. A male nurse, but I had to go bad enough I wasn't too worried about it. I cannot figure out how that ER area could be so dirty when I saw no less than 4 different cleaning people come through while I lay there. One of them emptied out the holder on the wall for needles and syringes and used his bare hands to pull one apart and shove it down inside. I was cringing as he did that. I lay there all night with few checks from the nurses and a couple of the neurologist docs checking in on me, giving differing opinions as to what was wrong since the CT Scan from St. Joe's didn't show stroke damage but I was experiencing partial paralysis of my legs and arms as well as slurred speech. One of them so kindly said, "Did you know your left eye is drooping?" Duh! The headache was so bad I thought my left eyeball was going to pop out and the nurse sent in one of UK EMT guys with Tylenol as the neurologist had forgotten to write an order for pain meds! They didn't do the MRI until almost noon, much too late to show any stroke damage so it was a waste of my time and money. They finally let me leave when I assured them I had gained enough use of my legs to go home. Four UK neurologists later and no clear answer to the episode that I have yet to recover from.

Thank goodness I had an appointment with a Pain Management doc set up and saw him on Friday. It didn't take him long to make a clinical diagnosis of occipital neuralgia with headache and whiplash damage to my neck from the fall down the steps in Denver. He was pretty surprised I'd been dealing with the pain for a year and 1/2. No treatment is what has resulted in the episodes and the 24/7 headache. I go back in next week for the first treatment to the occipital nerve. I am feeling like there may be light at the end of the tunnel, but it sure has been long in coming. The Worker's Comp. rep was with me at the appointment and apologized for it taking so long for her to get me in to a doc who deals with head trauma. The UK neurologists were clueless. Specialist put blinders on and can't see beyond what they are accustomed to diagnosing. It is going to take awhile but I will get back some quality of life. The WC rep. won't schedule my knee surgery until the trauma doc can give me some relief from the headache and inflamed nerves episodes that resemble strokes. She took one look at how exhausted I am and said there is no way my body could handle both the pain treatments and the surgery. So, in the meantime I'll keep hobbling around and hope for the best. What a horrible last few weeks it has been. I don't wish an ER overnight visit like I had on anyone.

So, I've been trying to take it easy and give my eyes a break from the computer screen but it hasn't been easy. I've been going through some of the picture books again and love Liz Rosenberg and Julie Downing's Nobody. I'm sure those of you who are parents had a Nobody living in your house who enticed your kids to do the things they wouldn't do on their own. This is the case with young George whose imaginary friend, Nobody, loves to get into mischief as they do early one morning before the parents are up. Downing's grayish version of Nobody is delightful in a spotted footed sleeper and corkscrew-like curls. What expression she can add with just a few lines. And George - freckle faced, with hair standing on end. George and Nobody decide to make omelets. "It was a lot of work. Nobody called out words of encouragement. Nobody mopped up the first few mistakes. Then George sat and waited because he wasn't allowed to turn on the stove when Nobody was around." Two shocked parents arrive in the kitchen in their bathrobes to find the kitchen in shambles. "George, what were you thinking?" But, it isn't going to end in a scolding as mom sees George's face and gives him a squeeze and says, "I was really in the mood for pancakes. Do you think you could help me make some?" "But, of course," answered George. "Pancakes are my specialty." I wish I had this book when my kids were little as their invisible mischief maker was named "Not Me!"

Much less fun to read, but certainly a book I won't forget reading is David Patneaude's Epitaph Road It came to mind as it is Memorial Day and I remember how my breath stuck in my chest the first time I saw all the small white crosses in a Veteran's cemetery. My dad was a WWII vet so talking about the military and the men who died during that war was part of my growing up. Dad was in the South Pacific so he didn't see the mass graves in the concentration camps but that is what I thought of when Patneaude described the mass burial memorial for the thousands of people, mostly men who died from a virus that killed 97 percent of the male population on earth. Imagine being a teenage boy, one of the few males, and the son of one of the women who worked closely with the government and monitoring the small splinter groups of men who choose to live in isolated settlements. Kellen is this 15-year-0ld teenage boy and he is furious that his mother is not going to allow him to spend the summer with his father, a fisherman who docks in a small coastal village on Washington state's coastline. When Kellen and the two new girls who have moved into his group home overhear the adults talking they figure out what is going on. The women in control have decided it is time to deal with the rebellious men and they know just how to do it - not much different than the last time. Now it is a race against time and the authorities as the three teenagers ride out on their bikes to save Kellen's dad.

That's it for today. A long post and then some.