Thursday, March 31, 2011


Whoever said that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb should have spent the last couple of days in Florida. We've had winds and torrential downpours. Heck, in driving Gameteen to school, I was not that far away from where a tornado touched down.

I didn't know about the tornado warnings, but that's because there weren't any for my county at that time! Instead, I drove in rain that made it impossible to see, rivaling the rains that preceded a couple of the hurricanes we had in '04 and '05. Poor Chef had early release from school at 3pm, and didn't arrive home until 4:30, about five minutes earlier than he would have on a regular day.

The camera stayed tucked in my bag in my travels today. Once home, I took a look at our pool. Yesterday, Ed and I agreed that perhaps we should drain it a bit with all the rain that we've had. It didn't get done. Around 5pm, I looked at it and saw this:

The water is supposed to be about three inches lower than that. I'm not going to crunch the numbers, but it's an 18,000 gallon pool normally, so I'm thinking we've got maybe another 1,000?

Perhaps I should prepare an ark, or get a pair of ruby slippers if this keeps up!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Silly Hoomans

I iz the ruler of dis house. The hoomans, they think they run the place, but it is MY house.

They put silly things on me and take my picture.

I ask "Why ME?"

Oh, right. They shower me with the love and adoration I deserve. I guess I will put up with teh silly hoomans and do what they want.

For today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Camera, More Pizza

One of the things I like to do is play with the camera to take pictures of the food I cook. I'll never be a food stylist (yes, people are actually PAID to orchestrate how food looks in pictures), but part of the fun of trying to take good quality pictures is that I get to eat the subject afterwards.

And so it was tonight.

For the first time since getting the camera, I made pizzas on the grill. A nice pepperoni and onion and then a Hawaiian. Practice makes perfect on some fronts: the dough was done and rising in about three minutes, it took about 10 minutes to roll and prepare two pies and I've really learned the best temperature for getting the crust crisp and firm without burning it. (for the GMG, about 12 minutes at 375 produces a nice, smoky flavored pie) The new discovery is that grilling some of the ham while the first pizza is cooking is a great way to get even more flavor onto that pie.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Be Very Afraid

I will be learning Web Programming this summer.

I'd wanted to take Flash, but that professor insisted that I have some experience programming in an object oriented language first. The Web Programming instructor has the same request, but I sent him an email to request a seat.

I told him about my first computer that did not have Windows (it was DOS 3.31, thankyouverymuch), about working at Babbages and telling people why they wanted the US Robotics modem instead of the cheap one and how I'm surrounded by computers at home.

The piece de resistance may have been when I said "I survived 14 credits last summer, I think 6 this summer will be much better."

If I take this now, there's a good chance I take Flash and Web Page Design soon. Maybe I'll redecorate this page in oscillating colors?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fun with Flash

A project from the book, from nothing to this mutant lemon:

To a fish that could use Botox:

To a talking fish:

To a talking fish whose word bubble actually is in the right place:

To "Hey, this isn't all that bad!"

After working on this, and seeing how much is involved, I'm thinking that taking Flash over the summer, while it is still fresh, might be the way to go. The original plan called for Web Programming, but spreading that out over 15 weeks is preferable.

We'll see where this all leads...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Online Shopping Head Scratcher

I like to shop online.

The convenience can't be beat sometimes. My camera, for instance, came from a major retailer's online division because they didn't offer the package I ultimately chose in their stores. Heck, the location nearby didn't even carry the D90 at all.

I'm a frequent shopper of Amazon, because we have ONE measly bookstore in this whole
town. It's a fact that bookstore likes to crow about when I shop there. I think I give them fits when I respond to this comment (which is an inducement to join their frequent shopper program) with things like "this doesn't reflect well on the literacy rates in our county," "but competition is good for the consumer, lack of it is only good for the retailer," "and it's a shame my favorites are no longer around." When given the choice of buying a CS5 Flash Professional book from the brick and mortar for 59.99 or the same new book from Amazon for 39.99 and free shipping, I'm going to choose the cheaper book. That twenty dollar difference can buy a bunch of food, thank you.

With the advent of the Internet and with everyone getting on the Information superhighway, retailers will make it possible to check the status of that order and the shipping companies can let you see that the camera is in Peoria or that book is in Jacksonville, awaiting a truck to bring it to me.

Part of this new mode of shopping is that you get an order number and you're free to use it whenever the urge comes upon you to find out whether you should start stalking the FedEx/UPS/Mail Carrier for your coveted item. If it's 2am and I'm wondering, I just cut and paste the order number out of the confirmation email and thirty seconds later, I've got the information I need, straight from the appropriate website.

Apparently, Target doesn't like this idea. We spent a week shopping around for new furniture for the lanai, because we typically don't dine out there, the chairs that are currently around that table are extremely uncomfortable to both me and Ed (most chairs hit my leg in tender places, so cushioning is a must) and we both like to sit outside in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine.

So, after looking around at about a dozen retailers, we settled upon a seating arrangement we liked in the Target store. We were less than thrilled with the in-store color (boring greige), but the little collection card in the grouping showed the set was available in another color. Ordering online meant free shipping, too. Sold.

Yesterday, I wanted to see the status of my order. I went to the Target website, entered the order number and my email address and had to wait for them to send me an email that would provide a URL for fifteen minutes only that would allow me to view my order. Gatekeeping the status of that which I spent a pile of money doesn't thrill me.

Apparently, every time I want to check on something, I have to go through the same process. Today, they sent me an email to inform me that one (or more) of the three items I ordered is now delayed-but I don't know which, because they don't provide the information when viewing the order. The only clue something is amiss is that my delivery date went from 3/29 to 4/1 to now 4/2 to 4/6.

They won't allow the option of switching the order to 'deliver what you have now' option, either, even though all three items come in separate boxes, thus it'll cost them the same amount of money to ship each one together or separately.

What gets me is, this is the first retailer I've encountered in my years of shopping online (Christmas shopping for preschoolers on WalMart, Toys R Us and Amazon's websites in 2001 was the easiest holiday ever) that requires you to request access every time you hit their site to check status. You'd think that this taxes their resources and bandwidth, plus has more potential for breakdown than if they'd just give you the code and let you have free reign to check when the urge strikes.

What about you? Have you experienced online businesses that use this model of requiring you to request access every time you want to check order status? Is this common, but just with retailers I don't normally use.

I'll tell you this much-it is the type of thing that might make me hesitate before shopping their web items again. If one plunks down a large sum of money, shouldn't the ability to see what's going on with that purchase be open to the purchaser, whenever he or she wishes?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Changes for GameTeen

Things have been changing for Game Teen.

A few months ago, his former Psychiatrist agreed that ten years using the same medication is too long, so we started lowering the dose of his OCD medication to prepare to switch to another one. Then she went on maternity leave, returned very briefly and left permanently. (It was her second fellowship in the program). So yesterday, he saw a new doctor for the first time.

Things have been very difficult with him for at least six months, but the reduction in medication made things bad. Really bad at school, to the point where he was expelled right before spring break. We and the school directors came up with an alternative plan for him, where he attends for a half day, completing work on a computer in a quiet office with the high school principal.

So, this week, he started half days. That went well. Then the new doctor, after reading summaries from me and the principal agreed that it's time to change things up. She asked what the biggest issue was that needed to be done first. The OCD is what drives everything else, so that was my opinion. The supervising Psychiatrist reviewed these summaries and agreed with what I'd said.

So tonight, he took his first dose of a new OCD medication since 2001. I'm cautious in my hope that it helps him, because so much is not helped by chemical intervention for Game Teen.

We won't know for a couple of weeks where he stands. I'm wondering if I can hold my breath that long.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Companion for the Next Few Days

I have a project due Monday. Ninety seconds of Flash, with a button, tweening and some bells and whistles.

We shall see how much help my companion provides.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mind Like a Steel Trap

Ed will groan and complain that I have scary recall of details, events, birthday and the minutia of the things in our life. Heck, we can have arguments over stuff because we remember it differently and then I will recite, nearly verbatim, an entire conversation with identifying information, such as where we were, what the weather was like, and what precipitated the conversation.

He hates it.

However, one of the memory skills came in very handy today. I remember birthdays. Half of my first grade class, I can tell you their birthdays (and two of them were September 11th, so I kind of feel bad for them now). My former boss, Elaine, was stunned the year I moved to Florida when I called her to remind her that it was William the UPS guy's birthday the next day and she'd better go over to Mrs. Field's cookies and get him something. (You have to understand that William is the BEST UPS MAN EVER and richly deserved a snack.)

So, back to birthdays. With the passings of family members, Ed now is trying to explore the family tree. His dad was orphaned just prior to the US entering World War I, and the nuns in the orphanage gave him some information that is not backed up by historical accounts. So, one side of his family is lost to the record books.

Then again, maybe not.

In asking for birth dates, wedding dates and names, the papers that have passed through my hands in sorting Jane's apartment out are cataloged in my brain, along with the other details I'd had before. Those numbers that I was able to tap into every time he asked appear to have helped him make some progress along the way of seeing who his ancestors were.

It feels pretty good when he's seeing the benefit of my memory skills.

And then a friend laments a salty marinara sauce and I pulled out a long forgotten tip of throwing a peeled potato in the pot and fishing it out when the sauce is ready to serve because it will draw in the salt.

Sometimes, I wish I could get rid of some of the stuff clogging my brain. Others, I'm thinking that the reason for the Chiari big fat head is that I'm supposed to be a walking reference library.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lighter Load

Today, I turned in my research paper for my Psych class, then did a presentation about my study and findings. This assignment makes up thirty percent of my grade. At this point, 65% of the course work for the semester is done .By Monday night, 75% of the assignments for another class will be done, and the third class is mostly done.

Most of this semester was extremely stressful because I had due dates and Jane stuff. Now that I'm out from under the stresses, I can relax and take my time with the remaining assignments to give my usual quality work.

For now, I'm hitting the sack to get some of the sleep I missed last night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Planning for the Inevitable

Soapbox time. Dealing with paperwork and more paperwork.

In October 2005, as my Mom was in her final days, I urged Jane and Mom to create a Living Trust, to get all their affairs in order to make it easy on anyone (us) left behind, to make sure that all their paperwork was up to date and easy to access. As my stepdad and I were sifting through writing letters, closing accounts and the things Mom never thought he'd be dealing with (he was the sick one, after all), I must have repeated it several times.

Instead, nothing was in order and several policies had the beneficiaries changed to my (at the time) 82 year old mother in law. Stale dated insurance reimbursement checks were never deposited, forms requiring completion and a notary's signature never filled out or returned. Questions about whether things were handled thoroughly when Ed's sister Nancy passed away in 2005 now fill my brain.

So please, for your families, make sure your paperwork is in one place. Spend a few bucks at an office supply store to get a folder and mark it My Final Wishes (or ours for couples).

Make sure all funeral wishes, cemetery plot paperwork and related stuff is in there.

If you have insurance polices, put them in there. Review them from time to time to make sure you don't have a deceased person named as beneficiary, because then family has no choice but to establish an estate in your name-which takes time and money and a lot more legwork for them.

Make sure a few family members are aware of where this information can be found.

If information changes, a policy is cashed out or stocks sold, take them out of the envelope OR put the related purchase and sales receipt together in that folder so that people aren't confused when they find four and five conflicting documents and have to try to figure out which is the correct one.

Your family loves you, don't they deserve a little bit of your time organizing things now to make things easier for them when they're missing you most?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cat on Mouse

You didn't want to use this thing, right?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hipstamatic Mood

There have been quite a few Hipstamatic pictures here on the blog since I purchased the app not long after I got the iPhone.

Yesterday, when I decided to take some pictures of some neon with that app, I found new film options. I think this film captures that retro feel that neon gives a place.

This is the sign without the hipsta filters. I think there's more character in the cheap iPhone pictures.

Of course, the neon tour isn't complete without playing with the Nikon, so I used it on the exterior signs, too.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Ed had today off and well, we were just tired of being here in town. We just needed a break-so off to Jacksonville we went, for some quality time with Donna.

It was a good day with a good friend, good food, some window shopping and a gorgeous evening of mini golf here:

It still seems weird that we can drive three hours and not leave the state. I guess that mindset is hard to break when you're raised on LI and spend many years living in the skinny part of Maryland, where in three hours, you can WALK through three states (and possibly four, depending on where you start).

Once I install the Nikon share software on this machine, I'll post the pictures of some vintage guitars we got to view at a show/appraisal event.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ruh Roh

Since the past couple of months have been spent attending to Jane, rather than my studies, let's just say my books, handouts and various educational stuff had been piling up. One of my goals this week was to get things reorganized. Heck, I was prepared to take the materials from my Bachelor's studies and organize them in one large binder, too.

So I purchased a couple of new binders and dividers because the curriculum covered will be be relevant. It'd be nice to have reference materials easy to locate if I have questions about how I did something. The more immediate goal was to get my term paper for Psychology finished today, but I wanted to collect the three refereed articles I read, the five page draft that was already graded and the teacher surveys I conducted at Game Teen's school last week.

Small problem: I can't find the draft paper or the refereed articles. The articles are easy enough to reprint from the USF library (I saved them in RefWorks), but my professor made some extremely helpful notations on that draft that I want to incorporate into the finished product.

The option is to skip the paper writing until the weekend and focus on the Flash tutorials I've been meaning to go through and hope that I find the papers in the next couple of days.

And THIS is why I've been frustrated this semester, because I have barely been clinging to academic order. There has been no time to keep things organized. At least I know that everything else I need is filed and index tabbed to within an inch of its life.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The scene: A restaurant in Lakeland. Dinner has been consumed. Dessert has been offered to both kids. (Hey, at 1.99, they can each have a sundae.) GameTeen turns one down. We even check him for fever, because this is probably a first.

Then he sees his brother's dessert and realizes he goofed up. Gets upset, especially since the check is sitting on the table. We ask the server to add one more Spotted Dog and the waiting ensues.

Apparently, when someone else is waiting for a dessert, he wants to go wait in the car. When it's his, he looks like this.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A HA! A Working Web Page!

The Neon Tour of Polk County-A Photo Journey

When I first moved to Lakeland three years ago, I was enthralled with the quantity of old neon signs that were still operational. I promised myself that one day, I'd once again have a high quality camera and would take pictures of these beautiful signs. Each time we spied a new one, my husband and I
would say "There's another one for the Neon Tour."

In late January, I purchased a Nikon D90 and soon started taking those pictures I was itching to get. While there are honestly hundreds of these signs in and around Lakeland and dotted throughout Polk County, I've only scratched the surface in the past few weeks. It's a hobby that I'll have fun pursuing for a very long time.

The first signs I saw caught my eye several years before moving to Lakeland, mainly because the business is one that doesn't often encounter up north anymore. The Silver Moon Drive In features movies on each of their two screens seven nights a week, all year long. The neon drew us there, but my family enjoys many spring and fall Saturday nights enjoying snacks from the concession and the double features, too.

All along Highway 92, where the Silver Moon is located, there are many 1950's era motor lodges. Some nights, you'll cruise down the road and see a dozen with varying amounts of neon lit up. Other times, you may just find one or two. Prestler's is one of the few that is a glowing red beacon to travelers seeking a bed late at night.

Highway 92 is but one of the many places to discover the tubes of inert gas. Downtown Lakeland has many businesses that advertise with these beautiful signs. The first Friday of every month, one can stroll the streets in the twilight, visit various businesses and view classic cars. The old-time feel of the downtown district and these signs almost make you feel like you've stepped back into the mid part of the previous century.

Harry's is a downtown restaurant that many locals rave about. A recent visit made it clear why: the Cajun food can't be beat. It's nice to know that the sign above the front door lures many to enjoy the delicacies within.

Continuing the bayou travels, a local watering hole, Linkster's features the Lousiana favorite, Abita Beer, on tap.

The sign advertising their business is pretty cool, too.

Our final stop on the short tour today is Hurricane Alley.
It's supposedly a dance club, but I've never witnessed this event occurring. The sign's pretty cool.

There are easily another 50 to 100 signs locally that eventually will be photographed on my little tour.

Other towns in Polk County that also have many examples of well-preserved neon are:

  • Auburndale

  • Winter Haven

  • Bartow

  • Polk City

I think I'm slowly progressing towards self hosting!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Head Scratcher

So, I did my first, honest-to-God coding assignment. Not a simple strikethrough, not a bold text in the midst of a regular paragraph, not a hyperlink, either. Real code for a real website.

It doesn't work.

It worked just fine in the website that students were directed to for the many useful tutorials. Heck, it even has a split screen, รก la Dreamweaver (which I had a brief intro to last month) so you can work on code and test it to see if it works. On that site, everything is hunky dory. Heck, I even used someone else's source code to figure out what I was doing wrong with my color string.

The proof is in the pudding, and I couldn't get my text editor created project to work in Safari OR Firefox. Next, I emailed it to Ed to try on his machine, but it added a bunch of code that I didn't write. Frustrated, I even used his PC to type in Notepad, but the same thing happened.

Then the light bulb went off. "Hey, Blogger allows a hybrid of plain text and html. I wonder if it will work in the blog?" So I cut and pasted it here and wouldn't you know it, the darn thing works.

Take a look for yourself:

Blogging Resources

A listing of free blogging websites for those who are just starting out in the blogosphere

Several of the free sites currently available:

Of the sites listed above, Wordpress is the one most frequently used by serious bloggers. Blogger and Live Journal also have many dedicated users who get a lot of daily traffic.

If you like the idea of writing, but want to limit who reads what you say, you can have a private blog shared with only invited guests at Blogger. If you want to hide selected posts, but generally would prefer a public blog,
Live Journal allows you to select who reads each post.

Since 2005, I have maintained Suzanne Calling on Blogger. In November 2007, I participated in NaBloPoMo , a challenge to write a blog post every day. I haven't taken a day off from blogging since, and now have almost 2000 posts.

Thanks to maintaining the blog, I've made many friends and have been contacted to write a food column, interviewed about a health issue for a medical supply company's website and been emailed about posts I wrote about foreclosure and Asperger's Syndrome.

While blogging is not for everyone, if you enjoy sharing with others, it's a great way to express yourself!

What's interesting is that my opening code didn't work, because the post already used it-so the title didn't show up. However, I think that fiddling around in here may have helped me to find something that could be messing things up.

Yet another good thing about blogging, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

If the Internet Breaks

I swear I'm not responsible. I am only making a teeny, tiny web page for class. See?

More Neon

Eventually, there will be a smugmug album full of all the local neon, but here's another entry into my neon photo journal of the inert gas:

There are many motels, er, motor lodges, along the highways locally. Quite a few still have their neon signs, but few light them up. This is one of about a half dozen along US Highway 92 that does.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't You Hate

When you have a little bit of phlegm in the back of your throat, clear it, then that phlegm deposits itself back where it was before you were clearing your throat?

Yeah, me too.

And that's about where I am right now. The week just was and I'm still dealing and trying to be Ed's support.

I think I'm heading to bed and hoping that this one interloper in the back of my throat goes away soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Journey's End

Yesterday at 9:02am, Jane lost her battle with the various illnesses.

For a long time, we had to clean up the messes, to deal with the crap, so Jane as a person became an annoyance, a person who kept making lousy choices and expecting to bail her out of the ensuing messes. They'd spend a week on a cruise ship and we'd be the one shuttling Mom back and forth to the hospital (from 30 miles away, mind you) because she needed to see Jane. So it's been a very long time since we remembered the Jane we knew before they moved to Florida.

The Jane who was so excited at becoming an aunt that she couldn't wait to tell her coworkers, who promptly started calling her AJ, for Aunt Jane, a moniker that stuck. She came down to visit when Game Teen was six weeks old and doted on him, dubbing him "WonderBaby" (one word, always one word).

The Jane who loved Michael Crawford so much that she flew out to Vegas with a bunch of other members of his fan club and watched him in "EFX" every single time he had a performance the entire stay. (And took about 300 blurry pictures to prove that she was there)

The Jane who enjoyed Broadway musicals so much that she attended two of the pre-Tony Award banquets and rubbed elbows with more than a handful of stars and in every picture, is positively beaming at being in the presence of people she admired.

The Jane who, at her heart, was a clown. I found a full roll of pictures that were clearly meant to be of her department at work in front of the Christmas tree for their holiday greeting card. In the first, she is making a goofy face. By picture 36, she had stood with her back to the camera, given rabbit ears to several people and caused general mayhem. The coworkers gradually joined in, so that by the last picture, not one of them had a serious expression on their face.

The Jane who could be generous to a fault, taking people to dinner, buying gifts and generally making sure that those she loved had smiles on their faces.

The Jane who loved bird watching so much that she went nuts coming to Florida. She scared us one of the first trips down "OH LOOK, AN EGRET!!!!!!!!" that it became our rallying cry to get every one in the car to laugh hysterically.

The Jane who would dream big, despite her physical limitations. Yes, it frustrated completely, but she had a positive attitude (ok, denial) until the very end.

So now, once again, we run around and tidy up the loose ends for Jane. She requested a cremation back when Mom passed and wanted her remains spread. The extended family is dwindling and are spread far and wide, so there will be no service. In talking to Ed's cousin Susan yesterday, we got to laugh and reminisce. It was good, because that call reminded us of all the things that made Jane lovable.

And all the things that are going to make us miss her so very, very much.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


It seems that five or so years of knowing that things would come to this does not make it easier when things actually come to pass. Then the hip fracture happened and I knew that the situation with Jane would accelerate faster than we could image.

As I write this, Jane is laying in a bed in a Hospice facility. Monday morning brought quite few pre-dawn phone calls that cemented the feeling that she wouldn't pull back from the near death experience this time.

First, a phone call around 5:30 to make sure that they still had my approval for the
debridement. Of course you do, she doesn't stand a chance without it. Her body is in no shape to fight off the Acinetobacter, so this might give her a chance. Two more calls to make sure that transfusing blood was okay. Then another call to tell me the surgery was off because her platelets were too low.

Even in my sleep deprived stupor, I knew that a body that switches from extremely low platelets to one with far too many back to extremely low again is tired of the battle. Her organs had lost the ability to regulate themselves. It was a bad sign in a string of bad signs.

When I had woken up properly and dropped GameTeen at school, I called the nurse assigned to her and asked what they were going to do, now that they weren't going to do the debridement. "Oh, Dr. M came in and said the debridement has to be done. We have to take the risk of doing it." I asked if she was still in post-op and found that they do these procedures in-room under local anesthesia. She was several hours past surgery and bleeding more that is normal, so they were applying pressure and would be applying a wound vac shortly.

I requested that Dr. M call me, which he did a few hours later. "We did the procedure, but she's still bleeding." he started. He seemed to be reluctant to tell me that her drug allergies and heart issues really limit is treatment options. I explained what we've seen: numerous courses of antibiotics really limited what be used on her, and the tigecycline he has currently prescribed really looks like his only choice, despite it being bad for Jane.

I reminded him of our conversation two weeks ago, in which he'd asked me if Jane had a DNR and asked his opinion if as proxy, I should complete one now. He laid the cards out on the table, that a patient like Jane with kidney failure, heart failure, and respiratory failure doesn't usually bounce back from something like this. Then we talked about the fact that Jane thinks it's 2007 and he mentioned well yes, the dementia seems to be pretty advanced, too. He was matter of fact about something that prior to the hip fracture, was not really a player in her situation, as no doctor had ever mentioned it.

Our talk moved to the fact that more than anything, Jane wants to go HOME, she wants to be able to get on her scooter and go where she wants, when she wants. The fact that she will never be in a position to do that again would just devastate her. He said he'd have the DNR paperwork ready and the nurses would call me later to handle it.

So, Monday night, Ed and I went over to the hospital and signed the DNR. While we waited, I mentioned to Ed my wonder whether they'll continue to treat her on this unit or move her to Palliative care. We both thought that with the infections, they'd leave her in place.

Yesterday morning, as I was bringing Chef to school, my phone rang in the car. I returned the call as soon as I noticed the hospital name on the caller id and Dr. M
tells me he'd consulted with Palliative care. He hands the phone to a nurse from that unit and we talk about how she's made some inquiries and found a bed in the local Hospice facility. Would we be interested in moving Jane there? (after going into a two minute monologue about Hospice I didn't have the heart to interrupt.)

An hour later, we were at the hospital again, waiting for the nurse from Hospice. In just the past few days, Jane's experienced a rapid fall off. When we arrived, she was being bathed, which normally wakes a patient up, but she was sleeping to beat the band. Nothing Ed did got a rise out of her. She spoke in her sleep, but it was unintelligible. Her breathing was labored at times, despite the oxygen cannula.

Then we met from a nurse from the Hospice. She was dressed in a lot of lavender and very upbeat. I thought that if Jane wakes up and sees her, she'll probably be raving about her purple butterfly earrings. We fill out the paperwork and have a good conversation. She asked about Jane's favorite foods and we laughed that if a diabetic shouldn't eat it, Jane will definitely want it. Ultimately, their goal matched ours, that Jane be free of pain and comfortable.

She was transported yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


I was going to write about the events of the day, and Ed brought me a glass of wine because it's been mentally draining.

The cat was doing his routine of pawing at my leg like a scratching post and when I turned to him, i knocked said glass of wine onto the MacBook.

It shut off immediately. I'm thinking it doesn't care for reisling.

And i really don't care for being without the only machine in the house that has CS5 Premium when I have two assignments due this week.

Monday, March 07, 2011

It Was Goooood

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras, so why not have some food from N'awlins tonight?

We'd been meaning to try this place since we moved to Lakeland three years ago. It was time, and it was worth making the visit. Ed had an awesome Etouffee, I had blackened chicken with pasta in mushroom cream sauce and Chef had crab stuffed shrimp. All very tasty, and just the thing to take our minds off the things going on.

We WILL go back. Soon.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Not So Fast

I thought I escaped the various forms of creeping crud the kids and Ed had last week. Last night, I was coughing. This isn't unusual, as one of the manifestations of Chiari is a cough, especially when lying down.

However, last night, I thought the back of my throat seemed dry and scratchy.

Yep. It was.

While I may not have the full blown yuckiness they've all suffered through, the kids coughed on me or snuggled up to me one too many times and I've got that and the dull ache in my head. Fortunately, nothing else.

If the rest of it is waiting to announce its presence, maybe it'll have the decency to wait until after 10pm Tuesday night, so that I can get all the school work done before spring break.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Wayback Machine

Jane thinks the year is 2007. She's not kidding, either.

When I visited yesterday, she never called me by name, but she did recognize me. There were issues throughout the visit, in that she said she needed me to take her into the bathroom. When I asked her if she could walk there, she said 'sure, let's find out.' Meanwhile, she was slumped over in her bed, unable to move the bed to a desired position despite the controls being within reach. She did not use her arms (which are perfectly fine) to prop her body up.

She hasn't been eating. The few teeth that haven't fallen out are noticeably wiggling. The requested Whopper junior (that the nurse said she could have only due to 'quality of life' concerns, remained uneaten in that hour visit). She complained after a visitor from the nursing home left that 'everyone seems to think they're my friend.' At that point, I didn't realize that in her world, some things were very different.

She thinks Mom is still alive.
She thinks she lives in Arkansas.
She thinks she hurt herself at work.

A peek at the IV drips told me she's on an antibiotic that got fast track FDA approval a few years ago to replace the Vancomycin that she's got a resistance to. So now, she truly is on the drug of last resort, Tigecycline. The warnings give me pause, since it's not recommended in patients with skin infections or diabetic foot infections. Jane has both, as the MRSA is all over her legs below the knees and her feet are covered with a handful of necrotic skin patches the size of peas. (I'd take pictures, but they're pretty gross).

The only positive to the visit is that I signed the paperwork for her to get the debridement Monday. I'm not sure how well that will go.

A friend said this rapid decline in cognitive functioning means the infection may have reached her brain. I don't know much about that, but I do plan to speak to the doctors to get the straight story on what's going on and what the prognosis is expected to be.

It's definitely not good.

Friday, March 04, 2011

First Friday

Yet again, Ed and I worked on the apartment and got it close to empty, other than the furniture, that is.

Then I went over to the hospital and found that while things are good on the surgery front (I signed consent to do it on Thursday), Jane's on a heavier antibiotic Tigacycline and she was definitely out of it for most of the visit, wanting to eat the delivered whopper junior, but not wanting the table anywhere near her. Afterwards, I found out why she seemed confused at a visitor and the things I was saying. She thinks it is 2007 and Mom is still alive. Not good.

So, after the emotional weight of the day, we decided that we needed to attend first Friday in downtown Lakeland.

We saw this Scamp and all agree that it looks like it's a happy car.

Then another stop on the Neon Tour of Lakeland.

Pizza for dinner and an early bedtime. It was good to get out for a few hours and not think about the heavy stuff that's definitely coming soon.