Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dad is Home

Dad is finally home now. He's on oxygen full time. Hospice came in and set up a bed and all the equipment. As you may, or may not know, Hospice usually comes in when there are 6 weeks or less left. Dad has really lost a lot of ground over the last 10 days, and he knows it. He said to my Mom "I'm going downhill fast".

I cannot express to you what it does to me to see my Dad lying in the hospital bed, twitching and reaching out for things that aren't there. Every breath is labored. He looks so fragile, a memory of the man he used to be. I don't have the words or the frame of mind to share with you all that is happening or has happened over the last week. Thank you all for being there for me and my family. Say an extra prayer for us when you have a moment. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. I feel so bad for my Mom, she's so strong and yet I know this is breaking her heart.

I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Why haven't we cured this disease yet? With all our advanced medicine and technology, we should have figured out how to kill this disease by now.

I'll be taking vacation time one or two days a week to give my Mom a break. I'll write when I am able.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Dark Side

It finally happened. I am officially a convert. I had to switch over to the "new" blogger. I'm probably one of the last hold outs. I've read the horror stories of Bloggers losing archives and having their blogs completely screwed up. I waited. I put it off. I had my final warning. I was forced into converting. So, if things are messed up, it's not my fault. I was forced to come to the dark side.

My phone was out from Sat afternoon until 8:45 PM Tuesday night. Apparently their were 900 customers without service in my area from Friday until Wednesday. The snowstorm had damaged a major trunk line in the center of my town. As long as they got my service up by 9:00PM Tuesday night, they had their asses covered. Oh joy. No posting. No reading blogs. I feel like I've been in the twilight zone for a week.

I had a workshop Monday, Tuesday and half the day Wednesday. Verizon is so lucky I did. I was too fricken tired to want to get online to post.

The workshop was great, learned a lot. I'll tell ya, their isn't a jail big enough for all the administrative assistants working at Universities in the US. The Feds have more regulations for research funding than there is tea in China. At least now I know more of the "Why I have to do that's" for my job. It certainly connects the pieces of the puzzle and gives me the justification for saying "No, you can't do that" to my superiors.

I came back from jury duty to a flurry of proposal activity with a completely new electronic submission system that the bugs have not been worked out of yet. It's been a hell of a couple weeks.

The real excitement came Wednesday, when I received a call from D, who was working from home.

D was hesitant when I picked up the phone, "I don't know if I should tell you this but, an ambulance is on it's way to your parent's house." "I'm glad you called to let me know, gotta go".
I called my parents and Dad answered "Is there an ambulance there?" "Yes, I'm having trouble catching my breath" "OK - Go" I said.

What Dad didn't know is that D has a police scanner and picks up all emergency calls. As soon as she heard my parents address, she called me. I knew Dad would be going to Winchester Hospital where Mom works. I also knew that Dad would be thinking; "How the hell did she know I called an ambulance?" At least that would keep his mind busy when he finally got some 02 in the ambulance.

One thing you have to know is, my Dad doesn't complain, at all. He has not complained once since being diagnosed with Non-Small Cell lung cancer last June, enduring so many radiation treatments you could see him glowing from the moon, and debilitating chemotherapy, not to mention steroid treatments that have rendered it difficult to raise himself out of a chair. It has always been a rare occurrence for him to take aspirin for a headache. For him to call 911 for an ambulance it has to be badder than bad, a life threatening incident.

Two of my office mates were there when I received the call. They detected the alarm in my voice and I filled them in on what had happened. I am so lucky to work with such a phenomenal group of people. Their genuine concern helped me make light of the situation. Aran and Cathy were there for me in that moment and it's only because of them I was able to hold myself together.

I knew it was bad and that the Emergency Room would call Mom (who was working at the time) as soon as Dad was received. It was a few hours later when I finally got the call from Mom. Dad was in Emergency and would be admitted for more testing to find out why his 02 saturation dropped below 92 whenever he was taken off oxygen. Her next question was "How did you know?" I couldn't resist: "I'm psychic" Mom instantly replied "Are you?" For an instant, with all my heart, I wished I was, but I replied honestly. "No, D heard the call on her police scanner. I knew it had to be for Mum (my Grandmother) or Daddy, and I knew I'd be hearing from you eventually, and I knew Daddy would be wondering how I knew about it." I figured it would be a good thing for Dad to focus on once he was in the ambulance.

Dad was admitted to ICU and the test results showed that he had blood clots in his lung (the lung without cancer). He was put on a Hepron (?sp) IV. Mom informed me later Wednesday evening, that hyper-coagulativity is common in lung cancer patients. They had been lucky so far and hoped it wouldn't be something they'd have to deal with. It wasn't until I visited Dad in ICU Thursday after work, I was able to tell him that there were a lot of people looking out for him and nothing bad would happen while D was on watch. It really helps having friends that know the fire department personnel! It's even better when friends can tell said personnel: No, the name they responded to lives in the downstairs apartment and the person they received the call from lives upstairs. There's not too much better than a fire department/EMT employee asking "How do you know more than I do?"

Having emergency personnel coach your best friend's daughter's hockey team in the town your parents live in is a definite plus in this situation, never mind a busybody best friend (I mean that in the best possible light) with a Police scanner.

Dad had an 'umbrella' surgically inserted in his groin to 'catch' any further clots, even though they aren't sure where the clots are coming from. Dad had good color and sounded good when I visited today. He was supposed to be transferred to a 'bed' and out of ICU, if one was available today.

It's a profound event when my Dad tells me he was "Scared Shit less" and he calls 911 for himself. Super Dad is forever brave, it doesn't seem to be in his genetic makeup to ask for help. I'll be forever grateful he did. He was relieved when he was told he would be admitted, because he didn't think he could make it up the stairs at home.

I need to personally thank James, Suldog, Denise, K and Chunks. You are my salvation and the only thing that keeps me real, and hanging on. You truly are Magick Mojo Monkees.

In the midst of all this, son informs me that a recruiter from Ohio has convinced son that the best college to go to upon graduation from his technical high school is in Ohio, and the NASCAR potential incentives hold a special appeal since he would be so far away from me and pursuing his ultimate dream.

Oh joy. I go from a son who has no interest in attending college to one that wants to go halfway across the country just to get away from me and yet have me pay for it.

Don't get me wrong, I would love for my son to get a degree. I would be more than willing to remortgage myself into eternal debt for it. My biggest fear is for son to get 50 feet from his safety net, and turn tail home to Momma. I'm sure it's my fault that son is completely clueless as to what the real world is like. No matter what kind of Mother you are, you are responsible for the failures of your offspring. In my own defense, I've told son that he'd better get his grades up and a summer job if he truly has his heart set on going to college in Ohio.

At the very least, it has been a most interesting few weeks as of late.

In an effort to try and keep things light: Did anyone see Wed. episode of Lost? Holy shit Batman! Did anyone else see this coming? This ep. leads me to believe, more than ever, that Locke's "father" is the real "Sawyer", the Con-Artist that killed James' father. I need this kind of inane shit to keep me going at times. Year 3 has finally gotten back to year one caliber of writing, IMHO.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Something warm and fuzzy to counteract the depressing previous post


1. Dogs are never permitted in the house. The dog stays outside in a specially built wooden compartment named, for very good reason, the doghouse

2. Okay, the dog can enter the house, but only for short visits or if his own house is under renovation.

3. Okay, the dog can stay in the house on a permanent basis, provided his dog house can be sold in a yard sale to a rookie dog owner.

4. Inside the house, the dog is not allowed to run free and is confined to a comfortable but secure metal cage.

5. Okay, the cage becomes part of a two-for-one deal along with the dog house in the yard sale, and the dog can go wherever he pleases.

6. The dog is never allowed on the furniture.

7. Okay, the dog can get on the old furniture but not the new furniture.

8. Okay, the dog can get up on the new furniture until it looks like the old furniture and then we'll sell the whole works and buy new furniture...upon which the dog will most definitely not be allowed.

9. The dog never sleeps on the bed. Period.

10. Okay, the dog can sleep at the foot of the bed.

11. Okay, the dog can sleep alongside you, but he's not allowed under the covers.

12. Okay, the dog can sleep under the covers but not with his head on the pillow.

13. Okay, the dog can sleep alongside you under the covers with his head on the pillow, but if he snores he's got to leave the room.

14. Okay, the dog can sleep and snore and have nightmares in bed, but he's not to come in and sleep on the couch in the TV room, where I'm now sleeping That's just not fair.

15. The dog never gets listed on the census questionnaire as "primary resident", even if it's true.

Author unknown.


1. We could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.

2. Our house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.

3. All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free of dog hair.

4. When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like the ASPCA kennels.

5. When the doorbell rings, we could get to the door without wading through dog bodies who beat us there.

6. We could sit on the couch the way we wanted, without taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need to get comfortable.

7. We would not have strange presents under our Christmas tree ... like dog bones, stuffed animals or have to answer to people why we wrap them.

8. We would not be on a first name basis with three vets.

9. The most used words in our vocabulary would not be: "out", "sit", "down", "come", "no", "stay", and "leave him/her/it ALONE".

10. Our house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or barriers.

11. Our pockets would not contain things like poo pick-up bags, dog treats and extra leashes.

12. We would no longer have to spell the words "B-A-L-L" or

"F-R-I-S-B-E-E" or "W-A-L-K."

13. We would not have as many leaves INSIDE our house as outside.

14. We would not look strangely at people who think having their ONE dog ties them down too much.

15. We would not have to answer the question: "Why do we have so many dogs?" from people who will never have the joy in their life of knowing they are loved unconditionally by something as close to an angel as they will ever get.

Before KFarmer calls the search party

I'm still alive. It's just been a hellacious few weeks.

I stayed home with my son when he was on Feb vacation. I planned to work from home all week, but you know how that goes. So I had to bust butt the week I came back and the I ended up having to serve jury duty for 5 days last week. Jury duty was interesting, it was a civil case and it deserves it's own blog.

I came back to work this week and there is an emergency push on a proposal to get it through. There is a lot to this that I really can't go into. The goings on at work have not been all that great and I'm not feeling too good about it.

Son is home alone today due to a 'teacher professional day'. I'm sorry - but with only 180 'teaching' days in the school year - why don't they do their 'professional days' during the summer? Son being home alone all day is stress enough, since I cannot trust him as far as I can throw him. He's gotten himself into trouble lately and my hair is going grayer by the minute.

Dad is, well, Dad isn't doing so great. He had an additional 16 (I think) radiation treatments to his chest. He's maxed out for radiation now. He's on the pill form of chemotherapy which carries more side effects. His CEA Count is over 100, just a short time ago it was below 20. He has no strength whatsoever. He has trouble just getting up from a sitting position. He's going for an MRI on his spine today. The Doc told him it's time he stopped working. He has had a helper as of late. The main reason he's continued is financial. They need the cash flow.

I feel for my Mom. She's very depressed. It's true that ignorance is bliss. Being an RN, she knows what's going on and what's coming, she's seen the patients at the hospital. She's watching her husbands body be ravaged by the treatments and the disease.

Things will have to start moving on selling Maine. They've already asked me if I want some things from there, which is bittersweet. It's a full house and will involve moving a lot of furniture etc., cleaning out their shed at home and storing what will fit. They are inevitable tasks that I'm dreading doing for so many reasons.

I apologize for my absence. Sometimes just getting through the day is all I have in me, barely. Just an example of how things are so not going my way: I made an appointment with my therapist and then I got a letter from the office that he was taking a leave of absence. His sweetie has ALS and he's taking care of her. I can't seem to win.

I do miss you, Dear blog, and I'll do what I can to post.