Low/high

When I wrote this post in the wee hours of Monday morning, I had no idea what new highs and lows the next twenty-four hours would bring…

At 9:00 AM, Nana and I met with her primary care physician, Dr. T. What began as a discussion of her recent symptoms that had prompted us to be there quickly segued into a discussion of how her numerous health conditions and our treatment plan were not succeeding as we had all hoped, how the trajectory while there were ups and downs was trending downward, and how we needed to discuss and prepare for end-of-life planning.

I cried.

As I am sure you can imagine, or, perhaps, know from your own experience, the discussion was painful and emotional, but I am grateful for Dr. T’s honesty, care, and concern that made it possible for us to consider our options and get the help that Nana and all of us need. Barring a sudden event like a stroke, we are likely to have some unknown number of months with Nana, which we want to make as comfortable and peaceful as possible, as filled with family and friends as her strength allows.

We are starting with getting home care recommenced, but the new goal will be to have therapists and aides to help care for her so that she can conserve energy for fun things, instead of wasting it on mundane things. For example, while a goal of her physical therapy had been to be able to walk down to the dining room at their retirement community for dinner, a new goal will be to get a wheelchair so she can ride to the dining room and have energy to eat and visit with friends.

We expect that there will continue to be some days that are better than others, but we hope to have enough support to keep Nana at home in the apartment she shares with Paco. They have been married for 63 years and belong together!

I spent much of Monday afternoon communicating with family members that needed to know what was going on and wrapping my head around our next steps. E and L took over dinner preparations and we settled in for an evening together watching television. E wanted to watch the Stanley Cup (ice hockey) game and was ensconced on the couch with L, when, a bit before 8:00 PM, she startled all of us with the news that her water had broken.

In short order, there was a call to the obstetrician’s office, the message saying to head to the hospital, the hurried assembling of some supplies, and the four of us driving off to the hospital where we arrived at about 8:30.

E and L headed into the delivery suite while B and I set up in the waiting room, thinking that, given that E had not been having noticeable contractions, they might send us home while she rested for the night and waited for labor to begin in earnest. The reason we thought this might be the scenario is that, when I was pregnant with E, my water broke at 36.5 weeks and it took 26 hours for her to arrive.

And E was also at 36.5 weeks.

This was a different labor-and-delivery story.

Baby arrived before 1:00 AM Tuesday, on the sixth of the month.

E was also born on the sixth of the month.

Baby weighed five pounds, five ounces (2.4 kg) and was eighteen inches (46 cm) long.

E was born at that exact weight and length.

Baby has a full head of hair, as did E, although E was strawberry blond (later changing to golden blond) and Baby has dark hair, like L’s.

E and L named their new daughter Ada. Henceforth, I will likely refer to her here on the blog as ABC, which are her initials, but I did want to share her lovely name with you in honor of her birth.

B and I got to share a little time with the new little family before heading home to catch a few winks before the sun rose. We each got to hold our precious first grandchild and reflect on the parallels between E and little Ada.

One more: Ada, like E, is the first grandchild on both sides of the family.

L was able to stay at the hospital with E and ABC until they came home on Wednesday. On Thursday, they went up to meet Nana and Paco.

Nana and Ada 6/8/17
(Great) Nana and Ada meet for the first time

Maybe Ada was in a hurry to arrive so that she could meet Nana as soon as possible.

I’m sure she will bring us all much-needed joy in the coming months.

Anyone?

[sidles in, switches on the lights, and looks around]
Hello? Anyone still here?

Oh, good! A few of you are still checking in! My apologies for the dearth of posts lately, with just a scattering here and there.

Life has been busy and I wanted to do updates. The most important is regarding my mom, known here as Nana. She spent several days in the hospital last month with pneumonia/congestive heart failure and was sent home to the apartment she shares with my dad, Paco. She was very fatigued and weak, so we have enlisted help. She now has home care coming in several times a week for monitoring and physical therapy. There have been doctor visits, a new medication regimen, and some more tests ordered.

It’s great to have home care in, because it means having a nurse case-manager to oversee and co-ordinate the various health-care providers involved and to serve as the one-phone-call resource for questions and problems. This is especially important for us this week, as B and I leave tomorrow to visit daughter T in Missouri. It brings peace of mind to know that the home care team and the staff at their retirement community are both on duty to watch out for Nana and Paco while we are gone.

I’m hoping that I will have time while we are gone to do some catch-up posts. Music, poetry, travel, and transportation will be likely topics.

Stay tuned.

Nana on her way home!

Many thanks to all those who have been keeping my mom, known here as Nana, in their thoughts and prayers as she has been in New York City for an aortic valve replacement.

I am happy to report that she is on her way home! As often happens with heart procedures, while the TAVR procedure went well, one thing led to another. First, there needed to be a temporary pacemaker, which then needed to be replaced with a permanent one. She developed a bit of a-fib, which required some new meds and a re-jiggering of blood pressure meds. The next things we knew, what we had thought might be a three day hospital stay turned into eight.

We are happy that she is doing well and looking forward to having her back in town. She will need to rest and has a program to start exercising to get her back to her usual activity schedule, but she is doing so, so, so much better than when she was having congestive heart failure symptoms.

We are very grateful to the medical team that made it possible. I am also very grateful to my sisters and their husbands who have been on hand down in NYC to help both Nana and Paco at this stressful time.

Here’s to hearts that are healing!

re-jiggering part 3 – or 547?

One of the running themes of this blog – and my life – has been my constant need to adjust my plans. The last post that I titled re-jiggering was actually my second by that name, so this is part 3 in terms of blog titles, but some much larger number in terms of reality.

As my more frequent visitors know, we have been dealing with health issues with my mom, known here as Nana. On August 31st, she finally had the long-awaited diagnostic heart catheterization, which confirmed that she has two heart valves that are severely compromised. They need to be replaced using a technique called TAVR, which involves working through the blood vessels to get to the heart rather than cutting through the chest as in open heart surgery. Our local hospital is not equipped to replace multiple valves in this way, so we are in the process of referral to Columbia in New York City.

One of my sisters lives in NYC and the other has already offered to go the City to help Nana and Paco, so the current plan is that I will stay here to hold down the fort at their apartment in a nearby senior living community.

Timeline to be determined, but we are hoping it will be a matter of weeks. I hope that readers will send out a prayer, healing thoughts, and/or positive energy for Nana.

In the post I linked above, the other re-jiggering that was going on had to do with my writing. True to form, I wound up re-jiggering that, too.

I had expected to spend time working on my poetry collection, but, instead, diverted to a secret poetry mission. Excitement! Mystery! Or, at the very least, poetic license. All will be revealed sometime in the last third of September. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, I have revised my plans for the Boiler House Poets reunion residency at MASS MoCA, which begins September 30. I had hoped to have a working manuscript of my collection assembled by then, but it isn’t going to happen. My new plan is to use the residency to get feedback and do revisions on some of the poems that have not yet been workshopped, write some poems that I have been planning, and be on the lookout for new inspirations, including the new works that will be on display at MoCA. In those periods when I am too exhausted/tired/frazzled to be creative, I can do further work on ordering the collection and drafting a forward and notes. My local poets feel that some of the ekphrastic poems, which is the fancy term for poems that are about a work of art, could benefit from a note about the the art piece on which they are based.

Meanwhile, in Tibet…

Sorry, a bit of Boiler House inside baseball there…

Meanwhile, I will transcribe some poems that are still only scrawled in various journals, notepads, and pamphlets into my google docs and buy a new Chromebook, as my current one is getting a bit unreliable and I need it working well for the residency. I also hope to get a few half completed blog posts out to the world. (I am not even bothering to project a timeframe to get back to my reading/commenting routine. Circumstances have pushed that even further into the realm of nebulous “someday”.)

And, of course, fulfilling my secret poetry mission…

 

 

 

SoCS: what I long for

Things I long for – or long for more abundantly:

peace
sleep
more hours to write
more hours when my brain is operating clearly enough to write
love
good health for my family, friends, and everyone else, too
co-operation for the common good
caring about important things
for public sanity and good will in the face of so many challenges
unity
an end to hunger, oppression, and deprivation

*****
This short and impossible list is  brought to be Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. This week’s prompt is “long.” Come join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2016/07/01/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-216/

SoCS badge 2015

 

Revenge of the Wii Fit

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I was being pretty diligent about healthy diet and exercise. Before E and L’s wedding in Nov. ’12, I even lost a few pounds.

Then, a multigenerational melange of personal and family health issues appeared, entailing a combination of worry, lost sleep, shuttling back and forth to appointments, rushed meals, and general lack of routine. My diet and exercise habits suffered – a lot. I gained about ten pounds.

Over the last several months, I’ve been making an effort to move more, keeping track of steps using the Fitbit I inherited from E. I’ve been making a concerted effort to eat more healthfully without putting my body into starvation mode. I started doing a plank exercise most days.

And, when B was away on business last week, I dusted off the Wii Fit balance board and fired it up.

Although it wasn’t quite that simple…

First, I put fresh batteries in the Wii remote. Then, I had to replace the batteries in the balance board. I opened the compartment to find that not only had the batteries leaked but they had also deposited crusty white stuff onto the contacts. I had to contact tech support, aka B, for recommendations on a safe way to clean them.

Finally, I got everything working and slipped the disc into the console. Our entire family of Miis (our on-screen avatars) was asleep. I woke mine up and was greeted by the news that it had been 1249 days since I had last visited.

Ouch.

I gamely started out with a fitness test, which involves weight and body mass index. I had gained just enough weight to cross into the overweight category and my Mii suddenly got chubby, which was sad and a bit discouraging, but I didn’t let it stop me.

I chose a range of exercises from the different categories, with a mix of core and upper body strength, flexibility, and aerobics, and found that my conditioning was actually still fairly good. Errands, lugging groceries and parcels, and work around the house have kept me stronger than I had thought.

I have been going back to the Wii for exercise most days since I fired it up and am happy to report that I have already gotten my BMI back into the normal range. Granted, part of that is tied to one of my medical conditions that can cause bloating. I am in a better phase with that right now, but I am hoping to lose a few pounds so that, even when it is acting up, I keep my BMI in the normal range.

Wish me luck!

Alzheimer’s article

A blogger-friend Susan Cushman posted a link to this excellent article on dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.

There is significant history of Alzheimer’s disease in my family. My paternal grandfather and two of my aunts and one uncle were affected. We are very lucky that my dad, who is now ninety, has not been affected and is well past the age at which his own father and his siblings first had symptoms.

My parents have also had many friends who have developed Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.  There was so much in Dasha Kiper’s piece that was familiar to me from listening to my parents, from symptoms to everyday life to reactions of caregivers and family.

Enough from me, because the article is on the longer side and I’d much rather you spent your time reading Ms. Kiper’s words rather than mine.