Sending out best wishes to Linda, who brings all of us together for One-Liner Wednesday, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, and Just Jot It January and delights and entertains us with her other blog posts, fiction, and books! She had a bit of a health scare earlier in the week but was able to get to prompt care, thanks to the Canadian health care system.
She is doing better, although dealing with some of the aftermath and waiting for test results to determine if further treatment is required. Let’s all send out good thoughts, prayers, and/or positive energy to Linda, who is intrepidly continuing with Just Jot It January in the midst of it all!
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/01/19/jusjojan-daily-prompt-january-19th-2018/
On Friday, Nana was accepted into hospice care. I now that some people are used to thinking of hospice as a last-days-of-life service, but it is really designed to be an integrated care program over the course of what is expected to be a final illness. It is meant to keep the patient comfortable and as engaged as possible for as long as possible, while also helping the family caregivers.
Nana will have regular visits from a nurse/case-manager, personal care aides, and chaplain. A social worker will be available to help with paperwork and recommendations as needed. A volunteer will arrive to keep Nana company while Paco goes off on his weekly trip to Wegman’s grocery store on the bus from their senior living community. More services can be brought in as needed.
In addition to hospice, we have aides coming in at night to assist Nana to keep her safe and so that Paco – and the rest of the family – can sleep without worrying about her.
Nana has improved over the last few days. It turned out that her oxygen machine that she uses when she sleeps was malfunctioning. Now that it has been replaced with a new unit, she is able to sleep longer and better so that she can have more quality time during the day.
Meanwhile, ABC is two and a half weeks old and doing well. She initially had a bit of jaundice, which is not uncommon in babies, especially those who, like her, arrived a bit ahead of schedule. She had light therapy at home which, along with time, took care of it. At her two-week checkup, her weight was a bit above her birth weight and she is now having a growth spurt and nursing frequently.
It is a joy to watch E and L who are wonderful parents, despite being so new to it. B and I love to snuggle and rock our granddaughter and are finding that our long-unused infant-care skills have reappeared readily.
We especially love being able to take ABC to visit Nana and Paco, who love every moment with their great-grandchild, even though she is often napping during visits.
We expect to see a bit more of her (currently) deep blue eyes in the coming weeks.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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…