Sunday, January 7, 2007

hello and greetings from branchport

well, it is time for CAROL to add her two cents worth... i just got off the phone with doug, so this may bore him. oh, well! we had recently gotten home from a relaxing weekend socializing with nudist friends that we had not seen in months. one of our "witchlets" (young person interested in wiccan religion) came along with us and got me to feeling like a mom. we stayed at the schloss estate on vassar street in an wonderful older neighborhood. we all went to the swim at the athletic club on saturday night with hot tubbing, swimming, sauna and refreshments at a nice club in downtown rochchacha. the schloss estate is run by two single males who maintain the pools, sauna and residence while morley and ann winter in their club in florida. after a night's rest there we were greeted with hot coffee and our individual orders for omelets taken. as we socialized in the congenial common area, more friends showed up. in all there were about 10 of us ranging in age from 12ish to 63. the conversations were spirited and the interchanges warm. it was like i imagine an intentional community would be like. we were served our omelets to order as interchanges ensued and children played with "buddy" which was fun to watch. after breakfast settled, someone announced that the pool was open, so the socializing moved to the pools. more hot tubbing and conversation and it was time to head home. with lotsa hugs goodbye we left recharged and me very contented.
huge thanks to douglas for taking dad to the doctors and helping as a "go between/interpreter" with communicating to the doctor and helping to get medications correctly administered. i appreciate all doug does to care for our pop! atta boy, doug. and thank you, thank you, thank you ad infinitum.
barb and i will be heading south in a couple weeks to see extended family (darrell and nancy casey especially), attend the naturist festival we love at morley shloss' club "sunsport" and maybe do some touristee things like going to see the manatees again, but mostly soaking up the warm, swimming and lazing at the pool. we don't deem to get through ny winters without a break anymore, even with the mild winter weather.
that is all i have to say for now, 'cept i love ya'all!!

so now i have blogged? gee, i do not feel any different, shouldn't i feel/be different?

Saturday, January 6, 2007

bert and cathy?

Have you been able to convince Bert and Cathy to join into the maelstrom? Maybe they are reading it without submitting or commenting. Or maybe they can't see it until they add it to their active slate, whatever that means. As I said early on, the thing I like about blogs over email is that you usually get to it when you're ready for it, it doesn't get lost in stacks of unrelated messages (threads is good).

After the lovely day of galleryhopping --, I got home to messages from Sonny. He's been around again lately and, well, I really don't want to talk about it very much (maybe it would help but ...) ... he had lost his job again (lying on his resume about having graduated from high school) and needed me to buy a Christmas present for his son. Well, since everything has to be a production, of course it didn't have some part so we've been back to KMart a couple times about that. Now, it's not a part that's missing, it's the little programs for the easel. The Fisher Price Spark Easel is one of those overengineered and cutesy things that make me realize the value of Kim's educational principles. I'd not be as strict (I wouldn't be as strict about anything!!) but kids are indeed better off with boxes.

Well, here it is late again and I'm sitting in the office typing. If I had a computer and fast connection at home, I'd probably be on it all of the time ... well, no, I wouldn't but I bet I'd get more blogging done as well as probably cruising down the 'net more.

Tomorrow should be interesting. I'm meeting an artist/librarian at Proteus Gowanus to talk about the cataloging he does for his art project entitled the Reanimation Library. He collects books for the illustrative content rather than the topical content. He has bunches of older manuals and whatnot, the sort that have quirky diagrams. If you want to see more:

Love to you and Dad and Jeanette and Ian --

Friday, January 5, 2007

medical update on Dad (and other stuff)

We talked with Dad (and among ourselves) at Thanksgiving about the fact that Dad has what is called Congestive Heart Failure and therefore is at risk for stroke (cardiovascular accident) and heart attack (myocardial infarction). I tried to scare him a bit with the idea that his having a stroke would be debilitating and make him quite dependent (a state I'm sure he abhors), hoping to get him to take an interest in more aggressive treatment of the condition, which he had rejected a couple years ago after starting on Coumadin treatment down in SC. I have tried several times to convince him that he should re-consider.
We had missed connections with Doctor Coch this autumn, but I set up an appointment with him for earlier today, so now I have much to report:
I have gone into the interview with Dad for his last several visits, and did again today. Dad told Dr. (Bill) Coch he was having problems with orientation and when Bill asked more about it, Dad said something about not knowing how he fits into the community, rather than "I start downtown and can't figure if I'm on North Main or South Main" or something like that. Then he said he was having trouble remembering things, but it wasn't until later that we clarified that, when I gave a couple examples (like not remembering how to turn off just the TV (he keeps turning off the cable tuner, which makes the TV screen dark but the TV is still very much ON) or run the computer. I didn't get around to mentioning that he has mixed up when Jill's wedding was to be, when a dish-to-pass was happening, and so on.
Bill asked him a number of questions about himself but Dad's answers were more about the lack of "moral energy" in the world than about how he felt and how he was doing. Bill inquired about what else was bothering him and then had to go work with other patients and come back to us, during which time I tried to coax out some more personal, specific answers from Dad. As Jeanette said, later today, Dad just doesn't know how to talk about how he feels, much.
When Bill came back, I was able to help Dad convey that he sometimes feels like he should be in a time or place that he's not, or that he starts to do something but forgets what it was, and that sort of thing.
Bill asked him to remember three items and then did some other stuff, like cleaning out his ears, which were both jammed with wax. He said that was not the cause of the ringing in his ears, but that it was just tinitis, and not unusual for his age.
I entered into the conversation more by this time, and Bill asked Dad if it was ok for him to talk with me about Dad, with Dad right there; Dad said that was fine, so I told Bill I felt Dad's mental keenness has gradually declined over the last 6 years or so, among other things. Then Dad answered most of Bill's memory questions pretty well (and Bill said he had done better than he thought he might), but could only remember one of the three things Bill had asked him to.
After we had talked a bit more, Bill reported his findings: Dad's CHF is worse; specifically, he is fibrillating (muscular twitching involving individual muscle fibers acting without coordination OR very rapid irregular contractions of the muscle fibers of the heart resulting in a lack of synchronism between heartbeat and pulse) and his valve leakage is worse than the last time Coch saw him. Bill thinks Dad is depressed, and noted edema (fluid retention, swelling), especially in his right leg. He used a scalpel to remove a callous from the right side of Dad's right foot, and didn't find any moles or other dermal conditions worthy of concern, and expressed pleasure that Dad hadn't had any more cancer since his surgery. He thinks Dad should go back to Dr. Greenberg about his eyes (Dad says the eye he thinks has early cataract formation is "seeing" better than the other eye) and should call Bill if he notices shortness of breath and swelling together, especially if it's when he's lying down.
We talked more about medications and treatment and such, and Bill said he didn't think Coumadin (blood thinnner) would be very beneficial at this point, whereas he had thought so the last time we met with him. Part of this is because Dad is living alone and any accidental injury would tend to bleed uncontrollably. Speaking of such things, did anyone know Dad fell in the tub this fall? When he mentioned it at the Doctor's office today, he said it was three weeks ago, but when I asked him more about it over lunch, he said it was probably September, and that he had not told me because he didn't want to worry me (us). Yeah, right.....and I told him (again!!!) that I HATE it when he "protects" me by not telling me something (which means by the time I learn about it, it's too late to help), and that I would forgive him this time but to please NEVER do that again.
At this point, Dr. Coch recommends an ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) Inhibitor (Lisinop -- see and look for Lisinopril) and an antidepressant (Fluoxetine, otherwise known as Prozac). He also recommended reducing sodium intake and said he might prescribe a diuretic later. We set up a follow-up visit for February 19th.
After some lunch, we filled his prescriptions for the ACE Inhibitor and Prozac, and Tony is enrolling Dad in a program that reduces what he pays SIGNIFICANTLY.
Dad was already on a daily aspirin regimen, but Bill said he should be taking coated baby aspirin. When I got to the drug store, I found that baby aspirin is only 80mg, but he'd been taking 325mg aspirin. Anyway, I got him the right stuff and he set up a daily pill-taking container for himself.
Jeanette is concerned that he is falling asleep an awful lot -- sitting up, mid-conversation, etc. -- and that he might actually fall out of his chair sometime. And I am even more concerned, after he dozed off right in the middle of a sentence I was speaking to him, and then 4 or 5 more times within a half-hour, today, even though he was trying to accomplish something. I had stopped over at his house sometime a week or two ago, and he was sound asleep at 8:30pm. Not like the man I remember who was up late, writing in his diary but still up well before me in the morning.
Anyway, I wanted to let you all know about this stuff.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

torment? foment?

I didn't sleep too well last night and, one of the times I woke up, Mom was in the dream (not tormented or tormenting). She was in a red coat and coming into a stream of traffic where I caught up to her and joined her. As I tossed, I was thinking about Doug's comments about feeling inadequate. I guess that's something we've all felt, that is, all 7 of us in the Dave Clarke Seven. We know how much better we could be, we know how much more we could do. At the same time, we have all accomplished something in life, and are all-around rather good people. But we still feel inadequate somehow. It's that confidence walking into a room that, I think, affected how Mom felt about herself and how she dealt with some others. And, here, it's particular relationships I'm thinking of. I've been in the office too long already and must leave before the whatevers come to take me away, ha ha.