Sunday, November 30, 2008

Baroness Munchausen and the Bridge to Nowehere

Karen was flossing tonight and pulled out a bridge. Anything for attention.

What's My Motivation Here?

Since our station manager went mad and was shipped off to the air force base post office, we've only had an acting station manager. He's not very convincing in the role, though.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ignore Him, Maybe He'll Go Away

That advice might work on a bratty little brother, but it turns out that huge piles of mail are impervious to snubs. Yesterday we were told to leave behind mountains of non-preferential mail so that we could help on other routes without using overtime. I had to invoke the "Pay me now, or pay me later" clause because as Chico Marx said, "There is no sanity clause."
Today, I had to work long after dark, but luckily I had a new ball cap with a light built in. Delivering mail in the dark used to be depressing but with the advent of LED's and lithium batteries not so much. It's so much easier to see, and if the light burns out, you can always eat the battery.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Going in Circles

I forgot to mention that the other day that as we went in circles between visits to doctors and a pharmacy Karen did manage to get her blood drawn and tested. Her potassium and saline levels are just exactly perfect.

In other circular news, I've eaten so much lately and our roads are so full of churned up snow along with a threat of rain, and when I got home from work today our dog was in the garbage, that I may already be living in the:
Third Circle
Cerberus guards the gluttons, forced to lie in a vile slush made by freezing rain, black snow, and hail. This symbolizes the garbage that the gluttons made of their lives on earth, slavering over food.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We'd Call It Blockbuster and We'd Hate it

I told Sarah that I bought six new phones and scattered them around the house. The most brilliant part is that the main phone's handset is attached to the base by a cord. "Oh sure," she said, "and what if we could just get in our car and take our movies back to Netflix?"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red Steam Rising

We went back to the hospital tonight, but it's not what you think. Karen just needed some blood drawn before she sees one of the doctors she has an appointment with tomorrow. It was snowing and slick, but what can you do?
Except the nurse I talked to at 3:30 didn't get the order faxed to the lab, so we drove over there and back and Karen still has all her blood. A little of mine boiled away.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shopping Therapy

Karen came home from the hospital on Friday night. Saturday was our 33rd anniversary. This year, rather than try and find one restaurant that satisfied both of us, we ordered take-out from two different ones. To show how committed I am to the relationship, I ate too much Italian and Mexican food.
Yesterday, we went to Costco, and then after a break we went to our new Target. I think it felt pretty good for her to be out. I was a little bored at Target, or as Leah put it, "I hear you were a jerk."
"Really," I said, "your mom said that?"
Leah said, "No, but I've been places with you."
Anyway, Karen got pretty worn out at Target and today she's been complaining of a headache and tiredness. In spite of that, her blood pressure is still good. Tomorrow she's supposed to have blood work, and then see some doctors on Wednesday

At First It's Horrid. Later, It Probably Won't Be.

I'm still shocked at the recent death of one of my customers. Part of what's horrid, is that life goes on so easily around the family. People still get mail and watch TV. There were obituaries in the paper today, but also wedding announcements. I imagine that life going on is what allows people to pull through as they're pulled along. Still.
According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring
a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry
of the year was
awake tingling
the edge of the sea
with itself
sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings' wax
off the coast
there was
a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning~William Carlos Williams

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Beet's Me

Here's a link to the blog written by the Freakonomics guy. His guest author says that Aussies eat beets on hamburgers. I've had to accept a lot of things over the years, but this just seems a little hard to swallow, like beets.

The Wisdom of the Crowd, Or, Why I Hate Everybody

A truly wonderful doctor on my route was killed a couple of days ago. He was driving a dog team near Kotzebue (where he had traveled to run a clinic for Native children) when a drunk on a snowmobile (Satan's own personal transport) ran over him. The local newspaper allows people to post comments on their articles. I thought I might post one about what a loss it was, but first I started to read the other comments. They started out well enough, but soon the talk turned to snowmobiles and not as you might think, that they were the kind of thing Satan would ride to the store to get a leaf blower, but the word itself. Apparently, up here we call them snowmachines, not snowmobiles, like that's the important issue. It's people that make comment sections so worthless. Present company excepted, of course.

Friday, November 21, 2008

We're Going Home, I Guess

I heard a story recently on Radio Lab. They said that even brief exposures to cold temperatures cause people to be less trusting. It may be true; I was outside all day, and I pretty much hate everbody.
I don't know how people described paradoxes before Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22. Karen is being released in a few minutes because she's stronger and less confused. She's still a little confused, though, sometimes, BUT, she called Sarah and said we were treating her like she was retarded. The thing is, how would she know?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good News Mr. Postmaster, No Polyps

I was talking to the hospital chaplain that came to visit Karen yesterday. She represents the United Church of Christ. They're not the fiercely rigid church of Christ, they're the hippies of the church world. They don't actually seem to believe anything, which, I suppose is handy in a hospital chaplain environment since you can agree with everybody. I told her that lately it seemed like we take one step forward with Karen and then fell off the world backwards. She liked that analogy. I told her (because I'll tell anybody) that in August I rode my bike 100 miles and that since then our lives have been like a roller coaster. In August, we were climbing up to the top, and now we've been plunging for so long that the people around us are starting to speak Chinese. She said, "Nope, still prefer the falling off the world backwards, one."
Recently, our station manager went mad, and so they moved him to the post office at the air force base. Many organizations like to look around and promote from within, but I think it's important to not have your head within your duodenum, so to speak, when you're doing the looking. I wasn't sure exactly what the duodenum was, so I had to look it up. I think they were in the inferior duodenum (I'm sorry, I just like saying duodenum) when they found our replacement station manager. Today our supervisor was showing him how to use a graduated stick to count mail (high tech in the 21st century, 21st century BC , that is). In his next lesson, he has to learn that it's just a stick, not a scepter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Usually When Someone Says Something This Stupid, They Work For The Post Office

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Mona Lisa Smile

One of Karen's doctors was just here. He said she was an enigma. I think that's as good a description as I've heard.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bitter Medicine

Karen is still in the hospital, although she's alert and going to PT every day and going for walks in the hall. She's in a very bad mood, but the doctor says that's a good sign. He said that after poking his head in the door and quickly withdrawing it.
That doctor, and I, want her to think about going to a different facility for intermediate care before coming home. That, along with everything else, makes her angry. But that's a good sign. Not as good as a sign that says, "Exit", or as pleasant, but still, pretty good, I guess.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

At The Center of the Universe is a Black Hole, a Needy Black Hole

Karen's potassium level was reported to be "critically low" yesterday morning, but it turned out that they were actually testing the cleansing solution in her IV. Her potassium was low and she was critical, but those were two different conditions.
One of my customers welcomed me back from my vacation today. Never one to pass up a shot at sympathy, I told him that I hadn't been on vacation; my wife is in the hospital. I passed him again a few minutes later and he said something, but all I heard was, "getting out soon?" I said, "Well, they've offered me an early retirement, but I don't think I'm going to take it." He gave me a look, "Um, I said is your wife getting out soon."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Another Really Long Post, And Why? Because I Have Time On My Hands.

It turns out that what we had thought of as our wits end, was just a portal to the next level of the inferno. Over the last few days, Karen had seemed to be slipping away from us. She was almost never awake, and when she was awake, she was confused, disoriented and hallucinating. Finally on Friday, she never was able to wake up at all. I called her doctor's office and insisted on talking to someone. Eventually, the PA said that she would send the visiting nurse over to turn down Karen's pain pump and to add a saline drip. She called a few minutes later to say that, no, Karen should just go to the hospital where arrangements had already been made to direct admit her. We found out later, that was because the visiting nurse refused to turn the pump down as drastically as the doctor wanted. That's why it was such a surprise that the EMT's gave her Narcan, which completely counteracts the effects of Fentanyl. So that rather than have a debate about how quickly to titrate her down, the EMT's just threw her into immediate withdrawl. Apparently if they don't find an emergency, they have to create one. I suppose by the same token a fireman should bring his own matches. By the time she arrived at the ER, she was having DT's. They're called the shakes, but that doesn't really do justice to the bed-shaking, uncontrolled writhing, and arm and leg flailing. About then, the ER doctor told me that, in fact, there were no orders to admit Karen. I'm afraid that I used a very bad word to explain how I wouldn't have come at all if I'd known that, since we've made so many fruitless trips to the ER. They did admit her after a few hours with a promise to not make any changes in her meds till we came back this morning. Which, of course, was one more lie. When we got here, her meds had been cut by almost 80%. When Dr. Childs, DO. finally showed up, I asked him if that wasn't a pretty big drop in one day. "Do you want to take over her case?" he asked. Really, he said that. I told him that, no, I didn't, but, gesturing at Karen, I told him I wasn't all that impressed with the job he was doing. "Well, maybe we should arrange for another practice to take over." Amazingly, Leah, of all people stepped in and smoothed things over. It's like we were playing good cop, bad cop and I was the bad cop this time. Playing bad cop was fun. Sometimes, I bet the bad cop isn't even playing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How Sweet

It turns out that a lot of doctors prescribe placebos, which makes them little better than witch doctors and faith healers. I think something a lot of people might have overlooked is that maybe when people taking sugar pills get better it's because sugar itself is a superfood.
Anyway, it was just Karen's luck to go to a doctor using nocebos.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"The Heartbreak of Remoras"

I called in sick Monday and Tuesday because I had a dreadful sinus infection, and today, and probably tomorrow because a confused Karen kept us up a lot of the night last night. A nurse came to draw blood on Monday and Tuesday, but didn't get any, but today one was successful, although dismissive of the tests that had been ordered on it. These tests are supposed go to a kidney/hypertension specialist that we'd hoped to see this week, but now just hope to see ever.
In the meantime, with her hyponatremia or whatever is wrong with her untreated, Karen appears to have become the goddess of a new canine cargo cult. While she eats, our dogs sit at her feet worshipping and adoring. Eventually she dozes off, and a feast slides into their open mouths. They have their reward in this world.
We voted absentee in the elections that just passed. We decided to vote for Ted Stevens because we thought it was more Alaskan to vote for a felon than the dweeb that was running against him. The apparent reelection of Don Young, though, is just inexplicable.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Karen's Still Sick, Confused, In Pain, and Falling

I'm not sure how to express the inexpressible. Inarticulate frustration that really cries out for something like "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGGH"
This is why comic book writers have it all over bloggers. A couple of big "POWS" made Adam West's career.
Anyhoo, Karen's still sick. There's no real treatment plan in place, no doctor's appointment in sight, and our friends from Homer are leaving the state tomorrow. Because she's falling when she tries to walk by herself, she can't be left by herself. Our paid FMLA is almost used up. There's a state program that pays for caregivers to come to your house, but, for now, we still have too much money to qualify. The lady on the phone misheard me, "The fact you're unemployed will really help," she said.
Last week, Sarah heard that Karen was being rushed to the hospital with low potassium. She sent a health drink with potassium up to us, but by the time it arrived, Karen had low sodium instead, a condition that might be exacerbated by excess potassium. When we tried to get Karen to drink it (because her potassium levels aren't really all that high, or even quite normal) she said it smelled like tears.
By now the whole house does, or to put it another way: