Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Twice Around The Block

Karen had another block today to ease the pain in her leg (well, it was a pain in her leg, now it's a pain in her legs) or I should say, to try and ease the pain in her legs. Because it didn't actually help, or at least not yet.
The doctor said we could try again next week, when hopefully (I know some people don't like the word hopefully, but I can never remember why, unless it's the cruel mocking way that hopefully yields to despair with the regularity that Lucy pulls the ball away from Charlie Brown when he's kicking the ball, hopefully) when, as I say, the infection in Karen's spine will hopefully have cleared up, and he can do the injection closer to the right nerve without triggering another bacterial surge.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I Really Get Janeane Garofalo

Karen is home, but having lots of pain in her leg.
My sister came up for a funeral. It was depressing, but I think it was meant to be. I went off my diet one day while she was here. She said it made her feel better, that "you're still my brother." Apparently she's always seen me as a glutton with no impulse control. 
At the fair this week, a sign waving "codger" was arrested. He's younger than I am. 
I heard Janeane Garofalo talk this week. She called herself a self-loathing narcissist who feels sorry for herself.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It's A Good Thing I'm Not A Doctor

Because I don't do my best work in hospitals. I'd probably not even remember to put the sponges in, much less forget to take them out of the patient.
When I was typing that whole a priori post in Karen's hospital room, it was supposed to start out:
Teacher: Can you tell me who wrote The Critique of Pure reason?
Student: I can't.
Teacher: That's right.
But now Karen's home and I'm at the post office not working at all waiting for our new start time at 8 or 9 or whatever turns out to be the most inconvenient for us and our customers.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thinking About Nothing
Space then is a necessary representation a priori, which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. We never can imagine or make a representation to ourselves of the non-existence of space, though we may easily enough think that no objects are found in it. It must, therefore, be considered as the condition of the possibility of appearances, and by no means as a determination dependent on them, and is a representation a priori, which necessarily supplies the basis for external appearances.
Which is sort of like what I said, although I didn't use "a priori" quite so much.
Thinking About Everything Else
We went for a bike ride this morning. I've been eating a
lot lately, so when I put on my bicycling bibs, I looked like a Russian weightlifter. We rode on the new Martin Luther King Blvd. The New York Times published an article about the disappointment that local civil rights activists felt. Since Dr. King was primarily an urban actor, they thought that such a remote road was an unfit honor. Even so, remote and new as it is, there's already broken glass on the bike lane.
After not quite three weeks on the inside, Karen is getting out tomorrow. She'll be arriving about the same time as the plumbers clatter in to replace our newly failed water heater.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress

Karen had her procedure today, and by most measures it was a success. It lasted long enough for me to have pizza, potato salad and ice cream. Plus, it seems to have eased her pain.

Sent from my iPhone

A galactic magnifying glass shows the Universe will probably expand forever, resulting in a slow death.

It's like I've got a twin.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Block Party

Yesterday marked the end of the second week of Karen's hospital stay. The infection in her spine seems to be responding to the antibiotics, and there is a corresponding diminution of the pain. In her back. The biopsy they did, left her with so much pain in her leg and foot, that she has barely been able to roll over, better yet stand up and walk. Ha ha, the test they did to find out where her pain is coming from, is where her pain is coming from. Unexpectedly ironic, no? No.
Tomorrow they are going to do a lumbar sympathetic block, or something to see if they can stop the pain in her leg.
Did I ever tell you about the California town that was infested with snakes? There were so many of them that they were afraid to let the children walk to school. There were so many, that even driving was creepy because the snakes would crawl up inside the engine compartment of parked cars to stay warm, and then be chopped apart by the fan when the engine started. So the people, having read that turkeys were the sworn enemies of snakes (Treaty of Worms, 1511) imported flocks of turkeys to eat them. Which they did, achieving a balance of predators and prey, and attacking the children on their way to school.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Going For The Gold

...at the end of the rainbow. If there ever even was a rainbow. We tied a record today for the most consecutive days of rain. Tomorrow, we make history.
And, I'm pretty sure being in a hospital isn't good for me. More about me in a second, but I wanted to mention that after Karen recovered from her stay in the hospital a couple of years ago, she read my blog posts about her time there. "It's all about you," she said. "That's right," I said, "it's my blog."
So yesterday I was ravenous when I got home from visiting her. The plan was to eat my seven remaining Weight Watchers points and go to bed. Instead, though, I found myself wandering around the bottom of a Costco-sized jar of peanut butter when I got the idea that I might as well eat all the cheese we had. I finished up with a measuring cup of cold cereal. I want to be clear here; I didn't measure the cereal, that was just the largest clean bowl we had.
As for Karen, they seem to be keeping her at about the same level of excruciation, but it's taking less medicine to do it each day. That's progress.
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I had high hopes for that last post, but I fell asleep while I was typing it, so I doubt it's all that, after all.
While Karen sleeps, when I'm not trying to see how far behind I can leave my diet, (pretty far, based on the size of my behind) I've been reading a book Sarah sent. It's by Joyce Carol Oates about the last days of famous authors. Unless Edgar Allen Poe really did spend his last days crouched under a lighthouse fathering monsters, it might be fiction. Fiction in the style of each author she chronicled. Appropriately, Henry James's entry is precious and oh so very boring.

Sent from my iPhone

More Emotional Eating

Karen's doctor came in this morning and made a cogent argument for leaving her pump in while explaining that her port had to come out right now. We understood and agreed, but a couple of hours later they decided to leave everything in.

I spent the day here after Karen's procedure yesterday and then the night as well. Late in the evening, it was hard to keep everything under control, and the thing that slipped was appetite control. I just rolled from kiosk to cafeteria here; as one closed I moved on to the next. Lately, life has been like surfing in a garbage disposal with the food ending up in me.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

(No) Secret Garden

Karen had her procedure today, and it revealed no "vegetation" on her heart valves. Her nephrologist stopped by and said her electrolytes looked good too. Tomorrow they'll make some final decisions about removing her pump and port, and hopefully the physical therapists will find a way for to her to start rolling over as a first step towards her first steps.
Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, August 08, 2010

No, We Just Want To Rule You Out As A Suspect

On police shows, the detectives always get the husband or whoever, to give a DNA sample, "just so we can rule you out," when viewers at home know, "Don't be a fool, they want to rule you in, get a lawyer!"
In a completely unrelated way, they're giving Karen a test tomorrow, Monday, to rule out vegetation growing on her heart's valves.

All Hail

Confusion reigns. This morning I was unloading the dishwasher, when I realized that the dishwasher had never been run. No big deal, except I've been eating off those dishes all week.
Yesterday, I talked to Karen's infectious disease doctor who laid out very cogent reasons why Karen's intrathecal pump had to come out. I was convinced, if disappointed. Today, he explained why it didn't.
The only certainty I had left was that once her osteomyelitis was cleared up, she would no longer have this new intractable pain. "Oh no," Dr. Brownsberger said. "That's caused by permanent back damage."

Sent from my iPhone from Providence Hospital.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Devestating News, Oh Wait, Never Mind. An Entire Post In Dialogue.

"There's a 50/50 chance you have MRSA." "No, you don't"
"We're going to remove your intrathecal pump first thing in the morning." "Oh no, you're not!"

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Maybe Marvin Gaye Could Find Out What's Going On

Come on talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
What's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you ya, what's going on

I got new glasses this week, and I'm thinking of asking the post office to pay for them because I keep seeing the blindingly obvious at work.
They have the carriers starting later to in order to allow the dwindling number of clerks enough time to pass out the mail that doesn't arrive from processing until just before we used to get there. It's too boring to explain in detail, but the upshot is that with the later start, virtually every time they mandate a carrier to work overtime, it's going to result in a grievance settlement that means two carriers will get paid for the same work, and one of them will also receive extra money as a penalty.
But stepping back and looking at our big picture, we only exist to deliver mail. Our mission isn't to sort mail, or pass it out to carriers, it's to deliver it to our customers. So, maybe mail processing should be designed to support carriers, and not the other way around.
It all seemed a lot clearer this morning when I started this post, but since then, I worked 11 hours, bicycled straight to the hospital, discovered I'd left my wallet at work and couldn't buy a meal at the cafeteria,  then home and just finished dinner at 10:15 p.m. So, whatever.
Karen's still in pain. They've started antibiotic therapy because it appears that she has an infection in her discs and vertebrae. That treatment is supposed to last six to eight weeks, but may be just a first step.* I left a list of questions for her doctors pinned to the bulletin board in her room, but since she doesn't want to hear the answers, I don't know how we'll ever find out what's going on.

* From the Merck Manual Home Edition: 
For adults who have bacterial osteomyelitis of the vertebrae, the usual treatment is antibiotics for 6 to 8 weeks. Sometimes bed rest is needed, and the person may need to wear a brace. Surgery may be needed to drain abscesses or to stabilize affected vertebrae (to prevent the vertebrae from collapsing and thereby damaging nearby nerves, the spinal cord, or blood vessels).

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The New Job Satisfaction Metric

Yesterday I linked to an image of a mannequin being used to train doctors to do lumbar punctures as an example of one grisly test Karen had done.  Now we know that lumbar punctures are just part of the prelim round before they move on to the really, really grisly tests. Today they took some sort of gun that shot a  claw into Karen's spine to remove actual tissue for biopsy. I'd link to a picture of a mannequin having that procedure, but it's too painful to use on mannequins.

Because Karen is back in the hospital, I went back to work today. It rained, I was wet,  and I had to work for 11 hours, but all in all, no complaints; it was a pretty good day on the claws-into-spine-measure of job satisfaction.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Fish Gotta Swim, Birds Gotta Fly

PCA's gotta give personal care.
Karen had some grisly tests (although, at least she didn't lose her arm) at her doctor's office today, and then I drove her over to Providence where she was admitted in a lot of pain and its attendant turmoil. Then I turned her over to actual attendants who have given her enough medicine so that she is resting comfortably, or what passes for comfortably when you have complex regional pain.
I was telling Sarah about it, and how it was a really good thing because there would be trained professionals taking care of her. Sarah said that everything I was saying was about how it would be good for me, like being good for me is a bad thing.

A Lot Of News And Plans

None of which are worth reporting, because everything the doctor said about tests, and hospital admissions for Karen yesterday, was all canceled before the doctor's office even opened this morning. So all we know, is that her MRI showed problems with both discs and vertebrae.
What are we going to do about it, you may ask. Well, while you amuse yourself asking questions with no answers, I have to go get ready to take Karen to her doctor's office to have some blood drawn. Drawing blood? With crayons probably.

Monday, August 02, 2010

See What You're Missing

I haven't had time to blog lately as I have been working as a PCA, here at home and it's too bad because according to the website, I Write Like, I write like: