Friday, August 21, 2009

Our benighted state requires its citizens to go to Motor Vehicle every four years to renew driver licences in person, so I went to Manahawkin in the morning. I brought my passport, plus a credit card bill (to "prove" I live where I live), and several other forms of identification. The Gestapo agent at the desk was perturbed because my license includes my middle initial and the other documents don't. Incredibly, I believe I was almost denied the renewal for this reason. I was finally able to find a B.J.'s card with the initial on it. What an incredible farce! Of course, any protest against this outrageous invasion of privacy and waste of time is met with the terrorist and/or immigrant argument. Jersey is the pits.
Got the the hospital a bit after 11:00 to find Pat sitting in a chair. We were delighted when his dear niece, Donna E., walked in with a beautiful flower arrangement and the current Sports Illustrated. Had a great visit with her.
The doctor and nurse stopped me in the hall to have the DNR talk, although he has an advance directive on file. Surprising even myself, I started to cry as we discussed what they should do if Pat's heart or breathing stops (keep him comfortable, but no trying to bring him back). I was grateful for their sympathetic manner and glad they had broached the subject, but talk about the pits--.
I left about 2:3o and ran into friends Marge and Fred D. were walking in, Fred there for a test. Went to the mall and bought slacks and a blouse, then back to the hospital. I was pleased when Pat said Marge and Fred had come in to visit him for a few minutes.
Stayed while Pat was eating dinner, then left to get dinner myself. Got a call from A. and E.; A. will be home tomorrow. Was very tired, but woke at 3 am and found it hard to get back to sleep.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pat seems to be holding his own, as the saying goes. He's now on the fourth floor, which used to be maternity, and is so nice. It's equipped with comfortable chairs, a flat-screen T.V., and looks newly painted and decorated. The window is huge and has a nice view; he has the bed next to it and his roommate went home yesterday.
I got there when visiting hours started at 11:00 to find Barbara D., that good friend, there already. Pat likes her a lot and I enjoyed her company, too. As she was leaving, she asked if I wanted to go downstairs for a cup of coffee--I did and we had a nice chat. He said A. and E., Mike, and his brother, Bill, had called.
I left about 3:30, stopped at Santori's, then went directly to Seacrest to pick up Pat's things. Although he'll probably return there, they pack everything up anyway. I took it home and sorted it out, assembling things I want to bring him in the hospital.
Had one of my sketchy meals for dinner--a whole butternut squash, salad, and cherries. Went to rehearsal, which went well and was home by 9:30.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pat back in hospital with pneumonia. I was with him when he went into some kind of spasm and had other symptoms. We got to the emergency room at 4:00 pm and he got into a bed just after midnight. More later.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Had a fine time with Peg and Elva at lunch yesterday. We met at 1:00 and stayed talking, laughing, and reminiscing until almost 5:00.
It was somewhat eerie to see Elva again after so long. I had speculated with sister Betty that she might look either like an elegant, middle-aged model (she was a very pretty, 13-year-old blonde when I saw her last) or an over-the-hill frump. She seemed to me an odd combination of both.
A ghost of her former self--and ours, I guess--emerged, especially when we started talking about old schoolmates and former boyfriends. We realized that a surprisingly large number of both have died, an unsettling reminder that we ain't gettin' any younger, but we managed to veer away from that.
Visited Pat before and after; he was in therapy in the morning when I was there. He's doing all right and is continuing to eat all his meals, but I'm still concerned that he doesn't ask for more assistance. Instead, he waits until I get there to ask me.
Tonight, Susan and Walter are talking me out to dinner, as a thank-you for feeding their cat and parrot while they were away last month. Geez, since Pat's been sick, my social calendar is more crowded than ever!
Not that I'm complaining, you understand...
Wider: From the NYTimes:
"The Army plans to require that all 1.1 million of its soldiers take intensive training in emotional resiliency, military officials say...."
I wonder if any combatants will be emotionally stuck on killing. How will the army instill "resiliency" if a soldier says, "Gee, sir, it bothers me to be in an organization designed to kill people. How can I become more emotionally resilient about that?"
I can't imagine any will ask, though.
Wider Still: Yesterday, Elva mentioned with a great deal of pride that her brother had been a fighter pilot during the Vietnam war, had flown a large number of missions, and had been awarded some highly-regarded medal or other. It occurred to me yet again how very difficult--almost impossible--it is to combat the military mindset. What she was actually saying--"Hey, my brother's a great guy; he incinerated a lot of human beings in Asia!"--should make people recoil in horror, but of course, most will react with awed admiration.
As for me, I decided against expressing anti-war sentiments at a such a reunion lunch. Coward that I am, I simply nodded and said, "Oh."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Had a good, if somewhat hectic, day. Went to Seacrest about 9:00 and stayed until 11:30. I was surprised that Pat was taken to p.t.; didn't think they had it on weekends, but was mistaken. What good it does him, though, is iffy, considering he barely cooperates and sneers at it anyway. He ate most of his breakfast and his whole lunch.
Rushed home, had a quick lunch myself and changed to go to "Evita." Just as I was about to walk out the door, A. and E. (gosh! that sounds like a television channel--heh, heh) called on the web cam. Talked for a few minutes, then went next door.
"Evita" was terrific. We then repaired to The Crab Shack, a new restaurant in Manahawkin. I called Pat and he was fine with that. Had shrimp scampi, which was good. After, Frank and Barb came with me to visit Pat. He said the G.'s had been in, but he was asleep at the time. They left cookies and candy. Leslie and Dennis R. were also there and he visited with them.
Got home about 7:30, got into my bedclothes, and gratefully settled down with my p. and w. Watched t.v. and saw a show on sex changers. Interesting. Went to bed and slept like a log.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Spent most of day at Seacrest. Brought a salad for lunch, then left about 2:00 to run errands, wash, etc.; went back until 6:00. After dinner, decided to drive to Manahawkin and got a blouse at Kohl's. Ran into Walter and Susan. They asked if they could visit Pat today. I suggested about 2:00, as I'll be going with Frank and Barbara to "Evita" this afternoon.
Not the best day, actually. At Seacrest, I went outside when I got a call from old schoolmate, Elva G. Just as I walked back into Pat's room, he shoved the over-the-bed table away and everything on it, including a big pitcher of water, crashed to the floor. We had a few other problems, too. Guess I'm getting sick of what seems to be the never-ending role of unpaid servant and object of anger when I don't do something right. When I do perform to his satisfaction, I just get ignored. What a life.
Later: Okay, things are looking up. I'm just back from Seacrest (noon) and we had a pretty good morning. When I got in about 9:00, Pat was just finishing breakfast and he ate a lot. Yesterday, too, he finished his entire lunch and dinner and even asked for more watermelon. He went to therapy after all and when I left, was starting lunch. I'll go to the play with Frank and Barbara, then go back. Better...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

At Seacrest in the morning, first met with the administrator to go over the paperwork--what a drag, but I can do it over the weekend and submit on Monday. Met Pat's doctor, nurse, therapists, and aides. It took a long time to dress him and have him get into the wheelchair, but he finally did. Accompanied him to the p.t. room, where he completed some basic, simple motions. Pat is eating very little and I'm worried at that. It's true he could stand to lose weight, but I doubt if he's ingesting 500 calories a day.
Outside the p.t. room, a door leads directly into a beautiful garden, complete with gazebo and rustic benches. When I stepped out there, it reminded me of the transitional black-and-white-to-Technicolor scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps out of the wrecked house into that enchanted land. Called the girls in Ventura while I was out there and we had a nice speakerphone chat.
Went home for lunch, then went back later until 4:00. Had a delightful dinner next door at the D.'s and with Joe and Barbara M.
Called Pat when I got home about 9:30 and he was okay. He said P. and Mike had both called.
Later: I knew I had gained weight by the fit of my clothes. Went to Weight Watchers for the first time in a month to assess the damage. I've gained 6.2 pounds for a current weight of 137.6 and a total of 62 pounds off. Okay, I'll now get serious about getting back down.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pat was transferred to rehab yesterday, but not to the facility we had wanted. It seems Arcadia can't handle the 10 liters of oxygen he now requires, so he's at Seacrest Village. He was there before (two or three years ago) and it's only a mile and a half from our home, so it's okay, I guess.
Left the hospital at 1:00 to meet Barbara at the Food Pantry. Stayed to help there until 4:00, then stopped at Seacrest to be sure they knew about his arrival and get the paperwork I have to complete. Just had time to swallow a few things from the refridge--can't even remember what, I think a bowl of peas and some blueberries--then go next door to Frank and he and I went to rehearsal.
Finished up about 9:00, went in to pick up some stuff to take to Seacrest, then got my car and went there. Pat seemed reasonably comfortable and the nurse (male) was nice. Stayed an hour or so and got home at 10:30. Unwound with my popcorn and wine, although I had to drink Chardonnay, as I didn't have time to replenish my supply of Taylor Country Red. Was so tired I hardly knew the difference, anyway.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Got to the hospital about 11:00. Pat about the same in most areas, but breathing continues to be worse than usual, which is bad enough. Kidney and heart doctors came in. A. was there when I came in and we went downstairs to have lunch together; she leaves for California this morning. Pat is eating little--didn't touch his sandwich for lunch and had only tea and cantaloupe. He is losing weight. I found Bill and Mary in the heart surgery waiting room. Son got through the bypass and is recovering, I was glad to hear.
Left at 3:00, as I needed to stop at the store and run a few other errands. Terrific rainstorm and there was an--I swear--30 minute holdup on the parkway right before my exit. Got home to receive a nice phone call from Frank; he and Barb invited me to dinner. Of course, I accepted, although it's a long way to travel: several yards, as it's right next door. Had a good dinner, with the welcome accompaniment of White Zin. The D.'s also invited me to dinner tomorrow, when they're having the M.'s over AND to see "Evita" by the Our Gang Players on Sunday. I accepted both with pleasure.
I'll go in this morning, but will leave by 1:00, as I told Barb I'd help her out in the Food Pantry this afternoon. Tonight, Frank and I will go to the Manahawkin Elks hall to see the venue for the murder mystery show on the 29th. Of course, it's always understood that any these plans can be cancelled at any time, depending on the situation.
Hmm...there's an enthralling short story by Flannery O'Conner called "A Good Man Is Hard To Find." It's too long and involved to go into here, but at a pivotal point, one of the about-to-murdered characters cries desperately, "We have a sit-u-a-tion here!" (Imagine a southern accent.) I can never hear or read the word without that popping into my head.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Went in--my new "in"--at 11:00 and left at 3:00. Dinner with Susan and Walter was postponed, so I was able to go with Vivian to the Wellspouse dinner in Manasquan. Didn't get home until 10:30, then had my little glass of wine, so slept through our 7 am start and didn't walk. No matter, I need the sleep, I guess.
Talked to the pulmonologist. Pat's cat scan showed no lesions or tumors--great news or it would be if his lungs weren't completely shot from the COPD. His breathing seems more labored than usual. They put his oxygen up to 10 liters (it's been at 3), but that can't be done casually, as there's some kind of carbon dioxide problem--just can't remember how the doc explained.
The case manager was in and Pat agreed to go to rehab when he's discharged. (Geez--sounds like he has a substance problem.) Not sure when he'll get out; he's still pretty bad off and we're very concerned that he hasn't been out of bed since Saturday. The physical therapist will be in to see him.
Was delighted to have Pat's old friends (from high school), Bill and Mary S., who live in Florida, visit him while I was there. Their son was in a floor above awaiting a bypass.
Ray and Barb, Frank and Barbara visited him last evening and he got calls from several people. If only all their kindness and good will could get him better.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

At Atlanticare from about 11 to 4. Only good news is that Pat is back on a regular diet (albeit hospital food). Brother Larry and old friends Flo and Jack called Pat and me. Lots of concerned, supportive of e-mails from other famiily and friends.
Went to rehearsal with Frank last night, but told director Tara there's a real possibility I won't be able to be in the August 29 show at the Elks Club. Luckily, I have the hostess part, a small one, and not the more pivotal one of Ivana.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Went in to the hospital in the morning, stayed until after lunch, went home, then back until 8 pm. Cardiologist and pulmonologist came in; former said Pat's heart attack was "not insignificant," latter that he'd get lung treatments. Later, we were told his potassium is dangerously high; he was given a thick, brownish liquid medication that looked loathsome. Is eating very little; food now pureed. Pulmonologist didn't like the fact that he had been on liquid only, as his ankles are so swollen.
P. and N. just called on the web cam. I've been so involved with Pat that I didn't have time to worry about the Tokyo earthquake. P. said they felt only a jiggling and little damage was done.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pat is in the hospital as of early yesterday morning. I woke at 3 am because of him thrashing around and making an odd puffing sound--I always know this is a low blood sugar episode. Jumped up and got him orange juice, which I have ready in a squeeze bottle. However, he resisted it, wouldn't drink it, and was very combative, puffing and waving his arms around. I got a glass and a flexible straw, but he wouldn't take that either. Finally, after 25 minutes (by the clock) of trying, I got him to drink some of the o.j. with sugar in it. He seemed somewhat more coherent and I gave him a jelly sandwich (you're supposed to follow simple sugar with complex). He ate that, then it occurred to me he should have the peanut butter after all, for the fat, so I made him a half, but he ate only part of it. He started acting the earlier way again and by this time, it was 4:15, so I called 911. They came, worked over him for about a half hour, then took him in the ambulance to Atlanticare. I followed in the car. I was alarmed when he told me he threw up twice in the ambulance.
We were in the emergency room until noon and he threw up three times there. They had taken an EKG and blood tests and so on, and the upshot is, they say he had a heart attack. He had no pain or tightness or anything else, but this has happened before. About 16 or 17 years ago, he was told, based on the EKG, he had had a heart attack. Once he was in his room, we talked to a cardiologist, and he confirmed this. Of course, his breathing has gotten much worse over time and maybe more so in the last few weeks (though it's hard to tell).
I stayed with him when he was finally transferred to a room (at noon) and had lunch, then left to go home and clean up, change the bed, and so on. Went back at 5:00 and he seemed pretty good; however, he threw up again and the doctors aren't sure why. Could be his heart or the hiatal hernia he's had for awhile, or something else. This is very unusual for him--I can't remember the last time he was sick to his stomach.
I left at 7:00 after A. came in. Was exhausted, as I had been up since 3 am. Will call hospital now and go in this morning.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The usual on the domestic front. Called Julie L. because Susan had said she was interested in the acting company. However, when she found out we invariably rehearse and meet otherwise at night, she decided it wasn't for her.
A. changed the sensors on the garage door. However, it continues to malfunction and when she called the company, it was determined to be a bad wire, not the sensors themselves. I'll return and get my $34 back and Mike will re-wire.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Murder mystery show rehearsal last night, which went well. There are some changes to my lines, but since it's short, that shouldn't be a problem. Other than that, another ordinary day; library and supermarket stops, as usual.
Got home a little after 9:00--SO much better than when I have to go all the way to Barnegat Light--and had my usual. Slept well.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Things continue to be ho-hummy, though not bad. Went to Lowe's and got the new garage door opener sensors. Stopped at Shop-Rite for supplies. Washed clothes, as I do everyday. Went to the library, as I do several times a week and got Food Matters, by Mark Bittman. I was gratified to read he recommends eating the way I already do: very little meat and processed food, except for an occasional treat, and most of one's calories from plant food.
Actually, I probably eat less meat than he does. It occurred to me that my regular, everyday diet (in the broad sense,that is) includes no meat. I did have a turkey breast sandwich when the kids were here on Sunday, but the time before that was several week ago when Betty was here and we went to The Greenhouse. I had a hamburger and a cold beer, and it was delicious. I don't think it would have tasted so good if I ate it everyday or even every month.
In truth, I credit my near-vegetarianism with my 70 + pound weight loss, my ability to successfully cover my care-giving chores, and my abundant energy in other areas.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Fairly mundane, but pretty okay day. Aside from some supermarket trips--I seem to go everyday--hung ar0und home. Actually fell asleep on the couch about 3:00; was awakened when A. came to talk to the garage door opener people while she was operating it. It seems the sensors on either side have failed. All we have to do, I understand, is get new ones for about 30 bucks and A. thinks she can replace them. That's better than the $450 Ray paid for a new system...
Wider: I was just sent a "Born Again American" video on-line, which consists of a number of carefully diverse (black, Asian, Islamic, Jewish sprinkled amongst the pure Caucasians) singers performing a remarkably inane song that seems to be a protest against the Wall Streeters who profit from the current economic mess--or something. Of course, they sing in front of the obligatory "patriotic" backgrounds here and there around the country--mountains, farmland, college campuses, bodies of water--and, prominently mentioned, is the bible. Funny--why isn't the Koran noted? And I guess that lets out agnostics and atheists. No cliche is left unturned here, including the mention of how somebody or other "fought for our freedom"--presumably, by killing those not so privileged as we. It ends, as one could predict, with Ol' Glory snapping in the breeze. What strikes me as interesting is that this "movement" was founded by producer Norman Lear. Must look him up and see if he's as conservative--not to say reactionary--as this site suggests.
Later: Well, it looks as if Lear actually sees himself as a liberal. What's interesting is that he founded another organization that advertised against religion in politics. Yet the chorus of this video mentions the bible, clearly putting it on a par with the constitution for Americans. And, of course, the "Born Again" part of the title...food for thought, I guess.

Monday, August 03, 2009

What a great time we had on little "T.'s" second birthday! No pool--it rained heavily most of the time--but we greatly enjoyed it anyway. As it turned out, J.'s friend couldn't come, so it was A. and M., J. and the little guys, as well as Lulu, of course. I made a big salad, slumphie stew, cheese and turkey cold cuts, rolls and pumpernickel bread, and a few sides. A. made a delicious cake and brought birthday hats, party blowers, balloons, and bubbles.
The last two, terrifically simple and inexpensive as they are, amused the children the most. After lunch we repaired to the porch and they blew bubbles, running after them, "catching" them back on their wands, and exclaiming over their longevity as they rose to the sky.
That sky was dark as night while the rain came down, and we finally started getting wet, so went into the garage. There, T. rode his new trike, big J. sat in an old office chair, and little J. alternated between that and Pat's wheelchair. They then traded off using that and at one point, they and their Dad played bumper cars with trike, office chair,and transport chair. It was wonderful to be with those two beautiful, sweet-natured boys and especially, to see the fun they have together and their evident love for each other.
Talked to Ellen later and we laughed over my tendency to ignore "expiration dates" This arose when J. noticed that the mustard container said, "Best before 6/19/01." Well, fer cryin' out loud, that's only eight years--it's fine!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Another slow one. Cleaned the bathroom. Did more wash. Got to Shop-rite early. Very hot and humid and I was tempted to go to the pool, but didn't.
Today should be a lot more fun. We're expecting the J., J., and T., as well as A. and M., and possibly others for lunch and a party for the two-year-old. Hope the rain holds off so we can get to the pool, but it doesn't look good. Okay, we'll think of things to do inside.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Busy and productive day, but it entailed activities of little interest, such as washing four loads of clothes. We had a heavy rainstorm after dinner, but no tornado, about which our neighbor had warned. Nevertheless, the last day of July was curiously satisfying--not sure why, but maybe just because it was quiet.
It's already August! Must re-learn the part of the hostess for the Murder Mystery we're doing at the Elks Club on August 29. Rehearsal on Wednesday.
Wider: Ray Govern, in "Christians Largely Mum On Torture" in Anti-War.com, quotes Chris Hedges:
'"The utter failure of nearly all our religious institutions — whose texts are unequivocal about murder — to address the essence of war has rendered them useless. These institutions have little or nothing to say in wartime because the god they worship is a false god, one that promises victory to those who obey the law and believe in the manifest destiny of the nation."'
There are a few exceptions, I guess: Quakerism and Unitarianism, for two (although I'm puzzled as to whether the last is a religion or not), and McGovern mentions some major religions that harbor pockets of resistance to our country's on-going policies of death and destruction. However, none of the major religions are vocal against either torture or unprovoked war. The religion into which I was born, Roman Catholicism, is officially silent on these abominations, but hitches its authority to anti-abortion, a much safer practice to be against. After all, it revolves around all that nasty sex stuff and is a lesser challenge to the authority of the ruling class than messing with their ties to the war machine.