Saturday, August 1, 2015

heaven on earth

As a clinically trained healthcare professional with a lot of years under my belt I have to say that all that jargon about quality of care at the end of life is different when it's your own family.  I made a late night run to the ICU just to have a moment with my daddy alone, and returned this morning early where I ran into the doctor, my favorite.  He is huge and has a bad accent but hugs like nobody's business and always does what's right for the patient because he is a true advocate.  He told me today that we should leave the man alone and keep him comfortable because there is no coming back from what he's been fighting for months.  

The infected 30 year old mesh has been in there for God knows how long causing all kinds of problems that we sort of attributed to a medication change.  Now it all becomes clear, if you know what I mean.  He is such a tough old bird that he soldiered on and refused help until the pain became unbearable.  And that was on June the somethingth, about a week after Noler died.  The irony of that is in the cause of both of their problems: infected old hernia repairs.  Now, the mesh is removed a month or so post-op so there's not a foreign object all up in your body forever.  Modern medicine and all that.  

This whole thing reminds me of my grandmother's predicament at 83.  She was found to have colon cancer and a re-section was performed followed by rehab at the home next door.  Mama actually wheeled her over there in the rain!  A few days later she began to show signs of distress and it was discovered that the op site had failed and she was developing peritonitis.  Back to the hospital again, and this time a different surgeon did a colostomy.  I distinctly remember being with her as she was wheeled out for emergency surgery and she was waving at all her peeps in heaven and from the past...happy as a lark.  She was on a vent when she arrived in ICU and laced up like a turkey.  Morphine kept the pain under control but suppressed her breathing so *some* asshat ordered Narcan to reverse it after we declined to put her back on the vent.  I was working like a dog drawing blood and whatnot and some angel of an LPN student came and got me to intervene.  The pulmonology doc did an alternative to vent and gave the pain meds back.  On Saturday night, her doctor came back from vacation and sat in the ICU until she died.  He is also an advocate and  hero in my book.  

I feel some peace  for the first time in days.  My father has lived a good life and accomplished a lot of things that other people only dream of.  He is a leader in the church, community and our family.  His retirement years were spent giving back to others by volunteering as a redcoat at the sawmill and tutoring those who were learning to read.  His tenor still rings in my ear, harmonizing with my alto.  A lot of underprivileged children had their only taste of summer camp thanks to his van driving to Lauderdale county and back to the projects.  I will never forget our one candid conversation about heaven and hell and he surprised the heck out of me by saying he pretty much though that it's here on earth and what you make of the gift from Big Ernie.  



Friday, July 31, 2015

hurry up and wait

BG can testify that I'm  pretty impatient at times but will hang with the best of them when there's a chance of something good happening.  I got two frantic phone calls yesterday afternoon after leaving the hospital reporting very bad O2 sat numbers on Daddy.  The junk in his lungs is moving around and getting suctioned on a regular basis while he struggles to live.  For some odd reason I woke up at 4:30 this morning and called to check in with the nurse.  She reported a "good" night.  It is touch and go and they seem to be slammed today so who knows now.  They have my  number.

Mom is finally getting the carpet clean which has been something she's worried over for months, but then she worries over every little thing and would run the world if she could see.  Considering all the recent medical care there have been lots of EOBs in the mailbox next to the State Gazette.  That cute hot mailman in a van delivers to them too.  Must be running late today...probably Obama's fault.  This guy actually throws dog treats.  Gotta love the USPS.

BG and Mom are headed  for the hospital while I piddle in the yard since it's less than a hundred 100 degrees with a breeze. Our healthcare culture puts a lot of stress on physicians in the form of malpractice which many have found drives them to work for corporate.  It's not unusual to find entire systems of Wall Street commodities buying up clinics and whatnot.  They are "feeders" for the network of acute care facilities that bill Medicare and private insurance for billions yearly.  And their shareholders get a return on their investment.  It pays my rent and gives me opportunities to learn new things so I can't bitch much. There is a certain someone planning a trip to the 'burg whose neck I can't WAIT to hug.  Sugardaddy perhaps?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

dead elvis

I was a recent graduate of an allied health program when the King died back in '77.  I remember driving the interstate hearing about all the hoorah coming up what with him being autopsied at Baptist by a team that included Dr. Flo among others.  I never was a fan so I didn't really understand what was so big about an aging rock star killing himself slowly.  Yeah, fools fall in love but, no to the impersonators in Vegas or your local corner bar.  There's a guy named Shelby around here somewhere who does that for kicks.

Daddy rallied today when we all came to visit and coughed up a bunch more shit probably so he can continue to enjoy UT football.  Don't tell the collectors but there's a piece of the old field at Neyland framed upstairs along with a lot of other orange things.  He is a rabid sports fan and continues to watch golf when cable allows in ICU.  I got more hugs today than I've had in a year and I seriously needed them.  That's what's up with Big Ernie and the universe.

I've spent a lot of time bitching and moaning about how hard it is to work at the sawmill and as we all know, that's how you vent and move on.  I don't care how many freakin' conservatives tell you that healthcare isn't a right, I believe that it is just without the profit motive.  It's a doable thing if only folks will begin to step up and explore their own life choices. I was raised a Christian and still believe but am firmly against any sort of mixing and mingling of church and state.  As for ISIS and all them, it has always been thus and so.  Just ask my Daddy.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

divided we fall

It really disturbs me to see two camps of folks at war with each other over what is the worst tragedy, Cecil or Sandra.  There is a special place in hell for the perpetrators of both hideous acts and I know that because, karma.  She's a bitch!  I wore my Poehler/Fey "bitches get stuff done" shirt to the hospital for a daddy visit and you should have seen my mother's face when I told her what it said.  "You can't DO that!" she said.  Hmmm.  Hide and watch.  We visited for a short while and held Daddy's hands.  He opened his eyes once but is still mighty weak and will be getting nutrition via hyperalimentation which I had to Google.  Long.Road.

I emailed my class facilitator to thank her for understanding why I had to bolt on Friday.  This project isn't even done and I've learned enough to start another one which is much more attainable involving blood utilization.  People seem to forget that when someone gives their blood it's a damn shame to waste it because too many folks depend on it in crisis.  It was so sad after 9/11 when all those thousands of people donated and none of it was used. Every 56 days y'all.  Make it a habit if you're healthy.  The more dedicated of donors will do pheresis where the components like platelets and plasma are removed.  In the old days blood was separated out manually into the different cells and whatnot.  It all comes to us leukoreduced which means there's less chance of a reaction.  See? We both learned something today.

Today should be the hottest which is pretty damn steamy already, before noon.  I heard rumors of a cool(er) front that will drop us ten degrees to around 90 and I'll take that.  Plus a little less humidity thankyouverymuch.  Let's all hold hands and pray for the  TVA grid to hold up.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

halls of justice

Little did I know that I had walked smack into the aftermath of a double murder trial when I went to pay my ticket.  I passed the judge on my way in and found several law enforcement officers hanging around.  There was chatter of a verdict as my friend passed by but I didn't have a clue what had just happened in that courtroom.  I remembered being a prospective juror this time last year and shuddered to think about this one.  The accused received two consecutive life sentences for the grisly murder of his family members. According to him there were Mexican drug runners involved which is most likely true.  That being said, when you keep company with that sort of folk you end up in the hooskow at 25 because they all have connections and will let homeboy take the fall.  Prison is probably the safest place at this point.  Lake county has their share of drama, I must say but then all rural habitats do.  The counties situated along the Mighty Mississippi are all based on farming and transport clear to the gulf.

I'm loving all the conservative backing away from Trump because it's funny to watch them squirm.  I agree with him on two things only: student loans and Sandra's treatment on a Texas roadside.  I mean know the camera is on...WTF???  Thus the current talking point about THC being a dangerous drug that causes violent behavior.  This woman was being harassed by an officer of the law way past the point of being legal.  Light me up with a taser?  Somebody watched Mad Max too many times.

Planned Parenthood is an organization that has contributed many things to women's reproductive health.  My personal opinion and that of my mentor is that federal funding should be removed so that there are no rules and regs on how services are rendered.  A single payer would give women the right to choose what they do about their own bodies without interference from government and religion.  It could be done easily with grant funding and private donations and with a reasonable premium.  Preventive care is major.  Hep C is a public health crisis among baby boomers.  Pap smears and mammos should be free.  It saves a whole helluva lot of money down the line, if you know what I mean.

We have new favorites thanks to no cable including OITNB and Shameless.  I even liked Sons of Anarchy which totally surprised me.  It wasn't scorching hot this morning so I did a little gardening after checking in on a sleeping Mama.  She was alarmed that the paper was in and the door unlocked!   She was sawing logs when I left.  Daddy is holding his own in ICU with lots of good care thanks to my co-workers.  He won't ask for pain meds so they're going by his heart rate to figure that piece out.  Lungs are in progress being suctioned and improving.  Getting sick and getting well are hard work.

I found another squash this morning that's frying size so that's what's for dinner.  Peace and grace to all y'all and your momma'n'them.


Monday, July 27, 2015

smokin' hot

Now granted, the past few summers have been rather mild as in nothing over a hundred.  I remember the year that BG graduated from college when we had six straight weeks in the 90s and my AC bill was 350 plus for three months straight.  Ah...the good old days.  We went to the beach that year in May and had a blast.  Wonder when we can manage to get back?  I'm thinking spring.  

Today involved off-site work with a selected population so I stayed in touch with Daddy's nurse by phone in between visits.  He's weak and resting up for the fight ahead.  I heard that all of his docs were on board and consulting this morning so there's that.  Lauren has gone now to take Mom for a little visit in the one vehicle that we have with air.  And the front right tire is almost flat.  *sigh*

The home called and said that they might need Daddy's spot  for "somebody" so I schlepped on over there to get his stuff which included lots of Hershey bars and birthday cards.  This journey began a month ago with a late night EMS call and it's been a Chinese fire drill ever since.  Sorry if that offends any of my Asian friends but it is what it is.  My next to last stop was to pay the ten dolla' fine for not wearing my seat belt while transporting my mama back from a pre-July 4th visit to the home.  Court was this morning and, of course, I missed it.  I will be late for my own funeral.  

The big red truck is still sitting out there in the heat locked up tight as a drum.  When time and temperature allow, we'll deal with that and other things.  Right now, it's just best to hunker down in the cool air and keep faith ^j^

Sunday, July 26, 2015

running stafford fits

Anybody who has known my daddy will tell you that if you haven't seen one of those outbursts, you should be VERY afraid.  That hair trigger temper and a dose of smartass little man syndrome give you a good old southern ag man who works hard and rarely plays except for bowling and poker with the guys.  Penny ante, no less.  They played in the old Vaughn's record store downtown which is where I spent all my Xmas club money one year on 45s.  Yes, I'm that old.   My father loves this country and we have had plenty of conversations about me being a liberal and not wanting to salute a local Vietnam war vet who was his friend. His service time was done during the Korean conflict and there was assignment in the Azores close to Portugal.  I still have the basic language book from that trip along with a conch he brought back from Miami when he was sent to meet the boat people from Cuba.  That was about retirement time.

There have never been a lack of opportunity for improvement on this farm.  My father and brother have molded it into what it is which is a little slice of heaven with some somewhat toxic farming practices.  Slowly but surely we are living out our past and preparing for something different, each of us in our own way.  That we have been allowed this many years as guests on such a beautiful place is indeed grace.  I am growing yellow squash and 'maters in my father's honor this year, all straw bail-i-fied.

Mama is scared but then we all are.  Our future as a family here is dependent on the generosity of those who receive the legacy of the farm and keep it alive.  An entire chapter in history has been played out on this patch of land and I know every player along the way.  One of the strangest things is that Noler's grandaddy got shot at a bar across the road called Cottons.  It fronted as a grocery store but river access gave them a great way to smuggle booze.  It was hidden from the road by cotton and other crops and most likely a bunch more trees than are there now.  Where the Quinns lived.  Old Mr. Roy was all the way past our log cabin and halfway to the slough. Martin Ware the horse whisperer lived in a freaking schoolbus at the end of Pecan Lane with mules.  You can't make this shit up.  The Johnson family has been here the entire time with us, spanning several generations.  I need to go give Mozella her B12 shot when I'm not doing what I do.  Daddy was resting when I left looking peaceful and all and I was tired so there you go.  Once again let me say that knowing who has your back is always something to be counted as a blessing.