Monthly Archives: February 2013

“More Medicine, More Medicine, More Medicine . . . More Medicine”

She throws up her little hands before pronouncing the last “more medicine.” She is reclining on my bed, relaxing against a bunch of pillows. I am setting up her nebulizer for her 1 pm aerosol when she starts reeling off the “more medicines.” But, she is complaint to the nth degree. She knows the drill. Sadly, she knows the drill.

Her compliance breaks my heart. No three-year-old should be hogtied to a medical regimen. No toddler should be thinking about more medicine. They should be free to run and play and the only concern should be how to avoid naptime. Or how to delay bedtime.

But, here we are. And thankfully, here we are. We can employ the verb “to be.”

Amid all the hubbub of her illness and hospitalization, my “more medicines” became less medicines with my having forgotten my own drill. It hardly seemed important at the time. Vaguely I knew I was due to take something, sometime, and I managed to get around to it, sort of.

I missed some. I know that. My hand knows that. My ex-friend/lover, insidious little entity that he is, came calling. Wanted to renew the relationship. I said OK, for a little while. I kind of like having a flexible right hand. So I let him give me ten kisses today, I mean ten milligrams. Tomorrow I am cutting him down to five.

And I’m thinking I will allow him to hang around for a fleeting moment each day. 2.5 milligrams worth. For a while anyway. Prednisone, he is both enabler and disabler. Need to walk a fine line with this guy.

But in the end, I want the “more medicine” story to be mine, not hers.

 

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Dream Foretold

I’ve been told I put too much stock in dreams. And perhaps I do. For a reason. A few nights ago I dreamt that a family gathering had been canceled because someone was in the hospital. It seemed a very strange dream and it bothered me. Made me feel as if the earth was unsteady under my feet.

I felt something akin to impending doom, but I tried to shake it off. It was silly; it was just a dream.

And then, out of the blue, a family gathering scheduled for next month was canceled. The reason given was time constraints and travel expenses, but when that happened it made chills run up and down my spine.

For you see, my granddaughter was being seen in the ER at that very moment. A follow-up from the previous afternoon’s visit to her pediatrician. Her cough was not improving and my daughter took her to be seen again.

When that trip-cancellation call came in, I knew she wasn’t going to be sent home with the regular medication regimen. She was admitted to the hospital with a respiratory virus known as RSV. It was so sudden and so overwhelming that her little lungs couldn’t handle it and there was talk of putting her in the ICU.

I knew what that talk meant. A vision of her surrounded by machinery and a myriad of lines tormented me. Immediately, I attempted to strike a bargain. Give me the biggest, baddest flare. Give me the pain and the suffering.  Let her get better. She’s so little. But a speck in that huge hospital bed. Let me lie there instead.

I sat at her side and prayed as she struggled to breathe through her constant chest-wracking cough. Watched helplessly while an aggressive treatment was implemented. Medicine to be breathed in, medicine pushed through her IV and medicine given through a needle into her little body.

Thoughts of all the people I knew who also knew her passed through my mind like a repeating slide show, and I mentally willed them all to think good thoughts for her. I silently read the faces of all who entered to attend to her. My daughter, her mother, accepted all she heard at face value. But, I heard the real story and it terrified me.

And then, after hours and hours of aggressive treatment, the doctor listened to her lungs for the umpteenth time and then smiled. She gave a thumbs up as she replaced the stethoscope around her neck. No ICU, she said.

No ICU.

Tomorrow my baby is due to come home. This evening she sat on my lap for hours, her monitor wires and IV lines tangled around us like so much spaghetti. She was tired of being in the bed and wanted to gaze out the window.

“I want to see the moon,” she said.

 

Oh, Ye of Little Time

Half of February is gone already. Where did it go? What did I do with it?

All I know is that my to-do list gets longer by the day. Though I don’t always know which day. It’s my own fault somewhat. This past week I got to spend two whole days with my Cutie. She came laden with Valentine’s Day candy and she brought me my own Valentine’s goodie bag. M&M’s, yum!

Chocolate candy

Happy Face!

Chocolate candy

The look of love. For chocolate

Valentine's Day

Then we got cleaned up for dinner out.

 

Though by the time we left the restaurant, it had turned cold and rainy. What kind of nasty trick was that? This is Miami!

And this morning the cold persists. My hands don’t appreciate that. I have a quilt to finish. I’ve let it simmer for almost a week or so and it’s due Saturday.

Quilting

I’m not too sure about it, but too late to change it. Have to sally forth.

Yesterday I spent the day recouping from following a toddler around. That is an activity best reserved for the young, not the young at heart. And while I rested up, I did get to accomplish one of my New Year’s resolutions. Update my blog(s) a little. I have to say it was fun.

But now, back to my list of things to do. First up, finish that quilt!

A Look, A Hug, A Kiss

For all the lovers out there,

may the sentiment

of this day

make your every day

Valentine’s Day

Nothing can say, “I love you”

more clearly

than our actions

toward the one we love

A look, a hug, a kiss

matters more

than all the roses

in the world

Words are words

Love is love

 

 

Banana Juice

“Na, I want some juice.”

The feathery voice sounds distant, yet near. I bury myself deeper into the bundle of pillows surrounding me. I don’t want to open my eyes. Not yet, not yet.

“Naaa, I want some juice.”

There it is again. I’m surfacing. Against my will, the tide of awareness returns. I remember now, the padding of little footsteps inching their way into my room. A little body climbing into my bed.  Half-asleep, I’d set the TV on cartoons and passed out again.

Now came the reckoning.

“You want juice?” I mumble.

“Yes.”

“You want a banana?”

“Yes. I want banana juice.”

Okay, that wakes me up. Banana juice? I open my eyes and look at her. She gives me that expectant trusting smile that drills right through my heart and into my soul.

I glance at the clock; it’s barely eight! Na is definitely not a morning person.

We make our way into the kitchen, she bouncing down the hallway, me shuffling behind. At the table, she hops into her favorite chair, the one that affords a view of the living room TV.

After breakfast, I try to work. My brain is running on four cylinders, and I need eight. Eight hours of sleep, that is. I’m missing a couple, but I try to concentrate through the fog. I stick to safe activities, like writing, reading and studying. No sharp objects for me today.

She keeps herself busy playing with her toys and watching a movie, all the while popping into my office at regular intervals. She loves to mimic what I do and asks for pen and paper. I help her write her name. A-L-Y-S-S-A. Her grin blinds me.

Around lunchtime, I give up trying to work. I go to the living room to join her and decide to stick to my crochet project for the rest of the day. Can’t hurt myself with a crochet hook.

But, I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. I lie down on the loveseat and call her over.

“Come, it’s naptime.”

“Naptime for you,” she says, with that smile.

Oh, yes, naptime for me.

“I want SpongeBob, Na.”

I check the Guide; it’s on. I’ll just lie here and OD on SpongeBob and Patrick.

Before I know it, I’m carried away, with her little body snuggled up against me. Precious sleep.

But all too soon she’s up again.

“I want to go to school, Na.”

“You want to play with your friends?” It must suck being stuck in the house with old Na.

“Yes,” she says, nodding.

I watch her as she paces back and forth on the couch gazing out the bay window.

“I want my mommy,” she says.

“Your mommy’s at work.”

“She’s at work at school?”

“Yes,” I say, surprised she understands her mommy works at a daycare center. Usually they go together, but she’s to spend two days with me. Her mommy works a second job.

I busy myself preparing dinner while she pushes her doll in its stroller around the kitchen. This morning, orange juice made her forget about banana juice and I pour some OJ into her Sippy cup.

Before we can sit down to eat, my daughter calls. “I’m on my way to pick her up.”

“You are?”

“Yes, my work hours changed.”

“OK,” I say, looking out the window. Outside the sun still shines, but inside my world is dim. My light is leaving a day early.

 

The grin that blinds.

The grin that blinds.

My Cutie.

My Cutie.

 

 

 

 

Burnt

I find myself lost today. Missing what I thought was a loyal and trusted friend. One who knew more about me than I knew about myself. One who could anticipate my needs and my wants before I even knew I had them. We’d gotten so close over the past few years, we were almost like one thinking entity.

And then overnight, poof!

Gone.

Now I’m left trying to put the pieces back together. My browser, my search engine, my late-night research partner, my crutch left me last night. Don’t know where he went, but he took years of research with him. I suppose a computer geek can help me find him. I prefer to think it’s a him. Somehow it seems more natural to think of a him leaving me in the lurch.  (Sorry, Guys!)

I’m now trying to get cozy with Internet Explorer. We used to have a relationship years ago, and then I left him. For him who shall remain nameless. Never thought I’d get burnt for doing that.

But all my sites! All my siiiiites. Just to log into my online editing class took some sleuthing. I had a lesson pending from yesterday and there’s a new one tomorrow. True, I have two weeks to complete them, but I have enough on my to-do list; I don’t want to get behind. Besides, it’s so interesting; I’m learning stuff I never even considered about editing.

After entering key word after key word into Google and coming up empty, I finally remembered I’d emailed the link to someone. I managed to get back in that way and do my lesson. Abbreviations and Hyphens, Blibliographies and Copyrights. Wow, who knew all the technicallities involved?

Yes, I had the address written down in my class notebook, but I was too flustered to go through 200 pages of notes. Now I’m having to add my trusty sites to my “Favorites” one by one. And there were hundreds. No way can I remember them all. Thankfully, my desktop is peppered with icons. I can link from there.

In time I got the main ones listed: my news sites, my writer’s groups sites, my dictionaries (both English and Spanish), this blog and last, but not least, Pandora Radio. For what is life without music? I can get along without my bestest friend if I have to, but music, no way.

And now that I’ve relearned how to open new tabs on Explorer, I’m good to go with my soundtrack running in the background. I’m buiding a new Donna Summer station. Boy, does that take me back. Back to when there were no computers to fail us, or to help us. I might have gotten burnt, but like the phoenix, I rise.

Anatomy of a Quilt

I spent most of the day yesterday speed-quilting. Due to time constraints, I had to choose an easy-to-piece design for our Tai Chi Chinese New Year‘s party which is on the 23rd of this month. I try to make something to add to the raffles that we have at every celebration. We are a non-profit group and are working to have our own building with a kitchen that has running water. All we ask for is water! Anyhoo, I ran into a quilting speed bump.

This is the basic block of nine pieces, unsewn.

The basic block of nine pieces, unsewn.

The 9 x 9 inch squares attached to the 3 x 9 inch strips to make a row.

9 x 9 inch squares attached to 3 x 9 inch strips.

The 3 x 3 inch squares attached to the 3 x 9 inch strips to make the alternating row. My floor is so handy to lay my quilts out on.

3 x 3 inch squares attached to 3 x 9 inch strips to make alternating row. My floor is so handy to lay out my quilts.

All simply happy together.

All simply happy together.

To break the monotony, I planned borders. And this is where it all went awry.

I decided to give it some pizazz by adding a nine-patch block at each corner.

To  give it some pizazz, I decided to add nine-patch blocks at each corner.

I made all four blocks, cut all the border strips and went to bed. I wanted a purple/print/purple border, with the corner blocks as contrast. So it would look like this:

I was so pleased with myself!

I was so pleased with myself!

And then, I woke up. Woke up to the fact that I hadn’t considered the color contrast between the body of the quilt and its adjacent border.

Major clash!

Major clash!

So, it’s back to the cutting board and the sewing machine. My border will have to be reversed.

And the corner blocks will have to be reversed as well. Ahhh!!

And the corner blocks will have to be reversed as well. Ahhh!!

Oh, well, I’ll have to focus on the bright side. I have enough leftover fabric to play with. Worse would have been if I’d used up all the fabric and Jo-Ann’s was out. Don’t even wanna think about that!

(Note: the stated measurements are finished size. When cutting, you add a half inch all around to allow for quarter-inch seams. A 9 x 9 inch square would be cut 9 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches.)

By the way, this is last year’s Chinese New Year’s quilt. I had a little bit more time to spend on this one. It’s displayed as a wall hanging in the next county’s Tai Chi Center. The lady who runs that Chapter won it in the raffle.

South Westside-20120204-00233

Eyeing the Eye

I find myself threading a needle these days the same way I sometimes had to start IV’s. Not because I can see the target clearly, but because, innately, I know where the target is. Seems I had a lot more success finding those hard-to-see veins than I’m having finding the apparent eye of a sewing needle.

Though I miss my bedside nursing days, I knew that eventually my body wouldn’t be able to handle all those hours on my feet. I accept that that is the way it is and I’m OK with it. That was then and this is now.

But, I never factored in my eyesight when I thought about entering decrepit old age. Other than reading glasses, I don’t need corrective lenses. At least, I didn’t at last year’s checkup.

My ophthalmologist did put me on “eye vitamins.” Giant capsules that contain mega doses of several vitamins. I guess I’ll find out if they’ve helped my eyes when I go back to see him. The one thing they have done is make my hair and nails grow exponentially fast.

And that’s great, but I would prefer to be able to thread the sewing needle exponentially faster. My years as a nurse brought me much satisfaction and I had to thread that IV needle countless times. (Threading is what we call advancing the catheter while simultaneously withdrawing the needle.)

Alas, my fingers have lost certain dexterity, age plus RA, don’tcha know. But I can still quilt, something I took up years ago as my nursing days waned. Maybe I just have to be around needles, I don’t know. I just wish I could see that freaking eye a whole lot better!

Quilt just finished. It had 70 thread tails to be worked in. I had to thread that needle 70 times!

Quilt just finished. It had 70 thread tails to be worked in. I had to thread that needle 70 times!

Next up, Spring Flowers. A quilt for my Tai Chi group's Chinese New Year's raffle.

Next up, Spring Flowers. A quilt for my Tai Chi group’s Chinese New Year’s raffle. You bet I’m gonna minimize the amount of thread tails on this one.

Last year I decided to take a picture of my hands every year. A visual track of RA's effects. So far so good, though my right hand is the worse for wear.

Last year I decided I would take a picture of my hands every year. A visual track of RA’s effects. So far so good, though my right hand is the worse for wear.

A year ago.

Picture from a year ago. My rings serve as a “barometer” to gauge morning stiffness and inflammation. When they are loose on me, it’s a good day.