About Me

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I am mundane and magical, Silly and serious. I am an underachiever who suspects that someday in the eternities I may yet blossom and even fruit. I am a collector of spirits and essences, a studier of mood and nuance.I have many many faults and yet I've always been loved. I am a good friend, but I will let you go if you so desire. I believe in Somewhen. I laugh easily and cannot often cry, which I know is a Flaw. Like You, I am a work in progess.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

06/22/2017 Nephrologist

I really like my mom's nephrologist. He was so shocked by the drastic plunge in her kidney function that he had a nurse draw blood and ran the test again while we waited. Her other numbers were improved on the previous test so it seemed weird that creatinine went to 3.7. He asked what was going on. I told him how much she is sleeping and mentioned the huge weight gain which I don't think could possibly be food since she barely eats (another symptom of kidney failure) I told him about the increased edema in her feet. I told him about diarrhea and falling. Today was the first day she let me use the wheelchair and I hope it made things easier in her perception, it sure was great in mine! He decreased her nightly insulin to 7 and the nutritionist he brought in suggested I could do 6 if I felt that was better. I love the flexibility. Her blood sugar was just 51 this morning after 8 units of Lantus last night. The nephrologist doesn't want hers lower than 100. That seems really good to me. I don't give her any if the night's blood sugar reading is 200 or less. Anyway, her toxins numbers are good (about 35) so something is working. He thinks she's dehydrated. I'm encouraging her to drink more water. He removed an alkalizing medication for now and her blood pressure medicine for now also. Those will probably be re-added if she gets stronger and her nutrition improves. We asked about whether hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis would be better for her. He said he generally prefers peritoneal dialysis for his elderly patients but that for now she is too weak. He's referred her to a surgeon to create a fistula but that needs to season. Because her other numbers are good he is not ordering a catheter in her neck right now. Hopefully the fistula will have time too season. We have to go back a lot more often. We have an appointment in 2 weeks and I should get the surgery scheduled by Tuesday (don't know when it will be though) If she improves on the hemodialysis we can switch to peritoneal later. I am happy she is willing to try dialysis and that we have a plan. She will also be taking a protein supplement and fortunately she likes it so that will help with protein. we went out to dinner at her favorite buffet after the appointment and she ate better than she has in a long while.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Today

I feel so sad and also kind of numb.

Today started with some wry humor, if you see such things as humorous. I was up at 4 to take Toby out and to bring my mom her juice. Then I went back to bed. But Toby's imperious "baHrk" got me up to take him out. I staggered to the bathroom (I'm not getting enough sleep. I don't think there IS enough sleep) and was greeted by a live mouse in the toilet bowl. I put that need on hold and went to take Toby. He peed on me (but not till we were through the sliding glass door)

My mom is being very brave. She says she wants things to continue here as usual. Of course, I don't think that's possible She has such a sweet, beautiful, innocent face. Last night, trying to impress on her the gravity of the situation I told her, than unless she opts for dialysis from what I've read, she will only live for weeks. She feels she's done what the Drs have asked and she doesn't quite understand how her situation could have gone so far down so fast. I don't either. We will have lots of questions for the Dr tomorrow. At this point I think I'd like to check into a home nurse. I'm betting she won't like that much, but I'm wondering if I am doing something wrong. I am trying my bestt to take good care of her and to balance that with her wishes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Reeling

While I was grooming Ruffles today, my mom's Dr's office called with results of her lab tests. She's gone from stage 4 kidney disease to stage 5. While the person was giving me information I understand less I was grappling to get her to give me the kidney function #. It went from 19 at her last visit to 11. She's in the do dialysis or die territory. I am shocked. i knew she wasn't doing as well because she's mostly been sleeping and the red rings are coming back under her eyes. But that seems to be a huge drop very quickly. Bruce went in with me to tell her. Because I want to to be thinking about what she wants to do at this point. She looked stunned and resigned at once. She didn't want me to be string at her. I think she has a good grasp of the seriousness of the situation. I feel gut punched and so (this is not such a good word, but it's the best I can do) concerned for her. Not pity, though I sure wish I could change this result, but protective and aware of her vulnerability. But also sort of like the wind has been knocked out of me.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Exhausted, frustrated and Concerned

My morning began between 5 and 5:30 when I got up to take Toby out, do my mom's readings and give her her morning medicine and juice. I knew there was a problem as soon as I was in the hall. Something stank. Badly. Entering my mom's room I saw what looked like a crime scene, but in shit instead of blood. Toby had had BAD diarrhea on her bed and he and my mom were sleeping obliviously in the middle of it. I took her readings first, then took Toby out and then to the groomery to bathe him. The excrement was so dried on it took 4 shampoo-ings to get it all off. I am sure he felt better after the bath. Then I stripped the bed down to the fitted sheet (which I thought was clean) and started trying to get the bedding clean. Lots and lots and lots of laundry. I had planned to do my bedding and other laundry today, but so far the machine is commandeered. My mom wanted hotcakes for breakfast and so I made some. I can't remember ever making worse tasting hotcakes and I can't think what went wrong, I mean, it's not rocket science! My mom has a Dr's appointment and labs today and even though I try to take how slow she is under consideration we didn't get there till 1 (they wanted us there at 12:45) She won't let me use the wheelchair I got for her and she did indeed fall in the dr's office. She gained about 25 pounds which is incredible to me because she eats so very very little. The first reading of her blood oxygen at the Dr's, which was taken right after she was back in a chair after the fall was 79. Not good! They later took it again and it was 90 which is better but still not terrific. I had the Dr look at her feet because I am noticing edema and her toes are purplish. She was mad at me for that and madder at Bruce because she thought it was at his instigation even though I told her I have been concerned and rightfully so because with diabetes, paying attention to one's feet is critical. She gave 5 tubes of blood for labwork. I discusses diarrhea with her Dr who advised me to bring it up with the nephrologist next Thursday. We're reducing her Lantus from 10 to 8 at night because her morning readings are so low. I told her Dr I am not giving her Lantus if her blood sugar is 200 or lower. Thankfully he agreed with that strategy. I took home a hat and a sample cup to do the urine sample at home. I'll take it back later. She can never manage to pee in a Dr's office even if she drinks water which she did. After the appointment she just wanted to come home. she was worried about Toby (and indeed he has crapped all over the floor of her room and smeared it everywhere- another bleach job for me today) Bruce changed her sheets all the way while we were gone and I am doing even more laundry. Getting her in the front door, my heart was in my throat and even though both Bruce and I were spotting her she went down AGAIN in the cement and bumped the back of her head. The lady across the street came running over with a blanket to help. My mom needs to lay there awhile before she wants us to try to help her up. I hope the lady doesn't think I was rude to send her away, but it's not a quick fix. Nothing with my mom is quick anymore. Things work better if we go at her very slow pace. I'll get a thank you card for the lady and try to explain. Once she was in the house my mom just wanted to lay down, so she didI added a pressure releasing pad under her. Bruce went to check on her a few minutes ago and she is asleep. I'm going to need to wake her up to get the urine sample. That makes me feel bad, but they close ar 5. I told Bruce I am considering getting my mom a helmet. He suggested kneepads too. I'm grateful for him. He really cares about my mom and checks on her many times a day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Still Working on the Front Yard. No, It's Not Completely Done, but Close Enough

This may be the last set of pictures I post of the front yard until the side yard is done. but I'm so excited to see progress. Dan won't be back till Monday and he'll be working on the back yard then. i wanted to get an estimate for windows (and kitchen remodeling) but Bruce tells me I am going too fast. There is prep work to be done. Much cleaning and sorting and getting rid of stuff. He's correct. So I will try to focus on the prep work. If I ever have time! And I say that when I've taken a little time and not touched the prep work. My mom needs attention or something weird comes up or I am flat out so exhausted I just sleep. I'm worried about my mom. She does have a Dr appointment Thursday and then her nephrologist the following Thursday, but she is sleeping so much and she only really eats breakfast. There's more, but it's depressing and some is pretty gross. Anyway I am pretty concerned. I did take her out to see the front yard. I got her as far as the bench. I don't think she was able to see too much but she liked what she saw. She also liked listening to the birds. we sat out there for a good long while. It was pleasant



This is basically whatt it looks like from across the street.


Bruce thinks the bench is hideous. I love it. I actaully wanted it in the gravel between the tree and the rock but it's too big. Oops. Now, the bed we saved to plant columbine and bleeding hearts an other stuff may need to be re-imagined to avoid the current odd, awkward look.


I think Bruce enjoyed sitting in the front yard more than he thought he would. It WAS right pleasant out there with lots of birdsong. Dan has pointed oit to me natural water basins and likely places lizards will move in. We already have lizards and they are fun to watch- doing their push-ups. This will be a more natiral environment for them.
 

When Dan and Seth unloaded the tortoise (the only time I've actually seen Dan breathe had) they were in some dismay as I had them move it to a few differnt places. Not many, I'm not cruel. But the first thing Dan said as he was unloading it was that if I put it too close to the street, kids would ride it. I busted out laughing when Bruce came out the front door, saw the torttoise and, well, you can see what happened. He is a big kid. And I love that about him. I'm trying to think of a name for the tortoise.


Btuce says the tortoise reminds him of a stubborn, Scottish face Max can wear. I can see it. There's something longsuffering in it too.


Part of the flagstone path. I love the path and I love the varigated colors.


Another attempt a a whole front view. I'm not doing that very well.


Primary focal area.


The bench looks lonely without a booty in it. But I love this view of the path. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Friday June 10,2017

I took some intermediate pictures of the front yard. It should be finished by Tuesday.  I think it looks lots better in person than it does in the pictures and I probably should have shut the garage door.
 I'm very happy with it and it is a very little maintenance yard. Also I like that it reflects the desert where I live.


The gravel in this area will be the purple, but smaller.


There will be a peach flagstone pathway with purple gravel where the plastic is. I found a bench and a piece of yard art. But those won't come in till Tuesday. The bench will go under the tree as much as possible.


The area in front of the two bedroom windows will have columbine and bleeding hearts and maybe some other plants.


This shows the ocotillo up. And the more delicate cacti and succulents that will need to be covered in the winter.


 Ooh yeah. Should really have closed the garage door!


Ocotillo area.


The succulents in the little pot are susceptible to frost as are the 4 little cacti behind them. /they will need to be protected in the winter. but they are so pretty!


Just another view.


Most of the front of the house.  After the back yard is done I will see about replacing windows.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

We got my mom's bedding changed and I am doing laundry and other stuff while Bruce is tackling the pantry. But since I am taking a break and eating cookies I shouldn't be eating I thought I'd post some pictures of what's happening in the front yard now. I may add more pics to this post later because I see some of the rubble and gravel is here and I am anxious to see how that adds to the look. Anyway, here goes:


These little guys are by the front door now, but that will not be their final spot. A few of them are frost sensitive so Dan is going to leave them in the shallow pot and we will have to cover them in the winter. I love these little guys even though one of them 'bit" me as I restored it to vertical when it fell over.


Well, here you have a pretty good view of the fresh landscaping just completed by our across the street neighbor. But you can also see one view of the little berm and some boulders and plants.


This grouping is near the front bedrooms. The thing that looks like a desiccated Kraken in the upper left part of the picture is an ocotillo. Dan already has it planted and apparently though it looks like there are no roots it will grow. New growth is supposed to be reddish and when it blooms it sends forth rather spectacular red flowers. Can't wait to see that.


Oh, here's a better picture of it!


A couple more purple jasper boulders. I can't wait to see what they look like once they are rinsed! These are sort of in front of Bruce's studio.


Another view of the main formation.

Front view of the main formation. Itt looks quite different now that the ocotillo is up.


Yet another view of that same formation.


View from across the street. You can best see our spankin' new roof! The green stuff coming up on the wndow is trumpet vine. Dan asked me if i wanted to leave it, especially since hummingbirds love it, but in that space it is going wild and our efforts to rein it in are not at all successful so I said no.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Out of the blue I dreamed of Steve, and it was a bad dream but I can't remember anything except that it wasn't a death dream so that's good.

The front yard got scraped today and some big purple boulders got delivered. I was going to take some pictures but there is black landscaping plastic under them so I will wait till tomorrow when gravel and rubble comes. Dan and Clark could not find a pipe going under the driveway so they are going to do a long reroute all around the house. I'll be surprised if the front is done in 3 days and they can't do the side of the house until the back yard is done.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Frame for the Arbor

In addition to ordering materials for the front yard which included going to a quarry to pick the biggest, purplest, most striated and craggy boulders they had, Dan and Clark got the framework for the arbor up. It will have trellis on the sides and slats across the top to support the roses and a curved double gate. I think it makes a lot of difference already! I've decided to paint the fence and the trellis white. There will be a lot of plants of differing heights in front of the fence so it won't be seen like this for long and I think the white will be better than woodstain. The purpose of the fence to to screen my back chicken and garden area from general (Bruce's) view and to keep the dogs out of that space. I'm so excited to see the back yard taking shape but really glad that they will start on the front yard tomorrow. Dan is estimating the whole front yard will only take about THREE DAYS! I'd be ECSTATIC if that is true! I bet the neighbors would be too!





Front Yard Starts Tomorrow!

Dan came by with the plan for the front yard this morning. It will be less elaborate than the backyard, it is a xeriascape plan meant to be very low maintenance. It's going to feature some big purple jasper boulders. I am very excited to think of it being done! Tomorrow there will be a tractor here to scrape the weeds out of the yard and prepare it for a good amount of gravel. I think the boulders may be coming Thursday. I'm trying to get columbine (my favorite flower) and bleeding heart (Bruce's favorite) put under the front bedroom windows.

Today's work will be to start the arbor and gate in the backyard.

My mom had a taste for cheese this morning, so I brought her a small slice of longhorn and a few green grapes and 2 cherries. I hope she eats some of her oatmeal.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

She's Gonna Kill Me Off

Having survived the Onslaught of the Ants and feeling perky, my mom was hungry for breakfast. She wanted hotcakes so that's what I made. While I was preparing breakfast she took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. She won't use a walker or a wheelchair but she's quite fond of my old AT&T chairs (which ARE excellent chairs) Thing is, they are meant for limited distance scootching and she would use them for everything if she could I think. at a distance, they develop a Mr Toad's Wild Ride aspect. I got back in time to see there was a potential problem with her getting into the chair I had set up so she didn't eat breakfast in bed. I cleared a path that seemed logical to me, but it depended on her holding on to me and she seems to feel lessened if she has to do that. I tried to explain that I could see her wobbling (she agreed) and pointed out that I am sturdier than any of the furniture I could tell she was going to use to steady herself. She agreed. She then proceeded to do it her way which, as I feared, resulted in a fall, though better than I thought as she only went to her knees and did not bang her head too hard on the nightstand. I tried to help her up. she said she needed to sit there awhile. She wanted me to go get MY hotcakes. I told her I would only if she promised not to try to get up while I was gone. She promised and she kept it and I was able to help her into a chair. We talked yet again about the dangers of her falling, I mentioned hospitalization and pneumonia and possible death. She understood. She agreed. But she still tries to do things independently. Now. I try to put myself in her position. She has always been a very can-do person. Her mind is still there with only, as far as I can tell the irrational bits she's always had. She wants to be able to do things, but her body just can't. And she's opting for as much independence as she can squeeze out in favor of safety. It's been a good half hour since breakfast and I can still feel my blood circulating and that adrenaline feeling. I really do wonder which one of us is gonna die first. Last night she was asking if Bruce or I would take possession of her new little fridge. I mean, it's great for HER but for now we are both able and happy to be able to walk to the fridge in the kitchen. She said yesterday she wants to die in her sleep. I think she's willing herself to do it. She's grateful an mostly very cheerful and she's sweet an funny but I am worried as I can be. And I can't stop the end. I can only postpone it and try to make it be the least miserable it can be. Like....not being eaten alive by ants. She mentioned that this morning. Since she was so unresponsive I wondered if she could feel them. Oh yes, she could and she did.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

"New" Stuff


As I'm getting rid of stuff we don't want anymore, I am slowly adding stuff I have long wanted. I was using an older kitchen table as my desk. It was serviceable but not very pretty. And it was massively cluttered. This is my new desk. I love every bit of it. It's a good size. It has a huge drawer so maybe I can keep it uncluttered. This picture was taken in its old home. I've added a glass top (though i can't so easily see the pretty top now) 




And I love my little barrister bookcase. It's in my room now. I haven't yet filled it with books but I am loving it. It's much prettier than this picture!

Backyard June 3, 2017





Horrific Experience

I'm so glad I took a few days off. I thought I was going to be going through stuff, we need a MAJOR decluttering, but despite the fact that I thought I was addressing a problem before it blossomed into holy Hell I wasn't fast enough. My poor mom doesn't get out of her room much. She actually doesn't get out of her bed much and that worries me a LOT. She's also diabetic and her low blood sugar incidents are pretty scary. She needs easily accessible food, but what she's doing is storing food in her nightstand. We have mice and I knew there was at least one in her room. Max hasn't caught it yet. And last night I noticed a few ants in her room. I suggested that I needed to get her some pest proof containers and a small fridge (she likes her water cold, but by the time she drinks it it isn't) We agreed to all this and also that she shouldn't feed Toby freely on the bed because she ends up with dog food in her bed which is a pest magnet. I thought I'd start taking care of this stuff this morning but when I went in to test her blood sugar an deliver her medicated juice I found her on the floor, as if she had gotten her foot tangled in a blanket an it tripped her. She was sitting up and her eyes were open but she was mostly unresponsive. I hate to even think what her blood sugar was, I sure as heck didn't test it, but I've heard her speak lucidly when it was in the 50s. There were ants all over her and she wasn't moving a muscle. I put juice to her lips and she slowly managed to drink some then I went for a warm wet towel to get the ants off of her. They were also in her bed. Her bed was wet, I think she spilled water because it was up high. I sprinkled peppermint oil on the bedding and then put a towel and a blanket over it because my one desire was to get her off the floor and into her bed ant free since I had no idea how long she'd been on the floor and I thought she needed to rest before we changed the bedding. She has rested. Bruce has been in and he thoroughly cleaned out the nightstand. We've got a couple plastic containers for food (I am going to look for more, for her and for the pantry) I found a fridge that I am going to get for her. She hasn't eaten except for the piece of toast and and the bit of extra juice I gave her. She was worried about ME. Now, I am frazzled and taking care of her is more intensive than I thought it would be but I am so grateful I can do it. I'm grateful that Bruce is so willing to help (she would NOT let me wake him up this morning so we could lift her onto the bed, but I am a little glad of that because I wanted to see if she was in any pain or had trouble moving). I'm kind of mad at Toby because that little squirt barks like a siren if she so much as goes to the bathroom, but this morning he soundly slept through the whole ordeal. I wonder how long she was on that floor.