BACKGROUND

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mental Health: $55.

I am not a Black Friday shopper. I'm not a morning person on the best of days, so getting up at 4 a.m. or earlier to go shopping just doesn't work for me. Also, I decided this year to get most of my Christmas shopping done in early/mid-November, so I don't have much to shop for anyway.

However, I ventured out this evening for a little retail therapy for myself after a stressful day. I was at the hospital at 10 this morning waiting for my mom to have the endoscopy/colonoscopy that was supposed to give us the answers to her internal bleeding. The scan she had ruled out the Meckel's Diverticulum, but didn't provide any answers as to what it might be.
They took her for today's procedures at 11 a.m. so I went to the Starbucks down the road to do some research for my term paper. I returned around 1:30 and she wasn't done yet so I wandered the halls of the hospital for a few minutes before going back to her room. She was there, just out of surgery.

The doctor came in and told us these procedures hadn't revealed the source of the bleeding. My mother has been poked and prodded in every possible place on the body and we still don't know what's wrong. Tomorrow, they will do a bowel series. We are praying that will give us the answer so we can move forward to getting my mom healed. She's been in the hospital for 8 days now and it's starting to wear on her. I don't blame her.

I hung out with her for awhile at the hospital and then she had to sleep so I headed home. I was really tired and just needed a nap desperately. I took a nap for a couple of hours and then decided to treat myself to dinner. I ate at my favorite Mexican restaurant here in my hometown and then headed over to Fred Meyer's for my retail therapy. I bought a belt, some new shoes, and a cute University of Oregon bag. I don't normally spend money like that, but today it really did help my emotional state to do so. $55 for my mental health was well worth it.

I headed back to the hotel and worked on my term paper. It's after 11 p.m. now and I'm going to take a nice hot bubble bath and go to bed. Tomorrow, I will go to the hospital, finish my term paper, and hopefully have my mental health restored for free by getting an answer from the doctor to my mom's health problem.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful

It's been a very long week. I arrived here on Saturday and spent the night in my mother's hospital room with her. Sunday, I stayed at her place so I could take my nephew to school in the morning. My mother has custody of him so with her being in the hospital, I'm responsible for him. He's 15 so it helps that he's able to do a lot for himself.

My mother is hanging in there, but it has been hard on her. She's been in the hospital for almost a week now. Tuesday, she had an EGD done to determine the source of the bleeding. The doctors were fairly sure the bleeding was coming from the stomach or upper GI. An EGD involves feeding a tube with a camera into the stomach to look around and see what might be causing a problem.
It was determined that it was Gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. It had been caused by an arthritis medication my mom was on. That, along with the Coumadin she is on to prevent blood clots, caused the bleeding. Or so we thought...

My mother continued to bleed and after transfusing 18 pints of blood (as of today), they've decided that the gastritis is not the issue. They now believe it may be Meckel's diverticulum. Tomorrow, they will be taking her to a hospital about two hours away from where she is now for a scan to see if it's Meckel's. The scan will also show other areas of bleeding if they are present. Her current hospital has the equipment to do the scan, but not the technician. He is on vacation. I don't know why they only have the one technician, but there it is. My mother will have the scan done tomorrow and we will know by the afternoon what the problem is.

If it's Meckel's, surgery will be performed to correct the problem. If it's not Meckel's, they will be able to see the bleeding area on the scan and will take care of that problem. I've spent every day at the hospital and I've been exhausted. My cousin, who lives near my mom, cooked Thanksgiving dinner today so my nephew and I were able to celebrate the holiday. I have a lot to be thankful for today. My mother is strong and is coming through all of this...with God's help.

Please keep the prayers and good thoughts coming. They are working.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frequent Flyer

I am sitting in the San Francisco airport at an eatery called Lori's Dinner. It is a place I know well, having been here three times in the last year. Considering I live in Houston, this is an unusual place to have visited multiple times. They make great pancakes, but that is not why I am here.

My mother called me on Thursday to tell me that her doctor believes she has internal bleeding. She had been seeing blood in places where blood should not be. Her doctor sent her for additional tests on Friday and I waited all day at work, on pins and needles (pardon the pun), to hear of the results. My cousin, who lives near my mother, called me to tell me they admitted her to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Last night, she had five pints of blood transfused. Considering that the human body holds about 8 pints, that is quite a lot. The first flight I could get was this morning at 7:20 a.m. After work, I went home and packed my bags, took a hot bath, and anxiously awaited the morning.

Where the bleeding is coming from is still a mystery. She will have an endoscopy done this afternoon to determine the source. I should be there by then to hold her hand. The trip from Houston to Oregon, where my mother lives, is a bit of a daunting one. The closest airport to my tiny hometown is in Crescent City, which is actually in Northern California. It's roughly 30 minutes from the Oregon border. I fly from Houston to San Francisco and then San Francisco to Crescent City.

I haven't slept in what feels like days. Last night, I slept only in fits and starts. I was worried about what the morning might bring. I spoke with my mother about 30 minutes ago and she sounded better than she did last night. Still, there is no substitute for being there, talking to the doctors myself, and assessing the situation.

I am going to have to tell my mother that it is time for her to move to Houston where I can keep an eye on her and assist her with getting the medical care she needs. Her health problems have gotten worse in the last few years. I've made two emergency trips to Oregon in less than 18 months - once in June 2007 and again today. The expense and the worry have taken a toll.

It is so very difficult when you realize that you must become the parent to your own parent. My mother has taken care of me all my life. She loved me from the time I was conceived through this very moment...32 years she has sacrificed, cried with me, laughed with me, and been my mother, my friend, my confidante. Now, I only hope that I can make her understand that the time she has put in to my life is not without its reward. I am my mother's daughter...and that means more than words can say.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And miles to go before I sleep

I finished my term paper on Monday afternoon, but I now face a new challenge - a second term paper for a different class. It is due December 1 and I plan to start on it this weekend in the hopes of having it finished before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday without worrying about the paper.

We'll be spending the holiday with my dad in San Antonio. We went there last year for Thanksgiving as well, but it was not the happy celebration we had hoped. Dear Husband had bronchitis and we ended up with him in the ER on Thanksgiving Day. I'm hoping he will be in better health this year and can enjoy the holiday with us.

But before I even get to Thanksgiving, I have a lot of work to complete - the term paper I mentioned above, my general homework assignments, and keeping up with life. That last one isn't always easy when I am working by day and burying myself in books by night. Still, I am grateful for the chance to go to school, to complete this degree, to have a job. I have miles to go before I sleep, but I walk them with a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Busy Frog

That's me. I'm a busy frog this week. In addition to working in that place where they exchange cash for my brilliant writing services, I also had an exam this week (94% - WOO) and I have a 10-page paper to complete by Monday.

I also have to continue to do the homework for three classes. It's overhwhelming, but thankfully I'm sufficiently skilled at dealing with being overwhelmed. Thank you law school and the bar exam. I knew that would come in handy someday!

I did some homework tonight and will leave work early tomorrow so I can finish some more homework before going to dinner with a friend, after which I will return to my paper.

Despite all the work, I feel good because I love what I am learning, I love discussing it with my classmates, and I can't wait to put it to use when I graduate.

Hopping away to my next assignment right now, which is to go to bed. That's my favorite homework to be honest. Good night!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Am Loved


One of the sweetest people I know with the cutest little boy in the world has passed on the blog love to me. Thanks Jess! Jess has a great blog at Planted Gypsy Feet.
The way this works is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 5 other bloggers:
1. Where is your cell phone? Table
2. Where is your significant other? Couch
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Denise
5. Your father? Bill
6. Your favorite thing? Sleep
7. Your dream last night? None
8. Your dream/goal? M.A.
9. The room you're in? Dining
10. Your hobby? Internet
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Traveling
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Skinny
15. One of your wish list items? Skinny
16. Where you grew up? Oregon
17. The last thing you did? Talked
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your T.V.? Clue
20. Your pet? ADORED
21. Your computer? PC
22. Your mood? Happy
23. Missing someone? Yes
24. Your car? Reliable
25. Something you're not wearing? Socks
26. Favorite store? Wal-Mart
27. Your Summer? Fantastic
28. Love someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Week
YOUR TURN!
I'm passing this on to the following bloggers who I love:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Christmas on Halloween

Yesterday, we had a great time at work because everyone came dressed up for Halloween. I went as Mountain Dew. I bought a Mountain Dew T-Shirt, hat, and pajama pants. I paired all that with fuzzy green slippers. It worked great. My co-workers came as a surgeon, a hipster, a jogger, and batman. We took a group picture and then separate pictures too. I would post it here, but it's on my work computer.

Last night, I had a very productive evening. I went to Half Price Books, which is one of my very favorite places. I bought Christmas gifts there for 12 people for under $100. I was shocked that it was that cheap and I was SO thrilled to mark several people off my list. I mostly bought for our nieces and nephews (and also the kids of our friends who are our honorary nieces and nephews), but I also got a couple of things for my parents as well.

I came home and helped Dear Husband hand out candy. He had been handing it out for a couple of hours before and gave me a few updates via text message while I was out. We have fun on Halloween since we live in a subdivison so all the kids hit up our house. Our fur kids loved seeing all the kids dressed up too. Dear Husband created a barrier by the door so the kids could see the trick or treaters, but couldn't bark at them and sniff at them.

We have some candy left over. Not a huge amount, but some. My favorites are in there - Butterfingers. I may have one...or two...or...well anyway, I wouldn't want to waste perfectly good candy.

Hope everyone had a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN!