Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering

No fancy allegories or verbose soliloquies today, just a few scattered thoughts: Freedom comes at a very high cost. None of us are free while others are oppressed. And to those who gave everything or anything to make humanity a little more humane, I say simply this -

Thank you. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Weirdness

So Maggie and I are back in the apartment tonight. We haven't stayed here since the end of March.

It's really weird.

It doesn't feel much like home anymore.

And it's kind of a pit....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Barred

So I have this friend.

No, no, an actual friend. A friend who started as a friend of a friend but now I consider him a friend in his own right (I think that if they broke up, his girlfriend - my original friend - would ultimately get custody of me, but we could still be friendly). This friend has had some really awful shit happen to him, not the least of which (ahem) was getting sentenced to life in prison at the tender, formative age of 15 while taking the fall for a crime he was only involved in as an accessory.

That's the short version of the story. The long version, actually, is the subject of an indie documentary.

It's a good story, ultimately, because even if it was nearly three decades later, this was rectified. Tomorrow there's a celebration to commemorate his one year anniversary of his release. And I have to say, it's been a pretty remarkable year. He's done an amazing job of reintegrating, keeping his nose clean, and being a functioning member of my social circle.

There are times, of course, this gets downright comical, like when he got a ticket because he'd never seen a parking meter before and didn't know you had to feed it ("There was a bike chained to it. I thought it was a pay-per-use bike rack."). And there's times when it just completely sucks that his previously rough life led up to that at such an important time in his life and development.

We were having coffee this morning (it's what we do, since he's part of the coffee-related circle of friends), and he was like, "You know, I think about all of my experiences, and realize now, I generally don't have troubles." We, of course, were all like, what? And he went on to explain that, although he does sometimes get worked up about things, when he really takes a moment to stop and look at what's happening, it never really seems to be that bad. What's the worst that could happen?

Remarkable, really. I think there aren't many people who could walk away from this experience or even the things that preceded it and not think the world was a heinous, awful, dangerous place.

I told him this morning, it's absolutely amazing, that he got a second chance. A whole new life. Full of new discoveries and good people and humor ("This is my friend from school. We went to Penn State. No, wait, that was the State Pen") and the little everyday triumphs and tragedies that make life what it is.

I'm a little bit jealous, actually. He got to leave his prison. So many of us - myself included - can't ever seem to get out of our metaphoric ones, to free ourselves from the past. His imprisonment meant something much more literal, of course, his liberties curtailed in a way mine have never been. But what I'd give to not be shackled to those years of abuse and pain and terror. I recognize it as a hell of my own creation (well, maybe not exclusively mine), but apparently, like Persephone, I can't ever really leave.

So, in short, Bill, if you're reading this (or if Jen is telling you about it. Hi, Jen!), good work. Keep it up. We're all really proud of who you're becoming and the transition you've made. And don't ever let the rest of us forget how lucky we are to take our freedom for granted.

Friday, May 28, 2010

With a little help

I'm nothing if not stubborn persistent.

So I mentioned I was sick, right? I actually went to the doctor yesterday, and she was like, "You have a virus." Which I of course heard as "There's nothing wrong with you." Which was, of course, wrong. And, doped up on ibuprofen and Cepacol, right, I got a little delusional this morning and started thinking, well, I know I said I wasn't going to be there today and arranged coverage and split my patient load between two of my colleagues (and I have a service full of rocks, so, I was guessing it wasn't going to be too awful)...I could probably make it through the morning. Never mind that I didn't sleep more than thirty minutes in a stretch last night or that I'm pretty sure my throat is the relative consistency of steak tartare, forget my barking cough and unit full of old people, ignore that I'm sweating like a sinner in church and I haven't even gotten out of bed yet...I'll be fine.

After all, there's nothing wrong with me. Just a "virus."

(Okay, what she actually said was "viral bronchitis and oh, hey, your spleen is enlarged.")

(Minor details. Who pays attention to that? There's nothing wrong with me.)

Ahem.

So I dragged my still-feverish self out of bed this am, pulled on the uniform (black pants, black sweater, some sort of shirt), and headed out the door. And fortunately for me, I stopped for coffee between here and work. Where my friends all took one look at me and went, "What are you, crazy?! You look awful. Go back to bed." And Sparrow (Goddess that she is), over text, was like, "What? I'm already en route to cover for you. Feel better."

I argued. I rationalized. I was stub persistent.But in the end, cooler heads prevailed (as in, those with a normal body temperature).

I actually went back to *my* apartment today. Which, honestly, I probably would've napped better at Shady Pines. The combination of pollen, accumulated dust, and dog hair in my bedroom (where I haven't slept since the end of March) turned out to be too much for my tenuous upper respiratory tract. But I did get a Cook Out milkshake out of the deal, and hey - that'll heal anything that ails you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

yeef.

So I'm sick.

I was supposed to lecture to the interns this afternoon, but my co-lecturer canceled, so I took the opportunity and went home sick. Which would've been a fabulous idea, until.I laid down to take a nap...and my pager kept going off...and then my crown got stuck in a cough drop and promptly fell off my tooth.

So I spent my afternoon at the dentist.

I hate going to the dentist.

This did not help me feel better.....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guilt

I have to say, I'm feeling fairly guilty.

There's been a fair amount of stuff going on, actually. Nothing ground breaking but stuff like a good night out with friends, a busy day at work, a funny dog story. Stuff I could be writing about that would be far more interesting and consequential that the drivel I've been drivelling lately.

But.

I'm so tired these days. A, I think I'm getting sick, and 2, I have a full time job, you know? That whole residency thing. And then I've acquired this other job, running the Family Care Home (because, of course, I've been living at Shady Pines, taking care of the folks), which gives my parents the resources of Assisted Living while being able to pay only for Independent Living. Which isn't a bad deal for them. But it's starting to wear on me a bit. I love having the time to spend with them, but to go from being single, living alone in my own place with just me and my dog, to never having a moment alone between work and the FCH...it's a big change...and I'm exhausted.

So I'm feeling kind of guilty that I haven't been posting anything of substance lately, but, bear with me. This too will pass.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

An open letter to Monday

Dear Monday:

Shoo. Shoo!! Go on, get!


I need more weekend. 

Please try to be kind, okay?

Begrudgingly yours,

Kate

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday Night

What a day today.

I got up ridiculously early. I putzed until such time that I could go to the coffee shop, where I pretended to "work" until people showed up and then I just hung out until 10 when I had to go join the gym. Which I did; I joined Ruthie's gym (and Wayne's gym. And Rene's gym. And Lizzie's gym. And Olga's gym. You get the idea).It's also Gomer's new gym, and I ran into him today. It was sort of funny, actually - the membership guy was like, oh, so you used to train with Gomer? Cool. So, you want a different trainer, then, right?

I couldn't decide what that said about me and what that said about Gomer...

So I joined, and then I worked out, which wasn't so hot today because I was exhausted. But I got it in, and then I came home and the home health nurse was here to see my dad. She was nice enough, and Maggie liked her. We watched some CSI on the DVR (translation: I napped like a rockstar for an hour), and then I got cleaned up and we went to dinner.

I'm thinking my Indian name these days should be, "Dines with Old People."

But then Ruthie and Jen and robin dragged me out for fro yo. And we sat out in front of the TCBY for like four hours and cut up and talked shop and talked not at all shop and laughed - a LOT. And it was such a wonderful break from Shady Pines. Or the rest of my life, for that matter. Just super. So needed. Oy...

Tomorrow, however, now needs to be more productive...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cute stuff

How cool is this?

No, wait - it's a cake. (Or in the revered words of Aunt Voula, Eine cakey, mourdi.) Now even that much cooler, isn't it? But - WAIT. The yarn balls? Rice Krispies treats (with fondant yarn on them). The basket is some sort of red velvet or oreo cake or something, I couldn't quite decipher it.

You should check out their whole gallery. Too bad they're off in NJ....there's a bunch of cake-appropriate occasions coming up and all....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Funny stuff

Little Kate sent me a fabulous email this evening. It cracked me up, and I thought I'd share. Some of these are just. so. true....

Grown Up Truths

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you  how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it  will strike, but there comes a  moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything  productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never  wash this - ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello?  Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and  goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I  know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with some kind of alcohol than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in  each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear get dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure  you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Exhaustion

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm completely exhausted. Like, last night I was on the couch, so close to asleep that I was mumbling and making up nonsense words.

Dad's still in the hospital. Probably getting out Friday. Mom doing well. Kate is tired.

That is all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ai ai ai...

So my dad's back in the hospital. Doing okay, in pretty good spirits, but his blood pressure's a little low.

Mine, however...

Mom, on the other hand, is doing pretty well. Did great in PT today, getting up better, etc. There was a big thunderstorm today while I was at work and Dad was at the hospital. My mom says, "Maggie was jumping all around and really upset about it."

"Aww, poor thing," I said. Because, you know, my dog is terrified of thunderstorms. "Sounds like that was upsetting to you, too. But," I reminded her, "you can always say 'go to your bed' and she'll go get in her crate."

"Oh," my mom says, "She was in her crate. But I knew she was scared, so I told her to come out and sit by me. And she did, for a while, and then started jumping around. I felt bad for her."

This I love.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And, of course...

My very favorite two year old nephew is officially two today. Happy birthday to Luke!!

And in related news, I'm going to try to be better about remembering people's birthdays. I've been a little distracted lately, of course, but still.

Point of clarification

Wait! No! Sorry if I confused anyone. The blog will still continue as usual - hopefully with daily posts. I'm just not going to be all Blog 365-obsessive.

Good heavens. Three years into it, this has become way too much a part of my life (and so have y'all) to give it up now....I still have far too many blahs to blah blah blah.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This post is brought to you....

...by the letter "T" and the letter "D". For, technical difficulties.

I'm terribly sorry to have worried anyone out there! My wi-fi hasn't been working at Shady Pines, and I've been too exhausted to remember I can update the blog by phone. Oy.

I'm thinking my Blog 365 qualification for this year is over...which is actually fine. I'm still planning to post daily, but maybe I won't stress about it if I miss a day here and there. ::sigh::

Things are actually going pretty well here. Mom and Dad are both home at the Home. I have an air mattress so I'm no longer sleeping on the floor, and honestly, I'm thinking I'm not going to have to stay there a whole lot longer. My mom is needing a lot less assistance these days, so once she can get out of bed by herself at night, I should just be able to come before and after work. Dad is doing well, too. They're both getting PT daily. It's nice.

Here's the best thing that's been going on - my mom has always been terrified of dogs. She's been pretty tolerant of Maggie, but, like, when we lived at home between residencies, Maggie and I lived in the unfinished basement because she wasn't allowed in the house. When I got frustrated by the basement and started sleeping upstairs, she had to stay in her crate except when we went outside. Mom was really not a fan.

Maggie, however, has officially won my mother over. She's been staying out of her crate during the day, even when it's just her and my mom. My mom's still a little too skittish to touch her, but has been feeding her whatever's left of whatever meals she eats in the apartment. Maggie, of course, adores my mom, but being the really good girl that she is, is very respectful of Mom's personal space. It's completely adorable.

So the other day, my friend Laurie offered to keep Maggie while I was staying at Shady Pines. And I said to my mom, "Wow, isn't this nice? My friend Laurie from work says Maggie can stay with her while I'm here, if we want."

My mom looks over at the dog, thinks for a second, and says, "No, I think Maggie wants to stay here."

A definite win, I think, for me, my mom, and my dog. We gals have to stick together, after all, right?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wordless Tuesday

I've been thinking a lot today about how people communicate. Okay, fine - I think about it a lot, in general.

So much of what we say to each other, we don't say at all. It's remarkable, really. There's a huge amount of nonverbal cues that go back and forth in even the smallest, most casual exchange. There are these things called meta-messages, right? They're about context. They're what we're really saying, or what we're hearing others say. Note, though - the meta-message that's sent and the one that's received are often not the same. And then you factor in pheromonal signals and other subconscious cues, and it's amazing that we ever communicate anything correctly.

I was thinking about this today after a conversation this morning with a friend of mine. He reminds me a lot of an ex I have, who always seemed to speak in metaphor. He'd tell me stories about his house, his work, his family, which would always be code for how he was feeling and what he was thinking about me, himself, us. It was a lot of effort for me to decipher that, but validating and satisfying when I did, which is part of what kept me there. I was always on my toes with him, which, let's face it, wasn't always where I wanted or needed to be.

My friend at work is much the same way (which is, let's face it, why our friendship is a little complicated). The difference, here, though, is that I've evolved a bit, and I spend less time worrying about if I got it right with him and more time looking at what's going on. I spend more time thinking about what I'm telling him. I pay a lot of attention to this stuff, and I still think I only have a minute inkling of what's actually transpiring.

It really is a miracle we ever communicate anything, ever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Waiting, waiting

I'm penning this post from out in front of the hospital. I've been sitting here over an hour. I left work at three today because they said he was ready for discharge at two. It's now 8:30. I'm officially annoyed.

But in good news, my dad's being discharged.

Eventually.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

So it's Mother's Day.

This is a day my own mother has traditionally hated. I'm not sure I've ever figured out quite why, exactly, she dislikes it so much - I get explanations ranging from "it's a stupid Hallmark holiday" to it making her miss her own mother too much. But, since this year I'm grateful that my mother is even alive after this whole fiasco, so we celebrated it by spending most of the day together.

It's been a rough weekend. My dad's hopefully getting out of the hospital tomorrow. But the weekend (or, you know, past two months) has been kind of crazy, so I took a couple of hours this morning and went to Starbucks. I got caught up on my discharge summaries (let's not talk about my clinic notes) just in time to go back on service tomorrow, and met Matt for coffee and good conversation. I felt a little better after that. My mom and I went to the Mothers' Day brunch here at Shady Pines, which was absolutely delicious. My mom doesn't talk much during meals these days, so it was a lot of chewing in silence, but it was still nice to be in the thick of things. We then got in the car (which she's getting better at) and drove around looking at houses in the neighborhood, and found a lot lot lot of great options for me to talk about with the realtor. We came home, I fell asleep for a minute and then went back out to Target, came home, made dinner, installed the transfer bench in the shower, and then my mom and I watched Betty White on last night's SNL (my mom's commentary? "That was weird." I, however, loved it). And then we got my mom showered, which was a 45 minute ordeal. And sent me off on a whole new spiral succumbing to the gravity of this whole situation.

Matt and I talked a little this morning about the cultural differences between his WASPy self and my Greekness. He was like, "I'd probably be more hands-off about the whole thing, but my parents are also younger and I have a high-functioning sister." Right, I said, and you're a son. I'm an only child, and a daughter, and in my culture, that means something entirely different. And sometimes that difference is wonderful, meaningful, amazing. Sometimes that something is a jagged little pill.

There have been other aspects of this weekend weighing heavily on me, but that's another post for another day. Meanwhile, I have a 7am therapy patient tomorrow. I'd better get to sleep...

In other news...

I don't know what it is about this post, but it's generated more nasty anonymous comments than any other post I've written. I didn't think I said anything especially inflammatory, in context. And I feel like it's a total "kick me when I'm down" thing to be so randomly nasty about a post wherein I said, "wow, I'm really feeling shitty today. Lots of bad things happened." Not to mention, uh, that was over two years ago.

Oy.

Then again, I might be a little bit sensitive these days. I went the hell off of my old personal trainer's employer yesterday because they're trying to screw me to the tune of $658 above and beyond the six months of membership fees they owe me because they were not supposed to deduct them from my bank account and did anyway. Went. Off.

Then again (again), maybe it's about time I got mad at people being ugly to me. It's long been one of the things I do most poorly. Apparently the stress of the current situation is getting my "don't fuck with me" riled up...

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Such a day

Today was not the best one we've had. My mom's knees hurt, her strength wasn't as good, her attitude sagging a little bit. Plus my dad is now admitted to the hospital. He, however, is feeling a lot better after two units of blood.

I? Am just tired. My own spirits took a little bit of a hit today. I didn't sleep well last night. I'm starting to feel a little caregiver fatigue, I suppose, although I'd describe it more as feeling the weight of my life right now.

But I did make it out to a party at Helga's tonight, which was a really good time. It was nice to be around my friends again. But I definitely pooped out early... especially for me....!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Back again

So my dad went back into the hospital, which preempted a timely Friday night blog. ::sigh::

I'm so glad the weekend is here....

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Knifty

I think this is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while:



Today was my first day back at work. It was lovely and it was so nice to see everyone again. My dad also flew in this afternoon, so the whole clan is in NC now. Hooray.

Y'all, I'm so tired....

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Updated

So, to answer the "FAQ" (Hi, Carol), my dad is still in the hospital in Chicago. Mom and I are here in NC. We're hoping he can join us in the next few days. He's feeling pretty good, or at least that's what he tells me. We're not entirely sure why he hasn't gotten out yet, actually...

My mom and I went to dinner in the dining room tonight. It reminded me a lot of a college dining room, except with wait staff and table linens. It amused me, but I remembered what good times those were.

My mom isn't so thrilled with the idea of eating in a dining room. I'm hoping once they start meeting people, she'll enjoy it more. My stint at dorm life was brief but...


I kinda miss it, actually.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hiatus

Sorry I've been silent the past two days, y'all. We're in NC, finally; I haven't had internet for the past two days, because I'm staying at the retirement resort with my mom.

Seriously. This place is like a cruise ship that doesn't move. It's amazing.

Today was the Day of a Billion Appointments. Well, three, but it still turned into a 10 hour day. My mom saw Neurology, Rehab Medicine, and then finally Oncology. All three went well. Her (internationally known) oncologist walks in the room, sticks out his hand and says, "Hi, I'm Hy. I'm sort of a breast cancer specialist, you know?" He seems optimistic, and not in an unreasonable way. My mom and I both felt a LOT better after talking with him.

I think I'm going back to work Thursday, finally. Hooray!

Meanwhile, I'm going to bed. I'm not sure I've ever been this tired in my entire life....