Wednesday, September 29, 2004

24 Sick, sad anniversary, new computer, Applebees, HSH bomb, bronchitis

09-29-04 Mayatime 2 Men 18 Chen

I’ve been very sick, therefore I haven’t been doing much of anything. I just realized today is the 10th anniversary of my red lory Scarlett’s death. :( She was only six years old. She died of a septic blood infection. I did not even know she was ill, or I would have brought her to the vet.

Anyway, not much to report about my dad. I see him at least once a week, sometimes more. It seems like he’s in his own little world. He just stares off into space. If I call his name, after two or three repetitions, he’ll blink and look at me and say “Hi, Berta” and then I can (attempt to) carry on a conversation with him. If more than one person is talking, he usually drifts away again rather than try to follow what’s being said.

My mom’s computer died (turns out it was exactly 5 years old, almost to the day). Will and I were going to build her a new one, but it’s cheaper to buy a brand-name one. She likes Dell, so I got her a Dell for only $559. Her last Dell was over $1500 and of course, this one is way better. How funny is that. It would have been more but she didn’t need speakers or a monitor. I would have deducted the keyboard & mouse too, but they don’t let you. I was going over there on Monday to download Netscape 7.1 (if you haven’t gotten it yet, do it! Pop-up blocker, tabs so you can have lots of web pages open in one browser window, it remembers passwords, it’s great!) and do some other stuff. My dad’s truck was in the driveway. I parked behind it and just then he came out. Here is the conversation: “Dad, are you leaving?” “Are you coming back?” “Do I need to move my car? Are you going somewhere right now?” “Yeah, when are you coming back?” “I’m not leaving, I’m moving my car. When are you coming back?” “I’ll come back later. I’ll see you later. Bye, Berta, it was nice to see you.” During this I made the mistake of asking if he’d taken his Alzheimer’s pill yet (he’s supposed to take it at 3 p.m. , and it was about five after) and that really confused him even more).

On Saturday Will & I went over there to do the initial set-up of the computer. In return, Mom took us to dinner—Applebee’s. The usual with my father “do I like this?” but he picked something different this time, instead of chicken and broccoli he got chicken parmesan. He ate it all but later on said he wouldn’t get it again. I got ice cream and chocolate cake for dessert and gave my dad the ice cream (he loves ice cream. He used to like black raspberry, now he likes plain vanilla).

There was a car show in the Walmart parking lot so we walked around. Some people had a cute little dog with them, and we talked to them and played with the dog (Bichon Frise). My dad was telling this incomprehensible story about that fatherbiter cat on his leash. I felt bad for the people trying to be nice and listen to him.

Funny that while I was over my parents on Saturday night, I was talking about my godmother (who is my mom’s cousin) and my mother said that no one had heard from her or her sister (godmother’s sister, not mom’s sister—mom hasn’t got a sister, or a brother for that matter). The next day, Sunday, Will and I called to say we’d be late because we went to see Shaun of the Dead in Southington and when we got to Grandma’s, guess who was there? My godmother & her sister.

My dad didn’t talk much. The more people who are around, the less he says.

So if you’ve been reading this AND looking at my busy teaching schedule, no doubt you are thinking, “hmm, wasn’t she supposed to be in Attleboro teaching Holographic Sound Healing this weekend?” Why yes I was, thank you for remembering! I spent all last week preparing like mad for the class. Turns out that the CDs don’t contain meditations from the book so I transcribed them all. I re-read the book. I copied all my notes from both times I took it and put them in my teacher’s manual. I exhausted myself, in other words. (This is on top of a similar week the week before, preparing for the 2-day Mayanism workshop). On Friday morning I got stuck behind some school buses and other assorted traffic so I was a little late getting to Mass. I’m at exit 8 in RI getting gas when my cell rings. It’s my student, calling SIX minutes before the class is scheduled to begin. . .to cancel.

I’m not even going to go into how pissed off I was (am).

I spent the day with my friend Sarah (it was her store where I was teaching). We went bead shopping, had pizza, and made jewelry. I got home at 10 p.m. Friday night. So that part was good, hanging out with Sarah. I gave her a Holographic Sound treatment and she set up some distance Reiki to dump on me every night at 1 a.m.

The reason she did that is because of my bronchitis. I started coughing at the end of August. It got worse and worse. Finally I went to my doctor and he said I have bronchitis (which I’ve never had before, although I have had horrible chronic coughs), which explains why my right lung was gurgling audibly when I breathed. He gave me a five-day antibiotic. Nothing. (This might be a repeat of information, if so, forgive me, I’m trying to get the story all in one place). In fact, I got worse. I started coughing so hard I was vomiting (sometimes just wads of mucus, sometimes the food I’d recently eaten). When I cough that hard, I literally and absolutely cannot breathe for a few seconds. Then I start sucking in air, wheezing horribly, spots before my eyes, ready to collapse. (You should see me when I’m driving and a coughing spell hits. Real scary.) A few minutes later I start to belch because I swallowed so much air trying to breathe. Yeah, I can tell how JEALOUS you are that you aren’t sick too. So the doctor gave me a prescription for cough medicine with codeine and a different, 7-day antibiotic. The cough medicine sucks, I get better results with generic Nyquil-type stuff. And the antibiotic did NOTHING. So I have either antibiotic-resistant bronchitis or viral bronchitis (or viral pneumonia).

So that’s why I haven’t been updating this for a while, if you were wondering. Not much going on with Dad to report, and too sick to document any other aspects of my life. (1167)

Monday, September 13, 2004

23 bronchitis, fenway park/Red Sox, grandma, OCD, healing, LOTR exhibit,

09-13-04 Mayatime: 12 Cauac 2 Chen (next to last day of Tzolkin!)

My bronchitis continues to kick my butt. Yesterday I coughed until I threw up—big gobs of clear mucous, obviously stuff from my lungs. Yuck. I’m done with the medicine, so now what?
When I saw my doctor, who is also my father’s doctor, he asked about my dad. I told him that honestly I didn’t think he was doing well. My mother thinks he’s fine, but she sees him everyday. I don’t. And I think she knows he’s not fine, because her actions betray her. She wasn’t able to go to grandma’s last night, which she told me on Wednesday. She wanted me to take my dad, because she didn’t think he’d go otherwise. But she said she wasn’t going to tell him until Sunday because he would forget.

So we went over at 4:30 to pick him up. My mom was going to a concert or something, I forgot what. Some country music guy. She came outside to give me the coupon flyers for my grandmother & some other stuff, including the Sunday comics so we could read Opus. My father tried to shut and lock the front door behind her. She had to tell him repeatedly to leave the door open. Then while she was talking to me, he stood there at the bottom of the steps and kept looking at the door. It was obvious that he wanted to shut it.

We told him about how we’d eaten supper on Saturday night across the street from Fenway Park. He is a major Red Sox fan so we thought it would interest him. (More about the trip to Boston in a moment.) We asked if there was a game at 7:00 since when we left at 5:00 there was a huge line of traffic coming down toward the park. It took a lot of effort for him to tell us the Red Sox are on the West Coast. He could not remember the names of any of the teams they’d played, but was sure they had won. (Is that true? I don’t know.) He thought they were in California but then he said Seattle (which was right, there was a Red Sox-Seattle Mariners game on last night). I am making this seem like a regular conversation, but it wasn’t. It’s punctuated with long silences, lots of “um” and “you know” and “I don’t know” “damn it.” I think Will and I might make it worse, because we keep asking questions, trying to keep the conversation going, and Dad just gets confused.

Since he was watching the game while we ate (which I hate, it makes the whole dinner conversation revolve around baseball, surely one of the slowest and most boring sports besides golf), he did speak, but only about the game. Such gems as “that’s that guy.” And of course his patented napkin balling & throwing when the Red Sox lose a run or something. Why do people invest so much of themselves into sports? It’s not like my father bets on the game, but he gets himself all agitated and always has. I can’t see Stephen King, who is also a major Red Sox fan, balling up a paper napkin and flinging it when Seattle makes a home run.

My grandmother’s always fun. Her last big thing was eating lots of garlic for her eyes. That gave her hives. So she stopped taking her eye medicine. (don’t ask) Now she’s on this “no sugar no flour” diet. And she is a riot. She only eats sugar and flour on Sunday. Except during the week, when she has ½ a sandwich (with bun) for lunch most days. She says the sugar in store-bought sauce “doesn’t count” as refined sugar, and neither does the sugar which is the first ingredient in her daily bowl of frosted flakes. (What are they flakes of? Wheat, I bet.) Supposedly she has lost 2 lbs.

On the way home, my dad sat in the back seat (I had sat there on the way, watching the pizzas). Of course he gets all agitated because he can’t put on the seatbelt because the latch is down under the seat. (It has to be manually moved every time the seats are put down and frankly it’s not that important to us, since we rarely have passengers and of them only my father freaks out about the seat belt). It’s one of his obsessive-compulsive things, having to have that back seat belt on.

My mom said he came home from somewhere a back way and took a wrong turn and got lost, but found his way home. Does that make me uneasy? You bet. But am I supposed to say he can’t drive anymore? Then he’ll just sit home all day and vegetate and get worse. Is it the lesser of two evils? I don’t know.

I saw, on Friday, a Native American healer. He said I should not eat dairy and should eat lots of brown rice. He also said I don’t cry enough, and being fat is only a symptom. And as a healer myself, I know that treating the symptom is useless. He said I have “entitlement” issues and that I should get a punching bag. It was a very interesting session.

Saturday we went to Boston—we being my friend Joyce, Will & I. We went to the Lord of the Rings exhibit at the Museum of Science. My friend from Boston and a bunch of her kids (she’s got 8) met us there. The exhibit was awesome. The amount of details put into the props was amazing. Some of them, up close, were a little cheesey—Will said some of the forged weapons had air bubbles in them, for instance. The most amazing thing was probably the display of the full size Samwise pack next to the hobbit-sized one. They even wove the cloth at a different scale! Just amazing.

Speaking of Samwise, there was no section for him (other than his pack). The other hobbits, Merry & Pippin, were mentioned in the Treebeard section, but not otherwise. But they had huge displays on Arwen and Elrond, who are more minor characters. Galadriel had a section and so did her husband, who I believe says ONE line. Each member of the fellowship should have had a section.

The “One Ring” room was totally lame. It was a round room with doors on 2 sides. All around the wall was pictures of lava with flickering lights behind it. In the middle was a clear tube of water with a ring suspended in it. Two spotlights threw the Elvish script around, and it was engraved on the base of the tube. That’s it. Total waste of space. I’d rather have seen more original drawings. They had all sorts of framed pencil drawings & oil paintings from the three different artists, and also some original digital artwork which was pretty cool to see up close—looking at it on the DVDs just doesn’t do it justice.

If you’re into the Lord of the Rings movies, and you live anywhere near Boston, it’s worth the trip. It’s only $19 to get in, and that includes admission to the museum, which is a cool museum. All hands-on stuff to play with. (1235)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

22 BIAW, bronchitis, applebees,

09-05-04 Mayatime: 4 Chuen 14 Mol

No, I haven’t written for a while. My p/t job went from 6 to 18 hours last week, plus last week was the “official” Book in a Week of my BIAW yahoo group (I managed 52 pages in six days, my goal was 50). And I’m sick. Will thinks I have bronchitis or walking pneumonia. I have a terrible hacking wet cough and periodically my lungs try to escape from my body via this cough. I have a sore throat and no voice from coughing so violently. Because tomorrow is Labor Day I can’t even call the doctor until Tuesday. The coughing is so exhausting I can’t do anything else. I can take cough medicine, which merely dials the coughing down a notch, or Nyquil which knocks me out (but as soon as I wake up, the cough is back). It’s the totally annoying kind of gasping, retching cough that makes other people wince; the kind that when you hear it you wish the person had stayed home. Yup, that’s me for the last week or so.

Not much to report with my dad anyway. The last two Sundays at my grandmother’s he was rather quiet. He doesn’t seem to pay much attention to what’s going on; it’s like he’s fading away. If I want to talk to him, I have to say “Dad!” several times and immediately he’ll pay attention and be all eager to speak with me. But he doesn’t initiate conversation much. And when he does say something, chances are it relates to what we were all talking about a few minutes ago. But he remembers certain things that he wants to remember; for instance every week he gives me the Sunday funnies because Bloom County is back and I like Opus. And he’s only been giving me those funnies for a month or so.

My mom said he gets really frustrated and angry when he can’t make her understand what he wants/means. So far I haven’t had this problem with him, but I spend way less time with him than she does. He’s trying to be his usual nice self when I see him, thanking everyone for everything.

My parents' 37th wedding anniversary was just over a week ago. Two years ago I got them the fatherbiter cat. I called to see what they were doing & they were going to Applebee's and so we said we'd take them. It was the same thing as for his birthday, except we sat in a different table. "What do I like? I want this shrimp, do I like that?" "No, you don't. Get the chicken and broccoli." And he gets the chicken and broccoli and spends half an hour cutting off the "fat"--the places where the grill seared the meat. I did not say anything this time. He eats very slowly, even slower than he used to. His eating is really a kind of obsessive-compulsive thing. He has to cut everything up really small, cut it and cut it and cut it into tiny pieces, and keep dissecting it looking for invisible fat. I feel bad that we have to order for him, but he asks so many weird questions and then doesn't understand the answers, it's easier for my mom to just do it. For instance he only likes Classic Coke, not diet Coke, not Pepsi. So when he orders his drink, he'll say "I want classic coke" and they'll say "Is Pepsi okay?" and he'll repeat that he wants classic coke. Sometimes the place will also have orange soda or ginger ale, which he likes, and he'll get that instead. But if he gets the cola, when it comes he says "this isn't diet, it is?" And we explain that the diets have lemon slices in them. His has no lemon. But he'll drink it and not like it cuz it's Pepsi (which I vastly prefer) and not Classic Coke.