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ER Redux

August 31, 2015

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state….

Got calls from my brothers Chris and Matt this afternoon.. Mom’s not doing well. SO not well that they determined a trip to the ER was in order.

So, at this moment, that’s where they are. Tests, tests, measurements, assessments and tests. I’m glad for that.

She’s not.

All of this has to do with her need these days for supplemental oxygen, and what happens if she doesn’t get it. In the last two days, two mishaps have occurred with her oxygen line, both resulting in periods of time off the O2. As a result, her O2 levels got way too low. Not good. She’s been in and out of lucidity all day, and very weak.  So Matt made the decision–always a tough one where my mom’s concerned–to call the paramedics.

When she’s in a moment of lucidity she’s feisty and annoyed and is making it clear she does not want to be there. I know, I just heard the exchange she was having with the staff while I was on the phone with her.

Tough customer, my mom.

Did I mention the US Open Tennis Championship began today?  Where she would rather be is at home with a glass of wine, watching the Open and cheering on her guy Djokovic.

As always, our dear, dear friend Betsy is on the case. It is a crazy gift from the gods to have a lifelong family friend who is the head ER nurse at your local hospital. It’s been a tough afternoon, made worse by the distance; so good to have a couple of brothers there AND Betsy.

I grabbed this photo… mom and her acorns, thirteen years ago. It was a weekend celebration of my aunt Ellie’s 70th birthday. It’s amazing, everyone looks very much like they do today, except mom, who’s changed monumentally from the time this picture was taken to now. I do like seeing the fullness and vitality in her expression.

We are standing in front of a tree planted in my grandfather’s honor at Fallen Leaf Lake, next to Lake Tahoe:

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Mom, Jay, me, Matty, Chris.

Go mom.

We are still the sick people, in the sick house. We sound like sick people, we’re doing sick people things, but Jim and I did manage to take a walk downtown this morning for breakfast.  I’m mostly on the mend, Jim is still on this side of the sick curve. It was just too beautiful a day to stay inside…. it seemed like a good idea.

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And it was.

Stepped out the front door, looked up and saw this!

Hydrate

August 29, 2015

Fever and dehydration do not mix. Even if you’re a strapping seventeen year old athlete. Even if you think you’re immune to the health vulnerabilities the rest of us mortals deal with. Even if you’re quite used to a certain standard of self abuse in the form of lack of sleep, a random diet, and chronic over exertion.

Dehydration catches up to you.

So that, on top of the deliriousness of your high fever, you may get dizzy, you may get disoriented, you may loose control of your limbs, you may collapse on the floor.

Which is super scary!!!  For you and your parents. Maybe especially your parents.

So tonight was spent in the ER.

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About four hours, anyway, in the reasonably quiet wee hours of the Kaiser Vacaville ER. Peter was hooked up to an IV and administered several bags of a rehydrating solution. He also had a chest XRAY and a blood test. They determined he has a mild case of pneumonia on top of the flu. Antibiotics, a very effective fever reducer, and some strong words from the medical staff, made for a very productive visit.

All’s well that ends well.

And we all know a little bit more about the importance of hydrating.

Humans suffer too much.

Here’s the score:

Flight from San Francisco to Stavanger, via Copenhagen:

Kari gets bug. Manifests initially as a seemingly benign, if slightly coy, cough, but which, by Switzerland, 10 days later, at the height of the hiking portion of the trip, fully inhabits her and she is down, hard, for the count. Full on flu with all the trimmings. 

Switzerland, day four, she finally sees a kindly Swiss doctor in the remote, carless Alpian (Alpian?) town of Wengen, gets three Rx’s and life soon turns around. Remainder of trip is at full throttle. 

Fight from Paris to San Francisco, via Copenhagen:

Kari gets another bug. Jim gets a bug. Peter gets a bug. Kari goes down first, with two days, and counting, of nasty flu symptoms. Jim’s ramping up. As of today, Peter’s now down for the count… came home from school with fever, chills, aches, the whole enchilada. 

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We have now, since, compiled a list of precautions for future flights–because it’s not like you can’t fly–crowd-sourced from our respective online communities:

  1. Emergent-C + Airborne + orange juice, whipped into a thick, viscous nutrient-rich cocktail. Consume with relish (not the pickle kind).
  2. Have on hand a mini can of Lysol and/or lots of antiseptic wipes to swab down surfaces you will come in contact with on the plane.
  3. Also, use those antiseptic gels and wipes to keep hands clean.
  4. And wash your hands often and often.
  5. Pound those fluids. Fluids, fluids, fluids.
  6. Maybe even wear a mask! Why not? Just to show them you’re serious about enjoying your vacation once you’re off this flying germ factory…it’s not about vanity, baby!
  7. Get lots of sleep; do not let travel exhaustion weaken your reserves for fighting the inevitable bug exposure. Before, during and after those long journeys. Sleep!
  8. Matt even suggested having on hand a broad spectrum antibiotic… just in case.

Because who wants to lose valuable hiking days in the middle of a hiking vacation.

Reconnection

August 27, 2015

Lost in yesterday’s red-letter moment–the start of Peter’s year at the top of the school-age food chain–was a spontaneous trip down to Santa Cruz with Lorilyn.

Lorilyn’s family’s saga continues as Allen’s 3-year work contract ended in Singapore, Quinn begins yet another new school–this time in Northern California–they are reunited with their sweet doggie Aqua, and they have just found a place to settle into, for at least a year, right here in Sacramento. Long story short, there was a key–a very important key–locked in a safe-box in the Santa Cruz house–that was needed up here in Sacramento, and a trip down to get it was a great vehicle for hours and hours and hours of catching up.

So we did that.

More important than all the crazy details of Lorillyn’s family’s life–which they manage with amazing creativity and grace–is the reconnection with a cherished friend.

If life is about family, friends, community, love, sharing, giving….   I feel blessed.

The work of the day was about 1) getting that key; and 2) hauling as many boxes back to Sacramento as would fit in a Toyota Highlander… and still have room for Aqua dog. We built a dog cave:

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She was sad to miss a romp on the beach, and sad with limited attention… note very sad face… but satisfied, I think, with her temporary digs…

Next time, Aqua.

Last First Day

August 26, 2015

It’s going to be a year of lasts.

(Fair warning…I could get obsessed and overwrought with this whole last thing. For example, I was ecstatic when filling out the PTA and volunteer forms for the last time, and pulling together all that registration paperwork FOR THE LAST TIME, and I imagine I’ll have plenty to say about Peter’s senior year and all its many significances as the year goes on. Please bear with.)

With just a smidge of ado, here is the last in the series of first day of school photos.

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Each first day of school photo was taken, more or less, in the same place–next to the front yard sycamore tree (minus second grade, which has mysteriously gone missing). I have to say, while not an original idea, this first day photo project was executed pretty well, and it was quite cool to look at the whole collection, which I ceremoniously posted to Facebook today.

As you might expect, he grows and matures as the series progresses (it’s true!), as does the tree–the tree being that tree, the one planted when Peter was a teeny tiny baby, the one fertilized with his super-duper-vitamin-rich-high-octane placenta, which we’d stashed in the freezer until we’d found the perfect use for it.. lo those many years ago.

We are particularly proud of, and mightily impressed by, the health of that tree.

So anyway, this year’s photo required a flash because Peter’s taking off way earlier than usual to attend the traditional Senior Sunrise…. a breakfast offered to, well, seniors. Kind of a big deal, I guess, as they all seem to go.

The first of many such things to come this year.

 

Back

August 25, 2015

Home. A bit disoriented. But after a flurry of re-entry tasks last night and today, am ready to resume life as a normal Davis person.

We got in last night at about 6:30. Unpacked, separated out the dirty clothes, put a million things away, got through all 1460 emails (the ruthless way), found my computer and iPad–which were so well hidden I couldn’t find them for the longest time–and generally reorganized and reassembled life.

Today, we restocked the kitchen, which’d been emptied of all perishable items, and now has, once again, lots of perishables. Finished all the laundry, moved back into my normal purse, called my mom, looked at the 2000-some photos on two devices, culled some and uploaded the rest to my computer. Dealt with random little details here and there, fell asleep for two hours (the first nap I’ve ever taken in my whole life, just about) and am now backing up my computer with all its brand new vacation pics.

Got Peter ready for his first day of school, too–forms, check writing, lunch assembly. He’ll be up at the crack of dawn for the traditional senior sunrise breakfast (I think they call it). And so begins a huge, big, important year.

Wow.

Speaking of the kid I love so much…. as soon as we got back last night, he changed out of his stale airline clothes–rumpled and smelly from a 24-hour travel day–brushed his teeth, gunky from same, and headed out to meet his pub quiz team. He spent the next couple hours or so huddled with four other guys answering questions and solving problems covering a range of topics… as pub quizzes do. He thinks they came in 7th. Which I think he thinks is pretty good.

While my brain was toast.

The stamina. Boggles my feeble mind.

Will start blogging the trip, oh, maybe tomorrow, and back filling as I go. In the meantime, I did manage to get myself over to Mishka’s for a late morning break… it was heavenly, and oh so familiar.

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PS. These are not short shorts. When i stand up, they go all the way to the knee caps. Where they belong.