Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A dull moment. My kingdom for a dull moment.

There is never a dull moment around here.

You'll recall me blogging about Jed coughing up blood a couple of weeks ago. They changed his asthma inhaler and sent us on our way, and things seem to be fine so far.

Then one day last week Dr Roe phoned me to say, "Could you bring Jed back in. We are reviewing his chest xrays and there is an unclear area. It's probably nothing, but we want to be sure. Either go to his regular doctor or bring him back to ER. We would like it about 10 days from the initial visit, so either Sunday or Monday. I'll be in ER both evenings if he comes here."

I had no idea they revisit your xrays after you leave the hospital. I just assumed that since they are always so busy, you are in and you are out and they never think of you again. So there you are, Kore. (He was disappointed that we hadn't asked to keep Albert's xray showing the nail through his thumb.)

I thought it best to stick with the same doctor rather than trying to explain to Jed's regular doctor why he is asking for a chest xray.

Sunday night when it was time to head off to the hospital, Jed insisted he wanted to go alone. He said either he'd ride his bike or, if I insisted on participating, I could drop him off in the parking lot and he'd phone me later to come back and pick him up.

I wasn't particularly looking forward to sleeping in a hospital chair again. And neither was I wanting to sit around at home waiting to play chauffeur. Jed rode his bike.

Jed discovered it's not nearly as fun sitting in a treatment room for 2 or 3 hours all by yourself as it is to have your lovely mother there to entertain you. He only used the buzzer button twice to call someone to ask how long it will take. (I tried to explain that is like calling 911 for no reason)

He returned home to say all was fine.

Monday morning Jed gets a phonecall from his regular doctor. They have received his xrays from the hospital and something has come up so he needs to come in.

He hung up the phone and told me he has an appointment next Monday. I asked what time. "Oh, I forget." he says, and calls the doctor's office back. Details ain't his strong point. Which is why I really am hoping there is some way we can convince Jed that either Albert or I need to go with him to his doctor appointment. Somehow I just don't see him eagerly agreeing. And the damn privacy laws prevent me from speaking directly to the doctor myself.

We'll see what happens.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are you still a "little kid" if you're over 50?

When I blogged about age last night, I fully intended it to be about Matt's 50th birthday that we attended on the weekend. But once I start typing the story just sorta flows out and I don't really consciously control where it goes.

Anyway Matt is 50. I over heard one of the elder siblings say, "Man, it really makes you realize how old we're all getting when one of the 'little kids' turns 50."

There are really 3 or 4 'generations' within the Ziemer family. There are the 'older girls' (Judy, Lucy, Muriel, Darlene) then John and Jim who are sometimes included with the older ones. Then Val and Peter had their own grouping. And Matt headed up the 'younger kids,' who also included Albert, Tim, Bernie and baby Coralie.

To me age is just a number. It didn't bother me to turn 30 or 40, and I trust 50 will come without an emotional breakdown as well.

But sitting there listening to the siblings stand around the hymn book singing, I thought, "Fifty years ago they were doing the same thing. FIFTY YEARS AGO!" Somehow that made it seem like a really really long time. But neither my husband nor I were even born so I was able to brush it off.

The siblings sing around a hymn book for old time's sake.
(Five of the boys and two girls were there. The rest are 2nd generation and inlaws)

Tineke, Matthew and David did a "fashion show" showing that when you are number 9 in a line of 13, you don't really develop a sense of haute couture.

In this family, one is never too old for the birthday bumps:

Or a dogpile!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pills, plastic and elastic.

Old age just creeps up on you. You can't fight it. And really, often you don't even try to fight it because bizarre things just become acceptable to your aging mind.

Take for example elastic waist pants. Who, at 16, could have wildly imagined wearing them? At 44 I can hardly wait to get home from work and put them on. Truth be told, I even wear them to work some days. But only with a long top. But I fully anticipate the day will come when I will probably be tucking a button-up blouse into those same elastic waist pants.

And food. Remember snickering under your breath when someone made their food and drink choices on more than "it tastes good and I want it." Can't drink coffee in the evening. Spicy foods aggravate my stomach. You don't eat chips or chocolate cake for breakfast. Take the higher fiber option. Peanut butter causes heartburn. And every meal is followed by Tums.

And pills. When you are under thirty five the pill means only one thing. And before long you need one of those plastic containers with the days of the week labeled on it so you can remember if you took your brown pill today, and how many white pills are left. And I anticipate the day will come when I have a triple decker pill container that not only has days of the week, but morning noon and night as well.

And lawn ornaments. Who in their first decade of home ownership would have dreamed of ever decorating their yard with plastic animals and wirly-gigs on a stick. Yesterday I found these rabbits left over from Easter for $2.40 in the grocery store. And on my next day off they will be in my flower garden. Along with my dollar store silk daffodils.

And if I knew how to crochet, I'd probably make a cover for my toilet paper.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Small things amuse small minds.

For some reason this struck me as hilarious. Here's a screen shot from facebook. There was an advertising banner for an IQ testing site. And because facebook knows everything about everyone, it included all my children in the promo. Apparently Jed is significantly more intelligent than the rest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Sleep" over.

You really take your chances when you offer to have a sleep over with a child who is not quite seven weeks old.

We kept Xander overnight on Saturday and then I took him to church on Sunday. And while this is not something I will sign up for on a weekly basis, truthfully, the experience could not have gone any smoother.

We had a fun evening swinging, reading stories and having a bath. Xander was down for the count by 10:30 and I was awake for no more than 30 minutes at 2am to feed and change him.

Granny and PaPa's sleep was a little bit restless because Xander likes to snort and thrash around in his sleep. I'd lay there thinking, "Ok, now he's gonna squawk and I'm gonna have to get up." But he never did wake up until morning.

He woke up about 7:15 happier and more talkative than I have ever seen him. It was fun (as fun as 7 am can be)

He played and stayed awake until the 9 o'clock car ride to church where he fell asleep. And while I envisioned him singing louder than the choir, he actually slept through the entire service except for a brief 10 minute period when he woke up and looked around smiling and wowing all the women around him.

I'm very proud of him .......... can you tell?

Listening intently to Uncle Jed read Dr Suess.

Loves his bath time now.

He woke up just cooing and grinning away.

Picking a Sunday outfit was a big decision,
but the Canucks won out.

Reading to Xander is good practice for Uncle Jed:

Saturday, April 18, 2009


*******WARNING *************
Graphic images of flesh wounds.

"Do you wanna go to the ER?" my husband greeted me when I answered the phone this afternoon.

"What happened now!?!"

"I sorta drove a nail through my thumb with the air nailer."

And so began my second trip to ER this week.

A few days ago Jed was coughing up blood. Lots of blood. It had happened a couple of months ago and his doctor told him to come in if it happened again. Turns out the back of his nose is all raw and bleeding and as it drained down his throat, he was coughing it back up.

The doctor showed me his throat and although I'm not really into blood, it was quite interesting to watch the blood flow like a waterfall down the back of his throat and Jed couldn't even tell it was happening.

Dr Roe suspects it could be from his asthma inhaler and went on to explain the different types of puffers and what each does and changed him from an orange one to a blue non steroid one.

It only took 3 and half hours of sitting in a chair to find all that out. Well actually Jed went for chest xrays and stuff but I sat in a chair for 3 and a half hours. I actually slept in that chair, except every time Jed realized I was sleeping he'd say, "Mom! Wake up. You can't sleep in the hospital." I was unable to convince him that you are supposed to sleep in hospitals - that's what they are for."

Jed displays his vial of blood
while awaiting the results of his chest xray:

Yes, I can sleep sitting in a chair:

When I arrived in the ER today, Alb was just checking in. He, thoughtful of those around him, had a cloth draped over his hand to disguise the gruesome image even though it was not bleeding. I was surprised to see the cloth on his right hand.

On the way to the hospital of course all sorts of scenarios play through your head. But I thought it would definitely be his left hand that was injured because he would normally hold the air gun with his right hand. I thought that even if he lost his whole thumb, at least he would still be able to play the guitar without a left thumb.

Then I silently apologized to God for all the times we've joked about needing to be missing a body part to be a grandpa in this family.

Grandpa and Jed had brought Albert in to the hospital (Alb had been building a wall in his Dad's basement) so there were the four of us standing at the triage desk while he was admitted. I gave Jim's name and info as an alternate emergency contact. This offended Jed.

"I could be the contact," he says.

The nurse was very patient and understanding and said, "Do you want on here. I can add your information." And she proceeded to take his info.

So Grandpa pipes in, "I'm his Dad. My name is Ernie." And so Grandpa got his info added to the records as well. It was all quite funny and the nurse joked about seeing if anyone else in the waiting room wanted on the list.

When you have a 3 inch barbed nail sticking through your thumb, you don't have to sit in the ER waiting room, they take you right in to a treatment room.

The x-ray showed that the nail had just grazed along the bone so it was not nearly as bad as it looked, or as it could have been. So they gave him a tetanus shot, froze his hand and looked around for a pair of pliers to pull it out with. Not finding any pliers they used their largest tweezers, and with a little wiggling out came the nail and a gush of blood. But the blood stopped before too long with some applied pressure and stitches were not needed.

And voila! We were out of the hospital in time for Albert to attend his music practice at 7 o'clock. Sans guitar.

***Graphic pics below***

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

They just don't get it. Yet.

We just got back from a last minute trip to Kamloops. It was short but it was nice to get away none-the-less.

Turns out that Dan and Tamara and Connie and Jordanna were there as well. I know we all live in the same town, but it seems we have to go away or have a family reunion to see anyone. So with all the siblings but Jen being there, it was a great opportunity for them to tease me mercilessly about my role as Granny.

I let them harass me about having 200 pictures of the five week old infant. (I don't know where the number 200 came from but I just left it at that, not daring to admit it's probably closer to 500) But hey, it's the digital age and it costs nothing to preserve your memories.

Apparently posting videos of your grandchild pooping his diaper is not particularly acceptable. But they just don't know cuz they don't have grandchildren yet. Besides, it gave them all something to talk about. And I will guarantee that every one of them has watched that video more than once.

I knew I'd never hear the end of it when I asked if we could go to Toys R Us. I bought Xander a Fisher Price guitar and a pair of sleepers from the clearance-clearance rack. Pretty self controlled, I thought. The guitar will stay at PaPa's house so they can jam together.

Then we went to Fabricland. Nothing was said of my mother buying 8 meters of fabric to add to her warehouse full. It was acceptable for me to pick up 4 meters of something Barbee wanted to add to her large collection. However, what was the object of ridicule? The fact that I bought ONE lousy meter of flannel. (It's so cute, I couldn't pass up the little frogs in a camouflage background)

But I take it all in stride. They know I have the world's cutest, smartest most lovable grandbaby and the teasing and jesting is just a cover-up for their insane jealousy. One day they will understand.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The cycle just keeps cycling.

Summer is by far my favourite season and winter my least. But I find that spring and fall evoke more emotions in me simply because of the anticipation they carry.

In this area of the world fall is definitely the shortest season, sometimes only lasting a couple of weeks. By the end of August the leaves start turning and rather than enjoy the boundless beauty God displays, I am instead filled with dread at the coming winter. If we get a couple of good wind storms the trees can be stripped naked by the middle of September. And then everything is just dull brown and grey laying in wait for it's white winter blanket. It depresses me.

And then winter comes. And I swear that every winter I have experienced as an adult is a record setting winter in one regard or another. Each year customers come into the store saying how this is "the coldest ever," "the most snow I remember," "the greenest," "the warmest," "the windiest" etc. This year everyone swears there was 10 times more snow than we've had in decades. Well actually I have pictures from last March that show the snow deeper than it was this year. Does anyone remember? No. Because while in the moment, we are certain it's the worst ever.

Spring arrives to remove the blanket of white and leave a dull brown film of sand and salt from the streets and rotten grass and leaves and the stench of defrosting doggy doo. And ahhh, this dirty brown state that I find depressing in the fall is now almost intoxicating as I anticipate flowers and leaves and greenness, and motorbike insurance. And then that first time you look out and realize there is a green hue to the poplar and birch on the hill you can't help but do a little happy dance and throw your poor little bedding plants out to be nipped by the frost that is still certain to appear each night.

It happens every year.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Normally, I'm not all that normal.

The envelope please...

The results are in and after careful consideration by the MRI lab technicians my diagnosis is that I have two cysts on my ovary and a larger fibroid tumour in my uterus. They suspect none of them are cancerous. Yay me!

However they want me to get transvaginal ultra sounds every 6 weeks. I dunno if you've ever experienced one of those. It's kinda like inserting a 14 inch dildo equipped with a micro camera. It even wears a condom and KY jelly. While it's not the worst experience in the world, it's not exactly something I want to sign up for routinely.

I said to my doctor, "Can't you just take the whole mess out?"

"Well, that's not normal procedure." (Apparently they haven't figured out that I'm not normal.)

But he has agreed that it might be a good option for me and has forwarded my file on to a gynecologist for further consultation. Now I await a call from Dr. Galliford's office.

Friday, April 3, 2009

This is cutting into my "Xander Time".

Six months seems to have flown by and it's already time for another appointment with my oncologist. It dawned on me yesterday that I am supposed to be getting a diagnostic mammogram done before I see him. So I phoned to make an appointment. But of course it can't be so easy.

Because I need a diagnostic mammogram, not just a regular screening mammogram I need a doctor's requisition. Of course this cannot be faxed over with phone instructions. I must go into the office and have him hand me a physical piece of paper so that he can get his hundred bucks from the government.

I have an appointment next week with my doctor to get the results from my MRI but I know the last time I booked a mammogram it took quite a while to get in. And since I've known for six months that Dr Bishop's office will be calling in April for my return visit, I figured I'd better be ready, so I'd best not delay the appointment another week.

I squeezed in an appointment before work yesterday. Turns out there's a medical student working alongside my doctor. Rather than just being handed a form, it becomes a long drawn out procession of descriptions of breasts and how to examine them and the procedures to take if the situation is suspect. It was all interesting enough, but I really didn't have time for it.

I got my requisition from the doctor and took the stairs to the lower floor to the mammography clinic. Ooops. I forgot to get the nurse to print a label with my name on it ... back up the stairs I go. No medical procedures can be booked without a printed label.

The whole thing just seems ridiculous to me. The mammography clinic has my records on file. They know I had breast cancer and surgery. They are the ones who told me I require a diagnostic mammogram. And yet there are all these hoops and paperwork to contend with. I cannot imagine what additional costs this adds to the overburdened medical system.

Turns out they have an opening next Wednesday morning, so I book it. This is one day after my MRI results appointment with my doctor, after which I will need to see a surgeon.

I should just buy a monthly parking pass.

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...