Thursday, January 28, 2016

Breaking News: Ma

'Commuted from Morocco to Munich this morning, and all my computer menus and news articles changed from Arabic to German. I can read it, but I did not need to come here for that. I could find German readings at DLI. Just some of the interesting variations in life that occur when you travel.

Ma's condition has gone from life-impairing to life-threatening, and the doctors are going to let her choose the way forward, whether or not to battle on. Uncontrolled blood pressure, which likely caused the stroke in the first place, continues to be a problem, and she failed her swallow test, so she can choose to have a feeding tube or not. I am betting that although she has a living will, she will choose the tube. She has the temperament to fight the effects of the stroke -- and somehow someway she will certainly get her voice back because talking is what she does. One listens; she talks. 

Her kids are streaming back to Maine, most of them, anyway. I won't be able to leave Germany until Saturday. By then, muddy waters should be clear and the urgency of a travel identified.

Gratitude sent for all the prayers. It is a grace to have a choice. 

Thanks to Echo for posting the picture. All mine are in albums at home in Cali.'I am breaking with the Memory Lane reveries to bring some breaking news in the family about Ma, family matriarch. Since Donnie's mother died in 1999, my mother, shown here with Lizzie, has become the family matriarch. One sort of expects matriarchs to go on forever, and those who have read my book, Blest Atheist, certainly know that Ma was not a model mother but very abusive. Nonetheless, a mother is a mother, and a matriarch is a matriarch. One does not think about the death of matriarchs. Nonetheless, that is the situation we are facing -- maybe -- right now.

Two days ago Ma, who has always been strong as a horse (comes from living on a farm), had a massive stroke that has paralyzed her right side and voice (extremely frustrating for her because she is a talker -- one listens, she talks). Today, the doctors determined that she cannot swallow and will need a feeding tube to live, but they are giving her the choice whether to have the feeding tube or not since she is coherent and can communicate by nods. There is also the complication that the surgery to put in the tube could be deadly because her high blood pressure is still not contained.

She was, at first, leaning against the tube but is now leaning toward it. The cboice is to battle on or rest in peace. It is rare that one really has a choice in which both versions are so different but can be right and natural.

While her 8 children would like to weigh in on the decision, of course, we are all giving her the space to make the decision without influence.

Prayers, please, for the grace to make the choice a spiritual one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nikolina, A Few Years Later

I think when my logs got hijacked, Nikolina was still a toddler. Well, she is now in first grade! For those who have followed her from her Miracle Baby status at Stanford University Hospital through the hack date, I have exciting news.

She not only survived, but she thrived. She is a happy, pretty, bright little girl today who loves to ride therapy horses, does well in schools, handles technilogy with zest, and spins around in her wheelchair with zip. She actually can walk, but slowly, with hot pink braces.

School was a challenge medically, but the school invited my daughter-in-law to come to school all day every day in case of medical urgencies and emergencies, and that has worked. Nikolina is not overwhelmed by Mommy, because Mommy helps out all the classes yet is close by for changing ostomy bags or recognizing the need for a dash to the local hospital in Sacramento -- as y'all might recall, they were in the process of moving there when the blog went blank -- or a longer ride to Stanford.

As for all the rest of it, Nikolina leads a normal litlte girl's life: she has birthday parties and goes to birthday parties, loves her cat and big brother, visits Disneyland, plays with other kids, and anything else one would imagine as part of a child's life.

Never out of the woods but oh, so far from the beginning of the path...and so much more light shining through the trees!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

If you take Nexium...

Donnie has a theory that once you start seeing a doctor for one problem, it is all down hill from there. One problem becomes two, two become three...

I am not sure that I agree with this theory of progression, but I am not surprised that medicines -- chemicals we were not born with -- can have some unhappy side effects.

Recently, I was diagnosed with Barrett's Esophagus, a pre-cancer of the esophagus. Nexium, which controls GERD (apparently, half of my friends suffer from this; my own situation is that the GERD is a result of my 37-year-old hiatal hernia) and usually does a pretty good, at least for me, has some side effects, about which my doctor did not warn me, so I found out in an unpleasant way.

A few months ago, I had to have a root canal redone. The endodontist is unsure whether some of the root that had been resorbed would grow back up. Time will tell.

Then, during a routine cleaning and x-ray, the dentist discovered an empty space deep in another tooth and sent me back to the endodontist. He was puzzled. It was resorption. He told me he had no explanation for it, but he could state positively that treatment would be painful since I am allergic to painkiller.

Potential pain turned out to the least of my problems. (I say that with the treatment still pending...) I do not believe that there is "no discernible reason" for problems, so I did some research. It turns out that bone resorption (a good example is teeth) can be a side effect of Nexium.

Now, I am putting much calcium into my body to replace the calcium constantly being stolen by Nexium. Since I cannot give up the Nexium without risking cancer, then lots of milk and calcium pills are on my daily schedule.

Thought I would share in case any followers are also taking Nexium. Ask your doctor about possible resorption -- and good luck.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Doah on Mom's Cooking

My cooking is well known -- for how bad it is. In fact, the topic figured prominently in Doah's book, Mommy Poisoned Our House Guest.

My mother gave up on teaching me to cook years ago, saying that it was too expensive because I ruined so much of what I touched. My kids quickly learned that it was better to have Donnie do the cooking, and I could almost always get them to do whatever I asked by threatening to cook.

There is, however, one thing I can cook well: ham. So, for this new year's New Year dinner, I made a ham. Now, we usually go out to dinner on special occasions since it really is only Donnie, Doah, and I. However, this year, it was rainy and cold and seemed perfect for a ham dinner and fire in the fireplace. Doah was not so certain, however. Right after that, he ran hollering to Donnie, "Come quick! Mom's cooking!" Then, begged him not to let me do it.

I captured Doah's concern right before shutting the oven door.

PS. The ham turned out excellent, by the way!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In my last post, I referred to St. Francis as the "inspirator" of Sula, the parish cat at Old Mission. Perhaps some thought that was because St. Francis is the patron saint of cats. Perhaps others thought that that was because the Franciscans built Old Mission. I imagine no one, or almost no one, thought I meant it literally. But I wonder...take a look at the picture above of Sula, seeming to be taking her daily orders from St. Francis on the mission grounds. (Snapped by one of the docents.)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sula, Parish Cat

Somewhat over two years ago, on my 100th Lamb blog, I related a story of how Sula, our parish cat at Old Mission, shown here in the Nativity scene this year, comes to confession. She also rarely misses a Mass.

I have come to know Sula well over the years, so it seems logical to include some mention of her on my "family" blog. Sula is almost ten years old, including her days of fighting cancer. She often comes up to me at Mass, but she only sits with me when I need some natural comfort.

Well, Sula has become somewhat famous these days. An article I wrote about her was published in the December 2015 Guideposts Magazine as "A Cat with a Mission." Guideposts synopsized the story on its website.

Then, this week, the Hollister Freelance (California paper) carried Sula's story in a touching piece, "Cat on a Mission."

Both articles had excellent pictures, including some that were not in the publications. If you find the Christmas picture endearing, check out these other two sites.

And, please, stand by. Sula is writing her own book, Surviving Cancer, Healing People: One Cat's Story (MSI Press), due out in February (or maybe a tad later). The purpose is to raise money to retrofit her mission home against earthquakes.

So, here is the proverbial ending: "more later."

Have a relaxing weekend -- and find some time to be with Sula's Divine Inspirator, the good Lord (and St. Francis).

Monday, January 4, 2016

Intrepid Needs Prayers

Tomorrow we take Intrepid back to the very special vet in Santa Cruz (a long trip for us) for his umpteenth follow-up. He eats like a pig but is skinny as a snake's shed carcas. According to the local vet, there is no hope for him because his kidneys and pancreas are functioning at less than optimum levels. We were told that the only thing we can do is feed him chicken but without expectation for improvement. So, we took him to a specialist, who did new blood tests and found out why his organs are not functioning properly, as well as why he keeps throwing up and has lost nearly three pounds (of an original 12 pounds; vet says 10 1/2 is his proper weight). So, things are looking up, but we are aware that the reason he is not flourishing is malabsorption and that this is a chronic and life-shortening condition. He is just such a neat little cat that we want to do whatever we can to help him last as happily as possible as long as possible.

He started life as a scruffy little thing. He was found in 2005 in the grass, sans mother, by a professor who worked for me in Amman, Jordan, a country where pets are not common. The professor knew that Dr. Elizabeth would take care of the little thing, and he brought him to me. He was a starving little thing, and I could hear him crying the entire length of the three-landing staircase. When he discovered the food bowl, he did not leave it for two weeks, except to use the litter box. He even slept beside it. In time, he learned to play and explore, earning his name. Once weaned from life beside the food bowl, his curiosity led him to test and try out everything. There was nothing he was afraid of; that continues to this day. In fact, when we took him to the vet on an emergency trip a couple of Sundays ago, the vet on duty commented on the fact that he attempted to stare him down. "Mr. Look Me Straight in the Eye," he called him and explained that feral cats have no fear of looking people in the eye the way that domestic cats tend to.

Well, back to the vet tomorrow. Please say a few prayers for our "Trep."

Search This Blog