About | Our Addictions | the Monkey House | JJ's Special Blend
Where you're either looking for a fix, or just plain bananas

A VERY good cup of coffee

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
written by Java Junkie

I woke up a week ago Monday morning to an angel from heaven quacking like a duck and choo choo choooing in my ear. I smiled to myself and closed my eyes, drinking in the sweetness of echos drifting over the baby monitor as Parker played in his crib. It replenished me much in the way it must feel to have a big glass of juice after being in the dessert for a long long time.

I still didn't quite feel myself exactly but to be honest I don't think I'll ever be the person that I was before all of this. The one thing this has really brought home to me is that you need to have the relationship you WANT to have with a person on the last day of their/your life because there are no guarantees and any day could be anyone's last. Don't let one single person in your life leave this world with you saying "I wish I would have seen/called/talked to them more" because there's never a way to take away that regret. Fill your life with your loved ones, near and far. Pick up a pen and a piece of paper and write far away Aunts and Uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Hold them as close to you as you can NOW. Life and love and family are far too precious to squander spending the days watching reality TV shows instead of making that phone call to that Nana you don't talk to nearly as often as you should.

As the week went on I caught a bit of a cold and a tummy bug but nothing serious at all, and slowly I started to feel more and more like I could feel the sunshine on my shoulders. Like I could breathe deep the cool morning breeze while I sip my morning coffee. I took advantage of the blankness in my mental space that had been filled with worry, grief and indignant righteousness and got done some of the things that have gone neglected far too long and planned yet other things. I'm also thinking of joining Monkey as a part-time student come spring because as much as I love photography, I haven't taken a class in it since high school and there really is SO much for me to learn. I'm not sure if I'd ever make a career out of it (although I'd like to) but I do feel if I have the opportunity and can at least muster enough energy for 6 - 8 hours a week to devote to something I love and didn't then I wouldn't be the person that I have always been. I wouldn't be the person devoted to self improvement and education and expanding horizons that I've always thought I was and taught my son to be. I would be the worst kind of hypocrite. I would be the kind that blames their downfalls on a few bumps in the road instead of standing up, dusting myself off, and walking toward that expanding horizon.

I feel like my life is changing before my eyes and I'm watching with baited breath waiting to see what will happen next, but in a good way. So much of me, my life, myself was tied up with my mother, her illness, our battles to to address her problems and the energy all of that just drained from me. Now that she is gone and I have said my goodbye to her I feel like I can finally move on with my life and now I have no idea where that will lead. To some that might be frightening. I could be paralyzed with fear not knowing where to go or what to do. But I think in my heart I know that it's opportunity. I may be a little older than most just starting their life but now I get to choose where it leads to. As I sit here drinking a VERY good cup of coffee.

Thank you to all of you for your support. Through posts here, emails and even phone calls I didn't quite feel so alone and you'll never know (I hope) just how much that means.


Saturday, August 19, 2006
written by Java Junkie

Today is the last day I have to write the eulogy for my mother and grandmother's dual memorial service. Today is the day that we pick up the things we'll need for the luncheon afterward. Today is the day that I pick out what all three of us will wear to the service and pack Parker's stuff to spend the day at Monkey's parents house tomorrow. It's the day that I try to sift through the pictures I've taken of my boys and have them developed so that I can share them with family members that I never get to see. Today I ache from head to toe - especially in my heart.

Today is the eve of the last day of being trapped in this feeling. Tomorrow I will say goodbye to my mother and my grandmother. Monday I will start fresh. Monday is a new beginning. I hope.

The Secret of My Own Addiction

Thursday, August 17, 2006
written by Java Junkie

While visiting one of my most favorite blogs (for the second time today!) Life Of Pie, I read of a challenge put forth by another blog I read on occasion, Her Bad Mother. I read about 3 paragraphs into Kittenpie's post when I decided to leave the post temporarily to read specifically of the challenge. It wasn't technically a challenge. It was a call for help, a plea, an inward question asked aloud. The challenge, quite honestly, felt like something that should be simple but in reality is one of the most difficult things I've ever thought to do. It shall take me into the depths of my heart and the furthest reaches of my soul. It will be a test of skill that I shall more than likely fail and a trial that will be the most rewarding thing I've ever done on paper. Is it possible to write of the physical plane of love for a child and be understood?

I have yet to return to Kittenpie's post and finish it. I knew that I wanted to write without the influence of her words. She is an amazing, incredible writer and I also didn't want to feel so inadequate in my written expression that I would shy away from writing about this. I NEED to write about this. For it is this bond with my children that has gotten me through the darkest of my life. It is the touching and the smelling and the feeling and the soft love that is sitting on my lap watching Jack's Big Music Show that has pulled me through my days as of late.

Countless women, and men for that matter, have heard their parents talk about the first time they held them. How they were overcome with emotions. We all smile and nod our head and appreciate our hokey parents when they do this. We never realize just what a profound life-changing thing it actually is to hold your baby for the first time until we have children of our own. There's no way we could. There's no way to convey the flood of emotions. It's as if a levee that you never even knew existed and has been restraining all of this love suddenly breaks and you're standing directly in it's path. It washes over you. You can feel it on your skin, in your muscles, deep in your bones and down to your soul. And it becomes part of you, changing who you are forever.

The particularly unique thing about this is that it happens every time you bring another child into the world. When I had my first son, Lou, I nearly died and spent 8 long hours in recovery before I could even hold him. When I could finally stay conscious long enough that they felt it was safe to bring him to me they placed him in my arms. He was adorable, all scrunched up and puffy and I loved him much in the same way you love a niece or nephew. And then I started to sing our special song to him. The same song I had recorded myself singing and played to him for months before he was born via a headset on my tummy. The same song I sang to him in the delivery room when they placed him on my gurney next to my head. He looked up to me and recognized the song. It was if he knew I was his mommy, knew he was safe, knew what every mother wants to be able to tell their newborn baby. And when I saw this in his eyes the levee broke. I audibly gasped for breath because the wave had hit me so hard. And from that point on there is truly only one word that comes close to being able to describe the physicalness of the love for my children. Addiction.

I could haphazardly say that I need my children like I need to breathe but that would be a quick fix, entirely inadequate and completely inaccurate. While it's true that you need to breathe and that it's a physical need, we are usually not conscious of this need. Our bodies need oxygen so our brains send out the necessary messages to the necessary parts that respond in kind and we take a breath. It's all done on an automatic level. But, as the word automatic implies, we can choose to not breathe. We can hold our breath, even if only for a few moments. We can, in other words, stop breathing. Even at the risk of death I could not, even for the smallest fraction of a second, stop loving my children, even if I wanted to. And I can't even fathom or imagine wanting to. Because while I love my children so much it's actually painful, even in the most blissful of occasions, it's a pain and a bliss that I rejoice and revel in. It is a pain and a bliss that I could not exist without and that I thank God every day for blessing me with. I am a junkie for my kids ten fold.

I have the unique blessing of having a toddler that I can still get, however and forever and painfully exiguous, my fix. I can hold, and kiss, and pinch and love and cuddle and bury my nose in his neck while my older son moves into his own space, his own young adult hood, his own person and body. I can pull him onto my lap and breathe him in and I transcend into a plane that is neither me nor him nor neither. And even as I run my hands over the soft, pink flesh that is his belly, or cheeks or neck or legs or feet my heart is breaking because it wants more. I want to pull him into me, smush us together like two handfuls of dough to become one. Not to end him and not to end me, but to be THAT CLOSE to him. And yet I know that even if that were possible it wouldn't be close enough and it would be a tragedy to the entire world to void it of the beauty that is my son. The love for my children is painful. Painful because it will never be enough. There will never be enough time, enough laughter, enough smell or warm embrace or soft, wet kisses to satisfy the need that my heart, my soul, my body has. I will never be able to appease the addiction within me. And yet, I could never stop trying.

It is because of this addiction that I hate time. I want to stand forever next to his crib while he pulls me to him, his face buried into my chest while I kiss his head and rub his back. I want the dishes to do themselves, the beef for dinner to hop out of the freezer and on to a plate to defrost on it's own so that I can keep snuggling him on the couch. I want the phone to float to me when it rings and the laundry to magically shake off it's soil, freshen, fold and put itself away. I want nothing to come between my fix and me. I close my eyes and soak it in, like a sponge dropped at the shoreline of the ocean. I peacefully drink in his essence as though it was nectar from the Gods and it refreshes my soul. The warmth of his skin washes over me like a cool rain on a hot day, feeding the love I have for him and allowing it to bloom even larger, more radiant and beautiful than it was before. And I want it to last forever. I don't want to have to put him down or him to need to run and play and I selfishly hold on for as long as I can.

My addiction also has a playfully sadistic side. I crave to make him squeal with delight as my fingers find the spots on his ribs that throw him into giggling convulsions. It forces me to submerge my face into the warm, fluffy softness of his belly and blow. It compels me to grab his ankle and graze the bottom of his foot and toes with my teeth and watch him wreath around on his back beneath me. It drives me to pinch the muscles of his upper inner thigh while he instinctively kicks and squirms and laughs and washes away all dinginess life has shadowed my day with. I am urged on by my addiction, as if it were sitting on my shoulder with horns and a pitchfork, until right before it becomes no longer fun for the target of my mischievous torture.

Perhaps my biggest addiction of all is knowledge. The knowledge that he knows he will always be safe with me. The knowledge that he's secure and that his every need will be met. That he knows that he will always be loved and cherished and encouraged and cheered for. Most of all, however, I'm addicted to knowing that he shares my addictions. That he needs me almost as much as I need him.

Grave Robbers

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
written by Java Junkie

The pain and sorrow is what most people relate to when someone they know suffers the loss of someone close to them. Typically "the arrangements" are handled by one person and are really not thought about or at least spoken about unless the concern of financial burden is present. Decisions about what kind of service and who should be contacted seem as though they'd be made without much mental duress, leaving all the room for the emotional strain that a person would need. That is how I always assumed it was, anyway.

As the days grow nearer to my mother and grandmother's dual memorial service, however, I find out evermore how wrong I was. Today I got a nice good look into the seedy life that is running a cemetery. In 1975 my grandparents bought two plots and two vaults. In 1995 my mother bought a plot next to my grandparents'. While both my mother and grandmother wanted to be cremated, they wanted their ashes to be placed in their plots next to my grandfather. A month ago my brother contacted the cemetery and informed them that we'd like to have the joint service on August 20th. We really had/have no other choice for dates. My Aunt lives in New Mexico and would be here during that time, leaving shortly thereafter and Sunday is the only day of the week both my Tover and Monkey share as a day off from work. The cemetery had no problem with this and was happy to arrange it. Of course what they were most happy about we wouldn't find out until last week.

At the end of last week my Tover called them to give details as to time and whether or not we'd need the chapel and they informed him that since they're not typically open on Sundays that there would be an "overtime" charge of $200. He was a bit upset that this wasn't told to us originally and he and I discussed how to proceed. The cemetery suggested that we have the service on Sunday but that they take care of the cremains "at (their) convenience." We both feel that it's very important to us to know my mother and grandmother were actually laid to rest and not just thrown in a trash can or something not to mention the closure of it. My brother nailed it, saying "I kind of need the period at the end of the sentence."

After talking about it we decided to sell the two vaults that wouldn't be used (my Aunt wants her cremains tossed off a cliff and neither Tover or I are interested in the vaults for our own use) back to the cemetery to pay for the "overtime." I placed the phone call today to the cemetery to find out if that was acceptable. I was told, after some hemming and hawing, that yes they would do that. The woman said she'd have to speak to her supervisor to find out the details and call me back. When she did she told me that the figure she had given my brother only a few days before for the overtime charges was incorrect. The amount was actually double that because supposedly she had given Tover over time charges based on Saturday's rate not Sunday's. She also told me that they wouldn't credit us with the amount that the two vaults were worth today but rather what my grandparents paid for them in 1975 - a figure she didn't have right then coincidentally. After hearing this I said that I was almost positive that the paperwork had been kept and that my brother would be able to find out "if you need." She stammered and then said she would call me back as soon as she found the contract. She called about a half an hour later and said that they would be able to credit us $195 for each vault, essentially paying for the overtime charges. I am 100% confident that had I not stated my brother had the paperwork she would have given me a MUCH lower figure.

Let me state here and now if anyone ever so much as considers putting me, ashes or otherwise, into a cemetery I will return from the grave and haunt them for the rest of their lives. Who would have thought that those that are entrusted to lay our loved ones to rest for all eternity would turn out to be such shysters.

Bits of Tid...

Friday, August 11, 2006
written by Java Junkie

Ok first of all, sorry for the delay in posting Part 2. I think I'll end up condensing it down to a single paragraph or two contained in this post. For the last couple days Monkey, Parker and I have come down with something.. We're not quite sure what but it's really kicking our butts in the energy and muscle ache department. Two days ago I woke up feeling like I was going to hurl, which I actually never did but felt like I was going to most of the day. I chalked it up to the migraine I got mid-afternoon and yesterday when I went in to get Parker from his crib he had a panicked look on his face and he was gasping. At first I thought he was choking on something so I proceeded to pry his mouth open and then even tried to gently feel around with my finger to see if I could feel/get anything. What I got was handfuls of vomit, poor baby.

The two days prior to that I was in a place I've never been in before. I was:
1.) Uninspired (been there)
2.) Completely exhausted (been there) and...

I don't remember ever being bored in my life. Nothing sounded like something I wanted to do. Nothing. But yet I was so bored. Monkey suggested I post but see #1? Lots of topics entered my mind to post about but I didn't actually feel like writing, ya know? Anyway.. So here I am, lots of tidbits to post about so I'll try to be as succinct as possible.

Monkey's News:

I told him I'd give him until (last) Monday to tell people but he was too busy feeling like poo and trying to milk it for all it's worth. So the big news is that he's going back to school. He's going for Networking Interface blah blah blah somethingcomputerIhavenofriggenidea part time at night. It'll take him 3 years to earn the degree but we're all very excited here. That's a long way from his post a month ago about lacking self motivation.

Do You Love Me Part Deux:

Essentially after I got my dad home he became the world's biggest pain in the ass ever (said with all the love in the world.) I brought him home Sunday and tended to his every need all day long. By 11:00 p.m. I realized I hadn't even had a chance to eat anything all day long and found that my dad didn't have any pots or pans (they were in the oven I found out later.) So I grabbed a bowl and a saucer plate and nuked up some ramen noodles just to have SOMETHING, threw the bowl, plate and fork in the sink with the coffee cup, plastic tumbler and three pieces of silverware that were there and trudged my arse to bed with plans of doing the dishes after making my dad breakfast. I awoke at 6:45 a.m. to the sound of my DAD DOING THE DISHES because I had left them from the night before. I soon found out that since he's been living alone for the last 4 years he's become quite cantankerous about his house. After I shooed him back to bed, finished the dishes, made him breakfast and did THOSE dishes, I quick washed up in the bathroom sink and ran out to fill some prescriptions and pick up some supplies. Before heading out he asked if I would change the sheets on his bed when I got back and of course I said "Of course, Daddy." I was gone an hour. When I got back he had changed his sheets himself, made himself a second helping of oat meal and had THOSE dishes in a sink full of soapy water and was starting to wash them. Remember, this is the day after I BROUGHT HIM HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL.

I did my best to keep up with him, keep on top of his needs and often sacrificed my own (food, coffee, showering, sleep.) But by Tuesday it was clear to me (and him) that he was truly well enough to take care of himself and that I was only irritating him by only being one person with two arms instead of two people with eight. I called Monkey and asked him to make the trek back to Michigan to pick me up after he got out of work. I spent Tuesday doing everything that I could think of to make my dad's life easier after I left. I wasn't terribly worried because his (temporary) roommate who USE to be a nurse and after decades of marriage and children has decided to go BACK to get her RN's licence again would be back on Thursday which meant he'd only have one day by himself and his best friend Jack who is a retired doctor would be visiting anyway. I did more shopping, laundry and dishes. I cleaned the bathroom and scrubbed the kitchen down. I even got the good people at Johnny Rockets to open up their doors to me an hour early and bought a huge tub of their chili for him. By Tuesday night I was so glad to see Monkey and to be going home I nearly cried. I've never been away from Parker for more than 3 or so hours before and it had been since Friday evening that I had been able to kiss ANY of my babies.

My In-Laws Party as the End of Women's Suffrage

Every year the church my in-laws live across from have an entire fair come set up on their vast lawn, complete with games, rides, fair food stands, gambling, rap music and the vast collection of people from every walk of life Toledo has to offer, from 280 lb Bobbi Sue in her little sister's tank top that the Salvation Army wouldn't accept and her 5 children whom are afraid of soap and water to Biff and Muffy in their his and hers matching Polo shirts and tennis sweaters. To celebrate this event my in-laws throw a party (and lemme tell ya, this family knows how to throw a party. Enough food to shame Thanksgiving and enough booze to.. well get a whole lotta people a whole lotta drunk.) It's the kind of party that their kids aren't afraid to invite their friends to. Their ADULT kids. Monkey invited his best friend and his wife and a very good time was had by all until religion, politics and women's rights were brought into topic. That's when I felt like the floor was pulled out from under my feet. When the reality of how much just four short years can change who people are slapped us directly on the face.

It's easy to think you still know the beliefs of your friends when you don't talk about them. It's natural to think that someone you've known for years still feels at least in the same fundamentals as they did when you last spoke with them about it. In other words, it's easy to be wrong and.. well you know what they say about when you assume.

We were speaking about our plans the next day and well, this being on a Saturday, we openly discussed the possibility of going to church (I refuse to be ashamed of my beliefs and am not shy about talking about them, but that's for another post.) They go to a Baptist church just down the road from my in-laws and we go to a Unitarian church downtown. The conversation drifted from how involved we were or were not in our church to our own personal faiths. I was saying how I'm very much a hippy kind of believer where God is all about love and peace and acceptance and understanding and she was conveying how she's still very founded in the religious roots in which she was raised, fire and brimstone. Anyone who really knows me knows this is the kind of conversation I live for. I LOVE "deep" conversation with good people, ESPECIALLY when they have different views. I thrive on the opportunity to grow and learn and have a better understanding of who they are as people and of the world in general. Unfortunately the conversation took a turn I didn't expect or prepare myself for and I found my mouth agape. As I look back I see that I was the one that opened the door for that direction, too.

My first husband was born and raised Baptist. Not just Baptist but farm community old school Baptist. And he wasn't just born and raised as a Baptist, he actually got a bachelor's degree in Religious Study and Inner Discipline at Mt. Hope Bible (then College now Training Institute) in Lansing, MI. and served as a youth minister for awhile. I decided to share with the two guests we had invited of the time when, right before we were married, my first husband told me he expected me to recite the traditional Baptist wedding vows where the man promises to be a strong and loving leader and the woman vows to submit to his leadership. Before I could even voice my disbelief that someone would want such a thing Monkey's friend's wife was wholeheartedly agreeing... WITH THE VOWS.

They come from a dual income family and as of yet have no children (which they're working on) but she quickly and quite succinctly stated that if they were to have children she would happily stay at home and raise them. Good for her, right?! I mean I AM a stay at home mom, I love being a stay at home mother, I love my children and I love raising them. I think every parent should do what's right for them and if staying home is what her heart tells her to do then more power to her. But she continued. She wouldn't expect her husband to do "anything" when he came home from work but sit in his favorite chair. No housework, no lawn work, no fixing broken plumbing, no taking out the garbage, no parenting, nothing. She would do it all. She would rub his feet, make his drink and be happy, and I swear to God this is a direct quote, "to cut his toenails for him." She would tend to his every whim and need. I sat there stunned feeling as though someone had pelted me in the face with a snowball unexpectedly. And then I continued to listen, and try to converse, as she would start to complain about someone with whom she worked that had a stay at home wife who actually expected her husband to DO things when he got home.. and then follow each statement with "oh but you probably agree with that" as if I were some sort of dirty evil tramp street urchin out to drag her unborn children into a life of drugs, sex and *gasp* women's liberation.

Don't get me wrong. PLEASE don't get me wrong. If this is what they want, both of them, then I do hope they have all that they want and are happy with it. I just really had no idea that people we hang out with on a semi-regular basis could have such different values and outlooks from ourselves. And I'm having a hard time reconciling how to proceed with a friendship. Do we simply stick to topics that are of common ground like the latest game console to come out or do we simply agree to disagree while secretly knowing that I'm the dirty evil street tramp that will show their children the gateway from doing chores to hell?

Attacked by a lampshade...

Saturday, August 05, 2006
written by Monkey

Originally uploaded by CCli.

This, my friends, is what happens when you drop a lampshade on your foot.... particularly the lampshade on the taller lamp pictured here...

It's like 1/4th inch thick tempered glass and it landed just right as I was putting them together... don't get me wrong... I like the lamps... I just hated assembly :P

A call to Duty

Friday, August 04, 2006
written by Java Junkie

While you're all waiting (at the edge of your seats, I'm sure *rolling my eyes at myself*) for part B, all of you need to hound Monkey for the INCREADIBLE WONDERFUL EXTREMELY AWESOME news that he has to share with you all!

It's HIS news so I can't share without feeling totally guilty but I'm bursting at the seams to tell you all some great news for a change!

Do you love me? Do you REALLY love me? Part A

written by Java Junkie

The exact name of the procedure they tried to do on my Dad was "Left Lower Lobe Video Assisted Thoracotomy" but they had to give up on the video assisted and just go for a regular thoracotomy, which creates a much bigger incision and a bit more recovery but not much. The tumor was essentially in the center of his lower lobe so trying to direct a miniature video camera through lung tissue to it was next to impossible really. Luckily the doctor knew almost exactly where it was and the incision was only 4 - 5 cm long. The surgery went extremely well. They didn't need to give a tracheotomy, which they had thought was a strong possibility because my Dad's radical neck dissection 5 years ago and the following radiation and chemo has left his throat with no left side muscle and tons of scar tissue. They were also almost positive that if he didn't need a tracheotomy he'd at least have to have a breathing tube in for a day or two. The thought of this absolutely terrified my Dad and we were extremely blessed because he was breathing very well on his own after surgery and they were able to remove the tube almost immediately.

What followed afterward, however, was a different story. While not technically an after surgery issue, the surgery itself started two hours later than scheduled and afterwards it took the hospital 4 and a half hours to find a bed/room for my dad. His surgery was scheduled for noon and it wasn't until 9:30 at night that I essentially demanded to see him because no one had yet told him the news of the biopsy and this is what scared him most (naturally.) They had just gotten him a room and were still hooking up IV's and such when I bounced in and told him it was negative. He managed a smile and a thumbs up before slipping away under the influence of residue anesthesia. He looked incredible for someone who had just been through such an ordeal. His color was great and the minimal nose tube for oxygen was beautiful compared to what we were told to expect. We were lulled into a false sense of security by the RN's almost eager sharing of information. What machine did what, told what, what it meant, what they were looking for, what each tube was doing, etc. I asked about diet because not only was my dad the world's pickiest eater BEFORE his RND 5 years ago but now he's essentially on a soft diet because this fact combined with the scar tissue, lack of muscle control and the fact that his saliva glands were burned out by the radiation has left him with only a handful of food items that he can and will eat. I was told I could bring some yogurt in for his lunch and by dinner he should be on a normal diet. I asked for the dietitian to come first thing in the morning. After watching over him for a half an hour or so, Monkey and I made our way back to my (step)mom's house.

We woke up, made a quick trip to the grocery store and headed over to the hospital. They had my dad on an epidural for pain along with self controlled morphine. It seemed to be doing ok. Now understand that while my dad is a big guy, he's very sensitive to any and all pain medication whether narcotic in nature or even as simple as Advil so this was more than enough. Monkey and the boys had to head home Friday evening so sometime mid-afternoon after Dad had ate two Yoplaits and assured he was good for a couple hours we headed back to Mom's house where Monkey and I crashed for a little while on the couches while Parker finished his second nap of the day. When we were all rested we all hopped into the van and headed back, boys in tow with a plan to meet my Tover and his boys there. Monkey and the boys dropped me back at my mom's on their way back to Toledo. The next day my opinion of the hospital would go to hell in a hand basket.

I got their around 11:00 because I had stopped at a Michigan/Northern Ohio/Northern Indiana store called Meijer. They're a fully stocked grocery store, extremely decent department store, pharmacy, deli and coffee house all in one. I wanted to pick my dad up some more yogurt, myself a cooler top and a couple games for the DS to keep me busy during dad's naps. When I got there he told me that the epidural stopped working sometime in the morning and rather than call the anesthesiologist back in they simply removed it. However what they didn't tell my dad OR I was that along with the self controlled morphine they also put him on a morphine drip AND they were injecting his IV with both an anti-inflammatory that causes drowsiness and a narcotic based pain reliever geared toward muscle pain. The dietitian showed up and my dad and I worked together with her to make sure she understood the kinds of food he not only would eat but COULD eat. He fell asleep shortly afterwards and a couple hours later I slipped out for some lunch. By the time I got back he was so drugged out of his mind I couldn't get more than one or two words out of him before he was passing out, even to the most important questions. And every time he sat up for any purpose at all he was puking his brains out. I repeatedly told the nurse that I felt he was on too many pain meds. Repeatedly she'd smile and nod and promise to "look into it." They also were taking more than an hour to bring my dad some more water, come to change sheets he had bled and vomited on, left him sitting passed out in a chair hooked up to various machines for an hour AFTER I requested help getting him back into bed (and was told someone would be in right away to help). He was left in a dirty, bloody, hospital gown and after they brought him in the things to change and wash up I was left to give him a sponge bath myself (not that I cared, I just think it's something that should be done by someone who knows what can and cannot be unplugged for a minute should do.) For dinner he was brought a cheese burger. My dad's daily diet consists of yogurt, Johnny Rocket's chili (which is very "Hormel no beans" like in consistency) and the like because of his radical neck dissection and the toll the radiation had on his mouth, tongue, and saliva glands. Essentially there is no muscle on the left side of his mouth and throat, his teeth and saliva glands were destroyed by the radiation and they didn't want him to have his dentures, either. And they brought him a CHEESEBURGER. When I took it back out and explained, once again, the type of foods he could eat I got the nod and the smile. An hour later the RN asked if ANOTHER cheeseburger had been brought up to the room, this time cut up. I wanted to say "My dad had surgery on his NECK, NOT his brain! If he could eat normal food if it was simply cut up he could cut it up HIMSELF" but opted instead for something less offensive to which the RN suggested they put it in a blender for him. I asked her if SHE would eat a cheeseburger that had been "blenderized" to which she replied with a grimace and a head shake. I smiled politely and said "Exactly. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD."

After I came back from a dinner with my Tover and his kids they had finally agreed that he was on way too many pain meds and taken him off the morphine drip. He was a bit more coherent, in that he could actually get most of a whole sentence out before slipping back into unconsciousness. I knew it would just take some time for all of the drip to wear off and stayed until about 10:30 at night before heading back home. He called me by 10 the next morning telling me he essentially demanded to be released because after the drip did wear off he had the worst night he's ever had in a hospital, complete with the aid putting his ice water next to his used but not emptied urinal bottle.

I'll write about getting him home tomorrow. It's much more interesting and funny. All in all I'm ecstatic at the results of the surgery but severely disappointed in the hospital's performance in my dad's after care. It's the entire reason for the title of this post but as usual I got a little long winded. :)

To market to market to buy a fine pig.

Thursday, August 03, 2006
written by Java Junkie

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm home now. I actually got home about midnight Tuesday. There's a good post in the making but I've been battered by daily cyclonic migraines and long over due house keeping/organizing. Look for something tomorrow.

It's good to be home.