Sunday, May 31, 2015

Doggie Heatstroke

Yesterday, Geoff took Brodie for a long walk. He has taken her on this walk many times, but for some reason, yesterday was not a good day. It wasn't really that hot, but she started to struggle. About a half mile from the house she just laid down by the side of the road panting hard and fast, her eyes bloodshot red, and she wouldn't get up. He tried to coax her up... and started to dial my number on his phone.  He didn't quite know what to do. 

A woman had passed him, and turned around, came back and offered him a ride. Now, most kids might say no - I'm calling my mom, but Geoff agreed. She was half his size, no possibility that she was looking to abduct him or hurt him. She opened up her hatchback and Geoff lifted Brodie in. They were at the house in a matter of minutes and Doug began hosing her down with the garden hose. 

Bringing her inside, she laid down on the rug and was just not doing well. I got to google the heat stroke first aid and we figured she needed to be put in the tub after we took her temperature and it was 105 degrees.

Cool water in the tub for her to be in, and cups of water poured over her head. Eventually she started drinking the water too, which was a good sign. 

We got her out of the tub and she stumbled around drunk-like. She flopped down on the floor on the shower curtain (which Geoff had dramatically torn off the wall to get the tub accessible. I had to laugh - dude. Shower curtain moves to the end of the tub but ... whatever). 

We let her sleep on the floor for a while, checking in on her. Doug put the air conditioner in the window in our room, and brought her in the bedroom with him. 

For the rest of the day, she walked around with her tail between her legs looking like she thought she did something wrong. I felt awful for her, and then coming here to my friend's house all I can think of is how Brodie is doing... 

Can't wait to get home to see her. 

Long Night

It was a long night for everyone...

A couple of years ago I reconnected with a college friend on the Facebooks, you know, like you do.

My friend has advanced cancer of the colon and I think the liver. She vanished from Facebook for over a year and a lot of people on a regular basis were calling out to her ... are you there? hello? anyone? can someone get us an update?

She updated us that she was in and out of hospitals, receiving treatment. but nothing was working. I got a text from her one day saying she was in the hospital, she wanted to see me. So I went.

She is in great need of 24 hour care but only gets partial care. I won't go into what she has to do on a regular basis, but she's incredibly uncomfortable and just really wants to be admitted to hospice and finish this life.

Hospice cannot admit her, she's not at "that point" yet. She was not receiving the kind of care she wanted from one hospital so she went to another hospital, not for more treatment but just to try and get relief from her pain and discomfort. The second opinion from the other hospital resulted in the decision that she needed a surgical procedure to try and widen her colon to allow her to more successfully go to the bathroom. That procedure was done last week and she came home from the hospital yesterday morning. She asked me to come be with her on the overnight. I had told her I could be available on the weekends to help her out and I think she heard "I can stay every weekend."

She was in a panic when I told her that I wasn't sure that I could come, so I came. I spent the night here... came without real hesitation but I'm sure that she should not be home alone. Part of me is incredibly worried and upset - there isn't 24 hour coverage for her and I can't do this every weekend. I have no idea how long she will live... it could be 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years?

Anyway - I brought my laptop and did some work for work. My other laptop for the job that I don't really have anymore that I'm helping with got a virus so my friend is clearing it up for me. I have to pick that up today.

I got a horrible night's sleep, not because of my friend but because of her neighbors. She lives in a beautiful old one-story ranch house with a mother in law apartment tacked on the back - one room, kitchen, bathroom, private entrance, parking on its own.

The people who live in the big house have a room butt up against this one where they watch TV. I can see the kitchen and living room from here - it is an L shaped house, and the lights were all blazing, the tv was turned up all the way, and a 2 hour infomercial for classics of American Country Music from the 60s and 70s was in full force.

Dear God. Two hours!

I had turned the air conditioner off so I could hear her if she got up or needed me.  I didn't realize how good the AC was at drowning them out next-door until I stood here in the dwindling cool and the silence.

My friend took meds at 11pm and told me she needed to take the round of pain medication again in 3 hours. 3 hours later, with Johnny Cash blaring through the wall, I went in to see her. She told me she could skip the pain meds for another hour or two, so I set an alarm for 4:30am to go check on her. The people in the next room started having a fight about something. I just wanted desperately to pound on the wall and scream, but I don't know them, and I didn't want to get my friend in trouble here. Which also is part of the reason why I think she wants to go to Hospice.

The yelling stopped, I dozed, the sky started to lighten, my friend needed medication so I hooked her up and we went back to sleep. Pouring rain began so I closed the windows and listened to the birds, the rain, the crickets, with the one open window so I didn't suffocate (it is super hot in here).

My friend woke up at about 7:30 and called my cell because I was so deeply asleep that I didn't hear her call me from the next room. We did her pain pills and I made her a hard boiled egg and she ate it with some yogurt and tea. We sat together quietly for 2 hours.

The hospice nurse came to the house and knocked on their front door at about 9:30am. POUNDED on it. I think the neighbors are all still sound asleep, so I sat here laughing. Ha ha. That's what you get for keeping me awake until 3am!

I need to leave here at 11, and the next person does not come until 2pm so I am feeling horribly guilty and sad. I don't want to leave her alone here. She doesn't really like the guy who is coming, and it is kind of hard to watch her treat him. He's trying hard and she doesn't appreciate it. He is, admittedly, a little annoying and I bet I'd be annoyed if he was here trying to take care of me.

It's hard - I asked her where her family was. They live an hour away but her dad is ill, and a recluse, and doesn't ever leave the house. Her mom can't drive or travel. Her brother lives an hour beyond them and I guess hasn't made a huge effort to be of assistance.

I'm sitting in the living room while the Hospice nurse is doing her second round of paperwork. Turns out she was on the list, and receiving Hospice at Home for a week or so, but the procedure she had done this week actually kicked her out of Hospice eligibility ... so yesterday she called them and unleashed. So the nurse is here. Doing her intake over again. Doug explained to me that in a six month period you can only go through intake to Hospice twice, so ... this would be her second. And you can only be on Hospice for six months. I hate to say it, I really hate to say it, because I love my friend but ... I hope this sticks, and I hope someone sees that she really needs to be in patient somewhere. I don't think this is fair to her.

Meanwhile, in the living room here I'm surrounded by tons of stuff. She has a ton of things, stuff, boxes, gifts clothes, some sort of a wooden barrel with blankets in it. Styrofoam ice boxes. There is a ton of stuff in here. And I can't imagine who takes care of this when she's gone. It's only one room. I think that when she goes into in patient care or she passes away, that's when everyone will show up to help. All the people who don't stay over. I just have a feeling. I don't want any of her things.

So I'm okay being here for her. I don't know for how long. I would love if she was able to move into a skilled nursing facility or something but ... she's here. We'll see what happens next.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Running into the Former Co-workers

The first contract that I worked down this way in Boston was at a travel agency, working on their websites. It was before the whole hospitalization wackiness, and when I lost that contract I was sad. 

I really liked my co-workers. One specifically, technically my boss, Andrew. What a nice guy. Super laid back, I think he was from Georgia, great sense of humor. And he'd come to me and say "Hey. I'm in a pickle. I need your help." 

And I'd say "Please tell me about your pickle." He'd laugh. I'd laugh. And he'd tell me about his pickle. 

The pickles usually were about incorrect data on the website. Someone gave wrong descriptions of trips and then someone from legal or "upstairs" would notice and heads would roll and screaming commence, so Andrew would run down and have me fix it. Or once the developers built some module where the price and percentage of savings were entered, and the system would just do the math, so that later if 20% became 25%... no one had to think about it. But the math thing was wrong. And 159 trip packages all needed fixed now. Because customers were doing the math and coming back with arguments. 

Very important pickles. And they always seemed to happen at 4:30pm. Sometimes on Fridays. 

I had coffee with him last fall, and they'd moved him into a new position doing analytics and performance stuff. He was distracted the whole time by his phone, emails and texts, and I was disappointed because I wanted to sit and talk to him like people, without other people butting in. I asked if he was in a pickle and he pretty much said yeah... so I told him to go find someone to get him out of it. 

Yesterday I was out for a walk around 2pm. I was meeting another friend for late lunch, and he was walking down the street toward me. It was wonderful to see his smile, and we stood and chatted on the street for a bit. I gave him the elevator speech about the contract end and the real job starting, and how our office moved and we're all the way down there (I pointed) now. 

He told me he missed me, and no one could get him out of pickles as well as I could. 

Friday, May 01, 2015

Concepts of Oversharing

On Facebook, I have an acquaintance (someone from my town, her son used to be in Boy Scouts so I'm friends with most of the moms who have gone through the program). She has several kids from a couple different marriages. Some of those kids are adults now, older than my own. She posts stuff about them, how difficult they are, how they say and do things that upset her. I know a lot of people do this... but ... I always notice that her posts are public posts and that these adult children are on her friends list.

So they can read her badmouthing them. Which is unfortunate. She does the same thing with her husband's family, and goes on and on and on about how they treat her. And they are public posts, which anyone can see if they look. I pointed that out to her once and she actually told me to mind my business. Okay. Just trying to give you some helpful advice, and I'm not surprised that they respond to you the way you describe if you don't care what you post in a public forum. "It's my wall," she says. Yeah, but you're broadcasting like an FM station with 700,000 watts across a major metropolitan area. But... carry on.

Recently, one of her kids (one of the adult kids) had a medical emergency. A cancer scare. She posted to the TOWN page all about his medical situation. She didn't just post it publicly on her personal page, she went to the town gossip/news/gripe page...

She was asking for prayer, which is something I am okay with.  When people do it on their own walls, and it is a friends only post.

Instead of posting something, discreet shall we say, she posted long detailed descriptions of his pre-diagnosis.  She included a direct link to his Facebook profile, and encouraged people in town to send him messages of support.

I sat there reading, cringing, thinking "Oh I would kill my mom for posting this..." I read on in horror as hundreds of comments flowed in on her post with support, emojis of fingers pointing up (I guess that's... something like prayer) and weird hearts and angels and gifs of prayers (oh, MySpace...) from people all over town.

A follow up post said something along the lines that her son took his Facebook profile down, "probably because he was depressed..." she theorized.  No, probably because you unleashed the hounds of town onto him to send him unsolicited messages of love and support. And I bet you a million dollars that was something he didn't appreciate.

She just posted another update to the town page about how his surgery went well, and he was recovering, and thank you everyone for support... again, all sorts of responses about how that is great and wonderful.

And I am thinking "Am I the only one who thinks that she's way out of line? Am I the only one who finds this a horrible overstep in their relationship?" I mentioned something to a friend of mine in town in an email about how uncomfortable this family drama unfolding on the page was making me, and she agreed fully about the hot bag of nuts this is... and I asked "well, should we politely point out that ... it's not cool?" And my friend said "No way. I'm waiting for her kid to say something... pull up a seat and dig into the popcorn..."

But then I think about this blog. Is it any different here? I've way overshared on my kids here before, and while they were very young, without the ability to respond or confront me if they think I'm wrong... And I think that while I was blogging here and being open and honest, if they went back and read some of this very "secret public journal" content (hat tip to Mike Birbiglia) they may be offended or aghast. Heck, I may be offended or aghast at some of my feelings and responses to situations at the time.

I kind of feel that it is good to self-censor, that over sharing (especially someone else's story) is uncalled for. I think before I point out that I think that someone else is not using social media correctly I should think about my paths through the tech.

And maybe just blog about dogs that are cool.