Archive | June 2017

Midsummer Eve, or life is tricksy

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When fairies dance, things get crazy.

Well, it’s taken awhile to get to this, but rest assured, things have been happening.

Midsummer Eve was the day I ended up having to put down my Gran’s dog.  It cast a pall over the house. But there was still a warm furry wandering about, the large tuxedo cat on which to heap attention. Though she hardly glowed with unconditional love.

The following Sunday dawned all well and good. By afternoon, things were pretty normal. My Gran went to church, I took a nap, and my Mum was sitting in the living room in a recliner eating a muffin off a walker tray table and watching tv.

What could go wrong? About 1 hours later, I walk into the living room to find my mother is not in the recliner where I left her. That was odd. I couldn’t think what happened since she can’t walk and every effort to get her to stand on the one good leg is met with fear and trembling and “I can’t do it.”

I noticed the walker that had been in front of her chair was gone too. So I walked further into the room and looked into the dining room and there she was, sprawled across the floor, wide awake.

She said she was fine. I doubted there. She said she’d got up — on her own, with the help of a walker and walked on her non weight bearing leg — about 30 ft. At which point she decided she was too tired to go on, and she tried to sit down, but lost her grip on the counter, and missed the chair she was trying to sit down on and ended up on the floor.

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Trust me, you don’t have a broken leg. Now let the kitty in, purrrleeez?

My Gran came home as the EMTs arrived. And off we all went again to the hospital ER at 7pm. They did multiple X-rays and CTs. Thankfully nothing was broken, or rebroken.  Although her femur didn’t hurt, she had a giant bruise on the top of her foot, and her proximal tibia, fibia area hurt.

Her Ortho surgeon, Doc Holiday, said no PT for 2 weeks to let things calm down. I’m not sure if he meant her injuries or her nerves. Probably both. At this point, it’s a struggle to raise her lower leg on the leg that had surgery. Kind of a setback for a person who was almost 5 weeks into their recovery and doing great.

You may well ask, what possessed my Mum, who professed to be terrified to get up and stand on even her good let, to get up and walk on her bad one. Two things, as it turns out. One was Norco, it had made her a little loopy and when she woke up from a nap, she didn’t remember she was injured.  At which point, she looked out the glass doors and saw the second thing, the cat.

She thought Gran’s cat wanted inside, and decided to go and let it in because . . . that’s what you do for a cat flopped against a glass door in hot weather, you let it in. Right? Sigh.

In deciding to take my Mum back to Gran’s to do her recovery, I was sure I could keep her from catching fire and falling out of bed. And I did, but she still managed to find a way to fall down and catch fire, so to speak. Was I careless? I don’t think so. It was just … life. And life is tricksy.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2017.

Things I just want to know

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Everything you put on this govt form is for sale to 3rd parties. EVERYTHING.

I have questions. I consume a lot of news, I read widely. I mean WIDELY. I’ve worked with industries that work with voter information. I’ve seen how it’s used and bought and sold and how and who has access to it. But I still have basic questions.

If 39 states were hacked, which states were they? Why won’t you tell me? Are they states Trump won or Clinton won exclusively? If 21 states elections-relates systems were hacked, which ones were they? Why won’t you tell me?

Has anyone asked if any House or Senate races were hacked in the past as “tests”? What about in 2016, were any of those races hacked to give the GOP a majority? What about state-level races? Any of those hacked? What about ballot initiatives? Any of those hacked?

If you know voter rolls were tampered with, isn’t that proof of a botched election? Shouldn’t we be doing it over? Shouldn’t we be using a paper-based system so it’s all traceable and avoid 100% electronic systems?

Data company’s shouldn’t have people’s voting-related information. That’s my opinion. Why do they? Because in each state, the Secretary of State sells your voter information to companies that have a “legitimate” reason to use them. These are companies verifying legal voters names on petitions, for example. This also includes to political parties who are trying to “get out the vote.”

But should anyone besides your county registrar actually have access to any of the information on your Voter Registration Card? Has any voter agree, when they filled out a voter registration card, ever been asked if their state govt could sell their personal confidential information to third parties?

And what about the exposure of all those names and personal information thanks to Trump’s friends at Data Analytics and the RNC? Can we,the voters, now sue our state governments, which sold our information to these folks without our permission, as a violation of right to privacy?

I think we can.

Next time you see someone asking to register you to vote, walk away. Those folks get paid to get your registration. They give those cards to the people that hired them, usually the GOP or the DNC, and they make a copy of your registration and then give the original to your county registrar.


This entry was posted on June 23, 2017.

Austen, Annotated

As I said in an earlier post, I’m now reading Sense & Sensibility. I’ve not read the entire Austen canon, just Emma, but I’ve seen several movie and TV adaptations of her works.

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Most recently Sense & Sensibility, the version 1995 Ang Lee movie version with Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, among many other stellar actors, was on TV.

It is well known that I will watch anything with Alan Rickman in it, so it should come as no surprise that this is a favorite film. But the performances are really exceptional, as are the locations, set decoration, cinematography and assiduous attention to period detail.

When I went to the library to grab a copy of the book (I do prefer actual books on actual paper), they had several version, but the one I chose was one edited and annotated by David M Shapard. I do love annotation, but I have to confess myself a fan of the late 18th century, so it’s hard to find works that I haven’t read or that can teach me something new.

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Nevertheless, the Shapard edition is actually very enlightening. While I do find some definitions a bit “straining at gnats,” and some oversights and mistakes, for the most part the annotations are wholly worthwhile. I do like the maps at the back and all the thought that has gone into the motivations of the characters. All and all, I can recommend it.

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The only true drawback I find is lack of what I might term a feminine view of annotation. Shapard has considered things such as locations and timelines and maps and meanings of words, very straightforward male things to consider, but has utterly missed the a vital concept of the book, which is that it is about women who exist in families and society.

There is not one genealogy anywhere. I find this a glaring oversight that leads to lack of deeper exploration of characters and times. Consider this, Col. Brandon ends up marrying Marianne Dashwood.

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Col. Brandon’s ex-love, has an illegitimate daughter by another man, that in turn has an illegitimate child by Mr Willoughby.  Marianne was courted and left broken-hearted by Mr Willoughby before marrying Brandon.

So explain to me how that works, sitting round the Christmas feast. Brandon, Marianne, his lover’s grandchild, who is the daughter of Willoughby, who is Brandon’s wife’s ex-lover! How very modern, how very scandalous, how very messy families.

They say that Austen isn’t scandalous, but I find the whole novel to be wracked with these sorts of bombshells. I do not doubt lives were like that then, but there’s no discussion of it by the annotator. Not yet at any rate. I reserve the right to update this post.

For another example, take Edward Ferrars. He was engaged to Lucy Steele for 5 years, but fell in love with Elinor Dashwood. Lucy ends up breaking it off to marry Edward’s brother Robert. Edward’s sister is married to Elinor’s half-brother John.

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So again, at Christmas, we have Edward, married to Elinor, sitting down with Lucy, his ex-fiance, now married to his brother Robert, and Edward’s sister, married to Elinor’s brother John, who never approved of Elinor marrying Edward. Talk about awkward.

But on such matters the annotator is silent, at least so far. I am at chapter 18. But I have checked the fine print at the back. There are no genealogies. In a world where breeding and family are everything, the 18th early 19th century world, not including a genealogy, or several, is a real puzzler.

It has been rather slow reading since the weekend. The dog died on Saturday. That was crushing. Then on Sunday evening, my mother, inexplicably, when no one was in the room, suddenly looked out to the back patio where she saw Gran’s cat.

What did she do? Simply got up from her chair and walked — on her non-weight bearing fractured femur — 30 feet to try and let my Gran’s cat in. Only to fall down at the door, and not in the good walk 3,000 miles way, and fracture her foot and hurt her knee (all the same side as the femur fracture.)

We ended up at the ER again, but the femur repair at least did not fail, so they sent her home to Gran’s again a few hours later. Her ortho surgeon saw her yesterday. He was very impressed the surgery stood up to her wandering, but told her to avoid PT for 2 weeks and then start again.

Admittedly it is rather a set back. On the plus side I have learned to skillfully use a Hoyer lift and full body sling. One should never disregard the opportunity to learn new things, even if those things are not, in that moment, things one might wish to learn.

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2017.

Domestic violence

Image result for guns domestic violence statisticsYesterday the GOP baseball team was attacked by a lone gunman — a white, male, senior citizen from the Midwest, Illinois to be exact.

In addition to critically wounding a sitting white male GOP Congressman from Louisiana, his white male aide a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in government, and a white male former GOP staffer turned lobbyist for Tyson Foods were also shot. Additionally, two heroic Capitol police were shot, one man, one woman. They, however, weren’t the gunman’s target, just collateral damage.

On the surface of this, it appears that this was white man on white man violence. But the reality is, this happened because no one cares about violence against women.

You see, there is a long-standing federal law dating back to 1994, that bans people who commit domestic violence from owning guns. The shooter had a 20-year history of domestic violence against multiple foster daughters. How bad was it? One 17-year-old died by setting herself on fire in a car. He threatened another foster daughter’s boyfriends with a rifle, shooting off a round near his head, but still the local police didn’t take away this man’s guns.

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Why was this abusive man allowed to keep his guns? Because the police kept dropping the charges. You know, it’s a family thing. They’re just women he’s beating up and causing to kill themselves. They can work it out.

Why didn’t the State of Illinois bothered to enforce the law to prevent vulnerable young women in foster care from being victims of domestic abuse? Guess they don’t care about them. Not the police, not the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, not anyone.

And so, because of this, an angry old white man was free to own a gun and shoot whomever he wanted. The only difference this time was, instead of targeting the girls in foster care, he chose to target a congressmen. Oh, and the other difference, this time he was shot dead for it.

It’s not domestic violence, it’s violence. Poor girls in foster care should have the same rights and protections under the law as rich male congressmen. If they truly did, this shooting at least would never have happened.

For anonymous, confidential help available 24/7, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) now.




This entry was posted on June 15, 2017.

3 Weeks Later, Pt 3, Finally … why I pushed the button

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Code Red, people!

The following day, Tuesday, as we were sitting in her room, watching Anger Management, it happened. That deciding factor.

There was a small crash and a loud thud from the room next door. We were in a private room with a TV on, but the thud was loud. The thud was that of a body hitting a tile floor. A sound I’m regettably familiar with.

Another ortho patient had fallen out of bed.

Two seconds later, an alarm went off and lights started flashing. A voice began saying “Code Red” over the PA system. I had no idea what a Code Red was, so I poked my head out because my mother’s room was right in front of the nurses’ station.

I saw the nursing staff scrambling. There were white strobe lights flashing above our door and outside each patient’s room. There were alarms going off, melodic, but insistent.

I asked “Is everything ok?”  The Russian nurse, Tatiana, smiled as she hurried by and replied, “Everything is fine. But go back inside and close the door. So it’s less noisy.” I nodded and did as instructed.

The alarm went on for a few minutes, then stopped. A few minutes latter, I heard a chopper coming in to land on the hospital heliport. Apparently the medivac had come to pick up the ortho patient that fell out of bed . . . and set his room on fire.

Yes, code red, I came to find out via a quick internet search of the hospital, meant something was on fire.

An hour later, the medivac took off, I presume for the region’s best trauma hospital. Ten minutes later, my mom’s surgeon appeared, still in his green scrubs and a hair net. Not Doc Holiday’s usual bedside appearance.

He said he was checking in on her. But I got the feeling he’d been up on floor trying to stabilize the fallen ortho patient who set himself on fire,  and was checking in on her because he was “in the neighborhood.” Two birds, one stone. He’s efficient like that.

It was at that point I thought, I’m probably not the best person to call and ask to handle someone’s care, but I can be trusted to put up bed rails and prevent people from setting themselves alight.

So, I sent a text to my Da, saying I’d look after her. A profusion of thank you texts arrived within seconds. My mother was ecstatic.

Now some of you might be thinking, the sound of a body falling out of bed was the deciding factor. You might be thinking it was a reaction because of what happened to my Grandfather. But you’d be wrong.

Long before my Grandfather hit the floor, many years before, there was another body on another floor.

I was a tweenager, sitting reading a book in the public library. I saw a young mother walk in with her baby in her arm. She stopped about 20 ft away, to talk to the librarian at the information desk.

To free her hands, to get her library card, while talking to a librarian, this young mother put her baby on the highest part of the 4′ high counter top, like a sack of flour. She was eye to eye with her baby.

I saw her put the baby there and thought, “Bad idea.” But I was not it’s mother. I couldn’t scream across the library, “Hey, don’t do that.” I could only sit there.

She expected her infant to stay there. It did not. The child fell, head first, onto a cement tile floor. The fall was unbroken by any scream or attempt to grab the child. The mother was too distracted to see it happen. The librarian was behind a counter and could not reach the baby.

The sound was the most awful thing I’d ever heard. That loud, awful thud of a small body. It echoed through the open metal and cement building. The child shrieked in pain. I knew there’d be brain damage or worse. I thought, 911, get an ambulance rush it to the hospital.

That didn’t happen. The shocked and weeping mother, grabbed her child and hugged it. She desperately tried to pretend it was alright. I couldn’t believe it. She just went on with getting her card back, and then kept trying to comfort her child.

I just sat there, sick. And that was the deciding factor. Not the ortho patient fell in the highly regarded regional trauma center, or my grandfather who fell in skilled nursing, but that little baby, decades ago, falling in a library. That’s what made me say yes to caring for my mother.


This entry was posted on June 14, 2017.

3 Weeks Later, Pt 2, Why I pushed the button

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Admit it, you find me cute.

Later that Sunday night the ortho surgeon, Doc Holiday, called. He decided it was worse than he thought and he would have to go in and encircle the bone with metal rings and attach it to a plate to keep it together while it healed.

My Mum was crushed by the news, for about 5 minutes. Then they gave her a blood thinner and she got a bit a loopy.  At that point, I decided we had better call my Da, who otherwise would be standing in an airport waiting for a person who was never coming.

He was very upset, but my mother insisted he stay overseas as there was nothing he could do.

The following afternoon, Monday, she had a 3-hour surgery and then was moved her to a private room, in the new wing, on the Ortho ward.  It all went fine, and you’d think my mother would be over the moon, but no. Not my mum. And there were reasons for that, justified reasons.

She wanted to be in her own home, with her own doctors, while she was recovering. But the surgeon came by and said, there was no way she was flying anywhere, because of  potential blood clots.  Removal home by train was mentioned. But it was the same story, risk of clots, infections, etc.

The Doc said she could go home by non-medical transport if it was just a few hours. But since it was not, that wasn’t going to happen. At any rate, he thought it best she stick around so he could monitor her post-op and do the staple removal at 2 weeks and the follow up at 4 weeks, after which she could maybe stop taking blood thinners, and maybe travel.

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Look, Mum, I’m a distraction.

It would an understatement to say she was not thrilled. Thankfully the therapy dogs came in at that point – a charming rat terrier and a bubbly maltese-yorkie mix — and caused a welcome distraction. Welcome for my mother and Gran.

I was called out into the hall by the doctor. He didn’t know my name, so he just called me “Young Anderson.” As opposed to Mrs Anderson, his patient, who was clearly “Old Anderson” in his mind.

Doc Holiday. she would be totally non-weight bearing for 6 to 8 weeks. I wasn’t surprised. This isn’t her first broken bone, just her first major broken bone. My mum has “a mild movement disorder” that’s not full blown Parkinson’s but her neurologist put her on meds and she has poor balance.

Truthfully, said Doc, it was such a weird break, he was going to keep her off that leg for a full 8 weeks, when potentially she could put some weight on that foot, enough to keep her balance, and she’d being using a walker for safety sake, not crutches, for another 4 weeks after that.

I just nodded. This was hardly a surprise. My Gran has been dealing with this sort of thing for years.  It’s a family thing.  Any normal person my mother’s age and physical condition, would have left on crutches, got on a train, and gone home and been fine. As it was …

I knew that even home with my Gran, and some home health people to help with PT, bed baths, and nursing stuff, was not really a good option. Holiday said she really should go to a local skilled nursing facility, for at least a month to 6 weeks, because it would be the safest place for her and she’d get PT twice a day.

I told my mother this and she broke into tears. My grandfather died in skilled nursing, because the nursing was bad. He started out with pneumonia, was allowed to fall out of bed and get a broken hip, which then was not well cared for and on the day he died, they were going to amputate his leg.

When I tell you my family is filled with horror at the thought of “skilled nursing” that’s a factual statement and not an exaggeration. I called my Da, who naturally begged me to take responsibility for her. He wanted me to take her back to Gran’s and look after her there till he could come home.

I have to be honest, I didn’t say yes. I also didn’t say no. I mean, there are good skilled nursing places out there, where people get excellent care and great physio every day. Could I really give her that? Would taking her to Gran’s and trying to learn nursing on the fly on a person with staples in their leg, really be the best for her?

I didn’t think so.

Then there was the cost. Not to me, but she’s out of state, and out of network, and now she wants to go it alone? Of course my Gran has a lot of Durable Medical Equipment, so that was ok. But if my Mum went to skilled nursing everything would get billed out through insurance, if she went to Gran’s, would she be paying out of pocket for her drugs, non-medical transport to doctors, home care, etc?

I didn’t say this to my parents, because I’m sure the last thing they were thinking of was money, but, I was thinking it for them.

What to do, what to do?

This entry was posted on June 13, 2017.

3 Weeks Later, Or: Why I pushed the button

A friend I had not seen for quite some time dropped by for tea the other day.  She asked me if I had regrets about my decision. I did not. And so the conversation moved to other things.

I waffle a great deal about decisions sometimes, but not this one. There was a clear deciding factor why I made the choice I had. I didn’t try in explain this to my friend because the factor had no real connection to the situation. It would have sounded weird.

My life is full off decisions people don’t understand based of factors they’d think were completely nuts if ever I confessed them. I know, because on those rare occasions I do confess them, people laugh at me or say incredibly cruel things.

But you’ve all been so patient with my political rants, that I thought I’d confess this factor to those of you that have followed this blog. It’s going to take a few posts, but we’ll get there so …

It happened like this. My father’s company asked him last year if he would be willing to do a 3-month trip overseas. Da jumped at the chance. Or rather my mother told him to jump at it as she wanted to join him overseas. And so it was decide.

He left on Sunday, May 13th. The plan was for her to fly down to California visit her mother, my Gran, for a week, then fly out of LAX the following Sunday join my Da. This all sounded a fine idea, and nothing to do with me as I was not even asked to house-sit, so everyone was quite excited.

My parents arrived at their respective destinations full of hope and high spirits.  I heard nary a peep from either of them. The occasional selfie or text, but nothing I had to respond to with more than an emoticon. Everything went pretty well for my Mum at my Gran’s house.

By 10 PM the following Saturday, I imagined, in 8 short hours, my mother would be on a plane winging her way to my father. But an hour later, my phone rang. It was my Gran, she was saying she was in the ER.  She sounded very matter of fact, very Gran.

I found it strange though. Doctors don’t usually let patients hooked up to machines have a cellphone in the ER. I also wondered why wasn’t my Mum calling, but then I thought she was maybe with the doctors.

So I asked my Gran, “What happened? Did you slip and fall again?” “No,” she said, in a wry tone, “Your mutti did.” And so it was that the injured party turned out to be my mother.

In the midst of Mum’s final check, while packing to leave for the “trip of a lifetime,” “a second honeymoon,” giddy as a schoolgirl, she tripped on a bedstead footing and fell in such a way as to fracture her femur. A freak accident.

Yes, the Fates can be cruel sometimes.

It was hard to figure out an appropriate response to my Gran’s revelation, mostly because, well, . . . I had just returned from a lake party where, I confess, some drinking of wine transpired. I asked Gran to repeat what she said. She did, this time going into some inappropriate detail about the sexiness of the burly men from the Fire Dept, and some cross words about the EMT’s who “despite being told not to, used the lights, though not the sirens.”

Yes, God forefend Gran’s neighbors be disturbed late at night or know someone had an accident.

I asked if they had called Da, but they hadn’t, because my Mum, “Didn’t want to worry him at work.” So typical was that response, it didn’t even give me pause. I wasn’t sure what I could do in the situation, but I was sure my father would want me there as his nearest available proxy.

So off to the airport and onto a 2 am plane, for which the price of a seat was more than a bit steepish. I spent the fight texting and sending emails, downshifting my life into “neutral” for the next week.

During my travel time, the ER doctor, Dr Crowe, picked over my Mum, and told her she was fine, according to her X-ray, and if she could walk she could go home. She desperately wanted to walk, to get on with her journey. But alas, she was in too much pain. So he admitted her to the hospital for further evaluation.

They sent her to the Oncology ward, the only ward that had a free bed, and that is where I found her with my Gran at 6 am. By this time, her doctors decided there probably was a fracture, even though they couldn’t see it on the X-ray. A CT scan at 11 am discovered an oblique fracture at the top of her femur.

The hospital’s top-notch orthopedic surgeon, who was on vacation that day and so I call him Doc Holiday, looked at her CT scan on his phone. He said it looked like she might just have a minor, hairline fracture and perhaps she could just go home and rest it for a bit. But he added he would have to look at it on his computer, later that night, when he arrived home.

My mother was filled with hope. She imagined she could hobble around on crutches with my father. She imagined she would be able to get a later flight and was glad she had purchased trip insurance which covered medical emergencies.

I didn’t say anything. Neither did my Gran. But we both rather thought that the Norco had clouded her judgement.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2017.