Sunday, September 11, 2016

The verses we should hear more often

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

15 years ago today

At church today, the weekly bulletin has the scripture quote from St. Paul: "Be not overcome with evil, but instead overcome evil with good".

In the same vein, we have Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quote: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

We can honor the fallen by remembering both these things before we start promoting hostility. Do, say, and post things that bring people together, not divide people or promote hate and prejudice.
This is not a day for hatefulness. This is a day to be reminded of what hatefulness will do if left unchecked. That's what we should be remembering today before we speak or hit the SEND key on a post.

May God rest the souls of those who died in the attacks 15 years ago today, and may those who grieve those lost ones be consoled.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fabulous news this afternoon!

I see it's been rather quiet in Blogland since late Spring, so let's play catch-up. Early in June, I got word that the permanent version of the temp job I've been doing since December was posted. I applied right away.

Fast-forward to this afternoon, when I got the phone call from the Talent Acquisition department. I was officially offered the position. :) Paperwork will be arriving at my home, and the start date as a permanent employee is August 29.

Thank God! Now I needn't sit around wondering when things are finally going to advance that next step.

It starts with two weeks' vacation. Paid time off. Something I haven't had in a decade. 'Bout freakin' time.

I'm also putting in at least one hour of overtime per day, since I have an absolute BOATLOAD of work that needs to be done. I'm working my rump off, but they keep bringing more paperwork. I'm actually going to ask my manager about the status of getting the ladies who work in the call center to assist with scanning. That was a project that was in the works, but I haven't heard anything about it since Spring. I'm trying to clear the backlog of THREE (related) departments, and management wants to fill the call center ladies' downtime with activities like scanning. Let's just say that now would be a really good time for that process to get rolling. I want this backlog GONE, and I only have ONE scanner that can only go so fast.

Having said that, scanning could turn really interesting Real Soon Now. At the end of August, the hospital is about to transition to TOTALLY new scanning software, which I have never used nor even seen before. "Congratulations, you're permanent; the day after your start date, we're totally changing every aspect of the scanning process  you've been using for the past 8 months", lol. I looked through the PDF file with the instructions for the new system, and I already spotted some things to ask my manager about. The new system will be looking for some data items that I do not need to input right now, and so I want to know how to fill those fields properly when the time comes.

Well, one aspect of working OT is that I have to get in extra early... which means I have to get to sleep extra early. So good night!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

That moment when...

That moment when your hubby spots the FB posts about all your erstwhile friends' field trip. 

I feel so missed. Not. Loyalty is a figment.  What delusion ever made me expect it? No matter. I won't ever go through this sort of disappointment again. You can't be disappointed when you expect nothing.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Windows 10

I found out earlier this week that Microsift had embedded a stealth agreement to upgrade to Windows 10, in their pop up "nag" window. If you close the window via the red X, it schedules your machine to upgrade. So I figured it was time to update my parents' 8.1 machine, while we still have some measure of control over when and how it's done. 

I eventually ended up taking their laptop home with me, as the download was taking eons. Boy, I sure got spoiled by the speed of FiOS, lol. 

While I waited, Karla called my phone to ask if Mark and I were coming on Sunday. I agreed to go, as I really am only hurt by one person who will be there. Why should I deprive myself of everyone else's company?

I do wish I'd hear back from people now and then. But I'm done worrying about it. If someone calls or returns my call, hooray. If not, I absolve myself from the need to fret over it. Mattering is overrated. Acknowledgement is a bonus. IF it even happens. If it doesn't, I had no business expecting or presuming it'd  happen anyway. I've learned. Like the book of Ecclesiastes says,"vanity, vanity! All is vanity! ... It's all chasing the wind."

This is the lesson I should've learned two years ago, the last time I went through this. I came out of that experience still with faith in people. No more. I learned.Expect nothing of others and you'll never be disappointed.

Why would anyone do this?

As I scan documents, including consent forms for medical procedures, one question occurs to me time and time again. And the question is this: Why on earth would anyone sign a legal document with what amounts to a random scribble?

I don't know about the rest of the world, but when *I* am signing a document, particularly one that is detailing what medical procedures for which I do or do not grant my assent, I want it to be CRYSTAL CLEAR that I have signed the document. Not only is my handwriting going to be recognizable as characters belonging to the Roman alphabet, but I'm going to take extra care to ensure that the writing is legible.

Judging from the scrawl on many of these consent forms, I am decidedly in the minority. And I don't merely mean "horrendous penmanship that resembles a signature jotted down in great haste". I mean "squiggles that resemble nothing so much as a freehand approximation of a sine wave". It just astonishes me to no end, every time I see it. 

Fortunately, there are printed stickers on 99% of the forms, so I don't have to rely on deciphering that which is utterly illegible. And on the ones that haven't got a sticker, normally I can go to the doctor's schedule for the day and figure out whose form I'm looking at.

Mind you, the DOCTORS also often sign in shorthand. But at least the marks they make are relatively consistent from one form to the next. I've learned to recognize a lot of the doctors' personal hieroglyphs, just from seeing them on so many forms.

But as for the patients... let's just say that any time someone's handwriting makes MY penmanship look good, it's quite a feat. ;-)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Oh well

That moment when you think you've heard from someone on Facebook for the first time in months, only to belatedly realize that Facebook was showing you a memory from 2 years ago today.

Mattering is overrated.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today is Mark's and my 17th wedding anniversary. TIme flies when you're having fun! :)

We saw 1776 in Media, PA, followed by dinner at Spasso's Italian Grill. It's been a fabulous day. :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Adding value

I think I've hit on the formula for who cares and who doesn't. There are, of course, certain relatives who care, regardless, fortunately. But outside of those, it seems to be the folks for whom I am doing something who take the greatest interest in my existence. If I'm not enhancing their life actively, then at best, I'm just some nice person relegated to the periphery. Or I'm just "out of sight, out of mind". Everyone not related to me is fitting into this pattern neatly and consistently. It suddenly makes sense. How did I take so long to understand something so basic?

Now that I get it, I can acclimate to it and adjust my expectations accordingly. Then I won't feel hurt or disappointed anymore.

One positive to report: this is the first time in forever that I've gone through a grieving process without ONCE pondering how and when to cash in my chips. That's more significant than I can express in words. Maybe it's that I no longer feel I'm dragging everyone down with my presence. To drag everyone down, I'd have to matter (albeit in the negative sense of the word). And... well, an electron microscope wouldn't find evidence of that whole "mattering" thing. So I guess I'm in the clear. There's no need to make everyone's life easier by applying a drastic solution, because everyone is already doing just fine without me around. It's all good, now that I understand life better. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Drawbridge

Still sitting shiva for my old worldview, here. Time passes and sadness diminishes while resignation develops. At some point, the drawbridge that leads into my inner sanctum sanctorum is going to be shut; even now, it slowly rises as the wheels turn. Once it's closed, I'm not entirely sure what would inspire me to reopen it to admit new, unproven people. If four decades' worth of friendship wasn't enough to stop me from being thrown in the trash, what's to make me believe that some new person who arrives in my life would be reliable over the long haul? Or even the short haul? My feelings might matter to a very, very select few (and I've learned that it's fewer than I thought), but *I* happen to be one of those few who cares if I'm hurt. I don't need to be covered in footprints from other people's cleats, TYVM.

In other, more upbeat news...

I am seeing on the PAWS mailing list that there are two new kittens at the PetSmart site. If they're still there on Sunday, I look forward to meeting the widdle guys. Space was created because one of the kitties who was sneezy was sent back to the Grays Ferry clinic where there's a vet. When a kitty is adopted or goes back to the clinic, there is no shortage of available felines to take its place at PetSmart.

Mark and I have to go buy a microwave oven tonight, as our 18-year-old one bit the dust this morning. If we go to a store near the PetSmart, maybe we can swing by and have a look at the kittens then. If not, I'll see them on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

After a day

After a day, or has it been two? of cogitation, I've come to realize that mattering is overrated. Seriously. Why should I even care if I matter to anyone else? That's just letting my happiness depend on what someone else does. How long have I been declaring that other people's opinions of me are none of my business, but it took this situation to really, truly internalize that lesson. 

So I'm just going to be myself. If other people like it, fine. If they don't like it, also fine. I can't keep banging my head against the wall and thinking, "Oh, but if I do this, they won't LIKE me anymore?" Minus one text conversation, there are people I haven't heard from in over two months, and they seem to getting on just fine without me. Okay, then... If that's how it goes, I accept it. At least it didn't come as a surprise this time, as it did two years ago when I was pushed out of the group. Everybody got on just fine without me around then, too, so why should this go-round be any different? I didn't expect it to be, and so far, I haven't been disappointed.

There's a verse from a poem, The Indispensable Man, that about sums it up:

"Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that's remaining,
Is a measure of how much you'll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you'll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before. "

So I'm looking into other ways of making a difference in the world, not because I expect anyone to remember me... I've already learned that lesson: that's not gonna happen... but because I'm determined to leave the world a better place than I found it somehow. Who cares who remembers me after I'm gone, unless they're having a Mass said for my soul. I hope at least someone remembers to do that.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Hide it in plain sight

It amuses me to think that the things I post on the blog are most likely going to go unnoticed by the very people who might actually give a hoot about what's being said here. But that's OK. Maybe someday, someone from IRL will click the link in the signature of my emails, and be surprised about what's actually going on between my ears.

Like today, for instance. The grieving process for that spat of some months ago still rears its head now and again. It's just like a grieving process for someone who has died... you can be fine for days at a time, and then something crops up and you get another wave of it. But who has died? Is it the person I thought my friend was? Or is it the old me that had a more trusting worldview? I kind of think it's a bit of both. I miss that old me, and I don't honestly know what to do to get her back. And the person I thought I was friends with must have been a figment of my imagination, because if he was real he would never have spoken or turned on me like he did. 

Which, of course, opens the door for me to question my own abilities in judging people's character and motives. It should come as no surprise that as I write, I am singularly disinclined to invite new people into my life's circle, lest I accidentally misjudge someone else and bring on another round of this sort of thing. It's not safe to let new people in until I have finally, completely, gotten it through my thick head that unless I'm perfect and never make a mistake in the other person's eyes, I am subject to rejection and banishment. That's how people are. If your 42-year friends will do that to you, what hope is there that new people will behave any better? The less emotional investment they have in you, the quicker they'll cut you loose. Best to keep interactions to "hello", "goodbye", the weather and everyone's health. Then nobody gets disappointed.

But enough depressing stuff. Let's move on to the positive. I started volunteering at the PetSmart yesterday. They have nine kitties on the site, and one is cuter than the next. I made sure they were all fed and watered, and have clean cages and litter boxes, and then embarked on giving each kitty some time outside the cage, for those who wanted it. One cat had no interest in leaving her cage, but the others were more than glad to explore and get doted upon. I also showed a few kitties to interested parties, and the cats in question were more than glad to turn on the charm. :-) But just one person filled out an application on the spot and gave it to me. I think the other two (a mom and small daughter) may have taken a blank application to fill in at home. When someone fills out an app, I then photograph both sides and email the images to the person who processes the applications. It can take a few days to get approved, depending on things like being able to contact the person's vet and obtain vet references. 

I will be going every Sunday. I am hoping to get word of at least one of the kitties being adopted by the time I get back there next week. They're all so cute and they all love attention. They deserve loving homes where they can doted upon all day, every day.

Thursday, May 05, 2016


Every once in a while, I have a minor mishap that causes my left knee issues to flare up. I had one of those this morning; I think I hyperextended the knee a bit. Ouch. Phooey. It's a few hours later now, and the knee is starting to curse and swear. Pain relief ointment, here I come. Fortunately, I bring my cane with me when I commute now, largely because I have discovered I can no longer safely stand on a moving bus without something to lean on. That goes double for the fact that any of the buses I take will, at some point, make a turn. Standing unsupported on a TURNING moving bus is just asking for an accident to happen. Hence, the cane.

Having said all that... I scanned some medical records for someone whose lists of allergies and current prescriptions was three typed pages long. I think I'll stop complaining about the knee pain now, lol. My list of medical gripes pales in comparison to that! 

In other news, I had a volunteer orientation for PAWS on Wednesday night. I will begin volunteering at the PetSmart near my home, where PAWS has got adoptable cats. Need I say that I want them all? They're just too darn cute. Most of them are VERY amenable to getting doted on. One seems a little shy and doesn't want a lot of interaction. I'm now on a Yahoo mailing list where volunteers summarize their shifts, and they have remarked the same about that kitty. Here's hoping he warms up to attention once he's settled in a bit more, so potential adopters can dote on him and fall in love, as he deserves. 

Photos of Adorable Adoptable Kitties will be appearing in this blog. Watch this space. :D

Happy BLOGday to me!

Most people celebrate this day as Cinco de Mayo. I celebrate this as the anniversary of starting to blog. Yes, on 5/5/2003, I wrote my first blog post.

I shall have to give myself a BLOGday Present. :)

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

St. John's Wort

Not only was yesterday a productive day, in terms of the amount of records I got scanned into the system, but I spotted a typo in one of the forms that patients must sign in order to give consent to a particular procedure being done. 

On the form, patients are advised to avoid particular meds and herbs that could cause bleeding, including "St. John Warts". I think that an Autocorrect Gremlin made a stealth change to the text, because that name should read "St. John's Wort". I forwarded this information up the chain of command, and I hope it will reach the person(s) who have the authority to edit the content of the form. Right now, the form was last revised in 2013. We'll see how long it takes before the update goes through, and we start seeing a revision date of 2016. :)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

One Year Ago Today

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Aunt Joanne. This is the one-year anniversary of the last time I saw you in person. Or should I say, the last time you saw me. The next times I saw you were all in the ICU, after the choking-on-food incident that left you without detectable brain function.

I'm sure your spirit knew we were there, but your body had lost all capability of perceiving its surroundings by that point. 

Say "Hello" to Grandmom and Grandpop, and Aunt Theresa and Uncle Nicky, and Great Grandpop.

Sunday, April 03, 2016


Noticing that I've been unfriended by someone who picked an argument with me last month. Disappointing. But hey. What can I say? I'm taking the stance that it's not my circus, not my flying monkeys.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Life Lesson

I scan a lot of documents related to surgeries which have been performed. Specifically, Mohs surgeries, which are a method of excising skin cancer. These documents are multi-page affairs which include color photographs of the surgical area.

Sometimes, the lesions are small or are in an unobtrusive location. Other times, they're either significant in size, and/or in a really prominent place on the body (like the face). But I realized something a few days ago.

In some of these post-surgical photos where the patient's face is visible, it's clear that the patient is SMILING. I don't mean a great big "taking a selfie at a fun party" sort of smile. It's far more subtle than that, but it's there. When it happens, there's no missing it.

Of course, I have no idea what the person's inspiration is when they choose to smile. Perhaps it's a reflexive "smile for the camera" thing, maybe it's a "BLEEP YOU, CANCER" stance, maybe it's putting a brave face on a tough situation, or it could be relief that the surgery is done and they can move on to the next phase of putting cancer in the rear view mirror. Maybe it's a bit of each.

But when I see one of those images with a smile in it, I have to do a self-evaluation and realize that compared to what this person is going through, my issues are minor. The biggest source of pain in my life right now is that someone hurt my feelings. Do you think, as I do, that the people in these photos (smiling or not) would trade problems with me in a moment? So what right would I have to walk around moping or frowning, hauling a big raincloud above my head everywhere I go?

No right at all.

So don't expect my postings on here, on Facebook, or anywhere else, to look significantly different. I can deal with my hurt feelings without dragging everyone else down. Maybe I'll even smile.

Friday, February 26, 2016

That moment when...

That moment when you're in the middle of scanning 40 pages worth of labs for a patient, and the battery in the wireless mouse dies. #fanabla

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

'Splain This To Me

An announcement was made over the PA of the Regional Rail train: "The first car on this train is the designated Quiet Car". 

So why were the train's speakers blasting this particular datum at a volume that would've drowned out a jet engine?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Baxter's Big Day

RARF! I'm Baxter, the big tough dog. I'm sneaking onto my Mom's computer when she's not looking, so I can write this post about my day.

I'm a big boy. I'm part Chihuahua and part Corgi, and you know how big I am? Almost as big as a CAT, and cats are HUGE!

Today, I protected the house. It started when Daddy stayed home from work. Then late in the morning, he made me go in my crate. That's unusual, since I normally only sleep in there at night, but Daddy said so, so I went in.

And right after that, there was a knock on the door. So of course I barked Big Tough Barks. And Daddy opened the door and STRANGERS walked in! Two of them! Like they owned the place! So I gave them even bigger, tougher Big Tough Barks, and Big Tough Growls, too.

But that's not the most shocking part. Those two Strangers, they actually TOOK OUR REFRIGERATOR! Can you believe the nerve? They had to wheel it right past my crate to get it out the door, so I gave them my biggest, toughest Big Tough Barks to tell them, "You put that fridge right back where you found it! Right back, do you hear?"

Well, you bet I scared them. I scared those Strangers so much that instead of putting the old fridge back, they immediately brought in a bigger, better, shiny brand new refrigerator instead! And I mean IMMEDIATELY! How do you like THAT? All because I'm big and tough and I told them off like a good guard dog should.

Then after they put the big new shiny fridge in, the Strangers went away. I sure scared them good! That's what they get for trying to steal refrigerators. I bet they'll never try THAT again!

So now we have a big new fridge, and I am Very Proud Of Myself.

Baxter the Brave

Friday, February 05, 2016

The Bipolar Vortex

Last winter, we heard about the Polar Vortex repeatedly, a weather pattern that drove temperatures down to record lows. We dealt with lots of Polar Vortices during the course of the winter last year.

This year, it's more like a Bipolar Vortex. Two days ago, the temperatures were above 60F. Today, it's freaking snowing. And sticking (at least on lawns and cars, as I write). What in the blue blazes is going on with the weather this year? This is the most bizarre winter weather I've ever seen.

I just hope it doesn't goof up SEPTA too badly. With luck, this snow will quit long before the workday ends.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

'Splain to me...

'Splain to me how a dermatology clinic uses restroom soap that causes dry hands.

Yeah, I know, the larger medical system is in charge of these purchases, not the individual clinics. I still find it amusingly ironic. Pass the moisturizer.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Always a good sign

When the indicator button on the scanner lights up green today, after being illuminated in red yesterday (and subsequent to which, the scanner didn't work), that's progress. The tech support guy is working on it now. Then I can scan charts on my own workstation, in my own office, instead of the shared scanner at the nurse's station. 

OK, whose idea was the SLEET?

What the Sam Hill? On my lunch break, I went to get a TrailPass for February. It was freaking SLEETING out there. Dagnab it. Like the 22.4 inches of snow we got a week ago weren't enough, now we get more freezing precipitation. Well, at least it's not accumulating, so that's a good thing. It's also a good thing that for only $10 more than a monthly TransPass, which allows for use for buses, trolleys, the Subway and the El, a Zone 1 TrailPass will allow all that plus access to Regional Rail trains in Zone 1. That means I can take any Regional Rail train from where I work that goes to Jefferson Station, without having to tear my hair out dealing with street traffic. From there (11th and Market), I can get a 17 bus. Given what the bus stops look like after the freaking blizzard, that ability would've been welcome this week. Some of those stops are a disaster because they were plowed in. The one at 30th and Market, where I normally catch a bus to get into Center City, looks like the Arctic tundra right now. I swear I spotted a polar bear walking through it. Unbelievable that they haven't cleared the snow mountains away from a bus stop where no fewer than six buses pick up passengers... yes, I know the whole city is a mess, and I appreciate that. But I would've thought that a major location like 30th and Market would get priority when the snow clearing plans were made. Well, it's no matter. Starting Monday, I have the option of taking the Regional Rail OR buses to get into Center City. I'm counting that as a WIN.

Another good thing: GIRL SCOUT COOKIES. :-) Like the ones I'm going to pick up when I go to Joe and Jean J's tonight. (I still work with my deaf-blind friend on Fridays, even though I've been working at my new temp job.) Gotta remind myself to hit the MAC machine before I leave here.

Hmm. Lunchtime's just about over. I'd better hit SEND and post this.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blizzard of 2016

The totals are pretty much in. We scored 20.8 inches of snow. I'm not interpreting tomorrow. Between here and the parish where I interpret, there are no guarantees that all the streets will be passable. Getting stuck in snow, in these temperatures, is a Certifiably Bad Idea. 

Meanwhile, I fill my weekly pill minder on Saturdays. Once again, I am mystified by the fact that the bottle of glucosamine chondroitin, which is for joint pain, has a tamper-proof seal that requires an act of God to open. Exactly how are people with hand pain supposed to manage this feat, short of resorting to explosives? Even Mark, whose hands are not in chronic pain, couldn't pull the darn thing off the bottle on the first three attempts. Jiminy H. Cricket. Is this a ploy to make sure we keep needing to take supplements for joint pain?

An hour after filling the pill minder, I was STILL sore. Hello, BioFreeze ointment. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Awaiting the Blizzard

The city and state are prepping for the major blizzard that's supposed to arrive tonight, and last well into tomorrow.

Fortunately for those of us who reported to work as normal, the evening rush hour is not likely to be impacted by this. If anything, it might be a little easier than usual, given the lower number of ridership I noticed this morning going in to work. I might not have to arm-wrestle anybody for a seat on the bus. ;-)

The break room here continues to astound. 55 degrees this morning... edging gently upward to 56 degrees now. Yikes! Pardon me while I make more tea, stat. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


The break room is a little warmer today. It's 62 degrees instead of 61.

Jiminy Cricket. I'm surprised that a building as new as this one (opened in 2008) has this level of trouble with temperature-control. (She says, while waiting for the space heater to de-Arcticify this office).

De-Arctifify. Is that a word? I think I just invented a word.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Did I mention that the breakroom is 61 degrees? Eek. I'm thinking that the insulation in there needs work. (It's especially bitter cold outside today.)

Even in the office where I'm working, I have a space heater going full blast and I still find it chilly. Which only makes me wonder how frigid it'd be in here if there were no space heater.

Is it spring yet?

Something new every day

In the "You learn something new every day" category...

There's an actual medical name for the sun allergy I've mentioned having in prior posts. 

Photosensitivity dermatitis. It's an actual thing. An annoying thing, to be sure, but a thing.

It's why sunblock and I are good friends now.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Full-Time FTW

I haven't filled out any official paperwork yet, but the good news is that I've been reporting for 40-hour weeks for the past two weeks, and I just got word that it's going to continue. So the conversion from part-time temp to full-time permanent is likely to happen a lot sooner than originally expected.

I'm also hoping that I get a desk of my own soon, if that's the case, as it's a challenge to get things done when I'm bouncing between different locations. Last week was nice, as I was able to work from an unused office all five days. But the office, which belonged to my former manager, is not likely to remain unoccupied for long, so unfortunately I can't presume that I'm going to inherit it. Darn. ;) It's more likely going to be used by the manager I report to now. I might land in one of the buildings in the main hospital where our department also has some real estate. Hey, from where I sit (or don't sit yet, lol), it's all good. Just plant me at a desk and I'll be good to go.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Day 2 starts... soon

Welcome to Day 2 of my new temp job! It'll be two 8-hour days a week, in the same hospital system as I worked in 10 years ago. The start time is 8:30 from now on. So today, for the first time, I took the bus with 8:30 as my intended arrival time. And discovered a few things...

- I believe the first bus arrived 5 minutes early. Maybe 10 minutes, if you count the fact that he should've been leaving the bus's start point five minutes after he picked me up, and my stop is five minutes away from said start point. So either he was early, or the previous bus was late. 

- I made PERFECT connections. Both buses arrived right when I needed them, the weather was ideal, and there was no traffic congestion. And under those conditions, it took 40 minutes to get here. So that's now my "ideal time", and I know I'll never get here faster than that if I'm using the bus. I can plan my commute accordingly.

So now I'm sitting in the waiting room, waiting for my supervisor to arrive so I can get some work to do. I actually arrived shortly before 8 AM, so I will kill time checking email and so on.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

I has a sad.

I has a sad today. :( I had one yesterday, too, the one-week anniversary of Stanley's passing. I miss that little munchkin.

Captain and Baxter are picking up the slack. At least one of them has attempted to accompany me into the bathroom nearly every morning this week, which Stanley always used to do.
Baxter has been searching for Stanley, sniffing around and trying to wedge himself behind furniture (which is behavior he never engaged in before). Captain hasn't gone in search of his brother yet. I think he hasn't fully grasped that Stanley isn't coming back. I don't look forward to that realization dawning on him. :(

I know there was no alternative to granting the Final Act of Mercy. Not with those x-rays showing metastatic cancer all over his lungs (and the vet believed it was probably on the other organs as well, which the x-ray wouldn't have shown). But wow, one little kitty can leave such a huge vacant spot behind. Hence, I has a sad. :(

Monday, November 02, 2015

Stanley Momorella: April 2004 - October 30 2015

Though the crisis played out over the course of last Thursday and Friday, I wasn't able to bring myself to start creating this post until today. My heart is broken. Stanley has departed for the Rainbow Bridge, and the house has big empty spaces in all the places where that little brown purrball used to be.

When I got up on Thursday morning, I had zero reason to suspect that anything was amiss. Stanley followed me around for attention as usual. He dashed ahead of me as I went up the stairs, as usual. He stopped right in front of me, as usual, so I'd have to stop and skritch him, as usual. He preceded me into the bathroom, as usual, because he loved to have his Morning Dote. This was when I'd shut the bathroom door and he'd get lots of one-on-one attention from Meowmy. All these things happened as they did nearly every morning, and nothing was out of place. I picked him up and cuddled him, and he purred his wee head off, as usual.

But then when I was giving him a tum rub, which he normally loved, he abruptly stopped purring and meeped at me. NOT usual. He wanted to get down. VERY not-usual. I decided I'd keep an eye on him, since this behavior was utterly out-of-character.

We finished in the bathroom and headed down to feed the kitties. Captain was by his dish. No Stanley. VERY unusual. I had to go back upstairs and retrieve Stanley from where he sat. Absolutely not usual. As it happened, neither cat was particularly  hungry, because Mark had given them a treat of an extra scoop of food on Wednesday night. So I was not in panic mode yet over Stanley's lack of appetite. But I figured that he'd bear watching. He did stroll over to the litterbox and make a deposit, and he looked normal doing that, so I was hopeful that nothing major was amiss.

Cats sleep a lot. And Stanley did a lot of sleeping during Thursday. But even so, there were alarm bells ringing in my head that Something Was Wrong. I decided that if he continued in this vein on Friday, we were seeing the vet.

Sure enough, on Friday, he hid himself under the loveseat (which is comprised of two recliners and has large hollow areas under both seats). I carried him down when I fed the cats. He barely glanced at the food dish. OK, that was all I needed to see. I called the vet. I made an appointment for Saturday morning, because at this point, "lethargy" and "lack of appetite" didn't scream "medical emergency" to me. I figured that Mark and I could just work as we normally do on Fridays, and take him in the morning to the vet.

He curled up on the loveseat. Over the course of the next half hour, it became clear to me that his breathing was rapid and shallow. I called the vet right back and asked for a same-day appointment, and they had a 4:40 opening. I called out of work. I took a cab there, figuring Mark could pick us up when he got out of work.

When I got Stanley to the vet, we went through his symptoms. The only two obvious things going on were that he'd lost 9 ounces, and his breathing was labored. So the vet was thinking "pancreatitis". They drew up a treatment plan, complete with meds and instructions for me to follow. But first, they wanted to get an x-ray and a blood draw, just in case. So I waited in the lobby.

The second she came in to summon me to look at the x-rays, I knew something was bad. Sure enough, the x-rays showed innumerable little lesions all over his lungs. Mitigating factors were able to be ruled out, one by one. Fungal pneumonia could cause it, but we neither live in nor have recently traveled to the parts of the country where that kind of fungus is common. A sudden, severe electric shock could cause fluid in the lungs, such as from biting an electrical cord, but Stanley had no teeth. Complete immersion in water could do it, but that certainly didn't happen to Stanley. And so on. So we were left with the most undesirable of all the reasons why there'd be lesions all over his lungs: metastatic cancer. The x-ray didn't show where the cancer might be located, but an ultrasound might. Since the UPenn veterinary ER has access to ultrasound, I originally wanted to take him there just to be SURE that we were dealing with something not curable. There was no possible option for palliative care in this case, and if the only real option was to say goodbye, I wanted to be absolutely POSITIVE that I wasn't jumping the gun. Euthanasia is an irrevocable decision, and since you can't walk it back, I wanted to be utterly certain of what was going on.

But while Stanley was getting his x-rays and blood drawn, he started experiencing more severe respiratory distress. So they put him in their oxygen cage to get his breathing stabilized. While we waited, the vet said that they could send his x-rays electronically to the offsite radiology firm that interprets results for them. Normally, their results are returned the next day, but she could request a STAT turnaround and get their response back in an hour or so. Stanley could stay in the oxygen cage in the meantime. So I agreed to this.

While I waited, I called Mark, my parents, and Joe and John to update them on what was happening. Actually, in Mark's case, I wanted to tell him in person, so all I said was to come to the vet and park his car at the nearby garage, because something was seriously wrong.

After Mark arrived, two things happened. One, the STAT response came back, and it was essentially identical to the assessment of the x-rays that the vet had given me. And two, more significant: even an hour in the oxygen cage did not ease Stanley's breathing back to normal, as it should have done.

Originally, I had wanted those extra tests at UPenn. I wanted answers! But I realized that if an hour in an oxygen environment wasn't enough to give Stanley relief, that IS an answer. It's the answer I wanted least of all, but it was an answer. I envisioned the drive to UPenn, where a non-oxygen environment would only stress his breathing again. I pictured all the noise, strange scents, and tests that would have to be done, stressing him further and perhaps causing his already-brittle condition to deteriorate further. And I was reminded by the vet that on Friday evening, chances are high that their ultrasound people would've gone home for the night, necessitating an overnight stay for Stanley in THEIR oxygen cage.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't put him through that when the most likely outcome of those extra tests would be the same recommendation as was before me already. This was not a flareup of treatable symptoms I was looking at. This was the beginning of a final decline. And I could either ease his passing right there, or drag it out needlessly and STILL end up making the same decision.

So we opted for the Final Act of Mercy. Mark and I skritched and cuddled him, and he purred the ENTIRE time. That's all he ever did was purr. And I can be confident that he had a peaceful passing, being loved on by his humans.

But as I said, my heart is broken. I never in a trillion years would've predicted on Thursday morning that I'd be taking an empty carrier home from the vet within 36 hours. :'(

And now...

Only one cat dish, in a place that was set up for two, looks wrong.

Only one kitty demanding breakfast, where there were once two voices, is wrong, too.

Thank goodness Mark picked up the extra food and water dishes on Saturday, when he fed Captain. I might not have been able to bring myself to do it yet. Those dishes might still be sitting there, waiting for a kitty who no longer has need of them.

I miss my Stanley. So does Captain, his bewildered brother.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Someone took my username in vain

What the frack? I got a "Welcome to Pandora" email for my gmail account, which is NOT the one I use when I register for online services. My real Pandora account has been up and running since 2007 or so.

So for kicks, I tried to log in with said gmail account. I did "forgot password", and sure enough, instead of an error message, I got a password-reset email. I reset the password, all right... to something of MY OWN choosing.

Whoever took my username in vain while creating a Pandora account, created a country music station for it. So I know for certain it was someone else's doing. Let whoever created the account, go and create another account under THEIR OWN freaking email address. I won't tolerate people trying to access mine, particularly strangers.

But at least I shouldn't run into this issue again with THIS email address. Whoever created the account just lost access to it. I trust they'll either use their own email addy or find someone else's address to usurp.