Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Sunday, April 03, 2016
Thursday, March 31, 2016
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
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
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
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
Friday, January 29, 2016
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.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Friday, January 22, 2016
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
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).
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
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?
Sunday, January 17, 2016
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
Saturday, November 07, 2015
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
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. :'(
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
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.
Monday, September 14, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Bummer about having to sacrifice the ceramic soap dish that's imbedded in the original tile. I don't even know if they make those anymore. But we HAVE to have the tub redone, because of issues with leaking. The work being done now will resolve that. While the end result will be walls and a tub that are installed right over the existing ones, some tiles will have to be removed to accommodate the new faucet setup (one central control instead of separate hot/cold controls). Plus, the aforementioned soap dish will have to go (drat), as will any tiles where leaking may have caused mold to grow behind them.
Baxter didn't bark at all when the worker first came in. But since I've put Baxter in his crate, and the worker has started hammering and chiseling, NOW the dog is having himself a nice barkfest. I can't say I blame him. If I didn't know what those noises were, I'd bark at them too.
The workman arranged multiple drop cloths along the entire path between the front door and bathroom, including a cloth that goes up the stairs. Good thing this isn't a big house, so he only needed 3 drop cloths. Who knows how many cloths they need to use when they're working in a large house?
Thursday, September 03, 2015
*sees that selfie sticks are banned from the Papal Mass area*
* buys a cane with a tripod thread hidden in the handle*
When I want a monopod with me, by gosh, I am going to HAVE a monopod with me. Selfie stick ban, shmelfie stick ban. And since I have no intention of being an ignoramus with said monopod, no one will have reason to object.
Monday, August 31, 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
It didn't take long for an answer to come. I found out last Thursday that my position was eliminated. I guess they are consolidating their ranks as their workload shifts. So that was a disappointment. They assured me that it had nothing to do with the quality of my work, but that's scant consolation when a job goes away.
BUT! The good news is that in the very same hour that I got the email about the job cut, I also got a message from a former manager about a new potential part-time position in a DIFFERENT department of the same hospital where I worked 10 years ago. It would be a great fit for abilities that I already have, involving transcribing what a doctor dictates while doing minor, same-day surgical procedures. Shoot, between spending six years taking minutes for the Phantoms Phan Club, the five (!) years I've spent taking minutes for the Italian Museum committee, and the decades(!!) I've spent as a sign language interpreter, this kind of job would really tap into some abilities that I have been making the best use of for a long time now.
So I am looking forward to going in there in person to meet the doctor, and I hope that everything works out ASAP. Working from home was convenient in bad weather, but the workload fluctuated wildly (and with it, the income). This would be a commute to work, but it would also be REGULAR HOURS and a consistent income. I will make that tradeoff willingly.
So, watch this space. Cool things could be happening Real Soon Now.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Their menu is a little bit less varied on a weeknight. They didn't have the pulled pork that I normally get, and apparently their fried chicken dinner isn't available on weeknights, either. Oh, well. But they still have the nirvana-inducing sweet corn on the cob, and they still have the UNBELIEVABLE fresh donuts, of which I got a dozen to take home. I haven't eaten any of them yet, but judging from the crumbs I found on the table, I think Mark has been at the donuts, lol. That's OK -- that's why I got a dozen. I know he likes them, too.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
While we were there, we were treated to an aerobatic show from some bats. Yes, bats, plural. This wasn't something that my friend's mom had ever seen before, and they've lived in that home since the 60s. You learn something new every day, right?
You know what else I learned? That when you have bats having a feeding frenzy above your head, there are probably freaking MOSQUITOES all over the freaking place. This morning, I woke up to find that I'd been bitten to within an inch of my life, most likely because we were sitting out there attracting mosquitoes for the bats to eat.
Next time I see bats, I'm heading inside to spray on some bug repellant!
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Of course, for those of us who are Beach Boys fans, MY rendition of the words is just as appropriate as the actual lyrics. :)
In other news:
57 days until Flyers Training Camp
78 days until Flyers Season Opener
346 days until Vitamin SEA 2016