Saturday, June 16, 2012

What an insane week.

What an insane week it was. Monday, my parents and I went to see my relative whom I've posted about before. Now I understand what she and her son refer to when she describes herself as being "confused". She has another UTI, and for the first time, my parents and I got to see her on what we could not possibly describe as "a good day". Unfortunately, any nurse visitations that she'd had set up before (once in the morning and once in the afternoon or evening, I'm not sure which) were cancelled when she was in the hospital last week, so those have to be reinstated.

This UTI issue makes it seem like there are two versions of my relative. When she's OK, those two nurse visits during the day are more than sufficient. But when there's a UTI, with its attendant symptoms that include disorientation, she might be better off with the kind of daily in-home aide that my in-laws have (and need). They have an aide who helps them out of bed in the morning, assists with daily care, cooks meals, and helps them go to bed at night. She might not be overly happy at the prospect of an all-day aide -- she wasn't even all that thrilled with the idea of the twice-daily nurse visitations -- but if these symptoms she's experiencing now are going to be a regular occurrence, then maybe it's something worth considering.

Tuesday and Friday, meanwhile, were days where I helped my friend JEJ and his mom with computer issues. For the first time in at least six years, he wanted to attempt to use the old braille display on his computer. This meant setting up his old Windows 98 machine, because there are no drivers for his many-years-old braille display that would allow it to work with the new Windows 7 computer. This is the first time in years that we've been able to see just how the neuropathy is affecting his ability to read braille, because he's been refusing to even try reading braille for so long. The answer is, with his 80-cell Window Eyes display, he can't feel anything because the refreshable braille display is too mushy. But with his even older 20-cell Alva display, he's feeling at least some of the braille because the display is crisper (more resistant to being pushed down).

We also hooked up the Tacticom, the giant single-cell braille device that he was able to use his entire hand to read when we were testing it out. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the Tacticom to respond at all when we connected it to the computer. Nada. So we have some emails out to everyone who worked on creating the device (all three of whom were out of town last week for varying reasons). I hope at least someone sees the emails and is able to respond during the coming week.

Wednesday, we rushed JR and JFM's elderly cat to the hospital when she showed signs of losing her equilibrium. She's now being treated for a persistent ear infection. Poor kitty -- she HATES going to the vet, and she was shedding fur in clouds due to the stress. (As the vet phrased it, "Under stress, we sweat. Cats shed.") I hope they can get this ear infection under control, because everything ELSE about the cat seems OK -- she's alert, aware, responsive, and is showing no sign of pain or discomfort.

On Thursday, JFM, JR and I went to the Jewish Museum here in Philly. Not only did we see a lot of interesting things, but I tried to file away as many ideas for our would-be Italian Museum. I'm not sure how many artifacts we have as yet, but according to MDP (whose brainchild the museum is), he has hundreds, possibly thousands, of photographs. MDP is also a walking encyclopedia of the history of Italians in Philadelphia and in America. I think that with just his knowledge and those photos, we would be able to create some viable displays; add artifacts into the mix and it would make for some very interesting things indeed. But that's quite a bit down the line.

Today, meanwhile, I have a bunch of work emails that have to get dealt with. It's the first time in three weeks that I've seen a decent number of emails come in, so I'm going to take full advantage of that fact.

Sleep is for the weak. ;-)

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