Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letting My Freak Flag Fly

My goodness, it has been a long time since I've visited this space.
My friend, Susan, is recovering from her heart attack. She says she "died a little bit" that day. Scared the holy living crap out of everyone, too. But by the grace of God, rapid medical care, and a large dose of clot buster, she came back to the land of the living and I'm so grateful, as is her family, as are her friends. She is celebrating by doing more paintings (see above, "My First Self Portrait," which I really like)and by starting a new novel, which I wish she'd write more of so I could find out what happens to Martha, the protagonist.
So that's good news of a major kind.
The other major news, which you know if you read Rick's blog, is that Rick is now using the overnight cycler machine for dialysis. Yay! But - there's always a "but," isn't there? A qualified yay - the machine is finicky, persnickety, and a fussbudget. Rick has to watch it like a hawk to make sure it primes properly, and then if his first drain isn't large enough to suit the machine it starts giving alarms, and he ends up making phone calls to tech support, and to his PD nurse, Angela, who is a saint, really, at all hours of the night as the machine beeps and boops away. So he's still napping a lot during the day time to make up for the sleep he misses at night, and all is not bliss and happily-ever-after. Actually, when you have end stage renal disease, happily ever after is a pretty slim option, but damn it, you do the best you can, and the machine is both deliverance and pestilence at this point. More deliverance, so Rick is soldiering manfully onward as he and Angela and Baxter, the machine company, try to find the path where this method works best. It all takes time. It still beats going to Seattle three days a week for dialysis.
And it's kind of cool to see Rick walking around looking a little bemused because suddenly he doesn't have to go to Seattle, OR do manual exchanges during the day. Although he did do one today. Like I said, it's a time of tweaking the process.
People keep asking me how I am, how am I doing, what am I doing for ME. Um. Well. I'm somewhere between OK and ready to pop my cork. I could be either of those things, or both, at any given minute. Rick does not need physical care from me; he's fully functional. I hang around the house, do a little laundry, the dishes, sweep a floor occasionally, go out and pull a weed, and occasionally do paperwork like, oh, paying the bills. There are things I do not understand, like why his medical insurance through work paid for everything, and Medicare does not.
Also it seems that even though Swedish Hospital scans his medical insurance cards when he comes in for surgery, the information does not get passed along to the anesthetist or the radiologist, who send bills to his former insurance, which does not pay, and then we get these whopping bills in the mail and Mary starts to hyperventilate until I realize what's going on.
I still do not have medical insurance. I thought maybe I could get some once my Social Security started, but it started this month and I do not have enough money to get medical insurance. I am burning up brain cells, as usual, trying to think of ways to earn money. We'd like to do a Log of the Oatus book, and a Collected Spiritual Smart Aleck book, but these things never get much beyond the idea stage. Still thinking, still burning brain cells. We are going to declare bankruptcy, but, ironically, we haven't been able to afford it. Interesting.
One success: my hair is still growing. A pretty small thing, which requires very little effort on my part, but after two years it's getting long and it feels like an accomplishment. Ask anyone who has let their hair grow out - the accomplishment is getting through the middle stages. Originally I planned to let it get long enough to cut off and donate, but now that it is long, I'm not quite willing to let it go yet. Oh well. The longer I put off cutting it, the more there will be to donate, right?
And how pleasant it is to fuss about something as trivial as the length of my hair when there is so much to think about that is not trivial.
On that trivial note, I think I'll turn in. Blessings to you all. Thank you for all your prayers, good wishes, and material support. You have pulled us through so far, and we love you for it. Pleasant dreams.

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