Wednesday, January 30, 2008

210 days, My Ass!

In a previous blog, a nurse had previously told me that it would take about 210 days for mom to get back to where she was before the pneumonia hit.

HA! Not my mom. No Sir. She went home from the hospital yesterday. And today, she and dad went to see a new oncologist about starting chemo again. How awesome is that? I counted it up, mom had been in the hospital for 9 weeks and 3 days. 6 of those weeks were spent in ICU, 2 weeks in Triumph hospital regular room, and the last week and 3 days were spent in a rehab hospital. She hadn't been in the rehab hospital for 5 days before she was talking about going home.

May God grant me the same strength that he gave my mother, and may God grant me someone to love me the way that Dad loves Mom. Amen

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ghost Cat

On a similar theme to the post below, I think Sinatra is haunting my house. I don't mind this, in fact, I rather like the idea that Sinatra thought enough of this house to come back to it. I swear, a couple of times, I've felt a cat jumping up on my bed at night and walking around down by my feet. This is strange for 2 reasons. First, my cats aren't allowed in my bedroom at night anymore. They would fight and drive me nuts all night. Second, Sinatra always slept at my feet. It was rare that he came up by my head. He'd curl up between my feet, if he could, or right next to them if he couldn't get between them.

Now, I'm not a big believer in ghosts. So to be writing this is quite a big deal in my mind. But I guess if the house has to have a ghost, Sinatra would give me the most peace and pleasure.

Thank you, Lord, for pets to comfort us and love us and give us companionship when we need it. Amen

Annie goes out

The other night, as I was coming into the house, Annie made a mad dash out the front door and into the night. I wasn't frantic, just annoyed. I finally managed to catch her in the back yard with some good canned cat food. She was very disgruntled at me for making her come in so early.

I believe that life must be lived, and that living life comes with a set of inherent risks, and that applies to cats, too. So, with a prayer for her safety, I taught Annie to use the cat door, and let her loose into my back yard. Oh. My. God. She was in heaven. Rolled in the dirt, played in the plants, peed on the tree, you name it. I set the cat door to close behind her when she came in, and about 9 that night she came in. Smart cat, one time in and out and she learned how the cat door worked.

Last night I let her out, but she wouldn't come in. So I set the cat door to close behind her and went to bed. I slept poorly, partly because I'm fighting off a cold, and partly because I was waiting to hear Annie come in. She never did. This morning I opened the back door and called for her, she came rushing in. Now, I'm not sure why she wouldn't come in the cat door, but she seemed to object to it. I'll just have to see how we do tonight.

Once Annie is quite comfortable with this setup, I'll start to let Howler do the same. He isn't quite as smart as Annie, it may take a little longer to get him used to this idea.

Friday, January 25, 2008


A chinese post-doc in our lab was clipping his nose hairs at his desk this afternoon. he had a little electronic clipper, and had it shoved up his nose. This man is at least in his 40's, possibly late 40's, has been wearing a mask for the last couple of weeks because he has allergies, and today was clipping his nose hairs at his desk.

I guess it could have been worse. He could have been clipping them while he was working at his bench...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

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Work Rant

As readers of this blog would know, December was a very hard month for my family. As such, I was not at work all the time, and often when I was at work, my mind wasn't fully on what was going on.

As the lab manager, I am in charge of ordering and receiving goods in the lab. For each order, I print out 2 copies, one goes to my purchasing office, the other stays with me. As orders come in, they have a receipt on top. I match that receipt with my order sheet, record the PO#, and file according to the account I ordered it from. This way, if I have an order in my Pending file that is several weeks old, I can get in touch with purchasing and find out what's going on. Was it a mistake on my end? Purchasing? Vendor? 3rd party vendor? Receiving? Occasionally I get behind, and I have a separate file that I can put Receipts in and match them up to orders at a later date.

Now that my mind is clearing up a little, and I'm back at work, both physically and mentally, I have been going through my pending file. I'm not sure why, but there are 3 or 4 order forms from january and july 2007 that have already been received and closed. This must have been done one day when I was absent, and something needed to be ordered so they found an old order form to use as a template, but what on that page, or how many, was never recorded. {sigh} Nice. I also have 5 or 6 receipts, but no order forms to go with them. I have NO idea what was ordered, who ordered, when it was ordered, when it was received, whether or not the PO was shipped complete, nothing.

Now, knowing that at some point in time people in my lab would need to order things, and I wouldn't be around to do it, I have shown everyone how to order things. I have a folder on our S: drive called...(wait for it)...ORDERS! Yes. In that folder are Excel files, one for each company. I think there are 70 files now. In each excel file, there are sheets with ALL previous orders on them. All you have to do is go into the file, erase all of the items you DON'T want, print 2 copies, leave one on my desk, and take the other to purchasing. The prices are in there, the cat#'s, the previous quantities, and even previous Account #'s used. I've tried to make this as simple as possible. And yet...I have several orders from december that haven't been received, and I can't find a record with purchasing that the items were ordered, and I have 5 or 6 receipts, but no orders to go with them. Sometimes I wonder how these smart PhD's manage to actually get their research done, recorded, and published when they can't even ORDER SUPPLIES!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My cat is a whore

Last May my beloved cat, Sinatra, was hit by a car and died. In truth, it was as clean a death as possible, his neck was broken and he died instantly. However, it was extremely hard for me, as he had been my constant companion for 7 years,5 moves and 4 jobs. He had a particular personality quirk, he didn't like people. He was 2 or 3 years old before he'd let my mom touch him. I always knew that when I was gone that it was ME he missed, because he wouldn't let anyone else pet him or touch him, and he didn't purr for anyone else. Just me. He was all mine, and I was all his.

After his death, I was strong-armed into taking 2 adult cats, about 7 and 5 years. They're very nice cats, but they don't have the attachment to me that Sinatra had. Annie in particular will allow just about anyone to pet her. Heffalump is a little more reserved, but you can tell that she wouldn't miss me very long if I gave her away. About a month after getting Annie and Heffalump, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to take a foster kitten. He was very tiny, very rowdy. His name eventually became Howler. He howls. alot. and loudly. in the middle of the night. Anyway, I had thought that I would have that special connection with Howler, but alas, I was wrong. I was gone the week of Christmas, and a friend of mine took care of my cats while I was out of town. I came back on the 30th, loved and hugged and cuddled and petted my cats, but apparently not enough. Because when friend came over on the 31st for a little party, Howler jumped right up on her lap and purred so loud everyone in the room could hear it. He hadn't even done that with me. I was even kind of jealous and put out. damn cat.

(sigh) My cat is a whore.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Wow, surprise for Monday!

So, I started writing the post below around 9AM today, but it being work, I had it on the back burner most of the day, adding to it as I got the chance. My dad just called me, they had mom up on a walker today, and she did so well that they moved her out, yes OUT OF ICU and into a private room. How cool is that? She doesn't want to spend the night alone, so dad is staying with her tonight, but I'm going in on wednesday and will spend the day with her. My heart is quite full at the moment. We seem to be on the right path, after all.

Thank you, God, for being with us all.

210 days to complete recovery.

This past weekend I went home. On the way home on Saturday I stopped by the hospital, I was just going to visit for an hour or 2 and then I'd go on home. When I got there, dad was visibly frustrated, and was yelling at mom. Now, she was trying to get out of bed, and she can't support herself yet, and she has to have bowel movements and then have someone clean her up. I don't blame her for wanting to get out of bed, but this means that several times in the last few days the nurses have gone in and found her on the floor. That's bad, and dad wasn't having a lot of success in convincing her that she shouldn't do that, and had begun to yell at her. I intervened, told dad to go home, and I'd stay with her for the rest of the day. It was OK, she was frustrated and antsy, but by the time I left at 7:30 that night, she was calmer and OK when I left her.

I went in on Sunday morning around 9AM, and I stayed until 7PM. I am physically and emotionally drained. I do not see how my dad has done this for the last 3 weeks, 12 hours a day. I know that it has gotten harder as we bring her out of the deep sedation. She has been bedridden for around 6 weeks now, and it has just been in the last 10 days or so that she has begun the process of getting up and out of bed and moving again. A nurse told me that this was a 'catastrophic illness' and that it generally takes 7 days to recover for each day the patient was sick. that means, roughly 30 days sick and sedated, it will take roughly 210 days to get up and moving again, that's around 7 months. If my dad is going to make it all the way to 7 months, he has to have some help, and he has to have some breaks. My brother is absolutely useless at this point, he gets so freaked out that he can't help.

I've made the decision that I will take 2 days a week, probably a Wednesday, and dad and I will alternate between Saturday and Sunday. My boss has agreed to work with me on the days off, I can make my 40 hours in 4 10 hour days, and one day off during the week. Hopefully, this will only last for 2 or 3 weeks, until mom is strong enough to be ambulatory, to be able to wash and care for herself, even if it is in the hospital room.

I had a discussion with my very good friend over Christmas, and we talked about being strong, about how people have told me that I've been strong during this, and I haven't seen it. I know that my dad must be SO strong, to have carried this burden for the last 3 weeks, and I wasn't aware of how big that burden was for him. Now I know, and I cannot let him carry this alone. Together, we will have to be strong, for each other, with each other, and in our faith in God.

Please, Lord, make our family strong, help us to be strong together, and to help each other carry this load. Give us your love and compassion, so that my mother feels your love through our actions with her. Give her strength to endure all of the personal and embarrassing things she is going through, she is so modest, and she is so exposed during all of this, please give her peace and acceptance, and let her feel your love for her in all we do. Bless the nurses, doctors, and family of other patients. And give us all the peace that only you can bring. Amen.