Sunday, September 30, 2012

We're Making Progress!

Guess what????  After all the scary back-and-forth and ups and downs of the last 5 weeks, they think Dad might get to go home tomorrow!!!!!!!!!

He's been in the hospital with good days and bad days ever since we readmitted him through the ER last Friday.  It's probable that all this could have been avoided had Blue Cross not decided to override a doctor's orders and move him out 2 weeks ago, but why should a little thing like patient health get in the way of the profits of the American health "care" system?  But, since he picked up a SECOND infection, they decided to change antibiotics, and the new one will allow him to be home and just have home health come in.  I'm still furious with the money-grubbing bastards of Blue Cross as this has been a very hard week on all of us, and in some ways has been the worst Dad has felt since the first week of this, but at least their despicable  behavior didn't cause any permanent damage--I think we're very lucky there.  We already know there are tons of lawsuits over their Let 'Em Die "True Blue" coverage, so hopefully they'll be stopped before they risk someone else's life. 

Thank heavens things are finally looking good.  My portable hospital knitting is finished:
and I've started a new chemo cap:
since a very depressing portion of the existing ones have already found homes.  I'm hoping it will help me focus just a bit, as the last 5 weeks have been extremely stressful and frightening--even the cats have been frightened:

Fingers crossed for tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

At Least I'm Making Progress

There was a time when a bad day at work would make me buy yarn.

There was a time when having to deal with my husband's bitter ex wife would make me buy yarn.

There was a time when just being bored would make me buy yarn. 

My father was hospitalized with a staph infection on August 26.  August 28 they transfered him here to Boise, and that's when we found out how very serious it was.  Luckily, my mother was able to stay here with us, because it's been a long, scary emotional-roller coaster since then.  September 14, the neurologist told us that he wanted to keep Dad in the hospital a few more days, but September 15, Blue Cross (a big insurance giant that cares nothing about people) booted Dad out and into a care center (refusing to pay for the one the doctor wanted).  So out he went, and it took almost a week--and a very fierce case worker--to get the care center to put in the trapeze above the bed that he was supposed to have since his back had suffered from 2 spinal abscesses and then surgery to drain the things, and I spent several days running down everyone I could find just to get the refrigerator that was supposed to be in each room.  This is the point where I bought yarn.  I may not have total resistance yet, but at least I need to get to crushing, so-stressed-I-have-thrashed-my-back stress and anger before sliding off the sheep.  At least some of the new yarn is for more chemo caps--the outlook is still good for my father, but a second cousin of mine is right now facing losing his very lovely mother to cancer and there isn't any hope for them. 

I didn't post yesterday because I was just a wreck.  Friday Dad developed a fever again and was throwing up, and that's how this whole nightmare started a month ago.  So, we called the doctor, and the care center took him to the ER, where we spent Friday night.  The hospital has been really great--the neurologist overseeing this case had already called ahead, so they knew what they were dealing with.  They did tests I had never even heard of, did an MRI which showed that the remaining pockets of staph infection had shrunk since the last MRI (right before Blue Cross tossed him out of the hospital), said they wanted to monitor him, so they admitted him and we finally got home at 1:30 AM, while my mom got back at 3:00 AM.  We were all in pretty bad shape Saturday, but they said the new infection was a urinary tract infection, and they'd set him up with a new antibiotic.  We had not been able to figure out how he could get a new infection while on such strong antibiotics, and so we were frightened that something had gone wrong with the medications at the new place or the staph had somehow grown, or my worry was flu, which would be dangerous in his state (having lost 20 pounds in a month and with a raging infection).  UTIs require different antibiotics, hurt like the devil, but are pretty common, so we were feeling good about that.  Yesterday when Dad called he said they had told him that they had found bacteria in his blood, but it had already improved since he was admitted Friday.  Mom went to spend the day with him at the hospital, and I became a big, stressed weepy mess.  I realize it's already under control, but blood poisoning is what we thought this whole nightmare was to begin with, and I already knew it was very dangerous, and after 4 weeks of nonstop worry and stress, I was just scared, frazzled and worn out. 

Mom went home last night to get warmer clothes and get some stuff done, so I'll be at the hospital today.  The first two weeks of this we were both there most days, but we've found out over the course of this nightmare that we need to pace ourselves, so now we alternate.  Dad will have to be on these antibiotics until at least October 9, and they have to be given under the 24-hour supervision of a doctor, so that's why Dad had to be moved to a care/rehab facility.  He hates the place, of course, because everyone is about 20 years older than him because the rehab wing is mostly empty but the assisted living one is filled, but Dad gets lots and lots of visitors and we get him outside most days.  Thank heavens he's a strong, active guy who is still actively cattle ranching--if he hadn't stayed strong and active, he wouldn't have survived all this.  I am going to keep that in mind every time I curse the gym.................

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Wee Bit of Finishing Friday

As you may have guessed, life is not really normal here right now.  Yesterday was my birthday, and to celebrate I slept.  I never nap, but I was exhausted.  Or the 1/4 of a valium tablet I took to help my back knocked me out.  One of the two, or maybe both.  I had intended to sew or embroider, but it's been a long, stressful week and my back was too sore to sit.  Today I did fire up Jeeves for another napkin,
 
(now that I have some navy thread), then hit the Fred Meyer deli and headed down to the hospital.  This is Dad's third week in the hospital, and I think he'll be in there at least a full month, so I like to get him outside whenever we can, so we had a picnic today for lunch.  He's still actively cattle ranching, so this being inside--much less in bed--for weeks is really hard on him.  Because of all the IVs and stuff, I have to take him out in a wheelchair, which was a bit strange to get used to, but he does get up to do walking laps in the hall a few times a day.  The nurses have learned that they have to be pretty quick to keep up with him, and I think he's worn out a few.  He's feeling good and the drugs are working, but he's been a very sick man and he still has a long way to go before he's completely better, but the good news is that he'll feel pretty good most of the time from here on out (I hope).  He'll have another MRI tomorrow to make sure they got everything when they operated on the spinal abscesses, but we're pretty confident.  Meanwhile,
the "oh-my-goodness-I-need-portable-knitting" scarf is progressing nicely.  I've used this pattern before, and it works well for hospital knitting because it's an easy pattern to look at and know what to do next.  Unlike:

my Alice Starmore sweater, which needs the pattern book AND my full attention.  Which it only gets for one or two rows at a time.  Probably not a candidate for the 12 sweaters challenge...........

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There Are NOT 50,000 Yards of Yarn Headed My Way..

....for which I am feeling tremendously proud.  While we knew he was really sick, we only now realize that my father was really in danger when he was admitted to the hospital, and we're lucky to still have him.  This morning the did the surgery that we thought they would do 2 weeks ago, but which the surgeon told us last night that they couldn't do earlier because Dad just wouldn't have survived.  That thought will send you home to get a good night's rest.  So this morning Mom and I were at the hospital bright and early, and admittedly pretty sleep-deprived and on-edge, and instead of the doctor coming out to talk to us as many were doing, we were moved to a small consulting room just inside the surgery area.  There were exactly 3 things to read in that room:  a flier entitled "What to do when the worst happens" (or something equally uplifting), a pamphlet on the chaplain services available in the hospital, and a Bible.  I don't know exactly what health problem one is most likely to incur when dealing with severe anxiety and stress, but whatever it is, after waiting 20 minutes in that room I'm surprised neither Mom nor I were hospitalized for it.  This is just not something you should do to people who have been dealing with near-fatal illness for 2 weeks.  By the time the doctor came to tell us everything went fine I looked worse than my father did in the recovery room.  If there were ever a day when I was going to stress-shop, this is it, but so far--while there are two Disney movies headed our way--there is not a single skein of yarn.  Yet...............

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another Day With No New Cross-Stitch Projects!

And just to make sure such a crazy thought was COMPLETELY driven from my mind, I did another thread on the unending cross stitch project to reinforce how mind-numbingly slow it is, and I think that has done the trick.  The problem is, of course, that I can see how it's relaxing.  One sort of tunes out, concentrates on itsy-bitsy tiny squares of fabric, and must spend time accomplishing very, very little.  I think this is probably good for such a type-A person as myself.  I also think it would be completely daft to think I'll ever complete TWO of the blasted things. 

I spent a bit of time on Ravelry queuing up lace weight projects just to remind myself that there is knitting that can be tedious and slow as well, and plan to bribe myself with some new seed bead colors next time the need-to-buy urge strikes me.  In addition to the 365 ornament madness for next year, I thought it would be a good challenge to tackle some of the lace weight.  I purposely didn't make a scarf category this year as I made so many of them last year, and I wanted to use up bigger-volume yarn like worsted and bulky just for the sheer issue of space, but I've missed scarves.  Or I've missed lace, and when one is trying to accomplish large things, steering oneself away from lace shawls is probably a good idea.  Lace scarves are like steam valves for me--letting out little bits of lace-crazed madness before some wretched 1500-yard nightmare waylays me and gets me in its frizzy mohair clutches.  Which is why, in my year of avoiding scarves, I'm headed out to the patio right now with a 1200-yard completely-insane mohair shawl that can probably NOT be finished by the end of the year.  I didn't have my little valve outlets and obviously completely popped.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Where I've Been

My father has been in the hospital with a staph infection, and our house has been turned into a family hotel for the past week now, so things have been hectic.  He's going to be fine now, but it will take some recovery time.  The stress of having permanent house guests, a parent in the hospital, the driving (he started out in a different hospital and was moved down here), and too much sitting has demolished my back, so I'm back to where I was in February I think.  So, it's been stressful around here.  Luckily, he's out of danger now and really mending quickly, so at least that part of the stress is gone. 

The socks have been great hospital knitting:
and I'm nearing the heel on the second sock.

Yesterday I had a little bit of quiet time (known around here lately as time with drugs on the heating pad), so I tried out some of the new Christmas yarn:
It's so soft!  All the other Christmas glitter acrylic yarns are pretty scratchy, or at least not soft, but this one is fun to work with--or as much fun as any yarn with a metallic thread can be.  I love the look, but there is definitely a huge difference in yarns on HOW they add the metallic thread.  This one was lousy.  The Bernat holiday yarns are pretty good.  Still, I love the sparkle, and am getting more excited about next year's Ornament Adventure.

Why is it that I want to shop when I get stressed?  I haven't purchased anything--thank heavens--but I did have to get a friend to intervene when I found myself with THREE cross-stitch kits in an on-line shopping cart.   She rightly pointed out that purchasing ANY cross stitch kits--much less three--was a sign that the stress was DEFINITELY getting to me.  I shut down the computer, hid my visa, and bribed myself with:
It's Alice Starmore's Cape Cod, which I have been lusting after forever, but was putting off because it would take so long (fingering weight yarn on size TWO needles) and really not helpful in the year of 12 12s, but in order to stop more cross stitch kits from entering this house, I will do ANYTHING.  I don't plan to give up on my 12 sweaters, but I am willing to admit that this is probably not going to be one of them.  Still, it's on circular needles, and might even make good portable knitting.  And it's not cross stitch!  I am in love with it already.