Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Family Weekend

Saturday I awoke feeling much more human, especially after getting myself up to normal Seattle-style caffeine levels for the first time in a week. Mmm, delicious coffee. I'm still not exactly a coffee snob but if I had to drink Applebees' coffee on a regular basis I would just quit and switch to tea.

Chris spent the day investigating some game stores and miniatures rules with Rick so I alternately worked oncatching up on Green Ronin stuff and doing fun or interesting things with Kate. One of the things we did was head down to the Sound Transit Safety Fair, where Martin Luther King Jr. Way was closed off for a few hours and there were safety and information booths, bands and student performers, and speakers as well as a light rail car parked in Othello Station and open to the public to roam through. I took many photos with my phone but haven't begun to mess with them to see if they turned out, let alone if I can get them off my camera. I spent much of my time at the street fair talking talking to State Rep. Zack Hudgins who was on hand because transportation is one of his key concerns in the legislature. I took the opportunity to ask Rep. Hudgins if it was likely that we were going to see relief from the "rental" tax on car-sharing programs like Flexcar and Zipcar and he admitted that no, especially with the projected budget deficits the legislature was not going to be in a position to offer any tax exemptions, and went on to explain that before the state budget situation he wasn't in favor of lifting the tax. While I was disappointed that the situation isn't going to be resolved in the way that I'd like, I'm all too aware of the forces that pull our representatives in government one way and another and I accept that they often have to jockey for position and influence, anticipate the ways in which well intended legislation can be abused, and keep an eye on several competing interests at once. Goodness knows, I'm certainly not cut out for politics. Hudgins was quite open and spent an age talking to me about all sorts of things: light rail and car-sharing, Proposition One (the new transit vote) this fall, lead testing (he was aware of the "lead in the pipes" issue that broke here at New Holly), the increase in crime, violence, gang activity, and drugs here in the south end combined with the lack of services and how that's impacting the community spirit in New Holly and the neighbors who are going to be surrounding Othello Station when the light rail finally starts running. I found him open and honest and willing to go into as much detail as I cared to hear (he apologized a couple of times, saying he didn't want to be a "wonk" when he felt he was getting too deeply into detail but I assured him that I was really enjoying it). Didn't always have the answers I wanted to hear but it was always stuff in the realm of disappointing but not outrageous.

Chris came home from his gaming sojourn just in time for me to run off to the store to pick up a few things and then Kate and I were out for the rest of the night on a babysitting favor. We got to spend time with a sweet little girl of nearly seven months old who reminds me SO much of Kate as a baby. I could go on and on about the ways in which I see these children as being similar but mostly I was pleased that my baby-minding skills aren't too rusty. She went to bed like a dream (which I was pleased to reassure my friends when they called in for a "Nervous Parents" check-in) and made one tiny squeak over the monitor when she turned over or hiccuped or something. Kate really wants to start babysitting herself and I thought it would be fun and interesting for her to see a little bit of what it takes while there's an adult at hand and, indeed, she was interested and happy to be along. Extra bonus, my friends repaid my favor with ice cream! Not just any ice cream, but Molly Moon's Salted Caramel which my whole family just loooooves.

Today was a casual day of catching up on computer work combined with cleaning and purging around the house. I currently have three big garbage bags of clothes and shoes to go out to donation, boxes of books to go out, and we noticed that one of the shelves in the office is sagging precariously under its load of books and games so those are getting a good culling as well. I feel like I got a good deal accomplished without knocking myself out completely and heading back into the land of the permanently exhausted. Also got some homemade dinner (baked "manicotti" made with no-boil lasagna sheets, from a recipe I saw on America's Test Kitchen) which was awfully nice and got thumbs up from the whole family to boot.

Tomorrow it's a date with our nutritionist and then I go in for a battery of allergy tests. I'm tired of the low-level allergy symptoms I suffer with constantly and my sinuses have definitely become a huge problem this year that has dragged on. Time to take more action.

Finally, I also heard from my mom again about my grandma. Grandma waqs moved out of ICU, which is absolutely cause for celebration. She had her first round of dialysis and that has also seemed to improve her recovery as the pain killers and anesthesia that were lingering in her system are now (finally) being processed out. She's still very weak but got up for a short walk (to the door of her room and back) which she was utterly unable to even consider on my last day in Arizona. Thanks again to everyone who has been keeping her in their thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. I'm cautiously optimistic that she'll see a better recovery from here.

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Home, Exhausted, Unsettled

Got home this afternoon and promptly fell into bed for a few hours. I just had to shut down and get some solid sleep. I'm sure my physical exhaustion is partly from the stress, the unpredictability, in addition to the driving, sleeping in the Yuma heat on an old pull-out sofa with my mom... just all of it packed together.

My mom changed her ticket so she's not leaving Arizona until Sunday but then she also has to get back to her home and her job. She let me know today that they've moved my grandma out of ICU but that she's still completely out of it, very weak, barely able to eat or drink. Her blood sugars are unstable (as low as 50 yesterday before I had to leave) and her kidneys (which were barely hanging on) have shut down so she's scheduled for dialysis now too. I'll be anxious for updates as long as I can get them.

It is really good to be home with my family even if the rest of the drama isn't settled. I have a lot of catching up to do.

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In Arizona

Sunday night I got a text message from my mother, saying that my grandma was in the hospital. Monday I got an update: my grandma had a 97% blockage in the left pulmonary artery and was facing three choices, none of them great. They could do nothing and she would have a massive heart attack at any time (hours, days, or months but more likely sooner than later). They could try to do a bypass, but the area of the blockage is particularly hard to bypass and grandma's other medical conditions made it highly unlikely she would survive that surgery without other serious complications (including risk of losing her leg or not making it through the surgery at all). They finally decided to put in a stent as the third option. There was up to a 25% chance that she wouldn't make it through this procedure, especially after she fell into a coma a few years ago after another procedure. I got this news at 7:00pm on Monday night and was on a plane by 9:00pm. I had to come.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a direct flight, or even a flight to somewhere like San Diego or Phoenix or Tucson. Instead I flew to LAX and drove the rest of the way to Yuma overnight so I could be by my grandma's bedside before she went in for her procedure. I made it in time to spend a good few hours with her before she went under and I'm really glad about that. She was so happy to see me, even as sick as she was.

She made it through the stent procedure alright and was more or less lucid, though in pain and very groggy, most of yesterday. Her husband, my mom and i took turns sitting in the room with her and keeping her company (or just being nearby). Before the procedure, there was talk of having her on a balloon pump for a few hours after the surgery, but that turned from 6 hours, to "until 6pm", to "overnight" and they finally did remove it late this morning. Unfortunately all this meant that my grandmother was very uncomfortable and has spent her time today almost completely sedated. She has several gruesome and painful hematomas. After removing the balloon pump today they had to apply hard pressure to the wound for over 2 hours to keep the wound from bleeding.

I have to leave tomorrow evening to get back to the LA area so I can make my Friday morning flight. I was really hoping that she would be in much better shape by the time I had to leave. When we left her tonight the nurses were saying she might still be looped on the drugs until "afternoon" tomorrow. At this point I'd really like to be able to say goodbye and have her remember that I was there. Seeing her in the condition she's been in, I also hope this is the last time she's in this situation. While I don't wish for her death in any way (and she's told me she's not ready to go... "I have to get better, I told that little boy [that would be the x-ray tech] in x-ray that I was going to come dance the tango with him!") I don't want her to suffer anymore, either from the symptoms from her failing body or from the effects of the interventions. This has been an emotionally draining trip, with some really good bonding moments for the family and a lot of stress and difficult feelings too. I hate uncertainty.

Even so, glad I came. I hope for better news tomorrow.

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Busy Weekend

Kate and Pramas and I were in Portland over the weekend. I crashed the Canby High School Class of '88 reunion, even though I moved to Minnesota in my Freshman year, and reconnected with several of my junior high school friends, visited with my brother for the first time in a year and a half, squeezed in breakfast with my friend JD Roth and his wife at their place, and attended a barbecue with my mom, grandma, brother, and a bunch of people from mom's husband's side. Grandma is going to have to start dialysis soon and this is probably the last visit to Oregon she'll make so it was a bittersweet visit. Drove home last night and promptly collapsed into bed.

Woke up this morning to find that JD had posted something of an interview with us, from our talk about entrepreneurship over breakfast, over on his highly successful personal finance blog, Get Rich Slowly. Kinda cool, that.

Chris and I leave for Finland in one week and I'm freaking out just a tad about getting everything done that needs to be done. Speaking of, I shouldn't waste any more time noodling around on my blog right now. Eek.

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