Sunday, February 24, 2008

I don't get grumpy very often but I am today

I am typically able to keep my spirits high and I don't let much bother me, but today I am grumpy. Jovanna and I went to church and then I treated her to Taco Bell (I know...Taco Bell doesn't seem like much of a treat but it is to her). And then we headed over to Kaiser to pick up one of her medications that she was out of. I had to have it today because she didn't get it last night and so she didn't go to sleep until about 11:00pm. The Kaiser Pharmacist told me the refill wasn't ready because it was only 1:00 and the refill was scheduled to be ready at 3:00. I let out a deep sigh because that meant I was going to have to wait with Jovanna there while they filled the prescription. While at the Kaiser Pharmacy, Jovanna began swinging her change purse around as hard and fast as she could standing close to other people and then she took all the money out of her change purse and put a bunch of it in her mouth. She was refusing to take it out and then when she finally did, she proceeded to begin screaming that she needed help to close the snap on the purse, now throwing herself on the floor and screaming. I was feeling my bloodpressure rise, looking towards the pharmacists and hoping they noticed what is going on and might move our prescription a little higher up the list.

Jovanna then began running around the Kaiser facility and when I would follow her she would try to get far enough away that I couldn't see her and then either hide or go around to the other side so I would have to turn back around to meet her (you getting a visual here?). At one point I didn't know where she was and all I could think about was getting her medication and out of there! I headed back to the pharmacy and tracked down someone at the counter, asked if our prescription was ready and I am sure she could see the distress on my face. She checked and said it was ready and told me I could go ahead and get in the line of people waiting for their prescriptions that were filled. I could feel the tears beginning to well up, praying I could hold it together. While in line I caught a glimpse of Jovanna by the front doors in a wheelchair trying to maneuver it around. I prayed that I could get her medication and she might just stay there where I could see her. I turned around for just a moment and then looked back and she wasn't there, but I could see a security guard moving the wheelchairs back where they were supposed to be. I decided that there was no way I was going to be able to leave if I didn't stay where I was, pay for her medications and hope that she would stay close. By the time I got to the cashier there were uncontrollable tears rolling down my cheeks. I couldn't stop them and so I just let them happen. The cashier asked if I was o.k. and I decided not to respond because I had that pit in my stomach feeling like I was going to lose it if I said a single word.

I headed to the door and asked the security guard if he knew what direction the little girl went and he directed me and when I explained that she was a special needs child and I was having a difficult time with her, he then began helping me try to find her. He said he wished he had just let her alone. I finally found her sitting on some stairs and she was refusing to come with me now. I was near at the end, tears rolling down my face in the middle of a health facility, completely embarrassed by everything and all I could think about was getting out of there.

Thankfully, she did follow me after some time and I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my face the whole ride home. I typically don't let Jovanna see me cry and I am typically able to control my emotions but sometimes I hit the most that my mind and body can take. So, needless to say, I wound up feeling a bit grumpy the rest of the day. I am hoping that I will be able to move on if I write about what happened and how I am feeling. I hope tomorrow is an easier day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

We know a little more now

We now know a little more about what made my father so sick recently. It wasn't his body giving up to infection or his immune system from cancer. It was a very serious infection he received from tainted products that were purchased from China~tainted heparin and saline pre-filled flush syringes carrying contamination for Serratia marcescens, a deadly bacteria with the potential to cause serious injury, or even death. Back in December all medical facilities were notified to pull these from the shelves. Initially it was thought that it was just a few batches of the flush syringes in a few states were contaminated but now the blood infection is popping up all over the United States in alarming numbers, not only making people with already compromised immune systems seriously sick, but also killing people. It appears that the dialysis center that my father goes to did not adhere to the orders to remove these and months after the recall, they were still using them. When we asked them about it, they assured us they were no longer using those syringes, however, my father got sick with this deadly bacteria only a few weeks ago and he is still fighting for his life. This is so widespread, I can't even tell you how big this is. I did a search for "tainted heparin syringes" and I pulled up pages and pages and pages of results regarding this recent contamination. There are lawsuits being filed and people who were using these products to help them are dying from the very thing that was supposed to keep them alive.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

They call him "MagicMike"

He has always been able to make things happen that no one thought could happen. He works magic everywhere he goes. He's my dad and I have always admired him for that "magic". He has had health problems starting at a young age. Beginning with a massive heart attack at 40 years old, following a triple bypass and then a hereditary disease, Polycystic Kidney Disease, which began to deteriorate his organs beginning with his kidneys. About 5 years ago, the time had come for a kidney transplant and it was his wife of more than 30 years who would be the match and the donor. Everything seemed fine and he was living the life he loved with lots of world travel and running his successful wedding photography business. We all noticed over the last several years that he seemed to be getting sick often and had a harder time moving around, more fatigued. In April 2007 he returned from a trip overseas and immediately checked in to the hospital. Tests showed he had a cancer that is the result of being a kidney transplant patient from all of the anti-rejection drugs which lowers the bodies immune system. There was a mass in the lungs that was cancerous also. His health was declining rapidly and he was becoming more incoherant daily. We didn't know at that time that the hospital had knicked his bowels with the needle while performing a biopsy of the kidney which caused his bowels to perforate and was shutting down every organ in his body with infection. The family fought one of the largest health organizations in the nation to transfer my father to OHSU for better care. This is where we learned that my father was given a few weeks to a few months to live.

It is now February 2008, almost a year later and he has fought with everything he has to stay alive. He wants to live. At times, he has been given life threatening options and he has always requested the options that would help him to stay alive. He has been in and out of the hospital with various set-backs and battled HMO care tactics. My dad went back to the hospital Sunday night by ambulance and was admitted to ICU with a gram negative blood infection for which we don't know the source. His blood pressure is dangerously low and unstable, his heartbeat is irregular and he has to continue to fight for his life. But we call him "MagicMike" and I believe his will, his power to work magic and the love of his family will pull him through again.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My Red Card!

I am all caught up now on YITL. My Red Card is done and it contains all the red I could find in my scrap stash. Not much because red is not one of the colors that is in my comfort zone. I like how it turned out and how I discovered how little red I have in my stash.

YITL Love and Proud Cards

I'm on a roll! Here are my YITL Love and Proud cards. So so so much easier for me than the "Blue" card. I have one more card to finish and then I am caught up. Enjoy!

Stumped by BLUE!

I am quite far behind on my Year In the Life (YITL) Challenge because I got stumped on the third word...BLUE! I asked Suzanne for a different word, but she refused. So, I finally gave in and created my Blue Card. Here it is...

Now I have to boogy and catch up on the rest of the YITL words!

Oh, my...could this card be another sneak peek at the Scrapdango March Sugar Kit???? Why, yes...I think it is!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Jalapeno Poppers!

At every winter holiday I am always asked to make my world famous Jalapeno Poppers and Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce! I love these and eat most of them before I get to the party! I am willing to share this recipe with you under one have to make them! Here it is:

When preparing this snack, you will want to wear latex gloves because the jalapeno juices and seeds can irritate the skin and eyes!

Jalapeno Poppers
2 qt canola oil or Crisco
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of beer (not dark)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
16 fresh jalapeno peppers - slit lengthwise down one side to create a pocket and remove the seeds if desired
4 oz cream cheese, or grated cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese (my secret is garden vegetable flavored cream cheese)
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce (recipe below) or cream cheese

In a deep fryer or medium stockpot, heat oil to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with paper towels to set poppers to drain oil.

To make the batter, combine flour, beer, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Wisk to combine, set aside.

Stuff each jalapeno with 1/4 oz of cheese of your choice mentioned above. Working in batches, dip jalapeno into the batter, turn to coat, and drop into the fryer until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Transfer to prepared baking sheet with paper towels to drain.

Serve immediately with sour cream or blue-cheese dipping sauce.

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
2 oz crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Juice of a 1/4 lemon to taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Stir all ingredients in a small bowl.

Take a deep breath and ...bite!

If there is someone you need to get back at...give them one that still has the seeds in it!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Where can you find good customer service these days?

It's so hard to find! I've just come to expect the poor customer service I run into everywhere I go. There are only a few places that I frequent where customer service hasn't diminished and of all the places ~ my local Hillsboro, OR USPS office. Now, I live closer to about three different USPS offices and I travel a much farther distance - about 8 miles - to do my shipping business at the Hillsboro location because the customer service is exceptional there. They are polite, fast and informative. Compare that to the customer service at the USPS office just one mile from my house and you feel like you want to strangle someone or something every time you are there. I make sure to pass on my kudos to the team there at the Hillsboro, OR USPS office every time I go. I have explained in detail to different members of the team there how far I travel and how many USPS offices I drive by just to do my business with them there. They say they hear that often. It doesn't surprise me. Have you experienced good customer service lately? Pass it on! Make sure you tell those who provide you will excellent customer service.

Psssttt! BTW, Scrapdango has exceptional customer service!