Monday, July 28, 2008

The Dark Knight and Daniel X

Since Steve's movie partner is getting an education right now in South Dakota, it's up to me to go with Steve to the movies. This weeekend we saw the Dark Knight. I like Batman. The surprise was in how MUCH I liked the movie. It was totally awesome. The guy that played the Joker was phenomenal(Heath Ledger). He made Jack Nicholson look like an amateur. Too bad he died from a drug overdose or 'interaction' in January.

Heath Ledger IS the Joker in my mind. He nailed the role completely. I couldn't believe it. Isaac told us he went to see it in Rapid City on Saturday, Two Face nearly made him wet himself.

All in all, a good weekend. We hooked up the new dishwasher, the thing is barely audible as it works. Bosch is the way to go in my opinion. I am glad the salesman at Lowe's talked us into buying it, I am not sorry at all.........but I sure was nervous going with a different brand. So far, it isn't disappointing. But, I am going to wait about a month or two before writing an online review.

I am listening to a new book on tape, Jame's Patterson's "Daniel X'. It is pretty good so far, but I am ready for Patterson to write one of his own books. His are so much more interesting. What is up with that, is he getting lazy, or does he have writer's block? The last 5 books I have gotten of his are all written by someone else with his name on them.

I love to read, I also just finished reading a book highly recommended by a gal I work with, "Pope Joan". A very good read, I couldn't put it down, read it in 3 evenings. If the print wasn't so small, I would have had it in 2 nights, most likely.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sad News

Have you all seen the guy whose lecture was on TV? His name was Randy, he was on Oprah. He gave his final lecture, he had 3 little girls and a wife? He died, and it has affected me in such a way I can't describe it. He was beating his cancer and I was so glad.

I did oncology nursing for 10 years, I always have such a feeling of defeat when I hear Cancer took another life. It just isn't right, it doesn't play fair.

Keep praying for us, our mom is still in the hospital. After her ride to the hospital from the nursing home, she has been 6 weeks post op on Monday the 28th. It is a long tough battle. I am growing weary. I took off Friday and today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Recipe Friday

Steve really likes Irish Cream, it is quite pricey. A co-worker gave me this recipe. The first time Karen and I made it, we used Crown Royal whiskey. It certainly had a nice, smooth taste. The next time we made it with Wal-Mart cheap grade almost kerosene. It was good, but not as smooth.

Homemade Irish Cream Easy (5 Min)

1 1/4 cups Irish whiskey, brandy, rum, bourbon, and scotch or rye whiskey
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOTevaporated milk)
2 cups whipping cream or coffee cream
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Mix all together in a blender or a shaker bottle with a tight lid. Best if chilled

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Mom is doing the same, she's lost her drive to get up and walk. She lays in bed most of the time. It's kind of sad, she isn't eating very much at all. I am at a loss as to what to do about it. She just wants to go home, but can't reason out her physical needs. She doesn't get out of bed alone, isn't walking alone, and isn't eating well enough to make her graft site heal. What to do?

Her tile are almost laid in her kitchen, Dianne and Bob are doing them. Steve and I are burned out. We put in the bathroom (Dianne helped me finish it) the sewing room, and the dining room. The dining room is a nice, square innocent looking space, but it caused us a ton of work, elbow grease and frustration. I am so glad it is done. I spent more than one night there working on it, giving up my own work time at home, now I am not caught up on my stuff.

Steve and I are taking this weekend off, we are spending time together doing whatever we want to do, then we'll get back to our responsibilities.

Family is all good, Isaac is getting a box from us today, he wanted his alarm clock, a package of peach rings, and his charger for his cell phone. We are shipping it all to him, along with his box of movies on DVD. God I miss him, the little stinker.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mom's progress

I went to see Mom today. She walked in the halls while I was there, sat in the chair. By that time, she had been in the chair twice and walked twice.

She isn't eating very good at all. Nothing seems to taste good. She is down 20# since her surgery on June 23rd. I am getting nervous about that, I can tell ya. She had some kind of roast beef last night and seemed to enjoy that Mike brought it to her.

Tonight I'll go and work on cleaning her house some more, we are almost done. It will feel good to get it off my plate.

Isaac is doing good, he emails often. He says he really likes it there, the people are supportive and are all helping him to adjust and find his way around. He's met some new people, and is slowly making friends.

It is one week today.......he is pretty homesick. I miss him, too.

Today is my son-in-law's birthday, I am a louse and forgot again this year. Of course, I at least remember him, Karen's in-laws never remember her, in 8 years of marriage. I may be late, but I don't forget all together.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mom and her house

They are talking about skilled care, sending her back. Her eating has decreased, she needs nutrition to heal. The staples are out in her leg, she is not feeling the 'pinch' quite as bad as she was.

Steve and I have been working on her floors quite a bit, each night last week we went up and puttered around. One night he put some skim coat stuff in all the doorways. This is to even out the transition areas when you go from room to room. It is the threashold where the doors are. In most houses you have division in the rooms. Since they used the same tile in the kitchen and dining room, there isn't one in this house. However the old doorway is still uneven and the old tiles broke when you walked on them. Steve is a perfectionist. He wanted them smooth to keep that from happening. So, we put the skim coat on, waited for it to dry, then went up to sand it down and put on a new coat. We took the little shop vac with us. I was running the vacuum next to his little hand held sander to keep the dust down to a minimum. There was DUST CLOUDS in the air everywhere. I kept pointing out to him it shouldn't be that bad, his little sander had a bag on it, surely it wasn't leaking that bad?!?!

It turns out the filter was blown out on the little shop vac. HE went home to get the BIG SHOP VAC. I was running it, there was some dust blowing out of the vacuum, but I thought it was normal. Soon there was a huge dust cloud all over in the kitchen behind me. Turns out that vacuum filter died, too. This made such a mess all over the house. He was so angry, he packed up and went home. This set us back on our work there. He had to go get more sandpaper, more filters, and something to fix the drain in Mom's bathtub.

It appears there is methane gas coming up thru the bathtub into the house. It is a wonder she didn't die from all of that going into the house all these years. He fixed that yesterday as well. Of course, like most projects we work on, he had to make more than one trip to the lumber yard.

Let's not forget the kitchen. He had the light on in there on Friday night, and it burned out. The ligtbulbs in there had to be located, luckily we had some at our house and he replaced them, plenty of light in the kitchen now. I got stuck at work on Friday until 9pm, he worked at mom's until about that time on her floors, sanding the skim coat to make the doorways nice and smooth so the tiles won't break again. He then put another coat on there for us to sand on saturday.

Saturday we worked all day, sanded the floors and laid the tile. We got done there at around 5:30pm. (Made a full work day, 8-5:30) we even had a 1/2 hour lunch. Sunday I went up and made sure the floors were cleaned, there was glue tracked all over them from us walking on the stuff. I washed them good, took the glue up, then washed them again. We had to dry rag clean all the walls in the dining room, then I washed the ceiling fan, and all the furniture. Put everything back, then started cleaning the kitchen where the dust had settled, and the living room. I worked until 4, then went home. I was so tired, I didn't do my own work all weekend.

It is a lot of work, but I worry that she won't do well if she gets chemo and her house isn't clean as it should be. It is a peaceful work, if only I had a book on tape to listen to, it wouldn't be so bad.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Recipe Friday July 18th, 2008

We made this recipe when Karen, Bryan and the kids were here, it is yummy!!!!

Sunday Morning Oatmeal

1 1/2 c whole milk, plus extra for serving
1 1/2 c quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 banana sliced
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. golden raisins
pure maple syrup or brown sugar for serving

Heat milk plus 2 c water in med saucepan until simmering. Add oatmeal and salt, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 4-5 min. stirring occasionally until thickened. Off heat stir in banana, cherrries & raisins. Place lid on pot and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Serve hot with maple syrup or brown sugar & extra milk.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Isaac's new venture

Isaac is in Boxelder Job Corps, South Dakota. He'll be there for 2 years studying the Computer Networking course they offer. We called him last night, he had been all over campus with some kids, they showed him around, got him settled. He went with a couple of them from his lodge to the recreation center. They played some pool, he told us he thinks he is really going to like it there. It was such a relief for his dad and I to hear that.

It is so hard to see them go, but it is the next natural step, get them educated and get them off on their own.

Mom is doing good, they redid her skin graft on Monday, took out part of it, then resutured the whole thing. The Dr. also removed 57 staples from her left leg, the skin graft site. They took a flap of skin with a muscle off of her leg to cover her rectum and her vagina. The sepsis didn't affect her skin graft, I am so thankful for that. It was touch and go there for a few days. We weren't really sure how it would end up. Thank god my little sister insisted the nursing home call the surgeon to get her transferred back. One more day would have changed the outcome for her.

We are still working on her floors in her house. Steve and I were there for a few hours last night. The doorways are uneven, he is levelling them with some kind of compound. I continued to remove tiles, and try to get it ready to lay the floor when he is all done. The bad thing is, it all has to be sanded down now and more compound spread around. We hoped to have it done by the weekend, but it isn't looking like we will.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Chapter for Isaac

Well, Steve and I put him on a plane today. We cried, I know Isaac was crying while he was taking his shoes off and getting ready. He never looked back at us, he was visibly upset.

I am so sad to see him go, but it is necessary, it's time for him to move on into the world of independence. It is so hard to see him go, I cried like a baby on the way to work.

I called him on his cell one last time before he had to shut it off to tell him I loved him. I am going to miss him.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Recipe Friday

I love this recipe, I have made it for work a few times.

Outrageous Brownies
Ina Garten
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Makes 20 Large Brownies

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces bitter chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350ยบ.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of the chocolate chips, and the bitter chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture
and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12
ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

Notes: Flouring the chips and walnuts keeps them from sinking to the bottom. It is very important to allow the batter to cool well before
adding the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies. This recipe can be baked up to a week in advance, wrapped in
plastic, and refrigerated.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

BMW Ultimate Drive

Here is a picture of my co-worker, Linda and me, we drove an X6. We are standing next to the signature car, our names are below my hiney.

The event was pretty fun, we drove from Omaha to Lincoln. I was signed up to do the drive from Lincoln to KC today, but had agreed to train the incoming House Officers for the Med Center. One of the gals took today off, she and I are the only ones that do it right now, I agreed without thinking about the drive.

Mom is doing better, she's going to a regular floor today, they'll be getting her in the chair and walking her. I am so relieved, if she loses her graft, we lose her, a gamble we aren't willing to take.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nursing Home, Ambulance, Hospital, ICU, Sepsis

Well, after the horrible experience of our local nursing home, Mom was moved to Glen Haven. The difference was staggering. There were actually staff members there, along with a knowledge base of what it takes to care for the elderly, and a willingness to do so, the nurses had real assessment skills, they took VITALS, looked Mom all over, and went out of their way to make her comfortable.

The social worker, Denise, is a girl that I worked with and have known for many years, she is a dear girl. She goes above and beyond to make the patients in that facility happy, she gives 110% of herself. Evident in her presence on the 4th of July, she not only was there, she was there ALL DAY LONG, making sure the admission went well, that all of Mom's needs were met, that the staff were all familiar with her surgery, her care, her meds, etc. It totally boggles my mind how different the two homes measure up when compared. The first home isn't even in the same league as Glen Haven.

Mom no more than got settled in the second home than she became diaphoretic (sweaty) and seemed to be in some pain. Her colostomy bag had been empty since being dismissed from the hospital. My baby sister called her Dr. to let him know Mom still had a low grade temp. He wanted her sent to the hospital to be re-assessed. The ambulance ride went poorly. On the way to the hospital, she becmae unstable. The crew saved her life, her Blood pressure bottomed out on the way, they pumped her full of fluids, getting her to the hospital in a timely fashion.

Once at the hospital, she was assessed, cultures taken of everything, and placed in ICU. After a few hours, she was stable, the skin graft covering her rectum and vagina were in question, wondering if that was going to reject. Right now the Drs. feel that the tissue is still healthy and alive. If she loses her skin graft, she is not going to make it, we all know this, and are watching it closely.

The nurses in ICU at Methodist are amazing! I couldn't ask for a better group of caring, compassionate people to care for my mother, they are doing an excellent job.

In the midst of all this, we have Mom's floor torn up in her house, all ready to lay new tile, 10 boxes to be exact. I went to her house after being at the hospital on Saturday and covered the portion of floor we had torn up. It is looking good, when Mom returns she is going to be very pleased.

I broke my eardrum when we put in the bathroom tile, it is killing me, after a week of ear drops. I am going to need a trip to the Dr. again this week, but don't know when. Probably will need a consult with and ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor. Lord help me, I can't hear out of that ear at all right now.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mom Went to the Nursing Home yesterday

Yesterday Mom moved to our local nursing home for what we thought would be skilled nursing care. My sister transported her by minivan to the home in rush hour traffic coming out of Omaha on the eve of July 4th. The traffic delayed her for 90 minutes. THis was too much for Mom to handle, given the extent of her surgery, the number of remaining staples and sutures she has left. She had to sit in a car seat.

When the girls got 20 minutes outside of the facility, they called to let the staff nurse know they would be arriving. Upon arrival, the bed she was going to be placed in was not ready for her, she had to sit in a wheel chair for 30 minutes while the staff made the bed with thin, stained sheets.

Mom had her catheter removed in the morning around 10am. She had not emptied her bladder at all, she arrived at the nursing home around 5:10pm. The staff put her in a bed and basically ignored her. They didn't know she had the extensive surgery she had, they thought they were going to get her and prepare her for surgery. (bear in mind she came from a hospital) They also told us she was not in a 'skilled' bed. Although the hospital staff had pre-arranged that admission prior to her dismissal.

No vital signs were taken. The charge nurse didn't know she had her catheter removed, nor that she had an order to do an 'in and out' cath if she did not void. (PEE) She was never assessed, therefore the staff didn't know she had a colostomy, had incisions that run from her left knee up to her vagina, and up her backside into her rectal area. This is the plastic surgery that covered those areas after her surgery to remove her vagina and her rectum. The same surgery in which the female organs and her colon were taken. The nurse at one point looked at me and told me she didn't have an abdominal incision. I asked him if he thought she might have one, as they took all of the organs, giving him a laundry list of organs that were removed by 5 surgical teams that did a tag team on her for 10 hours just 10 days ago. He was perplexed, he hadn't done his job to check on her, so he had no idea. Within 2.5 hours of her admission, we had an order to move her to a different facility. More tomorrow.

Friday, July 4, 2008

This is a recipe we really like, I found it while searching all recipes a few years ago, I did a search using pork roast, cranberries and orange juice as my ingredients. This recipe came up at the top of the search.

The sauce is wonderful on the pork. One of the guys I work with was a cook on an elk hunting trip a couple years ago, he took this recipe with him. He told me when he got back the guys went crazy over it, and insisted on making sandwiches out of the leftovers the next day.

Cranberry Pork Roast

• 1 (2.5 pound) boneless rolled pork loin roast
• 1 (16 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• salt to taste

1. Place pork roast in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, mash cranberry sauce; stir in sugar, cranberry juice, mustard and cloves. Pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
2. Remove roast and keep warm. Skim fat from juices; measure 2 cups, adding water if necessary, and pour into a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Combine the cornstarch and cold water to make a paste; stir into gravy. Cook and stir until thickened. Season with salt. Serve with sliced pork.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Isaac is one step closer and nervous

Isaac sold his car, it is one step closer to his beginning his new life. He'll study computer networking in South Dakota, he'll be gone for 2 years, after that they will fly him to job interviews, help him get set up in an apartment, and he'll be on with his life. I really wish him the best. He has such a high IQ, he isn't motivated to use it, which is sad. He can read, comprehend and remember everything. He just has no passion for anything at this time. He will find his way, he is just a late bloomer. Big, sweet, kind hearted boy.

He leaves July 14th to go to Job Corps. He is both excited and nervous, as most of us are, he is afraid of failing. Once he is there, the program is set up to both reinforce, support and encourage everyone that lives there. The students are reviewed every 31 days for progress. If they are struggling, they are reviewed more frequently, if they really struggle, the staff will help them on a daily basis. I think that is the neatest thing! He will not get in a situation where he will be 3 months behind and not know it like college. The other good thing is, there are no barriers for his parents. We can call to check on him and they will actually talk to us. Unlike the college.

IWCC was willing to take our tuition money, but not tell us how our son was doing. Hopefully, had we known he was struggling with time management, we could have moved him home and followed up on his schoolwork. But it didn't turn out that way, we'll just move on and move past that part of his life. I thought I would be happy to see him go and move into the next phase, but as the day approaches, I am getting sadder.

I have discovered I talk a big talk, but am really going to miss him!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

BMW Ultimate Drive for Breast Cancer

Tomorrow I am driving a BMW from Omaha to Lincoln for Breast Cancer research. I hope to get a photo of me and Linda. We'll be decked out in pink and ready to drive the car!!!