Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Well, it's a little easier to write a post thanks to my husband. My laptop went on the fritz about a month ago. Wouldn't start up at all, just gave me an error message on a blue screen. Apparently, my cute, little laptop didn't come with enough memory to run a diagnostic and fix whatever problem it had, so my husband put in a few more gigabytes of memory. And erased my computer. Which was necessary, but still. Fortunately, the great American novel is still in my head and so wasn't effected.

Work is going ok-I still like the job. I have people thanking me for being their coordinator, which is nice. I have people asking me if they can switch over to me from the other coordinator (we split the alphabet) which is nicer. I can't help it if I'm nice and return phone calls mostly on time. Doggonit, I'm nice and people like me.

I did have one downer moment today. I received a call from an OPO last night, their donor family wanted an update on the recipient who was transplanted a few years ago. I'm only allowed to give basic info, like-they're still alive and the kidney's ok. So I called the person up and asked if they wanted to give any more info to the family. Apparently, they're having a hard time on the medications, they're not feeling well, they've developed side effects and probably "wouldn't recommend anyone to get a kidney." So no, they don't want to get in touch with the donor family. But they're thankful.

I can't imagine that it's worse than dialysis, but then I haven't gone through either. My biggest surgery was getting my appendix out and I balk at taking more than one fish oil tablet a day. One the other hand, I spoke with a person who'd been a living donor today, and she was so excited because for the first time in a long time her whole family was together, including her recipient. No surgery works out exactly the same for everyone and I guess transplant is no different. I like to hear the stories that people are going about enjoying their lives. It doesn't work out that way for everyone. Some have complications and I think for some it just wasn't what they were expecting.

I read somewhere that people given a chronic disease diagnosis usually find it easy to stick with their regimen for one year, then the compliance issues begin. I don't know if that's true, but I'd love to hear from you folks. I know it's hard also for kids to stay the course when they become teenagers. First, because hormones throw everything into turmoil and then add to that rebellion mixed with a bit of "it won't happen to me". I'd love to work with teenagers who need/have transplants.

On a side note, to all you F&F out there-Poot is asleep at this moment and I get to spend some quality alone time!! So I'm off to surf the innernets before she realizes I'm no longer sleeping next to her.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So that's how it is...

I can write whole, big, informative posts and get nary of comment. But post one cute baby picture and y'all tripping over each other to comment. That's fine. I can take it. God knows, she's much cuter than I am.

And Ali, I hate to tell you, that picture was taken almost a year ago! The curls are longer, the dimples are deeper and she's prone to answer any request to stop doing what she's doing by saying,

"But Mama, I just doo-in!"

If you want to know what melts my icy heart, it's a cherubic little voice calling me Mama. It's been about 12 years since I last heard that. The other night I looked over and her and the teenager were snuggled on the futon eating noodles together. That just about did it, too.

p.s. Ali, I'm glad your cousin got her lungs! I'll keep her in my prayers as well as the brave family that made the decision that saved her life.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What gets me through my day...

This is the picture on my desktop. Now you know why I can't wait to get home. Squee!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Oh, God, it's hot!

I'm sweating, for no reason what so ever. It's not like I'm doing anything active. Just typin'.

Some weeks ago our main air conditioner died. Our landlord sent some guy over to look at it and, I don't know, make sure it's dead, I guess. He came on a day we told him we wouldn't be home. That's the last we've heard of him. At least we've got the AC in the bedroom. I feel like jumping into a vat of Pellegrino. Even my mouse is sweaty. Blech.

The good news is that I'm on vacation this week, so I can be as sweaty as I want to be and just lie around the house and moan about how hot it is. But work has air conditioning, you say. Yeah, and it also has WORK. Since I didn't win the Megamillions Friday night, I guess I'm going back Monday.

This has been my first vacation since maternity leave and since that involved something called "labor", I don't really consider it a vacation. It's been a nice week. The lil Pooter and I went to the zoo last Tuesday. Despite the fact that most of the animals were sleeping, it was tons of fun. They had a little train that went through the woods and along a lake. Everytime the horn went off, she grabbed my arm tight and put her head into my shoulder, but she was grinning from ear to ear. The carousel was another big hit, as were the monkeys. Another day we went to the farm and fed some piglets. I think Pooter loved this even more than the zoo, especially since they were up close and touchable. They had a ball in the pen, so we'd throw it and they'd chase after it. Someday, I might be called upon to explain where bacon comes from, but for the time being it was a blast. The big hightlight was when the enourmous mama pig pee'd on one of the piglets who didn't get out of the way fast enough. Pooter laughed until she squeaked.

We also inflated our kiddie pool and put it under our screened in tent for a ghetto fabulous resorty effect. This way mama can sit in the shade with a cool drink while the Poot splashes about.

Thursday was the big excursion. All four family members: Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Cranky Teenager Bear and little Baby Bear, all went to the Shore. As in "Down the Shore". My husband is from the shore area and he calls it "the beach", as in, "We're going to the beach, you Bennies." He won't say Down the Shore. Benny, if you're interested, stands for Bergen, Essex, Newark and New York. Some places call them Shoobies. In other words, loud, obnoxious persons with questionable driving habits who take over your town from May to September. Known to wear bermuda shorts with black socks and sandals. Since I myself once lived blocks from the beach, I don't think I should fall into that category but hubby begs to differ. Just because I never lit things on fire and then used a shotgun to put it out. And then blamed the whole thing on a black dog. Or something.

Anyhoo, Pooter also like the beach. Especially the SAND. Crashing waves, not so much, but the sand was a big hit. So big, that she brought several quarts of the stuff back in and upon her person that continue to be deposited on our bed and belongings no matter how many times we wash her. Her and Daddy made a big sand castle while Teen and I played in the waves. To insure we went against the BENNY grain, we arrived late and stayed til dusk, long after the lifeguards had gone and got to see a few people surfing in the full moon high tide. Then we had dinner at Wegmans and drove home. Pooter managed to fight sleep all the way home but was asleep minutes after her head hit the pillow. Just enough time to let me know how much fun the beach was.

And all week long I got to sleep without an alarm clock and be with my family every second of the day. I've got to figure out a way to make money without actually working. Legally, and without changing my name to Bush. Otherwise, it's back to work I go.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The best call I ever made

I've been putting off posting in every way I can think of. Of course, my laptop is on the fritz, so that helps. It's so much harder to get on the family computer, what with the Counter Strike and the poker playing. At least the poker pays dividends. Then, when I do finally get a turn on the computer, I find endless, diverting stories on reddit or else I go shopping.

Mostly, though, I just haven't felt like putting myself out there. Work has been very stressful the last few weeks for reasons I don't think would be prudent to put on the internets. Let's just say I feel like an ant that some mean kid's been holding a magnifying glass over. And it rhymes with "EMS". Oops. Said too much.

Anyway, I am almost at the end of my 90 day probationary period. I have 10 more days to go back to the PICU, scot-free, no questions asked, according to our policy. And don't think I haven't thought about it. I'm used to a steep learning curve-I worked in a level I trauma center, for Christ's sake. But I am rather weary of asking people what I have to do in a given situation, being given vague instruction, asked for clarity, been told not to worry about it, and then being called on the carpet-sometimes from the same person I asked advice from-for messing it up. When I was younger, I'd just say to myself, "suck it up, buttercup" but I am too old for this crap. Then I start kicking myself, because at almost 40, I should be an expert, not a beginner again. I wanted an interesting life, and I've certainly got one, so there's no sense pouting about what I do and don't have.

"But what about the good bits?" I hear you ask. Well, I genuinely like the patients. About 98% of them, anyway. Over the 4th I was on call and we were pretty busy. I called a couple people for back up offers-meaning, someone was ahead of them on the list, but if it fell through for any reason, they'd get the kidney. So I called to make sure they were all healthy and available and whatnot. I mean, healthy aside from the kidney failure. You know what I mean-like I called one woman on her cell phone and she answered from her hospital bed. Not exactly up for major surgery. Anyway, I call this one guy for a backup offer and he gets all up in my grill. "What do you mean someone's ahead of me? I thought I was at the top of the list? What's going on?" I try and explain about how the list is really a pool and when certain tissue types match, a list is generated, but, if there's a perfect match somewhere in the country, they get first priority. I didn't get into paybacks and all that, please, I barely understand all that myself. Let's just say, thanks to the wonders of dialysis and insulin, that kidney and pancreas sharing is more complicated than with other organs. Remind me sometime, I'll explain in more detail.

Anyway, I calm this guy down, "listen, it's gonna happen, you're up there. I know it's frustrating to get called and then nothing happens, but hang in there and it's gonna happen."

A little while later I get another backup offer and I call another guy and he's pleased as punch, "a kidney, are you sure?" That offer turns into a primary offer and I call him back to tell him to not eat or drink and come into the hospital in a few hours. He can't believe it. Imagine, 3 1/2 years earlier you do all this stuff to get on the waiting list and then-you wait. Who knows when the call is gonna come? 3 1/2 years is a long time to hold your breath. So there he is, going about his daily business, doing whatever with the missus and BANG! Drop everything, pack your toothpaste and jammies-you're going to the hospital for a new kidney! And I get to be the person who tells him it's Christmas, your birthday and the 4th of July all rolled into one. It definitely makes up for the 4 people who I had to call back over the weekend and say, "sorry, not this time, but soon, I know it."

(As for Mr. In-my-grill, he got his kidney a few days later. The message-don't give up before the miracle happens.)