Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Coolest Patient
This morning, one of Dad's doctors told us that her team has voted him "the coolest patient on the floor," partly because of his nifty sunglasses. We bought them for him when he was in the oceanview room, where the sun got pretty bright, and he's been wearing them steadily ever since. The doctor also commented appreciatively on how good he is about letting medical and nursing students practice on him. Dad's happy to do that, partly because he really cares about education and partly because he's always happy to talk to new people.
The doctor teased him about how he always has his little radio tuned to NPR. "One morning I came in and your radio was off, and I knew you must be feeling sick! I was like, 'We may have to put him in the ICU!'"
Everyone, from doctors to janitors, notices when Dad's radio isn't on. "Hey!" said the guy who showed up to empty the trash yesterday. "Where's your music? You always have your music on. I can't dance if you don't have your music on!"
We hope to learn tomorrow what will be happening next: with any luck, VA-provided transport to a SNF, which Dad plans to leave as soon as possible. Everyone will be much happier when he can play his radio at home!
The only possible hitch is that he's reported new swallowing problems, a lump in his throat on top of the difficulties with swallowing he's had since his stroke in 2001. He had an upper GI last week, and I'm sure that would have shown anything abnormal in his throat, but Gary and I hope this latest issue can be resolved without more delays.
In the meantime, here's my other Cool Guy. I took this photo during our beach walk this afternoon. Gary hates having his photo taken, and took his revenge on me for this one by not alerting me to the fact that a wave was about to soak my shoes. Luckily, I was wearing waterproof Keen sandals and quick-drying fleece socks!
We had a fine adventure clambering among the ruins of the Sutro Baths. I have a morbid fear of falling and don't trust my balance, so walking along the tops of stone walls, even fairly wide ones, was a bit nerve-wracking for me, especially since the walkways were crowded with other tourists. Climbing up the steep slope from which I took this photo was actually easier: I don't mind heights if I'm going up, and especially not if I'm using both my feet and my hands to climb, as I was in this case. Gary commented admiringly, "You're becoming a climber in your old age."
Between the stone walkways and the scramble up the hill, we spent some time on a pocket beach which afforded the usual Bay-Area gorgeous views. Here's one of surf crashing against rocks. This is a very pretty place, and I wish I could bring the beach home with me.
After the Sutro-Baths adventure, we took a more sedate, level walk on Ocean Beach, always one of my favorite spots. Ours walks there drive Gary crazy, though: he's into walking as aerobic exercise, whereas I view these expeditions as a chance to pat every dog on the beach and look for interesting rocks. I didn't find any good rocks today, but there were tons of adorable dogs. At one point, I was patting two Corgis and two English Bulldogs, more or less simultaneously, and one of the owners told Gary, "You'd better get her a dog."
I don't want a dog (largely because a dog would make Gary and the three cats miserable) but I sure enjoy other people's!
After our beach walk, we went back to the VA and visited with Dad for a little while, and then went out to dinner with our friend Ellen. We went to a Vietnamese place that had been recommended by her sister, and that isn't far from the VA. I ordered soup; Ellen and Gary ordered crab.
Y'know those horror movies from the 1950s, the ones about giant radioactive crabs that, oh, invade San Francisco? We had two of those crabs for dinner. We had a lot of crab, and we all got very messy eating it. It's good stuff, but the meat isn't easy to extract, even when the crab you're eating is larger than your head.
And then the bill came, and it turned out that each crab had cost $50. *Gulp* But as I told Gary on our way back to the car, at least the dinner was an adventure.