Thursday, July 02, 2009


In no particular order:

* Today's another anniversary! Harley came home with me from the pound ten years ago today, and a mighty cute kitten he was, too. And now he's a mighty handsome senior cat. (I tried to take his picture today, but he wasn't having any.)

* The rheumatologist called. I don't have Sjogren's antibodies and, this time, my ANA was negative. Go figure. So, anyway, I'm fine, except that I still have all the symptoms that Sjogren's would have tied up into a neat little package. Oh well. Better to be ruled healthy, I guess!

* I paid some of Dad's bills this morning. Just in case you wanted to know, a four-mile ambulance ride in Reno costs $891. An ambulance ride of the same distance in Palo Alto costs $1,727.10. Fortunately, Dad had enough money left to cover these expenses, although his balance is dwindling fast.

* Along the same lines, an emergency admission to a Philadelphia hospital in which the patient stays one night (this happened the night before Dad moved West), costs more than $11,000, although it turns out that the VA's paying that one. Thank God!

* Today I was going back to my car, which was parked near a large medical building, and I saw a woman about to put a folding wheelchair in her trunk. A much older woman, I'm guessing her mom, sat in the car. I walked over and asked the younger woman if she needed help, explaining that when I was taking care of my Dad, I could get the wheelchair out of the trunk easily, but had a devil of a time getting it in. She thanked me profusely, almost weeping, and said that she didn't need help with the wheelchair, but was so grateful to me for noticing her and speaking up. She'd had a hard time in the medical building, where she'd been struggling with doors and where people had been very rude. I made sympathetic noises about how difficult caregiving is, and she thanked me again, even more fervently this time, for knowing that. "People can't know who haven't done it." I told her that there are caregiver support groups, although I didn't have specific information to offer. She seemed very fragile. I hope she'll be okay.

* That incident occured after lunch with a med-school colleague, who told me a story about a friend of hers who was so stressed out and isolated after years of caring for a dying brother that his entire personality changed. Moral of these two stories: If you know somebody who's taking care of an ailing loved one, please offer whatever help you can!

* Last night, Katharine coached me through the beginning of my first sock, using a toe-up pattern with such a complicated beginning that I'll never get through the second one without her guidance. Because worsted yarn and size 5 DPNs were the only materials I had with me, I'm now knitting the Sock that Ate Reno. This sock looks more like a hat. Gary thinks it will fit him; if not, I'll have to donate the pair to Bigfoot, or possibly knit just one sock and use it as a smallish Christmas stocking. This will also be one warm pair of socks, let me tell you. When I was in graduate school, my mother gave me a thick, handknit woolen sweater from South America. This sweater was rated down to minus-50 Fahrenheit. Gary and I called it the Bulletproof Sweater. Now I'm making Bulletproof Socks.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, everybody!

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