I slept in the spare bedroom as the master bedroom bathroom demolition is today. The toilet leaked, flooding the room slowly while we were out in New York City. Jeff and I agreed it was time to do more than a repair. A newly tiled bathroom with a modern high toilet, a shower with built-in handles, and a seat seemed the correct answer.
This is Monday, and so, remembering my password after a week, I logged into the shoe company laptop and started following the complex rituals of unexpected absence and requesting medical leave. Nike uses an independent company, Sedgwick, to evaluate and grant leave requests. I have been done these requests before. My experience is that it is slow but professional.
I also wrote emails to folks I work with and some friends at work to let them know what is happening and that I, for the moment, am out for two weeks but will likely be out longer. I received kind and very supportive replies from Nike.
This cost me the morning. I also had won a mail auction for some very old stamps, and they had been at the post office waiting for a signature for more than a week. So off to our postal center. It is a rather strange place as there is one access door and it does no retail business. This means you have to use the self-service machine or find an actual post office for anything more complex.
I was there a few minutes before the open on a Monday in Air Volvo. I had to park in a different parking lot and walk over. A poor sign for a quick visit.
I helped form the line outside as more and more folks appeared and were surprised to enter a long queue. Finally, the service door opened in the lobby, and a clearly nervous gal made the first request. It took the postal folks fifteen minutes to find the upset gal’s mail, and the gal was still unhappy and waited for possible more mail while the line started again.
The next person left mad as she discovered they did not do stamps and such. The next person explained that she forgot to label her box or her return address. The incredulous postal employee just told her it was gone. All packages like that are sent to a central place, opened, and returned if there is any way to identify the shipper or recipient. This explanation in no way pleased the gal with the label. She just wanted them to get her box and give it back to her. Not believing she had lost the box, she said she would use the Internet to find the solution and left with her label. My turn came; I just handed over the signed receipt, and they gave me my letter. A few minutes later, I saw the guy who was just behind me in the postal line in the parking lot with a huge oversized box, and we congratulated each other for surviving the postal quest and attaining our boons.
I was now late, and my stomach was unhappy. So McDonald’s sausage sandwich with a coffee plus hash brown was my solution.
Finally, Air Volvo and I arrived in Portland twenty minutes late. I was happy to see Susie at 10:30. I had just missed the docs, but nothing interesting was going on. We had a new nurse, Mark. The OT and PT folks showed up, and the nurse assistant let me know Susie had some breakfast. Mark, our nurse, let me know that Susie could swallow pills. Susie, while still very hard to understand, was talking more and drinking iced tea.
OT and PT said that Susie worked very hard and was very interested in getting moving. She was not able to hold her weight on the left side.
I tried to write the blog while OT and PT worked with Susie. The room is tiny. I am always in the wrong place and distract the folks from things, so I sit out in the waiting area or the chapel.
I started the blog and tried to write it describing the events of Sunday. I finally got it out just around lunchtime here.
The palliative doctor came to talk to us. As I would expect, she spoke softly and calmly about a tough set of topics. We talked about our goals and agreed with the doc that if we cannot reach them, we would begin palliative care and expect that to bring a close to Susie’s story. Susie, while having difficulty speaking, appeared to understand the discussion and goals. The doc explains that palliative care focuses on the symptoms of illness and not on cure and is often used when a treatment is not possible. It was a sobering discussion, and the palliative doc is now part of our care team, but she plans to just follow along for now.
I called in Susie’s lunch order with Matt’s help. Susie’s lunch arrived, and I encouraged Susie to eat, and she managed to handle, to some degree, the spoon and eat about 1/3 of the mac and cheese. I feed her jello as it is well jello and needs to be kept steady; otherwise, it will wiggle away. Susie quickly chokes on liquids, but this seemed to improve over the day. The strength of her swallow improved all day.
We watched A Christmas Story movie between interruptions, it being a hospital. Yes, the story of Ralphie and his quest for an airgun for Christmas. A Quaker clergy stopped by and prayed with us. Susie took a nap after the movie.
I stepped out for lunch and took a walk around the Legacy medical campus. I needed to move a bit. I found a funky place for lunch, Anna Bannanas NW, and had a strange tuna fish sandwich. It was open-faced with capers and various veggies and tiny pits of white tuna from a can. All of this under a melted swiss cheese slice. It tasted great.
I should have known to go vegan at Anna Bannanas NW when the guy at the counter suggests a veggie sandwich. He also told me he sold a lot of tuna fish, but he did not eat meat. It took him ten minutes to make my tuna fish sandwich–I am the only customer at 3PM. He also informed me that they had no silverware left, so I had to use plastic. Unfortunately, the plastic was so weak it just sort of bent when you tried to use it. It was a very funky experience, but the iced tea, caffeine-free, was good, as was their Internet connection.
I found Susie asleep when I got back. Dinner came while she rested, but Susie was tired and was not ready for it.
I left at 6:30 and drove home in the darkness and deepening flog. The nursing staff would handle a later dinner for Susie.
I reached home without issue. I decided to get something from Olive Garden and took Air Volvo back to downtown Beaverton. The fog back was quick thick when I reached our area; I could not see anything beyond fifty feet, even brake lights. The mist is always deep here and the last to burn off.
I ate dinner while trying to watch the latest Doctor Who episode. It is a complex story, and I like what they are doing; it is so old-school Doctor Who. Universe threatening events with the Doctor in the center of the events and the companions working independently of the Doctor. The dialoguing bad guys explain the evil they are planning, all from the 1960s and 1970s style of Doctor Who. So far, the critics do not like it, and the new fans are confused. Each episode is the next part of a story and must be watched in the correct order. I am pleased to try this out.
I managed only half of the episode as I was tired, and I did watch it on Sunday, with too many commercials, so I can stop and catch the other half later.
I managed to sleep, waking a few times, but I fell right back to sleep.