Monday, September 26, 2011

Traveling Part Deux

     How do people afford to travel? Here we are, not on a pleasure trip but on one to support a family member and it costs an arm and a leg to fly, rent a car, go out to eat and last but not least, pay for parking at the hospital. Now, mind you this is an impressive hospital. Loyola near Chicago has a great reputation. The building is huge, a series of buildings, really, beautiful and well taken care of. Each building has a really nice coffee and food bar located in it, beautiful waiting rooms, gardens, etc. Well, no wonder.

     My sister had to go to 4 different buildings today. They are quite a distance apart and the day is cold and rainy and she has a very painful leg. Obviously we don't want her walking. So George drops off her and I at the building and he goes and parks. Then he comes and finds us and we finish at one building. He goes and gets the car and drives us to the next building. Etc. The catch-22 is that you pay 5.00 each time you park. So for one day of tests, we run up a parking bill of 20.00. I know where they get their funding.

     My day was very interesting though. People watching is my favorite hospital activity and they were out in full force today. My favorite person got out before I was able to sneak a photo of him, much to my dismay. I am always amazed by the young men who like to wear the falling down pants, some down to their knees, with their boxer shorts showing. Well this guy did something I had never seen. He had cut out the entire seat of his pants so that there was a giant hole in the back with his butt showing. (He had boxer shorts on though). It caused quite a stir in the MRI room, I can tell you that. I am sorry not to have photos but I can give you the flavor of the moment...

It was nothing like these. Darn!
The rip was bigger than this. But he had boxer shorts.
The hole was bigger than this. No guy's head poked through it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Traveling With George

     A you read this, consider the fact that I am now 1500 miles north of my usual home in South Florida. We flew up yesterday to Chicago to visit my sister. Diana is undergoing surgery on Wed for a leg tumor that is cancerous. We are hoping all will be well with her and came up to be with her for the week.

     I have to say, I don't know how regular travelers do it all the time. By the time I got all the reservations made, I was almost too exhausted to travel. It has been a while since we've flown. We got through the body search (I was wondering what they were imagining on seeing titanium rods in my back!) and headed for the gate. Using a shoehorn, the stewardess spring-loaded us into our seats, which were so close together, we had to take turns to buckle our seatbelts. I had brought a variety of things to do on the plane but with the cramped space allotted to me, I decided to forgo reading or computer work in favor of breathing and sitting. 

     Finally, I decided to ask George to get my book out of the carry-on bag. This bag was chock-full of everything we thought we would need on the plane. George gave me what he was holding on his lap and started to search through the disorganized bag. Twenty minutes passed and  he had still not found it. I told him to give up. He did, gratefully. Stuffed like sardines, we just sat in our seats and waited to land. It was all we could do.

     But land we did. We were there. All we had to do now was get our luggage (easily accomplished) and grab a shuttle to our car rental area. We stood outside. Damn. It was colder in Illinois and we were  not prepared. We stood on the curb with a bunch of other people all awaiting our rental shuttles. Avis....Budget...Hertz...National...Dollar...No one was getting on. Could it be that all these people were waiting for our rental shuttle? I was determined. No one was going to edge me off this shuttle. I stepped forward determinedly, pushing past the elderly couple that had barged in ahead of me. I used my suitcase as a wedge against them moving up again.

     At last, 20 minutes having gone by, our shuttle appeared. We moved forward en masse, like a sea of stranded travelers moving with the tide. We all managed to get on, the final leg of our travels behind us. Little did we know that there were more adventures to come!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Going VIral


     I finally found out what going viral means. I keep hearing about videos and songs going viral and wondered just how they do that. Well it's more mysterious than even I imagined. Our family seems to be going viral in addition, and it's not a pretty sight.

     My daughter-in-law, Ashlee and my son, Cory both have managed to get sick this past week. Ashlee has been without a voice and they both have been pretty sick, a difficulty for when you still have to go to work. My other son, Jeff, has also been sick with the same thing. 

     This week it is my turn. No voice, sore throat and feeling pretty punky. Of course I started out with diverticulitis and a really weird rash. All cleared up and now a cold. So what does going viral really mean? It means it can bounce from Orlando, Fl to Louisville, Ky and back again to Tamarac, Fl.  I think I would rather prefer going viral to be a video that is seen all over the world, or something that makes me ultra rich and famous. A kind of viral that does not involve excessive use of tissues.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Where Were You?

     Reflecting on 9/11 has made me feel like I have lived a century. At my elementary school we had a patriotic assembly dressed in our red, white and blue. It was dedicated to the victims of 9/11. As we sang "God Bless America" I realized that almost all of the children in the cafeteria were not even born on that horrific day. It is not even real to most of them.
     There are so many of those "I remember exactly what I was doing at that moment" times during my life.  

         The explosion of the Challenger, particularly touching with a teacher aboard, was caught on TV with all schoolchildren in the nation watching. The first steps on the moon. The assassination of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The loss of John Lennon and Elvis Presley.

        I remember the first time hearing about JFK, Jr.'s plane going down as I shopped for a dress at the local mall. And of course, Princess Di, her fairy tale wedding and the tragic end of her life.

     The yellow ribbons tied on all the trees when hostages came home. The loss of Adam Walsh, which erased our innocence regarding parenting and safety. 

And yes, the trial of O.J. Simpson, which I wish was not one of the things I remember, but who could forget the stunned look on everyone's face? Mine included.
     Who would believe we would live through so many world events?  Thank God for the lighter memories, such as the Halley's Comet fiasco, where people planned comet parties and we all stayed up late to see...well, nothing.The long-awaited marriage of Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki on TV. 

And the long anticipated live on TV Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone's vault and finding...well, squat.  
      What are your life milestones that you recall?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fortunately, Unfortunately

     There is a great kids' book by Remy Charlip, the title of which is "Fortunately, Unfortunately." The whole book is a series of events in the life of a little boy; good event with bad one following, all through the book. I use it to help kids write with the same pattern.
     Despite the fact that the book is written about a little boy, I know that the author was talking about Jeanne Kraus. I feel as though I am the original dark cloud-silver lining person. My life as of late has followed this pattern beautifully.


Fortunately, I got to sleep in till 7:30 cause my loving husband thought it was Saturday.
Unfortunately, it was Friday and I was late to work.
Fortunately, the school managed without me.
Unfortunately, in my rush to work, I left some important things at home that I needed.
Fortunately, I had a lot of other things to do at work.

Unfortunately, I will have a busy weekend working now.
Fortunately, I have stayed healthy and out of the hospital for 2 weeks now.
Unfortunately, George reminded me that I was told to visit a pulmonologist to check on my lung capacity.
Fortunately, I found a listing for a doctor in my area that takes my insurance.

Unfortunately, his name is Dr. Weiner.   
Fortunately, I have a cute little weiner dog named Maggie.
Unfortunately, I can't help wondering if Congressman Weiner has somehow become certified as a pulmonologist.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to the USSR (Oops, ER)

    Well a week later I found that I missed the friendly atmosphere of our local hospital ER and George and I decided, well, actually, I decided that I needed to go back. A wonderfully itchy rash had spread on my chest, my arms and on my back. I had gone to get some meds for it at an urgent care clinic but it was moving toward my neck and ears and that was spooking me. So we went back to see if I had picked some nasty Jeanne-killing virus, or if it was just an allergy reaction. Unfortunately we got there at a busy time.


No one I saw looked smiling. And their hair looked like crap. Mine included.

A rash that looked like mine 'cept mine was better.
The room was packed with people in various states of distress. One man carried one of those barf condoms I talked about in my last blog. We stayed away from him. Two babies and a teen ager came in with horrible coughs. The boy got masked up right away. We stayed away from him too.

We arrived at 8:30 pm and I was called into Triage to see if I had a life threating condition that would make me die in the waiting room. I tried to think of something. "Any pain? No, just extreme itching."
"Are you having trouble breathing?" Only when I start to panic. Does that count?"

I thought I saw some concern in her face and reported to George. "I'm a shoe-in. They don't want me to freak out here in front of all these suffering souls. I got out my cell phone and played Angry Birds. Eventually the angry birds were run down by dead batteries and the angry birds just tweeted to the ground.

At 11:30 PM we are still waiting. There were several pathetic looking people wrapped in blankets. But there were people coming out the exits, 2 broken arms, 1 broken leg, stitches above the eye. The room was emptying and we were still there.

George tried to be positive. "It's almost empty." He said.
"Yeah its empty, " I said. "they're all in there!" I pointed to the innermost sanctum of the Er.

For 2 more hours we endured the hyena-like laughing of the three people sitting next to us. Evidently they felt the whole world was funny, and they guffawed throughout all of the Late Show, which I was at least trying to watch.

At last we are in. We get a doctor that does not have the most awe-inspiring appearance but seems nice. He looks like a kid, for God's sake. Anyway he says there are 2 kinds of rashes, kinds that kill you and kinds that annoy you. He THINKS I Don't have the kind that kills people. Yay!

You know what is funny/ WE are there 6 hours, he tells me to stay on the same meds I am already on and to see how the rash does. The next day it starts to get better. SO I figure it was a bargain. Where else can you go on a Tuesday night for 6 hours, (with a 100.00 co-payment) watch TV and relax. The people watching alone was a show. ANd the rash started to improve the next morning. (We threatened it with the ER though.

I admit it was nice that they remembered me there. It might have been that incident when the nurse came in and I was bending over to pick up something, butt totally exposed in my untied gown which was practically falling off. It wasn't a pretty picture.

The Jeanne Kraus Wing