for the calming effect on the nervous system of humanoids

We have a pretty awesome son in law, in case you all don’t already know. Hearing that his dad-in-law and the guy who married him for love and infinity and beyond to his gorgeous wife, he wanted to do something for him…because love and gratitude and the fact this guy let him marry his baby girl and even married them, his baby girl and the son in law.

We hear that this is a favorite shot from their wedding day because while the groom and bride were so nervous, the officiant/Daddy/Dad in law seemed to be having a really good time.

He was, Hollie and Ben. You all wouldn’t be old married folk if he wasn’t having fun standing up there with his buddy/baby girl and the man whom she loved. But you all already know that and have known that through the years together.

So Ben came to visit his Dad-in-law bearing a special gift, a gift he knew would be the right gift.

Yes, a tribble.

In the 23rd century, an enterprising trader named Cyrano Jones procured an interesting and adorable little creature. These tiny furry beasties had a calming effect on the nervous systems of humanoids – well most humanoids, anyway. They were called tribbles.

These tribbles, when they’re not busy being cute and purring, were prodigious breeders. As one country-doctor once quipped, “Well, the nearest thing that I can figure is that they’re born pregnant – which appears to be quite a time-saver!” In fact, their ability to multiply is so incredible, they can fill an entire cargo hold in three days – that’s one million, seven-hundred seventy-one thousand, five hundred sixty one tribbles… assuming one tribble with an average litter of ten producing a new generation every twelve hours. That’s some impressive breeding, right there. It would make any man want to high-five any tribble, except tribbles don’t have arms.

This tribble, however, is genetically altered to be sterile. Or so we have been told. God, I hope so! Our Big Top is crowded enough already.

Meanwhile, this tribble proved to be the perfect gift as after Ben, the son in law, left; Ben, Bill’s nurse, was pulling the venous and arterial lines from his groin which meant 30 minutes of seriously, hard pressure applied to those insertion sites to insure that there would be no bleeding from those big blood vessels. The tribble purred and cooed a lot as Bill hugged it tightly during that time. Thinking he his definitely not a Klingon.

Good thing.

Oh, and thank goodness for Bill’s tribble!

The same day that Bill went to the hospital for chest pains, it was announced that Leonard Nimoy, Spock, also was.

Coincidence, yes.

And Friday morning, as Bill finally came home to The Big Top, we were greeted with the breaking news that Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock, had died. And being the nerdy family that we are, we honored Mr. Spock and celebrated Bill’s homecoming the best way that we knew watching some of the original Star Trek series, including, but of course, The Trouble with Tribbles, because, seriously, what else is there?

The House of Cards, Season 3?

Yeah, there’s that.

Whatever. 

We’ll catch up soon enough. For now we are watching Star Trek on Netflix starting with The Trouble with Tribbles…cuddling with our tribble, of course.

LLAP yo!

 

catharsis

Bill is home!

We couldn’t be happier. Now the entire circus can hopefully get a good night’s sleep and maybe eat a decent home-cooked meal. I’m not sure about other things like laundry and other chores around the house. Maybe after we all catch up on some sleep.

In the meantime begins the recovery process and new reality. Five to ten minute easy walks as tolerated and lifting nothing more than ten pounds are acceptable activities which means no working, yard work, Krav Maga classes or dog walking for at least the next month or so.

Six prescribed and two over the counter meds every morning and every night. Nitroglycerin if he has chest pains. The cardiologist also recommends a home AED (naturally not covered by insurance) and CPR for all the kids.

Going over the post cardiac cath diagnostic tests, Bill’s cardiologist told us approximately 40% of his heart muscle has suffered damage. She is hopeful with some radical changes and medications, we can hopefully see some healing in time. This include working on lowering his bad LDL cholesterol and raising his good HDL cholesterol with medication and Bill sticking to the dietary changes that I have already been forcing on him. Then there is the big one…the smoking. The cardiologist made it very clear that he must stop smoking. He must never smoke again. Bill agrees telling her that he quit smoking at bedtime Monday night and that since then he has had no desire or craving to smoke. The hard part, the hardest part will be once he is home, she tells him. He agrees as she advises everything and anything smoking related should be removed from his home environment. As he nods his head in agreement, I offer to take care of that before he comes home and he tells me to do that for him.

I guess he missed my eager enthusiasm to fall on that sword for him…or maybe he did not. Who cares! He told me to get rid of those f-ers!

I tell Daniel as we were driving down to Modesto to see his dad yesterday.

Can I help? I want to smash them with a sledge hammer! No, I want to blow them up with dynamite!

I guess he has strong feelings about his dislike for cigarettes…like his mama. I assure him that he can easily destroy them all for his dad…without dynamite or a sledge hammer.

You can’t imagine how cathartic shredding these felt for my son and me.

And thus begins a new day here under the Big Top for my darling husband and our circus.

Everyone, family, friends near and far, lurkers who bravely reached out, total strangers who don’t know us at all but perhaps know one of our children or a friend, my estranged brother, even our mail carrier who offered kind words, prayers, hugs, texts, calls and visits — thank you, thank you, thank you! You can’t even begin to imagine how good your kindness was to us all…usually during a moment when one of us, or all of us needed it the most.

THANK YOU!

 

heart thoughts

Working as Vampira, The Night Shift Nurse, I am used to 3 o’clock in the morning phone calls because there’s always a mommy of one of my tiny human patients at any given shift calling because she woke up and thought of her baby. They are usually pumping the liquid gold that is mommy milk and naturally their thoughts are on their tiny baby wondering how he is doing…did she gain weight…did he have yet another episode where he stopped breathing or dropped his heart rate to delay (again) his discharge that was anticipated the day after tomorrow…is she crying… So around 3 AM Tuesday morning as I’m taking mental inventory of what I need to do before my last rounds with my patients when the phone rings I am not surprised. It’s probably baby boy’s mama calling to see if he gained weight.

Room 1. This is Laura. Can I help you?

Mom?!

Abby?…??!!??

Dad had a heart attack. We’re at Doctors in Manteca. It’s bad.

What?!

His nurse needs to talk to you.

And Patrick comes on the line calmly explaining that my darling husband has suffered a STEMI and needs a stat cardiac catheterization. Unfortunately, the hospital where he is at is not set up to do the procedure so he is going to be transported by ambulance to my hospital, its sister hospital. He carefully explains what has been done and given to Bill so far, how Abby is and that he, Patrick, will be accompanying Bill to Modesto. He adds that because we are “family” within our hospital system, he is going to be calling me during the transport to update their arrival time.

OMFG!!!!

Patrick gives me his cell number telling me that is the number he will be calling my cell so I’ll know it’s him…because who else is going to call my phone around 3 AM?…looking at my silenced phone I see that Abby tried to call me…Oh. Yeah….Patrick tells me he will call as they leave Manteca and again as they approach my hospital so that I can meet them in the ER.

OMFG!!!

Inside I am freaking out…majorly freaking out saying “fuck” often. Outside I tell my charge nurse what is going on. I’m too calm. At least I think that I am too calm.

She immediately calls our resource nurse to take over my patients’ care and directs me to update her on what needs to be done for the next few hours. I give the handoff to our resource and accept the hugs and promises of prayer from co-workers and the family of one of my patients as I blankly wander to our nurses’ lounge to wait for Patrick to call me.

I’m too calm, I think again. My husband just had a heart attack and needs an emergency cath procedure. Why am I not freaking out? Why am I not crying? My phone rings. It’s Patrick. They’re on their way he tells me. He adds that Abby is following in her car. And so I wait while my mind races…and wonders why am I not crying, screaming, throwing something…my husband has had a heart attack and is coming by ambulance to my hospital.

Patrick soon calls again telling me that they are getting off the freeway so I hug coworkers once more and head to the ER. There the STEMI Alert team is waiting and ready…nurses, doctor, phlebo, x-ray tech…

This is serious.

Before I can think to ask a thoughtful question, the ambulance arrives with Bill and Patrick. Bill is pale, much too pale but joking with me as he does, as we do.

Freak, freak, fucking freaking out inside I am again.

I’m calm as Patrick explains what meds Bill has had so far…aspirin, morphine, heparin. He tells me he went over consents with Abby and she has signed them so he’s good to go to the cath lab. Numbly, I thank Patrick for everything so far as he says goodbye while I watch Bill receive a new IV, have labs drawn, get a chest x-ray and have his pants removed all in the matter of a few minutes.

Mrs. Scarborough? We’re heading upstairs now.

Holding Bill’s hand, my mind moves from “OMFG! This is for real” to “He’s seriously high right now” as we head up to the cath lab. As they push the bed with my husband through the double doors, they direct me to sit and wait.

So, I can cry now?…

A text from Abby pops up on my phone. She’s here. I tell her where to go so that we can meet. What she tells me is so hard to believe to be real. Bill woke her up after 2 AM telling her that he needed her to drive him to the hospital.

Why, she asked?

His arm hurts and he needs to go now. Bill’s arm and shoulder has been bugging him for a few days. He blames it on overdoing it at Krav Maga, as does the family doctor who prescribed rest and a muscle relaxer. Abby tells me that he was a bit breathless and coughing a lot…as he has been because allergies and the cold Bill believes he caught from Daniel (who has not had a cold). Abby gets him to the ER close to home where they begin to triage and take his vitals…

It all changed when he was placed on a monitor. The nurse abruptly leaves the room calling a doctor in. Soon a party gathered in his room, Abby tells me. A doctor tells her that her dad is having a serious heart attack and need to be sent to another hospital.

My mom is at work at Doctors in Modesto. She will want him there.

You know the rest.

Can I just say here how impressed I am with my Abigael Rose? I am! She remained calm through all of this. I imagine that she was freaking out inside with a steam of OMFG and fuck, fuck, fuck happening because she is her mother’s daughter. Still she remained calm and even advocating for her dad and mom when they first planned to transport him to a hospital in Stockton rather than where I work, where the Central Valley cardiology rock stars are. I am so proud and so impressed with this child of mine.

The cardiologist soon comes out and tells us that his right coronary artery was 100% blocked but she was able to open it up with the cath procedure. She adds that his heart went into v-tach and he had to be shocked three times before his heart converted to a normal rhythm.

yeah…inner major freakout happened.

As the sun rises, Abby and I meet Bill in the ICU. He is on several drip medications with a venous and arterial line in his groin along with an IV. He’s pale…so pale…and he’s trying to tell jokes.

Stop!

I hold his hand as I remind myself that this is his turn for the in  sickness and health part of our vows. Yeah I am mad because he never seemed to listen to me about my worries so here we are but here we are, together in sickness and in health.

Dammit!

The family starts to call as they wake to receive my texts to call me because it’s an emergency. I want to cry and scream and curse and sleep because now I am tired, so tired, but I can’t because our daughters are calling, his sisters…

Sleep is for the weak…and people who had a heart attack…the most severe type of heart attack…and for people who needed to be shocked several times after cardiac arrest. I’m not sleeping now.

The family comes. The friends check in. Bill is awake then asleep then awake then asleep and all the while looking so pale. Everyone who sees him cries a little or a lot. I don’t.

Clearly I am defective.

I know I did way too much in sickness and in health events having babies and preterm labor and anaphylaxis episodes and meningococcal meningitis but, dammit, this is too much. His heart. I told him. I did. I nagged and I begged.

As the day progresses, he slowly stabilizes.

Thank god!

We settle into what is right now our normal and perhaps the most awkward, surreal date night ever.

As a wild, wild party seems to be commencing under The Big Top.

What can I say?

You cope your way.

And this circus will cope ours.

The good news is that by Wednesday night, Bill is much improved. no chest pains, rare arrythmias, femoral lines and drip medications discontinued and, after more than 36 hours for the first time he is sitting up in bed.

So. Damn. Lucky.

The adventure continues…

numbers for the ass-hats, anti-vaxxers and other nimrods

This morning I came home after a pretty busy 12 hour overnight shift in NICU-Land to a very sick little boy, who has been sick all weekend with god-knows what because he has no fever, no appetite, is pale and is coughing and wheezing.

I need to remind myself that he is thirteen and no longer a little boy except for the fact he is pale with dark circles under his eyes and mostly wants to just lie on the couch with one of his sisters, Zelda or his mom close by for comfort and reassurance as he struggles to breathe.

But I digress…

I come home after a busy 12 hour overnight shift in NICU-Land to a sick child. I am exhausted. He is too as breathing is work right now. All we both really want to do is just curl up in bed and sleep except…

My new, next-door neighbor is busy building loudly just under my bedroom window…where the sick child and I are trying to rest and sleep a little. Hammering, drilling, loud, loud, loud, loud!!!

Ugh!!!

I get up and go out to talk to my new neighbor…asking how long is he going to be hammering, drilling and using his loud, hydraulic equipment to erect this thing under my bedroom window is going to go on.

He’s going to be here awhile, he tells me. Is that a problem?

Well, yes. I tell him why. He looks at me for a beat, shrugs and tells me he has to get his tuff-shed built now. Then being the awesome new neighbor that he is, he moves all the loud hammering, drilling and hydraulic equipment action over directly under my bedroom window because ass-hat neighbors are the best neighbors when you are a night-shift nurse sleeping during the day.

I give up on sleep and focus on caring for Daniel and plotting as my friends and I are currently planning my revenge on Facebook. I’m sure that I won’t follow through because I am me. Although the tossing handfuls of birdseed into his yard certainly does appeal.

Truthfully, I don’t expect my neighbor (or even my family) to be silent during the day when normal people are living their lives as they do while the Vampires that is the nocshift are trying to sleep. Twenty-five years of daytime sleeping has given me strategies for sleeping when I can, where I can and learning to cope with those strange daylight dwellers. Still a part of me expects, wishes, hopes and dreams for the daytime species to at least give me a heads up when they are having a party going on right here, or are digging a pool or building a shed directly under your bedroom window…not because I am basically a bat…no…how about because of common courtesy…being a good neighbor…with good manners.

Hey, I am going to be building shit directly on the other side of our fence and it is going to be real loud for a few hours and I don’t know if it will bother you or not but I thought I should at least give you a heads up that it is going to be real loud here between our two homes.

Is that hard?

For some yes.

I might be getting some bird seed and soon…

Meanwhile, in the news, mainstream and Fox and even all over social media is the Measles. Today’s moment of pure WTF idiocy came courtesy of my own Facebook timeline:

This whole battle of those who didn’t vaccinate their kids bugs me. We were all doing fine until millions of illegals were allowed across the border against our laws. Stop the infighting and let’s blame the real culprit.

Um…

Wow.

Of course everyone has an opinion about the measles and to vaccinate or not to vaccinate now that measles has been in the news since December. Opinions are strong too. Mine is vaccinate your kids…dammit! I’ve said it before and I will say it again.

But let’s look at numbers because even nimrods have opinions…Facebook timeline proves that every day, literally.

102: The number of currently confirmed measles cases in the United States to date this year.

59: The number of 2015 measles cases linked directly to a December 2014 visit to Disneyland. Eleven more cases linked to Disneyland were caught December 2014.

More than 1,000: The number of people in Arizona that are currently being quarantined and monitored for 21 days for possible measles exposure…that can be linked to the December 2014 Disneyland visit. Measles is that contagious.

90 percent: The number of people who are not fully vaccinated who will get the measles if they are exposed to the virus.

2: The number of hours the measles virus can live, either in the air or on a surface. It’s much more transmissible than Ebola. Before 1963, an estimated three to four million people in the U. S. got measles every year, and of those people, 400 to 500 would die, 48,000 would be hospitalized and 4,000 would develop encephalitis.

1968: The year that the measles vaccine as we know it today was developed and first distributed. The vaccine dramatically lowered the number of cases and in 1989, when a second measles vaccine was recommended the measles rates dropped even further.

1968 was also the year that I came down with measles (yes, I had both measles and German measles as a small child). Mommy-Dearest was pregnant with my sister, Valerie. My brothers had not had measles. So six-year old me was separated and quarantined for a little more than three weeks away from my family. What first grader wouldn’t be able to handle that and not be afraid? Stir in the rare complication of optic neuritis and yes, measles are indeed marvelous for a small child! True I get to enjoy a lifetime of immunity so no shots for me but whatever!

2000: The year there was no continuous measles transmission for more than 12 months which meant measles had been eliminated in the U.S.

No more measles!!!

Whoo-hoo!!!

Unfortunately an increasingly connected world and decreased vaccine rates because of people blindly believing “Doctor” Wakefield’s made-up studies and personal beliefs and whatever bright, shiny belief held fast to have collided to create measles outbreaks all across the U.S….the same nation where 15 years ago there was no measles.

That’s super awesome!

20 million: The number of measles cases around the world every year.

92-94 percent: The herd immunity threshold or the number of the population needed to be vaccinated to interrupt the transmission of the disease, especially to the more vulnerable of the population who can not be vaccinated.

9 percent: the number of students at my son’s school who currently have opted out of vaccinations for medical or personal exemption.

75.1-80 percent: The percentage of school-aged children here in the Central Valley who are immunized.

1 in 10: The number of children with measles who will get an ear infection which sometimes can result in permanent hearing loss.

1 in 1,000: The number of children with measles who will develop encephalitis, or swelling and infection of the brain. This complication can leave children deaf or mentally impaired.

1-2 in 1,000: The number of children with measles who will die from the disease. You know, like Roald Dahl’s little girl back in 1962. So no, the measles isn’t a harmless childhood disease.

0: The number of anti-viral therapies that exist for the measles. Unlike the flu or HIV, there is no anti-viral treatment for the measles. The only option is to support and treat the symptoms, let the disease run it’s course and hope for no complications.

There’s that. and nowhere do millions of illegals allowed across the border against our laws come into the picture.

Vaccinate your kids! Get your own titer checked and, if need be, get a booster or be an ass-hat nimrod. But if that is what you must be please make sure you have some really good insurance because the rest of us do not want to pay for your stupidity..truly.

 

hardware

Quote

Happening here under The Big Top:

The best dentist in Manteca...being THE best dentist because this guy understood Sensory Processing Dysfunction and oral defensiveness without any stressed-out mother explaining it to him and being able to actually put his hands into the mouth of the kid with SPD and oral issues without the kid throwing up or freaking out…gave the news that this kid apparently had been wanting to hear more than anything else in the world right now.

Well, except for perhaps saying you need a WiiU in your life. What dentist would say that? Even a kick-ass dentist like Dr. Lee?

No, he wouldn’t say something like that. But he would say, “Let me get you an orthodonture referral. Do you know Dr. Duong?

Do I know Dr. Duong? I am quite certain that I helped to fund some of the fun and games she has readily available for all of her patients.

Oh gawd! It’s happening! It’s really happening, for the 5th and final time. Someone hold me!

Even Dr. Duong is a little surprised and emotional having known Daniel since he was very small and still being fed by g-tube and of course because he will be her last patient from my Big Top. She’s going to miss us…in 2 or 3 three years…and our money. But what this woman can do with a kid who can scarcely handle anyone helping him with flossing as she worked on his teeth for more than 90 minutes…she’s amazing. It helps that she has watched this kid grow up, knows what he likes and can easily talk to him about the latest cool Lego sets or video games as she installs all kinds of hardware into his mouth.

Orange, red and blue brackets for the win because “they are really cool colors together, Mom” and bands. Extra bonus points being the first one in his class to get braces because, yes, it’s a cool thing when you are in 6th grade.

Metal mouth level, unlocked.

A WiiU gaming console would make his life complete.