Category Archives: General

Looking back on Thursday morning

Here are two images from yesterday.

Top photo: We were on our regular daily walk along Kahala Beach yesterday morning when I got the call with news that my sister had passed away at about 6:35 a.m.

Last night, I looked at the morning’s photos. According to the automatic date/time data recorded by the camera, this photo was taken right at 6:35.

The moment

I arrived at Bonnie’s apartment just behind the hospice nurse, who had to certify her death. Then I waited for the crew from the mortuary to arrive to remove her body. Bonnie and I were alone in the apartment longer than usual, as there was apparently some “miscommunication” with the dispatcher.

I looked in on her several times. She was resting on a bed below her collection of hats, some dating back to our Hawaiian grandmother. It felt like a good spot for her to have taken her last breath.

Bonnie's hats

I busied myself calling and texting those who needed to be notified, and making a list of bureaucratic things that would need to be done soon. Then I just sat in silence for a while. Silence is good. Somehow it didn’t seem “spooky” to be there alone with Bonnie.

The mortuary team arrived. They removed Bonnie’s wedding ring and brought it to me.

And when they carried her out of the bedroom, I was struck by how small the well-wrapped package was. We are all, I suppose, somewhat “larger than life.” And when her “life” was gone, what remained was far smaller than what my senses expected.

I will try to remember the former rather than the latter.

Feline Friday on Saturday (again)

Wild-eyed RomeoYes, it’s Feline Friday on Saturday. It’s been a crazy, stressful week, and Romeo seems to have picked up the vibes.

But on the cat front it’s been pretty calm, except for Annie’s wild minute about 4:30 a.m. this morning when she was literally climbing the walls in the hallway outside our bedroom. She may have been chasing some of those things that are only visible to cats, or perhaps she was just signaling that it was time for all of us to get up.

Duke seems to have finally beaten his chronic respiratory infection. It was somehow linked to his dental issues, or else the specific antibiotic he got for the last dental surgery was precisely what it took to kill this infection. Either way, he’s doing much better.

In fact, there are no medical issues this week, at least not any feline woes. People are another story. I’ve been dealing with doctors, nurses, non-emergency medical transportation, social worker, home health care, etc., etc. And now I’m stuck waiting for the arrival of a plumber to deal with the leak that has turned a corner of our front yard into an impromptu lake.

Oh, well. I’ll go pet a cat and calm down.

–> Click here to see the rest of the Feline Friday Cats on Saturday!

Due to circumstances beyond my control…

Today’s Feline Friday photos will hopefully get posted later this afternoon, and I may–stress “may”–be able to complete a post or two over the weekend.

But this has turned into a very stressful time. We’re making changes in my sister’s medical care, which require setting up the finances to support them, while supporting her during a difficult time.

I’ve already taken a sabbatical from my weekly Civil Beat column in order to deal with the family stuff.

Hopefully this will all settle down soon and I’ll get back to something like normal.

In the meantime, I’ll trying to keep in touch here and via Facebook as time permits.

Suggestions for navigating the medical care system?

Have you recently negotiated the medical care system? I’m frazzled and frustrated by the difficulty of finding good advice and good information.

Why is straightforward, practical information in the medical world so hard to come by? It seems like every part of the system has a separate role and there’s no clear guidebook to the whole enterprise. And since most of us are novices and under stress when we finally are forced to deal with the nitty gritty of the system, it’s very frustrating. Everyday situations become unpleasantly difficult to problem solve.

Here’s are a couple of real situations where you may have the answers that so far have eluded me.

First situation. Doctor orders a blood test. Patient, currently being cared for at home, will have a very difficult time going to one of the little strip mall labs to have blood drawn. So I ask where we can get a service to come in to her apartment, draw the blood, and deliver it to the lab for testing. It would make life oh so much easier all around, and it can’t be that unique a situation. Yet her medical support network seems stumped. Agency that sends nurse to check on her doesn’t know. Another home care staffing agency drew a blank but is looking for an answer. I’m not even sure what to call the service I’m looking for. Suggestions, anyone?

Second situation. Patient has been cared for at home by a friend flew over for a month to help out. Friend leaving. Now what? There must be services or consultants that specialize in knowing the available facilities in town, either in-patient or home services, their prices, reputations, etc., and can assist in determining what’s available and, if there are choices, where is the best fit. Ring a bell? Can anyone point me in the right direction for this kind advice? I hate to just be shopping through the telephone book without any additional knowledge. Again, any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Third situation, medical transportation, getting patient from home to medical appointments and back. I asked the nursing service for suggestions. They said they have a list, but would not make recommendations. I can’t believe that I’m reduced to throwing a dart at a list of companies and choosing without any information on their capabilities, staffing, geographical locations, relative pricing, etc.

And so it goes on this somewhat cloudy and blustery morning.

Feline Friday: Duke & Romeo still palling around

Duke & Romeo

Hey, it’s Feline Friday. I may have been a little tardy giving the cats their weekly moments of fame, but here they are.

The stars this week are Romeo and Duke, or should it be the other way around? The point is that these two really are hanging out together. It’s either incredible jealously, each insisting on sharing in whatever the other might be getting, or they are genuinely enjoying their own company.

This week’s pictures include four of the fabulous duo, taken at different times and different spots over the past week, waking or sleeping, it’s all the same.

–> Click here to see the rest of today’s Friday Felines.