Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fourteen years ago

August 29, 1992 was our wedding day.

It was a beautiful, warm day on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was sunny and breezy. We had a lovely place and a nice simple wedding.

There was so much to prepare and arrange. It was truly a team effort.

I remember all the hard work that cousin Nancy did on the beautiful flowers and decorations. The hundred pink and white ballons that Alan strung up to decorate the place. We engaged a harpist for music--it was beautiful. My friend Michael, a trained actor, read us a special poem. David overdid himself in making our cake. Our volunteer videographer, who didn't show up, disapointed us all. Bob and Jeff took the pictures. Jeremy was the ring bearer who wouldn't smile.

We had champagne and hor'dourves served on the lawn. The hot, long receiving line in the sun. Fish and chicken buffet was served for luncheon. I remember catching up with cousins and family from far away, and meeting members of our new blended family.

I remember dancing first with my husband, then with my father, and lastly Jody, my father-in-law. Jody was an award-winning ballroom dancer. I was nervous but it all went very well. Lastly, Loraine and Jody hit the floor and showed off their stuff. It put the rest of us to shame.

It was all over so quickly. We have zipped through the past 14 years with equal speed.
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Friday, August 25, 2006

Health and wellbeing

I'm on the long road to recovery. I am nearly ready to join a 12-step group on my issues with the medical establishment.

I'm still fighting the infection and the newly-discovered, compounding problem of poison ivy exposure. This was the confusing thing about the diagnosis. I had a skin virus, then a bad allergic reaction and finally a staph infection on top. A triple whammy. I had to get I.V. antibiotics at the E.R. and now I'm on three ointments and four prescription drugs. Not bad for a simple day in the garden.

My dermatologist told me that my rash was about as bad as she had ever seen. The only worse case involved a state trouper who wrestled with a felon in a bed of poison ivy. She said in a quaint southern way, "You are best done with gardening." And, "You have no business gardening ever again." When I protested, she responded, "OK, you may try again in full body armor."

I love to garden nearly as much as I like to knit and read. I have struggled with gardening down south learning new skills and discovering new techniques. I'm going to have to knit a lot more. This is going to take some time to sink in.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ongoing saga -- health care venting

I couldn't cope with the misery of my skin "infection" last night. I got out of bed at 5:00 a.m. and crept downstairs and just groaned and wept. A real pathetic sight.

At 6:00 a.m., I took a long hot shower, which helped. I got my wits about myself. I decided to either go to the emergency room or back to my doctor. I woke up my husband and asked him to get up. He was dazed and confused...not too surprising.

He called my primary care doctor's office. We couldn't get through to my doctor's office. It's a part of UNC medical center. It's big and bureaucratic. The system is terrible during off hours. A answering service takes your message, then gives it to a nurse. Thirty minutes later, you convey the same information to a nurse. She then calls the resident on call. Over an hour later, while I'm actually in the examining room of the primary care office, (I got sick of waiting and decided to just storm in. I went in before 8:00 a.m. as they opened and begged to be seen right away.) a resident finally calls and asks me all the same questions. She says, "Oh, don't come to the ER, go to your primary care doctor."

So I see a nurse practitioner, who tells me she thinks I don't have Impetigo, but Shingles! They draw blood just in case. She sends me to a dermatologist across town. She says it looks like Shingles. She takes a culture just to be sure. She gives me two new prescriptions (finally, some pain meds!).

So, at 11:00 a.m., I'm finally getting medicine for a condition that I have seen three doctors, a nurse practitioner, and four appointments, not to mention treating it for a week with the wrong medicines. My face feels like someone took a blow torch to it. And, I've spent $160 on co-pays, $50 on medicines, and missed two days of work. Did I mention that I don't get sick pay?

Shingles is painful and miserable. We know way too much about it. In fact, my husband had a case of it a couple days after our son was born. I think his case was brought on by the trauma of our son's birth that included horrific anesthesia with eight attempts to get the spinal/epidural in, followed by very difficult C-Section with added bonus of bowel surgery, and ending with our son in distress and needing a week in the NICU. That's another long story for another day.

Obviously, the poor man was freaked out and was then terrified that he would spread the virus to our newborn. In his case, the winner, on-call doctor's advice was to check into a hotel until he was symptom-free. Another great piece of advice?!?!

I think my case was brought on by the hell of going on vacation with my family to see the rest of my family. A prescription for disaster: Sleepless nights in one bad bed with two kids, the stress of driving with those same kids, the ususal family Sturm and Drang, the state of my father's health, the ongoing issues with siblings, and more.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Our son Benjamin died eight years ago. We still feel the loss.

Grief is a constant. It was a sharp pain, but over time it has changed. Now it's a deep sorrow.

Although he was only an infant, he embodied our hopes and dreams. I tell Zoe, his twin sister, that he lives in her heart.

I have trouble with religion in general, and loosing him didn't help matters. It's just not possible to understand why such terrible things have to happen.

At sundown yesterday, Zoe lit a Yahrzeit candle. Jews commemorate the anniversary of the death of a loved one by lighting a slow-burning candle, called a yahrzeit candle, which burns throughout the 24-hour day of the anniversary of death. The flame of the candle is a symbol of the flame of life that once burned brightly and illumined the lives of loved ones who mourn the loss.

I'm so glad that Zoe survived. She made it possible for us to go on.

Health updates

My father is doing better. He's out of the ICU and in a regular room. He's going to be in for a few more days. He may need to go to a rehab facility for stroke recovery. We hope to learn more after some tests.

My brother D. had to have his gall bladder removed. It was done last Friday and he's doing well. He is getting released from the hospital today. I called him today and he seems in good shape.

My skin infection is so minor in comparison. It's still spreading and itching. I'm not sure how long I should wait before going back to the doctor.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

a stroke

My father suffered a stroke today. This is not his first one. Luckily he was found quickly and rushed to the hospital in time to get the drugs that help if you get them soon enough. I'm glad he wasn't home alone. I'm very glad that he lives in Boston where there are good hospitals.

The primary cause of his bad health is cigarette smoking, bad diets, lack of excercise, and maybe bad genetics. At least my father has had better medicine to keep him alive longer.

When I saw him last week, he reminded me of his father. He'd lost weight and looked grey. It struck me that he looked very much like him. Of course, my memories of my grandfather are faint. He died when I was 8.

Alas, I don't have a single photo of my grandfather. He died young of a heart attack. I fear my father will too.

Friday, August 11, 2006


My spider bite has a progressed into a diagnosis: Impetigo! I remember kids getting this in school. I pronounce it incorrectly as impateego, not impatIgo. That's what I've heard it called before.

I went back to the doctor today and she put me on antibiotics 4x a day and anti-bacterial cream 5x a day.

It's highly contagious--so no kissing for a while--just cyber hugs and kisses.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Spider bite

I was bitten by a spider on my face near my eye. The welt has inflamed and spread to most of my face. Weird and painful--I hope it's not turning into a bacterial infection. My doctor said it was pretty nasty. I have to go back tomorrow to have them check it again.

I'd post a picture, but vanity prevents me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006



Our front yard is a bloom with sunflowers. Zoe and I planted them together in June.

They are very easy to grow, fun and cheerful. We were pleased to find many of them in bloom after we returned from Boston.

The deer have decapitated many of them, the bees and butterflies are visiting them, and now the birds are pecking out the seeds as they dry. They must be tasty! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Old Silver Beach on Cape Cod


We had a perfect trip to Cape Cod. One of my favorite beaches in the world is Old Silver Beach in Falmouth.

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This old house


The yellow house in the middle is my old house is Boston. The two new houses, that are under construction, are what happened when we sold our house to a developer. They are building one on each side of the house.

My beautiful organic garden and lovely trees are gone. Replaced with brand new houses. I'm speechless. Posted by Picasa

OnCall Networks or

Bob has set up his business website.

OnCall Networks

The design was done by Kathy Gagne. It's a fresh, clean design.