Saturday, April 28, 2007

It has been a long time since my daughter has needed my help. So when I discovered that she was going to need knee surgery, wild horses couldn't stop me from volunteering to come down to help her during her initial recovery period.

 Now I'm not the best person in a medical situation. My moments of squeamishness are legendary amongst my children like the time my son had stitches on an arm injury and I ended up on my knees beside his gurney, forehead resting on the gurney's side, babbling on about all the ice cream we were going to eat when it was over. The doctor finally interrupted my monologue to say, "It's over, Mrs. Porterfield. You can stop now."

"It is?", I asked, startled to see how low I had sunk, literally. "Um, I was just trying to distract him," I tried to explain.

"Well, I don't know if you did or not," the doctor said, "but you sure made me hungry."

Or there was the time that I had to interrupt a nurse's instructions after my son had his wisdom teeth removed so that I could leave the recovery room and go sit in the bathroom with my head between my legs. In my defense, I would just like to say that I was doing fine until the heart monitor that Jason was hooked up to suddenly beeped and flatlined. "Oops, guess I'm dead," my son said cheerily, grinning at me with pieces of bloody gauze sticking out of his mouth.

But for arthoscopic surgery, I figured all I would probably have to do would be change bandaids, make tea, drive her back from the hospital, plump pillows, feed her, and offer lots of sympathy. Surely I could do that much. And for the most part, I was right.

Driving in the big city to the hospital was no problem because my daughter did the driving. I just tried to pay attention to the route, in case she was too groggy to navigate me back to her apartment after the surgery.

 Once we checked into the hospital, she was soon called back into the inner sanctum. After about 40 minutes, a nurse came out and paged me. I followed her back into the hushed area where half-pulled curtains surrounded patients on gurneys who were hooked up to various devices. I looked around for Laura and soon spotted her. She was sitting up in bed and looked downright perky. In fact, her coloring was good and she was smiling. "Piece of cake," I thought. "This shouldn't be so bad."

I sat down beside her bed and we talked about various things. I asked if I could do anything to make her knee more comfortable and she declined my offer. While I debated pulling out my knitting, wondering how much longer she would be kept in recovery, a nurse showed up with chart in hand. "Time to start your IV," she said.

"IV?" I was confused. "Why does she need one now? Isn't she finished with the surgery?"

"Heavens, no. She hasn't even had it yet. We're just prepping her," the nurse responded. My daughter rolled her eyes and started to laugh.

And so began the ordeal of the IV which of course went sour with the first attempt. Seems my daughter's veins take after mine, which are miniscule. The big difference is that my daughter is a real trooper and took it all in stride. I, on the other hand, would have been half way out the door, hospital gown or no gown, if it had been my veins that were being assaulted. The look on my face must have reminded Laura of all my past medical shortfalls which she proceeded to tell the nurse.

"You going to be OK?" asked the nurse.

"Sure, don't worry about me. I'm just fine. I'm PUMPED for this," I said.

"She's pumped," the nurse cackled. She seemed to find that pretty funny and she continued to laugh as she pulled out another needle, retightened the tourniquet and started slapping Laura's arm, looking for another vein.

"You know, I always sing when they have to draw blood from me," I told noone in particular.

"I'm not going to sing, Mom!" Laura insisted.

"You going to sing for us?" the nurse asked, looking at me amused. Then a vein caught her attention. Whamp! "Now here's a good one, Honey. We shouldn't have any trouble getting an IV started in this vein."

"Oh, what a beautiful morning! Oh, what a beautiful day. I got a beautiful feeling.....everything's going my way!" I warbled loudly to the amazement of nurses and patients around the room.

Ah yes, there's nothing like a little mother-daughter bonding over the strains of "Oklahoma" in a presurgical suite. And I call that "making memories."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Easter Bunny Ran Aground

Easter is a wonderful holiday for a Christian. However, for a dieter, it ain't so hot. I belong to TOPS, which stands for "Take Off Pounds Sensibly." This past week we were challenged to create a special Easter bonnet to wear to our next meeting (which happened to be the day after Easter). To understand the theme of my Easter bonnet, you have to understand how my Eater (Freudian slip) Easter weekend went.

First, my brother arrived for a visit. Friday evening I made ham and broccoli roll-ups with a hashbrown casserole. Saturday morning I made sausage gravy and biscuits, mainly because I know he likes that and my sister-in-law usually doesn't make that for him at home. Saturday noon we went to the Waffle House which he loves to eat at when he is here. I had a waffle with crispy bacon. Saturday night I made chicken tetrazzini which was pretty good if I do say so myself. Sunday morning I attempted to squelch the excess by stuffing down some raisin nut bran cereal. Bran is healthy, right? Sunday dinner was celebrated at Carrabba's with Chicken Marsala and garlic mashed potatoes. Sunday evening we reheated the leftovers and finished those off. Monday I waved goodbye to my brother and kissed my husband as he left for work. I then opened up the pan of cream cheese and chocolate chip brownies that my sister-in-law had sent from Michigan and proceeded to eat the top halves of each one in the pan.

By now, dizzy from all the sugar, I was beginning to panic as I realized that I had to weigh in that evening AND I had to come up with an Easter bonnet. It was then that I had the brainstorm. I got to work and put a small Easter bunny in a glass, stuck a straw in the glass, glued the glass on top of two candy bars (I ate the third candy bar while I was working out the design of the bonnet in my mind) and glued the candy bars to the top of a blue paper plate. I punched holes in the sides of the plate, stuck ribbon in it and made a little sign to hang down from the front. The sign said "My Easter Bunny float ran aground on a candy bar."

Got to my TOPS meeting and weighed in and lo and behold, I had lost a pound. The empty tomb wasn't the only miracle being celebrated this Easter weekend.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ma, He's Looking at Me!

My brother drove here from Michigan to spend time with us over the Easter weekend. One of the things he really likes to do while here is
bowl and eat at the Waffle House. So after we all went bowling, we headed over to my mom's apartment to pick her up so she could join us for lunch.

My husband loaded her into the front seat which meant that brother John had to get into the back seat with me. Off we sped and I noticed that John was giving me "the look."

"Ma, he's looking at me. Make him stop," I joked.

John gave me a grin and pushed his foot over toward my side of the car. "Ma, he's over on my side now. Make him get over on his side," I complained.

Mom looked out the window and ignored us while she blissfully picked her nose. John leaned forward and said, "Mom, stop picking your nose. Don't you shake hands with that hand? Use a kleenex." He settled back in his seat and farted.

"Ewww, Mom, John just farted. Open the window. I'm dying back here."
"Did not!"
"Did too!"

"What did I miss?," Mom shouted happily. Nothing tickles her more than someone passing gas.

My husband just stared ahead straightfaced, clutching the wheel and wondering for the umpteenth time what he had gotten himself into when he met me.

It's nice to know during these days of global warming, terrorist threats, armed conflicts around the world, and rising gas prices that there are still chances to return to simpler times and just be a kid again.

What's in Mom's purse this Easter Sunday?

It's time for the weekly update on what's in my mom's purse. Yes, I picked up Mom this Sunday for church and went through the usual ritual of emptying the extra stuff out of her purse while loading her into the car.

This time I had some extra help. My brother, John, came out from Michigan and while he was getting her buckled into the front seat, I was busy stuffing the trash from her purse into the garbage bag in the back seat.

Today's haul wasn't too bad. That was because we had gone over to her apartment on Saturday to take her out with us to Waffle House and I had the chance to clean out things then. However, she still had the chance to stuff more things in there between 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. is the inventory list for April 8:

5 dirty table napkins, 2 old church bulletins, one Christmas card, one library book, 8 unopened letters (we saved those and read them to her later), 2 rotten bananas, and 6 half unwrapped Hershey kisses.

Monday, April 02, 2007

What's in Grandma's purse this week?

Well, it's time for my weekly inventory of what I took out of Grandma Loose's purse when I picked her up for church on Sunday. You see, my mom has always been a packrat but since moving to an assisted living facility, she hasn't been able to fill an entire house with "things." So, now she fills her purse with "things."

Each week, I pull up to the front of her facility, load her into the car, load her walker into the back of the car, and put her purse into the back seat where I keep a small garbage bag at the ready. I quickly go through the purse and pull out all the, um, "ripe" and ready-to-be trashed items and then hand her the purse. She is none the wiser.

Once we get to the church, off she goes into the foyer and I follow behind, handing the trash bag to my husband, the head usher who neatly slam-dunks it into the nearest trash can. Getting the rotten banana smell out of the car takes a bit longer. So ---here is what I took out this week:

Six dirty table napkins
Two rotten bananas
One tea bag
One jelly container
One cooky stuffed into a cup partially full of dried punch remnants
A Michigan bulletin from January
Two used and empty envelopes
One library book (this I did NOT throw away....just cleaned it off a little)
One magazine

And that's the inventory for April 1st and I am NOT fooling.