ladyvyola: (facepalm!)
541476_4431290666908_449356459_n

So....

Yeah, discovered a gaping wound on the bottom of my toe on Wednesday -- toe all red, foot and ankle all swollen. Went to the ER, got formally diagnosed as a diabetic, and was admitted with a diabetic foot ulcer in need of surgery.

Got a PICC line (a surgically implanted line for blood draw and IV drugs) and my foot surgery both on Friday the 13th (so I'll always remember!) and was discharged on Sunday afternoon.

Now I get to see the surgeon once a week to change the dressing and assess my recovery and I go in EVERY DAY, seven days a week, for six weeks to get an IV antibiotic treatment. Where did I spend my summer vacation? The Prince William Infusion Treatment Center, looks like.

Now, I've been unemployed and uninsured for something like three years. I have no income or primary care physician, have taken care of my elderly parents for the last couple of years, losing Dad last March and Mom this April, plus having to move, and being basically totally dependent upon [livejournal.com profile] av_lad. I've discovered that I'm willing to overlook just about all of Wal-Mart's' corporate sins thanks to their $4 prescriptions (I came out of the hospital with scripts for five daily meds and a painkiller and we paid $55).

All I can think about is what in the world could ever convince me to vote for Romney?

This utterly incoherent ramble has been sponsored by Vicodin. Vicodin, the Breakfast of Champions!
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
Mom passed away Sunday.

One year, one month, three weeks, one day after Dad.
ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
Called 911 yesterday evening for Mom and now she's in ICU at Prince William Hospital.

She's currently sedated and intubated to keep her oxygen levels up, her bp is distressingly low, she's got impaired kidney function, she's going septic, she might have had an embollism....

Fuck. It. All.

Literally, the only thing distracting me is the Anderson brothers angst-singing on Glee. It fills my brain and makes the grinding gears stop for a while.

ladyvyola: an orange pansy against a bright blue background (Default)
Mom might be discharged from the hospital today.

C'mon, Universe! It's Easter. Do it for the karmic synchronicity. Do it for the symbolism. Do it for the children.

::crosses fingers::

(Please please please. It's Day 26, dammit.)
ladyvyola: (facepalm!)
God. Damn. It.

Guess who's back in the hospital?

Mom's blood oxygenation levels plummeted in the past few days, down to 80% and then the low 70's (most people's are in the high 90's, she generally runs a bit lower, in the low-to-mid 90's) and she ran a fever so in we went to the pulmonologist.

When they checked her out in the office, she was at 63% saturation and a 101 degree fever. Out came the oxygen tank, on went the cannula, and an ambulance was summoned. Off she was whisked to the emergency room at Fairfax Hospital.

She got a chest X-ray and an EKG (yay! no atrial fibrillation) and a massive dose of antibiotics. Preliminary diagnosis is pneumonia and possibly an infection but nothing definite yet.

I stayed with her for a couple of hours but eventually left because there was no telling when they'd take her up to a room. I've got to call in the morning to find out where she ended up.

I am so fucking sick and tired of this crap. Can't we catch even the smallest of breaks?

The call

Mar. 7th, 2011 08:26 am
ladyvyola: (revolution is in the air)
1:30 am, a call that he was in v-fib, the top and bottom of his heart beating out of rhythm, and that it would most likely only be 20-30 minutes more.

1:45 am, the call that he was gone.

Inertia

Mar. 6th, 2011 08:35 pm
ladyvyola: (burn it all down)
Dad was taken to the ICU last night after Mom and I had left. He's on a breathing tube, sedated, and going downhill steadily. We've spoken to the doctors and expressed our (and his) desire AGAINST heroic measures and FOR him being made comfortable.

We're basically sitting around waiting for the final call from the hospital.

Mom and I got to see Dad awake yesterday and my brother saw him with me on Friday. We've decided not to go in tonight. Mom really shouldn't go in -- they've decided that she's got necrotic bone in her jaw causing the infection, which will need to be taken out pretty soon, so ICU is not a good place for her.
ladyvyola: (melancholy (spn))
We finally got Mom out of the hospital -- after 28 days -- and now Dad is in and he's not doing well.

She went in on January 13 for an atrial valve replacement. The surgery went well and despite a fun bout of paranoia and visual hallucinations due to the anesthesia/narcotics/sleep deprivation, healed up well. But her oxygen saturation levels (the O2 in the blood) just wouldn't come up/stay up. And low levels can contribute to heart attack and stroke. Eventually, they re-intubated her and kept her unconcious in the Cardiac ICU for six days. Then, weak as a kitten, back to the Cardiac Step-Down unit for a while, then a week and a half in Inpatient Rehab learning to stand up, balance, walk, go up steps, etc. All while observing sternal precautions because you do NOT want to strain the healing muscles and bones in your chest after open heart surgery.

I was at the hospital almost every day and Dad stayed home; while not bed-ridden, his chronic back pain restricts him walking much, and sitting in most chairs, especially institutional furniture, is impossible for him. So we were both running on empty and looking forward to Mom getting released, which finally happened on February 9.

Mom continued to do well, getting off the oxygen she was sent home on and getting visits from a state physical therapist. But last week Dad started getting sick. It seemed cold/flu-ish at first, with decreased appetite and fatigue. Then he started bouts of intense shivering, so cold that he couldn't get enough blankets on him, with labored, grunting breaths, and being mostly unresponsive. They'd last 45-60 minutes, then he'd get the sweats and pass back into normal alertness.

This all culminated Thursday morning, when at about 1 AM he staggered on his way out of the bathroom and lurched forward like a puppet with its strings cut, slowly falling down. [livejournal.com profile] av_lad and I got him picked up and he was getting up and walking by himself a few hours later but he fell again about 5 AM. He perked up and was moving again during the morning but when he started having the intense fatigue and weakness again, I put my foot down and called 911.

The paramedics were fabulous and I followed them to a local emergency facility. We spend nine hours there and he was eventually transported to Virginia Hospital Center, the same hospital Mom had gotten out of two weeks before.

A day and a half later, his kidneys shut down.

He's been having dialysis every day since. He's got E. coli in his blood, possibly from a prostate infection, possibly from some necrotic tissue in his intestinal system. They've been doing scans to try to figure out specifically what/where -- he's a big guy and exploratory gastric surgery is a risk in and of itself. But they could call us at any minute to tell us he's in the OR. His white count is up and he's gotten a number of antibiotics. A muscle enzyme, which should have a count of about 200, soared as high as 41,000. Last check, it was down to 1,000. It could have been caused by an interaction of two drugs he's been taking for years, triggered by the infection.

He was looking pretty good up until yesterday afternoon. I took Mom and her cousin, who's staying with us, in to visit and he was alert and interactive. But then, for the first time since he'd been in the hospital, he had one of the cold, stuporous episodes. His attending physician got to see exactly what it looked like.

When I got there today, he'd just come back from dialysis and I was told his blood pressure had been low during it so they won't do dialysis tomorrow. He was mostly out of it, telling me he'd had surgery on both his feet (um, no) and wondering if I was really there (um, yes). He was never really alert the whole day. When I left, he was about to get the second of two new antibiotics and then get another CT scan this evening for the infectious disease doctor and the gastric surgeon to evaluate.

As with Mom, I'm at the hospital with him every day. She stays at home with her cousin. And thank heavens we have her, because Mom's got some infection going on in a swollen jaw -- they went to a doctor's appointment today, Mom got a CT scan, and has to go to two appointments tomorrow in two different facilities. Her primary care physician is the same as Dad's so he knows the whole family/home/hospital situation and wants to keep her out of the hospital if at all possible.

I'm just exhausted and I have no idea what's going to happen next.
ladyvyola: caption "winter's child" under a blue-toned snowflake on a quilted blue background (winter's child)
So, breaking radio silence because, trust me, you did not want to be hearing about my unemployment and depression over the last six months, or the fun run during this holiday season of Mom's not feeling well which culminated in a trip to the emergency room the day before my birthday, a diagnosis of pneumonia which led to five days in ICU, culminating in a new diagnosis of congestive heart failure, a return home for Christmas, a cardiac cathaterization on Monday, and an upcoming heart surgery sometime after the New Year to replace her atrial valve.

Which is to say, I am clutching Yuletide to my bosom like a life preserver.

I'm going to try to do some recs later, but right now I'm gonna bask in the glory of the three stories that were written for me.

Yeah, that's right, bitches (by which I mean the fates that clearly have been gunning for me this year, not you lovely folks). Three. All full length, and each in a different fandom.

Now, I try not to be one of those people who scare writers by only being happy with a story that includes a pony and a big fight scene with ninja cats after which Mary Sue tells off those terrible janitors about how they treated poor Gary Stu, all set to the lyrics of Ke$ha's Tik Tok. I throw out a couple of open-ended prompts and then talk about the big themes and concepts that appeal to me. It's truly amazing how my gift writers created stories that truly captured those elements. There's a lot of good writers out there, you know? I thank each and every one.

My stories! Mine!

Not Alone in the Dark (8413 words) by [archiveofourown.org profile] dsudis Fandom: Under Jurisdiction - Susan Matthews

Summary: Andrej, Robert, and Joslire's first few days aboard Scylla.

I have asked for this fandom every Yuletide since the beginning. And after eight years, I got it!

My request, in part, read The fandom lends itself to dark but there's room for the lighter side, too -- getting through a regular day while living in close quarters, negotiating through the cultural differences, etc. (....) One thing that intrigues me is the structure and formality that they have to deal with, imposed from within and without, just to get through basic interactions.

"Pitch perfect" is a phrase often tossed around at Yuletide but I do not use it lightly. This story captures both the subtle and overt alienness of this universe and like the best gifts, was exactly what I wanted while being nothing I could have dreamt of myself.

I've got an idea who wrote it. We'll see. ETA: Yes!

The boys are in (910 words) by [archiveofourown.org profile] Keenir Fandom: Jekyll (TV)

Summary: Scenes and facts of (their) life

To be perfectly honest, I requested this fandom because I really didn't like any of the handful of stories I'd found. Nothing quite matched my understanding of canon and nobody talked about Eddie and Harry, the unprecendented twins.

Enter Anonymous, stage right, who took my glib request (So what's next? Do Claire and Tom tell them about their legacy? What's adolescence like for them? First love? First hate? First day of school? *g* Are they really two (four?) separate people? Inquiring minds want to know!) and ran with it.

The stealth Doctor Who crossover at the end was perfect and a sly tip o' the hat to the shared Powers That Be. (Note to self: A Jekyll/Sherlock crossover? The world needs one many!)

Three Mornings (1515 words) by [archiveofourown.org profile] destroythemeek Fandom: Frequency (2000)

Summary: Frank Sullivan. John Sullivan. Jack Shepard. Three morning vignettes.

There's a dreaminess about this movie that appeals to me and I was afraid to be too concrete in my request for fear of closing down authorial inspiration. I did say I'd love to see something about memory -- who knows what and when, how they deal with shifting pasts and uncertain futures and I got three scenes in the re-made yet still-in-progress timeline -- father Frank in the past, son John in the present, killer Jack in-between, none of them secure that reality won't change horribly with the next sunrise.

Go read! Give love (and kudos and comments)!