Friday, June 26, 2009

My Family Onscreen

If you want to know what life in my family was like, pre-tx, go see "My Sister's Keeper", which just opened in theaters today.
I'm not going to rehash the entire plot, only to say this--Anna Fitzgerald was concieved as a genetic match for her sister, Kate, who has leukemia. Since the time she was born, she has been donating cells, blood, and marrow to save her sister's life. Now her sister is in renal failure, and needs the biggest sacrifice of all--Anna's kidney.
Anna talks about how life can change in an instant. One night, we see the family joking at dinner. The next, Kate is sick and being tended to by paramedics as she vomits blood on the bedroom floor. This reminded me of a time I went into the hospital, and I was lying on the couch while my parents talked to the doctors, wrapped in my mom's winter coat and all the blankets we could find. I was so cold. My brother and sister just sat in the family room and looked at me, while my parents tried to figure out what to do.
Kate's father, Brian, has some mannerisms my own father has, or does things he's done. Sleeping at Kate's bedside, and touching his nose when he wants a kiss (my dad touches his cheek). As he watches her go to prom with her boyfriend, there are tears in his eyes. I don't think my dad cried when I went to prom, but that's neither here nor there. I could understand the expression of a father watching his child do something he didn't think she'd get to do.
Anna helps take care of Kate. There's a sharps box in the girls' bathroom. Bryan and Mel learned how to mix my IV meds, and to flush my lines and my port. Mel could probably even access it, if she had to. She will be able to when she's done with nursing school. During one scene, Kate looks so embarrassed as Anna wipes blood off her face and changes a towel underneath her. Anna does it so matter-of-factly, just like my own siblings have done. But that doesn't mean I felt any better about it.
When Kate needs a prom dress, she needs one that covers her port-a-cath, which is currently accessed. Her boyfriend strokes her back and holds the emesis basin so she can vomit during her chemo treatments.
This family is my family. Sure, things are different. The situations, for one. But the dynamic, that's so similar. Kate feels bad because she takes so much time away from her siblings. Her siblings want to help her but don't know how. Kate wants to stop being a burden to them.
People in the theater were just bawling. The only time I cried was near the end, when Kate and her mother, Sara, are alone in Kate's hospital room. Kate looks at her mother and says, "It was a good one, wasn't it?"
"The best," Sara answers.
That's what I would say. It has been a good one. The best.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gym thoughts

So. I have been doing the gym thing for almost a month now. I have belonged to lifetime for almost three weeks!
While I haven't really seen any significant weight loss (darn it), I am definitely seeing changes in my shape. My clothes fit better, my waist is better defined, and the weight machines are definitely helping my arms and legs.
Working out is also getting easier. I mix up the recumbent bike and the treadmill (sat. is always bike day, because I know I can get one), and on Tuesday I went almost 2 miles! I have never gone almost 2 miles on the treadmill. I've done a 5K, so I know I CAN go that far, (and father, actually) but I usually stop at a mile or 1.2. Not Tuesday. I rocked it out, and there was incline. (OK, yes, 0.5 incline, but still, incline!) I was really proud. I usually watch "Law and Order" or "Bones" (my new favorite TV show. I laugh out loud when I watch and I'm sure people think I'm nuts.), and those both help pass the time.
So while the weight is about the same, I am going, usually about 4 days a week (haven't made 5 yet), for 30 minutes (at least) of cardio, and then a weight machine circuit. I also took a yoga class last week that kicked my butt. Will have to go back.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Four Year Report

So, I had my own clinic on Monday (where I saw the Little Guy mentioned in the post immediately before this one), where I had the normal blood draw, CXR and and PFTs (although the main PFT machine was broken so we had to use another one. Boo.). PFTs were really great-highest they've been since November of '06. Yay! Blood work, CXR, and tests from last Thursday were also excellent. Dr. A is really pleased and doesn't want to see me again until the fall.
In the radiology waiting room, I ran into my friend Amber,the second transplant kid at Children's. She wrote a book (I'm in it too! Marginally) and we've talked a lot--before, during, and post-tx. So it was nice to see her in person and catch-up. Her anniversary is in September (Sept. 25), but she was coming down for a CT to check some things out, and to receive an infusion in the infusion clinic. Fun times.
So anyway, I am clear for the time being--the lungs like me, all is well with the world.
And yes, I have been hitting the gym pretty regularly, 3-4 times a week. Still looking for 5. Things have been so busy lately, so I am trying to dig out the apartment, keep up with school, go to the gym....whew. But busy is good.


Hey, do me a favor

And pray for this little guy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer reading Vol. II

No reviews, just books I've read (and stars if I really liked it). Most of these are re-reads.
  • The Rosary, by Karen Edmisten ****
  • The Rebecca Series from American Girl (yes, I still read kids' books. Deal with it.) ****
  • The Right Attitude to Rain, by Alexander McCall Smith (One of my favorites, ever)****, and two others from the series--The Careful Use of Compliments and The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
  • A Father Who Keeps His Promises, by Scott Hahn. So useful for Biblical Studies! ****
  • Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian ****
  • Sense and Sensibility, Jane (who does not NEED stars because we know of her greatness)
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (GREAT book)
  • The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux. It's my favorite musical ever, but I have never read the novel. Gotta say, I like the show better. (What a shock, eh?)

Happy Father's Day

Yeah, OK, it's a re-run, but it was a good the first time: Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dad's birthday

Dad's birthday was yesterday!
Some pics from the par-tay:






Summer reading Vol. I



As we know, I read more than most normal people.
OK, I read a lot more than most normal people.
I'm Emily and I'm a book addict.
Really.

Since we know this, I thought, for those of you looking for summer reads, I would chronicle what I read this summer--as in, every book (or almost every book) and bookshelves of what's new (as in, books I haven't read a million times, like my Jane Re-Read).

See, part of the problem with my Book Addiction is that people keep writing books. There are always so many more to read!

So, in this first installment, here's what I've downed so far this summer:

The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne): I've read this before; it was required reading in Honors English 11 in high school (Mrs. Moone's class--one of the best teachers I have ever had). I am not overly fond of Early American Authors. I've read Cooper, and I really disliked Last of the Mohicans. (For some of the reasons why, go here.) I really didn't like this the first itme I read it. Hawthorne was way too wordy (Shades of his friend Melville!) and I couldn't wait to finish it.
In college I took a "19th Century American Literature" course. To this day I do not know what possessed me to do this. In addition to Moby-Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, and other works, we read Hawthorne's short stories, which I really liked. He has a knack for the fantastic.
So, when Ignatius Press, one of my favorite Catholic publishing houses, released their edition of The Scarlet Letter, I pondered giving it another go. Finally did. It's better than I remembered. MAybe because I'm older, and I've read more, or I appreciate the characters better. I don't know. All I know is the descriptions seem less halting, and I really enjoyed Hester. So, if you haven't read this one, try it. Or try his short stories, as a way to tip your toe into the Hawthorne pool. You can even find them online here.


The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Katherine Howe): This one dovetails off The Scarlet Letter, by also taking place in Massachusetts. Connie is a Harvard graduated student, doing work in early Colonial History. When her mother asks her to prepare her grandmother's house nearby for sale, Connie moves in and discovers some odd things. As her research delves into the history of the Salem Witch Trials, she uncovers an interesting theory--what if there really were witches in Salem? And what if they still existed today? The book alternates between different narrators--Connie, Deliverance, her daughter Mercy, and Mercy's daughter, Prudence. The climatic scene is well worth the suspense as Connie uncovers not just a historical mystery, but a mystery within her own family that has important implications for herself.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

The years roll by...

Time again for....the annual post-TX testing!
(Can you BELIEVE it's been four years?! Well, not yet. But close.)
Anyway.
We started at 8:30 in the cardiology clinic, where we did the ECHO and the EKG. The ECHO isn't hard, it's just super-uncomfortable for me. The tech has to press the transducer down pretty hard and these are sensitive areas--like, on bone. So it's not the most fun ever. The EKG takes longer to set up than it does to actually read!
After that it was ultrasound time. Fox and the Hound was on the TV, which was awesome, because I haven't seen that movie since I was about 8. I always mix up the names of the Fox and the Hound.
After that I had the bone density scan, which tells us if my bones are dense enough or if I need more calcium treatments. I take boniva right now to help with calcium absorption. So we'll see what Dr. A says about it on Monday.
After this I had a break for lunch, which was Subway in the outpatient center food court. It was recently remodeled and this was my first time down there since then. Very nice! I read The Red Tent while I ate.
Around 12:30 I headed back over to radiology for the CT scan and the VQ scan. Both of these are pretty easy. Teh CT scan just involves laying there and inhaling/exhaling appropriately. The VQ scan is a little more complicated. First you breath in a nebulizer treatment, then lay on the table for two different scans. The second one is a pain, because you have to keep your arms above your head. Ow.
Then comes the needles (only one of the day), when some sort of radioactive isotope is injected. Then you do the arms above head thing again for 14 minutes. (The VQ scan, due to the fun drugs, takes place in nuclear medicine. I always loved that name for a department.) I finished around 2, which was way ahead of schedule.
On Monday I see Dr. Astor and I'm sure he'll break all these down for me. I also get blood work, chest XR, and full PFTs. Most of this data gets sent to UNOS for their records (Yes, I have a record in Richmond. Go me!)
So that was my exciting day. Bet none of the rest of you were injected with radioactive things today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The revolution in Iran will be lead by...

Brutus Buckeye? 

A favorite song

discovered (or uncovered?) by Amy Welborn
I've always been a huge fan of this song (even when I was little and totally got the words wrong.). It's one of those songs that tells a clear story you can see in your head. But I never knew the title, so I couldn't look it up. Amy has provided the title. I am grateful. 
Usually the music stations only play it around Christmas, because the song's events take place on Christmas Eve. But I really think it deserves more play than that. 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"Lay your sleeping head, my love"

Lay your sleeping head, my love, 
Human on my faithless arm; 
Time and fevers burn away 
Individual beauty from 
Thoughtful children, and the grave
 Proves the child ephemeral: 
But in my arms till break of day 
Let the living creature lie,
 Mortal, guilty, but to me 
The entirely beautiful. 

Soul and body have no bounds: 
To lovers as they lie upon
 Her tolerant enchanted slope In their ordinary swoon, 
Grave the vision Venus sends
 Of supernatural sympathy,
 Universal love and hope; 
While an abstract insight wakes 
Among the glaciers and the rocks 
The hermit's sensual ecstasy. 

Certainty, fidelity
 On the stroke of midnight pass 
Like vibrations of a bell, 
And fashionable madmen raise 
Their pedantic boring cry: 
Every farthing of the cost, 
All the dreaded cards foretell, 
Shall be paid, but from this night
 Not a whisper, not a thought, 
Not a kiss nor look be lost. 

Beauty, midnight, vision dies: 
Let the winds of dawn that blow 
Softly round your dreaming head 
Such a day of sweetness show 
Eye and knocking heart may bless, 
Find the mortal world enough; 
Noons of dryness see you fed 
By the involuntary powers, 
Nights of insult let you pass 
Watched by every human love. -- W.H.Auden

Worth a 1,000 words

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

CHAMPS!!!!

For the first time in 17 years...
the Cup comes back to Pittsburgh. 
Pics and more up tomorrow. 
Malkin MVP. 
GO TEAM!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I did it!

I finally went to the lifestyle gym down the street from my parents', and joined. 
I rule. 
I have the passport membership, which means I have access to all their clubs (fantastic, since there's one right across the street from the Senate), and, with my apartment complex discount, it's $26 a month. Not bad!
I did the treadmill and two of the weight machines. That's one thing I've missed--weight machines! I loved doing those in college. 
I have my first session with a trainer next W. Wonder how that will go...
Also yoga and pilates classes, which I think the Melster wants to take with me. I hope she does. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Story Part IV

Part IV of non-short story up here
(in which I take shots at a vegetarian character....ha ha)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

PENS

Going to GAME SEVEN. 
Stanley Cup Finals. 
In Detroit. 
Do. Not. Miss. It. 

Story

So, I thought I'd have part IV, but not so much...it would be really short.
If you've read it, can you leave me some feedback? 
And if not...it's here

Monday, June 08, 2009

Short story Part III

Rapidly becoming Not Short Story, but....
New installment, Part III, and links to I and II, here

The Simple Woman's Daybook--June 8, 2009



For Monday, June 8 ,2009

Outside my window...
A very pretty late Spring day. All the trees in my yard are in full bloom--isn't it amazing how they all seem to do that at once? 

I am thinking...
I'm looking forward to reading my new books, and tonight's parish council meeting (cookout!) 

I am thankful for...
God making me me (is that corny?)

From the kitchen...
Bountiful Beer Bread and Onion Onion! dip for Parish Council meeting. 

To live the liturgy...
Magnificat, Bible reading, rosary (with this book)

I am wearing...
Gap jeans and a pale blue V-neck t-shirt. (It's almost 90 here, but will cool down once the rain goes through)

I am creating...
Short story--working on it, slowly. But making progress. And updating my scrapbooks after a long hiatus!

I am going to breathe deeply ...
And enjoy good fellowship

Bringing beauty to my home ...
yeah, need to work on this. FlyLady methods today!

I am going...
to say my rosary and peruse my new books. 

I am reading...
Pride and Prejudice, The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary, and Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life

I am hoping...
For a good, sane week. 

I am hearing...
a mix CD I bought off iTunes

One of my favorite things...
summer!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Classes in general...
F: Clippers baseball game!




Saturday, June 06, 2009

La Petite Ballerina




From the Arts Fest today

That is one of the Swan's tutus from the upcoming production of Swan Lake--the same one used in this picture:



Some trivia about that costume: 
It takes 100 hours to stitch that tutu, by hand. Each fold is individually folded and stitched into place, along with the embroidered strips and the beading/feathering on the bodice. 
The closures are hook and eye. 
So, you know you want t see these in action October 16-18! Tickets go on sale in August!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday--Vol. V


I. 
So the week got off to an auspicious beginning with time in the resort, fun drugs and a clean digestive tract (an empty one, anyway). Thankfully the rest of the week was less eventful (although the budget did get passed out of the Senate at work, so that's a wonderful thing.). Stomach is still slightly iffy, so I'm trying to be nice to it. 

II. 
Side note to the above: I like pain meds, I like what they do. I don't like needing them (who does?), and when my parents are around I tend to act like I need them less than I do. I actually have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but when it's reached, it's reached. 
So I definitely "reached" that point on Sunday morning when the ER nurses (both named Jen, although one was "Jen" and one was "Jenn") came in to access the port, start fluids, get blood draw, and give me magic drugs of phenergan and dilaudid. Oh happy day. 
Anyway, I had sort of lost it...pain was in the 10+ range, etc., and I wasn't really thinking about not asking for as much med as they would give me to feel sane. 
After Jen got the port in and the fluids running, and Jenn had the blood sent to the lab, she held up the two tiny syringes that held wonderful magic drugs (OK, I know, this sounds awful, but really, they looked fantatic at this point). She asked, " do you want to do 1 mg and see how that goes, or just do 2 right off the bat?"
"Can I have two, please?" *(Yes I said please)
It was immediate, and normally it is not immediate. Normally I look at Dad and sort of hem and haw and if mom's there she'll lobby for the lower dose. But no way.
"Absolutely." Magic was swiftly delivered. Even after the port needle had to be taken out and re-accessed with a 1" needle, I did not care. I was blissfully unaware. Or at least, pain-free, ergo I did not care what was happening to me. 

III. 
While the Pens may have lost on Sat., they've won the last two, including last night. Game 5 is tomorrow in Detroit. If we win, we can win at the Cup at Mellon in Game 6. Go team!

IV. 
Biblical studies class happening after I write this. 

V. 
We've had so much rain lately that it's nice to see sun! It was 90 on Saturday, but it will be 80 tomorrow, when I'm volunteering at BalletMet's booth at the Art Festival! Should be a lot of fun, and if you're in Columbus, come on out to the Discovery District. The Art Museum is FREE, so you can see the Egyptian Art exhibit! (That's what I'm planning to do pre-shift) After the art fest, I'm thinking about going to see my friend Bill, from Parade (he was Mr. Watson, the "rabid newspaper publisher") play Cardinal Richelieu in Actors' Theater's The Three Musketeers. One of the great things about summer in Columbus--theater at Schiller Park!
 Free!

VI. 
The gym thing goes on. I may go tonight--will go tomorrow, but will probably get enough walking, etc in at the Fest. Don't worry I'm still doing it. (Gloom and doom sigh here)

VII. 
Reading: Pride and Prejudice; The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday (finished); Handle With Care (finished); A Father Who Keeps His Promises

For more Quick Takes, see Jen at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tonight's Dinner

From Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer--aglio olio 

Sea salt/kosher salt
3 oz. spaghetti
3-4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 fat garlic clove, or 2 smaller, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
1 dried red chili pepper or far pinch dried red chili pepper flakes (to taste)
chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Put a pan of water on the heat to boil for the pasta. When it's come to the boil, add salt and then the spaghetti. When you're about 3 minutes away from the pasta being ready, add the oil and garlic slices to another pan, crumble in the dried chili pepper and cook over low to medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the garlic has taken on a light golden color, which will hardly take any time, add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta-cooking water, stir well with your wooden spoon and turn off the heat. Tip in the cooked, drained spaghetti and toss well so that it's well-slicked by the garlic-studded, chili-flecked sauce. Sprinkle with salt and some freshly chopped parsley, if you have it, and eat. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hi-sterical

Your daily dose of funny here

Short story part II

up here

The 1,000 post

(Wow, can you believe we've hit a thousand?) 
In honor of this momentous occasion, I'm doing a meme I derived from the current Boden catalogue. If you're a new or old reader, it should interest you (I hope). 
And if you've stuck around for all 1,000 posts--THANK YOU. I hope you've learned something, or, at the very least, been entertained. 
Stay on, will ya? The best is always yet to come. 

  1. What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Hair
  2. Age I feel on the inside: 17
  3. To feel better after a bad day, I: take a bath
  4. Most attractive quality in a S.O: kindness
  5. Most overrated invention: video games
  6. I'm told I look like: Claire Danes, my mom
  7. My breakfast consists of: coffee and cereal 
  8. Last saintly deed: Um....hmmm. 
  9. I'd love to be able to:Play the violin
  10. It's not what you know, it's: How you use it
  11. High point of my week: Friday night
  12. The way to a woman's heart: consideration
  13. I could talk for hours about: books
  14. I wish I'd spent more time: writing
  15. I'm surprisingly good at: mechanical things
  16. I'm notorious for: my voice
  17. What makes me feel glamorous: diamonds
  18. If I were handed $1,000 tomorrow, I'd: buy books and Met Opera tickets
  19. Favorite author: Jane!
  20. What's your driving style: Fast and signal-using
  21. Recent re-discovery: Beverly Cleary's Ramona books
  22. I've never mastered: Math
  23. Never ask a man: About old girlfriends
  24. Scariest thing I've ever done: Ridden the Magnum at Cedar Point (I know, I know...)
  25. Most precious (non-human possession): Caroline the bunny and Coach the bear
  26. Thing that gets easier as I get older: Driving
  27. If only men could: read my mind
  28. Best thing about the internet: Shopping!
  29. I wish I had a dollar for: Every book I've read
  30. Recent discovery: L'occitane soaps
  31. Never ask a  woman: her clothing size
  32. If I had a year off, I would: Finish my novel and travel
  33. I'm constantly embarrassed by: The way thoughts pop out of my mouth without being censored!
  34. At school I never saw the point of: Diagramming sentences; the 'effort' grade
  35. If my phone rings at 7 a.m.: I don't hear it
  36. Survival equipment for_____ (Rehearsal): a book 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

grammar pickiness

OK cats and kittens....
A note: CF is NOT capitalized. Don't ask me why, it's just not. 
So if you're writing it "Cystic Fibrosis", you are spelling it wrong. Just like you wouldn't capitalize "cancer" or "leukemia", you don't capitalize "cystic fibrosis."
 
(We now return to regularly scheduled programming.) 

update

GYM updates:
Friday: 35 minutes (Reward: Watched new Christian Bale movie)
Today: 33 minutes, 1.3 miles, some running (not too much don't get excited). Got new gym shorts so was trying them out. They'll do. 

Whoa

Today's mind-blowing thought from Biblical Studies:

"Reading the Scriptures is like going to communion." --Dr. Miletic

More at CPG

Book update

 I did finish Sense and Sensibility and David Copperfield. David got better as it progressed. The story line with Little Em'ly was sort of...weird. I liked the fact that there was a character with my name, but it was still sort of weird. 
Onto Pride and Prejudice and Bleak House. 

Monday, June 01, 2009

Adventures with chicken

So, when Dr. god told me to lose weight, I didn't think she meant the "food poisoning" method. 
And yet...
Saturday was a pretty good day. I had lunch w/ my dad, went over to my parents' for dinner, and then to Gresso's downtown to watch the first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with my brother.
Dinner was my dad's favorite meal--chicken with some sort of white wine/cream of mushroom soup sauce. I have never, ever liked this meal. When I lived at home (well, OK, when all of us kids were kids and lived at home), mom didn't make this a lot, because we usually didn't eat it. Now that I'm gone, and Bryan and Mel are gone most of the time, Dad gets this meal more often. 
I am never, ever eating it again. 
We had dinner around 4:30. BRyan and I left for Gresso's around 7. My stomach was sort of bugging me--like I'd eaten too much, even though I hadn't--but my stomach hates me as a matter of course, so I went anyway. We ordered some food and Diet Cokes at the bar and settled in to watch the game on Gresso's big screen (in a room complete with comfy leather couches). 
As the first period progressed, my stomach felt worse--as in, extremely painful. If it had been on the left side I would have through pancreatitis or appendicitis (Yes, I still have my appendix, just not my original lungs. Go figure.). So I left the game early and headed home, took a tylenol PM and then...threw up. 
OK good. Went to bed, thinking this was over.
Oh, not so. 
After doing this about five more times, it was 6:45. I called my parents. (I had, briefly, considered calling the squad down the street from my apt. That is how awful this was) Dad came over, called Dr. Kirby ( the tx doc on call) and we went to the ER. 
Fortunately the ER was empty and people moved fast. I was a wreck--totally dehydrated (I didn't even have spit in my mouth, so talking was hard), rapid respiration, all sorts of things. Once the port was in I got dilaudid and phenergan on board, and I Was happy. No more nausea, etc. 
I was admitted to 5C, which sort of amazed me. I thought they would say, eh, you have food poisoning, here are drugs, go home, but no. More drugs through the night. I managed to keep one pill down. 
This morning had oral phenergan before my drugs--drugs stayed down. Ate real food (go jello) and was kicked out around 4:15--as usual, just in time for rush hour. Feel a lot better but sort of out of it, thanks to drugs. IV fluids are the best thing in the world. Also happy that I didn't have to do the whole, "If you want me to throw up give me zofran," which I usually have to do, because for some reason the Powers that Be do not like to give me phenergan, which is a Gift from the Gods. 
Anyway, that's how my weekend went. Hope your was better!