Friday, July 30, 2004

Michael To Be Featured

I got an email today from AOL Pets Community asking if they could use a picture of Michael from my journal to put him on their Pets Community Page.  I am really excited!  He is my only child!  I think he is wonderful!  Of course I am a bit prejudiced, but I still think he is the best cat in the world.  Don't worry, I won't break out the home movies at this time!  But I will let you know what day he is going to be featured when I find out the day.  :-)  

Whipple's Dam

John and I just came back from dinner and a movie.  We were going to watch the Democratic National Convention but figured they would repeat Kerry's speech, so we decided to watch it later.  Uh-oh, I just turned on the TV, and the repeat is now over.  Maybe they will show it for a third time later tonight.

Today John and I were going to go to Whipple's Dam.  It is a local beach.  A man-made beach, lol.  What else would they have in PA?  They imported the sand to make it.  I have never been there but somebody told me they have swimming, a place to order food, paddle boats, etc.  I thought it would be a really fun thing to do.

We couldn't go today though.  I called up John this morning and he just couldn't wake up.  Not until 3 PM.  He has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  It used to upset me greatly that he was so sleepy all the time, but now it doesn't bother me as much, because at least he doesn't have his terminal cancer anymore.  That's right.  He had terminal cancer.  Only somehow he survived it.  Some of his doctor's gave him no chance but he fought it off!  He is a five year survivor so far.  So I am thankful for any health he has, even though he has to be on disability for other things besides cancer. 

Hopefully we will be able to go to Whipple's Dam next week.  John has weeks where he has to sleep a lot and then weeks where he is awake.  It runs in cycles.  I say maybe we can go next week because we can't go this weekend.  It is supposed to thunderstorm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I wanted to say that Valerie has asked me for more prayers.  She called me tonight and said her neck just won't heal up.  She is going to just lay around for the next three days (which she has been pretty much doing anyways) in hopes that the wound will heal up and scab over.  If anyone would pray it would be much appreciated. 

Now I am watching the Democratic Convention again.  The delegates are watching the screen.  They are watching fireworks go off outside.  The theme from the Superman movie is playing.  They are showing photos of Democratic Presidential Nominee JohnKerry as it plays.  Now they are playing the theme song from Indiana Jones.  Now they are playing the theme to Star Wars (significance: The Rebel Alliance went up against the Evil Galactic Empire). I don't know all these songs, but John is telling me what they are.  The announcer just said Kerry is going to speak next.  I think I will get off here and see what he has to say.  Good night.   

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Thank you all for being so supportive.  As some of you pointed out though, if nobody approved of me, it wouldn't make any difference, because in the end, I have myself, and I have to live with myself.  If nobody on earth approved of me, it shouldn't matter to me (as long as I am being a decent human being).  I don't know why I try to get approval so much.  I need to get more self esteem.  Thank you dear readers, for showing me this.  And thanks again for being so supportive.  :-) 

Monday, July 26, 2004

My Bipolar Entry

Okay.  Time to get real.  I have been wanting to do this entry for awhile.  And dreading doing it for a long time.  Wanting to do it because I want to be honest and not pretend.  Dreading it because of the stigma that's involved.  Okay, let me just get it over with.

I'm Bipolar.  I have Manic Depression.  I was diagnosed about seven years ago I guess.  Actually I was diagnosed with clinical depression as a teenager and my diagnosis was changed to bipolar about seven years ago. 

That's why I don't ever mention going to a job.  I can't work.  I am on disability. 

Sometimes when I do entries in here I feel like such a fraud, not saying very much that I do during the day.  That is because my days are filled up with  therapy appointments (I just didn't want to admit going!) and doctor's appointments (I have a lot of physical illnesses too).  Well I am tired of not mentioning these things anymore, so I think I am going to start putting them in here now.  Oh, I am getting more brave and honest, aren't I?  It is just that I feel tired of hiding parts of my life from certain people. 

Wherever I go I hide this part of my life from different people.  If I volunteer, sometimes I have to hide it, because sometimes people don't want you to volunteer  if they know you are bipolar.  Once I had somebody actually say to me, you can volunteer, and you can be in my group, but don't let anyone in the group know you are bipolar, and don't let them know you are unemployed.  I went several years hiding major parts of my life from these people because I was told to do so until I decided it was ridiculous.  Living in shame is ridiculous. 

Sometimes people don't want to be friends with you.  Sometimes people at church don't even want to hang around with  you.  Fortunately my family doesn't reject me.  

It is stupid.  Bipolar is a chemical disorder.  There is a problem with your brain chemistry.  I searched the internet to find a good article, because I am not too equipped at explaining it, and found this website: .  Click on the article entitled Evidence of Brain Chemistry Abnormalities in Bipolar Disorder.  It is the first article.

So, if you want to, you can ask me any questions you like.  I will answer some now.

Yes, I take medication for it.  Six kinds.  I have to stay fine tuned!

Yes, I go to therapy.  Once a week.

Yes, I have a psychiatrist.  I see her once a month.  She is the best.  Together we make plans for me.

Yes, I have been hospitalized.  Four times.  But it has been a couple of years.

Yes, I still get depressed and manic.  And some days I am even.  I have been depressed lately.  For months. 

And I have learned lots of coping skills in addition to therapy and medication.  Cognitive therapy (thinking things through instead of catastrophizing).  Relaxation.  Having fun.  Destimulation and meditation (if I am manic).  Playing with my cat.  Finding something constructive to do if I am depressed (sometimes difficult!).  Exercise or going for a walk.  Calling a friend to talk things over.  Writing in a journal to get my thoughts out.  And many more.

Finally, I would like to say my faith in Jesus Christ is the thing that gets me through. 

If you have any questions to ask please feel free.  And oh yeah, since I am a little insecure, do you still like me, lol?!    




Sunday, July 25, 2004


It's been a few days since I wrote an entry.  I have just been exhausted.  On Friday my Dad, Valerie and I went down to Johns Hopkins because she had an appointment for a follow-up on her surgery.  She also needed to get her neck and head looked at because the wounds were leaking a little bit of fluid.  I got up at 4 AM and we left at 5 AM to make the treck to the hospital.

It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get to the hospital.  That was pretty good time.  After a little while Valerie was called back to a room and we waited for the surgeon who performed her surgery.  After he asked some questions Val showed him her neck.  She explained that it had been leaking fluid.  He wanted to know if it had been brain fluid or water.  She replied that she did not know.  He asked her to put bandages on it every night (and during naptimes) and then call the nurse on Tuesday to let her know how much leakage there was so he could decide whether she should be hospitalized again or not.  His concern was whether or not she had an infection, or could develop one.  Then he sent her to another room to get a blood test, to make sure she didn't have an infection at that time.  After the test, the technician told her to call by the end of the day, before 5 PM, to see if she had an infection.  The technician said she wouldn't have time to call Val if the bloodwork was positive, so Val would have to call her! 

At this point we noted that it was 10:30, and that we were making excellent time.  Expecially since sometimes these appointments take all day!  And we also made great timing up to the hospital, especially since at times we hit heavy fog, rain, and occassional cicadas!  So we happily got in the car and left.  Happy I say until about 11:30 AM.  At that point a man started waving rather frantically and pointing to the side/back of our car as we drove down the roadway. 

My Dad pulled onto a side road and Valerie got out and looked.  All the doors were closed.  The trunk was shut.  But the back right tire was flat.  Yes, flat.  Fortunately there was a place right there to pull into with free parking.  We pulled in.  And there was a guard witha telephone.  He let my Dad use the phone to call AAA.  But it took two hours for AAA to get there and to change the tire.  By this time my sister wasn't feeling too well.

And then we were back on the road again.  Leaving a town we had never even heard of before.  As we went on, the signs were not clearly marked, and after awhile, we became unfamiliar with where we were.  Well, let's just say we got lost.  And ended up going about 20 miles out of our way.  We stopped again to get something to eat.  I woke up my sister from the back seat.  

Then we started for home again.  "How much longer do we have?" she asked. "Eighty miles," my Dad said.  "That's not so bad," I said.  

At any rate, I got home at 5:15 PM, which means that trip home (with two eating stops) took six hours and forty five minutes.  That is almost double the time it usually takes! 

Valerie got home past five o'clock and never did get to call the technician to see if she tested positive for infection.  (I guess we are the last people in America who don't have a cell phone.  It would have come in handy on Friday.)  But we figured that if she does have an infection then the hospital would have called her and left a message on her anwering machine at home.  The technician's office is not open till Monday, and I can't believe they would make such a horrendous mistake to not call her if she had tested positive.  

So we are waiting to see if we need to turn around and go back to Baltimore in the next few days.  I don't think so though because Val's neck is looking a little bit better.

After getting some sleep last night (Friday night I mean), I woke up Saturday morning and went to my Carmelite group.  I had to wake up extra early to make it and boy was I tired.  Today (actually Saturday) I taught another Bible Study/class.  Once again it was kind of hard because there were a few people again that were trying to take over who didn't know what they were talking about.  Oh well.  I guess that happens wherever you go.  I just gently tried to steer things back in the right direction.  

I came back home when it was over and fell back into exhaustion and went back into bed.  I don't know why I am so tired.  Well the Carmelite meeting did last five hours so I guess it was long!  And it took me awhile to prepare for it last night!  And I did the study questions also.  And the trip took some out of me.  And I guess I am concerned about a few things too, thinking too much, lol.  Okay, so maybe it is normal to be tired.  

Okay, so enough rambling.  I hope everybody is well.  

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Volunteer Results

Hello all.  Tonight (well last night, because it's past midnight) I talked to the peson who I felt was trying to pressure me into volunteer work that was just not for me.  I was just straight up about it.  The results turned out really well.  No hard feelings all the way around.  In the past I think I would have either agreed to do something I didn't want to do, or ran away and never talked to the person again.  I would have hid from them, and got a stomache everytime I saw them coming.  I would have let them run my life by dictating where I went.  Yes, I am a grown woman but I just may have done this.

I am trying to think of why I got on here to make an entry because I don't have a whole lot to say tonight!  I could do the entry that I was planning on doing tomorrow or the day after but I think I will wait.  To be continued...


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Today I picked up Valerie and took her to her new apartment.  She needed to be there while the cable guy put in cable for the TVs.  It was a beautiful place!  Val just got this new apartment.  While she has been recovering from her brain surgery her friend Karen and Chelsea went in and set up her apartment for her!  Unpacked the boxes and completely set up the place.  It is really pretty.  It has hard wood floors and a lot of space. 

Valerie is recovering nicely, except she has a wound on the side of her neck that hasn't healed.  And she felt a little under the weather today so she is wondering whether or not she is getting an infection.  Hopefully she is just tired.  My Dad, Valerie, and I are going back to Johns Hopkins on Friday, so I am sure they will check out the wound then.

Chelsea left yesterday to go back to Florida.  But before she left, after much thought, she decided she wanted to live up here in Pennsylvania.  She told her Dad when she got off the plane, and he was super supportive.  I think she plans on coming back in a month or so. 

Well, nothing else new.   

Monday, July 19, 2004

All 21 Pounds of Him

These pictures are for Sharon, who has asked to see a picture of my 21 pound cat.  Here is Michael, all 21 pounds of him.  For all of you who have seen pics of my baby over and over again, sorry!  I want to say that it is quite normal for a male Maine Coon cat to get to be 18 - 20 pounds so he is not really fat.  Well, 21 pounds is a little overweight.  I won't let him outside so he doesn't have a whole lot of room to exercise in, poor kitty.  And, well, okay I admit it, on occassion I give him table scraps.  The vet says absolutely don't do it, but he looks at me with those begging eyes and I don't know what to do.  I had better cut it out!  Just a little more bragging on my cat because I haven't done it in awhile, he still runs after things when I throw them, and sometimes retrieves them.  Now how about a kitty that fetches?!  He also sits on the windowsill and does bird calls to call the birds.  Okay, enough already, nobody likes a doting mother.  Next thing you know I will be breaking out the home movies!  Bye for now.  Krissy :-)

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Dear Journal - and journal readers - it has been a day and a half since I got stung by that bee, or was it a wasp, I have no idea, I don't know the difference on those kinds of things!  Well, it still hurts and is itchy like crazy.  Maybe I should go to the store and buy some Benadryl.  But I am not sure if it would be contraindicated with all the other medications I take.

John says not to worry.  He says when he was a child he stepped on a bee and his foot swelled three times its size and he could not walk on it for four days.  He said it ballooned right up.  That sounds awful dangerous to me.  Like a horrible allergic reaction.  He said he can't remember if his parents took him to the doctor or not.  Good grief. 

Yesterday I got up the nerve and called the person I felt was forcing me to do the volunteer work, because I felt if I let it go any longer it would just make things worse.  She was not home, so I left a message on her answering machine to call me.  I felt good that I did this.  She will probably call back today. 

Chelsea is leaving to go back to Florida tomorrow.  Boo hoo. I will miss her sunshiney face and her bouncy personality.  Of course I can call her at anytime.  She has her cellphone attached to her hip as do all eighteen year olds these days!  Good thing too, lol.

Valerie is doing exceptionally well.  I am going over to my parent's house tomorrow where she is recuperating and picking her up and taking her out to lunch.  Friday she got her staples out.  She was excited about that.  Thanks for all who are continuing to pray for her.  Thank the Lord she hasn't gotten any kind of infection this time like the last time she had surgery.  I would put a picture of her in here with her new haircut (bald), but I have a feeling she is not going to let me, lol!

Last night was a bummer.  I got a ticket for parking in a handicapped space without a placard.  You see, I really have a placard.  I just forgot to put it up.  I have fibromyalgia and park in the handicapped space whenever my fibro is acting up.  A couple of people told me that if I go to the magistrate and show them that I really have a handicap placard and handicap card that they may waive the fine.  I am going to do that tomorrow and see if I can get out of it.  Because I don't have a spare $50 to donate.  Who does? 

Michael is peacefully looking out the window right now.  He wasn't peaceful last night.  Big brave 21 pound cat was cowering behind the toilet because it was thundering and lightening.  Poor kitty.  I wonder why he is so afraid of storms.

I guess I really don't have much to say, I am just starting to ramble here, so I will get off now.  Take care all and God bless. 

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Mr. Bee

It's been a few days since I have written anything.  I have been spending my time stressing out a little bit (maybe a lot?) about something I shouldn't be.  Somebody at my church has asked me to do some volunteer work that I don't think would be a good fit for me.  I didn't say no.  I didn't say yes either.  I need to not do what I would have done in my past and say yes to things that are not good for me just because somebody pushed me into them and I felt I couldn't say no because I didn't want to disappoint them.  I am going to call her tomorrow and just say no.

Tonight (or should I say last night - Friday, because this is Sat. morning) I got stung by my friend Mr. Bee.  Or should I say my enemy Mr. Bee.  I lay down to rest for a few minutes and pulled the blanket over me.  After a few minutes I felt something crawling up my arm.  I looked under the blanket and nothing.  Must just be nerve sensations, I thought to myself.  About two minutes later I felt a sharp sensation.  I lifted up the blanket and a bee flew out!  There was a red mark on my arm.  Good thing John was over watching TV because he killed the bee.  I am such a girl because I was too scared to kill the thing!  Then the area swelled a little bit and turned red and hot around it.  I wondered if I was allergic to bees.  I called my sister and asked her what she thought.  She said a little swelling was normal for a bee sting.  Anyway, I could and still can breathe ok, so I am not going to worry about it, even though it still hurts five hours later.  (Is that normal?)

Hmmm, what else is new?  You think I could come up with something after not being here for several days.  My life has just been filled with appointments.  And errands.  Not that it is boring.  Any day that God has made is great.   


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Hurry Up And Wait

Well, I am more rested up today.  I got a lot of things done.  And I have more things to do.  But I thought I would stop and do an entry.

I thought I would write a little bit tonight about the day of Valerie's operation.  It was one long day to put it mildly.  We got in late to Baltimore the night before and had to get up at 4 am to get ready to go to the hospital.  Valerie, Chelsea and I left for the hospital at 5 am.  We arrived back at the hotel that evening at 4:45 pm.  So needless to say it was a long day.  Almost twelve hours. 

They took us all (Valerie, Chelsea and me) into a a little waiting room at 5:45 (I am not sure why, because all we did was sit there!).  After awhile, they called Valerie for some pre-op stuff.  They hooked her to an IV and did some other things.  I don't know what because Chelsea and I were still in the little waiting room.  After awhile they called me and Chelsea and let us spend a brief time with Valerie before her surgery.  They had Valerie stay in that area till 7:45 am, soaking in fluids from the IV and going over medical history with her.  Then we gave her a kiss and said we would see her in awhile when she came out.

The rest of the day consisted of us being held in another room most of the time.  Literally.  We were told to go to a certain room and sign in at the desk.  When we first got there, the receptionist told us, "You have 45 minutes for breakfast.  Go now.  In case anything happens to your family member we want you to be available for us to speak to you."  Maybe it wasn't that curt but that is the way I remember it.  So Chelsea and I went down to the cafeteria and had a nice breakfast.  We had eaten a little bit of food at four in the morning, but it was eight something at this point, and I have diabetes, and I didn't want my sugar level to drop.  So we ate and back up to the GOR Room we went.  We signed back in.  We waited.  And waited.  At some point I remember the phone ringing and the receptionist telling me the surgeon was on the line for me, so I picked it up.  "We have just started," he said.  "We had to do more pre-op before she started, but we have started now.  She is doing really well."  "Great," I said.  "Thank you."  He hung up.  I went back to my seat. 

At some point the receptionist told me that the surgery was going to take two and a half hours.  Plus over two hours in the recovery room.  I was a little taken aback because Val had told me the surgery would be a half an hour.  I knew that had to be an underestimation.  I kind of chuckled under my breath when she said it.  Everybody underestimates.  

I don't mind waiting.  This was the second surgery I had gone to be with Val for.  The last one was even longer.  So I didn't mind waiting.  I just wasn't sure how long it was going to take.  Chelsea found some search and circle puzzles up on the desk and we did two of those.  She was such a trooper.  She never complained about waiting.  I do remember at one point she fell asleep on my shoulder.  At another time we did a Mad Lib and at another time we played a whole page of Hang Man.  Just making them up ourselves.  We saw the changing of the receptionist.  Then the old one came back from lunch, looked at us, and said, "Please go to lunch now.  This is your chance."  So off to lunch we went.  For a short lunch. 

And back to the GOR Room to hurry up and wait.  I should say that this waiting room had at least fifty people sitting in it.  Fifty or more family members.  Every time the phone rang you didn't know if a surgeon was calling the receptionist about your family member or somebody else's.  And you were told not to leave the room in case the surgeon wanted to speak with you on the phone or come into the room to speak to you.  They didn't want him  to have to wander around the hospital looking for each patient's family. 

So after I don't know how long the phone rang again.  The receptionist told me that Valerie was in the recovery room and that her surgeon would be out soon and that one of us should go to recovery to see Valerie when they called for us and one of us should stay and talk to the surgeon when he comes out or phones.  But they said it would probably be another hour wait for that to take place.  I asked Chelsea if she wanted to go back and be with her Mom.  She said she had better do that because she may not remember what the doctor had to say. 

It seemed like another hour went by and then Chelsea was called back.  Val's surgeon called me on the phone and gave me an update.  He said Valerie did exceptionally well.  I was relieved to know that.  Chelsea came back into the GOR Room.

We waited a long time again.  I asked at the desk what was taking so long.  They said that sometimes one has to be in the recovery room a long time.  Then she looked on her chart, dialed somebody on the phone, and told me what room Valerie had been moved to.

When we got up to the room Valerie was lying in the bed with her eyes closed.  She couldn't really talk.  And I knew she was in pain.  But I also knew she could sense we were there.  So I am glad we came up to her room.  Chelsea asked, "Is she awake?  I think she is asleep."  "She is resting," I said. "She knows we are here."  After spending a little time with her I thought it best to let her fall into a deep sleep so I told her we were going and we left.

Chelsea and I got back to the hotel at 4:45.  The rest of the night is a blur after that except I do remember calling some people that night and letting them know that the surgeon said that she came through the surgery well.

I am so relieved that everything turned out well and that she was okay.  Thank you for all who prayed for her.  I have one more prayer request.  In the first two weeks after surgery there is a one in twenty percent chance of infection.  Sometimes menengitis.  This surgeon has never had it happen to any of his patients but Valerie has asked prayers for that.  Gee, I guess I am so graphic and honest in my journal, aren't I?    



Monday, July 12, 2004

Adventures In The Big City

Well I rested almost all day today (Monday).  I was so tired after the trip home yesterday and the time spent in Baltimore that all I wanted to do was rest up until my body and mind were ready to get into a normal routine again.  I really needed that day of rest!  Fortunately I didn't have anything I had to do today.

So, what do I think of Baltimore?  Wow.  What a place.  So different than where I live now.  The hotel was close to the Inner Harbor, so it was on one of the way better ends of town.  But not too far away in the recesses of Baltimore is the ghetto.  My goodness.  Never have I seen such degredation and squalor.  My sister Valerie says Philly and New York are worse, but I haven't seen anything as bad as what I saw in Baltimore.  So sad.  The people must have such a hard time.  I don't know why it was such a culture shock to me because I was born in DC and grew up in Northern VA (in a nice area).  I have worked in DC and been in a lot of rough areas there.  But the bad areas of DC I have been in haven't even compared to Baltimore.  I really feel sorry for some of the people who live deep in the ghetto.

Anyway, as I stated, the hotel was in a good area, near the harbor, closer to Johns Hopkins.  We had a really nice hotel suite, with a view that overlooked the harbor.  Chelsea and I sat on the window seat at night and watched the the water.  We also watched the cars down below honk at each other and watched ambulances and police cars go racing by.  Even though it was a nice area, there were still constant honking and sirens all day and night.  I think that it would be hard for me to get used to living in a big city.  Well, after I understood what the noises were, I guess it would be alright.  Anyway, I am glad I am in the much slower paced area that I am in now in Central PA.  That is one of the reasons I moved from the DC area to here - to get a slower pace in my life.

Well, I think that is enough for now.  More on my adventures to the big city tomorrow.   

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I'm Back Home Again

Hi!  I got back home from Baltimore this afternoon.  Thanks for all of you all's prayers.  Valerie made it through the surgery with flying colors.  She is talking and even walking around.  She can do almost normal activity, except she must rest when tired, can't lift and bend, and can't drive for a month.  And can't get her head wet.  She has stitches and staples up there.  And they made her a baldie!  I hope she is not going to kill me for writing this in here, lol.  She looks beautiful, the same as if she had hair, I don't see any difference.  She put on makeup on the trip home and she looked GORGEOUS!  

I have so much more to say about the trip, and I will write more in the next several days, but I am tired tonight so I need to get off.  I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the prayers.  Love to everyone!    

Monday, July 5, 2004

Leaving for Johns Hopkins tomorrow

Tomorrow my Dad, Valerie, Chelsea (Val's daughter) and I are off to Baltimore so Valerie can get ready for her operation.  My Dad is going to return home the same day (poor man, he has made numerous trips and come home the same day).  After we get settled in, Valerie is going to have her operation the next day (on Weds.). 

Trying to find housing has been crazy.  The place where we stayed last time is waiting till the very last minute (until Tuesday - the day we are driving up!) to tell us whether we have a room or not.  It is the best place to stay for a number of reasons.  If we can't get in there, then we have to stay in a local hotel, some of the hotels being a little bit far away from Johns Hopkins Hospital, in a not so good area in the city.

Val's surgery is 6 AM on Wednesday, so I hope we don't get up there too late on Tuesday (tomorrow), because I don't want her to be too tired on the morning of the surgery.  Gee, scheduling surgery for 6 AM, that is awful early, she is going to have to get up really early that morning to get ready.

Well, I guess that is all for now.  If you don't hear from me for awhile, that means I had no access to a computer while I was in Baltimore, or I had no time.  My first priority, of course, will be to my sister.  But if I have access to a computer, I will check in and let you all know how things are going, even if it is for five minutes on one of the days. God bless and think of me and mine.      

Please Leave Your Journal Address

I just wanted to remind everybody who so kindly visits my journal and leaves a comment to please leave your journal address after your comment.  I like to visit your journal also, and sometimes I don't remember or know your journal address.  I guess I am a little ditzy for not remembering journal addresses. 

Thank you so much. - Krissy  :-)   

Sunday, July 4, 2004

July 4th -Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

Well, here I am, all dressed up in my Red, White and Blue Flag shirt, with nowhere to go. 

Well, not actually nowhere, I am going to go to the bookstore around noon and get a book I have wanted for awhile.  And at 4:30 I am going to church. 

But I don't have any Fourth of July place to go to.  I thought about grilling last night with John, and then realized every person in the US would be grilling or having a picnic somewhere outside.  Or every other person.  The parks would be filled.  So last night John and I went out to eat in lieu of grilling out or going on a picnic today.

Then I thought about the fireworks tonight.  Horrors!  In this town they are done in a stadium.  They are considered to be some of the best in the US.  People make it an all day or half day event.  They pack in the stadium and wait half a day just to see the fireworks.  After a display that (to me anyway) doesn't seem to last that long, they wait another couple of hours trying to get out of the parking lot!  Horrors again!  Do I sound like an old fuddy duddy to you?  Perhaps I am getting to be one.  Sometimes you can see the fireworks from other locations around town but the trees are growing taller and the fireworks are harder to see.  It is not a good time to me to drive the car from place to place trying to get a good view of the fireworks.  I am going to stay home and watch some fireworks on TV.  Maybe the good ol' ones they show from DC (my old stomping grounds). 

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th!

Happy 4th to everybody!

Here are the words to two songs my brother Carl sent me last night:

American Soldier by Toby Keith 

I'm just trying to be a father, Raise a daughter and a son, Be a lover to their mother, Everything to everyone.

Up and at 'em bright and early, I'm all in my business suit, Yeah, I'm dressed for success from my head down to my boots,

I don't do it for the money, there's still bills that I can't pay, I don't do it for the glory, I just do it anyway, Providing for our future's my responsibility, Yeah I'm real good under pressure, being all that I can be,

And I can't call in sick on Mondays when the weekend's been too strong, I just work straight through the holidays, And sometimes all night long.

You can bet that I stand ready when that wolf growls at the door, And I will always do my duty, no matter what the price. I've counted the cost, I know the sacrifice, Oh, and I don't want to die for you, but if dyin's asked of me, I'll bear that cross with honor, 'Cause freedom don't come free.

I'm an American soldier, an American, Beside my brothers and my sisters I will proudly take a stand, I'm out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight.  American soldier, I'm an American, An American, An American Soldier. 

And here is one more favorite of many: 

God Bless The USA  by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone I'd worked for all my life, And I had to start again with just my children and my wife, I'd thank my lucky stars to be livin' here today.  Cause the flag still stands for freedom And they can't take that away.

And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me, And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.  Cause there aint no doubt I love this land.  God bless the USA. 

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee, Across the plains of Texas, From sea to shining sea, From Detroit down to Houston, And New York to LA, Well there's pride in every American heart And its time we stand and say...

That I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me, And I gladly stand up.. next to her and defend her still today, Cause there aint no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA.

And I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.  And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me.  And I gladly stand up . . stand up nest to you and her still today Cause their ain't no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA!  

Saturday, July 3, 2004

V/P Shunt

I was sound asleep but woke up a few minutes ago so I decided to do a quick entry. 

The doctors decided to do a different operation on my sister than they had previously planned.  Now they are going to put in a ventriculoperitoneal (v/p) shunt. 

I wanted to mention how the procedure goes.  This is a warning right now not to read this paragraph if you do not want to know the discription.  Forwarned!  The procedure goes as follows:  When the patient is asleep a hole is drilled in the skull.  A small catheter is passed into a ventricle of the brain.  Another catheter is attached to the pump and tunneled under the skin, behind the ear, down the neck and chest, and into the peritoneal cavity (abdominal cavity).  The CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) is absorbed in the peritoneal cavity.

Valerie, if you want to correct me on anything, please feel free!

I was going to talk about John's and my dinner last night but I think I will save that for another time! 


Thursday, July 1, 2004

My encounter with the moon

I looked at the moon through John's telescope last night.  It was the first time in my life I have ever seen the moon through a telescope.  It was incredible.  To describe it cannot do it justice.  The moon was full and oh so bright.  Of course the moon does not emit any light in and of itself, but refects the sun's light.  No, I didn't know that, John told me.  It was so much more brighter and clearer than I thought it would be.  It also was more 3D than I thought it would be.  I asked John why, and he said there was an immediacy about looking at a real thing, than a picture of something. 

I saw a lot of craters.  They were awesome.  I also saw "seas".  John says they were called seas because in the 1600s people who discovered them thought they were actual seas on the moon. They thought the moon had an atmosphere.  They thought there were people who lived on the moon.   By the 1800s we discovered this wasn't true.  But the name "seas" had already stuck and is still used today.  The "seas" looked awesome through the telescope.  They are the darker areas of the moon.  You can see them with a naked eye if you look at the moon in the sky. 

If you are wondering why there are "seas" (dark areas) on the moon, something caused the low lying areas of the moon to flood with dark lava.  The scientists can tell these seas (dark areas) are the newest areas because they have fewer craters on them. 

Okay, enough with the astronomy stuff.

I had a tremendous asthma attack yesterday and last night.  It started out okay, because I was doing my well written out asthma plan.  But then later on towards the late night I got worse.  Painfully worse.  When I get my asthma attacks I have more than a hard time breathing, I get pain in my chest that is so severe that any position I get in brings me no relief.  Sometimes it feels like a fifty pound or 100 pound block is on my chest.  Yesterday was bad but last night was horrendous.  There were times when I wondered if I would make it through the night.  Now that sounds silly, because I always make it through the night.  But when I feel like that I wonder.  Any position I got myself into wouldn't work. And I just moaned and cried.  I didn't go to the hospital because I was doing everything on the plan and I thought it would be more comfortable to stay at home than be at the hospital all night.  I guess it was one of those borderline nights on whether I should go or not.  I asked John to stay over and watch over me, and be there to take me to the hospital in case I needed it.  He is such a sweetheart and will do anything for me.  Well, I am doing quite well now, so I made it through with doing my own albuterol treatments. 

I am probably going to the airport tomorrow with Valerie to pick up her daughter Chelsea.  Chelsea is staying for two weeks I think.  It will be nice to see Chelsea. 

Valerie and I (and I think Chelsea also) are leaving on the 6th to go to Johns Hopkins so Valerie can have her surgery.  They have changed the type of surgery she is having.  I will write more about that, maybe tomorrow.  I am thinking about her a lot.  And also trying to get some things done for myself before I go.  So much to do, so little time, lol!

Sometimes I don't know why I write in here because I wish I could be more interesting, but maybe I will be interesting to my proginy someday or something.  I guess it is not important to be interesting to somebody.  Maybe it is more important to write.  A lot of days I think, why write?, and so I don't.  But you know, when others say that, I read their stuff, and find them absolutely fascinating.  I think everybody has a voice.  They just don't know it. 

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