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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pincushion Pua

Yesterday morning as I was preparing to go to work, I got the nicest call from Jess. He was calling to tell me that he was wearing the blue scarf I made for him. It made my day. We made some smalltalk and I asked about Marc's progress. I shared that I'd had a particularly icky weekend with what seemed to be my gall bladder, but I still didn't have a diagnosis from my doctor, even after the CT I had a few weeks ago. However, after being sick since Friday night, it seemed that now, I was being granted a reprieve from pain. Jess and I ended our conversation wishing each other well and I thanked him for giving me a much needed smile.

When I got to work, the pain started again. Only this time, a bit worse. I began to have difficulty breathing. I called my doctor's office. They said in light of the situation of the past few days, that I should go to the ER at the hospital and tell them that I suspect that I had Lap Band slippage. So, I put a sign on the front door, closed the shop, called Charlie and told him I was on my way to the hospital (which was luckily, just down the street) emergency room.

Fortunately, it wasn't too busy. I was actually second in line, but I got bumped to third in line after an apparant suicide attempt was ushered in. I can wait. It was 11:00 am. By 1:00, I was in a room, hooked up to an IV, and Charlie had arrived. By 3:00, I was having another CT scan. We watched other people in our room come and go all through the day. At 6:00, I had an ultrasound. By 8:00 came the diagnosis; infected gall bladder and three stones. Surgery was imminent. The ER staff called the on-call surgeon.....who would not touch me because of my band. They would have to call my doctor and I would have to be transferred to the hospital where my doctor is. By 11:00, I'm in an ambulance being transferred from our local hospital here in Newport Beach, to a hospital in Long Beach, 23 miles away. By midnight, I'm admitted, processed, poked, prodded SOME MORE. I'm full of fluids, IV antibiotics, IV anti-nausea, pain meds. I'm exhausted from not having slept for days.

Charlie and I had assumed that my doctor would be in first thing in the morning to perform my surgery. As the night progressed, the pain subsided. The longer we waited, the more I got pushed to a "non-emergency" status. Finally, at 7:20 this morning, after yet another sleepless night, my doctor comes in and tells me that since I'm pain free and he's got 10 scheduled surgeries, he'd like to send me home where I'll be more comfortable and his office will schedule my surgery on an out-patient basis on Monday. They released me and my damn gall bladder at 2:00 pm, with a bunch of paperwork and two prescriptions.

So, I've gone to the ER in one hospital, to be transferred to another hospital to spend the night for NO reason, to be discharged, only to be readmitted for surgery in 6 days at yet, a THIRD hospital. Needless to say, my husband is livid for the ridiculous waste of time and money, though grateful that FINALLY...THANK GOODNESS...we have a diagnosis and I know for a fact what's causing all this pain. All I want is this gall bladder out of me.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


::sigh:: Oui. It is hard to get back to "real life" after a whirlwind surprise trip to Paris. But I will try.

We were actually planning to steal away to San Diego to spend the weekend with my sister and brother-in-law. But unfortunately, I got a call on Friday morning that poor Lokelani was very ill. She still wanted us to come, but she sounded so sick that I knew if we did go, she would try to play hostess instead of rest as she should. So I told her to get her butt to bed and we would make a plan to see them in a couple weeks.

So now what? I had traded shifts at work with Caris so that I would have a weekend to spend with Charlie. We were both off on Monday. Our bags were packed. God knows, my poor husband has been under the project deadline gun for months now. The kids said that while I was in Hawai'i last week, he was a complete stressed out zombie, working crazy-ass hours to meet his deadline. Now, as of Thursday, his project was done (with great success I might add), his boss was happy, and he was looking forward to a weekend away with Phil and Loke, which is our favorite thing to do with our favorite people. But that was not to be.

Late Friday afternoon, he called me at the store. "Wanna go somewhere anyway?"

Me: Sure. Where?

He: Paris.

Me: Huh?

He: Paris, Vegas.

Me: I love it when you're like this.

He: I guess that's a yes?

Me: Oui! C'est bon!

The look of surprise on Caris and Bryson's faces when we got home and told them that San Diego was off and Las Vegas was in was priceless. Once the shock wore off, Caris smiled and said; "Have fun you crazy kids. Why don't you go get married while you're there?" I laughed and responded; "Sweetie, after 29 years and the three of you, I think we're about as married as we're ever gonna get. Besides, the idea of having my vows renewed by Elvis just doesn't smack of romance to me." "Yeah" she said. "I guess you're okay." So, we threw our bags into the trunk and off we went.

I wish it were that easy. Apparantly everyone in SoCal was "spontaneous" too, and so what would normally be a four hour drive from home took us six. Still, other than that it was FREEZING in the high desert, there was no complaining. We were giddy, like two dating kids and laughed, sang, and giggled our way to Nevada. We actually got asked more than once if we were on our honeymoon. "We're always on our honeymoon." responded Charlie with a smile.

Three days alone. Well, alone with a billion other people. But they were invisible as far as we were concerned. Vegas hasn't always been my idea of romantic. But honestly, anywhere with Charlie is heaven to me. And every day is Valentine's Day. Even without Elvis.

Love you Chooch.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am Mighty

I pinched this from Chuck, who lifted it from Birdie. There's apparantly honorable thievery among Super Heroes.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have important work to attend to. It takes forever to get that suit on.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I want to send everyone a warm Mahalo (thank you) for all your kind notes and words of support. I think with all that was going on, I was feeling overwhelmed. I felt the love and took it to heart. It made things easier, and I'm grateful.

I'm home from Hawai'i. I struggled over whether I should go, and now, I'm glad that I did. I know that it helped my family to have an extra set of hands with Mom's care. When I got there, her dementia was pretty bad. Though she did remember me when she saw my face, her behavior was erratic and childlike. They determined that it was because of the meds they were giving her to help facilitate the healing of a nasty open sore on her leg. Once they took her off that particular drug, it lessened the effect, and her confusion was less. Still, she has really good days and really bad days. We never knew from one day to another whether she was going to "be there" mentally or not. Watching your parent go through confusing mood swings with incoherent babble is painful and my heart hurts for the rest of my family who are there on a daily basis. Yet, I found a great deal of comfort in the fact that they are there. Most elderly patients had NO visitors, no family members to come and see after their care. In that respect, my mom is very fortunate. She just doesn't know it.

I got there on Saturday, and by Wednesday, she was well enough to be moved from the hospital in downtown Honolulu to a long-term care facility closer to the north side of the island where most of my family lives. I know that making that long drive two and three times a day was hard on them. The traffic into town is HORRIBLE. My two sisters who are Mom's primary caregivers are exhausted and missed so much work in the last month to look after Mom, so they were grateful that I was there. It gave them an opportunity to catch up on their work, which made their employer's happy. Mom didn't have to be alone as I could be with her in the day. The days were long, and I never really saw much of "home" because I was at the hospital all day until visiting hours were over at 8 or 9 pm.

I have no pictures, I never made it to my favorite places. In fact, the one morning I did try to get over to Waimea to get wave pics for Bryson, I only made it as far as Haleiwa before my brother called me and asked if I could get back to the hospital to be with Mom because he was leaving. So, I grabbed a quick bite at my favorite shrimp truck in Haleiwa before getting back. A NOTE FOR TUNA GIRL....Please make sure that you go to Giovanni's shrimp truck in Haleiwa on the north shore of O'ahu. Of all the "famous" shrimp trucks there, Giovanni's is the BOMB. You won't be disappointed.

I had been preparing Mom for my departure for a couple days before I left. Promising her that I would be back soon with the rest of the family. It was hard leaving. As I walked down the hall after saying goodbye, I could feel the tears welling up. My siblings are awesome, and knowing that I never got a chance to go shopping for things to take home, my sisters and brothers made sure they picked up my kids favorite snacks for me to take with me; fresh mochi and spicy ika (cuttlefish) for Caris, Li Hing candies and arare crunch for Bryson, and the best brownies in the world from Kilani Bakery for Averie. Usually, I take home a cooler full of poi, lau lau, and kalua pork...but this time, there was just not the luxury of time. Still, they loaded me down with nearly 20 pounds of local snacks. I had to go buy an extra bag to carry it all. My shoulder has bruises from the bag handle, but from the look on the kids faces when I got home with goodies from their aunties and uncles, it was well worth it.

It is always so hard to leave home; my Hawai'i, my family. It's especially hard this time because I don't know how long Mom will be around. I wish I were closer so that I could help. I can see the strain on my sister's faces. I can see the exhaustion. It makes the feelings I had before I left California seem so selfish and small. There are bigger issues at hand for them. I remember how hard it was for us when Charlie's mom was ill for so long and we were her primary care. Still, I am so grateful for their loving care of Mom and their generosity when they say they are grateful for the help that those of us here on the mainland can provide when we can.

I'm planning on going home again in the summer as soon as the kids have a break. Until then, I will keep good thoughts that Mom will get stronger and we will all see her again. I'm praying that the next time the ohana (family) gathers, it will be a happy homecoming and there will be laughter. God knows, they could use it.