Thursday, February 26, 2009

Curiosity will kill this cat

Hooligan kitty strikes again.

She is usually causing trouble of some sort. Chewing up my blinds. Eating crocs. Jumping up on the table. Having to get part of her intestines removed.

She is also a very social kitty. She likes to be where the people are. She greets you when you walk in the door. She likes to follow you to bed. To the bathroom. To the shower.

So when you are in a room. Alone. For more than a few minutes. You know that something is wrong. She is most likely locked in a closet. Because she stealthily snuck in while you were getting out a towel. Or on quiet kitty tip-toes snuck into the pantry while you were rummaging for a snack. Or in the dark, you didn't notice the gray streak as you attempt to find a pair of jeans from the shelves of your clothes closet.

And off you go. On a quest to find hooligan kitty. Opening all doors. And at the same time trying to make sure that sister of hooligan kitty does not get caught in the same predicament. Often you will open doors and no cat will come charging out. You must actually look on each shelf. Under clothes that are hanging. Behind the cereal boxes. Because the kitty is snoozing. And entertained. Just knowing that are you are trying to find her. She is content to lay quietly in wait. Biding her time. And waiting to stretch out that tell-tale paw till you come looking for a second time. Or a third.

A few weeks ago, hooligan kitty pulled off the disappearing act of the century. She was in the kitchen when I left the house. But when I got home. Only her sister was to be found. I knew immediately something was up. She didn't come when called. She didn't come when I added food to her bowl. She didn't come when I started shaking her noisy toys.

I began my quest. She wasn't in the pantry. In any of the closets. Under the bed. In the bathtub. She was no where.

When Katie got home, I had her help me to look. We looked where I knew she wasn't. We looked where we knew she couldn't be. So, I called the last person that might have seen her. The housekeeper.

Apparently she left me a message that I didn't see. To tell me that hooligan kitty had jumped up on my book cases. These book cases. The ones that are 8 feet tall. Yep. Those.

And then. She jumped behind them. Jumped. Not fell. Jumped. You see. There is a space behind the book cases. The CD shelves don't go all the way to the wall.And Rhonda, our housekeeper, couldn't move the bookcases to save hooligan kitty. She couldn't move them because the bookcases are bolted to the wall. And to each other. Again - because some of them don't actually go to the wall. And that space. It called to Hooligan kitty. And asked her to fill it.

And as I stood in front of these shelves. Talking to Rhonda. And wondering where on earth the screw drivers might be kept. I heard a plaintative meow.

I got Katie started with taking ALL the books off the shelves. While I went to find a screw driver. Both kinds. And a step stool. And then I started unscrewing. And unscrewing. And a little more unscrewing. And then with a little brute force. I moved that book case.

And what to my wandering eye should appear? But a fluffy hooligan kitty. With her tail up. And a sway to her hips. And an "I meant to do that" meow. And after she had said her peace. She turned right back around and settled herself into her new hidey hole. Quite proud. As she thought about her cousin. The cat that swallowed the canary.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Trend setter? Or unwitting bandwagon jumper?

I don't have a huge collection of shoes. I am not into jewelry. Or make-up. Or even purses.

I usually use one purse. Because I can't shove everything I need in my pockets. I use that purse until it dies. A slow agonizing death. Always following by a strict period of mourning. While I attempt to replace the purse with the exact same thing.

For the past few years, I have been using a backpack purse. I don't like to actually carry a purse. And I have no shoulders to speak of, so purses always slide off. Hence the backpack. And I can keep my hands free.

This is the purse I have been using. I love it. I wrote about my love for all things Brighton here.

And then in December something got into me. Perhaps it was the girly influence of Kori. Or Lula. Or JDM. Or even Debbie. Because I bought a new backpack purse. Before my Brighton one wore out.

And this purse. Well. It's a sassy one. Rather unique. And not a basic brown or black like my usual choices. This one was a print. A giraffe print. With a pink trim.It was so not me. But I loved it anyway. It is so much bigger than my Brigton backpack. And I have managed to find more things that I need to put in there. And the larger backpack. kinda balances out my larger back side.

And then do you know what happened? I think that everyone and their sister saw that purse. And had to have one too. I see them everywhere I go. There are large ones with red trim. Slung over some mom's shoulder. Small ones with short handles. And green trim. At least I have yet to see someone else with a giraffe backpack. I think I started a trend.

Errr....or maybe I am more of a follower.

So...what about you? Are you a purse whore? An Imelda Marcos? A trendsetter? With a giraffee purse? Or none of the above?

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Monday, February 23, 2009

In the Kitchen with Kat: Can I bring you a chicken casserole?

I am not sure if I can recall the last time I cooked. I think it was in January. Maybe. Because ever since Michael went into the hospital, people have been bringing us meals. Neighbors. Friends from church. From our homeschool group. And this innundation of generosity is so wonderful. But sometimes. I am feeling a little bit ungrateful. And a lot a bit guilty.

Now, I fully admit we are a picky lot over here. There are a lot of things that we don't like. Like spicy foods. Veggies mixed with the other foods. Peas. Peppers. Peas. Sloppy Joes. Peas. Corn. Have I mentioned that we don't like peas?
Now we are certainly not limited to chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. But some of the things that have landed on my kitchen counter have been interesting to say the least. And I thought about telling you all the particulars of some of the concoctions. Because some of them were so "interesting" that they actually made me laugh. But then that guilt and ungrateful thing rears its ugly head. And I am reminded again of how thankful I need to be. So, I just put the interesting things in individual serving bowls. Freeze them. And plan to send them to work with Michael when he is ready. Because that Michael. Well...he'll eat anything.
So...I got to thinking. And thought I would share a family favorite - Chicken and rice casserole. I got the recipe from my friend Cindy. Who got it from her mother-in-law. I think it's a favorite because it's simple. Easy. Delicious. Contains NO peas. And would make a great meal to give to a friend in need.
Here are all the ingredients.I always double the recipe. And instead of using two cans of cream of mushroom soup, I use mushroom and cream of chicken. I also leave out the can of mushrooms that the recipe calls for. I know. I am such a rebel.
Pour the rice into the bottom of a casserole dish.
And then add the chicken pieces.
Mix up the soup in another container. And then add to the chicken.
Be sure to make sure that the soup gets under all the chicken. I like to sometimes mix it up with the rice. Because uncooked pieces of rice in your casserole are not so yummy.
Then top the whole thing with dry onion soup mix.Or you can be adventerous. And use onion-mushroom soup mix instead.
Cover the whole thing with foil.
You needed that picture didn't you? It might have been confusing otherwise. I love a pictorial cooking lesson.
Stick it in the oven. And when the timer beeps. And you peel off that foil. Oh, the aroma. Mmmmmmm. And the taste. Oh my. Delish!
Here is the simple recipe:
Put 1 cup of rice (not instant) into the bottom of a casserole dish.
Add your chicken pieces on top of the rice.
In a small bowl, mix a can of cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 can of water, and a small can of drained mushrooms.
Pour the mixture over the chicken. Be sure that it gets under the chicken so that all the rice is coated.
Cover the casserole with one package of dry onion soup mix.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350┬║
So...what about you? Has anyone ever brought you a strange meal? Do you have a "go-to" meal when you want to provide a dinner for someone?
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tap, Tap, Tap. Is this thing on?


I am trying to see if I remember how to do my own post. Is it possible that it's been a month? My how things can change in the blink of an eye.

What started as a simple Saturday afternoon of me reading in bed and Michael taking Madalyn to a birthday party - that it turns out was actually on Sunday - turned into something vastly different.

When they came home from the party that wasn't, Michael told me that he threw up in my car and that his head was hurting so bad he didn't think he could stand. My first thought was gross. My head hurts...and now I have to clean puke? But...I got him settled and went to clean. It wasn't that bad because he'd actually opened the window. I figured he had a stomach bug, and went about my day.

About 10 o'clock that night he started wandering about the house. I can only think to liken it to sleep walking. He would talk to me. Respond to commands. Answer questions. Not necessarily answer them in a way that made sense. Some responses were like a word salad. Some were perfectly "normal" responses, but not an appropriate response to the question. He would pantomine pushing buttons, typing, making his lunch. He took all my clothes out of my drawers. He took drawers out of the bathrooom cabinets. Creating lots of general mayhem.

And finally in the early hours of Sunday morning, I had enough. And was scared. Scared because I could not get him to wake up. I decided to not call 911. I didn't want the girls to be scared. I got him dressed and into the van. With my mom assuring me that all would be well. He was probably just dehydrated.

When we entered the emergency room, we were seen right away. And he was admited under the title of "altered mental state." I think they thought he was on drugs. We were in a room with a doctor and three nurses before I could even blink. And I repeated the above story for the first of MANY times. They took blood. Hooked him up things. And took him for a CAT scan. When the doctor came back and said to me "the CAT scan shows that your husband had an aneurysm," I was absolutely incredulous. My father died two years ago of an aneurysm...and that is immediately where my brain went.

The doctor went to consult with the neurologist on call. And to arrange for him to be transfered to another hospital that is equiped to deal with this sort of emergency. And then for the rest of the morning, things moved at a snails pace. And all I could think of was that he was still bleeding and that it was getting worse. Finally the paperwork was complete...and they decided to transfer him via helicopter.

Meanwhile back at the homefront, my mom arranged for the girls to stay with friends for a few days. And then she drove me to Emory University hospital. We were quickly met with two doctors (one of which became Cindy's Dr. Carl) who explained exactly what they were going to do. And what the might do depending on what they found. Later a nurse came to get me so that I could see Michael before he went into surgery. And I think seeing him like that was the most scared I have ever been. I can still picture him. Hooked up to a ventilator. His head shaved. His eyes taped shut.

And then. Well...I believe that Lizzy did an amazing job of documenting all of the hospital stay for you all.

On Monday of this week, I went to the hospital as usual. And I was immediately stopped by a social worker so that she could get me to help her locate a pharmacy near our house to pick up his medications because they were going to discharge him. I immediately freaked out again. No one told me we might be going home. No one told me to bring clothes for him. No one has told me about follow up doctor visits. Medications. What I need to be doing at home. No one had even gotten him to try stairs yet. I felt like we were being thrown to the wolves.

I guess my whining, complaining, and huge list of questions worked...because he wasn't released until Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday went well. We came home. Had lunch. Ventured back out to Tar-jay to get his prescriptions filled. We should have been provided with an armored guard based on the value of those meds. We came home. The girls came home. Had dinner. You know. Usual stuff. Then around 7pm, Michael fell asleep in front of the tv. It was only an hour. But when I woke him up. It was like that very first day. The word salad. The answers that didn't fit the questions. And we were back in the emergency room all over again.

They are not exactly sure what happened. But they did every test they could think of. And we were there for 10 hours before the sent us home at 6am. With a new prescription. And bone tired. We spent most of yesterday trying to catch up on sleep. And today, I am going back to teach my Latin class. Michael has a friend of his that is going to come and hang out with him since he cannot be left alone yet.

We are in for a long road of therapies. Physical. Occupational. Speech/cognitive. But he should completely recover. And I don't even want to think about what could have been.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers. For the posts dedicated to us. Your continued comments. Emails. Goodies that arrived in the mail. I have read every word. And I have been reading your posts every morning. And soon I am hoping to really get back into the swing of things. With non medical posts. And back to commenting. And something resembling normal.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Night

Hey guys... I am SO sorry for not updating. My Gert's been really sick - flu AND strep - and I just didn't get to do much of anything.

Good news! Michael is OUT of ICU!!! He's in a normal room, not hooked up to anything!!! WOO HOO!!! His memory is slowly getting a little better. Tomorrow he will be inundated by a bazillion different specialist, so he'll probably be WIPED OUT by the end of the day. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy... makes ME tired thinking about it!!

They're not sure yet when he'll be coming home, and not sure yet about when he'll be back at work. But all in all things are really good.

The girls got to see their Dad today, which was good... though they found the hospital Cafeteria WAY better than visiting Dad :)

I think that's the general gist of what Kat told me. I'm a little fuzzy. But I guess for the most part it's safe to say no news is good news!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Latest

Hey all.

Kat's CAT scan - totally normal. SO not sure where the trouble was. A nurse in Michael's unit knew she was having it and asked about it, and when she described her symptoms, he wondered if maybe she's hypoglycemic.

Michael's angiogram also was "negative". They didn't find a cause for what happened, so they are saying his body has basically healed itself. So now it's just getting his brain to heal from the damage done by the original bleed.... his memory was a little better today than yesterday - this was funny - he doesn't remember where he went to college or details like that, but when an ingles commercial came on, Kat asked if he buys groceries and he said yes. And she asked "why do you buy the groceries and not me?" He looked puzzled for a minute and then said "Because you spend too much money." LOL!! So obviously there some stuff still there!!!!

She thought they would probably be able to bring him home by next weekend. There's still a lot she doesn't know about what will happen at that point, but like she said, they aren't just going to let them walk out of the hospital not knowing. It'll all come in time.

Father - thank you for the results of everyone's tests today. We always like "answers" but we'll take this too. Thank you for Michael's continued healing. Touch his body, help it to mend. Help Kat and the girls to be patient with him as he goes through this time of recovery. Guide Kat in the decisions she has to make. Thank you for never leaving us. In your name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday Evening Update

Hi all. Lizzy again...

I just got off the phone with Kat. Michael had a little bit of a set back today. They turned off the drain in his brain (ha - that rhymed) to see what would happen and he pretty much forgot everything - didn't even know what year he was born or anything. So at this point the drain is necessary. But Kat was REALLY encouraged because a DOCTOR (not a nurse) told HER (not someone else) that Michael will be fine.

Tomorrow is the angioplasty. If they find something, then they will do what they need to/can to fix it (this could include opening his skull - but get this - the dr. says if that happens, that the recovery from that is LESS than from an appendectomy!) So what we're hoping/praying for is that when Kat gets to Michael's room tomorrow, that he's not there, because that will mean they figured out what's going on and are fixing it.

If that's not the case...well.... let's just not go there.

Kat hasn't heard about her CAT scan. She's going to call tomorrow, so I'll for sure call her tomorrow night to get the scoop on anything and everything!

Kat has also read three million books in the last week and a half.... LOL!!!!

Father - please be with Michael & Kat tomorrow. We know that your plans are best, but we also know you want to hear the desires of our hearts, so MY desire is that they find what's happened in Michael's noggin, and are able to fix it. So there... now you know. Be with the Doctors & Nurses tomorrow. Guide their hands. Give Kat peace. Also too it's my desire that Kat's CAT scan come back clean as a whistle. Now Father, this is what I pray, and I ask for acceptance for YOUR plan... because as they say, Father knows best. In your name - Amen.

(Please forgive me if that prayer seems irreverent... I always figured God gave me my sense of humor so maybe he'd like to hear it sometime)