Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Two lives. One destiny."

June 18, 1991

That is the inscription on the inside of Vic's wedding band. He never took it off his hand. Made sure it was the first thing he had back in place post procedures.


Severe edema forced Vic & I to resort to iced water followed by a slimey soaping, which was successful in freeing his beloved ring from his finger.

Posted by Picasa

The ring now hangs around my neck, waiting to be returned to its rightful owner, again. It rests right on my heart chakra. I close my eyes & send him power of my great love through it

We want him well enough to come back home.

To us. To Toby. To be surrounded by all our energies.

If it is meant to be, then it is meant to be ...

Why do we only learn from the hardest, most challenging of experiences?


Monday, October 12, 2009

Bitch in 0 to 60?


Let me explain ...

I came
I saw
I kicked ass

Just when we thought Vic was on the mend, with a view to coming home, a severe obstruction sent him back for more invasive surgery to move the feeding tube to a better location & clear the blockage in his intestines.

Late afternoon surgery, off to ICU. Large transverse abdominal cut, not sutured or stapled. Just packed & wrapped with surgical duct tape. Major set back.

It's been a very rough couple of days for our warrior. The VA staff have been fabulous. 2 patients for 1 nurse in ICU - with no other patients near Vic, that means constant personal attendance. Until today that is ...

Today, "Baby Krak" erupted.

Vic was feeling like total shit, same as yesterday. As soon as I arrived to a very quiet Sunday hospital, Vic was anxious, wanting (pay attention now), an ice chip, anti-nausea meds & some cold compresses for his head.

I hit the red call button.

We wait.

Vic presses it himself.

And we wait.

One mo' time.

Over 6 minutes. Still no one. No sign of at all. Until ... Enough already.

And she's off, down the empty "Purple Medal Hwy" to an equally empty nurses station. Quick check of enormous wall clock ... time elapsed ... 8 mins ...

"Excuse me."

2 nurses are fawning over new cell phones with latest cellulite reduction & meal cooking apps. 4 more nurses are sitting eating in the break room.


The Crone studies the wall board. Total # beds: 14. Total # patients: 6. Are any of those 6 near Vic's room? No. Ergo, one nurse dedicated to him in 12 hour shifts.


10 minutes & counting ...

Quizzical face turns around. Sunday @ the VA ICU is not exactly Roseland on a Saturday night.


"I see there are 6 patients on this unit. 14 beds total. Not a soul has responded to my husband's call for over 10 minutes."

More faces appear, less quizzicle, more busted.

"I was in the room with Mr. M for over 35 minutes. I just left him," says Joe, Vic's (usually) amazing nurse.

"And so?" I retort.

"He was fine when I left him," he continues.

"That was THEN. Where have you or anyone been for the last 10 minutes? Isn't this Intensive Care? My husband, whose mouth is as dry as a desert, needs ice & nausea meds yesterday! Additionally, get me washclothes & I want the doctor in attendance to come & meet with me asap."

"But the doctor was here this morning," says Joe.

Clearly, the Crone is getting her freeze-you-in-your-tracks look down. A quick about face in practical shoes & a flurry of unscheduled activity ensues.

Turns out that Vic's call button was unplugged.

Freakin' bloody marvellous!!!

Worried nurses look appropriately apologetic.

"My husband is so lucky I was here. And so are all of you. What if he were choking??? I do not want this to EVER happen again."

Crone shruggs her shoulders, straightens her back up & in her nicest, politest voice, closes with a melodious "thank you."

Pushing the curtain aside, Crone returns to her patients room with an entrance worthy of Carole Channing.

"Who's your mama?"

Vic nods his head ever so slightly & gives a weak thumbs up.

Nurses, aides, in, out. Fuss, fuss, fuss ...

Once again, a sweet "thank you" from the Patient Advocate in residence. Only this time, I reward good behaviour with the treat of the day, a beautiful almond coffee cake.

Nurses eyes wide open.

"Thank you."

Vic's eyes wide shut.

"Thank you."

That's what I do.

I am Vic's Patient Advocate. I have Vic's Power of Attorney. I am his eyes, ears & heaven knows, mouth.

Just like in his beloved Corps. You put your life in your buddy's hands. He puts his life in yours.

Failure is not an option.

I will NOT let my comrade, my partner, father of my children, my husband down.

Posted by Picasa

Time to rest. Time to heal. You are safe.

I am here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Knock, knock. Hoo's there?

Someone was watching me last night
When I got home from the hospital
I stopped for a second to take in the
nightly spectacle that is sunset


The feeling was undeniable
I was being watched
Not by someone

Look very, very carefully

There's Dede, our resident
female Screech Owl
camoflagued in plain sight

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thought of the Day

Posted by Picasa

Crone Therapy

I have a secret place
Born out of the debris of 2 hurricanes
A place to sublimate the stress of illness
A place to be free


Intended to be a place of healing
A safe place to let go
Everyone is welcome


A haven for relaxation
Just hanging around
No rules, just right


This is where you will find the Crone
The cosmic wind revives her
The pulse of the earth strenthens her
Not much else makes sense
Then I remember


It's life
It happens
It is

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vic vs Cancer: not for the feint hearted

Vic's simple overnight hospital stay took a slight detour.

Post surgical complications:

acute respiratory problems
Pain (mis)management issues
Acute nausea
Hallucinations (well, complication for him !)


He's burning
He's freezing
He's nauseous
He's in pain


He's disoriented
He's anxious
He's way out of his comfort zone
He's scared


Finally, time for a magic shot
Another chance at relief
Just like Shirley MacLaine in "Terms of Endearment"

"He's been waiting for his pain shot.
Give him his pain shot.

Posted by Picasa

Now's the time to drift away
Down the rabbit hole, Vic, it's ok

"Check out those tomatoes
... my rifle needs to be cleaned ...
... does the baby need to be changed again

He's gone, man. Solid gone!

Finally released to sleep -
nature's wonderous healer.

Man plans
G-d laughs

Vic vs Cancer: off to Battle

Some people chose to have G-d as their co-pilot.
Me, I prefer Yoda ...

How can things go wrong when the force is with you?
Vic, still in control, driving himself to the battlefield
Deep in thought
The war face slowly begins to reveal itself

Vic's surgical roommate had already left the room when Vic arrived.
We wondered if there could be a slight addiction problem with the vet in bed #2?
We laughed remembering Vic's dearest friend, Patrick, who thought he was helping his roommate when in the VA in Miami.

The guy asked Patrick if he could get him some Listerine.
Patrick did.
The guy drank it.
Patrick did not know he was an alcoholic.
The guy died.

Some of Vic's scars of war.
The scar beneath his neck - last years medianstinal surgery.
Some dark blue tattoos, mid chest - from 2 rounds of radiation.
Newly installed power port.

Posted by Picasa

"This cancer thinks it's going to beat me.

Vic - Friday October 2, 2009
Veteran's Administration Hospital
Room 7A-211
West Palm Beach, Florida