Tuesday, March 27, 2007


things continue to be crazy here. as much as i would like to continue keeping things close to the chest, i feel like-for my sake-i have to abandon that approach.

in addition to the Defense and the cat and the apartment demolition, things have actually been more than a little bit stressful on the personal front. three weeks ago, while on choir tour, Mom had a drug reaction to a new medication. she had a grand mal seizure, necessitating hospitalization. at that time, it was discovered that she also had severe hyponatremia (low blood sodium), probably secondary to a long-term reaction to her blood pressure medication. she was released after 24 hour observation but has had severe rib and back pain since that time which is only partially controlled with pain medications.

as you can imagine, this has played havoc with her morale and really negatively affected her ability to believe that things are eventually going to get better. waking up in the hospital all 'broken' again with no understanding of why just harkens too strongly back to the accident.

Roland and i decided that a surprise visit might be just the thing to improve morale and so i flew home Thursday for a long weekend visit. Roland met me at the airport after running to the grocery store. Mom suspected nothing and it was just wonderful to surprise her so!

Friday was a great day of fun and frivolity. Saturday we completed an epic amount of chores before meeting up with Kelly and Bill for dinner. it was spectacular to be all together again. actually the whole weekend was quite special and lovely for us all. Sunday, unfortunately, Roland lost his balance working in the yard and fell - bashing his head against a concrete water diverter. in addition to abrasions on both forearms, he sustained a cut down to the cartilage of his left ear and a 3 inch full thickness laceration (to the bone) on the back of his head. this sent us back to the hospital - after two hours and three frustrating attempts to get him seen at an urgent care center. Roland ended up needing a head CT - which thankfully was normal - as well as 4 stitches in his ear and roughly 10 staples in his skull. he was quite the trooper about it all. we finally made it home for dinner just before 10pm. Roland noted that now he and Mom will have matching scars since his laceration is the same place she had her craniotomy.

Monday, Mom had an appointment with a physical therapist about her side. as ever, getting things sorted out for the appointment was an epic ordeal, but the appointment itself was very helpful. it turns out that, during the seizure and associated fall, one of Mom's ribs got jammed in a cocked back position. it is not moving normally with the rest of her ribs, which is causing high shearing pressures on the associated muscles. the therapist was actually surprised that she was doing as well as she is. the good news is that it should be completely fixable with appropriate therapy.

with my Defense fast approaching, i flew back last night. Trav met me at the airport and brought me home. he had straightened and stocked emergency rations and got me the most lovely hydrangea. it was all just so sweet of him!

this morning, i headed in for a recheck appointment for Zaney before planning to buckle down on my Defense preparations. partway through the appointment, i received a call from Mom that my brother was being hospitalized for severe dizziness. it turns out this is the second episode of dizziness he has experienced in the past couple weeks. thus far, all tests (blood work, EKG, chest radiographs, head CT etc) are normal with the exception of moderate hypertension. although his blood pressure does not seem high enough to be causing his symptoms, they are trying treatment of it first, since they can find nothing else wrong. we will just have to wait and see what happens. brain MRI may be the next step.

because i was concerned about missing something given my state of mind, another doctor is taking over on Zaney. i feel terrible, like i am letting my friends down as both a friend and doctor, but i cannot risk overlooking something.

now i am home, receiving intermittent medical updates and trying to get cat vomit out of the couch. as you can imagine, i am no longer particularly in a place to work on my Defense. with only a week remaining though, i haven't much choice. i could contact my committee about rescheduling, but honestly i need to do this. rescheduling would just make me feel even more like i need to just give up on my life and career so i can care for everyone else. if i have to cancel the Defense, i suspect i might not reschedule. ever. i might just give up.

the thought of giving up just feet from the finish line brings me such exquisite sorrow, i cannot bear to face it.

so cross your fingers and pray i can do this. i just really need a win, since life is apparently never going to ease up on the bit.

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