A quickie--most of this is on my wall at facebook.
I had a great week on Kangaroo Island, and touring the wine country southwest of Adelaide. Got to Melbourne Tuesday evening the 31st, moved to the hotel the first and Thursday morning was asked to fly to Florida by my mom and sister because my dad's health was failing fast.

I flew back Friday morning, passing through Auckland, LA, Philadelphia, and arriving in Florida Saturday 1pm. My sister and brother in law took me to the nursing home where my dad was still alert, conscious and could obviously recognize me. My uncle (from NJ) and cousin were there too. From Sunday on his condition has been deteriorating and we're just waiting for the end. I'm glad that I made it back in time to say goodbye.
I watched 2 1/2 DVDs Friday night. The half (well maybe a third) was Alfred Hitchcock's misfire Topaz. I disliked it so much that I ejected it after a particularly idiot plot device.
An unpleasant Soviet scientist defects to the US with his wife and daughter. He may or may not know anything about the Soviet presence in Cuba. This is the time of the Cuban missile crisis. Based on a novel by Leon Uris. Not all that interesting cast. The only one I really knew was John Forsyth. I didn't find it very interesting nor at all suspenseful. Oh well.

Then watched the comedy Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. One of those rich bitch loses memory and gets her comeuppance learning something about herself and real people. The roughneck who finds and "enslaves" her for a time learns something about himself too. Despite the icky premise, the chemistry was great (and why wouldn't it be...the two have been living together for decades) and it has some very funny bits.

Somebody Up There Likes Me So-so biopic of boxer Rocky Graziano who came from the slums of NYC and became a middleweight champion boxer. Paul Newman's so gorgeous I don't care what he does--but I think it's kind of a crappy movie-predictable every which way.

And yesterday I went to see The Kids are All Right which I enjoyed immensely. The two kids of a Lesbian couple decide they want to meet their birth father. Trouble ensues. Annette Bening and Julianna Moore are the "moms" and Mark Ruffalo is the sperm donor. All three of them are really excellent and if Bening isn't nominated for an Academy Award I'll be very disappointed. The principals (all three of them) do things that people do --screw up their relationships and get involved with people they shouldn't. And try to hold things together.

Last night and all day today I've been line edited Blood and Other Cravings in preparation of handing it in to my editor at Tor by Thursday or so.

My dad's in the hospital for something he's had a problem with before and we hope he'll be back at Whitehall quickly. (I'm very much hoping he's fine and back there before I leave Friday).
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Apr. 28th, 2010 09:36 am)
Last night, right before I went to bed, I had a scare. My mother called to tell me my dad "slipped" out of his wheelchair a few hours earlier and the nursing home wanted to know which hospital he should be taken to. She opted for the VA in West Palm Beach, but she hadn't asked if he was ok and by now, midnight, she was being told that she could call back in an hour to ask more questions. She had already taken a sleeping pill a couple of hours earlier so didn't think she could wait up.

I had just spoken to her a few hours earlier and she said that my dad was good, and that when she visited him (daily) he was asking to be taken to the smoking area outside so that he could smoke his pipe--which my sister and I think is great.

Surprisingly, I was able to sleep and called my mother as soon as I woke up. He's fine, and was back at Whitehall by 2am.

The good news is that he's getting physical therapy again three times a week and that he IS smoking his pipe --although he has trouble packing it.

Now the morning is sunny but the apartment is cold. Lunch with a friend and I'll be attending the reading of Ellen Kushner's radio play this evening.

Oh and someone in one of my online groups asked if Bella was a brown tabby and I replied no that she's black and gray--but I'm wrong. I checked online to determine tabby coloration and yes indeed she is brown (you can tell by the roots of fur). I think Sophie however, is a silver and black tabby judging from her roots. I can't figure out who I was discussing this with so figured you'd see this an id yourself ;-)
I'm down here again, not for fun but to check in with my parents. Also, my mom is having an endoscopy/biopsy Monday and asked my sister and me to come down because she's nervous. I just hope she gets the results before we both leave. Lori has been here since Wed and leaves Wed. I leave next Saturday.

The flight was surprise surprise! in to West Palm an hour early, so my sister and mom hadn't left the house yet. But the wait was pretty short. We stopped in at a horrible sports bar for dinner on the way home.

My sister and I caught up on my dad's condition/progress/treatment in Whitehall --my sister has been fantastic--it's been awful and frustrating dealing with this stuff from up north. Read more... )
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Feb. 10th, 2010 03:26 pm)
It started late, much later than predicted. Nothing by 1:30 am when I went to bed. Not much but a wee bit of snowfall and lots of slush when I went out to do my errands around 12:30 today. But enroute home, finally the snow began to fall in earnest and I can now say yes, we have a lovely snowy blizzard blanketing NYC with the white stuff.

Now that it's here and is supposed to continue through the night, I'm hoping it clears up enough by tomorrow morning so that I can fly out to Radcon in the afternoon.

Finished going over the copy edits of Haunted Legends co-edited by me and Nick Mamatas for Tor. This is our all original anthology of retold regional ghost stories coming out from Tor in September. I'm happy with how it came out.

Cleaning up books from 2009 that I neglected to mention in The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Two because when I was finishing up the summary I was in Florida and not at home. Some of those books will be mentioned in my Cemetery Dance column that's due next month (but won't be out for several months, as they still have two columns in the can). I'll likely be covering mostly nonfiction/art books.

My dad is now in a nursing home called Whitehall in Boca Raton. He's been there just over a week. The day he was admitted he broke his wrist trying to get out of bed without help again. He seems to be ok otherwise. He can't feed himself (he'll be in a cast from hand to mid-arm for five weeks)because he broke the right wrist but he can drink from cups with his left.

The place is supposed to be very pretty. He was given the swallow test again and he can eat anything other than steak (he was having thickener in everything since his surgery and chopped up meat/chicken). The steak he can't have because he puts too much into his mouth at one time. I don't know what kind of therapy he's getting (my mom is not very helpful as she won't ask questions of the staff ) but he's watching tv (he was doing nothing for several weeks and just wanted to be in bed all the time napping) and more active. It's possible the antidepressants have kicked in and made him feel better but my mom refuses to ask what meds he's on.

My sister's going down again in a few weeks and I hope she can let me know what's really going on. I'll probably go down there again in April.
I've actually posted a few lines of status updates but haven't posted here for several days.
To catch up.

Over the weekend I was busy. I watched more Angel, along with Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, a charmer with Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, and CiarĂ¡n Hinds. I loved it. What can I say?

Then I watched A New Kind of Love, a real dog of a movie that seemed to be an "homage" to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day movies of 1959-1963. This one was made in 1963 with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward--which makes it tolerable--I'll watch him in anything, and they do have chemistry. Sexism galore.

Saturday I was taken by an old friend for a wonderful lunch at an Italian restaurant on the upper east side called Girasol. It was delicious-they gave us a cold antipasto while waiting and cookies and sambuca afterward. Four of us consumed two bottles of wine (one person had beer). After, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Robert Frank exhibit. There were a lot of proofsheets with the photos he didn't use in his monumental book The Americans. Three of the five of us had known his late daughter Andrea (she was my roommate in the early 70s and I even met Frank once when he came to visit her). In fact, I think I met my friend (and ex) John through Andrea, as they were acting--along with another in our Saturday party, Paul--in a Robert Wilson play in his Bird Hoffman days. So it was with sadness and nostalgia that we viewed some of the photos (one of Mary Frank, mother of Andrea and Pablo, in a car with the two kids on the road trip that RF made).

Then to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for a party at which Christopher Rowe and Gwenda Bond showed up unexpectedly, when their flight was cancelled and changed to the next day.
The trip home by subway was easy but getting across town from Union Square was hell as I waiting an hour for the right bus, and finally gave up, taking a different bus and walking the last few blocks in the snow. My hair was frozen but I started defrosting on the bus. I was starting to get a cold (scratchy throat alert) so decided to stay in the next day, missing another party.

Working on Best Horror which is due like any second. Not quite done with all the xmas shopping.

My dad is gaining some of the ground he lost from the surgery (as far as language and being alert) but we don't know yet if he'll be physically able to go home from rehab. Depends on what he's able to do on his own. He's been walked up and down the hall daily, so that's good. My mother is sounding more optimistic, which is good. My sister and I are going down there again mid-late January.

Oh yeah, and yesterday I was taken to the Rolf's a German restaurant that really does it up for the Christmas season--holiday lights dangling almost to your head--old dolls embedded in the decorations, scads of what look like huge bunches of grape. Very bright, very festive and the food was excellent too.
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Dec. 5th, 2009 07:24 pm)
This morning we called before we went over and were told he ate breakfast and that he talked in full sentences (he doesn't do this all the time pre-surgery,  because of his June stroke), so it's really good when he does.

When we got there he was looking  better--he's totally off the pain meds--ate a very wee bit of lunch. Verbalized a lot, although mostly we think to complain about being uncomfortable.

His wrists have been tied with restraints so that he doesn't pull out his catheter, which he'll  be until his urine no longer has  blood in it (a former problem that needs to be resolved). The nurse untied one arm totally and he seemed to be more comfortable like that but we had to watch him constantly.

He got some physical therapy (moving of his legs) and the therapist retied him because he was pulling a the tubes again.   But he apparently was cooperating with the therapist, which means he's understanding what the therapist was telling him to do. I took a break in the waiting room, so I wasn't watching.

He definitely made it clear when he did not want something. As my friend, the former physical therapist suggested, I've been repeating to him why he needs to leave the tubes alone and what's going on. And trying to communicate that once the catheter is out, he'll be more comfortable. He's a terrible patient. He hates hospitals and hadn't stayed in one for decades till last March when he was in for three days of observation of his atrial fibrillation.

We left at 5pm.

We think some of the family is visiting tomorrow.  My dad's sister and brother in law and one of his nephews (who has to drive them from Miami) and his brother's son, who lives a little north of them but who's in town for an antique show. Usually he's more communicative with my cousin Peter so this will be great, if he makes it to the hospital.
Hi everyone, my mom and I just got home from dinner, after leaving the hospital about 6pm. When we first got there 11:30am, he was still mostly sleeping, but as the day progressed, he started opening his eyes more and obviously recognized us, although he wasn't talking at all.

My mom was able to feed him (this was the first time he ate) some jello and soup but he wouldn't drink any water from a straw. We don't know if he didn't want it or didn't remember how to suck through it, but he didn't indicate he was thirsty.
And when he didn't want any more he said "forget it" which is the first he's spoken since the surgery. So that's all good. He also said a few other things during the day. Not much, but definitely progress.

He was was moved to the telemetry floor (heart) for monitoring after lunch because of his atrial fibrillation (uneven heartbeat, which is why he's been on coumadin). Also waiting to see the urologist and neurologist...slow but definitely some progress.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and well-wishes.
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Dec. 2nd, 2009 09:57 pm)
Thanks everyone for their kind words. I arrived at the hospital a little
after 4pm and by 4:30 he was out of surgery (the surgeon was an hour late
and it took 1 1/2 hours.) 

My mom and I waited in the surgery waiting room and at 6:30 went to his room and he was brought up around then--woozy,
half asleep, and very out of it. The surgery itself was successful (replacing the ball in the balljoint...or
something along those lines.)

He'll be in the hospital 3 days and then off to rehab. We're just hoping
the anesthesia hasn't affected him too much. I hope very much that
tomorrow he's more aware of his surroundings and responsive in general to
me and my mom.
It's been a long day.
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Jul. 7th, 2009 05:52 pm)
Today was the meeting with everyone (but a doctor): nurses, social worker, the three therapists, and a host of other people who were never introduced to us. (which I suppose we should have asked about but we didn't). My sister couldn't get back to NY for it but it was really short, and we didn't get any more actual info than we received from Zinni and Ann (his PT and speech Therapist) last week--other than that he's doing very well, even better than last week.

We discussed the fact that my parents are going to return and stay in Florida (my mother hadn't told them that they had a home in Florida, worried, I think, that my dad wouldn't be treated assiduously)and asked when he'd be ready to do so.

My dad was very insistent that he get out asap and Ann, his speech therapist suggested that once we're given a date and make arrangements we put a calendar in his room so he can see that he's getting out soon.

We got permission from the pt to walk with him using his walker when we visit.

A doctor must certify that he can fly, as the air pressure could be a problem after a stroke. In the meantime, my mom is going to start making arrangements with the VA down in West Palm Beach for at home therapy and also we'll figure out arrangements for help at home--she wouldn't want to leave him at home alone, just in case. The only complication is that my mom needs my sister or me (preferably both of us) to fly to Florida with them (and go to Yonkers a few days earlier to pack up)and help sort out things for a few days. My sister is going on a three week trip and I have Worldcon and then the next weekend a reunion with former school friends (some from elementary school). So either we've got to do it around July 18-24th or after August 20th. I think my dad will go batty if he has to stay there more than another month!

Once the meeting was finished (it was over in about half an hour)we went back upstairs.
While my mom went to the bathroom, my dad stood up from the wheelchair, walked several steps and walked back, seating himself back down fine. I think he was showing me that he could because we've been bugging him to stick with the therapy and to use his walker more.

So while getting them to Florida and settled is still up in the air, my dad's doing very well, and my mom is more optimistic.
Sorry I've been so quiet here but when I haven't been visiting my parents in Yonkers, I've been traveling (had a great time in Seattle at the Locus award weekend), and working. So I haven't been keeping up with my lj friends or facebook at all. But I AM alive and well.

And my dad is slowly recuperating. Tuesday there will be a meeting with the therapists and nurses to discuss his status. My parents and my sister and I are currently discussing (yes, my dad participating) whether they will stay in Yonkers for the season and/or move to Florida permanently.
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Jun. 23rd, 2009 09:26 pm)
Monday night my mom called and asked me to stay over Tuesday because she was very upset and didn't think she could stand being alone. So I went up to Yonkers, we visited my dad (who was much better), shopped for an electric razor for him, and went home. She made steak for dinner and then we watched Four Weddings and a Funeral, which I'd loved the first time I saw it and love this time. I was worried my mother would get upset by the funeral but she was ok.

Today we went to St Joe's and got there just as he was returning from Occupational and Physical therapy. Lunchtime. My mother was worried when she saw spinach on his plate, because she was under the impression that he couldn't eat spinach or cabbage while on Cumiden...so as my dad got pissed off (he's murder when he's hungry)I went to the floor desk and asked what the deal was and they told me they'd ask for the dietitian to come up and meet with us (only four days after he was admitted). Maura came up and explained that he can eat some items with Vitamin K (that's what can cause trouble with cumiden) as long as the Vit. K intake is relatively stable over time. She's very nice and after lunch the four of us met and my mom told her what my dad likes to eat and what he hates. My dad was having trouble talking today--we think it was because he was tired from the 2 hour physical therapies.

Read more... )
Anyway, I'm tired and got to work. I'll be going back tomorrow for a few hours.
ellen_datlow: (Default)
( Jun. 23rd, 2009 05:55 pm)
My mom picked me up at the train station at noon and we drove to St Joseph's. She was a wreck last night and called me 10pm and asked me to come and stay over tonight, so that's what I planned for. We couldn't get a parking space in front of the ctr so she dropped me off with several bags and parked the car elsewhere, meeting me upstairs.

My dad was in the dining hall and I brought him back to his room, which he wanted and helped him into his bed. He' s not supposed to use a walker yet until the occupational and physical therapist are sure he can do so on his own without falling (which would be a disaster because he's taking cumiden (the blood thinner). But he stood up from the wheelchair and sat on the bed. My dad was talking and told me he had therapy. He wants out NOW and he made that quite clear but I told him that he had to be physically stronger and able to take care of himself before he could go home.

As soon as my mom came up, I went to find the three therapists to discuss their evaluations and the plan for his therapy and explain to them what he was like before the stroke (except for his speech, not much different but very stubborn and impatient.

Therapy was on the first floor so I went there my notes (thank you Ellie) and introduced myself to the receptionist and told her what I wanted. She got the occupational therapist for me and we had a very good discussion. Then the physical therapist came out and it turned out it was Monica, who was there on Sat.--but she won't be there after today as she was a temp. The speech therapist, Ann was at lunch but I was told she'd come up to talk to me and my dad and my mom later.

I also decided to see if I could talk to a social worker about my mom's handling of my dad's illness (she's someone I've always thought of as being pretty together but has been fallin apart from worry, lack of sleep, and basically the fact that NO ONE at St John's or St Joseph's has bothered to have a discussion with her about anything with regard to my dad (other than the asshole Dr S-her own soon to be ex-doctor who told her that my dad had dementia and would not get much better). No one talked to her when my dad was discharged from the hospital and no one talked to her when he was admitted to St Joe's. The aides at St Joe's don't know anything and are intermittently helpful but overall seem poorly trained to interact with patients. The head nurse seems good --the therapists, who really are the most important part of the equation here seem topnotch. Anyway, I talked to the social worker for about 15 minutes and told her my worried about my mom and asked if she could come see her. She had a meeting right then and said she's try to come up later but hadn't by the time my mom and I left for the day. I'll try again tomorrow.

Anyway, when I got upstairs, my mother said my dad had been talking up a (totally comprehensible) storm, telling her what he had for lunch--all weekend he had chicken and rice, which he loates, and hardly ate. But today he told her how good the cod fish was, etc. Ann, the speech therapist came and met with my dad, my mom, and me in the common room--oh, one thing the social worker told me that I figured would convince my parents that my dad wasn't going to be stuck in the rehab center forever was that the 5th floor is for short term patients. Hallelujah. That finally registered. Ann confirmed (my dad had said as much but not quite as clearly) that she had been with him about an hour this morning--half an hour at a time and says his speech should come back completely. She explained some of what she would be working on with my dad and I tried to get him to listen to what she was saying so he knew what would be happening. The fact that all three therapists are women will definitely push him to work harder. And I told them all to push him and explain that he MUST do the physical therapy in order to stay strong enough to remain independent. He just doesn't "hear" me when I say that.

He'll be seeing the three therapists five or six days a week. Monica, the physical therapist said she tried to get him to walk and simultaneously count 1-20 forwards and backwards by 2s. He can't do that yet).

We stayed later than usual --till about 3:30.

Anyway, my mom and I are both exhausted--but she feels MUCH better after meeting with the speech therapist. And I'm really pleased by how things are improving.
Got back late Tuesday night. Had a great time overall.
But Friday morning I heard from my sister that my dad had a small stroke and was in the hospital. No paralysis, but aphasic, which means he can understand everything and can say about three words before they devolve into gibberish. He can count at least to 10.

I visited for the day yesterday --he's in a hospital very close to where they live in Yonkers. He's about ready to be released to a short term rehab center and we're trying to find one as close as possible to home (but good). Cabrini in Dobbs Ferry seems the best if he can get in. After about three weeks there, he'll be evaluated and if he still needs more in-house rehab he'll likely go to the Montrose VA Hospital (where he's been going for years). My mom is more the wreck.
I spent yesterday at the hospital and met the speech therapist and the therapy evaluator--made sure my mom got to talk to the attending physician (who is her doc not my dad's, which my sister and I are not happy about, but that's who she initially called when my dad seemed "off").

My father is 92, was a jock, and until about 8 years ago played tennis on a regular basis (only doubles the past few years). No major physical problems internally but having more and more trouble walking over the last two years. He uses a cane or a walker now.

I'll be visiting him tomorrow in the afternoon and Saturday and Sunday.


ellen_datlow: (Default)


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