322) Homage to Kay Nowicki

January 29, 2009

Morning: Well today is a grief anniversary for me and my family: my mom's birthday. Today she would be 87, having been born at home in Lawrence Michigan on the evening of January 29, 1922. The anniversary of her birth, as well as the anniversary of her passing on (October 19th) are dates that are forever etched in our minds and hearts. In the grief research and literature, anniversaries of special days many times bring up grief reactions that aren't evident during the year but are more apparent on these secial days. Sometimes people get into a depressed state without even recognizing that an anniversary of a loss is at hand. As with any anniversary, a celebration is a helpful way to alleviate some of the pain, to honor the loved one, and to cherish the memory. In the Jewish faith on the death anniversary (yahrzeit) we visit the grave and think about our positive memories and place little stones on the headstone to document that people have come to visit. In our synagogue services, we are called by the Rabbi to honor and remember the loss when the Rabbi invites people to say Kaddish in memory of the anniversary of the death. The Kaddish prayer, and the Rabbi's blessing afterwards, including "...and may God bring peace to all who mourn..." has given me a sense of acceptance and remembrance during the years since mom's passing.

So we honor her again on her birthday, and I am aware of finally having a picture of one of her favorite creations on this blog, the Memento Christmas Tree (see Post # 311).

El Milagro: Nancy New Girl comes over with Celeste the Nurse, who asks if Nancy can stick me and I say "Sure". I tease Nancy unmercifully throughout the process and don't really know why. Usually I am not like that with a new person.... maybe has something to do with my hallucinations about her personality. At some point she has to flip my venous needle to increase the draw and I complain to her about "jabbing that thing around up there... what're you trying to do, dig a hole?". She takes it all in good humor and finally gets the thing set right and slowly hooks me up to the machine. Celeste asks my weight (76.5) and does her math and asks, "2.5?" and I say sure and she sets the dials. Jordi the Dietician comes over with my latest labs: all is fine except for my phos-score --> 6.6... up from 6.4. She laughs at the whole thing this time, reporting that the 3rd shift has the worst phos-scores of any. I switch my teases over to her, replying, "I guess you need to do a better job young lady".

Nancy finishes and Jordi takes off and Celeste stays to argue about how the government programs are giving away all kinds of services and people take advantage of them rather than using them to actually help themselves up. I am off to the races: asking her to consider the idea that the dominant, ruling class in America has, for generations, systematically disenfranchised the minority cultures by offering financial programs that keep them in squaller and training programs that are so poorly managed that they do little to lift the participants up to mainstream. And, that as the non-dominant minorities grow in the population, we are seeing more of them enter the middle and upper classes thru the very boot-strap pulling Celeste agrees with (as evidenced in the resiliency literature). As that raising up continues the dominant culture slowly changes and hopefully as the dominant culture becomes more homongenous more is done to adjust social services programs.

Celeste finally has to move off to watch over the old guy who gets up and tries to walk off with his tubes a-dangling... and I am happy to discontinue this edition of the ongoing conservative / liberal debate. I put in my earphones for NPR ATC and what do you think is on? Alex Bloomberg from This American Life talking about Keynesian
economics! I look up at the clock and realize its already 5:50 so I switch my earphones to the ABC News and hear about Obama's "relaxed way" of doing business at the White House... he wanders the halls.

I watch and begin reading my MI book. After the local news I switch over to Jim Lehrer and watch an interesting report on stem cell science and the hopes for more relaxed federal requirements now that the evangelical Bush is gone.

At some point midway thru my session Rosie the Tech comes by right after one of the ongoing regular right arm squishing by the BP cuff... her face shows some frustration that I can't describe... but I know it is related to something... "You can't do 2.5. You sat there and told her okay when she said 2.5!... I heard you." My BP is low and Rosie adjusts the amount I'm taking off... and I sheepishly reply, "UH... I thought that taking 2.5 off would take me down to my dry weight. She said, '2.5?' and I said, 'will that take me to 75 and she said yes'". Rosie looks at me and shakes her head, clearly unsure of my "excuse" and seemingly thinking "How can he not do the math?", but I never do the math. I just trust what they say. So, Rosie re-sets the machine and goes over to talk to Celeste about my normal regimen and how I can't really take off more than usual because I need my energy to work during the days, etc.
I see her and Celeste arguing over by Mr. L's chair and I know Rosie will win and Celeste will probably go on as usual. And, I note in my brain of brains that I need to question Celeste more thoroughly whenever she sets my machine.

This is one of the things I don't like about dialysis: each of the techs and nurses have their own idea about what the patient needs and although they politely ask us, they usually go on and do whatever THEY think is right. I have heard much more sophisticated patients than me complain about this over the years. Who knows right, the patient or the staff? Good question. Most of the time I trust them to do the best for me, but I have gotten better at checking certain things to ensure they aren't forgetting something (like is it my dialyzer; and do I have the right baths). And in the case of Rosie v.s. the other staff... I happen to trust Rosie the most. We patients have to find staff in these facilities that we can trust and then use that trust to our best interest. Herman the Administrator really taught me that, I think.
So it goes on my mom's birthday. May she rest in peace --> ABCL.

Notes: In at 76.5 and out at 74.7 kgs.

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