Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No ticket, no island

My father and my grandson have such a unique relationship. It is quite amusing to watch. This 69 year old man and three year old man-to-be, both with vivid imaginations, fighting, intensely, over an imaginary object.

My father has introduced my grandson to "Doughboy land." I have no idea why we dubbed this patch of hemlock "Doughboy land" it is long lost in the annals of family lore. Maybe #4 can chime in with where the name came from. No matter how hard it rains it used to be dry in Doughboy land, the trees grew so close together. Last December's storm took many trees out, rain now hits the needled floor, new shrubs are growing, but for the most part it is still a haven for play even during a rain storm.

Great grandson and great-grandfather take their daily walk through this grove as we watch through the drizzle from the safety of the gazeebo. They stop and consult. Grandson hands Grandfather something, pinching the fingers of his right hand together and cupping his left hand underneath. Grandfather receives the object in the same manner, taking the object by pinching the fingers of his right hand together and cupping his hands underneath. They both appear to have the object now. Grandson asks a question, Grandfather shakes his head no. Grandson nods his head, violently. Grandfather shakes his head no, violently. Grandson yanks on the object, hard. Grandfather yanks back. Grandson falls forward a little because Grandfather has yanked so hard. Grandson frowns and yanks harder. Grandfather lets go and grandson almost topples over. Grandson then throws the object on the ground. Grandfather reaches down and picks the object up and starts to put them on his feet, one by one. We cannot see the object. The object only exists in their imaginations!

They were "fighting" over a pair of lava boots! Grandson insisted that Grandfather didn't have any and had to agree to certain conditions before he could get his! Grandfather had refused the deal so Grandson threw the boots down in disgust. I asked my dad why he didn't just go to the fake store and buy himself a new pair of fake lava boots? He said the stor wasn't opened.

Yesterday they took another walk in the woods. It was a very short trip. Grandfather came back first, laughing. This time, he said, Grandson pushed past him and ran to the mound in the middle of the grove and then told Grandfather to wait.

Grandson, "You need a ticket to come here. No ticket, no island! "
Grandfather, searching through pockets and then producing an imaginary ticket, "Here you go!"
Grandson, taking imaginary ticket examines first one side, then flips it over and looks at the other side, "I'm sorry, this is not a ticket to this island."
Grandfather, "It isn't? What is it a ticket for, then?"
Grandson, handing imaginary ticket back to Grandfather, "I have no idea, I've never seen anything like it in my life!"
Grandfather, taking imaginary ticket, "It doesn't go to any of these islands?"
Grandson, "Nope, none of them. I've never seen a ticket like that one. Sorry, you just can't use it here. Bye!"

Grandfather put it in his pocket. He actually reached into his pocket to pull the ticket out so that he could tell me the story!

Sometimes, I worry about the two of them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Helpful forms everyone should have

I do like organization, even though I do not always subscribe to it myself. I like the IDEA that there is a spot for everything and everything should be in its place. I like the idea that I should have a personal secretary and a maid, as well. What I do have is my mother. What my children have is me. We all have the same complaint. Our personal secretaries and maids are flippant, talk back, rarely do as asked and always change where we want our things to be. As a consequence we are super organized in the field.

The organizations we chose to work for and volunteer for have their files referenced and cross referenced. We have everything in notebooks, on file cards and in zip lock baggies. We can find anything and everything has been archived. We can tell you where the receipt for the pens bought for the convention in 1999 can be found or where the template for the signs for the marathon in 2003 is kept. Ask us when our middle child's birthday is? Our mind is blank. We really and actually do have a friend of the family who keeps all important dates for us. She knows all of our birthdays, has all of our addresses and phone numbers. We call her when we need to know something about our family. I think she is one of the top people we all pray for every day and probably the only birthday we all remember!

In keeping with organizing the world around us I feel it incumbent that I should remind everyone that they should be keeping a health notebook near their phone, or some other convenient location. If something should happen to a family member you should be able to grab this notebook on the fly and head to the ER room.

While these forms were made by Parkinson's Center of Oregon, they can be adapted for anyone. There are emergency contact forms, medication forms, event forms (any recent falls, etc.), health concern forms, as well as forms for medical releases, advanced directives, and medical power of attorney. These are things you don't want to be making a decision on in the midst of a medical crisis. No matter whether you are in a huge family surrounded by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, or just you and a significant other, the more documentation you have completed ahead of time and the smoother the administrative side is , leaves you with more energy to deal with the real crisis.

The contact form is for the information of the individual. It also has a place for the primary doctor's name, any specialists that can/should be contacted, primary and secondary insurances (remember to photocopy your insurance card and put it in a sheet protector here with this page). Also on this form is room for contact information regarding who else should be contacted in cases of emergency: your medical power of attorney, a parent or guardian, a grandparent, lawyer, etc.

fill this out for each member of your family! So many are in second marriages and children may have different primary and secondary insurances. It is nice, if in the midst of an emergency, you can just whip out that piece of paper with all of the correct info on it. Also, if your child has an ongoing childcare situation a copy of a waiver giving that person specific rights for medical emergencies should be located in this notebook.

The medical history form is a handy one to have extra copies of that you can just hand out when going to a new doctor. It is also a good form for the emergency room so that an ER doctor or nurse knows what condition the patient was in before the incident. When updated periodically it can give you an idea of how you are doing overall, especially if you are dealing with a chronic health concern.

A current medication list is very important on any trip to a medical facility or even the pharmacy. You want to make sure that everything being taken is working together, and especially that no toxic combinations are occurring. Many herbal, mineral and even vitamins should not be taken with one another and many can not be taken at the same time that certain synthetic drugs are taken. Doing so can either cause the drug to be ineffective or even have an adverse effect. A complete list of all meds and supplements is crucial to a doctor and a pharmacist.

Also, a prescription diary is important for chronic health concerns so that you can chart how the medication is making you feel. Whether it be a simple case of determining whether or not to use hormone therapy or use herbal supplements, going on anecdotal memories of how you felt two months ago when using synthetic drugs compared to how you feel now using an herbal/mineral combination is not really the best way to determine something as important as your health and emotional well-being. Much more so when you are comparing different types of synthetics or trying to determine the proper dosages.

This event diary is important as well. You may not be conscious of how often you or a loved one is having small, minor, events. Once you start recording them you may well see a pattern that will help you prevent a major accident from happening. You may see that small events center on a certain period of the day which could mean medication is wearing off and a shift in when meds are taken needs to take place. Or events happen in a certain area of the house and extra safety cautions need to be taken there. Extra lights need to be added, a handrail needs to be put in or rugs taken out. Suddenly, things become easier around the house.

This is an advanced directive. Read the whole document. You can chose which parts you want to sign. It also has a place to appoint a health care representative. You do not have to have an advanced directive, but if you have a chronic illness that may hospitalize you in the final stages you may wish to consider one. Also, a grim reality is that we never know when any of us will be in an accident that renders us in need of one of these. You should have a copy of this in your notebook, give one to your attorney and your hospital and primary doctor should also have a copy.

This medical power of attorney is similar to the form contained in the advanced directive for an appointment of a health care representative. You can be very specific on this form as to the power you are giving the person. If you do not understand it, or any document which has to do with your rights, take it to an attorney.

It is really too bad that in Oregon paralegals do not have a legal right to help us with simple things such as the above.

Many of the above forms can be found at the Parkinson's Center of Oregon's helpful forms page.

Dang! Stupid Ducks just lost to stupid Boise State Broncos. Great, guess the dinner conversation here!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

SO much to do and little time to do it in!

Convention in three weeks. We have most of the details mapped out. In between doing convention work I have been helping to plan the wedding for our third youngest daughter with the same people who are helping to plan the convention. I truly hope we are not confusing any details!

On top of that I am planning something else. A truly awesome something else that is making my heart thump so fast I think I am having a heart attack and makes me think I am insane, but at the same time is thrilling.

And then there is actually doing some reporting, investigating, researching and coming upon some astonishing finds all the while ignoring the pressing interviews that I have been promising to get to when life will just slow down a little tiny bit so that I can get to them.

Each thing that I am doing is so utterly fascinating that I get a bit annoyed when another facet of my life encroaches in on it. I love convention. I love the time of year it is as it prepares us for the holiday season that for my family stretches from Oct 20th to May. Literally every month has a holiday in it, October on out. October starts with convention. When we don't host it, we can go and come back. This year, we run it. Then the rest of the month. October 20th the Birth of the Bab, a big celebration for us and then Halloween, minor but we already have a of decorations for it. Nov 12, Birth of Baha'u'llah, another big one. Then, Thanksgiving followed by the Day of the Covenant and the Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha, all in November. December, in our family we acknowledge the celebration of Christmas and decorate for Chanuka and Kwanza as well. We have Christmas Eve with friends and a potluck and a rousing game of "Alliance White Elephant" gift exchange.

In January we do New Years and with the sports fanatics here I have to admit they do "celebrate" Super Bowl Sunday. February sees the beginning of Ayyam-i-Ha and March brings in the Fast and ends it with Naw Ruz, our New Years. April has two Holy days, the First and Third days of Ridvan, and May has three, the Third day of Ridvan, the Declaration of the Bab and the Ascension of Baha'u'llah. And then, nothing until July.

Whenever I am sitting "still" I am knitting, for gifts, for the various holidays and holy days. Forget birthdays and anniversaries, at least I always do as my husband so kindly reminds me. Interspersed with all of this is the monthly Parkinson's support group meetings, the monthly Spiritual Assembly meetings, the quarterly Cluster Coordinator meetings, the weekly study circles, and I do believe that at sometime my husband and I instituted a mandatory "date night". I think we forgot to state that it must be with one another, alone, with no discussion of work, children or community affairs because I can't remember when we did just that.

In a few weeks hubby and I are to spend 10 glorious days in the "wild" of eastern Oregon. Not alone. In a one room cabin. With his sister and her hubby. And his brother and his son in an RV parked near by. But, we will have bikes and a canoe. And we will have the outdoors. And we will not have children. And I won't believe it until the fifth day we are there.