Monday, May 07, 2012
This morning, I stopped at the hospice care at the VA hospital on my way to work. John was alone and he had that same glazed morphine haze that my dad had in the days before he died. I don't think John knew I was there, but I remembered that the nurses told me that the hearing is the last sense to go. At the time, it made my brother and me laugh despite our pain because Dad had been hard of hearing for years (a consequence of Army artillery drills).
So I sat down next to John's bed and touched his arm or his shoulder and talked. I told him I love, respect and honor him. That I was proud to work with and for him for nearly 15 years. I was in my 20s when I started working for him and it was as if he were a second dad - we were all young and we all grew up working for him! Through FB, I am in touch with many of my former coworkers and we have been sharing stories and pictures and memories of John.
I reminded John of the day he solved a huge problem for me. This was before the internet, to give it some context. I needed to find out when and where I needed to be in Alameda (across the bay, a place I'd never been) in order to be there for the homecoming of the USS Enterprise. Alameda was her home port then. My brother was on that ship! John called as if he were calling on behalf of some Army general and got the info I needed, complete with bus info and everything. (I had not yet learned to drive.) Without John's help, I would have missed that precious visit! John, having been a career Marine, knew what to say and whom to call to get me what I needed to know. My family met John later and they are still, as I am, grateful for that kindness.
I am so glad I went to the hospital. I feared it was going to be a gut-wrenching emotional experience! But it was not. Had I not had that gut-wrenching emotional experience with my dad, this would have been a very tough visit. As it was, it was hard, but - oh, Lord am I thankful!
I learned late yesterday that John was moved from Stanford to the VA and, within moments of that, I got a phone call. My stepmother called to say that my brother and nephew will be in the US sometime in late July, early August!
This coincides with the "thou shalt not take vacation during this period" at work due to the super user training and testing, but I hope I can at least take a Friday and Monday off...
The thought of this mini family reunion has me fired up, at least a little. I worked out a little with my 7# kettlebell tonight. It felt great! I am using the DVD that came with this new one and discovered, to my dismay, that I lack the balance to do a one arm row + leg lift + kettlebell on one side. Instead of giving up and feeling defeated, I am going to work on my balance until I can do those! I LOVE the feeling that working with KBs gives me, even if I can do so little! I am not used to feeling good about exercise, let me tell you!
Please pray for John, for his enormous family and his friends as well as his caregivers. I thanked the nurses for taking care of "my" vet!
Sunday, May 06, 2012
I found out today that my dear friend John has been transferred from Stanford to the VA hospice care. His family created a facebook page for us to share thoughts, pictures and memories about him. Someone posted a picture of him being loaded onto the ambulance at Stanford for the trip to the VA. The picture was not great, but I could see in his eyes that same look my dad had at the end of his life. The look that says morphine is not enough.
I work very close to the VA so I will swallow hard and stop by to let his family and him know I care.
I worked yesterday (OT) and did not get as much done as I would have liked, but it will help my desk tomorrow. Still doing discovery so that means nothing else gets touched.
Please pray for John & his family.
Monday, April 30, 2012
I went to San Francisco Saturday night with Yvonne to the historic Warfield to see comedian Jim Gaffigan. We parked a few blocks away and walked to the theatre. I caught the edge of a manhole cover with my shoe and fell, landing hard on my knees. I was fine, but it hurt and I was embarrassed to do that in public! After dinner, the gates finally opened. As we approached the theatre, we were waved to the shortest line of all. Looking back, I realize it was because my sore knee made me limp even more than usual. The Warfield does have an elevator, but it is not always operational. It was not for the comedy show, so they swapped out our tickets for the last row on the floor. No one kicking the back of my chair! No one tall in front of me! I had a perfect view of the stage! I have not laughed that much in a very long time.
Sunday, I was completely wiped out and did next to nothing. While online, I saw a Facebook post from a former coworker and good friend that said the former senior vp at the company where we all worked is at Stanford Hospital and not expected to live. I learned today he has lung cancer, a blood clot in his leg that they don't dare treat and cancer in his spine. I cannot imagine. Another former coworker visited John today and shared that he is very weak, did not know Lenny for at least 5 minutes. John will probably be moved to hospice soon. Yesterday, they thought he would die within hours, today they say weeks. I met John in 1986 when I moved here. I grew up at that company. John is a former career Marine with all the strength, honesty and leadership that that title implies. I could never pass a physical, so I have never served but that only increases my appreciation for those who have and who do.
When my brother was in the Navy, he was on the USS Enterprise while her home port was Alameda, California. He was sailing here after his trip to the middle east and I could not find information about where to be to see him. John called someone in the Navy and got the info I needed (this was well before the internet!). My family met John and still appreciates his human touch for me at the time. I did not even drive back then, so it was a big deal!
Yes, John was a smoker and I can guess that it is that habit that contributed to this very sad end of life for a great man. Cancer is horrible!
I nearly recommended that my supervising attorney let our student go today. She has ignored my requests that she call me if / when she is going to be late to work. With students, we are flexible. They often need an extra day off to study for a midterm or write a paper, but we do ask they let us know. The top attorney in the company wanted my student to do a project this morning. Since she was not here and I had not heard from her, I did the project. I was already doing document production in response to a subpoena with a close court deadline. (We are not a party to the litigation - the parties in court just want to know what we knew and when we knew it.) So I told Kevin about her absence and her episodes of noncontact. He talked to her and I hope it does not happen again.
Even though the challenging summer schedule has not started, it feels as if it has. I don't know how much more I can do! It's as if I am bailing water from a leaky skiff - surely I am going down, no matter how quickly I bail!
I talked to my stepmother yesterday and we are thinking about me visiting her this fall. If it happens, we will take a couple of train trips! We are train buffs. So I decided I want to lose 25 pound by October. That means I need to get back to eating right, drinking water consistently and exercising.
My new profile picture is of my great grand aunt in costume as "The Bohemian Girl". I was thrilled to find it! She died 8 years before I was born.
I saw a blog from one of my Sparkfriends, Nonie_C, and she has not blogged for a while. Her dad died last month. Her blog was super inspirational! She is in my prayers along with John and his family. Please join me.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I'll keep it short in case I lose my internet connection again.
I picked up my laptop today. The hard drive was not fried, but the power cord/adapter was. How they knew that, I don't know because that was in my computer bag while my laptop went to KY for service.
Everything seems fine. But the usual Verizon Wireless + Windows 7 disagreement means I'm still handcuffed and frustrated.
I hope to get back on track in every way tomorrow.
Monday, April 23, 2012
My left knee is still very swollen and sore, so I am very careful with it. I can walk all day on it as long as I don't bend deeply. Stairs, sidewalk curbs and sitting down present opportunities for a very sharp pain right behind the knee cap. I know it will help when I lose some tonnage. Note that I said "when" not "if".
A coworker gave me a discount card for Kohls so I went there yesterday. I needed and found a pair of jeans. I dreaded going to the dressing room, but I took 3 different sizes because I am never sure and it has been nearly 5 years since I have bought any clothes. Unfortunately, I am the same size as I was back in 2005. Womens (Petite) XL. I had gotten down to a 4 and was about 15 pounds away from my goal when my dad died in 2007. The weight came back on. I joined SP in January 2010 and lost about 20 pounds that first year. Some of that has found me again. Not happy but I am not looking backwards and blaming myself either.
In my true stubborn Norwegian fashion, I am looking forward.
Today, several coworkers commented about my amazing positive attitude. They do not know about the various issues in my life. All they see is my smile and my genuine joy of being at work. I LOVE being a paralegal, I love working for my company and I truly cannot wait to get to work in the morning. Some of that attitude is also choice and "act as if until it is".
For many years, I pretended to be happy and then, over time, I became happy and more content with my present situation. Yes, I can still be envious of someone who has more money, a newer car, a nice home, children, a loving spouse, etc., but I remind myself that envy is not a good quality. It is not good for my sould.
I also remind myself that they have their own issues and things that I know nothing about. They have stresses that I could not handle. I love children, but I do not have any. I marvel at parents today. It is all I can do to take care of myself. I don't know how I could handle having children be dependent on me. I suppose I would manage - it is part of the human condition to do what needs to be done, but, from the outside looking in, being a parent is something that I am glad is not mine to do. I LOVE being an aunt!
Today, I sang on the way to work. I enjoyed the cool breeze when I took a short walk at lunch. My office is on hills and I walked carefully, not sure how my knee would react, so it was a short walk, but it was fabulous! What a gorgeous day! I continued to give thanks for the blessing of the cooler temperatures. Everyone says it will heat up this week. Fortunately, I figured out what the problem was with my room cooler at home. I will have a higher utility bill, but, when a person is sitting with a fan blowing and sweating with that on, cost fades in consideration. UGH!
Early this morning, my VP buzzed by my desk and told me that my ears were probably burning, that my name had come up. I am to be the department's go-to person for the new software that will run our business. I will be both a tester as they develop it and a superuser. I will become "essential". I was positively euphoric at his term! Even though I know some long hours and lots of work are involved, I am homored. My boss later told me that there will be no vacation between early June and the end of August for testers and super users. We will be putting in 10 hour days with only a half hour lunch (we get an hour now). So that means OVERTIME! $$$$$$$$ I am exhausted thinking about it, but this is really important for the company's success, so I am glad to be in on the foundation work. Besides, as a paralegal, if we are ever served with a subpoena that asks what we knew and when we knew it, someone needs to know how to find that information and the documents that prove it. I am that person now and need to be that person after the launch of the new system.
Today, the department had cupcakes to celebrate two coworkers' birthdays. Most people were unavailable so the cupcakes did not go fast. I picked up a chocolate cupcake, but - I did not eat it!
I put it on my boss' desk. He LOVES food of all kinds and is a string bean well over six feet tall.
I do not even miss the chocolate, even though I love chocolate. It's one of those things that I should never have because it is a trigger for me. So I felt very good about my choice!
On my way to Best Buy to see if they know the disposition of my fried laptop. Will the Geek Squad techs 3 timezones away decide to repair or replace it? I have not heard and I was supposed to hear either yesterday or today. Being internet accessless at home has gotten very old.
When I get home, my kettlebells await!
And how was your Monday? You know, it is one of the seven fabulous days of the week! If you don't believe me, just try missing a day. Life beats death!
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