Sunday, September 21, 2014

Drama and Friends

Saturday Marty and I had plans.  We were having the carpet cleaned.  Saturday morning we would have to move furniture, get breakables in a safe spot, move a lot of plants.  Not huge but stuff to do.  Friday night I went into A-Fib again.  It was close to bedtime and I went to bed thinking in the morning the heart would have settled down.  Nope, didn't happen.  Still vibrating and very dizzy.

Again the call to the Kaiser Advice Nurse and Doctor. Again they said to come in now.  No problem, except we were close to the window of the carpet cleaners arriving.  I told Marty to just drop me off and I would call when they released me.  He didn't go for that.  He came in, made sure I was going to be kept and not in danger, and then left.  I received the usual excellent care from the ED staff.  And had to have all the same tests run that had been run last week.  After several hours I was to be discharged. 

Now how to get home.  The carpet cleaners are at the house so Marty can't leave.  I am too tight to call a taxi for a 7 minute ride. Plus I needed to pick up prescriptions and I needed someone to help me.  I was too tired to handle anything.  So I called friend Kirsten. She had Facebooked me to call if we needed help.  She lives less than 10 minutes from me and maybe wasn't tied up with her son's activities.  She said she would be there as soon as possible.

A tech wheeled me down to the pharmacy to get  my new prescriptions.  Kirsten was waiting there for me.  She went up to get my meds and they said, so sorry we don't have drug X.  (this is the drug Marty tried to pick up earlier this week and they didn't fill the correct drug.  I have since ordered it on line but it hasn't arrived yet.)  They could order it and I could come back in a couple of days. Or we could drive to Kaiser Oakland and maybe they would have the drug.  My powerful friend, Kirsten, explained to them I had to have the drug or I would have to stay in the hospital.  She said they needed to pull the drug from the supply the hospital staff  uses.  And they did.  Not a full prescription, but hopefully enough until the rest arrives by mail.  Then Kirsten drove me home.

We all have friends at different levels.  Some care about us, but we don't socialize much. Some are just party friends. Some we see rarely but they are close like family, some are there always when you need help.  Kirsten is one of my friends who is there for me always, emotionally and physically.  If she can't do it she will send her husband or a mutual friend.  She isn't my only friend I could have called, but she was the one I called Saturday.  She handled everything that I couldn't deal with.  She took me home, walked me up the stairs and handed me off to Marty.  Love you Kirsten!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Always something going on at the Marriage Factory

I know, I am way late in sharing the weddings for the last couple of weeks.  I have great excuses, but will just say I am sorry.  Read on.

First couple of the day:  There's only one couple in either lobby, so they must be it.  I called their names and they came up to me.  I hear a clerk calling, "Janet, no, that is the wrong couple."  Well where is the correct couple?   I found them in the computer room off the second lobby.   The couple was fun and taught me a new term, loaner rings.  The jeweler had not finished their real rings, so they had two simple gold bands loaned to them. 

The wrong couple was my next wedding.  The bride was so cute and bubbly.  Her dress was fabulous. It was a swing dress with huge geometric designs in pink, green, and turquoise.  It was very 70's.  I asked her if she bought it in a vintage store, no at Ross. 

Sometimes I play Mother and take sunglass off heads, have them spit out their gum, take off work IDs, what ever needs to be done for good pictures.  But one wedding a clerk and I played concierge.  The wedding party was wanting a good brunch/breakfast on Telegraph Ave.  We both told them Aunt Mary's CafĂ©  .    Buttermilk pie, shrimp and grits with Tabasco gravy,  what isn't to like?

Sometimes we marry a couple we don't think will make it or we feel uncomfortable about.  I don't have to marry anyone, as a volunteer I can turn the couple over to staff.  But I usually go on and hope for the best.  The groom was 45 and this was his fourth marriage.  The bride was 20 years younger and no previous marriages.  They had a 2 year old who hated the father.  The child screamed bloody murder constantly.  He hated the elevator, he hated getting off the elevator, he hated going into the Wedding Rooms, he demanded to be held. If he was put down to walk, he kicked and yelled at the groom. Every time the groom touched the mother the child yelled no and tried to push the groom away.  During the ring ceremony the bride is holding the child and he kicked and screamed at the groom.  Clerk K and I think the child was trying to tell the world something.  We hope we are wrong. 

One last story and it isn't about the couple.  I asked is everyone here, answer was no.  A guest's car had been stolen, or hopefully towed.  He was talking to the police.  When he came in the lobby he was the saddest young man I have ever seen.  I told him he looked as if he need a hug.  He said, yes please.  Did they find his car?  Of course, I have no ending.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Damn! I said that out loud.

You should never tempt fate.  I wrote I had been  "normal" for over two months.  And then like an idiot I said that out loud at my book group Tuesday night.  I didn't just tempt fate I waved a red flag.

When I got home that night I was in A-Fib, not bad,  no secondary things to scare us.  No reason to even call the Kaiser Advice Nurse.  We have gone through this over and over.  Nothing serious was going on.  Well, not until 2:00 in the  morning.

I drink a lot of water up until bedtime, so nature took its course.  I needed to use the bathroom.  Along with all my other annoying health issues I have vertigo.  So I always stand up slowly, be sure I am steady and then start walking, didn't work this time.  I just had cleared the bedpost and knew I was going down.  There was nothing to grab onto.  I bounced off the cedar chest, hit the table's pedestal leg with my head, and screamed bloody murder.   I hit hard enough I moved the cedar chest an inch (I found this out later from the marks on the rug) and moved the table a couple of inches. 

We called the Advice Nurse because I am on blood thinners and must be very careful with a head injury.  They wanted me in Emergency immediately. Thank goodness the new Kaiser is only 7 minutes from the house.  No more driving to another town.  Off we went, I was still in A-Fib, so knew they would keep me even if there were no head problems.

I checked out OK neurologically but the heart rate was too high and the blood pressure was way low.  After a couple of hours I sent Marty home to get some sleep.  I knew the blood work and the drip would be several more hours.  I was home before 9:00 that morning. 

I am sore and tired.  Marty had put an ice pack on my head, so no black eye.  We didn't ice my thigh and it is very colorful.  I was extremely lucky, no broken bones, no bad cuts or scrapes, no concussion.

So as I begin a new count of days not in the ER, I will not say them out loud.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Did you have a security blanket?

Many people had a security blankets as a baby/small child.  My little brother had one.  It was blue wool with a satin binding.  He would pick the fuzz off the blanket and feed it to anyone near him.  I never had a special blanket,  nor did Marty.  But Marty's little brother had one.  Another case of the middle child being neglected. 

Our son had a beautiful white thermal blanket he drug everywhere.  The white became pink after a red shirt ended up in the wash with the blanket.  He even took his blankie to preschool for nap time.  On his fourth birthday he came into the kitchen, threw the blanket in the garbage, and said,"I'm a big boy now."  I of course fished it out and saved it.  I think it was for his 21st birthday we had it framed with other things from his childhood.  I think it meant more to me than to him.

Some parents trim the blankets every now and then until there is only a hanky size square.  And some children go to college with their blankie square.  I took a teddy bear that a boy friend had given me. 

Security blankets make you feel safe, comfortable, happy.  And sometime senior citizens need one too.  Marty brought home a Sherpa Throw from Costco this weekend.  Velvet on one side, and the other is fake sheep skin.  It is light, warm, and cuddly.  I told Marty when I pulled it over me, all I wanted to do was suck my thumb.  Talk about warm fuzzy feelings.

Sunday we bought another one.  Neither of wanted to share.  Marty's is blue and mine is green. 



Saturday, September 6, 2014

It has been a year and a couple of days since the great drama began

A year ago I went in to Kaiser and stayed for 8 days.  The great drama of A- Fib, diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots.  It was a scary time, and it was a life and death time.  Marty and I had to make decisions on my life.  Did I want to live a good life, or be a ticking time bomb?

We chose a good life.  We changed diet, exercise, cut back on commitments, and went through hell for about 9 months.  Lots of ER visits, midnight calls to the advice nurse, scary tests, and meds that didn't work.  Or meds that worked too well and I was a zombie. 

Around July things started meshing. I was used to eating healthy, still want bacon grease and butter.  I exercise 7 days a weeks.  I feel it is a punishment, I don't understand people who love exercising.  My meds were working together and no midnight ER visits.  Not even calls to the advice nurse. 

I have lost 95 pounds and am pretty cute if I do say so myself. 


Before
 

After with Marty, Little Brother, and Ann.

 

I feel fairly good most days.  I have learned to rest before I am exhausted.  I'm blessed with a husband who loves to shop and cook.  So a lot of routine work is off me.  I still cook, but rarely shop for anything.  Yesterday Marty came home with jeans for me.  He saw some 10 short, and knew they are rare and hard to find.   So he bought 3 pairs in different colors.  Yes, Marty is a keeper.

We understand none of my heath issues are curable.  But they are very treatable.  We know I will have flare ups and bad hard days.  But we know most days will be pretty normal.  Of course all of this depends on me following diet restrictions and exercising.  Boo hiss.  But I will do it.  I like my life and want to continue groups I am in and to continue volunteering. 

Most importantly I have learned that prayers from around the world help comfort and help with healing.  My blog friends and Facebook friends are very important to me and to Marty.  You all really helped us through a tough time.  Thank you. 

Stay tuned.  I am a drama queen so you know I will do something dramatic in the near future. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A few wedding tales

Even though the  Marriage Factory was closed on Monday, Labor Day, I still have tales to tell.  I saved some stories from past weeks to cover the holiday.

A couple of weeks ago I was helping to train an intern.   She had just turned 18, so could now do marriage ceremonies.  She asked intelligent questions, took pictures, helped as needed.  But she was a huge help with one group.  We had a guest who was an elevator phobic.  And the poor guy was only about 10 years old.  So the intern walked him up the stairs to the Wedding Room.  In our building to go to the next floor is at least 2 stories of stairs.  I was tired by then and thrilled not to have to take the stairs. 

We had another elevator phobic, a toddler.  His twin loved the elevator, he was terrified.   What had triggered a phobia in a child so young?

 An example of the busy life of some of our couples.  They had come straight from work, got married, and then changed into casual clothes, and took off to go to class in Berkeley. 

I checked the license, the groom had just turned 40 the day before.  When he walked up to me, I thought we have to reprint.  His birth date is wrong.  He didn't look over 16 years old.  But he was really 40.  He says he is always carded.

People get emotional at weddings, the couple, the family, the guests.  I have even cried at some of the weddings I have done.  People will cry silently, they will have a break in their voices.  But this one was just weird.  The couple were so emotional they had to stop several times during the vows to pull it together.  One guest was sobbing loudly, crying and shaking, holding on to other guests.  Just really strange.  They all made it through, but I really wish I knew what the deal was.   Like I say, I have no endings.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What is that on your shirt?

I recently heard about a mom buying back to school clothes.  First that it is expensive, second you have to know/accept what style your teenager will wear, third it is expensive.  The mom was so thrilled her son finally was interested in wearing decent clothing, showering, and combing his hair.  All of us with sons remember that period when our sons' bedroom smelled like a dirty wet sock. 

Mom took her son shopping and they found some great shirts, bright, colorful, neat designs.  They both liked the shirts which were even on sell.  Score!  Home they go to show Dad the great shirts.

Dad looked at the shirts and then picked one up and said, "You bought this for school?  He can't wear this to school!"  Why not Mom and son asked.  "Look at the pattern."  And they looked.  The geometric design was not geometric.  Oh no, it was tiny cups and tiny beer bottles.  The shirt was a tribute to Beer Pong.

Lesson learned, put your glasses on and check that design closely.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sights, Sounds, Smells

My morning walks are always a little different.  It depends on what time I am out there pounding the pavement.  I see, hear, and smell different things every morning.  We are Urban, I walk by businesses and also by houses, schools, apartments.  I have a variety of things to check out.

The one ugly thing I see is the effect of the drought.  The yards are yellow, flowers are gasping for water, trees are stressed or even dying.  Everyone is doing what they can do to save water, and it is butt ugly.  And now we have to cut back more. 

But even the drought has brought beauty.  One family has torn out the grass and put in a cactus garden.  Really lovely. 

I see a woman place her bird cage in the yard as she is sweeping her porch and sidewalk..  Do the birds get separation anxiety? 

I hear children laughing as I pass schools.  I hear dogs barking in houses, stranger alert.  I have been walking by there for months, I am no longer a stranger.  I hear construction everywhere.  These old houses are getting new innards. And a new shopping center is going in, major construction there.

I hear the sounds of sirens, honking horns, racing cars and loud car radios.  Plus I hear the sound of my good music in my ear phones. 

The smells are really different.  On garbage day, not a great aroma.  But walking by restaurants, great.  The Chinese ones smell wonderful.  Our Bar B Q place is reopening soon, I can't wait to smell the smoking meat.  The bakery tempts me every time I walk by.  I can't buy anything, I don't carry money.  I would wreck the goodness of the walking if I bought and ate sweet rolls. 

I walked by one house and thought they are doing laundry.  I could smell the softener in the dryer.  A bus goes by and I think why doesn't it stink.  My generation grew up with disgusting smelly buses.  You would nearly throw up if you got caught behind a bus.  Now buses have a cleaner fuel and some are electric.  Thus no yucky smell. 

The nail salons are not pleasant, but not real bad.  Some businesses have no smell.  They have lovely buildings but you can't tell what goes on inside without a sign.

My walks are interesting and good for me. But I do not have that love for exercise some people get.  It is a chore I do to continue to be healthy. 


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A little fashion, names, very serious couple

The Bay Area has a population from all over the world.  And when they come to get married, I get a consensus from clerks on pronouncing names. Names are important, and I try very hard to pronounce them correctly.  Some names you think are easy and they aren't.  Andrea is just a guess.  It can be AN-dree-a,  AHN-dree-a, or ahn-DRAY-a.  Sometimes I get it right, sometime I don't.

My first couple on Monday were Ethiopian.  I saw his name and thought never will I get this one right,  Zewrigeberhan. But I did, and the bride and the witness.  They told me no one ever gets their names right.  Good job for me.

The next couple and witness were so sharply dressed.  The groom was in a grey pinstriped suit, white shirt, and white bow tie.  She wore a white chiffon floor length dress.  It had a halter top with a lace blouse under it.  But the best dressed was their witness.  He wore a suit with brown tone stripes, his shirt and tie had copper tones and his brown vest had copper buttons. 

One couple was so serious, almost frowning at each other.  I wondered if they had had a fight.  Their guests were having a great time taking pictures, laughing, teasing the couple.  But the couple just stood there, no smiles, not even close to each other.  This didn't look good.  I began the ceremony.  The groom had frown wrinkles, she was stone faced.  I pronounced them husband and wife and they laughed, hugged, kissed.  It was all OK.  I told them I didn't think they liked each other. She laughed and said, "He is my best friend, we have been together 10 years.  We were just a little nervous."

One group won best dressed group.  Everyone was dressed up, the women in long dresses, men in suits. little boys in dress slacks and starched shirts, and little girls in long puffy dresses.  The groom wore a gorgeous silver grey suit.  The bride wore a tiara with a finger tip layered veil and carried a bouquet of pink roses. Her dress was stunning, a long white princess dress.  It had a heart bodice in a satin like material with a beaded waist line.  The skirt was full and layered.  The top layer of organza was over  hundreds of three dimensional roses.  She was perfect for the cover of Brides magazine.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Better Weddings, one with a crocodile

After my last post about the Wedding from Hell, I thought I should write about some fun things, fancy dresses, oops moments. 

I asked the question, "Is everyone here?"  Answer came back yes. Upstairs I noticed the groom was fidgety, really nervous and upset.  I asked him if he was all right, what's wrong?  He said, "My parents aren't here.  Where are they?"  It seems the parents hadn't come upstairs with us.  They were found and we had ourselves a wedding.

 One couple asked for the Long Term Relationship ceremony. The groom laughed and said, "After 9 years she wore me down."  I see a lot of crocheted dresses.  Some are OK, some bad, some pretty.  This bride's dress was gorgeous.  The design was perfectly matched at every seam, every dart.  It was perfection and I bet cost a fortune.

This wedding was midmorning.  Important to the story.

The bride was tiny, delicate bones, short, beautiful.  She wore a satin knee length dress with a strange almost toga draping.  He wore a suit and tie that looked as if it hadn't been worn since high school.  Their friends, three men, were having a fabulous time organizing the wedding.  One of them had bought her bouquet which was stunning.  White fragrant lilies, white roses, and some other great smelling flowers.  The bouquet was huge, bigger that my head, wider than the bride's body.  But it was a lovely gift.  Then we did the ring ceremony, 2 of the men brought them up laughing like fools, and the couples is bent over laughing.  After the ceremony they told me the story of the flowers and the rings.

They drove around until they found a florist open.  The florist grabbed every flower that was fragrant and made a bouquet.  But there were no jewelry stores open that early.  So they went to a drug store, Kohl's, someplace that was open and looked at costume jewelry.  Her ring was delicate, sort of pretty and made of the finest glass and wire.  His was hysterical.  It was a fake silver crocodile head that covered half his finger and on the shank about 20 tiny bones hung down.  Then they seem to think I would think bad of them for their silliness.  I told them that is why we say  "the ring is a token, a symbol of your love and devotion".

Was this the silliest ring ever?  No.  We have had cigar bands, candy wrappers, blow pops rings, ribbons, and once even pacifiers.