Friday, May 5, 2006 - evening

[Photos taken in one of those smelly photo booths in Weirs Beach ("tha we-ahs") in summer 2000]

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Mike's having a good day today. Was up in the chair longer than he's been in weeks. Was up in the chair for breakfast for a couple of hours, went to radiation therapy in a wheelchair, and then got back in the chair when he got back from radiation. Got back in bed at 2:30 and man was he wiped. Ate great breakfast, not a ton at lunch. Tech nurse Shamelle (sp?) told me she fed him breakfast and rather than asking if he was hungry she told him, “Time to eat! Let's go.” Or something along those lines. I love it. She seemed so proud when she told me about it. In fact, right when I arrived at Mike's room she called from down the hall, “Miss Young!” like she was looking forward to telling me about her breakfast with Mike and how successful her approach was.

Talked to Andrews and Evans' nurse Kelly again today. She's written us in Evans' schedule for a family meeting next Wednesday afternoon. Finally.

Mike seemed emotionally flat when I arrived and I feared he looked a little bit sad. Knowing he's awfully suggestible, rather than asking flat out, “Are you sad?” I said, “How's your mood?”
“Good!” he said confidently.
“Happy?” I asked.



“Having fun?”

“You are? You're having fun?”

He sort of shrugged a little, “Yeah.”

"Cause I'm here?” I asked slapping his knee with my hand.
He tilted his head, squinched up his eyes and gave me a big grin.

I went to tell him a really funny story about an interaction with my dad and Baxter that involved loving mockery of my mother. In order for him to appreciate it, though, he was going to have to remember that Mom is like the most proud Irish person you've ever met. You'd think she was born there. So, before I started to tell the story, I asked Mike, “Do you remember what ethnicity my mother is?” Long pause, he looked down, closed his eyes, opened them, looked up. Nothing. I gave him a hint, “She's so proud of it, she won't let you forget it. Do you remember what that ethnicity is?”

Pause again and then he settled his stare back on my face.

“Gypsy?" he asked honestly.
I laughed and laughed and he started to smile.
“Truth?” I asked.

“Yeah. I was trying to think of what ethnicity she wouldn't want to let you forget.”
After more laughter I tried to find out if he remembered my ethnic background (Irish and English).
His response? “Gypsy.”
I laughed again, “No!!! Silly! I'm not a gypsy! Dad's English and Mom's Irish - calls every St. Patty's day to make sure you're wearing green. Remember?” He nodded a slow knowing nod and uttered an overly articulate, “Right.”

Anyhow, the story itself isn't as funny as Mike saying that Andrea Loretta Healy Duffy Goldthwaite is a "Gypsy." The story is just that my dad had made Bax a quilt before he was born. It has cool space aliens and star fabrics on the front and the back is just green shamrock fabric (per my mother's orders : “He has to learn about his Irish heritage!”) This morning, my dad (from whom my English heritage originated), Bax, and I were in the living room. Andrea was still in bed. Baxter was pouncing and rolling all over the alien/Irish quilt and my dad was pointing out various details on it that Baxter would then identify, “Stah!” (star) “Suh-sheye!” (sunshine). Then my dad turned it over to the shamrock fabric, pointed to a big green shamrock and said with an evil grin, “Weed! Baxter, these are weeds! Can you say Weed?” So, Bax starts pointing at all the shamrocks shouting, “Wee! Wee!” My dad and I couldn't stop laughing in anticipation of my mother's absolute horror at this blasphemous act.

Mike enjoyed the story. Not as much as I thought he would, and certainly not as much as I enjoyed the "Gypsy" reference, but he threw me a bone and said, “that's cute.”


Talked to nurse practitioner Jaymie today. Asked about bringing Baxter to see Mike this weekend if we stayed in the waiting room and wheeled Mike out there. She cleared it with the charge nurse and we'll simply call Mike's nurse tomorrow morning to verify it's ok. I'm so glad I asked about this. Mike hasn't seen Baxter in 5 weeks. It will be so good for both of them.

Then I asked Jaymie about the possibility of Mike attending my graduation at Penn on May 15th. She wasn't sure, but thought if we could discharge him and readmit him it might work. Andrews walked by right then and Jaymie stopped him to ask his take on it. He seemed really excited for me that I was graduating and said, “A doctoral graduation is a big deal. That's very important.” And he seemed to suggest it might be in the cards. I'll follow up with Evans about this on Wednesday at our family meeting. Obviously this is only a possibility if it is safe for Michael and logistically not a nightmare. As usual, CSM is already getting wheels turning to see if we can make this happen.

That's all for now. Shut off this freaking computer and go outside.


Anonymous said...

As sister to your very Irish Andrea Loretta Healy Duffy Goldthwaite Mom, I must say some of that Leprechaun dust settled on you and your Dad!! I can only imagine her reaction to the sacred shamrock being called weeds or as Baxter so elequantly put it"wee!wee!" I also now know why Mike is such a success in the comedy theater--Gypsy??!! So glad your visits have been a bit brighter. What a good idea to bring Baxter for a visit. Love,Your Irish-gypsy Aunt

Anonymous said...

Jim was going to have dinner with Mike tonight before ComedySportz, but he's still battling a cold and does not want to share his germy germs with Mike. I know weekends are high traffic days in room 6604b, is there anyone else who can dine with Mr. Young?


Don said...

That would be great if he could go to your graduation Danna. I hope it works out!

Kel said...

Congratulations Doctor(pending) Young!

On another note re Baxter's quilt...as another proud member of the Irish diaspora...all I can say is typical English ;-)

Tell Loretta Healy Duffy Goldthwaite I'd be happy to lend her my sheleighly if she needs it on this visit!

Peter said...

I had dinner with Mike Friday night. Nurse Nicole (who is great, I thought) gave him a potassium pill and told me he had been up in his chair a lot Friday, and that he was a little tired, so we decided to keep him in bed. He recognized me on voice, without my having to announce myself. He was hungry and dinner was warm (turkey, mac and cheese, and stewed tomatoes). Wanted to feed himself, but ultimately let me help after he persisted in chasing his roll with a fork and drinking from his water pitcher (he wasn't really responding to redirection).

Still, he was closer to himself than I have seen yet. Tired, yes, but no hallucinations, no confabulations. More responsive in conversation than initiating. But really responsive. His STM wasn't good (didn't remember what he ate just a short time later). But correctly said that he hadn't had the cyst aspiration yet and it was because of possible infection. So some stuff is definitely getting stored.

Questions like "what are you thinking about?" and "so what's your take on all of this" were met with silence. I still wonder if I just don't have standing with him to ask such things.

Larry Freedman came by, and had Mike's attention for much of the visit discussing recent and past history. Mike joked with Larry. Like, really joked. He got tired and we let him sleep.

Nurse Nicole told me how great all of Mike's friends and family have been, and what a huge help it is for Mike (I suspect for her, as well).

Mr. Negron next door to Mike is a dose of perspective, I thought. Ugh. Mike doesn't notice him, but there are alarms going off over there all the time. I found it distracting, and sad.

Anonymous said...

I love the smelly photo booth in "the We-ahs" and I especially love that Andrea is a gypsy. True sta-rry!