Wednesday, August 31, 2016

No ER Tonight

It's been a while since I've been to the ER, in fact the last time was the first day of August. Almost had to go tonight.

Mom had a great visit with Yvonne & Lawrence this evening. We were able to talk them in to staying for dinner. While I was preparing dinner Yvonne was talking to Mom in the kitchen while she helped with salad preparation. I heard the stove beeping like it does when Mom accidentally touches the control panel; I went & cleared it. But within a few seconds she did it again, she said it was an accident because she was dizzy.  I asked her to sit down; as she began to walk to the dining room she was really unstable & also said she was having trouble with her eyes. I brought a chair to her then went to get the sphygmomanometer. Her blood pressure was 87/47 mmHg; in general low blood pressure symptoms occur when blood pressure is below 90/60 mmHg. I called the Kaiser After Hours Clinic line. The nurse advised going to the ER but Mom didn't want to go. We worked out a deal with her: If she lay on the couch with her legs elevated and did not do any work, I would hold off on taking her to the doctor until tomorrow; unless she passed out. She was not allowed to take a shower either. I took her blood pressure about every hour. While she was lying down it was around 100/50 mmHg; when she was sitting up it was around 87/40 mmHg. I made her change in to her sleeping clothes and had her lie down to get ready to watch TV while I got ready to take Yvonne & Lawrence back to their hotel. She objected to not being able to shower but forgot about that once she started watching her Korean soap operas.

On the way back to their hotel, I also took Yvonne & Lawrence to Nitrogenie since Lawrence really likes ice cream. While at Ala Moana Center we also visited Shirokiya Japan Village Walk; Lawrence was so excited he started buying things he missed from when he lived in Japan! Here's one of the places we stopped at.

We also went to Foodland Farms which was across the parking lot from Shirokiya; Lawrence bought a bunch of things there, too! Today was actually the Grand Opening, which was in the morning. We were there a couple hours before it closed.

When got back home, Mom was asleep; Shiro was on the bed sleeping and Chibi was on the floor sleeping. Dad was in the main bedroom also asleep.

I posted the photo yesterday of Madeline and Lester from the local newspaper so you could see the size of the area affected by each storm system in relation to the size of the Big Island. As you can see, the diameter of the area affected is several times wider than the island itself. Thus the area affected by higher than normal winds is very large. Right now O'ahu is having gusty winds even though we are not under any sort of storm watch; wind speeds here are way less than that needed to issue a 'watch' but more than what we normally experience. If you have been watching news of Madeline you will know that even though the wind speeds have decreased from hurricane level to tropical storm level there has been a lot of rain, wind, and storm surge, along with power outages on the Big Island. And that was earlier in the day, as I write this (about 11 pm) Madeline should be near its closest point to the Big Island; I will have better information tomorrow morning on how much more damage Tropical Storm Madeline has done.

I stopped by Kokua to pick up fruits and vegetables since Curt will not be doing a Costco run this weekend; they are in Michigan for the University of Hawaii vs Michigan game. Here are Malama avocados. When the skin is purple it is ready to eat. (I just realized I should include something in the photo for scale. Malamas are about twice the size of Hass avocados.)

On the way back I took a bunch of side streets; due to President Obama arriving for a world environmental conference during rush hour and potential heavy rains from Madeline a lot of people were on the freeway trying to beat the rush, thus causing major gridlock! I passed by Crane Park and spotted another view of Leahi.
Leahi #15 from Crane Park

Here's Chibi checking out the rain. Although she likes being out in the cat run at night, when it rains she prefers to watch it from indoors. She's probably glad she no longer has to stay out in the cold Washington rain!

Happy Birthday to Uncle Danny, Lillian, and Heather!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Xander Spends the Night at the Vet

This morning Xander threw up 4 times, then he tried twice to poop and was unsuccessful. I called our vet (Honolulu Cat Clinic) to see when I could get him in today. The only appointment available was at 11:30 but I needed to take Mom & Dad to sign papers for their trusts at 2 financial institutions starting at 11. So they just had me drop him off. Dr. Sylvester-Palumbo called in the afternoon. Xander is very constipated but she said it does not look like it is a foreign object; they will keep him overnight and give him meds to stimulate his colon. If nothing passes, they will give him an enema tomorrow. Mom is missing her TV viewing buddy. She has looked for him several times this evening or asked where he is.

I took Mom & Dad to sign papers to establish their trusts at Hawaii State credit union and Territorial Savings Bank. They now have separate trusts at Hawaii State and a joint trust at Territorial. They can't remember why they set up the accounts that way. For Mom's stuff we have one more institution to check with; we have at least one more for Dad. By mid-October we should find out if there are any more things out there that we don't know about since any accounts that they might have that only send out quarterly statements should be received by then.

After all the signing, we went to Zippy's for lunch. Mom & I had the garlic miso chicken salad; Dad had the small beef curry with mashed potatoes. Dad ate less than half of his; Mom picked at hers, then finished off Dad's leftovers. Since her appetite is good it is easy to tell when something is wrong with her digestive system.
Garlic Miso Chicken Salad

Not sure what Mom was doing with the catfood this morning. She apparently took some food from the Wireless Whiskers feeder and put it in to the water bowl next to it, then left the scoop in the water. She was asleep when I found it so I didn't bother to ask. It is likely that she would also say she didn't do that, so it would be a useless exercise.

Some of you have messaged me about the hurricanes approaching Hawai'i. Madeline will get to the state earlier than Lester. In fact, a Hurricane Warning was issued for the Big Island earlier today, which means Madeline is predicted to be there within 36 hours. Basically the Emergency Management folks said all storm preparations should have been completed by this evening. Maui County is under a Hurricane Watch, meaning Madeline will be there within 72 hours. There is nothing for O'ahu or Kaua'i yet. By the way, don't believe that AP article that says the last time a hurricane made landfall in Hawai'i was Iniki in 1992. They're a little out of touch with things in Hawai'i, it was really Iselle in 2014. Here's the photo from the local paper. Madeline is on the left, Lester is on the right.

It has been interesting to observe Mom's concerns about the hurricanes. The newscasts encourage people on the Big Island to have 7 days worth of food and water for each person in the household. Every time the piece comes on she asks if we have enough food and water, flashlights, etc., even though the notice is not for O'ahu. The only thing we don't have is the emergency radio; mine is in a box on the Big Island, they have never had one. I told Mom as long as I can keep my phone charged I can get info on what is happening via the Internet. (In one interview the guy at the store was buying catfood and water!)

Here are the National Weather Service predictions for Madeline and Lester. Madeline has slowed down and is currently a Category 1, about 300 miles east of the Big Island; it is expected to be at its closest on Thursday morning about 2 am.
(Image: Central Pacific Hurricane Center)

Lester is about 1200 miles east of the islands and is currently a Category 4. It is expected to arrive a day after Madeline leaves the islands. The cone shown below can change dramatically as it gets closer to the islands.
Forecast track for Hurricane Lester (Image: National Hurricane Center)

Happy Birthday to cousin Yvonne! Happy 31st Anniversary to Pam and Gene!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lots Going On

There's been a lot going on since I last posted on Friday. But before I get on with the new stuff I wanted to share a photo of a selfie in progress, taken on the day Sarah and David left.
L to R: Mom, Dad, Kai, Sarah, & David

Sometime on Friday, David reached the summit of Mount Rainier. He sent a photo to Grandma of him at the summit. His friend who took the photo is a better climber than he is a photographer!

On Saturday we had several visitors. Cousin Richard, who is from the Hilo side of the family, and his wife Mae stopped in for a quick visit. They live in Maryland and are back for Mae's 50th high school reunion. I haven't seen them in over 30 years! It was nice to reconnect with them; they will be here for a couple more days. They brought some malasadas from Leonard's Bakery.
L to R: Mae, Mom, Dad, & Richard

Later on Saturday, cousin Yvonne, Mom's brother George's 3rd daughter, came by with her husband Lawrence. I haven't seen Yvonne in 22 years; it was good to see her again, too! (This is the first time I've met Lawrence, they were married in March.) They are visiting from California; they'll be here until the end of the week. It made Mom very happy to see all the relatives and their spouses!
L to R: Yvonne, Mom, & Lawrence

They brought some pastries from Kulukulu including these cream puffs.

Today we went out for lunch with Yvonne and Lawrence at Big City Diner. Mom had the Grilled Asian Fish Oriental with Baby Bok Choy - a somewhat redundant name; she enjoyed it. I had the Chicken and Mushroom Pesto with Garlic Bread. I was not impressed with it; this is the first dish I have had that was not excellent. As usual, I had the Li Hing Lemonade; I will have to make it with Grandpa Mui's All Natural Li Hing Mui Powder.
L: Grilled Asian Fish Oriental, R: Chicken and Mushroom Pesto

Today I have confirmed that the bulbuls are nesting in the yard. As I was coming back from checking the mail the bulbuls were making a big racket then suddenly a fledgling bulbul sort of flew up in front of me. It could only get a few inches off the ground and could only keep up the flapping for a few seconds. It was headed for the road so I ran ahead of it to direct it back towards the yard; it did not cooperate. I ended up catching it a short while later when it ran out of steam near the wall. I put it back in the pomelo tree but it promptly launched itself off the branch, since it was within the safety of the yard I left it alone. Dad was sitting outside so he could watch for any cats that might be on the prowl. When I checked later it was no where to be found. I'm not sure if it hopped up the mango tree or in to a small bush but the parents weren't squawking either so it must not have been in danger. Sorry, no photos, it happened too suddenly and I wanted to get it before it got out to the road.

Stopped by Kokua Market after the Humane Society today. Still no Momo. Found out Karina (one of the employees who has been helping me) is leaving, tomorrow is her last day. We are hoping she calls me tomorrow to say, "Momo has been found!" She said that would make her very happy! Me, too!

Did I mention that I like avocados? Well, I do. So do Mom and Dad. It's a healthy source of fat for Mom and its easy for Dad to chew. Kokua has a lot of locally grown produce and I have seen 3 different varieties of avocados there and none were Hass! Here is a Teshima avocado, when it starts to turn red it is ready to eat. When it is really red it is too soft and mushy for me.

Happy Belated Birthday to Deb! Happy Belated 50th Anniversary to Diann and Bob!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bulbul Territory

A pair of aptly named red-vented bulbuls appear to have claimed Mom & Dad's yard as their territory. I have been hearing & seeing them daily. After a little bit of research it appears they might also be nesting in the pomelo tree. I will have to keep an eye on them and see what happens over the next month.
Pycnonotus cafer

Late on the calendar photo again. Here is August.

Hawaii State FCU called today. We have an appointment for next Tuesday to sign papers to get the trusts set up for Mom's and Dad's accounts that are at Hawaii State FCU. (They have separate accounts there. I decided to do Dad's at the same time since he has to sign off on Mom's account and vice versa.) That will leave Territorial and Edward Jones to be taken care of. At least, for the things we know about. By the middle of October we should know if there are any other accounts out there that we missed. It's frustrating that neither of them remembers what accounts they have.

Happy Birthday to Kyle! Happy 26th Anniversary to Lorna & Darrell!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Big 6-0

Today is my brother Curtis' birthday; the Big 6-0! We went to Big City Diner for dinner with his family; there were 10 of us all together. I tried the catch of the day, which was marlin, and also had a li hing lemonade. Here is Curt with his special birthday cake.

Since he is diabetic, Lori made him a special low-carb Sugar-Free Chocolate Angel Cake. Here is Brent sampling the cake, which Curt said tasted like paper; Lori agreed with him on the taste! I also agree. The frosting had sort of a tangy flavor. Which we all wondered whether it was because the cream cheese was left out too long... The consensus decision seemed to be that the letters on top of the cake were the best part!
L to R: Shaun, Brent, Jenny.

On Saturday Mom insisted on washing dishes and promptly sliced open her fingertip on the blender blade. It took about 10 minutes of constant pressure to get it to stop bleeding since her platelet count is so low. Then on Sunday she managed to open it up again and bleed all over. Yesterday it started to hurt and was a little swollen, that was in spite of washing it well and cleaning it with alcohol wipes on Saturday. I called Dr. Chan's office, they got back to me later in the day. He prescribed an antibiotic for her, I picked it up first thing this morning because I thought they closed at 5 yesterday and I would have only had 30 minutes to get there in the infamous Honolulu rush hour traffic. It turns out the pharmacy closes at 7 so I could have made it even with traffic (because its not so bad that it would take me 2 hours to make the trip).

Tonight at dinner Mom was telling Curt I was overreacting. She showed him how her finger was all healed up and no longer swollen. Turns out she was showing him the wrong finger on the wrong hand; no wonder there was no cut on it! (The cut is still there and her fingertip is still slightly swollen.)

When I went to pick up the prescription, Mom asked me to stop and pick up some pastries for breakfast. I stopped at the Nanding's Bakery that opened up about a month ago in the old Akita Store building. It still has the same old funky parking lot. Nanding's specializes in Filipino pastries but also has things like scones, brownies, and cookies. They are open at 5 am so I could run down really early if Mom has a craving for sweets for breakfast. They also have a great view of Mount Leahi! (This is the 14th photo of my 36 Views of Leahi series that I am creating.)
Leahi #14, from Nanding's

I took the original Trust documents in to Hawaii State FCU and Territorial Savings Bank today. They made copies and are starting the paperwork to get those accounts in to the Trust. They will call to set up an appointment when the papers are ready to sign. Dad will have to be present for both of these. After we get this done there will be one last account for Mom that needs to be checked (that we know of).

Happy Birthday to Penny, Corinna, & Curt! Happy Belated Birthday to Redwolf!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Good Bye, Kai!

Kai is trying to leave tonight. He received 2 messages that his departure would be delayed. The 2nd delay pushed his departure back to 12:30 am and made it unlikely that he would be able to get to his connecting flight in San Francisco, so I tried to reschedule it. Only problem was their website would only allow me to reschedule the 1st part, it would not give me any alternatives for the 2nd flight. So I had to call. Good Luck finding a phone number on their website! Even with googling it took me many pages and about 10 minutes to get a number. Once there the rep was very helpful. Only thing is, when she helped me check Kai in for his flights and pay for his bag, it did not show up as being paid when Kai got to the ticket counter. Auwe! FYI - This was on United Airlines. David was on the same flight last night and it was also delayed, though only to 12 midnight.

This morning we met Erica, Marc, and Mitchell at Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha. Since they moved here last December, Erica has been trying to sample shave ice at all the places on O'ahu. But since they are leaving on Thursday, to return to San Francisco, she has not been able to do that. We had fun anyway. Mom tried the Uji Kintoki (green tea flavored shave ice with vanilla ice cream, mochi hearts, & adzuki beans) and I tried the Choco Coco Paradise (chocolate & coconut flavored shave ice with chocolate ice cream, coconut flakes, & chocolate chips).
Mitchell, Erica, & Mom

We also bought some mui - various edible things seasoned with li hing mui powder. Kai is taking a jar of Gummi bear mui back. I got a jar of jabon mui; now we have something to do with all the pomelo rind! We also tried to find some Grandpa Mui's All Natural Li Hing Mui Powder for Kai to take back but were not successful. I will have to be on the lookout for it and send him some later.

It's starting to pour! There is another flood advisory due to a storm front predicted to bring in a lot of rain. We saw some lightning on the way to the airport, hopefully it does not delay Kai's flight any more. It's a good thing David went back last night, he is heading to Mount Rainier on Wednesday afternoon. If he was on the same flight with Kai as originally scheduled he would not have much time between getting off the plane and heading to Rainier!

Happy Birthday to George, Susie, Lyussy, Jette, & Kito!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Good Bye, Sarah & David!

Sarah & David left today. Sarah left about 5:30 pm and David left about midnight. Since they were leaving at night they still had daylight hours to do things. So they went to the beach at Ala Moana this morning, then met Mom & me at Nitrogenie for some ice cream!
L to R: Mom with honey cheesecake, Sarah with Nutella cornucopia, and David & Kai with maple bacon.

On the way to the airport with Sarah we decided we had enough time to go to Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha since she & David would miss they outing with cousin Erica and her family tomorrow. On the way there the discussion turned to li hing mui powder & wondering if any was made without aspartame. Sarah googled and found that there was a brand, Grandpa Mui's All Natural Li Hing Mui Powder! The weblink said we could find it at Foodland. As luck would have it, there was a Foodland in the shopping mall where Uncle Clay's was located so we stopped there first. After asking 3 store workers and walking all over the store it appeared that they were sold out. So we headed to Uncle Clay's. And wouldn't you know it, they had it there! So Sarah bought two-2 oz. packages to go, along with shave ice!

Mom went in for her blood draw this morning after we dropped Sarah, David, & Kai off at Ala Moana Beach Park. While there I spotted a sign that indicated what the codes meant & what the phlebotomists were to do in each case.

Happy Birthday to John, Soya, & Peter!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Not Doing Well With Photos

I made pulled pork with the electric pressure cooker last night. And I forgot to take a photo... Sarah made nachos with a salsa fresca tonight. And I forgot to take a photo... The only food photo I have to offer is this one of the gluten-free breads at Kokua Market, the local natural foods co-op. David is gluten-intolerant so I always pick up a loaf of gluten-free bread before he arrives; the loaf he has now was from Don Quijote. Next time I will go to Kokua; they have many more options.

Since Kokua is only a couple blocks away from the Humane Society I decided I could do the fresh vegetable marketing there. Especially since Mom no longer goes grocery shopping with me. Otherwise it would have to be only Don Quijote, not that "hippy grocery store". Although they honored my Sno-Isle Co-op membership I think I will join Kokua in order to provide them with more capital. Kokua started when I was a student at the University of Hawai'i, so its about 40 years old!

Mom's skin has become very fragile and also very dry. Sarah shared some of her Motherlove Pregnant Belly Oil with her. She also gave Mom a leg massage. Sarah plans to do this every morning until she leaves, we will see how Mom's skin responds. If it does well I will find a similar oil and continue doing it. Hopefully, she will have fewer incidents where a light bump breaks the skin and has her bleeding all over the place like last Monday morning!

I found a less iconic view of Mt. Leahi while running errands. This is from the Date Street and Kapahulu Avenue intersection.
Leahi #?

Yesterday I took Mom to HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union; she signed the papers to have that account put in to her Trust. When we tried to take the originals to the 2 other places that needed to see them, we found out they were closed for Statehood Day. I knew it was Statehood Day and that it was a holiday in Hawai'i, but since HawaiiUSA was open I assumed the other financial institutions would also be open ... Not! Can't figure out why HawaiiUSA was open when the others weren't. The US Post Office and other government offices were closed as well.

Happy 11th Anniversary to Olga & Tim! And Happy 4th Anniversary to Amy & Andreas!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It's Always the Last Place You Look!

The appointment to have one of Mom's accounts put in to her Trust is tomorrow morning and I needed to find the original documents for her Trust since the credit union won't do it without the originals. I had already searched through 6 filing cabinet drawers, 2 filing boxes, several binders, and the safe deposit box with no luck. All that was left was 3 more filing cabinet drawers. Those yielded nothing. As I was about to call it quits I spotted an unassuming bag between one of the filing cabinets in the closet and the filing boxes.
(This isn't where I found it, this is just where I took the photo.)

So I decided to look in it. And was quite certain I had found what I was looking for when I peeked in the bag.
The blue papers at the top are what legal papers typically look like.

I hit a treasure trove of legal documents! Not only did I find the original document for Mom's Trust, I also found Dad's Trust, their joint Trust, and their Last Will and Testament. When I brought it out and showed Mom she acted like she knew it was there all along. Once we are done at the credit union tomorrow, all the documents will go in to the safe deposit box where they really should have been all along!

A little over a year ago I went to a presentation about BEMER (Bio Electro-Magnetic Energy Regulation) therapy. My naturopath had suggested it for my fibromyalgia at least a year earlier, but I was skeptical. However, after one treatment I experienced distinct changes in my circulation. Specifically in my feet. Even in the summer I would wear socks in the house to keep my feet from getting icy cold on all except the hottest of days. I found with BEMER treatments every other week I could go sockless indoors even in the winter! The last time my feet were that warm was when I was pregnant! So I purchased a unit of my own. It arrived on Monday.

I will be using it daily on myself and also starting Mom and Dad on it as well. It works on the capillaries and other small vessels in the circulatory system. I am hoping they see similar results as I did. If Mom's circulation improves it should lessen the strain on her heart and also move fluids out of her tissues more effectively. For Dad I am hoping it improves his energy level; he is sleeping much more than normal and his schedule is erratic.

Sarah, David, Kai, and I went to the Movie Museum after dinner. But first we stopped at 8 1/2 Desserts for ice cream. It's a very tiny place and shares a parking lot with Hung Won, a very busy Chinese restaurant; we were lucky to get a parking space as soon as we entered the lot. I had the shoyu mango, not sure what anyone else had. But we also ordered an ice cream pie for Sarah's baby shower on Sunday.

The movie we saw was, "The Good, the Bad, the Weird." It's in the genre known as a kimchi western - Korean Clint Eastwood meets Korean Michael Jackson meets Korean Moe Howard in the Manchurian desert. Spoiler alert - the Japanese Army and a Mongol horde are also involved!

Happy Birthday to Mick, Dustin, Ron, Beth, and Hazuki-san!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cool Stuff!

As part of helping Mom with her finances, I was also trying to find the key for her safe deposit box; I suspected the original Trust documents were in there. After searching various files for several days and coming up empty, I arranged to have the lock drilled out and replaced. We did that today. Since she could not remember what was in the box I decided to make a list. And found some very interesting stuff in there; though the Trust documents were not. Here's one of the more interesting things that was in there; I had heard about these but had never seen them.

They were produced during World War II so that if Hawai'i was invaded by Japanese forces any money captured would not be legal tender. They are now collectors items; I never knew my parents had any. And even though I had helped Mom put things in the safe deposit box before, I had never looked at everything that was in the box. They also have some silver certificate bills, walking Liberty half dollars, and Mercury dimes. I now have one of the safe deposit box keys and am listed as an agent so that I can be present when she is handling the box.

We met with 2 of Mom's financial advisors yesterday. And she is now waffling about closing her accounts so we did not close any accounts yesterday. But I learned a lot from both of the advisers. And we also put the one account that was not in the Trust in to the Trust; in about 15 minutes with a photocopy of the long form, not sure why the credit unions are making it so difficult. These are 2 of her favorite financial advisers, so that may also be why she did not want to close accounts that they administered.

When I took Mom for her blood draw on Monday morning I noticed a red line on the car door as I was helping her out. When I drew my finger across it I streaked it! Turns out Mom had cut herself and was bleeding profusely from the tiny cut, the result of low platelets. She could not remember bumping in to anything. When I checked later I found blood on the armrest so she must have cut it before she got into the car but I could not find where she did that. It took a little bit to stop it; the phlebotomist put gauze on it and wrapped it well.

I made a beef stew with the electric pressure cooker last night. All total it took about 2 hours from start to serving. And the meat was extremely tender, Dad had no problems at all eating it. And Mom liked it, too. And she is no longer afraid that it is going to explode. The result is below. Tonight we compared it with the beef stew that Lori made in the crock pot. The pressure cooker meat was more tender than the crock pot meat, but both had good flavor.

Tomorrow Sarah, David, and Kai arrive to spend a week visiting with Mom. We will have a baby shower for Sarah on Saturday.

Happy Birthday to Terry, Gwen, and Michael! Happy Belated Birthday to Eddie, Sean, Bernie, and Natalie! And Happy Belated Anniversary to Curt and Lori!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Can't Win Sometimes

Mom is upset with me again. This afternoon one of the retirees from Liholiho School called to ask if Mom was going to the luncheon next month since the deadline to sign up is tomorrow. Mom told her she would need to talk to me to find out if I could give her a ride, then handed the phone to me without telling me what it was about. I told Faye (the retiree) the situation and said Mom was available but I wanted to talk it over with Curt. He & I agreed that since she wants to go it would be good for Mom to see her work friends again; and since I needed to drive her, I could also make sure she was wearing her mask and ask people not to hug her.

But then when I went to help Mom write the check for the luncheon she said she needed to find out if her other friend Jocelyn was going. I told her Jocelyn was going to be calling me about mahjong on Tuesday and she told me to ask Jocelyn, saying if Jocelyn was going then she would go. I decided to speed up the process so I called Jocelyn, she wasn't home so I left a message. When Jocelyn called back in the evening I told her what had transpired, she was going and thought it was great that I would be able to take Mom.

When I told Mom she got really upset with me, saying that I went behind her back and I should have let her talk to Jocelyn. But when I offered to call Jocelyn back, Mom would have none of that either. She was also upset that I was going to take her to the luncheon (even though she had just signed the check to pay for both of us). I reminded Mom that she told Faye she could only go if I could take her and that she told me to ask Jocelyn if she was going and to tell Jocelyn if she went, Mom would go. She said I shouldn't talk back to her. Dad did not help matters by laughing at Mom for forgetting what she asked me to do for her earlier. I think he laughs because now there is someone else having to deal with Mom getting upset when people do what she asked them to do for her but she has forgotten so she thinks people are making decisions about her without consulting her. Not sure what the solution is to this.

Forgot to mention that when Fumi-san left yesterday Mom tried to give her some money for helping while she was here. Fumi-san gave it back to her, then refused to touch the envelope. So Mom gave it to Fumi-san's cousin Laraine who was giving her a ride to the airport. While Mom's back was turned giving Fumi-san a last good-bye hug, Laraine gave the envelope back to me as silently directed by Fumi-san as she gave Mom the hug! I put the money back in the grocery fund; now everyone is happy! And I can honestly answer Mom's question about whether she gave Fumi-san money when she went home by saying, "You gave the envelope to her cousin."

Mom did very well on her walk this morning. She actually walked about 1&1/2 blocks before she decided she needed to turn around and head back home. On the way we passed the wall of night-blooming cereus; the blossoms were still open since it was a little overcast and still very cool. We also stopped in to visit with Mrs. Vea on the way back.
Panini o kapunahou (Hylocereus undatus)

Happy Birthday to Tom, Bruce, Stephen, and Shelly!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Primary Election Day

Hawai'i holds their primary election on a Saturday, making voting more accessible for people. I did not vote since I am not yet registered. (I had a mail-in ballot for Washington's August 2nd primary.) I am still in the process of changing my residency; helping Mom with her medical appointments and straightening out her finances is a full time job!

I found out today that Mom had a completely different idea of what putting their different accounts in to the Trust meant. She thought it would prevent them from taking money out easily; she was thinking of those trusts that are set up to keep kids of millionaires and billionaires from spending their money frivolously! Hence, we have only been able to find one account that is in the Trust and I am having to work to get the rest in to the Trust.

Fumi-san left this morning to go back to Okinawa. She has an 8 1/2 hour flight to Japan, a 3 hour lay over, then a 3 1/2 hour flight to Okinawa. As I type this she should just be getting on the flight to Okinawa. We have invited her to come back any time and she has invited us to visit with her in Okinawa.

While grocery shopping today I saw Chocolate Peanut Butter Bugles; 2 of my favorite food groups! I had to try it. It was sweet like the label says and also salty, but I didn't really taste the chocolate or the peanut butter. So if you are looking for the taste of chocolate and peanut butter together, better stick to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, don't waste your time on these.

Chibi has a new night time sleeping spot. She has created her own little ledge on the bean bag chair and lounges there at night.

Friday, August 12, 2016

One Down, ??? To Go

Yay! We closed one of Mom's accounts today! So one down ... and who knows how many more to go. Yesterday, as I was searching for the original Trust documents, I found 2 more accounts that we did not know about. Today I found the digital file for the spreadsheet from 2013 that Curt and I have been working off. Since Mom's computer does not have a program that I can use to open and edit it with, I now have it on my laptop. Once I update it with what I have done for this week I will have a better idea of how much more there is to do.

One thing I have discovered is that the financial institutions would like an original document in order to set up the trusts. I know that when I created a Trust I was given several original documents to be taken to my financial institutions. So far I have not found any original documents; I think they are in the safe deposit box; the one that Mom can't find the key to... Guess that means I will be calling Wesley sooner than later to make that appointment to have the lock drilled out!

Once I have completed these tasks for Mom, I will check Dad's accounts to make sure they are all in the Trust. My experience with Mom's accounts leads me to believe they only put some of their financial accounts in the Trust and forgot about the rest. Or maybe they thought only some of them were important to put in the Trust, the ones that were larger at the time, over 20 years ago. Or perhaps they forgot they had some of them, which seems to be the case with at least one of Dad's accounts where he had his Social Security check automatically deposited. After nearly 40 years of deposits with no withdrawals things add up!

Happy Birthday to Sarah and Alex! And Happy 1st Anniversary to Kathy and Matt!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Luck

We began the process of verifying that all of Mom's savings accounts are in the Trust. The first one we went to (Hawaii State federal credit union) is not. After talking with a financial services specialist we found that this particular account is joint with Dad so he has to be here to sign papers and that we also need an original document, not a copy. On another note, she was not winded today as we walked around to the different places to do this.

I spent the rest of the afternoon searching Mom's files. I started with the ones that she most actively uses for her financial stuff. While at it, I also looked for her safe deposit box key. I was not able to find either. But I still have 2 file boxes and another 3-drawer filing cabinet to check. I suspect the original Trust documents are in the safe deposit box. Which means if we don't find the key they will have to drill the lock out.

Mom still has her wristbands on. But better yet, she has asked several times since yesterday if she could take them off, so the training (and boredom at spending the extra time at the hospital) have made an impression on her. In fact, when I told her she could take them off this evening she decided to wait until tomorrow just to make sure she won't need them any more!

Happy Birthday to Uncle Tom and Bev!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Long Day at the ATC

We spent about 9 hours at the Ambulatory Treatment Center (ATC) for Mom's transfusion today; she got 2 units of red blood cells. I was not vigilant enough last night, nor observant enough this morning, to notice that the yellow cross-matching wristband that they had put on her on Tuesday was missing before we left the house this morning. I only discovered it was gone as we were checking in at the Kaiser Moanalua facility, about 30 minutes from home.

So they had to do the cross-matching all over again, reorder the blood, and wait for the delivery. All total it added an additional 3 hours or so to the previous estimate we were given. Since we have returned, I have been training her to ask me about whether she can remove the wristband yet. (The answer is "No", just in case we have to go in due to any reaction she might have to today's transfusion. The wristband can be used for 3 days before they have to renew it.) I will be developing a checklist to use prior to leaving the house for the next transfusion. It will include verifying that she still has the wristband, having an anti-virus mask on her, having a book or magazine for Mom, and taking her cane. (She had her cane when we left the house but forgot it in the garage as we were getting in the car; the checklist won't help with that.)

Curt brought lunch to us today rather than going to the hospital cafeteria. He went to a Jamaican food truck on base. It was a lot better than cafeteria food! Since he works only 10 minutes away we have decided that this is what we will do for future transfusion days. Apparently there are a lot of good food trucks on base. I will try to remember to take photos for future food truck meals.

Since she is getting more blood plus IV fluids, they also give her a diuretic to remove extra fluid from her tissues so that her heart doesn't have to work extra hard. She already has to go a lot, so we spent a lot of time making trips to the bathroom. I got really good at unhooking the leads for the blood pressure cuff and the oxygen monitor, as well as unplugging the transfusion machine. I also noted that she made about 4 bathroom trips per unit of blood, or about 1 trip every 45 minutes. Fortunately they gave her the room closest to the bathroom!

I have taken to parking in the disabled parking stall when she is with me. Even though she insists she can walk, I have found that getting in and out of the car is difficult if she can't open the door all the way. Since the disabled stalls are wider it makes it easier for her to get in and out. I am glad I made her get a parking hang tag 2 years ago, it is coming in very handy now. She initially said she did not need one since Dad has had one for years now; she could not imagine why he might not be driving her places. (Dad only used his if there were no other parking available because he said he really can walk okay. Well, now he really needs it since he is having problems with his good leg and his hips get sore more quickly if he walks too much.)

It was very helpful to have Fumi-san staying with us. She was able to make sure Dad had lunch. And she made dinner; which was ready when we finally got back to the house. And it was several dishes that Mom enjoys. Bonus!

Happy Birthday to Emily!

Oh, No!

Sitting at Kaiser Moanalua with Mom, waiting for her transfusion. Discovered (too late) that she had taken off the wristband they put on her yesterday for the blood cross-matching. Which will add another hour or so to the process since they have to do it all over again (safety procedure to make sure the right blood is given to the right patient). Which means she might not be able to complete the procedure today and we will have to come back again tomorrow. They will give her the 1st unit, then see if there is enough time for the 2nd one. I will have to get better about reminding her not to take it off. (She does not remember the plebotomist telling her not to take it off until after the procedure.)

Decided I need to have a checklist before we leave the house for a transfusion. She also forgot her cane; I think she left it in the garage when she went back to tell Dad that he needed to come to the door to talk to me about the yard man being at the house and needed to be paid. (The conversation went something like, Me: "Dad, the yard man is here, he's been paid, its taken care of." Dad: "OK.")

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Happy 64th Anniversary!

Today is Mom and Dad's 64th anniversary. They both forgot, however, after I reminded them Dad remembered. Mom kept forgetting, she kept thinking we were celebrating her birthday. We went to Big City Diner along with Curtis, Lori, and Brent. Dad was not feeling well so he stayed home, which further confused Mom in to thinking it was a birthday celebration. Though I wonder why she was thinking she was only 64 years old?

I tried the Tequila Chicken and Portobello Mushroom Stack. It was great! It was served with a lemon butter sauce and I opted for garlic mashed potatoes instead of rice. I could go for that one again! Also tried the Li Hing Lemonade, another good choice!

Earlier today I took Mom in to get her blood cross-matched and also get her wristband for the transfusion tomorrow. She was winded just walking from the parking garage to the lab. Then we started the process of verifying that the financial institutions she had her money at were in the Trust and other financial things. We started with First Hawaiian and her friend Wesley. This one is definitely in the Trust, however, she has misplaced the key for the safe deposit box she has there. She also has a life insurance policy that is administered by someone there (Sean); or at least the card she has with his name says so, even though Sean's name is crossed out. Wesley was able to find out that it is no longer Sean, it is now Rich; he gave us Rich's number so we could make an appointment to speak with him.

We also went to Long's and Hawaii State credit union. But Mom was too tired to wait for the loan officer at Hawaii State CU; we will have to do that after the transfusion. We also have to go to Hawaii USA credit union, Sun Life Financial, Territorial Savings, Ameriprise, and Edward Jones. She says it is not good to have all your money in one place in case it folds. This is due to her Depression-era experiences; I wonder how many people now feel the same after the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the U.S. subprime mortgage crash?

Hopefully tomorrow's transfusion will have the same effect as the previous transfusion and boost her energy level. She actually was low enough she could have had a transfusion last week but declined. This week she would fall asleep early and complained a lot about being tired; I had to use her walker like a wheelchair and push her around on it when she was breathing too hard to walk easily.

Monday, August 8, 2016

No Howard Today

Howard fizzled and did not bring any rain. But it did pass so today was not as muggy as it was yesterday. Since there was no rain we walked our 1/2 block this morning. Then sat down and talked with Mrs. Vea for a while. Not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but the filming we saw in mid-July was for the new Hawaii Five-O series. They were filming at the house across the street from Mrs. Vea.

We went in for Mom's weekly blood test and also for a couple tests that Dr. Pham wanted regarding Mom's kidney function and some other things. We got a call from Dr. Chan's office later in the day to schedule her for a transfusion on Wednesday, so I need to take her in tomorrow for the cross-typing and ID bracelet.

I think its a good thing she is getting blood this week, she was very tired today. She wanted to go to the Navy Exchange to pick up an electric pressure cooker that was on sale since I said I wanted to get one. Even though she was tired when we went for the lab work she insisted on going; but said we were only going for the one thing. On the walk from the car to the front door she was pooped. So I had her sit on her walker seat and I pushed her backwards through the store. We got the pressure cooker and headed back out and she did not stop me so she could look at things, which she always does and ends up buying way more than she planned to.

Of course, Mom won't let on that it is the leukemia and lack of blood cells that is making her tired. She insists the cats are keeping her awake at night because Xander and Shiro jump up on the bed with her and keep her awake by walking all over the bed! Photos from previous posts show the real story!

We also got a call from Dr. Pham this evening, she just wanted to let us know that all the tests she requested were good. I need to remember to call cousin Jane tomorrow to set up a time for her to drop by. 

Happy Birthday to Paul, Nora, and Dominique! And Happy Anniversary to Bick & Ron!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

To Be Filed ...

The "To Be Filed" tray has clearly become the place where Mom puts things that she does not want to throw out. The rest she puts through the shredder even if it has no identifying information on it; like the weekly grocery ads. And she tends to forget to empty the shredder so it starts to pick up things it has already shredded and get jammed. I will have to figure out another system.

No walking this morning; there was a steady drizzle and Mom won't walk when the pavement is wet so that she is less likely to fall, a good plan. We shall try for tomorrow; which also might not happen since the remnants of former tropical storm Howard are supposed to come in late tonight. If it's anything like Darby we will get a good drenching!

In anticipation of the new heavy rainfalls predicted, I trimmed the oha'i ali'i and mickey mouse bushes this morning while it was pleasantly overcast. I still had to take a cool shower when I was done to keep from overheating. After dinner I pulled out the kukus in the backyard. And had to take another shower to cool off.

Happy Birthday to Bruce and Jerry!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Filing We Will Go

I started organizing things in Mom's new filing cabinet. I also made a tray for her to put the bills and other financial papers that she wanted filed. For the most part it went well, however, there were a bunch of things Mom put in the "To be filed" tray that really weren't financial papers. I found another tray she has in the computer room (where the filing cabinet is located) that has similar things, so that is where I am "filing" the informational papers (like "don't dial 90# or bad things will happen to your phone!").

I think putting the bills away will help relieve some of the anxiety that she has about things being paid on time. For most of the monthly bills she had them put on auto-pay about 20 years ago but she has forgotten that she did that. And even when I remind her, she does not retain that information. So she stresses out about not being able to pay them because, "Curtis has the checkbook." (He doesn't, I do, and I always tell her that when she says he has it. But that doesn't stick either.) I think if I just grab the mail every day, sort it, note it in the checkbook when necessary, then file it so she never sees it that will reduce her anxiety. Even when I write on the envelope or face of the bill that it has been paid she questions whether it has really been done, because why else would it still be sitting out by her chair? Never mind that she can't remember how or where to file things. The downside is that she believes everyone thinks she is "stupid" because she is getting old, so that is why we are doing things for her; then she gets very angry and says she can do it herself and wants everyone to leave.

One of the things I am also doing is sorting out all of Mom and Dad's Kaiser Permanente discharge instructions. Some of Mom's have a lot of information about her current and past conditions. The discharge papers also list the medications they should be taking so it is a good double-check on what we are putting in her pill pack.

We also restarted her walk in the morning per Dr. Pham's request. Today she was feeling good enough to go a total of about 1 block out and back. Her usual route is about a total of 7 blocks out and back. But I did note that she was not dressed in her usual walking attire - she has forgotten what that is so I will have to find things and get her back to her walking routine. I think I'll keep it at 1/2 a block (one way) for at least a week, unless she decides she can do more after she gets a transfusion.

I helped Fumi-san run a couple of errands today. Then we went shopping at the Times Supermarket near Kahala Mall, that was her Aunty Nancy's preferred market because it was more accessible for her. It also has more variety than the Times in Kaimuki town; I think I shall go there more often when Mom sends me out to get things, it is not much farther than the other Times.

Mom has been drinking a tea made from soursop leaves (Annona muricata). A guy Curt works with is brewing it for her, he says it helps against cancer. She says it tastes great and likes to drink it. I have been finding conflicting information about its efficacy and side effects; Curt will be sending me more info provided to him by his co-worker. Since the literature says it has significant amounts of vitamin C, B1, and B2, even if it has no effect on cancer it is still providing nutrients, though I am not sure if this info is about the fruit or the tea. At the very least it is providing her with additional fluid to help her avoid dehydration which Dr. Pham cautioned is a potential side effect of the diuretic they have her on to reduce fluid retention to help out her heart.

Happy Birthday to Paul, Mary, and Brianna!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Back to Routine

Started out the day taking Mom to her first appointment with her new GP, Dr. Pham. Had a great visit with her; she explained why Mom was taken off of the donepezil - to avoid side effects for a drug that is not effective in preventing memory loss, only slows it down a little. Dr. Pham wants to see Mom every 3 months rather than the previous schedule of every 6 months. She also has a few blood tests she would like run next Monday when Mom goes in for the screening that Dr. Chan has every Monday to determine whether she should have a transfusion. Dr. Pham has a larger panel she will have run the week before Mom comes in to see her on her 3-month check-up. Dr. Pham was all for Mom playing mahjong with her buddies who have made arrangements for them to play in a separate room from the other players to minimize her exposure to potentially sick people. Dr. Pham is also in favor of taking Mom to Las Vegas (its in her chart as one of her goals). She would also like Mom to do a little walking for exercise, but not so much that it tires her out.

Near the Kaiser clinic that Mom goes to is Von's Oven Chicken. The also say they have the "Real K.F.C. - Korean Fried Chicken"!

After we got back it was Dad's turn to go to the dentist for teeth cleaning. That went well. Although I found out at the end of the appointment that Mom had actually called this morning and cancelled it. I asked her not to do things like that without consulting me. Fortunately, they had not rescheduled any one in to the 'open' slot; Mom, of course, could not remember that she had cancelled it!

We went to lunch at Zippy's afterwards. Dad ordered the small size beef stew plate with mashed potatoes and hardly ate a thing (except the ice cream that he ordered at the end). Mom ordered the garlic miso chicken salad, saved half of it, ate the other half, then proceeded to eat all of Dad's leftovers. I had the Zip Dog, a hot dog (with lots of artificial coloring) and chili wrapped in a tortilla along with shoyu pork and cabbage - a mixing of many cultures!
From the menu

Later I went to look for Momo at the Hawaiian Humane Society - no luck. And I had to fill out all the paperwork again, apparently my original lost report is no longer in the system. I wonder if it got lost during the changes in their website?

On the way back I noticed that Leahi was very green for this time of the year. I think it was because of the 6 to 12 inches of rain that Tropical Storm Darby dumped on Oah'u about 2 weeks ago on July 24th. Normally at this time of the year Leahi is brown (as seen in the top photo from June 28th). The weeds in Mom and Dad's yard are also growing very well!
Leahi, June 28th
Leahi, August 5th

Happy Birthday to Ina and Jackie!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Moving Tetris

I had breakfast at CSC Cafe yesterday. They are open 7 days a week from 6:30 am till about 9 pm and have local food. I know it is also one of Lem's hangouts. They also have wi-fi but my laptop has trouble connecting with it so I go to the North Kohala Public Library instead (you need an HPLS library card in order to log on).

The guys who delivered my household goods yesterday are very good at packing things in to the truck; not so good at keeping things as compact as possible when the stuff comes out of the truck. Also not so good at keeping things right side up (they got about 90% right-side-up). But they worked till they got it done and were pleasant about it; they arrived about 5 pm because a previous job earlier in the week pushed the rest of their jobs back. (It was near South Point, the closest road they could take the moving truck on was about 2 miles from the house. The homeowner transferred things using one pick-up truck so there was a lot of down time for them - in a case like that they only get it out of the truck and in to the homeowner's vehicle.) Judging by the size of the truck, my things were supposed to all fit in the living room; but the bulky furniture pieces had to be put in the front bedroom. The 3 young Portuguese movers (Gabe, Philippi, and Bruce) liked that there was a ramp to the door and the drop point was the room the ramp led to. Bruce moved things out of the truck to the liftgate, Gabe & Philippi moved things in to the house. I gave them a box of smoked salmon as a thank you, then found out Bruce was a vegetarian so I gave him a couple of avocados from the tree in the backyard and he was very happy! I will have to come back after all the house repair work is done to unpack and put things away. (Yes, Bruce really is 1st generation Portuguese like Gabe and Philippi. Not sure if it is his Americanized name or his birth name.)

While I was waiting for the movers to arrive, I saw a mongoose crossing the front lawn. It would stop every so often and dig around in the grass and eat something, hopefully it was cockroaches! It went over to Jessie's house and disappeared under the house.
Small Asian mongoose (Herpestes javanicus)

I had a late afternoon flight out today, so I took Uncle Kazu to lunch and ice cream today. Fig's Mix Plate is our usual place but last Friday was their last day of business. :( So we went to King's View Cafe instead; Uncle Kazu was a trooper and had pizza for lunch. I think he was really there for the Roselani ice cream! He had macadamia nut, I had Kona mud pie.

The flight back was uneventful even with the intermittent rain squalls. It might be the leading edge of post-tropical cyclone Howard, which is about 600 miles east. On the approach to the runway, I saw a submarine coming in to Pearl Harbor.

When I arrived back home, Mom was thinking I am here for a short visit. Other than that she is doing fine; having a wonderful time with Fumi-san here, cooking a lot of her favorite dishes. I think it has been a big benefit to have her here and will be sad to see her leave in a couple of weeks. Here they are talking to Xander after dinner.
Fumi-san, Xander, and Mom

Happy Birthday to Mark, Sego, Hendra, and Jessica!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mahalo, Bick & Ron!

Today is a travel day; I leave at 5:15 pm. But before that I need to do the final banking chores, pick up a forgotten item, get Kai's storage locker key back to him, and check on how he is doing. There is no wi-fi connection at the Kohala house, so there will most likely be no posts for the next few days. The plan is to receive the shipment of household goods on Wednesdsay, return home on Thursday, and take Mom to her medical appointment on Friday. 

Happy Birthday to Lawrence and Heather!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Week's Not Over Yet

I went to the Port Gardner Bay Watercolor Society meeting tonight; Kai went with me. It was great seeing my fellow watercolor artists again! One of the things we talked about was whether I had been to the ER again this week and I said, No! Someone noted that the week wasn't over yet.

As luck would have it, as I was taking Kai back to his dad's house, he coughed in the car and had an immediate intense pain just under his right shoulder blade. He requested a trip to the ER; he was concerned that he had broken a rib with all the coughing. So I made ER trip #7 in 7 weeks and 2 days! It turns out his primary diagnosis is rhinitis, with a secondary of costochondritis (more specifically costovertebral joint sprain).

It was 11:30 pm by the time we got his prescription filled. It was interesting to hear this ER doc's assessment of the other ER doc's treatments; essentially she said the things the other doc prescribed wouldn't do anything for Kai's conditions. A quick check of the Mayo Clinic website said otherwise. And they did help him. Will see if the new round of meds also help.

Today we also went through some of the books that were in storage. Mailed off 8 boxes of books (including most of my art books). Also got to visit with Gabriele and Jessica at KSER. (Briefly saw Ed and Tom.)

Happy Birthday to Ariel!