Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy 90th Birthday Redux!

Today was the luncheon for Mom's mahjong group. Barbara picked us up & took us to The Kahala Hotel & Resort. We met the others at the Plumeria Beach House.
L to R, back row: Barbara, Juliette, Betsy, Jocelyn, Sandy, Mitzi; front row: me, Mom, Shirley, Jeanne. (photo by waiter)

The room was open to the outside all along the makai side. The weather was interesting, it started out sunny as we were leaving the house but as soon as we got to the hotel, there was a torrential downpour. Throughout lunch it was alternating sunny and downpour. While it was sunny we saw wedding photos being taken & people sitting at outside tables under umbrellas. Then they would be running for cover when the downpour arrived; the snorkelers out on the reef weren't bothered by anything. It was nice to have the fresh air, the zebra doves liked it also. A waiter was stationed near the buffet area whose only job was to chase birds away from the food.

Lunch was a curry buffet with choices from many Asian cuisines; the doves weren't interested in that part. Or the salad. The dessert table & the bread table were their targets; one dove stole a piece of bread even with the waiter standing watch.
Thai seafood curry in small bowl. Clockwise on plate from top: grilled flat bread, Singapore seafood noodles, Rendang beef curry over rice, green papaya salad, salmon & tofu salad, Chinese chicken salad, Japanese pork curry over rice, & curry pea pilaf.

The dessert table made choosing difficult; no wonder the birds were trying to outsmart the waiter! There were perhaps a dozen choices; I picked 4. Even though there were several chocolate options, I had to have the haupia. I think the birds might have been going after the little round edible decorations on some of the desserts.
Clockwise, from top: guava mousse, dulce cream mousse, haupia, tartlet, & macadamia nut bar.

After lunch the mahjong ladies gave Mom a belated birthday present, which made her tearful. It is a black vest with purple flowers embroidered on the breast along with a ladybug. The hotel gave Mom a complimentary piece of dessert.
We had to ask the waiter what "JK" meant.

We had arrived a little too early to be seated, so we wandered around the lobby of the hotel. They had a large decorated tree which included live white orchid plants.

This evening after dinner Mom was reminiscing about drinking fresh milk from cows her father raised. I could only remember Grandpa having Herefords and Angus-Hereford crosses; so I asked her what the cows that Grandpa milked looked like. She told me they were all named Red Mary or Black Mary. I showed her a photo of Red Mary that I had scanned; she said all the cows Grandpa milked looked like her. We used to ride the cows; Grandpa had no horses.
Grandpa with Red Mary (photo by Dad)

Happy Birthday to Ali!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mystery Moth

It was relatively cool this morning. How cool was it? On my way to the mailbox this morning I found a brown anole and a moth that were both sitting on the lawn looking like they were dead. I put the anole on the wall in the weak sun (it was overcast) and it revived enough after about 10 minutes to be able to run around. The black witch moth was able to fly after sitting in the sun for a while, too.
Ascalapha odorata next to dime.

I went to the Insect Identification for the Casual Observer website to figure out what the moth was. The website is organized by state. Hawai'i has 30 butterflies & moths listed; but it wasn't there. I ended up looking at the photos for state's with similar summer weather. I found it under Florida; apparently they are found in the southern tip of Florida.

I used the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter on Mom this morning. She smelled like a chocolate candy for a couple of hours! It seemed to keep the itching away longer than the previous lotions, but she still experienced some itching by the afternoon. I will give it a couple more days before I switch to the next one to see how it does.

FYI - Dr. Pham has also said to give her loratidine to ease the itching. Mom has been on that and perhaps it is doing something. But even the loratidine does not totally eliminate the itching. Mom also has a triamcinolone acetonide cream that Dr. Pham prescribed. It also takes the edge of the itching but does not stop it completely. I am hoping getting a more effective moisturizing lotion along with these 2 medications will do the trick.

Happy Birthday to Victoria & Valory!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Stop Scratching!

For the last month or so Mom has been having a problem with her skin being very itchy. Originally, back in August, it was only her lower legs. So Sarah left her Pregnant Belly Oil for Mom. And it was working well for her legs. During the first trip to Las Vegas she began itching a little more, Lori's Benadryl cream seemed to ease the itch, though not totally get rid of it. Then when we went to Las Vegas on the 2nd trip for her birthday she began to itch all over. And scratch. To the point that she was breaking blood vessels and creating large bruises and bloody sores. I thought it was hives - a possible reaction to the transfusion - but Dr. Pham said it wasn't hives. Dr. Pham said that the problem was that Mom's skin was too dry, she needed to use moisturizing lotion twice a day, all over her body. We started with the ones she already had (St. Ives Skin Renewing Body Lotion, Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, & Vaseline Intensive Care Water Resistant Moisturizing Lotion) & although it relieved a lot of itching, they only seemed to work for a couple of hours & she would have to apply more. So I went on-line and found a review of moisturizing lotions. We picked up these 3 today to see how well they work for Mom: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Skin Therapy, Gold Bond Ultimate Hydrating Lotion, and Curel Itch Defense.
Lotions ranked #3, #4, & #5.

So far this evening Mom is saying that she is itching less, but its only been about 3 hours since she applied the Curel. I will post our results on the use of the lotions as they become more apparent. One of the things I learned quickly was that each of these 3 say they provide relief for 24 hours; none of the others that Mom had did. They also have specific formulations that help heal skin conditions such as eczema & dry skin resulting from diabetes.

Mom also had an appointment today at the NTC to check up on her thumb. Last week they used Medihoney to aid with debriding the wound. We had to leave it undisturbed for a week. When Nurse Mitzie took the bandage off it looked better than it did last week, though her thumb was a little pruney. After she debrided the wound, it was looking even better; it was also a little drier.
Wound before debriding.
Wound after cleaning & debriding.

Besides applying new Medihoney, Nurse Mitzie also applied a zinc ointment (similar to diaper rash ointment) to the area around the wound to protect Mom's skin from moisture. Mom has not been very good about keeping her bandage clean and dry. Because of the dementia, I have to be there to remind her to put a glove on when she uses the bathroom or washes her hands or takes a shower, but she's been able to get by me at least once a day. We go back again next Monday for her next check up.

Happy Birthday to Laurel!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Immovable Objects

About 10 days ago I tried to move a tool box with my toe. A metal tool box. A metal tool box full of tools. With my little toe. This is what it looks like. I don't think its broken, I think its just badly sprained. It's sore but not super sore; taping it to the rest of my foot helps relieve the pain. This is what they would do if I went to the ER. Even if it was broken.

Mom almost fell twice yesterday. Once just before dinner and a second time after I had finished posting to the blog. The first time it was because she was trying to carry something while she walked and paid more attention to what she was carrying than what she was walking across. She lost her balance when she went from the carpet to the linoleum floor. Fortunately she had her cane so it kept her from falling. Late in the evening she was walking without her cane and lost her balance. Fortunately she was in the hallway and kept herself from falling over by using the walls.

I spent much of today trying to train Mom to take her cane with her no matter where she was going in the house. And also training her to not carry anything in her free hand, just focus on walking. It has been a very trying day. Sometimes Mom is like that metal tool box.

I found out tonight on the news that there is a tool library in the city called the HNL Tool Library. Right now they loan out construction tools; wish I had known about them when I first started all the repairs around here and the building of the cat run. They plan to loan out small kitchen appliances in the future.

Tomorrow we go in to have the bandage on Mom's thumb changed. I am interested in seeing how the Medihoney treatment has helped with the healing. I will post a photo of what it looks like.

Happy Birthday to Patrick!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gobble, Gobble!

Dad opened up his presents last night. Along with the rest of the gifts she gave him, Lori also gave Dad some Thanksgiving cookies from Liliha Bakery.

Mom frequently says she has nothing to wear. But if you look around the house you will find she has clothes in 3 1/2 closets. Plus 2 temporary clothes hangers. (It used to be 3 but I moved some of her stuff so I could use one.) She found a blouse that she thought she might wear today but didn't. It was the first article of clothing I have seen with a dragonfly design where the dragonfly's mandibles are visible.
Dragonfly in center, damselfly in upper left corner.

I finally cleared the backlog of old newspapers off the chair in the family room. Shiro promptly claimed it as his.

Later in the evening, when Shiro went to sleep on the bed where Mom was watching TV, Chibi took over. (Usually she sleeps on the green bean bag chair.)

Mom got out of bed last night and tripped on the rug she keeps in the hallway, fell, and was unable to get up. When I went to help her up she got mad at me and insisted she could get up on her own. She couldn't. Even with help from Dad and me it was difficult for her to get up. Even though I asked her to call me when she needed to get up out of bed, and she said she would, she didn't; I had to rely on the monitor to figure out if she was out of bed. I had a very sleepless night, listening to the monitor. I think I am going to have to get a bed alarm like they have in the hospital to know when the patient is trying to leave the bed.

Just before dinner tonight she almost fell again. We have been telling her she is not to carry things when she walks since she focuses more on what she is carrying and does not pay attention to what she is walking on. We try to reason with her that if she falls with something breakable she could injury herself again and need to go to the hospital. It sticks for about 5 minutes, then we're back to square one again. But I think if I keep saying the same thing we might be able to get her to begin complying.

Happy Birthday to Michelle!

Friday, November 25, 2016


Back at the end of October, Mom had some problems with diarrhea during one of her transfusion visits at the ATC. Actually, it started earlier that day and we had brought 3 extra pairs of underwear for her. But after about 7 hours she had gone through all of them. We checked with the ATC to see if they had anything we could use. (Yes, but only in extra large.) So we crossed our fingers and hoped she could make it through the rest of the transfusion and the drive home. She did. I bought a package of Depends that evening & took them to Las Vegas with us. The second to the last day in Las Vegas she had another bout of diarrhea; she has been using disposable underwear since then.

I started with the Depend brand, size S/M (28"-40" waist) for women. When we started to run out I bought the CVS brand because I had a coupon. And I discovered there was a difference. The elastic on the leg holes for Depend fit more snugly than CVS, which means the Depend would be able to contain a load more securely. (The CVS ones are cut higher on the thigh.) I asked Curt to buy some via Costco since it appears they are becoming Mom's normal underwear. He got the Costco-size box, but discovered later that he got the one for men (size S/M, 28"-40" waist). Earlier I had read that Depend disposable underwear were developed in 1984 & originally were unisex, then in 2009 they developed gender-specific products. We weren't sure if there really was a difference or if it was a marketing ploy. We decided I should keep them; if there was no difference, then Mom could use them. If there was a difference, Dad could use them when he began to need them also. Or I could give them to Curt for his father-in-law.

Today I compared the 3 of them, to see whether there really is a difference. As noted earlier, there is a difference between the Depend women's and CVS women's products. I discovered there is also a difference between the Depend women's and Depend men's products. Even though they say they are the same size (S/M, 28"-40" waist), the cut is different, with the leg holes on the men's being larger than on the women's. The men's was just larger overall even though they were supposedly the same size. And the difference in figure did not really account for it. You would think that the women's product would have larger hips for the same size waist but it did not, the men's was larger in the hips for the same size waist. The absorbent panel size and placement was also different, for obvious reasons. I had Mom try one on and it was a little looser than the women's. So I will be getting a couple packages of Depend women's disposable underwear from Longs for the immediate future.
All size S/M, 28"-40" waist, L to R: CVS women's, Depend women's, & Depend men's.

I was asked not to post any photos of Mom's thumb along with the Thanksgiving food photos, so I didn't. But mainly because there were none (of the thumb). The new dressing and Medihoney needs to stay in place undisturbed for a week. So the NTC nurses will be the ones removing it next Monday morning. I was greeted Thanksgiving morning by something that I took a photo of but decided it was probably in the realm of a mangled thumb so reserved posting it til today. When I pulled out the coffee grounds container there was a baby house gecko on top of the container.
Hemidactylus frenatus

As I pulled it out, I noticed that the little guy seemed to be staying rather still. It turns out it was dead, but since they have no real eyelids, it looked like it could still be alive. I kept it aside to see if it would revive. (Like the little jumping spiders that we used to put in the freezer when we were kids to see if they really did hibernate when "winter" came. Growing up in Hawai'i I missed out on some of the natural science phenomena found in temperate zones so had to create them on my own. And, yes, the jumping spiders did revive when "winter" was over.) Alas, the little house gecko never revived. I am still trying to figure out what it might have been on when it went in to the refrigerator. Since they are a tropical lizard, if it went in as an egg it would never have developed and hatched out; so it had to go in after it hatched.

Both Mom and Dad have been complaining about being cold, even when the temperatures are in the mid- to upper 70's. Dad especially. He spent all day Tuesday and Thursday in bed because he said it was too cold to get up; he would only sit up to drink water. (Which he wanted cold, not room temperature. Go figure.) On Wednesday and tonight, he stayed in bed and drank water in the morning and at lunch, then got up for dinner and stayed up for several hours. He was acting normal while he was awake. I've decided to take notes on when he is awake, eating, & drinking to see if I can find a pattern.

By the way, I have learned how to "make coffee". I am not a coffee drinker, so the first time I made it, I followed the directions on the can. Mom said it was too strong, I should have remembered that Kai said Mom's coffee was like colored water. When I put half the amount of grounds in as stated on the can, Mom says it is "good coffee".

Happy Birthday to Kari!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dad! and Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Dad's 92nd birthday! He celebrated by sleeping. Since early this year he has been sleeping more and more. But once he is awake, he is very alert and normal. He and the cats have the same sleeping schedule.

I made the Fluffy Dinner Rolls last night; today I made 2 pumpkin pies and baked the salmon. For both of them I used recipes from the America's Kitchen Cookbook. Here are the pies, made with freshly grated ginger; I got several comments from the ginger-lovers tonight. The recipe said it made enough of the pumpkin custard for 1 pie, not, its really enough for two 9" pies.

As we got ready to leave I had the things we were taking wrapped but sitting on the table. Mom asked what each one was. Then went around asking about them again. And again. ... Her short term memory was the shortest I have ever seen it! I cut her off after the 4th round and said we needed to pack up the car and get on the road.  

Lori always had the tables decorated with a theme for the evening, tonight it was pumpkins. The scented candles are Curtis' contribution to the evening. One of the candles was Maple Pumpkin and the other was Pumpkin Pie.

The dinner was primarily the work of Lori and her sister Jenny. I contributed salmon, dinner rolls, and a pumpkin pie. Shaun made a pot roast. Here's the spread.
Clockwise from upper left: salmon, pot roast, salad, macaroni salad, dinner rolls, turkey, gravy, ham, mashed potatoes, ambrosia, pumpkin pie, & fruit salad.

After dinner some of us did karaoke. Some people really got in to it. This system apparently rates you on a scale up to 100, it also provides the musical notation of the song so you know how long to hold the notes. Guess who really got in to it.
L to R: Gavin, Gordon, Anita, Lori, Brent.

Happy Birthday also to Lani!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Where's Your Cane?

Mom says I say mean things to her. She says I order her around and don't let her do things. Like telling her she needs to use her cane even when she walks around the house or not to lift things (since she would have to let go of her cane - which is how she fell  and cut up her thumb) or to put a glove on her hand with the injured thumb. She also doesn't like when I tell her not to scratch and to put the moisturizing lotion on instead. Or to use the grab bar instead of the towel bar or toilet paper holder. Or to take her medication. I think I will continue to be mean to her.

When we first talked to Mom last year about replacing her tub/shower combination (which had a broken door) with a shower only unit that has a bench, grab bars, and an adjustable height shower head, she said she did not need it. We had to tell her the safety features were for Dad when his leg got worse. (He was wounded in World War II and one leg is about 3" shorter than the other; his good leg is giving him problems now.) Diamond Head Plumbing did a great job and once she tried it, she liked it. A lot. Now that she is unsteady on her feet, she is happy there is a bench that she can sit on while she washes, rinses, and dries off. We are, too.
Inline image 1

It was windy today. In Honolulu it was 36 mph at the airport with gusts up to 50 mph. I believe it - when I went to move the blue recycle bin out to the curb for pick up tomorrow I found that the gray garbage bin had been blown up against it and its lid was blown open. Fortunately it was still under the eaves so it did not fill up with rainwater.
[There is a photo that I wanted to insert here but it is giving me a lot of problems, so no photo.]

I took a (store bought) pumpkin pie to the humane society today for the staff who will be working tomorrow. Besides the people that clean the cages and feed the animals, there are at least 2 people at all times at their intake area. That's "all" as in 24/7. No holidays for them. So I took them a pie since they are rooting for Momo; every orange cat that comes in is very thoroughly checked, they all know his microchip has migrated.
(from Hawaiian Humane Society website)

We are going over to Curt and Lori's for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I am making Fluffy Dinner Rolls, salmon, and pumpkin pie. The nice thing about the rolls is that they are so moist and fluffy I can make them tonight and reheat them tomorrow and they are still very good. I underbaked them so when I heat them up tomorrow they will be evenly golden brown.
Inline image 2

When some people heard that I subscribe to a cooking magazine they could not believe it. Then they found out why I like Cook's Illustrated; it explains the science behind why something works. This is my new favorite cookbook, it is by America's Test Kitchen, the place where the recipes in Cook's Illustrated are developed. (That's where the Fluffy Dinner Roll recipe is from.) There really is a 2,500 sf kitchen just outside Boston where they try things out. They have a show on PBS (which I have never seen); all 16 years of their recipes are in the book. I am using their pumpkin pie recipe since the recipe I usually use is in a box on the Big Island!
Inline image 3

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Transfusion #11

Mom had an appointment with her oncologist, Dr. Chan, this morning. She also had an appointment for a transfusion for platelets and also for her thumb. Originally, the platelet transfusion was for the afternoon, but AJ (Dr. Chan's nurse) called the ATC and was able to get us in right after we left Dr. Chan's office. Yay, AJ! No spending an extra hour on the freeway running back and forth for appointments! Dr. Chan was pleased with how Mom was doing; her blood pressure, heart rate, weight, lungs, heart, etc., were all doing well. He was also pleased that she had gone to Las Vegas twice since she was diagnosed with leukemia. (Her health goal that Dr. Chan had entered in her charts when he first started treating her in July was to go to Las Vegas one last time before she died.) His main concern now is with her low white blood cell count, which is at 1,900/mcL; the normal range is 4,500 to 10,000/mcL. He prescribed levofloxacin (an antibacterial) and acyclovir (an antiviral) as a preventive measure against infections. We have a follow-up appointment with him in January 2017.

During the transfusion today Nurse Sandi was Mom's primary nurse, with nurses Rowena and Rachel assisting. Platelets can be transfused a lot faster than packed red blood cells, about 1 hour per bag versus 3 hours per bag. (Due to Mom's heart condition PRBCs need to be transfused slowly so her heart is not stressed by the additional volume of fluids coming in too quickly.) Although the platelet bag they give Mom is the same size as the unit of packed red blood cells bag, its actually 5 units of platelets.
Inline image 2

Since we were able to get the transfusion earlier, I was able to get an appointment for Mom to have her thumb checked out at the Kaiser Nurse Treatment Center (NTC) this afternoon. We saw Nurse Frieda, who also checked Mom's thumb when we had returned from Las Vegas 2 weeks ago. She was pleased with the progress she saw; the big open hole in Mom's thumb has filled in with granulating tissue. But there is an edge of old tissue that needs to be debrided. So Nurse Frieda applied Medihoney to help with the debriding. We will leave the Medihoney in place, covered by the Mepilex Ag pad, until next Monday when Mom goes back to the NTC to have the thumb checked again.
Inline image 1

Total cost for Mom's 3 appointments, 2 prescriptions, & 5 units of platelets today:  $79.41. And that includes $6 for parking. Mom has excellent medical insurance!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chores, Chores, Chores

I've been doing the laundry for Mom. The lawn under the clothesline is uneven so she needs her cane to walk along it, which means she can't hang out the clothes. One of the problems here is that Mom keeps things well beyond their life span. Like the laundry basket. It is a wheeled basket that I remember from about 40 years ago. When I first saw it I was pretty sure the metal frame was the original, but I wasn't sure about the cloth bag portion. But now I am. It had a catastrophic failure when I put clothes in it the other day; both ends ripped out so it was barely hanging on. I spent a little time yesterday doing a quick and dirty repair so it is usable again
Laundry basket before repair, both sides looked like this.
Laundry basket after repaired with dental floss, mint-flavored.

Yesterday was a slow day, I spent some time watching Xander be cute.

As dementia progresses, the patient regresses, becoming more childlike in terms of language, interactions, and actions. I have noticed Mom becoming more childlike in her interactions with the cats and with people. Her questions are less complex, the language she uses is simpler, she has trouble coming up with more complex words, and some of her actions are what you would see with a child. Like when she drops thing when she is eating, she briefly looks at it, then acts as if it didn't happen. Here's what the floor looks like at her place at the counter. It reminds me of when Kai was first learning to feed himself. I'm glad I have a steam mop to help clean things up.

Because of Mom's compromised immune system, we make her wear a mask whenever she may be going to a place where she might be exposed to something. When I take her to the hospital for her blood tests or transfusions I use an anti-viral mask. If she's just going out we use a regular face mask. Using a mask is like hand washing, it has to be done right in order to be effective or its better not to do it. Whenever I find Mom saving a mask, I throw it out; keeping used masks can turn them in to a great bacterial breeding ground. Here's what I took out of her purse today; there were 5 plus a bunch of used tissues.

When I went to the humane society to check for Momo, the whole chicken family was there.

Got a call today from Dr. Chan's office, Mom needs a platelet transfusion tomorrow. Last Friday Nurse Rowena had guessed that Mom might need a platelet transfusion this week since she was at 1.45, the normal range is 1.5 to 4.0. We will see Dr. Chan tomorrow morning, then I take Mom for the transfusion in the afternoon.

Happy Birthday to CJ! Happy Belated Birthday to Dottie! Happy Belated Anniversary to Hazuki & Todd!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Miss Hawai'i USA

We watched the 2017 Miss Hawai'i USA Pageant tonight. The differences I noticed between this and the Miss USA contest is that there are a whole lot more women of color. And the winner is an immigrant! Wonder what Donald Trump would say about that?
Miss Hawai'i USA 2017 Julie Kuo. (screen shot from TV)

Much of what I did today was train Mom regarding what she needs to do to keep her safe and out of trouble! Like using her cane even in the house since she is experiencing more weakness in her left leg. I am also training her to apply moisturizing lotion instead of scratching when she itches. Another big thing is putting a disposable glove on her right hand (to keep the bandage on her thumb clean) when she goes to the bathroom. When she asks me what she can do to help, I tell her she can organize the paperwork around her chair, because I can wash the dishes (or whatever else she wants to do that she really shouldn't be doing) but I can't sort through her papers. Due to the dementia, I tend to say this every day.

I also hang around when she is taking a shower. I give her tips like sit on the foldout bench in the shower while she is washing herself, use the grab bar not the towel rack to steady herself, sit on the toilet seat while she is putting lotion on her body and getting dressed, and do one thing at a time. As Mom's dementia gets worse, reminders tend to become more frequent, like less than 5 minutes. I have learned to repeat things using the same tone of voice no matter how many times I say it.

While I spot Mom in the shower, Shiro keeps watch out in the hallway.
Shiro, waiting for us in the hall outside the bathroom door.

The cats have their own routines. First thing in the morning Chibi follows me in to the family room. When I open the vertical blinds, she waits by the sliding glass door; she likes to go out first thing in the morning. And she's usually the last one in (some times she gets locked out at night). However, if there is any activity next door she bolts in through the door in a flash!
Chibi waiting for the sliding glass door to open; the green X's are a signal to the cats that the cat door is blocked.

Happy Birthday to Dwayne-O & Naseem!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Transfusion #10

We went to the ATC again for transfusion #10. Mom got 2 units of packed red blood cells today. Nurse Rowena was Mom's primary nurse again today, assisted by nurses Staci, Michelle, & Sandi. We have become regulars, so the nurses & Kim (the receptionist) remember Mom; we shared pictures with them of her birthday celebration in Las Vegas & the first great grandchild. Since we are regulars, we also brought omiyage from Las Vegas for them!

Mom decided she wanted to read instead of watch TV today. She brought several books from the Dover Childrens Thrift Classics that she has; it includes some Japanese fairy tales. As usual, though, she drifted off to sleep without reading much.
Mom "reading" her books.

Curtis brought us lunch again. But this time, instead of going to one of the lunch wagons on base, he stopped by at Ige's. He said Ige's used to have a lunch truck before. Now they have no lunch truck, only a window at their catering business; people walk up to the window for their order, then walk away. Here's what he brought for us today; it's worth standing in line outdoors!
Clockwise from top left corner: pickled onions, chicken katsu, white rice, & panko-crusted salmon; tossed salad is in a plastic bag outside of the photo.

After lunch, Mom did actually get a little reading done. But not much ... after one story she was asleep again.
Mom reading one of her books; note the line attached to her right arm.

After 7 1/2 hours Mom was done with her transfusion. As we were getting ready to leave, however, she sprung a leak and had blood streaming down her arm from the transfusion site. I didn't get a photo since I was busy getting gloves to help Nurse Rowena by holding pressure on Mom's arm while she got additional dressings. She finally got it stopped, rebandaged it, and had Mom sit still another 15 minutes to make sure it had stopped bleeding, while she cleaned up the blood on the floor. Nurse Rowena told us to keep the yellow cross match band on since it could still be used for a platelet transfusion. (Earlier, another nurse told us Mom's platelet level was at less than 1.5; normally it is 4.0. So Mom may need one next week. Keeping the yellow band on means she won't have to have an additional cross match done.) It was 5 pm by the time we left. On the way home I saw an annoying site: a car with a Christmas tree on top. Come on, people! It's not even Thanksgiving yet!

I think I may have broken the little toe on my left foot tonight. While helping Mom change in to her sleeping clothes I was stepping around her and kicked the corner of a very heavy metal tool box. It still hurts. If its still hurting tomorrow I will tape it to the rest of my foot to immobilize it; that's what they would do if I went to the emergency room.

I was so tired last night I went to bed without posting anything. Here's more info about baby Kaia that I was going to post last night but didn't get around to it. Baby Kaia was due on November 2nd, Mom was hoping she would wait until the 4th so they could share a birthday, but she came exactly 2 weeks late on the 16th! Although Mom wanted to go to Pennsylvania for Kaia's birth, Sarah felt it would be better for Mom to wait for them to come to her in Hawai'i because of how cold it is in Pennsylvania in November. Plus, they live in a house built before 1900 that is somewhat drafty; since Mom thinks it's cold in Hawai'i when it is below 70F it was a good decision. When she was here in August, Sarah said that she & Evan (dad) were hoping to be able to bring Kaia for a visit in February.

Yesterday, when I took Mom in for the cross match, it was farmers market day at the Kaiser Honolulu facility. Besides papayas & persimmons for breakfast later in the week, we also bought several plate lunches for lunch and dinner. Here we are in line for the Hawaiian plate lunch. (At the Kaiser Moanalua facility where they do the transfusions, farmers market day is on Wednesday.)
In line for lunch; fruit & vegetable vendor in background on left, more food vendors straight ahead.

For lunch we tried the Hawaiian and Thai plate lunches. The Hawaiian plate had kalua pork, chicken, rice, & salad. The Thai plate had vegetarian pad Thai,  Thai basil chicken, & salad. (We had the cranberry glazed pork ribs for dinner.)
Clockwise, starting with salad at top of plate: 'Nalo Greens salad, vegetarian pad Thai, Thai basil chicken, & kalua pork.

Happy Birthday to Jim, Diane, Susan, Jessica, & Jeff! Happy Belated Birthday to Jackie, Karen, Sue, Maru, & Catie!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Welcome, Kaia!

The big news of the day is that Sarah had her baby today! Kaia Simone Torich was born at 7:37 pm (PA time). She is 8 lbs 5.5 oz and 20 inches. Mom is now a great grandmother! She was asleep when I got back from the airport so I was unable to show her the photo and let her know. I showed Dad Kaia's photo and let him know he was now a great grandfather; he was cool about it.
Kaia Simone Torich (photo by Evan)

Last night, after I left Kohala Coffee Mill, I could see the moon over Hawi. I wasn't able to see the supermoon on Monday night, it was raining in Kapa'au; but I heard Jennifer & Travis had a good view from the Mauna Kea observatory. Here's the best moon view I had, a couple days late.
Moon over Hawi (I was parked when I took the photo).

When I got back to the house it had started to cloud up. Or maybe its just cloudier in Kapa'au than Hawi, which is about a mile closer to the dry side of the island. I could see the moon peeking through the clouds and the avocado tree.

When I got back I focused on getting the butsudan set up. Only problem, I could not remember exactly what was there and the placement. Fortunately Tomiko took a bunch of photos for her Passage installation, they helped me out a lot. Looks pretty good, though I haven't found all the pieces yet. (In case you're wondering, the fake flowers are so there are flowers there even when no one is there to put fresh flowers up.)

On Monday (Day #6) Chris had his helper Mike start painting the porch. Mike was able to prime the porch area, the railings, and the posts. Then it started to drizzle, then it started to come down in waves, so Mike had to stop for the day. He tried again on Tuesday (Day #7) and got the porch done before it started raining again. I asked them to skip painting on Wednesday so that I could use the ramp to get my suitcase out to the car instead of hauling it down the back stairs. The red matches the original color of the porch floor.

One of the few pieces of furniture that I brought with me is a rocking chair that was given to me by my friend Colleen. The chair belonged to her daughter Cathy, who had cerebral palsy. It fits me perfectly, which is why Colleen gave it to me. I sent Colleen's other daughter Laura a photo of the chair in the house and invited her to come and visit Cathy's chair!
Cathy's chair with Kai's cat pillow & Hawaiian blanket.

While I was at the Kohala Aina Festival on Saturday I got information on a number of things I was interested in, including solar panels. My intention is to put the panels on the garage roof even though it slopes towards the east. The south facing roof would be more ideal, however, it can be seen from the road. I'm willing to trade off a little efficiency to preserve the plantation style look of the house. Elaine & Matthew from Solar City came out this morning to measure the roof and see what kind of system they can design for me.
Elaine from Solar City. (Matthew is crawling around under the house.)

While Matthew & Elaine did their work outside, I did the final organizing and clean-up inside. It included making the beds in the middle & back bedrooms to get them ready for a trip in December with Mom if she is feeling well enough.
Living room, Day #8.
Front bedroom, Day #8.
Middle bedroom, Day #8.
Back bedroom, Day #8.
Sewing room, Day #8.
Art in sewing room, Day #8.
Kitchen, Day #8.
Counter, Day #8.

I was so focused on making the beds and organizing the boxes and moving furniture around that I skipped lunch. I ended up grabbing a croissant sandwich at the airport. It was both lunch and dinner.
Roast beef croissant sandwich at the airport.

On the ride back from the airport Curt filled me in on what has been going on with Mom while I was gone. He said Mom would complain about having the Safe Harbor caregivers; she said they weren't necessary. But by the end of their shift she was having such a good time with them she was asking for addresses so she could send them a Christmas card! Her thumb is looking good, the Mepilex Ag dressing is making a big difference. Tomorrow I take her in for the cross match for her transfusion on Friday.

Happy Birthday to Lopaka!