Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scrapbook Creation

I have been diligently working on a scrapbook for my best friend to give to her daughter on her wedding day, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. Because I started the project so late, I have had to work 8 to 10 hours per week on it. I have about 34 pages done so far with only a few to go.

My friend has been coming over to help with the text on her daughter's pages.I have been corresponding via email with the groom's mother in the UK to get more information on the groom's pages . This is my 4th scrapbook since 2003 and I have to say it has been a lot of fun to work on and I have really enjoyed doing it!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cats Rule

I decided to paint another feline picture, inspired by my very spoiled cat, Smoke. Worked on it for two days and this was the result:

"Pampered Cat" Original watercolor and ink painting in my etsy store.

The relationship between people and cats goes back eons. The cat was considered sacred by the Egyptians and they even had their own cat goddess. They were mummified and put into their own special cemetery. The cats were valued as pets and as mousers by the Greeks, Romans, Chinese , Japanese and etc. Throughout time, cats have been depicted in many art forms. They have shown up in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci to Andy Warhol. They are as fascinating to paint as they are to observe.

I have only recently become a cat owner in the last year and 1/2. My neighbor's cat had kittens and so we took two of them. I just enjoy watching them so much. They are very friendly and smart. I was surprised as I thought they would be very aloof.

I just read about how cats may be as smart as toddlers. Lab studies are hard to do on cats because they won't perform on cue which may be a sign that they are a lot smarter than we think.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Appointment is finally made!

Children's finally called me to say that they would let me make an appointment for my son for next week. All I can say is that it's about time! However, they told me that we still did not have tests done that were requested but they would schedule us anyway. So after hearing that again, I called my doctor's office and read them the riot act for the second time about not giving us the info on the right tests that we needed . I received a call back from my doctor's nurse saying that she had all the emails from Children's and according to them, Children's did have all the test results that they needed and that I should have been able to schedule an appt on July 9th.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing because that is not what I was being told. I finally got a hospital number from her to call-some parent patient advocate line. I did call and told her what was going on about the run around I was getting and the fact that all I wanted to do was schedule an appointment and I could not! She told me that all test results have to be reviewed by the critical nurse dept before it is passed on to what ever dept it needs to go to, in my son's case the GI dept and then it is reviewed again by the GI doctors. What I think happened was the critical nurse dept was telling my doctor's office one story and the GI department was telling the receptionists handling my appointment a different story. That was why there was massive confusion and I was in the middle of it all getting mad at everyone.

Children's has heard my complaints and I am still not finished. I am supposed to contact their hospital relations person to give them feedback about my experience dealing with their hospital and believe me they are going to hear every sordid detail of what I had to go through!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Anger can be a good thing

Well, I still do not have an appointment at the hospital. Twelve calls later and nothing. I probably should have driven the 3 hours up there and just demanded to be seen. It would have been a lot easier and less of a headache.

It's been two weeks of mix-ups and screw-ups. I was on the phone reading the riot act to my doctor's office because none of their faxes with the latest test results made it to the hospital. They said it probably got lost in cyber space but every single time! I think more likely someone just plain did not send it! On the hospital end of it, they finally got the fax I sent of the test results but initially they said they did not. It was only after I asked them to go through everything they did get from my doctor's office, the insurance company that they found it.

So now 3 days later, nothing! They sent it to the Nurse Practitioner but she hasn't responded. I called yesterday and today and they said the NP has not responded to her email. So I asked, "Can't you go back and ask her if she got it! The answer was No, because we are not in the same building.

Everybody up there is divided into different buildings and nobody sees anybody. They all communicate by email or by some electronic means. They probably have never seen the person on the other end of their emails. Maybe this is the way to cut costs and make things more efficient but for the patient, it totally sucks! The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing up there and they can't find out either. It just makes my blood boil!

I called my doctor's office again and demanded the doctor get on the hospital. I am tired of dealing with all this crap and I am not going to be nice about it anymore.

Healthcare has become strictly a business. I was just talking to a friend who has worked in the hospital labs and she was saying the patient is now the client and she has been seeing this coming for the last 10 years. So true. Just in the past few months I have noticed that it's like my son and I are numbers and not people. It doesn't matter if you have a life threatening condition and need to be seen by the doctor. If their office is full up, you just have to wait until the next day or two to get in. They don't care about your problem, they just want to run things efficiently and make money. It is very scary!

Thanks goodness for bette jo of bettejo bead creations , tonia from the family jewels and ibs group.org. They have given me invaluable information and support that has helped my son and so far he is doing much better. He has dropped some more weight but it has slowed considerably since he is able to eat and his D is still under control . Anyway the saga continues...

Monday, July 23, 2007

The shower is done!

Yesterday was the wedding shower that I did for my best friend's daughter. The weather was a scorching 98 degrees but luckily we had a lot of big shade trees and the temperature started to drop. It was very comfortable sitting under the trees. I had about 40+ people come , down from the potential 100 but that was OK. It was much better that way and I didn't have to borrow as many tables and chairs.

(Some of my decorations in keeping with a health profession theme, I used horse syringes filled with mints and made a functional minature first aid kit with burn ointment, sting ointment, antibiotic wipe and waterproof bandages + a lifesaver mint thrown in for good measure.)

When I was putting my decorations out, the night before to see how they would look on the tables, I discovered that the flowers that I was going to use as centerpieces were way too big and they took up too much space on the table. I was in a panic for a short time. Luckily my husband reminded me that I had made up all these little first aid kits in little red bags that had tags with the bride and groom's name + wedding date. He said do something with those. So I got some empty round glass cylinder dishes that I had used for my son's graduation party, wrapped them in white tissue paper. Tied red ribbon into bows around them and filled them with the little red first aid kit bags. They were the right size and it worked on the table!

We served shrimp cocktail, sushi, salmon, BBQ pork tenderloin, wine, beer and other drinks along with 4 different salads. I was working hard but it was fun to do and the bride- to- be said, "It was the most perfect shower." So I am very happy!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tagged for the first time

Oh my gosh, I have been tagged by Tonia from Family Jewels.
It's my first time so here goes:

Five Things to do before I die:

1. Definitely I have to sky dive
2. Ride a horse along the ocean
3. See the world
4. Learn to play the guitar better
5. Learn to speak Spanish

Five things I can do:

1. Support my sons
2. Ride a horse
3. Paint
4. Ballroom dance
5. Be creative

Five things I cannot do yet:

1. Speak another language
2. Make Japanese food
3. Swim
4. Wear a bikini
5. Ski without making it into a suicidal run down the mountain

Five things that attract me to the opposite sex:

1. Sense of humor
2. Shows affection and kindness
3. Has intelligence
4. A compassionate soul
5. Adventurous spirit

Five celebrity crushes (I think I am way passed this stage)

1 Viggo Mortensen ( loved him in the Lord of the Rings)
2. Clive Owen
3. Hayden Christensen (way too young for me but what the heck!)
4. Mark Wahlberg
5. Hugh Jackman

Sorry I don't have five others to tag. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Healthcare Frustration

I called the hospital again to make an appointment for my son. They were supposed to call me back when the results were in. I heard nothing so I called them again. This is the 5th time I have tried to make an appt. Apparently, they still have not received the results. A person could literally die here just waiting to get in! I told the hospital in no uncertain terms that I was not happy about this. I know she is the receptionist and it isn't her fault that the results aren't there (after being faxed by my dr.'s office twice). I am very tired of getting the run around. I ended up faxing the lab results ,for the 3rd time, to her myself.

Now I tried to show restraint but believe me if my son was having the big D everyday and losing pound after pound, I would be calling them night and day to get him in. So far the calcium, probiotics and enzymes are keeping food in him. But he is still not normal. He wakes up everyday and he feels like crap for at least the first few hours but that is a big improvement from before when he was waking up with severe pain (a ten on a scale from 1-10).

I don't know how parents deal with having a sick child. Not only do they have to cope with their love one being ill but they have to deal with all this bureaucracy too. I am also getting ready to battle my insurance company as they want me to take my son to a doctor in the area. Well, I would, except there are no GI doctors that accept children unless you travel three hours away. I don't have a choice. This is another headache that I am going to have to contend with.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Under the Sea Inspiration

I haven't had much of a chance to paint but with such a hectic end of the week coming up, I decided to fit it in. I was inspired by the beautiful fish I saw while snorkeling off the island of Maui. This was done in mixed media. The background of yellow, red and blue was done in acrylics, the trigger fish were done in watercolor and india ink.

This Hawaiian Trigger Fish can be found in my Etsy store.
I also am having a sale this week 20% on all my framed handpainted tile.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Swimming against the current

I have been having one of those weeks where no matter what I do or say, nothing is getting accomplished or if it is, it's not without a struggle.

Case in point, I have been trying to get my son into Children's Hospital for testing. I have been calling them almost everyday and still do not have an appointment. They wanted his blood work results. The tests results came back on Thurs and were faxed to the hospital by my doctor's office. Friday, I called to set up an appointment. The hospital said they never got them. I then called my local doctor's office and had them send the results again. Today, I called the hospital and they said they never got them. I then asked how long does it take for a fax to get to them? Oh, 24 to 48 hours because the data has to be entered into the hospital's computers. Now I talked to the same person thursday, friday and monday and she neglected to tell me that it takes that long for the fax to get to their office!

I was trying to get some photos that are going to be part of my shower decorations developed at Costco. I had tried to upload photos to them and was being told that the photos were too low in resolution. Had to get hold of the bride -to-be and had her resend larger files, took another day. Then I tried to upload to Costco again and their photo processing department went down and no idea when it was going to be back up. Had to resend it to another Costco in another town which was a much further drive for me. Didn't want to do it there because I wanted to shop in the first town but had no choice.

My van totally died at the PO and tried to call my husband who was working in the field 30 miles away. He couldn't come to get me and the temperatures were in the triple digits. Finally got my hood opened and looked at the battery. Got the PO master to come out and jump my car. He couldn't get to his battery in his car so finally had another guy help me. Managed to drive my car home. My husband put the battery on a charger.Didn't help. Car was dead the next day. Luckily my husband stayed home from work that morning and went looking for a new battery. I didn't have to do it.

My older son is leaving for the university in a few weeks so I wanted to find out if our health insurance is going to work for him as we have managed care. Tried to call the insurance company and after listening to the entire automated response, found out that there was a phone outage and that I had to call back another day.

It seems nothing is simple these days and I just want to tear my hair out! I really want to go with the flow but the flow keeps backing up and I feel like I am swimming against the current every time!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Etiquette, a thing of the past?

The wedding shower I am giving is in 7 days and so far I have received very few responses back. There are two more days before the deadline so I am hopeful I will hear from everyone but I seriously doubt it. I have run into some people that have been invited and point blank asked them if they were going to come. Oh yeah, no not coming. Don't know the bride- to- be that well (although they are somewhat good friends with her parents.) In my day, if I knew the parents well, I would go.

I have given many parties in the past with an RSVP to call. The majority never called or if they did, it was 2 minutes before my party began. I'm sorry but they might as well not have bothered.

That's why for this shower, I sent out response cards because I thought people would actually drop the pre- addressed stamped envelope into their mailbox. Guess that was too much to ask.

There were many times when I have sent gifts and did not receive a thank you in return. I was raised to acknowledge and thank people formally whenever they sent or did something for me. My kids have been taught to do the same.

The use of proper etiquette seems to be a thing of the past. It's like a dying art that seriously needs to be resurrected again.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Power of Now

This book by Eckhart Tolle, I read a few years ago. Actually someone at a dinner party recommended it. She had been in a serious car accident and this book had helped her get through a difficult time. I am one that does not go out and buy any book unless the name keeps showing up in different places. I saw the title of this book again somewhere else shortly afterwards and decided I was meant to read it.

In a nutshell, suffering is a product of being in the past and the future. In any given moment, if you are fully present, it is impossible to have a problem.

I am one of those people who live in my head a lot . I think it is the curse of a multi-tasker. I also handle my problems the same way. I think, worry and try to deal with all of them at the same time. It doesn't work very well plus it gets a bit overwhelming and tiring to boot.

Lilacs blooming in my backyard during spring

I was outside in the garden the other day and realized that I had not noticed all the flowers that were in bloom. It was very pretty. I walked thru the garden and looked back at the house surrounded by more flowers of every shape and color. It again struck me how beautiful it all was. I get the same experience when I am watching the cats or the dogs play. It's a wonderful feeling. I was in the present and problems really don't exist when you are there. I wondered how many of these snapshots in life am I missing because I am too caught up in my own thoughts?

These little glimpses of being present have taught me that there is great joy even in the midst of pain and suffering.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Things are looking up

Things are looking better for my son and I am feeling a little more relieved. I put him on 1/2 dose of calcium caltrate and that has controlled his diarrhea very well. No diarrhea= no pain so he hasn't had the severe pain attacks at all. It has been 4 days. Also he is still on a pretty bland diet but I just bought him some baby food and am introducing some veggies back in. I found some chewable digestive enzymes for him to take. From what I read, people who could not tolerate most food could eat almost everything when they took this stuff. I'm still going to introduce things one at a time and am using the Eating for IBS recipe book as a guide. I know he is not back to normal quite yet as he continues to have some gas and cramping as well as queasiness. I have been giving him peppermint tea and peppermint altoids and he has been on the probiotics for two weeks which have been working great. I have to say all these remedies have worked a lot better than any prescription drug that I have given him.

We are supposed to take him in for more blood work as requested by Children's Hospital so I am hopeful they will be able to squeeze us in the near future as soon as we get those results back.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Some sites to see in Maui

Thought I would comment more on my trip to Maui. We stayed at the Maui Parkshores in Kihei. It was pretty reasonably priced compared to other condos that we looked at. The building is a lot older than some but the condos inside were updated and modern. Our building sat across the street from a park and then the beach. Being on the 2nd floor, we had a great view of the water.

Sunset on the boardwalk by the Grand Wailea Hotel ( You have to see this hotel to believe it. It is fantastic!)

The best snorkeling we did was on Honolua Bay north of Lahaina. It was very protected and the water was much calmer than in other areas that we had been to. My husband and son said they saw thousands of fish and some very big ones at that. They also saw a 3 legged turtle and heard parrot fish eating coral under the water.

Lahaina was fun to visit. Had lots of shops and was very crowded. There were some historical houses and little museums to visit. We stopped in the Chinese museum. We also watched old movies that Thomas Edison had made of Lahaina and Hawaii in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
That was very interesting. Ate at the Hula Grill in Whaler's Village in Ka'anapali. They served us outside in the sand with live music by the beach. The food was good and had great atmosphere.

The Saturday Market at Kahului was fun and found a couple of great gifts to buy. One was handmade paper with dried hawaiian flowers wrapped around a glass vase. I also found a jewelry maker that had really nice unusual pieces. I had met him earlier at another craft fair and told him about Etsy.com as a possible site to sell on. He was most appreciative for the info and gave me a great discount on a necklace that I bought from him.

On the road to Hana which was long and winding, we stopped at Ke'anae Peninsula. It was very pretty and loved the water spraying the shoreline. Also bought the famous banana bread from a stand near there, fresh out of the oven. It was delicious and warm.

Ke'anae Peninsula

Hamoa Beach had great surf and got to see some real surfers do their thing.

Made a stop at the Seven Sacred Pools. It was very windy and chilly so no one wanted to swim. It also was a pretty area to see and very treacherous too.

Went to Maui Ocean Center Aquarium on our last day. A little spendy at $23.00 per person also not very large but they did have some nice exhibits . Loved the sharks, rays , and the plexiglass tube that makes you have the feeling of being in the tank with the fish. They also had a diver in the tank that talked about the fish and answered questions from the kids.

We visited a friend that lives on the island and he let us play with his Jackson chameleons. Their sticky tongues will shoot out several inches and nab live cockroaches. They were so neat that we are interested in getting some ourselves.

Jackson Chameleon

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Western modern medicine and chronic illness do not go hand in hand

Finally got in to see the doctor. Usually go to see the PA and she is much more knowledgeable and will take the time to talk with you than the doctor. Anyway, I was totally unimpressed. He basically told me that he didn't know anything about my son's condition and he wasn't going to try. Said I shouldn't be calling it IBS yet as it was too premature. Also that kids don't have what my son has and he's never seen anything like it. My son dropped 7 lbs in 3 weeks and he couldn't advise me on what I should be doing to put more weight on him. He is going to send us to a specialist 3 hours away but it will take months to get in. He did say yeast showed up in one of my son's test but he had no idea what significance that was. I asked about Candida and he couldn't tell me anything about it. I just rolled my eyes. My poor son came out of there thinking there was no hope for him. I told him to just ignore what the doctor said. I didn't want to see this guy in the first place but the other doctor and PA were on vacation so I didn't have a choice. I am looking into the Candida aspect as it can give IBS symptoms too but it seems like the medical establishment doesn't believe that exists either. I am so mad I could spit. I am thinking of looking up a naturopath. They could get a handle on this a lot better than any "physician" can.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

To Hawaii and back

Just had a whirlwind trip to Hawaii and it was good. Went to Maui and spent time on the many beaches. Went snorkeling, did the road to Hana, went to Lahaina and shopped until we dropped. I was very close to canceling this trip because of my son's condition but he did OK .Still had some flare-ups on the trip but he was able to participate in most of the activities. Today, however, was a very bad day for him. Almost had to take him to the ER again. Tried to get him into the regular doctor but they were booked up and they can't make any room for him until tomorrow afternoon. It's very frustrating. Looks like they are going to have to run some more tests on him just to rule things out. Meanwhile, I am still looking at different things and combination of things. Something has got to work.