Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Journey

 My Dad's Amazing Journey

Today my Dad started his Journey on The Never Forgotten Honor Flight.   He checked in, got his yellow shirt and began to mingle.


 Aidan's Cub Scout pack was there as volunteers to help the Veterans and their family members get checked in. 

The Veteran's rooms were prepared uniquely for their arrival.
Dad took his official photo and met his Guardian, Dawn.

I ran in to some other special people that I know!

The Veterans were then called to dinner.

The Scouts were a part of the Flag ceremony and Dad was given a surprise honor to stand and be saluted by his grandson and his fellow Pack members.

It was a great evening!  I hope my Dad gets a good night of rest before his Journey tomorrow morning.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Inflatable Colon! How fun!

Inflatable what?

Today was the annual Cancer Conference for the Aspirus Regional Cancer Center.  This year's topic was Colon Cancer. The speakers were dynamic and engaging.   I'll be honest- in past years I have almost nodded off.  But not this year.   There was talk about butt cracks, poop, the patients love for bowel prep, pictures labeled in Chinese and so much more!  Who knew learning about the colon could be so entertaining?

 A little humor from the Dr. Schneeberger:

Funny andy singer fat  cartoon, September 20, 2006

But they highlight had to be the Inflatable Colon.

Mary  Kay, Dr. P, Chris


Hero?  Who me? 

This week I was given an amazing award.  It is called the Hero Award.  In order to get the award a patient or their family member makes a charitable donation to the foundation - and writes a note of thank you to the person of their choice.
The award was given out on my day off.  When I got to work the next morning my coworkers were waiting for me.  They took me aside to give me an "update" on a meeting from the day before.  As they started reading about some of my coworkers receiving awards I suddenly heard my name.  I was stunned.  It was unbelievable to be honored for a job I love.  As they read the kind words from the patient who honored me, I was almost embarrassed.  The *frosting* on the cake was seeing how happy my coworkers for me.  I even saw tears of joy. 
Nursing is usually a job where your reward is self driven.  We do not look for recognition.  We just do what we do.  What an amazing, personal and wonderful award to have received!   I am not sure I should ever be defined as a *hero* but I am grateful that I was able to make a difference for someone I cared for.

G is for Garden

The garden is growth and change and that means loss as well as constant new treasures to make up for a few disasters.

I cannot play in my garden up here in the Northwoods yet so I am playing garden on Pinterest!  I am so anxious to get out and stir up the dirt.  This will have to do for now!

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. " May Sarton

large vegetable garden,,20364156,00.html

cilantro pot
Violet clustered bellflower.
Gardening Organic Bamboo T-Shirt




f is for un*finished

I have so many Knitting projects waiting to get started.  But first I needed to finish some projects in limbo!  

Barely a Pattern Infinity Scarf

Pop Blanket

Chromaticity Cowl


I have to confess....I *might* have started another new project today........

E is for Empathy

Empathy  As defined by Merriam-Webster

the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings

There is no way to measure the value of friends.  One of the byproducts of friendship is empathy.  Empathy is not the same as sympathy.  Sympathy is when you have emotions or feelings about the trouble your friend is going through.  Empathy is when you can actually feel the emotions a friend is going through.

For whatever reason, I feel things very deeply.  This is not always a good thing.  I feel very strongly about injustices to others.  It physically hurts me to see someone treated badly.  This would cause me to become too involved in the problems of others.  I thought I had to "fix" things for them.  I actually had to unlearn this behavior.  I have learned that feeling the hurt or disappointment of others did not mean I had to do anything more than empathize.  I can share and acknowledge the hurt, but I now draw the line there.  This was not an overnight process.  It has taken YEARS.  I still fumble at times, but I am a better friend when I can recognize the needs of those around me and respond with compassion. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

D is for deaf

deaf  as defined by Merriam-Webster:

lacking or deficient in the sense of hearing

Our son was diagnosed with hearing loss late.  He struggled with ear infections and ear surgeries for the first 9 years of his life.  We were blindsided by the magnitude of his hearing loss that was diagnoses when he was 12.  I vividly remember taking him in to see the audiologist- an audiologist who remembered testing him just 3 years earlier and declaring his hearing loss as minimal.  He seemed skeptical that we would find anything different that day.  I also vividly remember the look on his face when he came back to get me from the waiting room to review the results.  Moderate hearing loss to the left ear, severe hearing loss to the right ear.  Words that hung in the air, the unanswered question of what does that mean?  It has been a meandering road to bring together both the technologic and the educational pieces.  Andrew finally wears both of his hearing aids and also uses an FM receiver at school.

This morning, my husband, Zack and I met with our son Andrew's IEP (Individualized Education Program) team. The team includes an Audiologist, a Hearing Impaired Consultant, a Speech/Language Pathologist, the School Psychologist and one of Andrew's teachers.  Throughout this process the unasked and unanswered question has hung around.  Until today I did not know that Zack and I had the same question.  Until today I did not know we were both trying to find the appropriate time or way to ask. 

The Hearing Impaired Consultant was reviewing her meetings with Andrew.  They are done in a setting with 4 other hearing impaired teens.  She was describing Andrew's confidence and self awareness- noting how much it had grown in the last year.  She related to us that Andrew is very comfortable in defining himself as deaf.  I recalled a conversation I had with Andrew recently when he stated, "it's okay Mom, I am deaf."  I remember how taken aback I was at his words.  This was the opportunity.  So I asked.

"Is my son considered clinically deaf"?

The answer is not a clear yes or no.  According to the Audiologist and the Hearing Impaired Consultant he is not clearly delineated as Deaf, but he is also more extreme than hard of hearing.  They both stated that in the current culture he chooses how he wishes to be identified and right now he is proud to say he is deaf and states that it "just means I learn things differently".  

Love that Boy!!

D is for deaf .

The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center:
  • deaf with a lowercase "d" is usually an audiological description of a person's hearing level. It most often refers to a person who is unable to use his or her hearing for the purpose of understanding everyday communication. Being deaf does not mean the person can not hear anything at all.  Not all people who are deaf identify themselves with, or participate in, Deaf culture.
  • Deaf with an uppercase "D" refers to deaf adults and children who share the use of American Sign Language and Deaf culture-common values, rules for behavior, traditions, and views of themselves and others (Padden & Humphries, 1988). People who identify with Deaf culture and describe themselves as Deaf may also have a range of hearing levels. 

  • Degree of hearing loss 
    • Normal range 0-15 dB HL
    • Minimal 16-25 dB HL
    • Mild loss 26-40 dB HL
    • Moderate loss 41-55 dB HL
    • Moderately severe 56-70 dB HL
    • Severe 71-90 dB HL
    • Profound 91 dB HL or greater
  • How loud is loud- everyday sounds 
    • 0-25 dB HL: Approximate threshold for normal hearing
    • 30 dB HL: Whisper at five feet
    • 50 dB HL: Average conversation
    • 90-110 dB HL: Loud auto horn, a person nearby who is yelling
    • 100-110 dB HL: Motorcycle engine
    • 150-170 dB HL: Jet engine (painful for humans)