Archive for November, 2013

Passing Remarks

It is with great sorrow that I announce a death in the family.

At approximately 11:30 am today, November 17, the body of Bella T. Gerbil (also known as Gerbella) was discovered in her home.  Last seen by family on Thursday, she passed quietly at an undetermined time in the interim.  Bella is survived by her nearby companion, Kate T. Gerbil, her loving adoptive mother Shira, and her grandparents Amy and Hank.

Bella was interred next to the remains of Lightning T. Greyhound in the family pet cemetery at noon, with a eulogy given by Amy.  The family mourned and sat shiva briefly on Sunday.  In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area.

November 17, 2013 at 5:24 PM 1 comment

Eliana’s Helping Hands

So here’s what happened Wednesday afternoon. I was talking to Eliana’s nurse about one of her medications, both of us standing right there in her bedroom, and the nurse turned back to Eliana and said, “Oh, no! She just pulled out her NJ tube.” (That’s the feeding tube she has for overnight.) What makes the NJ tube a real pain is that you need an X-ray to confirm that it’s in the right spot, past the stomach and into the first bend in the intestines. The other thing that makes it a real pain is that it’s annoying to have a tube going down your nose and tape on your face holding it in place, and even an almost 4-month-old knows that. On the plus side, she’s getting more coordinated with her hands, an important milestone.

So I just told Hank I’d pick up our CSA share, was literally going to put my shoes on and leave, and now Eliana has a big loop of tube hanging out her nose–not a pretty picture–45 minutes before the nursing shift ends. I called Hank and told him he’d have to pick up the veggies, and then I hear a knock at the door–my saving grace.

We have a website called Eliana’s Helping Hands, where friends and family sign up to coordinate help. One of the helpers was just arriving and graciously offered to come with me and Eliana to the ER to have the tube replaced. It made for a much more pleasant trip. 

The rabbi asked us to write about what people have said that’s helpful and what people have said that’s not helpful. I’ve been thinking about how to delicately write about it without offending anyone who may have said something stupid, but the truth is, I forget the not-helpful things almost immediately. You can’t spend any time or energy on things like that, and I know no one’s trying to be rude. I really can’t think of anything anyone’s said that has bothered me for any length of time. I’d say it’s not what people have said, it’s what they have done that’s stuck with me. I still can’t believe the outpouring of help we have gotten.

A neighbor I don’t know that well emailed today. She heard about Eliana through the grapevine and offered to help. Would I help someone like that? The old me, no. I wouldn’t have helped someone I didn’t know well. I’d be too afraid. The new me, sure. 

The husband of Wednesday night’s helper called later and said something I’ve known for some time now, basically it’s a mitzvah to allow people to help. He thanked me for allowing his wife to help and said how the help you give comes back around. I remind myself of this whenever I feel like I’m being a burden asking people for things or being pushy by telling people what we need. I will help you when you need it. This I’ve learned from Eliana and her helping hands.

November 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM Leave a comment

What’s Wrong?

After coming home from the hospital last night–getting the NJ tube replaced after handsy Eliana pulled it out of place–Hank said I should write a post about what’s gone wrong since we’ve been home. I spent a few minutes thinking about it and couldn’t come up with anything noteworthy. Sure, there was the night Hank worked late (the infamous flat tire evening), but I had help at home from Bubbe and Grandpa and a nice salmon dinner to boot. Shira finished her homework and Eliana was taken care of. It was a good night.

There was the night we left a bag clamped on Eliana’s dialysis setup, which alarmed at 2 am. We had to call the doctor and rig up a plan for the rest of the night. We got by and were just a little sleepy the next day. There was the first day without nursing help, when the tape holding Eliana’s NJ tube started peeling off. No problem–we got it back on. There was the night we had to start dialysis at 6 pm so it would be finished for an early morning appointment the next day. Did I mention that was also trick or treat night? Good thing Shira and Eliana have two parents so that one of them could undergo dialysis and the other could dress up as a minion and collect candy from neighbors.

But I didn’t think of any of those days when Hank brought up what went wrong yesterday. All I could picture was Eliana’s smiling face. That’s a big smile for me and Shira after spending four hours in the hospital. Yep, still worth it.

November 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM Leave a comment


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