Friday, August 21, 2009

Hurry Up And Wait--Bring A Book Along!

Oh, those doctor trips! My recent trips to doctor offices have brought back memories of when I used to take my dad. He was always so nice and apologetic because I had to take off work to take him to appointments. This was frustrating on several levels. I used to make the appointment as early as possible so I could still get to work in the afternoon and not have to take the whole day. Dad knew he moved slow and didn’t want to rush so he was always good about getting up early and being ready to go when I got there. He was so thankful that I took him because at this point, he wasn’t driving anymore—doctor’s orders.

I always took a book along to read because we never were taken at our appointment time and the waiting room always seemed full. Why do they schedule appointments so close together? It seems they have no consideration for their patients’ time. We always had at least a 30-min. wait before we were even allowed into the examining room where the nurse would weigh him and take his blood pressure and test his sugar. Finally, on a good day after about another 20 min. or so we would see the doctor.

Another time, we waited and waited and waited until finally the receptionist said she got a call from the doctor and she’s on her way. I’m thinking, well, I would think so! Since then, I just took of the whole day to take him because it was just too stressful.

Another time, after we waited for 2 hours, the receptionist comes in and tells us the doctor just called and can’t make it, her car broke down.

The blood work was another mess. The lab was in the same building which was very convenient. The first time we went, it was closed. They were on vacation and no one told us. Took off work for nothing that day! We finally reschedule and they take dad’s blood. When we go back for the follow-up appointment, they tell us they didn’t get the blood test results back yet because their fax machine was acting up. Why couldn’t they walk downstairs or take the elevator to get them? This just blew me away. Obviously, we’re there for our follow-up appointment and the doctor hasn’t even looked at the results yet! I walked down to get them.

When dad died at 89, I felt some relief in knowing he no longer had to deal with doctors and pills anymore! Now, here I am having to deal with my health problems. I'm too young for this!

Recently, I have had to go often lately for my mammogram, then an ultrasound, then an aspiration, then a biopsy, then back to hear the bad results and make more appointments. What I don’t understand is why medical secretaries can’t schedule appointments so that we don’t have to wait for hours. Our primary care physician is very good about this. We always get the first time slot and only usually have to wait 5-10 minutes which is acceptable.

For my recent cancer experience, read: How A Phone Call Ruined My Day

Monday, August 10, 2009

Are You Sure You Want to Throw That Away?

UPDATED 8/18/09: To see paintings I did, check out What's Your Hobby--I used to Paint on my Karen & Gerard Zemek blog.
Harry made a really nice painting easel when my mom watched the painter on channel 25 so she could paint as a hobby. She ordered his books and bought some oil paint and enjoyed just copying the pictures from the book. Harry would set it up for her right in the living room! I too began to paint some of the pictures and found it to be fun. Harry made wood frames for many of the pictures mom and I painted and we put them around the house. Here are some of the pictures done by mom:

The books gave clear step by step instructions as to how to do it and what colors to use. Although both mom and I tried following these instructions to a tee, our paintings resembled the pictures in the book, but never exactly, which is okay. We had a lot of fun trying!

When I had to clear out everything, I found these paint books and the easel in the basement. I kept the books and the palette dad made with the thought that I could probably sell them on eBay or if not, I may want to paint again one day. The easel though was kind of big and Gerard was already worried our house would soon be crammed with junk like dad's was because every time I went over there, I'd bring things back home with me and have to find a place for them--usually the eBay room in the basement. This though, I just couldn't think of where to put it so unfortunately, it got thrown out. Watch the video I made of me using the easel and dad making an appearance at the end in his suspenders that I hated. I thought they made him look like an old man. He was always supportive of everything I did.

I regret now that I didn't put it in the garage at least and hang on to it. My advice to those who have the task of cleaning out a house and getting rid of things, when you get to the place where you just want it to end, take a break. That's when I made some bad decisions and ended up tossing out things that now I wish I hadn't. It's hard to know what to keep and what to let go, especially since a lot of it is just stuff that may just have sentimental value. Don't discount that. My advice based solely on my experience is that if in doubt, keep it "for now" and after the grieving process, you can decide then if you will ever use it or if you should throw it out. You can always throw away things later, but once you throw it out, you can't get it back!

(You can order My Funny Dad, Harry by clicking on the "buy book" tab at the top of this blog.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Harry Didn't Think His Life Was Boring--What About You?

According to this Blogthings quiz, my dad had a boring life; however, it wasn't boring to him. Even though every day was pretty much the same and he generally stayed home, he was very happy and content and often said he never got bored. Because he did everything slowly, he never seemed to get done everything he hoped to do in a day.

Harry always had several projects in the works such as cutting the grass, fixing something, indexing his magazines, reading the newspaper, cleaning the litter boxes, feeding his cats, reading his mail and paying his bills. On rare occasions he would even straighten up something or clean something!

You Live a Boring Life

You aren't necessarily a boring person, but you've fallen into living a pretty boring life.

Somehow you've gotten yourself stuck in a rut, and life just isn't that interesting anymore.

You need to start acting and stop thinking so much. Just go for it, and don't let yourself come up with excuses.

The only way to make life less boring is to start living it. Let go of your hang ups. Go out and have an adventure!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Comment Showcase--Top Comments For July

Thanks to all who took time to comment. These were the most interesting, funny or encouraging comments we got in July:

On Why Write A Book Review I got this wonderful comment:
Martha A Cheves said:
I loved what you wrote about book reviews. I write reviews for new authors and even have a blog site for them. Since I write cookbooks I decided to make my site different by adding the Author's favorite recipe. I've just ordered your book and hope you will allow me to post it to my site as well as the other 37 sites, Amazon and B&N as well as give me a recipe for A Book and A Dish. You can check my site at
Can't wait to start reading.

On Sad Fourth of July--Striper Was So Much Fun
Mom said:
I know this feeling. My dear Gizmo had to be put down the day before Thanksgiving - 2004. It was one of the worst days of my entire life. I still cry for him at times. I loved him so very much. The night before we took him to the vet I dreamed that he crawled up on my shoulder and kissed my cheek, as if to say good-bye. (Okay - I have to go cry now...)

On How To Grow Strong Spiritually
I received many encouraging notes and prayer support. I was very encouraged by these and here is just a sample of the comments I received here:
Homestay Mama said:
I'll be praying, Karen. In the meantime I know you know that nothing happens to us without God's permission. And he will use this situation to bring glory to himself.

Karen at Karen's Opinions said:
Good luck with your biopsy. It will probably turn out to be nothing but it is good to have it checked out. Praying for you.

YeoKeeHui said:
God knows and He cares. He has been taking good care of us all these years and He will continue to do so.

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.