Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010

I have such mixed feelings about this New Year. There are some things that I'm really looking forward to (grad school hopefully) and some things that I'm dreading (John dying). It's a little weird to know that someone I love is going to die this year. I don't think I've ever been in this position before, and it makes the whole concept of the new year and starting fresh a bit sour, really. But I'm trying to remain positive and focus on the good things, and start fresh as much as I can. I joined Weight Watchers online today, to help me readjust my eating habits and take off this last 30 pounds or so that I gained in college. I also went out today and bought a bunch of stuff for beading. I like making jewelry but I never seem to have the time, so I'm going to specifically determine a day of the week that I can do it, so that I'm at least doing it once a week. I really have to organize my life like that or I never get anything done.
I am looking forward to the lab move. That's supposed to happen on the 10th of January. It will be nice to finally get out of Steve's hair and move somewhere that isn't in the way, especially since he has some new hires coming in. I will miss the lab though, even the people that annoy me a bit. The way everything played out kind of sucks.
Anyway, here's hoping that 2011 doesn't suck as much as I'm afraid it will.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Earlier this afternoon my family went to visit John at the hospital. Even though I work in a hospital, I've actually only visited someone in the hospital once before. I had forgotten how utterly dismal it is, no matter how much the designers try to make it look bright and happy. People die there and it seeps into the walls, so that it's always gloomy and grim.
John was asleep most of the time we were there. He has pneumonia on top of the heart trouble and the lung cancer, so he had been given some steroids and antibiotics to clear the infection, and they made him pretty loopy. He's stable, but I've never seen him look so sick. Granny was trying to stay calm, but we all know that the prognosis is really bad. They may not even be able to do a biopsy to stage the cancer because of the possibility of him bleeding to death while they do it, so they may just offer palliative radiation treatment to try and shrink the damn thing. No matter what, it all ends with him dying. No matter what, this is his endgame. We just don't know how long it will take to play out.
We left and I'm glad that I'm on vacation this week, because it seems impossible that the world can just keep going on like nothing has happened. It shouldn't keep going on; someone I love is dying. But it does. Trying to keep up with the rest of your life when it feels like everything should grind to a halt is hard. At least we all get a little bit of time to get used to it.


Right, so now I'm going to write a post about the stuff I got for Christmas to take my mind off of all the familial health-related issues at the moment. So.
My granny gave me a ring that she has had for years. It is sterling silver, with turquoise and another kind of stone that I'm not sure what it is. It was made by a Native American friend of hers, which is awesome because I like having the legit stuff that's been kept in the family.
My grandma and grandpa got me a lot of stuff, which I'm not sure they're supposed to do anymore but they do anyway and I'm not complaining. My grandma is the master at finding little local shops to buy things in. This year she found a tea shop in downtown Plymouth of all places and got me some of their tea. It smells amazing! She also got lots of little candies from local artisans-chocolate covered pretzels and stuff like that. And true to form, she got me a Wii game-Kirby's Epic Yarn.
My immediate family still does normal Christmas. I got about a thousand DVDs-seasons 6-10 of Stargate SG-1, the first season of Battlestar Galactica, the 10th Dr. Who specials, and the best of Beakman's World! And then I got games-Rune Factory Frontier, Guitar Hero, and Chrystal Chronicles for the Wii, and The 4 Heroes of Light for the DS. And then I got my favorite instant coffee ever-Fireside Coffee. It's also from a local company in Swartz Creek, and it is delicious. It comes in all kinds of flavours. Grandma got me some last year and I loved it so much that I asked for more this year. Oh, and I got two more giant microbes for my collection-Anthrax and TB.
For my family, I got my Dad his 2011 Dilbert page-a-day calendar. My Mum wanted these microfiber cloths from Levenger that have impressionist paintings on them, so I got her those. I think they're for cleaning her thousands of pairs of reading glasses. I got my brother some matcha powder and a whisk, since he's been wanting to try matcha tea for a while now.
It was a good Christmas, although it got really weird because of the family health issues. Today hasn't been much better on that front. My grandfather John is having a biopsy to confirm that he does have lung cancer, but we all know that it is. The mass is wrapped around his vena cava so there is no way it can be operated on, and palliative care is about all that can be done. Maybe they'll try some radiation once they know what stage the cancer is, but we're looking at probably less than a year left before he dies. And then my great-aunt Frieda is in surgery today to get a colostomy because her intestines are perforated. That's a long obnoxious complicated story that I don't want to repeat, but I will say that her health is so poor due to diabetes that it's entirely possible that she will die on the table. So it's a stressful time for the family. I'm glad we were able to have a decent Christmas anyway, but I know this is really hard on everyone.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Right, so this was going to be about my Christmas, but it's not. Instead it's going to be about how my grandfather is probably dying.
John is my grandfather (okay, technically my step-grandfather, but he's been more of a grandfather than my real one) and he was admitted to the ER this morning with extremely low blood pressure. The doctors did a million tests and found out he has an atrial fibrillation, which is normal speak means that his heart isn't pumping regularly. The reason for that is a mass in his lung that is pressing on his heart. It's probably lung cancer; he's been a smoker for 40 years. And then this evening he had a small stroke. I guess they caught it in time to prevent any major damage, but who knows if that was it or if he'll have more. On Monday they're going to try and biopsy the mass in the lung, but it's cancer, we all pretty much know it. So I don't know if it will be next week or next month, or even six months or a year from now, but I'll be going to his funeral pretty soon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas and other stuff

Last weekend we chopped down a Christmas tree and put it in our house. We do this every year because fake trees are sad. I especially enjoy it because when I move back out, I'll probably be moving into an apartment that only allows sad fake trees. So I relish having a real, pine-tree smelling white spruce in the living room. Now that we finally decorated, it feels a little more Christmassy around here, which makes me less grumpy about it getting dark at 5pm.
What still makes me grumpy is that my science is not behaving. I've been trying to do this GLUT4 blot for two months now, and Aliccia and I cannot get the cells to respond to insulin. We're trying one more time this week, and I really hope it works, because if it doesn't I'm pretty sure we've got serious problems. I hate working ten to twelve hour days when I have a two hour round trip commute so I'm tired and grumpy. So I really hope this works so I can stop working long Thursdays and Fridays.