Saturday, November 22, 2008

A fun weekend, so far.

On a spur of the moment sort of thing, we decided to hop in the car and head to Gravelly Point. This is my husband's favorite thing to do in DC, so he was eager and excited! :) We bundled the kids up and figured we'd run around the bike path and soccer field to keep them entertained. Luckily, there weren't too many planes taking off, so it wasn't too loud. The kids had a blast! Ethan, unfortunately, is just like me in some ways. We both have very poor circulation in our hands and feet, so it can become a miserable situation when it's bitter cold outside. Even with his little mittens on, his hands were raw and red by the time we got back in the car and he was just miserable. Part of that, of course, was because he was plumb tuckered out. Elizabeth, true to form, was raring to go and chattered all the way home. After about 30 minutes of sobbing, Ethan finally passed out. All of a sudden, out of the backseat, we heard him softly snoring away. Elizabeth said, "Nigh-nigh" as she pointed at Ethan and waved.

We lazed around most of the rest of the afternoon, after nap time. The kids are absolutely loving the Christmas decorations. I can't describe it, but this feels like it's going to be the best Christmas I can remember. I'm so excited to see their little faces every single time they come down from naps. They make such a big deal about snowmen (no-men, as Figgy says), Santa (ho-ho-ho, as Prof. says) and the lights. I can't wait for the neighborhood lights to start going up and we can drive around to see them. The neighborhood up the street (over 300 houses) all do luminaries from the entrance to their neighborhood, all the way through. The first time I saw that was when I was a little girl and we were in Albuquerque for Christmas. We were on our way to a new duty station and that's where we stopped for a few days. The hotel staff was fantastic with us and had a small, decorated tree waiting for us in our room (4-foot tree). It was probably the best Christmas I can remember as a child. Mom drove us around town on Christmas Eve to look at all the lights and luminaries along the roads. It was magical. :)

Tomorrow we have a busy day ahead of us. I have hospice duties in the morning and then shopping for turkey dinner. Every year, for the last five years, I've made the same few main dishes that are an absolute hit. Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter, Smoked Bacon and Cornbread stuffing. This year, I'm not making the cornbread stuffing. We'll do something different. Paula Deen's Green Bean Casserole. Yummy! And, Wayne's Cranberry Sauce. I substitute Sparkling Cider for the Grand Marnier.

Then, after naps, we've got a suprise party to go to in the early evening. None of these people have seen Figgy and The Professor since they were newborns, so it should be fun. :)

Oh...real quick. Last Sunday morning, before I headed out to see my patients, I got a call from my coordinator at hospice. She left a message for me because she wanted to warn me about what I'd find when I went to see my favorite patient. Well, nothing could have ever prepared me for what I found and I burst into tears when I saw her. She's a sweet little 96-year old Italian woman. Unfortunately, her family isn't very well off and they had to put her in the local state-run facility. It's a hell hole and I detest going to visit her there. The staff is horrible. It stinks, it's dirty and it's just...well, a hell hole. As I walked into the sunroom, where she was sitting in her wheelchair, I put my stuff down on the table like I normally do. I went to bend down in front of her to take her hands and tell her that I was here...her face was BLACK. She had a knot on her temple the size of a baseball (I kid you not!). Her eyes were swollen nearly shut. Someone had beaten her. I couldn't stop crying and had to remove myself from the room for a few minutes until I gathered my composure. When I went in, she was just not herself. Normally, I'll sit and chat with her for a few minutes and then she'll fall asleep holding my hand. I just sit there, quietly, and read while I hold her hand. This time, she wanted me to sit so close to her and hold both hands, with one arm around her for comfort. She kept saying, "She hates me. Help me." Nothing else made sense, which is not unusual for her. It was a very difficult visit for me and I called my coordinator in tears when I left the facility. We're in the process of an investigation and the family has contacted the state licensing board. We'll see what happens, but it just kills me that there are people in jobs like this that do these sorts of things.

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