Wednesday, April 30, 2008

ACE NETC 2009 - Des Moines, Iowa

This is the "invitation video" for the ACE/NETC 2009 conference. Very funny! The day after I first saw it, I was in the car and my iPod shuffled to Proudest Monkey. I laughed!

ACE NETC 2009 - Des Moines, Iowa

Friday, April 25, 2008


I love fresh local strawberries. Love them! DH kindly stopped at Jean's Berry Patch on the way home and picked some for us.

Hannah update

Last week Hannah had a scary episode and was diagnosed with old dog vestibular. After one week, I am happy to report that she is doing much better. After a week, she is not quite 100% but she is doing well.

When I first picked her up from the vet at last Thursday, she already looked better. I let her use the bathroom in the front yard before going into the house but then she wanted to go out back with Emma. I let her but supervised. She stumbled on the threshold on the way out and kind of did a controlled fall down the six steps to the backyard. (this did not bother her although it did bother me). She went back up the stairs just fine. She slept well, which is good because she had tossed and turned the night before.

For the first two days, she stopped at the top of the stairs each morning and wagged her tail/held her ears indicating that she wanted and assisted going down. I carried her. She also indicated that the back door was not an option so she went out front (just two steps). Once or twice she got "trapped" upstairs without meaning to.

She's been going both up and down the steps fine since then. Her only problems now are that she crashed and burned when she jumped on the Big Bed (needed a butt assist to get all the way on but she was feeling well enough to try and that's something) and she seems to be holding her rear legs somewhat differently. She is playful and looks like Hannah and that's a huge relief.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Hannah Girl

Hannah is our thirteen year old labragirl. She's my heart dog.

This morning Hannah was not at all well.
  • She did not come out of the bedroom with me and Emma, her golden retriever sibling, this morning. I had to call her. Normally both girls are anxious to go downstairs to get their breakfast and to have a potty break, in that order. Very unusual.
  • She went to the rug at the back door while I got the girls their breakfast. Normally both dogs are right there "supervising" while I get their breakfast. Very unusual.
  • She did not really want her breakfast. VERY UNUSUAL. Emma ate hers, went outside and then Hannah took another 15 minutes to eat. I wanted her to get it down in case the Zubrin might help her. I let her out the front door because there are fewer steps for potty break. When does it ever take a lab 15 minutes to eat breakfast?!
  • Hannah was pacing pacing pacing pacing pacing and walking kind of funny (holding her rear legs wide) and then she lays down (like the Sphinx, not on her side), then more pacing and so on.
  • When I went to give her a Be Good for Daddy Treat (no, they are not spoiled) before leaving for work, she did not want to come to me (five steps at most) off the rug by the back door to get her treat. Since when to labs not want treats? When I leaned forward to make it easier, she grabbed it and dropped it and it seemed like she couldn't see it right.
  • DH, said that Hannah tossed and turned all night (I sleep through anything).
  • Last night Hannah was 100% Hannah. She is the one who wanted playtime, not her younger sister. When I went to bed, she jumped up on her own (about half the time she asks for an assist). This seems to be something that happened overnight.
  • She seems more confused/worried than in pain. I mean, when I looked into her eyes that's what I saw. DH said that she looked "overwhelmed."
DH brought her to the vet and her blood pressure was "sky high." It has since returned to high-normal. Her left rear continues to be weak. Her reflexes are "in the normal range." The plan as of noon today was to add Tramadol to the Zubrin that she is taking (pain management). If she does not improve, referral to vet school.

Hannah's vet had a phone consult with a neurologist at the vet school. He said that it sounded like Hannah has old dog vestibular. She has all of the symptoms except the eye rolling but he said that the vet school gets a lot of referrals due to cases that lack the eye rolling. He would like to wait two weeks before seeing her because it should stabilize if that is the case. Our vet wants us to call her every other day.

Note: The photos were taken this evening.

Nutrition frustrations and confustion

What does it mean when your nutritionist says that your situation is puzzling?

Hear is what happened. Three experts say that I am under eating. I agree that I should be able to eat more. Testing revealed that my resting metabolism rate was quite low. Solution, eat more. Your body is smart and will figure it out. Testing shows how many calories are burned at specific heart rates on the bike. That plus the RMR plus a little extra for not staying in bed all day equals the calories that I can eat. Good.

RMR + living + exercise = Allowed

On paper, this all makes sense, however, I gained weight pretty continuously on this even though I was an average of 250 calories or so under that amount. However, the rate that I gained corresponded with the amount extra that I was eating. I had been eating about 1200 calories per day on average. I changed to eating about 1850 calories per day.

(1850-1200) * 28 days = 18200
18200/3500 (one pound) = 5.2 pounds

And yes, that's very close to what I have gained.

Why would I be so special that time tested formulas wouldn't work?

We know from bloodwork that at 152 beats per minute on the bike I burn 9.2 calories per minute which works out to 552/hour. We know from testing what my RMR is, this was not a guess. Even if you give me 0 calories per day for not laying in bed, this still does not work out. What is going on here?

At the same time, I am further away from my weight and body fat targets than I was four weeks ago. Frustrating. Very frustrating.

Maybe four weeks isn't a very long time for my body to adjust?

I need to give myself better gifts.

Grandma's progress

Yesterday a friend of mine asked for a progress report on my grandmother. Here it is!

Grandma is still at The Oaks but she is off restriction -- no longer in contact isolation because the MRSA infection is gone. The infection was a bit of a setback for her because she needed to see the surgeon that fixed her hip so that she can be cleared to put weight on it. The surgeon couldn't see her while she had the MRSA infection. That means that her physical therapy had two set backs. While she was in isolation, she had PT but in her room so it was limited and now she has one week longer before she can put weight on it. They are guessing that she should be walking about two weeks after that. This means three more weeks at The Oaks.

Where she goes from there is anyone's guess. My mom is thinking that Grandma needs an assisted living place rather than an independent living place like Abbotswood. This brings up a whole mess of issues like the fact that assisted living costs a lot more. The siblings will probably need to discuss the situation because of the cost and so on.

Grandma is feeling a whole lot better now that she is off the strong antibiotics. They weighed her when she moved into The Oaks and again on Tuesday. She lost 20 pounds during the two weeks she was on those medications.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Spring blossoms -- magnolias

Last Friday, I took pictures of the wisteria and some other plants and trees currently in bloom at the NCSU Arboretum and in the surrounding area. These are a few of the magnolia pictures that I took.

Magnolia Eskimo, Kehr Hybrid Magnolia

Lower two, Magnolia Sunsation

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cherrries and tulips and dogwoods, oh my!

When I took pictures of the wisteria blooming near my office, I also took photos of other plants and trees currently in bloom at the NCSU Arboretum and in the surrounding area. (I was surprised that the arboretum doesn't seem to have any dogwood trees!)

Below are pictures of a weeping Fuji cherry (prunus incisa), upright Sargent's cherry (Prunus sargentii), Pink Impression tulip, a grouping of tulips, more tulips and a dogwood blosssom.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Hurricanes end season

The Carolina Hurricanes ended their season on Friday night. DH and I were in attendance. Had the Hurricanes defeated the Florida Panthers, they would have gone on to the playoffs. As it turned out, they are on the outside looking in.

Tuomo Ruutu during the pregame skate

Just before the opening face off

DH and me after the second period.


At lunch on Friday I went out and took some pictures of the wisteria that I can see from my office as well as a some other pictures of what is in bloom at the NCSU Arboretum. Wisteria blooms are around for only a short time. They look like bunches of grapes hanging from trees and some of the vines seem to have gone wild our area -- like kudzu, only prettier and less invasive.

The photo below is of the wisteria on the fence outside of my office window. The arboretum is on the other side of the fence.

The bottom two photos were taken inside the arboretum. They also have some wisteria with white flowers in the arboretum but the purple flowering vines are much more familiar.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wednesday night OMV ride

Last night Oh Melo Velo (OMV) was great as usual. I saw k1v1n there as well as several of the people that I ride with most weekends -- Jim, Sandra, Mark, John-on-the-single-speed -- and several OMV friends -- Eugene, Lisa, John, Sandra H.

The route for OMV is always an out and back. The turnaround time was 6:48 last night. The route last night went in a different direction than it has for the first few weeks and I really enjoyed it once we got across the railroad tracks. A train must of come just before we arrived because traffic was all jammed up and we were there for two light cycles. Even so, my average heart rate for the ride was quite hight.

I hung with the fastest group for the first 10 miles and then was in contact with them for the next three or so and completely lost contact just before the turnaround. I saw them coming back as I approached the turnaround and almost got back on but there was traffic where I needed to turn left so the last half of the ride was solo. I was pretty happy with how I rode and I didn't mind riding along but was a little embarrassed to come into the parking when I did. I just said that I was playing at being sweeper.

All in all, I had a nice time again this week.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Grandma at The Oaks

Grandma was transferred to The Oaks on Friday. The move was supposed to occur at lunchtime but there was some kind of transportation problem and she didn't arrive until after dinner time.

Since just after her hip was put back together, she had complained of problems and she was tested for a yeast infection on Thursday. It's a two day culture and the results came in on Saturday -- methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA staph infection. She's on some very heavy duty antibiotics for this and she is in isolation for two weeks. The Oaks moved her roommate out. She is on what they call "contact isolation" now that the doctors at The Oaks have seen her. At this time, it seems that the infection was caught relatively early is confined to her bladder.

The Oaks is just under 15 minutes from my workplace and I stopped in for a brief lunchtime visit with her yesterday. She was very tired and the antibiotics are making her nauseous but her color is much much better. It's a really nice looking place. The Oaks is only two years old and the whole place is carpeted. They have Nautilus in the gym that she will be using for rehab. It has fountains, a courtyard, a Starbucks (or maybe they "proudly server Starbucks coffee") and all the TVs are LCD. Fancy.

My mother was relieved to hear that one of the symptoms of MRSA is confusion. Hopefully MRSA was the issue all along and that it is not mini-strokes that my mother was worried about.

I will try to bring Hannah to visit Grandma when we have a nice day. I need to confirm that I can bring a dog up to the porch or courtyard for a visit. Hannah used to do therapy at Dorthea Dix and I can get her paperwork updated if necessary.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad have rented a storage unit for Grandma's stuff. Grandma was scheduled to move from her apartment to a retirement community today. At this point, it looks like she may be headed to assisted living instead but we won't know for a while yet.