So You Think You Can...6.25.08

Twitch and Kherington had hip-hop last night. It was solid. Still so proud of Stephen; fantastic blend of talent, hard work where he falls short, substance, and humor.

My favorite performance of the night was Chelsea & Mark...also hip-hop; lyrical hip-hop. (Napoleon and Tabitha choreographed both hip-hop pieces.) They completely killed this and made it positively palpable. Loved it. This is a perfect of example of how dance changes music for me. I love music, period. ...And Bleeding Love is a good song. After last night though, I hear it completely differently...and will never hear it again without seeing that choreography in my mind. Speaks volumes of the choreographers, as well as the performance. Someone else's interpretation/choreography would show up in a whole other way. This effect...and the way it affects me...is what makes music & dance/spinning so meaningful/powerful/significant/important (I can't think of the word I want!) in my world.

For what it's worth, I do vote for other couples...I just vote for Twitch MORE :). I'm sure that shallow strategy will require some adjustment as the season progresses. (If you're just joining me...Twitch is a friend of mine from camp-teaching-days in Alabama. He's fantastic and just a good guy; he really is.)

The bottom 3 this week...according to me...:).

  • Comfort & Chris
  • Jessica & Will
  • Chelsea & Thayne


The Scoop

As is often said...no news, is good news.

Since the PEG procedure, things have been relatively quiet. She was having a lot of pain/soreness from the surgery, but that has eased off now. Interestingly, she's been eating more by mouth since the removal of the NG tube and the insertion of the PEG...weird. Regardless, eating by mouth is a good thing...provided she eats and drinks enough to maintain adequate nutrition and hydration.

Her heart continues to be a bit...erratic; they continue to treat that by alternating nitro and digoxin. Her O2 level is acceptable and they are working to have her wear the BiPAP less...as not having to wear it would put her in a more "stable" category...and allow for a move/transfer. Though she is getting enough oxygen in, her exhalation leaves something to be desired and also leaves behind too much carbon dioxide. Other than a steady low-grade temp...those are the medical highlights.

She has had a couple of good days...which have allowed for some therapy and a couple of field trips :). One...to the solarium to look out of the window, and another...downstairs and outside for a few minutes (while in a cardiac bed/chair). On the not so good days, everyone works to keep her comfortable and somewhat oriented. Confusion is a constant.

The "next move" is certainly being discussed right now... I'll share more once the plans are in place. There isn't much to say right now anyway as she isn't yet stable enough to move...so we don't know the "when", and we also don't yet know the "where".

I always tell her when people ask about her...or when I hear from anyone, so feel free to leave a note...I promise to pass it along! I've changed my settings to allow comments from anyone (which means you don't have to register)...and I'll keep it that way unless I'm deluged by spam or other web trash.



A Novice at a New Novelty

I clearly have no idea what I'm doing,
but it's super fun and I'm bananas about Picnik.
Go forth and create!


Air-Conditioned Bliss

My sweet cousin...Bryan.

This is me SHOUTING from the rooftop!!!

Sipsey (my car) and I have been without air-conditioning for 3, maybe 4,
miserable summers.

In the last two years, attempts were made by a former mechanic in the family...which were (obviously) not successful. I appreciated the effort, and was told it would take about $2000 to fix it. Sipsey was born in 1997...it hasn't made sense to put that much cash toward something that doesn't directly affect her running...and I certainly haven't had an extra $2000. She has faithfully continued to run (she's been a great car)...and I (during the summers) have endured oppressive heat & humidity.

Alas, my sweet cousin - Bryan - FIXED my a/c yesterday!!! Embarrassingly, it was an easy fix...and thankfully, it didn't cost a thing. ...Which is absolutely crazy. If you know the former (well intentioned) mechanic I'm talking about though...you understand.

Bryan is a sweetheart by nature...he always has been. This is a fantastic favor/gift for me...and I can't thank him enough!!!



Granddaddy; 6.15.08

True Story

So the show (according to me) was a little more...comfortable...last night. Not to imply anyone looks too comfortable, but it just didn't read quite as...chaotic...as it did last week. I'm sure they'll settle in a bit more.

There were a few performances I liked (I may post clips later), and I few I didn't feel at all. For now, I (of course) want to share what Twitch and Kherington did. If you know me, then you well know that the background and inspiration of the piece really spoke to me. Jean-Marc Généreux and his wife, France Mousseau, created this for their daughter - Francesca - who lives with Rett Syndrome. She loves to watch the show and is uplifted by the movement and dance...something she cannot do herself because of this neuro-developmental disorder - which largely affects her motor skills. Incidentally, all of the choreography (pieces) certainly have a story behind them...or a concept. This had a unique purpose though, much like Mia Michael's piece last year about her father who had recently passed (a contemporary piece performed by Neil & Lacey).

Even if the Viennese Waltz isn't your thing (it's not mine...or Twitch & Kherington's for that matter)...it's a very sweet & personal piece; they certainly did justice to the choreography. ...And ultimately, her parents and the dancers were able to give Francesca a special gift.

As an aside... Some say the choreographers are being self-indulgent by placing such personal stories on their dancers & writing. I say...you write what moves you.

Go here for information about the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.


A Round PEG in a Round Hole.

Today was an eventful day. Grandmama had a feeding tube (PEG) placed in her stomach. The impetus for this is/was the irritation, rawness, and soreness of her nose, throat, and mouth. The irritation is a result of constant oxygen, the NG tube, and the BiPAP. She's been unable to drink (even water) and aside from some ice chips when she is conscious enough to have them + a few mouth-swabs...you can imagine how uncomfortable her mouth must be. This was simply the next logical step - though one we had hoped wouldn't come into play.

It was a surgical procedure performed downstairs @ Select. She was put to sleep for it and all went well. She's been asleep since they finished up and has had some medicine for pain. Her throat will heal slowly and she will certainly be sore at the site of the incision.

When and if she is able, she can have food & drink by mouth with the PEG in place. She'll have it for a minimum of 6 weeks. She'll receive the same diet, but through the PEG rather than the NG tube (which I forgot to mention was removed once she was sedated!). She can also receive medicine through the PEG...or through her PIC line.

She had a follow-up CT scan yesterday...which showed only a speck of blood remaining (yay!). She is receiving breathing treatments regularly and [unhappily] wears the BiPAP at night. Her ammonia level continues to vascillate between 20 and 40...so...it is what it is. At the end of a worrisome day, I'm thankful for answered prayers & the successful outcome. ...And when she becomes aware of it...I know she'll be thrilled to have the NG tube out :).


The Latest from Augusta...

Overall things are about the same... The best news is that the blood is continuing to recede off her brain...one spot is completely gone and the other is getting smaller and smaller.

Last week wasn't a good week and she had a rough time this weekend as well. Yesterday (Monday) and today though...are better days. Back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth again. We're entering the 9th consecutive week...by the way.

They are still working to bring her ammonia level down, regulate her heart (she is experiencing a lot of arrhythmia), and help her breathe more easily. She is receiving breathing treatments (nebulizer) and wearing a bi-pap mask a bit more. They are adjusting her heart meds to see what works best, and also trying to find the best fit possible for the food she receives through her tube. Someone who is diabetic and lactose-intolerant presents a bit of a challenge! She was able to participate in some physical therapy one day last week; she definitely does the best she can on her good days :).

She always has lots of company, but had some special visitors this weekend... Her former pastor and his wife came in....as did John, Nicole, and Elizabeth (who were down from NC). Grandmama really seemed to enjoy her time with them.

Granddaddy is doing well... He worked this past week and finally got his new choppers yesterday...he's been waiting weeks. They'll take some getting used to, but he's happy to be able to chew again :).

Hope all of the dads had a wonderful Dad's Day!

~ Grandmama with Reverend & Mrs. Prince ~

~ Grandmama with Elizabeth, John, and Nicole ~


I posted pictures of the shirt I sent Addison (Chris and Tiff's newest addition) before mailing it... They sent this over the weekend :). Tiff said it's a bit like a nightgown now...and clearly, Addy is THRILLED. Love this...wanted to share. Also posting the note I sent along with.



Ode to Bee's Knees Pad Thai

I called in...a late supper order
then crossed the bridge...which is also the border.
under-dressed at the bar, I patiently waited
for my Pad Thai; my tastebuds were baited.

(I also had a Bee's salad with ginger dressing; no tomatoes.)

super spicy & crunchy - my mouth all a tingle;
a plate where the noodles and flavors all mingle.
there's one slice of lime...which I never squeeze
a wheely bright garnish...the eyes it does please.

a lovely dinner - well worth short drive;
so much to enjoy my tummy did thrive.
for breakfast I saved the last few bites
Bee's Knees in the morning and Bee's Knees at night.


Top 20

My take: It definitely felt like a first show. Most everyone danced on top of the floor (rather than in it) and very little was done with ease. Having said that, it WAS a first show... They'll find their grooves...and the performances will become less rigid, nerve-wracked, and forced. Keeping in mind of course that I am speaking comfortably from my rightful place in the TV land audience; I cannot do what they do. Given my history of training, performance, instructing, and judging...I can [however] get away with a few remarks :).

First and foremost...SO proud of Stephen (Twitch)!!! I thought "Twitchington" gave a really solid and entertaining performance and am thrilled that he's showing America that he IS multi-dimensional...I knew he had it in him. Good start to the season for them; solid...with room to grow. Pacing themselves is a smart move. Their broadway piece by Tyce Diorio...

My favorite performance of the night - which was unexpected - was Katee & Joshua. For a hip-hop routine, she bled a little too contemporary at times - but it worked and was the stand-out of the evening (for me). Their hip-hop piece by Tabitha & Napoleon...

I also kinda dug Chelsie H. & Mark. More accurately, I love most things Mia Michaels and was surprised (again) with how much I liked Chelsie; I thought she did a really fantastic job. The Tim-Burton-wedding-inspired piece by Mia Michaels....

Honorable mention. The cha-cha performed by Chelsea T. and Thayne (choreographed by Tony and Meredith) was also really...something. Technically speaking, it felt very stiff in places - but she definitely owns a bit of zsa zsa zsu that is tough to ignore.



A little sussy I picked up for Addison... I have yet to buy her a proper welcome-to-the-world gift...and in the mean time, I found this a bit hard to resist.

I am notoriously ignorant about most-things-baby...specifically: sizes. I once called Kristin to be sure a "triple T" was the appropriate size for her nephew or whomever I was buying for. It turns out "3T" does not mean "triple T" or "TTT". Who knew.

I settled on the 12 month option as the "size" for this purchase. I didn't think it'd be funny until she was a bit older; it's all in the delivery (pun intended). I can't decide how I feel about the age = size concept, but apparently it's working for that crowd. I just have so many friends with tots these days...it's hard to remember how old everyone is - and therefore - what size they wear. It would be helpful if they could post their collective info in a chart somewhere for easy reference. Realistically though, I don't buy that many baby clothes so this really isn't an issue...as much as a general quandary when the issue does arise.

At any rate... I mailed this yesterday, along with a note to Addison. I don't think Tiff or Chris tune in to my electronic scribblings, so there's no risk of spoiling the surprise.


And So It Goes.

Grandmama & Kimmey; 4.14.07

Just wanted to update (primarily for the folks in 'Bama) - since I haven't in a few days...

For the sake of clarification, I did *not* go to see Grandmama Friday... Not to say anyone else noticed, but I thought it odd to write that I was sick with a cold/bug - and within the same blog - mention that I'd be going to see her later; I did spare her my germs.

I wrote last entry that she was reportedly better on Friday... Friday & Saturday were mediocre days; Sunday & yesterday were much worse. It's a combination of her actual health issues being exacerbated, and us struggling with what feels like a...deficit...in the quality of her care.

Not that it's meant for me to, but I'm well short of understanding the grand plan in all of this... All I can [concretely] see is that she is now suffering needlessly and that shatters my my heart daily.


All Over the Place.

Not that anything comes close to SEC football, but last night is the only time...that I can recall anyway...scream-yelling at the TV while watching something other than a game.

I cheered as Stephen made it through each round...

My heart sank when Shelia Kaiser was cut...

I yelled "NOOOOOO!"...when Evan Kasprzak was let go...

...and I SCREAMED when Stephen made the Top 20.

(I'm talking about So You Think You Can Dance...by the way.)

There are a lot of dancers in the Top 20 who either didn't get my attention (for whatever that's worth), or who weren't focused on, during the auditions. You can go here for a closer look at the Top 20... The last guy looks like Martin Lawrence to me.

I'm THRILLED for Stephen...Twitch. I'm going to start calling him Twitch. I am. I'm happy about Kourtni Lind and Courtney Galiano. I'm not surprised to see Chelsie Hightower, and I AM floored to see Susie Garcia. I also read she is a former NFL cheerleader...I think several of them are. As for the rest...I'll have to watch to get to know them. I have other opinions, but enough.

Grandmama is doing better today... She crashed Wednesday...showed some improvement yesterday...and is reportedly a lot better today; I'll see her this afternoon. Who knows what the weekend will hold... Thanks for your thoughts and prayers... Brenda and I were helping her with dinner Tuesday...this was her pureed plate. Poor, poor Grandmama. She is being fed via NG tube now...if nothing else, I can promise her she's not missing anything. She makes the most terrible faces when trying the various piles (icky word, but it's applicable)...who can blame her?!

Oddly, I received two phone calls from some sort of storm/weather service in Dubuque, Iowa (according to the area code) last night/this morning...the final one was @ 3:41am. I was being warned of tornadoes and other severe weather. I was half asleep...and it was a recording. I remember thinking I should move away from my window...that my bathtub seemed to far away...and I also remember turning on the TV to see if we were under any warnings [locally]. Weird. I have a dear friend in Iowa who was recently married; I need to send a note to see if they're okay.

I have a cold. I hate summer colds. Then too, I don't particularly enjoy spring, winter, or fall colds. I did a science project on the common cold when I was in either 7th or 8th grade. We lived in Japan at the time, and my teacher's name was Mr. Hovenkotter. He wore Birckenstocks. I had never seen them until I met him...

Tiffany sent a picture of Addison via phone yesterday... It was the first picture I've seen since the ones taken the day she was born... Elisa and others have spoiled me with regular updates. Sweet baby girl (Addison Brooke Horton) sleeping...

'm going to try to reign it in... Lunch is over and I can't fix this spacing :/.



Stephen!!! Stephen!!! Stephen!!!

Stephen!!! Stephen!!! Stephen!!!

Stephen!!! Stephen!!! Stephen!!!


(With Matthew...3.4.07)

Tuesday was an okay day for Grandmama... Not quite as a good as Monday, but okay; lateral.

Brenda and I did get to meet Dr. Blevins (neurologist) that day...and he was able to answer quite a few questions.

Yesterday was a bad day; we took a few steps back. Low blood pressure, high heart rate, high ammonia level. She has an NG tube again...and is receiving her nutrition + lactulose through that tube. She's also "severely dehydrated" and receiving IV fluids + IV antibiotics for a continued kidney infection. We're waiting to hear back on the CT scan, chest x-ray, and next set of labs.

As of 10am this morning (Thursday)...there's been no change.

SYTYCD - Milwaukee

A few stand outs last night... Happy about both tappers; I could practically taste Gregory Hines in the first (Bianca Rivels). The most memorable for me from the Milwaukee set is Evan Kasprzak. Looking forward to seeing a bit more of Kourtni Lind as well...interesting dancer; pretty heavy piece...in several senses.





We are entering into (according to Granddaddy) our seventh week of this hospital stay. All this time...and all we needed...was a cute male nurse.

I came in to a doe-eyed Grandmother last night... She told me that John Quartermaine from General Hospital had given her her bath. She said he "wasn't bashful one bit...and was *so* good-lookin".

The nurse, Jeremy, came in and introduced himself to me... Grandmama waved her fingers and batted her eyelashes like the pro that she is...seasoned, yet sweet. It all fell into place for me then...and I told Jeremy I had heard quite a bit about him. He had come in to say goodnight to Grandmama...and let her know the "new" nurse (who she would have for the next 12 hours) would be in to see her soon. Grandmama was disappointed when she learned she'd be getting a girl for the evening. Now that I think about it, I can only remember two other male nurses we've had this time around...clearly, neither struck her fancy.

After Jeremy left, I told Grandmama that I was surprised she introduced me as her granddaughter, rather than her single granddaughter (she's usually trying to hook me up). She clarified that this time, she was keeping him for herself.

We later learned that Jeremy doesn't usually work the 2nd floor, but he was supposed to be back up today. Then too, Granddaddy is off work for the remainder of the week...and planned to spend the day with her today. She may have to juggle a bit...

No medical changes yesterday, but she was certainly the happiest she's been in awhile. If that's all it takes...I'll have to see what I can do to make it happen more often :).


Ms. Sheila Kaiser

Love, love, love this girl. She is a UGA student who auditioned in Charleston. There have been several people who have made me want to watch (aside from Stephen)...and I've called a good friend who I've judged with in the past to talk about a few of the contestants (can't help it). Sheila, however, draws you in on an entirely different level. I DVRd the episode...and have watched just her audition at least eleven times. She also introduced me to this song...Wonderful by Annie Lennox. I'm normally not a fan of Annie...or even a tolerator...but love this song, and love this girl! Really hope she makes it to the Top 20....


So this is the new place... Select Specialty Hospital.

I took pictures because it's such an aesthetically pleasing facility.
There's nothing specifically spectacular...it's just the overall effect
versus a more harsh hospital setting. I will say though - that I vibed better off of University [Hospital]...something isn't sitting quite right with Select. I'm hoping my misgivings will dissipate as we see/experience the facility in the light of a new and full week. She was transferred on Thursday...and things seem to relax toward, and certainly on, the weekends.

There isn't a lot to report medically... There were a few misunderstandings - which have now been clarified; one to do with insulin, one with pain meds, and the other with aspirin & coumadin. We're all on the same page now and have a slightly better understanding of her treatment plan. I don't like that though facility is so much smaller (read: intimate), some information seems less accessible than it was in the hustle & bustle of University.

Her neurologist is supposed to be in to see her today... She's being treated by occupational, physical, and speech therapists as well.

Her mental state ebbs and flows...though her best moments are no longer their best either. Friday, we had some of the best (apparently the word of the day) conversation we've had in weeks. There were a good 20-30 minutes where she was even able to talk about how frustrating it is/was for her to be so confused. We haven't been back to that place since, but it's really something to know she's "in there"...and I think on her side, it had to be good to be
voice that...it was almost like she was jumping and down...waving her arms...saying: Here I am! Can you see me?! I'm still here!!!

I took some pictures of family in to her on Sunday...just what I had on hand. She was able to name some of photos...they were all either her children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren. I think I'm going to put together a basic album and start looking at that with her each day.

Hope everyone is well...