Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Lucila

Lucila would complete 99 years today, or thereabouts. (Civil records and baptismal recordings were not as precise a century ago as they are today.)

It has been nearly a week that the month anniversary of your passing was celebrated with a memorial mass and visit to your gravesite. It was so cold that day; we were able to stay for only a short moment.

You will be missed dearly.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Farewell Lucila

Lucila Santos will be waked at

Rivera Funeral Home
4543 Kennedy Blvd
North Bergen NJ 07047
(201) 861-6899

Tuesday 2pm - 9pm (November 11, 2008)
and Wednesday morning from 8:30 am (November 12, 2008)

The funeral procession will begin at 10:30 am Wednesday morning to

St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church
3900 New York Avenue
Union City NJ 07087
(201) 863-0233

Following the Funeral Mass, Lucila Santos will be interred at the

Arlington Cemetery
748 Schuyler Avenue
Kearny NJ 07032
(201) 991-1611

(Please note that these directions are to the corner of Schuyler Ave & Belleville Turnpike, and not to the burial site. Please follow the funeral procession as it departs from St. Augustine's, as the procession may enter from the Belleville Turnpike side entrance instead.)

Thank you all for your kind words.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lucila Santos 1909-2008

"I Love You. I Love You."
"Me Too."

With that Lucila took her last breaths in the arms of her niece Soledad, and began her everlasting journey with her Diosito.

"I Love You, I Love You"

I didn't sleep much of the night. I just couldn't find a comfortable position. Rita and I just kept exchanging glances the whole night. "You sleep." "No you sleep" "Close your eyes." "You first." "No you first." I enjoyed having my niece spend the night, although she couldn't sleep unless I slept, so she hardly slept the whole night.

In the morning, my doctors started seeing me early. My doctor, a young Cuban woman Resident came in at 7am. She wanted me sitting up more so that I can keep my lungs clear. Soon after 8am, I was down in x-ray getting my chest and abdomen checked, when my people came in to check on me. I was happy to see that my little buddy came down to the 3rd floor to find me and escort me back to my room. I had a good morning. I ate and enjoyed those moments with my visitors.

I got a bit of rest after breakfast, and ate well at lunch. I wasn't eating as much as I normally do, but certainly more than the last few days.

I was very dry, and was outputting very little from my kidneys. My urine was very, very dark. My bowels were hyperactive, and so I was asking for the bed pan constantly, although I didn't have much to excrete. Most times, nothing came out.

I was restless much of the day. Again, I couldn't find a comfortable position. My fever was down a bit, and I was eating better. These signs were giving many some optimism about my condition. My Soledad had to step out for the afternoon. An extra afternoon soup and yogurt was ordered for me; both pureed. Plus I had some special thick cranberry juice, one spoon at a time.

I had a general unease. Nothing was giving me comfort. My intestines were giving me pain, so they gave me a little something for relief.

Sergio went to get Soledad. I was so happy when they got back. He came in first and told me Soledad is here. I looked him in the eye and asked where. She's coming in, he said. I was so happy to see her. She came in and cried. I was worried about her, and told her not to cry. She said she loved me. She stepped out. When she came back in, again she cried and told me that she loved me over and over. I had another sip of thick cranberry juice. I looked at my Soledad and she looked at me. "I love you. I love you."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hopeful But Concerned

I spent most of the day resting. My fever had spiked higher so the staff was busy checking to determine what was causing the fever. They took new blood cultures, and additional labs. I slept much of the day, as I needed rest.

In the evening I got better. I was eating and talking, and made everyone feel a bit better. My improved condition came just in time for some visitors, including Rita who stayed with me the whole night.

Evening Visitors

I was looking good and feeling good just in time to receive some visitors.

Jessica feeding Luci

Jessica and Patrick hanging with Lucila

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back to the Hospital (Again!)

I woke up early today needing to move my bowels again. The only problem was that it was now dark, green and the scent had changed. That meant that my bowel was infected. Plus, I continued to have a sustained fever. Calls to the hospice, and them waiting for a response from my doctor was taking hours. We called my clinic directly and spoke to my doctor. She suggested that we go back to the hospital for IV rehydration, chest x-rays to make sure my pneumonia hadn't come back, and treatment for my bowel infection.

Back to Hoboken University Medical Center. We arrived late afternoon and spent the entire evening getting the necessary exams and labs. The medical service admitted me to the hospital. the residents and medical student reviewed my case in detail for a couple of hours and sent me up to the floor just before midnight with complete set of orders.

Up on the floor, Bernadette was my nurse. She had taken care of me last week on the same floor. Bernadette got me admitted to the unit and set up in my room. She started my treatment protocols including IV fluids and IV antibiotics. The irony; I needed antibiotics to counter the infection that antibiotics had made possible in the first place. The antibiotics that I had received to cure my pneumonia(s) also cleared my intestines of most of its bacteria. This left my gut with very little bacteria and an environment in which a nasty bacterial infection could take hold quickly.

My ahijada Rita was with me much of the day, including waiting with me in the Emergency Department most of the evening. Soledad and Sergio went home between 1am and 2am.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Matter of Perspective

Today was a struggle. I was feeling a bit under the weather. I woke up with loose stools. My intestinal irregularities continued the whole morning, until finally someone had to run to the pharmacy and pick up some Immodium. That finally plugged me up.

I had a couple of visitors today. My compadre Jorge stopped in to help care for me for several hours in the middle of the day. My niece Beatriz also stopped by to take over from Jorge later in the afternoon. It gave my people a much needed break on Election Day.

At night, Barak Obama giving his acceptance speech was an exciting moment for my niece. At the very same moment we were excited that I went to bathroom and was able to pee without any intestinal issues whatsoever. It meant that everyone went to sleep a bit more relieved. I just got Tylenol for the fever. One down, one to go.

It's all a matter of perspective; the things that will move one. Some moments of excitement can lead to national and international change. Others like my little moment are of a more simple nature. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Looked Great

Liesal, my personal home nurse, from the hospice care program, came to see me this afternoon. She was so excited to learn all about me. Liesel will be my regular nurse. This being her very first visit; she asked lots of questions about me.

Liesal said I looked good. You can't imagine how much comfort that brought to me. I held up well over the years, and look so young, she added.

I knew from the moment that she came in that I liked her. She made me feel good about everything. Mostly, she said my pressure and my lungs were good; that's what I'm most concerned about.

Just as my nurse was about to go, I asked for an apple sauce. I was hungry I said. So, I was eating apple sauce as Liesal left for the day. I wasn't properly dressed to go out to the living room, but after she left, I got dressed and went out to the living room. I hadn't moved a bowel for hours. Yeah! But had to again, on the way out to the living room, and again, soon after getting there. This super-regularity is becoming a bit bothersome. I'm going to take some Pepto-Bismol and have some water pudding. Guess, I'll stay in bed a bit longer; it's closer to the bathroom.


Stress can be almost unavoidable.

I was discharged Friday, and everyone was expecting that I'd be doing better than I did the last couple of days. I will likely get better soon, but my current state is stressful to those who car about me nonetheless.

I've been having very frequent bowel movements, so many that some blood was found in my stool this morning. This is a likely indication that I have an irritated colon from going so much, and developed some hemorrhoid(s). The hospice care nurse and my niece Raquelita were both reassuring when called for advice. Liesal, my home nurse from the hospice care program, will come for the first time this afternoon.

Nonetheless, the constant worrying about my health and life is stressful. The struggle with the philosophy of hospice care, and trying to reconcile the desire for a continued peaceful life with the possible call of urgency of a medical condition that could need hospitalization. Hospice care tries to keep patients at home where they are more comfortable and familiar, instead of in a hospital setting. To complicate matters, until recently I've been in absolutely great health, much better than many decades younger. So trying to figure it all out is not easy. Will I quickly get back to my old self, or does everything continue to get harder for me each day?

End care is stressful for myriad reasons. There are these questions of life and death that consume those who love you. There is also stress from the physical, financial, and emotional concerns. My daily needs take a physical toll on my immediate care takers as their own needs for nutrition, sleep and rest are often set aside to make sure that I'm cared for properly. Financial concerns can also cause stress because not only do my needs add extra costs, but the time taken to care for me interferes with their income generating activities. Emotionally, this is all hard for those who care.

My niece who loves me very much and took me in two and a half years ago is bearing the greatest amount of this stress. Unfortunately, she relieves her stress on my other little buddy, who is always here to help me with everything. He was here for me last weekend when I needed to get readmitted for Pneumonia; when most of family was able to go off to Miami for the wedding. He has followed my medical care constantly for these few years, especially during my two most recent hospitalizations, and every time that I need medical care. If there are two reasons that I'm doing so well these last couple of years, they are: 1) these two have provided me a stable home, and 2) he has directed my medical care, always being present at each doctor's visit so that my physicians' diagnoses could be properly understood and their orders properly followed. This misdirected stress is hurting the two people I depend on most in this world right now. Because of all this stress, she can get very angry, which can make things unnecessarily difficult. I don't blame her. The burden is unbearable. Yet she manages.

Financially, they are hurting. Business is not what it used to be because of the economy. The financial meltdown is interfering with business.  Yet they always somehow find a way to take care of me and my needs. I don't mean to be a burden, but they need help. 

I have family all over the world, but they have their own problems, and these two are too proud even to ask for help. My scattered family is found in countries with weakened economic opportunities, or in countries with better opportunities but in a current slump, or in school, or also dealing with businesses or investments that are not doing as well as hoped.

Please help. Taking care of me for even short periods of time, or taking care of the people that take care of me would be of the greatest sources of assistance that I could get at the moment.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Special Water Pudding

I'm a bit stronger than yesterday, but still running a fever and having a bit of intestinal difficulties. The loss of body fluids, together with a thin fluid restriction creates a special problem for me. To fix this problem, I was given a special homemade water pudding.

Special Pudding Recipe

1 qt cold water
3 heaping tablespoons flour
3 heaping tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt

Mix flour with cold water in large sauce pot. Add pinch of salt. Bring to boil on medium heat and simmer on low heat, mixing constantly until mixture thickens. Add sugar. Mix thoroughly until all sugar has dissolved. Pour onto large wide plates for rapid cooling, or into shallow soup bowls for use later.

This special water pudding provides much needed water. The cooked flour helps bind loose bowels, the sugar provides much needed glucose, the salt provides some electrolytes.

Be sure to add potassium elsewhere in the diet to compensate for potential loss of electrolytes. Possible sources of potassium include eating a banana for anyone who can tolerate it, or some cooked smashed plantain for those who are a bit more delicate. The starch in these can also provide some binding. To add more binding, feel free to add an extra heaping tablespoon of flour or two. Also, potentially useful for binding are apple sauce, and rice.

Salt can be adjusted to accommodate low-sodium diets for hypertensive individuals, but ought not be omitted entirely unless a bit of sodium is present elsewhere in diet, in order to provide for possible electrolyte deficiency.

Sugar can be adjusted for diabetic individuals, or replaced entirely with sugar substitutes or omitted if absolutely necessary for reasons of blood glucose levels. For everyone else, the glucose in the sugar provides much needed nourishment.

The Roller Coaster

I started getting my nebulizer breathing treatments last night, which as helped. My weakness increased overnight. I had been getting progressively weaker throughout the day. Because I developed a fever I was given Tylenol. It is early Sunday morning and I feel a little better, but haven't gotten much sleep. I wonder if anyone else at home slept any. I'm going to try to grab a few minutes of sleep before Raquelita comes to visit this morning.

The nurse who answered the hospice care hotline in the middle of the night said that it can be like a roller coaster. Some days everything seems so well, others not quite so. Yesterday was a not quite so day. Let's hope today is a little bit better.

Trying to figure out whether to go back to the hospital is tough for everyone.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

First Home Care Nurse Visit

Brenda, the nurse from Compassionate Care Hospice, came over this afternoon to evaluate me and admit me to their service. She was very nice. I made her smile several times. When you get to know me, you'll realize that I'm a handful. Even in my condition, I requested that the lights be turned on when Brenda was reviewing the paperwork.

To help me with my breathing, Brenda ordered a nebulizer machine and breathing treatments. That way, I can feel like my old self again.

Today more on my mind is, "Que Dios me lleve al cielito." - May God take me to heaven.

This is right in line with hospice philosophy; a compassionate end. Yesterday, when I was feeling much better; having just received outstanding care at Hoboken University Medical Center I was more inclined to return to the hospital for acute care if need arose because of a similar episode in the future. Today, I'm not so sure.

I'm sorry for the pain and suffering that I cause those who worry about me. I'll be fine. Don't worry about me. God has given me a great life, and many people who care about me. Every day that God gives me breath is a gift.

First Morning Home

I woke up this morning at home, which makes me happy. However, I'm not feeling so good. The oxygen compressor was filling my small room with electrical motor smell so my oxygen was turned off during the night. Plus, My last nebulizer treatment was yesterday at noon. I'm struggling a bit for air. I'm only complaining about the arthritic pain in my legs or arms. I don't complain about these pains when I'm feeling better, usually reserving such comments for my less well days.

Right now I am awaiting the arrival of the hospice care nurse, who will do my initial home evaluation. I'll drop you all another note later to keep you informed of my condition.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hospital Farewell Morning

I had a great morning looking forward to going home around noontime. I had a number of visitors too.

My brother Patricio stopped in to see me. He so dislikes being near sick people; so I especially appreciate his presence. I'm sure he must have been reassured by my condition. I haven't felt better in weeks. He came with this son Patricio and another niece, Gloria Soledad, our brother Juan Manuel's daughter, with her own daughter Cristina. It was so much fun to see so many people who love me so much.

Luci with her dear little brother Patricio

Luci with Patricio Jr.

Luci with Soledad and Cristina

I enjoyed my breakfast, and had my last medications administered at the normal morning time of 10am. I was hoping to get lunch early, but it came about noon causing those who were planning my discharge and transport home some grief. The respiratory therapist administered my midday nebulizer treatment about noon.

There was much going on this morning. Since I was going home today, I was very excited and extremely happy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

OKed For Take Off

My doctor stopped in this evening. My chest x-ray was much better, so he discontinued the IV antibiotics. He said that I'm OK to go home. The hospice coordinator is setting up my equipment deliveries and my nurse evaluation visit so that I can be discharged around midday tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to going home and sleeping in my own bed. I'll miss the nurses and aides. There were so nice to me.

I feel so much better. I'm back to my old self. I'm making my way around by myself, holding onto chairs and walls when necessary to make sure that I've got my balance. I enjoyed reading my Bible today. My brother Patricio visited me this afternoon; coming with my nephew Pedro and his wife Belizabeth. My niece Juana also stopped by. Veronica visited me again, after work today. I had a full house today. I guess some folks got a bit worried by the meeting this morning. It got people thinking about what the future may bring.

Don't worry too much. I've gotten extremely well, and am in no rush to go away any time soon. For as long as I'm able I'd like to stay well. We can cross any other bridge when we come to it.

I'm Going Home

I feel good today, and ask everybody that I see if the doctor has approved my discharge. I'm ready to go home.

Soledad came in this morning. When Kathleen, the Palliative Care nurse, passed by she noticed that both them were here, so she decided to try to assemble the Palliative Care team meeting early. The meeting had been scheduled for 3pm, but was rescheduled for 10:30 am. Myniece and "ahijada" or goddaughter Rita came to visit me this morning, with my nieces Beatriz and Genoveva. They happened to come just in time to participate in the meeting this morning. During this meeting, my family was met by the Palliative Care team which included the nurse, physician, social worker and chaplain. During that meeting they had a good discussion and agreed that I've had a good life, and that I am not too happy coming to the hospital at my age. All the changes makes me confused and anxious. Hospice Care was introduced to them and seems to be a good fit for me. I am ready to go to heaven "cielito" if it is God's will. I am in reasonably good health for my age. I read my Bible, and am of sound mind. The idea of being treated at home sounds like a great match for me. I have already said that I don't want to be resuscitated if I take my last breath, or if my heart beats the last beat. Hopefully, I have a long time ahead, but it is not in my hands. I have given it all to my "Diosito." Whatever it is God's will.

I am happy, and am ready for my destiny, whatever God desires for me. Don't worry I haven't given up living. I'm going home and will continue my routine in reasonably good health. I might not be returning to the hospital again, as hospice suggests. Although, at the moment I'm feeling so much better than las week, that I'm thinking that I might very well want to come back for acute care, if I get sick really sick again. As long as I'm still mentally sharp, and can survive with a reasonable quality of life, I want to be treated.

I wish to thank all the wonderful people here at Hoboken University Medical Center and at Palisaded Medical Center, who have taken care of me; especially the nurses and aides who have been with me every day. Thank you.

Larry stopped in this afternoon and signed me up for Hospice Care. I will likely go home this afternoon. I will have regular nurse visits and aide visits at home. The Hospice is also providing equipment and medications that I may need. If I go home later, my hospice nurse will come visit me at home later to start my care.

I am honored to share my special journey with you all here. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tomorrow Will Be Another Day

My doctor came to see me this evening and sent me immediately for an repeat Chest X-ray. They're also going to get some blood in the morning. These tests are to check and see if I'd be ready to go home tomorrow. I'll keep my fingers crossed. They already brought me a fresh change of clothes this morning, so that I'll be ready when the doctor says I can go. I've been itching to get out of here since the day I've arrived. Don't get me wrong. I like the nurses and all the other staff. Plus, they just so adore me. Makes me feel special, you know. But I've been wanting to go and sleep in my little bed at home.

My nieces Soledad and Genoveva visited this morning. They said my brother Patricio would come tomorrow to see me. I just love being with my little brother. He's leaving Saturday, and I'd like to spend some time with him before he goes. I never know when I'll see him again.

I've got my normal voracious appetite and eat almost everything in sight, or at least much of what Room Service sends up to me. I've been walking to the bathroom almost unassisted. Although someone is always there to assist me; I can walk myself, often without anyone holding my hand. My balance seemed to be better. My nurse tried to get me out of bed and onto the chair in the morning. I didn't let her. After lunch, when coming back from my bathroom run, I asked to sit in the chair. My nurse was very happy to see me sitting in the chair when she walked back into my room. She put something under my feet to elevate my legs. I stayed in the chair much of the afternoon.

My stomach was feeling a bit upset in the afternoon. They sent a stool sample to the lab for analysis. I was wondering if I should have dinner. But by the time dinner came, I was ready to eat. And did I ever. I was feeling better and ate well. If my intestinal issues are resolved by tomorrow, they may finally let me get out of this place.

The Palliative Care nurse and the chaplain came in to see me this afternoon. They interviewed me. We are going to prepare Advanced Directives tomorrow. I'm feeling better, and everyone agrees that this is the best time to think about how to handle the future. Everyone wants to consider my wishes, if and when I am no longer able to clearly express myself. At the moment, I'm very lucid and aware, and many say quite intelligent and energetic, too.

Still, I'm no spring chicken you know. If anything, I'm more of an old hen, although my spirit is as youthful and energetic as they come. I inspire joy in all who come anywhere near me. They all say that I'm so cute. I smile and giggle each time. I never tire of the complements.

I've had a good life, you know. I can't complain. My philosophy is "Como Dios disponga." Loosely translated it means God's will is my will. Whatever God gives me is a gift from God. I am thankful for each breath of life that God gives me, but am ready whenever God is. "Dios sabrá cuando me llevará al cielito." Literally, only God knows when he'll call me to heaven.

All this serious stuff left me a bit anxious this evening. Let me get some rest. Tomorrow will be another day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting Better

I'm regaining my strength, and walking to the bathroom regularly, assisted of course; although I consider making a run for it all by myself. But everyone is always so attentive, that there's always someone who comes to help me.

It was a busy morning.

This morning I had my initial physical therapy evaluation. I even got to walk out of my room with a walker the physical therapist had. I wasn't as grumpy about getting a chance to walk, as I had been during my physical therapy eval at Palisades. The IV antibiotics cocktail are fighting off the infection, and the IV steroids are helping my lungs to heal. I haven't felt this good in weeks, maybe months.

My doctor stopped by this morning also. He says that I might go home in a couple of days.

The speech therapist stopped by to perform a swallow test. After the examination, they confirmed that for the moment I would remain on a pureed diet, with honey-thick liquids. They will continue some examinations of my swallowing abilities.

Before I forget, I received some nice visitors this morning as well. My Soledadecita, my niece with whom I live at the moment, came in to see me this morning, after her ordeal at Ft Lauderdale Airport. It's incredible how ridiculous the airlines have gotten in their customer service lately. They frustrated my niece's every attempt to get back early to see me. She had been in Miami at the big wedding. Soledad came with her sister America, and a couple of special guests who are in town visiting from Quito for the wedding. My niece Gloria Soledad and her daughter Cristina, the daughter and granddaughter of my brother Juan Manuel, came to see me. Getting visitors from so far makes me feel so special. Isn't it cool how much everybody loves me.

Later in the day, I was told that Arlette's son Christian and his wife Anne had been in to see Arlette. She's been in so much pain the last few days, since her fall last week. She remarked at how thorough the examinations are in this country. Since they haven't been able to figure out exactly what's causing the pain, the doctors have been putting her through numerous diagnostic exams, to try to bring some clarity to her situation. There were no fractures readily visible initially. However, because of the intensity of the pain and the fact that it keeps Arlette from barely moving and makes walking impossible; they were now doing more sophisticated exams to figure out if the pain was indeed muscular in nature as initially thought, or possibly a hairline fracture of the femur or hip, or a some other cause such as neurological. They will even come back tomorrow to test her inner ear and her balance.

Arlette commented that the health care in this country is unparalleled. She has been treated in hospitals in various countries, and can clearly see the difference with both the level of care, and the attitude. These Americans are tougher she says. They have an expectation that you'll get better. They work hard, and also make you work hard to bring about a positive outcome. They push you harder. The care she has been getting here at Hoboken University Medical Center, and that care which she received a couple of years ago at Bellevue Hospital Center, when she was hit by a subway car in New York (or more accurately was pushed backward onto the platform by the gush of the train, as it was departing the station) are unequally by care in any other country that she has ever experienced.

I too am very grateful for the wonderful treatment that I'm getting.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feisty Is Back

I settled into my room nicely. My nurse was impressed at how well I passed the night. I'm walking to the bath with assistance throughout the day, but I'm no longer getting short of breath when I do. I hate to stay down for long. That feisty spirit has been keeping me going for nearly 98 years. Plus everybody loves me, because I'm so nice with everyone, and just so grateful for all the lovely care that I am getting.

It's been an eventful day. Being Monday, there was much more activity throughout the hospital.

For the third straight day, my IV pulled out accidentally. Together with the blocked IV in the Emergency Department on Friday, that makes it 4 for 4, or maybe 5 for 4, (I don't remember for sure, but I think 2 pulled out Sunday) or even 6 if you count the very first IV that was put in when I first arrived on Friday in the Emergency Department. A new IV every day. I've got great veins, but with all the new IVs that I've needed and the multiple second attempts, I'm nearly tapped out of good veins. I've only got two arms after all. Even so, my nurse got the new IV in on the first try this evening. Yeah!! I just wish the nurses would wrap the IV site more thoroughly. I don't mean to pull out the IVs. I often even forget that they are there; they don't seem to bother me too much. But the clear band-aid holding the IVs in place rub off as I roll around in bed. The nurses are so nice to me, and I know that IVs are good for me, so I never give them a hard time when they come to put them back in. Those IV antibiotics are literally saving my life.

Christian and his fiance Karen stopped by to see me, and brought some flowers, and added them to the pinks roses that Veronica and Alejandro brought yesterday. Karen is so big. They're expecting a new baby girl in just over 1 month, just before Christmas. It's so exciting to see the cycle of life. That's another great granddaughter for my brother Patricio.

A couple of nice young women who are nutritionists stopped by to try to fix the problems Food Services has been having in trying to get appropriate meals for over the last couple of days. With my loose dentures, and my medically necessary low-sodium diet, my food options have been limited. With a speech therapist at Palisades Medical Center further restricting me from all thin liquids for fear of aspirating these fluids into my lungs, makes getting my nutrition right even more difficult. These nice girls are working to fix some systematic issues in Food Services that was not working well.

The nice young girls also got me some honey-thick drinks for me. I got thick apple juice, which I enjoyed, and some honey-thick milk, that I saved for tomorrow. And they put me in for Ensure pudding with each meal. I've enjoyed my nutritionally enhanced drinks for several years now. This thin fluid restriction is cramping my style. I really like to drink "my milk" - nutritionally enhanced drinks, plus fruit juices; and I love soup, and milk with oatmeal. So, I'll have to make some adjustments.

Also, a speech therapist stopped by to screen me for a swallowing evaluation, which I guess may happen tomorrow. My nurse says that I'm in the computer for a physical therapy evaluation. Mondays are really busy. They didn't stop in today, maybe tomorrow.

Plus, most folks are back from the wedding in Miami. So I'll probably get many visitors tomorrow. So much for crazy Mondays. I'm going to sleep. Let's see what Tuesday brings.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Room Another View

This afternoon, I was presented with the sad news that Arlette was being moved to another room. Arlette was very sad, and so was I. We enjoyed our time together as roommates. Soon after my roommate Arlette was moved, they informed me that I would be moving to another room. Both of us are seemingly better, and neither was in need of continuous heart monitoring. We both ended up on the same new floor, but in different rooms. Since neither of us are able to walk long distances, it will be some time before we can spend time together again.

View from my new room soon after we arrived:
Sunset over the Palisades bluffs.

I must admit that the change in room didn't settle well with me. I was feeling confused and anxious, and even complained of a sight headache. Only when I realized that Arlette was alone, did my concern for her help to relieve the anxiety that I was feeling over my own move. I sent someone over to inquire about my French friend. She was doing as well as could be expected. Arlette invited us to visit her on the Costa Brava in Cataloña. I doubt that I will ever be well enough to make that trip, but it was nice to have the invitation extended nonetheless.

View from Arlette's new room this evening:
New York visible in the distance over Hoboken's waterfront towers.

I kept asking if we were going home tonight, or even first thing in the morning. Desiring a familiar setting, I was thinking of home. As I slept in the evening, I was having dreams. I spoke out loud and moved my arms in concert with my dreams. I do that sometimes, especially when I'm not feeling well.

Clinically, however, I am better. My breathing is much improved. Mentally, I was just affected by the change in environment. I was similarly affected a coupe of days ago, as I sat in the Emergency Department contemplating my move to a new room upstairs. I settled into my previous room, so I guess I'll have to settle into this one.

My doctor stopped by to check on me. He mentioned that I might benefit from a short stay at a rehabilitation center in a couple of days, to get some physical therapy and improve my weakness. I was not well enough to discuss this tonight. I guess we'll have something for tomorrow.

Late in the evening, I received a new roommate, a patient admitted directly from the Emergency Department today. At first, she seems less communicative than my last roommate. Ça va.

I will try to be good for the night. See you in the morning.

A Room With A View

It was a spectacularly sunny day. My hospital room has a view that opens up to an eclectic mix of new and old buildings across the street, towers along the waterfront, and the tops of New York skycrapers (includig the Empire State Building). I myself was just excited by the sunny afternoon sky.

I Tried To Run Away

I tried to run away this morning... well not exactly. But I had to go urgently. So I got up out of bed, and made a run for the bathroom, with the bed alarms sounding. As I said I had to go. My roommate and good friend Arlette yelled at me to stop as best as she could, and called for the nurse. The staff helped me to finish my business, and to get back to bed. I still get short of breath, you know. I was very happy to receive my niece Veronica and her husband Alejandro. They stopped by just in time to help me with lunch. They motivated me to tell stories. I enjoyed reliving the memories of my youth.

I've been eating well. I had already eaten twice this morning by the time lunch arrived. All I can think about now is when I'll be ready to go home. It'll probably still be a few days, but I'm so happy to have my French roommate next to me. It makes it easier for me to sleep more easily at night.

Before I forget, a nice lady stopped by this afternoon and offered Holy Communion to me. I was so happy to receive the Blessed Sacrament, and was filled with joy and happiness. I said my prayers and impressed everyone with my spirit, including the nice young woman who shared the sacrament with me. She said that I made her day, and she walked away with such a big smile. I think she is a "monjita," a nun, although she was in civilian clothes. The expressive joy that arose from me seemed to infect all around.

I think I'll take a short nap now. I hear lots of folks are on their way from Miami. I want to be well rested in case I get more visitors later today.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's Official: Pneumonia

My doctor stopped by my room earlier. He announced that they found a pneumonia. The staff here at Hoboken University Medical Center are taking very good care of me. They are giving me some powerful IV antibiotics, that are ridding me of the pneumonia. This morning I was able to walk to the bathroom assisted but with little difficulty. This afternoon, the same walk caused much greater difficulty. However, I feel much better today. Yesterday, I was extremely short of breath upon even minimal exertion. I am cheerful and look forward to being discharged in the coming days, cured of my pneumonia.

I was very excited this morning by the visit of Fr. Martin, who administered the Holy Oils. Receiving this sacrament is a special blessing for me.

Thanks for your well wishes. Veroniquita called from Union City, and Gina called from Germany. Most everyone else is in Miami at the wedding and hopefully dancing the night away. Good luck to Jorgito and Shuanita. Enjoy your honeymoon.

Earlier I was reading the comments sent by Angeloni and by Rita from Utah and by Paulina from London. I am grateful to all of you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hoboken University Medical Center visit

They took me to Hoboken University Medical Center Emergency Department, since the Palisades Medical Center was on divert, which means they were either full with no available beds or were extremely busy and couldn't handle new patients at that moment.

The staff in the Emergency Department were very nice to me and professional. I was given 2 potent IV antibiotics, and breathing treatments. They also performed many tests: blood tests, blood cultures, arterial blood gas, chest X-ray and CT of the chest. It took many hours to get all the tests done, but I finally got up to my room after 9pm.

Toward the end, I kept asking to go home, as just lying there was leading me to get anxious. When I got up to my room, I was happy to meet my roommate Arlette, who is visiting from France, and speaks Spanish too. She is very nice. I was so tired from all of the day's activities that I fell asleep not long after getting settled in. Plus, the beds upstairs are so much more comfortable than the cots in the Emergency Room.

My nurse also seems very caring and competent. Without any special prodding from me or my family and friends, he ordered consultations from Speech Therapy to test my swallowing, and from Physical Therapy, to help with my weakness.

Lucila Goes To Hospital (Again)

After three days of continuous high fever, my doctor is putting her foot down. She is insisting that I go to the hospital and get checked out. I was hoping to stay home, but I'll go 'cause I want to feel better.

Thanks for your well wishes. See you home soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lucila Going Back To Hospital

I think I'm going back to the hospital to break this fever. I'm feeling better than yesterday, but I've still got this fever. I'll keep you posted if we end up going to the hospital.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lucila Goes to the Doctor Today

I am going to the doctor later today, to follow-up from my recent discharge from Palisades Medical Center. I have been seen at the North Hudson Community Action Corporation's Community Health Center on 43rd Street.

I am grateful to all those at the center, who have been so kind to me, especially the young woman Monica who gifted me with her late grandmother's wheelchair. I will be eternally grateful.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thank you, Thank you

Thank you to all the wonderful people who helped me in my recent stay at the Palisades Medical Center. The staff were wonderful and kind.

Lucila recently arrived at home from hospital.

Thanks to all who visited me, especially the farthest traveling visitor Dr. Miguel Brito, who drove from Connecticut to check on my medical progress.

"Que Dios te bendiga". -- May God bless you. -- Lucila

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rebeka Verea Foundation

Dr. Jorge Verea took time from his busy schedule to make sure I was doing well. One special commitment that takes Dr. Verea's time is the Rebeka Verea Foundation. Ckeck it out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Luci gets Visitors

My brother Patricio's grand kids came to visit me at the hospital. I was so excited to see the youngsters.

Luci with Jessi and JoJo

Luci with Patrick

Shout outs to THS!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Palisades Medical Center visit

I was rushed to the Palisades Medical Center Emergency Department this evening with a worsening respiratory infection, and was admitted to the hospital in the early morning hours with a Pneumonia diagnosis.

Drs. Raquel and Miguel visit

I am thankful that Dra. Raquel Reyes and her husband, Dr. Miguel Brito, came down to visit with their two daughters. They heard that I wasn't feeling so good, so they rushed over this morning to see me and gave me a quick check up. They are so wonderful to me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Patricio Visit

Patricio visits his elder sister.

Lucila is excited to see her brother for the first time in nearly two years. Having come for his grandson's wedding, Patrick will be in town for nearly a month. He stops in frequently to see his big sis (ñaña), who he loves very much.

He is equally excited to see his elder sister, who raised him (the youngest brother) from a young age and all his brothers and sisters after their mom died. Patricio is especially grateful as Lucila helped him with his own large family, before and after his own wife passed away.

There are many people in this world grateful to Ñaña Lucila, who helped to raise them, their parent, grandparent, and/or great grandparent, and to whom she has shown much kindness.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lucila Goes To The Park

I love going to the park and seeing the little ducks.

Lucila loves the park

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lucila Visits The Amish

I love going to Lancaster County. Seeing the horse buggies and the farm animals reminds me of my childhood. I lived most of my life in the big cities, so I have a special place in my heart for images that trigger nostalgic memories.

Lucila loves being in farm country

Lucila loves going to Amish Lancaster County