Friday, February 26, 2010

Some fun photos

Sonali and Sunil
New York wonderland.
Sleepy puppy!

Abused kitties.

Ma in the kitchen!


Hi! Sonali here.

The snow is falling thick and fast, making New York City as much of a wonderland as it can be. Trixie is loving the snow that is up to her ears!

Sunil is doing better, too. He had a better night - more sleep, less tossing and turning - under the influence of Benadryl (gotta love when over the counter meds work better than fancy prescription ones). He had one of his twice-weekly acupuncture treatments today with Nick, who brings an aura of calm over the apartment at least temporarily, until someone yells "Trixie! Get your nose out of my coffee! Why are you eating the gardenia? What the heck is that in your mouth?? Drop! Drop!"

Our mom got in yesterday, despite all the snow. Yay for LaGuardia pulling through for once! She'll be here taking care of us, cooking breakfast, and playing with the dog until Sunday. Then she and our dad will both be back next Thursday for another long weekend.

Thanks for the cozy thoughts! Hope you're all snug.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tough Nights

Sunil has been experiencing some really uncomfortable nights the past two nights. He can't sleep and is uncomfortable. He tries tearing his clothes, tubes, bracelets, blankets off of him because he feels "Twisted." It doesn't help that he can't roll to get comfortable like we can. He takes his oxycontin, Ambien and Neurontin and still can't sleep. So strange. Sonali and Ada (Nurse) thinks we should try Benadryl to make him sleepy tonight, that perhaps there is something going on in the specific brain receptors that allow Ambien to work.

Last night I just upped his dose of Oxycontin to 30MG which is what the docs said he should be taking, but he hasn't been in any pain so Sonali and I have been giving him just 20 mg at night. So he finally slept about 2AM. The problem with "narcing" him like that is that he slept in until after noon and a small seizure when we tried to sit him up for his morning breakfast sandwich. He is having a problem with his blood pressure not regulating itself. He has a lack of oxygen to his brain and it makes him panic and think he can't breath. Sonali says it is a trigger that goes off in the brain when there is lack of oxygen. Luckily we have an oxygen machine next to his bed to help him. The episode this morning tho was an actual tiny seizure, you can tell because he stops moving and his eyes roll back and get "cloudy." It didn't last very long, and he came out of it very talkative.

On a positive note, we were able to get him up to sit on the couch last night to have dinner. He was sitting for almost 5 hours.
Sunil on the couch last night! He got cold so he laid down and we covered him up. He looks so comfy I had to take a pic!

Sunil's Mom, Sundari, is flying out today. Yup, in the nasty NY weather we are having. I'm not sure how that is going to work. Hopefully she makes it!

Thanks for the prayers and for checking in to this blog.

Specific Prayer requests:
  1. For Sunil to have peace when he tries to sleep. He just keeps getting agitated and saying "somethings not right, something is not right" And all I can do is try to talk him into relaxation, which is very hard.
  2. That we get Alex back! Something happened with is "paperwork" and he is off until further notice. We want him back as he knows Sunil and is very nice.
  3. Ma lands safely and we have a good weekend.
Trixie sleeps like her poppi with her eyes a little open. CREEPY! She is on Sunil's legs in this pic. Very protective, just look at her ready to strike anyone that comes near.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Matt cooked Lentil Soup and Made an Awesome Salad! And Photobooth

Sunil's Cousin Priya and her husband Ryan are in town for the weekend. They came over to see Sunil. He was doing fantastic today but by the evening was too exhausted for much, so as Sunil slept and Sonali went to hang with Marlon, Matt stayed behind and cooked an amazing Lentil Soup! It turned out to be amazing, plus he put together a great salad! Thanks Brother!

I try to get people to take a funny picture on my photo booth application because it makes me really happy and we need all the happy we can get right now.
Ryan and Priya have a silly side!

Who are these fools


Thursday, February 18, 2010

2 hour 'cliff's notes tour of Time Square and Herald Square

Matt lovin' on the NYPD building. Do you see the stupid lady ducking under the picture. Dummy

So despite everything that tells me not to leave the house, I decided I would take a couple hours and show my bro Time Square. I enjoyed that Matt saw what he wanted to see and moved on.
  1. We went to Time Square got "I 'heart' NY shirts.
  2. Ran to the bank, 'cept it was closed, damn Actors Credit Union
  3. Took some pics
  4. Got a dirty water dog from a street vendor
  5. Went into Macy's to show Matt the wooden escalators (Just a way for me to warm up because I was freezing.)
  6. Walked to Madison Square Garden and took the A train
  7. Got a New York Slice from the Pizza place on 145th
  8. Stopped at H&M so I could buy a hat, as mentioned above, I was freezing
  9. Home...Done
Time Square

Did I mention we left the house at 4:50PM and got back at 7:00PM. Record Time! In honor of the Olympics I would have to say that Matt and I won the "Site Seeing Race"

The biggest bottle of Brut we have ever seen. Look at that thing!

New blogger!

Uh oh- Mandi has given me access to the blog! Everybody watch out.

This is Sonali, Sunil's sister who's staying to help out for a month ( is such a strong word). Mostly I take the dog for walks, refill Sunil's juice, and try my hand at culinary creativity with the fruits and veggies delivered every week in the Urban Organic box. For those who don't know me, I'm a medical student in Minnesota with 2 months of school left to go - and luckily enough scheduling flexibility that I could come out for a whole month. Right now I'm supposed to be picking where I want to go to residency. As you can see, I'm procrastinating - I already did everything I could think of around the apartment, including scraping frozen dog poo off the balcony, so this is SERIOUS procrastination. That said, you guys are all enablers.

In any case, this week is getting better and better! It started out a little scary - Sunil had a couple of mini-seizures while being transferred into his wheelchair. The first one we're attributing to a new pain medication which can lower seizure threshold - so that medication went down the toilet. The second one (Tuesday), we realize now was secondary to a reeeeally high fever. Sunil had been asleep (a little TOO asleep) for a few hours after the seizure, and when Mandi checked on him he was really warm. She took his temperature and it was 103.9! Given the accuracy of store-bought thermometers and oral temperatures, the fever was probably even higher than that. WOWZA. Luckily, the on-call nursing staff at Calvary were nice enough to put up with my "I'm-a-concerned-sister-and-almost-a-doctor-so-you'd-better-not-mess-with-me-and-get-Sunil-some-antibiotics-STAT" and actually did (whew). After 24 hours of Tylenol and antibiotics for a urinary tract infection, Sunil is back to his normal self. We officially declared him well when he started making fun of me this morning - cured!

Mandi's brother Matt is in town for the weekend and is providing some necessary comic relief. This is his first time in NYC, so Mandi just took him out to see some sights and buy the obligatory I 'HEART' NY shirts for souvenirs. She's going to post some pics of him that they just took. And they just got home with an authentic New York slice for me (mmmm...just can't get that in the Midwest), so I'm going to go chow (because that's what we do ALL DAY) and let her have her blog back!

Thanks for the lovely thoughts and prayers that I know are coming Sunil's way. Have a great evening, everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Marlon, Trixie, Dessert and vomit

Cody isn't allowed on the kitchen counter. He fears me. He wouldn't dare get on the kitchen counter.
Did I mention that Trixie enjoys getting into the sink in the bathroom to drink water?

The weekend was grand. Sonali and Nate came into town on Friday and Marlon came over for two nights Saturday and Sunday. We watched a ton of Olympics, ate a ton of turkey bacon, Sonali and Marlon baked an amazing dessert that had shortbread, fudge and chocolate.
Trix loving that Marlon is sleeping over

Sunil has been in bed most the weekend. He is awake, just to sore to try to get up. We get him out of bed at least once a day, but that is very exhausting for him. He is such a trooper though! Marlon read to him on Saturday night from Fablehaven which is the book series that Sunil has been reading Marlon before bed.
Marlon on the left eating dinner and reading to Sunil who you can almost see on the right.

Katt in the kids section of Ikea
Katt and I went to Target and Ikea on Sunday and we bought some Nerf guns that shoots Nerf Darts, only the darts have a rubber plunger on the tip so they hurt when they hit you!! It was fun and chaotic, we are all running around shooting at each other with the only rule being you can't shoot someone unarmed. Well, needless to say, it is only fun until someone gets their eye shot out. And of course, the one person that gets their eye shot out is the unarmed man laying in bed. Yup, Nate shot a dart intended to hit me and it sailed past me in matrix-style slow motion only to hit Sunil right in the OPEN eye. Booooo for Uncle Nate! :) SO we stopped shooting each other and opted for aiming for inanimate objects. Safer that way. By the end of the night we all had little round welts where the little plunger hit us!

Sonali Athai and Marlon giving each other Manicures

Gotta keep those pores clean!

We received flowers yesterday from our friends Emma and Linus. We adore this family! They have an almost three year old named Lola who is a doll. Emma was the one that got me into the company I work for now. She is a talented actor and now runs her own urban gardening business and is extremely talented at that as well. We love that her husband's name is Sunil spelled backwards, and vice versa. :) Thank you Lam family for sending some love!
Flowers from the Lams

Last night I took Nate to the airport, I dropped Marlon and Amanda off at the same time so we took Trixie with us. Trix has a small, ok, large fear of car rides. I think she equates cars with vet appointments, leg casts and foster homes. She gets super nervous that we are taking her somewhere bad. When I took her to drop my Mom off at the airport in January she vomited in the back seat (Trixie, not my mom). Last night Trix was doing fantastic... until we dropped Marlon and Amanda off and then she PUKED! All over the back seat! This is the only dog I know that is afraid to ride in the car. I have to find a place to clean my car now as I'm pretty sure I can't get it clean by myself. GRRRRRR. The lesson is, I'm not taking her in the car anymore, no matter how bad she wants to come with us when we leave the house!
Marlon and trixie cuddling before M had to leave

We received an amazing present in the mail today. My friend Nicki lives in Oklahoma and works for a church as a worship leader as she is an amazing singer! Word got to her about what we are going through and she had the prayer quilt ministry pray and make a quilt for Sunil. It is beautiful and so amazing to think that these women and maybe men? ;) prayed for us as they were quilting this great looking quilt! We are so honored. Sunil is napping underneath it as I type.
Prayer Quilt

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Update - Sunil is doing better

Thank you for all your prayers. It seems Sunil is doing better. He is still really sore and can't get out of bed but he is showing signs of improvement. I feel like he took a turn for the better after I gave him his Decadron this morning. When Alex, his aid, came we tried to help Sunil sit up. He was still too sore so Alex shaved him, bathed him and made sure he stayed hydrated while in bed.

We are so blessed to have Alex. Although our communication is a bit faulty sometimes as I am from Minnesota and Alex is from Nigeria. Why would being from Minnesota matter you ask? Because the most exposure I received with accents were from the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. We don't get many foreign tongues in Mounds View. I was afraid when I started teaching at North High School in Minneapolis because the kids would have an urban accent and I wouldn't be able to understand them! Pathetic you might say. And I agree. I thought that marrying someone with Indian parents would help me to "hear" English with an accent better. It did to a certain extent once Sunil explained to me that it is all about what Syllable the emphasis is placed on. When you speak a different language other than English first, you may be saying a word with the emphasis on a the first Syllable instead of the last. For instance, we, as ignorant Americans, would say "bas MAT I" rice. In actuality it should be pronounced "BAS mati" Rice. Get it? Well I get it, doesn't mean I understand a damn word people are saying sometimes! :)

Back to my point, Alex is a sweet, caring Nigerian man who tries so hard to help. And I was sooooo tired from last night that he truly helped just by taking care of Sunil for 4 hours. phew. I may not understand everything he says, but I know he says it with love! :)

Sunil is napping now, we watched an episode of big love and ate pasta. I'm blogging an update so ya'll aren't worrying. Please keep praying. It's helping! I promise!!

Terrible Three days

Have you ever felt like your skin is on fire? Burning from the inside out? Flailing and gnashing of teeth. Nothing comforts, every position hurts. No, its actually not something from the old testament, it is what Sunil has been going through. I can't even explain the moans that have come out of his body. Heart wrenching moans of pain and all he can say is "my skin is burning, my skin is burning." He was on 30mg of Oxycontin, 5 Mg of Oxycodone, 1000mg of Tylenol, 4 mg decadron and that wasn't helping because the problem is his nerves. I schlepped through the blizzard just as the pharmacy was closing to get two more drugs. Luckily and Divinely he was able to sleep last night for a good chunk, about midnight to 5am. So we both got some rest. I think it was the Neurontin which is suppose to be a sedative/calmer as well nerve pain reliever. His nurse just came by and upped the Nuerontin so he just took another one. The decadron must be taking down some swelling because Ada the nurse just asked if he was in pain and he said NO! HALLELUJAH!

I'm sorry if I'm burdening the reader with what is going on. It's hard being at this end of the blog. I want to let people know what is happening, yet, the positive comedic Mandi side of me wants to sugar coat and make it seem like things are getting better. I do that because I think that if I believe it, then it will become the truth. If I admit that there is an issue, than the issue becomes reality and I can't deal with reality very well. Hence the comedy. The best way to shun reality.

I'm still holding out hope that there is a way that Sunil can be healed. I've always had faith in God. I've always prayed. In situations like this it is very hard to see God. Sunil and I prayed last night in the midst of his pain to try to relieve it and hopefully just calm our spirits because we were both getting worked up over not being able to make the pain go away. In this situation, I just wanted to see instant relief. I wanted to see Sunil's pain go away. When it didn't, how do you keep having faith? Faith through the pain? I'm not wavering in my belief in God, I'm just posing the question. I don't see what happens in the background. In the spiritual realm there could be a gigantic battle going on. At least I would like to think so. Even if I don't see an instant result I have to have faith that God has not forsaken us and that something bigger is in the works. :)

I just have to face the fact that Sunil's disease is increasing and his health is declining and that is a reality I can't hide from with comedy. Crap.

It was a blizzard in NYC yesterday. I will leave you with pics of Trixie out in the patio running around. So cute!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tuesday and such...

From the left: Sonali, Amanda (Marlon's Mom), Me, Trixie, Marlon and Sunil

Sunil and I have been alone with the animals since Saturday. I have to tell you that I love people, I love family and I love the alone time we get too! I miss Thatha taking the dog for very long walks and Sonali and Ma and whoever else is here to help cooking. But I love the peaceful mornings of coffee and magazine reading without having to talk to anyone. My favorite moment has been "family unit" all trying to fit on the bed as I pray that Cody and Trixie don't scrap on our heads! :) Trixie is getting cabin fever so I'm going to take her for a walk when our aid Alex gets here...

Alex is very sweet. He is an older man from Nigeria. So nice, but Trixie is scared to death of him. I think she was hurt by a tall black man. That is the only thing I can think of because her fear is unwarranted as all Alex has done is smile and be nice to her. I have to kennel her up and put a blanket over her kennel to keep her from barking while he is here. It's crazy. We work a little bit everyday with treats to get her to trust him, but she is really frightened. What did those bastards do to her!?

Sunil was awake and sitting up most of the weekend he sat on the couch so when he got tired he could lay down. I didn't give him his pain meds unless he asked for it, which he didn't for most of the weekend. Calvary and most Palliative care people would say to keep them on a steady dose of narcotics to make them "comfortable" for the remaining time they have left. I'm struggling with that a bit as all it makes Sunil do is sleep. I think to myself, if he knew, would he want to sleep his remaining minutes on earth away, or would he want to be awake and embracing the last experiences of his life? Well, he was doing well Sat and Sun but Monday came and he was tired and sore. His muscles in his upper-body are really hurting. I had to resort to giving him his narcotics. I'm not giving up in trying to keep him less narced-up, but I also don't want him to be in any pain. This is a constant learning experience for me right now.

We have a shiatsu masseuse coming to work on us both, so hopefully that can help loosen up and lessen Sunil's muscle pain. I can't wait!

Jayashree Athai came to visit two weekends ago and has sent some pics from her visit so I wanted to share with you all.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Weekend with the Indian Parents

It was a pretty uneventful pleasant visit. Trixie and her Thatha (Grandpa) bonded over a lot of long walks, I slept in with Sunil and Ma cooked! In fact, I think we need to pitch a new show for Food Network. It should be called 'Leftover Magic with Pati (Grandma).' She looked in the fridge and saw what we had from former guests and cooked amazing food!
It was her birthday on Thursday and in honor of her Birthday I went out and celebrated for her. :) I had, on her behalf, 3 drinks and 2 glasses of wine. OH, and I danced for her too :) Actually, a friend and colleague is leaving our company and I met some peeps from work to wish him good luck. Also, I met two fantastic ladies for a late dinner at a wonderful vegan restaurant. I was a little skeptical about eating vegan but this place was lovely! Thanks for the invite Rebecca and Judi!

I finally dug out the battery charger for my camera and downloaded the pics. Turns out, it was from when we first moved in to the new apartment. So I will leave you with the chaos that was.

Bonding? Or getting ready to throw down??

Why won't the cats play with me?

Marlon and Madison doing experiments

Our amazing friend who came to help us out the day we moved. Thank you Erin, Walter and Dale!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Amazing home time

We are doing it. We are at home, resting, eating, sleeping, laughing, and more sleeping. Since Sunil has been home a week we have...
1. Ate about a dozen cookies a piece
2. Played with the pooch
3. Ate more cookies
4. Lasagna!
5. Allison cooking up some amazing ribs!
6. Went to Marlon's Play at school
7. Had a visit from Walter and Melissa (my co-workers and our great friends)
8. Sponge bathed.
9. A visit from Jayashree Athai! Soo fun!
10. more...cookies...:x
11. Sonali spending two nights and completely organizing our drug drawer. Complete with labels.

Here are some pics from the last couple weeks.

Marlons show..SO SWEEET!

Trixie protecting Poppi. :) Sunil is pretending to sleep with his tongue out...