Paper

Last week I was looking for a piece of paper. One piece of paper. I took a few hours on Saturday, but I found it and completed a bunch of forms and other stupid paperwork that I’d been needing to get done. I mailed six envelopes on Saturday and I have three more from the past two days.

Today, I’ve filled out and faxed two sets of paperwork to my health care reimbursement account. I copied receipts and filled out forms for monies spent since the beginning of the year. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad if I did it a couple of times a year. It wasn’t really that bad but there’s just so much paper to keep, copy, fold, spindle or mutilate. I thought I killed the scanner/copier because it swallowed a tiny piece of paper into  innards… I flipped open a couple of doors that I didn’t know opened and retrieved the tiny piece of paper.

Paper. It is everywhere! We print it. We get it in the mail everyday (I have the recycle bag where I can go through and immediately put it in so it doesn’t sit around). We just keep creating more paper! When we die you’d think it would stop. I still get mail, forms, insurance stuff, junk mail for my Mum – she’s been gone almost five months. I received an Explanation of Benefits and the date of service was April 9th, the day after she died. It wasn’t until I had the insurance company on the phone that I realized that the year was 2010. Did you now that charges from 18 months ago are still in the works between MediCare and the insurance company?!? 18 months! I was surprised and asked the insurance company if I was expected to be able to verify that the service actually happened and that the doctors haven’t double billed or something. The insurance lady said I am not expected to keep track of such things. Good thing because I have not clue.

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Brain overflow

I spent the last three days in Baltimore learning how to use a photography processing software called Lightroom. Three days, eight hours per day (9a-6p). It did not help my ADD but I learned so much that towards the ends of the days my brain was overfull.

This software is primarily photo organizing/filing but it also provides the functionality for some image post-processing. Over the three days, I learned how to organize using this tool and was able to sort and file over 10,000 images. I have over 15,000 yet to organize. Ya, I have way too many images. As I was moving things around, I was looking at what I’ve got and while I deleted a bunch, there were a bunch that I could not delete. I figure maybe I will be able to one day but for mow it’s just “ones and zeros” and I know there is no shortage of those right now.

It’s amazing the changes you can make to a photo in post processing. I’m not sure how I feel about the changes that are possible. You can change the color of someone’s eyes, hair, skin, remove skin blemishes, and the list goes on. At a certain level, this feels very wrong. While I can understand subtle changes to enhance the color of the Fall leaves or removing dust spots on the lens but should we be making changes to the appearance of people? Removing people? Switching someone’s head from one photo to another because they are not smiling or they sneezed? I’m just not sure.

I guess I’m a bit of a purist – get the shot in the camera and be happy. We’ll see what happens as I become more comfortable with the post-processing…

99 days until Christmas

Now that I have your attention… Things have slowed down a bit, until 99 days from now… 😉

So, the cancer scare was my life long friend (we met in 2nd grade, we’ve best arch-enemies and best-friends ever since) – she asked if I could come to Seattle and help her through surgery and recovery. There was a nodule in her lung, it was likely to be cancer but she doesn’t smoke, she’s 49 (like me), this was just not right. I flew out on Sept 1 – thank goodness for miles… Surgery was a wedge resection and if cancer, then removal of the upper lobe of her right lung. We’ll it was the removal of her upper right lobe. One third of her lung. She’s very active, hikes with her family and bikes with her family… Thankfully the surgeon said, after a couple/few weeks recovery, she’ll not even notice.

I spent four nights on a very comfortable cot in her hospital room. This hospital is the best – they encourage family to be involved and be present. I had an argument with a nurse over who would go and get apple juice – I told her I would get it because that was something I could do and she could get back to saving lives… ok, a little melodramatic but you get the picture. It is a teaching hospital (and that usually make me a bit nervous) and it is also a magnet hospital for nurses – that designation is hard to come by and pretty special…

The next thing was waiting for the pathology report. They took the N1 and N2 lymph nodes to see if they were impacted by the cancer. f the lymph nodes were involved, then the next course of action was chemo. If no lymph nodes, then no chemo.

On Wednesday, Sept 7, her oncologist – for whom she works, because she is an oncology nurse in the head, throat and chest area at the Cancer Care Alliance – crazy, i know! Anyhow, Dr. K called to see how she was doing and she asked if the reports were back. He said he hadn’t even checked because it could take 1 to 2 weeks… Well, he checked while on the phone and the report was back. He read it then he said that there was no lymph node involvement! None. So, she has completed her treatment. Now, they watch her like a hawk for the next 4 years. CT scan every three months for 2 years and every six months for two years after that… we can live with that!

She was scared. Her husband was scared. I was scared. Her family was scared. Her friends were scared. It was all very scary. We can breathe again, and I’ve taken this week to try to do just that. I came home to quickly throw some laundry through and pack again to go away for my church’s arise retreat in the mountains. It was a great weekend. Beautiful weather after a week of rain (which I missed by being in Seattle – crazy).

This week back to work has been very strained for me. Unsettled. Hard to concentrate. Then I looked at the calendar and realized that one year ago this weekend was when my Mum ended up in the hospital from her chemo… it was the beginning of a tough year. I think this week a whole bunch of things converged on me. I look at this weekend as the end of a tough year and the beginning of a great year!

This has become a long ramble… what I am sure about right now is: the weather is getting cooler and I like that, it is the weekend and I am looking forward to some rest and some work in clearing out stuff and I think those I love and who love me are safe and basically healthy tonight.

I hope that those who you love and are loved by you are safe and healthy too.