The Chickens Come Home to Roost


For my FIL, that is.

I spent Sunday at a hospital emergency room 150 miles from my home, with my husband, keeping my FIL company.  He was visiting a friend and had a sudden onset of dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pressure.  His girlfriend said he turned grey and was very sweaty.  He smokes…a lot.  He was diagnosed with COPD about 7 years ago, but he not only didn’t quit smoking, he didn’t even moderate his habit.  He still smokes probably 2 packs a day.  He’s been getting progressively more short of breath, a fact that I noticed but my husband was doggedly denying.  Until Sunday, that is.

They released him and a friend drove him and his girlfriend home (we offered)  my FIL was directed to follow up with his doctor first thing Monday morning.  Unfortunately, after he got home, he had another episode of dizziness, shortness of breath, and near fainting, and he was taken by his friend to the emergency room where he was admitted and had many tests.  We were at the hospital again on Monday.

He was released late yesterday afternoon, and after I got done with my work I went to check on him.  I had a bit of a scare as he didn’t answer the door though I could see that he was home — he was in the shower, thankfully.  When he got out we talked a little.  He sounded crappy, and looked crappier.  We had a small tiff because he couldn’t even get a complete sentence out due to shortness of breath, (and I could hear him working to breathe) yet he immediately lit up a cigarette.  I pointed out that if he couldn’t breathe that probably wasn’t the smartest idea…you can guess I got stomped.

He went to the emergency room again early this morning also, but they released him just before noon.  Now he is (finally) in agreement that he should quit smoking.  Apparently he was griping to his girlfriend about the cost of nicotine patches (and I think trying to avoid buying them), whereupon she asked him how expensive he thought three hospital visits in four days was going to be??  Ah.  yes.

He may need to be on oxygen at home.  And tragically, this could have been avoided had he listened to the doctors when they first told him about his disease, and quit smoking then.  Instead, he is on a slew of medications (some of which may have caused his dizziness to begin with) and counts on them to cover the symptoms instead of taking responsibility for his own health and quitting smoking.  I care a great deal about him, but this is so very frustrating.  Personal responsibility is always cheaper than drugs and hospitals.  Always.

And on a personal gripe, I haven’t made bread, I haven’t had enough sleep,my house is still a mess, and I haven’t studied for my class tonight.  Instead, I’ve spent my time (and my husband’s) driving all over the state out of concern for family.  I suspect this may be the tip of the iceberg and my FIL may need a lot more care and we may be spending a lot more time sitting in hospital rooms in the not too distant future.  I hope not, but I am afraid it may be so.  It’s not a happy thought.

How much longer will our system be able to support people such as my FIL?  How much tragedy will our families (generally) need to suffer when it can no longer do so?  What sort of turmoil will be added to the general emotional burden of our neighbors as a result?

A gripin’ I shall go…


The list of gripes:

I don’t have a perfect score in my pathophysiology class.  Yes, I am one of those obsessive types that agonizes over the points lost, not rejoices over the points scored.  I have a score in the low 90’s.  Doesn’t make me happy.  Must quit slacking!!

My chickens don’t want to go into the coop at night.  We bought a solar powered chicken door, and we remodeled the coop to put the nesting box on the outside of the coop so they would have more room inside.  They still don’t want to go in, though when I take them off the roof and toss them into the run they go into the coop without hesitation.  Still, it’s a hassle to go out every night and scoop chickens off the roof and put them inside.

Here you can see my uh…skills (snicker) in carpentry.  The box used to be inside on the floor.  That’s why my nice red paint job is covered in manure stains.  I had to cut the back and put hinges and a latch on it to keep the raccoons out and to let us get the eggs.  The box is attached top and bottom with flanges and screws, but it worried me that it didn’t sit quite level so we put the brick under it to prevent it pulling out the wall.  Oh, and the wood leaning against it is usually held in place against the wire with bent nails I can turn to take the wood on and off.  It gets too hot in the summer so I lean it and they have their privacy; in the winter it’s held tight in place for protection and warmth.

We need a bigger coop.  And my son knows where we can get one, we just need to rent a truck or trailer to get it after we pay for it.  *sigh* more gripes.  More hassle.  Where will I put it?  Our county recently changed the laws so our chickens are finally legal, but the placement of the coop isn’t.  It’s closer than 15 feet to the property line.  Where the hell I could put it on a quarter acre that it wouldn’t be that close I don’t know, since our house is only 20 feet from the property line at the back, and less than 10 feet on either side.  Would they really like me to put it in the front yard?  Somehow I don’t think so.  And I wouldn’t like it in the front yard either.  My yard looks crappy but I don’t think adding chickens would improve the ‘curb appeal’ at all.

The paperwork at my new job is making my head hurt.  I feel stupid because I keep missing things I shouldn’t, simply because I’m not reading it carefully enough; I am rushing because I’m so behind.  I finally caught up on paperwork from two weeks ago that was due within 48 hours of the visit.  I am hoping this week will prove easier regarding my paperwork now that I’m finally getting a little familiar with it.  Gripe, gripe, gripe.

My house is a mess, and I care but not enough to do something about it.  There are no magic fairies to clean, no children to enslave for an allowance, and no money to hire a housekeeper!  I’m it!  Gripe, Gripe.

My garden is a disaster.  I have sweet potatoes and potatoes sprouting in the house that need to get put outside.  I have onion sets in a bag that need to get put out.  I need more manure and compost.  And I need some time.  Not today, too hot and I have school in a few hours.

Like Roseann Roseannadanna said,  “It’s always something.”  Tomorrow it will be something else.  I have a roof over my head, food in the cupboard, and clothes to wear.  I have a job I like, family that puts up with me, and that is more than many have.  It’s enough.