News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Archive for August, 2013

life and music.

First a quick update on Phil’s health. We haven’t had any more admissions to the hospital, but we’ve had a couple of ER visits. Phil gets this pain starting in his head and eyes and then traveling throughout the body. He thinks is muscle tension, because very strong IV drugs and a couple hours rest get rid of it. Both of them happened at work.

The Tuesday before last, after speaking at a conference, Phil became very ill at dialysis, and it continued to get worse here. I really thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. His finger still hurts, but he’s not constantly taking pain killers for it like the last few months. Everything hurt that night, especially his finger, but after sleeping a little, he was strong enough to get his meds and go to bed. He had an upset stomach and head ache too along with everything else. He stayed home with a fever the next morning, and by the afternoon, it seemed to be out of his system. All of the aching, fever and other symptoms had disappeared. It was some kind of twelve hour bug.

Phil is having other small injuries and aches and pains in his hands, and that makes life a little more challenging. However, it seems to me a little pressure is off since June. He likes both his retired supervisor and his new one, but he moved to a different job classification within the University. In Civil Service where he was, they had so much sick time and earned vacation. In the professional division (PNA not remembering for what the N and A stand), you have a set amount of vacation hours, and they trust that as professionals, you take sick only when you need it. As long as the work gets done, you can take sick time. Of course, it has to be reported in order for people not to abuse it, but Phil’s work ethic is well-known at the U. He doesn’t take sick time unless he needs it. The investments in retirement are also better in this division, and I notice he’s a little less worried about getting down to so many hours of vacation. He’s had to use vacation as sick time, because he just didn’t have any sick time to use. The policy is a little more flexible this way, and that’s good given all of the doctor’s appointments which occur. I’m hoping to talk him into taking a vacation day here and there when he isn’t sick. Do to dialysis and other constraints, he’s not likely to take days at a time to go somewhere. More than one week day at home without a reason would drive him crazy. I am hoping for a mental health day now and again — like maybe next week for our anniversary. It falls on Saturday — a dialysis day –, so it might be fun to take a day either Friday or Monday. He reads these blogs, so I’m planting a seed.

We’ve been exploring use of a Bluetooth device through our stereo speakers. It makes our iPhones or the computer sound really good! a couple sound source problems have required a pair of eyes to help get it right. We continue to discover useful and fun apps for our iPhones, and now Phil is using his in a charger as an alarm clock. He has different sounds for different days, so it helps orient him quicker.
This leaves the speaker doc for me to use at night to play music and charge my phone at the same time.(which I love), and eventually I’ll take the chord I use to use and put it in a backpack if it’s needed outside the home.

Speaking of outside, you probably remember I’m not an outdoors person. I groomed Zane on the deck yesterday, because it was a beautiful day. My combs kept disappearing, and I couldn’t figure out why, until it occurred to me they were going through the slats of the deck. Our reader was able to get the good comb out from under the deck for me.

Tomorrow night, I’m looking forward to going to a friend’s house to guest host a 90’s music show called 90’s Now on at 8 Eastern or 7 central in case anyone wants to tune in. I’ve called into shows on Skype, but it will be fun to be right there and see a little more of what happens behind the scenes. Eric will run the sound, but I’ll have a playlist to help introduce the songs.
And speaking of songs, I told one musician friend that I didn’t know whether I’d ever write music again. I’m very relaxed improvising at church (which is how I stumble on ideas for songs), but here at home, it hasn’t been so easy. My friend told me that only I was holding myself back, and it was a very frustrating truth to hear. A second musician friend is having similar problems with avoiding the piano, so we’ve decided to be accountability partners. We share a drop box, and we’re going to turn on recorders when we sit down at our benches. Then we’ll drop the resulting mp3 files to the other one. We’re not critiquing each other. We simply want someone to help us get started. We’re both terrible perfectionists, and that leads to us getting up and walking away if we feel we aren’t producing anything good. It will also be good for both of us to throw something on the drop box that isn’t perfect. We’re both hoping this leads to the motivation and positive mental places where we want to play. We’ve experience this blockage, but we also know what it’s like to be “in the zone” and let the music happen. That may not happen to either of us for a while, but avoiding the piano certainly isn’t helping!

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