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

Health and Technology

Well, let’s get Phil’s health news out of the way; because there are a lot of challenges write now. Last week, he had an ultrasound on his good foot, because there are probably circulation issues. He has no pain there, but he noticed his hair stops at a certain point on his ankle. This didn’t used to be the case. Then he has had a combination cold and sinus infection for the last week and a half with a bad cough which has made him miserable. Before that he was experiencing intestinal issues, and he’s been taking antibiotics for both conditions. He has a bursa which is rubbing on the prosthetic and is causing a lot of pain, and let’s not forget the finger which he saw the pain clinic to address. He’s also being referred to get massages, because of neck and back pain. Twice this summer, he’s had to go to the ER from work, because of pain which starts in his eyes and then travels throughout his neck, back, and chest. If he can catch it early, stop what he’s doing and breathe deeply he can head off going to the ER. If it gets bad enough for an ER trip, all they can do to get rid of this is knock him out for a couple hours with some good pain meds. Finally, yesterday he he had a biopsy on his pancreas, because the numbers are higher than they would like. They will have results of that in the next couple days, and I’ll update you about that. They want to make sure rejection or anything else isn’t happening there. All of this has meant lots of days at home and scheduling same day cabs to dialysis. You can imagine all of this is causing a lot of mental distress, but people at work have been very understanding.

As usual, technology is helping us in life’s battles. We just got an upgrade to our security system. Apparently burglars are getting smart about alarms which go through the phone lines and cut them before breaking into the house. The new alarm has a cellular chip, so they can’t bypass the system.

On September 23rd, I’ll have had my iPhone for a year, and wow what a difference it has made! I’m still learning after almost a year and loving most of my discoveries. For example, I use my MBraille app and a journal app to keep a personal journal. This was prompted by my concern that the blog entries I sent by e-mail were not complete. It’s frustrating when an e-mail to WordPress — the blog provider — about this issue doesn’t receive an answer from anyone but a nice community member who says there’s a bug in the system. However, thanks to Twitter and the iPhone, I now have a solution. I can write on the computer and then paste the text to the iPhone clipboard using an app called Lazy Text. Then I take the text from the iPhone’s clipboard and paste it into the app provided by WordPress for blogging.

An iPhone app called Downcast allows me to take podcasts with me on my iPhone, and most of them are from an Internet radio station called MushroomFM.

A friend is helping me set up the software used to broadcast on the station, and it is my hope to have a show on the station at some point. I have to write a letter of application, have a Skype interview, and then audition to other staff members to have a show. But first there’s the matter of learning the software well enough to see how to circumvent any bugs by my set-up, create playlists, and present shows. It’s also motivating me to get some of my music tagged and ripped better from CD’s. the show I want to do will feature mostly music with prevalent piano, organ, synthesizers, or other keyboard instruments and will cross many genres including a couple I don’t hear too much currently on the station. If I can negotiate the time like I wish, it will be on at ten on a Friday night, and for all of you who go to bed earlier, podcasts of the show will be available within 24 hours or so of the broadcast’s finish.

Though I am not looking forward to the loss of light, I am welcoming the cooler weather of fall. This summer has been so hot, and the construction in the city has been almost as bad as the snow setting up barriers to get from point a to point b. GPS and bus time apps on the iPhone help, but despite Zane’s best efforts, I took a fall a couple weeks ago. I was stiff and sore the next day but it wasn’t as serious as it could have been. Instead of the usual ramp up at the corner, there was a depression with lots of cones, bags, and other obstacles making it hard to get out of the street.

Phil’s pain and the resulting crying out continue to make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, so I do sleep during the day. I have a new sleep medication to try, and I’ll especially take it when Phil gets home from dialysis on Tuesday and Thursday nights. We have been fortunate that he almost always gets a Saturday morning slot now, so we can meet at our favorite restaurant for supper on Saturday nights after I go to church.


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