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

Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving Week

As the final minutes of Thanksgiving 2013 go flying by,l Il can’t say I’m sad to see it go. This has been a crummy week, and I really hope things start looking up soon. I am looking forward to playing the IDS Center, although I wish I was a little more organized like I planned. I was going to have my reader help me get a box of CD’s together, so the person driving me and sitting at the table with the CD’s wouldn’t have to do it. However, life has been a little complicated by both Phil and me being ill

Tuesday the 19th, a fever just went rushing through me like a freight train, and although it seemed to be gone the next day, I was so weak that nothing got done which absolutely didn’t need to. I really thought I was going to faint when I carried Phil’s wash up from downstairs the day after the fever. I was able to play at church and the Malt shop, although it was harder than normal. . I came down with bronchitis over the weekend and was comforted by the thought of having some script refills for my inhaler and an antibiotic ready to go for this eventuality. So you can imagine my rude awakening on Monday when there were not any such animals. Phil had a wound appointment on Tuesday, so he was going to pick them up for me on Tuesday.

Phil came home with a sore throat Monday night, and both Monday and Tuesday nights were excruciating for him and thus for me. He had a lot of pain in his ears and moaned and screamed. He had a wound doctor appointment scheduled Tuesday and got into the primary care center for the ear pain. The doctor prescribed antibiotics in case it turned out to be an infection but thought it was some kind of nerve thing. Nerves don’t switch ears, so it’s definitely the infection. phil forgot to ask about my medication, but it wasn’t there anyway.

I called on Wednesday, and absolutely nothing had been done at the Doctor’s office. I talked to the same girl as on Monday, and she knew I was not happy about this situation. At 5:30, someone told me the scripts had been faxed to the pharmacy at 5:15. The problem was the pharmacy had closed at 5:00. I’d instituted a plan to have them courier the medication to me if they got it in time. Of course, it’s the night before Thanksgiving, and I have to have the doctor fax them to a different pharmacy. Phil stayed home all day in pain, and as Tuesday turned into Wednesday, his hearing diminished. Yelling brought on coughing, so we’ve been a great pair over the last couple days.

I had to ask our reader to go to the pharmacy for me and pick up the medication, and it was a 30 to 45minute wait. We got through mail, but just barely.

So today Phil has been sleeping the majority of the day. My stomach has been a little off because of the antibiotics, but I can tell they and the inhaler are already making a huge difference. I have more energy than I have in a week, and I’m hoping tomorrow will be a day when I get some laundry done. Of course with Phil not hearing well and not feeling good we cancelled the Thanksgiving dinner out which we were planning. There will be other times to go out, but boy am I ever craving turkey despite the tummy stuff. With Phil sleeping most of the day, I’ve been working on computer projects to keep my mind off things, and other than the occasional family call, it’s been so quiet today. Phil got up long enough to take the evening medication and have a little something to eat, but we really couldn’t talk very well. If he hadn’t come out when he did, I was going to call into a teleconference just to make sure someone knew I existed. He’s asleep in front of the fire, and his hearing loss is worrying us both. I can’t believe how loudly I have blasted the radio by accident, and he has barely stirred. I certainly don’t want him crossing any streets alone before some of this has cleared. Garron is good, but I think even Phil would be nervous not having any audio cues.

If that wasn’t enough, there have been some people exiting on MushroomFM the station where I want to audition. I’ve been frustrated I haven’t been able to do much testing to get closer to that demo due to my illness, but two pretty prominent people are leaving. One of them is Jonathan the founder of the station. Jonathan’s show The Mosen Explosion built a big community of listeners, and he has been known as, “the boss”. With Jonathan gone, a new system will have to be developed for demos to be heard etc., because he did that before the Skype interview and audition took place. Although Jonathan is very good at what he does, it’s his nephew Anthony I’m going to miss. Anthony had a way of making me feel like I was his only listener and I had his full attention. He also introduced me to so many different kinds of music and had just landed a time slot when it was better for me to listen live. We’ll be in touch, because he’s one of my many dice buds, but even though I have both Jonathan’s and Anthony’s last shows on my phone to hear, ultimately, it’s Anthony with whom I connected a little more. A month ago, another good friend Eric left to start a country station called “Now Country”, which is sounding so good.
I was really looking forward to working with the people who left, although I still have plenty of very good friends at Mushroom FM. I still plan to audition once a few minor kinks are worked out.

I hope the next entry I write will be the traditional Kragnes Karol, but who the heck knows? I’ll be happy if we have a quiet but healthy Christmas together. I hope that’s not too much to ask.


Open Letter of Encouragement to Past and Present Staff of

Dear Past and Present MushroomFM Staff,

Since April 25, 2012, I’ve become a fairly consistent listener to the Shroom, and I’ve written before about how station personalities have been there for me when my husband Phil was in the hospital during my birthday and Christmas. I’ve listened to and interacted with a lot of you, and some of you have become close friends. There are one or two exceptions, and I want to tell them it isn’t you … it’s the fact I can’t listen to some genres for more than a song or two at a time.

It’s probably the worst kept secret that I really am hoping to join you as a staff member one day to present a show with keyboards being the focus. I’ve had a few passing fancies about being a DJ, but it’s more my passion for music which is drawing me to give this a try. I’m working out issues with my mike and being slowed down by a few illnesses which have me totally frustrated! But that’s part of the reason I’m writing to you.

Around Halloween and for the last few days, I’ve had physical illnesses which have involved major sore throats! This has meant not talking any more than necessary. If I went to the doctor they’d kindly be asking me what color the stuff was when I coughed. I’ve had very little energy for anything except getting something to drink, going from bed to chair, and getting the dog in and out. These things don’t exactly inspire social interaction. With Phil gone during the day, I’ve been able to have the iPhone playing aloud in our bedroom to have you near me, so there would be a reassuring voice as I faded in and out of consciousness. I am a believer that music helps the healing process no matter what genre it is, so you’ve been my musical doctors and nurses.

Then there is my more insidious and hidden mental illness known as Depression. The winter months are the very worst, and with my husband’s health issues on top of it all, there are long nights of worrying about how he’s sounding and days when I have to catch up on my sleep. I’m a big podcast listener, because sometimes it’s not always possible to catch programs live. There are so many days when I just feel rung-out, weak, and most of all worthless. But then a presenter says something at which I can’t help but laugh, I hear a song I either haven’t heard in a while or to which I’m being introduced for the first time, or some little tidbit of musical knowledge captures my attention.

Those of you who have become friends have confided in me about how discouraging it is when you don’t have live listeners interacting with you. If I join you and get the time slot I want, I don’t anticipate having that many if any live listeners myself. However, because I’m such a heavy podcast listener, I know the lack of instant gratification involved in a live listener feedback sometimes makes you forget the delayed gratification of your podcast listeners’ comments. Remember, while live listeners sometimes tune into the station just to see what’s going on, podcast listeners are people who took the time to download your content, and they are either seeking you out to try you for the first time or coming back for another helping. While interacting on my show, my plan is to mentally remind myself absolutely no one may be listening to me live.
Then if people do, it’s an extra layer of yummy, sweet icing on the cake. Someday, you may have to parrot these words back to me when I get discouraged. In the meantime, let this letter encourage you that even if you aren’t hearing it as often as you would like, you are making a difference in people’s lives. You have certainly made a difference in mine.
With Utmost Respect,

In the Past, On the Horizon

Before I begin updating on Phil, the dogs, and me, I want to point you toward a couple of very interesting blog entries written by and about some of my blind friends.

Those who follow me on Facebook know I’ve posted a petition about a blind man who was booted off a plane with his guide dog. A mutual friend blogged about it and offered some resources to learn more about the story here.

Then another friend wrote about an experience at her church which I’ve had at church and at other places, too.
Breaking Bubbles

Those of you on Facebook have also seen how nervous I’m becoming about not having a consistent snow shoveler yet. We called an agency in late summer and put in paperwork as early as possible, but there are 50 people – including us – who don’t have a shoveler due to a shortage in workers. Phil and I talked over dinner about going out as a couple and just introducing ourselves to the neighbors to see if we can find anyone interested. I told him I’d go with him, but there’s no way I’d knock on people’s doors by myself. I have no problem calling on the phone, texting, or e-mailing, but arriving unannounced at someone’s front door is not my cup of tea. Besides the great possibility of interrupting people or catching them at a bad time, working our dogs up to the door with inside and outside pets as distractions presents another problem. Anyway, we’ve put the word out on Facebook and in person that we’re looking to pay someone to shovel for us, and in the event we can’t find someone I guess we’ll do the best we can’t ourselves.

There’s one more Facebook reference I’ll make and then there will be no more mention of it. Earlier this week, I put up a sort of heads-up that not many of our friends and family saw, because I was asked by one of Phil’s family members to take it down “out of respect for the family”. The post made another one cry, and I absolutely meant no disrespect. After ensuring the support of Phil who didn’t think I should have had to take it down, I will put it here in my blog.

Phil’s mom has been in the healthcare center of the retirement campus on which she and Phil’s dad live. He’s still in their apartment, and he’s made a quick recovery from some relatively minor health issues. His mother has had symptoms of Alzheimer’s and has lived at the care center for two or three years, and there are indications she may be coming to the end of her life. Some has speculated she may be gone by Christmas. Phil is starting to gather information about locations for dialysis in case we need to go to a memorial service. It is likely I will be going with him. However, if it happens during one of my Christmas gigs (outside of the usual Malt Shop Sunday nights), Phil and I agree I will probably play them. They are opportunities for exposure which happen only once a year and have been scheduled for months.

Speaking of those gigs, for anyone interested, they are at IDS Crystal Court Saturday, November 30 at noon until one or one thirty and Monday, December 23rd at the Mall of America Rotunda from four to six PM. I am usually on for Christmas Morning Mass at my church as well.

Phil and I will probably spend a quiet Thanks giving and may go out for a meal. Last year we got the trimmings from a grocery store. If you look at the blogs from around then, you may remember we had Thanksgiving visitors of the fire department kind. Even without that drama, it’s just not worth the hassle of going through all of it.

I was very sad not to be able to have trick-or-Treaters this year. I ended up being sick and could barely participate in my book club by phone that night. Phil still has about one day every two or three weeks he has to take off, as dialysis wears him out. He’s determined one of the medications in contributing to the headaches and will be discussing that with a doctor this week. He also has had a couple of tests on his neck and shoulder which get quite swollen. One of the tests showed some blockage of the jugular vein, but this doesn’t seem to be a worry, as there are drainage points in other areas. A second test will be discussed with the doctor this week. Despite all of the time away for tests etc., he is still keeping up with the work load and in fact has been called upon to do a second and totally different presentation at a conference for which he was already scheduled to do one in mid-December. I think the hardest thing about work is not being able to participate in some of the fun stuff like parties due to dialysis.
Phil’s laundry always gets done, but mine is another story! I keep hoping I’ll make progress, but November brings some dark days when I really don’t feel good psychologically. It slows me down a lot more than I would like. My piano was tuned a couple weeks ago, and I have loved playing again. I was horrified to learn some keys were sticking, because there were mouse droppings in my piano! Glad they’re gone. I’ve put together one mock radio show. There’s some testing to be done regarding the best positioning of my microphone, but chances are I’ll be submitting a demo show and an application to the Internet radio station by early to mid-December.

I am hoping the next time you hear from me will be the annual Kragnes Karol, but who knows in this crazy life of ours? I hesitate to say that we’ve kept out of the hospital, but wondering if I’m jinxing myself. Phil and I prefer that the only reason we see hospital admission involves a kidney transplant.

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