Friday, 10 May 2013

08:26 – Barbara’s dad arrived at the Brian Center nursing home just before lunchtime yesterday. I stopped over to see him as Barbara was helping him get settled in. He’s currently on the second floor, which is the skilled-care (nursing home) floor. We’re hoping that he’ll soon be well enough to move downstairs to the assisted-living floor. The Brian Center is one of the best-rated facilities around here, which is why we chose it for my mom when we had to move her to a nursing home. That was 10 years ago, and the place doesn’t seem to have changed much. A few of the staff from back then are still there.

One of the things I found most impressive about the place is that there’s no odor. Not only no urine odor, but no pervading smell of disinfectants. The place just doesn’t smell at all, which is very difficult to accomplish in a nursing home. There are plenty of staff, and they’re all friendly. Dutch was eating lunch when I arrived, and he said the food was good. And, of course, the place is only a couple miles from our house, so it’s easy to get over there for frequent visits.

While we were there, I asked one of the senior staff members about something that had been bothering me. When my mom was at Brian Center, she had an extraordinary nurse, whose name I couldn’t remember. It was LaToya. LaToya was a delightful young woman, and my mother loved her. She was 23 years old, and a single mother of a toddler. One day, she wasn’t at work. Nor the next, nor the next. We asked about her, and were stunned to learn that she was in the hospital and not expected to live. Shortly after, we learned that she had died of a rare genetic condition. My mother was inconsolable, not just because LaToya had been her favorite nurse, but because LaToya was only 23 years old and left a young toddler motherless. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten her name. She deserves to be remembered.

Colin was due for his annual checkup, so around 4:15 we headed off to the vet, making a stop at Dutch’s apartment on the way to pick up some stuff for him. The traffic was hideous, as always, but we managed to make it out to Clemmons in time for the 5:15 vet appointment.

Our vet is Sue Stephens, and we’ve been taking our dogs to see her for about 25 years. She originally had her own practice not far from us, but 15 years ago or more she sold her practice. She’d signed a non-compete that restricted her from practicing near her old practice, and she ended up working part-time at a practice out in Clemmons. Driving out there is a pain in the ass, but Sue is the best vet I’ve ever known, and we considered it worth the hassle to continue seeing her, particularly when we had older dogs with more health problems.

So, we got out there and, as always, the first thing was to get Colin on the scale. The scale wasn’t cooperating very well, refusing to settle at 0.00 even when tared. On the first attempt, Colin weighed 85 pounds (~ 39 kilos). On the second, 81 pounds. On the third, 82 pounds. I stepped on the scale, which said I weighed 203.4 pounds (~ 93 kilos). So, we concluded that Colin likely weighs somewhere around 83 pounds. Sue wants to see Colin down to 68 pounds, which we think is ridiculous. He’s not fat now. At 68 pounds, he’d look anorexic.

I asked Sue if there was any factual basis in terms of morbidity or mortality for the recommended weights vets use for dogs. There apparently isn’t, other than one study Purina did many years ago, in which they apparently didn’t bother even to define their terms. I told Sue this reminded me of the recommended weights physicians use for people. Morbidity/mortality is significantly lower for people who are “overweight” versus those who are “normal weight”, which pretty definitively establishes that so-called “overweight” is in fact the proper weight and what they define is “normal weight” is in fact underweight. And any normal person looking at Colin would not think he was too heavy. We’re not going to make any significant changes to his diet unless and until he actually starts to look chubby.

Nor me, for that matter. On our wedding day, I was 30 years old and weighed 238 pounds. Over the last 30 years, and particularly over the last 5 or 10, my weight has been gradually decreasing. It’s not that I’ve been trying to lose weight; it’s just that I eat less and less as I get older. As I said to Barbara yesterday, I’m now almost down to my tennis-playing weight of 185 to 190, and maybe I should take up the game again. I quickly assured her that I was only kidding. With vertigo affecting my balance and some arthritis in my hands, there’s no way I’d even attempt it.

We’re on schedule to start shipping the LK01 Life Science Kits on Monday. There are 30 of them on the assembly table right now that are nearly complete, missing only a few components. We’ll finish them up this weekend.