Here we are on day 57 and my brother is back in ICU. He had been making good progress during his first week at Oregon Rehabilitation Center. The first week walking goal of 150 feet assisted with a walker was totally achieved. He actually was doing 250 feet! Controlling his foot placement is still an issue. He was making small progress with swallowing (still giving him difficulty). Learning how to dress himself with minimal assistance was also moving forward. It was even getting easier to understand his speech! However, his body started doing some undesirable things. Internal bleeding is never a good thing! On Tuesday he was moved back to the main hospital to undergo testing. Major bummer! This morning they scoped his stomach and esophagus and gave that zone a clean bill of health. Tomorrow his is scheduled to undergo a colonoscopy to see what’s happening in the intestines. Personally, I’m hoping it’s all related to the family history of Celiac disease. Two out of 4 siblings currently have this diagnosis. We shall just wait and see.
When this all gets sorted out, we hope he will return to ORC to finish the work started. Once released from rehab, he will require another 2 months of 24/7 monitoring. Urgh! We started having the conversation yesterday about him moving into assisted living (but we called it an assisted apartment to make it more palatable). Of course he thinks it’s where he would end up for good (which isn’t the case) and he said he would rather live on the street with the homeless rather than go there. So the goal is to have us continue to emphasize the fact that it’s only temporary and the end goal is for him to be back home. I have to keep reminding myself how my mother-in-law went down a very difficult life changing road after multiple medical hurdles were thrown in her path. She worked through several long hospital stays, months of therapy and assisted living before she could finally get home. If my mother-in-law can find the strength to do it, then my 50 year old brother certainly can overcome these issues and thrive. :)
Nigel kitty is ready to have his drainage tube removed Friday. The abscess is finally healing after a $600 surgery and recheck. I and the rest of the household will be looking forward to booting him out of solitary confinement and back to the garage. Howling cat, both day and night, makes for grumpy people and barking dogs. I would love to get a good sleep again…. maybe…. someday…. Probably won’t happen until after late February when the boys leave…. Pets are a pain! But I love them dearly!
This morning I receive an incredible photo from my friend John Ritchie. He is a photographer in Corvallis who has an amazing perspective on the night. He prowls around town taking street and alley photos during all weather and season. I first met John during the “Artists @ Work” installation in 2011. As one of the regular visitors over the month long project, it was always a pleasure to chat and learn more about his work while sharing my developing sculpture. He and a friend made a trip to Halsey to view the Camas installation before the removal. He sent me the above image. WOW!! I love the fact that the front step inscriptions were captured along with the dramatic columns. Such a great image to have in my collection. Please click on John’s name above to reach his website.
A huge thanks to John for such a special gift!
Back on Monday, I removed the Camas installation from Halsey. De-installation is always much faster than installation. It took all of 1.5 hrs. The toughest part was finding another screwdriver to unscrew the hinges to the door panels. Normally, I overstock my supply bucket, but on this instance things were a tad bare. I had only one Phillips screwdriver head and it was too small. Fortunately there is a store in town and my #1 helper went and purchased what was needed. I borrowed my sister’s huge truck with canopy for the panels and loaded the camas into the honda. It took another couple of days before it could be unloaded into the garage. Now it’s safe until it can go off for another showing.
Public installations are still something that I find gratifying and I’m looking forward to the next one in 2016. The one portion of this sort of project that I really miss is feedback. Yes, I received a huge amount of kudos and praise from my friends (both artists and art lovers), but lack of connection to the towns folk. The artist talk only solicited about 4 community members. On removal day I did talk a bit with one of the city workers, Hilary, who had been my coordinator for this project. She said the feedback was all favorable and they didn’t receive one complaint (which she found quite surprising, since someone always complains about something). I also had a very nice conversation with a neighbor down the street. He said there were lots of folks who came by, especially at night, to see the piece. He’s already dreaming of turning the vacant post office building next door to the library into a cafe and feature my art. I really enjoyed being a part of Halsey for 3 months, and it was by far my favorite small town.
Below are a few photos passed along from a project through Central Linn Elementary school thanks to Jessi Furlo & Cheryl French, part of the education outreach staff at The Arts Center. Jessi attended my artist talk and took the inspiration and ideas from that into the classroom. The kids worked with wire and book pages to create forms for their tree. Someone built them a very nice stand to support their sculpture. It looks like the kids all had a great time. I have to say it’s pretty cool to have inspired a great group of budding artists!
Springhill cellars is our local winery. How local? It’s about 1.5 miles from our house, maybe a bit less. They offer Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Port and Fedeweisser (only during the Thanksgiving weekend!). For the past 6 years, we have made it our after-Thanksgiving tradition to walk to the vineyard for a wine tasting. Thanksgiving weekend has always been a huge deal for the winery’s everywhere. Springhill is a bit different since they make it a Fedeweisser event. Here are a few images from this years walk.
Moby the whiny dog. The dogs were not allowed in the barn so we took turns with them outside in the gentle rain. Below is the late afternoon view towards the coast range.
Below is the barn where they hold the tasting and grilled sausages from a local maker. They always have a barn dance on one of the nights.
The super fuzzy face of Mr Zeek. He and Reggie so enjoy getting out and meeting new people. Hard to believe they only have a few months left with us!
Walking back home always involves hills in our neighborhood. Dave has Moby and Zeek, while our neighbor Gail is walking Reggie and carrying 2 bottles of port. I’m lagging behind under the weight of 4 bottles of wine. I should have brought a small back pack rather than the small cloth bag. :)
I’m seriously considering purchasing a cutting machine to save my hands from further damage. The above stencil is 6″ wide by 15.25″ tall (15.25 x 38.7 cm). It will yield an elegant lamp in the end if I can cut and assemble it. So picture the black becoming a white/offwhite background and the red either staying red or becoming dark blue or black. Trim it out in a dark color and voila! My fingers are not impressed by this new design. They are already crying mercy after dealing with the template. I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching machines, and I think I’ve found a winner.
My brother’s health continues to improve daily. For the most part, he’s pretty well “there” with his brain, but some things are still rather goofy. Yesterday he really thought it was my sister’s birthday and wanted her to leave and go enjoy the day. Of course, my sister’s birthday isn’t until May, but at least he’s trying to figure things out and is actually thinking of other’s health and well being. His trach tube will hopefully be removed next week prior to his moving into a rehab facility. Monday, I’ll be checking out 2 or 3 facilities on behalf of the family. It’s nice to have the dates shift 2 weeks earlier than expected. The wild ride isn’t over yet until we can get him settled into his own home and work again. And work is another thing that has to be settled by Monday or the previous owners will foreclose on him. Time will tell…. I just hope it leans in Tom’s favor. He’s certainly been put through the ringer.
I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! Today I finally felt inspired to start working on a new lamp design. Part of it was due to the studio cleaning on Tuesday. I eliminated clutter (well, kind of), actually put things away, and cleaned off the full drafting board surface. That surface hasn’t seen daylight in months! The design still has a ways to go, especially with choosing the right height and paper. I found inspiration from the beautiful cast iron pillars outside Gallery Calapooia in Albany. The gallery is currently accepting applications for 3D artists and I’m seriously contemplating joining. Another artist friend, part of the gallery, is strongly pushing for my application. Today I had enough brain power to download it and start assessing requirements. Basically the normal stuff: artist statement, bio, 6-10 images. I’m feeling my portfolio of lamps is a bit skimpy at the moment hence the new design idea. It would be nice to pull together a new lamp with a completely different look that ties together to that gallery.
Tom received a new dialysis port yesterday evening. I’m uncertain if they have chosen a new site all together or just new equipment in the old one. This will have been the 4th replacement over 4 weeks. Seems like the equipment fails rather quickly….
I’ve managed to take quite a few days off from traveling back and forth to Eugene. Instead, I’ve been dealing with the mountain of laundry belonging to my brother and conversations with grumpy business landlords. On Monday Tom made a monumental improvement by being downgraded to “step-down” ICU. The next move will be a standard hospital room but that time frame depends on Tom’s improvements. He was so tired and groggy when we visited last afternoon. His body had gone through dialysis in the morning, PT, and the move to a different section on the 4th floor. They are continuing to have him eat on his own but with serious supervision and in a full upright position. No choking or gagging on anything! They also are using a low flow breathing device over his tracheostomy site. I seem to recall that he’s taking in about 20% of a breath through the site. He gets very frustrated with how he’s not able to communicate successfully yet. Maybe this week he will be able to do more with a different sized plug for the throat. The initial one caused a lot of coughing and wasn’t comfortable.
We did get the TV remote control in his hands and that certainly made him happy. Eventually I asked the right question to trigger a yes response. He wanted the TV on, but he wasn’t about to let me change the channel. He wants control and the ability to do things himself. We like seeing the fighting spirit! We asked if he wanted us to stay and his response was a clear NO. So, we left.
Our cold temperature continue. It really feels like February, not November! The big ice storm caused major tree damage all over the area, especially in the hills. I managed to craftily discover a big patch of black ice on the road while walking dogs Sunday. Fortunately I fell on my ass, bloodied my palm, and seriously pulled some back and arm muscles. Things are feeling better today. With long term stress, I’m not as aware of my surrounding or my body. On Saturday, while going over a fallen tree in the woods, I whacked my kneecap on a branch stub. Man, that hurt! Another huge contusion and cut. More pain than the hand injury 3 days before that! At least I’m not whacking my shin with a sledge hammer like I did 4 years ago when my mother was in hospital. That hurt for a really really long time!
I think today is a good studio cleaning day! Less injury potential. :)