Monthly Archives: August 2006

A Pardon

Good news! My car has received a pardon. It was a $16 part that broke. $200 dollars later (some other maintenance done) the car is home.

Is this goodbye?

My car broke today while I was driving Nathan home from his echo/EKG. More precisely it broke down right after we exited Dairy Queen on the way home. So – at least I got my blizzard first. My dad came to get us and made a comment about this being just another day in the life of Susan. I really do need to play the lottery – perhaps I am due for some good luck.

I think this may be the last straw for the Beretta. It was a college graduation present from my parents in 1994. It only has 93,000 miles on it though. However, it is not even worth a couple of hundred dollars so there is a limit to what we are willing to put into it.

So – it has been towed to the shop and we will see how much it will cost to fix it. I will be a little sad if we get rid of it. I’ve had that car since before I even met Luke.

Sobering stuff

I wanted to post – but my thought are all over the place.

We are waiting to hear when we will go to New York for Nathan’s scans. This time next week we could be there but as of right now we haven’t a clue. I hate how last-minute these things are.

There are three senarios for what will happen.

1. Nathan’s scans are the same worse than at relapse. They have nothing to offer him. We come home. Mild chemo?, Hopspice?

2. Nathan’s scans are improved. They have a trial for him but he needs to wait for an opening so we come home for a week or two and go back.

3. Nathan’s scans are improved. He starts a trial right away. We are there for many weeks.

So – when will come home? What will we be doing? All unknown.

There is another child with relapsed neuroblastoma at Nathan’s clinic. She is friends with my hairdresser and we talk on the phone from time to time. I talked to her yesterday. They have decided to stop treatment on her daughter (who is five). She has called hospice and been to the funeral home. We talked about how she came to the decision and was actually able to make it. Her answer was that is was prayer. For now, her daughter feels great and is able to run around and ride her bike. They think she may make it to Halloween but doubt she’ll make it to Thanksgiving.

I just keep hoping that it is a long time before we are where she is….

Baby you can drive my car

So – we have been dealing with the same group of doctors and nurses for over three years now. We are so lucky because these are a great group of people.

There is a nurse at the hospital that used to work in the clinic occasionally and also is one of the few oncology nurses on the pediatric floor. We have always liked her.

She was Nathan’s nurse a week ago when he was inpatient for fever and neutropenia. This is the day I realized I had shingles. I was sitting by Nathan’s hospital bed surfing google images for rashes. When I saw a picture of the shingles rash and also saw a map of where it commonly breaks out I started freaking out. When she came into the room I showed it to her and she went and asked a doctor over at the PICU who thought I should get it looked at. I had to go RIGHT AWAY. I was so freaked out about giving Nathan chicken pox and I just couldn’t wait for an hour for Luke to get there. I decided it would be fine to leave Nathan alone for a little while. He is so used to the hospital and the nurses and was feeling just fine. I was ready to leave when it occurred to me that I had no car and urgent care was about 2 miles away.

I told his nurse I wouldn’t be leaving right away after all because I had no car. Then, I realized I could call a cab and so I did so. I went to the nurses station to tell her that I was leaving right away after all and she offered me her car. She repeatedly offered and I almost took her up on it until I realized her shift was almost over. She said she would catch a ride home with another nurse and then get a ride back with her early the next morning. She had told me earlier that she had the next three days off and so she was actually offering to get up and come into the hospital on her day off just so I could borrow her car. She offered a few more times but I refused and said I had a cab coming anyway and I thanked her profusely.

That is a good example of how caring and just plain nice Nathan’s nurses are.

If I ever change careers – nursing is the first career I would choose. Nurses really do make a difference in people’s lives. How many other vocations can do that?


So – I wrote a letter to the editor concerning the column about the woman and her house in disrepair. I wrote it at 10:00 at night so it is neither as eloquent nor as biting as I would have preferred. Heck – I am just not a writer.

Either way – I am pleased to say it was published. I hope one of those neighbors reads it and will feel even a little bit ashamed.

Gazette should have passed
on reporting woman’s woes
I am appalled at the Sidestreets column in the Aug. 17 Gazette, “Years after neighbor’s death, good will sours as house falls into disrepair.” Since when is it considered newsworthy that someone has had trouble keeping up their house after a horrible family tragedy?
The tone of this article seems to indicate that Han Lee should be “over” this tragedy now that five years have passed. These neighbors should be thanking their lucky stars that they have not had such a tragedy occur in their lives and they should continue to offer their assistance if they are so disturbed by the disrepair. It disgusts me that these neighbors were willing to publicly air their petty grievances and I simply cannot believe The Gazette published this column.

I am so steamed

Our local paper has a weekly column about neighborhood issues. I am so angry about the column that ran today. I will paste it below since it is hard to link to this paper and then comment on it below.

When masked men burst into the Valli Hi Liquor store on Memorial Day 2001 and shot to death owner Hyung Lee, neighbors rallied around his widow, Han.
Some mowed the grass for the South Korean immigrant, who witnessed the slaying of her husband and was threatened with death along with their 16-year-old son.
In the following weeks, neighbors offered to do chores around the house, such as fixing the sprinkler system and repairing the garage door, recognizing the grieving Han was under severe stress trying to learn the business and work the store six days a week while raising her three boys.
But five years later, some residents in the Gatehouse Village neighborhood of Briargate are frustrated with the condition of Lee’s house.
One of Lee’s garage doors is broken. The yard is patchy weeds and mostly dead grass, unlike the tidy lawns of many neighboring houses. A washer and dryer have sat for years in the backyard, visible from the shopping center across Union Boulevard.
“The house is a disaster,” said Jose Carrington, who lives around the corner. “The yard is terrible. There is trash in the yard. Weeds. Cars parked on the grass.
“It’s terrible. And the whole neighborhood feels the same way.”
It’s so bad neighbors have moved away in frustration.
Current and former neighbors who were interviewed expressed sadness for Lee and the trauma she suffered. They were sympathetic that she endured the trials of three men arrested in the crime.
Some shook their heads in disbelief when one of the men, originally convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, won a new trial. And, like her, they were mortified when a jury in November acquitted the suspect and set him free.
They can’t imagine what it must be like for Lee, having to return to the scene of the murder, day after day, working long hours at the liquor store to support her family.
She gave a glimpse of her life at the sentencing of one of the killers: “This is not just a nightmare,” she wrote in comments to the judge. “It is our horrendous reality.”
Walt Damewood lived next door to the Lees for several years and recalled the horror of the events.
“It was so difficult for her,” Damewood said. “She was running the store; working long hours. The only day she had off was Sunday. And she slept most of the day.”
Meanwhile, Damewood said, the house deteriorated as the boys, now ages 13, 18 and 21, started causing problems in the neighborhood. Damewood said he had confrontations with the boys and their friends over noise and other issues.
“The kids went a little crazy,” he said. “Things started getting worse and it got to the point it felt a little on the dangerous side.”
So he sold his house and moved in 2003. At least three other neighbors, who declined to be identified, soon followed Damewood out of Gatehouse Village.
“It was frustrating,” Damewood said. “We loved our home. And our neighbors. We still have a lot of friends there.
“We tried everything to help her. It was so difficult. But the house was deteriorating. She was having a hard time controlling her kids. It was so hard to talk to her because English was her second language. We really felt bad. But we had to move.”
Carrington, however, doesn’t want to move. He wants to see the house cleaned up, the junk hauled away and the yard landscaped.
News of the neighbors’ comments shocked Lee, when contacted at her liquor store.
“I’m going to clean up the house in two weeks,” she said. “I called a fix-it man.”
In fact, the very next morning the front yard of the house had been transformed by Lee and her sons. She promised the garage door would be fixed soon, along with other repairs.
Still, she was surprised anyone paid so much attention to her house.
“People called the newspaper?” she said.
She spoke in a soft voice as she recalled the days after the shooting and the years spent in court, watching the trials.
“I had never worked before,” she said. “I had to learn the business.”
The demands and stress of the business caused her to neglect her home.
“It’s been very hard,” she said. “I’m working all the time here. Six days a week from 9 in the morning until night.
“I don’t know how to start the mower. My husband always did that.”
When Damewood and the other neighbors moved away, her situation got worse. “They used to help me,” she said. “The new neighbors, they never even talk to me.”
Carrington said he was aware the family had suffered a tragedy. But he had never talked to Lee or gotten involved. And to him, it’s no excuse for years of neglect.
“I feel sorry for them,” Carrington said. “But the house needs to be kept up.”

First of all – I cannot believe they ran this column. This poor woman has to be mortified.

What really angers me is the I think this article suggests that she should be “over” her husband’s murder after five years and should now be perfectly able to take care of her house.

These neighbors…..I gues they have never had anything tragic happen in their lives. They don’t understand the paralization that can come from such a horrible event like this. If they can’t stand the way her house looks, why not continue to offer their help. No – they are just standing in judgment and moaning about how their life is ruined because they have to look at her house. How self-centered can they possibly be.

I am just disgusted.

Here is the other thing. This could be us in a few years. Until recently we had weeds and dirt in part of our front lawn. Our back yard is half weeds and dirt. Our house needs to be painted and there are rotting boards. We are fully aware of all of this but all of our energy and much of our finances are spent elsewhere. I don’t know if any of our neighbors are saying these things about us – I hope not. If so – they can kiss my ass – That or trade places with me and have it so they are the ones with a kid with cancer and see if they can do a better job.

Is he kidding?

So – I have watched the TLC show Shalom in the Home a few times. I decided I didn’t really like the host and decided that he was arrogant, but had nothing against him.

Well – now I do have something against him. Read what he writes about breastfeeding and its negative affects on the marriage.


I can’t believe I have shingles! Can I please catch a break?

Dilemma resolution

I didn’t go. Nathan went to the clinic and got his counts checked late this afternoon and his hemoglobin was 6.4. It should be above 12 so it was very low. He is going to Denver tomorrow and so can’t have one then. So he and I went off to the hospital to get some blood. Luke came around 5:00 and I could have run to the school but I had Lauren who needed feeding. I also remembered there is a back to school night in a few weeks for the parents to meet with the teacher and the teacher will talk about the curriculum so I think I will just attend that. I still need to run over to the school and view the class list.

You guys had some good suggestions and I think I will try to meet with his teacher privately as well.


So – I have been trying to not let this blog be dominted by Nathan’s situation – but I guess the reality is that my life is dominated by it and so I have no choice.

School starts next Monday. Nathan will not be going. He will be getting a homebound tutor 5 hours a week. It is our intention that he go to school whenever he is able. It is unfortunate that he cannot at least start school with his class so he can feel a part of it.

Tomorrow night is an ice cream social and meet the teacher night. The first graders are meeting in the classroom and I assume will be oriented about full-day school. I think it would be good if I was there. I think it would also be good if Nathan could go.

Here is the dilemma. Let’s say Nathan was physically able to go. He should probably wear a mask. He may not be able to walk well – I might have to push him in a stroller. My god – would it be more harmful for him to go meet his classmates in that state? He is looking like hell right now. For him that is not the usual bald and skinny it is also the deathly pale/grayish pallor. The kids will probably be freaked out by him.

It is likely he won’t be up to going anyway so it will all be moot. I guess I will go…I hope I can keep from getting teary – it will be terribly depressing to be there without Nate. So – maybe I won’t go at all. I would like to meet his teacer though….