April 16th, 2006


Back on the surfboard

Esther reminded me that I hadn't posted a Marsha update recently, so here goes:

The second TV and receiver is set up and running, so Marsha has something to look at when she's turned on her side. Now the struggle is to get the nursing home folks to turn her. (The turning is to help her bed sores heal -- bed sores happen when you can't move, so circulation is cut off to the parts you're lying on, so tissue dies. Turning every two hours is not as good as being able to move yourself, but it does let the blood flow to the area you were lying on before the turn.)

Marsha also needs protein to help heal the bed sores, but had gone off meat -- for reasons of taste rather than philosophy, nursing home fare being on the unimaginative side. It turns out, though, that she'll eat Lean Cuisine or similar fare, particularly fish but also some chicken dishes. I've been trying to get dishes with 20-30 grams of protein to bring when I visit. I wondered why I hadn't thought of that before, and then realized that while her hand still worked she didn't want to be fed, so I'd been concentrating on one-handed foods.

One workaround we've made for her hand is to turn her Macintosh into a TV remote control. (Marsha can still move her left arm enough to control a trackball mouse, though she can no longer move her fingers enough to type.) A little company in Germany makes an infrared receiver/transmitter, and another little German company makes Macintosh software to control it. To set things up you aim the cable remote at the German gizmo and press a button on the remote. The program records the infrared signal, and can make the gizmo send it out to control the cable box. The Macintosh has the ability to call up
arbitrary programs via faux web addresses, so we made a web page for Marsha that has links for MSNC, Sundance, the Independent Film Channel, and so forth. Now she can channel surf again. (Thus the title of the post.)