Friday, October 29, 2010

Angels among us

In a situation like this it's amazing how many people help you through it.  People who don't know you, don't know your loved one, but are there to help, guide, and comfort.  Like Kim from the E.R.. She told me about her mother and when she died, she came up to see my mom 2 days after she could have forgotten about her, she offered her comfort and let me know my mom had touched her.  There was Rich, a chaplain who sat with me on Sunday for a good 3 hours in the E.R. and talked with me about all kinds of things.  Quiet and simple conversation to make the time passing not so agonizing.  Velina on the 6th floor was exceptionally caring and gentle with my mom, and Lisa, the hospital/hospice liaison.  Kari, too.  They have all been wonderful.

Dr. Santa (yes, really) and Dr. Short, extremely gentle and kind and thankfully, honest with me.  It seems at every turn there is someone asking if I need something, if I think my mom is comfortable, asking me what I want to do, what measures we want to take.  There have been 2 more chaplains that have stopped in to offer solace and Elizabeth from the hospice team who is a constant, compassionate and helpful in letting my daughter and I know what the actual signs of dying are, what things and actions mean.  Sometimes there is great comfort in the science. 

Of course there are the people I work with who have been keeping in contact and offering support, they have all been wonderful through is.  And my blog-friends are terrific, always willing to listen to my happy and my sad and to offer their kinds words even when it's a difficult time and subject.

I came home just to feed my animals so my crabby old man cat doesn't poop on my bed, and to shower, but I felt a need to do this as well.  My mom is tough, she is hanging on but is surely going.  I have had a lot of time to say everything I need to say for me, and everything (I hope) she needs to hear. And writing here is one more way of working through the process.

My mom lived with my brother for 2 years and now he says I signed up for the hard leg of the journey.  But truly, I am glad for the opportunity.  And I am thankful for the angels on earth who are helping me through it.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today is that day.

I now know that the main entrance to the hospital closes at 8:00 p.m. and the only place to enter after that time is through the E.R.  I know where to park during the day and where to park in the evening.  I can find my way from the E.R. to the "south tower" after hours through hallways old and new.  I am starting to recognize E.R. staff as well as some of the nurses and aides on a couple of different floors.  I never wanted this knowledge.

My mom went from being a hospital patient to a hospice patient today.  It's tough to be the one making these decisions but my brain knows this is the right one.  My heart on the other hand .. feels the pain of being the one to say no to any more "treatment" and yes to meds and options that bring comfort and support.  No to trying to fix things and yes to things that ease the process and allow my mom the dignity she deserves.  It's hard not to second guess decisions as important as these.  But I think it's harder to see someone you love struggle and suffer only to give them more time - to struggle and suffer some more.

You really can't be wearing make-up while making these decisions either.  You can consider that advice if you'd like to.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It was 12:30 a.m. and I was leaving the hospital.  I stopped at the light, and was about to turn right on red because traffic was clear.  I saw a young guy - vaguely realized that he had  approached the car in front of me that made it through before the light turned red but really, I was too tired to give it any thought.  As I started to roll forward to begin my turn I looked to the side and there he was, about 5 yards from my car and when we made eye contact he came towards me.  I wasn't afraid although I suppose I should have been.  The kid was skinny as all get out, and seemed a bit frantic and odd to me.  I rolled down my window and he called out as he came closer "do you have a lighter I can see?"  Then I saw the cigarette in his hand.  Unlit cigarette.

He saw me push in my car cigarette lighter, something I haven't done in years and I saw relief flood his face.  He told me he was leaving the hospital, he lived up the road in the opposite direction I was going.  Said "I must have waved down 30 cars, no one would give me a light!"  I held out the lighter and he leaned closer, cupped his hands around the lighter and lit his cigarette.  "Thanks, I mean, I swear - must have been like 30 cars!  God bless you!"  And he turned and walked away.

As I drove away I was oddly pleased that I had chosen to trust somebody and hadn't had to pay for that choice in a bad way.  Okay, I WAS/AM sleep deprived and I suspect my judgment was a tad "off".  (ya think??)   And then I realized - I have been spending my time and  emotional energy  at the hospital since before noon yesterday, watching my mother struggle and fight for every breath because she smoked for 50 years.  And I was lighting a young guy's cigarette right outside that same hospital. 

It's amazing that I can still have that disconnect between the act and the consequences given what I have witnessed with my mom.  Seriously??  I totally enjoyed it when I did it.  But I am incredibly grateful to have been able to stop.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I had the need.

I am on so many distribution lists at work it makes me want to scream.  But sometimes a distribution list in your email is actually needed. Or in your smart phone.  Like when you have an ill family member who you need to send updates out on.

I love Google.  I typed in "distribution list for iphone" and came up with this.  Downloaded it and 5 minutes later had a family distribution list called Mom/Grandma.

So yeah, she's on her way to the hospital as I type.  Going to get ready to meet her over there.  Again.  Try the app though if you have the need, it's super easy.

** Edited to add - just got back, Mom is back at the nursing home.  Even the doc and the nurse I spoke to at the hospital aren't sure why she was sent there.  I'd better check to see who owns that ambulance service!



Friday, October 22, 2010

Meds! More Meds!!


Took the crabby old man cat to the vet today and let them drain as much blood as they wanted as long as they only charged me for the tests he really needed.  $112.00 later and that included 2 catnip (guilt) toys later we were on our way home.  You ever notice how doctors (and that includes vets) hold your medication hostage if you don’t go see them often enough?  Yeah.  Have to visit and have the right tests before you get one. more. pill.  What.ever.  So he’s up to date now.

DMy-DocumentsMy-Picturesair-c28Later I went to see my mom.  They’ve been messing with her breathing treatments lately which I don’t get.  She has emphy-freaking-sema for gosh sakes!  IT IS NOT CURABLE.  So lets not try to wean her off her breathing meds, okay?  Before I left she was coughing quite a bit so on my way out I spoke to the nurse, Andrew. I let him know about the cough and I was a bit concerned, and we discussed giving her cough meds before bed so she would be able to sleep.

Almost home and my phone rang.  It was Mom, anxious about not having her night meds yet (it wasn’t time yet) and wanting me to talk to her to distract her from her anxiety.  I pulled into the Walgreen’s parking lot and turned the car off, listening to my mom try to tell me something one word at a time.  Difficult.  I reached into my purse and took out an Ambien.  It WAS time for MY meds.  I took one and went into the store.
vehicle_232x186During the call Mom started coughing so badly and for so long that I hung up on her and called the nurses station and asked Andrew to run down the hall and check on her.  About 10 minutes later (at check out) Andrew called back, they were going to take her to the hospital.

My thought was “Crap, I’ve already taken my Ambien!”
I asked him to let me know when the ambulance got there to get her, then I would meet her at the hospital.  Instead of that call – I got the call saying they changed their minds, Mom was more calm, breathing better, and not coughing so much.  The doctor gave the nurses a standing order for the night – to call an ambulance to take her if need be, but she doesn’t seem to need it now.

Thank God! 

I’m not going to have to fight the Ambien or drive under the influence of it, or fall asleep in the emergency room showing just what a concerned daughter I am!

She’ll go back to the hospital again, I know.  I’m just glad it wasn’t this time.  Nite Ya’ll!


Remember when we used to answer the phone - even when we didn't know who it was?!??

Kitchen phone, but in white
I know, right?  I remember it well.  If we had had caller ID when I was in high school I never would have gotten my own phone (with my own number!!) in my bedroom if my mom could have looked at a display and been able to see it was for me. 

Remember running for the phone hoping it was for you, but even if it wasn't you still wanted to know who was calling?

Remember buying an extra long cord so you could pull the phone into a place of privacy and maybe even close a door?

Phone that was in my Mom's bedroom.
What about wanting to make a call and pacing because someone else was on the phone and not getting off any time soon?

Or finally getting to make your call and getting a busy single?  Or the very worst .. running to get the phone and just as you pick it up - they hang up?

THE phone in my bedroom.
No caller ID
No answering machine.
No voicemail.
The eternal mystery.

And I never even dreamed of having a phone to carry in my purse that worked without a cord that could take messages and show me who was calling and plenty more.  

Now - I don't answer my phone a lot and I generally don't run for it.  We are so connected these days I guess I'm just not in a hurry to find out who's calling anymore.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stuff and such.

Is there a food that is like - the Holy Grail of foods for you?  Something you will search high and low for, eat three days in a row if given the opportunity?  Or for breakfast lunch and dinner for two days?  For me it was Stouffer's Noodles Romanoff.  Aw-w-e-s-o-o-m-mmmmmme.  (did I mention this wasn't a discussion of the best thing Grandma used to make?)  And then it was gone.  Every time I went to the store my feet dragged through the frozen section .. always hoping against hope .. but it was never there.  It was probably 3 years later that I finally wrote Stouffers a letter asking the fate of my wonderful noodle dish.  
They were so very sorry but - their Noodles Romanoff had been discontinued.  That's a forever thing folks!  I was inconsolable.  But like most things in life, you deal with it.  One foot in front of the other until it doesn't hurt so much.  After all, I still had Stouffer's French Bread Pizza!  Luuuurvve it!

So you can understand my panic after going through the Noodles Romanoff loss, when I wasn't seeing my French Bread Pizza in the stores all of a sudden.  Short of breath, near to tears .. each time I went to a grocery store and looked, fruitlessly .. I was so sad.

And then ... then ... out of the blue after about a 6 month drought ... THEY WERE BACK!!!  I pressed my nose against the glass freezer doors and cried.  Okay maybe I didn't do that part.  But I did buy 2 boxes and have also had jalapeno poppers (the cream cheese kind) for breakfast over the weekend.  Not sure why but those jalapeno poppers are really good for breakfast!

So I may not have my noodles, but there are several copycat recipes out there I might try, and for now I am content with my French Bread Pizzas and my jalapeno poppers.  Some things just have to be there, y'know?  Keeps my world smooooooothh and easy.

Eat up!  And enjoy!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So then I broke the new vacuum ..

Remember when I asked about what vacuum to buy?  Uh huh.  Well, the winner was the Hoover Wind Tunnel T-Series Pet Rewind Bagless Upright Vacuum, because you know, I was going for the vacuum with the longest name.  Heh.  And then I broke it.  The end.

Lest you think it's a crap vacuum, I will confess to being really stupid with it the very first time I used it.  The very first time.  Yay me! 

I was using the hand tool and I was reaching to get the corner of the ceiling/wall place behind the couch and over the little cabinet that holds all the exercise videos and DVDs I never use.  I sucked up the cobwebs and noticed when I stepped up onto the couch that there were all kinds of webs, probably of the spider variety behind said cabinet.  So I did what anybody would do who has a new vacuum and thinks they are super-new-vacuum-lady - I pulled the vacuum up with me.  Okay, it was eating the throw that I have on the couch and I didn't notice until I heard a high pitched whine.  And there was smoke.  Honestly.  Smoke.

Turns out if I want to drag my whole vacuum up onto the couch (which I really want to call a counch tonight for some reason) I can because there is a button that I can press with my foot to disengage the brushes that spin a million miles an hour and eat whatever they are set upon.  Mainly when they are set upon something they don't belong on.  Ahem.  I found the button after I made the smoke.

So not only did I unadvisedly pull my whole upright vacuum onto my couch which was covered with a loose throw, I didn't read the manual first to find out I could have pushed that handy dandy button. 

It was the belt.  Tore that thing right in half and let me tell you - that was one sturdy belt until I got to it!  Had to order the belt and when it came in the mail I ...

a) rolled it around on the floor to amuse the cats for a while...

b) consoled myself with a plate full of jalapeno poppers (the cream cheese kind) and felt sorry for myself for not having a full time man in the house to do things like put belts on vacuums for me .. or

c) got out the manual to find out how to put the belt on properly, myself.

Well a) - my cats are way too sophisticated to be amused by a mere rubber loop and would never let me live it down for simply offering it to them .. b) I never need an excuse to dive into a plate of jalapeno poppers (the cream cheese kind)..  and c) the vacuum is working fabulously now of course!  And I am ridiculously proud of myself for fixing it myself!

And don't let anyone tell you I fixed it myself because I didn't want to put up with the head shaking and the side-long glances punctuated by "women!" or "HAD to drag it up on the couch ..."

I did it because I could!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It was 85 degrees yesterday

Wasn't it?  I feel like I played hopscotch this year, one foot springtime 2 feet summer 1 foot fall .. where did the time go?

And who stole all our leaves?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fingers in my ears (alternatively titled La la la la la la!!)

There are many things wrong with my writing.  I have no clue about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and more.  But there is one thing I didn't realize was a dead give away that I am just freaking OLD.  We receive emails at work sometimes aimed at improving our communication skills, verbal as well as written.  Little venomous snippets of rules I never knew (or cared) existed.  Who gets to decide this stuff anyway??? 

Space between Sentences

One space, not two, follows any mark of punctuation that ends a sentence, whether a period, a colon, a question mark, and exclamation point, or closing quotation marks.

Editor’s note: Entering two spaces after terminal punctuation is an out-dated standard, used (and taught by) people who typed on typewriters. Typewriters did not have the ability to use proportional fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman, and most other computer fonts. They used Courier, which is not proportional, meaning that all of the letters are the same width. Inserting two spaces after a sentence written in a proportional font produces a large gap in the flow of the text, making it harder to read smoothly. Pick up any professionally published magazine or book and you will never see two spaces. Two spaces make your writing look amateurish. Don’t do it. [OK, I’m off my soapbox now…]
Source: Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, Space between sentences (section 6.11)

The one thing I thought I was doing right, if you notice my paragraph at the top .. 2 spaces after the punctuation at the end of each sentence.  SO?!!??  Who IS this Chicago Manual of Style anyway?  Obviously someone who wants to separate the seasoned and experienced from the fresh and hip.  Or something like that.

Excuse me, I'm going to go not care now. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You pick!

What says more?  Pictures of a girl?

Or what a girl says?

I know why I don’t like these vegetables.  It’s the squared off  carrots.  Coin shaped carrots – okay, those are more down home.  But machine whittled down squared off carrots?  They freak me out.  Honestly.

So how did the vet know that Riley was older than you thought?  Did they slice him open and count the rings?

Driving home from the grocery store we pass a sign and I read it – “Greek fest!”  The response from the girlchild – “mmm-m-m-m… free Greeks…”

Reading a Thai menu – “Oh!  Baby eggrolls!  Liars!  There are no babies in those eggrolls!”

Your call!  :)

I love you Honey.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maxine Monday

Um okay, I scheduled this to post at 5:15 this morning.  It didn't.  Not my fault this time.  Weird.

~ * ~

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three days. Period. That's all she wrote.

You ever get yourself all jazzed up about an exercise program?  You've finally got the ambition, the incentive - whatever it is you need and you're ready??  Happens to me all the time.  I come across a new program, DVD, gadget, supplement, and I know. It. Will. Work!  Uh huh. 

3 days later I am once again one with the couch.  There are DVDs that have been watched only once and deemed way too hard, a few pieces of equipment that have been used off and on .. well .. still being used off and on, if the space between off and on can be as long a months or years.  

There was one video that was never tried after the first time because I thought I was gonna die!  And the steps that came with it are now used for sitting in front of my makeup mirror and doubles as a step for the (full figured) cat to get up on the bed.

The older videos, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, and the 20 minute workout got the most amount of time devoted to them.  I was younger, more enthusiastic and didn't resent it so much when I couldn't eat candy or Taco Bell.  Okay, truth - I still ate those things.  And it didn't matter as much as it does now.  OF COURSE.

Y'know there's a bit of unfairness about aging .. besides the fact that youth is wasted on the young.  Just when you get to a point in your life when you feel like you should be able to relax and have that extra serving of potatoes or a nice slice of that cheesecake for dessert  -       all of a sudden your body says HEY!  Those potatoes would look really good around your waist, and that cheesecake would really dress up your chin.  Nice.  

Or it might say something like - oh you're gonna pay for that one - and stops you up for days - or goes right through you.  Oh!  And just might add a bit of heartburn for good measure.   Yes!

Ya gotta love this getting older thing.                                 

When I was younger I would try these things too, but weight was so much easier to lose and sometimes a few days without ice cream after dinner would do it - but now I might as well apply that ice cream directly to my thighs because that's where it's going to end up anyway.  Now though, I get mad at myself and exasperated that I can't do what I need to do to keep myself healthy.  But I still try.  

Damn those 3 days.

Seems it's rule in my head and I can't get past it.  I try telling people I'm trying something new to keep me honest, I come up with schemes in my head and they all seem so wonderful.  There are self-hypnosis apps for my phone for weight loss, apps to record workouts - there are doggone video games to use to exercise and lose weight.  When you look at all the tools out there, bogus or not, you would think I could stick to SOMEthing!  Because truly, I know what works.  I know the lifestyle changes necessary and habits I must adapt.  But it just doesn't last.

 I promise you - in my head I become this effortless runner, barely out of breath after a few miles.  In my head I look and feel wonderful and have no cheesecake under my chin.  It's amazing what I can do in my head!  But it doesn't translate to real life and I find that really difficult to accept. 

I haven't given up but boy howdy!  This is tough stuff!  Especially when you add things like stress.  Sigh-h-h-h.  How do YOU do it?  DO you do it?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Shopping on Ambien

Wonder what I was thinking?

I know the evening primrose oil is for hair. A friend recommended it for my *sniff* thinning hair. But weight support? So far my legs are supporting my weight. It smells like cinnamon so it can't be all bad. But does anybody have any idea what blueberries have to do with brain support? Although I can use quite a bit of brain help these days.

But uh ... I, who have never dressed a dog in my life - must have been convinced the new grandpuppy needed a pair of jammies. Lilac jammies with little white fluffy sheep on them. Oh and maybe ..? Maybe a pink hoodie. Well - I AM a GRANDMA you know!!

But Ambien just seems to bring all that out. Aren't I just special!?