May 20, 2018

And now...

We had a short, private service for Mom at the Veteran's Cemetery. Dad fell in love with the place and was very happy that Mom was in such a beautiful area with mountain views and Mt. Lassen plainly in view. The inscription on the niche place will be "Forever Young" since that is their last name.

We got Dad moved from the boonies to town. He now lives across the street from my sister and we see him everyday without the 45 minute drive to and from.

We had a Memorial Service for Mom on Mother's Day. It was beautiful. (Thank you Robin and Diane, for your incredible help and eye for beauty). Dad loved seeing everyone, had a couple of good cries (who didn't) and went home feeling sad but that the 'business' of death was complete. Time to get on with grieving.

We still have to prepare his house on the river for sale. Paint the kitchen cabinets, paint some trim on the exterior and trim up some of the trees to clear the view to the river.  Of course, our summer heat is barreling down on us, so we need to get a move on it.

It's incredible how consuming the business of death is. Of course, there is a lot of second guessing because how does one decide on the big stuff when you're too confused to make a decision on what you want in the McDonald's drive-thru!  One afternoon after and especially grueling couple of days, The Guy pulls into McD's and asks me what I want.

"I don't know! I can't make another decision!" I whined back to him.

When the loudspeaker voice asked what they should get started he requested "two McDoubles-no cheese and a large diet coke with two inches of rum!"

The morning after the Memorial I woke up completely relaxed BUT every muscle in my body was screaming in pain! Apparently, I must have unconsciously been carrying myself as rigid as I could due to the stress. The same for Sister and The Guy.

We got Dad to see a doctor and the doctor gave my dad some hope about his fatigue and lethargy. It's been difficult convincing an 89 year old hard working man that lethargy and weakness are a part of grieving.

I woke up this morning with the desire to read some of your blogs, post more than a sentence or two and I might even (might) take a shower before 2 p.m.!

I think it's going to be a good day!

Thank you all for the support! You're the best!

May 12, 2018

Squirrel!

 
This meme describes our lives right now. I feel like we've all been walking through a thick gel.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I can almost see it. I miss you all!

April 24, 2018

New Perspective

My mother died at home in the most gentle, loving manner. My sister, my father and I were holding her hands, stroking her face, telling her how loved she was. Her surviving sisters, brother and sister-in-law all called at one time or another to tell her they loved her.

Dad told her many times that he loved her and that she was beautiful.

We had decided to bring her home. Hospice ordered a hospital bed and all the supplies we needed to make her comfortable.

Many nights my 89 year old father would sit with her for hours, holding her hand.

Mom and Dad were the absolute best dancers I've ever seen. They could Swing Dance like nobody's business, always gathering a crowd around them as they boogied!

They collected albums (remember those) of all the Old Standards. With Mom's hospital bed in the living room, we would play Frankie Lane, Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith and Louie Prima. With each record that played, Dad would share a memory of their early days, dancing, concerts, picnics, camping in the Rockies. Sixty-eight years of marriage and lots and lots of precious memories.

There were also a tremendous number of epiphanies as we sat vigil with Mom.  It broke my heart to see her so vulnerable. Never in my life had I ever thought of her as helpless or indefensible. In those moments, I discovered that I had only thought of her as "Mom" never as a "Woman". I'm not sure I know how to explain it to anyone in a way they can understand, or if we all suddenly "get it" as our mothers pass from this world to the next.

As we have been sorting through her letters, memoirs, stories, we have uncovered incredible things about her. She saved every Mother's Day card, Birthday card or just card-card we ever gave her, sometimes not the whole card, just the part where we wrote, "Happy Birthday Mom, I love you".

We discovered that she wrote letters to congressmen, NASA, Historical Societies, and various VIP's. She kept copies (typewrite carbon copies) of all her letters, inquiries and thank you's. My sister and I were both awarded scholarships when we graduated from high school; Mom wrote thank you letters to the organizations and schools that awarded the scholarships. She fought hard to keep my brother from going to Vietnam and to get him out of Vietnam once he was sent there. At the time, he was in the Air Force and the only son of an only son. No descendants to pass on the Young surname.

She clipped every San Francisco Giants newspaper article for the past 50 years, as well as every article of historical significance. She clipped notes to many articles, explaining the mood of the country or what our family was up to at the time, what her thoughts were.

Her collection of Genealogy articles is overwhelming. She has copies of Land Grants, grant deeds, birth certificates, baptismal certificates, wedding certificates, honorable discharges. We had ancestors who have been state congressmen, sheriffs and sheriffs deputies in the wild, wild west. One great-great uncle had a run-in with Jack Black Ketchum and lost, she's got the hard evidence of that sad event.

Mom never, ever let the sun cook her the way most of us did. At the beach, in the garden, sitting on the patio, she wore a wide brimmed sunhat. Everyone who took care of this tiny 89 year old woman came in expecting someone with at least a bit of age to her skin. Every last one of them were visibly amazed at her beauty and skin. One of the visiting hospice nurses actually slapped both hands to her cheeks and exclaimed, "Oh my god, she is beautiful!"  When the mortuary people came to take her away, the woman also exclaimed the same exact words! 

Well, I didn't mean to go on and on. I just wanted to say that it was an honor and incredible gift to be able to take care of my mother in her last weeks of life. I discovered that she loved me (who knew?) and that I sincerely loved her.


April 09, 2018

Thank You All

I can't tell you all how much your comments and caring mean to me. Thank you with all my heart.

Mom is at home and in hospice care. Comfort measures only. The hospice nurses have been wonderful. They are tender and gentle, not only with Mom, but also with our Father.

This has been extremely hard on Dad. When going to reposition her in the night, I find him asleep in a chair next to her hospital bed, both of them asleep and holding hands.

One day I will share the nightmare of healthcare in Shasta and Tehama Counties. It truly feels as if my sister and I have been at war to protect our mother's health, safety and welfare.  Our fear is overwhelming for the older people who don't have family to protect them.

For now, all is going as smooth as can be expected...will fill you in on details, but going back to bed!

I miss you all. Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and caring.

March 24, 2018

What To Say...


Mom is in hospice.

Dad is at her side, as one would only expect him to be.

I'll catch up with you all on the flip side.

March 13, 2018

Update

Three weeks ago, my mother fell at home, twice within a couple of days. She complained of severe groin, hip and leg pain. My sister took her to her doctor. Mom walked into doctor's office, in severe pain but she walked.

She asked if she could have x-rays. Her physician (using this title lightly) told her xrays weren't necessary because she walked in. "You wouldn't be able to walk if your hip was broken." He told her to go home and take Ibuprofen.

Her pain has been out of this world. Saturday as she was walking through the house, her legs just gave out and she fell again. Dad called about 10:00 PM and said Mom fell, he can't get her up. He has Parkinson's and doesn't have body strength to pick her up.

We hauled ass to get to them. We got her in bed, she refused to let us take her to hospital because she said her doctor says its just some sore ligaments. We spent the night with them but Mom did not sleep, screamed out most of night. Early Sunday morning I took her to hospital.

Mom is in excruciating pain with any movement, transferring, walking or laying down but sitting down she is more comfortable. The doctor comes in, moves her legs, asks her a couple of questions. I tell him her feet are extremely swollen, purple and edema 6+. She had her socks on because she is always freezing. He glances at her socks and answers, "yeah, there's a little swelling." He doesn't take off her socks, he doesn't actually see her feet and not one nurse or dr checks her lower extremities for edema. When I was in nursing that was always a routine part of vitals, especially with elderly patients with hip and leg pain.

Doctor says he doesn't think she has a broken hip because of the way he could move her legs. They take x-rays and he comes back with diagnosis of hairline fx (fracture) of superior pubis bone. Nothing can be done, he said but just wait for it to heal. I ask if she can have Rx for pain. He refuses. States that at her age any pain pills would make falling more risky and may cause some confusion or dementia. Again, she is advised to take Ibuprofen. They ship her out in spite of BP of 189/102 and swollen purple feet and extreme pain.

She cries out in pain as they are getting her into my car. She cries out in pain as we get her out. She doesn't sleep for another 24 hours, crying out in pain at every move. Yesterday we call ambulance. Pain is just over the top. 

They take additional x-rays, this time of the pelvis and spine. She has three additional Fx. Two in right pelvic bone and one in back.

What is wrong with physicians? What is this need to shuffle our elderly around without listening to them or looking at all the details.

She is in hospital on a morphine drip. She is emotionally relieved that the pain wasn't in her head and that she was not being a 'pansy' for hurting so much from some bruised or strained ligaments.

My sister and I are fuming!

I called her regular doctor and let him know that he let Mom suffer for three weeks by refusing to order x-rays when she first complained.

There is no way to explain the emotional trauma of these past couple of on everyone but especially Mom and Dad. It is hard enough being frail and 89 but to have your own physician dismiss you is unacceptable.

UNACCEPTABLE!


March 12, 2018

A Little Help From Our Friends

Roller coaster weekend. Some ups and some extreme lows.

A time when love becomes tough love, tests every ounce of patience and pushes every emotional button.

Scary! When life's circumstances are spiraling at warp speed, there is a strong pull to jump out of the whirlpool, to find peace at any cost.

As I have mentioned often lately, the universe is listening, always listening. So this morning, first thing on my FB thread is link to "10 Ways To Reach Out When You're Struggling With Your Mental Health."


I'm sharing this link, just in case the universe wants this excellent article to reach someone else who needs a reminder to reach out.


Sparkle

Oh My God! It's Monday!

How did that happen!

What happened to Saturday and Sunday...woooosh! Is it only one hour we spring forward or was it 47 and a half?

Never-the-less, it is Monday and time for a Sparkle.



In her own words, McGuffy's Reader writes, "I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. There is hope. Together, we can light up the entire world!

So, on Monday, she posts a Sparkle, a bit of wisdom to light the path.  She invites us to participate. 

 I chose to accept her invitation.

Sparkle, my friend, Sparkle.

Courtesy of Manager Foundation

Plant a seed today!


March 09, 2018

Friday! Celebrate & Fill-in!



Friday is Celebrate the Little Things originally from Lexa Cain's blog. Today is an extremely sad day at Lexa's. Her husband died this week. He was only 50. Here one day, gone the next.  My heart aches for her. I can't imagine the pain of losing a spouse, especially so suddenly. Love and hugs to you Lexa.

The news this morning of his passing has a profound affect on Friday Fill-ins (Feelings).

The four prompts are:

1. Before you_________________, you need to_________________.

2.After ___________________________.

3.Winter__________________________.

4. Spring_________________________.


1. Before you leave the house or go to sleep at night or hang up the phone, you need to say I love you.

2. After having a disagreement with your honey, give them a kiss and tell them you love them.

3. Winter is just another season, not really important in the grand scheme of things.

4. Spring up right now and call someone you love and tell them how important they are to you.

March 08, 2018

Tomorrow!

This morning I jumped out of bed, totally excited about my self-proclaimed To Do list. Totally!

I posted my plans for the day on Wondering and Wandering, got dressed and left the bedroom.

Holy Cow! 


Can a man be too good?

Wednesday afternoon, while The Guy was at my folks' house, I climbed up on a chair, and pulled a couple of things down from above my kitchen cabinets. Icky! Dusty and tacky.

I scrubbed them, tossed two things into the PURGE box, put a plant, a vase and a pitcher up. I looked at the rest of the cabinet tops and decided that soon, very soon, I was going to have to take everything down, clean and maybe update it all. Very soon came sooner than I expected.

The Guy walked in just as I was climbing off the counter. As I was taking the chair back to the dining room I commented that the other cabinets really needed cleaning.

"I'll need to get to it soon!" I said.

Wednesday is Survivor night. I watch it in the bedroom because we don't have cable or satellite tv. We have Apple TV, Netflix and Amazon in the living room. The bedroom television has an antenna.

The Guy doesn't get involved with Survivor until the last 5 or 6 people are left. So last night, he stayed in the living room to watch a show with lots of explosions, shooting and aliens. My thoughts were that he was probably snoozing in his chair.

Wrong!

While I was snuggled in bed, he was taking everything above the cabinets down. Everything but the dust, cob webs and ick.

Rex, Lily and I walked into the kitchen this morning and were shocked by all the baskets and teapots and oil lamps covering the counters, all the counters.  Kitchen looks good! I purged some really old things while wondering why I liked them enough to display. Scrubbed the cabinet tops, walls and ceiling.

Guess what I didn't do today!

Sometimes a guy can be too helpful!


Uh Oh!

It's Thursday.

I have no prior commitments!

I've been left unsupervised!

Oh the potential.

I have a couple of plants to re-pot. Love playing in the dirt. Gonna put some good Joni Mitchell and James Taylor music on. The plants really like it and it helps with the trauma.

There is a quilt to finish, just the final touches.

But first, a new project: painting hangers!
Okay, my friends, this may sound weird but I have this idea, probably saw it somewhere because I don't think it gave birth in my head.

I have three wooden hangers for slacks or skirts. Part metal and part wood.

No more skirts for this one!

I've decided to paint the metal in a copper create a verdigris patina. Then I will distress the wood a tiny bit and paint it white with a dry brush. After the three of them are dry, I am going to hang them in my studio vertically and use them as photo frames for 8 x 10's.  I asked the guy if he would have the lab print the photos with two inch white borders and he said it was doable!

Seriously, I should not be left unsupervised!

I'm also not going to juice today but I'm going to have oatmeal with a banana (just in case you cared to know how seriously I can get into trouble).

March 07, 2018

The Guy Is My Hero

The Guy! My Hero!
Discovered this morning that I am a coward. Truly a coward. Makes me want to cry that I am such a yellow-bellied, chicken-livered wimp.

Me!

My folks heat pump is running on emergency, costing $700 plus each month. Mom is very frail physically, Dad is just a little behind. The cold gets to them and it has been cold up here.  When I talked to Dad this morning he said it was cold in their house. I asked him if he and Mom want to come stay with us for a couple of days. He says Mom says that they are not allowed to go beyond their mailbox!  I think she's afraid my sister and I will kidnap Dad (rescue him) from her!

It took us 10 days to get any service company to answer our calls to go out to check on the heater. Finally got someone out. Furnace is shot. They need a new one.

Got the bid on replacement. $10,000 plus (and that is with the senior discount). The Guy kept at it, kept calling and finally got another company to make an appointment to inspect unit to submit a bid.

Today The Guy and I were going to head out to folks house, take them breakfast and be there so that The Guy can help with conversation with service man and Dad. After service guy leaves, Frank would help explain things to Mom who is more deaf than a rock, a very mean rock!

Mom is having a major anxiety-control attack, wants appt cancelled, doesn't even want us there. Won't listen to why another guy is going out. Can't explain to you the chaos of our conversations with her over the phone, but it's not good. So I caved. Said I would cancel the appointment and we would stay home.

The Guy comes out of shower and I tell him we can't go. "Mom says no!" The Guy informs me that 'No" is not an alternative. He is going out to meet the guy. He called Dad, Dad says, C'mon down. (He'll pay for that one!)

I couldn't make myself go! I don't want to face Mom's tantrum when we get there. I can guarantee you that my dad is paying hell for it right now, at least until The Guy gets there. The Guy went alone to help my parents because I am too chicken to face the Wrath of Mom! What a poor excuse for a daughter. Just don't want to be her punching bag.

I texted my sister, "Damned if you do and damned if you don't"! She texted back that Mom has already called her to share the chaos, confusion and wrath!

So here I sit, a bit of coffee in my Bailey's, tail tucked between my legs.

How can anyone be afraid of an 89 year old, 82 pound woman?

Not afraid of her exactly, more afraid of my reaction to her madness. I don't want to say hurtful things (well, I do, believe me, but I try to avoid the circumstances when it is too easy to blurt out the yucky stuff). Being a good person is so easy around my dad, not so easy around Mom.

The Guy just texted. He's there and all is well. Mom's in peaceful (yeah, right) mood.  She just loves The Guy and is always more calm when he is around. Maybe I should pour a little more coffee in this Baileys and stopping whining!

MOTHER FOR SALE
MAKE AN OFFER!

 

A little advice when it comes to caring for aging parents. Move to New Zealand!