Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Techno Savy

What is it about blogging that is so addictive?  What makes a person (me) want to put their whole life out into the universe for all the world to see?  I don't know the answer to that but I know I can't resist it.  When I started this it was with the intention of making it a private journal but I wasn't smart enough to figure out how to do that.  All it took was receiving that first "comment" and I couldn't have cared less who read my thoughts.  Since then I have met wonderful people who have offered me encouragement when I needed it and shared the wisdom of their own experiences.  I have shared with them some of the most trying times of my life and some of the happiest. Through their blogs I have laughed and been enlightened.  I've learned everything from animal rescue to the art of floral arranging.  I have marveled at their ability to write with humor and have traveled to places I might never have seen otherwise.

I am now addicted to being able to see who has stumbled upon my rants and am always amazed as to just how we are all connected by the click of a key.  People from all over the world.  Most are like me and merely take a glimpse and move on without leaving a comment.  But that's OK...though I love to read the comments left behind by strangers, just knowing they peaked in is good enough.

I am not computer savy or even technologically enlightened but I do know a good thing when I see it.    THIS is a good thing!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not much going on here!

Wish I could say I am feeling better but my doctor put me on a Sulfa drug and it's making me sick at my stomach.  I only have to take it 3 days and this is day 2 so maybe I'll make it.  Three doses down and 3 to go.  Unfortunately tonight is my monthly board meeting so it will unfortunately be a long day.  Hope everyone's day is wonderful!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Counting Your Blessings

The weekend was so so.  I was sick all weekend and didn't get out of bed all day Saturday.  Ron took over and spent Saturday with Mike just so I could get some rest.  They went to an OU alumni basketball game which Mike thoroughly enjoyed.  He even lasted through the whole game.  Ron took him to eat and it was just a big day for Mike.

Sunday Ron took Mike to church.  As they were seated in the sanctuary Mike asked Ron when the first OU football game was going to happen.  Ron told him and Mike asked if he could stand up and yell Boomer Sooner.    Thank goodness he asked first!  Ron told him church might not be the proper venue.  

Last night Mike called me and said his neighbor Tom asked if he could mow Mike's yard for him for free.  His kindness made Mike cry and his neighbor said, "You can pay me by sharing your blessings with me."  So, Mike called me to get help writing down his blessings.  We talked about what he considers his blessings which were University of Oklahoma football, his Silver Slippers aerobics class, his neighbor Tom, his church and his brother and sister.  Then Mike told me he told Tom he would give him his blessings in three's.    I just love the way he thinks..................

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Cousin Charlie


My mama had a cousin named Wanda who had a son by the name of Charles Jr. known as just plain Charlie to us cousins. Now cousin Charlie didn’t fall far from the tree, so-to-speak, and was as colorful, if not more so, than his infamous mom. As scatter brained as Wanda was Charlie was just the male version of his mother. When Charlie was about 17 years old his mother asked him to go to the store to get a loaf of bread. Somewhere on route to the store Charlie decided to keep going. He ended up 200 miles west at the Oklahoma City airport where he sat and watched planes take off and land for two days. On the third day he headed back home but without the bread. The crazy thing about this is his parents were never alarmed because, “Well, that’s just Charlie.”

Charlie is the oldest of 3 kids. He has two younger sisters Judy and Karen. Charlie’s dad was a career Marine who spent most of WWII in a Japanese prison camp. Big Charlie was a tough taskmaster and my dad once said that he wasn’t the only one in the Marine Corp. His whole family was as well. Big Charlie served in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. Those years of battle and captivity made him tough but he was especially hard on his only son. Little Charlie could never seem to live up to his father’s expectations. And the fact that he marched to a different drummer made it all the more complicated. Neither of them understood the other and there was tension between them their whole lives.

Charlie’s home town had a population of about 10,000 so when he came to Norman to attend the University of Oklahoma, with a student population twice the size of his home town, you would expect it to be quite the culture shock. Not for Charlie. He was oblivious to his surroundings and he had a system of enrolling that I had never seen then or since. As we walked the campus Charlie would point to a building and ask, “What do they teach in there?” After hearing my response he would reply, “Well, I like that building, I think I’ll just take some of that.” And so it went. We had no idea if he would every get a degree but 4 years later he graduated with a degree in physical education. That fact may say more about the academic standards of the University than Charlie’s intelligence.

After Charlie finished school he enlisted in the Marine Corp. following his father’s footsteps and possibly hoping to finally receive his approval. He served one tour of duty and immediately re-enlisted for a second. After two years in Viet Nam we woke up one morning to find Charlie asleep on the floor in my brother’s room. Charlie had tapped on Mike’s window in the middle of the night and crawled through and slept at the foot of Mike’s bed. The next morning the family was surprised when Charlie strolled in the kitchen and sat down at the table for breakfast. Surprised my dad asked, “When did you get home Charlie?”

“Yesterday sir.”

“How are your mom and dad? I’m sure they are happy to have you home.”

“I don’t know how they are, I haven’t been home yet.”

Right then my dad handed Charlie the phone and said, “Son, call your folks and let them know you are safe and then we’re going to put your butt on a bus for home.”

Two years in Viet Nam and the first place he comes to was my brother’s bedroom window. Go figure!

I remember the story Charlie’s mom Wanda would tell about the time the Marine Corp transferred Big Charlie to Hawaii. The entire family went by ship to the island. Charles Jr. and Judy were just 8 and 9 years old at the time but they were so mischievous they had the run of the ship. They had noticed that every evening people would put their shoes outside their cabin doors so the Porter could pick them up to be shined and then returned the next morning. One evening Judy and Charlie decided for some reason to gather all the shoes left out on the ship. I’m not sure what they planned to do with them, perhaps they were going to start their own shoe shine business. By the time Big Charlie discovered what they were doing there was no way to return them to their rightful owners because the kids couldn’t remember what shoes went to what room. After notifying the Captain of the situation a room was set up on board the ship where rows of shoes lined the assembled tables and all passengers missing shoes were invited to come and look for them. Charlie and Judy had to stand sentry by the shoes and apologize to each and every passenger who came by.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Momnesia

One of our local news stations has been talking lately about something called “Momnesia”, a condition that results after giving birth causing a woman to lose her memory. I didn’t even know there was a name for this phenomenon. I thought I simply gave birth to two 6 pound babies and ½ my brain. They say your memory will return about a year after giving birth but I’m here to tell you that it’s been 40 years since I lost half my brain and I’m pretty sure it’s gone for good. The half I have left isn’t the useful half either. It’s not the half that could do fractions or remember phone numbers or why I walked into the kitchen for that matter. They say that when Momnesia is finally over it is replaced with a keener insight better known as intuition. I think that’s just a nice way of saying, “You aren’t crazy, you’re just a mother”. But somehow I managed to work two jobs, raise two kids, keep the lawn mowed and go to school with just ½ a brain. Politicians have been elected with much less. Just imagine what I could have done with my cerebellum intact.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Time to Celebrate!

It's Party Time!  We got Ron's report on his recent PET scan and his oncologist told us that the new spot on his lung that was found 3 months ago is GONE...... There was no change in the other spots, they hadn't grown or changed in any way.  There were some new small spots but she believes they are inflamation.  The kidney site was clear as well.  This was the best report we have received since his diagnosis two years ago.  We were so relieved.  He goes back in November for a CAT scan.  She didn't think he needed another PET scan.  We are doing the happy dance~

Living with Super Man

Last night Ron and I were having dinner when suddenly a piece of meat got stuck in my throat.  When I say stuck, I mean stuck.  Not a sound was coming from my mouth and all I could do was grab my throat and jump straight up and stomped my foot.  Which I did.  Ron thought I saw a bug but quickly realized I was choking.  He grabbed me and started the Heimlich.....after about 3 thrusts....up came the meat!  Hooray...my hero......he saved me from a Cass Elliot fate. But seriously, it scared us both to death!   Make sure you know how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver....it could save someone you love.  

It's also a good idea, especially for seniors, to know CPR.  Because I work in a hospital I am required to be certified every year but you can get training at any local Red Cross center and it can provide a sense of security to know what to do in an emergency.  You can also receive a basic first aide course as well.  Knowledge is power!


Today we get Ron's PET scan results!  We need all the positive vibes we can get. This is the day we dread....I am practically shaking when the doctor enters the room.  I hold my breath, trying to pick up any clue from her facial expression.  I'm afraid not only for Ron and what his reaction to bad news might be but also fear that I won't be strong enough to give him what he needs.  I try so hard to hide my fear.  


This morning Ron said, "I'll be glad when 2:00 gets here."  We then started talking about our expectations.  Reminding ourselves that he is doing well and has had no apparent symptoms of cancer.  We reminded ourselves that the 4 spots found in his lung have not been biopsied so for now cancer has not been confirmed.  I've been so worried about his lung that I forget about the possibility of the cancer returning to its original site.  Would Ron choose to have a 3rd operation to remove it if it comes back?  He said he would.  Last time it came back 6 months after his first surgery.  It has now been 6 months since the second surgery.


All I can do is pray and wait!  He's the love of my life! 

 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Help

Saw the movie, "The Help" this weekend.  Loved it.  I can't say whether I liked the book or the movie the best because for me the tone of each was very different.  The movie was more of a comedy and though the book had humorous parts it had (for me) a more serious under tone.

Ron is having his PET scan this morning and we get the results tomorrow at 2:00 pm.  Do people ever get used to this?  Living 3 months at a time because you can't plan anything further out than that.  Always feeling like the anvel is about to fall on your head and you can only hope that when it does it will get you with one blow and not just take you away piece by piece?  I keep saying positive affirmations every day that everything will be OK.  That we will have years together and that his cancer will be gone.  Thankfully he is feeling good and looks healthy so I have great hope that tomorrow will go well.

My daughter is still struggling to improve.  She's really had a rough time.  I saw her Saturday and did her laundry for her.  Trying to relieve some of her stress.  I just wish I could relieve some of her pain.  She will see her neurosurgeon this week I believe and hopefully he can give her some encouragement that the pain will get better.

I'm asking for good wishes and prayers for tomorrow!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ring Ring....."Hello, Alexander calling."

I know a lot of seniors are now on Facebook and Twitter but do they utilize it in the same way as the younger folks?  I know that I just lurk about on Facebook reading the posts of others but I seldom post anything myself.  I'm not sure why I have not been attracted to this form of communication but it just doesn't do anything for me. It's obviously not because I have trouble sharing my thoughts....I do that here all the time!  I get on Facebook to see what my daughters are up to since they have all but given up using the phone except for texting which to their frustration, I don't do.  

Texting is a whole other rant....I still don't get it!!!!!  In my mind the invention of the telephone was and still is one of the greatest achievements.  No more Morse Code.......or at least we thought!
  The art of spelling and grammar will be lost forever thanks to texting.

I saw a room full of girls at my friend's house recently.  The girls were all sitting in the den with cell phones in hand and they were busy texting, tweeting, posting, and whatever and not a one of them looked up to interact personally.  It was the weirdest thing I ever saw.  Not a sound in the room, no talking, no giggling girls, it was just weird.  How on earth will these kids know how to have a personal relationship with anyone?   I've heard of parents having to text their kids (while in the same house) in order to get their attention and call them to dinner.    OMG!!!!!!!
>

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weekend Updates

The weekend was good but not long enough!  Ron and I met his aunt and cousin for dinner at Charleston's Friday night and that was fun.  Ron doesn't have many relatives left and his Aunt Florine is 80 now but she's very healthy and looks fantastic.  For her birthday her daughter brought her to Okla. City for a spa weekend.  Nice way to spend your 80th birthday......little pampering is good for the soul.

My latest Mike story is we found out he had gotten some kind of aversion to the shower.  Something about the water hurting his eyes or his skin or he couldn't breathe in the water or something to that affect so he had just been "patting his hair with water to remove the pollen".  Sooooo I got into action and Ron and I purchased him a pair of swim goggles and a snorkel and said, "Have at it".  (A sight I can only imagine) Evidently it resolved all his issues (at least for the time being) and he was spiffy and ready for church yesterday!  Now, if he decides he needs swim fins for the shower I'm drawing the line.

My poor daughter is still struggling with her recovery.  She's still having a lot of pain and is scared she will not be recovered enough for the first day of school.  A room full of 5-year olds requires more stamina than she has at the moment.  I'm just hoping things start to level out for her.

My little ole ulcer seems to be responding to the new medication so I'm feeling better.  All in all not a bad weekend!  Hope your's was good too!

Friday, August 12, 2011

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

I spent yesterday going to doctor appointments and playing chauffeur for my daughter.   I was lucky the lab tech hit my vein with the first stick (something that rarely happens).  I learned that I'm not handling stress as well as I thought I was.  I thought I was pretty good at venting and sharing all my gunk......I do it here.  But, evidently that isn't quite enough as it appears I have developed an ulcer.  I finally gave in and went to the doctor when the pain got to be too much to ignore. So, guess I'll have to work on finding some other ways to cope.  What really got my attention was how my stomach would start hurting every time I talked to Mike on the phone.  I knew I was getting impatient with him and I felt bad about it but it was having the same conversation over and over and over again that was getting to me.  At least 15 - 20 times a day! I have learned how to work at my desk and talk to Mike on the phone at the same time.  I leave work at 4:00 and my phone rings at home at 4:25 on the dot.  It doesn't stop until Ron gets home at 7:00 pm and he takes over the calls. Then Mike goes to bed at 8:00.  That's when I finally let out a long sigh........but the guilt sure has been eating (literally) at me.  That frustration is what I need to learn how to handle.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Help

I finished reading the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett last night. I was happy to wait on the heating & air guy just so I could have uninterrupted time to finish the book. Although I found the book very enjoyable I must admit that I wasn’t immediately spellbound as I often am by a book. What it did however was take me immediately back to my teenage years during a tumultuous time in our Nation’s history. It made me keenly aware of just how sheltered a life I have led and how extraordinarily na├»ve I was and probably still am.

I watched the civil rights movement unfold on the screen of our black and white television, not in my school. The only time I was exposed to the inequality between those of color and myself was when I watched the six o’clock news. The moment the channel was changed so also ended my exposure. With the flip of a dial I was once again just a kid living in a very white world.

I only had one personal experience in 1957 when I was eight years old. My mother and I were in Oklahoma City shopping for school clothes and we had gone to the Katz drug store for a coke when several black people came in and initiated a sit-in. I didn’t even know that black people were not served in restaurants at the time. I had no idea what segregation was. My mother explained to me what was happening and I remember looking at the faces of everyone as they peacefully demonstrated. I also remember the faces of the patrons. I don’t remember seeing hatred or angry faces but more the faces of people uncomfortable with what was taking place, almost embarrassed. Today I wonder if the embarrassment was for themselves or those trying to gain equal rights.

I also remember being horrified and confused by the hatred so vile and so venomous that escalated to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. Again my only exposure was through the voices of the news commentators describing how four little girls were killed including eleven-year old Denise McNair, when a white man placed a bomb under the steps of their church. I was thirteen at the time and somehow drawn to the little girl who shared my first name. I was horrified when the news commentator said she was decapitated in the blast. I remember thinking how vulnerable they were and wondering if they were aware that they weren’t even safe in church.

As I grew up I developed my own prejudices. I became very judgmental of the South and what it had come to represent in my mind. These prejudices were based not on my own personal experiences but only those I witnessed from a safe distance. I have to admit I’m still wrestling with my perceived judgments. The difference now is that I realize I’m as guilty of stereotyping a group of people as they were. I’m also not very proud of that fact.

As a little side note of interest here is a story behind the story so to say. Ablene Cooper, a 60-year-old woman who has long worked as a maid in Jackson, Mississippi, has filed a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett. 
In the complaint, Ms. Cooper argues that one of the book’s principal characters, Aibileen Clark, is an un-permitted appropriation of her name and image, which she finds emotionally distressing. 
It is more complicated than that. For the past dozen years, Ms. Cooper has worked for Ms. Stockett’s older brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Carroll, and still does. 
It’s hard to understand why anyone would have a problem being compared or mistaken for the noble Aibeleen. Alhough the character of Aibileen is portrayed in a sympathetic, even saintly light, she endures the racial insults of the time, something that Ms. Cooper said she found “embarrassing.”

I wonder if she was as embarrassed before the book was such a financial success? Just wondering!



Monday, August 8, 2011

Surgery Update

I'm back after a weekend of caregiving.  My poor daughter is struggling to recooperate but having a great deal of pain.  She is allergic to the surgical glue so she has horrible blisters around the incision site.  She was allergic to the plastic tubing used for her IV and her arm is swollen and spotted with hives.  She's a mess!  She is having those post-surgical blues where she thinks she made a mistake allowing anyone to operate on her.  She thinks her pain is far worse than before surgery.  Unfortunately, her surgeon told her she would have immediate pain relief in her back and the only thing she would have is a sore throat!  Not the case.  They have not been able to reach her doctor to see what is going on but hopefully they'll make contact today.


Now, to top things off our air conditioner decided to quit with 109 temperatures expected today.  We were fortunate enough to find someone who could come out today so we're lucky!  Now, I have to pray it doesn't break the bank to fix it!




Thursday, August 4, 2011

Long Day at the Hospital

Well the girls did their twin thing today.  Twin one had surgery and was in a great deal of pain.  Twin two passed out cold from empathy!  Mom......had her hands full!

The surgery went well but they haven't been able to get the pain under control.  It has remained at a 10 since she came out of surgery.  They told her that spinal surgery is different from anything she has had before.  Nerve pain is hard to manage.  I'm hoping that when the swelling goes down maybe the pain will lessen.

Jamie was holding her sister's hand and wiping away the tears and all of a sudden I saw her going out like a light.  She was completely unconscious for what seemed like a very long time.  The nurse got to her and knuckled her in the chest and slapped her face a little and she finally started coming around.  We decided we couldn't leave her with Julie tonight to I stayed with both of them until midnight and then my son-in-law took over for the rest of the night.

Each of the girls have fainted when I had surgery so we are accustomed to the routine.  We are a medical comedy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back to the Drawing Board

Well, as much as I wanted to believe I had found the miracle elixir (substitute for milk) I wasn't successful.  I found out this morning when I was called by the security alarm company that Mike's alarm was going off.  I got in the car and drove to his house after being unable to reach him by phone.  I arrived as the police drove up.  Mike was fine but a little disoriented.  He had accidentally set off his alarm and with the commotion he got a little rattled.  Fortunately he was fine and that's all that mattered.

I decided to sit with him for awhile until he calmed down when I noticed he had a really bright red rash on his side.  Sure enough it is a reaction to the Rice milk.  When he has reactions like that they can also affect his thinking.  This explained all the confusion this morning.  

Poor guy!  I wanted to cry......but we both decided it was worth trying.  I doctored his rash and will see what else is out there.  It appears though that being allergic to every grain known to man will present a challenge.  I just hope that his reaction is limited to that one spot.  I've seen him when 1/2 of his body was a red as a tomato and on fire.  It's very painful too.

Due to the drought my house has slipped off it's axis.  I had piers placed around the foundation because my house sits on clay soil.  I try to keep the foundation wet but this heat is too much and my efforts have not paid off.  So, the house has shifted once again and a crack has re-opened on the side of the house.  I have a lifetime warranty on the piers but since they aren't making anymore money off of me the company doesn't jump right on the job.  

So.....I guess Mike isn't the only one who has slipped a few degrees off his axis! :)

Yesterday I was advised that my daughter Julie will have spinal surgery tomorrow.  She has 5 ruptured discs in her back and a narrowing around the spinal cord with a lot of nerves compressed.  This was due to her ski accident two years ago.  She has had two ACL surgeries on her knee and now this. 

My other daughter learned that she has Kienbock's disease.  A rare disease that affects the lunate bone in the wrist.  The bone dies from lack of blood flow.  Her disease is at stage 4 which means the bone is dead and crumbling.  There is no cure but surgery may eliviate some of the pain with some loss of motion.  Fortunately it is her non-dominant hand.  She has to have an MRI to determine which surgery option will be used.  She will probably plan for surgery during one of her school breaks.

We're All Falling Apart!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Just the way you are!

I’m full of self-deprecation today. I am trying to be keenly aware of just how powerful my words can be. They can lift someone up or they can tear down an already fragile confidence.

Sometimes in my frustration I respond to my brother in what might seem to him, a condescending tone. His rituals at times make me react in a way that doesn’t sound very supportive. He has a routine that never varies and he adheres to adamantly. When he called last night at 7:30 on the dot to speak to Ron I had to tell him Ron had not gotten home from work. I told Mike that as soon as Ron arrived I would have him call him. Mike’s response was, “I take my pills at 8:00”.

With a tone of frustration, I responded, “OK, what does that have to do with Ron calling you back? You can still answer the phone can’t you?” Then I proceeded to go into a lecture about how the world won’t spin off its axis if he takes his pills at 8:15 rather than 8:00, etc. etc. etc.

I could almost hear my brother’s spirit wilt under the heat of my sharp tongue. I knew that I had failed to really listen to what my brother was telling me and to put myself in his world.

What Mike was really saying when he said, “I take my pills at 8:00” is…..
*I must take my pills at the same time every day for fear that I will forget them….
*I’m afraid that if I miss a pill I will have a psychotic episode and begin hearing, “The voices”.
*I’m fighting for my sanity!
*I need my routine in order to feel safe!

I was feeling really bad after I hung up the receiver because I realized my expectations are too high. I have to understand that it takes him longer to express himself, that sometimes he does sound goofy, that I have to accept him as he is……..love him as he is…..appreciate him as he is.

Within a few minutes my phone rang again. Mike began by saying, “I have to confess, I told you a white lie.” I said, “Really? Do you want to tell me what it was?”

After a slight pause Mike answered, “I don’t remember.”

Then it was my turn to confess. I told him I was sorry for not really listening to him. I validated his fear and told him he is doing a great job of keeping himself well. But, mostly I just said, “I love you,  just the way you are.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

STAYING COOL UNDER THE HEAT DOME


With temperatures above 109 this week a person has to do what a person has to do!  This is absolutely miserable!  We have had 38 days so far with above 100 temps. and more are expected.  We will most definitely break our record of 50.  It is beginning to impact everyone's mood and I've never looked forward to snow and ice more than now.


Ice cream Truck in Oklahoma