Monday, March 31, 2014

My daughter had surgery last Friday.  Her rotator cuff was partially torn so it was repaired and two bone spurs removed and adhesions released.  Her surgeon said she was just days away from a frozen shoulder.  She will have therapy every day for 2 weeks followed by 3 x weekly for another 3 to 4 weeks.

I'm just trying to survive until June 11th.  I end the work week dead on my feet.  I rest the entire weekend in order to be ready to go back to work on Monday.  Vicious cycle I'm in right now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oklahoma Trivia

Oklahoma where the waving wheat sures smells sweet and the wind....well the wind....well it's dog gone windy!

I love many things about my home state but one thing I really love is the original names of some of our towns and communities.  Of course we have a lot of names that reflect the native american history of our state like Tahlequah, Pushmataha, Seminole etc.  but I love some of the other colorful stories that go with other towns in our state.

Bushyhead, Oklahoma - An almost non-existant farming community. Founded in 1898, the town was named in honor of Dennis W. Bushyhead, chief of the Cherokee Nation 1879-87. It is still unknown if, indeed, he actually sported a bushy-head.

Bug Tussle, Oklahoma - Bug Tussle, known more formally as Flowery Mound, which is just as bad, is a quiet little farming community. That it is better known than Cracker Box, Buzzard Roost, Gouge Eye, and other imaginatively named Oklahoma communities can be credited to the fame of its most famous native son, the Honerable Carl Albert, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1971-1977.

Hooker, Oklahoma - This small farming community sprang into being in 1901 when the Rock Island Railroad started laying track across the Oklahoma Panhandle. The town was named for Joseph Hooker, a local cattleman. While Joseph Hooker was indeed prosperous, he never hired any hookers. In fact, there wasn't any even allowed in town.

Bowlegs, Oklahoma - A by-product of the Seminole oil boom, Bowlegs came into being in 1927 on the allotment of a Seminole Indian of that name. The name itself is the white man's corruption of the tribal family name "Bolek."

and my very favorite.....................

Slapout, Oklahoma - Though lacking post office or school, and boasting only a roadside store or two, Slapout lives in Oklahoma folklore for its picturesque name, allegedly derived from the unvarying response of an early-day merchant to every call for an item he didn't have in stock: "I had it yesterday, but I'm slap out today."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Thanks everyone for listening to my rant yesterday and for the words of encouragement and advice.  Ron and I talked last night and we have decided to see a therapist.  We need someone to talk to about all this and just guidance on how to cope.  Ron wasn't thrilled with the idea since he is a very, very private man but he'll do anything if he thinks it will help me.

Mike on the other hand was on his BEST behavior the rest of the day.  He went to the senior citizens center by himself and joined a western line dancing group.  I can ONLY IMAGINE..... but I had been trying to get him to go to the center to give him more things to do.  He's going back on Friday for Tai Chi.  He also limited his phone calls last night and we were actually able to relax and think for a change.  I told him this morning that he did a great job and how much we appreciated it. 

I think I need a therapist to help learn how to set boundaries with Mike.  I'm not good at that.  If someone looks at me with sad eyes or looks scared I fall apart and will jump through fire to make it better.  I have to learn how to say no sometimes.  I'm such a wouldn't believe it.

I know this is behavior that I learned as a kid.  My mother suffered from chronic depression and when I was young I thought I could make her happy.  I wouldn't leave her side for anything.  It was hard for me to even play at a friend's house because I worried whether my mother was sad or not.  I never slept away from home until I was 13 years old.  So I have a long history of trying to fix other people.

My daughter Julie learned she will have shoulder surgery within the next few weeks.  It is a result of the fall at the beginning of school when she fell in the hole in the playground.  She has had nothing but crap from worker's comp. and it has taken 6 months to finally get to see an orthopedist who says she needs surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.  The other teacher who fell in the same hole had surgery immediately and came back to work 8 weeks later.  What a mess.

Our only option for Mike is a nursing home.  There are no facilities anywhere that we can find that would be suitable for him.  A nursing home will only be an option later down the road I'm afraid.  We are just going to have to keep on keeping on.  He's too cognitive to agree to a nursing home right now and because he's not been declared incompetent he could leave anytime he wanted.  I've avoided the whole incompetent thing because I do not want to be made his legal guardian.  If I take that on I'll never get anyone to admit him anywhere.  I was legal guardian for my mother and it cost us a bundle in legal fees even after her death.  I couldn't get any nursing home to admit her either so it all fell on me.  I'm trying to avoid that with Mike.

With the mental health funding cuts long-term care is all but obsolete in Oklahoma and I live in a town with a state mental hospital.  The hospital is a ghost town now.....all the buildings are empty and I don't know if there are any patients there at all now.  Very sad........

I've talked to the Choctaw Nation concerning long-term care for Mike but we have to be living within the Choctaw Nation and we don't.  We'd have to move about 170 miles S. E. of here to be within the Nation.  I'm not ready to do that.  Even at that I'm not sure what if anything would be available for him.

My niece is in a rehab. facility operated by the Creek Nation.  It's about a 100 miles from here but she will only be there 27 days.  At least it is giving my older brother a break from taking care of her.

But for today calm has settled in Metropolis.  Batman is at his aerobics class and my world is a little calmer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pity party

I am in the midst of a major pity party and an extreme guilt trip.  My patience with my brother is wearing thin as we deal with one "crisis" after another.  He appears so helpless and has to ask us questions about everything.  His personal hygiene has become an issue of concern.  He is requiring so much attention that I feel completely suffocated.  And....I'm only dealing with the phone calls, my poor husband is the one dealing with Mike personally.  I worry constantly about Mike's finances and how I'm going to make his money last and how I'm going to maintain the house he lives in.  I feel so alone with every decision I make or don't make.  

Last night we were so exhausted by his constant phone calls we finally told him that if he can't meet his basic needs we may have to consider alternative living arrangements.  That of course sent him into a spin and now he's trying to "prove" he can take care of himself which of course he can't.  I just lost it on him this morning and I broke down crying.  I told him he isn't thinking about anyone but himself, what he wants, when he wants it and no regard for anyone else.  Yep......I was that harsh and  I'm not proud of it.  Now I'm just dying inside because the last thing I want to do is scare him or hurt him in anyway.  But I'm scared.

I sat here and wondered who died and left me in charge anyway?  It just happened.  He had a psychotic break that was absolutely horrific and I found myself smack dab in the middle of taking full responsibility for him.  No one else was going to do it and I couldn't sleep at night worrying about what would happen to him.  I certainly put his happiness and well being before my own.  Now here I am!

I'm absolutely terrified but convinced that he will out live me and I don't know what will happen to him.  I'm torn between moving him into my house which I know would be a disaster. He will literally consume us alive.  He's consuming us alive as it is.  Our lives literally revolve around taking care of Mike. Is it so wrong that I sometimes want to be selfish and say No More.........I deserve a little peace and a life of my own?  But every time I think like that I am consumed with guilt.  Mike didn't ask for this disease.  

Sometimes I get angry at our parents for not teaching him any daily living skills and then I think they just did what they knew to do.  They kept him safe and with them and coped with his illness.  Sometimes by taking the path of least resistance.  Giving in to his disease of Schizophrenia.

There are no easy answers.  I almost wish he was completely psychotic then placing him somewhere would not be so hard.  That sounds awful I know but since he is aware he is resistant and he is terrified of change.  I can't deal with him being scared.  It tears me apart.

So, here I am at work.  I can't concentrate on anything.  I feel so guilty and I'm going to worry about my brother all day!  What in t he world are we going to do when I have surgery?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Another one bites the dust

Well another weekend of recliner sitting.  I spend my entire weekends laying in the recliner icing my hip.  This is starting to get very old.  It takes the entire weekend to recover from the work week and to get ready for the next one.  I did manage to put a pot of ham/beans on for Mike.  That's about the extent of my accomplishments.  

Ron however ran around all over the place.  He took Mike to church, did the grocery shopping and then took Mike out to purchase tennis shoes.  I just wish I could have seen that fiasco.  Ron said it was like taking a 4 year old shopping.  I can only imagine.

Ron had no more returned home when Mike called with one of his "emergencies".  He couldn't get his radio to work.  Ron drove over to his house and found that it wasn't turned on.......Between all the phone calls and "emergencies" I'm really looking forward to anesthesia.  I just feel bad that Ron will be dealing with things all alone while I'm blissfully sleeping away.

Friday, March 14, 2014

When the patient becomes the caregiver

Last night I was telling Ron that I'm so sorry that he has to do so much and that I'm such a slug.  I told him I can't wait to get my surgery over with so I can go back to taking care of him.  He so sweetly reminded me that we take care of each other.  How true...
That's what relationships are all about and I'm so lucky to have such a loving and kind partner in life.  

It's hard to believe that 10 months ago he was having part of his lung removed.  You'd never know it by looking at him.  Now I'm about to have a hip replacement.  Maybe next year we will both be well enough to actually take a trip or just enjoy life a little bit.  That's my prayer anyway.

Mike has been a little on the wacky side lately.  He obsesses over things so much.  I am definitely worried how he will handle my surgery.  It breaks my heart every time I read about the cuts being made to mental health.  I just think about all the people who have no families to help care for them.  It's like we have become a nation of people who no longer care about anything.  I know that I'm generalizing and that isn't right but it sure feels like we are losing compassion.  I hope I'm wrong!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I am really tired of hurting.  Every day it gets to be a bigger and bigger struggle just to walk.  When I've sat at my desk for about an hour I have so much pain when I get up and try to walk.  I use a cane but I've put so much stress on my wrist that now IT hurts as well.  I'll be so glad when June gets here. 

I was thinking yesterday about all the lessons I took as a kid.  I took piano lessons for about dance lessons for about 4 years, piano lessons 10 years, and voice lessons for about 6 years.  All that and I don't have a lick of talent. 

I did enjoy playing the piano but I hated recitals.  I no longer play since I've had hand surgeries.  In fact I'm giving my piano away to someone who will enjoy it.  Right now it is just being used as a very large sofa table.........  

I took voice lessons hoping to be more like my mother (She sang opera) but I never had the pipes for that.  I was hard to hear even with a microphone........I remember in high school I was in a folk group (remember folk music?) I was the one with the tambourine.  Every time I had a solo part I'd drown myself out beating on the tambourine. 

Dancing........omg.....I have some rhythm but two left feet.  I did tap, ballet, jazz, you name it and none of it with grace.  I've always loved ballroom dancing but where on earth do you find a partner you don't have to pay to dance with you?  Ron is worse than me....he has two left feet and NO rhythm.  We did take swing lessons in preparation for my daughter's 40th swing birthday party.  We got one step down and danced it all night. 

I took guitar lessons for a very short time (just until my fingers started to hurt) and managed to learn 3 cords. 

You'd think with all the lessons I've had I'd be at least mediocre at something!


Monday, March 10, 2014


What a productive weekend.  My sweet husband cleaned out the refrigerator and scrubbed every nook and cranny........ what a treat.  We also got our office cleaned out and organized.  Went through all our files and tossed what was outdated and no longer needed.  It really felt good to accomplish so much.

Our weather is varied to say the least.  Last Monday I was off due to snow and ice.  Today it is 76 degrees and tomorrow will be over 80. At least we never get bored.

Saturday the girls and I had our mother/daughter mammograms.  We followed up the appointment with sushi.  It was fun.  It got me to thinking about these restaurants like Hooters and Twin Peaks.  I have never liked them because I think they sexually exploit the young girls that work there.  So, I wrote the corporate offices for both restaurants and suggested that since they cash in because of female breasts maybe they could start contributing to breast cancer research.  They could provide coupons to breast imaging facilities that could be passed on to women when they get a mammogram.  The coupon could be for a discounted meal or a percentage contribution to breast cancer research when redeemed.  I told my daughters that they could have mammo parties where a group of women get their yearly mammograms together and then go to lunch afterward.....Hooter parties so to speak.  Any thoughts?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mummified and stupified

Anyone read about the mummified body found in the garage of a Michigan home?  The home owner had died in 2008 sitting in her car.  All her bills were paid automatically each month so it wasn't until the money ran out recently that foreclosure was initiated on her home.  An inspector from the mortgage company went to inspect the house and found the mummified body of a 40 year old woman.

Her neighbors indicated she traveled all the time so they didn't think anything about not seeing her.  A neighbor actually kept her yard mowed all these years.

Now, I don't know about anyone else but that's just the saddest story I've heard in a long time.  IMAGINE no one noticing you were gone for 7 years!!!!

Moving On...........

I'm in the process of training my replacement.  She's a really nice young woman and she will do fine.  It just seems a bit surreal.  My philosophy is let the person do it and only input when necessary or if asked questions.  Sometimes you can just give to much information at once and the only way to learn something is just by doing it.

It's weird since she will be covering everything while I'm out for surgery but I will resume the job when I get back and do it until I retire July 31, 2015.  So for a year she will be doing other things.  It will all work out and at least I know I will have covered everything by the time I leave for good.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.  I have some major house cleaning to get done.  

Tomorrow my daughters and I are having our yearly mammograms. It's a mother/daughter event that will be followed by lunch!  We are making a fun day out of it.

So......I leave you with this.  If no one hears from me for say 4 to 5 years........please inquire about this whack-a-doodle blogger!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rain man and Me

Me and "Rain man" went on an adventure this morning to get his taxes filed.  Last year I took him to the AARP volunteers at the Senior Citizen Center and so we went back this year.  I filled out the paperwork for Mike and after making sure he was settled with the gentleman that was going to help him I stepped out to see if Mike could answer the questions without my help.  There was really nothing to answer as it was a straight forward return.  He had 71cents in earned income and the rest was his social security income.  I could have done the return for him but I really want him to know how to do as much as he can on his own in case I wasn't around to help him.

I showed him 3 times where the elevator was and how to find the outside door.  I waited for him outside......and he did it!  Finished the taxes and actually found his way out.... It was a successful adventure.  He will get a $40.00 refund from the state as a sales tax credit.  He's RICH!  He was so cute....he introduced me to the preparer as his sister....the best sister in the whole, whole, whole, world!  Now my hat won't fit on my head!


Another project that I've been working on with Mike for the past two weeks is his excessive phone calling in the evening.  He has been really getting on Ron's nerves.  He calls promptly at 5:30 the minute Ron gets home.  He talks about 30 minutes until Ron finally tells him he wants to eat dinner.  Then Mike calls again at 7:30 on the dot.....he takes his night time pills and wants Ron to talk to him until he gets sleepy and is ready to go to bed at 8:00.  This was driving Ron crazy.

Soooo I got the idea to get Mike audio books and the goal was to substitute the book for talking to Ron after the pills. We didn't even know if he'd be able to work the cd player but after 2 weeks of practice I can say it has been successful.  We still have to remind him every now and then to listen to his book after his pills instead of calling Ron but for the most part Ron is down to one call now in the evening.

Now, I am working on breaking him from badgering Ron all week as to whether Ron is going to watch a basketball game with him on Saturday.  He will ask over and over and that also drives Ron nuts.  I told Ron that I'll work on getting him to ask one time on Friday evening but Ron has to give him a definitive answer.  Mike doesn't understand, "Well, I don't know.....I'll just have to see....."  That don't work with a schizophrenic.   I can only perform so many miracles.......

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Somebody tell my Governor that bullying is NOT OK!

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is warning educators that continuing public criticism of the state’s A-F school grading system may affect whether common education gets additional funding next fiscal year.  Hmmmmmmm does that sound like a threat?  Talk about a bully and this from a woman who is a member of a political party that constantly screams about their "constitutional rights".  I guess freedom of speech only applies to whether you are agreeing with them or not.  My favorite quote is this, “The fact of the matter is this grading system, regardless of whether or not you believe it should have been put together differently, is the law.”  Now, isn't that what we said about the Affordable Healthcare Act, Governor Fallin?  
I have such a problem living in a state run by political hypocrites!