Saturday, December 30, 2017

Keep the faith

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Although I was sick I did manage to make it to my daughter's house Christmas Eve and spent it with my favorite two-year old!  She had a great time.  She played elf and passed out all the gifts.  She was trying to distinguish the difference in the two Mikes.  (My son-in-law and my brother)  She finally came up with her own method.........son-in-law was "that" Mike and my brother was "old Mike".  It was funny how she came up with that on her own.

I finish my steroids tomorrow.  I finished the antibiotic Friday.   I am still wheezing and coughing so we will be seeing the doctor on the 4th or 8th.  I am anxious to see what comes next.  I guess the bronchoscopy and maybe the lung washing.  I'm just ready to get to the bottom of the problem whatever it is.

My older brother has not spoken to me in about a year.  I just gave up.  I haven't tried to contact him either but I sent a Christmas card.  I guess that was sort of an olive branch although I never did anything to deserve the way he has acted toward me.  I'm too afraid to make much of an effort because I have no idea how he or his wife would react.  I'll just focus my energy on taking care of Mike.

The other night Ron was talking to me about what he would do if something happened to me.  He said he would probably move to the condo with Mike and take care of him.  If possible he'd sell the one bedroom and get a two bedroom.  He would take care of him until Mike went to a nursing home. That's the first time he's ever said anything like that but it definitely would be cheaper to keep just one residence.
Ron's income would drop significantly without my retirement.  I don't know if he was telling me that so that I might stop worrying about what happens to Mike if I'm not here but it was a very selfless thing to consider.

It is almost the New Year and I wish I felt more hopeful for the country.  I've been donating to any congressional campaign running against the current congress.  Especially the democrat running against Paul Ryan.  I'm hoping to get back to the democratic headquarters here to continue volunteering.  They have been closed during the holidays and of course I was sick.

I'd also love to attend the Women's march January 20th but I know I can't be out in the cold air.  Speaking of cold air.....we are in the single digits right now.  We got the arctic blast from the North.  I don't know how they handle this cold all the time.  We are lucky right now because the wind has been mild.

Well, here is wishing everyone a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

When it rains!

As the old saying goes, "When it rains it pours".  Over the weekend I got really sick with bronchitis again.  I was too sick to drive to the city to see the doctor and of course Ron isn't allowed to drive so fortunately my daughters are on school break and came to our rescue.  My son-in-law came down with the flu and I didn't know if I had the flu or what because this time I have been so much sicker than before.  Fortunately I didn't test positive for the flu.  

The doctor put me on yet another round of steroids and antibiotics.  I've been in bed since Saturday.   The doctor called me on Tuesday and said if not better in 24 hours he wanted me to be admitted to the hospital.  I've just stayed low since desperately trying to avoid being in the hospital.  

Today I actually got dressed.  Still feel pretty bad but just making myself do as much as I can.  I know I'll be going to the hospital after January 8th because the doctor wants to put the camera down my lungs to see what is going on.  Sounds like a boat load of fun.  My only goal right now is take care of Mike (my daughter is going to help me make his meals for next week) and be home for Christmas. 

Mike just called me and wanted me to go to the store and get him potato chips.  I had to tell him that he is capable of doing that.  He goes to Walmart all the time.  He's testing me to see if I'm still here for him.  

Normally I like to believe I'm in control of everything but this time at the doctor visit I broke down and cried.  My voice is almost gone so it was hard for him to hear me.  I asked him if stress could be keeping me from getting well and then I proceeded to tell him my husband has fought cancer for the past 9 years, I take care of my brother with schizophrenia oh and my husband was just hospitalized the week before because of two grand mal seizures.  Once I heard myself saying it I just started to cry.  He didn't really answer the question he just stared at me and said "That's a lot of stress."

I keep being reminded that I HAVE to come up with a plan for my brother if something happens to me but I'll be damned what that could possibly be especially now with all the uncertainties is this country.  Then I just added this administration to my list of stress.  I've worried so much about it all, called legislators who don't give a crap and have just felt sick over it for the past year.

But, life just goes on and all we can do is try to roll with whatever life throws at us.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

I remember when it was only me!

I was alone for 37 years and did everything for myself.  I have installed thermostats, changed oil in my car, done minor car maintenance and pretty much took care of everything myself.  I've only been married 6 years and somehow became dependent overnight.

I knew I was spoiled by Ron but now I am very aware of that fact.  I got so used to being able to ask him to run to the store for me and he always took my car to fill it with gas.  That doesn't even touch the tip of the iceberg on things he has done for me.  Now that I am the only driver in the family I can really see how much he did for me. 

Yesterday we took Mike to his doctor's appointment.  This requires driving on highway 9 which I've never been comfortable on but now it is really nerve wracking because I can't see that well.  I wish now I had gotten the cataract surgery back in September.  I wouldn't be in such a mess now.  I really can't see well enough to drive after dark and it's getting harder and harder in the daylight. 

I'm taking Ron over to Mike's to watch basketball but since the games aren't over until after dark my son-in-law has kindly offered to pick Ron up and drive him home.  In the meantime I have to get groceries so I can start preparing Mike's meals for the week. 

Being together every minute is both a blessing and a curse.  Ron's sudden lack of independence (being able to drive) has made him a little cranky.  I understand it but that doesn't make me immune to his sting.  I'm supposed to watch for any reaction to his seizure med.  How can I tell if it is the medicine or just a normal reaction to sudden loss of independence.  He keeps hinting that he isn't going to wait the 6 months to drive.  I told him if he doesn't he will risk losing his driver's license all together and that if he had an accident and killed someone he wouldn't be able to live with himself.   I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing conversation.

To sum things up.  It's only been a week since Ron got released from the hospital and I'm still standing.  There is a lot to be grateful for including the fact I had all my Christmas shopping done before he had the seizures.  All the gifts were wrapped and under the tree and so far there have been no more seizures.  Mike didn't flip out and we are adjusting!

Saturday, December 9, 2017


We are home now.  Finally got checked out of the hospital about 3:30 this afternoon.  Sent home with a lot of instructions.  Ron has to make a follow-up appointment with the neurologist, they also want him to get a sleep study done (possible sleep apnea) and he is to follow-up with his primary care physician within a week.

We got his prescriptions filled and he is taking Kepra 2 x day. An antibiotic 4 x day plus his regular medications.  I know he is tired but he sure has been cranky.  Mike kept calling over and over after we got home and it was just making Ron irritable.  I shielded all the calls but just the fact that Mike was calling was irritating Ron.  I can see I'm in for a rough ride for awhile.

I sure hope we don't have any more seizures but I guess I'm prepared if we do.  If there is a next time I am to call the doctor immediately if it lasts more than 5 minutes.  (Oh Lord I don't know if I'll last if it's more than 5 minutes.  I hope I'm not afraid to go to sleep tonight.  I'll be on alert for the slightest noise.  I felt safe while he was in the hospital because I knew there were people to handle it and it wasn't all on my shoulders.  

Somehow I managed to get all Mike's meals prepared today and I'll take them to him tomorrow.  I need to spend some time with him so I can reassure him that I'm still going to take care of him.  In fact I have to take him to a doctor's appointment Friday.

I hope that I can sneak over to see little Piper this week.  I miss the little stink pot.  Nothing like a two year old to make you feel better.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Day 4

Well we didn't get to go home today.  Although Ron's fever was back to normal they wanted to give him IV antibiotics today and maybe home tomorrow.  Tonight he had blood in his urine so I am guessing he has a UTI brought on by the straight cath they did in the ER Tuesday.  This may have been the cause of the temp.  Anyway, they did a urine culture so I'm sure they will get something for that as well.  He did say he felt a lot better today and he was disappointed he didn't get to come home.

They have him on two seizure medications, Kepra and something else.  Side effect is fatigue.  If it gets too bad we are to let the doctor know.  Another side effect is aggression.  Again if it gets bad notify physician.  Sometimes I think drugs cause more problems than they cure.

I left the patient sleeping this afternoon and went to get a haircut.  After wards I ran to the grocery store to get what I need to make Mike's meals tomorrow.  While I was in the store I was fretting that my hair was cut too short when a very nice lady about my age stopped me and said, "I love your haircut...where do you get it cut?"  I gave her my hairdresser's name and thanked her for the compliment telling her I had just been fretting about it being too short.  I told her my husband would prefer I had hair cascading  down my back but the only thing cascading I me is the loose skin on my neck.  We ended up chatting a little while and then exchanged phone numbers with a promise to meet for coffee after my life settles down.  So fun.........never know when or where you will make a new friend.

I have a feeling my life is about to get really busy.  With Ron unable to drive he won't be able to help me as much with Mike.  Mike has really done great the past 4 days but his anxiety is starting to build.  When he gets focused on himself and worried about how HE is going to be affected by all this it kind of gets under my skin.  I realize it is his illness but it sure is irritating.  He wants me to bring Ron to his condo on Saturday to watch football with him.  I told him he has to be patient with Ron and give him time to get back on his feet.  I'm also concerned about how all these meds may impact Ron's disposition and whether he will continue to have enough patience to deal with Mike.  It was hard before all this happened.

Anyway, it's just another chapter we have yet to write.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

In The Blink Of An Eye

I say it all the time, "Your life can change forever in a blink of an eye."  Our lives changed at 5:00 am Dec. 5th.  I woke up to this ear piercing sound.  At first I thought Ron was having a bad dream and I reached for his hand and his entire arm was stiff.  Then I could feel him convulsing.  I turned on the light and he was in a full blown grandmal seizure.  I don't know how but I stayed calm.  I turned him on his side to be sure he didn't choke and then I called 911.  I had to brace myself between Ron and the wall in order to keep him from falling off the bed.  The seizure lasted over a minute.  By the time the paramedics arrived it was over but Ron was still unconscious.  His eyes were still rolled back.

He was loaded on the ambulance and taken to the hospital.  By the time I was allowed to see him he was awake but had no idea what was going on.  He did recognize me so I knew he was coming around.  Around 8 am my daughter and son-in-law left to go get something to eat.  Jamie is diabetic and her blood sugar was dropping.  They had no more left when Ron had another seizure.  It was just as strong as the first one but only lasted 60 seconds.  This time he came around a little faster but was even more confused.  At one point they asked his name, he didn't know, asked him who is the President and again he didn't know.  The doctor said that was normal and left the room.  Ron then looked at me and asked, "Who is the President?"  I couldn't help myself, I said Hillary Clinton.  I asked him if he remembered changing his voter registration.  He said, "No".  I told him he's now a Democrat and he voted for Hillary.  He looked at me like he smelled a skunk.  

Just so you don't think I'm a horrible wife...I did tell him the truth.  He response though was, "I knew I didn't vote for a woman."   (He's got some splaining to do when he gets well).

But he is now in the hospital.  Lots of tests being run.  So far nothing to explain the seizures has been found.  Today he is running a 102.4 temp. so more tests and then hopefully he can come home tomorrow.  He will not be allowed to drive for 6 months.  This is not making him happy.  If he has another seizure during the 6 months the time starts all over.

The neurologist said we may never know the cause however he has a 50/50 chance of having another one.

So our lives have definitely changed.  But it is one day at a time.  I have to see if I can manage caring for two men now.  I'm gonna give it a try.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone had as good a Thanksgiving as I did.  I spent it with my favorite two year old!

 I am crazy about this little girl!  Piper just turned two and she's full of vim and vigor!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ghost Dog

Things are getting better around here.  Ron picked up Bella's ashes Monday and just having her here seems to have helped Ron accept the fact that she's gone.  My daughter Julie is making a shadow box frame to house her little jersey, collar and some other favorite things along with her picture.  My daughter Jamie is making a book for Ron with all the pictures of Bella.  

I still find myself expecting to see her when I open the door.  Ron and I have both felt her at night while we are sleeping.  Ron said he felt her little body curled up tucked against his stomach.  He said he didn't want to move for fear the feeling would go away.  I have felt her walk across my legs.  Oh how our pets become like our children.  She was 14 1/12 years old and Ron called her his "baby girl".  And what distinct and individual personalities they have.

I had been feeling so good for over a month.  No wheezing or coughing and then suddenly it's back.  I saw the pulmonologist Wednesday and I have bronchitis and another infection.  Back on an antibiotic and albuterol and the works.  The Dulera inhaler we learned is not on my insurance formulary and will cost $389.00.  I am pretty sure I can get it at the Indian Clinic but I have to see their doctor first.  I couldn't get an appointment until the 29th and my sample runs out in 3 days.  Caught in between.  There is no generic form of Dulera so I found a coupon site for a free trial but the site is down for routine maintenance.  Of course it said it would just be a few hours and that was 24 hours ago.  I did find a few more coupons that said up to 80% off or 60% off but I don't know if they will be accepted.  Going to find out today.

All this leads me to fear what may be coming next by this insane President and his administration.  Talks of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid along with cuts to Social Security just make my blood boil.  I'm fortunate enough to have the Indian Health Services.  I can't get everything there but just being able to get 90% of my medications free is a huge help.  I can't imagine how other people who are not as fortunate get by.  The co-pays alone would be difficult.

I saw a story about two sisters with breast cancer.  They were both born in Ontario but one sister moved to California with her husband.  The sister in Ontario wrote an article about their shared experience with breast cancer.  She had her surgery and treatment and then just concentrated on getting well.  Her sister had the same surgery and treatment but had to deal with the stress of reviewing pages and pages of bills and matching them to EOB's to see if the charges were legitimate.  All while going through chemo and radiation.  Her final cost was over $15,000 out of pocket.  Two completely different experiences.

People have to choose everyday between paying the electric bill, food or seeing a doctor.  Unfortunately too many avoid the doctor for fear of the cost.  That's not right in an industrialized country like America.  But that will only get worse as we continue to be controlled by the upper 0.01%.  The distribution of wealth is unbelievable and it's the power that comes with that kind of wealth that continues to dictate policy in this country.  I told Ron that soon it will be like we are the serfs under the power of 0.01%.

Please tell me there is hope to turn this around?


Sunday, November 5, 2017

All Dogs Go To Heaven

Our sweet little dog Bella and Ron's constant companion crossed the rainbow bridge on Monday.  We learned on Friday that she had kidney failure and she deteriorated very quickly over the weekend.  We made the decision to have her euthanized and the vet came to our home on Monday and put her to sleep.  

Bella only weighed 5.8 pounds when she was healthy and in 2 days she had dropped to 4.8.  She literally laid in Ron's lap for 3 days.  Ron never went to bed he just stayed in the recliner holding her all weekend.  This has been so hard on him.

Bella was truly Ron's dog.  She went everywhere with him.  She had her own football jersey and she watched football with him. Our house feels very empty without her.  I have felt so bad for Ron.  I don't know if he will ever want another dog or not.  He can't even talk about it right now.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Random Thoughts

Ron should be home in a few hours from his trip.  He took my brother on a road trip to Tennessee.  I was supposed to go but at the last minute had to stay home to tend to our ailing little dog.  She is almost 15 years old and has suddenly started going downhill.  She was so distraught with Ron gone that she has been on a hunger strike for the last 4 days.  I hope she will start eating again when Ron gets home because if not she will certainly be looking at some serious issues.

Ron and Mike met Ron's daughter and husband in Greenville, Tenn.  They were there to watch their son play in a Lacrosse game.  I'm sure they all had a good time.  Ron said Mike did very well on the trip.  

My cough is slowly returning.  I'm calling the lung doctor tomorrow.  I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do.  He told me last time we were there to call if there were any changes.   I stayed clear for a month.

I'm still painting rocks.  It has become quite an addictive hobby.  I painted a bunch of Halloween rocks, ghosts, Frankensteins etc.  I have as much fun painting them as I do hiding them.  Two of my friends started painting them as well.

Our little girl (Piper) turns two on Thursday.  I got her a couple of little outfits and some books.  It is so much fun to be shopping for a little one.  The girls and I are going together to get her a little table and chairs set for Christmas.  We talked to her mom and she picked one out that she likes and we would rather buy one big gift rather than shower her with stuff she won't play with very long.

You would think we'd be numb to the stuff Trump does but every day I'm more and more disgusted.  His proposed budget and tax cuts make no sense.  How can anyone support the Republican agenda?  How can they think this will be in their best interest?  It just blows my mind!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Decorating and planning for Christmas

I'm lucky to have a husband who enjoys decorating for holidays as much as I do.  We just finished putting all our Halloween decorations in the yard.  This year Ron added a strobe light that flashes ghosts flying all over the house.  It looks really cute.  We added a life size witch on the porch that cackles when you walk by.  I think I'll bring her in on Halloween so as not to scare the little ones.

I upgraded my phone recently and I'm still figuring out how to use it.  Ron took my old I phone and he face timed with his daughter this afternoon.  First time he has done that.  I think he's going to enjoy that feature.  It really is amazing all this technology.  It will never been natural for us of the older generation at least not as natural as it is for these kids.  They don't know anything else. 

I purchased the sweetest advent calendar for my daughter's half-brother and his family.  I hope it will become a tradition for them.

 What I like about it is that it isn't all about presents.  Each door holds a figure in the nativity scene.  The center board is a magnet so all the little pieces stick to the manger scene.  I just thought it was sweet and hopefully it is something they will use year after year.  I also purchased a children's book about the birth of Jesus to go with it.  Their daughter is two years old so it will be something they can do with her.

This is the one Ron and I have but the doors are empty.  Ron is the odd numbered days and I'm even.  We each put a small gift in each other's doors.  I've already got most of his ready.  I got a gift certificate to have his car washed and detailed. (He has the dirtiest car I've ever seen)  I also got a gift certificate to the movies.  I have an ornament and various samples of his favorite sweets, a new pocket knife etc.  Just a lot of small things rather than doing stockings we do this.  It kinda makes Christmas last all month long. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

My heart goes out to the people of Las Vegas

Well, the news from Los Vegas is horrible.  The death count keeps rising, it is now 58 I believe.  I told Ron that as horrible as it is I think I have been desensitized.  That's awful to say but I read where we have had a mass killing 242 out of 244 days.  I think I came to the conclusion after Sandyhook that nothing will make congress go against the NRA.  It is open season.  The minute something horrific happens the rhetoric begins.  "Guns don't kill people, people do."  I'm sick of hearing all the crap.  If all 20,000 at the concert had been armed it wouldn't have prevented a single injury or death.  The guy had an automatic weapon possibly a machine gun (which are legal in Nevada).  He was 32 stories up in a building.  He was able to mow people down and he wasn't taken down by any bullet other than his own.  If our politicians took just one action....increased access to mental health care, made it just a tiny bit harder for people to purchase guns like stricter background checks...just took one action that showed they were willing to address this epidemic in our country it might restore a semblance of hope.  But honestly don't expect then to do one darn thing.  It's disgusting!

On another daughter completed all her tests.  Her endoscopy didn't show anything.  She did test positive for the bacteria that causes ulcers so she is taking an antibiotic for that.  It is good to know that nothing serious was discovered but frustrating to not know what is causing the pain.

I am feeling absolutely great!  The wheezing and coughing are completely gone.  The side effects of the inhaler have been greatly reduced and I'm just grateful and thankful!  I'm still avoiding going to school because I'm concerned about my immune system but overall I couldn't be happier.

Yesterday we attended a church service with my daughter and son-in-law and my son (by another mother) and his wife. It was one of the mega churches here in Norman and I've never experienced anything like it.  It was like going to a rock concert.  Unbelievable!  I was very overwhelmed by it all.  Lots of acoustic music.  I can see why it appeals to young people.  In the lobby they had a coffee bar and other eateries.  People were bringing their breakfast into the auditorium etc.  It was really interesting. 

I guess I'm just an old fuddy duddy that is used to a very traditional service.  You know the kind where you know you've been to church.  But I'm not knocking the other church because churches need young members if they are to survive.  I know my church is just barely hanging on.....when you look at the members who come for church they are all white haired people like Ron and I.  The church is shrinking as members pass away and there are no younger members to take their place.  I've attended this church since I was two years old.  I've seen it go from full capacity of approximately 300 to maybe 100 people on a good day. 

My Christmas shopping is almost completed.  I'm a little later than I was last year but I've been spending my time painting rocks!  I've left them all over town and they are always gone when I return to where I left one.  It's just been kind of fun....but it's time I get back to to purchase!


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

waiting for pumpkins and falling leaves

Today was our first taste of Fall.  The high today was 67 but it was accompanied by rain.  It's been raining for two days and that has brought us autumn weather.  Too bad it isn't going to last.  It gets back up in the 90's by the weekend.  

My daughter has been having one test after another.  She had an endoscopy today looking for an ulcer but didn't find one.  She's had an MRI and a CT scan plus an ultrasound.  The only thing that was found was a cyst on her liver which they say is benign.  Unfortunately she continues to have stomach pain, occasional vomiting and diarrhea.  She also has a lot of abdominal gas and heartburn.  So the mystery continues.

Ron and I were planning a trip to Tennessee in October and we were taking Mike with us but I just got called to Federal jury duty.  It starts October 8th and I have to be on call for five weeks.  They did say I was to check online on October 6th and if my name is not on the list it means I am excused from duty.  I've got my fingers crossed that I won't be needed.  Since my eyes are giving me so much trouble and I can't drive at night Ron will have to take me to the city every day I'm called for jury duty.  This is the first time I've been called for Federal jury.

Several years ago I served as a juror on county jury duty.  I was on two cases, a manslaughter case and a rape case.  It was a learning experience for sure.  I think everyone should be a juror if they get the chance.  It is important to see how our judicial system works.  It was my experience that people take their job very seriously when deciding the fate of another human being.  You learn what it means innocent until PROVEN guilty.  In the manslaughter case all 12 jurors felt the man was guilty but we all agreed that the prosecution did not prove their case.  It was hard to give a not guilty verdict when a 7 year old child died because of drinking and driving.  But there was no evidence that put the man behind the wheel.  There were two people in the car but no witness as to who was driving.  The two men blamed each other  so there was nothing we could do to convict anyone.  After the trial I  learned that the child who died was the granddaughter of one of my co-workers.

I'm about ready to call it a day.  I think I'll get into bed with a good book.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day 2

I was able to drop the inhaler down to 1 puff twice a day.  No wheezing.  

My daughter and I were out and about today.  I purchased some paints so I can start painting rocks.  When we were at the airport in June I found a painted rock and I've been wanting to paint some ever since.  I guess the painted rock craze is all over.  You paint them and then leave them all over town for people to find.

My total weight loss as of today is 77 pounds.  These last 15 pounds are the hardest to lose.  I keep losing and gaining the same 2 pounds.  Eventually I'll lose it.  I'm just proud that I have continually lost weight for the past two years and kept it off.  That's an accomplishment for me.  Over the years I've gained and lost so many times I lost count.

My husband has restless leg syndrome.  Only it affects his entire body.  He twitches and jerks his legs violently.  Sometimes he kicks so hard he sends Bella flying off the bed.  If I'm not deep asleep before he comes to bed I can't go to sleep.  Last night he woke me up about 2 am and I could never get back to sleep.  I finally gave up at 4 am and just got up.  It's 7 pm now and I'm about to crash.  I'm trying to stay up until 9 so I don't wake up too early in the morning.

All in all I'm feeling better every day!

My daughter is having an MRI on Tuesday.  Trying to figure out why she is having recurring stomach pains accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting.  She had to return to the ER last Wednesday to get IV fluids.  This time the ER doctor said it is something but he doesn't know what.  Maybe the MRI will tell them something.  She seemed fine today but it could hit again tomorrow.

Well I think I will get ready for bed and just veg out for awhile.  Ron is with Mike watching a football game so I have the house to myself!

Friday, September 15, 2017


Well I got the results of my tests yesterday.  The pulmonary function test I scored higher than normal.  The CT scan didn't show anything abnormal other than some scarring from an old bout of pneumonia.  They did see a spot (sclerotic focus at the T5 vertebrae that may represent atypical hemangioma.  The doctor said to follow-up with another specialist.  

I was supposed to reduce my inhaler to one puff twice a day.  I tried it this morning and within an hour I had a slight wheeze.  Just took another puff on the inhaler and the wheeze is gone.

The doctor wanted to wean me off the meds to see if the bronchitis would come back.  I think I got my answer this morning. 

I'll try again tomorrow and see what happens.  If I start wheezing I'll call the doctor's office to see what I'm supposed to do.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Human Pin Cushion

Had my CT scan and pulmonary function tests today.  It took 7 sticks to get the IV started.  They had a nurse come down from radiology with an ultrasound machine so she could locate a vein.  My arms look like a pin cushion.  Fortunately none of it hurt but it just took forever.

The respiratory therapists said I did very well on the pulmonary tests.  For the last 2 days I've had no wheezing or coughing.  Thank goodness.  I'm beginning to feel better about everything.  I see the doctor next week and will get the results of the CT scan.

This weekend is the county fair.  It is at the fairgrounds just down the street from out house.   We always like to walk to the fair and just walk around.  The weather is unusually cool right now so it will be a perfect time to go.  I'm hoping James, Miranda and Piper will go with us.

Well, I'm looking forward to another day!


Monday, September 4, 2017


Wild day yesterday!  My son-in-law called me about 10:30 in the morning saying my daughter was sick.  She had vomiting and diarrhea and he wanted to know what to give her.  While he was on the phone she passed out and he couldn't revive her.  We called 911 and then headed to the house.  By the time we got there the ambulance was there and they transported her to the hospital.  We spent 7 hours waiting in the waiting area.  After a lot of tests including CT scan of the abdomen they released her saying they thought it was a virus.  Duh....

However her CT showed what they think is a cyst on her liver so she will need to see her primary care doctor. 

While this was going on twin #2 ended up in the minor emergency because she woke up with her eyes swollen shut.  It was all quite a day!

Never a dull moment!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Side Effects

I think I am having every side effect attributed to Albuterol.  My hands shake, my throat is irritated and causing it to be hoarse.  I'm jittery as all get out.  The other thing is I'm so fatigued.  I just can't go much longer than 3:30 before I'm just exhausted.  

My CT scan is scheduled for the 6th along with the pulmonary function test.  I'm hoping that we when see the doctor again he will adjust the Albuterol.  I'm sure going to tell him how it is making me feel.  I tried to explain it to Ron and said I just don't feel like myself.  When I get too tired I just want to cry.  Emotions right on the surface.  That may also be due to the steroids I'm taking too.

Anyway, today was kind of rough.  I met my daughters at a shopping mall and tried to keep up with all of them but it wore me out.  I did go home with them so I could see Piper and she was like of shot of adrenaline.  Oh my, I now know what I've been missing all these years.  There is nothing like being greeted by the smile of a one year old!  She just ran straight into my arms!

I know this is going to get better and I feel guilty for complaining but I'll admit, I am struggling.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hello Julia Childs

My goofy brother decided to call me at 5:30 am to ask a cooking question!  My first thought was to drive to his condo in my nightie and strangle him myself.  But he got a stay of execution.  In fact I didn't even try to explain to him that his question could have waited because he never would have understood anyway.  Mike operates from one thought to the next.  

Of course I set myself up for this.  I put something on his weekly menu that threw him a curve.  I made him a frozen pizza and it's on the menu for lunch today.  He needed to know (at 5:30 am) how to cook it.  Of course he needed 6 hours to prepare to it on a paper place and put it in the microwave.  

No worries though........I'll remember next time to write (do not call before 7 am on his menu board)

My saint of a husband is taking Mike out tonight for a rib dinner and then to a high school football game.  I'll have the whole evening to plan Mike's weekly menu and get my grocery list written.  I usually cook on Saturday and then we deliver meals Sunday afternoon. 

The sun is shining today and I am looking forward to a good day.  I was too tired yesterday afternoon to go see Piper so my daughter let her face time with me.  How fun!  Sometimes technology is the bomb!  I was told the little miss asked where "D D" was when they picked her up from daycare.  (Be still my heart) I think the little bugger likes me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Having A Girl Day

Now I'm not what anyone would call a "religious" person.  But I have always felt and been aware that there is something or someone greater than myself working on my behalf.  I've had too many experiences in my life that confirm this so I don't doubt it for one second.  Many times I am in awe that I have been so blessed in my life and can't imagine that I've done anything to have deserved it.  Having my daughter's half-brother come into our lives is such a gift.  I have always wished to be a grandmother.  Actually I have longed to be a grandmother.  But I've tried to graciously accept the fact that it wasn't my decision to make.  Hard for someone like me who THINKS they have so much control....  I guess it's good to be reminded every now and then that we don't!

Anyway, with my new (son by another mother) a little girl has blessed my life and oh what a blessing she is just when I needed it most.  Again, that force working in my behalf.   

Last night I asked Ron to take me to see Piper before she had to go to bed.  Just playing with her and hearing her call me "D D" made my day!  What is it about a little child that just makes you forget every worry?  She is so precious and a surprise I wasn't expecting.  I guess some GOODNESS can come with the bad.  Once again I've been blessed!

Today I had lunch with a former work friend.  She is another blessing!  She's the little sister I never had.  Linda was diagnosed with MS over 25 years ago.  She did remarkably well for nearly 20 years and then her MS became progressive.  She now uses a can to walk and has a device that straps to her leg and helps with foot drop.  It sends a shock to the nerve in her leg that makes her foot lift up to walk.  It's really quite amazing what can be done to assist people with disabilities.

We went out for lunch and then to the mall to shop.  I really enjoyed spending time with her today and I then I needed it.  I did notice that I was very tired by the time we got home.  My voice sounds like I'm hoarse or just don't have enough air.  (No volume)  Talking makes me tired.  I decided to get the prescription changed in my glasses and hopefully it will help me navigate until I decide to have the cataract surgery.

I sure hope this feeling of being wired for sound will subside after I finish the steroids.  It really makes me feel quivery and nervous.  It's time for a quick nap.  I'm worn out!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Trembling Hands

I am wanting to write but my hands are not cooperating.  I'm using albuterol 3 times a day and it makes my hands shake and that makes it very difficult to type or write.  I don't even want to tell you how bad my makeup looks.  Thank goodness I gave up eyeliner years ago!

I am on day 4 of my Prednisone and hoping that once that is finished maybe the jitters won't be so bad.  I finished the antibiotic yesterday and I must say I feel better.

But all my little issues pale in comparison to what our friends south of us are experiencing.  I can't even imagine!  We have a few friends in Houston and the surrounding area and so far as of yesterday they were still dry but the water was approaching their home yesterday.  There has been no update since yesterday.

This afternoon I had my annual eye exam and I had been noticing a problem with my distant vision.  I see ok up close but can't see far away.  Last night we were in Walmart and I realized I couldn't read any of the aisle signs.  Faces were really fuzzy and I just couldn't see very well.  Well, the eye doctor informed me that my cataracts are ready to be removed.  WOW...wasn't expecting that.  They've been there for years but it seems like overnight they became a problem.   The doctor was able to improve my vision with a prescription change so that may buy me another year.  I'm not ready to have them removed until I get past all the upcoming tests etc.  I haven't wrapped my brain around the COPD yet.

I know there are so many worse situations I could have right now.  Ron's cancer was certainly one of those situations.  But I have to admit that COPD scares me.  I am afraid of becoming tethered to an oxygen tank.  I hope this fear finally dissipates but right now I'm just kind of scared.  I don't think anyone wants to believe they could become a burden for someone else.  I certainly don't want to be one for my children or for Ron.  I know things will get better and I know I can handle challenges that come my way.  I've been doing it a long time.  It is that usually my challenges have been as a caregiver not the one in need of care.

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Day New Challenges

I saw the pulmonoligist  yesterday and was diagnosed with  COPD.  After a year of wheezing and coughing it came as no surprise but I was sad none the less.  I am embarrassed by the diagnosis because I associate it with smoking.  Even though I know a lot of people with COPD who have never smoked.  But I'm one of those former smokers.  I quit over 30 years ago but I have regretted every day that I did smoke.  I got started in college just messing around with girlfriends.  Out of probably 10 of us I was the only one who continued to smoke.  I was addicted almost immediately! The questionaire yesterday asked if you had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime. Ron has never been a smoker but he thought he might have smoked 100 in his lifetime.  I only marked yes on 2 questions but it was enough to put me in the COPD category.  The doctor just confirmed it.

Now some of the discussion after that went over my head but from what I understand he thinks I have an infection.  (explains the chills and fevers I have been getting)  He increased the strength of my inhaler.  Ordered me to use my nebulizer 3 x daily.  Put me on an antibiotic and steroid pack.  Ordered a pulmonary function test and a CT scan.  He is trying to identify the type of infection and if it caused by a certain bacteria he will do a lung biopsy and possibly go in and clean out lung infection. (that is the part where it flew over my head which was reeling at that point. 

I will say he seemed very nice and as personable as any doctor is today.   I'll be ok once I adjust to my new normal.  

My concern always is Mike.  If I get sick who will take care of him?  I got the name of an organization that provides assistance to people with mental illness.  It is not income based only by diagnosis.  I'm going to go and talk to them.  They have a social worker, psychiatrist, aides who help and their mission is to help people with mental illness live as healthy and independently as possible.   Keep fingers crossed that they can help me or direct me to the next possibility.

Anyone living with COPD I'd love to hear from you.  I'm trying to wrap my brain around it and any advise is welcomed!


Monday, August 21, 2017


Well, we have only received one additional attempt to get a credit card in Mike's name but we got it stopped.  Someone tried to get an HSN credit card.  They could have done some damage with that one.  We haven't seen anything else in the past couple of weeks.

Ron and I attended our 50th high school reunion a week ago.  Had a lot of fun and a really good turnout.  Ron was disappointed it shut down at 10:00 pm but I reminded him that we are all at an age when we want to go to bed by 9:00.  Out of a graduating class of 400 we have lot 69 class members.  I'm afraid that number could increase significantly by the time we have our 60th reunion.

I babysat my daughter's little niece last Friday.  Piper is almost 2 and I was exhausted at the end of the day.  It's been a long time since I kept a two year old.  James, my ex-husband's son and his wife, put an offer on a house and found a daycare.  They will be moving here permanently in about a week.  It looks like I am going to get to play grandma to Piper.  I never thought I'd get to be a grandmother this way but I'll take it.   Piper came up with her own name for me, it's "D D".  She couldn't quite say Dani so it came out "D D".  She's just the cutest thing.  She weighs about 26 pounds and I was lifting her all day.  Now I have a pinched nerve in my back.

This Thursday I see the lung specialist.  I guess I'll be taking a pulmonary function test and possibly a CT scan to see what is going on with me.  It's been a year of coughing and wheezing so it's time to see what's up.

Mike was scared of the eclipse today.  He was just sure he was going to go blind if he went outside.  We took him to the doctor so we took an umbrella  and put it over his head.  He still closed his eyes and we had to lead him everywhere.  When he gets paranoid there is no talking him out of it.   Last week he got it in his head that a man in his health club was going to come to his condo and cut his head off.  We had to increase one of his meds. temporarily until we could get him settled down.  Sometimes I wish I could get inside his head.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Identity Theft

As if our lives weren't busy enough taking care of my disabled brother we find out that his identity has been stolen.  Someone has obtained his social security number and has either opened or attempted to open accounts in his name.  We filed a police report locally and notified all other agencies such as credit bureaus, government agencies etc.  

What surprised me was I thought he was pretty safe from identity theft since he doesn't use the internet or use credit cards but what the officer told us is that disabled people are particularly vulnerable.  He said that usually caregivers are not as vigilant about checking the mail or watching for suspicious financial activity.  He said that Mike is just the kind of person thieves want and that there are unfortunately a million ways to obtain someones personal information.

What alerted us was when we received a bill from T-Mobile stating that $140.00 was billed to a credit card in Mike's name in order to open a T-Mobile account.  Then the "thief" ordered 7 I-phones and had them shipped to my brother's old address.  The house was still vacant at the time.  I guess the thief just watched the house and picked up the phones after they were delivered. 

According to the police this is a common occurrence  with T-Mobile because they will open an account over the phone or on the internet not requiring proof of identity.

Anyway, we are knee deep in trying to control the damage.  Of course we don't want Mike to know anything about this because it would just set of his paranoia.  

We put a freeze on his credit to stop any further attempts to obtain credit in his name.  We have closed any accounts that were open.  The police dept. assured us that he would not be responsible for any fraudulent charges as long as we report it and provide them a case #. 

The positive side (if there is any) is that Mike's credit rating is not a concern.  He will not be using credit to purchase anything.  In fact he doesn't need credit at all.  What does worry me is that someone could use his information to receive medical care etc.  That kind of fraud maybe harder to correct and I don't want Mike's Medicare or SS payments compromised.

So, I guess you need to stay vigilant.  Open all your mail.  I would often just tear up anything from a Credit Card Company because I knew Mike wasn't using any credit cards.  I assumed they were all those applications they send offering 0% if you open an account.  You can't assume anything.    Read everything!   If I had assumed that the T-Mobile letter was just another advertisement we wouldn't have learned what happened.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Remembrance of my sister-in-law

Yesterday was my sister-in-law's memorial service and my niece asked me to give the eulogy.  This is the third time I've given one and it never gets any easier.  One of the stories that came to mind about Dottie was when she and my brother lived in Ventura, California with their two children.  The kids were about 5 and 7 at the time.  Well, they had a beautiful orange tree in their backyard but the kids wouldn't eat the oranges because they didn't have any writing on them.  So my sister-in-law took a flashlight and a ladder to the back yard one night and with a magic marker she wrote Sunkist on every orange she could reach!  

She was inventive!

The thing about funerals is they are often a reunion of old friends.  Yesterday was no exception.  I saw old neighbors I haven't seen in probably 15 years.  I saw relatives I haven't seen in years as well.  People always say, "We shouldn't wait until someone dies to get together."  But we seem to do just that.

When you write a eulogy for someone you sit down and really try to think about how to describe them in a way that friends and family will recognize.  When I thought about Dottie the first thing that came to mind was that she was probably the happiest person you could ever meet.  This was in spite of the fact that her mother was a severe alcoholic and when she was born her mother didn't know who the father was so when she saw a street sign she decided to use it as her child's last name.  So Culver Street became part of Dorothy Lee's legacy. 

A few years later her mother had two more girls by a different father.  But those little girls went with their father when he decided to leave their mother.  Dottie told me once that she remembered wondering why he didn't take her as well.  But her mother placed her in an orphanage instead.  It was probably unfortunate that her mother returned for her about a year later.

After the orphanage she was shuffled around from couch-to-couch and home-to-home.  She never had anything of her own and when she was older and did get money from working somewhere her mother would take it from her to buy alcohol.   

That was pretty much the theme of  Dorothy Lee Culver's life until she graduated from high school.  

When she was twenty she married my brother.  I was six years old.  I'd like to say that she then lived happily ever after but that wasn't the case.  Infidelity plagued her marriage and they divorced about 10 years later.  She could have become a bitter and angry person.  It would certainly have been justified.  But instead she made a conscious decision to be happy and happy she was!  She was one of those rare individuals that could find joy in the simplest of things.  I guess when you grow up with absolutely nothing but the clothes on your back you learn to appreciate even the smallest of things. 

When she married her second husband he built her a new house in a small town on an acreage.   She had already retired by that time and life was looking good.  It was the first new home she had ever had and it was completely furnished with brand new furniture.  She loved it.  But unfortunately it was again short lived. One summer a huge Oklahoma grass fire spread across the state burning thousands of acres of land and hundreds of homes.  Hers was one of the casualties.  She lost everything she owned.   

I called her the day after the fire and the first thing she said with a laugh was, "Well, I'm glad it burned before I washed the windows!"  

She always found the bright side!

Eventually they replaced the house with a single wide mobile home.  Her husband built a wrap around porch for her and even when it snowed he would shovel a path to her chair and  she would sit outside and look at the sky while taking cloud pictures with her Kindle. 

It really didn't take much to make her happy! 

Since her life was often hard it was with God's grace that her 
her passing was a peaceful whisper.  Though we will miss her dearly I know her memory and laughter will ring on.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Catching Up

Wow, so much has happened in the past two months.  My daughter is of course blissfully married.  They honeymooned in Scotland and the UK.  Daughter number two spent 2 weeks in China on a cultural exchange program.  She is now playing hostess to 8 Chinese students who will be here for a year.  Mike is doing well.

I turned 68 years old on the 27th.  My sweet former sister-in-law passed away on the same day.  Dottie had been part of my life since I was 6 years old.  Even though her marriage to my older brother did not last our friendship did.  She will be greatly missed.

Ron and I will be attending our 50th class reunion on the 12th of August.  It's fun that we graduated from the same class and share the same high school memories.  Looking forward to seeing other members of our class.

We are now in the dog days of summer.  The heat came on with a bang.  It's hard to keep the flowers from dying in this heat.

I was happy to see the ACA survived yet another vote to repeal.  Every day it is something new with this administration.  My biggest fear is that it has become normalized. 

Oh another exciting bit of news.  My daughter's 1/2 brother, wife and baby girl are moving here from College Station, Texas.  It is hard to believe the 3 siblings have only known each other 3 years but their relationship is flourishing.   The girls are so excited to be able to love and spoil their little niece.  I'm excited that we will have a little one in the family.  Since this is the grand daughter of my ex-husband does that make me an ex-grandma once removed?

It is still so weird that my daughters and I had gone over 30 years with no knowledge of their father and now suddenly his son is in their lives (and mine).   It is surreal that I will get to play grandma to his grandchild.  A role that I am happy to fill.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Let me tell you there is no such thing as a small wedding.  You do the same amount of work for 60 people as you do for 600.  I think that with the exception of some scattered details everything is ready for the big day.  I helped my daughter finish the last table decorations yesterday.   She must have changed her mind on colors at least a dozen times.  She finally settled on navy and cream.   Her flowers are just a mix of colors but they look really nice.

Mike is still doing great in his new condo.  He has met some of his neighbors and we've encouraged him to get out and walk around the complex in the evenings.  That seems to be when people are out and about walking their dogs etc. so he enjoys introducing himself to those he encounters.  All the single ladies have introduced themselves to him.  He told me he just might marry one of them.  I told him if they will cook for him I'll sing at their wedding.

Life just seems to get busier every day.  I went to school today to see all the kiddos and got so many hugs it was like a big shot of vitamin C.  They are all so precious and I just love being around them.  I can only imagine how wonderful it must be to have grand children.  

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The move is done

The whole month of February was a blur.  We sold Mike's house, purchased a condo for him and moved him.  He's been in the new place one week.  He is doing surprisingly well and adjusting quickly.  The place is just the right size for him and so much easier for us to maintain.

There have been a few issues.  Mike got lost 3 days in a row but by the 4th day he knew how to find his place.  The washing machine didn't work so we had to get it fixed at the tune of $239.00.  This was after we had purchased a home warranty for all the appliances and the heater and furnace.  Ron didn't call them first so we are out the $239.00.

Other than those things all is going well.  Mike even met the lady living next door to him and (got her phone #).  We teased him that he's really taking the bachelor pad idea to heart.  

We've been with him every day but one this week. But we are going to start trying to leave him for longer periods this next week.

He wants to have a House Warming Party so I'm going to send out invitations to family members and a few of his friends.  He wants to have it on April 1st so he can wear his April Fools shirt.  

So other than suffering from complete exhaustion all is well!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Another New Year

Another Christmas past and a new year has begun.  It was a great holiday season.  We had Christmas with the family and the soon to be granddaughters.  

What do you call the children of your daughter's husband.  Are they my step grandchildren?  Sounds so blah.  

They are such sweet girls and so much fun.  We played game after game of Monopoly.  The new version where each player gets a debit card.  The game is a much faster version but the adults couldn't figure out how to use the debit card machine.  Thank goodness for tech savy kids.  Currently Emma and I are the two time reigning champs.

After Christmas the girl's half brother and his now one year old came to visit and that little one is a cutie patootie.  Ron and I got her a Rocking Pony and an outfit for Christmas.  She really like the Pony as it sings and moves its mouth.  Of course it was driving the other adults crazy.

I was so super organized this year.  I had all my gifts purchased and wrapped by Halloween.  I put post-its on them with the recipients names but didn't decorate packages with bows etc until after November.  The day after Thanksgiving we decorated and put up the tree and all my gifts were ready to go under the tree.  I spent December cooking and just enjoying the Christmas music and movies.  I never felt rushed and didn't have to go shopping in the crowds.  It was great!  Plus I managed to actually save money in December and put it in savings.  Now that's a first!  

I've already started shopping for next year.  I didn't go to any of the crazy sales at the mall but took advantage of some online sales.  I usually try to buy about two gifts per month if I find the right items.   

It is now time to focus on the upcoming wedding.  Only 5 more months and they will go by so fast.  Right now we are focused on losing our holiday weight.  I gained 4 pounds and Ron gained 7.  It sure is harder to lose than it was to gain!

We are expecting snow tonight.  Not much 1 - 4 inches total but it will be enough to make people act like we are having a blizzard.  There is always a mad rush at Walmart with people shopping for snowmagedon.  Crazy....Oklahoman's just don't know what to do in snow.

We had our bathtub re-surfaced yesterday.  Looks brand new again.  We can't use it for 48 hours so Ron is unshaven and looking a little like Grizzly Adams.  I told him the sink is not out of commission but I think he's just using the tub as an excuse to just vedge out.   I can't imagine living in the olden days and not bathing but once a month!  No wonder they carried nosegays.....anything to mask the smell!

My next project will be the kitchen.  I want to get cabinets re-faced and pull-out drawers installed.  I can't get down on the floor to get to anything in the back of the cabinets.   

Our big Christmas present to ourselves was a french door refrigerator and may I say.........I LOVE IT!  I hated our side-by-side, worst design in the world.  It was inevitable that whatever I wanted out of the fridge was in the back and you'd have to unload the entire shelf to get to it.  Now it's so spacious and easy to fit everything inside.  It took a little organizing to get the freezer just like I want it but it's great now!  Highly recommend a french door fridge.  

Next year I want to convert from a glass cook top stove to a gas range.  I've discovered that there are great sales on appliances in December and again in July.  Our refrigerator was almost 1/2 off.

Ron says I can't be without a project and I suppose he is right.  I'm always thinking of something that needs to be changed or fixed.  Right now I have enough projects lined up to last me about 5 years.  I finish one and then start on the next.

Well I hope everyone had a blessed holiday seasonI pray we all have a safe and calm New Year!    Reminds me...I will be attending the Women's March in Oklahoma City.  Couldn't make it to Washington DC so this was the next best thing.