Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Oklahoma Shuffle

I'm working hard to get my desk cleared and everything caught up as much as possible.  I am planning to work during Ron's hospital stay as much as I can.  Since he will be in ICU for several days I will go to the hospital during visiting hours but be in the office the rest of the time.  It will be hectic but I don't know what else to do.  It is very hard to be away from my job.  Too much pressure......

A friend of Ron's is planning on being at the hospital Monday evening since I have a night meeting.  I'll go up in the morning and stay till noon and then Frank is going to relieve me so I can go to work.  I won't get home until 9:00 or so.  I'm very appreciative to Frank and this will relieve my mind since I can't be at the hospital.

I'm hoping that by the time Ron is out of ICU he'll be able to call for help when he needs it.  If not then I'll just have to take off work and be with him... To heck with the job!

I'm planning on being off the first few days after Ron gets home.  I need to be sure he can get around on his own and I don't want him showering or anything when I'm not there to help him.  Hopefully soon he will be well enough for me to go back to work.

I have to go to the city this afternoon and after that meeting things will slow down and we can just get ready for Friday!

Mike is doing good!  I think he is realizing that we aren't going to be as available for awhile and he is really trying to step up and be more independent.  Of course his cognitive abilities depend on the day....ever changing....but for now he's functioning very well.  

He has created a new dance he calls the Oklahoma Shuffle...He stands in one spot and just wiggles and bounces while he sings Boomer Sooner.  He wants to dance for everyone he meets and he tries to get them to dance with him.  His nurse told me yesterday that she danced and sang the Oklahoma Shuffle with him and that they both just laughed and had the best time.  She said she just felt good the rest of the day because Mike is such a sweetie.  

I told him what Becky had said and what a great thing that he makes people feel so happy by just being Mike!  He was so excited he said he was going to go out today and make some more people feel happy!!!!!! I'm sure he will!

Monday, April 29, 2013

My niece will be discharged from the hospital today.  She will have to beat this by attending AA meetings as rehab would cost $30,000.  Insurance will not pay and did not pay for her hospital stay either at the tune of $5,500 up front.  WOW.....this is way out of my league.  I have no experience with this but my gut is telling me that there is no way she will conquer this on her own.  It's been going on too long.

I found myself actually feeling angry toward her.  Not an emotion I often have toward anyone.  I don't know if that's just a normal reaction to alcoholism and how it impacts those around the alcoholic.  I guess I'm angry at the way she hid it for so long until it was so bad that it got to this.  I feel a little duped and used.  She has always been good at getting people to take care of her and now that makes me feel used and stupid. 

I know what I have to do for myself and that is walk away.  I have to let her sink or swim on her own.  My energy has to go to take care of my brother and my husband. 

Ron was very quiet all weekend.  He's just such a private person I never have any idea what is going on in his head.  It's never what I think.  The hospital is supposed to call us this week to tell us what time to be there on Friday.  I am sure Ron will do fine.  I just don't think he will handle the discomfort and pain very well.  He just gets mad as a wet hen and is hard to deal with.  So different than he normal personality. 

He refused to tell anyone at church about his surgery.  He won't reach out to anyone.  I don't think he understands that he may not want the support but that I might benefit from it.  But I honored his wishes and didn't say anything about it either.  I was tempted to put in a prayer request but I knew that would upset Ron so I didn't.   It's going to be a long day Friday by myself.  My daughters are in the middle of testing their students and can't be at the hospital and Ron's daughter is in N. Carolina.  So it will be a long day waiting!

Friday, April 26, 2013

My niece was admitted to the hospital yesterday but my brother was required to pay $5,500 upfront before they would admit her even though my niece has private insurance (Blue Cross & Blue Shield).  That seems so wrong on so many levels. 

This is what we are dealing with at the hospital where I work.  Because we are a state agency we have requested the legislature provide us funding for 4 charity beds.  We need the beds for families who have private insurance...... these families are being denied services by insurance companies so their children are not getting the help they need.  Everything seems backwards to me.  You are better off if you have no insurance or at least that's what it would seem.

I'm so glad it is Friday.  I have no idea what we will be doing this weekend but I hope we just take some time to be together.  Ron is being pre-admitted this morning and then it's just the countdown until surgery.  You'd think I would get used to this but I get so many butterflies in my stomach.   I know this will be rough since it will be the first time he will be in ICU and I won't be able to be with him the whole time.  They have strict visiting hours in ICU so I don't know whether to sit around at the hospital, come to work and go back and forth or what.  I feel really stressed about managing work and Ron's surgery but I've done it before so I can do it again.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Wisdom To Know The Difference

I don't know what drives my need to try to solve other people's problems.  I'm really talking about family members.  They keep me so busy I don't have time to try to help anybody else.  I can't stand seeing a member of my family suffer whether it is from self-imposed injury or just the consequences of bad choices.  I try to "fix" the problem.

The lesson I'm having to learn is that I can't always fix it and that sometimes I need to turn it over to someone else and walk away.  I did that last night.  

My brother's oldest daughter is in real trouble.  I have slowly discovered the extent of her alcoholism (thankfully because she has finally opened up and talked to me about it)  She wants to go to AA which is great but after realizing she has been drinking every day for 7 years and now to the point that it is all day I talked to some doctors yesterday and they told me that it is not only futile for her to try by herself but dangerous.  It could actually kill her.  They said she needs medical detoxification in a hospital.  I called her dad and he stepped up and is taking her to St. Anthony's today and she will go to rehab after she is detoxed.  Combining alcoholism and bi-polar disorder is a horrible combination but it is definitely out of my expertise......this is something that has to be handled by physicians.  

At least knowing that she is where she needs to be will let me focus on my husband and what he needs.  His surgery is just one week from tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I'm not sure what's going on but I can't seem to leave comments on any blogs....I tried to leave one for Olga at Confessions of a Grandma but wasn't able to...then I tried Patrick at Caregivingly Yours and had no luck....nor Kenju at Just Ask Judy. I'm not even sure if anyone is able to leave a comment here or not.  

I use my work computer quite a bit and sometimes we have so many firewalls and security systems in place that it messes me up at times.  And I'm not computer savy enough to figure out if I have a problem or not.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I heard this morning that the surviving Boston bomber has said they were not involved with any terrorist group.  That they had planned and executed the bombing on their own because of Islamic religious principles.  I hated hearing that because that will fuel the fire concerning Muslims in this country.  People forget that extremism exists in every religion even the Christian religion.  The Westboro Baptist church is just one example but fortunately they haven't killed anyone but their message of hatred is loud and clear.  There have been abortion doctors murdered by extremist Christians.  So we have to be careful not to blame the "religion" but the extremists using religion as their motive.

I saw a book that interested me called Into The Light by Dr. Jon Lerma.  His background is from working with hospice and the book and he writes about his valuable research and guidance in 16 inspirational stories of children and adults confronting their deaths through the comforting visions of divine beings. By presenting the mysterious visions, synchronicities, and angelic conversations terminally ill patients encounter. I know that may sound morbid to some people since my husband is facing surgery for lung cancer but it isn't morbid at all.  I find such stories comforting and reassuring.  I purchased the book for my Kindle and have barely started reading it.  I'm sure from a scientific viewpoint none of these stories can be substantiated but then can faith be substantiated?  We say we have faith but can we prove it?

I think I currently have about 5 books I'm in the process of reading.  I've got a lot of catching up to do.  My kindle will be going to the hospital with me. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Only one week end remaining before Ron's surgery.  We are both anxious to get it over with and get him home to recover.  Last night he talked to one of his aunts who had the upper lobe of her right lung removed due to the spread of colon cancer.  She told him it wasn't so bad so that seemed to reassure him.  I think we are just ready to find out if it is malignant and if it is renal cell carcinoma.  They told us it could be a different cancer altogether.   So the countdown continues.

We were really busy over the weekend.  We didn't even make it to church yesterday because we had so many things on our list to get done.  We brought Mike over for a little while but his attention span is so short he was ready to go home after an hour.

He stopped buying an extra sandwich for his refrigerator.  I talked to Ralph at Subway and he's also watching out for Mike.  We threw away 12 sandwiches and there were 4 in the freezer.  I can't think like a schizophrenic so I'm always trying to figure out what's going on in his head.  Mike describes himself as Cosmic!!!!!  I have to agree.

I've been on a quest to lower the cost of everything.  I started with the house and lowered the monthly payment by $80.00 by refinancing it on a special plan offered by my credit union.  No closing costs required and it is only a 5 year loan.  

Then I negotiated with ATT Uverse and got them to upgrade our television service for $50.00 less than what we were paying and Mike's for $95.00 less.  (Ron was thrilled with this one because he now has more sports channels and a DVR)

Next I lowered our home/auto insurance by a total of $1,000 by comparing companies.

I'm thinking about bartering with Walmart next!!!!

Only one week end remaining before Ron's surgery.  We are both anxious to get it over with and get him home to recover.  Last night he talked to one of his aunts who had the upper lobe of her right lung removed due to the spread of colon cancer.  She told him it wasn't so bad so that seemed to reassure him.  I think we are just ready to find out if it is malignant and if it is renal cell carcinoma.  They told us it could be a different cancer altogether.   So the countdown continues.

We were really busy over the weekend.  We didn't even make it to church yesterday because we had so many things on our list to get done.  We brought Mike over for a little while but his attention span is so short he was ready to go home after an hour.

He stopped buying an extra sandwich for his refrigerator.  I talked to Ralph at Subway and he's also watching out for Mike.  We threw away 12 sandwiches and there were 4 in the freezer.  I can't think like a schizophrenic so I'm always trying to figure out what's going on in his head.  Mike describes himself as Cosmic!!!!!  I have to agree.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

And my day just gets better!  

I had my usual after lunch conversation with Mike today.  I asked him where he went for lunch and he said Subway.  Then he said he didn't get a sandwich because the toaster was broken.  I asked him if he ever ate them cold and he said yes.  "So why didn't you just get a cold one? I asked.   No reply.

I then asked him what he had for lunch and he responded "Subway sandwich".  Really?  Where did you get it?

Out of my refrigerator. 

"Uhhhhhhhhhh how many do you have in your refrigerator I ask."

"Eight and six in my freezer."


Cause I'm crazy.

Oh Lord..............I haven't been checking his refrigerator.  

Some days just start off with a bang.  We had severe weather last night with tornadoes and hail and this morning it is cold and gray outside.  The Oklahoma wind is howling and that just adds to the cold.

I had a 7am meeting this morning followed by an evacuation of the hospital due to the fire alarm going off.  It seems the sprinkler system went off in our walk-in freezer during the storm last night.  The kitchen has been transformed into the frozen tundra.  We think that's what set off the fire alarm this morning.  And it is only 8:30 am.....................it's going to be a long day!

My day is packed with meetings!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Got Nothing!  I'm drained today.....I am disappointed that no amount of violence can get this country to stand up to the NRA and demand gun control measures be taken.  Nothing....not even the slaying of innocent babies.  I'm just sad.   The arguments against gun control are like the question "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"  Some say that because there is more violence we need more guns.  Some say there is more violence because we have more guns.  Somehow we always manage to evade the issue.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shake Rattle and Roll

Last night we had 5 earthquakes and I slept through all of them.  Never felt a thing.  I think the strongest was reported at 4.9.  

Earthquakes are becoming a routine occurrence around here.  I've lived here 61 years and this is definitely new to me.  I think we always had them before but they were so small we were unaware of them.  They've gained enough intensity to get our attention now....that is if you don't sleep like a rock.

My heart goes out to those in Boston.  I'm also praying that we do not see a repeat performance during the Oklahoma City marathon scheduled for next month.  I'd hate to see Timothy McVeigh's legacy of hate carried forward.

I know that it is way too premature to even speculate who is responsible for this latest act of violence.  My first thought is always someone with a mental illness because it is hard to imagine a sane, rational person doing something so horrific.  But even if they do find it is someone mentally unstable I doubt it will be enough to get anyone to look at the problems associated with mental illness and the lack of services we provide to these individuals.  We decided years ago that they should all be integrated into communities........so how's that working for us?  They are on the streets, in jails, prisons, etc.  The public deserves to be protected from unstable people and they deserve treatment.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Gentle Man and a Scholar

My brother Mike calls me every morning at 8:15 am.  I usually have just enough time to unlock my office door, hang up my coat and turn on my work computer before the phone rings.

“How ya doin this mornin?” he’ll ask in his thick Okie drawl.

“Just fine” I answer.  “How are you?”

“I’M GREAT” Mike responds with great enthusiasm!

And so our morning conversation goes.  He proceeds to tell me the establishments he has already visited.  The sandwich shop where Ralph the manager gives him a free or discounted sandwich each day and the grocery store where he gets the exact same thing each day, a bottle of Sunny D and some Oklahoma caviar.  He tells me he is ready for his aerobics class.  He has filled his water bottle (a gift from Mary his neighbor) and he has his emergency kit consisting of his pollen hat and his sunglasses.

I tell him how envious I am and how I will be hard at work while he is out having fun at his Silver Sneakers class.

His voice often softens and he responds most sincerely, “Well Bless Your Heart!”

I love it when he blesses my heart!  It couldn’t mean more if it came from the Pope!

We typically chat a few minutes more and I tell him to have a wonderful day.  Our calls end with, “I love you.” followed by, “I love you too.”

That’s a GOOD day.

On the days that his mental illness has a hold of his thoughts our conversations resemble the Key Stone Cops.  It goes everywhere but gets nowhere.

He greets me with “I’m having suicidal thoughts.” without prefacing it with hello.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because I’m scared of dying” he quickly answers.

“Hmmmmmm doesn’t that seem like overkill to you?  If you are afraid to die why would you kill yourself? I ask while looking about to see if anyone can hear my crazy inquiry.

Sheepishly he responds, “I dunno” and then together we laugh at his illogical thoughts.

This will be a day of confused thinking and many, many phone calls.  I’ll assess each call to determine if he is a danger to himself or others.  I’ve learned not to react every time he has a foggy day.  I have learned that this too shall pass.

Yesterday when he made his routine afternoon call he told me he had a great time at his aerobics class and that he didn’t say anything inappropriate.

I said, “Of course you weren’t inappropriate, you are a gentleman and a scholar.”

He giggled and then in a very lucid moment he softly said, “I always was, but my disease wouldn’t let me show it.”

I agree, "Yes Mike, you always were."

Friday, April 12, 2013

An unusual slumber party

When my twin daughters were about 4 ½ years old my grandmother asked if they could spend the night at her house.  My grandmother was about 81 years old at that time and crippled with arthritis.  She was able to navigate with the help of a walker but certainly wasn’t up to chasing two 4 year olds.  But the girls were excited to spend the night and my grandmother was elated when I finally let go of my concerns and said yes.

I bathed the girls and dressed them in their pajamas before taking them to grandma’s house. 
I gave the girls explicit instructions to be on their best behavior.  My grandma had one very large bedroom in her duplex.  She had her full size bed on one side of the room and another ¾ bed on the opposite wall directly under the window.  The girls would sleep in the smaller bed.

I left the three of them reading a storybook and preparing for bed. 

When I got home I tried my best to relax and not worry about them but my imagination got the best of me.  There was no way I was going to get any sleep worrying about them so I got one of our sleeping bags and a pillow and went back to grandma’s house. 

There were enough bushes around the house to conceal me from passersby so I set up camp outside grandma’s bedroom window.  There was just enough space under the curtain to allow me to see my grandma tucked into her bed.  Although grandma had left a small light on in the room for the girls I couldn’t see them as they were just below the cracked window where I was standing.  However, I could hear them as they giggled and talked.  I listened to their sweet little voices as they tried to tell my grandmother a story.  Grandma was nodding and fighting to keep her eyes open.  Finally she told the girls it was time to close their eyes.   It wasn’t long before the room was silent except for my grandma’s snores.

I slept that night on the ground outside my grandma’s window.  I continued to check on the three ladies through the night but all was well.  Just at daybreak I gathered my sleeping bag and went home.  When I returned about two hours later grandma and the girls were having a wonderful breakfast of biscuits and jam. 

 No one was the wiser and it was a memory my grandmother cherished until her death just two months later.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wagons Ho

I'm grateful to my niece for clarifying the concerns I had about a possible unknown niece or nephew out in the cosmos.  It appears my brother was named on a birth certificate but was not the father due to a previous vasectomy.  THANK GOODNESS he had enough sense to take care of that issue since he wasn't going to stop any of his sexual exploits.  Neither the less I'm relieved.  

The rain has finally stopped in Oklahoma and covered wagons are taking to the highway.  They will be traveling down the road as part of our upcoming 89er day celebrations.
Of course now most of the wagons have regular tires.....not like the old days.  Did you know you can go on covered wagon vacations?  Don't think that's the trip for me.  Maybe when I was 12 but not now.   Here's a description of one of the trips offered.

Wagon's West is an authentic replica of a pioneer covered wagon train as used by early settlers in their journey west.  Wagons are pulled by gentle teams and driven by local ranchers.  for your comfort, wagons have rubber tires and foam padded seats that convert to deluxe bunks at night. (Uhhhhh is that authentic?)

Just thought that was funny.

Anyone ever have your eyelashes fall out?  My eyelashes on my left eye are GONE!  My left eye is as bald as Howie Mandell's head.  I first noticed the bottom lashes slowing receding to the middle of my eye soon followed by my upper lashes.  Not a great look!  After researching a little on the internet I decided to stop using mascara....(kinda late I guess) but maybe I can save my right eye.   I didn't realize how much your eyelashes frame your eyes.  Thank goodness I wear glasses and people have been too polite to ask, "What's up with your eye?"  If this doesn't work or I start shedding the rest of my lashes I guess I'll try to see a dermatologist.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Family Secrets

 I guess all families have their secrets.  I've never considered my family in that category but the older I get the more secrets I discover.

Before my father died we discovered that one of his brother's had fathered a child that remained unknown to anyone in the family for over 40 years.  The grown daughter contacted my dad one day and told him about her paternity.  Unfortunately my uncle was no longer living and my dad was unable to assist her in finding that piece of herself.  He did try to fill in as much of her missing lineage as he could.  My uncle's demise may have spared her the hurt of rejection as my dad wasn't sure he would have welcomed the contact.

Last night I learned that my older brother may have followed in his uncle's footsteps.  My oldest brother was often compared to his uncle as they shared common interests, not just hunting, fishing and guns but women.  My dad always said his oldest son was more like his brother Pete.

Last night I was reading my niece's online blog and she described how  she would sort the bills when she was a little girl.  She would open them and attach the bill to its outgoing envelope making the task of paying them that much easier for her dad.  She recalled a statement that came regularly from the Department of Human Services.  She didn't know what it was but one day showed it to a woman my brother was dating at the time.  That's when she learned it was a statement for child support.  One of my brother's students had named him as the father of her baby on the birth certificate.

I was shocked when I read this but not surprised.  I always knew he was quite the womanizer and certainly his bad judgment wasn't a surprise.  My first reaction was to confront him with what I had learned but then I thought what good would it do?  Would I just be wanting to punish or shame him in some way?  Is it just a family secret that I should leave alone?  

The person I most hurt for is my niece.  I have learned more and more about the dysfunction she grew up in and it makes my heart ache.  My brother adopted her when he was married to her mother.  I always thought it was strange that she remained with my brother after their divorce.  I never spent much time with her when she was growing up because of proximity and my own life was absorbed with being a single mother of two.

Growing up my brother was my hero.  He was thirteen years my senior and like another parent.  He was a great older brother and was always there for Mike and myself.  He allowed us to tag along with him when he was in high school though we were only 6 and 7 years old at the time.  But of course he was soon out of the house and on his own.  He moved to another state when I was fourteen and by the time of was sixteen I realized that I was more mature than my brother.  That's when I learned of his infidelities and sexual exploits.  It didn't change the way I loved him but he lost my respect.

Knowing the pain of marital infidelity first hand only increased my lack of respect for my brother.  When my ex-husband's affair led to our divorce my older brother tried to comfort me.  I rejected his concern because I wanted him to see just what the pain looked like and I wanted him to know that it was the same pain he had caused to his first wife.  I don't think he ever understand that at all and still doesn't.  Somehow people have a way of justifying their actions and he is no exception.

His daughter wrote about a catamaran that her dad owned but it never got wet except when it rained.  She wondered why he had a boat that he never used.  I know the answer to that question.  

When my husband left he not only left me with two small children to raise he left me with his catamaran.  I had no job at the time and he didn't pay child support.  I was in very desperate situation.  One day my brother offered to buy the boat stating he had always wanted to sail.  I knew this wasn't true but it was his way of trying to help me.  So I sold him the boat.  The same one that never saw water again unless it rained.

So in spite of all the things my brother is and is not I love him and I know he loves me.  He and my other brother are the only link I have left to our parents, to the family we once were with all its idiosyncrasies.   I see no point in punishing my brother now with his secrets.  He's 74 years old and there would be nothing to gain.

So, I guess this is just another family secret best kept.  

Lately I feel like I'm the loan survivor of a family shipwreck.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stoned in the kitchen and other issues.

Got the estimate for the vinyl privacy fence......dang...privacy is expensive!  Guess we will have to put that project on hold until after the surgery.  I'm not sure my privacy is worth that much! 

I had a little mental health intervention at my house last night.  My niece needed some extra support to deal with some Social Security issues she has avoided facing.  When she went to work she was supposed to notify SS within 10 days and she never did.  She's been receiving disability for the past 7 months that she no longer qualifies to receive.  The stress of worrying about losing the money and the fact that she didn't do what she was supposed to do was adding to her depression.  She was spiraling down into depression again.  So.....I gathered the troupes (her dad) and got him and his daughter at my house so we could call SS and deal with the issue.

I have to commend the Social Security agent we spoke with.  She was not only helpful she was kind, gentle and extremely respectful.  She gave my niece detailed instructions on what steps to take and was so patient and kind.  It was refreshing! She assured my niece that they are not the IRS.  There is no penalty to pay or anything like that.  They will work with her to pay back any money she was not entitled to receive.  I hope my niece learned that problems don't go away just because we pull a blanket over our heads and hide.  Problems only get worse when not confronted.

I spoke with my brother this morning and we went through the tornado drill...... Last time there was a tornado literally half a block from his house....he told me he didn't go to the cellar (in his back yard) because he was "Stoned in the kitchen".  What he meant was he was "Stunned"...... Cracked me up.  His neighbors were in his cellar but he was "stoned in the kitchen".   

So....I've been trying to help him prepare for the possibility of going to his cellar.  We have flashlights ready etc. but he hit me with...."What if the sirens blow and I'm in bed"?

I told him to just get up and get his flashlight and go down to the backyard and get in the cellar.

"But I'll be naked" he responded.

TMI...................I asked him if he knows where he keeps his clothes?  He responded, "Yeah".  I then said, "Well put them on and then go to the cellar." 

He told me he would rather get in the bathtub naked.

I give up............guess he'll be stoned in the tub this time!  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hands off the button Pugsley!

As if the world doesn't have enough to worry about with glaciers melting, dissolving ozone, pesticides and environmental poisoning, we now have to deal with an almost 30 year old Asian sociopath who closely resembles Gomez Addams' son Pugsley.  It really is a frightening situation but right now I have more on my plate than I can handle without taking on foreign diplomacy with an idiot.  Did this kid play to many violent video games or what?

The weekend went way too fast.  We barely started working in the backyard when we ran out of weed eater string and the battery died.  I was trying to get the fence line cleaned up because I am getting an estimate for a new fence.  We have an 18 year old moving in to his parents rent house next door.  Eighteen year old out on his own for the first time.....oh the fun they will have.  So..we decided to get a privacy fence!

Sometimes Ron and I seem to be communicating from different time zones.  I'm just a talker.  Always have been and guess I'll go out talking.  He doesn't talk much at all...only when prompted.  The problem is he's a great listener (which isn't a bad thing in itself) but he takes every word I say and carves it in stone.  Sometimes I'm just talking out loud to work out a problem or make a decision about something.  In other words what I say may not mean a darn thing.  Or I may change my mind a million times before I finally make a decision.  Not good but just the way I work.  Ron is such a black and white thinker that this must make him crazy.  

I guess if that's our worst problem then we don't have much to worry about.  I need to listen more and he needs to ask more questions.

My niece has been really depressed lately and I wish I knew how to help her.  I'm so helpless when it comes to understanding depression.  The way I deal with things is to get busy.  The more I do the better I feel.  I don't understand how paralyzing depression can be.  I don't know how to help her.

We are still preparing for Ron's surgery.  Lining up our ducks.  Staying busy keeps the anxiety down!

So............Kim Dumb Un............back off......I have bigger fish to fry than you!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mr. Havisham and his..Great Expectations

I have come to believe there are those who fear change and those who don’t.  I’m one of those who don’t.  Why?  Because I guess I realize that change in inevitable.  It is all around us happening every day.  It is there when we look in the mirror and it is there when we turn on the television.  Change is a part of life.  There is political change, social change, environmental change and aging.  Change cannot be avoided and if possible should not feared.  What I do know is that if you don’t adapt to change you will go by way of the dinosaur…extinct.   As Mark Twain stated, “I don’t mind progress I just don’t like change.”

My wonderful husband despises change.  In his mind all change is bad.  I guess if it differs from what is safe and familiar to him he sees no need for it.  We discuss this quite a bit but he is too rigid to bend with the wind.  Someday he will snap.  If he had his way it would still be 1956 and we would be starting first grade all over again.

The first time I went to my husband’s home after we started dating I thought I had stepped back in time.  Ron was living in the home he had inherited from his parents.  His parents built the house in 1967 and it was exactly the same as the day they moved in.  His mother died in the living room after suffering a fatal brain aneurism.  It was sudden and unexpected.  The room had been sealed off by Ron’s father and remained as it was since the day she died.  The dated magazines noted the month and year of her death and sat there as if waiting her return.  Ron’s father continued to live in the home until his death a few years prior to my meeting Ron again.

I remember thinking that Ron was living as a caretaker to his parent’s memory.  By not changing anything he was keeping their memory alive.  Now I realize that it was also just part of his personality.  Like his parents he resists change.  Over the ten years we dated I was able to get him to make some minor changes in the home.  We painted the den and purchased some furniture to replace the 1967 couch and chairs.  But the living room where his mother died was never touched.  

After Ron’s cancer diagnosis and we had decided to get married he called an estate sales company, packed his clothes and walked out of the house leaving everything to be sold.  He never went back in the house again and we have never driven by the house though I have been curious about what the new owners have done to it.

So, I guess when he was faced with the possibility of the inevitable change of death all the material things didn’t seem so important.  He made a decision to create a new life for himself with me and I’m so glad he did.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Top Ten Reasons I Procrastinate


It takes a village.....

My brother is really working hard on being independent.  He called me yesterday to tell me he wasn't going to call me all day.  We are working on self-control.  He knows that Ron will be having surgery next month so I have him working on impulse control.  It has been his habit to call both Ron and I all day long.  I asked him to practice this month limiting his calls to Ron so that he'll be able to give Ron time to rest after his surgery.  How much of this he actually understands and can remember is anyone's guess.

It makes me feel terrible but I don't want Mike at the hospital.  I don't want my attention to be on him rather than Ron.  If my older brother can bring him up for a quick visit to reassure him that Ron is doing OK that might work but I don't want to have to take care of him.  Mike is such a sweetheart and he loves Ron so much but he gets very emotional when he is scared.

I've been making a list of things to get done before Ron's surgery.  I'm such a planner.... this morning I was watching as Ron gathered the trash and got everything outside for the garbage pickup.  I thought about how I did everything myself for over 40 years and in less than 2 years I've gotten so spoiled.  I no longer mow the yard, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash or make the bed.  What a slug I've become.  I'm going to try my hand at mowing again though.  I can't believe we purchased a new mower last summer and I haven't ever started it or used it.  What a change from my single days.  I once changed my own radiator hose in my car as well as always changed my own oil.  What a difference it makes when you have someone who shares the chores with you.  I feel like a lady of leisure!

Mike has had someone clean his house twice/month for the last year but has decided he can do it himself.  I like his confidence but I'm a little worried he won't be able to manage.  I used to clean the house for him and my mother when she was alive with the help of my daughter.  Of course I was single then and had more time.  So we will see how he does on his own.  I'm going to try and spend some time teaching him the basics and maybe I'll have someone deep clean for him every 3 to 4 months. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Surgery date

Yesterday Ron and I met with the thoracic surgeon.  Dr. T. answered all our questions before we could even ask them.  He was very personable and put us at ease immediately.  I was especially impressed by the fact that he didn't talk AT us but WITH us.  He showed us the PET scan images (first time we've seen them) and that helped us to visualize just how much this growth has changed in the past few months.  

All Dr. T's surgeries are performed in the new hospital across town.  That was a relief to me because the other hospital has had issues with hospital acquired infections.  All Dr. T's patients are on the 4th floor where he has more control over their care.  (Another plus)  He welcomed us to get a second opinion if we desired but we were satisfied with everything we heard and scheduled the surgery for May 3rd.  That will give us a little more time to get our ducks in order. 

My anxiety has lessened considerably and hope Ron's has too.  It was interesting Dr. T. said men are always concerned about pain and women not so much.  He said the first thing men want to know is "How much will it hurt and what are you going to do about it?" Ron is no exception.  That was his biggest concern.  Plus for some reason he thought they were going to break his ribs.  I don't know why he thought that but they are going to spread them apart not break them.  As Dr. T. said.....and it will hurt and for quite some time.  He did say that Ron would probably have more pain after he leaves the hospital than while he is in it.  (oh hooray for me....I get to have cranky pants all to myself)  and for as long as we both shall live....................that's the BEST part! 

Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. 

When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. 

There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. 

Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. 

Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. 

You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
Bob Marley

Monday, April 1, 2013

The introvert and the extrovert....

I'm such an open person....as my blog well demonstrates.  I share my every thought with the world.  In that respect I guess I have no filter much the same as my dear sweet brother.  I grew up in a family that was loud and demonstrative.  When you are the youngest and only girl in a family of boys you have to learn to shout to be heard.  My parents were quite verbal and we talked about everything no subject was forbidden fodder.  Ron grew up an only child with very quiet parents.  They spent their time reading and just being together but silently.   

So, this brings us to our issue.  Ron is the one with cancer.  He is very private and doesn't talk to anyone about it.  I on the other hand have a need to talk and reach out to others for support.  How do I respect his privacy and meet my needs as well?  Yesterday when our minister asked me about Ron's health I told her that something was found on Ron's last CAT scan and that it was recommended it come out.  I then said Ron would tell her about it himself after he sees the surgeon.  

Now Ron wasn't mad at me but I could tell he would rather I hadn't told her anything.  He wasn't going to tell anyone at church. I felt bad about it but I told him I really welcome all the prayers we can get. 

Ron has two childhood friends that he has remained close to his whole life.  These two men now come to me for information on Ron's health because they know he won't tell them anything.  I told them I can't say anything out of respect to Ron but it just makes me crazy.  These guys want to help us in any way possible to include supporting me and frankly I could use the support.  I'm terrified!  

Oh the lessons we are asked to learn!

Easter was good with the exception of the hail storm that hit our fair town.  I think Ron and I were spared but my daughter's cars were severely damaged and hail balls came through their skylights in their home.  Needless to say it put a damper on the picnic.  I tried to remind everyone that things are just things.....replaceable.  In ten years those cars will just be old cars that they want to replace.  There are too many things in this world that no amount of money can "fix".  Be grateful for each day and rejoice in it.

Good grief.....I just read what I wrote and it hit me like a rock.  Here I am sharing every detail of Ron's health on my blog.  I'm really respecting my husband's privacy.  Yet, he reads it every day and has never commented in a negative way.  I guess I just have to tell his friends to read my blog!