Thursday, December 31, 2009

Un-Named Post

I just couldn't figure out what to name this post. So, it is un-named.

Last week, after Mom had her weekly lab testing, we were told she needed a transfusion ASAP. She felt fine, and we couldn't really understand the hurry, but the doctor was pressing pretty hard to get it done, so we went along with it. Instead of just going on up to UAMS like we normally do, we thought (I thought) it would be easier to just run over to Malvern to get it done. Less traffic, less hassle, more peace. Well, that was a big FAIL. What normally would have taken 3 to 4 hours, took from about 12:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. They had countless steps they had to go through, being a much smaller hospital, so we learned a valuable lesson.

Mom's platelets are just taking a real beating from the chemo. Even after the transfusion, she still had to postpone her second treatment. We knew this might be an issue, and I discussed it with the oncologist before we even started, and then again with the nurse when she rescheduled the treatment. I don't know how things are going to work out, because she wasn't even able to take the last treatment, last go around due to this problem. God is in control, and I'm not worried, but just curious as to how it's going to play out. Mom, of course, feels fine and refuses to back off from anything and everything she wants to do. One part of me says, "You go!" and the other part of me wants to keep her wrapped up in a cocoon. That won't happen with MY mom, I can tell you that right now.

Auntie is still in the nursing home doing rehab. It's going to be a very very long drawn out thing. At this point, we don't know if she will ever be strong enough to return to the assisted living facility. We really do want that to happen. The local nursing home is good, and I don't criticize it's function or operation. But simply being a nursing home is such a depression thing. I have to make myself go. If I ever have to live in one, I hope to goodness my mind is gone. Because listening to the ones there who aren't happy is heartbreaking.

I keep feeling like I'm in limbo. As if I have to wait until the new year begins to start working on any projects. I haven't been too keen on housework either. And it's obvious by what my floors look like right now. I hope to get back into the groove in a couple of days.

One thing I've been contemplating for a while now, is changing up the decor in my bedroom. I've had this spread and shams for about 6 or 7 years now, and am ready for a change. I just can't really figure out what to do, that will look elegant but not too classy, and have it go with antique furniture.

I'd like to make a duvet cover for my comforter, simply because of the cost. I'd like new shams and pillows, and new drapes. I've decided to make the drapes a different fabric than the shams this time. But don't know what I want.  The color of the current comforter is ok, but the fabric is terribly wrinkled and nothing I try makes it any better. I made the mistake of washing and drying it and it came out in terrible shape. I refuse to pay the cost of having it dry cleaned though. I've contemplated making a cream colored duvet and trying to "decorate it up" somehow. But like I said, I just don't know what I want to do. And I don't know whether I want the comforter to have a pattern and the pillows to be solid, or the other way around. I watch the hgtv shows religiously for ideas but so far, I got nothing.

So, I'm open to any suggestions. I've looked online for ideas, but haven't found any that I really like. And I'm a very visual person. I have to see it before I can picture it in my bedroom. Please feel free to offer advice and any ideas you have. I need help.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 09

We had a great time together last Saturday. That was when we could all be together at the same time. Lots of good food, although everyone but SR and I had already had our fill of sweet potatoes and green beans. I think I outdid myself on the chicken and dressing this year. Don't know what I did different but it sure turned out good, and it was the only dish with only one serving leftover.

We exchanged gifts and everyone seemed to like what they received.
I'll post a few photos....

I don't know what is going on with the blog thing, but it won't let me post descriptions directly under the photo. So, you'll just have to figure out who is who.  Pictures are of J and his girlfriend K, SR, LeLe and Mabe, and SR's parents with J.   No photos of me, I was holding the camera.
I wish we didn't have to wait all year for Christmas.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

SR and I were finally able to relax this afternoon. (Christmas Day) Yesterday, Aunt was moved from Little Rock, to the local rehab facility. We went to make sure she was ok last night, and she was extremely tired, but ok. We went again this morning and she was doing pretty well. And then again this afternoon and she was doing a lot better. We were able to wheel her down to the lunchroom and she was going to eat by herself. What a relief. SR has just about made himself sick worrying about her.

Looks like J will be here tomorrow, unless there is a last minute catastrophe in Russellville. I'm so looking forward to tomorrow afternoon when we can be together as a family with him, his girl, LeLe and Mabe, and of course little man, who can hear but can't see us.  I looked at the gifts under the tree so long, I realized there was something just not right. I finally figured out that I labeled one of girlfriend's gifts to J. Glad I found that! Whew! I filled the stockings a little while ago. Yes, they are all grown, but I still fill stockings. And I still make sure I spend the same amount of money on each one, and try to have the same amount of gifts to open. I know it doesn't matter to them any longer, but it's ingrained now, and I'll never be able to stop it. 

SR and I drove around Sheridan after we left the rehab place, looking for anything open. The local Day and Nite and Fina convenient stores were open. We stopped at one and got a little snack. I've not cooked anything today but a hot dog in the microwave, and I don't plan to. I'll be doing plenty of it tomorrow.   I've been reading on facebook about everyone's celebrations and good eats.  I'm so hungry for something good!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Very Strange Christmas

I've been all fired up about this Christmas. One reason I suppose is because I am no longer tied to work, and could enjoy the process of planning, shopping, and decorating. Another is the excitment of  our grandbaby boy. No, he isn't here yet, but I still shopped a little for him. 

My two children and their significant others were planning to come on Saturday for our family gathering. That may or may not happen due to J's work. He works as a lineman, and with all the storms, he may have to stay home and be on call, if not go out to restore power to folks. I hope and pray he is able to come and we are able to be together like we want.

We have been so caught up in being at the hospital with Aunt, and we didn't know if she would still be there on the 25th.  Surprisingly, this morning we were informed she would be moved to the rehab facility here in Sheridan. We originally planned to spend Christmas day with her in the hospital, so we are kind of lost as to what we will do now. We still plan to go see her tomorrow, but will not be spending a long period of time with her. It's not as easy when you have a room mate, and the staff at the rehabilitation place has an agenda.

Both children were tied up for Christmas Eve and day, so SR and I are resting from the long week. I can't remember a time when there wasn't a plan to go somewhere for a big get together.  I spent this day cleaning the house, and then going to help Aunt get settled. Then I was bored. Nothing really good on tv, SR is completely worn out from everything, and I haven't been able to concentrate on a book or project.  Tomorrow is Christmas Day, and there are no plans other than the short visit to Aunt's new digs. It just doesn't seem like Christmas to me at all. I see everyone's posts on facebook, and watch all the commercials about it, but it's just not connecting in my brain.

I hope things get back to normal soon. This is just weird.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One of Those Nights

Ever had one of those nights when things just went a little haywire? I had one last night.

I was able to stay home yesterday, and let the in-laws stay at the hospital with Aunt, but I didn't rest much. I went to the doctor with my Mom, just for routine lab and there were other issues the doctor wanted to deal with, so that was an all day affair on the phone for me.  I did some Christmas cooking so I wouldn't have it all to do on Saturday when my kids will be here and we will have our immediate family gathering. Got the dressing and dessert done. Those were the two biggies, so I'm good to go right now.

I rented two movies the other day, thinking I'd watch them on my portable DVD player at the hospital. I watched one, and decided it wasn't a good idea, because I got so involved with the movie, I didn't pay close enough attention to the patient. They were due back today, so I watched one last night. I  didn't realize it was past my normal bedtime until SR pointed it out, and I wasn't finished with the movie. So, I stayed up and finished it. I'll review it below.

Anyway, I was late getting into bed, wasn't really resting well with a million things on my mind, but finally did fall asleep. At 12:20 a.m. I received a text message on my cell. I had to read it, because my phone dings every 15 minutes if you have an uread message. Wide awake now, so I took a sleep aide and got back in bed. Hunger pangs kept the pill from working so I got up to get a sip of milk.  On my way back to bed, I stumbled over a potted plant and spilled dirt all over my bedroom carpet.  I was awake enough to clean it up then, but would have ruined SR's sleep, so I left it till morning. What a mess.  It did clean up pretty easily, surprisingly enough, and I moved the plant to a place where it can't be stumbled over again.

I don't know, but the movie I watched might not have been the best thing to watch before bed. It was Seven Pounds with Will Smith. It was a good movie, but very dark and sad. Six people and his wife were killed in a wreck he caused reading a text message while driving. All through the movie you see his pain and self hate, but he is desperately trying to help seven people. He donates money, a lung, part of his liver, bone marrow, his home, and in the end, his heart and eyes to help those seven people he deems a good person and deserving. He sets up the donation of his heart and eyes with a dear friend who knows his plans, then he commits suicide.  It was heartwrenching and I guess that was not the best choice for a bedtime story.

I'm staying home again today, trying to rest, and will go back up to the hospital tomorrow. Aunt is much better and we hope she will be well enough to be moved to the local rehab facility soon. I appreciate the prayers of all my friends and readers out there. They are a great comfort to us.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It Continues

I thought I'd let those who are interested know what is happening with our great aunt. We have spent every day this week at the hospital with her and everyone is very tired.  She has a  spot of pneumonia in one lung, and they found a little staph in her blood. So, she is on IV Levaquin and another anti-biotic I don't know the name of. Where that staph came from is anyone's guess. I felt she had the beginnings of pneumonia earlier, and expressed my belief to the nurse that she was getting a wet cough , but was shot down. Hm, well I'm not as stupid as I look, eh?

They've had to move her IV several times, and today her arm was so swollen I asked them to do something about it. They decided to place a PICC, which is similar to a central line or port. It is in her arm, just above the elbow, and the line is supposed  to travel through a vessel, over her shoulder to her chest, and into a larger vein there. Michelle can explain it better I'm sure, but that's a layman's description. Problem was, her vessels are blocked in places, due to being crimped from age, and other issues, so it took the nurse three tries to actually get it far enough into a vessel to work. It's not over her shoulder, much less to her chest. But, it will allow them to draw blood, and inject medication and hook up the IV, without having to stick her any more. Her poor hands and arms are horribly bruised.

Doing this really threw her for a loop. It hurt, it frightened her, we couldn't be in the room, and she just didn't understand what was going on. She has enough presence of mind that she knows what you are saying, but doesn't always understand it. If that makes sense. I explained why they did it to her twice, but she just didn't understand. I felt so terrible, she was so miserable and frightened, and we had to leave right after that. What she does understand makes her fretful and she worries herself sick about it. She keeps replaying what she has gone through over and over in her mind. It makes her restless at times.

SR and I are so confused. At this point, we don't feel she will be ready to leave the hospital, even if it was to go to a nursing home, for a while yet. We don't know if she is in her last days, or if this is something she can come out of. And I guess we aren't supposed to know, because God has it all well in hand.

Her doctor asks me as many questions as I ask him. He seems to think I have a better understanding of what is happening than he does or something. But, he seems sincere in his attempts to help her recover and is not ready to throw in the towel yet. 

I have a feeling that we will be spending Christmas Day at St. Vincent. And if so, that is ok. I refuse to allow her to be alone on that day, and I also refuse to allow my husband to be there without me on that day.  This has been the strangest Christmas I have ever experienced, but I know God has a plan and there is a reason. He is teaching me to rely on Him, and trust Him to give us all what we need when we need it. It's kinda hard realizing you are actually living out scenarios that you have only read about or been told about. And you think it won't be hard to rely on God during these times, but it is, and I have to keep reminding myself over and over..... You are God. Work Your will. I trust You. Give us what we need, when we need it. Glory be to God.

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Do You Think?

Ok, here's the thing. SR's aunt is in a bad way. She's a bit up and down, but more down than up and for a while this week, we weren't sure she was going to make it. Still might not. But, while she was up, she told me about a dream she had when she was so bad. She said every time she went to sleep, she dreamed she was searching for her sister and mother. Both passed on years ago. I asked her if she found them and she didn't. I asked her where she was searching, and she told me she was in a group of people she didn't know. ? ?  So...tell me what you think? Hallucination? Near death experience? Near near death experience?

While you mull that over, please pray for us. She is terribly ill and I fear her body is shutting down. The biggest problem with that, is that her mind is still able to function when we interact with her. Some times she seems in a trance, but if you get close to her and talk to her, she will respond normally, and sometimes even seem perky. She is a tough cookie, and very strong willed. She will not go easy into night. Pray that SR and I receive supernatural strength because we are both exhausted and it looks like it will be a while before anything changes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In a Whirl Wind

The last several days have been pretty chaotic. SR's great aunt became seriously ill, and was admitted to St. Vincent's in Little Rock for treatment.  She is 94 years young, and there are issues with being that age, but this was a serious thing. Fortunately, she seems to be improving and the doctors (there are several on her case) feel it is a result of an antibiotic that was causing her kidneys to fail, and her bone marrow to cease production of platelets. Scary stuff, I tell you!

I've also been on the phone a lot, trying to coordinate all the doctors that are treating Mom for her multiple issues. Her primary care doctor has been seriously concerned with her blood counts. She has begun chemo treatments, and her renal doctor is unreachable. At first we were pleased with the renal doctor. His bedside manner was great, but the more I thought his lack of explanation, and the less we heard from test results, the less enamored of him I became. It's been a month since Mom saw him, and his office has failed to contact us at all about her blood work, or ultrasound on her kidneys. They have also failed to fill a request from the PCP for a copy of the report of her visit and testing. I called and was not able to speak directly to the nurse, but left a detailed voice mail and asked to be called back. No result.  Having worked in a medical office, I understand they get behind and are busy. But this borders on rediculous.  I am going to call again and see if I can get any result. If not, I doubt we bother with this doctor again. 

Mom saw the rheumatologist this morning, and due to the kidney issues, was unable to receive her 3 month Boniva injection. Fortunately, this doctor is on top of things, and requested labs to check kidney function.  If those levels are better, Mom can start up the Boniva again in 3 months.

In between calling doctor's offices and going to the hospital, I was able to go with LeLe to the OB's office yesterday. I got to hear the heartbeat and meet the doctor. He seems like a fun guy. (That should make labor and delivery interesting.) I was blessed to be included in the visit and I know her mother-in-law will want the same opportunity. It was a short visit, but important to me all the same.  I'm looking forward to after Christmas when I can start focusing on making baby boy things. It makes it a lot more fun to know what gender to plan for.

I was unable to attend my Sunday School Christmas party and I'm sure I missed out on great fun there. But, I hadn't had time to buy the dirty Santa gift anyway, so I guess it's just as well I was at the hospital.

I thought that since I had gotten all my Christmas shopping and sewing/painting done early, the two weeks before Christmas would be relatively calm. It never seems to happen that way. I can't believe it's only a week away now.

If I don't get to post again, let me tell everyone Merry Christmas! I haven't had time to address any cards, so there won't be any this year. I don't normally get but a handful anyway, so I don't imagine anyone will really miss mine. Ha!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Now We Know

LeLe had an amazing ultrasound yesterday and now we know the gender of our baby. It's a boy!!  You can go to her blog and read all about it.

The technology now is simply unbelievable. We are so excited and can't wait to hold the little man. And now we can make better plans for his nursery and wardrobe. It almost makes me wish this wasn't Christmas, so I could start buying lots of fabric and things. But since we've spent more than we ever intended, it will have to wait until we recoup from all the Christmas purchases.

I won't share the baby's name on my blog, until and unless she does on hers first. It's her news to share and I don't want to steal her thunder.  It does my heart so much good, to see her so happy and excited. She doesn't always have a lot to be excited about, and I'm so thankful God has blessed her and MK.

MK's Mom and I discussed the possibility of the little darlin' being red headed. Considering there is a bit of red on MK's side, LeLe is red, her father is red, her grandmother is red, her brother is red..... well, you get the idea.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Update

Another busy weekend. Mom is doing ok, but I can tell she doesn't feel very well. She always denies feeling poorly, but I can see by her movement and her face how she really feels. She's been having a bit of nausea, which is to be expected, and she's having to force herself to eat. She came to Sheridan today for lab work, and wanted a Hardee's Thickburger, so we got her a Little Thickburger and she couldn't finish it. Her stomach is still a bit swollen, but is going down. There's a lot of fluid build up from the cancer, but hopefully it will continue to lessen as the chemo works in her system.

We've been trying to plan a Christmas gathering that won't wear her out. She was in pretty bad shape Thanksgiving and I have been concerned with the crowd that would be at her house and the cooking she will try to do. We've opted to just have snacks on Christmas afternoon, but I'm still concerned about the crowd and what she will insist on preparing. I think I will go early and leave, so there will be less folks at one time. It's what I feel is best, and after getting on my face before God this morning, He is assuring me this is right.

I finished up all the purchases for Christmas so, other than finishing up some sewing and putting money in envelopes, I'm done! Yay! I can really enjoy the next couple of weeks without the stress of last minute purchases.

We find out Thursday what our little bundle of joy is. I can hardly wait! LeLe has been feeling the baby move now, and it's so exciting. Just think, next year, he/she will be big enough to tear the wrapping paper off the gifts and get into the tree. Hot diggity dog!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It Just Keeps Coming

I thought I would rest today. Ha. Funny that. I felt the deep need to TRY to finish Christmas shopping, gather a few odds and ends, get stuff on the grocery list and do a little (little being the key word) house work. I intended to work out, but there just wasn't enough time, nor energy. So, by lunch time I was already worn to a frazzle.

Then I started trying to work on Christmas plans with the entire Brown clan, and information on when Mom is having a port for chemo, plus the possibility of a wheelchair. So, phone calls and emails dominated. The port will do you phrase that? Installed? Added? Put in?.... on the 30th at 10:00 a.m. When that is finished and she comes around from the anesthetic, she will go on down to the chemo lab for treatment. It will be a very long day. I talked to her PCP about her need to have labs every week to watch her white cell count, and the need for the wheelchair. UAMS is a very large place, and we will definitely need that chair on the 30th.

I kept thinking I needed to rest, but just went right on working on things. When I finally decided I needed to lay down, or fall down, I got on my lovely soft bed and lay my weary head.  Unfortunately, the phone continued to ring and so  I really didn't get any rest at all. Oh well.

Talked to Mom twice today. She had a rough night, but is feeling a bit better today. Her knees are hurting pretty badly, and she is woozy-headed. She forced herself to eat, because she knew she needed to. I am planning to go tomorrow, to make sure things she needs done, get done, and feed her. I hope to make something for supper tonight that I can take down there tomorrow.  I feel torn between needing to be home and needing to be there for her. At least the first few days after chemo. There's just so much to do right now with Christmas coming.

OH! Christmas Tree

I tried to find a definitive origin of the Christmas tree. There are so many opinions and so much information that I couldn't find anything solid. Wikipedia suggests it was pagan in origin...or started in Germany, or the popular belief with most Christians is that Martin Luther began the tradition with candles on the tree to imitate the stars in the heavens. So, you must draw your own conclusions.

I haven't finished with my tree yet. That is highly unusual, but I intend to do so today, come what may. In the meantime, I will show you two ornaments I made when my two children were very small and I had a band saw and plenty of wood.

I can't tell you how many years ago that was, but the kids were the age the ornaments appear. I'll keep them forever and no matter how my tree is decorated, they will be on it.