Forget Me Not

29 Mar

 

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I love those 3 words. I love them because they remind me to remember our loved ones before they became ill and were different people than what we were used to.

Mom passed away very peacefully last Tuesday night. I knew it was going to happen. I said good bye to her 3 weeks ago when she could still converse. I  cried when I left the room and that evening in the motel room. Then, I haven’t cried since until tonight. My kids, nieces and nephews have been posting many family photos and some of them were from several years ago; before her big fall, before her heart attack, before a cracked pelvis, before she was all hunched over and had to have assistance everytime she had to get out of her chair, before she had to drink thickened water and eat pureed food. She use to enjoy her evening glass of wine and loved to play bridge. She was happy and had a full life. I had forgotten the Mom in the photo and only knew the Mom who was uncomfortable, needy, afraid, in pain, bladder issues, tummy issues, wouldn’t leave her room anymore, didn’t participate in life. I would be irritated with her because I was angry she gave up. She still had a great mind and kept up with the news of the day. She so wanted Hillary for President. But, she gave up. She lived in a facility that was 90 percent dementia/alzheimers patients. She had the staff, my sister and company that she could talk to, but that was about it. I was frustrated with this new Mom. I didn’t feel good about myself being frustrated with her, but we had a nice routine when I would visit and for the most part it would be nice. She was 98, how could I have such negative feelings?? A very difficult time for me personally. Then I saw this photo today. Immediately I thought Mom!!!! There you are!!! I have missed you so much. I remember that family reunion. I’m sorry you had to go through these last few years. I hated how long it took you to transition these last few weeks. I just wanted comfort for you and it was so difficult for that to happen. I felt like you were afraid to die, maybe you weren’t but maybe you were. I hope you are with Dad, and brother John and niece Juli, and Billie’s Justin, and the rest of your family. It’s comforting to think that you are.

s.

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Breathing

11 Mar

I have been back in Brownsville since Wednesday night. Wednesday was a full day with a 4:30 am wake up for a 5:30 shuttle in Ventura to LAX airport. Carolyn graciously drove to this early pickup.  It was a fun shuttle because we drove the Pacific coast through Malibu and other ritzy towns. Interesting man sat next to me on shuttle and he was a chef on an oil rig!!. So many careers, so many opportunities in this world. Flights were on time. I haven’t been on Southwest for several years so I like their simplicity and paid extra for A spots. Bumpy flights to Houston and to Brownsville. Was very happy to see Denny and puppies.

Had an early rise for Thursday morning so Deb and I could drive to Mission for golf tourney. I am so happy to have a golf buddy who likes to play tournaments. I have missed that kind of golf for years. We didn’t play our best but we enjoyed the tourney and the visiting during the drive. I’m very enthused about golf right now.

Have spent the weekend getting unpacked, reorganized, cleaning and now ready to begin an embroidery job of shirts. Then it will be time for fun sewing when the weather is crummy.

An update on Mom. She is still alive and staying in the Circle of Life Hospice facility. My sister Jolene is staying with her for the time being. It’s a confusing situation because we don’t know what is going on with Mom since many days are up and down. The doctor assures us that we all die in different ways. The good thing is that once the catheter issue was fixed she is more comfortable and doesn’t need as much medication. You can be in a hospice facility under respit care which she is. So….as of now she is lingering as they say and is getting good care.

My trip to Ojai, California was very rejuvenating. First, Ojai was in the midst of fires and you can see the burns everywhere. I stayed with Carlene whose home faces the mountains. She said it was so scary and she evacuated for 1 week. I spent 2 days with Carlyn Braddock whose book  called “Body Voices” is what I am learning. Many of you know that I have had many strange episodes in my life with my body. Weird allergies, hives, rashes, itchiness, stomach issues, migraines. This list does not include surgeries and injuries. I went to Carolyn’s workshop last November to help me with issues that had flared up the last 2 years. It was very helpful and healing.  As I began reading her book on the cruise, I realized how much deeper I needed to go to truly embrace this 65th year and on. I will be calmer, do more activities for fun, quit putting pressure on myself with deadlines of projects and keep searching for new interests. I will breathe and I will listen to my body. The most empowering statement of those 2 days was “Lack of self-esteem keeps me in the victim position”. I will also change my reactions to situations that in the past could make me depressed, feel less than, overly emotional. Keeping that statement in my head will help me. (Maybe a tattoo??) I enjoyed spending hours on the beach talking, walking, visualizing, writing on the sand and letting the ocean wash it away. One exercise is to pick up items off the beach and throw them in the ocean with your thoughts that you want to let go of. It was so interesting that when I was done throwing my rocks into the ocean this huge wave came rolling toward me, like a new energy was coming my way. It washed over my feet. Loved it. Now it’s time to listen to my body and nurture.

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Let’s talk Js life while someone is experiencing end of life

26 Feb

Sooooooooo…I am still in Ark with Mom in hospice.  Yesterday, last night and this morning I thought we have entered another stage of dying. Mom was sweating so much, very uncomfortable tummy, nauseated, could barely lift her head, not wanting to eat, serious bathroom issues, told the doctor “I just want to die😞😞😞”. He tells her “we want to help you with that but we don’t push”. He also told her to eat whatever she wants and enjoys. I sat with her and held her hand, nurses came in and gave morphine, nausea meds, gas meds, anti anxiety meds.  I called her hospice nurse and told him what was going on and he recommended Klondike Bars for her, (I’m thinking I can’t have morphine but I love Klondike bars!). So I text my sisters with this dire news. Told Judy, “no you can’t bring Poppy’s bible and read to her because we must be quiet”. I tell Jolene “Bob doesn’t need to say good bye, because he’s heading back to Chicago today, she’s too weak”.  Jolene and Bob come in and Mom is able to say goodbye to Bob just fine. I take off for a few hours. I buy the Klondike bars on my way back and the nurses put them in the freezer. I go into Moms room and my sister Judy is sitting next to her, Mom is raised up in her bed, putting chapstick on and having a good ol’ time.  (Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm I’m thinking to myself. I bet Judy is pissed because I said don’t bring bible.). I ask Mom if she would want a Klondike bar and she said yes.  I get it, I bring a bowl and a spoon because that’s how I have to eat them because I get covered with chocolate. So as I’m handing the bowl and spoon to her she say “noooooo, I’ll eat it with my hands!! “ Yikes. She ate almost the whole thing without dropping one piece of chocolate!! (Mmmmmmmmmmmm I’m saying to myself again, this is not the person I was with this morning). She continued to stay awake as sisters and I are visiting. Soon I hear that Mom ate some lunch!!! WTH. She has only had ensure and only half of those for last 2 days.  So…..I’m really staying pretty damn calm down until…..the nurse comes in. She is going to ultrasound Moms bladder which is just a topical thing but Mom sees the blinds are open. So I say I’ll close it, I twirled the little handle til blind closed and Mom says “ that’s the wrong direction, they need to go up!” This woman is supposed to be dying. Why the hell do the stupid blinds matter!! That made me want to rip the whole blind off the window. Thankfully Marjay and Jolene were still here and were able get me rational again.

I’m back in the room, she is uncomfortable, waiting for meds. I love her, I can’t be mean, but this hard and it is sad and confusing and I don’t know what else to do but be here. I’m still praying “Please God, let her be in peace, let her not feel this pain, let her go!!! And now I cry again because now she won’t let me hold her hand.

 

Let’s talk End of Life

25 Feb

Many of you know that I’m in Springdale Ark with my Mom in a hospice facility. (why can’t all hospitals be as gracious and caring and fast when the button is pushed in hospice facility?). Mom is very ready to go and has been for many months. Her mind is good, her vitals are okay but body very weak. She is totally bedridden now. She had a busy weekend with cousins, granddaughters, great grandkids visiting and is very tired today. Sometimes this helps those in the end stages of life feel like they have said their good byes. Here are my experiences of being at the bedside of family dying.

My grandmother Betty had Alzheimer’s and died  in 1987. She was in Presbyterian Manor and they called me and said “you must come, the end is near”. I was with her when she died but didn’t know enough and was freaked out enough that I really didn’t know what to do.

Dennys Dad Pat passed away in 1999 from cancer and had hospice come to their home. Denny and I spent every night with them for his last 6 weeks. That’s when we learned about dying and the stages of dying that happen. Leola called us and said “please come”. Denny was holding his hands and he passed away. We feel he wanted to wait until we arrived so Leola wouldn’t be alone.

Dennys Mom Leola. We received a call in the middle of the night that she had a massive heart attack in the long term facility she was staying at. When we arrived at 2 am her was beating 180 bpm sand breathing was very very fast. The doctor said she may last another hour. Earlier that day she knew that her grandson Mike and wife Cathy were flying into see her that day. She waited until they arrived at 6 pm that night to pass away 20 minutes later with us all around her.  Her spirit was mighty.

My brother in law James had melanoma that had spread throughout his body. I spent 3 weeks with him. Hospice visited him at home. I really saw the stages with him. Hospice will tell you let them have whatever they want to eat. He just wanted pork rinds!  He ate those for a few days til he became bedridden and passed away.

My Dad had Alzheimer’s and lived to be 92. He had a heart attack and was placed in a facility. I spent every night with him for a week. He took total control of his death which was interesting, although I almost did him in by having the recliner on his oxygen hose.  He was in hospice and he went through every stage in 6 days. I was confused why he hadn’t passed away yet because he was very ill. The hospice nurse said sometimes they want to be alone. I told him good bye that morning and said see you tonight. Fifteen minutes later when we arrived at the motel the phone was ringing and he had died. Interesting.

My brother John had undiagnosed bone cancer a year ago.  By the time he entered the hospice facility the doctor told us he had about a week.  He died the next day as I held his hand.

Everyone has their own journey.  My Mom’s is on her journey.  We’re not quite sure what all is going with her frail body but we know she is ready. Will it be this week, next week, next month?  All we do know is that we will be there with her during her stages.

Day 2 of Lent

15 Feb

I survived Day 1 of no Pepsi. Of course that also means I need caffeine from another source which my go to is Iced tea. It also means a lot less sugar which doesn’t get to me until at night it seems. Last night I was laying in the Texas room at 10 pm and started thinking about 2 tootsie pops in my golf cart. I kept telling myself that I didn’t need to get up and get dressed and go out there. But…….of course I did. I ate both of them, fell asleep with one in my mouth but woke up before it had slobbered all over me.

Yesterday was the Women’s All Valley Day at Harligen Country Club. Five us from here drove over. I actually had a good day. I had a lesson last week and I paint a picture in my mind of my shot, take a breath and then hit. It really slows me down and yesterday it worked along with the fact that there was actualy grass to hit off of!! I even won 1st Low Net in my flight. Our course is like hitting off bare ground right now. Soooo today is Ladies golf and it is going to be 80 and big winds but you have to play when it’s warm finally. I tweaked my back yesterday but used heating pad, 3 pain pills and 2 1/2 muscle relaxers and it feels okay. At this age, you just gotta keep playing.

Had a lovely Valentines Party at our clubhouse last night. My main job was lasagna cutter. We had a great group of helpers and I think everyone enjoyed it a lot. My friend Sherry volunteered to host it and she did a great job. We didn’t stay to dance last night although I know Denny would have slowed dance with me one time. That is really a nice thing now.

Heading to see Mom tomorrow. Early flight to Fayetteville. Sister Jolene and Bob will pick me up. Brother in law Marvin fell down the stairs and few days ago and had 2 brain bleeds!!! They were able to stop it with some special injection. He’s very bruised apparently but went home yesterday. It was very traumatic for my sister Judy because when she found him at the bottom of the stairs he was in a pool of blood because he is on cumidin and he had cut his head open! Her son in law Mike cleaned it all up for her before they got back home.

Have received my weights and jump rope for my new exercise program out of the 4×4 book but not my extra thick yoga mat. I’m thinking I didn’t get the right kind of jump rope because I can only do one jump and then it gets all tangled behind my head. I am thinking it isn’t the jump rope that I’m not jumping fast enough???I don’t know but I’m definitely not efficient at jumping. Of course memories of grade school jump roping came in my head and I guess I thought I would just be like that again. That is over 58 years ago. EEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!

Horrific school shooting again. I wonder how these kids feel going back to school after such a horrific event. Talk about PTSD. I think I have seen some interviews with some of the Columbine kids a few years after their shooting but I can’t remember how they handled it. Just too many shootings all over. I can’t remember when there have been so many police officers killed responding to their calls. The sad thing is that there are many strong groups out there trying to get gun laws changed, Gabby Giffords is very powerful, but nothing seems to change. My part is number one I don’t own a gun because I know from my checkered past that I am not a responsible gun owner. Not that I killed anyone, but I was very careless and almost did hurt someone when a gun I was holding, I pulled the trigger and it went off. Totally my fault for not checking if it was loaded. On the other side, I was shot at by a crazy person and I can still see the bullets hitting the ground all around me. Those years of my life I wish I had not gone through, but it was eye opening and toward the end  using drugs and drinking.

Finally have my embroidery machine up and ready to do a big job of shirts for a camping club. Going to get a good start on them this afternoon.

Watched some good Netflix documentaries this week. Going Allred was great. I had know idea that she was raped in her 20’s. What a fierce woman and I totally admire all she does and she is 75!! Also watched a Lance Armstrong and a Katie Curic interviewing all aspects of Trangender, Pangender, etc. Very good. Last Binge show was Absentia. Lots of twists and turns and of course they left you wondering at the end.

Time for golf. The winds are howling but I don’t care. I’m happy I don’t have to start all bundled up. Peace everyone.

Miracle Mornings

7 Feb

My friends Judy and Steph and I are back to Miracle Mornings. We are silent, affirmations, writing, reading, exercising, and visualizing. We start at 6 am and text each so we know we are all up. Soo today my writing is my blog.

It’s been an intersting several days. I had a great birthday. Found a new place on the island called Liam’s and the Holvicks and the Borthick/Bentz’ all had dinner there. I was even able to have lamb chops. Hellooooo!!

Last weekend Diane and Bernie spent the weekend at the island we took them to the Kite Fest. It was perfect winds and the kite dancing (it’s probably a different name) was fabulous. Of course I always think I need to get a kite and try it, but I am trying to be more frugal. Denny says we have kites at home and we live in the perfect place to fly them. After watching the kites we all went to Dirty Al’s for our shrimp fix. It was all so goood. Saturday afternoon Pat took me for pedi/mani which was much needed for both of us.  We went to one of the Vietnamese places. It’s amazing how fast and how many clients they get in there. I did love the chairs which had massagers on them. The down side was my guy didn’t speak any English and I had asked him to not cut on my ingrown toenail toe but he did, but….it’s okay since he didn’t really dig on it.

Speaking of not speaking English. It’s very bilingual here which I have talked about before. Sooo…this week I’ve had to make some inquiries with some Mexican restaurants for our upcoming street party. It is incredible how many of these places the people who answer the phone don’t speak English at all. (This does not make me mad I just find the culture interesting). Kathy had a niece who spoke some Spanish, so I went over there and she was able to get me headed in the right direction. Denny and I drove over to the La Vacquito yesterday to sign the contract. They were very nice and gave us a sample of Trompo which was like a seasoned bacon and a side of grilled onions. HELLLOOOOO. So yummy and they also had a bakery.

Yesterday was ladies golf and my attempt  to break 100 on league day. Once again I didn’t but….I was able to drive the ball much better and had a few better chips. I had a lesson with Joseph on Monday and he tweaked a couple of things, so I know I will break 100 this season. Definitely don’t need to make a 9 and a 10 like I did yesterday. On hole 13 which is a par 3 we could see armed men across the river on the Mexico side. They were in camoflauge and carrying big rifles. They were all looking at us as we played. I was hoping they weren’t going to shoot me because I bogied the hole!!!!!!!! It would have been intriguing to know what was going on across the river.

Today is MahJong afternoon and I think our weather is taking a turn for the worse. Not as bad as other places in the country but rainy, chilly, windy. Good couple of days to get caught up on my sewing projects. Living here you must get used to playing golf in big winds.

Had fun at Super Bowl Pary at Mike and Stephs with Sandy and John. I dozed a little bit since I’m going back and forth with this pneumonia. I’m not sure if it is getting better, I’m not coughing much but when I do it feels like I still have it. But…..I’m not going in til I get my supplemental card in the mail. It was good as of Feb.1 but I want to have it with me for the next appointment since I have to have chest Xray. I hope it is almost gone because I’m tired of the Advair. There is an after taste that staying in my mouth which I really hate. Elliott has come down with Flu B. I hope she gets over it quickly. I hear it’s not as bad as Flu A. She turns 8 in a day or 2 and I hope she feels well for her birthday party.

I think that is it for now. Time for exercising. I’m waiting for my yoga mat, weights and jump rope to arrive because I will use all of them with my exercises from my 4×4 book. Right now I’m just walking and golfing. Some might think golfing and using a cart isn’t exercise but when you shoot 107 you are exercising!!!!!

Peace

I am really 65

30 Jan

I am really 65!! Wow. What a life I have lived. As always, I am always on some type of journey. My journey right now is facing some issues and letting go, understanding, and dealing with them head on. Why? Because I don’t want to continue on with stomach issues and emotional set backs.  When I went to the Carolyn Braddock retreat in November, I found out that many of my Irritable Bowel Issues could be from some emotional garbage I have had for over 55 years. I know that this is true because my stomach is finally beginning to heal. While I was on the cruise last week, I began to read Carolyn’s book “Body Voices”. IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH BODY PAINS, STOMACH PAIN, HEADACHES, ANXIETY, PANIC ATTACKS;  PLEASE GET THIS BOOK. IT COULD HELP YOU TRULY ADDRESS ISSUES THAT MAY BE HOLDING YOU BACK FROM A HAPPIER AND CALMER PLACE. I am looking forward to a healthier year. February 1st I will begin my Miracle Morning program again. Meditating, writing, reading, exercising and being silent the first hour of everyday.

I totally screwed up my first month of Medicare. Just some tips from someone who did not listen, read or pay attention to what all needed to be done to be completely covered by Medicare and the supplemental plan. As you know I had to go to the doctor before my cruise. It was discovered that I had pneumonia. I had to have chest xray, blood drawn, 2 shots plus the doctor visit. Unfortunately I discovered that I had not completed my supplemental form and was not covered 100% for that doctor visit. I don’t know how much that visit will cost me, but it will be much more than I anticipated. I am now good to go and will be covered fully as of February 1.

Lesson #1: Open all of your mail that says Medicare, United Health Care or whatever your insurance might be. That is how I missed the form I needed to fill out.  I talked to an AARP representative and thought I had completed everything, but that was not true.

Lesson #2: If you go to the doctor and have to get prescriptions filled and something is expensive, leave it at the pharmacy and make phone calls to insurance and doctor’s office to see if you can get something else that is covered. Denny has Blue Cross and I have United Health, neither one covered Advair inhalers and we had a $800 payout which was very shocking for both of us. I also have the Walgreen Pharmacy Program

Lesson #3: I know I will sound like an idiot but I thought Medicare was free. It is not. I have $134 taken out of my $904 Social Security check. I will also have my $126 supplemental taken out of my check I think? Waiting on paper work to see how that works. I also pay $26 a month for Prescriptions. TOTAL: $286  a month. A part time job to help cover that amount a month would help me feel better financially. I now understand those social security stories of how hard it is to live on that and you must have other incomes. It’s scary instead of liberating to me as I enter this new stage of my life. (I’m trying not sound whiny, just trying to be realistic. We are not broke by any means but I also know how fast money can disappear and how many can lose everything with a major sickness or injury.)

Okay, I’m off my soap box. We are just home from golfing with Mike and Steph. Finally a sunny day. Busy week ahead.

Peace everyone