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Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my mother's passing.  A morning text from my youngest sister reminded me of that early morning.  Mom's health had been a dramatic decline in the four months since the last of her siblings, her baby sister, died.  Mom had lost the sight in her right eye on Thanksgiving night.  "I woke up and could not see the clock till I turned my head, it said 2:37."  She knew that was the exact time she lost her sight.  Within 3 weeks Mom fell and broke her right wrist.  By late December Mom was showing signs of losing touch with reality.  She began throwing food in the cafeteria and yelling at the staff.

Mom's legs began swelling.  Daily wound care bandages were being applied.  On January 14th or 15th her right leg split open.  She was transported to a hospital. She was diagnosed with a major UTI and admitted.  Later the doctors further diagnosed her with delirium thought to be a result of the multiple traumas in such a short time.  Mom would talk continually over the next few days.  She regularly finished her bizarre stories with "dot com" or "ATT, ATT".  Sister spent the days with Mom, I took the night shift.  A series of injections were administered attempting to 'reset' her brain.  The room had to be dark with no TV for at least 24 hours.  After the 24 hours Mom seem to be greatly improved.  Not as agitated and would sleep quietly instead of constant mumbling.

Sister #4 had been researching full nursing homes for a few weeks.  It was obvious after the fall causing the broken wrist she needed full care.  Now that search had to be completed as there was no way Mom could reture to the assisted living situation.  The care facility had to be a home that would accept Medicaid for payment as Mom's funds were depleted.   We sisters kept a fund going so Mom could have what she needed.  But $5,000 a month would not be possible for any of us.  By the 25th a contract was signed.  In the evening of the 26th an ambulance transferred Mom to Hollymeade Skilled Nursing Facility.  She seemed okay but not as good as before leaving the hospital.  A consult with the staff yielded a plan.  Sis and I would go to her home and rest.  The last two months had been a beat down for all of us.  Mom would receive meds for sedation so she would rest, too.

On the 27th Sis and I would go visit Mom for a while.  Next we would gather items Mom would need in her new 'home'.  After two weeks in a hospital room Sis and I needed a little time just to breath.  We arrive at the nursing home to find Mom mad as a hornet.  Her breakfast tray with most of her breakfast was thrown onto the floor.  Attendants said they heard her yell for them to take the tray.  They asked if she could wait a minute.  Within a minute they heard it hit the floor.  Brand new room, brand new carpet stained with orange juice, coffee and covered with scrambled eggs.

Sis and I were crestfallen.  Working so hard to have a nice place for Mom.  Then this.  And Mom was becoming confused and delusional again.  She saw something hiding in the ceiling that frightened her.  It was the vent for the heating and cooling unit.  Around lunch time Sis and I left to get our lunch.  We thought maybe some time alone might help Mom.  We, also, took the time to get some cloths and other things from Mom's old place.  Stuff like the basket she kept next to her chair holding nail files, Carmex, pencils, you know her 'stuff'.

Returning we put all the stuff away and attempted to get Mom to eat her dinner.  The meat was ground hamburger.  Little pieces that could be chewed and swallowed easily.  Mom emphatically said she did not want it.  I said,  "Now, Mom, I know you want to live so you have to eat."  Her response was to spit the food across the sheets of the bed.  She at some point during the following hours told me she was going to get up and walk out of the place in the morning.

Sis and I went out for a bite of dinner and a stiff drink.  Since we each had a car, I decided I wanted to spend the night with Mom to see if that might help her settle in a little better.  The preceding days, weeks, months that had stretched into years of caring for our parents then our Mom had finally hit my sister.  She could not even face going back in just to say goodnight again. 

The night was long and only fitful sleep for Mom.  Mom was in pain especially in her right torso area.  It seemed the meds did not do much to help.  I attempted to rest in the recliner next to her bed that night.  She and I would hold hands.  Up and down with nursing staff checking her.  Changing the coverings on the big bed sore on Mom's back.  My mind still hears her voice calling me to make them stop.  Once they could not find a pulse or register blood pressure.  They decided the device was faulty.  Mom begged for something to make the pain stop.  I asked if she wanted to call and ambulance and return to the hospital.  Or wait for the doctor to make rounds in the morning.  She decided to wait.

Around 7 in the morning I stepped out of Mom's room at the brand new nursing facility.  Nature was calling as well as my back needing to be stretched.  I returned to get my tablet to check emails and grab a cup of coffee.  Mom had insisted on having her false teeth in during the night.  They had rattled with each breath she took.  They were still rattling.  Returning to the coffee area I sat for just a few minutes reading what I could.  Frustrated with the slow loading of the emails, I returned to Mom's room.  As I approached the bed, I could tell something had changed.  The rattling had stopped.  There were particles of food on her face and puddled on the bed.

Walking out to the nurse's station I said I needed them to check my Mom.  I noted it appeared she had died.  A quick check confirmed my observation.  They were sorry for my loss.  I was sad but knew Mom was no longer in pain.  I then began the task of calling my sisters.  Sister #1 answered immediately.  She said as soon as she saw who was calling she just knew.  She would come immediately.  She lived an hour and a half away.  Next was Sister #2 who lived in Oklahoma.  Her husband answered.  Mildly surprised as they thought she was improving.  I answered, "So did we." He said he would tell Sister # 2.

Next on the list was my youngest sister.  The sister that had cared for Mom and Dad over the last 15+ years.  The one the did the bulk of care taking.  She dealt with everything from doctor appointments to termite damage at Mom and Dad's place.  I dialed the number and thankfully, again, a BIL answered.  I told him Mom was gone.  He broke down crying.  He, too, volunteered to wake Sister #4 to break the news.  Finally I called my husband who was 200 miles away at our home in Round Rock.  His sweet voice wrapped me in comfort.

Once I hung up from the calls, I cleaned Mom's face and the sheet.  Youngest sister and her husband arrived within minutes living only about 5 miles off the same road at Hollymead.  Sister was sobbing.  I could barely shed a tear.  The staff asked if it would be okay for them to clean Mom.  We left the room and returned to find Mom in clean linens and covered to her neck.  I touched the area she said was hurting during the night.  It was already hard as a rock.  I'll always wonder what was causing the pain.

Word had quickly spread to the grandkids that lived in the area.  They filled the room.  Mom had protected all these people.  Several of the grandkids lived with her and Daddy for months and a couple of years at a time.  Mom had cared for them following surgeries.  A part of their hearts were ripped from them that morning.  The morning Mom woke up to a new level of existence and walked out of Hollymead Skilled Nursing Center.

Monday, January 28, 2019

January 28, 2019

Funk.  That is the best description of my attitude for the last few months.  Between strained tendons and ligaments late last summer halted my walks.  With no way to walk away the election noise put me in a place where there was no desire to write or do much more than just stare at computer jigsaw puzzles.  The holidays were a nice distraction but then the ridiculous government shut down.  The shutdown is still not really resolved, only kicked down the calendar for 3 weeks.  So there it is, the funk.  Staring back me from every mirror.

My best camera is not working properly so it has been taken in for estimates for repair.  Wednesday my eyes will be checked so I can hopefully get glasses to be seeing better soon.  In the meantime I have decided to jump start my attitude.  Getting the bird feeders up and going hopefully will bring some activity to the patio.   I have started carrying an older camera with me on my walks.  I post the photos to facebook mainly for my sister who is recuperating from knee replacement.  The photo at the top of the post is this evening's sky.  It was taken from the 5th floor of the parking garage where I walk.  And that is SOC.

A long time friend called today.  She spoke of traveling to Tennessee to an International Silk Painting convention.  She has joined a chapter of that organization in Topeka, Kansas.  A couple of weeks ago she made the trip from Springfield, MO, to Topeka.  That is about 225 mi. (355 km).  It was her first trip that far alone with her doing the driving . . ever.  She is 70.  I cannot even imagine that.  I made numerous trips of 400 miles by myself over the years.  I flew to different places for work back in the day.  By myself.  My friend has, however, developed her artistic skills to the point that she can sell her work.  She paints in all sorts of mediums.  She weaves, spins her own yarn and sews.  She does melted glass objects as well as pottery.  All with severe fibromyalgia. 

We shared what had been happening in our lives.  She had been in California to visit family.  While there she and her BIL who is a private detective found one of her high school friends.   She said she never  thought she would live to be 70.  Her dad died of heart problems at a young age.  Her mom, like wise, died in her late 60's from heart problems.  Once Jo, my friend, hit 70 she decided she would start living each day to the fullest.  "After all, Grandma Moses was 70 when she started painting." 

When I shared I had become more turned inward she let me have it.  "Get out and start living.  You are not that person to stay home all the time."  Easy for her to say.  Her meds have all been increased so she is feeling no pain.  LOL

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January 23, 2019

For several years I enjoyed participating several photography memes: Wild bird Wednesday, I Heart Macro, Macro Monday 2, Thursday Challenge, Friday Fences, Bird D'pot, Skywatch.  Hubby even bought me an upgraded camera to use.  While I was doing some journaling about current events, stuff that I wanted to tell and about every day happenings I never really considered myself a writer.  And I still do not. I wrote in answer to challenges on The Spin Cycle.  Was introduced to and participated in Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.  All sorts of creative juices flowed.  Then life happened.  Not necessarily just to me but, also, to the folks hosting the memes.

The Spin Cycle slowly quit spinning.  Friday Fences locked its gates.  Thursday Photo Challenge grew tired of thinking up new challenges.  I Heart Macro leader became more ill.  Folks I enjoyed following quit using the platforms I used.  Now they have moved to instagram, Twitter, Flicker and other things I do not use.  I use my phone for a phone and text.  It will not hold apps for all those other things.

You see less of me all the time.  My muses are no longer in this part of the world and I cannot afford to go looking for them.  The good camera is not even working properly these days.  I sit in my apartment cocoon waiting for my muses to come home.  To fill me with the eye for beauty in words and pictures.  In the meantime I will continue to read and comment on the things I can.  As long as you are on a platform to which I have access.  And, yes, I have a twitter and Instagram account.  But the laptop is too heavy to carry around for the instant photo sharing.

Peace and love,

Thursday, January 3, 2019

January 3, 2019

Well, hope you had a great holiday season.  Ours still has one more gathering then I may put the 24 inch (.6 M) fake tree away for another year.  I shall not bore you with the litany of trips, gifts and events over the last few weeks.  Let's just say that a lot of food was involved and maybe 3/4 of a stone is now added to my mid section.  Or there abouts.

I did complete the French bulletin board to replace our mirror that was broken in November.  When I by habit look at myself to make sure everything in tucked in place I see this:

Those are family and friends.  I have added more as they have arrived by snail mail.  It is wonderful to see the faces of all these folks that have been part of our various phases of life.  These are just the photos.  There were probably 75 or 80 cards as well.  I do love that part of the holidays, catching up with friends.

Changing directions entirely I read where a person was on their death bed.  That is not something one hears usually.  A person is on hospice or palliative care but never 'death bed'.  Or at 'death's door'.  I do still hear 'they haven't much longer.  Or time is short.  Are we being more precise in the care a person is receiving or just not sounding as final?

Needless to say this has me thinking about other expressions that have gone by the wayside of common usage. 

  • Smart as a whip.  How is being as intelligent as a whip possible?  Is there a whip school I did not attend or even know about in our area?
  • Slow as molasses. "In January" would be added to emphasis an even slower pace.  I would assume that the reduced use of molasses may have led to the infrequent use of this term.  However, one of the grands favorite treats are sorghum chewies.      
  • Cute as a bug.  Okay, which bug?  Ticks, flies, mosquitoes, wasps, hornets are not especially cute to me.  Maybe a lady buy or dragon fly.  Not ants.
  • Here is a list of some I never heard used.  Will not add to this list.
  • Corporal punishment indicators.  
    • A trip to the woodshed.  Not as many woodsheds to go to for a whoopin'.
    • Slap you into the middle of next week.  Usually used on a "smart mouth".
    • Slap you bug huntin'.  Similar to being slapped into the future but apparently looking for a cute bug.
    • Take a strap to your backside.  The strap was a leather sharpening device for single blade razors.
  • I'll swan.  To be slightly amazed or surprised.  "Well, I'll swan" = more amazed or surprised.  A very versatile expression as one would us when hearing possibly sad news like a person in the hospital.  I heard my Mom say it when someone unexpectedly came to visit.
  • Good Sakes.  A favorite for my Grandma Rogers.  Usually expressing exasperation.
  • For Goodness sake, a form of the above good sakes.  It was a more positive reaction like to an unexpected gift.
Times change, expressions change as contexts of life change.  After all the buggy whip makers showed they were smart as whips if they retooled to make maybe seat covers out of leather instead of whips.  Or maybe belts to run engines.  Let us do remember that there are still folks that use whips so there still are whip makers.  Will wonders never cease?