Friday, April 22, 2016

Weddings, Hotels, and Hospitals

Here's my story. It's sad but true...

Last weekend we went to a big fancy-smanshi wedding in Dallas. Toby and I left OK and headed to Big D on Saturday morning stopping in Muenster, TX, to buy some summer sausage and cheese along with a bottle of wine. Muenster is always fun. We hit the West End a little after lunch and found our hotel, the Dallas Victory.  Since it was not check-in time, we did some walking around the shops and had a salad at an outside table - such a nice day.  We made our way to some breweries and checked out the beer. One place had a little art show, too. When we left that place, Toby said, "Sorry, that beer was not very good." I added that the art was not good either. Ha!

Long about 3 PM, Jes and Lindz texted that they were coming into Dallas. We met them back at the hotel since it was now past check-in time.  At the hotel, they tried to give us a King room. Can't you just see all four of us sleeping in one bed. They were very nice and switched us to two queens, but the room was not ready yet and we would have to wait. They gave us two complimentary drinks. While waiting in the bar the cousins and relatives started pouring in for the wedding. Some were heading to the wedding already in order to do lots of photos.  I do love my cousins and had a great time seeing them. We eventually made it to our room where we proceeded to be silly with the pillows in the hotel room. Two queens:
We had to take turns getting dressed for the wedding, because the shower was part of the main room - separated only by a curtain. It was not really a bad thing, but a bit uncomfortable. I did think it was an odd design. I had some other problemas with the hotel, but won't rant here.

We eventually made it to the wedding ceremony on SMU campus. The chapel was picture perfect. Here is the Bride and her family. Here is my family After the ceremony we were taken by van to the Petroleum Club in some skyscraper in the Downtown area where we partied until after midnight. It was all super nice. We ate supper about 10 PM. Is that a Yankee thang? 'Cause these cousins live in NY and I just wondered.

Sunday morning we met up with the cousins for coffee. There were some overpowering perfumes in the room and I began to feel a bit nauseous. Toby and I snacked on the sausage and cheese we had bought in Muenster. Then we headed home. By this time, I was of no use. I put back my seat and closed my eyes hoping my headache would go away and queasy stomach would settle. It was pouring down rain. Driving on the freeway from Dallas to Denton in the pouring rain was no bueno. Toby, who was feeling fine, stopped for barbecue! Really? I ordered, but could not eat. I was ever so glad to see home Sunday afternoon. My stomach was still not right.

Monday morning I knew something was wrong. Either I had food poisoning (sausage and cheese) or a stomach virus. I called in sick. By Monday afternoon, I was in pain. I went to the doctor. He said I probably had a stomach virus and it was upsetting my gallbladder. If the pain continued, we should look into it. And he gave me something to "settle things."

Tuesday morning was not good. I was feeling so bad, that I texted the school secretary to say I was not coming in again. She did not reply, but I did not care. The principal called to see if I was coming in. "No. I'm sick." I think he might have been irritated with my text, which he said the secretary did not get. I still did not care.

By 9 AM, I called Toby and said the pain was bad. He said he would come and get me. In the meantime, I tried to call the doctor, but was put through to an answering machine. I left the message, "I am in pain, call me back." I never did get a call back. We went to the doctor's office, but it turns out they were shorthanded and had no one to see me. They sent us on to the emergency room. It was the best decision we made all day. Once there, they did a CAT scan and said that my appendix was inflamed and needed to come out. They hooked me up to an IV and gave me something for the pain.

At this point things seemed to slow down. No one seemed to be in a hurry or too worried, but kept saying that they would probably do the surgery that day... or not.  With the pain meds, I was much better, but not great. I kept thinking that it was a good thing this was not an emergency. Actually, I guess it all went pretty fast. At about 11 AM they told me the appendix needed to come out, and by 4 PM it was all over. I don't remember anything after 3 PM when Toby kissed me in the holding room until I got to my room an hour or so later.  I felt so much better. It turned out that what should have been pretty simple surgery got a little more complicated when the surgeon discovered that my appendix had ruptured. It also meant that they kept me an extra day in the hospital to fill me full of antibiotics.

The hospital took great care of me. But it was good to get  home yesterday. I ran a bit of fever the first night home, but I seem to be on the mend.  What a crazy time!

Monday, April 11, 2016

To Post or Not to Post

Although I have not been posting, I have been writing. I've been writing down my thoughts and memories of Mom's dementia from its beginnings. It is such a big thing in my life right now, but writing about it has been difficult. Oh, I want to write about it. I want to get it out like some rant building up inside me, but it sometimes seems too personal - maybe more personal for my mom. Maybe it would sound like I was not respectful of her and her privacy. In no way would I want to show disrespect or seem like I am sharing our dirty laundry.  Nor would I want to seem to make fun or laugh at Mom. The thing about dementia/Alzheimer is that it is a mental illness. People say and do things they would never do in their right minds. It is not just their memory loss that is the problem, although that is a big problem.  Their whole personality changes. They are often angry, frustrated, depressed, childish, etc. Things you have explained to them before are new to them every few days. We hash through the same problems over and over with my mom getting angry at us. She doesn't remember why she cannot drive any longer. She does not remember why we took over her banking. She doesn't understand why she needs assistance in living - can no longer live alone. It is not just memory loss, it is her thought process that does not always work. I don't want to make my mom seem awful or crazy or senile or any other words that someone might think if I wrote about this time in our lives.

Last year when I was on the campaign trail for our friend running for district judge, we went from door to door talking with people. One day a good friend of mine knocked on a door and  spent quite a bit of time talking with an elderly lady. My friend asked if he could put a campaign sign in her yard. Yes, she said that would be great. He went and got the sign out of his vehicle and began putting the little wire sign in the yard. The lady came back out of her house screaming and ranting for him to get out of her yard. He did so without saying a word. Although my friend understood what was going on, because his own mother suffers from dementia/Alzheimer's, it was a weird situation when it was going down. I am not sure another person would have understood what was happening. And we all think, "Wow, that lady was crazy!"

If you think that would have been a weird situation, try being in similar situations every time you are with your mom. It no longer feels like it is your mom. It feels like you are with a stranger. Sometimes I want to just talk to Mom like she is my mom and can reason and have a normal conversation. But we are getting to the point where those times are few and far between. It is tough on me and my brother.

So, I wonder if writing down our experiences would help someone else. If someone out there would not feel like the lone ranger, then maybe writing this would be good. I don't know for sure. I'm not sure I can post my feelings and experiences. But I may write them down just to make myself feel better.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Break 2016

Spring break has come and gone - forty-two more days of school. We are definitely on the downhill side.  Having the extra two days off was really nice. I think I can make it to the end of the year.

Over the break, I went to WF and got lots done for my mom - things that I had been putting off. I switched her house and car insurance since she rents her house out and does not drive anymore.  Anything having to do with insurance makes my eyes roll back in my head. I don't know why my brother did not take care of this - well, I did lose paper-rock-scissors. It took over an hour to get the insurance done, but I managed not to freak out. Then it was off to the DMV to get a title to her car, since we could not find her original title. The DMV lady was very easy to deal with and there were no long lines. My past experiences with NM and OK DMVs had made me fearful, but it was a breeze. Although, the DMV lady did tell me that I needed to have a notary to sign one particular form. When I got to the notary, there was no place or anything saying that a notary was needed. That was a little bit of a hassle. I also went to the bank for my mom. I had some questions about security on credit cards vs. debit cards. With Mom's dementia, I needed to know what was best in case she loses her card (again). After running these errands, I picked up Mom and took her to get her hearing aids fixed. She had lost a part of her new hearing aids, but we got new parts and all was better. Then we were off to the phone store to replace the cell phone that Mom lost. Are you noticing a pattern here? And of course there was the usual trip by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription.

After taking care of Mom's errands, I went over to Jesse's house. We kicked back and relaxed on her patio. Jesse fixed a nice supper and we rented a movie - Waking Ned Divine. I spent the night so that we could get up early and go to Ft. Worth. We visited the Amon Carter Museum, which had several nice exhibits. Our favorite was the Thomas Hart Benton exhibit. Then we walked down to the Modern Museum and had lunch outside on the patio - very nice. Next, we decided to see the Cowgirl Hall of Fame since the Kimbell Museum did not have any special exhibits. The Cowgirl's displays were fun, but not nearly as fun as the silly photo booth. They have a green-screen room where you can choose the background scene (Indians or bullriders or other western scenes) to have your picture made. In each photo that we did, Jesse was laughing hard

When we had had our fill of museums, we made our way to the Flying Saucer in downtown Ft. Worth to sit outside and have a beer.  It was a beautiful day. Our plan was to kick around the downtown area, but we decided to move on before the traffic got too bad. So we headed to Central Market grocery store where my eyes are always bigger than my pocket-book. It might not be such a good idea to drink a beer and get all easy-going before shopping. So we had some coffee. Then we started back to WF. It was a little late to travel on home, so I spent the night with Jes again. Before going home the next day, I visited Toby's mom and my mom again.

One day during the my break, I went to Lawton with some of my girl friends. Of course, we went to Hobby Lobby. I did not buy much, since I fell out of love with HL. My new favorite store is Michael's, and I had already been there while in Wichita Falls.  We also stopped by to see how Robin was doing. Her wing is healing nicely.

On the other days of my break, I was quite lazy. I did start a new painting, but really did not have much time to work on it. Today was back to business as usual. The kids were pretty much worn out. The quiet before the storm!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fall Painting

Today was one of the first days in a while that I had totally to myself. This morning I finished a book I was reading on my Kindle. Then I went to visit my friend Robin Egg, who fell and broke her arm last week. Hello Robin! She was all nested up in her recliner with her arm in a sling awaiting a cast next week. She had her gizmos in reach and her husband playing fetch and carry - she is a woman after my own heart. She was in remarkably good spirits and we had a nice visit.

I got home and had some lunch. Then I worked on a pastel painting that I started last fall. It was close to being finished, but it needed some tweaking (not to be confused with twerking).  After looking at it all winter, procrastinating, I tweaked it a bit. Here it is. It helps to post a pic of the painting. For some reason when I see it photographed, I can see things that might need some more tweaking.
It also helps to have my blog buddies critique. I have another painting I want to do. So who knows, maybe I will get in painting over spring break. If I do get one started, maybe it won't be next fall before it is done.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Birthday Year

Fifty-eight years ago on March 9, 1958, I was born on a Sunday night after Bonanza. Dad insisted that he finish watching his favorite cowboy TV show. So, that means I am the year I was born. And yes, I am a Sunday's Child. Truly blessed.

On Monday of this week when I went to school, I discovered that we were not having school on Thursday or Friday due to the girl's basketball team making the State tournament. Yay for basketball! So today, my birthday, is like a Friday. I can dig it!

Here is an old pic with my friend, Dawn, whose birthday was yesterday.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Alive

I am alive and well. I have written posts and then deleted them. Things seem dull right now and that may be a good thing.  We have been doing printmaking at school. It is not my forte, but it is fun. Some of the kids have enjoyed it and others have not. That is the usual.

I have a student who has been trying my pastels lately. I will take a photo of his work and share with you. He is quite talented.