Friday, September 08, 2017

Each Day

So many times I've wanted to post my thoughts and happenings, but things have still been busy.  The day after we buried Mom, Toby's mom had to be put in the hospital. It was a simple UTI, but with older people that can become complicated. Infection, dehydration, meds, all effect the body as well as the brain. Things go downhill fast. A person can seem okay, until they see a coyote hiding in the corner behind the ornamental plant. Then maybe they think that someone is trying to poison them, so they quit drinking water or eating. Anyway, to make a long story short. We put Toby's mom in a nursing home a week ago. We cleaned out and moved everything from her little apartment. She is doing well in the nursing home so far. They are doing lots of therapy with her. But she is still a very frail 87 year old.

I've been dealing with insurances and lawyers. I tell ya, it's enough to make a preacher cuss! Not really, but close. I'm really doing fine with it, but it is not my thing. Today I spoke with my great-uncle-by-marriage. He sold my parents life insurance policies back in the 80's. For some reason Mom quit paying on hers several years ago. I had called Uncle Joe to find out what he knew. He told me that he had gone to Mom's house and talked to her about the policy. He had been trying to help, but she had been ugly (for lack of better words) telling him that she didn't need his help.  So, he left, and the policy was dropped. I explained to Uncle Joe that it was the dementia that caused Mom to be ugly, that she was combative with me and anyone whom she thought was telling her what to do. He said that she seemed "okay" to him. Of course, Uncle Joe has always been the out-law in-law, so maybe he thought Mom's being rude was normal. But there it is. After years of being friends with Joe, she was ugly. And that is dementia. It is not just someone doing goofy things or saying odd things, it is someone's personality changing. Consider that when dealing with people.

Emotionally, I'm doing okay, too. Maybe not as good as I did after Dad died, but okay. After Dad died, I felt an immediate relief. I was very close to my dad and I still miss him terribly, but with Mom, I'm feeling very lost now and then. Taking care of Dad and his cancer for the last four years of his life was so very easy. It hurt to watch Dad go downhill, but there was not the constant worry. Dealing with Mom has been emotionally difficult for a so long. I would have thought I would feel the same relief that I felt with Dad, but I have not. Maybe it's because I am still dealing with her estate and dealing with Toby's mom, etc. Or maybe it is that both parents are gone now. Maybe I am grieving for both of them together. Maybe it is hormones.

I have had great comfort in friends and family. All will be well. I'm going to start my little girls art class soon. Hopefully things will get back to normal. Each day gEachets better.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In a Moment

There is a moment between sleep and awake – between peaceful dreaming and awakened reality. Mostly, we miss this moment and go straight from asleep to awake without noticing. But sometimes there is such a difference in our feelings of peaceful sleeping and awake worries that the moment stands out.

Monday two weeks ago, I went to WF to see Mom and run some errands. I got her up to have lunch and visit. She was not great, but not bad either. She was not participating in the House of Hope activities as she had been. She was staying in her room more and more and sleeping more. She was not eating well and sometimes complaining that she hurt. That same Monday her doctor called me. He felt like something was seriously wrong with Mom, but he did not know what. Cancer came to mind, but how seriously did we want to look for the problem? What did we want to put Mom through when she already had a terminal illness. The doctor and I discussed Mom’s unhappiness and dementia. I did not want to put Mom through tests and such. I did not want her to have to go through treatments of some sort. I did want Mom to be comfortable and as happy as she could be. He agreed and said we should think about initiating hospice – not as an end to things, but as another layer of comfort that they could provide. The doctor said that I didn’t need to make the decision right then, but think about it and discuss it with my siblings. I was at peace.

When I called my brothers and told them of the discussion, they were not picking up what I was laying down.  They seemed to think that we did need to look for what was wrong with Mom. It actually stressed me more than the thought of hospice. But I knew I needed to give them time to think on it. Mom was changing so much and not for the better. I don’t think they were thinking of her deterioration or how intrusive and upsetting doctors and medical tests would be. So I did not push the issue.

On Friday of that same week, the nurses from HOH called to say we needed to make a decision on hospice. Mom was really not doing well. My brother went by to see her and the light-bulb over his head came on. The next day, last Saturday we met with hospice and started her extra layer of care. I knew it was a good decision, yet it was serious. Mom was not responding much to us – just laying in bed sleeping. That next morning I awoke early from a peaceful dream and good rest. Then in a single moment my mind shifted to “you put your mom in hospice” and the cares of this world came flooding in. Such a downer!

Mom had been so bad on Saturday that I decided to try and stay with her as much as possible – be there for her if and when she passed. I got to the HOH early Monday morning and stayed all day and then all day Tuesday. She seemed better. Maybe the antibiotics and pain meds were helping her to get over her pneumonia and the pain of whatever was wrong. We had two good days. Because I had several appointments and errands back in OK, I left her on Wednesday.

On Friday morning I went back to HOH.  Mom was not responsive. No more talking. No more eye contact. Around noon the hospice nurse sat down with Pete and me to say that Mom was dying – that time was short. If anyone wanted to come say good-bye, they needed to do it. My older brother had been there the Saturday before with his daughter, and he was due back with his son. My little brother called his sons, and they came in Friday night. So we all met at Mom’s Friday night. Although Mom seemed to be sleeping, she did respond somewhat to the nurses when they asked her to roll over or something. She seemed to be hearing us even if she was not communicating.

I spent the night with Jesse and woke up early Saturday morning – just yesterday. I decided to get on over to Mom’s and spend some quiet time with her before the gang showed up. I sat with her, drank my coffee, crocheted, talked, and prayed. It was a nice time. When my brothers and their sons got there around 8:30, Mom was having trouble breathing due to congestion in her chest. We called the nurse who gave her a dose of morphine and was about to administer a breathing treatment. My brother, Craig, and his son and I were sitting close to Mom – talking to her, soothing her, waiting on the nurse. I knew Mom did not have the strength to fight the congestion. I was praying for peace and mercy. Mom did get peaceful. She was looking at Craig and Adam who were talking to her - telling her they loved her. Then she closed her eyes and her breathing got quiet. The nurse came in with the breathing treatment, but I said, “I think we are in trouble here.” The nurse checked her pulse and heart. I noticed the nurse was trembling and looking like she might cry. Mom was gone.

It was sad, but I was glad my broth and nephew were there with me. Adam did a great job. I was so proud of him. Then the whole day changed. Decisions and arrangements had to be made. It was the longest day of my life. I drove home last night, but will go back on Monday for the visitation that night and funeral on Tuesday at 10 AM. I was so tired, I hit the bed and fell asleep. This morning I awoke early. There was that moment when I was thinking, “Maybe we could try this for Mom…” and then that reality of, “Oh wait, she is gone.”  Reality sets in and dreams disappear.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

My Old Man Dog

Almost 15 years ago when we lost our second rat terrier, I was heart broken. So we went in search of a new Rat. We looked in the newspaper and found a couple of Rats listed. Since we were headed to the city for some event, we decided to check out the Rats on the way. The first stop was at a gas station where we met the guy selling the Rat. He rolled down his window and held out a little puppy. It was cute - as all puppies were, but he had an "apple" head. He was not the Rat for us. Then we drove over to Shawnee and met an older man at the Braums. He was driving a flatbed Toyota truck and had a pet taxi sitting on the bed. He then opened the pet taxi and out ran a Rat puppy. He was gangly and wild. He had poop on his leg from being in the pet taxi. He was so excited to be out, that he was jumping and running all around. The old man said, "Don't let him fall, he'll get a hernia." A hernia!? What a funny thing to say. Jesse laughed out loud. This Rat had puppy belly - where his belly was a bit large compared to his long legs. He was cavorting around the flatbed with us trying to keep him from falling. This time the old man said, "Look at that confirmation!" We all thought, "What confirmation?" The old man told us he would knock off the price and would sell the Rat for a discount. We said okay, and took him home with us.

We named him Ranger for the popular Lord of the Ring movies that were out at that time. Ranger became an instant part of our family. He had such a different personality than our second rat terrier, who had been a psycho dog. Ranger was sweet and easy to get along with. He learned fast and stayed close to us. We taught him tricks. He was a creature of habit liking things to stay the same. So we had certain routines every day. If you did not give him a dog biscuit first thing each morning, he let you know. He did everything with us until he got a bit too old to travel in the car without getting anxious. He was great with the grandkids or anyone's kids. When looking back through my blog, there is not many photos from around the farm or house that does not have Ranger in them. Everyone loved Ranger. So many memories!

The last year he had gotten much slower and frailer. He didn't really like going for walks with us, although he did. Every month or so, I took him to the vet to have  his toenails clipped and other hygiene things done. It was always a bit traumatic for him, but necessary. He had a large growth on his leg, which the vet called a tumor. He had other lumps and bumps that were probably tumors too, but nothing to be done about them. We were getting up with him a couple of times each night to put him outside. He had had a few accidents in the house. It was all part of getting older. We knew our time with him was short.

On Thursday, he started having more problems getting around. He seemed extra swollen and the tumor on his leg filled with fluid and was full and hard - like it could burst.  That night was rough. He had trouble breathing and moving, although he was restless. Friday I was supposed to go to OKC with Jesse to some art museums, but I had to cancel that. Instead, I took Ranger to the vet. Our usual vet was out of town. This bothered me greatly, because I trust her to make good decisions and help me out with my animals. I ended up taking Ranger to a different vet, but a good one. This vet had sewn up his ear years ago when Ranger had split his ear on a barbed wire fence. The vet had done a great job. He examined Ranger and said it was probably cancer in his lungs or possibly congestive heart failure. Either way, Ranger was old and it was hard on him. I had to make a decision -  to try and doctor on Ranger, which would have been hard on him, or put him down. I called Toby. I cried. Toby came to the rescue. We made the decision and said our goodbyes. The vet people took good care of Ranger and us.

I have been pretty weepy the last few days, but I know it was for the best. I miss Ranger in the little ways - the everyday routines we had. I don't think there will ever be another dog quite like him. He was the best. This is the photo I took of him in his last little bit of time. You can see that he was tired and sick. My old man dog.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Neck Zit

Sometimes I don't realize how stressed I am until my neck breaks out in a big zit. At my age!

I was feeling pretty excited about taking Mom to the doctor to find out what the lumps were on her chest. I wanted/needed to know. I did not think I was stressed. Mom's doctor at HOH seemed to want to know too - that is why he set us up with a doctor that he thought would know more. The bottom line: the specialist did not really know more. And maybe the whole doctor visit was more stressful than I thought it would be.

The specialist said she could rule out cancer, but she did not know what or why Mom had large lumps on her chest. She said it could be a hematoma, but there was nothing we could or should do, and it would likely heal on its own.  Like everyone else, she asked if Mom had ever had implants or injections. Mom and I both insisted that was a no. Mom insists the lumps were caused from a fall several months ago, but her story is iffy. I am sure Mom and I looked like Abbott and Costello with Mom telling a crazy story and me trying to explain that not everything Mom says is accurate.

The problem is that Mom has fallen quite a lot. She has always jumped up and said she was fine. She has not shown me any bruising from any falls in the last several months. Of course, she is mad at me all the time and doesn't want to tell me things - it is her way of showing me that she can handle things herself. Her story now is that she fell near her room back at Royal Estates - people saw her fall and someone must have called the nurse, but Mom had already jumped up and gone to her room before the nurse arrived. So why didn't the nurse or someone tell me or my brother? Fear of being sued? So it would seem that this fall was not all that serious - certainly nothing that would cause a hematoma in Mom's chest. So, did she fall at some other time? Possibly! We may never know.

Maybe part of the stress was because we arrived at the doctor's office thirty minutes early as requested by the nurse - to fill out paperwork - and I do mean lots of paperwork. We were there at 1:30 for our 2:00 appointment. We did not see the doctor until almost 4:00. Mom did fairly well - at least she did not scratch a hole in her face or get really ugly with me. Once in the room, I felt like the doctor was short and impatient with us (although keep in mind the Abbott - Costello thing). I thought the doc was rough and impersonal. Add that to the fact that she did not really offer any new info.  And I have a big neck zit today.

When I got home at 6PM and ate a little supper, I did a very quick watercolor - keeping up my watercolor-a-day in July. It may be my best watercolor of the month.


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Really Long Weekend

My weekend started last Thursday.  I got up early before it got too hot and loaded up the truck with junk from the barn to haul over to a garage sale at Jesse's. Not too long after I finished loading stuff, my friend, Jay, who used to have a blog called the Extended Table, came and cleaned my carpets. He did a fantastic job and made my house smell much better than it had been smelling in this summer heat. It was only slightly toxic. Next, I packed my stuff for several days and headed to WF. I had several errands to run when I arrived there - things like getting Mom's hearing aids fixed, depositing her checks, etcs. I got to Jesse's in the late afternoon to wait on my sister to arrive from Amarillo and help out with the garage sale - Yay! The plan was to sell as much of Mom's stuff (with some of my stuff thrown in) as we could and donate the rest to some charity place.

After my sister arrived, we went to Fuzzy's Tacos for supper.  My sister had already eaten, but she had a beer and visited with Jesse and me while we ate our tacos. Next we went by the grocery store to get supplies for the garage sale, and then waited on my SIL to join us. We made a plan of attack for the garage sale and set it in motion. Keep in mind that it was around 8 PM by the time we really got going. We drove to downtown WF to get a key to a storage unit. Then drove across town to the unit. We laughed and giggled as we drove around and around in the storage unit place trying to find the right storage unit and then make the key work. Finally we got in the unit, which was packed with Mom's stuff and my brother's stuff. We loaded the truck up. There was much laughter and silliness at this point. Women carrying and loading furniture can be funny. Getting back out of the storage unit place was comical too. Did I mention that it was still pretty warm in the late evening? It was a good thing we started so late, or we would have melted in the heat. When we got back to Jesse's we needed showers and refreshments.  I had a grapefruit beer of some sort, which my sister had bought. It was interesting. There was more laughing and visiting before we went to bed. We needed to be up and at 'em early.

Friday morning we were out working on setting up our garage sale by 7 AM. People started arriving soon after. We were not ready for them. Our plan and advertising said 8 AM, but they kept coming! At one point, people were like ants all over Jesse's garage, saying, "How much do you want for this?" and flashing stuff at us. It was crazy hectic. Then the Otto (my dad) came out in me. Using my teacher voice I said, "Not everything in the garage is for sale. We are not ready yet. Get out of the garage now." I was not ugly, but I was firm and serious. Everyone moved out of the garage (a couple left entirely, which was fine by me), and we were able to get our boxes out and put up a barrier so people would not go into Jesse's garage and go through her stuff. The garage sale did not slow down until close to noon. By then I was hot and tired and hungry.

My SIL volunteered to get lunch, but we had to decide on what we wanted - always difficult for several women to decide on. I said I wanted Whataburger with a large iced tea. My sister said she was hot and thought a taco sounded good and light - maybe Casa Manana.  Are you kidding me! I used my sister voice this time, "I'm not eating no stinking taco. If you wanted a taco, you should have eaten one last night!"  I was actually kind of horrified that that came out of my mouth, and I had pulled rank on my sister. But geeze Louise! Fortunately everyone else hated Casa Manana as much as I do and no one else wanted tacos (again).  I got my Whataburger. After we ate our burgers, Jesse said, "That was so good, I feel kind of drunk." That girl always makes me laugh, but I knew what she meant.

We worked hard at the garage sale until 5 PM. It was a long hot day. You wouldn't believe what kind of weirdos show up at garage sales.  After showers, we went to eat with old friends who happened to be in town. That was a real treat! Later at home, we did a little watercolor, since I am doing the World Watercolor Month - a painting a day.  Then we started over on Saturday. With temps in the 100 + range, we shut the sale down around 1 PM on Saturday, took everything leftover to Faith Ministries and called it good. Toby went to see his Mom and I packed up the truck.

As it turned out, Toby's mom was having some serious health issues and they took her to the hospital. I did the usual Saturday Sam's run on my own, and then went to check on my mom. Seeing her in the late afternoon is not always good - she is tired and grumpy and non-responsive. But she did set up and showed me where she supposedly fell. She is not capable of really telling us what and when this happened. She had two golf ball sized knots on her chest. Good grief! How did we miss that?! I showed the nurse, who said she would tell the doctor when he came by on Sunday. She did not get the message to the doctor on Sunday. The doc is supposed to be back by today. Hopefully he will get the message to see Mom today. It has me concerned.

I got home around 7 PM on Saturday evening. Toby was still with his mom at the hospital.  When I walked into the house, it felt really hot - as if Toby and set the air conditioner up. I cranked it down and took a shower, since sweat was pouring off of me. When I got out of the shower, it was still very hot - not cooling at all! Finally I called Toby and got instructions on flipping the breaker for the air conditioner. It was 83 in the house at 8 PM. I was hot. Then my older brother called. He was on the road from NM to WF and accidentally stayed on I - 40 on into OK. So he decided to come to Duncan and spend the night with us. Due to a malfunction of his GPS, he did not arrive until 10 PM. Toby had arrived home around 9 PM. It was a late night, and we still had Sunday to go.

Sunday found us headed to see Toby's mom in the hospital after we got my brother off to Austin. Of course we packed up furniture and stuff to send home with him for his daughter. Yay! We got rid of more stuff!. We spent the day at the hospital. Toby's mom is better and is being taken care of, but she is old and tired. I'm feeling a bit old and tired myself. It was a really long weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Dreaming of the River View

Why do we dream the things we dream? The other night I dreamed I was working in a cafe that was just opening. It was hectic because it was new and no one really knew what to do and where things were. I was trying to pass out menus to people and get their orders. Every time I looked around more people were seated in the cafe. Someone asked me for walnut bread, but they wanted it to be freshly made and heated up. The cook had some, but it was frozen and not fresh, so I did not serve it. Almost as quickly as the cafe filled it up and was busy, it was suddenly empty - we had made it through our first rush.  It seemed like a fairly simple anxiety dream, but not too anxious. What made me wonder about it was the cafe. Although I have waitressed at lots of restaurants and even owned my own cafe, I dreamed about the River View Cafe where I worked as a young kid.

We lived across the street from the RV at the Green Mountain Lodge. Our friends the Emorys owned the cafe and often needed help - like bussing tables or dishwashing when I was younger.  I was ten when I started bussing tables - just barely able to reach across the table, load up a tub full of dishes, and carry it to the dishwasher. Then when I was about 14, I started waitressing. Maybe I was twelve.  Edna Emory was the cook/owner. She was a big Indian woman from OK with a temper like you wouldn't believe. She taught me what to do as a waitress and sent me out to my first table. It was a table of about 8 tourist. I started at one end and worked my way around - just like Edna had said to do. When I handed her the ticket, she said, "I sent you out to take an order and you wrote me a book!" She was teasing, of course. I waitressed for Edna for several years. I can still remember standing behind the counter serving her apple pie, or taking orders when the food trucks had not been to town and we were out of everything. I can remember waiting on specific people like the Mutz family who always came in large groups and had been drinking - lots. They were a fun group, but a bit demanding and intimidating. I remember waiting on a group of jeep drivers (young handsome guys who drove jeep tours in RR). Once, as they were finishing their meal, I asked if I could "take anything off" meaning clear their table of unnecessary plates. Of course being the smarties that they were, one of them reached up and pulled on my shirt sleeve and said, "Sure, start with this." I was mortified.  I remember waiting on Steve Smith one Christmas vacation. He was up skiing with a friend. He told me that he was coming back in the summer to drive jeeps. I didn't believe him, because he was not all that handsome or what I thought a jeep driver should be. He did come back and we became great friends and he was an excellent jeep driver. I never thought he was handsome, though.

I also have memories of Edna and Jack fighting - with each other or with employees. It eventually made me move on to work somewhere else - like the Highlander for Ray and Lottie Tweed. Lottie was the best at training waitresses. Working of her was great. Working for her husband, Ray, was iffy. Sometimes he was silly and teasing. Sometimes he was harsh. And so I moved on to Texas Red's. Reds was the best - lots of fun people to work with and lots of great memories. It was very organized, good food, and good tips.

Working at these places taught me lots, and I used that knowledge to open my own cafe. I have millions of memories of working as a waitress. So why do I dream about the RV?