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Showing posts from October, 2005

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic

Just been doing busy stuff the past day and a half. Did a bunch of cooking yesterday, mindless work to occupy time. I went to work today, because it made more sense to do something, rather than sit around.

Stepdad seemed a little disappointed that husband, kids and I weren't over there yesterday. I'm keeping sis away from him-since he's annoyed at her. My aunt brought him a ham. Heck, that would've been good. I think she thought we'd be there, too. Not a problem, I think I'll be over there a lot over the next few months to help out.

Youngest's husband shamed my brother-he'll be flying in tomorrow morning. Ironically enough, it's the same flight my stepsister had booked.

Husband and kids went with his mom and sister to do some house hunting. They found a few that were promising and a few that had septic. Realtor apparently did *not* hear them when they said sewer systems only. They're going out with the realtor in the morning. Crossing my fingers.

Tr…

In Memoriam

My mom, a class act, tough lady, and beautiful person, passed into eternal rest at 10am this morning. Her smile, infectious laugh and cheery "hello" will be missed.

Brain is shot-can't think straight. Wake is Tuesday, funeral Wednesday.

After the song is over...

The dance goes on, so dance away...
After all has been said and done, remember what has been given, not taken away.
Echolyn, "Never the Same"/As the World

That song has been running through my head all day. It's an excellent song (by an excellent group) about death.

Mom has hung on far longer than the Hospice nurses had expected. They said to my sister that they think she's been waiting for my stepdad to say it's okay to die, he'll be alright. He did finally tell her this afternoon. She's been comatose (yes, I can tell the difference now) and he thought she wouldn't hear a word he said. However, when I told her it was okay to die-she needed to give the family ghost hell for hiding food products, I got an involuntary close the mouth and sigh.

My stepdad also bought the funeral plots and picked the casket. It is amazing, he's relaxed and opened up so much after taking care of these things. I got a mini lecture (in a kind way) that my husband and I need …

Waiting...

The week has been a long, hard one. Mom is probably going to pass in the next 24 hours. Vitals are really weak, she's only had water since Monday afternoon. The hospice staff has been very good about helping us to understand what to expect. It must be rough for them to know that the majority of their patients will die while in their care.

Work has been very understanding about all that is happening, and I used all but two days of my remaining vacation time to spend time with Mom. I was being proactive and talked to my DM today about getting coverage for me next week-I wanted to call the stores that she felt could help and give them a heads up. She was surprised that I was even thinking that way.

The family dramas continue. I think I mentioned that my stepdad made the decision to have the funeral mass and burial here in Florida. It's a decision that I can understand and support. After all, Mom did say she wanted to be with him, where ever he was. He wants to be able to…

Long day

I spent twelve hours at work today. We have bigwigs visiting tomorrow, and I had requested the day off-so guilt won out and I offered to stay. Guilt is a big thing right now. Either I feel it for working, and not helping out my sister with Mom or I feel it for not being at work for a visit.

Mom's condition hasn't changed. Sis says her face lit up when she was told that stepdad had arrived. I'll head over in the morning, bearing new movies for sis to watch.

Getting the cell phone was a good idea. We were able to touch base a couple of times through the day.

Tuesday's update

I walked in today and found that my sister got a good night's sleep in the recliner in Mom's room. Mom had not been conscious since 10:30 last night, and as a result, had not had any food or drink. Finally got some water into her around 8pm, thanks to a nurse (thanks, Deanna) showing me how to get it to her with a straw and then syringe. Mom doesn't even have enough strength to sip from the straw.

My sis has been here with a dead cell phone. Her phone won't charge, so she'd been charging the battery in her husband's phone. Well, that's up in NY. Today, I was smart-I went to the cell phone provider and got a third phone. She can use it for now, and then I can pass it on to my husband's sister when they're all moved in. First order of business was changing it off that damn Nokia tune!

Speaking of which, they flew into MCO today for their two week stay at WDW. They're going house hunting closer to us than that, but wanted to have a nice base…

Storms and such

Wilma bothered Floridians to the south of us. The most she inflicted locally was some 50mph gusts, power outages, some tornados and some cooler weather. The hospital lost power last night about a half dozen times. By 10am, however, it just looked like a breezy fall day.

Around 11, Mom said "Take a Walk." Since she'd had several hallucinations, my sister asked who she was talking to. "I said, take a walk". Sis asked if she meant us, and again she told us to take a walk. So we went down to the hospital cafeteria and hung out down there for about 45 minutes. I made coffee in one of those industrial size pots, since I wasn't into drinking decaf. About 5 minutes later, I had a hard time not spewing a mouthful across the floor at my sister's regaling of a story. I will never hear the name Spongebob without it being followed by the thought of Ketchup pants. The weird things that stick with you.

We figured that Mom was tired of people being around and wanted to p…

Tricks the mind plays

Events from the past 24 hours...

My sisters:
Mom: "The lettuce is on fire!"
Sis: "Okay Mom, I'll put it out for you"

Mine:
Mom: "I need to take you girls shopping."
Me: "No, Mom, you've already bought us plenty...buy something for you"
Mom: "Oh, okay, if you're sure"

This is among quite a few other non sequitirs. I think the morphine is making her life pass before her eyes.

Friends and Tunes

So, my friend Joe has a Live365 channel. Has for quite some time. He's the guy who had a radio station broadcasting from his house when I was a teen. Joe has made a career of working in the radio industry.

I finally got around to going to his website and I'm enjoying listening to the tunes. If you're a fan of 80's/new wave, take a listen. http://www.joefm.com/listen.asp

Why didn't I think of doing this when I got the spiffy laptop back in February?

Gotta go, kid #2 is complaining that there's nothing fun to do. I gave a list of things he *could* do, he tells me he did two simultaneously (running with legos). Ventured into the cleaning room and taking a bath realm and was informed that those are NOT fun, Mom. :)

Suzanne

ARGGGGHHHHH!

I signed up to get gold membership from Classmates three months ago to reconnect with a couple of friends. It worked-back in touch with a very good friend from up north.

When I signed up, all the literature said three months, I paid for three months. I should have figured that somewhere, somehow, they'd do *something* to get me to stay in. I ignored their renewal things, I just wanted to get in contact with the one person. Mission accomplished, no need for gold membership anymore.

My online bank statement showed a 15.00 fee for Classmates yesterday. I went to their site and see that I was switched to automatic renewal-I never selected it. As recently as Monday, they sent me an email telling me it was time to renew-no mention that they'd do this automatically.

Soooooo, if you join Classmates, make sure you check that box and switch to manual renewal. The damage has been done to me, let it not happen to you.

BTW, they don't have any 'contact us' buttons, either!

How to be the Dalai Llama

Repeat with me now...

You can't change the past, you can only fix today and tomorrow.
When you wake up in the morning, you should ask yourself "what can I do right today?"
Don't ask yourself "What would Jesus Do?" ask yourself "What would MOM do?"

I swear I've spouted more common sense 101 in the past five days than in the last five years...

Wilma, go away. Let my Mom be!

Friggin doctors!

So, I left the hospital for a while, because to get my kids report cards, we had to go to parent-teacher conferences. (They both did extremely well, btw. Youngest got three awards)

The oncologist decided to take it upon himself to try to change my mom's mind about her DNR, Living Will and request to be transferred to the Hospice facility. He kept on and on about it was the wrong thing to do. Apparently, this caused mom to hallucinate that my sister was putting stuff in her IV to do her in.

I'd been told this oncology practice really doesn't like Hospice. You'd think that the way cancer progresses, that they'd work with them. Apparently not.

Sis got things calmed down, and told me to stay home, be with my family and get some rest. Tomorrow is going to be another busy day.

When you've got small cell lung cancer, that is not contained, tumors on the lungs, pulmonary embolisms, pneumonia, an intestinal blockage and nodes in the esophogus and you make the decision that …

Making plans, keeping comfort

Spent the night overnight at the hospital with my sister and Mom last night. The spells of conciousness are growing shorter and shorter, and Mom is sleeping far longer. She's gotten to the point where she really can't move without assistance, and getting two or three bites of a meal. My sister's really showing her calling-she's applied to nursing school and she's slept at Mom's bedside for two nights now.

Hospice came in today and we made our arrangements with them. Mom will be released from the hospital and into a hospice care facility. However, hurricane Wilma has forced Hospice to evacuate another facility in flood zone A to the facility Mom has been approved to go to, so the earliest they expect they'll be taking her is Monday. I'm the patient surrogate, so I had to sign a lot of papers. Mom was able to sign her own DNR and Living Will. It's the hardest thing anyone has to do, and Mom has handled this with grace and dignity.

Family drama …

Riding the waves

It has been a very emotional and exhausting two days.

When we got to the hospital yesterday morning, Mom was in horrible shape. One of the nurses got her up in a chair and she was in pain and looked so frail and confused. If you'd told me that she wouldn't make it through the day, I would have believed you. As the day went on, she improved and by 6pm, she was happy and chipper.

Today, we got there, and while she hadn't slipped as far back as where she was yesterday morning, she never perked up to the level she was at Monday night. She's fading in and out of consciousness more and is becoming less coherent. My sister and I made the decision that one of us will stay with her at all times, because she'll ring for a nurse and once they get there, forget why she called. My sister took the night shift, and I'll go back over as soon as I get the kids off to school and send her to get some rest.

The good news that we did receive today was that there is no tumor and …

From Bad to Worse

Here's the latest:

Clots in the lung, aorta and brain. Mom got a transfusion today, to help the severe anemia. Her doctor told my cousin to round up all the relatives from out of state that we can. My younger sister will be on a plane the first thing in the morning.

Now, to get my stepdad to understand that she has said many times that she didn't want extraordinary measures. She was saying that last night at the hospital, and stepdad scoffed at the remark and told her to stop talking like that. This is probably going to be the hardest thing I will do in my life.

We're pretty sure Mom wants to be cremated and buried with my grandparents, up in New York. The question is, will my stepdad go for that? How do I even begin that conversation with mom? I thought that we'd be having a rambling conversation over the next five days, because I would be sitting there with her in chemo. I also thought I'd be getting some of her reminiscing about her life this week-laptop …

Long day

It started WAY too early. In my tired state, I woke to the alarm buzzing at 5:50am, thought I'd set it wrong, and reset it for 6:50am. OOPS. I woke at 6:15 and realized that I needed to be out the door with the kids ready in 5 minutes.

Got to work on time, and it was busy today. Good deal because it makes my day go so much faster.

At 3:45, I get out and call my mom's for the daily check in. I'd called yesterday around 5ish, and got the machine. I figured they'd been out and didn't think much of it. Well, I should have-today's call got my stepdad on the phone with the news that Mom was in the hospital.

Her home health aide had come yesterday while stepdad was out running errands. Mom complained of tingling in her arms (as soon as he said that, I knew what it meant). The aide called the doctor's office, doctors office says "Hospital, ASAP" What does this mean, you ask? Blood clots. Now, those of you who know me well know I've had a round and a bou…

Don't mess around with Sue (with apologies to Jim Croce)

Here's the deal:
When we were moving here to Florida, the game plan was to rent a place, then build.

We found a builder we really liked, and then found that they were building a neighborhood in the general area we wanted. I must have really paid the karma bill, because we got the last lot in said development.

Okay, builder tells us 6 months from closing date to move in, so I found a house to rent. Paid first, last and security. I used a realty to do this, as I wanted a middleman.

Long story short: I'm still waiting for my security deposit back-from April! The don't mess around with me part-I have a lawyer, and we're going to court. I sent a letter to her w/copies of all my cancelled checks, lawyer sent her a letter, now lawyer sends *another* letter with a copy of the forms for small claims filing that we complete.

What could have been a simple pay back the tenant her security deposit will cost her triple because she's either denied I paid a security, told me I for…

Life isn't fair :)

Last night, I was tucking youngest child into bed. Husband and I had been enjoying a nightcap of Golden Tango Cream (think Bailey's, but much better). I give my son the usual hug and kiss goodnight. The conversation that transpires:

Son: "I smell something nice"
Me: "My hair? (I spray cologne in my hair)
Son: "No, something yummy"
Me: "Oh, I think it was my drink. This it?" (I breathe on him)
Son: "Yeah...Is that a kid drink or a big people drink?"
Me: "It's a big people drink"
Son: "NO FAIR!!!"

Then he asks if he can have some when he's in second grade. When I say no, he asks "Third grade?"

Gotta love kids!

Stalkers

Okay, so I frequent a (rather large) discussion board. I have a signature picture that I change to reflect the current antenna topper in my cars. Yes, I have an obsession with antenna toppers.

Someone else posted that their ex had sent an email (abusive relationship) and she asks for advice. Okay, fair enough.

One poster went so far as to say because I've posted the pictures of the toppers in my car, where (approximately) I live and what I do for a living, I'm probably ripe for being stalked. Mind you, I hadn't even replied to the thread in question.

Really scratching my head on that one...

Never a dull moment..the reader's digest condensed version!

We had an adventure Friday. The chain of events:

1. Ed calls me at 4pm-brakes aren't working. He's on the other side of the county, and won't get to the day care in time.

2. I call the manager scheduled for 6, and she graciously comes in early so I can go get the kids before day care closes at 6:30 (got there at 6:10)

3. Now, scramble to get the bag of quarters at home. My car is on E, and I didn't think I'd be going anywhere until after Ed got home with paycheck.

4. Then we take the hour to get to his job, he gave me the wrong intersection for his office, so I pass by and call him when I'm at the end of Ehrlich road. That part of the road I'm very familiar with, the mall I used to work at is two blocks away! "Didn't I tell you Turner Road?" Nope, Hunter Road-no such place.

5. Get him, and go to Circle K to cash his check, then to walmart for brake fluid. It takes a half hour at Circle K to get this done. Reason for doing this is that our …

Moms...gotta love them.

Back from Mom's. The parade of visitors annoyed the heck out of my stepdad, TFB. She had visits from a social worker, a nurse, the home health aide, a good friend and me. I was joking (as I was slathering shea butter on her feet) that today was a 'spa day'.

Mom is always picking up little gifts for people as she finds them-any occasion will do. In honor of my husband's return to the workforce, she got him a piggy bank that is a pig in leathers-with "Harley Fund" emblazoned on either side. This after getting him a Harley phone for Christmas, that she just had to give him a couple of months ago. It cracks me up that my mom is encouraging my husband to get a motorcycle.

UGH

Feeling rather blah today.

1. Overdrew the checking account. Sucks royally, and payday for hubby isn't til Friday. Worst part is that, in the past, the credit union would decline purchases with the debit card if you were overdrawn. Now, they collect their overdraft fee for each purchase. Argh. I need to call them, I went to take out cash-saw the usury fee that Bank of America was going to charge, and cancelled the transaction. However, my credit union saw fit to charge an overdraft fee for a transaction that wasn't completed.

2. Mom's got nausea pretty bad. The anti nausea meds are expensive (900 bucks a script) and the pharmacies really don't like to fill them. If she goes to the oncologist's office, however, they can put her on a drip that will knock out the nausea for two days-and medicaid will pay 100% of it. It lasts for two days, today she'll be needing it.

3. Utility woes. See 1 above-gotta call and make payment arrangements!

So here's the de…

Internet woes

I tried to get online all day yesterday, the blasted Roadrunner must have been caught by Wile E Coyote!

I've been volunteered to drive my sister to the airport this morning. It was a good thing I called to do my daily check in, otherwise, she'd have been sitting at mom's waiting for me! This will be good, we've been talking daily about Mom's progress, now I'll get the complete picture without having to talk in hushed tones.

Back later tonight. Hoping the Roadrunner has gotten away for good...meep meep.

Ramifications of smoking and denial

Okay, this blog will be heavy on the crap associated with smoking and what it does to people.

Here's why: On July 16, 2005, my husband's sister lost her battle with lung cancer. She had been a lifelong smoker and had only quit the year before when hospitalized for esophogeal cancer. She'd been given the all clear on her esophogus in February, only to discover in early June that she had multiple lesions on her bones and then they discovered the lung cancer.

Currently, my mom is battling small cell lung cancer AND several large, cancerous tumors in her abdomen. She's been in denial about it-and probably will be until the end. She does not want to believe that all those cigarettes she didn't inhale could pockmark her lungs and make her life miserable. She didn't think it could happen to her, even when my dad (her ex) had cancer and had first his thyroid, then his voice box removed as a direct result of smoking. After all, he smoked two packs of unfiltered Cam…