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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two Months...

Two months ago...everything was different. We had come back from Christmas in Annapolis after having an amazing time. This is a picture from Pusser's the morning we left. Our sweet girl was able to get around with a walker around the house, only using the wheel chair for the long distances. Doesn't she look cute in her Lily Pulitzer? My Mommy got her this for Christmas...if you could see them...she was rocking a cute pair of Coach Sneakers. The day after this picture was taken...at 11:15pm...she had a significant stroke. Since then...we have been on a rollercoaster...which most of the time is really like a game of Chutes and Ladders...a constant up and down. We are taking it as it comes...but our sweet girl is tired...and our goal is just to keep her comfortable.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Watchful Watching...

All I can do these days is what I call "Grandma Watching"...I watch her sleep, I watch her stir, I watch her watch me. It is hard...I can't stop looking at her because I know there will come a time when I won't be able to look at her anymore. I don't want to forget yet I don't want to remember now. I want to remember anytime before December 27, 2010. Like this picture from July 2009 while we were in Baltimore. Laughing, Smiling, Charming...our Sweet Faced Girl.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sweet Face...

My Grandma's nickname for me has always been Sweet Face. I'm not sure where it came from or how it came to be...but now it is all I can seem to call her. Every year at Christmas, we would always know which presents where from Grandma and Grandpa. Not just because of my Grandma's beautiful penmenship...but because it would be addressed to Sweet Face or Little Bits. Little Bits being my sister of course...

The one thing that hasn't changed over the past many weeks is my Grandma's adorable grin. She is so gosh darn cute...such a sweet face. Today was a more awake day then a sleep day which meant there was more time for interaction. Somehow, someway we can connect with Grandma even though she can't talk. We make her smile...and that is enough for us. Her Sweet Face...which my sister pointed out now really looks like this adorable picture of her from when she was three years old. Adorable then and adorable now...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

15 Hour Mini-Vakay...

We are nothing if not efficient...and I was really proud of the three of us for taking a bit of a respite late on Sunday and into Monday morning last week. It was obviously meant to be...because it all happened so easily. Well...after my sister took the reigns and made the main event possible and for some reason decided to get three tickets. With the addition of reward points which allowed for a free hotel room at the Mayflower...we couldn't not take a quick little break. It was perfection. Even down to an amazing picture that was in our room combining two of my DC Favorites...cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial.

When word came out about Henry Rollins doing a 50th Birthday Show in DC on his Birthday...I knew I had to get tickets. Except, the day of the pre-sale I got busy at work and didn't go to the site to get tickets until 50 minutes after they went on sale. They were sold out!! I was mortified...I was going to miss Henry. But then, in perfect Henry style, he added another show on the night of his birthday. My sister got tickets...three of them!! So my Mom, Sister, and I could all go. He did not disappoint. He never does. His shows always have a perfect arc...and you learn something. Sometimes more than just one thing. I think my favorite part was him reciting the Preamble to the South African Constitution. Beautiful. My favorite line..."Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person." It doesn't getting any more to the point than that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Catch All Post....

I am behind on my blogging but mainly because it is just so hard to know how to blog about everything going on. Especially when you don't really know what is going on. The rollercoaster continued last week...the long and short of it is that Grandma is out of the hospital and back in a Rehab Hospital (the one where she was this summer). She is fightening an infection and needs to be on IV Therapy...we could not do that at home. Our goals are to keep her comfortable and loaded with plenty of TLC. So, our time is clocked at the Rehab Hospital instead of at home. Many times it is just watching her sleep...but when she wakes...she has a loving, familiar face to greet her. Have I mentioned how amazingly strong my Mom is lately? We just go moment to moment...that is all you can really do.

I hate to say that the past many weeks have taken a toll, but they have lead to a few amazingly funny stories. It is pretty hilarious what happens when you are running on empty. It also pointed out that the short respite we took on Sunday Night and Monday Morning was probably a good idea. I need to blog about that one next. ;)

So a funny thing happened on our way to the Rehab Hospital on Saturday...we left my sister on the curb. I kid you not. It was not until my Mom asked a question and she did not answer that we even noticed she was not in the car. I looked in the backseat from the rearview mirror...and it was empty. Can you imagine? My mom always used to say that after she had my sister her biggest fear was forgetting that she now had two children and that she would leave my sister at home. Well, it finally happened...30 years later.

What do you think we did when we realized that my sister was not in the car? Panicked? No. Worried? No. Laughed our asses off? You guessed it!! We were in tears with laughter by the time we turned around to head back to get her. How in the hell did we do that? We just got in the car and did not wait for her to get in and I just drove off. We are so lucky she didn't get hurt. We chalked it up to just how bad off we are at the moment. It is taking a toll...but we can still laugh our assess off about it!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gah!!!

I had all good intentions for writing tonight...the title was going to be Chutes and Ladders...I was tired of the Rollercoaster analogy and wanted to go for something different. I'm too scattered to even begin to write tonight about the happenings and developments from today. I will tell you one thing...it has made me rue the day when I would make snarky jokes about not really having to worry until the Infectious Disease Doctor comes a callin'...the same one from when Grandpa was in the hospital in December 2007. Me and my freaking intuition...which spills out even when I think I am joking. Gah!!!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hello Right Side...Whatcha Knowin'?

It was not a sleepy day which was fantastic...Grandma was perky and awake for most of the day. She was grinning and ate each meal for the most part. She was playful with two new animal babies which she seemed to really love. (Insert comment about what a genius my sister is.) We have found that stuffed animals really help in not only creating diversions but also as away to express emotions. I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of them..a cute green turtle and an adorable yellow triceratops.

In terms of progress, there were a few things we noticed that made us super excited. As I have mentioned before, one of the issues Grandma has is right side neglect. I am happy to report that she was looking over to us more if we stood on the right side of the bed. She was also straightening the sheets and her gown on that side (using her left hand of course). The most amazing thing happened just as we were leaving tonight...she lifted her right arm with her left hand and moved it to the side. She picked it up and moved it. This may have been the most amazing moment of 2011 so far!! Well that and when she had a really good sneeze!! It is progress...we are happy to take it.

My true confession for the day...

I have never had old person envy before...but Grandma's new roommate is 97. She still reads books. She talks and carries on conversation. She could answer questions about her health and life. She could sit on the edge of her bed unassisted. It made me so sad. I longed for all of those things that Grandma used to be able to do. Is that bad? I felt guilty...my Grandma is here but seems so far away. I miss her.

A Quiet Rainy Day...

Even though Grandma is not back home...it still helps me to keep writing about things. You still have moments that you want to capture and remember. There are observations that come from the different settings. In some ways, I am starting to wish that I had started blogging about all of these things much earlier on this rollercoaster ride. There are some things that don't change throughout the journey...how Grandman is a champ, sweet, a trooper, and a total people pleaser. I think my Mom described her perfectly yesterday...she is the Energizer Bunny...she will keep going until the battery runs out. It is clear that things are slowing down...but she is still rallying. It is a testament to her character and strength.

We had a pleasent Saturday with lots of sleeping and rest. We lost the chair we had in the room...so we justified our carb heavy lunch and afternoon snack because we were standing most of the day. We had a visit from Father Val...who has popped in to see Grandma from time to time during our various stays at the hospital and the rehab hospital too. He has a fantastic Irish accent and always wears red...it was amazing to see Grandma respond to his voice. Even though we are not particularly religious...he came in and blessed Grandma. He said "Love You" and gave us all hugs. Grandma smiled...I think it was comforting. It was for me...I'm not going to lie...a tear or too fell...I think it was relief.

Even though every dance in this space is different...there are many similiarities to our experiences with Grandpa. Some are irksome and maddening. Others are amazingly beautiful. It is hard work for all. This is no place for whimps.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Visit Today...

I left the office too late to see Grandma...but the weekend is here so that means lots of quality time!! The rollercoaster of all of this continues and I apologize to anyone who has had to deal with me recently...especially today. I lost my cool numerous times and I am so thankful that I work with such an amazing team. Lots of people have helped me over the past several weeks and that means so much to me. More than I could ever say. That has been another lesson in this...asking for help is ok.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Year 86 - Can I Still Count the Days??

Grandma is back in the hospital so I figured I could not still use the day count. Since today is her Birthday...I figured I could work off of that as my marker of time. 86 years...60 years married (although I say 64 because even though Grandpa is gone they are still connected), 59 years (tomorrow) as a Mother, 30 years as a Grandma to Little Bits, 34 years as a Grandma to Sweet Face, 69 years living in the DC area after leaving her hometown in Vermont, and 25 years of Federal Service. Happy Birthday Grandma!!! I love you so much!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day Six - The Owl Above

In the back of my mind through all of the ups and downs...I have to remember to trust the process. You can handle whatever is handed to you. You learn. You grow. You know that it all works out as it should. And in between...you get really pissed...and that is okay too.

It was a long night last night and Grandma was up all night long. As tired as I am now after only having had a few hours of sleep...I wouldn't trade a moment. Just to be there and listen. The hardest part is not knowing or understanding what she says. You know she is communicating all of these things she wants you know and things she would like for you to do. It hurts not to know or understand...devestating. I was so upset last night, that all I could do was think about Grandpa and ask him to help us. The great Owl above is always looking out for us and that gave me strength. It gives all of us strength.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Five - No Place for Whimps

The space that we are occupying has no room for whimps...even if you want to cry yourself to sleep or work yourself into an anxious mess of "I can't do this"...you can only be there for a short while and then the realness of the situation grabs hold and you muster the confidence to dive back in. What I love most about our three person team is how we are never all in one of those "I can't do this" moments at the same time. Actually two of three are never both in one of those moments. That is what I love the most...when you do pop into that no confidence space...there are two people there to lift you up and remind you that you are not a whimp. That in fact we are only human afterall.

This is no place for whimps...but it is for those with a full heart. My favorite moment of the day is early in morning when I make my Mom a cup of coffee. There is something about making coffee that makes me feel good. Probably because it is just about the only thing that I can do in the kitchen. As upset as I was at my own misgivings and fears over failings last night...I was reminded that we all have a part to play in this place. In fact, we are still figuring out which parts are ours to play. It is only Day Five...and we are only human afterall.

Day Four - Unexpected Field Trip

Monday, Monday...Manic Monday...so...the thing about life is...every good routine is bound to be broken. But on the fourth day? Really??? I really thought that I could go atleast a week before hearing that annoying voice on the Shady Grove Parking Machine. In the creepy Speak & Spell voice...."Thank you and Come Again." Bullshit...I hope I never hear your creepy ass voice again!! No such luck today...but the good news is that even though a trip to the ER interrupted what would have been our first "work day" routine...we still ended up back at home...so that is beyond wonderful. It has made for a long day...but emphasized how good our routine is.

I was worried about spazzing about getting to work too late today...but something in my brain clicked. It was so much fun to take my time this morning and help out my Mom too. I felt like I was more productive at work too...even though I spent most of the day in a meeting. I missed the text from my sister alerting me to the trip to the ER...but hightailed it out of there at 6:15pm to meet up with everyone at the lovely hallowed halls of the SGAH ER. We have been there so much that we help route patients to the bathrooms. It is strange to think that the first time I was there was on a Preschool Field trip. The second was when my sister cut her chin open at 18 months...it was brand spanking new then. Now it is filled with memories of Grandma and Grandpa...is that werid?

My tidbit for today is a truth from the depths of my soul...

I am still afraid of transfers...there I wrote it. I am afraid and I need to just get over it. NO FEAR!!!