2018/05/29

Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mom.

Da Goddess @ 16:30

Updates from C today are consistent with the way things seem to go with our family. One minute Mom is improving, the next minute she’s feeling a bit worse. Thankfully, the doctor has no problem keeping her hospitalized until she’s showing a solid pattern of improvement.

I hate being here while she’s there, but crowding into a hospital room while someone is trying to get well wears on them after a while. They can’t escape to go make dinner or cookies, nor can they excuse themselves to go take a nap or read while leaving you to watch TV.

As nice as it is to say you visited someone in hospital, the practice is actually less pleasant for most patients. True story.

Yes, there are times when patients are grateful for visitors, but staying longer than a few minutes can cause them discomfort, especially when they are actively fighting an exhausting disease process.

If you are invited to stay longer than a few minutes, be ready to:

1. Play cards or some other game.
2. Respect the need for privacy when medical personnel come to see the patient.
3. Leave if the patient shows any signs of fatigue.
4. Leave if asked by patient or staff.

If you can’t visit, call only if the patient can talk. Conditions like COPD can make speaking difficult. Instead, send a brief text to let them know you’re thinking of them.

Yeah, so I’m having to send short texts to Mom to let her know she’s on my mind. But, you better believe I’m heading down as soon as I can so I can give her a hug and kiss, tell her to get to gettin’ better, and to see for myself how she’s doing. There are a couple complications on this front, but nothing that can’t be worked around or through.

Until I can get there, I’m grateful for C, D, and J…and Mojo doing everything they can to keep Mom’s spirits up and to keep her focused on getting better.

2018/05/27

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Da Goddess @ 11:59

I still very much miss the days when Little Dude and I walked Ft. Rosecrans, placing flags before the graves of those who served our country, be they military or military dependents. I miss the sight of all the scouts who were swarming the cemetery doing the same thing. I miss the time LD and I had after everyone else had left, time we used to explore, learn, remember, and revere those who not only answered the call to serve but gave all.

There is nothing as sobering as the sight of waves of headstones upon the sea of grass too vivid for the somber reflection taking place. But, perhaps, the grass really should be that green so there’s no mistaking the pale, bleached bone-white gravemarkers. Azure skies, searing green hills, white-as-bone gardens of stone. It’s haunting and humbling.

One could easily forget Memorial Day is more than a long weekend of BBQ, friends, and relaxation. Many do. I don’t. I know you, dear reader, don’t. Even so, I still need to post a reminder — as much for myself as for others. I need to remember. I WANT to remember. Those who gave themselves for this notion of freedom, of democracy, deserve our attention. It’s the simplest manner of honoring what they did and what we have.

____________

Another reminder of that for which our military fought, two stories of the realities of war. We were fortunate here in the US that our parents and grandparents weren’t evacuated, didn’t have to endure bombings as happened in England and Europe. They did, however, fear it could happen. So, read the two links above and join me in a moment of silence as I thank our military for fighting so hard to keep the war from our shores during WWII.

____________

Memorial Day Ft. Rosecrans, San Diego


ON ROSECRANS HILL
by Jeffrey T. Naas

On Rosecrans hill the grasses grow
Between the headstones row on row
That mark our place as in the sky
The gulls, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard against the surf below

We are the dead. Not long ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow
We chose for freedom’s cause to die
And now upon this hill we lie
As grasses green above us grow

We knew the price we had to pay
To keep the enemy at bay
We gave our all, we fought the fight
To keep aglow sweet freedom’s light
Remember this, we ask today

One thing we ask of those not slain
Will you fight on for freedom’s reign?
If war returns, as it well might
Will you take up the gallant fight?
Yes, answer us! You who remain

And so we lie here, asking still
If you, our sons, will have the will
To sacrifice as we did then
That your sons, too, may live free men
As we wait still, on Rosecrans hill

2018/05/26

Update on Mom

Da Goddess @ 15:09

Mom texted me this morning to say she’s feeling better, which is always good news.

C texted to let me know the docs are going to switch Mom over to oral antibiotics. Also good news.

There’s a solid plan in place as to getting Mom back on her feet. This is far better than “comfort measures only”.

I’m putting this in the win column. We’re going to celebrate every little victory we get.

2018/05/25

Comfort Found

Da Goddess @ 14:27

In my search for comfort and a sense of peace, I came across a link on Twitter leading to a lovely blog. I’ll include a link to the story that first hooked me later this weekend, but until then, please go visit this lovely woman’s site.

Mom update: she’s resting at hospital, receiving antibiotics and breathing treatments to ease her respiratory effort. The plan is to keep her there a few days and see what happens at that point. If the doctors don’t feel there will be any hope for improvement over time, she’s planned on comfort measures and not much else according to my sister. Understandable, but still makes my heart fall deep in my belly. I’m really not prepared for this at the moment as I’m struggling to keep up with the grief over Dad. We shall see. It’s not in my hands. God will bless us with the right course as He sees fit. That’s pretty much all we need, isn’t it?

2018/05/24

Friendship

Da Goddess @ 21:21

I just got off the phone with my friend. We haven’t seen each other in 18 months, but we stay in touch, keep up on what’s happening with each other. Still, not the same as spending time together as we normally would do. She called me the other day, left me a long message. Tonight I finally managed to remember to call her before it got to late. We were on the phone for over 90 minutes. Laughter, tears, the gamut, y’know?

My heart’s a little lighter because of her. I’m so grateful she allowed me to talk, so grateful she allowed me to listen.

“Friendship, friendship, just the perfect blendship.”

Lucy and Ethel, though we’re equally both, if that makes sense. But, without the destruction of dresses.

If It Weren’t for Bad Luck

Da Goddess @ 15:29

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

The day before my birthday, Mom was admitted to the hospital with respiratory distress. She went home several days later. I didn’t call because talking made her cough, so we texted.

I just got a call from my younger sister to let me know Mom’s back in hospital again for the same problem. Instead of going to her regular hospital, she’s been admitted to the hospital where Dad died. What’s more, it seems she’s in the same room. (Update: Mom’s actually in the emergency department as of 16:30, so she’s not been admitted.)

J is headed over there now to see what’s going on and will update me. C is, of course, dealing with doctors and Mom.

I almost went down to San Diego yesterday. C and I discussed it and we decided to hold off until next week sometime.

I feel like I’m stuck in a fucking loop right now.

Mojo and I had spoken the other day as Mom was getting settled in at home. Mojo told me, “Grammy keeps saying she’ll take her medicine but she’s done.” My mom had uttered the same thing several times while Dad was dying and again on Mother’s Day. I told her to hold off because we can only deal with so much at once.

This also has had me thinking of us gathering around Dad not long after he’d passed. Mom gasped, put her hand on his chest and said, “oh! I can still feel his heart beating!” She was in shock. I gently told her he was gone and she was likely feeling her own pulse through her hand. I double checked to show her and she looked, momentarily, defeated. I told her she wasn’t the first person to be hopefully mistaken.

While Mom has been conflicted about my dad got a long time, the simple fact is that they’d known each other for over 60 years and had a very emotionally complex relationship, what with marriage, kids, divorce, grandkids, and the rest of the things life throws your way. Being sad, angry, hopeful, relieved, and even confused is understandable. But it also highlighted how fragile she’s become, not just over the years, but in the space of a few days. Emotional conflict can bring with it health issues no one expects. I’m not saying Mom’s health crisis at the moment is the direct result of her emotional health, but her emotions are not working FOR her right now.

Dear God, please help Mom get better. Please help all of us deal with this in helpful and loving ways. And, pretty please, don’t let May become the month my sisters and I become adult orphans. We’re still working through the last loss.

Can I get an Amen?

17:00 Update: CT scan looking for blood clots. X-rays were okay.
17:30 Update: nothing obvious, so that’s good news. Tests all seem to be clear.
19:00 Update: Mom being transferred to her regular hospital where all her records are available for anyone who tends to her. I’m relieved beyond belief.

2018/05/18

52 — The Full Deck

Da Goddess @ 00:01

I’m 52 years old. Five. Two. A full deck. Or am I the “fool” deck? Sometimes it does seem like I’ve been given that role. But, nah. I think I’m falling into the positive camp this year. Despite all the ups and downs, I’m glad I’m here. Even if I am a bit worse for wear.

Technically, I hit “over-the-hill” a good while back. Emotionally, I think 39 was that year. Physically, ugh. I don’t know when it happened (maybe 2005 when I got hurt?). All I know is that none of it matters because I’m still hanging in here and that needs to be celebrated!

I’m not sure how I’ll celebrate, but it might include cake. It’ll probably include cake. Okay, cake will be involved. Are you happy? Yes, cake. One of the few pleasures you can share with as few or as many people as you’d like and not get side-eye for doing so. Except maybe from your doctor who’s worried about your weight and your blood sugar. But if you don’t tell, I won’t tell, m’kay?

52. If I were a deck of cards I’d be complete. Unless you want to play pinochle or canasta or some game requiring an expanded deck. But if that’s the case, why haven’t you invited me over for a game? Fair warning, I suck at pinochle and kick ass at canasta! You’ve been warned.

Go grab some cake and we can eat at the same time. I’ll be here. Just pull up a chair when you’re ready.

2018/05/16

(bitter) Sweet Sixteen

Da Goddess @ 00:01

As of today, I’ve been blogging for 16 years.

There have always been rough patches during this time, but this year takes the cake with my dad dying. And yet… when I posted about it here I got texts, emails, phone calls, and comments. They’ve been instrumental in helping me get through the grief and helped me see there’s more left to learn from Dad than could be taught during his lifetime. Thank you, my friends. Without this blog, I’d have never met you and you’ve all made my life richer, Fuller, and definitely more interesting.

Thanks for sticking around, for coming back, for just being your unique selves!

16…that’s, like 50 in human years, isn’t it?

2018/05/13

Happy Mother’s Day 2018!

Da Goddess @ 01:58

It doesn’t matter if you physically gave birth, adopted, assumed guardianship, or just served as a guiding hand to a child, if you’ve given your heart to a little one, you’re deserving of a warm Happy Mother’s Day from me and the entire world!

To offer your love and attention, your patience and understanding, you’ve given another generation the kind of care they need and deserve to become citizens of our planet. We’re all in this together, whether we acknowledge it or not. By extending a hand, you help to build the bridge between each of us and make our community stronger.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for the stories, the soup, the endless brushing of hair, the bandaids, serving as judge and jury, vet, doctor, nurse, teacher, chef, chauffeur, and friend. Thank you!

Now go eat something you probably shouldn’t, take a much deserved nap, and let the dishes sit in the sink for a day. Celebrate YOU!

First a Word From Your Host(ess)

Da Goddess @ 01:47

I took a break from posting about Dad’s death because I needed to. I have lots more to say, you can bet on it, but between being exhausted (physically and emotionally) and feeling like maybe this was becoming all Dad all the time, it’s a necessity.

I’ll be back to talk more about the grieving process I’m going through, how I see others coping, etc. I’m just going to keep a little of this to myself for now.

Thanks for all the kind words in comments, emails, and texts. You’ve warmed my heart and helped ease my soul.

2018/05/09

The Day After the Day After

Da Goddess @ 09:02

I had a long night of thinking, of remembering. I dozed off a couple times, but really never slept. My stomach was not having it.

With inflammatory bowel disease you can never predict when your stomach is going to go rogue one you. And you can’t predict how long it’ll last. There are times when I’ll go months without a flare up and then have a bad day. Or maybe I’ll have a horrible couple of weeks followed by a day of relief, quickly followed by a month of horror. It’s really that crazy.

Were I insured or on Medicaid, I’d have tests to see if I’ve ramped up to ulcerative colitis. But I’m still waiting to find out if I’ve been approved.

Anyhow, stress can be a trigger for flare ups and I’d say death of a loved one counts as stress. It took a day or two to smack me upside the head, but it has most definitely done that now.

J cleaned Dad’s house yesterday before C even got there. I’d slept through the day and missed everything. Today, I guess we’re going over to sort through stuff? I’m not quite sure. I know C has been good about getting rid of Dad’s clothes over the past year as he’s worn out stuff or lost too much weight to wear it. We’ll have to get the rest of his clothes sorted and donated this week, I think. Better to do it now instead of waiting and letting grief smash into us again later.

Other notes:

I’m an idiot! I packed enough underwear for every day of an Everest expedition but failed to pack sleep pants.

I actually posted on Facebook yesterday after 7 months. I’d almost like to delete my account there, but a great portion of friends on there I don’t contact any other way. What to do, what to do…

2018/05/08

The Evening of the Day After

Da Goddess @ 22:40

I’d just awakened when I heard Mojo knock on my door. “We’re gonna go to dinner. Are you going to come, too?” she asked. “It’s *that* late already?!” I replied.

I haven’t slept that hard in a long time. The memories of my dreams are fleeting, but none were disturbing, so I’m grateful for that.

C took Mojo, LD, and I out for Mexican for dinner down by San Diego harbor. It was very good, but then I couldn’t tolerate another bite and my stomach screamed “none of this belongs here!” So, yummy food, bummy tummy.

Last night, no problem with the homemade beef barley soup and cornbread. Or the turkey sandwich from the comfort cart provided by the hospital. (I’m not kidding when I say Pomerado Hospital is one of the best hospitals on the planet!)

I guess eating whilst grieving is going to be an adventure of its own.

We’re back at C and D’s house. Mojo and I spent an hour going through photos on our phones, “oh! send me that!” and subsequently texting favorited images.

How did we ever manage to communicate before cell phones? The sheer ease of communication is astonishing! I texted my sister from bed this morning to save us all from yelling across the house. I do, however, draw the line at texting someone who’s sitting next to me. Unless it’s an urgent message and we’re in a “no-talk” situation. Or unless I’m sitting with a friend named Jacque in a bar in Vegas.

My mind is full of utter nonsense that keeps trying to push away sadness and important tasks relating to Dad. Thus, the existence of these ramblings. They have to go somewhere. Twitter is filling up quickly with them. This blog is, too. And I posted to Facebook for the first time in at least 18 months. Less about anything on Facebook, more just to let a couple people know, people who had known Dad.

I’m going to try to get to sleep early so I can be of actual use tomorrow. My sisters can’t keep carrying all the weight, nor should they have to. Fingers crossed I make it.

Dad, I am trying to get this right. I hope I’m at least coming close. I love you and will miss you forever.

The Day After

Da Goddess @ 09:27

I don’t know how any of us got through yesterday. Lots of love, laughter, and tears to be sure, but I honestly don’t know how we were able to keep going.

All of us had to have a lie-in at some point. (How pretentious of me to use lie-in as opposed to nap…it’s just that napping doesn’t quite seem appropriate in this context.) We had dinner. We talked. Mojo and I stayed up talking and watching stuff on YouTube.

After crawling into bed I realized I still hadn’t changed my clothes from Sunday, had forgotten to brush my teeth, and really needed to pee. It took me a full 90 minutes to get up to do anything about it.

Woke up at 0745 to the realization that my dad is really really really gone. I knew that yesterday, but it hit me afresh upon waking. I don’t know how to do this. I mean, I know, I just don’t KNOW.

I’m in total lockup today. Neck and back are not cooperating. I practically crawled to the bathroom. This is worse than normal as the sheer emotional momentum from yesterday has left my body. This definitely is NOT the day I anticipated having. I’m hoping I’ll fall asleep for a bit and wake up in better shape.

Sleep, though, I don’t know. So much keeps running through my head. I don’t remember how many times I prayed last night, but it was kind of all that kept me from crying. That and I didn’t have Fletch to cry to. That’s how I get through the bad moments at home.

Yesterday, while at the hospital, we had the chaplain come in to say a prayer with us. She was a pleasant little old lady with a slight lilt to her voice. All was going well (relatively well, I mean, we were heartbroken, crying, and generally in need of comfort) until she got to her third “Heavenly Father” in her prayer. At the next mention, I felt a giggle building. At the fifth mention, I kind of started to shake. By the sixth “Heavenly Father”, I was actively having to hold back laughter.

Her next parlor trick was telling us she was sure Dad was a lovely, wonderful, kind man. Mom guffawed openly. C and I laughed.

Cranky, grumpy, misanthropic, loud, rude…and, yes, a good man. Perfectly imperfect. That was my dad. I didn’t always understand him, but I always loved him. I was lucky to have almost 52 years with him. That’s a helluva lot more time than many people get with parents. I’m not feeling great about it, but I’m okay with it. I’m okay with it in that he’s not in pain any longer. I’m okay with him being free of the ravages of aging. Being free from illness, from losing autonomy, losing friends, losing the ability to do all the things he enjoyed. He’s at peace now and I have to learn to get there, too.

I’m extremely grateful for my sisters, brothers-in-law, my mom, the kids, my friends, and the staff at the hospital and hospice. Together we’ve made it this far and that’s something special in my book.

Each day, each moment will bring with it new challenges, but I’m a quick learner and I think I have a handle on getting through whatever comes up. No guarantees, just a sense that I can do this.

Going to attempt sleep again. Or maybe hobble out to the kitchen for a piece of toast. Then I’ll tackle whatever comes next.

2018/05/07

Day is Done

Da Goddess @ 10:15

C had just taken me to her house so I could shower when we got the call that Dad had passed.

Mojo had just landed.

J was bedside.

Now I’m sitting here with Dad and crying and remembering and trying to process it all.

Day is done, Dad. Time to climb in the old jalopy and go find another race.

I love you. Thank you for being my dad.

Vale.

Dad

Da Goddess @ 07:44

Dad had a relatively quiet night. We were able to get him a warming blanket, which helped immensely against the chill of constant air conditioning. He mostly kept his nasal cannula in place, though I had to replace it enough to smile at his efforts.

C had come back to the hospital after her break, bringing me my requested piece of toast and some water. She was here until after 11pm. I made her go home because she’s been in the thick of this from the beginning. J has also been running herself ragged trying to keep up with Dad, her job, her other job, and everything else she has going. Thankfully, both sisters got a break from this.

The sleeping chair here was laughable, but it did the trick. I camped out bedside and was able to keep Dad company throughout the night. He slept fairly well and I slept much like I sleep these days — restless, uncomfortable, and in pain. That said, I felt better just being here. There won’t be many more days with my dad and I don’t want to miss a single one if I can help it.

His nurses and aides have been lovely, gentle, and professional. The only thing I’d change is, perhaps, quieter neighbors. But this is part and parcel of hospital life.

Currently watching the nurses do bedside shift change report. Despite it being a bit noisy, it’s good to hear what information they’re exchanging. I’m trying to NOT jump in with extraneous info, but it’s near impossible. They’re very kind about it.

Other than that, we’re waiting for Mojo to get here. Praying for just enough time to have us all here together to let him know it’s okay to let go. We want him to be at peace with himself and with us. We want him to know he’s very much loved. Mostly, we just want him to pass in comfort, surrounded by love and gentle support.

I’m off to cry a little bit by myself so I can come back and be strong for him and for the family.

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