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Friday, October 5, 2012

It's Been 11 Long Months

Wow! It has been 11 long months since I last posted anything. In case you don't know me personally and, therefore, don't know what has been going on for the last (almost) year, I will try to fill in the blanks. I know, maybe most don't really want to know--but, in any case, here goes.... Shortly after my last post--just after Thanksgiving, in fact--my husband, Steven, started to say he just wasn't feeling well. He ached all over and was tired--a lot. His left leg started to throb just behind his knee. The pain was incredible, keeping him up a night. Of course, I tried to comfort him during the night, and he apologized for keeping me up, or waking me up during the night when he would get up and stand by the wall to straighten up his leg in the hope of stopping the pain. Or, getting up to take painkillers. One day, he came home from work with what appeared to be a rash around his ankle, which was also swollen. While the swelling was common, due to a broken ankle many years ago, the "rash" was something entirely new. When he came home, he said that the "rash" was actually small broken blood vessels and nothing to worry about. He also said that they ran some other tests and it appeared that he may be diabetic. The doctors at Medpoint advised him to consult his family physician, to which he replied that he really didn't have a family physician and hadn't been to see a doctor in quite a few years (other than a medpoint). The doctor there asked "why not?" Steven told him "because I have not been sick". Finally, he got an appointment with a family physician. She ran some tests. It turned out that he had diabetes, high blood pressure and Hepatitis B. Of course, he immediately began a diabetes diet and medication for the high blood pressure and Hepatitis. But, the pain in his legs persisted. He also developed nephrology,which, for those who haven't experienced it, is a loss of control of the feet and legs. This made it very, very difficult for him to walk. Nevertheless, he continued to try to work and shop for Christmas presents--just trying to be normal. We made it through Christmas--which was, I admit, wonderful. There are pictures to prove it. Our oldest daughter was married shortly before, so we had a huge dinner at her home with the grandchildren, Steven's mother and sister, youngest daughter and son-in-law's parents. It was hectic, non-traditional meal (no turkey, stuffing, but Hungarian and American food). But, we were all together and, I must say, it was ...well, you get the picture. In January, the 17nth (Yes, I remember the date...) to be precise, Steven called and said I was not to worry, but the doctor told him to go immediately to the hospital. She thought he might have Gillian--Barre syndrome, which can cause paralysis if left untreated. I was NOT to leave work and go to the hospital--he would probably only be in for a day or so. After they ran more tests, they said he really had to get his diabetes under control--which they did. Also, they decided he didn't have Gillian Barre after all, but they thought he should have therapy for the nephrology. Also, he had a rapid pulse, so they transferred him to the cardiology floor. Then, he was transferred to the rehab floor for physical therapy. After he came home, we followed all the doctor's instructions. He followed a diabetic diet, took his medication. After many adjustments in his medications and many doctor's visits, he did improve slightly. He used crutches to get around, but really couldn't do much. One Saturday night, he had a rough time getting upstairs to go to bed. His blood pressure shot way up and he had completely lost control of his legs. He barely made it up the stairs with my help. I took his blood pressure after he got upstairs. It finally dropped. We went to sleep. I got up on Sunday and made breakfast. He came downstairs with effort, but seemed better. He said he had trouble with his arm. I gave him his breakfast. He said that he wanted to call our kids and his Mom. He wasn't feeling well, but knew that I had to go to work that day. While I was getting my breakfast, he called and left messages for them all, saying that he was sending me to work, but that he might have to have one of them take him to the hospital later. When I heard him, I talked to him and said "Wouldn't you like to have me stay with you--just in case?" He agreed. I noticed that his voice seemed slurred, but he said he was just really tired. When our oldest daughter called, she told him to give me the phone--which he did. She told me "take him to the hospital--NOW--he's slurring his words." We both thought he might have had a stroke. Turned out we were right. After another week in the hospital, he was diagnosed w/a rare disease called Polyarteritis Nedosa. The veins in his body were thickening and his blood couldn't get through. There was a treatment for it, though. He'd have to undergo it at a different hospital, though. The treatment took another 2 weeks. They also said he needed more physical therapy. Alas, his insurance wouldn't pay for him to go to a rehabilitation facility. He did have a visiting nurse, though to help w/physical therapy. He was discharged and came home. Again, we did everything we were supposed to do. He had some improvement, but still couldn't get around without a walker. We also moved him to a downstairs bedroom because he couldn't get up and down stairs. One day, about 2-3 weeks after he got home, I was in a training class at work. The class was almost 4 hours long. After I got out of the class, I decided to take my afternoon break, 2 hours late. A co-worker from my department came and told me that I probably should call home. My husband had called 3 times. I couldn't believe that nobody had come to get me out of the class, but, I called home. Steven asked if I could come home and take him back to the hospital. His blood pressure had shot up, he had called the doctor, and he really felt lousy. I, of course, raced home. It turned out that he had also called our youngest daughter, who was also on her way to take him. She followed us to the hospital. After a couple of hours in the emergency room, he also complained of stomach pain. He was having a gallbladder attack. The following week, he had his gallbladder removed. The surgery went well, but he developed a fistula. To make this very long story short, things went downhill from then on. Due to the fistula, he needed to be transferred to yet another hospital, four hours away from us. We made trips to visit during the week and on weekends. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to see someone you love go through this. Every time he had some improvement, he had a setback. He had C-dif--twice--highly contagious. We had to wear a gown and gloves every visit. On a Wednesday, I got a call--my daughter was coming to get me--they were taking him to intensive care. They wanted to intubate him and sedate him to give his body a chance to heal while they also put him on a slow 24 hour a day dialysis. He had been in constant pain from the fistula. Also, his kidneys were not working and they thought the dialysis would help. We stayed with him until they put him out. It was so hard to leave him there again, but there really wasn't anything we could do for him. On Saturday, my oldest daughter and I went back down. He was awake and well enough to eat a little broth. Plus, my sister and her husband got to visit with him. When we got down there, he asked me (typical) "Aren't you supposed to be at work?" "What are you girls doing down here?" But, he kind of smiled when he said it--we even joked. Our daughter said "Gee, Dad, I don't know. We were in the neighborhood and figured you are in intensive care. What the heck, why don't we pop in for a visit?" We talked over treatment with his doctors--stayed for a few hours. When we left, I remember that we told him we loved him. I went back and hugged him--lightly--told him I loved him and would see him later. We had decided that I would come back and go to work. He seemed to be doing better. During the next few days, he got to eat popsicles and broth. His nurses and doctors seemed optimistic. On Tuesday, they moved him out of ICU. His nurse said she couldn't believe how much he had improved. We decided it must be the popsicles. I talked to him on Wednesday. He ended with the usual "have a wonderful day--love you." Of course, the other shoe had to drop. On Thursday morning, I was up early, as usual. Doing the usual--e-mail, Facebook, coffee, breakfast. Planning to call Steven just before going to work. The phone rang--I remember thinking maybe he had decided to call me first, before I could call him. It was his nurse. There was a problem. Mr. Sharp's heart had stopped and they were trying to get it going again. She would call me back. I asked her to please call my daughters and I may have said we were on our way down. Then, I called my oldest daughter. She didn't answer, so I left a message, thinking she was probably talking to the nurse. I called our youngest daughter. She was actually on the phone w/the nurse and the doctor. She told me "they got it started again" Thank God--I hung up and called our oldest. She was upset that they hadn't called her first--she was supposed to be the medical contact. We hung up. I called my father-in-law and my mother-in-law (they are divorced)to alert them. Right after I got off the phone with them, the doctor called me and explained that they had done everything they could, but his heart had stopped again and he was gone. They had many people working on him, but he had made it clear that he didn't want any extreme measures to be taken, i.e. life support. Of course, I called our daughters and family back right away. It was the saddest thing I've had to do. So, my life has changed--again. While I realize that my Steven is no longer sick and in pain, I miss him. I have gotten past the point of sleepless nights, although I sometimes sleep for awhile on the couch and wake up in the middle of the night thinking it is time to get up, I made it through summer and into the fall. The last few months have made me stronger. I am more independent and, at times, I can honestly say that I am enjoying my life. If that sounds awful, I'm sorry. But, after what I've been through, enjoying the blessings that I have--my family, my friends, waking up, just living and breathing every day...well, that is amazing. I have made some changes around here and am definitely getting used to my life. I rearranged my kitchen. Cleaned closets, learned to use the hedge trimmers, lured a bat out of my house, and, oh yes, acquired a cat. The cat has been a source of fun for me--I love animals and haven't had a pet in quite awhile. Also, I eat when I want to, go out when I want to and watch what I want to on TV. Chick flicks, NFL, college football (GO IRISH), golf, basketball, baseball. Also, I put a TV in the bedroom. When I can't seem to sleep, it helps me to sleep--kind of like white noise. I think just keeping busy helps. Well, I know this in ridiculously long--I'll stop for now. Who knows when I'll write again. Maybe when the fancy strikes me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fun work story

Since I really want to remember this I'm going to write it down.

Yesterday, I had an amazing occurance at work, of all places. I spent the first hour or hour and half consoling a new employee who was having a really rough day. She had returned from lunch when one of our rudest supervisors yelled at her for not helping a customer. She tried to explain that she had just gotten back from lunch and didn't see the customer. The supervisor said "No, you were just standing behind the register doing nothing." Jamie told her, again, that she had just gotten back and punched in from lunch. Of course, the supervisor went to our supervisor and complained about Jamie's "attitude". As I came in, I saw Jamie and a group of customers looking at some dishes. The customers had some questions, which Jamie answered. Since Jamie is new (her 1st day), she asked me for an opinion on the dishes. The customers apparently didn't believe her when she also explained (correctly, I might add) how the discount coupons work. They also insulted Jamie by asking her "when are you due?" Jamie isn't pregnant, so she told them she isn't They had the nerve to say "Are you sure? Maybe you should go to the doctor." I swear some people are really nervy. By the time we finished with the customers, our department manager came and asked to talk to her. He talked to her about her "attitude" She tried to explain what had happened with the other supervisor. Our supervisor asked if, maybe, the other supervisor wasn't doing what they refer to as "fast feedback" Jamie told him she didn't think so. She just thought the other supervisor was incredibly rude. I had to smile later because, as Jamie was taking care of another customer, the customer told our supervisor how much Jamie had helped her and that she was just wonderful. Honestly, that whole "fast feedback" garbage is just that--garbage. As Jamie was leaving for the day, she started to cry a little and said that she didn't think she would be coming back. She needs a job, but not bad enough to be treated the way she was.

Later, something really nice happened to me. I waited on a young man who needed help buying a gift for his friend's wedding. we found the items he wanted and he told me how much he appreciated my help. As I was ringing him up, his name came up on my register screen. This happens if you pay with a credit card. I noticed that he had the same last name as my late cousin. I politely asked him what his father's name was. It wasn't the first name of my counsin's husband, so I asked him if he had a relative by that name. He told me the man is his grandfather (Made me feel old, but--o.k.) I explained that his grandfather was once married to my cousin. He said, of course--she was his grandmother. It turns out, we are distant cousins. Imagine that, a total stranger who turns out to be my cousin. His aunt is my first cousin and, I told him that he should say hello to his Dad and Aunt for me. He said, "Wow--I need to give you a hug!" So, of course, we hugged and said keep and touch and all. Later, I was thinking how cool it was that I had just met my grandfather's great grandson! How cool is that?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rainy Sunday

Well, at least this time it isn't the same old "been a long time" opening.

The rain continues. But, I always keep in mind "it isn't snowing."

This is my 3rd or 4th Sunday off in a row. I will definitely make up for it because, after Wednesday, I will work 7 days in a row. Then, I will have a day off, work a day and be off for 4 days. That is just how my rotation is working out--at least for this month. I also scheduled a day off because my youngest granddaughter will be graduating from kindergarten. I know---I'm a true grandmother. And, how crazy--a graduation ceremony? But, it makes the kids feel good. And how many chances do you get to feel really, really good?

We got another piece of good news about a week ago, too. My extended family is growing. Something I have been praying for for many months (almost a year, actually) will finally occur in about two weeks. The little girl that my daughter's sister and brother-in-law adopted from Uganda is finally coming home. Her name is Fiona. She is two days older than my youngest granddaughter Paige. We are VERY EXCITED! This has been a long journey, especially for her parents. It is truly God's Blessing that it is finally going to be over. I can't wait to meet her for the first time. I hope she will come to think of us as part of her family, too. We love her already. As far as I am concerned, blood ties are not the only thing that makes a family. Are we not all part of God's family? Yes--we are!

Well, on another note, I did get some things done today. Laundry--mostly put away. Another load in the washer ready to be dried. Chocolate ice cream done. Leftover hamburger to be made into sloppy joes for supper. Maybe some German potato salad along with it. And a salad, if the veggies in the fridge are still fresh. Sound good? Sure, it does. Just agree with me. Remember the correct answer is always--"Yes, dear". Okay, only for husbands and wives. But others should agree too. Just to make my day, right?

Hopefully, the weather will improve the rest of the week. And remember, it will be Summmertime eventually!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Naturally--been a long time

Well--why do I write the same thing when I start out. Been a long time since I last wrote, I know.

I suppose that since it is so easy to update on Facebook, this blog is just too much trouble to get to. But, I still feel like it is good for me to do. It helps clear the mind.

So--here's whats been happening. Made it through another Indiana winter--thank God! It seemed like it took forever, but then, it always does. Then, when it's over, it really doesn't seem to have at all. I still remember that it didn't snow in October and was really warm (I think) at some point just before the snow hit the fan (HA--you thought I was going to write something else, didn't you?). Then, of course, just like it always does, it snowed and snowed and snowed. We finally got it cleared away and then it just snowed again. The last time was at the beginning of Spring. When it started to snow, my Granddaughter Casi said, "I'm not shoveling"! I explained that it would probably be melted by the time she got home from school. Fortunately, I was right.

Now--in true Spring fashion--it just rains and rains and rains. We do have green grass, tho. And flowers and leaves on the trees. They blend in so nice with our puddles. We did have beautiful weather this past weekend and on Easter weekend. I actually mowed our lawn yesterday. Good thing, too, because it will probably rain the rest of the week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I can't believe its been so long--again

Hey--just want to say, it's good to write. This is like writing a letter to my family, or best friend, or someone. I'm not a regular at this anymore, sad to say. I think it would be great if I was, but, something always gets in the way and then I decide it really isn't that important anymore.

Made it through the Christmas shopping season--again. Didn't think I would, but with the help of my co-workers (God Bless them--really!) I did. Then, the inevitable January of returns and inventory, etc. Every year I say never, never, NEVER, again and every year I do it. I don't know--my Mom was right, I guess. She always said what doesn't kill us makes us strong.

So now--I just want to make it through winter, which has been dragging on and on for us in the Midwest. Just like it does every year. How do we do it? I think its a combination of finding the humor when necessary, working through the anger we feel when it snows--again --and ruins any plans we may have had for the day (yes--I'm talking about now) and finding beauty in life anyway. I guess that's the "make lemonade" idea.

That and a lot of chocolate. And a little alcohol, possibly. Or hot tea. Or a hug. All of it works.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Once Again, over a month

So--try as I might to write something every day or at least every other day--I have failed and it's been over a month. I guess the truth is I'm just not that motivated to write something. Sometimes, I start to write in my mind, but never quite get around to actually writing.

So--what have I been up to? Nothing, really. Well, nothing unusual, that is. I finished off October with Halloween fun. We actually get to dress up at work. This year we got to dress up 2 days in a row. The first day, I dressed like a typical ND football fan (I know, what a stretch, right?) The second day, my co-worker and I dressed as Macy's Bridal Registry gifts--those are gift bags we give out to people who purchase gifts for couples who register at Macy's. We had a terrific time.
My granddaughters dressed as bags of JellyBelly jellybeans. I wish I had a pic of them to post. They were too cute! Of course, I am their Nana, so I'm very prejudiced.
This month, the shopping has commenced! It is great to be busy once again. Especially since it has been soooo sloww. I think people were just getting in gear for the upcoming season. Which brings up the belabored point of why wait? Why wait until it is so crowded and things are so crazy? Shop all year around instead of waiting. Then again, most of us have other things to shop for during the year--i.e. birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, mothers day, fathers day, etc. So, it really is difficult for us to just shop for Christmas too early. Then again, it probably wouldn't be half as much fun for some. There is the thrill of making it through "Black Friday" and the rest of the Holiday shopping. My daughter loves it. I actually do too, but for a different reason. Since I work retail, it provides me with a lot of stress and fun. That's right, I said fun.
For example, I took care of a very nice man who wanted to buy tablecloths for the diningroom table he and his wife are having built for his daughter. The table is finished and will be delivered this week. He wanted to buy 2 Lenox tablecloths because the table has leaves. We unfortunately didn't have the right sizes in stock. Neither did our warehouse. I was able to do a search and found that the Macy's in Chicago had the right sizes. They will be shipping them to him so he and his wife can present them to his daughter. Thank goodness for overnight shipping. It made me happy to see him so excited. They are doing this because it is his daughter's first Thanksgiving as a married woman and she is cooking her first turkey so the family will all be together.
Then there is the inevitable stress. I accidentally put a customer's coupon in my register drawer after using it. Naturally, the register picked that time to go crazy on me. Plus, it had been awhile since the customer had been in the department, so she was stressed. I was really ready to die. She was so mad. I tried to apologize, but I don't think she was really happy with me. I wasn't happy with me, either. She left without getting the coupon back because the register wouldn't open. It had to be re-booted and she definitely didn't want to wait.
Oh well. There's always the end of the shopping season to look forward to.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My "Zelig" Life

Well, it's been a month, as usual, so here is my monthly post. I really need to do this more often. It's a lot like my pledge to walk and exercise more. Not working out lately like I want it to, but improving slightly.

The thing is, I always seem to be composing these blogs in my head, but getting it down on "paper" is something else.

This past month has been eventful, if not for me, then friends and family members. Along with work, there have been a lot of events going on. Some fun--some not so fun.

A friend of mine had major surgery this month. I was really worried about her. She has been really sick for a long time now. However, the surgery has gone well and it seems she is well on the road to recovery (had to re-type--otherwise would really look like I can't spell at all). Thank God for the ability to pray and put things in his hands. It works.

Other friends are going thru some tough times right now, so I am once again praying that all goes well for them and all their troubles will soon be ending. They are part of my extended family, so it really is hard to watch them go through this. The fact that part of their originally troubles has ended makes it really hard to wait for the rest of this all to end.

Other than that, this month has just plain been fun. Big football fan that I am, I really loved this weekend. Spent it with my eldest Granddaughter doing the whole football weekend at our "local university" as my co-worker refers to it. Just a hint--GO IRISH! (Sorry, couldn't resist).

We loved the whole thing--especially the part about winning. I'm including a picture of her with a past coach. Sorry to say, I wasn't one of his biggest supporters during the time he coached--losing clouded my opinion then. However, he is apparently still a huge fan and came to the bookstore to sign copies of one of his books. Plus, he was really nice about just taking a picture without our buying any of his books (which I still intend to read). Thanks to Coach Faust--he made my Granddaughter's and my day!
Plus, bandmembers and other fans and great pep rally that really made it extra fun. The "zelig" ( I can only hope I'm spelling that right) part is that every time I go to any event at ND I somehow end up meeting with famous or locally famous people, i.e. Coach Faust, players, band members (America's First University Marching Band, by the way) or someone like that. I don't really plan it, it just happens.
Well, another end to another post. Till next time.