Monday, July 30, 2007

1934 - 2007

My Mom quietly slipped away this morning after a month in the hospital, two weeks of which were spent in ICU hooked up to a ventilator and other invasive tubes and wires. Sadly her organs just gave out and couldn't support her anymore. She didn't care for the tubes and let us know but we thought we were trying to give her a fighting chance. Howard and I were with her and I was holding her hand at the end. She had many friends and extended family members who will miss her dearly. She was proud of her sharp mind and was always challenging herself with games to help keep it that way. Just recently she started learning about Marine Biology so she would be able to discuss it with Tyler. This picture was the last one taken of her, right around my birthday on June 7. I had just gotten a new camera and dropped by her apartment and spent a few minutes trying it out. Eventhough she will be missed we know she's gone on to a better place for her, one without pain and suffering and where she can get around freely now. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Do You Ever Feel....

Do you ever feel that you just can't take any more? You can't take any more bad news, sadness, stress? Today that's what I'm feeling. I know tomorrow the feeling will lighten a little but today it is heavy. My dear friend, Claire, the one I visited in Valparaiso, IN about a month ago lost her husband to a heart attack last night. He wasn't that old, wasn't ill and it was quite unexpected. My heart breaks for her and her kids, all 3 of which are far too young to have to be without a father. This loss on top of my own Mother and Father seems like too much, at least for today. It's just so sad.
My Mother will be taken off the ventilator on Monday. It's time; she's not improving and the bottom line, which I have to keep reminding myself, is that she would not want to live like this; tubes down her throat, hands tied down, laying in a bed staring at the ceiling when she is awake but most of the time sleeping because of the pain medication. It's just so sad.
My Father will probably have another chemo treatment next week. He has been sick following the first treatment and is just starting to feel a little better. His spirits are high and he's fighting the good fight. It's just so sad.
Today is a sad day. Tomorrow the sun will come up, it will be a beautiful day here in Michigan. It will be Howard's birthday and we will all try to be happy. We will have cake and cards and presents and appreciate what we do have and that we are relatively healthy, happy and just simply alive. Tomorrow will be a happier day, hopefully. Just one day. Then it will be Monday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's All New To Me!

Ok, granted, I haven't interviewed for a job in over 12 years, but this was a new one to me: a working interview. A couple weeks ago I took my resume to a local veterinarian's office who were looking for an additional receptionist. I filled out their application, dropped off my resume and letter and waited to hear from them. Finally on Monday I got a call to come in for an interview on Tuesday at 10:00. I arrived for my interview and had to wait for a while because they were so busy. Finally the time arrived but we had to conduct the interview outside on a bench because they were so busy there were no spare rooms. The interview didn't last long but seemed to go pretty well and at the end the practice manager (that was his title) asked if I could come in on Wednesday for a few hours. I agreed to come in from 8:00 - 11:00. When I got there I was introduced and it was explained to others that I was there for a "working interview". News to me but I have to admit that on Tuesday he didn't say I had the job but didn't say I hadn't. I guess "working interviews" can be a good thing for both parties. Maybe I wouldn't like them or how they did business. Maybe they wouldn't like me either and didn't think I would fit their image, or whatever. The first thing I decided was that this is not just a "receptionist" position unless those have changed too in the last 12 years. Receptionist jobs I was familiar with were jobs where people answered the phone, took messages, maybe booked some appointments, got clients coffee. This is a front office job and it's b-u-s-y!! When the 3 hours were up the manager and I went into an office, he asked me how things went, I said I thought things gone well, that there would be a lot to learn but I thought I was up for the task and he said he would talk to the "girls" and be in touch! End of working interview! So... now I wait. Wait to see if/when they will call back. At least I have my first interview in 12 years behind me. Maybe it will be my last, maybe only the first of many! Updates to follow...

Zoe, lookin' cute!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Good Shopping Weekend

Amber arrived bright and early Saturday morning! How she gets up for these early flights I'll never know! After she finished her greetings to Scott and Zoe, she and I were on the road to the jewelers so she could order the wedding bands! How exciting! She wasn't too happy about leaving her engagement ring behind for a couple weeks but it needed a little tweaking so that it will fit right with the wedding band. When we finished there we were off to the fancy schmancy mall in a hunt for a perfect "Mother of the Bride" dress! We headed straight to Macy's as several of my friends have had good luck there with their dress shopping. We swept through the department and brought an armful of possibilities back to the dressing room. The first selection was a good one, only needed a little alteration. The second one was nice but Amber had a hard time getting past the beading of large flowers. Reminded her of a Mexican fiesta, I think! The third selection seemed perfect; wouldn't need alterations, good color, simple yet elegant! And the best part: IT WAS ON SALE! It was 50% off!!! Even if it hadn't been on sale it would have been worth it to find something that fit so well and was found so quickly!! We didn't even feel that we needed to keep looking, just in case we found something better. This was it! So, that hurdle has been cleared and I am all set with the perfect Mother of the Bride dress!! Now if I can only find the perfect shoes to go with it!
On Sunday Amber and I went up to the hospital to visit my Mother. She actually seemed a little more alert today. Apparently she has an infection though that she contracted in the hospital. They are treating it and hoping for the best. It seems that for every little step forward she takes 3 or 4 backwards. It's slow going and she's not out of the woods yet. They want to do dialysis as much as possible as that's really the only way to get the fluid out of her body and then hopefully things will start working again.
Amber's on her way back home now. I think she got a lot accomplished in two short days. In just two weeks she and Andrew will both be back this way to participate in the Bridal Parties/Luncheons here in Michigan on both the West and East coasts! Exciting times!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hospitals, Dr.'s and Dialysis, Oh My

That's my life in a nutshell lately. Call the hospital, get an update, go feed the cat, get Mom's mail, go to the hospital, get more updates, try to track down Dr.'s for more information, talk to the kidney dialysis nurse, try to figure out the system, when to call, what to ask, who to talk to. My Mom's condition is much the same, still on the ventilator, still receiving dialysis daily, kidneys beginning to function a little, fluid in lungs lessening a little, still sedated or too sleepy to wake up and even know if I'm there. It is just so hard to watch someone in that condition, so helpless. I sit looking at her and wonder if she truly knew all that was being done to her if she would have wanted this after all, even though a week ago she said she wanted to do whatever was necessary to keep her alive as long as there was a chance she would make it. I try to be optimistic with the little improvements she seems to be having. Try not to think about what they will have to do if she can't stay on the ventilator. Thinking, always thinking.
The rest of the family is doing well. Howard's busy with work, hasn't gotten to play golf in a couple weeks now for one reason or another. Tyler's plugging along in his second semester of summer school and has his fall classes all set. We've also made his reservation to get to the wedding in September. It will be so good to see him as it will be almost 9 months by then since we last saw him. Scott's enjoying SCAMP and hanging out with his friends. The weather here has been hot lately so he's enjoying all those trips to the park and beach with the little Scampers. Amber is coming home this weekend. We plan to do some power shopping to try to find something for me to wear as Mother-of-the-Bride!! It will be great to have her home, even for a couple days. Plans for the wedding are going well except that the D.J. just advised he can't make it after all. The search is on for another D.J. Guess we should be glad he gave us 2 months notice instead of two weeks!! We are all anxiously awaiting the Bridal Luncheons/Parties that are coming up next month. It should be a fun time!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Wish I Had Better News...

After my Mom's dialysis yesterday, Howard and I went up to the hospital. Mom seemed disoriented and very tired. Since she had fallen asleep they put her bipap machine on so we left. At 11:45 that night the nurse called me and said Mom had taken a turn for the worse and wasn't able to breathe well enough to push the CO2 from her lungs and they needed to put her on a ventilator. They also wanted to transfer her to ICU. I gave my permission after obtaining what facts I could as they assured me this would help her. Then at 2:45 a.m. the nurse called again wanting to put a line in her vein so they could take her blood gas levels more accurately. When Howard and I got to the hospital today it was tough to see how she was hooked up to all these machines. They are giving her medication to keep her comfortable and relaxed. She didn't know we were there this morning. When I called the nurse this evening for an update she advised me that things were basically the same. The kidney Dr. advised they would need to do dialysis again tomorrow and the nurse said Mom probably wouldn't be awake until after that so it probably wouldn't be wise to come to the hospital but I should call for updates. It's just impossible to know which direction this will go. As long as the Dr.'s tell me there is a chance she will improve, that's the direction we will go. That was her wish. I just hope she has the strength to come back from all this.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Update on My Mom

Just when things seemed to be looking up a little with my Mother, things took a turn. She was moved Wednesday night to the rehab center but Thursday her kidneys started having problems. After watching and waiting again yesterday, as of this morning the kidney Dr. has decided that she must undergo dialysis. Seems her kidneys are just not able to clear the toxins from her body and they need a little help. She is very weak and tired but hopefully this will do the trick. It should be over in a few hours and then we will go in for a visit. I've been warned that she will be quite worn out from this but hopefully will start perking up after that. If this one time doesn't work, they will probably have to do it again in a couple days. The hope is that at some point things will be cleaned up and the kidneys will start functioning better on their own.

I'm not sure why I want to put these flowers in here. Probably just to try to make things seem more cheerful when they really are depressing and worrisome.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Life goes on. My Mother was moved last night from the hospital where she has been for 12 days to a rehab facility, which is located in a different hospital, a little further away than the first. They are letting her have the bipap machine (for sleep apnea) which the Dr.'s have deemed a medical necessity. Now the hard work will begin for her. There will be all kinds of therapists in and out each day helping to get her back on her feet and back to her apartment, eventually. I've been back and forth to the hospital nearly every day. I've also been to her apartment every day to feed the cat, take in the mail, check things out. It's good I don't have a job right now so that I can get to the hospital to talk to the Dr.'s every day, coordinate who's seeing her, stay on top of her care, etc. I would hope that everyone has someone in their life who can do that for them. I am my Mother's only someone. So, overall, the news about her is positive.

Then Tuesday, my Father calls me from Cali. This is rare, my Father doesn't call unless someone is sick or dead. He gives me the bad news; he has lung cancer, stage 4, inoperable. He tells me "not to panic", not to jump on a plane and come out there. He starts chemo next week. I don't say much, I try to let it all sink in, what this means. It's just so sad. He quit smoking 2 years ago but 50 years of smoking can't be good for your body. What do you say? I'm sorry, Dad. I'm sorry you have cancer. He was upbeat, saying he will begin chemo next week but now probably won't be able to make it to Amber's wedding in September. I know I will think of what I should say, will say, sometime soon, but right now, it's still sinking in, what this means, how this will change..... life.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

4th of July

We spent the 4th over at the McGinnis pool. Cheryl & Mark put on a great spread of chicken, potatoes and corn! So fresh and good! It was warm enough for a swim in their pool which the boys all enjoyed. Scott came with us and the McGinnis kids were there so it was nice to get everyone together. After dinner we watched the fireworks from their back deck. The park where they shoot the fireworks from is close to their house so it's a perfect location for fireworks viewing. My new camera has a special setting to take pictures of fireworks so I had to try that out too.

Cool Slideshows!

Freak Summer Hail Storm!!!

Last week we had this freak summer hail storm. It's the worst hail I have seen here in Michigan since we've lived here. I was out on the deck grilling and setting the table out there for dinner. I just went into the house for something and when I returned it was starting to sprinkle. I had just enough time to get the meat off the grill and put the umbrella down when the wind started blowing. Within 15 minutes the wind was whipping and it was hailing and pouring rain! Less than 1/2 hour later it was all done and this is what was left. The pile is in the front yard where it poured off the room. My poor flowers took a beating and some were decapitated!! On a positive note: we needed the rain!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Meet the Porters!!

That's what we did yesterday! We drove west, they drove east and we met near the middle. This was the first meeting between Howard and I and Andrew's parents (Amber's future in-laws). We all thought it would be nice to meet at least once before the wedding in September. Hopefully we will see each other again in August when they host a party for the happy couple at their home and then we are hosting a Bridal Luncheon here in town the next day. We enjoyed a nice leisurely lunch and talked about all sorts of things, including our kids. It was a nice afternoon.

After lunch, Howard and I headed up to Mt. Pleasant to The Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. Howard had always wondered what it was like up there and since we were only an hour away we decided to go. That place was crazy! So much noise from all the machines. It sounded like an orchestra warming up (for 3 hours)!! I hit the slots (mostly 2 cent and nickle) and Howard played Black Jack. My money was gone by the end of the 3 hours and Howard made $4. It's not somewhere we would go often but it was fun for the afternoon.

We had to put my Mother in the hospital on Friday. She's suffering from congestive heart failure brought on by sleep apnea possibly. That seems to be the popular diagnosis anyway. I believe this is something she will be able to recover from but it's going to be a long process I'm afraid. She didn't get in this condition overnight and she won't be able to get out of it overnight either. We have spoken to her Dr.'s and they seem to be on top of things and know that we are there often and asking questions.

The kids are all fine, mostly. Amber is still finishing up the final touches for the wedding plans. Andrew was feeling under the weather this past weekend but seems to be on the mend now. We were worried about you Andrew!! Glad you're feeling better! Tyler finished his first summer semester and started his second summer semester yesterday. He's going to school 4 days a week this semester and keeps talking about getting a job but I don't think he really wants to. I mean, he would like the money from a job but it's been nice that he hasn't had to work and has just been able to concentrate on school for once. Scott seems to be enjoying SCAMP and has just finished his second week. In his spare time he's hanging out with his buddies playing frisbee golf and eating.

Howard actually took a few days off work, Friday, Monday and today. He has tomorrow off for the 4th, of course. He's looking pretty relaxed for a change and hasn't been working, just checking his e-mail. Guess old habits are hard to break!

Tomorrow we will go to a craft show in the park and then over to a friend's house for the afternoon. They have a pool and a perfect location for viewing the fireworks, right from their backyard!

Happy 4th Everyone!!