Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Fallout

'Twas The Day After Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurting -- even the mouse.

The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while
Upstairs the family continued to snore.

And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
Went into the kitchen and started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an oversized mirror.

The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said "U.S. POSTMAN."

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.

Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:

"Now Dillard's, now Broadway's, now Penny's and Sears
Here's Levitz's and Target's and Mervyn's--all here!!

To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall,
Now chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!"

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.

He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,

Author Unknown

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Years ago in Dhahran, at one of the holiday parties at the golf club, I won a Christmas CD by Amy Grant, whom I've just recently seen in Savannah. Every Christmas it's one of the CDs that spends the most time in the player and this particular song is one of my favorites. So, I'd like to share it with you, along with all of the hope and good wishes it expresses for all of us and our world.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another Quick Update

Just a note to update you on my mother.  Saturday night she slept like a rock. She went to bed around 7:30 and, when I checked on her at 10:30 before going to bed myself, she was in the exact same position as earlier and was making snoring sounds. The next morning she looked and felt much, much better.  There was very little confusion and she was even aware of some of the things she saw and did. We had a leisurely morning and then went to PetSmart for a truckload of kitty grub.  She also wanted to walk around outside a bit to keep her legs going, so we took a little walk.  I didn't want her to overdo it but at the same time I thought the activity would do her good.  So, by Sunday evening, I was more encouraged.

Unfortunately, the "other mother" showed up yesterday.  It was like walking into her room in the hospital on Saturday and taking one look at her and knowing something was wrong.  She was not out of touch with reality as she was in the hospital, she was just totally, totally depressed, fatalistic, miserable.  She had a followup appointment with the surgeon, who gave her a good report and dismissed her.  Her response to that was "I hope he's right."  When she's like this, there is absolutely no good or hope in her world. She just sits and lets her mind take her to the darkest extremes she can imagine.  It makes me very sad for her and it sucks any joy right out of the room. 

It's 8:45AM on Tuesday and so far she seems good.  She looks rested and sounds herself. We're still taking it one day at a time. Here's hoping!!  Thanks to those who have been in touch and those who have kept us in your thoughts.  It means more than you know.

Merry Christmas!
Is it over yet?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dimes Spinning....

Anyone my age knows that life can change on the turn on a dime and for the last few days the dimes have been spinning.  No sooner had I posted the message on Thursday evening than I heard my mother in the back of the house.  She was up and active after a day of hardly being able to get out of bed, not being able to eat and generally depressed and fearing that she wouldn’t make it through this round of antibiotics.  Then suddenly, energy abounds and she’s 180 degrees from the person earlier in the day.  But after an hour or so of this (and as things get more and more bazaar), and thinking that she’s settled in bed for the night, I hear her talking in her room.  I get up and she’s taken the bed apart and is seeing something that she needs to get off it.  That’s when I know she and I need help.  I just go back to my bedroom and get dressed.  I ask her if she wants to go look at Christmas lights and she agrees.  We put on her robe and we go to the ER.  She walks in with me without question or complaint, which is the second sign that something is terribly wrong!  She goes through the entry and triage with great ease and jocularity…….which is not my mother when it comes to doctors and hospitals.  She didn’t even register a complaint when they told her she was going to be admitted overnight.  Anyway, I got her settled and in bed at the hospital and got home around 3:30AM, returning the next morning (Friday) at 9AM.  By that time they were administering fluids, sodium and magnesium (which were low), and loads of antibiotics for the infection associated with the abscess.  She also had white cells in her urine which might be a urinary infection and, I was told, that can often play havoc with older people.  Friday seemed to go well and her spirits improved, though there were fleeting moments of seeing things that were not there and general disorientation.  The doctor came around 7PM and was pleased with the improvement and thought it was basically under control.  I got her settled for the night and went home to prepare to bring her home today.

Today when I went into her room, it was like night and day…….she was angry (accused me of trying to dump her), combative (even to the nurses before I arrived), not wanting to leave the hospital!!  She wanted to go to her home in NC, not home with me!  She was combative to the point of the nurse calling a discharge officer to speak with her to determine whether or not she was in touch with reality enough to leave.  Eventually she settled enough that they could get her out the door, but I was not feeling confident about being able to handle her.  Actually, the discharge officer talked with her first and seemed to have as much trepidation as I. He came out and spoke with me and said, “Let’s just go in and see how it goes and we’ll go from there.”  Not a lot happened that made me think I could handle her single-handedly (how can I even go grocery shopping if my mother is at home talking to people who aren’t there?), but he moved forward with the discharge, telling me to call her doctor if things got worse!  

I’m hoping that some genuine rest and familiar routines will bring her back to normal.  If not, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do.  In any case, we came home and had lunch.  We stripped (not a lot left to do) and made her bed, and I put on the laundry while she rested.  She seems less combative but is still seeing kitties that aren’t here (as though we don’t have enough in reality!).  Needless to say, I’m playing this minute by minute. While I'm really too emotional to talk about it, I do appreciate being able to express my feelings here and I hope you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Just a Quick Update

My mother had three medical appointments in three day, so not much else has been accomplished.  On one of our trips to the island, we went to the Westin Hotel for their Christmas tree display.  The trees were sponsored by various groups or businesses and then put up for auction.  In many cases, something very nice came with the, services, etc.  I just thought it would be something Christmasy that my mother could do easily.  After that we stopped by the quilting guild that I'd discovered when Eileen and Tom were here.  Eileen will probably be surprised to know, as I was, that the whole display had been changed to a Christmas theme.  There was only one quilt in the whole display that was there when we first visited.  It really was a delight to see, so here goes........more Christmas stuff than you ever want to see!!

This always seems to be the season for giving and my tradition is to make a donation in honor of my treasured friends, most of whom are fortunate enough to already have everything.......and worldly-wise enough to recognize the needs of others and appreciate the gesture. So, I'm always looking for charitable organizations that really stretch a buck.  I ran across this article in O Magazine and wanted to share it with you, as it perfectly exemplifies my idea of the Christmas spirit......and shows that even a small donation can do a lot.

How to Spend a Little and Give a Lot - Small Donations
From  |  From the December 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Twenty bucks buys movie tickets or a weekend's worth of lattes. But you can do a world of good - from feeding an endangered animal to educating a child - for even less.

   $1    Two books shipped to a classroom in Africa. In many schoolrooms on the continent, 20 children share one textbook.

    $2   A set of drumsticks for a low-income public school student learning to play the drums.

   $3   A field trip to a museum, concert, or theatrical production for a high-risk youth.

    $4  Two hours of prepaid phone time for a soldier stationed overseas to call home. Started by teen siblings in 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has since mailed more than 1.5 million calling cards to American troops.

     $5   A one-burner kerosene stove for a family that would typically rely on an open fire. The stove is reusable and less environmentally taxing than the cutting of timber.

      $6   Measles vaccinations for 15 children in a developing country.

     $7   A week's worth of food for an abandoned dog or cat at a shelter run by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

       $8   A medical teaching doll, to be used in educating a child about his or her cancer treatment.

       $10   A box of nails used to adapt a disabled veteran's house, from Homes for Our Troops, an organization that provides full accessibility to the injured at no cost.

        $10   A day's worth of fresh fruits and vegetables to feed two chimpanzees—most of which have been orphaned by poachers—at the Jane Goodall Institute's Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo.

       $10   Two specialized bottles for babies born with a cleft palate, who otherwise might suffer from malnutrition before receiving corrective surgery.

    $10  Cloth and tools so an Afghan woman can become self-sufficient by taking a six-month tailoring course through Creating Hope International and the Afghan Institute for Learning.

        $11   Eleven trees to be planted in Alabama communities devastated by the April 2011 tornadoes.

       $12  Twenty pounds of multipurpose soap to help keep families germ-free around the world, through Oxfam.

       $14   Two nutritious meals delivered by volunteers from Meals on Wheels to a housebound senior citizen.

       $15  A backpack and school supplies for one homeless or low-income urban child.

Merry Christmas to All

Monday, December 12, 2011

Are We There Yet??

For some reason I feel that if we can make it through Christmas things will settle down a bit and get back to "normal".  Deep down inside, I know that isn't likely to be  the case.  Things kind of came to a head for me Saturday when I spent the entire afternoon in bed - not ill, just lying there resting.  That's something that I NEVER do, but I didn't even fight it....and the longer I lay there the better it felt.  Once up, I feared it would interfere with my night's sleep, but it didn't.  I slept like a log and Sunday morning I felt human again.  It never dawned on me that I might just be physically tired.

Things have not been uneventful.  My mother had what we later found out was an abscess.  After a week of home treatments, I put my foot down and made a doctor's appointment, totally under protest.  He sent her straight to a surgeon who opened and drained it.  She will see him again today Monday but there has been relief.  She has had to go on another round of antibiotics, which just totally wrecks her system.  I'm going to talk to the doctor about that to see if there is anything that will prevent the nausea, weakness, light-headedness, etc.

My car was well overdue for an oil change and tire rotation, balance and alignment.  So, Thursday afternoon was devoted to that, which should only have taken about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  All was going well until the girl called me over to show me something about my car.  I knew it was bad news when I walked into the garage area and saw three men looking up at my car as the oil drained out.  The screw that is opened to allow the oil to drain had been over torqued and stripped.  It could not be repaired and would require a new oil pan.  The folks at Firestone were very nice and called Toyota, where it had last been serviced, and explained the situation.  They sent a tow truck and took my car to their place.  I was waiting for excuses as to why it would be at my expense, and there was a hint of that, but I wound up paying for the cost of an oil change and they covered the rest (including tow truck and loaner car).  Even so, I was gone from about 1:30 until 6PM, turning an otherwise good day into an ordeal........but I'm thankful that it wasn't worse!

After a shaky start, Sunday turned out to be a pretty good day (and seems to be carrying over into today!).  We had plans to go to a local Christmas musical review but Mama wasn't feeling well in the morning.  I told her we could do whatever she felt like doing but to take it easy and see how she felt by early afternoon  (program started at 3PM).  Finally she said she didn't want to totally miss Christmas and began to get dressed.   Once she got up and got going, things began to improve......which reinforces my feeling that her biggest problem is the mental strength to keep going.  We got dolled up in our Christmas colors and went to the show, which we both enjoyed.  She has been feeling better since.  My challenge is to get her out of that silent room where she liescontemplating all things negative, past, present and future.  That can't be good!

In the evening, my friend Elaine and I went into Savannah to see Vince Gill and Amy Grant.  When Elaine called, I accepted without knowing anything but who was performing.....I didn't know that it, too, was a Christmas program.  It was totally enjoyable from beginning to end.  It was also nice just to have a relaxing evening out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Update

It's been a while since I've written, though I haven't forgotten you!  There continues to be so many ups and downs here that 1) I find it difficult to plan very far ahead or 2) to find the emotional energy to write when I do find the time.  My mother seems to have one physical problem after another, compounded by her feeling of hopelessness.  I've tried to provide distractions, including a radio/CD player and several books on tape.  As far as I know, she hasn't even turned on the radio once and the books on tape were returned to the library unopened.  She also has a TV in her room, which she never turns on, preferring to lie in a totally silent room.  She has been up the last several days and night-before-last we rode around the neighborhood and Bluffton to see the Christmas lights.  Yesterday, we went shopping and she seemed to have a good day until evening when she went to bed at 6PM.  I keep hoping that she will come to grips with the past and the future so that she can enjoy some of the present.  That isn't to say that it will be easy, at her age and with her physical problems, but from my perspective much of it is emotional and mental outlook (she won't even call her friends in NC), as well as the physical.  Anyway, that's where we are, which is why there hasn't been a whole lot to write about.

 Midweek we finished the decorating of the house and I'm now contemplating holiday baking.  While my enthusiasm is low, it is something we can do together and something we usually at some point we'll undertake it. There is also a Christmas musical review on Saturday at 3PM which we plan/hope to attend.  In the past we've taken in some evening shows but my mother rarely stays up past 7PM anymore.  So, I'm looking for things that take place earlier.

One of the pleasures of the season has been the online Advent calendar that Eileen sent me.  It's done by Jacquie Lawson and those of you who know her online greeting cards are familiar with the quality of her work.  It's absolutely fantastic.  The holiday scene is of London and each day there is an ornament to click for a full scene to develop.  Once that is done, there is an information center which gives more information about that particular area of the city.  It's beautiful and informative......and at night, the London scene turns dark and the holiday lights come on.  When the calendar is minimized, the icon of the desktop is a snowglobe----believe me, it has been thoroughly and creatively developed.  Thank you you can tell, we're really enjoying it.

As for me, I try to make a conscious effort to continue some of the things I enjoy.  Our weather has been fantastic (76 today) and my walks are a lifesaver.  PAL is also very calming and rewarding for me and I look forward to it.  I also have plans to have lunch with a friend on Thursday and a concert in Savannah on Sunday.........but I have to confess that sometimes it's easier NOT to do something than to muster the energy to be social!!  Bah-humbug!!

I hope the Christmas spirit is more lively where you are and that you're enjoying the joys of the season.  Please add a comment or drop me an email and let me know how you're spending your holiday.
Merry Christmas to All!