Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Final Christmas Humor...and Happy New Year!

The Hoppin' John (for good luck) is simmering on the stove and the cornmeal muffins (gold) are in the oven.  Tomorrow I'll saute kale (greens for greenbacks) and make rice and a salad.  That's my variation of the traditional Southern New Year's day dinner.  It didn't help last year, so maybe this is the year.

I've also been playing with the slide program and figured I could use the Christmas cartoons I've clipped through the month....and we may as well end the year with a laugh.  It includes cats, dogs, camels and, naturally, political humor.  I hope you find something that gives a chuckle.


Ive seen the New Year arrive in Sydney, Bangkok, Moscow, and Dubai, which is probably good as I'm not likely to be awake when it arrives here!  I do love the fireworks, though.  Wherever you are, I hope you get 2014 off to a safe and healthy start.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Good Bye and Good Riddance 2013!

Well, this year is continuing its reign of terror to the very end. It has made and continues to make its indelible mark...a year not to be forgotten. 

No good deed goes unpunished, and my optimism about Mama being able to visit us at home proved to be a pipe dream. Two days after the visit, she began talking about going home.....to her home, not my home! There had been no problem whatsoever until that time, so I guess it took that long for things to percolate. She became agitated, obstinate and determined. It would be nice for her to visit, but that doesn't seem possible without setting her back.  So, lesson learned!

The Sunday before Christmas, she was complaining that she thought she had a stroke because she couldn't use her left leg without it hurting. The next day she was totally irritable, stayed in bed all day and refused to eat. Late that afternoon, they found her on the floor of her room, lying on her pillows that were neatly lined up, and covered with her blanket.......not at all looking like an accident. By this time she was having trouble walking. So, I figure she fell the day before, but no one saw her or knows when, where or how it happened...and she doesn't remember. In any case, I received a call about 6:30PM and went over. It was decided that she should be checked out and so off we went to the ER. They took the requisite pictures, tests, etc. Her sodium and potassium levels were low and she had cracked her sacrum, which is very painful. She was admitted to a room after 11PM and finally given a pain reliever around midnight. I left as soon as she began to doze.

I returned Christmas Eve and when I entered she was sitting up in bed, having just finished
breakfast. She looked 100% better and seemed to feel much improved. She walked down the hall with one therapist and bathed under the supervision of another......surprising and impressing them all. I should have told them that she would have walked on water to get out! Even so, they did not want to release her (not all tests were back due to holiday staffing), so Christmas was spent in the hospital.  My plan was to spend the day with her and then go home around 5PM to feed the kitties and get some sleep. I made my way home and dealt with the kitties, before heading straight to the shower. I heard the phone ring and checked messages when I got out of the shower. It was the hospital. My mother was trying to pull out the catheter and IV line and they were afraid she would hurt herself. So, I gave Gabby his shot early (which I don't like), collected Mama's Christmas goodie bag of (unwrapped) gifts, and headed back to the hospital. She was restrained, defiant and giddy....a strange combination. She was also hallucinating. Within a few minutes she agreed to take her meds and the nurse explained that she would untie her hands if she would leave the lines alone. She fiddled with them a few times and I had to constrain her hands while they gave her a breathing treatment, but she eventually fell asleep.

After tossing and turning, listening to all the whirrings of the hospital, and watching my mother sleep for a few hours, I decided to go home around 2:45AM and have a few hours in my bed. I asked the nurse to let my mother know I had gone home to care for the cats and would be back around 9AM. I arrived back at 9:15, after stopping at BG to pick up some clothes for her thinking she might be discharged after doing so well the day before.  Wrong! She was having a fit, having pulled out the IV and pulling at the catheter. She was angry that I'd gone home and was not there when she woke up.....just another indication of how little I care for her!. I told her when I left and returned, and that I couldn't stay awake 24/7.....all to no good end. So, I sat there, saying very little, and doing what I could for the rest of the day.

About mid-afternoon I went to the nurse's station and asked how we would handle the evening. I struck up a conversation with a very kind CNA whose mother has dementia and whose father is having a difficult time dealing with it. She advised that I go home and get a good night's sleep....to be able to deal with whatever tomorrow brings. So, at 6PM I said my goodbyes and went home......Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

I came back to the hospital around 9:30AM on Thursday. The nurse said that after I left my mother had walked around and been fine. She was still sullen, snippy and semi-pissed,
but I carried on in my merry fashion. Around 10:30, the discharge nurse came in to tell us that she would be discharged to Belfair. I was so relieved! She had been so nasty and unwilling to do anything that I was afraid she would be sent to a nursing home for rehab. In any case, I was really surprised.....but knew not to get too excited. We didn't actually leave the hospital until 4:30PM! I took her straight to BG and for a minute she seemed happy to be there among people she knew. I got her settled in her room and then had 4 prescriptions filled at the local pharmacy. By the time I got back, she had finished dinner. I talked with her and she wanted to know if she was going to stay there tonight. When I told her she would be staying, she said that if she had knownthat she would not have come!! Merry Christmas!

When I went by the next morning (my days are totally mixed up), she was up and walking
around, but still in a bad mood. Both Saturday and today were a little better. In the meantime, my house, which was once in reasonable order, is now a pit again after days of running in, dropping everything and heading out again. There is no good food in the house (but lots in the fridge about to spoil!), and dismantling all of the Christmas decorations await!! Being a total escapist, I took some photos before that dismantling begins and spent hours numbing my brain by trying to find a slideshow program that does all I want it to do and can be viewed on regular computers and i-products.  This is the result......

So, I hope your holiday was more fun than ours, that you enjoyed time with family and friends.....and that you're looking forward to the New Year.   

As the New Year approaches with hope anew, here's wishing you and yours a wonderful year ahead.  Let us leave behind sadness, regrets and painful times and have a new start filled with good health, contentment, prosperity and moments of joy and wonder.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving is barely a memory and Christmas is fast approaching.  Things have been fine, but life has been non-stop.  Believe it or not, I'm still working on the Aid and Attendance Benefits for my mother.  You may remember that we met with the field officer, who came to Belfair and was very nice and helpful.  I was them appointed her feduciary/custodian by the VA and had to open a new bank account to their specifications.  I went to three local banks, none of whom seemed to know what I was talking about and all requiring different and varied documentation.  Finally I gave in and called Bank of America, with whom I'd closed an account after the big banks screwed our economy, and they didn't hesitate.  After chasing around for two weeks, it took them an hour to set it up.  Everything has been faxed to the VA and I'm praying that all is in order.  If so, we may hear from them whenever they get good and ready!

The first week in December, my cousin Laney and her husband, Julious, came to visit Mama.  We all had a good visit, eating at the usual BBQ place that seems to appeal to everyone.  It was a surprise for Mama and she really enjoyed the day.  With the holidays, medical appointments for my mother and myself, and the usual activities of life, it really has been non-stop.  
Last week I also went to three luncheons.  My neighbor coaxed me into going to the Crescent Lunch Bunch holiday luncheon.  Neither of us go to the regular monthly luncheons, but she said she would go to this one if I would go......and everyone thought I"d just moved there, except those who knew me from my walking!  It was at Callawassee Island Club House and was very nice.  It isn't the kind of thing I'd do on a regular basis, but Ana and I might do it again, once in a while!  The following day I went to a luncheon given by one of the girls in the Progressive Ladies' group.  She and her sister know a lot of people from various backgrounds (she is liberal and her sister is conservative).  It was a very nice affair and an eclectic group.....very enjoyable.  I won the
prize for being the person who moved here from the greatest distance.....hands down!  Friday I had a quiet lunch with Janeen to belatedly celebrate her birthday.  We had planned to go on her birthday, but she became ill and this was our make-up day.  It was good to catch up.
Tuesday Mama came by the house for the first time.  I'd been wanting her to come to visit the kitties but every time I thought of it she started talking about going home, which made me leery about bringing her over.  Tuesday we went to pick up her hearing aid and she was talking about going home. I put her off by saying it was still winter, both of her close friends are in nursing homes, and any other excuse I could conjure.  Then she asked didn't we have a house here!  I told her my house was here and asked if she wanted to stop by for a few minutes to see Christmas decorations and visit with Big Kitty.  It was all spur-of-the-moment and it worked out fine.  She loved the house (all new to her!) and Christmas decorations....and she loved time with Smokey.  Finally I said we'd better get back or they'd wonder what had happened to us, and there was no problem.  I had gotten some reindeer antlers at the dollar store and suggested that we wear them in to give everyone a laugh and she was all up for it.  Everyone got a kick out of it and she got a warm welcome when we arrived.  All in all, it turned out very well and I'm hoping to have her back on Christmas Day, if all goes well.

Yesterday, I hit the wall! I was so tired that I didn't even turn on the Christmas tree or other lights.  I was in bed by 6PM, totally exhausted and brain dead.  Your holidays are probably as hectic, but hopefully we all make it through in good form and good health. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I do hope things settle a bit in January and that I can "simplify, simplify, simplify" my life.  In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season.....a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!