Thursday, March 30, 2006

"God heard amen, wherever you are ..."

Grandma F appears to be leaving us tonight. Her skin is pale. Her breathing was labored all afternoon, and she told me a few times that she was very tired. She did eat some mandarin orange slices and tomato soup from her dinner tray. She also drank some “regular” iced tea that I brought her from home. Joanne, the hospice nurse, came in around 7 PM, and wrote orders for 2 more drugs, both to ease the breathing effort for Grandma. Joanne is an angel, and I was glad she was around tonight. When she saw how Grandma was doing, she called someone to take over for her at her next stop so she could stay with us longer. When I left Grandma around 11 PM, her breathing was less difficult and it was even. Her pulse was strong. She was in a deep sleep, and didn’t respond when I spoke to her.

I told her how much we all loved her. Over and over again.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"And it stopped short, never to go again, when the old man died ..."

It's Wednesday already? How did that happen?

Friday was my 47th (ACK!) birthday, and I milked it for the whole weekend. Michael and Patti came to visit on Friday night, and left on Sunday. Always love the time we spend with them. Michael whooped our butts in a game of Uno on Saturday night. We played a new variation: When you play a 7, you get to choose another player to switch hands with. When you play a 1, everyone passes the hand they have to the player next to them. That can really change the whole damn thing! (I was the big loser.)

For my birthday, I got sweet cards from the Sisters, Emilie gave me a Lane Bryant gift card, Jimmy gave me The Soprano's Family Cookbook, another book full of pictures and trivia about The Sopranos, and a Finding Nemo DVD, Adam and Brandy sent me a really pretty card and then gave me a Chicago DVD and a book I've been wanting, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. Mother sent me money, as she always does ... (Every time she does that, I tell her, "You just gave away another half a day in assisted living!") Adam and Brandy took us out to Macaroni Grill on Sunday night, and you know I had the Pasta Milano. And Jimmy gave me a bakery birthday cake with my name on it ... the first one I've EVER had. (My sister Laura and I are the only two people in the world who actually PREFER the icing used on cakes like that.) I was so happy to see that cake, knowing that next year I won't be eating sugar. I enjoyed that lard and sugar more than you know.

When you add all those nice gifts with the sweet attention AND a visit from Michael and Patti, you can see why my birthday weekend was so nice. Thanks so much, all of you!


Grandma F was not in good shape yesterday. She was getting her THIRD new roommate when I arrived around 5 PM. This lady has bad Alzheimer's, and was coming to Dogwood Acres from home, her daughter no longer able to care for her. I think they told me she's been taking care of her Mom for over 15 years. The lady's name is Louise, and her husband came in to see her ... he's in a wheelchair. She had several family members in and out, so I stayed until after 8:00, just to make sure Grandma didn't get upset with all the noise and commotion. Louise mumbles ... almost as bad as the former roommate who passed away. But I did hear several "Goddamn"s and "You bastard"s in her mumbling. Every time, her family would have a fit, telling her to hush. They seem like really nice people. The daughter, Mary, was having a really hard time leaving her Mom. I can't say that I blame her.

Anyway, back to Grandma ... she's not eating much at all. And last night, there was NO talking. She seemed exhausted after eating a few bites of applesauce. Her breathing was so rapid and shallow, I finally asked the nurse to give her a dose of the morphine that hospice prescribed to slow her breathing down a little. She took the smallest dose prescribed, and I never really saw a difference while I was there. One of my favorite CNA's (Jemeena) was assigned to Grandma last night, and she promised me she'd watch her breathing.

I'm really hoping Louise doesn't upset her, and that Louise stays put on her side of the room.


On Monday, I had my 2nd Group Session at Dr. Bour's. Enjoyed it a lot, and got to meet a sweet lady who's actually having her surgery as I type this.

Then yesterday I had my psychologist appointment. Dr. Russell is a very nice guy. We went over my test results ... he had a paper describing me perfectly, based on those test answers I gave about a month ago. It was surprising how well he was able to tell "who I am". He said he would have normally given me a "yellow light", meaning I'd have to wait to have my paperwork submitted until I had three weeks on an anti-depressant, based on the fact that I am dealing with depression. But since I saw Dr. Bour on March 6th, and started on Lexapro on that date, Dr. Russell said he'd give me the "green light". I am beginning to notice an even keel with my moods since starting the drug. They say it takes longer than 3 weeks to notice a real difference, but I really do feel a change already.

Dr. Russell asked several questions of me ... the one that I remember most clearly: "How are you prepared to deal with the possible complications or even death from this surgery?" I told him that I believe we all go when it's our time to go. I also said that I had faith in Dr. Bour and his skill as a surgeon ... and, in the past, I have always done really well with surgeries. But the main reason I have peace with my choice is this: My quality of life and life expectancy is going nowhere but down if I DON'T have this surgery. I have no doubt of that.

As I was leaving, I stopped to ask the receptionist about how long I might expect to wait to hear from my insurance company. She went to ask Kim, and Kim's answer was "4 to 6 weeks". I hated to hear that. Hopefully, that was Kim's worst case scenario answer.

But I guess I have no choice now ... the wait begins. You know you'll be the first to know if I hear anything.


On this day 12 years ago, I was forced to say a last goodbye to my Dad. He was in a hospital CCU bed, attached to a million wires and he even had a tube in the side of his neck ... it had been a rough couple of days for him. He had a heart attack at home the day before, and had several more after an ambulance took him to the hospital. The doctor explained that they could keep reviving him, but his heart was so damaged by his lung disease that his quality of life would really be terrible, if he even made it out of the hospital. We were given the awful choice to make ... and we decided to tell the doctors to stop bringing him back. With the next heart attack, the nurse came to get us (my mother and my sisters and me), and we were able to be with him as he left. Most assuredly a moment in time I will never forget.

Daddy had COPD -- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease -- a gift given to him from all those years of cigarette smoking. He was offically diagnosed with it around 1979. For 15 years, it progressed ... stealing much of his joy for life and his incredible sense of humor. He stopped going to church, since he could no longer sing in the choir. He had a beautiful baritone voice ... before he got sick, he enjoyed singing in Barbershop Quartets. Hell, he'd still sing for us every chance he got, even after he lost his ability to sing in public.

He cherished his family, of that I have no doubt. He was proud of his daughters, even though none of us ever really did a damn thing to be proud of. And as much as he loved and adored his daughters, that pride was magnified a hundred times over again when his grandchildren were born. Adam got first honors ... everything the child did was a miracle in his Grandpa's eyes. I still have a tiny t-shirt my Dad had made for Adam ... it says "Precious and Little". That was Daddy's nickname for Adam, even before he was born. (It got changed to "A'm" after Emilie came along, and pronounced Adam without the middle letters.) Josh was born to Sister Kay next, and Daddy always called him "Joshua D". 5 months later, Emilie arrived ... and Grandpa called her "Emonie", since that's how 2-year-old Adam prounounced his sister's name. Finally Beth was born ... "BeffieLou" to her Grandpa. I hope all four of them realize how important and incredibly special they were to him.

He loved Miller Genuine Draft, classical music, Car Talk with Click and Clack and A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, Jim Beam on ice, America's Funniest Home Videos, "Stuff", carrot cake, oak trees, birds, and iced tea with lemon. He loved to tinker on anything. He loved to take naps ("I'm going to rest my eyes for a little while.") He loved to read. He loved marching bands. (He played the trombone.) He loved his brothers back in Minnesota. He loved me.

Sometimes I see him in my dreams at night ... those are my favorite dreams. It blows my mind to consider the fact that I haven't seen his face or heard his voice in 12 long years. I miss his silly, dry dry dry humor. I miss the letters he would write to me after we moved to South Carolina, always stuffed with a week's worth of "Calvin and Hobbes" and "The Far Side" comic strip clippings from his newspaper. I miss his old junker truck, with the Ah-oooo-ga horn that mortified my mother. I miss his rainbow suspenders. I miss the feel of his big hugs. I miss him at Christmas, when he would open his gifts with his pocketknife, and then ALWAYS exclaim, "Awwww you shouldn't have!" I miss Daddy.

My Grandfather's clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor.
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.

It was bought on the morn of the day he was born,
It was always his treasure and pride,
And it stopped short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"I’m not afraid to cry every once in a while ..."

I'd claim to have Writer's Block if I was a writer.

The days are all the same ... nothing to distingush a Monday from a Thursday. Laundry, driving over to see about Grandma F, checking my e-mail, cooking dinner, reading about gastric bypass, procrastinating over cleaning the house -- that's every single day for me.



This week I was absolutely stunned and shocked to learn that Sister Kay's life was, once again, in chaos after a giant tree landed in her bedroom. On Monday night, Columbus GA had some fierce winds during a storm, and for the 2nd time in less than a year, Kay's house has been severely damaged by a falling tree. This one actually came through the roof. Major damage was done to her bedroom, and Beth's room took a bad hit, as well. Now she has learned she will have to move into an apartment for a few months while the repairs are made. Daddy always used to tell Laura and me that we should be kinder to our sister ... "She has a full plate and no fork", he'd say. I'm thinking Daddy was right.

Hang in there, Kaydee. Brighter days are surely ahead for you.


Grandma F was in her wheelchair at lunchtime yesterday. She ate practically nothing, saying her tummy was upset. When she asked to go back to bed, I was saddened to see that she could barely move herself. Getting her 99 pounds out of the wheelchair was impossible for her to do by herself. Looks like she has lost a lot of strength and mobility during this last bout of pnuemonia. She seemed more fatigued than usual yesterday, too.

Monday, March 20, 2006

"That's just who I am this week ..."

Happy Spring. Don't mind the sleet. Ugh.


Grandma F got a new roommate over the weekend. She was there on Saturday when Jimmy and I visited. Her family is a bit loud, but she is a very sick lady. She's only 76 years old, but has some kind of cancer. I think she came to Dogwood Acres from the hospital. She was a little grumpy when she thought I worked there, but when I introduced myself to her, she warmed up a bit. She seems to be in pain. When I was in there on Sunday, it wasn't long before an ambulance came to take her back to the hospital. I overheard them saying that one of her drains in her belly was "pouring out fluid". Poor thing.

So Grandma is alone in the room again. She asked for crushed ice yesterday, which she ate with a spoon. She said it was the best ice ever.


Jimmy started on the taxes yesterday ... not finished yet, I guess. He had 3 of our trees cut down on Friday, and many more trimmed up. Now he'll have to work for days getting the logs split into firewood. At least we'll be prepared for next winter's storms. Or today's sleet, whatever.


I'm just marking time until next week, when I go back for another Group Session on Monday and FINALLY see the psychologist on Tuesday. Marking time, and reading everything I can find on the subject.


"The Sopranos" ... I love it. It was so weird seeing Tony act so "non-Tony-like" in his coma dreams. And Carmela's anguish over the possiblity of losing Tony was breaking my heart in pieces. I swear, that show is so well done, it's like a mini-movie every week. Not your average TV show.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

"Where, oh where, have the smart people gone? ...

The squirrels are having a Spring Break party on my roof this morning. At least, I hope it's on the roof, and not in the attic. Jimmy set the trap in the attic over the weekend, and put some delicious peanut butter sandwiches in there to lure a critter or two. Our luck, they're eating them at their Spring Break party.


Had lunch with Emilie yesterday, who was in town for a doctor's appointment. Always the best part of my day is seeing one of my kiddos. Yesterday was very, very good, because I got to see Adam too, as he came by after work to pick up boxes. They are sorting and packing for the Big Move on April 8th. Emilie pointed out that "8" seems to be a very good number for Adam and Brandy ... they will be moving to the new home six months to the day after their wedding day.


I stayed with Grandma F while she ate dinner last night. She had a shower just before I got there. The CNA seemed to think she HAD to have one, and forced her to go. Grandma was not happy. After the CNA left the room, Grandma said, "She's NOT nice." She strikes me as one of those CNA's that's rough and unfriendly when no one else is around, but as soon as I come into the room, she's all about being sweet to Grandma. I told Grandma that I could tell the CNA wasn't nice, but at least she was clean and comfy in her bed for the night.

She napped while I filed her nails. Dinner came ... BEETS!!! Oh glory. She ate them all, with most of her salmon patty, and a few bites of mashed potatoes. She traded the chocolate cake for a few bites of the Hershey bar I brought for her.

Jimmy is having a little battle with the powers-that-be over the non-thickened water issue. They had lawyers draw up a paper for him to sign, saying they weren't responsible for harm should she aspirate while drinking water given to her by family members. Meanwhile, every new LPN gives her plain water to take her meds with, and even last night ... the beets were floating in about half a cup of thin beet juice, and she tipped the bowl and drank every drop. The hospice nurse came in yesterday, and gave her water with crushed ice ... Grandma said it was wonderful.

Anyway, they wanted Grandma to sign the form too ... Jimmy explained that she will not even sign a greeting card. The social worker said, "What? Not even when you are there to tell her it's ok?" She then goes on to tell him that one of the doctors that came through to see Grandma had designated her mental state as "competent", so she will HAVE to sign the form. I'm thinking that's when Jimmy started having steam out his ears.

In the end, he requested a meeting with everyone present ... the doctor, hospice, the social worker, etc. I don't think he'll get it, because it involves God (the doctor) being there, but hopefully some better communication can start happening between all parties responsible for Grandma's care.

Grandma may be far less progressed in her dementia than most people in that facility ... but she is not competent to make important decisions. Period.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"It's a typical situation ..."

Cooler weather today. And windy.


Yesterday, Grandma F was asleep, getting her breathing treatment when I arrived. As soon as the treatment was over, I turned the machine off, and slipped the mask off her face. She woke up, and I noticed she didn't have her teeth in. I asked her about them, and she had no idea they were out. She said she had no memory of anyone taking them out. I found them in the bathroom, soaking in some cleaner. I'm thinking the hospice CNA did it after lunch. Grandma was covered up so neatly and looked so nice, I have to think Tonya did that too.

The cough was frequent, and the rattling in her chest was louder yesterday too. She didn't have anywhere near the energy she had on Sunday. She asked for some cold water, and I had to watch carefully ... thinking she was about to doze off and spill the cup she was holding.

My worrying nature has kicked in, wondering who they will move into her room soon. Jimmy tells me to think positive, maybe it will be someone nice for Grandma to talk to. Just call me Negative Nelly, I think it'll be someone who's half-crazy and goes through Grandma's things and leaves a TV on full blast all day. (sigh)


I enjoyed last night's support session very much. The guest speaker was a woman who had RNY gastric bypass almost 2 years ago. I can't remember her exact weight loss, but it was over 200 pounds. She's almost 50 years old, and is the principal at one of the larger elementary schools in Greenville. She spoke, and answered questions for over an hour. She looked beautiful. I could hardly wrap my head around the fact that she was the same person as in her "before" picture. She hadn't had any plastic surgery yet ... she said she wanted to have her arms done so that she would feel comfortable in sleeveless tops and dresses. Her tummy looked so flat ... either her exercise routine worked wonders or she has found the perfect undergarments!

After she spoke, the psycholgist Dr. Russell talked for about 45 minutes on the topic of stress. This was my first contact with him, and I found him to be a soft-spoken and kind man. I liked him immediately.

There were about 30 people there --- men and women -- all at different stages of waiting for surgery. One girl, who was about my age, said she was nearing the end of the 6-month supervised diet that her insurance company required. She said she'd been coming to the pre-surgery sessions so long, that all the people she started with have now gone on to the post-surgery sessions. She asked what kind of insurance I had, and when I told her, she said, "Oh, you'll go through with no problem. Everybody that has that one gets a surgery date pretty quick!" I was happy to hear that again, but I told her that I was trying hard not to get my hopes up, in case there is a delay.

But after last night, my hopes are climbing pretty fast. I want this!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"When I get where I'm going, don't cry for me down here ..."

Grandma's roommate, Mrs. L, passed away early this morning.

When we walked in and saw the empty bed and the empty shelves ... what a sad, terrible feeling. Her son came in while we were there to get the rest of her clothes and things. Jimmy helped him get it all out to his car, and came back to tell me that Jan, her daughter, was in the car and wanted to see me. I got out there as fast as I could. She lifted her arms for a hug when she saw me, and we cried together. I told her what an incredible daughter I thought she was, for all the love and patient devotion she showed her Mom. I will miss my daily contact with her ... very much. I hope she'll recover from her surgery and go on to live the rest of her days knowing she did the very best for her Mother.

Rest in peace, Isabelle.


Grandma, on the other hand, was doing SO much better today. I told Jimmy that I think she talked more today than she has in the entire 10 weeks she's been at Dogwood Acres. She laughed a lot, and talked on the phone to just about everybody. She asked Jimmy for some cold "REGULAR" water yesterday, and enjoyed it so much. She asked for another today. The CNA told us she couldn't give it to her, but we could. So we did. She sipped that baby for over an hour. She also ate a small cup of sherbet for a snack while we where there. She asked about how soon she could go and get her hair done! It was so wonderful to have a 2-way visit with her again ... she laughed and made jokes all afternoon. When she said hello to her friend Art on the phone, she said, "Well hello, Mister!" What an extreme change from only a week ago.

Tomorrow she wants me to bring her a new box of Kleenex, some Scope, some zinc oxide, and some Hershey bars. Sounds like Grandma F is feeling much better!


I made a very simple shrimp scampi for dinner tonight ... now I'm the garlic breath queen. Tomorrow evening is my first group support session at Dr. Bour's!

Gonna go and take my shower now, so I will be ready and waiting at 9 PM to watch the final season premier of my man, Tony.

Y'all have a wonderful week.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Three chords and the truth ..."

Spaghetti sauce is simmering on the stove for dinner. Y'all come.


Grandma F seemed better to me today. Her voice is still quieter than I'm used to. She was starting lunch when I arrived today. She ate a little cornbread, some juice from her turnip greens, and some canned peaches. She refused to touch her macaroni and cheese.

Grandma's roommate is so very sick. It's humbling and awe-inspiring to sit in the quiet, darkened room ... I can almost feel Mrs. L leaving this world. Her daughter came by to see her Mom today, on her way home from the hospital. (She had her knee replaced on Monday.) Mrs. L isn't eating or drinking any more. I'm thinking it won't be long. She is 97 years old.

Today Grandma asked me, in her quiet quiet voice: "What was Michael was talking about ... drip drip drip, drip drip drip?" I had no clue. Michael?


I am excited ... The 6th season of The Sopranos begins FINALLY on Sunday night. "Whuttaya gonna do?"


Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"We're falling apart to half time ... "

Nothing of substance to report here. Move along.

(Grandma F was quiet today. I realized I was having to ask her to repeat everything she was saying to me. Her voice was much subdued. Her hand strength is same as it ever was ... I lost all feeling in my left hand while she squeezed it.)

You Are a Peacemaker Soul

You strive to please others and compromise anyway you can.
War or conflict bothers you, and you would do anything to keep the peace.
You are a good mediator and a true negotiator.
Sometimes you do too much, trying so hard to make people happy.

While you keep the peace, you tend to be secretly judgmental.
You lose respect for people who don't like to both give and take.
On the flip side, you've got a great sense of humor and wit.
You're always diplomatic and able to give good advice.

Souls you are most compatible with: Warrior Soul, Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

"Dearly beloved, are you listening? ..."

I met with the nutritionist today. She outlined the diet I will follow for a few weeks before surgery, as well as what I'll be eating during the 6 months after surgery. She told me that more and detailed information will follow as I attend the classes and group sessions. She was easy to talk to, and very friendly. I have her e-mail address now, and was encouraged to use it to ask any food or exercise-related questions I might come up with.

Both the surgeon and the nutritionist encouraged me to use this time before surgery to start forming some of the habits I'll need afterwards. Things like ... walking every day. Again I'm wishing I had not sold my treadmill. Looks like I'll have to get up close and personal with the damned hills in my neighborhood. The nutritionist said, "This time next year, you'll be jogging up those hills!" That sounds like science fiction to me.


Grandma F was resting when I spent time with her today. The hospice nurse came in to check her vitals while I was there. Grandma refused her at first, saying that she knew she was going to trick her into getting out of bed and down to the therapy room. After convincing Grandma to let the nurse do what she needed to do, I used that opportunity to get clarity on the whole therapy issue. I explained to the nurse how much anxiety and unhappiness the daily prospect of therapy brings to Grandma. The nurse immediately went and looked at her chart ... then came back in to tell Grandma that she would no longer be expected to go to therapy. I'll admit, I was hoping for whoops and hollers ... maybe a cartwheel, in celebration. I had to settle for Grandma closing her eyes and saying, "Good." Hopefully, that will ease the reluctance to cooperate with the nurses and CNA's, if she's not thinking they have ulterior motives.


I was sad to hear of Dana Reeve's death today at age 44. Sadder still to think of the 13-year-old son she had to leave here, now without either parent. That was some fast-moving cancer.


So how's your week going?

Monday, March 06, 2006

"Every day is a faded sign ..."

The Weekend:

Emilie was home for some rest and some pampering ... with a cough from hell, and fever too. She left for Clemson this morning, hopefully on her way to being well again.

Grandma F stayed pretty consistent. No big changes.

Michael left for home on Saturday afternoon. So nice to have him close by for a little while. We took it for granted when we lived in the same town for years. Foolish us.


I had my appointment with Dr. Bour today. My blood pressure was high: 150/85. Might be because I had just been weighed. Ugh. Let's just say that my BMI is a little bit higher than I thought it was.

Dr. Bour was as warm and friendly as he appeared to be at the seminar. He gave me lots of time to ask questions, and gave lengthy, informative answers. He said that even though my gall bladder operation ended up being "open surgery", that was no indication that the bypass operation couldn't be laparoscopic. (No huge incison!)

He said that because our insurance has a "fast turnaround" -- meaning that approvals come fairly quickly -- my surgery might happen on a sooner, rather than later, date. I was started on Lexapro, the anti-depressant. He said he likes to have all his patients on some sort of anti-depressant before and for at least 6 months after the surgery. Most obese people do deal with depression, we all know I do. So I have no problem trying this medication again. I used Lexapro in late 2004, and was later switched to Wellbutrin when the Lexapro had no effect on the depression. I stopped the Wellbutrin about 9 months ago, when I thought I would rather handle the depression than deal with the weirded-out dreams I was having. Not to mention the funk-mouth I woke up with every day. (gag)

Dr. Bour said that my "letter of medical neccesity" would be written today, and ready to go off to the insurance company as soon as I had completed my appointments. I have an appointment tomorrow with the nutrionist, where I will learn about the Optifast program I will use for a few weeks before surgery ... as well as the after-surgery food plan. My appointment with the psychologist isn't until the end of March, and now I'm hoping that I'll get a call to move that one to an earlier date, the way it happened for today's visit with Dr. Bour.

I will have to have an EGD ... an upper endoscopy ... before surgery, to check for current ulcers, and to check for the certain type of bacteria that can cause ulcers after surgery (H. Pylori). I've been with Emilie and Brandy to the hospital while they went through the same procedure, so I already know there's nothing to be afraid of there. But Dr. Bour said it was likely that no additional tests would be required for me. Yay.

Overall, I think I have chosen the best surgeon I could have found for miles around. Pleased, I am.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter ..."

Today the Hospice nurse did her evaluation of Grandma F. She spoke of the pros and cons of having her on an IV. I learned some things I did not know. Things like, sick and elderly people like Grandma may start to need less fluid, and if the IV is pumping it in ... it tends to settle around the heart, or in the lungs. So constant IV fluid may not be a good thing. It could even cause congestive heart failure. The doctor had ordered 3 more bags, and she had finished the first one as we had this discussion. The nurse asked Grandma if she'd like to stop the IV's and get the needle out of her arm. Grandma said she thought it'd be a good idea to do what the doctor said, although she would be glad to get rid of the needle.

Final decision was that we would start the next bag, but if the needle came out, or there were any other problems with it, then we wouldn't stick her again. Turned out, that happened right away. When they got around to starting the 2nd bag, it wouldn't flow into the vein. They would have had to re-stick her, so the IV was stopped and her needle was removed.

The nurse also said we should use our own judgement and feelings as to whether we continue with the thickened liquids regimen. Grandma really dislikes that thickener, and I don't blame her. We understand she may aspirate some of what she drinks, but on the other hand, she's not drinking as much of the thickened stuff, so she risks dehydration. Plus, in the nurse's words ... we're talking about her comfort now, not so much curing what's wrong with her. When we asked Grandma if she'd like some regular water, she resisted ... saying "They wanted me to have thickened drinks." She's really wanting to follow the rules. We may try again later.

We visited at lunchtime and at dinnertime ... both meals were only 1/4 to 1/2 eaten. She's not talking much at all, and appears to be content to listen to us chat ... and sleep.

It's hard to think about having to say goodbye to such a "big" woman. She's frail, oh so frail ... less than 100 pounds. If you know her though, you understand why I refer to her as "big". I hope she realizes how much she's loved.


I got a call from the bariatric clinic today, asking if I'd like to move my appointment with the surgeon from March 28 to Monday, March 6. I agreed, and now I'm nervous. He's a nice man, so I know that's silly. Still nervous though.


Here's a fun thing I found on the Internet. Click this link and I can find out what you think about me, and how it compares to what *I* think about me. Come on, do it.

Hope you have a good weekend. :-)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Song she brang to me ..."

Neil Diamond rulez, y'all. Did you know he released a CD a few months ago? Oh yeah, Cracklin' Rosie.


(Patti, it surely feels weird to me to have Michael here without YOU. I miss you!)

Michael drove up today to spend some time with Grandma F. She had an OK day ... another IV came out this morning, but had to be replaced. The doctor saw her today, and wants another 3 bags of IV fluid in her. She ate a few bites of lunch, and about half of her dinner ... and she slept, and slept. Once, when Michael asked her if she had been sleeping good, she answered, "Oh, I'm not sleeping."


Before dinner tonight, Michael and I were chatting while she rested ... the tray came and we began to try and wake her. I'm not kidding when I tell you that the word "Coma" came to my mind. She just about wouldn't rouse.

We met with Hospice ... nice people all around. Hopefully, they can make her life more comfortable in the coming days.


I'm so tired.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me ..."

It's March! And it's already too damn hot for me. I think the warmth may be temporary though ... the weekend will be cooler, "they" say.


Grandma F has had a rough week, bless her strong, strong heart. The nurse practitioner wanted to put her in the hospital again today, but again the brothers stood their ground and asked that she be kept as comfy as possible, with no heroic efforts to keep things going. Her IV has pulled out twice now ... once last night, and once again late this afternoon. Hopefully, after this last bag of solution is gone, they can take the needle out of her arm. Now that she's been stuck a dozen times in the last 24 hours, she's worrying about it coming out accidentally again.

Her appetite is tiny, only a few bites off each meal tray. The coughing has reduced, compared to Monday night. But there's still a cough.

She's just worn out.

We're meeting with the Lutheran Hospice tomorrow afternoon to get her all signed up for those services.


My house is a wreck. The Ragdoll fur puffballs are floating around like they own the place.


I went yesterday and took a 500-question "psychological" test ... the first step on my road toward a Bypassed Gastric. If this is a surprise to you ... and I know it might be, considering it's the first I've said here about it ... it's something I've been pondering for years, really. I've talked myself out of it many, many times. But I've come to the final conclusion that I need this "tool" to help me, once and for all, lose this weight that's burdening my body and soul. My extra weight has been my reason for saying "no" to life for so many years. I'm getting older by the minute. I'm not ready to deal with health problems that are sure to start arriving any day now. And I'm tired of the up and down, the yoyo-ing of my weight over the years of dieting. So tired.

Jimmy attended a free informational seminar with me last week at "Bariatric Solutions", and we were both impressed by the surgeon and the facility. I enrolled in the program, and the first step was the previously-mentioned psych testing. There's a psychologist and a nutritionist on staff with the surgeon, and I'll have to meet with both of them, and the surgeon before my insurance will even be filed. Also, I have to attend six pre-op support group sessions before I can have the surgery. It'll be a long process. And in the past, that would be enough to discourage me. But I'm determined to see this through, with compliance and cooperation on my part. And patience, mustn't forget the patience.

I hope that, after the test I took yesterday, the psychologist doesn't find me "too wacked-out" for surgery!