Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hello, Hello, and Goodbye...for now

Paul is asleep in the bedroom, as he has to get up at 5 tomorrow to get ready for work. Next to him is Nicky, and nestled in between them is Holly, my little rescue pup that I got myself for Christmas.

He and Nick are very irritated with what they call the "little crack puppy," who truly is a hyper little handful, but she restores my soul. Not to call her God, of course, but she's certainly one of God's means of restoring my often worn-out, distraught soul. 

Another is my beautiful granddaughter, Claire, who came into this world just 3 days after Christmas. I'm lucky enough to have a little playpen in my office, and a big recliner (I hate it, but it does the job) to hold her and read to her when her mommy needs a little break or even just a shower!

It's a big deal, learning how to be a grandmother. I have to be very careful not to horn in on the mothering process...not that it's needed! My stepdaughter is the finest mother I've ever seen, sharing herself unlimitedly with her daughter. It's just a funny line...I wonder if I should ask, not ask, beg...be eager, not eager, etc., when it comes to being an extra set of arms. I try to simply be available and willing. Having Brian and Jessica here with us as they start their little family has been such a blessing, another one of God's wonderful gifts, giving me yet another opportunity to get to know Jessica and to share love with her. That there's this soft cuddly baby and extra-enjoyable son-in-law is like icing. Sometimes when I am feeling down on myself I remember how much God must love me, to keep giving me opportunity after opportunity to get things right, to experience them the way He intends.

Now, we've had the 2 hellos. Let me explain the goodbye. My husband's mother, Barbara (the first Claire was her mother) passed away the day after Christmas, just 2 days before our little Claire was born. I won't comment on her much, because hers isn't my story to tell. But I've always felt compassion for her, and when she died I was, in fact, overjoyed that she was being reunited with a son who died at just a few months old. It was very reminiscent of my grandmother and Maia, and perhaps it's why I have dreamt of Grandmother nearly every night for the past couple of months. I met Barbara at the funeral of her husband, Paul's father, John. I remember praying then and asking Grandmother to welcome him into heaven and to show him around, to introduce him to our family so he would know something about what his son was marrying into. Grandmother being the ultimate hostess, I felt she'd be really good at it. Funny, I didn't ask her to do the same with Barbara, who strikes me as being perfectly capable of showing herself around the Great Beyond without a guide. Perhaps they'll be friends anyway.

Well that's enough for now. Not that there's not LOTS to catch up on. But I've found myself less and less posting news...here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or email...as my life fills up with real stuff to do. Rocking a baby to sleep or playing fetch with a puppy who needs to be tired out before she'll sleep the night through. But I'm going to give it the old college try, posting a bit a few times a week. Yes...I know, I've said that before.

Nighty night!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not my favorite morning. Had to wake up at 7:30.... can I hear some sympathetic gasps please?? ... to go get labs drawn. So I was n.p.o. (nil per ora---no food or drink) since midnight the night before. And in this condition, sleep-deprived, caffeine tank on empty, thirsty as hell, I had to sit still and let someone jab a needle in my arm and collect about 30-eleven vials of my blood. Vampires.

The nice vampire tech gave me Kling wrap that matched my purple blouse. 

From Dr. Dracula's office I drove straight to Whataburger for some sustenance.

So I only have to do this twice a year, and that's not too bad. I'm sure my cholesterol is still high and he's going to want to put me on a statin, but my gut instincts warn me against statin agents and I've begun to see articles that do the same now, so I'll just keep up with my fish oil and MAYBE get some exercise. Haha. Here is a view of our exercise room right now:

Yes, everything is being moved around to make room for baby, so my entire office and craft studio was moved into what used to be Zach's room, and everything from Jessica's old room was moved in here to make room for her and Brian moving back in, and then everything from Daniel's old room (which had ended up being the miscellaneous junk room) was moved in here and stacked every which way to make room for Baby Claire, who should be arriving in just a few -- 6 to 7 -- weeks! Every day is a mad dash to clean something, take more stuff out to the trash or recycler or put in the truck for Goodwill.

Well I started the day with bloodletting, followed by The Trip to the grocery store -- you know, the one that goes on for hours and costs the big bucks, then to the thrift store to find a baby doll that can model a baby cocoon I'm making for a grand-niece on my BFF Tammy's side, then home with time left only to cook dinner and clean the kitchen, which I finished at about 10:45 at night. Yes, this home-maker gig is very restful indeed!

Peace out!

Monday, November 11, 2013

September and October "at a glance" (yeah, a little more than a glance)

I suppose I will start with updating on Nick's limp. OMG what a fiasco!! It was decided that he needed a TPLO, or a rebuilding of the knee with plates so that he would have the appropriate bend to his knee and his near-blown ACL would be able to heal.  Although we had been told that we could take him home the night of surgery, when we arrived to pick him up we were informed by a tech that he had to stay overnight after all, and that although there were not personnel present at night, he would be heavily sedated and quite comfortable. And that we could not see him because it would upset him. The next day we called and no one was in yet. Then someone called Paul (at work) and mentioned a small cut on Nick's back but nothing major. I called, no injury was mentioned, and I was told I could go at 4 to pick him up. I arrived at 4, and the people at the desk called the back, then informed me I couldn't pick him up until the next day, doctor's orders. Why not? I demanded. Because. And no, it would be best if he didn't see me and get upset. Really?? The following day we called several times, and finally one of the vets called and said we could come pick him up. We drove across town and walked in the door, they called to the back and then said, "Dr. ____ has gone to lunch. Would you mind coming back in a couple of hours?"

"No. Bring us our dog. Now."

"Please have a seat."

"No. We want our dog."

"Well perhaps we can show you into a room."

Paul was so awesome, he said, "ONLY IF THE DOG IS IN THE ROOM. I WANT MY DOG!"

They finally brought us our poor boy, and we saw what they had been hiding. He had rather large wounds on his back, electrical burns from the cautery grounding plate during surgery, which had been over 4 hours long.

Although knee rehab exercises should have begun immediately, instead over the next several weeks we were occupied caring for his wounds, which revealed themselves to be much larger than they had looked, and there were more than even they had known about. We returned repeatedly to have them looked at and they kept wanting to wait while healing took place under these huge scabs, which were beginning to break apart and tear his skin. And the mess! We were constantly scrubbing the couch and sheets for what we affectionately called "wound boogies," all over everything he touched, and all over him. And he was in such pain! Every time he moved a scab would crack or pull away from its edges and begin to bleed or ooze.

One morning I sent these photos to the vet's office and asked, "Do you really want to keep waiting to deal with these?" and the answer was, "Has he eaten since last night? No? Great. Bring him right away and we will operate on him this morning." So I did. I left him, quite alert and very distressed, in a concrete room with a drain in the floor and cyclone fencing, which he tried to jump to get back to me. They said, "Don't worry, we're going to knock him out for surgery in just a few minutes. He's just upset because he can still see you." So I left, even though my gut was twisted over his pitiful crying. I went home and waited all day to go get him. Finally they called at the end of the day and said they hadn't gotten to him, had run out of time over other more urgent cases, and could I just leave him overnight? NO! NO FUCKING WAY! I drove back across town and picked him up, and brought him home.

And guess what? Probably because he hadn't eaten in over a day, he developed bloat that very evening! Imagine if we had left him there, alone, overnight?!! Left unattended he would have died, alone in that awful concrete room. We rushed him to an overnight vet and he underwent emergency abdominal surgery at 1 a.m. to untwist his stomach and intestines. Then at 7 a.m. we took him from the animal ER (which closed at sunup) to a specialty clinic for observation, where the outlook was scary -- all things together, a new plate in the knee which was susceptible to infection, potential harm to his GI system from the bloat, an incision all the way up his belly which left him more susceptible to infection, and these massive, oozy, horrible burns, complicating his healing and yes, leaving him susceptible to infection. We brought him in the car, and they brought out a gurney and he couldn't even raise his head off it as he was carried in.

They didn't have a kennel or cage big enough for him, so they made a makeshift bed out of heavy blankets, surrounded by a "wall" of plastic crate sides that snapped together, and laid him right in the middle of their workspace in the back, and hooked up an IV. We went back to say goodbye (and go home and sleep) and he tried to stand up and follow us. Later one of the vets told the original vet that even with all his complications and normally poor prognosis, Nick's will to be with us was amazing and that is why he lived. We were able to bring him home the following day.

It was arranged that the burns themselves be treated at this same clinic once his belly stitches had healed and he was out of the woods in that respect, and the original vet would foot the bill.

This is what the worst wound looked like before surgery.

The surgeon who performed the plastic surgery said he lost count at 80 stitches in Nick's back.

When surgery was over and we went to pick Nicky up, he said that in 5 days, the ordeal Nick and we had been through would be over, and the only thing left would be to restart strengthening the knee. That was Monday, and by Saturday he was our boy again.

Now, a month later, his hair's nearly grown back over his scars and he's thrilled to be able to play with Trudy again, and chase the squirrels down the fenceline in the back yard (they've been trying to call him out to play all this time and are happy to have their friend back for the chase!).

Nick's ordeal put us about 2-1/2 months behind schedule!!! So now we're starting to get things ready for Baby Claire's arrival, which is just some 7 weeks away. Many other things have happened and I hope to post them here soon...but I've said that before right?

Nighty night!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

A passel of updates

You know, when you put off posting just once, it gets harder and harder to sit down and do it. Every day as something is going on I rattle it off in my head as a blog post, complete with observations and what picture I would use. Then that evening I can't imagine how I could segue from explaining my absence to such a post, and I put it off for another day. That's how I am explaining the last *2-1/2* months!!

Lots has been going on. Adjusting to just being all housewifey has its ups and downs. I try to get a balance of just picking up clutter and doing the standard chores -- vacuum, sweep, mop, do the dishes, do the laundry -- and some larger job that needs doing, like replacing molded caulk and grout in the shower (which I f-ing HATE!!). Often the larger job turns out more extensive than I planned and the surface chores I mentioned above suffer. So Paul walks in from work and sees the floor not vacuumed and dishes in the sink, and oh BTW babe, you can't use the shower for another 18 hours, but I connected the little hand shower to the bathtub. Now of course he is a kind and patient man, but it must be frustrating.

All the while, my elbows are KILLING me, something I have decided I simply MUST contact a physician about. It's been a very long-time problem, but when I moved from straight transcription to ASR editing, there was a particular repetitive motion with my right hand that ended up feeling like my elbow was being slammed with a hammer each time I did it. I thought it would get better gradually after I quit, but it has only gotten worse. Tremendous pain from trying to grip something with my fingers, all the way up to my elbow. Both sides hurt but the right side is dreadful. I got a doctor's info yesterday and was getting ready to schedule an appointment, but something else came up --

We had to take Nicky to the vet because he was limping. Long story short, he has the dreaded Hip Dysplasia, and quite bad at that. He will require some sort of surgery, and from now (as we await more info) until about 10-12 weeks after his surgery, he will be confined to the 1st floor of our home, unable to use the dog door, kept on doggie downers to curb his urges to jump up and run for the door when tasty salesmen ring the bell. To add insult to injury (quite literally) he must lose a few pounds before surgery simply so that he will have less weight to support as he begins to heal. And we were SO PROUD when he sat down on the scale and registered in at 159 pounds!!

This restriction means more than just "poor puppy." It means one of us must stay downstairs with him at all times. It means the doggy door is closed so we have to be alert to let both dogs in and out. Trudy is a little upset. She REALLY hates limits...when the dog door is closed she just insists that we leave the back door open so she can come and go as she pleases. Not happening, Miss Tru. But she stands at the back door waiting for us to give in to her demands. It also means that we go from leaving food in their bowls all day (a decision we made with our Danes to avoid empty stomachs and the dreaded Bloat) to serving Nick a smaller amount and only twice a day. Again the problem here is with Trudy, who doesn't like limits (did I happen to mention that?). When she empties her bowl she demands it be filled again. Not because she wants to eat it, but it shouldn't just sit empty. We are going to be very frustrated with Trudy (and she with us) before this is all over. Nicky, happily in La La Land on his doggie Valium, couldn't care less. Except that he's hurting.

So I think elbow surgery will have to wait!!

Meanwhile, we are doing a fast and furious remodel upstairs (one of us at a time, so Nicky won't be downstairs alone and try to hop over the barrier and hurt himself) to get ready for Brian, Jessica, and Baby Claire (still comfortably curled up in Jessica's tummy) to move in with us.

Yeah-- there's a lot going on!! Gotta go participate!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

2013 Index-Card-A-Day Challenge

It's June! And I've decided to participate in Daisy Yellow's index-card-a-day challenge! Go here for details and instructions. Now I have to say that I thought it was just 31 days, right up until a minute ago when I went and got the link info...but it's 61. So what the heck--I'm in anyway!

Here is my first index card.

Of course, the rebel in me is using the wrong size cards: 8 x 5. But that's because I'm currently doing a serious decluttering of my stash and came across a whole stack of yellowed old 8 x 5 index cards and they are next my "use it or trash it" pile.

I made this by weaving strips from 3 patterns of scrapbook paper from my scrap pile, and strips of another index card on which I wrote the lyrics to Hank Williams Sr.'s "Hey Good Lookin'." I spent the whole time while working on this listening to my classic country station on Pandora, and that's what happened to be playing when I picked up the marker to write lyrics. I was really wanting something more meaningful but drew a big blank...so Hank Sr. it was. After weaving I tightened the strips and finished gluing it together on the base card, I added doodling with Jelly Roll pens, and glued on some heart sequins that landed on the floor when I tossed a whole package of valentine sequins in the trash earlier. And a strip of ribbon, also on the floor near the trash bag.

Yeah, so that's it! Hope the week has treated you right and tomorrow is the beginning of a great new week for you!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May wedding

This morning Paul and I returned from Buda, Texas (B-you-dah NOT Buddha, dammit!) where we had attended my cousin Michele's wedding. Of course I missed the opportunities to get pictures with my uncle Joe, my Mom, and my grandparents... but I got this picture with my cousin and her mom, my Aunt Nancy, whom I hadn't seen in probably 25+ years when she and my uncle divorced. I had been just a little girl of 5 or 6 when they were dating, and I thought Nancy was the absolute hippest chick I'd ever seen, just like one of those cool girls on TV (this was... 1974?). Well thanks to Facebook we've been "hanging out" for the last few years, and getting to see her again was awesome. Especially on such a lovely occasion.

And I don't want to hear a single word about Michele's tummy... that's my little cousin in there!!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Well if it weren't enough that my sweet daughter Jessyca bought me a whole set of my favorite Bath and Body Works scent "White Citrus" complete with bubble bath and body butter, and that my son and his wife had saved something special they'd bought for me on their honeymoon in San Diego, my stepdaughter Jessica gave me the ultimate in mother's day fare: a pair of baby booties, and a card that said such sweet, encouraging things that I got a little teary-eyed. I'm going to be a grandmother! In 7 months or so, I will be snuggling a teeny tiny new life that is a part of my precious husband, which has been a dream of mine since we met. These may be things the average mom expects eventually, but the step-mom... it's like winning the gold cup at some... well, event that hands out a gold cup for a prize!

There was of course the expected absence of my youngest son from my Mother's Day, but his silence makes me no less his mother. And as I move forward in life I know I don't have to subtract his whatever from the blessings and gifts and love I received. Yes, it hurts. But receiving the love of my daughter, my son, my daughter-in-law, and my step-daughter truly has my cup running over. I don't understand God or His ways, but He tells me, whenever I say I can't see or feel Him involved in my life, "Hey. I'm right here. Fear not." And that's how I will keep on.