Friday, December 29, 2006

Sad anniversary

This is the day that my dad entered a fight for his life - and lost.

This is the day that we got the 10 PM call from my daughter in law that Grampa was put into the hospital. She didn’t know what was really wrong at that time. It was about 3 AM we learned he had a really bad case of pneumonia.

I was amazed that he was so ill. I had seen him two days before and saw no sigh of respiratory distress. Now I was five hours away. It was my nightmare coming true. He needed me and it was not easy to get there.

All plans had changed. The family Christmas party was off. We scurried to pack up and close up the house. G’s brother and wife were there trying to do whatever, and in a swirl we were off.
I got to the hospital, and there he was. Fairly alert. I waited for the doctors. They gave no real hope.

Ultimately, I had to make the call that we use the DNR (no life supports). I never dreamed that decision could be so hard. But it was. Even though the Alzheimer’s had taken my dad from me, the shell was still there.

The real nightmare had begun. He would linger for the next two weeks, unable to swallow, but his condition not warranting a food tube. It a was the most distressing time of my life. It was a time of complete self doubt.

Here in the end, I really believe my actions were correct. I am no longer second quessing myself. My beloved dad was 93 and in the absolute end stage of dementia. With that feeding tube, he would have lingered until another catastrophic infection came on. He would probably have had the foley (urinary tube) in for the rest of his life. That possibly would have been the next infectjon.

It still boils down to one thing. Even though I began losing Dad at least ten years ago, the finality of it still is fresh. I so miss him, and on this anniversary the pain is still fresh.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I'm scared

I have to share this fear even though there is so much guilt associated with it. I finally went for my well woman check. I got a call from the doctor’s office. My mammogram was suspicious, and without other films to use for comparison, today I have to go for more detailed tests.

Putting this check up is so very easy. I know most women would rather do anything rather than hop up on that table and put her feet into those stirrups. I have had an additional problem of connecting with a physician that I really could connect with.

I have finally gone with the one all the other females in my family uses. I met him when Monkey Boy was born, and I really liked him then. I have been through the examination, and I do like him.

This mammogram thing is something that has really grabbed my attention. I realize now how foolish I was to wait so long. I flat lied when I told them I haven’t been seen for this check up in five years. It is more like ten.

I understand that many women have these additional tests. One is a more extensive mammogram and the other is ultrasound. There was no real tumor, just a mass and some calcification. It is very probable that there is nothing to be too alarmed about, but there is the other possibility.

If there is a problem, I hope I was able to catch it early. I certainly didn’t help myself though. I was so very foolish.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Off we go!

It is almost that time again. It is almost time to load up the 500 pounds of food (well, it seems like it, especially to G) to take to the SSB for the extended family Christmas/New Year’s Eve party. This year is expected to be a big one again, with only my nephew missing. He can’t get off work.

I wouldn’t even bat an eye at this if it weren’t for G. When we first put the place up, it seemed that on each trip we were heavily laden with "stuff." It seemed we would never get completely moved in. There was always more things to take up.
We have finally gotten most of the "stuff" there with the exception of a few things every now and then. This trip that includes the beautiful Texas star with our name on it that the kids gave us for Christmas. But for the most part there is not too much more that we need.

But for some reason, I feel that I have to take all the food that we will need with us. I could go into town after we get there, but I just don’t. So I went foraging at my Mega Mart and Wholesale Club yesterday. I was so loaded down that I had to begin putting things in the back seat, not just the trunk.

It was probably just as well however. I needed clam juice for the gumbo that we are going to have Sunday night. I was hard pressed to find it at the local Mega Mart. I know that the closest little town would not have it at all.
What is really sad about the amount of food that I am taking with us is that I am going into the little town to buy food for the remaining time we will be spending there. Our little family will go home on Monday, but we are staying through the week.

So beware! On Saturday the loud expletives deleted you hear will come from my ever loving husband, G when he loads the two ice chests and plastic bin into the truck for our little get together. He will once again ask me if we will ever get moved in!

I guess not.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mixed feelings

Christmas is such a mixed bag of emotions for me at this stage in my life. While there is still the childlike unbridled joy of the season, there is also the dark memories of events in the past, namely the dewaths that occurred around the holidays.

Watching Lady Bug getting ready for Christmas brings childhood memories. Dad was a letter carrier for the Post Office, and this season would bring long days for him. He would be home late on Christmas Eve because there was so much mail for him to deliver. That would put me into a tizzy waiting for him. You see, Christmas Eve was the night we would open out presents. That could not happen until after dinner which could not happen until Daddy was home. The anticipation was just too much to bear.

He walked his mail route, and even though we have a mounted route here, I cannot help but be taken back to those times waiting for him to come home when I see one of the mail trucks.
My mother was one who loved decorating for Christmas, and I followed in her foot steps there also. You wouldn’t know it now. For the last couple of years, there has been a wreath on the door and some lights thrown onto the shrubs. This year, my tree is a one foot thing that I had gotten for V when she way dying three years ago. Two years ago, I did put up a tree. Thankfully it was artificial because it stayed up until almost Easter. I was going through a bad time with my arthritic knees. We are gone so much I just don’t see any reason to go through that again.

The sad times wrap themselves around me like a dark cloak. My mother died before Christmas 34 years ago. My "step-mom,"V, died two days after Christmas. Last year my dad was put in the hospital on December 29. I knew it was the end. He died January 13.

Even with the joy of the season, even with the joy of the grandchildren, even with the gifts, there are those ghosts lurking there reminding me of the frailty of life. Dad’s death is still so fresh. I find myself grieving now almost more than I did when he died.

Give your loved ones an extra hug this season. It may be the last time you can.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last Friday evening we went to the Christmas party at Wide Spot in the Road Community Club. B and C were with us, and I was wondering how they would reach to the entire thing.

There is always a "Chinese Gift Exchange," and this year was no exception. Normally, the sequence of events is that we have dinner, a short business meeting, and then the gift exchange. This year, the hosts must have decided to cook dinner at the meeting place.

We gathered and had the business meeting where the old business was postponed, as usual. It is time for a new slate of officers to be given. The nominating committee slipped up on the job and had not met. Birthdays and anniversaries are announced at the end of the meeting and it handled by the historian of the community. He is a wonderful 80 year old (plus), and was having considerable difficulty. This group is fast with the joking barbs, and he was not spared. B got great enjoyment from the quips that were flying!

We were to have eaten then, but the food wasn’t ready. The menu included pork loins, salad and a medley of potatoes. It was the potatoes that were not done. So it was decided that we would start the gift exchange. Numbers were chosen, and we were to begin.

But everyone began visiting, and no gifts were being chosen. Suddenly it was decided the food was ready, and we should line up. In reality, the potatoes were still not done, but the flavor of the food was excellent. Absolutely no one complained. Then they hit the dessert table. There were certainly no complaints there.

B and C only had one gift, so I got the one of those for the family New Years’s Eve Christmas party for them to take with the other. B and I both had number 3, and we knew if we got something good it would be gone. Mine was a candle set and it was taken right away. I went to choose another. I knew after opening it I would go home with it. It was a box of crackers and a bottle of raspberry chiplote sauce.

B had some really great gifts. I lost count, but I think he had four totally. I don’t think he minded losing most of them, and in the end he ended up with a really nice towel ring that will go great when they get a house. C got an incense warmer that she donated to the house.

All the way home he kept remarking about how he didn’t expect all the barbs that group can sling, and how much fun it was to be there. It really was a wonderful evening of laughter and fellowship. They are all very sharp, and they all care about one another. Shoot, most are related. There are only about 2 families in the area that aren’t.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Talking about the weather, again

Once again I find myself ranting about the weather. Last week it was so cold, The temperature never got out of the 40's.

This week, the week I promised I would bake cookies for G's co-workers Christmas gifts, the temperature will top out in the 70's!

Last night, sleeping was difficult because it was too warm for the heater and too cool for the air conditioning. I simply could not get comfortable. I tossed and turned all night.

I know this is typical Texas weather, and especially typical for Swampland, but gee!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Difficult gifts

Things always get hectic around here during the holidays, but this year seems to be worse than ever. I really thought I was on top of the game. I had completed most of my shopping. All I had left to do was to pick up two gifts for the party at Wide Spot in the Road. That became my most daunting task.

Last year, I didn’t put much thought into those gifts. I went to the Less Than A Buck store. Simple. As the gifts were being unwrapped, there were some really neat things, and I began to wish I had put more thought into my offerings. In fact, I walked away with the cutest reindeer plates.

So I set out to get some drop dead great gifts. I went to Mega store yesterday thinking I could find something that would do for a male’s gift, but forgetting that everything they sold came by the gross. I stumbled on some beautifully packaged truffles that met the price constraint. I thought that would be great. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate? Other than G I mean.

When G came home, I showed him the package and told him what was in it. He replied that should have been the woman’s gift - chocolate is for women. Now I am thinking I shouldn’t have gotten that as a gift. I had been trying to get him to give me an idea, but nothing. I guess I could have gotten a screw driver set or ratchet tie downs.

Anyway, I think my woman’s gift will be a hit. I found a set of candle holders that are really pretty. I think they will be sought after.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Joy has come at last

Oh the news people here is Swampland are gleeful. They have a story. It’s about the weather. We have had one of our Blue Northers blow through the area. Even though we didn’t have a hurricane, this is almost as good.

The weather gurus talk about how low the temperature will go. They are able to give freeze warnings. The regular news reporters are able to go out to the stores to talk about how many people are buying space heaters, and the anchors are then able to caution people about the dangers of those space heaters. They warn to keep them away from bedding and other flammable things. Then they warn about carbon monoxide and advise home owners to get their heaters checked.

Now all these warnings are needed, just as the warnings about hurricanes are needed, but, as usual, are over worked. It is as though there is nothing else happening in the city, state, or world.

Not only do they report on conditions here, they borrow reports. Since we didn’t get freezing rain, sleet or snow (drat it all they say), they imported reports from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We were given images of cars careening off roads, and had guest reporters standing out in the freezing rain. You know we just don't believe how bad the weather can be without someone standing in it!

It is so nice that Mother Nature sometimes graces these people with something to talk about. Otherwise, in this area at least, the weather is the same: hot and humid.