Thursday, February 25, 2016

From The Beginning

What you about to read is not for sympathy, because I don't need or want it.  It's a way for me to put into words, the things people might like to know about that is going on in my life.

It all started on a Friday in March, 2007. I was at work so I don't really know exactly what happened.  I can only go by what Chuck told me.  When I got home from work that afternoon, Chuck was sitting on the sofa in his usual place, but I could tell something wasn't quite right.  He said he had fallen in the living room and hit his left hip on the edge of the coffee table. (note to self:  never have another coffee table)  He said he hit his head on the laminate wood floor and really hurt his lower back.  He actually couldn't walk without me helping him.  He wouldn't agree to go to the hospital and I knew we couldn't get into our chiropractor till Monday.  So, I helped him walk in the house by having his hands on my shoulders, my hands on his waste, while I walked backwards.  We did that all weekend going to the bathroom and to bed and back to the sofa. 

On Sunday morning before we got out of bed, I noticed he was slurring his words just slightly and using words that didn't fit the sentence.  I didn't think that much of it, just racked it up to not being fully awake yet.  But, when I helped him walk to the sofa in the living room and sat him down, I noticed the droop on the left side of his face.  Oh no!  I told him I thought he had had a stroke.  Of course, and no offense to all the men out there but, men are the world's worst about being in denial.  Chuck asked for a mirror and could see the droop but still didn't want to admit it.  I really didn't blame him.  I went to take a shower because I knew that we were going to have to go to the hospital and I didn't know how long we would be there.  Once I was dressed, he had decided that he was ok with going to the hospital.  I drove him myself instead of an ambulance.

Of course, the hospital ran all the test and sure enough he had had a mild stroke on the right side of his brain.  But, the issue was the staff at the hospital didn't get him up much because of the lower back injury.  He was there a few days and the doc came in and tried to get Chuck up out of bed and couldn't.  But he had no idea how to properly get him out of bed either.  His suggestion was to put him in a nursing home because he thought if I took him home, he would just lay in bed and die.  Well, I knew my sweet hubby better than anyone.  I knew that after a stroke you are in what's called a stroke fog, where you don't think just right.  Sometimes it takes a little while to come out of it.  So, I said no, I'll take him home with me.  I knew that if he came out of that fog and realized he was in a nursing home, he would curl up and die.  If I could get him in his recliner, with his puppy dogs with him and the remote control in his hand he would be just fine.  He did stay in bed and shut the world out for a couple of weeks, then ventured out to get back into the real world.  He just about fully recovered from that stroke.  The only issue was short term memory loss.  With a lot of help from our physicians, we were able to get enough test done and documentation to get his disability.  A God send.

We went along fine until December of 2014, when he had another stroke.  This one was worse.  He had to go through rehab and was able to come home walking with a walker but not comfortable enough to be by his self while I worked.  So, I quit my job and stayed home with him. He did pretty good with getting around and we went to Church and out to dinner some. 

Then, October 2015 came around and another stroke, again on the right side of his brain.  He again went through rehab and came home able to walk with a walker and get around pretty good.

And, we move to January 12, 2016.  A red spot showed up on the left side of his abdomen with a little spot that looked like a spider bite.  So, I cleaned it and applied antibiotic ointment.  The next day he was a little weak and the red spot was bigger.  I suggested the hospital, but he said no.  The next day, January 14, 2016 was our 38th anniversary and he was a little weaker.  I needed to run to walmart to get something for him and when I came back in the door, Chuck said I think we need to go to the hospital.  So we did by ambulance this time.

He hadn't had a stroke or a heart attack, but was in renal failure and they weren't sure what the red spot was.  Upon admission, his kidney function was 13%  At 15% they put you on dialysis for life.  But the doctor said let's not go that way just yet because all of his electrolytes were in the perfect range.  So they put him on some super strong antibiotics and flushed his kidneys with mega IV fluids.  It worked, in four days he was at 69% functioning.  They were thrilled. They had also done two CT's two different days, to see if there was an abscess under the skin that was causing the red area.  Nothing showed up either time.  So, they wanted to send him to a nursing home just to do rehab as they are a little less strenuous and it would be better for him.  He was transferred to New Horizons on a Wednesday evening.  He did ok, but not as good as I thought they would do with him.  On Tuesday, three small white dots showed up in the middle of the red area on his abdomen.  The nurse took a pic and sent it to the doc so he would know what it looked like.  He was due in the next day to visit.  I got there Wednesday morning and the area had come open and was draining.  When the doc came in right after me, he told his nurse, to transfer to the hospital as Chuck needed emergency surgery.  So off we went flying.  They did surgery in the middle of the night and I did get to see him afterward to make sure he was ok.  His bandage was huge, which meant the surgeon had to cut a very large incision. 

Once I got to see the surgeon the next day, I found out they did a 13" incision and took out a quart of stuff from the cavity. He left the incision open because of Chuck being a diabetic and diabetics don't always heal that great.  His thought was if he left it open, it would heal from the inside out and just in case more infection showed up inside, they wouldn't have to operate again.  And infection did show up again, so it's a good thing he made the choice he did.  On Thursday and Friday, they had to unpack and repack the incision three times a day.  On Saturday and Sunday, only twice a day.  Monday came and they packed the incision with a sponge material and attached a wound vac.  It was awesome!  That meant, it only had to be changed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Much less pain for Chuck. But on Sunday morning before the wound vac was put on, I got a call from the hospital needing permission to do some test on Chuck because they believed he had had a stroke.  Once all the results were in, it was determined that he had had two small ones on the left side of his brain that affected his speech and a major one on the right side of his brain.  Oh no, here we go again.

But, the hardest day was on Thursday of the same week when the docs came in and said there was nothing else they could do for Chuck.  I had the option of putting him in a nursing home or taking him home with hospice.  But, I said he's not dying, they said technically he is.  Every vessel from the neck up was just about 100% blocked and his heart was only functioning at 25%.  Talk about shock!  I still can't get my mind totally around all of it.  My decision was of course to bring him home.  My youngest son and I talked to Chuck and gave him a say in the decision.  He wanted nothing more than to come home, so home it was.

A hospital bed and accessories were delivered on Friday night and Chuck was delivered by ambulance on Saturday afternoon.  It was so nice to have him home after being in the hospital for a solid month.  Even with the circumstances, it was nice.  I didn't have to be at the hospital before daylight and then not get home till after dark every night.  The hospice admission nurse came in and got every thing set up with meds and supplies to change his bandage dressings twice a day.  Yes, I am doing that, no big deal, nothing grosses me out. lol

I told everyone that if they wanted to see Chuck, they needed to do it now, because with the vessel blockages and his heart not working properly, he could have a massive stroke or a massive heart attack at any time.  So, we have had lots of visits from old friends and lots of family.  It has been really nice to see everyone.  Our Church friends come by too, they are super.

Everyday is a regression for him, which is to be expected.  He has stopped eating, but still drinks liquids.  All his meds have to be crushed and given with a bite of pudding.  He has a foley cath, so it's easier to keep his bed linens clean.  I do have a home aide that comes in three times a week to bathe him and to change the sheets for me.  She is an angel!  The nurse, social worker and chaplain come by too, which is nice.

I get to spend all day with Chuck but when I need to go outside for some fresh air, I have a baby monitor so I can hear if he calls my name.  He really doesn't need a lot of hands on care, but trust me, I keep my hands on him.

With him home, it gives me time to do my freelance writing work, which I will continue even after Chuck passes on.  I really don't want to go back into the corporate world to work.  I have other options here in my neighborhood that will be work related too.  Part time of course.

So, for now, I just live day by day and watch my sweet hubby drift farther and farther away from me.  I have had a hole in my heart since that Thursday in the hospital, knowing that his life would end sooner than either of us thought it would.  We all know that everyone will die at some time, but you are never prepared for it to be your spouse, especially at such a young age.  How do you say goodbye?  Will I remember how his touch and kisses felt?  What will I do with myself?  I know I have my puppies, cats and other pets that will need my attention, but it's just not the same, as you can well imagine.

This journey has been 9 long years and still going.  Today is six weeks from the time he went into the hospital on our anniversary.  He has been home from the hospital now 12 days.  We keep counting and enjoying each day, no matter how hard it is.  Most nights I don't sleep because he don't sleep, but I can't really sleep during the day, as I want every moment I can get with him.  He sleeps a lot but that's ok, He's still here with me for now.  I cry at the drop of a hat, shoot, you don't even have to drop a hat, I just cry most of the day and night.  I know when the day comes, I'll crash and burn and hopefully get some much needed sleep.  I think my ADD keeps me going most of all. My brain never stops thinking of things to do and keeps me awake.  I never thought that would be a blessing.

So, cherish every moment God gives you with your loved one.  You never know when that time will come to an end.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hard Times

No one knows how hard life and death can be until they are facing the death of their spouse.  I lost my mom years ago and that hurt pretty bad, but there is such a difference when it comes time to say goodbye to your best friend that you have been married to for 38 years. 

I'm facing that now and I guess I just need to vent some everyday to get through the hardship of it all.

My first thoughts are what am I going to do with myself once God does call Chuck home for good.  I just don't know........

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Just One Day
The sun was extra bright, with the grass so green.  It was freshly mowed; I love the smell of fresh cut grass, especially on a day like this.  Cassie must have spent the entire morning getting ready for this special day.  It looks like she started in the kitchen before dawn to make that spread.  While Sam and Jennie played on the swing set and jungle gym, Matt spread out an extra large quilt on the grass under a huge oak tree.  There was just enough of a breeze blowing to make it comfortable.  Cassie started bringing bowls out of the picnic basket and putting them on the quilt.  Goodness, there was potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, and sliced deli meat for sandwiches.  I think I could see three kinds of meat, ham, roast beef and turkey, along with two different kinds of bread.  There was also mayo and mustard.  Cassie even brought real plates instead of paper.  Wow!  She had the silverware rolled in cloth napkins and tied up with ribbon, one for each of them.  Cassie really wanted to show Matt that this was going to be a very special Father’s Day.  When all the goodies were laid out, Matt called for their two children to come eat.  Cassie insisted on making the plates for each of the kids and then making one for her special husband, Matt. 
Matt and Cassie had been together for 15 years, 13 of which they shared the same bed as husband and wife.  A year after the honeymoon, Sam was born.  Then, two years later Jennie came along.  Two children were their wish for a perfect family.  There had been lots of ups and downs during these years of wedded bliss, but they seemed to make each new year a little more fun than the last.
This day was the first time the Monroe family had a picnic for Father’s Day.  I could see in Cassie’s eyes that there was something up with her plans.  She just was ready to pop with excitement.  As sandwiches were being devoured, Cassie pulled out a plate of homemade brownies all covered with chocolate fudge icing and sprinkles.  The two children’s eyes almost popped out when they saw the big plate.  Cassie uncovered the plate and Sam and Jennie attacked.  They just loved chocolate with sprinkles; who wouldn’t?  What Cassie didn’t see at first was the look on Matt’s face as she fed the children.  Matt was the proudest dad in the world at that moment.  He had a very loving and caring wife and a super special mom to his great children.  Matt’s heart was pounding so hard with pleasure and love for his perfect family.
I noticed Cassie look at her watch and then look up at the sky.  As soon as she looked down, she started rushing to get everything packed back in the picnic basket.  Matt folded the quilt and Cassie took the blanket and basket in her arms.  She said, “You guys stay right here, don’t move from this spot until I get back.  I’ll be just a minute, promise!”  She ran to the car and back as quickly as she could.  She knew she had to hurry for the next part of this special Father’s Day surprise.
When she got back to her waiting family, she looked up again at the sky and pointed at the hot air balloon that was slowly descending to the middle of the grassy area of the park.  Matt and the children were so excited to see the balloon coming their way.  Cassie grabbed Sam and Jennie’s hands and told Matt to hurry up and come on.  When they got to where the balloon landed, Cassie waved at the man inside of the basket.  He said, “Hi, my name is Greg and I’ll be your in the air guide for the next two hours.”  Matt, Sam and Jennie jumped up and down.  Cassie just grinned softly, trying to hide the rest of her surprise.  After each member of the Monroe family were safely aboard, Greg took them up high in the air and started pointed out landmarks that were just beautiful from so far up in the air.
Cassie just couldn’t stand it anymore and had to share the rest of her surprise.  She got everyone’s attention and made them all stand around in a tiny circle in the basket of this huge balloon.  Cassie started by saying, “Matt, the children and I wanted this to be the best ever Father’s Day for you.”  Both of the children clapped and yelled, “Happy Father’s Day!”  Then Cassie got everyone quiet and spoke to Matt again.  “My darling Matt, I have the most special news for you on this special day.  I want to tell you that you are going to be a father again, I’m pregnant.”  Matt was speechless.  All he could think about was that his perfect family was changing from two wonderful children to three, maybe more since twins ran in both their families.  It was like a big truck had crashed into his head, but it was only the ground roughly touching the bottom of the hot air balloon basket.  They had landed.  After getting out of the basket, Matt was still quiet and had a strange look on her face.  Sam and Jennie were so excited about having a little brother or sister.  Each had their own wish.  Cassie looked at Matt and couldn’t quite figure out if he was happy or upset.  I think it finally clicked in Matt’s head that he had heard what he thought he heard.  He grabbed Cassie around the waist and spun her around in circles.  All the while he kept saying, “God is good, God is good!”  See, secretly he had wanted more children; he just didn’t think that Cassie did.  But, it seems she did and God had blessed them with another baby.
What a special Father’s Day!  As I looked on at this special family having a great Father’s Day, the tears came streaming down my face.  See, my parents divorced when I was a baby and I never got to see my dad again.  He died when I was eleven and I didn’t know that until just a few years ago.  I had been looking for him ever since I got married at the age of 19 and I’m now 54.
All I ever wanted was to spend just one Father’s Day with my dad, just one day.  That’s all I want but it will never be.  That’s why every year on Father’s Day, I come to this park and sit close to a family sharing the day.  It’s as close as I’ll ever get to my perfect Father’s Day family.
I love you Dad, forever and ever!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last day of 2011! How has your year been? Me? I'm looking forward to another great year with the Lord!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

It's Memorial Day weekend, thank you God for a three day weekend. Yesterday, I had a mixed day. It started out wonderful, Chuck and I went over to Janet's house to feed the cats and then went to breakfast at Ihop. Chuck wanted to go for a ride, so we headed to Gainesville to see Jason and the boys. They weren't home, but we caught up to them and spent most to the day with them. It was really neat to see the three of them. I started getting out of sorts a little while we were there and it just went downhill from there. I really don't know what was going on in my head. After we got home, we watched part of a really good cowboy movie. Chuck wanted to go to the Chinese buffet for supper, so we did. It was good. Chuck actually ate some crab He cracked them and ate every bite he could get out of the shell. I was tickled to see him eating them. That is something he has not ever done before.

Today, I woke up in a great mood and Chuck was not feeling well. Yesterday was my day and today is his. I went to Church by myself, came home, got Chuck and we went to Captain D's for lunch. I enjoyed to fish for a change. We sat and talked for quite awhile. We both really missed having lunch with Bob, Becky and Rachel, but we They had a chance to spend some time with one of their son's that lives out of state. I hope they all had a great time together.

Bob, Becky and Rachel just got back from Destin, FL. We really missed them and was jealous that they were at the beach. Becky brought me some really neat sock yarn from one of the yarn shops that they visited. It is so beautiful! I am working on sock warmers for a coworker. I am almost finished with them and need to make a pair for her very beautiful baby daughter. They will have matching leg cute will that be! As soon as they are done, I am going to make a pair of socks for Chuck, then I will make me a pair using the new sock yarn. The yarn is very soft, it is made of alpacha and merino wool, silk and nylon. It is self striping, hand painted yarn. The socks are going to be beautiful.

That's another cool thing, now that I think about it. Chuck is really looking forward to his next pair of hand knit socks. He has always said that he didn't want me to make him some socks. But, now that I made him a pair and he has felt how good they feel on his feet, he loves them. I will probably make him four or five pairs at least. He is not a big sock wearer, but I know this winter he will be wearing them all the time. His next pair is going to be a slightly variegated red, kind of on the dark side.

Tonight, we are going to Church for a memorial service for Carl. His wife Helen goes to our Church. Carl went to be with the Lord last weekend and we are going to celebrate his home coming tonight. We are going to serve dinner for the family right after the service. I made a huge salad, with all the trimmings. It will be a sad time, but a good time all in one. Carl is where a lot of us really would like to be, sitting at the right hand side of our Father.

Tomorrow, I am going to cook us breakfast and have some hot dogs and chips later on for lunch/dinner. I plan on washing the dog bedding in all the dog crates and them work on more laundry, knit and might even take a nap.

I took a crazy sleep apnea test the other night, as a demo for a new piece of equipment at work. It showed that I stopped breathing 3 times during the night and snored 500 times in an hour. Chuck says I snore, but it sounds like a cat purring. So, I guess I have sleep apnea, but only mildly. The consulting doc reported that I could benefit from a cpap machine at night and that my snoring could be corrected by seeing an ENT for an in office procedure. That scares me to death. I don't think I want anything done to my nose. I already have a fear of suffocating and almost have panic attacks when I get a sinus infection and my nose is stopped up. So, I guess I won't be seeing an ENT any time soon. I might look into getting a cpap machine tho, I'll have to see how much my insurance company will pay. I haven't met my deductible yet, but I do still have flex spending money that could be used to pay for what they don't cover. We'll see.

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kilt hose

Well here are the kilt hose that I finally finished! As you can see Mike is tickled to death with them. They were custom made to match the kilt he is wearing here in this photo with me. The cuffs are entrelac - blue and yellow, with a darker blue picot at the top and bottom of the cuff. The leg is the darker blue in a pattern called "Links of Love". There is no pattern for these kilt hose--I winged it! We did complete measurements of Mike's leg and guessed the number of stitches needed to fit his leg and foot. We did it! I had him try them on very often to make sure that they fit. I really love the colors.

My writing career is growing with leaps and bounds. I have several clients that I do SEO writing for. I am working with a very sweet lady that lives in CA. She was a beauty queen a few years ago and a very beautiful one, I might add. She wants to write a book about finding the true beauty. I have started on it and will have lots of fun with it. I have started my first book, also. It is called, "Are you sure, God?" You will have to wait to see it in print to find out what it is about. I will tell you that it is mostly about my life, from beginning to death. I know, I'm still alive, but you will just have to read the book to see the ending, you'll love it.

Chuck has good days and bad days. We think he had another small stroke last week. His face is drooping worse and he slept for about three straight days, just like when the first one happened. Of course he didn't want to go to the hospital, as they really can't do anything for him. He takes Plavix to thin down his platlets. They are not able to do much for stroke patients that take Plavix. So, we just keep going and trusting God to take care of both of us.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Where in the world have you been?

In case you haven't noticed, it's been a year since I've posted anything on this wonderful blog. Maybe you haven't noticed or don't even

Well, I think I'm back. It's been a very hard two years, but I think life is getting a little better.

For those that don't know, my mom passed away last April. She had cancer in several places, both lungs, her liver, hip, spine, and small intestine. The bad part is she didn't want my brother and I to know, so she kept it quiet for several years. The only way we found out was after we got the results of a CT, which showed in a couple of the places. We had her admitted to the hospital the next day and they ran more test and found the other four places. The cancer was too far gone to do anything. She even decided she didn't even want to know what kind of cancer it was. We brought her home to my house. The said she might have about two months, but died two weeks later.

I know God has his hands all in it, because, I had just had minor surgery the day before we got her first results. I had two weeks off work, so I could stay home and take care of her. I cherished every minute I had with her. We were able to clear the air on some personal issues and got pretty close before she died. She was able to see all her family and friends before she died, as well. The only thing I hated was that the day she died, I chose to go back to work. I thought she had more time and it would be ok. Chuck was home with her when God decided to take her home.

We still have not been able to sell her house, but we are still trying. My garage is full of junk that I brought from her house and I still have to bring home a china cabinet, the china and crystal, and a daybed. Lord only knows where I'm going to put it all.

But, as life goes on, things get better and better. I'm not knitting as much, but have gone back to the old love of writing. I'm working as a freelance writer....part time. I found a really cool site that lets you bid on jobs and I have actually been doing a lot of writing. It is really good therapy and lots of fun. Most of the work I do, I can pull from my head....others I have to do some research on and that's fun, since I get to learn something new and I have always said, you should never stop learning. If you do, your life is over and I'm not ready for it to be over

I am in the middle of a knitting project that is a slow mover. I'm knitting kilt hose for a friend at Church. The pattern is called 'links of love' with entrelac cuffs. The colors are dark blue, yellow and medium blue......loud, but nice! I am about a half inch away from starting the heel flap. The reason it is taking so long to finish these, is Mike has such a large leg. I can usually knit a pair of sock in about two weeks, but these are taking forever. I'll post a photo when they are done. They match Mike's new custom made kilt. We took a swatch of the fabric to the Yarn Garden and matched the colors perfectly. Hopefully he will let me take a photo with him wearing the kilt and the hose, that will be awesome.

I tried sock knitting on a loom, but hated it, so that's an art that will not be kept up in the Brown house. I still like 2 sox on 2 circs....thanks to Cathy! I have about six pair of socks to knit once these kilt hose are finished. I have been collecting sock yarn, I have some gorgeous colors just waiting to be knit into socks. Well I guess I'm off to finish my article on starting a pet business. It pays enough for a meal out for Chuck and