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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Homeward Bound

As I left the hospital, I gave Dad a big, not too tight, squeeze and followed the nurse down the hall. At 7am, the doctor came in, pulled the drain out of Dad's chest and gave him his walking papers. He will be released sometime this afternoon. Throughout it all, I haven't been that emotional. At times, I felt concern and shock when I first saw him in ICU but not the distress as when Mom was sick.



I'm not sure why? Wasn't Dad's quadruple bypass every bit as serious as Mom's battle with cancer? A friend said the difference is the weight of primary caretaker didn't fall on my shoulder's with Dad like it did with Mom.



Thank God for Pam. You can really see how much she loves Dad in the little ways she cares for him. She jumps up to straighten his pillow, rubs lotion on his legs and feet and tenderly caresses his forehead and cheek. Throughout the weekend she repeatedly said, "He has to be okay because he's my soul mate." I'm so glad Dad has her. As I followed the nurse to the exit of the hospital, the tears came like a flood. It's so hard saying goodbye.



We live so far away that we're lucky to see each other even once a year. Thanks to mobiles, we talk every day which helps. With him happy in the Smokies and me content as an Okie, I guess cells will have to do for now.



I caught a taxi from the hospital to the airport. It couldn't have been much over 10 miles away but it ended up costing $40.00. The 1-way ticket home only cost $110.00. Isn't that crazy? Dad says I really should get out more, but I don't know if I can afford it.



I made it to the airport in plenty of time so I hit a few airport stores after I checked in with a real live ticket agent. I found a great tote bag that I think I'll use as a purse for $12.00. It's that popular giraffe print with pink straps and trim. I love it. My kids are crazy for Webkinz so I picked up a snake for Little Man and a Lemur (I thought was a monkey) for Baby Girl. They'll love it.



At security, they weren't real happy that my license was expired. I pulled out every card in my wallet in attempts to prove who I was. Reluctantly they sent me on. Like a pro, I placed my stuff including my shoes and jackets into a bin and confidently strolled through without a hitch.



All along the concourse, they had rocking chairs of all shapes and sizes facing the windows definitely adding to the Smokey Mountain feel. During my time here, most of the people I met spoke with that strong southern drawl. It's like they either added vowels to all their words or at least hung on to the ones there as long as possible. The funniest words were those with the long i sound; Right, Nice, and Like. For me, the accent seemed so out of place in the ICU unit. All the doctors and nurses sounded like Dolly Parton, it was hard to take them seriously.



Off the subject, did you see the wreck at Talledega this weekend? On the way to Dallas Friday morning, the guy sitting behind me on the plane was going to that race. Man, did he get his money's worth!



On the plane to Memphis, we bounced around a little more than I like due to turbulence. It got me to thinking about the many flights I took as a child on Skyways (Scareways). Skyways was a little 2 engine commuter plane I'd fly to see Dad during school vacations. When I'd board their plane, I'd wave and say "Hi" to the pilots sitting in the cockpit. Before going to my seat, they'd usually give me a wings pin. There wasn't a door separating the pilots from the main cabin. If I remember right, there weren't stewardesses but instead during the flight, you could see and talk to the pilots at the front of the plane. A couple of times, the pilots invited me to sit in the cockpit and pretend to fly the plane. My how things have changed.



One particular time I flew on Scareways, I looked out my window somewhere over Arkansas and I could see the propeller sitting still. The engine had gone out. Meanwhile in Memphis, the plane was of course extremely late. Dad says that several times he asked the agents at the counter what's going on, why is the plane so late but they never gave him a straight answer only it's been delayed. Dad watched as planes were directed to other runways and emergency vehicles made their way to the runway directly in front of him.



On one engine, it took forever for us to get to Memphis. Looking back, I bet it was a much longer wait for Dad watching all the emergency crews on the runway. If it were my kids, I'd have lost my mind. He says off in the distance, he finally saw our little plane flying on one engine slowly heading for the runway. Obviously, it would have been bad if the other engine went out but evidently landing can be tough on one engine. It was dark when we made our approach to Memphis. I always loved landing at night to see all the runway lights from above but that was nothing compared to it coupled with the lights from the emergency vehicles as well. It was awesome. They told us to assume a crash position bending our head to our legs. Although I could touch my nose to my legs better than anyone on the plane, I was more interested in looking out the window to watch all the action and lights on the ground. Failing to see the danger, I refused to duck for cover.



On Skyways, they don't pull up to the breezeway connecting to the airport but you take stairs down from the plane and walk outside to the doors of the airport. I was always excited to look up into the big airport windows and see Dad waving. He laughs remembering that night. All the adults exited the plane holding their chest noticeably shaken from the experience while I bounced off with a big grin happily skipping and swinging my purse in circles above my head. Oh, to be a kid.



Today's flight to Memphis was no where that exciting but I did catch a glimpse of the Memphis Pyramid, the skyline of downtown and a huge fleet of Fed Ex cargo planes. Once on the ground, I was too slow out of my seat as passengers took up all the aisle. Only on a plane will people not think twice about sticking their butt right in your face as they search under seats and overhead for their belongings. I hope no one has gas.



In the airport, the first song I heard was Otis Reddings "Try A Little Tenderness." Yep, this is definitely Memphis. I had some time to kill between flights so I decided to find a restaurant and maybe check out some of their stores. The first restaurant I came to was of course a barbecue restaurant so I stopped for a sandwich. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich, my favorite. The cashier asked if I wanted slaw on my sandwich. Hubby is disgusted when I eat that combination. I'm sure it's a Southern thang, if you haven't tried it, you should. It's great! As I ate my sandwich and watched people pass by, two words plopped into my mind . . . SWINE FLU! I hope you can't get it from Barbecue sandwiches.



After lunch, I shopped. The Elvis store had a great Elvis purse but it was too expensive about the cost of my taxi ride to the airport this morning. Next, I went to the Sun store named for the famous Sun Studio in downtown Memphis where all the greats recorded. Why Ohio claims to be the birthplace of Rock n Roll I have no idea, there's no denying, it all started here in Memphis. If you are ever in Memphis, be sure to take the Sun Studio tour, it's incredible! Sun store in the airport had a great Johnny Cash t-shirt, all black of course. Cool shirt but more than I wanted to spend.



At the gate waiting for the plane, the airport announcer warned that the Homeland Security Threat was elevated to Orange, I wonder what that means? The next time I fly will be the first of June. Hubby and I along with two other couples, are going to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. My best friend is one of the couples, we've been friends since 3rd grade. We planned the trip months ago. We were somewhat concerned with all the media attention on the gun fights from the drug wars. Now that's calmed down, the Pig Flu has broke out and once again all travel to Mexico is discouraged. While still waiting for my plane, she text me saying maybe we should cancel the trip. I text back halfway joking saying how cute we'd look in our bikini's and face mask and what could possible happen next, an earthquake? She's never seen the ocean before, not to jinx us but maybe she's not meant to. Before I turned off my cell, she text me back saying, "OMG, a 6.0 earthquake hit Acapulco!" I'm not sure if she's serious or not. I'm confident if we make it to Mexico in June, I'll have one hell of a story to tell on my blog.

I made it home sweet home. Flying in, there's no Smokey Mountains or great Pyramid, but boy does it look good. The wind was blowing too strong for the breezeway so they had us take the stairs off the plane like Scareways. Hubby and kiddo's greeted me with hugs and kisses just beyond security. I'm home. . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

TBall Update

We won both games Saturday. The first game was against the team I pulled Baby Girl off. I heard through the grapevine that their coach really wanted to stick it to us. I couldn't help but feel the same. Nothing wrong with a little competition, Right?

We won 18 to 16 or something like that. I have terrible cell phone reception in the hospital but after the game Mom left a message on my voicemail. When I got the message, I sprang up jumping up and down and yelling, "We Won, We Won!" Thank God, I was in the hospital cafeteria and not ICU.

I spoke to Hubby, Mom, Dad, Paw Paw, Grandma, a couple of other parents on the team and Baby Girl to try and get all accounts of the game.

Wish I could have been there.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Making It Look Easy

Only my dad can make quadruple bypass surgery look easy.

He went in the hospital on Friday, it's now Sunday night and they say he might get to go home tomorrow. When I arrived at the hospital Friday around 11am, I went immediately to the Cardiac ICU. I met Pam, my dad's wife, in the waiting room. She was pretty upset as you might expect but glad to see me. She said that he spent over 2 hours in surgery, his heart is pumping and so far, so good.

Visiting hours for the ICU unit are every 2 hours for 30 minutes; 12, 2, 4, 6, and so on all night long. My first visit in to see him was pretty shocking. He had a gazillion tubes hooked to him, had a ventilator in his mouth and looked really swollen and pale. He wasn't breathing on his own. Besides his chest going up and down with forced breaths, he didn't move. I wanted to touch him but was too scared. I met his first nurse, Holly. She was really friendly and tried to assure us that he was okay.

As I left ICU, it hit me. I didn't burst into tears, falter under the stress or go into hysterics but the weight of the situation settled on me hard. I couldn't bear sitting in the tense waiting room with the other families, so we went to the cafeteria for a drink. We somehow got lost in conversation catching up on the last few months until it was time for our 4:00 visit with Dad.

He looked the same but was moving some. He'd wiggle his toes and fingers, a definite sign of life. I was reluctant but Pam reached out to touch his hand as she talked to him. I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking but he seemed to be following her commands. He'd wiggle his toes and squeeze her hand when she asked. He kept sticking his tongue out over and over. I thought maybe he was trying to get the ventilator out of his mouth but he later said that he was trying to communicate. Pam told him that I was there. She said I had red hair and he scrunched up his nose as if to say "What?" He looked just as bad as the first visit, he couldn't open his eyes, but was definitely in there. So reassuring!

This hospital is really confusing. Pam and I kept getting lost in the hallways. We finally found the parking garage but then couldn't find the car. When you enter the parking garage, they give you a ticket. If you get it stamped inside the hospital, they won't charge you. We kept either losing the tickets or forgetting to get it stamped.

We found a really nice hotel not 10 minutes down the road, checked in and rushed right back to the hospital. During the next visit, he opened his eyes but they kept slamming shut like he hadn't slept in weeks. He would nod his head yes, no or shrug his shoulders to communicate. We asked if he was in pain, he nodded NO. He squeezed my hand as I talked to him and even looked at us, crossed his eyes making a funny face before his lids slammed shut for a good laugh. He did that several times trying to lift our spirits as if saying lighten up, everything's okay. Towards the end of our visit, he tried to tell me something. I somehow guessed that his neck hurt from being in the same position for so long. His nurse moved cords so he could move his head to alleviate the pain in his neck. It felt really good to help. At this point, he wasn't totally dependent on the ventilator. He had to initiate breaths and then the ventilator kicked in to assist. When he'd dose off, he sometimes would forget to breathe like Sleep Apnea. When he stopped breathing, bells would go off waking Dad and alerting the nurse. It was scary to watch.

Back in the waiting room, Pam's phone was ringing off the hook with people wanting to know how Dad was doing. She didn't feel like talking to everyone repeating the details of Dad's condition. I offered to update everyone by leaving updates on the voicemail of her cell phone. It worked like a charm. As people called and got her voicemail, my voice would greet them and give full details on how he was doing. Some people would leave messages, others didn't but all were kept well informed.

At the 8:00 visit, we came in to find Dad sitting up with the help of his bed trying to talk to his nurse. He was fully alert with his eyes wide open. He mouthed the word "Swallow" and was demanding the ventilator come out. He wasn't getting through to his nurse so he motioned for a pen and paper. He wrote what everyone already knew, he wanted the ventilator out. He was still forgetting to breathe some when asleep. But in true Dad form, he won the battle and against their better judgment, they pulled the ventilator. They warned him that if he forgets to breathe too much, they'd have to put it back in and start all over. His voice was raspy from the ventilator and anesthesia, but he could finally talk to us. Dad asked us to stay past ICU curfew to help keep him awake so he wouldn't forget to breathe. The RN, Robert, was really cool and let us stay.

As we hung out, Dad told us that before he came to, he could hear everything going on. I couldn't believe it because earlier in the day he looked 100% checked out. He said that when we were talking, we sounded like a couple of "Mag Pies." He's still talking funny from the drugs and I thought he said a couple of Bag Pipes. I didn't know what Mag Pies were. I found out they are birds who continually chatter. I guess our rambling did sound like that. All I know was that we were told to talk to him even though he was comatose. That's really hard, what do you say? Do you tell him what's going on in case he's confused? Do you tell him how much you love him, just in case? Either way, he doesn't respond and it feels like you're talking to air. Dad continued to nod off as we were talking. He'd forget to breathe some and the bells would start ringing. As we left, I was worried they'd have to put the dreaded ventilator back in.

When we came back, it was 10pm. He was still without the ventilator. He told us not to stay at the hospital all night but get some sleep at the hotel, he was fine. We stayed with him until a little after 11pm and then went to the hotel. I couldn't believe the improvements he made each time we were allowed to visit throughout the day. It was like night and day.

When we arrived the next morning, he was sitting in the recliner in ICU eating breakfast. They had removed more tubes and were ready to move him out of ICU as soon as a bed was available in the Cardiac Observation Unit. We continued to have great nurses and nurse assistants who not only joked around with us but also let Pam and I stay as long as we wanted.

He was moved out of ICU late Saturday afternoon, continued to eat a little and stayed in good spirits. We all hung out that night watching TV, listening to music on my computer and just enjoying each other's company. As Pam and I got ready for bed at the hotel, we both agreed that it's too bad that nowadays it takes something as serious as open heart surgery to make us put life on hold, travel the miles between us and spend time as if it's the last day we can.

It's Sunday night and for the most part, he's had a good day. He's still not eating much because his stomach is swollen and bloated. Today, his stomach has really bothered him and it's getting worse the later it gets. The nurses have given him medicine so hopefully it'll help.

Since January, he's had attacks where the room starts spinning, he becomes extremely nauseous and just feels extremely bad. It usually happens in the mornings which many times puts him out of commission for the rest of the day. He's had moments of dizziness since the surgery but tonight had a full blown attack. (It reminds me of a panic attack) He's frustrated thinking he just endured major surgery but still won't feel better. I'm hoping the dizziness and nausea is from the surgery and pain meds on an empty stomach.

Regardless, he has rebound unbelievably fast and I'm heading home tomorrow knowing that he's well on his way to recovery.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Airport

Okay so I haven't flown in a long time, my how things have changed. I made it to the airport at the butt crack of dawn, said goodbye to hubby, grabbed my full bottle of water and rolled my 1 suitcase to check-in. First time ever, there wasn't a crowd of people waiting for the ticket counter. I went straight for the ticket agent when I was directed to a line of computers directly in front of the counter. No biggie, I can handle this. I have plenty experience thanks to Walmart and their self checkout. I followed all the prompts confirming my name, flight info and such. It then asks about luggage, I press 1 bag. It says it'll cost $15.00, how do I want to pay? Thinking I messed up, I looked for a real live person behind the counter to ask. Nope, no mistake. They charge per bag, is that not crazy? The cost of the ticket itself was outrageous!



Before it'll print my boarding pass, I have to show the live ticket agent my driver's license. From 16 to probably 25, I've lost a dozen or so driver's license. It's been the running joke in my family. Over the years, Mom and Dad have found my missing driver's licenses in all sorts of places. But now that I'm a responsible adult and put away those childish ways, I confidently whip out my license for the ticket agent. Lo and behold, she informs me my license expired at the end of March. They allowed me to fly but I would have been screwed a few months back when I'd been grounded for an expired ID, off to security.



What luck, no line at Security either. Maybe 5am at the airport is not so bad after all. As I enter the line, a security guy eyes my drink and then informs me that I can't take my water through security. I haven't even opened it yet, that stinks. I took one drink, tossed the bottle in the trash, placed my purse and folder in the bin to be scanned and headed for their metal detector. I guess I noticed some others taking their shoes off to be scanned but it didn't register until face to face with that security guy treating me like a 5 year old, "Uhm. . .Ma'am, you must put your shoes and jacket in the bin too." It's like he was that comedian saying "Here's Your Sign, You Moron" as I scooted past him in socks, grabbed my stuff, slipped my shoes on and headed for the gate.



I must say, everyone at the airport is unbelievably friendly and helpful. I bet they're trained on what to say and how to say it in attempts to minimize stress because let's face it, it's not natural to be that friendly in the morning. I think they're fighting a losing battle anyway, the definition of airport is a place of stress, no matter how friendly they get.



On the way to the gate, I first smell and then see heaven on earth, it's a Starbucks. Forget friendliness, give me coffee and I will de-stress. I walk to the gate to ask someone if I can take coffee on the plane. Wouldn't you know it, no one's there, only a screen monitor with boarding instructions. I read through the prompts. After 5 minutes, the prompts start over not mentioning drinks on the plane. Permissible or not, I need coffee so I go to Starbuck's.



With a cafe mocha in hand, I make it back to the terminal. At the last minute, a live person came to board us. When people began to approach her, she ordered them back to wait in their seats. It was kinda like she was the teacher and we were her class. She started boarding by calling First Class and all the rich folks lined up. Next, she called for Executive Platinum, not sure what that is but a bunch of suits lined up. Next, she called for Priority Access. I thought that was for passengers who need assistance like those with small children, handicapped, etc... But the ones that lined up didn't look the part, not sure who they were. Finally, she called for those with Boarding Pass 1, that was me.



I boarded the plane and began looking for my seat. It was at the back of the plane next to the engine. It blocked most of the view out the window, however there weren't any seats directly in front of us just the flight attendant's station (notice I didn't say stewardess, how about that for political correctness?) so we had more leg room then anyone else, that was nice. The plane was dark as everyone settled into their seats. The flight attendants helped some with their carryons, and began making preparation for take-off. One came over to my row and told me and the woman next to me that we would have to store our carryons as well as our purses in the overhead bin. What? Both of us complaining some, we put our stuff overhead. The plane started with a low, vibrating roar. We definitely had the loudest seats on the ride to Dallas.



The flight to Dallas was uneventful and not that loud once we reached our flying altitude. I didn't talk much to the woman next to me partly because the roar of the engine but mostly because it was still the butt crack of dawn. I noticed she kept her wallet with her, mine was overhead. . . that wasn't too smart. As we made our approach, I initiated small talk and asked in my most pleasant LOUD voice, "Where are you headed?" She lives in Tulsa but was heading for Florida. When she found out I was going to Tennessee, she perked up and said she used to live in Jackson, Tennessee, my hometown. What a small world.



I had less than an hour to change planes as I guess most others because no one waited for the pilot to turn off the seat belt sign but instead fought for space in the aisle. I don't know what it is about me and a bunch of people in a confined space that makes me have gas. Does this happen to anyone else? On the concourse, it reminded me of the Amazing Race. All of us passengers sprinting for the tram trying to catch connecting flights, it was really exciting. The woman I sat next to on the plane followed my lead. I guess she didn't see the "Complete Moron Sign" but instead a "World Class Traveler Sign", works for me. I found the tram, took a seat at the front and began reading all the wall advertisements in the tram. There was one for The Cereally Bar, a restaurant in the airport that served cereal. That's crazy, I wouldn't think there'd be a huge market for Cheerios, Corn Flakes and Captain Crunch.



At last, I made my flight. It was a smaller plane with a single row of seats lining one aisle and a set of 2 seats on the other. Jealous of those assigned a seat by themselves, I squeeze next to a big muscular guy that took up mine and his seat both. He's cute enough, probably early 20's, has dreadlocks and a bright orange golf shirt on. I automatically assume he's a Big Vol's Football player, how about that for profiling. We sat quietly through take off. I was going back and forth on whether to break the silence, not sure if I was in a talkative mood or not.



When I was young and flew all the time on Skyways (Scareways) a little commuter plane, I would entertain fellow passengers by holding my own little concert, poor guys. As I remember, they were always good sports and applauded after each musical selection.

Not much after takeoff, I started a conversation with my supersized travel buddy. He was from Houston heading for Knoxville for work. He works for a non-profit company that sells an after-school reading tutoring program to churches and non-profit agencies. That is similar to my business and therefore I had a million and one questions like how it's funded, what's the curriculum, how's the management structure, how about marketing and so on. He called their program Freedom Schools. He was a really cool, interesting guy. The 2 hour flight flew by and before I knew it, we were landing. I wished him well as we got off the plane.

I knew I was in Tennessee when I hit the bathroom and heard Kenny Rogers, The Gambler blasting through the speakers. "Know when to hold them, know when to fold them, Know when to walk away, Know when to Run."

Dad is coming out of surgery so my thoughts turned to him and getting to the hospital.

Monday, April 20, 2009

TBall

So you remember, I signed Baby Girl up for Tball. The team looked very promising. Most of the girls are from the kids school, either the same age as Baby Girl or just one year older. I liked the team name (Xtreme) and the team colors (purple and green) which, let's face it, are most important when choosing a team. I heard about the team from the mother of a girl on Baby Girl's basketball team. She's really cool. I had a blast hanging out with her during their basketball practices and looked forward to seeing her at Tball.



The first practice was okay. They had all the girls rotating between stations practicing skills including hitting, playing catch, and running bases. I didn't instantly connect with the other moms on the team like I had hoped. It seemed like there were definite clicks from the get go. During practice #2, the coach placed my daughter in the outfield and with the exception of 1 time at bat, left her there for 2 hours without even 1 ball hit her direction. As she drew circles in the grass behind 2nd base, my blood pressure was climbing the charts.



The words "Keep it together" kept floating in and out of my mind but with little impact. I was mad, getting madder and wanted everyone to know it. With every passing minute I became louder and louder. . .huffing and puffing, deliberately shifting my weight making as much noise as possible on the bleachers. When I couldn't take it one more second, I jumped off the bleachers and stomped to my car knowing I looked like a total idiot, but unwilling to stop.

This team had 4 coaches, 1 coach had twins, all with daughters on the team. So there was the writing on the wall, the infield positions would be all coaches kids. Baby Girl would be stuck in the outfield.

After talking to my husband, several friends, and Baby Girl's basketball coach, I decided to form my own team. I contacted the guy over the league to find out what I needed to do to start a team. Next, I went to the school and began recruiting players starting first with all my daughter's friends. I quickly had 8 players and found the remaining 2 from the league's waiting list. Hubby convinced the Polaris dealership in town to sponsor us which paid for our uniforms. Our team name is the RZR's for Polaris' newest ATV. Our uniforms are awesome, the color is a cross between neon green and yellow with black lettering. We have black hats with a neon bright R and black baseball pants. The girls as well as the coaches, I might add, look awesome. We had team pictures taken last week. When they come in I'll post one.



As I mentioned, all my daughter's friends are on the team, they are a great bunch of girls. I have 1 pre-k, 5 Kindergarten, and 4 1st graders all with big personalities and cuter than cute. All the parents are equally as great. I'd choose them to hang out with outside of Tball. I coach along with hubby, Baby Girl's basketball coach's daughter, and one of my daughter's best friend's Dad. When I decided to start my own team, hubby was concerned but knew any effort to talk me out of it, would be in vain. Poor guy, when I 'm on "my mission" as he calls it, there's no hope for reason, he just has to hold on and ride it out as best as he can.

For the most part, we have steered away from all team sports. Little Man has never shown much interest and Baby Girl was too young which worked for us. We'd watch our friends run from sport to sport and vow we'd never marry a sport like them. Never say never because here we are buying Tball equipment, holding 2 practices a week and Saturday games. Surprisingly, we are all having a blast.

Because of our late start, the other teams have had twice the amount of practices. But we won 3 of the 4 games which I know shouldn't be a priority but I'm competitive so it's hard not to want to win. During all practices and most games, I switch positions so all the girls have a chance at infield where most of the action takes place. The girls are learning some of the dugout chants. My favorite being, "How funky is your chicken, how loose is your goose. So, come on all you RZR fans, and shake your caboose." We had a pizza party at my house last Friday. The girls played on our swing set fort, rode bikes, ate pizza, found and painted a turtle all while I hung out and cut up with their parents. Now, that's what I call Tball.

When the girls see me at the school, they say "Hey Coach." (sounds so weird and totally cracks me up) At yesterday's practice, our team clown told me I looked pregnant, Ouch. Attention spans are short so games during practice are best. Most practices, we run bases playing sharks and minnows, their favorite. The player's brothers and the coaches are the sharks and the girls run from base to base with big eyes screaming at the top of their lungs. It's warming up so I'm thinking about bringing out water balloons at the end of next practice. We play that team I dropped Baby Girl from on Saturday. Unfortunately, I won't be there b/c of Dad's surgery but it should be interesting.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Get Real

I've been crazy emotional lately. I guess we can all get that way at times, just comes with the territory, I suppose. I've been throwing this out to my husband and friends, maybe I'm going through the change. I'm sure it's wishful thinking but I am having night sweats. I force my husband to keep the heat off in the house even on the coldest of nights. The other morning I woke up burning up and the temperature was 64. Baby Girl asked for blankets for her bed, she's freezing (poor thing). Most nights, I can't sleep. I fall asleep pretty easy but can't stay asleep. I'm moody, more so than normal I think and (TMI, I know) my monthly friend's stays are becoming shorter and shorter. A friend says it sounds more like pregnancy than the change of life to her, but that's not a possibility, thank God.

My dad went into the hospital today for a catherization (think that's what it's called). They went through an artery in his leg to see his heart. Last year, they found out that one artery was 100% blocked and they couldn't reopen it. They put a stint in another artery that was somewhat blocked for reinforcement. He's had a pretty rough year both physically and mentally. First of all up until the heart trouble, he thought he was invincible. Most things especially sickness was nothing more than mind over matter for him and this belief kept him from even the occasional common cold. He swears he's not been sick since the 1950's. If ever he feels a cough or sniffle coming on, he'll use his mind over matter powers and not be sick. His tried and true powers have failed him over the past year leaving him not only sick on most days but also lost.

Since January, he's been having episodes of dizziness and nausea. It landed him in the emergency room a couple of times, the last time just a few weeks ago. They dismissed it as the stomach flu and sent him home . His wife had words with the emergency room doctor because she knew it was no stomach bug. Her gut instinct said it was his heart all along although no one would listen. They went to an ear, throat and nose specialist because his family doctor said it could be Inner Ear.

And so as Dad's wife suspected, it's his heart. The one artery is still 100% blocked, the one with the stint is 70% blocked and the other is 80% blocked. He's gotta have triple or quadruple bypass surgery. He's scheduling it on Monday, not sure how quickly it will happen. He has to be off Plavix for 5 days. I'm going to fly out to be there for the surgery.

He, of course, is fine and sees no need for me to come all that way because (in his words) "open heart surgery is no more than having your appendix out nowadays." Not sure it's in quite the same category but I have had 3 uncles go through it in the last few years, one who recovered on a cruise ship just a few short weeks after his surgery. I think Dad will be just fine.

I talked with Mom for several hours tonight. She had a PET Scan last Thursday and was given a clean bill of health from her oncologist last Tuesday. The doc said the scan covered the top of her head to her knees, no cancer. She told him, "Good thing, because she wasn't up for another dose of chemo," which sparked a more truthful discussion than she's ever had with him before. Why is it so hard to get straight answers from doctors?

Mom commented that she doesn't know how patients can continue life while taking dose after dose of chemo. She confessed that she didn't handle her treatment well and guesses her age was a factor or maybe weakness within herself. He told her that he's not seen any patients sail through the chemo radiation regiment she had. In fact, most fare as she did. It was a liberating conversation with her doctor which offered her a Get Out Of Jail Free Card. I hope she lets herself off the hook.

I think the doctors, nurses and staff are so focused on keeping it positive that they fail to keep it real. I remember attending the chemo class where a nurse excitedly said the treatment is much easier than in the early days and that some patients even feel better on chemo. The first meeting with her oncologist to plan out her treatment encouraged her to continue work, life, and even a planned vacation which fell smack dab between dose 1 and 2 of chemo. I know they can't be full of doom and gloom but they shouldn't blow smoke either.

More Later. . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weather

I think my dad missed his calling, he should have been a meteorologist and work for the Weather Channel. He spends hours watching it not for the somewhat interesting stories of people surviving wild weather but instead all the weather people and their radars, maps, and lingo.

So, here's to the weather. The first weekend in April, we had a blizzard. The biggest snow of the season (6+ inches) On the phone, Paw G suggested that Little Man go out and make a snowman (thanks Dad). So Little Man and I stuffed ourselves into our snow apparel to brave the elements. We built not one but four snowmen (1 for each member of the family). Hubby and the neighbors found it very comical watching us try to stack the gigantic snowballs. Baby girl was at Grandma's house and played in the snow there. Here's some pictures of Little Man and his fun in the snow.












The snow melted in record time with temperatures rebounding the next day to the mid 60's.

Over the past few days, we've had tornado threats and wind gusts up to 60mph. Hubby is over at Grandma's house right now helping Paw Paw fix shingles the wind ripped off last night. As if teaching t-ball to 5, 6, and 7 year olds isn't tough enough, try doing it in hurricane winds. We spend more time chasing their hats then the softballs.

For the past 2 evenings, we've had alot of smoke outside our house from nearby fires. Yesterday in the city, over 30 houses burned to the ground. With the crazy wind, the firemen don't stand a chance. And don't even get me started on allergies. Little Man is demanding I take him to the doctor for stronger allergy medicine. I've tried to convince him that we are all just stuck with the sneezes, plugged sinuses, and itchy red, swollen eyes until the weather gets better. He's not buying it.

Speaking of weather, I know that sometimes as now the weather warrants an in depth conversation particularly when it's somehow threatening. But, more and more, it's all dad wants to talk about. Generally our conversations start with the area highs and lows, followed by the average monthly rainfall, and ending with the extended forecast.

I remember Mom and Dad complaining about visiting with Grandpa. He worked at the local grocery store and always wanted to talk about the cost of tomatoes. I can understand how they felt. It sometimes feels like dad doesn't really want to know what's going on in my life or me to know what's going on in his, so he fills the idle chit chat with somthing as mundane as the weather.

Truthfully, the weather is not mundane to him, he has always cared about me as much as anyone, and so I shouldn't read more into it than that. (Most days I don't)

So, now I've got to get a move on for the school Easter parties. The Easter Egg Hunt should be interesting under partly cloudy skies, moderate temperatures and gentle wind gusts up to 40 mph. They are gonna be literally chasing their plastic eggs all over the playground.

On a positive note, Easter Sunday is suppose to be cold and rainy which is perfect for Baby Girl's Easter dress. I bought 3 Christmas dresses at Macy's on clearance for $3.99 each. All of their Easter dresses are so cute but soooo expensive. She especially had her heart set on a polka dot dress that reminded of the one Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman. It was close to $40 bucks. Anyway, I decided that Baby Girl will be oh so cute and comfortable with the cooler temperatures in one of the Christmas dresses this Easter Sunday.

Gotta love our weather!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Blog

I added a new blog to my blog list. Someone my friend works with decided to "take a break from the 'real world' and travel halfway around the world. " This brave girl left her job, friends, and family to take this once in a lifetime adventure. Check out her bl0g of travels with awesome pictures included of New Zealand and Australia.