When a parent is sick

It has been a good bit since my last blog post. Each time I blog I make a promise to myself that I will keep it up and be more consistent. Never happens!

2018 was not kind to my sweet mother. Literally one health problem led to another and then another and then another.  At 85, she is petite 4’9 and weighs 111 lbs.  A two-time breast cancer survivor, heart attack and stroke survivor too. She has diabetes, osteoporosis, heart failure, and seizures. Yet she fights on. Literally she is the strongest and bravest woman I know. Last year she had blood clots in both her legs. The clots were cleared but complications arose and she developed compartment syndrome resulting in the need for an emergency fasciotomy to relieve the swelling and pressure build up that was occurring, essentially saving her leg.  This event was truly the most painful and the most difficult she has had to endure in her life. Throw in a doctor who is as heartless and disconnected from his patient’s needs (pain control) as you can imagine.  Yes he saved her leg but so much more happened post surgery that could have been handled differently.  But that’s for another post. I simply want to talk about my mom and how faithful God has been and continues to be with her. The fasciotomy did indeed save her leg but left her with a drop foot problem and several months of recuperation. The wound was left open because it needed to heal from the inside out. Because of her diabetes the healing took much longer than expected and many months of painful dressing changes. My brother, dad and myself had to stand by and watch as the nurse changed her dressing every couple of days. No one should have to listen to their mother cry in agony from the pain.  Sure pain meds were given but it didn’t completely numb out the pain.  If that wasn’t enough she had to have a bulky wound vac attached to her leg for many weeks to suck out the dead or dry tissue. No easy feat for an 85 year old. Yet she did it. Through many hospitalizations and two separate stays at different nursing facilities she battled on so she could get home.

After several months and a referral to a wound care doctor who in my book was a gift from heaven for my mom, the wound finally started to heal and eventually closed.  The scar is not pretty to look at and the indentation it left is quite noticeable and she still has nerve damage that resulted in her foot drop, BUT, she has her leg and can walk even with a limp. For this we are extremely grateful to God and to the doctor He put in our path.

Unfortunately her health challenges did not end there. In the summer of 2018 she had a couple of heart attacks then three different strokes all mild but resulting in hospitalizations and more medications being added to her plethora of pills she is already taking daily.  Many more hospitalizations have since occurred and the latest one this year was for an infection and fluid buildup in her lungs which led to her being placed on oxygen so she could breath. More meds, and a bout with hospital delirium which frightened us to no end. To watch a parent’s health and mind deteriorate the way it did was heart stopping. We were told it was the combination of all the drugs she was being given, the difficulty with breathing, her elevated heart rate, the infection and just being in the hospital that brought on the delirium. Thankfully in the days leading up to her discharge her confusion and memory loss lessened and on discharge day she was her normal self. Still very very weak but much better.

She is home now with my dad who watches her and with my brother and I living close by we are constantly visiting and checking on things. What a year it has been.  Throughout all the ups and downs I have witnessed God move mountains for my mom and literally breath life back into her when we thought we were slowly losing her and there was no hope. He sent us the angels we needed in the form of doctors, nurses, home health nurses, physical therapists and pharmacists.  The saying goes “it takes a village”. I am here to say yes it does!  A village of people who are skilled at what they do, a family who loves ferociously, and prayer warriors made up of cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, and even strangers who with faith, covered my mother in prayer and asked God to heal her and deliver her from illness.  My prayers were for healing, peace, strength and understanding if the Lord’s will did not align with what I was praying for.

I feel so blessed and grateful that my mother is with me and that she is strong-willed.  Life has not been easy for her but she finds strength everyday to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.  If you are reading this and your parents are still living please, please love on them like there is no tomorrow. Share your favorite memory of them, cook together and write down those favorite recipes, go for walks hand in hand, take pictures, cry together, and recognize that they are not perfect and flawed like you and me.  And more importantly, thank them for a job well done because being a parent is the hardest job.  Remember life is so short and tomorrow is never promised.

 

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Life and My Growing Succulent Garden

It’s been way to long. About 7 months to be exact, since I last blogged.  I used to keep up with my  blogging schedule for a time period. I mean I would be on the ball by posting 2-3 times a week, a planned and well thought out post about my bible studies, crafts, plants or favorite book or movie.  I’d come home from work, cook dinner, serve dinner, clean the kitchen, shower, then blog. But sometimes you have to put things on the back burner and focus more on what’s important. Family.

When you have a husband, two kids, four dogs, and a full-time job, Life can get crazy busy.    Sometimes I feel like it’s a rat race of epic proportions. Constant rushing and trying to meet deadlines and coordinating school pick up and drop off schedules between my husband and I. But today I was blessed to have found a small pocket of time where I could share a few of my favorite things.

My succulent garden is growing. I do a lot of container gardening in my backyard and in my front yard I do both container and in ground gardening.  There is just something so peaceful and relaxing about playing with dirt and planting up your favorite succulents and/or creating a beautiful arrangement to adorn your patio or front porch. I’ve found great joy in propagating leaves as well and just love watching how succulent leaves push out a brand new baby succulent. I’ll be sure to share more on that in future posts. For now take a look at these beauties. Don’t you just love the colors and the delicate details of every leaf?

Stay tuned for more on my succulent gardening journey and our new addition to our family of fur babies.

Twinky

Well hello again! It’s been several months since my last blog post.  What can I say. Life happens. I’ve been blogging off and on for several years and enjoy sharing stories, tips, recipes, etc. and that’s what always brings me back to this little corner of the web.  It’s the freedom to express, share and babble on about about stuff that is near and dear to my heart.

Any animal lovers out there?   Up until 4 months ago I had 4 dogs. Twinky, Toby, Bella and Louie.  The only dogs that we planned for were Twinky and Bella. The other two boys came into our home unexpectedly and we always joke that they hit the jackpot with us because they are so loved and pretty much have a good happy dog life here.  They can’t complain and if they were human they’d tell you so themselves.  To be honest I’d be happy with 2 dogs because I think it’s a more manageable number. But Toby and Louie needed homes and despite my initial protests, I gave in and just fell in love with these furballs.  Louie was dumped on the side of the rode on a rainy day.  A lady found him but couldn’t keep him and offered him to my husband who was working nearby.  Toby was given to us by my husband’s uncle.  He had two dogs and felt he could only handle one so he gave us Toby.  We got Bella from some family friends of ours.  She’s a maltese and their dog had just given birth to three pups and asked us if we wanted one. We of course said yes.  She’s a doll and although my daughter loves all our family pets, she holds a special place in her heart for Bella Boo.

The most special memory I have is of when Twinky joined our family.    It was October of 2005.  We were visiting a friend’s house and a friend of a friend who also happened to be there had two little dogs he was trying to sell. Lindsey fell in love with Twinky right away because she was by far the cutest of the two.  Against my wishes, hubby paid $100 for her and we brought her home that night. I wasn’t quite ready for a pet because I was going through breast cancer treatment at that time and just didn’t have the desire or energy to care for a dog.  But Ernie wanted to make  the girls happy and to bring a little joy into the home during a tough year. I’m glad he did.  Long story short, Twinky graced our lives for almost 11 years. I never thought she’d get sick and I honestly believed she had a good chance of living a very long happy dog life.  Twinky was a fast dog and I would jokingly call her my little bullet because she would take off like one. Many of times we’ve had to chase her down for many blocks.  Even my brother who was dog sitting for us one year while we were away camping, had to chase her for several blocks.  She really made us sweat.  I remember my heart breaking when she got run over by a car once.  Thankfully she quickly recovered and resumed her backyard escape antics.  She was feisty too. Even though she was all of 7 lbs. she’d keep the other dogs in check and preferred them at arm’s length. Her personal space was HER personal space….LOL!  They knew she was a force to be reckoned with and were very careful not to mess with her or even think about sharing her food or bed.  But when it came to showing affection, she ALWAYS was quick to cuddle up next to me and would look at me with her adoring eyes that screamed “I love you my mama”.  She inhaled the affection and attention I would give her too. She craved it and literally cried for it if I came home from work and unintentionally forgot to greet her.  She’d be good with a pat on the head and a little rub on the belly before she’d let me tend to the family first. Then she’d run out into the yard or back to her little corner bed happy and content after we said hello to each other. These things I miss terribly.  I just couldn’t believe it when we felt the lump in her neck area. I knew it was serious. When we took her to the vet they ran tests and confirmed she had lymphoma. Treatment was going to be costly and the vet confirmed this cancer was definitely one that almost always returns. So we opted to make her comfortable. The meds helped for a while and bought her more time.  We even enjoyed a few walks together before she started to slowly decline. It wasn’t until she was blind, weak and unable to stand on her own when we finally decided it was time.

We wanted to ensure she would go in peace and in loving arms rather than home alone in her doggie bed while everyone was at work or at school. The hardest thing yes, but the most humane and loving thing you can do for a family pet.  As my daughter and I held her, there was a moment when Twinky lifted her weak little head and although blind, made eye contact with me and let out a soft, weak, faint bark and then dropped her head down. I think it was her way of saying thank you and I love you.  I know we did the right thing. There is never a good reason to prolong a beloved pet’s pain and suffering.  I miss her terribly and occasionally look at her pictures and just think about how she’d jump into my arms when I’d walk through the door. I love you my sweet girl.  You are missed so very much.

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This last photo was Twinky’s last night with us.  My husband held her and said goodbye before we took her to the vet.