Sunday, March 29, 2015

instead of that how about this

For several weeks, I've been planning to update the blog.  Short posts, long detailed posts, even longer more detailed posts.  But I just haven't been able to do any of it.

Instead, I just want to post a few things I need to remember that I've learned in the past few weeks.

1. I have been reminded, gently but very clearly that there is a being who knows me, knows what I need to know, loves me, gets my attention when needed, and gives me what I truly need.  I may have forgotten this in the past few years, but events of the past few weeks have re-confirmed this in my mind.
2. There are people around me who are truly inspired, who listen, who act, who bless my life.
3. Pneumonia is no fun at all. I seriously thought it was going to kill me this past few days.  I believe I am on the mend now, but it has I'm not exaggerating.  It almost killed me.
4. Orange juice may have saved me from pneumonia.

These are the things I need to remember for now.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

roller coaster

All of my life I have loved roller coasters.  The higher, the twistier, the faster, the better, because the highs and lows are all so much fun.  And even though they can be scary, I always figured I was safe because roller coasters are safe.  Scary fun is okay as long as it is safe, right?  (Although I never really trusted a wild mouse roller coaster.  First because it feels like the car is about to tip over and off the track at any moment, and second, because--hello--mice.  Who can trust a mouse?)

Lately, we have been on a roller coaster of sorts around here.  By lately, I mean the past several years, but the ups and downs have become more intense and more frequent in the past few months.  So much so that last Monday, we moved Jack's mom into a care center for people with memory loss. 

I'm pausing to let the enormity of that sink in.

This is not the usual intense yet ultimately exhilarating and safe roller coaster.  This one has all of the scary parts, the incredibly intense moments and minutes and hours,  but is seriously lacking in the fun department.  And we can't seem to get off the ride.

We never intended to have Jack's mom live anyplace but her own home across the street from us.  Jack's brother lives there too.  And when his mom started showing confusion, more and more, and then started experiencing numerous close calls--with falls, burns, wandering, pill mishaps--we thought we could bring in home care aides and keep her comfortable and safe.  But then we realized it was all getting more and more risky to both his mom and his brother.  So we reluctantly started looking for a place that could become home to her. 

And on Monday, we took her there. 

And then the roller coaster really began. 

I keep hoping it will all get better, but being outside of her home, away from her normal routine (if there is such a thing), has made her confusion so much greater and so much more obvious.  Seeing her with people who are further along this path is fraught with emotion--fear, pain, concern, and so much more.  I keep hoping she will settle in to this place that is likely as good as it gets at this stage of life. After visiting with her this morning (after a nightmare visit last night--not her fault, not anybody's fault, just a series of unfortunate events), I was somewhat reassured that she is in a good place. 

But then I went to the mall to return a pair of pants (that has its own story for another day).  I left with tears in my eyes after seeing so many people who are able to go out and walk around and buy stuff and do whatever they enjoy with their partner, children, grandchildren, and friends, yet Jack's mom has reached a stage that no longer includes even the simple joy of being in a mall, let alone riding a roller coaster in an amusement park.

This getting old business is no fun.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

a couple of things

I've been thinking lately about things I want.

I want to be genuine.  More real.  More true to me and to others.  More mindful.

So there's that.


And there's the new remodeling project we've embarked on.  I'm sure Jack swore--swore--during and after the last project that we were never doing another remodeling job again.  EVER.  And I thought he was serious.  I understood his seriousness.  It was a deep, wide level of seriousness.  That new floors/new fireplace/new closets project turned out to be a huge project and it turned out that we are not as young as we used to be, so it seemed that huge project would kill us.  Dead.

I thought we were done with remodeling for a long, long time.  Maybe forever.

But look at us now.  We have taken out the downstairs bathroom, the laundry area, and done some plumbing that included jackhammering out concrete so the plumber could put in lines for another bathroom downstairs.  The storage room that became part of Jack's shop just a few years ago will now be part of a new bathroom for Jr.  And this remodel of the old bathroom and installation of a new bathroom are just the beginning of this new project.  This newer, bigger, more comprehensive, all inclusive basement redo.

And while we knew this would be another big project, we didn't foresee the termites or mold behind the walls.  Because, who ever does expect to find these things?

But we will press on.  We will make lists and prioritize and push forward until this project is complete too.  It is all for a good purpose.


And then there is Stu and his liver.  Have I mentioned that autoimmune diseases may return and begin the damage to a newly transplanted liver that will lead inevitably to another liver transplant?

Somehow, I missed that point in the list of stuff that can happen after an organ transplant.  So, it looks like we are back on the liver disease highway--and by we, I mean, obviously Stu, but also his wife and kids and other family members who fret and worry and hope for the best.  I thought we were done with liver disease for a long, long time.  Maybe forever.

And while I cannot say forcefully enough how much I HATE this highway, I am trying to be mindful and calm and to seek some perspective other than that of anger and frustration and fear and worry.

To that end, I want to write to remind myself how grateful I am for kids who look out for their siblings.  Chronic illness has a way of distilling everything into what really matters and what really doesn't.  And if I ever worried about whether or not my kids would care for each other and show compassion and empathy towards each other, I didn't need to worry.  They are supportive troopers, and I feel deep, calming joy seeing their adult sibling relationships.

This health business can really suck.  But seeing my kids together, caring for each other, is a gift.