Monday, April 30, 2007

Our annual trip to the zoo

Well, we finally got out the door early enough this year to actually DO some of the things the zoo has for people while they are there in the morning.

One of the things I've been wanting Kenzie to get a chance to do is feed the giraffes and see one of the elephants get washed. Best part is that they allowed people to come up and touch the elephant. That was an awesome experience. Her skin, although tough, was alot more pliant and softer than I had imagined it would be. Definitely worth doing. Here are some short clips of the day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The best age for a child (IMO)

Aaaaaahhhh! I love children. Especially when they are at a certain age...

Under a year, they are cute, but there's not a lot I can interact with. They are still learning - how to talk, how to walk, and what will get your attention.

But from one to two years old... even the temper tantrums are easy to deal with (I usually chuckle through them, but never give in to a tantrum). But at this age, they are really showing their personality, and that spark of learning seems to just ignite into a wildfire. The innocence, the wonder, the abandon of just being a child. I love it.

Then they get that language thing under control, and they learn to argue. I'm not experienced enough to know how to stand firm without arguing. This morning's episode went like this....

Me: Ok, let's go. You can't take two [stuffed] animals to daycare.
Choose one.

K: But mommy, I need my backpack. [That way she can stuff
both animals into the backpack
and take both at the same time.]
Me: Sorry, but we have to go now.
K: [Tears at her eyes] But I want my backpack.
Me: You should have thought of that when you were running
around playing and not finding
your shoes like I asked
you to earlier.

K: [Now firmly stated - no tears.] I want my backpack.
Me: No. Let's go. C'mon!
K: I want my back pack. [More backbone with this statement.]
Me: OK, see you later. Have fun today. [Start walking towards the garage door. Understand, daddy is upstairs getting ready for work, so I am NOT intending to leave her alone at home.]
K: OK mommy. [Hurries to catch up and takes the largest of
the stuffed animals with her.]

One of these days, she's not going to fall for the "see you later" routine, and she'll be smart enough to call my bluff. Wonder what I'll come up with then.

I am such a mean mommy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Words of wisdom

Back when my father was lying in a hospital bed dying from complications caused by his diabetes and God only knows what else, my mother had a moment of clarity and went to a lawyer to have them draw up a Durable General Power of Attorney for herself. She appointed me as her Attorney in Fact.

This instrument basically gave me the power to handle her affairs when she would be unable to - to pay bills, contract with service and care providers, sell or purchase assets for her, make arrangements for her medical care and general welfare - anything that might happen where she was not able to do these things for herself.

I would encourage anyone who is elderly and has an estate that would need looking after or concerns that they might be in a position someday where they physically or mentally could not make decisions or manage their general health and welfare issues to create this power of attorney with someone you trust. Emphasis on TRUST... because it could be used by someone who would be unscrupulous and take advantage of your vulnerability.

I am grateful that my mother trusted me. I know Dad had some influence regarding this. She hasn't always used me as a sounding board for everything she's done, but she knows I will be straight with her and that I won't try to cheat her of her money or other assets.

I know she is depending on me to look out for her. And I don't take that trust lightly.

I guess I'm now of that generation where I'm "between". I care for my 4 year old daughter, and my 72 year old mother. I am hoping that the elderly one will be independent before the younger one is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Need to change a remark I made

Found out last night that the brother whom I called a "self-centered prick" DID go see mom on Sunday evening. However, I will temper that with the fact that his wife's youngest son is in Riley hospital - so they were in Indy anyway. I'm just glad he went to see her... I know it means a lot to her to have friends and family there.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The responsibilitiy of the children

First, thanks to everyone who prayed for my mother.

I went on Saturday to see mom, with Kenzie in tow. That day was weird, because when I walked in, mom seemed to be in a fog. Her best and oldest friend was there as well has her neighbor, who was also a good friend to mom. They didn' tell me until later, but they also noticed what I noticed throughout the day. Mom wasn't quite herself.

She kept asking to be taken up to her room. I kept telling her she was in her room, to which she would say, "No I'm not! My room is upstairs across the hall." Then she would say that she wanted to get her feet off of the ottoman, or to stand up out of her chair. She was lying in her hospital bed.

She kept asking why she was there. (You had surgery on your heart, mom. To which she would reply "I did?") And then wanted to know why I was there. (Because you had surgery on your heart, mom.) And then began scolding me later (why is Kenzie still up? She should be in bed right now!) Uh, mom... it's 4:10 in the afternoon. It's alright that she's awake right now.

She knew what year it was, but not the month. She knew she what hospital she was at, but not where it was located. She didn't know what floor she was on.

She also wanted to tell me that they had moved her all over the hospital and she's had several rooms before this one. (No, they had you in SICU and then moved you to this room - those are the only two rooms you've had.) Like I said, Saturday, Mom was in a fog.

Worse yet... the nurse had her sitting up in a chair and told mom that she was to sit there and she'd eat her supper there and wouldn't be allowed to get back into bed until after she ate supper. And, if she needed anything, she was to buzz the nurse. Mom sat there for about 10 minutes and then said, "I'm getting back into bed."

I told her she was supposed to sit there until after she ate supper, but she got mad and said again she was going to get back into bed, she was tired of sitting up. I told her if she wanted to do anything, she had to buzz the nurse, and I gave her the remote so she could do that.

The nurse came in and told her the same thing - she couldn't get up on her own and she had to sit there. The nurse wasn't being mean. Mom had to sit up to get her strength built up - she couldn't just lay there all day long and sleep. She'd get pneumonia for sure.

But Sunday was different. I walked in and saw immediately she was back to her old self (more or less) and at least she had her wits about her. But she's still not able to do much walking. Her arthritic knees are hurting so badly that it's hard for her to walk right now. And she's not allowed to pull herself up, she is supposed to hold on to a pillow in front of her and the nurses are supposed to help her get up (at least at this point). But darned if she doesn't keep trying to pull herself up. If she doesn't break the sternum, she's going to warp it. I'm scared she'll strain so hard that she'll rip the bypasses loose and she'll bleed to death.

Well, here's the proof she's on the mend. Hey, not bad looking for 72 years old!

Now I am responsible for trying to find her a facility where she can get extra care beyond the hospital. They all agree she isn't ready to go home yet (not when she can only take 2" steps and it takes her 5 minutes to walk 8 feet to the toilet, and that's with help). I never knew how much work and worry would go into this - but I have to get her into a place where they can do sub-acute physical therapy for her. She has to be able to get up and walk on her own, and to fix meals for herself or drive or whatever. Trouble is, I want her down here and there are no rooms currently available in the good facilites. I'm praying that something opens up so that she can be here and near family.

On another note, Saturday evening I called both my brothers to let them know how mom was doing and asked them to give her a call at the hospital. Kenzie got to talk with both of them and told them about the tube that was allowing blood to drain from the operating site (she said "They sucked blood out of Memaw!")

One brother lives in the same town as I do, and he won't take the time to go see her. Hmmmm.... the words "self-centered prick" comes to mind. I'm sure he's still mad at Mom because she told him if he got in trouble either financially or with the law again, she wasn't going to bail him out any more and not to ask her for any more money. Both she and Dad had bailed him out of trouble so many times it's ridiculous.

The other brother lives in Seattle, Washington, so it would be a little harder for him to make it. But the least they could do would be to call her and talk with her. Even just for 10 minutes. She would love to hear from them.

This morning Kenzie was particularly quiet. I asked her, "Were you afraid of Memaw at the hospital?"

She said yes. I asked her if it was because she'd had an operation and had all the tubes coming out of her and the fact that she had a big cut on her. She said yes, and then,

"Why did Memaw have to be cut open?"

"Because they did an operation on her heart. She had a bad heart and they had to fix it."

"Because she didn't take care of herself? Like your daddy had a bad heart - but he ate a lot of candy and pretzels and stuff."

"Yes, but they are trying to help Memaw get better. I want her to stay around for awhile so you and she can have fun together and she can go home. And this is why we eat good foods."

"Yeah, it's okay to have a little bit of candy, but only a little bit. We have to eat mostly good things."

That's right, sweetie. I want my daughter to grow up understanding how our habits and diets affect our health. I think at four, she understands quite a bit.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th is always good luck

So many people have fun with Friday the 13th, touting the bad luck stuff... but it has always been good for me.

My mother was moved this morning from her room in SICU to a step down room, where she is doing really well from her surgery. Progress is slow, but she is healing and is able now to have visitors - even Kenzie can go in to see her.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for her... she had a lot of people praying who cared. I wanted her to get through this for her granddaughter. Kenzie loves her Memaw and it would have been a blow to not have her Memaw around anymore.

We'll go see her this weekend and spend Saturday and Sunday with her.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Open heart surgery

I have been at a hospital for two days. Not for me, but my mother. She went to a doctor to see about having surgery for her shoulders (she no longer has the ball part of her humerus that fits into the socket - and that affects both arms). They had done a stress test to check her heart to see of it was strong enough to handle the surgery... and found something questionable. She went to her heart doctor right away with it and he did a catheterization. Lo and behold, they found 3 blocked arteries - 85%, 95% and 95%. Yikes. They scheduled her for open heart surgery for one week later. That was yesterday.

I never knew how stressful waiting was... but it was hard to be sitting around waiting to hear something (anything) about how she was doing. They got started late on her, but around 3 pm the doctor came out and confirmed that she got through the operation fine and they had no trouble. However, when they opened her up, they found she had to have 4 bypasses, not just one. She had been a walking time bomb.

She had always complained about how tired she was, and she was always out of breath from walking or doing any kind of exertion. No one suspected it was a problem with her heart. My mother was lucky to have found this out BEFORE she'd had a heart attack.

I can't go see her today or tomorrow, but I'll try to go up on Saturday and Sunday. I have to have Kenzie with me, but they do not let any child under 14 in the SICU. Hopefully, there will be a friend or relative who will come up, or maybe there will be someone who can watch Kenzie while I go in for 5 minutes to see her. (My husband does taxes and this is CRUNCH time... I'll be spending the weekend at my mother's house while he works at getting out tax returns.)

Although she got out of the surgery okay, the next few days will tell if things are going to turn around for her. The tricky part is to take her off of the ventilator and the medications they are giving her and see if she can do well. I am praying that her body is strong enough and she is willing to do whatever it takes to get herself going again.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Whirlwind of events...

Last Friday, we got Kenzie's pics taken at the Sears Portrait studio. I had seen friends' pics done by them and I was really impressed. So I paid the big bucks to do a complete photo shoot.

I have to say I was quite impressed. The young girl who was taking the pictures was quite sweet and was pretty good with Kenzie. However, she was wanting to have every picture with a "pretty princess smile". Needless to say, Kenzie got sick of hearing it. She finally just laid down and gave her a look. As she was trying to get my daughter to stand up, I leaned over and said gently, "Just take the picture." Here is the result.

And so it went. Kenzie was quite cooperative through most of it... but every once in a while she'd do something and I'd have to tell the girl to take the picture. Part of this comes from my own experience of knowing my daughter and taking thousands upon thousands of pictures of her for the last 2 1/2 years. So, Kenzie got the point that she didn't have to smile all the time, and that's when she began to enjoy it more. The difference between how Sears handled taking photos and Walmart handled taking photos was a world apart. And the quality of the photos from Sears was phenomenal. Plus, for a price, I got a CD of all the photos they took, so I could print out my own pictures. Sears was a lot more expensive, but I will NEVER go back to Walmart again for photos.

I have the other photos I liked real well below:

Last night, I heard from my mother. She was supposed to be having surgery on her shoulders this week, but last week one of the tests they ran on her heart showed an anomaly they wanted her heart doctor to check out. She had an angioplasty and found that she has 3 arteries severely blocked (85%, 95% & 95%). It's a wonder she didn't have a heart attack already. So, she is scheduled to have open heart surgery one week from today. I'll be there with Kenzie for support. Although there probably won't be much we can do after she first comes out of surgery except smile, tell her we love her, and make sure she is comfortable. Looks like I need to go buy a portable DVD player so Kenzie can watch her cartoons and movies.

I guess in a way, this is a blessing. Her heart problems were found prior to her having a major heart attack. If anyone reads this, please say a prayer for her. Her name is Treva and she needs as much prayer as anyone can give.