"He's back"

First thing this morning, I got a call from Bertie and her first words were "He's back". Apparently, when she returned to the hospital this morning, Daddy was sitting up in bed as alert as he was 3 weeks ago before he went into the hospital. It's a virtual miracle. I have no idea what happened other than he had a UTI all along which just kept getting worse. I wouldn't believe it myself except that I talked to him on the phone myself and he was back to normal.

However, he's still having some issues, so they have scheduled surgery on his bladder about 12:30 tomorrow. Although, it does appear that he is about 90% better than he was yesterday...mentally and physically. He has absolutely no recollection of the last 3 weeks. Not even the day that he got sick. So, that is going to be interesting to deal with. Bertie and I have run the gamut of emotion and he is oblivious. He didn't even remember me being with him all day Sunday. It's amazing to me that he has no recollection of anything. I'm not sure if those memories will ever come back. We still have a long road ahead.

I appreciate your prayers and support more than you know. I'll keep you posted tomorrow on the surgery.


Back in again...

...the hospital, that is. Daddy is back in the hospital.

Yesterday about 6:50am, my phone rang (which is never a good sign) and it was Bertie saying that she needed help. He'd been up all night long for the past few nights and neither of them was resting at all. So, I brushed my hair, threw on some clothes and away I went.

Long story short, he's still very confused, was running a fever (what I would consider low grade), had some pretty serious stomach issues (I'll spare you the detail) and just acted like he was hurting all over. He has been eating and drinking fairly well, but it doesn't seem to stay with him. Anyway, we finally called the doctor about 3:30pm and luckily it was his doctor on call (always nice since they know his history). He said he thought there was more going on (no duh) and that we should take him to the ER.

Well, that probably sounds alot easier than it was. Try to convince and 81 year old man who is sick and severely confused AND who has severe paranoia last time that being in the hospital was a conspiracy against him, that he has to go back. Yeah...it didn't go well. We actually had to get one of Bertie's male family members to come and help us get him to the car. To say it was emotionally draining would be an understatement.

Anyway, they did find right away a UTI in the catheter so they removed it. Last I hear about 9pm last night, they had started an IV antibiotic and had taken him down for another CT scan and were waiting on the radiologist to read it. Most likely they will keep him for at least 72 hours and then they will send him to skilled nursing or inpatient rehab like we should have done before. He can stay in skilled nursing for 100 days and insurance will cover it. After that...well...it is a nursing home unless things start really looking up.

I'll tell you...yesterday was probably one of the hardest days of my life. I am NOT wired to do the elder-care thing. Never have been. Even when I was a teen in the youth group at Radnor, I always hated doing activities at nursing homes and such. I just am not built that way. And God is asking me to stretch and honestly folks, it hurts. It hurts my heart and my mind and my body. I was physically nauseous yesterday afternoon at the thought of having to take him back to the hospital.

Steve took Jenna on to church and took care of her all day long while I was out of pocket. I really wanted him to come along. Heck, I had to fight the urge to run next door to my neighbor's house (Aimee is a nurse) and beg her to accompany me. But I felt it was something I needed to do alone. On the way there, I had a long conversation with God. And what He said to me was that I was NEVER alone. He was right there with me. And I know this is true because I think I prayed literally all the way over to their house (which is about a 40 minute drive) and then prayed quite often once I got over there. And I have no doubt I would not have made it had he not carried me through it.

But even yesterday wasn't the last of it. I think the worst is yet to come and I do not mean death. Death would be the easy thing to deal with at this point. To put it into perspective, the one thing I remember Daddy saying over and over again from when I was a kid up until recently..."I don't want to be a burden on my family". And being in a nursing home and seeing Bertie and I broken with grief and worry...well, it's a HUGE burden for us to carry. And he would not want that.

I do not know really what God is trying to teach me through this. And I might not ever know. What I do know is that He is walking with me through it and I am NEVER alone. I do covet your prayers during this journey of my life.

And I'll let you know when I know more...



Quick update on my dad...

Yesterday afternoon, he began to get what I would term severe paranoia. He thought they were poisoning his food at the hospital and that we all had signed an agreement with the hospital to keep him there forever. He was not in a good mood, and that's putting it mildly. He was yelling, unreasonable, refusing to take his meds or let them do vitals etc.

So basically, today, when he wasn't any better, Bertie spoke with the doctor and they decided to discharge him home instead of skilled nursing or inpatient rehab. I'm here to tell you that there would have been no way to get him anywhere but home. Bertie I guess will have to spend 24/7 at home with him over the next few weeks. Our hope is that once he gets there, his mind will clear and things will get better.

But I have a feeling the hard part is just starting. Pray for Bertie. I do not expect this to be an easy ride.

That's about it for now. I'll update you more later.


I wish I had a better update on things with Daddy, but whatever I say now could change in a couple hours. Last night, he ate a pretty good dinner considering and seemed way more alert than before. It was, according to my stepmom, "by far, his best day". But then this morning, he only ate a bite or two or breakfast and not any lunch and I don't know about dinner.

It appears his space/time continuum is messed up as he says he'll eat when he gets home and he's not just being stubborn. He just seems to think that he's going home in the next little while. When we walked in today, he smiled and just acted so normal...the way he always does when he sees us. But after about 10 minutes, it's like the newness wore off and he went back to staring off into space. He was asleep when I left so I didn't wake him to say goodbye. However, when he wakes, I'm sure he won't even remember we were there. It's very frustrating.

We are going to have to make the decision soon as to whether to send him to a skilled nursing facility when they discharge him. At this point, that looks like our only choice.

In other news, last night, Steve and I (and JG) went to spend the evening with two couples from church, the Babbs and Heplers. The three couples went through a fabulous marriage class several years ago and ever since we have gotten to where we really enjoy getting to spend time together. It had been MONTHS since we'd gotten together and so last night was such a welcome distraction! We grilled out and caught up and then played a few games. How fun! We just laugh and laugh when we are together. What it also meant was that we got home really late. I hope it's not that long before we get together again. We plan to go see the movie Fireproof and then go through the Bible Study that goes with it. I can't wait. I love these couples and their family dearly...they mean the world to Steve and I!

That's about it for this weekend though. I enjoyed a very relaxing day yesterday even though today was crazy busy. I would love every weekend to be like yesterday. Ahhhhh...

Well, here's to another week!


Diabetic Service Alert Dog Update

Several months ago, I posted about Steve being accepted into a program run by Heaven Scent Paws to receive a diabetic alert dog. (Link to that approved post will be here). Since that time, so many fundraisers have taken place and so many of you have generously donated time and /or funds to help us reach our goal. Steve is scheduled to travel to Missouri in early April 2009 to train for 3 weeks with his new canine companion.

As for fundraising, we are currently $1,500.00 short of reaching our goal. We have another 4 weeks to get there! So, if you've already donated, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! If you are waiting, now is the time to step up! You can donate directly by making your check payable to Heaven Scent Paws and including Steve's ID number on the check...HPS151108343 and sending it to us or them at HPS, 108 Hwy PP, St. Elizabeth, MO 65075.

Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in getting us as close as we are. We are forever grateful.


Update on Daddy & our parent-teacher conference

Well, there is some news on Daddy this morning. Yesterday, they took him to get an MRI and lumbar puncture to check with infection in his spine (which could cause some of the confusion he's experienced). By the time I got to the hospital (about 6:00), he had just arrived back from the recovery room (he was sedated for the MRI and spinal). I figured he'd be drowsy, but he was wide eyed and pretty alert considering. Steve and Jenna stayed for a while and then headed home and then Bertie stayed a bit longer and then headed home herself. Because he had not rested all night or day, he was restless and so she did not go to the funeral visitation as originally planned. The doctor had not made it back around so we figured he would not be in last night and Bertie went home to get some rest.

I got to spend several hours with Daddy...mostly being quiet, but talking periodically. Even though he's lucid most of the time, it seems he is in his own little world. He's quiet and staring off into space like he's really thinking about something hard. If you ask him what he's thinking, he usually doesn't have a good answer.

Anyway, believe it or not, his doctor showed up about 9pm. He had come by earlier, but Daddy wasn't back from his testing yet, so because he was on call last night, he just came back later. Thank God I was there. The tests all came back negative for stroke, dementia (other than that which is common to 81 year olds!) and infection. The doctor spoke loudly and slowly and right to Daddy. He told him most of the memory loss and agitation he'd experienced was from the trauma of being so sick with the pneumonia (to start with), being in the hospital and having so many drugs pumped into him etc. He also told him that he had to quit drinking.

For those of you who don't know, my dad has been a heavy drinker my entire life. Mostly just beer, but we're talking 1-2 six packs a day usually when I was a kid. When Mom was diagnosed, he put it down and didn't drink a drop for 7-8 years. Some times ago, he started back up and ever since, things have really gotten bad for him in many areas of his life, mostly health. Much of the problems while in the hospital were caused from alcohol withdrawal. And this was the first time he'd actually heard that. So, I talked quite frankly to him about it after the doctor left. The result was good, he agreed to stop, but who knows what will really happen.

He still has a long way to go physically and mentally before they will discharge him, but every day should be better than the day before. I covet your prayers during this time of recovery. Unfortunately (or maybe forunately) he won't remember much of the darkest time of this stay. Fortunate that he won't be haunted by it, but unfortunate that he won't remember how awful withdrawing from alcohol was. But Bertie and I will remember. I can assure you, it is NOT something you want to watch a loved one go through. What I've written here is only a small part of what has happened. Nothing can erase what is forever burned in my mind.

On to happier things...we had our parent-teacher meeting with JG's teacher yesterday afternoon. First of all, we totally love her teacher. She's pretty, young and fresh. She said Jenna was doing very well. She's apparently very smart and on the second highest reading group in the class. She's right on the verge of being in the next group up. By Christmas, she should be reading at the level that they want you to be when you LEAVE first grade. Fabulous!

She said she was fine in math and had good handwriting. The only negative was that she is bossy. Um, yeah...I've noticed. I asked the teacher what she did when she was bossing around the other girls and they didn't listen. She told me that most of the times the other girls did listen to what Jenna said, but when they didn't, Jenna would tattle on them. Um, yeah...I've noticed that too! So, those are the things we have to work on. If you have any ideas on how to help with that, let me know. I know you parents of more than one child probably have had the tattling issue, so how do you tackle it? All in all, we have a smart girl on our hands. And if we can curtail the bossiness, she's going to most likely make a wonderful leader some day.

I'm leaving 1/2 day today to take her home since she's out of school. I don't know yet if I will stop by the hospital or not. I got home really late last night (11pm) and didn't rest well. I think I might just go home and veg on the couch. We'll see.


Thanks to everyone who has inquired about Daddy. I am sorry that I haven't updated yet. It's been a crazy week.

Daddy is doing better. Most of the day, he is more lucid, although he is not nearly back to the way he was before all this happened. They did try and do an MRI as the neurologist thought one side was a bit weaker than the other and maybe he'd had a possible stroke. However, he was unable to lay still long enough to get the MRI. They did an EEG on his brain and a CT scan, but we have not yet gotten the results back.

I was able to talk to him on the phone twice today and several times, he said things that sounded just like the normal Daddy I know. It made me feel better. He is a long way from being better. We remain unsure as to how much damage there is and how permanent it is. My stepmom has a funeral visitation to attend tomorrow afternoon, so I'm going to head up to the hospital after work to spend a couple hours with Daddy. Pray for me...I am very nervous about being with him alone because he is still so fragile. But I'm hoping that tomorrow will be an even better day than today, even though the evenings seem to find him a little more agitated and confused.

Tomorrow afternoon after work is also our fall parent-teacher conference with Jenna's teacher. I'm always anxious to hear what her teachers have to say about her and this is no exception. Will post more...probably not tomorrow but maybe Friday. I'm taking the last part of the day off to keep Jenna since she's out of school.

I guess that's it for now...off to bed with me!


Update on Daddy

I didn't update last night because there was not much to update on. Yesterday morning, Bertie called to say that Daddy had a rough night and had to be restrained tightly on the bed. He was not aware of what was going on and not lucid in the least. Yesterday afternoon, he was less agitated and they were able to at least loosen the restraints and move him from ICU to a step down unit with video surveillance.

Because he was no longer in ICU, Jenna was able to visit with us last night. I was able to get a few bites of dinner in him but while he seemed to recognize us, he was not really aware of us being there and was not able to converse with us at all.

I just got a call this morning that he had another bad night and they have retightened his restraints. He still remains unaware most of the time and now is in apparent pain when he tries to urinate. They attempted catheterization unsuccessfully and have called in a neurologist to assess the situation. There is clearly more going on now and we are unsure how this all will play out. Right now, things do not look well at all.

Please continue to pray for me and my family.


Steve, Jenna and I went late this afternoon to see Daddy. When we arrived, I went in alone. The nurse was there preparing his dinner to feed him. He was awake, although very groggy and not able to talk much. The nurse asked if I would like to feed him, and so I did. He ate a pretty good dinner considering. I took him a couple pictures of us, a card JG made for him and a cupcake decorated by JG and her good buddy Bailey (more on that below).

He knew that I was his daughter, but he couldn't think of my name. Of course, as any parent of multiple children knows, this isn't all that unusual because lots of times he scrolls through the names of all my siblings before he lands on the right one for me! When I showed him a picture of him and JG, he said "That's me" and when I asked him who the little girl was, he said, "That's my Jenna". :) So, I know he's in there somewhere.

Bertie showed up shortly after and was so thrilled that he knew who she was and that he was eating so well. She stayed just for a minute and then let Steve come in. True to form, Daddy just beamed and said, "I'll be dawg"...he absolutely LOVES seeing Steve anytime. He was semi-lucid for about half hour before he started sliding into that confusion he had before. He's removed several IVs and has been restrained for part of the evening.

Several times while I was there with him, he said he was scared "yesterday". Apparently, the whole thing started on Thursday afternoon when he got choked on some milk he was drinking. The milk he aspirated into his lungs caused infection/pneumonia. I know that sounds odd, but in someone with severe COPD, anything foreign in the lungs for any period of time really can cause trouble. There are other issues that complicate things as well...

Just remember to pray for him, my step mom and us. This is still very serious. And it's awfully hard on me. This is so close to what my mother was like shortly before her death. For those that don't know, my mother died when I was 18 after only a 6 month battle with cancer. She spent many days and nights in the hospital and she was very rarely lucid. She was gone long before she stopped breathing. After her first stint in the hospital, she was never herself again and I fear the same for my dad. I don't know if I can watch this happen again. I'm praying that I don't have to.

On a happier note, Jenna's friend, Bailey (Leigh Ann is Bailey's mom and my Bible Study leader and you can link to her blog here. Believe me, it's well worth the read) came over today and played with us for a while. A few weeks ago was Bailey's birthday and we had to miss the party because we had another party to attend. So, we had Bailey over today instead. After picking her up, we visited Petsmart where they ran through the aisles oohing and aahing over every animal down to the fish and crickets. Then we went to Target and let Bailey pick out her gift. While Jenna would jerk the first thing she saw off the shelf, Bailey was very thorough in picking out what she wanted. She even suggested we might try another store! Finally we got home and the girls started playing while I whipped up some cupcakes for decorating later.

While they were baking, I came upstairs to sort and load some laundry. That's when I found Jenna carrying Mittens the cat, soaking wet. Jenna and Bailey had given Mittens a bath in the bathtub, complete with baby powder and hair detangler. Yeah. First it's beyond me how two little girls managed to keep a cat in the tub that long for a bath. Poor Mittens. But he is fine and now he smells oh so good!

We went to Snappy Tomato for lunch and then back home to decorate the cupcakes. That was fun and I really think the girls enjoyed it. It was a nice distraction for me with all that's going on. I have pictures, but I am too tired to load them up.

More tomorrow.

No news...

No news on Daddy really. He's still heavily sedated. My step mom was with him this morning. He still didn't really know where he was and never called her name, but seemed to know who she was. She managed to get a little bit of grits and eggs down him for breakfast and some OJ. But one arm is restrained and he's still very "out of it".

Looks like it will be several days before they even think about taking him out of ICU.

I plan to visit later this afternoon. Will post more when I know more.



I just got back from the hospital visiting Daddy. He is not doing well. He hasn't slept, was very restless and was talking "out of his head". They aren't sure what exactly is causing this, but because he has pulled out one I.V. and pretty much destroyed the heart monitor that was hooked to him, they moved him to ICU.

He had been heavily sedated when I arrived and I stayed until they moved him into the ICU and then I left and Bertie (my step mom) left shortly thereafter. Visiting hours are 9-noon, 3-6pm and 8-9pm and children under 10 are not allowed even in the waiting room except for between 5-6pm. So, we'll go tomorrow, but won't stay long.

I covet your prayers for my dad and my family.


Please remember my dad in your prayers today. He was taken by ambulance to the emergency room late last night and diagnosed with pneumonia. For those that don't know, Daddy is 81 years old and has severe emphysema. Pneumonia in someone who has such advanced COPD can be deadly. Going into it, Daddy only had 20% lung capacity and pneumonia kills your lung cells...

Just remember him (and all of us) in your prayers. I'll keep you posted.



Remember all those who lost their lives September 11, 2001.

Update on us

Just thought I'd do a quick post. This week was crazy busy. I feel like I haven't been online all week which is unusual for me. I have to tell you though, my ladies Bible study started back on Tuesday night and it was like coming home. Each and every one of the ladies in that group are like family to me. I just love them all and I can't wait to go back when we are on break.

Jenna has had a good couple of weeks at school. She's had 2 spelling tests which she made perfect scores on. I am so proud! Our parent/teacher conference is next Thursday afternoon, so we'll see what the teacher thinks about how she's doing at that time.

Steve had another follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon last week. The doctor was pleased with his progress, but said he wasn't ready to release him yet. I think he goes back in another 6 weeks. He did, however, tell him that he could cease going to physical therapy. I think he was really glad of that and it will help out with our schedule at home too since he was going twice a week after work. He's doing a little walking around the house without his cane.

As for me, work has been busy, but not crazy busy like before. It just seems like I have something going nearly every night after work and that makes for a long week.

That's about it for us around here.


Anyone used or heard of...

I had a suggestion to check out www.care.com (Thanks Sally!) for babysitters. It looks like a pretty neat website. Has anyone out there ever used them or know someone who has? Would love to hear your thoughts.

And thanks to all of you who commented with suggestions. I appreciate the personal offers of help (as far away as AZ-Christy!), but I don't want to impose and I want something that I know will be available for most (if not all) of our days. But...I might be calling on one of you for next Friday. I still haven't lined up care for that day and it's getting closer!!!

Thanks again!


Need your advice

I know, I know...I haven't blogged in days and here I am asking you for help. I promise to catch up this weekend! We're still trying to get back in the school routine. Which is actually a brilliant segueway into what I need your help on.

I am wondering (mostly for you workforce moms out there) what do you do with your children on the days that school is out (for a reason other than weather or holidays) and you have to work?

Here's our dilemma...JG goes to a local private school. I realized today that between now and the end of the school year next May, there are about 16 days that they are out and I have to work. Because in April, Steve will be training with his diabetic alert dog for 3 weeks in MO, we really need him to save his time, so he can't take off work to keep her. All my babysitters are in the Williamson County school district and NONE of their days out correspond to ours. So, babysitters aren't an option. I can take off, but after all the time I've missed this year with Steve's issues and the 2 week vacation (much needed), I'm going to be out of time soon, not to mention having my boss mad that I have to take off 1-2 days every month!

I called the local Peanut Gallery and they have out-of-school care, but only for the 2 school districts they are in or touching. The local gymnastics place covers some days during the extended holiday season, but that only saves a few days.

SO. All that to say, what are some of your suggestions? Do you know of places that offer service like this? Most of my stay at home mom friends are homeschooling or have little bitty kids and who wants another 7 year old running around?! I know there has to be more working moms like me out there with this problem. And my blog is probably not a wide enough forum to get enough answers...but I'm asking anyway...anyone have ideas?