bennington, vt.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

push the matter on

Indeed, the trip did go well . . .
1.  walker only at my Uncle's home.
  • she did great, with only assistance, getting to and away from the bed, and up and down from the armless kitchen chair.
  • except for the last day when she made an error in judgement and tried to pick up a dropped tissue.  (since she was bent down, it was not a hard fall.  She mostly clacked her knees together which left spectacular bruising.  The comedy of the situation was my Aunt apologizing that she couldn't help lift her, and my Uncle eagerly holding up his "button" and asking if he could push it to get the firemen!  I reminded my Mom that this is how Dad kept falling -- from which he would NEVER learn, and my Aunt, I reminded, of how much more my Father weighed, whom I regularly had to get back up.)
2.  wheelchair for everything else.
  • worked well for the rest area "changes" and I could walk her a little with just myself to move the legs a bit.
  • at the Reunion, I felt she could relax more and visit, rather then worry about walking and exhausting herself.
3.  stairs.

  • a few porch stairs and a threshold at my Uncle's . . . she did fantastic.
  • 10 stairs at the Class of '51 Reunion in the NON-handicapped accessible "German Club" building . . .  probably as old as the town.  (fortunately, I was not the only Child/Grandchild to accompany, she was willing and had started to give it a try . . . when these guys got under each arm and just glided her up!  The comedy of the situation was when we went to leave . . . "the guys" had already left. Mom's fellow LIFE GUARDS, decided THEY would step in and get her back down the stairs.  They raved about how strong her arms were and that she just had to build up her legs more.  An addition to this entourage, kept going on about how he had tried to get HER to rescue HIM, whenever she was the Life Guard on duty at the town pool, and give him artificial respiration.  Mind you, they are all around 79 years old . . . ain't dead yet!)

The Problem
Everything tightened up in the fall, 
then the two days of driving . . .
This set us back a bit
Now she needed help 
getting up and down
and even ended up with 
a few hours of
debilitating muscle spasms.
Gradually, all this did improve, but I noticed the confidence was NOT coming back.  She wanted me AT her side for any standing or walking.  (this is the same woman, who just the 2 weeks before, would go through closets while standing with her walker, then walk here AND there before sitting down.)

When the PT asked me to get her a quad cane, I knew it was time for pushing the matter on.

Just asking her to sit in a kitchen chair rather then the wheelchair was a cause for histrionics, and she made every effort to dramatize her discomfort in this chair, that she had personally picked out after Dad had broken the others!  (my cruelty knows no end--to force her to abdicate the safety of her wheelchair.)

I asked about going to my Brother's for Halloween, as we have done for the past two years, and received an emphatic denial.  She could not possibly get into their house.  (??one step in??  it's more wide open then my Uncle's house!?)  At this point I called my S-I-L in despair of what to do.  She decided to call the house with a personal invite and we both agreed that Push would have to continue even with the continued resistance.

I warned Mom, a day in advance, that we would be making bathroom visits, with the walker, every two hours.  Hallelujah!  Saturday, this went spectacularly well.

Sunday at Church, entering, leaving, and all Church activities were done with the walker.  Lunch out, was back with the wheelchair.  (I REALLY don't want to kill her off!)

Monday, she walked into PT for the first time with the walker.  Unfortunately, we had to cut short, to 30 min. due to exhaustion and borrow a wheelchair to the car.  PT and I both had to keep reiterating that this was not a failure but progress to a new and more difficult level.

Honestly . . .
she's NOT buying it yet!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

admire the view?

Gratuitous Trip Photos

we had a great time.
all my love,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are you animal--

The dogs seemed to get on well.
Jack and Pepper
in the middle of things
They were not particularly happy we up and abandoned left them there after one day, (for one day) while we traveled on to Mom's home town for her Class Reunion and an overnight.
Semi-resident Grand-dog
They graciously sent the relative, whose territory they encroached upon, a peace offering of treats after we all returned home.
yes, some of those
long horns
There appeared to be little interest in the bovine inhabitants.
The resident mule, on the other hand, held endless facination for Jack.

many acres of ground?

We made good time.  We divided the 740 miles into two days of driving.  (granted, my home, in the complete opposite direction--I usually do in a straight 12 hours, but I know that route VERY well.)  
the farm at sunrise
AAA was a bit strange on the Trip Tik . . . they sent us one way going and a slightly different way coming back.  No obvious reason except to send us through MORE construction on the way back. (one tik, but really looked like two different people set it up)
The other fun, was not only does AAA, not know how to find my Uncle's address, but neither do any of the other mapping programs!  Fortunately I managed Cell service and have an extremely patient Aunt.  (thank you Aunt K.)  
Acres of Dry
We arrived safely, and it was a joyful meeting of Family.  Especially for two halves of a family who have each had many trials and tribulations since last we met.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

in the game

Detroit Tigers Insignia.svg

We have a saying at home . . . 

I root for two teams
Boston Red Sox 

New York Yankees




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

leave the oyster bed

On the Road to Nebraska
Prettiest Inside of a rest area building
outside the same building
cool or what?
Best View from a rest area on this trip
Best Staff at a rest area

From the West side of the Mississippi
Found a Hotel with an accessible room and headed out to find Dinner.  Heard about an AW, and thought that would hit the spot.  Didn't expect it to be in the "convenience store" of a BP station, but pulled in and parked.  We had a nice sit down meal with a view of the laundromat in the other half of the building.  (everything you could possibly need except . . . ah, never mind, there was an ATM too)

This was the unexpected view across the back alley!
I think they should visit my neighbor.
Actually, it's too bad they couldn't have met HIS Dad,
my Original neighbor!

He has more
A lot more

And finally . . . 

Honestly, I have never had the desire to eat a tanker truck.

Iowa was hands down winner on Rest Area accessibility on this trip.  Handicap buttons for hydraulic doors to access buildings and bathrooms at ALL the areas.  No matter how rustic the facility was -- bathrooms were clean and roomy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

the pink daisies

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I was called the other day by the NBCF for a donation.  Aside from the fact I am currently not making any money and am paying for repairs to my Home, it annoys me no end that they do NOT acknowledge MALE Breast Cancer unless specifically asked.

  • First off they claim it is rare.  Most men ignore symptoms, most doctors dismiss symptoms, and most men who do die of Breast Cancer NEVER knew they had it, instead bone cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, etc.
  • They rarely admit that men can pass it on to their children just as women can.  The Hospital that does my mammogram finally added "male relatives with" to their questionnaire.
  • They talk about all the women they plan to help. . . and the men?  No?
Don't get me wrong, they do good work and they do need money, but I get the same responses from Korman, Avon, etc., and I've done some of the "walks" to raise money in my Brother's Honor and (later) Memory.

Near the Garden, where His and my Father's ashes raise up flowers in the Spring.

Ironically, Greg was diagnosed in October.  Fortunately, he mentioned symptoms to his Doctor, (Ok, 6 months after he first noticed them).  Miraculously, his Doctor, (and this was 14 years ago) immediately sent him for a Mammogram and to an Oncologist.

Over 9 years he progressed from Mastectomy, Chemo, Metastasis to the Bone, Radiation, a horribly fractured foot, (just walking), Metastasis to the Lungs, Chemo again, Thoracentesis of several liters (6-7 liters at a time) a few times, pleurodesis to both sides of his chest, Pulmonary embolism, Hospice, and finally after all this, his Doctor telling him his travelling days were over, (no Hawaii trip with his Wife for their anniversary), Greg decided it was time to "push up daisies."

I did everything I could to help my Brother from 740 miles away . . .

Examining x-rays
Translating test results
Evaluating Chemo therapies
Conference calls with Doctors
Investigating Homeopathic "cures" he would find
Discussing hard and soft parameters for "calling the game"

after hearing he had set down to his bed . . .
I was coming to help his wife so she could get some sleep . . .
she told him I was coming . . . 
(5 hours later and 5 hours before I was to arrive)
he died. 
(7 days before even the Hospice Nurse expected).

I still have a (2005) e-mail from him:

sent you a box of mich only things!!!!!  LOL
now i got you wondering ??????
just a thank you from me
for helpingme through this mess of health and keeping me alive
thankyou love greg

I don't recall what he sent . . .
to me 
the last 2 lines said everything.

So, Go Forth,
Live, Learn, Love,
and Remember,
it's not JUST about Women,
it's about
Our Children
Boys and Girls

Sunday, October 14, 2012

gunpowder and sealing-wax

Several months ago interest was expressed in attending a Class Reunion . . . in Nebraska.

The RSVP was done with the hope that enough advancement would be made in mobility, that a walker would be the only thing needed.

However, a three week lag between in-home therapy and out-patient therapy, put us a little behind.  (still needs monitoring with standing and sitting--she rocks on walking though.  If she wants freedom of movement in the house, it's the wheelchair, and she has built up impressive upper body strength pushing the wheels across new carpet with thick padding!)

So between the two cars, space wise, it has to be the 11 year old Chevy.  (a wheelchair, walker, kennel for the two dogs, bag for both our CPAP gear, food for dogs, etc.--the smaller 5 year old car was NOT going to do it!)
everyone loves the large wheels on the walker
(Mom was not happy when told we were sharing my duffle bag)

2 weeks before road trip . . . ignition . . . dead as door nail.  Apparently the "ignition security box housing" bit the dust.  (locked "out" of my car . . . from the inside, and yes, Mom and wheelchair were with me.)  Several hundred dollars later and the warning to check everything we are going on a 740 mile trip, I feel confident in car readiness.

Week before road trip, car is dead as said door nail, yep Mom and chair are with me again.  One jump, one new battery and more money later, my confidence is lagging.  (AAA asked if I would need a ride in the tow-truck, if the jump didn't work . . . I started laughing at the thought of trying to get Mom into a tow-truck)

(at this point, if it was just the class reunion, we would probably "bag out," but we both wanted to see her brother and the rest of our small family in Nebraska.  My Uncle spent most of last year, in hospitals, surgeries, rehabs, and trying to keep one foot on earth.)

how good would 
feel about this?