Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kindness And Rays of Sunshine

In my last post, I mentioned contacting Mason Cares for a bit of help with the yard work - a few big logs to be moved and weeds in the flower bed. At 9 am Saturday, 20 + people arrived at my house armed with leaf blowers, rakes, and just about every garden tool imaginable. Several women brought ready to heat meals for us. For three hours, these "angels" worked on the yard, weeding, mowing, cutting, installing a window well cover, re-stacking firewood, you name it - they did it. When the mulch I purchased the previous night proved to not be enough, the team leader picked up a truck full of the stuff and told me I owed him nothing. The little children in the group sat on my porch and made cards for us. Both Michael and I were in tears by the loving kindness shown to us by these volunteers. Our yard is now ready for winter and looks fantastic. I am so very, very grateful and in awe that so many people helped us. I'm still smiling four days later.

With a lot of anxiety, Andrea and I met with the team at school on Monday morning to get her transitioned back into high school. As the meeting progressed, Andrea's voice became more sure, the hand wringing lessened and I may have even spotted a smile or two. It's evident they're supporting her and doing whatever is possible to help my daughter - not just performing their jobs...they came across truly caring. The past few days have been uneventful and even happy ones for her and I. Let's pray it continues.

Unfortunately, the warm glow created by the volunteers didn't last long for Michael. He was back to being a cranky, fussy git by Monday. As one friend mentioned to me this morning - that's nothing new. LOL. The home health care aide came to the house on Monday and was told he didn't need no stinkin' shower. So, she folded laundry. Today? I'm not sure, but when I return home, I'm sure to hear about it. The nurse came today as well, so add that to the list of issues - no more than one visitor a day - otherwise, it's too much, according to Michael. He slept most of yesterday - not even bothering to dress - wore his bathrobe all day. That's a biggie folks. Dressing is too much of a strain. So is showering, but his pride won't stand aside. Somehow he forgets about the choking and gasping with every shower/shave.

Toward the middle of last week, Michael heard a bird splat against our picture window in the breakfast nook. It happens all the time, but he still looked out the window - no bird, but he heard a soft "Meow" coming from the covered gas grill. The "noise" walked around the patio and he caught it on film - a tiny black and white kitten. By the time I came home from work, no sign of the kitten on the patio, so Andrea and I walked around. The poor thing fell into the window well and couldn't get out. Andrea scooped it up, I phoned the vet and somewhere between all that, we adopted a second kitten. Her name is Sophie. Sophie's still getting used to us and meows a lot. She's about six weeks old now and finds it hard to fend off Milly's play. I hear as Sophie gets older, the constant meowing will lessen and she will play with Milly without seeming to get her head bitten off. (Milly's too used to rough play with Daisy.) There is definitely something to be said for loving pets though -takes your mind off your own troubles. Andrea's responsible for Sophie and truly, truly loves that little kitten.

Well, that's it in a nutshell. Things brightened up around us. I'm feeling a bit less stressed and more rested. Let's hope that's a continuing trend.

Love ya,

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Time

Spent between caring for a dying husband and a daughter recovering from an eating disorder, my time is very precious.

My weekend was partially consumed with shopping with Andrea, which at first I felt guilty about. But, when you think about it, it is something she greatly enjoys and gives her happiness. In a way, it is helping her to return to being healthy and feeling "normal". She's turning into quite the clothes/shoes consumer, let me tell you. AND, she knows how to spot a bargain. We each bought at least two new outfits for my cousin's wedding and rehearsal dinner the first weekend in November. (Our plane tickets are also purchased for that event, really looking forward to it!)

Michael had a melt-down on Saturday night. He insisted on cutting his own hair and trimming his beard, which he has done for decades. Something which once came so easily is now a life-threatening effort. He cried for an hour about losing life bit by bit. He wants to die and who can blame him? When I phoned the house this morning, he was of the same mind-set and begged me to phone his hospice volunteer and cancel for this afternoon. I refused to do it, stating it may make him feel better. He tends to perk up when there are other folks around, as if to impress them and be a bit of a performer. And you know what, I was right! He sounded a lot better this afternoon. I phoned his hospice nurse who is going to have the respiratory therapist stop at the house. We're also going to set up visits from home health care aides from now on. It's time.

I read an ad in the weekly paper about an organization called Mason Serves which helps with work around the house. I phoned them this morning and we may ask them to do some of the chores in the yard which Danny unfortunately didn't have the time to get to this summer. I've never had to ask for help with my home, so making that phone call this morning made me swallow my pride a bit. But there are things I cannot do - such as the big logs in the middle of the yard, the well cover on the foundation window, etc. Things which Michael could have done three years ago.....

Me? I did a bit of quilting on the frame. My goal is to get the current project on the frame quilted by this time next week, so that will give me plenty of time for the hand sewing on the binding. There's a quilters' meeting at church tonight I've love to attend, but things being what they are with Michael, I may skip it. Depends on how he and Andrea are doing.

Andrea is supposed to transition back to school this week. Please keep her in your prayers. She's quite anxious about returning.

And while you're at it, remember me in your prayers. At times I feel like my foundation is cracking, but then I remember how many of you, my co-workers, Sunday School classmates, family are praying for me. Just that thought envelopes me in a warm feeling, like God is wrapping a very soft quilt across my shoulders. It's then that I don't feel so alone.

Love ya,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Answer To Prayer

Michael's turning to God.

He told me last night he is praying. Didn't say what he was praying for, but the communication lines are open! When I talked with Martin on the phone, he confided to me that Michael discussed his blossoming belief in God with him. He's reaching out, Martin said, before he meets his maker!

How wonderful is that! He's yet to discuss it in depth with me. Perhaps a bit embarrassed by doing such an about-face (so to speak). But, I'm so happy to hear about it!

Michael and I did talk about hope and faith in God briefly after he told me about the praying. If it gives him hope - that is fantastic. Things will get better, I said, perhaps not in this lifetime for him, but they will get better.

I slept well last night.

We went out for dinner last night at the local Chinese buffet. It may have been Michael's last trip to that favorite restaurant since he greatly struggled getting his dinner (he didn't want anybody to fetch his meal!) and getting into the car for the trip home. He even declined a trip into Big Lots - his favorite store - even in a wheelchair. After dinner, we watched "Shutter Island" - horrible film. I think we need more comedies on our Netflix list!

Andrea seemed in better spirits when I left her this morning. At least she was talking with me! I removed the scales from her room - found them hidden in her closet - and the therapist said to get them out. Her doctor increased the dosage on one of her meds and she slept well last night as well. Milly slept in her bed - those two are getting quite attached to each other.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Phillipians 4:6-7

Love ya,

Monday, October 11, 2010

October Up-Date

Dear Folks,
It's almost gotten to the point where I don't want to post any longer because the news gets progressively worse with both Michael and Andrea.

Andrea experienced a set-back in her dealings with purging and cutting. I took her back to the Lindner Center of Hope on Thursday night and they kept her overnight. She's now in the out-patient program there - who knows for how long. I suppose that depends on my insurance and what they're willing to pay for. She's adamant that she's fat at 119 pounds (5'4") and NOBODY is going to convince her otherwise. She's hiding her food on the tray at the center and I will have to point that out to the nutritionist. The cutting? I think she does it to handle stress. But I cannot for the life of me understand why she has such a low opinion of herself. I wept a lot the last few days.

Meanwhile, Michael's downhill slide continues. Two more prescriptions to pick up at the pharmacy tonight. At the moment, he's sleeping on a chair on the front porch (it's 5 pm). We were almost to the point where I couldn't handle his crap any longer and told him I wanted him to return to England. Not his choice. After discussing the situation with his friend Martin (a fellow Brit) I came to the conclusion that he probably wouldn't handle the travel well and wouldn't last long in the crappy English weather. So, he's going to stay here. I told him that if he took his anger and frustrations out on me and Andrea again, we're leaving for a hotel or my brother's house until he cools off. Neither one of us deserves being poorly treated. But it's until death do us part.......And what kind of example would I be setting for Andrea if I booted him back across the pond? Also, his eldest daughter is backtracking on her offer to take him in. According to her, once she thought about it, his quality of life would be poor - no central heat, confined to one or two rooms (small ones at that), no way to go anywhere, etc.......Frankly, I'm upset by her backtracking, but what can I do?

The saving grace this week is the presence of Michael's youngest daughter and her boyfriend. It's too bad they're leaving on Friday. I dread how he's going to be when they leave.

I returned to work after a week off and found it helped me. For a few hours I can try to forget about the stress from home. At least until the cell phone rings.....

I finished two quilts last week. Seems my company liked to sleep in until 11. I got up with Andrea, saw her off to school and sewed until the visitors got out of bed. A third quilt is on the frame now, but it likely won't be finished until next week. My bed's in the sewing room at the moment.

Sleep is definitely something I need right now. I tried sleeping with Michael - he's noisier than ever. Even with the ear plugs it was impossible to sleep with the man. Then I slept with Andrea a few nights after she returned from Lindner. I kept her awake, it seemed. I was on the sofa this morning at 3 am - wrapped up in a quilt and trying to sleep when Milly pounced on me. Eventually she settled into a spot on the quilt, but I got very little rest last night. I put one of the extra twin bed mattresses we have on the floor of the sewing room when I got home from work tonight. It's just for four more nights. I slept ok like that when Margaret was here last summer.

It's so hard to stay positive with all that's going on. I try. Skipped church on Sunday since I was so tired and sleep deprived - curled up on the sofa and didn't wake until 11! That is REALLY odd for me. Usually 9 am is late. So, I didn't get my usual dose of optimism through Christ Jesus on Sunday. I'll get it through self-study this week.

Please keep us all in your prayers. I do believe things will get better, hopefully soon!
Love ya,