Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Love Sundays!

It's quiet in the house at the moment except for the steady hum/whoosh of Michael's oxygen machine. Andrea is out with her dad and brother for a few hours of fun. The kittens are sleeping on the kitchen chairs - dead tired from playing with the new laser pointer toy. Michael's quiet too for the time being - I just took a cup of tea to him. Once he drinks it and eats his snack, he'll soon be sleeping again.

I adore these quiet moments - a brief respite in an otherwise noisy, stress-filled week. Could be that I begin most Sundays with church and Sunday school. It's one of the few things that I truly do for and by myself.

Don't get the wrong impression - I'd love for Michael to attend services with me. However, that's just not possible. He's only attended church once with me and that was ten years ago. Andrea? She's rather sleep in - don't blame her. I've been tempted on more than one Sunday to do that as well. I find if I DO NOT attend church though, the whole week's warped and by Tuesday morning chaos rules.

I fear the lack of oxygen is affecting Michael's thought process. His facebook posts are short and very often filled with typos - something that vexes the man who is proud of his proper use of the English language. He starts conversations with me and mid-sentence he forgets what he was talking about. I politely try to get him back on course, but even that's not enough.

He complains a lot about his aide and hospice nurse not listening to him or his concerns. I KNOW that is not true - Debbie and Priscilla are quite good about listening to their patient. Michael, unfortunately, has never learned the difference between listening with empathy and listening with action. If there's no action after the listening bit, he assumes he hasn't been heard. With his disease, there's little action that CAN be taken, other than providing comfort.

I sewed this afternoon as well - a couple of potholders and a hot pad for a dear sister-in-love's upcoming birthday. Tidied up the sewing room a bit. Andrea and I have been shopping at Joann Fabrics three straight days. NEVER send me a coupon worth 25 percent off the entire order which can be used multiple times AND put batting, Debbie Mumm fabric, and licensed prints all on sale. (LOL) I bought enough John Deere fabric to make a quilt for a co-worker who is probably going to retire by the end of the year. If I know it will need to purchased at some time, best to get it when it's on sale is my motto.

Last week I found some of the flimsies in my sewing room closet which would make excellent thank you gifts for the hospice workers. After Michael has joined God, I'd like nothing better than to show my gratitude to those women via a comfort quilt. So, I'll get started on these now and hope to have three of them ready when the time comes.

Well, the silence is gone - Michael has rang the "door bell" from his bedroom. I need to close now. Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Love ya,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fiber and Friends

Michael yelled at me last night about (of all things) a Fiber One bar.

Two days ago, I left a fiber bar on his nightstand with a package of apple pastries in case he got hungry during the night. He ate the pastries but the fiber bar was unopened. In a rush to get my lunch packed and on my way to work yesterday morning, I grabbed the bar in question, shoved it into my lunchbag and didn't think any more of it.

Michael, however, did not forget the fiber bar. He claims to have spent HOURS searching for it. (Mr. Exaggeration Man strikes again - at least that's ONE thing that hasn't changed about him!) "I took it in my lunch," says me," we've got more in the pantry, do you want one?"

No response, so I continued to change for bed.

"You aren't dressed," he yelled when I came out of the bathroom. "I thought you were going to the store to get more fiber bars."

"We have some in the pantry," I replied.

"No you did not."

"I asked you if you wanted one," I continued.

By that time he was seething, mad at himself and me, so I fetched a bar for him and plunked it on his table.

I don't know if he ate it or not. But I'm certainly not going to take any food item from his room again.

These days I spend so little time on Facebook and the internet whilst I'm home. So, it was a bit of a surprise when Michael's best friend hailed me via an instant message on Facebook late last night.

"I have something to ask you," he wrote. "Michael keeps telling me not to visit that he's either real tired or busy with the hospice aides. Tell me the truth, is he angry at me or is he just being cantankerous?"

I know how much Martin values his friendship with my husband, so I mentioned to Martin that today would be an excellent day to try again since the hospice aide won't be there. I also put a "bug" in Michael's ear, "Hey, since Priscilla's not going to be at the house tomorrow, why don't you call Martin and see if he's up to a visit?"

"Mr Friendly" (aka Michael) is not real keen on having Martin visit. I'm not 100 percent certain why, but I think he doesn't want anybody beyond our little family to see him in such a deteriorated state. I don't understand that.

There are a lot of things about Michael which I don't understand anymore. Pulmonary fibrosis has robbed me of my husband, stolen Martin's best buddy, and left in his place somebody we don't recognize.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is It March Already?

I apologize to my friends and followers for not posting until now. My life has been rather hectic which means blogging unfortunately has taken a "back seat".

Michael's health continues to deteriorate. Each week brings a new medication, a different piece of medical equipment, or procedure to follow. He spends nearly all his time sleeping, which is probably a combination of his disease and the medications. Once he told me the only time he's truly comfortable is when he sleeps. Even sitting up in bed taxes his ability to breathe. His legs and feet are swollen from congestive heart failure and poor circulation. The hospice nurse offered to increase his medication for that, but Michael refused it. Debbie (the nurse) told me over the phone his blood pressure is very low and going lower each week. Increasing the lasix could depress it even more. Here's the dilemma: Take one pill; it causes a problem which requires another pill. The morphine creates constipation which requires the use of another drug. Last week, Michel complained of a sore throat and we discovered he has thrush - more medication.

Priscilla comes every day now to bathe Michael, monitor his symptoms, change his bedding and spoil my pets (LOL - Daisy's gained weight since Priscilla arrived at our house. She feeds Daisy biscuits.) If she notices something different with Michael, she's on the phone immediately to Debbie. Knowing that Priscilla is with Michael every afternoon, removes a huge bit of worry from my shoulders.

I cannot express how grateful I am to Hospice of Cincinnati for all the care, love and support they have given Michael and me.

Michael's children continue to disappoint me. They know their father is dying, but they don't call very often, they don't write, and until last week, they didn't even e-mail. He rarely talks about it, but I know it troubles him.

My son, however, boosted the Michael's spirits last week. He wrote an e-mail to him (As he said, it's easier to write these things) and told Michael how much he loved him. "You have contributed more to who I am today than my real father has," he wrote. It was a very loving e-mail and I'm so proud of my dear boy for writing it.

Speaking of Danny, he earned all A's winter quarter at UC. One of his works is slated for a gallery show next month.

Andrea's practicing her driving for the licensing exam. She's applied for a few jobs without success, but I'm sure she'll find the perfect little job. She's been a tremendous help with Michael as well.

Me? I find comfort in my children's successes obviously. LOL I work, attend church, shop, clean, watch a bit of television now and then. Quilting? Sometimes, but it's sad. The kittens spend more time in the sewing room than I do. I finished a quilt for a co-worker's wedding gift a couple of weeks ago and a lap quilt for a silent auction at the office. That's been the extent of my finishes. I'm working on Easter placemats - handsewing the binding. I am going to take a day off in a few weeks to attend the International Quilt Show in Cincinnati.

My mother was here two weeks ago to watch my nephews whilst my brother and his wife were on a cruise. We spent a lot of time together, which felt wonderful. I admit I cried when she went back home.

The one thing I do for myself each week is a counseling session. My therapist is a wonderful, insightful lady. Her advice is sound and I try my best to follow it. But, she asked me a question last week that I could not answer. "How much longer are you going to be able to keep doing what you are?"

Still can't answer with any degree of certainty. As long as it takes, I suppose. Only God knows when Michael will leave this earth. I do know, however, that everything is going to be all right eventually. This whole experience has drawn me closer to God and if that is the one thing which remains with me then it has been worth it.

Love ya,