Birthdays, Nightmares, and Love

Birthdays are so interesting. At least they are to me. It’s sad as we get older that they get less and less important. That won’t happen with me. No sir. If I can get ONE day to do whatever I want, no questions asked, you better believe I’m gonna take it.

This year, I choose to reflect. This past year can’t easily be labeled.  On this day in 2017, I was celebrating my 50th birthday. Not in the fashion I had hoped. My family was in the quiet farm town of Ottawa, IL preparing for my father’s first surgery. My husband and daughter were getting ready to travel back home while I stayed to help out. It was no big deal. We thought.

A few weeks after this milestone birthday, our family experienced the nightmare of a lifetime. My father…strong, healthy, funny, intelligent, witty, active, generous, efficient, handsome, and dearly loved…was reduced to a shell of a person. And it turned our world upside down.

Over the past year we have experienced fear, anger, frustration, hospitals, doctors, nurses, surgeries, rehab, lawyers, expenses, arguments, sleepless nights, confusion, paranoia, messes, relocation, tears, lies, cover-ups, CYAs, panic attacks, depression, hopelessness, grief, disagreements, and separation. All horrible. All unfair. All unbelievable.

But here’s what I reflect on today:

  • The time the doctor asked my Dad who the President was, and he said, “I’d rather not talk about it.”
  • The two RNs and one PA who were always there when we needed them, were honest with us, KNEW my Dad before this, and said, “What in the hell happened to your Dad?” (They understood our shock and disbelief.)
  • All of the medical staff here and in Illinois who have helped my father return to a new version of himself, still all that he was, just taking a little more time to get there.
  • The privilege of welcoming my parents into my home to rest, recover, and be loved by a daughter who owes them her life, a son-in-law who has a heart of gold, and a grand daughter who will always know what family means.
  • My friends who were curious, shocked, supportive, forgiving, helpful, patient, loving, and here. Just here.
  • And no matter what the hospital does or who takes responsibility for what happened or whether this could be a legal case….I really don’t care. All of that will be taken care of by the all mighty spirit that knows ALL of the answers and how to work things out.

What I really care about is the here, the now, and that everybody feels loved. Everything comes from love. There is no other source.

It’s my birthday. I feel loved.

I hope you do too.

birthdays

 

How I Deal with the Naysayers

How I Deal with the Naysayers

My husband and I picked up my parents last weekend and moved them to Florida.  Our five-year-old daughter stayed with a friend. It took us two days and about 20 hours of driving.  We made it safely and without any major incidents.

My father suffered a brain injury on August 1st and has been through ICU, additional surgeries, Rehab, Therapy, and pure hell since then. The injury was caused by a grave error made during heart surgery. His heart is perfect. The rest of him is not. He is not the strong, sharp, healthy 86-year-old man he was when he walked through those hospital doors almost three months ago. My mother, age 78, and quite healthy, is not the same either. She is exhausted, discouraged, frustrated, and sleep-deprived.

For these reasons, my husband and I are now taking them into our home for an indefinite period. Yes, this is daunting. Yes, it required a great deal of discussion and planning. Yes, it will change our lives. Yes, people are saying that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.

But here’s what I have to say:

  • The next person who tells me that I don’t know what I’m getting myself into will get slapped.
  • I am an extremely positive person. This is the way I choose to live. This puts me at a distinct advantage.
  • I am pissed. Those doctors screwed up my father. I am determined to help fix him. Anger helps motivate me.
  • I adore my parents. They have bent over backwards for me my entire life. It is my turn to do the same.
  • Their granddaughter is the light of their lives. Why not let them bask in her light and soak up some of that youthful energy? And in the meantime, this is an opportunity to teach her compassion, patience, and understanding.
  • Everything is temporary. Accept it. Enjoy it if you can. Move on.
  • I am strong and I can do anything. Why not this?

So, as we move through this new and challenging journey, I will continue to be positive. I will teach yoga. I will use my essential oils. I will cry when I want to. But most of all, as hard as they knock on my door, I will not let the naysayers in.

how i deal

 

How a Simple Phone Call Broke My Heart

A little background to prepare you…

My father had several surgeries in July and August. During his second surgery, the medical team made a grave error which caused either an ischemic or anoxic brain injury. This surgery was on August 1st. He is still unable to do lots of things he was fully capable of doing when he walked into the hospital that morning. It has been a long, hard road.

The following is an email I wrote to my four siblings and my Mom after a phone call from my Dad, while retrieving my daughter from school.

Dad called me and said that he had a message for me to relay. He said he had been trying to contact his family to let them know he was on his way home. That he couldn’t find Mom, to tell her he loves her immensely, and he will come home to her soon. (She was sitting right next to him in their home.)

I said that he might not understand this, but he was actually home with Mom. That he didn’t have to go anywhere. That he was being taken care of.

He said, “So you’re telling me I am home.” And then he kind of laughed in disbelief.

After a few nonsensical things about traveling, he said he was trying his best to get to me. I told him that I would come to him the next time we saw each other.

I told him that maybe some day he would be coming to Florida to live. He said, “Oh really! That would be good for me.” I agreed.

I heard Mom’s voice in the background, so I said goodbye and told him to hang up.

I had already lost it from his comment about loving mom ‘immensely’, so I needed to get off the phone before he heard the tears and sadness in my voice.

My heart is breaking.

How To Tell if You’ve Had Enough

How To Tell if You’ve Had Enough…

There I sat with the blood pressure cuff on my arm feeling pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t high.

On my right, the markers my daughter had just slammed into my hand after getting frustrated with her project, saying, “Here, keep them for 15 years!”

On the TV, the news coverage of Hurricane Irma.

Directly in front of me, my view of our palm trees blowing in the 25 MPH wind, not even from Irma, but from the nor’easter.

Five simple words repeated like a mantra in my head.

I can’t take much more. I can’t take much more. I can’t take much more.

Not the kind of mantra I prefer, but it remained.

The tears began to flow. The short and sharp breaths joined in.

I can’t take much more. I can’t much more. I can’t take much more.

I thought of my father.

My mother.

My failures as a mother.

My hives.

The breaths got longer, deeper.

My eyes closed as I wiped the tears.

The cuff came off.

The markers were released to a hiding place, most likely to emerge before the 15 years is up.

The mantra slowed, faded, remained.

I can’t.

And I won’t.

how to tell if

 

 

 

Go Ahead. Get Pissed Off. You’ll Feel Better

Go Ahead. Get Pissed Off. You’ll Feel Better…

Yes, I am a yogi. I remain calm as much as possible. Teaching yoga is my favorite thing to do. I believe strongly in the power of positive thinking and manifestation. I use essential oils and Chakra balancing for my health. I informally counsel others on these ways of living. Most of the time, I am a happy, friendly, loving, and giving person.

go ahead

But right now, I am pretty damn pissed off!

I have found myself here several times since June. I have been deeply immersed in medical arenas, discussions, inquiries, conferences, emergencies, planning, etc. on behalf of my father.

My father.

A vibrant, strong, intelligent, funny, clever, 86 year old man, who’s been reduced to unthinkable things. He WILL recover. He WILL be healthy again. I know it.

But every day or two, I just get pissed off. And I’m okay with that. Pissed off feels good some times. It releases me from the happiness and hopefulness often hard to muster.

Dad…get pissed off and get yourself out of here.

go ahead