Monday, August 31, 2009

I Need a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates

Mom is in 230 and Kaye is in 2103. If I had some roller skates, it might make this more fun.

Kaye has seen such horrible days that I'm always sure I've plumbed the depths of my despair over her. She was just so very pitiful tonight that my chest aches and my air waves seem on the verge of collapse. She is so weak, like she's been hit by a truck. Lots of times her mouth is moving but there is no sound. She was very emotional when I was about to leave. I knelt by the bed and took her hand and said, "Maybe we need to have a little talk with Jesus." I prayed with her, then sang some of her favorite hymns. Same scenario as I had with my good friend Cheri during her last hospital stay. It was the last time I saw her, she died several hours later.
Kaye smiles and cries and talks to folks who I can't see. I smile and cry and talk to this blog in hopes my breathing gets a little easier. It is very hard for me to leave her. I want to climb up in that bed and make some sense of this for her and comfort her and make her feel safe.
If the infection is better and she's been dialysised three times, why is she still psychotic and her eyes look funny and they are still having trouble with her blood pressure?

Mom is pretty pitiful too. She has coughed until she is in awful pain. COPD and Congestive Heart Failure most likely. She's on steriods and is shaky and miserable. Poor soul. I hate it for her too.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Time for Tea My Dollies Three

This weekend, my favorite printing company had a special. I had already had a big picture made of all the gramerlings except Miss Bugg. While it isn't hard to catch her cutest personality on film, it is hard to get her to look at the camera and smile. She likes to look away and say, "Cheese!" with a big fakey smile. In addition, she is a frequent eye batter, so while there may be a big smile, those baby blues are at half mast or gone. Due to the discount, I was determined to get a picture of her to add to my others. Last year actually, Tiff ordered these pillow case dresses for the girls, but today is the first time Bugg has worn it.

I decided that a perfect picture spot for my sweet curly headed girl, was a little hide-a-way under the Scarlet Curls Willow the kids gave and planted for me many Mother's Days ago. I love that little tree. For some readers who've been around awhile, yes, those are the same dollies that appeared in Rae Rae's and others little girl tea party pictures I took a century ago.
When I put Bugg in the swing and give a little push, she always shouts, "A song!" and her current song is about a playmate and her friend with 3 dollies, so it seemed right to put them in the picture. I still recall my mom singing that song to me when I was her age.

"What cha means this isn't quite what you were looking for?"

"Okay, give me a minute and I'll try to do this your way."

" Don't expect me to smile correctly when you are being so silly Gramerly."

" Hi-yah, I'm tired of this."

With her "dee-wish-us" Pappy cake. What a beauty!
In Kaye news, she continues to make slow improvement. It seems she'd like to talk, but is too weak to be able to do so and too weak even to swallow. I am so profoundly sad at this set back.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More of the Same

Kaye is improving ever so slightly. The bacterial infection in the kidney mutated and became resistant to the antibiotic. She will have to be cathed daily regardless of output. In addition, the med she received for her muscle spasms has not yet been metabolized. Lastly, a med she has been on for her stomach causes the muscle dystenia and diminished nuerological function, so they've removed that and in its place one that causes other problems-yee haw! They are also removing the dilantin and I can't remember why.
She is trying to whisper "yes," and "no," and opens her eyes. That's about all.
Someone mentioned to me recently about why I was still at work when she was, for all intent and purposes, comatose in the emergency room. Everytime I get such a call, I want to run straight there. I know though, that the liklihood of another such call, and then another, is more likely than not. I have to work and while it is very anxiety producing to be here when she is there, I don't really feel I have much choice. I also feel horrible when I can't be available more for Pete, but with working full time, it seems hard to do what I already do. It's just hard.
So, some improvement for today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mad Woman Hurls Monitor Out Window of Local Hospital

First let me apologize to all hospital staff who might be reading this.
Tuesday is my hospital day anyhow, so when I got the call about Kaye's situation, I headed down there as soon as I could after a meeting at school that was supposed to have been in the morning.
She was still in emergency, with a regular oxygen saturation monitor on her finger, yet again going off every 2 minutes. The nurse comes in with all new hook-ups and I say for the one millionth time, "She has Raynaud's Syndrome (notice that cold dead looking finger your sticking that on?)" " You have to use a pediatric monitor or put an ear one on her forehead."
Nurse Knows Better -" No, I just needed to change these wires, it's working fine now." She leaves, and what to my sensitive ears alarms, the monitor. A new nurse comes on and I repeat my sad tale for the one millionth and one time and still, nothing- Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
So, I take it off and put it on my finger and that's where it stays until they move her upstairs.
Then, I tell the whole story again.
Honestly, I fear I will fling the thing out a window one of these days.
The infectious disease doc, nephrologist, neurologist, urologist and primary care guy, don't think it is a stroke, but another bad infection complicated by the use of a way wrong med for treating her pain.
Regardless of what it is, she's showing signs of pain and her muscles are spasming in her arms and legs. Otherwise, she is still unresponsive. They aren't giving her any pain medication and I'm feeling the need to just turn off all my feelers. I have muscle spasms and they are horrible. The thought of her just lying there and suffering that way is about more than my mind can stand. She has had dialysis, which always causes her pain to be worse anyway and it didn't help. Her blood pressure is still all over the place.
That weren't able to do the MRI until 4 this afternoon because of her nausea. So we know nothing for sure.
Pete is weary to the bone. I cannot understand how on one hand she can be so frail, and on the other keep living through all of these horrors. It is horrible and that's all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Busy Weekend

Friday evening I spent with Kaye and she was doing pretty good. She and Pete had a busy week, with allergy testing and going out to eat again a couple of times and of course physical, and speech therapy and dialysis. She ate quite a few different things this week, including eggs-good news.
I guess Pete usually moves her to her recliner, then fixes up her antibiotic at the table, and she hasn't ever seen the process. On Friday, her serum came from the allergy results (I think we're up to 25 or 27 meds now) and Pete needed to figure out the doses, so I started the picc line antibiotic procedure. She was still sitting with me at the table. She knew Pete was working on her allergy shot, and then I got out the syringes with these giant needles you use to inject into the sodium chloride and she about lost it, thinking I was going to stick that in her. Bless her heart. Even still, it is two more pokes for the allergy shots(teeny, tiny needle), another pill and nose spray and she's so weary of all that. I think we're down to 14 days with the picc line meds, so hopefully, she'll get to say so long to that pretty soon.
Sue and I traveled to Florence, Ky to see my aunt and uncle. I took the camera because Uncle Berry was so terribly bad off the last time I was there, I wondered if this would be the last time I ever saw him. He is 95 and Aunt Lois is 89. What a happy surprise to find them well, getting around better than I've seen in a couple of years, and looking forward to their 75th wedding anniversary in December. I just think that is so cool. I love this picture, as it captures the way they still joke and carry on as they have all my life. She can hardly see or hear and he can't hear, but they still cut-up. Aunt Lois has always been just like a grandmother to me. She's the person I inherited my messiness and craftiness from. I wish she lived closer because I would love my grandchildren to know her better.

I returned from Florence in time to meet Rae Rae and Michael and Ceece at a new Mexican place on Frankfort Avenue for a pre-concert dinner. Rae Rae bought me a ticket to see one of my favorite bands, Over the Rhine, for my birthday. It was a yummy dinner, but the best part was the lemon cupcakes Rae brought, with lemon butter cream icing, topped with blueberries. The just photographed one you see is no longer with us. In the words of my precious, precocious grand-girl, " Dee-wish-us!"

Here are Karin and Linford singing beautifully, as usual.

Well, the mystery is solved, Callie Lou is a rooster. I came out Monday morning and opened the back door of the coop and what did I hear, " Errr, Errr,Errr, Errrrrrrrrrrrrr! Handy Man Pappy says it is pretty pitiful, but I informed him that it's very early for crowing and surely the sign of the superior intellect of this rooster. Something in the water here, as my gramerlings suffer from this as well (superior intellect, not crowing).
I was trying to capture in this picture how some of his feathers are becoming show-offey gold, unlike the hen Orpingtons. Being a rooster and all, he wasn't very cooperative.
Everytime I mentioned to anyone last year that we were planning to get chickens, I always got one of two responses: "Ohh, my grandma had chickens." or "Chickens stink!" Well, my chickens don't stink. Yes, they poop all the time, and if you're standing right there you can smell, well, poop, but then it fades away. I actually like cleaning out the coop, and the deep litter method is working well. I scattered Sweet Annie in the pen and hung some up in the coop that makes it smell even better-good times.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big and Green

Handy Man Pappy found this huge fellow on an apple tree in Pete and Kaye's yard Saturday. It's about three inches long and as big around as my biggest finger. The biggest one we've ever seen. Of course, I had to bring it home for Bugg and Bean, but by Sunday evening, it had already begun a cocoon.
Thankfully, they could still see it and watch it work.
By the time I took it to school on Monday morning it was all brown and papery looking, so I challenged my class to find out what it is. Do you know?
Missy Bugg came to visit me yesterday morning at school and brought me a photo book Ceece had made of all the summer playdate pictures. Ahhh, so sweet. I have so missed seeing them every morning. When I picked them up last evening, they wanted to do everything they're used to doing when we have a whole day. We managed creek, chicken visit, tea party, but that was about all the fun we could pack into an evening.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Welcome to Our World

As far as the infectious disease part goes, Kaye continues to improve. Her improvement is of course aided by the above daily doses of medicines that Pete is in charge of. My brother thought it prudent for someone else to know how to do the antibiotic for her picc line in case Pete was, for some reason, unavailable. So, I received my first lesson in nursing training Friday evening. It takes less time to run the med in than it does to prepare the med, hook it up and unhook it. Four syringes, two vials of antibiotic, drip bag and line and a half a dozen alcohol wipes plus an hour and your all done. She will have to have this for three more weeks.
For the rest, if they aren't liquid, they have to be finely ground, mixed with water and sent in via her feeding tube three times a day. Then, of course, insulin injections multiple times.
Other areas of improvement, she's needed no cath for several days, thank you Lord, and she's grasping more with her right hand. She talks all the time, but most of it is still not clear.
There are still many challenges that leave me exhausted and wondering how in the world Pete is hanging on. She is very emotional, moving between anger and tears. Saturday afternoon she wanted Pete to go to the store and get her some clothes. Over and over she'd say something like, "I need one, 2 and two thirds, no four and that's all." In order to finally solve the problem we ended up having to drag out half her clothes. She insisted a pair of pants fit and pajamas that didn't, so we had to try them on. Welcome to the Keystone Cops. She can't stand up without a solid gripping foundation, so she has to have her tennis shoes on. So, on go the shoes, Pete stands her up, I pull down the pants,Pete sits her down, I take off the shoes, pull off the pants, put on the pants in question, put on the shoes, Pete stands her up, pull up the pants, I hold her up while Pete fastens the pants, sit her down and she sees now for herself if they fit or not, then start again. Now, before this she was freezing and demanded the ac be turned off, so after three pairs of bottoms, we're all sweating, but now she understands that she really doesn't need Pete to go to the store for anything.
Then there's the eating. She thinks she knows what she wants, but can't remember the names. We play twenty questions. The problem is, sometimes even when you say the name, she isn't able to make the association and still says, "No." Needless to say, this is very frustrating for all parties. Then, even when you get it right and she loved it yesterday, she might hate today. She can stand to eat very few things. Mostly she tolerates soup and yogurt. If she says she likes it and it's really good, she'll eat maybe one fourth to one half a cup.
Though much of her pain has been resolved with ridding her of the raging infections, she still has what they now say is diabetic nueropathy. Now, all of her muscles have atrophied, leaving little protection for those nerves. Still, it's nothing like before.
Pete has another situation that is very demanding of him, so they both continue to need your prayers.
If you know someone who is the full time care giver for a brain injured person, be sure and give them a hug and a kind word when you can.
In other family news, Mom was admitted to the hospital last night with pain in her arm and memory loss. We will know more tomorrow.
There are days when I feel my spinning plates are about to come tumbling down.

Friday, August 14, 2009

8 am August 12, 2009

Well, look here. I actually did manage to get the classroom ready, and just a half hour before eighteen fresh fourth graders come bounding through the door.
Help Lord!
Help me to love each one of them as if they were my own because they are Your own.
Help me to instill in them that school is important, yeah, but listening, loving, learning should be happening all the time.
Help me convince them they are more than a test score or a grade.
Help me find a gift in every child.
Help me to discipline gently, encourage unashamedly, challenge daily.
Help me to laugh often, pat backs as a course of habit, sing lots and loudly, and stop to look at all the blessings in Your world.

This year was a first. I've never taken a picture of my empty, ready for school to begin classroom. I guess because I'm not too fond of an empty class. I really worked hard and cleaning things up and out and was excited by how neat it looked. Neatness is not a strong suit of mine. I'm not sure that expresses it very clearly. Better to say, neatness is not in my vocabulary.
I have this disease. I think my class can not go one minute without something to do. You know when you have a class of eighteen, and you do a twenty minute lesson, one will finish in twelve minutes and three won't finish in thirty-five. I feel bound to provide that twelve minute finisher with some enjoyable learning activity, or life as we know it will combust or something.
Sooooo, my students have multiple games, binoculars with field guides for the birds feeding out the windows, and sixteen art projects like weaving, stitchery, knitting, beading, scrapbooking, paper mache, etc. So, it's messy. Some adults about faint when they walk in my room.
In addition to the yarn and glue and fancy paper and stickers, we're liable to be hatching chicks or growing herbs to make pizza sauce. I don't make my kids sit at their desks for anything except state tests, so there are kids on stools, in beanbags, in my rocking chair, or under their desks. This state of affairs does not bother my students at all. They just walk over and around each other blissfully, however some grown-ups are a little incredulous and don't hestitate to tell me it isn't like any class they were ever in.
It's not like any class I was ever in either. I hated school, so it's my aim to do it differently. I love when they are all over and busy. I love enthusiastic learners.
So, on Wednesday, I was thrilled when the bell rang at 8:30.
And today, at 3:30, I was whupped, but satisfied that we were off to a good start!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Bean

Bean chose a day with a friend at the Science Center, with shopping in the gift shop for his birthday present. I planned it without realizing that "The Day" was also the the center's big Back to School Bash. I prefer not to do those activities, as they are usually very crowded, and the kiddos pushed through. I was pleasantly surprised that Bean and Raina were able to spend as much time as they wanted at each exhibit. Currently, the newest exhibit is all about music. They were able to listen to bird calls and all sorts of drums and flutes and bug noises, as well as regular ol' music. Bean has always amazed me at his ability to give his attention to things quite a bit over his little five year old head.
The stones on this xylophone were from a volcano, which is right up Bean's alley. They had a beautiful tone, but he was interested in knowing who got them, what volcano, where was the volcano, etc.

This exhibit was one of the big hits with both kids. They could make thunder, rain, animal sounds, and all different noises in there.

After the music exhibit, this was the next favorite activity. You build the building, then press either shake, rattle, or roll, and see how sound your structure was.
Raina putting the finishing touches on hers.
I wasn't sure if the IMAX production was going to be too scary, but Bean looked at the poster for Monsters of the Sea and said he wasn't concerned. As it turned out, he's read and watched enough about dinosaurs, that the material didn't frighten him.
Bean chose a science kit to make a volcano for his gift-imagine that.
It was a good day, except for leaving Miss Bugg in hysterics, which no amount of excuses of not having the stroller and her not enjoying what we'd be doing, or promises of taking her on her birthday would fix. Then I felt a little hysterical myself. I'm not in this grandparenting business to have unhappy babies. Looks like we both survived it however.
I spent the day making some rice/chix/vegie packs to add to Addie and Arwen's food. Now, I'm off to spend some time with the chickie girls.
I anxious to get my new class on Wednesday. We are going to have a blast.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Life of a Shirt

What might you ask is Baby Boy's fascination? Why the colorful geometric shapes on my shirt. In a strange and unusual turn of events, I happened to find a couple of shirts that, as it turns out, can't be worn out. I've entertained all the babies you see here with this very shirt. I picked them up at K-Mart. I seriously think it was eight or more years ago. They were colorful, soft, comfy, and if I remember correctly, on sale for less than five dollars. Two of the ones I bought that day have long stood the rigors of too many play dates to count. Paint, pudding, icing, and some other stuff I won't mention, washes right out. I've never had a hem fall out and there are no worn spots, snags or holes. Don't ask me, I can't explain it. Sad to say, I've had too much of a different experience of something not making it whole through it's first wash. I am amazed.
All the babies have been intrigued by this particular one, so I wanted to be sure and capture our latest addition's interest. Sure makes for easy entertainment.

Kaye came home from the hospital on Wednesday. We were all a little disconcerted by the digression of her speech throughout her hospital stay. Tonight, she talked as well as she ever has, and talk she did. Pete was getting an earful about her feelings on the whole in/out cath situation. God love that man. He needs to be awarded an honorary nursing degree. Stomach tubes, picc lines, caths and injections, there's nothing he does not do now. She was in as good of shape as I ever seen her after a dialysis. She did not complain of any pain, thank the Lord. If we can just get these antibiotics finished without them causing something else, we'll all be happy campers.

Back to school for me this week. Transitions are never my strong suit and there are lots of changes at school, so I'm very happy it was only two days and the weekend is here.

Happy birthday Ms. Courtney Paris photographer, daughter-in-law. I hope it's been happy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So Long Summer Playdates

Oh, a sweet sad day, our last playdate before I return to work tomorrow. Here Miss Antebellie is decked out in her finery right down to one pretty sock. Time for a little dancing and spinning.
You turn around twice and they grow up and take over your job. Miss Raina read one of her favorite books, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More in her best southern accent to a captive audience.

Since the big creek is still too high after the monsoon, the back creek had to do. Here the boys are reliving a WWII island attack while Raina is providing hand hewn rock for the battle.

This was pronounced the coolest bug in all the world, at least for today. Later, when most everyone had headed home, Bean said, " What in the world am I going to go without my friends. I don't think I can live without by best friend, Ol' Henry." I know Bean, it's sad.
This is our beautiful ivory-girl Kate, who spent all summer helping me chase wee ones on Wednesdays. Bless you sweet Kate!
Now it's time to say good-bye to all our blogger friends. The wee ones would like to thank you all for kindly stopping in. Your all invited back next week to this locality, but we'll be off to school and stuff, it came too rapidly.
School and stuff, books and bags, bells and work- awww, shucks!

I fixed the crew spaghetti for lunch. I was getting ready to pitch what wasn't eaten and remembered it was whole wheat and tomatoes and took that to the chickie girls. They devoured it, along with some ends of tomatoes and cucumbers. I am so delighted to feed it to them instead of putting it in the trash-fabulous!
I made a new recipe called Cucumber-Tomato Bread Salad and it was delicious!
If summer must come to an end, then it did so perfectly, when a little Bugg of a girl was play-dated out and fell sound asleep nestled on my chest in a front porch rocking chair. A sweet memory I'll pull out when winter seems long.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

On a Happier Note

I was at the hospital with Kaye on Friday evening and Saturday. Then we were invited to a friend's for a lovely evening of yummy food and enjoyable friendship. Today was Bible Study and Bean's party, so I have had no time with the girls. Handy Man said I really needed to take a look at Princess Cheeky as her cheek feathers had really sprouted. I laughed right out loud. Isn't she so cute?

When I ordered the chickie girls, I purposely ordered all girls, but they only guarantee them to be 90 percent hens. Apparently, telling the girls from the boys is not an easy job. For a poor untrained soul like me, you have to wait until they crow-or not. Other info says the combs and wattles are usually larger on roosters. Below is a pic of one of our Andalusians. Most of the chicks are like her, just starting to show a comb. Below are two, Callie Lou and Princess Sheila, that have much larger combs and much bossier behavior. For fun, I included a baby pic first (only 8 weeks ago).
Between Cheeky with no comb and Snow Queen with only a little, you can see a big difference.

Oh, you were so cute Callie Lou.

You were cute too, Princess Sheila.

Then today, they had a face off. Craned their necks and strutted at each other. Then Sheila bowed her head to Callie Lou as if to say, "I give."

So, what say you- roosters or hens?

We can't include barnyard babes without a picture of Arwen, who here still resembles a puppy.

Ummm, then she stands up. It doesn't change the fact that she's a puppy, but she is one big girl.

Ceece and 1st Lt. had a great party for Bean. They invited the Bubble Bus. The weather was perfect and all the kids had room to roam with stuff to do. Even Baby Boy and Great Grandma and everyone in between had a good time making bubbles.
1st Lt. commented on all the parties I did for them as a child and how he realizes now the time and energy I put into it. That was sweet to hear.
It was a happy day.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Like a Red Rubber Ball

My emotions have certainly seemed to be all over this week. Bean turning five and starting kindergarten, summer being over, a wonderful night out with friends and chix wings ( two of my favorite things), an anonymous monetary gift blessing Pete and perhaps allowing another few nights of help for him, and Kaye.
Usually, I'm very stoic with Kaye, or at least I try to present that. She has enough going on without worrying about me. I save frustration and tears for the ride home, or to cry on Phil's shoulder when I get here. Now and again however, my heart gets squeezed too hard and it comes out my eyes, in spite of all efforts to swallow it. So it was last night.
Kaye took a long rest. When she woke up she wanted something and pointed to her mouth. I asked if she wanted a drink, "No." Okay, did she want me to wipe her mouth, "Yes." Of course, no washcloth, so I got paper towels and wiped her mouth. That wasn't what she wanted and she was growing more agitated with me by the minute. Then she was trying to tell me the doctor did it, mouth and underarm, okay, she's wants her temp taken, I call the nurse. But, by this time she is furious with me and with cutting eyes and tone let's me know, in no uncertain terms, that I am an idiot, and before I can yank them back, out pop the tears. So, I keep my head down and attempt to steady my voice as I straighten sheets, awaiting the nurse, not wanting her to see me upset. Then I notice her hands are cold and clammy and I realize that she is cold and what she wanted all along was the temperature changed. So I get a blanket, get her tucked in, ask if she's sick (nauseated) and she exclaims, "Yes!" So we take the temp-fine, then get the anti-nausea meds. I have her warmed up, meds on the way and she says, " I sorry," and I lose it. Luckily, she was tucked back in and couldn't see me very well, so I had a big, very quiet sob in my chair, wondering if she will ever feel good again. Wondering if this two-steps back in communication is temporary. Feeling so totally broken for her.
So, what's up? Hard to say. I've already used enigma and conundrum, so I'm out of descriptions.
Her white count is going down, but somehow all this has caused her blood to be too thin to risk a move to home, so she's still in the hospital. Today she was awake 20 minutes around one o'clock and ate some yogurt. Other than that, she was still in the same position she'd been in all day, still sleeping soundly when I left at 4:30. Her last med that is supposed to cause drowsiness was administered at 11 pm last night. No one can explain the sleepiness. Her kidneys still have an output, but the bladder won't, so now Pete has to learn how to do the in/out catheter twice daily.
The bladder antibiotic must go on for four more weeks and the C-Diff closely monitored. Now, she takes 22 different things daily. I am weary- we all are.
Her birthday is Tuesday. Last year at this time I was decorating for her big 6-0 tea party. She loved the day so much and I'm so glad I have that memory.
Sorry, this is kind of a downer