Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lazarus Come Forth

Leaving the hospital this evening, I didn't know if I wanted to do a little joy dance, or collapse in a heap  outside the door.  It is like Jimi has risen from the dead and I mean that literally.  All kidney functions good, blood pressure stable, sugar straight up normal, no temp and blood building on its own.  In addition, combing his hair, thrilling at a Q-tip, answering every question from people from every department since it is all new again after being transferred back to Kindred, signing his own admission forms, sitting up by himself,  and fully understanding where he is and what is going on. It is a miracle and would be Thanksgiving to God, holiday or no.
Today is day 30 of this health crisis.  When we were in ICU over the weekend, they allowed him to have a sponge dipped in ice water, all he wanted, which he handled fine.  Last night we moved to Kindred and they said they did not follow the same protocol as Jewish and he absolutely could not have his ice cup. Just stab me.  So, whenever they come in to do something that takes awhile I take the opportunity to grab lunch, or just get some air.  The head honcho nurse I'd met before came in to change his picc dressing. I like her a lot and knew he was in good hands, so I left for bit.  Before I left, when they were moving him he complained that his shoulder was sort of stiff and sore and they asked if he wanted an ice pack. He said he'd try it.  Well the ice pack is ice in a ziploc bag, so I wrapped it in a towel, put it  under his shoulder and left  him in the capable hands of the nurse.  When I returned the admission clerk was there, floored by the dramatic change, as everyone who saw him before during the three day Kindred Hell debacle has been.  Anyway, she said as she was preparing to leave that she would get him a pitcher for his ice. I said, "Um, what ice?"  She said, "That ice in the bag he's eating out of ."  Of course, on one hand, I wanted to laugh my fool head off.  Yeah, his brain is working just fine thank you. On the other hand, this is the very thing that make Tish and I terrified to leave him.  So, we've told him will keep his secret if he  promises not to ever do it without  us and he said he understood and would behave himself.  He also knows tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I wouldn't have minded getting that past him.  I told him as soon as he could eat I'd make him Thanksgiving.

Though we've had to do some rearranging, I have managed Playdates some.  This is an awful picture but still-
 Giddy-Up asked his Mama days ago, if Gramerly was bringing treats to Thanksgiving.  She said, "Yes, Gramerly is bringing pies!"  He said, "I'm going to bed till Thanksgiving."  Ha.  So when they came last week we made turkeys from caramels and cookies and Pilgrim hats from rollos and miniature oreos, only Giddy-Up thought the turkeys needed hats.  Fine by me.
 So there will be additional treats to the pies I've made this evening.
Last week, I took Miss Bugg to shop for our Samaritan's Purse shoeboxes. She took it so seriously and several times I offered to get her something as well, but no she just wanted to pack those boxes a full as possible.  She determined with each item, what could come out of its wrapper so it would take less space.  She was very troubled that a nite-nite(blanket) wouldn't fit in there, as she just can't imagine not having one.  So sweet.  Ceece met me at the store after the hospital that evening, as the boxes were due the next morning at church, and in the events of the month, I'd completely forgotten.  But the Bugg and me got er' done.

 I hope you hug all your people extra tight and if you are able to sit up and eat ice, or pie, or a pilgrim hat, I hope you are so very thankful.  God Bless!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just Sit Right Back

Caution- A Not So Happy Post

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip
That ended up in ICU because of med blip, because of a med blip.

Please excuse my attempts at humor.
I bring this post today to share "A Day in the Life."
Because I look around at where I've been this last three weeks and see we are surely not the only one going through this.
I guess I want to put it out there because of a comment made to me by a concerned visitor.  She said, "Well, I've actually never had anyone in ICU before."  Wow, I guess I didn't know you could be older than me and that be true.
Actually, Jimi is currently in a step down intermediate unit, but if you have been blessed to have never walked this road I would just want to say if you know someone who is, I want to tell you how the day can be.
This morning went relatively smoothly considering it took over an hour to make a twenty minute trip this frosty 10 degree morning.  You look forward to Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy, because you feel like it makes your patient encouraged that they are getting better.  They told us they would come Saturday and Sunday, but know one ever came.
Today OT showed up and you hold your breath because again today they have battled his blood pressure all day long and if it has not come down therapy is out.  Thankfully it is down to 170, which you and I think is horrible, but they are rejoicing over. It is an ordeal to get someone with a picc line, a trach, GI tube and catheter ready to sit up. After fifteen minutes he was finally ready to get down to business, when someone shows up at the door with a stretcher saying it is time for a test somewhere else in the hospital and no they can't wait. Though you are sad for the interruption, knowing there won't be a second opportunity, you are glad for a test you've been asking about for a week. Next is the ordeal of transferring him to that stretcher.  He is in a panic, thinks he can't breathe, which panics me.  By this time we are in hall and the nurse is trying to find out if she can accompany him or at least hook him up to some oxygen.  She tells me that she can't go with him, but can do the oxygen and so gets him ready and a call comes that they are backed up and can't do the test and back to putting him back to bed with no OT and no Test again today.
Between those who are caring for Jimi, we've been asked daily if he had any kidney problems before this ordeal.  Each and every time we say that, "Yes, he was going to a kidney clinic."   So today, Doctor Kidney walks in and comes over to the bed and says, after three weeks, "Hmm, I think I recognize this man, I think he goes to my clinic."  "Does he wear, ummm...."  "Bib overalls," I knowingly filled in his blank. "Yes, with all kinds of different pens in the pocket?" In my mind, "Why yes, as a matter of fact this man you've looked at every day for three weeks, the one in the picture on this door in said bibs, is that very same man."
Doctor Kidney, cutie pie, I need to ask you to step outside while I have a complete and total come apart.
One doctor comes in and tells you how great he's doing while another one  tells you how awful thing are.
Then the Respiratory guy comes in, same guy as yesterday and tells Jimi it's time for a treatment and Jimi says, "Are you going to be here Saturday?" and the man says, "Yes."  So Jimi tells him we'll do the treatment then. This from a man who has no idea what day it is.  So, the guy walks right out the door without doing the treatment. What?
Jimi's ICU dementia is by turns sweet, funny, horrible and terrifying.
This morning he told the doc that I was his baby sister, which I am. This afternoon, he has no idea who I am.
You retell him why he's there and what they are doing, sometimes every fifteen minutes, for hours. Then your balloon pops when they ask him where he is and he can't tell them.
You are terrified to go to the bathroom without putting the restraints on and every time you have to do it  your heart is broken.
When he tells you that it is time get out of here you know there isn't much you wouldn't give to make that true for him.
And every single day you are torn between a job that deserves the best of you and a brother who may not have anyone else to be in the trenches with him that day. And your asked to make hard decisions you don't ever want to make for another person. And your having some confusion yourself about how it could be November 18 already and didn't you just do laundry?  Then you pay for something to eat you don't really like and a hefty parking fee to finish off your day.  And the thing is, it is just what needs doing and so you keep trying to make it all work, along with SuzieQ and Tish.
So, all that to say, when you know someone is in such a place, remember to be merciful- if they want to talk, because retelling the drama seems to lessen it somehow, if they don't want to talk, if they aren't quite sure what day it is, if they are late, or slow to answer because their mind is somewhere else, if they cry, or maybe yell a little.
And know, each prayer you pray and kind deed you do and sweet response you give is a blessing.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I Love to Laugh, Ha, Ha, Ha

Looking for a laugh this morning before heading to the hospital. And this picture does it for me every time.  Oh Missy Bugg, what tasty toes you have. That face is priceless.

Seriously son, we have a few better options

These photos were from a way back Playdate in mid October, when I was on fall break.  It has so seldom ever rained enough to interfere with outside play on Playdate that I hadn't thought much about indoor plans until they started headed in the door all drippy.  I remembered that Gardener E had shared a couple of novelty items with me as she was cleaning.  Two banks. One with a dancing Choo, Choo and a little apple with a worm that pops out to grab their penny.  My boy wasn't interested in removing his fireman rain gear, but was completely enthralled with the banks, as were all the others.  I had to empty the pennies back into the penny bucket when they filled it up.

Some time on a shopping trip I came across a one of those thing-a-ma-jigs that cut paper into specific shape and it happens those shapes were autumnish.  At school we use a big Ellison press. This is a small version, so I went and dug it out and with some paper and a glue stick we made a big paper nest of fall goodness.

  While we're snipping and gluing away, our attention was turned to our big boy's riotous laughter.
 I've written here before about the little scrapbooks of letters and and pictures chronicling those early Playdates with two tiny boys.  Bean was reading one of letters I wrote about them riding around on in that ol' truck, talking to other truckers on the CB.  So sweet. Ol' Henry thought his two year old chatter was hilarious.

I don't know if an adult was this tiny, or if this was a "junior" bridesmaid dress, but both Ceece with Bugg and Ol' Mother Hubbard with Antebellie had the exact same  startled response when they walked out in perfectly fitted finery, "Umm, why does that fit you?" With that play hat plunked on her head, I don't know, I just LOVE this picture of her cuteness.

The first three days of this week were just horrific.  Jimi was moved to Kindred and there was a huge, unfortunate debacle with his meds that left him in terrible, terrifying shape and us in his wake.  By Wednesday at 7, he was moved back to ICU and in an hour and a half they had turned things completely around.  Yesterday he washed his own face, told mom he loved her and maybe gets to try and sit up in a chair today.  Hallelujah.  Now, all that being said, we're moving out of ICU again.  Lord, please let this go more smoothly than last week!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What is it about November?

Tomorrow my fifth grade students will serve our veterans breakfast and we will again honor them with song and essays.
I feel a sort of wrung out dishragishness, don't ya know.
But there is grace for another Veteran's Day.
In November  2011, I had just lost my sister.
In November 2012, my son was in Afghanistan
In November 2013, I had finally stopped after twenty five days of fever, but was still just weak and tired
Now, this November my brother is in intensive care.  Well, actually, by tomorrow he may be out of intensive care. Still, it is hard to see him so weak and confused, battling a high fever, high everything except hemoglobin.
And my good friend's son, lost his father in a tragic car accident. Arie was my sweet, gentle helper summer before last and I am so very sad for him. He loved his dad so.

Life is just hard sometimes.  All about perspective isn't it?  After I've spent a day with Jimi and someone voices some trivial complaint, I want to put them immediately in their place, tell how things could be.  That isn't kind and won't change my circumstance any, so I refrain.
I pray and read scripture and read other people's prayers when I run dry. And the strength to press on is there.
Do you know a veteran?  Don't forget to give them a big hug and thank you.
Off to start churning out those beloved cinnamon rolls one more time.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


It is cold and dark this November morning.  A bit of coffee and time for reflection before heading to the CCU for my Saturday vigil.  It sounds like I'll do more than sitting, as Uncle Jimi is very slowly waking up.
I find Halloween through November 8 are challenging days to face each year.  Kaye thought toddlers were the greatest thing ever and she loved Halloween.  Of course that is true for Uncle Jimi too.  To say I was generally miserable and out of sorts this past Halloween is putting it mildly.
But on this homegoing anniversary day, I find that at least a part of me is grateful.  Reliving this intensive care nightmare has been an excellent reminder, that in spite of missing, I would never wish her back to the pain and suffering she knew.
I've been out this dark, frostbitten morning.
Nightgown, scary hair, wooly sweater and flip-flops. Is it still Halloween?
  No, just something I needed to see this morning.

Some hope in dark and cold.

And there she is- Kaye's rose.

Thank you Lord. It is enough.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Looking for Happy

While the news remains bleak with my brother, I find myself looking for some happy and I find it
 all around.

  • Siblings who go the distance
  • An Uncle Jimi signature bandana with some hippie smelling essential oils he would love from my daughter
  • Good and Godly counsel from a friend
  • The book trailer for Margaret Bloom's new book about peg dolls. I can't help it, I love them.
  • Adorables- I mean seriously

  • A Handy Man backrub
  • A teacher evaluation done and I didn't mess up too bad
  • someone who shows up at the hospital to just hold your hand and your heart for a minute
  • so many prayers