Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ran Out of Propane

How many times does this have to happen before  we consistently monitor the level of propane in the tank?  Ugg!  No propane means cold house.  Cold house does not make me happy.  Given that I was not happy, the hubs split wood and I started a fire.  The fire has kept the front room at a very warm and comfortable 68-74 degrees.  I've closed up the rooms we don't use. Heat rises so we sleep well upstairs in our bedroom although I have the electric blanket on the bed going, too.

The visiting nurses have come out every day since the 22nd.  Each tells me that I am healing nicely.  Good.  I finished up the antibiotics on Thursday and hope that the navel is completely healed in another week.

My dear uncle passed last week.  I was not able to make the drive home to WV to be with my family for his funeral and homegoing ceremony.  I'm sure it was beautiful.  Just breaks my heart that I couldn't be there to honor his memory and help support my cousins during this time.

Hubs was gone this morning to a dog training day up around Butler.  When he got home we went out to Applebee's for an early dinner and then ran over to the pharmacy to pick up my HRT prescription.  We came back home and have watched tv and enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace.  I ordered a gorgeous hank of a creamy yellow colored Alpaca and silk yarn off Etsy.  It's a lace weight yarn and I'm thinking possibly of a lace top for one of the girls.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I had a beautiful day yesterday visiting with Jess, Ralph and Lilly.  Poor Jess, she had another migraine.  I do not wish those on anyone!  I'm just so thankful I no longer have them.  We had a rather nice lunch out at Denny's in Latrobe.

I saw my doctor again yesterday.  She wants to see me once a week until my incision is completely healed up.  She also set me up to receive a home health nurse to visit me every day and change out the packing in my incision.

I will start on low dose hormone replacement therapy patches.  Stopped at CVS yesterday to pick them up but they were on order.  Was supposed to stop out there today to get them but the Jeep had a flat.  I called AAA for someone to come out and change the tire.  I don't know if they ever showed up.  I fell asleep for about half an hour and then never heard back.

The nurse was out this morning around 9.  She was so funny.  I think she was here past 10.  She just kept talking and talking.  I can't imagine anyone having that much to say.  haha

I cleaned up the dishes in the sink, straightened up the upstairs and took a load of clothes down to the basement to wash.  I folded a set of sheets and a load of jeans.  I actually felt like I accomplished something!  Now if I could just scrub the bathroom floors.

The weather report on Sunday said we were supposed to have 50 degree weather all this week.  Yesterday I looked again and we may get snow showers a few days this week.  I'm not happy.  I have the house set on 68 degrees but I still feel chilled.  I wish I had a fire going in the woodstove to keep the house warm.  I could probably get one started but I can't carry up anything larger than sticks and Phil doesn't have any wood cut up small enough for me to handle.  DaRn!

Mom's getting chemo today.  I text her this morning.  I was hoping to hear an update on my Uncle Jack.  Mom said he's running a fever right now.  He's in renal failure and has been asleep for a couple of days now.  My cousin Laura said hospice was called in and he's in a private room.  I pray every day for him.  I know he was so sad after his wife died in August.  He just didn't want to go on.  I pray mostly that he does not suffer.  I pray for my cousins, too.  I think it will be harder on them to lose their father.  They were always so close.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sundays at Grandma's

I grew up in Maryland just outside of D.C.  It was only two miles to RFK Stadium and we could hear the ballgames at our house when they were playing.

When I was very young we lived in Waldorf for a year and my mom's parents lived in Acquasco.  Grandpa was working as a caretaker on a tobacco farm.  He and grandma lived in the old house on the farm.  And, I do mean old.  It was a four story frame house which I think was at least 200 years old.  The farm was owned by Priscilla Dyson and had been in her late husband's family (Mende) for a very long time.  Her youngest son, Mark Mende, was a year older than me and we always played together and got into mischief when I came to visit my grandparents.

Just about every Sunday we'd come to visit and Grandma would fix a beef roast, ham or fried chicken on the wood cook stove.  There was always corn on the cob, a mess of green beans, mashed potatoes and some kind of salad.  My favorite was sliced cucumbers in vinegar.  Yum!

Mom's brothers and sisters were always there along with their families.  It was a big gathering for dinner and I loved every minute of it.  Uncle Jack and Aunt Dot were there with their three boys Mike, Gary and Tony (this was before my cousin Laura was born), Aunt Nancy and her husband Tommy with Steven, Aunt Geraldine and Bobby with little cousin Shelah.  Uncle Larry and Aunt Wanda were still in high school.

Inside the kitchen was a large nook with a table where all the adults ate while us kids ate our meal at a table on a covered porch off the kitchen.  There was a long hall from the kitchen with a bedroom to the left and then a staircase past the bedroom also to the left.  Straight ahead was a large room which had to have been a parlor at one time but my grandparents had a bed set up in there because grandma couldn't go up and down the stairs.

There were lots and lots of lovely rooms in the house.  All full of furniture and clothing.  Mark and I used to play dress up and grandma would tell us to put all that stuff away because she didn't want Miss Priscilla to get mad at us for playing in her things.  As far as I can remember, there was only one bathroom in the house and it was on the second floor.  It had an old claw foot tub and I remember when we would stay overnight with grandma that mom would bath me, my sister and brother together in that tub.  Then after baths we would be tucked into bed under a pile of covers and quilts.  It didn't matter if it was summer, you still were swaddled into bed under that pile.  I always wondered later on if the pile of covers was so large because they didn't want us kids to be able to get back out of bed?

I think because we saw our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents every weekend that made us so much closer.  I think the happiest time in my life was back then.  I'd lay awake in bed and listen to the grownups talking downstairs.  I could sometimes pick up a word or two of what they were saying but most often not.  They always watched the Lawrence Welk show on tv on Sundays after dinner.  I thought it was the most boring program on tv.

I wouldn't change anything about how we grew up except to say it ended too quickly.  A few years later my grandparents would move back to West Virginia and my grandma would pass on at the young age of 54.  Things were never the same after that.  My favorite Aunt Wanda died in 1983 from colon cancer.  She was eight years older than me.  We were very close.  Aunt Nancy died in 2002 from a lupus related illness.  Aunt Geraldine lives somewhere in Mexico.  My dear Aunt Dot passed away this past August and Uncle Jack himself is not doing well.  Uncle Larry is home recuperating from surgery.  I pray for my living family members every day.

I have the best memories of growing up.  I had the best parents anyone could have wished for.  They were strict all the time but loving and kind although we were disciplined when needed.  I remember mom would paddle us and then we'd get the belt from dad when he got home from work.  No getting around that.  We learned to be good or receive the consequences.  None of us liked the consequences!

I remember family devotions after dinner.  One of us kids would read a story out of the devotions book and then dad would ask us questions about what the story meant.  A lot of the time the story was about attitudes which I had plenty of as a teenager.  I don't know how many times I heard, "Carol, you better work on changing that attitude of yours!"  Thankfully, I finally did.

I wish I could have given my children the kind of life I had growing up although when my parents lived in Pittsburgh we were close enough to see them and visit.  But my sister and brother lived in Maryland and we didn't visit with them often.  Now my sister is in North Carolina and my brother is in Florida.  Thankfully, we have Facebook and also cell phone texting so I can keep in touch.  I talk to my mom just about every day on the phone.  Still, it's not the same as still living at home and seeing your parents, sister and brother every day.  It's hard when you grow up and move out and away.  It changes the family dynamic.  Things aren't the same.  It's sad.  I can only hope that one day my granddaughters will have memories of me and can look back and be happy they knew me and that I was part of their life.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


or, lack thereof.

Tomorrow will be two weeks since my total hysterectomy.  While the pain is not so bad anymore and I am so thankful for that, the lack of hormones have set in and I've been a crying mess all week.  Depressed at times and waking up at night or from a nap just drenched in sweat.

I cried off and on almost all day yesterday.  Everything made me emotional.  We drove up to Warriorsmark yesterday afternoon to drop Opal off to be bred.  I cried on the way up.  I cried on the way back.  Phil just laughed.  Thank God he has a wonderful sense of humor.

I had an appointment yesterday to get my incision looked at.  It was definitely infected.  Had the staples removed.  Started on Cephalexin 500 Mg four times a day.  Go back next week to have it looked at again.

It was nice to get out with Phil yesterday.  It was a long drive but we had a nice dinner in Johnstown at Lonestar Steakhouse.  We dropped the dog off and chatted a while with Eric, Bernadette and their beautiful daughter.  We left at 7 and got back home around 9 p.m.

I know the antibiotics are working.  And, thankfully, we remembered to pick up a stool softener yesterday at CVS!

While I have been so hormonal and missing my mommy, I want to say how thankful I am to have Phil's mommy to help us out.  She's been wonderful.

Jess and Ralph have helped out a lot.  Since I can't lift anything I certainly can't handle Bella, Opal or Reno and defnitely not Elsa and Leja although I rarely have to do anything with them.  The worst thing about the dogs is they don't realize when you're not well.  Opal ran up and jumped straight up on me the other day and knocked me almost off my feet.  She's a very strong 63 lbs!  So, during my first week back home we were blessed to have home cooked meals every day which were made by Jess.  Ralph was good enough to bring those goodies over to us every day and to also take the dogs outside for potty breaks.  And, it didn't hurt Grandma none that she got to spend time with Miss Lilly.  Oh, God, how I do love my granddaughters!

I promised to make chili for dinner tonight so I better get a move on.  It's 6 p.m. already!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I bought Valentine's Day cards three weeks ago and had Phil take them to the post office on Sunday.  I had Phil's card sitting on the counter since before I went in the hospital.  He came home from the grocery store and the first thing he brought up was a vase full of red roses.  He is so sweet.


Yesterday was a difficult day for me.  I had forgotten how really crappy you feel after surgery.  My incision is red and draining.  That adds to my pain.  I have an appointment with my gynecologist tomorrow to take out the staples.  There are some that I don't know how she'll get to because the skin has enveloped the staples.  I would have been happier with a drain in the abdomen so the incision wouldn't get infected.

I am starting to feel depressed that I feel so crappy.  I have some pain meds left but it's not enough to get through the rest of the week.  It's a dull ache in my lower back followed by a stabbing pain higher up.  Phil said that's probably from having the nerve block.

I had someone private message me on Facebook yesterday morning telling me that (she?) knows for a fact that my DIL Chrystal is cheating on my son Joe with her live in friend David.  Um, this is news?  What can I do about it?  Nothing.  I've stayed awake many nights trying to figure out what to do.  There's nothing I can do.  I haven't seen the girls since January 14.  My entire family is sick, sick, sick over this.  It kills me that she's treating my son like this but then I remember she did exactly the same thing to Irv with Joe.  The only positive out of that was the two granddaughters.

I would like to know that they are being treated good.  That they are healthy, eating well, have clean clothes, a clean bed to sleep in, etc.  I worry she has them saying Daddy David.  I would flip out if I heard that.

I try not to think evil thoughts about her although they are there in my head.  My best scenario would be her telling Joe that she and David are moving on and leaving the girls with him.  Then I would go get them while he works and make sure Jass went to school and had her teeth fixed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Story to Tell

This isn't my story but I think it's important to tell.  It's not something I would willingly choose not to tell.

A week ago I was in the hospital one day out from an abdominal hysterectomy.  I begged for a private room.  Everyone kept telling me that they tried to get me one but it just didn't happen.  My first roommate arrived Friday evening and left Saturday evening.  Then came in the roommate who would stay with me for the remainder of my hospital stay.

Even though hospital privacy regulations are in place to safeguard privacy, it really isn't possible.  Everyone hears everything that's said in the hospital.  My roommate was coherent and introduced herself to me after the nurses left the room.  She had just had emergency abdominal surgery and the surgeons told her if she had been any later getting to the hospital she would have died.

She told me she was a widow and that she had three young children; even though she had not been looking to date, she met a young man at her church and they had been dating about 10 months. He was the one to bring her to the hospital.

She asked me about my life; how long I'd been married for, how many children I had, etc.  Then she proceeded to tell me her story.  She met her husband when she was 12 years old.  He was probably about 14 or 15 at the time.  She quickly became part of his family.  He graduated from high school and then joined the military.  After basic training he would get his orders.  By this time, she was enrolled in Penn State University he asked her to join him.   So she left school for him.

He did two successful tours in Iraq and loved the men he worked with.  He was stationed at four or five locations over their 12 year marriage.

In February 2010 he was home for a short while after beginning a third tour in Iraq.  She didn't elaborate on what happened but that he ended his life.  He and the children had been her entire life.  That much was apparent.  She said the day of her emergency surgery was the day he had died two years earlier.

The military was good to take care of all arrangements for the service and for his tombstone.  She and the children went back to the northern Allegheny County, PA area during the grieving process to be with family and friends.  He was buried at the Veterans Cemetery nearby.

She didn't say what all had transpired during the past year except that she had lived next door to her parents in law and they were very close.  Eventually they found out about her dating a young, black man.

I have lived a lot of places and met all kinds of people.  I never try to judge people or how they live their lives.  This young man was very kind and obviously very dedicated to her.  He sat in a chair next to her bed for the three days we shared a room.  He fed her ice chips, swabbed her mouth to keep it moist, and helped her out of bed to get to the bathroom.  He asked questions of the nurses and doctors and tried to keep her comfortable.

She was white as was her husband and their children.  The fact that her husband's best friend growing up had been black had no bearing towards acceptance by her in-laws.  Her father in law starting telling her children that black men were all drug addicts, didn't hold jobs and beat women.  I've met a fair share of white men who could get categorized in that box, as well.

In August 2011 things culminated as she tried to find another house for them to stay in.  She had asked her mother in law to keep the children for her while she did this.  When bringing the children back from a day visit she was arrested by constables for having not paid a $261 portion of a tombstone bill.  She had paid the other bills related to bringing his casket home.  She didn't know why this bill hadn't been paid.  So here she was dropping the children off at their house and she's arrested in front of them.  While this was going on she was also served papers stating the grandparents wanted full custody of their grandchildren.  She spent three days at the jail and said she had to sleep on the floor.  She was allowed to see her children on Christmas 2011 but that's the last time she's seen them.

Phil and I plus a nurse were sitting in our room listening to her tell the full story of what's happened to her and her family.  This is a young woman who could be my daughter.  I felt very maternal towards her.  I don't understand how any parent could do this to their daughter-in-law and grandchildren!  It doesn't matter what you think of your daughter or son-in-law it's only your responsibility to help them as best you can for the sake of your grandchildren.

Can you imagine being one of these little kids? You lose your daddy and then your grandparents tell you bad things about your mommy and your mommy's friend.  Then you can't live with mommy anymore.  I can't even imagine a world where this was the right thing to do!

I think God puts us in situations where Angels come into our lives to help and where we can be Angels to someone else in their hour of need.  As far as I know she has no family members except for a sister.  She needs an attorney who can get this straightened out.

I can't imagine her little 2-year old daughter being told her mommy doesn't love her.

If anyone knows of a good attorney who could provide services at low, or no cost, that would be extremely helpful.  I have her phone number but am not going to put her into a situation until I know I have someone who can actually help.

God put me in place to hear her story and I'm choosing to do something to help her.  If you can help, please comment on my blog.  I'm also going to post to FB.  Praying that God allows the right people to find this message and who are willing to help!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day Two

It was so nice to not have to get up every couple hours to pee during the night and, more importantly, to be able to sleep without someone coming in to wake you up every two hours!  I am so glad to be home and in my own bed!

Janet from my surgeon's office was so good to call this afternoon to tell me that the pathology results indicated no cancer.  She wasn't sure if the doctor had told me but felt it was important enough to phone me, as well.  Big thank you, Janet!

Phil's mom stayed overnight but left this morning.  She will be back tomorrow.  Ralph, Jess and Lilly stopped by again today to let Bella and Opal out.

I was even able to get a shower today.  Small miracles!  Thank you, God!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Home Today

Today I came home from the hospital, thank God!  While I liked the surgeon, his surgical team and most of the nurses and nursing assistants, there were some very miserable people working there. 

One night I woke up to hearing a nurse yelling for help!  A patient pulled out his IV tubes, tried to escape and ended up falling on the floor.  One nurse quit during her shift and so did two nursing assistants.  What's up with that?  I heard the nurses calling everyone they could to come in and help.  The hospital was fully occupied and was turning patients away. 

Yesterday, the toilet in our bathroom wasn't working and a repair man came up to look at it.  He replaced the toilet but told the nurse we couldn't flush the toilet.  I mean, what's the use of a toilet which you can't flush?  We were told to pee in our hats (which is a plastic container which fits under the toilet seat) but not to flush it or we could walk across the other side of the hospital and down to the end of the floor to use the public restroom.  Me and my roommate ended up doing that most of the day and into the night.  Finally a nurse noticed we kept walking to the other side of the hospital and asked what we were doing.  She called maintenance and another repair man was up in a short time.  He flushed the toilet and told us it was in working condition.  What's up with that?  A couple days after abdominal surgery and we're having to walk to find a bathroom?  Then the freaking fire alarm went off at 2 a.m.!  It was after 4 when we were able to fall asleep only to be woken back up at 5 a.m. by a nursing assistant coming to check our blood pressure and temperature.

I do want to say I bonded with my roommate and plan to stay in touch.  Wonderful young woman!

I'm so thankful to be home where my toilets work, no one is pulling the fire alarm, lighting a cigarette in a non smoking facility only to set the alarm off, etc.  I was in such pain this afternoon that I laid down to sleep and slept for three hours.  Hubs went to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription for pain meds.  I took one pill at 7 p.m. and really feel better.  Will take another at 11 p.m. 

His mom is coming up tomorrow to stay with us this week.  Phil has no time to do anything other than feed animals once he comes home.  He doesn't have time to go grocery shopping, fix meals, wash clothes, etc.  Bless his heart!  He is such a good husband and I thank God every day for him!

Doctors gave me the pathology report from surgery.  Everything was benign.  No cancer.  Thank you, God!

Did I mention that Ralph and Jess have been coming by every day to feed Bella and Opal plus take them out to potty during the day?  That makes it so much easier on Phil not to have to clean up a mess when he gets in from work.  Jess even made lasagna and stew for reheating for dinner.  I have so much to be thankful for!!