End of the Year Wrap up

It is a challenge to keep up your cheer when you have things hitting you from every end.  Whenever you can go out and do something you enjoy…savor every moment!  It’s your time to recharge so you can think clearer.  On the way to visit family for Christmas I took advantage of some time to hike part of the Hill of Life in Austin.  Austin is so very cool!  They have lots of outdoor things to do.  Friends from the Big Bend trip told me about this hike.  It’s on Austin’s Barton Creek greenbelt.  The best I can guess is that this is a 6.7 mile hike one way.  I knew that I would only get a taste of this with my kids and figured we would walk to the water…which is spectacular and back and I was guessing it would be a couple of miles.  You have to know the capability of your company!  This trailhead begins in an older neighborhood.  There are many people hiking with dogs and even mountain bikers.

hill of life

You walk down to the water and the “hill” is the way back.  The rocks are a challenge, there are pea size to grapefruit size rocks.  A lot of unevenness.  When we got to the bottom we saw clear water.  There were two waterfalls not far apart.

falls

If it were warmer, I would be swimming!  My daughter got me some Chacos for Christmas, very cool water shoes.  It was too cold to wear them this day.  We met a man with a Brittany and a black dog, they were well behaved despite their venture way ahead of the man who brought them.  We made our way back up the hill in time to travel an additional 5 or so miles to the Austin 360 bridge also known as the Pennybacker bridge before sunset.  This was my daughter’s idea and a great one it was!  So my husband is not the hiker, however my kids were intrigued.  I’ll take whoever will go with me.

360bridge

You have two paths, one steeper than the other.  At the top, to the left you can see the Austin skyline.  Once we climbed to the top we saw a marriage proposal in rose petals with sand and lined rocks.  So sweet this was done at sunset.  You can also see cedar trees lining the highway, people decorate them as Christmas trees.

cedar trees

This was an amazing day.  We had a great time together and then had a really great dinner.  Christmas was amazing, the food the company, everything.  I know how lucky I am.  I hope you find your happiness too.  This is the BEST part of life!

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End of the Year Wrap up

RECOVERY

One thing I have learned about recovery is sometimes it goes quickly sometimes slowly.  This is something that I have repeated for many many months so I know.  Today is the beginning day of strength recovery for my mom.  She was transferred to a rehab hospital to work on getting that strength back.  Yesterday as soon as I came into her room I wanted to get her out of bed and into the chair. Believe it or not you actually do use your muscles to help keep you up right even sitting in chair.  The hospital mom was in was good for getting her back to health, however not much more can be accomplished past a certain point.  A therapist came in and worked with her for 20 minutes, today in her new location, she will get 3 hours a day of therapy that will help her and my dad at home.

We waited forever for the transfer transport.  This causes issues with the next dose of medicine, meals and insulin.  When we finally got outside, I asked my mom what is the first thing you notice?  She read the letters on the transport vehicle which were actually pretty far away.  This makes me sad, the first thing I noticed was the warm air, the blue sky with no clouds and a pretty flamboyant tree near a peaceful pond.  It was her first time outside since December 4.

When you work yourself up over an expectation, you are are setting yourself up for disappointment.  Another thing I learned from recovery.  It is so true!  And expectations can be linked to control.  There is no way you can control most outcomes…yet another thing about recovery.  Once you accept this fact, you begin to see things clearer.  That is not to say forget your hopes;  No! hope is the one thing you can always hold on to.  Hope and expectations are two different things.  Hope can evolve into what you need.  It’s one thing to say I hope to walk again.  The very definition of the outcome of what you can acheive may be very different than what you expected.  And still that outcome can end up being better than you were, liveable or even better than what you thought you could acheive!

My dad really wants mom to come home for Christmas.  It’s a strain to be going back and forth to the rehab hospital.  While I hope she can come home by Christmas, I also know that pinpointing a specific day may not be the best outcome.  She is really weak at night and needs the gift of time to work up that strength so that home care will be acheivable.  In the end, that is the outcome we are really hoping for.  We will see what happens.  Merry Christmas!

rehabxmas

RECOVERY

Staying Positive Day 4

Ok, it’s hard to shake me.  I’m staying on that positive path, I will say people try to shake it out of you if you let them.  My normal routine keeps me up beat and I do mean exercise and taking care of yourself really helps.  I must say I’m not doing that and it hurts.  Still eye on the prize.

I walked into the hospital today and mom is doing ok.  Today, my goal was to get her out of bed.  And that was a goal accomplished.  That in itself needs to be recognized!!!!  It was really nice that my mom was eating by herself.  The therapist helped her get to a wheel chair so that I could get her out of that room she has been in the hospital since December 4.  I showed her the beautiful Christmas tree, the nurses station, the secret room where there is a large supply of crackers and where the linens are.  We couldn’t go far.  And I showed her the window she can’t see because it is behind the bed in a corner.  We spent the day talking.  I know the procedure is to get help to move her, but by the time she says she needs to move, 40 minutes later the nurses show up…again I know they are busy.  So against the policy, I got my mom from the wheel chair to the chair, to a toilet chair.  I’m pretty sure the therapist thought getting to one was enough for the day.  I pushed it.  She got to brush her hair, brush her teeth, stretch her shoulders, get out of bed and see something different….HUGE!!!!

I thought my dad would be thrilled of mom’s progress, but given his age and where she was before the illness, I believe he was disappointed.  Regardless, she did amazing today.  Progress is slow especially when you are older.  It’s so hard to give ourselves time.  The situation does present a decision point of what to do next.  He needs assistance and there are options not all of them favorable.  I recognize this is a tough part of getting old.  Decisions.

Tomorrow is a new day.  Out the window, I see and appreciate an amazing sunset on an eventful day.  The nurse told me, the ones that have hope are the ones that do the best.  I’m not really sure where my mom is with hope, she is fragile and has been through so much illness.  We discussed her routine at home and how much better it was than being in the hospital.  I hope that I didn’t give her a false sense that she would be home sooner than later.

hospitalsunset

 

Staying Positive Day 4

Staying Positive Day 3

Yesterday my mom woke up after 24 hours out!  As many times I have looked at Google for answers as to why an epileptic won’t wake up for an entire day, there were no answers.  This is when your faith is put to the test and you just have to believe.  I was watching her sugars trending down and when it got to 79 I started being a pest about the sugar IV.  As soon as the doctor came in I brought it to his attention.  After being persistent she got one (sooner than later).  And the strangest thing within 20 -40 minutes she woke up.  It was all of the sudden with no prodding.  She was lucid, knew where she was, and was in a good mood.   AMAZING!!!!!  She actually saw 4 doctors on a Sunday.

Today, she was getting stronger, able to roll over, and she actually had a therapist help her sit and stand with help.  She had to go back for another procedure (endoscopy) and that knocked her out for the rest of the day.  I’m very hopeful for tomorrow to be a day of gaining strength.  I would really like to get her in a wheelchair and take her outside.

It’s still scary leaving her by herself because the nurses have had the wrong medicines in hand to give her.  I know it’s tough, she needs a lot of care and the nurses are ever changing and have many other patients.  She is in the right place for immediate doctor care, just what she needed.

So the Flu caused extreme weakness and her to loose the ability to keep her meds down and for them to absorb.  A switch to IV anticonvulsants was necessary and she most likely had a seizure that caused her to be postictal for a day (not usual for her), but with the flu possible.  The breathing treatments I feel were necessary too because someone who is not mobile will not be able to breakup the mucus in the chest which could lead to pneumonia.

I left mom sleeping, she didn’t eat dinner but tomorrow is another day and we will start again.

I have not kept my promise to myself to exercise.  It’s been 13 hours in the hospital daily and by the time I’m done, I just want to go sleep.  It’s too dark outside in unfamilar territory.

A bright spot in the hospital…noticed!  You don’t see too many snowmen in Florida 🙂

hosptialsnowman

Staying Positive Day 3

Staying Positive Day Two

Yesterday while eventful with the flurry of Care activity, mom did not wake up.  That in itself would be most disturbing, we have had instances of sleep for days without being able to wake her before in a hospital environment.  They keep testing her vitals, brain activity and all looks good, so why will she not wake?  So far, no one knows.  The flu caused this situation and being that she is epileptic and diabetic just complicates things. They had to change her meds because she couldn’t keep them down by mouth.

My job again is to intercept doctors and advocate for my mother to be sure her needs are met as far as medicines and keeping her clean.  The hospitals aren’t as fast as we are at home.  I’ve waited 40 minutes so far for a bed change and I have been asking for a sugar IV since 7AM, got it 2 and ½ hours later and that was only because I kept bugging them about it.  I know they are busy, which presents the challenge.  I’m trying to be polite and ask nicely.  The consequence of her not getting her needs met is diabetic coma which is serious considering she can’t even wake now.  Or seizures.

Still, the setup here is necessary because we aren’t setup for IVs at home or bed changes, although I have learned how to do the bed changing by helping and watching.  Given her health it is inevitable to get to a situation like this or worse.  I’m hoping that she will come out of it…staying positive!

They haven’t stopped her food service and I am so hungry  (Had coffee, a piece of toast some scrambled eggs, and a Glucerna shake.)  Until I see her doctor I’m camped out at the room to wait to speak with him.

A bit of hospital humor…

hospitalwreath

 

Staying Positive Day Two

How to Stay Positive When Your Mom is in the Hospital over the Holidays-Day One

Well then, you know life doesn’t just hum along without a hiccup here and there right?  My dad asked that I come help, mom has been in the hospital for 10 days now.  I’ve been on standby, holding off until my help will be most useful.  It’s hard not to feel guilty as I have been going to Christmas parties and enjoying the holidays.

Off to Florida.  Here I am in the hospital room with my mom.  She is old and trying to recover from a nasty bout of flu.  Her airways might be loaded with mucous and she is on and off with being able to keep food and medication down.  She is too weak to get out of bed.  This is going to take time to heal.  My dad does not have patience, this is just not a quick load up on fluids and your good to go.  I scheduled my return for 1 week, hoping that she gets better and that my stay will be long enough.  While I’m hopeful, it isn’t likely that she will be recovered by then.  My dad really wants the doctors to fix her, in this case, I believe her own body needs time to repair.  So, how to convince my dad of this?

How best can I serve?  Well, the first thing is to sit in this chair watching mom sleep and talk to the parade of care givers, doctors, nurses, aides about what my mom is like when she is well.  And to help advocate to get her on the recovery path as they are constantly messing with her neuro meds given the issue with keeping them down.  This will give my dad some well needed rest and I’m happy I can do that for him.  I was able to feed her last night and struggled to keep her head upright, trying the best I can to let gravity assist the digestion process.  Fortunately I have patience and the entire meal took an hour to down.

Today she sleeps, I got here at 7AM and was told she was up at 5AM.  No amount of yelling, shaking or anything will get her up.  Time.

How to stay positive? First, believe.  I know whose hands this situation as any is in.  Every day I remain thankful for the many wonderful parts of life.  Service must be a part of life and I must do my part.

Remain teachable and keep your eyes open. Keep curious, there is always something to be learned. Be kind to others.  Be helpful wherever you can.  Look around at the amazing gifts around you.  We need each other to help sustain life.  I’m so thankful to my friends who are encouraging.  And finally take time for yourself, even if it’s a small amount, do something enjoyable and savor every bit of it.  For me, that was eating out last night. I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner after not eating at all the entire day.  And I will need to work in a run at some point…it’s a MUST!!!!!!!

The caregivers are really trying and I appreciate all that they do to try to help my mom.  I’m so thankful for them because this would really be tough to do at home.

xmas hospital

How to Stay Positive When Your Mom is in the Hospital over the Holidays-Day One

Winter Wear, Parties, Shopping, Baking and SNOW?

Tis the season!  Houston had an unexpected snow this week.  It was thrilling.  After a week of not being able to go outdoors we were treated to a fluffy layer of snow!  For people who don’t see it, this was quite a treat!  The wintry look was just right to set the scene for the season.  We got up early to go see and instantly began flinging it and of course creating snowmen.  Ours was not as impressive as some who had people-sized snowmen.  We created a snowman on the back of my son’s car and off to school he went.

 

And so the parties begin.  What to wear?  What to bring for gift exchanges and dishes?  Last week my daughter and I found some nice dresses that are sparkly and a red sweater and red blouse.  Sometimes it’s a struggle to figure out what to wear.  Someone once told me that it’s better to over dress than under dress.  I totally disagree with this!  I am so uncomfortable to over dress.  I’m a little skeptical about a sparkly dress I bought for one party, but the hostess last year was really dressed up!  One thing I have discovered is that you can dress down something dressy with a long sweater, it can be a light cover up or something heavier.

For the tennis party I went with a red sweater, black leggings and tall chestnut boots.  People brought an assortment of salads (asian salad, bright green and red veggie salad) and cheeses.  I brought stuffed sweet peppers with goat cheese, chopped bacon and green onions.  This dish does not travel well, but if you serve them right out of the oven, they are great!  At the outdoor mall, they have 50% off sales so I was able to find a designer accessory for the $30 gift exchange.  We played a gift exchange game, and the first gift was “stolen”, it was a cute vest jacket drape and scarf, and I took home a wine purse and a nice bottle of wine.

My husband wanted to go shopping for his Christmas gift.  So we made a day of it.  The outdoor mall is so much nicer than indoor malls.  I love the vibe. You can spend hours in a mall and get that trapped sick feeling.  Maybe it’s stale air, overwhelming perfume, florescent lights, who knows, but the outdoor mall isn’t like that at all!  He found two coats that he liked and some jeans.  We spontaneously went out for a really nice dinner.  The lights were turned low, Christmas trees glowing, they even varied the music between Christmas music and other soft music, which is so nice!  It was so enjoyable to discuss upcoming plans, birthdays, trips, concerts…My husband is really good to me.  There is nothing like topping off the evening in really comfy PJs and a great movie like The Reverent.

perrys

One group of friends always does a cookie/treat exchange.  Normally I like to bake and try different recipes.  This year, I am still trying something different, truffles!  I’ve never made truffles before and they look so good!  I found a box that I can layer and have 12 truffles for each friend, 4 of each variety which are peppermint oreo, sugar cookie and chocolate/peanut butter.  Recipes were found on… where else?  Pinterest!

truffles

Winter Wear, Parties, Shopping, Baking and SNOW?