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

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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…

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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.

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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?

Ready for the Holidays

Here is a reason to stop fighting the Christmas creep.  By decorating early it helps with motivation to get into the season especially when you have plans celebrating with friends and family! I have been a big procrastinator.  Not this year.  I am embracing what I see every week on the Pilates wall…

DETERMINATION

is doing what

needs to be done

even when you don’t

feel like doing it

I usually do a Christmas photo and letter to family we don’t see often and managed to actually get it done.  Maybe it is slighly easier when the kids are older.  The boardwalk has an enormous tree and it seemed like the perfect place to take our family photo.

towne lake tree

And this year we don’t have storage for our artificial tree so it is the first time we got a real one.  The grocery store sells Christmas trees and we walked over to the grocery store “Christmas tree forest”, selected and walked home with our tree through the parking lot.  This is truly a suburban version of selecting a tree from a tree farm, a traditional all day event that took maybe 15 minutes.  It may not have been the highlight event for the entire family, but it was an event that I think was fun.

For years I have been talking about changing the decorations.  For whatever reason my husband only likes white lights on the tree, so white lights it is to keep the peace.  And I did a silver, gold and white theme.  The tree is topped with sparkly winter branches inclusive of a Harry Potter snowy owl.  My inspiration came from, Pinterest of course!  To duplicate the beads I saw on the Pinterest tree I found these glittery balls that I guess you put in a bowl, but I thought, why not string them like popcorn.  It was a little time consuming, but the outcome was what I was going for and it did bring back memories of strung popcorn we did at my aunt and uncle’s house.

christmas tree

Now for blending shopping, baking and get togethers with friends.  The good stuff.  The first of a few Christmas parties was last night.  It’s fun to see how people theme their parties.  The party last night was one of a friend of mine.  It was also her husband’s work Christmas party.  They did a chili competition and provided sides.  You could either participate in the chili competition or bring a desert or bottle of wine for the chili winner’s gift basket.  The winning chili was a korean chili (go figure in Texas!!!).  What a cool idea!

Ready for the Holidays

A Day for Thanksgiving

There is so much to be thankful for this year.  Too many reasons to list!  This year we are staying in our tiny apartment instead of traveling to see family so that my son can go to work.   My husband is picky about what and how the traditional dinner is prepared, so there is no culinary modern day enhancements to our turkey day spread.

On the menu, the usual turkey, giblet gravy, cornbread stuffing, green beans, sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, store bought (this is important) pecan and pumpkin pie, canned cranberry sauce, brown and serve rolls and fruit salad.  You can spice up the wording of the menu, however this is your back to the basics turkey day meal.  The main spices are salt, pepper and butter.

I really wanted to rent a table and decorate, but my son’s schedule didn’t come out until 6PM last night.  So it’s a buffet serve your self style and you eat either at the couch or on the small patio table.  This is what my husband prefers anyway.  A plate of food and a front seat in front of the football game…preferrably dressed in PJs.

I put the turkey in at 7:30am thinking a 12 lb turkey would take 3 hours, it took 6.  I think it was because it wasn’t completely defrosted.  I bought a meat thermometer and cooked it to temperature (the only way to make sure).  Overall it was pretty good.  I used my father-in-law’s method which works every time.  You rub butter all over the bird, put on salt and pepper, then put a stick of butter in the cavity, cover it loosely, put water in the bottom of the pan and baste it every 20 minutes or so.  And most importantly, cook to temperature.  It never fails, it’s a moist turkey.  I don’t have any other secrets.  That’s it.  My moto has been “do the best you can with what you have”.   To conserve space,  I used the slow cooker to cook the sweet potatoes and added water to cover them.  I cooked them on high for 4 hours and they came out soupy.  Oh well, they still taste good, but if you are a texture person you wouldn’t like it.

In the end you are always waiting on the turkey to finish so you can throw in your side dishes in the oven for the last 45 minutes before serving while you try to keep everything hot.  The kitchen was a mess.  We improvised everything.  Out the window goes any type of formal meal that looks pretty… are you kidding,?  By 2:30pm we want hot, now and tasting good.

It looks like a mess, but it is really good.   For a very long time this traditional meal has been served.  It’s the best autumn day meal and for the amount of time and preparation you make for this special meal, it’s no wonder it’s once a year!

turkeyday 2017

Here is our table improvison.  The party really is happier than they look I think.  Maybe it’s because of the table?  I really enjoy everybody.  I don’t think it matters how put together or lack there of it is.  The point was to have Thanksgiving together.

thanksgivingguest

 

A Day for Thanksgiving

Big Bend Part 3

After hiking into the Boquillas canyon, we drove a short 5-10 minute ride to the border crossing.  You don’t need your passport to leave but we were given instructions on things not to bring back. (certain kinds of stones, walking sticks wrapped in snake skin… not what we were going for!)  Six people at a time could sit in the row boat while a man rowed like mad against the swift current to get to the other side.  The cost was $5, then another $5 if you wanted to ride a donkey (round trip) approximately 1 mile into town.  This was a really cool experience.

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Next we needed to go into the Mexico immigration station and show our passports.  It was another $7 to enter.  There are about 50 familes that live in this tiny town.  Immediately children come up to you to sell handmade trinkets and wrist bands.  Our plan was to have lunch at one of the two restaurants (both serving Mexican food) and walk around.

IMG_0602We had a nice view of the Rio Grande and they had really good beef tacos, margaritas, chips and salsa.  Their guacamole was really good too… and they ran out.  The closest store to replenish….3 hours a way.  Not much really grows in the dessert, it would be hard to survive here.

After lunch some of the group bought t-shirts and we walked around the town.  It’s pretty obvious how the local population feels about the current political view of the United States leadership.

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You have to pass by immigration once more to check out and hop on the donkey to ride back.  Customs processing is electronic now on the USA side, you slip your passport into a machine/kiosk and talk on the phone to a customs officer and your back in.  By this time it was pretty hot and the hot springs were close by.   Time to take a refreshing dip?

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It’s about 3/4 of a mile to the hot springs and we had some people that had been here before.  On a hot day like this, one very adventurous lady jumped in the Rio Grande and rode the current to the springs.  Looking at the mini rapids, you can see that is pretty daring.  When we did the kayak trip there are parts that are shallow and deep, you can’t really see when it’s deep or when it’s shallow.

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The spring is about 105 degrees and you can hang over the side and be in 75 degree water.  This place was pretty popular, many people started coming in.  We hung out and enjoyed every bit of it!

The last night dinner was a chicken fajita bowl and we all sat around an off the ground fire pit.  I wasn’t close enough to see how they made it, but we weren’t able to have wood burning.  The plan was for the last night to be a costume party.  Some dressed up, others did not.  Either way it was entertaining.

Upon sun up, everyone started breaking down camp.  I took US 90 back and followed a person from Houston home.  The ride back was pleasant.  There are some really desolate towns on the way and it’s interesting to see that there are people who live in these tiny towns.

Best road trip ever!  I am now inspired to do more.

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Big Bend Part 3