Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I try to be ever mindful of all I have to be thankful for, but this year, I don't even have to try. I am so very thankful to have my husband still among the living. I truly could have lost him to the infection he had surgery for on the ninth of this month. The doctors told me they were really surprised at how well he was doing, considering how sick he was when he came in. Now, he's home and noticeably healing.

I'm thankful for my son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, mother, sister and her family, my sister-in-law Charmaine and her husband Dale and their family. I'm thankful for my dear Aunts Joan and Brenda, all of my other aunts, my uncles and cousins, sister's-in-law and brother's-in-law, nieces and nephews. I'm thankful for my Quiltingfriends, my Going to Pieces friends and my Jane Does friends. I'm thankful for my best friends Catherine and Beth.

I'm thankful to all the emotional support they've all given me and continue to give me during this time in our lives. My cousin Trina was a literal answer to a pray the night of the surgery. I'm thankful for that and for her support and knowledge.

I've been blessed in many ways in my life and in this year. For the sake of time and space I've only mentioned my husband's health and the people in my life today, but I am thankful for so much more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Barney did not get better with medical intervention. I think his kidneys had totally shut down. He was so bloated when I went in to be with him. He looked much worse and was kitty cat whimpering. That's the closest I can describe it. It was a meowing type sound, but it was definitely a whimper. I spent time with him and then I held him as he was euthanized. I missed him on Sunday when I first left him at the vet's office. In fact, I woke up three times that night thinking I'd heard him meow. I miss him now and I'll miss him for a very long time.

It was hard on me. It always is when this horrible situation comes up. It's the price we pay for loving animals. I know people who choose never to invite another pet into their lives after suffering it once or twice. I think that the love they give us is worth the pain of loosing them. The poem Over the Rainbow Bridge is a comfort to me when I have to go through this. I will also, eventually, get a memorial stone for each pet.

Goodbye Barney.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Barney Cat

Well crap. Another male member of the family is in the hospital. Barney stopped eating a few days ago. It actually may have been a week or more. With Richard being in the hospital and how crazy our routine has been, I'm not entirely sure. I did notice that Barney started to turn up his nose at our water when it started to smell a while back. He would drink the water downstairs, so I wasn't too worried, at least not until Friday when I realized he had stopped eating. Then I realized that he hadn't been sleeping with me the whole time Richard had been in the hospital. He was also acting odd in other ways. He would start to meow very loudly in the wee hours of the morning. Something he'd never done before. He was also wobbly and his little feet pads felt cold. He was getting weak. I called the vet's office on Sunday and took him in.

We found out years ago that Barney has severe kidney problems. We've known that we had to be on the lookout for him to be up chucking. Once is OK. Treat him for it. Twice, take him to the vet. It could be serious. He hadn't been up chucking that I know of. Well, when the vet ran the blood work on Sunday, we discovered that Barney is severely dehydrated and his kidneys aren't working properly at all. We don't know which came first and triggered the other. There's no way to tell for sure really.

Barney is in the "hospital" getting fluids. If the fluids help and he starts to eat and the kidneys start to work more efficiently, he may survive. The vet called to update me this morning. There has been very little improvement. He's a little perkier, but he's still not eating. He told me that he is not as optimistic as he was yesterday. We're keeping him there one more night, but the vet said that if there is not a significant improvement overnight, he doesn't think there will be. One way or another, I'll be going to the vet's office tomorrow. I'll either be picking up my sweet boy, or euthanizing him. I knew he wouldn't have a long life when I learned of his kidney problems and quite frankly, he's lived longer than I thought we'd be blessed with him, but I sure hate the thought of losing him. I love his company, his power boat purr, his beautiful spirit, and his long white whiskers.

I sure hope I get to bring him home.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Successes and Failures

My sweet momma has come up to be available to help out if needed. She helped me retrieve my car from the hospital yesterday and hung out here while I went to the grocery store. Today, I ran a few errands in Dallas, so she was here for several hours. She's been a big help and I'm ever so grateful to have her near. None of my family or close friends live anywhere near me. I decided last Saturday that would have to change soon. The last thing you want when you're in a crisis is to be alone.

While I was in Dallas, I was able to cross one of the things off of my 101 List. It sure felt good to drop that money in the Salvation Army Kettle.

I also realized that I was doomed to fail at one of the things on my 101 List and there was just no way around it. I went to Barnes and Noble and even though I started in the magazine section, it wasn't long before I weakened and ended up looking at the Christmas books. Then I was looking at the best sellers. Then I was over at the Customer Service desk seeking a little help remembering the author of the books that True Blood on HBO is based on. All I could remember was the main character's name -- Sookie Stackhouse. Fortunately, a woman walked up just as I said her name and she knew the author and then knew which of the books was the first in the series. Score! I ended up buying 5 books! Plus the magazines I had hoped would keep me away from the books!

I don't think my husband thought I would confess my failure of the book challenge. I had pretty much stretched it already. Now, it's plum broke and I know it. I don't know why I ever thought I could succeed at this particular challenge. I'm a sucker for books any day of the year and a super duper Texas sized sucker when it comes to Christmas books. So, I admit that I failed that one. I've written it on my 101 List and I'm moving on. Life is too damn short.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life is Never Dull

I don't even really know where to start. On the eighth there was a very nice memorial service for my friend Marianne. We laughed and cried. We ate and visited. We said goodbye the best we could. It's hard to believe that she's been gone a month now. I still think of calling her or telling her something. Part of me thinks I always will.

On the ninth, I had my orientation for the SPCA of Texas in Dallas. I enjoyed it so much and really look forward to volunteering there.

My hubby had been feeling poorly since Tuesday of that week. Running a fever that he couldn't quite get rid of for any length of time. Toward the end of the week he told me that he thought he had an abscess (that had started from a pimple). He really didn't complain much about it or say much else. On Sunday, before I left for the orientation, he mentioned that he was feeling pretty bad and that he might just go on to the ER to get looked at. So, on my way home, I called him to see if I needed to stop at the Kaufman ER to be with him while he waited. He was in Athens because the wait was supposed to be shorter. The last time I had been to the Athens ER, the waiting room was very small, so I opted to stay home until he knew something. I truly thought they would drain the "abscess" and send him home. When he called to say that were admitting him and were probably going to do surgery, I was more than a little surprised!

I'm ashamed to say that it was not my finest hour. I actually told my sweet husband to call me if they decided to do the surgery! Fortunately, I did get up off my broad butt, call him, tell him that I was coming up there and I did go up there right away. So, I was there when the surgeon told us that they suspected a flesh eating bacteria. The only other thing I remember the surgeon saying before the surgery was that my husband could bleed to death on the table. That was a real danger if it was what they thought it was. I was alone and terrified as I waited to see what it was and if he survived the surgery. I tried calling people who I thought might still be up, but no one answered their phones. So, I started praying. Luckily, I had my prayer beads with me. I prayed until I couldn't keep my thoughts straight any longer and then, I just sat and waited.

It seemed like an eternity later that the surgeon came to tell me that my husband survived and was doing very well. It was indeed the flesh eating bacteria! I was pretty much in shock, but so grateful to have my husband safely through the surgery. They had to take skin and tissue to get the bacteria. I learned later that the incision was about 3 inches deep and I accidentally saw for myself that it was about a foot and a half long! So hard to believe it had grown from a pimple in just six days! I sat back down to wait for hubby to be moved to a room.

Just when I was starting to really panic over all that lie ahead for us, I heard one of the doors open and there was my cousin Trina walking toward me! Talk about answered prayers! I knew she was a nurse at that hospial and she worked nights, but I didn't know where she worked. I turned out that she is an ICU nurse. We hugged and I told her what I was doing there. She told me that they were getting a room ready for my hubby in ICU right now and it would be ready as soon as it was cleaned up. She filled me in on all kinds of procedures and calmed me down. Another doctor showed up to talk to me about my hubby and Trina left to do what she had started out to do. A few minutes later, they called to tell me that Richard was on his way to ICU and for me to meet them there.

I helped with paper work while he was put into his room. They wouldn't let me stay overnight with him, so I went home after that. He was in ICU until Tuesday afternoon. Then he went to a regular floor, but was kept in isolation. He stayed there until Monday evening the 17th. We're home now and at this moment a home health care nurse is putting in the wound vac and torturing the poor man. They even called me up to help for a bit and will be praying tonight that they never have to have my help again. If I had wanted to look at open wounds, I would have gone into nursing myself. My father wanted me to. I knew I wasn't cut out for it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Get out there and exercise your right to vote today folks! We live in a great nation where we are free to vote for the candidate of our choice. This has not always been the case for women and minorities. A lot of people suffered a great deal for us to have that right along side white men and I, for one, no longer take it lightly. I hope that you are a registered voter. I hope that you have already voted today or in early voting. I hope that if you haven't, you get up and go right now. And if you don't, I pray that you do a little research on what the people who went before you went through in order to guarantee this right for you. Do not take it for granted in the future. Your vote does count. These elected officials make decisions every single day that effect your life, you money, your future and the future of your children and the world we live in. Put a little effort into reading what the candidates stand for and VOTE! I feel that it is an obligation and a way to honor those who suffered and died so that I could stand in the booth and make my choices known.

Remember there are still many countries in this world where the citizens do not have the right to vote. You are very lucky. Never forget it.

One more thing, I know you're sick of the election by now. I am too. I decided long ago who I would vote for and then I pretty much muted the commercials after that. I get very sick of the back stabbing and name calling, dirty politics that they all use. But don't let your discouragement with the system be an excuse not to vote. That is just lazy and you will regret it when the elected officials you didn't choose make decisions you don't agree with. I actually voted on Halloween this year. The only more appropriate day I could think of would be April Fool's Day, but that wasn't in the early voting period!

The picture shows the little local community center where we normally vote. Since we voted early, we didn't vote there for the final election, but I did vote here for the primary.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not "Handy"

Well, it's not broken, but it is strained and swollen. I also have arthritis in my thumb at least and maybe my hand. Thankfully, that isn't really bothering me on a regular basis at this point. I have a splint, which is off at that moment. I'm actually going to try to just tape the thumb to my hand because the splint seems to be causing different problems. I may not be able to post as often for a bit. Hubby is about to do a bunch of computer back ups and stuff like that. I'll try post pictures at some point.