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Monday, May 16, 2016

Making The House Our Home

I've been trying to follow Bob's advice (from the other side) to "make our house a home" and so have been working on some much needed landscaping.

I took the old claw foot bathtub that we removed to make the bathroom wheelchair accessible for Bob and painted it pink to match the house.  I was looking for something to plant in it, and was thinking of some type of clumping bamboo and when the person at the nursery suggested "Buddha Belly Bamboo" and I nearly fell over.

Years ago, when Bob complained he was getting a little "pot belly" I told him not to worry --- he was cute and I called it his "little Buddha Belly". My mom, as a joke, bought him a little Buddha statue and he began collecting Buddhas......

So this is Bob's memorial corner:


I think he'd love it!



Saturday, May 14, 2016

Another reason to have a "living will"

Or as Bob might have added, "another reason not to have kids!"

I'm talking about my dear friend, Chris, who is still hanging in there but being kept alive on life support.

The hospital has been trying to "wean" her off the ventilator/trach without any luck. Her kidneys are also failing so she is now on renal dialysis and she still has MRSA and the doctors asked her son for permission to, you know, "pull the plug". And he refused.

The hospital now says that they cannot keep Chris there because she is "stable" on the life support and they are not a "long term care facility".  And unfortunately, most nursing homes will not take a patient on a ventilator. Hospice will also not take a person on life support. So according to the hospital, the nearest place they could place Chris (with her insurance) is somewhere in Minnesota.

I am hearing all this thinking what the -----???

Because in Minnesota -- well, her family could not visit, nobody would be there for her to advocate for her, etc.....

Of course, the other alternative would be to "private pay" for her care, but her family doesn't have that kind of money.

Unfortunately, after talking with several people in the medical field, I find all of this is actually true, as awful as it sounds.

This past week, Chris's daughter showed up and asked me for Chris's mail, which I have been collecting (unopened) as it is delivered here.  I gave it to her and she opened up the last bank statement for the account where Chris has her monthly SS checks automatically deposited and found the balance was $14.88.

Again ---- what the ---???

The daughter suspects the son is the one draining the bank account, he is also the one refusing to take mom off life support and add two and two and could he really be keeping her alive for --- jeepers

I don't even want to think about that.

And I feel like I'm sort of caught in the middle of all this, as she is my dear friend --- but I'm not family and this is between them.  All I did was deliver the mail. And I know both daughter and son and both have been nice/good to me --  In fact, Chris' son painted our house.

But I am horrified.  I know Chris would not want to "live" like this. Heck, I wouldn't want to. Nor would I have allowed Bob to live like that.

I am sick with grief.

Both for Chris and still for Bob.

And today, the daughter came and took some of Chris's possessions out of her apartment and it was so very hard to see this happen.....

I have been crying all day.

I was invited to party tonight in the neighborhood, but I can't face people right now.

It's been a hard enough month, just dealing with all the emotions with Bob's 1 year anniversary coming up of his death.  I still can't believe it's been year.  I wonder why I am still here....

And I am heartbroken, stressed and mortified over this thing that is happening to Chris.....

And I feel so very, very alone.




Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bob's Hospital Bed

And yes, I still had it, until this past weekend.  For a long time, I actually kept it in the living room and slept on it. This may seem weird or creepy or whatever, but I actually slept on the sheets that he died on, curled up in fetal position, but .....

When my nephew visited, he helped me put the hospital bed into the spare bedroom.  I still did not want to part with it.

Bob had loved that bed.  He had hated the Medicare standard bed with it's "dipping" in the middle and the plywood I put in there did not do the trick.  The new bed had been expensive and it was one of the first things I ordered for him after the settlement and it seemed to take a million years to get it.  But finally, we got it and he loved it, so much more comfortable for him, and it was also great for making it easier for me, having the elevating up and down feature and easier transfers etc. ... and after all of that, he only got to enjoy it for a few months....

I thought about selling it.  I contacted the place we bought from and they said they would "keep it in mind" if someone was looking for such a bed but nothing came of that.  I called some other places that advertised they bought hospital beds, but everyone was "overstocked".  I thought about placing an ad (as this was an expensive bed) but I was a little concerned about being alone here and having strangers come into the house --- someone even mentioned that advertising such a thing could attract would-be criminals looking for a vulnerable widow to rob.... yikes.

I called around to charities to donate it.  Hospice came here and looked at it and said it was "too nice" for them.  OK - now that's weird.  Other charities didn't even want to deal with a bed.... I really didn't know what to do....

This past week, I found a disabled person advertising on Craigslist that she desperately needed a hospital bed. She was living on fixed income and could not afford to buy one so, as her ad read, she needed "a good deal".  I contacted her and told her I would give Bob's hospital bed to her (free) if someone could pick it up. On Saturday, the woman's sister and brother-in-law came and picked up Bob's hospital bed.

This is the thank you note I received from her today:

 I just cant thank you enough! my sister and her husband and my niece and great nephew had a time getting it in and set up but they did and I have had the most wonderful two nights of sleep in it. I have spent the last 4 years sleeping in a recliner because of my COPD and to be able to sleep in a real bed was beyond wonderful! Thank you so much and know that I will find a way to pay it forward! 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spring!

Our yard is bursting with gardenias. I did not know these gardenia bushes were even in our yard when we bought the house.  Gardenias were our "wedding flower" so this is a pleasant surprise!










And here's something else to lighten up this rather dreary blog.  
I call it Kona's Water Ballet










Friday, April 29, 2016

Chris is dying

Yesterday, I talked with Chris's son, who told me she wasn't doing well and when I said I was planning to go see her this weekend, he told me to get there as quickly as I can as it would probably be the "last time".

So I went to see her yesterday afternoon.  She looked terrible. Bloated. She did open her eyes, she did blink at me. She was moving her mouth but no words came out. Her tongue was swollen like a huge alien thing.... 

I told her that I loved her, that she had been a good friend and thanked her for all she had done for me and Bob.

I don't know if she understood me.  I don't know if she recognized me.  I thought, for moment, that she did, but then when I left the side of her bed, she was still staring in the direction where I had been sitting and still making the same blinking, grimacing, mouthing movements. So it may have just been involuntary movements on her part.

I spent last night crying on the back porch. I am still crying.

I will try to visit her this weekend, if she is still with us.

My heart is weary from so much breaking..... 

Monday, April 25, 2016

memories

I was doing some paperwork and had to dig through our file cabinet when I ran across a large folder filled with greeting cards.

I tell you, Bob was such a sentimental man, he saved every card, note, etc. that we ever exchanged.

I found this "letter" that he sent to me when I went to a writing class in Door County, Wisconsin.  He was left home pet-sitting my two dogs, Jonah Blue and Lucy.

Click on the image to enlarge if you can't read it!

And so many cards, with so many beautiful sentiments, I tell you, it put a smile on my face and a tear of joy in my eye. Here's just a few from Bob to me:






And I tell you, I have had a very bad, sad week, so I needed this little find......