Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Six Things That Have Bothered Me

I've spent quite a bit of time keeping Mom company. Which until recently has meant spending a lot of time parked in front of the TV. Not all of that time has been spent watching quality programming, but most of it has been entertaining if not educational. This may not be a politically correct post so I apologize if anyone is offended in advance, but this blog serves as an online journal for me. Here are some of the things I have been concerned about:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Christmas Lights and Broken Legs

Valentine's Day has come and gone but since we still have our Christmas tree up (yep, you read that correctly) I am going to post the pictures I took when we drove through the Bull Run Festival of Lights in January. It was a weird holiday season for us with our Mom in the hospital right up until Christmas Eve and then in a drug-induced haze for a week or so. So we postponed driving through Christmas lights until she was lucid and able enough to crutch to the car. Doesn't everybody drag their mother who is only a week out of the hospital on family outings? No? Well why not?!?!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Day I Usually Avoid...But Couldn't This Time

For today's post we are going to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming (hah now we are on MandyTV!) and check out a story that I couldn't resist sharing. The following post comes courtesy of my dear friend Callie. Forewarning-it's an adorable Valentine's Day story. Normally I won't touch Valentine's Day with a 10 foot pole because frankly I consider my birthday more of a holiday than Valentine's Day is (that may sound egocentric but seriously shouldn't every day be a celebration of your "Valentine"?) but this one brought tears to my eyes. I hope you are as touched as I was. 

The last few months I've spent with my new boyfriend hadn't been easy by any account. A rough first semester of graduate school, being sick, and most recently the death of my Grandpa. My Grandpa and I were very close, and he and my Grandma had a wonderful, love-filled 67 years together. They were the reason that I came to  believe in this oddity called true and everlasting love…not that any guy I had met ever fell into that category, but I have always held onto the belief that it exists because of them. My boyfriend had met my family, including my Grandpa, right before Poppa passed. He was constantly there for me and my family through this event until the end. The day before we lost Poppa, he drove me to my hometown to help my parents prepare for it and so I could say goodbye (as there was no way I was fit to drive, especially on the interstate). He hugged my Grandma almost as many times as I did during it all.

When it comes to a new relationship, holidays-- particularly Valentine's Day, are slightly stress-inducing. I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day, primarily because I hate materialistic holidays. And, okay, yes there's always been a mild of twinge of "single jealousy". Valentine's Day was actually more of a family holiday for us, it was my grandparents favourite holiday, and my parents and I always did nice things for each other. It hadn't occurred to me that this year it would be hard with Poppa gone, especially for my Grandma. 

Anyway, I hadn't wanted my boyfriend to do anything extravagant. We had planned on doing dinner, but that was about it as we both had work to get finished. He had stopped by my house after class, where we made plans for the evening--after the long debate of who was choosing the restaurant, how I wished there was a good Italian joint like back home, etc. I was pretty excited, I mean I had never had a "real" Valentine's Day  before. A little while later, my boyfriend rings to say he's changing our plans. My heart immediately sank, he had been extraordinarily busy with school so I assumed it was a "raincheck". Instead, he had a strange giddy tone to his voice, telling me to make dinner reservations somewhere in Cheyenne (my hometown). Utterly confused, I asked why he wanted to drive 90 miles round trip for dinner..it was ridiculous and no restaurant is worth that, seriously. He refused to tell me, merely said to call him back when I had a plan. Several restaurants and calls later, slightly exasperated, I rang him with the plans.

"Babe, WHY do you want to go to Cheyenne?!"

"I feel guilty, my conscience is getting to me."

"Um….why? Is this about the restaurant? I only meant that Italian sounded good."

"No…I just feel guilty."

"Why? What's going on?"

His tone was reminiscent of a little kid who had a secret they wanted to share, and I was no where near ready for this reply. Honestly, I'd never have guessed it in a thousand years.

"I …got your grandma flowers because she's short a valentine this year…and I wanted to give them to her."

Almost dropping the phone, I was struggling to keep the tears out of my voice as I searched for words. Here is a guy who keeps a stoic face on most of the time, I was almost unsure that I had heard him correctly. For someone who also hates Valentine's Day, he had already been extraordinarily sweet and cutesy all day, so this just knocked me completely over. As soon as we hung up I started crying; I had no idea that someone could be so thoughtful. Not only was he doing something wonderful for me, his gesture would mean more to my Grandma than any flowers or cards. He had remembered what all came out of my mouth as I babbled through tears after seeing Poppa for the last time: how he loved my grandma, the things he did for her, how they treated each other every day.  

So that's exactly what we did. We loaded up and headed out, roses in tow. Holding his hand all the way to Cheyenne, I couldn't help but look at him in a new light, and have a whole new appreciation for this incredible man's heart. My grandma was definitely surprised, very touched, and nearly cried herself. She called me a few days later saying how amazing my boyfriend is and that she adores him. Even now writing this I cannot wrap my mind around how sincere and thoughtful that gesture was. Here's a holiday where people expect their admirers to dote on them and flowers are a requirement. And then here's a man who reaches out to his girlfriend's recently widowed grandmother. If that doesn't show a celebration of love and caring, I really have no idea what does. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Long Road to Walking Again

Well friends, it's been almost 2 months since the last time I put up a blog post. I know, I know, I fail. So since I have been absent for a couple months I will just start up back where we left off...that is, Mom was at the hospital. If you are squeamish you might want to avoid the pictures in the middle/end of this wordy adventure but don't worry they aren't too terrible!

On December 20th, my Mom went in for her 3rd surgery on her right leg in 1 year. Yep, that's right, 1 year. She managed to break her right femur (big bone in the upper half of your leg), her right hip, and then her right femur again. Not a good year for Mom that's for sure. So this time she was going in to get her femur fixed again. Before and after X-rays are to the right...see where the bar was coming loose? YIKES!    -------------->

Now I don't know if it is because we have spent so much time in and out of hospitals for a variety of reasons, but hospitals fascinate me. Especially when they are using cool new technologies like surgical waiting boards. What the heck is a surgical waiting board? Think airport flight information board. Yep that's right, your loved one now has a flight path! Except instead of Dulles to San Diego, it's Arrival to Recovery. Pretty darn cool if you ask me. 

The invalid in Procedure. 
Board Explanation Sheet

But the shine wears off a penny pretty quick when you spend all day (aka 7am to 5pm) in a hospital waiting area. Even a nice hospital waiting area. But I guess that's to be expected when a surgery requires rebreaking somebody's leg and then fixing it up again. Ugh. It was a 4 hour surgery and a 3-4 hour recovery period. Let's just say that by the time Mom was getting ready to be moved to a room, Kelly and I were starving. And tired. Thankfully the nurses gave us directions (an entire sheet of directions...talk about a confusing hospital!) and we were off to the room Mom would end up in. I dropped Kelly off to enjoy the couch while I ran out to get some food before we both fell over in a pathetic puddle. I'd say she got the better end of the deal because she got to enjoy the nicest hospital room any of us have ever been in while I got to drive through Fairfax. This whole experience reminded me why I would never want to live any closer to D.C. than we do. 

It turned out to be an eventful weekend in the hospital for Mom, including bloody leaking bandages (I will spare you this awesome pic), low blood pressure, high temperatures, and a lot of dozing interrupted by a revolving line of nurses. She was finally sprung from the joint two days before Christmas, which is really where the fun began. 

Right after surgery

Ready for the staples to come out

It's been an interesting two months, filled with shots and doctors appointments, lots of TV time and the first hope of walking again since October. 

Because of a history of blood clots, Mom has suffered through rounds of Lovenox after all 3 surgeries this year. Now I've given my fair share of shots to all kinds of animals-dogs, pigs, cattle, sheep, etc but hadn't really tried my hand at humans. Some days I managed to make it painless...other days not so much!

Oops...sorry Mom!

 Look what I found out though...SURPRISE! Thank you pigs for your contribution to keeping my mother safe and healthy :) 

It's been a couple of weeks since Mom has been allowed to put weight on her leg and every day brings a little improvement. The road ahead is still long but it's been an adventure. As usual :) And like the machine says...Caring is Thirsty Work.