Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September 29, 2014

Discouraging and Encouraging Monday
September 29, 2014

Monday morning my sister, her husband and I all arrived at the hospital early to try to catch the doctors on their visits.  I appologize if some events are out of order but I just did not have time to do blog entries the last few days and now they have all run together in my muddeled mind.  I think it was Sunday morning before I got to the hospital, that Mom's main doctor came in and basically said, "We have tried this, and it didn't work, we have tried that, and it didn't work, we have tried the other and it didn't work.  I don't know anything else to try.  We may transfer you to the nursing facility tomorrow!"  We were not happy to hear that at all.  Her pain was still not being controlled.  My sister had them contact the pain specialist.  
My baby sister, Janet, who has done an awesome job meeting Mom's every need.
Monday, like Sunday, was up and down as they tried to find the right balance of medications to help her.  She had to be off all IV pain medications to be transferred.  The IV meds had been helping and now she was back to trying to find what would help.  The morning was terrible with a very high pain level.  I decided not to return home as planned, but the stay at  least one more day. 

The day was filled with emotions as the encouragement from the doctors had evaporated.  The morning especially was terrible.  By early afternoon they had given her enough pain medicaitions to provide a little relief.  Janet's husband stayed with Mom while Janet took me to see the skilled nursing care facility she had selected.  Again, she had done an excellent job and an added bonus is that it is only 3 miles or so from her house.  The facility is almost new, well staffed, and absolutely beautiful!  The rooms are large, the halls are wide, and there is no nursing home smell that anyone who has visited one can identify. 
The dining room is lovely, spacious, and homey.  Staff go to the rooms to bring each guest to the mealtime.  There are activity rooms, outdoor decks overlooking the courtyard, a hair salon, of coursre Physical Therapy areas and a sun room, and a living room with fireplace.  Each individual room is designed for ease and comfort.
The decor and art work are amazing.  It is at least equal to a 5 star hotel.  I think Mom will like it, but will want to come home soon.  The goal is to get her back in her home if at all possible.

Due to sunlight on this setting, my photo does not do it justice, but it is lovely.  Most of the art work has a Texas theme and much of it involves horses.  This area of the state has and has had a lot of horse ranches.

We returned to the hospital and in the late afternoon a radiologist came in to say that he would be doing a procedure the next morning.  He had decided that the hip pain was from a nerve in the area of the fractured vetebrae that was being rubbed with a bone fragment.  His goal was to  inject some steroids into the area to reduce swelling and relieve pain.  He said it could help instantly, but could take up to 48 hours to work.

We were back to having some hope.  The radiologist was a very nice man and it was so good to end the day with hope.  Well, sort of.  The nurses later told us they had nothing on their schedules about it and they knew nothing about it. 

Around 8:00 Janet, her husband and I went to Chick-fil-A for a quick supper and then returned to "tuck Mom in" but she wasn't ready to go to bed.  We left around 9:00 and went back home.  It had ben a long day for all of us.

September 28, 2014

Sunday Driver
Stephen to the Rescue
September 28, 2014

One of the reasons I came to north Texas, was to give my sister a little break from the excellent care she has benn giving my Mom.  She is just amazing with the nursing staff, assorted doctors, pain specialists, radiologists, physical, occupationsal, and respritory therapists who have been trying to help Mom with the severe pain and limited mobility.  My sister's son was leaving early Sunday morning to fly across country to train for a new job.  One of her daughters was visiting with her husband and baby.  So Sunday morning I was to go to the hospital early to check on Mom and report back to them. 

The only time I had been to Mom's hospital was when I drove into town the afternoon before and then going to Janet's Saturday evening, she drove me over there.  So she asked if I could get to the hospital alone.  Sure!...Silly me!  I usually have a pretty good sense of direction and even if I don't know the streets, I know the general direction I am headed.  Just before I left the house, my brother-in-law told me which exit to take, etc.  He was totally corrrect in what he told me; the problem was, in my mind I thought it was much further away than it was, so I was not looking for the exit when I should have ussed it.

I continued along further and eventually arrived at a spot where I again interested the road he had told me to look for.  So I guess I was on the wrong end of it and after wondering just a few minutes, I knew I was lost.  So I stopped to ask for help.  I am not too proud to ask directions.  I went in a convenience store and asked the clerk.  She looked as lost as I was and said her boss could help.  She asked him, "Can you tell her how to get to Baylor Medical Center?"  He said, "From here."  The girl and I looked at each other and started laughing.  Duh...  "Yes, from here."

He gave clear, complete, correct directions to Baylor Medical Center... in Irving, not in Grapevine where I was headed.  Oh, my!  Now I was further away from my destination than ever!  This was early on an Sunday morning and so I kept looking for a place open that I thought might have someone capable of giving me directions to get me when I needed to go.  After considerable wandering, I found a donut shop and decided I could get either directions or donuts.  I asked a man in  line if he was from the area and he said he was.  He directed me to Baylor Medical Center... again in Irving. 

You are probably asking yourself why I didn't have a GPS.  I was in Mom's car which I later learned had her GPS in the back seat, but I have never really used one since I can't HEAR the directions and I find them very distracting.  I need glasses on when I drive, off to read the GPS.  My brother-in-law had mentioned that the turn I needed was right beside Sam's Club.  An hour after I had left their house my sister called to see how Mom was.  I told her I had gotten lost but was almost there, as I spotted Sam's Club... which turned out to be one in another town.  Finally I decided it was hopeless and I would have to call my sister - no answer.  So I called my son Stephen in Dallas and got him out of church.  He spent the next 45 minutes at least directing me to where I needed to be. 

It was a comedy of errors since he had to call up the map on his cell phone, but also talk to me on the same cell phone.  By the time he  would tell me my next turn, I would have just passed it.  It just got frustrating for both of us.  Factor into this how poorly I hear on the telephone and you may can imagine what it was like.  Twice I ended up headed into DFW Airport, once into a paid parking lot (made a U-turn and headed back), and once to the terminal (found an exit at the last minute).  I kept thinking a Policeman would stop me at some point and I could ask directions, but never find one when you need one.

Two hours after I left my sister's house for a 15 minute trip to the hospital, I arrived.  I never would have believed it!  Mom was just getting up.  The nurses, therapists, etc. were in and out all morning.  They always asked her to rate her pain on a scale of 1-10.  Much of the day her answer was 14.  It was a miserable day for her.  The pain was getting worse, not better. 

Before I arrived last week, Mom had a procedure to cement the fracture in the vertebrae.  The pain in that area deminished slightly, but she was hit with worse muscle spasms in her lower back and a spot in her right hip.  Pain specialists, radiologists, doctors, all tried to help but there was not really any relief.  If Mom would lie totally still in the bed, she was fine.  She doesn't want to do that for the rest of her life.  She wants to be up and about.  People from Physical Therapy would come, but the pain would be too much for here to even stand, much less walk.

In the late morning, My niece, her husband, and baby paid Mom a visit.  That cheered her up in many ways, but hurt in that she could not hold the baby.  She did manage to sing and play Itsy, Bitsy, Spider with her.
Their visit was a highlight in a bad day physically.
Sweet baby!
Later in the day, I left to go spend time with our son Stephen and his fiance who will be getting married in just about 5 1/2 weeks in this area.  We went to Dallas to see about a place for the rehearsal dinner.  I ate and we talked.  We were able to make a lot of decisions and taste a lot of food.  I bought some goodies to taste test.  It was a good time together but not nearly enough time.
I drove back from Dallas to the hospital and only took one wrong turn, again ending up at DFW Airport.  My sister, and I returned home about 10:00 and her pilot husband arrived a little later after a long day flying so we talked and updated him. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 27, 2014

Saturday Travels and Seeing Mom
September 27, 2014

Two weeks and two days ago, Mom had treated my husband, sister and myself to supper.  She had told us she had hurt her back she thought by over reaching for a pull cord on the ceiling fan.  She was uncomfortable but we all enjoyed the time together.  Now just over two weeks later, she could not move without severe pain.  The procedure done Thursday seemed to have helped on the fracture, but she was having severe muscle spasms.

David got me up early so I could travel to the hospital where Mom was being treated.  The traffic was very heavy, but the new state law concerning who can use the fast lane and when is really making a difference and helping traffic move more smoothly.  I arrived at the hospital with no real problems.  and got to Mom's room shortly after 1:00 after only being lost in the near by neighborhood for about 10 minutes.  It was so disappointing to see her in severe pain with even tiny movements of her back, hips, neck, or legs.  If she was perfectly still she was fairly free of pain, but that doesn't work for long.

My sister's son was leaving the next morning to go to a new job and she went shopping with him.  She was in and out all afternoon; not only the son, but a daughter, son-in-law and their baby were in town to see the son before he left for the new job.  They all went to supper and I stayed with Mom.  While they were gone, a friend of my sister came to see Mom.  Nurses and attendants were in and out all the time with various pain killers, and assorted devices to try to reduce the pains.  Nothing seemed to help.  In fact she got worse and worse as time went on.  When asked about the pain level on a scale of 1 to 10, she was staying about a 10.

Janet (my sister) and her son and her husband came to visit Mom.  And later we returned to their home and talked a while before collapsing into bed, tired, but thankful for a safe trip. 

Being away from home, I am having a little computer trouble and don't have passwords to take care of transferring photos from phone to computers.  The only photo tonight is my niece's little girl who was a joy to see at the end of a long day.

September 26, 2014

Flexible Friday
September 26,2014

Sometimes things happen and we just have to be flexible and "go with the flow."  When I went to bed Thursday night I thought that Ron and I would be going to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to see my Mom and give my sister a little break.  But on Friday morning, he encouraged me to go by myself and to go as far as San Antonio that night and on to my sister's Saturday morning.  Also, we were waiting to talk to my sister and see how Mom was  doing Friday morning before I made the decision about going.  The procedure Mom had on Thursday afternoon did not seem to help the pain and she was discouraged. 

In all honesty, I felt I needed to be there but I had not driven on a long trip alone since my Cochlear surgery.  As most of you know, the hearing is far from perfect with the Cochlear Implant.  I would not trade it for anything, but it is still not perfect, so it means I have some limitations.  I know some things were going on that my husband wanted to be home for but he may have been wanting to "push" me a little to step out and do something that scared me a little. 

It was a hard decision to make and he would have taken me if I had insisted, but I knew I needed to do it alone.  One thing that happens when I travel alone (even driving to work), I no longer listen to the radio or play music.  The sounds are not pleasant, so that makes for a boring trip, but the scenery was lovely.

On Friday morning I went to the office and took care of some chores.  There were some bills to pay and I went to Mom's house to get her car for my trip.  The a/c  in mine was not working.  Then I contacted my sister and she said it would be helpful for me to come even with her house full of her family.  She gave me a list of things to bring to Mom so I went back by Mom's house to get those things. 
I picked up some lunch on my way home to pack.  It was 2:00 on the dot when I left for San Antonio.  It was an overcast day and I went through rain off and on all the way to San Antonio.  My husband texted me to warn me of heavy rain in San Antonio and that started about the time I got to San Antonio.  Naturally it was getting dark, it was thankfully after rush hour.  Actually the traffic seemed lighter than I ever recall on the drive across San Antonio.   I felt that the road had been cleared for me.  One friend had prayed a "hedge of protection" around my car as I traveled and I felt God was answering that prayer.  Beautiful clouds the whole way.

I arrived at my son's home at 7:00 on the dot - not too bad considering I had to wait for 15 minutes at the check point.  His wife and the kids were at a football game so he and I went to Cracker Barrel for supper and had a very relaxing visit.  When we returned home we visited and each spent time on our computers.  When Diana and the kids arrived we visited and I must say I was too exhausted to do a blog.  It had been a hard day, but it was good to know I could make the drive alone. 

Mom continued to have severe muscle spasms and pain and I was eager to get to see her the next day.  I asked David to get me up at 6:00 since I had not brought my vibrating alarm clock.  Sorry I had to have my son do that on a Saturday morning but I wanted an early start to the rest of my trip.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 25, 2014

A Day When the Clock Doesn't Seem to Move
September 25, 2014

Another rainy day
Over and over in this blog I have mentioned how fast the days, weeks, and months are flying by.  It seems like it was just mid summer and now it is almost the end of September.  That is not the way today felt.  As I waited for news from my sister about my mom's procedure for her fractured vertebrae, the day crawled at a snail's pace.  The clock hardly seemed to move. 

You have heard that a watched pot doesn't boil.  Well, a watched phone doesn't ring, either.  As we waited all day to hear news, my sister sent a few messages, but very little was happening on their end except for waiting, like on our end.  Mom was finally taken into surgery about 4:20 and about 5:15 they told Janet that Mom was in recovery and would be in a room in a while.  Mom was to lie flat for 3 hours and then they would get her up to see if the surgery did what they wanted it to do.  I say surgery, but it was a procedure where they inject the cement over the fracture - not normally what we think of as surgery.

Throughout the day, our sons called to check on Grandma and all I could say was, "No news yet."  It was just about closing time at the office when my sister texted that Mom was out of surgery and had done fine through the procedure.  Not bad for 91 years old. 

That reminds me, two different people today sent me very encouraging bits of information and it was a reminder of what we need to hear while we are waiting to get news on a day like today.  The first was a Winter Texan friend who told me of a friend she had who had this procedure done and walked out of the hospital pain free.  The other was a high school friend who told me that she had worked in a doctor's office and was many times amazed at how well elderly patients tolerated the procedures and surgeries.  Thank you to Nelda and Ellie for those good words this morning.  They helped. 

Don't get me wrong, we knew that God was in control of everything, but we also know that His perfect will can be different than ours.  Mom knew there were risks in the surgery, but she was willing to take the risks, knowing that whatever happened, God would be there with her and that He would always be there.  To the Christian, we know that death is not the end and that for those who love the Lord and have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, Heaven awaits.  Mom loves her kids, grand children, great grand children and great, great grandchildren.  She has told me she wants to see how the great grandchildren grow and what routes their lives will take.  She wants to be here for a long time to come, but she isn't fearful of death.

So I spent the day near my phone.  Waiting for a text.  Waiting for it to ring.  Waiting for an email.  I answered lots of messages asking about Mom and was humbled by how many people of all ages were expressing their love and concern.  She has a lot of friends and she knows how to be a good friend.  It was not a bother to answer those inquires, it was an honor.  So many people were praying for Mom: church friends, former employees who have scattered across the country, my college roommate, family scattered far and wide, friends of my sisters, pastors and missionaries from far and wide, and many others.
Rain water standing in my flower bed that I worked on about a month ago.

About 3:30, it began to rain again and a little after that my brother showed up.  He had brought some things for Mom.  He and his wife were on their way to South Padre Island for a few days as he earns some continuing education hours.  It was good to see him.  He had been with Mom only yesterday at the other end of the state. 

After we closed the office, I went by Mom's house while Ron went another direction and took care of some things for his mom.  Then we each headed home, tired.  We just had a simple supper and continued waiting for more news. 

When additional news came, it was not what we were hoping to hear.  The surgery did not seem to make a difference in the level of the pain and Mom is very discouraged.  It is hard to get bad news, especially when there is nothing you feel that you can do to make it better. 
As the rain dripped from the trees, it really seemed to reflect our mood.  We know God is in control.  We know that He will see all of us and especially Mom through this rough time.  We know He cares.  He has not turned His back on Mom or on all who are praying for her.  I think it is appropriate that I started this blog before I had that answer from my sister this evening that the pain did not appear to be lessened.  So this blog is truly representative of my feelings as the day went on.  I don't know what God has in store for Mom.  I do know that everything we go through can draw us closer to God if we allow it to.  I know Mom loves the Lord and is looking to Him for direction and strength in this situation. 

Please pray that God will give her peace and comfort through this time.  Of course, our will is that her pain be removed and that she be healed quickly.  We seek God's will in this time.  The last few weeks I think I have shared that our pastor has been preaching on the reasons that we suffer.  Good sermons can help us prepare for the hard times.  During the series he preached, I often told him and others what a good series it had been.  Now, when that suffering is happening to someone I love, do I believe the things he preached?  Yes, I still do.  Do I always like them?  Not always, when they touch the ones I love.  So what do I do in those cases?  I turn to God's Word and those verses that I have known and loved all of my life.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5  "I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121: 1-2  "God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble."  Psalm 46:1  "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  Psalm 34: 18

Are we brokenhearted?  Yes.  We want Mom to be free of pain.  But the Lord God is near to her and to us, and we will trust in Him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014

Praying for My Mom
September 24, 2014

My mother is 91 years old.  Rather, I should say, 91  years young.  Mom has always been full of energy and eager to go places and do things.  Two weeks ago, she hurt her back.  She thinks she did it trying to add some lengths of chain to her ceiling fan since the chain on it was too hard to reach.  Somehow, that seems to have stressed her spine and one vertebrae has a transverse fracture in it.  Today a doctor asked my sister if she also knew that Mom had a fractured rib at the same level as the fractured vertebrae.  No.  In these two weeks the pain has continued unrelenting, and the strong pain killing medications she is being given are not cutting the pain. 

The last two days there has been a very slight improvement, but very minor.  The doctors are at a loss to explain why she is in so much pain and why the medications are not helping.  So tomorrow afternoon they expect to do a procedure to "cement" that fracture and see if that can make a difference. 

This has been a difficult time for Mom.  She had made plans to go home with my sister about the time she hurt her back and thinking it was only a pulled muscle, she made the trip anyway.  So for now she is stuck there.  She can't safely travel to return home.  I think all of us feel that she is where she needs to be to get excellent treatment and care.  It is hard to not be able to be there, but for now, that is the way it is.

My day started early.  For some reason I was awake before my alarm went off.  After getting ready for work, I again went to my favorite, Chick-fil-A for one of their free breakfasts.  I got mine free and bought one to take to Ron at the office.  Soon after that he left on jobs for the rest of the morning.  I had experimented with a new quilt pattern before I left the house this morning and ended up doing quilt sewing at the office for a couple of hours or more.

My sister updated me on Mom's condition and what the plans were to deal with it.  Later, my bother updated me to say most of the information had changed as well as the plans.  It was a stressful time.

During the time Ron was out of the office, I had several customers but they all tried my patience.  Each was a little different in their problems, but several were pushy in their attitudes.  It was just exhausting dealing with them. 

Late in the afternoon, I texted my daughter-in-law and asked what she was doing.  She was trying to get the kids to do their school work.  I invited them to join us for a supper of stew at our house.  They showed up and we had a wonderful visit and good food.  My grandchildren can brighten any day!  They run to give hugs and sweet words.  Ron took our oldest grandson to the church for youth activities and the rest of the children headed to the Lego Room - even the youngest.

About the time Ron got back, Jeff arrived from his day in McAllen.  The adults ate and talked while the children played and soon they showed up to eat.  I had put a dessert in the oven and we had that and talked some more.  Our son Bob called and I later returned his call and also talked to our son David.  They wanted to know what was going on with their Grandmother.  Stephen also had called.  So it is an extra good day when I get to talk to all four of our sons.

The children always love to come over and play with the Legos and the toys at Grandma's house that are not the same as ones at home.  They are such sweet kids.  Sorry if I repeat myself.  Excuse this proud Grandma.  After Jeff's family left I did those phone calls to our other boys and then cleaned up the kitchen.  It was so hard to hear my boys on the phone.
Please remember my Mom is your prayers, especially tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 23, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset
September 23, 2014

Many years ago, I got the piano music to Sunrise, Sunset, and nearly drove my husband nuts working on learning to play it.  I think he likes looking at sunrises and sunsets more than listening to me play that piece of music.

Here it is the first full day of Fall and I was out and about to see the sunrise and had just gotten home at time for the sunset.  That is a longer day than most of mine.  As I pulled out of the driveway at 7:20 this morning, I stopped for a photo of the morning sky.

I met a friend at Chick-fil-A for breakfast.  This week they are serving free breakfast items each day.  We agreed to meet at 7:30 at the one on Morrison Road.  I was a few minutes late and the place was PACKED!  There were so many of our friends there that we could hardly eat for taking time to greet all of them.  What a nice way to start our day!  Many of the parents, teachers, and students from our church school were there, as well as other church members.  The "cow" that shows up for special events at Chick-fil-A was dressed in pajamas and sat to visit with us a couple of times. 

One of the young men who works there visited with us for a while and the lady invited him to the Sunday evening service at our church which is geared toward the younger generations.  He said he was already planning to come since someone else had invited him earlier.  My friend and I had not had time to visit for a while since she had been out of town to enjoy her first grandchild.  Later her husband came to get his breakfast and he let it be known he is really smitten with his new grand daughter. 

We always enjoy our visits and share requests for prayer for things going on in our lives and in our families.  We both have a lot going on in our families.  It is good things, but we all still need prayer as we seek to live as God would want.  Around 10:00 we both left to go to our other obligations.  At the office Ron left shortly after I got there, to check on a job.  By the time he got back it was time for my to have my lunch.

The afternoon was busier than the morning and there were times we were both waiting on customers.  Off and on during the day, I checked with my siblings on my mother's condition.  She seemed to be feeling a little better today which is a blessing.  She sat in the recliner reading for a while after a little physical therapy.  My brother returns home tomorrow.

During the afternoon I saw a FB posting from my great niece, the one in Corpus with the little baby I showed you a few weeks ago.  My great niece was with with her mother at the hospital to help as my niece has a fractured knee cap.  This is my brother's oldest daughter who had the injury.  So he will go home from one hospital where his mom is, to his daughter being a patient back in his home town.  She sees a specialist in a couple of days to see what needs to be done.  She is also (like Mom) in a lot of pain.  She and I exchanged messages all afternoon and it was good to chat with her and I hope it kept her mind off her pain a little.  She is a sweet young lady who works long hours and needs a break.  (No pun intended.)  She just didn't need to break something to get a break. 

Before long it was time to close up the office and I told Ron I would go with him to his mother's house for supper.  He picks up supper for her on Tuesdays and I normally have quilting at our house but for now we are only meeting every other week.  We had a good visit with her.  She showed me the projects she is currently working on.  She is an artist with a needle and thread.  While at her house, I took some bird photos and some flower photos - the ones I am using here this evening.

There were a few hummingbirds, but they weren't interested in posing, like this mockingbird was.  I was very pleased with the photos.  If you are not a Texan, you may not know that this is our state bird.

From there, I went by my Mom's house to take care of things and her yardmen had been there.  The yard looked very nice.  The grass had been getting deep.  As I headed home the sun was setting and so as soon as I arrived I headed out front with my camera to get a photo or two.  It was pretty.

I am glad that street light in the above photo is there when I am out at night, but I wish it wasn't there when I take photos.  Oh, well.

Talked to my daughter-in-law in New Mexico for a bit.  She was baking and I would have loved to sample her banana bread.  Even smelling it would have been nice.

This morning at Chick-fil-A I was able to hear better than I had expected since it was so crowded.  I am used to my friend's voice and even though she is soft spoken I did fairly well.  The others who came to the table to chat were much more of a challenge.  My friend was sitting across from me which helps, but I was amazed at how hard it was to hear the others.  Then a tiny baby behind me started to cry and drowned out everything else.  The "cow" sat by my friend but I couldn't hear much of that conversation.  Maybe it was just "moo, moo."

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

Bookkeeping, Errands, and Update on Mom
September 22, 2014

Mom last month.  I know she would much rather be eating that bowl of ice cream at Jason's Deli right now, than to be in the hospital with her back hurting so much.  Please keep praying for her.

This morning I needed to go in to the office a little early because Ron had a couple of jobs scheduled and a couple of errands he needed to run.  I worked on a bank deposit and got that ready to take for the afternoon.  There were a few customers in and I did fine hearing all of them, but mostly I worked on other tasks and some emails. 

Ron came back just about lunch time, so I ate and did a little reading.  Later I was about ready to leave for the bank when one of our suppliers called to say I had put the check for another supplier in their envelope.  Oops!  Actually, I made it out to them, but it was for the amount for the other main supplier.  I don't know where my brain was that day!  I think Ron secretly delights in those because he often messes stuff up and since I deal with all the invoices, I catch his errors.  I guess we are even for a while.

Since I needed to send a check to the correct supplier, I did that and paid a couple of other bills and wrote the check to the utility company to take when I went to run errands.  First it was the bank, then the utility company and finally the office supply store to mail a package through UPS to Mom.  Traffic was terrible!  It seemed to take a long time to do those errands.  While at the UPS place, I had a lot of trouble hearing the young, soft spoken, fast talking sales clerk.

After returning to the office,  I put my things away and headed home, going first by Mom's house and then to get gas.  It is nice to see the price down a little on the gas.  When I got home I prepared vegetables for a big pot of stew.  It is in the oven as I type and it smells wonderful.  It may be late, but we will have some when it comes out of the oven.

I really did not accomplish much more today.  I have been thinking a lot lately about my elbow injury and how for a long time I pampered it.  I would not do anything that I thought might hurt it.  As my mom is in the hospital with her back injury I have thought about when I have suffered with back pains.  I recalled the things the doctor told me to do and not do.  Often we think we can do "just this one little thing" and we will be fine.  But sometimes that "one little thing" is the one that puts us over the edge. 

Mom thinks she hurt her back trying to add a little bit longer chain to her ceiling fan because she had to reach and stretch so much to pull the chain.  We all sometimes push our bodies past the safe area of exertion.  When I mow and start getting hot and tired, it is easy to think, "I am almost done."  Instead, I am trying to learn to take a break when I am tired.  This is the backyard I mow.  No one else sees it.  If I stop in the middle, it will drive me nuts, but no one else will see it or care.  One of the things my doctor told me when I had back trouble was about carrying in groceries.  When we used to use brown paper bags it was hard to carry even two at a time, so we didn't often overload ourselves.  Now that we use bags with strap handles, we sometimes carry 3 or 4.  He says, "Don't".  He also told me if I am going through a narrow area (like beside the car in the garage), not to carry one bag in front and one behind.  Carrying weight behind is very hard on the back.

Mom's therapist today told her not to bend over the sink (like when you wash your hair).  Oops!  If my back is hurting, I can't do that, but sometimes when it is fine, I do it.  The fact that it sometimes causes pain should be the warning that maybe I shouldn't do it that way.  We all carry things that are too heavy.  We push ourselves to the limit and then find that often there is a price to pay.  We don't want to become lazy or weak from doing nothing, but we need to find the right balance to keep our backs strong and safe.  Please continue to pray for my mom to heal and regain her strength and to return to the activities she loves.
Here is a photo of Mom from a couple of months ago with me and my older brother (he is my only brother, but I like to remind him that he is OLDER.)  He is spending a few days with Mom early this week to give my sister a break.  He is a great brother!
This is my youngest sister, Janet, who is taking excellent care of Mom.
It is funny, when we were growing up, I was the one who wanted to be a nurse, but it is Janet and my brother Gordon who have taken such good care of Mom this time and a year an a half ago when she was so very sick with a virus.  Our other sister, Debbie always hated doctors and she now works in a hospital.  You just never know!  Thanks Gordon and Janet for taking such good care of Mom.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014

Many Things Going On 
September 21, 2014

 Hooded Warbler - Male
Last night I went to bed early and thought I would get a good night's sleep, but I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep, so it turned into a long day.  Our Sunday School class was great.  We have such a caring group of friends in there.  One of the things we needed to do today was select people to fill some positions in the class.  Some great folks agreed to take care of some planning areas and they were the right people for the jobs. 

Then in church, our pastor delivered a very good sermon after arriving home at 3:00 this morning from a conference in north Texas.  It was a long drive home, but he did great.  It basically was a sermon on following God's directions when you feel He has told you to do something.  It was a good service.

We stayed and visited for a long time after church and then went with our son's family to Wendy's for lunch.  We had a good time chatting and catching up.  The sky was looking like we were in for another big rain, but it by-passed us.  That was alright.  There is rain water standing in many yards around town, so we really don't need it at the moment.
 Notice the chocolate ice cream drips on his face.  The grandchildren were all happy and enjoyed their lunches.  We had a great visit.

On the way to lunch, I had checked my phone for messages and I had one from my sister telling me she had called an ambulance to take my mom to the hospital with the severe back pains.  It turned out when they checked on her at the hospital that she also had a mild case of pneumonia so they admitted her and are going to be treating her for now.  I know that God worked it out for her to be with my sister during this time since she can be there to take care of Mom.  My brother has gone to help for a couple of days. 
This was the dark gray sky on our way home after lunch.  I was just sure we would get some of that rain.
The clouds were beautiful today.

At home, I spent the afternoon sewing, reading, and taking some bird photos.  The male Hooded Warbler is one of my favorites.  This one posed for me a few times.
He is so striking!  Every time he flew across the yard I would see a streak of yellow.  He is fast.
This is probably the female Hooded Warbler.  She was playing on the waterfall this afternoon, but the male is so much more striking.
All afternoon my sister and I exchanged  texts and I sent out an email to my kids and a couple of close friends.  Mom is 91, so it makes recovery a little more challenging, but she has been in pretty good health and very active.  Please continue to pray for her to have a full recovery quickly.  She doesn't like to be inactive!
Today I had more trouble hearing than I have lately.  I think the filter on my Cochlear sound processor needs to be changed and I hope that will take care of the problem.  It was frustrating this morning in our Sunday School class.  As the class discussed some things, they would turn to be for additional information and I would not know what the question was.  I just couldn't hear them. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 20, 2014

Sunshine and Showers
September 20, 2014

The backyard after I mowed it this morning.
This morning I was up early to greet the housekeeper.  She worked in the house while I worked in the yard.  Ron did a little of both.  I had been wanting to put a flower bed around one of the birdbaths for several weeks and one thing and another (mostly heat) kept me from doing it.  This morning I decided to tackle the project.
Another part of the backyard after I mowed.

First I mowed the backyard; the yardman had done the front yesterday.  Ron has been cleaning an area in the backyard and found a stack of bricks so I had them for the flower bed.  The temperature was not terrible, but there was no breeze and it was very humid.
You can tell by the reflections, there was not a hint of a breeze.
After the mowing, I got out the tools to use for the flower bed.

I had mentioned to Ron that the birdbath had shifted a little and was no longer level, so after I started on the bed, he took the fountain apart and leveled it.
I finished pulling grass and then laying the bricks around the birdbath.  It was a good time to pull the grass since the yard is so wet.
I scrubbed the birdbath before he put it back, and then finished preparing the bed for the plants.  When I finished, I was pleased.  My only problem may be that it doesn't get too much sunshine.
The area to the left of the birdbath is where the bird feeders hang and the ducks keep the grass destroyed in that area.  After I finished the flower bed I saw the white chicken in it.  He better not eat the earthworms I found while digging!
The mosquitoes and I are at war!  They like me.  I don't like them.  I have a mosquito net hood that I put over my hat while I work in the yard.  Then I sprayed my arms and legs with mosquito repellent.  It worked.  I don't think I got any bites this morning and I was out there for about 4 hours.

 I must admit though, I was wringing wet with sweat when I quit.  I had just taken off the hat and Ron grabbed the camera.  Not one of my better photos.  But this is how I looked when I finished.  The hat leaves the hair sticking out every which way!
The tools had to be put up and a bunch of other stuff.  I had just gotten all that done and had come in the house to relax and cool off when it started to rain.  It was just a nice gentle shower. 
Here the flowers are glistening from the rain drops.
I fixed our lunch and then started sewing.  Around 2:00, we had a heavy rain.  It was beautiful.  I know we don't really need it, but it was so beautiful.
When I work in the yard, I usually take off my Cochlear sound processor.  Of course that leaves me deaf, but my head gets so hot and sweaty, that I just don't like wearing the sound processor while I work out there.  After my shower to clean up, I put the sound processor on and could enjoy listening to the rain. 
This White Ibis was wandering through Mom's neighborhood when I  went by her house today.  There are several that stay in her area.

I sewed until about 4:00 and then decided I needed to go get groceries.  I first went by Mom's house and then to the grocery store.  When I got home, Ron unloaded the groceries, but then left to run an errand or two for his mom and missed the good hot supper I fixed.  He got cold leftovers later. 

My mom is still in a lot of pain with her back and is tired of hurting.  My sister continues to take excellent care of her.  Please keep her in your prayers.