Sunday, December 31, 2006

Oh Happy Day!

Finally! If you remember I posted about this in October. I will be looking forward to paying 1/3 of what I pay now for visits to the psychiatrist and psychologist.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Avah Margret

Here's my new granddaughter: Avah Margret, 7 lbs, 19 in. born Dec 28 at 4:04 am

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dear Dad

You are back in the hospital with an infection, but not as sick as before. Cindy's glad you are being cared for and we're not happy with the quality of care you had at the nursing home. It would be great to find a better place or some alternative. It's been almost 4 months since your stroke and I miss you while getting to know you at the same time. I love to spend time with you holding your hand. This is so hard for everyone - I can't imagine what it is like for you. It makes me wonder about life vs. quality of life. You are so determined and strong to keep doing your therapy. The gains are slow and small - we are so excited and proud with every improvement. I see that quality of patience and perseverance in myself, but in the same circumstances I'm not sure I could hang in there. This is a life changing event - everyone in the family is affected. My family would be very strong and take very good care of me, but I don't know if that's what is best overall.

You've been in and out of ICU again. We don't know what happens next since you have a trach and there's only a couple places that take trach patients and they are not the nicest of places. This must be tiring for you beyond belief. At this point you don't get much of a choice about your treatment or future. I hate to see you agitated and upset. Today I didn't wake you when I visited. You deserve peace and rest. I love you so much.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Personal Diction.ary

Merry Christmas to me! Yesterday, we went to visit good friends and previous neighbors, Lady H and her family. Her gift basket to me included homemade soup and sauce mix, fireside coffee mix (yum as I am sipping it now), raspberry hot cocoa mix (double yum from last night), recipes to make aforementioned mixes plus more and (drum roll please) . . . . A Christian Personal Dictionary! I am the proud owner of an exclusive, unique, numbered copy of the original Personal Dictionary published a few years ago and have now been blessed by a Christian version. What is a Personal Dictionary? you ask. Well, according to the intro page:
How to use this dictionary: Some of what follows are clearly questions. Others are not. It is more interesting and comprehensive to throw out a writing prompt in the the author - you, can fill in the words surrounding the thought and then respond. I believe how you perceive the prompt is as telling as the answer. Thus, when you are finished, the dictionary should be even more definitive.
Good luck and enjoy!

Also useful as a conversation starter, a type of memoir, or any number of other journal type of thing - the personal dictionary will make you think! Here's an example of some prompts:

  • glad sacrifices
  • righteous anger
  • Bible character you most identify with

How can you get yours? Ahhh - you can't. Unless you deluge me with email that I forward to my friend and maybe she will consider publishing.

Thank you again, my friend and I will put your Christmas surprise in my car so I get it to you soon (hopefully before Christmas)

Friday, December 08, 2006

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

According to this NYT article (free registration is required to view the entire article),
The effect of this simple gesture of social support is that the brain and body don't have to work as hard, they're less stressed in response to a threat," said Dr. James A. Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and the study's lead author. His co-authors were Dr. Hillary Schaefer and Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin.
Relaxing in the face of a perceived threat is not always a good idea. The brain's alarm system, which prompts the release of stress hormones that increase heart rate and move blood to the muscles, prepares people to fight or run for their lives, researchers say.
But this system often becomes overactive in situations that are nagging but not life threatening like worries over relationships, deadlines, money or homework. Easy access to an affectionate touch in these moments — or to a hug, a back rub or more — "is a very good thing, is deeply soothing," Dr. Coan said.

Dad often reaches his hand out and we hold it. It is comforting to know that he is being soothed.

Friday, December 01, 2006

If it's not one parent, it's two

Mom fell this week, breaking her ankle in 3 places. Surgery on the ankle consisted of opening it up on both sides and putting it back together with pins, plates and screws. The cast stays on for 3 months and she'll be going into a nursing home near her apartment building. Now my days consist of visiting both mom in the hospital and dad at The Pond, picking up my son from school, trying to feed my family dinner and maybe throwing a load of laundry in. Today I changed the sheets on our bed - whoo hoo!! I've got 20 Christmas cards in envelopes without addresses or stamps. Christmas shopping is almost done and the wrapping paper is ready to roll. I don't bake and the tree is still in the attic.

Every detail of mom's injury and hospital stay is compared with dad's. She can hit her call button, eat food, sit on a bedpan, swallow pills, talk coherently, move both sides of her body, use the phone. I have to keep my mouth shut so that she can have her own experience, her own pain and not be put down by me pointing out that dad is worse off than her in every single aspect of her experience. BTW, my parents are divorced but harbor no bad feelings now. Mom lived alone and my brother and I are double teaming her. Dad is remarried, so my step-mom and I keep up with him.

Ummm--hey that leaves me spread thin. Self-care today included a really good nap...with hubby.