all over but the screaming

Dad came home from the hospital February 24th, after deciding not to pursue further medical treatment.  He was offered dialysis, he declined since the chances of it actually helping were slim to none as he was facing both heart and renal failure. Dad had been in the hospital three times with stays in a rehab facility in between, but when we got him home he told me he was just happy to be here.

His brother flew down from Anchorage and both of his sisters were able to see him.  One of my aunts was there at the hospital and then here with us almost every day, she was an amazing comfort.

I have many regrets about the last 3 months, but bringing him home will never be one of them.  The hospice people were all wonderful, from the nurses to the social workers to the aides.  Oddly, the nurse who did the hospice admit was the same one who did the hospice admit for my mom last fall and she remembered our family, small world.

Friends and family kept telling me what a great thing I was doing, and how strong I was, and how ‘amazing’ I was.  I didn’t feel any of those things, all I knew was that no matter how strong or amazing the things I was doing were, in the end I was still losing my dad.  We brought him home, thinking we would have weeks with him.  In reality we had exactly one week, he died on March 3rd, here at home, with family.

I would give almost anything to have him back.

I still haven’t really broken down yet.  It became a bit of a joke with friends and family that when it was all over I would have a spectacular breakdown on a warm sandy beach, with cabana boys bringing me fruity drinks with umbrellas.

 Obituary

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one step forward

. . . two steps back.  That describes the last six weeks or so.  Every time Dad seems to be doing better, there is a setback.  Back and forth between the rehab center and the hospital, many doctors appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, blood tests, x-rays, MRIs, CTs, ECGs, EEGs, and more doctor speak than you can imagine.

Tuesday night I took him back to the ER and, well, it’s just not looking good for our hero.  Talked to one of the doctors today and there is a lot of ‘if’ going on.  IF this medication works . . . IF his kidneys . . . IF his heart . . . IF we do dialysis  . . . IF IF IF . . .

Monday, Hannah will be starting school at a local Montessori.  She has been yanked around so much lately and it’s hard to homeschool when you aren’t actually home.  She is excited and having both kids in school during the day will make things a little easier with Dad’s health.

I found out my cousin’s wife if pregnant with triplets.  I have plans for Triplet Surprise Sweaters.  Three coordinating BSJ’s in Baby Ull.  It will be interesting to see if I can finish them before the babies arrive or at least before they are released from the hospital.  I think these will make for good hospital knitting while sitting by Dad’s bedside.

not one more stitch

Sorry to be away for so long, it was not at all planned, but every time I sat down to write I didn’t know what to say.

The last day of Tour de Fleece my mom called to tell me that she had been to the ER because of some abdominal pain she had been having for about two weeks. Last Sunday my mom died.

While at the ER they did x-rays and a CT, thinking her pain could be from a pulmonary embolism. If only that had been it. Her liver was full of tumors. The next few weeks were filled with doctor appointments, test, biopsies, and the start of treatment. Since my father was in the middle of chemo treatment himself, I went to all the appointments with them, to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, basically made sure they had the things they needed and got where they needed to be on time; all while trying to juggle my own family’s needs. My husband was a champ through all of this picking up the slack without a word from me (well, most of the time at least).

Mom was in and out of the hospital for chemo treatment every two weeks, in between treatments she was in a care facility as Dad was unable to care for her at home, she was too weak to care for herself, and I could not figure out a way to be there 24/7 and juggle the house, kids and their school, but Dad was there with her every day.

At first the treatment seemed to be working, but it became apparent that her liver was just too damaged and she was going into liver failure. She was too weak, from the beginning, to be a surgical candidate, so even if we could have gotten her a liver it wouldn’t have done any good. She took a turn for the worse about two weeks ago, and after a discussion with her oncologist we discontinued treatment and concentrated on comfort measures.

A blessing in disguise was that I was able to be with her every day in her last week as my hubby hurt his neck, went to the ER and was on doctor ordered leave for five days. Mom died the day before he had to go back to work and I was able to be there with her.Through all of this I kept my knitting with me, it kept my hands occupied and brain from exploding. I knit and knit and knit, especially the last week when I was there 12+ hours a day, until the evening of the last day when I just couldn’t knit another stitch. Knitting had betrayed me, not one more stitch could I coax from my needles, all I could do was sit and wait for the end. The end came early the next morning.

I think one of the worst parts of this is that the cancer could have been caught early, when there was a better chance for a full recovery. Mom never had a colonoscopy, didn’t like the idea of it, if she had maybe she would have lived to see her 80th birthday instead of dieing just weeks after her 65th. So if you are a 50yo woman or a 40yo man, suck it up and get in there for your colonoscopy. It won’t be fun but is much better than the alternative, for you and your family.

I finally picked up my knitting again today while at my regular knitting group. I don’t know how I would have gotten through all this without them. They called and let me talk/rant/cry and told me no matter the outcome it would be okay. They fed my family home cooked meals at a time when the best I could do was stop at the drive-thru on the way to or from the hospital. They offered help at a time when just the offer made me feel less alone, and it made all the difference. Mom’s memorial service is next Saturday and these same friends have offered to help with that too, and I am so thankful to them from that, though it might just be for the free shrimp.

Obituary

it can't just be easy can it?

For St Patrick’s Day I made Irish Stew and GFCF Soda Bread.  It was yummy and I got to thinking about how I needed to start baking more, GFCF baked goods are quite pricey and not always tasty.  A quick shopping trip at Amazon and a GF baking book was winging it’s way to our home.  The next night the oven died in a arc of electric badness.  Oven . . . dead . . . shit!

A few of months ago, when we were replacing the dishwasher, we gave the replacement of the drop-in range a bit of thought and the plan, at that time, was to pull out the oven, trim the counter, cut out the filler piece under the front of the oven and slide in a freestanding range.  This morning we pulled out the drop-in and ran into a couple of problems.

DSCF4243
(range pulled out and in the middle
of the kitchen, back taken off)

DSCF4241
(Oh, look at the burned insulation!)

1) The drop in is hard-wired, a freestanding range needs an outlet. 

2) The cabinets were custom built and the bottom (shelf) of the cabinets on either side of the range runs all the way under the oven, not just the filler piece on the front of the cabinets. 

3) The cutout for the 30+ year old range is 2+ inches deeper than needed for the new drop-in ranges.

Our options:

1) A new drop in:  Replace the counter-top and install a new drop-in range.  Counter would not match the counter on the other side of the kitchen.

2) Free-standing range:  Trim laminate counter, remove cabinet trim piece from front of cabinet, hopefully be able to cut out the shelf that ran under the old range, wire an outlet for the range and slide in a freestanding range.  A lot of manual labor but least expensive, but if it didn’t work would lead to . . .

3) Free-standing range: Pull out all the bottom cabinets (and counters) on that side of the kitchen and replace them (probably with cabinets from Ikea), wire an outlet for the range and slide in a freestanding range.

4) A gas can and a match . . .

where has the time gone?

Well, last you saw me MIL was hospitalized, Dad was going in for brain surgery and I was knitting my fingers to the bone.  MIL is doing better, she’s in a recovery center . . . ummm . . . recovering.  Dad had his surgery and came out of this one better than the last, yay. 

Bubba brought home a cold/flu two weeks before dad’s surgery and I got it the week before.  I went into panic mode and after mega doses of vitamin C, Musinex, and Tylenol I was well enough to be at the hospital for the surgery, but no the blanket didn’t get finished in time.  The next plan is to give it to him for his birthday in a week and a half . . . hmmm . . . maybe Father’s Day.  It’s only about 50% done.

Dad's blanket - almost half done

Hmmm, what else?

All my knitting friends went away for a retreat, but I had to back out since it was the week of Dad’s surgery, maybe next year. 

Oh, I started a chicken blog, because the world needs more chicken blogs.  hehe.

when it rains . . .

Update:  Looks like is just an infection, a big infection, but an infection none the less.  They are admitting her to hospital and pumping her full of antibiotics, this is better than what was first thought.

================================

Hubby just got a call from his sister, MIL has collapsed and is being taken to the hospital.  It looks like it was a stroke, we don’t know how bad it is yet.  Hubby is on his way to the hospital now, work was not happy when he called to say he wouldn’t be in tonight.

blanket for dad

I found out yesterday that my dad will be going in for brain surgery, again, in the next month or so. The last time was almost nine years ago and he swore he wouldn’t do it again even if the growth came back. Apparently he changed his mind when faced with the reality of it.

I have decided to knit him a blanket for after surgery at the hospital and while he’s recovering at home. At first I was thinking a Pi blanket, but that’s just not my dad’s style. I settled on the Moderne Log Cabin (pdf) from Mason-Dixon Knitting, nice size for snuggling under on the couch. I ordered the yarn from Elann, superwash wool, and sat down to work out the color placement. While doing that Emma pointed out how nice the layout for the Moderne Baby Blanket (pdf) was.  More math.  I readjusted the numbers for the yarn I had purchased and so it would end up about the same dimensions as the Modern Log Cabin, so different multipliers for length of the blanket and width . . . oh well, it’s for a good cause.

After playing with the color placement this is what I came up with:

modernelogcabin3

I’m taking opinions until the yarn arrives and I cast on, and I may or may not actully take the poll results into account when I do cast on. I can be fickle that way. Having said that, what do you think?

but . . . I . . . um . . . really?

Did you feel the world stop rotating today about 10:30am (pacific time)?  You did?  I’m not surprised.  Want to know what happened?

Here it is.

My dad said he might vote for Obama!

I know, I’m shocked too.  You’re not, oh, I guess I should explain.  My dad is very conservative, but not religious.  He’s a hunter, gun rights advocate, and NRA member.  He is a pull yourself up by the bootstraps kind of guy, he comes from a very poor background but I enjoyed a middle-class upbringing because he did pull himself up.  For the most part he feels if he did it there is no reason anyone else can’t do it, and his political views mirror that.  The last time he voted for a democrat was JFK, so it’s been a while. 

Today Dad came over for a visit and while we were talking about the caucus yesterday he piped up with, “I’m seriously thinking of looking into voting for Obama if McCain gets the nomination.”  Now, coming from my dad, he might as well have said he was going to dance naked under the next full moon (and really, we don’t want that).  After I picked my chin up off the ground we started talking about what was holding him back from voting for Obama, and it turns out Dad wanted to know about his stand on gun control.  I hopped onto the internet and printed out a page on Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen (pdf), Dad was pleased with statement “He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting.” 

By the time he left I think he was pretty much convinced.  He did make it clear that there was no way he would vote for Hillary Clinton, he may dislike McCain enough to look at voting for Obama, but I think hell would have to freeze over for him to vote for Hillary. 

the scaventure

Sorry I haven’t been posting lately, but there has been has been lots of family drama and I just haven’t felt comfortable posting about it.  There has been quite a bit of knitting going on, especially of the sock variety, and I will be posting about that soon. 

But, first, in the “no good deed goes unpunished” theme, let me tell you about my evening.  About an hour before the boy’s bus was due to drop him off yesterday, my SIL called, “(the pharmacy) just called and they need me to pick up some medication for Mom, now, could you do it for me?”  Cuz, see, she’s so busy and important.  Yes, ok, I’ll do it.  Bug and I load into the car and drive down there, we have just enough time to get the meds, drop them off with MIL and get back in time to meet the bus.  The prescriptions weren’t ready, wouldn’t be ready for 30 min, and they aren’t sure who called SIL, because, “gee, that’s strange.”  No, I don’t have time to wait, thank you very much, so back home we go to meet the bus. 

The boy gets home, back we go to the pharmacy, this time we go to the drive-through.  (hint: it’s been more than 30 min)  The prescriptions were ready, sort of, there was a problem with one of them so they had to refill it.  Okay, we wait, and wait, with two kids in the car.  Finally get the meds and take them over to MIL, drop them off, talk for a couple of minutes, but need to get the kids home and fed.  Out to the car, unlock the car . . . and the key gets stuck in the door lock.  The key that makes the car go.  The only key I have.  The only other key is up on the pass with hubby, at work.  *sigh*

Kids back out of the car, back inside, call a locksmith.  It would be ~30 minutes until he got there.  So, I get to entertain two hungry children while we wait, in the lobby of an assisted living community.  Good times.  About an hour later, and $85 poorer, the key was removed from the lock and we headed home.

When telling the story to Hubby this morning Bug told him we had a ‘scaventure’ last night. 

“Don’t you mean an adventure?”

“No, it’s a scaventure because it wan’t fun.”

Amen, honey.

does this look right?

DSCF3727 

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.  Hubby didn’t close the filter basket all the way so it didn’t drain into the pot, instead it backed up all over the counter.  Luckily, since dishwasher is broken and I’ve been hand washing dishes, there was a towel on the counter and it absorbed most of the mess.  Well, the towel kept the coffee from running off the counter and all over the floor, so that was good.