Hi Mom, I Miss You

This used to be one one of my favorite times of year, wI think the weather changing to crisp, autumn days and nights in need of cuddles, but last year something happened that changed , your life forever. My mom, my best friend, my mentor, had a hemorrhagic stroke on October 21st.  That day will forever be the day my world was turned upside down, never to be the same again. 

My mom was a woman of great strength to all who met her. She exuded energy and ultimately life itself. Never did anyone imagine that in a blink of an eye all that life would be changed and then lost just 5 short weeks later when she would take her last breath.  This was the woman I looked up to always for guidance. She wasn’t allowed to just not be here anymore. What was I supposed to do now?

This year has seen many changes brought on by the catalyst of mom leaving this world for the glory of heaven. I have changed and I hope for the better. I don’t take days for granted anymore or the joy of my family. I’ve switched jobs and I am no longer scared of change like I once was. I am happier in some ways, but the fact still remains that I am now, a motherless child. 

It makes no difference how old you are when  you lose your mom, you always need her. I was very fortunate to have her as long as I did. I know, because of  her strength and teachings, that life goes on and that there is still beauty in this world. Last November I wasn’t quite so sure as the days turned into weeks in the hospital. 

I am blessed that mom was here for me when I graduated high school and college, got married, had kids, got divorced, got remarried and had another child. I am blessed now that she is in heaven watching over all of us, probably having a good laugh most of the time and shaking her head the rest. the bottom line is, I am truly blessed. 

I still cry just not so much anymore. It helps me get through the pain that lingers still and I’m sure always will. We have made it through all the firsts with the exception of just a couple coming up. Her birthday and the first anniversary of her death. I still want to pick up the phone and call her. I always will. I miss her voice so much. I wish I could talk to her and hear her reactions to my stories. I so miss her laugh and her little clearing of her throat. I just miss her, but she remains in my heart, always.

My mom always said she would be my best friend someday when I was a teenager and I never believed her. Funny, she was right as always! I wish I was that smart with my kids!

Since mom’s death, I treasure my family even more than before. I drive even more safely. I don’t take unnecessary risks,  not that I did before,  but I’m not in a hurry to leave planet earth for a long time yet.  Maybe when I’m 90. Maybe, if the kids are okay. 

Where Did the Summer Go?

Each year as August rolls around, I ask myself this question. It always seems that once we celebrate the Fourth of July in all its glory, the summer flies by. This year is no exception as time marches forward in spite of our wish for it to slow down ever so slightly. 

In just a couple short weeks the college kids will be heading off to school, my second daughter among those headed away for the first time. Just after that, school starts anew for the rest of them and summer 2016 will be one more in the memory books. 

I have to say that for my kids, my husband, and myself, this has not been a great summer. Most of June I spent in and out of the hospital and the month of July was spent still recouperating from my surgery and complications. We didn’t do anything fun or exciting. We didn’t go anywhere or explore any new fun adventures. We stayed home. We bonded, at times, a little too much, but usually just The right amount! The best part was that most of us were together and grew out family bond. That is worth it’s weight in gold, however. 

If it weren’t for my family, I certainly don’t know how I could have managed. My dad, God bless him, even made me an Apple pie, from scratch! I taught him how to make it several months ago and he’s perfected it now. My beloved aunts have sent notes, recipes and even a piece of apple pie back with my dad, just for me. My cousins and one of my aunts came to visit me. I truly am blessed to have such a loving, caring and wonderful family near and far. It’s their love, actions and prayers that have helped me recover from this wretched surgery and infection. 

This is not to say my friends haven’t been there because they have been. But this is to remind us all just how important family is. The apple pie from my aunt was made by my 93 year old aunt. She lives 90 miles away and sent it home with my brother and my 85 year old dad. Family and love conquers all of given a chance. Respecting the elders in my family and caring for them means that even though my mom may no longer be with us, my family picks up the pieces and holds me in their hearts to care for me like she would have when I need her most. This summer I needed her like I’ve never needed her before. Having my aunts call and write to me has meant more than they will ever know. Their love has carried me through when I was missing my mom the most.

I’m doing much better and I have no doubt that I’m the next few weeks I’ll be fully recovered, but I’m still weak and I still have pain. I’ll get there though. Now most days are good days. Now, it’s time to put this summer and this chapter behind me and look forward to brighter days. I will never forget those who have been so kind to me throughout this summer though. It is through God’s grace, family and friend’s care and support that I am recovering and doing so well. It has been a journey I hope never to revisit. My mother always said when you have your health, you have it all. She was so right. 

Now it is time to look forward to one daughter pursuing her dream to become a nurse, one daughter going aeaybfir the first time to study pre-med and sociology then my youngest kids will be starting the school year at home. Number 3, my amazing artist and hilarious child will begin driving this fall, Lord help us! The youngest child, my beard devil, will be in 4th grade already. As we all day as adults, “just where did the time go”? Wasn’t my 20 year old just in preschool last year? 

Time is a strange thing. Not only does it stop for no one, but it also will heal wounds. Just look at me! I’m much better than I was 2 months ago. I bet you thought I was going to say it heals wounds of the heart. That’s a subject for another day. For now, I will look forward to what is left of this summer and the beginning of a brand new school year with brand new adventures to be had. There’s still a little bit of summer left for me to enjoy!

That Elusive Sleep and Other Short Tales

Oh how I wish I could sleep like normal people. These days it just isn’t happening. Some nights are good, but this isn’t one of them. To top it off, I need the sleep. I’m headed out early in the morning with my brother and my dad to head out of town. 

We are off to a memorial service of a very special woman, my cousin’s wife who lost her battle with cancer recently. She was an exceptionally wonderful and funny person, always so full of life. She fought valiantly to say the least and will be missed by so many. 

As it is, if I were to fall asleep precisely in 3 minutes, I could get up to 4.5 hours of sleep. It’s a good thing I’m not driving, although I am a navigator since we recently were there at the same church for my sweet uncle’s funeral. My brother is driving and was out of town last time. Thank the good Lord above for GPS and Google maps!

I continue to heal these days, but my mind and heart have been rather heavy which is why I haven’t written much. It isn’t anything about my health I’m particular, just that I want so much to be completely back to my old self and I grow so impatient sometimes. There have been a few other issues that burden my heart, but they are mine alone. All I can do is pray for that matter to eventually resolve itself.

We celebrated dear Hubs’ birthday yesterday which was great. The cake that my middle 2 kids made was extraordinary! Bear was the baker and Bug was the sculptor! They even made their own marshmallow fondant! It was delicious too! I have to say, eating a cake so cute and named ‘Beau, the Otter’ is rather hard to do! 

Thursday will mark Hubs and my 10th anniversary. I’m very excited. I can’t say we have anything planned. I’m actually just glad to  not be in a hospital and to be feeling better at this point. Sure, I wish we could do something special, but all I keep thinking is the medical bills will be coming soon. Very soon. I didn’t think we would be where we are at this point in our marriage, in fact, I pictured things quite differently. What I can tell You is this, we have had our own very unique and bumpy journey to get here, but it’s proven that our love is a forever love based on the right values and morals with a foundation of faith. I wouldn’t trade this man in for anything. No one else would or could put up with the highly emotional, sometimes irrational, often overthinking, loud-mouthed, opinionated, but thoroughly lovable me. Thank you Jim from the bottom of my heart, for always supporting me No matter what! I never truly understood love until I married you.

Understanding: Hard But Necessary

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As many of you know, I love prompts. I just happened to notice today’s word prompt is understanding. How very appropriate in so many levels. Of only more people could learn to be understanding of others there would be less violence, intolerance and bullying in this world. Imagine, if you will, a world where others could understand or at least accept the differences that are present between different cultures. Of this was true, there would be so much less violence. It wouldn’t fix everything, of course, because you will forever have the outliers who like to prove everyone wrong, those extremists in every culture, but there would be so many fewer of them. They wouldn’t be taught intolerance and hate, instead, they would be taught love, acceptance and understanding of differences. I have tried to raise my children with this outlook and they are different. They do not hate.

Think of the most recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida. 50 innocent lives. Now there are mothers grieving the losses of their children. Brothers, sisters and fathers all crying over their son or their daughter who just happened to be born gay and decided to go out for a night out. Not everyone in that club was gay, I can almost guarantee it. But the shooter hated gay people so much, he didn’t see these  people as human beings with lives and families. He saw them only as gay. So, will they shoot me because I’m a woman with blonde hair and blue eyes and I am Catholic? No, I would be shot because I “sympathize” with the “gays”. I sympathize with humanity and I weep for the future. If there is no understanding in this world and no tolerance then I weep for the future of this world. What a horrible place I have left to my children. All I can do is pray and that info every day. For my family,  for the victims of these tragedies, and for those who hate.

While I Was Sleeping…

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Dreams are so strange, especially when you are stuck taking pain medication. I’ve just woken up from a dream where I was a waitress and I was working my first day. I went to take my first order and there Sat a gentleman who wanted a fried egg and rice on the side or so I thought I heard. He was rude as one woman screamed in my ear and another man was talking at the same time. I asked him to repeat it amongst the chaos and still heard the same thing. The dream lasted forever with people speaking at me from all sides. When I tried to write his order on my pad, it was a pad of paper that was filled with tiny little bits of paper. I had nowhere to write it down. The rude man in the left was laughing and saying I couldn’t even handle being a waitress. I kept saying but I’m really a registered nurse. I’m helping out in here. He kept laughing and saying more rude things implying I couldn’t be a real nurse either anymore than I was a real waitress. All I can say is thank God I woke up!

The moral to this story? Hell if I know, but, I will tell you I was a waitress as my first job and I tried my best. I was just 16 and wasn’t very good. I tried hard and probably could have done alright eventually. I am grateful to all the wait staff out there. I know what a difficult job it is and I appreciate what they do every day so that I don’t have to cook and I can enjoy a meal out with my family and friends once in a while.

I am also grateful that I make a pretty good nurse. Nursing is a calling and not just anyone can be a great nurse. Thankfully for me, I made the right career choice. It’s a versatile and ever growing field. Of you don’t like where you are, there is always someplace else you will probably fit in.

Tales Post-Op: Home at Last

I can’t tell you how glad I am to be home.  I did absolutely enjoy being pampered by the extraordinarily kind nurses at the hospital for 5 days, but there really is no place like home.  I love my soft, clean, fresh sheets.  I do, however, miss the bed that raises up and down.  The pain caused from that movement can be described as less than favorable at the moment.  If you don’t know, I had a large abdominal surgery last Friday so my tummy muscles are crying right now with activities I normally do without blinking. In this edition of Deirdre’s Daily Dose, I hope to amuse you with some antics of the “far away, far out” me induced by pain medication and other journeys over the last 5 days.  I wish it won’t bother you in any way, and that you can follow it, because, well, I’m stoned on Norco and tramadol at the moment and keeping my eyes open is hard enough!
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First of all, everything takes 1o times longer to accomplish thanks to my pain medication. For instance, just this minute, I started typing, zoned out, I think I may have even fallen asleep, and all I keep hearing in my head is an earlier conversation about naming a future dog Edgar.  So, in that “away” time from blogging, my finger fit the “d” and stayed there for many rows of, yes, you guessed it, “d’s”.  Grrrrr! I had to erase all of them.  What a pain! I keep falling asleep during this paragraph and dreaming.  Just little short dreams about the strangest things.  If I could just stay awake to write.  This would be such a funny post, I tell myself.

In regards to sleeping and the medications, let me tell you a couple of things.  First, the dreams are so weird.  Very colorful, but I always dream in color, these dreams are in strange, off the wall colors most of the time.  I can fall asleep in seconds and often do.  So, I may be talking to you, then the eyes close, I’ll still be talking to you but the dreaming starts while I’m talking to you.  I’m in two different places at the same time.  How bizarre!  My eyes are so happy when they are closed right now.  I know my body has lots of healing to do, but I simply can’t keep my eyes open for very long.  It’s not even that I’m not interested in what you’re saying.  I’m very interested, but my eyes and my body are so tired. And reading, well just forget it.  If it’s very short, I may get through it.  I may have to have someone read to me. What normally would take me a few minutes could literally take me all day.  Writing this is taking far more time than it ever would if I weren’t under the influence of medications.  And, this is what I love more than anything else.  Sharing my time with you.  Sharing my thoughts with you.

I do look and feel like a pin cushion presently.  I have gone through my surgery which was done laprascopically. Because of this, I don’t have one giant incision.  I am fortunate to have 2 poke holes, one small incision and a larger incision which is still relatively small.  but still, I’m marked for life, again.  Dad said, regarding my abdominal surgeries that I should have a zipper placed in my abdomen.  I teased him and said, “well I have one already.  Haven’t you seen it?  It’s all the rage in the frequently operated abdomens this summer?” This was my eighth abdominal surgery in the last 20 years.  Man, I’m one tough nut to crack.  Soon, they will run out of things to take out.  I’m like the patient in the game “Operation”.

As far as my IV’s and needle pokes, well, my veins have decided that they’d like a rest.  I was stabbed 12 times in 5 days for my IV’s thanks to my veins deciding to be sissies.  They just didn’t want to play nice with the needles. You see, as a nurse, I know how long the IV’s should last, and mine usually only last 24 hours.  I did have the last one for 48 hours before it infiltrated, but there were a few days I needed 2 IV’s as well.  That was not fun.  They should last 72 hours.  Next time, I’m suggesting a central line.  That’s it.  My arms are various shades of black, blue, purple, yellow and green from the various bruising.  Fun times.  Oh Yeah!

Now, let us talk about fluid.  surgeons love to make sure you are overfilled with fluids.  I am no exception.  That wasn’t a problem with a catheter to take care of the urine I was producing, but Day 2, my friend, the cath, went bye bye. Up and down, up and down. Painfully I made that trek while the fluids ran in liter after liter through my veins.  I even started getting puffy little feet and hands.  I was looking like a puffy little marshmallow with those excessive fluids.  Love me them lactacted ringers! Eventually, they were turned off and my puffiness started to decline and is still declining.  I still weigh more than I did entering into my surgery though.  That I’m not a big fan of, but it will go.  Eventually.

I’m now up and about more that I was, when I’m not falling asleep at a moment’s notice. I’m starting to feel better, but I’m reminded with pain when it’s time to take my little friends, tramadol and norco.  I’ve got a regiment going on and hope it will be just a short term one.  I hate the feeling of loopiness in my brain.  My kids laugh at the way I speak after the norco.  I just want to sleep  Ah, there’s the twinge again.  Time for my date with T and N.  I’ll be off for now.  Wouldn’t want to fall asleep on you again and have another odd dream to attempt to tell you about!

Ta-Ta for now!

Deleriously Dreaming Deirdre! xo

As I Lay in my Hospital Bed

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My fabulous babies!

Good evening! Salutations to you all! I am starting to feel a little better from surgery last Friday, but I know I have a very long way to go. There is so much work in the department of my health. Of course that can be a very daunting expectation to dwell on, especially if you are in my current state of altered consciousness! Pain medication is my friend!

I worry about going home tomorrow because there are always things to do! There are meals to plan for as well as pleasing everyone. Well, I have help and my help says as do i, like it or lump it! That will be my new mantra I’ve decided. I’m not catering to the masses after this surgery.

I love my family with all my heart. I’m so proud of the fact my oldest came home tonight to care for me me. She washed my face, hair and my back. She went into nurse mode. I’m so proud of her. My second daughter came up earlier and took care of me too with the baby girl of our house. I’m a happy mama knowing that I must be doing something right.

 

I Have a Great Profession

As sick as I am in this hospital bed, I know I am annoying to cope with.  I hate using my call light.  I try to do things on my own.  I just do.  I am this way because I’m a nurse.  I know what it feels like to be torn in several directions at the same time and not know what way to turn.  I remember those days well although it’s been years.

Tonight, I am just so proud of being a part of such a wonderful profession.  I have been cared for so well so far on this hospital trip.  I am not my normal lucid self most of the time.  Right now, I’m having a rare lucid moment and I’m snatching it up to share it with you. It’s very difficult to type with tubes and wires attached everywhere, but they are necessary.  I will soon be given my pain medicine again and no longer be lucid.

My dear ones, just hug all the nurses that are in your lives.  They really do go through so much at work and deserve your undying love at home.  I don’t say this for myself, but for all the nurses still working in the hospital.  Being a patient brings to mind countless memories of the good, the bad and the downright ugly.  Nursing isn’t a job, it’s a calling!

Carpe Diem! Well, I’ll Be Sleeping

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While you all are working away today, I’ll be sleeping and drugged. No worries, I promise it’s totally fine and within the law. I’ll be under anesthesia then drugged for pain relief! Woo-hoo! Go me, for my strange anatomical anomalies!

Yes, for those who have been keeping up on my posts and my pancreas, the day is here. It’s surgery day at last! Yippee-kai-yay! I am, at last, going to have the great big surgery to relieve the pain from my nearly 4 cm pancreatic cyst.

With the removal of said cyst, they must remove half of the pancreas and all of my spleen as well. This is my biggest abdominal surgery to date. It is also the most complex which will land me in the hospital for 3-7 days depending on how they perform the surgery. Can I get a hoorah!

I’ve had all of the emotions this week that one would expect going into such a large and complex surgery. I’ve been mostly peaceful but have also experienced some grieving emotions as well. Why? Well, although I know I will, or should live a normal and healthy life afterwards, I will be more prone to infection due to lack of my spleen, and it’s such a big surgery. It’s scary going under the knife once again. And hey, I am losing body bits. They aren’t exactly the bits I’d care to lose, either, like fat!

I’ve been waiting patiently and not so patiently to have this taken care of, yet now, it’s here. My Hubs, and greatest supporter, will have to continue to care for me but eventually I will be better. I look forward to having the energy and wherewithal to function like a normal human again! I’m sure the Fam would like that too!

So here I am, waiting and awake while I should be sleeping in my bed, but sleep won’t come just yet. This will be my 8th abdominal surgery. They need to simply pop in some zippers instead of seeing me shut! Oh well, carry on surgeons. Carry on! And out with the ickiness!