Monday, October 8, 2012

Counting blessings while time flies

Wow, It has been a while since I last posted. I have literally had no time to blog. Just a heads up, this blog post is not going to be much about teaching today.  My life has been a serious roller coaster ride over the last few months and I am going to use my blog to vent, praise, and brag a little today :-)

If you have been following me for a while then you are aware that back in March my sweet Daddy, who is in advanced stages of Alzheimer's Disease, fell down the front steps at his home and broke his hip. He had to be hospitalized and have surgery to replace part of his hip. He then had to be placed in a nursing home for rehabilitation, during this time we came to realize that his wife (not my mother - my mother passed away 20 years ago) was not taking care of him the way she had lead us all to believe. She was elderly herself, 9 years older than my dad actually which means she was in her late 80's. I ended up taking over responsibility for his healthcare by becoming his healthcare surrogate. I am the youngest of 4 kids but I am the one closest to my dad so my brothers and sister decided that I would be the best person to be in that position. It has been a very difficult position to be in but I have a great deal of support from my siblings. Anyway, we decided that my dad needed to be placed in a nursing home on a permanent basis. His health was declining more and more every day.

In May we moved him to a nursing home closer to me and he has been there ever since. About 6 weeks ago I received a phone call from the social worker at the facility, she said that my dad was not eating or drinking and that he was considered malnourished and dehydrated. I had to decide whether or not to place him on a feeding tube. I discussed it with my siblings and we decided not to do the feeding tube because we knew that our father has a living will that says he doesn't want those types of things. So I told the social worker no and she informed me that we would then have to turn his care over to Hospice for Adult Failure to Thrive. That was a difficult day. Putting my Dad in hospice felt like I was giving up. It was hard but I did it.

Then about 3 weeks ago my brother went to see my dad and he found a HUGE wound on my dad's elbow, I had been to see him 2 days earlier and it wasn't there. My brother pointed it out to the nurse and she immediately called the doctor. They put him on antibiotics and put antibiotic ointment on it and wrapped it. The next day I received a phone call from the doctor and he told me that he had looked at my father's wound and he was 100% convinced that it was an ulcerated tumor - basically a skin cancer tumor that has been growing under his skin and then finally burst through causing the huge icky wound. He asked me if I wanted to send him to an oncologist to "officially" diagnose it and find out about treatment options. I told him no, because even if it was cancer I was not going to put my frail elderly father through chemotherapy. He wouldn't know what was going on, all he would know was he felt awful! The whole reason we put him on Hospice was to keep him pain free and comfortable and chemotherapy would not do either of those things. Again another very difficult decision but one that I had to make.

Things started to calm down and then, a couple Sunday's ago my brother called me and told me that my dad's wife had passed away. That was the only time I was thankful for my dad's Alzheimer's because he would have been very upset if he had understood she was gone.

It seemed to me like my life was on a downward spiral I hated my job, I was constantly worried about my dad and I spent a lot of time crying and praying. I lived (and still do) by a part of the Bible that my mother always told me (which are also lyrics of a song now) "He said 'I won't give you more than you can take' He might let you bend but He won't let you break" and "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" I knew that if God had started all this in my life He would be with me through it all. It seemed like every time something good would happen 2 things bad would follow it.

All that started changing though earlier last week when I got a phone call from my dad's doctor. He told me that the wound on my dad's elbow - that was supposedly cancer - was completely healed! The wound was completely gone! Then on Thursday this past week I got another phone call, it was from my dad's nurse, she said that the doctor had come to see him again and that he had his medication changed. She said that instead of receiving potassium twice a day he would only have it once a day. I asked what that meant and he said it meant he was getting better with his nourishment and hydration.

This past weekend I thought was going to be another blah weekend with things not going great! I had to replace my son's broken iPhone so we went to the cell store and I had looked online and was fully expecting to pay $350 to replace his phone, plus another $120 to replace my Otterbox case and buy a new one for my son's replacement phone ($60 for a case!!!! Don't get me started). Well the rep at the store looked at my account and said "Yeah we can do a replacement for his phone for $350 OR we can do an upgrade on YOUR phone and you can get an iPhone 4S for $99 and then give him your iPhone 4" I jumped right on that  deal because I may only teach Kindergarten but I know paying $99 is way better than paying $350 plus I got to upgrade MY phone :-) I also mentioned that I needed to get 2 new cases. Well she starts talking to my husband and I about switching out cable service from Brighthouse to AT&T U-Verse and when my husband was hesitating she said "OK, if you sign up today I'll give you this package (which was more channels than we currently have for $50 a month less), as well as a $100 credit which will pay for the iPhone upgrade, AND I'll give you one of the cases for free!" So we signed up for it!! So in essence I got my phone and $60 OtterBox case for free, my son got his phone for free since it was my old phone, and we only paid for his OtterBox case, plus we are going to be saving $50 a month on our cable/internet/phone bill! Score 1for us!!! It was AWESOME!! I was really excited about that deal. But wait there's more...

On Sunday I went to see my dad, usually when I see him we just go in get him and take him to the courtyard and I don't get much of a chance to talk to his nurses. Well when we got there it was lunch time so I went and sat with him while his CNA fed him, his nurse came in and she said to me "I can not believe the changes that have come over him in the last couple weeks, ALL of his wounds have healed and he has started eating a LOT." His CNA said that he had eaten his entire breakfast the last few days, and that he had eaten the majority of his lunch and dinner on those days as well. I watched her as she fed him and he ate about 3/4 of his lunch where a couple weeks ago he would have taken 2 bites and then refused to eat anymore. His nurse went on to tell me "In the 13 years I have been nursing I have NEVER seen anyone turn around like this! He is going eat himself right out of Hospice!" I am so happy that he is doing well!

I'm not done yet there's more... (I sound like one of those As Seen on TV people) On the way home from visiting my dad, my husband and I were discussing when we would be able to take another trip to California to see his daughter (my step-daughter) and our granddaughters. We wanted to be able to take our 2 sons as well. I texted my boys and asked them if we planned a trip to California to see their sister would they like to come along - they haven't seen her in over 10 years and they have never met their nieces - they both of course said YES! We were trying to decide between Thanksgiving break, spring break or next summer. My oldest son said that the only time he could go was if we went before January because he begins the police academy in January. That pretty much settled it, we would be going for Thanksgiving! We are all SO excited! It is so exciting to have something to look forward to!! My husband and I went in June of 2011 and it was the first time we met our granddaughters and it was the first time we had seen his daughter in about 10 years as well. We had gotten a great deal with Southwest the last time we went so I went to the Southwest website to search flight prices. I also went to a couple of those travel websites to see if Southwest had the best deal, they had the best fare - it would have been $2200 for the 4 of us with 2 stops each way. I decided to wait until Monday to buy the tickets, not sure why but something told me to wait. Then around 9:00 last night I was watching TV in my bed and I was playing with my new phone and saw that there was an app for Kayak, so I opened it up and I put in our travel info and hit search - The first thing that popped up was American Airlines and it said $1404 and I thought "Oh I must not have put "round trip" this must be the price of 4 one way tickets. So I pulled out my computer and went to the American Airlines website and put in the info and it came up again! It WAS round trip and it was only 1 stop each way!!! I couldn't believe it!! I found our tickets for $800 cheaper and for a better flight. Even with the baggage charge that AA has that Southwest doesn't it still came out to be $650 - $700 cheaper (depending on how many suitcases I need LOL) Plus it is a more direct flight. The southwest flight took us from Orlando to St. Louis, then to Vegas, then to Sacramento! This flight we go from Orlando to Dallas/Fort Worth and then to Sacramento and we have the exact same path coming home! I am SOOOOO excited that I waited and found such a great fare! I also got to pick our seats so no worries about making sure we are all together.
My step-daughter is SO excited that we are coming and we couldn't be happier to be spending Thanksgiving with her and her family. My boys (19 and 22 years old) have never flown before so they are both super psyched about that and seeing their sister. The only thing that could make this better would be if our daughter would be able to come but she is practically married and has 2 families, she spent Thanksgiving with us last year so This year they can go to his family's and she won't have to feel guilty.

Finally, after such an awesome weekend I thought, it can't get any better, but I was wrong! I woke up this morning to an email saying that my DonorsChoose project had been funded!!! I am getting 2 iPod Touchs for my classroom!!!! I am SOOOOOOO psyched and so happy right now. I am trying really hard to enjoy it and not worry that something bad will happen LOL

Sorry to have rambled on and on and provided nothing of real educational value.


  1. I'm especially glad to hear about your dad. What a blessing his better health must be to you and your family. Bless you.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. It may not be educational, but it is definitely uplifting. So glad things are going well for you and your family.

    Kinder Kraziness

  3. That was a difficult day. Putting my Dad in hospice felt like I was giving up.

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  4. You may have rambled, but it well done! hope everything is still going well. liz