Archive for May, 2009

My life this week has revolved around St. Thomas Hospital. 

I know St. Thomas really well.  We’ve been hanging out there off and on for about 30 years, beginning with a surgery my Dad had in 1979 and then with his cancer diagnosis in 1983 through his death in 1992.  Mom’s husband after Dad spent a great deal of time at St. Thomas between 1997 and when he died in 2004. 

It still smells the same.  Some of the decor is the same.  When Mom went into her room night before last, I was instantly taken back…this scene right here


The ugly paneling on the closet and the sign for patients about to be discharged…one of those scenes you don’t think about when you go years without seeing it but then, when you see it, it’s like jumping in a time machine. 

I get the same, Time Machine effect when I walk down the hallway….the clocks…same ones they’ve had since forever.


I wandered downstairs for a few minutes today while the nurses were doing some stuff with Mom.  I’ve always loved the chapel at the hospital.  Even as a kid, I thought it was a most peaceful, lovely room. 


They have a prayer book in there where people can write their prayers.  What a neat touch.  I’ve been one to write my prayers for a long time.  I blame the ADD for not being able to focus when I verbally pray, although I do verbally pray a lot, I like writing them.  Like C.S. Lewis said, prayer doesn’t help God, but, it sure helps me. (Or something like that)


Mama and Them

I’m pretty worn out from this long day, but, wanted to get a couple things outta my head of stuff I saw and experienced.

First, Mom came through her surgery fine.  She underwent a cystectomy.   It probably took about 5 hours, a little longer than expected.  A couple of the lymph nodes right by the bladder had some cancer in them, but, the doc said the good thing about lymph nodes is they can be removed.  Her liver, spleen, etc all looked good.

We were kinda expecting some issues coming out of the anesthesia and breathing on her own (have I mentioned here that if you smoke, you might oughta think about quitting for times like this especially??).  We didn’t get to see her until about 10:00 tonight but when I saw her, she looked pretty good, considering.  They were giving her some blood and she was still out of it. 

I just got a text from my sister that said that the fun has begun…she was waking up a little and sitting up and not realizing she was sitting up, wanting to sit up.  Ahh…the joys of post-surgery conversation….Sandra’s staying there tonight and I’ll get tomorrow night. 

Thank you to the coolest Reverend around, Matt, who came by and it was about more than we could stand for our good friend Dean/Geega to show up.  Dean has been helping his wife of 52 years fight Multiple Myeloma.  That he sat with us in the waiting room today for a few hours….no words.  Thanks also to so many friends and family members who kept in touch, largely via Facebook, and offered support and prayers for us today.  It DOES make a difference. 

I’m a People Watcher and a hospital waiting room is the perfect place to engage in such activity.  There’s pockets of families waiting all over the place.  We had the Clampetts right in front of us and I swear, I couldn’t hardly look at them without breaking into laughter. (Yes, I’m bad. Youda laughed too if you’da seen them)

There was another family sitting across from us.  Didn’t really notice them at first.  A little after Matt left, I saw a doctor come in.  I could tell by the way he was walking and the look on his face that he was not walking in there to bring good news.

The doctor sat down and began talking with a man who looked to be about 55.  Suddenly, the man broke down and the young man sitting next to him, who I presumed to be his son, also broke down. 

Nothing gets to me like seeing a man cry.  These two men had their arms around each other, trying their best to comfort one another…then the other family members present began to cry.  The man told the doctor “I know you did all you could….”    

It was totally gut wrenching.  I felt like I was totally invading their privacy but you couldn’t help but look and feel the pain of what these people were feeling.   There was a guy sitting next to us, with his head buried in his laptop, but, he made the comment later how horrible that was. 

The doctor stayed and talked with this family a long time.  I didn’t see this, but, my sister said that when he got up to leave, he hugged the man and wiped tears from his eyes as he walked away. 

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, other people congregated with this family, most of them in tears.  There was a lot of hugging, crying and even in the midst of the sadness these people were experiencing, I could not helped but be moved by the fact that they had each other.  You could see the strength that the man was drawing from whoever all those people were.  The two, grown sons also were strengthened and held up by everyone around them. As sad as it was, it was also a beautiful scene.

You could tell that major decisions were being made right there.  They’d alternate from being totally broken down to business-like. 

Then, a young woman came in carrying what looked to be about a year old baby girl on her hip.  This baby looked like the Gerber baby…beautiful little thing, just learning to walk.  When the baby showed up, the husband who was told devastating news about his wife, melted.  Why?  This was his grandbaby.  Everybody in the group went from crying to smiling when this baby came in.   Babies teach us a lot during times like that.

My own Manchild was such a baby when going on 18 years ago, at the very same hospital we were in today, we brought him directly from Centennial Hospital to St. Thomas to meet his dying grandfather before we even took him home to our house.   When death looms…babies are a reminder that life continues.   Just like the Manchild was for us back in 1992 (and STILL to this day because the Gene Pool dumped a lot of my Dad’s genes onto him)  this Baby Girl is a unique part of the grandmother who lay upstairs breathing only because of a machine.

At one point, the whole bunch gathered, baby included and all went upstairs together.   We all knew what they were going to do. 

I have no clue who these people are, their names…none of that, but  I can tell you this…I will never forget them, their faces, their pain, their tears, their love, their joy…Them.

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

The older I get, the more appreciative and thankful I am to live in the United States of America.   We certainly don’t have everything perfect here but dadgum, we don’t have it so bad.  It’s not so good here just ’cause we’re all so cool and deserving of such wonderfulness to be Americans.  So many sacrifices made by so many.  Real live people who grew up without fathers, like my cousins Don, Dan and Lea-my dear friend Betty; so many….

Yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning, I was so moved by the piece they did on Iraq veterans who are able to get plastic surgery by the finest plastic surgeons in this country.  The two guys featured in the piece, Joey Paulk and Octavio Sanchez are just two of no-telling how many of our veterans have been so disfigured during their time in Iraq.  These were movie star-good looking young men and you can’t tell now that they are even remotely the same person, thanks to some roadside bombs they came in contact with. 

Not only did the bombs rip parts of their faces off , they lost hands, arms, legs, have had umpteen operations and had what little “good” skin they have left to fix their faces.  Octavio lost one of his arms and has no use of his one hand but he kept it JUST SO HE COULD TOUCH HIS CHILDREN. 

I had a skin graft years ago.  It was a very small area on my person where they took skin and put it somewhere else.  It was a painful procedure.  I can’t imagine the pain these guys have gone through having surgery after surgery….getting what “good” skin they have left….these guys touched me like nothing has in awhile and I’m inspired and humbled by their courage.  

The reporter makes a point of how these guys went through this hell on earth…for me.  For you.  For my three kids.  My future grandchildren.   Humbling, indeed.
If you do nothing else today, please click that link up there and watch that short piece on those boys.

Lookin’ Up…

Hey there, Chickens!

Things are lookin’ up over Collie Way…

I have a new job.  Another one. The other New Job was not something I could deal with.  I realize now I’d have done better to stay on the Unemployment instead of take that job (it paid SQUAT-not enough to live on and considering what all was expected of you…no thanks).  I guess I thought that it would be better to do that than NOT work at all. 

It was not a totally negative experience.  I met some interesting people, learned some things I didn’t know, it got me out of the house for 9 weeks and gave me something to do (I really think I’da ended up at the Nuthouse had I not had something to do) but it also gave me something I’d never had before-migraines, unless of course, that was totally coincidental that I started having those the same time I started working there.  I only get them around that “special” time of the month, which I really don’t have anymore.  A friend of mine calls it “The Phantom Rag.”  Heh. 

Anyway, so I’m going to work for this other company and you know how you feel stuff in your gut and know something’s right?  That’s how this is.  I’m very excited.  I will be working close to my Mom’s house, which is good considering she has her surgery this coming Wednesday to deal with this damn cancer.   I’m glad I’ll be close to her.

I still have rent to pay in a week.  I had done a little house cleaning and would love to do a few more this week if anybody wants it and I can swing it with Mom’s surgery and all that.  I’m not too worried about that sorta thing though cause God’s been awfully good to provide for me. 

Speaking of Mom….If praying is your thang, do pray for Mimi/Mom/Barbara/Bobbie/Mrs. Collie-whatever she is to you.  The prognosis is positive.  It’s gonna be hard on her beforehand not being able to smoke her Marblies or drink her coffee.   It’s a rough surgery at any age, but, at going on 75 with COPD, it’s not gonna be easy. 

Foster went to his first Training class this week.  Oh my gosh!  This is the coolest thing.  Miz Nikki knows her stuff and I’m amazed just since Monday, our first class, how Foster is really…I don’t know how to explain it really-it’s like he really wants to please me.   He does sooo good with the Sitting and with the whole Control thing with the food.  His biggest problem is mouthing and nipping.  I know that’s part of the whole working breed that he is and we’re working on it. 

Foster is also a very horny dog.  I notice when he gets nippy and irritating is the same time he is wanting to hump everything he sees.  Dr. Heather the Vet won’t neuter him til he’s 6 months old.  Nikki said I should find somebody who would neuter him sooner.  What to do?  

I’m noticing this week that he’s really getting affectionate towards me.  I mean, he’s liked me since the day I got him and all but he knows his name now, knows me and my habits (he hides under the bed when I get in the shower because he knows that usually means I’m going somewhere and he’ll have to get in the crate!) and the Potty Training thing is really going good.  I took him for his 2nd Vet visit yesterday and the Vet said his kinda breed is the kind that outsmarts their owners.  He is smart for sure.  He has doubled his weight since I first took him to the vet.  He weighed 7 lbs that day.  He weighed 17.5 yesterday. 

The other night, I had gone to Spin Class and I was tired and thought maybe we could skip our Daily Constitutional for just one night but Foster would have none of it.  He started the nippin’ thing and was staring at me, with that one Photo-1327ear up and one down thing, tongue hanging out as if to say “Um…aren’t you forgetting something”  So we went and walked later in the evening and he was very happy. 

He’s done something for me here lately that I can’t quite describe.  I don’t even mind (too much) when passing cars at the park stop me to ask what kind of dog he is.  That happens just about everyday.  He seems to make other people, besides me, smile.    That is very cool.


Ya know, if I were graduating from Notre Dame University and the President were coming to speak at my graduation…I would be aggravated if the big highlight of the speech was on abortion. 

I know Notre Dame’s a Catholic university.  I know they don’t like that Obama is pro-choice. 

He’s the frickin’ President of the United States…the Leader of the Free World…and it all boils down to abortion?

This is why I don’t like politics.

The Joys of COPD, 10 Year Old Logic and Potty Training

Life is funny.  I mean, sometimes ya just gotta laugh at it.  I’m so not up to telling the tale again but I will mention the whole job situation is different.  I should have good news to report in the next few days so for now, don’t ask me what happened.  It’s not that exciting and I’m trying to forget it and move on to the next page.

Mom didn’t have her surgery today as was scheduled because she got pretty sick with bronchitis and pneumonia last week.  She is doing better from that but still having a time getting her strength back. 

Need I say again if you smoke….quit.  Just do it and save your family and yourself lotsa trouble later on.  It just complicates everything.  Everytime Mom gets a cold, etc. she gets this horrendous bronchitis thanks to the COPD.  I don’t mind and I know my sister doesn’t mind tending to her or being there when she needs us to be.  It is hard on everybody and things all have to be shuffled around, sometimes late at night when she has a panic spell because she can’t breathe, as happened last Friday night at 9:35. 

#2 was most unhappy about having to go over to Mimi’s that late.  He griped and moaned and I gave him the Guilt Trip speech about “What would you do when you have one of your headaches (he has migraines) and me or Dad wouldn’t help you or do whatever we have to do to make you feel better?”   Eh.  Deaf ears.

Funny thing was though…Saturday afternoon, #2 got to thinking that the next day was Sunday and that might mean he may have to go unto the House of the Lord. This brought him some anxiety and he musta spent a lotta time conjuring up this suggestion he made to me…with a totally straight face..”Um, Mom….you know, Mimi might need us tomorrow so we might oughta stay home from church so we can look after her.”  I screamed laughing. Little stinker.

And here we have some moving pictures of Foster, who is getting bigger by the second.  We are seriously working on potty training (like Dr. Heather the Vet predicted, his early go-round at potty training was great but by 11-12 weeks they sometimes regress.  Foster regressed.)

We walked today out at the park in Hendersonville and I was shocked at how much trash and duck poop covers what could be a really nice park. Mayor Foster (ironic that name huh?) Hendersonville can do better than this.

The One Where I Sound Like Eyeore

I wish I could get my pal Holly to write me a blog post.  She is so incredibly gifted at writing about deep things that frankly, I’m not always smart enough to totally get what she’s saying, but, it’s always so poetic and gorgeous, even if what she’s relating   may not make her feel so poetic and gorgeous.  (That was a mouthful, wasn’t it? See how un-coordinated I am?)

I’m totally overwhelmed this evening. 

First on my mind, is my mother’s upcoming surgery.  It is scheduled for next week.  I’m not sure if it will happen because she is fighting some crud. 

She called me last night, voicing concern over her crud and the impending surgery.  I don’t think I was able to comfort her and I feel like a horrible daughter.  I can’t stand to hear my mother have fear or sadness in her voice.  She and I both have a tendency to mask our pain and because we aren’t ooey-gooey affectionate with one another, I didn’t know what to say to her but my gosh…I can’t stand for my mother to be scared, sad, or anything like that. 

In other news…work? Totally sucks.  Trying to avoid being victim-ish, but, in a word, it’s a horrible job and I’m totally beating myself up for giving up my State job back in the fall for the higher paying job.  I’m sure there’s some deep lesson to be learned but you know what?  F&#k deep lessons.  I’ve bout had it up to Here with deep lessons.  

This has been a season of crap and I know it will pass.

On the Upside…Foster is fun and makes me laugh…