Archive for April, 2011

Where We Are Now

‘Hospice’ is one of those two-edged words that either fills your heart with dread or fills your heart with relief, depending on your circumstances.

My heart is filled with relief today.

Daddy has gotten steadily weaker, with a marked decline over the last few days. Our best guess is that he has probably had another mini-stroke. He is not suffering or hurting, and he is still well aware of everything and everybody around him, though he is speaking less and less– almost not at all now.  The most crucial development is that he is so weak he can no longer stand alone or get around at all, even with his walker (and Mom right behind him, with her patented hand-on-his-waistband technique!)

When my sister Carolyn and her husband David brought dinner to them a couple of nights ago, they immediately noticed Daddy’s weakened condition.  It was a long and stressful evening as they tried to figure out exactly what had happened. They went out and rented a wheelchair from the local drugstore right away, but transferring him in and out of the chair is very difficult as he can’t really help them much. Carolyn and David stayed overnight just to monitor the situation, and by morning they knew Daddy needed to see a doctor. They took him in that afternoon, along with my brother Jonny and sister Liz, and it was in the doctor’s office that the H-word was finally said out loud. Dr. Taggart has treated Mom and Dad for years now, and is always very sweet with them. He gently broached the fact that at 95, when your days are waning, you usually either get an illness like pneumonia that takes you quickly, or your body just starts shutting down– and it appeared as though that’s what was happening with Daddy. He explained that hospice offers lots of services that they could utilize for the next six months if they needed them. He finally just simply looked around at my family’s sober faces and said, “It’s time.”

A male nurse on a big red motorcycle came the very next day to sign them up for hospice and assess Daddy’s current condition. Here’s a couple of classic Mom moments, by the way– a perfect example of how much I love and admire her spirit AND how thoroughly exasperating she can be!

The first one: as the nurse outlined the different services available he mentioned that they offered spiritual support in the form of a Baptist minister that could stop by if they desired. Now, you guys know my mom’s reputation, right? That woman loves nothing more than a ‘robust discussion’ about the Bible– just don’t get her started on religious doctrine! Having grown up in a rather obscure, rigid type of denomination, she has a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your perspective) skepticism about people staking claim to the particular passage of scripture and then building a religion around it. Mom knows her Bible backwards and forwards and has no qualms about telling you her opinions and challenging yours. (She has worn out many an unsuspecting pastor over the years, like the one at my niece Leah’s wedding rehearsal dinner a few years ago… He sat down next to her and casually started chatting about God and faith and other pastoral stuff– no doubt thinking that since Mom looked like such a sweet little old lady, she would sit in rapt attention as he held forth. About 45 minutes later, he staggered out looking like he didn’t know what hit him as Mom primly smoothed her skirt and murmured, “I think I gave him some new things to think about…” Yeah.

So anyway, when the male nurse mentioned that they could send over a live one, er, Baptist minister to talk with Mom if she wanted, all of my siblings in the room paused for a minute and then burst out laughing! They said things like, “Tell him to be sure and bring his Bible” and then cracked themselves up again– when Carolyn told me this on the phone, my first response was, “I hope they have some other preachers warming up in the bullpen, because she’ll make short work of that one!” But the best part was that as my brothers and sisters were making smart remarks and giggling, Mom just sat there with a naughty glint in her eye, rubbing her hands together and gleefully said, “Oh, GOODY!”

Ya gotta love her.

On the other hand… Even though the nurse (and the doctor and every one of her grown children) carefully explained to Mom that she needs to stop trying to get Daddy to stand up, she has simply refused to listen. She is sure that if she can just get him moving again, he’ll get stronger. The nurse said, “He’s entering a different phase now. It’s not about trying to make progress, it’s about making sure he’s as comfortable as possible.” He concluded by saying, “He won’t be growing stronger now, he’ll be getting weaker.” And my mom, that stubborn little pistol, didn’t pay any attention to his gentle explanation of the reality of Daddy’s condition and prognosis. She just defiantly raised her chin and said quietly and evenly, “You wanna bet?”

The thing is, she’s scared to death. Her companion of 73 years is fading, and soon he’s going to be leaving. He’s abandoning her. I swear, sometimes the fear and confusion in her eyes makes her look like she’s 5 years old. It is heartbreaking, and very frightening because her refusal to acknowledge that she can’t make him better and stronger through the sheer force of her will could result in her pushing him beyond his limits, and maybe putting both of them in danger. If you’re the praying sort, this is where we need it most– please pray that God’s own peace will envelop and comfort her through all of these scary changes, and that her strong, strong faith will guide her to a place of acceptance. Pray that she can let him go.

My brother Matt, who lives here in Nashville, drove home to Arkansas today to help out for a few days. I think the hospital bed is being delivered today, so there’s sure to be a lot of rearranging of rooms and furniture moving going on. I might tag-team him and head down when he comes back– we’re just figuring this out on a day to day basis. I’m sorry my posting has been so sparse, but this has all been unfolding kind of fast and furious this week. I have read each and every one of your sweet texts and emails and FB posts and tweets– thank you so much for your love and kindness towards my family, it means more than I can tell you. Gee, between Sarah’s brain tumor and my aging parents I’m kind of a big ol’ prayer hog lately, aren’t I?! Thank God for the power of prayer, but believe me– NOBODY is more ready to not have to ask for prayer than me!

I’ll update this tomorrow when I get more information. Love you guys.

73rd Wedding Anniversary

August, 2010

OK–you guys? Are NUTS!!!


I had a brief moment of thinking maybe I shouldn’t post again for a few weeks just to see how high these comment numbers could get, but of course you know me– I could not possibly keep my mouth/laptop shut for that long!

I have LOLed my little head off watching these numbers climb to such dizzying heights. What can I ever post that will possibly generate 600+ comments again– short of a cure for cancer, free money giveaway or an unexpected pregnancy? (Wait– that wouldn’t generate comments, that would elicit screams. FROM ME.)

Aw, who am I kidding? This has nothing to do with my post! The ‘Bloomr is really just a little international cyber-Starbucks/corner pub where we drop in, look around and see who’s here, break into a big grin and wave when we recognize our friends and pop over and join them at their table for a little bit… Doesn’t that sound just like us?! The post just gives us all a place to congregate– and you have parked at this table for the longest time, which just delights me to no end. And since this wonderfully excessive gathering may never happen again, I’m just gonna sit back, relax and enjoy the phenomenon! Give me a minute while I pretend that I have dooce or The Pioneer Woman-level readership, and just bask in the  glow of those astoundingly ridiculously high comment numbers…. *sigh*

Ok, basking time over. Seriously, I have gotten such a kick out of this– especially catching up on the conversations between all of you. Small j has expanded his search for the perfect root beer, Rachel’s sharing her lyrics, prayers have gone up on behalf of delightedabroad and GrammaJac’s loved ones, the comparative merits of Russ’ body of work have been discussed, links have been shared, delurkers have surfaced… I feel like we’ve all had a real good visit, as we say in the South!

Well, I have indeed been all over the place since I last posted. Most notably I flew to Seattle as one of the Nintendo brand ambassadors to be a part of the launch of the Nintendo 3DS. (I’ll be posting about my fabulous trip over on the review page of this blog in a few days, so I’ll give you a heads-up when it’s ready.)

Anyway, I was supposed to come home on Saturday along with four other Nashville bloggers, but when we landed in Denver at about 6:30 p.m. to catch a connecting flight in to Nashville, we hit a glitch. A lot of flights had been cancelled, probably because of that Southwest plane that suddenly developed about a 5 foot hole in its fuselage the day before, and the plane we were supposed to take to Nashville was grounded in San Antonio. Sadly, it didn’t look very promising that we would make it home that night. Apparently IF our plane was going to make it to Denver at all, it wouldn’t arrive until after midnight. And then IF it was going to be allowed to go on to Nashville, we wouldn’t get home until around 3 or 4 a.m. But the worst part was that we were looking at sitting around the airport for over 5 hours before we would even know what was going to be happening– and if we did get stranded, then we would desperately be running around the airport in the middle of the night trying to find a place to sleep and trying to book another flight home for the next day. This was not acceptable to any of us, so we quickly made a group decision, got a plan together, and headed straight for the Frontier Airlines Customer Service desk…

Just to give you a visual, here are the cast of characters/Nashville blog-a-licious babes that I shared my Denver adventure with (photo courtesy of Lindsay of Suburban Turmoil):

From L to R: Lindsay,  Jamie of Blonde Mom Blog, Calie of Broccoli Cupcake and Carrie of TikiTiki Blog.

Seriously– can you even IMAGINE a better group to be stranded with?! How cute are they?

We unanimously elected Carrie as Chief Negotiator (she’s Cuban– we figured we might need some fire and passion, ya never know) with Jamie and Calie ready to tag-team her if needed. Lindsay and I grabbed ourlaptops, plopped down on the floor and began a genteel Southern women version of a Twitter assault, to wit:

And here’s the best part– within MINUTES I received this tweet:

That, my friends, is the power of social media! We politely asked for help and they responded. Yes, somehow our voices managed to be heard above all of the hue and cry out there in the vast internet wasteland by the Frontier powers-that-be– and lo, we were given the blessed vouchers!

After reclaiming luggage, we caught a shuttle over to a W hotel at the edge of the airport and thankfully checked in. We then walked across the parking lot to the local Applebees and proceeded to scarf down our long overdue dinner while (*BONUS*) quasi-participating in their weekly trivia night festivities. Carrie helpfully piped up with the answer to some of the questions that the ‘possibly over-served’ patrons (read: Drunky McDrunkersons) were having trouble getting– and was promptly given the stink-eye by the lady with the microphone. Oops. Apparently the people of the Mile High City do not take kindly to rogue groups of Southern bloggers messing up their trivia game. Lesson learned.

The next morning I slept in and later met up with everyone at a downtown restaurant. Carrie left to spend the day with an old friend, so Lindsay, Jamie, Calie and I headed over to 16th Street for some shopping. It’s been a while since I have gang-shopped with a bunch of women and I’d forgotten how much fun it is to step out of the dressing room and get a group consensus on everything you’re trying on! We did some moderate damage at the “Additional 50% Off Already Marked Down Clearance Sale” at an Ann Taylor Loft store and then hopped the free shuttle bus and headed down the street towards a Barnes and Nobles bookstore. The weather was getting increasingly blustery and suddenly to our complete shock, big fat snowflakes started falling out of the sky!

(Meanwhile, back in Nashville it was a balmy 80 degrees…)

Well, we obviously had no choice but to go across the street to a lovely eatery called the Yard House that also happened to have by their own account, “the world’s largest selection of beers on tap” and have a malty beverage and a couple of delicious appetizers while we gazed out the window at the snow. Seriously, what else could a chilled to the bone, heavily laden with shopping bags group of stranded Nashville bloggers do?!

Then at  7 p.m., we finally boarded a plane and happily headed home to our families.

The End.

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