caregiver, family

The Longer Goodbye

My Miss Brenda has taken a few turns for the worse but no one prepares you for hospice or the hospice call including date of death.

I took the news calmly. But did question their all knowing practical knowledge of date and time of one’s passing. “How do you know?” “Are you sure?” “What makes you so positive?” They answered all with the confidence of seeing this before and in my head, I knew they had. Obviously.

My mom was a player in life pushing every physical limit and doing alot of damage to one’s body. Before my parents parted ways, they were quite the twosome, in their partying ways. My dad got sober. My mother. Never. So this early demise of body should not surprise, but it did.

No tears flowed after my hospice conversation. Very stoic and processing what I questioned but my strong exterior allowed me to create Frosty day, early birthday celebration, and just visits. On the otherside I was in constant contact with hospice. I knew everything at all times. Little pieces of me were breaking away as I focused on how to make the end “nice.”

A week into this personal journey hospice called again. “She improving.” “It’s a miracle.” This time I had no questions, just relief. Knowing full well that tomorrow is another day and yet another possibility of that phone call. While they predict the end of life to the minute. They do admit the miracles astound them. So, for right now My Miss Brenda is doing OK. Still under hospice care but not a patient with a date and time stamped in their file.

On my last visit. I cried. It hit me that she is alone with her TV and a bunch of health care techs and nurses. That’s it. She is alone with her thoughts and confusions and the reconciliation of her choices in life. While I am very close by, she is still alone. Driving home in tears, I realized that this is the world she built. She chose distance and still keeps me at arms length, but all her choice. When she does let me in, it is nice. It’s fleeting but it’s nice.

So me and my lady have more time. This will give both of us the time we need to truly say goodbye.

family, granparent life, grey hair, life

Thirty-four Years of Bliss

When you only feel thirty-four years old, how can I have been married for thirty-four years? Is this possible? Please note the bliss is relative based on the day and recently the price of gas. But the fact that we have withstood trials and tribulations for over three decades creates a moment of pure reflection and wonder. Are we truly kindred spirits or do we just not give up. I believe the latter. Even soul mates drift apart. Marriage is work. Yes, we have our moments of romance but those are interrupted by the reality of day to day life.

After the decades you start floundering for gifts. Even cards quite don’t say it perfectly. As a family we have it all and the extraneous stuff is just stuff for instagram moments. You know, the nauseating ones, that make you feel like the posters are that happy daily. Nope. Don’t get me wrong I love jewelry and any fancy gift but often reality wins. This year I came up with a BBQ for the win and a special gift of family. Let me explain the latter as you understand the concept of the BBQ.

Well, it started with a trip to Prescott and no gift or card for me, the wife. I disguised my anger and kept up with the day. Then I saw my gift. He is three and my buddy. Day made. Anniversary made. All forgiven. We had a fabulous weekend of family, church, and getting to be part of our buddies baby to grown up room transistion. I love to spoil everyone I know. It’s my thing. Years ago the hubs parents bought our nursery and the big boy room furniture. Just because. We did the same. Just because. So, no jewelery or fancy new bag. Just the reality of life in the best possible way!

education, family, retirement

80 Points!

In a teachers life this is a happy dance. I have choices. Kinda. I am not quite ready for retirement but yet I am. The freedom sounds enticing but I still want to teach. I doubt this will leave my soul. So, here we go again, options for a life after I am starting to pursue. My online Outschool acceptance/classroom is up to date but I no ideas for a class as of yet. None. Next up, interviewing for online tutoring to hopefully start this summer and keep it going throughout my final decision to stay or go. Hoping my three followers will guide me with possible class ideas that will entice kids into extra classes outside of the school day. If you have kids, know them etc. etc. Please share what type of classes that woukd interest you and yours. Below is my Outschool dashboard. Please send me your ideas.

Thanks in advance!

https://outschool.com/parents/97d6cb8e-35f2-4cc2-a888-32db5b15410e?signup=true&utm_campaign=share_parent_link

family, life

Love

I have never been a cook. Nope. It is a running joke in our home. This has never bothered me as I learned the craft from my Sylvia. She had the love but not the touch. My grandfather and I just smiled and lied through our meals, as she enjoyed cooking just had zero ability. But oh, the lady could sew, clean, and wash clothes like nobody’s business. But cook. Nope. For some reason she raised me to think I did not need home skills. So I have none. I meander my way through our daily needs with exasperation and the wish of a fairy godmother. Thirty-three years later I do my best. No one complains but they do avoid my cooking. It’s ok. Enter the air fryer. Now, I am a gadget queen. Anything that makes life easier I am on it. We have vacuums and mops that wander our home and I replenish them with the newer models asap. They break. Easily. But the air fryer is a gift from the heavens as my cooking is now tolerable. The hubs is using phrases like, “let’s put this meal on repeat.” Yup, repeat. In all our years a second of anything has never been requested. So, my air fryer and I are on the best of terms. Meat, a bit of oil and spice plus the right settings and we have dinner. I even chopped the other night. That does not happen. But I did. I love my new friend. I named her Sylvia. I truly believe if my grandmother had this golden device she would have rocked our nightly meals.

back pain, chronic pain, family, life, retirement

306 Days

Let’s first explain the title. I am taking this rather random number based on my physiotherapist’s ramblings on how long it takes to heal a back that is herniated. Tah-dah a title is born. Of course, the number might be wrong as I was medicated at this first meeting. Or is it? This back disaster is my current state combined with vertigo. I got super lucky. Weeks later, I can chuckle a bit and feel a bit of pride to be the star of an EMT horror story of difficult patients. Let me explain, while riding in the ambulance after having my husband stuff me with a protein bar, because he thinks water plus protein cures all ills, I vomited everywhere. Everywhere. Several times. On a happy note the hubs scrubbing forced his hand to promise me new flooring. Of course, a request since year two in the house, but heck eight years later is great. Back to the story. So, this sweet EMT, who sported a training badge, kept rattling on with stupid stories, that were keeping me from killing all of them in pursuit of pain meds. Anyhow, he held my vomit bag the entire way to the hospital. At our goodbyes. I thanked the kid and grabbed the captain and asked him to sign his papers and pass him for the day. Or did I ask for meds? I don’t know? Probably both. The captain promised he would happily sign him off as he peeled my hand out of his and yelled, “Take her away.”

Currently, I am on week five or day 271 of my current holding position of rest, PT, and more rest. I am off all meds that caused me to forget what I read, watched, re-read, and re-watched during my time of bedridden status. With the pain away but in a wet- cement state, I wait. I wait to start my life again. I am on pause. I long for the simplicity of my life that I led. I teach. I miss my kids. I spin. I miss my Echelon/Peloton app life. I am stuck in the house because I can’t drive due to the back and the vertigo. I miss people. But with all the things I miss there is so much more I have learned in the silence of my waiting. Serious thoughts have come my way while crying in pain. Religion. The importance of family. Work and my need for my social and intellectual growth plus monetary needs. Along with the harsh truth that I am easily replaced, especially at fifty-nine. There were also thoughts that can be filed under the not so serious. Cue the meds folks. Days of reality TV nonsense, movie upon movie, and many attempts at new binge shows. Note. Not a Bridgerton fan. Probably the only human who could not get through episode 1. All I could think of was the pain the actresses endured with their corsets. While the mundane entertained my mind, it was the big thoughts, that truly got me through the day. Not my twelve orders of athletic wear to make dressing easier or the endless scrolling and the constant attempt to find anything to take my mind of the situation at hand. Nope. The big stuff. Religion, family, and work. Repeat. It made the struggle of each day and each small success sweet.

Religion became my anchor. I prayed, read scripture, and talked alot to the man upstairs. I felt his presence, cried, and kept praying. For the first time I felt his guiding hand. Truly, in the darkness of our room I was not alone. Ever. This gave me hope and a feeling that my herniated disc came at a time that had no reason, but had every reason. I renewed my faith and my belief that I am never alone if I just give my life over to him. I have. Completely.

Family. Oh my. So many days I have taken my family for granted and allowed the little stuff to aggravate me, but once you need them to walk you to the bathroom, there is a new respect. The little annoyances in life are gone. Who cares about the toothpaste or how the dishwasher gets loaded or not. Or my control issues with my son. My crew rallied to just get me through the day. They became my daily cheerleaders, my rock during bad moments, and my everything. Family replaced my long list of wants and it still needs some soul searching as to why my control issues and wants superceded my families love. But I will continue on this path much after my pause button has been removed.

Work. It has been five weeks since I have seen my kids. I can’t imagine their current state. I just can’t. But since this was an extended leave I was caught off from school until I return. I have turned over all things I control with fervor to a state of “you do you” and I will pick up the pieces upon my return. While, I do not think I am replaceable. I am. Perhaps, my replacement does not give the quality I gave daily, but another has taken my place. This hurts. But before I officially retire, the discussion did happen the day after my hospital grand entrance. A bit soon. But needed. There before me stood a man that gave me the world almost thirty-four years ago, and he was doing it again. He put aside all worries of money. All. I cried as I listened to our future together which requires my health not my teachers salary. There were no tears about the end date. Just hopes and dreams of a healthy life both in Neebish, Mexico and our time here in the valley. I thought even the the discussion of leaving the workforce would hurt. Nope. Just gave me a world of options. I want to leave healthy. Not stuck in bed. So while I will return very shortly, I won’t kill myself. I won’t. Just be the best teacher and let the other BS fall to the wayside. How did I get into this situation in the first place by killing myself. No more.

Today, the vertigo is disappearing. The back needs one more appointment and possibly shots along with a full drying of my wet-cement. But I am coming back to my status of Go, go, go but never forgetting this time of pause and what I am graced with in my life.

back pain, chronic pain, family, granparent life, grey hair, life

The Pursuit of Normality

Travel souvenirs are now adorned with stim stuff. From L-R Walgreens battery powered unit, Easy@Home rechargeable unit, and WI Touch Pro

Over the past ten days I have searched, researched, and guinea pigged my way back to a state of non-movement. By far this is the worst day I have ever felt in the history of my hip/back situation. No reasons. Probably, the large pops my body gave off after yesterday’s chiro session. No blame. The journey is long and the session was rough. But, as I lie around, I have good news to report. Yes. Good.

My favorite new TENS device is the Wi Touch Pro. The device itself is bulky, but it comes in green or orange, so at least I felt springy. I Just added batteries, downloaded the app on my phone, and chose my setting. Note: app can be wonky. Breathe. Yesterday, I did three sessions, for thirty minutes, in the morning and evening and was functional. Since this is a ten or more week rehab. I was not perfect. But I could walk, stop at a store, and buy Easter stuff for my grandnugget. I even made a simple dinner later on that evening for the hubs. He was shocked. It was edible. Double shock. Basically, I was enjoying simple pleasures that I no longer take for granted. No More! This feeling of progress was amazing. Then, late yesterday Dr. Chiro came back into my life. Ugh. Back to ice and heat today with a side of Real Housewives, one too many times. Due to my experience go buy Wi Touch Pro (non-solicitated) on Amazon for $89.00. It will be my morning and evening sessions, after my spasms stop. You can find it on www.amazon.com. It is worth every penny. Again, it is not a cure. It is just a helpful tool as you heal.

Easy@Home was my rechargeable unit. It gave me the non-pairing hassle and a simple on/off and plus/minus system for pressure. However, I found myself adjusting it often to hit all the areas of pain. But at home the odd positions, beeping often and glowing green until you beep off is worth it! My first attempt with device life was with the Easy@Home and have used it with success since my initial injury in December. This week, while visiting my nugget, and trying to survive my first attempt at normality. It was my go to product. My buddy enjoyed turning grandma on and off and my beeping. My robotic life humored him and allowed me to do priceless adventures. Since driving causes me to curse throughout the length of my trip, windows closed. Obviously. I decided to give Easy@Home a try while I drove home from Prescott. It was fabulous. In the world of buying a miracle, these units do mask the pain as you heal, and this lower cost unit at $36.00 produces bang for the buck. Go get it! www.amazon.com

My next unit, for school next week. Yes. I am a teacher. Pray. I have asked for forgiveness and have requested to wear lululemon dupes for the next few weeks. My go-to is Baleaf or Crz Yoga, all found on Amazon. Duh! So, if you see a teacher looking extra sporty. You found me. I have no choice as the units do not work under clothes that constrain. They hit the on/off button and poof, pain comes back, and you are left with your hand in crazy positions. Which looks odd in public, frankly anywhere. But as I teach. NO BUENO. Between the buttons, and consistently beeping. My students would go bananas. So, the AUVON system will be for my weekday school adventures. It is a wired product that has a remote, that does need Bluetooth, and controls with twenty-four different sessions. I am trying hard to be there for my kids next week, but I know staying in school last week damaged me further. Just my stubborn ways. Note to self. Back injury equates going home. This unit was $39.00 and I found it on Amazon. Duh! Please note that all of these units are reviewed just by me. That’s it. Me. I am not paid. Just another rehabbing patient trying to find inner peace.

back pain, family, granparent life, life

My Back Series #3

A variety of dribble…

I would like this back/hip pain to end. Truly, not my thing chatting about pain. Currently resting on heat, and planning my Pain is Gone Party. I will invite all of you. Don’t have a date, sorry. A party sounds fabulous and a way to celebrate the chains that bind leaving. Recently, I have stimmed myself into oblivion and now awaiting an acupressure mat, (review to follow) that looks like torture. Since, I am in this space, what is the harm? A big takeaway from this daily hell is that I have noticed how people treat daily pain. They give advice. Stupid advice. All I want is a hug and a cleaning lady on repeat. Not advice. But I listen, as running away is literally not an option. My son, true chronic pain sufferer, has dealt with my stupid advice from me for years. I have apologized. Funny, he gives no advice. Just hugs. Apology accepted. I hope. So, while I plan my party, as it will happen. I envision all my torture objects thrown into a bon fire and a celebratory poof to see them off. Too much? Probably. My second thought is a new MCM bag and a shopping spree. 🛍 That will do.

back pain, chronic pain, echelon, family, fitness, granparent life, grey hair, keto, life

Sorry KWL

Truth be told. I can be a b****. While my life revolves around my family. I can be a bit much. Call it demanding. Not b*****. Better. Years ago my son was diagnosed with a back disease. Fast track to today and he has a million dollar back and hypothetically is the bionic man. It is genetic. But I have fought mine off, until this week. Pain brought me to my knees. To make it through the week before spring break with my 6th grade mayhem of love, I just kept saying, “What would Kyle do?” Then I cried, thinking of all the times, I have been critical of anything in his life. Not truly realizing that slap pain into life that does not abate takes over until you can just do so much and sometimes the fluffy life stuff does not matter. Truth. I skipped two showers. Could not do it. Did. Not. Care. I smelled of powdered shampoo, sweet oils, and the fragrance that was the closest to my grab on my make-up table.

I am sorry KWL.

So, I have faltered. Worst ever. But that is that. Now, I finally recover forever. I tend to overdo, over diet, and fail. Enough. Life is finite and being on a roller coaster is loopy and unproductive.

Onward.

Few steps back. Yes. But forward. Forever. The toughest part is where I am currently. Heating. Cooling. Resting. Walking at a snails pace for 10 minutes. The beginning. It’s where my FOMO sets in. Frankly, without social media there was no FOMO. It would be good to toss it aside right now, but not gonna try. Too much between food changes, back self-care, and trips to the chiro. So, my mindset is now changed to without healing there is nothing. And nothing is not acceptable.

No FOMO.

So, instead of running around and enjoying. I am canceling plans and scheduling me time. Healthy care, healthy eating, manicure and pedicure, hair and chiro, chiro, chiro, stretch, stretch, stretch, walk, walk, walk. While I heal (6-12 weeks total) I will putter around the house aka clean slowly and mindfully, organize my spring school clothes, aka as fashion, and put me first this time which will allow me to put what’s important to me back to its proper first place status now and forever and get over this crazy coaster I have been strapped into for the last twenty years. It’s time.

Ailment in a nutshell.

My back. But not. It is a pelvic rotation that is over 35 mm from normal. 8mm is severe. How have I survived twenty years. Who knows. Obviously, this inner movement tugs on the back. Greatly. Causing extreme pain especially when sitting and ooh, driving is a killer. But in my three chiro appointments I have seen relief. Since PT has been apart of my life for this. I know the drill of bridges and pelvic tilts. Yup. Three times a day. Everyday in accute stages. This classified. Other non-medicated methods are THC oil and Formula 303 (starting tomorrow) a natural muscle relaxant. Naproxyn, is on order for pain. Again, no addiction, thank you. If any of this becomes magic. I will blog and share. Heck. Gonna blog and share anyway to keep me going on this journey. Which kicked off today saying goodbye to my Echelon and Peloton friends for a minute. This was sadness. Five rides away from 200, 50 more miles away from my race goal. Poof. But today I got out, walked to a short Peloton program. While sharing with you about this pain that haunts, but could be worse I hope to gain insight and lend a positive spin on pain as the reality is mindset is part of the process. Millions are in pain daily. Maybe I will crack the code or just make you laugh along you own journey. One that only you can shoulder and usually in silence. Why? As I am finding out unless you can make pain happy or positive, no one wants to know. It must be catchy.

The contagious factor.

It’s not. But unless you experience relentless pain. You have no response other than to buck up, take an Advil, stretch, lose weight. Etc. Idiots. I was one.

I am sorry KWL.

education, family, granparent life, life

Sisters and Stuff

Long ago in a text far, far away organized sisters came up with an idea to reunite. Our last time together was twelve years ago. While, I was part of the committee, I was just the commenter. Nothing more. Others had this and were focused to the finish line. Their vision was superb and a good time was had by all.

Yes, there were drinks, food, cake, pictures, glow sticks, and memories. All melted into one giant pansy of the past that formed our present. However, it was the stories that sung to my heart. Current chatter about this thing called life. The struggles, the obstacles, the frustrations and the delight of our children as we watched them grow into the humans they became no matter what we imparted into their upbringing. Mostly stories of delight but some utter heartbreak. But all of us raising them in our own giving/neurotic ways. Some more than others. Of course, I top the list in neurotic as an Irish Catholic/Jewish insane mom who watched a bit too much, but ended up with a different type of greatness that is still sorting out his own path as a father, photographer, and small businessman.

Aging. Ugh. I was one of the elders. We are all in the same place. Fighting the good fight and looking pretty good for 40 plus years since pledging our life to a house that changed our worlds. Surrounded by laughter, tears, formal dresses, parties, and occasionally classes. ASU has changed to meet the times and many of us with our partying ways of the past would not survive the ASU of today. Ok. At least me. I had fun and let loose from my odd upbringing. I met normal families, friends, and found my own way. I survived, thrived, and while did not become a famous broadcasting giant or an attorney, as I dreamed. I went for the brass-ring of happiness. Wife, teacher, mother. Fantastic trade. Almost thirty-four years later we are still a thing and while life is never easy, divorce was all around this weekend, so our survival made me feel blessed. Those that did make it through the marriage finish line felt the same way. Life is life and how it unfolds is anyone’s guess.

Life, death, sickness. None of us immune. This just hurt my soul. Some have struggled, all fear the struggle, and all aware that the next reunion some will be gone. That’s enough. More reunions, trips, lunches, contact in any form. Why? We all understand each other and we are going through the same chapters. All of us have seen each other at our most confused, ie college and perhaps we are the ticket to surviving our current challenges and delights.

Coming home after two evenings that delighted and drained me physically, as Netflix as become my go to of excitement. My reflection of the past, present, and future was mixed with all the love of a three year old grandnugget who paid a special visit. Which was better. You be the judge. Until again.

Delta Love, T

Christmas, family, granparent life, life

Fast Forward to Valentines…

I am on auto-pilot once Halloween hits the shelves. Perhaps, it is the teacher in me, to be prepared and organized. Or not. Probably, it is just the media hype and the retail store push turning us to Valentines day before the Christmas meal has been digested or the last political fight put to bed. Is New Years the new Thanksgiving, just a brief stopping point, before the next big show? Christmas, to me, is the big show for obvious reasons and yes, the presents that I have accumulated for months and my anticipation of my families delight. I do shopping like no other part teacher part trained personal shopper with former retail training. I am dangerous especially in handbags, they make me drool. Thank goodness I have boys. I would be broke.

We spent Christmas Eve delighting in little person toy delight and today recovering. As the dust settles, and the Valentine cards take their proper place on the shelves, my moment of true piece will be just a simple “I love you,” from both my boys before I took a well earned nap.

So with all my hustle and bustle (and I am not alone) it was three little words and our togetherness that made me feel at peace and get my engines revved up for the sales.