Monday, March 31, 2008
LM and I met when he began teaching in 1989 at the Community Education program where I worked. There was attraction but it was not the right timing, and we became friends who looked forward to seeing each other every Monday night, always sharing news of our children, nature news, and just plain caring about each other. Each week, I made him tea, and I did notice that he came to my desk frequently to borrow things. His course, "Take a Course, Catch a Fish", remains the longest running in Community School history and is also the most popular.
His surgery in February marked the first time he had to cancel a class and he has been so looking forward to the day he could return. TODAY is the day, and he joyfully called me on the way to school tonight, knowing he has a full class, with a wait list!
Who would have thought, way back when on the Monday nights at school, that we would be where we are now, sharing a beautiful love and life, and despite the tender age (8 months) of our love relationship, here we are survivors of his heart attack and challenges to our lives. We talked yesterday about the fact that our relationship weathered the storm and that we are doing just fine.
This past week, he really returned to himself and it is wonderful to see and hear. Once again, we are sharing a lot of laughter and love. I keep repeating this to everyone who inquires....I feel the most tremendous gratitude and sense of relief, and I have never felt more loved.
I am busy pursuing my own interests....movies with friends, projects at work, quilting and exercising and it is wonderful to know LM is back to his passions, as well as back to school!
I cannot wait for his phone call which will come as soon as he heads home from his class.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Would I go near that yarn?
Quality control inspector (it passed)
Wooden knitting needles are particularly yummy!
Bob takes yet another nap!
At one point on the way home from a lovely day yesterday, LM and I looked at each other and agreed that it felt like our life was back to normal in most ways, anyway. The acknowledgement evoked smiles and then further discussion of the magnitude of what has happened to both of us the past 6 weeks, and also some of the events of which LM was not aware. More healing, especially of our hearts and souls. I got through the day without crying yesterday....YEAH!
We left the Cape at 10:30 or so and arrived in Hingham to pick up Dad about noon. He was having a good day with the exception of a messy looking hemorrhage in his right eye. Dad had been wanting to take LM and my brother, Everett to The Tavern at Quarry Hill, in Quincy, for a long time. It sits on one of the highest points around and has a fantastic view of Boston, the harbor and surrounding towns. Dad loves the fact that you can look right down on to Milton, his hometown, and he could pick out so many familiar places from his childhood. The restaurant, dramatically perched on the edge of an open quarry with water at least 100 feet deep, is associated with a new golf and condominium community built on the site of the former Quincy stone quarries in W. Quincy. We all enjoyed a great lunch and celebrated being together. I was especially happy to be sitting next to LM, and to watch Dad eat a great meal of salmon cakes that were beautifully served and equally delicious! We all shared an appetizer of lobster quesadillas which were yummy. The day was made perfect by having Ev and Martin (who, by the way, has matured in to an interesting and joy-to-be-with young man) with us. Oh, how I wish they lived closed than Baltimore, MD!
After lunch, Dad went to his place and we all gathered for awhile back at my brother, Sam's, where we had to visit Bob for a bit....as you can see by the picture, he was very busy napping but he did give us all a chance to feel his deliciously soft fur and have a little kitty-love. At least Bob did not hide under the, bed as someone else we all know....ahem, Ms G. Ev had a beautiful gift to give me from my talented and dear SIL....some of her very soft handspun yarn here and a pair of lovely Lantern Moon knitting needles. The yarn is in my favorite colors and now my mind is working overtime to decide what to knit...most likely a scarf as my knitting ability is quite limited! Someday, socks, ah, yes, someday.
Today will bring more time with LM and a visit to Kristi. Her mother, Ellen, is not having an easy time with breathing. I will also go to try to find the fabric I need to finish Meaghan's quilt. Peace feels so good, normal feels so good, of course that is subjective....I think this normal is even better than before!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
In other news......Happiness and energy abounded here today, so when the crazy pace at the office slowed down a bit this afternoon, I began thinking I really need to freshen things up at home and I do LOVE to move things around and give rooms a new look without spending money. When I got home at 5 I launched right in to moving all the furniture and cleaning every inch of the living room. Of course, out came the vacuum cleaner as part of the project and I got the LOOK and then she ran to hide for the duration. Now that the project is over and I am fairly pleased with it all, my girl has emerged and sniffed everything completely to make sure she can live with the change.
No wonder I had all the energy to do all the re-design in the house tonight! LM so wanted me to tell him what changes I made but I am making him wait until he visits on the weekend!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This was just a great day, all around......happy conversations with family and friends, feeling happy all day at work, and going to look at the ocean to give thanks this evening in beautiful twilight. Gleeful has been the theme today and I am sure for many more days to come. Now, if I can just get Ms. G to make an appearance when LM comes to visit this weekend!!!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Scenes from the Weekend
Bob in "his" chair....actually the chair belongs to my nephew, Dan, but I doubt it will ever make it to his house in NY. Bob has staked his claim and it is placed nicely under a skylight for maximum sunning.
We had a brief visit with Kristi and Ellen and things seem to be OK there. Ellen is now tethered to oxygen and so far she is not smoking. We exchanged Easter gifts and got to admire the sweet Easter tree which is Kristi's custom to place on the porch. It was just great. She has a fun-filled creativity in her nature and that serves her well. I was back home early and very tired.
This morning, I awoke with sadness again. It seems to descend on me on the weekends. I pulled myself together and began the long drive to pick-up my Dad and go to my brother's for Easter dinner. Dad is doing so well. He's now walking with a walker and it has made a huge difference. We had a lovely dinner with my brother, his wife and their son and Dad was thrilled to spend time with his dear cat, Bob, who lives the high life with my brother and family. My brother is a wonderful cook and we had fun talking about his strong interest in learning to make bread.
Dad ran out of energy after eating quite a bit of dinner and having dessert, so I took him for a ride to see the ocean which was just beautiful today....truly blue-green. There were so many people out walking and enjoying the day.
On the way home, I picked up LM as he had asked last night if I would bring him over to see Ms. Graysea. He misses her so much. Well, we arrived here to find NO sign of her. She never came out of hiding under the bed during his entire visit....he was so sad. He did lay on the floor next to the bed and reach in to pat her and talk with her but she was not coming out! Prior to our relationship, she NEVER came out of hiding if a stranger was in the house. It has been amazing that she has emerged to welcome LM since the beginning so her behavior today is very unusual. I think he left feeling a bit worried that she has no memory of him or that he is emitting some strange scary odor...LOL. Once he comes back and stays for awhile she will be fine. I know he really wanted some kitty-love very much and it was sad that none was available. On a very bright note....LM drove my car for 11 miles today on the way to my house. PROGRESS. He felt fine, too.
There is still a bit of strangeness and uncomfortable silence with LM and me, and behind it,,I think, is a mountain of emotion. Each time I say good-bye to him, I feel my heart leap in fear that it will be the last time. We began to talk about it a bit this afternoon and I started crying and have barely stopped. I think the sadness which has been hovering is a mask for the fright and loss I feel at what happened to LM.....and, as usually happens with us, he called while I was typing this and echoed those sentiments and told me not to feel bad about crying and expressing the feelings I have. I love that man. He has a lot to process and his body, mind and soul have scars which need to heal....I want to help with the healing and need to heal myself, too.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Our Easters were very special and my most wonderful memory is of our church, St. Andrew's in Hanover, MA, redolent with the scent of geraniums as we arrived dressed in our Easter finery and shoes (which always hurt my feet), for this most special of services led by our beloved, Reverend Jones. There was the presentation of our special offering boxes and each child in the church walked up to receive one of the beautiful red geraniums to take home as a gift for our parents, all set to the background of glorious music.
Somehow these memories are very keen this year, as I have reconnected with Rev. Jones' son, Albie. We were even able to get together last Fall when he visited New England briefly. It was as though we hadn't had nearly 50 years of separation. We had the most wonderful time reliving memories of St. Andrew's and sharing news of friends, as well as catching up on each others lives. I am very grateful for his friendship, and especially his support recently as he also had cardiac by-pass surgery. He was able to coach me with what to expect in LM's recovery.
My sisters and I were very active in the church youth groups. Through those activities, we were able to travel to other churches and meet new people, hear beautiful music and see incredible architecture, and we were mentored by some devoted leaders. I was even part of a group that toured New York City and many of its beautiful churches and cathedrals, and for a 7th grade farm girl from a very small town, that was a huge event. Looking back I see how social skills, and a lot of who I am were formed through those experiences.
After Easter services we would come home and then share a beautiful Easter dinner at my paternal grandparents' home in the old farmhouse which was just next to the house where we lived. "Nana" would have spent all of the previous week planning, shopping and cooking for the dinner and, thinking back, there were times when we wanted to be there and loved every minute, and then there were the almost teen years when we would rather have been anywhere else! LOL Now I would give anything to relive an Easter at Nana's with both my parents and all my siblings and to hear my grandfather telling his famous stories. There was usually, baked ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, sweet potatoes, many relishes and freshly baked rolls, and a cake for dessert and there was more Easter candy than we had already received from the bunny!
I am really thankful that my parents gave us this exposure, allowed us to make up our own minds about religion, and encouraged discussion. It is a very great gift which lives on in me today when I mostly find my church in the presence and beauty of nature, and the scent of geraniums ALWAYS takes me right back to my roots at St. Andrew's.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Meet Kritsti, LM's oldest daughter
She is a very bright star in our realm. Having suffered a stroke at age 1, she has had many challenges and risen above them all with a smile. As I wrote a few days ago, her mother, Ellen, with whom Kristi lives, was taken to the hospital with severe breathing issues. She has COPD and is a heavy smoker and drinker. It is a constant worry to us that Kristi lives in this environment but she is very loyal to her Mom and helps ably to care for her. Tonight, Ellen is home, hopefully no longer smoking, as she is now oxygen dependent! Early this morning there was a call from Kristi to tell me her beloved cat, Mr. Levi, died in the night. We had been worried for months about the cat's future, as he had breathing issues, too. Despite the early stages of his recovery LM has been there for Kristi and Ellen and today he helped with a little funeral for Mr. Levi. Out of all of this, there is such a calm and admirable strength shining and we discussed it all tonight, both agreeing that each event was something that needed to happen and is for the greater good.
Hopefully now, Kristi will live in a smoke free environment, Ellen's life will have a better quality about it, Mr. Levi will no longer struggle through each day needing veterinary care, and the door is open to a discussion about a trust for Kristi's care. LM will have less to worry about and he has found new energy in his recovery by helping through all of these trials. He is an amazing man!!
Tomorrow LM and I will go to buy a little Easter gift for Kristi, take an Easter bunny to my granddaughter, Samantha, surely we will go to look at the ocean, and who knows what else we will do but we very are excited about seeing each other in the morning. It has been a great day!
BANANA CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
¾ cup butter
2 1/8” cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsps baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 tsps. lemon juice
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas
½ cup butter, softened
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
3 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 ts. vanilla
chopped walnuts (optional)
Follow exactly….it may sound strange with a 275 degree oven and THEN putting the cake in the freezer, but it works really well!!
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13” pan (a sheet pan works well, too – shorten cooking time)
3. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with the lemon juice; set aside
4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside
5. In a large bowl, cream ¾ butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla
7. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk
8. Stir in the banana mixture
9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (may take as long as 1 ½ hrs)
10. Remove from oven and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes
11. This will make the cake very moist
Cream the cream cheese and butter until very smooth, add confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until combined, add the vanilla, then beat on high speed until frosting is smooth.
Spread on cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
SO, it must be Spring, a time of hope, emergence, and pansies, with their sweet faces lifting to the sun and lighting the way out of winter. The photo above was taken last May and refects one of the beautiful pansy pots which my SIL and brother place on their front steps for all to enjoy. They welcomed me on my annual, first week in May visit, to attend the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. It is an amazing event! My mother carried pansies in her wedding bouquet and they have always been very special in my family.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Dad's bridge allowed access to the back of the farm and up a beautiful hill, where chickens used to graze, and before that, sheep roamed in pastures divided by ancient stone walls. How many times we drove the old dump trucks over that bridge, laughing all the way and never questioning the strength of that bridge. It was just there! We always paid homage to the "troll" who reportedly lived under the bridge and saw us safely across, and we would have picnics with our feet in the cool brook on hot summer days, feasting on the black raspberries and blueberries which grew near the banks. In winter beautiful icy edges formed.
Now I search for a bridge to carry me over this time as Lou MUST focus on his recovery, and I must face my father's decline. I feel really lost in it all. My days at work help but my mind is reeling even there. Can I keep on wearing the happy face when I am crying inside? I think about throwing my energy into creating quilts again and maybe that will be one "bridge".
Then I wonder if I should just "sit" in the middle of the brook" and let the feelings flow over me, experiencing this as just a part of life. The last words my grandfather told me when he was nearing 100 years were, "Don't fight life my dear, and you will be fine". Why must I rail against it? The struggle is so exhausting but I cannot seem to stop....I right myself but keep falling backwards. So now I have had this little "feel sorry for myself", and construction of my bridge is taking place. Perhaps I should search for the troll!
Anyway, it was a happy few minutes here, reflecting on the old bridge and the beautiful life my dear father and mother gave all of us on the farm. They sure showed us how to build bridges over the greatest obstacles, and obstacles there were on a working farm! I am so very grateful for that life and the one I have now.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I also baked a banana cake from a recipe sent to me by my dear daughter, Anne, from FL. I cannot say she did not warn me that the cake was dangerous in its deliciousness. I will post that recipe in a few days. Meanwhile, most of that cake has been given as little gifts and the rest is going in the freezer...well, maybe some can remain for a little bite for me here and there.
I picked LM up just after noon and we were so happy to be alone and I was touched when he reached out to hold my hand while we drove as he had always done before. Sweet!
We had errands to do involving all three of LM's children that gave us a chance to visit with his daughters Kristi and Meaghan. Kristi is handicapped (Expressive Aphasia from a stroke at age 1), 40 years old and lives with her mother, Ellen. Ellen is not in good health and Kristi's future, should something happen to her mother, is a constant worry for LM. Before the heart attack happened he had been in the process of trying to establish a plan. It is daunting, as her mother is really not capable of cooperating to make this happen. We do have a physical care plan for Kristi in place but there is much more to be done-actually she is quite high functioning and is caring for her mother quite well. The love and devotion LM has always had for Kristi is very special and one of his most beautiful defining qualities, in my eyes anyway. I enjoy Kristi and we have established a nice bond...she calls me often and enjoys going places with me to do "girl" things.
After that visit we saw Meaghen and she is doing so well...23, a nursing student and a CNA in a nursing/rehab center. It really was great for her to see her Dad up and out and recovering so well. She was my constant support during his ordeal and we grew closer through it all.
After about 3 hours, I could see my dear man begin to get very tired and become quiet. We just drove the rest of the way back, holding hands tightly and taking comfort from that connection. No words are necessary for us....we just like to be and feel. I find myself full of tears but they remain checked.
When I left LM he was already asleep on the sofa, back in the corner where he has done a lot of his healing, his face peaceful. I love him so. When I got back to Chatham, I went to our favorite beach and did a little meditation and gratitude list for the day as a little snow fell. We are so fortunate to have this second chance.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Anyway, we found Dad to be weak, although he was up and dressed and waiting for us. Learning that he fell a few days earlier and was on the floor until an aide came in, was very disturbing and confirms the fact that he does need VNA assistance. That should be in place next week. His breathing is quite labored and at times he cannot get his breath, but, true to form, he wanted to talk about our lives, what is going on in our worlds, how all the other relatives and friends are faring, what we have been reading, the latest articles in various newspapers, and the weather! He is the best...no wonder he has lived such a great long life. I was at once sad and so humbly grateful that this kind and interesting man is my Dad.
We stayed for almost two hours and then he suggested we go down stairs and order some soft food on his lunch tray.....and maybe some strawberry-rhubarb pie, LOL. Sleep was overtaking him.....and we tearfully said good-bye....now each time I see him, I wonder if it is the last.
Next was lunch for us and we went to the beautiful Cafe on the Square in Hingham Center. Dad and I have had lunch there many times and in his honor, I had his favorite lunch...seared scallops on jasmine rice with asparagus and a lovely light meyer lemon sauce. Perfect! Should have taken a photo as the presentation was artful. After a creme brulee sampler for dessert, we headed back to the Cape with a stop at TJ Maxx to buy some new sheets to compliment LM's new bed.
One could not tell the economy is bad by the number of people shopping there today! Very busy.
FINALLY, I was being held warmly in LM'S arms and we got to sit alone for an hour or so and just catch up with each other. He is looking much stronger, although his color is still so pallid, startlingly so. I was pleased that he brought out a copy of his recommended diet and we looked it over together and he seems most dedicated to changing his eating habits and I promised to travel that road with, as well. We talked about a few of his health goals and he has quite a good approach worked out. He knows that for the next six months or so he will be mainly focused on nurturing his body, and doing what the doctors advise. The healing cannot be rushed. How nice it is that this process is heading toward the beauty which spring brings here. My heart was bolstered by the caring and sweet affection LM showed me tonight. Sure feels good.
Tomorrow I will pick LM up and we will take a drive together to do an errand in Bourne and maybe go for a walk along our beloved Cape Cod Canal.
Lastly, this patient is still coughing and very tired. To sleep, perchance to dream she goes.....
Friday, March 14, 2008
In the midst of all the wondering why's recently, when I really felt like I was just going to collapse from all the stress and anxiety related to LM's illness, my flu, and Dad's fragility, this photo arrived in my e-mail. How could I wonder, I asked myself, just believe, believe that everything is happening as it is supposed to...LM's heart seizure was a gift to "us", as now he will be alive a lot longer to continue doing all he loves, and things long postponed, with renewed dedication. We now have greater clarity and depth just as that reflected in the rainbow as it lit up the garden of my friend, Judy in North Carolina last week. Judy and her partner, Anne, live in the beautiful mountains of the Asheville, NC area. I am ever so grateful that they shared this very meaningful and lovely photo with us and feel it was part of the plan which has brought me peace and acceptance for where we are right now.
Today was another good day. LM got his new mattress and he is so hoping it will help in his battle with insomnia and discomfort. He continues to have some coughing and swallowing issues, but has been in contact with his dr. and is being watched. I will see him tomorrow after I visit my Dad. I dread seeing Dad in his diminished state. I have not seen him for 5 weeks due to all that has been happening here. In another of life's little miracles, my dear daughter-in-law, Alison, contacted me this morning and asked if she could go with me tomorrow, not wanting me to be alone, and I have gratefully told her I would love to share the day with her. She is the director of an assisted living program, a dedicated administrator specializing in the care of Alzheimer's patients, and will be able to cast her professional eye on Dad's condition, as well. She is a dear friend to me and I am sure it will be a nice day.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
On the phone later, LM said coming to my office was the highlight of his day...I felt the same way. Life is delightfully renewing itself and it seems our love will have a newer and more meaningful depth.
I also noticed that I have really begun to look around me again, observing all the signs of Spring and taking a walk outside to breathe and sense my beautiful environment. All this has been shut off for the past month. Also interesting about LM's visit was that it had been raining yesterday and just as he arrived in Chatham, the sun came out, shortly after he left, we had a 15 minute microburst of hail, sleet, rain and snow and then brilliant sun again.....is it some sort of purge of all the bad energy we have had around us???? Just a silly observation on my part, I am sure.
The dinner and movie with Nick and Mary last night was lovely....the movie, "Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day" is a total delight from the wonderful dialogue which moves along much like a stage play, and the beautiful sets and costuming. We enjoyed every minute. The score is also wonderful and I cannot wait for LM to see this movie. He will love it.
Onto another lighthearted day.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Yesterday was a cool, clear and very sunny day and LM was out and about for a good part of it....he went to have blood work, a chest x-ray, to the post office and the bank and for coffee! He seemed so elated as we talked about it all last night. He must really feel like he is reclaiming a part of himself. Also, his favorite, most thorough, VNA nurse, Marcey, came to see him and he was finally able to get someone to listen and respond about the problems with swallowing and feeeling like food is stuck on his tongue. She immediately called LM's Dr and he is there as I write this to have the situation examined. There appear to be white lumps on his tongue. Having that issue addressed should enable him to eat more and gain some strength.
I am awaiting more news about Dad. He is considerably weaker these days and his breathing issues are not going to go away. Our goal is to find a way for him to feel secure and to be comfortable. If all goes well, his doctor will request hospice presence and that would bring the comfort. We want him to be able to remain in his assisted living apartment and not be moved to the distressing hospital or nursing home environment.
Over the last few days I have had so many wonderful caring phone calls from friends and family, and many from people I have not talked with in a long time. They were unexpected gifts which have brought my morale level up from the depths. Tonight my good friends, Nick and Mary have invited me to dinner and we are going to a movie afterwards and I am actually looking forward to it! I guess, recovery is at hand all around. Happy day!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Everyone who came in the door was happy to see the beautiful sunshine and the promising daffodils, and it was nice to be back with my fun co-workers. I had saved the second and third sections of the newspaper to glance at later and to my surprise when I opened them, I found a lovely picture of LM filling the top half of the Lifestyle section....it was a great article on the variety of wonderful Community Education programs on the Cape and showed LM teaching his "Take a Course, Catch a Fish on Cape Cod" class. I think they used a file photo from several years ago and do not know he is not able to teach right now but they did tout his class as one of the most popular on the Cape and for sure it is! I called the famous man immediately, knowing he would not have seen a paper yet, and it made his day.
So all this positive flow was working well until I received a call just before noon from Dad...he who NEVER calls me at work unless the sky is falling....he is a two hour drive away from me and calling to say he cannot breathe and needs help, NOW. I ask if he has called to the nurse, had he called my SIL or brother....NO....he wants me to do it. This is what we knew would be happening when he made the decision not to have dialysis for the kideny failure. He would begin to have these symptoms and probably a major event will bring him to the end of his journey at almost 96 years. My heart began to race and all the fear, dread and stress I had been keeping at bay, regarding LM, rushed back in for Dad and tried to consume me. I was able to reach my SIL and left a message for my brother. I cannot be there, much as I would like to right now, and it is painful. I have to stay on Cape, work and continue to heal myself. Dad is in good hands but he is missing me as I was ever so present there before. I will see him Saturday. In the meantime, he will see his Doctor today and they will bring meals to his room as going to the dining room is now too strenuous for his heart.
It seems all I can do is reach out the best I can but remain in my place here and take care of myself. Of course, I immediately question myself....what am I doing in my life to bring all these tests upon my world....am I doing something wrong, or should I be questioning karma at all?? There is a lot of sadness coming my way....I also learned yesterday that the mother of a dear friend died last week and I didn't even know.
Saw my counselor last night and even in that meeting, I felt so fragmented and frustrated as I tried to put in to words, coherent words, how I felt. Didn't get to a point of control....
The day did end nicely, though....I had a wonderful call from LM and he sounds like a new person since he stoped taking the Vytorin. He has strength in his voice, he sounded so good and clear and he is going out for several different errands today and happy about it! Also, I had a nice phone call just before sleep from someone to whom I brought flowers. I have to dwell on those happy moments.
I am rambling .....time to start a new day! The birds are chirping outside my window and it will be another sunny, although cold, day.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
This little ray of sunshine, my granddaughter, Samantha, was the center of attention today at her first birthday party. She was just so sweet and happy during the whole event. Not very many good pictures but I thought this one was just perfect to capture the day.
Her Mom, Sara, my second daughter, is just behind her.
The party was graciously hosted by my son and his wife and it was a lovely day.
I managed to get through the day but the flu still has a tight grip on me and I found just getting myself there and back, via a visit to LM and Bob was a bit more than I could handle so I was in bed at 8 last night.
LM and I had a nice conversation in which he revealed more and more how his illness and surgery has upset his emotions. It is a good thing for him to be talking about this impact on his life and we both agreed that a call to "Mended Hearts" for someone to visit him would be helpful. This is an organization of people who have experienced open heart surgery who volunteer their time helping others navigate the aftermath. We both feel we need a way to sort out the feelings. He is planning to call his primary care provider today for medication modifications and to discuss the continuing discomfort he has in his throat which prevents him from eating easily.
I found some pretty bunches of daffodils at Trader Joe's yesterday and brought some to LM....hopefully, they will open and light the way for a better week.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
So the wall gets even higher and harder to dismantle when I visited LM at noon today. He is so fragile and he seems to just be huddled and silent and depressed. I know this is all part of the process he is in right now but it is tough to watch. We were able to spend a few minutes sitting together on the couch, touching a bit and he talked in a very hushed tone about things which are bothering him. We went to the computer and looked up the med he is on for cholesterol reduction and it causes many of the symptoms he has. He will have to talk with the Dr about this next week. He also seems to have no inclination to want to eat healthy foods. That is not my battle and I do not intend to wage it but it is frustrating. His body still seems to be super sensitive to touch and he flinches easily and just gathers himself in to a tight clutch and hunches over. So so hard to see. There were bright spots and he said he was very happy to have me close.
Hopefully, being with family tomorrow will be a good change of scene for me but at this moment I have no energy to even think about making small talk at a party, not to mention the long round trip. I will take LM's daughter, Kristi with me to the party tomorrow as she so much loves to be with family and the baby. On the way home I will visit Bob and LM again. Hopefully, the new path I plan to make with the bricks will be falling in to place.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Never heard from LM until almost 1 pm today and I guess it was a rude awakening to him when he realized he hadn't called me at all. He said he just couldn't get himself moving. We chatted a bit and reminded ourselves, once more, that this inertia is part of the healing for him. I was consoled knowing the PT person would be visiting this afternoon. Each time we talk, it seems like we just don't connect no matter how much we want to....both our brains are fuzzy and cell phones can make conversation halting.
It does sound like LM's day got a little better. He took two walks, had some phone conversations with friends and said he was eating a bit more than he has been. We just talked briefly, albeit in the "tunnel" again, and when I was ready to get off the phone, he told me that he had been thinking this morning about how nice it would be to sleep beside me! He misses that comfort, and of course, I do, too, and little does he know that now I am filled with tears at the thought of being beside each other. It is a very palpable ache. He also, brought up how much he wants to see Ms. G. and I know her sweet little purring being will bring him so much love when he can final visit us. Cat comfort is a special brand of love which we both understand and treasure. It will be awhile before this visit can happen but just knowing it is in LM's thoughts is enough for right now. The thread.....the thread, sometimes it can feel so thin, other times tighter than ever.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Knowing what LM and I have been going through and also seeing how sick I have been with the flu, they came to me and insisted I go for a long healing massage as their guest. Tonight was the night and I am now home and feeling like I can fill my lungs with air for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. What a beautiful gift!
The gloom I had been feeling seemed to lift about mid-day today, coinciding with the return of my normal energy. This day was not without tension and worry, though. LM called me this morning and he asked if I thought he was depressed. I do indeed think he is depressed and it may partly be due to the new BP med but it is also predictable after this type of surgery. We talked a little about it but he is so scattered and cannot focus. I knew the VNA nurse would be visiting just after noon so I asked him to discuss his feelings with her. Before the nurse came, LM was taking a shower and he fell in the tub. I just felt so bad when he called to tell me that. Not what he needs right now. He is not eating much yet, and I know that goes along with where he is in recovery. He wants ice cream and lemon meringue pie!!! Not ideal for a recovering heart patient, I would say, but his regular appetite should return in a few weeks. Things seem very ragged in his recovery right now. I keep telling myself, and him, that each day he is improving in some small way, he just can't see or feel it yet, but it is happening despite us all. Bob is just wonderful and helpful in his caring and I know he is very concerned. I hope he will ask for help if he needs it.
The gift of the massage and the return of my energy feels so wonderful. Now I need to pray for patience to be able to get through the next weeks and months, to be flexible to LM's needs and do my part to keep the thread of our love taut without pulling too hard on LM. He needs a soft and gentle touch right now.
It felt like spring was in the air today.....almost 50 degrees and tonight we have a wonderful soft rain. Love it.
Ms. G is waiting for me to climb in bed. Sending much gratitude to everyone who has been so supportive, loving and caring throughout this time. You have afforded me a lot of ease and assurance.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Eloquence and ease of expression escapes me totally right now. I just want to cry for so many reasons. LM is so vulnerable right now....he has no energy, no color and is just barely capable of doing the minimum to keep going right now. The simplest task is beyond him. I know it will change and things will get better. Today everything seems insurmountable to him. I, too, have tremendous pressure on me...financial disaster is looming and I feel helpless to stop it, face it. It seems so terribly unfair to have worked so hard for so many years and in the "end" I come down to being smothered in debt from dental bills....dental bills necessary to repair and restore the damage done from radiation. I have been paying on this debt since 1999 and now another $6,797. fell on me in the mail yesterday. Tears, tears, tears....somehow, I must sleep and get the energy to go to work tomorrow and face my life but I hate my life right now. I cannot find the ease I need. My house feels empty and cold just like my soul. Add all this onto the weight of feeling so sick and so alone during LM's sickness and I am scared.
Well, I tell myself, you are EM's daughter and she always assured you "everything will be alright, dear"....Do I believe her once again?
Saturday, March 1, 2008
LM had a busy day yesterday, too. He went to see his cardiologist and received quite a good report, had blood work and the Dr explained the intensive rehabilitation program which will begin in a few weeks. The trip out of the house was quite exhausting for LM but he was happy to see a bit of the world! He did ask the Dr to change one of his BP meds as it is known to cause severe coughs. The cough he has is terrible and it has plagued him since just post-surgery when they began giving him Lisipronil. That med can also cause swelling in the tongue - also a present symptom for LM. Today he began a different med and I sure hope that is the problem. All in all recovery seems to be on course and it will take a lot of patience to endure the coming weeks as it will be slow. I can see that most things are a very great effort right now and LM is very intensely guarding his body and every thing he does is slightly exaggerated from the struggle. He really worries about compromising his huge chest incision....which seems to be healing quite well, though. Sleeping is still a problem as his bed is not what he would like it to be. I know boredom is setting in and I hope soon LM will be able to get back on his computer and occupy his mind a bit. He is disinterested in TV so time drags. His eyesight is still a bit unfocused from the surgery.
This morning I was able to do some house cleaning and have a nice shower etc and manage to get myself out of the house to do some errands for LM and then drive over to see he and Bob. What amazing joy I felt to be able to see and touch LM's face.....he has lost an amazing amount of weight and looks good, although very tired and he still has a stress frown. We just sat quietly on the couch, he opened some get well cards which had come to my house and I massaged his feet and hands....his left leg and foot are still swollen and sore from where the grafts were taken. His voice is very low and he dozes off but kept returning to look at me and he was wanting to hold my hand. He sweetly brought up how nice it will be when we can really hold each other again. Today I did well managing my tears. This has changed everything about our relationship so much yet our thread of love has still not seemed to fray....sure is being tested!
Yesterday as I drove back from the Dr's office, it hit me full force how much I am missing "us" and our favorite way of handling any situation, problem, or change. There seemed to be nothing we could not solve by simply laying (usually with Ms G insinuating her sweet purring self between us) next to each other, LM's mouth near my ear and talking, talking, talking until everything seemed right....we would look at things from every angle and usually find a place of comfort or solution for whatever needed doing. Sometimes there were not solutions, such as various issues with children and other things we just accept about our life, but hearing things out just worked and kept us united. Here we are now with the biggest challenge we have both ever known and we cannot apply our usual method to deal, to find our united center. So hard, yet I know it will pass, and we will be back there again. It was very sweet that LM made that comment this morning (without knowing my feelings yesterday) about being able to hold me. There is fear in that thought of finally being able to hold each other....I sometimes think I will start crying and not be able to stop. Hopefully, I will be able to work some of this out with my therapist beforehand. It is grief which transcends any I have ever know. I am sure it is because the love LM and I share transcends any and all I have ever know, as well.
Tonight will just be a quiet evening at home for me....maybe some 6 Ft. Under re-runs and a movie. Tomorrow I will roast a chicken and take it over for Bob and LM.
Bob is doing so well as LM's caretaker but it must be hard for them to be so confined without much of a break. Bob has been great and I just hope he doesn't tire out too much. It is a lot of responsibility. Their's is an amazing friendship.