Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday whew when I can say tomorrow "TGIF!"

This week has been a rough one. I took off early one day to go to the hospital so my mother could go to the emergency room and get her ankle taken care of. My grandmother who has been struggling with pain was admitted to the hospital too. She knew awhile ago (not sure we will ever know just how long) that she had breast cancer. She opted not to have treatment and they told her at her age it would progress slowly because she is now 96 and has little estrogen left. About a month ago she was in some serious pain and they did x rays and a CT scan which showed nothing. They admitted her to the hospital and the MRI showed THREE breaks in different vertebrae. They injected something which greatly helped her pain and sent her home with hospice. Hearing that made my heart ache. She has had a wonderful life and we have had her so's not losing her it's that I don't want her to suffer. My mother doesn't really want to know in detail what is happening. She is on overload and compartmentalizing things.
My father has made some progress but there is still concern if he can make enough progress to come home in another three weeks. Their insurance will cover his stay until then. After that my mother will be responsible for paying until she uses all but 40K of assets. She can keep the home she lives in as well. We keep telling her not to worry about that NOW. One day at a time. He understands he is in rehab and he is very worried that he can think but communication is difficult. His right arm swings around but cannot do anything else. For anyone who has been through this I need not explain and for those who have never seen someone who had a stroke, it's hard to imagination how much it takes from someone.
My sister is coming again this weekend. She is a big help. My mother needs a tremendous amount of support right now. It's hard for me to deal with my job, my health issues, my financial issues and trying to get claims processed correctly. I need a break but if my father comes home, not sure I will have one for a very long time. Still, I hope he can overcome the hurdle and make it back home. We are willing to do all we can to get him there.
Now time for some online gaming and a few minutes to myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Brief Update

Today was another long day which began at 5:30 a.m. It is very hot in NJ this weekend, another day with temps in the 90s. AC is on keeping us sane right now. I went and saw my father around dinner time. We make sure someone is there for meals as he needs a lot of help. He is right handed and his poor arm does nothing but hang. It falls off his wheelchair and he catches it and it is bruised beyond imagination. They have wrapped his arms in a sock like covering to try to protect them. When his arm falls down he asks one of us to pick it up. Watching him eat is so painful. He tries awkwardly to pick things up with his left hand. He cannot hold a utensil and tries to put his mouth to the plate and we keep reminding him to use his hands for food that he can pick up and we feed him the rest. He tries to speak and he is frustrated beyond description. We try so hard to piece together words we can understand but the aphasia makes it nearly impossible. My son came in (I was so proud of him, he had gotten a wonderful haircut and was dressed so nicely and he looked so handsome) and my Dad was thrilled to see him. When he went to leave he told him what a great guy he was and that he loved him. He insisted on shaking hands with him and when he held out his right hand my heart sank. I whispered for him to be very careful.
My mother is struggling emotionally and doesn't think she can handle this. I told her we are not really given choices about these things and that while it might not be easy she would have to toughen up a bit, at least when he could observe her emotions. His physical therapy begins tomorrow and I am hoping it will go well.
My grandmother who has been in pain and crying for weeks has been hospitalized. They discovered she has vertibrae issues which were missed on several CT scans. Today that did an MRI which showed that two are crushed. They are going to try to inject something between them but she is so happy that her pain is being controlled. It was wonderful to hear her so much better.
I am exhausted and heading for bed and knowing I have a work week ahead of me. Not sure if I will get on to post as I will be getting home at 6, having dinner, going to the rehab/conva center and then back home and bed. Hoping I can sleep well tonight and function tomorrow. One day at a time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday and Sleepless

Yesterday was a grueling test of patience. My mother called in the morning to say that the hospital wanted to release my father. They wanted him to go to a rehab facility for four weeks. After that time he will need surgery done on his carotid artery which is 80% obstructed. That is what caused this stroke and will cause another, possibly more serious, stroke. I say that tongue in cheek. My mother, the one communicating with the doctors, does not understand medical lingo and she forgets what they tell her. I think she is in denial and yesterday she almost fell apart. I doubt she can be my father's voice in this. She doesn't want to make decisions and be responsible but someone must.

I went to work yesterday but left early at 2:30. I have left early three days this week which will be without pay for those hours. I went to my mother's house and my sister and I were just ready to put some dinner on the table when the phone rang. A nurse said my father was being combative and they were going to send him back to the hospital. We asked her to wait and we would be there as soon as possible.I went with my mother and my sister, who came down from upstate New York just that morning, to the rehab center they had just moved my father too. He was very agitated. I had wondered if he would be alright taken in the ambulance by himself. I feared he would think he had been tricked into being put into a nursing home. I believe that is what happened. His aphasia is so bad that he has great difficulty communicating. He clenches his fists and sometimes screams out of frustration. He told me that the men could not be trusted. He couldn't really elaborate on that but he had refused any meds, to have his vitals taken or to eat. When I began to explain the situation to him, calmly, he began to yell at me and tell me and the others to leave. He kept saying he wanted to go home. The charge nurse came over and said she was having him transported back to the hospital. We tried to get them to give us more time but they called the ambulance and back we went. At the ER the doctor said it was ridiculous to have sent him back. He called the rehab and said that they needed to accept him. Then another ambulance came to transport him back. By now it was after ten p.m. Since my mother had my sister and by now my brother had arrived I headed home. Not sure what tomorrow will bring. One interesting thing: when he was back in the ER my father and I were alone for a few minutes. I looked down at him, he seemed so small, the man who was always bigger than life. He looked so frightened and helpless and it broke my heart. I hugged him and told him I loved him but he could tell I was so choked up. He looked at me and clearly said "Nelle, it's not that bad honey." Then he went back to rambling about things that made no sense. I did observe that he speaks of himself in the third person. He never says I or me but he says "the man" or "he". When the nurse asked him if he knew his name he said
"His name is James." I keep thinking if we can break more of his language code we will all be less frustrated. It's just so sad to watch this. I fear a lot of him was lost in all this.
It's only 7 a.m. and I need to pay bills now and figure out finances. I have accepted that the car payments will never be paid by that company. Right now I have so much on my plate I don't know where to begin and I am ever mindful that my health must be my number one concern.

if you are between 18 and 60 you could save some one's life!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cripey I'm on Overload

I went back to work for an entire week this week. I got home on Monday evening and had dinner. (Rob and I have an agreement that we don't give each other bad news until AFTER dinner.) He then told me they had just taken my Dad in an ambulance to the ER after he collapsed. For those of you who don't read my blog last Easter my father had a huge cancerous tumor removed from his liver. A few months later he had three grand mal seizures in one day and his heart stopped but was revived in the ambulance. He has been hospitalized eight times in the last year, several with pneumonia as he has COPD. This time it appears he has had a stroke. Yesterday (Tuesday) I left work a few hours early and went directly to the hospital hoping to spend some time with him. I arrived at 4 p.m. and sat in his empty room for over two hours while he was having CT scans. My mother was downstairs with him. When they arrived upstairs his dinner was waiting. He struggled terribly and couldn't handle utensils so decided he could feed himself using the lid of a covered cup. He seemed embarassed at us watching him and shooed us off to get something to eat. The cafe there had nothing I could have but my mother had a salad. When we got back he was very agitated. He has aphasia and struggles trying to convey any thoughts he has which seem very random. We stayed awhile then I came home so emotionally drained I crawled into bed at 9 p.m. and slept until 7 this morning. I went back to work and learned at lunch hour they are going to have to put stents in his carotid arteries. They are uncertain how much damage is permanent but he will have to go to rehab before coming home. I am not sure my mother will be able to handle him at home unless there is more improvement. I came home a few hours early again and made another painful call to MONUMENTAL, the insurance company who still has not paid one cent of my car payments. They have decided now to make inquiries of ALL doctors I have seen in the past five years. When I applied for the policy it asked if I had been treated in the past THREE years for things which the answer to was no. Now it seems they are trying to say that I had diabetes as a pre-exisiting condition and are trying to contact every doctor that has treated me. All to get out of paying my claim. I have again attempted to get in touch with someone at Toyota who MISLED me with this policy. I will not be purchasing any more cars from Freehold Toyota after they refuse to accept responsibility for the misinformation I was given.
I have paid nearly eight hundred dollars for a policy which was a huge rip off.
I feel my privacy is invaded when they are contacting doctors I have not seen in FIVE years when they asked me about three years. NO one will take responsibility for this and I feel like I have been ripped off for the cost of the policy, nearly $800 and for the $800 they did not make in payments.
I am so tired in dealing with all this. I am so sad that having eight weeks out of work I did not have ONE day of enjoyment. Not one trip, not even a day trip.
Now because of this horrid company I am behind on my bills. I want to contact a TV reporter who exposes this kind of sham but frankly with me working full time I don't know when I would have time to do it. SHAME on this company and Toyota for using them.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunny and Serene Sunday

Yesterday the weather was so beautiful it was beyond description. I was awake at 5:30 a.m. even though it was a day off. I jumped up and did some straightening out in the garage, rearranging things and organizing summer items. I had an appointment with my dietitian who has been such a help in learning how to eat properly with the diabetes. Marina was so thrilled because this past month I lost another eight pounds. Since going to her I have lost 14 1/2 lbs. and I had lost a few before going to see her. My glucose numbers are fantastic now and she is eager for the endocrinologist to see them as well. The endo had some ultrasounds done and I was disappointed to learn that I have had some shrinkage in my leg arteries due to the diabetes. This means I must be very careful with my diet, more so than someone who does not develop this complication. It is going to be in the seventies today and when I sign off the computer I will be taking a nice long walk. Another thing I must do is become more physically active. Having lost the weight I did, I have more energy to do so.

Being back at work has been really good for me. I have made many friends where I am and there is a lot of support there. I was in training Thursday and Friday and was disappointed that they were distributing candy. Of the four people at my table three just happened to be diabetic. I did point out to one of the instructors that we couldn't eat the candy and could he offer us something that we could have? Sugar free chocolate perhaps? He apologized twice and I was disappointed to see the other diabetics eating the candy. Ironically, my sugar was too low and I did get to have one small piece but I was not going to sit there and eat sugar I knew I shouldn't have. We have a wonderful cafeteria which offers everything and I found that with two breaks and lunch I was able to have the things I needed sans sugar.

I am wearing slacks I couldn't get into last summer. What a glorious feeling. I am hoping to have another fifteen pounds off by July and pick up a few outfits for the summer. If I am honest, I have clothing in several sizes in my closet. My summer clothes should fit me well as they were small for me last year.

After my walk I am planning to take a quick trip to the mall and take my husband for a Ruby Tuesdays lunch. I love their salad bar and he can get something good as well. I might see if there is a shirt or something as a small reward for my hard work. Tomorrow I am back actively doing my job. I am a bit nervous trying to remember things from two months ago and also incorporating some of the changes made while I was out. Monday is a busy day for us.

I hope all of you are enjoying this wonderful day and that the weather there is as nice as here. It's been a fabulous weekend and I wish it could just last a bit longer. Now off to find some sneakers........

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My First Day Back

I went back to work today. The HR person told me I had to be there half an hour early. Being the prompt person I am I actually arrived 45 minutes early. The security people had me sit in the waiting room until someone in HR said I could enter their office. I was advised it would "be awhile" and it was. About 45 minutes after waiting they took my security card and activated it. I thought I was going to have another interview but the receptionist handed me my card and sent me on my way. When I arrived upstairs I already knew someone else had been using my desk. I was really disappointed because I am a neat freak and they all knew this. The guy wasn't around and my boss told me that it was still my desk and just to move his things and put mine back (they had been stored underneath). After wiping things down with disinfecting wipes and replacing stuff I was ready to get down to business. Don't know why I felt so nervous as I have been doing this a year and a half but I did. It took me awhile to regain my computer access and then I struggled to remember passwords. I have passwords for many systems and most are different and must be changed every few months. We are not permitted to write them down. After guessing a few that I rotate I was finally in my email and I had a few hundred that had accumulated in the last two months. I began reading them and then for a few hours listened to a coworker using some new techniques. It went well and tomorrow and the next day I will primarily be in training classes to learn these new techniques firsthand. Many coworkers greeted me enthusiastically, I got many hugs and that was appreciated. All in all, it went well. I am tired tonight. I am going to hop into bed and try to sleep a bit later than I did this morning. I was like a kid going to the first day of school. Woke up before six and could not get back to sleep. It rained today and tomorrow that should stop. We are expecting seventy degree temps here on Friday. I will love the drive home.
I'm getting back into my routine and it really feels good. Nighty night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Feeling Grumpy

If you know the song Feeling Groovy subsitute the word grumpy and sing along with me. Slow down....moving too to make the morning last.....just kicking down the cobblestones.....looking for fun and feeling grumpy.

The diabetic diet is getting to me. EVERYTHING has carbs. You go out to eat and you pay for food that you cannot eat, or can have a miniscule portion of. Seeing all the wonderful food for Easter, in particular the desserts and the candy just makes me want it. People do not realize how frustrating it is. Like my mother who sent over cupcakes when I didn't go to her house because she was serving GLAZED ham, CANDIED yams and a salad with my grandmother's homemade dressing which has an entire cup of sugar in it. Sheesh. My mother has the sweet tooth of all time. Yes folks, I was raised by a woman who hid Chunkys in her dresser drawers. My Dad was in the Navy and when he was gone she actually sold cans of veggies to our neighbor (also a relative) and she bought things like Chunkys with it. My mother will keep a cake until it is stale and then pour milk on it and eat it like cereal. That will be BREAKFAST. My mother has no concept of nutrition and yet my sister and I have always been very conscious of nutrition. Thing is I grew up with candy dishes all over the house. When I was at my mother's last I counted EIGHT and that was just downstairs. Some are gallon size jar containers. For a beverage I was served SWEET iced tea. Thankfully I stopped drinking that about thirty years ago. My point is that it is hard to stop sugar cold turkey. I think I am having psychological withdraw.
Tomorrow I go back to work and it's a good thing. Firstly, I need to be focusing on other things than food deprivation. Secondly there is a cafeteria at work and they have meats and veggies that I will be able to have. Speaking of food Rachael Ray is on. I love her show and watching all those calorie laden meals she makes. Honestly some of them have no appeal to me at all and I wonder if the woman ever has her cholesterol tested. I do like her a lot but I wish she would have some shows on diabetic receipes OR low cholesterol meals. I was reading an article about how many children are being diagnosed with diabetes due to such high sugar diets. Some kids as young as four! That was shocking to me.
On a high note, yesterday the man of the house repainted our upstairs bathroom. It's kind of a periwinkle blue and I love it. The fixtures are ivory and it's a nice contrast. The shower curtain and accessories had this color in it. Today he is painting our guest room. When we purchased this home it was only nine months old but you would never have believed it. The woman who lived here in that short time had done a lot of damage. In that room her daughter had done something to the wall and she took a much darker color paint to touch it up and made a huge mess. We had never painted that room. I am doing it a creamy vanilla so that I can change the bedding to whatever I like. We bought one coat paint and I am hoping it actually is, I think so. It's a big job. Getting back to our home......the woman had dropped a 2 litre bottle of orange soda down the stairs on brand new carpet. As though that wasn't bad enough she tried to remove it with watered down bleach. A week after moving it I had to change the carpet on the stairs and upstairs hallway. The house also came with a washer, dryer and refrigerator. In our contract she was to leave the appliances but when we arrived after closing they were all gone. She was a single mother on the verge of foreclosure when we purchased the home. I felt sorry for her and just bought new appliances, I was sure that builder's appliances were not comparable to what I purchased. Even the toilet paper holders and light bulbs were taken. I just felt sad for her. Our house is small and there are things about my old house that I really miss, like my fireplace and my pull down attic stairs. Still there is a charm here and it's a comfortable place. I am always mindful of a plaque I saw in Amish country. It said the beauty of a house is it's hospitality. We always have a cup of tea and some homemade something here if you ever want to drop by. There's just no subsitute for feeling welcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Today I put on a new sweater I had bought and some nice green dress slacks I had not fit into in a few years. That was a great way to kick start the day. Got to church early so we could have a good seat. Easter fills up fast and the church holds 2100 and then there are people standing up and down the sides and across the back. We know to get there at least a half hour early. It was a lovely service and the choir sang so beautifully. I didn't even fret about not taking my morning medicine. We came home and I through a spiral ham in the oven. We had a lovely dinner around 3 p.m. and my son, the vegan, joined us. He made himself pancakes. I worry that he is eating fewer and fewer foods. He won't eat fish or eggs anymore as he used to. I had a talk with him about how he eats primarily carbs and this concerns me because diabetes is so prevalent on both sides of his family. He said he would try to come up with more dishes that were less carb laden.

Right after eating my grandmother called. She has had a premonition that she would be leaving us on Easter weekend. She was upset with me for not going to my mother's house for dinner. My mother was having candied yams and a salad with a dressing that has a cup of sugar in it. My mother doesn't understand that I cannot eat things like that. We had a salad loaded with fresh veggies like broccoli and I put a low carb dressing on it. We had potatoes but my small amount was carefully monitored and candied anything is out. My grandmother doesn't understand so I try to let it go in one ear and out the other. I have enough trouble being reasonable now, cannot imagine how I would be at 96. Right after we finish eating my sister arrives with cupcakes my mother sent over. How thoughtful. My niece arrives shortly afterwards and her and my son had a nice conversation which was great as they live upstate New York and he rarely gets to see her. She is a chemist working in the daytime and going to grad school at night. She's really a great person and a joy to visit with.
So my Easter was good. Good sermon at the church I am most at home in, good meal and good visitors. I did miss a basket of candy but I got a bouquet of flowers (purple tulips) instead. Life is every changing and the secret to enjoying it seems to be the ability to roll with the punches. I'm trying my best to do that.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thinking Out Loud

Easter is almost here. I have not attended church in months. I have not done anything (other than to sit a few bunnies and a few feathered chicks on some furniture). In years past I bought Easter candy for nearly every relative I had. This year our young niece and our nephew who is our Godchild received cards with a little money. This past Christmas I was not "into it" either. I think my health issues have been so weighty for me that it's been hard to get into the other things. Working full time uses most of my energy. My time off has been used to see doctors, have tests done and file papers and refax papers that were already sent in. I have had to bother my doctor several times to fill out papers and felt badly about wasting her time. I am feeling better each day now. Still coughing here and there but overall so much better. I will be returning to work next week. I am trying to do a few last minute things such as plant pansy flowers in the ceramic urns on the front porch and patio. I have been up since 5 this morning and I cleaned out my bathroom closet and laundry room shelves.

My grandmother has become very difficult. I feel so badly for my aunt, newly retired who is there dealing with her by herself. My mother doesn't like to be around sick people and has not gone to help. I worry how my aunt who is not in the best of health will do this on her own. I told my mother this morning that she should at least offer financial compensation of some kind. I realize this is not my problem and I cannot take it on.

My significant other had a CT scan and an ultrasound. He has had some neck discomfort and a sore throat. He has nodules on both sides of his thyroid. Since his cousin had his thyroid removed two years ago when it became cancerous and since his sister died of cancer he is very concerned. He will be having some blood work and seeing an endocrinologist and they will do frequent ultrasounds to monitor the situation. Oh to have a boring life.

The sun is beautiful today and I was outside for a few hours today soaking it up as I planted the planters. I am hoping that as the weather warms, my adjustments to the low carb diet get easier and more familiar and things continue to bloom I will feel lighter. It's been a rough winter but the Spring is here and I hope things are so bright I have to wear shades.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Passover and a 5 Min Chocolate Cake Recipe!

4 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons oil

3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

A small splash of vanilla extract

1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).Of course, I cannot make or eat this being diabetic but my sister sent me this recipe. It made my mouth water. I gave up cake for lent as an extra incentive not to have any. Damn I miss cake so much I cannot tell you. Right now I would trade my firstborn for a piece of cake with lemon filling and coconut frosting. Oh yea.
I want to wish my Jewish friends a Happy Passover. I know many will soon be sitting down to their seder with family and I hope it will be a special time.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunny Sunday

Last night I had a bit of a restless night and ended up rising about 7 a.m. We went out for breakfast and I had the first pancake I have eaten since December. Counting carbs really restricts your diet and of course I had it with sugar free syrup. It bothers me to consume all this artificial sweetener. I am in a rut, tired of drinking diet soda. I purchased diet iced tea but cannot find it decaffeinated which means I have to limit that. I drink a lot of water but I long for juice. You never know what you have until it's gone and the freedom to eat what you want, when you want is one of those things. If I want a carb it has to be consumed with a protein and then there is a limitation on how many carbs I can have in one day. It's all about choices and making the best choices. I can't begin to imagine how a diabetic vegetarian can make it work. All the proteins that are not from animals are high in carbs such as beans and peas.

My spirits are lifting. The weather has gotten much better. The resident gardener has prepared the pots for flowers which we will purchase and get planted this week. Right now money is tight and I will be doing the pots only. In a few months I will purchase some more things as I get back to a steady paycheck. The other day I watched Suze Orman on Oprah and she gave many bits of advice that I felt were helpful to me. At the end of the show she said she wanted to ask the people watching to do something. She wanted them to focus not on what they USED to have, no longer have but what they still have. That really touched my heart. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the times that were so easy for me and how hard these past few years have been. Perhaps hardest of all is that much of our money has gone for medical expenses. I digress.......I still have a home, a car and food to eat. I have neighbors who are living day to day not knowing if they can keep their homes. Homes that they mortgaged two years ago and now they owe more than they could sell them for. I honestly think this is a wake up call for all Americans. Even those not currently feeling the crunch. We have to stop buying things we cannot afford and do not need. We have to stop living on so much credit. Two years ago if anyone had told me my husband's company would shut their site and he would be out of work I would have never believed it. Times have changed and if we don't learn to change with them we can find ourselves in serious trouble. We are making small changes wherever we can. Those small changes add up. This year instead of an overflowing basket that my son always received he is getting ONE chocolate bunny. I am starting now to simplify.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I just spoke with my doctor who got the CT scan results. Whatever was in my lung is gone, there is nothing in it now. Woohoo! That was something I was very concerned about. Very good news. Now for the less good news: last night my husband's legs were flying about like helicopter blades. Every now and then he does this. When I went to bed I had a terrible soreness in my right side muscle from coughing for three weeks. I had only been asleep for an hour when his legs took flight and he kicked me waking me up. Of course he slept through this. The second time, less than five minutes later I lost it. I yelled at him to stop which did wake him up. I am wondering if this could be restless leg syndrome. In any event the sudden jumping I did further hurt the strained muscle and I couldn't even lay down. I got out of bed for a few hours and there is no position today that does not hurt. I just took some ibuprofen which I can't do regularly because of the blood thinner. I am hoping it will be better by tomorrow but the important thing is that my lung is now clear. I wonder why I am still coughing so much and since I expect to return to work April 15th now I am hoping there will be no residual cough at that time.

It is warm and sunny here in NJ. Hubby felt guilty I think and has entertained the pesky dog and done a lot of yardwork. I know he didn't do this intentionally but I am not congenial when woken up, especially when I am in pain. Perhaps tonight one of us will be in the guest room and if that someone is me I am leaving the pet elsewhere.