Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Without hitting every last detail….here’s the latest on my poor grammy’s terrible ordeal:

Grammy was seen in the emergency room on Friday (after a 5+ hour wait).  The good news:  they determined the distended tummy was not life threatening…she was blocked up by the pain killers.  The bad news: they didn’t check her back any further…so, now, after coming home for the weekend, she is heading back out tomorrow to have x-rays done.  I’m praying they take her to an x-ray facility and not back to the ER (if she only needs x-rays, she’ll be at the bottom of the priority list and will likely be there for 12+ hours waiting on a gurnery in the hallway)  And…they won’t medicate her while she waits.

Dad was there Thurs-Sun…she is in tremendous pain.  They are giving her pain medication, but it isn’t enough.  When I called her this evening…she answered the phone as though I had raised her from the dead…and then said, “Oh, Darlin’, I’ve fallen and am in a great deal of pain.  I can’t talk.”  I was concerned she had fallen again, but was able to determine she was sitting on the edge of the bed.  Getting up and down is extrememly painful for her.

As a result of her Alzheimers (which is now worse than ever) she can’t remember what is happening from one moment to the next.  She doesn’t remember that my dad was there. She actually thought my dad was her husband for quite a bit of the time he was there.  She didn’t know that her son was my dad.  She forgets to lay still until she is again reminded by serious pain.

I feel helpless.  My poor mom had to get off the phone with me tonight to cry.  We are all sick to our stomachs.

The facility has suspended the Executive Director and head nurse, but are now saying this has all been a ‘miscommunication issue’.  They claim Grams has a history of fallling (according to her chart, she fell ONE TIME IN 2005) and that they often find her sleeping on the floor. (outright lie)  They also now claim that maybe her back isn’t really broken…apparently their HEAD NURSE may have read the hospital report incorrectly (the head nurse doesn’t know how to read hospital reports????  and the ‘fracured L-2’ isn’t serious?)  I hate these people.

They offered to pay for my dad’s trip for his ‘trouble’.  Sounds like an itty-bitty admission of guilt, no?  Dad’s too smart to fall for that.  Told them there would be plenty of time to talk money.  PS…this facility is NOT FREE~!  How’s this for $3000/month care?

 Bottom line….Grammy is in bad shape.  She is in miserable pain, yet surrounded by people who aren’t paying enough attention to make sure she is cared for.  Mom is getting back on the phone tomorrow to get her pain medication increased…since we’re told it could be 6-8 weeks before her back is any better.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your prayer and love.  She needs it.  So do my parents.



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I have to tell you about a 10 year old girl who is amazing.

Her name is Emily Berry. In January of this year, she was diagnosed with an inopearable brain tumor.  Rather than bursting into tears, instead of yelling, “Why me?” this little girl waited until the neurologist left the room, she looked at her parents and said, “You know, I’m going to name it (the tumor) Delores.  And Delores has got to go!”  This is what they are up against.

Emily’s parents, Cory and Kevin, were later amazed to learn from one of their doctors that ‘dolor’ means ‘pain’ in Latin and  ‘dolor’ + ‘es’ means to ‘get rid of pain’.  How did this sweet girl know to name her nemesis Delores?

Emily’s tumor is a Pediatric Low Grade Astrocytoma (PLGA), the most common form of brain tumors in children.  There aren’t many treatment options and the PLGA Foundation is tragically underfunded.  So, there aren’t many treatment options.  Emily recently finished a 10 week course of chemotherapy that didn’t slow the tumor’s progress.  They are exploring other options with their team of doctors at Cardinal Glennon’s Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Emily and her family came up with a plan.  In addition to getting rid of Delores, they created their own Non-profit foundation to raise $1 million dollars for research to fight PLGA’s.  They are doing it with their very own website, www.ColorForACure.org.  They are hoping to raise the money $1 dollar at a time.  To track their progress, Emily’s dad created a ‘one million pixel picture’.  For every dollar donated, one pixel of the entirely black picture will turn the color of your choice.  Right now the picture is lit by over 4000 colored dots of light. 

I hope you will stop by Emily’s site.  I hope you can part with $1 to help this little girl reach her goal. And, I hope you will pass www.ColorForACure.org on to your friend’s and family.

100% of the money raised will go to  the PLGA specifically for research.  Not one penny will be spent on administrative costs.  You go through a secure Google checkout when you donate.  Until the end of this year, Google will not charge a transaction fee for non-profit groups. (PayPal apparently takes 32 cents of every dollar), so the family truly hopes to reach their goal by December 31st. 

Color Emily’s dreams with a few red, blue, yellow and green pixels.

Read more about Emily’s story here.



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This is what friendship looks like when you are three

And friendship in your 30’s….

Joy when you are 2….

And joy when you are 32…..

Simple love when you are 4 and 2….

And a little big kid love too….

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Have you ever witnessed an amazing act of kindness that makes you question if you have that level of giving deep in your heart?  The kind of self-sacrifice that you hope you possess?

Well…I have…and I’m proud to say the ‘giver’ in this situation is my mom.

Just about a month ago, my mom learned that her uncle had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  This uncle is someone my mom has stayed in touch with over the years, but has probably only seen a half dozen times in her life. (He moved away from her home town when she was a child) Knowing he was alone and suffering, she hopped on a plane and flew half way across the country to visit him. 

After spending a weekend with him, she realized he wasn’t eating and wasn’t taking his medication regularly.  He also expressed a desire to live out his final days at home rather than at the hospital.  This was all the information my heart-of-gold mother needed.  She returned home, took a leave of absence from work, packed up her car, drove more than 1000 miles and moved herself in with him.

The man who only a week before was still talking and walking, could no longer move himself or even swallow.  He passed away just after midnight on Saturday night…just the way he had hoped:  peacefully in his sleep.  It is my mom who made this final wish a reality.  In his final days she made sure he was loved: she read to him, she put lotion on his hands, she carried him from his bed to the couch when he wanted to get up. She made sure he was comfortable and comforted.  This makes her a very special kind of angel.

I hope I inherited her wings.


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Ok…so, I am one of the thousands of people ripped from sleep last night by the earthquake. 

I have to admit, I originally blamed my husband.   I thought he was shaking the bed.  I mean, really, earthquakes and the Midwest don’t typically mix.  But within a few seconds, I realized what was happening.  I yelled, “its an earthquake” and ran for the kids’ rooms.  I grabbed Delaney and Jeff took Coop….we huddled in the doorway unti the shaking stopped.  I don’t know exactly how long it lasted…but long enough to be shaken awake, realize what was happening, bolt to Delaney and stand in her doorway.

(God love my Midwest husband….he thought maybe we should head to the basement for safety.)  I grew up in California and know that a basement is exactly where you DON’T want to be, but when you grow up with tornado drills instead of earthquake drills, the basement is a safe haven.

The kids thought it was fun to crawl into Mommy and Daddy’s bed for a little bit.  They never felt threatened for a second, but that’s my job, right?  They even went peacefully back to sleep within 40 minutes..and slept in.  Bonus.

It has been 14 years since I’ve felt an earthquake, but you just don’t forget the unsettling feeling.  I was startled awake last time too….I was in San Diego when the Northridge quake hit, and I remember watching the water splash out of our home pool during the Whittier quake.  You have the truest sensation that everything is completely out of your control.  There is no way to predict them – no ‘earthquake sirens’ sound, you don’t know how long it will last and you don’t know if what you felt is isolated or just the beginning.

We had an aftershock, but I was exercising and didn’t feel it.  Here’s to hoping we’re done with the shaking for now.

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It happens all the time. By mail. Over the phone. Via email. At your front door. As you enter your grocery store. When you are checking out of your favorite retail haunt.

“Would you like to donate to…..(fill in the blank)”   

In the past few weeks I have been solicited by Habitat for Humanity, the March of Dimes, the American Kidney Fund, the Jimmy Fund, the American Diabetes Association (twice), Easter Seals, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (twice), the National Foundation for Cancer Research, St. Jude’s, the Make A Wish Foundation, the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation International, a local children’s hospital, the United States Olympic Committee, the Alzheimers Association, and Susan G. Komen.

Mind you, this doesn’t include any of the local High schools and Churches that have knocked on my door.

Now, my challenge is that I would love to donate to EVERYONE, but, clearly, since I am not a multi-millionaire, that is not possible.

My weak spots are children’s charities, and ANYTHING supporting a friend or friend’s child who is fighting ANYTHING.  A college friend has a team walking to fight diabetes this upcoming weekend.  His 5 year old son was diagnosed with this terrible disease 4 years ago.  This is from their JDRF page:

April 16, 2008 will mark the four year anniversary since he was diagnosed with this insidious disease. In that time C has proven again and again what a strong and brave little boy he really is. He never complains about getting his blood sugar checked, something we estimate that we have now done over 14,600 times since he was diagnosed. Imagine having to prick your finger to get a drop of blood 10 times a day, even in the middle of the night. He never complains about having his insulin pump set changed every 2 days. C now uses an insulin pump to regulate his blood sugars. He is tethered to it 24 hours a day, every day.

I donated immediately.

I am reminded how lucky I am to (so far) have healthy children.  I will support this cause all day- every day.

Today, while buying a pair of sandals for Delaney, I was asked if I would like to add a dollar to my bill for the March of Dimes.  I said yes.  I can do a dollar.  But I was curious: just how many people say ‘yes’, and how many say ‘no thank you’? I figured, since they were specifically asking for a dollar rather than an open-ended, “Would you like to donate?” they would have more takers.  Apparently not.  The woman behind the counter said they have not raised nearly as much as they had hoped.  And the ‘yeses’ and ‘nos’ come in groups.  If the first person in line says ok, the rest are more likely to do the same…the opposite is true as well. 

Hmmmm, adult peer pressure.  Interesting.  And the guilt factor.  Tough.  I know I always feel bad when I say no, and I feel bad when I get the address labels in the mail and don’t automatically send a check.  It is hard.  I wish I could, but somehow I’ve ended up on a bizillion (yes, bizillion) charity lists…  Rarely a day goes by that I don’t receive at least one solicitation in the mail.

All I can do is follow my heart.  My heart says, “help the kids”, and “support the family and friends you love”. 

Someday, when I’m a bizillionaire, I’ll help everyone. 



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Ever have one of those days?  You know, the kind where even the beautiful weather doesn’t seem to lift your mood?  Dr. Suess has a book called, “My Many Colored Days”.  By his definition, I’m actually have a brown day (that’s the crabby kind) But I think calling it a blue day as well fits.

 It started yesterday. (So I guess it is actually ‘2 of those days’) I keep waiting to feel myself being lifted out (and heaven knows I have wonderful people in my life who have tried) but, so far it isn’t passing.

I have had moments of joy – watching the kids run and jump and play outside for the first time in what feels like a million years.  Having great chats with old friends…and with new ones.  The very fact that it is in the 70’s outside is divine.  But, when I’m alone, I go right back to feeling irritable and crabby. 

I think I can safely say that the source of my crabbiness comes down to two words: entitlement and inconsideration.  I am highly offended by both.  And when these traits manifest in people I care about or worse, when people I care about actually possess these traits but have been masquerading as kind, considerate people, I am turned a little topsy-turvy.

I am blessed to have friends who remind me to ‘Let them be’…and to remember that I can not ‘measure others by my yardstick’.

Here’s hoping for a bright red evening and a hot pink tomorrow!


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