Friday, September 19, 2014

My Conversation with Melissa

Yesterday I was in the car and was thinking about Melissa…that it had been a long time since I heard Viva La Vida, the song she sends me.  Can't even remember the last time I heard it.

She took care of it today.

It was a beautiful, brisk morning.  Not a cloud in the sky. Decided to take my four mile walk.  Put my headphones on as I walked out the gate from the backyard and the DJ said "we play everything.  Right now, we have Viva La Vida by Cold Play…"

She heard me.

Whenever I hear it, it makes me smile, but it also makes me sad.  This time was no different, except that  after the song was over, I heard her.  She was talking to me.  We were having a conversation.
One thing she said was "Mom, all those hearts you see - they're from me.  I'm going to send you a BIG HEART today".

I asked her if she knew Carrie (Roxy's daughter) or Courtney (Mange and Mary's daughter) and she said she was with BOTH of them.  She also said "I'm happy.  John should be happy too".  I guess the only way to explain this conversation was like it was coming through headphones.  Or telepathy.  I could hear her say "MOM".

This conversation went on for the first half of the walk.  She sends me hearts a lot.  The first time was when we were at Grand Turk two summers ago.  I was in the water at the beach and stepped on a rock. I picked it up with my toes to look at it - it was white and had an indentation on it that was heart shaped.  I kept  it - it's at her grave now.  Since then, I have found other heart shaped rocks - but I have also seen heart shaped clouds - heart shaped spots on the ground, heart shaped leaves.  I know it sounds crazy, but every time I see one, I think of Melissa and I know she is sending it to me - so I think of her. So today was no different - I saw several heart shaped things - and every time she would say  - "No mom. That's not it".    As I was walking through Delco Park, a song came on that started with these words "Are you feeling better?  Do you feel the same?"  I felt like she was talking to me through the song…I shook my head "YES"   and "Do I feel the same …. "YES"  I'm still sad, even though talking to her I felt better.

About ten minutes later on the walk, the song "Fat Bottomed Girls" came on - and I smiled and thought of Melissa…because if we were together she would say "so you think that's me, don't you mom?"…and again she was talking to me…"MOM.  Why are you thinking of me when this song comes on?" and she laughed.  I could hear her laugh.

It was a WONDERFUL walk today.  And all the while I was looking for the BIG HEART she was sending me.  I thought maybe it would be a cloud.  But the sky was near cloudless today.

We picked up the boys and met Nick for pizza before the game.  No heart yet.

At the game, I kept looking - still a pretty, cloudless sky.  WHERE was this heart going to be.  Was this conversation I had not real?  It sure felt real.  I could HEAR her voice.  I could hear her laugh.  I could feel her smile.

Fairmont won tonight - their second win.  It was a good night, but still no heart…we were talking to Jack Meyers on the way out.   Jack is my dad's age and is still working -neat guy.  We were laughing at a story he was telling and I happened to glance to the right…and there it was.  My heart.
My BIG HEART.  She came through.  Call it serendipity…call it a coincidence.  But I call it a sign.  And a sign that she PROMISED me.


Call me crazy, I don't care.  She is with me every day…and today I talked to her.  And she talked back. A real conversation.  Something I have missed with her for almost six years.  

Thank you Melissa.  You made me smile today.  I just wish I could wrap my arms around you…
I love you and miss you more every day.

I <3 girl="" p="" pretty="" you="">

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Puzzle

I was just browsing on Facebook and came across a poster that said "As I sit here and whisper "I miss you" I believe somehow you can still here me.  Then it said "Read this two ways:  1. From you to your loved one.  2. From your loved one to you.


This is the puzzle


It sits behind our corner cupboard.  Has for a long time.  We bought it for the boys three or four years ago for Christmas.  All the pieces are missing.  Behind each piece is a small speaker that makes the sound of the animal.  It is motion activated.  Ever since we lost the pieces (3 or 4 years ago) it goes off random times…like whenever we are talking to Melissa or talking ABOUT Melissa.  Or one of her friends calls on the phone.  Whenever we NEED to hear from her.  

When Melissa passed away, my sister Sue loaned us something Melissa made for her - A poster of the Maya Angelou poem "The Phenomenal Woman".  We put it out at Melissa's funeral.  When Sue turned 50 (after Melissa passed away), we still had it.  I decided to wrap up the poster and give it back to her.  It was hers.  From Melissa.  As I was writing in Sue's card "I know Melissa would want you to have this back"  The puzzle went off.

It happens all the time.  So today, when I was sitting here browsing and found the poster…
 I whispered "I miss you so much Melissa.  Every single day"

And the puzzle went off.  She's with me.  Every day.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Coming Home…HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAXWELL IRVIN!!!!

Everything was looking pretty good a week ago Monday…the procedure for the pacemaker went well. Dad even looked better after the procedure.  Said he felt better.  Protocol was 24 hour observation.  So I left the hospital, met a new friend in Melbourne for dinner (thanks Tricia for dinner!) and grocery shopping for dad.

Told him I'd be back around 8 the next morning - he told me to sleep in and come at 9.  I was there at 8:30 and he said "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I'm ready to go!"  Nurse came in and said she was getting his discharge papers ready.  I had just enough time to book my flight home.  Got a somewhat reasonable flight for Saturday afternoon at 4.  Nurse came in, gave us the discharge papers and new med list, which included 2 new meds (not new to dad, but back on previous meds- one med taken off the list).  I told him I'd take him home, drop him off and go pick up the meds.  But he wanted to go with me.  Walgreen was on the way home, lets just stop.  So we did.  And of course he wanted to go in with me.  I remember thinking as we were walking in that his eyes looked glassy.  I asked him if he was ok and he said "yes".  He was a little slow, but that has been normal for him this summer.  I mean, he is 84…

So we get back to the pharmacy - dad sits down.  They say its going to be 20 min.  About 10 min later, they say it's ready.  I get up to pay, and dad comes up and stands next to me at the counter.  Next thing I know, dad's arms are buckling, his legs are buckling and he is going down.  I yell for help and the two  people behind the counter come out to help.  Dad insists that he is just tired and not to call paramedics.  But I insist that they call the paramedics.  They are there in about 5 minutes, take his blood pressure - and they say it's 66/37.  That explains the fall.  I think.  He's back to the hospital.

In ER from 10-4:30.  Not a very good experience.  In fact, a horrible experience.  I understand that dad's problem was not a priority.  But while he was in ER the only thing he asked for was water (which he never got-for six hours) and to go to the bathroom.  And the nurses acted like they didn't want to be bothered with him.  He didn't get anything to eat while he was there either - I got something from the vending machine for him.  So frustrating, and SO glad to get him into a room.

That was Tuesday.

Wednesday I was able to talk to a Case Manager at the hospital who was wonderful.  She looked up dad's records and saw that he had been admitted SIX times in two months.  She said "we're sending him home without figuring out what's wrong".  They were all from falls.  She ordered a Physical Therapy evaluation, and we talked about in-patient rehab.

That afternoon, the PT came in - the evaluation didn't go well.  The exercises while he was laying in the bed were ok - but as soon as he stoop up - his heart rate went up to 160.  She recommended in-patient therapy.  I went back to the Case Manager and she gave me a list of facilities to visit.  The first one I went to was perfect for dad (the staff was friendly, compassionate, efficient-it was clean and everyone there looked happy - staff and patients!), and just a block from the hospital.

Thursday the attending physician came in and said "we've adjusted his meds and he's ready to go home with physical therapy".  I was not happy.  "He is not going home with PT.  The PT recommended in-patient therapy and I've talked to the Case Manager and already picked a place for him to go".  The doctor then said "are you saying I'm lying?"  WTF?  "No.  I'm saying that the PT recommended in-patient therapy, and the Case Manager is already setting up in-patient rehab."  He turned around walked out of the room and in five minutes he was back.  "He's going Saturday for in-patient therapy".

Thank you.

So what happens to patients who don't have an advocate at their bedside?  Dad would have been sent home had I not been there.

Thankfully, he was moved to rehab on Saturday morning, in time for me to catch my flight home.


              Getting ready to go to rehab-HAPPY to be in real clothes finally!

His new home…temporarily!



getting comfortable...

This was the hard part…leaving.  

He is in good hands.  I really believe that.  From the housekeeper to the Case Manager and everyone in between (physical therapist, occupational therapist, nurses, speech therapist-hope I didn't miss anyone). I met several of them before I left.  I think they could tell that I was very emotional about leaving him. They promised me that they would take care of him.

Already had a conference call where I could ask questions.  I talk to him multiple times every day.
Sometimes he sounds tired - but he's getting 3 hours of therapy a day.  They are working to get him ready to go home.  I hope, and he hopes.  One day at a time…

I try to make all my posts related to Melissa because this is still HER blog.  It's easy to do that with this post.  Every time I go to Florida, dad asks for the FORT bracelets and her card (with her picture and the blog address).  Pretty much everyone at the VFW and City Limits has one.  Now he wants them for everyone that is working with him at Life Care Center.  In fact, when I was talking to him the other night, someone stopped in the room and asked for a bracelet!  I told him they were already in the mail.
He never stops talking about Melissa.    He misses her too.



 One of my favorite pictures of Melissa and Grandpa!

It will be a week Saturday.  Medicare will pay up to 100 days (100% first 21 days, 80% after).  I'm hoping that he will be strong enough to go home, because that is what he wants.  If not, we'll decide what to do then.  For now, I'm happy when he sounds good.  

***
                                                              
Today is August 21.  On August 21, 1897, my grandma, Mildred Eilerman Rotert was born.  
Happy Birthday Grandma! (I'm sure she's celebrating in heaven!)

***

And of course, a post isn't a post without something about Andrew and Max.

Happy 5th Birthday MAXWELL IRVIN!!!

Yesterday, August 20, was Max's 5th birthday!  He started school August 19.  Incarnation, Early 5s.

Took the boys swimming at their neighborhood pool before the party!
(Max)                             

Andrew

Max is the man...

Andrew & GG



*~*~*~*~*~*~

Missing you Melissa…today…tomorrow…ALWAYS!









Monday, August 11, 2014

Relaxation…at last!

Well…there WAS some relaxation in the last couple of weeks.

But I'm going to start with my dad.  He's not had a good summer.  Stroke, falls, air conditioning went out…you name it, he had it.  I'm hoping that after today the roller coaster is on the way UP instead of the way DOWN.

He has fallen over six times in the last month.  After the fall last week (while we were on the cruise) the cardiologist recommended a pacemaker.  That is why I am at Holmes Regional today…actually, that is why DAD is at Holmes Regional today.  I flew in yesterday afternoon.  Got up at 6 this morning to get him here at 7.  They got him in at around 8:15.  Around 9:00 I was sitting in the lobby and Dr. Patel came out to talk to me-I thought it was done.  He came out BEFORE the procedure to talk to me.  Wow.  That's never happened before. I actually talked to Dr. Patel twice last week-I had questions and didn't have to go through the nurse to get answers.  That's pretty impressive if you ask me.  After he talked to me, he went in to start the procedure - he was out again in 40 minutes.

Got to see dad about 20 minutes later.  He has been awake - said he feels better already.  They just got him up to walk - and he's almost running.  They have a sling on him, just as a reminder not to raise his arm.  There are leads from the pacemaker to the heart and it takes about a month for scar tissue to secure them.  I'm only here til Saturday, so Home Instead will take over after I leave.  And the Home Health Care Nurse.  So far, so good.  Even if it IS only a few hours, I like what I'm seeing already.


Dad BEFORE (that's the pacemaker - they made an incision and a pocket to put it in-with leads to the heart)


Dad AFTER


Nick and Donny both think he has more color.  I do too. (Nick says "I'm always right.  Except with Meredith.  And I said "So is your dad, right Donny" and he said "Yes Dear"  I have him well trained!

So here I sit, finally with a chance to update the blog.  Oh - and another interesting thing happened today. When dad got back to the room (in recovery) we decided to watch his favorite show "The Price is Right".  It was the Halloween show.  Drew Carey was dressed as Dracula and everyone in the audience was dressed up-and all the prizes were Halloween themed.  Sue's (my sister who passed away last year) birthday is Halloween.  I TRULY believe that it was her way of letting dad know that she is here with him!  You know that we believe in signs!  

Anyway, hopefully he will get a room soon, because I am meeting Tricia for dinner (one of the girls who took his blood last time I was here when he was in the hospital).  She doesn't work here anymore, but in a doctor's office.  We have kept in touch since June - she still wears her FORT bracelet!


Dad and Tricia

So NOW I get to the relaxation part…after his second (or third) fall, I got him all set up again with Home Instead on a daily basis, and Home Health Care Nurses.  So I felt somewhat comfortable going on vacation.  I would be out of the country with no way for him to contact me.  So Nick was in charge for the week - and he did a great job.  I'll get to that later.

Our vacation was with Curt (Mange) and Mary Clifford again.  Another cruise - but this time we started with two days in Ft. Lauderdale…





Left for the cruise from Port Canaveral on Saturday morning…first stop-Grand Turk…


another massage on the beach...


Mange and Donny relaxing poolside


Donny Pam & Mange relaxing in the pool bar…Mary is in the pool taking pictures!


Mange shared his strawberry margarita with me!


Dinner back on the ship...


Next stop… Dominican Republic

No excursions or anything exciting here…took a bus into town for about an hour and a half-they had a flea market set up in the center of town.  Interesting.  Mary did some bargaining for sunglasses for Mange-other than that, we were back on the boat relaxing.


This was on the tv in our room every day - you could see your current location.  The right side of the island is Dominican Republic, left side is Haiti.

They had several replicas of professional baseball players from the Dominican Republic - this is Davey Concepcion.


Mary bargaining for sunglasses...


Right off the ship...


Next port - Curacao ~




Cabana Beach

 Donny's favorite place...





interesting graffiti on a building in town...




 Of course we are ALWAYS looking for signs from Melissa...

 back to the ship...

Captain Don

 Captain Don and Mange (Mange could have been a captain too…but NOOOOO….)

Next stop, and my favorite…


Wow.  I love this place.  I would love to go back someday for an entire week. At least.

We were about 16 miles from Venezuela
our bus!



Another sign from Melissa - she sends me the #38 all the time. (Nick's # in college…a reminder not to forget that he's still here…)



 this was a cactus fence around a house!
 Really awesome rock formations…the trees are Christmas Cactus!


 An elementary school in Aruba
 The first chapel in Aruba - built in 1750

 View from the top of the rock formation
 Our cruise ship in the distance
 a gecko
Me, lighting a candle for Melissa

 the green candle in the third row is for Melissa 
 Mary, lighting a candle for Courtney
 Mange and Mary.  Last time Mary was in Aruba, Courtney was with her at this chapel.  It was bittersweet for them...
 I stayed on the bus at the lighthouse - trying to fix my camera!
 a view from the bus…BEAUTIFUL!

 Donny & Mange…two guesses what they are talking about...
 Donny & Mary
 Pam & Mange
 Me & Donny
 I think this is a gecko too...

 We take FORT bracelets and cards everywhere we go…she's EVERYWHERE!
 'nut said…unfortunately we didn't know about this...

and YES, I love Aruba.


Back on the ship~ Mange and Mary met these couples - the guy in the orange was from Portsmouth and graduated from the same high school, one year ahead of Mary!  The guy in the dark shirt is good friends with Greg Gillum, one of Nick's coaches from Akron.
 Elegant night...
 We were at the 70s bar the first night - saw a guy that looked like Kyle Ramey (former administrator for Kettering Schools - now Oakwood Superintendant)…it WAS Kyle Ramey.  And his wife Phyllis (and their two daughters!)
 Our waitress the last night we were there - from the Ukraine.  Left an eight year old daughter behind with her mom - working to make a better life for her daughter.  

Heading back to Ft. Lauderdale!



Last night of the cruise.  Next morning, Sunday morning, we got off the ship around 9:30.  Got to the airport around 10:30 for a 4:30 flight…a straight flight to Columbus.  Bumped from that flight, the next flight - and Donny worked hard to get us bumped from the THIRD flight.  Got lots of vouchers for future travels (in the next year).  Donny was turning it into a JOB.  We already have plans for those vouchers!

***

First thing I did was check my phone (no phone service on the ship)…had a message from my cousin that dad had been in the hospital.  Then I called Nick.  Dad fell again and was in the hospital - but Nick took care of everything.  They wanted to do the pacemaker then, but Nick didn't want to make that decision, so here we are.  

Had a busy week when we got home - Mange and Mary came up for two nights for concerts at the Fraze, my 40th class reunion was Saturday afternoon.  We had a very nice luncheon at The Tropics (where we had Donny's 60th) with a great turnout.  


Me and my good friend Patti 
 Me, Nancy, Patti
 Me and Mike Fink
 Me & John Williams - we share a birthday…and he was my junior prom date!
 Patsy-her brother Greg was my brother's best friend
 Me & Ozell
 Not a bad turnout for a Saturday afternoon
 Carla, Jodi, Cathy and Val
 Kevin, me & Tom Andrew
 Me & Carol - she lost her only son three years ago… 
 Brenda, Mike, Rox

 Another good friend, Roxanne



Dad fell again on Thursday morning, which pushed up the procedure.  Didn't want to wait any longer.

***

Dad is sleeping right now, but when he was awake he said "I feel better already".  

Other than the fact that we are still in RECOVERY (since 10:00 this morning) and it's 3:30, everything went well.  They got him up to walk a little bit ago - and he was moving pretty good.  Just need to keep him from using his left arm - for a month.

Needless to say, I am anxious to get home (even though I JUST got here.) I miss my grandsons.  Only saw them a couple times this summer….

so without further ado…I end with my grandsons.  What Melissa would expect….


Took em out for ice cream…not enough this summer!



…Missin' my pretty girl and her funny faces...

Love you miss you BYE!