Not Exactly What I Had In Mind

Jammie day / weekend didn't turn out exactly how I planned. My daughter pointed out that I have been so long without a jammie day I may have forgotten the rules!!

Jammie Day Rules

  1. Stay in jammies or comfortable clothing, preferably clothing you wouldn't be caught dead on the street in.
  2. Don't shower or bathe unless it is a relaxing bubble bath or sauna.
  3. Don't wash your hair. Combing or brushing is allowed if it makes you feel better.
  4. Brushing teeth is allowed, flossing is not
  5. Junk food aka comfort food is required (jammie day calories are always zero – the happiness cancels them out)
  6. Activities must be something stress-free
  7. You do not leave the house. The exception is if you are in your own yard. You must not leave the property, however.

What did I do? I not only showered, I actually did "stuff". I cleaned out a linen / junk closet in my bathroom. I organized my makeup drawer. I did some laundry. I cleaned a bit.

On Sunday I not even showered, but dressed and put on makeup as we met the kids at a local restaurant for lunch. I can't really even consider Sunday as being a jammie day because of that. It definately broke several rules, especially number 7.

I am so ashamed. I promise the next jammie day I get I will do better. I realize I have many blogs to catch up on. Maybe that's what I'll do next jammie day. In my bed. In my jammies. Unshowered. Catch you then.

Ready for a Jammie Day

It's been a long winter.

I finally "moved back home" from my parent's house on Sunday. I had been living with my mom for two weeks. This week I've been driving the 40 miles from home and mom's daily, trying to take care of business things, household things, taking her to the doctor, grocery, etc.

Interestingly enough, I'm finding that my "perfect" dad wasn't quite so perfect. He was an accountant his whole life – working for the state most of his career. He always took care of all the finances and did the taxes and kept my mother in the dark on most of it. After going through their bookwork I was surprised to find four payments to one of my mother's magazines… two months apart. She's now paid up through 2015. We got that cancelled, refund coming. She says she only wrote the checks when dad told her to. His handwriting had gotten so bad that he didn't write checks and if they were needed he'd have her write them. However, I've found a few that he wrote. For the most part they have everything automatically deposited and automatically withdrawn, so that was a relief. Also found some deposits that were just in the bank records as "deposit", so when we go to the bank to get things taken care of there we will try and find out what those were. For an accountant he kept shoddier records than I'd expected.

It took a lot of phone calls to get things switched to her name, but most went smoothly. Still waiting on the death certificates to come to take care of some business that requires them (such as the bank), but expect them any day now.

I'm 'weaning' mom off by only going to her house three times next week (that's the plan, anyway). I'm looking forward to being home this weekend. All weekend.

I'm declaring a jammie day. Hell, maybe even a jammie weekend! Just try and stop me….


Dad passed away at about 9:30 yesterday morning. We were still at home, getting ready to go visit a mortuary to make arrangements, then we were going to the hospice. I got the call and had to break the news to mom. Hard, but in many ways not as difficult as making the decision to put him in the hospice. He went peacefully, with the hospice workers around him – talking to him and cleaning him for the day.

I can't say enough good things about the hospice and the staff there. What a blessing to have a place like that and people around who can do those things. I'm not sure I would ever be strong enough to do something like that. I'm glad there are people who do.

His wishes were to be cremated, so that's what we're doing. He didn't want any kind of service, so we're considering just having family in for a "celebration of life" … maybe in a week or two when the weather straightens out. We have tons of snow, more to come, yesterday blizzard conditions, and the high is below zero for the week. Think we'll wait a bit… he won't mind.

Thank you everyone for your support. It's been so comforting.

From Bad to Worse or The No Good Very Bad Day

Monday started out with a little bit of hope. My mom, myself, and my dad's youngest sister and her husband were meeting with a rehab facility to see what they could do for dad. We'd been told they had a couple of "coma" beds where they worked to wake people up. After meeting with them, it was decided they couldn't help us. Dad had to have a minimum response and at this time, he had none. We were disappointed, but were meeting on Tuesday with his trauma nurse and a social worker from the hospital. The trauma nurse was present at the big weekly meeting of all his doctors and caregivers and we would find out the latest prognosis. The rehab facility thought our next step should be to look into a skilled nursing facility.

Tuesday things went downhill fast.

The trauma nurse and social worker had dad's chart with them and the jist of the information was that dad was not coming out of his coma. They could get no response from anything exept pain and when they'd tested him he had actually decreased a little in his response. When we'd first seen him after surgery he would hold our hands if we put ours in his, now he wouldn't even do that reflective act. The consensus was that even if he was to wake up the next day, he would never have the quality of life he had before. He would never go home, probably never be able to dress, feed or care for himself. In my eyes… knowing how independent my father was… it would be hell on earth and he would probably try everthing in his power not to participate in any rehab and would try to end his life as soon as he could possibly manage. On the other hand, if we continued to care for him in a skilled nursing facility, he could last for years… virtually taking my mother into poverty without any improvement. That, too, would make him upset. He spent his whole life trying to provide a good life for my mother and to see her have to give up everything to keep him in that state wouldn't be what he wanted.

After listening to all of this and watching my mother quietly weep and my aunt and uncle sit in stunned silence, I finally broke the ice. "When I get done saying this, you all may think I'm a hard, cold bitch… but my personal opinion is that dad would not want to continue like this. I feel we should discontinue the gastrotube feedings and put him into a hospice setting and allow him to go. At this point we are keeping him here for us, not because it is what he would want or on the chance he will come back the way he would want."

As soon as I said it, my aunt then said that when she and my dad's brother, other sister, and their spouses had discussed things before they had come they felt this was probably going to be the outcome and that they supported our decision to do it. Mom was quiet, but nodded her head and agreed this was for the best.

It was a rough day.

About an hour later the hospice admitting person came and talked to us and answered all our questions – putting any of our fears to rest. It was difficult to see my aunt and uncle breakdown when the time came to go tour the hospice because they were going home to Missouri and she felt this would be the last she would see him alive.

Touring the facility, it was confirmation of how right the decision was. Yesterday, they had a bed available and moved him in the afternoon. We are currently spending days… and maybe nights… until the end. It is a beautiful facility, totally covered by their insurance, and everyone we've met has been so caring and warm and compassionate. They also have counseling and after-care for the families for 13 months after. I brought in a cd player and have been playing dad's favorite irish songs and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. Mom is in a recliner near his bed and is still in a lot of pain…going to her first doctor appointment tomorrow afternoon. She wants to stay overnight, but I won't let her until she goes and I find out if she's well enough to. She's not sleeping well and is still in a lot of pain, having a lot of trouble remembering when to use her oxygen and when she can go without. She keeps saying "Okay mommy" in a derogetory tone, but I know she's under a lot of stress so I just let it go.

The hospice people say it will most likely be two to four weeks. Mom and Dad's wedding anniversary is in about six weeks, so I hope he goes quickly. I can imagine how extra painful it would be for her if he would go near their anniversary.

I'm having lots of support from my husband (who came to stay a few days ago) and my youngest daughter (who is staying at our house taking care of the critters) and the rest of my family who are so loving and supportive. I've gotten so many nice emails and comments and I thank you all for the good wishes, the support and the caring. It touches my heart more than you know.

On Being an Only Child

The day I dreaded for years has come. The only child syndrome has expressed itself in new and so un-exciting ways.

Happy New Year.

Since I wrote last my mother has gotten to come home from the hospital (New Year's Day). They put a tube into her lung to let it re-inflate and it has now healed and she's on oxygen for a few weeks. Besides the injury and being on pain medications (let's just say she doesn't have my pain med resistance…) she's a bit worse than usual in the mental department. While in the hospital, her family doctor came to visit. I happened to be there and in the course of the visit he said, "I realize you have been under some stress with your husband and now your own injuries, but when this is over I'd like to talk to someone who has been around you for a bit. I believe we have some memory issues that are ongoing." In the next breath he says, "I also believe there have been some issues with alcohol." My mother then proceeds to get defensive, saying she hasn't drank in two years. Oh, but she's been having a glass of wine in the evening…and she will probably have some when she goes home?

Uh. Hello? Since when is wine not alcohol? …and, no, mother, you can NOT mix wine and pain meds. Then I go home and find five used wine glasses in the dishwasher, a big bottle of wine in the frig almost gone, and another in the cupboard. Needless to say, the open one got dumped.

She is also on oxygen now and we have to carry a tank back and forth to the hospital – or when she travels. If she is just sitting still she doesn't need it, but sleeping and walking around she does. So she also has oxygen at home that they came and set up – it is a converter that takes oxygen out of her home air and it keeps her from having to have a tank at home. Okay. No problem. Except. They asked before we went home if she has a gas stove, etc. No, but she does have a gas fireplace. They say, "Do not turn on the fireplace unless you stay 25 feet away". The livingroom isn't even that big – she'd have to be in the far bedroom to turn it on. So… I say, "We'll just leave it off". The guy comes to the house to set up the oxygen. I ask about it and make sure it is okay to have it off, but if it is okay to have th pilot light on. "Yes, as long as you don't turn it on unless you are 25 feet away."

The fireplace turns on with a light switch. A light switch that is next to the kitchen light. I swear, not 5 minutes after the oxygen guy left, my mother flipped the switch to turn on the fireplace as she was fumbling for the kitchen light. Luckily, I was standing right next to her and threw it off before it could actually go on. I had already mentioned to my husband I was going to tape it down so she wouldn't do that, but I didn't know what switch it was. Needless to say, it got taped down – immediately.

So, now I not only have my father who is still in an unresponsive coma (he is breathing unassisted and did get moved out of the ICU into a room) and who the doctors are now starting to ask about "DNR" orders  – but I have my mother who, silly me, I thought just was annoyingly repetative and forgetful to me, but who as it turns out is evidently bad enough she has caught the eye of her doctor.

I packed my bag and am staying at my mother's for the time being, much to my husband and childrens' dismay. They had a birthday party get-together supper last night for my grandson who turned 11 and I couldn't go because she can't travel that far and she certainly cannot be trusted to be home alone. I was disappointed not to be there, they were disappointed that I wasn't there and my husband goes back and forth between being supportive and grouchy. Can't blame him, but can't change it. Seriously, they've all been terrific. Makes me glad I didn't make any of them "only children"… lol.

I have some extended family coming on Sunday (my father's sister) and we are meeting monday with a rehab facility who specializes in head injury. No idea what the outcome of that will be. Right now I feel like I've got most of the weight of it all on my shoulders. Hopefully we're going to get some insurance stuff figured out and I finally got mom talking about finances today. Babysteps. Bad thing is, Dad did it all… every bit of it. Obviously he's going to be no help figuring it all out. Arggh.

I once more want to thank everyone who has commented on here, on Facebook, or sent me emails. I appreciate it more than you know. It feels so nice to have such good friends – be it in real life or the cyber world. I hope all is going well with you as obviously no time or energy to be checking out your blogs. If anything big happens, please let me know in comments or send me an email. I want to know what I'm missing, even if I don't come look. I may actually get caught up sometime in the near future. I found out the hospital has super-fast wi-fi and my laptop is very happy with it. Now if I ever get my work caught up I may actually find myself reading blogs and WoW-ing from the hospital… Well, I can hope, can't I?