Friday, October 28, 2011

To My friends . . . My father ....

My father passed away last night with his family surrounding him.

I was here in Texas for three weeks as you know, returned to my cove for a couple of days, and then flew back here on Monday. We bought him home from the hospital to hospice care at his home on Wednesday- he was so happy to be home.

He knew of all of your thoughts and wishes and prayers and comments and emails and etc. I told him, and we read out loud what you all were saying so he could know how so many people where thinking of him - on twitter and facebook and here and all over this old earth people were thinking of my father - this I will never forget and will always be grateful.

Thank you. My last weeks, days, and hours with my father are something I will treasure forever.

I will return as soon as - well, you understand - a little time and I will be back.

I am blowing you all a kiss.

I want to tell you of my dream, though - I can't help to tell about it because I feel it means something even if only to my brain doing something to give me comfort - but I was lying with my dad in his hospital bed yesterday early afternoon or evening while he was still here but slipping away from us, and I fell asleep and my head was touching his head and I was holding his hand and right before I woke, I had a dream of a beautiful horse flying into the sky - up up up it galloped into the sky - and there was blue, either the sky or the horse or both - and I thought "oh how beautiful, how lovely" and then I woke and I had the most peaceful feeling - I cannot describe this peaceful feeling, but it was through my entire body, and I felt in a daze from it. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and felt.

Thank you all, my friends. You just being "here" and "there" means more than you know

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Of Pratfalls, Dream-state Driving, and Embarrassing Moments

In states of exhaustion and worry/stress, the oddest things can happen. Like, driving to the hospital and once parked, thinking, “How did I get here? Did I drive? Oh, I must have, since I am in the driver’s seat and my hands are upon the wheel. Oh, lawd.” Which is why you should look at one driver out of, say, fifty, and wonder just how exhausted they are and stressed/worried and if they even know they are driving their car—scary huh?

Other things happen, too. Like pratfalls, except they aren’t funny until after one realizes one isn’t broken and bloody but only bruised. I took one of those while stopping by my dad’s house on a dark evening. Hands full of something or other, I tripped over the one short step and went flying. Now, when one goes flying towards the unknown, it’s crazy the amount of time one has to think things: “Am I going to die?/Am I going to break every bone in my body?/I haven’t seen the latest episode of Modern Family so I can’t go into a coma and good thing I have on my cute undies, just in case, and I should have eaten that Snickers bar because I’ll now be in a coma and somewhere in some dream-state I'll wish I had a Snickers bar . . .” KABLAM! Pavement & Metal Table Contact—slammed knee to pavement/chest to metal table—UNGH! I heard the gasp from my sis-in-law, and as I lay there, I assessed the damage: Not bad. So I laugh, hysterically and belly-full laughing, while saying, “Omg, this huuurrts! Oww, hahahaha, hahaha, OWWW, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! OHHHOWWIE! GUFFAW!” Huhn. Later I ate a Snickers bar and savored every bite with my still intact-teeth.

Embarrassing things happen, too. Things that you don’t want to tell ANYONE, but since you are me, you laugh and snort and tell your family, who tells other people because you say, “Did you tell them what happened to me? Hahahhahahahaha!” and those tell others, and then you figure what the heck, so you write it on a blog where great numbers of people will know. Ha. So, I’m in a hurry to go to the hospital and I run into my brother’s bathroom first, toss down my jeans (no delicate way to write this, you know, folks), and as I’m, um, “teetling” I think, “Something doesn’t feel right. Something’s wrong!” Oh, something was wrong all right (and I can see GMR’s face as he reads this at home in our cove – as he does when he reads other things he can’t believe I am writing about)—I’d forgotten to pull down my wittle undies. Yup folks. That is exhaustion—when you don’t even remember to pull down your wittle pannies and sit there teetling into them. Okay, now I am laughing, for I find this hilarious—and probably that’s the exhaustion, too—

--for folks, when you are exhausted and stressed, the stupidest things are hilarious, and the littlest moments are tenderest, and the smallest upsets are mountainous, and the tiniest nice thoughts/actions are exceedingly momentous.

Okay, my friends, some good news: Dad is scheduled to have the intubation tube removed today after he wakes and recovers from a little surgical procedure that isn't related to the cause of his intubation but a result of it, so we are all excited. There were times I didn’t think my dad would make it, and I admit that even though I don’t like to admit it—but, we all never gave up hope, and that’s the thing, y’all, good old hope has wings.

I haven’t much had time/energy/mood to think about my books and book sales and etc, but Bellebooks/Bell-Bridge Books has been a dream about this, and has given me a month’s extension if I need it for VK III (the final Grace’s book). And, in some fun news, we have a reader for audio books for The Firefly Dance (and she’s wonderful!), and we have a reader for audio books for Sweetie—I picked her and loved her voice for Melissa. There is a reader for Tender Graces for audio books I really hope can do TG, for she is my Virginia Kate and I really really want her to do it. So soon there should be some audio books out, if you like audio books.

*Blowing A Kiss* to you all. When (I had written "if" - no no WHEN) Dad’s off the ventilator and 24-hour watch goes by fine, then soon I will be wending my way back home and back to my regular schedule of Life and Writing and Posting and Visiting—thank you for your continued support and love and well-wishes and thoughts. *Big Ole Heart Here* MUWAH!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Thoughts while in Texas Land

The Grackles love Arlington, Texas. They congregate here, oblivious to us lowly humans, shrieking and preening and strutting, flocking in quantities that make my mouth go O in awe.

In a short amount of time, I’ve driven two-hundredish miles just in the city of Arlington, and most of that is back and forth between either my mom’s house or my brother’s house and MCA hospital. While doing this, I notice how I have not seen any license plates that are not TEXAS license plates. It could mean no one visits here (except me) from other states. However, a proud Texan would say, “Once the visitor visits, they never leave but instead convert to Texans.” :-D

Hospitals are strange places with little communities and I notice those communities even more so in the hospital cafeteria. There’s the break-down of staff: nurses, doctors, therapists of all sorts, maintenance, etc. There are the volunteers. There are the visitors (like me). There are a sprinkling of patients who are allowed out of their rooms. Each little community leans over their table, eating, talking (or not talking), without an awareness of what is going on in the communities around them—except for me, since I am aware of everyone and probably taking notes, even if I do not realize this "note-taking." Somewhere, a hospital setting will occur in some book; I am betting anyway.

Listening to the radio in my car, I recognize how nothing has changed in the years since I worked a “Desk Job” and drove my car daily to and from The Office. The announcers sound the same; they still repeat the same song(s) in some kind of cycle throughout the day, every day. There are still give-aways of tickets to concerts. There are still songs that I want to turn up the volume and those I quickly click off. It’s rather comforting to know this Radio Thing has lasted through The Ages of Me.

I have many more friends than I ever thought I had, and most I have never met face-to-face. The thought of all these people extending their hands and hearts to me, this woman who isn’t anything special, makes me feel a profound gratitude.

I can go longer without food than I ever thought I could. This is not a good thing. The same goes for sleep, and quiet, and writing.

Texas drivers are more courteous than I realized. They’ve more than once taken pity on this North Carolina driver who is skirting the edge of complete exhaustion. Thank you Texans!

Sometimes a dream about a huge gigantic venomous snake that fills you with poison is just a dream about a huge gigantic venomous snake that fills you with poison.

To the young woman in the hospital parking lot that I impulsively turned back to her and told her she should really stop smoking, and we both smiled at each other—me with “really, I hope you quit” and she with “Aw shucks, I’ve heard it all before.” I wonder, will my voice be the one that makes you go, “Hmmm . . . maybe I should quit,” even if it is subconscious?

I haven’t thought about my book sales in two weeks. It’s rather freeing. There is this “well, what happens, happens” thing as I clip my father’s fingernails, rub lotion on his bald head, on his hands, feet, arms, as I slip a little teeny bit of water on his dry tongue, as I hold his hand, as I adjust his pillows and covers, as I dab a wet cloth over his face and eyes. There is a perspective to life and living. A priority thing.

I look like hell in a state full of women who are perfectly coifed and shaved and make-up’ped and dressed and jeweled, but guess what? Nobody cares. Nobody notices. Nobody snatches me up and says, “Gawd, you look like hell.” Thanks y’all.

I wonder if my mountain cove and mountain and ridgetop and the critters and my dogs (dawgs as I say and make no apologies for it) and my GMR and the creek and wind and trees all miss me as much as I miss them?

Finally: Again, I thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown while I am here in Texas Land with my family *blows kiss*

Grackle photo

Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I know while visiting my father in MCA hospital:

I know from “listening” to my father’s facial expressions:

Three hand squeezes means “I love you.”

A winking eye does not mean, as a nurse said, “your dad was flirting with us earlier!” but instead means he has something in his eye and please remove it.

Eyes wide and looking here and there means, “When am I getting out of here?”

Eyes to my watch, of course, “What time is it?”

Eyes wide, eyebrows up down together, look right left: "How long have I been here/What day is it?/When am I getting this tube out of my throat?"

Squinchy eyebrows drawn together, “What’s going on? What are they going to do?”

Moving feet/legs back and forth means, “Could you put a pillow under my legs?”

Mouth forming "W" . . . what/when/where/why - and I must figure out by asking.

Open mouth, close, open: Thirsty/mouth is so dry.

I know that . . .

I know that nurses work really incredibly hard. I know that most of the nurses I really like and respect, but there is one that I do not particularly care for, though I’d never tell her because why would I? But I carry that with me like a little nippy dog in my purse. I like and respect the doctors, save for one who patronizes me and thinks I’m not smart enough to know he’s an ass and I am the consummate Ass Spotter. I don't think I hide that nippy dog as well around him.

I know that no matter how germaphobic one can be or many times one washes one’s hands, and uses antibacterial lotion, and tries not to touch things, that sometimes people who visit the hospital feeling well will find themselves on the bathroom floor for nine hours sick as the clich├ęd dog while later the nurse says, “Oh, yeah, there’s a virus going around the hospital.”

There is a filled bed in the ICU one minute, and the next minute there are people sobbing, and the next minute the door to that room is closed, and the next day the bed is emptied and the sobbing people do not return and soon there is someone else in that bed with new people visiting.

Hospital cafeterias are not known for their healthy food—go figure.

Someone in the elevator can look at your worried face and when the elevator doors open, they say simply, “Good luck,” and you want to hug them.

Living out of a suitcase makes one feel as if they do not belong, even if they are staying with welcoming wonderful family, they feel a sense of intrusiveness, a sense of being in the way, an almost apologetic “sorry” across their features as they try to meld into the routines of the lives of those they love but rarely see.

Sometimes I feel whiny: I miss my bed. I miss GMR. I miss my dogs. I miss my mountain cove. I miss my singing creek. I miss writing my book. I miss the smell of fresh mountain air. I miss the trees waving at me. I miss my mountain cove walks. Then I get over my whining and go about the business of family.

Everyone else’s coffee tastes like shit.

My daddy didn’t look like himself until today, and that was when I looked at his forearms. Those were his forearms. And then I saw his face and it was again him.

A rainbow, just a tiny piece of one, bloomed between the breaks in the clouds and I pointed and said, “Look Daddy, a rainbow arcing right over your room, right over your bed.” He was asleep but I think he heard me.

There is tired. There is exhausted. Then there is Loved One Is Very Ill Fatigue, and that is a fatigue you know oh so very well once you’ve known it. It won't stand to be forgotten.

Whatever I am going through, there are people who have gone through so much worse for far longer and I have the utmost complete awed respect for them -- I can't say that emphatic enough.

To all of you - thank you, once again, for your thoughts and well wishes for my father. He is improving and we are hoping he'll have the intubation tube removed within a week, maybe soon as a few days. I told him how you all were pulling for him and sending such nice wishes and thoughts and prayers and all the ways you believe in. Thank you! I know I am erratic in coming around, but I think you all understand.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Update on my father

Hello Eveyone - thank you for your thoughts via here, FB, twitter, and email - it helps more than you know.

There are some changes in my father - his kidneys have improved, and his heart is strong; however, he is still critical in ICU, and his lungs still have a ways to go. He's still intubated. They did take him off the paralyzing drugs and lessened his sedation so that we were able to communicate with him some yesterday, but that exhausted him completely. Right now, only family are able to visit him, and his friends and patients have been wonderful and understanding.

I am in Arlington, Texas, for those of you who asked. There are many dead trees and bushes and browned grasses, but it hasn't been very hot here - not considering the 100 + degrees heat they've had for their summer. In fact, most of the time it has been pleasant outside - dry and warm with a nice breeze. The hottest day a few days back did have me burn my hand on the window of my boopmobile that sat out in the hospital parking lot in direct sun - ouch! But no more hot days like that since.

I am discussing the weather - oh gee! How boring can I get! But, my brain will just not muster up anything else. This is an exhaustion many of you know who have had a sick loved one. The travel from my city to this city, the staying with family and not in your own bed and space, the worry worry worry, the back and forth and back and forth to hospital.

Thank you, again, for all your thoughts -  they help, and they are certainly appreciated.