A Year’s Worth of Reflections, Pt. 1

Hello dear readers.

I know this year has been sporadic in my posting of this blog, but it has been a long complicated year. I would say that I would like to leave many of the things that happened in 2017 in the past, but they have made impacts on my life, and the lives of my family and friends that we simply must move forward with them in tow.  I warn you that this will be a long, and probably depressing read, but I will also add some quotes at the end, as a way of apologizing. Just stick with me. This is part one, a lot of the bad and the painful that I would like to leave in 2017. Part two will be some of the better things, happier and joyful.

It has been a year of loss and pain, and yet a year of small victories and joy. In January, my maternal grandfather passed away at the age of 87, two weeks before what would have been my grandparents’ 66th wedding anniversary.  It is hard to say that it is ever a surprise when someone who has lived such a long life passes, but alas, death is one of those things for which we are never ready. It hit my mom really hard as she had quit her job to take care of my father but instead wound up taking care of her own father.

After her father’s passing, she went immediately to caring for my grandmother. As selfish as it is to say, my father’s health continued to suffer as a result. In May, she took my grandmother to the hospital due to a shortness of breath and a ever growing goiter. They discussed options for removing it, shrinking it, ect. In the end, the hospital decided to refer her to a throat cancer specialist at Emory because they would be more familiar with the type of surgery that would be required. This was sometime in June. The oncologist decided that further testing, such as further blood tests and a biopsy, were necessary to form a more detailed plan of action. In mid July, we received news we were not expecting.

My grandmother, at the age of 86, was diagnosed with stage 4 anaplastic thyroid cancer. Possibly due to not having the goiter removed years ago, but that is not a game worth playing. She was scheduled to start radiation on August 3rd, the day after my mother’s birthday. There was a large family fight because she was required to have a family member stay with her at the Hope Lodge (special housing near the hospital) round the clock. My mom wanted to go but I argued largely against it because my dad’s health was beginning to fail, more so than it already is.

August 2, my mother’s 61st birthday, changed that. My father, who is diabetic, on dialysis, has vision problems, and neuropathy, stepped off the stairs on their front porch wrong on his way to get in the car to dialysis. He broke his ankle, on both sides of his left leg. Being diabetic and on dialysis means that he does not heal quickly. My mom rushed him to the ER the next town over (because the hospital in our town will not touch a patient on dialysis – for any reason) where they splinted his ankle and scheduled him for surgery late the next day. I took off work to stay with my dad while my mom went with her mom for her first radiation treatment and to help move her and my aunt ( who took a temporary leave from work) into the Hope Lodge.

After the surgery for my dad, he didn’t quit using his foot. He couldn’t tell how much pressure he was putting on it because of the neuropathy. The screws pulled out and the plates bent. The options weren’t great after that. They really wanted the wounds to heal more before they went back in. Once they felt that happened as much as it could within the time they had, they went back in and removed the plates, screws, and a few bone shards. They then put a wound vac on it in order to try and speed healing for the next surgery.

In the midst of all this, my grandmother was still undergoing radiation. My mom made a few trips to go see her, while I stayed with my dad. One day, at dialysis, they discovered his fistula (the super vein created in his arm for dialysis) was clotted. They sent him to the vascular center the next town over. They attempted to clean the clots out, and sent him home. He begged them to admit him to the hospital because of the stress he would have to put on his arms getting in and out of the car.

When he got home, it was still bleeding slightly. As he got out of the car, he felt he popped one of the sutures. It began bleeding profusely. My mom couldn’t get him in the car by herself, so she was forced to call an ambulance to transport him to the hospital (the next town over of course). Unfortunately, the paramedics did what is their job, but not quite the correct course of action for this case. They applied pressure to stop the bleeding. Which, as we discovered when he got to the hospital, also reclotted the super vein. Which put him into a surgery that was several hours long. Once they got in to try to bust up the clots, the artificial vein basically disintegrated.

It had been in for three years, which is apparently pretty good, but it also meant that they had to do an emergency reconstruction instead of just cleaning the clots out. They also put a permacath in his chest so they could continue dialysis while his arm healed enough to use.

Meanwhile, my grandmother successfully completed her 6 weeks of radiation at Emory.  She was, understandably, glad to be home. However, my aunt, who had been staying with her at the hope lodge, started dragging her anywhere and everywhere she could think of, even though the doctors had prescribed lots of rest to help her recover from the radiation. I understand what she was trying to do, but my grandmother was visibly exhausted. We were still having problems keeping her blood pressure and sugar under control. A few weeks after she completed radiation, she had to go back to Emory for a check up/ PET scan. My mom and my aunt went with her.

Much to our dismay, the news wasn’t what we were hoping for. The cancer was still there, and there wasn’t much more they could do. The experimental trial they were hoping to get her into did not cover her type of cancer, so that was no longer an option. And, a few days after this, my aunt woke up to find my grandmother non-responsive. They rushed her to the hospital where options were discussed. The hospital where she was taken is where my aunt (my mom’s sister-in-law) has been a nurse for many years. The doctors informed us that there were medications they could give her that *might* help with a few things, like bringing her blood sugar into check, but not with everything. Her kids (my mom, aunt, and uncle) made the decision not to put her on life support or anything like that, to just wait and see. I rushed up there as soon as I could from work, and most of the family was already there.

It was heartbreaking, but to be honest with you, I think she was just tired. Sad and heart broken at the loss of the love of her life, tired of the radiation, and I think, when they told her she still had cancer and few options, she took that the only way she knew how. As God telling her that it was ok to let go, and that it was time. She passed away two days later, and I held my mother as she cried. Ugly tears of soul ripping sorrow. Tears of regret and sadness. Tears of love she still had to give. Tears for the phone call she now had to make to my brother, who moved to Seattle with his wife in March.

After her passing, they went to planning the funeral (which was paid for and mostly planned) and I went to finding flights home for my brother and sister-in-law. I know we do not get to plan things like life or death, but I do hate the fact that the funeral wound up on my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding anniversary.

In the midst of my grandmother getting out of the hospital and her passing, my father had more complications of his own. The wound vac was supposed to heal the wound so they could go in and either a) immobilize his ankle completely with a steel rod or b) amputate his ankle and foot. He and my mom had many many long talks about what would be better. He was leaning towards amputation but the doctor, after more reviewing, convinced him to at least give the immobilization a go. Well, home health had been coming out several times a week to change the wound vac, and one morning, it was full of blood, so full it was bubbling out the plastic dressing of the wound vac because the vac couldn’t keep up. Flash forward two more mornings of this and my mom called his surgeon. The assistant answered, and advised her to take my dad to the ER a town over (same town as earlier, different hospital) where the Dr was already in surgery and she would make sure he knew my dad was waiting to see him.

They immediately admitted him to the hospital with a possible infection. This began another worry of whether or not the infection was septic, which would mean surgery promptly to remove the permacath as it goes directly to his heart. After testing, it was determined that the infection was not in his blood, but was in the soft tissues of the wound. The prognosis was not good. Apparently, for otherwise healthy people, it takes two separate antibiotics, administered daily via IV at the hospital, for several months in the hope that the bacteria won’t become resistant to both of the drugs. For my father, who has many health problems, this was explained to him while also being told that it wasn’t really an option for them because they were afraid of the infection going septic or moving further up the tissue in his leg. He was advised that his best, and pretty much only option, was amputation.

That was on Friday. If that was what he decided, they were going to schedule the surgery for Monday because they felt time was of the essence. He told them to schedule it. He and my mother spent the weekend deep in discussion. While amputation had already been on the horizon, we didn’t think it would come up again so soon. The surgery was done Monday at noon. I left work to be with my mom, who can hold up a good front but was falling apart on the inside. Especially when the surgery took a few hours longer than they told us it would. And when they brought him out of recovery… well, let’s just suffice it to say that it was a long rough night for all of us.

My dad, surprisingly, was more prepared than my mom, I think. She was worried about how to get him places, like home and dialysis, and care for him, with the new change of events. Her car is not handicap friendly, they can’t afford one that is. She drives a 2010 Ford Focus that I had a trailer hitch and cargo carrier installed on so she could put his wheel chair on it. My boyfriend and I, and a friend of ours had built a handicap ramp on the side of the porch so she could get him in the house. We learned a lot about amputation and prosthesis the same way we learned about renal failure and dialysis, on the fly as it was happening. While he was in the hospital recovering from the amputation they went ahead and did a surgery on his opposite arm to try and form another super vein / fistula for dialysis. Unfortunately, this also meant he couldn’t start physical therapy as undo stress on the arm could cause the fistula to collapse or clot.

So, my mom gives him a hard time about adding Thanksgiving and their 35th wedding the anniversary to the days spent in the hospital this year. They sent him home with home health for 3 weeks to let the fistula heal. He went back in the hospital last week (Monday the week before Christmas) because he was wheezing and couldn’t breath. They discovered more fluid build up in his body and in his lungs. They did dialysis every day, and did CAT scans, x-rays, an EKG, an ultrasound of his heart and chest, and more. He was hooked up to a bipap, they are concerned with some spots in his lungs, decide it’s early pneumonia, and possibly COPD. They finally sent him home late Friday after taking a total of 17 liter of fluid off his body and running a round of antibiotics and such for the pneumonia.

While he was in the hospital, his other surgeon (for the fistula) told them Friday morning to try to use it for dialysis. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and we’re not sure where that leaves us. We aren’t sure if he used it too much (which is the more likely possibility), when another surgery will be, or what this means for him starting physical therapy. He did have an appointment to take out the rest of the stitches from his amputation and it *knock on wood* seems to be healing. I, however, am worried because he took out the part of the limb protector that forces him to keep his knee straight, keeping the tendon stretched. But, you can’t force people to do what’s best for them. Especially when that person is a parent. We will see where this all will lead, but that, for now, is a problem for next year.

End part 1. P.S. I also had all 4 wisdom teeth cut out the day after Christmas, which is why I have time to type this.


 

“The world is not a wish granting factory.” – The Fault In Our Stars

“Your speed doesn’t matter. Forward is forward.” – Unknown

“It seems to me, that love could be labeled poison and we’d drink it anyways.” – Atticus

“I sailed seas of emotion, to wander a forest of scars, I am a dance of Light and darkness, A galaxy of shadow and stars.” – R. Queen

“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” – Looking For Alaska

“You will never recognize happiness if you have never danced the night away with sorrow.” – r.m. drake

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still is fair there is much that is fair. And though in all the lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps the greater.” – The Lord of the Rings

“You know what the issues is with this world? Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.” – Alice in Wonderland

“People don’t like love, they like that flittery flirty feeling. They don’t love love – love is sacrificial, love is ferocious, it’s not emotive. Our culture doesn’t love love, it loves the idea of love. It wants the emotion without paying anything for it.” – Unknown

“It’s a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breath air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough.” – unknown

“Damaged people love you like you are a crime scene before a crime has even been committed. They keep their running shoes besides their souls every night, one eye open in case things change whilst they sleep. Their backs are always tense as though waiting to fight a sudden storm that might engulf them. Because damaged people have already seen hell. And damaged people understand that every evil demon that exists down there was once a kind angel before it fell.” – Nikita Gill

“You come home, make some tea, sit down in your armchair, and all around there’s silence. Everyone decides for themselves whether that’s loneliness or freedom.” – Unknown

“When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” – Louis C.K.

“And then I felt sad because I realized that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t ever be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young.” – Douglas Coupland Life After God

“Forgive them. All of your thems. The more thems you can forgive, the better you’ll feel.” – Karen Salmansohn

“Sometimes the fear won’t go away, so you’ll have to do it afraid.” – Unknown

“My love, you have too many smiles left in you to be so sad.” – Atticus

“Life advice: Always be the best person you can be. Be kind even when you’re tired. Be understanding even when you’re angry. Do more than you’re asked, and don’t ask for anything in return. Don’t silently expect anything either. Listen when someone talks, and really listen too, stop just thinking of how you’ll reply. Tell people that you love them and that you appreciate them. Go out of your way to do things for people. Be the greatest person you can possibly be and when you mess up, make up for it in the next moment or minute or day. One thing you should never do? Never spend your time trying to prove to anybody that you’re great, your actions will speak for themselves and we only have limited time on this earth, don’t waste it. If someone doesn’t see your light, don’t worry. Like moths, good people are attracted to flame and to light, and they will come.” – Unknown

“In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” – Andrea Dykrstra

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“But the past cannot be changed, and we carry our choices with us, forward, into the unknown. We can only move on.” – Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing

“We create the illusions we need to go on. And one day, when they no longer dazzle or comfort, we tear them down, brick by glittering brick, until we are left with nothing but the bright light of honesty. The light is liberating. Necessary. Terrifying. We stand naked and emptied before it. And when it is too much for our eyes to take, we build a new illusion to shield us from its relentless truth.” – Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing

“The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.” – Lemony Snickett The Bad Beginning

“You carry so much love in your heart. Give some to yourself.” – r.z.

” ‘You,’ he said, ‘are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.’ ” – Unknown

“There are two types of tired, I suppose. One is a dire need of sleep, and the other is a dire need of peace.” – unknown

” ‘You can’t love someone unless you love yourself first.’ Bullshit. I have never loved myself. But you, Oh God. I loved you so much I forgot what hating myself felt like.” – Unknown

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” – Harry Potter

“She knew she loved him when ‘Home’ went from being a place to being a person.” – E. Leventhal

“The sun will rise and we will try again.” – Unknown.

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Welcome to the Machine

Hello everyone. Welcome back. I apologize for my last couple posts being about how long I’ve been gone and hollow promises of getting back to this blog. Life has threw a couple wrenches in my gears lately, but I’ve been working hard to get all those cogs freed up and running smoothly. I could tell you all the sad, frustrating, hair pulling, banging my head against the wall stories that have kept me away from this blog and many things in general, and I might, but not today.

I know, as well as anyone, that life can get in the way. It’s a machine. It keeps chugging along, regardless of the parts falling off, needing greased, or repaired. It is a machine to be admired for its unwillingness to quit, regardless of how it falls apart. People are much the same. That is how I have felt lately, like a machine in need of a serious breakdown and rebuild. But I don’t have time for that, so I make small repairs where I can – on the side of the road, in the rain, in the gas station parking lot – because on this journey, you don’t always have time to stop. You have to evaluate the priority parts and make sure you keep those on par, everything else? Well, it just depends on where it is on the priority list.

Sometimes we think certain parts of the machine are important when they really aren’t. That is a problem. It leaves us blindsided when a part that is actually important blows up. This has happened to me a few times lately. So, I am trying to shave off some unnecessary parts and focus on the core of the machine. Because unfortunately, when some of those really important parts blow up, there’s no fixing them or replacing them. You  must simply move on without them and readjust the way the machine works.

In my re-evaluation, I have decided that I have neglected some major components of my machine called life for far too long. And I have lost some parts that cannot be replaced. So, I am changing the oil, lubing the chain, changing the air filter, and moving on.

When is the last time you re-evaluated your life? There is never a bad time to sit down and make a list of the people or things that you love but haven’t seen or done in a while. Our excuse is usually that there isn’t enough time right now, I’ll do it later. I promise you that the most important thing you can do is make time. Right now, before your machine blows, locks up, and leaves you stranded with a part that you’ve lost and cant’ replace. As a quote by Buddha says, “The problem is, you think you’ve got time.”

As my favorite band, Pink Floyd, says, “Welcome to the machine.” Be sure to take care of yours every once in a while.


 

“Be decisive. Right or wrong, make a decision. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision.” – Anonymous

“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our mind has changed, and that changes everything.” – Anonymous

“There is a kind of crying I hope you have not experienced, and it is not just crying about something terrible that has happened, but crying for all of the terrible things that have happened, not just to you but to everyone you know and to everyone you don’t know and even the people you don’t want to know. A crying that can not be diluted by a brave deed or a kind word, but only by someone holding you as your shoulders shake and your tears run down your face.” – Lemony Snicket

“Until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

“February is the shortest month of the year, so if you are having a miserable month, try to schedule it for February.” – Anonymous

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” – Lemony Snicket

“There’s a history of heartbreak, Tucked in the creases of her eyes, A museum of the moments, That she’d watch just pass her by, And each tear that escaped her, Held the things she’d left unsaid, So the words she’d never spoken, Stained her dampened cheeks instead.” – e.h.

“I think there are two kinds of forgiveness, the kind that when you forgive you’re also giving then another chance, or the kind where you forgive, but move on without them. Use them both wisely.” – s.b.

“You told me that you had my back, And I thought that it was true, Now my shadow’s still behind me, But where on earth are you?” – e.h.

” ‘Love me slowly,’ she whispered, like the love I had for her, had limits. Like it could run out as easily as a grain of time. I could tell, by the sound of fear in her lungs, that she had a terrible past. The kind that no one talks about, the kind that remains bottled up inside of you, slowly and quietly, killing everything in your bones.” – Christopher Poindexter

“There is no statute of limitations on starting over. Re-invent yourself every day. Be the girl who walks barefoot and listens to the blues. Tomorrow, wear a trench coat and speak fierce truths. Be a phoenix. Be ashes. Burn down. Resurrect. Let go of the idea that you must always be who you have always been.” – unknown

“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” he said. – Rachel Wolchin

“Le beau est toujours bizarre. (The beautiful is always bizzar.)” – Charles Baudelaire

“She wears strength and darkness equally well, the girl has always been half goddess, half hell.” – unknown

Wanderlust & Wordy Wednesday: Lake Winnie

Hello dear readers! Today’s destination is, I hope, a fun one. I went here many times as a child and always loved it. As a family, we went here instead of Six Flags. Shocking, yes I know. Today’s destination is Lake Winnepesaukah, or as it is more commonly know, Lake Winnie.

For those of you who don’t know, Lake Winnie is an amusement park in Rossville, GA, just south of Chattanooga, TN. It was opened by Carl and Minette Dixon in 1925 and was named after the Native American word Winnepesaukah, meaning bountiful waters. They purchased 100 acres surrounding a 9 acre lake. It was originally home to the largest swimming pool in the southeastern US (22,000 sq ft) but was later removed. The boat shoot ride, designed by Carl Dixon and opened in 1927, is the oldest mill chute water ride of it’s kind still open in the United States.

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The original Boat Shoot, still in operation. 

Flat rides were added in the 40’s and 50’s, and the first roller coasters were added in the 1960’s. The most iconic of these, the Cannonball, is a wooden roller coaster added in 1967. This is one of the first “big kid” roller coasters that I ever road. One time, my brother and our cousins were riding it, and because there was no one else in line the operator didn’t make us get off. He actually sped it up and we jumped the tracks coming back into the station. It was fantastic and I still carry fond memories of this coaster everywhere I go. The coaster actually has a top speed of 50 mph, a 70 ft vertical drop, and 2,272 ft of track spanning three quarters of a mile. It’s only 90 seconds but oh so worth it. Other rides here include more modern coasters now, as well as many kiddie rides.

2013 saw the addition of the SoakYa water park, a 5 acre expansion for the park. The park is set up like a classic American Fair, with a midway featuring food, rides, and games. It also has an outdoor concert area called “Jukebox Junction”. A lot of people will tell you that the park is outdated. Personally I think that it’s classic. I enjoy the fact that it reminds me of a simpler time. It’s not as new fangled or complicated as Six Flags but I feel like that’s really just part of it’s charm.

If you’re ever in the area, do me a favor and give it a try. Reserve judgement for yourself. You can find all the info you need, such as hours, ticket prices, and more here. Do you have memories here? Share them with me!


“I’m looking at her. She’s sitting across the room on the couch, book in hand, arms pressing down the blanket that wraps her body. Lost in words, but sensing my gaze, she looks over the pages and smiles. Then her eyes and mind return to another world, while her heart stays here with me.” – Dean Jackson

“She understood that the hardest times in your life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another.” Sarah Addison Allen

“Do I have to spell it out for you, or scream it in your face? The chemistry between us could destroy this place.”

“Watch carefully, the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.” – Atticus

“Don’t let the heart that didn’t love you keep you from the one that will.”

“Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”

“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering.” – Ernest Hemmingway

“I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” – Oscar Wilde

“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

 

Between the Sand and the Stardust

 

It was a long weekend (last weekend) and a long week. I hope everyone has survived the winter storm and the snow and ice. We didn’t get too much but just enough to lightly dust the yard. However, my mom slipped and fell at work and broke her elbow. Technically one of the bones in her forearm I believe, but right at the elbow. She had to have surgery and have a plate and screws put in to pull the bones back together. Since my dad does good to just walk around, and just had eye surgery a few days before this happened, my brother and I have been doing all we can to help pick up the slack.

I promise you I am doing my best to get back on track with this blog but January (for the last three years) seems to demand to be noticed. Perhaps now that we’re on the Eve of February, things will fall back into place. I’ve decided to just do a quote post, as I keep running across some that I just fall in love with.

“I loved how his eyes danced merrily, and the gentle way he spoke, the way he filled my aimless days, with bitterness and hope.

I loved him as I fell asleep, and each morning as I woke; I loved him with all my wayward heart – until the day it broke.”  – Lang Leav

” ‘Look up,’ the darkness whispered, ‘Do you wish to travel time? For there are centuries of stories Hidden inside each star’s shine. Yet what you see is just a sentence In a tale with many more, For the light reaching us now Left its home countless years before. And someday in the future Long after your last goodbye, Perhaps somebody else Will turn their eyes up to the sky, And where now you just see darkness They will see a brand new light, The beginnings of a story That has just left home tonight.’ ” – E.h.

“If you came to me with a face I have not seen, with a name I have never heard, I would still know you. Even if centuries separated us, I would still feel you. Somewhere between the sand and the stardust, through every collapse and creation, there is a pulse that echoes of you and I.  When we leave this world, we give up all our possessions and our memories. Love is the only thing we take with us. It is all we carry from one life to the next.” – Stardust

“and I think the saddest thing is how it is so much easier to just not say anything at all.” -kpk

“That’s the problem with being the strong one. No one offers you a hand.” – m.t.

“Even if you know what’s coming, you’re never prepared for how it feels.” – Natalie Standiford

“Boys…every day is a box. It’s up to you whether it’s gonna be a gift or a coffin.” – Sons of Anarchy

“And in your hesitation, I found my answer.”

“Just because you’re hurt, doesn’t mean you’re broken.”

“Maybe the wolf is in love with the moon, and each month it cries for a love it will never touch.”

“And in being so young and dipped in folly I fell in love with melancholy.” – Edgar Allen Poe

“Their love was strong, but timing was wrong, and love decided, they didn’t belong.” – s.t.

“You can find me where the music meets the ocean, if you get the notion, drop on by and stay a while.” – zac brown

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.” – Neil Gaiman

“And know you’re not the only ship out on the ocean. Save your strength for things that you can change, forgive the ones you can’t. You gotta let ’em go.” – Zac Brown Let It Go

 

 

Hello World!

Hello all. I know this blog has been all over the place since I started it and I apologize. I am new to this blogging thing and I have decided to join the current Blogging:101 course going on to not only learn more about blogging, but to hopefully find a focus for my blog.

Today’s assignment is to say hello to the world. For those of you who are new here, this will give you some insight into who I am and what I hope to accomplish. For those of you who aren’t new here and have popped by a few times, maybe this is a refresher for you.

I’m a quarter-lifer (mid twenties) lady who lives in the deep South. I love to bake. I grew up learning to cook from practically my whole family. My Dad taught me to make grilled cheese sandwiches when I couldn’t even see the stove top. He pulled up a chair for me to stand in, for those of you who are curious. My Mom has been teaching me to follow recipes and bake and decorate cakes for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me to make biscuits in the flour bowl (by making a depression in the center and adding your liquids, not as hard as it sounds), gravy, and the family secret chocolate pie.

I love reading and I learned to read before I started pre-k. My parents owned a business when my brother and I were little. and we stayed with baby sitters a lot, so I don’t know the exact time I learned to read. My Dad was tucking me in one night and decided to see if I could read any of the story. I read it all to him, but since it was my favorite, he tried a different book, which I also read to him. He loves to read and apparently I got that gene. I DEVOUR books like a monster. 300 pages take me one day if I don’t have anything to do.

I also grew up playing in grease. My Dad and his friends are shade tree mechanics from the 70’s and his passion for cars was also passed on to me. I can change a tire, oil, brakes, and more. I love classic cars. His passion fueled mine since he never told me that girls weren’t supposed to work on cars. Instead, he told me that I would need to do these things on my own so that I wouldn’t have to rely on sketchy strangers if I ever got a flat. I now work in the automotive field in a body shop. I am lucky to have my job because there are still many shops down here who aren’t too keen on hiring women. The shop I work for treats me like family.

I love to take road trips and ride motorcycles. My parents have always had a sense of wanderlust and it also got passed down. I’ve also been riding on the back of my Dad’s motorcycle since I can remember. I now ride on the back of my boyfriend’s bike but can’t wait to have my own.

I started this blog to chronicle a journey in my life and I feel like I got a little off track by posting a lot of quotes. I am not very good at expressing my feelings when I am down, so I use quotes. I have decided to try and post less of those on this blog. If there is still interest in the many quotes I have collected over the years, I will gladly start a blog just for those.

I will try to cover a range of topics, about my life experiences, travels, my Dad’s health, my new experience as moving out and being a first time home owner at the same time. I will try to throw in some DIY car tutorials, home ideas, and some recipes. If you’re lucky, I might even let you in on the Family Chocolate Pie Recipe. 😉

Welcome to the weirdness. Welcome to my slice of the internet. Welcome to See You Starside.

Stars….

A lot of things happened tonight. Honey got into a fight with his Dad, which has only compounded certain situations. I don’t really want to talk about it, so here are some quotes.

“We look up at the same stars and see such different things.”

“Just like love, it ain’t the bullet that kills you, it’s the empty space it leaves behind.” – Michael Xavier

“As long as I kept moving, my grief streamed out behind me like a swimmer’s long hair in the water. I knew the weight was there but it didn’t touch me. Only when I stopped did the slick, dark stuff of it come floating around my face, catching my arms and throat till I began to drown. So I just didn’t stop.” – Barbara Kingsolver

“I have looked at you in millions of ways and I have loved you in each.”

“I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow and each road leads you where you want to go.”

“and there were always those nights where she preferred the rain over people. because the rain would remind her of how she should feel and people would remind her of the things she always wanted to forget.” – R.M. Drake

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

“But it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he has Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’ ” – The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

“There is no shortage of fault to be found among our stars.” – The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

“Old ways won’t open new doors.”

“They can’t kill your dreams, so they assassinate your character.”

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth, it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.” – The Fault in our Stars

“Pain is like fabric: the stronger it is, the more it’s worth.” – The Fault in Our Stars

” ‘Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,’ I said. Isaac shot me a look. ‘Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyways. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyways. Don’t you believe in love?’ ” – The Fault in Our Stars

“I told myself – as I’ve told myself before – that the body shuts down when the pain gets too bad, that consciousness is temporary, that this will pass. But just like always, I didn’t slip away. I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown.” – The Fault In Our Stars

We’re All Mad Here.

Pretty sure I’m fighting off some serious depression. I mean, things aren’t nearly as bad as they could be but I honestly think it’s a result of feeling like we are taking one step forward and three steps back. Good news of the day: Dad should be able to start using his fistula Monday. The graft seems to be working. The bad news: One of the incisions from the surgery to (put in, originally) take out his PD catheter seems to be getting infected again… So the Doc immediately prescribed him Bactrim. Again. Hopefully this time it works. The last thing he, or his spirit, needs right now is another hospital stay…

I just want to feel like we are actually moving forwards for once. No more back sliding, no side stepping, just forward momentum. I don’t even really care how slowly it goes, as long as it doesn’t go backwards. I just want him to genuinely feel better, my mom to not feel so stressed, and things to start smoothing out to what will become our new normal.

Right now though, this house is about as far from normal as it gets. My dad is on dialysis (and we are adjusting to Hemo from PD), he’s also diabetic, my mom is in denial and works swing shifts, my brother and his wife (now, long story) still live here (still following Mom’s rule of her sleeping in the spare room, him on the living room couch), and I still live here. It’s over crowded to say the least and personalities and such are clashing like you would not believe. All I want is a small piece of land and a tiny house. A sanctuary in the woods that Honey and I can call home, and a life that is my own. But these days, even that seems too much to ask for.

So, I am trying for now to have a new outlook on things. I am trying to let go of any anger or grudges, realizing that there is pain underneath. I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that while someone hurts us and it stays with us, they do not always realize that they wounded us as deeply as they did. So I am trying to forgive because really, forgiveness has more to do with me than them. It takes all my time and energy, especially if they don’t feel or know that they did anything wrong.

“Don’t feel bad if people only remember you when they need you. Feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness.”

“She needs to have a few drinks and cry a little – then she’ll be perfect.” – Tom Ford

“Expecting a trouble-free life because you are a good person is like expecting the bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian.” – Jeffery R. Holland

“I’m not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.” – Erica Cook

“I have looked at you in millions of ways and I have loved you in each.”

“A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talked to each other instead of talk about each other.”

“Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” – Dave Willis

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

“I wear this crown of thorns upon my liar’s chair, full of broken thoughts I cannot repair. Beneath the stains of time, the feelings disappear. You are someone else, I am still right here. What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away in the end. And you could have it all, my empire of dirt. I will let you down, I will make you hurt.” – Hurt, Johnny Cash

“You take the breath right out of me, and left a hole where my heart should be.” – Breath  Breaking Benjamin

“Yeah, I could use a dream or a genie or a wish to go back to a time much simpler than this.” Airplanes,  B.O.B.

“She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart, while I’m drinking Jack all alone in the local bar. And we don’t know how, how we got into this mad situation, only doing things out of frustration, trying to make it work but man these times are hard.” – For the First Time The Script

“Meet me out past the train tracks, I’m leaving and not coming back. You were right and I was wrong, this town will be the downfall of us all.” The Downfall of Us All A Day to Remember

“I abide my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceive that this also was a chasing at the wind. For in much wisdom, is much grief. And he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.” – Assassin’s Creed

“None of us find as much kindness in this life as we should.” Memoirs of a Geisha

Fluster Cuck.

Because there’s really not another way to describe how the past month has been. Dad is out of the hospital. He had a vascular access put in under his right collar bone (temporary, and on his non-dominant side), which irritates him slightly because that collar bone was busted up in his wreck ten years ago. They also made the fistula in his right arm while he was in surgery. It’s supposed to go on your non-dominant forearm. However, his veins have a tendency to run or roll (I just picture a little vein jumping out of reach of the needle going “Please no! Not again! I’m scared of needles!” lol) so they put it in his upper right arm. 

Honey and I were at the hospital the day he got out of surgery ( a few hours later). A nurse came to check for the blood flow and couldn’t hear or feel it. They called the surgeon in who also couldn’t hear or feel it. They weren’t really worried about it at the time because of the staph infection. However, he went back two weeks  ago for an ultra sound and it was determined that there is a slight clot in the fistula. They scheduled him for surgery this past Thursday. He went back and they put in a graft to take the place of the vein. He has to go back in a few weeks. Fingers crossed that all goes well. 

He went to a foot doctor too and also found out that when he had his motorcycle wreck 10 years ago, the hospital ER only xrayed his leg above the ankle. They found his shattered leg, sent him to emergency surgery, put a rod in it and wrapped it in a cast. His foot bones were also shattered. So that means his foot wasn’t fixed and was then put into a cast. So all the bones are pretty much one solid mass. They don’t know how he’s been walking for the past ten years and they don’t know what to do about it. They don’t really want to do surgery if they don’t know it will fix it. So they ordered him special shoes to help.

I feel so bad for him. It seems to just be one thing after another and I know he’s tired…

 

On to quotes.

“and there were always those nights where she preferred the rain over people. because the rain would remind her of how she should feel and people would remind her of the things she always wanted to forget.’ – r.m. drake

“to me, you’ll always be thunderstorms and cloudy night skies, the reasons why the moons glow and the suns rise.” – tyler kent white

“I was your cure, and you were my disease. I was saving you, but you were killing me.”

“You can’t change what you refuse to confront.”

“Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.” – Elizabeth Elliot

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chodron

” I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that deep within you don’t know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten.” – Eckhart Tolle

“People too often forget that it is your own choice how you want to spend the rest of your life.”

“I’ll throw my voice into the stars and maybe the echo of my words will be written for you in the clouds by sunrise. All I am trying to say is: I will love you through the darkness.”  – Christopher Poindexter

“Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“Everybody does not have to like you. That is not their job. Liking you is not anyone’s purpose in life except yours.” – Iuanla Vanzant

“Some people cross your path and change your whole direction.”

“The soul usually knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the  mind.”

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” – David G. Allen

“because if you can keep hope alive, it will keep you alive.”

“but in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.” – Samwise Gamgee LOTR: the Two Towers

“People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.” – Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

“In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.” – Libba Bray

“We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing clouds.” – Libba Bray

“Sometimes we sweek that which we are not yet ready to find.” Libba Bray, Rebel Souls

“These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It’s probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.” – Libba Bray, Going Bovine

 

First post from a tablet!

Yay for advancing technology! In some ways. This post is bittersweet. I am posting from my tablet because my laptop has temporarily abandoned me. :(. On to an update.

My dad has added two more doctors to his team. He has been having trouble breathing and has not been getting his energy back like he should. Other than that, the dialysis sees to be going fine. When he informed his nephrologist about his lack of energy and the return of troubked breathing, they referred him to a cardiologist.

My aunt, who has been a nurse for 30+ years, did not like the cardiologist they suggested, so she changed his appointment to a different one. She does this quite often and we trust her judgement.

They did an ekg, chest x-ray, stress test, and ultrasound. The news was a mixed blessing. His heart is in relatively good shape, considering he is a 56 year old diabetic, slightly overweight male. He has a small leakage, which they will monitor but are not really concerned with. The bad news is the his body is beginning to retain fluid again. It is already buikding up around his heart and lungs, hence the lack of energy and difficulty breathing.

Unfortunately, this was not the last of the bad news. The Dialysis Center and DFACS also delivered some bad news of their own. My Dad finally got accepted for SSDI, which is good news. The bad news that came with it is that even though he will not recieve these payments until June (something about waiting a 6 month probationary period),his acceptance alone apparently means that we are no longer eligible for food stamps. It was hard on my Mom to apply for them again, and we only had them for a week.

The next part of the bad news came from the Dialysis Center. They routinely do all sorts of tests on Dad to monitor everything. This includes,but is not limited to, blood, urine, and stool tests. On the day we recieved the news about the fluid and his heart, we also recieved a call from the DC. Whatever they test his stool for (blood I think) came back positive. Apparently this is not good. He now gets to add a GI to his team. His gastrointestional appointment is early next month.

His cataracts are starting to give him problems again too. He had the lens replaced in both eyes a few months before we found out he has CKD. I’m not sure if they will be qble to do it again, with all his conditions now. I do know that once his Medi (cade? Care? I can never keep them straight) he intends to schedule an appointment with his optometrist.

I worry about him and mom both. I worry about the physical tolls as well as the emotional tolls… We shall keep our heads up as much as possible.

Been A Long Weekend.

Things have been a little rough since Dad’s surgery. He has been working a few days, and has a day off tomorrow. He forgot to wear an undershirt the first day and rubbed some of the incisions a little raw. He wore an undershirt the next day and it was a little better. Friday night was rough on him. He took a pain pill they prescribed because he was hurting. Mom had fell helping with a wedding and took a half of her pain pills, so I drove her to Wal-Mart where we picked up some super soft gauze, medical tape, and Neosporin with pain relief. He said that it helped keep him from scratching or rubbing at the incisions.

He’s also been having a severe problem trying to eat. They gave him some medicine before his surgery to clear up his sinuses but it severely dehydrated him… Whenever he went to eat after that, he says it is like trying to swallow a mouth full of dirt with no spit in your mouth. He also keeps getting choked about halfway down his esophagus. He’s thrown up more than kept anything down. I’m severely worried about him. Mom is calling his doctor tomorrow. Hopefully everything is ok.

Most people don’t know what to say when we tell them about Dad’s situation. They apologize, don’t meet our eyes, try to tell us about so and so that they knew that was on dialysis, or ask about  a transplant. We try to be patient with them because we know how they feel. We don’t know what to say or how to feel about it either.

Some people can go years before they have to go on Dialysis after they find out they have CKD or kidney failure. Some only have months. Dad was one of those with months. It is a lot to learn and adjust to in a very small amount of time. There is a diet to change (which will have to be more strict now than it was) and new terms to learn. There is also a lot to learn about dialysis as well. There are different types with different pros and cons and different methods.

Mom is having a really hard time with this as well. She does what she can to keep Dad going when he gets down or snaps at her because he’s hurting. He’s impatient and just wants to feel better. And who can blame him? Because honestly, that’s probably what we all want when we are sick. To be better, to feel better, and to not feel like a burden on our families. In turn, Mom leans on me. And I do my best to stop the chain and not lean on anyone. I know how it feels to be a support beam in the system, and I try not to let myself deal with this situation anymore than I have to because they need me to be strong for them.

It’s been tough, even though we’ve barely started. I know better days and break downs are both headed our way, but we will face them head on, and cross those bridges as we come to them.