Friday, October 14, 2011

The Old Guard is Slowing Down

A few months ago, my Mom had some blood work done, and the docs were afraid she had leukemia. So they set her up for a bone marrow biopsy.
Needless to say this news got us all worried and in a tizzy.
She had to have the test done in a hospital in The Hague, as opposed to the one next door to her.
The biopsy went well, they extracted some marrow from her hip as well as some bone. It was an uncomfortable procedure, but she did well, and had no after pain.
Then the waiting started.
On October 4th they went back to the hospital to get the results and discuss her options.
It was my brother's turn to take her.

It turns out she doesn't have leukemia. She has Myelodysplastic Syndrome, which is a bone marrow disease. In some cases this will turn into acute leukemia however.
So now they are going to check her blood every four weeks, to see if the situation is getting worse, or will turn out to be more of a chronic nature.
She might need regular blood transfusions in the future.

It really is a bit too much for her. She is 88, has heart failure, and her kidneys are working at only 40%. And now this.
She is also depressed and anxious, and is still grieving deeply for my father.
I feel rather helpless, being so far away, and considering the situation at home, not much of a chance to visit in the near future.

Then there is her older sister in Australia. 93 Years old. Vascular dementia. Heart problems, and history of strokes.
She has been having a few episodes where she needed to be hospitalized for various reasons. But she seems to pop up again after every crisis.

The girls in this family are tough old birds I tell ya. The oldest passed away a few years ago at the age of 94. Then the next one to 'go' was the auntie I took care of here. She was 90 when she died.
There is a brother, who turned 90. Then my Mom and then another sister who is 85.
They all have their health problems, but somehow they stick it out.

Here at home things are steady. Wheelie is depending on me more and more to assist him. We've started talking about the future, how we will handle things once he becomes to difficult for me to handle.
It will take me a while to start the ball rolling. I need to call the state's Council for Seniors, see if I can get someone to assess the situation and get some advice.

But right now I am still adjusting to being on Prozac. It seems to be working. My anxiety attacks are becoming less and less. My whole attitude is changing. I seem to have a lot more patience, and have more kind feelings.

It's also becoming much easier to say "no" as well.

And that's a good thing.

Fall is here. I love the temperatures. I even love the occasional rain.


Friday, September 30, 2011

The ZEN of supermarket

These days I get my quiet and ME time just going grocery shopping. Since the summer was hot hot hot for three months, I usually would go first thing in the morning, after Wheelie was dressed and fed.
Amazing how peaceful you get when you walk through the isles with your shopping cart, just pleasantly zoning out. I get a lot of: May I help you, ma'am? Guess people notice I'm wandering aimlessly.
It calms me down though, enjoy it very much.

So yes, the summer was long and hot. We didn't go out much at all, except when it was absolutely necessary.

I did have a good time on my trip home. Although it was exhausting. I got so tired that I got really sick one night. Just purging everything I guess.

Mom's birthday was fun. The trip to Friesland was wonderful. Mom loved her surprise. She had always wanted to go to Jopie Huisman's museum.
I marveled at how old my old country is, and that there are still so many areas where time seems to have stood still. Beautiful landscapes, little villages, farms, healthy looking livestock everywhere. Plus we had gorgeous weather.

The day with my old friends was amazing. We ate and talked all day. So good to catch up with those girls.
The evening with my old co-worker was also a success. He spent his life working for the government and had many great stories about his travels and his life. It also helped that he brought flowers and pastries. Yumm.

Bugs, Boo and Philip went to the Gulf coast for a well deserved vacation. They had a super time. Even went to see the dolphins. It was Boo's first time at the beach, and she loved it!

And here we are, tomorrow it will be October again. The weather is finally becoming cooler and so much more pleasant.

Wheelie is slowing down though. A few months ago he had a cold. It took a toll. It seems that his arms and legs became weaker, and I had to start helping him out with dressing, bathroom stuff. It promptly threw out my back. I had to take it very easy for about three weeks. It was a challenge.

Boo was at our house 6 days a week. Not all day, but after school, sometimes overnight, it was getting too much for Oma.
I started having anxiety attacks again. So one Monday morning I snuck into Dr. Tim's office without an appointment and without telling anyone.
As always, he lent me a sympathetic ear. He decided to put me on Prozac. He also told me it was time I stopped babysitting.

So I had a few talks with Bugs. Explained to her that it was time I got myself better, so I could take care of Pop. The time has come that Oma priorities change course. Oma needs to regroup, get better, start moving, and flip the internal switch. Pay more attention to Wheelie, physically and mentally and emotionally.
We had slipped into a, not altogether uncomfortable, way of life, which was getting to the point where we spent most our day in opposite rooms, not talking. He doing his thing, me staying on my bed watching TV with the sound down, or reading.
I gained ten pounds last year. I look like shit. I have no energy to DO anything. It takes a great effort to just keep the house tidy, keep the laundry clean, cook dinner, and doing the dishes. Driving to pick up Boo every day was getting to be a chore. Her hyper nature driving me nuts.

Since taking the Prozac I've started to feel a subtle change. Every day this week I managed to do one big project.
One day I cleaned Boo's room. Got out all her old clothes and baby toys, sorted all her other stuff, books, etc.
The other day I cleaned everything in the bedroom. After a few months of eBay I needed to organize and put away the packing stuff, boxes, tubes, put away the ironing board which I use for packing table.
Yesterday I cleaned the garage. Actually took the vacuum cleaner and did a serious number on the nooks and crannies.
The 'normal' housewife would probably scoff at these accomplishments, but they were huge for me.

I stopped feeling guilty about taking time to rest. My anxiety attacks are less often, but they still come, but are manageable.
I really worry about the future. Right now Wheelie is doing okay. But I am always waiting for something to happen.
He had a bone density test, and the doctor diagnosed him with osteoporosis.
So now I'm afraid his bones will snap.
It hasn't gotten to the point yet where I need professional help with him, but I worry when it will come. Where do I go. Will we be able to afford it.

Basically, life is on the fence. Quiet before the storm. I need to concentrate on TODAY only. The meds seem to be helpful.
We shall see.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wow! Has is really been THAT long??

It's March 10, 2011.
After a few warm weeks the weather decided to give us some more winter, so after a day of soaking rain, we now have winds and cold yucky weather.

I am gearing up for my trip to Holland (April 7) in time for Mom's 88th birthday. After paying way too much last year I was able to use my frequent flyer points and get a practically free ticket this time.

I am ambivalent about going. Wanting to meet a few old friends, but not wanting to leave Wheelie to fend for himself.
Oh, we know Bugs will take care of him, but this past year has taken a bit of a toll on his condition. Things just don't work as well as they did a year ago.

But, like my sister insists, I NEED to get out, if only for a week. Try and have some fun, not to worry or think about "home"

Mom is doing a little better after she was hooked up with an organization that takes care of seniors like her, who needs a little push in the back.
She was very depressed and back and forth in the hospital. She definitely needed some psych help, which she is now (reluctantly) getting. Of course knowing that I'll be coming over perked her right up too.

So we shall see. I am looking forward to meeting with an old work chum of mine. A recent widower. We worked together when I lived in Holland for a few years in the 70s. We send each other Christmas cards and birthday cards every year, and have kept in touch.
Then I am having a little reunion with my girls from the old neighborhood.
On Tuesday my sister and I are taking Mom way up to Friesland to visit a museum, spending the night at a nice little hotel.
On Sunday we will have our annual birthday party with everyone in the family. The first time without my father.

I am also hoping to meet and visit with some of my cousins. We'll see how it all goes.

At home things are rather quiet. No big dramas.
Boo-boo is growing and getting very smart. Hard to believe she is turning 4 in April.
Bugs, Philip and Boo are going on a real family vacation in May, they are going to the beach! They are so excited about it!

Next Wednesday Bugs will have another court date for the damn child support. The wheels of government turn ever so slow, but I guess things are happening. He hasn't paid his child support since I wrote last back in December.
His parents moved to an apartment, and his father had to close his pretty obsolete business of TV repair.
We haven't heard from them, they probably finally got the memo that we are not interested in having them in our lives.

Depending on what happens on Wednesday, I hope Bugs will be able to file a motion to have Daddy permanently removed as Boo's father. That way he won't have to pay anymore, and everyone can go their merry hope...

We shall see.

Right now it's time to drag Boo out of the bathtub. Get her ready for bed.