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Month: August 2005

Java Joy for the Java Diva!

Java Joy for the Java Diva!

See!  I knew it!  Mommy really does need coffee!  (And you thought it was just an obsession!)

Java Joy:  Study Touts Coffee’s Benefits

Can I specifically point out this line:

Coffee not only helps clear the mind and perk up the energy, it also provides more healthful antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet, according to a study released Sunday.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am off to pour myself another cup.

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The nonstop internal battle rages

The nonstop internal battle rages

The hardest part about having a parent who is so sick is the nonstop battle that you mentally go through.  The battle between the Little Girl Jenn and the Mom Jenn.  Both want to be in control. Both want to have their way and do what is best for everyone involved.  Okay, so maybe Girl Jenn is a bit more selfish and really only wants what is best for only herself.  Who can blame her?

Everyday I have been sitting beside my Mom’s bed and either talking to her or reading or just sitting there holding her hand and just being with her.  Every part of my day and night revolved around schedules.  Schedules of who would be at the hospital at what times and who would be at home taking care of the younger children.  Personally, I wanted to just stay at the hospital all day.  I hated when my shift was up.  It was draining and it was mentally exhausting, but I was there with my Mommy.  That is all I wanted.  But, I had to share and take turns with my sister.  (Being the younger sister I was able to pout enough to be able to stay longer on most days.) As you can see, Little Girl Jenn was in charge.  Even when I was the person in charge of the younger children, I was still mentally with my Mom.

The amazing thing about Clint is that I never once worried about how the boys were doing at home.  I knew he was taking good care of them.  When we talked at night, never once did I have to ask about problems or snags in their day.  When we talked, I was able to just lean on Clint and draw strength from his love and support.  Mom Jenn was off duty.  When I spoke to the kids, they told me that things were going well and they sounded great.  I knew they would be fine.

But let’s face it.  Over a week and a half with their Mom gone under such “scary” circumstances is bound to take it’s toll on young kids.  I knew that it was going to be soon that Girl Jenn had to hand over the reigns to Mom Jenn and I would have to go back home to my family.  After talking to Zarek and hearing how he was beginning to struggle at school, at soccer and at home, I knew the time had come to return to Dallas. 

Little Girl Jenn finally realized she had to let the Mom Jenn take over.  That night I sat beside my Dad and cried like the little girl I felt I was at that moment. I sobbed and told him how much I didn’t want to go and how hard it would be to leave Mom and just rely on phone calls from them to hear how she is doing.  Dad just let me cry it out.  I pulled it together and called the boys to let them know that I would be coming home the next day.  They were overjoyed to know I would be home. 

The next morning, I went to the hospital to say goodbye to Mom and let her know I had to go back to the boys.  She cried but said it was what I should do.  (Well, actually she nodded and squeezed my hand.  I knew that she of all people would be the first to tell me that I needed to get my ass home to my children where I was needed.) Then she gave me just what I needed with a strong (for her weakened state) “I love you.” I did great.  Until I walked out of her ICU room.  Then I lost it and sobbed.  The nurse was amazing and just hugged me and told me to call the hospital as many times as I wanted to check up on her. 

I am back home now.  I can see that it has helped Zarek quite a bit.  I can see it made a difference for him just to have me home.  I know it has helped Brandon (even if he is too cool to tell me or let anyone know that he actually is happy having his mom back home).  And I know it must be a great load off of Clint’s shoulders to have me back so he can hand over the Mr. Mom role.  He has been amazing through all of this.  Truthfully, the best part of being home is letting him just hold me so that I can let go of the fear, the pain and the pressures that I have let build up throughout all of this.  My rock.

When I left, Mom was off of the ventilator and her numbers were looking better.  She was still in ICU (so therefore critical) but she seemed to be doing better.  Breathing was hard for her, but she was doing it.  Two days after I left, she is now back on the ventilator, her kidneys have had a bit of a set-back and she is sad.  My heart is shattered.  And scared.  And torn.

In all honesty, I have to tell you that the Little Girl Jenn is pissed to be back here in Dallas.  Every night she cries. Every morning in the shower she cries.  Every chance she gets she begs Mom-Jenn to go back to Houston to be with their Mommy.  Let me tell you, Mom-Jenn is getting weaker and weaker in her resolve to stay put.  The truth is, she wants to be back in Houston, too.  I want so badly to go back to Mom.  I don’t want to be the Mom here. I don’t want to be responsible.  I don’t want to think about homework, soccer or housecleaning. I don’t want to make sure the pantry is stocked and the kids have lunch ready to go.  I don’t care right now.  I want to go be with my Mom.  That is all I want.  And right now I am sad and depressed that I cannot be there. 

Is that completely selfish?  What kind of Mom am I that all I can think of is leaving again and letting my boys stay here and cope without me around to help out?  What kind of Mom doesn’t want to be a mom right now because all she wants to be is a daughter with her own Mom and helping her Dad stay strong and not be so alone in the big house?  What kind of Mom cannot even find joy in her own children because she is too sad and scared and depressed? What kind of person am I?

Like I said, the hardest part of having a parent this sick is the nonstop battle that rages within your mind and heart.  For the record, this sucks.

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I am not as think as you dumb I am!

I am not as think as you dumb I am!

When a patient is in ICU for any length of time, the doctors warn the family that they may experience what they refer to as ICU psychosis.  Basically, the patient may hallucinate or remember things that did not happen.  In short, they may act batshit crazy and that is considered normal.

What they do not tell you about is a condition referred to as ICU brain.  This afflicts the family of the patient.  Where there was once rather normal brain function (shutup!), there is now barely the capacity to know your own name.  On a really good day, you may know the names of your immediate family members.  Beyond that the only bit of information you can retain is your path to the bathroom and the hours of the cafeteria.  So you would think the doctors would take this into consideration when speaking to you.  But nooooo, they rarely do.  A typical conversation goes about like this:

“Hello there.  My name is Dr. Rhonsteimenflecter.  I am her Actophlembotologist.”

*blank stare*

“I am here to see how her feaganrastaligostoly is doing today.”

*blank stare*

“I’m checking her kidney function.”

Ahhhh! *click* So, you proceed to get up and move out his way so that he can do what he needs to do.  But not too far away.  You usually need to be sure to hover to make sure that he is doing exactly what he said he would do and that he does it correctly.  Not that you know what the hell that is or how to do it.  When he is finished he nods (looking at you with with a bit of pity for your poorly functioning brain) and leaves the room.

At this point, you must immediately take your seat again.  Find the same spot on the monitors that you have been staring at for days.  And you zone out.  The constant *whoosh whoosh whoosh* of the ventilator gently lulls you back into a state of a conscious mental coma. 

Then the next doctor comes in.

“Good afternoon.  Beautiful day isn’t it?  (Like we would know after being in the room all day!) I am Dr. Foreinsticonstilamatria.  I am her Hemorectifidiasticologist.”

*blank stare*

“I am here to listen to her check the levels of her hemostactostiflectoric system.”

*blank stare*

shaking his head at these simple minded family members “I am see if she still has an infection in her blood.”

Ahhhhhhh!  Again, you move so he can do his job.  And you can watch.  And make sure he is doing it correctly.

In light of how little we can actually comprehend after sitting in that room day after day after day, I am considering posting a sign on the door:

“Warning!  Visitors in the room are not as intelligent as they may appear.  Please speak slowly in laymans terms.  And use small words.  Your consideration in this matter is greatly appreciated!  ~The Family”

Good, no? 

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Thank you

Thank you

I am seriously blown away by how many of you have emailed me, commented or called me.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.  Honestly, it means a lot to me!  The good news is that Mom is showing improvement!  She is responsive and her breathing is getting much better.  She is, however, still critical.  But, it is wonderful to see her smile when she hears my voice or to see her respond when one of us tells her to squeeze our hands in response to a question.  The doctors are more optimistic than they were.  (And we all know how they hesitate to show optimism when a patient is critical.) So, things are looking better.

We are all trying to get sleep and eat healthy meals when we can.  I heard a long time ago that you can tell if you have a well balanced meal with the major food groups represented if it is colorful–not all white and bland.  I am happy to say that I must be eating a VERY healthy diet.  In fact, most of them are very colorful.  M&Ms and Diet Coke have a lot of colors represented.  See!  I am taking care of myself!  *grin*

Again, thanks for your kindness.  It helps me more than you know!

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Holding my mother’s hand

Holding my mother’s hand

This is going to be brief, but I wanted to let you know that blogging will be light for the next few days.  My Dad called me back to Houston to be with my Mom.  She is back in ICU in critical condition.  Basically, she is just so weak that she is having a hard time healing.  Right now, her she has had congestive heart failure.  Her kidneys are not producing like they should.  She has in infection that they cannot find, but it is causing a fever and her blood count to be off.  She has some congestion in her chest partly from being on a ventilator for so long.  And she had high acidity in her blood, so they were giving her transfusions.

Sounds like I almost know what I am talking about.  I don’t.  We have heard for a month that “Oh, things are looking up.  She is looking better.” Every doctor has said the same little thing.  Finally, it took one doctor to sit down and and really give us a big picture of how she is doing.  Sure, some numbers look “better” on some days, but are still not good at all. She is still very critical.  If she had one of her systems with problems, it would be tough.  Having so many of her systems with so many problems, it is making it a tough recovery.  The doctors are peddaling as fast as they can to get her stable.  They have been trying to wean her off of her ventilator, but she is not doing well with that.  It is just so hard for her right now to fight so many things that are making her so very sick.  And she is just so tired.  Thankfully, they have her rather sedated, so she doesn’t seem to be scared or suffering.  That is the most comfort in all of this.

As for me, as soon as I got the call to come, I went into “robot-mode.” You know the type.  Super organized.  Anal about details.  Making sure that everyone else is taken cared of and that there is a schedule so everyone knows where everyone else is.  You need to figure out the logistics on who goes to the hospital when?  Call me.  You need to figure out who sleeps where? I’m your gal.  Having a tough time coping and need a shoulder to cry on?  Come to me.  I am a rock.  And trust me.  This works right now.  But later, look out.  I am sure I am going to blow.  For now, just let me be the one that has the armor.  It works for me.  (I think.)

I only cried once and that was when I was holding her hand.  I am wearing a ring that used to be hers, but she gave it to me on my sweet 16th birthday.  I loved and conveted that ring as long as I could remember.  Looking down at my hand on hers, I swear my hand looked just like her hand from my youth.  The hand that soothed my brow when I was sick.  The hand that held mind when I was scared.  The hand that reassured me when life threw me a curve.  To see my hand looking so much like hers just broke something in me.  And I held her hand tighter, told her how much I loved her and hoped with all my heart I was able to be there for her like she has always been there for me.

I don’t know what is going to happen.  I don’t know where this is going.  I don’t know if I am here to encourage her to fight to get better or if I am here to say goodbye.  I just don’t know.  For now, I am just here to soothe her brow, hold her hand when she gets scared and reassure her through this horrible curve that life has thrown her way.

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