Friday, October 23, 2009

Catch up time

I feel like sometimes my work has taken over my life. This time of year it has taken over in a huge way. As some of you know, I am the Employee Health Nurse and Infection Control Officer for our community hospital. With 357 employees, the Employee Health Nurse is job security alone. With flu season, that responsibility magifies 100 times. Not only have I been giving the seasonal flu injection to all staff, but the H1N1 to front line staff (Emergency staff, registration, lab, radiology, etc). My office has become a revolving doorway. I have huge stacks of required government paperwork to complete and getting logged into the Ohio Department of Health's website, and then turn around and file it in their individual health files. Busy Busy Busy -- I do have to say how proud of I am of our staff. They are stepping up to the plate and taking the seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations to protect themselves, their co-workers, their families, and their patients. Have you got yours?????

My Dad is settling into the Alzheimer's unit at the VA facility in Ardmore. He gets regular visits from my sister and her husband, my uncle, and my Mom. We've all had adjustments to be made in routines, but overall, I believe we've all come out stronger. My sister is getting her chaotic life back in some order and has more weekend time to rest and refresh. My Mom has made decisions that I thought she would never have to do. She took ownership of property and has sold the older farm truck that Dad had. She's chosen new siding for her home and had that put on. She's had the driveway gate turned into an electric gate so when she gets home late at night, she doesn't have to get out of her car. She's closed bank accounts and had everything put into one account, she's taken out CD's and paid off her car loan. Through it all, she's found out that it's okay to ask questions and ask what our opinions are. She's learned how to deal with salesmen, banks, and auto mechanics. The only issue left is to help her realize that she has family and friends there for her, all she has to do is ask. Unfortunately, she doesn't quite know how to do that yet. But we are working on it. Finally at the age of 75, my Mom has become more or less her own person.

Back to Dad--I feel so sorry for him. He apparently doesn't sleep, he only naps. At home, Mom structured his day and night for him. She made him go to bed whereas in the unit, if they are up, they're up. He tends to nap only in one of the recliners. His health is starting to gradually improve. His severe Congestive Heart Failure he had when he arrived has eased. He at least can get his shoes on. He was also retaining urine pretty badly. So much so that he was having to be straight cathed to empty his bladder for him. At home, Mom would help him go to the bathroom and make sure he washed his hands, whereas at the unit, he doesn't get that attention. They have him wearing a depends and no one is around to remind him to wash his hands. His clothes, socks, and shoes have been walked away with, some have returned, some have not.
I am also extrememly upset with their family physician in Chickasha who let Dad get to the point that his heart was in Atrial Fibrillation (extrememly irregular and rapid) and in severe congestive heart failure. The doctor at the VA picked up on all this with his initial checkup. I have been a cardiac nurse and there is no way the family physician missed all the typical signs and symptoms unless he was a quack. Now before you get in an uproar, I'm not the only one who thinks this. He tried pulling the wool over my eyes when my mom was sick 2-3 years ago and had to have the heart abaltion, went into renal failure, had an infection and spent the whole month of August except for 4 days in the hospital. He kept wanting to keep her at the small community hospital and he take care of her instead of shipping her back to the city where her heart doctor was. Once I got ahold of him via phone, he knew exactly what I thought, where I stood, and where he should shove it. (Sorry).
At least with my Dad in the VA, I know his new doctor is keeping a closer eye on him.
For those caregivers out there, please continue to keep my family in your thoughts and prayers as I have added each of my new followers to my prayer list. Unless you have been there, there is no way to accuratly describe the daily struggles, heartaches, and feelings that you have to experience. Just know that there is always someone out there who is feeling the same or similar, has gone through what you are going through, or is just beginning to venture into their journey.

Keep safe
Wash your hands
Cover your cough
Laugh Often
Love Most


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Alzheimer's Stinks

Alzheimer's is a horrible disease which not only affects the person with this disease but also affects everyone involved in his care whether direct or indirect. Last Friday, the day after my Dad's 80th birthday, he went to live at the VA Alzheimer's unit in Ardmore, OK. This was a difficult decision for my mother, who has been his primary caregiver for the last couple of years. He went without incident, but only after he was told that this was something his family physician wanted him to do so that more tests could be run on him and he could be monitored for some new medicine. That was enough to satisfy him for the moment. His first full day was without incident, however, his second day, he became his usual argumentative self. I have not called to check on him as yet, simply because my sis and mom have been doing that and giving me an update. Today will be the most difficult for Mom as she will be returning to their home that they built--all alone. She knows this, but I don't think she is totally prepared for the quiet solitude she will feel. Maybe this is what she needs for awhile, simply because Dad has devoured her time 24 hrs a day for the last 2 years. I only hope and pray, she doesn't turn into the hermit her mother did. Please pray she will come to the realization that the mini farm and the huge house is too much for her to handle and she needs to sell and move to a small house in Ardmore where she will be close to Dad and my sister. I truly believe she will, but it's going to take some time.
Meanwhile, I need to muster up the courage to check on my Dad.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's hard to believe that the summer is almost over. Both of the grandson's are now officially in their "terrible twos". Although I do have to say that thankfully, there has not been all the temper tantrums, usually just the pouting and not wanting to do what you want them to do.
Here are some pictures from Ian's and Gabe's birthday parties.
Ian wasn't too happy with us singing Happy Birthday. He wanted his Cars Cake.

Into the swimming pool after our BBQ and cake and presents

Gabe's Dinosaur cake

All his presents from his huge family.

Relay for Life is over for 2009. Everything went great. Our campsite took third place out of 19 sites. I got to carry the banner in the survivor lap (that's me on the far right),

and the luminary ceremony was touching as always. We sold 204 Messages to Heaven balloons that were released during the ceremony. Although the weather didn't want to cooperate early Saturday morning causing us to tear down early, it was a successful relay. Which means we are closer yet to finding those cures so desperately needed. That way, no one else has to hear those dreaded words "You have cancer".

Plans are already underway for fundraising ideas for 2010. We are thinking of a cookbook (so if anyone knows of a cute front and back cover idea, let me know. The title I think is going to be "Cooking for a Cure".

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day

I know it's a day late, but I hope that everyone had a safe but festive 4th of July. Now more than ever we need to pray for our nation, it's leaders, and ask God's direction for our nation. Way too many decisions are being made that have an impact on us, the average citizen and there is no God involved. I pray for our nation.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This last Saturday was Ian's birthday party. He is my oldest grandson born 2 years ago on June 26th. Cameron and Sarah had a cookout, there was lots of presents for Ian and even one for Gabe (who will turn 2 on July 4th). The boys played well together and even went for a swim. I will transfer pictures and videos from my camera tonight and post them. It was a nice day and everyone had fun.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I have been so involved with catching up with work responsibilites since returning from vacation, I have not taken the time to update you with any news. As you know, I am the Team Captain this year for our hospital's Relay for Life team. I have a personal goal to raise $750.00 and the team's goal is $10,000. Here is my progress thus far.

Goal: $750.00
Achieved: $355.84

I still have 4 weeks left and will continue to ask, ask, and ask. I understand completely that times are hard and money is tight. Neighbors and friends have been surprisingly generous this year. Now if I can only get family members sending me money

Hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back Home

It's good to be home again. We had a wonderful visit with my Mom and Dad, my little sister: Brenda and her hubby Richard, Liz and Jason and their 4 children, as well as getting to talk with my other neice Becky via phone. Can't wait to go back next June for Becky's wedding. It certainly is a long drive-18 hours, but worth it in the long run. We got a lot of little chores done at parent's house. Since Dad has Alzheimer's and Mom's day is spent tending to him and following his every move, it is next to impossible for her to get anything done. Now that his confusion has taken over more than his logical and reasoning ability, we showed her how to start and run the riding lawn mower, use the weedeater, etc.

We came back to overloaded strawberry beds, overgrown lawns, and growing gardens-both flower and vegetable. I'll post pictures later this evening. For now, it's off to my husband's family renunion (from his mother's side).