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Moving on

Cousin Pat died yesterday morning. She went on her terms.

Today, people were out and about, doing holiday chores. The weather was nice, and life goes on.

It goes on, but without Cousin Pat.

I had a good day and my early resolution is to always choose to be kind and to make time for people.

I will also say “F**k” at least once a day, as Pat enjoyed using that word. We would always laugh.

I just won’t say it when I’m trying to be kind.

Life Happens Quickly

I got home from a visit to the vet with one of my cats and found a voice message from my cousin’s husband. I called him back for an update.

Seems she had a very good day yesterday, but then had respiratory issues last night. She signed the DNR, and today, the feeding tube was removed, morphine was started, and I don’t know what he said about the ventilator. She is on the hospice floor right now.

It is only a matter of time.

I know she would not want to live as a vibrant brain inside of a body that is shutting down, often painfully. In some ways, the fact that her diagnosis was in October and now she is in hospice might be considered a good thing.

I find it incredibly sad. We were supposed to continue to share stories from our childhoods so that we could piece together information about our family. That won’t happen now.

Even though we weren’t close, close, close, I will miss her so much.

As I said at the beginning, Life happens quickly. It might seem like a long time, but it’s not.

Help me Obi Wan, You’re My Only Hope

I obviously don’t understand how to add an avatar. My smile avatar shows up in one place, but when I post a reply to someone, I have a squiggly purple box. Perhaps that is my alien persona, but I’d rather have my human smile.

Any suggestions? I keep looking for places to fix it, but come up empty handed.

Many thanks.

The machines continue in their crusade to frustrate me.

Feeling serious

On my mother’s side, there are few of us left. She is gone, as are her three siblings and parents. One cousin is out there somewhere, but I have not seen him since the 1970s. My sister and I, plus Cousin Pat and her brother are about it.

Pat’s son died in an auto accident last year. She had never had any major health issues, but after this happened, she started to have various ailments and treatments. In October, she was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s condition). I’ve only read about it a little. It is one of those conditions that can be diagnosed because it’s not anything else that has been tested for in a person. There is no specific test for ALS. The body fails while the mind is still alert.

In the course of two months, she has flown downhill. We do tend to overachieve, but I wish she had not done so with ALS. Articles gave expected life span as 3-5 years. She is in her third month and has been in ICU for several weeks now on a ventilator.

Her husband calls me so I can Facetime with her. She is able to nod for “yes” and “no,” and she can still flip me her third finger. I try to make her laugh. She is feisty and always enjoyed a glass or two or three of wine and would curse and make me laugh whenever we spent time together.

We became closer when I retired in 2006. She is ten years older than I, and she and her husband went to my nephew’s wedding this past May in North Carolina. She was having trouble walking even then, but no one knew what was going on.

She has been hooked up on a ventilator the entire time she has been in ICU. It is so hard to see her there. I know I always say that we all have expiration dates, and it’s true, but I am not ready to see Pat reach hers.

Today, she was able to breathe on her own for almost 90 minutes before they had to reinsert the ventilator. She had pneumonia, and they drained fluid from her lungs. Her husband told me, when he was out of earshot, that they (including her) had decided that the next time the ventilator is removed, if she can’t breathe on her own, they will not reinsert the ventilator. I asked if this meant that she would suffocate, and he said it did. I asked if they would please dope her up so she wouldn’t know what was happening.

I have lost many family members and a few friends. It is never easy, even when I know it might be for the best. She would not want to live this way.

Someone gave her a pink teddy bear. She named it Jann, after me. I joked and said it was because I was a Bar-bear (Barber), but it made me want to cry.

I know everyone has problems. Everyone has sorrow. Everyone has joy. I am just putting it out here because I don’t know where else to leave it.

Hug the people you love. You just never know.

No Avatar?

If you know me from Tumblr, then you know my avatar is my smile. I tried to load it here, but it is refusing to work. Of course, the line near the bottom said it might take an hour to load…over an hour ago.

Perhaps it will appear in the morning, as if by magic. If not, I will be trying to figure out what to do next. I can’t come to your house and paste my avatar on your monitor…can I?

How do I add a tag?

I see it under Categories and Tags, but it is eluding me.

Many things in life elude me. I’m used to it.

Learning new things is sometimes hard.

I have learned to reboot the TV and computer before asking for help, so that is something, right?

MINUTES LATER: I FIGURED IT OUT! YAY!

May, 2012!

Apparently, I opened my WordPress account in May of 2012.

I must dust and polish it up, as it has lounged around for over three years, waiting for meaningful words to spill forth.

If that’s what it is waiting for, I have a feeling it might be a while.

How to post photos? How to reblog? How to find people?

So many questions!

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