Prepping for the Holidays

This is turning into a crazy week. I’m trying not to lose track of when I’m babysitting, when company is coming, and most important, when to get the turkey out to thaw. I did get the outdoor Christmas lights put up, the garage cleaned out, and ordered some birthday and Christmas presents, so I’m not too far behind.

My hives are fading, which is a good sign. I’d hate for them to be a permanent part of the landscape. My skin has already turned into the road map of my life, every field I raked hay in, every bunch of cattle I moved on horseback or four-wheeler, every garden I planted – all without wearing a hat or sunscreen – are recorded in these wrinkles. They say ‘what you don’t know won’t kill you’ – but sometimes that’s not true.

My daughter said once that I earned those wrinkles. That I believe, but it doesn’t mean that I want those wrinkles. I’m going on the theory that they give me character. I sure must be a character! Wrinkles are not something I’m going to spend money on, but I am going to try and convince the doctor to suck out all the fat while he’s fixing my hernia! I mean, why not? He’s going to be in there, and it has to be in the way of getting a good view of things. I also want everything fixed or looked at while he’s there, the gallbladder and appendix especially. My dad had to have both of those out.

We’ve come to the conclusion that my book “Rhyaden” is Middle Grade rather than Young Adult. Of course, my hope is that everyone will want to read it, but Middle Grade will be the primary focus as I search for representation, or publish it myself. That has yet to be decided as we polish the finishing touches.

and so it goes…

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Hives and then Home

Blessed to be home! The turkey is in the freezer, the list is shaping up for the Thanksgiving meal, and I’ve sorted all the mail, unpacked the suitcase and slept good. What more can a person ask for? Well….

No, I’m not going to go there. The next crazy thought is, I need to start my Christmas letter. What a year it has been too! It should be pretty easy to fill a page. Gifts for my grandchildren is another monster, not so easy to figure out. They all have toys and clothes galore already. This is going to take some thought because I want to give them something unique or useful or start them on a life-long love of something.

The in-home care for my mother and assistance for my sister is set up on an on-call basis for now, more later when my sister feels she needs it. Right now, she has so many doctor visits and tests going on, having someone come in to be with my mom is really a help. Mom is getting less and less comfortable being left alone. Our fear is she will get upset and fall trying to do something she shouldn’t do. This is a start. I’m hoping my sister avails herself of their housekeeping services too, but time will tell. She has to get used to them first.

My surgery has been re-scheduled. It will be much further out on the calendar than I had wanted, but the holidays etc. etc. have put a glitch in my wishes. Oh well. I hope nothing interferes this time. I want it over with! I’m not so good at ignoring what is coming down the pike. I already broke out in hives worrying about my sister’s surgery. I sure hope that clears up before it’s my turn. I can’t imagine what I will look like (or itch like) then.


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New Plan

My sister’s, and therefore now my mother’s schedule is so different from mine, I’m going to be messed up for quite some time after I get back. My body doesn’t know when to sleep, but it still wakes up the same every morning. My sister also leaves lights on throughout the house when she goes to bed. (I can hear my father saying, “Turn out the light when you leave a room!”) I have a difficult time going to sleep with lights on, or noise. It’s a good thing they sleep in late in the morning. It gives me a little space and time to write without noise. I’ve always been a morning person and most of the time, that’s a good thing.

Things are slowly getting back to normal. My sister is bossing me around again, like big sisters do, so I know she is feeling better. I’m trying to convince her to hire help for Mom, but she isn’t there yet. I don’t know what it will take. Another crisis I suppose.

I’m so grateful the weather has held and been nice on this side of the mountain. I’ve been able to go for a good walk every day while Mom naps, but I’m sure missing my bike. I’ve had time to read two books. That’s all I brought, so from here on out, I’ll be working on my own book.

Well, my sister agreed to bring in Home Health Care to help in caring for our mother. I won’t be headed home after all, as we are starting right away to make the arrangements. I am so relieved. We want our mom to stay at home, but my sister cannot do it all now. It is a sad reality, one we all hate when it comes to our own family, but a reality none the less.

and so it goes…

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Time Change

The worry about my sister’s surgery has worn my mother out. Not that she has been dancing jigs of late, but I can tell that since the pressure is off, Mom is sleeping far more than a few days ago when my sister was not in the house.

They decided to discharge my sister at seven in the evening, so in the dark I loaded and unloaded her wheelchair, then we had to go to the pharmacy, unload and load, because she had to go in with ID to get the pain meds, and then home, and unload again. Silly me, I thought that would be it.

The following morning, back to the doctor because my sister was worried about too much drainage from the wound, load and unload, load and unload her wheelchair again. I’m ready for my hernia surgery! The hospital definitely did not prepare us for the home care portion of being discharged. We had no idea how much drainage there would be, or how often to change the dressings, or how to clean it, or what not to put on it.

All is well, though, and within a week, I should be able to head home. I am going to make sure they are well stocked with groceries and paper products before I leave. I’m just asking for good weather for the drive, please.

My health insurance premiums are going to go up dramatically next year. Like so many others, I am contemplating what to do; join a cooperative, drop having insurance altogether, or suck it up and pay the premiums. What else can I cut out of my budget to make up the difference? The most obvious budget cut would be giving up traveling to National Parks. That thought makes my heart cringe, literally cringe. The Parks are such an incredible treasure of our country. The current attacks on them make me fighting mad. Those are OUR parks, not the politicians or the oil companies.

Ok, calm again. Don’t forget the dreaded Time Change is today.

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Over and Done

There are many reasons I don’t live on the western slope, but they do enjoy an earlier spring and a later fall, and I see the appeal. The fall colors in DeBeque Canyon were stunning on my drive over, mostly the giant old cottonwood trees. I don’t remember seeing them such a brilliant shining gold, a nice ending after five hours in the car.

I was tearing my hair out for a while listening to my mother and sister sorting through a drawer by mother’s chair, but all of a sudden a switch flipped and I had a hard time keeping the giggles in. Maybe I’m just tired, but I think there is a comedy routine here, I really do. I can see Carol Burnett and Vickie Lawrence all over this.

I think we’re ready for my sister’s surgery. It is scary because she isn’t in good health, and I can tell she’s scared, but it’s probably more to do with leaving Mother in my care than the surgery itself. As I listened to her tell the pre-admission person all of her allergies, sensitivities, etc over the phone, I thought , “Wow. Brave Doctor.” It doesn’t sound like a simple procedure, but for them I suppose it is.

We are nervous. I am nervous. We have done all we know to do to be ready, all of the “just in case” things. That’s my kind of insurance. Be prepared and then you don’t need it – kind of insurance. These past couple of days of caring for my mother, have been eye-opening. My sister’s love and devotion to our mother has always been apparent, but to see it and to do it, are two different things. It has been a blessing for me to take over, to spend this time with Mom, and to understand the depth and breadth of all that my sister does for her. Mom is very lucky to have such devotion at the end of her life.

Her surgery is over – and turned out well. Whoopie! Relief.


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While You Wait

Things to do while you wait: (this is not a comprehensive list, but will give you an idea of my frustration level)

I cleaned the range top (looks good) and the oven by hand (takes longer than flipping the auto clean switch) however, at the end, reaching the back wall of the oven is extremely awkward so I put it on auto and steam cleaned it. I didn’t even know ovens had steam clean options nowadays. That didn’t do it, so went for the regular clean cycle which fills the house with irritating smoky air. Should have known better.

Watch the neighbors leaves float down into your yard. Rake the yard again.

Ride bike – however the weather has to cooperate. I don’t enjoy thirty mile per hour cold winds.

Write – hampered by how many hours my eyes can stand being in front of a screen. Read – same as above. There are so many good books out there.
Research – more screen time.

Fix fence. Staples have worked themselves out of the fence. Since I enjoy my bunny-less back yard so much, I’m not about to let one sneak in over the winter.

Call old friends. Catch up. Pester them.

Drink tea. Jig saw puzzle. Contemplate an art project. Look through old family albums. More tea.

Well, I got my surgery scheduled and then found out my sister’s kidney surgery has to go first. It is more critical. So, I called and cancelled mine, will re-schedule once I know how my sister has recovered, and now I’m packing for the drive over the hill and a long stay. Calling all my friends back to let them know the change of plans. It’s all I can do. As disappointed as I am not to get mine over with, I can’t say that I was surprised. The scheduler and I just had to change things too many times. Hopefully, when I return, it will all go smooth as silk. Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement!

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Waiting for things to happen that are out of my control is like eating sandpaper. Not my favorite cup of tea. While I’m waiting for the hospital’s surgery scheduler to call me to schedule my surgery, my sister is waiting on the results of her tests so her surgery can be scheduled. We have to do them one at a time, so someone can look after my mom while the other is recovering. This is wacko – even for my life. The holidays are coming and not knowing where I’ll be for them has my insides churning.

In the last year, six members of my family plus one close friend have had or are about to have surgery. Now that’s having a few too many stress issues in my opinion. Stop! I’m not made for this. I can tell by what I’m accomplishing (actually not accomplishing) that I’m not dealing well with all that’s going on right now. When I can’t focus, time and productivity fade away. There are a few other things happening that lend itself to my state of mind, and I guess the best thing for me to do now is to get busy and stay busy.
It’s the only way I know how to cope.

I guess I need a new list. I already checked off all the fall chores in the yard, painted and rearranged the office, decorated inside for fall, and put up clips for outside lights in the event I’m here at Christmas time. The only thing left undone is to work on the books, and I can only do so many hours per day of staring at a computer screen. I guess it’s treadmill time. Ugh. That sounds awful. Fortunately, it’s still warm enough to ride bike. Perhaps I’ll try and find some cold-weather cycling pants.


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