Monday, November 14, 2011
I can't seem to get Allen interested in doing anything besides sitting in his recliner and watching TV or napping. He used to read a lot, but his eyes, dizziness and lethargy have worked against him doing that much now. He's always been a couch potato. That was why he got so heavy and between that and the BP his aneurysm burst. He was 'bent' toward them with his dad and brother having them, but nevertheless... physical circumstances didn't help. He's lost weight and is healing and really is improving all the time, but I can't help but feel it's not good for him to sit around so much. I let it go as necessary because of all dizziness he always has and that's true. I probably would feel the same way if I was dizzy all the time. But what kind of life is it to just sit and watch us do what we do and not have any activities short of conversations, tv, church and lifegroup a couple of times a month. We are going to the stroke support group when we can, but it's an hour. He goes on errands with me when it works and he feels like it. I'm a homebody, too, so I don't go out much. I do have my quilting bees and guild meetings that I go to, but that's not anything he's interested in.
ARGH... I feel like I'm failing him by not being more active in finding things for him to do during the day. I just don't know what to do. If I don't push something and I mean push it, it doesn't happen.
I haven't been weepy over his situation in a long time, but I am now. I just feel kind of helpless with it.
I'll consider any ideas on how to improve this situation.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Again... I'm not keeping up here much. Leslie... I think you're the only one checking here now! Bless you for staying around and keeping an eye on what's going on. I put a message on the comment page, but here it is again...
Leslie... you are such a wonder to keep checking on us. God is good and things are okay. Christy is not healed, but she is coping and not in as much pain. We are still waiting. We hope that something will come along that will help her. Allen gets better and better all the time. It sneaks up and pokes me...LOL He will say or do something that shows he's remembered something he didn't before. He's using a cane now because he's 'tired of the walker'. That's awesome. It gives him the balance he needs though he's still dizzy. It's near impossible to get into a good neurologist where we live so we are still waiting on an appointment. I look forward to moving to central Texas where there are better doctors and more of them. Thank you for checking in. If you'd like to link to my facebook where I post a little more often now cause it's short and sweet, you'd be welcomed to. I'm under 'Linda Fox Chase'. Blessings to you from South Texas!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Well, if anyone is still reading and praying...
My middle daughter, Christy, needs our prayer and needs a miracle from God. About four years ago she hurt her back pretty badly lifting furniture. Over time and with adjustments her muscles built up around it and she could cope. Long story on how she got to this point, but bottom line... she has 6 herniated disks, doctors don't want to do surgery, she's in constant pain, using a wheelchair to get around and looking at long-term disability. It's the pain that makes coping so difficult. She is so worried because her precious husband, Peter, is doing all the house living stuff after work and taking care of Betsy. Betsy goes to preschool during the weekdays because Christy couldn't get her schoolwork done and couldn't physically chase a 2 yr old right now. She is really discouraged. The Vicodyn she lives on has complications and doesn't completely kill the pain, either.
ONLY GOD can take care of this. Please pray.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
You know how sometimes a year can seem like yesterday and other times a lifetime ago?
One year ago, on September 28, 201o, our world got turned upside down. Allen came home with a tremendous headache after work. I was rocking Betsy and said hello. He said hello to the girls and went to the kitchen for a snack. He headed back to the bedroom, as he usually does, to lay down and rest. A short time later Erin saw her daddy leaning up against the dresser not moving. He said he was in tremendous pain and couldn't straighten up. I ran in and he asked me to run cool water over the back of his head while he leaned over the tub. Within a few minutes he started talking gibberish and then passed out. Jamie called EMS and our journey began...
As I wrote in older posts, we went from VBMC Harlingen, expecting that he might die. After a week, still in a coma, we were airflighted to Houston where we rode a roller coaster of waiting for him to wake up, but hearing doctors say to prepare to let him go.
After a week here, a month in Houston, a month in ICU in a Harlingen LTAC and two months in Brownsville rehab hospital (not counting the nightmare week in Retama), our precious Allen came home to us. I had my dear, precious husband and the girls had their daddy (and granddaddy). Over seven months at home, including 3 or so months of home health rehab has taken him from nearly bedridden to up and around with a walker. The dizziness won't seem to go away completely and he still gets confused, but each week brings more healing.
I am every grateful, all our family is, that Allen is still with us. And better yet, he says he is grateful, too. With all he's gone through, it would be easy for him to wish he hadn't made it. After all, he'd be in the arms of Jesus and in heaven now. Sometimes I feel a little selfish for wanting him to stay, but not enough to change my mind.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Well, loved ones... update... Allen is doing well, but the dizziness keeps him from moving around as much as would be good for him. The Drs say it's normal and will hopefully subside in time. He is remembering more and more, but still gets confused about things that have happened or he thinks happened, but it's less and less. God is good! Unfortunately, insurance will not cover much on any therapy so we have to try to keep it up on our own, which is hard to keep him motivated to do that. Pray.
But some other news I need your prayers about. We've wanted to move to the Hill Country area ... country out of Austin... for a long, long time. It would be closer to my brothers. It seems like this might be the time to make that move. Allen likes the idea and we are looking. We are getting things done around the house to prepare to put it on the market and test the waters. Please pray that God will open the doors HE wants open and give us peace as we follow HIS will. We are looking at land, talking to builders, looking at houses online, having a friend check out properties and talking to real estate agents up that way. We have an agent here that will list the house in the next few weeks... The hard thing is leaving those we love so much here and it IS hard to think about, but we still keep feeling this tug. We will lay it down though if it's not God's plan. We are trying to be prepared for whatever the Lord brings our way.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
We spent a few days in Denton next visiting my brother Charlie and his family. Patsy had been under the weather, but we had a great visit with Charlie, Pat, Jon, Amy and Pat's sister, Jenny.
On Thursday we left for San Marcos and Wimberley. It was great. We have long dreamed of living in the hill country. We drove around a lot and looked at houses and properties. We don't know when the Lord will open the door for it, but it's in our heart and prayers. Since Allen is 'retired' now we can live wherever the Lord leads and if he is leading us this way it sounds wonderful.
We were glad to get home to our own beds, though. And God brought this wonderful handyman around who made us a great deal to do some work around the house. We came home to trimmed trees... powerwashed, rotten wood replaced and freshly painted house.... YEA! It looks great and I told Allen all his honey-dos got done!
Friday, May 20, 2011
Working, house and car issues, keeping our family going where we need to be when we need to be... that has kept me busy... and it is so wonderful. It seems like a new kind of normalcy. I haven't always been able to do what I've wanted to do, but that's okay.
For Allen's therapy, we're between insurance approval... grrr. We are finishing up physical therapy but not able to have speech and cognitive for a little while. I just spoke to Lori, the most gifted, sweet christian speech pathologist who has helped Allen so much. She is looking forward to coming back for more therapy. Heather, our sweet, patient PT has helped Allen, as well. He gets tired of it, but he is getting stronger, standing longer, walking longer. Once the dizziness is better, I believe he will walk and move much better.
If you ever have the opportunity to spend time with my Allen or with someone else who has had this kind of stroke in which the frontal lobe was affected, be prepared to speak intelligently to someone who sometimes cannot pick out the right words or has gotten details of dreams, imaginations, television and reality all mixed in a way that seems very real to them. Don't argue that they're wrong or think them crazy. You can help them understand the way you see it and I am told it helps the Executive function in their frontal lobes to begin reassociating what is true and real. As their pathways are rewiring and finding the way to and from the correct information, most find their way back to a clearer understanding and less confusion. We are believing that for Allen. God has been so good and I expect no less of him as we travel through this season. Allen is becoming more and more understanding of what has happened. Not that he remembers it, he was in a coma. But little bit by little bit short term memories of conversations and planting themselves and being more easily retrieved.
I continuously run into so many of you who are still praying for Allen, for me and the girls. I am so amazed at the faithfulness of God's people. You are so wonderful to hold us up. I still am being carried through each day. I remind Allen always of your prayers, God's faithfulness and God's reminders for us to wait and trust. "Where else would we go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life."
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Allen has had low pulse rate, blood pressure a little high and for a few days this last week he was awfully lethargic and 'goofy', ie..more confabulations. So... I took him to the doctor Tuesday and he did a urine check to see if he had a UTI and even after culturing... NONE! That's really a victory because after so long with a catheter in the hospital, it seemed like he was constantly getting UTIs. It could come back, but not as likely since it was completely clear. Thank you, Lord Jesus. As for the low pulse, the doctor changed his BP meds and we're working on the dosage to also get his BP to a better place. They also found he is a little anemic and low thyroid, so both of those can make him lethargic. I wish he was off all meds, but you know, we can do what we have to do. God has obviously got has hands on the man and will walk him through this, too.
Well, my work is going well. God is good to provide it for me and it's working well with my home schedule. The guys and TJ are great to work with. Allen is getting used to some of the comings and goings I'm doing for work and he's really flexible with what's going on around the house. My desktop died last week. The True Solutions geniuses are working on it. They are so great. I am so glad I have my laptop, though. I'm just hoping I didn't lose the pictures I just put on the hard drive of the desktop.
We kept Betsy last night and today and it was great. She is full of fun and energy and no, I can't keep up with her, but thank the good Lord for Erin.
I did something dumb, though. I went out to weedeat the yard so Erin could mow. I was moving some heavy planter buckets that I'd used last year for vegies and yep, threw my back out. I kept going and got the trimming done, but I hate being slowed down.
Monday, April 25, 2011
I was telling Allen about how many people have been praying for him and following the blog and facebook. He just asked me to write and tell everyone how much he appreciates the prayers and he's asking God to bless you equal to how much he's been blessed.
Wow... God is doing some incredible things in my dear love. He does get frustrated that things he thinks happened didn't and that he forgets what happened. TV, dreams, thoughts and reality get so mixed up. But we have these incredible moments when things are very clear.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
We had a beautiful celebration today. Not only did we get up early and go to the early service, but Allen came with us for the first time since his injury. He used his walker and said he didn't even get tired. It was quite a walk for him and lots of stops to and from to greet people along the way. What a wonderful blessing it was to be by him at church once again. Praising the Lord. Being loved on by God's people. He sang and raised his hands to praise God. I am so blessed.
The program at church was teens painting canvases while another sang and the pictures are the finished canvases. Really incredible and moving what God did for us by sending his son not just to die for us, which he did, but to live forever for us as we get to live forever with him.
After church, Christy, Peter and Betsy came and we had a wonderful lunch and Betsy looked for eggs and cracked confetti eggs on our heads and her own and then she swam in the redneck swimming pool! LOL ... she loves riding in the wheelbarrow and Erin filled it with water for her. She had a wonderful time and we had one, too, while we sat outside and watched. We watched movies and had a wonderful time. God is so good to us.
Friday, April 22, 2011
This morning, like lots of mornings, he woke up not knowing what happened to him or remember much of the day before.
This morning, however, on this beautiful Good Friday morning, he woke up and (with walker) went to the kitchen to let the dogs out of the garage. They sleep there on their little dog bed and whine at the door each morning when they've decided we've had enough sleep. This is the first time he's done that since the injury, but he used to do it each morning when he got up to get ready for work. IMPROVEMENT! He was also heading to the closet to get his uniform to get ready for work. I reminded him that he was retired now and didn't have to go and he was dumbfounded, like usual, about that. He decided to go back to bed and we lay there and talked quite a while about his past, more recently the last 10 or 15 years which are sketchy. He was amazed at it and said he felt a little lost. Believe it or not, IMPROVEMENT. It all means that roads are starting to form to and from information in his head and that that Executive Function is trying to wake up.
As I may or may not have posted, we had been in a quandary over how to school Erin for next year. She has been homeschooled the last 7 years and I never thought about putting her in a traditional school, but for next year it seemed like that might be the answer. With helping Allen and now working from home as 'dispatcher' for True Solutions, my time would be limited, I was thinking. And Jamie has done so much to help with homeschooling this year and can next year, but she will begin a more intensive online program to finish her degree next year.
So... we checked into a charter school here which was pretty much the only one I would choose to put Erin in because of reputation, discipline and mostly the Lord's peace with it. But... they haven't had an 8th grade opening for next year, so ... we now have lots of peace that the Lord will continue to give us what we need to continue home schooling next year. I thought about our regular government schools available, but not with much confidence. Then Jamie, who teaches with the AVID tutoring program that does college prep at a local public middle school, came home saying... "NO, NEVER." She loves teaching there, but doesn't want her sister there. Says something because she was homeschooled through graduation and there was a time when she was going into middle school that she really, really wanted to go to public school.
You know, I have to realize that I cared for Mom and Dad when they were aging and ill, as well as working from home in a similar job and still homeschooled. God is sufficient.
Now, I'm kind of excited about next year already. We have ordered one of the best science programs for homeschooling. It's Apologia Science. I've always felt lacking in the science area and had been interested in this program, but it was more pricey than some and I 'made do' with other programs. Well, they clearanced out 1st version for the 2nd version and YEA!!!! I got it.
Jamie has opted to continue her English for next year and there's nobody better to teach her. She'll focus on writing and literature and I'm getting "Daily Grams" to keep her brushed up on grammar skills.
We have Allen's college math that he never got to do and it's the college remedial program with online work and study helps. We went over it and it's perfect to keep her going forward and be ready for college algebra.
Erin will continue reading and doing papers and projects for history and begins the post-civil war period. PE will continue to be our Kinect exercise program, though I'd love to find another outlet for her, as well. Typing will be a priority next year and she will become proficient in it. There are a few other things we'll be adding in and I am focusing on more outside activities, such as 4H. So... that's it in a nutshell.
I am happy for clarity and the Lord's leading. I believe the Lord allowed us to stick our toes in the water of public/charter education choices and gave us peace to continue the path we've been on for a long time now. Do I think homeschooling is perfect? No, no educational choice we have is perfect, but it's perfect for us for the time being and my goal has always been to teach my children to love learning and how to learn, how to find the information they need as they need it.
Monday, April 18, 2011
So..he's better, less confabulations than we had for a while.
This morning he was so groggy! Took forever to wake up and then when he did and had a shower and shave and breakfast... still groggy. Well, mid afternoon when Heather, the PT, came... she had him standing still for an extended time to work on balance and he kept teasing her that he was going to use her to keep balance. Then had him walking forward and backward and he obviously thought it was silly, so he began to MOONWALK backward. What a character. He still needs help to keep his balance, but he's getting stronger.
Allen is coming to terms... sometimes... with the confabulations. He really feels like what he says really happened. It's got to be incredibly frustrating for your brain to play games with you. From what I've learned it's part of the frontal lobe's Executive Function that lets our 'self' know what is real and what is fiction, tv, dreams, imagination. The article I recently read encouraged that the Executive Function will wake up and do it's job one of these days. It's just wait and trust and pray... hmmm
Where have I heard that before?
Oh, yeah... besides the last 50 years... many, many times over the last 6 1/2 months, the Lord has been very clear that that is our position ... What a safe place to be, held in the Lord's arms... waiting, trusting, praying. Thank you, Lord for all you've done and all you're still doing in our lives... for my precious husband, loving, giving daughters, and family and friends who have continually held us up in prayer.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Well, I guess I could have gotten pretty discouraged and I did cry a few tears, but God's grace has been so comforting. A few days ago I got a call from the pharmacy that Allen's insurance was discontinued.... EEK>> Well, it was getting switched over to Cobra, but the insurance dropped the ball and didn't contact me like they told me they would. So... I had 60 days and got it taken care of. I had been told that Cobra would just be 102% of his previous premiums, but...
the girl on the insurance end of the phone told me that to cover Allen, Erin and myself would be $1028 !!!!! Can you believe that? That's insane! Well, I just asked them to keep covering Allen (for $350 a month) and drop Erin and I. It wouldn't be good, but we have to keep Allen covered.
So... They still didn't get their act together so the pharmacy could fill the meds. The second one I talked to said... Sorry, the insurance would be retroactive, but if I needed them now I had to pay for them. Well, this included all his medical care, including his therapy... grrrr.
Then I talked to the home health agency and she said she'd have to wait until his approval went through before she could recertify Allen for more therapy, but... she prayed with me before we got off the phone asking God to take care of the situation.
So... I was online at the benefits site and trying to get the payment taken care of and I clicked on the link that talked of his cobra benefits and it was much, much lower than they said. So... back on the phone to the insurance and guess what? Target provides insurance at employee cost for 12 months in the case of long term disability. Isn't God awesome? We have another 12 months of coverage for the family at less than it was going to be for just Allen per month.
Allen is doing well. Still improving daily. Getting stronger and making sense more. He still confabulates, but when I talk to him about it he seems to take it in that it didn't really happen. I never want him to think I think he's lying or crazy because it is never that. This is just one of the symptoms of the stroke that will heal with time. All the stuff in his head is mixed up and dreams and reality get mixed up, too. He's always had these very vivid dreams that are like movies, so it's kinda expected that he would still have them, I suppose.
So, come over and visit Allen if you're near. The company and remembrance of friends and family is a good thing. If he says something weird, just tell him you're not remembering it that way. Little by little it is getting better. Our God is an awesome God. I'm asking the Lord to complete that miracle and lift him out of the fog or lift the fog off of him, whatever. I want the Lord to clear his mind completely, miraculously. He is a wonderful man who is still showing me and our family so much love. He loves God and prays for us. I know it's not impossible for God. Think about how much God has done over the last six months. It's incredible.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Allen is progressing well. His short term memory is sketchy. That will return. He is stronger every day. He is now going room to room on his own. It was white knuckles not following him, but Jamie encouraged me that he needed this independence. This morning I woke up as he was walking out of the bathroom, so he's doing well.
I am now a working woman. Allen is on long-term disability, but that doesn't quite cut it financially. God is good because a few months ago when I was contemplating about going back to work and what I would do and troubled because I can't leave him and I want to be a stay-at-home mom still... God brought Mark and Tammy Jo to me as they had my name in their hearts and heads for a dispatcher for their business. I can do this from home and as the business grows I'll work more, but still be home most of the time. Our God is an AWESOME God. Well, when they first mentioned it I was willing to start whenever, but knew that I was needed with Allen a lot at that time. They weren't ready for me then, but ... now is the time and it's God's perfect timing, as usual. So... I begin. I'm excited about doing it and about staying home. I'm a homebody and always have been. I'm so grateful.
And... please pray... we are making decisions about Erin's education. We have asked God to make the decision and part of it should be made this week, so please ask God to make our paths clear. With me working and caring for Allen and Jamie starting an excellerated college program to finish her Bachelor's, Erin could be schooled at home, but we believe maybe God is wanting something different. She has been wanting to try out 'regular school'. I think she needs some of the things it would provide her. We do not believe that traditional public school will be where she'll be so God will work out all the details.
I've continued to hear how people are still praying for Allen and our family and I am so grateful. Thank you all for being such dear friends and loved ones. Thank you for checking in on us through my blog. I don't intend to discontinue it because it so good for me to journal it and others still want to know how he's progressing. May God continue to bless you.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
I want to take some time to thank the good Lord and recognize my daughters. We have been very blessed with our precious children, but it hasn't always been easy. We've always loved each other, but there were times they didn't like us very much and I know it was mutual. Growing up is hard and kids want to have control over their lives, comings and goings, decisions, etc. Parents want to save them from serious mistakes and unfortunately, we aren't always able to accomplish that. But there is one thing that I know for sure. Parents can't go where kids choose to go sometimes, but God never leaves them and he uses every experience they have to create a beautiful person.
One of those beautiful people is our eldest, Jamie. She has come full circle and all of her precious traits she had as a child were formed together with all the experience that God used. When the direction she was going was not where she ultimately wanted to be, she decided (after we offered) to come home and go back to school to finish her teaching degree. Though a gifted graphic designer, her heart is in education, especially history and literature. She felt bad starting over, but she didn't know at the time that it was God directing her home because we needed each other. That was a month or so before Allen's stroke. She has been such a blessing... She spent many hours talking to and reading to, praying for and singing to her Daddy. She believed God and wouldn't let go of the fact that God wasn't finished with Daddy on earth, that he was going to raise him up so he could testify to God's goodness and miracles. Spiritually, she has held me up, prayed, encouraged. Emotionally, she made sure I didn't have to carry any more than I had to. And physically, she has kept the house going, kept Erin doing her school work and has reorganized and accomplished so many repairs and remodels that also encourages my soul. All this, while keeping her online classes up, too. I will never be able to tell her how much her just being here has meant to me, plus all the help she has provided. Thank you, Jesus, for my firstborn.
Our second, who was the baby for 15 years, is Christy Anne (or as my momma called her- Christy-annity). Christy is my researcher. She has spent countless hours getting information for us for Allen's care in hospitals and other facilities, talked to many people on the phone and kept up with all of our bills until I could take it over. She was willing to take it indefinitely, but she has done all this while preparing for and going to college, taking care of our grandbaby and son-in-love and living 1/2 hour away. Besides that she would lie on the bed with me and hold me when I cried, like both the other girls did. She understood from the depths of her soul the loss I was feeling, especially when I thought the Lord would be taking Allen home to heaven. Losing our precious Baby Bear tore her apart as the Lord mended her back together with words of understanding and feeling that makes her able to help others carry their heartbreak. She knows how to keep standing when God says, "No." And then without a doubt, I appreciate that she brought more love into our home with Peter and Betsy. God didn't give me a son by birth, but he was chosen. Betsy, she is such a precious treasure to spread such happiness like star dust. Thank you, Jesus, for my secondborn.
Our baby, who is not a baby anymore, is Erin. We waited many years for God to bless our lives with her. She has many traits similar to Jamie and Christy, but she is her own person, too. Just her presence held me up. She was hopeful when I felt hopeless. She helped me to know that no matter what happened, even if the Lord took Daddy home, we would be all right. She stayed with me, distracting me when I needed distractions, helping me with whatever I needed as I needed it. I could compare her to a comfortable pillow, you know, the one you take with you wherever you travel. You can't rest without it. She's not a mattress that carried me weight. She was where I put my head to rest and be comforted. Thank you, Jesus, for my baby.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Great day... my brother Charlie flew down Monday and will be here a few days. We visited... Allen, Charlie, Jamie, Erin, Christy, Peter and Betsy... most of the day. Allen has PT and was tested by the therapist to score his improvement, which was awesome! He went from barely making it with rests 50 feet of walking and needing the wheel chair quickly (last week) to 75 feet and didn't stop or seem tired when he sat down in his recliner. He passed all the other tests well and though he still has lots of improvement, he is so, so much stronger and more balanced now. (still needs a spotter)
Next was lunch. I love making beans. Not just because I love beans and cornbread, but because I can turn them into Chili next. It's like when I made roasts often when Jamie was little. She loved it when it turned the leftovers into stew. So, she asked if couldn't just skip the roast, potatoes and carrots only step and just add the stew vegies in right away. Well, yesterday I turned the leftover beans into chili with cornbread..mmmm. So good. And still leftovers, so today I added a jar of homemade canned beans Jamie and I put up several months ago to the chili and cooked some really good hot dogs, added grated cheddar and grilled onions.... awesome chili dogs! Can you believe after I fed the crew there was still chili left! I'm not adding anything else in to stretch it. We're just going to eat it up and be done with it. Alas, dear Chili, I knew you well! Tomorrow, Peter is grilling steaks for lunch!
Later today, Allen's speech therapist came and again, Allen was so clear in his answers and explanations. Lori is an exceptional speech pathologist and draws Allen out so well. After the great day, I asked Allen if he'd like us to all go out and eat at Olive Garden and we did! He did exceptionally well. He only ate a bowl of chicken and gnocchi soup, but he enjoyed it. We came home and he passed out in his chair and we barely made it to bed. Snoresville tonight.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Allen keeps forgetting that he can't get up without a 'spotter'. He walks really well with the walker and is getting stronger standing without it, but on occasion he loses his balance and down he goes. I was in the girls' bedroom tonight 'snuggling' Erin before bed and hear the 'smack' when he went down. He hasn't done any serious damage, but I don't want him to keep falling. He's sore and has a few bruises. He's active enough now that I couldn't even use a bell on him (thanks anyway, MaryLeah). I'm at a loss other than somebody has to be in the livingroom with him at all times. I park his wheel chair next to the bed at night so he won't get out without asking me to move it, but I may have to tie him in the recliner! Just kidding. He is remembering that he's fallen before. The first few times he didn't remember that, so maybe this time....
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
“But ye are a chosen generation,a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light ” (1 Peter 2:9, KJV,emphasis added)
Guess what? Allen sees the gastro doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will have the peg tube removed then! Yea!!! I've got to admit it's been good to make sure he was hydrated enough, but over the last week or so he's been drinking more water and liquids in general, so we're good.
God is good... God is good... God is good ... All the Time!!!! Keep our home church friends Joan and Dennis in your prayers. She is battling cancer with chemo and had back surgery to boot. And for Hilda and David as she has been battling cancer for years. Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing is too difficult for God!
PS.... GUESS WHAT???? Betsy used the potty for the first time!!!! Yea!!!!!!! (sorry, had to have a Grammy moment)
Monday, March 7, 2011
I woke up to Allen falling in the bathroom. Yep, he said he could make it on his own and he almost did. The great news is... no damage other than a little soreness AND he got up pretty easy. I barely helped. He's getting so strong. God is an awesome God!!!Ps... that night he fell again... darn it! We gotta stop this!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
For the last two days, Allen has been walking much farther and more upright, going to the restroom, to the dining table and to his recliner. Amazing. Jamie has insisted I get out of the house more and/or do some things for me each day. So Friday Erin and I went shopping for a couple of hours and that's when Allen got really independent with Jamie following along. Today, Erin and I went to Vivia's memorial service and later I went over to Picket Fence and then to Grimsell's. Big Happy Sigh!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Allen's UTI is getting better. Spent 4 hours in the eye dr's office...grrrr. But they think he has Terson's syndrome in his right eye, which he can't see out of. It is caused by inner cranial pressure from his ruptured aneurysm. Another test in a couple of weeks to determine if vitrectomy surgery would be possible or do any good. It is possible for the fluid/bleed to go away on its own, so that is what we're praying for. As always, it's in God's hands.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
in all the work of your hands
and your joy will be complete.
My precious friend... friend to many of us, Vivia Halbert is home with the Lord. I first got to know Vivia when she and I roomed at quilt retreat the first year I attended. She is such a warm, lovely soul. She loves the Lord, gives to others and has such a gentle spirit. She loved her husband and family so much. She cared for her friends and gave so much to our lives. We were always amazed at how much she could accomplish. She always worked on something. She told me that when she went to Disneyland or Disneyworld (can't remember) she took tatting in her pocket so she could keep busy while waiting in hour-long lines. Never idle hands. Her 'job' was as a finisher. You know how so many of us start craft projects and don't finish them or inherit finished projects that aren't framed or made into anything. Well, Vivia finished them for us. She would lovingly turn these projects into completed works of fiber art. We will miss her so much, but she is in a wonderful place waiting for us to join her. She will probably have all the Lord's UFOs finished by the time we get there.
"Tapestry of Life"
As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord
along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like
the squares of a quilt in many piles. An angel sat before each of
us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life.
But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed
how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled
with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life
that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was
faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which
were the largest holes of all.
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a
tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich
color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own
life and was disheartened. My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces
of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.
Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to
the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn,
holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel
looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to
the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had
had love in my life, and laughter.
But there had also been trials of illness, and death, and false
accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start
over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only
to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again.
I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and
guidance. In my life I had often been held up to ridicule, which I
endured painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in
hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the
judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I
had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the
combined squares of my life to the light. An awe filled gasp filled
the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with
wide eyes.Then I looked upon the tapestry before me.
Light flooded through the many holes, creating an image. The face
of Christ.Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in
His eyes. He said, "Every time you gave over your life to Me,it
became My life, My hardships, My struggles. Each point of light in
your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until
there was more of Me than there was of you."
"'You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be
hidden. Let your light shine before men is such a way that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.'"
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Allen's conversations can still be confusing and sometimes I cannot figure out what he's trying to tell me, but other times, he may pick an odd word, but in context we understand what he's saying. Just general conversation about what's going on and living is clear as a bell, for the most part. He's very loving and considerate, with just a touch of sarcasm or teasing on occasion (that's the real Allen, just sprinkles of fun) We've had many doctor's appointments and more to come, more tests to make sure things are right and to get him off meds and get the peg tube out. It's fatiguing but I know they'll calm down after a while.
Please pray for my friend, Vivia. She was a pedestrian in Wash DC recently and was hit by a car. She's in a coma and the family was advised to discontinue life support because she wouldn't have a 'quality life'. Well, I got the same advice and we're now living a miracle. They took out the respirator and she's breathing on her own. So... just like with Allen... it's still in God's hands. I ask God to make the decisions so that the family doesn't have to choose something they aren't sure of. Please, please pray. She's a wonderful person, godly individual, sweet, kind friend. Pray for her husband and children, too. Thank you so much.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Jamie (and Erin) finished repainting all the porch chairs ~ 4 of my daddy's wood ones and my two metal rockers and tables. Amazing job! They're beautiful. We also reorganized and consolidated the pantry... so nice! We can actually find things. I made enchiladas, rice, beans for lunch. Allen has done well today. His speech pathologist, Lori, was here and she was amazed at how much he's improved since Retama. Yesterday he lost his balance and slid to the floor in the hallway (I held the gate belt). He was able to get up easier than last time. .... just now, he walked from his chair into the bedroom and bathroom...AWESOME!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Allen has been home a week. We've had lots of ups and downs, but PTL, only one down on the floor. But... we used the training that Ann, Allen's therapist from South Texas Rehab taught on getting back off the floor. Scoot, on his knees, arms on the side of the tub, push up, while we pulled. Made it! Thank you, Jesus. Allen has had some very discouraging moments, felt like giving up, wouldn't cooperate with us on anything, but he rests and then comes around.
Judy, my best friend and fellow Keglemeister, spent 5 days here helping us settle in, keep tabs on meds, bp, oxygen readings and she helped us arrange for home health and a provider to help me with Allen weekday mornings. Bless her, Vicky also helps straighten up, sweep, etc. She's a blessing. I'd hoped insurance would help with it, but others recently blessed me with the finances to keep her here for a couple of months. It has helped my frame of mind more than you could know. Allen will do home therapy through home health for a few weeks and then switch to outpatient therapy.
He has been retaining a LOT of fluid in his lower body. I took him in to see a doctor Friday and he upped his lasix. I haven't seen it working yet. We'll pray and hope the Lord relieves this soon. His BP and oxygen have been good.
I felt awful. When I was taking him to the doctor he thought I was taking him back to Retama and told me he wouldn't get out of the car. It took me a bit to make him understand I wasn't trying to get rid of him. We were going to the doctor then going back to OUR home, not the nursing home. He is fragile right now. It's hard to see him this way. I love him so much and I know he loves me. He just felt so abandoned while at Retama. What a hell hole that was. How can a facility that regulated and that looks so good from the outside have such terrible care for patients who can't care for themselves? Every time I turn around I am being asked by professionals, "Why didn't the facility send him home with...? Why didn't the facility give you this information? Why didn't the facility make sure you know how to..."
Well, I am getting over my cold and it's helping me emotionally to deal with things. I had to ask the dr. to up my anxiety meds because I was falling apart when Allen would get cantankerous. He has said some things that would never have come out of Allen before. I know it's his frustration. Other times when we are sitting and talking he says something that would be easy to take the wrong way and then after he works his words around it I realize he was actually trying to say something sweet or to tease me. He could be 'deadpan' before when he teased, but now... no affect at all. Then occasionally, he gets his school boy grin and makes the sun shine again.
I am still hoping and praying that Allen will not only regain his physical strength, but his cognitive functions, as well. He is so smart and it still shows. He just has a hard time with find the right word and sometimes the statements make no sense at all and he doesn't understand why we don't understand. Man, that must be frustrating. It's like speaking a different language, without understanding why the people you know don't speak the same language. Wow... after God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel, that must have been beyond understanding.
I am absolutely sure of the Lord telling us all these months to "Wait" and to "Trust". We are still doing that. I know he told me over a week ago to not put my hope in Allen's healing, but to put my hope in God. I am doing that with all I am able.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Outside my window... it's sunny and cool
I am thinking... I need a nap
I am thankful for... the nearness of Allen coming home
From the kitchen... quiet
I am wearing ..jeans and a t
I am creating... ...nothing, and I'm aching to do some sewing
I am going...to take a soaky bath and get a nap
I am reading... a book of articles written for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
I am hoping... to get Allen home soon
I am hearing..peacefully nothing
Around the house... Erin is doing school work and Jamie is getting Betsy down for a nap
One of my favorite things...Allen's sense of humor
A few plans for the rest of the week... I must get the rest of the bathroom bars, etc for when Allen comes home.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Simple and beautiful isn't always new and modern
Sunday, January 30, 2011
His rehab at Retama is going fine. I need to get things completely ready at home so we can have a home visit and try it out. It's about time to have him back home for good.
Outside my window... it's sunny and cool
I am thinking... I wish I'd gotten up early enough for early service, but that would have mean going to bed at a decent hour, too
I am thankful for... Allen being closer to home
From the kitchen... the puppies crunching their food
I am wearing ...slacks and a blouse
I am creating... ...nothing, and I'm aching to do some sewing
I am going... to church
I am reading... a book of articles written for Quilter's Newsletter Magazine
I am hoping... Allen makes another jump forward in his strength... I WANT TO BRING HIM HOME!
I am hearing...tv from the livingroom
Around the house... Erin is wathing tv and Jamie is sleeping
One of my favorite things...Allen's voice
A few plans for the rest of the week... I must get the rest of the bathroom bars, etc for when Allen comes home.
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Thursday, January 27, 2011
That's what my Judy called him. She had a dream that as she sat in our livingroom Allen walked down the hallway and she called him "Miracle Man." Then Samantha, our wonderful caseworker from STxRehab and dear friend, called him that. We talked today about needing a Superman-esq Tshirt with MM on it... lol
Well, this was our day...
- Got a call at 6 am. Allen fell. Nurse said he was alone in his room and got up. Doctor to check him out.
- Got to S.Tx Rehab. Allen is just fine. He wasn't alone. The PCT was getting him into our out of bed and he just lost his balance and slid to the floor, but on the way he knocked his pinky. No damage. Hallelujah!
- So... Ann, Allen's PT, worked watched me as I got him in and out of the chair and bathroom. He did it, not me, but need to know how to assist him so he won't fall if he's wobbly. Then we did a practice 'fallen and can't get up' on the red mat and he learned how to get up with assistance. Praying we won't need that one, but glad to know the procedure.
- Cut Allen's hair, shaved him, assisted his shower and he's all clean and smooth and smelling yummy --- put on his cologne --- growl!
- We had lunch together, then back to his room for a nap while his discharge paperwork was completed.
- About 2:30 we wheeled down the hallway. Over the speaker, "Priority One, All available staff." That means they're coming to celebrate Allen's recovery. As we passed through the doors into the front lobby, many, many people were lining the walls clapping for Jesus and there were many teary eyes, including mine. Our God is an awesome God. So many were amazed at his progress and didn't expect him to get this much mobility back. Why did God have us there instead of just doing a instant miracle? So that we could be part of their lives and they could be part of ours? There were many prayers for Allen from these gifted professionals.
- So, we get in the car and leave Brownsville, heading to Harlingen. Allen thoughts are clear, but he isn't too chatty. I drove him home so he could see the house and we could see if he remembered, but mostly so he could see Betsy "Taco", Jamie and Christy. He sat in the car and visited for a while.
- Now the hard part. We have to drive away from home and take him to Retama. I didnt' think it would be that difficult. I knew I wanted him home, but my insides wanted to scream, No, I'm keeping him home! But I didn't. It's probably best to have more therapy before he comes home. At least I keep telling myself that.
- Now, we get him settled in at Retama. They're nice there. He shares a room with another gentleman. That will be different. He's had private rooms before, but at Retama we'd have to pay the difference. So... the next few days will tell us if he is benefiting from the inpatient therapy there. I hope he will. I know he's stronger and we could have brought him home and it would have worked, I believe. I'm trusting that this is God's direction. The many wise counselors I asked led me this direction and I do have peace about it.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
If paperwork gets finished, I will be taking Allen to Retama's In-patient rehab tomorrow (one side of the facility is for rehab). He said he'd rather come home, but is willing to take a couple of weeks more for getting stronger.Also, he will be able to come home for a few hours here and there during his stay at Retama. It will be wonderful to have him in Harlingen. We toured the facility today. Also, STxRehab's PT Admin toured our house today and made recommendations for changes. Sweet man, Kemp D., is putting in a ramp and bathroom safety bars on soon. We are so blessed by our friends and church family.Now, the reason I'm changing rehab facilities isn't a desire to change, though I want him home. He could spend a week more there at STxRehab and be ready to come home. But that 100 days a plan year thing means our insurance would rather pay for two weeks at Retama instead of one week at STx. We've exceed their allowable payable days by about three weeks already, so we have to go. I realize they are paying about 75% of their allowable costs, but it doesn't even make financial sense.
God knew what Allen needed and the timing for it all. Starting Monday, Allen began to amp up progress, standing taller, walking longer, following directions wonderfully. He is wanting to be independent and do things for himself. We did a practice transfer to the car. He got in himself, with a little time for adjusting and we took a little spin around the block. He is amazing everyone around. God is so good! I told him it's kind of like he's starting to wake up and asked if it felt like that for him and he said it sort of did.He climbed stairs and a ramp today in therapy. One of the therapists who has been kind and friendly, but has mostly observed not treated Allen, saw him do the stairs and ran over to be an extra support as he turned around at the top to walk down (with just a few bobbles) Afterward, he told me he was really moved by Allen's progress. God is changing the people around Allen as He completes this miracle in my man.
This changing people around him fascinates me. Allen is without a doubt a miracle. According to the medical community, most don't survive or if they do, don't recover much. But early in this process I couldn't understand why, if God was going to use his miracle as a testimony, why didn't he do a complete raised up miracle with Allen not needing all this rehab and having a long cognitive recovery time. Then God put so many people in the medical community around us that in my heart I felt like needed to see his recovery, be part of his recovery, be part of this miracle. It surely hasn't minimized the fact to them that it's a miracle. Many have said that they have been so blessed to have had a part in helping him get stronger, but it's God that is healing him. Also, some have told me it's being part of this that makes them more passionate to continue doing what they do every day. Thank you, Lord, for your encouragement and help not only to me and mine, but to those you have around us.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
I have been thoroughly run over by a Big Mac Truck! Betsy got a stomach flu while she was here last week, then Erin, me, Jamie, Christy and Peter respectively. Wow... It was a bad one and my stomach muscles ache from ...well.... you know why... no graphics needed for that. Plus the fever has left me so weak... it's nuts. Two friends have brought over gatorade so we didn't dehydrate. That and a little sprite we had was all that would finally stay down. This started Thursday night and it's Sunday night and I'm still under the wheels of the truck. Well... maybe it's off me and my form is starting to pop up ( see roadrunner cartoons ) , but I have no strength. My girls, who had it bad, too, are still taking care of me.
I haven't seen Allen since Thursday and it's killing me, but I can't. I'd run fever even last night, so if I'm fever free tonight I will go in tomorrow morning, if I can move. This is NUTS! I am getting old. Jamie thinks I kinda hit the wall, that I've been going and going so much since September and now that I'm down, my body is keeping me that way for a while to recuperate. She may be right.
I've got to share with you that the Lord showed me something today, though. He showed me a cool vision that I will share later... not enough strength to type that much... but basically, I've got to keep my hope placed in the Lord, not in Allen's healing. Allen is the Lord's and God will do what He's going to do and it will be good and right and perfect. So...
I hope in God
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
But beyond my perplexity at these issues with insurance, I am confident in God that He has the exact number of days that Allen needs inpatient rehab and he will be home on the day he needs to be. I am SO anxious for that day to come.... I mean, come on.... I haven't just been able to lay on the bed with my hubby and watch tv and snuggle in 3 1/2 months. I miss him just being here, just know he's breathing beside me at night. I know.... gushy... but true. I am so thankful for all the fine care and hard work S TX Rehab has put into his recovery.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in ALLEN will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
He had his swallow study yesterday (Tuesday) and we had hoped he'd be off the nectar-thick drinks with meals, but he still is not swallowing strongly so he retains a tiny bit of liquid in the back of his throat and doesn't swallow again or clear his throat so they are worried he'll aspirate. That's okay. We can deal with that. It will get better. He can have 'thin' water between meals.
We find out from the insurance if he can continue there, but if not, we really hope he can get to come home... I MISS HIM SO MUCH!!!!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Don't misunderstand when I say this, but... I'M TIRED OF DRIVING TO BROWNSVILLE EVERY DAY. I am so blessed that Allen is getting the care he needs there, that that facility is close enough to drive to, that I'm not needing to provide all his care myself at this moment, and most of all, that I get to spend time with my precious Allen every day... but... I am so anxious for when he comes home! I am a homebody. Yes, I like little trips out every few days to do something or another, but I love each day that I've had that I never have to leave the house. Okay... so I've vented and I need to put on my big girl panties and get ready to drive. This mostly comes from the fact that it was nasty to drive in the drizzle yesterday with a little bit of hydroplaning to boot.
Allen had a good day yesterday... clear enough and well, but he rested a lot after his shower and lunch. So I napped and surfed the net and watched tv, then home to my girls who were super cleaning the house. What a blessing!
Outside my window... it's sunny and soggy, but not raining today
I am thinking... I need to get dressed for church
I am thankful for... a good car with decent gas mileage
From the kitchen... my keys a'tappin'
I am wearing ... jammies
I am creating... ...part of my problem... nothing
I am going... to church
I am reading... not much last night
I am hoping... Allen walks strongly soon
I am hearing...kid shows from the livingroom
Around the house... Erin is wathing tv and Jamie is sleeping
One of my favorite things... granola and yogurt...mmmm
A few plans for the rest of the week... Christy coming down for school, cleaning out some craft stuff to donate to our trash to treasure sale at quilt guild, calling billing departments about medical bills
Here is picture for thought I am sharing... I mostly have been really aware of the fact that these are God's bills. There is something about seeing a half-million dollar hospital bill that emphasizes the fact that when you can't do anything about it, God is the only one who can. I just need his direction on what to do when.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I spoke to Ann, his PT, and she said he walked 35 feet with the walker!!!! Best yet!!! He did well in OT and Speech, too. His cognition and appropriate answers were right on.
So we sat and visited, ate dinner, then watched Night at the Museum 2 together until 8 when we left. It was a great day.
Outside my window... Lots of drippiness... needed that soaky rain, but I don't want to go out in it.
I am thinking... I wish I could poof myself to Allen this morning and not drive in this weather
I am thankful for... the people God puts in our life
From the kitchen... the refrigerator is purring
I am wearing ... jeans, tshirt
I am creating...I wish I were creating
I am going...to see my hunny soon
I am reading... just skimming through stuff
I am hoping... Allen will walk well enough soon to come home... I miss him being here SO much
I am hearing... drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip
Around the house... Everyone else is snoozing
One of my favorite things... worship time at church
A few plans for the rest of the week... this week is almost done... still want to dust and sweep my room and bathroom
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Five years ago! Time goes by too quickly.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Got home from time with Allen today ready to tackle the refrigerator... see yesterday's post... and not only had Jamie cleaned, decluttered and organized the fridge, but cleaned up the kitchen, did laundry and cooked an awesome chicken soup for dinner. Erin cleaned up and vacuumed the livingroom and helped with laundry, too, plus made my bed that I ran out without doing this morning (hate not making my bed). What a blessing!
Allen had a tired day today. He did well with transferring from chair to chair and did what he could today, but was tired and chilled uninterested in extras. He will have good and bad days so I'm told so this was one of them. Keep him in prayer that he won't catch anything with that chill.
I'm headed to bed... just tired tonight.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Allen had a busy and tiring day. Jamie, Christy and Betsy came down just after Erin and I got there. He was tickled to see Betsy and she entertained him a lot. He'd let her get away with anything! What a Pa-Pa! She and the rest of us watched him walk a bit in the walker. After speech therapy we went back to the room and Betsy laid cradled in the crook of his arm for a while. Very still and content for an 18-month old. Pa-Pa loved it. The girls went home after lunch, except for Erin and I. Allen had a great workout with Emerick, his OT. He would do arm exercises to build up his arms, shoulders, trunk, etc. using 3 lb. dumbbells. Then he handed them to me to use while he rested in between sets. MY ARMS ARE TIRED!!! He either gets a great workout or I'm a wimp... well, sure, I am a wimp. No upper body strength, but with Allen's encouragement, I'll get stronger, too!
Outside my window... 44 degrees and nighttime
I am thinking... I should clean out the fridge .... not.
I am thankful for... God's way of giving us direction
From the kitchen... ... still that fridge... grrr...
I am wearing ... jeans, top, sweater... I'm cold.
I am creating...absolutely nothing in my head or from my hands this evening
I am going... to go to bed soon... maybe I'll read a little while... or just surf and vegetate
I am reading... a book about essential oils... little bits at a time
I am hoping... to get some time to clean out the fridge when I'm not vegetating...
I am hearing... nothing... peace and quiet... and keys being tapped
Around the house... Erin is in the shower, Betsy is asleep
One of my favorite things... quiet evenings
A few plans for the rest of the week... hmmmm... the fridge?
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Keep praying... God is hearing and doing His wonderful work in Allen's life! ... and ours.
Outside my window... cold and grey
I am thinking... I am so looking forward to seeing my hunny-bunny this morning...I miss him
I am thankful for... the therapists at S.Tx Rehab that God has put in my husband's life... that care about him and get such a charge when he gets stronger and accomplishes more
From the kitchen... need to sweep!
I am wearing ... slacks and a top
I am creating... stuff in my head... one day I'll get to my stitchin' again
I am going... to see my hunny-bunny
I am reading... a book about essential oils
I am hoping... Allen is able to continue the forward motion
I am hearing... Betsy, the little parrot!
Around the house... Erin is getting Betsy dressed
One of my favorite things... coffee...yeah, it would be healthier not to drink it... maybe... but it tastes so good in the morning
A few plans for the rest of the week... keep on keepin' on
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...