Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fears Confirmed

Just spoke with one of Dad’s doctors at the V.A. hospital.  The mass in his neck is very large and very invasive.  It has invaded his esophagus, his brain, his spine, his shoulder bones, his lungs, his sinus cavities.  It is inoperable.  He is unable to eat, drink or swallow, but a feeding tube cannot be put in because he is delirious much of the time and keeps trying to pull out his various tubes and medical monitors.  He has already half starved himself, so he is not strong enough to undergo chemo or radiation treatment.  He will never be able to go back to a home setting; it would be a “miracle” in the doctor’s estimation if he lives long enough to be able to leave the hospital.  She gives him days, maybe weeks, of life left.  This may be horrible to say, but I hope he dies quickly.  Less suffering for him, and the less Jamie will have to see him suffer and be traumatized by it.  I’ll keep you informed as to how things progress.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Can You Give Me a Hint?

On Sunday afternoon, Jamie went Christmas shopping with his BB Bill.  He came home with FOUR presents, all wrapped neatly, to put under the tree – FOR ME!  Since the packages were wrapped very nicely, with straight edges and taped down seams, I know Jamie did not wrap them.  However, I DO know he picked them all out himself for me.  Now, I’m dying of curiosity!  Usually, Jamie is pestering me at this time of year, wanting hints on what is in the brightly colored packages under the tree.  This year, I’m the one following HIM around saying “C’mon, please?  Just one teensy, weensy little hint?”  Which Jamie finds hilarious.  (Of course, that’s why I do it.  Uh huh.  That’s the only reason why I pester him to try to figure out what they are.  Suuuuuuurrrrrreeeee….)  Which one of us is the 10 year old and which is the 30-something one?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I don’t know if I can wait until Dad’s siblings arrive to make a decision on what to do with Dad.  He called me last night insisting I come to his house today.  I told him I have to work, but I’ll be down Saturday.  “You have to work on Christmas?”  he asked belligerently.  “Dad, Christmas isn’t until next week.  Tomorrow is December 18.”  Dad got really quiet for a minute, then said he couldn’t keep track of what day it was anymore.  If Dad has lost a week, how well is he keeping track of his medications?  He’s got about 15 different types of medication he takes a day.  I noticed his motor skills have gotten so bad he can barely get up and down off the couch anymore.  It takes him several tries to get up.  He even had an incident where he peed on himself a little bit because he couldn’t get up off the couch in time to make it to the bathroom last time I was down there.  When I go down this weekend, I’m going to inform him that there’s no way he can live by himself anymore, and we need to make some arrangements – NOW.  Then, when his siblings come down next month, we’ll make decisions about where he’ll go. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Call Me Sick and Twisted...

But I find it kind of funny, in a dark and horrible way, that an ad for Macy’s Department Store featuring a woman wearing a long cashmere scarf appeared in the advertising space alongside the Chicago Sun-Times’ story about a woman who was killed at a factory when the scarf she wore became entangled in the machinery.  I know these ads are rotated so that the same ad doesn’t always appear on the same page, but I still find it darkly humorous.  Yes, I am a warped, twisted individual.  It’s why you all love me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Until Today...

Until today, Jamie thought it was cool to run a few steps, fall to his knees and sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddddddddddeeeeeeeeee across a hard floor. Regardless of how many times I told him not to do it because 1) it ruins the knees of his pants, 2) he could get hurt, and 3) he could hurt someone else, he has insisted on performing this little trick at every opportunity on every possible hard flooring surface. Until today, he thought it was lots of fun. Until today.

I just got a phone call from Jamie’s school. It seems he performed his little trick in the gym during the after school program. He was going after a ball and decided it would be fun to sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidddddddddddddddddddddeeeeeeeeeeeeeee across the shiny, slick, hardwood floor in pursuit of said ball. He then looked down and away from where he was going, as his body turned until he was going backwards. He wasn’t watching where he was going, so he couldn’t see that he was perilously close to the cinderblock concrete walls of the gym – until he crashed right into said wall and rung his noggin, so to speak. I am told by the afterschool program director that the knot on Jamie's head is quite impressive, as is the monstrous headache Jamie now has. He’s also complaining of dizziness. As Jamie is prone to a touch of histrionics in such situations, I told him I’d see him when I get off work at the usual time and check him out then (it’s only about 30 minutes from now).

Until today, sliding across the floor was great fun. I suspect it is not great fun anymore.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Got an Early Christmas Present

I got myself an early Christmas present yesterday – a new coffee maker with a timer.  It was so wonderful to wake up this morning and have my full coffee pot waiting for me.  The smell of the coffee just about lifted me out of bed and dragged me by the nose to the kitchen.  I felt like one of those cartoon animals being led around by the nose by a little cartoon “arm” of scent.  It was a great way to start my day.  The best part, the coffee maker was a brand I have used and trust, and it was on sale for less than $20.  Nice early Christmas present!  Yippee!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fixed the Internet Issue

Yay! I'm online again! Boo, I can't figure out why the wireless printer is no longer connected to the network!

Drats. Back to the drawing board.

But at least I've got the Internet issue solved.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tidbits and Updates

For those of you wondering about results on Jamie’s kidney issue, the answer is – I don’t know anything yet.   Every time I call the doctor’s office, they say they haven’t gotten the results yet.  Thank you all for your continued concern, and I’ll let you know when I know something.

For those of you who may have sent e-mails to me or to Jamie, don’t be surprised if it takes us a while to respond.  Dummy me thought I was unplugging the printer the other night.  I went to bed, and when I awoke the next morning, I discovered I had actually unplugged the wireless modem.  I plugged it back in, but keeping it unplugged apparently messed up my network connections, meaning I’d have to re-enter my WEP key and such.  Well, I lost the paper that had the key on it.  I haven’t really looked for it too hard, because I haven’t been on the computer at home too much.  I’ve been basking in the fact that I don’t have to jump on the computer to do homework right off the bat, so I’ve avoided it completely.  I do check my e-mail via webmail at work, but Jamie has no way to do so.  I will either find the WEP key and reset everything, or I will call my ISP to get a new one, and be back up and running by Sunday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cavalry is Coming...

… maybe.  I got a call the other night from my Uncle Mike, one of Dad’s brothers.  He is planning on coming down here January 4, and may be bringing my Aunt Patty and possibly one or two other of the siblings.  I sent them an e-mail last week laying out what all exactly is going on with Dad – the neurological disorder, the mass in his neck, how Dad basically can’t live on his own anymore, and how I don’t know how I can take care of him, work full-time, raise my son by myself, and go to school.  I also mentioned how I didn’t think Dad living with me (the only real option we have at this point) would be good for Jamie, considering how emotionally cold Dad can be.  So, Mike called and said if any of the other sibs want to come with him, he’ll be brining his RV down.  If they all have things come up and can’t come, he’ll be flying down by himself.

Once he (or they) get here, they’re going to go sit down with Dad and visit and talk to Dad about what he wants and needs.  Then they’re going to either talk to his doctors himself, or they’re going to get me to do it (since its in all of Dad’s medical files that they have permission to discuss his condition with me), to see what the doctors say he needs.  Then we’ll get on the phone with the VA, and see what programs there are.  Then, we’re all going to come up with a plan – together – to take care of Dad.  If that means selling his place and moving him back to Ohio where all the sibs can take turns checking on him and doing for him, then so be it.  If that means convincing Dad to find a residential facility here (and giving me his dog to take care of), so be it.  But I don’t see how I can do this alone, folks.

I was so relieved to get that call.  I know – as Dad’s nearest relative – I should be the one to take care of everything and take care of him.  But I don’t think I can.  I feel guilty about this, but I also know realistically that I will go insane, and Jamie will be adversely affected, if I have to be the one to shoulder everything.  I just can’t do it.  So, the cavalry is planning on coming.  Thank you God for answered prayers!  I’ll keep you all posted on what develops.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cheap Entertainment (and Educational, Too!)

Friday night, Stinkbumps and I will be heading to the planetarium at the community college here.  Seems with my handy-dandy college ID, my admission is free.  Stinkbumps only costs $2 to get in.  Heck, I’m even thinking about letting him have an honest-to-goodness sleepover that night, and inviting his friends Remo and Spencer to come, too.  $2 a kid?!?  Heck yeah, I can spring for a few more to come.  Plus, all three are very interested in astronomy (as am I).  A cool thing about the planetarium is that they just fully digitized it to an HD show.  They also change out the show about every two months, so there are multiple opportunities for educational entertainment.  I think Stinkbumps will find this a big improvement over his National Geographic Kids Telescope that I got him earlier this year so we could view the lunar eclipse. 

Speaking of that, the other night when Jupiter and Venus were highly visible near the moon, Stinkbumps dragged out his telescope and parked his butt out in the yard for hours looking at the moon and the planets.  He also has several astronomy books, as well as glow in the dark stars in his room.  He was a bit upset when I put them up that I didn’t arrange them as the constellations actually appear in the sky.  I told him that was too time-consuming, and if he wants it that way, he should do it himself.  So far, the stars have stayed exactly where I put them.  I figured they would.  J

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I'm Still a Bad, Bad Mommy

It's almost 7:30 p.m. By 8:30 p.m., my son is supposed to be showered, teeth brushed, all 500 medicines taken, school clothes for tomorrow laid out, backpack and shoes lined up neatly by the door, and be in bed waiting for me to tuck him in. There's just one problem - I haven't even fixed dinner yet. I just got done taking my last final of the semester, and prior to that, we had just gotten home from spending the night at my father's house. We didn't get home until almost 6 p.m. Needless to say, I'm exhausted (both mentally and physically), and I have no idea what to give my kid for dinner. Yes, folks, I'm a bad, bad mommy - but one who's glad she doesn't have to even think about school again until Jan. 20!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

More Health Issues, More Tests

Last night I had to rush Jamie to the after-hours clinic. He'd been complaining off and on for a couple of days that it burned sometimes when he peed. He's had a UTI before, so I just told him to drink more water and got him some cranberry juice to drink, too. Then last night, after his 5th grade holiday concert at school (not his strings concert, that's later this month), he went pee after he got out of the shower and screamed like he was being killed. He said it hurt really bad when he went pee, his back hurt (where the kidneys are) and there was some blood and a blood clot in his urine.

Okay, do not pass go, do not collect $200, just get your butt to the clinic! We get there, finally get checked in, and start describing this to the PA. He tells Jamie to pee in a cup, Jamie produces a sample, and they go test it. The PA comes back, says there's blood in the urine, but they can't tell if there's any infection or not. They can tell Jamie is mildly dehydrated. He pounds on Jamie's back (where the kidneys are) and Jamie yells. The PA says he thinks Jamie may have either kidney stones or an infection, so he sends us over to the hospital with the pee and orders for an ultrasound of Jamie's kidneys and some blood work. Of course, at 11:00 at night, they don't do ultrasounds and/or blood work, so I have to call today and make an appointment. We should know in 5 working days what's going on, but in the mean time I'm to keep forcing the water and cranberry juice on Jamie. We got home so late that Jamie stayed home today to rest and drink fluids.

On top of all that, Jamie's having increased difficulty breathing when he's active. Then when he has trouble breathing, his heart just about pounds out of his chest. Don't know if it's a type of panic attack because he can't breathe, a reaction to the fact that he can't breathe, or something else (heart conditions do run in the family - my mom, my grandmother, both my mom's brothers - all from early ages have had heart problems). So, Jamie has an appointment Dec. 26 with his asthma doc for her to see if the asthma has gotten worse, what we need to do about Jamie's soccer (if he can still play), and if the heart thing is asthma or panic related, or if we need to be referred to someone else on that.

I'll keep you all informed as to what the tests find. I'm ready to pull my hair out. I can't be everywhere and do everything I need to do. I'm so tired of jumping from one crisis situation to another, with no chance to rest or get my feet under me before another crisis is thrown at me. I almost feel like I'm in a war zone; I never know what's coming at me next, where the next bomb is going to land. I just stumble along, like some crazy game of "pin the tail on the donkey" - I'm blindfolded, dizzy, spun around and told to put the piece where it belongs. Well, I'm sorry, I don't seem to know where the pieces are supposed to go anymore, I have to just put it wherever I can and hope it's the right spot. Yanno?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Time Out from Negativity

I need to take a breather from the negativity.  Yes, it’s still all around me; but I’m not accomplishing anything by stewing over it.  I did get some good news today.  Texas law states that the rental company could come after me for the entire rent, even though her name is on the lease, too.  But, since I have such a long history with them, they told me to just pay my portion and they’ll go after her for the rest.  I was really worried that I’d be left holding the bag on it all.  Now I just need to contact the pest control company.  That’s in both our names, too. 


On another good note, I only have 1.5 weeks left of school.  It will be very good to get that stress off of me.  I can use a month to relax, decorate for Christmas, bake, start actually cooking meals instead of just nuking them in the microwave.  I know Jamie’s looking forward to that, too.  It will be good to be able to sit down and read whenever I want to, instead of fretting over the homework I’m ignoring in order to be able to do some pleasure reading.


Since R moved out, this also means I can move Jamie’s stuff around, and actually sort through and see what to keep and what to get rid of.  I can use one of the spare bedrooms as a sorting room for all his toys.  He may not like it, but some of his junk has got to go.  I’ll be sorting through my junk, too.  It’s time to declutter and start fresh – just in time to get more junk for Christmas!  LOL