Sunday, August 26, 2007

Home (and rehab) Improvements...

Hi, sorry it's been so long since I've posted but I've had a ton of things to do. Namely, getting things going again for broadcasting sports and stuff plus running back and forth checking on the sisters. First things first. Thank GOD that things seem to be finally settling down with Lou. Even though she lost her leg, I've got my sister back. She was getting a little remorseful again about the way she had lashed out at me during the pre-amputation stay at the hospital. I finally just told her to let it go because I didn't take it personally. She wondered how I could do that and I told I've worked in hospitals for over 20 years and have seen every kind of confused patient there is. I didn't take any of what she said to me seriously so there was no reason for me to be upset. She was grateful and besides, I knew when it was her talking and when it was just the infection. Well, she's now out of the hospital and in rehab learning to get around again... I go and see her and am tickled that she's feeling SO MUCH better. She still has a few moments where she doesn't like to look down at where her foot used to be. But even that too, has gotten better. Her numbers from her cell counts for her battle with Leukemia have improved tremendously so I'm happy that Lou's got a lot to look forward to. She'll probably have a short stay at rehab (they're still giving her heavy doses of anti-biotics to make sure the infection is cleared up) and then they'll fit her for a prosthetic and Good Lord willing, teach her how to walk again in the very near future... Now the pendulum of big concern swings back in the direction of Terri. She's still struggling but is as tough a fighter as I've ever seen. Much tougher than I am... BY FAR. She's feeling better as the after effects of the chemotherapy are less, but still the progress for her has come not as fast (at least to my liking) but hey, Rome wasn't built in a day now was it? Thank you again so very much for the kind words and prayers... I sit here a very humbled person and a grateful one for all of you and your goodness and wish you all blessings galore... Thank you... :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Humid Humor and the Rehab

Haven't talked about all the little things that have gone on in the backround outside of dealing with my both of my sister's health conditions and believe me, there have been plenty. From Terri really hurting because of one of her students drowned at a quarry a couple of weeks ago, to the central air conditioning taking a deuce (aka crapping out) on the girls and part of Terri's instructions with the type of chemo that she's on is that she MUST remain COOL at all times. Of course, being off of work because of this means that she hasn't had steady income coming in so the cost of repairing the central air in her house would be a fortune. I didn't have the coin to do that either. But knew that I had to come up with something. Terri has a window air conditioner that was cooling the temp of the house and her bedroom from 102 to an artic-like 94 degrees because she has a pretty good-sized place. Well, when she stayed in her bedroom, it was bearable because the room is small and she had a big box fan as well that she kept right on her. But I knew that wasn't going to be good enough... so without giving it a second thought I pulled my a/c unit out of the window of my first floor of my house and hauled it over and installed it in the front of the house so that it (along with her a/c unit in the back) would cool the house considerably. So while I was at the hospital with Lou, I called Terri to check on her and it was a two-line conversation that told me that everything was going to be okay:

Me: "so is it any better or at least more bearable now in that place?"
Terri: "sorry, I busy right now... I'm building you a shrine..."

I nearly had my diet coke with lime come through my nose... Lou is doing sooooo much better than she was in prior days. She is going to be on heavy duty anti-biotics to get rid of the infection for a while yet. They took her off of some of the pain meds. In fact, the pain in her back is gone but she has the infamous 'phantom pain' so we'll see how this goes... She's been transferred to rehab services to work on getting her strength back and to deal with the loss of her leg and in about 4-6 weeks getting fitted for a prosthetic leg... She's looking forward to walking again and most important of all... to get out of this rehab place... She still gets a little confused at times but mostly she's scared because she's just had the leg amputated, doesn't know what to expect from a bunch of new faces (nurses, etc) and is now in another room and because I'm dividing my time between Lou, Terri, and work... I don't get much in the way of time for myself at all. But I knew it would be that way... hey, things are turning around and again, I'm very humbled for all of your prayers for me and my family. They really have done some wonders... That's how I've been able to have the strength to keep going and do what needed to be done with the sisters. I didn't do anything extraordinary. My sisters both set the standard of what a compassionate human being should be. Let's put it this way: for every nice thing I do for them, it's because they've done ten times more and were a lot more caring in the way they did it... Me, I'm doing it because I care, but more because I know it needsto get done... They are FAR more compassionate and understanding than their little brother. I appreciate the kind words, but I'm grateful more for my family than I am for me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lookin' Up

Cautious optimism is the approach I'm taking these days. My sister Lou had her leg amputated and she seems to have improved quite a bit. She still gets confused about things that happen. As to what is real and what she perceives as real. That she is able to lie there and not be writhing in pain is a miraculous blessing. It's made her slow emersion from la-la land tolerable and understanding. The biggest thing right now is that she is scared to be alone. She calls Terri at home about 10 times a day and wants to know why she isn't out there with her. She gets highly emotional about Terri not being there even though she seems to be aware of the fact that Terri just had a chemo treatment and is wiped out completely. Lou is very afraid right now. I go there after work almost everyday and spend lots of time there. But she wants someone there 24/7 cause she gets very anxious and wants someone there to calm her down... It's very tough and draining sometimes but I try to keep my sense of humor entact. Lou did sheepishly apologize to me for going off on me, thinking that there was some plot to keep her trapped against her will and she was very nasty and mean for the days leading up to the surgery. But the anti-biotics seem to be doing the job as her back has improved tremendously. Let's hope she'll keep it up.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Time To Rock, Time To Roll...

So it goes... I'm feeling kind of weird... It's been a real struggle the last few days. Lou is actually doing better. But she's still confused and a little bit disoriented. The docs made the big decision about her illness. The Osteomyelitis is originating out of her ankle and the bone is so severely infected, that the docs say there is no way to save her leg. So wednesday morning, she'll have it amputated. If there is one blessing out of this, is that Lou (prior to all of this) was aware she may have to lose her leg if it progressed in a negative way. So she was okay with that... But right now, she doesn't have a clue. I went to see her yesterday and she was frustrated and was trying to put her shoes on and wanted to go home. She was lashing out at me and was saying some incredibly venemous stuff and accusing me of plotting to keep her there against her will. Any and all explanations regarding her health issues went in one ear and out the other. They are trying to change some of her medication around which is a good thing. I noticed that she was so much calmer and relaxed when she was given some meds to calm down. But the problem was that they were giving it to her only every 12 or 14 hours. She needs it more frequently and after having to literally wrestle her because she was so wacked out on the weekend, the docs and nurses were more than willing to increase the frequency of what she needs. So tomorrow morning, her left leg gets amputated up to her knee. Terri undergoes another chemo treatment today and will be a complete mess for a few more days. She does not deserve this. But she knows that she has to wage this battle to survive and keep on going and that her students want her to be there for them. The new school year is getting ready to start and she wants to be a part of it. But it's going to be a difficult road. No question about it... As for me, I'm just hanging in there. It gets frustrating sometimes and there are times that you just want to quit and bail from all of this... but we don't have a choice. I still have to go to work and head over to check up on them and do what I can. It's not always alot, but I do what I can. The rest, I send it to my Creator. If I tried to do all of this by myself, I'd probably be in the psych ward trying to write strange things on my forehead... but by turning to Him, I'm able to at least find some peace in the midst of all this misery. He really gives me the strength to keep it together and go forward. The one other area where I am able to keep my chin up is with my gal pal. She has been my rock and has kept me going when I've felt any feelings of despair. She has been so encouraging and uplifting to me... She helps me stay focused and just by her warmth and tenderness, she makes me realize that I'm going to somehow pull through. I really love that girl y'know... :) I thank God every single day for her...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Scanning For Answers...

Looking forward to a Saturday off from the job. I have to go broadcast some motorcross on Saturday night. But more important stuff... Lou is still in the hospital, she is still completely confused and disoriented and it's beginning to worry me. The folks at the hospital at first thought that her baseline included dementia... when I politely informed the nurse that up until six weeks prior to admission, Lou was walking and talking and driving... HELLO... the nurses were shocked. I'm trying not to feel anger or throw in the towel, I just hate that when I see Lou lying there, she wants help and is scared beyond belief, but can't really communicate her fears or anything clearly. She just starts crying and it kills me to know that she is suffering like this. Terri finally broke down and went over to the hospital to see her, even though her doctor told her not to. Lou had to have a CAT Scan and an MRI but was not co-operating. Terri calmed her down and they were able to get the tests done. But Lou tries to get everyone to do things for her because she thinks that if she does certain things that maybe she'll get to go home. That can't happen because she is unable to take care of herself. Terri's still got four more months of chemotherapy... My attitude is still positive, but man, this is some heavy duty stuff...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Making Sense...

A new week begins... oh yippee.
Well, things seem to be figured out (maybe) with Lou about what's causing her such pain and misery... well, we think! The infectious disease doc that came to see her after she was admitted to the hospital took another look at her MRI that the pain management doc said was normal. The infectious disease doc said that she absolutely suffers from osteomylitis in the L4 and L5 lumbar region of her back and that it stems from a blood infection from her foot. Osteomylitis is an infection of the bone. It causes tremendous pain and the infection can cause you to act a little bit wacky. So they are giving Lou tremendous amounts of anti-biotics to try and combat it. They still may have to amputate her leg. But that remains to be seen. Hopefully, we'll find out more today and get a plan of action. Fortunately, the pain mgt. doc is on vacation so we won't have to deal with him. Sad really, because I've known him for years.
Anyway, on Saturday it was the mini grade school reunion as my buddy Billy and his wife Dani flew into town for his parents 50th wedding anniversary celebration. We've known each other since 2nd grade and the funny part is that we were not friends in grade school at all. But we got along in high school and became really good friends right after graduation. We've kept in touch since he moved out to California and we've grown very close and count each other as the closest of friends. His family here in town and I still keep in touch with each other too. There were a couple of other friends from grade school there too. Jeff and Robert. Jeff and I weren't close at all but he and Billy were/are so we know each other but don't really have a lot in common. No biggie though. Jeff seems to be a nice guy. Robert and I grew up together. From the time we were in diapers till about 8th grade. Our families were very close back then too. Robert went to a different high school than me so we kind of went our seperate ways. We would run into each other over the years but not too often. Life is like that sometimes. But whenever we see each other, it's as if we hadn't ever left. This weekend was no different. But then again, it was. Robert used to get into lots of trouble in his teen years, but that was then. I always had this judgemental stupidity in me that would say that more than likely, he was going to end up being a statistic. Booze, dope, the usual suspects. But here we are, all these years later, and Robert is clean and sober. Doing some big things at the company he works for and last year decided that he was searching for something meaningful in his life. He felt kind of awkward talking about it in front of the group at the party, but I could tell he was referencing that he has a relationship with God and is going to church now. Most of the people there were not spiritual in nature. But when he and I were helping to pack up stuff to put away afterwards, I could tell he wanted to share. So while we were standing outside at Billy's dad's truck, I simply asked "so, Robert, where do you go to church?" His eyes lit up and we had a very nice conversation about how he knew he needed something to help get his life back on track. and that he found it by reaching out and I could see the awkwardness leave him and we were having a great time just joking around and having good conversation. I think he may have felt that everyone would think that he was weird for his new found faith. I just said and he agreed that he found a 'home' where he can believe and be at peace with himself. Finding a fellow christian to talk to makes it a bit easier. Most of his friends now are at church but he still has a few friends from our old days. But most of them don't drink or get into trouble any more. I think of the four of us, I'm the only one who still has a cold one every six months or so. I never had a problem with it, but I lost the taste for it... But it was great to see the boys from childhood and see that we're all okay. We all have our own paths to travel, but we will always have each other's back when the chips are down. I love those guys. Billy and Robert are the brothers I never had... it felt good to spend time with them.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Roller Coaster Ride Continues...

Just like the title infers, the ups and downs of life goes on... My sister Lou has been wacking out again. I am convinced more than ever that she is affected by the medications that her doctors have put her on. She is not at all herself and is displaying weird behaviors and is a mess right now. A few days ago she seemed to be really making a bit of progress. But today I got a phone call from the visiting nurse who said that she was completely disoriented and acting very irrational. I headed over there only to find out that she was already enroute to the doctors. She was in great pain and the doctors have been dragging their feet in finding out what's going on. Her pain management doc said he won't touch her until she goes and sees an infectious disease doc first. So she made the appointment and was supposed to go see the I.D. doc today. Well the pain mgt. goofball says that he's on vacation next week so he can't see her until the 20th. What the heck is this noise? So I got a phone call saying she's going to see the infectious disease doc in the hope that he'll refer her to the hospital and a pain mgt consult so that someone other than the meathead she has will treat her and actually DO SOMETHING! But the I.D. doc wants to wait and try something in a few days but Lou has been in pain from her back for over a month. So she went from there to the hospital ER. I spent the afternoon talking with Terri. Terri is about ready to go crazy. Lou (in the state that she's in) is confused and disoriented and has been running Terri ragged. Terri was telling me this stuff through tears. It's eating her alive because she wants to have compassion on Lou and help her. But Lou's erratic behavior at all hours of the day and night have driven Terri to the breaking point. Not to mention Terri is on chemotherapy herself and is SUPPOSED to be resting and not doing much at all. Ha! My prayer is that they admit Lou to the hospital and try to find out what is going on with her. She's not safe to be home alone and is a danger to herself... To be honest, I want Terri to have a break from the pressure and all of this stuff that has her at her wit's end. Other than that, I'm plugging along. The Cherokee tryout camp is this weekend. I'm not going to be there for most of it as I have several other commitments including working at my day job.But I'm looking forward to hitting the road again this fall. But say a prayer for Lou and Terri. They're both really good people who are in a season of trial and storm. But my prayer is that the season be a really short one and ends soon. Like maybe, yesterday! God, please have mercy on them...