You’re Only As Young As You Feel

People may comment about; you are only as young as you feel, but I am here to tell you there is more to that statement. It has to do with so many variables. How well is our nutrition? How is our health? Do we get enough sleep?

I can remember being 17 and working at a fast food restaurant. I would go to school, then to work at 5pm and work until 10pm. I would get off and go run around with my friends or maybe spend the night. Of course I stayed up late, too late by my standards now.

The night before last I took my daughter-in-law to the ER. We didn’t get there until around midnight. I had just taken my hair down and was in my comfy sleep clothes when the phone rang. I instantly threw back on my clothes and went and picked her up. We never got home until about 5am in the morning.

I felt bad for her because although she left feeling much better than she arrived at the ER, she has a four-month old to care for. I came home and stayed up for about a half hour and then crashed. The next morning I woke up at my usual time. I felt like I had been run over by a Mack truck.

Since I am a diabetic I knew I had to take my medications and eat something. I hate to eat when I am tired. Food is the last thing on my mind, so I did it the easy way. I had a bowl of Cheerios and then went back to bed and watched TV for a while. I kept thinking about the things I should be doing and that I needed to get some milk to replace the spoiled in the fridge.

I never made it though. I stayed in bed off and on for the better part of the day hours. Even after many naps I was still ready to go back to sleep at my normal bedtime; which I did. Today I got up feeling like the dog from old TV shows, Rin Tin Tin. I was raring to go.

I spoke to my daughter for a while and cleaned out under the sink in my brother’s bedroom. Yes, each day I make a nice effort at packing. It is much easier for me to do some each day rather than wait like I used to when I was younger until the last two weeks.

I finally made it to the store, and on my way out to the car I looked up at the skies. Holy Crap, where did that come from? Well, this is Indiana, where weather changes hour to hour sometimes. I had to snap a photo, but you knew I would.

So as you can see I am living proof that you don’t always feel as young as you feel, because yesterday I felt like I was 98.


A Sign of Spring Here in the Midwest

Today, March 23, 2014. It is 6:31pm. The temperature is 27 degrees. It is sunny and cold.

I was sitting here eating some cooked chicken without the bone and some cheese slices for my supper. I had cheated earlier and had one of those Reese’s Easter eggs, so I needed to eat protein to keep my sugars in line. I was looking out the window wishing for warmer weather when I saw the sign of Spring. I was always told by my parents that these beauties will not come here until they know for certain they will not starve from lack of finding food through too much snow. I smiled as I knew, we too here in the Midwest would also warm up very soon.


Is That Snow?

It’s getting hard enough to have all my hours available filled here at home to help with Al; but when the snow decides to interrupt and make things worse I just want to say grrrrr.

We had a winter storm warning in effect as of two in the morning. We were to get five to nine inches of new snow. I had just been able to see the rocks surrounding the fire pit outside and poof, it is gone.

Now beautiful, white, heavy snow lay all around. I have to admit I was lucky to not have to go out in it today. I will say seeing it on the tree branches was a sight to be admired. It did keep my caregiver from being able to come in today.

She lost power at her house. We lost power at our house.  Thankfully with Al’s illness, the use of oxygen and an air mattress placed us on the do first   to get power back on. Al just didn’t understand why his TV would not come on.

I played his favorite movie The Christmas Story. He wasn’t too happy that I was playing it at a time that was not bed time. This is where Al’s mental challenge comes in play. He is very routine and doesn’t understand changes.

Luckily we had power within the hour. The nurse from Hospice did come. There obviously is some internal damage from having to pull his old catheter out. She inserted some medication and as soon as she left he told me, ” I have a stinger in my tool.”

Now friends, I get it. Al is mentally challenged, but he is my brother. Every time he talks about his manhood and calls it his tool, I get so embarrassed and I can feel my cheeks blush. I guess I just have to get through this part and see that he was able to tell me where his pain was. I just pray that this injury does heal and when he needs a catheter change, we don’t have a replay from two days ago.

With the medications to make Al comfortable it wasn’t long before he was asleep. Hopefully, the stinging went a way. There is always an emotional battle giving Al his medications. It puts him to sleep and he doesn’t feel pain, but I am the culprit placing the medications. I guess we caregivers do what we have to do in order to bring patients to a comfort level. Nurse’s orders as they say, follow them.

It has been a quiet day per say. When no one is here I am forced to sit or get off my fanny and do something. I got up and cleaned. The house smells good. Everything is put a way. It is seven-thirty and it is still day light out thanks to the day light savings time. There is still some wind blowing. I am sure there is some drifting snow on the county roads.

I am just sick of this winter. I want to fly south like a bird and sit up at the top of a tree branch and sing to my heart’s content. I want to feel the warm breeze. I want some sun on my face. I want freedom from the house. Is this asking too much? I don’t think so. I think there are many of us here in the midwest that are as anxious for warmer weather as me. Tonight we are going to have a low of four below zero. More water dripping from the faucets. I heard from the weatherman that there could be some snow Saturday. It better be light snow, this is all I can say. Here are a few photos I was able to get today without being able to get outdoors.

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We Have Had Enough!

I feel sometimes, such as today, that I have let so many of you down. I read a lot of comments on how strong I am, and now I am leaning on medications to pick me back up. I realize now that it has been a long, tough road. I realize I am not Superwoman.superwoman

I am so thankful my friend is here, but am already wondering if she is getting tired of being here, or worse yet, bored. Going away to others place to visit is nice, but it isn’t home.

I guess I am just having one of those days. I didn’t sleep well last night. I counted on the caregiver being here today, but with the snow we received, I wasn’t surprised to hear from her she wasn’t coming.

The nurse didn’t come either and with the snow being so heavy this winter, I think I am just about like everyone else here in the Midwest. I am screaming inside, go away snow! We have had enough. Bring some warmth above 10 degrees and let us have a sample of Spring.

Al is basically the same except last night for the first time in days, he whispered to me. I was able to figure out what he wanted. It was a miracle? I don’t know how long it will last but it is nice while it last.

The big goose egg bump on  his head is no longer there. During the sleeping hours it opened up on its own. He has no new blisters which is a good thing. He is staying awake much more than he was.

It is like we are having a couple of days that are like earlier times in his illness. Reminds me of when I was about to deliver for my kids. Those few days before arrival of the baby, I had so much energy I did what ever I could cram into one day.

So like everyone around me, I am fidgety and restless. My car has set for so long that I now fear the tires will go low. It is a terrible car for driving on snow. So I am hoping and crossing my eyes and fingers on seeing a warmer day very

My Faith in a Stranger

I just saw this photo that Wendy posted to my timeline on Facebook. It was so beautiful, and since this is the main topic with Al most days I thought I would print it off for him.

jesus at the gate 2Every night before lights off Al asks for two things. He doesn’t need to tell me what he wants, I know from many nights. Prayer time and the movie, The Christmas Story.

Although he can no longer speak, I know his request by heart. Ask Jesus to come and take him home.

When I saw this, my heart sunk and my eyes became wet.

How can someone I have never seen affect me to the point of tears? For Al and me, we were brought up in the church. The First Brethren Church in fact. We went every Sunday with our parents.

As we got older Al and I went on Sunday evenings. I became involved with the choir. Al and I partook in different plays. Eventually I took over the Junior Choir as director. Al continued his routine of going every Sunday from way back when.

Sunday evenings he went to church and then came home and read his Bible. I know for a fact that Al has read his Bible completely through at least four times. I got married to a military man and lived in Germany for a year.

The military had church every  Sunday also, but each week  was for a different religion. I remember there were Sundays for Jews, Catholics etc. I got out of the habit of going.

It was almost too easy to drift away. I was married, and living in a new country. I let God be placed on the back burner and lived my life. When things went wrong or I became scared, I would quickly bring Jesus up front and pray like crazy.

Jesus never left me. No matter how much I tried to ignore what I had been taught he always filtered to the front burner. I was the one who left him. When our dad became ill, I found my way back to my upbringing.

I told Jesus I wanted him to be my priority again. I prayed for months and then I learned how to talk to him like he was my best friend. Everything that went right, I thanked him and everything that went bad, I blamed him.

As dad became closer to heaven’s doors, I inched my way into trusting God more than ever. I have never looked back. I rely on him for all that I am and do.

Now that Al is so ill I have fallen. Not fallen away from God, but more like questioned him. I have screamed at him, cried to him, told him how much I love him and have told him I am sorry for my behavior many times over.

Today, as I watch my brother slip closer into Jesus arms I am not scared to see Jesus. I am scared for myself. A sadness creeps over me at the human loss I am about to take on. This is where my strength comes from. This is how I make it day-to-day.

I asked Hospice today when they decide the time is right for them to start staying longer or making more visits. The answer was poor in my eyes. I was told they have to follow the law about driving in bad weather, so they can’t come anymore than they are scheduled. I felt like saying how sorry I was for not planning Al’s illness for warmer months, but I kept quiet.

I hear many times through this terrible winter that the only time we should be out driving  is to go to and from our job. I instantly looked at the nurse and replaced the words friend and hospice to employee, and found it soured me.

Al is my brother, but he is her job. I explained that I didn’t want to be here alone with him dying. I told her I was afraid he would die while it was just him and me. She just looked at me, then said she would try to get a volunteer to come over to sit with me. I thought to myself, how can a volunteer come and she, the nurse, who is getting paid can’t?

I instantly felt embarrassed. I am not an infant. I don’t need a babysitter.  I am not that weak, but I do expect, well I don’t know what I expect, but I expected more from this one limb from the tree for support of Al and me.

Al is in pain and yet he seems comfortable. I can see when I look at him that he is nearing Heaven’s gates very soon. I won’t go into graphics here for the weak stomachs, but I recognize the signs from 23 years of taking care of the elderly and dying.

So when it comes down to it I can cry when I see the photo. I do not know this person as I don’t know many of you personally. I do know that I trust many of you, the same as I trust God.

In the end I can and do feel alone so much of the time. I beg my child at times to come down and see Al. I cry silently that I may get a call from my kids or friends, just wondering how Al is.  I plead with Hospice. I count on my caregivers to be here. But God is here.I am not really alone.  He is standing with Al and keeping him calm. He is beginning the process of opening the gates, and for this I cry.

Tears for losing my brother and tears that he will be happy once again. Al will without a doubt watch over me and wave. He will show me those big, blue eyes and that familiar twinkle will once again shine. The heavens will open up and the skin will be shed away and Al will be free to smile once again.

Photos of My Area, Warsaw, Indiana, Blizzard of 2014

This blizzard is more winds and below zero temperatures. The plow did come through twice and then my son came down and reopened my driveway. I really appreciated it and he didn’t mind since Hospice and the caregiver come here, but no one visited today. Very quiet as most people are huddled in their houses. Most businesses and all schools have been closed.

So here are some quick photos as I poked my head out the door. Also I have one photo of Al’s Christmas bear wearing Al’s favorite hat Marilyn from WP got him. Of course, it is a coca cola hat!

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God Is Good, This I Know

Several years ago on a cold winter day I had one husband, one daughter, age five, and a baby boy under one year old. The warnings had been placed and yet I didn’t really understand what the word blizzard meant.

All I could think of at that time is we had food, we had a roof over  our head. We had water and heat, and my husband may be home for a day or two from work. Now, let’s all play house and forget the outside world.

Slowly I got first-hand of what a blizzard was. It meant no going outside. No hopping in the car and running to the store. Trapped, yes that is a good word. Trapped inside with a baby with very few diapers remaining, but a family I loved.

The snow fell and fell.snow trees. The blowing snow and drifting locked us inside our house as the door wouldn’t budge to that outside world.

I started getting nervous when the baby ran too low on diapers. Today, being much older and wiser, I would have known I don’t have to use those Pampers. I could have substituted with different things I had at home.

But no, I freaked. My husband managed to open a window in the living room and he learned that the snow was as high as the bottom of the window sill. He dressed warmly and went out the window. He was able to stand up right away and looked in the window with a shit-eating grin and waving to us, he wandered off through the snow to the shed.

He got the shovel and started clearing the front steps so the door would open. He then went on and built a tunnel, more like an igloo, from the window he had crawled out of. He and our daughter did have a good time playing in that, but I was still without those diapers.

I ended up calling the police and they in turn sent a snowmobile out and when I saw him arrive he had a package of diapers on his lap.

I thanked him way too many times and offered him a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate but he refused. He made it clear there were other emergencies to attend to. I was so thankful for him, I will never forget that day.

Being in a blizzard does bring a family closer together. No work, no school, just spending time together in the snow playing, giggling and relaxing. Eating and sleeping in late, what a life that was those few days.

Now today, I am thanking God instead of a snowmobile. I prayed so much last night that God keep Al and me safe. He not only kept us safe, our water is still on.  There is heat inside. I was able to bathe Al this morning and feed him. I was able to take a shower, do a load of laundry.

Al was very restless last night but all is good. We have the remaining of today with extreme cold weather. I bundled up and went outside and cleared one path of snow a way on the wheelchair ramp. My car fought me starting but did turn over. It loved me by the time I had left it run for fifteen minutes and for starting for me I brushed all the snow off of it.

Minus 35 degrees for today and tomorrow morning will be a high of zero, no negatives. So once again I will ask God to keep Al and me safe and I will add all elderly, disabled, sick and rich and poor to remain safe and warm during this blizzard of 2014 here in Indiana.

God is good, yes Jesus loves me. How do I know? I am sitting here writing to you aren’t I?snowflakesjesuslookingdown

Gloom Inside And Out

Al is home today. I wanted to take a new photo of him but I couldn’t do it. His face is nothing but a red rash from all of these medications he is taking. He came home in tears. He is not himself. I would say he is moving in extra slow motion due to medications.

He keeps telling me he is getting weaker. I think it is the medications doing it. I asked him if he had any pizza while he was gone and he said no. I asked him if he would like some for supper and he said yes.

It didn’t take long for me to feel a little down from seeing someone else  in that body than my brother, so I left. I went outside in the gloom and took some photos. Winter is showing its lack of color. I did find some green grass in places.

The sun is trying so hard to peek out but it is struggling. Although death and our mom is the topic inside, and outside looks lifeless, I know that soon, things will change and life will burst forth once again.

Here are the photos I took and of course Rhino wanted in the fun too.DSC00159


God Listens

I asked for prayers, now the very least I can do is let you all know Al and I our safe. Tornadoes and hail the size of tennis balls. Winds up to eighty miles  per hour. This was the scenerio all morning long.

I had been in one tornado in my life time. It was when I was ten years old. Although I am a senior citizen today I can remember that like it was yesterday. I was at church camp. We were all in the tabernacle. The thunderstorms were wicked. High winds, bright lightening.tornado24free-write-friday-writing-prompt bird in winter

When we were safe and were able to go outside we saw that the girl’s dormitory was gone. Vanished, the tornado had taken it with him. I guess a little of that fear and memory has been retained.

But for the most part I am sane and think clearly. The whole idea was for me to keep Al, who can’t walk, safe. Which I did very well, and I am proud I got him through it.

When life becomes disturbed and you have a small fear or maybe a big fear, and you think of what you want to save in your home, I wonder what you would think of.

This is what I took with me to our bathroom. My Nook, my camera, all power cords, my memory stick for the computer. Al and my medicines, my cigarettes, all my passwords to the computer web sites. I took Al’s portable coca cola radio, two flashlights, one big candle. My cell phone, two blankets, my purse, the shed and car keys. an extra brief for Al and my shoes, one broom,( don’t ask me why, I don’t know). I think that is what I took.

I made sure Al was fed and changed right before the storm time. I made sure I told my kids I loved them. I told some people my phone number on my FB. I had the house all cleaned, ( don’t know why on that either). If a tornado was going to take my home, I guess it would not care if it was clean or not.

Al cried and complained the entire time we were hiding in our bathroom. He wanted to take a nap and didn’t understand why I was holding him hostage in the tub with a blanket wrapped around him. I did good though. Although I wanted to yell at him for being childish, I knew that he really was a child mentally. All he knew was he wanted to go to sleep.

Afterwards I got him all bathed and comfortable, clean brief, clean sheets and when I put him to bed safe from harm, he went right to sleep. I went out to the couch and let my anxiety and fear drain from my body. I smiled and thanked God and all of you who had prayed.

With the news saying it was going to be the worst storm ever, I was prepared and so was God. He took care of us as long as I was doing what I needed to be doing in caring for Al.

Here are a few photos of any damages that I saw from my own porch. I haven’t heard yet about other people. I hope all are safe. This was a wicked storm, but Al and I were kept safe from harm’s way.

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