Thursday, September 9, 2021

 Hi everyone! I can't believe how long it's been since I've written anything here! But, since I haven't had the committal ceremony for Bill yet, it seems like there was nothing to write. However, I've been thinking...I know to some of you that is a scary thought...and some things came together for me.

This September is a month of major milestones. Our 31st anniversary would have been on the 3rd. It was a good day. I didn't dread it like I did last year and it actually kind of crept up on me. I used the day to think of the good memories and not dwell on what couldn't be. I was going to take myself out to eat but changed my mind at the last minute. I just got practical...I had food here in the house to eat!

Today, the 9th is the 14th anniversary of Bill's last heart attack, the one that started us on the transplant journey. I've been doing a lot of remembering about that today for some reason. And the 15th will be the 10th anniversary of the LVAD implant. I remember Dr. Agnew telling us that he could guarantee 10 more years with a transplant and Dr. Landolfo telling us that without the LVAD he couldn't guarantee that Bill would survive until a heart became available. I'm grateful that Bill listened to Dr. Landolfo and had the implant.

Things have been happening since the last post. My granddaughter Brianna got married in June, on what seemed like the hottest day of the year! The heat index at the time of the ceremony was at least 106 and I heard someone say that it was higher than that. But, it was a beautiful wedding. They've purchased their first house and it is almost right behind mine! It is just one house over. And, they are expecting their first child in late March! They are getting the blood test next week to see what sex it is and then having a gender reveal on October 2. So big things happening!

My mother had her 90th birthday last month and we managed to have a big drop-in party for her, with most of the family there. She was surprised with a onesie announcing that the baby was coming and it will be the 5th generation!

There's also another great-grandchild coming, this one I think in December, but don't hold me to that. Bill's daughter Aimee's youngest son and his wife are expecting this one. So the family is growing. 

That's about it for the news around here. Have a good fall...and keep an eye out for any other updates that may happen!

Sunday, May 16, 2021

 When I last posted here, we had just gotten our snow storm! It's hard to believe that 3 months has gone by so fast. What's even harder to believe is that Bill has been gone a year already! Sometimes it seems like yesterday, and sometimes it seems like a long time. But, I've survived the first year and I know I'm going to make it!

It's been a busy spring and is going to be a busy summer. One of Bill's granddaughters got married in April and my sister and I went to Oklahoma to the wedding. We kind of made a deal. Our niece is getting married in November in Northern Illinois. She said she would go to Oklahoma with me, but I had to go to Illinois with her. She knows my proclivity to just stay home, even without throwing in the "grieving widow" aspect. So, off to Oklahoma we went. And, we had a good time. The wedding was lovely and it was good to see everyone. I got to see the other grandkids and was hoping to see the new baby, but he stayed home. I even made sure that I was considered fully vaccinated before the date. It was a very quick trip, got there on Friday, wedding Saturday evening, came home Sunday. Ronna left on Tuesday. We both decided we are too old for these quick turn-around trips anymore!

Brianna and David are getting married in less than a month now. It doesn't seem possible she's old enough to get married. I was visiting my friends John and Phillis a couple of weeks ago and John said the same thing. He hasn't seen her for awhile so she's still a little girl to him.

McKenna's boyfriend graduated this week and Monday starts a great job at a support company for the steel mill as a welder. He's all excited about that.

Kenna and Kayden are both driving now and Kiyann just earned her orange belt in karate. She didn't want to do it when her mom signed her up, but she loves it!

I still haven't made it to Florida to see Shirley. With everything that still needs done on the house and the weddings, I keep putting it off. I'm getting an estimate on a new furnace Wednesday and the siding still isn't back up. I think I'm going to call a handyman to come and do it. I know the guys are still willing, but they don't have time either. So, this will be easier.

Shirley has been in the hospital and rehab now for a couple of months. They think that her problems with weakness and balance are partly to do with long-term Covid effects. She also does have a problem with spinal stenosis and arthritis and some nerve damage from that, so she's looking at surgery. They're waiting on the consult with the neurosurgeon and I think that's still a couple of weeks away. She does realize that she can't go home by herself right now, and she's OK with it, but she misses her animals. A neighbor down the street comes every day to care for the cats and the birds and another neighbor has taken the dog to his house. He had been good to help with Sadie in the past.

I still haven't been able to have the committal ceremony for Bill's ashes. And, I'm a little miffed at my government officials. I have contacted the governor and a state senator to see when the ban will be lifted and neither one has answered. The year for the free inurnment of course ends today. I'm hoping that requirement will be waive because of Covid, but if not it's only $300. I also can't just get an answer that it can be held next week since unless I do it without his kids being there, and that won't work. Logistics, logistics, logistics.

I've been told by several people who have followed this blog that I should turn it into a book, so I'm exploring that idea. Just to print it in book form is more than 1000 pages, which is too much. But, I'm investigating the possibility of doing something along the lines of what blogging did for me during this journey. So, stay turned!

I don't know how many more posts there will be here, especially since it is Bill's journey. I know there will be one more when he can finally be laid to rest. So, don't worry it weeks or months go by in between. 

All for this time!

Monday, February 15, 2021

 Last week was a crazy week, and this one seems it's going to be a continuation.

My cardiology appointment was OK. It was the fastest I've ever been seen, only 30 minutes past my appointment time. We still don't know what's up with my blood pressure. It was really good when I saw her in August and she was considering lowering one of my meds. Instead, it's again staying high, not dangerously high but high nonetheless so instead of lowering a med, she increased one. She only increased the diurectic in it so maybe that will help. It has come in so I'll start it tomorrow.

Since we were supposed to get an ice storm on Wednesday, I ordered my groceries Monday night and picked them up Tuesday morning...and my car hasn't been started since then. The storm came on schedule and we got freezing rain with sleet on top. It's been so cold that none of it has melted, and it's still so cold that it's not going to. And now, we have a snowstorm starting today.

Emily and Bryan picked up a few extra things I needed on Saturday, including firewood. I decided that I would take a chance and use the fireplace even though the chimney hadn't been cleaned. I just asked my neighbor if he would tell me if he saw flames shooting out the top of the chimney.

I had noticed om Saturday that the furnace was running constantly and the temp was 2 degrees below what it was set on. I figured that it was just so cold that it couldn't keep up. Yesterday morning I noticed that the temperature in the house was 68 and the furnace was still running full blast, but when I looked at the furnace, I couldn't see any flames. So, I lit a fire and called my "free" repairman, Bryan. He came over before church and looked and it was running fine. I let the fire die out then and then temp just kept dropping. He came back after church and couldn't figure out what was going on. He was going to help the actual repairman thaw pipes and then bring him over. The fire kept the living room comfortable and the cats and I were staying basically comfortable. They got the problem fixed, Brianna had brought more firewood just in case and the cats and I went happily to bed when it was time. I heard the furnace cycling so we all drifted off. 

At 4:30 this morning I got a text and I started to ignore it, but changed my mind. I've been getting a lot of scam texts for a few days and I figured that's what it was. So, I was surprised when it was from the alarm company that there was a power outage and it was running on backup battery power. That woke me up! So I pulled on clothes over my pajamas, located my boots and snow jacket, started a fire by flashlight and fed the cats. I was praying all the time that the generator top would not be frozen shut and that the power switch box would not be frozen shut. I grabbed the food for the outside cats and out the back door I went. It was doing a little sleeting, but the generator opened right up, the box opened and the lever moved easily and it only took two tries to get the generator started. But, the fire had gone out by the time I got in. Then temp in the house was 65 when I got up, I think the power had actually gone off earlier than the text indicated, and in an hour it had dropped to 53. But, I got the fire going again. The wood never did really want to catch this time and I really had to work at it to keep it going. But it finally worked.

Kitty got as close to it as she possibly could. Mouse is still wary of it, as most feral cats are. Shortly after that, I looked outside and saw that the house across the street had a light on outside, as did Joe and Barb next door, so, double clothes again with all the other stuff and back out to switch over to regular power. The furnace was already running and the house was back up to 60.

Luckily none of my pipes froze, although the kitchen tried. I had left the hot water dripping and when I turned it full on this morning, there was some air in the line. When I switched it to cold it came out really brown but cleared quickly. I also filled the washer a bit and then drained it and the bathroom was fine.

It is snowing really hard now and we are supposed to get 5-9 inches. We supposed to get another round of about 4 inches on Wednesday. The temp right now is 9 with a windchill of -9, which is an improvement over the 8, -12 when I was out before daylight!

Emily and her girls got me some candy and flowers for Valentine's Day. That was very thoughtful of them. 

When I was saying my prayers last night I asked that I be given the energy and inclination to actually do something productive today instead of sitting and watching the snow as I wanted to do. I guess my prayer was answered early this morning with all of the excitement and now, maybe I can just sit and snuggle with the cats under a throw with a cup of coffee and watch the snow!

I'm so thankful that Bill made sure that I could do all of the things I needed to do today. Sadly, the only thing I didn't have to do was switch him to portable air tanks until the generator got started. But I'm not going to dwell on what won't be done and be glad that I was able to do what had to be done. I was going to add some pictures, but I can't figure out, again, where they are, so they will have to wait.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

 I didn't realize it had been almost a month since my last post. Time flies when you're having fun...NOT!

The year is still not going really well and I'll try to catch you up. I did get the roof done, now just waiting on the insurance company to refund the depreciation and to cover the additional costs. The roofer said that the extra charges should have been included in the original payment as it covers standard costs for a new roof. But, so far all I have had to pay is the deductible.

I still have my UTI. It is better, but not resolved, so back on antibiotics again, which has caused a yeast infection, but you don't need all of the details of that. I was supposed to get a Lifeline Screening the first, but the infection had kicked in the day before, so I had to reschedule it. Now it's not until the end of March at a small town in Missouri. I'm pretty familiar with the town, which is where Sheryl Crow is from.

I still have my 6 month cardiology appointment Monday afternoon in Memphis. I also need to call the eye dr and schedule a test he wants done and have my 6 month check there, and I broke a tooth so need to call the dentist. Maybe then I will be done with drs. for at least another 6 months.

Bill's ex-wife died unexpectedly a week ago this past Monday. She had been to the dr on the Friday before and was diagnosed with pneumonia. The girls said that on Monday they couldn't get a good O2 reading and by the time Mary Rose got to Aimee's she was gone. But, she had been wanting to die for a long time. She was the last of her family and she said she didn't know why she was still here. Mary tried to tell her it was for the grandchildren, but that wasn't what Rose wanted. They had a wake for her in Oklahoma where she was living and her funeral and burial is on the 13th in South Carolina. She'll be buried next to Charlie. I sent some flowers to Aimee's and used a local to her florist. Rose's favorite flower was of course the rose and the arrangement I picked out was lillies and roses. The picture Aimee sent me was a couple of lillies, a few baby mums and a lot of daisies! There is a considerable difference in cost between roses and daisies and there should be a good stock of roses this close to Valentine's Day. So, I contacted the florist and they offered to take another arrangement out, but it was too late by then. So, I just got a $15 store credit. But, they got a bad review online!

Not everything has been bad as far as the year goes.  Rex Charles Haven, a new great grandson made his appearance on the 4th. He was a week early but he weighed over 8 pounds and was 20 1/2 inches long, so he had cooked long enough.

I'm proud of myself today. We are supposed to get wind chllls below zero tonight. I have a heater going in the apartment and will make sure water is dripping in the house. But, today, I bought and installed faucet covers outside! It's the little things!

That catches you up for now. I can't guarantee when the next update will be, just keep checking!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

It's a cold, gray, gloomy morning. We're supposed to get some snow tomorrow, not much but snow. They are saying the heavier accumulations will be south of us, so me may just see some flakes falling. But, I've got potato soup in the crockpot and I think I'll make some cornbread to go with it later. Bill wasn't fond of cornbread and, something else I've discovered with this new widowhood life, I can cook what I like! That slapped me in the face not long ago. So many things do that now.

I got all of the Christmas decorations taken down Monday and put away, and that was the best day I had all week! I was tired and sore from moving all of the boxes back to storage, but it was a good tired.

Tuesday I woke up aching everywhere and extremely tired. I checked my vitals as usual and m blood pressure was up some, but not dangerously high, no fever, oxygen level good, but I just felt horrible. I texted my symptoms and vitals to my daughter (it's great that she works for my dr.) and she said she would pass them along. She called a couple of hours later and said my nurse practitioner wanted me to go straight to the ER. I told her that I didn't think I could get dressed, let along drive the 2 blocks to the hospital so she sent my granddaughter's fiance to pick me up (with the instructions for him to evaluate to see is an ambulance needed to be called). When we got to the hospital he made sure that his badge was showing (he's a city cop), hoping it would get a little extra attention and then he stayed until Emily could come on her lunch hour. Both in triage and then again by the doctor, I was asked why I hadn't gone to my doctor. I just explained that I had texted my symptoms and vitals and was told to go to ER. The doctor was really ugly about it and said that I needed a COVID test and they didn't do them and I would have to go to the office to get one anyway. Now, here I am, feeling like death warmed over, can hardly hold me head up, and the dr. is telling me I have to go to the clinic to get a COVID test! He listened to my chest, said uh huh a couple of times and left the room. I texted Emily again (she had gone back to work by then) and she told my nurse who went ballistic! She called the hospital administrator and told him that she understood that they were overwhelmed by patients, but she would have sent me to the ER if I had come to the office and the staff should not take their frustration out on the patients. The administrator, I was told later, went to the ER and told the DR. that was not how things were done. I didn't see the DR. again. They did a flu swab, strep swab, chest xray, labs, urine and that was it. Finally, after 4 1/2 hours a different nurse came in and told me she had my discharge papers. I asked what the results were and she said I had a UTI and he was giving me Cipro. A UTI? I had no symptoms of a UTI, and I've had several. I had all the symptoms of strep except the sore throat, and I've had it before! But, I was ready to go home. Emily came and got me home and then she took the discharge papers and my script and said she would bring me the meds when she got off work. She told me later when I looked at the labs online and it showed strep negative, but later showed strep active, that I was getting the million dollar treatment after the complaint. The active strep was a culture and there were no results for it yet as it had to grow.

I felt better Wednesday but not quite as good Thursday and Friday I felt OK, but had a reaction to the Cipro. So, texted that info in and because the UTI is apparently a pretty bad one, I needed to stay on an antibiotic so they were going to change it. The new one as a super long name, and has the same side effects as Cipro, but so far so good. I was a little confused by the label instructions and of course the dr. and the pharmacy were both closed when I noticed it. It says "Take at bedtime by mouth with food or milk twice daily". Now, except for a little nap here and there, I usually only go to bed once daily! Emily and I decided to do it twice daily since there were enough pills for 10 days and she's going to make sure tomorrow. We both just laughed and wondered if they were trying to kill me or cure me!

I got the settlement from the insurance company Friday, and the check was made out to both of us. I thought I was going to have to send it back but I went to the bank and, even though I know they made a copy of Bill's death certificate when I got the new debit card, his name is still on the account! So, it was OK to deposit it. Now, tomorrow I'll call the roofer and get that in the works. Hopefully they work in cold weather!

As a lot of you have probably done, I watched the events unfold on Wednesday at the Capitol. Instead of going into all of my thoughts here, I wrote a long post on my alternate blog. If you want to read it you can click here. It will also link to a post by an online friend, who said what I wanted to say, but much better than I could. So, I asked his permission to share it.

So, the year is not starting off well. Emily's stepson has been diagnosed with COVID, but so far it's a mild case. He's just quarantined at home. We had another prominent business owner pass away with the virus this week. I'm actually thinking about cancelling my cardiology appointment next month. I've gotten so I only leave the house when absolutely necessary and I've taken to online groceries. They don't deliver here, but as long as I don't have to get out of the car I'm good. I've even ordered a few meals through DoorDash when I don't feel like cooking but don't want fast food. I really have to watch myself with that though because I could do it every night!

I hope your year is starting off better than mine! Stay warm and safe, or cool and safe, whichever applies. Just stay safe!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Here it is New Years Eve. I think everyone will be glad to put this year behind us, for many reasons. It has been a hard year for all of us, with the pandemic and all of the turmoil before and after the election. Of course, for those of us who have lost loved ones, no matter how they were lost, turning the page on the calendar will hopefully heal some wounds and hearts.

I read a disturbing statistic a couple of days ago that puts this pandemic into perspective, at least for me. For quite some time, the daily deaths have surpassed all of the deaths from Sept. 11 and Pearl Harbor. But this latest one was more startling. In December there have been more than 60,000 deaths, just in the United States, which is more than all of the US casualties in the Viet Nam Conflict. In an undeclared war that lasted years, we lost a little over 59,000 service men and women. And I'm not saying this to make their deaths any less meaningful. But, this number was over a period of years, and in less than 31 days, we surpassed that number from the virus. I know we are all getting tired of hearing about the virus, but until we realize that it is up to each of us, not the government, but us to do our part, these deaths will continue. I heard Dr. Threlkeld last night and he said that what we are doing as far as masking, cleanliness and social distancing, is also helping to keep the flu at bay. So, let's solve two problems at the same time and do what we can so that we can get back to a normal life. OK, that's my last public service announcement for the year.

Christmas was good. I had gotten the grandkids here each a necklace with Bill's thumbprint on it. The reverse side said "I love you, Pa Always in my heart" and each name. As soon as McKenna and Brianna opened the box they burst into tears, which in turn made me cry, and then when everyone was leaving, Emily and I had a little cry together. Kayden immediately put his necklace on and said it would only come off when he showered. Kiyann said she loved it, but she was already wearing 2 necklaces and didn't want to add another one.

I still don't feel really well and will probably be back at the dr. next week. I would go today but the office is closed. I don't feel bad enough to go to the ER which is the only option since we don't have a walk-in or urgent care clinic. But, I can tell things aren't right. I think it's probably still just the bronchitis/pneumonia that hasn't resolved, especially with the crazy weather we've had, 60s one day, 30s the next, and lots of wind and rain.

I said in the last post that I would try to find the Christmas pictures and I think I have, so I'll see if I can get them uploaded this time. I wish all of you health, happiness and love for 2021. As most people are saying, it's got to be better than 2020!

Saturday, December 19, 2020

 It's the Saturday before Christmas, a dark, cold and rainy day, and I'm as ready as I can be for Christmas. All of the gifts that have arrived have been wrapped and placed under the tree on top of the buffet. There are still a couple floating around somewhere. One of them got as far as Oxford MS before tracking lost it. It went back to St. Louis 4 times in 2 days before it made it that far, so we'll see when it gets here. The house is as decorated as it's going to get and Christmas cards have been mailed. 

Not much has happened since my last post at Thanksgiving. I'm still waiting on a decision from the insurance company on the roof. They thought there would be a decision this week, but I didn't hear anything and nothing new shows online. But, that's OK.

I did get sick again with an upper respiratory thing. It was pretty much the same as when I got sick in October. I could tell for a few days that I was trying to come down with a cold, and it did finally get me. After 5 days, it got hard to breathe some, not alarmingly, but still had a heaviness in my chest. I checked my O2 and it was staying pretty low. So, off I went to the Dr. My Covid test was again negative, but the chest x-ray showed some haziness and the nurse said I was not moving much air through the lower lobes of my lungs. For now, the diagnosis was bronchitis bordering on pneumonia. Another Z-pac and a longer regime of steroids and I feel almost normal again. My O2 level is back to where it should be. I'm still coughing but not as much as before. And what I was coughing up looked like what I used to suction from Bill's trach. But, I'm on the mend.

After we came home from Florida after the transplant, I spent a few years picking a word for the year to live by. I remember the first year was freedom, meaning the freedom from schedules and the freedom to do or not do. This year my word is Renew. I picked it because 2021 is a clean slate for me. Of course you know what the last 2 years have entailed, and the last 7 months have been the ending of our life together. So, Renew...a new life, and not one that I would have chosen, but the one I have nevertheless. It's a time to now make this house "my" home, instead of "our" home. There won't be huge sweeping changes, but changing some things that pertained to couples instead of someone single.

I cleaned out 1 of Bill's closets finally. I hadn't put it off for any emotional reasons, just pure laziness. But when it dawned on me, as I was trying to stuff clothes into my closet, that his clothes had been hanging there for more than a year, and I could use that closet for some of my clothes, I just opened the door and did it. I filled 3 large boxes and they are going to the church around the corner that my daughter attends. They have a lending closet and she said at Thanksgiving there was an abundance of womens and childrens clothes, but not much for men. So, they will go to a good cause. I did get a small jolt when I opened the closet later to use it. It still smelled like Bill! That slapped me in the face since I wasn't expecting it. It didn't make me sad or anything, just startled me.

When I got out the Christmas decorations, Mouse was very intrigued by the boxes. And since I decorated over several days, the boxes stayed in the dining room. He slept on top of the largest one every night. After the first day, he showed no interest in any of the decorations. But, I decided Thursday that I was finished decorating and put all of the boxes away. He has since chewed on the Christmas tree, eaten part of the wreath on the table with Bill's urn, and batted at some small ornaments. Oh, well, we'll get through it.

We're doing family Christmas in shifts this year, Emily's family on the 26th and Ryan's on the 27th. There were some conflicts to doing it together. But, it's OK, keeping it small.

I was going to upload some Christmas pictures for you, but between my phone and this program, they are lost in cyberspace. So they will have to wait.

I was having a discussion on Facebook last night with a friend about the COVID-19 vaccine and the fact that I was going to get the vaccine when it was offered to the public, or at least the group that I fall into. My friend immediately told me that I was being controlled and he was tired of me dictating what others can and can't do. He probably thinks that because I didn't answer his last comment that I was backing down. On the contrary, my phone died and I went to bed. But, I've spent most of my day doing some research and I've decided that on my alternate blog, Musings from a "normal" person, I'm going to do some posts about vaccines and what the Constitution allows governments to do, even though it seems that it is taking away rights. Stay tuned for that if you want, I'll let you know when I've posted.

For now, until I get the pictures found and can post them, I'll just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.