Sunday, July 31, 2022

 Friday I was diagnosed with mild developing pneumonia. I woke up in the night shivering so badly the bed was shaking and I had a sheet, blanket and heavy bedspread on me. I just knew for sure that I had COVID. The entire time I was waiting at the Dr. for the test results I kept thinking that I had dodged it for 2 1/2 years and my luck had run out. I was relieved when the test for COVID and flu both came back negative. And pneumonia really didn't surprise me. I would get cold sitting in the house so I would go outside and sit in the hot, dirty air of the drought weather. Then, when I got hot, I would go back inside. I felt fine when I sent to bed, but waking up at 2 am shaking so bad really scared me.

I've never had pneumonia before and it hurts! I now know how Bill felt when he would tell me he hurt from the top of his head down. It has felt like I had a knot on my back, right about mid-lung that hurt when I breathed. This is not fun! It also makes me sorry for the way I would push Bill at times. Little did I know!

So, 2 antibiotics, prednisone, an albuterol inhaler, nasal spray and nebulized albuterol later, I'm feeling a little better. But the combination of the prednisone and albuterol is not letting me sleep and the fatigue is real. I'm only sleeping about 1 1/2 hours at a time. Sometimes I can go back to sleep but sometimes not for a while. I'm also having some pretty good dreams!

As of this morning I'm feeling better, but still tired. I had 3 really bad, hard coughing spells yesterday to the point I was going to vomit, or lose pieces of my lungs! But, this morning, before any breathing treatments, my O2 was 97, without having to sit and deep breathe. My heart rate is also back to normal after a high of 122 on Friday morning. I'm still going to just rest again today, and I don't know how long the feeling good with last. But I think I'm on the mend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Two years ago yesterday I kissed you for the last time. Your cheek was already cold and I knew you were no longer there. Two years ago yesterday I told you I loved you and hoped that you could hear me. 

A lot has happened in those two years. We gained Frankie and Aizen right after you passed away. We knew they were coming and we hoped you would hang on long enough to see at least a picture of them.

But since then we've gain Rex and Lucas and Havyn, and inherited two grandsons when Heather married Chris. John and Heather got a new grandson (Heather's son Devin) but I don't remember his name, and Amber Nicole is pregnant again. I'm not sure they know what this one is yet.

McKenna has graduated high school with honors and is going to play softball for Crowley's Ridge College in Paragould. She and Logan are still together but he doesn't like it that's she's going away for college. Kayden is working at Hays and his girlfriend Kim is very sweet. Kiyann is coming out of her shell some. She's taking Karate and loves it and has a really nice boyfriend Danny.

Bri and David bought Ron's house, and in typical Ron fashion, he did not disclose some of the problems. The side of the garage leaks when it rains really hard. The water gets behind the siding that he replaced. One of the bathrooms keeps backing up, but that could also be on the city's side. They've also taken in Adam's daughter Chloe to get her out of a toxic family situation and they have their hands full on top of a new baby.

I haven't heard a lot from your kids lately, not like I did before. John calls some and Mary calls a little. Aimee will text a little, but it's rare to hear from Joe and haven't heard from Harris in more than a year now, no-one has. I did contact a friend of his and he is alive and well, but that's all I know.

Em and Bryan are doing fine. Bryan is now working for Big River Steel and making a lot more money. He takes good care of your car for me. He has it now since I have to have some repair work done to the garage. A guy on drugs ran into the side of it. The crazy part is that his friends pulled him out, laid him on the driveway and drove the car off! He almost died!

Ryan loved working on the farm, but the farmer evidently lost his land or his lease and let everyone go. He's still looking for something and starting to get a little frustrated. So if you have any influence, he could use the help.

Shirley is now in assisted living after the effects of COVID and Karen is getting ready to sell the house. Shirley is always in good spirits when I talk to her but she really wanted to be able to go back home. I'm going to try to get there this fall. We haven't seen each other since they came to visit you in Jonesboro.

Mom is doing pretty good, for almost 91. We took Havyn up for a 5 generation picture. Those are so rare anymore, but I started thinking one day that you had one in your family too. When Amber had Konner, that was a 5th generation...your mom, you, Mary-Rose, Amber and Konner. We just didn't think about it at the time.

Ronna has just finished chemo for cancer and has a PET scan scheduled for tomorrow to see how well it worked. Larry is doing good, has Grandpa's Day Care like you did!

And me, well, I think I'm doing OK. I'm staying busy, but it doesn't seem like I'm doing anything worthwhile. I really need to get with cleaning out the bedrooms and get the remodel stuff done that we planned. It just doesn't have the appeal to me since you aren't here. But, the rooms need cleaned anyway. New roof, new heat/air system and now garage repairs. The siding still isn't finished where the cellar room was torn off and that's really starting to bug me.

I still look over at your seat to see what you are doing. Kitty sometimes finds one of your hats and lays down beside it. She also started laying on your Rockies blanket instead of my Cubs one. Mouse is so fat I can hardly lift him. But he's still the loveable kitten inside.

I miss your laugh, I miss your smile, I miss your touch. I just miss you.

Friday, December 31, 2021

 Here it is, the end of another year. It had its usual ups and downs, as most years do. But I thought I would share my thoughts on the past year, and what I'm looking forward to in the new one.

We all thought that when 2020 was over, things could get back to normal as far as the pandemic went. And yet, it's still hanging around, mutating faster than anyone expected. I have been vaccinated and boosted, yet I still wear a mask when I go to the grocery store, and I only go to very few events. So many people have died, some close to me, others I only hear of or read about. And every day I hear of another friend who has been diagnosed with this virus. I don't know what it will take. While I'm a Christian, we can't pray it away as some seem to think. Yes, we can pray that it will end, we must still follow guidelines that are set out. So, I will pray in the coming year that enough people will be vaccinated and will follow the guidelines which don't take away any rights (but that's a post for another day, and I think has already been posted on my other blog).

Many of us watched in horror as the US Capitol was overrun on January 6. I actually felt sick to my stomach as I watched the windows being broken. While some of the people have already had their day in court, I'm a little disheartened that the sentences are so light. I can't help but wonder what the decisions would have been, by Congress and the courts, if terrorists from other countries had been the ones to carry out this act. You know, terrorists aren't just from other nations.

I didn't mean to make this a political post, so we'll move on from that. I realized some time in November that I was becoming very contemplative and rather melancholy. Someone very dear to me has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemo. My dear friend and neighbor lost his battle with cancer just after Thanksgiving. I was in Illinois at the time, but I had told him there was to be no shenanigans while I was gone. Apparently he didn't think he should listen to my orders! But, he was in pain and the decision was made to place him in hospice. He told me that he was ready to go. There have been many other deaths this year, of contemporaries and classmates and I think that's what drove my thoughts. But then I realized that I am at an age now when that is just a part of this season of life. Maybe it was made more apparent with all of the COVID deaths.

There have been good things that happened this year. I went to three weddings, two granddaughters and a niece. A new grand-nephew was born this week, a great-grandson is due next month and a great-granddaughter is due in March. With this great-granddaughter in March, should my mother still be alive and there's no reason she shouldn't be, it will be the 5th generation. And to make it even more special, it will be five generations of women!

This morning I accomplished three different things that I set out to do last January. I had downloaded a Scripture Writing Challenge. And this morning I wrote the final passage. Lest you think I just picked random verses, a verse or verses were given for each day. If any of you would be interested in something like this I got it from and you can download and print each month. I also found a blank scripture writing page that I printed. The entire year fit into a 2" binder. You could also just use a notebook. But, I found myself thinking about some of the scriptures that I hadn't really thought about before.

Another accomplishment this morning was completing two different devotionals. One was written by a friend of mine and I thoroughly enjoyed her insights. The other one I had purchased at the hospital one day and I had read it off and on, but this time I read it in the order it was supposed to be read. I received two new devotionals this year, one for my birthday and the other for Christmas. They are different formats, one just short little stories, the other a more in depth one. I'm looking forward to starting them tomorrow morning.

I also read through the Bible again this year. I've now done it in at least three different versions, King James, The Message, and this year, the NIV. I've found I prefer the NIV. Some of you will disagree with me, but that one is easier to understand some of the points. I do prefer King James for certain books. Psalms needs to be read in the King James, it flows much better. I haven't decided if I'm going to read it through again this year or wait until next year. I think I want to read it chronologically next. 

I've done a lot of knitting and still have several things in progress. My goal is to finish as many of them as possible this year. They are all large projects, but only one of them has a deadline to get finished and that is just 3 weeks away. But, I'm more than halfway done with it and if I don't get the idea that I need to try a new pattern, should be able to get it finished pretty quickly. Luckily I didn't do it like the pattern called for. It was to be made in three strips and then sewn together. But I hate seaming things. So, I'm just making it in one piece and it goes rather quickly.

For the past few years I've picked a word for the year. This year I hadn't been able to decide on a word. But yesterday the word CONTENTMENT came into my head and is sticking around. So maybe that is the word I'm supposed to use this year.

That's the highlights of my year. I hope yours had more good than bad times. And I hope the coming year brings good things to all of us. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

 Good Morning everyone! It's a cool, sunny fall morning here. It's been cooler, down into the 40s at night, but today is supposed to be warmer with a chance of rain overnight. But, you don't come here to read the weather report!

Not really a lot has been happening in my world. I made another quick trip to Illinois, the 3rd one this year I think. I needed to do my sister's taxes. Now only one more to go in November for my niece's wedding Thanksgiving week-end.

Brianna and David had their gender reveal and it's a.....GIRL! David was a little disappointed, but I told him that daddys and daughters have a special relationship and that he will forget the disappointment when he sees her. They are going to name her Havyn Gene after Bri's two grandfathers who have passed away, Havyn of course after Bill and Gene is for my first husband. And the baby that I told you was due in December is actually due in January and is a boy, but I don't know of any names yet. So, one each of great-grandchildren in 2022.

I got my new heat/air unit installed yesterday. We ordered it in June but there are so many supply problems right now. My dealer said they offered him a different unit but he said no because it wasn't as good and then it miraculously showed up the next day! It is so quiet I hardly know it's running. I did have to lose part of the fence that was around the outside unit because it's a little bigger and they weren't sure if there would be enough air flow around it.

Those of you who know me personally may know that I love technology and the best part for me with this new unit is that I can control it with my phone! It was really easy to set up. I set the temperature I want, set a high and low range and put it on automatic. It will use either heat or air, whichever it needs to use to keep the temp I set! I also don't have to get up in the middle of the night if I get hot or cold, just grab my phone which of course is always plugged in beside the bed. So between that and being able to arm/disarm my security with my phone, and check the security cameras, I'm a happy camper. Yet, at the same time, I have no interest in Alexa, or Google Home, or any of those technologies.

I've been toying with the idea now of not using the Veteran's Cemetery. Bill's only burial wishes were to have a full military funeral. He didn't care where his remains were buried, just that he had the military rites. So I'm thinking about using the local cemetery which is actually right behind my house (almost). It's within walking distance. I know that I can still have the white marble headstone but I don't know if we can be buried in the same grave as we can in the other cemetery. Since it's just ashes I don't see why not, but that's a question to ask. I also know that the VA will reimburse at least part of the cost of the plot and I need to find that out too. The answers to those questions may make up my mind for me. It would also be easier to coordinate a date for all the kids since it could be done any day of the week instead of just Monday-Friday. So, when I've decided, I'll of course let everyone know.

Bill's sister is moving to an assisted living facility next week. She so wanted to go home, but the long-term effects of COVID are making that impossible for her. She's not stable enough walking to be alone. But, she's in good spirits about it and she can have her piano in her room. She'll have a little studio apartment, basically just one room with a kitchenette off to the side with a small closet and bathroom. She's transferring on the 26th. I don't know if she'll be able to teach any music lessons there, but she told me she had decided a long time ago that she would quit teaching at 80 and that's next month. So, it would just be a little early if she can't.

Most cats are strange animals by nature and mine are no exception. Cat is the aloof one, off on her own most of the time, but can be social if she wants. Mouse is the skittish one who really has to check things out before accepting new things. Yet, one thing he likes is music. If I'm at the piano, he's either sitting on the floor like a statue right beside the piano, or he's up on the bench with me, not on me or touching the piano, just sitting on the bench beside me listening. He's also developed the habit of getting in my lap while I'm reading my Bible. Every morning it's my habit to write my daily scripture, have my morning prayer time, read my devotions, read my Bible passages for the day and then write in my personal journal. Mouse lays on the floor while I'm writing my scripture and praying, but he comes and sits closer to me, on the floor, while I'm reading my devotions. But, once I open my Bible and turn to the bookmark, he's up on my lap. Sometimes he sits up and looks at the pages like he's reading them too. Other times he lays down. But it's always just with the Bible. Maybe I should start reading it aloud to him!

Oh, I forgot a very important happening! McKenna was chosen as Homecoming Queen! She was absolutely thrilled! She looked very pretty in both of her dresses (one for the pep rally and one for the game) and she came to see me wearing her tiara when I got home from Illinois.

I think that's it for this time. Happy Halloween everyone!

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.