A Guardian Angel

If you follow my blog, you might remember my previous posts about a resident, David, that lives in the Care Center where my mother lives.

David is 57 years old and one of the most amazing people I have ever met. He is very proud to tell you all about his service to our country. He served in the US Air Force as a fighter pilot. After completing his time in the Air Force, David returned home to his wife, and four children, to resume his civilian life. But shortly after returning to his home, David was diagnosed with a terminal illness. As he was coming to grips with that, he was involved in a horrible car accident. He lost one of his legs and suffered massive internal injuries that resulted in multiple hernia’s, and the removal of his bladder. If that were not enough for anyone to deal with, shortly after the car accident, David’s wife left him and filed for divorce.

I see David every time I visit my mother. He is a blessing in action to all the residents in the Care Center. David is always smiling and telling jokes and always looking for ways to help the people around him. He uses his motor powered wheelchair to push the residents in standard wheelchairs from one destination to another. He sits with residents who are sick and have no one to visit them etc.

David didn’t tell me, but one of the other residents told me, that David recently found out he has gangrene in his remaining leg and may need to have it amputated as well. I was told that David is on massive doses of antibiotics for the leg infection as they are trying to get that under control so they can move forward with a triple hernia surgery he has coming up in two weeks. OMG, how much suffering can one person take?

When my brother-in-law, John, read my blog posts about David, he sent me an email saying that David must be “one hell of a guy” and he wanted to make him a stain glass angel for his room. John said he would make the angel and mail it out to me as soon as he could. I thanked John and told him I would make sure David received his angel as soon as it arrived.

This is the beautiful stained glass angel my brother-in-law, John made for David.  I took this picture of it in my car just before I went into the Care Center because I was not sure if David would want me to take a picture of him with it because David doesn’t really like a lot of fuss or attention…

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When I walked into the Care Center I went immediately to David’s room. I was lucky enough to find him just getting ready to go down to the activity room for the Thursday Church Service. I asked him if I could speak with him for a minute and told him I had something for him. Then, I told David that I had shared with my brother-in-law, John, how good David is with helping all the residents within the Care Center, and that John said “David must be one hell of a guy”, and that he wanted David to have this stained glass angel that John made for him.

I can’t even find the words to explain the look on David’s face when he opened the package and saw the stained glass angel. His face lit up, and he said “this is going to be my guardian angel to help me through my upcoming surgeries and recovery. Then David surprised me and asked if I would take a picture of him  in his room with the angel, and his pictures of Jesus.

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When I showed David the picture on my camera, he said “oh, take one more of the larger picture of Jesus on my wall too. He said “I love Jesus with all my heart and soul and there is nothing I alone can do for myself, or anyone else, without Jesus leading me through it. David told me he talks to Jesus all day and he knows Jesus is taking care of him because, three weeks ago, David past the deadline for the amount of time the doctors told him he would have to live.  I was so humbled by David’s spirit. I told him I think the reason he passed the time the doctors gave him to live is because Jesus isn’t finished with having David do his will here on earth yet. David asked if he could give me a hug and as I hugged him I thought to myself, yes, John, David is one hell of a guy…!

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Note to John: David wanted me to tell you he loves Angels and the one you made for him is absolutely beautiful and that you made his day. He said he will keep it always close to him and he thanks you from the bottom of his heart.

Stay Tuned!

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Danny, Lost, And Found

My brother, Danny, goes to see our mother at the Care Center where she lives almost every Sunday and my mother always looks forward to his weekly visit.

I visit my mother 2-3 times a week and try to plan my visits around an activity she will be involved in such as bingo, church service, or her lunch time. I do this because if I try to just sit and visit with my mother one-on-one, she gets easily distracted and will often times leave me sitting while she wanders out into the hall or even into another room. When I’m with my mother and she does wander into the hall etc. I remind her that I came to visit her and she should come back and spend some time visiting with me… If she doesn’t come back to where I am, I go where she is and bring her back explaining that if she doesn’t want to visit any longer I can go and she continue about her business. Sometimes that works and my mother will focus her attention on our visit. Other times she will just say “OK, you can go now” so I give her a hug, tell her good-bye, and let her know when I plan to come back.

Yesterday (Sunday), I received a frantic phone call from my mother. She was so upset I could barely understand what she was trying to tell me. After a lot of asking her to slow down and repeat what she just said, she was finally told me that my brother, Danny, had come to visit her. She said he sat through lunch with her then pushed her to the activity room and was going to help her play bingo. Then she told me that she told Danny she would be right back because she wanted to go to her tablemates (Joan) room to check on her because she has been really sick and just got out of the hospital. Mom said Danny told her not to go to see Joan and said she should stay with him and play bingo. Mom went on to tell me that she told Danny again that she would be right back and left.

Finally, after about a half an hour of listening to what mom was trying to tell me, I asked her what is it that has her so upset. She said “I lost Danny”. I asked her to explain what she meant and she said when she came back from Joan’s room, Danny was gone and she has been looking for him for hours. I asked her how she was able to call me since I know she can’t push the numbers on her cell phone anymore and she told me she went to the nurses station and asked the duty nurse, George, to look up my number and call me because this was a real emergency to find Danny. Then she handed the phone over to George and asked him to explain to me that Danny was lost. When George got on the phone I told him that I can assure him Danny is not lost. I said mom wandered away from Danny while he was visiting with her and he probably just decided he wasn’t going to sit there alone while mom wanders about the building. George said he knew Danny was not lost but thought it might help settle mom down if she could talk to me about it.  I apologized to George for my mother taking up his time for this and asked him if I could speak to my mother again telling him that I was going to tell my mother Danny is fine and to go back to her room and take her afternoon nap.

When mom got back on the phone. I told her I was sure Danny was fine but she insisted that I call him and find out where he was. I told her I would call Danny and asked her to go take her nap which she agreed to do.

I did call my brother Danny but he didn’t answer his phone so I left him a message letting him know what was going on and how upset mom was thinking he is lost…

About two hours later I received another phone call from a number I did not recognize. I answered it and it was my mother’s next door neighbor, David (the man who lost one of his legs in an auto accident and just recently found out he may need to have his other leg amputated. In other words, David has enough of his own problems without my mother getting him involved in looking for her son, Danny, that I can assure everyone was not lost.) David proceeded to tell me how upset my mother was and asked me to talk to her and try to calm her down. When my mother got on the phone she asked me if I found Danny yet. I told her that I called him but he didn’t answer so I left a message. I said you just need to calm down mom and stop making such an ordeal out of this. I told her again that Danny is not lost. He just went home, which is a 45 minute drive from the Care Center and he and his wife Bea are probably out doing something together since Sunday is their only day off together. At that mom said “well, call Bea then and ask her if she knows where Danny is”. Then David got back on the phone and said he would sit with mom for a while until she calms down. David went on to tell me what a joy my mother is and how she is like his grandmother at the Care Center and what a blessing she is in his life… I thanked David for trying to help my mother but told him that I only live 10 minutes from the Care Center and would come down there right away if I thought at all that anything was wrong with Danny, or if in fact Danny went missing… I said my mother is just making way too much out of this and she just needs to stop getting everyone involved in this and go find something positive to do, and I will be there tomorrow (Monday) to check on her.

Well, seven phone calls later, all within a five-hour span, from the nurses at the Care Center, David, my call to Danny etc. I finally connected with my sister-in-law, Bea, and found out that Danny was in fact home, not answering his phone because he was frustrated that he drove all that way to see mom and she just left him sitting…. I don’t blame him, but I asked Bea to see if Danny would please call the Care Center and let the nurse know he is fine so all those crazy phone calls I’m getting would stop!!! Bea said “Danny’s not going to call up there because he’s too frustrated with the whole thing right now.” So I said “OK, then I will call and let them know I FOUND Danny and they can all relax and stop calling me…” I did call them, they did stop calling me, and so I guess all is well that ends well… now that Danny has been found!

Stay Tuned!

Home

I’m a BIG believer in only having things around me in my home that bring me happiness and joy. I recently read an article by sisters Laura Carlin, and Alison Forbes, that said “one of the most effective things you can do is to create a home that nourishes and inspires you to live with things you love.” I totally agree with that thought process. Laura and Alison also have a website at www.inspiredeverydayliving.com

Several years ago I went through my entire home and got rid of everything and anything that did not hold a special happy memory for me. What a difference that made in the way I feel about my home, and the things I display in it. I was finally able to find the peace I was looking for within my home…

I love to find unique ways to decorate with things I love. Not just going out and buying something to decorate with, but rather looking around my home and repurposing, and displaying, a treasured item in a new way.

Because of my love of cooking, I watch a lot of cooking shows for inspiration for new recipes. One of the cooking shows I watch is Sandra Lee’s, Simi-homemade. I like her show because she not only demonstrates how to cook simple everyday meals, she also demonstrates how to create beautifully decorated tables using simple everyday items. Even the TV kitchen set her show is filmed in is decorated differently for every show to match the theme of the menu… Seeing how her set was decorated with simple materials for window coverings, that can be changed out at will…, inspired me to repurpose one of my most treasured items in a new and unique way.

Many, many years ago, when I was still working in Corporate America, our company hosted a dinner/dance evening out at the Arizona Science Center where the Titanic exhibit was being shown. Everyone was invited to come dressed in costume, so of course, being the fun-loving good sports my husband Bill and I are… I went as the unsinkable Molly Brown, and Bill went as my Gambler suitor…

This is the photo we had taken as we entered the Titanic exhibit. Just look how young and beautiful we were there. 🙂

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We rented our outfits for the night, but I bought the beautiful black fringe shawl I’m wearing just because I loved it so much. I’ve kept that beautiful shawl all these years but have never worn it. It just stayed in my dresser drawer, where I would look at it from time to time, and remember how much fun Bill and I had the night we visited the Titanic exhibit all those years ago.

Now fast forward to this week when I was inspired to repurpose my treasured shawl…

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I love the way the roses show up so well when the light from the window comes in behind it. I also think the fringe gives a wink to my rustic, cowgirl/saloon girl theme within my home.

Now, every time I walk into my kitchen, I can see my beautiful shawl that serves a new purpose, and makes me smile… 🙂

Stay tuned!

Our Date Day

My husband, Bill, had the rare opportunity to have a Friday day off today. So, we decided today was going to be all about just Bill and I making a fun-filled date day of doing whatever makes us happy. We are always up early around our house (like 4-4:30ish early) so we had breakfast and coffee together. Then, as soon as it started getting light outside, we put on our hiking shoes, grabbed our hiking sticks, put water, cheese sticks, and some nuts in our hiking backpack, and headed out to beautiful South Mountain Park for a morning of hiking and sightseeing together.

As we started out on the hiking trail we wondered if those ominous clouds were going to produce any rain. But, luck was with us, and we were able to get our hike completed without getting rained on… YEAH!!

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In fact, the weather was perfect.

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I didn’t even have to wear my leather jacket like I usually do when the weather turns cooler. You know 80 degrees is cooler for us desert rats that happen to love the 112+ heat of the Arizona summers… 🙂

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All the rain we had over the past few months really helped bring out the beautiful wildflowers.

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And Bill and I enjoyed looking at all the different rock formations as we stopped to enjoy a snack once we reached the top of the mountain.

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We spent a while in this adorable little rock house, complete with a little basement.

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It also had a little cooking area, and we had a lot of fun talking about how we could make this little house into our new retirement home. We all know how much I love, love, love rustic decor… with a little TLC I could make this little rustic gem my own once we homestead it… HA!

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But as with all good things…. soon it was time to make our way back down the mountain with a promise to return again soon… REAL soon.

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After we completed our hike, we went shopping to see if we could find a special hot sauce Bill loves and that he can only find at T.J.Maxx. Didn’t find the hot sauce but I found a deal on pretty black sweater I needed….

Next, it was off to Jason’s Deli where we dined on our favorite… Smokey Jack Panini. Who doesn’t love smoked turkey with bacon and cheese all toasted up into a nice hot Panini… YUMMERS!!!

After all that fun and excitement of this morning and afternoon…, now we are all settled in back at home and getting ready to enjoy our little happy hour. Then, later, I will whip up some fabulous baked fish, black rice, and vegetables for us for dinner tonight.

Now what’s not to love about a DATE DAY like that?

To be continued… 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned

The Missing Watch

I went to visit my mother again today and found her fully dressed and sleeping in her bed when I arrived. I woke her up and asked her why she was back in bed instead of the activity room with all the other residents playing bingo? She seemed surprised to see me and a bit out of sorts again. I asked her what was wrong and she told me she had a terrible morning and now she just wanted to stay in bed. I asked what made her morning so bad and she told me she had another, new, male, aid today that was told he needed to give her a shower. She said he took her to the shower room and took off her watch, bracelet, and necklace, and put them in his pocket, which she said they are supposed to do so they don’t get lost. She said  when she got back to her room the aid put all her jewelry in her drawer except her watch.

Mom told me she spent the entire morning looking for her watch. She said she went to the nurses station and reported it missing and she told everyone up and down the halls that her watch was missing… She said the nurses, aids, and even some of the other residents were going through her shower bag, wheelchair bag, nightstand drawers etc. looking for her watch. Mom said she told everyone that my brother, Danny, bought her that watch and he was going to be just as upset as she is when he finds out someone took her watch…

I put the call light on and asked the aid to please get mom out of bed and into her wheelchair so I could take her down to lunch. At first mom said she didn’t want to eat because she was too upset about her watch, but after some coaxing, she agreed to let me take her to the dining room… While the aid was helping mom out of bed and into her wheelchair, I took the opportunity to look through her things as well to see if I could find her watch, but found nothing.

Once we were in the dining room, I helped mom get her bib on and started reading the menu choices to her. Potato soup for a starter, then fish and chips or chicken Quesada. Mom decided on the chicken Quesada. As we were waiting for mom’s lunch to arrive, her tablemate, Joan, arrived at the table and asked mom why she didn’t show up at bingo? Mom proceeded to tell Joan all about her missing watch…

Finally mom’s potato soup arrived. Then, as mom reached out to take some of her soup, her jacket sleeve moved up and… YEP…, there was mom’s watch, resting comfortably on her arm… Oh MY!!!

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I said “mom, there is your watch right there on your arm.” She looked at the watch, then at me, and then at Joan, and said “what do I do, I feel like I should start crying?” At that, all three of us started laughing and I snapped this picture.

Mom was very worried about what to say now since she made such a fuss about her missing watch. I told her not to worry, after lunch we would just go back to the nurses station and report that we found the missing watch… I said I’m sure things like this happen all the time around here and they won’t think it is any big deal, they will just be happy you now know where your watch is… and that is exactly what happened!

One thing is for sure… there is never a dull moment around here… 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Another Wednesday

Wednesday’s are one of the day’s I always spend with my daughter, Shantel.

Up at 4:00 A.M. so I have enough time to cook the bacon,

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and seasoned chicken breasts Shantel always asks me to bring so she can just heat and eat them during the week when she’s ready.

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Shantel can cook many things for herself, but frying bacon and chicken is a bit dangerous for her to do alone, and I don’t mind at all making it for her.

Next, I pack up the usual supply of paper towels and bar hand soap we buy at Costco for her. Shantel says she can never have enough paper towels.

By 7:50 A.M. I’m on the road and heading to Shantel’s apartment with the goods…

When I arrive, Shantel is standing outside and ready to go… As she made her way to the car, I ran inside her apartment to put the food I cooked away.

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Then it’s off to the bank to talk to someone about Shantel’s bank card being comprised.

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She received a call Saturday afternoon from the fraud department of the bank letting her know there had been some suspicious charges to her card, from a Murphy Express in Cedar Park Texas. The fraud department asked her if she wanted to authorize the charges and Shantel told them no. So the bank said they would put a permanent block on that card and told her that she would need to go into her bank branch to obtain a new card… Today the bank dismissed the unauthorized charges and the overdraft charge and issued Shantel a new card…

With the banking issue taken care of we were off and running to Walmart for as Shantel says …”much-needed hair products.” OMG, hair products are the never-ending story with that girl.

After too much time at Walmart (it’s now 10:30 A.M.) the next stop on our agenda was Fry’s Food Store to purchase her weekly groceries… Then, a mad dash back to Shantel’s apartment to put the groceries away so we can get her to school on time for her 11:00 class.

But…. not too fast… because Shantel still wanted to stop at McDonald’s for two Mc Doubles, medium fries, and a large Carmel Frappe that she can take with her to class!!!  She said it’s just enough to hold her over until she gets home and enjoys the chicken I cooked for her…

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It was a fast paced morning, and I told Shantel sometimes I can’t believe that I, a long time queen of planning…., ended up dashing around town with my daughter who is making every effort to turn me into a “last-minute Nelly…” But, like I said…, it was “just another Wednesday…” 🙂 🙂

Stay Tuned

I Feel Pretty

When I went to visit my mother today I found her going down the long hall very slowly and looking out of sorts. As I got closer, I noticed her hair was all wet, and her sweater top was on backwards. I asked her what happened to her hair and why her top was on backwards. She told me she had a new, young, male, Aid, give her a shower and he didn’t know how to blow dry and fix her hair so he left it wet, and apparently he didn’t know the front from the back of her sweater top. Mom also said the Aid didn’t even put any deodorant on her… She said “I feel like I look and smell awful.”

I said “well, don’t get all upset mom, I will help you get deodorant on, and help you get your top on right, and I will fix your hair.” I pushed mom back to her room, closed her bed curtain, found her deodorant in her shower bag and applied that for her, and helped her get her sweater top, that zips up the back, turned around so it was on her correctly. Then, I pushed her into her bathroom, put some hair mouse on her hair, and began blow drying her hair with a round brush lifting and curling it as I went. Even when mom has an Aid that really knows her and can shower and dress her properly, they never get her hair right. They just get it dry. They don’t really have enough time to spend trying to get it styled, and they really don’t even know the way my mom always styled her hair.

With her hair dry and fixed, I put some lipstick on her (first time in years she has had lipstick on), and her new necklace and bracelet, and turned her around so she could see herself.

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I asked her how she felt now, and she said “I feel pretty.” When she said that, I said “do you know there is a song from West Side Story called “I Feel Pretty.” She said she knew that song. I said “OK, if you know it, sing it with me, and much to my surprise, she was able to follow my lead and we sang the first verse of:

I Feel Pretty,

Oh So Pretty,

I Feel Pretty and Witty and Bright!

And I Pity

Any Girl Who Isn’t Me Tonight…

I could tell that mom really did feel pretty after she had her hair fixed and some lipstick on…. And, with that, I pushed her down to the dining room where she surprised me again and actually ate almost all of her lunch, including desert. And, at least for today, mom actually generated very positive interactions with her tablemate, Joan. I guess the old saying is true… ” Pretty Is As Pretty Does…”

After lunch I took mom back to her room and she actually asked me to put some more lipstick on her because she said most of it came off when she was eating… I re-applied her lipstick and she said “now I feel pretty again for today. I touched her face and said “you ARE pretty mom… Just try to remember, pretty is NEVER about the lipstick…

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Stay tuned!

Previous Older Entries

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On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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