Thursday, April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015

It is with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes that I write the words that I hoped to never have to write... Mom passed away in her sleep this morning.

She had been doing well, and had improved enough that we were able to transition her from nursing care to assisted living. We moved her things and signed all the paperwork on Monday; she was really looking forward to having her own private room and we set up a little twin bed with plans to get a loveseat, bedside stand and other furniture on Saturday. She was very tired after the move, but we talked about what art supplies she wanted me to bring and what she could use as an art table. She had already decided it would go along the window that looked out onto the garden.

She was so excited when she heard that she could have an electric fireplace, and I threatened to take her credit card away from her if she went crazy shopping online before we had a chance to check out the Restore furniture place in Glenwood. :-)

I called her on Tuesday, and she said she was tired and having some problems breathing but that they put her back on oxygen and that helped. The doctor checked her lungs Wednesday and said they had improved and sounded clear. This morning the nurse brought her morning medications around 5:45, and said Mom was bright and alert and joked about dropping one of her pills. Before the nurse left, Mom said she was tired and would sleep a while longer before breakfast. When she didn't show up by the time breakfast was over, they went to check on her and found she was gone.

At her request, there will be no formal service. She has directed that she be cremated and her ashes scattered at Fremont Lake, which we will probably do later this summer.

The last eight months were hard on her body, but her mind and her spirit never failed, in part to the love and prayers you sent her way. Thank you to everyone who called and sent her cards and emails; it meant a lot to her that you all cared.

Best personal regards,

Friday, February 27, 2015

Februarry 24, 2015

It's been a long, long time since I've updated my blog.  I honestly don't know where the time goes, except I sleep a lot.

My treatment (chemo and radiation both) didn't seem so bad at the time.  It caught up with me later - along with the overmedication they had me on.  There were times I didn't even know where I was.

They stopped the chemo a little early because they felt I wasn't strong enough.  They do know the cancer shrunk (quite a bit), but my appointment next month will tell us more.

I was taking physical therapy and doing great.  Then my right leg kind of "blew up|" on me. I had a cyst behind my knee, which evidently drained down into my calf.  It become very painful and red. I couldn't walk with it.

I've been sent for an ultra sound, a CScan, and an XRay.  They were worried about blood clots.  One report did show partial blockage of some arteries.  I hope we learn more next month.

In the meantime, I am lazy, lounging in bed knitting, and taking plenty of naps. 

Life here in the Heritage Park Care Center is not what I expected.  It's a big place, with lots of patients and a large staff.  The therapy "gym" is large and fully equipped. There is  even a swimming pool. 

I have drawn one antelope since I've been here, but haven't photographed it yet.

More later, I promise!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Jan 12

I've enjoyed having this room all to myself since they moved Lori out.  A couple days ago, they brought a new patient in and  put her in the room across the hall.  She is a screamer, and within an hour, the other woman in the room had moved into this room.  We even close our door at night to cut down on the noise.  Hope she gets used to the place and quiets down.

Anyway,  I have a roommate, and she is very nice.  She likes the curtains open, the blinds open, and we have the same tastes in TV.

I have an appointment tomorrow at Shaw. They want to check on my progress and determine what the next steps will be.  Hope it all goes well.

I don't have any photos, but Barrie sent me a couple of her and Kasey going out to the dog lot to feed.


and one of Grandpa teaching Kasey to shoot her new bow and arrow.

Friday, January 2, 2015


At least I think it's Thursday. 

I am sure enjoying having my bed by the big window.  The sun shines in my eyes in the mornings, but it's been so long since I saw the sun, I don't  care.  The woman who was here kept the blinds closed and the privacy curtain closed.  She also kept her TV on 24 hours a day.  I'm not joking either. 

Tracy was here yesterday and cleaned my closet and drawers, so now I know what clothes I have and where they are.

They removed the air conditioner  from the window, Tracy has been asking about a recliner chair for me, and they brought one in yesterday,  Pretty close quarters, but it works. 

Happy Anniversary to my good friends Judi and Rollie.  You are the best!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24

Merry Christmas,everyone.  It seems just like a regular day here.  Paul and Tracy (and probably Daisy) are coming tomorrow.

Barrie won't be here for Christmas.  She said Kasey is at her Dad's house anyway.

I've done over an hour of physical therapy today.  I was prepared to hate it, but  I know I'm making progress and getting stronger. 

The food is another story,  I sent my tray  back today and asked for a bowl of tomato soup , some toast, and a large glass of milk.  I got a bowl of cold soup, one piece of toast and no milk.

A nurse mentioned that a local artist comes twice a week to give lessons.  Guess I will check it out.

I've knit a scarf and hat, and started on a sweater.  I tend to get sleepy when I knit!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Update 12/17/14

Hi everyone, it's Tracy hijacking Mom's blog again, because I wanted to share great news with you.
We met with Mom’s care team today, and things are going really, really well! She is eating MUCH better – pretty regularly 50% - 75% of her meals. Her physical therapists have her walking 500-600 feet (with her walker) on some days...not every day, but she's definitely building up her stamina. They suggested that she start walking down to the dining room for meals, which she wasn’t crazy about, but I’m hoping they can convince her to do it. The Dr. said if she’s more active we could take her off the blood thinners, which she’s been on because of their concern about blood clots due to her being bedridden.
She has gained 2 or 3 pounds, and seems much brighter and happier. The Dr. would like to try reducing her pain meds even further to see if that will help with her alertness, and they want to make an appointment with the cancer center for a followup in January. Now that they feel she's on the upswing, they want to see what the cancer Dr. feels is the next best step in her cancer treatment.

She has started knitting a scarf, and asked for some movies and magazines. Her pressure sore is also improving a little, which they think is due in good part to her increased appetite and calorie/protein intake.

So overall, good news and I thought you’d want to know. I have asked Barrie to come down for Christmas, hoping that she and Kasey could help keep Mom's spirits up after the bad news about Judi, but haven’t heard back from her.

I do have a favor to ask of all of you...please pester Mom to get out of bed and walk to the dining room for meals. She's never been much for caving in to peer pressure, but maybe just this once it will work. The faster she regains her strength, the sooner she can come home. And that's MY Christmas wish this year! 

Love to you all,

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hi All

Yes, it's me, what's left of me, anyway.  If you want entertainment, don't try this.  I  find myself wondering what hit me.

Tracy says I spent a week at the Vail Valley Medical and I don't remember any of it.  That's when they decided maybe  they were medicating me too much. 

sleep, eat, knit, sleep some more.

Thanks for all the cards and letter from all of you.  I love and miss you all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Update 12/14/14

Aren't you all proud of me that I posted an update without Claire reminding me? LOL

This will be short and sweet, because I haven't been able to actually go see Mom since I've been back. The facility is still under a quarantine due to the GI outbreak; the head nurse had thought they might be cleared up by Thursday or Friday, but I guess there were a couple of people who got sick again, so they decided to keep the quarantine in place. Disappointing, but what can you do...

I have talked to Mom on the phone a couple of times; the good news is that she has at least tasted the food there enough to complain that she doesn't like it. The bad news is, that means she's still not eating much of anything. I told her to keep a list of things that sound good to her, and to ask them for those things. And she hasn't had any Ensure for a while, which is something I know she will eat and it provides a lot of protein and calories, so I need to talk with the nurse about why that's not happening.

Our conversations have been short, but she sounds like she feels better and maybe/hopefully has a little more energy. I have a list of things to bring to her and one of those is her laptop, so maybe she will start posting her own updates for you. I'm sure you would all appreciate that!

The Bronco game is starting so I will sign off. I'm hoping to be able to go see her after work tomorrow; keep your fingers crossed that the quarantine is lifted.

Have a great rest of your weekend,

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Update 12/9/14

Good morning, all. I do not have much news to share, but I promised to post an update when I got back from vacation so here you go...

Bill and Alice did a wonderful job checking on Mom while I was gone, and it was a huge relief to know that someone like them could be here on her behalf. The care facility is a good one, but it helps to have someone there daily to make sure she's getting the care she needs. The staff can get a little lax unless you stay of top of what's going on.

I spoke with Mom on the phone on Saturday, and she sounded much brighter. Alice said she was dressed and in her wheelchair when they got there, which I think was a first. I tried to go see her last night, but when I got there, the facility had been quarantined due to a GI outbreak. They wouldn't even let me go peek my head in if I gowned up with mask and gloves, so they were taking it very seriously which I guess is good. The head nurse said Mom and her roommate were two of the only people in the facility that hadn't been hit by the bug, so appreciate their efforts to keep it from spreading any further.

I was able to talk for about an hour with the head nurse, who went over Mom's charts with me and we talked about how things are going. There may be a slight (very slight) improvement in her eating, so we are hopeful that this might signal a turnaround.

The bedsores had gotten infected the last time I was there, but a round of antibiotics seem to have kicked that and the nurse said it appears to have little bit of new tissue growth, which is great news. Hopefully she'll continue to eat more, which will give her body the energy it needs to heal.

That's all I have to share; please let me know if I'm not answering all of your questions. I don't want to cross the line between an update and TMI.

Happy Holiday to you and your loved ones,

Monday, November 24, 2014

Update 11/24/14

Hello all, not much to update, but I wanted to make sure I posted something before the Thanksgiving can all thank Claire Faler for the gentle reminder that it had been a while! :-)

My husband and I will be out of town visiting his parents, so my Uncle Bill and Aunt Alice (Mom's brother & sister-in-law) have generously volunteered to stay at my house so they can check on Mom while I'm away. It will make me feel better to know someone will be here for her, and it was so nice of them to offer so that I would feel comfortable leaving town. Alice has plenty of experience dealing with nursing homes, so I know Mom will be in good hands!

Mom has been eating a little bit more, although still not near enough. But it's encouraging that she says she actually feels a little hungry, even if just a few bites fill her up. She likes ice cream! Not much else, but she likes plain, vanilla ice cream. And apparently Cream of Wheat is another dish she requests, regardless of the time of day.

Her pain level fluctuates, and the medical staff are unclear whether it's coming from her back, the tumor, or her bed sores. Regardless, we are working on tapering off some of her pain medications in an effort to increase her alertness so that she will eat and exercise and hopefully get strong enough to come home.

Exercise, exercise...she absolutely HATES having to do physical therapy! Luckily, she has a very good physical therapist who doesn't take "no" for an answer. I just wish the rest of the staff had that attitude; many of them give up far too easily in my opinion, whether it's getting her to eat or shower, or just sit up in a chair for a while. She is still extremely weak, and that unfortunately doesn't seem to be improving, so eating and P.T. are key.

The social worker suggested that maybe she needed some activities to motivate her, so I also got her some magazines and brought her some yarn so she could knit; she hasn't actually knit anything yet, but she holds the yarn and talks about what she's going to make!

Thank you all so much for the wonderful cards she's been receiving; I read them to her, and leave them for her to look at. I have another meeting with her "care team" on Wednesday, although I doubt I will hear anything new. Then I'll be gone for a week, but I will do my best to post an update when I get back.

Thanks again for your support and prayers.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!