Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Last Time Alive
I still don't feel like providing a detailed break-down of my dad's condition, so I am going to give the short version. Before the holidays, the doctors told his wife that he has about a month left. I'm not an expert, but judging by his condition, I'll be surprised if he lasts more than 2 weeks. Sunday, after two of my brothers said goodbye, my dad became very depressed & refused to eat. Yesterday, he refused to drink too. To me, that is a sign that he is ready to go. He will definitely be much better off because this is no way to live.
His wife is planning to bring him home the middle of next week (assuming he makes it that long). We talked to hospice on Friday & they'll bring a hospital bed & visit as often as needed. My youngest brother is planning to wrap up work & pack some things this week to head back to help take care of him.
Fortunately, it was easy to see that he appreciated our visit. There were 2 particular times that he was extremely alert. Once was when my brother (middle one) offered a family prayer on Thanksgiving. I was peeking & saw my dad's eyes fly open & he was intently listening. My brother talked about not being worried about us because we are well taken care of. He also said it was ok to pass on and that we were so thankful for his wife. The other time, he was very alert was yesterday morning. One brother, Steve & I had gone to see him before heading out. His wife asked me to let him feel my belly. Suddenly, his eyes were wide open and he was desperately trying to soak in the moment. That is a weird thing to experience, but I think it meant a lot to him. There were other times that he was definitely trying to interact, but was not quite as alert.
My eyes filled with tears many times over the last week, but I think hugging his wife goodbye in the hospital was the worst. We all knew it was the last time we would see him alive. Her sadness made it too hard to keep it together. We will always cherish this last family visit with him.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Mr. Kid Popular
We just got back & I am not really feeling like getting emotional or writing a lot, so I'm going to add a fun photo from our trip. Here is Steve with two neices & a nephew. I can tell you that they were all over Steve the whole time, especially Kaylie (the one in the green pants). She began a new chant... "Uncle Steve, pick me up! Uncle Steve, pick me up!" Funny how he always gave in after she flashed her puppy dog eyes at him. I think Lexi is going to get away with murder.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Yesterday, I spoke to one of my brothers who is already in Houston. He told me that dad is quite a sad sight. He is skinnier than ever, basically a skeleton with no muscle tone or fat. He can't speak and can only nod when he has enough energy to. The worst part though is that he is on the verge of crying all the time, which so foreign to his usual self. I am sure that has to do with their arrival and maybe some frustration of not being able to communicate. Thoughts of seeing him like that bothered me last night, but I kept it together.
This morning was a different story though. I woke up at 5am with many of these images, thoughts about all the plans we have to figure out while we are there, and memories running through my head. I also thought about the things I am thankful for like Steve & Lexi. Suddenly, tears came pouring out. Realizing that I was crying for someone who was a master of hiding emotions was even stranger. He didn't teach me to be like this. For the moments I slip, I blame that on my mother. Not that it is a bad thing, but she is always connected to her emotions.
After half an hour of tears, Steve woke up and put his arms around me. A gentle kiss and the words "I love you" made me even happier to be with him. This trip is going to be rough and it is nice knowing he has my back.
Monday, November 21, 2005
We have a friend that refinanced her house and pulled out money. She had a few projects that she wanted done. One of the projects was a new deck. She gathered a few quotes then asked Steve if he would be interested. I didn't expect him to say yes, since it is football season and we have a lot of work we want to get done on our house. He decided that not only would he like to do it, but that we needed the money. I was quite surprised and wondered if he had been wanting to buy something that I wasn't aware of. I was even more shocked that he was willing to give away his ticket to the Dolphins vs the Patriots game so he could work that Saturday. He worked the last two weekends and it turned out great (as you can see), which I knew it would. Anyway, guess what he wants to use the money for? ...home improvements to our house. Working in order to do more work that we hadn't even planned on? It sounds very ambitious to me.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Difficult Dad Discussions
Last night, I got a call from my dad's wife. She said this was a really tough call to make and she started crying. I thought she was going to say that he is going down hill fast and that we needed to get there ASAP. She took a deep breath and told me that the fluid on his brain is back to where it was 2 weeks ago (before his last surgery). This makes him very tired and unable to communicate much. She was worried that we would all be there for Thanksgiving and would be unable to have any special conversations with him. She also said that the doctor doesn't want to do transfer him back to the hospital downtown to drain the fluid again, but she would try to convince him if that was our wishes. Right now, he has a 3 month life expectancy, but draining the brain again would add two more weeks (basically put him back to where he was 2 weeks ago). Another point is that he will be downtown and it will take over an hour to get there each day. (She didn't say it, but that puts a burden on her.) As far as Thanksgiving is concerned, he might get a day pass from the rehab hospital that he is in. If he is downtown, he will not be able to leave for the day. I told her that I wasn't bothered by his inability to communicate, but that I would call my siblings to find out how they felt and get back to her. She was quite relieved by that.
I didn't really have to call. I knew exactly how everyone would react; 3 would be fine and 1 would freak out. I called my brother just younger than me first because he lives right by the one that would freak out. I told him the situation and he agreed that we shouldn't put him through another surgery just for the possibility of conversation. By the way, who knows if he'll even recognize us those days that he is able to speak? I called the next oldest in line & left a message. I knew for sure that he wouldn't mind. Then, I called the one that would freak out & left a message. I called my little sister last. She lives near my dad and has been able to see him several times over the last few months. She was fine with not having another surgery.
Finally, I got a hold of the freak out one and guess what... He freaked out. He got quite angry and said that it wasn't up to us and that we had to give my dad whatever he wanted. He felt that if my dad wanted to prolong his life even by a day that we should get the surgery everyday if necessary. I think that it is strange to think our dad would want to stay alive since he is closer & closer to a vegetable state. We talked for a while and I told him that I remembered something about dad saying he didn't want anymore surgeries. When we got off the phone, I called my sister and asked her for sure. He definitely said, "Under no circumstances do I want more of this (meaning treatments & surgery)." That was before they drained his brain last time. I called my brother back and he said, "That's fine, if that's what he wants."
Later, I got a hold of the other brother & he didn't want more surgeries either. Six in six months should be enough. --- Fun conversations for a Friday night, right?
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Disliking the Dentist
Today, I went to my dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I don't mind going to the dentist unless I have to pay him a lot of money to torture me, but being pregnant I knew that it wouldn't be an issue this time. However, I was not prepared for the reaction from my belly. As soon as the hygienist laid the seat back, my bowling ball mound became a twitching odd ball. That soon developed into constant weirdo waterbed type movements. To be honest, I was a wee bit embarrassed. I put my hand on my belly in an effort to camouflage some of the bizarreness of it all. Fortunately, the hygienist has two children. She laughed and told Lexi that she will not hurt me and will make sure this is over as soon as possible. I guess Lexi didn't believe her though because she didn't let up until the seat back was returned to the upright position. Who knew that dentist chairs are so disagreeable?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Life has been so hectic lately. I am trying to finish several projects, both at home and at work. Instead of writing a lot, I am just going to stick in a photo & call it a pre-Thanksgiving shot. I know that when I get back from Houston, the post-Thanksgiving shot will be much bigger. I admit that I like to pig out during the holidays. I am going to teach Lexi about that important American tradition, especially since I can't play tackle football with my brothers this year.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Christmas Cards Galore
One of my more pleasurable duties at work is the company Christmas Card. Actually, to be politically correct, we call them Holiday Cards. Every year, I design a new style, have them printed, and collect company contacts. Then, I turn over the addresses and envelopes to my assistant to print them out individually. I am quite picky about making them look personalized. So far, I have designed and had them printed. I have only given her about 200 contacts (300 to go), but she finished them up quickly and now I am surrounded by piles of cards to sign. On top of getting writers cramp, I figure out who else in the company should sign each one. I create more piles and try to get all of the relevant people to sign each card.
This is all quite time consuming, but I think I like it because I have always enjoyed sending out personal Christmas cards. I have to admit that after dealing with all these cards every year, I don't spend the time or put as much creativity into our cards like I used to. I still find it fun though. Hopefully, this year I will even write a little newsletter. It depends on how much energy I have after the trip to Houston.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Belly at 28 Weeks
Another week another photo to post, but no progress on the home front. Lately, I have been focused on preparing for our Thanksgiving trip, doing a couple of projects, and buying baby supplies. I haven't spent any time working on the nursery or getting our house baby prepped. Tonight, Steve and I are planning to go to Babies R Us to pick up the crib and dresser along with other things. Hopefully, that jump starts our ambition to attack the house or at least the nursery. Maybe, I could start with a To Do List and just take care of a few things at a time.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Maternity Wardrobe Dreaming
This past week, I have been shopping for maternity clothes, partly because I am tired of what I have and partly because we are going to Houston for Thanksgiving and I want some fall clothes. Besides seeing my family (who I don't worry about impressing), I am going to be seeing a bunch of friends. I can't go to Houston without making the rounds, especially since I haven't been there in 2 years. This trip is getting me more excited by the moment. Ok, I realize that the reason for the trip is sad and has nothing to do with old friends, but seeing my friends is a perk. Life can't be all tears, right? Besides, my dad will be in the hospital the whole time. We'll have our visiting hours and I'll spend lots of time with the family, but friends are still high on my priority list.
Anyway, back to the point - I realized today that accumulating a maternity wardrobe means that I should wear the clothes more than just a few months. We're just going to have to have 1 or 2 more kids. Do I have the energy? Who knows? Plus, that is pretty optimistic thinking for a fertility challenged girl, but I prefer to have hope. I want my kids to experience all of the fighting, teasing, and competition that overshadowed my childhood. Since I have the clothes and we'll have plenty of baby stuff, please bring on the kids. While I am being optimistic, I'll let myself believe that a job will fall into my lap that lets me work from home on a permanent basis & we get to move out of Miami. ...dreamer
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Chronic Plumber Butt
When I first started wearing maternity pants, I was thrilled with the fact that they are easy to pull down. This is vital when one has to make several trips to the restroom. In fact, they allow you to take a few additional seconds to wrap up whatever you are working on before rushing off to the relieve yourself. Although, they are extremely convenient I realized right away that this style is not good for everyone. Can you imagine having these pants in Jr High, when everyone is trying to "pants" each other as a joke? Holy Mollie - there would be underwear exposed everywhere. Thank goodness that isn't the case with pregnant women.
As my belly continues to expand, I have realized that the same wonderful elastic that allows me to pull the pants down easily is also causing the pants to slide down easily. I feel like I am constantly tugging my pants up. Of course some styles are better than others. Today, I happen to be wearing a pair that is not so stay up friendly. There is an elastic across the back and tabs with buttons on the side. The front has a regular zipper with a button. I think the only way to keep them up would be to wear suspenders - yuck! (funny how my last photo showed a hillbilly side of me) Obviously, I have been yanking them up and pulling my shirt down for the past few hours. These pants are definitely going to be retired at the end of today. I'll stick with the panel pants from here to the end.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Lexi & I have made it to the 27 week mark. I am totally exhausted because she is more hyper than ever. All the kickboxing, head-butting, and karate chops going on in there make me wonder if she ever rests. If she isn't letting me sleep now, what is she going to be like when she comes out? I get even more tired just thinking about it.
What do you think about my hillbilly look? I didn't get to dress up for Halloween, so this might just suffice this year. I just need to draw on the cutesy freckles and rosy cheeks. I guess I could put my hair up in pigtails. Thank goodness it is Friday (talk about casual).
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Yesterday, I was ready to stop complaining about the petty annoyances caused by the hurricane. Today is a different story. I left my house early this morning headed to work. Traffic has been horrendous and I wanted to arrive early to prepare some paperwork for a project I have been working on. Despite all of my efforts & shortcuts, I was late. It took me an hour and twenty minutes to make the 8 mile commute. You never realize just how important traffic lights are in a town of crazy people. In the future, I will remember to be thankful for some of the minor conveniences in life. On a positive note, the boss is providing lunch from Cheesecake Factory. Who doesn't love that?
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Many times in life, things tend to bog us down. Inconveniences, drama, and even monotony influence me to get a general pouty attitude. I always seem fairly upbeat, so my pouts come out as little complaints or sarcasm. This has been my mood for the past few weeks, but I realize the things on my nerves are not so important lately because great things that I really care about are happening.
The president & hr person at work talked to me on Monday to see what my plans/desires are as far as maternity leave is concerned. They asked if I would like to work from home during that time, which of course I do. They asked when I wanted to start working at home. I wanted to say that tomorrow would be good for me, but I went with a few weeks before the due date. That way, I can make sure things are running smoothly and I can pop back in for things I forgot. They said that they would take my computer to my house and get me setup, which I wasn't expecting. I thought I would be using my computer at home (it almost exactly like the work one - model & everything). They are going to set me up with access to the exchange server & get me a 1 gig memory stick. I told them I would probably come in to do some things here and there & just bring the baby with me. They were thrilled with that idea. Then - the total shocker... they asked if I was planning to take 3 or 4 months. What??? Four months is an option? Wow! Their flexibility has made the idea of maternity leave even better than I imagined.
My sister has also agreed to be our nanny for the summer. She will come about the 3 and a half month mark, so we'll have time with the transition. That will give us about 6 months without daycare, which makes me feel much better. I wish it could be more, but we'll take it as it comes and be happy for the good points.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
No Glimpses in the Mirror
The previous owners of our house did some pretty goofy renovations. Before moving in, we discovered that the kitchen cabinets were not attached to studs - just drywall, the electrical outlet for the stove had two wires feeding off of it to other outlets (fire hazard), the mirror in the master bathroom is very high and many other quirky things. Some things, we had to fix right away like the cabinets and plug, while other thing we are just living with for now like the mirror.
To be honest, I have come to appreciate the mirror. Because it is so high, I can strip down and get in the shower without catching glimpses on my naked pregnancy body in the mirror. The bottom of the mirror hits right above my boobs and extends to the ceiling, so I can only see my face. It isn't good for checking out an outfit, but I have not been shocked by the sight of my huge naked body either. Once I get dressed, I head to the guest bedroom where the mirrors allow me to check out how my clothes are fitting. I know it is crazy, but I think this really helps with the mental body image. Without that, I might go nuts (more than I already am). If there is one thing I've learned from this pregnancy it is that I don't like being huge.