Thursday, April 12, 2012

Life's Stressors: Parents in Declining Health

On February 14, two days before my 48th birthday, at one o clock in the morning, my 78 year old father got out of bed feeling extremely short of breath and like an elephant was standing on his chest. He took two steps and fell to his knees. He crawled back over to the bed and pulled the covers off as briskly as possible, waking my mother. She called 911.
Two hours later, Dad was being prepped for surgery. He was in the O.R. for four hours, undergoing a triple bypass.
My father still feels very weak and he is still pretty angry. His arteries are clogged with plaque, and he has had to radically alter his lifestyle. He is used to doing things for himself, and doesn't like to ask for help. He is on oxygen 24 hours a day, and it curtails his freedom of movement. He is on eight different drugs: Aspirin, Plavix, Procardia, Coreg, colace because it isn't a good idea for people with weak hearts to have to strain for a poop, and Nexium to finally get his GERD under wraps. He also has hydrocodone for pain and diazepam to stop muscular spasms and assist with pain control, but he usually doesn't use these. He sees them as "sissy drugs." He comes from the school of thought that says a man should be able to suffer through the pain and ignore the anxiety. Nils, Dylan and I have been able to convince him to at least use them before bed so he can sleep better.
 The prognosis isn't great. The cardiologist says that there is a 75% chance that he will end up with congestive heart failure. The right side of his heart is badly damaged and the left side is no great shakes either. It is highly unlikely that a person his age will be given a heart transplant.
My older sister and her husband, my brother and his boyfriend, my husband, myself, my brother in law, my kids and my sister's kids help out as we are able to take the stress off my mother. She is a very strong, capable, stubborn woman, but she is seventy-six years old.
You'd think this would be enough for a while, but...
Here comes round 2!

Five days ago, my husband's mother was getting ready to make lunch. Feeling dizzy, she leaned against the sink. She had a mild heart attack two years ago, so she thought it best to sit down for a few minutes before asking her husband to drive her to the hospital. She turned to step away from the sink and ended up on the floor. Fortunately, my father-in-law found her fairly quickly.
My mother-in-law is currently paralyzed on her left side. She is able to speak but becomes distracted easily. She has no recall of the event.
My husband and his brother flew back to Norway today. They'll be gone until the 25th. I'm wondering if their parents will try to convince my brother-in-law to move back to help take care of my mother. He hasn't had a steady job in a while, but he was going to return to school and get his EMT license back. Besides, his children are here and they are very important to him.
I've complained before about my brother in law being a slacker, but he really seems to want to get it together. My husband and his oldest son want to help him pay for his EMT coursework. I don't think it would be healthy for him to end up becoming a caregiver for his parents. I'm afraid he'd start drinking again. He's a very sensitive guy and I think he'd miss his kids and his brother too much.
I've mentioned before that both my husband's and my parents are extremely stoic people. My older sister takes after my parents. My brother and I are wet blankets, crying at sad movies and the like. My brother-in-law's eyes get moist if we watch a sad movie, although he tries not to let his emotions show.
My husband, though very warm-hearted, is infinitely practical. If the story was a work of fiction, it doesn't affect him as much. If it's a depiction of a real event, he becomes very quiet. When he heard about the shootings in Norway, he was silent for almost a half hour before he finally said "bunch of fucking shit--what the hell good is this, to kill a bunch of people you don't even know to prove some crazy idea?" He rarely swears, and I could see that the news bothered him terribly.
I traded days with a few of my co-workers so I wouldn't have to go back to work till Friday. It's better that I have some downtime with a shake-up like this, so I won't end up having an emotional setback.
So, that's how the first half of 2012 has gone for me so far.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

RT @9newsdotcom Baby panda plays in Austrian snow 9NEWS Please share Little Romeo and help us get him a home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 I like Paula Deen. She's a good ole fat gal like me.

OMFG stop the presses! Paula Deen has type II Diabetes!

Paula Deen is...gasp...EATING! While fat! And she has the utter audacity to be enjoying it! The unbelievable temerity of this wench!

First of all, like Jane of xoJane said, we need to leave Paula Deen the hell alone. Her health is no-one's business but hers.

Here is what Aurora says:
Granted, I am an LPN nurse and not a doctor. But in my time as a caregiver I have noticed that people of ALL SIZES get diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease and that these diseases are more prevalent in...get ready for it...OLDER PEOPLE! Curse you, Grandma and Grandpa for driving up our health care costs! Institute Carousel!
(For anyone who doesn't recognize sarcasm, there it is. And for anyone who doesn't understand the Carousel reference--shame on you! Go watch Logan's Run immediately.)
Paula Deen is 64. Type II diabetes is mostly hereditary and becomes increasingly likely with age. A person may feel crappy if they eat nothing but sweets, but you really can't "sugar" yourself into diabetes.

I like Paula Deen. She cooks for the enjoyment of it. She cooks real food that regular people can relate to, not stuff that most of us can't even pronounce. For her, cooking is about happiness, enjoyment, and sharing, not about being "ze great chef." I like watching Ze Great Chefs do their thing too, but I love Paula's anti-snobbishness. She is someone that I could really relate to. 
So if anything, let's offer her our support. For gosh sake, quit picking on the woman. She seems like a pretty  live and let live person. Let's do her the same favor. What Jane said. Butt the hell out of Paula Deen's health issues. Here is something we should all get behind. Must be a real challenge to kill giraffes with high power rifles. Assholes. My new blog post is about young motherhood & my thoughts on the show "Teen Mom"

Teen Mom

My oldest daughter, who is in school training to become a clinical psychologist, convinced me to watch Teen Mom with her. My initial perception was that the show glorifies teenage motherhood, and I was appalled. It really does not. In fact, I would go so far as to say that every pre-teen girl (and boy) should watch the show.
I had a friend in high school who became a mother at 16, and is one of the best mothers I've ever known. However, she did have to quit school. She worked part time while her aunt watched her daughter, and she got her GED. She had a lot of help from her family and so everything worked out.
This situation seems to be the exception rather than the rule.
I was not a teen mother. However, I did marry young. I married my high school sweetheart at 19. We did not have kids right away, but when we had them they came in fairly quick succession. I had my oldest daughter when I was 22. I learned the hard way that you can become pregnant while nursing. It was probably the first time that my (then) husband and I had sex after Andi's birth that I got pregnant with Olivia. My daughters are eleven months and 27 days apart. So I ended up raising two babies at the same time. I jokingly refer to them as the twins born elevenish months apart.
This did put a strain on my marriage, but to Rick's and my credit, we did try to work it out. We had something of a honeymoon period when I got pregnant with our son, probably on Valentine's day of 1989. Jason was born prematurely on October 11, 1989. Rick and I were 25 years old, and our finances were demolished by Jay's and my medical bills. Essentially, this was the death knell for our marriage as well, but we tried to make it work for another five years.
Rick's and my breakup was as amicable as possible and not unexpected. But I felt like I had failed my family. Rick handled it better than I did. I went into a severe depression and am forever grateful for the times that my brother helped with his nieces and nephew. My son particularly benefited from my brother's kindness and support. I feel glad that my kids always had positive male role models in their lives, including my brother, my current husband, my dad, my uncles, cousins, and yes, my ex-husband too! Some single moms are not so lucky.
Having children, particularly so many in succession, is difficult enough on young adults--or perhaps on any adults not in a secure financial situation. The effects of teen pregnancy cannot be trivialized. It is difficult for everyone involved, particularly for the children. Most teenage parents break up, often the father does not remain involved in the child's life. I'm not saying that this is always the case, but it seems fairly prevalent.
My first husband and I will always treasure our children and thankfully we remained friends in spite of what frustrations we may have had with each other. But we were not properly prepared to have children even though we were adults. How can teenagers be expected to take on such a responsibility?
Although the Teen Mom show does NOT in fact glorify teen pregnancy, other forms of media (i.e. magazines and tabloids) do give these girls "15 minutes of fame," which I do not see as a positive thing. This, not the show itself, is what might encourage vulnerable girls to believe that they can gain the adulation they crave by getting pregnant. 
15 minutes of fame is not worth a lifetime of struggle.
Children are precious. It is worth it to wait until one has one's own life in order to bring them into the world. Great post: what if we called the weight loss industry its real name.

Instead of finding fault with others' appearances, why not try to find something good? Maybe they have nice eyes or hair or a great smile?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 The sun may be shining but if you're near Longmont it's a good day to stay in!

Since I can't sleep I'm going to try writing. Not a contest this time, just my own thing. I don't want to play by anyone else's rules.

Ok, wtf, Google chrome? Google Chrome keeps crashing. English Wikipedia to be blacked out in 22 hrs to protest SOPA/PIPA.

RT @thedailylove The good news about the past is that it's over! The great news about the future is that you can CREATE it! TDL

Health should be encouraged for children (and people) of all sizes. Larger children should not be singled out as Strong4Life/CHOA are doing.

Dear @michelleobama I hope you will join us in asking Strong 4 Life & CHOA to rethink billboards which shame & encourage bullying big kids.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hey Colorado people! Longmont and Boulder County both on accident alert now.

What is it with cats? Cat comes to sit on lap. Purr purr, knead knead, fart...happens so often that I shouldn't be taken by surprise but am! Tell Congress to kill these dangerous bills that threaten our rights to free speech and free commerce.

RT @natgeochannel Space Pictures This Week: Hubble Bubble, Dusty Dwarf

RT @jennymccarthy I woke up this morning & found this in the freezer. Guess somebody didn't want him to die.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Government should exist to protect good from the forces of evil, not the other way around". - WATMAB Occupy2012 OWS

Check out Michael Gettel – Cumbrian Autumn via @lastfm People I hope this year brings you wonderful things.

RT @skeezixthecat Cat two hind legs and tail cut off but survived for 6wks. until someone found him and helped: 1p