Monday, November 30, 2009

Home for the holidays

When you think of being home for the holidays, you usually think of family gathered around the Christmas Tree, parties, etc but all my dad wants this year is to be near family in hospice.

Dad with Sister Bear and Brother Bear
Christmas 2004

Yes, he has made his decision and it's hospice care. 

It's been a difficult one and I think he is still struggling with this decision but he's tired and the fight has left him.


Christmas 2005
Dad showing Sister Bear the finer points of Candyland
I am going to be in Detroit tomorrow meeting with the doctors, social worker, hospital hospice coordinator, etc.  I found a facility that we would like Dad to be in for his hospice care but it's a matter of insurance and availibility.  I am prepared with a back up...I think.


Christmas 2008
The Henry Ford Docs hope that we can have him out of the hospital an into a care facility by the end of the week.  He's ready.

I'm not and I'm sure you aren't either but no one ever wants to say goodbye but I want Dad to be at peace.

A very good friend of his who he grew up with drove to Detroit to visit Dad today, Mike Shrider.  He drove from somewhere South of Fort Wayne.  It wasn't a long visit but I hope it was a good visit.  I was frustrated everytime I talked to Dad today.  He just didn't want to be on the phone with him.  I know he's anxious, he's made a very major decision regarding his life and his death.

So, as we get arrangements made for hospice, I will keep you posted.

Christmas 2004
Dad and Brother Bear at the VFW Christmas Party

I realize that I don't have Christmas pictures with Dad from last year because he had just got out of the hospital and was at the PT Rehab Center.  We didn't celebrate the holidays with him until mid-January. 

Please enjoy your family this holiday season.  Cherish every moment you have with them (even the one's that drive you crazy) because you never know if it will be your last.  Love each other.  Let those you love know it.  Live with no regrets.  Love...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

As You Wish

Don't you wish that you could have a special phrase like they do in the movies? 

From The Princess Bride
Grandpa: [voiceover] Nothing gave Buttercup as much pleasure as ordering Westley around.
Buttercup: Farm boy, polish my horse's saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] "As you wish" was all he ever said to her.
Buttercup: Farm boy, fill these with water - please.
Westley: As you wish.
Grandpa: [voiceover] That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back.



Dad with Sister Bear 2004 -One yearr after Transplant
Sometimes saying the obvious seems too obvious.   I love that Westly didn't just say I love you but As you wish.  Sometimes saying the obvious just doesn't get the point across.


My first pregnancy 2000, I was HUGE and Dad's belly was the same size as mine
Yes, there was a reason we called him DOUGHBOY!

Dad with Brother Bear -2004
It's been a long couple of days with my dad.  Does he want to continue to fight or doesn't he?  Does he have that last bit of physical strength to fight?  Can he survive physical rehab?


Dad holding Sister Bear when she was days old 2000
I let the kids call him yesterday and I just wanted to cry.  I put the phone on speaker so I could hear the conversation and assist when the kids needed me to (plus I love hearing them talk to their Papa) and Dad just wasn't into the conversation.  They were rattling on about their day and what they have been doing for the last few weeks since they last saw him.  He totally wasn't into the conversation.  They were telling him about what they wanted to do the next time they have a slumber party at Papa's.  I could tell he was about ready to fall asleep.  (He had just taken some anxiety meds that make you drousy) and my heart was breaking because these kids are the reason he has struggled to keep living. 

I know, I know...the meds had kicked in but still...he had the Bears on t the phone after all that time.


and we called him Doughboy (2004)
I took control of the phone and told Dad that we would call him again the next day.  I told him to get his rest and let the meds mask the pain and suffering he's feeling.  As you wish...

I think he's sick of hearing us tell him that we love him and that we want him to be strong.  I think the plain words that we say with all our heart have started to lose their meaning with him as he sits in his hospital bed and ponders the hard decision of living and dying.

I wish I could say, "As you wish" and he would know what I was talking about because I love him and the family loves him...I wish it could be so simple.

Well, today my Aunt Linda and Aunt Janet went to visit Dad.  They took a deck of cards and decided that he would play pinochle.  Aunt Linda has a way with him that I can't duplicate.  She came in and said, "Wake up, WE ARE playing cards!" and he did.  From what she said he enjoyed himself too.  Aunt Janet would shuffle the cards for him but they made him pass out the cards on his turn and he did all the calculations.  They got him to use his brain and hands.  It was a mild form of exercise but it was movement none-the-less and he stayed awake the whole time they were there.

Maybe it was all the years that he, as big brother, picked on his younger sisters that got him to listen while they led the games but whatever it was, it worked.  I am so thankful that Aunt Linda has come home to Michigan to help Dad with his decision.  She said she did not come home to bury her brother, she came home to help him live and I love her for it.




Aunt Linda, Aunt Janet and Dad...sometime in the late 1950's
So whether it be a simple I love you or As you wish...it worked.

For now, it appears, that Dad will attempt rehab and wait on hospice.  Whatever his decision, I will support him and be there with him but I would like to think he'd want to fight a bit longer but I also remember he's been fighting my whole life and just might not have anymore fight in him.

So each day will now be a guessing game as we watch and see what decisions HE will make regarding his life and how PT and OT wear on what little physical strength he has.

I will keep you updated and as soon as I know where Henry Ford will move him, I will let you know.

As you wish...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Dad told me the other day that he wanted to be alive to see Sister Bear graduate from high school.  He wanted to be there to watch her walk down the aisle.  He wanted to have his dance with her when she got married...that's not going to happen.

My Wedding, 1998, My Dad and Me
Yesterday the doctors moved Dad from ICU to the pulminary ward.  Not because he was doing better but because they needed that bed open for someone who was in need of critical care.  Dad is past critical care now.  What Dad needs the doctors can't give him.

Father and Daughter Dance at the wedding reception
He needs strength.  I take that back.  He needs physical strength.  They have his medications under control but not his physical strength.  He doesn't want to do the therapy that PT and OT come in to work with him on.  He says he's tired.

He's tired.

The man has been fighting his lung disease since the mid-1970's, of course he's tired.

Today the doctors came in and said that the next move was his decision.  They could transport him to the rehab center where he would undergo intense physical therapy to regain muscle strength or...hospice.

I told Dad that us kids would support whatever decision he makes.  I know he's tired.  Hell, I would have given up long ago but that man has an amazing strength of heart, mind and soul...but not body.

He's tired.

He wants to live to see his grandchildren grow up but is too tired to fight anymore.  I told him that he will live in their hearts.  That he has given me and my siblings the character and strength to be good parents.  That he has given his grandchildren memories of him that will live into their adulthood as they grown into amazing people. 

He will live on in those grandchildren that he has been fighting to live for.


He's tired but I can't give him the strength he needs.

I don't know what to say anymore. 

My High School Graduation 1992


The doctors said that his lungs have deteriorated back to the pre-transplant state.  Even if he can build his body strength up it will be a limited amount of time because his lungs can no longer process oxygen like they have over the last six years since his transplant.

The doctors said that there is still a fight in him but...he needs to put that fight into physical therapy.

He's tired.

He's discouraged.

I will support any decision he makes.  I will be there throughout the process whether it be intense rehab or hospice or both.  I will hold his hand and give him any strength that I can pass on to him because I love that man!

He is my father, he is my friend, he is my mentor and he is my inspiration and I know that he's tired.


1974, My dad reading my the comics



I love you Dad and I will be your strength as you make this hard decision but I can't exercise for you and I can't breath for you but I will be there for you however I can.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gobble Gobble!



So yesterday was intersting.  I started it out thinking that everything would be all Holly Jolly Happy.  I met my sister in Marshall and we made our way to Detroit to visit with Dad at Henry Ford.  We barely got there and Dad fell asleep so...I knitted.


Back in the day I would have been throwing hissy fits because of boredom.  I would bring a book but then I wouldn't talk to anyone else in the room because I was reading but...I can knit and talk.  I love any task I can do where I am able to talk.  Yeah, I know....blah blah blah

Well, I didn't want to work on my Super Sassy Eyelet Cap..., it hasn't been frogged, it just needed a little break while I changed to magic loop needles and went from a size 3 to a size 5 needle.  It just wasn't progressing the way it should and it was so much tighter than Vogue Knitting made it look so...it's now becoming a Wonder Creation.  (That doesn't bode well, I know)  Instead I worked on finishing the Sassy Scarf I'm making for my niece, who just turned 16, which will match her Varsity Jacket.  (She lettered as a freshman last year at Coldwater)


My Sister didn't think ahead for the sleeping possibility so...she sat and organized her purse and we visited.


Well, Sleepy Beauty did finally wake up but...he just didn't have the pep I had hoped for.  I really thought having both of us girls there at the same time would have him beaming all day long but apparently we bored him.  He didn't get out of bed at all.  No sitting in the chair, no shaker vest treatment...he picked at his turkey meal although he gobbled up the pumpkin pie and jello.

The doc made his rounds super early so we didn't get to see him (so much for getting up there early) and Dad seemed a bit discouraged with the feedback he got from neurology.  I don't know if he just didn't share all the info with us or what.  It just seemed all vague...I don't like vague.

So...I got home close to 4pm and finished cooking the Thanksgiving Meal I started the day before and Scott, the Bears and I sat down for our Thanksgiving Meal.  I wasn't feeling particularly thankful.  My visit with Dad had been frustrating and Scott had called me with bad news early in the day.  One of my alpaca girls had a miscarriage.  Sister Bear discovered the placenta in the barn.  He couldn't figure out who it was so I was in Detroit obsessing.  It was my maiden.  I'm sad.  I don't want to rebreed her at this point because that would make the due date mid-October of next year...so now I will have to wait until June.  That's a year of waste in my breeding program (which I was taking slowly anyways)  I'm sad too because she is usually very friendly with me and she didn't want me anywhere near her yesterday.

agghhhhh!

So, today is going to be a better day.  I know it will be.  I had my little pity party for myself last night.  Again, I was frustrated because it was all beyond my control..

On a bright note...Dad has two surprises in store for him today.  I'll tell you now because I'm very happy for this news.  My Aunt Janet is on her way to visit Dad and he knows that but he doesn't know that she is stopping at the Detroit Airport on the way and picking up my Aunt Linda who is flying in from Florida.  Dad will get an afternoon with both of his sisters.  The best part is while they are there my cousin, Ken, is calling from his location near Iraq to my Aunt Linda's phone so that he can talk to his Uncle Rex.  Ken is in the Army and is making his (goodness, I can't remember how many time's he's served oversees now) tour of duty over in the Iraq area (yeah, I'm a good cousin and can't even tell you the location) but he's going to call Dad.

I do have a WONDERFUL family!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What do I have to be Thankful for?

Lately I have been struggling with all the stress of having Dad in the hospital.  It's hard to see all the good things in life when you are focusing on the one thing that isn't going so well.  Really, I can look at the flip side and see all the positive of Dad being in the hospital.  Yes, there is positives like the fact that he's where he needs to be to get the best care possible and the fact that everything the doctors are learning from my Dad's difficulties so in the future they will know better how to handle certain situations.  See, there's always a silver lining.

Well, dad is still in ICU and they have put the catheter back in him because his kidney's aren't functioning properly.  Physical therapy was with him most of yesterday working on muscle strength so I am sure today he is going to be sore and tired.  My sister is going to spend the day with him today.  I am meeting her in a bit to give her the keys to Dad's vehicle so she can drive up there (apparently her's can't make the drive...whatever, the point is that she's driving to see Dad)  Tomorrow I will go to Detroit with my sister and we will spend Thanksgiving morning with Dad.  I am taking him some of my Thanksgiving dinner, which I'm cooking tonight...so that he can be thankful for the hospital food he's been eating for over two weeks.  (Yes, my cooking is so bad that even you would crave hospital food) So...I do have a lot to be thankful for.

Be Thankful!

Sister Bear as a Pilgrim for her 3rd Grade Reader's Theatre
 
How can I not be thankful when I look at my children growing, learning and becoming unique individuals?
This is my Aunt Janet with Brother Bear and Sister Bear on Halloween.



I'm thankful for my family!
Yes, Sister Bear gets her looks (and apparently the eyes closed for the camera) from her Dad.
I'm thankful for my husband.  Yes, I can grumble a lot about the stinker but he has stood by me while I take care of my Dad.  He has kept the kids busy so that they don't get sad that their Papa isn't here for the holidays or that Mom has to leave for a whole day just to visit Papa.  He loves my dad and understands his sense of humor...heck, he understands me and puts up with me! 

I'm thankful for my friends.
Really, the awesome Zombie Prom Date Knitters put together a Get Well Card for my Dad aka The Wonder Dad aka Sexy Rexy!  Most have never met him but they still show the love...and I love each and everyone one of them for that.  Holly knitted Dad a lung lovey last year before she had ever met him...I love that I am surrounded by friends that understand the concept of giving and selflessness.  I love that they inspire me to want to knit my crappy knitting for charity.  I am so thankful that I found this group of knitters...friends...sisters.



 Who's this?  It's my favorite college girl!  Elizabeth.  She's home from Michigan Tech and came out to visit the farm (she was overdue for her dose of Wonder).  While she was at the farm she was taking pics galore of the Wonder Herd for a photo essay she is turning in to a professor. Yes, even Michigan Tech is going to experience the Wonder of Alpaca.  While my awesome college girl was home, she showed me her fanstastic knitting projects including a sweater vest she is knitting for her grandpa.  Talk about inspiring me!  The green sassy scarf is really a small shawl she knitted last year...I totally want to try that pattern using my Confetti Reign handspun (if I ever finish combing the fiber and spinning it) and she showed me this awesome hat she had just finished knitting.  She said she's not a hat person.  I LOVE HATS! Especially sassy hats so...my darling college girl gave it to me.  Thank you, Elizabeth!



I'm thankful for Henry Ford's Transplant Team
When UofM denied my father for the transplant list, Henry Ford said come on over...little did I know that I would be making way too many trips to Detroit (2 hours one way) to visit Dad but I wouldn't trust him with anyone else.



Really!  Aren't you thankful for the Soup!  Last week when my sinus infection was causing 102 temps and I felt like a....ZOMBIE!  Yes, I was looking like one too.  Good thing the ZPDK didn't see me.  I took out that can and it did it's magic.  Yes, I'm a Campbell's Soup Kid.
 
Of course, I am thankful for the Gift of Life Organization.

As you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for...and I didn't even scratch the surface.
So tomorrow I will spend the day with my Dad then come home and have Turkey Dinner with the the husband  and kids...and it will be a lovely Thanksgiving because I will have spent a portion of the day with those that I love the most.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Home for the Holiday!


1953 - My Dad, the cowboy

It appears that my dad won't be home for Thanksgiving.  This will be the third or fourth one he's missed being home with the family.  He'll spend it in ICU.  They have the infections under control but he has no physical strength.  They can't move him to a rehab facility to work on the strength when he needs help to even sit up in bed.

I told him that I would spend Thanksgiving with him.  The problem is that spending it with him means not spending it with the kids but really, that's not a problem because I have them everyday.  It's not like we planned a huge Turkey Day.  It was just going to be me, the husband, the bears, my sister and her ladybugs.  I still have the turkey...I can cook it up Wednesday or even let Scott (that's my husband...I know, I know, I don't talk about him much but he's a constant supporter in everything I do) cook it and we can eat it for dinner instead of lunch but it's more important that Dad not be alone for Thanksgiving.

As usual, the nurses in the ICU at Henry Ford as steller! I really mean it!  These nurses have been so wonderful to Dad and totally rockstar with me on the phone (plus they want me to bring alpaca pics and samples to them...gotta love that!)  but being with nurses and not your family just isn't right.

It's hard to be thankful right now.  I have tons to be thankful for but what I want the most is to have Dad home not two hours away alone and in pain.

On Friday the docs wanted the cathader taken out of Dad so he could have more movement but today the nurse said that it went back in because his kidney's aren't processing his fluid right.  She said that they didn't get him out of his hospital bed yesterday or today because even with two nurses it was too hard to move him from the bed to the chair...he had no energy to help them.

They have a neurologist consult coming also to see why he is so tired.

DUH!  I can tell you why the man is tired and has no energy...but I will let the docs do their thing.

I just hate knowing that he is alone at the hospital.  Kids had eye appointments today and tomorrow is the 3rd Grade Harvest Fest and Sister Bear has ten lines in the mini-plays they are doing so I have to play the role of Mom instead of Daughter.

I'm so torn.  I wish I could give him my strength...just a fraction of it.

So that's the update...
Sorry I don't have anything better to tell you...or myself.

I will close on a bright note...or at least a happy picture.  It's from 16 years ago this weekend.  When we met my beautiful neice, Allison who was born on November 22 for the first time.  My brother and his wife, at the time, were living in Mount Pleasant and Dad, Denise and I drove up there once I got home from college so we could see the first grandchild in the family.  Wow, Allison is 16!  Now that's something the be thankful for.

Dad's ICU nurse asked me yesterday if I thought the transplant was worth it.  I didn't need to hesitate, I said, "YES!"  That double lung transplant has given us almost seven years with my father we would never have had.  In that time he has watched his grandchildren be born, grow and become amazing little Bears and Ladybugs.  He has given these grandchildren memories that they will forever have of a Grandfather who loves them and was active in their lives.  I know people who's grandparents are still alive (like my in-laws) who are NOT active in their grandchildren's lives and they miss out on the most beautiful moments.  My Dad has had those and he WILL have more...I know he will because he has taught me to think positive.


Kim, Dad, Denise, Bill, Allison and Me!
1993

Friday, November 20, 2009

Infection of Choice?


So what's your infection of choice?
Don't have one?
I do.
I call it laughter.
It's quite contagious.  Of course right now it hasn't been affecting me much.  I wish it would.  Instead I am sitting here with a 102 temp feeling cruddy.  Oh, it's not the flu...it's my sinus infection which I am blaming on neighbors who burn leaves (thanks, people who make me sick and hurt the environment when we have perfectly good marshes and woods surrounding us to deposit your leaves for compost, duh!)

My Dad's "infection of choice" is called Aspergillus.  It's a fungus that keeps making him sick.  No matter what the man does, this infection keeps attacking his lungs.  In our transplant support group we used to have a running joke about the "infection of choice" that kept our loved one's busy being sick...because what else can you do when you are backed into a helpless situation but to laugh?  Well, it's this aspergillus that has been keeping Dad so severely sick lately and has the doctors puzzled on how to treat it without messing with all Dad's other anti-rejection meds because aspergillus is a fungus, he needs his immune system to attack it but we have him on anti-rejection drugs for his lungs which is allowing the fungus through...the docs are trying to find the happy medium of attacking the fungus while letting the body know that those lungs need to stay.

(Remember, I'm not a doctor nor do I pretend to be one nor do I act as one of TV so my explainations are simply that of a concerned daughter )

Today I went to Henry Ford and I sat down with Dad and his tranplant doctor so we could all be on the same page as far as where his treatment is, where it's going and what his advance directives are even though we have all been through this before we thought this would be a good time to review.

So, here is what I found out today.  Dad is battling this fungus again along with the bronchiactis that is always attacking his lungs.  The docs are trying to find a happy medium of which meds to give Dad without affecting other meds or damaging other organs.  A couple that work really good stress Dad's liver so they will have to carefully monitor that for awhile.

The biggest revelation (not really a revelation, but whatever) is that Dad's body is weak and that his nutrition isn't good.  We need to get weight put on him.  We need to build up his muscle strength.  He needs that strength for OT/PT.  He needs that strength if he wants to continue to live on his own and keep his independence.  The doctor suggested that if he can't eat better on his own that another alternative is a feeding tube.  (That really freaked Dad out)  He might have to have it in for up to six weeks.

These are just ideas that we tossed around as we decided what needs to be done.  In order for Dad to keep his independence he needs his strength...he's tired.  He kept saying that today.  "I'm tired."  I told Dad the he's in the driver seat and he needs to tell us what he wants.

So...that's what happened today.  I want to tell you that he is scheduled to go to rehab on Monday here in Battle Creek but two times now I've told you that and he hasn't.  My hope is that he has a good weekend and they get him up and out of bed because that's what the docs want before they release him.

He needs strength.  He needs to eat.  He needs support. He needs to come home and be close to family.

That's the update on my Dad...now, I feel that I have left my fiber/farm stuff slip a bit so here is an update on what I do during the night when most of you sleep and I am up stressing.
 
 Sugar Breeze Gets The Blues
400 yrds
70 %suri-30%merino 
A Super Secret Project - Wait and see what it becomes...really, there is a plan!



Noah's Ark
Sold last night at the Holiday Showcase!


Mum's the Word
Sold last night at the Holiday Showcase!

I sold a bunch of farm store items at the Holiday Showcase Event held at the Bickford of Battle Creek but the items I was the happiest to sell were my Wonder Yarn and Wonder Roving because I spun these skeins myself.  I hope the ladies who bought them will someday send me pics of what they created....share the wonder.

So there's my updates on the Wonder Dad and Wonder Yarn now the Wonder Why Gal is heading to bed so that my sinus thingy will clear and I can wake up with that infection laughter that's been missing.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Burdens to Bear

What do you do when the person who gave you life is crying on the other end of the phone because he feels helpless and a burden to those that love him?  Well, I can tell you what I do.  I tell that man that he is the most wonderful person that I will ever meet and that I love him.  I keep telling him that I love him and that I support his decisions and everything I do for him is because I love him and because I know he would do the same for me.  I tell him that I love him.

I tell him that I love him because that is all I can do.  I am helpless too.  There is nothing I can do but send my love.  It's up to the doctors at Henry Ford to decide what is best for him.  He is in the right place with the right people.

I tell him that I love him.




Dad, with Grandpa and Grandma Anderson 
( I really wish they would have wrote dates on the backs of these pictures.)

Today, started out with me waking up and hoping that Dad would be coming "home".  After I finished work, I called his cell to find out if the docs needed me to bring anything else to rehab.  As soon as I heard his voice I knew that he wasn't coming home.

The phlem in his chest from the pnemonia isn't going away.  He is having a hard time breathing plus due to the heart surgery (yeah, a simple procedure so I'm told...unless you're my Dad) is causing A LOT of blood to come up with his coughing because of the blood thinners.

I tell him that I love him because that's all I can do.

The Docs are going to put him back in ICU so no more cell phone and no more phone more importantly no connection with the outside world.  They are giving him increased Vit K ( I didn't know there was such a vitamin but leave it to Dad for me to learn about it.)

Dad is scared.  The docs said they might have to put him on a ventalater which freaks him out.  He needs control.  He needs to be in control of his own body.  The last time they had to assist him with breathing, other than oxygen, was two years ago at Thanksgiving where he was on BiPaP, another term I had to learn and he was having massive anxiety attacks due to being hooked up to the machine.

I tell him that I love him.

I'm just getting over a cold/flu that Brother Bear and I had.  I don't dare go near Dad for at least another day because I was running a temp yesterday and I want to make sure it's gone for good so I told him I would come to Henry Ford on Friday...hopefully to talk with the doctors in person instead of on the phone.

I tell him that I love him.

My father will NEVER be a burden to me!  It breaks my heart knowing that he thinks that he is.

For 63 years this man has been a inspiration to pretty much everyone he has met.

My sister talked to him right after I did and right before they took his phone away.  She did something that I did a long time ago...something that I hope, won't be a burden on Dad anymore.  She told him that she would be ok.  That she and twins would be ok.  That he didn't need to keep fighting to be there for her.  That if he felt he couldn't fight anymore she would be ok.

I love her for that!  I'm tough on my stinker of a sister (said in love) and I've given her a bunch of hell for relying on Dad so much but telling him that he could let go...well, she told him that she loved him and that was all she could do.





Dad, in gradeschool, sometime in the 1950's














Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm sick and tired...but so what!

 
 My Dad at the Alpaca Wonder Weekend October 3, 2009
Signing people up to be Gift of Life Donors
Wearing his oxygen and smiling
because sometimes a smile is the only thing you can control in life.
I LOVE YOU, DAD!




(Editors Note:  "that's me"  I had started this blog with the first pic as the last but I decided that the caption I have listed means more than the rest of my ramblings...)

Really, I'm sick and tired!  I spent the weekend taking care of a sick Brother Bear whose temp stayed around 103 degrees until Sunday night then  once he started feeling better the bark (yes, bark) started to erupt from my throat but I'm doing to do what I always do and keep on rockin' cuz, that's how I roll.  Actually, that's all I can do because I have too many people depending on me.  My kids, my husband, my farm, my dog, my siblings, my friends...and most of all my dad, they all depend on me.


 Picture taken approx. 1975
Aunt Janet, Grandpa Anderson, Aunt Linda and Dad

Yesterday my dad was supposed to come "home" from Henry Ford.  They were going to transport him to the Battle Creek Reginal Rehab over on Roosevelt so OT and PT could work with him on building muscle strength because everytime he's in the hospital he sits in the bed (due to being in ICU with tubes galore hooked up to him) and looses all his muscle strength.

It's very frustrating for him.  The lack of independance is only the beginning of his frustration.  He's not allowed a phone in his room or even the use of his cell phone.  He's two hours away from friends and family cut off from the world.  Then there's the problem of finding the happy medium of which drugs will fight his infections and which ones will cause problems with his other organs.  The list goes on...

Makes my problems seem so small.  Waaaahhhh!  I've got a cold!  Sniffle, Sniffle, my head hurts.  So what!  Suck it up!  Someone you love dearly is sitting in a hospital bed slowly detioriating.    Holy Pacapoo!  I actually spelled that word right without spellcheck correcting me!    Hey, I take my wins when and where I can get them.

Anyways, yesterday Dad was all set to come back to Battle Creek.  The nurses were cleaning him up (he hasn't shaved in two weeks because the hospital razors are crappy and I haven't made it to Detroit because ICU wouldn't let him have the stuff and he was only supposed to stay in a normal room for a few days) and getting him ready to come "home" when the docs rounded.

They decided that he needs more  testing...on his liver now.  Catscans on the liver and more on the lungs to go with the countless x-rays and EKG's.  Dad about broke down crying.  He just wants to be home.  He wants to be near family.  He wants to be healthy.  Is that too much to ask?

 He has lost control of his body.  His efforts to exercise to make his body strong aren't working and he spends more time in the hospital than not.

This will be the third or fourth (lost count) Thanksgiving that he won't be home with us.  Holidays without your family is the hardest for Dad.  Last year my cousin, Jason, drove to Detroit to have brunch with him since he doesn't have kids of his own yet (plus he admits he likes keeping that favorite nephew title) and that really pepped Dad up.  I try my best to drive back and forth to Detroit but...it's tiring doing it all the time and it's beginning to be (wait, it already is!) a chore to encourage other family members and friends to do the same.

The problem is that this could be his last or one of his last holidays.  We've already had the hospice talk and I am watching his fight get harder and harder.  People don't like to hear this but it's the fact.  We can't have Dad around forever.  As much as we want him to be here, we have no control.

We DO have control over how much we tell he we love him and show him we love him and encourage him to keep on fighting but we DON'T have control over the medications and how his body reacts to them.

So what?  Exactly!  YOU need to decide how you live your life and love others.  YOU need to decide the amount of selflessness and selfishness you live by.  I'm sick and I'm tired but so help me I am doing all I can to keep my family healthy and happy including my dad even if it means that I take the back seat. I'm strong and I will get over the cold/flu/whatever but I won't get over the fact that I sat back and did nothing while someone I loved sat frustrated in a hospital room lonely and scared.

So I sit here SMILING because a positive outlook in life is controlled by ME!  I decide how I am going to face the world and my problems.  ME!  So please...smile, be happy, be honest, be loving and most of all, care.


By the way, my Aunt Janet and her mother-in-law, Betty, went up to see Dad last night after work.  It's amazing what a lift that was to him...I just found that out.  Thank you, Aunt Janet and Betty!

Also...if all goes well (please cross your fingers) Henry Ford will release dad tomorrow to Battle Creek.  The catscans came back negative although the docs want to keep an eye on his liver.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wonder Dad Update...


No news is good news, right?  Not always.  I get really freaked out when I don't hear from people for a long time, especially those near and dear to me.  Typically if you haven't heard from my father it's because he's in ICU where he isn't allowed to use him phone.  For the people who keep calling him and not getting a return, I know that's frustrating.  Of course, do they send me an email or a quick phone call?  No!

So...I am really doing my best to update the world via my blog, Facebook and Twitter.  Ok, so you don't want the last two options but why on earth wouldn't you want to read my blog?  I'm facinating! Modest too ;-)

Anyways...Dad will  be coming "home" on Monday.  He still has a touch of pnemonia that the doctors are working with but they have his heart under control (I really hope they do)  Apparently they weren't able to reenact the problem that was causing the increased heart rate before they did the surgery this last Monday but they have the area isolated where it happened and the Cardiologist said he feels confident that the problem is solved...yes, confident.  I'm glad someone is.

Of course being in the hospital so much over the last month (yes, it's been a month with a few days home in between each visit), Dad has lost A LOT of muscle strength so Henry Ford is going to bring him to Battle Creek to Battle Creek Rehab where the OT and PT can work with him on getting his strength back.  He will be on blood thinners for a month while his heart heals but other than that (yes, the Doc said "other than that") he is looking good.

For those of you who have called or sent cards...Thank You!  The power of positive thinking must remain strong with this Jedi Knight (sorry, Brother Bear is non-stop with StarWars).

So....if I'm not posting about my dad then that means he's doing good.

Today's pic is of me and my dad at the 2006 Transplant Games in Louisville, KY
It's the only games that my dad has been able to attend and be an athlete in.  I went to the 2008 Transplant Games in Pittsburg, PA where I speed walked my way through the Organ and Tissue Awareness 5K in his honor.  The next games are in Madison, WI July 2010.  Not sure if either of us will be attending those games.  I would love to.  If you ever get an opportunity to go as a participant or just as a spectator, DO IT!

It is one of the most phenominal experiences you will ever have.  You will meet some of the most couragious people, like my dad, who have struggled their whole lives to live and through the Gift of Life Organization, they received an organ/tissue donation that saved their life.  Really!  Check out the National Kidney Foundation website and see for yourself!

Friday, November 13, 2009

You're Dyeing to know...Get it? Dye!


Do I sleep?  I think so...at least 5-6 hours, I hope.  These days I'm not sure because I am getting so much accomplished every day and there are never enough hours in the day so I may be working in my sleep. 

Is my house clean?  NOPE!

Am I producing awesome Wonder Yarns and Wonder Rovings? 
Of course!  This first pic is all the yarn I spun up last week.

So this week was all about experimenting.  The first part was using the drum carder that I bought used about a month ago.  It's been sitting there laughing at me.  Yes, it was laughing!  Maybe in my insomniac state of mind I am the only one who hears it...but laughter none-the-less.

I decided that I needed to take a break from combing suri  from my Confetti Reign and Metallica to play with huacaya.  At the time of shearing last spring I only had two huacaya, Romeo and Midnight Aire.  Romeo I sent down to mill and turned into gorgeous roving blended with bamboo and merino and my beautiful Midnight Aire was so full of VM that I am still picking through her cria fleece.  EEK!

So when my friend, Nancy from Walnut Hill Farm, asked if I wanted to play with her ROSE GRAY huacaya fleece from her girl, Biana, I was not turning that down.  I washed up the beautiful blanket and I have finally started carding it on my new drum carder...and made this lovely fluff.  As soon as I get a few more rolags done I will start making her some lovely yarn to crochet (she doesn't knit) from her beautiful girl.

My next experiment involves dyeing huacaya.  Again, I didn't have much to dye since I didn't own a white alpaca until I bought Sprite this summer so my friends at 4 Musketeers ,in Bellevue, donated two white fleeces for me to experiment with and the results will give them display yarn for their farm and me a chance to play.  Win/Win!  I started with their girl, Fleetwood,  who is a white huacaya.

I got the crock pot out and picked my first color and followed the instructions and came up with this pinkish red mixture.  I wasn't sure how many scoops of the Jaquard Dye to put in so I winged it because this was an experiment. 

  After I made the pink (aiming for a fushia) batch I decided I wanted purple and I remember from my elementary years that red and blue make purple so...I added blue.

This is what I came up with.  It looks good now but it ended up being much brighter so...for the next batch I added a wee bit of black plus I added in some other fibers that I received as a sampler batch.  So I also dyed some mulberry silk, bamboo and mohair.  Then I decided it was a awfully dark purple so....I didn't add anymore dye but added my huacaya and came up with the perfect purple.


Now ask me to duplicate this and I will laugh!  Although I did write down my ratios....again, this was an experiment.  So now you see them drying my my sweater racks.

I plan on carding, blending and spinning.  Will I do this all the time?  NO!  Alpacas come in so many beautiful natural colors that it's a waste to dye them although I like to blend those natural colors with dyed fiber so...if I can figure out how to dye the few white huacaya fleeces I now have on the farm plus learn to work with wool, I can hand-process a bit more and have a larger profit margin for the farm...the bonus is that playing with all this fiber is fun so...I don't have to be a knit-picky (yes, I spelled it knit) person who counts all the hours of labor into the end product.

When I finally get through all of these experiments I am going to wash, card and spin up the other fleece that my friends donated and after I've spun it, then I will dye the yarn. 

Oh, why didn't I discover the love of fiber arts earlier in life?  That's why I'm enjoying learning along with Sister Bear...these are memories and skills that she will have forever plus she's doing it with her mom..and that's just plain awesome!









Thursday, November 12, 2009

4MAF Peta's Junebug


Introducing our newest Wonder Girl!

Junebug!


Now from the front Junebug looks like any ol' white huacaya but Junebug is special.  (Of course, she's special.  Would I have bought her if she didn't have that WONDER?)

First, the black and white girl you see is her Aunt Oreo (hint, hint)


This is her mom, Peta....










and this is Junebug's secret...


She's got a bit of color.

She was born 6/1/09 and is currently weaning from Peta so as soon as she is eating like a big girl, she get's to come home to the rest of the Wonder Herd where she will grow up with us and then breed beautiful cria of color to sell...but for now we get to enjoy her being an adorable little huacaya cria.