Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A New Knee in the New Year

Thomas has needed to have surgery on his right knee for a long time now. He finally decided at the end of 2017 that he wanted to get it done now and be healed and ready to walk Eler Beth down the aisle in April. So he found a surgeon he really liked and plans were made. 

On Wednesday a week ago, we got to the hospital before 5:30 for his 8 am surgery.  Thomas is very cold-natured. Did you know they have these wonderful gowns that have a lining that hot air can be pumped into to keep you warm? We didn't. When they had him change into a gown during the prep, we found out. Here he is with that wonderful warm air encasing him AND a heated blanket. Look at that face. Yes, that man loves his heat!



We might have to get one of these for home.



They took him back earlier than 8, and I waited in the surgical waiting room and watched a movie on Netflix. They kept me informed on how things were going. At 9:50 they notified me that he had done great and was in recovery. The surgery was a bit longer than usual, but that was because he had gone so long on that bad knee that it had bowed out a lot and the doctor took his time straightening out the leg.

When I was able to go back to see him, he barely woke up to acknowledge I was there. At one point he opened his eyes, saw me, and slurred, "You need to go sit down and relax." I thought that was very sweet of him.


   

It took a while for them to get a room ready for him; the hospital was super busy that day, and they had done 40 surgeries. But soon he was settled, and he ate a few bites of a late lunch/early dinner. Physical Therapy came and got him up in a chair and on his feet that evening, and he walked with the aid of a walker to the bathroom and back to the chair. Then he stayed in the chair for a while. Andrew dropped by on his way home from work and visited with me for an hour, but Thomas didn't wake up the whole time he was there. I got documented proof that he was there, though!



Later Anthony and Eler Beth came to spend the rest of the evening with us. Eler Beth really wanted to spend the night there, but we convinced her to go on home. I stayed though, and soon was in my jammies and ready to stretch out on the little chair that pulled out into a bed.  I took a rare-for-us selfie before Thomas drifted off to sleep. I don't usually allow photos like this of me -- no make-up, sleep-deprived, and in my pajamas!






The next morning Dr. Bell came in around 6:30 to take a look at the knee, and I got my first look at the incision site.



He had his first and second sessions with the physio-therapist that day, and she was very impressed with how well he did. I was impressed and very surprised, although I guess I shouldn't have been. He has always been a very strong man and very active. 





Eler Beth and Anthony spent most of the afternoon with us, and Andrew came by again. This time Thomas was awake and could enjoy his visit. We enjoyed listening to the three kids visiting.



On Friday the doctor said he was keeping him one more day just to give it a little extra rest because it was such an extensive surgery, but that everything looked good. He had two more PT sessions. His appetite came back this day, and for the rest of his stay, he ate good nourishing meals.  

Saturday morning the doctor gave the okay, and I started packing and getting things carried down to the car. He had one more PT session that morning before we left and by early afternoon we were home and Thomas was ensconced in his recliner in the living room.  Before we left the hospital I noticed the board on the wall in his room. "Feel better" lol





Home Health came by on Monday to do Thomas' evaluation and some therapy. He told him he was much, much further along than he was expected to be, and that he was walking so well that he could switch from the walker to a cane. So we retired the walker.

On Tuesday Thomas started acting a bit more like himself. He didn't need the pain meds all throughout the day, and he didn't even use the polar pack (ice-thingy) very often.

Today the therapist came back, put Thomas through his paces, again told him how well he was doing and said that he didn't even have to use the cane if he didn't want to. He had been wandering all over the house with it, so I guess now he'll wander all over without it lol.  I hope he doesn't get TOO bored before he is cleared to go back to work.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Perspective

The past few days I have been a little bit pouty and "woe is me" and feeling oh-so sorry for myself for several reasons. I've kept it to my myself and not ruined anyone else's day or asked for a "poor baby," or anything, and I have maybe a BIT of a right to have felt the way I have, but something my sister, Maxine, posted on Facebook yesterday made me  feel a bit ashamed of myself and put things in perspective.

I like my "me" time. As a matter of fact, I really, seriously, honestly, NEED "me" time in order to function well mentally and physically. And when I say "me" time, I don't just mean time to relax and do something for "me." I mean time alone at home to WORK, to do things for other people correctly, to be able to THINK so that I don't forget something important, to be able to talk aloud to myself or to the pets without someone thinking I'm talking to them and saying, "what?" or trying to answer me.  I need time when there are NO interruptions or when there is nothing going on in the background to distract me so that I can pay bills, record receipts, look over and update my to-do list, take care of wedding planning business, make phone calls, write letters, wash dishes, clean the house, do laundry.... So, you see, I'm not talking about time to soak in a bubble bath, or watch my favorite movie while having a glass of wine, or read a book without interruption. I just want a bit of time a few times a week to GET THINGS DONE while no one is here. And I haven't had that. Thomas has been home a lot because of the weather; Eler Beth has been home a lot because of her work schedule, and; Anthony has been here a lot at our house because, well, that's where Eler Beth is! There is almost always someone here. 

So I've been feeling sorry for myself and letting it build up inside of me.

Then I saw this post by my third-eldest sibling yesterday:

"Well, it's been fifty years now. Ronnie and I were married on January 13, 1968. This picture was taken in May the following year.  We had stopped at Judy and Luke's the evening of my high school graduation from Hancock Co. High -- 1969." And she included this picture:




Ronnie died in 1996 from a brain tumor after about a year of treatment. His first three grandchildren (one set of twins) were born in March and April, only a few months before his death, so none of his grandchildren ever got to know their Papaw. He and Maxine had been married for 28 years and 6 months. 

So I still hope I have a couple of days this week where I can have most of the day to myself so that I can get things done and mentally re-charge. But if I start getting really bent out of shape about it, I'm going to remember this and be happy to have the time I have with my little family.

And Happy Fiftieth Anniversary to my sister Maxine and her late husband Ronnie, still her one and only true love.

_______________________________________

Maxine was really young when she and Ronnie got married. They didn't get married for the reason some may think. She was still in school, he proposed, she didn't want to wait, Mom had five kids at home (had just married off her oldest daughter and her son had just moved into his own place), and she and Dad gave their permission.  Maxine stayed in school, got pregnant with their first child October the year they married, graduated in May of 1969, and gave birth to that child in July of 1969.  I remember his birth very well, even though I was only three. I was SO jealous of him. lol  I was quite a momma's baby and was jealous of my mother's attentions to him, but also was rather jealous of "Nanny's" and "Nonnie's" (what Barbara and I called Maxine and Ronnie) attentions to their firstborn, because I thought they belonged to ME! But I got used to him.... He was followed two months later by the eldest granddaughter (my sister Dennice's firstborn), and I have no real memory of her birth, so I must have gotten used to the idea of there being grandchildren in my parents' lives by that time.

_________________________________________

Ok, so everyone is out of the house for a few hours, and I have "relieved my spleen" here and given myself a scold here in my blog, so now I am off to get some of those things done.


~~ Lori


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Closing out 2017

In preparation for doing my end-of-year post I went back to read last year's post which you can find hereSo as I close out 2017 I might just have to review and meditate on how I closed out 2016.

So 2017...

My mother turned 94.  Her health was really very much better this year than last year. They were finally able to help her terrible sciatic pain. She has slowed down significantly, as one would expect. But she is still so very healthy and strong, and her mind is still as sharp as ever. As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks ago she was doing one of those health surveys over the phone, I assume in connection with her insurance or some other health-related plan she belongs to, and my sister, Lois, sitting next to her, was helping her, making sure she heard the questions and was giving the answer she wanted to give. She was on speaker phone. My sister, P.J., who was there at the time, said that after several questions they asked her "How would you describe your overall health?" And P.J. said that Mom chirped brightly, "Excellent!!"  And that is what she is -- Excellent! I hope we have her with us many more years. :)

My brother, on the other hand... has had a significant change in his health for the worse. I have written before about his situation and that my sister Barbara is his main caregiver.  I will write more about this later, in more detail, but for now I will say that we had a scare very recently during which time it was discovered that he has an aneurysm and a pseudo-aneurysm in his groin area. They are both very large, and surgery is not an option because of the state of his veins. He could continue as he is for years, with his health deteriorating at the rate it has been doing so, or faster, or he could throw a blood clot or have an aneurysm rupture at any time. So we have made plans, arrangements, had family meetings, made sure that Barbara still feels able to handle his care at home. (She said, "I long ago resigned myself to the fact that Brother could die on my watch. I can handle it if that happens."  And that is what we needed to hear from her.) So, as I said, I'll write more about that later.

Thomas had treatment for prostate cancer.  That was a bucket of ice water to the face. He is doing very, very well.  The radiation treatments brought his PSA numbers down to better than normal. He will continue to take the hormone shots for a while, and they will continue to monitor his health, of course. I saw him tired this year in a way I have never, ever seen him, and that was a bit scary for me. But he is back to being his strong and happy self.  Last year I wrote about us, "There are, supposedly, landmark years where things change for people as individuals biologically and mentally, aren't there?...Well, anyway, I found that this year Thomas and I reached a new "plane" in our marriage, and it's a very good plane.  It seems like in areas where we might have been prone to disagree or make a big deal out of something, we are now more relaxed and accommodating toward one another. THIS YEAR I have seen a lot of little things solidify or bend, as the need may be, and I have felt more contentment as an individual and as a couple and a family."    In 2017 we celebrated our 30th anniversary. We had so very much to celebrate!

Andrew and Alexandria got married! We were so happy to welcome Alexandria officially as our daughter. We love and admire her so much, and they are so good for one another. Andrew is happier than I have seen him in years, content in a way I don't know if I've ever seen before.

Eler Beth and Anthony got engaged! I won't go on and on about that, because I have already written so many posts about them! Ha Ha!  But last year I wrote about Eler Beth, "She has great friends she can depend on, and is still intent on staying single until the perfect man for her comes along." Well, Anthony was one of those friends, and he came along.  He is the perfect match, the perfect complement for her and she for him.

I wrote last year that I had more trouble with depression and anxiety than I had had for many years and figured I was peri-menopausal.  I am still not IN menopause, but I guess I am in peri-menopause. I haven't actually asked my doctor about that. It wasn't any worse this year, and might perhaps have been a bit better, despite the cancer scare. Or maybe I just found that I can still call on reserves of strength when I need to be there for my husband while his hormones are out of whack, and he is overly tired from the radiation, and he is uncharacteristically having trouble concentrating and remembering things. And maybe one child marrying his best friend and the other child getting engaged to her best friend buoyed me up significantly. Anyway, I'm well. I'm enjoying planning Eler Beth's wedding and enjoying spending time with her and Anthony and Andrew and Alexandria.

I will end this post the way I ended last year's --  I hope anyone reading this has a very nice 2018. I hope I do too.

~~ Lori


Monday, December 18, 2017

Up To My Neck In Wedding Planning

I thought perhaps I should get on here and make a post before the end of the year. We've been, as you can expect, very, very busy around here lately.

We have a date, April 14, and we have the venues for both the wedding and the reception.  Eler Beth has her dress, and three of her four bridesmaids have theirs. Anthony has chosen the tuxes for him and his guys. Anthony's mom and I are working on the invitation lists. There is still a lot to do, but we're working on it.

I'd love to be able to share a picture of Eler Beth in her dress on here, but I guess I'd better not....

She is going to wear a tiara, chosen, but not bought yet, and a veil. At the bridal shop recently, when the girls were being fitted for their bridesmaids dresses, she tried on a tiara similar to the one she is going to be wearing (has to order it), and the veil that she is buying, and her dress, and that is when I teared up. I hadn't cried when she'd tried on the dress, but seeing her with the head gear on as well really hit me.

I'm still looking for my own dress. Thomas, lucky dog, doesn't have to worry about what he'll wear, since he'll be wearing a tux, like the rest of the guys.

In other news, Thomas is still doing very well. He doesn't go in to get his PSA numbers checked again until January. Andrew and Alexandria are doing well; we just had dinner with them last week.  My mother turned 94 this month, and the rest of the family is doing well.

I don't have much else to write about at the moment, but I did want to chronicle this a bit before the end of the year. I hope everyone out there is happy and healthy!

P.S. Anthony's apartment is only about two minutes from our house. But he hates to be alone, and Eler Beth doesn't go over there unless I or someone else is there as well. So when neither of them is working, Anthony is usually over here if there isn't somewhere else they have to be.  Thomas and I love having him here, and he is really making himself at home. A few times Andrew would drop by on his way home from work, let himself into the house with his own key, and stop short when he saw Anthony sitting on the couch. Now he doesn't seem to give it an extra thought. I guess it takes time for big brothers to get used to the idea of their little sisters being with someone. 

Anyway, sometimes if Eler Beth is still at work and Anthony is off work or didn't work that day, Thomas will call him when he gets home and see if he wants to come over because he knows Anthony hates to be home alone. Sometimes I come in from running errands or come into the living room from another room in the house, and there sit Thomas and Anthony, watching and laughing over an old movie on TV or listening to oldies music. I know this probably seems like nothing to be making a fuss over, but we are so happy that he is so very much at home in our home and that Eler Beth is so VERY happy with her guy and so natural and unaffected and comfortable around him at all times. They are so very right for each other!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Engagement and the weeks leading up to it -- Full Story w/pics! Part Three, Final

The Proposal (and bad-timing on the song playing in the background!)


Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

On September 24 we joined Eler Beth and Anthony and his parents for lunch at a restaurant on the river here in Jeffersonville.  It is where they had their first dinner date. To keep her from getting suspicious we had Anthony's dad ask to go there.

Andrew had to work that day and couldn't get out of it, so he and Alexandria weren't able to join us.  But Anthony's sisters and his brother-in-law were there, unknown to Eler Beth. Without her seeing them, they hid themselves on one of the decks where they could witness the proposal and film it.

The six of us ordered our drinks and appetizers, and enjoyed nice conversation, along with the restaurant's specialty bread, olive oil, and cheese. I was surprised that Anthony seemed so relaxed.  After they brought our appetizers we ordered our entrees, enjoyed some of our starters, and then Anthony suggested to Eler Beth that they go out on the deck to "see if there were any ducks or geese on the water."  Thomas suggested they take some of the bread with them to toss to the ducks if they were there.

As Anthony and Eler Beth got up to leave the table, Tom excused himself to go to the bathroom (really to join the other kids on the side deck), and Melissa and I got out our phones and poised ourselves to jump up from the table to station ourselves at some of the long windows to get pictures. Thomas elected to stay at the table to enjoy his calamari and watch my and Melissa's purses.

Later Eler Beth told me that she had been really cold and was thinking, when Anthony suggested they go outside, "Oh good! Now I can get warm!"


There were geese on the water. So they tossed a bit of bread.


This is how it went down as Eler Beth later told me.  Anthony said to her, "You know I love you, right?" which didn't set off any alarms, she said, because he's always saying that.

Then he took one of her hands, which also didn't set off any alarms.  He started to take her other hand, but still had bread in it. LOL  She said he turned and tossed it into the river, so he could take both of her hands in his. She had only time to think, "Oh. My. God."  when he went down on one knee and pulled a box out of his pocket.




I knew she was going to turn her head away like that.   



This is where she looked around and saw Melissa taking pictures. She didn't see the others until a bit later.



When he set the box on the rail in order to put the ring on her finger, all of the women in our group were thinking, "Don't let it fall over!"  
   

He asked, and she said, "Yes!"   







I absolutely LOVE the expression his face here.   











Needless to say, she approved of the ring! 
























The look you can just barely make out that is taking form in her eyes in this picture? Yeah, that's her thinking, "You knew! I'm going to kill you!" But she won't. LOL  She was very pleased about the whole day.


The weather was wonderful, and so was the day. 


But when we had all gathered on the deck to congratulate the couple and admire the ring, Tom brought it to our attention what the song was that was playing in the background:  "It's a Mistake" by Colin Hay (Men At Work). We got a good laugh out of that 'cause we all knew it was most definitely NOT a mistake.  :)                                                                  

                             























Thursday, October 5, 2017

Engagement and the weeks leading up to it -- Full Story w/pics! Part Two

Suspicions and Second-guessing


Read Part One Here

On Wednesday September 20, Anthony asked me if I could find a way to meet him at the jeweler's to pick up the ring. He and Eler Beth were running errands and doing "apartment" things all afternoon, so I wondered how HE was going to find a way to meet ME at the jeweler's.  But I said I would.

Eler Beth is extremely perceptive. She can pick up on a mood very quickly. She reads subtleties behind an expression, and, if she doesn't understand the implication right away, she at least knows that it is there and that it does imply something.  I had heavily impressed this fact upon Anthony when they first began dating and he decided to surprise her with her favorite flowers and candy. He knows it to be true.

He let me know what time he was going to try to meet me, so I told Thomas where I was going and why, and told him I'd also run an errand or two and stop by Kroger, so he could tell Eler Beth when she asked -- and I knew she'd ask -- where I was.  I got to the jewelers and waited. And waited. And waited. I got a couple of messages from Anthony. "Sorry. Still getting the utilities switched over to our names."  "Sorry. I'm having trouble getting rid of her. lol" 

I wasn't too worried about it and figured we'd just do it the next day, so I started on my way home.  About two minutes from my house while I was at a four-way stop I got a message from him that she had gone home and he was on his way.  So I made my right turn, turned around, and headed back to the jeweler's.

He showed me the ring he had chosen, and I approved. We looked at a couple others he liked just to make sure, but I really felt she would like his first choice best. He texted pics of them to his sister and his mom, and they agreed.  He made the purchase, and as he was signing the credit card authorization Eler Beth called him.  So the saleslady and I remained very quiet while he had a short conversation.  He told her he'd realized his car was almost on empty, so he was going out to get gas. (This was true. He'd told me that as soon as he got to the jewelers and he asked me where the nearest gas station was.)  

As the saleslady was putting the ring in its box, Eler Beth messaged him, "I don't know why, but I have this feeling my Mom is over there with you."  He said, "I'm not even at home, love. You're being paranoid."  We walked out to our cars, and I told him he'd better get to that gas station quick!  lol  Almost as soon as I got in my car and began driving I got a call from her.  "I know I'm being paranoid, but I just have this feeling that you're with Anthony."   I could honestly laugh and say, "No, I'm not with Anthony. I'm just running some errands. Is Dad home? Ask him if he needs anything from Kroger."  And, by the way, she had asked Thomas if he knew where I was, and because he couldn't remember where I'd said I was going, he could honestly say he didn't!  lol  He told her I was doing some grocery shopping or something, he couldn't remember.

So we made it through okay.

A couple of days later they were at the mall, just wandering around, getting a bite to eat, killing time, and they stopped in at a jewelers. They began looking at engagement rings and wedding bands, and she commented on a ring that she particularly liked.  He messaged me in a panic, with a pic of that ring, saying that he could always take the other one back and get this one instead!  I told him to tell Eler Beth to send me a pic of the ring.  He did.  She did.  I asked her what she particularly liked about that ring.  She told me she liked that it was dainty and feminine, that the band was narrow, etc.  I relayed that to him and told him not to worry, that the one he bought was perfect for her. It was dainty and feminine, with a narrow band. It was white gold, like she preferred.  She messaged me and said that Anthony was acting weird, and she was afraid maybe she shouldn't have said anything about that ring.

"Well," I messaged, "For all you know, he may have already picked out your ring."

"Oh God!" she messaged, "I didn't think of that!"  So she started doing some back-pedaling, letting him know why she liked that one, and pointing out others that she liked.  In the meantime he texted pics of that other ring to his sister, who also reassured him that he'd made the right choice the first time.

Between us we got him calmed down, but Eler Beth told me when she got home that she could tell he was agitated, and she was worried that she'd made him second-guess himself if he'd already picked out a ring.  Because she was worried about him, she became agitated, and he messaged me that he was worried he'd irritated her!  But eventually everyone calmed down, Eler Beth remained ignorant as to his plans for Sunday, and Anthony was happy with the ring he'd picked out for her.

The next day he told us that his mom and dad were going to come down on Sunday to see his apartment, and he wanted to know if we'd all like to go out to lunch together afterward.  I already knew this, but I feigned ignorance, and we agreed to do lunch with his family. I asked if he knew where we'd go (we already knew it was going to be where they'd had their first dinner date), and I suggested that we let his parents decide, since they'd be the guests. 

And, on a note to close out this part, I will share something Eler Beth told me one day at around this period in time. She said that sometimes she would look up at him and just find herself thinking how cute he is, how sweet he is, and how much she loves him, and how amazing she still finds it, and, "Wow! He wants to marry ME!"

I hope they always find that amazing about one another!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Engagement and the weeks leading up to it -- Full Story w/pics! Part One

I've posted pics from the big day on Facebook, but I'm going to make a post here as well.  Anthony and Eler Beth have been making plans and have considered themselves committed to one another, but they wouldn't make an official announcement until Anthony put a ring on her finger. That was totally Anthony's decision. I guess it was a matter of pride.  

September 17, the Sunday after Anthony officially moved to Jeffersonville, he told me that he was buying the ring that week, and he outlined the plans he had made for surprising Eler Beth with it and a proposal on the following Sunday.  Eler Beth is no fool; she knew something was going on. She knew we'd been whispering about something -- and she had guessed it was "rings" -- for more than a week prior to that day. But she was under the impression that Anthony was still saving up and and looking at rings, so we were able to take her off guard. 

On Monday the 18th he messaged me to ask when would be a good time for him to formally ask "Dad" (Thomas) for permission to propose to his daughter. We knew we'd have to kind of sneak him over so Eler Beth wouldn't know. That evening Thomas was super-tired and decided to nap for a while almost as soon as he got home from work. He asked me to not let him sleep more than an hour, though. I hadn't said anything to him yet about Anthony coming over.  When I woke him up, he said he thought he'd sleep a little longer, so I let Anthony know that Thomas was extremely tired, and we may have to do it another time.

I took a shower, and when I came out I could hear Thomas talking to Eler Beth (who was on the phone with Anthony), so I thought I'd message him and tell him "Dad's awake!" But before I could, he messaged me. "Is that Dad's voice I hear in the background? Should I come over now?!?"  I said sure, and he said, "Ok. Be right there! Just getting my hat!"  Anthony's apartment is only about three minutes from our house.

Then I whispered a word in Thomas' ear, and he slipped out the back door.  Eler Beth was sitting in the living room. She'd been a bit depressed that evening and was feeling anxious about work the next day. To make sure the dogs didn't alert her that someone was out in the drive or on the street in front of the house, Thomas flagged down Anthony in front of the neighbor's house.  Anthony asked. Thomas said, "Of course!"  And Anthony told Thomas his plans for that coming Sunday.

As soon as Thomas came back in, Anthony messaged me to see if he should let Eler Beth know he was outside. I said, "I'll tell her."  Now Anthony's refrigerator in his new apartment doesn't have an ice maker, so I had dug out some old ice cube trays that we don't use and washed them up for him.  I now handed these to Eler Beth and said, "Would you take these outside to Anthony?"  She was sitting in the recliner all snuggled into a fluffy blanket, feeling anxious and depressed, but at that her face lit up. "What? Anthony's here?"  I said, "Yeah, just for a few minutes 'cause it's late. He knows you're a little down, so he came over to give you a goodnight hug."  "Are you serious?!?"  And her blues were gone, just like that! lol