Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015: the meaning of growing old

Since Mom died I have felt old.  Before there was always someone close to me who was older.  Now I'm the grandma and matron.

As I look back on my life, it seems like it was a long series of losses.  As I grow older, the losses are getting closer and closer together.  I have had friends die or get very sick, children grow up and leave, pets die.  The worse losses were when my husband had his accident and subsequently abandoned me.  Then Mom died.

Today I heard that Mom's youngest brother, Mil died.

Old age has gotten more difficult for people in recent years.  Now we watch our parents dwindle in abilities and die - a foreshadowing of our own future.  Before people did not live so long.  My parents didn't have to watch their parents grow feeble and sickly before they died.  Their parents died at younger ages.

People did not have to watch their friends suffer through chemotherapy or heart bypass surgeries.

I'm not sure that medicine has done us humans a favor by prolonging our lives.  Human beings were not made to live so long.  Our parts fall apart bit by bit through accidents, arthritis, illness,  cancers, etc. No one wants to die young but perhaps it is really the better way to end up.

Maybe I'm just suffering another bout of depression.  I know my "good" years are dwindling quickly.  There are still so many places that I'd like to go and things I'd like to do.  But physically I'm declining and may not be able to live my dreams.  I wonder whether I should just quit working and travel while I still am able.  Or should I just settle down and be content with what I have.

What possible difference will it make if I take a trip to Istanbul or Charleston or Alaska?  I will make memories and those memories will die with me.

I have a pretty good life.  I have a man who loves me, a job that I enjoy, lots of hobbies that I excel at, own a home, have no debts.  Most of the world's people would envy me.

Earlier today I looked at some photos of my former life.  I thought I had become strong enough to face the memories.  I looked at photos taken when Jim, Mom and I lived together.  We were happy and I appreciated it at the time.  Those times were snatched away from me so quickly in November 2010.  I had no time to prepare.  I will never celebrate another birthday with Mom or another anniversary with my husband.  Those days are gone forever.  How can I not mourn?  Does the mourning ever end?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015

Happy Easter! I made a pair of mini felt bunny ears for my boss and me. Then I had to make several more pairs out of paper for people in the office today.
The idea for these came from: http://holloughby.blogspot.co.uk/…/sewing-tuesday-easter-bu…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 10, 2015

I used to wonder over and over why my ex-husband betrayed me so horribly.  He had some serious problems before we met.   My therapist said that Jim lost his way again after his accident.  That I had been his moral compass.

A friend of mine who is a psychologist finally gave me a theory that made some sense to me.  I had told him how happy Jim had seemed in the hospital and the nursing home. In the hospital and nursing home he received lots of attention - from nurses, doctors, physical and occupational therapists, plus he interacted with the other patients. And I was there with him many hours each day also.

Once he returned home he was faced with the reality of his situation.  I continued to go to work, care for the house, do the shopping, etc. as before.  He was at home except when he went to rehab.  Even my mother was doing more than he could- walking around with her walker, reading.

I was saddened by the change in our lives but I was getting help with a therapist.  Jim used to tell me that our problems were my depression.  He was just fine, mentally, according to him.

My friend said Jim was exhibiting depression as he came to terms with his new lifestyle.  He needed help with every little thing.  His depression led him to find someone to blame (me) and turn to the new people in his life - his daytime caretakers, especially the young Mexican girl, Claudia.  She was happily taking care of him while she was getting paid.  I found out that she used to be a stripper and a hooker.  I don't know whether she told Jim about her past or not.  Somehow she tuned in to Jim's past sex addiction problems.  She manipulated him and he was a very willing victim.  Eventually he gave her an engagement ring and thousands of dollars.

People that I meet now and hear some of my story seem to assume that our marriage had been unhappy before the accident.  That isn't true.  We both were very happy.  As the paramedics carried Jim out on a stretcher in November 2010, he told me that the last ten years had been the happiest years of his life.  He was afraid he would die before I got to the hospital to be with him.

Now my years of being with Jim seem kind of surreal.  I run across a picture of us together.  We were smiling and doing things together.  I can remember the time when the photo was taken but it seems like it was during a whole different lifetime.

This has been a giant leap forward for me.  The pain is getting much less.  Of course, the passage of time has been a great help.  But, my friend's advice gave me the biggest boost.  It makes sense with what happened.

The events were unimaginable and horrific.  They made me fully aware of my powerlessness.  I can make some life choices according to what happens to and around me.  I do not consider myself so self important to think that the things that happen to me happen for a reason.  The world has and will continue to go on without me in it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

February 12, 2015: D-Day x 2

Two years ago today my divorce became final.  Life is good.

The pain from my ex' betrayal is still with me but it's easing.  It really sucked to lose my husband twice.  First, he fell and became quadriplegic.  Then he "fell in love" with Claudia, his young caregiver.   Even after he broke up with her and I forgave him, he announced "I don't love you.  I don't even like you and I'm not sorry for what I did" at a marriage counseling session. That was our final counseling session.  The next day I met with my divorce attorney.

I remember the date, 2/12/2013 because it was exactly 60 days, the shortest legal time, after I filed for divorce.  I filed on 12/12/2012.  It's funny.  Jim thought that 12/12/12 was a special day because of the number repetition.  He thought everybody should do something memorable on that day.  I filed on 12/12/12 because it was the earliest possible date after our final counseling session.

I don't remember when the divorce from my first marriage was final.  That was a very painful time, too.  Now I rarely even think of those years.  I have high hopes that 2011 and 2012 will fade away, too. 

Being so severely hurt twice is enough.  I don't want to get married again.  Ex#2 used to talk about how we would grow old together.  Obviously, marriage does not give you that guarantee. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014

I just finished reading over my blog entries in December 2011, 2012 and 2013.  I really have gotten better!

I look forward to going home after work.  I enjoy my weekends and days off.

I was tearing up reading those old entries.  Even if they had been written by someone else, they would have made me cry.  What a sad life that person was living!

Life is a lot different for me now.  I try to be as independent as possible.  I fear depending too much on someone else.  Maybe that will change some day.

Christmas is not such a major event anymore.  I did put up my little pink trees and did some decorating.  I've invited Bert and his son (& girlfriend) for Christmas brunch, Lupita and Jimmy, Woodie.  Andy has promised to cook for us.

In 2009 we were all together for the holidays - including Kevin!  We had a big Christmas that year.  Andy went overboard with his cooking.  It was a real family Christmas.

This Christmas 2014 promises to be the best I've had since the old days.  I still have my friends, Jimmy and Lupita.  Andy is coming.  My good friend Bert will be with me.  It will be fun.

I'm looking forward to the holiday break from work.  I'd like to do some sewing for myself since the gift making is done.

 I'm going to bake cookies.  Biscotti are everyone's favorite.

The last few years have been a struggle.  I think the hardest days are over now.  I'm a survivor.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August 14, 2014: Mom

Sunday, August 3, my mother would have been 93 years old.  The following Monday, August 4, we buried her ashes.

Poor Mama.  I thought she'd make it to 100.  She wasn't ready to die.  I saw her 2 days before her death on June 3rd and she looked and acted pretty good.

The autopsy report finally has been completed.  It stated that her death was a result of complications from the accident that broke her leg.  It happened on February 7th. Below is a copy of the email that I received from Linda, the manager at Bedford Place.  The caregivers involved were Holly and a young guy, Mark. Mark went to the hospital with Mom on the day of her scheduled surgery.  (The anesthesiologist canceled the surgery because a blood test showed that she had low thyroid levels.)  Mark accompanied Mom again to an appointment with Dr Harger.  He spent the time playing with his phone and sniffling.  I told him to get some tissues for himself.  He did not seem well trained at all.  I didn't want to pursue any legal action before because Mom was happy at Bedford.  A move would have been traumatic to her.

Now, however, I am trying to find a good lawyer to see about filing suit against the home.  The 2 staff admittedly caused the accident.  The home's website states they take care of dementia patients.  So, I think I have a valid case  Below I have inserted the email from the manager and a page from their current website.  The whole web page wouldn't fit into the space on the blog so a bit is missing from the right side.  But, you can read enough to get the idea or you can go to the link:  http://www.bedfordresidence.com/#!amenities/cee5

Linda Papa linda1@bedfordresidence.com

Feb 8
to me
good morning
this is to inform you that your mom has  had an accident yesterday , she has bruise on her right leg, redness and swelling.
Per caregiver they reported that when they were transferring her from wheelchair to bed not knowing that her right leg was not in  proper place and they grabbed her/help her to be transferred to her bed.
We informed Dr Capocyan and advise to have x-ray
We received last night the x-ray result and found out that there was a  fracture
in the right distal tibia with mild displacement.
Today, we are going to send her to ER at Hermann Memorial SOuthwes
A smaller yet more personalized setting reminding our residents of "home".  We can accomodate most every need in a more intimate setting.  We offer Private and Semi-Private room accomodations with a home-like kitchen, communal dining and living quarters that encourage the residents to interact with other residents, guests and employees.


Seniors offer a variety of care challenges which our staff have experience and training in caring for.  Our Facility Director leads the team of Care Givers in meeting the individualized needs of our residents  including medical, dietary, social, and dailiy living skills. 

We provide 24 hour staffing with clinical support from our Registered Nurse and a variety of other health care professionals that we contract with for rehabilitative, preventative, and on-going care needs.  We also help coordinate medical appointments and treatment with community professionals and services.

Our Staff
  Those Special Needs
We offer Assisted Living services but can also provide Respite, Hospice, and Dementia related care.

Up until they broke Mom's leg I think they were doing a pretty good job with Mom.  She was a handful but the staff gave her lots of personal attention.

If anyone reading this post knows of a good lawyer for this type of case, please send me the name in a comment to this post.  It will be delivered right to my email.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, 2014

I put together a website with some of my Mom's photos.  If you're interested, check it out at https://evelyncalabria.shutterfly.com/.  There is a way for all members of the site to add their own photos and memories.

I am doing much better emotionally.  After all I had been mourning the loss of my mother since the dementia took her away a few years ago.  We had many happy years before that.

It is amazing to me that words have so much power.  In my last post I wrote that I was a widow.  Just writing "widow" lifted some weight off my heart.  I had to look at lots of photos to make Mom's website.  Many of them included Jim, my departed husband.

Now I can look at his photos and remember some happy moments in my life.  I don't get those daggers of regret:  "how could this have happened?" and "how could he have done this to me?"  I don't want to forget the years between 1998 and 2010 when I was happily partnered with him. Before it was so painful.  Those years are only memories now, not heartaches.

The "man" existing now, Jim Carpenter, is just a shadow of the man I had been married to.  Just a shade, a ghost.  Like any ghost I hope not to encounter it ever again.