Sunday, February 24, 2013

February 24, 2013

I'm listening to Barbra Streisand singing "The Way We Were."  It now brings tears to my eyes.  I have lots of good memories of the last 15 years of my life.  Lately I've spent more time on the good ones than the bad ones.

I don't know which is worse.  Both kinds of memories make me cry.  I guess I just have to wait it out and let time erase some of the pain.

My abdomen is still very painful from the surgery to remove the lapband.  Unbelievably so.  I've had had several abdominal surgeries.  This is the worst pain.  I feel like a knife is twisting in my stomach.  Time will dull this pain, too.

The painting is finished in my house!  Now I can put things where they belong and leave them there.  Maybe I'll even hang up some of my pictures.  I'll be staying here for a least several months if not permanently.

My sewing machine and lots of my equipment are still in the car.  I returned from the ASG retreat at around 2:30 today.  I'm not supposed to lift anything heavy for a few more weeks.  Andy has said he will come over tomorrow and unload the car for me.  He has been very helpful.

I sure am glad that I'm not getting my toe operated on tomorrow.  I still have a giant bruise on my arm from the the IV.  I don't need another needle stuck in my arm right now or more pain.

Today is the beginning of spring break so work should be less intense this week.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21, 2013

I'm taking a break at work.  I shut my office door.  I wish I could take a short nap but I'm not going to lay on the floor.

I'm still in a lot of pain.  Work takes my mind off it but I just feel so tired.

The doctor checked me yesterday and said that I seemed fine.  She said they had to pull some underlying tissue really tight to get it to close and that's why I hurt so much.

I postponed my hammer toe surgery from next week to May 16th.  Classes will be over and it will be easier to take time off.

This weekend is the sewing guild retreat.  I will be able to rest better there since I won't be moving stuff around in the house.  I just have to get somebody to help lift my sewing machine for me.

I've been making little flowers while I sit around watching TV.  The little ones (1" in diameter) are just so cute.  I was making 2 - 3 inch ones.  Then I read about "inchies."  It's a new hot thing for sewers.  You make a little square - 1 inch - decorate it, embroider, paint, whatever.  Then you swap with other sewers.  (So I'm making little flowers - they're not very square, though.)

I'm feeling very attached to my flowers so I probably won't swap them out.  They would be cute grouped together to make pin or to sew onto a sweater.  I'm thinking of making them into a necklace.

If I get too tired this weekend I can just sit and make my flowers and talk to people.  I haven't been to a sewing retreat in 2 years because I had to stay at home and care for my sick husband.  It will be nice to catch up with friends that I haven't seen for a while.

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013

I celebrated Valentine's Day by having my lap band removed.  I got to the hospital at 6:30 AM and didn't leave until 6:30 PM.

Dr Marvin had to make 6 incisions to dig that gizmo out of me.  The incisions are small but they really hurt.

Today I got into my car to go to an appointment.  I almost didn't make it.  Getting out of the car hurt so much.  I didn't take any pain meds so that I would be able to drive.  I had a couple of other stops that I had planned to make but instead I came right home.

I called my boss to tell her that I wouldn't be in tomorrow.  If I could be "beamed" to the office, I would be able to work.  It's amazing how many motions we make everyday in which we use our abdominal muscle:.getting in and out of a car, in and out of chair, in and out of bed, walking, reaching, standing, etc. etc.

It's boring sitting around waiting to feel better!

Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15, 2013

Yesterday I had my yucky lap band removed.  It has been making me sick since it was installed in 2006.

The surgeon had to make 5-6 incisions to get it out of me.  So, today I really hurt.  Though not as bad yesterday.

I had to beg for pain medicine after recovery.  They gave me a shot that knocked me out for a couple of hours.  When I woke up all the pain boomeranged right back again.

I had to keep calling for assistance in the hospital.  The last time nobody bothered to come in at all.  I think the nursing staff was having a Valentine party.  I thought I would have received better treatment at University General Hospital.

I was left alone to get to the bathroom, find my clothes and dress myself.  I had to remind the nurse that I would need a prescription for pain medicine.

Then Lupita came and took over.  She GOT IT DONE.  She got them to call in a prescription, found a wheelchair and got me out of there.  You just have to have an advocate when you're in the hospital.    I think I'd still be stuck in that room while the staff partied if it hadn't been for Lupita.

Lupita drove us straight to Walgreens to get my medicine.  The prescription didn't match the instructions that I was given.  The girl at the drive through wouldn't call the pharmacist over to talk to us.  Lupita had to go inside and get the pharmacist to call the doctor.

I think all the pain and hassle will be worth it.  The lap band seems to be a big scam to me.  I was told that it would reduce my appetite to help me lose weight.  It just made me sick and I was still hungry.  I wasn't able to eat healthy food, like eggs, chicken, fish unless I smothered them in mayo or butter.

Plus, I developed erosion in my esophagus and stomach lining and had to be treated for reflux and an ulcer.  I finally got sick enough that my insurance will cover the surgery

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013-02-12: D Day

Today my petition for divorce has been granted in court.  Now, I have severed my legal ties with my former husband and former best friend, Jim Carpenter.

Jim is now legally AND morally free to propose marriage to Claudia again or anyone else he chooses.

At least this time around my life is not totally new like it was when I divorced my sons' father.  Then I moved out of our big house in West U.  I knew I'd never be able to maintain that house.  I had to find a "normal" job - not sewing and selling things.  I learned my way around computers and software.  I moved into a condo.

For now I'm staying in my home.  I have been repurposing some of the rooms and the interior is being painted a boring cream color.  The walls needed repair and new paint.  So, I decided to paint everything cream to make it more appealing to any future buyers.

My job remains a very positive force in my life.  I've been working in the same department at Rice for 7 years now.  (Time certainly does move faster and faster as I age.)

Jim and I have 2 friends in common.  I intend to keep in contact with them.  Other than Jimmy and Lupita we do not have any shared friendships.

My life will become simpler now - no responsibility to take care of invalids, lots more free time, no compromises to make, no need to cook big meals or clean up after anyone but me.

It seems strange to come home and just do what I want to do.

I still miss my life before 11/24/2010, the day of Jim's accident.  Jim and I used to have lots of fun together.  I already have 2 plus years of mourning that life under my belt.  

Today marks a new chapter in my life and I will move forward.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013

Mom was okay when I visited her this past Saturday.  I took her picture holding a sign "happy birthday, Joyce" and sent it to Joyce's daughter in law.  I stayed for awhile.  Then the painter called to say he was leaving.  I told Mom that I had to leave to go see the painter.  I left and she was just fine this time.

I went home and worked on the house some more.  Then I got dressed up and went to Kim Son restaurant to meet up with the International Social Group.  We had dinner and celebrated Chinese New Year.  It was a very pleasant evening.

In the morning I went to the ASG meeting.  I presented a program on tie-dyeing with sharpies.  It went really well.  I brought lots of sharpies, muslin and rubbing alcohol.  Everybody got to mark fabric with the sharpies, sprinkle with alcohol and watch the colors run.  There was a larger than normal group.  I was worried that I didn't have enough experience with the technique to lead a group.  But, everyone had fun and enjoyed the program.

On Sunday I continued working on the house.  I decided to move the ATT equipment into my office.  That caused the phone, internet and cable to stop working.  A repair man came today and put the stuff back where it was originally and it started working.  He plugged the main digital phone into the box.  Now my regular phones won't work and that means my lifeline won't work.

I called the number he gave me and left a message.  I haven't heard back from him.  I tried removing the digital phone and then no phones worked at all.  I didn't want to lose everything so I put the phone back.  If I don't hear from him I'll try another phone.

Andy installed a "door devil" in my front door.  It's to prevent the door from being kicked in.  He worked really hard on it.  He wanted to move the dead bolt to a safer position.  That made it so that he had to go get a new lock.  He wants to put in door devils on my other doors.  It's nice that he is worried about me.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5, 2013

I visited Mom at the home on Sunday.  She was at the dining table.  The aide said she'd bring her into the living room.  It's just down the hall but Mom started yelling "Joanne, wait for me."  Poor Mom is so confused.

We sat in the living room for a while.  Mom got restless and rolled herself back into the dining room.  I waited for her to come back - maybe 10 minutes or so.  Looking back I know that I should have just left and gone home then.

But, I went into the dining room and she had started eating dinner.  I told her that she'd left me.  She said that she would be right back.  I sat with her while she nibbled at her dinner.  She is in her own little universe.  So, are the other patients.  Most of them don't even make eye contact with me or each other.  Mom doesn't know anyone's name.  I've tried teaching her the aides' names but she forgets them immediately.

Mom and I went back into the living room.  It was getting late and I still needed to run some errands.  I told Mom that I was leaving.  She said no, no, don't leave me.  I stayed longer.  I took her to look out the window.  That made her angry.  I don't know what she wanted to do.  The television is always on but the patients don't seem to really watch it.  They just sit and stare.

Finally, I kissed Mom goodbye and said I had to go.  She started yelling "no, no, don't go."  She got louder as I got to the door.  I could hear her when I got into my car.  I felt bad leaving her but I had to go sometime.

I think it would be better to just go without telling her.  It seems rude but I think it will be less stressful for her.  She probably forgets that I'm even there when she leaves the room.

I understand why there are never many visitors at the home.  It is so sad watching your loved one decline.  Mom has been there a year and she is the healthiest one in the home now.  I've seen other patients return after strokes, heart attacks.  The ones with Parkinson are getting worse.

I'll keep visiting Mom.  I won't just abandon her.  With each visit I have to acknowledge the reality of aging.  It sucks!  It is like looking into the future and seeing your own mortality.  Time is going quicker every day.  All I can do is try to live in the moment and make every day count.

February 5, 2013

I worked hard ALL day at the office today.  My old boss, Carole died on 11/24/2012.  Since then I've gotten a lot of her workload.  It still seems strange.  Carole wanted to do everything herself.  She found it hard to delegate.

Tuesdays are always my busiest days.  It's my first day back in the office since the past Thursday.  (I only work Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.)  This morning I had over 200 emails to sort through.  Not only do I get my own mail, I get Carole's and the department's also.

The department has gotten a new administrator, Altha.  She has been very pleasant to work with.  She is still learning about the department.

It's the evening now.  I should doing my "second" job - moving stuff around in the house - reorganizing.  I have to move everything out from the other part of my studio so it can be painted this weekend.  Tonight I'd rather just sit and watch TV.  But, I going to get a least a little bit accomplished before bedtime.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February 2, 2013

Today my bathroom is getting painted and repaired.  Jim's power wheelchair chipped off the paint on the cabinets and knocked a big hole in the door.

I'm moving everything around in the house.  All my sewing stuff is going into one of the bedrooms.  That room got painted 2 weeks ago.

Last weekend Mom's old bedroom and the hall were painted.  That will be my guest room.

Tomorrow Omar (my painter) will do part of my studio.  I'm moving all my non-sewing hobbies and desk into that room.  Maybe I'll be able to keep my stuff better organized by "segregating" it.

By moving all this around I will get my living room back.  If I put the house up for sale, it would look better with a living room instead of a sewing studio.  Right now I don't have much to furnish that room other than a big oriental rug and an armoire.

I'm not making any decisions about moving for a while.  That would be too much change too soon.  I had to paint the interior anyway so I decided to make the house more sell-able.

The good thing about owning a house is I can keep my 3 cats and I can enjoy the backyard birds at my all my bird feeders.  And I wouldn't have to move!

The bad thing is it's too big and there's so much work involved in home ownership.

I'm writing this during one of my "rest periods."  Now I have to go back to moving fabrics and assembling bookcases.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1, 2013

Everyday I think back to what I might have been doing before Jim fell.  Three years ago we probably went to a movie and then to 59 Diner.  It was a happy life.  Mom was still "with it" and living with us.
Like the song says:  "but, it's all over now."

Tonight Kevin called me on Skype and I got to see my little grandbaby, Kenny.  I couldn't have done that 3 years ago.  Kenny is only 17 months old.

I didn't have my sweet little Stella kitten back then.  I had never been to Japan.

Time keeps ticking into the future...

The last 3 years have so terribly difficult.  I try to think positively and hope for happier (and easier) times to come.