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.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7, 2014: Alone

March 2014 with Mom at Bedford Home

I feel so alone now that Mom is gone.  She has really been gone for several years.  Senile dementia took her from me bit by bit over the last few years.  Mom was mostly content the last 2 years she was living at Bedford Personal Care Home.  She enjoyed being taken care of constantly.  She was actually quite demanding of the staff.  Her favorite was yelling "help, help, help."  That would disturb the other residents and their visitors so she would get the attention she desired.

Once when I was visiting she yelled "help, murder, police."  She had changed up her demands with scarier words.  It didn't matter if I was sitting right next to her.  I'd ask her what she wanted and she'd say "nothing."  She just wanted a staff member to come in and check on her.

I had been looking forward to Mom coming to live with me after Dad died.  I even bought a single story home (which are not very common in Houston) with her in mind.  She moved in with me in September 2003.  Initially she wanted to live in her own apartment.  She didn't want to spend the money to move to a senior living facility.  Then I broke my wrist and Mom took over cooking and taking care of the house. Since she wouldn't go to a place that I considered safe I kept her living with me.

We had several good years together.  Mom, my ex and I were a happy family.  After my ex fell in November, 2010, I had to hire caregivers to be with Mom since I was him whenever possible.  She became used to constant care.  When the ex returned home, it was very difficult to handle 2 invalids.

In December 2011 Mom's legs became so swollen that they were seeping liquid.  She would slip and fall and I'd have to call the paramedics to get her up.  I called 3 times in one week.  The doctor had said to keep her legs raised.  She would not do it.  I even put her in a recliner and locked it so her legs would stay up.  Somehow she shimmied off the chair and broke it.    The doctor told me to take her to the emergency room.  She was admitted and given diuretics and kept on bed rest.  Her legs got so much better.

The hospital social worker advised me that it would be a better transition for her to be moved to a nursing facility directly from the hospital since  I could no longer handle her at home.  So, in January 2012 she moved in to Bedford Place.
Mom's moving out contributed to the end of my marriage, which I wrote about in a May post.  The man I had married was gone.

So, now I am an orphan and a widow.  I work hard at staying positive and upbeat.  Unfortunately, I keep waiting for the second shoe to drop.  Sometimes it's hell having a good imagination.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

June 4, 2014: My Mom has passed away.

I was waiting until after I spoke to my relatives before I said anything to my friends on Facebook.  My mother died suddenly yesterday afternoon.  She ate lunch as always and laid down for a nap.  Then she had trouble breathing.  Her vital signs were still strong.  The home called for an ambulance and then called me.  I can't be sure if she passed away in the ambulance or immediately after she got to the hospital.  The ER nurse said that her heart failed.

My friend, Bert is helping me with the arrangements.  Mom's body will be cremated and I will take the cremains to Rochester around the end of July.  Then I will have her remains buried next to my father's.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014: Quick Recap

Last weekend I met up with a couple of friends who had moved out of Houston.  After talking to them I realized that pieces of my story had been missing in my posts.  So, here is a quick recap:

August 2000 - November 2010:  I am happily married.

November 2010:  my (then) husband fell and became paralyzed.  I found him and called the ambulance - saving his life.

November 2010 through January  2011:  He is at TIRR hospital.  He convinced the hospital psychologist that he was not depressed.  No help was offered to me at TIRR even though I obviously was an emotional wreck.  I found my own therapist.

January - June, 2011:  He is at a nursing home and then TIRR again.  I visited him daily and made sure that he was given the best possible care.

June - January, 2012:  He returns home.  I arranged caregivers for Mom and ex to come in the mornings and stay on the days that I was at work.  The ex was very demanding.  I paid for a private physical therapist to come in and work with him at home.

January, 2012:  Mom went to the hospital for severely swollen legs.  I then placed her in a personal care home.  She needed more help than I could give her at home.  (Plus, I also had a quadriplegic in the house.)

January - August, 2012:  The ex let go of all caregivers except the young Mexican girl. He became more demanding and distant.

August 2012:  The ex proposes marriage to his young caregiver and gives her an engagement ring.  I discover this and take him back to TIRR for further testing.  They could not discover any brain damage.

August - December, 2012:  We fire the young caregiver and find out that she was pregnant and living with her boyfriend.  She had no intention of marrying my husband.
I drive us to marriage counseling every week to his preferred therapist who was located in Friendswood.

December 5, 2012:  In marriage counseling my ex announces "I don't love you, I don't even like you and I'm not sorry for what I did." 

December 6, 2012:  I call a lawyer.

December 12, 2012: I officially file for divorce.

January 14, 2013:  The ex finally finds a place to live and moves out of my house.  I live alone for the first time in my life.

February 12, 2013:  The divorce is final.

2013-present:  I am happily living alone.  My whole house is my closet!  I am even dating. My life is simple and uncluttered.

I could update you some on the ex's new life but who cares?  The man I once loved and married died bit by bit sometime between November 2010 and December 2012.  It was a slow and painful end but it is all over now.

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014: The Tiggermobile

Last year I bought my bright orange Subaru Crosstrek.  It's only been just this past week that I finally have gotten around to giving it some personality.

The interior is orange and black so the car really wanted to be a tiger.  I found a Tigger bobblehead on ebay and put him on the dashboard.  The steering wheel sports a tiger fur cover that I got at a dollar store.

The car needed some exterior tiger striping.  I didn't want to go overboard with the decorations.  I just put black and white stripes on the hood, outlined the headlights (the eyes) in white and added black eyelashes.

The rear view mirrors (the ears) have black and white stripes plus I added black pin striping along both sides of the car.  I ran out of the white striping but I've ordered more.  Then I will add a white stripe to the black ones on the sides of the car.

I made a long striped tail on the rear of the car that extends around to the gas cap cover.  Wrote out "Tigger" in black and added a white Tigger decal.

Now it looks like MY car!


 It makes me smile every time I get in it.  Plus, I see other people looking and smiling at my car, too.
Everybody needs a giggle once in a while.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 14, 2014: Pink Poodle Mannequin

I have saved searches on ebay for "poodle" and "pink poodle fabric."  That's how I found a pink poodle costume in size 3T.  I don't remember exactly how much I paid for it.  I do know that it was less than $5.00 total.  The best time to buy costumes on ebay is from January to August.  Nobody wants a costume during those months.  (Right now it's almost summer so sweaters and coats are the bargain items.)

How could I NOT buy this pink poodle outfit?  But then, what to do with it?  I decided to make a mannequin to fit the costume.  She is constructed from pvc pipe and fittings, cut to size.  Her head is a large styrofoam ball that I pushed on to the pipe that formed the neck.

I bought some pink shoes at a thrift store.  I cut styrofoam to fit into the shoes and jammed the leg pvc pipes into them.

I made some small pink mittens for hands and glued them to her "arms." I thought she would look cute as a "butler" type mannequin so I gave her a lightweight tray to hold.

There's never a dull moment at home when you have 3 cats and a dog.  Luckily I didn't put anything breakable on the tray.  The cats jump onto the tray and knock down the little stuffed puppies.  They try to play with them but my real life pink poodle, Sweetsie, swoops down and runs off with them.

The costume is completely removable.  Maybe my new baby granddaughter will want to be a pink poodle for Halloween when she reaches 3 years old.  I would just love to see her wear it!
I have entered my Pink Poodle Mannequin and my Pink Poodle Telephone in a contest:  Craftys/Awards that Celebrate Crafts.  I would really appreciate it if you would go their website and vote for one of my projects!  http://thecraftys.com/

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014: Reading blogs

I just finished standing at the copier making copies and scans at the office.  So, I've rewarded myself with reading my email.  I receive newsletters from the site, Kollabara.  This week there was an article on the blog, "Four Square Walls."  The blog's author, Andrea quoted an interesting paragraph from a book:

"Best creative advice I ever received is from Elizabeth Cline’s book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. The book explores how our excessive demand for cheap clothing has resulted in human rights violations and environmental degradation in developing countries. One of her suggestions for becoming a more conscientious consumer is to learn to sew, or at least to learn to value our clothing by having them mended and altered instead of throwing them away. In her words, “If more of us picked up the lost art of sewing or reconnected with the seamstresses and tailors in our communities, we could all be our own fashion designers and constantly reinvent, personalize and perfect the things we own.” This reminds me that sewing is not only a fun pastime, it’s a way for me to clothe myself in a more ethical and thoughtful way."

Preserving the environment is a powerful motivator for young people to get involved in sewing.  Wouldn't it be great if home economics were still offered in high school?  I learned to sew from a class during my senior year and have been sewing ever since.

As I cruise through blogs and websites I come across more and more youthful faces.  It is inspiring  to know that my favorite hobbies of sewing and crafting are also enjoyed by the younger generations.

Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

It's still cool here in Houston.  Wonderful weather right now!  It's been a colder than normal winter.  I can only hope we will have a cooler than normal summer - right, dream on!

On Saturday morning my friend, Bert and I went to the Near Town Little League parade.  Bert was one of the founders of this league.  Looking at all those little boys made me nostalgic for the days when my sons played little league.  I can only hope that Kevin will move back to the US and I can watch my grandson Kenny play ball.  Or, Andy could find someone and make me some grandchildren that live here in Houston.

I was freezing Saturday morning as a cool wind whipped around the ball field.  In the afternoon I was sweating at the doggy event in Bellaire.  I took my beautiful pink poodle to this event.  We collected some freebies, had our photo made and met lots of doggies.  So many silly people ask me if Sweetsie is naturally pink.  A photographer from the Houston Chronicle took our photo.  So, watch the papers for our  picture!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March 26, 2014: Getting much better!

I've been using arnica on my bruises and it really works.  I've attached a photo that I took last night after only applying it once yesterday morning.  The photo on the right I took at the doctor's office the day before.
My leg feels much better today.  I have also been mostly behaving myself and keeping my feet elevated.
03/25/2014 evening photo
03/24/2014 morning photo

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014: Unveiling the Mummy Leg

ready for the new bandage
Today I returned to Dr West's office to get my bandages removed.  Above is the photo that doesn't look too bad.    The doc said the surgery was a success and that I wouldn't get phlebitis in these spots anymore.  This will save me a bunch of money by not forcing me to buy first class airline tickets.

I'm still getting tired easily and I can't stand for very long.  My biggest limitation is having to keep my leg elevated.

I have an ottoman under my desk at the office.  Hopefully none of the faculty will have big old books for me to copy.  Then it shouldn't be too bad.

Here are some of the other worse looking photos.  These won't show up on the blurb on facebook.

pulling off the old bandage

before  getting cleaned up

my new bandage

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014: my mummified leg

After the vein surgery my leg was wrapped from the bottom of my foot to mid thigh with ace bandages. When I first stood up in the hospital my leg bled through the bandages and was patched with what looks like a diaper - lovely, isn't it?

There isn't much pain at all as long as I keep my leg elevated.  Yesterday my neck and abdominal muscles hurt.  I don't know what the doctor was doing with me that I had these unrelated aches and pains.

Today I feel pretty good.  I have to keep reminding myself to rest.  I did some hand sewing while I watched TV.

Monday the bandages will be changed and I get to see what my leg looks like.  I didn't see the doctor after surgery so I don't know if he was able to just use the laser or if he had to do several incisions.  I wish doctors would take an extra five minutes and jot down a couple of notes and give it to their patients and/or their families.  I did call the doctor's office yesterday but the nurse didn't know the answers to my questions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19, 2014: Vein Zapping tomorrow

Last summer I returned home from Hawaii with a case of phlebitis in my right leg.  The damned airplane seat was so squashed that there was scarcely any leg room.  I got up and walked around often, did leg exercises to no avail.  I lost a week at work and spent many boring days with my legs up.

So, tomorrow I'm getting the saphonous vein in my right leg zapped.  Dr Charles West will use a laser unless he finds that he needs to do surgery.  I had vein stripping the old fashioned way back in 1988 but my doc says that they missed this big old vein somehow.  I know there is more air travel in my future since Kevin lives in Tokyo.  The zapping will help prevent a recurrence.

I hope I'm through with needing to have anesthesia for a few years.  I had an endoscopy at the end of January.  It weakened me and I ended up sick with a cold/asthma.

This time around I will make myself take it easier.  I don't want to get sick again.  The problem is I hate sitting around recuperating.  The weather is very pleasant now and there are just so many things I want to do!

Yesterday I walked to the student center for lunch.  I admired all the azaleas along the way.

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 14, 2014: Mom Update

My mother was supposed to have surgery to repair her broken leg on March 12, 2014.  I met her and one of Bedford's aides, Mark at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital at 5:30 AM.

We were put into a pre-op room around 6 AM by one of their CNA's.  He told Mom to get undressed and get on the hospital bed.  I told him that we would need help lifting Mom onto the bed because she couldn't put weight on her foot.  Then he disappeared.

An RN came in later.  She spoke a kind of baby talk to Mom, like people do to little kids.  I told her we needed help getting Mom into the bed.  She took some vitals and brought that first male CNA back into the room to help.  He and Mark got Mom into the bed.  The nurse took off Mom's top and put her into a hospital gown.  Mark left and said he had to go to work.

Another nurse came to put in an IV.  I told him that Mom would be difficult to stick, especially since she had not drunk anything in 12 hours.  He tried and ended up getting a bunch of blood but couldn't get the IV in.  They used the blood for her blood tests.

The surgeon, Dr Harvin came in and spoke to Mom.  Then in came the anesthesiologist.  His assistant tried to put an IV into Mom, too.

Dr Harvin came back in later and said that he couldn't operate because Mom's thyroid levels were too low.  The anesthesiologist said it would be dangerous to give her anesthesia for a long time with these low levels.

My cell phone couldn't get a signal so I had to use one of the hospital phones to call Bedford's managers.  I got to Linda in time and she sent Mark back in.  His taxi had not come yet.

Dr Harvin returned and said he would cast Mom in the hospital, in an operating room.  They were going to give her some gas so they could get the IV into her.

When she went into the operating room I left for work - around 8:30 AM.  The doctor called and said she did fine.  He was able to rotate her leg a bit to get the bone back into a better alignment.  She is supposed to go see him again in 2 weeks.  Mark took her back to Bedford in a wheelchair taxi.

I went over to check on Mom around 4 PM.  The cast is huge.  It goes over her knee.
Her sole has dead skin on it (see the black in the photo).  It's covered by the cast so it will just get worse. 

The doctor may decide to try surgery again after he checks how her bone is healing.

This has been a major ordeal for all of us.  Mom has to stay in a reclining wheelchair during the day.  Bedford is trying to get Medicare to approve an air bed for her to help prevent bedsores.

I have the burden of trying to determine what is best for her since I hold her medical power of attorney.