Monday, August 29, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

It's Monday and time to link up with sweet Carissa for our randomness.What a fun way to begin a new week!

 I swear I really did feel a "  nip"  of fall in the air Saturday morning. It got me plum excited and I began thinking of fall decorations.  Didn't pull them out, but I'm thinking in the next couple of weeks I'm going to "  go for it"   and hope that it causes it to "  show it's face."   

Strawberry Lemonade 

My newest favorite drink is Sonic's Strawberry Lemonade.  It use to be their tea, but I tried this one day (at my DIL's recommendation) and I'm addicted.  Don't know what it is about those Sonic drinks but somehow my vehicle can hardly go by one without pulling through and grabbing a drink.  My Hubby just does not get it at all. ~grin~  I doubt it's the only thing he doesn't get. ~big grin~

Neat and tidy and a girly girl
Our little Princess and her Dad and Mom went out to eat with us the other night.  She is the neatest little eater I've ever seen for not quite 2 years old.  She is so very precise with her little fingers and when dipping her fries in catsup she never makes a mess and it goes straight in her mouth, not around her mouth.  I love it! She's such a "  girly girl"   and she loves putting on her CiCi's shoes too. Believe it or not, she took several steps with her feet in the shoes just like this. 

Meet my Virginia brother

My oldest brother was here this past week for a couple of days to visit our Dad. We enjoyed him so much and he is quite an accomplished guitarist and he was able to round up one while here and enjoyed serenading our Dad with some of the old hymns while visiting with him. He and I use to enjoy singing together when we were teenagers and he accompanied us on the guitar.  What memories!

Coloring that gray right out

Every 4 -5 weeks you will find me at my favorite salon with my favorite hair sylist.  She colors and trims and offers free counseling on the side. ~laugh~  I'm sure that she could write a "  best seller"   with some of the "  stuff"   she has heard throughout her years of dealing with women.  She is definitely a bright spot in my day!  

 Blessings my friends for a beautiful week!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blessings in the Midst of the Storm

friday favorite things | finding joy

In the midst of the storm in my life (my Dad's illness), the Lord has been gracious to bring to my mind many blessings.  I never want to get so caught up in my struggles that I cannot see His blessings. Those blessings are my  favorite things this Friday.

 Thinking about this little boy and girl that I get to call "Grand."  My little Princess is spending the day with me today and there's no doubt she will be a "spirit lifter" for me. I always have to take her out and "show her off" when I have her.  It's just a Grandmother's "right" isn't it? ~smile~ If the Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise (as my Grandmother use to say) we'll be heading to Dodge City to see our little Prince in two weeks.

My Dad's keen mind.  In spite of all that he has been through and the GBS taking over his body, he is still as alert as he can be.  He is able to communicate his needs and desires and make  conversation with us.  That is no small blessing!

Having precious friends that hold me up in prayer, offer me words of encouragement and are "there" when I need them. 

Driving into my driveway and seeing "home" after spending days inside a hospital and hotel room. There's just no place like home! 

I read this yesterday in my morning devotional and wanted to share it with you............"Only when you know you can't, will you find He can."  This has been proven to me over and over in these past weeks as I deal with my Dad's illness. What a precious truth!

I'm linking up with sweet Rachel over at Finding Joy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Harsh Reality

 It has been two weeks tomorrow since Daddy returned here to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. We were hopeful that the Drs. here could do something to turn Dad's declining condition around. And, they have certainly put forth their best efforts and only time will tell if their efforts pay off.

Daddy will take his last plasma exchange tomorrow morning and while the Drs. say he is stronger than when they started, we can see very little improvement.  He will begin taking steroids on Tuesday and the Drs. have told us that there are risks and side effects that come with this type treatment but they feel the treatment could aid in some type of recovery. We wish so much that the Drs. could tell us what type of recovery to expect, but it is something they simply do not know.  All the tests and procedures have confirmed that he does indeed have CIDP, and the key word in that is "chronic."  This is in the family of GBS and in some instances GBS turns into CIDP.  Not the news we wanted to hear. Our prayer would be that he could recover enough to enjoy some type of Independence and have some quality of life.  We continue to pray for that and would love to see some indication of that in the near future.
I think Daddy is probably dealing with all of this as well as anyone could expect.  He struggles with accepting it, he stays frustrated not being able to do anything for himself and he grows extremely weary with all of it and he tires of the pain associated with this condition.  Can you blame him?

His hands will likely never be able to create beautiful wood crafted pieces in his shop, never drive and never stand behind a pulpit and preach God's Word.  Yes, this is a boatload and I must confess that I've really questioned the Lord about why this had to happen. It's likely a question that I'll never know the answer to, but I know that He has a reason and I will eventually accept that.

 We are thankful for the fact that he is still just as "sharp as a tack" mentally.  And, we know that is no small matter, that is a huge item of thanksgiving.  Yesterday afternoon he and I shared a conversation that will be forever etched upon my heart.  It's  good for him to be able to share his heart, the struggles he is feeling and how much his life has changed since June 9th.  It broke my heart as I listened to him and my tears flowed for many hours following our conversation, but it  was good to share that special time with him.

The plan is for him to be transferred back to the LeGrand on Tuesday.  It is a little scary for me because we feel a certain comfort being here with all his Neurologists.  But, they assure me that they will send him back with a very detailed plan for the future so his Dr. can oversee that plan. Of course, we will be thrilled to be back home.  The Hampton Inn has become my "home away from home" these past weeks and I look forward to getting back to my house.  Sybil was able to stay with her sister who lives about 35 miles from the hospital, so that worked out so well for her.  She went home Saturday to prepare for Dad's arrival on Tuesday. We have been blessed with some wonderful sitters that stay with Daddy from 7 PM to 7 AM. We couldn't have made it without them.

We ask your prayers for his transfer back.  The 2+ hour trip is so hard on him and it takes him a while to get over it.  Of course, we ask your continued prayers for his recovery.  I will keep you posted as we go along.

It is His abiding love and strength that I cling to each and every day, and is the only reason I can go on.  With heartfelt thanks to each of you dear ones!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Continuing On............

First, I know that I said I would update yesterday, but I felt like I would have more to report if I waited until today.  So, please forgive me.  Anyway, it's really not that hard to check to see if I've updated is it? ~smile~ It's hard for me to have a set schedule right now, if I can figure out 2-3 days at a time, I'm doing good.

The first plasma exchange was done on Friday and it was a tough ordeal.  They encountered a few problems but today's exchange was much smoother.
The machine pictured above is what is used and it is an amazing process.  This machine is attached to Daddy through a central line in his neck.  The picture below
shows the tubes running into that central line from the machine.  There are two Doctors and two RN's with him during the entire process.  They are a great group and kept me well informed of all that was taking place. 

Daddy was tired and a bit out of sorts following the procedure and slept for a couple of hours afterwards.  He has 3 more exchanges, on Wed., Friday and next Monday.

Daddy did seem to be somewhat stronger this weekend.  He sat in his wheelchair for an hour yesterday afternoon and said it felt so good to be out of the bed.  The Drs. feel like that the plasma exchange is responsible for his increase in strength and they are hopeful that he will continue to see marked improvement in the days ahead.  Of course, we are clinging to that hope.

Tomorrow morning  is the muscle and nerve biopsy and he is very anxious about it.  He's just been through so much poking and prodding and he's tired of all the additional discomfort that it usually causes him.  The surgeon doesn't feel like the biopsy will be too big of a deal for him and I certainly hope she is correct.  They will use conscious sedation for the process plus local anesthesia at the sites. These are being done to rule out any other issues, besides the GBS.  I don't think that the Drs. are expecting them to reveal anything new.  It will likely be Friday before we hear from the Pathology.  So, once again, we hurry up and wait!

Daddy remains very tired and weary but is hopeful that when all of the tests and procedures are finished and the Drs. give him their prognosis that it be one that gives him something to hang on to. 

Joel returned home on Sat. and I took over.  Sybil will be back tomorrow and after the biopsies, I will go home for a couple of days.  As many of you probably know, it is a tough time for all concerned.  All of our lives are altered and we never know from one day to the next what may happen.

Your continued prayers are so appreciated and your encouraging words mean so much.  I always convey to Daddy all the many, many folks across the country that are praying for him.  You all are so dear to him!

We will continue on, counting on the Lord for our strength and trusting  Him for all that happens, even when we don't understand. 

I will most likely update again this weekend and inbetween times will be updating on Facebook. We love and appreciate you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Update on Dad - Weary and Worn

  I had hoped that any future updates that I did would be about Dad's progress.  Even though he began a decline on July 23rd, we were hopeful that it was only temporary.  But, that was not the case.

This past Monday, August 6th, Daddy was transferred back to LSU in Shreveport.  He was admitted through the ER and can I just tell you that it was a less than pleasant experience. 

These past 3 days have been full of tests, procedures and more tests for him. The Drs. feel that there could be some muscular issues going on because he has no strength in his shoulders and thighs at all.  This is not consistent with GBS, so they are doing a muscle and nerve biopsy tomorrow.

  They did another Nerve Conduction Study (above photo) yesterday and it did show there had been a definite decline in his progress.  He also had a Spinal Tap yesterday and it showed protein and sugar in his spinal fluid (also consistent with GBS) 

Dad will begin Plasmapheresis (often referred to as "blood washing") tomorrow.  This process has been known to aid in the treatment of immune related disorders.  It is a serious process, especially at Dad's age, so he will have a nurse sitting at his bedside to monitor him closely the entire time that he undergoes these. Each treatment is 2 hours.  There will be 5 of these and he will get them every other day beginning tomorrow.

What does all this mean?  I'm not sure.  There are still a lot of unknowns but we are hopeful that the muscle and nerve biopsy will aid the Drs. in figuring out exactly what is going on.  

To say that Daddy is "weary and worn" is an under statement.  He is just before giving up and I truly cannot blame him.  It grieves us so much to watch him go through all these procedures and tests when his body is so frail and tired.  I truly wonder just how much more he can tolerate.

Joel came in on Tuesday and has been a life saver.  He has such a way with Daddy and Daddy was so happy to see him when he walked through the hospital door.  Sybil is enjoying a couple days visit with her son who lives in Kansas City. I came home last evening and will return tomorrow morning so Joel can return home to Iowa. Sybil will return next Tuesday to S'port and she, myself and sitters will be with Dad until his return to Bastrop.  The Drs. are saying that he will be there from 10-14 more days.  

I'm sure many of you reading this entry have traveled this path before and you know how grueling it can be.  Some days I don't even know how to pray and it is at those times that I know the Lord hears the groanings of my heart.  In my devotional this morning I was reminded of how God is in absolute control even though we may not understand his ways and and I must keep my trust and hope in Him as we continue on this journey.

We covet your continued prayers during this most difficult time.  I will do another blog update on Sunday. Blessings to you all! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Miscellany Monday - Happy Birthday Carissa

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

the birthday girl

First things first! Tomorrow is Carrisa's birthday and I want to wish her an exceptional day.  She's always the "hostess with the mostess" each Monday. It's been such a delight to have gotten to know her through blogging and praying she will be blessed with a wonderful year.  Happy Birthday Carissa!

Girlies, I would love to hang around and chat this morning but I can't.  My Dad has taken a turn for the worse and it looks as though we will be headed back to LSU in Shreveport today.  Please be much in prayer for us as we continue on this most difficult journey. 

May you be blessed with a wonderful week!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Canada, New England and COOL weather...............

Finding Joy

Girlfriends, It is soooooooooo good to be back with you  and the two Rachels today.  You are a bright spot in my week and I've missed you.

 On July 14th, Hubby and I boarded a plane headed towards Montreal, Canada. We were off on our 40th Anniversary trip which began in Montreal.  We decided to spend a couple of days seeing the sites in Montreal before boarding the ship for our Canada and New England Cruise.  It was so nice to be greeted by such cool weather. ~sigh~ 

To make the best use of our limited time there we jumped on the Gray Line tour bus and away we went.  And, I might add, it was just the first of many tour buses we would board over the next 10 days. ~smile~

 One of our favorite stops was the open air Farmers Market.  There was so much beautiful fruit, veggies and pastries.  We enjoyed meandering through.

We boarded the Holland America cruise liner Maasdam on July 16th.  Over the next 7 days we would visit Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbor and then disembark in Boston for a two day stay there.

Everyday involved some type of bus tour so that we could make the most of the time we had at each of the cities.  We were generally only at each  city about 8 hours, so a bus tour seemed to be a best bet.  But, I must admit, we did tire of the bus.  On and off, on and off and there were about 42 of us on the buses.  I'm sure you get the picture. ~grin~ But, we saw some beautiful sites during our tours.

One of many interesting stops was in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  It was here that we met Emard Court.  He is a man in his late 80's, and models the hat he is wearing in the above picture for Land's End catalog.  How funny is that?  He was such a sweet man and very ready to have his picture snapped.  I can only imagine the stories he could have told had we had the time to sit and listen to him.  The tour guide told us that he comes out and meets every tour bus that passes in front of his house.  

The 2nd evening of the cruise was the Captain's Welcome Dinner, so Hubby and I "gussied up" for the occasion .  It was later that evening that hurricane force winds blew up and "rocked and rolled" the ship the entire night.  There were times that we were actually holding on to the bed to stay in it.  Can I just say that we were on the 9th floor with a balcony and the waves were splashing it with water.  Yikes! If we had not had medication, we would have been some "sick puppies."  They had "barf bags" hanging by each elevator. ~gross~ But, we lived to tell about it and our children were sure glad of that. ~laugh~

On the 23rd we disembarked the ship in Boston and went to our hotel, the famed Fairmont Copley.  The first site to greet us was Catie.  
Catie is a black lab and she is the hotel dog.  She lays out in the lobby and greets everyone that comes in. Look closely at the above picture (left top) and you will see the Waterford bowl that she drinks her water from.  She is 9 years old and definitely showing her age, but she is one more loved dog. 

Once we settled in we were back on a tour bus to see the sites of Boston.  Later that evening we would enjoy pizza at Regina's.  It is a "hole in the wall" type place where folks wait in line to get in and eat.  We had heard it was a "must" and we were not disappointed at all.  It was the highlight of our evening. 

There was so much to see and do in Boston but one of our favorites was seeing and touring The USS Constitution or "Old Ironsides" as it is affectionately called. I did not realize the history of that ship until we toured it. 

On Monday the 25th we were homeward bound and we were ready.  I think one of the great things about going is coming back home.  There's just no place like home! But, we made a lot of wonderful memories that we will treasure for years to come.

For more fun reading, check out Home Sanctuary and Finding Joy

Blessings for a wonderful weekend my dears!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Progress Report on Daddy

First, can I just say that it is "hotter than hot" here in Bastrop, La.  My goodness, fall cannot get here quick enough!

Dad's spirits seem to be "lifted" in the past 2-3 days. We are so thrilled with this.  He has been so, so discouraged and down and it appears that he is likely "coming to grips" with his situation and trying to make the best of it.  I'm sure it will wavier from time to time, but he seems to be on the right track at this time.  And, likewise, Sybil and I are encouraged when we see him encouraged.

I wish that I could say that he is progressing physically, but while he doesn't seem to be declining any longer, he isn't making any stride forward either.  But, perhaps that is "just around the corner."  Everyday we look for any sign that he is moving forward.  

One of the most frustrating things for Dad and us is that in our area there is little to nothing known about Guillain Barre Syndrome.  His Dr. has never had a patient with GBS and the facility he is in has never had a patient with it and
his Physical Therapist has worked with one other person. I truly doubt that his team of Neurologists in Shreveport at LSU have seen that many cases of it, but they certainly were aggressive in their treatment and care. Because of this, it is imperative that we learn and research all that we can about the condition so that we can make sure that he is receiving the proper care and therapy.  Joel connected with the Guillain Barre Foundation and that has proven to be a great source of knowledge for us and we have joined a forum on the internet where folks share lots of info about GBS.  I am going to try and contact his chief Neurologist at LSU tomorrow and ask him a few questions. 
Knowledge is power and we are in search of all of the knowledge available to us.

Again, our thanks to each and every one of you for your continued prayers.  We know that they are being answered and we know they are what keep us afloat.

Added note:  if Dad is on your email forward list, please remove him for now.  Sybil and I are keeping his mailbox cleaned out and we pretty much have it under control except for forwards.  If and when he is back on his computer I will let you know.  Thanks so much!

Stay cool and be careful in this extreme heat!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Miscellany Monday - At Last

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Can I just tell you "dears" that it is sooooooooooo good to be back after way too long of a break from blogging.  I have missed you so much and I am thrilled beyond words to be sharing in MM today.  Life threw me a HUGE curve ball on June 9th and I've done good just to keep my head above water.  But, on to my MM.........

the tooth 

A week ago this past Friday I began having a strange feeling in one of my left top back teeth.  Well, that strange feeling kept getting worse and this past Wed. I had to see my Dentist.  My fear was confirmed, I had an abscessed tooth.  And, to add "insult to injury" it is a tooth that already has had a root canal and it is one of the teeth holding my permanent bridge.  So, I have had two Rocephin shots and will see the Endodontist this morning to find out, if anything, that he can do to save this tooth.  Did I really need this right now?  No, sure didn't, but then I don't need an abscessed tooth at any time. ~smile~

the new "do"

Well, I needed to do something to add a little "sass and perk" to my life and I felt like a new "do" just might do that.  So, this past week I had my hair cut and I can honestly say that I am "pleased as a peach" with it.  I don't know, but celebrating my 59th birthday this past Friday might have spurred this on. Just saying..............~giggle~  

not for every gal

I just had to try on this pair of Gladiator sandals.  I see them on women all the time but I don't think this woman will be getting a pair.  My foot felt so lost and I felt like my feet would be all anyone would see if I had these on.  Think I'll just stick with my rhinestone flipflops. ~smile~

a corner in Boston

Yes, I took this picture while Hubby and I were sitting on a park bench in downtown Boston last Saturday evening.  Obviously these gals were either going to or leaving a wedding.  And, who knows, maybe that's the bride wearing white????  Needless to say, it was indeed a "sight to behold."

another site

This "street lady" came and sat down on the bench next to ours that same night in Boston.  She was one of many that we saw and they all pull these type carts with, what I suppose, is their earthly possessions.  You will find the benches and ledges full of these folks by dark as they prepare to "bed down." I sat there thinking that that each and every one of them had a "story." And, while their present set of circumstances could possibly be different,  it was still very sad for me to witness.  I mean this is the United States of America. ~sigh~

the night sky
This was the sky that same Saturday night in Boston as darkness set in.  Can I just say it was stunning!

daughter's blog

I can't close without giving my favorite (and only) daughter a "shout out" for her blog.  She has "played at" blogging before but she seems to be fairly serious about it this time.  So, I invite you to drop by and tell her that her Mom sent you by. ~smile~  You can find her at The Broome Bunch.

 Again, it has been therapy for my soul doing this entry and I look forward to visiting with many of you this week.  Please continue to pray for my Dad.  He/we are on a long, long journey.  Hugs to you all!