Monday, March 31, 2014

Life, Loss, And Other Things

Time sure does fly!  Last week, on the 25th, my baby girl turned 18.  Just like that, in the blink of an eye, I was now the mom of two young women.  Not babies anymore, 18 and 21.  Where did the time go?

On Friday, Sister #3's boyfriend's brother was killed in a single car accident.  He fell asleep at the wheel and wasn't wearing a seat belt.  This poor family has endured so much in the last year.  They have suffered so many losses.  First last March the eldest brother died, earlier this year the 11 year nephew of the boyfriend lost his battle with cancer, and now this.  1 year and 20 days between the 2 brothers dying, and 27 days since the young boy was buried.  Please keep E and his family (mom, dad, and sister) in your thoughts as they all struggle to deal with so much tragedy. 

It seems the Universe thinks and wants me to really focus on my art.  I won a spot in this years 21 Secrets Live a few months back.  It has been a really fun learning experience which continues through June.  Then I won a spot in a 10 month program called Spectrum.  Yesterday I found out I won a spot in the Spring installment of 21 Secrets!  I am really excited about all of them. 

In about 6 hours or so, Camp NaNoWriMo starts.  I wasn't sure if I was going to do it.  But since I can set my own word count goal, I decided to go ahead and participate.  I set my goal at only 10,000 words or 333 words a day for the month of April.  It's small and doable.  It's something I can work in between other things. 

I just need to figure out my time.  I am being given these amazing classes by the Universe to participate in.  Story ideas still pop into my head.  And yet I let myself become so easily distracted by nonsense.  In the midst of all this, I've decided to try and shed a few pounds.  I'd like to weave a walk into all this to help with my plan.  So far, I haven't done it.  Maybe I should make April all about me month.  Focus on art, writing, eating healthier, and start walking.  Easy to say, harder to do.  Let's see what happens in the next 30 days.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Feelings, Anger Not Grief

Yesterday marked two weeks and I've yet to really shed a tear.  I can't!  I've tried...they just won't come.  It makes me feel like a terrible person, guilty even.  I just can't grieve for her.  The logical part of me says she lost that right to my grief when she chose to cut us out of her life.  What gets me is that no one knows why.  The truth of it is too, even if I had had the opportunity to ask I doubt I would have gotten the truth.

I'll tell you thought what I really am.  I AM PISSED!  I am so fucking angry at her.  Her and fucking gambling addiction.  Anything of value, she sold it.  Gone!  Lost forever! 

She had her mother's (who would have been 108 yesterday) mink stole.  It's gone!  She sold it.  She had a charm from her mother's charm bracelet.  It's gone too!  She sold it!  Thank the gods my aunt had the good sense to send me the other two when their older sister decided to divvy up the charms back to who gifted them.  Otherwise, she'd have sold those too. 

Back in my teens, I/we spent a lot of time at Shea Stadium.  In 1986, I got to go to a lot of the Mets home games.  I was there the night they clinched the pennant race.  OMG it was amazing and crazy.  Earlier in the season I got one of their foul balls and then started having the players sign it.  If memory serves me right, I had the entire team on  that ball.  If you know baseball, you know then that was the year the Mets won the World Series.  For some reason after I got married and moved out, I left the ball behind and in her possession.  I don't know if I forgot or just never got to go back and get it.  Well, she must have sold it too because it's now where to be found. 

She chose gambling over family, over friends.  In the end, she had burned so many bridges and hurt so many people that no one except her youngest sister spoke to her. 

I did my grieving years ago when she decided I wasn't worth having in her life anymore.  I was of no value to her.  Sometimes I often wonder if she tried to get rid of me the way family members say she "lost" what would have been my younger sibling.  Or if she would have given me away like she did my older half sister.  Too many people would have stepped in I think to stop her from doing that though, or at least my father's mother would have. 

She never let me forget growing up how I was an accident, that I wasn't supposed to be here.  That she and my dad weren't even sleeping in the same bed.  Which sometimes made me wonder if he was my biological father.  She would never let me forget how I "owed" her for raising me, feeding me, clothing me.  When I started working and making a decent income but still lived at home, even though I was about 17 she told me one day...You owe me now for all those years I put clothes on your back and food in you stomach.  I took care of you now you HAVE TO take care me.  Simply put that meant support her gambling habit. 

I don't know if I will ever shed a tear over her death.  In someways, it feels more like I lost my mother years ago instead of two weeks ago.  Or perhaps one day I will grieve for the mother I didn't have.  But if I think about that, I've probably done that too years ago. 

But this anger that I feel...I have to find away to let it go.  It's building and it's starting to affect me.  It's messing with my stomach and I don't like that.  I just don't know how to let it go.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Just Like That, She Is Gone

At around 10AM (EST), I received another call from the hospital.  It was a nurse practitioner that was seeing my mother for the first time.  She was not responding to treatment.  Her white count was dropping, her BP was still falling despite the fluids.  Now she had sepsis.  The NP wanted me to consider them taking her off the BIPAP mask/machine.  Then lo and behold she found a health proxy in my mom's chart where she had named my aunt the proxy.  At that point, anything I wanted or thought no longer mattered.  The NP said she would take my wishes into consideration but it was now up to my aunt.  She then hung up and proceeded to call my aunt. 

At just after 1PM (EST) my aunt called.  "She's gone," my aunt said.  I was stunned.  "Already, now?" I asked.  She said yes.  She got to the hospital, touched her hands and legs they were ice cold she said.  Told me she leaned in and told my mother she was there.  The BIPAP machine then beeped once, twice, then stayed a steady beep.  A nurse came in and check for vitals.  But she was dead. 

It was fast.  Faster than I even thought.  The NP actually confirmed she was end stage.  And pretty much everything was going to start failing.  I knew it was probably going to happen quickly, I just didn't think it was going to be a couple of hours.  It is probably better.  She did not suffer at the end.  She never had to endure the chemo that would have only prolonged the inevitable. 

I don't know exactly how I feel.  I am sad.  Sad for all that she missed out on with my girls.  Sad that she was so selfish and toxic.  In the end, she had really no friends left.  No one but my aunt visited her at the hospital, except a couple from the senior center.  They only visited once and never went back. 

I'm not angry.  I haven't been angry at her or about her for a long time.  My heart aches for what she missed out on.  She died not even knowing that she also had to grandsons and two great grandsons from my sister.  I knew, but because she chose to cut me out of her life I never got to tell her. 

I really can't find the words to express how I feel right now.  Relief and sadness mostly.  I just hope that she now finds the peace and rest she could not find in this life.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Should Have To Do This!

First off, Happy birthday to my Beloved.  My life just wouldn't the same without you in it.  You make everything better, you make me a better person.  I'm so glad you found me. I love you babe!

Thank you Mary for your comments on my previous post.  You always have wise, sage advice and words to offer.  I know finding myself won't be instant, or happen in a year.  But I hope that I can at least begin to find the path amidst the weeds that will lead me in the right direction to finding my authentic self and being well...me. 

And now for my rant:  UGH!  God damn this woman!  God damn the first hospital she was in, even the home.  There is no health proxy on my mom.  No directive.  No living will.  NOTHING!  She's been in rehab for recovery from her stroke last year for the last 2 weeks.  Yesterday I get a call at 5AM local time from the ER that she was brought to the hospital in respiratory distress/labored breathing, a low BP and fever.  They said she is weak and tired so they felt unable to get any info from her.  They called my aunt first, but she couldn't/wouldn't make any decision.  So she gave them our number when they asked if she had any other family. 

The ER doc was very nice and empathetic.  He was telling me how he felt my mom was too weak to handle/survive being inter bated.  And if they did manage to, and she pulled through she might not hand being taken off it.  So then the questions of what are her wishes in this kinda situation.  HELL IF I FUCKING KNOW!!!!!  I told him that but much more nicely, I promise.  I explained to him we haven't spoken in over 15 years and even before that she never said anything about such things.  I told him I would call my aunt and ask if she know or at least find out what was on record from the other hospital.  That's when he said he spoke to her and she said she didn't know and didn't want to make a decision.  WELL FUCK!

He said he was going to back and finish working my mother up and while I called my aunt to try and figure shit out.  Came to find out that the other hospital, neither time she was there ever offered or had her sign a health proxy or living will.  Apparently the home hadn't either.   My aunt didn't find out until a meeting at the home last week that my mother even had the pancreatic cancer and that it metastasized to the liver. 

The doc said I needed to decide on a DNR/DNI/Full Code.  WELL FUCK FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!  Well initially I needed to decided if I wanted them to place her on a mask or not.  But he kept advising against the inter-bation .  I consented to the mask it was the logical thing to do, she was in distress.  I then called my aunt and that's when I found out there's no proxy, no directive, nothing!  SHIT!  This was more of a fact finding call then anything else.  After that call, I received a call from the admitting doctor.  She's a fast talker with heavy accent.  Well now she wants to know what if anything was decided and of course is asking for more details as to why my mom was in the home and why she was at the other hospital.  So things I knew others I didn't.  Now she's wanting my decision on the whole if my mom stops breathing or goes into cardiac arrest.  

I am truly at a loss.  She too is advising against them inter bating my mom.  Her body won't handle it they say.  Xrays were inconclusive for pneumonia but they are treating her with antibiotics because there is an infection somewhere.  Again she asks about the DNR/DNI, again she advises against inter bating.  So I agree to the DNI, it's the logical choice right?  She can't handle being put on it or taken off it.  That alone could kill her.  Then she is asking me if I want them to do compressions if her heart stops.  I ask more questions and how long would they try that.  She answers them, I more or less understand what she says but her accent makes it difficult.  She then advises against compressions because of her fragile state and it could cause broken ribs, punctured lung, and a variety of other things.  Initially I tell her to go with compressions.

Then...THEN...she says what about the DNR?  Wait, what?  I just said do the DNI!  Now she's saying the go together or some shit.  Now I'm confused.  I don't understand how that's possible if I had to pick one or the other.  AND if you're not going to inter bate, and you're only going to try compressions for 20 minutes...then that should be the end of it if she doesn't come around.  But NOOOOOO!  She persists about the DNR.  I tell her I need to speak with my aunt.  She asks if my aunt has proxy.

I tell this lady doc look I haven't talked to my mother in over 15 years by her choice.  She cut me out of her life.  She never spoke of these things not before that, not now.  Ever to any one.  I don't know what she wants.  And no my aunt doesn't have proxy because it was never offered/mentioned at the other hospital.  I'm getting frustrated.  She keeps pushing for a decision.  Tells me she will let me call my aunt but needs to know ASAP.  She's critical she's says.  *SIGH!* 

At this point I feel like I am being backed into a corner and basically guilted into make a decision that is not mine to make.  Thank the gods for my Beloved and his calmness, his level headedness, his familiarity and experience having worked as a care giver.  With his logic and explanations, he helped me through this part.  Called my aunt back and told her what was up.  We both agreed that my mom has placed us in quite the pickle!  I told her about my discussion with my Beloved and we all agreed that going with the DNR considering the cancer would be the choice to make. 

When I last spoke with the admitting doc yesterday, she was on a bipap machine for the oxygen, being treated with antibiotics, and getting floods for the dehydration and low BP.  We also changed it to DNR. 

I am so grateful to my Beloved for being who he is and helping me navigate through all of this shit.  I have had several people say I need to go up there and see her or at least call and talk to her before it's too late.  To try and make amends.  First of all...you don't know this woman and how she is.  Second of all, she hasn't asked to see or talk to me.  I have nothing to make amends for.  I came to terms with her cutting us out of her life a long time ago.  She made her choices.  That might sound cold but she did.  Would I like to know why, yes.  Would it change anything, no.  Would seeing her or talking to her change anything, no.  What's done is done, she did what she did.  She made her choices. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

How Do I Find My Authentic Self?

So, if you've been reading along this year you know that for this year I chose the words "Emerge" and "Authentic Self".  Essentially I want to emerge as my authentic self this year.   Truth be told, I haven't done much in the way of doing anything about it.  Well, all week, I mean seriously no joke! all week the Universe has been throwing these words at me everyday.  If it wasn't one it was the other.  First it was in oracle card posts on Facebook, then it was a blog post by Dominee.  Next was by Julie the teacher this week in 21 Secrets Live.  Then yesterday MORE oracle card posts on Facebook, today too!  Then a blog post by an artist. 

I mean seriously?  The Universe is REALLY trying to get my attention here!  Don't you think?  I get it!  I hear you!  BUT................

How?  How do I find my authentic self?  How can I emerge, if I don't know where to start?  HELL...I don't even know who my authentic self is.

I'm too shy, too afraid, too everything.  I see people I love being hurt (emotionally) by themselves or some one who is supposed to love them and I sit back quietly and say nothing.  Oh I run a whole dialogue in my head of what I would say if I had the balls, but I don't.  I am afraid of saying anything to anyone on any subject because I am afraid of offending them.  I second guess that it isn't my place to speak up. 

I think maybe, part of that stems from all growing up I was told "children should be seen and not heard".  When ever I tried to speak up, about ANYTHING I was either told that phrase or not acknowledged.  As I grew older, still trying to find my voice I found people would talk over me or cut me off and start talking as if I weren't even there.  Or yet still...ignore me.  When I married, the Ogre and his family pretty much did the same thing to me.  By then, I was also made to feel I was too dumb or stupid to have an opinion or know what I was talking about.  All my life, even now I have felt invisible. 

Also all growing up and even after I was married I was told "You can't"  As I child, I went through the phases of "I want to be a nurse" or "I want to be a teacher".  In return I got "You can't be a nurse you hate needles and the sight of blood."  "You can't be a teacher because you hate school."  (In my defense, Catholic school was no picnic!  Those nuns...some of them are down right MEAN!)  When I wanted to go to college and was looking at NYU, I got "why do you want to do that, it's a waste of time.  you don't need that piece of paper."  In the end, I attended LaGuardia Community College.  I started out with business management.  I was doing well with all my classes until it came time for algebra.  UGH...I suck at it, I just can't do it.  The Ogre claimed to be a wiz at it and would gladly help me when the time came.  And guess what...when that time came, he put me down and wouldn't help.  He said I was stupid for not knowing how to do algebra.  I decided to change majors at that point.  He didn't like that either.  I wanted my degree to be in business management so I could supposedly help run his business at the time.  I guess I was too stupid otherwise.  He eventually made some bad decisions against my advice and the business failed. 

I could go on and on about such things...but that isn't the point.  The question remains How do I find and emerge as my authentic self, if I don't know who that is.  I am too fearful to act or speak.  I am always worried about everyone else and how they will feel or what they will think.  I am afraid of offending people.  I am afraid of voicing my opinions or acting on my ideas.  I hate it when I do start to use my voice and I get the "oh there she goes, getting on her soap box."  So I keep my mouth shut.  I have NO FUCKING CLUE who my authentic self is! 

So tell me oh great wondrous Universe, if I picked such great words that you feel the need to throw them at me everyday how the hell am I supposed to do this?  How do I find my authentic self?  and then How do I emerge as such? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Day Full Of Emotions

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions.  It was supposed to be a really good day, but instead it was a day mixed with joy and sadness.

The Joyful:
My Beloved's Dad FINALLY got the thumbs up, the green light, the all systems go to get back to work.  He got the call this morning that his truck had arrived and would be available this afternoon.  I've never seen a person so excited to back to work.  He truly does love his job though, so I think that has a lot to do with it.  He got all his stuff loaded up to take over and "move in" to his rig.  We didn't expect him on the road until morning.  Just found out he is already on the road! 

This month will still be sucking financially until he gets his miles going and a steady check coming in.  As of this moment, we don't know how bills or rent will be paid.  There just isn't any money to pay any of them. 

The Numbing:
Officially got a diagnosis on my mom.  She has pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to the liver.  My aunt said that she was told her paper work does not indicate a stage.  How the hell do you omit that information??  She will be receiving chemo treatment.  She is also receiving physical therapy.  The PT is that the hope is she will go home in a couple of months so long as she is making progress.  IF she does go home though, she will have to have 8 hours of care daily. 

I did some quick Google searching and the cancer sites I've looked at indicate that she is already in Stage IV.  I honestly don't know if she will get to go back home.  Maybe they will let her for a short term to get her affairs in order.  So far as we know too, my mom doesn't seem to know she has cancer.  After meeting with the coordinator, the dietitian, and the social worker yesterday, my aunt said she told them to make sure the doctor tells my mom she has cancer.  My aunt cannot handle breaking the news to her if she does in fact not know.  I understand how hard this must be for her.  She just lost her husband to prostate cancer last April. 

If my mother wants me to know anything, I have no idea.  It would seem my aunt is acting proxy on her behalf.  (is that the way to say it?)  My thoughts and options on what should or shouldn't be done are not asked.  My guess is that as far as my mom is concerned, I don't exist.  I really feel like my hands are tied in this situation.  My mom wants nothing to do with me.  I can't afford to go to New York even if I wanted to help out some how.  Besides what's the point if I'm not wanted?!

The Sad:
Heartbreaking truly.  The Heavens got a new little angel today.  Sister #3's fiance's nephew.   A sweet 11 year old boy, lost his battle with brain cancer.  He stopped breathing last night, then it was determined there was no more brain activity.  At 11:30 AM local time he was removed from life support.  He fought a good hard fight for almost 4 years.  I only had the opportunity to meet him once, but he was too shy and embarrassed by how he looked.  This was back when the tumors were just starting to disfigure him.

He won the hearts of many, including a local biker group.  Several of them came to say good bye to him last night.  The 'leader' a big burly biker dude cried when he said good bye to him. 

Spread your wings and fly with the angels!  For now you no longer feel pain.  And you can eat all the Oreos you want!!

RIP GD

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Good And The Bad News, Everything In Between

I've held off on posting because I wanted some concrete, something definite one way or the other on my mother.  But the exact diagnosis is still elusive to me.  As far as I know so far, she had a CAT Scan when she first was in the hospital the early part of January.  That was followed by an endoscopy.  Which was to be followed by a stent implant operation that may or may not have been done, as well as the second endoscopy that may or may not have been done.  I do understand that she had a second CAT Scan and a PET Scan.  After her PET Scan, a day or two later, she was transferred to a nursing home/rehab center for at least the next 100 days as of Monday.  They are giving her physical therapy to get her back on her feet and I am assuming some better use of her hand since her mild stroke last year.  I was told she will also start chemo. The cancer, what ever type it is, is supposed to be located at the top of her pancreas.  Type and stage are still unknown at this point.   I don't know if the information is truly not known or if it is being withheld from me.  Hopefully at the end of her 100 days, she will be able to go home.  I hope that they have caught things early and that what ever this is, is treatable.  Whatever disaster our relationship has turned into, I wish her no ill or harm. 

Last June, my Beloved's Dad got put on medical leave from his job as a truck driver due to a spike in his blood sugar.  He is a diabetic.  He immediately began filing all the proper paper work and going to all the doctors, getting tests done, etc that were required for him to get back on the road and working.  His endocrinologist said he was one of the best patients she'd ever had, following her protocols and getting his blood sugar back under control quickly and better/faster than she even anticipated.  With that and all the paperwork filed, we figured he'd be back out on the road in no time.  Luckily during this time, he had his retirement benefits coming in.  So although things were tight, we managed.  But the red tape, the hoops, and government shut down.  The so called 'rules' for exemptions were disheartening, to say the least.  But he was patient and persistent.  Checking on the status of things.  Patiently waiting for things to be approved.  But the approval wasn't coming.  Thanksgiving came and went, so did Christmas.  His list was closed and still no word.

Here comes January, he's still waiting.  Getting through to some one that could give a straight answer was next to impossible.  Then, they get a letter saying that their social security will be cut due to his projected income (Even though he hasn't worked in 7 fucking months!)  He can't collect unemployment because he was still considered "On the payroll". Finally towards the end of January, he found out his exemption was granted!  YAY!  OH...but wait...now you have to wait for the papers to come in the mail.  FUCK!  More waiting!!!  This month of February was looking mighty bleak!  No money for bills or rent, and the food we have we'd have to make it stretch as far was we could. 

Thank the Goddesses!  Thank the Gods!  His letter came today!  He's already called his manager and they will be working on getting him a truck ASAP!  If all goes well, he'll be back to work next week!!!  Things are still going to be tight.  He has to drive to make miles to make money.  Still don't know how bills or rent will get paid yet, but everyone is happy knowing he is going back to work. 

We started this week with about 3 inches or so of snow!  This after everything just about melted from our Christmas snow.  Last night it started snowing again, by this morning we had 4-6 inches depending on where you stood on the property.  We have a winter weather advisory for this whole weekend.  It started up again today just after 5pm, and in the last 3 hours we have already gotten about an inch and a half.  It's still falling!  We could see up to 6 inches by morning.  The original advisories were calling for 3-9 inches.  Yesterday afternoon the news said 9-18 inches.  It was revised to 12 inches by Sunday last night.  But at this rate, we're looking at more than the 12 inches by Sunday if keeps falling everyday like this in these amounts.  It's a winter wonderland out there.  It's been so long since I've seen snow like this.  It's nothing like what is falling back East in NY and all over the Northeast.

I can hardly believe that on the 3rd, my Beloved and I have been together 5 years!  There was a time where I didn't think I deserved him or the happiness I have with him.  I would not have come as far as I have if not for him.  Here's to the next 5 years and the next 5 after that, and after that, and so on and so on. <3 p="">
On January 25, my big girl turned 21!  OMG!  Where has the time gone?  It seems like it was only yesterday that they placed this new born baby girl in my arms.  Her eyes wide with wonder and curiosity.  She looked up at me with her big blue eyes in awe.  (They've since turned hazel but are still beautiful and just as wonder filled as the day she was born)  She did not cry until they took her from me to weigh and examine.  My wishes and hopes for her now are the same as then, that she follow her heart and pursues her dreams.  To be and become what ever she desires and makes her happy.

Now come March 25, my baby girl will be turning 18!  When did time fly so fast that I'm now the mother of two young adult women.  Now she...she was a screamer as soon as she was born.  She was sure to let everyone know she had arrived.  I have the same hopes and wishes for her as I do for her sister.

I hope you all had a wonderful Imbolc.  May Brighid shine her blessings upon you and yours.