Thursday, July 23, 2009

A New Home

We went today and signed the lease to my moms new home. She can start moving in at any time. The only problem is my mom is sick. Last Friday morning she went to lay down and didn't get up until Sunday. Sunday she got up enough only to sit in her recliner. Monday she had to go to an appointment and was back in bed by noon and didn't get up until Tuesday afternoon. You can't get much packing done under those circumstances. Our visiting nurse, we'll call her Berta cause she really reminds me of Berta from Two and a Half Men, thinks that mentally this is so much for mom to take in that she just can't take it in. So Dave and I will start moving in all of her big furniture and what boxes my mom and I have been able to through. Hopefully by next weekend she'll be able to stay there. Really we are not kicking her out. She wants to go. She wants her own place. Who can blame her?
She was so sick this morning. We had to be at her place by eleven to sign papers. I knew she was going to be sick, I just didn't know when or where. That's a sucky thing when your dragging three kids in tow. She was sick at the bank. (At least she made it to the bathroom.) In the parking lot at her new home. (Several times.) In her new apartment. In the car on the way home and finally in our driveway trying to get to the bathroom when we got home. On the drive home I couldn't even look at her. I blocked my face. I was afraid I'd get sick if I looked at her getting sick. I looked through the rear view mirror and saw Mimi covering her face and ears. I knew that if I started to gag then Mimi would and then we'd have a real puke fest going on. In the end we all made it home safely and mom was put to bed. I took the kids back to town so I could talk to them about whats going on. I tried to explain that grammy's cancer makes her stomach upset that is why she throws up all the time. It was at that point the girls and I knew that we will NEVER be in the health care field. It is just wrong to make fun of someone who is puking and so sick but as we sat at Applebees we all started to giggle and talk about how we didn't think we were ever going to make it back home with gram puking in the car. We showed no compassion or empathy for the situation. I tried to scold us all but I just couldn't. These kids are living this nightmare too. When we got home though we all went up to my moms room and hugged and kissed her. Chrissy brought her up a Popsicle. Sometimes you gotta break free.
This is the view my mom will have. She just loves it. It is of the downtown area and it makes her feel very urban. (She doesn't have an urban bone in her body.) She likes it because she knows that when winter rolls around, and its dark by four, the lights of the downtown will shine in. Making her think of life not gloom. On a side note when we walked out of my moms room the girls went and put their jammies on and put a movie in to watch in their room. They said they didn't feel well. Sigh.
Then when I didn't think the day could get worse Fed Ex came. And delivered this.
They call it A Hospice Comfort Pack. I call it box of death.
I wasn't sure just what was in it and I didn't want to bother "Berta" so I googled it and came up with this, (Which I stole from someone else)
A small bottle of liquid morphine (Roxanol) for fast relief from pain. The liquid form of oxycodone (Oxyfast) is substituted in the event of a morphine allergy.
Promethazine (Phenergan) tablets for nausea/vomiting.
Prochlorperazine (Compazine) suppositories for nausea/vomiting. These are used if the patient is unable to swallow or "keep a pill down" due to severe nausea.
Acetominophine (Tylenol) suppositories for fever control.
Lorazapam (Ativan) tablets for anxiety/agitation.
Atropine eye drops. Although an ophthalmic solution, these drops are placed under the tongue (sublingually) to help control excessive secretions... in other words, the dreaded death rattle.
The last is not for the patient it is for the family so they don't freak to bad.
Right now it is about four in the afternoon and I feel I've lived a year in this day. The house is quiet and everyone is sleeping. I can hear car doors being shut at a near by neighbors. Somewhere a dog is barking. (This dog always is barking.) Life moves on. I can't stop it. Its what happens.
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Potty Boy


Dane is officially potty trained. (Except at night) He hasn't had an accident in a few weeks. Of course why should he? The world (and off the front porch) is his toilet.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

More Parade

I never did get back to you about the parades we went to. I'm not a fan of a parade but when you have kids it is just what you do. The best part is watching my own kids.
You just never know what they are going to do. Or in this case what face they are going to make. Of course if we want to talk about Dane I won't tell you how he dropped his drawers and peed. Right in front of everyone. Before I could stop him.
Of course this wouldn't be complete if I didn't include another picture of Two Cent Bridge.
Now these beauties, these beauties were thrown at us during the parade in Belgrade. There were organic farmers and instead of candy they threw peas. I told them to throw more (so I could have enough for dinner) and they did we just ate them in the boat on the way back to camp. They are so good that way. I couldn't bring my camera to this parade as we were going in the boat and the rains were coming. When we got back to camp it was pouring and the light was really bad. (That's why the peas look kind of yuck.) They were sooo good.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Long Road

These past few weeks have been very difficult for my family. With all the rain comes boredom, depression and just plain craziness.
I couldn't get a grip on the kids. They would wake up fighting and go to bed fighting. Dane has taken up the new sport. It is called,"If I don't get my way, I'm going to run up behind you and kick you as hard as I can." Towards the end I even thought I was going crazy.

Ever since mom was in the hospital a few weeks ago my mom and I have been overly testy with each other. I forced the issue with having home nursing come and it didn't make her happy. During this time she let me know that when she was in Florida she also refused home health care. If you've been reading my blog long enough or if you used to read Still Digging for Gold you know how many times I've bought a plane ticket in about a ten minute notice. Now you guys have known me long enough to know that I almost fucking blew a gasket. She could of had help but refused and got so sick that I had to fly down to take care of her. Not once or twice but several times. That's all I'm going to say about that because I'm afraid my blood pressure will start to rise. (Though at this time my blood pressure is fine and I've never had a problem with it.)

Also during this time I called Hospice and told them of my plight. My mom keeps driving. She won't drink fluids because she can just go get fluids pumped in her so why bother. (This takes up about six hours of my day one to two times a week. Not to mention all of her other appointments.) I also told them that I just didn't understand her prognosis. The cancer was worse so, you know, what next? It is a lot to handle with three kids under ten and a twenty one year old that likes to bar hop. Though I didn't tell them the last part. I did tell them I home school and we were behind because of all of this. Not to mention the fact the the only time my mom likes kids is when they are sleeping. In another state.

In return, Hospice called her doctor, (who is also the director of Hospice here) and he wonderfully ordered the home health care. And (Yes I know not to start a sentence with and but who made up that rule? It's dumb) at her last appointment the doctor let her know that realistically she had maybe a year or two left. In return she told us that she wants to move out into her on place.

For the past two weeks we've been looking at apartments. It's been HELL! The social worker tried to get her to go into an assisted living place and she told them once she moved out of here she would get better and wasn't going to die. So she didn't need that. After that conversation I left the room and didn't return. But in the end we found a place for her to live. It really is wonderful. It's brand new and has elevators. It is a handicapped apartment that has one bedroom and these huge windows that overlook the downtown. It is so new that it has never been lived in. It is something we never though she'd live in. She didn't think she would until we looked at it and we all fell in love. Management is on site. You don't even change your own light bulb. She moves out August 1st!!!!!!!!!! I'll still have to schlep her around but I'll have our house back. At least until she gets really bad and has to move back in. (The doctor told me it could happen in as little as three months.) But I won't think about that today.

I have more to say but I think I've sucked your brains dry enough for the day. So until tomorrow, ttfn:) (I'm so happy she's moving I'm doing a happy dance)

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Don't laugh, it's FREE

Do you know what the redneck summer camp is? Vacation Bible School! Or VBS. It's free! Free is good, right? I didn't set out to purposely send my girls out on a merry go round of VBS's. It just sorta happened. Usually we do the one at our church but do to construction we didn't hold it this year. So I sent the kids to the one at my cousins church. It was held from 9 to noon all last week. What a break I got. And with all of the rain it gave them enough to do without over doing it. The best part was my neighbor drove them all but one day!
When some of my friends found out that we were not having VBS at our home church they started offering to take my kids to their VBS's. So this week the girls are doing VBS at night from 6 to 8. But that church is a distance and since my friend is helping out they have to leave at 4:30 and are NOT home until 9. Can you say dinner and a movie? We have to bring Dane with us but that's a small price to pay.
Next week VBS at my step sisters Church is in the morning but so is the one right here in town. What to do?
I guess I'll need to find out what the themes are to make sure they have not already done it.
I feel so cheap. The kids love it! You COULD NOT HAVE DRUG me to one as a child. All that singing. Yuck. They have so many friends that go and this way they get to see kids we don't see very often. For them it entertainment. They sing and get snacks. Play and get rewards. So they have to remember a few Bible Verses. The only draw back is they all have closing programs that parents have to attend. Dave gets out of all the ones during the day time. Lucky duck.
Somehow I know we should not be doing this. Somewhere there is something written about sending your kids to a different VBS a week. Its not a sin though unless I lie and say they have not been to one this summer.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Cancer Center

Friday we had to spend yet another day at the cancer center in Augusta. This time I remembered to bring my camera. It was a beautiful day. It really sucked that I had to spend it there. That and the fact I had to bring Dane with us. This first picture is the view from the infusion clinic. So sitting in your chair getting chemo or platelets or whatever this is your view. My picture really does not do it justice.

This is one of the many patios that are placed all around the center. There are flowers, trees and shrubs galore.

Of course I had to take a bunch of pictures of Dane, he was hard to shoot because he wouldn't stop running. Occasionally he'd stop to smell the flowers.
I couldn't keep him on the trails. It was more fun for him to run through flower beds and stuff.

I tied the string of his balloon to the back of his sandal. It made for much entertainment.

It was a tough appointment for my mom and some big changes are going to to be coming up for her. Good for her, bad for me. That's another post for another day, hopefully soon if I can ever get Dane to settle down and let me type.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Foolproof

So when I went to my sister's camp last Saturday she had made a glace pie. It was wonderful. Especially after a bottle of wine. She then told me about how she made the crust with vodka. So I had to try it.
It was an easy recipe. She got hers from Cook's Illustrated.
It's called Foolproof Pie Dough.
Right there I should have known I'd mess something up........
It makes two pie crusts. Two beautiful yummy tasting pie crusts. It went together like a dream. I have never been able to use my rolling pin to lift my pie crust on to the plate. You CAN with this.
See how pretty it is?

So how the hell did I end up with this? I used weights. I cooked it just like I was supposed to. WTF? So I sat at the dining room table and contemplated what had gone so very awry and came up with this.



When I got out my food processor I couldn't find the blade that I needed. So I said does it really matter? And used a different one. Dane was down for a nap and I had a small window of opportunity to get this done. Apparently it did.
After I left it in the fridge for the allotted time I pulled it out to roll it. Because I didn't use the correct blade my ingredients didn't mix together all the way and I had clumps of butter and shortening. So I had to use my hands to blend it and therefore it was over mixed or over kneaded or what ever the correct term is.
Now I know.
I filled the crust anyway with a Triple Berry Glace. I used strawberry, blueberry and blackberry. It was delicious.
Here's the recipe if you want to give it a whirl. You won't be sorry:)
Foolproof Pie Dough
- makes one 9-inch double-crust pie -
The trick to this pie crust is the inclusion of vodka. Eighty-proof vodka, which is 60 percent water and 40 percent alcohol, adds moistness to the dough without aiding in gluten formation since gluten doesn't form in ethanol. Although the recipe includes 8 tablespoons of liquid, the alcohol vaporizes during baking, resulting in a tender crust that only contains 6 1/2 tablespoons of water. Because of the extra liquid, the dough will be moister than most standard pie doughs and will require up to 1/4 cup more flour.
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon table salt 2 tablespoons sugar 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces 1/4 cup cold vodka 1/4 cup cold water
Procedure
1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On the way to the parade

We had a great Forth of July! But before I can tell you all the details I have to tell you about getting to the first parade we went to.
Every year we go to the parade in Winslow, Maine. It is the biggest parade on July 4Th in the state of Maine. Parking is always a nightmare and it is always hot and sticky. It's one of those things that if you forget to bring water you have to pay three bucks for a bottle. Been there and done that.
Below is a picture of Two Cent Bridge. We park in Waterville and walk across it to get to Winslow. It was built in 1903 for factory workers to get back and forth to work since most people did not have cars and there wasn't a bridge to get across the river if you had one. (How many factory workers had cars at that time?) An interesting side note that has nothing to do with this.... Up until the late sixties (I was told) there were still businesses that had places for folks to tie their horses to. Some people still used the horse as primary transportation.

This bridge is the scariest bridge I have ever walked across. I've driven over a few scary bridges. (The one in Tampa) (The one here in Maine on the coast) I really do not like bridges. As a child I used to hide on the floor with a blanket over my head as we went over one and sometimes I would worry myself about an upcoming trip that I knew would involve a bridge crossing and I would puke. I had issues even then.

It is a long ass way down to the ground.

It spans across the river five hundred feet. FIVE HUNDRED FEET of cables holding the bridge up that we are waking across! The closer to the center the more the damn thing sways and you kind of stumble around. Not a place to let your two year old run free.

These cable are holding the bridge up. What if they snapped? What would happen to us?

Last year we walked across the bridge and I swear five hundred other people were doing it at the same time. So this year when we knew the parade was almost finished Marian jumped up and said, "Let's go now so we don't have to go across the bridge with anyone else!" We all took off without any hesitation. There was only eight other people on the bridge when we crossed it but when we got to the car and looked back, the bridge was so packed with people (Like cow going to slaughter) you couldn't even see the boards on the bridge that you walk on. We all high fived Marian.

Maybe next year we'll skip this parade.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just in case

Just in case, you did not know. This is Poison Ivy.



I did not even know what it looked like. It is all over the river bank behind my house. Previously I had just used my hands to pull it out. I AM a lucky woman. I didn't get (Poison IVIED.) Of course now that I know what the stuff looks like, I won't be a touchin it with a ten foot pole.

Always remember, Leaves of three let it be.

This has been a week from h e double hockey sticks. Mom was admitted into the hospital again Monday afternoon. They pumped 5 bags of fluids in her in under 24 hours. I should of had her in the Dr's. office last week. I just can't keep up.

The only good thing to come out of this is now we have a Health Reach nurse coming to the house. Right now it will only be once a week but as she gets sicker it will be more often. Then when it is too bad Hospice will step in also.

My mom is still in denial. I think her cloud might have burst because I asked a Dr. to have a chat with her about her condition. She honestly didn't believe the liver cancer was worse. Which led to major depression and a nasty argument between me and her right in the hospital room. She thinks we are willing her to die. It really is so sad.

I'm jumping around here because there is so much swimming around in my head.

My mom told the visiting nurse the only thing she wanted was her own place. So she could have her dignity back and feel useful. The nurse pulled me aside and said let her. She said if she lives alone the nurses and helpers will just come more often. She did say I hope you have family to help you because if not, don't let her move too far away because you'll be going to her place every day. Sigh. If this is what she really wants, and I know she does, Dave and I will help her.

You know, when you think of taking care of your parents, you think it will be when you are in your sixties or seventies. Not forty. As I have cried for myself, I have had more than a few of my friends email and tell me how much they miss their moms. These ladies were in their twenties when they lost their moms. I can't even imagine. Not for one second.

We go next Friday to see her doctor again and he knows he needs to really speak with me and my mom. We need facts.

Also we were supposed to go away this weekend. We haven't been away in a long time but because of the latest drama we had to cancel. My sister is in town and has spent a lot of time with my mom. We have also had some really nice talks. It truly is funny that growing up in the same house everyone can have different ideas about what went down.

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