Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, it's been pretty sad over here in this corner, for about a month or so. Earlier this afternoon, I read this, and decided that I needed some "happy" in my life. So, here's my list:

Things That Make ME Happy (in no particular order):

  1. Being with all my siblings

  2. Big hugs from my nephew Khari

  3. My mom's feigned incredulity at the fact that I drank the rest of her tea (I do this EVERY time I'm home. Every time. LOL)

  4. Giggle fits with LDR

  5. Meeting/exceeding goals

  6. Wegmans shortbread cookies

  7. Starbucks

  8. Looking at old photos of my family, before I was born

  9. My hair

  10. The GEICO "jackwagon" commercial

  11. A clean, de-cluttered apartment

  12. Being Erica (when I remember to watch it)

  13. "Meeting" new folks on Twitter

  14. Rainbows

  15. Playing Phase 10

  16. Scalp massages

  17. FBP's posts, and the responses to them

  18. Making a list, and then checking off everything as "done"

  19. Running (when I'm not hurt)

  20. Breaking out old photo albums every time we go home, and laughing with my sisters like we're seeing the pics for the first time

  21. Glee

  22. Family Guy

  23. The funny things that people's kids say

  24. Finding crazy photos on google

  25. Laughing until my stomach hurts

  26. Exercise

  27. Vegging out on my loveseat

  28. Old school cartoons

  29. Morningstar riblets

  30. Spongebob Squarepants

  31. iCarly

  32. When LDR makes breakfast and the turkey bacon is perfectly crispy

  33. "Scrooged" (the Bill Murray movie)

  34. Learning something new

  35. Old school music

  36. Roller skating to old school music

  37. Making it through a week without incurring a new injury

  38. Recognizing that I'm getting more like my parents every year

  39. Thinking about the future

  40. Reading

  41. Playing word games

  42. Solving puzzles

  43. Cuddling with LDR

  44. Watching my nieces and nephews play together

  45. Smooth road trips

  46. Shoes!

I'm sure I could think of more. But the list has accomplished it's purpose - I'm in a better mood now. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

And Just Like That...

...it's over.

Well, maybe not "just." I spent a week making decisions, taking care of financial matters, calling the funeral home when they weren't calling me like they were supposed to, getting Dad's suit outta the cleaners, stressing, not sleeping, etc. I still have a few things left to do in relation to his final checks from his pension and SSA, and then one more piece of paperwork related to letting life insurance pay the funeral home directly.

Everyone said the service was beautiful. My aunt bought her flowers yesterday, and we chuckled because she picked the same color theme that I picked for the flowers from us kids and the grandkids. We had so many cards and flowers from people that I haven't talked to or seen in years. My eFriends from Twitter sent a beautiful bouquet, but the florist was on CP time and didn't deliver until after the service. How that happened, I don't know. But they made sure to bring the flowers to me at the repast. We have so many cards! We'll be sending out "thank you" cards for a minute.

Not that I wasn't proud of my dad before, but in the midst of all the tears and sadness, it was nice to hear people get up and talk about the impact of his life. How he had one of the first black owned grocery stores in Syracuse. There was another business owner there, who talked about how he'd known my dad since he moved to Syracuse...and how way back when, they both talked about starting their own businesses. And they both went on to do it. Choir members talked about how much they would miss singing with him. How they would see him walking to choir rehearsal and they'd offer a ride, but he'd refuse.

If you recall, I mentioned that my dad sang "In The Garden" at my grandma's funeral just 3 weeks ago. I had mentioned to the deacon that I'd like for the choir to do that song. Unfortunately, he never passed along that message. When the head musician came up and asked me if we'd mind if the Men's Chorus (my dad sang with them, too) did a number, I told him that would be fine. Then I asked him about the song. He said he didn't know. Instead of singing, he played it as a prelude before the first prayer. That was ok with me. I could hear my dad singing along, anyway.

And apparently, the Men's Chorus has not sung together in years (they made changes to all the choir line ups) and decided to get back together to honor my dad. The last song they sang was one that he used to lead. Well, apparently he just started leading it recently. The head musician told me a story about how my dad told HIM that he auditioned to sing lead on the song 20 years ago, and the keyboardist told him he couldn't sing it because he had a "tremble" in his voice. LOL! Robert (keyboardist) said he didn't remember telling him that, but that Dad remembered it 20 years later. He had a sharp mind - so I'm betting the story is true. After all, remember the previous blog about his ring. :)

The pastor preached about Dad having his own business and the struggles that business owners go through, and how sometimes the only thing they have to cling to is their faith. Maybe they make a decision that they're not sure of, and they start to doubt. But they have to have faith that it was the right thing and that their business is meant to be. I believe my dad had that faith. Unfortunately, a bunch of factors in the 80s (including Reagan-omics) lead to the demise of his second store (the first one burned in a fire).

People ask me all the time, why don't you sell your body butter mixtures full time, or start a natural hair care business. Having earned my MBA, I'm aware of the size of that undertaking, and it scares me. Not to mention, needing to have a better grip on my finances. And then I think, "my dad did it with a high school diploma. And he did it twice." Something to mull on, I guess.

We had a nice turn out for the repast, and an abundance of food. So much, that we have pans of food that we've had to stuff into my mom's 2nd fridge in the basement. Somebody needs to come help us eat this stuff. I feel really blessed that my aunts came up from Savannah. I feel closer to them somehow. Which seems sort of backwards, but in 2011 I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with them. We are my dad's legacy, and we need to keep the family connected.

Everyone is home, or on their way home, now. I think we're all reflecting on the day in our own way. It's hard to believe I've only been here for 13 days. It seems like much longer. A lot has gone on in the past 3 weeks. I'm sure there will be a lot more tears, but also laughter and smiles as we reminisce about Dad. LDR even got up and told the story about Dad and his ring at the hospital. That made me smile. They had some kind of connection in that short time they knew each other. I can tell that Dad really liked him.

I think now, Dad is smiling down on us. I think he's proud of all 5 of his kids. And I don't think we said anything about him today, that we hadn't told him before he passed. Just like with my grandma, we are his legacy. We're going to do our best to carry on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Back On Track

Yesterday, I got to do something I haven't done in about 2 weeks: work out. Those 4 little pounds I lost a few weeks ago have made their way back. I completely abandoned all healthy eating habits when I got here. I have to do a better job of taking care of me.

Our plan was to hit up a Group Power class and a Group Spin class at Gold's Gym. LDR paid for me to have a week's access while I'm here. When we got to the gym yesterday, we realized we had the days mixed up and there was no Group Power class. So we decided on Group Step at 5:30 and Group Spin at 6:30. Very ambitious. Not quite sure what we were thinking.

Since we were early for Group Step, we decided to do some cardio on our own. He got on the stair stepper, and I got on my trusty Precor EFX 546 elliptical. I can tell it's been a while, because I was only able to do resistance level 7. I was sweating like crazy, huffing and puffing. I'm mad that I let myself stop working out.

I did 25 minutes and he did about 33 on the stepper. Then he tortured me with sit ups and push ups before we headed into step class. I'm still not familiar with all those moves. This is the second time I've taken class with this instructor, and he always manages to mess up part of the routine. The people who attend class regularly know it better than he does.

It probably wasn't a good idea to do cardio ahead of time. Like I said - ambitious. I didn't have as much energy in the step class, as I did the last time we attended. About halfway through class, LDR looked at me and said, "uh...I don't know about that spinning class..." LOL!

By the time Step was over we literally had 5 minutes to move to the next room for spinning class. We both looked at each other and said, "nah!" He suggested that we go sit in the sauna and then head to BFF's house to pick up the programs she had printed out for me.

Now, I've never sat in the sauna before. I imagine it's somewhat akin to when you first step into hell. Or maybe if you just stuck your head into a furnace and tried to breathe. After 3 minutes, I told him it was ludicrous and who in their right mind would sit in this 200 degree heat for 20 minutes? His suggestion was to just sit back, relax, and breathe through my nose. Well, that would be fine if my nasal passages were not ON FIRE. I just kept drinking water. My nose and lips felt so dry. I made it about 12 minutes before I cried uncle. Detox, my foot. If that's what it takes to detox, I will just have to be toxic! :lol: That is not something I need to try again any time soon. I'd rather try a steam room.

One of my high school classmates teaches a Group Groove class on Friday mornings at 8:15. She was in the step class and invited me to come to her class on Friday if I have time. I think I'm going to check it out.

We stopped by the store and got salad fixin's for dinner, and then LDR had to jump in the bed to take a nap before work. All in all, not a bad attempt at getting back to some normalcy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And Time Marches On

The past few days have been filled with "arrangements." And phone calls. And returned phone calls, and FB and Twitter posts and everything else. Sometimes you don't realize how many people you know and touch, until they start reaching back out to you. My family and I really appreciate everything.

So, aside from the SNAFU in which the church wanted us to pay $300 for the repast food...never mind that my daddy been a member there since the 60s, on the trustee board and in the choir (that's a whole rant that I won't get into - but I reached out to someone and the choir is going to take care of the repast for us)...everything else has been pretty smooth. Today I went to the florist and picked out an arrangement from us kids, and also one from the grandkids. Did y'all know how expensive flowers are?

Anywho, let's get down to the point of this post: the ring pictured above. That's my dad's ring. It's on my hand now, but he wore it quite a bit.

Some time last week, during one of our visits with him, he started talking to me and my brother and asking where was his ring. :::insert BBM confused face here::: I wasn't there when he was admitted to the hospital, so I had no clue what he was talking about. My brother couldn't remember if he had it on or not. Mind you, his dentures were missing also. Gotta love hospitals.

I think I said before, he was pretty weak. Most times, you had to lean in close to him to hear what he had to say. Right after he asked us about the ring, we checked his bag of belongings and it wasn't in there (neither were his teeth, dang it). But he was adamant that he had this ring on. We told him we'd try to find it.

The nurse came in, and was trying to talk to us about something - I don't even know what it was. All of a sudden Dad says, "well, I'm tryna find out about MY RING!" This was the loudest I'd heard him the whole time I was there. My brother and I chuckled about it later. We said, he is really serious about this ring!

The next few days, we got wrapped up in the Francis House arrangement, DNR, and everything else. I'll be the first to admit - I forgot about the ring. I did not, however, forget about his "teefuses." Thursday night, I inquired as to if they had found them, and indeed they had. They were sitting on the table by his bed. He didn't ask about the ring that night.

Friday morning, when they called us up to the hospital to see him, my brother J and I were in the hallway talking to one of the palliative care nurses. LDR, T and my Uncle G were all in Dad's room. One of the nurses walked by and went in the room, and handed something to LDR. He held it up - it was a plastic bag with Dad's ring.

LDR exclaimed, "I told y'all Pops knew what he was talking about!"

I was laughing and crying at the same time. If you knew my dad, and knew how he is...it takes a minute for him to get worked up, but when he does - watch out. We knew he was serious about that ring. We also know he was in and out of being lucid, so we just really weren't sure if he had it on when he was admitted.

I wish I had the story behind this ring. I don't know when he got it, why he got it, and we don't know what he wants us to do with it, because he never said. I went to hand it to T, and he said, "give it to J." I went to hand it to J, and he shook his head. So, I wear it now. If either of them ever decides they want it, I'll gladly hand it over.

We found your ring, Dad!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Checking In

I know there might be one or two folks who don't participate in all the "social networking" I do. So in case you haven't heard, my dad passed away yesterday morning. He never made it to Francis House. I think he wanted someone else to have that bed.

We've started making arrangements. Sometimes, when I'm sitting and discussing the "business" of his death (funeral arrangements, insurance policy, payments, etc) I feel like I've sort of stepped outside my body. Like, I'm there...but am I really talking about my Dad? Weird. But I am happy to help and take the lead on some things. Glad my brothers and sisters trust me and know that I have Dad's interests at heart, and I would never make a big decision without their input.

My grandma (Dad's mom) really has a great outlook on this. Maybe because she's been through it before...this will be the 4th child to precede her in death. I talked to her yesterday on the phone, and she said, "as long as I know he was at peace, and he knew we all loved him, then I'm ok. I'm not going to hoot and holler and scream; God gave him to me, and he saw fit to take him now."

And even my Dad...days before, he told my brother J, "well son...we all gotta go some day."

I didn't get that "strong in the face of death" gene. I cried my eyes out. Off and on all day yesterday. I would be doing good, and then one of my aunts would call. Or, I was at his apartment trying to pick out a suit, and I just burst into tears, standing at the foot of his bed. He's never coming back to this space.

Thursday evening, LDR and I had a "date night." He came and picked me up from work. But first, we went to the hospital. I got there and they had a suction machine set up, because Dad was coughing more, and they needed to clear his mouth. He could still talk, though. So I called both my sisters and my mom, and he was able to talk to them. I'm so happy I did that. What if I had waited and said, "they can talk to him after we get him transferred to Francis House?"

Maybe Dad felt like it was ok to go. He had talked to his daughters...he talked to my mom. My brothers and I have been up sitting with him all week. He saw my Aunt Betty last weekend. I hope he left knowing that we all loved him and he was a great father. He taught us a lot, even when he wasn't trying to.

I had been chatting with Serenity and she suggested that I make sure to say whatever I wanted my Dad to know before he left this earth. I totally agreed with that. Before I left on Thursday night, I gave him a kiss on the forehead and I said, "I love you, Dad. I couldn't have asked for or been blessed with a better father." He said, "I love you, too" - and then he mustered up the energy to lean up and give me a kiss on the cheek.

I walked to the chair to get my purse and my coat, and I turned around and said, "we're all gonna see you tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., ok?" He nodded and I walked out of the room. And that was the last time I saw my dad alive.

I'm not going to sit here and act like everything was perfect and our entire father-daughter time on this earth was perfection. It wasn't. Whose is? That was my daddy and I loved him, and he loved me. That "dash" in the middle of his sunrise and sunset is filled with a lot of memories.

RIP, Dad.
7/6/1940 - 11/12/2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Guilt...And Other Randomness

Sometimes, when I leave the hospital after seeing my dad, I feel guilty. Guilty that life is just going on. I'm talking and laughing with friends who are trying to cheer me up. Chatting it up on FB and Twitter. Shouldn't I be focused on him and what's going on?

But to see him like he is now, it's just draining. I mean, he was JUST at my grandma's funeral, singing and talking about when he asked her if it was ok to marry my mom...waaaaaaaay back yonder around 1961 or so. Now, he can barely talk. The smallest movements, like lifting his hand for something, or turning his head to talk to you, take so much energy. I can see him shaking from the exertion.

It's 12:25am and I'm wide awake. Partly because of some indigestion (my eating patterns have been very "off" since I've been here), and mostly because every time I close my eyes, I see him. Every time my phone rings, and it's my brother, I catch my breath 'cause I don't know if it's "the call." The more days that pass, I know we're getting closer to that call. I'm just trying to focus on the now, like getting him transferred tomorrow. But I know that every day that passes, we get closer to "that day."

I guess this is all part of death and grief. Just gotta work through it. It's normal. I think most people who have been through this would tell me that it is part of the process. And I don't think Dad expects our lives outside the hospital to just stop.

Knowing all that doesn't make it easier, though.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

Why, it's not a train coming to run me over. It's the hospital, calling to tell us that Francis House has a bed for Dad.

Finally, some tears of joy!

He will be transported tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. This really is the best thing ever and the best facility available in the city for him. It's not his apartment (home), but it's the next best thing.

And really, that's all I can ask for. You can check Francis House out here.


If you read last night's post, then you're up to date on everything that's going on. Except I left out the details of yesterday's mini-meltdown.

I went back to work after we went to Francis House. I worked until about 4:45 and then LDR came and picked me up. He had to go to a parent/teacher conference for his son, so I decided I'd have some "me time," and headed to Shoppingtown Mall to get a pedicure.

When she was almost done, the girl asked if I wanted my eyebrows cleaned up. I should have gone with my gut and said "no." But when she said "cleaned up," I assumed she actually KNEW what that meant. That means, do not make them thin. I clearly stated, "I don't want them made thinner, I just want them cleaned up. She said she understood.


Clearly, she did not. While the inside portion of the eyebrows are ok, the outer portion is too thin. Exactly what I DID NOT want. I guess they think everyone wants to get their eyebrows scalped off, and then draw them back on later. Uh, no.

So, I hereby declare that no one else will touch my &^%$# eyebrows except my girl at JV Nails in Charlotte. I mean, Jesus.

I left there and went home, and ranted to LDR about my eyebrows. He said they looked fine...but he knew that's not what I asked for, and so he knew why I was upset. He just let me rant, and then it was over. :lol: He was eating when I got there, and I didn't want leftovers. He offered to go to the store and get me some fish, but I knew he needed to get some rest before he went in to work. I told him I'd go, and he should go ahead and get in bed.

I rolled down the street to the Price Chopper, but then I didn't want the fried fish. So now I'm tired, stressed, cranky and hungry - and I don't know what I want. NOT A GOOD COMBO, folks. Not at all.

I'm walking through the store, just getting more pissed off by the minute, 'cause I'm used to shopping in the Teeter or the Food Lion and I know where stuff is. We have some different product offerings up North than we do down South. I finally decided - screw it - I'm just gonna go to the frozen food section and get some Morning Star Riblets, and some broccoli or green beans to steam, and take it to the house. I also decided to pick up a couple of Lean Cuisines just in case we're in a pinch and I just need something quick. We don't really need to be eating out a lot.

Up and down the frozen food aisle...I get to the Lean Cuisines and they don't have the Lasagna with Meat Sauce. What the deuce? Why don't you have the lasagna with meat sauce? I don't want the frickin' 5 cheese lasagna? Are you kidding me? <-- and so the meltdown begins.

I finally decided on two other choices and then I'm just up and down this aisle and I can't find the Morning Star. I'm getting more and more frustrated. This older man in the aisle has clearly forgotten how to use his inside voice, and he's talking on volume 99. His voice is grating my nerves. Inner rant starting in 5...4...3...2...

"Is Syracuse REALLY this bootleg that the store doesn't sell Morning Star? I mean, Jesus. I just want to get something to eat and go home! Why does it have to be this hard? This chick done messed up my eyebrows, and now I can't find any frickin' food! I'm so sick of this place! It's cold and I just want to go back to Charlotte! I can't take this anymore!"

Yeah. Also, by this time, I'm crying. In the middle of Price Chopper. In the frozen food aisle. Crazy, much?

Logic kicked in and said, "please get yourself in gear." I wiped the tears away, and sent LDR a text: "Price Chopper doesn't have Morning Star stuff?!?"

His reply: "It's on the last aisle, across from the dairy section."


Because, yeah - there's another aisle after this. One I have not bothered to walk down, because I've been having this mini-meltdown. This aisle also has a freezer section. Lo and behold, the Morning Star is there.

I got checked out and got in the car. I was thinking, "that was just really stupid." I had a combo laugh/cry and drove back to the apartment. LDR was already in the bed, so I checked in on him and then closed the bedroom door so I wouldn't wake him up. Warmed up my cheese ravioli, and called my sisters to give them a rundown on the day's events for Dad.

LDR got up a little after 10:00. I was sitting in the kitchen, with a cold tray of ravioli, just looking at my laptop. I had just finished up last night's blog, shortly before he got up, and I had been crying. I'm sure my eyes were a hot puffy mess.

He came in the kitchen and sat down. He asked me what was wrong. I started telling him about my mini-meltdown, and just how stupid it really was, but then the flood gates opened and I just started bawling. This was that good cry that Serenity told me to go ahead and have. He just grabbed me and hugged me, and let me cry it out.

Man was she right. I needed that cry. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brought To You By The Letter "S" and the number "0..."

Why? Well, "S" is for stressed, and "0" is the number of Starbucks readily accessible to me on my way to work in the morning.

Bear with me - this is bound to be a rambling post that's all over the place.

Some of you follow me on Twitter and some on FB. I've said more on Twitter than on FB, because my niece and nephews are on my FB page, and I don't know how much my sister has told them yet, as far as my dad.

The stomach cancer has spread. Because of his weakened state, they simply cannot treat the cancer. Chemo is poison; it kills off the bad cells, but it kills the good ones, too. Not to mention the surgeries he's had on his stomach (the first one in 2008, when we found the cancer - and then the latest for the ruptured ulcer last month). His GI system is just not in tact enough to take anymore. Whereas your stomach or my stomach could take a jejunostomy feeding tube (also known as a J-tube), his stomach cannot.

The other more pressing issue, is that he is continuing to aspirate. The little bit of food that he does try to eat, his stomach is not processing very well. When he aspirates, it goes into his lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. He has it in the left lung already. They gave him a course of antibiotics, but the recent chest x-rays showed that it's in his right lung now. The doctor told us today that it is this pneumonia that will likely cause his death, not so much the actual cancer.

My brother T and I have been the information gateway for my siblings and my mom. We get the info from the doctors, and then we pass it on. J has been to some of the meetings, but not all. He's got a crazy work schedule and two kids, so it's hard with shuttling them back and forth to after school activities, etc. I know that T has been keeping J informed...but I think it just really hit him today when the doctor, the palliative care nurse, and the Hospice coordinator pretty much all said the same thing: Dad is dying. He's not going to get better.

Both my brothers are the ultimate "big brothers." They would do whatever they needed to do to protect me and my sisters, and they care about our family. J especially. He also is the closest to my dad and - ironically - the most like him. Which means he is the worrier and he is not that good in the stressful situations. I love him to death, but it's just not his thing. It isn't/wasn't my dad's thing either. I knew that he would take it the hardest.

I don't think I've ever seen him cry. And I was just not prepared to see it in the meeting today with Hospice. When we walked into the small meeting room, there were 5 chairs in an L shape. The hospice rep sat where there were two chairs, and then we occupied the other three chairs with T in the middle of both of us.

When she started talking about the info in my dad's chart, I just sort of nodded and followed along. T and I had already gone through this info with the palliative care nurse. I guess J had not heard a lot of it. Or, like I said before, I guess it was just really kicking in for him. When I looked over and saw my big brother crying...I just lost all focus. So I'm listening to her (or trying to listen), but I can't stop myself from crying, because my brother is hurting and there's nothing I can do to change it.

I'm trying to be incog-negro and dab at the tears with a tissue, but they're just coming down too fast. T's rubbing my back and rubbing J's back, and the hospice rep is trying to just give us a moment. Eventually, we got it together and decided on some options, discussed getting him on Medicaid, etc.

When we got out of the meeting, and went back up to the room, LDR was still in the room with dad, and the palliative care nurse. That's too long to keep typing, so I'm just going to tell you her name is Kelly.

Kelly had been in talking with dad, regarding appointing my brothers as his health care proxy, should he be unable to make decisions. Then they were talking to him about the hospice care, and the fact that you have to be on DNR status once you go in to hospice.

Dad has been in and out of lucidity, and because he's so weak and it takes him a minute to respond sometimes, it's hard to know if he really understand what you're saying at that moment. He could start talking about something totally different. Kelly told us she'd been talking to him about hospice care and whether or not he wanted to come back to the hospital should any difficulties arrive. But it seemed like he kept wavering, so she asked us all to come in the room so we could be sure we understood what dad's wishes were.

So you have his doctor, me, J, T, Kelly and LDR all in the room. Kelly is kneeling down so she's on eye level with him, explaining that resuscitating him would involve chest compressions that could possibly fracture his ribs, and that even if they intubated him and had him on a ventilator, ultimately at some point, the outcome is all going to be the same...

In my rational mind, I KNOW that she has to say all of this. He has to know what's going on. But knowing that someone is terminally ill and that they will die is one thing. Having someone speak it out loud into existence is another. I tried to just stand back from the bed some, and keep dabbing my tears. I really wanted to just burst into sobs, but not in front of my dad. So I just tried really hard to focus in on what Kelly was saying, and just make sure that dad understood. And he did. He agreed that if he is in hospice care, and something should just happen, that he would want nature to take its course.

That sounds so crazy. Let nature take it's course. I mean, really...we're all dying, if you really want to think about it. But I guess Kelly was trying to break it down into the simplest terms, and I think that ultimately helped Dad really understand what was what.

Mind you, in the middle of all of this, we were asked to make the decision as to whether or not he should receive more antibiotics for the aspiration pneumonia. Because more antibiotics meant more chest x-rays, and more poking and prodding and taking blood samples...and then being on more antibiotics could mean more distressing side effects. But...I don't know. It's just something about having to make decisions about HOW someone else's life is going to end...it's just like a surreal moment. I can hear myself talking, and conferring with my brothers, but I feel horrible that WE have to make this decision. You could tell that none of us wanted to decide that. I'm sure I had the same pained look on my face that my brothers had. But we did what we had to do.

We left the hospital and, per Kelly's recommendation, took a trip over to Francis House. This is a 16 bed hospice facility that's literally a house. They have volunteers who help with cooking and cleaning, and there are always 2 nurses on staff. They rotate 8 hour shifts. The problem is, it's a 16 bed facility. And EVERYONE with a terminally ill family member would love for them to be there, as opposed to a nursing home. They admit based on medical need, and cost/ability to pay is considered on a separate basis. I loved it; I wonder if we have some place like this in Charlotte where I can volunteer. Chances are that he will NOT end up here, because of the lack of beds...but I know we're all hoping that he can get in.

In the mean time, J and I will visit nursing homes over the next couple of days, to tour the facilities and see if we feel they are up to par for Dad. My job has been really great on flexibility. My supervisor knows what's going on; she's been through it with her own family members. I know that they do NOT have to be this flexible, and I will be forever grateful that they are.

So, these are my days right now. I make plans. We clean out his apartment. We look through important papers, and not-so-important papers, and find out little interesting things about Dad that we really didn't know about him.

LDR told me that while he was in the room with Dad, he saw him sort of staring off like he was thinking. He asked him, "what are you thinking about?"

Dad said, "life."

Yep. Me too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Heading Home

If you've been reading, you know I just got home on Tuesday, from a trip to NY for my grandmother's funeral. The same day I got home, is the same day my dad went into the hospital. He was going in to have some fluid drained, but then some complications arose, and they decided to admit him. He was in ICU, but was moved to a regular room yesterday.

In any event, he is not doing that well. I really just want to be home so I can see him, and help my brothers out in any way I can. Right now, it's just not feasible for me to take FMLA, because it's unpaid leave. One day, my finances will be in better order for that. But anywho...

My supervisor actually asked me a few days ago if I wanted to take my token and work from NY. Unfortunately, IT has not been able to get my remote connection working properly, because they are retarded unable to figure out why my laptop and my desktop won't connect. They keep saying it's because the desk top is not on, but I leave it on every night. I shut down and restart, or I simply choose "log off." Either way, the crap ain't working. ::side eye::

I remembered that we have an office in my home town. On a whim, I sent my supervisor a BBIM today and asked her if I could work in that office for the next couple of weeks. I expected that maybe she'd let me know the deal on Monday, but she responded within a couple of hours and said that our operations manager told her we could make it happen, and that I should go on and go. She'd just get with me later on the details.

Insert tears of joy here.

I've been running around my apartment for the last few hours, packing up all my stuff and cleaning up. My friend Steph is going to house sit/cat sit while I'm gone. I'm quite sure I've overpacked, but oh well. I shoved everything I thought I would need into my biggest suitcase. Chuckle along with me as I write (and you read) that I have a completely separate bag for shoes. I know. Just work with me.

I've never driven more than 6-7 hours by myself. This trip will probably take 11 hours and some change. Just send up some prayers and traveling mercies for me. The iPod is charged up, and tomorrow morning a venti latte from Starbucks will be in my cupholder.

I'm ready to see my Daddy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday's Fro

Wednesday night I put my hair into some tiny two strand twists. I took them out on Thursday morning and wore a twist out that had an interesting shape to it. Last night, I just put my scarf on and went to bed. This morning, I just fluffed and pulled out the 'fro with my fingers, and this is the result:

This is my first time wearing these earrings. I "stole" them from my mom's jewelry box. She doesn't really wear big earrings like this, but they were given to her with a bunch of other jewerly. I got 2 other pairs as well. A trip home would not be complete if I didn't leave with something.

I'm about ready to start this loc process. I will be making a call to Lockstar in the near future to see how they recommend starting them, and how much it's going to cost.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

I've seen this on several blogs, so what the heck. I'll give it a try.


  1. My plantar fasciitis is not getting better. And I'm not willing to give up my shoes. Clearly, we're at the cross roads. It's a show down between my common sense and my wants. Perhaps another visit to OrthoCarolina is in order. I just can't see living with this for the rest of my life. I want to run again, and at this point it's looking like I won't even be able to start in January. I look around and see people who started after me, making leaps and bounds in their training, and I can't even run on a treadmill for 15 minutes. No bueno.

  2. Just when you start to feel like things are just inherently turned against you and everyone is stupid, one or two people come along and make you feel better. I really would like to be home for a little while, given the situation with my dad. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to take an unpaid leave of absence from work. My supervisor told me today that it's possible for me to go to NY and work from home. I am going to sit down and try to work out the issues/logistics this weekend.

  3. I think I have the best family in the world. There's not too much I can really add to that. I hope we always remain this close.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I feel generally ornery this morning. I'm not sure why. I just want to tell everyone to pound sand. I think my brain is just overloaded from the last 5 days. I need a vacation. But I don't get one for another 16 days, so I need to just deal. Sigh.

How's everybody else doing today? Good, I hope. Anyone got any funny stories to share? I need some laughter. Maybe I'll peruse blogs at lunch.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in the QC. Had a flight SNAFU and I ended up coming home this morning, instead of last night like the initial plan. Bogey meowed my head off as soon as I got in the door. Unfortunately for her, I just came home to drop off my suitcase. I had to clear up an issue with the temporary tag on my car. After trips to the DMV and the dealership it is finally taken care of, and I have my permanent tag. Also had my 1K mile free service to make sure there are no problems and everything is a-OK. Shouldn't have to see the dealer again until my first oil change at 3,750 mi. I need Nissan to get on the Honda kick and get these oil changes up to every 5K mi. Anywho...even though I could have just taken the day, I decided to go in for a few hours of work.

On the "not-so-good" news front, Dad is back in the hospital. He has been retaining a lot of fluid due to the cancerous cells in his abdomen. Apparently this first course of chemo was not aggressive enough. So the cells/fluid have just been building up. He cannot keep any food down, so he's just literally wasting away. But his stomach and his legs are all swollen from the fluid retention. I mean, to watch him walk to the microphone at Grandma's funeral, it just broke my heart. He walked every so slowly; he was out of breath when he was singing, but because the congregation joined in, it was hard to tell unless you really listened.

Today he was supposed to go to the hospital to get a tube put in, that they would use to drain the fluid. Because of the fluid he has a hard time breathing as well as keeping the food down. Well, they went to put the tube in and his heart rate shot up. So now he's in intensive care. He also had a high level of CO2 in his blood - probably because he's had a hard time breathing. They have him on an oxygen mask now and that seems to be helping. I'm just concerned that now they STILL can't drain the fluid until his heart rate is more stable. I imagine he'll be in the ICU for a few days. My brother left the hospital to grab a quick bite to eat, and gave me this quick update while he was out. He DID say that Dad was awake and taking the mask off to talk when he left, so that's a good sign.

It just seems like, when it rains, it POURS and HAILS! Granted, my parents are divorced, but they still care about one another. On Sunday, my mom and I went over and cleaned up his kitchen, washed dishes, and took the trash out. I went to the grocery store and got some things he needed. My mom went back over yesterday to make him some soup to see if he could keep that down. I can tell that she's very worried. We all are. We JUST left from my grandma's funeral; we don't want to go back up there for another one. I really need him to go ahead and pull through this.

If they can get the fluid levels in check and get his nutrition in check, then I think we can move on to more aggressive chemo.

I'm not hugely religious, but I am spiritual. I do believe Yahweh and I do pray. So whether you want to pray, meditate, or send positive vibes, I think my Dad could use all of that. And then some.