Archive for October, 2015

Slowly Returning To My Life

October 25, 2015

Things started slowly this week and ended up more eventful than I expected.  Monday I only went out around Burien to do a couple of things – I like the choice of going out or staying home a lot more than stuck at home.  I also need to walk more to reduce inertia and liturgy as well as slowly build energy.  Monday was a very quiet day.

Tuesday I decided it was time to go on 518 where the accident happened.  I went down to Southcenter going east on 518, walked  through several stores and just enjoyed being out on my own again.  Then I needed to go home and although I wasn’t nervous or shaky about going back the way where I was hit, I asked God to give me everything I needed and I would just show up and get out of the way.  So I don’t think I was uptight to stressed, mostly I wanted to do it and get it done – back on the horse, so to speak.  Everything went well and I was fine, though looked in the mirror a lot to be sure about traffic behind me as well as in front of me.  I arrived home safely and relieved to have jumped over a small hurdle.

Wednesday ended up being one of those busy days.  I went to Breakfast Club for the first time since the accident – they were pleased to see me and I was happy to be there.  It only felt a tiny bit odd after 3 months, but I figure it will be familiar again by next week.  Our numbers are a bit sparse lately, not sure if people are busy with business or something else.  I know one is out for surgery and chemo for a while, a new member has been home because his wife had surgery.  I haven’t met him yet.

Afterwards I went to south center again, picked up a couple of things on sale I had seen the day before.  I checked out a couple of other places and then it was time to go home.  My feet and legs were shouting at me and I paid attention.  Eddie and I were meeting back here at 1 because it was doctor afternoon.  First stop was the dermatologist – I have been putting off having a couple of spots on my face seen to – way too long.  I remember the last time I had biopsy done in earlier years and it was a very unpleasant experience I didn’t want to repeat.  But Eddie and my rheumatologist decided it was time.  So I had a full body exam and she found 3 places she wanted to biopsy – the 2 on my face and one on the back of calf I had no idea about because I couldn’t see it.

Eddie decided he didn’t want to be in the room while they were done – no big surprise.  It was a good thing because I really came apart jut having the anesthetic injected – crying and upset.  I’m not usually like that, though I will protest when it hurts, I think something else emotional was going on as well.  So she took the biopsy and the one on my calf needed stitches.  I will have to admit I didn’t feel the actual biopsy, but I was so glad it was over.  She also froze several spots on my face and arm.  I looked as if I had been in bar fight.  I was given instructions on how to care for them and I will see her in 2 weeks to remove the stitches and find out the results of the biopsy.

Then we went to see my rheumatologist – she wasn’t there but I saw Jennifer, she was Dr. Sheets nurse so I am glad to see her every once in a while.  Then to Infusion for my Orencia.  It was also the evening of the Museum of Flight Volunteer dinner that started at 6.  We finished everything about 5, definitely traffic time.  If we had gone, we would have been late.  However, I just wanted to put on my jammies and crawl into bed.  Eddie has been dealing with cold or flu, we really don’t know what it is but he is feeling ratty.  He didn’t want to give it to the people at the dinner, we opted to go home, have a light dinner and relax.

Whatever he has, I want no part of it, so I have been taking Vitamin C and my Chinese herb capsules.  So far so good.  Thursday evening we cleared things out and found Mom’s bed – we put clean sheets on it so Eddie could sleep there and not give me his stuff.  Does seem strange to be alone in bed, I have bunny to keep me company.  although I am tired at night, I haven’t been sleeping very well, not sure what is going on.

Friday was the end of Eddie’s first week working at Andy’s.  He has found there is not really any organization – just the kind of challenge he likes.  He has been enjoying himself, thought the “stuff” has made him uncomfortable and he felt so ratty that he was home early.  We were both tired and decided soup was a great idea.  A cup of tea in the evening really hit the spot for both of us.

Saturday we just went to PFI for cheese, olives, and halva; then over to Uwajamaya for fruits and veg.  It was a cold, raw day, so we did our errands quickly and came home.  I took a nap and Eddie did the laundry – then I folded it when I got up.  Today is cold and wet, we have been inside all day – should help Eddie get over the “stuff”.  As for me, so far, so good.  Which reminds me, I need to have my capsules and Vitamin C now.

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Breaking Out of The Bubble

October 18, 2015

It has been a long 3 months – feels a lot longer at times.  I saw my surgeon yesterday afternoon and he cleared me to drive finally.  I have to admit I feel more ready for it than I did 3 weeks ago when the sling came off.  So this morning I went out for my first drive, I went rather slowly and took the back road into Burien.  It felt good, not too strange, but since my upper arm muscles are still stiff, I can’t turn to the left very well.  I am going to start focused physical therapy to stretch things out as much as I can.  For some reason I was a bit hesitant to go out, putting it off a bit – yet it is what I have been waiting for all this time.

The surgeon said my bone would be completely healed in the next 2 or 3 weeks.  Then I need to decide whether I want to do the surgery or not.  The thought of being laid up for another 3 months, maybe more and be without meds for 2 months doesn’t really appeal to me.  He suggested I talk with my rheumatologist about it will take about meds – maybe she has something that can help me over the difficult period.  I will also talk to my primary care doc, he too has the opinion my rheumatologist has – they both are concerned because I am at greater risk for the surgery.

I plan to take it easy the rest of this week and just practice feeling more comfortable driving.  I will go to Breakfast Club next Wednesday, seemed a little too soon this morning.  I am not sure if I will go to my chiropractor Monday or see if she has an appointment on Wednesday after Breakfast Club.  I keep thinking of all the things I want to do now that I can drive.  I am finally going to have a haircut Friday – only 14 weeks overdue.  Eddie has the day off so we are going to the dealership to pick up my license plates and the accessories Eddie ordered.  He wants to put a personal plate on it.

This is a mixed up week.  Tomorrow is Eddie’s last day at the Future of Flight, starts with Andy on Monday.  He took a half day off yesterday to take me to the surgeon, this afternoon he had an eye doctor appointment and I drove us home.  I am not sure what day it is any more or what I need to do.  I have been feeling that way since the accident, it’s hard to remember how normal or regular feels.  I’m beginning to think it is now a new way of being, I just haven’t got the memo with the specifics.

Time to go to the eye doc with Eddie – this time I can drive home so he doesn’t have to do it.

Sunday

Time has gotten away from me, I planned to finish this Wednesday after we came home from the doc.  Eddie’s in good shape, though he too is developing cataracts.  It’s not critical, but the doc said to let him know when he can’t see very well.  No doubt he will tell me the same thing when I go in around the first of the year.  Getting old definitely isn’t for sissies!

For the rest of Wednesday Eddie couldn’t read or see much tv, may explain why he went to bed so early.  Thursday was Eddie’s last day at the Future of Flight, so they gave him a party in the morning.  He went at his usual time, finished things up and turned in his keys.  He was pleased to see how many people came to say goodbye – he has made a lot of cool friends there and they will miss him.  Before he left, he was up on the Stratodeck when the Dreamlifter took off – there were quite a few people and they asked all kinds of questions.  He spent about an hour there, then came home.  No more getting up at 4 a.m. or fighting traffic coming home.

I thought I was going to have coffee with Patti, but I didn’t hear from her.  What a difference to have the choice to go out or stay home!  I ended up staying home and doing a few things, plus I wanted to be here when Eddie came home.  Amazing how little i felt trapped now that I can drive again.  I need to call about physical therapy this week and see how much I can stretch my muscles.

Friday felt like a red-letter day – after being 16 weeks overdue and feeling shaggy and raggedy, I had my hair cut.  I drove down the hill, glad to see Michelle and now my hair is quite short – feels so good after trimming places myself and keeping ends from sticking out.  Now another piece of the puzzle that makes me feel more my regular self.

Then we went over to the dealership to pick up my license plates – I’m official now.  However, Eddie wants to put personal plates on – MY BBJ.  We’ll have to do those separately.  He had ordered a chrome tip for my exhaust pipe, also mudflats.  They put the plates on and the tip, but when we change oil for the first time, we can have the mudflats done.  On the way home we stopped for some groceries, we didn’t want to stay too long in Ballard because it was Friday afternoon and traffic would be building up.  We timed it very well.

It’s been raining since late yesterday afternoon, Eddie is at the Museum of Flight and we have decided to go to the Armenian Church in Redmond next Sunday.  We had planned to do that in July, but I broke my arm and it wasn’t possible to go.  As I look forward to this coming week, I suddenly realize, I don’t know what I will or need to do – it’s been so long I have forgotten.  I figure it will come back to me without any trouble – though it feels as if my life has changed and I haven’t quite recognized how yet.

One Year Ago Today

October 8, 2015


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Today, October 8th, 2014 was a Wednesday and as I was about to start getting ready for Breakfast Club, the phone rang.  It was Judy from the adult family home where Mom was living – she called to tell us Mom had died in her sleep about 4:50 a.m.  I realized that was less than half an hour ago.  It upset me but also it was relief for all of us, especially for Mom.  She didn’t want to be here as the dementia began its course and she often asked why she couldn’t just go.  Sometimes I think she was afraid, not sure whether it was true Dad was waiting for her.  A relief  for her that she was no longer afraid, confused and stressed.  Even though she was at the point where she slept a lot and didn’t necessarily know who I was, it was a sad and happy time.  I went to Breakfast Club that morning because I didn’t want to be alone – my friends there were so caring and loving when I told them.

When I was planning the Celebration of Life, I asked my friend Julia to help with a post card to send or hand out to people inviting them.  She did such a lovely card.

Celebration of Life Celebration of Life - 1

The pictures on the left were taken in 1937 – I think it was about the time she was at Pratt Institute.  The larger one is of her when she went to dance.  The picture on the right was taken in 2008 when my sister Candy had a book signing here in Seattle.  The background is supposed to be lavender, one of Mom’s favorite colors.  I liked the touches of pink because she loved pink as well.  I decided to have a bit of green because she had a wonderful way with plants – wish I had inherited her green thumb.

As I looked at the pictures for the postcard, I thought about as her younger self and found some pictures that make me think of her especially.

 

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This was the house where grew up – 1715 ma

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Fortunately Dad wrote dates and places on the photos

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This also about 1919.

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Every summer for several years her Dad would rent a house at Clinton, Conn – right on Long Island Sound.  Many of the other family members also rented houses there.

I remember as we were growing up hearing stories of her childhood and her relatives – The seven Smith sisters and their young brother Charlie. They put the “fun” in dysfunctional.  Her brother Don used to drive them to places and he needed a scorecard token track of who wasn’t speaking to home, who was talking to whom.  He used to tell stories about them – I began to call them the Awesome Seven.  There was Aunt Bertha, Katie, Victoria, Amelia and Tillie – I can’t remember the other 2.Aunt Amelia and Aunt Tillie were the most interesting.  Aunt Amelia worn long, baggy and drab sweater and dress from the missionary box.  Don said he always thought the uncles’ first names were Poor.

Aunt Amelia was married to Poor Allie – Allen – who worked as a night watchmen at Brown Thompson, a well know department store.  He dies before her and she lived a few years after.  When she died, the family went to clean out the house and found a lot of Brown Thompson boxes filled with lovely new clothes – with price tags.  Now no one is sure if Poor Allie “liberated them from the store or just what the story was; but Aunt Amelia never wore the clothes.

Aunt Tillie was the pot stirrer, so the family was glad when she and Poor George moved to Meriden.  Poor George worked for International Silver and on summer evening he was  a night watchmen in the park.  It gave him a great opportunity to enjoy looking at the ladies.  I suspect Aunt Till was not the easiest person to live with, she was a bit peculiar.  When Poor George died, she moved back to Glastonbury near the family and stirred the pot most of the time.  She had Poor George buried in Glastonbury and she arranged for a bench to be put by his grave.  Every day she would go down to his grave and cry.

She was living on the second floor of a two family hose, when she died she wanted to be put in her coffin there and then brought down.  Mom’s brothers had to hoist the coffin up the outside and into the window.   While they were having a service there, Uncle Howard jack knifed in the chair – took a while to rescue him.  Then they decided to take the coffin down the stairs – unfortunately Mom’s brothers had a problem and Tillie went down the stairs end over end.

We grew up hearing about the aunts, mostly Aunt Marion, Aunt Dot and Aunt Marge.  They were her father’s sisters, though Aunt Marge was an aunt by marriage.  But I always think of them as a trio.  When Mom’s parents went away, the kids stayed with Aunt Dot and Uncle Howard; they had no children and they enjoyed looking after Mom and her brothers, later her much younger sister.  Aunt Marion was the only one who supported Mom when she went out to California right after Pearl Harbor to marry Dad.

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Ruth Paull-3

I think this was taken at “The Farm”, the house Grandfather bought in Waterford on the Connecticut River.

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I know this was taken on the river in Waterford.

Mom came from a big family, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. in town.  I have always wondered what it was like to grown up that way, though it was lonely for Mom  for quite a while.  During the war she made a trip up to Glastonbury to show her family Ellen – the first grand child.  Around 1964 or 65 she went back for her Dad’s funeral – she was a little embraced to say she had a wonderful time.  When she came home, she started rug hooking and volunteering for Traveler’s Aid at the airport.  In 1970 Mom and Dad started a custom wood business for sailboats – Dad had been told he wouldn’t have a job in 1971 and he retired to the business.  By then, all of us girls had left home, so they were too busy to experience the empty nest syndrome.

Ruth Paull-4

This was the small desk in the airport when she started.  What a change from then to now.

They ran the business until 2000 together and when Dad died, Mom continued to run the business for 4 or 5 years.  She was in her 80’s by that time and she decided she didn’t want to be a captain of industry any more.  She continued to volunteer at Traveller’s Aid until it was decided to discontinue it – some bright spark at the Port had some ideas of her own and wanted to build her own empire.  So Traveller’s Aid was thrown out.  Really bugged Mom, but she started volunteering at the Senior Center Thrift shop.  She enjoyed it a lot and really liked the women there.   There was a burst pipe and rather than fix it, the city decided to close the shop.  Seems someone had their eye on the property.

These ladies were not about to be kept down; they decided to come here on Mondays to play Mexican Dominos together.  Mom really enjoyed having them here and they didn’t lose touch.  They stopped coming shortly before Mom moved to the adult family home.  Mom was a member of the 1918 Club for quite a few years.  Unfortunately they began to pass away and Mabel in particular was a great friend.  I think Mom missed her a lot after Mabel died.

All this time Mom was rug hooking, making friends and began to teach rug hooking here.  After a while, she told she really didn’t want to teach, she just wanted someone to play with.  So they came every Thursday – they needed to come here and Mom needed them to be here.  It was difficult for her to give up hooking, but her hands and neck were bothering and she couldn’t see any more because of macular degeneration.  I think that robbed her of a lot of thins she loved to do – hooking, reading, gardening  – she wasn’t unhappy to give up driving because she always hated to drive.

Dad tells the story that in 1942 or 1943 she had to learn to drive very quickly.  Her brother Don helped her buy a car in Connecticut and drove with her to , I think, New Bern, NC.  Dad was going out of town on business and she would be left with Ellen by herself.  I think Dad taught her to drive and when they went down to the Motor Vehicle Department, the guy asked Dad if she could drive.  He of course said yes and the guy told Mom “Lady, if your husband thinks you can drive – here’s your license”.  When Dad had to leave, they drove to the train station, he left and Mom had to drive home with baby Ellen.  Unfortunately she got stuck in the middle of a parade – not conducive to feeling comfortable driving.

This has become a lot longer than I planned – I will give it a rest and will probably do another installment.  I’ll see what other pictures I can find – I finally have mastered the fax machine.

That Was The Year That Was

October 4, 2015

In some ways it seems a long time, other times it only happened a little while ago.   A lot of things have happened since my Mom died last year on October 8th, 2014.  I scattered Mom and Dad’s ashes on January 16th, 2015 into the Sound from a ferry – she wanted her ashes combined with Dad’s and I was able to do that for her.  In June I did a Celebration of Life Open House for her and was pleased to see so many people there who knew Mom and Dad, plus special friends of ours.  It was the last thing I did for her, except to remember her and all she gave me and my sisters as our Mom.

I know she was definitely ready to go on the next journey, she missed Dad and Josephine the cat so much.  I  had talked to people who communicate with spirits and they told me Dad and Josephine were waiting for her, there would be a big party to welcome her.  The animal communicator told me Josephine loved them both  – she was definitely their cat.  She also said Josephine was waiting for Mom so she can sit in her lap – how true that was in life.  Some would say it is just woo woo, hocus pocus, goofball, airy fairy nonsense; I don’t agree.

An intuitive told me that Mom kept us at arm’s length because she thought that was how she was supposed to do it – in some things, that explained a lot for me.  I was upset about  seeing her descend slowly into dementia, it was difficult to deal with her and it hurt to lose my Mom and wonder who this woman was who took her place.  I finally realized Mom was teaching me and giving me gifts in the process – it has taken awhile because I was in the middle of all of it.

I took a 6 week grief support class and that helped, I find myself getting teary eyed as I write this – I am not sure where I am in my grief or what works for me.  I know there were many times I wanted to run away and not have to deal with all the changes and what was happening to her.  But there wasn’t anyone else  to help, just Eddie and I.  People told me I would regret not being there for her and I now realize they were right.  There were times when I didn’t want to visit her twice a week, but I didn’t want her to ever think she had been abandoned, so I went.  I mostly read to her towards the end; mostly I put her to sleep.  I brought chocolate each time until she was at a point she couldn’t eat it.

Eddie and I cleaned the house – still a lot of things left – and made sure the furniture went to good homes.   We painted the living room and then brought up our furniture to make it finally our home.  We still have a lot of work to do, but the living room and kitchen makeovers have made an amazing difference.  I wanted it to be done for the Celebration of Life and it was.  Then as I was resting from all of that and getting ready to continue cleaning out, I was rear ended, my car was totaled and my arm was broken in 2 places.  The surgeon has said the humerus is healed after 8 weeks, just be careful and do the exercises he gave me.  I need to be able to drive to have the focused physical therapy to help get me back to as close to normal as possible.

The past 5 years have really helped me grow and mature – I have the confidence I can handle whatever situation comes up, I have a support team and people I can count on for help and information.  I thought I had to do it all myself, it scared me because I had no idea what to do in any given situation.  I’ve felt like a scared little kid for most of my life, it made me feel powerless and helpless.  Now I know I am an adult and I know I can handle it, and/or ask for help.

Stretching to Drive

October 2, 2015

It’s so lovely not to have the sling on, restricting my movements.  I am slowly feeling a little more my regular self each day, though stretching my muscles to be able to drive again is not a comfortable activity.  I have simple exercises to do, some are not all that easy.  I do a few at a time each day and now after a week, I’m not sure which is stiffness from the sling and which is from stretching.  I can see a little progress from last week, I just want to have it all stretched out right now.  Too impatient – where is the patience I have learned from RA?

I find I can sleep on both sides at night, though the left side is a bit uncomfortable.  It feels as if there is a heavy weight on it, the right side is fine.  I still also sleep a bit reclines as well – it’s just so good to have other options at last.

Things have been in a bit of an upheaval at the Future of Flight – Eddie submitted his resignation on Monday.  He is going to be working with our financial advisor in Bellevue learning the basics of financial planning but won’t be selling.  He will be running the office and doing meetings and events – I suspect there will be a lot of other things they will create as well.  We have worked with Andy for several years, he has handled our investments and Roth IRAs doing a really good job.

The focus of the Future of Flight has changed a lot – it is now more education than commercial aviation.  It is the commercial aviation that drew Eddie there and he loved it.  But the fun has gone out of it and the atmosphere is very difficult now, it is time to close the book on it.  He is working with PNAA – they work with suppliers and manufacturers in aviation – they are a great group to be with  and he enjoys working with all of them.

It really feels like Fall now, crisp sunny days and sweater weather.

Later

I called my friend Melanie Hope in Las Vegas this afternoon – she sent me an email to see how I am doing.  I so enjoyed talking with her, once again I realized how much I miss seeing her at Breakfast Club.  We would laugh, joke, talk and everything in between – it is so satisfying to have someone who “gets” me.  I will admit we didn’t do a lot of laughing during this conversation – we both have been through some very difficult times and it helps to tell her things I haven’t sad to anyone else.  I know it will never go farther than the two of us.

I felt so much better after our conversation – she is such an amazing, loving woman.  I so glad we are such good friends, the kind who may talk for months and then pick up right where we left off from the last time.  I hope she felt the same.

Friday

Hmmm, this is going into another day.  I had an email and photo from my sister Ellen; they have buttoned up the hatches and are prepared for Hurricane Joaquin coming up the East Coast.  Ocean Grove seems to get off fairly lightly in storms, so I pray the worst that happens is they just lose their electricity.  She wrote it is supposed to continue through Tuesday.  The hurricane is going out to sea, but close enough to send a lot of rain and wind along the eastern seaboard.

Now our Fall weather has become cloudy and foggy – less bright and cheerful than it was yesterday.  The prediction is for rain – we’ve heard that before and nothing really came of it.  It is just wait and see, dress for what it is at the moment and be prepared to bring a sweater of jacket “just in case”.

Since I can’t think of anything else to write about – no one wants to hear any more about my arm and its progress.


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