Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summertime Fun!

Hi, everyone! Again, it has been a little while since I last wrote. This is for a combination of reasons; one not feeling well and up to it many days, and two wanting to make the most of the days I do feel well! Here is a bit of an update as to what the Hitzel family has been up to.

Not long after Michael's graduation and Pam's family and Joe's parents leaving to go back to NJ, Joe's sister, Susie and her two thirteen year old twins had been planning to come out for a visit. They had been waiting for school to finish and for Katie to participate in a week-long volleyball camp. During this time, I began to struggle a bit more physically. I asked Susie to please not bring the kids. I was hesitant for them to come see me when I was doing so poorly. Most of my problems centered around increased swelling of my entire body and increased back pain. My wonderful hospice nurse, Wendy, was doing everything she could to help with the back pain and a lymphedema specialist was scheduled to come in and do massages to help with the swelling. The pain, however, seemed to just increase and we ended up calling hospice one evening in what they described as a "pain crisis!" I was admitted for two nights to the local hospice inpatient care center and within hours they had my pain under control with morphine. I was sent home on a portable morphine drip that gives me a set amount of pain medication each hour and then also gives me the ability to get extra bolus doses if needed. Like I said, I was home in a day and a half, all fixed up. I continue to be constantly amazed at the quality of care provided by the Hospice of the Valley organization. Several different people who have been through this experience with a family member have mentioned how they felt like they had waited too long to contact Hospice. I am grateful everyday that we made the decision to enter hospice when we did and grateful to Dr.Livingston to not hesitate to give us that option at the time he did. If I were to somehow turn some miraculous corner and feel like my body was up to trying more treatment, that option is always to me. However, we all know that is not going to happen.

Susie arrived the day after I was admitted to the hospice center and by that point I was feeling much better and it probably would have been ok if Katie and Jonnie had come to visit. I'm still hopeful we may get a visit together in.

With Susie here, we were able to convince Pam to take a break and go home to see her family. It worked out perfectly because it was the 4th of July weekend and her birthday is on the 5th. Also, her daughter, Mary's, 13th birthday is later this month and they were able to work on redoing her room as her birthday present. It came out great! I love the colors she picked out, very cool and sophisticated, yet at the same time young and teenagerish, too.

We had great time during Susie's visit. Sue and I have been friends since our senior year of high school and it was actually through my friendship with her that I met and ended up together with Joe! Both Sue and her mom are great cooks and Sue worked nonstop to keep us well-fed during her visit. Michael - the absolute pickiest eater on Earth - even ate tomatoes! Now, this might not seem like a huge feat to most people, but for Michael! Unheard of!

Susie also makes the absolute best chocolate chip cookies anywhere. As you can see from the picture below, I was treated to a pre-baking taste sampling! :>) MMMmmm . . . Yummmmm!

As you can also see from this picture, we decided to move in a hospital bed. I'd been having trouble for a while and had been sleeping on the couch in the living room. Wendy gently suggested a hospital bed a couple of times, but I was resistant to the idea. Then, after my "pain crisis" and the kids and Joe pointing out to me that there was room for them to cuddle with me on the bed in the evening with them as we watched TV or a movie, I was convinced. And, it really has been wonderful. I sleep 100 times better on it. We set it up in the living room under the windows, so it is in a pretty place, but out of the way and not immediately apparant when visitors first come into the house.

A funny cooking story. Joe's mom has the very best chocolate cake recipe. The icing tastes like the richest, creamiest chocolate fudge! When she was out for her recent visit, she made one for us. It was delicious, but she had a very difficult time. The cake was crumbly and didn't want to come out of the pan. However, once it was all glued together with the icing, no one could tell from the outside. And, it tasted just as good as ever.

On the last day of Susie's visit, she decided that she, too, would make us one of these cakes (can you tell they are one of my favorite things?). Well, we don't know whether it was a difference in altitude or our oven wasn't heating correctly or what, but poor Susie had even more problem with the cake than her mom did. Here's proof I'm not exaggerating:

After Susie left, it was just Joe, Michael, and me for a couple of days. We spent a quiet 4th of July and decided not to even make the trek out to see the fireworks. Joe did, however, get a chance to put up a flag that his mom had sent to us several years ago and we'd never taken the time to get out of the box.

Since I have not been feeling as well lately and don't often feel like going out, contingents of the Margarita Express have been stopping by the house and we've had our own little happy hours here. We decided we would start a new brand of M&M - margarita and morphine. Wendy thought this was funny, but said there was no sharing of my morphine. :>( Sorry girls! The other day, Carol, Norma, and Ruthie came for a visit and we had a great time talking and laughing!

Pam was back for Father's Day and she, Joe, and I decided to spend it up at our cabin in Payson. We had not been able to get up there since September and when we arrived, we discovered that a family of mice had come in and made themselves completely at home. We (well, Pam and Joe, with me supervising) spent the first two to three hours just cleaning and changing sheets. The weather was beautiful! We sat out on the back porch Sunday morning for breakfast and then decided it was so nice to try and stay out for a while. Joe helped me get set up in my hammock chair and then pulled a chair up next to me and we sat and talked for about twenty minutes.

Then, the edge of the chair began to cut into my legs due to the swelling and Joe went to change places with me. He got me situated in the chair he had been sitting in and then went to sit in the hammock chair himself. Well, as he went to lift himself back into the chair, it came crashing down to the ground! The branch that the chair had been suspended from had broken off. Joe hit the ground - HARD! And then, the branch came crashing down on top of him. OMGosh! What a scary experience. Unbelievably, Joe came through with just some severe tenderness and bruising to his pelvis area. We can't even begin to imagine what would have happened if it had fallen while I was sitting in it!

Later that day, before we headed out for home, Joe and I placed two wooden bears we had bought for the cabin back in September out in front. I've always loved these wooden bears and love how they look out front.

That evening, safely at home, we gave Joe his present - an iPad which he absolutely loves and has used constantly since he got it.

Well, that's what happens when I don't write for a while. My posts get pretty long-winded. Thanks for checking in and love youall tons!


Meags said...

Hi Martha,Thanks for sharing as always. Your smile is contagious! I've been grinning from ear to ear. Thanks for the smile. I love you. Meags

Dawn Chandler said...

Wonderful to have a nice long update. Hugs to you and the family!!! xoxo

Lydia said...

I love reading your posts. I know Hospice is wonderful. My dad lived with me and they were always there when I called, had a question, or anything. I'm so glad that you are enjoying your family. Family is everything. I would love to come and see you sometime. Prayers and hugs!!!!! Love you!

Domesticated Lady said...

We enjoy your posts. It's wonderful to see you!! We love you :)

Tess (and family)

ZueZQue said...

Great post Martha!! I'm so glad I got to spend a few days with you.

Love ya! Sue

NP said...

I LOVED hearing all the updates and glad you could get away to the cabin. I'm especially glad that you all made it back in one piece. Poor Joe :( I love you tons and think of you every day!
Love & hugs,

Dottie said...

Dear Martha,
How wonderful to be surrounded with such a huge outpouring of family, friends, and love! You deserve it so much! XOXO

I am so grateful that you are keeping us posted on your day to day ordeals! You are such an important part of our lives, it feels good to be "connected" to you via your blog!

I also love your little stories! They always make me smile!

Lots of love to you and your wonderful family, dear Martha!

velvet brick said...

May I just say that the happy hours thrown at the 'group home ' are my FAVORITES!! Thank you for the great update and pictures! Love all of those smiles on all of those sweet faces! Love you, sweet pea! xoxo


Hi Martha!
I'm so happy to see your update! I check every day to see if you have written. Sounds and looks like you have been keeping very busy. I think your bears at the cabin are just darling, and am glad that Joe wasn't injured too badly from his experience.

As always, I thoroughly enjoy the photos you add to your blog entries. This time, the cookie dough pic was my favorite of you! But also liked the ones of family and friends.

Prayers, hugs and love to you and your family Martha!

Lydia said...

Dear sweet Martha, I heard this morning that you went to your heavenly home. You will be greatly missed. You were, and are an amazing woman who gave her all to all those who knew you. I love you and am so proud to have you as my friend and sister. To your are in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. I know how hard this is. I want you to know, that I know, that you will see your sweet mother, wife, and sister, again. Until then, know that you are loved and cared about! Michael, I love and think about you and my prayers will be with you.

Dawn Chandler said...

Oh Martha.......How I carry you and your whole family in my heart.
I am imagining you with my Mom now — having a cup of tea, tossing a ball for my Girlie dog....Sharing notes on the rest of us you've left behind with hearts broken.
Peace to you, you glorious, strong, courageous and brilliant woman — and to your beautiful and amazing family.

~ Dawn