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:
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!