Monday, June 15, 2015

One day left in San Diego

Today is our last full day in San Diego. We'll take Trevor to his girlfriend's apartment and then I have to leave my baby. He is still ill and nowhere near ready to be on his own, but we have to go back home and he has to have a re-check by the cardiothoracic surgeon who saved his life in 2 weeks. Add that to the fact that everything here costs almost twice what it does at home and we just can't stay another two weeks. He's not allowed to fly for at least 10 days. We checked on trains and buses. I could charter a plane for what these trips across the country cost!

He will be living in Mexico until he finds a job and an apartment here in CA. He has a month to find both or he has to come home. If he hasn't been able to find a job in a month in the birthplace of computer technology, he will be asking, "Do you want fries with that?". I know he's smart and can do any job related to computers, but he has to be given a chance first. He missed the interviews that were scheduled last week because he was having surgery to remove over a liter of blood from his chest.

I wrote about not speaking the right language to be here and it keeps getting more and more obvious, I should have taken intensive Spanish rather than German in college. It's frustrating when I can't even tell the maid that we appreciate how clean the room is or ask a waitress for extra napkins. This has opened my eyes to the complaints of people along the border being so anti-immigrant.  I believe with all my heart that this country should allow immigrants to come here. With the exception of Native Americans, all of our ancestors are immigrants. What if our ancestors were treated with the hate and violence poured on toady's immigrants?

I made the appointment with this heart specialist, so that is taken care of. Now, I'm trying to find him a new primary care physician. Not an easy thing to do. Nobody seems to want new patients! Maybe the specialist will have an idea and help him out. If you live in the San Diego region and have a good doctor, I would really appreciate a name and phone number.

He's going to take a shower now and then he'll pack up his suitcase and backpack and off we go. Those two bags will be the extent of all his worldly possessions until I can bring his car and other items out. Once he gets a job, I have about a dozen people offering to drive out with me to deliver them. I think I'll have a lottery, just put everyone's name in a jar and pick 2. :-)

I know he's a young adult and needs to be out on his own, but he's my baby and always will be. I don't know how I'm going to drive away!

Thanks for listening to my whining and moaning about how my life sucks. I'm in sunny CA, my son is ALIVE and my husband is here with me. If my daughter and rest of my family were here, it would be perfect. Family is all there is when you think about it.

Until next time ....

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Another hospital in another State

This week started out so well, I should have known what was coming. I was happy and having fun. I was acting like a real human again. Time for the smackdown to begin.

My son just recently graduated with distinction from Penn State and had job interviews in San Diego. He asked me to fly out with him, just because I have never been to CA and things were so hard for me. Of course, I threw things in a bag and off we went. First problem hit, my wallet with ID and credit cards wasn't in my purse! I had my passport, so I could fly, but couldn't rent a car or check into a hotel! My daughter found the wallet and overnighted it to me. At that point, it didn't matter anymore.

We landed and fought to get a car rented and to our hotel. The hotel we reserved and paid in advance wasn't a hotel, but a HOSTEL. The difference? NO PRIVATE bathrooms. We would share one bathroom with a floor of people. Not this girl. When the clerk said that, all I saw was National Lampoon's European Vacation where the mom is in the tub and "Hagrid" Robbie Coltrane walks in. If you've seen the movie, you know the scene I'm talking about. No Hagrid for me. By that time, my son was screaming outside. I just run. He's holding his chest & can't breathe. Where is a hospital. The clerk didn't even look up as I begged for the way to a hospital. He simply couldn't have cared less, unless my son bled on the floor. It's pitchblack, 9 or so at night and I don't speak Spanish. Finally, a taxi driver took pity on me and we followed him to the trauma hospital.

We should have been good, but remember, it's me. I'm 5'2" and my son is 6'3" and I'm trying to carry him in. Security wouldn't help, just said you have to go next door oh and move your car. Yeah, tow it, it's a rental. I manage to get to ER. Crying for someone to help my boy. They don't even blink when he's holding his chest and can't breathe. I tell them his lung collapsed. They don't care. Finally, I threaten to just take him and call 9-1-1. The snotty nurse tells me it's illegal and they would just send police to make me stop calling them. RIGHT! I happen to know a bit about the law after covering court for 20 years, but I let him think his smugness won. I was attracting enough attention by now that they take us back, but the doctor wouldn't even look at him until I PAID MY CO-PAY! My son can't breathe and they are hassling me for $25. I lost it then. After they had the cash, a nurse took his blood pressure and walked off. After 20 minutes of me crying and Trevor screaming in pain a doc sends him for a chest x-ray because I don't know what I'm talking about. How do I know his lung collapsed? This is his fourth collapse, I've been through this rodeo far too many times before. The x-ray shows a large collapse. Doc lets me see it and says I can take a photo of the x-ray. I bring out my pro camera (Nikon 5500) and she asks where is my camera phone. Please! I've written and taken photos my entire life. It's how I made a living. She's worried now about who I might be and calls in specialists because she just doesn't want to do it. I angered her by questioning her qualifications when she refused to listen to what my son and I were telling him was going on.

They arrive at 2 or 3 a.m. (remember, we got there at 10 p.m.) They see the x-ray and race him back to surgery. He's holding me, begging me not to leave him. What can I do? They won't let me go. I take the time to move the car and bring our gear. He's now on the trauma fl
oor. ER sends me to security. The same cop who saw me dragging my son in looks at me and says, "I won't tell you where your son is." WHAT? HELLO??? Remember me? Yes, did you move the car? Total ass. I'm hysterical, caring at least 150 pounds of junk and he wants to play. I tell them I KNOW the room he's in, I just don't know how to get there. He sighs and picks up the phone. Such hard work for such an easy job. The charge nurse tells him to send me right up. Finally, he tells me the elevators are at the end of the hall (about a football field away). Can you help me? NO!

Somehow I managed to get there and walk in the room. My boy is pale, with tubes and oxygen covering his body. I just broke down. Why him? Why again? He's here to get a job and start his life!

Several hours later, after the nurses ignored my questions on why so much blood from the tiny chest tube, the top cardiothoracic surgeon is in his room and says he has to go back to surgery right now. Why? He's bleeding into his chest and drowning. I could lose my baby! Of course, I agree to have it done. Then a nurse comes in, does he have a living will? I need to know what you want done if something goes wrong. He's only 20! This can't be happening, but it wasn't a nightmare, it was real. Of course, I told her to do everything possible to keep my boy alive, no matter what. Take my heart if he needs one, just save him.

His girlfriend Ana was there to hold me up or I literally would have curled up into a ball and just cried. I did lose it then, even with her there. I called my husband and said I need you now. He couldn't understand me because I was crying so hard. My mother and her sister drove him three hours to the nearest airport and he was on his way. It took many changes because of weather closing airports, but somehow, he managed to get here 24 hours after my hysterical call.

My son is getting better and should be getting the chest tubes out by tomorrow, then it'll be just slowly healing. This has taught me I'm stronger then I ever thought possible when all alone and push comes to shove. I need my husband and love him dearly, but I can survive.

If one person reads this and forgives a loved one, this pain is worth it. All we have are our family. Love them, no matter what. We can lose them far too soon and far too easily. My birthday is next week and we're making travel arrangements to get home. I hate the idea of doing that on my birthday, but then I realize what I could be making arrangements for instead and just say, "Thank You" for keeping my son alive.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Back to Vampire Hours Again

Randy is on third shift again for a couple months, so other workers can get the training they need. I was use to having him here at night, so I was finally sleeping more than a few hours. Now I can't sleep again. I'm even watching reality TV because most other channels are on infomercials. Can you imagine how incredibly boring your life has to be to actually sit and watch those things? Even the mind-numbing reality TV is sometimes funny. It's obviously scripted. My new game is catching the oh-so-obvious scripting on them.

Third shift does have advantages though. We can schedule all my medical appointments and surgeries for his days off. He has every other weekend off as well as days during the week. That helps out a lot. He doesn't have to use vacation days or unpaid family medical leave. He's getting the injections in his knees the next three Fridays. This isn't the cortisone shots, but a thicker gel made out of rooster combs. The needles are thick and I can only imagine how painful it is getting them. The last series of injections had him obviously hurting and for a Marine who served in the first Persian Gulf War, showing anything hurts means I'd be curled up in a ball in the corner, unable to made a sound because I've already screamed my voice away. They work though. It kept him almost pain-free for months and even after a year, he was able to tolerate moving around. He's going to need to have knee replacement surgery in the future, but these injections are delaying that surgery. He's not even 50 yet and the surgery is usually meant for those over 60.

My left knee will have to be replaced again before I hit 50, I'm sure. I've had two meniscus tears in a year. The last surgery is my last chance. If I have another tear, that means that it has to be replaced. I'm trying to be very careful and not fall. I hold on better when I'm walking around. When I'm outside, I have a walking stick or use someone's arm to keep my steady. I feel more like I'm 90 because I can't just do things a normal woman my age doesn't even think about, she just does it. I have to consider everything I do and decide if it's worth the risk. Something as simple as going for a drive with my son for an on-line geocaching game takes so much energy and makes my left knee swells up that I can't do much the entire next day. At least I'm better off now than I was last year at this point after the first knee surgery. Have to be grateful for that, if nothing else.

Trevor graduated from Penn State last weekend. I was watching the video Arielle took with my Surface tablet. I can't believe my baby boy is a college graduate. He's sending out resumes to any business in San Diego, CA that needs computer technician help. He graduated with distinction and an impressive 3.85 GPA. I'm so proud of him. I don't know how I'll be able to handle it when the inevitable happens and he finds a job on the other side of the country. When we take him out there, he won't be coming back this time after a few weeks, he'll be living there. We're spending as much time together as we can. Since my left knee has no strength, I can't drive my Mustang. It's a standard and I can't push in the clutch, my beautiful Betty Lou is pure Detroit Muscle car and has a very stiff clutch. Trevor loves driving her, so we're putting a few miles on her.

Time to find something new to watch. Hopefully, life will get a little better soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TV Day

I'm getting ready for knee surgery next week, so I'm not doing much the next few days. I can't afford to do any more damage to it. That means, some quality time in front of the TV On Demand. First up, past episodes of Amish Mafia. Yes, you read that right, there is really an Amish Mafia (well on Reality TV, that is) and has ben on TV for 4 years.

This episode shows them trying to get the Amish into politics because former (and current at the time it was filmed) PA Governor Tom Corbin taking a stand against the Amish. I live in the far northern part of the State, so I never read about it, but they had real news footage of Corbin and his security showing them in no uncertain terms that they are not wanted or even going to be tolerated in the public sector. Really frightening to see Constitutional Rights stripped away.

The rest of the show is pretty funny. Who, in their right mind, would shoot and blow up things with a news crew following them? Anyhow, it's funny to see how these people act for the cameras. We get to see Amish Lebanon Levi, Merlin and Mary go against the law and Mennonite advisory Devil Doug. I do my best to translate the Amish~German they speak, but it's not the high German I learned in college. I can keep up a bit, enough to get the just of what they're saying, but it doesn't translate directly to English.

The sickness that got me in 2006, that destroyed my body. Yeah, I was a size 14 child again for a few years and got to wear my favorite clothes, but it took the vitamins and minerals out of my body and now my bones, hair, teeth, etc ... have lost everything they need to stay healthy. I know it's happening again because I can't keep more than a few bites of food or drinks down. It hit over the weekend and yesterday was the worst ever. I can stand to lose a few or more pounds and get back to my fighting weight.

I'll update as soon as I can, but I'm sure I'll be ok. I'm use to having  3 or 4 surgeries a year. It hurts a lot, but I guess it's just my time to pay the piper for the glorious results of a mis~spent youth.

UPDATE:  I just finished Mountain Monsters Season 2, Episode 2 that is supposed to be our merry gang of rednecks hunting monsters in the Appalachia Mountains. (Hey, I love the paranormal) Anyhow on this one, the group is after the evil Chupacabra, only they got the facts about the creature all wrong. I can forgive that, but at the end, they "capture" the monster and just give brief glimpses of it in the "trap." They need a better film editor because it was painfully obvious that what they had in the box was not a large, hairy black cryptic with 2 inch long fangs, but a cuddly blonde dog with a green collar with the name of the trainer on it. SIGH! Please, now I love a good fairy tale and really love to see them get all worked up and curse a bit, but it is not ok to show me a Labrador Retriever and tell me it's a monster. I may get confused, but I can still see. Producers of Mountain Monsters on Discover Channel: You really need to hire someone to watch the show to make better edits, unless the who purpose of your show is be an hour~long joke with an expanded cast of the Three Stooges. If it's the joke, then you have a real winner here. I'm not sure I'll be able to watch it again and I love shows like this. I even watch In Search of ... knowing at the end it will be, "We didn't find him this time, but next ... "

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Happy Mothers' Day! (UK Version)

I quickly popped open Facebook this morning before I got in the shower and there was all these "Happy Mothers' Day" posts. In my sleep~deprived mind, it doesn't hit that it's only March and we celebrate in May.

After my shower, I call my mother to wish her a Happy Mothers' Day. She was really wondering if there was something she didn't know because my brother had just called her to do the same thing. She was laughing when I told her it was in the U.K. where it's celebrated today. She was going to call my brother later on to let him in on the joke.

That got me thinking. Why can't we celebrate the love of the ones who mean the most to us while we have the chance? We aren't guaranteed another breath in this horrid veil of tears we call "life." Athena knows I've been slapped upside the head with that enough to last several turns of the wheel. I've lost more of the ones who I've loved the most than I can even bare to think about. The snap of a finger and it could be more.

I'm having surgery again next week. It's supposed to be a simple same~day procedure on my knee, but it was scheduled several months ago and since then, I've had a few nasty spills and one put me to the floor because my knee would no longer support my weight. I'm not afraid to leave hell. I know where I'm going. I see it so clearly in my mind, it seems like I can just take a step and be there. The ones I love are waiting for me. My place in the Summerlands is assured. My little cottage in the woods, covered in vines and filled to the top with all my furry friends are waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for me to come get them.

I had a near~death experience once. I don't tell too many people about it because people don't know how  to take it. Some will believe, some will say it was my oxygen~deprived mind just projecting images from the past, but I know the truth. I was in ICU after a massive surgery. I'm very claustrophobic and kept taking the oxygen mask off that was keeping me breathing and pushing the pain-pump as often as possible. I can hear the skeptics from here, but give me my moment. My mother was at my bedside, she rarely left me. I knew she was there on my right side, but I felt a presence on the left and looked over. There was my precious, beloved Adonis. My faithful companion in life and now it seemed he was keeping the faith and was ready to lead me away from all the pain and torture. He looked the same as this last photo of him, right before I betrayed him in the worst way.

I turned to him and tore off the my face and turned to him and just starting talking. I was begging him to forgive me. I had to make a horrible decision earlier that year and had to let him go to the Bridge. I still feel like it was the worst betrayal in the world. He trusted me completely. He was looking in my eyes when he took his last breath. It was my essence he breathed in, my eyes he saw, my hands holding him and stroking his silky head. It was my voice, telling him how much I loved him and hoped he could forgive me. Then I went into our daily routine. I trained him in German and that's what I spoke to him at the end. "Ich leibe dich, meine leibchen."  I begged him not to leave me and to stay or take me with him. I was so sorry, I wish it didn't happen. He just looked at me with his beautiful eyes and put his head on my bed and just waited. I heard my mother crying. She knew I wasn't talking to her and there was no one else in the room that she could see. She doesn't understand any German. She knew who I was seeing and knew I was failing. All of that was in the back of my mind, but the pain was so great, I just wanted it all to stop.

I've been in constant pain for over 20 years, after a botched spinal nerve block, during an emergency C-Section. Since then, the pain in my head rarely goes away. I have spent so many days in the hospital, hooked up to pain pumps, just to keep my head from exploding. Then the daily medicine and emergency rescue shots. I can't give myself shots, so my husband will give them if he's here. If he's not around, my son has to come and give the shots. He's only 20. He had to learn how to give his mother injections when he was only 10 years old. Far too young for such a huge responsibility. He's not like other kids his age and never has been. He has a genius IQ, but we don't have the "right" name, so they thought he needed Special Education and was put in with the kids with lower IQs. He hated going to school and begged me to take him out and homeschool him because his sister was homeschooled. I went to the school and they had me sign a paper that it was against "Professional" advice that I removed him from special ed and I knew the risks. The funny part, if it was so sad and pathetic is, the next week, he was given an IQ test and immediately put in the Gifted Program. He wasn't given an apology and neither was I. The local school has been a total nightmare for us. I was never so happy as seeing my son get his diploma and know he never had to deal with those "professionals" again. When he was asked to be a pallbearer at his cousin's funeral, I asked him if he could handle that and he didn't have to. He was only 10 years younger than the man he would carry on his last trip. He had held my hand when his cousin was taken off life support, so I knew his strength, but even a diamond can break under pressure. He looked at me and said, "If I don't do it, who will?" Two days later, he helped carry Bobby to his final rest. That was our Thanksgiving last year.

I suppose for those who have made it this far and thinking I'm a bit nuts by now. Probably a little, but in 2015, who isn't?  I'll wrap it up with this: Celebrate each moment, live life to its fullest and never forget to tell the people you love just that. Don't wait til they are gone. Bring flowers for no reason other than you love them. Call, text, email, send smoke signals, whatever you have to do to let those you love the most know it and celebrate every day. That's what this whole rambling post is about. Just remember to say I love you, in any language, just say it. Standing at the bedside of an empty, broken shell is too late.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tax Reform Needs Done NOW

Another day, another demand letter from a tax agency. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. I haven't been able to work in almost 2 years. I'm disabled and just waiting for the State to send the paperwork that shows they believe I'm disabled.

I went through the hearing. Their own expert, who is there to tell the judicial hearing judge that there is work that a person can do and go out of their way to keep people like me to get disability. After an hour, which my husband wasn't allowed to attend, their occupational specialist stated quite clearly that there is absolutely nothing I can do either full or part time to earn a wage. The judge looked stunned because the purpose of this is to keep people from getting the help they need. My doctor told me at least 6 years ago that I need to stop working because it was killing me. I didn't listen because I didn't want to be "one of those people." Not one of the kind they show on TV and demonize in magazines, TV shows and especially the news. A person who is just too lazy to work and expects the government to pay me to sit home on the couch, eat bon bons and watch Oprah.

Nothing could be further than the truth. I kept fighting until July of 2013. My last story was a murder preliminary hearing. The girl was my son's age. They went to school together and I was one of the mothers who would always volunteer to help out for anything the school needed. I've gone on field trips everywhere in the State. One morning, I was dropping my son off for a trip to a gifted competition. I pull up at the school and my son gets out. I tell him to call when they get back and I'd come pick him up. His teacher came running up to my car, asking if I was ready to go. What? I didn't know I was going, didn't know they even needed a chaperone. Luckily, I had my camera in the car ( I never go anywhere without a camera), so I parked the car and got in with the rest of the students and the teacher and we went to the trip. I had to call my husband to tell him where to find the car because we had other plans for the day.

That is the person I was. I covered court, meetings, local events, all things that you find in newspapers and magazines. At one time, I had 7 jobs. Yes, you read that right, 7 jobs. I wrote for two newspapers, a radio station and took meeting minutes for four different government bodies. It finally took it's toll on me and I spend more time in the hospital than at work. I had been hired as a full time staff reporter for a newspaper. It killed me to turn in the paper's camera. I called home and he told me to go wait at a  convenience store. He and my dad met me there and dad drove me home. I was crying too hard to drive. I took a year off until another newspaper called and asked if I could go to one event for them. My head was exploding and I couldn't drive, so my father drove to the event. I covered the event, wrote it up and sent it to the paper. That sucked me back into the reporter's life. I never missed an assignment. Even when I couldn't drive, one of my kids or husband would drive me. They'd go with if it was a meeting where there was food or they'd take a nap til I was done.

When I had to sit through that final preliminary hearing for the poor girl who was slaughtered by her ex~boyfriend, I knew it was too much. I had been dealing with the pain and even got the paper an exclusive  ~ an interview with the alleged murderer's best friend. The editor couldn't say enough about how wonderful  it was, but the next day tells me he wanted someone who wasn't as dedicated to their family. What a joke. I missed so many family events for my job. He just doesn't like women and wanted to hire a "man" It was for the best. It made me see that there is no loyalty and I was killing myself for nothing.

My doctor was pleased that I finally listened. He sent in at least six inches of paperwork on my health conditions and surgeries to Social Security. That was two years ago come July. Now I can focus on my health and not have to worry about being called out to some fire or wreck at 3 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm.

Why does the government make it so hard for the truly ill? It seems that the frauds get approved immediately because they are depressed. Don't get me wrong, depression can be debilitating, but it's also easy to fake. I don't want to need help, but there is not choice. My son is in college and is transferring to a larger college this fall. My husband doesn't make enough on his own to keep us going.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Walking Dead

This show came out at just the right time. The paranormal is hot and zombies are some of the hottest creatures, next to vampires, of course. I'm positive people didn't expect it to explode and become one of the top, if not top show on cable TV.

The cast has changed over the years, but the core group has a only become more like a weekly visit.  I believe Rick was meant to be the top dog and sex symbol. How did Daryl become the absolute favorite person on the show? He's a redneck bad boy who has gone from being a loner to second in command. Everyone loves Daryl. He's on all the tee-shirts, posters and everything. The most popular phrase is, "If Daryl dies, we riot!"

It's time for everyone to enjoy a show that lets people know we can survive anything.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

More Hospital Time

This time it isn't me though. My son called me Wednesday and said his chest was hurting him. I told him to come get me and we'd go to the hospital. He didn't like the idea because he's been in the hospital far too often as a kid.
Three years ago, his left lung spontaneously collapsed. I was holding him when the surgeon put the chest tube in. Let me tell you, it was not a fun experience. He was in the hospital about a week and I stayed on a tiny cot beside his bed. When it came out, we were told it wouldn't happen again. Well, a week later it happened again. The hospital where he was the first time wouldn't touch him again and he was sent to another hospital 45 minutes away. They refused to allow me to be in his room and I could only be in there for 20 minutes every few hours. That can't happen anymore.
So we get to the hospital on Wednesday and after a CT and Chest X~Ray, he had another lung collapse, so I was standing there holding his hand while the tube was inserted. It kills me that, as a mother, I wasn't able to protect my baby. He's 20 years old, but he'll always be my baby. Mothers understand that.

It's now Sunday and I have been out of here for less than an hour. Yesterday, I had to go home and shower. I could smell myself and it wasn't pretty. :(
The chest tube was crimped yesterday and his chest e~xray today looks good. When the surgeon looks at him, he'll pull out the tube and if it looks good enough, he'll he able to go home. We're hoping that happens. It's been a very long week.
I've been here too long and I'm starting to lose my mind. I think I'll be going home today, whether or not he is released today or tomorrow. I need a break, it's time for Daddy to sleep on this lumpy couch.
I missed the Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous for the second year in  a row. Last year, I had just had knee surgery and couldn't walk around. I'm having the knee fixed again next month because the first surgeon really did a lot of damage to me. I can't forgive that. He knew he wasn't qualified to fix my knee but did it anyhow. I would never allow him to work on my pet rock.
The snow is really coming down hard. I'm not looking forward to driving home in this. I rarely drive anymore. The pain and other health problems have takeaway my ability to live a normal life. What did I do in that previous life to deserve this punishment? I hope I at least lot of fun doing it!
Will update this after I talk to his surgeon. Have a good day, all!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Need more surgery

My new knee surgeon had another MRI done on my left knee & the meniscus is torn again & twice as bad as the last time it was repaired last February.  I'm not at all happy. I'm sick to death of hospitals, doctors & the rest of the medical profession. My knee hurts like crazy & can't hold my weight without buckling.

Of course, the pain in my knee & hips have set off even more migraines. Why can't I have even 1 day without the unending torture & pain?

The latest surgery is scheduled for March 26. Please remember me when you pray to your chosen deity.  I can't take many more surgeries.