Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm trying to get my mind geared toward a major junk-purging project. My house has collected an incredible amount of worthless junk, and being the packrat I am, it's painful to think of parting with most of it.

My friend Lucy has promised to help. As a former drug and alcohol rehab counselor, she's created a packrat rehab program for me. I really am tired of being tacky, and it's come to that, I'm afraid; my poor-white-trash ways are catching up with me. This will be more than spring cleaning. It's a major life-style change.

I'm very apprehensive about it, but a little eager and excited, too. Why do we hang on to things that have long passed their usefulness? I've even got things around here that have never been useful, or beautiful, and why I gave them space here is not clear, but I did.

Hi, my name is Cathy, and I am a junkie.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The rain is moving in, and the next two days are supposed to be typical March bluster. George and I tried to eat lunch on the patio at Sweet Peppers today, and had to move inside due to wind gusts. I always enjoy visits with my old friend from P'ville, and today was no exception. My guardian angel rescued my purse again. I left it outside when we moved inside, and didn't miss it for another half hour, but it was turned in by some kind soul, so I got it back immediately after asking about it. God bless 'em.

I'm beginning to like my new sleep schedule. I was up by 5:00 this morning and went walking with my neighbor for about an hour. Amazing how it put me in such a better frame of mind for today's challenges.

My beautician came out to the house this morning and gave Mike a haircut and a shave. I wish I had made before and after pictures, he looks a lot better. The nurse came out this afternoon and recertified him for home health care. She also encouraged him to go up and down the stairs, which I'm still not encouraging. He's so much easier to manage when he's confined to one room.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mike fell on Friday in the bathroom and I had to call 911 to come help get him back in the bed. He lost his balance and took a tumble, but wasn't injured, as far as anyone could tell, so he refused to go to the ER.

Of course, the EMT's had to come in the fire truck, so that attracted the attention of my neighbors. I still haven't figured out why they don't use a more practical vehicle for calls like mine. It took them only about 5 minutes to get here and about that long to get him back in the bed and their form filled out with the information they needed, then leave.

His occupational therapist came shortly after to make sure he was okay, and to see what progress he had made in the two weeks since she had seen him. She tried to reassure him that he was doing great and not to let the fall discourage him.

I'm not real sure he has the strength to do what they're saying he can do. He had made several attempts to push up with his strong arm to lift himself to his strong knee, then get back on his feet, but was unable to do it. All this effort was accompanied by language that would make a sailor blush, so I was real tempted to just leave him in the floor, especially when the cursing was directed at me personally. I told him he was making a real good case for nursing home care. At least they have more than one person who can help get him off the floor if he falls, and they don't know him well enough to be hurt by the things he says.

The rest of my week-end has been unusually pleasant with a wedding shower on Saturday, visits with friends, church today, lunch at Pan Asia with friend Jan, dinner at Soulshine Pizza with friend Sandra, and beautiful weather. Life is mostly good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What can I say about my Thursday? We have had a beautiful spring day. There have been no ugly scenes with Mike. Sandra and I went to the Y and did deep water aerobics. I had a session with my counselor this afternoon. He was pleased to see me smiling and laughing and to hear how I'm taking care of myself and that I've started the anti-depressant. I continue to have queasy, nervous butterflies in my tummy due mostly to anxiety, but it's not debilitating. My BP is running a little higher than normal, but I've got a pill to take for that every morning and I'm taking it. I am getting more sleep since I adjusted my bedtime to an earlier hour. There isn't much else I can do alleviate the stress, and take care of myself.

Mike's condition is improving. He was able to go down the stairs, then back up the stairs with his PT on Tues. His balance is still wobbly, his strength and stamina are no where near pre-accident levels. The therapist told him under no circumstances was he to attempt the stairs alone, and unless he has a doctor's appointment, he needs to stay in his room. That relieved some of my anxiety.

He's wearing full-length compression hosiery on both legs for the swelling. Today he was able to put on his shoes for the first time since coming home from the hospital 2 months ago, and he walked around the room without his cane. I told him he could begin emptying his own urinals now. He hasn't wanted to put his shoes on again since then, which is fine with me. The thought of his increased mobility makes the butterflies in my stomach start doing flip-flops. How long before he's looking for car keys and a drink?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yesterday's blog was #1000! The 17th was also the 10th anniversary of my retirement from Bellsouth and the 40th anniversary of my start date with them. Not getting fired in those 30 years of employment was good luck, plus we had a union, which allowed me to draw a pension and benefits, so I've long considered March 17th a lucky day.

I've had a hard morning. Temper tantrums like I just experienced from Mike take their toll. No matter how strong my resolve to let his hostility and angry cursing not effect me personally, sometimes it catches me with my guard down and wounds deeply. I've got that strong urge right now to "run away from home."

I'm glad I've got lunch with the Water Lilies to look forward to. Today we're going to The Auditorium, a restaurant that has recently opened in the old Duling School Building in the Fondren area of Jackson. It always lifts my spirits to hang out with these beautiful ladies.

Last night I attended the Evening Eucharist at St. Philip's and the discussion group afterwards. I just had to get out of the house and find a more serene, sane setting. The service and the group afterwards were a real blessing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I did it! My hair is short again, and I'm feeling kinda lightheaded. There wasn't nearly as much gray in the ponytail as in the front, wonder why? At least it won't be such a hassle now when I do deep water aerobics. I like the new do. Why does short hair make a face look younger? I don't know, but it does.

The sun has come out again, thank goodness! I was about to sink in the deep blue sea of depression, even took the first anti-depressant pill from the Rx prescribed last month by my doc. When he asked about it last week, I told him I thought the talk-therapy was getting me through this rough patch. By this morning, I had changed my mind.

The trick to getting sufficient sleep, I've discovered, is to go to bed around 9:00, rather than midnight, not my natural pattern at all, but then neither is waking up at 4 am. That's what I've been doing, though. LaRue, did you wish this on me?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

We sang one of my favorite anthems at the 10:30 service this morning - Haydn's "The Heaven's Are Telling" from "The Creation." It's a fun piece of music that makes me happy every time I hear it and even happier when I'm singing it. There are several renditions on YouTube, but none with a superb small choir and pipe organ like we have, but this is the arrangement, in case you need your memory jogged. Seems we took it a little faster than this choir does it. I need to start recording these things so I can post them on here.

I sang in the early service, too, along with the other choristers in Ensemble III, and I thought it sounded pretty darn good, too, especially considering the early hour with only 10 of us singing. (We did not do the Haydn piece.) I must say, though, that the 10:30 crowd looks a lot more enthusiastic about choir music than the early crowd does. Some even looked a little grumpy that we added about 5 minutes to their church time. Oh well, if I were singing for audience adulation, I would have quit a long time ago.

The Old Testament reading from Exodus 20:1-17 was mine today, as well, so I was busier this morning than usual. That passage always makes me feel very, very small, but it's important to hold up a yardstick every once in a while to remind ourselves that we will never measure up. How wonderful to realize that our salvation is a gift and not dependent on our keeping the law.

The heaven's are telling the glory of God!

For those of you who might be curious about what my brother is doing these days, looks like he had a pretty good week-end, too. Here's his blog.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We had a great retreat at Gray Center. It's so nice to relax with sane, spiritually-minded mature women. We had lots of good food, wine, conversation, and dream work. I slept better last night than I've slept in a long time.

I came home to find everything on the homefront had been taken care of very well by our friends Ron on Friday and Art today. The dogs were effusive with their affection, and Mike even thanked me for making sure he was cared for so well.

I went to my friend Margaret's house this afternoon for a massage and found out some kind friend had already paid for it. I was totally flabbergasted! What a treat! So I feel totally rejuvenated in mind, body and soul.

Tomorrow starts early with the choir singing at the 8:00 service. Guess I better shut this computer down and get some shut-eye. Hope everyone has a blessed Sabbath!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My dream group is going to a retreat at Gray Center this week-end. It's my first night away from home since Mike's accident, and I'm soooo ready for a little escape. Everybody say a prayer that things go smoothly here with him. He will be helped by a couple of friends who have agreed to come by, walk the dogs, get his food, etc. I'm a little nervous about leaving him, but it's for only about 24 hours, so he should be fine.

He's still spending 99% of his time in the bed, just too weak to get up and do anything. He takes a shower every other day, and says it wears him out. He needs a shave and a haircut so bad, but refuses to let me do it, or pay someone else to do it. The doctor has ordered compression hose for his swollen feet and ankles. The Lasix did not get rid of much fluid, and they couldn't increase the dosage because it lowers blood pressure.

It's been an interesting couple of days since I last blogged. Yesterday the Water Lilies ate lunch at the Beth Israel Bazaar, delicious and kosher, then last night I ate with the choir after rehearsal, which is always a highlight of my week. Today I went out to my friend Lollie's house and sewed. I didn't finish the jacket I was working on, but got most of the patchwork done, so one more 3 hour session on her super-fancy sewing machine (what a dream!) should be enough.

I scheduled a haircut for next Tuesday. My hair is finally long enough for Pantene Beautiful Lengths to use. It took about 2 years to grow it this long, and I may do it again. There is more gray in it now than when I began this process, but according to what I've heard, they will accept hair with less than 5% gray, not sure mine is still less than 5%, but we'll see. I hope whoever gets it enjoys it as much as I have.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Three days have passed since my last blog, so I should probably write something. It's been a very difficult day for me...woke up at 4:30 am, couldn't go back to sleep, so I got maybe 5 hours of sleep...again...not enough to keep me sane.

It's been a real struggle today to make sense of anything, especially my own behavior. I've made a fool of myself more than once, not a pleasant feeling, but it's so easy when I'm tired and stressed, to misinterpret what someone says or the tone they use, so my reactions were a little less than rational. I'm sorry if you were one of the ones I offended.

I took a Xanex around 5 pm, drank a glass of wine with my dinner, then took an Ambien around 8:30. Surely something will knock me out tonight. The doctor wanted me to switch to Ambien, since the Lunesta wasn't giving me more than about 5 hours either. I have trouble accepting that I need a pill to make me sleep, but this is standard practice for combating chronic insomnia, I understand. The doctor seems to think that sleep deprivation does more damage than depending on sleeping pills. I am beginning to yawn, so I'm going to bed with a book and read 'til I can't hold my eyes open. Wish me luck in getting a solid 8 hours, at least.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

My horizons have been stretched this week with Jesus Christ Superstar on Tuesday night, the conversation at the choir dinner Weds. night, the discussion at the RCFDW meeting on Thurs. night, and last night when I attended the Erev Shabbat service at the Jewish temple. I'm ready for an evening of no stretching. I can only process so much new information.

The most enjoyable evening, by far, was last night at the temple. Hearing the prayers said and hymns sung in the Hebrew language, as Jesus heard them and said them, was very moving to me. I had never attended a Jewish service before, so had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, there were several friends there from St. Philip's, so we all sat together.

We went primarily to hear the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, a Baptist minister from Monroe, LA, who has authored several books, has a radio show on Air America, and heads up the Interfaith Alliance, which promotes mutual respect, cooperation, and civility among America's different faith traditions. He didn't say anything that I disagreed with, and most everything he said I've thought and/or said at some point in my spiritual journey, so I really enjoyed his remarks. It's nice to have my beliefs affirmed by someone so highly esteemed as this man.

I enjoyed the musical on Tuesday night, and its enjoyment factor runs a close second to last night's experience. Even though the guy who played Jesus is good, I think, at 66, he really should retire and let a younger guy take the lead. One of his songs included some screaming that I detested. Maybe the agony of Jesus included some screaming, it probably did, but it's always been the sound that unnerves me the quickest, so I was glad when that song ended. How he screams that way and maintains a singing voice is a mystery to me.

I've always identified with Mary Magdalene, so naturally, she was my favorite character in this production. Her two songs, "Everything's Alright," and "I Don't Know How to Love Him" have always been my favorites from the soundtrack, and they still are.

Mike and I have had a civil day together, for the most part. I'm wondering if Ron didn't say something to him yesterday about treating me better. He was here for a visit, along with their friend Steve, and he told me he knew of situations like ours where the caregiving spouse totally abandons the sick person. He may have said the same thing to Mike.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I'm not a very nice person when I'm tired and my nerves are frayed. The bitch in me has no patience, no compassion, no tolerance for BS, and my poor husband is stuffed to the gills with BS. Everything he said and did today rubbed me the wrong way. If I'd had a bat, I'd been real tempted to whack him. Good thing I didn't have a bat, huh Benji?

Fortunately, Jimmy, my handyman, was here, so some of my irritability was defused by simply having a third party in the house who was not feeding into the toxic dynamic between Mike and me. Then his occupational therapist came, and she got Mike to commit to doing more for himself than he's been doing.

I'm still not sure who is going to help him next week-end when I go to the retreat at Gray Center, but with all the things he said he could do, it would not hurt him to be here by himself with NO HELP for that brief time. I would have to board the dogs, but that's not a problem. My neighbor Art said he would help with the breakfast and the dogs, and I'll probably let him, unless Ron changes his mind and decides to come over and spend the night, rather than going to the casino.

I just hope to sleep better tonight. For some reason, the Lunesta didn't give me but about 5 hours last night. Gotta have more than that, or I'm dangerous.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Well, my secret is out, I guess. Anybody who tracks my Facebook activity knows I'm an internet addict and don't have much life beyond that. I'm a little concerned, to tell you the truth. Stuff is going undone around here that needs to be done, so I'm making a conscious effort to limit my time in my office on my computer and on Facebook, in particular. I was warned that it can be addictive, shoulda listened.

My friend Nancy invited me to go see Jesus Christ Superstar tonight at Thalia Mara Auditorium downtown, so I told her I would. She's been going through a similar round of hospitalization and rehab with her hubby since I've been on this crazy ride with Mike. It's just one of those things we, as women, knew was a possibility but hoped we would be spared.

This musical presents that dilemma that usually makes me squirm, where the sacred and profane meet, where "the veil is rent in twain," where the degradation of flesh produces the holiest of holy happenings in history. My mind has always had a problem accepting the dichotomy of that moment, but my spirit "gets it." Still, I'm not comfortable with it.

The performance we're seeing actually has Ted Neeley playing the role of Jesus. He was one of the first to play that role, and is 66 years old, which I find to be inspiring. I'll let you know if I enjoy it, or not.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

This has been a pleasant Sunday for me, nothing out of the ordinary going on, just an uneventful day with no crises, and I'll take those anytime, gladly. Even church-without-David was crisis-free.

Our organist/choirmaster has conditioned us to a very high standard in our music and liturgy, so I'm usually a little let down when he isn't there, and a substitute is filling in for him. Today I was okay with that. Not many knew that he wouldn't be there except for the stand-in and a couple of others, but I felt a peace about it from the moment I walked in the church. Sure enough, the service went smoothly, the anthems were sung beautifully, Molly's homily was really good, and I left feeling refreshed in body and soul.
Rather than the usual 18-20 calls from my husband (we use our cell phones as an intercom), there have only been 8 today, so that cut down on the stress considerably. I worked out at the gym for an hour this afternoon, then went to Kroger. The temperature gauge had 45* on it, but with the wind chill factor, it was in the 30's, I'm sure. We woke up to a dusting of snow on the rooftops, but by noon, the sun had melted it all.
About the most exciting event of the week-end was having dinner with my friend Lynn from Tupelo. She was here for a market at the Trade Mart, and called me, so I went across the Rez to Cinco de Mayo and met her, her daughter, and her cousin and his wife for dinner. It was fun to catch up on the people I went to high school with, some I haven't thought of in years.
Benji sent word that Pip is really into the fingerpainting. His pictures on Facebook have fascinated me. Here's what he says the child is doing:
He's just so engrossed in doing it, and really pays attention to the way the paint goes all over the page. He also loves using toys (cars, trains, Star Wars vehicles) and hardware (screws, bolts, nails) to help him push the paint around. He's also funny in the way he always seems to be thinking about it. He will walk away from something, then come back to it in an hour and add another layer, or use his feet to paint. Really cool to watch.

I'm thinking super-talented here. Grammas know these things.