Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm still here for a while...

Did a fairly full day. Well, full for sick me. Not full for well me.

Church, taught Sunday school, out to dinner with friends. Came home and napped (fairly unsuccessfully -- Bart was gone doing errands and Dominyk was home and agitated so I was interrupted multiple times) and then went to a movie I promised to take Sadie to a month ago. Just got home.

Tired and need to pack. Everything takes so much energy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sometimes it's easier just to not blog

Thursday night was wild here. Bart left for the Cities for an overnight meeting and within an hour of his going everything just seemed to get out of kilter. I was exhausted, having worked in the morning, and I needed some rest before heading to a meeting at night. Things that happned from 3 to 6 included:

*7 missed calls during a 30 minute nap;
*the cancellation of a family for my training;
*a desperate email from a family thinking of backing out on a placement;
*Bart forgetting a notebook and needing Rand to meet him to bring it to him, requiring the hour of time that Rand was going to use to fix dinner;
*John's meeting with his Probation Officer which indicated that he will most likely be going back to jail and that he should wait for a summons to court. This had him in tears, but I was pretty matter of fact. The sad piece is that he has functioned fairly well as a human the past few months -- he has not gotten into legal trouble, has been generally kind and cooperative, not violent at all, and a fairly decent family member. However, he has not done the things required by the court regardless of how seriously I encouraged him to take them.
*Wilson doing a great deal of manipulation which resulted with he and and a 10 year old friend being at the mall with no adult supervision and without the other kids' parents permission and no ride home and me and Bart both out of town (fortunately I was only 30 minutes away and got there). This resulted in a very angry set of parents and a less than appreciative Mall Cop.
*Rand leaving the cash card in the cash machine, which i desperately needed for meals for training yesterday (and it got sucked in after 3 minutes)

We survived, but I had no time or energy to blog it all.

Then yesterday I did a complete day of pre-adopt training. Had I not repetitively mentioned to them how drained I was, they may not have noticed, but the presentation all day was fairly dry and lacked the usual passion and humor that I interject. However, we were all in survival mode and just wanted to get it done, so we did accomplish that. By the end of the training I was wiped out.

BUT there was a piece of good news in the evening -- Mike did get his job. That means that he will be on work release from jail for a full month of nearly full time employment at a call center. This will boost his confidence and when he is released if he has done well he will have a job. This is a huge answer to prayer and makes life seem much more possible for him.

Salinda called last night just to say hi and that was nice as well. We also got some news last night from one of our sons who has asked me not to blog it. You should email me and see if you can guess. If you want. Here's some clues: It's good/bad news, it's not at all unexpected, but it will make our lives even more difficult.

Having read your posts about adult children I realized that I have probably left a different picture of my "freeloaders". We do not pay for car insurance. If they drive they pay for it. We do not allow driver's ed unless they have no Ds or Fs or can pay for it themselves. We do not pay for any of our kids to have cell phones. If you are 18 you may eat here and live here and as long as you are in high shcool and going to school, we provide clothing, toiletries, etc. If you are over 18 and graduated, or not going to school, those things are your responsibility as well.

Every person in the house besides the parents who pay for and cook the food have one meal of dishes each week. Each person also has a chore that they are expected to do each day -- one room of the house. The adult children who live here are generally pretty compliant with these things.

So it isn't if we are giving them handouts and they are doing nothing. Rand, at 21, is required to help with driving and to clean for the number of hours a week he is not working to equal full time. This is usually a struggle but he has had a good week.

Today we have people coming over to paint and my three adult children are being unusually cooperative. Bart just took Dominyk with him to head up and watch Ricardo and Leon wrestle at sectionals. Both of them have a very good chance at this point of going to state. Ricardo won all three matches yesterday and Leon won two out of three.

Today is starting with me having slept well for over 10 hours last night and feeling rested. I'm not coughing much, I feel like I can breathe, my stomach is not that upset, and I have a bit of energy.

We should be able to have a fairly decent day. I'm looking forward to having my kids work together and so far they are doing so. Tony even spent a couple hours cleaning his room last night.

So life goes on at the Fletchers. That's pretty much the moral of the story. We have our ups, we have our downs, nothing goes as Bart and I ever planned. But now with some of our kids we are at a different stage. They reap the consequences of their choices, and so do we. This is the part we forgot about when we were building our family. We forgot about 18-30 and all the things that would happen for our kids after they were no longer our legal responsibility.

But feeling like I can take the next breath and the next step sure does make optimism a bit easier.

Thank you SO much for your prayers. I am still going to Seattle and it cracks me up when people suggest that that trip would be more exhausting than being home. :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Poll

I'm going to post a poll because my "adult" children are really pushing my buttons some days. Rand has had a very good week since he learned of his job this summer (I told him that I might just have to give his new boss a call if he kept neglecting his responsibilities here and that lit a fire under him).

John has apparently decided to quit school and refuses to go to his court assigned group, so it's just a matter of time before he will be back in jail... I'm not sure there is a thing I can do about it. I was insisting that he couldn't be here during the day while school was in session, but he has skipped classes so many times they aren't going to let him back into the building. This is his 2nd senior year, he'll be 20 this summer, and I know he can't pass the GED.

Jimmy has been an incredible pain in the butt lately, nearly pushing Bart and I over the edge. His attitude since he turned 18 has been less than desirable and he is only a Junior, taking 9th grade PhyEd for the 3rd time, on an IEP and still barely able to make it. He is bored everywhere, can't find a job, but to his credit will help around here whenever asked. Although since he's still in High school he is technically not required by us to do anything but go to school and the chores everyone has.

Mike has an interview today! That is worth an exclamation point. If he could get this job with a company that works often with "ex-cons" he might have enough energy and enthusiasm to make it outside of jail walls. He and John have both labled themselves "institutionalized" -- Mike using the word and John describing it. Of course, this is attributed to our decisions to have them in residential treatment as teens.

At any rate, all of these boys and their 17 year old sister and her baby are going to be living here within a couple weeks and I am very stressed about my work load while they sit and do nothing. So I'm posting this poll. If you have adult kids, please respond and let me know what you do. You can comment as well, but if you want to remain anonymous, you can respond to the poll.

Do you attempt to force your adult children to help with expenses and/or chores when they are unemployed and not in school? Do you get success? If you require it and don't get it, how do you deal with the resentment? And if you don't require it, are you enabling?

Questions I ask myself every day.

Cub Scout Awards Night

Although he is by far one of the cutest Weebelos ever to attend a cub scout meeting, he was less than thrilled that he forgot to report his badges and thus didn't get any. He spent most of his time (although not during the program) messing with Bart's Iphone declaring the night boring. And the long hair thing -- his choice -- (hair length is something we let go years ago) although we often call him Wilsona.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Update on Gabby

Salinda called this morning. She said that the ended up not having to put a catheter in Gabby last night. She was very dehydrated because she hasn't been eating with all the breathing and coughing issues. They tested her for H1N1 and it came back negative, which is very good news.

They are waiting for the doctor to come and she might be discharged today.

Too bad we can't bottle the extra energy that our kids with ADHD have and give it to me today. I'm feeling like I'm moving very very slowly -- like everything is slow motion. But I'm getting it done.

For People Who Live Close to me who have said "If there is anything I can do..."

I've heard that a bunch of times over the past couple weeks and I have thought of something that I can ask people to do that would be a really big help.

Salinda and Gabby are moving home on March 5th (assuming Gabby is healthy -- right now she is back in the hospital). We are remodeling our family room into a big bedroom/nursery for Sadie, Salinda and the baby to share. There are some challenges with the room that I just don't know how to handle. I have no decorating sense -- and many things need to be done. Repainting needs to happen, as well as shades and curtains which I know nothing about. Then there is a huge storage challenge as their closet upstairs was huge and the one in the family room is a simple coat closet.

SO, between now and then I could really use some help. I still might be going to Seattle Monday, but over the weekend I'd like to get the project started and have enough help for Sadie during the following week that by the time I get home Thursday the room is ready for them to come on Friday, if indeed they do.

This has been the craziest three weeks of my life, between Gabby being sick, the county insisting that they move home against Salinda's wishes, and my huge health crisis. I know her well enough to know that there will be a huge difference if she moves into a clean, neat fun room or if she comes into what currently exists. Those things matter a whole lot more to her than me.

So, if you have a few hours that you can spare sometime between now and March 5 and would like to help out, it would be a lifesaver. I'm a very independent person, but lately if I can make it through a minimal day I'm feeling blessed. Or, if you know someone who is a genius at this stuff who would like to help that would be great too. Or if you have a nice dresser, or particularly, a not too tall wardrobe laying around....

As you can see my brain is filled with all kinds of possiibilties but I really don't have a clue what I'm doing. Good grief, I'd much rather design a brochure than a bedroom.

THANK YOU for your friendship, love, and prayers. I am amazed at the wonderful people God has surrounded me with.

Accomplishment #3 of mine, and some of a couple of my kids

I slept last night. As in most of the night. Probably only laid awake for 30-45 minutes, which is normal for me. Last night I went to Wilson's Cub Scout banquet with Bart, my accomplishment #3 for yesterday and somewhat of an accomplishment for Wilson (I will blog pictures later).

Rand has an accomplishment! He's been hired to be a cook in the kitchen at one of our United Methodist Camps this summer. This is a great job for him. He loves the kitchen and he is very gregarious and has always loved the camp setting. So on June 7th he will have a summer of making money and friends and not having to listen to his overbearing mother insist that he help around the house.

Salinda has started taking something for her post-partum depression and is already feeling more like herself. This is very good news as it looks like she will be moving home with Gabby on March 5th. The county there is insisting and it looks like we all just need to comply instead of fight it. Hopefully by then it can be a drama free move.

However, last night Gabby was hospitalized again with possibly a lung infection. We heard the latest about 11 p.m. and they were catheterizing her. So scary for Salinda I'm sure. I haven't heard any more this morning.

Today I have 3 things on my calendar as well. If I take things slowly I seem to be able to keep moving. I'm sorry my blog posts have been all about me lately. It's as though my head has been in a fog and I can't see beyond my own body.

One of the things that I have realized is that if Salinda, Mike and the baby are all coming back home, the rest of us are going to have to function as a team. Otherwise we can't pull it off, so I'm working on ideas of how to communicate this to the less than cooperative other kids at home.

This isn't quite how we pictured things. Kyle (with one exception) is how we pictured things. We pictured college, a career, and then a wife. Financial independence. Things like that. The only thing we had pictured differently is that when he had achieved all this he would actually remain a part of our lives, something he does only when absolutely necessary. The last time I talked to him was in the hospital. He checked on me once. I told him it was very serious. I guess it's my responsibility to get back with him and let him know I haven't died.

Please pray for Bart, who is exhausted, for me for continued recovery, for little Gabby, and for Mike who has a job lead. If he can actually get a job, life post-jail will be much easier for him.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Accomplishment #2

I GOT A HAIR CUT! I know, this may not sound like a big deal, but it really is. Two weeks before I went to Toledo on the bus - -- mid January, Bart said "You really should get a haircut -- but don't. It will keep you from getting raped on the bus." To which I had many responses, but I never had time for a haircut anyway.

Then you know the routine. Bus trip, surgery, pneumonia and here it was, 6 weeks later and I was way overdue. I looked awful. She cut a LOT of hair off and it's real short, but at least it isn't driving me crazy. Bart and I probably look like a same sex couple, but it's OK. We've probably been thought of as that before.

I then had lunch out with my husband. It seems that my mind and appetite have returned on the same day which is good.

Tonight we have a banquet for Cub Scouts with Wilson. I'm going to make it to that as well. Long day for me. Tomorrow I have 3 scheduled appointments!

I did take a 2 hour nap this afternoon so I am taking it easier than usual. Hopefully tonight I'll sleep better without the steroids.

Adoption Resources from Amazon

My coworker put together this very cool Amazon store for adoptive parents. A small amount of the proceeds will go to benefitting our agency.

If you are looking for good resources, you should check it out.

Accomplishment #1

Accomplishment #1 for today was to get myself up, showered, and get the kids up and off to school without Bart's help (something I've done for years without thinking twice). Did all that, drove them myself and then, as they say in the south, drove my "ownself" to Dunn Brothers where I am having breakfast and anticipating the arrival of my favorite female Fletcher friend who is not related to me by blood.

Life is feeling good at the moment!

My Last NIght on Steroids (I Hope forever)

Last night was interesting to say the least. The other night I wanted to blog about was probably more interesting, but I wasn't in shape to blog it after it was over and never got around to it. This morning I'm feeling like I can get a blog post written and still have energy for at least a half day of normal.

I began my night in my most comfortable position. I was not coughing. I was not wheezing. I was not even that sick to my stomach. I was not having hallucinations. I just lay there, serene and comfortable, but not asleep. I will call that phase one.

Phase two was from midnight to three. I had three very vivid and real dreams that were intriguing to me, but not necessary worth blogging. They were mellow, not intense, and very involved.

Three to 5:15 was phase three. This involved my brain suddenly turning on and looking to the future. All the sudden I had brilliant plans for every one of my children and rehearsed conversations with them. My work to-do lists were formulating before my very eyes. Mentally feeling like myself for the first time since the surgery, I knew good and well that I would not have physical energy to accomplish it all, but it was good to start planning again.

I finally gave up on sleeping and headed to the shower. Almost an hour later, after a long toilet sit (Levoquin, ugh) I came up, had some Activia yogurt, and then came upstairs to blog.

One of the things I came up with was a plan for how to recuperate enough for the trip Monday. My doctors have not cancelled it and I really need something to look forward to. The project, which has it's kick off at this meeting, is for 2010, and has numerical goals, so we really need to get started.

Today I have a only three things to accomplish, and I plan to rest this afternoon. Then I have spaced myself out over the next few days with only a few things each day until a training Friday which I have a lot of help for.

I'm seeing light at the end of my tunnel and even though I fully expect this to take a while, I am on the road to me.

And when I'm back, look out. ;-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Been a While

since it took me until four in the afternoon to blog. Let me tell you about my day.

I woke up and watched Bart get the kids ready for school, trying to shut my mouth. Tomorrow I think I am going to just do it myself. He's been doing it alone for 3 weeks now, and it's time I get moving.

It then took me quite a while to get myself up and to the shower. I'm finding that my transitioning times are the hardest. I sit and think and breathe and plan my next move way too much. It's like I have to recover from every little thing. I sit up from laying down, time to recover. Take a drink of water. Recover. Speak. Recover. Annoying.

My 12 minute shower took 35 cuz I have to stop between things and recover. I then left the house for the doctor, forgetting to eat, which was not a good time. Because Levoquin with food is nasty, but Levoquin and an empty stomach... AAAGH. Doctor appointment #1 was at 9:45 and my INR level (blood thickness) is all scewed and messed up. The steroids and Levoquin have wreaked havoc on it, so now I have to go back every couple days and make sure that I don't get too high or low. It's high now, so they cut my dosage of the Warfarin (the blood thinner).

My next appointment was scheduled for 11:45 but they were going to try to get me in sooner so I didn't have to go and come back. It took them until 11 to tell me they couldn't, so I grabbed something to eat and came back. That meant I hobbled to the car (pulled some stomach and back muscles coughing and now have Achilles tendon issues because of the Levoquin) and drove to get a fast food snack, ate it in the parking lot, and came back in).

The doctor says my lungs are clearing and didnt tell me that I had to cancel my Seattle trip for Monday. She thinks I'll be able to still do it, though I may have to ask for wheelchair assistance in the airport if I'm not able to walk a long ways. Otherwise, I may just be able to go.

I wouldn't be contemplating the trip if it weren't really important. And I'm hoping that I will keep feeling better.

However, this morning, after my two appointments I was really wiped out. Two solid hours of sleep this afternoon and I"m at my desk, finally taking care of some details I needed to take care of. I know hardly anyone does -- but I don't work in a job where I can just be gone two weeks and expect things to take care of themselves.

I'm starting to get the kids back into shape with helping around here but not without a lot of resistance. When it is so difficult for me to get anything done and they lie around all the time it really gets to me.

If each of the next three or four days are incrementally better like the last three or four, I should be doing well by weeks end.

Being sick isn't me. I'm a person who gets things done.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Who knew...

Church and dinner out could be so exhausting and require rest for the remainder of the day?

Sadie and I are going to watch a movie....

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Am Sitting At My Desk in My Home Office

only because if I sit in my chair in my bedroom for one more day I might just mentally lose it. I actually took my own shower this morning unassisted. I was surprised at the amount of energy it took for me to get just that done. I am actually dressed in clothes, not pajamas.

I slept last night. Waking every hour, with some bouts of insomnia in between, I did sleep. When I was awake I thought about my dear late friend and former pastor who died when he was my age after struggling with major health issues for over 20 years. Kidney transplants (yes, 2 of them) in his twenties. The reason I was thinking about him is that the steroids I am on are driving me crazy and he took them for twenty years.

I blogged more of his story here over four years ago and even though he has been in heaven now for over 10 years, his legacy moved me to tears last night. I am not cut out to be a sick person. I am type A to the 100th degree, and as Teresa put in a comment, a person who estimates my own worth by production. Being sick drives me nuts. I have never been out of commission this long and each day I am getting more and more frustrated.

But I began to think about my friend Bob and that he had similar characteristics. I didn't know him when he wasn't sick -- I just watched him plug away at being excellent regardless of his health conditions towards the end of his life. I am not interested in a life like that. I fight it with every ounce of my being. Now I'm wondering just how long it took him to come to terms with it, or if he ever did.

He used to quote this saying often:

God Is, God Knows, God Cares
nothing this thought can dim;
God always gives the best to those
who leave the choice with Him.

I don't know how he did it. How he believed it if he felt like I do most days.

Health issues are not me. I've never had them. I have put too much on my plate to have them. And yet here I sit. One thing after another.

On the bright side, I am finally breathing without too much work. My arm has minimal pain and the incision is healing nicely. The side effects from the antibiotics for the pneumonia are awful, but having read some things on the internet this morning, apparently I'm only dealing with a few of the many I could be facing.

I'm grabbing deep down to find positive things to be thankful for and to cooperate with myself in getting back to normal.

Thanks so much for all your prayers. I know my blog is getting boring and pathetic and annoying -- as it reflects how i'm feeling myself.

Pray for the rest of the kids and Bart too. They need me to bounce back like I always do, and I just ain't feeling bouncy if you know what I mean.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Drama Never Ends

Breathing is good. It's a really good thing. It makes all of life so much easier.

Last night I think I slept six hours, didn't hallucinate much, and woke up feeling at least like I might be able to get something done. Because last night I didn't. All I did was Salinda drama.

Yesterday I had called and told her that I was not going to allow her to bully me into a decision that could cost us a CPS investigation. That I would give in to her requests simply to protect the rest of us, but that she needed to be sure of what she wanted. I told her that she needed to trust me -- that messing with the CPS system when you have a child of your own might not be a smart idea. I told her I would ask for an extention from the county with a move home date of March 5 and that she had until then to decide.

At 5 pm. she texts that she wants us to come get her right now. She's moving home. Well, I had a feeling that this was going to be a false alarm, but I went along with it. Bart agreed to leave at her cue and the other kids started working on the bedroom for her. By 8 she had changed her mind.

This morning I talked with her boyfriend's mom and we have agreed that she needs to move back home and that she will help her son understand why. Neither of us want the county involved and we need to comply and do what they say. Apparently Salinda and her bf had been having a huge fight yesterday, which culminated in the "come get me."

His mom and I agreed that we need to have a nice transition free of drama that doesn't have to be permanent. We can re-evaluate. We also agreed that she has post-partum depressions and needs to be treated. Hopefully once we get her stable she can make the best decision for her.

I feel like we are doing the right thing so that drama in my mind can be put to rest momentarily.

John has been reading my blog he says. He needs to have his butt in class and stop skipping. That's for you John. As I tell all my kids, if you don't want anything bad to show up in the blog, don't DO anything bad. :-)

I am feeling pretty good that I have been able to accomplish this blog entry, five phone conversations, a shower with minimal assistance, and the consuming of 2 Activia Yogurts all before noon. For a couple days I was doing good to just breathe.

For once my body is completely stopping me from working. It's never done that before.

But hey, body, enough already!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quick Update that was Supposed to be A Lot Longer

I was going to blog about my night, my night, my night..... my endless night....

(breaking into song again)

but I'm too tired. Stomach issues as a result of medicine for pneumonia have added another layer of stress to my body and mind and you will have to wait about the post about my talking veins and wheezing arguments, and my tour of the house trying almost every free available flat surface to see if I could sleep better....

I had a heart to heart with Salinda on the phone today and hopefully it will help. At least I feel like she is going to consider working with me instead of against me. If we can at least get her that far....

I am so tired of being a burden and not a contribution. It's driving me insane. My positive mental attitude is dwindling.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thoughts on Living and Facing my Mortality

Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return. Repent and believe the gospel.

Tonight my children will have ashes placed on their foreheads and their father/pastor will say those words. And while they are there I will be home contemplating my mortality in ways I never have before...

People have been asking me how it feels to know that I have a blood clot in my heart that could break apart and move to another part of my body, possibly my brain causing my death. That's a pretty intense question.

I have always believed that worry served no purpose. I could die on March 8th and spend from now until then anxious and worried and not enjoy my life. Or I could live life to the fullest and still die on March 8th. I'd rather just live. Past March 8th. But in case that doesn't happen I'm going to live it to the fullest.

I have always thought I was the kind of person who continually lived each day as if it were my last. For the most part, I have lived this way over the past few years, but as with everyone, there are several things I can change. Having the past week and all that has happened to me has opened my eyes to what I need to do to live the way that I always wanted to live -- like I was dying.

The song above by Tim McGraw isn't quite what I would do. My Bucket List doesn't include things like sky diving or riding bulls, so I rewrote the chorus as it would pertain to me and I've been singing it to myself all day.

I woke up grateful
Gave love when folks were hateful
and I worked my very hardest to find one more kid a home
Loved my husband more deeply
my kids more completely
and never giving up just kept on trying
and today I thank God for giving me the chance
to live like I was dying.

(and P.S. For those of you who think I'm pushing myself too hard, it took me several hours to compose this post -- not the usual 10 minutes).

Breathing but not Sleeping

Whatever they gave me yesterday has helped me breathe. I'm heading back in to the doctor in 15 minutes.

But wow, it isn't helping me sleep. Weird strange dreams bordering on hallucinations. My body was very cold but sweating profusely. I was obsessing and obsessing about Salinda's situation. Some things about it are just not adding up. I'm going to try to buy some time to get to the bottom of it.

I am at that stage where my mind is fairly clear in knowing exactly what needs to be done but my body is too tired to do much of it. And since I'm not sleeping it doesn't help.

However, a couple things have proven true every day that I've been sick. I have a Faithful God, an amazing husband, and wonderful friends.

And my kids are all alive and so am I. And so is my granddaughter.

And some days, that's enough.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Excuse me???

All night I've been thinking, "HELLO? This kind of crap doesn't happen to me. I'm watching TV having not been able to work all day long. It's like it's huge joke being played on me that keeps getting worse.

Fortunately the meds have kicked in and I'm breathing better than I have been. And I have so many things to be grateful for.

Now if my arm could stop tingling every time I try to type I might be able to tell you about them.

ok ok be smug

well, last night I didn't sleep so well. I kept thinking that my wheezing was someone talking to me and I would mentally respond. Then I had to ask them to stop mumbling. It was a very weird thing. Also, the wheezing became sound effects in dreams and I had been having.

Before trying to sleep we had an atrocious night around here. Attachment disorder is a nasty thing when it comes to a sick parent.

This morning after the kids went to school I got about 3.5 hours of really good sleep. but by the time I woke up I just couldn't get air into my lungs without an incredible amount of effort. I called the doctor and went in at 3.

Yup, you smug blog readers, Pnemonia it is. We debated rehospitalization, but concluded that I could return home after 2 shots and two prescriptions. One of them is supposed to make me EDGY and IRRITABLE. like not being able to breathe and living in this house with some of these kids isn't enough . ;-)

Fortunately, Jimmy and Tony and John are at a hockey game tonight and without Jimmy and Tony here, the house is calm and peaceful. They are the instigators of issues and the two who have been least sympathetic to my plight.

So things are calm here now, but everything is exhausting. Every breath.... tiring. So i'm off to find something mindless to do. Not that this blog entry wasn't fairly mindless...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Out of the frying pan and into the fire

For all of you worry warts -- I called the doctor and they said I should be fine. So shut up about that. ;-) I just posted the sound because I wanted you to know how annoying I sounded, not because I wanted to frighten you. I'm getting plenty of air.

This morning the text conversation with Salinda was unpleasant. Let me summarize quickly before my arm gets tingly. County is giving her three choices: move home, have us sign for her to get married, or have us give up guardianship. If she doesn't do one of the three, they will file a CHIPS.

Bart and I aren't doing B and C and I'm not blogging why. If you're curious you can email me. Salinda doesn't feel she can move home without "walking away from the relationship." So, guess who she is mad at? Us, of course. Because we won't sign. And more personally, me, because for some reason I'm her primary parent -- if you have many kids you'll know how that all pans out and what I mean by that.

I had mentioned to the county where she resides that I felt this was a pretty unfair policy and that if they took us to court maybe someone would listen to us. However, Salinda is interpreting this as she is going to need to go to court and prove that we are bad parents and that our home is unsuitable. She has a short list of things that I'm sure in her mind are valid points, but she doesn't understand the world that Child Protection Workers live in. Our children are certainly not being abused nor neglected ....

So in her attempts to text me all the reasons that she can't possibly live in our horrible home, she mentioned an incident that I was not aware of, and I attempted to confront the accused individual. This resulted in Leon, who had reported the infraction to Sadie, who told Salinda instead of her parents about the offense, being mercilessly tortured by the accused offender until Leon was in tears. Leon has been sick for days and was probably most worried about me last week, so to see him receiving the fall out made me crazy.

Of course the offender is being a complete jerk, still, and refused to go to his room and Bart was out of the house, so I've had to listen to him drone on like a drippy faucet about how he isn't going to do what I say.

I know, I know. I wanted to come home from the hospital. But it was more for Bart's sake than mine. The kids anxiety level is off the scales, everyone is off kilter, and they need me here.

If nothing else than to have a target for their torture... and I am very experienced at that.

And no you don't need to worry about a relapse. I'm feeling better by the minute and I am a tough old b****. I'm not going anywhere.

If you've ever wished you could be in the same room with me...

you shouldn't be wishing that today.

I know you think after listening to that that I somehow faked it, but no, that is what Bart had to listen to all night and all this morning ... and pretty much yesterday all day. And just so you know -- it's even louder in my own head, so I'm driving myself even crazier than I already was.

No school today, so the kids are still sleeping. I managed to get up, take a shower alone, and dress myself. Who would have thought that much would exhaust me? I had breakfast and now I'm recovering from that ordeal.

I'm going to take the day very slowly, getting one thing done at a time and resting between, hoping to not go completely crazy and to accomplish a few things.

During the next few weeks I hope to blog a few of the things I was pondering while unable to do anything in the hospital. But for now I"ll just post my breathing and you can be grateful that you don't have to listen to me all day long.

And just so you know -- when i listen to the audio clip to make sure it is working I am wheezing a duet.... ponder how lovely that is for a moment.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Warning: Very Whiny

I have so many things to whine about tonight. It has been a very long day. It is impossible for things to be about me here. The kids held it together until i got home but not any longer. Dominyk was obsessing for hours this afternoon, Tony tormented me until I cried and then laughed at me for crying, Rand has not stepped up to the plate all all this week -- in fact he has acted more immature and less helpful than usual.

I am sure this isn't easy for them... but every once and a while I would like it to be about me. for those of you who have dealt with health issues while parenting our kind of kids, my at goes off to you. It is more difficult than I ever imagined.

Last night and today I have felt worse than I have so far. My cough and breathing issues combined with alternating chills and sweating have made sleep difficult. Tonight's supper involved me coughing until I puked on my plate which was followed by two more episodes of vomiting, one coinciding with incontinence. I'll spare you the details....

Bart has been absolutely amazing. Taking care of me and everyone else as well as matters at the church have him exhausted. I'm trying to take it easy, but I really don't have much of a choice. He helped me showr this morning and that alone seemed like a huge undertaking. I was exhausted afterwards. I haven't been able to eat much today so I'm a bit week.

But you know what? It's all going to pass. I'm going to recover and I'm here. I have learned so much over the past week about who and what is important. I have been in awe of the love and support of my family and friends, especially Kari, Sue and Bart. I am truly blessed and am determined to do a better job of living my life in the future.

I taped myself breathing today just so you could hear it. Bart says I sound like a dying cat. For some reason it won't upload. Maybe tomorrow i'll fix it.

Recovery Update (from Claudia's husband)

Claudia has asked me to make a brief update on her recovery. It is her first full day home from the hospital, and she continues to be very tired. She has contracted a cough and cold-like symptoms, too, so she is resting between bouts of coughing.

She will return to the blogosphere when she regains her strength.

We understand that Gabby has left the hospital and is doing better, but her virus could take up to four weeks to resolve.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Claudia is now home

This is Claudia's husband, Bart, giving you a current update. Claudia returned home a few minutes ago (at about 12:45 PM) and is in bed resting. She is now dealing with what appears to be a cold complete with congestion, coughing and fever.

But we are happy she is finally home ... and grateful for all of your supportive comments and prayers over the past few days.


Still in the Hospital Saturday Morning (typed by Claudia)

I'm still here. Long night between chills and sweating but I made it to morning. My INR is at 2.5 which is good enough to go home, but the doctor hasn't stopped by yet to say I can do so. My lungs aren't very clear and the high blood pressure and fever is concerning a few of the nurses. I really think the hospital is making me sick ;-). I know i'd feel much better if could just be in my own bed.

Yesterday John got permission to skip school to come see me even though he could have come after school just as easy. He decided that was the moment when he should bring his girlfriend's dad to meet me -- me in a hospital gown looking pretty wretched.

This morning Mike requested furlough from jail to come see me. It is nice to see him but he was only here 25 minutes before he was asking Bart to go down to the cafeteria and buy him breakfast. They just left but he will be back. He has a 3 hour furlough.

No word at all from Salinda about Gabby. I'm not sure if she is not texting me back because she is angry with me or because she is sleeping or busy.

Breaking news: THe doctor just stopped by and said that she has one more doctor to talk to and then she can clear me to go home. I'm so relieved. I really need to get out of here.

Thanks to all of you for your comments, thoughts, and prayers. I still have a long road ahead of me as they attempt to discover why the clot appeared in the first place, but at least from now on it will be on an outpatient basis.

I'm going to have to force myself to take things slowly...... not an easy thing for me to do. But I"m determined to be healthy. Hopefully I"ll be blogging from home soon!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Night (typed by Claudia)

This afternoon from 3-6:30 was the toughest part of my stay. I developed a sudden fever and had the chills to the point that I felt I wasn't going to make it. I was stiff as a board with the tension of being so cold. They mentioned that my lungs were compromised and that I might be developing pneumonia. however, by about 6:30 my fever had broken and I was hotter than I could handle and felt better.

My blood pressure keeps going up -- and they aren't sure why.

I'd really like to go home tomorrow.

A Pulitzer Prize Photo Essay (Dictated to Kari)

One of these things is not like the other. It's no wonder I'm confused.

Thanks to everyone for their presence and presents during my stay.

Unbeknownst to us, yellow socks indicate a fall risk. Bart selected them when we stole them from the supply closet because they matched my pajamas. Usually fall risk socks are given to those who are a few fries short of a Happy Meal. But when I found this out I still didn't change them.

This is my IV pole that I named Dirk. I figured anybody who has to go with me to pee and shower should have a name. Dirk used to have a head but they took it off when they took me down to one IV. Dirk does a lot of beeping whenever things aren't just right. So Kari and I have made up phrases to remind us of Dominyk that coincide with the beeping such as "I want some pop" or "I am so bored". Dirk has to go on walks with me down the hall which they force me to take 4 times a day. This theoretically is supposed to help with constipation but so far it isn't working. Don't try to sensor me - you're just here to write down what I say. Good grief. (***This last sentence was meant for me, Kari, the poor dictation girl.) I would like to discuss this in greater detail but my husband and Kari won't let me.

My limb alert bracelet has provided me with much humorous material. For one thing it is very fun to say. Come on now, say it with me. Limb alert. Limb alert. Also, it brought about discussions as to whether or not there are braclets in the hospital that are color coded with no words but represent things such as "dementia". I figured it wouldn't hurt anything since the patient would just look at it and remember that they had dementia but then they would forget again. However, the nurses believe that would be offensive to family members who would not like it. I don't know why people can't appreciate my brilliant ideas. A few have even suggested that if there were such a thing they would have one on me which of course has me feigning offense.

At the ER on Monday night the doctor warned me about Coumadin, the medicine that I will be taking when I leave the hospital to keep my blood thin. When he mentioned it he said it was a very difficult drug that would require careful attention to my diet. Immediately I was disheartened because I assumed that I would be forbidden to have things like cheese or chips or french fries. However, the drug reacts to Vitamin K and thus I have to limit my binge eating of green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce. Since I have had a deep hate relationship with lettuce for my entire life and seldom touch broccoli or spinach I was very relieved. However, this photo shows evidence that the hospital cafeteria is trying to kill me. The parsley was on the side but the other two green things were buried in my ham and cheese omelet of all places. I have showed this picture to my doctor and nurse as evidence that they are trying to kill me.
(Claudia has broken in to song again. She is singing about a bull named FuManChu and Bart is suggesting that the dementia bracelet might be in order.)

The funniest thing about being in the hospital is that all these flipping people take me seriously and they all explain how I'm not supposed to eat the parsley and that the little green things probably wouldn't kill me.

Friday Morning (typed by Claudia)

I just got my numbers back. Not going anywhere today. But it looks good for me going home tomorrow.

Bart just texted me that Gabby is in the hospital with RSV. I am not sure that insurance ever got set up for her because of the mess about the county saying she needed to move home. So, now there's one more thing to stress out Salinda and to concern me.

So, shift some of your prayers Gabby's way..... I seem to be doing as OK as can be expected. Or you can pray for both of us. God's pretty big -- I think He can handle it all.

In fact, I think I might just let Him.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Night (Dictated to Kari)

Warning: If you are allergic to whining or have already heard enough from your own children today, you may want to skip this post.

It is Thursday night at 8pm and it was my intention to have Kari come up for a photojournalistic tour of my room complete with, of course, pictures. However, I feel like crap. I figure after 3 days of fairly positive blogging, I have earned the right to post one serious, pathetic, whiney entry.

Physically I feel worse than I have since I arrived at the hospital. The bruise around my arm incision grows larger by the day and the swelling has moved to my wrist. I have been on several pain killers today that have kept the pain tolerable but I think they are affecting my stomach as I now feel nauseas. Mid morning I began to cough and now I am running a fever.

Apparently Salinda has still not made a decision. She texted me once tonight to tell me that she had not heard back from the county and was asking why we wouldn't sign for them to get married. I indicated to her that there are many reasons but that my arms both hurt so I didn't want to text. I asked her to call me at 6:30pm and, of course, I've heard nothing.

I am wary to send texts because I am not sure she is the only one who reads them.

Bart and I are limited as to what we can do. I have already explained to the county worker in the county where they reside that it is frustrating that the six of us (Salinda, BF, BF's parents, and Bart and I) made a decision that we felt was best and it is now being challenged. It would be a very easy fix, temporarily, to simply give in to what appears to be the least difficult option short term. However, permanent legal decisions such as transfer of custody and marriage should be based on something other than the current emotional pleas of a stressed out 17 year old. Our position is to not stop her from any decisions she might make while standing firm and not being forced to make decisions as her parents we do not feel are best.

I feel much more stable emotionally about the Salinda situation now that we have a clear strategy as to how to handle it. However, approaching my fourth full day in the hosoital tomorrow feeling much worse than I did when I came in is rather daunting. Apparently the medication I've been given is only given one time a day. The magic number for my release is 2.0 or above. The routine is that they give me one pill at 6pm and draw blood at 6am the following morning. After one dose my level was at 1.2. I took my second dose tonight and tomorrow they'll test the blood again. I'm not thinking it is going ot be at 2.0 by tomorrow morning.

One of the greatest benefits, or possibly the only benefit, of the last few days is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my husband and my friends. Bart is a wonderful caregiver, amazingly patient, kind and fun to be around. He is the only person I will let help me shower (I do have compassion for the rest of the world and he has already seen me naked) and he is so gentle and patient, much more careful with me than I am with myself. On top of all of the care that he has given me, he is doing a great job of reassuring the kids and taking care of them.

I have had several friends stop by and I am now going to force Kari to write nice things about herself. She has been here many times and remains a loyal and caring friend and obeys my orders to not get too mushy most of the time. When this is all over I'll type more about this myself.

So tomorrow when I am feeling a little better or at least rested, we'll deliver the promised photo tour of my room including tie dyed roses, and evidence that the cafeteria is trying to poison me. Stay tuned and thanks for your prayers.

Samu, the Nurses' B**** (Dictated to Kari)

I was going to attempt to remember the stories of every time I attempted to entertain the staff here but it is all running together now and I can't really keep them apart. So instead, I will just tell you about my friend Samu.

On Tuesday night he was the 11pm to 7am PCA. Apparently PCA stands for Patient Care Assistant which in some places is a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). After I got to know him I asked what PCA stood for and he said he wasn't really sure. He confided in me, however, that he was really just the nurses' b****, regardless of his title.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. When Samu walked in I had just paged a nurse to come and help me go to the bathroom. Since at this time I was still panty-less, my bathroom trip would involve mooning whoever was helping me. He said he was fine helping and I asked him the question, "Come on now, you HAVE seen a body more disgusting than mine, right?" He had not idea how to respond. He stuttered, stammered, and refused to answer. Most people would let that go but I pushed him and asked the question again until he finally blurted out, "I did see a 700 pound man once."

Later in the evening I discovered that Samu is half Finnish and therefore he had not been named after the whale, although he did say that he gets that a lot. However, his first name is really Eric, so I gave him quite a bit of crap about choosing to go by his middle name when it is Samu. I mentioned to him that he was one of my favorite victims of my sense of humor because of how baffled he was by my earlier question. I reminded him that he had failed to point out that the 700 pound man's body was more disgusting than mine. He finally did agree that it was.

The rest of the night there was plenty of banter back and forth between Samu and I and I concluded by 7am that having a nurses' b***** around is really not a bad thing.

Warning Wimpies- picture

It looks even worse today but it doesn't feel as bad as it looks.

Transesophageal Echocardiogram (Dictated to Kari)

Around 11:30 Tuesday morning, nurse Camy came to escort me to the procedure room in a double wide wheelchair. Unfortunately for her, manuerving the wheelchair and Dirk (what I have named my constant companion IV pole) proved to be difficult. By the time we had run into the wall each side of the elevator and a door, Camy was snorting with laughter and another nurse saw her distress and came to rescue us. Together they were able to get Dirk and me to the TE room. When we arrived I was greeted by a nurse who quickly became nicknamed "Tasky Jen". Because of the bumpy wheelchair ride we had arrived late and she had many things to do before the doctor arrived for the procedure.

As Jen tempted to focus on the details of the procedure, I attempted to distract her with humorous antecdotes and silly stories. However, Tasky Jen was indistractable. At that point I told her that I had a very funny story for her but that I would wait for her to ask me to tell it to her because I was afraid I would distract her. I was quiet for a very long time. When I could tell she was done with everything I had to remind her to ask me for the funny story.

At that point in time I began to answer the questions she had asked a half hour earlier. She had asked about problems with sedation which gave me the opportunity to discuss the thrill of projectile vomiting. Before I had my breast reduction several years ago everything consistantly landed on my chest. However, immediately following my breast reduction surgery I sat up and projectile vomited onto my toes. I can clearly remember a sense of sweet satisfaction that finally the things coming out of my mouth would no longer be landing on my chest.

I'm not sure that Jen fully appreciated my story or felt that it was worth waiting for, but hey, this is about ME. I have a frickin' blood clot in my heart. So if I want to tell a funny story, you'd better listen, babe.

The doctor finally arrived, a new guy whose name I never learned, who though he smiled tolerantly was eager to sedate me and shut me up. First, however, he had to numb my esophagus. The first thing that he did was to mention that the stuff he was about to spray in my mouth was vile tasting. I quickly turned to "Tasky Jen" and said, "I guess you left that out." (She had indicated before that she had thoroughly prepared me for the procedure.) He underestimated the vileness of the taste and it left me gagging, wretching and attempting to throw up into a small blue puke bag. However, since I had not eaten in 23 hours there was nothing to puke up. I mentioned at that point to the doctor that I had a highly sensitive gag reflex. So he smeared gray gel on a popsicle stick and shoved it down my throat. He then instructed me to "Suck on it." They insisted that I wrap my lips around the stick and continue to suck. However, the irony of a doctor shoving a popsicle stick down my throat immediately after I explained my sensitive gag response had me chuckling and unable to explain my giggles. I'm sure by this point both "Tasky Jen" and the doctor were wondering if I had come down from the psych floor. When the popsicle stick came out and my throat was numb they were both relieved that it was finally time to sedate me.

The next thing I remember was waking up feeling a tube down my throat and the doctor telling me it was almost over. He pulled it out and explained to me the results. "Tasky Jen" told me I needed to wait about a half an hour before coming back to my room. About 20 minutes later I realized that I had no clue what the results were because I couldn't remember what the doctor had said. So I called Jen in and had her repeat them. Apparently the blood clot in my heart was very evident but they could not detect any trouble at all with the structure of my heart. The valves were all working properly and everything, other than the clot, seemed to be fine. I was wheeled back without event to my room and the nurse wrote on the board when I could begin to eat and drink. At 3:54 I could have my first liquids in 26 hours and at 4:54 I could eat a meal. By this point in time the beloved Kari had arrived and was able to count down with me the minutes until I could do those things.

Note: It is now Thursday morning at 10:50, nearly 48 hours after the procedure and my throat still hurts so much from minor discomfort.

Is There Anything You Can Do?

Today they did print the article in the paper about Ricardo and Leon and it had a link to our book website. Bart said that I should tell all you blog readers who keep checking in (over 800 hits yesterday) that they could buy a book and help us pay that insurance deductible. I'm sure he never thought I'd be tacky enough to actually do it.

Good Morning Blogging Friends

Truth me known, it hurts me to type. That's why I'm not blogging much.

I woke up feeling OK and read this verse:

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places. Isaiah 58:11.

The hospital is a parched place. For sure. I needed that verse. Kari is supposed to be here soon. I'll dictate more of the story to her.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

ONe more quick update

After I posted my desperate post, I talked to my mom and a wonderful friend from church who works at the hospital stopped by. SHe was just what I needed. I feel much better and now I"m going to bed.

A Pause in the story....

for this quick commercial message.

Tonight for the first time I got discouraged and upset. The doctor is still very concerned about the clot in the heart and has started me on new medication. They will not use surgery to remove it as that is too risky.

That news was followed by Salinda telling Mercedes that she is moving home Friday into a room that isn't ready for her because we weren't expecting this... and because I haven't had this week to work on it. She then texted me a few things that were less than kind and then refused to continue the conversation.

Bart is tired and overwhelmed and I may be in the hospital for another two-four days. Please pray for me... but more importantly pray for Bart and his stress level and for Salinda's heart to soften.

I sometimes feel like I got Bart into this mess and now this week I'm abandoning him at the worst possible time.

Plus I just can't just up and leave this earth for good quite yet... I need to see how it all turns out.

The Morning After (Dictated to Kari)

I was back in the room and settled into bed by 4am and Bart stayed until 4:30am. My sedation resulted in me not being able to clearly tell you everything that happened in the four hours between 4:30 and 8:30 except that I must have been interrupted at least 37 times. Each time I met someone new I made a point to make an impression on them. Typically by saying something shocking or embarrassing. My strategy in catching new victims unaware was to ask questions in a serious tone that would appear to be genuine. Especially ones that baffled these nurses and other staff. Examples would include:

1. Do you realize you are one of the very few people in the world who has ever seen me naked?

2. You have seen a body more disgusting than this before, haven't you?

3. I won't be taking a walk down the hall until I have my panties on because I do have compassion on society.

4. Is that hole you are about to put in my arm really necessary?

5. Did you really just say that you are tired at the beginning of your shift when you are about to stick that needle in me?!

I had an elderly roommate whose family came early in the morning to transfer her to hospice care. The woman's daughter introduced herself to me and I explained to her that I could be entertaining but eventually might become annoying. I invited her to point out to me when that line had been crossed.

As the morning proceeded I was visited by the medical doctor, the surgeon, the cardiologist, the PA who assisted the surgeon and several misc individuals of varying races, educational levels, senses of humor, and tolerance. However, I never failed to attempt to get a smile, even out of the most irritable and serious. Keeping others laughing kept me going all morning until it was time for my Transesophageal Echocardiogram.

The Surgery (dictated to Kari again)

The ER nurses gathered up my belongings including my mismatched shoes, made me strip naked, and they wheeled me down the hallway to the operating room. We stopped outside the room for the Anesthesiologist pep talk during which she, by law, was required to tell me the 73 possible things that could go wrong during the surgery. By this time I was fairly anxious and thus even more chatty and annoying than usual. I kept interrupting her speech with questions and comments that totally messed up her flow. She kept laughing and forgetting where she was in her speech. She said things like, "women tend to be more nauseas than men" to which I responded, "And I tend to be a woman." Her laughter caused much confusion and she told me I kept throwing her off track. She concluded by reminding me that she might break one of my teeth as she shoved the breathing tube down my throat. I pointed out to her at the end of the conversation that while I had been a bit nervous before her speech, I was now pretty confident that I was going to die and that her speech had been less than helpful.

I then said, "Goodbye" to Bart and gave him instructions as to how to express love to each of my children. Various amounts of effusiveness were to be used. I mentioned a few friends and my parents and expressed my love to Bart and got a little teary as I said goodbye to him for what might have been the last time.

They wheeled me in to the OR and instructed me that I was somehow supposed to fit my body on a very, very, thin, cold hard slab of metal called an OR bed. With much difficulty I shuffled myself into the most uncomfortable "bed" I can ever remember being on. In came Dr. Risty and her ever so helpful assistants. After she introduced me I said, "Oh, I've watched Grey's Anatomy, I know about you people. You love to cut people open." I then was able to achieve my goal for the first time that night with Dr. Risty by getting her to laugh out loud. I asked, "So who all has been sleeping together in the on-call room?" They assured me that as far as they knew nobody had ever had sex in the on-call room at this hospital.

I remember very little about the next two hours. I think they lied to me when they said they were giving me a little oxygen because I woke up quite groggy a couple of hours later. In the recovery room I was asked a lot of questions by a nurse whose name I do not remember (there have been a lot of those). Even in my half sedated state of mind nearly every response to each question was in my clouded mind hilarious. To be honest, at this point I have no clue what I said and as Kari is typing this I'm starting to worry a bit about what it might have been. The only thing that I do remember is that I overheard her preparing the nurse for my arrival. After she hung up the phone I asked her, "But did you tell her I am fun?!" She said she had forgotten to tell her that. After which I feigned deep distress. As they wheeled me out of the recovery room to see my husband, I yelled back over my shoulder, "You should have warned them that I'm fun!"

How it all began (dictated to Kari)

Hello from the hospital room!
Since I'm sure many of you are going to start giving crap about not being on the computer I'm going to dictate my story to Kari, hoping I don't wear her out by the time the story is told.

It all began on Monday night at 5pm after a very, very stressful day. My right arm had severe muscle cramps from my shoulder to my wrist, my hand was numb, tingly and very cold. I used my left hand to navigate the internet and discovered that it could be psychosomatic, however the pain kept getting worse so by 5:45pm I called the doctor. She suggested that I go to urgent care and after doctor #2 checked me over he was very concerned about my circulation because he couldn't find a pulse in my wrist. I went to the ER where the fun could begin in earnest.

I told my story for the 5th time to the triage nurse (time #1 to the doctor by phone, time #2 to the receptionist in urgent care, time #3 to the nurse in urgent care, time #4 to doctor in urgent care). She sent me back to the ER cubby or hole or partial room or curtained area or whatever you want to call it. We waited there for the ER doctor.

The ER doctor walked in, dark, skinny, tall and handsome, appearing to be no more than 16 years old. After giving him a hard time about the improbability of a person being allowed to attend medical school concurrently with grade school, we began a night of banter that was highly enjoyable. Items of discussion included between me, the nurses and the doctor-

1. Me telling them to close the curtain tightly because I had already heard mentioned that there were people in the hospital who wanted a good look at my boobs.

2. Us discussing my personal hygiene such as the fact that I had not shaved my legs in months, my toenails were in serious need of clipping, that I had most likely neglected my armpits, and when the good doctor asked if I was wearing clean underwear I pointed out that it was 7:30pm and that while they had certainly been clean in the morning they were no longer clean.

3. Me pointing out that they had certainly in their careers as medical professionals, even with the aforementioned neglect of personal hygiene, seen bodies more disgusting than mine.

4. My perpetual questions of the young doctor regarding such things as how long it would be until he got his driver's license.

5. My barrage of questions such as, "Is it really necessary for me to remove my panties for you to cut open my arm?"

In spite of all of the good humor, the ER doctor became increasingly more sober and confused as the night went on. Because my symptoms came and went, he was perplexed as to whether or not there was a clot in my arm. He mentioned that if there were a clot and he sent me home, within 6 hours I could lose complete usage of my arm. The first moment that I had a glimpse that my week was suddenly changing drastically was when he said, "Unfortunately, we do not have a vascular surgeon in Mankato." He continued to report that because of the current road conditions the ambulance was unable to transport me to Minneapolis or Rochester that night. At that point I said something real intelligent like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up for a minute!" To which he simply replied, "Oh yes, this is really serious."

The doctor said he wanted me to meet with the on call surgeon, Dr. Risty (which Bart and I felt was much too close to Dr. Risky) and I told her my complete story. She held my hands as well (everybody held my hands. They were checking the temperature of my hands.) She indicated that she would be calling a vascular surgeon for advice on the case.

The news kept getting worse for the rest of the evening. The doctor indicated that there would be two possible treatments that night and that neither one of them included sending me home. The first would be starting an IV blood thinner and keeping me for observation overnight. The second would be surgery on my arm if a blood clot was found. The next step was a CAT scan which involved a very painful botched IV and the only 45 minutes that my sense of humor completely evaporated during this process so far. After the scan, Bart who had returned home to get some things, returned and we sat together waiting for the news.

(Insert break here. Claudia just broke into song. And she isn't even on pain meds. ~Kari)

Back to dictation-

We were so relieved when the nurse walked in with an IV to begin blood thinners. Using critical thinking skills we (Bart and I) deduced that they would not possibly be sending me in to surgery with a blood thinner. We chatted about the evening and how the observation would probably be over and I would be sent home in the morning. But then "Dr. I may be 33 but I look 15" walked in with the results of the CAT scan. He reported that there was a blood clot in my right shoulder and that they would be taking me to surgery immediately.

Of course I immediately asked why I was on blood thinner if I was heading in to surgery. The doctor went on to explain that I also had a blood clot in my heart that they needed to immediately begin to treat. The biggest concern, because of the positioning of the blood clot, was that it might break into pieces and travel into my brain.

After all this news was delivered and immediately before being wheeled into surgery, I asked the doctor if he had any good news at all for me. His eyes lit up, he flashed me his beautiful smile, and he chuckled and said, "I just got a great deal on my auto insurance."

One final note, as we were packing up my clothing before heading in to surgery, Bart pointed out that I had been wearing two different tennis shoes all day.

It is now 12:15 on Wednesday and we have to take a short break from my trip down memory lane for me to shower. It has been 54 hours and 32 minutes since my last shower. Many people are requesting that I have one.

(The nurse is currently wrapping Claudia's IV hand with Saran Wrap. We'll pause for a moment and allow my fingers to rest. Whew. ~Kari )

Stay tuned for the following segments -

1. Surgery
2. The morning after

3. The Transesophageal Echocardiogram experience (Tasky Jen)

4. Other delightful characters such as Samu, the nurses bi***

5. Current status and prognosis

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Guess Kari's right...

She says I'll do anything for blog hits.

640 today already... double morning.

Addicted to my drama are ya? ;-)

After This Morning's Post

I dry heaved for 15 minutes. Something about the words on the page and the after affects of the anesthesia. But tonight I'm trying something new. I'm not looking at the screen and I actually fel ok. I can type via touch and not looking, so I am not getting sick as long as I don't look at the screen.

Bart said that he would let me dictate entries to him today, but because it was a snow day he wasn't here very much I have so many funny stories to tell it's amazing. I hve ben in top form -- it's my way of dealing with stress and anxiety -- and I have cracked up everyone in the hospital. We've had so many good laughs.

I am incredibly grateful to God for so many things: 1) That I didn't ignore my symptoms; 2) That I got good medical attention quickly; 3) that my kids are behaving well, 4) for my many wonderful friends, some who have already visited me, and 5) that I have the most amaizng husband in the world. This has been a wake up call for sure.

There are things in life that are important and there are things that aren't.

Thank you for your prayers.... they are working. But typing is still making me nauseaus. So much so I can't spell.

ok, ok, so I'm really addicted to the blogging

There is quite a bit of pain involved in typing, so i am going to keep this short. I'm in my hospital room, the pain meds are working well, but I can't eat, and that's annoying.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Post-Surgery Update

It is not 4:50 AM, and I have returned home for a few hours' sleep before it's time for our kids to be off to school. Claudia's surgery (read blog before this for more information) was successful. The doctor was relieved that Claudia came in when she did, as the clot was a bit more complicated than the CT showed.

Claudia is resting quietly, enduring some pain in both arms (she has had numerous pokes, including two separate IV's), but receiving relief from the pain medication drip.

In the very near future the cardiologist(s) will try to ascertain the nature of her heart clot ... its origin and its resolution.


A quick post from Claudia's husband Bart

This may get me in trouble from my loving wife at a later time, but I need to quickly post this via my iPhone. It is 1:15 am and I am sitting in the emergency room awaiting Claudia's return from emergency surgery. We came in earlier this evening because Claudia's right arm was cd to the touch and nearly without pulse. A CT scan revealed a blood clot in her upper arm as well as a blood clot in her heart. The clot in her arm is being removed at this moment. The one in het heart presents more challenges for the days ahead.

If you are a person of faith, please keep her and our family in your thoughts and prayers in the days to come. We are strong people, but we are reminded tonight of how precious and fragile health and life are.

I know Claudia has many friends in the blogosphere. Thank you for sharing our concern st this time.


Monday, February 08, 2010

I am totally at the vortex of a whirlwind

School got out at 11 and 11:25 respectively. I had the brilliant idea that we should use this time to change rooms. Of course, the first step needs to be Tony taking his stuff out and being cooperative. Of course, that is an impossibility and he is turning it into the hugest hassle ever. My stress level is sky high -- to the point that my only possible way to survive these moments is to blog.

Until Tony cooperates, nobody else can move. I have a lot of decisions to make about what is going where and I am frozen with kids who are asking me questions. Doing this today was a really stupid decision. But now that I've made it it has to be carried through.

We had offered Mike the opportunity to come home if/when he gets out of jail. He had a hearing today and will be in jail for another 54 days or something like that.

We are beginning to think that we need to insist that Salinda come home at least for a while to try it out. Giving guardianship to someone else just does not seem like a good idea. And she herself says she's not ready to get married.

So I have been texting Salinda, talking to Bart from the courthouse, and parenting a whole bunch of kids who are off their schedule. And on top of it I decide we're changing rooms.

I may not survive. Ok, OK. So I will survive. But it isn't going to be a very fun day.

Just when I thought I was home free....

This morning I got everyone up and out the door. Except John who was up and dressed and ready when I left at 7:30. His girlfriend got stranded in town and slept on our couch last night and her car was parked outside our house. I asked him last night if he had a ride to school this morning. He said yes.

I took my group of kids to school and then showed up at my office -- finding it to not have been shoveled -- I guess maybe it's my job, but I didn't know that... anyway, I digress....

I traipsed through the snow, sat down at my desk, was ready to start working and then the phone rang. It as John, calling from our house from his girlfriends phone saying that Rand is refusing to drive him to school. He argues that he always gets a ride from Rand -- well, always, as far as I know, was about 15 times at the beginning of last year before he started skipping school and sleeping other places, etc. etc. I turns out his girlfriend doesn't have to go to school until 10 so I guess she was going to hang out at our house while we took John to school.

The thing that was irritating is that Bart was upstairs. In the house. Home. Where John was. Within feet of him. And I was at the office having just drug myself through a foot of snow. And yet he called me, which I had to comment on. Loudly. A lot. But apparently he finally did talk to Bart and he has now been given a ride to school.

All the unnecessary drama of poor communication.... every time that I don't ask 20 questions to clarify every single statement I end up with some kind of minor drama. Sigh. Next time I"ll ask my 20 questions and not cut corners.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fletcher Wrestlers: The Rest of the Story

This morning a great article came out in the paper about Ricardo's wrestling career, focusing on his improvement and his spectacular season. He is now 23-4. Today I am going to send the following to the sports writer.

Dear Sports Writer (yes, I will put the name):

Thanks so much for covering our son Ricardo and his successful wrestling career. I thought maybe you'd like to know the rest of the story about Ricardo and his brother Leon.

Ricardo spent the first ten years of his life moving around various Guatemalan orphanages. While other kids his age were introduced to wrestling as preschoolers, his life was very different from theirs. His mind churned with an uncertain future as he watched the younger kids being adopted year after year as he was passed over because he was not legally freed for adoption until he was "too old." Would he live in an orphanage until he was 13 and then be let go to live on the streets like most of the orphaned boys his age? Or would he be lucky enough to join a family?

Leon spent several years in foster care -- a smart, compliant young man who was simply "too old" for most prospective adoptive parents. He and his brother, who was 8 at the time, had been separated from parents and older siblings and were pretty sure they would not be adopted. They knew that most people when wanting to adopt children wouldn't want boys who were 8 and 12.

When Ricardo joined our family in 2004 he was our 10th child to be adopted. He joined his other 9 siblings when we lived in Luverne, MN. Seldom speaking, soft-spoken and determined, he set out to tackle the task of learning to speak a new language, learning to read and write in a new language, and learning about culture and a land very different from those of his origins.

In 2007 Leon and his younger brother completed our family of twelve children, who at that time ranged in age from 8-21. One of the most cooperative, intelligent, and kind young men we had ever met, he moved in only a few months before his 13th birthday. Immediately he began to show his character.

In hte fall of 2007, soon after Leon moved in and started 7th grade at East, Ricardo was in 6th grade at Franklin, having been held back because of his English as a Second Language issues. When staff at Franklin insisted he move on to East at the end of first quarter, I was talking to the boys about a winter sport. I explained that since neither of them had ever been on a mat -- and most of their opponents would have been wrestling for years -- that they would have to work hard. But I assured them that they had the physique and the determination to be successful wrestlers. They reluctantly agreed to give it a try and within weeks had the varsity spots in their respective weight classes as seventh graders.

Ricardo and Leon are two of strongest, kindest, most compliant young men of character that I have ever met. They are first to do their chores and dishes when it is their turn. They seldom say an unkind word to their sometimes annoying siblings with special needs. They are loving and affectionate sons, patient and kind brothers, and excellent role models for people younger than them.

As pointed out in the movie Blindside.... sometimes it's worth taking a chance on an older child. The estimate is 143,000,000 orphans worldwide spend at least 10 years in orphanages or foster care. Currently 130,000 children of these are waiting in U.S. foster care for permanent homes. A large percentage of them of them are over the age of ten.

So, sir, that is the rest of the story. The two Fletcher wrestlers grew up far away from the mat. But now they are here, and their parents couldn't be more proud. Sometimes it pays to take a chance and do something that others don't understand.

They have given me permission to share their stories with you because they hope that more people will take a chance and adopt older kids. We'd be happy to tell you more.


Bart and Claudia Flethcer

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Never too many gabby pics....

Safely to MInneapolis

Last night at 11:15 that bus full of tired people arrived in Minneapolis and Bart was there to pick me up. It was so nice to actually crawl into bed last night and realize that I was no longer moving. I was actually lying here stable and not moving.

Obviously my time in Toledo consumed my thought time, thus I didn't blog much. I am re-motivated to match kids and I have a goal for the year -- which also gets me going.

So if any of you are in the matching process and are not registrered with Adopt America -- you really should be so I can help match you. ;-) I'd love to see a child or children show up in your home this year and know I was part of it.

Bart and Tony are here and we are heading home soon. We'll stop for breakfast and then head home to a bunch of kids and a granddaughter. Will be interesting to hear what Salinda plans to tell the county on Monday. Having that conversation is going to require a lot of self-control on my part. There's a wrestling match to attend as well (and to photograph)

Bart talked to MIke who now says maybe he'll find out on Monday that he has 50 more days in jail. I guess we'll have to just wait and see.....

Re-entry is always a bit challenging. But having that baby to hold should calm me some.....

Friday, February 05, 2010

Up and out of here

i might tweet today from the bus might not

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Time Keeps on Slippin Slippin Slippin

When I am out of of town I have a hard time keeping track of time. It seems like I just got here and now I'm supposed to be leaving in the morning to go back home.

Tonight I'm realizing what it is like to have a room next to our family. The family next to me has noisy kids and patient parents, but the walls are a lot thinner than I imagined.

Can you say Midol PM?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Drama from Afar

I'm finding it a bit hard to feel like I am away when I am kind of away but really not away because I have my phone and people text me. A lot.

The crisis this week include Salinda receiving news that the county where her boyfriends family lives has a policy that minor parents can only live in one of three places: 1) WIth their own parents; 2) with a relative of their own parents; or 3) when necessary, in foster care. However, they can get married (ugh) or, let someone else be her legal guardians. Salinda is all caught up on not keeping the baby away from the baby's dad and so she is determined not to live at home. We don't have a viable relative and foster care is unecessary. We aren't going to sign for her to get married. She simply said, "well, we have to figure something out, cuz I"m not taking the baby away from H**** (the boyfriend)." So we texted and came up with nothing yesterday. tough stuff.

John came to the point of going back to jail if he didn't come up with some money to pay for a court ordered activity. I have been telling him all year long to save his money to pay it, but of course he did not. So he is a few hundred away from going back to jail. Now of course we could let him go back to jail and spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender, but instead we gave him the check. Why? Well, for many reasons, but one reason is that we gave Mike a similar check in the fall.

And now Mike is telling Bart he may not get out of jail on Monday as he originally thought. We had decided to offer him the chance to move home, requiring us to change several rooms around. Now I am unsure if we should make all those moves or not....

Regardless of all this, I enjoy my coworkers in Toledo. They are fun and engaging and we have a good time. Sometimes during the day I forget that I"m working in an office with people -- but meals are a good time. Last night the hotel had a soup judging contest reception and a few of the "gals" came by -- it was nice to visit, though I had left my phone in the room and was panicking about whether or not calls were coming in. See how twisted I have become?

The week is almost over. I'm finding it less fun being away this time for some reason. Maybe it's because the drama follows me anyway....

That is the way that our lives are going. Extend grace and mercy to one kid and you find yourself having to extend it to the next. It is as though they make us level out at the lowest spot for all of them, if that maes sense .... You did _____ this sibling who got that desperate, so now of course, you will do it for me. It's a crazy spot to be in.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

At the Main Office....

I am here. i slept well. I have a desk and internet access and my laptop. I am content.

yesterday's trip was truly not even something I could make fun. I wanted to, but I couldn't.

The Mpls Chicago part of it was completely crowded -- I couldn't even get out a book, much less a laptop. There were no outlets as promised. Only half my body fit on the seat.

The rest of the trip was better -- though the person who kept talking to me was quite a colorful character. When I have some more time possibly I will tell you about her.

Bart seems fine at home.......

I should really not blog when I don't have time to tell you everything cuz I"m tempted to give you snippets of drama and not the whole story and that just wouldn't be fair at all, would it?

Monday, February 01, 2010

I'm here and alive

and the trip wasn't fun. i"m ok. I'm tired. And I"ll try to blog more tmorrow....