Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Not So Fast...

Okay.

So...

The day after I wrote my joyous blog, Jimmy had a tired day.

And then another (today).

In fact, he slept a good part of the afternoon away.  He didn't sleep well last night.  So that means I get groans as answers when he's awake. When he's not awake, I have to entertain myself.

Last night, I didn't sleep much at all myself.

I'm not sure if it was because I had a late tennis lesson, or because I felt guilty in my fluffy bed while our neighbors to the north we dealing with heartbreaking catastrophe.

I tossed and turned a whole lot.

I figeted with the thermostat. It was like 44 degrees last night. Just chilly enough to convince me to fire up the heat.

We got the fresh burnt smell with the annual switch-on.

I got up several times during the night to adjust the levels. I thought I wasn't sleeping well because I wasn't used to the heat. What's the right temperature? What's a good temperature?

I mastered the a/c, finally. But the heat!

What should it be set on? I forgot. I should have called my Mom to ask her what hers is always set on, and added 10 because it was always frickin' freezing in her house.

I nearly Googled it.

I kept checking my Twitter feed. The news kept getting worse. More death. Another city underwater. People missing.

Heart. Breaking.

My mind was swirling at 5:30am.

I wasn't due to wake up for, like, four more hours.

I turned on The Weather Channel after spending a frustrating four minutes trying to find my remote in the dark.

I watched.

I got annoyed that they kept going back to the cities that seemed to be "okay" in the grand scheme of things. That wasn't why I was watching.

I was ready to hear the bad news and face the facts with the rest of America.

That wasn't the case around 11pm, a few hours before, when I was ready to go to bed.  I switched right away to a sitcom savior.

I got out of bed around 9:45am. I could barely stand.

I felt like someone had performed an Irish jig on top of me.

I'm sure lifting weights, running a few miles and going to a tennis lesson in really, really windy and near-freezing conditions didn't help.

It took all I had to drag myself to the coffee pot. There was a hint of excitment in the fact that I had programmed my coffee pot to brew some mocha mint.

I peeked in on Jimmy several times, trying to fuel myself with my first sips of coffee.

He was in a deep sleep, even with all the noise I was making getting my coffee together. Even with the nurse who went in to check his blood sugar levels before breakfast. 

I knew what that meant.

It was confirmed when I went, finally, to wake him up... a warm breakfast awaiting him.

He had circles under his eyes, again.

He looked so tired.

I started crying.

I got so mad at myself that I totally jinxed our good couple of days with celebrating and writing a stupid blissful blog.

He tried to console me. But his bad night and mine were no match for my emotions. 

After I fed him, our nurses continued on with his morning routine.

He told me to turn off my TV in my room and try to go back to bed. Did I listen?

No. I'm watching the Gilmore Girls series for the first time and it's pissing me off. I have to see if it gets better (I would like to smack Lorelai in the head right now, and seriously want Rory to be my BFF).

Then I could take a nap.

Wrong.

He came out into the living room and I joined him. I was still in my pajamas, (but, finally brushed my teeth!) feeling like shit... and what do I do next?

Watch Poltergeist.

Jimmy slept, so I kept watching.

Not sure I ever saw that movie all the way through, but if I had, it was at least a decade ago. Some of the "scary" parts made me laugh. Others did not.

Jimmy eventually woke up, but later in the day.

We arranged for Jimmy's bedtime to be earlier tonight since he was so sleepy. 

But by the time he was finally talkative and engaging, our CNA knocked on the door for bedtime.

So here I am. 

Feeling emotional and needing badly to write.

I think we both need a good night's sleep. 

And we both will probably be better in the morning.

After all, I kick ass according to this freaking awesome card I got in the mail by a friend who sent it, just to send it. What a great suprise.

My mom's friend also sent a Halloween goody bag to us around the same time. Are you kidding? How much fun was that? She put old (ollllld) school candy in there. Stuff I had never heard of.  But, my Mom had! Ha!


Anyways, I stared at this thing all day.

And randomly, without knowing I even did so, grabbed it when I was moving into the bedroom for the night and put it on my bedside table.

Like, I grabbed it when I was grabbing all my things. I placed it right next to my hot tea, and looked over and said... how did that get there? Weird...

Then a friend called. I didn't want to talk. Almost didn't answer. But I sure am glad I did.

It's almost time for Frasier. And that means happy time. Hopefully I'll be off in comfy sleepy land before I get through even one episode.

Felt I owed you the truthful follow-up on the great couple of days we had.  Who knows why Jimmy is tired again. Maybe because being off the ventilator for nearly a week (!!) is finally catching up with him.

Maybe he just had a bad couple of night's sleep.

We shall see...

Remembering tonight... "Shit Could be Worse."

There are so many people worse off than we are.

I just need to keep that in mind.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Joy

I'm not sure what's happening and I don't want to jinx it.

However, I want to remember this joy I'm feeling.

I haven't been this happy in awhile. It's been a long few months...

On Thursday night, I encouraged Jimmy not to sleep on the vent and to try a new sleep filter his Shepherd respiratory therapist gave us for when he was ready.

You see, we got some really good news.

Jimmy's breathing strengths were really high when recently tested, which indicates he may be getting diaphragm function back.

I know. Medical stuff that is confusing.

But, uhm, jump for joy because that's really holy-crap-kind-of-news.

On that note, Jimmy was permitted to get his butt off the vent and eventually wean off his DPS, the pacer that is stimulating his diaphragm.

Uhm, jump for joy again.

That means they believe he can breath ON HIS OWN.

She. Jumps. For. Joy. Once. Again.

For the better part of the year, Jimmy has been off the vent during the day, and will go back on at night. He got real comfortable with this routine.

I'm proud to say our someone that has been dependent (in some way) on a ventilator since his accident, has now gone days without.

Our ventilator hasn't been touched since Wednesday morning.

That part isn't so shocking. I knew he could do it when he was ready.

But what we didn't see coming was such a dramatic change in Jimmy's well-being.

For the better.

I never knew Jimmy had lost the color in his face until it recently started coming back.

He's back to getting a good night's sleep.

He's funny. I mean, he was always funny... but he's got jokes all day long -- just like before.

His fatigue isn't taking over our life like it once was.

Granted, we're only three(ish) days in. BUT STILL.

He doesn't look miserable when he rolls out of his room. He still looks tired, because his morning is strenuous. But he doesn't need to recover by sleeping 3-4 hours anymore.

I'm exhausted with excitement (I could barely get through a tennis clinic, yesterday) but I'll take it.

I'm very spongy in that I absorb Jimmy's moods.

If he wakes up in a shitty mood, it sets the tone for my day. It's very hard to turn that around with a good mood of my own.

When he's peppy... it's freaking contagious.

I'm basking in the glow of Jimmy's healing.

Maybe this is a turning point.

My husband hasn't been this "Jimmy" in a very long time.

I didn't know how much I missed it.

We both have been celebrating... and hope it sticks.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo Shoot

A few weeks ago, I arranged for Jimmy and I to get some professional photographs taken. And I'm so
glad I did.
 
I felt weird doing it, ya know, since they aren't engagement, maternity or family photos.
 
The wonderful Michelle Scott got it. We had so much fun with her. She's the bombs. I would recommend her to anyone.
 
In our apartment are nothing but pre-injury photos. Happy, Yay, No-Worries-But-We-Work-In-News-And-Are-Broke kinds of photos!
 
So I wanted to change that.
 
We have a new life and are in an okay place. 
 
We need some now photos in our home so I don't get sad being surrounded only by able-bodied pics.
 
I think these help.
 










Shit

I used this line in one of my blogs recently.

Then I found this print.  Too good to pass up.

It hangs in my room.

A good reminder... fo sho.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meat

When I married Jimmy, I knew this was part of the deal.

Piles of meat.

I got take-out from an Atlanta landmark called Fat Matt's.  My favorite is the shredded pork sandwich. Probably the best I've ever had, and I grew up in The South. Jimmy got ribs. We also got some other meats and sides.

They also had something called roasted peanuts on the menu I was going to get Jimmy. I asked the lady how that was different from boiled peanuts.

She said, without looking me in the face "they're roasted..."

Great. thanks.

The before and after of our dinner tonight...

Three's Company

We're very lucky in that we get full-time nursing care.

We certainly need it as Jimmy is fully dependent on others for most things.

This allows me to leave the house to get groceries, go pick-up meds, play tennis -- get me time as I need.

I can go... and bring my outside experiences back home.

With that said, it can be extremely difficult always having someone else in our home. There's always someone there.  They are required to be there.  24 hours a day.

It sometimes prevents my candid silliness and my singing loudly and horribly to Jimmy.

Well not totally... maybe I still sing a little.

But it's nice when the nurses understand and realize that it can be hard for me -- or us.

Sometimes our nurses will surprise me.

They'll take out my kitchen garbage. One nurse will occasionally clean (by hand) the dishes in my sink. And when I leave my laundry in the washer/dryer, sometimes I'll come in to find my clothes folded.

It's rare, but soooo nice.  Expecting to grab a monster load out of the dryer only to find it nicely folded on Jimmy's bed, ready for pick-up.

Most of the time, I'll live out of my clean clothes basket.

I have an appreciation for our nurses who make good use of their time. Always looking for something to do.

A lot of times, that work ethic is hard to find.

I think we have a good group of nurses, now.

We know it could be worse: we use to have a nurse who would eat liver pudding -- on my good plates -- and leave the dirty dish in the sink for me to clean.  I nearly puked. That same nurse tried to cook a raw egg (shell on) in my microwave nearly causing our house to explode.

We have stain the size of Minnesota in Jimmy's room where a nurse spilled her juice -- and tried to clean it with 409.

And then there was the nurse who woke me up with her snoring... and the nurse who would eat our food.

Luckily as I said -- our nurses now, they're a good group.

It seems to be very much a trial and error situation -- getting the nurses you are comfortable with in your home every single hour of the day.

There are very good nurses out there... we are lucky to have some of them now.  One is actually very nurturing to Jimmy.  I call her our Mama-nurse.

As difficult as it can be to have a semi-stranger in your house all the time... I know it's needed.  Life would be pretty unbearable at this stage without nursing care.

But, I clearly, on some level, resent their being here. Those are my own personal issues, not Jimmy's. Maybe that's why I appreciate them making their presence a little easier to deal with.

I love those... who just get it.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Preach

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Poetry

I found this poem on Bentlily. It's this pretty great website where you get a poem a day, you can create your own poem by filling in a Mad Libs-type questionnaire and you can even submit your own poetry to be a guest poet.

I think I forgot about poetry after high school...

But I found this poem tonight and... it's cute. And true. Who doesn't get excited to pick up mail? That there may be something fun there? Something hand-written, god forbid.

I remember in middle school, when our English teacher arranged for us to have penpals with other students across the country. What incredible excitement for a sixth grader! Maybe I liked school a little too much... (nerd alert!)

Just writing back and forth... on lined notebook paper. With a mechanical pencil. And maybe some stickers to put on the paper. You have to add a wallet school pic so she knows who she's dealing with. Unfortunately, the school photo: not my finest moment. But, my Mom always had extras, so...

Anyways -- here's the poem:

The Curious Appeal of Futile Anticipation

I don’t know when I will stop
expecting a letter
instead of all these bills
and flyers for pizza and men
who wash windows in kilts

there is no one in particular
I think might be writing me

but I cannot help
the hopefulness

the unreasonable optimism
that the clang of the mailbox
means somebody held me in the nest
of their thoughts

so old-fashioned
like milk in glass bottles
like handkerchiefs

one day I will try to explain to my son
the appeal of anticipation
in an instant world

that there is sweetness
in the wait.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Alive and Well

I just squeezed my husband so hard I sent him into spasms. He used to fuss at me for doing that, pre-injury.

But tonight, he knew I needed that squeeze. He knew he needed to just brace and endure. He knows what's up.

I'm so happy my husband is alive I could actually squeeze him into ten-thousand little pieces.

When I arrived to the hospital on the day of his accident, I felt so much better after seeing his face. He was actually smiling. I was not. Especially because his head was hanging open.

As I rushed to his side, he gave me a "hey, honey..." Like, he thought he was gonna get in trouble.

That first night, he was alert -- still himself.

His was put in a halo device that was used to sort of stretch his spine back out so it would be easier for the doctors to operate.

I'm not sure I was clear-headed enough to remember every detail, but I remember Jimmy giving me the smallest glimmer of hope. I never thought he was going to die. Just hours after this scary accident, I was able to still hear from him.

It was nice having those surgery-eve hours, because I had no idea what was on deck. It was like he knew... and he was trying to prepare me for what was in store.

After that, he kind of went away for a little while.

Heavily sedated... breathing tubes... not being able to speak... only communicating through blinks.

I, along with many others, would have to heal him back.

Someone on Facebook, an old high school friend, is going through something tough with his family. His status updates remind me of being back at the hospital the night before Jimmy's big surgeries.

Think it made me grateful for a moment we had tonight.

Jimmy... sitting across from me while we watched Revenge on DVR.

A nice, dim living room.

I was actually cuddled in a blanket that was made for him while he was hospitalized.

Him watching as my head was being held in my propped hand.

I was thinking about something, and he knew it.

That's when I got up and squeezed him oh-so-hard.

I have my times where I get sad about not sleeping in the same bed, his lack of mobility, etc...

But two of my Facebook friends recently had to bury their spouse & boyfriend.

Shit could be worse.

I get to laugh still because my husband tells his nurses to get their asses moving. Don't feel sorry for them. They love it.

Sometimes it's hard to realize... I'm lucky.

But, I am lucky -- you old man. I'm talking to you James Walter Moore, Jr.

I'm lucky to be yours.

MUSH.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Five Quotes

I'm stealing these two quotes from a blog I'm following. The writer is dealing with a horrible, life-changing event.  Her honesty and courage to share is astounding.

She featured a letter this morning from a follower who offered realistic hope, among other things. At the end of her letter... she included these two quotes.

“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” 
-Leonard Cohen


“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” 
-Rumi

The common denominator is light. 

Light to me symbolizes: hope for the future, smiles ahead, strength, being okay with a new normal. 

Other's hardships continue to help me. Other people with old hardships who offer some advice to those with new hardships also helps me. 

Life can crumble beneath you with the shake of a head, the snap of a finger... the turn of a key. 

Trying to survive it is all we can do. 

Fucking life.  

It's can be a pisser.

In response to this amazing letter from a stranger who is not at all strange, the blogger wrote quite the response. 

I wanted to remember a few things she said... so here they are. 

 “I am the luckiest girl in the world, which is a strange thing to think at a time like this.
"I'll take the crumbling to see that this circle is real."
"I'm not going to grin and bear it, but I'm going to bear it.
-Glennon Melton

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hanging It Up

I came across this homemade hanger today while putting away laundry.

It made me think of the dear friend who made it and so many other handmade goodies for my wedding.

And, although we may have our differences (we are, after all, two hot-blooded, passionate, opinionated people), there's comfort in knowing we'll always get back where we were...

The light will be at the end of that tunnel.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coffee

My friend went to Hawaii... and all I got was this silly mug.

Who am I kidding?

She knows me well. Got me my mug from the Starbucks in Hawaii. I adore this mug! The handle is huge. The mug is bone china and slightly oversized.

She knows me so well.

I have tons of mugs in my cabinet. I tend to love my Starbucks mugs thee best.

Someone called me a snob this weekend. I think they were right.

The mug is good, but the coffee tastes extra good this morning.

My body was not done sleeping when the alarm went off at 8am.

A good vacation... a long day of packing medical supplies, packing the van, driving a seven (plus) hour trip that should have taken six, unpacking the van, unpacking medical supplies, starting laundry....

The coffee tastes so good in my new mug this morning.

Hoping for a good day.

Jimmy has a scary doctor's appointment today. A trach change. Semi-traumatic for him.

So, needing this fuel.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mountain

"I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb, I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb."  
-- Oprah

I sit here on the little balcony of our hotel room at the beach.  This is home for me, and kind of home for Jimmy, as well.

We don't get back too often because of our routine in Atlanta, but when we do, people completely open their hearts and homes to us.

My mom, who has a horrible back, stood in her kitchen and made -- from scratch -- three plus  meals for us. She'd do anything for us. And, GOD I miss her homemade Italian food. Nothing like it in the world.

My aunt. Who brought a family birthday party to us, because Jimmy couldn't get in her house.

Our former co-workers/friends -- who all started clapping when Jimmy rolled in his old pub hangout.

People who make it a priority to see Jimmy and I during a busy work week.

After our first night here... a wonderful friend (practically family) brought us groceries, so we'd have food to eat at the hotel that wasn't all junk.

She also got me a surprise. The latest Oprah magazine.

I used to read her Oprah's all the time, awhile back when we still lived here.

Last night, I opened it. Started with the last page... just so happens to be O's monthly editorial. She talked about how she got so busy at one point -- she stopped writing in her gratitude journal.

Then she realized.... she's always been busy.  She says she's not too busy to jot down, even electronically, at least one thing she's grateful for each day.

Coming home makes me realize that we have such a great support system.

Like -- the best.

As I sit here staring off into the ocean, snuggled in my warm blanket, I realize this trip helped me to see  I'm grateful for:

1) This life. My mountain.
2) The generosity that is shown to us.
3) The love Jimmy's friends continue to show him. Especially when he needs it the most.
4) The lovely motorcycle that just revved up annoyingly loud, just to let me know this place hasn't changed.
5) My husband. Who didn't sleep well last night, but will be smiling soon enough just the same.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Downtown

I love these photos.

Jimmy and I motored a little around downtown Atlanta today. We went to Centennial Olympic Park.

Jimmy actually sip-and-puffed his way around while I walked along side... our nurse behind us dragging our medical supply bags up an down the bumpy sidewalks.

It was a wonderful outing. The weather was a perfect 70 degrees.

It's always invigorating to explore and realize that maybe you do love the city you never really chose to be in.

Oh, Atlanta.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Middle Finger

So I was texting with one of Jimmy's friends the other day.

Just small talk. He'll be visiting in November.

After discussing some of those generic details, he asked me how Jimmy was.

He asked me a question I hadn't gotten in awhile.

He texted, "How is Jimmy? What is the prognosis on him walking again? What are the doctors saying?"

These types of questions sometimes are tough to answer.  They force me to dig deep and kind of face reality, if only for three minutes.

Truth is, I've never asked his doctors if he'll walk again.

I don't want to hear their answer, for a couple of reasons.

First -- because I probably know what they'll say, which is -- most likely not.

Second -- not having a doctor's final, rubber stamp on it leaves things open-ended for us.

We like to live on hope.

There are so many people who continue to pray for a miracle. All the time, they continue to tell me they know a miracle will happen for us.

I don't want to vanquish all of that; just dismiss it all by being too realistic or pessimistic.

So, I've never asked the question to any of Jimmy's doctors,"Will Jimmy ever walk again?"

But...

Jimmy and I aren't living in fantasy land. We know --probably-- what will happen/not happen.

We're thankful he's using a chair in a day and age where most places are accessible and have to be, by law.

I'm thankful he's able to ride shot-gun in a tank-like van that keeps him safe on the road (seriously, VW's are the shiz).

And these days, we'll let others take care of hoping for a miracle for Jimmy to walk again. Believe me, they have risen to the occasion.

We have maybe curbed our own hopes and goals.  Like, we hope for Jimmy to regain some arm movement.

Do me a favor. Pinch each of your arms right now. Clap. Raise the roof. Hold a coffee mug. Take a bite of your bagel. Grab your phone and feel the ease of connecting to the world. A thumbs up. A middle finger. Anything...

What we wouldn't give for any of that... even just the middle finger.

I have faith that one day, I'll be able to publish a photo of Jimmy flicking you off right here on this very blog.

Oh, what a joyous day that will be.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Morning

The makings of a good morning:
 

1) A good night's sleep.
2) Waking with wide, brown eyes
3) A good breakfast. Eggs and bacon.
4) A fantasy football win.
5) A good mood.
6) Laughing with nurses.
7) Being a smart ass.

Oh yeah. It could be a really good day.  Let's do this.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Complete Adoration

"When there's very little to hold on to, you need an absolute and complete faith in something.
For us, it was love."
-Dana Reeve

I'm exhausted this morning. 
 
I stayed up extremely late reading an entire book. I'm pretty sure I've never done that... like ever.
 
 
I started on page 33 where I left off last year.  I returned to my eBook last night and just couldn't stop.
 
My eyes were burning from reading... and a little crying.
 
So here's my book report: (I also wanted to remember some of these quotes forever... so I had to get them down on 'paper'.)
 
I braced myself because I knew how this love story would end.  But I wanted to see how they handled everything together... how she did with everything. 
 
Maybe I needed some guidance and inspiration.  Yeah, I definitely did.
 
The similarities are truly amazing. The level of injury... the challenges... the goals. 
 
The ventilator... not being able to move from the shoulders down... the spasms.   
 
I've never used the highlight function so much on my iPad.
 
I wish I could have coffee with Dana Reeve. I would ask her so many questions. How did she keep her light shining all those years?
 
I realized she took time to acknowledge the tough stuff, even though she pushed on with such positivity.
 
"There is nothing that is easy. Everything is a struggle. And of course we are mourning the loss of Chris's mobility.. and moving on from that..."
 
Then there are the things that she says that ring so very true for me and Jimmy. Things that were certainly a foggy thought in my brain...  but things I couldn't put into words.
 
Like how thankful I am we had such a solid foundation going into this.  
 
"When you have an accident like this, it magnifies your situation. If you had a bad marriage before, it's going to get worse. If you have a wonderful marriage, it's going to get even better."
 
She refused to be a caretaker, even though she was the best caretaker he could ever ask for.
 
"I am just a woman whose husband fell off a horse, and I'm going to take care of him. That's what you do," said Dana.
 
I get sad remembering Jimmy's embrace. At times I want a hug from no one except him.
 
Dana said, "I was used to Chris drawing me into his arms. Now I had to do all the hand-holding and caressing. I was touching for two."
 
One of the hardest things for me is to see the carelessness of other couples. Especially in our fun, new town. Other's holding hands. So very hard.
 
I highlighted this quote from Dana: "It's hard to see other people do what we used to do. Even hold hands. Even you know, I look at other couple's laughing... a husband sort of flipping his wife's hair."
 
Well, don't think Jimmy ever flipped my hair... but the hand holding and the mild PDA.
 
Why hearing these things from Dana helps me -- I don't know. Maybe because it makes me feel a little more human. And that it's okay to still be sad sometimes, missing our past...
 
"There's always going to be a sense of loss about what our life was. We've had to adjust all our dreams, but I have no regrets. We lead a very different life. But a good life. Everyone has a cross to bear."
 
Then something she said reminded me... I am lucky to have such a good husband.
 
"I am not a hero... and I am most certainly not a saint! There's nothing superhuman about standing by Chris. What's so saintly about that? Lucky me. I'm with him!"
 
"They were so close. How lucky they were to have each other."
Michael J. Fox