Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Think About It...

Talked to a very good friend of mine yesterday, and she informed me that her Momma's Alzheimer's Disease had progressed to the point where (in her words) she is crazier than a junk yard dawg !
Now, I love her Momma better than grits, and it hurt my heart so bad to hear that.
I HATE that disease. It means you watch your loved one die in bits and pieces and, it is slow and both physically and emotionally draining for the caregiver.
I know she and her Daddy and brother have their hands full, but they are determined to keep her at home as long as they can.
It got me to thinking about my own situation too.
My greatest fear is having to be dependant on others for my care, and I know, with MS, it's very likely that could eventually happen, but I am doing all that I can to prevent it, or at the very least, postpone it, as long as I can.
It's not that I mind someone else taking care of me...I got over that a long time ago...one of the benefit's of 30+ years of Nursing.
I just don't want to be a burden on my family or anyone else.
That's the main thing.
So, I have a living will.
WHY ??
Well, if I had a nickel for all those poor people I witnessed, suffer SO much, throughout my career, because they did NOT have one, I'd be sitting pretty right now...financially, anyway!
My own Grandmother stayed in the hospital on a ventilator for fourteen months (on Medicaid...your dime and mine) begging anyone who would listen, to be taken off of it...but, SHE was deemed incompetent to make that decision for herself at that point, and since all of her children couldn't agree on what to do....she (and they) suffered .
Her little body finally just gave out, but not before she suffered the loss of her independence, the loss of her dignity, the loss of control over her own life.
I saw this happen to so many people, and it is probably one of the hardest aspect's of Nursing.
You want to help, but you also know that most of what you are doing is only prolonging someones misery, and THAT guilt is a bitter pill to swallow!
I later watched my Dad die, after two months of extreme misery, for everyone.
He was SO sick !
But, he had a living will.
He had it drawn up almost immediately after what happened to my Grandmother.
He made the decision three times, to be put on a vent, before he died.
I was his designated health care proxy, and I'll be honest....I was scared to death, that he'd slip into a coma or something, and I'd have to make that decision...so, I DO know how hard it is to be in that place...I still don't know if I could have done it or not, and I am eternally grateful, that I did NOT have to make that call.
I'll go to my grave believing that Daddy decided to die so that we would not have to care for him though.
I was set to bring him home on Monday, and he stayed on me, worrying about how I could take care of him, and WORK !
He was still worrying about ME !
I just kept telling him, "Don't worry about it, we will handle it."
and...we WOULD have, but...a couple of nights before he died... in his "absolute" right mind, he told his Doctor, that he did not want to be put on a ventilator again... insisted that I stay with him that night, which I did, and he spent the entire night, telling me exactly what he expected me to do !
Then, on Saturday, he did slip into that coma, and just after midnight, my sister and step-sister's, who were sitting with me, got up to go to the bathroom, and I stayed in the room with Daddy.
Holding his hand, I felt him tense...
I checked his pulse, which was very rapid and thready at first, then it slowed and became even more erratic...and, I knew he was leaving...
I bent over him and kissed his cheek, and told him, " it was ok... we would be ok, and that God was holding out his hand to him, and that I wanted him to take it and go home"...second hardest thing I have ever done in my life...but, he relaxed and exhaled one last time, and he was gone...but, the presence of God, in that room, was as thick as a foggy morning on the Bay...I felt it as I never had before, and in that moment, my absolute faith in HIM was reassured, and I knew Daddy was ok...but, you will never convince me that he didn't have a part in deciding how his life ended....
So, if and when I wind up in that situation, or if I can't speak for myself, there are clear cut instructions to my family regarding what my wishes are.
I have someone named to be my health care proxy, as well, if, for some reason I can't speak for myself. Someone I trust to carry out my wishes, regarding what I want and DON' T want done.
I will NOT repeat my Grandmother's fate. I will NOT put that burden on my family.
It is something we ALL need to think about...
Having a living will does NOT mean that what you put in it is "written on a rock' though !
YOU can change anything on it, or your health care proxy can, if you can't...at anytime.
So...just PLEASE think about it...
Most of the time, Medicine is admirable and ethical, and works to the advantage of everyone who needs it, but this is not a perfect world, and, Medicine too, is flawed...I would not want to see any of you go through the misery of being at the mercy of Medicine alone.
If you do NOT have a living will...think about getting one....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Coping Mechanism's of a (Forever and EVER -AMEN) Marriage

I see on Facebook, that day after tomorrow is my...hang on a minute, I gotta count...36th wedding anniversary...hummm...or is it 360 ?
Sometime's it feels like it...and sometimes, it still seems like it was just yesterday.
I think back to the two people we were in 1975, and don't recognize either one of them.
The ONLY thing that has NOT changed, is that with FEW exception's...we have nothing in common, which is proof still, that opposites attract !
Back then, he had hair and I was skinny. Now he is bald, and I am not so skinny.
(But, I STILL have hair, and plenty of it, which really pisses him off) !!!
(Insert wicked grin here)
Both of us have always loved music, and that remains a constant...and, both of us still believe in God and family FIRST.
We love our kid's more than life...kid's we didn't think we'd ever have...and, THEY are our BEST work.
The thing's that we differ in....there are not enough GB on this computer to list them, but...we've each learned a thing or two about how to overcome them, and make this marriage last...
First of all...communicate...when necessary !
It is imparitive that you listen to each other and talk to each other, but only about those thing's you have in common...When something else comes up, punch the IGNORE button.
There is a trick to that though...
I can have a complete conversation with my husband, about something we disagee on (political issue's, for instance) respond appropriately to everything he say's and send him off, under the impression that I totally "got it" although I couldn't tell you one word he said.
He does the same thing to me too...
It takes TIME to learn how to do that too , but it CAN be mastered.
These past three years have really been a test in that for me though...See, He had open heart surgery, and I swear...I don't know WHAT they did, but they put him to sleep, and he woke up, Republican !
More than just Republican....he just flat woke up Nucking Fut'z when it comes to politic's.
Used too, he could care less about political stuff...oh, we'd discuss it, but we never argued about it...because we pretty much agreed on it...but, NOW....OMG !
It's really not even about party lines either...I mean, He will crank up the bitch machine on any politician, or any issue, depending on how mad it makes him...and it keeps him stirred up most all the time.
POX news play's on one (or more, if he has HIS way about it) TV in our house, just about 24/7.
I cannot TELL you how ILL it makes me... to wake up at 1am to go to the bathroom, and see Glenn Beck's ugly mug on TV (insert THREE eyeroll's here) !!!
I honestly think I do pretty good, but that ignore button only works for just so long, on some thing's (like Glenn Beck at 1am) and then I can't help it...I throw me one hell of a hissy fit, banning POX News, and politic's in general, OR ELSE....
OR ELSE, means somebody's gonna have a new address ...if it's me, I have a place to go, and if it's him, it might very well be under that bridge down on Moffat Rd, because , you can write it on a ROCK...NO ONE (in their right mind) is going to put up with POX News 24/7...
So, you might be wondering "What about MY faults" ...
I don't have any...
well, maybe a couple.
I used to be a NICE lady....sweet, kind, calm, loving....until I turned fifty.
Fifty freed me from all that nonsense.
I'm still not a mean person, but my filter is much thinner than it used to be, and I am just as liable to moon a redneck flying down the road, with my bigole white grannie panties, as to look at him...and...YES, I did...and he damn well deserved it too !
So, yeah..I say what I think now...and if you don't like it...well...that's pretty much just TUFF !
I am not as good a housekeeper as I used to be...I admit it, and I don't cook every night either.
I used to LOVE to cook, and fed my family HUGE meals...not anymore !
I take it in spells now...when I FEEL like it (which isn't very often)
So, NO...I'm not the perfect little wife I used to be, but...Oh Well !
There is always "OR ELSE"....
So, after 36 years...it's really more like 38, since we've been together since 1973...we are at the very least "tolerable" to each other, and at the most....still at it.
Maybe not "rip your clothes off" at it anymore, but we can still sit on the porch together, in total silence and relish nature ...finish each other's sentences, and sometimes, answer each other's question's before they are even asked...so, it isn't so bad....
In fact....it's pretty darn good most of the time...