Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Today I had lunch with three of my best friends and as I was sitting there celebrating one of them entering into the over 50 club, I realized how blessed I was. Yes, this is the over 50 gals!  We have a thing for hats....

The one celebrating her birthday is having a hard time right now with an ailing mother and is having to make big decisions.  My husband is getting better but has been going through a hard time this summer and my sister-in-law is battling cancer.  As we were sitting there eating our lunch my cousin called to tell me her mom has cancer, very bad cancer.  These girls are my rocks and through everything they still give me the gift of laughter and love and I am so blessed to have them surround me every day with their caring and concern. I hope we get to grow old together and no we are not OLD yet!   We always tell each other that we love each other but I just want them to know how much I do love them and thank God for them.   Love you girls!
This is my other BFF, she is not in the "club"yet, but she's getting close!  Love you too, Jana!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Being mean...

When I was a little girl my granddad had cancer.  He was like a father to me and I loved this man like one.  I always got his pills and water and I thought he was very fragile, which he was to a degree.  I loved my grandma also but there were times when I thought she was so mean to my granddad that I would cry.  Now, as I am older and also a caregiver I understand what my grandma was going through.  It is hard to be tough on someone that we feel sorry for, but sometimes you have to be.  When Dennis had gained too much weight we had to limit what he ate and people used to tell me that it wasn’t fair, that is one of the things he can look forward to.  When he doesn’t drink his water, I don’t force him and then when he starts getting a urinary trach infection I just look at him and say, “Did you drink a lot of water this week?”  Now, that he is under weight we practically have to force him to eat.  It’s not fun and it is a pain to keep finding something that he’ll eat or something that sounds good.  Then we have to get mean and tell him he has to finish it.  Just because a spouse has an accident doesn’t take away the fact that they are still your spouse.  We still argue and get mad and then we say we’re sorry and go on.  Dennis used to walk out of an argument and he doesn’t have that luxury anymore so we get to finish it!  We do these things out of love but we don’t treat them differently also because we love them. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sleep it's highly overrated!

I keep trying to keep my blog true to what I started which is care giving, but I find myself wanting to blog about things that I am having fun with right now.  I’m taking a camera course and I’m also doing some D-I-Y projects.  But, I want to stay on course so I might do both!  I was thinking about what care givers would want to hear and then I thought of sleep or the lack of.  When Dennis was at OU for the first 30 days my daughter and I slept on two chairs with an end table in the middle and we had our purse by our head because they told us people off of the street would sneak in the hospital and steal money.  Then we graduated to roll up thick pads we found at target, heaven!  Then when Dennis was transferred to Select Hospital I had a roll out chair that made into a bed.  This is where the lack of sleep starts.  We can’t leave Dennis alone at night because if something goes wrong with the ventilator he can’t push the button or yell.  So, the 40 days at Select were drug induced and he had his days and night mixed up and he was hot and then he was cold and so on.  Now, before Dennis’s accident I was a 9 hour a night girl.  I like my sleep and I don’t like to be woken.  Now, however, this was a whole new ballgame.  When we got to TIRR I thought, OK this is a big time rehab center, I will go to the hotel and sleep because they handle this kind of thing all the time.  The first night I stayed there and his hose on the vent came off and the alarm sounded and no one heard it.  I had no idea what to do so I called the nurse.  Needless to say I did not start sleeping in the hotel. When we got home I had to go back to work and I couldn’t help but wonder how I was going to manage.  Then I realized that you just manage.  God gives you the strength to do whatever you need to do.  With an SCI patient you have the sound of the vent and the alarms.  When Dennis has to have oxygen you have that machine noise and then you are up giving them pills, you are up covering them up because they are cold.  Then they are hot so you are taking covers off.  Then they can’t sleep or they have a headache or the list goes on and on. Their bodies do not regulate like ours does.   Now I still get a little testy in the wee hours of the morning, but Dennis knows I wouldn’t change a thing and I know that he would be there doing the same for me.  I now know you don’t need 9 hours of sleep that sometimes you can get by with 5 or 6.  God will provide what you need, when you need it. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some things could be worse!

When Dennis was at TIRR in Houston, Jan and I had to learn how to suction him.  The reason you have to suction someone on a vent is because they can not cough up the secretions and mucus we have in our lungs and airways.  Their diaphragm does not work so you have to use a suctioning machine to pull it out.  This is a suctioning machine, it uses a vacuum to pull out the secretions.
Vacu-Aide Suction Pump-AC 7305D-D

Jan and I practiced on a dummy and it went well but then we had to practice on Dennis.  You have 11 seconds to push the tube down his lungs till it hits a wall and if it hits to hard you can damage the lung.  Then you have to pull the secretions out using the tube.  All of this is done in that time and Dennis has to cough while we do this.  Well, we passed but it was very stressful.  I just thought Lord, we will have to do this as many as 5 times a day and it’s very invasive, please help us. Then one day we had a Respiratory Therapists that did suctioning a different way, a secret way that we could not tell the others about or she would get in trouble.  You stick the hose on the trach and he just coughs it up.  Well, we tried it and it worked!  Thank You God!  We have done that every since and we didn’t have to stick those tubes down his lungs.  This was a small miracle but we never take for granted the blessing we got that day.   Did I mention that our friends Debbie and Max came to visit and the nurses made them pass the test, and they did with flying colors!!