Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas is gone for another year!

I was worried that this holiday was sneaking up on me and coming at me with both barrels. I was right - I did get everything accomplished that I wanted, but it was a lot of last minute work and switching some things around here and there. But, it was totally worth it to participate in the festivities.

Even though the weather was less than desirable, we drove to KC to see my family and play "the game" with everyone. It was fun. Thank you to Rex for doing all the driving. I'm usually the one behind the wheel and yesterday he braved the bad roads and frigid temps to take me to see my family. It was greatly appreciated (Amy can give him a big ole kiss and hug from me). The snow was blowing, the roads were awful, and the temperatures were bitter cold, in part because of the wind.

We didn't leave here until about noon. We would have gone sooner but couldn't decide if we were braving it or not. Amy didn't want to make the decision, Rex didn't want to make the decision, and I didn't want to impose on them because I knew it would be an up and back in one day trip, which is hard in good weather. If I drove myself, I would have spent the night and come back today (maybe - maybe not; the weather has not improved there) but no one wanted me to have to make the trip by myself and to drive on the horrid roads by myself. It was nice, because all of my siblings were there and all but a handful of the 2nd generation was there. Quite the crowd at my sister's house. My mom's health is not good and we all just wanted to spend the holiday together.

The game is an added benefit to the annual dinner. This year, I took a 12-inch seasoned cast iron skillet and 4 packages of corn bread mix. It was a hit. My sister Kris opened it, my brother Jerry stole it, and then my sister Michelle stole it from him. Michelle had brought a set of three cast iron skillets and was hoping to get one or the other of the gifts (she almost stole hers back but decided she could go get another set from JCP if she really wanted the other sizes). I ended up with the gift that Amy bought to take, which is a really nice wine bottle opener. Yes, I like wine. Not all the time; not every day or even every week, but I do like some every now and then and red wine is good for your heart. Doesn't do me much good if I can't get it open, though. hehehehe!

One of the gifts that Kris got was a table-top orange juice dispenser. It's made for a party - maybe a brunch - so people can help themselves. I wanted it but knew that it would be a dead item before I would get to it (my number was 29 out of 30; an item can be touched only 3 times before it's dead). My SIL Susie opened it, my brother Rob stole it, and Brandy's husband Bryan was going to steal it from him. But, he spoke too soon about wanting it and the course of action went like this... Michelle stole the frying pan from Jerry, Jerry stole the tools from Rex (the same tools that Rex had stolen from him), and Rex stole the drink dispenser from Rob. Bryan was not happy but that's how the game is played - buy the best gift you can for $15-$20 and see how many people really fight for it.

Rex said he took the tools originally because Jerry was talking about how much he liked them and how badly he wanted them. LOL - Amy had wanted Rex to steal a remote control car from her so it would then be dead and Isaiah could have it. Amy was #20 and Rex was #21 so they were good; Rex took the tools instead so then her cousin Jamie took it for her son Aiden. Rex said everyone expected him to take the car for Isaiah, but it was more fun for everyone for him to take the tools.

On the way home, he said that if Ron could use the drink dispenser he'd leave it for him. What do you think?

You put ice in the middle tube, hook it to the lid, and then put the water in the carafe - turn the handle and get nice, cold water.

Amy brought home a game for Isaiah after all - an electronic basketball game. He'll love it. Another SIL ended up with an ant farm. Unfortunately, she doesn't have any young sons to give it to and I'm afraid that we'll see it again next year.

Ron and Keith stayed home because Ron didn't think that he would be able to get into Michelle's house very easily. It would have been tough with the snow on the ground and probably not too safe for him to try. Keith's housemates were going to bring dinner to them but the roads were too bad, so I asked Ron's ex-wife if they would mind feeding them. She said no problem, they'd have plenty of food so she brought over enough dinner for them both - and as an added bonus, two of Ron's kids came and three of his grandchildren. It was nice for him to see them and he enjoyed it. We'll see the other grandchildren on Wednesday evening and then we also will see two from yesterday another day because I didn't know they were coming and I didn't leave their gifts where he would be able to get them. Oh well - that just means that I get to see them next week, too! LOL!

We're looking forward to seeing Shaun and Jenny next week! Alexander and Kaitlyn will get to have their Christmas with us on Saturday and then Sunday we'll go back to KC to show everyone the new baby. Fun, Fun, Fun!

I hope you all have a blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Doctor updates

The main hole looks pretty darn good. It's only just slightly below the surface, which is amazing. The new hole isn't bad yet and we caught it pretty early, so hopefully we got it in time. Doc cleaned them both up pretty good and just put a light dressing on them both. We decided that maybe one of the reasons the brace isn't fitting well is because the dressing was too thick. So, a thinner dressing it is.

The knee surgery is on hold for a while. The next appointment is January 11 and if Ron has problems between now and then, we'll discuss surgery. So, maybe we won't need to go down that road.

So - basically all good news.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brighter days

I know my last few posts have been full of gloom and doom - and I'm really sorry that I "dumped" on all of you. I'm not nearly as depressed as I think those posts make me sound. I'm not a depressing person to be around and I hate that my last few posts (and a few spread throughout the blog) have been less than upbeat.

So - looking toward the new year and all the resolutions that go along with it - I'm going to strive to post positive things. That doesn't mean that I won't post the truth about Ron's health or that I won't have a down day here and there. That's virtually impossible to avoid for even the most stoic person. I'm not above having the occasional pity party. I'll do my best to avoid them, though.

I'm looking forward to Christmas. We didn't have much money to spend on people this year (not a whine; just a fact) and the number of people I needed to buy for has expanded with the addition of LeCole and her children into our household. I've got nothing except a knitted cap and a sock monkey for Kaitlyn, my newest little granddaughter, but I'm fortunate in the fact that Shaun and Jenny won't be here until New Year's eve so I can shop the after-Christmas sales to find her just the perfect gifts. Same with her big brother, Alexander. He's got a couple of toys and a sock monkey so if I find something else after Christmas that I think he'd love, I'll be able to pick it up.

I told my step-children that they didn't need to buy anything for us this year and that we were not going to be able to buy anything for anyone except the kids. They are fine with that and I'm glad. Shaun and Jenny, Amy and Rex, and Keith are getting a little something from us because they are who they are. LeCole has no one but us who will buy for her, so I included her in the list of "kids" I'm buying for. I like to continue to donate to organizations who provide presents to less fortunate children so that is where a fair portion of my holiday spending money was directed. I'm happy with that and so are my children. They know that sharing and giving to others is really important to me.

I'm really looking forward to the holidays. We'll have a full house on Christmas morning with Amy, Rex, Isaiah, LeCole, LeAuna, Devyn, Jason, Keith, Ron, and me. The kids will be in awe over the things that "Santa" mom (both Amy and LeCole) have left for them, as well as what the adults put together for them. (New Year's Day we'll do it all over again for Alexander and Kaitlyn, although she'll probably not care too much this year - but wait until next year when she's mobile and in to EVERYTHING!) After the discarding of the paper and the thrill of the hunt, we'll get ready to head to KC to see my mom and siblings. I doubt very seriously if Ron will want to go as it's not easy for him to get into the house. But, he really doesn't mind spending the day alone - he actually minds it less than I do for him to have to spend the day alone. LeCole and the kids will be in and out and I'm sure someone will make sure he has something to eat. LOL - it won't be much different for him than any other day except he won't be able to order pizza delivery.

The step-kids will make arrangements to come over and pick up the presents/gift cards for their respective brood. We may or may not get to see them - just depends on the day it's convenient for their parents to come over. If we can't get a mutually convenient date set up, we'll have to take their things over to Ron's ex-wife's house and the kids can retrieve their gifts from her. We know she'll see most of them. One grandson we don't see very often at all - usually around Christmas or his birthday - because he lives so very far away (LOL - about 15 miles) and his dad doesn't come around much. We see the others a bit more often than that. (OK - that was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek comment, but I couldn't resist. I'm not complaining - just used to the fact that this is how they operate. Ron says it's because when Karen divorced him, she divorced him from his children, too. They have grown up with him not in their lives so why should they include him in the lives of their children? I have felt very badly about this for him, and for them because they are missing out, too but I think I finally have a peace about it. We thoroughly enjoy it when we do see them and look forward to the next time we see them. But, we have to accept that their lives involve the other side of their family more than they'll ever involve this side of their family. Ron says God made it all up to him by giving him Shaun, Amy, and then Keith. I'm glad that he feels that way and I know my kids are grateful that God brought us all together. I feel no malice for the others and wish that they included their dad more, but that is life and acceptance is the best we can do.)

But - back to the original subject of this post. I can ramble, can't I???

To all who read my blog - thank you very much for your continued reading and comments. I appreciate each and every one of you and thank you very much for your support. I am nearly finished with this semester and next doesn't start until January 11. There is a change in my education plans, one I'll cover in another post. I'm not sure how busy I'll be once the new semester commences but my goal is to post at least weekly.

Merry Christmas to you all and a very happy and prosperous New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Two years…

That’s how long we’ve officially been working on keeping Ron’s foot attached to his leg. The first hole was the most severe and took from December 2007 until November 2008 for it to get to the point that it no longer needed the wound VAC, but didn’t completely close until March 2009. Since March, we’ve been dealing with a new hole that was caused by the first brace they gave him. Ron’s skin is so sensitive that it breaks open very easily. Just the crease of the seam of something across his skin can cause it to break down, and that’s what happened in the 2nd instance.

It’s finally almost the same level as the rest of his skin after having been doctored and trimmed on for several months. During this time, he’s developed what can only be called a callous on the side of his foot just past where the NEW brace hits. I’ve been watching it and last week I told him I thought it was seeping some fluid. That is not good where he is concerned.

I changed his dressing on Saturday evening and it was a little damp. We changed his dressing on Monday evening and the callous has broken completely open. It wasn’t solid underneath – but instead became a soft issue. Last night, not any worse but not any better.

Honestly – I know there are people in this world who are dealing with much worse problems than what I’m dealing with. They’ve taken care of health issues in their loved ones that completely surpass what is going on in mine. My hat is off to them because I don’t know how they keep a “stiff upper lip” and keep going. I greatly admire them. I work really hard at putting on a cheerful face at work but if people ask me how Ron is doing, I don’t lie. I say he’s not good. He moves from the bed to the chair. Then he’ll move from the chair to the bed. In between he’ll take himself to the bathroom and maybe – just maybe – go into the kitchen for something to eat that’s easy for him to fix. He goes nowhere unless I take him, which isn’t to much more than the doctor. We will occasionally go to the movies or to eat breakfast together. Not much more than that. Now that the weather is bad he probably won’t go out as much as before because he knows it’s really hard for me to take care of the scooter in the cold.

I really think he will be having knee surgery soon and I hope we can get it scheduled for while Shaun and Jenny are here to help with him. He sees the knee surgeon and the foot surgeon on Monday morning. I hope the knee doctor can schedule surgery right after Christmas and I hope the foot surgeon has good news about the foot and can tell us what to do for the recurring holes in new locations.