Thursday, March 31, 2011

Information overload

Way too many posts today...for which I humbly apologize. However am sitting in mom's room and she has fallen asleep. Wanted to write this when i was still thinking about it.

Last night we were reading from an Amish cookbook that I just put on my kindle. When we came to the chapter about canning, the author/editor wrote that canning and preserving is an important part of Amish cooking. He wrote that there is one item grown in the garden that is unsuitable for canning. I paused for a moment to see if mom was still listening.
"Rhubarb" she said
And she was right.

Morning report

from Kent. Mom is sitting up in the chair. Dr Risty (her surgeon) thinks she's looking better. Mom isn't quite so sure. Mark is reading to her.
Mom always listens to the grain markets throughout the day. She loves to stay on top of the commodity prices.
I told Kent to see if she's interested in listening to the markets today. KTOE radio streams their broadcast online so she can hear the Linder Farm network closing report.
Today is "Turn-around-Thursday"--
Everything is up ...
Praying she has her own "turn-around-Thursday" when she hears this news.

The view from here

I'm in my office this morning.
This is my inbox.
I'm also getting a new computer.
Not even sure where to start.
So just piled everything up.


to news about Mom, Kent and I were waiting for the elevator to go home yesterday afternoon.
I said, "Wow, what is that smell?"
Kent replied, "I'm not sure but it's really strong"
"It smells like Cotton Candy"
"You're right, it does."
"Maybe it's coming from the nurse's break room"
I had noticed a woman sitting in a chair next to the window. I looked at her, I guess wondering if she was smelling the same thing.
She said, "It's my lotion"
"I think you smell my lotion."
"Oh, what is it called?"
"Cotton Candy"
I'm at a loss here folks. Cotton Candy scented lotion. Not my first choice of fragrance. EVER.
Who comes up with this stuff?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Better Day

Mom is doing better. She has been up in the chair, took a nap and when we came back from lunch was looking much more like herself again. We read devotions and the Amish Cook Column. I also read from an Amish Cook's Treasure, a book I just put on my Ipad.
My heart is lighter.
She smiled and laughed for the first time in many days.
God is good!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Little things

Finding a blue M&M  when I thought the bag of trail mix was empty
Having Mom sit up in a chair today.
Getting a pillow and blanket from a kind lady so I could lay on the couch in the family lounge.
The peanut butter cookies in the cafeteria.
Having Mom actually able to nap and rest most of the day
Coming home and making dinner for Sam and I
With enough to feed Mark and Kent
A kind and caring surgeon who understands
And tells me that things should get better


Not one of my strengths. I want to interrupt, finish sentences, put in my two cents worth.
But I'm learning that I need to hear what others have to say.

The hospital is noisy. The man across the hall is hard of hearing. It's hard not to listen to the yelling that goes on in his room.

Late last night, the doctor came in and gave us the results of the ct scan. For now, things appear to be stable. She told us that she was concerned that she would have to take Mom back to OR. But what she saw on the scan did not indicate that she needed to go back in.

However there are some serious concerns about her condition. She has been running a fever. Pneumonia seems to be lurking in the background. Mom needs to feel good enough to sit up in the chair and even take a few steps.

We also talked briefly about biopsy results--which confirmed that the tumor and other areas biopsied are cancerous. Of 20 lymph nodes, 16 were cancerous.

While we have many questions, there are not answers to all of them right now. The immediate goals are to get her comfortable and recovered from the surgery." That may take some time. Because, according to the doctor, we are "At the mercy of our bowels. (Now there's a catchy title for a country song.) And the bowels tend to take their own sweet time to get back in business. But the nurses and doctors keep listening for some sign that they are "waking" up. And they listen to Mom, to us and each other. Not our bowels, or each others bowels. Oh, never mind. You know what I mean.

Kent, Mark and I all came home last night after hearing the results. We had planned to stay, but Mom really needed to rest and seemed to be ok. She even managed to say a few words and told us "It's late, you kids need to get home"  She was right, as usual, and being bossed around., even in her weak, labored voice, was just fine.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's complicated

Mom has not had a good day. They are taking her down for a CT Scan to see if they can see if there's something going on.
 They have started her on some nutrition and lipids.
I would give anything to see her smile.

Most interesting line of the day--just spoken by the nurse who is filling her full of dye for the scan:
 "Keep your family close but your barf bag closer"

Tough day

Just arrived at hospital. Mom is having a really rough time. Nausea that is not responding to meds. Blood pressure high. Lot of pain.
They put in an NG tube to empty contents of stomach. Also a PICC line to start her on nutrition at 6 pm.
Please pray that things improve..she is miserable.

Top Ten List

I'm not going to bother with the other 9, but the number one thing you don't want to have to say to your husband on a Monday morning is:

"I think the toilet in my bathroom is leaking."


After church in the morning, Kent and I went to the hospital. Mom had been sitting in the chair and was exhausted and sore. I talked to her nurse and she said they were holding off on giving her anything but ice chips for now. There was some swelling in her abdomen and they are being cautious. Her kidneys were also not putting out enough urine so they were giving her some Lasix.

Mark, Kent and I left her to nap while we went for lunch (weekend cafeteria food leaves something to be desired--it had been quite good) As we were leaving, I looked at her catheter bag and commented to Mom that things definitely were improving down there.

When I came back in, her care attendant came in to check on her and checked her bag, I heard her say "Whoa"

She proceeded to empty about 2000 milliliters. Mom's eyes opened wide when she saw the first liter-and the sweet gal said, "Wilma, I'm not even done yet!" She charted the information and we all agreed that Mom should be awarded gold star.
When they checked her vitals a little later, her blood oxygen was only 85 so they put her back on oxygen. I read some emails to Mom, Pioneer Womans Blog and our devotional reading for the day.
I left about 3--I needed to get some groceries.Went to Sam's Club and lost my focus so ended up coming home with a bunch of stuff I hope I will eventually need.

When I came home, Sam had vacuumed the whole house--so no more dust bunnies (for now)

Zac, Amber, Olivia and Harrison came for dinner. Zac had made a pork roast so we had pork sandwiches, salad, chips. He had even baked a  chocolate cake for dessert! Kent and Mark arrived about 7:30. It's good to eat together at least once a day.

Mark and Kent are heading up to the hospital this morning, hoping to be there when the doctors check on Mom. I have to go to the office and try to get something done before I go visit Mom.

Overall, she's doing well. Sitting up in the chair and taking a few steps is so draining for her--but necessary. Thankfully, she is comfortable enough with the pain meds to be able to rest and nap easily.

It's hard to believe this journey all began a week ago today.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

About being a mom

A little more than 24 hours after surgery,  Kent, Mark and I sit in Mom's room.
We give her ice chips when she wants coffee and fried chicken. The big news is that she can chew gum if she wants to.  Every time someone enters the room, she needs to recite her name and date of birth. It's the price to pay for pain  or nausea relief .
And Mom tells my brothers, "The sheets are clean on the spare bed. You may need to find an extra quilt."
She may not be sure what day it is or realize that she has cancer. But will forever know how to care.

Not much new

And for now, that is great news.
When I arrived PT had Mom sitting in a chair and trying to take a few steps. At times she is confused, but knows that she's confused, so we just figure things out together.
Kent, Mark and I are taking turns sitting with her. It seems too much conversation makes gets her mixed up. We closed the drapes and shut off the TV and left her alone to nap for awhile. 
I don't think I've ever spent this much time in a hospital. Many others have not been nearly so fortunate.


I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28: 15

God spoke these words to Jacob in his dream when he saw the stairway to heaven. The occasion for this dream was Jacob's flight from home because his brother Esau had vowed to kill him for deceiving their father Isaac and stealing Esau's blessing. Even in all his failings, God demonstrated unconditional love by promising His presence, protection and provision

This is a portion of the devotion Mom and I read last night. She dozed off and on as I read a few other selections from the book--we have fallen behind in our readings. But I kept coming back to that verse--a promise that can never be broken. Even when we are lost in our own confusion, grief and suffering.

As the afternoon progressed, Mom began to feel a little better and even smiled when we read some cards and notes. She is somewhat confused--but the nurses feel she is doing well. 

The surgeon came and talked to Mom and told her what she found during the surgery. I'm not sure if Mom will remember or not as she is taking a lot of medication. When she left, Mom went back to resting and didn't bring the subject up again. 

The drive home is a good time for me to begin to process the day's events and re-enter the real world. Where there is nothing to eat  and laundry to do. Everything has happened so fast, I really haven't had time to keep up here at home. I made us an omelet and toast-a favorite quick and comforting meal. This morning I am up early and getting the laundry done and house picked up. Going to put something in the crock pot  before I leave for the hospital. 

This is my prayer for the day taken from the devotional:
Lord Jesus, our travels seem insignificant compared to your travels from heaven above to earth below. Thank you for making the journey for us and for our salvation. Watch over us when we travel and encourage us in the knowledge that you go with us. Amen

Friday, March 25, 2011

Verse 3

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

Mom is out of surgery and back in her room. Sam is here with me--he arrived only moments before the doctor came out to talk to me. Again..Timing.
Mom did very well in surgery. They were able to do much of it with cameras and the largest incision is about 3 inches. The tumor and section of colon were removed and there were no complications with heart, lungs bleeding etc.
This is very hard to do, but the rest of the news is not good. When the doctor opened her up, she physically observed an extensive amount of cancer in her abdomen and liver. It appears to be adenocarcinoma. 
Sam and I talked briefly to the oncologist who was at her room when we came up from surgery. The focus right now is to get her recovered from surgery and perhaps schedule a visit with him in a month to 6 weeks.

Mom is not comfortable right now--so pray for relief from the nausea. They are trying a second medication but she is completely miserable. 

. I wish I could talk to everyone in person. Your prayers and words of encouragement are holding me up right now.

This is a test

To see if I can post an update from my iPad

Verse 2

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

My cell phone rang as I passed the Winnebago city limits. It was Mom's nurse telling me that they would be taking her to surgery in a few moments. They were early and as usual, I was running late--but I had to take care of some things at the office that of course took longer.  I so wanted and needed to see her before surgery but also knew that Mom is in good hands and would understand. 
But I still felt like a bad daughter.
So my mercy for this hour was that  when the nurse took me down to the surgery area, Mom was still in the holding room so we had about 5 minutes before they took her off. 
Timing. I've thought a lot about that lately. And God's timing allowed for those much needed moments with Mom.
So now it is a matter of waiting. And praying. There is a computer screen that tracks the surgical patients. here in the waiting room
Also a TV. 
I'm sitting by the aquarium. At least the fish are quiet.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Word Warp Anyone?

While we're waiting for our move to a private room, guess I'll take a minute to give you the word warp. Mom solved them all--after a cup of really strong coffee

taking    +
geometric +
physical   +            5     + ___________

train   +
car    +
nervous +             5    +____________

poop  +
stacked +
flight +                4    + _____________

Final answer       4       _____________

Moving up

But not really. We have moved to the 4th floor. What a difference--to go from a large, newly remodeled floor to the 1960s version. Not a private room--but at least other bed is empty.
It was a rocky start to the day and hard for Mom to make the change.
Met with her surgeon this morning and she is scheduled for mid-to-late morning. It will be a 2 - 3 hour surgery. They will first try to go with a small incision and cameras but may have to do the large incision if there is too much scar tissue or other problems.
 She has broken out in a big rash so they gave her some Benadryl. They didn't give her the anti nausea med to go with the morphine--but we've finally got everything under control and Mom is resting. We even listened to the closing markets report.
Mom is still on a liquid diet--but they stepped it up a notch today. We were pretty excited when we saw this arrive for lunch:
"Ooooo...this must be something good. Mom, let me take a picture for my blog." We speculated: Sushi? Steak? Fried chicken?

Not exactly
It felt good to hear her laugh, and laugh myself at "the big reveal"
Even so, it was encouraging to see Mom enjoy some pureed soup and this delicious perfectly toasted bread.
And ice cream!

Day by Day

 A couple weeks ago I had to play for church and we sang the hymn Day by Day. Little did I know how much I would need to lean on those words
Day by day
and with each passing moment
strength I find, to meet my trials here.
Trusting in
my Father's wise bestowment
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what he deems best
Lovingly as part of pain and pleasure
Mingling toil with peace and rest
Lina Sandell Berg 1854

Yesterday was a really long day. Mom was scheduled for a colonoscopy and was already gone from her room when I arrived about 10:30 (after going to the church, making a roaster of chili and 4 dozen eggs into egg salad for the lenten lunch). They took me to the waiting room in the endoscopy department about 11. At 1 I checked and they said it would be 15 more minutes and they would take me back to her. I won't go into the ugly details but my phone rang about 3 as I was still waiting there and Mom was back in her room. The oncologist was there and the nurse figured I would want to be there. No one bothered to tell me that she had been taken back to her room--even tho I had been waiting for 4 hours.
It was not one of my finer moments of composure and civility.
Let me insert here, that I had not eaten a decent meal since lunch  the day before
Many apologies (them) and blubbering (me) later, I managed to have a conversation with her gastroenterologist who really had nothing new to report. The biopsy report will come sometime today.

The nurse who was responsible gave me 2 $3 coupons for the cafeteria. I know. Weird.

We met with an oncologist--whose compassion and demeanor registered zero on any type of scale.
I went to the cafeteria and had a sandwich and some french fries and began to feel human again.
After coupons, it only cost me 7 cents. I gave her the correct change.
Mom was really loopy from all the sedation.
We met with the surgeon.
A kind man with cold hands.
Mom still thinks they are trying to figure out whether or not she has cancer. I am torn. But remind her that the reason she is having surgery is to remove the cancer.
She dozes off and I sit in her room and look out the window. And wonder why they would tint a window in such a way as to simulate perpetual twilight. Her snoring is somehow comforting as I text the latest information to family members.
I don't feel like talking to anyone.
Except Sam.
Who is my hero right now. He has boiled eggs, fried hamburger, cleaned up the wet basement, had a chilled wine glass ready when I arrive home and held me tight as I cried myself to sleep.
I'm going to just hit publish now. Maybe I will come back and fix this post so it actually makes sense.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I was doing a light-hearted blog post--working title "Mud and Guts"
Lamenting the  condition of our road, driveway, yard, garage etc.
And Mom's affliction with constipation and belly pain.

We are sitting in her hospital room.
Doing a crossword puzzle
Having a cup of coffee.
And trying to figure out where we go from here
Because late last night
A nice man named Dr. Lemon told us she has cancer.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's going to take awhile

To bring this blog up to speed. Lots of stuff going on.

New vehicle
New recipes
An upsetting experience involving a windshield installed by a local business whose name rhymes with "Wets Class"
Hearing aids.
Yes, hearing aids
You heard me
Hearing aids
Sam: I have my appointment at the hearing aid place tomorrow morning. Did you want to go along?
Me (aloud): No, precious, I totally trust your judgment and ability to take care of it.
Me (unspoken): He** no! I don't make you go the the gynecologist with me or watch me have a mammogram. Some things are better left outside the boundaries of the marital relationship. At our age, it's hearing aids

I've also subscribed to the online version of the Bradenton Herald. Which probably shouldn't be such a big deal.
But it is. To me. To us.
Because that means we can do the Word Warp
So, because I love you all very much, here is today's puzzle

Find the word in common by the 3 words in each puzzle. The three solution words will then form a fourth puzzle. The numbers indicate the answer length and the + sign tells you the position: (I feel just like Jeff Probst, "Survivors Ready?")

Matzo +              4       +  ________
Meat +

Tea +
Bath +               5         +  __________
Paper +

Bird +
Road  +             5         +  __________
Field +

Final answer       5          ____________

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Last night, Sam shared one of his most intimate thoughts with me:
"I know I shouldn't, but as soon as I leave your office I can't stop thinking about it. And counting the moments until I can go back for more."

"I know," I replied huskily, "I feel the same way."

What has ignited this lust, you ask?

It's on my desk...