Absolute Worst Two Weeks Of My Life

The past five years were the beginning of our on-going nightmare. It has been one serious medical issue after another.

Two weeks ago, Barry was hooking the computer to the television for us to stream the evening service. Barry suddenly starts to fall straight backwards. I called out to him several times, without response. Barry takes a blood thinner, so he truly did not need a lump on his head.

When his head hit the wooden ledge on the front door, he started convulsing. He ended up on his right side, I checked him for injuries, covered him up with a blanket and got a pillow. After around three minutes, he started coming around. He was quite confused and wanting to know what happened. By this time, I had gotten mom and 911 had been called. They were incredibly slow. Apparently, the county EMS was hopping all night.

Once in the Emergency Room, they got things going. There was something going on with his heart. He had a strange arrhythmia that the hospital felt needed more attention, so he was admitted.

The next night, there was another episode opting a move to the ICU for better observation. I found out about the transfer when Barry called the next morning to say he was being trasferred to Saint Joseph’s Hospital within the next hour.

I got ready and headed to Atlanta, as quickly as I could. My sweetheart does not like hospitals and I knew he would not want to be alone. I stayed with Barry for two nights.

Then I had a chemo treatment and on Saturday, the injection to boost my white blood cells. The day of my chemo treatment, they discovered a blood clot under my right arm. I started the injections they ordered before chemo. The next day my right arm was acting up, so I requested to see the infusion center fellow doctor. Since starting the injections, shortness of breath occurred everytime I preformed a task or stood up to walk. I was concerned the clot had moved to my lung.

I was sent straight to the Emergency Room for evaluation. We chose to go to the hospital Barry was in. He was already downstairs having a pacemaker put in. Due to my injection, I was unable to see Barry before the procedure.

Our wonderful pastor made it just in time. Barry was thrilled to see him coming. While I was being evaluated, my sister went to check on Barry and let him know what was going on. He was worried. I tried to convince him I was fine, but do men ever really hear what their wives say?

I was released with a diagnosis of pneumonia. More drugs to take. Gotta love it! Kristie and I almost ran to his room. Kristie needed to get on the road soon. Not only does she have a husband and two boys, she had taken the role of chief caregiver to our father. Barry wanted me to stay, but I was running a fever. He had more test scheduled for the next day, he’d never know I was there or not.

We headed home and packed a bag. I was ready for the next day. My nephew was picking me up to drop me at the hospital for a few days. I wore a mask when I had the fever, and removed it when I did not. We met Barry’s surgeon that morning. They were scheduling his surgery for morning. During the night, I recieved a call that my father had passed away. After surgery, I would not be able to see him. He would be moved to CVICU and I would not be able to see him freely. His doctor told me to go home and come back when he is stable.

Barry had an abcess in his heart and the wall of his heart was erroding. They had to re-build a section of the heart to be able to get a valve in and they were unable to use the mechanical valve. A pig valve was placed. He has been in ICU for over 6 days and today, they finally got him off the venilator. He was up in a chair last time I spoke to the nurse. Such a huge improvement since last week. I was terrified of loosing him. I lost my father.

My blog post my be scattered, but I will get back to normal soon. Missed you all!

Jill

Writing Through Cancer | For the Week of August 4, 2013: Can It Get Any Worse?

Can it get any worse?  Maybe so, but then again, maybe not.  Hope keeps us moving ahead, one step at a time.  Think of a times you were dealt bad news, your own or someone else’s?   How did you first react?  How did you get through a difficult period in your life?   What helped?  How did you find the strength—even hope—to cope and begin to heal?  How did you find a way to reverse the course and bit by bit,  make your life better?

When life decided I needed to make lemonade, someone had a truck load of lemons delivered and dumped them by garage door. I guess for easy access from the kitchen. God knows I have trouble walking, I guess he was just trying to help out.

Hope keeps you going, but the Lord above is raining that hope down on our situation. We need a good saturation of hope. Through our bible studies and attending church regularly, I think we are finally relaxing as issues occur and giving things to God.

Dealing with my diagnosis has becomes easier daily. I’m adapting the attitude. when

I am working on handing all my issues over to the Good Lord above. Currently Barry and I need all the help we can get. It seems like everyday day gets a little tougher.

If you follow our blog, you know our history, but what you do not know is that my mother lives with us. She has her separate living space, but has no boundaries. Mom is newly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and the beginning stages of Lewy Body Dementia. If interested. to find out more about Lewy Body Dementia, follow the following link, http://www.lbda.org/

It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Leaving mom at a hospital to treat mental health issues. That’s my mommy! I’m supposed to take care of her. I cried the entire day we took her over to the hospital.

On top of managing chemotherapy for breast cancer, managing my mom’s care, making sure Barry is OK and assisting my sister when I can with my dad; Barry and I do what we can to help out at church. We are slowly working into volunteering more often, as my energy level rises. We are truly enjoying it.

My dad has been given an undetermined amount of time to live. He is suffering from  heart, kidney and liver failure. He has moved into my younger sister’s extra room and monitored by hospice. If anyone needs help with anything, please let me know. Barry and I will see what we can do.

When we first found out about dad, it was the day I found out I have breast cancer. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. Dealing with the two is a t of emotion to handle at once.

Talking with my sister’s and my blog has helped me pull through this mess. We are taking one day at a time, one problem at a time. We are all hoping daddy will surprise us all, and turn things around. Hope keeps us going, but knowing his salvation will  bring peace to each of us.

On chemotherapy, I have not been able to aid my sisters as much as I would like to with dad.  The brunt of his care has fallen on Sandy and Kristie. They both know I would be right there with them if I could, dad knows to. My daddy knows I love him. Barry lost his father at a young age. He is my rock, my strength as usual.

I’ll finish this up tomorrow. I’m pooped. Sweet dreams. Mom has gained a little weight. We need to take her dress shopping tomorrow. Could be interesting.

The daily prompts I write from each week come from the following blog by Sharon Bray:

http://writingthroughcancer.com/

Follow the link to her blog. She is incredible! Thank you, Sharon…..Jill Baynes

 

Daily Prompt: Pat on the Back

Tell someone you’re proud of just how proud you are.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SUCCESS.

Our nephew, Jonathan, has overcome tons of odds to get where he is today. He has trouble with attention at times and has faught tooth and nail to keep his schoolwork up. He can be a bit lazy, but has made the grade every year and becomes more focused daily.

He loves the outdoors and working outside. His favorite pasttime is torturing his little brother. He has matured so much in the past year. He is turning into quite a nice young man.

He is so handsome at fifteen years old. The good thing is, he hasn’t discovered girls yet. I cannot believe they aren’t beating the door down. Hopefully he will not notice girls until he is in college.

He shows me such respect and is the only person around, other than Barry that doesn’t treat me like I’m a different person since the brain surgery. I’m still Aunt Jill to him. That rewards him the greatest respect from me. To have him show me that kind of respect at his age amazes me.

I cannot believe he is such a sweetheart. I beam with pride as I watch him grow into such a good young man. I’d love to think I might have had a small influence on him. It is an honor to call him my nephew. Who knows?

Daily Prompt: Life After Blogs

Your life without a computer: what does it look like?

If I did not have a computer to do my blog and everything else we do online, the word old school comes to mind. I remember diaries, writing letters, land line phones, and actually talking to one another.

Kids today may not understand several of these things, but the human brain is an amazing organ. It can help you learn new things. They would learn to cope quickly.

My life without a computer just takes me back in time to pre-technology. I’d feel as if I were in high school again. The only negative I see in the picture, is paying long-distance fees for the telephone. Otherwise, I’m good!

The Infusion Center

Saturday afternoon, Barry and I were at the Infusion Center to receive my Nulastin injection to boost my white blood cells. As I sat quietly waiting, I looked around and listened to the conversations around me.

The gentleman sitting to my right was on his second round of chemotherapy for bladder cancer; the lady to the right said hello and dozed back off quickly.

There was a young man in his twenties sitting across, the nurses’ s were hanging blood for. His bloodwork needs boosting to continue his treatments next week.

The gentleman in the chair next to him, had his wife with him. She she speaking to the lady two chairs down from me. The lady down from me, was stating that she was giving up. Her husband could no longer sit with her, he was tearful and upset. He left the room and twenty minutes, a young lady showed up to sit with her mother.

After listening a while longer, she revealed that she was going through her sixth round of chemotherapy for the last time. Years ago, it had started in her breast and just spread around her body, until she now had brain cancer and nothing was helping.

She said she cannot do it anymore and is ready for her seat in heaven. Her daugher started to cry. I started tearing up, Barry pulled the curtain to allow what little privacy that is avaiable.

As I listened, to the hustle and bustle around me, I was hit with the sheer magnitude of the number of people that float though those rooms. The waiting room is always full, and when called back for my turn, I’m taken to the only empty seat in a bay.

It is truly sad to see all of these wonderful peeple going through the agony of chemotherapy. But this is still a statement for how far medical technology has come. All those people in there numerous times surviving, although having to come back for more.

I’ll continue this post after I look up some numbers. They have to be up there. I never thought about it before this date.

In memory of Ms. Eva Frady Baynes Roper

Barry and I were dating, marriage had not been thought about yet, when he got the news that his mother was sick and his step’father neefed our help. It was the first time his stepfather had ever called with any issue concerning his mother.

He had been taking her to a doctor, home health had been ordered and the things they needed him to do at home, he was unable to accomplish. He was asking for help, unsure of what to do himself. Barry and I made a few phone calls and scheduled a few doctors appointments, then headed to Calhoun to check her health status out for ourselves.

One toe on her left foot had turned totally black. The orders the home health agency had was to soak the foot two times daily and apply an ointment and dressing to the toe. The physician had started her on medications for the problem.

Two days later, Barry and I took the two of them to the doctor ourselves and talked to the doctors ourselves. Her diabetes was out of control and she was about to lose that toe. He tweaked her medications a little and sent us home.

The next day, the home health nurse called my cell phone looking for Barry. She felt her health status had changed drastically and was calling an ambulance to send her to the hospital. I immediately called Barry and we headed to Calhoun.

Her kidney doctor did a test that let us know her kidney’s were failing and it would not be long.

While in the hospital, I was talking to his mom and told her that she had to get better. She asked why? I told her that son of her’s was eventually going to ask me to marry him and she would have a wedding to attend. I had to lean in to hear her, but she said, “Do not worry, I’ll be there”! At our wedding, Barry sat two chairs off to themselves for his parents. It was so sweet!

We spent the next three nights sharing a cot by his mother’s hospital bed. We decided to head home to shower and change clothes. Home was a two hour ride. Of course, the minute we walked in the door, the phone was ringing. She had passed away a few minutes prior to the call.

We let James know, we would be back early in the morning, showered and headed to bed. We were exhausted. We had plans to make.

The next day, we called to see about checking Frank out of school to get to the funeral. He took the news hard. His mother was unable to pick him up, but my dad was kind enough to drive me down to pick him up. It was a two day trip, we stayed the night in a hotel and headed back to Calhoun the next morning. Frank’s school was on the Georgia coast and Calhoun almost in Tennessee.

The funeral viewing had begun when we arrived. I have to admit I was a little angry with Barry’s ex-wife when we arrived. She could not make the trip to pick her son up for the funeral, but she could rent a hotel room and head to his mother’s house to start picking out what she wanted and driving poor Barry into a nervous frenzy. My aging father took the time to help me accomplish that task and she never said as much as a “thank you”.

I calmed Barry and got serious about circulating. Ignoring the cause os his nerve overload. Ms. Eva had a wonderful turnout. The mortician had done a beautiful job. The church service was well-done. Frank’s tearful memories were my undoing.

At the graveside service, the flowers were beautiful. As everyone was leaving the service to head back for lunch at the church. Barry, Frank, and I stayed back to take a few photos and take time for our good-byes.

Just as I said, “Ms. Eva, don’t worry, I’ll take care of your boys!” At that very moment, a rose fell off the casket in front of Barry and Frank and landed at their feet. We all froze and looked at one another. We still have those roses in a bible today!

Writing through Cancer: For the Week of July 21, 2013: Returning “Home”

Barry and I do lot of traveling, unfortunately we haven’t had time for a trip just “for us”. Most of our traveling has been to doctors, labs, coumadin clinics, nuerology clinic’s, oncology clinics, breast specislist, and infusion centers. Those are just for Barry and I, we also handle mom’s doctor’s trips.

Eventually we have plans for ourselves, but I think we will save that for the end of the year. Somewhere quiet that feels like home. Just the two of us, always alone. Loving time together, spoiling each other. After the few years we have been through, we deserve it.

We are discussing some where to spend Christmas away from home. Might take to puppy dog with us. Who knows! Anything is possible.

Returning “home” is the project, so let me stop babbling and get to it. Although our traveling has not been for pleasure, coming home still feels like heaven.

A trip to the grocery store feels like a 10K roadrace at time. So walking back into our meager abode from any trip away from it, is a pleasure.  I love the sight of my fuzzy, velour blanket draped over the arm of my favorite chair in the living room.

Waiting by my chair is Barry’s favorite rocker/recliner. He loves to rock, it relaxes him. His favorite blanket over the arm of his chair, also. His is fuzzy, plaid. But he is so cute asleep, with it cuddled under his chin.

Waiting at home for us, usually, is our sweet little Maggie with her Boxer waggle. Walk into the house and she makes you feel like you have been gone for weeks. She loves you to pieces whether you have been gone five minutes or a week. She loves you no matter what. Unconditional love, what you give your family on a daily basis. Did the Good Lord bless man’s best friend eith such a wonderful quality?

The feeling of brings warmth and comfort over you. Relaxation sets in and the comfy clothes come out. The clothes you would not be seen in public in, along with your favorite slippers. No matter how ratty. In “The Wizard of Oz”, Dorothy could have not said it better with “there is no place like home, there is no place like home”. There is truly, no place like home. Even without ruby red slippers to get you there.

My Sisters, Wonder Woman in disguise…..Bet you never knew there were three

I am the middle child of three girls. We grew up in a small-town called Winder, Georgia, in the late seventies into the eighties. We are quite a mix, but we make it work. We all have excessively busy lives. We live within 30 minutes of each other and hardly ever see one another.

I’ll start with the oldest, Sandy, Wonder Women number one. She is hardworking, smart,detail oriented, sweet, loving, caring, kind-hearted, meticulous, adores her children and grandchidren, keeps an emmaculate home, takes incredible care of her husband, whom is wheelchair-bound from a spinal cord tumor. Dennis gets around and takes care of himdelf during the day, he even drives. He manages several household chores and always makes sure Sandy has a hot meal ready at night. She is the secretary at her church and drives a school bus for the county they live in.

She likes things done her way or no way; she doesn’t care to see things go wrong; she believes it is ok to plan gatherings the day before she wants to have it; she tells you what time something will start or what time she will arrive, but is always on average two hours late; but on the other hand. She has my love and respect, but I have to admit, I do not know how she does it. I would have packedup and run away a long time ago. She is one tired, incredible woman and I love her dearly. 

Our relationship has changed since I got sick. I miss the relationship Sandy and I had. We will probably never get it back. I had enough trouble accepting the “new me”, how can I expect others to understand and accept the changes I deal with daily. I just want to be included. If I am able, I’ll be there!

Brain injuries make a person vulnerable to infections and other things that could be deadly. That fact has kept me closer to home in the past few years. I’m a great aunt, now. I’d love to be able to play and have fun with them, just as I did her kids growing up. We had some great times.

Enough of that. Let’s get to Wonder Women number two, my younger sister, Kristie. Kristie is sweet, kind-hearted, loving, caring, smart, adores her dhildren and husband, focused, detail-oriented, hard-working, and is currently using her super powers to take care of father, who is gravely ill. Sandy snd I have helped when we could, but it hasn’t been close to enough to give her a break.

Kristie surprised me after I had brain surgery, she visited daily for a few weeks and cooked several meals, so we wouldn’t have to worry about it. She helped get me to rehab when Barry had a conflict. This was so sweet. Not that she hasn’t been sweet in the past,  Barry and I just were not expecting it. Thank you, Kris!

Kristie has a quick temper and let you know when she thinks you are wrong. I did not witness this, but she took a 6’6″ man to the ground and beat him up. Mom called her a “lightening bolt” when getting her up for school in our younger days. She still carries a bolt in her back pocket.

I love both my sisters with all my heart and will do anything in the world for both of them. Thank you both for being there when I have needed you! I could not have gotten better sisters if I had ordered them from a catalog. God truly blessed me in the sister department! Thank you, Dear Lord for my sisters!