Posted in This & That

Mind Over Matter

As I sit here hanging with my GrandKiddo, I realize that these are the times that I most enjoy.  People get so busy doing things that they really do not allow time to just be in the moment.  I am guilty of this as well.  I prefer to be busy most of the day because if I am not doing something, I get very bored and sleepy.

Sleep is a rare thing for me.  I have been an insomniac for most of my life and I do good falling asleep and sleeping for an hour or two before waking throughout the night.  I have accepted that this is my life and as I get older and my body prefers getting up Uber Early every day now, sleep becomes more elusive.

Being bored will make me sleepy and depending on my pain level, I may fall asleep on occasion, but normally, I stay awake and think of what I can do to pass the time.  I have many videos and shows I like to watch and of course, there is always a book ready for me to read at the tip of my fingers that help pass the time.  But just hanging out with my GrandKiddo or GrandKiddos, or family, or friends, THOSE are the best things to alleviate the boredom and sleepiness.

I know I may be rambling and not really on topic of Mind Over Matter as this blog is titled, but it all ties in together.  I promise, Dear Bloggites. 🙂  We have all heard the phrase mind over matter.  The all-encompassing “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter” attitude that many take when they don’t really feel like getting into the nitty-gritty of life with other people.  This is their way of dismissing someone’s feelings while sounding supportive.

That statement is really not a nice statement.  It tells someone that if they can just accept what is happening to them without questioning it, then the feeling they are having is unnecessary and unimportant.  How sad is that?  When did it become okay to dismiss our feelings?  Now, I know what you are thinking, everyone has extreme feelings in this day and age, but really, it is just extreme because they have been conditioned to dismiss how they feel and so when their feelings get so overwhelming from being ignored, they explode.

I think I am going to go back to allowing myself to feel every moment and to appreciate what I am feeling.  When I appreciate what I feel, it helps me to become more appreciative of the world and people around me.  I said in my blog a couple of days ago or so that I was done trying to be who I used to be.  Embracing the emotions, I feel in the moment is a big step for me to let go of the past and the ME BEFORE.

No more hiding my emotions from others but also no more of the extreme blow ups of feelings.  Now, if you know me, you all know that I don’t show my emotions so you may be a bit confused by my statements here, but I do feel emotions, but I have also learned to hide them from others because I have to be the strong one.  The decision maker.

I will still be the strong one and the decision maker because that is truly how I am built, but the decision to not hide my emotions is really a decision for myself.  I will see my emotions now and not ignore them with the mind over matter facts.  I will allow myself to feel the nitty-gritty of the emotions washing over me and I will smile every time.

Because really, at the end of our lifetime, you should mind because it does matter. Smiling and embracing ourselves in a positive way is the best way to be true to yourself and feeling your emotions is the truest way you can ever be you.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in This & That

2020 Already?

January 14, 2019.  That was the date of my last blog post.  I blinked, and now I am at the dawning of 2020, January 1st to be exact.  Where did the year go?  What was I doing?  When did time get so fleeting?

When I woke up this morning (afternoon…don’t judge me), I woke up happy and in minimal pain.  That doesn’t happen often in my life now.  Since that fateful day on September 1, 2005, my life has never really been mine and I have just been on this downward spiral of pain, misery, self-destruction, and darkness.

No one tells you after something that drastically changes your ENTIRE LIFE and life views that you will never find the you that you used to be BEFORE!  I have tried for the past 15 years to find ME, the ME I was that everyone loves and misses, to no avail.  Nothing can bring ME back, I am finally accepting that, but I do wish my friends and family would accept it, too.

Don’t get me wrong, my friends and family love me, always have, but every once in a while I will hear the “you used to never be like that” comment and, although I know the people who say it don’t mean anything by it (or even think about what they are saying), that shit hurts me to my core!

I have tried to find ME, the me who I was BEFORE, but keep failing because that ME died in that fateful car accident right along with the poor fireman who lost his life.  My body lived, but the essence of ME died.  I still carry on.  I have tried to find ME for 15 years to no avail and I am now ready to accept I never will.  Life ripped me a new one that fateful day and I am done trying to go back.

This year is going to mark a rite of passage for me and my Bestest Friend the whole wide world, Tracy.  We are turning the big 5 0!  We are going to be HALF A CENTURY OLD!!!  Tracy, who has always called herself many years older than she actually was, is going to mark this day by doing something she always dreamed of doing: going on a cruise with her closest and dearest friends (BTW, I am one of them peoples…LOL).

Her decision, while money has always been a struggle, was something she committed to doing and by Jove, Tracy is going to see this decision come to fruition on the first week of February.  Her actual birthday is January 31st (give her a SHOUT OUT!!!), but the cruise she wants to go on is available a week later and she took it.  I am so PROUD of her for following her dream and desire until it happened (happens?)!  This realization of her following her dream has given me pause to really think about what my dream is for my life.

You know what, Dear Bloggites, when I thought about what my dream is for my life, I came up with nothing!  Nada!  Zip!  Zero and Zilch!  See, what dreams and goals I was striving for were destroyed just as my car and body were back in 2005.  Everything I was working toward for my life was killed.  EVERYTHING!

I am not trying to get your sympathy over this, I am just sharing with you my realization that since 2005, my life has been spiraling out of control.  I have been riding on that downward spiral that was filled with pain, adjustments, pain, disappointments, pain, loss, pain and on and on.  Nothing I did or tried to do has been able to stop the spiral; and worst even, I really did not know I was spiraling downward!  I had no clue-until now.

It has taken me 15 years to realize this but waking up this morning HAPPY and in MINIMAL PAIN suddenly brought that spiral to an abrupt stop and the silence and stillness was heard loud and clear.  I was happy, but I wept.  I wept into my pillow and onto my dog, Ragonk’s, back.  I snotted and snorted tears of happiness over the silence and stillness.  I am not pain free, but my GOD, today was the first day since September 1, 2005 that I felt HAPPY waking up and even better, ALMOST PAIN FREE!

 My life has been an unending blur for 15 years.  I am sure I will still have rare days like today, but I want everyone to know that I am no longer going to try to be the ME I used to be. *bow our heads in silence for the death of ME

I am broken.  I am damaged.  I am scarred.  But that is me now.  I will never been who I was, but you know what?  I think I am okay with who I am becoming now.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Easter Musings

Happy Easter, Ya’ll! 🙂  Today was a rare day and a glorious one.

I will start on the rare day first:

Today was a rare day because work was actually closed all day!  Last time we closed was on Christmas Day, so I decided we were off on Easter Sunday.  It was really nice to not have to get up and load the computer and start processing orders.  I was able to turn off my regular alarm, lazily wake up, and then have cuddle time with my dog, Ragonk.  I went to Bible Study class, then spent the afternoon with family.  It was wonderful!  I truly believe the mind and body need rest and with the industry that my business is in, it prevents that ability due to being a seven-day a week industry.  I feel the pressure of working seven days.  I am trying to create boundaries to allow my mind and body to get the needed rest and today was a first step on that journey. 🙂

What do you do to get the rest for your mind and body, Dear Bloggite?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Now, onto the glorious one:

Being a Christian, today I celebrated the Risen Christ after His crucifixion and three-days in the tomb.  Today reminds believers that Christ is alive and well and He has overcome death.  I have many friends who are Christians and many who are not, and one of the biggest differences I see in these two types of friends is the fear of death.  When you are not a believer in Christ, you view death as an ending with nothingness after.  When you are a believer in Christ, death is just the beginning of a life everlasting with Christ.  As a believer, I do not fear death, I welcome it when it is my time to go because I know I will go to a better place than this Earth.  That knowledge is so refreshing and having that knowledge, I rejoice in the life people lived after they pass and rejoice in their life everlasting if they are a believer.  It is amazing to be free of the fear of death and I wish everyone could feel that. 😀

What do you believe in, Dear Bloggites?  Do you celebrate life and death, or do you live with the fear of death each day of your life?  Share your belief in the comments below.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Take Me To Task…I Need To Blog

Goodness Gracious, Dear Bloggites!  I have been slacking off!  It has been three days (THREE) since I last blogged, and you guys are not taking me to task.  I need to be hollered at to keep on top of blogging, so I can share what is going on in my Journey I call Life. 🙂IMG_0432.  All that said, here is what has kept me from blogging to you Awesome People:

First, I started working my list from 2017 now 2018 and have started walking with my dog, Ragonk, and 4 of 7 in the Familial Unit (Debbie) and her dog, Pepper.  I have found that just walking an hour a day, I have so much more energy, and OMG – Ragonk LOVES to go for walks!  Just look at this grin on his face!

The Two-Faced Truth by Roy & Dee KaySecond, I have been offered a guest post on The Floating Thoughts Blog for providing an honest review on their book, The Two-Faced Truth, and have been working on that.  I am so touched and excited for this opportunity to reach new people with my written work.  I don’t want to disappoint anyone, so I am being extra picky about the story line.Paisley Showing 03-24-2018

Third, today I went and showed support for 1 of 7 in the Familial Unit (Kathy) as she and her beautiful dog, Paisley, competed in the Fort Worth Kennel Club All Breeds Show.  I am proud to say Miss Paisley won first place in her category (dachshund puppies), not too shabby for her second show.  My sister has done an amazing job with her.  In the two shows she has done so far, Paisley has won first place in one or multiple categories. 🙂

WORD EmblemFourth, I attended my first WORDfest 2.0 today.  WORD means Writer Organizations ‘Round Dallas.  This was their second annual WORDfest where they invite published authors and specialists in the craft of writing to do breakout sessions for the writers in the area.  My BFF, Tracy, went with me to show her support on my writing dream. 🙂

Fifth, I went to my monthly Off The Cuff Toastmasters meeting tonight.  I was assigned the “Funmaster” role, so I created this fun exercise for the members to do at the meeting.  I created some nifty flower pops that had an action written at the back for the member to do while passing the homemade Bling Milk Can to the next member who had to pick.  Everyone laughed and got some exercise.  I thought I did a pretty good job for a moments creativity.

All in all, as you can see, I have been busy thus the delayed posting on this blog.  I promise I will get back to posting at least every other day.  Until then, Dear Bloggites, let me know what you would like me to talk about, share, discuss, or review.  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P

 

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ~May Crandall (in Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Ya’ll!  I am writing this book review on February’s book chosen by The Books & Broads Book Club: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate.  I was hesitant about this book based on the story line.  It sounded very depressing and I do not like depressing…LOL

Before We Were Yours by Lisa WingateThe story line is about five siblings who were kidnapped from their river home while their Mom and Dad were at the hospital for their Mom to give birth to their twin siblings.  The story follows Rill Foss and her determination to protect her sisters and brother when they are taken to Georgia Tann’s Memphis, Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  The story toggles from 1939 to Present day while the different stories are played out throughout the book.  Present day finds an up-and-coming politico, Avery Stafford, who moves back to Aiken, South Carolina to help care for her father who is fighting Cancer and to get her name out there to take his place in the Senate if he passes from the Cancer.  During her time in Aikin, Avery, meets an older lady named May Crandall who sets her in motion to find the long-hidden secret of her family’s history to find out how May Crandall is associate with her grandmother, Judy Safford.

Onto the review, Dear Bloggites.  This story is an emotionally draining story in my opinion.  It is written in first person (which I hate) and toggles between 1939 Tennessee and present-day South Carolina.  Even though I do not like first person, it worked well in this book because of the different players you are following throughout.  Lisa Wingate created well developed characters in this book and even though the topic was deep and depressing, you did find moments of humor and lightness to help comfort the reader and give them a break from the heaviness of the subject.

The story became very predictable as I read the book and by the middle, I had already figured out who each person was and how it was going to end.  This was sad for me because, while I am reading a depressing topic, I was hoping the author would put a twist in there so the reader was surprised by the ending instead of underwhelmed and left with a feeling of, “Meh, okay.”  The book is a work of fiction but is based on real life events that happened in Memphis, Tennessee with Georgia Tann and her kidnapping of children from poor homes to place them (at an expensive cost) in the homes of financially well, established members of society.

I give Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you don’t mind depressing topics, go out and give this book a whirl.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Remember When…

Let’s turn back time to 2017.  Remember when I posted New Year, New Start 2017 on January 1, 2017?  Don’t remember, Dear Bloggites, click the link, take a moment to read the post, I can wait right here for you.  Let me know when you are back.

Okay, now that you are back, I had grand plans with those three key words: Change, Passion, and Luck.  Today, I was flipping through my notebook of the different scribbles I make, some on new written works, some on classes, some on random thoughts to do something with, on this flipping excursion, I came across this:

Goals 2017

Now, if you look real close, you will see the graph I made on adding one new thing each month.  January just had ‘Skin Regiment’ which I started (thus the check over it); February added ‘Get Dressed’, odd goal but those of you who work from home will understand the ease it is to just stay in the PJs all day; March added ‘Workout’ to the other two items.  Now, as you already have noticed, I did not check off ‘Get Dressed’ or ‘Workout’ and the ensuing months, I added nothing, nada, the big fat 0!

All those goals and plans withered away and died as life began demanding all my time.  Also, the items and sub-items for Change, Passion, and Luck, did not happen.  A synopsis of the goals and if it happened or not:

Change 1: I will find myself on my own again with my son, the dog, and the guinea pig with no roommate for the first time in, geez, years – Did not happen and we lost my son’s guinea pig earlier this year.  Still hoping the roommate moves out but until he can find sustainable money coming in, I don’t see it happening too soon. 😦

Change 2: I have been paying for a gym membership for the past year and have not utilized it…going to utilize this gym membership to change my health for the better and reach the weight I am happiest at once again – Did not happen, however, I did let that gym membership close and now I paid for an entire year at another gym closer to my house, maybe this year…

Change 3: My current business is surviving this lull in the industry and seems to finally have bounced back…continue to find ways to build income from this business – My current business is still struggling and my co-worker is looking for another job because there is not enough work for two people to do (if you have not figured it out, my roommate is my co-worker).

Change 4: I am going to take advantage of the social invites I get and start actually going – Didn’t happen, I am getting better, but not where I wanted to be.

Passion 1: I have a wordsmith business…I plan on growing this business up, one client at a time and look forward to the new relationships I shall make along the way – While I have had some clients, it is nowhere near where I wanted to be at this time now.

Passion 2: I am now looking at taking myself seriously as a writer and growing this part of me on a personal level…My goal is to sign up for some form of writing class each month to build my talent as a writer and start opening doors to the publishing world to promote myself as a writer – I did good with the classes for the first three months, as well as, writing, but then life scattered the classes and writing to the wind.

Luck 1: I know with every situation I face, I will need a little luck in finding my way – Luck is still my friend but decided to work in the background and not allowing all the doors and opportunities to be opened.

Luck 2: Waking up every morning…just start finding things to fill my time outside work – Did not happen.  Waking up did, but nothing outside work.

As, you can all see, my goals and plans were dust in the wind rather quickly.  Now that a new year is here and pretty much at the same point when last year’s goals petered out, I am ramping up my determination and going to push through everything to obtain these goals this year.

I hope you travel on this journey with me, Dear Bloggites, because it is lonely sometimes and encouragement and especially accountability go a long way.  If you do not see me posting for a while, shoot me a comment here and give me the proverbial “Kick in the Ass” to get me going again.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis

This is it!  I have finally finished the last book the Books & Broads Book Club agreed to read for this year.  The November Book chosen by the book club was The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis.  Let me tell you, Dear Bloggites, I made a huge sigh of relief finishing this one because I finally feel “caught up” to the other ladies in the club…LOL  On to the review:

The Moment She Left by Susan LewisI was unsure if I would like this book only because I was told the majority of the ladies in the book club did not like this book.  So, I figured it was going to be one of two things for me: 1. I hate it or 2. I love it.  The answer is 2!  I loved this book!  I was already intrigued simply because it was a mystery AND a fiction book AND not about Hitler or WWII or any other war there is! 🙂  The story line for The Moment She Left was about a young girl who disappears one day without a trace.  This young lady had everything going for her and her life was perfect, then she disappeared.  Two years after the disappearance without a single clue what happened, the father, Blake, asked an ex-detective, Andee Lawrence, to revisit the case.

Andee, as a favor for a friend of hers, agrees to revisit the case even though she was sure the police did everything they could to find her and yet could not find any leads.  Andee is a woman newly separated from her husband and is trying to find her way for herself outside her husband and children even though she is getting a lot of grief from everyone in the family.  Taking on this case is a good distraction for Andee and as she starts digging in, finds that there is an area that was missed by the police.  Once this area was discovered, a whole world of secrets are exposed for almost the entire town and one way or another, the key players are all tied to this disappearance.

No more story giveaway, on to the review.  Susan Lewis did an amazing job and building out each character in this story while adding to the overall plot.  The characters were well rounded and while this story was a mystery, there were funny characters that lightened and endeared the readers that much more to the town and people.  This story is the first in a series on Andee Lawrence and I do plan on buying the others in the series because I really liked this character.  Andee’s struggles with balancing life and work are struggles any one can relate to and the author wrote so well that you felt the emotions each character was feeling at the moment they had those feelings.

The only thing I did not like was that two-thirds of the way through the book, the end result of who did what to whom was apparent and so there was no surprise ending.  That was a bit of a disappointment for me because I like those stories that keep me guessing until the very end.  Even though the end became predictable, I still enjoyed the book and liked how each character was tied into the disappearance and how they were tied into the incident.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend you go get it if you enjoy a good mystery that does not confuse you.

I give The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you like a mystery, go out and give it a read.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in A Dog's Life

Ragonk – A Dog’s Tale of Survival

Ragonk Sitting Pretty
Ragonk – December 12, 2014

Ragonk (Rah-Gone-Kuh) teaches me many lessons in life. He has taught them to me from the moment he walked into my life one December night. I have been blessed by having this Boy-O come into my life and he gives me joy. The first lesson I learned from Ragonk is how to survive a bad situation until a better one arrives.

Back in December, 2014, Ragonk wandered into my garage with no tags and looking very scared and skittish. My roommate and I were having a Ragonk Party (radio blooper by one of the station employees when he was trying to say, “Rolando McClain” on the radio station we like to listen to called The Ticket).

The animal shelter was closed until Tuesday and I looked at the dog and said, “I need to come up with a name to call you over the weekend until the shelter opens.” One of my friends popped up and said, “Well, isn’t it obvious, his name should be Ragonk!” I called him that and he answered and has been Ragonk ever since.

I noticed as soon as Ragonk walked in the door that he showed signs of an abused dog. He was your typical abused dog that dropped his head and body bracing for a hit when someone walked up to him. He was scared to death of the sound of bacon cooking on the stove. He ran away anytime he saw a towel in someone’s hand and hid, shaking like a leaf once he was coaxed to come out of his hiding place. He walked tentatively around for fear of being yelled at or hit. His fear was more noticeable with men than women, but he was scared all the same of any person he saw.

Ragonk & Baden
Ragonk with Baden’s Ashes & Picture in the Background

It broke my heart. My dog, Baden, was old and grumpy but never knew what fear was and he welcomed Ragonk like he did all other animals, with a sniff and tail wag. Ragonk had a blast playing with Bodie, my roommate’s dog, and had a funny reverence for Baden. Whenever Baden would try and play with Ragonk, Ragonk would wag his tail until Baden did his first move then Ragonk ran away. If Baden was laying down, Ragonk would wag his tail and go sniff him but run as soon as Baden twitched.

As the weekend wore on, I noticed that Ragonk’s fear was starting to ebb and he was beginning to trust me and my roommate. He stayed by my side or would follow my roommate around wagging his tail. Yes, Ragonk was settling in.

Tuesday rolled around and I took him to the animal shelter where he immediately freaked out scratching my neck up and trying to get out of my arms. This alarmed me because I was not used to this behavior from him.

When I walked into the animal shelter they said they knew who he was because he was a “known escape artist” to them. They chipped him and so were able to tell me his name is “Steve” (STEVE!) and placed a call to the owner and inform him that the dog was found. The shelter offered to keep Ragonk, but based on his response, I declined and said I would keep him with me.

Happy Boy
Ragonk – March 20, 2017

A couple of days go by and I have not heard anything so I called to follow up. The animal shelter said the guy did not call them back, so I gave them permission to give him my phone number thinking when he got home the shelter was already closed and that was why they did not receive a call back.

The weekend rolls around and still no contact from the owner or the animal shelter. On the following Tuesday, I called back to the animal shelter and they were shocked that the guy had not called me back. I gave them permission to give him my address because I worked from home so he could stop by any time.

On Friday, I called the shelter back and they said they still had not received a call and offered to give me the guy’s address so I can show up with the dog on his doorstep. This guy lived two blocks from my house!  I told the shelter no because if I showed up the guy would take Ragonk and he obviously did not want him back based on his lack of contact.

After I hung up from the shelter, I called my long-time vet and asked what the statute of limitations were for an abandoned dog. My vet informed me it was ten days to two weeks, so I scheduled an appointment for Ragonk on the following Monday since the two weeks would be past.

The best thing the owner of Ragonk did was not contact me back. As time passed, Ragonk put aside his fears and took a chance on trusting us strangers who took him in and gave him a home. He survived an abusive existence to find happiness in a new home with lots of love by running away into my arms.

P.S. The “known escape artist formally known as Steve” has never once tried to run away from his new forever home.

Life is Good.jpg
Life Is Good!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Familial Unit

A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Final Good-Bye

“I will be right by my Dad’s side, covering his six.  I Love You, Dad, you will survive for many years to come if I have anything to say or do about it.” ~Me, November 21, 2015

Event-01-CD1We only made 9 months, Dad.  My heart is empty without you here with me.

Our Journey together was short-lived but full of many fun and scary memories.

On November 21, 2015, I wrote my first blog entry about my Dad, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Battle, and almost nine months to that day, I felt my Dad take his last breath.

On February 17, 2016, I wrote my second blog entry about my Dad, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Twist, in which I shared with you, Dear Bloggites, that my Dad’s Doctor told me he was on his downhill slope and we had to take it one day at a time now.  The doctor also told me he did not want any of my family members to even inquire about “three months from now” because he could not guarantee that my Dad would be here in three months.

We made it 6 months, Dad.  I still cannot believe you are not here with me.

Our Battle together was strong, I kept your six until the very end.

It was a Monday morning, July 11, 2016.  See, Dad was struck down by a massive stroke followed by many mini-strokes out of left field.  We were not expecting that at all.  I rode with him in the ambulance to the hospital that specialized in strokes.  We were in the hospital fighting this new battle my Dad faced for almost a week.

The following Saturday, July 16, 2016, my Dad’s doctor pulled me aside late at night and informed me that if Dad stayed like he currently was (not eating, barely drinking) he had three to seven days to live, three to fucking seven days!  The doctor went on to say if Dad started to eat and drink, we maybe had a few weeks left!  He recommended Hospice because we were at the end of the journey with Dad.

Hospice?  Put Dad on Hospice?  He was just laughing and teasing me two weeks ago and now the damn doctor is telling me we are at the end!

My brain could not compute what was being said.  He just wanted two more years!

We had a family meeting (at this point every one of my brothers and sisters were in town and at the hospital with Mom), and on Sunday, July 17, 2016, we all, sans one, agreed to put Dad on Hospice.  He came home July 18, 2016, Monday, a week after the first massive stroke that put him in the hospital for the last time.

We made it 1 month, Dad.  I feel lost without you here with me.

Our twists were many during this journey and we faced them together side-by-side.

On August 19, 2016, my journey with my Dad ended.  The battles we fought have left scars on my heart and soul, scars that will never fully heal.  My Dad, My Hero, My Constant Companion passed from this life into the Ever After.

He took his final breath at 6:47am; officially pronounced dead at 8:32am.

My hand was on his chest feeling his heart beat until it beat no more.

Now, I must continue this Journey alone, with only fond memories and a huge empty space in my heart.  I Love You, Daddy!  Keep up the party with the J-Dude until I can join in!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Familial Unit

A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Twist

“A father’s tears and fears are unseen, his love unexpressed, but his care and protection remains as a pillar of strength throughout our lives.” ~Ama H. Vanniarachchy

I just want to yell, and scream, and rage against the world! I want to know WHO thought it would be a good idea. I want to know WHAT happened at the moment this time bomb was assigned. I want to know WHEN the designated countdown began. I want to know WHERE it is going to end. I want to know WHY bad things happen to good people. I want to know HOW to cope at the moment the countdown reaches zero.

The above paragraph was written back on February 3rd, scratched on a paper towel, when I had to take my Paternal Half of the Parental Unit (Dad) to the emergency room due to some bladder issues. We had been going to my Dad’s radiation treatments and only had one more to go to finish the grueling 30-day program to help shrink the Cancer tumor in his Prostate and extend his life a bit longer when the bladder issue reared its ugly head.

In my previous post, A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad: The Battle, I talked about some major issues he is facing from his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.  When we were told his Cancer has metastasized and is in stage 4, it devastated me.  I am the closest one to my Dad and the one most like him.  We began the journey of fighting the Cancer as best we could because he cannot have surgery.  This was our battle, Cancer was the face of the enemy sent to take my Father’s life.  Then, February 3rd happened.  The twist that is tripping up our battle.

*Warning: semi-graphic details & language

Wednesday, the 3rd started off like our regular Radiation Day always did: me driving Dad to the hospital to do his treatments.  Well, this day he noticed blood in his urine when it came out of his catheter he has had for two months.  We had our regular meetings with his Radiation Doc and asked him about it.  The doctor said it was probably a side effect from the radiation in Dad’s system and the blood should go away after two weeks once his treatments were finished.

With that in mind, Dad and I head back home.  Around 3pm that afternoon, I get a phone call from Dad saying that there was no more blood in his urine.  Woo Hooo!  Great News!  Two and a half hours later, I receive another call from Dad saying he was not getting any blood but now he is not even getting urine from the catheter tube.

Dad said it was probably kidney stones (which he is known to pass from time to time).  I told him to keep me posted.  Within the hour we were in the emergency room because of the pain my Father was in.  He started having bladder spasms that shook his whole body as if he was in the throes of an Epileptic seizure.  As we waited for them to call my Father back to be seen by a doctor, his pain only increased.  I will forever have the image burned in to my memory of one moment, when a spasm was hitting Dad, of the look in his eyes.

As a spasm was hitting, I watched my Dad’s body convulse from the pain and when I looked into his baby blue eyes I saw tears glistening in them with a painful pleading look that said, “Please help me!  I don’t understand.  Why is this happening to me? Make it stop! Take it away!”

My heart shattered into pieces because I stood helpless by his side unable to alleviate one simple iota of pain for my Father; my Paternal Half; the Indestructible Soldier and All-Around Superman in his daughter’s eyes.  7 of 7, me, “Miss Fix It”, the one who makes all things better, was unable to do anything except stand silently by his side, holding his hand and telling him to breathe through the spasm.

All night, the scene above played out, over and over.  The nurses went through two different catheters, causing additional pain, and still only minimal urine came out.  His Urologist, whom has been with Dad from Day 1 dealing with Dad’s prostate issues, was not on call the night we went into the ER.  We only had the nursing staff and doctor on duty to help.  They took a CAT Scan of Dad’s bladder and saw that his prostate was so enlarged it was pushing up on his bladder and was cutting off the ureters (this explained the loss of urination).  The results of the scan did not explain why only minimal urine was coming out of the new catheter.

The next morning, Thursday the 4th, Dad’s Urologist came into his room.  He was on fire!  The catheters put in by the ER staff were done improperly and with one catheter they filled up the balloon in my Father’s urethra in the penis!  The blockage issue was already present, but the improper placement of the catheters aggravated the issue with my Dad’s bladder.

The Urologist told me we are now on the downhill slope for Dad.  The doctor said that this situation is not going to be a few days but several weeks to potentially find the issue and for us not to get our hopes up because all we can do now is take it day by day.

Doc stated that Dad’s bladder issue has nothing to do with his Cancer, however, the radiation treatments will delay the healing process.  Doc said he was removing the improper catheter and was going to put a scope up through the penis to see into Dad’s bladder and gauge what is going on.  My thoughts circled around two things: 1. Downhill Slope-Dad is dying, but not from the Cancer? & 2. More Pain for Dad-weeks of pain.

The Urologist goes into Dad’s room and proceeds to try and scope him.  YES, you read that sentence right-TRY.  A few minutes later, Doc comes out with a grim look on his face (my brain kept repeating-Downhill Slope, Downhill Slope-in my head).  The doctor says, “There is an obstruction in your Dad’s penis.  I cannot get the scope to his bladder.  We are going to have to put a suprapubic catheter into your Dad’s belly.  If that does not work, I will have to put a tube running from each of his kidneys out of his body to get the urine out of his bladder.  If that does not work, I will have to take your Dad to the operating room and you know what that means.”

Stunned, I said, “Yes. Broken neck to intubate. Paralysis or Death.” (Read 1st blog here to understand about the broken neck part)

I asked the doctor what was going on with my Father.  The doctor said, “I don’t know.  We have too many unknown variables.  Until I can get into your Dad’s bladder, we can only take it day-to-day.  Today, right now, I have to figure out a way to reroute the urine in the bladder or else your Dad will go into kidney failure.”

I said to the doctor, “I understand.  Do what you need to do to help Dad.”

(My mind was yelling, “SH*T! F*CK! MY DAD COULD BE DYING AND IT IS NOT EVEN THE F*CKING CANCER THAT WILL KILL HIM!”)

The suprapubic catheter worked, however, my Dad was touch and go the rest of the day and night on Thursday.  Dad was disoriented and confused.  He thought it was 1965 during the procedure and he was looking for his wife (Mom, the Maternal Half of the Parental Unit).

After the procedure it was still 1965 and when Mom asked Dad if he found her, he said, “I caught you.”  Throughout the night, I had to be the Reaper of Doom to all the Sub-Units (siblings/kids) retelling and reliving my conversation with the doctor.

We listened to Dad’s incoherent babble all night as well: he said my sister, Debbie (4 of 7), had to fix the blender; he and Mom were going for a ride to see Frannie (his sister who died of Cancer last year in Philadelphia) and Joey (his brother who is alive and in Tennessee) which will take an hour; he informed us ‘Ch’ahlie (Charlie) will take care of it (Vietnam flashback); he also wanted to go talk to those people “over there” whom he did not know (to this I informed him he is in no way, shape, or form to go talk to those people).

We all survived that scary night.  Dad’s doctor came to check on him the next day making sure they were irrigating (flushing) Dad’s bladder every two hours.  I told the doc that Dad was in his “right mind” again and appears to be doing well.

The doc looked at me and said, “He is no way out of the woods.  I don’t believe in sugar coating information.  That is why many people hate me.  I believe in total honesty in all situations.” (Side-note: this is why my Dad and I love this doctor)

The doc continued saying, “I told you yesterday this is a long-term temporary situation with the suprapubic catheter.  He cannot be alone again once he goes home.  Your Dad will need to be watched and cared for 24/7 and your Mom cannot do it.  Until his penis heals, if it heals, and the obstruction goes away for me to look into the bladder, we can only take it day-by-day.  Tell the family that I do not want to hear any questions about three months from now because I don’t even know if he will be here in three months.”

(“SH*T! SH*T! F*CK, F*CK, F*CK!” says my brain)

“I understand and appreciate your honesty.  That is why we love you.” I said to the doctor.

Two weeks have gone by now.  We have had some good days, but more bad days over the good.  My brain is still trying to process it all and my lack of sleep does not help.  We go see the Doc on Thursday the 18th to see what is in store for Dad.

I have been my Paternal Half’s constant companion with the assistance of the Sub-Units: 1 of 7, 2 of 7, 4 of 7, 5 of 7, and 6 of 7 respectively (3 of 7-Ray-is squaring things away in Cali then he will be here to assist as well).

2 of 7 (Glory) left Sunday to go back to Georgia.  1 of 7 (Kathy) will go back to her home in the Houston area on Friday. 4 of 7 (Debbie), 5 of 7 (Nancy), 6 of 7 (James), and yours truly, 7 of 7, will keep watch 24/7 over our Parental Units until it is all said and done.

~4-Ever, P