Lilies and Forget-me-nots

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When really yucky things happen in our world,  it is good to find what is right. Let me share, in words which do not quite fit the meaning to my amazing experience, what has happened to me in the last couple of days.

Lilies of the valley are an old fashioned flower. The little tiny white bells bounce in the breeze, shaking their subtle scent into the air. A fragrance both sweet and gentle. Forget-me-nots are my very favorite flower in the world (which is part of why the one and only tattoo I have is of them!). They are also tiny, but have blue petals surrounding white and gold and black. They can turn to purple as they age and have teeny tenacious seed heads which cling to fabric and fur. Both of these flowers have a beauty which can landscape a yard if allowed.

Recently, I shared I’d bought out a baseball park to honor mum. Well, this week I also did one of those gofundme things for the event. It was suggested others may want to help to defray the cost. I have to say, I was stunned as I was enveloped with the gentle fragrance of giving. I honestly had no idea I’d get more than maybe one or two hundred dollars in a week or two. The giving has gone beyond what it was set for in less than two days and I’ll let it run to the weekend. As one of my best friends suggested, ‘You can buy out the beer garden!’ I’d actually like to get her a jacket. (I do have a nefarious reason for this, I’ve always wanted one and if I get one for her, I may inherit it! Although, I am quite a bit bigger than she is now. Her car also needs strut thingies, I found that out this week, as well. I was told not to drive it too far. Her appointments are about a 60 mile round trip.) Needless to say, Mum is being remembered. I shared some of the names of the people who donated with her and some are from a ways back in her life. (NOTE: I did not tell her more than they wanted to help with the cost)

I am so glad I was encouraged to do this. Yesterday, mum had an appointment. I am sure my followers know mum’s blood sugars have been…. ummmm, rather bad, to put it lightly. I knew she was getting thinner, but she has lost 14 pounds in 19 days. She is now 100 pounds. She thinks this is ok, she remembers being that weight and it wasn’t that long ago. (it was when I was in grade school) One of her doctor types does not like this and we are on a new plan….So far, it appears to be working. Her physical therapists are pleased with her progress and hope to keep working with her for a week or two longer. Today was one of her bad days, she didn’t feel good and slept most of it.

I am so thankful for the support structure around me. I am grateful for the help with my project. The kindness of friends, some who are only known via FB, completely poleaxes me. Many of them, I don’t know at all. They know mum. Many people are looking forward to ‘Nancy’s Game’ and another put up a Caring Bridge page for folks to get in touch with mum.  As I was writing thank you notes, I had to blink back tears. These wonderful souls are some of the lilies in my valley, I will forget them not as I sit near still waters. They (and thou!) do comfort me.

Hidden

IMG_6478 (2) Not everything is black and white. The various shades which make up our world tend to blur on the edges. When you are at the end of a rope, someone always reaches out to drop more or give you a hand up. Even on Alexander days, there are good things to find. Like today: Even though my glucose dropped quite low before lunch,  mum’s was fairly good. When I was sick to my stomach from the drink I ingested to bring up my sugars, I was still able to do errands. I was able to rent a vehicle during tourist season for a bit of a discount. I had to call The Craftsman several times for help on how to work it and he didn’t laugh…much. (Seriously, MY brand new Escape in the early 2000’s was nothing like this thing!) The nice kid who scanned my groceries was super sweet, but I wish he’d noticed the bread bag was split and the lid on the fruit wasn’t sealed properly. Dinner wasn’t as good as mum wanted, but thankfully I had done everything she told me to do. I didn’t get to talk to the eldest today, I was out taking photos of an eagle. Although the bird snatched more than one duckling snack, it helped remind me life isn’t all black and white.

Which brings me back to the first line of my post! What is hidden inside the hues is as important as those things which stand out. Thank you to all of you who are generous and not afraid to blend. Bless you, much.

Need more rope

ropecat It is crazy. I’m completely tired and shouldn’t be. I am often up this late. Sometimes I take a shower, I often talk to a good friend (I take advantage of that person….), and I hang out online or read. Tonight was different, though. Mum was also awake.

She had taken one 10g ambien, one nausea pill which is supposed to knock her out, and two .5g oxycotin.   Those were around 1045. She stayed awake til 1. Then, she asked me if I could take her to church ‘tomorrow’. If she is well enough, I will.  I am unsure as to how well she’ll be. Her blood sugars today have been really off and I’m not sure it is all do to my screw up at lunchtime. At 1020, before  her meds, her blood sugar was 320. Then I had her check again at 1230 and they were 430.

She is not tracking well and can’t remember things. I showed her the loon photos I had taken when I went out on the lake this evening. She had forgotten we had talked extensively about loon earlier in the day when I had seen the bird at 8am. She called my youngest niece by her sister’s name, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but they are about 17 years apart in age and very different.

I am going to  have to cancel the dr appt I had for me for Monday and I am going to have to cancel mum’s car appointment as well. I am going to need a vehicle as mum is going to have at least one appointment next week. Probably earlier than later. I’m positive she has ketones in her system, but don’t have anything to check for them. And I wouldn’t know what to do if they showed up. Mum says she is fine and doesn’t need to go to the hospital. Not that they’ll do anything with her anyway.

If I take her to church tomorrow, I’m not going. I’d be afraid of talking to people and I don’t want to watch her tell everyone how fine she is. I’ll go and do a couple of errands. And pray I don’t run into anyone I know….

Paddle On

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The lake has so many babies on it, avian predators are using it as a refueling stop in their travels. Eagles, both immature and grown, are frequent visitors as are loon. The goshawk hasn’t been spotted yet, but I’d not be surprised if we see it soon. Granted, the immature eagle is not very adept in his hunting (I watched him/her slip from the perch it was trying to land on), yet the bird terrifies the families. The loon is absolutely fascinating. I’ve been googling these birds and they truly are beautiful creatures of death. Although, one article I found shared a loon adopting a baby goldeneye. On this lake, goldeneye are tasty morsels.

It is frustrating to watch this not family friendly saga of life on a lake. I want to go out and protect the babies, but I’m also considered a predator. A bright orange kayak gliding on the water surface is an unknown and therefore, scary. Mum feeds the mallards up at the house, she isn’t supposed to. I often go out and feed them. Mostly because she will if I don’t. But, also because the babies are so darn CUTE! I’ve even gone down and tossed cracked corn in the water near the shore, it makes it easier to focus on them with binocular and camera lens!

The mamas have a lot of work with their babies. As they get braver, they venture further away from her proximity. Some mamas are not very good at keeping track of their kids. After some predator appears, the lake echoes with shrill peeps and distressed squawks until everyone is back to where they are supposed to be. Moms who had 8 offspring are down to 3 or 4 and they rally them close and keep on paddling.

I often see myself reflected in this season of young things. I am caregiving and often I don’t do it right. Parts of mum’s care escape me.

Today I truly screwed up and gave her the wrong insulin when my own blood sugar was in the 70’s. Her care comes first and glucose tablets sort of helped me. (I also had a bit of mum’s apple crisp and couldn’t even taste it—I must have been low! Later, however, my glucose was way too high.) Anyway, this morning, when I gave her both lantus and humalog, I put the pens in the wrong boxes and at lunch gave her 6 more of lantus instead of the 6 of Humalog. Thankfully, she didn’t notice anything about me giving her two shots at lunch (I gave her the Humalog, too). She gets pretty pissed when I mess up her insulin. She wants her insulin pump back badly. Then she can take care of things all on her own (mostly).  Her blood sugars have remained in the 300’s, after a fasting blood sugar in the 200’s. So, with the not being able to keep her in the 200 ranges and messing up her shots in the first place, I’m feeling like that mama duck. Not entirely useful at keeping those around me where they should be. Or at least, mum. I’ve only been taking care of her since the last days of November. It hasn’t been very long, really. And I should be better at it, especially with the Diabetes part. I’ve been a person with Diabetes years longer than she has!

I wish I could toss this task into someone else’s lap. This choice I made to stay with her was probably the best one, but gods, I am so bad at it! I often wish I was back in Oregon. Being ignored and doing boring routines tasks in my own house with my own books and kitchen and cupboards and not having to do number things like finances, looks better every day. And if I was in Oregon, I could go to a movie (maybe even with someone!!) and not worry about the consequences. I could dig in my own yard and not do it wrong, I wouldn’t have to mow the grass and weeds (this is a daunting task at mum’s), and I could sleep in my own comfy bed with the cats.

Paddling on is all I can do. And cry helpless tears in the shower, where they can wash away and not be noticed.  (and whine on WP!)

Sing a song

BcgroKr7i I’ve never appreciated that particular song. The one which tells you to keep it simple and last the whole night long and not to worry that it’s not good enough. Nope, I  know it by heart, but it isn’t in my heart. Singing is NOT one of my things.  I love music, I adore musicals, I like to sing, but I’m wary of being too loud.

Mum was the music major. She told me when I was a kid I was tone deaf. I knew I wasn’t, I was in band and was very sure when a note was off. I think, however, I am just always off key. Off key is very stressful and so I don’t sing. Or when I do, it is carefully or completely alone!

Gary commented on one of my blogs that he didn’t sing and I started to wonder about voice. Did you know musicians don’t sing with an accent? ONJ (Olivia Newton John) startled me the first time I heard her actually speak in the movie ‘GREASE’. Shower singing seems to be a thing and THAT I completely don’t get. People singing with their headphones on drives me nuts and it is dangerous, too. (hard to pay attention to anything else when you are rocking out to tunes affixed to your ears) I do sing in the car, by myself! (I also dance, but that is also dangerous, so I try to remember to restrain myself.)

I love acapella voices and ones with accompaniment. Hymns are incredible works of art, the 70’s and 80’s were full of sounds of perfection, and I so do enjoy folk songs. Do you know most kids today in the United States don’t recognize tunes like ‘This land is my land’ or ‘What do  you do with a drunken sailor?’ or ‘A long time ago, when the earth was green…’ So very sad-

So, do you sing and, if you do, where???

Since I rarely sing, I whistle (which is also off key) and hum anywhere. Usually the original theme song from Sesame Street. Boring and cheerful!

Baseball!

IMG_9177 Baseball in the land of the Midnight Sun. No electric lights needed! The star shows Mum in 2015, keeping an eye on the players. It was pretty early, more people showed up as the game went on.

I was able to do something today which totally makes me happy. Mum LOVES sports, she really really enjoys baseball. She’d love to go to a game in Seattle or in her birth state of Minnesota. But, I’m not so sure she’s going to be able to do that. Anyway, our area has a baseball team in the Alaska Baseball League. We often go and support them. Some of our friends ‘kept’ players. (ohmy, college baseball pitchers were eye candy for a young collegiate girl!) They are known as the Peninsula Oilers. Because of that crazy paper chase of cash I was able to find a conclusion to, I asked and was told I could, buy out the ballpark. So, one game day in June will be set aside for my Mum. General admission is free (am not sure of the higher up spots near the announcer’s area) and Mum will get to throw out the first pitch. If she can….

I’m pretty excited. I’ll tell mum as we get closer to game day. She’s feeling pretty awful right now. Which is why I am not sleeping. Mum has gone to sleep with the entire doses of drugs she took until a week ago. She was working thru things and feeling ok. Now? Her wrist hurts because the therapist massaged her upper arm. Her intestines hurt because she’s been doing stepping movements. She has nausea because the dr wants her stool in the waste bag to be liquid. (these are her reasons) And she is still convinced the barometer is making her not feel good. Of course, the 411 blood sugar at bedtime doesn’t have anything to do with it…. She had a 551 on Tuesday. Wednesday, they sort of stayed in the 300’s. She woke up with a 121 or so this morning, but it quickly escalated into the 400’s.

So, I really hope we can get her to the game. When I asked if she would mind if I did this. Her comment was, ‘if you want to’ and ‘I’m not that special.’ Yes, she drives me nuts and lays guilt on me all the time and makes it so I can’t take my own meds on time. However, there are dozens of people who adore mum and ask me how she is and want to see her. This would be a good way to celebrate mum while she is alive. And if she does rally and manage to be well enough to drive and shop alone again, so be it! Everyone will have had an extra free day for baseball and that is perfectly fine!

20170530_154548 Mum a couple of days ago. Shopping for flowers wiped her out.

One of the BEST flowers!!

I know, most people absolutely HATE the dreaded DYF (Damn Yellow Flower) and the many versions of them.  The ones with thorns are horrid. Give me the original yard dandelion for fun!!! Versatile and tenacious, they make me smile in any of their stages.

They can be eaten, made into wine (which isn’t as good as it sounds!), or consumed for medicinal value. They look like gold buttons on a waistcoat of green or scattered coins on the grass. The cheerful flowers tell time and respond to light. They are often the first flower given to a mom by a child and fistfuls don’t seem to deplete the harvest. They can be made into chains and reflect sunshine. After they die, their seed heads are glorious fantasy balls. Balls of seeds which blow away to make more lovely bright blossoms.

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Taken by Bear ages ago–my favorite photo

Yup, love this flower! Oddly, other people don’t seem to feel this way. Which is why I will sadly uproot them from the yard. Thankfully, even in death sprawled on a compost heap, they still manage to change and release their seeds into the world. They grow almost anywhere, putting down their root in the strangest of spots.

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Inside the cracks on glacier rocks. 

I love fields of forget-me-nots and fireweed, but dandelions are in a class of their own!!!

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taken a while ago—have only had a couple of shorts days in AK so far this year!!! 

Third time was NOT the charm.

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Donald

This dad was the most scary bastard ever! I was always terrified of him. He was (not sure for real, but I was pretty small!!) super tall and had a red/blonde handlebar mustache. He picked us up in Anchorage from the airport one time. I drew a picture of him, but managed to put the stache on TOP of his nose. He and mum thought it was funny. I think that is the only time I recall him laughing. He and mum ‘dated’ for a while and then they got married. They always fought when they were married. After their divorce, they ‘dated’ again and were friends. Crazy. When we were married to Donald, we had the most fun outside. He lived way out in the middle of nowhere and we had an outhouse (there was indoor plumbing, but we were not allowed to use the toilet) and a creek for water. It was so cold and even now, I can remember how delicious it was coming out from that piece of black PVC pipe stuck in the moss! The hike to the bus was pretty long, but I did it. I don’t remember my sister going to school, she was probably in K by that time. I was 7 or 8.

There were some good things about this dad. His mom wanted us to come and visit her in Mass. It would have been lots of fun, she sent us United carry-on bags, but we never went. I often wonder what it would have been like if we had gone. She wasn’t very famous then, but she had made a name for herself in cooking in an inn. Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Cookies. She also sent us books. Or me. I’m pretty sure this is the dad where those books came from. Rainbow edition of stories from around the world. I treasure them. When the old neighbor man (he was really a sweet old guy I visited all the time) got drunk and was shooting at the world, we were made to stay inside and Donald protected us. I got super sick a couple of times when we lived with him. I had mono. Third grade and mononucleosis. Stupid? Yes. I also had chicken pox.

Drinking was the name of the game with this dad, too. He was freaking frightening when he got drunk. He peed in our closet one night when he thought it was his bathroom. We didn’t spend as much time in bars with this dad. We stayed outside in the car. We had pillows and stuff to read and games to play and blankets. And the woods, if we needed to go to the bathroom. The sweet old neighbor guy took us to town once and we tipped over into a water filled ditch. I remember having to climb out the jeep door on the driver side. He had been drinking. Donald beat mum up when he was drunk, he even broke her arm. He never hurt us kids, not physically. I remember him saying he’d nail his couch to the wall above the kitchen alcove if we didn’t behave and we’d have to sit there. Scary bastard, oh..I said that. I hated him for years.

Then, one day, I was in HS and wearing a new long fitted coat. I was at the dr and basking in being admired (yeah, vain teen chick) by everyone. One absolutely broken down man glanced at me and looked away as if he was ashamed. I was annoyed and only months later, when I thought about it again, wondered if it had been Donald. All my anger vanished. That man I saw was a derelict and if it was my former dad, my anger turned to pity and then to forgiveness. This dad taught me a little bit about forgiveness. Eventually!

She’s gonna kill herself.

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Today has been a ‘good’ day. Mum didn’t have any painkillers this morning, she had two Tylenol. She napped almost all morning and then she woke for lunch and had a pain killer and a nausea. Her blood was like 380 or something. The therapist came and worked mum over and was really pleased with mum’s progress. She is certain it won’t be long til mum can knit again and do her own self care.

I left for about 30 min to do a few errands and came back to find her on the couch. I went down to my basement abode and napped for a long time. While I was napping,  I heard lots of noise on my ‘roof’. Mum was in the kitchen baking. Granted, it was my fault. I had bought apples and then I had brought up one of her packages of apple crisp. I was going to make it, but I monitor what she gets. Mum made the crisp and was very busy doing all kinds of things.

When I got upstairs to see about her blood sugar for dinner I got mad. Her glucose is 496. I am sure she had apples as a snack. Yes, apples are ‘healthy’. Apples also have TONS of sugar in them. I asked if she was going to get her own dinner and she got all pissy with me. I’m supposed to get her dinner for her. I then asked if she had unloaded the dishes, no. She wasn’t sure if they were clean or not. There were dirty dishes in the sink and the washer had run this morning, before she napped. Her quad cane had been left in the kitchen. She obviously wasn’t using it much. (Later, she also got pissy with me about feeding her dog. She consented to do it, since I hadn’t yet. Remember that post about PB guilt?)

I gave her insulin and the damn needle bent. I use the most itty bitty needle tips for her pens and the thing BENT! Mum has so little subcutaneous tissue and her skin is tough. Literally and figuratively. I gave her meds and left her to her dinner. I just heard her put away her dessert dishes. I did not give her dessert. I’d have given her none tonight, but I am careful about how much ‘junk’ she gets when I do give her things.  I understand. I like junk, too. (which is why my HA1C is 8.7–I am going to get that down in the next month.) I take better care of mum than I do myself. Most of you are very aware of that—- Yet, her self care is going to fucking kill her. I have spent almost an entire year away from my own bed and my own kitchen and all my books and my yard/garden and my family to keep her alive and then she decides she can take care of herself and screws up. I’m thankful her body manages to pull out in time. I reckon her blood sugar tomorrow morning will be back to ‘normal’ and be around 115. She is damn lucky.

And I, I am angry.

Too much

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I am not a morning person. I can be once every so often, but I am a night person. Although, like the dogs in ‘Go, Dog, Go!’ I do realise ‘Night is a time for sleep.’ Thankfully, growing up in Alaska has made me have the ability to sleep at anytime or anywhere. Bright daylight doesn’t bother a solid nap. Dogs do. (that happened today. I was sound asleep in my basement chamber when the dog frantically barked for nothing)

Tonight, I am awake reading and following people I adore to read. I didn’t make as many comments as usual because I was so far behind! I’ve had a busy bee last few days. I got to clean for a friend (it was so much fun!), an angel came to visit and planted stuff for mum on Saturday, I took mum to church (that was something I hadn’t counted on doing), I washed and dried and folded clothes, and I dug out mucky weeds in our lake bed. (yes, I find a phrase and keep using it!) Even though my entire body aches, I’m not as tired as  usual. I think these absolutely vile tasting antibiotics might be working!!!

Anyway, since I need to get up in a little over an hour, I should get a spot of rest. I wonder if I will be able to? Get up, I mean. I really hurt in places I’d forgotten there were muscles in! The headache from yesterday is gone, so that is good….I have a half of an oxycotin I keep not taking (they are from a surgery I had awhile back). I thought about using it yesterday and thought about using it tonight. I can’t, though. I’m afraid to take even half of one, I need to make sure I am ready for mum. She was annoyed with me for not being ready when she was this morning for church!!

So, there is too much to process for this night person who needs to try and get a little sleep before starting the round of care again. Mum’s been coffing and doesn’t sound comfortable…and she has ‘crackles’ in her lungs again.