Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Life Has Turned

I've been so busy these past three weeks adjusting to my mother's massive stroke and really miraculous recovery.  I took so much of her wonderful health for granted. The other day, I caught her busily putting together a list of all her possessions and assigning to each person that gave it to her or had an interest in her "things." I'm not sure where she even got the pad and pen, but it upset me so much that she was concentrating on that and not looking toward getting well and living. It was morbid. My mom was so depressed. I'm glad I took the whole book and pen away from her and my Steve went out and replaced it with a special pencil and sketch pad to design more stain glass designs. That day she changed, and was laughing. And, I don't know what we were laughing about. It was something we both found really funny and we were both laughing. I suddenly stopped realizing she was laughing perfectly like her ol' self and without a droop to one side. She was happy and me..I was embarrassed for forgetting what we were laughing about just seconds before.

The occupation therapy is a kick! All the normal practicing stairs and going in and out of the shower...The one that intrigues me the most is that she has to play these "Carnie games." My mom can throw stuffed chickens better than anyone. It's like knock-down the Gatorade-weighted-bottles for these "Rizbee Bucks" ??  I never have seen a "Risbee Buck" but the therapists make everything so fun. Yes, her baseball days have been a great asset for a keen eye and now we have to get the great grandkids a new coach. We now know who has the talent for throwing the ball. Steve and I have to try it and yep..she beats us at hitting all the bottles down. Maybe that should be a new goal for myself to learn to throw balls. Our dog would appreciate it so much if I could actually play catch with her. I get the "stink-eye" when the ball goes under the car or on the other-side of the fence. I can see her saying, "Just throw toward my nose!"
We Maybe Visiting Mom, but It's an Attitude of Thankfulness
 Today, Steve saw my mom walking down the hall at the Cottage Rehab Center without help and she looked exactly the same as she has for years. I can't say enough good about the hospital there. They work her all day and are just at her side constantly. I hope in one week I can learn enough to know how to be the same way.

We bought mom some Jelly Bellys at Stern's Wharf. If mom is allowed to to eat Tic Tacs, I say tiny jelly beans can be a real joy...I'm so sneaking them in tomorrow. She wants licorice so bad. Hope she shares.
Life is Beautiful. This was one of our favorite moments at Carpenteria Homeward From The Hospital
As funny as I think it was posting that I was changing my handwriting, it wasn't at all like I'm without things to do. I'm sure Heavenly Father didn't look down and said to himself, "This woman doesn't have enough to do". I was a random thought and I still want my handwriting to be legible. It is still a worthy goal and I'm really trying to learn to have better control when I write notes, for instance at church. How will anyone read my genealogy notes?

New lambs are coming on March 3rd. I need to fix new pens and trim feet-up a little. I'm glad during our hot weather we didn't do the shearing because we are in for a cold spell. But I am shearing their behinds for lambing. Their little rears are just going to have to be breezy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Mother Had A Massive Stroke & Is Doing Great!

My Mother and her brother just a couple weeks ago
 I definitely want this in my blog: This past week could have been "mucha cras-zee!" It wasn't, but..it was scary.

My mother who lives next door to me in the house where I grew-up and has lived her life without dad around since 1990. She has been able to out-garden me, out-run me, out-work me in every way and January 27th things were not the same. Marnie's little girls went to see Grandma Boby after she had driven home from the market. Kenna and Preslee are 5 and 3 respectively and their grandma was delighted to show them how to open pistachios in the cowboy room of the big stone house. My Marnie's family lives in the mansion just down Wellman Way on our same ranch and Marnie was hesitant about letting the girls go down the driveway because she thought Grandma Boby would be tired this late in the afternoon, but she let them go. This was truly an inspiration from God.

Steve and I had planned on getting a gift for my sister for her birthday, but it was really hot, about 80 degrees. Never better weather to be able to wash our dog and the horse. The horse was easier, actually. I went inside to take a shower and remove fleas. Just as I had gotten dressed, my little grand daughters came inside and said, "Something is very wrong with Grandma Boby, your mom, your mom." I looked outside and sure enough the ambulance and the fire engine were at my mom's house. Kenna has already ran and got her mother Marnie, to "Marathon Book-it" to see what happened to their great-grandma. Marnie had already called 911 and my Steve was already there and helping. My mother left so fast on a gurney mumbling something lik she wasn't going over and over and the firemen and ambulance crew whisked her away. She was going. Grandma Boby had just slumped-over and the little ones had thought she was choking. Preslee stayed to watch her while Kenna did the running.
Our Little Heroes
 Marnie took me to the hospital and I don't remember much about how I got in the ER or signing her in. But there I was at her side. She wasn't moving and barely talking. I asked for her to have a Priesthood Blessing and one of our members lived a block away and put his tie on... and walked-up the hill and my husband and Jeremy blessed mom. Her eyes were fixed but one hand was still shaking. I was hoping it was nervousness and not hurting or involuntary.
Miracle Marnie Saves Me, too
She was fully hooked-up and then the doctor asked me about the famous "clot-buster" Will I give my permission? I was the power-of-attorney and they looked to me. I took one look at her and said, Yes, give her the medication. The doctor said that this particular hospital didn't have a good record with the "clot-buster" and in fact, everyone who had been given it, had died. The doctor said that he wouldn't even give it to his mother. I still felt it would be her wish to have it because just lying there without moving the rest of her life is no life. The odds were not good. The doctor finally called her doctor, and that's a whole different mess because my mom's regular doctor hadn't been giving her the right medications for a long time and so...questions. The doctor asked my mom questions. Steve told him, "Ask her if she wants the "clot-buster" and she'll maybe point yes or no. He asked her not expecting a response but it was clearly, "Do it! At that time my husband signed a paper that totaled about $50,000. Yes, my mother has great insurance, but are still awe-struck at the cost.
Our Hospital Decisions Made With Prayer
"Time to prepare is gone when the time for us to make a derision comes." Pres. Thomas S. Monson

I sat down with her as they administered the dose recommended by Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. Less then the usual dosage 2/3 the amount and the druggist had come to the hospital to mix the concoction himself. The shelf life is 10 minutes and the time to give her the medication was running-out. The nurse was so nervous giving the dosage. She said I don't want to do this and she read, and  reread, and reread the directions and then started counting. The dosage was given over one minute. Mom said, "I'm going to die, I'm going to die" I said, "You coulda' died giving birth to any of us kids." and Marnie piped-up and said, "You coulda' died at the market or crashed on the way home." Mom moved her toe and then her foot. This was opposite side from where the stroke had attacked her brain. "Left Neglect" but she was moving. Miracles were happening and we were all witnessing it. The nurse flew after the doctor like a chicken flapping their wings all through the ER. Calls were made and a helicopter was coming in to land in 5 minutes. The doctor who had no faith, said it was a miracle. Marnie was thoughtful enough to thank him and he shared that he was overwhelmed by all that was happening.

My Mother is Going To Cottage Hospital
The medics from Upland were there in this fancy red copter and looked pilots and medics like a cross between Navy Seals and Spacemen. I can only describe them abrupt, business-like, quick, and through. They put mom out with medication because she's scared of flying and literally scooped her up into this yellow pizza bag and flew her off to the most wonderful hospital ever. Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. It's about an hour from our house.
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Yes, it took us an hour and when we got there she was in Surgery ICU and somewhat stable. Everyone worked on her and there were tubes everywhere. The new doctor is Dr. Zouner and absolutely should be listed with the "eight wonders of the world" but he is already the "top neurosurgeon in the world" How could we be blessed for better? How?

"Its not the design of heaven that we be rescued from all difficult situations. rather, it is the Lord's will that we learn to handle them." Elder Bednar

My family was coming from Central California and my sister was there in Santa Barbara with us. As we could see she was in good hands and we went home after the Dr. Zouner talked to us. I read the Book of Mormon to the end that evening and had great comfort too from knowing so many were already praying for her recovery. Her name had been placed on the rolls of many temples. I suppose one would have been enough.

We sat with her with my family taking turns in with her and the next day and on January 29th I wrote in my journal: "My mother had a more severe stroke than expected and the latest MRI revealed that she had too much swelling to proceed with the two procedures. I admire the doctor to stop and go with caution with more study and familiarize himself with exactly when and how to proceed. Gotta' love that, when he is one of the top brain surgeons in the world. Dr. Zouner is fantastic. Our fasting and prayers were answered and very successful because it would have caused a hemorrhage to go in at this time and my mother's chances would have been very different than expected. I was baffled by the sudden change in plans, when even the nurse at the surgery desk has mom in the operating room. We know that God is guiding. I'm so thankful for  everything! My faith is uplifted, my hope is continuing and this sure seems like it's been a very long time BTW She still thinks she's either in Santa Paula or Oxnard and we are making a joke--just because she would do the same thing. The nurse took out her cannula (air thingy out of her nose) and she faked lack of oxygen attack "I can't breathe, I can't breathe" hahahah... Nurse wasn't amused! We all giggled. AND she shouldn't do that!"

My mother honestly doesn't think she flew in a helicopter or is in Santa Barbara at all.

Recently news was that the last MRI didn't reveal a hidden killer because her skull is just so thick. I always knew that and could have told them she was "hard-headed" An angioplasty or exploratory surgery did show that unrelated aneurysm is in the deep part of her brain. The aneurysm was shrouded and lethal, but in a reachable part. She has blockage in two of her main arteries and when one of her arteries is unblocked the surgeon will reach-up and use a coil and take away the aneurysm. The wait on this will be a couple weeks so that her brain can still heal from the turmoil that it has been through this past week.

Yesterday, I sat and watched TV with her and laughed with her as we watched Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston on Ophra. We watched kick-boxing and I suffered through that thinking she was watching it then she pointed and said those two out there--meaning at the nurses station, were flirting with each other and the view from her room was in full view of the nurses budding romance. She said it was much more interesting than TV. It had been more than an hour and I thought she had a new favorite TV show. "Reality Hospital" like Grey's Anatomy in the SICU at Santa Barbara Hospital. My mother found that funny and very entertaining.

Already today, she was transferred to the Rehabilitation Hospital just next to this hospital. She walks, she talks, and grabs my hand with such force that she made my hand bleed with her nail. It's all working but she still doesn't recognize her arm...but she's making it work all the same. I know it takes great concentration, but she's coming back.

How appropriate that today is the day to raise awareness of heart problems in women. I wore sparkly RED to celebrate the power of women bonding together to wipe-out heart disease and stroke.

I wanted a picture of me in RED, so I called Steve and he answered hesitantly. I thought he was in a meeting and he said he was in the ER. Yelling, I said, "OH CRAP!" Steve still quietly said, "It's what I do." I later met them down a local diner for lunch. A call came and unfortunately Steve grabbed my car keys and left me there at the diner. FIREMEN! I had my phone, my car, and no car keys. My Marnie to the rescue again. We found the firetruck clear-up the canyon past Steckel Park. The firemen and truck were saving a severed "PIPE" by the side of the road. I didn't get to see my mother today, but as a good grandma would do, I took my daughter and her sweet little ones to a frozen yogurt place for a good deed... rewarded.
My Husband and His Crew Saving Lives and Pipes
Sometimes just a few days seems like more than a month. What could have been so crazy, went smooth and well. Survival. Now the work... my mother working to bring herself physically back to normal. My mother can and will do it.

My dear mother is in Rehab, sheesh, that sounds like drug rehab. But here she is doing great and will for sure be able to be on her own and at this rate she's going we will all be "hard-pressed" to keep-up with her.