Friday, April 4, 2014

i can't look at the stars

On tomorrow's date, two years ago, we lost my grandmother, my Grandma Lou, known to most as Mama Lou (dads mom). She surrendered to the terrible disease known as Alzheimer's. I believe God/life has a plan for everyone, a reason for everything, that everything happens for a reason, etc. While at times it may make no sense, I'm confident in the end that the pieces will come together. But things like Cancer, Alzheimer's... WHY? In my grandma's case, why should someone who lived such a wonderful life, who achieved so much, had a family they love and were so proud of and lived to see and meet her GREAT-grand-babies, forget everything? Everything. If you haven't witnessed it first hand, yes it is as terrible as you can imagine. She would remember me one minute, then not a minute later. How does that happen? How does the brain work? Can someone please cure this awful disease? It's just not fair. Not fair at all.

I come from a very small family. The only grandchild to one set of grandparents. The only granddaughter to the other (and only one in Indiana, my cousins live in Florida.) I had an incredible bond with both. A bond that no matter how hard I try to explain it to someone, they will never understand. I'm an extremely emotional, sentimental, nostalgic person. As I've said before, I love when certain things, smells, ANYTHING takes me back to a memory. While I love those moments, I find myself in a very vulnerable state. I sob. I sob hard. 

my wrist tattoo. i called grandma (moms mom)  happy for as long as i could remember, she was never "grandma" 
this was her signature from a card she had given me. i had the tattoo artist add the russian cross at the end for her.
i will be getting seagull for my grandma lou (dads mom) can't decide where yet. foot, other wrist, forearm? thoughts?
maybe this will be a gift to myself when i reach my weight goal.

We live in Indianapolis, about two and a half hours away from where they are laid to rest. We will call that area "The Region" or better known as NW Indiana. This is/was basically my home away from home. I would go spend weeks up there as a kid. It's a quick drive outside of Chicago, close to Lake Michigan and still has a small town feel. I love everything about it. I would move there in a heartbeat if we could. Well probably not, because I wouldn't leave my parents, but you get the point. I love going up there and driving around, seeing places I'd go to with them, eating at the best restaurants, going to the best shops. While I'm happy, at some point the waterworks start going. 

I lost my grandmas months apart from each other. It was extremely difficult. What am I talking about? It STILL is something I cry over daily. My husband encourages me to talk about the struggles with him, but sometimes I just don't want to. It's probably not healthy to keep everything bottled up, but I don't want my kids to see me cry that much. I don't want him to see me cry. I don't want anyone to know I cry that much. But here I am, putting it out for the world to see. I cry a lot. 
How do you grieve? 
Is there a timeline on how long is normal? It's been two years and I still feel like it was yesterday. 

Sometimes I feel so close to a memory, that I forget that it is just that. A memory. 
Something I am so grateful to have, but I would do anything in the world to have one last meal with them. 
Just one more conversation. 
One more hug. 

Grandparents are so special. They leave a forever footprint on our hearts. 
I am blessed to have an amazing grandpa still in my life who loves reminiscing and could for hours. 
I know I'm lucky to have had amazing grandmothers in my life for 26 years. 
Two years gone, but never forgotten. NEVER.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

tonsillectomy - day six and seven

Days six and seven were pretty good. I'm combining these days because there isn't a whole lot that has changed. Shon and I were just talking tonight about how proud we are of her. She has been such a trooper and has handled this ten times better than we ever imagined. She's a bit of a drama queen if you know what I'm saying. I would never doubt that she was in pain, but I just thought her way of expressing it would be something out of Hollywood. 

Bless her heart. 

The mornings and nights have been a little rough. Her throat starts to burn. I hate saying this word almost as much as I hate the word moist, squirt, crevasse, but the scabs are starting to fall off. Her medicine is starting to burn. We are currently just doing the ibuprofen (over the counter) when needed. 

On day six, Tristan went with my mom for the day and it was back to being Tay and I. It was beautiful out, 65 degrees, yes those temps excite us around these parts. So I decided for lunch to have a picnic and take her on a nature walk at our local state park. It was perfect. A little windy, but she really enjoyed getting up and out of the house and fresh air. She isn't allowed to run around or play and get her heart rate up and going for about two weeks after surgery, so this was the next best thing.

She ate:
ice cream
ramen noodless
bagel thin with cream cheese
popcorn (i was shocked she was ok with this)
pepperoni slices

I don't know what I'm going to do when we clean up our little campsite downstairs in the living room. I've been sleeping down here with her since the night of her surgery and Tristan has joined us. I knew it was going to be rough with the medicine and wanted to be right by her for whatever she needed. That way she didn't have to get up, come in our bedroom and wake both of us up. Shon gets up early for work and drives all day, I work from home. It just made sense and I'm one hundred and ten percent fine with that! 

Anyways, don't get me wrong, we are very close, but this past week our bond has gotten so much stronger. We have had the best time together. I know she is hurting and is too exhausted to unleash her sassy attitude out to play. I know it won't stay peachy keen like this, but really no ones kids are perfect. I'm soaking up every bit I can though. Seeing your baby go through anything like this really makes you think, what if something happened? Thankfully, all of it has been smooth sailing. Everything has gone better than we imagined it would. On that note, I will end our tonsillectomy journey via blog. If anything changes, I will definitely mention it. I can't believe it's already been a week. She still has recovery, but the worst is over with. <knock on wood> YAY!

My final thoughts:
Have patience. It gets hard when you can get them to stop cry, when they wake up in the middle of the night in pain. We got lucky with this and it was minimal.
Cuddle and love a lot. They need it. You will need it.
Have easy meals prepped and ready to go. Something I failed to do and didn't know I'd be completely exhausted. Glad Shon was so understanding with this.
Stay on top of the meds, even throughout  the night. For about the first 4-5 nights, I made sure to wake her up for medicine every two hours. There is where the too exhausted to cook came from.
Adding to that, keep hydrated, throughout the night by drinking and a humidifier. I would make sure to have her drink some water and before I knew it, she was back to sleep. I felt like I had a newborn again, except my kids were a rare breed and slept phenomenal as babies. We also keep a humidifier running for her at night. I will say again, COOL MIST not WARM MIST!
Laxative. Yep. Have one on hand. They will get backed up from the medicine. We use this one.
Encourage chewing. Even if it's just gum. The jaw will become sore from the lack of. Even the things they will chew, will most likely be small bites and isn't really getting the jaw going.
Stock up on non physical activities. Luckily we have a lot of fun things to do inside. Coloring books, reading books, tablets, video games, painting, play-doh, board games... you get the point.
Go for walks. When the child is feeling up to it of course. We went once around our neighborhood, but I wanted to avoid that so she wouldn't get sad seeing all her friends playing together outside. Go to a park or somewhere peaceful if you can.
Reassure them everything will be okay. Every time it started to bother her, I told her it won't be like this for long, in my best Darius Rucker voice.
Let them try to eat what they want to eat. As long as it's not on the list to avoid. Her doctor said she can pretty much go at her down pace with whatever she wants to eat, but to stay away from things like hot sauce, citrus, anything acidic and carbonation (as it dehydrates) The whole ice cream and popsicle thing got old to her literally after the first day. She will still have it as a snack, but sister wants food.
Make them feel special and enjoy this down time at home with them! Like I said, our bond has grown. It's been great being home with her every day. Sleeping with her every night. Make the best out of it!

I hope this blog comes in handy for you, maybe one day. I know all the blogs I stumbled upon were so helpful that I went back and read them over and over. Shon even read them. While the medical/professional standpoint is important for obvious reasons, it's great hearing it straight from the mother herself.
Because Mom knows best!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

tonsillectomy - day five {& link up}

This day brought our first "incident" if you will. Nothing major, but definitely the first real obstacle in her recovery. I was upstairs doing laundry in the morning and Taylor had been asleep downstairs. I hear her start coming up the stairs and I could tell something was wrong. She had thrown up. Here we go, I thought. I panicked because I wasn't sure what could have caused that. She wasn't complaining about pain and she had ate a pretty good dinner Sunday night, so I knew it most likely wasn't the medicine upsetting her tummy. She was also doing a great job keeping herself hydrated. The first thing I did was check her throat for any bleeding. There was none and that was a huge relief. Shortly after that she got sick again. She seemed like she was feeling better. I gave her a nice warm bath and got her cleaned up. She had one more incident right after she got out of the tub and that was it. She immediately wanted something to eat so she grabbed a yogurt and all was good after that. I checked with the nurse just to make sure there was nothing to be concerned about. She said sometimes the drainage can cause the stomach to get upset and she may have swallowed some when she was sleeping. Yuck! She did complain about her jaw hurting a little as well, which is normal since most of the foods she is eating requires little to no chewing. As the day went on and a pack of gum later, that problem was history also.

She ate:
ice cream
penne with butter
bagel with american cheese melted

Her little voice sounds so different to me. Just the way she talks and says certain things, I can't help but smile at her. It's so cute. It makes me anxious to see how she talks in about a month when all is healed and back to normal. Or her NEW normal I guess I should say. 

Coffee has been my best friend these days. I'm talkin I've been firing up the ol Keurig 2-3 times a day. Sleep deprivation is a serious thing. The struggle is real. Between medicine and making sure her throat stays... moist..  I'm waking up every two hours. She's normally half asleep, but the job is getting done and that is what matters.

The Best Of Intentions

I want to talk about ME real quick. My eating mainly. I made sure beforehand that I had my go to produce, so I wouldn't have to try and get to the store while I'm at home with her. I love to cook, except on Fridays, I don't believe in it. It's science that it is impossible for me to cook on that day. Anyways, my lack of sleep and pure exhaustion has made me not want to do anything. ANYTHING. I didn't think it'd be this bad. I'm not eating terrible, I'm kinda just not eating meals. A handful of goldfish, a couple slices of pepperoni here, a few half a bag of cadburry mini eggs there. I think to myself, oh that's nothing significant. That doesn't count. Um, earth to Jessica: YES. IT. DOES. I've got to get back on track. My body does not like this. Time to snap out of this funk, but I can honestly say, if this was a "normal" week, it wouldn't be this way at all. I have lost another pound though. I guess that says somethin.

I also signed up to be a part of the 1800 minute challenge. 1800 minute whaaat?
It's not as scary as it sounds. Not even a little bit. Here are all the deets.
But basically between now, April 1st, and May 31st, it's 1800 minutes of some type of physical activity.
Rounds out to be 30 minutes a day but you don't have to do that.
You can have off days, days that are tougher than others, but in the end it should be 1800 minutes.
There I said it, now I have to do it, right?
Here goes nothin.

Got my glasses Friday. Still getting used to them, but holy crap. They make such a huge difference.
It's pretty unbelievable.
I wore them to the store Saturday morning and I felt like I was wearing a huge sign that read "girl wearing glasses for the first time"
I felt like everyone was looking at me and I came up with three simple conclusions:
1. I look like a complete goober
2. I look super cool
3. Or really no one was looking at me at all

That's all I've got today.
Over and out.