Knock on that door one more time…..

I’d heard that SunDowners was a real thing, I’d heard that full moons made people crazy. I don’t think I really believed much about that…. until Grandmother moved in with us…… As I mentioned before, when I checked Gran out of NHC on Friday, she was doing amazing well. Totally with it mentally and physically. And, she was happy despite the fact it was pouring down rain, which previously would have sent her into major fits. She started digressing some Friday evening, which is typical with her SunDowners, so I didn’t think much about it. I had to work on Saturday, and she was a bit of a pill as I was leaving- but again normal behavior….

Saturday afternoon, she wanted to walk down to the neighborhood social with us. A good sign I thought. She had the energy to get out and walk, and she wanted to be around people. It was slightly chilly outside, so she was ready to leave about 30 minutes after getting there. So, I just walked her back home. She was a little upset that I told her I was going back to the picnic because my kids were still there. But, I just laid out her bed medicine and told her to take that if she was in bed before I got back. She was actually still up when I came in, so I gave her her evening medicine and sent her to bed around 7:30. All is good in the world, until…..

10:11- the time of the first knock. I had just fallen asleep and was in that yummy, deep sleep where you’re dreaming and feeling good. All of the sudden the lights are on and I hear people talking, and then I hear people yelling. It was taking me a minute to come to my senses, I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming, or this was really happening. Gran was in my room demanding I help her go to the bathroom and get back to bed. She was yelling that this place was pathetic and she nearly messed the bed waiting for someone to help her up. Well, honey, this isn’t the hospital. You don’t have a nurse call button, so I don’t know what you pushed, but it didn’t alert Prince Charming to come to your rescue. We do our potty business and get back in bed. I’m miffed that I was waken up, but it was kinda funny, so no big deal.

10:34- Knock, Knock, Knock. “Misty!!! Misty!!! Get out here and help me right now!” You see, after our first intrusion I made sure I locked the door when I went back to bed. Grandmother, what do you need now? “I need one of these nurses to help me find my way back to bed.” Grandmother, you’re not in the hospital, there are no nurses here. You need to go back to bed on your own. I’ll show you the way. But, seriously, don’t come wake me up again. I have to work tomorrow, I need to sleep. “I’m sorry, I thought I had a nurse to wait on me, I don’t expect you to do it.”

11:17- Knock, Knock, Knock. DAMNIT! I am starting to get my feathers seriously ruffled at this point. There is a very good reason that I only had 2 kids. I LOVE to sleep, and babies keep you up all freaking night. As soon as I would fall asleep, they’d need to eat again, or have an ear infection, or poop their pants. Seriously, I went almost 3 years without a solid night of sleep, and I wasn’t a happy camper. And, they were cute. Grandmother, not cute. Waking me up multiple times, not cool. I go out the door yelling. I know it was excessive when Jeff sets up to tell me I need to cool it. But, by this time I have a major headache sitting in from exhaustion. Worse than just staying up too late is going to bed and being constantly woken up. So, I put Grandmother back to bed and assure her I will let her know when it’s time to get up….

1:15- Knock, Knock, Knock…. Somebody is about to die. Grandmother, what do you need?!?! “Well, none of these nurses would come help me out of bed so I peed on myself and need cleaned up.” WTF? How can one person have to go to the bathroom so many times in a 3 hour period. You haven’t had anything to drink since 7:30, and you’re wearing a diaper. Go sit on that toilet, raise your arms high in the air, do the wiggle jiggle. Do whatever the crap you need to do to get all fluids out of your body and go the F@$# to sleep. At this point, I am hearing Jennifer Garner read the version of the toddler book, “Go the F@*& to sleep in my head”. It’s meant to be funny book for parents of littles, it is very real in my life at this moment. And, we’re back in the bed again. I plead with her not to get up again.

2:20- Knock, Knock, Knock…. You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. I open the door with wheels blazing, tongue lashing, spear drawn…. Only to see the cutest little boy God every made, arms held up wide, “Mommy, I love you but I am scared.” (I’m sure Gran had woken him up as her room is across from his.) Come here sweet love, and snuggle mommy. Funny how I react much differently to my children than I do to Grandmother. However, in my defense, had my kids woken me up more than twice, they’d probably either be on the way to the hospital or hearing my wrath too. They’re just smart enough to know waking mommy up is a bad plan.

3:14- Knock, Knock, Knock…. Assuming it is Lexi Kate, because my kids have a keen sense of knowing when the other has snuck some private mommy snuggle time, I gently roll to the door to let another little bug in my bed. Nope. “Misty, come help me get dressed for the day.” NO!!! It is the freaking middle of the night. Go to bed! And, you have got to quit waking me up. I have to work tomorrow, I am about to die. Get back in bed. So, I walk her to her room and give VERY firm instruction for her to not get up again. I’m pretty sure it didn’t have one ounce of kindness wrapped in it. She says, “What do you want me to do, just lay here until I die?!?” That’s when I came unglued. “Grandmother, you are not dying. But, if you wake me up one more time tonight, I might just help you get there!” Go to sleep, and don’t come near my room again. “But, I need help finding the bathroom.” No, you don’t. The bathroom is right beside your room. Go to the bathroom, go to bed. She tells me to come check on her in an hour. I just walked away…. I came back to bed, and Jeff says, “I think you need to plan on sleeping in in the morning.” Really, you think. Because at this point I’m not really sleeping at all….

And, that was thankfully all the knocking for the night. Just before 7:00 I could here her and Jeff discussing coffee and breakfast, but I really didn’t care. Today has continued with more awesomeness with a shoe battle and her stealing my breakfast, but those stories will have to wait until another day.

And, she’s back

Sixteen days ago, I thought Gran was faking being sick in order to make meats home from work to take her to the doctor. I called her doctor, and they suggested I take her to the ER. Her blood pressure was dangerously low, so they admitted her. That was a Wednesday evening. She was progressing well on Thursday, so we planned to discharge her to a rehab facility on Friday. That’s when all hell broke loose. She snapped, and totally lost herself. She punched a nurse, threatened to kill me, and cussed anyone within ear shot. They had to sedate her to keep her calm, and because of her behavior she couldn’t go to NHC. Friday and Saturday, I was pretty sure she was dying. She was totally gone. She didn’t know who she was, who I was, where she was, what date it was, anything. She could really barely talk at all. She couldn’t sit or stand, she couldn’t even feed herself. The only lucid thing she said in those 36-60 hours was, “Sunday is Mother’s Day, I want to go home so I can go to the graveyard and see Pam (my deceased mother, her daughter).” Then, on Sunday, she was back in the world. She had a little more strength and certainly knew what was going on. On Monday, she was discharged to NHC. Even at that time, it didn’t appear that Gran would ever be able to come back home to live with us. But, God once again had another plan…..

I can’t say enough about NHC Franklin. For one, I was blessed to have a friend of mine doing Gran’s Physical Therapy. I didn’t even know she worked at that facility. But, to have someone who knows us and knows our situation was a huge blessing. She had round the clock care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and companionship with “people like her”. I’m pretty sure they missed the part that Gran was on a cardiac, diabetic diet; because, she talked about how good the food was every day. They gradually worked with her on gaining her strength and balance. The biggest concern of mine was having her to be able to get around the house by herself. Even though she lives with us, she is home alone a good 6-8 hours during the day. I just can’t be worried about her falling and me not knowing. The last 3 days, I couldn’t believe the strides she was taking. Less than 10 days before, she couldn’t even lift a fork to her mouth, and now she is walking 100 feet unassisted while curling weights. Granted, they’re like 2 pound weights, but still. She hasn’t been able to exert that much strength in months, maybe a year…. And, mentally, she is totally with it. She’s told me about 500 times to get her an appointment to get her hair done. But, I think that has less to do with her forgetting that she has already told me that, and more to do with that she is going to ride my tail until I give her what she wants. She’s very similar to the parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18.

So, we checked out of NHC this morning and came home. All the staff were loving on her, talking about what an amazing patient she was, and talking about how much they would miss her next week. It’s amazing what one can do when they want to be granted parole. She was home by herself all day today. From the looks of things, she even cooked some lunch. I don’t know that she has operated my stove more than 3 times the whole time she has lived with us. When the kids got home from school, they ran right up to her and gave her a big hug and told her how much they had missed her. I’m pretty sure this made her month. It’s no secret Gran and LK aren’t BFF’s, but they hugged and kissed, and both seemed genuinely happy to see each other. It blessed this mama’s heart like no other.

I don’t know how long we’ll have happy, healthy, mentally stable Grandmother with us. But, for now I am counting my many blessings that she is back and our life has resumed our crazy version of normal.

Invest in yourself

I’ve always been a pretty healthy person. I’ve never loved working out, but I’ve always been active. We don’t follow a strict diet, but we eat fairly well. Up until my late 20s, I was always pretty “thin”. I did gain a good bit of weight after getting married, and got pregnant within 18 months of getting married. When I delivered my first child, I weighed close to 200 pounds. But, I dropped that weight fairly easily. Once LK finished nursing, I did Weight Watchers, and got back to 125 pounds. And, just a few days later, found out I was pregnant with Sam. I actually delivered Sam weighing less than I did when I got pregnant with LK. After delivering Sam, I lost some weight but not all of it. Again, after nursing him, I did Weight Watchers, and maintained my weight around 140lbs.

As time went by, life got stressful, and I put on some weight. But nothing I was really concerned about. It was more an appearance inconvenience than a struggle with the number on the scale. And, I was still fairly healthy. Until December 2013. During my routine annual exam, my doctor found some things of concern and suggested I undergo a biopsy and some further testing. Thankfully, the concerns were nothing serious. But, the genetic testing I did showed that I was a “candidate” for colon cancer. Not a surprise, and this runs in my family. I decided at that point, I really needed to be an advocate for my own health. After Christmas, I was going to get my act together and make sure I stayed in fantastic health.

Life turned upside February 12, 2014 when my mother passed away suddenly. The test at the hospital showed that she had heart disease. My itty bitty mom who walked miles every day had heart disease? I will say, I worried about her for a couple years because she had a persistent cough. I know now, that was a tell tale sign of congestive heart failure. I would love to say my mom’s death was a catalyst for my health journey, but it wasn’t. I lost all interest in caring at all. Mom was in shape, got plenty cardio exercise, ate well, didn’t smoke and didn’t drink. If she could die at 56 with heart disease, anyone can. And so, my health spiraled out of control. I gained over 80 pounds. I didn’t eat often, but when I ate it was terrible food. And, honestly, I was drinking a lot as well. The only way I could sleep was to be half lit. And, I really didn’t care what it did for my cancer risks or heart risks. Without really thinking about it, I was probably more apt to spiral myself toward life threatening health…..

I felt bad all the time, I was tired all the time regardless of how much I slept, and just couldn’t get it together. I went to my general practitioner and finally told her I was ready to do something different. After doing some blood work, meeting with an endocronologist, having more tests run- they told me I needed to have my thyroid removed. I spent a decent amount of time blaming my weight on my thyroid and my thyroid on my weight. One day, I realized how much of my kids’ lives I was missing out on simply because I didn’t feel like being an active participant. And, I could tell it was really bothering LK for her friends to make comments about my weight. One day, the light bulb just switched. I decided to do something about it.

The problem is, all the gym memberships, and fitness programs are expensive. I’m not the type of person that can just do videos at home. I can’t buy a gym membership and expect to show up. I have to have more accountability than that. I totally hate working out. That’s where I discovered the Be Healthy Challenge. On a whim I signed up. What could it hurt? I also found out my insurance would cover some time with a nutritionist and trainer. So, for $225 I had a 12 week plan to get started. With the help of a mentor, personal trainer, encouragement from friends, and a solid meal plan; life started changing. But, it wasn’t easy or problem free. During that 3 month period, I was sicker than I think I have ever been in a year. I got pneumonia, strep throat and a stomach virus. Grandmother was sick, my kids were sick, work got chaotic. I had plenty reasons to quit and just forget it. But, I had decided I was worth it, so I stuck it out! I lost pounds, lost body fat percentage, gained muscle mass, and most importantly started feeling better. Quite honestly, I still weigh more now than I did when I delivered both of my babies. But, I’m on a path to do something about it. I also found out during this time that I had severe arthritis in my knees, and if something didn’t change, I would be needing artificial cartilage and eventually knee replacement surgery. So, we had to add physical therapy to my regular workout routine. As of now, my knees are improving- and I get to keep my thyroid. All of my blood levels are coming back in line, and with continued progress, I shouldn’t even need medication.

The Be Healthy Challenge has ended, and I’m still not where I want to be. So, I decided to invest in myself. It’s expensive. I’ve committed to spending almost $2000 on continued use of a personal trainer and fitness classes. My kids deserve to have their mom participate with them, but more importantly, I deserve it. I’m worth the time, effort and money it takes to get there. I spend hours every day serving everyone else. I spend nearly $10,000 a year on LK’s dance alone. I have to mentally change my perspective to spend some of my resources on myself. I can’t be my best for others if I don’t.

So, here I am, putting myself out there on the world wide web. Hold me accountable, encourage me. But, more importantly, believe in yourself. YOU are worth it too! If I can do it, you can too. If something about you isn’t what you want it to be, do something about it. If I can find the time and money to do it, so can you. Please, don’t make it a waste of damaging my pride to put a picture of my 200 pound self in a bathing suit online….

Transformation after 14 weeks


Learning to hit the curve ball

It’s no secret, I do planning well. It’s just who I am. It’s who I have been as long as I can remember. When I was in middle and high school, I was always the kid with the fanny pack of supplies that everyone needed. People made fun of my fanny pack until they needed something that was in it, then they were glad I was proud to rock my styling fanny pack. I have plans A, B, and C laid out for pretty much every situation in my life. That worked out great for me roughly the first 35 years of my life. Then, I guess I got too comfortable in my own skin and God decided He needed to toss a curve ball in to increase (check that, create) my dependence on Him.

And, for an OCD Planner, nothing will send you to your knees like a curve ball. It’s May. Here’s what you need to know about May in my world- the last dance competition of the year is this weekend; our studio recital is next month and preparation is in full force; end of year at school means a bazillion projects and things to do, Fine Arts nights and special performances; it just happens to be one of the 3 busiest months in my career each year, if my family is going to eat for the year, May is when it happens; school ends- thus my daycare ends. We’ve just got a lot of crap going on. So, I HAVE to plan things out, like every minute of every day plan things out.

Then, you come home from work one day and Grandmother says she is really hurting and doesn’t feel right in the head. It’s 4:30- the doctor’s office is closing soon. You investigate what not feeling right really means, you call her doctor and talk about symptoms and scenarios. And, then you say, “CRAP! We’re headed to the ER, and this isn’t anywhere on my schedule this month.” I was quiet certain our trip to the ER was a result of lack of attention. Jeff and I had been out of town for our anniversary the weekend prior, I worked really late Tuesday night, I came home Wednesday only to fix dinner and was planning to go back to work. And, to keep me home with her, she decided she needed to feel bad. Well, that didn’t work out exactly as planned. So, we were at the ER, and then got admitted to the hospital.

Thursday during the day, things seemed to go okay, and we planned for a Friday discharge from the hospital, with a 21 day stay at NHC Rehab to help her with some PT and OT where she could be more independent during the day. And, then Friday morning, Grandmother decided she didn’t like her situation. She punched a nurse, threatened to kill me, and ended up in a straight jacket. So, our plan to go to rehab struck out. She had to stay at the hospital for a psych evaluation and get stabilized before she could go to rehab.

Friday afternoon and Saturday, she was pretty much drugged out of her mind. It was totally heart breaking. She didn’t have a clue who I was, where she was, or what was going on. Literally, the only coherent thing she said in those 36 hours was, “Sunday is Mother’s Day. I want to go to the graveyard to see Pam.” Well, of course that tore me up. I just had to leave. I went home and just prayed and begged God to take her home. It may sound terrible to want someone to die, but this just wasn’t living.

Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, when I got to the hospital, Grandmother was better than she had been in months. I was totally over joyed, but totally taken off guard. I didn’t even bring her Mother’s Day present to the hospital, because I didn’t expect her to even know. Thankfully, when Jeff and the kids came up a little later, they brought her a card. Grandmother’s sisters came to visit her a little after lunch. It totally made her day. But, when they were leaving, she said, “I’ve said my goodbyes and seen everyone I need to see, I’m going now.” Of course I laid awake all night long wondering if something was going to happen to her…. but she was fine and dandy.

Monday, Grandmother had another great day. She was a little more confused, but not out of the ordinary. We got her transferred from St. Thomas to NHC Franklin late in the day. She wasn’t excited about it, but she didn’t flip her lid. She “understood” why she was there and committed to doing the work she needed to do in order to get out of rehab facility.

Beyond rehab, we really don’t know what we are going to do. The frustrating thing is everyone telling me what I need to do, what I should do, and how to do it. It’s just not that easy. There are insurance companies and government agencies involved here. Unfortunately, we just have to work the system….

So, once again, in the middle of my perfectly planned out week, life threw us a curve ball. And, all you can do is just keep swinging.