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Josephine (Zitek) Brown - July 4, 1916 - October 3, 2007

My grandmother passed away this morning. We've had her at home for the last three weeks with the aid of hospice following a three month decline in health. She died right around 9 am in her sleep.

In late June, Grandma had a heart attack and was sent to Portland to have a blood clot removed. She came home on her 91st birthday, the 4th of July. She seemed to do okay for a while and then had an episode with her memory the first part of August. They figured at that time, considering her symptoms, that she had a minor stroke. After several days in the hospital at that time, she went to a nursing home for three weeks. When she was released, she went back to her own home for less than a week when she came out to the farm due to weakness from a bladder infection. It was her second bladder infection in a couple of weeks. On the second day, my mom called the ambulance for her when she was too weak to get into the car for a doctor's appointment. After another few days in the hospital, complete with pneumonia, and a roller coaster of other issues, the doctor decided that hospice was the best thing. Her heart was badly damaged, only working due to the pacemaker she'd had for 10 plus years, and her lungs weren't in much better shape. She was having repeated strokes, to the point that she didn't make much sense anymore. Her vision was also affected and more often than not she didn't recognize us. Sometimes she would, or she'd ask about us, or talk about us, though she was in a different time. She asked Mom yesterday if I was 12 now... I'm 37. Yesterday she entered what hospice called "terminal anxiety", she was upset, asking her already deceased brother to help her. Medication helped to calm her down and she passed away in her sleep.

She was so very sweet, always thanking you for every little thing over the last three weeks. I know it was frustrating for her sometimes, not being able to find the words she wanted to use. The hardest times where when she called herself "dumb and stupid" because the words wouldn't come out of her mouth the way she wanted. Having had a serious head injury, I know how she felt, though I don't think she really understood that. We just always told her that she wasn't dumb or stupid.

Grandma had been alone for 30 years, since my grandfather died in 1977. I lived with, and took care of her twice following surgeries, but otherwise she was alone in a big house. In the end, she craved the contact. She just wanted you to snuggle down with her and just be there. She kept saying how lonely she'd been. She wasn't lonely in the end.

I know it was hard for all of us, my mom in particular, being her primary caregiver, but none of us would have traded the last few weeks with her for anything. I thank God that she went peacefully and there wasn't a long, painful death.

Rest in peace, Grandma. Give Grandpa a hug for me and enjoy seeing your brothers and sisters again. I love you.

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Request

I'm hoping you guys can help me out here. Basically I'm looking for fic prompts, specifically I'm looking for the progression of a relationship.

First sight, introduction (hand shake), holding hands, first kiss and so on...

I would appreciate it if any of you could toss out the steps to a slow progression of an intimate relationship. List as many as you like. Thanks in advance to anyone who replies.

Catching up...

Well, it's been a while so I decided I should update, not that there's anything exciting to report.

On July 4th, my Grandma turned 91. Her best birthday present was that she got to come home from the hospital. She'd had a blood clot in her heart and sent her to Portland for surgery to have it removed. It was a simple blood clot, not plaque or anything like that, which was a good thing. So she came home on her birthday, got a new air conditioner, to keep any strain off her heart, and had a nice visit with family. So, all in all, not a bad 4th of July.

Next up, just after the 1st of August, we have a long family visit coming up. Two of Dad's brothers, their wives, one son and his family will be here for about two weeks. We'll be visiting Mount St. Helens, a very cool place to see the power of nature, and it's resilience. Also on tap will be at least one trip to the coast, which usually involves breakfast at Spirit Mountain casino (yum) and coming home by way of the Tillamook cheese factory for cheese and ice cream (double yum). Also, at some point, we'll go to Salem for breakfast at Buisk Court (thank you, Rachel Ray, the banana nut stuffed French toast is awesome!) Beyond that, I'm not sure what we'll be doing aside from visiting and doing a lot of laughing, one of my aunts is super cool.

Work has been slow and boring of late, but that won't last. By the time I return from my vacation on Aug. 13th, things will already be picking up and by September 1st, I'll be working 50+ hours a week. I'm actually kind of looking forward to that, though it is a very tiring time. Having a bonus to look forward to helps and coming right before Christmas is nice, though I'm not planning to do the whole present thing this year. I was both surprised and pleased to find that we got a summer bonus this year, too. It's the first year we have since I've been working at Excel and it was good timing.

Well, I can't think of anything else, and I'm sure I've bored you all enough.

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How could someone actually think it would be funny to take a tragic accident and turn it into a sick joke? Some time back I posted about the lost of one of my favorite kitties. She had crawled under the hood of my sister's work truck and fought like hell against the engine to get out again until she died and the truck broke down a half a mile or so away. I was devastated, as you might imagine, but sadly things like that do happen. It was a tragic accident and nobody's fault.

Monster had caused enough damage under the hood that Diana needed a mechanic to get the truck going again, which meant the people at the home office knew about the accident. Apparently the last time she went to the regional office, which is in Seattle, someone up there thought it would be cute to christen her truck. They painted "Cat Killer" on the side of the hood as a joke. Can someone really think that's funny?!

Diana felt bad about what happened to Monster and I was just sick about it. So now we both have to think about it every time we look at her stupid truck and see the name they put on it. I'd like to stick their hand in a engine then paint "Hand Killer" on the side of their truck and see if they still think it's funny!

I can't even tell you how sick and angry I am that someone could think it was funny, much less that they would put something like that permanently on her truck. Aside from it being a disgusting joke, my sister has to deal with people on a daily basis and having something like that in plain sight only invites questions that she shouldn't have to deal with. Not to mention that it's hardly professional, in my opinion at least.

Medical Info

Since some of you were surprised that I was put to sleep for my recent colonoscopy, one of you at least, I've discovered that apparently that depends on the doctor. I had my procedure at the same office that my parents did and we were all put out. My brother had his done at another doctor and he was not put to sleep. His doctor also prescribed a different solution, which was 3x more expensive than what I had. My doctor's office said they used this other stuff because it was cheaper to buy the gallon of goo than it was to buy the half-gallon. It will be interesting to see how the charges come out otherwise between mine and his. Granted he had seven polyps and mine was clean, but still the difference in the procedure and the meds from the get-go are pretty different. The three of us also got a diagram right after the procedure showing where stuff was and my parents each got a picture of their polyps, too. My brother will have to wait some time before he gets his diagram. Anyway, just thought I'd mention in case anyone has to have the procedure. Knowing it could go either way, I would definitely shop around for the sleeping version if you have the choice.

In other news, Mom and I started walking this morning. I started summer hours at work, which means I go in an hour later. I figured rather than change my sleep pattern for six weeks, and then have to change it back, that I'd be better off getting up at the same time and walking. I need the exercise and it will be much better on me to leave things the way they are.

I just got back from taking Mom and Dad out to dinner at Ruby Tuesday. I've been really hungry for a steak and was going to take Mom for her birthday in late May, but they went camping and this was the first opportunity when I could afford it again. It worked out because I could treat Dad for Father's Day at the same time. The steak was awesome, and so was the salad bar, but I ate too much. Mom and I took a short walk after, which helped settle things some.

Test results

Just back from the colonoscopy and everything looked good, thankfully. For anyone who may need to have one in the future, I can say that you should definitely do it and they aren't that bad at all.

They take you in, you put on a gown, lay down and cover up. The nurse comes in and puts in an IV. She had to try twice on me because apparently I have small veins. She tried first in the back of my hand and the vein immediately started to blow out so she moved it to the middle of forearm. I was lucky in that they were running ahead of schedule and I pretty much went right back to the room. They put on a BP cuff, oxygen and pulse-ox. A few minutes later the doctor came in to see if I had any questions. He had me turn on my side, injected the meds and I immediately started to fall asleep. What seemed like a few minutes later, I woke up and it was done. They moved me back to the other room, took my blood pressure a couple more times, gave me some cranberry juice and that was it. I got dressed and Mom drove me home.

The results were all normal, though it's something I do have to keep an eye on.

Dad's biopsy results came back after surgery and the polyp they removed was cancer. It hadn't yet invaded the wall of his colon and all of the lymph nodes they took were clear so that very good news.

We are still waiting for the results of Mom's biopsy but I'm praying that it was benign.

Anyway, I can attest that the procedure isn't that bad, the day before aside. Even that could have been worse, really. So yeah, that's over for now. Thanks for the positive thoughts, I appreciate each one.
Today was kind of an odd day. I wasn't shaky or nervous like yesterday, it pretty much felt normal. My stomach wasn't too happy though and despite not being awake, I must not have slept much last night. I had to struggle to keep my eyes open all day, even after drinking a big Dr. Pepper at lunch. I hope tonight I rest better.

One more day of work and then the fun begins. It's going to be nice not to have to drive for four days. Plus with work really slowing down, we probably would have had one half day, which is kind of nice but also sucks when you drive as far as I do. At least gas prices are coming down, for the moment. I can't imagine it will last all that long, but it'll be good while it does.

Medical News

Well, fun times.

About a month ago, my dad had surgery to remove part of his colon because of a large polyp. It tested negative for cancer, but apparently there's still a 50 percent chance it could be. Okay, polyp removed and he's doing fine, no problems.

Last week, my mom went in to have her colon checked. Guess what? She had a polyp, too. Hers was small and they were able to remove it during the procedure so no surgery for her, thank God.

Guess what else? Because it's been diagnosed on BOTH sides of my family, in fact my maternal grandmother had them, too, I've been urged to get checked. And yeah, since I've had issues for some time, I'm biting the bullet and now get the joy of experiencing the fun of a colonoscopy. All things considered there's a pretty damn good chance that something will be found. I'm crossing my fingers that it will just be something small, like what both mom and grandma had, but I'm trying to prepare for it being something more.

Mom told me on Thursday and I've been fine until today. I spent the day anxious and shaky, maybe because I planned to call to get an appointment. They had an opening on Friday so I took it because I don't want to have to think about this any longer than I have to. So appointment made, paperwork taken care of, meds and liquids picked up to Thursday. I rented some movies in the hopes of finding distraction since I doubt I'll be much good at writing right now. Hopefully that, along with a few treats, will keep my mind off things.

Anyway, not to be all woe is me or anything, but any and all good thoughts, positive vibes and prayers would be most appreciated.

More meaningless musings...

Wow, twice in two days... I'm on a roll, people.

First, as soon as I posted yesterday I saw the trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Four sequel, gotta say I'm looking forward to seeing that. It looks damn good and I really enjoyed the first one. Yes, I am a comic geek, though I've never read any FF, mostly X-Men. It's funny that I haven't seen Spiderman 3 yet... Saw and liked the first two and I'm sure I'll probably like this one when I see it, just don't know when that will be. Maybe I'll see Spidey 3 and Fantastic Four the same day, it's been a long time since I've done a double feature.

I got to assemble the worst damn job today! Why anyone would conduct a shoot the way these people do is completely beyond me! It totally sucked but I got it done. Tomorrow I have another fun one waiting for me, I just hope it makes the time go fast.

Finally, of the TMI variety, I really hate that time of the month. Cramps suck and I sleep for shit, which always improves my mood, NOT! But enough of that...

Well, off to make dinner then watch a movie or two before passing out.

Nothing much...

You know, I have this thing but I really don't use it and I probably should. Most of what I'll post won't mean anything to anyone else, just basic boring life details. At some point there will probably be some fanfic, but that too probably won't interest most of you here. With any luck there will be some new friends to go along with the new interests. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with old friends, but things do change and people grow in different directions, become interested in different things.

Of the boring details of my life, things are finally slowing down at work. Of course, that's both good and bad. I really like keeping busy, it makes the time go so much faster. Plus, the extra hours make for some nice paychecks. On the negative, working 9 or 10 hours a day, five days a week with up to six hours on Saturdays, it doesn't leave a lot of time for much of anything else. Not with energy levels like mine anyway, not to mention the added time spent driving. And then there's the stress of being pulled in multiple directions at the same time. Sometimes it sucks to know so much and be able to step into a different role with a moment of notice. Sometimes though, it's nice to be able to move around and do something different.

I'll probably still be working full-time, or close to it, and it's only a couple of months before our really busy season. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the slower time and try to keep myself distracted as much as I can. I have family coming to visit at the end of July, which I'm looking forward to. I'll get to meet a cousin I've never met before, along with his family, plus and couple of Aunts and Uncles. My one Aunt is a lot of fun and I'm very much excited to see her again. I'll take a couple of weeks off for their visit and I may take a couple of weeks off on a lay-off, too. It just depends on how things go and what sort of work we have. I'm on a new line and I don't know their workload that well. I do know they want to train me in a few more areas so that will take some time. Otherwise I'll have to wait to see how much work there is compared to gas prices.

So yeah... there's my boring life update for now. I hope I didn't bore anyone to death.