Sunday, August 31, 2008

Getting Better

For a complete recap of the past weeks going's on you can visit Gambino's blog. She summed it up pretty good. The floor thing is pretty good. I'm not sure what's going on there but I have had to wash the thing every day this week. Part of the problem is the construction going on right outside the back door. It all gets dragged in the house.

I thought today would be the first day I could hold it together and I was doing pretty well. I noticed that my dad was very quiet tonight and the few times I inquired he just brushed it off. It must have finally gotten to him right before we were eating dinner as he told me he was upset over a dream he had. He thought it was odd as he never dreams. At first he didn't want to tell me as he didn't want to upset me. My first thought was to leave it alone, but being the caring (yet sometimes stupid) person I am I convinced him to talk about it. He dreamt that my husband and I were walking across a parking lot and feeling down when my brother, Dave came up to us and put his arms around me and told me that he's okay and not to worry. My pizza then became somewhat soggy.

It's been really good to have the family all around each other for the past week. Almost as if no one wants to let each other go. Tomorrow will be another day of sorting through things. I think the more personal items are almost all done. I have found that my brother did value little things in life. Yesterday I found a ton of birthday & Christmas cards. I also found letters that I had written to him in 1987 when he lived in Florida. The closing on my letter was "I miss you". Twenty-one years later I still feel the same.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What Would David Want?

My family made the dreaded trip to the funeral home today. We met outside and all walked in together. I keep trying to hold it together for my parents as they lost their child. They keep trying to comfort us. We managed to make it through all the arrangements without an argument. There were a few areas of disagreement about a certain thing but others were willing to listen in the end we were able to reason things out.

I found today that I've taken some things for granted. This is not the first funeral that I've been along for the arrangement part, but it is the first where I was actively involved. We all lost it a little when picking out prayer cards. I thought I could read it, but half way through thought that this could have been written specifically for my brother. I've picked them up and funerals before and have kept them for memories but I never really read the wording on the card. As I sat there reading it I found a new appreciation for anyone who has ever had to do this. I thought we'd make it through the flower selection without a tear being shed. Mom didn't do to well in this area, which in turn makes the rest of us shed a few.

Since my brother did not have any laid out plans we were forced to take matters into our own hands. This involved a trip to the basement. In the phase that some of us are going through now there were some comments made to "lighten " everyone up. This did help to keep the edge at bay for a few more minutes. Some day maybe I'll be able to write them all down.

We saw a minister in the afternoon to plan the service. We were prompted for good memories. This brought a lot of laughter and tears. We stressed the importance of him speaking to Dave's girls of how much their father loved them.

Tonight was picture board night. I think this helped some of us ease up a little. None of us knew that Dave had so many pictures. His pictures reflected a good life.

With everything we did today I feel that we all had one try and do what Dave would want.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ode To Dave

I've had some sad days in my life but today will rate as the saddest.
My brother who had been in the hospital for two weeks passed away at 345 this afternoon. He went in about two weeks ago with difficulty breathing. He was diagnosed with ARDS. On Tuesday this week they induced a coma and put a trachea in so he would be in complete rest and his lungs would be able to oxygenate. There was a routine of turning him every six hours from his back to stomach to see where the better results were.
My other brother and I were at the hospital this afternoon for a visit. Even though he was heavily sedated we'd go visit and leave notes to him and each other. This past two weeks I've how much care and love my family has for each other. My parents should be proud!
We left the hospital around 315 and I went on my way. I decided to call my parents for the daily update and made a stop at Kohl's. I no sooner had a cart in hand when my phone rang. It was a call from the hospital saying he was coding. The nurse though we were still in the hospital. Panic set in to say the least. Not sure how many people I pushed through to get back to my car. I made 1 call to my husband and asked that he make calls to get my siblings up there. Upon entering the hospital I could hear them paging doctors to MRICU stat.
When I got to the floor and saw the nurse in tears I knew something was not good. I was allowed to stand outside his door and saw a group of people desperately trying to help him. By the time the rest of my siblings arrived they had been at it for over 15 minutes. My thanks to the Chaplin who stood by my side. A doctor then came and told us that he had had no pulse for 1/2 hour and even if they could revive him now he had been without oxygen to his brain for 1/2 hours. We had no option but to tell them to let him go.
As I sat in a room with my siblings, children, Gambino (who really is my sister) and my husband I couldn't help but feel all our pain. There was anger from some, which is a way to release sadness, there were questions, there was more crying when thinking about his girls who he loved so much. I made two to my parents which was hard and one to his ex.
There's a big blur for awhile as we were talked to by the doctor, we thanked the team that tried so hard and we were allowed to say goodbye to our brother. Then it was like everyone kicked it in. We removed his personal things from his room and big brother Ken started to make some arrangements.
The next hardest thing was to tell his girls. His ex did not want to do this alone so I asked her to meet at our house. They pulled in right after us and as I watched them walk up the driveway I was at a complete loss for words. All I could keep telling them was how much he loved them. Fifteen & ten are to young to loose their dad. The youngest one had to be reassured that they would still be coming to family functions.
This past 8 hours has been an emotional roller coaster. I've cried, been angry, tried to get my mind off it and completely lost it several times. My husband's tee shirt is sopping wet and there are not enough kleenex in this house to gather the tears shed by all of us.
I had to make calls to his two jobs and landlord. All three of these people expressed their sympathy and then went on to say that they'd never seen a man that loved his girls more.
I started to think about him a lot tonight. I remember the day he was born. I remember at 14 having to watch him all the time and as much as I whined about it, he was never a problem. He was a fun and silly little kid. He got in his share of trouble and my parent's dubbed him the problem child. My kids loved him. He was their babysitter for a long time and I never worried when he had them. He used to tell me that one goal in his life was to have a family. He tried hard to hold things together when his wife and him had problems, but things just didn't work.
Dave (aka boarder brother) did fun things with his girls. It wasn't a bother to him to take them places. The guy had a heart of gold and would always be there in times of need.
We lost our brother today and in my heart I truly want to believe that God had a bigger plan for him. I know in time the pain will subside but what do you do in the mean time?

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This morning I was awoken by the sounds of digging. I didn't intend to sleep to late but this was around 8am. I'm an early riser even on the weekends so this just meant "Up and at 'em " for me. I have some (a lot) of errands to catch up on as the week has just been busy. One of the first things was to tackle the laundry. Second was to clean out the fridge. The fridge is not pretty damn empty, which means a trip to the grocery store is in order also. #3 was to visit my friend the Wii. I walked into the living room with every intention of a 45 minute work-out. I happened to sit down in the chair and look over a new program I had purchased. It was then that I glanced out the window and spotted "The squirrel". It was one of those nature scenes that you just can't look away from. Seems this guy was having a bit of a dilemma in crossing the street. Traffic is not that heavy on our street but between the walkers, joggers,cars and bikes he was having a problem.It got a bit funny as Iwatched him get 1/2 way across and high tail it back to the other side several times. I was almost ready to go out and block the flow so the poor little guy could make it across, when I thought "This is probably the little bugger that's been reeking havoc on my yard". Don't get me wrong, I didn't wish any ill fate on him but what's the worst that could happen?. He may have to take up residence in the yard on the other side.

This little scene went on for about 10 minutes. Run to curb, run to middle of street, comes something..scurry back. Each time he would get a little further before heading back. I get the feeling that he had some coaching from the squirrels in the tree, because finally he let loose and really tore butt across the street and into the tree.

That was the end. Now I was going to flip on the Wii and get going. Phone rang which was another 5 minutes and then since I was on the phone sitting by my computer I decided to post. I am on my way!

Oh and here's to a victory by the Brewers, Packers & Cowboys (that's my plug for my friend) last night.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"We're Going To Heavily Sedate Your Brother"

I received the call at around 11am this morning from my brother's nurse. Last night there was talk of inducing a coma. After calling the hospital upon hearing this rumor it was well explained to me. My brother has ARDS. They cannot put their finger on the source of the infection and it's not something that happens overnight. At first they thought his leg wound was it, but after finding no infection there they moved on to internal organs. Nothing found there either. So it's a mystery now.

This afternoon they induced a coma. This will put his body completely at rest and they will be able to oxygenate his lungs and pump him full of antibiotics to see if they can clear the infection. They also moved him on to his stomach which is supposed to aid in filling his lungs. Apparently this is a common practice in very ill people. The only risk involved is that he won't be any better. They'll try this for 1-3 days depending on the results. My siblings and I have become very good at leaving notes. We've come to the conclusion that we all have crappy handwriting made worse with the wearing of gloves.

Yesterday they removed the tubing from his mouth and put a trachea in. The first thing he asked for was ice chips and then a sucker. Not just any sucker, he had to have a lemon-lime sucker , which his younger sister got him. All we can do is hope and pray for the best.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Fun Continues

I have to say that this is the closest I've been in ages to throwing my hands up in the air and just screaming until nothing more will come out. I think the problem is, I haven't boxed yet today. I'm afraid I'll throw the remote right through the tv screen.

Work Sucks! All the guys who on Monday said they'd be out on the line helping us as we're short handed have drifted off into the sunset. Big action. It's not my problem anyway. We try to keep lines running but when you run out of supplies and the person you're supposed to call to stock you up is busy doing other tasks..well then you shut down. It's best that they stay in their offices anyway as all they do is whine about how boring or hot it is out on the lines.

Brother is still in the hospital with tubes running out of him all over. At least today he was able to communicate with me a little. He's got a pad of paper and purple crayon to write notes with. Today has been the first day that he's been awake long enough to write something to me. As of right now we know that he has ARDS (adult respiratory distress syndrome). His lungs are full of fluid and they come in to suction him once an hour. It is also possible that there is an issue with his gall bladder and pancreas. Still waiting on test results for that. I've made a ton of phone calls since I've gotten home to his supervisor, boss and other misc. places. Then to top it off I find out today that there is something medically going on with my mother. This is why they have to leave and come back. Nice...
I must just keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason and what don't kill us makes us stronger. Over and over again.

I think I hear my Wii boxing trainer calling...

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Storm After The Calm

I felt a little guilty about going camping this weekend, but after being assured by my siblings that Loria & Ben Sr. would be entertained and in good hands off we went.
I was a little out of sorts as this is probably the first trip in a long time where I had to work a full shift. I felt like I was robbed of a half day of camping. It was nice and very appreciated that things were all set up and basically all I had to do was put my stuff in the camper and settle into a chair for a nice cold one. The weather was great and the company was good also.

On the way home I decided to check my home voice mail. Much to my dismay I found a message from my father asking me to call his cell phone. I immediately knew there was something wrong. I opted to call right away rather than wait until I got home. There is a little history is this. My brother (a.k.a. boarder brother) had had an incident on Tuesday with his leg again. He ended up in the ER but was patched up and sent home. I talked to him on Thursday and he mentioned he was feeling a little faint and very tired. I told him to call his doctor and let him know. This he did but maybe didn't stress how bad it was. On Saturday afternoon he called my parents and asked them to take him to the hospital. He was then having problems breathing. He was taken in and through ER was admitted and procedures were being done to check him for several things. On Sunday morning when my parents went back they could not wake him. This turned into Loria calling for a nurse and a lot of commotion. By the time I called Ben he said they were still working on him and he was going into ICU. I got up there about 2 hours later to find him in ICU with an oxygen mask on and tubes all over. He had some type of infection they were beginning to treat. At this point he was awake and very scared. We left there around 9 Sunday night and he was resting but in some distress. At 5:30 this morning they introbated him. They said he was setting alarms off all night because of his inability to breath. As of 3pm today they put a feeding tube in, he had no clue what was going on, and he has a serious blood infection that has spread to his entire body including his lungs. He is not in good shape and they expect his stay to be at least 4 weeks. We now have to gown up to go see him.
I was there a few hours by myself yesterday and today and sat and thought about how all this happened. We can blame it on his weight, his procrastination of things he should take care of, his depression or whatever we want. The bottom line is he needs help. Whether this comes from his families urging or himself, it's needed. I thought about what a good hearted guy he's always been, as much as a pain in the ass he can be. He'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I thought about the little kid that always tagged along behind me and even though I whined about having to babysit him, I never really minded that much as he was a good kid. I though about how excited my kids would be when he'd come around. I think all he ever wanted to do was have a family. He loves his girls and does everything he can for them. He hated that his marriage ended as it made him feel like a failure.
I could say it's crappy that it takes something like this to pull a family together, but that's not really true with my family. We are pretty close knit and kick it up a notch when there is trouble. I'm not at all shocked by anyone in my family's reaction to their brother being sick, as it's the same with any one of us.
This isn't going to be easy..he has a long, tough road ahead of him in healing. We have a long tough road ahead of us in helping him. In the words of Annette "Everything always works out in the end".

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Mom is Here...I repeat...Mom is here

My parents landed in Milwaukee on Tuesday afternoon. As a nice gesture my siblings and I decided to stock their room with a few items. It was also to keep Mom from hitting the local Pick & Save five minutes after she landed. They've made it a habit at staying at an Extended Stay place in the area. Offers have been made for them to stay here but we're answered with "Your father and I just like to relax at night". This is usually met with a gawk from Dad, because I think he'd rather stay with one of his kids and their families. He just goes with Loria's flow.

We fixed them up with numerous items...water, soda, snacks, lunch meat, bread and some condiments that aren't available for quick fingered Loria to steal from the hotel. She got pretty excited about the cushy toilet paper and then showed me that she managed to get two rolls from home (to tide her over until she got to the store) into her suitcase, along with bathroom cleaner and coffee. What can I say? Gotta love her for her crazy ideas.

I phoned them this morning to see what their plans were for the day and was told they were going apartment hunting. Huh! Did she finally cave? Did she finally realize that their getting up there and might want to move closer to their family? Did Ben Sr. finally get through to her? If this is the case and they do decide to move back, even for part of the year, I will be a little more at ease. I would love for them to live their later lives doing what they want but Ben Sr. has had some health issues and as strong as Loria is, I'm not quite sure she can handle anything to stressful on her own. I'd love to make the move and be closer to them to be able to help out, but that would mean leaving my own kids & grand kids. I'm just a little to attached to them and I remember the feelings we all had when Ben & Loria hit the road in 93. As they pulled away in their fully stuffed Saturn I had this unexplainable feeling. Now that there's talk of them maybe returning I'm starting to feel a little hopeful.

As for now the alert is out. Loria will hit Pick & Save at least every other day, she will hit Kohl's a few times, Sara Lee is on the list and of course Kopp's at least 3-4 times( I sent her gift cards) . Funny how we take those places for granted, but she gets a big thrill out of them.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Wii Says I Need to Get Fit

After a two week hunt I finally found and ordered the Wii Fit. With shipping I paid 30.00 more than the store's were advertising but sometimes the grasshopper just can't be patient. It arrived on my front porch today. I was like a kid at Christmas. I'm loving it so far (except for the part that told the truth and told me I was fat). I did Yoga, I ran, I managed to somehow not fudge up on the stepping thing to bad (had to do it 3 times for perfection), I attempted to dodge some soccer balls and I skied. My favorite so far : The hula hoops. I can see this going on for 30 minutes a day, or shall I say "I must do this for 30 minutes a day". My goals are small.

I get a kick out of my husband standing in the room telling me everything I'm doing wrong. I offer to let him check it out and he makes some silly excuse about his back hurting. Just wait until I can golf better than him. Bring it on buddy!

On a different note, I am loosing my faith in our health care system. My sister's husband went in Tuesday for a simple gall bladder removal. He came home Tuesday night and ended up back in the ER at 5am for intense pain. After 6 hours he was admitted to the hospital and they were attempting to control the pain. On Thursday his doctor finally decided to do a scan to see what the problem was. He had bile leaking into his system. Today they corrected that problem. He's usually a very good natured guy, but his comment today was "This mess may warrant a letter".

Mom & Dad are coming to town Tuesday. Won't they be a little shocked at my combat zone of a back yard. We now have a dumpster in our driveway for the broken up cement. It's making it's way into the dumpster little by little. I think I've thrown a stone or two in there since Tuesday.