Archive for March, 2011

Lunch and memories

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Today Chuck, Thelma, and I went to the Big Pine Cemetary to “inter” Aunt Trudy next to Loretta, her twin sister. Loretta and Trudy are both in green boxes within their niches next to each other with CP beside them. Trudy’s green box honors the fact that she died on St. Patrick’s day. We are remembering Aunt Trudy over lunch as she loved to go out for lunch.  Chuck is now meeting with people to do some structural repairs on Aunt Trudy’s house and we will move in there and put the “big house” for sale on the market. You will probably be able to see it if you google water front properties for sale in Big Pine Key. We want to build a nice guest retreat in the downstairs that will open to the yard and the open water.  We have some work to do on the house and I am preparing for a book talk in Miami on April 9 on the new book by Pope Benedict called Jesus of Nazareth part two. … Well dears, it is sunny and beautiful on Big Pine Key and all is quiet. God bless you and thank you for continuing prayer.

Turning another corner

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Our English friend Sally provided the opening words for this blog: “no sooner than you turn one corner you bump into another
wall. We are glad Chuck is coming back strong for you all but it will take time. Remember to rest your self.
We presume you are in the Keys with Aunt Trudie; remember us to her and we hope she sleeps peacefully and deeply watching the view over Bogie Channel. Many a sunrises bring back such good memories of Christmas Past and the childrens’ laughter by the water on bikes and in boats.”
And isn’t this what Aunt Trudy wanted? good memories on Bogie Channel. Aunt Trudy passed away quietly in her own home, in her living room that overlooks Bogie Channel, at about 5AM on St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2011. Niece Thelma Ann and friend Dorothy were with her. (One of St. Patrick’s symbols is a boat.) May Trudy be carried to the face of God by angels, in a boat over Bogie channel. Although, Aunt Trudy didn’t like riding too much in boats…. angels will be gentle. God bless Aunt Trudy.
Chuck is very well. He is walking right now with friend Dave from Maine who is still with us. Chuck’s fog has lifted and he seems so much more the same with only lapses in short term memory that he doesn’t even recognize… Probably only the wife recognizes the lapses. He will continue PT and OT and walking. We will go to Big Pine this morning and meet up with Chuck’s cousin Dennis from Connecticut and friends who arrive tomorrow from Iowa. Life is a circle. Live and thank God for sun rises. Amen.

The mantle of the Blessed Mother

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

My dear friends and family. I am so blessed to have been able to learn about the comfort faith in our Creator God brings.  I am sitting right now with Aunt Trudy. Holding her hand and comforting her as she is very sick in the hospital. She had pneumonia and lost the ability to walk and now she is very frightened and anxious. We are preparing to take her home to Big Pine Key with Hospice and a full time caregiver. She never wanted to go to the hospital and definitely not to a nursing home and we are respecting that wish and treating her with respect. She might recover at home, and if not then what a most beautiful setting to spend one’s last days as looking out over Bogie channel where we often see porpoises.  What I learned, and what I tell Chuck that I did with him when he couldn’t sleep and he was so anxious in the hospital, was that I put my hand on his chest and I called upon the Blessed Mother to wrap him up just like she does with the baby Jesus in so many statues and pictures we see. Any of us can ask for the Blessed Mother to help us… Just cover us and hold us. Try it with a small restless child. Try it with an anxious old folk….  I am relieving Thelma for the day. I left her at home on Big Pine Key to do her taxes. I wanted to visit Trudy for a while. When I got to the hospital at noon Trudy was crying and twisting and the nurses said she has been like that all morning saying, “I can’t do this..” “Well yeah, who can do this?  Hospitals are awful places especially when you can’t walk or think straight.” So I asked for a relaxant and indeed Atavan is prescribed so we got fixed up with a little relaxer and then the techs did some hygienic things with Trudy and now I am just holding her hand and when she gets agitated, I put my hand on her chest and tell her… “It’s alright, sleep, sleep…” While I was doing that a nurse came in and asked if she could pray… sure. So she called on Jesus and she prayed for Trudy and Trudy moved her lips as if she were praying too. I told Thelma Ann (Chuck’s sister) that their mother couldn’t talk and was so confused, but she could say the Our Father when I asked her if she wanted to pray.  My dears. If you are not a person of faith, please know first that you are not alone. I would say more, but that is enough for now.

Yesterday Chuck was so “on.” We couldn’t understand why Trudy had lost so much ground going from talking and knowing people to confused, agitated, screaming, crying and not knowing Thelma or Chuck. Meanwhile, Thelma could not get the nurses to give her a doctor’s phone number… “What happened?” is a normal question when anyone goes downhill so quickly….  I used to bother the nurses minutely when Chuck had bad things going on and the doctors had to speak to me, but these doctors are too busy and they sneak in and out of the hospital in the dark of the night…. So, everyone got marching orders.  Thelma went to the billing office to be sure they had all the proper information on Trudy’s supplemental insurance. (It is absolutely necessary for us to purchase a policy to cover “the 20% medicare won’t cover”. And we sent Chuck to get medical records with his power of attorney for Trudy. (It is absolutely necessary for us to have power of attorney for each other.) Well… he made a stop at the Risk Manager’s office and talked lawyers and names she knew. Just chatting like Chuck can do… When he came back we began to get nurses coming in and but we did not get to see the doctor… he had “emergencies.” This same thing happened to me with Chuck and it was infuriating. We finally left the hospital as Chuck needed to get out of there. He’s still recovering and he still needs rest. On the drive home from Key West to Big Pine, the doctor called and spoke to Thelma, Karen Skipp called to advise us, and Chuck called Hospice of the Florida Keys. Before we got to the Fish shop where we purchased stone crabs, we had things worked out for Trudy to transfer her to Hospice at home (probably this coming Wednesday). Thelma is really being a trooper as the full time family on site. We need a few days to get a hospital bed and arrange for care. I feel very strongly and feel very proud that “Chuck is back!”   I meanwhile have two books to read. One for my St. Augustine’s book club by Tuesday night (about 20 pages to go), and one called Jesus of Nazareth From the Entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (volume 2 by Pope Benedict – he is an excellent writer) that the sisters at Paulinas book store have asked me to read and give a book talk on April 9.  I will alert you as to the exact date and time so maybe some of my family and friends can attend, cheer, and buy my book too. (I’ll even sign it!) God bless you my dear friends and family. Keep praying for us as we’re going through a lot here, but we are not alone.