Santa stop here

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Free at last

Yesterday, my kids and I made our final visit to room 1312 on the hospice unit where my father-in-law resided for his final days.  My youngest SIL (I'll call her "D") and her family were already there keeping vigil at the bedside.  My FIL had complained of pain in his left arm and was given morphine earlier in the day, and had been unresponsive ever since.  The nurse had explained that he was already showing signs of dying: his ears had relaxed (I'd never heard of that, but I guess it makes sense), his hands were growing cold, his heart rate was slowing down, etc. A glance in my FIL's direction let me know he wasn't "long for this world" as the old folks say.  D was dabbing at her eyes while her two young daughters sat on the other bed in the room quietly reading and drawing on paper.  What to say at a time like this?  I spoke gently to my FIL, letting him know we were present and that we loved him.  I imagined how dry his mouth must be since he was breathing with his mouth open and his lips appeared to be stuck to his teeth giving the appearance that he was bearing his teeth.  I wet a sponge-tipped swab with tap water and applied a little "mouth moisturizer" to it before gently rubbing it along his lips.  FIL responded to that since his lips were no longer stuck.  He puckered up a bit and tried to suck the moisture from the sponge.  Funny how that survival instinct just kicks in. His eyes opened briefly but were quite groggy and unfocused from the medication.  I know it was very difficult for my kids to see their grandfather like this, but I'm glad they were with me.
I read Psalm 27 to my FIL and almost couldn't finish between the tears distorting my vision and the fact that I didn't have my glasses with me.  I held his balled up hand, rubbed his emaciated shoulder and kissed his cool cheek for what I figured would be the last time.
My plan was to take the kids to my mom's  house so they could attend mass with her and then tell my husband about the latest development and return to the hospital with him after he made it in from work.  The hubs chose to avoid the hospital and remember his dad from our visit the day before when he was at least a little responsive, so we didn't return to the hospital.  My SIL "P" called just after 10 p.m. to let us know that Famous Granddad had quietly slipped away surrounded by a miniature lit Christmas tree, quiet music and several family members. All choked up but trying to keep my voice steady, I relayed the information to my husband who simply acknowledged my words, finished watching whatever game he was watching on TV and went to bed.  Thankfully, I didn't have to make all of the calls.  I don't think I could have if I wanted to.  I'm okay as long as I don't have to say it out loud.  I called my sister and my mom and let them know, swallowing around a lump that felt like a walnut wedged in my throat.  Then my kids and I prayed the Rosary before turning in for the night.  I know the Bible tells us not to mourn like those who have no hope when we lose a loved one, but hot tears are still stinging my eyes now that everyone has gone to bed and my house is quiet .   I'll close with the words to a song a lady from my church used to sing so beautifully.  The words are fitting for the occasion.  I'm guessing the title is "I'm Free" but I do not know to whom to credit the lyrics:

I'm free, praise the Lord I'm free!
I'm no longer bound;
There are no more chains holding me;
My soul is resting
And it's a blessing
Praise the Lord, Hallelujah
I'm free!

Good night and thank you for your continued prayers.  Until next time...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Comfort measures only

Yesterday was a tough day for our family.  After being discharged from the hospital a week ago Saturday and placed in one rehab and then another two days later, my FIL was readmitted to the hospital with unexplained bleeding from the rectum late Thursday night.  The GI doctor came in to speak to three of my sisters-in-law and me yesterday evening.  He explained that the cause of the bleeding was unknown and he could do any number of diagnostic tests such as a colonoscopy or endoscopy, but that they may cause more discomfort for my FIL than benefit.  After all, even if they found cancer or another problem would we, the family, want to take extraordinary measures--chemotherapy, radiation, surgery--when they more than likely wouldn't do much to improve his health?  Anyone looking at my poor, frail shell of a father in law knew the answer was "no."  Tears stung my eyes, but I blinked them back.  I have seen the signs of disengagement for weeks now-dramatic weight loss, refusal to eat, difficulty getting around, loss of independence, disinterest in dialysis.  At age 84, my FIL, whom I simply adore, has accepted that he has run a good race and is ready to cross the finish line. He’s not interested in another lap around the track, and I don’t blame him. He longs to hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done."  My mind wants this for him, too, but somehow my heart is a little slower in accepting the reality that lies ahead.  My sisters-in-law made the decision to transfer him to the hospice unit of the hospital this evening where he will receive comfort measures only.  No more dialysis means death is surely imminent.  The doctor said it may be a matter of days or a matter of one can know for sure.  I'm praying that it is only days if not hours because I want my FIL’s last days to be peaceful.  I don't want him to get to the point that he is suffering and in undue pain and totally dependent on morphine around the clock to be at rest.  Please keep my FIL, Mendola White, and our family in your prayers during this most "mixed up feelings" of times.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Five Question Friday strikes again! 11/19/10

First of all, let me start by saying "Happy Birthday" to my mom and my good friend Estella M.  I love you both and hope each of you enjoys your special day.  
Having said that, let's move on to...
Welcome to newcomers and faithful followers alike.  If you'd like to join the fun visit Mama M. at My Little Life to copy the questions and link to the blog hop.  The questions are usually lots of fun.  Here goes...

1. What Christmas song do you loathe?
Can’t say that I "loathe" any Christmas songs.  Even the corny or annoying ones grow on you after a while.  I may change my mind after seeing what others have to say on the matter.
2. Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?
We “spoon” always.
3. Have you ever had surgery?
Not unless you count the time I had a really bad blocked duct of some sort in my lower eye lid and they had to lance it.  That was my one and only stitch, too!
4. When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?
Never.  I do not shop, people!  Okay, so sometimes I am forced to brave the mall, shopping centers, and department stores around this time of the year.  I’m usually done by the week day before Christmas.  It’s totally a money thing…buy a couple of gifts this pay period, a couple more the next, etc.
5. If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?
That cute 2-seater convertible Mercedes.  There are some numbers that better define it, like 250 series or something, but I’m not that into cars!  I’d also love a beach house on an island somewhere…IF money were not  an issue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It is in giving that we receive

My goodness!  All weekend I was thinking of posting about my trip to the grocery store last Friday, and I never got around to doing it.  Today, I logged on to see that I was a featured blogger for my friend, Danielle, at My Life in Jenga for her Sunday blog hop, Swing by Sunday.  If only I had updated my blog!  Well, here goes...
With the holidays fast approaching, everyone's in need of donations to help those in need.  My daughter's band director e-mailed a list of needed items for Thanksgiving baskets.  On Friday I needed cash to purchase tickets to the high school playoff game so I stopped by the grocery store near my house.  At this particular store you can get cash back in any amount, not just increments of $20.  I went down the baking aisle since I needed a cake mix anyway and noticed apple pie filling was on sale, too.  I added a can to my basket since that was one of the items on the band director's list.  When I went to check out, the pie filling rang up regular price instead of the sale price.  It was only 20 cents difference, but 20 cents is 20 cents, right?  I didn't want to hold up the line, so I completed the transaction, paid for my things, doubled back down the baking aisle to make sure I hadn't read the sign wrong, and finally skipped over to customer service where there was no line.  I explained the mix-up, and the customer service rep went to check for herself.  Sure enough she brought back the tag and refunded my money--not just the 20 cents, but the full amount for the pie filling.  I tried to explain that I still wanted the pie filling, and she explained that if it rings up the wrong price then it's free!  Woo-hoo, score one for Team Charity. 
This experience reminded me of my cousin who had a minor "accident" in her new car when she skipped school one day.  The only words she could remember as she tried to figure out how she was going to explain this to her parents was her father telling her, "When you do bad things, bad things happen."  Well, I just want to put a different spin on that phrase, "When you do good things, good things happen."
My next trip to the grocery store I picked up a couple canned vegetables and instant mashed potatoes to go in the baskets as well.  Times have been very tight this year as I finished my schooling without working.  I came pretty close to needing one of those baskets myself!  I think it is oh so important to give what you can when you can to help another because you just never know when you may be the one in need.  God is so good-my family and I haven't gone hungry yet!

Speaking of hungry...I am so sorry about the candy corn cookie recipe I have been meaning to post.  I started the post but have been having technical difficulties with my computer at home, so I haven't finished the post.  In the meantime, you can check out the Land O' Lakes site where I found the recipe (click <here>).  I made them for Halloween, but they'll be cute for your Thanksgiving table, too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A night of jazz

I feel as if I'm always writing posts about how hectic life is and it's true-life does get (stay) busy a lot when you''re a wife and mother (and daughter, granddaughter, sister-in-law, friend, etc.).  Just wanted to slip in a post where I tell you about what a wonderfully relaxing day I had.  Enjoy this rare gem not often found on Wilborn-White News.
My day started as usual: rustling kids out of bed and fixing breakfast and lunches.  After getting kids off to school, the Hubs and I dropped off paperwork at the doctor's office and proceeded across town to check out a health and rehabilitation center to which the hospital would like to discharge my father-in-law who can no longer live by himself. (Long story short: my FIL fell again on Friday and was hospitalized to determine if there is a neurological cause for the frequent falls. He is doing all right but not eating well and very weak physically.)  
My brother-in-law treated me and the Hubs and their "play sister" to lunch at a local barbecue joint, which was nice-good company and good food.  Next, I took a nap before time to pick up Alisa from school.  It was pretty brief, so I crawled back in my bed after I returned from picking her up.
The highlight of my day was that our tickets to the jazz concert at my son's school included dinner!  I didn't have to figure out what was for dinner or prepare it.  Boudreaux's Cajun Cafe catered the event and served tossed salad, blackened chicken, red beans and rice, green beans, rolls and bread pudding for dessert.  The jazz band was awesome, too.  I'm sure that concert was all the incentive Aaron needed to consider trying out for the jazz band next year (possibly next semester).
Now, I'm back off to bed so as not to completely negate the "extra rest" my earlier naps afforded me.  Good night to all.  Until next time...
p.s. I did make the "sparkling candy corn cookies" over the weekend.  I remembered to take pics and will post them along with the recipe soon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Five Question Friday 05 November 10

Anybody ever heard the saying "better late than never"? Well, that's the principle upon which I'm operating this evening as I submit this post.  This morning, my "plan" was to deliver kids to their appropriate schools, then drop some clean laundry off at my FIL's place in time to go with him and my SIL to see where his new dialysis center is located.  And, finally, back home to bake a cake a toss a pound of beans in my crock pot for after my nieces memorial service tomorrow.  (And squeeze in a nap and clean my toilets.)  Well, I called to let my SIL know I was on my way.  As we exchanged the expected pleasantries, she told me she wasn't too good because her dad (my FIL) had fallen last night and they were taking him to the hospital.  I told her I'd meet them there.  So, that's where I ended up spending my day...until my son called to say he missed his bus.  I picked him up on the way from the hospital; then the Hubs picked up Alisa from school.  Somewhere in the midst of all of this my mom called to say my 5-year-old niece needed me to check out her heart because when she took a deep breath something had popped.  Once I made it home, I grabbed my stethoscope and mosied over to my mom's to see about my niece who was snacking on apple slices and running around the house.  She turned out to be just fine.  We read a couple of books she'd purchased at her school's book fair, then I left to pick up my son's friend and get home to get Alisa to dance class.  I called the hospital for an update on my FIL, and he was still in the ER!  They were waiting for a bed to on the telemetry unit (once a heart patient always a heart patient, I guess).  I just delivered my daughter to dance class and now it's finally time for 5QF!  Whew!  How dare I think I'm going to make it a quiet movie night at my house!  You can visit Mama M at My Little Life if you'd like to get the rules/questions or just see who all else is participating this week.  I'm guessing it's not too late to link up until midnight.  We'll see...

1. If you could have any talent and turn it into an occupation, what would it be?

Once upon a time ago, a professor explained in his lecture that people would lose interest in their favorite hobbies if they had to do them for money. Back then I begged to differ. My thinking was that would be the perfect partnership: getting paid for what you love to do. Nowadays, however, I think I have a better understanding of what the prof meant. There’s something about deadlines and expectations and such that take the fun out of doing what you love. Having said all of that I would have to say, if I could get paid to do something I feel like I have a little talent for, it would be blogging. I would have to be able to do it on my own terms, though.

2. Would you rather have a house at the beach or a cabin in the woods?

I think my husband and I would both choose a house at the beach—we’re sun, surf and sand loving people!

3. Is there any meaning or reasoning for the names you chose for your child/children?

Oooh, I love name stories! I’ve got to hop around to hear about everyone else’s. Here’ how mine goes… When I met my husband I think he already had names in mind for his future children. Prentice for a boy (after an uncle); and Ashley Nicole for a girl (just because he liked the name). I didn't like either one. I could see Prentice being teasingly called "princess"; and it seemed that every 3rd female child born in the 90's was named Ashley. I had a cousin named Ashley Nicole and our friends had just named their daughter...(you've probably guessed it already) Ashley Nicole. Our son was born first and didn't have a name for the first few days of life. I kept asking him, "What is your name, Sweet Baby Boy?" but he didn't answer. When the midwife returned for a follow up visit we needed a name for the birth certificate. I chose Aaron (b/c it's one of the first listed in all the baby books I thumbed through over and over; and b/c my grandmother had a friend by this name, and I thought it was a great "old man" name, too). The hubs agreed without a fuss, and we used his first name, Michael, for the middle name.

Since I named the firstborn, the hubs had dibs on baby #2 who turned out to be a girl. I didn't really want Ashley for a first name even though it is a pretty name, but it was the hub's final decision. We had a short list of first names: Elena (After Aunt Helen), Alana (after my mom), Elizabeth (just liked that one), and Aliya (hubs didn't care for this because of the singer by this name but spelled differently). Even though I hoped he would come up with something other than Ashley, I was okay with either of the above names with Ashley as a middle name. When I gave the final chin-to-chest push and baby girl entered the world, all eyes were on the hubs. He proudly announced that her name was Alisa Ashley. Everyone did sort of a double take, but it is what it is-no coming back three days later to fill out the birth certificate.

4. What is your guilty pleasure? (I know we've done this one before, but I'm guessing people's "guilty pleasures" change frequently. At least, mine do!)

I should ask for clarification on this question, but if we’re talking about sweets, then my answer is Bridge mix. I love that it’s a variety of centers dipped in chocolate, so it’s like a box of chocolates only in bite-sized pieces. There are chocolate covered peanuts, raisins, almonds, filberts, crème centers, caramels, toffee, etc. Walmart used to sell the “movie theatre” boxes for a dollar, but I haven’t been able to find them recently. Hobby Lobby sells bags of bridge mix near their check out counters. I only bought one bag because I had a 40% off coupon, and I ate the entire bag (over several days, mind you).

5. Do you live in a house that is deep cleaned or straightened?

Neither. Enough said.