Friday, February 20, 2015

21 Months

I went to get the "final x-ray" on the arm I broke 21 months ago last Friday.  There has been some healing, and it needs to do more.  Most concerning, there is a "halo" around one screw, which indicates the bone has been moving and is now loose in the bone.  He wants me to come in for another x-ray in the fall. 

I spoke to my nurse practitioner on Monday.  She's referring me to someone who specializes in the forearm for a second opinion.  She also thought it was a good idea to start wearing my brace again.  So, I'm back in the brace.  I bought some socks yesterday and am cutting off the toes to make a sleeve to go under the brace.  The skin was getting very irritated.

I think Daughter is still slightly manic.  Her program was closed today, so she called and wanted to come over here this morning.  She helped me with some cleaning.  A friend came over to play Scrabble this afternoon.  Yesterday she had a plan to buy a house, build a house, save money to pay for insurance for the truck she wants to buy.  She's going to finance this with her workshop paychecks.  $1.98 for the last two weeks.  When I suggest her plans might not be realistic, she accuses me of not supporting her.  I suggested she start by controlling her eating.  She really doesn't want to hear that. 

I'm pondering rearranging part of the house.  We have a living room we rarely use.  I have a sewing machine downstairs, and I don't like going down the basement stairs.  I'm thinking about bringing it upstairs and turning the living room into an office/craft space.  Daughter thinks it's a great idea.  We'll see. 

Lent has begun, so life is busy at the church right now.  We have a board meeting Monday evening, which will be interesting.  It's the first one after our big planning meeting, so we will be planning how to move forward with the goals we've set. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Today is my birthday.  There have been many years Daughter did her best to ruin my birthday.  When I picked her up yesterday, she was complaining about living in a group home and expressing her desire to die rather than continuing to live there.  I wasn't very sympathetic.  She managed to turn it around. 

Today she was up before me, making scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast that she served me in bed.  She gave me a pretty little cross necklace with breakfast so I could wear it today.   

As I walked into my office before worship, I could hear the choir director explaining that today was my birthday.  I walked into the choir room and glared.  They were embarrassed, but it didn't stop their plot.  They had the congregation sing happy birthday to me before worship. 

After church Daughter waited (sort of) patiently as I talked to various people.  Then she took bought our lunches at our usual Sunday lunch diner.  We came home and watched a couple of movies one of the men loaned her today.

It has been a good day.  I'm realizing that I'm getting older, and my ministry is beginning to wind down.  This fall will be the 30th anniversary of my ordination.  I hope to work another 10 years before I retire.  I have mixed feelings about retirement.  I know Administrative Assistant will probably retire within the next 3 or 4 years.  She is 6 years older than I am.  I've tried to talk her into retiring at the same time, but I don't think that's working. 

Lent is rapidly approaching, and so it's a busy time at the church.  Good thing I love my job.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I've been dealing with blizzards-- of snow, of illness, of phone calls. 

Sunday was the lowest attendance in the 4 years I've been here.  It was snowing heavily.  People dispersed relatively quickly after worship.  I took Daughter out for lunch and then took her home.  When I got home, my poor car could not make it up the slope of my driveway.  After several attempts, I parked in the street.  I was pondering trying to clear the driveway as I walked up to the house.  I slipped on the driveway and my arm started to tingle.  I think it was telling me not to even think about it. 

Yesterday one of the men came over with his snowblower and salt.  It still took 3 men to push my car up the driveway to the garage.  We cancelled yesterday evening's meeting and I stayed home.  Much of the city was shut down.  This morning the roads were better, and I was able to get over to the church (where one of our men spent 2 1/2 hrs clearing the sidewalks and such at the church-- there was 3 ft drift in front of the office door.  We are supposed to get more snow overnight.  I hope it's not too much. 

We have 3 people right now struggling with very serious illnesses.   Two are facing death, and one is facing major lifestyle changes.  All of them are relatively young.  (Of course, my definition of young changes with each passing year.)  I'm providing care to the patients and their families and to all the church members who are upset by these illnesses. 

The final blizzard is the most frustrating.  Daughter is manic.  She is calling me multiple times a day, and texting when she isn't calling.  She sent a text at 2 in the morning informing me she wanted to learn to drive and she needed a Ford truck.  She has a new boyfriend, and wants to get engaged.  She informed me this morning that they will be getting married in November. 

She is driving me buggy.  She has decided she doesn't trust the new staff member, C.  Of course, she didn't like the old staff member, R, until the new one arrived.  Last night I received a call from Home Owner.  Daughter was refusing to take her meds from C.  She wanted to wait for R to get back.  R wasn't going to be back until morning.  She had taken one of the residents to the ER, and she had been admitted.  Home Owner had asked her to spend the night with the resident at the hospital.  She did finally take her meds.  She gets on a roll and is calling me every 20 minutes.  Her mood can change drastically between phone calls.  The snow has kept them home the last two days.  I hope she can go in tomorrow, though we are supposed to get more snow tonight. 

I'm hoping all the blizzards are almost over.  

Friday, January 23, 2015


Daughter sent me a text in the middle of the night Wednesday, complaining because staff was telling her she had to stop walking around her room rearranging things.  She was making too much noise.  She was outraged, because she was trying to be quiet. 

When she called me in the morning, she was still unhappy.  She was even less happy when I supported staff.  She informed me that she wouldn't be coming to the church and hung up on me.  I was talking to Sister when she called back the first time.  "I know you need me, so I guess I'll come."  "That's alright, you can stay home, we can manage without you." 

I told Sister she would call back shortly and tell me she wanted to come to the church for her volunteer work and apologize.  She did.  I agreed to pick her up. 

When I picked her up, I reminded her of how she had complained when the staff member in the bedroom next to her had had her TV on all night.  I reminded her that she said she didn't mean to disturb her, but it did.  Daughter did not like that.  When she started whining and complaining, I told her to stop.  She was silent a minute, and then complained, "I can't believe the devil has gotten to my own mother." 

I took her back home.  She was fighting tears as she went back into the house, and I'm sure became hysterical once inside.  Hopefully she learned something.  I informed her she had to apologize to the staff member, and she told me she had yesterday evening. 

I won't see her again until Thursday, as I have our big planning meeting tomorrow.  She said Home Owner reminded staff that when Daughter is up in the middle of the night, they should give her her sleeping pill.  I hope they do, and I also hope she becomes more respectful.  She now knows I am willing to make a u-turn and take her back home.  That's good. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015


This was one of those Sundays when a number of things went wrong, and I just felt off all morning.  Today we were installing officers, and one of our women was supposed to be lay leader and participate in the installation.  She emailed me last night.  She was sick, and couldn't find a sub.  So I got to church and had to find someone to take her place. 

Then the choir was late.  The clock in the choir room was 10 minutes slow, and it was time for worship to begin and they were no where to  be found.  Someone had to go get them, and so worship was late starting. 

When I got up to preach, there was something wrong with my microphone.  It is one that I wear over my ear.  I love it.  But it was full of static this morning.  I turned it off and the sound people gave me a cordless handheld (I pace when I'm leading worship).  I then had to juggle the microphone and the remote to control the Power Point, which requires coordination and multi-tasking skills that I don't possess.

The result:  I wasn't happy with the way worship went this morning.  It all felt off.  Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often.  Next Sunday I'm off on a personal retreat day.  We have the big planning meeting Saturday, and I use Sunday to pray and reflect on what has been discussed an plan for my priorities.  I'm glad I have it off-- I think I need it.  It will be a busy week. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Daughter continues to have her ups and downs, and rationality seems beyond her right now.  She is unwilling to take responsibility for her life, and doesn't recognize how contradictory her statements can be. 

This morning she was complaining because we are pushing her too hard to fast.  Yesterday we were holding her back. 

She wants to live with a nurse, and she will pay her nurse out of her paycheck ($3 for the last 2 weeks).  She can't handle living in group homes.  There are too many people and it's too overwhelming.  She wants to live in a larger group home because she'll be happy there. 

I have stopped locking food up, and she is responding by getting up and eating during the night.  I remind her she can't have any more freedom until she can control her eating. 

She can't handle a painting class at Painting with a Twist because the verbal instructions are too overwhelming.  She wants me to help her enroll in nursing school. 

She has a new boyfriend, but it's okay because if they get married he won't force her to have sex. 

She wants a  better job.  Her volunteer job at the church is too much work. 

I am disengaging from the turmoil.  I occasionally point out the contradictions, but for the most part I let her talk and just nod. 

She wanted to come help me this weekend, so she is now pouting on the sofa under a blanket.  It's amazing we both don't have whiplash. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Life has been busy.  After Christmas I'm always exhausted, and then we had a death while I was on vacation.  I gave up 3 days of vacation to plan and lead the memorial service.  The widow was mad at me for not getting up to the hospital.  The report I had was that they were going to re-evaluate him on Monday and see about sending him to a nursing home.  He died Sunday.  If I'd known he was that sick, I would have been there.  If they had called and asked me to come, I would have been there. 

After the memorial service I got hit hard by a virus.  I spent a day in bed.  Daughter was wonderful, preparing food for me and tending to my needs.  I hadn't recovered from the virus when we had another death and another funeral. 

The church system has a great deal of anxiety in it right now.  People are grouchy and blowing minor things out of proportion.  In addition to planning for our big January planning meeting, I'm also dealing with a woman who has decided to stop treatment for her cancer.  I don't anticipate her living long.  She's in her 50's, and people are upset about her illness.  Every time someone visits her, they call me to process their feelings, which is fine, but takes time and emotional energy.

Daughter is still all over the place, desperately trying to escape the chaos in her own mind.  Her plans are all totally unrealistic, but she isn't able to see that.  When she went back to the house after Christmas, there was a new live-in staff member.  She hasn't handled that change well.  I'm back to hanging up on her.  The good news is that Home Owner has finally decided I know what I'm talking about.  It's nice to have her respecting me and seeking my input.  Administrative Assistant's comment:  "It's about time."

We still haven't had our family Christmas.  It's now been moved 4 times do to illness or scheduling conflicts.  We are now planning at celebrating at Sister's on February 14.  Daughter things that's totally inappropriate because it's Valentine's Day.  Too bad. 

I think I have finally recovered from my virus, and I now have a plan for the big planning meeting.  Hopefully I will be able to update more frequently now.