Thursday, February 27, 2014

Being Responsible

Daughter promised me she'd work hard at the church office today.  I always take that promise with a grain of salt.  Today, however, she was quite impressive.  She started by putting address labels on the envelopes for the March birthday cards and putting the date they needed to be mailed in the top right hand corner.  When she finished that she started on 2 weeks worth of filing without any prompts from us.  Administrative Assistant and I were both impressed.  When she finished that, she turned to us and said, "What's next?"  Usually she asks if she's done and go get her entertainment.  We gave her 50 leaves to cut out.  She spent the next several hours cutting them out, and never once complained. I'm sure her hand was sore by the time she was done.  We were very impressed.   She came in and got to work, and was working so quietly and diligently it was easy to forget she was even there.  When I think back to how hard it was to get her to do any office work 3 years ago, and how she seemed unable to stick with a job to completion, I'm very impressed with the progress she has made.  Her help in the office really does make a difference. 

I took her out to supper, and then we stopped by the house briefly.  I dropped her back off at the church for choir, and Administrative Assistant took her home following choir.

We had a very productive week in the office, which was nice.  We didn't have as many people dropping in, and Treasurer is on vacation some place warm and sunny.  We figure the property guys were avoiding the church today because they didn't want to be the one to clear the walks of the new snow.  We enjoy the drop-ins, but they are a distraction and it does slow down our work.

This afternoon AA and I were both working on graphics.  AA was designing the bulletin cover for Lent, and I was working on images to go with my Ash Wednesday meditation.  I told AA she has become our liturgical arts coordinator.  She actually has a background in the arts, which is nice. We were talking about visuals for Lent and Easter today, and looking at various possibilities.  We had talked about the possibility of hanging things from the ceiling, but when we went into the sanctuary to look at the possibilities, we realized that the 3 projectors we have complicate things significantly.  Our use of visuals has been steadily increasing, as has our skill (in my not so humble opinion).  I'm excited about the plans we've made for Lent.   I love being in ministry.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Catching Up

I'm back to work, though working a little bit shorter days.  I'm also not doing as many evening activities.  I am still tired.  I am healing well, though, so that is good. 

Daughter has been fighting a mysterious rash.  She sent me a picture Sunday night, and it looked like she might have a small hive on her face.  Monday I got a call from her program.  Staff placed the call, and wanted me to know that the rash was spreading over all her body and she couldn't stop scratching and she had angry red blotches....  She needed to be picked up. 

I called and got her an appointment with the doctor and then went over and picked her up.  I asked her to show me the rash.  She had a few very small bumps on one arm.  All the way to the doctor she was talking and fidgeting, but she never once scratched.  I was quite clear that this could be attention seeking behavior. Without a doctor's order, though, the house can't even put cortisone cream or anything on it.  She was diagnosed with contact dermatitis.  I picked up some cortisone cream and we went back to her old shower gel and shampoo and dropped her off at the house.  Then I took myself out to lunch.  It took 3 hours out of my day, so I was not happy.  Daughter sent me more pictures that evening.  I guess I'm a miracle worker.  In my presence, the rash vanishes.  This morning she proudly informed me that she had put the cream on three times, that way she wouldn't have to it again today.  Whatever. 

I'm beginning to get caught up in the office.  Lent starts next week, which makes this a busy time.  Fortunately, we work ahead, so it hasn't been too bad.  Today I felt like my brain was back in gear, which is wonderful.  I warned Administrative Assistant, though, because when my brain is in gear, things tend to get crazy in the office.  Fortunately we haven't had many people dropping by this week, which really has helped. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Setting in Worship

This morning I went to worship.  One of our leaders was preaching, so I didn't have any responsibilities for worship.  It was wonderful to be able to just sit and worship.  My recovery is progressing very quickly this time.  I took a shower this morning (with the dressings on my arm protected, and stood up for it rather than using the bench.  It was weeks before I was up to that last time, and I hadn't even showered yet at this point last time. 

I'm completely off the pain meds now.  I took one at bedtime for a couple of nights after I stopped them during the day, but didn't even do that last night.  It was a very quiet day yesterday.  Daughter had texted Friday, saying she wanted to come help me.  I informed her it was too much work to keep her safe and she couldn't come.  Her response amazed me:  "Okay.  Love you." 

I have regained use of my hand much more quickly this time, which has made life much easier. I haven't driven yet, but think I will tomorrow.  I could have today, but figured I'd catch too much grief if people saw my car in the parking lot.  This is going to be a busy week, so I will need to pace myself.  I know I don't have all my strength back yet.  I do have enough, though, to do what needs to be done. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014


The surgery went well.  I have been well cared for.  A couple from the church brought me home and spent the first night here. The recovery is going better this time.  I didn't have the trauma of the fall, and I declined all narcotic pain killers.  I was coherent and able to walk well on my own by Tuesday evening.  Last time it took several days.  The biggest challenge came in the recovery room-- my oxygen level kept dropping.  They'd come in and tell me to breathe, and it would go back up. I'd doze off, and it would drop.  I finally suggested getting out my cpap, and that solved the problem.

Daughter was surprised by how good I sounded  yesterday morning.  She is not working at the office today, but will be picked up for choir tonight, and will stop by here briefly to see me.  That should be reassuring for her, but I think once she heard my voice get back to normal, she was fine.

I'm sleeping a lot, and doing very little.  I did manage to unload the dishwasher yesterday, and I prepared my own lunch and supper.  Of course, it helped that I had frozen meals ahead of time.  Tomorrow I will see the surgeon, and we'll see what he has to say.  For now, I'm satisfied with the pace of my recovery. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


Far Away Sister asked if I was ready for my surgery tomorrow.  I asked her if we are ever ready for surgery.  She acknowledged I had a point. 

It's snowing, and I'm now supposed to be there at 5:45 in the morning.  It will all work out.  We're only getting 6 inches this time-- minor compared to our other storms this winter. 

Daughter has been subdued today.  I've talked to her once.  She seems to have accepted the reality that she's not going to be there tomorrow and may not see me until this weekend.  She will be able to talk to me, though, so that should help. 

I've gotten most of the things I wanted to do at the house taken care of.  I haven't been as successful here at the church.  I guess I'm distracted today.

I have a meeting this evening, and I should probably aim for an early bedtime tonight.  We'll see.  I have one final load of laundry to transfer to the dryer when I get home. 

I have been remembering more things that were very challenging in the days following surgery.  I certainly hope this time it's easier. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pain and Drama

My wrist first became painful when I was dealing with all the snow.  I knew what was causing the pain, and it would improve if I didn't have to shovel for a couple of days.  Then I stopped shoveling snow, and the pain continued to get worst.  Now that I know what is wrong, I'm wearing a brace, and it continues to grow more painful.  There have been a couple of times I've thought I felt the bone moving. 

That first night in the hospital, as I awaited surgery, if I moved my hand I could feel the bones move against each other, so I know what it feels like.  Then, I was pumped full of narcotics, now I am not.  The pain isn't crippling, but it's pretty constant.  Simple tasks are becoming more difficult, as it seems like almost anything I do causes pain.  The pain is exhausting, as is the stress of trying to remember all the things I need to get done before surgery on Tuesday. 

I let Daughter come home with me after church to help me finish a few things, including changing the sheets on both of our beds.  The care group is recruiting someone to stay with me Tuesday night, so I want clean sheets on Daughter's bed.  It will probably be a while before I can handle changing mine alone.  I have a thick, heavy mattress, and I knew my wrist wasn't up to it today. 

Daughter is struggling with this, so of course she's turning up the drama.  She wants to be at the hospital so she can hear what the doctor says after surgery.  She wouldn't be able to process it, but she knows that is what children do for their parents-- she saw me do it many times with my parents.  She knows.  Of course, she's not going to be at the hospital.  I don't want the drama, and I'm not going to put that on the saints who will be there for me. 

She got frustrated when she was trying to put the sheets on her bed.  I offered to help her, but she insisted she could do it herself.  She insisted the sheet had shrunk and no longer fit.  I assured her it hadn't.  She as in her bedroom working on it and her frustration was evident-- she was using colorful language and I heard clunking and slamming.  I ignored it.  She came out and said she couldn't do it.  I assured her she could.  Eventually she went back in and finished the job.  She did a wonderful job once she went in to complete it.  She again went into her whole rant on how group homes weren't for people like her.  She also announced that if the team wouldn't work with her, she would get herself out.  I reminded her that she needs to make better choices if she wants more independence.  She begged to spend another night with me.  I informed her it was too exhausting to be with her when she's acting like this.  She told me to stop the car and she'd walk home if I felt that way. 

On a more positive note, my congregation is amazing.  I have people lined up to provide transportation and keep the driveway clear.  They also know that I don't need Daughter around right now, and why.  I'm sure they will pick her up and take her to church if she asks.  I'm hoping to be in worship Sunday.  One of the leaders is preaching, but I hope to be there for the vision task force before church.  I told them I'd let them know if I was up to it later in the week. 

I am concerned about driving.  Right now closing my door and fastening my seat belt are painful.  I don't know if that will be better or worse following the surgery.  One of  the nurses assures me this time will be easier, as I won't have had the trauma or hours of narcotic pain killers as I waited for surgery.  I hope she is right.  I hope Daughter figures out the drama isn't working.  I told her she was pushing people away with all of it.  She said it wasn't drama, it was fact.  Whatever.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Another Way to Create Drama

So last night I called Daughter on her attempt tendency to create drama around my health issues.  It seemed to stop her-- at least until early this morning.  She came into my bedroom and announced her blood sugar was 31.  Fortunately, it responded quickly to some orange juice.  As I pondered what could have caused this, I had a sinking feeling.  Sure enough, Daughter acknowledged she had taken 10 units of insulin during the night.  She is currently writing me an essay about other ways to handle her stress.  I could take her back, but I need her help around the house getting things cleaned up.  I will be locking up all insulin and meds.  I hate living like this.

Someone suggested last night Daughter could come stay with me after the surgery.  Someone else quickly rejected the idea, and they all acknowledged that would not work well.  We are so blessed to be in this church.  They love and support Daughter, even though they are very much aware of how challenging she can be.  After Daughter goes home tomorrow, I won't have her here for a while.  I will tell her it is too much work to keep her safe when she's with me, so until she can keep herself safe, she won't be coming here to visit. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Surgery and Such

Daughter arrived yesterday with extra test strips, for which I'm grateful.  I never did hear from Home Owner about the doctor's appointment, so I was the only one with her this morning and did not have the form for her physical.  Her average blood sugar is down, but still not good.  We will continue to work on it.

I went to see my surgeon this afternoon.  It was not good news.  The bones in my left arm have not healed.  The hardware is coming loose. It is the reason why my wrist has been getting weaker and I've had more pain.  Some of the screws are fusing with the bone, others are loose because the bone has been moving-- they have damaged the bone, further weakening it.  I told him I had to be working through Lent.  I needed to be healthy by March 5 or wait until after April 20.  The surgery will be Tuesday.  He will remove hardware, do a bone graft, and install new hardware.

Once again this congregation is amazing.  I have people lined up to take me to the hospital (and I have to be there at 6:00 a.m.)  I  told one woman she could fight it out with another member as to who would take me. Our Friday night children's ministry was this evening, and as I left the kitchen to go upstairs and prepare for my part, they were plotting as to who would spend Tuesday night with me, since the surgery will be outpatient.  I'm hoping my recovery time is faster this time.

Administrative Assistant and I talked, and I know what my priorities are for Monday.  Daughter is doing amazingly well with this. Of course, I called her on her tendency to create drama around these things.  That will cut the drama a bit, I hope.  I have a number of things I want to get done before the surgery Tuesday, so the next few days will be very busy.  It will all work out. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

And Once Again....

I emailed Home Owner yesterday.  I told her Daughter has an appointment with her primary care doctor Friday, and asked if she would be attending, if she wasn't, I wondered if she had any questions or concerns I should raise.  No response.  I included the Case Manager on the email, and she asked HO to respond to me.  No response. 

I will be picking up Daughter this evening, and according to Daughter, staff refused to give her enough test strips to cover her time with me.  Last time we ran out, I let Daughter handle it.  If we run out again, I will be getting involved. 

These issues are wearing me down.  It's been a hard winter anyway, and this stuff just makes it harder.  I hope that at some point I will receive a response.  I continue to struggle with the thought that it might be necessary to move Daughter.  There isn't going to be a perfect placement.  I know that.  I also know that she has to have enough test strips to cover scheduled tests and any lows she might have.  I find myself wondering which meal it is she wants me to guess how much insulin to give her.  Her prescription gives her over 50 extra test strips a month.  I just don't understand why there is this control battle going on over test strips.  The last time I attempted to address it, I finally asked HO to offer suggestions.  She did not respond, of course.  I'm tired. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Sunday mornings at 8:00 I'm meeting with 4 people as we make plans to engage the congregation in a process to write a new vision for the church.  We are all really excited about the plans we are making.  I'm delighted that they are willing to show up at 8:00 on Sunday mornings.  I'm so blessed to be serving with these individuals.  I'm excited to see where God is calling us to go as a congregation.  We will begin to engage the congregation on March 9, and we will be doing it in some very creative ways, including the use of video and conversations during the worship service.  It's great to see the way our ideas are building as we combine our ideas and perspectives on Sunday mornings. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Birthday Realities

I went to the concert last night, and enjoyed it.  A colleague was with her family directly in front of me, so it was nice to see a friend. 

Amazingly, Daughter called to wish me a happy birthday this morning an did not try to convince me to pick her up early.  She was very accepting of the limits I'd placed.  I made a pan of gluten free, dairy free brownies for my birthday cake.  I put most of in the freezer. 

I did go shopping, spending the gift card the congregation gave me for Christmas.  I found some good sales, buying a couple of new pairs of slacks and several sweaters and such.  I was pleased, and still have some money left on the gift card.  I then went to a barbecue place for a late lunch.  I decided against a movie, heading instead to the bigger health food store on the other side of town.  They didn't have two of the items I was seeking, so it was less expensive than usual.  I stopped at the grocery store near the house to pick up some things for Daughter.  Their parking lot has so much snow piled around it that some of the normal paths are blocked. 

When I got home, my friend had been by and widened the cleared area at the bottom of my driveway, and also took care of the snow I had piled along the side of the driveway.  I am grateful.  I have had phone calls from my sisters and brother, which was nice.  I picked up Daughter about 7:00.  She had a card for me.  She tells me she had a good day and she's done with the drama.  I hope that is the case. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Birthday Plans

I met Daughter's first Program Manager for lunch today.  She always understood Daughter.  She is now the supervisor at the large program facility Daughter attends.  She talked about how much Daughter has grown and changed.  When we first moved here, we decided that facility would be too overwhelming for Daughter.  Now, she handles it well.  It was good to catch up with her, and she provided some helpful insights.  She also confirmed what staff at the house has been saying-- Daughter has been happy and doing well at program.  She isn't claiming to be all stressed and depressed there.  It was a great way to start my birthday celebration.

Daughter was seeking to create drama yesterday, so I will not be celebrating my birthday with her.  I told her I'd pick her up Saturday night after supper-- so I don't have to get her bright and early on Sunday morning.  She was not thrilled with that, but accepted it.  I suspect she'll try to change my mind tomorrow, but it won't work.  I'm looking forward to my own quiet celebration. 

I have purchased a ticket to go hear the university symphony orchestra tonight.  They are playing one of my favorite pieces of all time.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Tomorrow, I will go shopping at the nice shopping center across town.  I have a Christmas gift card to spend.  I may go to a movie while I'm there.  It's going to be a good day. 

The snow continues to be overwhelming.  They plowed my street sometime yesterday.  When I arrived home last night, I could barely see it.  It was after 9:00, and we aren't allowed to park in the street.  I decided to try it, and my Equinox plowed through.  It took a while to make it up the slippery driveway, but it managed.  This morning I went out to tackle the snow.  I had spread out the snow over more of the driveway when I pushed through it last night.  I finally got out my garden shovel and managed to clear enough snow to get in and out of the driveway.  I salted the icy tracks I've left going in and out.  A friend will come clean up the driveway later.  He's been doing that regularly, and I'm grateful.  It has become extremely challenging to get the snow over the piles at the side of the driveway.  Administrative Assistant says their snowblower is even having trouble with it. 

I was pondering the possibility of hiring someone to keep the driveway clean in the future, then I started thinking about how much that would have cost me so far this winter, and dropped the idea.  Spring will come, hopefully soon. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This morning when I woke up, the prediction was for 1-3 inches of snow.  Within an hour or so, they increased it to 2-4.  When I went out to clear my driveway for the first time, there was almost 5 inches of snow on it, and it continued to snow for the next 4 hours.  I got to clear the driveway again when I got home.  The parking lot at the church was challenging, but our property guys were there early and used snow blowers to clear parking places for us.  I understand I missed the fun, as two of the men got into a snow battle, shooting snow from their blowers at one another.  I have said many times that they are cub scouts in need of a den mother. 

It was a busy morning at the church.  The guys finally installed the new water heater, so for the first time since December 22 we can wash our hands with warm water.  A new computer was being installed for the sound desk.  Treasurer, Administrative Assistant, and I were busy in the office.  We did have our birthday lunch today, and that was very nice.  We have a wonderful team. 

When Daughter called this morning, she mentioned I had a birthday coming up.  I told her I didn't think I wanted her around, and I was tired of her drama and her annual attempt to make me miserable on my birthday.  She was subdued, to say the least.  She called a little while ago and informed me she had a plan to turn things around quickly so she could be with me for my birthday.  I told her we'd talk tomorrow.  Now that I've called her on her behavior, I suspect it will stop-- at least for now. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Tomorrow we are going out for lunch as a staff.  Treasurer's birthday was Sunday, and mine is Saturday, so we'll celebrate both.  I requested an excused absence from the regional church meeting on Saturday, partly because it is my birthday, and partly because I don't want to drive into worst snow.  We have another two more snow storms coming this week, and the city where the meeting is tends to get more snow than we do.

Daughter continues the pathetic act.  Case Manager called today.  I decided that the apartment won't work for Daughter, and will explain that to her.  Staff reports on Daughter's mood are very different from Daughter's reports, so I'm going to go with them for now. 

When I talk to her tomorrow I'll inform her that I'm not buying into the pity act, and let her know that at this point I don't plan to have her around on my birthday-- I'm not going to give her another chance to make me miserable.  She'll be upset and protest, but when she's volunteering in the office Thursday I should have a better opportunity to assess her mood. 

I'm thinking I will go to a movie and take myself out to dinner on Saturday.  I'll work out the details later. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Depressed and Stressed

Daughter called me this morning, and she was crying.  She said she was depressed and stressed.  She called again from her program, saying the same thing.  She claims she's been depressed and stressed for months.  I'm skeptical.  She does not have a good sense of time.  I didn't see any sign of this until yesterday when I took her home.  In fact, she had told me she was not having the sleep issues last week.  Now, she claims she's been having sleep issues for months. 

I've been offering coping suggestions, but am unclear as to how much of this is her need for drama and how much of it is real. 

Of course, my birthday is coming up this Saturday, and she often seems to feel the need to punish me near my birthday.

On a cheerier note, it didn't snow today.  The sun was shining.  It actually got up into the low 20's, which feels warm after the bitter cold we've had.  Of course, more snow is coming.  I'm tired of winter.  Maybe that's what has Daughter feeling stressed and depressed.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Case Manager was at Daughter's house Friday, and Daughter says she told her that she wants out of that house.  She claims she is stressed and depressed and doesn't want to be there anymore.  Apparently some of the other women tend to get into loud disagreements.  Daughter claims she spends all her time in her room.  She told me CM is going to call me to talk to me about getting Daughter into an apartment with medical support.  I'm skeptical, to say the least.  I don't see how Daughter can be trusted in a more independent living situation when she is still getting into food regularly. 

Daughter did not want to go back to the house today.  I took her with me shopping following worship-- we stopped at three different stores, and then I took her home. I dread the thought of moving her again.  There isn't going to be a perfect place.  She talks about how this isn't how she wanted her life to turn out.  It wasn't what I hoped for, either.  It's hard to let go of dreams. 

It was another low attendance Sunday due to the weather.  Without traction control, I would have gotten stuck several times on my way to church this morning.  The lot had not been plowed when I arrived, and when the plow arrived and I needed to move my car, I had to do some rocking a couple of times to get the car to move.  When I walked into the office at 7:30, an older woman called.  "Has the parking lot been plowed?"

"It's getting plowed right now."

"Oh, good.  How are the roads?"

"Not good.  I suggest you stay home."

She agreed, and thanked me for being concerned about their safety.   

After worship, I complimented a woman on her hair-- which has a bright new color.  She thanked me, and then told me Daughter had told her last week she shouldn't have done it.  I was embarrassed, but then remembered this woman works with developmentally handicapped teenagers in the school-- she is used to their lack of filters.  Fortunately, she was amused by it.  I was surprised Daughter spoke to her-- I didn't realize she had a relationship with this woman, who is one of our newer members.

Our computer guru got the computer working yesterday, but couldn't get it started today.  We loaded the slides onto his laptop, but it put a weird noise at the end of my video.  We ended up putting it all on my laptop, but couldn't get the remote to load on my computer.  I ended up pointing at the sound desk whenever I needed my slides changed. 

We had some people complaining before worship about the items in the coat room.  I ended up announcing that we had issues with the water heater and the computer.  We have an aging building, and maintenance is becoming an ongoing issue.  I realized when I got home that I was more tired than usual-- the computer problems were stressful.  Our computer guru took the tower home.  He's going to see if replacing the power switch will solve the problem.  He's also going to begin exploring how best to replace it. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Good Day

I've been struggling with depression and not doing well at keeping up with the chores around the house.  Today I finally had a productive day at home.  Putting music on helps, and taking frequent breaks helps, too.  I managed to get all the laundry done and put away, including changing the sheets on my bed.  I cleaned the kitchen, made corn tortillas and enchiladas for the freezer, and then cleaned the kitchen again.  I also got started on my income taxes, and did some filing of paperwork.  I took care of some recycling.  I even shaved when I was in the shower. 

After picking Daughter up, I stopped for gas and sent Daughter in to buy some firework.  I came home and started a fire in the fireplace.  I've put all the clean dishes away.  I've done some mending. 

We got more snow today.  If we hadn't had so much, this would have felt like a big storm.  One of the saints came over and cleared my driveway, and I'm grateful.  My weak wrist has been protesting all the shoveling I've been doing.  The piles along the side of the driveway have gotten pretty high.  It's warmer today-- the temperature has been between 25 and 30 for the most part.  I'm finding it easier to deal with the snow when it's not so bitterly cold. 

I plan to go to bed early tonight.  I need to be at the church by 7:45, and we may need to clear the driveway again in the morning.  We'll probably need to clear the driveway in the morning.  I warned Daughter she need to bring appropriate clothes for that, and she did. 

Conversation with Daughter

The phone rang as I was in my bedroom folding and putting away clean laundry.

"Good morning!"

"Do you know it's snowing?"

"As a matter of fact, I had noticed that."

"You know, if you had picked me up last night, you could have avoided all of this."

"I didn't want to pick you up last night.  I'll pick you up today."

"That's my mom.  Stubborn." 

"When will you come get me?"

"At this point, I plan to pick you up after supper."

"Okay.  I'll see you after dinner.  I need to finish cleaning my room.  It's looking better.  I just need to sweep and mop the floor." 

No begging, no whining.  Willing acceptance of my boundaries.  A good conversation.