Friday, May 18, 2012

One year ago...

It's been a full year now since Nana's passing.  Things around the house have settled into a new normal, but there's an awful empty place. It's getting easier to go through the mail that Nana still gets from the different charities that she used to give to.  I guess this is a sign of being able to move on.

We still need to go through Nana's things, and my wife is almost ready.  But not quite.  For me personally, a day doesn't go by that I don't think of Nana.

We know that she is rejoicing with the Lord.  No more oxygen tubes, no more walkers, no more difficulty swallowing.  She is at peace. We're at peace with it, but there's still an empty feeling.  I wonder if that will always be with us.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Remembering Nana

Here's a slideshow that I put together for Nana's memorial service.

I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to comment and post any memories of Nana that you wish to share.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blog winding down

It's getting close to the time to wind down this blog, as there really isn't much more to add, other than Nana's memorial is this Saturday.  She was quietly and peacefully interred last Thursday at Forest Lawn in Cypress.  Laura put together several pages for a guest book that I sent off to a printer earlier today (and hopefully it arrives without any problems).  We are currently working out how the program for the memorial will go, as we'll be meeting with our pastor this week to go over the arrangements for the memorial.

In thinking over the past nearly two weeks since Nana's passing, I'm grateful that she was on hospice care.  The hospice people were so incredibly helpful.  Nana was able to be at home with her family and have her needs met and exceeded in many cases.  Laura and I are both thankful that Nana wasn't bedridden.  Had she been, her care would have been especially difficult for Laura.  The Lord saw fit to take Nana when the timing was right according to His purposes and not ours.  We're all thankful that Nana is rejoicing in Heaven with her Savior.

1 Corinithians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, 
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's been a week...

It's been a week and a day since Nana passed away.  The house is quiet.  Feeling is slowly starting to creep back in, but time still feels like it's standing still.  We're trying to plan Nana's memorial service, and things just seem to take too long to do.  Things that should take a few minutes drag into hours.  Everyone has been so gracious and understanding during this time.  I'm truly amazed.  We're in a valley right now, but we'll get out of it.

Since Nana didn't want a funeral, just what they call a "direct burial," that should be happening sometime today.  I hope they'll let us know when, but I kind of doubt it as the burial is at their convenience.  Her memorial will be June 4th at 2pm at our church.  More info later...

Saturday, May 21, 2011


A representative from Forest Lawn called later in the day on Wednesday and wanted Laura and I to come up on Thursday and make Nana's final arrangements.  Nana had requested no viewing, no funeral, no graveside ceremony...just a simple burial.

We made the long drive from our home to Cypress to meet with them, and they were the very model of professional.  The person we worked with was efficient, very cordial and respectful, and answered all of our questions.  Laura was doing pretty good until it got to the part where he wanted us to go with him upstairs to select a casket.

I told him "That's where I come in..."  He then turned to me, and I'd mentioned that I'd found a casket on Costco, and could they match the price.  He said they couldn't, and that many people go that route.  I went in completely expecting a scrap over the casket, and they're fine with it.

We finished our business with them, and paid for everything.  We then went and visited Papa's grave, and Laura's grandparents' grave.  We made note of how things were engraved on Papa's memorial plate so we could make sure that Nana's will match.  After visiting for a little bit, we made our way back to my truck and started on the long drive home in heavy traffic.  It was a very tiring and draining day.

One thing that was very interesting happened.  When the representative came into the little meeting room, he produced some sort of hand filled out document from his leather dayrunner.  I couldn't see it clearly, but it had all sorts of information written on it.  My guess was that it was the document that the people from Forest Lawn brought out the day before when they collected Nana's body.  Boy, was I wrong.  It was the original information sheet that Nana filled out in June of 1966 when she and Papa had bought their plot!  As we were wrapping up, the representative said that we could keep the information sheet.  I was (and still am) amazed by their document and filing system that can make a nearly 45 year old document look and feel like it was filled out just the day before.

Just the day before...

These last few days seem like they've all been merged together into one long blur.  Here's some more on what happened Wednesday.

Nana managed to poke herself in her left eye last week, and Laura had fitted her with an eye patch the day before.  Nana was saying "Arrr" like a good pirate while wearing that eyepatch.  Just the day before.

The hospice nurse got here very quickly on Wednesday.  She was very shocked about Nana, as she had just been out to check on her.  Just the day before.  The hospice nurse was so very helpful on Wednesday.  She had to check Nana's body, then repositioned her in her bed and covered her.  Then she started making phone calls.  Laura and I were in no real shape to do more than just call people and inform them.  Nana seemed to be doing so well just the day before.

It seemed to take a long time for the people from Forest Lawn to come to collect Nana.  I suspect the underestimated the traffic on the freeways, as the mortuary is quite a ways away.  The gentlemen who came were consummate professionals--very understanding, polite, gracious and did their work quickly and efficiently.

Hospice came later in the day to pick up their bed, the oxygen enricher, and some other stuff.  This left us with a nearly empty room and silence.  We'd gotten used to the hum and puff of the oxygen enricher running.  It was a normal noise in the house, and now it's just so quiet in the house.

After the equipment left, our cat was wandering around downstairs making these strange, sad little meows.  Nana's rooms seem so empty, even though they sill contain her stuff.  Quite a change from just the day before.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nana passed away last night...

Nana usually gets up around 8am.  Laura didn't hear anything in Nana's room like she normally does.  Laura went in to check on Nana and found she had passed away last night.

I'll post more when I'm up to it... It's a pretty difficult right now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A night on the floor

I'm going through my normal morning routine, reading the paper, eating a bowl of cereal and having a cup of coffee.  There are normal noises in the house for this time: Nana's oxygen enricher, coffee pot making noises, refrigerator running, that kind of stuff.  I hear a noise coming from down the hall leading to Nana's room.  Our cat gets put to bed in our downstairs bathroom at night, so it could just be her starting to make her "let me out" noises.  But it doesn't sound right.

I went upstairs to get Laura, and encounter my daughter who's getting ready for work. "I think I heard Nana" she says with a nervous voice.  Okay, that confirms it..something happened.  I get Laura and she goes in to investigate.

She finds Nana sitting on the floor between her bed and her bookcase.  Nana had gotten up sometime during the night to use the bedside commode and stumbled.  She couldn't reach her cell phone which was on the other side of her bed.  She couldn't call out loud enough for us to hear.  So she pulled the covers off her bed and made a little nest out of it.

Needless to say, she's been pretty sore today and moving slowly having sat on the floor for who knows how long.

And the odd thing?  Her oxygen cannula was off and placed by a box of tissues on the other side of the bed.  She spent the night on the floor, wrapped up in blankets without oxygen.

I sure hope this doesn't happen again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Disaster Averted....for now

Laura started calling Dr. M's office yesterday about Nana's midodrine prescription.  They called her back today, and, after speaking with Laura, Dr. M. called the prescription into The Pharmacy.  The Pharmacy at first said "No," but Dr. M can be very persuasive when necessary.

Laura went over about 5:45pm to pick up the prescription!  And we can get this prescription refilled twice!  Praise God!  This will allow Nana's blood pressure to be at a level where her kidneys will function (albeit at a lower-than-normal efficiency).

Now we won't have to fight this battle again for 90 days.  Sorry for the lousy cell phone was the quickest way to get a photo online.

All in all, Nana had a good day.  She had a visit from the nurse's aid, some friends came by to visit, and even our Pastor stopped by.  We're currently playing musical beds in prep for the hospice to deliver a hospital bed tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A punch in the gut...

Well...more like a body blow followed by an upper-cut to the chin...

So the hospice doctor came out on Monday with a nurse to check up on Nana.  The visit went pretty well, and they discussed some options with Laura.  What Laura found out yesterday was not encouraging at all...

One of the medications that Nana receives to keep her blood pressure up (so that her kidneys are able to do their job) is midodrine.  Her supply runs out Thursday morning.  The nurse called the pharmacy and found out it's been pulled off the market, and that there are no meds to take its place.  We're going to do a bit of research in this, as it looks like the FDA called for it's withdrawal from the market in August 2010, and relented from this in September 2010.

If we aren't able to get in a supply of midodrine, Nana's blood pressure will drop.  The doctor said that a pacemaker would help, and possibly extend her life several extra months.  When Nana heard the cost of such a device (around $20K), she said she didn't want it.  :-(

Laura was saying that she thinks it might be time to start making some phone calls...