Thursday, September 29, 2011

As God is My Witness...

The last week has been busy, to say the least.  Timothy has been staying with us quite a bit while my sister takes CNA classes.  On top of that, my husband got some sort of cold bug - and Timmy has been a little congested with allergies - so I was not comfortable visiting Mam-ma for a few days.  And the day I decided to visit her after I picked Timmy up at daycare, he threw a walleyed fit to go home and see his Uncle Greg, so we turned around in the parking lot at the ALF and headed for home.  I didn't think a screaming unhappy toddler would cheer any of us.

I am astounded at the similarities in the world of two-year-olds and ninety-nine-year-olds.  Last week, we took Timothy to see his first football game.  Our junior high team played at home, and it was a cool, crisp fall evening, so we decided to see if Timmy would sit still for at least a few plays.  Did he ever!  He was so intrigued with all of the movement and action - especially the band sitting in the next section over - and he made it through an entire half of the game without leaving my lap.

We decided to leave on a happy note.  Timmy was starting to yawn, and it was about 8:30 p.m.  His day had been full... daycare, then the ballgame and all of that fresh air.  He nearly dropped off to sleep on the ride home after the game.  By the time we got him inside, he had "hit the wall," and a hysterical tantrum ensued.  I removed his clothes and diapered and dressed him while he screamed hysterically at the top of his lungs, big tears rolling down his bright red cheeks.  I just steeled myself and kept working until I had gotten everything changed.  Soon, he was calm and sitting in my lap, "slubbing" his tears and composing himself... and by a little after 9:00 p.m., he was sound asleep.

The next evening, my phone rang around 8:30, and it was Mam-ma.  She was upset and started telling me that someone had come into her room and taken her tweezers.  The story was convoluted at best, but from what I could determine, she has had the activities director buy her several pair of tweezers at Wal-Mart... and they all disappeared.  I told her I could not imagine that anyone would steal just tweezers - was anything else missing?  No, just her tweezers. 

Then she said "that girl" came in and dumped everything on the bed and showed her a pair of tweezers and said, "Now I don't want to hear anything else about us taking your tweezers."  I couldn't discern who "that girl" was... but I decided that the container she dumped was Mam-ma's pencil container.  She also said the girl who brought her laundry went through every drawer... and "I don't know what she was looking for."

I assured Mam-ma that this was not a problem... that we were not talking "the war debt" here (as my maternal grandmother used to say).  She began to cry and say, "Well, I'm just so tore up."  I asked her why... was she that upset over a pair of tweezers?  No, she said, it was not the tweezers... but "I'm just so tore up."  I asked if she was in bed... no.  I told her to get her pj's on and get into bed... and to ask for a whole Ativan to help her sleep.  I assured her that I would check on this the following week... that I had Timothy and could not come down there right away, but I would look into this.  She hung up sobbing.

I let my mom know about this, assuming that Mam-ma would never mention it to her - even if she remembered - but just in case, I wanted Mom to know what was happening.  I was not able to get down to the ALF for a few days, but Mom went to see Mam-ma on Monday, and she never mentioned the tweezers.  But she did tell her that she had not slept well and hinted that there was a problem.  Mom didn't bite, and Mam-ma didn't elaborate.

So Tuesday, I planned to visit Mam-ma, but that was the day that Timmy had his meltdown and I had to turn around in the parking lot.  Wednesday morning, I dropped Timothy at the daycare and headed directly to the ALF.  It was just after 8:00 a.m. and Mam-ma was having her breakfast in the dining room - fried eggs, bacon, toast and jelly - a delicious looking meal.  She ate well.  Afterward, we returned to her room and had a nice long visit.  I tried to think of things to talk to her about, but the conversation waned.

At one point, Mam-ma mentioned MawMac - my birthday buddy and her friend, who passed last month.  She said, "I think about her trying to sit at the dining table and eat..." and she shook her head sadly.  I reminded her that MawMac is whole and perfect now... stately and able to do whatever she pleases.  Mam-ma said, "Well, that's right!"  Then I related a joke that I heard lately about an older couple killed in a car wreck.  They get to heaven and everything is so nice and lavish - and FREE - no restrictions on diet, no workouts needed, free golfing for him, and more.  The man tells his wife, "I'm so mad at you... if I had known it was like this, I wouldn't have eaten all that fiber.  We could have been here years ago!"  Mam-ma laughed.

Then she said, "Well, the other night I prayed to die."  I asked, "You did?"  "Yes," she replied, "I did."  I asked if she was ready to die, and she said, "Yes, I am..." and she began to cry.  I told her that we could not make that decision... that obviously God is not ready for her yet, but maybe He will be soon.  She quickly changed back to an earlier topic of discussion, and I let it go.

I had been there nearly an hour, and I started to say my "Good-byes," and she said, "Wait. I need to talk to you about this episode." She was talking about the tweezers.  I got up and looked in her pencil can... actually dumped it on the bed... and there were three pair there - two of which had her name written on them.  I showed them to her, and she said, "Yes, they brought them all back."  She also indicated there were more still missing.  She kept saying that the activities director, maintenance man, and LPN would all tell me the same thing - that they said they would take care of this.

So I told her I would speak to the LPN.  I walked out to the nurses' station and talked to the LPN, and she was clearly in the dark.  She doesn't work on Fridays, but she said this was the first she had ever heard about any tweezers.  So I clued her in on what had transpired and the hysterical phone call on Friday night, and she just shook her head.  This truly appeared to be news to her - or she deserves the biggest Oscar in history.

I returned to Mam-ma's room and told her that the nurse did not know anything about this.  Mam-ma said, "Oh yes she does!" and she got up to walk me back out to talk to her.  Now this is where it got really weird.  Her story now was that someone was accusing HER of taking the tweezers. She told the nurse, "Y'all are out to get me." The nurse sat down on Mam-ma's walker seat and looked her straight in the eye and said, "Look at me.  Nobody is accusing you of anything.  You have done nothing wrong.  Nobody thinks you took anything."  Mam-ma replied, "Well, I just want my name cleared.  I don't want to be accused of anything.  As God is my witness, I've never stolen anything in my life."  And she began to cry. 

The nurse tried again to tell her that she was making something out of nothing... that there was nothing to this.  Mam-ma said, "Well, I'm not sleeping at night.  I'm just so upset.  I don't like walking down the halls and people looking at me and thinking I did this."  She also shook her finger at the nurse and said, "Now you and the maintenance guy both came to my table and told me you would take care of this."  The nurse didn't have a clue.

This went on for maybe ten minutes.  We finally got Mam-ma to quit crying a bit, and the nurse kissed her and assured her that everything was okay, but they were going to go back to a whole tablet of Ativan at night so she could get some rest.  We returned to Mam-ma's room.  She was still crying.  I hugged her and said, "You do believe us, don't you, that this is over?"  "No!" she said, "I don't, because they know what's going on, and they are a makin' this up."  I told her that I was totally convinced that this nurse was telling the truth, and that she loved Mam-ma and would not do anything to hurt her - or lie to her.  Mam-ma was not convinced. 

I had to leave, so I kissed Mam-m good-bye, told her I loved her, and left.  I stopped by the nurses' office again and told her that Mam-ma was still upset and didn't believe us... and would she please keep an eye on her?  She said she would.  I repeated that Mam-ma said she and the maintenance guy had come to the dining hall and told Mam-ma that "we'll take care of this."  The nurse said, "The only thing she has complained about was a couple of months ago, when she came to me with her Tylenol and Ibuprofen and said 'that girl' was coming and getting some, and she didn't feel she should give it to her.  She asked me to keep the meds for her, and I said I would, and if 'that girl' needed some, she could come to me."  I told her "that girl" was a resident friend of Mam-ma's, because she had told my mom about this and her concern with giving out the medicine.

The nurse just laughed... she said she had assumed it was a staff member... and that Mam-ma would not tell her a name.  I told her, "That's because she didn't want to rat on her friend."  The nurse laughed and said, "So this may be something that a resident has said and not a staff member."  We both agreed... we don't know who Mam-ma thinks has accused her... or exactly WHAT has been accused by whom.  It's totally convoluted.  But the bottom line is, Mam-ma is upset and paranoid that people are talking about her.

I told the nurse, we've been through this before - but not to this extent.  When Mam-ma first moved to the ALF, she called me one day and said her postage stamps were missing.  They weren't, although she loudly insisted they were.  I found them right where they belonged in her little secretary.  Another day it was the room key.  Even when she lived at home, she lost her life alert button (it was in a pants pocket), and she had deacons searching the church sanctuary for it.  We even purchased a second one before she put those pants on one day and found her missing button!

But this is different.  She has really worked this up in her mind... and she is in quite a state.  I told my mom, I had a 2-year-old temper tantrum on Thursday night - and the next night, it was Mam-ma! And soothing either one was about the same!  With Timmy's allergies, I've found myself wiping his little nose quite often lately... and yesterday, I was doing the same for Mam-ma.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  The age gap may be enormous, but the needs are much the same.

My husband stopped by later to check on Mam-ma, and he found her sitting sadly in her room.  He was concerned by how she has declined... he said for the first time, she looked 99.  She told him she was not leaving her room much - she can't see to read, and she just sits and looks out the window - and most days are "boring."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am not the only one with such challenges. My cousin's wife called Sunday evening to ask if I knew someone who could do home health care on the spur of the moment. Her 90-year-old aunt had been released from the hospital following an episode of a UTI that caused her to be incoherent and confused. She thought she was ambulatory (she is not!) and got up in the night to take herself to the bathroom... fell and hit her head (CT scan was clear and no broken bones)... and then her legs were numb and she was incoherent.

Apparently the elderly aunt was released too soon... she was incoherent when they got home, and after allowing her to sleep for a few hours to see if she improved, she became unresponsive and had to return to the hospital. She appears to be recovering quickly now after giving the family quite a scare. Meanwhile, my cousin's son and his wife delivered their first baby in the middle of Sunday night at a hospital 45 miles away. So someone had to be secured to stay with the aunt while the grandmother attended the birth of her new grandbaby! Yes, these sandwiches have many layers... more or less depending on the day!

As I told Mam-ma a few weeks ago, I will not be sad when she goes to heaven. She has indicated to both my mom and me in recent days that she is tired - and ready. I don't know what God has in store for her, no more than I know what He plans for each of us. This could very well be my last day on earth, for that matter! We don't know when babies will be born... I don't know how much longer Timothy will be staying with us... or whether any of us will make it through this day. But in the words of my grandmother, "As God is my witness..." we will make it through under His power and protection. At the end of the day, that's really all that matters.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Time Well Spent with Mam-ma Polly and Timothy

We've had several visits with Mam-ma Polly lately.  However, she hasn't always felt like walking the halls and pushing Timothy in her walker, which he loves.  We sat in the dining hall for a long time Sunday, looking at the fish tank.  Timmy loves it... and Mam-ma really needed to sit and rest.  It worked for both of them.

I'm seeing a steady decline in Mam-ma's overall health and well-being.  It's nothing definitive, but she is struggling to put her thoughts and words together, and that worries her.  She told my mom that a dear friend and table-mate, Ruth, asked, "What have I done to you?  You don't talk any more."  Mam-ma told Ruth that she had not done anything, but she also added (in true Mam-ma Polly fashion!), "You need to wear your hearing aids!"  Mam-ma doesn't understand that Ruth may have trouble using them in a noisy dining hall... and she may simply forget to put them in.  Regardless, she doesn't wear them to meals, so she can't hear what Mam-ma says... and that makes Mam-ma very unhappy!

We are enjoying our time with Timothy... he learns something new every day. I have enrolled him in a local daycare for a few days a week as a "drop-in."  He needs the structure and stimulation of being with other children; however, it's been harder for me than I thought.  I am the "mother" I laughed at when I was teaching - the one who worries that Timmy will cry or feel abandoned when I leave him.  And he did cry when I dropped him off Monday morning for a fun-filled day.  I stood outside on the sidewalk and listened until the crying stopped - less than 30 seconds!  All the way home, I told myself, "You are doing what is best for Timothy."  I've told myself that many times about Mam-ma Polly, as well!

I remember the day we drove her to the ALF to move into her new apartment. I felt like I was leading a lamb to slaughter as we drove out of her driveway... but I can see (and I knew at that time) that this was the best place for her. And it's much that way with my 2-year-old nephew. I know this is best for him... and it gives me and his grandmother a break... but it is hard to leave a child who is crying and asking, "DebDeb... where are oooo?" - even if you know he is in loving, capable hands.

This sandwich has many layers, and all of them have a lot of "flavor" - some are even a little bittersweet!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's All Part of the Sandwich!

Give me a week, and everything can change!  I visited my grandmother last Friday (if you are counting, that was five days ago), and she seemed so-so.  Of course, I'm sure the death of her friend Geraldine - "MawMac", my Birthday Buddy - impacted her and made her sad.  But overall, she seemed a little more frail and subdued in general.  Her associate pastor and his wife had been there for lunch, hosting all of the ladies from Mam-ma's church who live at Southridge for a meal in the parlor.  I asked her if she planned to nap in the afternoon, and she said she really didn't know what was planned.  Then she added, "Gladys thinks she's having a birthday party, but it's not her birthday!"

In the meantime, she casually mentioned that the doctor had been there that morning - her first visit with him since we switched and made him the primary care physician.  I asked, "And what did you think?"  She replied, "Well... I don't know.  He changed my medicine all up."  I questioned her further, and she said he had discontinued her lasix and reduced her B-12 dosage.  I looked down at her very swollen ankles and said, "I need to talk to the nurse about this."  I found the nurse, who confirmed that yes, the doctor had discontinued lasix, potassium, and he had decreased her B-12 shots from one every 2 weeks to once a month.  She told me the doctor and his nurse were still in the building... did I want to see them?  Yes, of course!  So she sent him to Mam-ma's room.

The doctor came in and explained that Mam-ma had told him she thought she had had a stroke during the week... and her speech was difficult and slow - as were her thoughts.  She wagged her bony finger at me and said, "You know this... I've been a tellin' you that I can't get my words together to talk right."  I agreed... but I reminded her that this had been going on for at least a couple of weeks - maybe longer.  She insisted it was since our trip to the ER the week before.  I told the doctor how she would not stay inside out of the heat, and the nurse piped up and said, "Oh, believe me, I know... I chased her halfway around the building this morning to get her back inside out of the heat."  I explained to them that Mam-ma doesn't believe she is overheating, because she doesn't feel warm, and she doesn't perspire.  They said they understood.

Still, the doctor said he wanted to temporarily make these changes, do some lab work to test blood counts and her thyroid, and see if the dizziness subsided.  He said if she felt like she was having a stroke - or might have just had one - she was to tell a nurse, who would administer an aspirin and call an ambulance to transport her to the ER for a CT-scan.  This would tell him whether to prescribe something stronger, like Plavix.  I am still not sure that I understand all of this for a nearly 99-year-old woman, but he did mention preventing a fall... and if the medication will do this or prevent a stroke that leaves her in a vegetative state, I am all for that.  It's just a gamble, in my book, to change anything at this point.  But this doctor is supposed to be a specialist in geriatrics, so we will trust his judgment... after all, I have signed for him to handle Mam-ma's medical care!

I did mention that we discovered at the ER that somewhere in the last 5 years, Mam-ma has had a documentable stroke on the right side.  The doctor confirmed this.  We had never been told this before... and it is not a TIA... one of those mini-strokes Mam-ma has felt like she experienced a few times.  This was a bonafide, measurable stroke... and one the ER doc said was common in older folks.  So she is prone to more of them, given her history and her age.  So we agreed to discontinue the meds and do the tests... and to monitor Mam-ma's blood pressure and overall condition for at least a week and see what happens.  The doctor shook my hand and went on his way.

Soon, there was a knock at the door, and Gladys' daughter-in-law, Margaret, appeared.  "Do you want to play Chicken Foot with Gladys and the other ladies this afternoon?" she asked Mam-ma.  "It's Gladys' birthday, and your Sunday School teacher and friends are coming to play dominoes."  "Of course she wants to play!" I interjected.  Mam-ma sorta shrugged.  I looked at her and asked, "You want to play dominoes, don't you?"  "Well, I guess," she replied.

Margaret explained that dominoes began at 2:00 p.m., followed by sandwiches and birthday cake at 5:00.  A former nursing home R.N., Margaret is a "take-charge" type, and she had already notified the kitchen that these ladies would be dining elsewhere that evening.  She said she would be back to help Mam-ma to the parlor and left.

I had taken a new bird feeder to replace Mam-ma's old one, which broke, and she was very tickled to have fresh birdseed and the new feeder. She also sent home a couple of items of clothing for me to launder.

I helped Mam-ma change her sweater, comb her hair, and she put in lipstick and some rhinestone earrings that matched her blouse.  I then walked her to the parlor for dominoes and the party.  Margaret gathered the rest of the ladies, and I greeted those who had arrived from their individual homes in town as they came through the door, including Mam-ma's dear friend, Ruby.  It looked like a lot of work had gone into planning these events, and I'm sure the ladies all had a great time that afternoon.  I was thankful Mam-ma had so much to do to occupy her for the rest of the day and evening.

Later, Mam-ma phoned me to say she was "home," and that she had had a really good time, but she was too tired to return to tea. She said Gladys went back to her apartment at 6:00 p.m., because she goes to bed early but that... "Some of the rest of us stayed until 6:30!"   The next day, Mam-ma phoned me again, with some excuse for calling that didn't make any sense.  Basically, she just wanted to talk.  And if I remember right, she did that again on Sunday, too.  It was fine... I certainly didn't mind... but all of a sudden, she became more needy for several days.

Saturday afternoon, I picked up Timothy at my sister's.  Our plan was to take him to church Sunday morning, and keep him Monday while my sister worked, then take him to daycare for the day on Tuesday.  My sister would pick him up there after she finished working.  That was the plan.  When I picked up Timothy at my sister's, his nose looked a little runny.  I questioned her, and she said, "It was running "green" when I picked him up at daycare on Thursday, but he's been fine since."  Honestly, I didn't notice a runny nose again that evening, but he did seem to have a slight cough.  I turned on the vaporizer, hoping to help with any possible congestion when he laid down for the night.

In the middle of the night, Timothy awoke - just before 3:00 a.m., pressed his little nose and said, "Nose!"  He was stuffed up and coughing.  We were awake 2 hours, watching Jack's Big Music Show, before he was able to settle in and get back to sleep at 5:00.  He slept until nearly 8:30 - there would be no getting to church by 9:30!

Sunday afternoon, Timmy laid down for a nap, and after sleeping for an hour, I heard him crying.  I went to check on him, and he was drenched... clothes, hair was literally dripping wet... bed linens were soaked.  I put him in our bed under a fan and cooled him down... and he slept another 2 hours.  When he awoke, his cough seemed to increase gradually. We played outside for just a bit late Sunday afternoon. A front had come through bringing cooler temperatures and a breeze, and Timmy enjoyed playing on the driveway with toy trucks - and running in the grass in our front yard.  It's been so hot in Arkansas for weeks that we have not had many chances to play outside.  When it only "cools" to a humid 85 at night, that's not much fun for outdoor play.

I figured Timmy would be up half the night after his 3-hour nap, but he went to bed around 10:00 p.m. with no fanfare. I ran the vaporizer again... just in case he had trouble with congestion in the night. He slept fitfully - was all over the bed - but he didn't wake up until almost 7:00 a.m.  He sat up in bed, pointed at the TV, and said, "Jack!"  I turned on the TV, and he said, "Milk!"  I went to the kitchen to get him a cup of milk, and before I could return, I heard him coughing... and wheezing... then gasping for air.  I got him up and started trying to prepare a steamy washcloth with eucalyptus oil... something I have done in the past for him.  I put a few drops on a steamy hot washcloth and held it to his face for him to inhale. He would have none of that!

By this time, my husband had come to see about us.  He had been in his office upstairs, and he said he heard the wheezing from there.  He said, "That sounds like asthma!"  I agreed, and we both felt Timmy needed instant medical attention.  We threw on clothes and loaded Timothy into the car and headed for the hospital, which is only about 2 minutes away from our house.  Once there, Timmy was quickly admitted.  Then the fun began...

Everything went fine for the first temperature check and when the nurse put the pulse-ox clip on his finger.  But when that device was too large, she had to switch to a band-aid style device, and he was not having it on his finger.  She tried the band on his toe, with mixed results.  Then the nurse added the BP cuff... and when it tightened on Timmy's arm, he started to scream.  It was downhill from there.

Timmy was in hysterics, and nothing we did could console him.  Both Greg and I tried to reassure him, but he was having none of it.  The ER doc was great... and very patient.  But he could not hear anything in his stethoscope when he listened to Timmy's lungs except screaming and my hand patting his back to soothe him.  He almost never got the device into Timothy's ears to have a look.  The one thing that went well was looking into his throat.  With all of the screaming, there was a clear shot well past his tonsils!

The doctor ordered a breathing treatment for the respiratory distress.  A very nice therapist arrived with a mask that sported a cute little dragon face.  She tried to show Timmy how the mask would make smoke.  It took three of us to hold him down to put the mask on... no, near... his face.  The treatment was supposed to last 5 minutes... we might have made it 2 minutes before calling it quits.  But it was enough to greatly decrease the wheezing and gasping.

The doctor wanted to rule out pneumonia... and the only way to do this was with a chest x-ray.  He said, "I do not want to draw labs unless I absolutely have to... so hopefully the x-ray will tell us what we need to know."  The x-ray tech, a woman who attends our church, arrived.  Timmy was still in hysterics.  She said he would have to sit on the end of the table, but that I could hold the film between him and me and hold him.  We tried to accomplish this, but Timmy would not let me put the film between us.  The tech clearly got exasperated and irritated, and at one point, she quipped, "Where are the parents?"  "They're in Texas," I shot back, equally irritated - with her!  This was not the time to explain family dynamics and who we were and why we were there with this child!

The tech said, "I think you two are going to have to leave the room, and we'll call in nurses to hold him."  Now, this sent me spinning.  I asked if there was any other way... could we not just get some medicine and leave?  The nurses said there was no way the doctor would prescribe anything without at least a chest x-ray.  The nurse and respiratory therapist arrived and assured me they would hold him and not let anything happen to him.  Reluctantly we walked out, and I told Greg, "I'm giving her 2 minutes!"

Almost instantly, Greg saw the light come on signaling that one x-ray had been accomplished.  The screaming subsided... but only slightly.  I was in tears, and now Greg had TWO babies to console!  Poor man!  The door opened, and the tech asked me to come back in and help hold up Timothy's arms for a profile shot.  I tried... as he protested... and we got an x-ray of arms - I think mine, the respiratory tech's and the nurse's... perhaps the baby's!  They decided to roll with the one good x-ray, which the doctor gave me the "thumbs up" on and declared all clear - no pneumonia.

So the doctor determined this was probably allergies or viral... but he ordered a workup at Timothy's pediatric office to rule out asthma.  He wrote an optional prescription for a steroid syrup for the wheezing... and he recommended an OTC antihistamine to control the symptoms and the cough, plus children's acetaminophen for the fever.  Greg and I loaded our exhausted, sweaty little boy into the car and drove home.  We started him on children's Zyrtec, and he seemed to improve throughout the day... although he took another 3-hour nap.

Tuesday, Timothy was out of sorts from whatever ailed him, plus the medications.  He was a typical 2-year-old for much of the day and had a fairly short fuse. I did not send him to daycare, because he was irritable and may have still had a slight fever. He slept three hours again in the afternoon.  Today, his grandparents took him to the pediatrician, who says this is allergies, not asthma.  He gave them an inhaler and said to keep using the OTC antihistamine.

To say I am somewhat drained is an understatement.  I am trying to take these things all in stride, but it's been a crazy two weeks.  I have made two trips to the ER, been to two funerals for dear friends, and tried to console a 99-year-old and a 2-year-old... all while trying to continue to have some semblance of a life!  I know from previous experience that this is really small potatoes in the scheme of things... and no big deal compared to what others are dealing with!  But I, like many others, have been thrust into circumstances I never expected... this "sandwich" life... and momentarily, it can throw me for a loop!

In an attempt to cope, I am reading the book Boundaries... When to Say Yes... How to Say No by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  I have also downloaded a couple onto my Kindle... one recommended by a dear friend and young mother of 2... Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp... and another that looked good... Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman.  I have learned a lot from the Boundaries book already and even found a matching workbook at a yard sale last weekend, so I plan to really study it in-depth (did I mention I have issues with boundaries?!).  I will be sure to report and give a review of the other two when I finish.  I also did a Google search about 2-year-old tantrums and found some great links...
Finally, I have to say that I'm looking for ways to cherish every moment with both my grandmother - and Timothy.  Honestly, I don't know how long we will have Mam-ma with us... and Timothy's visit is supposed to be short-term.  So I want to treasure this time with both of them.

When I took Mam-ma to the ER, I had grabbed my Kindle as I went out the door.  I had downloaded a really great short story written by my friend, John Sykes, called Shirley Takes the Shot.  It's about a hog killing in the South.  I knew my grandmother would love it, so while we waited for labs to be processed, I read the story to her.  She laughed and chuckled... and she recalled a hog killing or two from her past.  It was a good time... one of those really neat, precious moments that we don't have often enough these days... and one that will be treasured for a long time.

When you can find a way to make lemons out of lemonade even while sitting in an ER exam room, things can't possibly be all that bad.  I hope you are finding treasured moments of your own these days.