I have been told…

I have been told that Pete is quite ill.  He has been in the hospital two weeks, and the congestion is still in his chest and bronchial passages.  We both have been fighting results of a cold or flu … but he has not been able to clear his chest on his own.   We have been told to put him in Hospice.

Put him in Hospice?   What does that mean?   Four very professional women visited our apartment Monday afternoon …(This is Wednesday.)  … A case manager, a nurse, a social worker, and a clergy member.   They see illnesses where I did not … I was told that they will take care of Pete from now on … meds,  he will stay in bed, food, watch his fingers and toes become blue from lack of oxygen … I cannot imagine someone telling me how to take care of Pete … telling me not to get him out of bed.  I do know they will probably be right … but he is my Pete!!!

This is difficult!!!

This is now Saturday afternoon … same week.  Yesterday morning … March 29th … between 5:20 AM and 7:45 AM … Pete passed away.  I had gone into his room around 5:20 and gave him kisses and hugs … and just sat beside his bed … my hand on his left side … just sitting there.   I then went back to my recliner and fell asleep.   Around 7:45, Village staff members came in … went to Pete’s bed.   After a short hesitation … one of them … and I don’t know whom …came to my chair and told me that she thought that “it looks as if Pete has passed.”

He had not moved from 5:20 … no evidence of enhanced motion or change … just silently passing away.  I do not know what to do … what to feel.  Hospice staff came in … Village staff came in … I sat by his bed … holding his hand and arm … I just sat there in my red flannel pajamas and bedroom slippers covered with travel logos … and trimmed with pink “fur.”   About 11:00 AM, Craig suggested that I might want to get dressed!!!!

What do you write in a BLOG … when your husband of 57 years, 7 months, and 16 days passes away?   We could check that arithmetic, but I don’t care if it is correct!!!  It is sufficient enough to think it out and write it into this BLOG.   The mortuary came mid-afternoon … and very nicely removed his  body.  His body was draped with a beautiful American flag … commemorating his years in the Navy —- 1951 — 1955 .  I think this might be too much detail for some readers … sorry.  That said … Craig and I did Mexican for dinner … with a good Margarita!!!

We knew Pete was quite sick … regardless … it was too soon.

 

A Big Hug!!!

My last entry in this BLOG was over a month ago … I knew that without even checking the date!!!  I also knew I wanted  to write something in this BLOG … but nothing came to my mind … but maybe, everything came to my mind.  It has been quite a month!!!

We have just, two hours ago, brought Pete home from the hospital!!!  He was admitted last Tuesday evening about 5:00, March 12th.   He was running  fever, and his chest and nasal passages were gurgling.  It took five hours of heavy antibodies to bring his fever down … 48 hours later … after “culturing his blood ” (don’t quote me medically!!!) the decision was “MERS” — combined with an outbreak of flu-like and cold-like episodes in this facility — and Pete’s extremely weak condition.   We were quarantined in our room as soon as I showed any cold-like symptoms.   Every caution was carried out — here and at the hospital.  I meant to take a picture of me in my blue plastic gown and gloves and in my white hospital mask every time I visited Pete.   The fever and MERS are gone … but he is still gurgling!   But We Are Home!!!   

The Title, A BIG HUG!!! is extremely up-to date!!    I mean NOW!!!   I rode home in the ambulance with Pete … Craig followed in his car … I received several hugs from Craig as we just watched the ambulance people take Pete from the ambulance and put him in his bed here.   I have to mention that it was a very professional job!!!   I did need hugs from the staff here!!!   I needed a hug from Ann … from “little” Mary … from Jack … from Barb and Denny … people from my past who could pull things together now.  I need this past month to be a part of my past … not a break in pattern.

Visited my sister, Carol, over this past month.   She and her husband are geographically closer to me during this time period than over the summer, so I spent time with them.  My brother and his wife, and our cousin, visited my sister part of the same time.   It was lovely.   Good conversation … good hugs!!!  My sister arranged four “cultural stand-outs” for our evening meals.  To be specific … sushi, cajon, Italian, and “sharables” with Asian, Italian, and “foodie chic” entrees.   Each meal with excellent choices of wine.   She did breakfasts, lunches, brunches at home for us!!!  Fabulous … my sister could write a menu planner based on her food choices for us … fabulous!!!

We are home.

Well…I spoke too soon.  At 4:00 PM today … Pete was again running a temp over 101 degrees.  The medical staff here, together with our P.A., felt strongly that he should return to the hospital.  Of course, I said “No.”  Then I realized that I wanted him here for me … not that it was the better situation for him.   By 6:00 P.M. he was back at the hospital… in the emergency room.   Craig had a meeting until 9:30 P.M. — and then he picked me up, and we visited Pete in an emergency room.   They are doing various tests on Pete … he seems relatively passive to the whole situation  As soon as they can, Pete will be transferred to an  intensive care room.  I am going to spend some time visiting him tomorrow … and we will work each day to include visits to Pete.   I think we did this last week!!!

Love y’all … sending “BIG HUGS” …

And, postponing the ending of this essay…

It was Monday of this week that Pete returned to the hospital.   It is now Wednesday evening of the same week.   Pete has been in intensive care this week ,,, I just returned from the hospital where they moved him to the general population,   He looks good … well, better … I think he was a little confused by the room change … but he has no fever, and he has been holding his oxygen level.   Those were our top concerns.

Tomorrow afternoon, Craig and I get me … I hope … a Colorado driving license … not to drive … but to get a handicapped sticker in Colorado!!!!  Yes and if all goes right, we visit Pete again.  (I have finished 1 1/2 books sitting with Pete !!!)

I will end this essay.  All of you readers do know that this BLOG keeps me closer to all of you.  Received the most beautiful note today from one of our granddaughters …  including a BIG HUG.  

To all of you …sending more BIG HUGS

Love y’all …

 

Aging Gracefully (Peg, 2019)

I am starting “the next essay.”   I do not have a “topic” … I do not have a “title” for this essay.   I have a series of non connected events… most of which have just popped in my mind these last few days.   For several days I was in a very down mood … I kept thinking of the lake and of Louisiana … and I just wanted the “all is OK feelings” that both gave me … especially being at the lake.  Being at the lake was eating out, no papers, just enjoying the beautiful view of the lake and our yard.    Of course, this is an idolized idea of the lake … and also of Louisiana.   I wanted to go out for Pizza in the middle of the Super Bowl; I wanted Pete to fix popcorn …  and  NONE of that happened … NONE … NONE.  I did not expect it to but I wanted it!!!

As usual, I came out of my “downard.”   I talked myself out of it!   First,  they are taking very good care of Pete.   This is evident in every shower … in every change of bed linens … in every dressing him in the morning … in their favorite shirt!!!   Second … there is no place to go … “there is no place to go.”   Boy … that surely hits you!   Third … someone is preparing every meal and cleaning up afterwards … maybe “corn beef hash”  would not be on my menu for breakfast … but I can have eggs and bacon and a “chocolate croissant.”   Way to go!!!

I really enjoy the bridge people.  One of our members will be 100 years old this March 26th.  100 years old!!!   And he is one of our best bridge players.  He was a pilot in WWII.   I keep trying to remember to take pictures of the bridge group people.   You

bridge1 166

bridge1 167would enjoy them!!!    (I took some pictures today … Feb. 5th)  I will do my best to get them into this BLOG … sometime!!  I have managed to get two of the pictures of bridge players inserted into this essay.  The person on the left is Willis; George is on the right.  If I could begin to manage where exactly is the space the inserts are using, I think I could prevent these large “white” gaps!!!!

Craig is a delight.  As I noted, he did retire January 3rd.   He is currently applying for a faculty position at Red Rocks Community College.   Last Friday, a week … when my hair appointment was cancelled … he and I did coffee and discussed mathematics.   It was a good 2 hours … and was great.  We settled on series and sequences as a topic a CC might be interested in.  He will have to do some 10 minute lecture on a topic they assign.  It may be without any time to prepare … we do not know.

And, what is Pete doing during this time … sleeping, usually … he can stay awake through mornings, but he is now going down for a nap about noon and sleeping until 4 or 5.   It is all the meds he is being given.  And, I am thinking of putting the morning full antivan back.   I am so thrilled with his clear eyes without the full antivan … but he is really anxious in the mornings.  We are having trouble getting some consistent physical therapy for him.  The quarantine really took away four of his scheduled lessons … and he needs everyone!!!

See … I told you … the ramblings of an old woman!!!    Can I use that as a title???   Better still … Peg, one of our bridge players, when asked, “How are you?” ,  answers, “I am aging gracefully.”

Love y’all.

Day After Day!

BORING … And it really is.  I knew I wanted to write an essay for my BLOG … but I did not know what I wanted to write.   I was certainly not pleased with the essay right before this one.  I did not like  the writing around the Christmas presents being enhanced.  That is surely going to teach me to do a “temp publish” to see how things look … and then do the final publish.  I still have a lot to learn about inserting a photo into my essay … I know that was where I then messed up the print around the pictures!!!

We are quarantined!!!   Seriously, since last Monday … January 7th … we have not been out of this apartment … neither Pete nor me!!!   Beginning last Sunday … January, 6th … several residents were exhibiting some flu symptoms.   So an order came down that everyone stays in his or her room … including care givers and any residents with or  without flu symptoms.  Pete and I … of course … did stay in our apartment;   you don’t fool around with a nasty flu that could affect … mostly …  elderly residents who might have trouble handling such an illness.   You could write the rest of the story … not everyone with flu symptoms stayed in their room … and so the flu has spread further.  We are now under a strict order … what was the first … a joke??? … anyway, no one can leave his or her room.   It is now Sunday, January 13th… quarantine continuing !!!    Food for each of Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner is brought to all apartments in paper containers.   I do not like eating on paper so I set the table with glass plates, etc.   It is nice, and I really do not mind doing the dishes … I certainly do not have too much to do.  Of course, three meals a day, at least 72 people, at least six days … wait let me grab my calculator! … that’s  1,296 paper containers.   Certainly each of us used more than one paper container per meal … so 1,296 is on the lesser side … but who ‘s counting???   We could probably fill a section of Coors Field with our waste paper!!!

BORING … I am sure this continuation of my BLOG will be BORING!!!  It is Friday, January 18th … and it is our first day out!!!   Our quarantine was lifted for this morning’s breakfast and from then on !!!   Eleven days for the confinement … What did I miss?  Our Louisiana home … and the people here.  I will miss the Louisiana home for a long time.  But, it is interesting that my friends here popped up as what I missed most.  We played bridge this morning …  Very nice … These are the people I have gotten to know here.  And, I missed them.  It is clear to me that several of them are very nicely filling out my life here.  I have talked to other residents about that … i.e., the ability and/or desire to make friends in this assisted living situation .  I would consider the ability to make friends necessary for assisted living to be a comfortable situation.  I am surely willing and capable of carrying on a conversation even if I do not know the person.  That has happened so many times while we are eating.   The usual “first” conversation begins with names and where the person or persons have been before coming here … either their home or another assisted living situation.  If they still own their home, they do miss it!!!  If they were at another assisted living situation, they could have come here for medical reasons.  Most assisted living situations offer some medical services, but the complex here can administer … among other medicines … the medicine needed if a person has diabetes … a common illness in our age group!   If the new residents came from another assisted living complex … but not for medical reasons, usually one of their children investigated available assisted living complexes around here … and thought that ours here was the best of those available.

Anyway, a conversation is started.  It can be continued by just saying “hello” when the person is seen again.  Several of us initiate a conversation about playing bridge … and invite the person to play with us if they do play!!!   There are several other activities available … if a person wants.   My point being that they should actively  “want to”.

Remember … I said that this would probably be“BORING ” … I am sure it was … unless you are close to coming to a place like this!!!  Remember, you could be coming to a place like this soon … even if you are not planning to!!!

Thanks for being with me!!!

Love y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you write in a BLOG the day after Christmas?

You write about Christmas Day … and several days following …

Today is the day after Christmas.  Let me try to describe these past 24 hours.  Christmas Day … and into today … have been good.  I felt very comfortable,

Christmas morning, we did breakfast as usual … I was so pleased by the number of people in the dining hall wishing us “Merry Christmas”  … and have a “Good Holiday.”  It was nice!   The time between breakfast and lunch went quite fast … Craig came over about 11:00.  It was so good to have him with us on Christmas!!! … It has been a long time.   There were three presents under our little tree … all from Craig!!!  I had the two presents … so I opened one first… a Degas Mug … I broke my first Degas Mug when I was

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Degas Mug
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Bracelet

getting use to wearing my leg brace!!!    I bought my first Degas Mug when Craig and I did the Degas Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.  Craig and I then wanted Pete to open his present, but he was not interested.  I opened my second one … an unbelievably beautiful bracelet … blue leather with three beautiful stones and brass separating the stones.   I, of course, put it on … the rest of the story: ... as I am getting ready for bed, I try to take the bracelet off … and can’t … I cannot work the clasp … text Craig … he stopped in this morning and showed me how to undo the clasp.   I am still not sure I can work the clasp.

Back to Christmas noon … Pete reaches for his present and begins to open it … I grab the camera .   He opens a beautiful yellow shirt with a SAINTS  logo on the front.  (See pictures:  top left, clockwise:  Pete and Craig; Pete; Barb and Denny Burd, Pete and Katie; Pete with yellow SAINTS shirt; Barb and Denny Burd, Pete, and Craig; Pete and Denny Burd.  I will explain the pictures later. )

We … Pete, Craig, and I ,,, then go to Christmas Dinner … wondering what we would have.   We had very good prime rib with horseradish sauce and au jus; we had baked squash, baked cinnamon apples, and chocolate pie for dessert.   Again. it was really nice.   Several of the residents were with family … i.e., out of the complex … so we had a small dining group.   Christmas afternoon, Pete and I both napped … Lori and Brenna called … then, another meal … the evening dinner … and Christmas is over.   I have a very good feeling about the Christmas Day I had experienced.   I do know … next year … I will have a “subtle” Christmas Sweater.

The day after Christmas ... I finished getting my Christmas cards out … AND, I had a wonderful phone conversation with a past student … David Cavill.   David was in one of my Business Calculus classes at Southeastern … some 5-6 years ago.   David called to tell me that he had nominated me as a Professor who made a great difference in his life… I was so pleased!!!  I will be more certain of the exact words next year if all comes to pass!!!  It is an interesting life at this time.

We are now January 6th, 2019.  Today is Lori’s birthday.   She is the age I keep feeling that I am!!!

Barb and Denny Burd came in to visit us, December 31th,  on their way back to Carbondale from their Christmas in Breckenridge.  Their 8 grandchildren and 4 of the parents of the grandchildren spent the time at Breckenridge with them!!!  The pictures above were taken December 31st, 2018, in our apartment.  I managed to insert those pictures in this BLOG … and did not want to delete them .  We had a very fine New Year’s Eve with Barb and Denny.   Good wine for me and good Scotch for Denny.    We all managed to stay up until midnight New York Time!!!

I will close this essay.  It has been a good holiday… Christmas and New Year’s.  It seems that several things have happened in a disconnected way.  I will know what to expect next year … maybe not Barb and Denny visiting twice.  Having them come has been so wonderful.  They do remind me of what might have been with Pete and me … but they also remind me of the many good times we have had.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!!

Love y’all.

 

 

What do you write in a BLOG the day before Christmas?

The day before Christmas in a totally new environment!!!   I am here with Pete in an Assisted Living Complex.  I am in a two-bedroom apartment with two poinsettias and some pretty Christmas balls placed around the apartment … and I cannot forget Pete’s Disney Tree!!!   He bought it the last Christmas before he fell … I told Craig about it … and when it showed up at the Louisiana house, Craig brought it to Denver.   I do think Pete might remember it … he will stop in his wheelchair and look at it for a longer time than “just passing.”

So far, there has been a very generous giving of cards by several of the residents.  It has been so lovely.  These cards are being given to us with lovely good wishes and smiles …    The complex here has had several Holiday/Christmas/Hanukkah related programs.  Beautiful professionals singing Christmas Carols after dinner the other night.   An “ugly Christmas sweater” contest … I don’t think I ever had an “Ugly Christmas sweater!!!” …  much less bringing it to Denver with me...

There is a Bronco football game on television tonight … Monday night football … Broncos and the Raiders.  I really find tomorrow a blank.  Craig has brought a couple presents and placed them under a small Christmas tree Stephanie gave us last Christmas.   I think, if the weather is nice, Craig will join us for Christmas dinner here.

Last year, I know we were in the Brookdale Assisted Living Complex already planning to move, on December 30 and 31st, to the complex we are in now.  The Christmas before that, I know we were in the Louisiana home … just the two of us … remembering the Christmases we spent at Lori and Tom’s and in our Wisconsin home.  Talked to Barb and Denny soon after that Christmas and began to make plans to spend the next Christmases in “neat” places … together.  We all agreed that Christmas alone was totally horrible!!!  We even began to think of Key West as a good destination over Christmas!!!

My thoughts have immediately gone to the Christmases when the grands were small.  Don’t know if that is really good … but it does illustrate that all we have are our memories!!!  As I am sitting here, my mind even went back to when our children were young.  I can remember some dinners out Christmas Eve … and I do remember going to the Children’s mass Christmas Eve so we did not have to get up for Mass Christmas morning!!!  Pete would always do the cooking for Christmas Day … turkey and everything!!!  How I wish!!!   

So this is what I write about on Christmas Eve.

Love y’all … and “Happy Holidays” … or “Merry Christmas.”

 

 

 

Our Holiday Letter.

IMG_0904This year I want to send a “Christmas” or “Holiday”  letter to friends.   Last year …  around this time … Pete and I were changing Assisted Living Communities.     And, I did not have the heart … nor enthusiasm … to write an “oh, it’s the holidays … and we are doing well”  letter!

Let’s see how this letter goes.

First comment: … why do I want to  write this letter?   There are many people on my Christmas card list who mean so much to us … to me.   I just do not want to lose them!!!  Students … and faculty … from at least three universities … colleagues and friends who have kept me going through this past year.  Friends who may not have our address here … or know of Pete’s stroke/fall.   So … let’s get back in touch with this “Holiday Letter.”IMG_0899

Second comment: … what format do I use???   My first thought for this year’s letter was the same as years in the past … write a letter and send it to everyone on our list.   Then … I thought of my BLOG … maybe it is not the tone of a holiday letter … but certainly it is a method to inform people of our lives this past year!!!  I thought of putting a note on facebook referring anyone who wanted to my BLOG.   I did not like that  way … too “BLOG – ISH!”   But, I could use my BLOG to update friends on whatever … and to personalize my “Holiday Letter.”  So, I found a lovely Poinsettia card that I can send to people  … and refer them to my BLOG and this essay/letter. …  I can handle that!!!

So — the Holiday Letter:  We are settled.  Pete is about the same … both physically and mentally handicapped.   We have great help here.   He is getting physical therapy twice a week.   I am OK.   I do have this “dumb” brace on for a few more weeks.  I have lovely bridge-playing friends here  … and lovely friends in general here.   I have realized this is my “neighborhood”  for several years.  Once I accepted that, things became easier IMG_0902mentally.   I have a 5th-grade pen pal … and I hope to do one-day-a-week volunteer work at a local school  — probably teaching “how to add fractions”!!   That’s OK … I certainly have the time.

Lori is in Northern California … teaching for the Hoffman Institute ,,, and doing quite a bit of traveling.  Craig is … of course …here in Denver.  He is retiring January 2, 2019 …  at age 52.   He will just take a few months to look at other positions … and volunteer work.  The grands are so loved.   Erin … as you have read … graduates Boise State this December 15.   Brenna is two years out of graduation … and has found that she loves teaching.  She did a year in Thailand teaching elementary students … and is now teaching music and dance to 1st and 2nd graders.  Mark transferred to St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, … and is majoring in computer science in some form.

Friends have kept us going.  Ann Kirkpatrick kept me going all those first months.  Barb and Denny Burd visited and will return both going to and coming from Breckenridge.     Lori is easily in touch … both text and plane.   My brother, Ben, and wife, Jude, visited and “enjoyed” our community food!   My cousin, Charlotte did a wonderful visit that took us wandering around Frisco, Colorado!   Loved it.   See Craig and Stephanie nicely often –IMG_0900— did Brunch and Christmas “looking” with them just last Sunday.  Again, I loved it.  Loved “little” Mary and her family ‘s visit … Pete’s brother’s great grandchildren.   Colorado sweatshirts for everyone for Christmas!!!!

I certainly hope and pray for a nicer New Year … for Pete and me  … and for all of you reading this BLOG.   Our postal address is … 7825 Alameda Avenue, Apt 223; Lakewood, Colorado, 80226.   My e-mail is the same … kpedersen@selu.edu.  Let’s keep in touch.

Our sincere good wishes and good thoughts,

Pete and Katie

Love y’all

P.S.  Will try to share some Christmas decorations.   Charlotte, (our cousin), sent me some of those lovely “things” that I did not even think of bringing to Denver.   Craig brought me two lovely poinsettias.  So beautiful, I had to have some friends in to celebrate the holidays.   I wanted a Bloody Mary, and I certainly did not want to drink alone!!!