Monday, September 30, 2013

Finding the Good

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents have not been able to live an easy life lately.  My mom described it like they're in the ocean, about to get their bearings and staying afloat and all of a sudden another wave comes and knocks them down again.  When we talk on the phone after another wave hits them, I always encourage them to look at the little victories in the everyday.  Is Dad getting around a little faster than he was?  Is he able to make dinner tonight?  Did you have the time to see the grandson in town in between doctors' office visits, home health visits, and dialysis?  Little things in the everyday that seem so minor, but if you look back you realize how far you've come.

Well, today, for me, was that kind of day that had me doing the same thing.  It was a day that seemed like no good was present.  Everything was negative.  I made my first MAJOR mistake at work.  Then I got home and only got two hours of sleep after 3 shifts in a row.  Because of this, I looked like I stood up my pastor at a scheduled meeting, even though I'd emailed him and said I couldn't meet (I guess he didn't get the email).  The night ended with Little S throwing the biggest tantrum at bedtime that I've ever experienced.

A Redd's Apple Ale, a few snapchats, some Candy Crush, and a bunch of laundry folding later, I am ready to end this night, but I know that I need to practice what I preach so that I don't think of only negatives to this day.  I know there are positives.  I have a friend who "counts her blessings" on facebook.  She's on #336.  That's neat.  I'd forget the number I was on.

The good in today's little moments:
1) I ran for 20 minutes straight, equaling 2 miles.  WHAT?!?!?!  I am not a runner so this is huge!  The couch to 5K training program is AWESOME!  I can't wait to see how much better of a runner I get and possibly speeding up my pace (but I won't push that one).

2) Clean sheets.  Since I'm trying to clean up our room and actually do laundry, it was time to wash the sheets on the bed.  I love going to bed in clean sheets.

3) Watson, the dog.  You won't see me count him as a blessing much, but today he was.  I took him on my run and he was actually a great running companion.  Usually, when it's me, Big S, Little S in the stroller, and him, he's a totally annoyance, but today he was wonderful.

4)  My new St. Louis Cardinals Jacket.  Oh yeah, had to buy one for the playoffs.  12 in '13!!!

5) Chaco, the other dog.  Just because she's so cute and she was my first baby.

6) Precious time with the little.  Even though our time ended with me holding my head in my hands trying to be more stubborn than our stubborn little boy, our time together before that was awesome.  He's so sweet and smart and I just love him so much.

7) Our housemate.  Yes, we have a friend living in our basement.  I love her and she brings me joy.  I am so thankful for her and that she can help take care of Little S.  She is a blessing.

8) Josh Groban.  I know. Weird.  I've been listening to him since the tantrum started.  He just makes me relaxed.  When I studied abroad, I would listen to him to calm down from my (self-imposed) drama.  (Another story, another time).  We have tickets to his concert in October and I am SO EXCITED!!! It is seriously (and sadly, probably) a dream come true.  My husband gave me an awesome Mother's Day gift.

Okay, I'm feeling better about the day so I am good to end it and go to bed.  Thanks for listening.  Remember, there is always good, even when it seems hopeless.  God is good and gracious and faithful.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Going home

For the past few days, Little S and I have been across the state visiting my parents.  While the trip was planned in advance, the unforeseen circumstance of my dad being admitted to the hospital for a week occurred which put a wrench in our plans.  However, Little S was amazing when he visited Pops in the hospital, and my mom was able to have some much needed respite from her caregiver responsibilities while she spent time with the munchkin at their house.

My dad has not been dealt the best cards when it comes to health.  He has a genetic kidney disease.  He has been on dialysis since I was in high school.  He had received kidney transplant but later rejected it, causing him to go back on dialysis.  He was diagnosed with tongue cancer and underwent a resection and graft of his tongue.  He had his aortic valve replaced in his heart along with bypass surgery.  He has had numerous other surgeries and hospital admissions.  This year alone, he's been admitted to the hospital eight times.  EIGHT!!  He fights every day to continue to live life as full as he can.  He loves my mom so much and makes sure she takes care of herself, even while she's trying her best to take care of him.  His nephrologist (kidney doctor) told him the other day that with his condition, the only way he's still living is because of his fighting and good attitude.

I can't imagine enduring all that he has gone through.  I would have given up, thrown in the towel, just quit.  It's been so frustrating to him lately because his hospital admissions and health setbacks have been almost minor, but have affected his daily life so much.  Through it all, he keeps working hard, trying to get better - for his wife, his kids, his grandkids, and for himself.

I treasured the time spent with him talking about the Cardinals, what football team to pick for my fantasy football league (another story, another time), the grandkids, how I'm not washing my hair, Big S's career, my career, nurses, doctors, my little family's vacation coming up, the holidays, and so much more.  I walked laps with him around his floor, proud to be his daughter, because he was the only patient (that I had seen) who was up and walking like instructed.

While I love where I live, I hate that I am not able to be more present through this fight for life that my dad lives.  I hate that I cannot be more of a resource and comfort to my mom when she needs a break from her caregiver role.  I am so thankful that my brother is there with them.  I am thankful for their church family who provide so much support for them in their presence and their prayers.

The day before we drove over, Big S, Little S, our friend Matt, and I, participated in the PKD Foundation's Walk for PKD which raises money for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) research to find a cure.  We didn't raise any money this year, but maybe next year, we can help the foundation get one step closer to finding a cure so that others don't have to go through what my dad has endured.

If you want more information on PKD or how you can help visit,