Friday, October 10, 2008

Update on Sarah

First of all I want to thank each and every one of you who left comments and offered prayers for Sarah Kate and Bennie. It was so heartwarming to see the warmth and concern that exists here in this community. I can never ever tell you all how much it has meant to me. You guys are the greatest.

She had her blood work today and the hcg level was less than 2. So, of course we're resigned to the fact that there will be no baby this time. I remain convinced that they will eventually be successul and when that little miracle baby is finally in their (and mine!) arms God will get all the glory. And this Grandma will drive you all crazy with pictures galore!

Blessings to all of you....from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This is an entry I didn't want to do

I have avoided making this entry. Wasn't sure that I would. Still don't know if I should do it just now but something just doesn't feel right about not doing it now. Maybe some extra prayers and good energy sent her way will help out. Lord only knows I've been praying for them.

You all already know about Sarah and Bennie's struggle with infertility and her miscarriage in April. The thing is that when you're going through infertility treatment it's all about science. Well, that's not entirely true, I believe that God's hand is very much involved. Anyway, what I mean is that there are constant blood tests, ultrasounds to check on the size of eggs, embarrassing trips to little rooms for Bennie to do "his part", medications to take, sterile clinical settings to endure, and countless hours spent in the grip of worry and anxiety. What should be a wonderful time in a couple's life becomes a very stressful and expensive exercise in seeming futility.

The reason that their news was supposed to be secret for now is because they find out they're pregnant so very soon. They know because the infertility doctor's are so on top of what is going on almost every day after the insemination. It has only been two weeks since the insemination. She felt so bad last time that she had told people and then she felt bad that so many people had to feel so bad for them when she miscarried. She wanted to spare other people the sadness this time if it didn't work out. I haven't told any other family or friends (just you guys).

In April she told me everything that was going on daily and I anxiously awaited the pregnancy test with her. This time, because she wanted to spare me the anxiety of those days, I didn't know that they had made another attempt. She wasn't going to tell me until she was at least 8 weeks along. But bless her heart, she was so excited she couldn't keep the news to herself. And I'm glad that she didn't. When she told me Sunday that she was pregnant she told me that she was having more blood work drawn on Tuesday to check her hcg level. They wanted that number to be at least 100. It was only 7. Her doctor told her to come back on Thursday and they would redraw it. They are absolutely heartbroken. I, being the eternal optimist that I am, said that maybe the little swimmers had swam an extra day or two and maybe, just maybe her hcg level hadn't had time yet to climb. She wasn't buying it. She sounds resigned to the fact that she's lost another pregnancy. She has terrible endometriosis, cysts on her ovary and a scarred tube on the other side. It seems they are easily able to get her pregnant with the insemination but she can't seem to sustain the pregnancy.

Tomorrow, she will go for the blood work. I will look forward to and at the same time dread the phone call that I will receive at some point tomorrow. We need a miracle here.

I am not above asking for prayers and miracles.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tom Hanks was wrong

I'm going to re post something from my old AOL journal. This is a piece that is special to me and I want to make sure it's incorporated here in my new journal. This was written in 2002 but the emotion of the day is never far from my heart. It was one of those landmark days in our life. It will also give you a better introduction to my son, Patrick. I wish that everyone in the world could have a Patrick in their life. His heart is pure solid gold.
Well, the Chicago White Sox won the wold series! I love it when underdogs win things. Of course, if the Astro's had won it would have been cool too. I would be more excited if the Cubbies had been the Chicago team to win, but oh well. Anyway, with so much baseball news in my ears lately I've been reliving my baseball memories of my son, Patrick. He was an absolutely great player. People who watched him play for years still cannot believe that he wasn't drafted by the pros. The dream of his life was to play professional baseball. He would have done it for free even. But, it wasn't meant to be for whatever reason. I went back and dug up a piece that I wrote right after his last college game three years ago. By reading it below, I hope you get a feel for him and what a neat guy he is, but mostly I think that this puts into words how very much I love him.

Saturday I sat bundled in layers of clothes and blankets along the fence behind third base. It was biting cold and spitting sleet and rain. I wouldn't have left my place for the warmth of the car for a million dollars. It was, what turned out to be my beloved son's last baseball game. It was the championship game of the NCAA North Central Region Tournament- Division ll (Baseball), the winner would advance to the Division ll World Series in Alabama. Our boys had lost the first game on Thursday and had fought their way back up through the losers bracket on Friday to be here. We were #2 seed, Ashland University was #1. It was a double elimination tournament, we'd lost one already, they hadn't lost any. We would have to beat them twice that day. Without going into a boring play by play of the game, I will simply say our boys lost. They've come from behind many times to win a crucial game, I wasn't really worried. Somewhere in the eighth inning it began to dawn on me that we probably weren't going to win this time. With that realization came the gut-wrenching epiphany that I was watching my son's last game. I couldn't even breathe for a second. I watched him play third base trying to burn that picture into my mind. I wanted to catch every detail, every movement, every mannerism that makes him unique. I was trance-like, blinking away tears and praying, yes praying that he could have just one more game.This might seem silly to a lot of people. Some might argue that it's just a stupid game. They don't know my son. They don't know that his first word ever was "ball". They don't know that this child of my heart has lived, breathed, slept, and eaten baseball since he was old enough to know what a baseball was. The don't know the sacrifices he's made to play America's game. They don't know that baseball has been his life, his dream, his love. But I knew. I knew how badly he wanted to win that game. I knew how much he dreaded the last out to come in the ninth inning. I knew, and my heart was breaking for him. It wasn't to be. We lost 6-2. After the game coach took the team a little behind third base for their usual post-game huddle. We, the parents of the eight seniors on the team stood huddled, watching, tears streaming down all our faces, unified in our unspoken understanding of what this meant to these boys; to ourselves. This was it. The end of a 16 year era in our lives. The end of little boys' dreams. Coach talked to them for about 5 minutes. As he and the coaching staff turned to walk back to the dug-out they were wiping tears. The underclassmen followed close behind, dry eyed. The image of what was left of that huddle behind third base will never leave me. Eight tough-guy athletes, arms around each other, crying. Not because they'd lost a game, but because it was their last.It seemed an eternity that they huddled there, holding on to one another, as we their parents stood helplessly watching their hearts break. Finally, they headed back to the dug-out, wiping their eyes, gathering their gear, hugging coaches. One by one the seniors headed out to where we were. I thought my heart would break as I watched sons and Dads and Moms grabbing each other and just holding on wordlessly because words weren't necessary. My Patrick was the last one out. His Dad walked up to meet him halfway, they grabbed each other, they cried, I knew my heart was breaking. I couldn't move, I could only stand there, tears silently streaming down my face, watching my son walk away for the last time from his favorite place on earth, a baseball field. He walked towards me, arms reaching and tears streaming. I couldn't find the words I wanted to say. Couldn't come up with a Mom ism to give him comfort. I could only squeeze him and say "I love you". I wanted to tell him how proud I was of him, what a good and loving kid he was, how much fun we'd had over the years through all of our baseball travels, what good memories he'd given us, what a good sport he'd always been, and how very lucky I was to be his Mom, but I couldn't talk. He held on to me for a long time, squeezing hard and just before he let go he said, "Thanks Mom, for everything". Tom Hanks was wrong. There is crying in baseball.

Thanks for keeping my secret!

What a great bunch you guys are! I loved your comments about that which must not be said. I promise that as soon as I'm allowed I will tell more. Not that I've TOLD anything yet at ALL! I don't think my feet have touched the ground all day just thinking about my little secret that I'm not allowed to tell yet.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm not telling any secrets.....

I can keep a secret. I want you all to know that. Let me repeat that, this girl can keep a secret! I'm not telling what I know! No way, you're not getting it out of me!

We ususally go to my daughter Sarah Kate's to watch the Bengal's games. We are big Bengal fans but my daughter and son in law, Bennie, are over the top Bengal fans. So their house is Bengal Central on game days. I took a roast and some green beans over and she had some things to add to a meal so we made it a dinner-game-party. My son Patrick and his soon to be bride, Amber were there as well. We watched the game and cheered, and groaned, and hoped, and got our hopes up, and had our hopes dashed and well, that's just how it is when you're a Bengals fan, what can I say? We had fun though.

Back in April, Sarah had a miscarriage. They have infertility problems and had finally managed to get pregnant with artificial insemination . We were absolutely thrilled and looking forward to a baby this winter. To say that the miscarriage was a very sad thing for them would be an understatement. Our hearts broke for them. Just in the recent past three of her cousins have had babies and two of them just announced that they were pregnant again. Sarah is also a nurse and works in a pediatric practice so she is around babies all day long. Her co-workers have had a bumper crop of babies lately too. But what a trooper she is. She is happy for everyone, truly. I'm sure that she has shed many tears when no one could see, but to the world she shows a smile and sincere joy for those with babies. My Sarah Kate is so precious.

Sarah called me this morning but I'm not allowed to tell anyone what she told me. Remember, I said this girl could keep a secret. Well, I am NOT telling you what she told me. Nope, not me. Forget it, it won't work, I'm not sayin'.

You know, watching football and cheering for a losing team is very thirsty work. One tends to drink a lot of Diet Coke while cheering and hoping. One sometimes drinks so much Diet Coke that they find that they have to use the bathroom. Did you know that? Well, it's true. Sarah has a really pretty bathroom. I like to look around at the things she has on display in there when I have occasion to go in there. And wouldn't you I saw something new that wasn't there the last time I visited her bathroom. I was just wondering what this strange thing could be and I had this amazing thought! I thought, "I know, I'll ask my friends on the Internet if THEY know what this strange new piece of decor could be. Soooo....I'm asking!

Remember.....I DIDN'T say a word!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


While backing up some of my FTP files on AOL I came across some pictures that I had posted in my old journal. Seeing some of them reminded me that while those that followed my AOL journal knew me and my family, many of my new friends here don't. So, if you're interested I'll post some of those pictures and some others here to introduce you to my family. The picture above is one of my absolute favorites. It was taken about 6 years ago at my niece's wedding.

First a little background: We live in Northern Kentucky, about 10 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. I just turned 50 years old this summer (gosh that hurts to admit!) and in June my husband Jimmy and I had our 30th wedding anniversary. We had three children in pretty quick succession starting in 1980 and finished up in 1983. Well, actually that's not accurate! We THOUGHT we finished up in 1983. We learned that the old adage "We plan - God laughs" is verrry true! In 1998 at the ripe old age of 40 with our son Patrick in his senior year of high school, our daughter Emily a sophomore and our "baby" Sarah Kate a freshman, the rabbit died!! My whole identity to this point in my life had been being a mother. I know without a doubt that is what I was put on this earth to be and do. My children were absolutely my life and heart. But friends at this point in my life I was absolutely and completely worn out! So, when I did my little thing on that stick and it turned pink in 2 seconds instead of the 3 minutes it was supposed to take I absolutely fell apart. I literally saw my life pass before my very eyes! I did what any self respecting 40 year old mother of three teenagers would do at such a time. I bawled my eyes out! My husband and children were downstairs patiently awaiting the results of one of the biggest tests of my life. When I came downstairs crying they knew what the results were and they were thrilled beyond belief. I thought and said, "You're all crazy, I can't do this"! By saying that I don't mean to imply that I ever considered an abortion. I didn't. I just could not imagine how in the world I could manage a baby at this stage of my life. I had been imagining the park bench that I was going to be parking my behind on in a few years when I finally had these three kids raised and it was soooo within view. It instantly moved on down the road about 1,000 miles and I was none to happy about that! I cried for 4 months.

Finally, one day I realized that I would have a little believer again at Christmas. Then I began to remember how many times I'd wished that I could take each of my children back to their baby stage and savor every minute of that time instead of letting it go by in a blur (moral here is: be careful what you wish for!). Anyway, long story short, in October of 1998, with Patrick away at college in Florida and Emily and Sarah well into their sophomore and junior years of high school, the absolute gift of all our lives, Austin Barret was born. And to say the least, none of our lives have ever been the same since. That little guy is getting ready to celebrate his 10th birthday and the "first litter" as I call them are all grown up. You will be hearing about all of them as I keep up this journal because they all remain "my heart".

Patrick and Austin with our Golden Retriever Tucker

Patrick and Austin on Bengal game day (Big Bengal fans here...pray for us!)

All my kiddo's taken this summer when Emily was home from Florida.

Emily and Austin playing around this summer.

My husband, Jimmy walking Sarah Kate down the aisle in June 2005
Sarah Kate with Austin.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sometimes you just can't win!

Just in case the AOL journal transfer doesn't go so well, I'm going to find some of the posts from my old journal and move them over here so I don't lose them. Here is one of them:

We have a varied mix of patients at the hospital at any given time. For the most part they are very friendly and appreciative of what we do for them. Occasionally we run into someone who is just so soured on life in general that they set out to make everyone as miserable as they are. I like it when I have those grumpy patients. Yes, that's right, I said I liked having them. I look at them as a challenge and love to win them over to my side. Everyone I work with knows that I enjoy that particular patient and they usually try to give me a shot at them.
A couple of weeks ago I was getting report and the day shift nurse laughed as she told me that she had the perfect patient for me. She went on to tell me that he was a very grumpy man and that nothing anyone did could make him happy. He was admitted for CHF a couple of days before and was doing very well clinically. His labs were great, his lungs were much improved and he would probably go home the following day. The problem with him was his nasty attitude and hiccups. Yes, that's right, hiccups! Apparently he is plagued with them. He told her that he had had them for 3 weeks and that when he has them at home he takes a certain medicine for them. She had put a call out to his doctor and asked for an order for the medication to give him. After a couple of hours (which is about normal call back time for his doctor) the doctor called back and gave an order for the medication in IV form. She wrote the order and sent it to pharmacy. It took the pharmacy about an hour to get the medication up to our floor. When it arrived she brought in the IV pump, tubing, and medication and was going to administer it to him. He threw a fit! "I don't want it now, you can just use it yourself! I asked for that medication over three hours ago! You people are terrible! Just take it away, I don't want it!" She tried to explain to him that it takes a while to get the order and then get the medication from pharmacy. She told him how sorry she was that it had taken so long but that it had been out of her control. He would have none of it. He continued to berate her and went on to obstinate and almost verbally abusive to her.She left the pump with the medication in his room even though he'd asked her to remove it from his room. So now, I was the lucky one to get to reenter his room and try to calm him down.
Before I even entered his room I said a prayer that God would give me the right words and the right attitude to make him happy. I made sure that I had a big smile on my face and went in there very calm and serene. He was lying on his bed with his eyes closed but I didn't think that he was asleep. I very gently touched his arm and said his name. He opened his eyes and looked at me like I had three heads. I introduced myself and told him I would be his nurse until 11:00 pm. I noticed that he still had his hiccups and after taking his blood pressure and doing his physical assessment, commented on how miserable it must be to have hiccups for so long. I asked him if I could hook up the IV so that we could get the medicine into him. The order had been for the first bag of meds to be given over an hour and if he still had the hiccups one hour after that infusion to give him one more bag of meds. He became very angry as he told me about how he'd asked for the medication long ago and that it had taken too long to get it and that the nurse from day shift had not taken good care of him. He ranted and he raved and I was determined not to let him get to me. He said that they might as well not put call buttons on the beds because no one comes when you push it anyway. He was just livid and nothing I was saying was getting through to him. I had to fight every impulse not to snap back at him. I've had many unpleasant patients, this guy took the cake! He was one of those people that just loves to be miserable. I think he wanted to see me upset so that he could justify his position. I would not give him the satisfaction. The meaner he got, the nicer I got. I am a toucher by nature and I gently touched his arm as I talked to him. I told him that I was sorry that he'd had such a bad day and that I was sorry that it had taken so long to get his medicine. I told him that day shift was over and that we were going to start over brand new with my shift. I promised him that I was going to the nurses' station and telling them that I wanted to be notified immediately if his call light came on. I finally convinced him to let me start the infusion and asked him if there was anything that I could bring him right then, a drink, a snack, anything. He asked for a Sprite and I RAN to get it for him. I went to the nurses' station and told them to call me, not the nurses' aide if his call light came on.
After the infusion was complete he still had the hiccups. I told him that in an hour we could run the other infusion. He would have none of it. "Just forget it, I don't want it!" Nothing I said could convince him to give it a try. He would rather have something to complain about was what I deduced from it. But still, I smiled and was nice to him. I didn't wait for his light to go on, I kept checking in with him to see if he needed anything. Around 9:00 he said to me, "I guess Kim isn't coming tonight." I asked him if Kim was his wife and he said, "No, she's my girlfriend". I wondered who in their right mind would be his girlfriend!!! I said that I was sorry that she hadn't come to visit but maybe something had come up and she wasn't able to get there. He went on and on about how selfish she was and how he didn't care anyway.
About a half hour later my phone rang (we carry hospital cell phones), it was the nurses' station calling me to tell me that his family member was on the phone and wanted to talk to me. I took the call and it was "Kim". She was upset and said that he had told her that he had been asking for hiccup medicine all day and no one would give it to him. He also told her that he hadn't had anything at all to eat which I knew wasn't true because I had made it a point to take him his tray myself and I also picked it up when he was finished and he had eaten everything on his plate. Not to mention the times I'd been in there to offer him drinks and snacks. I explained to her about the IV medication and his refusal to let us give it, I told her about his supper tray and the snacks. She then sighed and said how she knew how hard he was to get along with. She said that what he was really mad about was that she hadn't come to visit him but that she had two jobs and just couldn't make it that night. I felt sorry for her all the while I wondered why she would stick around for the abuse he gave her.
Somehow we made it through the shift and I didn't once let him get my goat. I smiled every time I talked to him. and I was nothing but nice to him. The next evening when I came in I noticed that I didn't have him again. A good friend of mine, Melody had him and I explained to her how best to get along with him. She nodded knowingly and set about to see him. He was being discharged and she took his paperwork in for him to sign. A few hours later Melody came to me laughing. She said that she had discharged him and that he wasn't any happier than he'd been the previous day for me. But then she said this; "Melissa, do you know what he said about you? He told me that the nurse he had the evening before had to be "smoking grass" because NO ONE IS THAT NICE!!!!"
Go figure! Sometimes you just can't win. The old iceberg!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Weight Watchers and Jury Duty

My life is nothing if not interesting!

I started Weight Watchers on Monday and have thought of nothing BUT food ever since. I'm learning the point values of every food imaginable and realize that I' ve been an absolute pig in the past compared to what I'm eating this week. I have points floating around in my mind every minute of the day! I get 21 points a day and let me tell you they get gobbled up really quickly. I can have all the cucumber, radishes, raw cauliflower, raw broccoli, and black coffee, water, and Diet Coke that I want. I'm now trying to figure out how to plant a vegetable garden in my bathtub to get me through the winter! The jury is still out as to how long I'm going to stick to this "points" business, it's exhausting. When I dieted before (about 11 yrs ago!) I simply did the low fat thing and kept my fat grams under 20 a day and lost weight very quickly. I also didn't seem to be as hungry as I am this time. I may end up going back to that method. I am thinking that I will give this system 2 or 3 weeks before I make up my mind. If I start chewing on my arm it may be sooner.

Speaking of juries; I have been in a Federal Court jury pool since May. I will be in this jury pool until next May or until I serve at least 20 days on a jury, which ever comes first. I take this responsibility very seriously and see it as my civic duty. I served on one jury in June for 4 days and we did reach a verdict. I enjoyed that trial and felt very good about the verdict we came to (we acquitted). The deal is that you receive a letter in the mail that instructs you to call a recorded message on a given day to see if you're to report for service the following day. I've received 3 such letters since that first trial and I have called just like I was supposed to on the day that I was instructed. All three of those times the case in question had been cancelled or postponed and was told not to report the next day. I have been very conscientious about doing this. Last night I even had the thought run through my head that it should be about time to receive another letter to report soon. This afternoon there was a knock on my front door. It was my mail carrier with a certified letter for me. I signed for the thing wondering what in the world it could be. Wellllll, it was from the Clerk for the United States District Court! I tore into it wondering why in the world they would send this one by certified mail. I got a very sick feeling when I read the following:

On September 29, 2008, the above petit jurors failed to appear for jury service as instructed by the court. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED (their caps, not mine!), that petit jurors whose juror numbers are listed above shall, within seven (7) days of the date of this Order, show cause in writing, as to why they should be not held in contempt for their failure to appear for jury service as directed by the Court. It is further ORDERED that the Clerk shall serve this Order by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the above Covington Petit Jurors at their respective addresses on file with the United States District Court Clerk's Office.

Well, I was a nervous wreck after reading this and wondered when the Marshalls were going to be showing up at my door to tear me from my home! I quickly found the correct phone number and called the Federal Court House. I finally got the right person on the phone and pled my case that I hadn't received a letter to report on September 29th and that if I had I would certainly have been there. Apparently I hadn't listened to the entire message when I called for instructions after I received my last letter at the beginning of August. The court clerk said that after we were told not to report the next day that there was a message that said we should call the recorded message again on September 28th for further instructions. I'm not saying that it didn't say that; I just don't remember that at all. I know that I listened to the entire message because I'm very aware that an order to report is a very serious thing. So, if it did tell me to call back on September 28 it simply got lost in the gray matter. Anyway, I don't think I'll be going to jail. The clerk told me to write a letter explaining why I didn't report and fax it to her office and she would make sure that the FEDERAL JUDGE got it. So now, I have to explain to the judge just why I'm so forgetful! This should be fun. I'll probably cry before I get it finished! She also informed me that I am to report for jury duty on October 8th unless I hear otherwise! Well, let me tell you that date is written down and I WILL NOT FORGET