Dont worry Daddy, I'll be fine

I keep repeating the words, over and over again, "Don't worry Daddy, I'll be fine", to myself and to my dad, at some point it will be true.

It was Friday night 5 days ago, that my dad came to the decision that he would not suffer with chemo, he wanted palliative care and hospice set up, and pain management, so he could go pain free and peacefully. Saturday morning I went over and spent time with him, he was calm, clear and level headed. He would look over and say, "Don't worry younin', I'll be fine" I left him Saturday peacefully sleeping in his recliner. Sunday I went over and he had aged another 100 years, over night, he wasn't the peaceful man I left less than 24 hours prior, he was in a lot of pain, and just wanted us to go, so he could rest, I wasn't sure he'd make it through the night. By Monday I had arranged for Hospice to come and meet me at the house on Tuesday at 9AM. I had answered all the necessary questions, taken all the info down that she gave me, in my handy little binder that now contained every aspect of my daddy's medical history over the past 5 weeks, as I am the adult in charge. 37 minutes passed when I got the call that my daddy was back on his way to the hospital in an ambulance, off I rushed out the door to meet him there.

Mama Pepper, my rock , rode over with me,  I am fortune that they didn't have a nasty divorce, people may not understand the dynamics that the 3 of us have together, if they did, more divorced couples, would choose to be this way, especially when children are involved. Even now as the adult in charge, I need them both, in a way most don't understand.

When we arrived to the ER, it was then at that very moment that I became the real adult in charge, I couldn't wait for the real one to show up, they were late and I was it. I spoke to the first ER doc, who wanted to know his medical history, he asked hard questions, and told the truth that he only had a few hours or maybe a day or two to live. He helped me fill out a DNR, which I had to do 3 times, since I couldn't seem to get the names in the right location, because my eyes were leaky and I couldn't read the damn thing to fill it out. Finally he filled it out, held his finger where to sign and he signed below my name to make it official. When I heard my daddy screaming in pain, as several nurses gathered around trying to get a line in, to give medication, as he now has pneumonia, I went in and screamed for everyone to stop, and not touch my dad. Everything halted, and all stood there staring at me the little loud redhead, the adult in charge, standing there in the ER with all eyes on me. All 3 nurses fled the room while I ran to the glass window, tapping rapidly on it to get the other ER docs attention, I wanted him, the truth teller to come help me. He said another doctor was assigned to the case, that doctor, spoke to me like my daddy would be leaving the hospital to return home...... so clearly he was freaken crazy, no I needed the truth teller, and not the other guy he's an idiot. I refused and said that doesn't work for me, I need you to tell to these people to get him sedated and out of pain, before they do anything else. The idiot doctor resigned himself from being my dads doctor, as he doesn't do "comfort care", he's there to "cure people" ~~~~News flash ass-hat he's terminal, the cancer is eating him from the inside out, there is no curing him. He transferred his chart to another on the hospice wing. And for the record, not a fan of the next new guy, who also made mention that we could send my dad home when he felt better, clearly they are not looking at the same man I am laying in that bed, so I am only dealing with the hospice nurse, to handle his care, they understand. 

I had the hospice care transferred to the palliative care hospice wing at the hospital. Getting him settled as much as we could and letting him know, its okay you won't have to move from here, he seemed to relax some, they installed a morphine pump, and gave some other heavy duty drugs and he drifted off to sleep. By Tuesday everyone in the wing knew who I was, the little red head, the adult in charge, who has frequent melt downs, the moment I heard a moan come from my Dad, and that no crying rule that Mama Pepper has, has been suspended. I have the bed next to his so that I can sleep, I can cry, I can just lay there and watch him breathe, in and out, stop....I think finally he's at peace .......and then he starts all over again.

Tuesday was spent playing some of his favorite songs, and some of mine, that we'd sing together "Devil went down to Georgia" and "Another One Bites The Dust" we laughed hysterically at my suggestions, but we played them anyways, why wouldn't we, hell we even played them at my wedding! Mama Pepper and I cried,  she sat there telling stories, all while he rested peacefully and we prayed with the chaplain (amazingly none of us ...well me or my dad caught on fire.....we all know Mama Pepper has her golden ticket). They would come in and reassure us that it will be soon.I had fallen sound asleep on Tuesday, he hadn't made a sound in hours, I drifted off, for the first time in days about 5PM, when I heard a scream I will never forget, I open my eyes, jump out of the bed, and lunged at the aid, who was checking on my dad. She had bumped him, which woke/ startled him, the morphine pump had run dry, the alarm sounded and I was screaming at her to not touch him, all the nurses charged in the room, trying to handle the chaos. The screams and the face my daddy made as I tried to comfort him, while they sedated him quickly, will haunt me for the rest of my life. This lasted maybe a minute or less, but felt like a lifetime. He is now sedated and will not wake, even if they did bump him, which I can assure you, they won't. I made my daddy a promise, he would go in peace, he would be pain free, and the whole wing (and possibly the whole ER) knows that the little red head, the adult in charge, the one with frequent melt downs is not kidding when she tells them that he will not be in pain and he will go peacefully.

After 15 hours I had to come home, I thought maybe he was holding on for me, since I was there, maybe he will pass when we leave, after all he didn't want to be rude and leave the party early right?  I repeated to him all day and night "Don't worry Daddy, I'll be fine", after all I am the adult in charge, I even chuckled at the thought that I am the adult in charge, who's idea was that again? We prayed he would go, I need them to call me and say he passed in his sleep, Mama Pepper drove me home, because apparently contacts and leaky eyes, don't mix, so I couldn't see by the end of the day. I waited for that call all night long, then this morning at 4AM, I called and he is still resting peacefully......I think my heart stopped, how can he still be holding on? Is he waiting for me to come back? Mama Pepper and I waited for the break in the storm and headed back to the hospital at 6AM.

 In typical my daddy, stubborn as a bull fashion, he's doing what he wants, he will leave when he is ready, and not any sooner. You can tell him that lunch is at 12PM he will arrive at 9:30AM, every single time. Obviously he plans on riding out this storm, he loved a good hurricane or any storm for that matter, he'd sit in the lawn chair outside with his Michelob he'd call me and say "Youngin' you should see this wind whipping around" and then tell me all the things flying around, as I would gasp and tell him to get back inside before he blows away and as always he ended the call with "Don't worry youngin' I'll be fine".

Its now Wednesday evening,I am home for now, he is still resting peacefully, riding this one last storm out. I hope when this storm passes so does he, before I left today I repeated over and over "Don't worry Daddy, I'll be fine, we will be fine, I got this, you need to get on your way, you have a party to attend" And I reminded him that he was worried about me, he could always send the winning lotto tickets, think of all the glitter and vinyl and crafting I could do with that. I wish someone would tell me what time this party was going to start, so I can get him on his way, I know he wouldn't want to be late! Its true, I will be fine, I have a huge, amazing support system, and between Mama Pepper and Daddy they taught me to be strong, to be brave, to keep my sense of humor, because if you can cry about it, you can also laugh about it and that will get me through these next few hurdles, I have to go. I might trip, I might stumble, but I will always get back up, it just might take a minute or so.

At the moment, my heart hurts, with every minute that passes, every second I know he is with us, my heart is heavy and I think it might break in a million pieces, it takes my breathe away, but I will be fine. I will be at peace when he goes, I will heal when he goes............."Don't worry Daddy, I will be fine".

"Don't worry youngin', I'll be fine"

Exactly one month ago today, I received a call that my dad was in the hospital. Mama Pepper and my dad have been divorced as long as I can remember (and if I had any clue how old I am, then it would be close to that age I think), I am so unbelievably lucky that they always remembered they still had "something" or "someone"  in common ......little ol' me..... the little princess, the one and only, the apple of their eye, and if they had an ugly divorce, I was not aware, I was not touched by any ugly rumors, or hatred that is so common in those situations. Mama Pepper hopped in the car and off we went to the hospital, over in Lakeland to go check on my dad. 

Once we arrived, I whipped the door to the hospital room open, and it literally knocked the wind out of my sail, I closed it again, looked at Mama Pepper and said "This cant be right, that's not him". There was my dad, sleeping, looking like a frail old man. In the 3 months since my last visit, he aged 100 years. When we opened the door back up, and I took my hand and touched his bony shoulder to wake him, his eyes popped open, he looked confused and then sat up in the bed and said "I have cancer". I just looked at him for a moment and then he continued, "its in my spine, its in my lungs, its in my kidneys, and in my bones". I went to speak and when no words came out, my daddy, the frail old man looking back at me, said "Its okay youngin', I'll beat this. I don't want you to worry".  

These last 4 weeks, have been a series of test, biopsies, a collapsed lung and 8 rounds radiation to his spine, which is crumbling from the bone cancer. After 3 1/2 weeks in the hospital, they sent my dad home. He was happy to be home but the pain is constant, there is no relief, and yet he still says to me "I don't want you to worry". I am now the adult in charge, I keep looking around, waiting for the real adult to show up and take over, but they haven't, so I guess I can fake it til I make it. 

After collecting his medical records, I poured over there searching for my questions to be answered, questions I asked my daddy and he would say " I don't know, they haven't told me, don't worry youngin' I'll be fine".  I found a few words I understand, like stage 4, googled the rest - which I do not recommend googling big medical words, they just seem scarier. I called in a favor at work, gave the medical records to one of the top surgeons, I need the "Dummies Version" of these!  I just need to know what are we facing, I need to know how bad is this, and what do I do. He was so kind, and sat and read all the reports, asked me questions and in the end told me that I should take measures to make my dad comfortable, his cancer has spread so rapidly, that there is no cure, chemo will not help, it will only prolong the pain, he has maybe a few months at best. I think my heart stopped, I was very brave as Mama Pepper has that no crying rule, which I normally suck at, but I put my brave face on and thanked him for reviewing everything. I did sob like a baby when he left, but I already knew it wasn't good, but my daddy keeps saying "Don't worry youngin', I'll be fine". 

I went to my dad's 1st follow up appointment this week since he was released from the hospital, I had the medical binder I put together, it contains all my dad's info, all my notes, all my legal paperwork as I am officially the adult in charge, I did look around, to see if the real adult would show up, but they did not. The doctor wants to start chemo next week, I gasped when he suggested that and questioned him on everything, asked to explain the benefits, the side effects, the survival rate, he is stage 4 through out his entire body, his bones are crumbling and at a moments notice he could turn the wrong way and end up snapping his spine and end up paralyzed. My dad agreed he would try it and then if he felt it made things worse he wanted to do palliative care and hospice. He looked over at me, the adult in charge, and said "Don't worry youngin' I'll be fine. I am ready to go home now". 

At first I thought maybe my dad doesn't realize or understand, how bad it is. Maybe its the pain meds? How can he think its going to be ok? How can he think there is anyway out of this? And then I think what is wrong with me? Why am I not more positive he will find his way and "everything will be fine"? I can see that with every breathe he takes in and out, he is in pain, every move or shift he is in pain. I feel guilt, because I haven't been there like I should, Life is busy, with work, and life, I feel guilt that he doesn't really know the Prince like I knew my grand-daddy, because he doesn't understand the issues he has,  I should have tried harder when he would decline coming down for holidays, I should have fought harder to make time to get over there to check on him. I should have done more. 

Tonight I called to check on my dad and he wanted to tell me he talked to the doctor and they told him that there is no cure for what he has, and he does not want to do chemo, he has made the decision to have me, the adult in charge, set him up for hospice, he wants to go pain free, he wants everyone to know this was his decision, and this is what he wants to do, and in typical my daddy  fashion he ended the conversation with "Don't worry youngin', I'll be fine". And for the first time, in 4 weeks, I felt a relief, I felt like he really knew what he was saying, he understood his diagnoses and he was at peace with it. I felt sadness, knowing that he doesn't have much time left, I am hopeful that he will pass peacefully in his sleep with no regrets and no pain. 

I have watched friends and family lose their parents and my heart breaks for them. I know its never easy to lose a loved one, I have lost many, as I've watched others do the same. I never realized it would be a different heartache, one that takes a part of your breathe with the thought that the end is near. My daddy is ready, he is calm, his mind is sharp, he is certain, this is his decision and once he makes his mind up, there is no changing it. which tells me that this tremendous pain he is suffering with, has gone on much longer than he admits. 

I know that he will be fine, because he has told me so..........At some point, I hope the adult in charge shows up and takes over, until then I will try to be strong and brave, and remember Mama Pepper's rule of no crying ~ 

EWW Whats that smell?

Did you know that for the first time since 1956, Easter Sunday fell on April Fool's Day (April 1st). Since 1900, Easter has fallen on April Fool's Day only four times - 1923, 1934, 1945 and 1956. It won't happen again until 2029. And this year that Easter bunny definitely left us some tricks to deal with!
Easter morning started with me playing sous- chef to the Prince while we made Easter Brunch  and taking directions on how  I should season this, add that, flip the bacon …… wait a minute I thought we were cooking together? Not me taking orders while you sit on the couch! I will admit only here and not to the Master Chef aka Prince Charming, I should have followed his lead on the pancakes, but that’s water under the bridge…….or shall I say sink! Cleaning up from brunch I noticed that the carpet by the sink was wet. The Prince and I have been complaining of a “smell/ odor …some kind of funk” for a few months, and the hubster couldn’t smell anything! I was driving myself crazy (and that’s a short drive) with “WTF is that smell” buying ever possible cleaner for the sink, dishwasher, garbage disposable, so after everyone left,  I told the hubster we need to take that kick plate off, because there has to be water down there or dead body or something!! I think to get me to pipe down (see what I did there) he took it off and was shocked at what we discovered!
I am pretty confident that next time I complain of something not “smelling right” that hubster will jump into action and check it out! Clearly I have a sense of smell and he …..does not! After removing the kick plate, we discovered the rotting, decaying, zombies underneath the floor or could have been mold, sludge and just ewwwww (my guess is zombies). Hubster certainly smelled it that time, and I added a few “I told you so’s” in for good measure!!!  
Time to grab the homeowner’s policy and if you have never really looked at yours, it’s time for a chuckle or a good cry. It’s good to know that our homeowners insurance will cover damages if we have a volcanic eruption, or if an aircraft lands on the house, creek floods are also covered should a creek ever run rapid in the house ....but not floods from rain, no nothing practical could be covered like rain in Florida. The leak itself is not covered, but getting to the leak, which is behind the kitchen cabinets, which needed to be removed to get to the leak, is somewhat covered.
The insurance agent sent a “leak specialist” out to yep confirm that we do indeed have a leak ……No Shit Sherlock – I could have told you that, hence the water all over the place! At first assessment of the situation they wanted to go through the backroom where the bar is, you know….. the same room that just GOT FINISHED from renovations …..I think hubster may have told them that would be over my dead body, or they would have a raging redhead lunatic after them but he soon convinced them that it needed to be through the kitchen, because that’s where the original part of the house is and where the water was leaking from.
A contractor came to remove the counter and cabinets to get to the wall where that leak is, good thing hubster was supervising, since he was going to basically leave the water in the walls and let it dry up with the dehumidifier…… that plan changed when hubster knocked a few holes in the wall, and more zombie guts spilled out (okay it could have been more moldy, gross, ewww water). Insert gallons of bleach, spray, cleaner and the smell is finally gone! So is 50% of the kitchen, so we decided that since we would have to pay deductible , that we would just use that money and put in a new kitchen, the contractor wanted to rebuild the base cabinets and reuse the old doors, drawers and counter. Ummm….so we pay out a deductible and get the same shit back? No thanks! Besides the cat is very comfy in her new drawer that she has claimed, how could we possibly put that back in the cabinet?
Another day, another project, another adventure! Its exciting, and annoying but will be amazing when its done! Oh  good news is the PIG border that we already put up in the kitchen  about 4 months ago .....will be staying!! And the dead zombie smell is gone all will be good!  


Let it go

There comes a time in your life when you just have to step back, take a good look at things and just let go. Let go of your expectations of what life  should be like, let go of that need to meet everyone’s approvals and their demands, and their expectations of you and what they think you should be doing. It’s hard, it’s  scary and it doesn’t come naturally to just let go of that control, of what you think you know, what you think your life should be like and what others think of you. The what if’s, the shoulda, coulda, woulda all come flooding in at a rapid speed, you second guess every decision you’ve made in life, but if you can just let it go, and take it one day at a time, one minute at a time, one moment at a time, things will change, you get a new window to peer out of that has a different view and the tunnel looks a little brighter.

11 months ago, I made (we made) a huge decision, that not everyone agreed with, but we did it anyways, because you know what, we let it go. We stopped second guessing our choices, we let go of that preconceived notation that all kids are meant to be in a classroom, and made a bold choice to withdraw the Prince from school after he turned 16. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, was I doing the right thing? How would I know, I had tried public, private, charter, online and homeschool, this seemed to be my last option, but how would I know if this is the right choice. I had to just let it go, and stop worrying what others would/ did say, because you know what .....they don’t live in my shoes, they didn’t see the daily struggles to get through the day, they just knew what they “thought” our lives “should” be like. That decision I struggled with everyday, I stopped writing because I thought all I’m doing is documenting my failures as a parent, and figured I had enough reminders, and it would help justify the “judgy-mc-judgers” out there that they were right.
 I spent the summer convincing the Prince that he would be taking GED classes in the evening starting in September, I worked with the teacher and arranged for him to come during office hours to take the pretest,  which he passed with flying colors for reading, science and social studies. As for math he was 6 points away from passing, it’s not a subject he’s at all interested in, and therefore he didn’t put a lot of effort in it! Two nights a week he went to the college to work on math with a family friend who also signed up with the Prince and in January the teacher said he had passing scores to begin testing. On Feb. 1st I told the Prince he had 4 test, I was giving him 4 weeks, and he would be graduated by March 1st. End of story, we’d have this past us and look forward to the next chapter. 
I’m so proud to say that he took the challenge, he took one test a week for that 4 weeks that he picked himself the subject and signed up on his own each week.He now has his high school diaploma at 16, as of February 27th. While they forgot to add mine and the hubsters name to his diapolma, I can tell you when he sent me the picture of his diploma  after his last test, I finally felt the weight lift off my shoulders, the tunnel opened up and I knew I had finally got something in this parenting gig right! While we took a different path then most, he still ended up at the same destination, just a year AHEAD of time!

I know it’s a natural response that everyone is like “what’s next”? And I have to remind them that he’s only 16, we have time to sort this out, after all what were you doing at 16? You were in high school as a sophomore or junior, right ? So just let us celebrate this win. We deserve it, it’s been a daily struggle for years with school, I just want to soak it in. The Prince is happier than he has been in years, the weight of the stress with school is off his shoulders for now. It doesn’t mean he will never go back, it means he will choose his path, it will be a side road leading to his own journey. No one can choose it for him, should he want to go to college or a trade school or be an inventor, a chef or a rock polisher ......we will be there to help lead him, but in the end he is a strong willed young man,
who will need to make that choice on his own and follow where that dirt road leads him.

I spent the last 11 months letting go of what others thought of our choices, stopped explaining myself to “judgy-mc- judgers” because it really doesn’t matter what they say or think. I know that we did what’s right by our son, and no one can ever tell me differently and that alone helps me sleep at night. I know one day the Prince will look back and know we did the best we could and he was loved and understood in a difficult period of his life. I hope he realizes this prior to putting me and hubster in the old folks home!

But as a sneak peek into what’s that you don’t have the risk of my tossing a throat punch your way .......when everyone says “well now what”? The Prince wants to get his restricted drivers license......he’s interested in finding a job, of course it’s a job that doesn’t involve that’s a bit tough to find....after a career assessment he found he could be a rock polisher ......Didn’t even know that’s such a thing......

And a thank you to Meme for telling me to update my blog! It’s been a long time coming!

BMI Chart - Suck It

Do you ever stop and think WHY am I doing this? Like for example …….. Why am I folding my bra and panties as I strip down to my birthday suit and WHY am I now hiding them under my pants and shirt on top of  the chair! Yep - you guessed it, it’s that time of year and I’m at the doctors for my annual “hoo hah” exam and I’m hiding my bra and panties ……why? I mean really the doc is going to be up close and personal with the “hoo –hah” and but no …….she can’t see my unmentionables? I put on my fashionable gown which of course has to go forward facing, because well, she also has to feel up or as they say …..inspect the girls. So there I sit in my most vulnerable state, naked as a jaybird but now wearing a lovely “front facing” plaid gown, which totally clashes with my red beaded necklace and I wait for that knock at the door ……….

Knock ……Enter stage left – the door opens and in walks my doctor. She complements how great my hair looks and how she loves the style it’s cut in – Oh how sweet I think (and I must agree my I was having a good hair day) ……and then she goes in for the kill. She flips a piece of paper over and shows me my weight chart the past few years to let me know I am now in the obese rage according to my height and weight WTF? Am I being punked??  My heart stops, and it takes everything I have in me not to start screaming obscenities at her, and I feel the latch on the flood gates start to pry open, as if I don’t know that I have gained weight over the past few years WTF??
The doc keeps waving the chart around to tell me that I need to exercise more and eat less and stop drinking sodas. Ummm okay wait lets back the bus up (right over her fat head) I do work out, plus we walk the furkids almost every night (and hasn’t she heard I am the FitBit Step Nazi) I don’t eat THAT much and I don’t even drink sodas!!! As she continues to wave this lovely graph in my face she said I was at a good weight in 2013 – I need to do whatever I was doing back then because what I’m doing now clearly isn’t working. I looked at her and said I was taking diet pills that you yelled at me for taking and you told me NOT to take because they could kill me! Humm should I go back to those because clearly I was doing it right back then!! You just said so yourself!! Well that put a stop to her waving the chart in my face, now she has placed it on my purse, like it’s my fucking prize for coming to the doctors!
We finish my exam of the nether regions at least that gets a glowing review, she tells me to cut out this and that and up my cardio to try to lose some of this weight……………yeah thanks doc go ruin some other poor saps soul – but hey at least I’m having a good hair day.
My (soon to be former) doctor knows my medical history, I have seen her for over 20 + years, she knows I have struggled with bulimia and body dysmorphia since I was in about the 7th grade all the way until I was pregnant at 27 with the Prince! I think being pregnant helped me see the light - I cant say it cured me of being bulimic because you never really are cured from an eating disorder, but it did make me wonder WTF I was doing, because when I was pregnant, every morning, noon and night my feet hit the floor I was throwing up! I know gross - but that's when it hit me......I did this on purpose!!! For how long??? OMG - I really am crazy! I've relapsed more times then I care to  admit over the years, but I was finally at a point where I accepted the changes my body has made - NO  I don't always agree with my body - but I will say "the girls" are still perky and fabulous and I can still rock that hourglass shape ....its just I've added bigger curves - and that's ok (well most days).  I no longer focus on the numbers of the scale (or at least try not to), the hubs has drilled into my head that its not the numbers on the scale but the way you feel, the way your clothes feel and yada yada yada , and I feel pretty good - yeah I'd like to be thinner but who wouldn't - I no longer let it control my life ....I finally felt in control! Its taken us being together for 20 years to finally let that be what I repeat in my head instead of focusing on the numbers of the scale which I usually don't even get on.  For the record .....I've never been "allowed" to own a scale until  about 5 years ago was when we finally got one! I was to obsessive (yes me shocker I know)  and let it totally control what or if I ate for the day! It was a viscous cycle, so not owning a scale was a better option for me and my mental well being. 

Needless to say this single comment has put me in a total tail spin, for the rest of the day, week, month probably the next year until I have to go back to her...... well wait ......I think I'll be looking for a new doctor , maybe one with a better bedside manner!!!  And the doctor can take her BMI Chart and shove it right up her ................
well you know!