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Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Christmas Time

It's starting to feel like Christmas again for me. After my dad had his stoke and was able to come home and live independently the excitement of Christmas seemed to have passed for me. I think it is because I feel that I received the best present dad's health and watching him recover from something that I was sure was going to change our lives forever. Yes our lives are changed but not in the way I first thought they would be.

I still have some baking to do. This weekend I will be baking pies, tarts and cheese cake. I hope to get to the shortbread before the weekend. For me you can't have Christmas with out Shortbread. I use a recipe that reminds me of my Auntie Gladys' shortbread. She made the best shortbread cookies around. She passed away suddenly in 1980 and I never did get to ask her for her recipe. I felt like I was in heaven one day when I was with my grandparents at her house cleaning up after she passed away when I found her stash of shortbread she had been baking for Christmas that year. I savored those last few cookies that my grandma gave me. I can still taste them. It was many years before I ever came close to finding a recipe that tasted as good as my Auntie Gladys' shortbread.

Yesterday I went to WalMart to pick up a couple of gifts that I was looking for. I know your probably asking yourself if I was crazy to go into WalMart at 5:30pm a week before Christmas. I found a good parking spot....bonus....found exactly what I was looking for and a few other things that I have to go back for tomorrow....stood in line at the till for only a couple of minutes...that's right only a couple of minutes. I was surprised that I was in and out of WalMart as fast as I was.

The menu is planned for Christmas Dinner and Boxing Day Dinner. My daughter Brittany has been invited to her boyfriends' grandparents place for Christmas Supper. She is looking forward to going to their place and spending time with Jordan and his family. Boxing Day

Jordan is coming to our house to spend the day with us. It will seem a bit strange for Christmas Supper that Brittany won't be home with us but that time comes when they spend holidays with others.

Next week this time Christmas will be over for another year, we'll be feasting on left overs till we don't want to look at another piece of turkey for a year. Where does the time go?

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

When you love someone......Tell them

My dad will have returned to his own home a week this Thursday. All my fears and worries have disappeared. The first night was the hardest to get through. The home care nurse called me on Saturday, telling me of her visit with my dad on Friday. She reassured me that my dad is doing really well and recovering with each day that passes. He is so fortunate to be back home and on his own after a stroke, this happens to few people.

My dad still calls me every day...I find myself looking forward his calls more than I did before. I think before I took those calls for granted as he had called me every day for the last 17 years since I moved back from Flin Flon. It wasn't until I was faced with the possibility that I may never receive another phone call from him that it scared me. Scared me more than I ever thought it would.

Now the challenge is to help my dad find a hobby to do so that he doesn't feel so bored. He said he wouldn't mind painting or carving. I am a bit nervous about the carving with him being on blood thinners but have to trust that he will do alright with it as well. He even said he would like to try putting together a model or two. He was looking at the model that my son has been working on. Will be looking for something along these lines for an extra Christmas present for my dad.

We take so many things in our life for granted and don't realize it until we either loose it or come close to loosing it. Family has always been important to me but now I realize that more than ever. My grandmother used to always tell me she loved me each night when I went to bed.....I asked her one time why? She told me that she wanted me to know how important I was to her and how much she loved me. She said I should always take the time to let people know how I feel about them before the day comes when I can't do that. She was so right about that. I have carried that tradition on with my children, my husband and my dad.....I tell them every day I love them and I am thankful for them in my life.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Letting Go!

Letting go of our children as they grow is hard especially when they take that final step to Independence and move out on their own. I also found that letting go of my dad is hard to do. My dad spent a week with us after being discharged from the hospital after his stroke. The entire time at our place he spoke of how much he wanted to return to his own home in Northside. We agreed that if the doctor said he was strong enough to return home on his own I wouldn't stand in his way.

My dad received the green light he was looking for yesterday morning. I also received some reassurance that it would be fine for my dad to return home as well. The doctor told that the medications my dad is on will prevent him from having any more TIA's. For everyday that passes that he doesn't have a TIA his risk of having another TIA/Stroke decreases. The doctor recommended that I call the Homecare Nurse to stop in and check on my dad as well so that his blood pressure and heart can be monitored. This was the reassurance I needed that it will be alright for my dad to return home.

Also Wednesday evening when I got home I seen my dad in a different light again. He is getting stronger with each passing day and is very capable of being on his own. I am a phone call away and a 20 minute drive away. Most definitely won't be venturing very far from home for a while.....don't think my nerves could take it. I am a worry wart that is for husband and kids tell me that I worry far to much about my dad, that he will be fine. Well easier said than done when your dad is the only parent you have left and you are the only child to provide the help he needs.

My dad is already wanting to go to visit my cousins in Tisdale after Christmas. He said to me I can make it. He has his heart set on going for a visit so who am I to tell him NO. I told him that if he feels up to it after Christmas we could go down for a day. One day at a time I told him, don't rush things....well he comes back with "If I don't do things, I won't get stronger" and he is right at that.

Everyday that my dad was with us for that week I could see him getting stronger and stronger. I have spoke with him on the phone a couple of times and can hear it in his voice that he is getting stronger with each passing day. With each passing day I feel better about my dad's recovery. It seems to be taking me just along to get over the scare that I received when I seen my dad take that stroke and not knowing what would come next.

The support that we have received from family and friends has been awesome. No one probably realizes how much they have helped me get through this time and help me let go and watch my dad return to his own home.

We are blessed with a wonderful family and great friends. It is at these times when a person really realizes it. God Bless Everyone!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

A Time For Miracles

We always hear that Christmas is a time for miracles. Many of us agree but never see them or at least don't think we see them. Then one day when we least expect it we see them happen to us, our loved ones, friends or complete strangers.

This year my family received our Christmas Miracle. On Sunday December 2, 2007 my dad had a mini stroke also known as a TIA. I was never so afraid of loosing my dad in my life as I was that evening. I thank God that me and my family were visiting at the time that it happened. We had gathered for a Christmas supper with the other tenants of the Northside Lodge along with the board of directors. We had an angel with us there that night in Peggy, she called 911 got the First Responders to my dad's in less than 10 minutes, about 15 minutes not even later the ambulance arrived. We had my dad at the hospital within 1 hr of his stroke. My dad went from not being able to verbally communicate with us to being able to talk within 5 - 10 minutes. I had to stay out of the room as it was upsetting my dad to see me scared and upset.

My wonderful husband rode with my dad in the ambulance to the hospital. What a difference in treatment when you arrive by ambulance than when you drive someone in. They checked for everything right away. Dad received the medications he needed immediately. The doctors and nurses in the ER that night were awesome. They kept me informed of everything. I left that night feeling much better than when I arrived.

Monday wasn't a great day for me, my dad was admitted to the hospital. The nurses didn't read his chart from the ER so they had no idea of what was going on or even why my dad was in the hospital until he told him, you tell me I came in with the ambulance last night. frustrating that day was. I didn't see a single doctor that day so when I left my dad's room I was in tears by the time I hit the elevator and cried most of the way home.

Tuesday I met with my dad's doctor who had been up to see my dad that morning. He told me that my dad is doing very well. The CT Scan showed no neurological damage from the TIA, thanks GOD. They were waiting to have an Eco cardiogram done of dad's heart to see if the clots were coming from there...again good news no clots there.....but his heart is weak. Working about about 1/2 of a healthy normal heart with no damage, but with the proper medications they believe that my dad's heart with strengthen from 35% to 45 - 50 %, it will never reach the 65% of the blood that a healthy heart pumps out with each beat but will be stronger. This is going to take time.

I was very surprised when the doctor told me that my dad should be able to go home in a few days. It was hard for me to believe the doctor when he told me that my dad would be able to come home I just couldn't see it. My husband told me that I was looking too hard for the negative affects of a stroke, this was clouding me from seeing how well my dad was really doing. It was on Wednesday when I finally believe them, I walked into my dad's room in the hospital and for the first time since Sunday I seen my dad, his color was great, he had sparkle in his eyes, no heart monitor and no oxygen. It was my dad as I know him, not my dad who was sick and in hospital.

Thursday came and I was able to bring my dad home to my house. This is one of the happiest days of my life next to the day I married my wonderful husband and the days that my 3 children were born. Every day I see my dad improving, getting stronger. Tomorrow he goes to the see the doctor and if he says that my dad is strong enough to stay in his own apartment on his own we will take home on Friday. This will be hard for me to do, but my dad needs to be able to do things himself so that he can keep getting stronger and stronger.

I thank God everyday for the blessings he has given us and for the blessing of healing that he as given to my dad and for blessing the doctors with the knowledge of how to treat my dad's condition.

Yes Miracles do happen at Christmas, my dad is living proof of that for me and my family. We received our miracle when things looked the blackest we found a shining star. My dad means the world to me and to my family, we are very close the 6 of us. We all received the best Christmas present 3 weeks early this year, my dad coming home.